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?
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
Tell me about
your work as Max in the upcoming film '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?
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
You first got
into the biz with your role as Jerry in Troma's 'Terror
Firmer' (1999). How did that role come
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
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.
Rotting' (2002) with Debbie Rochon is a
favorite of mine - what is your predominant
memory of filming that low-budget classic?
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?
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 ---
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!
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?
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?
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
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?
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?
getting richer. Movies getting shittier. And
meter maids. I fucking HATE meter maids.
What scares you
in real life?
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.