Hot Picks

- Ready for My Close Up 2019

- Talk of the Dead 2016

- The Manifestation 2024

- Spirit Riser 2024

- Garden of Souls 2019

- It's a Wonderful Slice 2024

- Caleb & Sarah 2024

- The Thousand Steps 2020

- The Desiring 2021

- When a Stranger Knocks 2024

- Quint-essentially Irish 2024

- Son of Gacy 2024

- Saltville 2024

- The True Story of the Christ's Return 2024

- Whenever I'm Alone with You 2023

- Jurassic Triangle 2024

- Midnight Peepshow 2022

- Offworld: Alien Planet 2024

- The Swiss Conspiracy 1976

- Sex-Positive 2024

- Here for Blood 2022

- All Over Again 2024

- The Color Yellow 2023

- Des Töchterleins Leid 2024

- I Am a Channel 2024

- The Hermits 2023

- Murdaritaville 2024

- Inheritance 2024

- The Devil's Partner 1960

- A Stranger in the Woods 2024

- Underground 2023

- A Nashville Wish 2024

- molkipolki 2023

- The Ghost is a Lie - Take Two 2024

- Return to the Theatre of Terror 2023

- The Ghost is a Lie - Take One 2023

- Daisy 2024

- All I've Got and Then Some 2024

- Alice and the Vampire Queen 2023

- ElemenTory 2024

- Aftermath 2023

- Scalper 2023

- México Bárbaro II 2017

- Finding Angel 2021

- Am Fear Liath 2024

- A Place of Our Own 2022

- The Human Trap 2021

- And Then Come the Nightjars 2023

- Project Dorothy 2024

- First Time Caller 2022

- Hellhounds 2024

- The '78 Slasher 2024

- First Impressions Can Kill 2017

- A Killer Conversation 2014

- Star Crash 1979

- Strangler of the Swamp 1946

An Interview with Kelly Hughes, Director of Heart Attack! The Early Pulse Pounding Cinema of Kelly Hughes

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2015

Films directed by Kelly Hughes on (re)Search my Trash


Quick Links

Abbott & Costello

The Addams Family

Alice in Wonderland

Arsène Lupin



Black Emanuelle

Bomba the Jungle Boy

Bowery Boys

Bulldog Drummond

Captain America

Charlie Chan



Dick Tracy

Dr. Mabuse

Dr. Orloff

Doctor Who


Edgar Wallace made in Germany

Elizabeth Bathory



Flash Gordon


Frankie & Annette Beach Party movies

Freddy Krueger

Fu Manchu





El Hombre Lobo

Incredible Hulk

Jack the Ripper

James Bond

Jekyll and Hyde

Jerry Cotton

Jungle Jim


Kekko Kamen

King Kong

Laurel and Hardy

Lemmy Caution


Lone Wolf and Cub

Lupin III


Marx Brothers

Miss Marple

Mr. Moto

Mister Wong


The Munsters

Nick Carter

OSS 117

Phantom of the Opera

Philip Marlowe

Philo Vance


Robin Hood

The Saint

Santa Claus

El Santo

Schoolgirl Report

The Shadow

Sherlock Holmes


Star Trek

Sukeban Deka



Three Mesquiteers

Three Musketeers

Three Stooges

Three Supermen


Wizard of Oz

Wolf Man

Wonder Woman




Your new documentary Heart Attack! The Early Pulse Pounding Cinema of Kelly Hughes - well, the title makes it pretty obvious what it's about, so what can you tell us about your "early pulse pounding" movies?


In 1991 I started writing and directing a weekly TV show in Seattle called Heart Attack Theatre. I made thirty-three episodes. And this led to me making the world’s first zombie drag queen movie, La Cage aux Zombies. And then Twin Cheeks, an experimental art film that borrows imagery from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, perverting what was already disturbing material. This early work also includes a TV pilot about a self-destructive interior decorator with multiple addictions called The Bicci Show.


What got you into making movies even, and how did Heart Attack Theatre come into being?


I wrote and directed my first plays in elementary school. And even back then made guys play the female parts in drag. In the late ‘80s I graduated from broadcasting school. But really didn’t do anything movie-oriented at first. My training there was mostly in radio announcing. And writing news and commercials. Although we did learn how to splice and edit reel-to-reel audio tape. And had access to some nice sound effects records on vinyl.

