|At what age did you see yourself making films?
I always wanted to make
films. I wrote short stories for my own amusement
as far back as I can remember, and my brother,
Dennis, and I drew our own comic books, with our
own super-heroes. Granted, they looked
suspiciously like our favorite Marvel
and DC super-heroes, but we
were still very proud of them. Walking home from
grade school, I would see an alley and think,
That would be a cool location for a
movie. When I was in sixth grade, Bell
& Howell came out with a Super-8
camera that could be plugged into a cassette tape
recorder; the camera would send a sync pulse to
the recorder every time you turned the camera on
and off. Then you could plug the recorder into
the projector, and the cassette would play sync
sound with the projected image. The down side was
that everything had to be shot in sequence, you
had to get each shot in the first take, and you
couldnt do any editing afterwards, other
than to splice the different fifty-foot, thr
ee-minute rolls of film together. I begged my
parents to get me the camera, projector, and
recorder for Christmas, and although they were
pretty expensive, my parents agreed. If they
hadnt, Id probably be a used car
salesman now. My first production was a
twenty-minute gangster/detective film with all of
my sixth-grade classmates playing adult roles. It
was pretty awful, but I was hooked on filmmaking
from then on.
Did you see
yourself making horror films?
twenty-something Super-8s I made throughout
high school were usually action movies, where I
and my classmates would jump off of roofs and out
of moving cars and stage elaborate shootouts and
fights. We were all training in the martial arts
at the time, so we loved performing extensive
hand-to-hand fight sequences. One of my friends
had a mom who was a cop, and she would lend us
all of her guns with blanks, and we figured out a
way to make our own blood squibs using red food
coloring, baggies, and fire crackers. Wed
also shoot car chases by going downtown early on
a Sunday morning, when there was little to no
traffic, and just speeding around like maniacs.
Looking back now, Im surprised none of us
got killed or arrested.
How did you get
into the film business?
People werent as
aware of the business as they are now. There were
no film festivals, and very few film schools back
then. It never occurred to me that I could do it
professionally. I just assumed it would be my
life-long hobby, something Id continue to
do on the weekends with my friends while I
maintained a real job during the week. But there
was a telecommunications teacher at my local
community college, where I was taking some
classes. Ill never forget his name, George
Cozyris. He saw a couple of my Super-8s,
and he told me about U.S.C. and
U.C.L.A. film schools. I was
a construction worker after high school, and
although the pay was really good for a
twenty-year-old, I knew I didnt want to do
it for the rest of my life. My grades in high
school had been so bad, there was no way any
university was ever going to accept me. So I
applied myself full time at Solano
Community College and double majored
in Drama and Telecommunications. After two years,
my grades were good enough to get me into U.S.C.,
and Mr. Cozyris wrote me a glowing Letter Of
Recommendation. I got turned down by the Film
Department three times, but I kept applying and
pestering the faculty and department heads until
I finally got in. Then I made an undergraduate
film, WAR GAMES, which won
an Emmy Award, and
my graduate film, THE BOOK
OF JOE, was screened for the Hollywood
community to rave reviews. I ended up getting an
agent at ICM, my own office
on the Columbia lot, and a
three-picture deal with producer/director, Ivan
Reitman (GHOSTBUSTERS, STRIPES) all while I was
still a student at U.S.C.
What was your
first horror film?
written a full-length script in my Screenwriting
Class entitled OUIJA, which
was not only the first feature screenplay
Id ever written, but my first horror
screenplay as well. One of my classmates, Roland
Carroll, whod read it, knew a commodities
broker named Walter Josten, who was looking to
break into the film business. Roland showed my
screenplay to Walter, and he loved it. He started
raising money for it right away. I was still in
film school during all of this. I was four units
away from my Masters Degree, when Walter called
to say hed raised all the money, so I left
school to go make OUIJA,
which was later re-titled, WITCHBOARD,
my first professional feature. Im still
four units short.
What was it like
doing that film?
