Your new movie House
of the Witchdoctor - in a few words, what is it about?
I call it a home invasion movie with a twist.
were your inspirations when writing House
of the Witchdoctor, and how did you even dream up your movie's
rather unique genre mix?
A producer approached me about wanting to do an
exploitation style horror film and I had always wanted to do a film like
that myself. I wrote House
of the Witchdoctor out of this
meeting. It ended up not working out with that producer, but when I gave it
to the film’s current producer Mark Vadik [Mark
Vadik interview - click here], he liked it and helped me
get it to shooting script quality.
What can you tell us about your
directorial approach to your story at hand?
I’m a very passionate director. I like to
jump right in and really work with the story and the actors. I’m not a
guy that sits back too much. I love the creative process as a whole.
of the Witchdoctor does get a tad violent every now and again - so
do talk about your movie's gore scenes for a bit, and how were they
Troy Holbrook was our special effects guy. He
was great, very passionate about his craft. We gave him the lower part of
the house for his on-set work place and everyone called it "Troy’s
Dungeon". He did a great job.
Since most of your film takes place in one and
the same house - do talk about your main location for a bit, and what were
the advantages and maybe also challenges of filming there?
At one point we had over 20 real estate agents
in Illinois looking for the right big, isolated house for the location. We
found a couple good one’s but once they heard a film would be shot there
they backed out. Then at the 11th hour, my producer Mark found
this isolated estate about an hour outside of Chicago with like 13
bedrooms, 11 bathrooms on 50 acres of land, so it was perfect! We lucked
out with that. It really worked for the film and was a pleasure to shoot
film is one of the first movies to star cult icon Dyanne Thorne after
virtually decades of absence from the screen. So why her, what made her
perfect for the job, and how did you get her even?
We knew for the role of “Rose” we wanted to use
a horror icon if you will. Several names were tossed around and I think it
was one of our producers, Chazz DeMoss, who brought up Dyanne Thorne. I
had always been a fan and had a major crush from my teenage years
watching the Ilsa films, so I was stoked at the possibility of working with
her. Chazz made the call, she read the script and said yes! Also, for all
you filmmakers out there, Dyanne is great to work with and a very talented
actor, as is her husband Howard Maurer, who also is in the movie. So hire her!
talk about the rest of your cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
Well, Bill Moseley is one of my faves
from The Devil’s Rejects, and Leslie Easterbrook is also the
consummate professional who kills it every time out. Allan Kayser was
another 11th hour savior from Chazz’s suggestion, cause we
could not find the right actor to play “Cliff”. He did a great job.
David Wills was a long time friend from NY who I had seen in countless
plays and was very impressed, so I knew I wanted him for “Buzz”. And
the young adults, we looked at actors from NY, Chicago and LA and we
really got lucky with all of them. I expect big things from them. I was
deeply pleased by my cast and so far, the horror fans have had many
compliments on the acting so that makes me quite happy.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
It was very intense for me personally. I had a
lot coming at me, not that I’m complaining, but as writer/director there
is not a lot of time to chill out. Overall it was great. It was also
February in rural Illinois so I’m not sure it made it above 10 degrees
for the entire shoot. It’s funny, when we were screening at Days of the
Dead Indianapolis, Bill Moseley came up to me and said, “Damn that shoot
was cold”!!!! But we all banded together under the elements and made it
happen. A big shout out to my entire crew who were also so dedicated and
played such a major part in this.
can you tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie so
I feel blessed. We’ve been screening at horror
conventions across America and the fans love it. They think it’s a lot
of fun and from day one, we wanted to make a roller coaster ride horror
Any future projects you'd like to share?
It looks like my next feature will be a funny, nasty
tale of BBQ horror I wrote called Brisket Bob. It’s all in the
far as I know, you originally started out as an actor - so what can you
tell us about your acting career, and did you receive any formal training
on the subject?
For over 10 years of my life I was super charged for
acting. I took countless scene study classes in NYC and went through
several Meisner programs. I did a bunch of independent films and plays
mostly in NY.
What prompted you to switch to writing
and directing eventually?
I just lost my passion and will to act once I
started writing. I’ll never forget, I was auditioning for the Angelina
Jolie film Salt. I was sitting in the casting office with the sides
and I did not even want to be there. I thought to myself, “How many
actors would want to be in this office right now reading for such a huge
film?” I knew I needed to make a change. I left, called my agent and
told her it was over. Through my joy of writing I moved into directing and
I love it.
What can you tell us about
your filmwork prior to House
of the Witchdoctor, in whichever position?
I’ve written a bunch of screenplays and
directed a 40 minute horror film called Salvation By Blood a couple
years ago that led to this, my first feature.
would you describe yourself as a director?
Passionate with dedication to genre/edgy films. I
like character and plot driven stuff.
writers, actors, whoever else who inspire you?
Tim Burton, Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, James Maynard
Keenan, David LaChapelle, Perry Farrell, Phil Anselmo, Norwegian Black
Metal, many others…
Chainsaw Massacre (the original), Ringu, Ed Wood, The
Orphange, many others….
... and of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Don’t know why, but Indecent Proposal. It’s this
shitty movie with Robert Redford, Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore. I saw it
in high school and walked out. I just hated the concept. Haha!
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
www.lostkeyfilms.com (my website)
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
of the Witchdoctor comes out on
September 16th through Breaking Glass Pictures on OnDemand, iTunes and DVD, currently nationwide at Best Buy with more deals coming!
If you like horror, please check it out and thanks so much for the
support. I love all the weirdos and beautiful people in the horror scene
more than you’ll ever know!! I’m one of you!!!
Thanks for the interview!