You are in the process of releasing your movie III
Slices of Life.
In a few words, what is it about?
III Slices of Life
is an old-school
low budget anthology much like Creepshow, Tales from the
Crypt, The House
that Dripped Blood, Asylum and
Torture Garden. I absolutely
loved anthologies as a kid and I think they have the capacity to be more
relevant today. Today, we consume media in much smaller bites
and through so many different channels of delivery, that I believe the
anthology is a perfect format for our changing aesthetic. Sexual
Parasites, Disembowelment, Zombies, Serial Killers, Demon Children,
Violent Vixens, Rabid Office Workers and Angry Embryos all spring to life
from the flesh covered sketch books featured in III
Slices of Life.
The wrap around story follows Mira (Kaylee Williams [Kaylee
Williams interview - click here]) as she awakens in
front of a seedy roadside motel with amnesia. She searches for clues to
her identity in the pages of three bound sketchbooks; each book represents
a different aspect of everyday life.
a. WORK LIFE: A lowly clerk at a
nano technology firm unleashes a deadly virus at the office headquarters,
giving new meaning to the term corporate zombie.
b. HOME LIFE: As local girls
begin to disappear, a young pregnant woman is haunted by visions of evil
demonic children hell bent on stealing her unborn fetus.
c. SEX LIFE: A young brother and
sister on the run from a sexually abusive home life, take refuge in a
countryside Victorian manor - only to discover the monsters hidden in this
house have been looking for a new home.
Convinced that the
characters from these books are roaming around the motel, Mira's reality
begins to crumble. Are these visions real or is she going insane?
Desperate, Mira turns to the motel caretaker (Helene Alter-Dyche), only to
discover the true evil bound in the flesh covered books and the destiny
they hold for her
Of all the episodes
contained in III Slices of Life
- any favourites, and why?
certainly have elements that I love from every segment, for me it is
impossible to put this much work into something and find a passion for
each aspect. Naturally there also many things you dislike or would change
if possible, but you try to find a balance and then let it go. So
I think each segment means a lot to me in different ways and for different
reasons. Now looking at them from purely the perspective of a splatter horror fan, I would have to say that PINK SNAPPER is my favorite.
I think that I had lived with the story for so long that when I
finally had the resources to really let loose on the gore and effects it
was REALLY thrilling - so as a fan of that kind of gothic/splatter/body/monster
genre, that story really appeals to me. I think AMBER ALERT was the most challenging for me, because it relied so much on
mood and atmosphere (which I love, but my nature is to be spectacle) -
so we had to work really differently to build scares through
atmosphere and performance. I think W.O.R.M. has some truly
outrageous and disturbing moments that you don’t expect (the online sex
in particular) and I am really happy with how fully realized and
unsettling those scenes came out.
were your inspirations for the individual stories?
Each story was drawn from many different inspirations and often from
real life situations. One of our goals in creating each story
was to switch up our styles and really try something a little different
with each segment. It was a way to sharpen our skills with different
sub-genres of horror and try to reach a slightly broader audience. Each
segment was developed with this intent, to create three disparate stories
in three varied styles, all inspired by classic low-budget horror
sub-genres. As the reviews have rolled out, it has been
exciting to see that some liked WORM the best, others liked AMBER ALERT
the Best and then some preferred PINK SNAPPER - so that really
has made us happy, because it means that we were able to wrap different
styles that appeal to different people into one film.
What can you tell us about the overall reception of III
Slices of Life so far?
So far it has been very good. Our first reviews with some of
the bigger sites were FANTASTIC and our film was being talked about and
compared with theatrical releases like Monsters and Paranormal
that was thrilling, and since that point we have had almost all positive
reviews. As with anything, we have had some bloggers or viewers who HATED the
film and I think that is to be expected with anything that gets penetration
into 14 million homes. This is a Micro budget film that was made for about the
price of a used car, (that includes marketing) and it is really gory and
outrageous - it is not for everyone. I really try
to make films that I love to sit and watch. Then I just cross my fingers and
hope that other people are a bit like me and will like it also.
