Cory Schiffern: Fearlessly Suave or Savagely Psycho? You Decide. by Brian Kirst

After spending his Tom Sawyer days leading his neighborhood friends through paint wars and cave play, the versatile Cory Schiffern arrived in Chicago to take the theater world by storm. After enduring a hazardous fly-by-bike introduction to the scene via the Lyric Opera, Schiffern soon settled into a variety of roles. His first film audition landed him the lead in Gary M. Lumpp's 'When Heaven Comes Down' a psycho slasher with a decided emotional appreciation for its female victims. 'WHCD' (available as part of the 'Savage Sickos' compilation from Pendulum Pictures) is best recommended for the appearance of genre stalwarts Jeff Dylan Graham, Syn DeVil and Robert Z' Dar and for Schiffern's nicely modulated performance. As of today, the bloodily charming Schiffern continues to build on his initial exposure by appearing in Lumpp's latest scary short 'The Road to' and by answering a smattering of kooky questions below. As always, enjoy - but please be ready to run should the murderous mood strike the deceiving Cory once again!

Brian: Who were your first performance influences - Fred scattering demons on weekly installments of 'Scooby Doo' - The Olsen twins sneaking sips of booze between takes on 'Full House' - The desire to play the abandoned nephew of Dixie Carter on that smash hit 'Designing Women'?

Cory: During my fourth and fifth grade years my best friend Rich and I used to get together every Saturday afternoon to watch a Saturday nightmares-a matinee horror series on USA network. It was a double feature of really bad horror movies and I have been hooked on them ever since.

Brian: How did you get involved with 'When Heaven Comes Down'? Were you stopped on the street and told "Hey, you look fairly psychotic!" or was it the more traditional, albeit boring, audition route?

Cory: It was more traditional. I read about the auditions in the reader and then had to drive all the way to Woodstock, Illinois. It was my first film audition and I was terrified but it turned out to be a good experience.

Brian: In 'WHCD' not only did you get above the title billing, but you actually got some meaty background stuff to tackle with your character. Ultimately, you nicely downplayed some of the more out of the ordinary stuff. Did you decide that was the only way to handle the material and how much to director Gary M. Lumpp play in your decisions?

Cory: I was given a lot of freedom in how I played the character. Gary was very supportive. I did down play it with hopes it would be more believable and partially cause I was afraid I wasn't good enough to pull of a big overblown performance.

Brian: As Josh, you got to save the day during a serious counseling center take down. Most impressively, you got to do it without raising your fists! How does one do that? - Super speed track shoes? - A threatening scowl? - A bad script?

Cory: I actually have laughed quite a bit with friends over the fact that I just ran into the building and scared the psychopath away. It was fun to film though.

Brian: How much 'stunt work' (as in stalking, strangulations by broom stick and stabbings) did you do as Josh? Was this a case of "It wasn't me" - it was the 65 year sound guy"?

Cory: I did not get to do much of the stunts. There was another actor that did most of them. This was probably good cause I had very little experience with stunts and I probably would have killed myself or another cast member.

Brian: As, both, victimizer and ultimate victim, Josh was the full basket - the Almond Joy of horror characters. What two things do you wish you could simultaneously be in your real life? (Be wishful, crazee!, wild!)

Cory: Hmmm. Fearless and suave.

Brian: The 'WHCD' killer's outfit was a shaggy metal rock star wig and a black face mask. It was unique and ugly all at once. What other deadly clothes combinations should we avoid at all costs?

Cory: Sandals and socks-For sure!

Brian: Can you tell us about your involvement as the hitchhiker in 'The Road To' - another Gary Lumpp production?

Cory: Gary asked me to shoot another short film he had written. It was really fun. There was a twist in the ending and I got to play the victim.

Brian: Lastly, any final words of advice or wisdom (IE: Make sure your shoes are tied when you're chasing the blonde bartender around the bar with murderous intent) that you'd like to leave us with? And - thanks! It's been a ride!

Cory: My words of wisdom would just be for actors to audition for these types of films-they are so much fun and you can meet some really great people.