Scott Goldberg: Eager to Carve a Name for Himself: by Owen Keehnen

Perhaps not too many are familiar with the name of Scott Goldberg --- yet. However, this 23-year-old director-writer-cinematographer has the talent, drive, and love of horror to put him on the gore-front of new forces in the genre. He is currently in post-production with a little zombie epic entitled ‘The Day They Came Back’ featuring Chiko Mendez and which brings ‘Friday the 13th Part 3’ star Paul Kratka out of a 23 year cinematic retirement. Next up, Goldberg is primed to go on another short called ‘Breakthrough’, which also features Mendez and Kratka. Also in the works for Scott is a feature about a demonic & vengeful presence at a summer camp entitled ‘Danielle’s Revenge’. For this feature Goldberg has lined-up several veterans of summer camp horror – Kratka, Felissa Rose (Angela from ‘Sleepaway Camp’), and Ron Milkie (Officer Dorf in ‘Friday the 13th’). That cast roster is a rather telling indication of this filmmaker’s love of, and dedication to, the slasher genre. He’s definitely our kind of guy! Fright flicks are a real passion for him, a love he’s had and nurtured since childhood when he was recreating ‘Friday the 13th’ scenes on film. I love twisted kids like that!! Wait a minute; I was a twisted kid like that!

Recently I had the chance to chat with the Long Island NY based Scott Goldberg about his love of the genre, his current projects, and the frightening facts of life. If enthusiasm is any indication, this guy is definitely going the distance.



  Owen: Hey Scott, how was your Halloween?

Scott: Hello Owen, first I'd like to thank you for this interview opportunity. And secondly, my Halloween was fantastic. A lot of fun.

Owen: Well, as a kid you started making horror --- was directing and writing and shooting horror flicks what you always wanted to do? Was there ever a desire to shoot historical dramas or musicals or was horror your pure passion?

Scott: I started really getting into film when I was 17 years old. At that age, my love for films, especially horror films, had an effect on my life. I knew that I wanted to be involved in film somehow, so I made sure to look into colleges that had a Film Program. Then, throughout my college career, I did a lot of projects that involved horror, and some of my projects even won some film festivals. At that point, I knew that I was on the right track.

Owen: From your experience what is the most crucial thing for a filmmaker to keep in mind when doing a project?

Scott: Well, the whole process of making films, even when they are no budget and independent, is the most crucial thing for a filmmaker to keep in mind. The experience from it and being able build upon that foundation. While directing and making 'Dead End Massacre', it was my first time actually getting a taste of what a production was like.
I also worked on other independent films as well, working as 1st Assistant Director, 2nd Assistant Director, Production Assistant, etc. So those job positions helped with experience as well. When you're not working on your own film, and when you're working for someone else, it's a different experience.

Owen: Your newest film is a zombie epic -- 'The Day They Came Back'.  Can you give me a quick rundown on that?

Scott: 'The Day They Came Back' is a short film (approx. 25 minutes), that was shot on a $3,000 budget, and filmed from April 2005 to November 2005. The film went through a lot of reshoots and add-on scenes during this time. The film stars Paul Kratka (Friday the 13th Part 3), Chiko Mendez (Saturday Night Live, Junkyard Wars), Marlene Villafane, Paula Kaiser, along with some other great independent film actors and actresses. The film is about a group of Special Ops Soldiers who are sent on a mission to find out the reason for the outbreak that brought back the walking dead. Enrique Hernandez (Chiko Mendez) is the leader of the group who decides to lock four outcasts in there with his platoon to ensure their safety.
We shot at this wonderful location, Welwyn Preserve in Glen Cove, New York. I remember scouting locations in 2003 for some potential projects, and since we were unable to shoot inside houses, due to the excess amount of gore and blood, I decided that Welwyn had the perfect feel and creepiness for the film.

Owen: Tell me please how you got Paul Kratka (Rick from 'Friday the 13th Part 3') out of retirement to be in your movie!

Scott: A couple of months prior to shooting, I had introduced myself via e-mail, and I told him I had him in mind for my horror film. I was very straightforward and let him know that the film didn't have a big budget, and was my first film out of college. He told me to get back in touch with him when we had dates locked down. When the time came, I e-mailed him back and told him that we were scheduling the actors, and offered to pay for his flight. He flew out to Long Island in April 2005 for three days and we shot his scenes in two days.