III Slices of Life
was co-written by Alan Rowe Kelly [Alan
Rowe Kelly interview - click here], who also makes a special appearance in
the film and with whom you have collaborated quite a few times in the past
and seem to continue to do so in the future. What can you tell us about
Well I could go on and on about Alan Rowe Kelly, but back in
2005 I rented I’ll Bury You Tomorrow from the video store and was really
floored by this great low budget movie. As I researched the
project afterwards, I realized that one person wrote, directed, starred
and produced this amazingly creepy little picture and that was Alan Rowe
Kelly. Later that year it, Eric Richter and I were in NYC premiering our
short Jitters at the NYC Horror Film Festival and by pure serendipity we
ran into Alan. We have been good friends ever since. Alan
is one of those rare artists who is literally good at everything and has
no pretensions what-so-ever. He will take on twenty or fifty different
production responsibilities in order to get the job done and he is always
the first to support all indie film makers at any level. For
him it is about the work, the final product - it is never
about being a star or getting attention. He loves the craft
of filmmaking as a device to tell stories. I think we are very similar in
this way and that is why I enjoy working together so much. Therefore
every chance that I have to work with Alan, I do - because he makes
everything better no matter what is involvement is, as a writer, producer,
actor, production designer, casting, make-up artist, editor or
The other co-writer (and whatever else) on III
Slices of Life was Eric Richter, who has worked in various capacities on most of
your movies. A few words about him?
have been working with Eric Richter for about 7 years now and I can
honestly say that III Slices of Life
would not exist if not for the
talent, drive and skills of Eric. I had been working in new
media for many years and wanting to return to my first love of making
horror movies. It wasn’t until I meet Eric and he presented the
challenge that we COULD do this and he has been fully dedicated to all our
projects from day one as a writer, DP, editor and producer. In addition to
shooting and writing, he is a fantastic director as well, which is evident
in all the music videos he has put out over the last couple year that
landed on MTV, SPIKE TV, ESPN and other large broadcasters :
Scenic UH OH (http://vimeo.com/15066530),
Sleeping YOUNG VIBES (http://vimeo.com/15028689,
like Alan, I cannot imagine doing any project without Eric involved, we
work really well together and he is never afraid to jump in and try
What can you
tell us about the rest of your cast and crew?
was so lucky to get such an amazing team working on III
Slices of Life.
Many of the actors are local Chicago performers who have become
very familiar faces in the Indie Film Scene.
Alter-Dyche plays Irma in the Sketcher wrap around segment and was an
absolute joy to work with. She has been doing theater and
opera all over the world for years and I was fortunate enough to meet her
after a play and ask her to participate in the movie. I think
she brings so much to project that is beyond what I could have hoped for
Kaylee Williams plays Mira and it was a
difficult role because the character is actually not fully developed or
aware of her own identity, I think Kaylee really brought an innocence and
vulnerability to the role that was much needed. She has
continued to grow and has done a considerable amount of independent film
work since the release of III
Slices of Life.
Jack Guasta, Debbie DiVerde and Alan Rowe
Kelly are part of the ensemble cast in W.O.R.M. Alan of course was the
most veteran of the cast, but I think Jack and Debbie really brought a lot
of humor to story and they both can be seen other film projects and
Toya Turner and Thurston Hill are the
two actors who star in AMBER ALERT. Toya has done a considerable amount of
film work and was absolutely amazing in role as Vonda Johnson - I
cannot wait to work with her again, since she just brings her A++ game to
everything. Thurston was also incredible and has been really
building up his resume since the release of III
Slices of Life
and I am so glad to see
these performers getting the attention they deserve.
SNAPPER starred Deneen Melody [Deneen
Melody interview - click here], Galen Schloming, Judith Lesser and Bruce
Varner. I have been lucky enough to work with Deneen and
Bruce on previous projects and knew that they would be great for this
segment, all the characters have such an arc that I knew
everyone of this performers had the chops to really sell the story. Without
giving to much away, no one is what they seem or ends up the same at the
end of PS. The level of gore and violence is really over the
top and extreme and Deneen, Judith, Galen and Bruce were absolute troopers
and pros from beginning to end.