By around 1989 or so, I felt the need to do something creative. So I entered a playwright’s festival. And wrote and directed a musical called Lucky Charm. It had a supernatural element involving a schoolhouse that burned down a hundred years before. And the ghosts of the dead children haunting the location. It had a few eerie effects. But the upbeat songs gave it more of an Annie feel.

After that, I wrote an actual operetta (no dialogue, everything was sung.) This was after Phantom of the Opera first opened on Broadway. And gothic musicals were all the rage. So I wrote this musical called Paul Bunyan: An American Tragedy. And gave it a supernatural, religious fundamentalist twist. With Paul Bunyan being the target of a village preacher who considered this large, lust-inducing man an abomination in the eyes of God, and a threat to their community.


After that I started making a movie called Trish Must Kill. It was about the daughter of an archeologist. And when he digs up an ancient necklace, he awakens an evil spirit that possesses his daughter, making her kill. And her name was Trish.

During this time I was teaching a drama class one night a week through the YMCA. And had written a play for my students to perform called Flat Tire. And performing it was basically their final exam. One of my students, Mary, couldn’t remember her lines. And spent most of the first night of class on the verge of a manic episode, threatening to leave, diverting all my energy into persuading her to stay. But instead of inviting my more accomplished students, I only asked Mary to be part of Trish Must Kill. Perhaps I enjoyed the irony of casting her as the psychiatrist?

I shot it all on a cheap home video camera. And other than Mary, all of the other actors were my friends. And I made the story up as we went along. Which is the last time I did that because all my projects are scripted. And even though some of my stuff looks spontaneous, there is no improvising in my projects. That’s not the way I work. I’ve learned to be more flexible. But I don’t think it’s fair to actors to expect them to write your script for you. Or for them to wait around on set while you’re still writing. And I like my words spoken the way I write them. Even changing the order of a few words can change the effect I’m going for. So I don’t allow my actors to do that.

Then, in September of 1990, I traveled across the USA, videotaping a cyclist from Seattle to New York for a documentary. This gave me access to a new and better camcorder and video deck. Panasonic Super-VHS equipment. It seemed like Hi-Def compared to what I’d been using. But still primitive by today’s standards.


A few months after the trip, I learned about Public Access TV. Which was this cable channel that let you air your own show. For free, even. Because the government made them. Which seemed like a big deal to me. Because this was way before YouTube. And I thought only Hollywood produced material could get on TV. So I signed up for a show, not really knowing what it was going to be about. I thought of the name Heart Attack Theatre while riding the bus on the way to the station. And then created a show that would live up to that name. Something lurid, trashy, fun, and maybe even artistic.

I was a last minute replacement for a show that backed out. Which only gave me a week to create my first episode. It was a half-hour show. Which is actually a lot of time to fill. So that first episode pretty much set the schedule I used for that first season. I would write the script on my lunch hour on Friday (I worked full-time at another job while I did this.) Shoot the scenes over the weekend. Edit Sunday night, and Monday and Tuesday when I got home from work. Turn it into the studio Wednesday. And then they would air it that Friday night. And I would already be starting the whole process all over again. Making a new episode every week with no room for delays. I had to create something whether or not I felt inspired. Or else I would lose my valuable time slot at 10:00PM on Friday nights. Failure and excuses were not an option. And I did it without a crew. I operated the camera. And hoped that the built-in microphone would capture everyone’s voice without too much background noise.


What can you tell us about audience reactions to Heart Attack Theatre back in the day?


I had no idea if anyone actually watched it. Public access had no Nielsen ratings. At the time, I didn’t even have cable TV myself. So I usually didn’t even watch it when it aired.

But after the first two seasons, I held an event at a local media arts center. It was one of the few places in town that had a video projector. And I screened a retrospective of my Heart Attack Theatre work. And afterward, this guy in the audience introduced himself. He said he was a fan. And that he taped each week’s episode. I was flattered. But also worried thinking, “Is this some nut?” But he turned out to be Steven Shaviro, the Film Studies professor at the University of Washington. And he had written a book called The Cinematic Body (which the next day I bought and read). And in the book, he studied Warhol, Fassbinder, Cronenberg and George Romero from a scholarly perspective. And I thought, “I don’t know if anyone else likes what I do. But if I could choose only one fan, none would be as flattering as this guy.” And I was excited that an academic could look past the campy low-budget trappings of Heart Attack Theatre. And appreciate some of the deeper effects I was going for. To understand my references.


