You have recently directed two "interactive horror movie
Ella Mental's Mad Lab Picture Show. First of all, please explain
the "interactive horror movie game"-concept for a bit!
Well, they are basically Choose Your Own Adventure-games. Except you
can't die. No matter what choices you make when prompted you will still
get and 80-90min movie. But you will see it from different points of view
based on the character- and the situation-preferences chosen by the
how does writing and directing one of these movie games differ from doing
a regular movie, and are you sometimes afraid you'll simply lose yourself
in the complexities of the multi-path plotline?
exciting and overwhelming. See below picture of the paths of FearFighter. This was a board I used to see each segment and how it played
out. This took a very long time to figure out. But once that math was
done, I knew no matter how they moved through the game they would get the
same storyline within reason and still keep moving along the story. As for
the script, the story itself leaves it to an episodic structure which was
a perfect fit for the game. That helped a lot going by segment to segment.
you get hooked up with the movie game-concept in the first place - and
having above two under the belt, could you ever be tempted to do any more?
was approached by the company Flicksphere with the idea. They
needed a couple films to launch their site. And I was just crazy enough to
do it. And if the site is successful, I would love to do another one. I
love all forms of story telling. And to have one so new to me, I wanna
go into more detail on FearFighter
first - in a few words, what is it about?
based on my first feature film I shot when I was 15. The concept being
there is a dimension where every fear thought up takes life and lives in
its own little world. There is a hierarchy that controls them, but feeds
them as well. Pulling in people from our world to do so. This story is
about some guys that lose their friends to the world and have to go in to
get them out!
To me at
seems like an hommage to 1980's low budget horror cinema - at all what you
intended, and your (other) sources of inspiration for
much so. It helps that the first draft of the film was written during that
time period. Also, films I love of that nature like Fright Night, Monster
Squad, Waxwork 2, and many many more influenced me as a kid, a
and as a writer. I love that era and style of film. And most of my work is
a love letter as such.
features about every monster in the book in at least one short sequence -
so which scenes and monsters did you enjoy to shoot the most?
werewolves are my favorite monster by far. And this flick has a wolfman! Quick as it may be, it takes the lead.
talk about your principal cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
mostly. Not only did they look and feel like the type of characters I
wrote back in the High School Days, but they are so strong as actors they
can handle and do anything I could throw at them. Bottom line. They make
me look good.
can you tell us about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?
shot over three months I believe. Taking on basically a segment every
shoot. It was a long road, since we were basically making a 6 hour movie.
But over the years, most of these guys have become friends working on many
projects together. So fun was key for us. Kinda made the entire production
an adventure with a great crew.
Ella Mental's Mad Lab Picture Show - why a horror host show,
especially considering the multipath-nature of your movie games?
Flicksphere needed a couple games to start. And production on a horror
host is a pretty inexpensive and easy way to go. That's why so many
stations did it as fillers on their networks. So I thought why not? As a
writer I felt turning the horror hosting-world on a tilt would be epic!
And I am very proud of the turn-out.
talk about Dr. Ella Mental herself for a bit: What inspired her creation,
and what can you tell us about the actress who plays her, Mariah Johnson
Yes. Mariah is my wife and the head of all
of my makeup FX. We are kinda a team. The character Ella Mental was made
up to host the second season of Spade, a fan interactive web series I was
working on at the time. And we liked her so much, we gave her her own
show. Well deserved and is now one of Darkstone's most popular creations!
You of course also have to talk about
the movies Dr. Ella shows, Night
of the Living Dead and The
Satanic Rites of Dracula, for a bit, and why those?
Domain to start. Free. Night
of the Living Dead being the most popular public domain horror
film of all time, and The
Satanic Rites of Dracula because I am a HUGE Hammer film fan. It was
cool to get that one out there and in the mix!
Ella Mental's Mad Lab Picture Show looks like it was heaps of fun
to film - so do talk about the shoot for a bit, and were all of the skits
scripted actually, or some of them made up as you went along?
there wasn't much ad-lib in this production. It was a script hammered out
by myself and author Matthew Warner. The only exception is Jarod Kearney
(Mr. Budderbottom). We never knew what the hell he was gonna say. Still
don't know what he said. Unlike FearFighter, we shot this entire thing in
4 days. It would have been 3, but I was sick throughout the production.
we see the return of Dr. Ella Mental anytime soon (or at all even)?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
She hosted the fan interactive series Bath Salts, which just came to a
close. But for Christmas Eve, we plan on her hosting a full film on YouTube! Very excited about this!
future projects you'd like to share?
We have a very
successful web series on YouTube right now entitled Spooky Tales as well
as an epic feature entitled Plan 9 (remake of Plan 9 From Outer
games' website, Facebook, whatever else?
be able to find everything goody like through there!)
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I have the power of flight.
for the interview!
Thanks so much for having me on your site!