The Cult Master of T&A B-movie horror flicks: David DeCoteau by Greg Tiderington

Cult low budget producer/director David DeCoteau has a string of low budget horror films to add to his credit since 1986 starting off with an obscure direct-to-video flick named 'Dreamaniac' but then scored with theatrical material with two flicks starring Linnea Quigley titled 'Creepozoids' in 1987 and 'Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-O-Rama' in 1988 in which also starred two other upcoming cult scream queens in which he worked steadily with in the same vein as Linnea's named Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer.
He also worked with many other b-movie horror actors like Ashley Laurence, Richard Lynch, Debbie Rochon, the late Robin Stille, Joe Estevez, Tanya Dempsey, Debra Mayer, Guy Rolfe, Ken Abraham, Ariauna Albright, Bradley Stryker and many more that are starting out to blossom into acting in the genre steadily working with him.
Throughout the years his films have become b-horror cult items at your special rental store as you may have rented films like 'Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge', 'Curse of the Puppet Master', Retro Puppet Master', 'Blonde Heaven', 'The Witchouse Trilogies', 'Shrieker', 'The Frightening', 'The Brotherhood', 'Final Stab', 'The Sisterhood', 'Ancient Evil: The Scream of the Mummy', 'Voodoo Academy', 'Leeches!' and many more to come including a new 'Puppet Master' sequel.
David has produced and directed over 70 films over the past twenty four years for the worldwide market and has had a string of distribution companies promoting his films on VHS, DVD and cable-TV like Full Moon Pictures, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Cult Video, Urban Classics, Out-TV, Paramount Home Video, Blockbuster, HBO, USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, Warner Digital, Movie Central, Showtime, Regent Entertainment, First Look Pictures and many others.
He has his own company which you can check out at
He's indeed one of the busiest cult filmmakers delivering the goods for the fans who enjoy watching low budget horror film and had the honor interviewing him which was a blast!

At what age did you see yourself as a film director?

Late teens. I really wanted to become a movie producer ala Roger Corman or Irwin Allen. I realized that as a producer I would be the most affordable director I could ever hire LOL. So I tried it and liked it.

Did you see yourself doing horror films?

I've always loved the genres. You can experiment in horror films as long as you deliver the necessary scares, thrills and chills. But I really like all types of movies but nowadays I'm typed as a horror director which is fine by me!

You started out in the adult film industry were you ever hoping to move up into the bfilm circuit?

I don't consider it moving up just sideways. LOL. I met some great people in that industry and leaned a great deal because back in those days you really had to deliver a storyline, production value and since we we're shooting on film it really had to look like a "real" movie. 

Now your directorial debut I understand was a film called 'Dreamaniac'. What inspired you to direct and produce this horror flick?

'DREAMANIAC' is a 'NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET' knockoff but with a female Freddy Krueger. 'NIGHTMARE' was a huge hit at the time and I thought I would capitalize it the success of that film. 

What was it like working on set of this film?

It was great. I had 10 days and we shot on 16mm with many people I had met in adult. I was 24 years old and really learning while I was earning. Its a strange film. Never been released on DVD. Hopefully one day it will!

Were there alot of challenges doing this piece?

Not really other than it being my first non-adult movie. 

Did it go to theatre's or direct to video?

Direct to video (VHS). Too gory for the silver screen screamed the video box cover! LOL

The next project I understood was 'Creepozoids' in which you had a hand in wiritng it. Were you influenced by the 'Alien' flick as well as those old fashioned monster movies to make this one?

It was totally influenced by 'ALIENS' which was a big hit at the time. It was tough creating all those monsters without CGI but I think we pulled it off quite well. The film has a good look and delivers the tits and slime! LOL

Who was up for auditions?

Nobody recognizable but on 'DR. ALIEN' Brad Pitt auditioned for me. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't hire him!

Now Linnea Quigley was a top scream queen during this time you cast her as a tough soldier named Bianca after her fame in 'Return of the Living Dead'. How did you find her and did you feel it would help give the film a boost with the publicity she was getting?

Actually Linnea was an old friend from a short film I worked on. She agreed to do the movie because she liked me.  I love that women. We had so much fun!

Now during the beginning the cast were walking along some railroad tracks. Were they still in use and feared it would hold up production if a train came by?

We stole all those shots on a weekend in downtown LA. I think it was a dead track anyway.

What was it like filming the abandoned laboratory scene? Do tell us details.

We shot in a small studio on Washington Blvd. in LA. I think the entire film except the exteriors was shot on 1200 sq. ft. The production designer did a great job making it look bigger than it was.

Which was the toughest scene to direct?