It was a dream
come true. Everything Id worked for my
What inspired you
to make WITCHBOARD?
to Los Angeles to go to film school, Id
been living in an apartment outside of San
Francisco, which was an old Victorian home that
had been converted into seven separate
apartments. I threw a party, and one of the
guests brought a Ouija Board. While everyone
played with it, I thought, Ive never
seen a film about a Ouija Board. I know
theyve appeared in some horror films in the
past, but Ive never seen them
featured. Later, when I had to write a
feature screenplay for my film class, I
remembered the Ouija and thought it would make a
Were there any
familiar faces that tried to audition?
yeah. My first choice for the lead roll of Linda
was actually the actress from VALLEY
GIRL, Deborah Foreman. Her audition
was incredible. But her agent wouldnt let
her accept second-billing, and wed already
hired Todd Allen to play Jim, giving him
top-billing. He was willing to share it with her,
but that wasnt good enough. I understood
why; she was already established, and Todd was a
no-name. It wouldve been a step backward
for her. So we hired my second choice instead,
Tawny Kitaen (BACHELOR PARTY,
White Snake Videos), who I
believe ultimately served the film better than
Deborah would have. Sometimes you just get lucky.
Tell us your
experience from start to finish on the project?
That would be
an entire interview in and of itself. Suffice it
to say, it was hard, grueling, stressful work,
and I loved every minute of it. I always say, my
worst day on a film set is still better than my
best day on a construction site.
How did it do
during it's theatrical run, as first it was a
limited run and then later on, it was shown
Actually, it got a very
wide release. It opened in March of 1987 on more
than a thousand screens across the country. It
was the fifth highest grossing film that weekend,
even though it came out against big studio films
like LETHAL WEAPON and TIN
MEN. It also kicked the hell
financially out of EVIL DEAD 2,
which opened the very same weekend.
Did you find
doing that film very rewarding?
Although I was in the middle of pre-production
for NIGHT OF THE DEMONS at
the time it was released, so I didnt get to
revel in WITCHBOARDs
success as much as I wouldve liked.
My favourite is
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS.
How did you get your hands on that project?
was being produced by the same company that had
made WITCHBOARD. The
writer/producer, Joe Agustyn, had a friend who
was supposed to direct the film, but he left at
the last minute to direct another film instead. I
was in negotiations with Smart Egg
Productions to direct a film entitled CAMERONS
CLOSET when Walter Josten called and
asked me to direct NIGHT OF THE DEMONS.
I was so broke at the time, I was getting ready
to sell my car in order to pay my rent, and
suddenly I had two job offers at the same time.
Its always feast or famine in this
business. Anyway, I chose to work with Walter
again, and the rest is history, as they say.
Did you feel
confident about directing that film and feel it
would definitely help you with your career, since
you became active in future cult horror films?
It was only my second feature, and I was afraid
the film was so gory and campy, it would actually
hurt my career. I ran around like crazy, trying
to line up another directing job before the film
was released, because I was sure I would be
untouchable afterwards. To my surprise, Variety gave the film a rave review, and it did really
well in its limited theatrical run. Then Republic
Pictures bought the video rights for more money
than theyd ever spent on any other film,
and NIGHT OF THE DEMONS became a cult classic. Thats why I believe
you always have to give a hundred and ten percent
to any endeavor, even if you dont believe
in the project yourself. You just never know what
is or isnt going to turn out well, so the
only thing you can do is give it your all and
hope for the best.
Quigley and Hal Havins worked together in
SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIME
BALL BOWL-O-RAMA. Did you have
connections with David DeCoteau while he was
doing that film and ask to have the two of them
on your film project to play the roles of Suzanne
Davids film came after mine. Linnea met Hal
on NIGHT OF THE DEMONS and
then suggested him to David for SORORITY
Were you a fan of
any of Linnea's film projects, since this film
would be one of her most memorable work for fans
to know her in?
even know who she was when she came in to read. I
wasnt really a big horror fan at the time,
so I hadnt seen any of her work. Our
producer, Joe, knew who she was and was the one
who suggested we audition her.
What were you
like that you were going to have her for your
film, since she was a cult icon in low budget
At the time,
she was just another actress to me. And now
shes become such a good friend, I have a
hard time seeing her as this huge sex-symbol that
everyone else sees. Shes just Linnea, this
really sweet, somewhat shy woman that Ive
come to know and respect.
What did you get Mimi
Kinkade to do to audition for your film, that you
instantly wanted her to play Angela?
another girl who I originally wanted, because I
felt she was a stronger actress. But Joe really
wanted someone who could dance. Our casting
director, Tedra Gabriel, had seen Mimi dance in
the Stray Cats Video,
Sexy And Seventeen, and suggested we
read her. Once we saw the video, we knew she was
Of course you
cast Cathy Podewell as the lead role of Judy
Cassidy as she was just starting out her acting
career by guesting in TV sitcoms like VALERIE
and GROWING PAINS.
