How did the project get off the ground in the
I had been
aware of the location as a great place to shoot a horror film for some
time and knew the owners. We started working on screenplay ideas and
shooting tests, and then found out just how haunted the building actually
is - very - and decided to collect real stories. These became
the taking off point for the “enhanced” portions of the film.
How can you relate to the film's
supernatural subject matter?
I will quote
from my production notes, which are also on our website g-stringhorror.com:
In 1985 I was
shooting in an exercise chamber at the Northern Shaolin Temple in China
that had never been photographed before. The monks allowed me and two
other cameramen to shoot for a few minutes only. We kept shooting, I
suppose, longer than the unseen “inhabitants” of the chamber thought
indications were that we were recording, there was nothing recorded on any
of our tape beyond the first couple of minutes that the monks had
originally designated. A similar thing happened while I was shooting a sub
basement “tour” with a dancer/”witch” at the Market Street Cinema.
We encountered several of her “friends” who did not like what I was
doing. From that point on, nothing was recorded even though, by all
indications, the camera was functioning properly.
That was just
the beginning. Much of the strange tale told in the film actually happened
in a slightly different form. Shots were moved around in the edit…not my
doing. At times the movie DID change each time it was viewed, not just
for me, others also. And none of us were “smoking” or drinking. The
actors were “not themselves” at times. On several occasions when an
actress was playing a fictional version of one of the ghosts, it seemed
that the “real” ghost took over and enjoyed being “exercised” by a
whose ghostly “friends” we disturbed on the basement tour told me that
there were four ghosts who made the building “home” when we began
shooting and only three by the time we finished. Somehow, she claimed, our
actions in the theater had helped one of the spirits - the ghost of a
stripper who was rumored to have been murdered in the basement - to
Maybe a stupid question:
Why a strip club, and how could you relate to that aspect of The G-String Horror?
location really is a huge, 100 year old movie palace. The strip club
occupies only part of it. The balcony, projection booth, basements, etc.
are unused and very spooky. I have known the owners of this club and other
gentlemen’s clubs for years and have directed adult films as well as
national TV commercials, music videos, etc. since the 1970s. I am very
comfortable in this milieu.
How did you approach your story
from a directorial point of view?
the documentary parts, I just let things happen… be in the right place at
the right time talking to the right person. Much of the
“non-documentary” material was improvised - except for the effects. I
also shoot most of my films, so that gives me an edge, no communication
gap. In a way shooting IS directing (let the arguments start).
What can you tell us
about The G-String Horror's special effects work, and your
collaboration with your special effects director Ed Martinez?
is an effects make-up and practical effects master. I told him what I
wanted to see in the frame and let him do his thing.
cast is headlighted by genre veteran Debra Lamb [Debra
Lamb interview - click here] - why her, how did you get
her, and what was your collaboration like?
Martinez actually suggested I contact Debra. I was looking for a real
psychic and Debra is a practicing psychic. My first conversation with her
was about doing an actual psychic reading of the theater, not acting in
the film. And then we came up with the fictitious character she plays in
the film, Lady Zee. Lady Zee is a made up character but a real psychic.
Her scenes are scripted but her readings are real
- another spin on
docu-fiction. Debra is great to collaborate with - great instinct for the
What can you
tell us about the rest of your principal cast, and what made them perfect
for their roles?
of Black Devil Doll-fame plays Baby Doll, the lead “ghost/demon
stripper” in the story. To quote from an interview with
Q: What do you
look for when picking projects?
A: That I get to be naked and covered
in blood! But I guess it just needs to be something that seems unique and
original, something that is way out there. I really love over-the-top
stuff and I want the roles that most actresses won’t touch with a 10
foot pole, roles that really stand out. The crazier the better.
works at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club in San Francisco.
Mike Gleason, Trevor O’Donnell and Ed Bowers (who said not a word but
was one of the scariest things in the movie) also all did a great job with
A few words about The G-String Horror's actual location, and why this exact building?
think I more or less answered this question above… but… the building
turns 100 this year and is packed with memorabilia (junk in the
basement?), old costumes, rotting theater seats, movie posters, dark
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
cast…small crew…check out this article about the making of the film
far as I know, The G-String Horror
has so far only been seen by a
few select critics - so what can you tell us about critical reception so
The film has not yet been formally reviewed.
Informally, the reception has been great.
As the film is about to premiere soon - when and
where will it be released onto the general public?
world premiere is going to be at the Another Hole in the Head Film
Festival at 9:00pm on December 5th at the Roxie Theater in San
Francisco. It will be released widely after the first of the year.
go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in
the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
I was in a
Ph.D. program in psychobiology in the 1960s and was using a movie camera
in my perception research. I took the camera home and made a short film
with it based on a Kafka short story. I left graduate school after the
Masters and never looked back. I was asked to join a commercial production
company in Washington D.C. as production manager. That was my film school.
I moved to San Francisco in 1970 and have been based here ever since. In
brief, from there…
… Charles Webb
operates a film, video and digital media production company in San
Francisco. He has written, produced, directed, photographed and edited
projects in the United States, Europe and China, that encompass diverse
genres, including national TV commercials (Miller Beer, Buick, Wishbone,
national political candidates, etc.); documentaries (The Black
Panthers/George Jackson Lives, The Grateful Dead Movie,
martial artists in the People’s Republic of China - Kung Fu
Diplomacy, China’s Living Treasures, etc.); nationally released
independent features (Honky-Tonk Nights, Extreme Close-up, The Seven Seductions); and behind the scenes promotional and music
videos (e.g. Disney, FCA Artists, “Wild Bill” Weiss). His latest
production is The G-string Horror.
can you tell us about your movies prior to The G-String Horror, and
how would you describe your evolution as a director?
time when I have more time to do written answers. In the meantime…
film is a petrified fountain of thought." - Jean
is the most beautiful fraud in the world. " - Jean-Luc
also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being
us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters." - George
future projects you'd like to share?
projects and one documentary are in development.
films, you have also done countless commercials, music videos and the
like. How does working on those compare to working on an actual movie?
movie I have written and am directing is coming from inside.
would you describe yourself as a director?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
use John Huston as one role model. (He picked the right people on both
sides of the camera, said “action”, then just sat and watched.)
Stanley Kubrick is another, since he also shot his films. Albert Maysles
(with whom I have worked) is yet another.
who inspire you?
See above. Also Quentin Tarantino, Robert
Rodriguez, David Lynch, John Waters.
Your favourite movies?
made by the film makers mentioned above.
and of course, films you really deplore?
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
at the moment. Thanks for the interview!
for the interview!