Owen: Was it surreal or intimidating directing him?

Scott: Yes, it was very intimidating. At the time, I was scared. Here is this actor, Paul Kratka, who flew all the way out from California to be in my small, independent film, and not to mention his first film in over 20 years. Before we started shooting on the first day, he told me "Scott, I'm just another actor to direct." So, he knew I was nervous, but after he said that, I felt more comfortable.
The only time I had seen him act, was in ‘Friday the 13th Part 3’, and that was twenty four years ago, so to be able to work with him was something new for me, as well as exciting. During the shootings, there was a feeling of mutual respect on both ends. He was happy to be in my film, and I was happy to have him in my film, which led us to the next project that we are working on together: 'Breakthrough'.
Alongside Paul Kratka in 'Breakthrough', is veteran actor Chiko Mendez ( who played the lead in 'The Day They Came Back'. We will be
shooting in late April 2006. For more information on the film, you can check out my official website:

Owen: I noticed Paul is also slated to be in your future film 'Danielle's Revenge' along with Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Ron Milkie (Friday the 13th). Does the fact that this takes place at a camp have anything to do with your casting choices?

Scott: Right now, we are just in talks with them. No contracts have been signed. They have agreed to be in the film, so we are working on the funding of the film right now and finding investors for 'Danielle's Revenge'. After we finalize with the investors, we then sign them to contracts.
I've always believed in using formulas for horror movies that work, and they are all unique actors. When Paul had entered the location that we shot 'The Day They Came Back' at, he told me that it reminded him of where they shot 'Friday the 13th Part 3'.

Owen: Would you please give the racksandrazors readers the honor of a  'Danielle's Revenge' synopsis?

Scott: At first, we were going to use a storyline that was a sequel to another film I did, but after showing the script to a close friend of mine from New York City, he told me about his friend who writes screenplays. So, we got in touch with him, and he is currently finishing up the script for 'Danielle's Revenge'.

Owen: Clearly you are a mega-horror/slasher fan.  Do you have a dream cast for some feature down the line?  Let me limit that a bit -- what 3 other folks would you be drooling to cast?'

Scott: I would have loved to work with Donald Pleasence if he were still alive. If I also had the chance to work with the whole cast of 'Day of the Dead', I would love to. I'm sure working with Joe Pilato (Rhodes), Lori Cardille (Sarah) and Anthony DiLeo (Michael Salazar) would be a blast. I love so many favorite horror films so it would be very hard to decide.

Owen: What horror films taught you the most simply from viewing them?  What or whose directorial work leaves you in awe?

Scott: George Romero has been a great influence on me, both as a director and filmmaker, as well as John Carpenter. I love the shots of John Carpenter for his films, especially 'Halloween'. Even though he is more fantasy than horror, I love Tim Burton's work as well. There is something beautiful, yet dark about his films, and he is very sick and twisted, but in a good way.

Owen: Do you have a favorite death scene (or 2) in a horror flick?

Scott: For zombie films, it has to be Captain Rhode's death scene in 'Day of the Dead', where he gets his stomach ripped open. That was a great effect and the first time I saw it, I felt a little uneasy. It just came out of nowhere, and what makes George a great director is his vision and how he makes every scene meaningful. There is not one scene in 'Day of the Dead' that doesn't have meaning to it. And then you have George's political undertones in each of 'Dead' films.

Owen: Do you have any feelings regarding the CG (computer generated) vs. on-site effects debate?

Scott: I will always be opposed to CG effects because it just isn't believable. I understand that horror films and other films save time on the set most of the time when they do CGI, but it damages the quality of what could have been done with on-site effects. In 'Land of the Dead', when one of the zombies is shot in the head in the beginning of the film, it looked fake. 'Land' was much less effective than 'Day', and that's telling you something. The contrast of what was made 20 years earlier had better effects. The on-site effects made it what it is today, and it still stands up to today’s horror films.

Owen: What scares you in real life?  

Scott: Death. What makes my stomach feel uneasy is actual death scenes of real life accidents. The reality and seeing something that is real is much more different than deaths in horror films. I am scared of death yet still embrace it. Death is a beautiful thing when it happens naturally.