Your movie Sweet
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot - in a few words,
what is the film about?
It’s about Prudence, a beautiful young woman
who is trying to get her college degree by snapping the perfect photo of Bigfoot
who has been sighted at what turns out to be a nudist resort.
A comedic sex romp ensues. That’s
kind of the TV guide version.
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot quite freely takes
inspiration from nudie cuties and softcore sex comedies from the 1960's
and 70's. What do you find so appealing about these films, and your genre
things that are most appealing about the nudie cuties were their sort of
innocent naïveté and their very broad comedy. The
early nudist camp films were a cross between a propaganda piece for nudism
and a beach party movie. Since
they were a genre that only existed as an excuse to show nudity (albeit
very innocent nudity) they’re pretty much a one trick pony. Producers
had to keep finding excuses for the nudity and ways to tell the films
apart, so over the few years the genre existed they went from simple
travelogues to films set on the moon, where of course everyone is a
nudist. They’re a fun time
capsule to watch. From my
experiences of shooting at a nudist resort I can assure you that the
beautiful women you see bouncing around in those films were straight from
casting – because the reality is not so nubile.
I had seen a lot of the seventies movies over time, and enjoyed them. Those
memories all started to come back to when I was working with Playboy in
the late nineties. Sadly Playboy intentionally removed a lot of the fun from the softcore erotic
genre, replacing it with the dreaded erotic thriller style. I started
digging for some of those older sexploitation films and in the process
rediscovered that sort of fun romp sensibility that many of them had. It
was something that had really been lost. The idea that sex wasn’t dirty,
as long as it moved the plot along is kind of refreshing.
I had already been a huge admirer of Russ Myer, a genius who even
at his most melodramatic had some off kilter mindset that made his
films so original and personal.
hands down genre favorite is Supervixens, an amazing film.
the genre is so often dismissed I saw no reason not to put a personal
stamp all over it, and I thought a B monster movie approach would be fun. Even
things like our flying saucer were designed to have a retro look.
That’s not to be confused with a cheesy look, which would be
mocking the films of the era – I just wanted it to have nice elegant
lines; the 1965 Mustang of Flying Saucers, and Alpha Channel FX did a great
job with that. I think any
film that looks back on a genre with affection will always work better
than one that simply mocks it. The
sixties sensibility went through every aspect of the film, and even the
original temp score was entirely made up of Les Baxter exotica lounge
tracks that fit the tone perfectly.
also devised the title sequence to emulate an old school comic book
modeled on an EC science fiction comic.
Those were really fifties pop culture, but who's counting. I spent
quite a bit of time with the artist Aaron Lane devising the sequence, and
he came through with flying colors. I
thought the comic book motif set the tone for the film nicely.
Why did you at all think it was a good idea
to fit Bigfoot
into a sex comedy?
is the last thing you would think of as
a good fit for a sex film, which actually made him perfect.
In some ways Bigfoot
is the Mcguffin, which leads to all the comedy
and sexual hijinks. But he’s also a fun monster that doesn’t really
get the attention he deserves in movies. I’m also a huge monster movie
fan, so he was ideal. The next
film might lean more towards little bug eyed aliens like in Invasion of
You have tackled the subject of Bigfoot
before, in an episode of Creepy Canada. Did that in any way
influence your depiction of the creature in Sweet
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot?
Our Creepy Canada segment was influential in a few ways. It
was a segment called Bigfoot UFO about an outbreak of Pennsylvania
Bigfoot encounters in conjunction with UFO sightings.
The segment had Bigfoot, aliens, Men In Black, and every other
conspiracy/paranormal theory tossed into the mix.
So that certainly influenced my thought process.
I had found a pretty good Bigfoot
costume that was available for
rental, so I had it shipped to Pennsylvania. When we arrived to shoot the
segment, a weird April snowstorm caused a blackout in the area, and
cancelled production for the first day.
So I sat in my little cabin looking at this expensive costume that
was not being used and imagined how funny it would be to shoot an erotic Bigfoot
story. By the time the
power was restored I had filed some scenes in the back of my mind, and a
few years later said “why not?”
other sources of inspiration for
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot?
A lot of seventies films helped inspire it.
Russ Meyer has always been a huge influence on me, and you can
certainly see traces of that. The
overall live action cartoon sensibility always seemed like a natural for
erotic films, making them more fun than dirty.
There was a German (or Austrian) film called Auf der Alm da gibt's koa Sünd/Bottoms
Up that’s practically surreal in its humor, but also featured
naturally pretty young women romping around in beautiful surroundings
having a great time. That
approach felt right to me. The
other film that is always an influence is Abbot
and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which perfectly combined comedy and
monsters. It’s a really
did the project come into being in the first place?
here’s the long drawn-out version. In the late nineties while at Playboy
I had the good fortune to meet John Quinn who became my close friend,
mentor and later my co-conspirator on a number of Cinemax “After Dark”-series. We produced
Science (a sci fi noir erotic series) and Lingerie (a
Sex in the City with
more sex series) both here in Toronto. Producing these series pushed me
into spending more time dealing with banks, lawyers, and business affairs
matters and less time being a creative force, so when Lingerie finished
its final season I was ready for something new.
