||Owen: First off Scott, you're a writer
--- set the scene for the racksandrazors readers
out there --- describe the room where you're
answering these questions?
Scott: Cluttered with junk. It looks like a
14-year-old boy grew into a 41-year-old man and
kept all his stuff. Action figures everywhere --
CLERKS, THE WARRIORS, GODZILLA, etc... One wall
lined with books, a walk-in closet full of comic
books and Famous Monsters magazines, and an
autographed poster for Chris Seaver's HEATHER AND
PUGGLY DROP A DEUCE on the wall over the desk. Oh
yeah, let's not forget the full-size Ace Frehley
mannequin (sporting "Destroyer"-era
costume) and the purple velvet Ace painting on
the wall. I love KISS.
Owen: Rock and roll. Hey so
let's talk about 'The Stink of Flesh'.
The amazing and original feature length zombie
flick you made for about $3,000. How did
you stay in that budget? What was the
main place you cut corners?
Scott: We stayed in that $3000 budget largely
because we had no choice -- there was no more
money to be spent! We did it by following the
Robert Rodriguez approach -- writing the script
around things we knew we could get. Like the
Unimog (the big military transport), for
instance: I've known Liz Johnson, who owned the
vehicle and played the driver, since I was a kid
and she was cool with letting us use the Mog. We
also saved money by going back to the old school
makeup effects techniques I grew up using instead
of trying to do fancy prosthetics and whatnot --
we used toilet paper, latex and unflavored
gelatin for zombies and gore, things like that.
And of course, more than anything, having an
incredibly talented cast and crew who all wanted
to make the best movie they could make is what
allowed us to pull it off.
Owen: Do you have a favorite
scene in the movie that turned out even better
than you could have imagined?
Scott: Hmm... I'm not sure I have one favorite
scene, but I'm very pleased with the fight
scenes. I think they stand up to a lot of what's
coming out of big-budget Hollywood.
So what unique aspect did you want to
bring to cinematic zombie-lore with 'The
Stink of Flesh'?
Scott: I didn't really set out to do anything
"unique" in the strictest sense, I just
wanted to make a cool movie that was different
than what we usually see. I've mentioned before
that when you're making a zombie movie, it's
important to realize that you're playing in
George Romero's universe, and with that knowledge
comes a certain amount of freedom because the
world is already established, not only by
Romero's movies but also by pretty much every
other zombie movie. That's why we didn't explain
what brought the dead back to life or even have
anybody mention it other than a throwaway line
about a virus. The dead walk: deal with it. So I
decided to tell a story about people dealing with
Owen: What were your primary
instructions when it came time to direct your
actors to "act like zombies"?
Y'know, most of our extras didn't need any
direction -- they were all zombie fans so they
had the walk down! I don't think I had to do
anything beyond telling them to go slower or
Owen: You are primarily a writer
and 'The Stink of Flesh' is your
second directing endeavor - after 2002's 'Science
Bastard'. What is the biggest
challenge being at the helm of a picture as
opposed to writing at the keyboard?
Scott: Well, it's far easier to be a writer in
the sense that you don't have to get up early or
tell people what to do. But I like directing
because it allows you a much bigger chance at
getting what was in your head onto the screen.
The big challenge for me was getting over my
shyness, really. Which, by the way, I still
haven't done, but I can fake it better these
Owen: I know you are a zombie
aficionado so I want to ask. In your
opinion what did you see as the lure/horror
appeal of zombies over so many other creatures of
Scott: They're just so damn creepy! I don't
know what it is, but something about seeing a
decomposing, screwed-up corpse shambling towards
you and knowing that it wants to eat your flesh
is just freaky as all hell.
Owen: Okay we are pulling the
pick-up into The Scott Phillips Zombie
Drive-In --- what zombie movies are on
the triple bill and what tasty treats are they
serving up at the concession stand?
Scott: Holy crap, you want me to pick just
THREE? Okay, here we go: the original NIGHT OF
THE LIVING DEAD, of course... Lucio Fulci's
ZOMBIE... and Bob Clark's CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY
WITH DEAD THINGS which is kinda slow and dorky
but I love it to death. Of course, the easy thing
would be to simply play NIGHT, the original DAWN
and DAY, but you gotta mix things up. As far as
the concession stand -- chili-cheese fries,
sloppy BBQ sandwiches, lots of popcorn, greasy
pizza and big Cokes.
also want to hear about your addition to the 'Friday
the 13th' novels. What parameters
were you obligated to follow - could Jason ever
die or be injured, etc.
Scott: I was kind of surprised, really -- they
basically just told me to make it R-rated. Other
than that, I was pretty much left alone. I'm
really pleased by the response that "Church
of the Divine Psychopath" has received from
F13 fans, it seems like they really dig that it
does something different but still captures the
feel of the movies. I had a great time writing
the book, that's for sure, and it's supercool to
have contributed something to the F13 legacy.
Owen: Also - if approached would
you be interested in doing something like a 'Friday
the 13th' where you directed something
that was written by someone else and which had to
follow strict guidelines?
