Your movie The
Ghosts of Johnson Woods - in a few words, what is it about?
The film is about an awkward, heavyset twenty-something who strikes up
a peculiar relationship with a very pretty high school girl. They
decide to make a low-budget horror film together so they can make money
and become famous, but the relationship, and the film shoot, takes a very
The Ghosts of
Johnson Woods being about no budget filmmaking - is any of this
based on personal experience or popular anecdotes or anything of the sort?
way the two main characters, Lenny and Heather, try to make their horror
film isn't that far off from how we've shot some of our films. It's
a bit stripped down from what we normally do, but not much!
sources of inspiration for The
Ghosts of Johnson Woods - and with the movie being a horror film,
is this a genre especially dear to you?
The genesis of the film came when I found out that one of my best
friends from grade school, John Bova, had died at just 44 years old.
I hadn't seen him since we were thirteen years old and his family
moved five hundred miles away, but we had written letters back and forth
for years until he apparently really got into using alcohol and possibly
drugs, then I never heard from him again. This was years before the
internet developed. Anyway, about five years ago I googled him, and
the first thing that came up was John's obituary, which gave scant few
details of his life or death. So I began to try to piece together
how his life and death had gone, but since I couldn't find any details
about him, my imagination ran wild. So early on The
Ghosts of Johnson Woods was to be an ode to what I thought may have
happened with John. I began embellishing the tale so much, though,
that by the time the script was completed, I'm sure it has little to
nothing to do with any part of John's life or death.
The horror genre has become more dear to me in the last few years.
I find it an interesting and fun genre to explore. Since we
Ghosts of Johnson Woods we've shot a horror feature
film titled Paralyzed with Fear starring Kane Hodder of Friday
the 13th fame (it's due out in 2017), and I've shot three short
horror films for the British horror film anthologies 60 Seconds to Die and
its sequel, 60 Seconds 2 Die 2 produced by Tony Newton. The
first installment has just landed a distribution deal, and the sequel is
in post production. In addition, I'm a part-time college professor
at Indiana Tech, and in the spring I'll be teaching a course titled Horror
in Film & Literature, so that will be a fun exploration into the
horror film genre.
horror, what can you tell us about your movie's approach to the genre as
Ghosts of Johnson Woods isn't the
standard horror film. There's very little blood as the film relies
on plot twists to build tension before things take a very dark turn late
in the film. So those people who are looking for a slasher film or a
film filled with lots of violence might be disappointed, but for those
people looking for an intriguing tale with a horror twist, they'll be very
Ghosts of Johnson Woods, you pretty much limit yourself to a very
small handful of actors and locations - so how limiting and/or liberating
was this in fact?
I find a small cast to be liberating in that it allows for us to
explore their characters in more depth. It's also liberating in that
it reduces stress - it's much easier making sure that two or three people
arrive on time and know their lines for a day of shooting rather than
hoping that ten or twenty people will all show up on time and know their
lines. And with The
Ghosts of Johnson Woods, I had already
worked extensively with stars Matt Goosherst, Haidyn Harvey, and Kasha
Fauscett, so I knew all three of them would show up on time and know their
lines since they're all such professionals. And with Joe Bob Briggs,
he was all I could have dreamed he'd be. He was on time, knew all
his lines, was friendly and professional, and was nothing but a pure asset
to the shoot.
In regards to limiting the number of locations, that's pretty much a
staple of small-budget filmmaking. It has to be done since we're
shooting the films on such tight time constraints that we aren't afforded
the luxury of setting up and taking down equipment all over town since
those things take a lot of time. It is liberating, though, because
it's one less worry to factor into the shoot.
What can you tell us about your cast,
and why exactly these people?
With Joe Bob Briggs, he and I
had corresponded briefly via email because I found out he had liked our
film Midget Zombie Takeover. I had never had a big name in
one of our films previously, so I contacted him about The
Ghosts of Johnson Woods, and he said he was interested. Two or three
emails later we had all the details worked out, and he was in the
cast. With his many, many years on TV and his roles in such films as
Casino and Face/Off, I knew he'd be a major asset to
the film and draw attention to it. With Matt Goosherst, he was
perfect for the role. He was one of the stars of Midget Zombie
Takeover, and he did such a great job in that film that I knew he'd be
great for this film. Plus, with his size, he was perfect to play
Lenny. When it comes to Haidyn Harvey, she's nothing but awesome.
