Your new movie Nobody Gets Out Alive (aka Punishment)- in a few words, what is it
The movie is my big thanks to the 70's and 80's slasher horror genre.
It's about a group of kids that escape their troubled lives and go camping
for the weekend until a revenge-seeking madman begins chasing and cutting
With Nobody Gets Out Alive, you intend to pay
hommage to the horror movies of the 1970's and 1980's - what do you find
so appealing about these films, and some movies that have especially influenced
Nobody Gets Out Alive?
I love what those films were.
It's hard to explain. The graininess, the overall quality had this totally
different vibe about them than the slasher flicks that come out nowadays.
It's more than likely because of everything being filmed digitally. It
doesn't give that same feel. I love that raw gritty feel. With Nobody Gets Out Alive I made
sure we put grain over the whole movie and really just sink us back to
that time frame. The last movie that did that old school feel to me was
Adam Green's Hatchet. The movie mainly pays thanks to
Friday The 13th Part 3, The
Prowler, Black Christmas
(1974), and Hatchet. It's funny cause I'm
only 25 years old and I should be evolving with the new age of technology
but it does nothing for me. I love that old school feel.
Other sources of inspiration when writing
Nobody Gets Out Alive?
I always had the idea of Nobody Gets Out Alive
because of the love of horror movies, I had this killer but didn't really
have a motive for him. It wasn't until my dad passed away when I was 17
years old from a freak accident that I was like... ya know, what if you had
everything and lost everything? So I built more of a story to the killer,
Hunter Isth. If I had the money to make Nobody Gets Out Alive to be a 2 hour flick, I
would've because there's so much back story I want to tell on this
character. Let's hope people dig this one to get a sequel going.
As far as I know, your script was mentored
by Victor Miller, writer of the original Friday
the 13th. You just have to elaborate on that for a bit, and how
did you enlist his assistance to begin with?
A close friend
of mine is good friends with Victor and it was years where I would bug for
Miller's email to just send him my idea and see what he thought of it. So
I finally got the email address and spoke with him, introduced myself,
then sent the script. He got back to me about a week later and really
enjoyed it. He caught onto some of the Friday
the 13th references, it was cool. He
gave me a few notes on what I should change and fix up because the ending
was completely different and I really want to thank him for making me
change it because now it leads up to a much bigger sequel idea.
you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?
wanted it to be as authentic as a movie from the 70's and 80's horror
flick could be but take place during present day.
movies are rather well-known for their scenes of explicit gore and
violence. So what can you tell us about the gore effects in your movie,
and in terms of violence, was there ever a line you refused to cross?
is one thing that I'm kind of bummed about... there's a sex scene with no
nudity. There's no nudity in the flick. I'm pissed off about that but
contracts are contracts with actors and this was pointed out until the day
of shooting the scene. Then we were supposed to have the opening party
scene have like six naked chicks acting reckless but they never showed.
It's hard to bring a girl on board and be like... hey you need to show your
breasts and act like a buffoon!
Now for the violence, nope... I got
everything I wanted. Lauren Palmer did a great job. It could have been
bloodier too but everyone cringes during the SFX sequences and what we did
was what we did. It only leaves the second one to be gorier and more
bloody! The whole thought of violence in movies to me is just fun. When
people go see a comedy they intend to laugh. When people see a horror
flick, they're expecting a blood bath, they're expecting blood. When
people blame the movies for violence it just bores me. A movie can't kill
someone. The only thought in my head when watching a horror movie is
eating popcorn, not killing someone. There was a movie I watched and I was
like wow that was nuts and uncalled for but that's the movie and that's
the director's choice and I respect that.
can you tell us about your key cast, and what made these people perfect
for their roles?
I took casting way crazy. I was really
specific because each character has their own thing. Ya got the goof, the
slut, the jock, the serious one all that stuff. But these characters have
a little bit more to them, the two main actresses - their characters have
some things going on in their life that reflect with the killer's
feelings. Everyone played their parts the best though. I'm not going to
mention favorites or anything but everyone did what they were supposed to
do just fine.
What can you tell us about the shoot as
such, and the on-set atmosphere?
It was cold! We filmed in
South Jersey from November 1 - 14. 12 days with a day off each week. The
first week we shot all day stuff and it was fine but the second week we
shot all night stuff and wow it was cold outside! We would shoot for 17-20
hours a day. Most people got sleep besides some of the crew, my producer,
and myself. Next flick will take place when its perfect out, haha.
As far as I know, the
film is only about to be released. So what can you tell us about critical
reception of Nobody Gets Out Alive so far?