Scott: I don't know, I suppose I'd do it if I
could still bring something of myself to it. I
used to think I'd never want to direct something
I didn't write, but then I had Chris Seaver and
Robert Medrano write SCREAM, SCIENCE BASTARD,
SCREAM, and Robert wrote the slasher movie I just
Owen: I know you used to rent a
room from Linnea Quigley, pardon the break from
pointed career questions but I must ask about
Scott: That was pretty crazy. Linnea was a
friend of a friend, and when I decided to move to
LA in 1995, it turned out that she had a
room for rent so I landed there. Linnea is one of
the sweetest people you could ever hope to meet,
and was also largely responsible for me meeting
Craig Hamann, who read the script that became
DRIVE and took it to his manager, and the rest is
history. So I owe her a debt there, as well.
Sometimes I'd sit around with her and think,
"Holy shit, I'm sitting here with Linnea
Owen: So you are rather
anti-Hollywood in your stance --- is it the waste
and the politics of filmmaking there, the fact
that the collaborative business, that art has
become an industry,
general moviemaking BS, the
"taking meetings", the prevalence of
production limbo, etc. What are the pillars
of your discontent in regards to Hollywood's
take on "the industry"?
Scott: Boy, I could get really long-winded in
answering this one, but I'll keep it short.
Actually, I'm not so much anti-Hollywood as I am
anti-bullshit, and unfortunately Hollywood is
ankle-deep in the stuff. But I have lots of
friends in "the system" and I've got
projects making the rounds, it's just a case of
finding people who ALSO hate the bullshit and
just want to make cool movies. Like Mike Leahy
and Joel Soisson, the guys who produced DRIVE
(and the Project Greenlight movie FEAST) --
they're two of the nicest, most down-to-earth
guys around, and I've got a project kicking
around with them as we speak. I've also been
talking with some other folks at various
production companies, but again, they're all
people who are trying to do cool stuff and avoid
all the nonsense politics and whatnot. And I'm
all for collaboration, it's just when people who
don't have any real creative sense or talent are
in a position to force their ideas into someone's
material that it becomes dangerous.
Owen: You also do make up fx
---tell me about your chores on 'Necroville'.
Was it nice to have a sort of craftsman artisan
job after directing?
Scott: Well, it was nice in the sense that I
didn't have to be on-set everyday, but it was
stressful because I found myself in the position
of having to do the effects when the guy who was
supposed to do them flaked on us. So I wound up
having to pull stuff out of my ass at the last
minute and I'll be honest, my chops were a little
rusty -- the last time I'd done any
"real" makeup stuff was on BEASTMASTER
3 back in 1995! Billy Garberina, the director of
NECROVILLE, seems happy with what I came up with,
though. Again, this was all done with toilet
paper and latex and whatever crap I had lying
Owen: Going along with that what
are your feelings about on-set vs. CG
Scott: Well, I'm a cranky old man and I always
prefer practical stuff to CG stuff. However, I
think CG can really enhance a flick, but at the
same time I'm always aware of it as being digital
-- THE DEVIL'S REJECTS had some nice, subtle CG
gore enhancements but it still screams "Hey,
I was added in post!" every time it shows
up. And I still prefer a cheesy model to a cheesy
CG effect. To me, a goofy miniature might look
fake but it still has charm, whereas a cheesy CG
effect just looks like a cheap videogame.
Owen: I also want to hear about
some of your recent script work --- like the
rewrite of Seepage,
which is being directed by Richard Griffin.
Can we get a taste of that plot?
Scott: Well, I wound up having to pass on that
particular project because of other things I had
going on at the time, so it's not really my place
to talk about it, unfortunately.
Owen: How about a brief synopsis
as well on your script 'Gimme
Scott: Man, I am going CRAZY to get to work on
that movie. I'm about a third of the way into
writing it right now and I think it's pretty damn
cool, I just hope I don't drop the ball on the
rest of the script! It's a weird project, kind of
like MAGNOLIA with gore. Still not sure when
we're gonna shoot, but Gunnar Hansen and Trent
Haaga are both attached to the flick, which is
very exciting. With any luck, we'll shoot next
Owen: Do you have any parting
advice to the novice filmmakers out there
fortunate enough to be reading this interview?
Scott: Yeah, my biggest advice is get out
there and make a damn movie. Don't wait until you
have a nicer camera or more money or whatever.
Just go make something, even if you have to shoot
on a 1-chip camera and edit in iMovie -- it's the
STORY YOU TELL that counts, not how fancy your
Owen: What other projects do you
have lined up in the future?
Well, we recently wrapped a movie that's
tentatively titled JUST BURIED -- we did that for
The Institution, the folks who made REEKER.
Robert Medrano wrote the script and I directed. A
lot of the cast from THE STINK OF FLESH returns
for this one, along with some new folks --
including the incredible Richard Lynch! This one
is a slasher movie, but it's also very funny.
Aside from that, we made the aforementioned
SCREAM, SCIENCE BASTARD, SCREAM, the sequel to
SCIENCE BASTARD. The BASTARD movies are kind of
"just-for-fun" projects that we made to
screen at Bubonicon, a local science fiction
convention, but we decided to put 'em out on DVD
and you can order it through my website
(www.exhilarateddespair.com -- you can also order
my FRIDAY THE 13TH book, Bob Vardeman's
novelization of THE STINK OF FLESH and other
stuff there). Other than that, I'm just moving
ahead on GIMME SKELTER and working on my next
novel, THE MONSTER HAMMER.
Owen: What frightens you in real