Trent Haaga has been connected to the horror scene ever since he stepped foot onto a set with his role as Jerry in Troma's 'Terror Firmer'. Since then he's done a lot of acting in the field in a slew of movies like 'Hell Asylum' (which he wrote, served as line producer, and did some camera work on), 'Zombiegeddon' , 'Deadly Stingers' , 'Black Dahlia', 'Citizen Toxie' (which he also wrote), 'Gag' , 'The Ghouls' (which he also associate produced), 'Dead and Rotting' (which he also produced), 'Killjoy 2' , 'Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker!', 'Suburban Nightmare', 'Dr. Horrors Erotic House of Idiots', etc. In addition he also co-wrote Troma kingpin Lloyd Kaufman's book Make Your Own Damn Movie. That's sort of the ultimate horror resume - and there's much more work in the offing including his upcoming roles in 'Living and Dying' , 'Gimme Skelter' , and 'Dead Girl' (which he also wrote). He as also producing the just completed flick 'Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill!'. Despite all of this Trent was kind enough to take some time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for this exclusive www.racksandrazors.com interview.


  Hey Trent, start us off with a visual for the www.racksandrazors.com readers and describe the room where you are answering these questions.

Not very exciting, I'm afraid. I happen to be in my living room instead of my office. My wife and son are playing a computer game. My dog's eating. The TV's off until tonight after Max goes to bed, then I watch a horror flick. Wish the details were more lurid, but the weirdness lurks deep in my mind, not on my shelves and walls.

First off I think I want to hear about your current work as the producer of 'Easter Bunny, KiIll Kill!'. Can you give us a teaser about it that will make the movie irresistible to the R&R folks?

In know that when people hear the title they're thinking of a campy slasher flick, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, we've got a killer in a bunny mask dispatching people, but there's a lot more to it than that. We've also got retarded kids and pedophiles and hookers and a main character that's a magnificent bastard (played by Tim Muskatell). I think that this one will surprise the folks who think they know what they're getting!

Tell me about your work as Max in the upcoming film 'Living and Dying'.

LIVING & DYING is a little bit different for me, as it's a crime/hostage thriller instead of a horror flick. It also had a decent budget and some "A" name actors - Michael Madsen and Arnold Vosloo among them. But never fear, I still get to kill some folks and rape a Turkish supermodel and get blown away by Vosloo, so the sex and violence angle is still there! We shot the film in Dallas and I was on for about fifteen days. I don't know yet what the release schedule is like for the film, but the picture is locked, so it shouldn't be too far down the line.

So what is the story with Ramzi Abed's 'Black Dahlia'? I am excited to see it but it's been in production forever. You play Red in the movie; do you have any clue as to what we can expect and when we can expect it?

To be honest, I don't. I shot all of my scenes over a period of about two years! The last time I shot was December of 2004 and then I just finished my scenes in February of 2006! BLACK DAHLIA is a much more "artsy" film than what I usually do, so I'm interested to see the final product, too. I just don't know when that's gonna be.

You first got into the biz with your role as Jerry in Troma's 'Terror Firmer' (1999). How did that role come about?

I had been a Troma nut for all of my life and one day I went to their website and saw that they were looking for extras for their film TERROR FIRMER. Having no acting experience whatsoever didn't stop me from trying to at least get an "extra" slot. I went in and auditioned. And did it again. And again. And again. Eventually, I landed the role and the rest, as they say . . .

It's cool too that you seem to have parlayed that role into all sorts of Troma work - from other parts in their films to co-writing Lloyd Kaufman's book Make Your Own Damn Movie to writing 'Hell Asylum' and 'Citizen Toxie' and producing 'Dead and Rotting'. How did your extensive work with the studio evolve?

HELL ASYLUM and DEAD AND ROTTING were actually Full Moon pictures, but Troma basically is one of those rare companies that let you take on as much as you're able to. I had written some scripts and had shown them to Lloyd and when it came time to find someone to write CITIZEN TOXIE, I offered up my services. By this time I had quit my regular job to come and work from Troma at their offices, so I was able to throw myself wholeheartedly into whatever came down the line. CT led to the Troma's Edge TV show and then to the book.