What was a Heart Attack Theatre-shoot usually like?


Most of my shoots were in and around my apartment. I had a large living room, and minimal furniture. So I was constantly moving things around to make it look like a different location from every angle. And we would shoot in the boiler room in the basement. And on the roof. Which I’m surprised (and grateful) no one fell off of.

But I especially liked shooting outdoors. Or in public venues. And we would just show up at places and start shooting. Stores, fast food restaurants, libraries, churches. And we’d get everything in one take. Then leave before people noticed us. Or called security. The only trouble we ever had was at a public playground where some power-hungry office worker told us we couldn’t shoot there without permission. And we actually stopped and listened to this guy for fifteen minutes. Ranting about how someone had driven a motorcycle into their hallway without permission after they agreed to let a film crew shoot a biker movie at their school. And this guy equated our shoot (me, two actors, and a camcorder) with this big wild biker movie production. But deep down I knew he was just jealous that we were doing something cool.


One weird thing about our shoots was that people would always be leaving crap in my apartment. Female actors especially would leave clothing, makeup, hairspray, brushes—you name it. So one day, I put all this crap on the floor next to my front door. And every time someone would visit, I would make them take items home when they left. I mean, there were four curling irons. Not just one, but four. And I don’t remember the women curling their hair that often. I still don’t know where they all came from. Props, clothing, a toilet even. Although the toilet was from another play I started working on. A women-in-prison story called Fever. But I still can’t remember who brought the toilet, or why it was in my living room.


Many of the actors in these movies were pretty much regulars - so how did you go about recruiting your cast?


Cathy Roubal in 

La Cage aux Zombies

I put a casting notice in the local paper. And auditioned people in my apartment. Which sounds like something a pornographer would do. So I bent over backwards to make people feel comfortable. Thank goodness the toilet wasn’t in my living room then. I also used a couple actors who had been in my stage plays. And my friend Cathy who had played Trish (and went on to star in La Cage aux Zombies.) But for the most part, they were all strangers at first.

I used to joke that getting cast was easy. And that their first Heart Attack Theatre episode was the actual audition. And that if I liked them, I would ask them back to do a second episode.

One of the first people I auditioned was a middle-aged woman named Betty. At the time she was selling real estate. Didn’t have a lot of acting experience. But I liked her personality, so I cast her. On the first day of shooting, I had her fall off a boat into deep water. Then learned she couldn’t swim, and she almost drowned. But I loved that she would risk her life to be on TV. So I kept casting her. And started writing roles just for her. Even made her the ingénue at times, pairing her with male love interests half her age. And after Heart Attack Theatre, she played roles in most of my other video and stage work, including Fever.


What inspired you to make a documentary about your Heart Attack Theatre-days roughly two decades later?


I got the idea after I started to digitize old episodes and put them on YouTube. And realized that, for this current generation, they would take for granted what we did. I wanted to make a time capsule. To represent a specific place in time. To show that in the early ‘90s, before everyone had streaming videos, and the ability to become a YouTube star, that public access allowed us to create unique programming. But that we had to jump through a few more hoops. And make the most of our local audience and circumstances. Make the most of our primitive equipment.


I also have this compulsion to say, “Hey, my work is important.” I may not have received the same recognition as Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure. Or the intense awareness of the Seattle grunge bands during that time. But I believe I deserve a place in Seattle’s cultural history. I think I did something unique. And I’m proud of my underground aesthetic. Impressed that I was able to put out a body of work with virtually zero resources. Happy that watching my work still makes me chuckle. Still makes me proud of my actors.


How easy or hard was it to track all your interviewees down, and are you still close with any of them?


The ones I interviewed are the ones I’ve stayed in touch with over the years. They still live in or near Seattle. I do wish I could have interviewed Cathy (aka Trish) for the documentary. I’ve known her since high school. And along with Betty and one other actress, Cathy was in the most episodes of Heart Attack Theatre.