Were you aware that she would go far like she did
in the TV series DALLAS?
Cathy had not
been in anything when she auditioned for us.
Those guest spots all came afterwards. As a
matter of fact, Cathy was working as a waitress,
and she was only able to quit that job after we
cast her. I knew she was a strong actress and a
beautiful young woman, so I wasnt surprised
when she landed the role on DALLAS,
but Ive worked with so many talented young
actors and actresses who never became stars that
you just never know. I just try to get the best
cast I can find and afford at the time.
What was she like
to work with?
else in the entire cast, she was an absolute
pleasure. And she really is as sweet and cute as
the character she played. Every guy on the set
was madly in love with her.
William Gallo was
another TV sitcom star from the series, WHOS
THE BOSS, that you cast, since he
stood out well. He seemed to have done a good job
in the film as a tough teenager named Sal Romero.
Was he fun to direct?
Like I said;
the entire cast was great, Billie included. He,
too, was cast in our film before he became known
on T.V. And unlike his character, he was not
an asshole. Also, before WHOS THE
BOSS, he actually starred in his own
sitcom opposite Mathew Perry called BOYS
WILL BE BOYS. It only lasted for about
one season, but it probably helped Billie land
the role on WHOS THE BOSS later. Who knows? It mightve even helped
Matthew land his role on FRIENDS.
Now was his
character's last name, Romero, a tribute to
George A. Romero?
His character had no last name in the screenplay,
but I knew wed need one for the scene where
hes lying dead next to his own headstone,
so I told the art department to print the last
name, Romero, as an homage
to George. Although I had not seen very many
horror films at that time, I had
seen and loved DAWN OF THE DEAD.
Another actress I
enjoyed apart from Mimi and Linnea was Jill
Terashita from SLEEPAWAY CAMP 3:
TEENAGE WASTELAND. Of course we have
the same character names like Angela and Judy
from SC. Were you a fan of that film, and
did you cast her due to her work in SC3?
No and no.
Id never seen any of those films at that
time, and Id never seen Jill until she
auditioned for me. I was just impressed with the
fact that she was so bubbly in person and yet
could draw from some darkness inside of her when
she needed it for the part. Plus I liked the idea
of a multi-ethnic cast. I was raised in the
military where almost all of my friends were
various minorities, black, Hispanic, Asian, so I
love to include them in the cast whenever I can.
Unfortunately, there are fewer minority
performers than white, and many minority
actresses are unwilling to do nudity, so
ninety-nine percent of the time, you end up with
an all-white cast, especially in teen horror.
Jill was a perfect choice. And lets face
it, shes incredibly sexy as well.
also hired Steve Johnson who did effects for
films like A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
4: DREAM WARRIORS and FRIGHT
NIGHT as this film seemed almost
like a tribute to those two. This must have been
really exciting for you to have him on board as
he did a good job?
STREET film was made after ours. As a
matter of fact, Steve and Linnea met on our film
and were dating by the time Steve did the ELM
STREET film; thats why Linnea
does a cameo as one of the spirits writhing under
the surface of Freddys chest in the big
climax at the end. As for FRIGHT NIGHT,
Steve had been an assistant to the make-up FX
artist on that film, and our film was his first
time running his own crew. Thats the only
reason we were able to get him. If hed
already been established running his own shop, we
never could have afforded him.
Let's talk about
some of your direction during the beginning of
the film with the dialogue between Cathy Podewell
trying to help out supporting actor Harold Ayer.
Now I found this a little disturbing as she was
trying to be nice to him after some mean kids
were cruel to him, but he insults her. What did
you do to coach those two to make their reactions
do so well on screen?
really. Eighty percent of directing is casting
the right people for the right part. Then just
get out of their way and let them act. There are
always places where you nudge them one way or
another, but if you find yourself having to give
detailed directions scene after scene and take
after take, then youve hired the wrong
I enjoyed the
living room scene with Podewell, Lance
Fenton, and supporting cast members Karen
Erickson and a very young Don Jeffcoat, getting
ready for trick or treaters. It really felt like
it was Halloween. What was that whole scenario
like shooting that set?
our Production Designer, did an excellent job of
dressing every set so that it felt like we were
shooting on Halloween Night, even though we
actually shot the film in April.
