Bentley, why not start the folks at www.racksandrazors.com out with a visual and
describe the room where you are answering these
I am sitting in a dungeon
that is lit by a single torch. The flickering
flames dance off the damp glistening rocks. There
is the continuous "Drip...drip" from
the moisture, echoing... Driving me crazy like...
like... Chinese water torture.
if the truth be told, I am sitting in my work
area. A large comfortable room with two couches,
a computer desk and computer. The walls are
adorned with autographed photos of people in the
"Business" that I have either met,
respect or have affected me in some way. I have
one section, I call it my "Hollywood
Monster" wall. It has Kane Hodder (Jason),
Robert Englund (Freddy) Linda Blaire (Exorcist),
Doug Bradley (Hell Raiser), Anthony Hopkins
(Silence of the Lambs), and OJ Simpson.
Tell me a bit
about your new film SOUL SEARCHERS.
Searchers' is an old fashioned Horror/Thriller.
Very reminiscent of the great '70's scary movies
they used to make. It's kind of a cross between
'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' , 'Rosemary's
Baby' , 'The Wicker Man' and the recent 'The
Prophecy' series of movies. It is a character
driven scary thriller that has a couple of great
twists and turns - Kind of like 'The Secret of
Crow Haven Farm'.
Was there any specific reason that you choose
the horror genre for your directing debut?
always loved good scary movies. As a very young
child I was captivated by Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney
and Boris Karloff. One of the first movies I
remember as a young child was 'The Secret of Crow
Haven Farm'. This movie had some images that
stuck with me for quite awhile. As I got older,
the slashers hit the screen for the first time.
You know the Jason's, Freddy's and Michael
Meyers'. I would go to the theatre and put my
feet up on the seat as I watched. I didn't want
the monster under the chair to grab my ankles. I
was, and am, very interested in special effects
make-up. I studied it for about four years - so I
can make my own monsters if I have to. It is
fascinating to create and put a horrible face on
monsters that symbolizes what we most fear.
was involved in just about EVERY aspect of this
movie and from a producer's point of view, it
seemed like the smartest business decision.
Everyone will always love a good scare.
You also wrote
the screenplay for 'SOUL
SEARCHERS' - how did the kernal
of the tale come about?
three part story actually.
As a young kid (probably too young to see this at
the time) I saw 'The Secret of Crow Haven Farm'
and it freaked me out. It stayed with me and
haunted me for life...
One day in the early 1990's, while watching an
intriguing documentary about occult rituals, I
saw a statistic that said something like
"3000 people a year worldwide were assumed
missing and/or dead due to occult rituals".
I thought this is REAL man! It's scary but it is
also REAL! That's a huge amount of people!
Three: I dated an older woman that I think was
involved with some really dark energies. As I got
away from her, I realized just how dark and sick
the relationship was. I felt like I needed some
kind of a rebirth.
of those things together, mix it with a sprinkle
of some really fucked up thoughts and experiences
I've had, top it with my influences and there you
have "Soul Searchers".
So you wrote,
directed, producer and starred (as John Bender)
in the film. Which of those roles brought you the
most pleasure and which of those tasks did you
find the greatest challenge?
love the writing experience. I love going into,
what I call, 'The Zone'. This place where you
disappear into the lives, to the reality and
personalities of the characters and story you are
creating. I would sit down to write and the next
thing I knew the sun would be coming up. I also
really enjoyed Directing. I teach acting and
actually was able to cast many of my students. It
was quite extraordinary to work with such a
talented group of people that were all there to
help make my vision come to life.
greatest challenge would have to be the producing
aspect. I enjoy the creative side, not the
numbers side, of the business. Luckily, my wife
is excellent at this aspect.
challenging aspect was the editing. WOW! That can
take some time. It is many long, hard nights that
leave you with sore eyes and a sore butt from
sitting on it all night.
SEARCHERS' you direct your wife
(JAIME ANSTEAD) and your father (CHRISTOPHER
MITCHUM) as well as pals like BILLY DRAGO. Was it
tough to step into director mode with people you
had very close relationships with?
at all. I chose to work with these people because
I love and trust them. They all brought great
ideas to their characters and we all felt very
comfortable sharing our ideas with each other to
make the best possible scenes. We shot the film
very quickly - 18 days - and it was an asset to
have people around me that were there dedicated
to making this film happen no matter what
it took. When you know someone well, and you have
love for them, you can speak bluntly without
worrying about hurting feelings. You also can
develop a kind of shorthand language with them -
this is a great time saver.