When I was first making episodes, Cathy was down in San Francisco going to law school. So we got to do a lot of shooting when she came back up to Seattle for her summer break. And my challenge for each new episode would be to write her a character that was radically different than the one she had played before. One week she would be a vapid fashion model. The next, a developmentally-challenged girl who gets turned into a frog. Then an Eastern European terrorist. And then a murderous roommate. Then a bitchy fashion director who torments a male model on location during a shoot for an underwear ad campaign. She, and others like Betty, became my muses. And challenged me to create new and different characters week after week.


/nterviewees Jim Peterson, Betty Marshall, Ernest Rhoads, Sarah Katherine Lewis

Cathy and I stay in touch through Facebook. And last year I went with Betty and her boyfriend on a road trip to Canada to see a burlesque show featuring another one of my actresses, Kitten Natividad. And I see Kitten when I’m in Los Angeles.

But it’s only this small handful that is still part of the entourage. And that includes Ernie who appears in the documentary. And he appeared in most of my post-Heart Attack Theatre projects, including Fever (where he played a battered lesbian serial killer named Toy.)


You don't appear on camera yourself in Heart Attack! The Early Pulse Pounding Cinema of Kelly Hughes - why is that then?


I acted in school plays up through high school. But I always got a bigger charge writing and directing. And have no need to be on camera. I like doing voice-over narration. It’s actually the one thing I’m professionally trained to do. And that’s where I show up the most in my work. In Twin Cheeks especially. I do the voice-over narration for the main character. I was also a “stunt hand” in that. In a scene where I use tweezers to remove a bit of paper under a corpse’s fingernail (you only see me from the wrist down). You can also see my hand in La Cage aux Zombies ripping off a drag queen’s wig (right after someone has just ripped off her arm. Oh, the indignity of it all!)

I narrated the original version of my documentary Heart Attack!, but decided to use title cards instead. You know, like in a silent movie. And to mostly rely on the comments and recollections of my actors. And to let the work speak for itself. I like to write about my work (and am finishing up a memoir about it.) But talking about it in voice-over felt cheesy to me. Maybe I’m just too self-conscious.


In The Bicci Show, I have my one Hitchcock-like cameo. I play one of the members at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I don’t have any lines. But at one point I shake my head in disgust while listening to the confessions of the main character. And then I bow my head, and join the others as they recite The Serenity Prayer.

I did a singing cameo too. In Twin Cheeks. We dubbed my voice in for the “Hanging By A Thread” song that the Homecoming Queen sings in a dream sequence. The actor, Bliss, who played the Julee Cruise-inspired Homecoming Queen, originally sang it. And did a good job. But for the final edit, I had to match the lyrics to actual keyboard music that I played live while I sang and watched the video of Bliss. I’m normally a bass. But for that song I sang falsetto. Which added to the dream/nightmare quality. Oh, and I also dubbed in the voice for one of the football players in the shower at the beginning of La Cage aux Zombies. I recorded the actual actors. But the sound was so echo-y and distorted against the hard tile-lined shower room walls. Plus we had the showers on, and it drowned out the actors. So you can hear me there too. And I sound really macho. J


Some of your favourite Heart Attack Theatre-movies? And how does it make you feel watching them from today's point of view?


My favorite episode is called Sisters. And, like several other episodes, it is lost. I don’t have a copy of it anymore. Sisters is about a psychic nun who uses her powers to help her identical twin sister who was caught by her husband having an affair. They switch places. With the cheating sister dressing like a nun and staying at the convent. And the nun dressing like the sister and going to her home to erase the husband’s memory. I liked the challenge of shooting one actress playing both parts in the same scene, using a double for the back shots.

But there’s many others I like for different reasons. One episode, Miserably, was inspired by the movie Misery (based on the Stephen King book.) One of my favorite scenes is when an evil, but sexy nurse crushes a patient’s knee with a hammer.

I like another episode, Curse, because it’s the first one where Betty gets to carry an episode as the lead. She’s in almost every shot. And it has a gothic soap opera feel to it. With our spooky effects mostly generated by the performances of Betty and her co-star. It was very Dark Shadows.


Betty Marshall and Kelly Hughes

Watching them now? I’m less self-conscious about the low budget video look of them. When I made them, there was a certain amount of shame attached to that. That it was all a half-step up from a home video camera. But the funny thing is, with all the superb looking video out there, with all the Hi-Def videos that even amateur filmmakers can put out now, I’m actually more tolerant of the look of my old work.