I wanted to follow up with something that mirrored my own weird ideas of
humor and gave some nods to the kind of films I really loved.
John Quinn my business partner on the Cinemax shows was very ill
(he passed away during post production) and having a project on the go
always made him perk up, so I think that also inspired me to write and
direct an out of pocket film that he would handle the distribution on –
we were an amazing team.
shot a “paranormal series” for three seasons left me with some great
funny insights on ghost/monster hunters, and I just sat back and wrote the
script, scouted specific locations, rewrote to accommodate those, counted
all the change buried in the couch cushions, conned another friend and
co-worker into co-financing and built something that could work within my
limitations. Cinemax had said
they would license the film as long as it met their standards upon
completion, but there were no guarantees, and nothing in writing so it was
brought me back to the things I missed; dealing with all the creative
aspects from writing it, producing, directing, right down to designing the
poster. It’s a great
exercise that every filmmaker should have to do every few years – going
back to your roots.
have to talk about your lead actress Angie Bates [Angie
Bates interview - click here] for a bit, who in my
opinion perfectly embodies Sweet Prudece, and how did you get her?
Angie, and really the entire cast was a dream.
Most of them had appeared in the television series Lingerie
that I had produced, but only in supporting one or two day roles that
never fully used their abilities. Fortunately I attended all the casting
sessions for Lingerie, so despite Angie actually being in a smaller role I
got to see her range and sense of timing at the audition, and I knew that
was somebody I had to use. In fact while writing the script I had already
envisioned Angie Bates and Albina Nahar as my incredibly sexy Lucy and
Ethel team – despite never presenting the idea to either of them, and
them never actually having met each other.
Fortunately they enjoyed the detailed treatment (I
write ridiculously detailed treatments), so I got my perfect fantasy
comedy team. Angie’s
distinctive voice and wide-eyed honesty were playing in my head whenever I
wrote Prudence’s dialogue.
few words about the rest of your cast, and what were the main criteria the
actresses had to fulfill during casting?
Well I was
very lucky in having just done a whole season of television, because I
pulled most of the cast from that talent pool, though they had all
appeared smaller roles. I had
seen them all do love scenes and nudity and knew that wasn’t an issue,
which is a big relief. They were all gorgeous which is certainly important
but having comic timing was just as critical. Albina Nahar was just the
perfect counterpart for Angie, and the two of them became best friends
after one day of rehearsal. There were a few happy accidents such as
Heather O’Donnell, who plays Flower.
I knew Heather was a very good actress and very fit.
After casting her as a character that teaches yoga and swims like a
dolphin I discovered that she actually was a yoga instructor and a
lifeguard. Call that intuitive
casting, or blind luck. I guess our onscreen yoga class is officially
certified. Lynzey Patterson was the only main actress I hadn’t worked
with before, but she was so perfect in her audition that there was never a
Jones, who was the other girl in the lake in the opening scene, was great
to work with and a real trouper. Despite
it being summer that water was not very warm, but neither actress
complained about wading around nude. Of
course the camera crew and myself were also in the water, but not nude.
That would be a real horror film.
Gallo who played Dirk had worked with me for one day on the series Forbidden
Science four years prior, and I had written the role of Dirk with him
in my mind. So when he said he
was interested I never felt the need to read him or consider another
actor. I just signed him up
despite not seeing him for four years.
Slade has also been in Lingerie and was a good looking, but earnest nice
guy leading man, similar to the kind of guy Russ Myer would often feature.
Someone the male viewers can watch get all the girls, but still
want to have a beer with. A
guy’s guy, which I think is important.
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot is a decidedly
softcore film. Has it ever occured to you during filming to push the
envelope a little further, or have you ever envisioned more explicit stuff
one of the retro qualities I liked about the old films was the naïveté
and the innocence, which I think would be hard to achieve in a more
explicit or sexually graphic film. In
terms of just being explicit there was a lot of footage shot that we did
not use, like during the four-girl nude yoga class. Those shots just
happen with all those poses and all those bodies, but we chose not to use
them because it took the film in a different direction.
Though it might surprise people, I find hardcore pornography to be really
dull. I do own some of the
older films made by Radley Metzger such as The Opening of Misty
Beethoven, which somehow manage to be very funny and well plotted
despite being hardcore films. But
those are pretty rare.
