Your upcoming film Carny Girls - in a few word, what's it
going to be about?
Cute sisters get abducted by evil carnies.
What were your inspirations when
writing Carny Girls?
Edward D. Wood jr's rare adult novels Sideshow Siren and Mary-Go-Round
[Ed Wood bio - click here]. Also the lost film
(1970) I had the privilege of seeing a trailer for.
Carnival and circus themes
seem to pop up in your movie time and again, including of course your
documentary Meet the Freaks at Dreamland - would you care to
I have an appreciation for circus arts. I
learned how to ride a unicycle at 14 with intent to run away with the
circus. There's a dark, mad atmosphere that comes with vintage sideshow
themes that excite me.
What can you tell us about your film's
intended look and feel?
That depends on the final budget, I could make it quick and dirty or
very high-end. I'd like to make it very carefully to effectively produce
an authentic carnival film, depicting carnies and carny lifestyles
appropriately. It will be a visual feast of colors, rust, and savagery.
A few words about Carny Girls'
approach to horror (as in atmosphere vs. all-out gore, suspense vs. sudden
shocks and the like)?
It seems to me that it's a
horror-adventure film or survival horror, wherein these girls fight to
free themselves from the confines of the freak show. There's torture
elements and shock moments for sure, but in the current draft there is no
over-the-top gore effects, but that could always change.
Anything you can tell us about
your key cast and crew yet, and why exactly these people?
going to be hard to cast the perfect slang South talkin' sisters, who can
portray lovable white trash and also have very attractive bodies, which
will need to be shown in the nude to tell this story. I'd like Bill Oberst
jr to play Tender Wilson [Bill
Oberst jr interview - click here], the crooked freak show owner, but
there's a chance I might turn that role into a woman instead, and give
Bill a different part. My unpredictable friend Andy Dick might have a role
too, as a lewd ride operator.
your film is set at a carnival, you just have to talk about your intended
location for a bit!
I attended some local carnivals for
inspiration and also to track down the owners. I met one and he seemed to
be willing to lend his rides and outfit for filming. He also wanted a
part, which concerned me because he wasn't an actor and spoke little
English. I wanted his balloon board worker more, a tough ex-con type (felons get jobs at carnivals because they typically don't do background
checks). I have been talking with John Strong, owner of the world's
biggest sideshow, and he is excited and willing to let us use his circus
if we're willing to travel to his lot in Texas.
As far as I know, Carny Girls
is presently still in its fundraising stages - so what can you tell us
about your fundraising campaign?
The majority of funding
will hopefully come from private investors but the public campaign is
there for additional funds and exposure. It would be great to have many
people involved, and make a movie that's against the norm.
Once your funds are
raised, how do you plan to proceed, and any idea when and where the film
might be released yet (though I know it might be waaay too early to ask)?
make movies fast so I think it will be arrive sooner than later.
future projects beyond Carny Girls?
I have 17 other
projects in various states of development, but
Ballerina Massacre is
coming up, a very gory blood bath within a classical ballet.
What got you
into filmmaking to begin with, and did your receive any formal training on
I made skateboarding videos at 15 and sold
them at school on VHS for five dollars. I took photography in eighth grade
and learned about exposure, aperture, contrast and depth of field. I
dropped in eleventh grade and never had any other schooling at an
institution. I'm not sure if filmmaking is something you can teach/learn
effectively at college and I'm glad I decided not to continue traditional
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Carny Girls, and your evolution as a director?
feature debut was Climb It, Tarzan!, a 1960's grindhouse comedy with an
all-female cast. I then made another 60s romp called 8 Reels of Sewage,
which some people consider my best work of fiction. I then made a transition
into horror with Slink, a critically acclaimed film that "walks the
hire-wire between horror and dark comedy" as one critic put it. It
got distribution on Time Warner Cable. I then wrote Teachers' Day/After
School Massacre in five
days and shot it in six. I think it's a fun slasher film beautifully
photographed and colored by cinematographer Tim McCombe. I revisited
my 1960's fascination with Big Hair, Long Lashes, which is yet to be
revealed, preserved in a time capsule until 2060. I then made Punkettes,
which is a fun film about a girl band. It's premiering in a few days at
the Galactic Film Festival, and has been nominated for two awards. I also
just wrapped a new screwball murder mystery comedy called Club
starring Bouvier, with big news coming about that. Hopefully Carny Girls
will be next, the 9th feature in my filmography.
movies often have a retro vibe to them - why, how do you achieve this, and
what are the challenges here?
Items that are manufactured
today usually aren't screen-worthy. Plastic Cars, Plastic Blinds, Plastic
Mailboxes, Plastic Houses, etc. The simplicity and organic compounds of
60's mod fashion and decor are visually refreshing and comfortable to look
at. It surprises me when people have no to little knowledge of this era.
To most, the 60's were a hippie haven, and the classy side has been mostly
forgotten. I am finally admitting in this interview that... I am a
vintage rotary telephone fetishist, and enjoy filming scenes with women
talking on them. Challenges to making a period film on a modest budget are
usually avoiding non-period props/architecture in your frame. Some items
might surprise you, like the time when right before a scene the landlord
character told me manila envelopes weren't invented until the seventies.
How would you describe
yourself as a director?
Prince of Horror Erotica, Sultan of
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Wishman, Edward D. Wood jr
[Ed Wood bio - click here], Jess Franco, Radley Metzger, Jean Rollin, Joe
Sarno, Barry Mahon, Jack Hill, Bob Cresse, David F. Friedman, Harry Novak,
Tom Shadyac, Wes Craven, Tod Browning.
Freak, Nude on the
Moon, Freaks, Carny,
Slumber Party Massacre-trilogy, The Scum of the
Earth, Big Bird
Cage, Orgy of the
Dead, Love Camp,
... and of course, films you really
I'd rather not try to conjure up the garbage
studio films I've seen recently. A lot of recent indie horror is painful
to watch too. They look very similar to one another, thinking HD
cameras will save them.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, IndieGoGo,
Anything else you are dying to mention
and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Teachers' Day is now on
DVD and is coming out On Demand this fall. I'm also in negotiations of
re-releasing some vintage films through my company, Frolic Pictures. I'm
also currently writing a book, 'Cinematic Secrets: The New Handbook for
Profitable Independent Filmmaking' or 'How I Learned to Stop Worrying and
Love the B-Movie'.
Thanks for the