FORD TOUGH: Ron Ford Writes, Directs, and Stars by Owen Keehnen

Ron Ford is what the independent film business is all about. This man lives and breathes cinema and chances are fans of the genre are familiar with his name. He’s worked tirelessly in the trenches --- writing, directing, and acting in several horror flicks such as ‘Dead Season’, ‘The Crawling Brain’, ‘Witchcraft XI’, ‘Dead Time Tales’, ‘The Snakeman’, ‘Mark of Dracula’, ‘Deadly Scavengers’, ‘Alien Force’, ‘Hollywood Mortuary’, and his most recent effort (about a killer wooden doll) ‘Tiki’. Ron has also done a good amount of acting without behind the scenes involvement in flicks like ‘Vampire Resurrection’ (Also first draft of screenplay), ‘Camp Blood’, ‘Vampire Femmes’, ‘Grave Vengeance’, ‘Dead of Night’, ‘Rage of the Werewolf’, and ‘Eyes of the Werewolf’ to name just a few. He even boasts stage-acting credits that include such wildly diverse projects as ‘The Elephant Man’, ‘Lend Me a Tenor’, ‘Chapter Two’, and ‘As You Like It’.

Ron has a wealth of experience, a tireless work ethic, and a great way of putting all his knowledge into words. His resume is incredible --- and it still fails to do him justice. Rest assured this Ford factory ain’t closing anytime soon.


  Hey Ron, how are you today?  Why not start us off at with a visual and describe the room where you answering these interview questions?

I am in my family office, no movie or horror stuff on the walls (that's all downstairs in my basement lair).  I am sitting at a metal desk, there is a small black and orange cat laying on the monitor.  There is a green futon couch behind me.  How's that? 

Tell me about the newest movie from Fat Free Features --- 'The Snakeman'.

SNAKEMAN was two projects ago. 

Oops, sorry.

It was not a great experience and I would rather not discuss it.  But latest movie, TIKI, is currently in postproduction and should be available to rent and buy in the next few months.  It was made for Fred Olen Ray's RETROMEDIA.  Fred was a delight to work for, the most honest man in Hollywood.  TIKI is a revenge tale about a killer wooden Tiki doll.  It is the slickest looking movie I have ever made, and full of good performances.  I am very excited about this one. 

Now in that one you write, direct, and star -- and you do that in several films -- 'Dead Season,' 'The Crawling Brain', 'Witchcraft XI', 'Hollywood Mortuary', etc.  Of all the many hats you wear what is your favorite and least favorite to do?

I guess I like directing the best because that involves the most control.  I prefer directing scripts that I have written myself though, because then I know them inside and out.  My least favorite thing is acting in front of a camera.  My training is on the stage, and I am still not all that comfortable in front of a camera.  Stage acting, however, is what I do best, and is my first love. 

How did you get involved with 'Witchcraft XI' and what did you hope to bring to the enduring film series?

I had worked with David Sterling, who produced it, on other projects.  He came to me with a project for Vista Street (the company that makes the Witchcraft movies), which was a soft-core version of TERMINATOR for Korean investors.  The script was dismal and stupid, and we had no money.  I told him I would do it only if Vista Street promised me the next Witchcraft movie to write and direct, and that it had to be shot on film (I had only made movies shot on video tape up to that point, and I wanted to do something on film).  Amazingly, he went for it.  I wanted to do a segment of the series because it got well distributed and because it would be on film.  What did I hope to bring to the dreary series?  I wanted to make a real horror film where the scare elements out weighed the sex ones.  And I also wanted to bring the story back to witchcraft.  The last one in the series before mine was frigging vampire movie of all things.

I also want to hear about 'Hollywood Mortuary'.  It started off as a short in the Kevin Lindenmuth horror anthology 'Creaturealm: From the Dead'.  What about the project made you decide to expand it into a feature?

I loved the story; I felt it deserved a more epic treatment.  It was by far my favorite project up to that point and I became obsessed with expanding it. 

What about the mockumentary style made it the suitable format for the material?

It just seemed a fun way to tell the story.  And it's not a true mockumentary.  Interviewees set up the scenes, but then the flashback scenes are all staged like a regular movie, not like documentary footage. 

Some great (and surprising) folks are in 'Hollywood Mortuary' --- Margaret O'Brien ('Meet Me in St. Louis'), Anita Page (from 'Broadway Melody'), director David DeCoteau, and Ed Wood regular Conrad Brooks.  How did you get all these great folks involved?

They are all friends of mine and I asked them. 

Is there some specific moment in all the films you have done where the acting and directing and writing all come together where you say -- "Yeah, that is the best.  That is what Ron Ford filmmaking is all about"?

Two words: DEAD SEASON.  Unfortunately, that movie has yet to find a distributor.  But it is by far my best work. 

And a moment you wish the celluloid would burst into flames & destroy all copies?

Every second of SNAKEMAN and the hot tub scene in THE FEAR

So do you have any advice to all the folks out there that are eager to pick up their camera and start making their own horror flicks?  What should they do above all else?

Stop talking about it and do it.  Any way you can, do it.  Start shooting and editing and honing your skills.  Don't worry about making a masterpiece right now.  Learn your craft. 

Do you have any upcoming or current projects you would like to plug, brag about, or mention to the readers?

Keep looking for TIKI.  I have a fun segment in an upcoming anthology called TWISTED FATES from Joe "Dr. Squid" Sherlock.  My segment is called THE NEW NEIGHBOR and stars myself and Athena Demos.  Also, GORE GOYLES 2 (coming soon from Helltimate Studios) features a segment called THE WALKERS, which I wrote the original story for.  Very well made by Canadian filmmaker Miles Findlayson.  I am currently working on a story for GORE GOYLES 3, which I will produce and direct myself this time.  No details to share yet, though. 

So Ron you have been involved in one capacity or another with vampires, zombies, ghosts, werewolves, witches, aliens, creatures, etc.  What is your personal favorite of all the horror sub genres and why?

Hmmm.  That's a tough one.  Vampires and zombies have been done to death.  Werewolves still interest me, and I would like to make a FRANKENSTEIN movie one day -- he's the one classic monster I have never represented in my work yet.  Favorite sub genre?  Me like horror... I like the old monster movies the best, really.  I grew up on Universal, Hammer and Roger Corman. 

We are pulling the (ummm) Ford in to the Ron Ford Drive In.  What three scare flicks are on the triple bill tonight and what goodies are they serving up at the concession stand?

Today we're offering a delectable stable of classics from the great James Whale.  Perhaps the three finest horror films Universal ever produced: THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE OLD DARK HOUSE and THE INVISIBLE MAN.  Refreshments?  Just some stale bread, cigars and cheap wine.  "Wine... Goooood!"

What turns you into a psycho in real life?

G. W. Bush, and head-in-the-sand religious types. 

What frightens you in real life?

G. W. Bush, and head-in-the-sand religious types.