A few words about your location, how did
you find it, and what made it perfect in your view?
shot here in Ontario, at an actual nudist resort that prefers not to be
named. I remembered my Playboy experience of shooting at dozens of
oversized soulless Los Angeles Mc-mansions and decided to go in the
opposite direction. Ontario, during the summer months is gorgeous and
insanely green, which is something that you don’t see very often in this
genre. Setting it in a nudist
resort (that’s deserted for budgetary purposes) allowed us to shoot the
actors nude comfortably in these beautiful surroundings.
Being an actual nudist resort meant there were no location
objections to that. Try running the suggestion of nudity through your
local parks and recreation department – they won’t accept your
also recalled that Herschell Gordon Lewis [Herschell
Gordon Lewis bio - click here] and Doris Wishman had shot their films at
actual nudist resorts, and I thought it would be fun to recreate that,
kind of homage. So I looked up
what nudist resorts were in the Toronto area, and visited a few to find
the ideal one. But when you visit a nudist resort, as the saying goes
“when in Rome”… so I wound up spending time at a few possible
locations before making the deal. Thank God I remembered to bring sun block.
the short summer in Ontario no nudist resort would actually shut down for
a film, so it was in operation when we were there, with plenty of naked
visitors on site – and the rules of the resort were NUDE, not clothing
optional. Fortunately the production crew was allowed to wear clothes
while shooting; though some of the nudists referred to us as
“textiles”. I will say
that the management of the camp was great, and that the crew quickly
adjusted to the oddities of the location, like a naked caterer.
She wore a hairnet – insert your own joke now.
halfway through the first day much of the cast abandoned their clothes off
camera as well, partially because it was a unique experience, and they
were comfortable, and also because they wanted to use the Jacuzzi between
takes. Occasionally some
actual nudists would walk into frame or drift by in the lake, so there are
some funny outtakes.
of now, Sweet
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot has hardly at all
been released. What can you tell us about critical and audience reactions
so far, and when and where will the film be released on the general
postproduction was only officially completed a month ago, but two months
earlier I released some unmixed, non-color-corrected screeners to critics
and festivals, which was a risky thing to do. Fortunately everyone got the
humor and ignored its work-in-progress appearance. It really got a nice
pre release buzz going and we were named an official selection of the
Cinekink International Film Festival. So the risk paid off.
We just had a theatrical screening as part of the Cinekink Festival
in New York and it was great. Angie
and Albina came out to NYC and the audience really enjoyed the film, and
meeting the stars. In fact we
won the Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature.
And I just found out we are now an official selection at the 2012
Erotikos Film Festival in Jamaica. The
irony of a film like this having Laurel leaves around the title and the
words “official selection” next to it is not lost on me – its pretty
funny. So the audience
response has been great and seeing it with a live audience is an
invaluable experience for any director.
The big news is that the film will be premiering in the USA on Cinemax
April 6th at the witching hour of midnight. That will be the
big moment when a few hundred thousand people form their opinion.
Sweet Prudence, as played by Angie Bates, is
such an incredibly loveable and versatile character she almost seems to
demand a sequel. So, is there any chance we will ever get to see Prudence
in another movie?
and the cast and crew all want to shoot another Prudence movie, and I have
a number of fun scenarios in mind. I
picture her landing in a different B-movie cliché in each film, ranging
from Sweet Prudence and the Curse of the Haunted Vibrator to Sweet
Prudence and the Lost Virgins of Voodoo Island.
Lately I have been kicking around a script based on the real life
“Kentucky Goblin Siege” which we covered on Creepy Canada. Of
course it would have that distinct “Sweet Prudence”-twist.
I think the possibilities with a loveable character like Prudence,
and her best friend Veruca, are limitless, and much of that springs from
the two leading ladies who just bring so much to the screen.
I would love to team them up with some of the Japanese cult
starlets like Maria Ozawa and Asami, because I think the Japanese market
would get a kick out of these films.
The real test will be in April when we see what the viewers think, and how
the overseas market responds at MIPCOM.
If the first reviews are any indication it will be hard to keep
Prudence off the screen. If
you catch the film on Cinemax and like it don’t forget to tell that to
Cinemax via email – you’d be surprised what an impact that can make.
(Other) Future projects you'd like to
Well, making a small scale completely independent film really immerses
you in the process straight through post production and into the promotion
and sales end, so I’m finally coming up for air.
I have a bunch of television projects on the go, ranging from
documentary to dramatic, so there are several balls in the air.
I do this for a living so there’s always something coming down
What got you into filmmaking to begin with,
and did you receive and formal training on the subject?