We've worked together on films since she was eleven years old (most
notably in To Die is Hard and The Worst Movie EVER!,
plus she's one of the stars of Paralyzed with Fear), and she's
always professional and fun to work with. Plus she's grown into a
beautiful young woman who was a perfect contrast to the awkward, heavyset
Matt. With Kasha Fauscett, she and I have worked together on The
Worst Movie EVER!, Auto Shop of Horrors, Paralyzed with
Fear, and other projects, and Kasha is always such a pro and super fun
to work with. When we needed a hottie to play a prostitute in The
Ghosts of Johnson Woods, Kasha was the one to fit the bill.
Do talk about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand!
When I make a
film I like to give the cast members a lot of leeway in playing their
characters as they wish to play them, and The
Ghosts of Johnson Woods was
no different. Having worked with Matt, Haidyn, and Kasha previously,
they certainly have my respect and faith that they will do a great job
developing their characters, and Joe Bob was just as fantastic in
embracing his character and playing him in a way that I loved. When
it comes to directing the crew, since we shoot our films so quickly (we
Ghosts of Johnson Woods over the course of a four-day
weekend) I'm often having to be annoying to them to remind them to keep
moving quickly as we don't have time for elaborate set-ups or intricate
shots, so I always feel bad for them.
A few words
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
a blast shooting this film. Matt and Haidyn were a riot with all
their hijinks and shenanigans, and crew members Erik Lassi, Ken Hutchison,
Karl Jurgens, and the others were all fun and cutting up on a regular
basis. One of the scenes that really stands out in my mind was when
we were shooting the masturbation scene with Matt. As intense and
disturbing as that scene is in the film (due in large part to Erik Lassi's
fantastic edit of the scene), with all the one-liners that Erik, Matt,
Ken, and Karl were dishing out during the shooting of the scene, it's
amazing we even got that scene shot!
$64-question of course, when and where will your movie be released onto
the general public?
We're in the process of getting reviews
of the film right now, then will use blurbs from those reviews to get the
film into some theaters in the US. From there it'll be a free-for-all.
There's an independent TV station in Toronto that wants to air the
film during their Halloween programming next month, and a Roku movie
channel would like to begin airing the film. Hopefully with the
quality of the film and with Joe Bob Briggs headlining it we'll find many
other outlets for the film.
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of The
Ghosts of Johnson Woods yet?
We've only received a
handful of reviews so far, but every one of them has been incredibly
positive. The film has also screened at a number of film festivals,
and every time the audience loved the film, so I'm really excited for the
possibilities of the film.
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
I'm super excited to see how Paralyzed
with Fear turns out. We're also quite far along on the edit
of a dramatic feature film titled LoveSexHate that should be
ready for a 2017 release. I'm excited to see how 60 Seconds to
Die and 60 Seconds 2 Die 2 turn out as those films
seem as if they have the potential to garner a ton of attention. Finally,
hopefully next spring we'll be shooting a comedy titled Poetry Slammed that
lampoons the world of poetry slams - I have the cast, crew, and script in
place, now it's simply a matter of financing it and getting it shot.
I imagine that film will see a 2018 release.
Your/your movie's website,
Facebook, whatever else?
My personal website that has info
on me and our films, and through which I book speaking engagements, is
located at www.glennspeaks.com.
The Facebook fan page for
Ghosts of Johnson Woods is located at https://www.facebook.com/ghostsofjohnsonwoods/.
The website for purchasing my book The Independent Filmmaker's
Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2,000 is
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I'm so thankful
and grateful for all the incredible work that so many people have
contributed to our films over the last ten years. These people work
for so little pay, and they're so talented, that I'm forever indebted to
them. I certainly can't name them all, but crew members like Erik
Lassi, Alan Dague-Greene, Nick Falls, Bill Greene, and John Miller have
contributed so much for so little. And cast members like Baird
Lefter, Eileen Barker, Greg Nemer, Lauren von Engeln, and Maya Grace have
given so willingly of their incredible talents that I'm awed and inspired
by what they do. Hopefully one of these days our films will garner a
large enough following that I can begin to compensate these people as they
deserve to be compensated. Hopefully we're moving in that direction
as half a dozen of our earlier films will soon be available on the Roku
movie channels Sage Films and 24 Hour Movie Channel.