Do you have a
favorite memory from making the film?
thing really. I just remember one night, during a
long a tiresome night shoot, stopping for a
moment and looking around and really being happy
and grateful that I was doing what I was doing
that moment on this planet. Making a movie!!!!
have any favorite memories of that film?
So I am
going to name some of the previous genre films
you've acted in and I want you to give me a quick
memory of what it was like for you to make
to 120 degrees in a warehouse with sticky syrupy
blood mixed with sweat dripping down my neck. Now
I get to be behind the camera when the actors are
covered with blood! WOO HOO!
THEY COME BACK (1991).
experience. It's a very good ghost story. Great
friends made. Cold. Wish Stephen King came to the
set. Wanted to meet him. Ate my first White
Castle burgers while in Kansas City during this
doing the character I came up with. Didn't like
having a beard though. Liked working with Casper
Van Dien. Enjoyed South Africa. I almost threw up
at the smell of that shark I cut open. It was a
real shark that smelled horribly of formaldehyde
and three day old fish. I remember eating at a
restaurant called "Carnivores" - They
had an "every kind of animal buffet"
there. Tried many meats that are not available
OF TERROR (1999).
night in LA. Really liked the fun I had with that
character. They gave me much freedom to create...
Shot all my stuff in one night.
working with John McNaughton and Tom Towles very
much. They had this HUGE fan that blew debris at
Tom and me when the alien ship took off. I caught
a twig in the eye and it cut my eye a little. Got
my first real taste of night shooting camaraderie
standing around the portable heaters telling
stories and jokes with the cast and crew...
CRACK IN THE FLOOR (2000)
Busey - Great guy and a nut. Liked him. Many
night shoots. Cold. Dancing with Mario Lopez in
the moonlight... I always thought they should
have showed what the guy who lived under the
floor looked like. Evil should have face if we
are to be scared of it...
Do you have
any other upcoming projects you would like the www.racksandrazors.com readers to know about?
Grab on to your seats for my next film. It is a
scary slasher film called "The House at
Hell's Gate". The characters are great -
even the killer has a great back story. I
co-wrote this one with my friend Justin McBride.
There we were, two sick and twisted minds up late
at night trying to come up with the best way to
skin someone alive - Chainsaw or electric turkey
carver - it's going to be great. Scary like the
first 'Friday the 13th', 'Halloween' and
'Nightmare on Elm Street'. My wife, Jaime
Anstead, has a role in this film as do I playing
her boyfriend. Hmmmmmm I can't wait to film the
love scene... Keep your eye out for this movie.
It's going to fun, sick , twisted and bloody.
Do you feel
like you have a certain passion in your blood for
film as part of a cinematic dynasty with your
father Chrisopher Mitchum and your grandfather
suppose it is in my DNA. Not only that, but I
grew up on the sets of my dad's and grandfather's
films. As a child I traveled around the world
three times by the time I was nine, just to be
with my dad. I went to 36 schools by the time my
education was completed. I guess I mention this
because to be in the film industry you not only
have to have the passion, you have to also adopt
a gypsy type of lifestyle and attitude. I suppose
if I grew up in a family of plumbers I may have
been more predisposed to be a plumber - but then
again, maybe not.
pulling the Bentley in to the Bentley Mitchum
Drive In. What three horror flicks are on the
triple bill tonight and what goodies are they
going to be serving up at the concession stand?
I have to
change it to a sextuple feature: Nightmare on Elm
Street, Halloween, The Shining (The original),
Audition - (Dir. Takashi Miike), Jaws, Alien, The
Secret of Crow Haven Farm,
to the concession stand for: Popcorn, Mountain
Dew or a Coke, Hot Dogs and Burgers, For those
that party, Jack Daniels will be available. Milk
What makes you
go psycho in real life?
who say "Try and..."
instead of "Try to..." , People who say
"Anywho..." , "Anyways"
and "coinky-dink", People who snort and
drink their own boogers, Traffic when I'm late,
Rudeness, Lies, People with lack of integrity,
Self important ignorant people, Stuff like that
you in real life?
cuts on my eye ball, being buried alive, Having
my achilles tendon cut by hedge clippers, Only
being able to breathe out without being able to
breathe in, Being paralyzed from the neck down
and being thrown into a pool, A dog biting out
the flesh from behind my knee, A 7 inch needle in
my belly button, The veins in my wrists popping
due to too high of an altitude, That scary bitch
from the bathroom in room 237 in "The