how are you doing? The last time I talked to you
for this site was a couple years ago?
I am doing well. I
was trying to get distribution deals for my
'Midnight' trilogy but ended up just getting low
end distributors and self. In my searches though
everyone kept saying to me when are you making a
feature again? Stop making anthologies. You're
showcasing other peoples work and only acting as
producer. We want to see your work again! So I
disappeared from the scene for a year and went to
work to satisfy my fans!
When did you
first realize that you wanted to make your own
back to my teens. I loved horror movies and
always wrote horror scripts. I dreamed of someday
making movies like I saw on the late shows. That
one Christmas I got my wish. I was given for a
Christmas gift a video camera. It was one of the
old bulky ones with the camera and a portable
video deck that hooked up to it. Must have
weighed about 50 pounds together. All I asked for
was a simple 8mm camera and got this. This was
back in the early 80's when video was just making
it to the home market and I had no idea what this
was. But within a week I was going up and down
the neighborhood killing people and making
movies. The best thing was this video thing you
can watch as soon as you shoot. No waiting to get
film developed. Wow! Plus my deck had a sound on
sound feature were I can add sound FX and music.
I was in heaven and doing what I wanted to do....
So tell me a
little about your new movie 'Into
The Woods'. Give me a teaser that
is going to make it irresistible to all the www.racksandrazors.com readers.
Woods' is about a woman who thought she found
true love in the man she loves. Danielle is stuck
in a dead end relationship with a married man. It
takes a turn for the worse when he leaves her and
then comes back and brutality rapes her. She is
an avid runner and has always run away from her
fears and lack of a happy successful life. Her
life, which has turned upside down, has just got
worse. She mysteriously turns up in a place
unfamiliar to her, on a lonely stretch of beach
near an equally desolate unrecognizable forest.
Stripped of everything she wakes drugged... and
lost in the woods. With a few clues and constant
torments. She runs from an unseen character that
little by little reveals his intention and who he
is. When she returns to reality, an explosive
climax ties up all loose ends and conflicts.
intense. So how did the idea for the movie come
reaction to the Midnight movies not being a real
Phil Herman movie I got to thinking what can I
do, to get back into my fans hearts? I said the
obvious do a feature! I got very comfortable
doing the anthologies and was able to pop them
out quickly. But it was a cop out on my part. Due
to a heavy workload and family life it was
difficult to make movies like I used to. So by
making these anthologies all I did was have them
assembled and tie a storyline to hold them
together. I have spent the last 5 years doing
this and looked and said these are not me I am
pretty much just a producer here and not the
filmmaker I want to be. So after the last
anthology I said no more!
You are making
'Into the Woods' after doing a
series of horror anthology films. What is the
toughest thing about changing gears and doing a
single narrative film?
wearing all the hats again was tough. But I felt
great. I had the usual problems with weather,
casting and problems with the script. I did not
know were I wanted to go with the script at
first. Was I making a slasher movie, a love
story, or a suspense movie? I said hey why not a
little of each. Plus now it was all up to me no
outside help. It was great though getting behind
the camera again and calling the shots. I felt
good. I got the old crew back and a few of the
actors/actresses that I have counted on through
the years and made a damn good movie. It is funny
when you need old friends in this level of
filming there always there for you. Chris Kahler
edited and Joel Wynkoop, Ryan Cavalline and my
buddy Joe Sherlock helped with the production and
music! It was sad though I had asked a few old
cast members who I had helped get started and
they felt they needed a big paycheck to be
involved so they had to be passed over. Sad I
really like helping people and getting people
exposure but some people think money is more
important than the art of making movies. But to
those I mentioned... Thanks couldn\rquote t have
done this without you.
You were Mike
Rivers in the 'Jacker' movies
and have also had roles in the Midnight series of
films. Are you in 'Into the Woods'
Charlie the man the lead character gets involved
in and turns her world upside down. It was great
acting and from clips sent out for critique my
performance has been well received. I had a
chance once to play a character with depth. Also
I was lucky to play with leading lady Nancy
Feliciano, yes it was a pleasure. She is a fine
very talented actress who for once got to play a
lead and not just cameo or host. And yes she
really filled the bill and did a great job with
the part. It was demanding and very difficult and
I feel she was the only one able to do it.