'Dead and Rotting' (2002) with Debbie Rochon is a favorite of mine - what is your predominant memory of filming that low-budget classic?

We shot that film in a tiny town in Ohio called Hartville, about 30 minutes outside of Cleveland. The shoot was quick (8 days!) and smooth and the best thing about it was we were able to pretty much go anywhere and shoot anything in this little community without anyone stopping us. The locals were extremely accommodating and we were able to have a lot of locations, which gave it real production value. D&R was the third film we shot in as many months for Full Moon.

I've also got to hear about your work as Ted Kopafeel (great name by the way!) in 'Zombiegeddon' (2003). Any great tales from behind the scene?

The director called me, I drove to the "set" (a parking lot in L.A.), and we shot the scene in about ten minutes. I was in and out so quick that I almost forgot I was in the film at all!

Looking over your acting career that has some great roles - in addition to those I've mentioned you've also been in movies like 'Killjoy 2', 'Suburban Nightmare', 'Gag', 'Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots', 'The Ghouls' etc. Anyway, is there one role that stands out in your mind as your favorite --- and why?

Well, I'd have to say my very first role - Jerry in TERROR FIRMER. Much like your first love, it may not be the best, but you always remember it fondly.

What is the most insane thing you have ever witnessed on a film set? And you have been on what appear to be some very insane film sets!

You're right. I've seen a TON of insane shit on sets. I've done about 30 movies, after all. But I guess the entire CITIZEN TOXIE shooting experience could qualify as one, long, protracted insane "moment." The stress, the lack of food and sleep and showers, the day that half of the crew walked off set never to return again. The day we shot the "dragging" sequence and the angry townspeople began to gather and grumble and we weren't sure we were gonna make it out alive . . . yeah. I'd say every day on CITIZEN TOXIE was the most insane thing I've ever seen.

You have some solid experience as an actor, writer, and producer. How would you rank those things in order of your preference? Did the others come about in pursuit of the primary goal?

Obviously, my primary goal is to be a director. But I'm willing to bide my time, learn as much as I can by doing everything else on the set and learning what to do and what not to do. Acting is great fun and definitely the easiest job on set, but you never really feel like you're "part" of the experience. Producing is more labor-intensive, but you really feel like you're making a movie happen, so it's probably the most ultimately rewarding. Writing is somewhat tortuous and writers are pretty much considered the least important part of a set (of you're allowed on at all!). But the thrill of hearing actors say YOUR lines and do what YOU write is pretty heady. At this juncture, I really only want to write movies that I will be involved in all the way to the end. I've had bad experiences in "development" as a writer in Hollywood. This is the stage where you do the most work for the least amount of reason. Being solely a writer would suck, in my opinion. But so would solely being an actor. So I guess producing films is the best of the three.

Do you have any other upcoming projects or movies in the works you would like to tell the racks and razors readers to be watching for?

I'm heading out to New Mexico in May to act in Scott (THE STINK OF FLESH) Phillips' GIMME SKELTER. Then to Baton Rouge to act in a film called TROUBLED (which has a GREAT script) and then in July they're shooting a script I wrote called DEAD GIRL.

So we are pulling the car into the Trent Haaga Drive In -- what three horror flicks are you going to be featuring on the triple bill and what goodies are they going to be serving up at the concession stand?

Tough one. John Carpenter's THE THING, DELLAMORTE, DELLAMORE, and BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (okay, I know it's not a horror film, but this is MY drive-in, dammit!) . . . that's a good triple bill. I'm a popcorn and soda man myself, but they'd better be serving up some Mountain Dew in my soda cup!

What makes you go psycho in real life?

The rich getting richer. Movies getting shittier. And meter maids. I fucking HATE meter maids.

What scares you in real life?

I'm a family man. My own death doesn't scare me as much as the thought of something bad happening to my wife or son. That and having to become a meter maid in order to feed my family. I'd rather kill myself. Hey, thanks for the interview! I hope to continue to make films that RACKS AND RAZORS will be proud to feature.

Thank you Trent, it's been great.