Your new movie Halloween
Hell - in a few words, what is it about?
Hell is about a borderline psycho Dracula
sets up a pay per view reality TV show, based on the premise that
there is a devil doll that has a history of summoning a Demon from
Hell on Halloween's when there is a full moon. The Demon has a history of killing people in a gorey fashion.
Dracula, played by Eric Roberts, in a way that I really like and
appreciate, offers 6 young contestants $100,000 if they can stay
locked in a room with the Devil Doll all 24 hours of Halloween, when
there will be a full moon. At first, some are worried or scared and one thinks it is a joke, but the
Demon first invades their minds and then begins to attack them, and the
survivors have to resort to understanding the voodoo that created the Demon to battle
Beneath all the horror, Halloween
Hell is also a satire on reality TV shows - so your personal
thoughts on the subject?
Some reality TV seems to me to be cruel and sadistic, and draw
entertainment from the sufferings and misfortunes of the people on TV.
Halloween Hell pushes this a bit more, and through the character of
Dracula goes into the psychology of those who view and make reality TV.
Other sources of inspiration
when dreaming up Halloween
I am sure that there are lots but none I am
conscious of now.
You haven't made a movie in about 25 years
- so what made Halloween
Hell the perfect comeback vehicle? And how did the project fall
into place, actually?
It was a project that could be done on a low budget with limited
resources and a short shooting schedule. I believe it has a strong possibility to appeal to
horror movie fans
and deliver a satisfying horror experience to them. I think it is
a bit different and unique.
I wrote the script and Herb Linsey the producer and I put the project
together a piece at a time until we had everything needed to make the
What can you tell us about your
directorial approach to your story at hand?
I'll leave it
to others to comment about that. I don't have a good vantage point
to comment on that.
course have to talk about the effects work in Halloween
Hell for a bit?
The practical FX that were done on the set (except for the Demon) were
greatly enhanced with computer generated FX. It was the first time I
worked with this kind of computer FX and I think Shaun Piccino
did a really excellent job with these computer generated visual FX.
Some of the things that can be done with computers now used to be out of
Hell stars everybody's favourite Eric Roberts - so what was it
like working with him, and how did you get him even?
It was great working with Eric. He has real Star Quality.
I worked with Christopher Lee, Robert Vaughn. Susan Strasberg, Jose
Ferer and others who have that something special that I call Star
I think it is a special kind of intuitive intelligence that goes on in
the actor's mind and the camera captures it and puts it on the screen.
When you are directing actors who have it, or even when you are talking
with them about the script you know it right away.
Also Eric has a huge amount of experience and talent and wants to have
fun on set. He's very warm and friendly AND A TEAM PLAYER. Very
inventive. The ultimate professional. I really liked what he did with Dracula.
Crystal Lujan our casting director got Eric for us. He read the
script, liked it and like the role of Dracula. I am very glad he is in
can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
are new comers except for Eric. Paul Stanko who plays Toby the cowboy, in my opinion, has
star potential as do others in the cast,
especially Lola Klimenteva. It is a very diverse cast, I think they probably all
have promising careers in front of them.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shoot was short and difficult because it was short.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Halloween
Some horror movie fans and fans of my
earlier movies have been very positive.
Any future projects you'd like to
Right now I am working on a stage play called Fart
Zombies Go Ballroom Dancing - it is a comedy.
What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and what can you tell us about your early days as a director?
When I was at UCLA I was a Chemistry major and a movie fan. I toyed with
the idea of changing my major to Film. There was a premier of a
movie in Westwood. Louis Malle was the director. I watched him get out
of a limo with Briget Bardot and Jeanne Moreau.
That helped me to decide. I changed my major to film, enrolled in a
screenwriting class and began to seriously study movies.
My early days in film making were very wild and eventful. I worked at
every crew and staff position, shot and edited, cut the sound and
negative on several very very low budget movies. Very quickly after
leaving UCLA I was throughly experienced in the basic technical side of
film making. Some of the movies I worked on as crew were shot in a weekend or 4 days,
very much like the movies depicted in the movie Ed Wood. None were as
bad as his though. There were lot of drive-in movies being made then.
It was when Roger Corman [Roger
Corman bio - click here] was King.
On some of the first movies I directed (WHICH PURPOSELY DO NOT
APPEAR ON MY RESUME) I got the job directing because I promised to
operate the camera, light the movie, edit it, cut the sound and the
negative for less money than a few hamburgers would cost now.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Halloween
I have directed 10 movies that appear on my
resume. I started directing professionally over 45 years ago. My most well-known
movie is probably Bloody Birthday which starred
Jose Ferer and Susan Strasberg, Starship Invasions, which I
also wrote and directed and which was distributed by Warner
Bros and starred
Christopher Lee and Robert Vaughn, UFOs are Real, which I
co-wrote and directed and which won a prize from the Academy of Science Fiction and
Horror and was shown a lot on Fox TV and at UFO conventions. Plague
won the Grand Prize and Best Screenplay at the Sitges Film Festival in
Spain. I co-wrote and directed it. The
Brain has quite a cult following of
avid fans which it has built up solely by word of mouth on its own.
Many of your films are of the horror and
science fiction variety - are these genres especially dear to you, and why
Yes. I have always been interested in science and
UFOs for a very long time. I have grown to respect horror as I studied horror movies that I admired.
You seem to have quit the filmmaking world about
a quarter of a century ago - why was that, and what did you do in the
I spent a lot of time taking care of my sick mother until she died in
2009. I traded the stock and commodities markets and studied technical
analysis which is basically the study of charts and chart paterns to
predict future prices of stocks and commodities. I wrote a book about filmmaking
which is sold on Amazon and a
manuscript for a book on screenwriting, which is unpublished and I did a
tremendous amount of research for that book studying successful movie
that I admire. I also wrote several screenplays, some of which I want to make into
In your experience, how has indie genre
filmmaking changed over the years?
What used to exist has been virtually destroyed by new technology
and something new is growing in its place and young people understand
that new thing far better than I can explain it. Things have been turned upside down
but people keep making indie movies.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
I would not, others can do
Filmmakers who inspire
Kubrick, Bunnuel, Romero, Hitchcock, Godard,
Truffaut, Lang, Corman [Roger
Corman bio - click here], D.W. Griffith, Orson Welles.
Your favourite movies?
Dr Srtrangelove, 2001: A Space Odessy, Belle de Jour,
The Reainmator, Intolerance,
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
(1956), Flesh Gordon,
Little Shop of Horrors (Roger Corman's original),
Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane, Vertigo, Bridesmaids,
Borat, The Evil Dead,
Night of the Living Dead,
Sideways, The 400 Blows, Birdman, Interstellar.
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I deplore what I call corporate
movies, movies that could have been written by anyone of
50 writers and directed by any one of 30 directors, usually with comic book
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
just thank you for your interest!
for the interview!