Much of my training has
been on the job, learning as I go. My
primary education was in video engineering. I think that was my attempt to
live a more normal life, as a television engineer, but it didn’t pan out
Film was always my
passion as a kid, and like many I can thank magazines like Famous Monsters
and The Monster Times for fueling that fire. Later
in life after a stint in the Air Force I studied video engineering and
wound up working at the United Nations as a cameraman and engineer, mostly
shooting Security Council meetings and interviews for overseas
broadcasters. Cutbacks in
funding led to many of us getting laid off, which was good in retrospect.
That put me back on the course I had really wanted and I veered into
assistant directing and production managing low budget New York films, in
fact my first feature film job was as the PM on the infamous Beware
Children At Play which was eventually released by Troma.
After relocating from
New York to Los Angeles I worked my way up to producing, and spent several
years as a producer for Mystique Films which was owned by Playboy.
So my career path has always been learning as I went and absorbing
everything I could. Even when
I wanted more direct creative control of projects I sort of had to create
the opportunity myself.
I grew tired of the Playboy genre, or at least that “erotic thriller”
version of the genre, I wanted to explore some new ideas creatively.
So I created and directed an out of pocket television pilot.
It couldn’t get made in the USA, but CTV offered to produce it in
Toronto under the title Creepy Canada, where it ran for three
seasons. It was a paranormal
travelogue show, before the myriad of Ghost Hunter type shows. I was the
creator as well as directing the bulk of the episodes, and traveling
around gypsy caravan style, directing different reenactment segments was a
great opportunity to “shoot from the hip” and make something work
despite low budgets and short schedules. It was also a strange show in
that so many reenactments involved decapitations, murders and other
ghastly moments that you rarely have a chance to create in sane television
– like a giant weekly B-movie. So that was how I learned to direct.
That sort of experience comes in very handy on a film like Sweet
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot, which had to be shot in a matter of days.
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot, you have worked as a
producer on several erotic TV series like Sin City Diaries and Lingerie.
Want to talk about those for a bit, and did that aspect of your career at
all influence you when making Sweet
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot?
Well working at Playboy and meeting John Quinn
led to the erotic series, which have been pretty good to me.
Though many people pigeonhole that genre we always try to do
something different. Forbidden
Science was a science fiction, noir erotic series and I’m pretty proud
of it. Sadly it only ran
thirteen episodes and creamed me financially, but I still have a genuine
fondness for it. Being
comfortable with the genre and understanding what makes it work certainly
helped me in making Sweet
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot. That aspect of my career certainly had
a big influence on my deciding to make Sweet
the other hand, you have also worked on a handful of documentaries, right?
What can you tell us about those, and how do they go together with your
erotica? And which do you prefer, factual or fictional filmmaking?
Documentary filmmaking is fascinating, but
it’s a whole different animal from fictional and each has its charms.
Overall I like telling a story, so whichever genre I’m working in
becomes my current obsession until the next project.
So in terms of film projects I fall in love easily.
other films of yours you'd like to talk about?
No, I’ve tortured your readers enough in the
who inspire you?
Russ Meyer, Roger Corman (for his innovation)
[Roger Corman bio - click
here], John Waters for revolutionizing the no-holds-barred, non-PC comedy.
Werner Herzog for always surprising me, and Mario Bava for being
such a genius with minimal resources [Mario
Bava bio - click here].
Your favourite movies?
Here’s a list which has no rhyme or reason to it– King
Kong, Kill Baby
Eyes Without a Face, Alice, Earth Vs the Flying Saucers,
Aguirre – The Wrath of God, Sex and
Zen, Goldfinger, Bride Of
Frankenstein, The Great
Silence, Dr Jekyll Sister
(the Czech film), Zombie,
Beyond the Valley of the
If you can make any sense out of that list please let me know.
and of course, films you really deplore?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
I can’t think of any I really hate, almost
every movie has something you can take away from it, even if it’s what
not to do. The only thing I
really deplore is when you see a horror film and you can tell that the
filmmakers really didn’t like the genre, didn’t understand the genre
and were looking down their nose at their own audience.
I don’t know why they do it because it’s like becoming a
Veterinarian even though you hate dogs. The titles are not jumping to mind
but if you asked your readers they could probably send you an accurate
list because I don’t feel alone in this opinion.
Facebook, whatever else?
main website is www.sweetprudence.com,
where you can see the trailer, stills, reviews and updates.
Facebook we have http://www.facebook.com/MySweetPrudence,
where someone pretending to be the fictional character writes inane
postings and updates. I think that person is me.
And for people in the
USA, keep checking www.cinemax.com
for the showing times and watch Sweet
Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot every time it’s on so I can get great ratings.
April 6th at midnight is the premiere.
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
No, except that the real reason you can get a
film like this made is the people around you.
I was really blessed with a great cast, an amazing crew especially
director of photography Juan Montalvo and the editor Chris Brown.
That’s really what you need.
Also thanks to the people reading this, because I really did try to
make a film I would want to see which hopefully is a film they’ll enjoy.