Maybe it’s the new found appreciation for VHS home videotapes from the ‘80s and ‘90s. The look and feel of something that came from the generation before. I’m not sure. But I’m not embarrassed by the low budget look anymore. I embrace it as it is. Even the glitches.


On La Cage aux Zombies, you worked with cult actress Kitten Natividad - now you just have to talk about working with her, and how did you get her even?


It all started with John Waters… Back in the early ‘80s, John Waters wrote a book called Shock Value. And in it, he interviewed Russ Meyer. Kitten Natividad was also part of that interview. Because she not only acted in his films, but Kitten and Russ were also an item. And her bawdy remarks were the parts that I remembered most from that interview. And that chapter in Shock Value… it must have planted a seed in my subconscious. Because I would eventually have contact with all three of them. But in ways I never could have dreamed or predicted.

I think I talked to John Waters first. I read that he was going to do a speaking engagement on the West Coast. So I used that as an excuse to call the organizers of the event and request a press interview. We were in different time zones. And when I called Waters to do the interview, I had miscalculated the time difference between Seattle and Baltimore. And called him an hour late. He was kind enough to reschedule. And when we finally talked he was very gracious. He was also a tough nut to crack. Only said what he wanted to say. But he was so witty and intelligent, I kept the investigative journalism questions in check.


Russ Meyer was a different story. He was visiting town for the Seattle Film Festival. And I interviewed him at the Sheraton Hotel. In person. It was right after I had worked with Kitten. And about ten minutes into the interview, I mentioned that Kitten was going to be in a movie I was still working on. And his mood shifted. He narrowed his eyes, looked straight at me, and said something to the effect of: “Everything Kitten’s been in--outside of my movies--has been total and utter shit.”

Perhaps he still felt possessive of her. Or resented that I talked about anything other than his career? I don’t know. I was just trying to break the ice. But his unyielding demeanor pushed a few of my own buttons. So I stopped asking question. And we spent a full ten minutes just sitting there, staring at each other. Seeing who would cave in to the awkward silence. I can’t remember who spoke first. But we eventually finished the interview. And when we stepped out of the room, and joined the other PR people working for the festival, Russ and I shook hands for photos, smiled like old friends. Hell, he probably posed with his arm around my shoulder. Who can remember now? And although Kitten eventually shared with me some interesting anecdotes about their relationship, I’ve never pressed Kitten for details. And to learn the full story, I’ll have to wait for her autobiography like everyone else.


Kelly with Kitten Natividad

As for working with Kitten… I first contacted her by sending her a letter. In the back of a magazine I found an address for her fan club. A post office box. And I must have written something enticing. Because she called me up a few weeks later, and said she would like to be in La Cage aux Zombies.

I flew down to Los Angeles (using the little money and vacation time I had back then. I was still working an office job to pay the bills). And we filmed most of her scenes in front of her house. She lives near Paramount Studios. And just recently I learned that her house is famous. Because the writer Jack London used to live there. Kitten owns the building now. And she rents it out and lives down the block from it. But during her La Cage aux Zombies scenes, she did things that would make even Jack London blush. Especially the scene where zombies drink milk from her breasts. Or when her breasts get rolled up in a car window, and the moving car drags her down the street. Or when she kills a zombie by smothering him in her ample bosom. Oh well. Jack London might have blushed. But her neighbors didn’t. They barely gave us a second glance while we were shooting.

Also, and this is somewhat heartbreaking to me, I made a documentary of Kitten during one of my trips down to L.A. (I think it was for a video convention). I videotaped Kitten at her home during a pin-up style photo shoot. I not only interviewed her throughout, but also tried to capture the intimacy between Kitten and the photographer. They had quite a rapport with each other. After I edited it, I had a screening of it here in Seattle. But I never released it on home video. And I’ve been looking for it for years. But can’t find my copy. So I think it is lost forever. Ironically, it has a listing on IMDb. So maybe there’s hope. Here’s the link:

[Btw, Waters also interviewed Herschell Gordon Lewis in Shock Value. And recently I got the chance to interview Lewis myself. So I guess I can cross that off my bucket list too.]


How did Heart Attack Theatre come to an end eventually? And can any of the movies still be seen anywhere?


After several seasons, I got burned out. But even though I stopped making new episodes, the public access station still showed reruns of Heart Attack Theatre. And often played episodes during gaps in the programming when other people didn’t turn their shows in.