Of course Linnea
said she found it hard to watch herself in the
corner store bending down to look at stuff while
wearing a party dress, so the employees can stare
at her while her friend is shoplifting stuff. Did
she have any denial doing the scene and jokes
As shy as
Linnea is, when she has a nude scene, she just
strips down and does it with no hesitation or
complaint. Shes a total professional who
always shows up completely prepared. If she had
any problems or embarrassment with the store
scene, she never let on.
How did you get her to put
the lipstick in the nipple of her breast, as I
always wondered how that works with the
prosthetics by Steve?
Steve did a
full-body cast of Linneas breasts, and we
strapped it to the front of her. Then she just
pushed the lipstick through a pre-cut hole,
hidden beneath the nipple. Im convinced
thats how they ended up dating and
eventually getting married. Once youve
rubbed make-up all over some girls breasts,
you pretty much owe her dinner and a movie at the
Where was the
mortuary set at with the Hull House?
Designer and his crew built the mortuary inside a
huge, deserted Victorian House on the corner of
Adams Boulevard, in the heart of the Watts area
of Los Angeles. We had a matte artist create a
painting of the houses exterior to give the
illusion that Hull House was in the middle of
Mimi's dancing. How did you get her to do such a
She was a
professionally trained dancer, who did her own
choreography. Thank God, since I have two left
feet and never could have choreographed it
myself. I had my hands full choreographing the
camera to follow her.
What was the most
challenging scene for you to direct throughout
the whole film?
where all the kids are staring at their
reflections in the broken pieces of mirror on the
floor. We had to build a fake floor and tilt it
up to the right angle. Then we had to rig all of
our lights, including the dancing firelight from
the fireplace, to match the angle, so that the
audience couldnt tell that the floor was
tilted. Then we had to cover the camera with
black felt, so that it wouldnt be reflected
in any of the mirror pieces. Then we had to stage
the actors all around the camera, some on their
knees, some standing on the floor, and some
standing on boxes. Then we had to tape the broken
shards of the mirror onto the angled floor
piece-by-piece and arrange each one to reflect a
specific character. And the entire time we were
doing this, we had no way of knowing if it was
going to work. It took so long to rig, that if it
hadnt worked, I was not going to have
enough time to re-shoot the scene with standard
coverage. So I was basically rolling t he dice
and sweating about whether or not Id made
the right decision. Luckily, the shot worked
exactly as Id envisioned it, and now
its my favorite one in the entire film.
How long did it
take to make the film?
days. At the time, I thought it was impossibly
short, but Ive since made more complicated
films in less time; I shot TICK-TOCK
and PINOCCHIOS REVENGE
in eighteen days and DEMOLITION
UNIVERSITY in fifteen.
Did you ever see the
premiere of the film during it's theatrical run?
And it was a thrill watching it with a paying
audience, seeing them laugh and scream at all the
things we hoped would be funny and scary.
Now the sequel
was taken in a different direction than the first
one. Were you ever asked to direct that one?
No. But I
thought the director, Brian Trenchard-Smith, made
and excellent sequel. Certain aspects are even
better than the original, in my opinion.
You wrote Part 3
of that series, but it was rewritten. What was
different about it than what we already saw?
Part 3 was shot in Canada, in a different house
that had absolutely zero atmosphere. Plus, the
director had not been a fan of the first two, so
he had no respect for the make-up effects and
never gave the FX crew time to do them correctly.
Plus, so much of the shooting was badly handled
that the distributor decided to cut these scenes,
even though they had been very important to the
story and character development. Its too
bad, since everyone, including Mimi, felt it was
the best script of the three. In the original
screenplay, the lead heroine, Holly, has had a
near-death drowning experience in her past, which
has left her feeling empty, as if shes
supposed to be doing something important with her
life. When she and her friends eventually end up
at Hull House, Angela, in her human form,
instantly realizes that Hollys soul is
special, and she sets out to form a bond with
her. Later, after Angelas revealed herself
to be a demon, she even offers to let Nick and
Dewhurst live if Holly will willingly give her
soul in exchange. Angela can take Hollys
life, but she cant take her soul; that must
be freely offered. This comes into play later,
when Nick is trying to pull Holly through the
gate while Angela hangs onto her from the other
side. Holly finally realizes that her destiny in
life is to be Angelas nemesis, to foil her
ascension tonight and to come back every
Halloween after that to prevent Angela from ever
rising up again. I thought if they ever made a
Part 4, it would be interesting to have a foil
for Angela, much like Heather Langenkamps
character, Nancy, was brought back to be
Freddys foil in NIGHTMARE ON ELM
STREET 3. Unfortunately, all of that
and more was lost in the final cut.
hired Linnea and Hal for your next project,
been a while since I've seen it, but was it a
semi-sequel to WITCHBOARD?
