Owen: Hey Jason, why not start off with
a visual for all the www.racksandrazors.com readers and describe the
room where you're doing this interview?
Jason: Oh, this will be fun. I'm in my home office
and editing suite, which is in full Christmas
recovery mode. Since my wife pretty much
takes over the house for the Holidays (except
Halloween, that one is mine) I have retreated to
my office. There are werewolf costumes
hanging in the closet, which I cannot close
because it is overstuffed with prop guns.
My desk has the computer and is covered in DVD's,
CD-R's and 3.5' floppy disks. There is a
homemade mirror on what should be my second
chair. It is waiting to be cut into a
shield for ALL WRAPPED UP and
there is a 14 inch tall model robot that is going
to be stop motion animated for that movie on a
dresser in the corner. Three equipment
shelves have my cameras and lights on them and
scattered boxes and bags contain the props I've
been collecting for the past two months.
Oh, and the body of a blue furry puppet is
sitting by the door. He's not quite
want to hear about your newest project 'Death
Plots'. What's the premise, who's
in it, how are you involved, etc?----
Jason: DEATH PLOTS
takes four different looks at The
Grim Reaper. I wanted to do
another set of shorts and zombies and vampires
seem to be pretty well covered. I figured
Death, as a character, still had a lot of open
angles and it would be fun to look at some of
them. Most of the stories deal with Death
as a guy with a job. After all Reapers
don't kill people, they just sort of collect
them. Debbie Rochon, Kevin White, Hollie Winnard,
and Joel Wynkoop head up a great ensemble cast
for me. Kevin has been in most of my
projects since he first acted for me in "Hit
and Miss". Debbie and Joel add that
veteran element to the movie. Hollie
Winnard is a model who wanted to do some
acting. I threw her in feet first with a
role that required drama and comedy and I think
she did an excellent job. Lloyd Kaufman was
also kind enough to make a cameo appearance. As
for my involvement, well, I did everything.
That's not true, I had lots of help, but anything
that had not been done, I did. I was the
writer and director for all four shorts. My
wife and I funded the movies with the whopping
$3K budget (there's one vacation we didn't take).
She did a lot of my camera work and still
photography when I couldn't. I also did the
producing, casting, and acted in two of the
shorts. Make-up F/X were handled by Tabatha
Gipe, but the other "special" F/X were
done by me and Babette II (my computer system).
Plots' is a chapter movie hosted by
Debbie Rochon. What do you think is the
appeal of the segmented horror flick from a
viewer as well as a production perspective?
like many people nowadays, have a short attention
span. I think having segmented pieces makes
it easier to watch a story, get involved and be
satisfied in a short period of time.
Before you get bored with the story you're moving
onto the next one. With that said, we are
taking a new approach with ALL WRAPPED UP and the stories will be a little more intertwined
than in the first two movie sets. From a
production standpoint the advantages are huge,
but there are some drawbacks too. When you
have people working for food and a credit it's
easier to ask them for two days than
fourteen. I can shoot with 4 separate
groups of people and only need a small commitment
from each of them. Debbie Rochon shot her
segments for last year when she visited Florida
for Megacon to help promote THE LUNAR
PACK. It saved us travel
expenses. It also helps to spread
production out and keep continuity easier.
If you can shoot one entire story in three days
you worry less about actors changing their looks,
losing a location or having someone sell the car
their character drives in the movie. You
can spread out costs across a few months without
interrupting the production of a specific story.
On the negative side, just when your cast is
getting into the groove of it all you wrap up and
move onto the next short.
am also anxious to hear all about 'Hoodoo
for Voodoo' with Linnea Quigley which
you are co-producing with director Steven Shea
for Abyssmal Productions.-----
Jason: Hoodoo for
Voodoo is a HUGE undertaking. Steven has
brought a whole new level to super low budget
movie making and that's what I'm trying to help
him with. He's assembled an excellent crew
and the cast is astounding. Linnea Quigley,
Debbie Rochon and Tiffany Shepis have already
shot scenes for the movie and Lloyd Kaufman has
agreed to make an appearance in this one as well.
We started shooting in Louisiana back before the
hurricanes hit and everyone involved with
Hoodoo was shocked and saddened by what
happened in that part of the country. The
people there were very kind to us and we made a
lot of friends in the New Orleans
area. An email circulated while we
checked on everyone and thankfully the Hoodoo
cast and crew got through it all okay. All I can
say about this movie is it will be funny, scary
and gory on levels that only a true fan of the
genre like Steven Shea can bring to the screen.
me about your production company Hocus Focus
Productions. How did it come about and what
do you have as a statement of intent?