As far as crew, our composer
Gene Hodsdon, literally created a different musical theme for each of the
four stories and really helped to define each segment. Jeremy
Selenfriend from Monster in My Closet did the creature effect for the
PINK SNAPPER segment. Chad Norris and Paul Mackey pulled off some
incredibly seamless VFX that go by unnoticed (unless you watch the extras
on the DVD) and of course Keith Ehrenberg and Jill Young who did a great
job of just managing production and the marketing.
Rowe Kelly, you also made (are in the process of making?) another
anthology movie, Gallery
of Fear? What can you tell us about that
Gallery of Fear is an amazing anthology with an incredible cast/crew of genre
favorites. It will be coming out this summer and features and features
Jerry Murdock, Zoë Daelman Chlanda, Debbie Rochon [Debbie
Rochon interview - click here], Raine Brown, Terry
West, Susan Williams-Adriensen, Terry Shane, Joshua Nelson, and many more.
Again, this is three segments tied together by a wrap-around story. Other
than BY HER HAND... all the other storys are written and directed by Alan
Rowe Kelly, each one is so different and yet so amazing. The
incredible Jerry Murdock is in all three stories and I think people will
be amazed at his diversity as well as Alan’s - it is a
showcase piece for everyone involved. The film is complete;
it is just having the final touches done on the sound mix.
Be sure to follow the progress of film on its Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/GALLERY-OF-FEAR/
that will be our second film coming out in 2011.
One of your segments of Gallery
of Fear is
called By Her Hand, She Draws You Down. Now how did you come up
with this absolutely wonderful title?
BY HER HAND, SHE DRAWS YOU DOWN (www.byherhandmovie.com)
based on the short story of the same title by award winning genre author
Douglas Smith. it is the haunting tale of a boardwalk portrait artist who
struggles with a powerful dark hunger, and the man who, through loving
her, must come to grips with his own inner demons. It is really a haunting
piece and I am so proud of this project. It has done
incredibly well at the festivals this season, bringing home multple Best
Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Cinematography and best original
score awards. The Official Movie Companion eBook which contains the story,
storyboards, interviews, photos from the shoot, and more, can be ordered
at Amazon for only $2.99: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/
you tell us yet about the yet-to-be-filmed Don't Look in the Basement,
which will be another collaboration with Alan Rowe Kelly and which will in
a way be your feature debut?
Slices of Life is our feature film debut, all the stories and the project where
conceived as an anthology piece from the beginning. So I guess this would
be my first single narrative feature. But I doubt Don't Look in the
Basement will be
our next project out of the gate. Alan is already working on another
feature and so am I- so there will probably be a couple more
films in stores prior to Don't Look in the Basement.
Don't Look in the Basement
is of course based on the 1973 film The Forgotten/Don't Look in
the Basement. How true are you planning to be to your source
material, and how much do grindhouse horror flicks from the 1970's
influence your work as a director?
films of the 70’s are a HUGE influence on my work, they are the films
that inspired and cultivated my love of cinema. We do
absolutely want to remain true to the structure and feel of Don't Look
in the Basement , but it
will be reimagined for a new audience. Jerry Murdock and I
approached Alan in 2007 and said, "We have to remake this film. It
will be a crossover project that could eventually lead to some higher
budgets in the future". All three of us had always loved
this classic by S.F. Brownrigg.
So Alan and I decided to co-produce/direct it together through our
companies SouthPaw Pictures and TinyCore Pictures. Alan rewrote the
script, updated it, added new characters and came out with a very
incredible storyline that retains all the charm of the original with some
new twists on the original themes. We were set to shoot in
2008, but the recession killed us - as it did everyone - and our backers
backed out, which happened to many projects. So we continued
with our own smaller self-financed films while building new investor
interest the remake. It has always been important to us to
make this film at a certain budget (still VERY LOW) and retain ALL of the
shocks that are in Alan’s new script - so until all
funding is locked down we don’t want to jump into production.