No. It was
originally called THE PRESENCE
when we shot it. The distributor re-titled it WITCHTRAP
in order to cash in on WITCHBOARDs
popularity. We had happened to cast J.P. Luebson,
the same actor whod played the ghost in WITCHBOARD,
because he was also a still photographer, and our
budget was so small, we needed people who could
do two jobs for the price of one. So the
distributor put J.P.s picture on the video
box and copied the WITCHBOARD
artwork as closely as he could without getting
sued. To this day, WITCHTRAP is the lowest budget Ive ever worked with,
outside of Student Films and my Super-8s.
What was it like
shooting that film?
It was a lot
of fun. As difficult as it is to make a film with
so little money, its also liberating
because you have fewer producers and financiers
breathing down your neck. Theyre so happy
youre able to do anything on that budget
that they pretty much leave you alone.
The film was very
AMITYVILLE-like. Was that
what you were trying to aim for with this one?
We were just
trying to make a fun ghost story, and to do it
guerrilla-style, like we used to make our student
films. It was basically an experiment to see if
my colleagues and I could make a film on our own
without a distributor or financier. Although the
finished film did not turn out to be one of my
better efforts, without that experience, Im
not sure I wouldve been able to form Prodigy
Entertainment and make BRAIN
DEAD, my latest film.
What was the
toughest scene to shoot?
Considering WITCHTRAP had explosions, fight sequences, shoot-outs,
special make-up effects, and elaborate practical
effects, every scene that wasnt a dialogue
scene was difficult. Our sound recordist was a
novice, because we couldnt afford a pro,
and she accidentally ruined all the sound. So
even the dialogue scenes became daunting in post,
when we had to bring all the actors back to dub
the entire film. Every line, every footstep,
literally every sound was added later, on a sound
stage. And we had to do all the dialogue in a
week, because we couldnt afford to rent the
studio any longer than that. But the cast and
crew were great people and hard workers, so I
still had a really good time.
This never made
it to theatres. Were you hoping that this one
would get picked up for a theatrical release like
your first two?
Like I said; it was an experiment. I knew it was
probably not going to be one of my better films,
due to the budget, so I was hoping it would only
sell enough video cassettes to break even. But
because the distributor was savvy enough to make
it look like a WITCHBOARD
sequel, it sold a lot better than it had any
right to, and a lot better than I expected.
A movie I did
like of yours was THE CELLAR.
I understand you weren't happy with it. Why was
I was hired to take
over THE CELLAR after the
first director was fired. Hed already shot
eight days of a twenty-five day shoot, and the
production was three days behind. The script had
problems I couldnt solve, because the
producers didnt want to shut down
production while I was brought up to speed.
Subsequently, I shot the rest of the film with no
prep-time, having no choice but to use footage
the first director had already shot, footage that
was extremely problematic. Then after I left, the
producers shot some wrap-around footage with
silly narration, and turned a film that was
already troubled into a complete mess. But my
daughter saw it on the Sc-Fi Network when
she was twelve and thought it was really scary.
Plus, it actually got a few good reviews in
various magazines, so what do I know? Like I
said, you just give it your all and hope for the
best. Im happy to hear you
liked it though.
I was curious
what Lou Perryman was like to work with, since he
played a redneck employer in the film. I enjoyed
his work since TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
He was great.
Although, the bulk of his scenes had already been
shot by the first director, so I didnt get
to work with Lou as much as I wouldve
I also liked
Patrick Kilpatrick's role as the caring father.
What were the best moments working with him?
a terrific actor who was actually way too good
for the project, but because of his look,
hes usually cast as a villain. He did THE
CELLAR because it afforded him the
chance to play a hero. By the way, he really is
as tough as he looks. That sink hole he had to
jump out of at the end of the film was unheated,
at night, in the freezing cold. After every take,
hed ask to do another, because he felt he
hadnt nailed it. After a few takes, the
on-set nurse pulled me aside and told me
Patricks body temperature was so low, he
was about to slip into hypothermia. When I called
it a wrap for the night, Patrick was actually
disappointed he wouldnt get one more chance
to do it again.
