Smith: The Creator of Student to Indie
Short Screams by Greg
Smith is a creative filmmaker doing short
horror films ever since he was in
highschool by taking a filmmaking course
and made his first horror short called
The Ring in 1994 and hasn't stopped.
He also made a handful of B&W films
that you can see online at www.youtube.com as
one of them is titled 'Man Into Vampire'
as his wife starred in the film.
He also directed 'Birds of a Feather'
which co-starred horror film actress
Felissa Rose (Which was a stepping stone
into her comeback in films since
'Sleepaway Camp') and Chris Cooke (From
'Simple Men' and 'The Unbelieveable
He recently finished directing a chapter
in the anthology 'Lost Suburbia' which
was written by his wife too, and now he
is preparing to work on the 'Walking
Corpse' which as it plans to be shot this
||At what age did you see yourself as a filmmaker?
Probably some time in high school. I had
taken a weekend filmmaking course where we shot
16mm film and I knew from there that this is what
I wanted to do. After that I bought a 16mm camera
and a projector and started shooting films.
Did you see yourself writing horror films?
Yeah. Well I guess I didn't have a choice
because who else was going to write them?
What was your first horror film?
It was a short called "The Ring". I
shot it in 1994 with a bunch of my high school
classmates. It was shot at a local town park
where I worked. It is a great location, I've used
it many times since.
Who was in it and where did it play at?
The cast was a bunch of my friends. The
leading man became my best man many years later
and the writer of "Birds of
What kind of a budget was it made on?
Geez, 2 or 3 hundred bucks.
have any memorable experiences you'd like to
share with us?
The whole thing was so much fun! The process of
creating (particularly for the first time) is so
liberating. It is a high.
What was the toughest scene to shoot?
There was a scene where a vampire bites
someones neck and we had all this blood shooting
all over the room and the hardest thing was
making sure we got it in the first take.
I understand you did some B&W films as some
of them were titled 'Man Into Vampire',
'Blood Runs Black' and
'The Obsessive Love Theme'. Were these
films a take on those old fashioned Bela Lugosi
and Boris Karloff flicks?
No. Black and white film is quite a bit cheaper
than color. That is the only reason.
What was it like to do 'Man Into Vampire'?
A blast. It was shot in the summer of 1997 while
I was on summer break from college (State
University of New York at Buffalo). My goal was
to make a film that was shot with no natural
sound and make the final product sound like it
was. After shooting I went back a recorded the
sound for all the scenes separately and then cut
it into the film. It worked pretty well because I
fooled alot of people including my film
Also, the main actors were my good friends and my
future wife, so there were so many great
What was the story all about?
It is the story of a christian man who get bit by
a vampire and now has to deal with the fact that
he is now this ungodly being by no fault of his
own. He has spent his life being a good
christian, and now he is damned.
Now you had a Canadian actress named Elizabeth
McLaughlin come on board with the project who
played the role of Katherine. How did you go by
bringing her to New York?
Well, Liz is my wife and the mother of my
children and we went to school together on Long
Island and remained together through college and
married in 2001.
What part did she play in the film?
She played the
part of Katherine. She is the wife of the main
character and she too becomes a vampire.
How long did it take to shoot the film?
Sporaticly over a few weeks I guess.
Did it go to film festivals and can we find it on
No I don't think it played anywhere. You can see
it on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPucf9fLDz0
Was 'Blood Runs Black' another
vampire tale? Do tell us.
No, Blood Runs Black is the story of a girl who
goes to college and has a hard time fitting in to
her new environment. She meets one friend and
very strange thing start happening.
What is the 'Obsessive Love Theme'
'OLT' is another psychological horror short. It
tries to examine the roots of a particular man's
Were these all feature films?
Lord no. Most were school projects.
You also directed a short flick titled 'Birds
Feather'. How did you get your hands on
Well, I wanted to make another film so I sat down
one night with my friend Jay and
"Birds" is what we came up with.
found a couple of familiar faces who worked in
film and stage named Felissa Rose and Chris
did you find them?
Felissa contacted me through a casting call. I
was amazed that she wanted to be in my movie, but
it worked out. Chris was actually the film
commissioner in Suffolk county NY so I'd had some
dealings with him in the past and I figured he'd
be good for the part.
Did you ever watch Felissa in 'Sleepaway
Camp' or Chris
in 'Simple Men' before casting
I'd seen 'Sleepway Camp' and knew who
Felissa was right off the bat. 'Simple Men' I saw
after I decided to work with Chris. Like I said I
had known Chris before the film.
Now Felissa's role Delores was discovered as a
psychotic cannisbalistic killer named Delores.
Did you cast her for that part as she was a
maysterious killer in 'Sleepaway Camp'?
I cast Felissa because I knew she could do a
great job on the film. In 'SC' you don't see her
kill or be crazy.
How long did it take for you to get into the full
swing on doing the film?
I think we wrote it in January and it only took a
month or two before we were shooting.
What year and month did you shoot it?
It was shot in March 2000
How well did it do by playing at the New York
Well it didn't play NYFF it played at the Long
Island Film Festival. It didn't win anything.
Did the film draw in fans by having two known
names in it?
No. Birds has gotten some interest from people
but only because Felissa is in it I suspect.
You planned on working on
another short titled the 'Walking Corpse'.
Did the film see the light of day and how well
did it do?
Yeah. I am very excited about 'The
Walking Corpse'. We are getting ready to shoot
this spring. We had a couple of false starts on
this project because I moved to Louisiana for a
couple of years, but now that I'm back in NY were
planning on getting this one done finally. I am
actually meeting today with a potential actress
to play the gypsy female lead.
You also directed a chapter titled "The Institute for Mental Hygiene"
for an upcoming horror anthology titled
'Lost Suburbia'. What is this film going
to be all about?
It is an anotholoy of four stories each
based on a real Long Island ghost stories. Mine
is based on the Kings Park Psychiatric Center in
Kings Park NY.
Who is in it that we may all know?
We have a brilliant cast of actors all
from the LI or NYC area. I'm not aware of any of
them having "big time" credits.
What was it like to shoot the film?
Great! My wife wrote the script, the location, as
you will see, speaks for it self. The actors were
the best I've worked with. By far the smoothest
shoot I've been on.
What kind of a release does the film plan to
That remains to be seen. Two of the
chapter are complete and the other two are
fininshing up. I think were are hoping to have it
ready for summer 2007.
Will this film be your breakthrough in the horror
I don't know. I think it is a complicated an
powerful film and I hope people like it.
Will this one be different than your previous
is kind of. There isn't any gore, but I think
it's the most powerful and effictive film I've
made. A lot of it is due to the fact that Liz was
co-directing. I directed the shoot with the
actors and Liz directed me
in the editing process. It was great to work with
her. She is very creative and knows what she
Now heres some fun stuff:
What are your favourite horror films?
Night of the Living Dead
Nightmare on Elm Street
Carnival of Souls
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
and many others
If you were a top horror film maker for one day
whether he was alive or not who would he be?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Total freedom to use my time as I see
If there was a film you made that you'd like to
change what would it be?
All of them! There are glaring problems
with all of my films! But you'll never learn from
your mistakes unless you keep making them.