Anything to do with the creature. They had to look amazing and terrifying. We used a substance called ULTRA  SLIME that gave the creatures a shiny look. I'm proud of the work on that film.

What was the most enjoyable scene you directed?

The big battle royale fight at the end when the 'CREEPOZOIDS' all show up and the lead actor has to battle them.

What was it like directing both Linnea and Ken Abraham who played Butch with both of them together as they seemed to have great chemistry since you often cast them as a couple for your other films?

I love Ken Abraham. I met him when he was an extra on 'TUFF TURF'. He was sexy and cute and he came along for the ride. I was shooting alot of nudity back then and he didn't mind dropping his pants on camera. LOL. 

I liked the scene's with the giant rats attacking or when Kim McKamy as Kate was possessed and was attacking Linnea's character. Did you have alot of fun directing those scene's and any secrets you'd like to tell on set of those moments?

The giant rats we're not shot right. I screwed that up myself. The zombie fight with Linnea was fun to direct but Kim did not actually do the fight. It was a stunt women in prosthetic makeup!

There were great shots on lead actor Richard L. Hawkins as Jake battling a baby creepozoid. Was it a struggle shooting that and how long did it take?

The baby creepozoid we called Hector. He stole the movie. I could make a whole movie about that baby. He was challenging to shoot because it had a handful of cables coming out of it's ass. Took days to get it right but I like the results alot.

I understand that this film got a quick theatrical release. What was it like watching it on the big screen?

Hilarious. It played nationwide. One of my first movies to actually play on 42nd street in NYC. The film also played in Portland, Oregon at the last surviving Grindhouse downtown where I worked a a projectionist as a teenager.

How long did the movie play in theatre's as the limit is usually 2 weeks?

10 prints, 20 cities over two months is what I heard. 

What kinds of feedback or publicity did the film get?

Mixed as always. Everybody seems to like the shower scene though. haha

Now you were going to make a sequel but it fell through. What were the reasons for that?

Rights issues I think. Not sure. Would love to do a sequel though!

Did it take place right after the first one since the baby Creepozoid was very well alive and Hawkins was going to reprise his role in it?

No script was written. Not sure what the story would have been either. That was back in the days where we announced a sequel and presold rights and made it when the money came in. The good ol days!

Your next horror flick was 'Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl O Rama' in which you used some of the similar music in it. Of course it starred Linnea Quigley as a punk burglar named Spider and it also co-starred Robin Stille and Brinke Stevens. Did you ever watch them in 'Slumber Party Massacre' and gave you an idea to work together in this flick?

Yes. I did. Saw 'Slumber Party Massacre' at the theatre when it came out. The music for both films was performed by Guy Moon who went on to great success. Check his IMDB. He's huge now! I LOVED Robin. Sad story though. 

I understand it was long nights at the bowling alley since you were able to do it after hours. What can you tell us on directing this film. Was it very struggling to do?

Oh yeah. Long nights. But SOOOO much fun. Those we're the good ol days when you could make crazy movies like that. Great crew and cast. So much fun. It too 12 days to shoot. We are hoping to release a special edition with an amazing behind the scenes documentary

I understood Robin was a little difficult as she was dirnking on set. Were there alot of problems when she was acting with her costars like Linnea as she told me she got hurt during their fight scene's with one another?

Robin was not difficult but I think she was drinking. BUT she wasn't the only one! It was somewhat of a party on that set.

I loved the scene when supporting actress Kathy O'Brecht as a possessed Rhonda was using a decapitated head as a bowling ball or when she was beinding a metal bar when Linnea's character was trying to hit her with it. Did you find shooting her scene's on these fun and rewarding?

That was a fun fight scene. A fight between the bride of frankenstein, a nerd, a motorcycle chick and a demon. I mean, c' mon I was in hog heaven!

Which scene did you really enjoy directing with this film that you felt really made it a horror film along with it being credited as a comedy as well?

Any scene with Linnea, Brinke and Michelle. They were great and so much fun. We became good friends after that movie.

Now I understood that this film was given a limited theatrical release during January of 1988. What parts of the country did it go to?

Same markets as 'Creepozoids'. I did see it in a theatre and the "comedy" element did NOT play well. The girls got lots of hoots though!

Now the film I'd love to talk about is 'Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge' as I thought that was your best work ever. What was it like working on that film since you had some name actors like Richard Lynch, Sarah Douglas and Walter Gottel?

I really enjoyed that film because I felt I had a great script and the time and money to do it right. Sarah was great and Walter was a hoot! Guy Rolfe was a dear man and I directed him again in RetroPuppetmaster. We shot for 18 days of first unit. Then a week of puppet inserts. The actor Michael Lowry who is big in daytime soaps now started his career with that film. Shooting on the Universal Backlot was great fun.