A Heart Attack Theatre compilation was released on VHS home video in the late ‘90s. I chose nine of my favorite episodes. Re-edited them. And created an entirely new original soundtrack for it. You can still rent it at Scarecrow Video in Seattle. And an occasional copy shows up on eBay. Although it’s been out-of-print for over fifteen years now.

There will be a special DVD release, though. And it will also be in Scarecrow Video. They are creating a new section devoted to shows that originated on Seattle public access TV. And a new cover design is being created for it. And it should be released within the next few months. Along with that, I’m planning an online streaming release of it through VHX.TV. That’s the online streaming site where you can buy or rent the Heart Attack! documentary


There’s also an upcoming documentary about Seattle’s public access TV. It’s called Channeling Yourself. And they interviewed me for it. And will include clips from Heart Attack Theatre. So I’m excited about that.

I was also interviewed for another upcoming documentary called Blood on the Reels. It’s directed and produced by Johnny Daggers, a filmmaker from Pittsburgh who now lives and works in Baltimore. So he understands both the George Romero and John Waters schools of filmmaking. And is showcasing dozens of obscure horror directors in this documentary. And giving them a platform to talk about their work. And expose their movies to more people. I’m really excited to be included in it.


The $64-question though, where is Heart Attack! The Early Pulse Pounding Cinema of Kelly Hughes available from?


Here’s a link to where you can buy it or rent it online as an instant streaming download: - I might eventually put it out on DVD. But for now, I like offering it through VHX because it lets me keep the price down. And offers instant gratification for viewers. J


What can you tell us about your filmwork since Heart Attack Theatre?


I did La Cage aux Zombies and Twin Cheeks right after Heart Attack Theatre. Then I moved out of Seattle for a while. And actually shot some footage for a TV series called The Trash Factory. It was about a low-budget movie company. And all these crazy people who make these b-movies. And it featured some fun “movies within the movie” footage. Which I filmed on Super 8 film. To contrast with the video I was filming the main story on.

My actor Bliss came up from L.A. to be in it. And we got some great footage of him in some pretend horror movie scenes. They looked a bit like those pretend trailers in Tarantino’s and Rodriguez’s Grindhouse. Maybe not as good as Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving trailer. I thought that was brilliant. But we had some pretty gritty stuff. And the erratic and grainy Super 8 footage gave it a jerky, unsettling quality.

Kitten Natividad also appeared in a scene. She was in Canada for an event. And I actually drove up there and picked her up, and brought her down to Washington state for the shoot. Then drove her back to Canada the next day so she could catch her plane back to L.A.


I realized I would need more help and more resources to pull off a series like The Trash Factory. I couldn’t do it as my usual crew-of-one. But it wasn’t a total loss. One of the characters played by Ernie sort of morphed into another character. Which gave Ernie his first starring roles in one of my projects. This was The Bicci Show. And Ernie got to play a bold and sassy interior designer with an undercurrent of self-loathing. And a heavy dose of self-destruction (such as taking a $20,000 advance for a design project, and spending it all on drugs and prostitutes. Then finishing the project with items from a thrift store).

I shot it around 2001/2002, after I’d moved back to Seattle. Betty was in it. And we did things like crash a thrift store, and filmed Ernie interacting with store workers. And then had them sign release forms afterward. Which gave it a reality show feel, even though it was scripted. It didn’t have a horror element to it. But it was nice to explore some new themes. And give Ernie another acting challenge.


Last summer I did a short for the 48 Hour Film Project. I’d been wanting to try it because it’s so similar to how I made Heart Attack Theatre. I lucked out and got the sci-fi genre. But did it more along the lines of sci-fi/horror. And created a nasty little morsel called Green State. You can watch it on my website. When I saw it on the big screen with some of the other 48 Hour Film Project entries, I once again felt shame at how low budget it looked compared to some of the other videos. (Was I still that far behind on my video technology?) But at the same time, I was very pleased at how I had held on to my aesthetic. And that out of all the other entries, I thought I was the only one who achieved a sense of actual sleaze. That today’s post-Tarantino filmmakers are very savvy and boundary breaking. But that it still takes a special eye to put together a film that makes you feel like you’re watching it at a drive-in theater in 1973.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I’ve written a full-length script for a supernatural thriller called Lazy Susan. Alison Arngrim wants to be in it. She’s the actress who played Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie. Don’t you think she’d be great in a horror movie? But I would have to make it a union production. You know, SAG? And deal with all that paperwork and fundraising. Alison shot some great interview footage for me to use in a crowd fund campaign for Lazy Susan. And she did it with the other Hollywood actor I have lined up for it, Jason Stuart. He and Alison are friends. And I’ve really geared the script to take advantage of the rapport they naturally have together. And their willingness to be really nasty characters. So I’m gearing up to launch the crowd fund this year. And want to get the proper funding to do it right. You can’t do it half-assed when Nellie Oleson’s onboard. J