So far it
has been retrieved greatly. We won two best feature awards, Brian
Gallagher who plays the villain, Hunter Isth, won a best actor award, and
I took home a best director award. All from different film festivals. A
lot of people are understanding what I did with the throwback style. A lot
of people love the comedy the first half of the movie and a lot of people
love the horror in the second half of the flick. I never got a straight -
"this movie sucks"-type comment. Mixed reviewed but mainly all
positive. The best is the YouTube critics on the trailer, they crack me
up. They're the only ones who badmouth the movie straight up and they
haven't seen the movie.
Let's go back
to the beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in the
first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
love of movies got me into wanting to make movies. I love story telling.
When I was in kindergarten and first grade I would write my own stories
and read them to the class. Advanced to a handheld camera and make skits
with my friends. Took it more seriously and made shorts with my friends.
In high school I got expelled because my film study teacher knew I was
taking it seriously and asked me to make a short a film festival coming
up. I did. Turned it in and later that day got a call to my guidance
counselor and walked into a room with two cops, all the principals, and
other people. They were expelling me because the video I turned in was
really violent (my brother who played the main character shoots himself at
the end) and they said the video was too ahead of my time. They called my
mom and informed her and she was like "yeah, I made the special
effects." They got so mad because that school was out to expel me for
something and this was it. But after arguing about it they let me back in.
It was bullshit. I hated school. The only reason I stayed was because me
and my dad had a pact to be the only graduates in the household, haha. I
stayed too because I wanted to go to film school. I couldn't afford film
school though. I couldn't get financial aide because they said my dad
makes too much money. I was confused and would only reply with "my dad's dead." My family has a funny humor. But I'm extremely happy I
didn't go to college. I feel like I would've wasted four years of some
dude telling me how to make a movie and that's not interesting to me. I'd
rather take the chance, put my all into it, and go for it. So instead of
going to college, I went to movies. Bonus features and making ofs are
great. When I stepped on set the first day of Nobody Gets Out Alive I had no clue what I
was doing. I'd think back to some film documentaries and stuff. I knew the
terms of things and stuff but being on set and getting that experience was
the best learning I could have ever asked for. If I went to college I know
for a fact that I wouldn't know as much of business and filmmaking that I
do now. It's nuts. I'm not saying to not go to college but anything artsy
you don't need college. You can't be taught how to be artistic. In my
first feature The Pendant - you just have to talk about that one
for a bit?
Oh man, where'd you dig this up? The Pendant was
this movie my cousin (producer Deven Lobascio) and I made completely on
our own. Really testing ourselves. The story was cool but the movie
sucked. We screened it at a local theater, sold out 187 seats in 45 min
and had to turn away 200 people. People seemed to like it but we hate it.
But with that experience and the little buzz we got talked up my cousin
and I turned to each other and were like, well let's try to make something
good with a budget. We talk about that flick all the time though, we want
to redo it with a budget and have it take place in the 40's.
Any other films of yours you'd like to talk
about, any future projects?
I don't have the go ahead
really to talk about the next flick yet. I've been writing for the past
two years and getting Nobody Gets Out Alive taken care of, promoting and such. It's like a
kid to me at this point... I have a two year old, haha. But the next movie
is going to be great and I really can't wait to start shooting. We have
some great actors lined up and the score might even be done by one of my
favorite bands' drummer. It's not strictly horror though... and saying
horror action is cheesy sounding... but it's got horror, action, and
definitely a huge slap of sci-fi on there. I always tell myself that that
Pendant project was the high school movie, Nobody Gets Out Alive is the college movie, and
the next one is going to be my first real legit movie. Always learning.
How would you describe
yourself as a director? And filmmakers who inspire you?
Haha, I have my influences: Edgar Wright, Quentin Tarantino, Robert
Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Stanley Kubrick... I think every film geek will say
those names but it's true. I dig Eli Roth, I dig Judd Apatow, I dig Rob
Zombie... I'm all over the place. I like to try different things though and
I did that with Nobody Gets Out Alive. But I like to keep things fresh, I'm highly
influenced by music so that will always take part in the movies.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Black Christmas (1974),
(1981), Hot Fuzz, That Thing You
Do, Uncle Buck, A Clockwork Orange, Jaws... my list frequently changes.
... and of course, films you really
The new Texas Chainsaw was trash. I'd like to make
a sequel to that and do it right. Leatherface is such a bad ass but I feel
they made him into a joke in that flick. I've seen worse though. I can't
think of one of the top of my head. I try not to remember, haha!
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
I'm on twitter too: www.twitter.com/jayjaymay
- come chat!
Anything else you are dying to mention that I have
merely forgotten to ask?
If you have a dream, go for it. If
you put your mind to something you can do anything. That goes for anything
too. I didn't have much but I kept bugging the people I wanted to bug and
kept pushing and shoving and I think I'm making out okay.
Thanks for the interview!