Jason: Hocus Focus Productions started out as an event
video company. We did weddings, parties and
junk like that. (A guy's gotta pay the
bills). Years ago I was writing an online
story about a vampire hunter to keep the creative
juices flowing and one of the readers decided
he'd like to see it as a movie. He funded
the production of DARK ROSE: FEEDIN'
& BREEDIN. I stopped doing
movies for awhile, but couldn't keep away for
long, so I pulled out some old stories and shot
some shorts. In a year we had three
shorts. With the advanced in digital
shooting and editing gear I realized I could come
much closer to my vision with the budgets I had
to work with and decided that it was time to get
back to making some movies that had the unusual
elements I enjoy so much. I guess Hocus Focus
Productions intent is to make independent movies
right here in Central Florida, whether they be
horror, sci-fi or any other genre. We
produce our own and also strive to help other
indies bring their ideas to the screen.
you were the director,
producer, cinematographer, editor, and
writer (in varying capacities) on 'Death
Plots' (2005), 'The Lunar Pack'
(2004), and 'Dark Rose: Feedin' and
Breedin' (1998). Which of those
jobs gives you the greatest pleasure and which is
the toughest for you to perform? ----
Jason: Undoubtedly I enjoy writing and editing the
most. The writing gives you the most
freedom, especially when you are writing
something for someone else to shoot. You
don't worry as much about budget at this
stage. Of course, later things will
probably be scaled down to match up with the
realities of shooting. Editing is just
magic. You get to see all those little
elements come together and work (you hope).
An effect sells, an actor or actress gave you a
great take, the paper mache boulder looks
real. All of these things just come with
such a feeling of accomplishment. As for the
toughest tasks, it's balancing producing with
director. Imagine being a kid and parent at
the same time. You really want that toy,
but you also have to tell yourself it's too
expensive. As the director, you know what
you want the scene to look like, but as a
producer you have to decide if it is worth the
time, money, and effort to get a specific
location, prop or actress, etc. My Dad was
the first to point out that in most cases these
two personalities are at odds and should balance
each other out, but when they're the same person
it causes an internal conflict. I've solved
it with the "three things"
philosophy. On any project a director gets
three things that he cannot bend on. Those
elements must be there at the cost of all
others. For Death Plots I had even given
one of those up and two of my actors saved
me. I wanted matching American sedans for
the Federal Agents and couldn't afford to rent
them (sad, huh?), but two of my actors showed up
in dark Chevy's and I was in heaven.
is there anyone within this industry (or outside
of it I guess) who you use as an inspirational
guide for how you want to run your career?
remember something Debbie Rochon said in an
interview and it really stuck with me. She
stated that she takes a "blue collar"
approach to acting. I do the same with
movie making. I work when I can on what I
can and ask a fair wage in return. I do my
best to make movies I enjoy and eek out a living
while I do it. I'd rather have a long
career that pays the bills than make one movie
that is a blockbuster and never have my work put
on a screen (however small) again.
you have any other projects you would like to
plug, promote, or want all the readers at www.racksandrazors.com to know about?
Jason: ALL WRAPPED
UP is the project we are shooting this
year. It is four mummy shorts this time
connected by overlapping characters, but don't
worry, Misty (Debbie Rochon) will be doing an
introduction and making an appearance that
reveals more about her character. This will
hopefully be the set up for a feature to be shot
Owen: Okay now it's time for some pure fantasy
Jason. Tell me all about the cast and plot
synopsis of your dream project. Remember
there are no limits.
for cast, I have always wanted to work with
Malcolm McDowell. I would also love to put
Julie Strain in a project and then actually give
high paying roles to the actors who have stuck
with me all this time. I'd like to a mad
doctor with a creature that goes awry type of
story. Malcolm McDowell creates a genetically
perfect soldier who then leaves him and falls in
love with the daughter of a crime boss. The
super-soldier becomes the scourge of the
underworld as he works as the woman's enforcer,
but our evil Doctor won't stand for his creation
being disobedient, so he sends out the
prototypes, which are far less attractive and
even more savage, to bring his renegade project
down. Something like that. What can I
say? I dream small.
Owen: Jason what cinematic sub-theme does it for you
& why - vampires, werewolves, creatures,
ghosts, aliens, witches, zombies, psychos, etc?
Jason: Creatures in general, but werewolves
especially. I actually do a wildlife show
online and have always been fascinated with
animals. I love movies that exploit a
specific animal's special abilities and then
multiply it to a ridiculous level. I
usually find myself siding with the creature
Owen: We're pulling the car into the Jason Liquori
Drive In. What three horror flicks are on
the triple bill and what goodies are they going
to be serving up at the concession stand?
Jason: Evil Dead,
Tromeo and Juliet, The
Cherry Licorice whips, and pizza. Always
Other than my own work, the last really awesome
horror movie I saw was _________.
Resurrection, but it did have the
advantage of Denice Duff doing a live commentary.
What scares you in real life?
Jason: People. Really, if I had the choice of
running into a bear of strange people in the
woods, I'd choose the bear.