this in mind, all pre-production is basically done and we have an amazing
cast that includes Jerry Murdock, Zoe Daelman Chlanda, Debbie Rochon [Debbie
Rochon interview - click here],
Caroline Williams, Jeff Dylan Graham, Raine Brown, Katherine O'Sullivan,
Susan Adriensen, Douglas Rowan, Terry M. West, Carl Burrows, Alan Rowe
Kelly, and the lovely Deneen Melody [Deneen
Melody interview - click here]. Plus behind the camera we will have
the incredible skills of Bart Mastronardi and Eric Richter. The film
deserves a new life and I truly believe we have the right combination of
talent to give it its worth. The proof will be in the finished product, so
let's wait and see then. We have so many projects in production and pr-
production right now that we actually have to wait and see when will be
the proper time, this year or next, to make this film a 'reality'.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you have any formal education on
grew up on horror movies and started watching them religiously at a very
young age. I had such a passion for the genre that I started making my own
movies in 6th grade with a super 8 film camera. This
ultimately lead to film school and then a career in advertising and new
media. I never lost my desire to revisit making low-budget horror films.
By 2004, technology had reached a point of affordability and higher
image quality that it seemed insane not to do a feature. I
was already working in the media and owned all the necessary equipment - so
producing partner Eric Richter and myself decided to maintain our regular
commercial clients, but reinvest the profits back into a feature - and
from that III
Slices of Life came to fruition.
Your films all seem to be horror movies at
least to some degree. Why is that, and is horror a genre especially dear
I feel that horror really includes every other genre: drama, comedy,
romance, suspense, fantasy - all of these elements are in a good horror
film. So I honestly view horror to have a broader scope of
possibilities, and I prefer that as a viewer and a filmmaker. I
like the immediate response you can get from a horror film and I like that
the horror community is so open to a much broader range of product than
you’ll find from fans of other genres. You don’t see a
lot of successful low budget Romantic Comedies get made with no name
actors and limited distribution. Horror fans are renegade,
insatiable and loyal customers - they don’t care where the next thrill
comes from as long as it comes. I appreciate that
Directors who inspire you?
Rowe Kelly [Alan Rowe Kelly
interview - click here], Bart Mastronardi, David Cronenberg. Frank Henenlotter, Greg
Lamberson, Sean Tretta, George Romero, John Carpenter, Radley Metzger, Jen
Soska, Sylvia Soska [Soska-twins
interview - click here], Brandon Slagle [Brandon
Slagle interview - click here], Paul Solet, Ti West, Lars Von Trier,
John Waters, Dario Argento, Kenneth Anger, Todd Haynes, Atom Egoyan,
William Girdler, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and many MANY
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
ones that inspire me the most are the ones that really have a rogue
“anything could happen” feel to them. I love Basket Case,
The Beyond, Rabid,
Damage, Dead Alive, Inside, Audition,
They Came from Within,
The House that Dripped
Blood, Don't Look Now, Possession (Zulawski), Santa Sangre…
... and of course, some movies you
have really deplored?
There are very few movies I deplore,
because I can usually find some moment or idea that I think is really
brilliant. I am very unforgiving of Hollywood movies that
spend millions of dollars with every resource at their disposal and still
fail to make an emotionally impactful movie. I did find the
remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street to be deplorable, and Terminator
Salvation and Friday the 13th remake. Look at the
original of all these films, each made for a very low budget and with so
much heart and passion that they have continued on for decades - yet
with all the money and effects and spectacle, these new/follow-up versions
lacked the heart of the originals… at least in my opinion there was
something very unauthentic about those three films.
Your website, Facebook, MySpace,
follow our movies on facebook and twitter - it is the best way
for us to keep people updated on distribution news, screenings, new
Anything else you are dying to mention
and I have merely forgotten to ask?
No, just thank you so
much for being so persistent and waiting so long for the interview. One
of the hard parts of Indie film making is finding the time to do
everything - so I do appreciate that you asked me to do this and
waited until we got through distribution process to dedicate some time to
it. Thank you.
Thanks for the