Scott Phillips came onto the independent horror movie scene with writing/directing his $3,000 zombie gem ‘The Stink of Flesh’ which has won enormous praise from zombie purists and terror fans alike. Some of his other diverse credits include writing and directing ‘Science Bastard’ (2002) and has the sequel, ‘Scream, Science Bastard, Scream’, in the can. He has also written several films such as ‘Cryptz’, ‘Drive’, ‘Horrorvision’, and just finished directing another slasher flick called ‘Just Buried’ – you gotta love the title. Next up on his schedule he has a movie called ‘Gimme Skelter’ with Gunnar Hansen. Not just a writer/director, Scott also did FX make-up on ‘Beastmaster 3’ as well as ‘Necroville’. Scott has also recently completed a ‘Friday the 13th’ novel - Church of the Divine Psychopath, and is hard at work on a new horror novel entitled The Monster Hammer. This guy is such the inside/outside embodiment of horror (and I mean that in a good way!) he even used to rent a room from Linnea Quigley!

  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.

Owen: 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 it.
Owen: What were your primary instructions when it came time to direct your actors to "act like zombies"?

Scott: 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 speed up.
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 days.
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 menace?

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.
Owen: I 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 directed.
Owen: I know you used to rent a room from Linnea Quigley, pardon the break from pointed career questions but I must ask about that experience!

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 Quigley!"
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 around.
Owen: Going along with that what are your feelings about on-set vs. CG effects?

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 Skelter'?

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 summer.
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 equipment is.
Owen: What other projects do you have lined up in the future?

Scott: 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 ( -- 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 life?

Scott: Jackassery.