So what do you
enjoy most - acting, directing, writing, pr
producing...or something else?
is tough. I never really thought about it. I love
writing, directing and acting which I always do
in all the movies. I started out just directing
and writing and I remember when I was casting for
'Jacker' no one was doing the part they way I
liked it. I kept showing them how and one of the
actors said why you don't do it. I had done
previous roles but just took off with it and said
hey I like this. I made the Jacker character a
very popular underground character which I am
still recognized with and it is the most popular
character in all my movies and is what set us
aside and forward from the rest. So to answer you
question I guess I would say one of each if that
done several other independent horror features as
I've mentioned, like the Midnight trilogy as well
as 'Jacker'. What
are the most important things you have learned
about the independent horror movie business from
your experience behind the camera that you would
like to pass on to any newbie's out there?
you want not what others want. You have to be
original and daring. Do it if you feel wow that
is too daring do it. You will stand out and
people will pick up on that. They won't say wow
he is too timid to go to the next level. You want
people to get your movies because they say wow
what will come out of these guys next. Always do
something different and don't keep making the
same thing over and over. Don't copy anybody and
try to stay original and stand out. Push the
envelope and see how far you can go with your
actors. And no matter what keep creating no
matter what and keep putting stuff out there to
keep your fans watching!
Do you have
any other upcoming projects you would like to let
our readers know about?
waiting to see the response from this. It is
getting harder and harder to get these movies
produced and need to reach the next level of a
company financing these. I love who I am working
with but need to get more exposure and more of a
payout. These movies take a lot out of you to be
made. I am shopping around 2 scripts now called
Shellville and The Usher and on the burner
'Jacker 3'. Into the Woods has generated a lot of
interest and distribution possibilities so I am
hoping to get some type of distribution deal.
What was the
first movie to ever scare the shit out of you?
I have to
say the original 'Halloween'. I remember I was 12
and it scared the shit out of me. The music and
the theatre I saw it at was a run down creepy
theatre. After I saw it I said you know what that
is what I want to do. I want to make movies and
scare people. It was the best feeling I had to be
scared, no terrified. I remember having
nightmares for weeks, but also saying I want to
do that. What a great way to make a living having
fun running around killing people and I am in
control of every move and word. Control freak? No
way anybody has worked with me will always tell
you good stuff. I don't demand I always ask the
actors/actress what ya think about the part.
Would you feel comfortable doing that or would
you rather do it like this. I seem to get more
than I really wanted by being nice with my
What do you
love about the horror genre?
Escape! When you make movies and write you're in
control of whatever situation you want. We live
in a very disturbing world that is falling apart
from the seams. Making movies has people go into
another world for 90 minutes and forget what is
really happening. Yes horror is about killing but
it is all fantasy. What better way to escape from
real life situations that to be chased by a
killer with a knife. You know it is fake but
terrified. You have beautiful girls scantily clad
screaming. You know they get killed in the movie
but you also know they call cut and there okay.
Unlike the real world and what were watching on
TV. Like I said it is scary what is going on with
War, the presidential stuff, stock plunges - it
doesn't matter you will be in fantasy world for
at least 90 minutes. The Indies are the way to go
and support over the big studio movies. You won't
see what you see in these movies that you see in
100,000,000 movies. Enough said before I start
You know they
have that series 'I Was a Teenage
Werewolf', 'I Was
a Teenage Frankenstein', what
sort of teenage monster were you?
I was a
teenage lunatic. I just wanted to find different
ways to kill my neighbors. I remember when I got
my first camera for Christmas I was out there in
the freezing cold recruiting neighbors to be
killed all different ways. Some people were
worried about my talents for macabre ways of
killing them off, but thank god my parents were
behind me all the way. My mom even cameos in a
few of my features. She gets a kick out of the
movies. Because she knows there all in good fun
and no one is really getting hurt. I have a wife
and kids and a real job and just do this to show
my artistic side. No therapy here or real killing
tendencies but just pure fun and fantasy! I love
what I do and love making movies and as long as
people keep buying and requesting another one I
will keep on going!
pulling the car into The Phil Herman Drive In.
What three horror flicks are going to be playing
on the triple bill tonight and what goodies are
they going to be serving up at the concession
triple Bill will be as follows: Ryan Cavalline
'House Of Carnage' Tim Ritter and Joel D.
Wynkoops 'Creep' Phil Herman 'Burglar From Hell'
concession stand sorry nothing crazy or
different. Just tons of hot Buttery popcorn my
lil buddies (Barry Gaines) favorite!
best Halloween costume you ever had?
Oh my god
need we ask! Short and sweet! I got a butcher
knife blue coveralls from Sears and the good old
trusty Michael Myers mask!
What makes you
scream in real life?
reading the daily paper or putting on the news.
We as filmmakers can't make anything as horrible
as what is happening in our world! We need to do
the right thing with this being an election year
and vote for change. And to be honest I think
were in for some scary times for the next few
years. No horror movie can really describe or
show the real horror were up against. So with
that said I will keep creating movies to help us
escape into a world were we have to watch other
peoples problems laid out in front of us in 90
minutes and say....Wow glad that is not me!
Thanks for this interview and supporting my film.
Look forward to do this again with my next movie!
It's a deal