It’s Good Being Chuck: Talking With Producer / Actor Chuck Williams by Owen Keehnen

Over the past decade Chuck Williams has rapidly gained status as a horror film staple. In that time he’s managed to immerse himself in the genre, acting and producing a number of horror movies such as the chiller ‘Dark Walker’, in which he plays the title character/monster – and that’s just the latest in a long line of gore-iffic credits. In his career Mr. Williams has frequently been associated with Mr. Full Moon himself, Charles Band, has produced and starred as an alien in the William Shatner directed/starring vehicle ‘Groom Lake’, had a cameo and produced the cyber space chiller ‘HorrorVision’. He was also an assistant director on the vampire classic ‘Near Dark’, had a role as an Elvis Boy in the cult zombie Bruce Campbell-Ossie Davis zombie favorite ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’ -- as well as substantial roles the 1990 horror flick ‘Soultaker’, ‘Dark Rider’, ‘Double Blast’, etc. His producing credits include ‘The Vault’ (2000), ‘Stitches’ (2000) and ‘Up Against Amanda’. As if that weren’t enough the man is also responsible for the intriguing documentary ‘Halloween: The Happy Haunting of America’. Chuck Williams knows the indie horror world from several perspectives and I was privileged enough to tap into both that experience and expertise for an exclusive racksandrazors interview.

Owen: Hey Chuck, first off -- 'Dark Walker' is excellent.  You produced the film as well as play the title character.  One thing I was very curious about, the movie looks fantastic and yet the budget was a "mere" $20,000.  How did you manage that?

Chuck: In my opinion, there are only a few people in Hollywood that can do this and who would want to do this.  You worked your ass off, and you have to believe in the dream.  My experience comes from working on big budget films and with big Directors as an Assistant Director.  The word "No", never comes up on a real set.  You have to solve all the problems.  I apply that same knowledge to any budget movie that I work on. There we all were standing in mud, rain coming down hard, as you can see in the behind the scenes footage.... I had a great time on this one.  Hey, we all grew up wanting to play a monster and my dream came true.  I have always been the guy that takes a dollar and stretches it to a hundred dollars.  As we know, making films is never easy, no matter how much money you have, and it always seems you barely make it to the end.  Let’s put it this way, I haven't mortgage my house yet making a movie...LOL

Owen: Was that costume a killer?

Chuck: No, I was in that make-up for hours.... Hey, I am not a complainer and I love to play monsters.  The hardest part was putting in the contacts in my eyes.  I don't wear glasses; so someone poking my eye for thirty minutes is different...I just kicked back and relaxed. Scott McGowan, (Head of Special Effects) did a great job in creating the Dark Walker

Owen: 'HorrorVision' is another one of your producing efforts that I really enjoyed.  Its spin on the takeover of the cyber world is quite original and the film really works.  How do you decide on your production projects?  Is it mainly the director (like fave Danny Draven) who you stand behind, the idea pitch, the script? 

Chuck: I teamed up with J.R. Bookwalter (The Dead Next Door) to produce a series of movies in early 2000.  HorrorVision was the first one in the series.  Our idea was to use first time Directors with a very energetic crew.  In my opinion it worked.  Danny Draven is an awesome Director, J.R. knew him and brought him aboard.

Owen: You also play a desk clerk in 'HorrorVision'.  Does taking these cameo roles in the films you produce satisfy that acting hunger for you?  Anymore do you ever consider roles in films you don't produce?

Chuck: Oh yeah, that's why I learned how to make movies.  I came to Hollywood to be an actor after I won a few acting awards from my high school, Rincon, in Tucson, Arizona.  I realized this was a tough business, so if I knew how to produce a film, I could always play a part in one of my movies, which has turned into a great road for me.  I just co-starred in a movie tentatively entitled "Carbon Copy" with Jonathan Breck (Jeepers Creepers), coming out next year.

Owen: Speaking of that you were primarily an actor ('Soultaker', 'Double Blast', 'Dark Rider') before going into the production end of things.  What did you learn in front of the camera that has come in handy with your production skills?

Chuck: One thing that I learned is that on an Independent Movie, because of certain restraints, we don't spend enough time finding the right actors to play parts.... Take your time in casting; it's a very important stage.  Then the other thing that I learned, is once we are on location shooting a scene, we have to shoot it quick which always affects the performance of an actor...we never give them enough takes.  So I try to allow actors to have a little more freedom on my movies.

Owen: One of your most notorious gigs was working as producer as well as playing the alien in the William Shatner directed/starring movie 'Groom Lake'.  What were the bottom line problems on that troubled production?

Chuck: Always, not enough money, when it was all finished, the budget was 1.2 million...and we still needed more.  But every film has its problems.  I loved working on this movie.  I have great memories and it was Amy Ackers (Angel) first film.  She was terrific.  I thought the cast was awesome to work with and the crew gave its all. 

Owen: What was your take on Shatner?

Chuck: Bill, and his wife Liz are wonderful people. We still stay in touch.  I am very proud of Bill, he is a man that believes in people and accomplishing his goals.... I hope he lives forever....

Owen: Ariauna Albright often works in your productions.  She has cameo roles in 'HorrorVision', 'Groom Lake', and stars in 'Stitches'. 

Chuck: Ariauna and I did another film together called "Up Against Amanda" which was released by Roger Corman’s company.  I just did a personal appearance at "FlashBack Weekend" in Chicago with her.  Her fans really love her. 

Owen: Speaking of 'Stiches'.  I also liked that creepy "paper doll collection holding the souls of the victims" theme.  Maybe it's the juxtaposition of something seemingly harmless with the sinister.  What is your overriding memory of working on that film?

Chuck: Neil Marshall Stevens (The Director) had just written the new "13 Ghosts" movie that was about to come out.  I thought wow, how lucky we are to have him.  That man is talented.  A lot of people love this movie.

Owen: Tell me about your documentary 'Halloween: The Happy Haunting of America'.

Chuck: I co-directed and co-produced it with my lifelong best friend Daniel Roebuck (Fugitive, Cody Banks) It's coming out on DVD next year, released by a company called "Haunted Media" you can visit them at for more info. It Stars a who's who of the horror business...Alice Cooper, Robert Englund, Angus Scrimm, Doug Bradley and many more.

Owen: So what are the primary reasons you have chosen to focus on horror for your film productions?

Chuck: They are always your best chance in someone seeing them and making it into BlockBuster, Hollywood Video...Fans love horror movies and they always will....

Owen: What's next for you career wise?

Chuck: I was just in the independent hit "Bubba Ho-Tep" where I played one of the infamous Elvis Boys. Directed by Don Coscarelli (Phantasm) and starring Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead) and Ossie Davis.  Also just produced two movies. The first is a WW2 War movie called "Straight Into Darkness" independent epic, that I produced with Mark Hanna and Directed by the infamous Jeff Burr (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, Whisper to a Scream) and the second is a Lucha Libre film "Mil Mascaras Vs. The Aztec Mummy" starring Mil Mascaras, The Blue Demon and Santo himself.

Owen: What scares you in real life?

Chuck: My own reflection in the mirror...LOL.

Owen: Oh stop!