I’m also finishing a novelization of La Cage aux Zombies. Something I’ve been wanting to do for some time. Not just to jump on the current zombie bandwagon. This is more of a regurgitation. Using the movie as a starting point. But moving the story into some new directions. Expanding the scope. And getting into the minds of these characters that I really love. So it will have a fair amount of humor and absurdity. How can it not with a title like that?


How would you describe yourself as a director?


I think I keep the action moving. I think I create tension in scenes. I’ve always had to work fast. So I don’t do a lot of takes like Kubrick. Usual just one or two if I can. And I laugh a lot on-set. It’s probably a combination of nerves and being entertained by my actors. And because I’m always giddy, amazed that everyone is actually doing what I ask them to.

Overall, I think I’m focused on-set. I’m just really conditioned to get the shots no matter what. To work around problems. To not give in to excuses. To always be on schedule. To always get a little bit more intensity from my actors.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


I’ll always admire John Waters. Because his movies were the first to really mess with my mind. And it’s interesting to see how he has evolved. And how the mainstream has even caught up with him now. Brian De Palma’s early films inspired me, especially Dressed To Kill. The first time I saw Jodorowski’s Holy Mountain I thought, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I love it. This is a work of art.” But now I really admire the unsung heroes of made-for-TV movies. And the exploitation movie directors. The ones who may not be household names. But have a solid work ethic. And cranked out those little movie gems that keep showing up on late night television year after year. And now, thankfully, online. It can be hard to stay motivated when it feels like all the attention and acclaim is going to other filmmakers. So I’m inspired by the ones who keep plugging away, even when they aren’t the flavor of the month. I’m also inspired by the movie Criminally Insane (aka Crazy Fat Ethel). It’s an example of how important casting is in a low budget exploitation film. And how absolute conviction can transcend quality. Making considerations such as “Can these people act?” or “Does this story make any sense?” irrelevant. This is a near perfect movie.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


I don’t want to offend anyone, but I’ve never liked the Star Wars movies. Even the early “good” ones. I’m more of a Star Trek person.

As for movies I deplore… I hate “acclaimed” movies that turn out to be clichéd and tedious. When their acclaim comes from subject matter, not execution. I hate boring movies with great posters that trick you into watching them. I hate movies that were workshopped after winning a screenplay award at a film festival. (And I hate myself for hating this because it probably means I’m jealous and intolerant. But I have no patience for committees.) I hate most films on Netflix. (But I really like a lot of their TV shows. Go figure.) I hate it in movies when two gangsters point guns sideways at each other and have a stand-off. I hate it when a character is given “character” by smoking and drinking, especially when he’s holding the drink in the same hand as the cigarette. I hate when a filmmaker uses macho clichés to signal depth he hasn’t established or worked up to.


Feeling lucky?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
(commissions earned)

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Kelly Hughes
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports?
Find Kelly Hughes here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty?
(Must be over 18 to go there!)

x-rated  find Kelly Hughes at

A halfway good movie is always worse than a really bad movie, because a really bad movie can have some lurid entertainment value. But the halfway good movie makes you conscious of how it could have been better. And makes you resent the filmmaker for missing the mark.


Your/your documentary's website, Facebook, whatever else?


Documentary page:

My website:

Facebook page:


Anyting else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


I want to thank you for creating (re)Search my Trash. And thank all the bloggers and podcasters who have saved me and other underground filmmakers and our films from fading into obscurity. For all the times we have been ignored by the mainstream media, being recognized by a site like this totally makes up for it. And damn it, you really know your movies here!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.


There's No Such Thing as Zombies
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry


directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke


now streaming at


Amazon UK





Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from