Who did you enjoy directing the most in that film?

Most likely Ian Abercrombie. So sweet and so much fun. I worked with him again later and we became good friends.

What was the whole environment like with the Puppet's attacking the actors playing Nazi's as it was extremely effective as well as Guy Rolfe's dialogue with young actor Aaron Eisenberg?

The whole nazi thing was kinda creepy but we we're trying to make a horror movie version of 'WHERE EAGLES DARE'. It really is tough trying to make a period piece like that work but thankfully C. Courtney Joyner wrote a great script and was on the set to help me through it. Adolfo Bartoli is a fine cinematographer too. He was crucial to the success of that film. 

Did you do this film at a studio and was this your first time ever directing a film at a studio?

We shot at Universal Studios for 2 days and then on location. We spent a week at Movie Tech Studios shooting puppet insert shots.

Which scene were you particularly proud of?

The final death scene of Richard Lynch. It really played well at the Paramount screening we had.

Did you ever attend any Fangoria conventions due to your work on this film as it really gave you alot of publicity?

A few. Mainly in NYC. I don't get invited to many conventions anymore because I am always working and can never attend.

You directed the 'Brotherhood' films which was very different compared to the previous work you have done. Were you wanting a change with how you did things in the low budget horror film industry?

There is plenty of room in the horror genre for a unique vision. I chose mine without any master plan. I just wanted to make horror movies that I wanted to see. It was a very organic process. So far there seem to be enough people who like my movies that I continue to make them.

I enjoyed watching the first one as it almost seemed like a tribute to those young adult horror novels by R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. My favourite direction was with Samuel Page challenging the cast members as bullies. What was that one like doing?

This was one of the rare examples where I knew the film would be a hit while I was making it. There was a magic on that set.

You made Bradley Sryker very effective as the head vampire. Were you proud of this scene as well while shooting his part?

The scene between Bradley Stryker, Sam Page and Cloee Cross will go down as one of my most popular scenes.

I haven't seen your film 'Sisterhood' yet but is it based on the 'Brotherhood' films? Please tell the viewers here on what the story was about and the whol environment on directing this one?

Very similar to 'The Brotherhood' but a mainly female cast. I shot it in the Caribbean and it had a delicious cast. Michelle Borth was incredible! It was cool working with Barbara Crampton.

Since the holiday is coming up I wanted to discuss 'Killer Bash' since it takes place close to that time. It almost reminded me of a ghostly 'Carrie' type of way. Was this the intention when you worked on this film?

The Executive Producer Steve Jarchow and I wanted to make our own version of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. A wonderful Canadian screenwriter named Barbara Kymlicka wrote a terrific script. This was GLEE's Cory Monteith's first movie.

I loved the scene's between Paula Shaw and Rachel Riskin in a counselling office. How did you make that scene so effective?

Paula is a true professional. She really made everybody she worked with better. An electric personality. Love her.

What was Paula Shaw and Rachel Riskin like to work with?

Paula is an old pro and Rachel was brand new. Both we're great. This was the first 8 day wonder made in BC so the cast and crew were a little nervous about the speed in which I work. But it turned out great.

What was your favourite scene for this film?

The frat initiation scene was a stunner. The guys really got into it.

Do you think a sequel will arise with this one since it was fun to watch?

Gosh I hope so! I really enjoyed making that movie.

What other horror film projects do you have lined up?

Quite a few. Just wrapped 'Puppetmaster Axis of Evil in China'. 'Son of a Witch' in LA. 'Body Blow' in the Philippines, and tomorrow I will wrap 'HG WELLS' THE FOOD OF THE GODS'. Its been busy!

I was wondering why you sometimes credit yourself as Ellen Cabot, Victoria Sloan, Julian Breen or Joseph Teannat for yourself as a director in films like 'Curse of the Puppet Master', 'Retro Puppet Master', 'Murder Weapon', 'Blonde Heaven' etc. etc....?

I was hiding from the director's union. I was a DGA member at the time. Not anymore.

Now here's some fun stuff: What's your favourite horror films?

Anything by Hammer Films. Period.

If you were a top horror film director whether he was alive or dead who would he be?

James Whale.

What film did you do that you cherished the most?

'Leather Jacket Love Story'.

Which film were you not proud of through your whole career as a director?

I'm proud of them all. Its tough getting a movie made!

Was is your idea of perfect happiness?


What are your ambitions in life?

Perfect happiness ;)

David thank you so much for your time on this interview.