What kind of a
release did this film get?
It got tied up by the resulting law suit between
the producers and the first director, so
its almost impossible to find the film
You returned to
work on WITCHBOARD 2, but
it wasn't as well received as the first one. What
were your feelings on this one?
At that point,
it was one of the biggest budgeted and most
ambitions films Id been allowed to helm,
aside from PEACEMAKER, so I
was very excited about challenging myself as a
filmmaker. Although WITCHBOARD 2 wasnt as earnest as the original, I was a
much more confident director by then, and I think
the camerawork is much more inventive and
Did you find this
one simpler to work on since you already worked
on the first one?
Even though it
was technically more challenging, it was easier
for me because I was no longer a novice.
Did this one go
direct to video?
No. It did
have a limited theatrical release, but nothing as
wide as the original WITCHBOARD.
I'd like to know about is PINOCCHIOS
REVENGE. What was this one about?
its about a killer puppet, but the
underlying theme is the question of whether or
not evil is something inside each of us or an
outside force that affects certain people more
than others. The original title was PINOCCHIO
SYNDROME, to imply it was a mental or
medical condition, but the distributor re-titled
it against my wishes.
What gave you the
idea to write this film as well as direct it?
distributor/financier, who had tried to hire me
before to direct one of their LEPRECHAUN sequels, asked me to write and direct a
Pinocchio-themed horror film for them. I
didnt like the LEPRECHAUN films, which is why Id turned them down.
When they asked me to do this film, I agreed as
long as I could make something closer to MAGIC
than CHILDS PLAY. They
agreed initially and then fought me all through
production. I managed to stick to my guns for the
most part, but I also had to make a few
compromises here and there. Considering the fact
that I never wouldve written a film like PINOCCHIOS
REVENGE if I hadnt been hired to
do so, I actually like it.
What actors did
you have in mind to perform in this film before
I met with
several name actresses, Mimi Rogers (DESPERATE
HOURS, THE RAPTURE),
Mel Harris (THIRTY-SOMETHING),
Michelle Greene (L.A. LAW)
and Marina Sirtis and Gates McFadden (STAR
TREK; THE NEXT GENERATION). I was
amazed and flattered that actresses of this
quality were such big fans of my screenplay, but
ultimately the distributor wasnt willing to
pay any of them their asking prices. So we ended
up casting Rosalind Allen, a very talented
actress who did a great job for us, but an
actress with absolutely no name-recognition
What was the
environment like doing the film?
In spite of
the pressure of arguing with the distributor
about the direction of the film, I still had a
good time. Honestly, I dont know how anyone
cant have a good time on a film set.
Youre getting paid to do a job most people
would do for free. You get to blow things up and
create cool gore effects while working daily with
beautiful actresses and models. Whats not
What kind of
release did the film get?
topped the rental charts when it came out on DVD.
Did you want this
film to be similar to CHILD'S PLAY?
distributor did, but I wanted it to be closer to MAGIC.
What kinds of
feedback did you get on this film?
films, the reviews are usually mixed. For every
critic who likes your film, theres usually
one who doesnt.
What was ENDANGERED
SPECIES like for you to do?
It was one of
my favorite of all my scripts, but it was
probably one of my worst filming experiences,
mainly because of the producers. They were the
first guys I ever worked with who were willing to
pay for a name cast, so I was glad to find out we
were hiring Eric Roberts (STAR 80,
POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE),
Arnold Vosloo (THE MUMMY, BLOOD
DIAMOND), and John Rhys-Davies (RAIDERS
OF THE LOST ARC, THE LORD OF
THE RINGS). Unfortunately, the
producers knew the cast and the concept would be
more than enough to pre-sell the film, so they
didnt care how well the finished project
Did you feel good
or bad about it and why?
would show up on the set only to discover that
equipment I needed for that days shooting
had been cancelled, due to cost. The producers
knew I would fight them if they told me
beforehand, so they wouldnt tell me until I
was on the set and had no choice but to make due
with what I had. Because of the unrealistic
shooting schedule, I was forced to cut important
plot points and character developments from the
screenplay. Also, they would tell the second unit
director not to shoot what I asked for, but to
shoot only what they felt was necessary. Then
during post, I would be unable to cut scenes
together, because I didnt have the shots
Id asked for. It was not a pleasant
experience. On the other hand, I had a great time
working with and hanging out with Eric, John, and
Arnold, as well as Jim Quinn, my old friend from
high school, whod dubbed the demon voices
for NIGHT OF THE DEMONS. I
managed to cast him in a major role, so we got to
explore Vilnius, Lithu ania together on our days
off, which is where ENDANGERED SPECIES
Your new film
coming out is BRAIN DEAD.
