The Unstoppable Eric Spudic by Owen Keehnen

Talking with Eric Spudic (spoo-dick) it immediately struck me as no mere coincidence that this ambitious guy is related to both William the Conqueror and Fred Olen Ray. Determination is in his blood, film is in his blood…and blood is definitely in his films. This 26-year-old former video store assistant manager (are you listening Quentin Tarantino?) from Staunton IL has accomplished an awful lot on the independent horror scene in the past three years. He’s produced ‘Killers By Nature’ (and costarred as Jeffrey) as well as associate produced ‘Psycho Santa’ (in which he co-starred as Josh) and ‘Hellbound: Book of the Dead’. He’s written the screenplays for a couple of Joe Castro films – ‘Maniacal’ and ‘Butchered’ and has also written the genre pleasers ‘Blood Tease’, ‘Creepies’ and co-wrote ‘Aquanoids’ which stars Laura Nativo and upcoming interviewee Rhonda Jordan. In front of the cameras he has been featured in such films as ‘Savage Harvest 2: October Blood’, ‘Dead Clowns’ (with Racks and Razors faves Debbie Rochon, Brinke Stevens, and Jeff Dylan Graham) and ‘Giant Killer Mosquito’. And as you might have guessed Eric the Conqueror has several projects in the works, all at varying stages of completion.


Owen: Hey Eric, I hear you are related to Fred Olen Ray. With that in mind do you have any theory about your career choice being destined?

Eric: I didn't even know I was related to Fred until about late 2004.  Up until that time I was a huge fan of Mr. Ray and was completely absorbed into the world of horror and b-movies.  I do somehow feel like I was destined to be in this business, though.  This business and I be like peas and carrots.

Owen: So really prior to acting in films you were more on the production/screenwriting end of things with credits like 'Aquanoids' (Scr), 'Creepies' (Scr), 'Blood Tease' (Scr), 'Killers By Nature' (P), and 'Hellbound: Book of the Dead (AP). What made you move from behind the camera to in front of it. Was that always the direction you wanted to go?

Eric: Actually I started out as an actor.  My first movie, besides ATTACK OF THE BATHROOM CREATURE (we'll just pretend it doesn't exist), was MICRO MINI KIDS.  I acted in a few more things and got hired as a screenwriter for a few producers.  Then I started producing and directing and really loved doing a bit of everything.  At this point I'm pretty much solely a writer/actor.

Originally, I wanted to do special effects.  I'm a big fan of gore and blood.  Well, I had no talent for that, so then it was my ambition to direct.  I figured that if I wanted to learn how to direct, I'd watch others do it.  By acting in movies and short films, I got to sit there and watch other director’s work and pick up some tips.  I've directed 1 feature, but am ready to hop back into the director's chair.

Owen: You also were associate producer as well as playing Josh in 'Psycho Santa'.  Was it clear in donning both hats for that film that acting gave you more pleasure?

Eric: PSYCHO SANTA was so fun to work on.  Probably one of the most enjoyable shoots ever.  Acting in that was fun; I got to be a bit physical and do lots of dramatic looks and reactions.  Plus, it was first chance to get a lot of dialogue and work on my delivery.

As producer, I put up some money, helped with PA and grip work, and maybe helped with props or something.  I don't like to be lazy, so I always helped out when I could.  I really would like to do more producing work.

I enjoy helping with casting, finding musicians for the soundtrack, landing distributors, promoting the films.  Raising money and paperwork, however, are two aspects of producing that I don't like much.  :-)

Owen: Tell about filming 'Dead Clowns' with Racks and Razors favorites Debbie Rochon, Brinke Stevens, and Jeff Dylan Graham?

Eric: DEAD CLOWNS was shot in Mississippi in 2003.  We all filmed our scenes at separate times.  All those folks listed probably filmed their scenes a few months after me.  It's come out in the UK from Cryptkeeper Films, but not in the states yet.  It's like THE FOG meets ZOMBIE.  Very atmospheric and gory as heck.

Awesome cast and another fun shoot.  Steve Sessions has a unique vision and has more patience than most people I've worked with.  I think we used his grandma's wheelchair for some of those dolly shots!

Owen: Any theory about why so many people are freaked out by clowns?

Eric: I think it's the same as fear of the dark.  You don't know what that person looks like under that makeup and it's creepy.  Plus, they always offer you things and you're afraid to accept them.  That candy they're offering could be poisonous!

Owen: Tell me about work in 'Evil Unleashed'?

Eric: I only wrote about 25% of that.  All or most of the character names I came up with and some of the basic storyline.  I wrote it in a week or two and thought it turned out fair.  But the director didn't like it and wanted me to rewrite the entire thing for free.  I relented at first, but gave him and agreed to redo it.

First I had to go out of state to do PSYCHO SANTA for a week and when I came back, I could work on it.  By the time I arrived back home, there were messages saying they were just gonna write it themselves and fix it.  The movie turned out bad.  There's some fun moments and gore, but wow is it awful.

Owen: As someone involved on both sides of the camera in the industry would you care to give your opinion on 35mm vs. Video and Digital?

Eric: I'm pretty fierce in my opinion that 35mm LOOKS better than digital.  I've been shooting with different digital cameras over the past 6 or 7 years and nothing matches 35mm, not HD or HDV or 24p.  HOWEVER, if you don't have much money, shoot on digital, film-look it, light it well, and don't do any rush-pans with the camera.  So yeah, I'm pro-35mm.

Owen: Which freaks you out the most and why: zombies, vampires, alien creatures, or serial killers?

Eric: Alien creatures!  Probably because I believe in aliens and think they're freaky.  I'd hate to be abducted.

Owen: What was your most vivid memory of filming 'Savage Harvest 2'?

Eric: All that blood and gore!  This was the bloodiest shoot I ever worked on so far.  Some of the things we did were very EVIL DEAD-ish.  I remember getting blood in my eyes and ears -- it was awesome.

Owen: What other projects do you have lined up in the future?

Eric: Right now I've been cast in 3 more projects this summer, 2 features and 1 short.  I also want to get MASSACRE MANSION in front of the cameras soon.  Currently seeking financing for a creature feature for a director buddy of mine.

Been shopping around a script called NOTHING TO FEAR to various producers.  And last but not least, I need to finish the script for TEENAGE VIGILANTE; a starring vehicle for myself that I hope will boost me to the next level.

Owen: What's something that scares you in real life?

Eric: Rent, alligators, heights, sharks, dolls, mice, and the dark.