Is this a remake of the 1990 cult classic, since
there are a lot of remakes out there?
Id never even heard of the 1990 film until
well after wed made our film. I did know
about Peter Jacksons film, but since
its called DEAD ALIVE here in North America, I wasnt too
concerned about it.
Is it going to
selected theatre's or film festivals as we speak?
As we speak, our sales
agent, Shoreline Entertainment,
has taken BRAIN DEAD to the European
Film Market in Berlin, and later this
month we are going to the FantasPorto
Film Festival in Portugal and the Nevermore
Film Festival in North Carolina.
Weve already screened at about ten
festivals in the last six months, and weve
won awards at six of them and been nominated at
another one. Needless to say, the entire cast and
crew are very excited and proud.
What was the
experience like working with everyone on this new
It was a lot
like working on WITCHTRAP,
due to the small budget and the fact that I and
my partner, Greg McKay, were producing it through
our own company, Prodigy Entertainment.
We did it guerrilla-style again, which is always
more liberating and more fun than studio-style.
But this time, I was a more experienced director,
and I had a much better script, written by an old
film school friend of mine, Dale Gelineau, who
usually writes comedies like MOONLIGHTING.
Are you receiving
good reviews by people on Fangoria or Rue
dont think either of those magazines has
reviewed it yet, but I Can Smell Your
Brains On-line Magazine says it's
"...A rip roaring good time, not to be
missed," and Rogue Cinema says
it's "...A treat for horror film fans to
watch," while Dead Pit Radio calls
it "...My new favorite movie; horror fans
will wondercum all over it." Our most recent
review, from ScreamTV, says,
BRAIN DEAD is a blast!
Its been a long time since Ive had
[this] much fun with a film.
What other horror film project do you have lined
Well, Greg and
I have bought the rights to WITCHBOARD,
and were going to do an updated re-make,
which I will write and direct. Then THE
BOARD, another screenplay of mine,
will end up being the sequel to the re-make,
which I may or may not also direct. We actually
formed Prodigy Entertainment
to make THE BOARD as a
stand-alone film. Id written it years ago
to be the sequel to the original WITCHBOARD,
but the distributor was afraid it was too
drastically different from the first one. Of
course, thats what appealed to me about the
project, but the distributor insisted I make
something closer in tone and feel to the
original. So, THE BOARD got
shelved, and I wrote and directed WITCHBOARD
2 instead. We are also in the final
stages of working out the rights to a re-make of NIGHT
OF THE DEMONS, which Greg and I will
produce, but which will be written and directed
by someone we agree upon with the distributor and
Now here's some
fun stuff: What are your favourite horror films?
EXORCIST, JAWS, ALIEN,
ALIENS, SILENCE OF
THE LAMBS, and the original version of
THE OMEN for scares and EVIL
DEAD 1&2, DEAD ALIVE,
RE-ANIMATOR, and DAWN
OF THE DEAD for over-the-top, gory
If you were a top
horror filmmaker for one day whether he was alive
or dead who would he be?
Are you saying
Im NOT a top horror filmmaker now? I
wouldnt mind having Sam Raimis career
or Peter Jacksons, if you can still call
either of them a mere horror director anymore.
Although, I did have a studio job early on in my
career, and I really didnt like it.
Besides, I have a beautiful wife, a great son and
daughter, life-long friends, and a job I love. I
have a wonderful life, and I wouldnt trade
it for anything. And thats the sappiest,
most sentimental thing youll ever hear from
If there was a
film of yours you'd like to change, what would it
Every one of
them. Any Director Of Photography worth his salt
will keep tweaking the lights until the Assistant
Director calls rolling. Any good Editor will keep
cutting until the post production schedule
dictates that he lock picture. And
like any Director who takes his work seriously,
every time I watch one of my old films, I see all
the things Id have done differently if
Id had more time and more money.
What is your idea
of perfect happiness?