First of all, could you please introduce yourself to those who don't
already know you?
I am German, but did also live and work in the US in Florida and
California. I'm producing thrillers and horror and especially the Unhappy End!
What can you tell us about your
for two years now we are shooting using modern HDV equipment and computers
which improves the technical quality of our films a lot. We are now shooting longer
episodes (45 to 60 min-episodes) and movies instead of the old
around 25 min-episodes. We just
finished the first Unhappy End!
feature length movie Last Laugh,
which is on sale now starring Maja Loom,
Sandra Lüdke and model Micaela Schäfer. It's about a
former ugly duckling schoolgirl
who lures the former beauties of her old school to a
photostudio to torture and kill them.
Speaking of Last Laugh,
does shooting a feature length film differ vastly from shooting
shorts/featurettes? And do you prepare differently for such a shoot?
It differs as far as preparation is concerned. This was an experiment. Déborah
and I decided we just
try to shoot a feature in a way Roger Corman did [Roger
Corman bio - click here],
that is very few shooting days as we had to rent
expensive equipment and a studio. It was more
work to prepare for me. For the actresses I think it
was difficult because we had no extra days for
rehearsals as we did earlier for the first Unhappy End!
episodes with one or two or even more days JUST
for rehearsals. But nowadays with all those soaps
when actors and actresses have to shoot a 25 min-episode
each day, I think they just got used to this
kind of working. Anyway I tried to shoot in a
relaxed way. Déborah did a very good job shooting
the title / opening sequence in Brazil. I wished we
had done more scenes in Brazil, but I hope we
can shoot there more soon. Debby is from Brazil, so
there is a good chance we can shoot there again.
did you get the excellent cast of Last Laugh?
Sandra Lüdke's agent Michael Keiran contacted me and we met and it was
sheer luck - Sandra is
an excellent actress who brought in great ideas. I
love when artists bring in own ideas, it usually
makes a better script the more people come up with
new ideas. I am a big fan of Howard Hawks
and Terence Fisher, who worked this way with some of
their actors, like Dean Martin in Rio Bravo had some great ideas
or Peter Cushing in every movie. John
Wayne helping Dean Martin with the
cigarettes in Rio Bravo was Dean Martin's idea and
the excellent fighting scene at the end of Fisher's Dracula was Peter
Micaela Schäfer I knew from different TV shows and
her work as a model and Carolin we found on a
model site in the internet. I was impressed when I
discovered she had nice ideas for a horror / slasher
movie herself. Carolin also stars in a new Unhappy End!
episode, The Nightmare Girl.
Debby I met earlier through an agent for a project
we never did (so far), but we stayed in touch and
she wanted to co-produce Last Laugh.
you agree with the statement that Last Laugh
is a slasher or survival movie bared to the bone?
Yes, totally. It's a matter of life and death right from the start till
the unhappy ending. But it's also Sandra's movie. She did a terrfic job and
along with Kerstin Orf, Claudia Splitt, Susanna Schwab and Astrid
Dicke, she makes one of the best Unhappy End!
In fact I think she comes very, very close to the
fine acting Anthony Perkins did in Psycho. I love Hitchcock, especially the James Stewart and
Cary Grant movies, but Psycho is
very special, and Sandra came very close. She was so
wonderfully cruel AND vulnerable. All actresses
were absolutely perfect, I think it's really one of the
Ends we ever did. Most episodes I
would say: well we could have done this or that
much better, but with the Last Laugh
totally happy. The locations, the camera operators, Saskia's make up and
acting ... no idea what we
could have done better here, besides as already
mentioned, more scenes in Brazil...
How did you your company,
get started in the first place?
Many years ago Vonny Kesisoglu and I did live in Orlando, Florida one of the most
wonderful places in the
world. I did work for Disney and also wrote PR for another
US company. Everywhere in Florida
are alligators and when we decided to shoot and produce on our own I named it
I also have a comic book story about Mr Al Gator in
development, but we are not doing cartoons,
so I have no idea if we will ever going to do that. It is a
nice story about a young alligator who
wants to rule the world. A philosopher teaches him
everything to achieve this goal.
The company's website,
mySpace, whatever else?
is the ongoing Unhappy End!-series. A few words about this series?
is a thriller-series about very attractive women who get
involved in very bizarre cirmes.
I always loved Alfred Hitchcock especially his TV-series with those
surprise endings. And I
loved bondage scenes with the beautiful heroines like
in TV-series The Fall Guy and The Avengers.
So I looked for a way to do both, and Unhappy End!
started. We always planned to shoot all around the world
and so far we shot in Germany, Los Angeles, France,
Italy, Spain and Brazil and we
next want to go to Canada.
were your main inspirations (if any) for starting the series?
I grew up with the old Republic
serials starring Linda Stirling [Republic
history - click here] and TV series like The Avengers - I loved thriller/adventures but I preferred strong
women like Linda Stirling and Diana Rigg over male heroes. I also liked Stan Lee's
Marvel Comics and
DC with all those beautiful heroines.
It's really a pity what some
film-producers did to Batman,
Superman and Spider-Man. I mean,
every fan knows, Batman's parents were NOT killed by
Batgirl is the daughter of
Police Chief Gordon and not related in anyway to
Alfred, Lois Lane and Superman met in
Metropolis and NOT in Smallville and Mary Jane is NOT
the neigbor's daughter!!! It's so silly.
I feel a bit sad that there was no good superheroine
movie so far - or TV series. I think
Supergirl would work as TV series. Ok there was Wonder
Woman. But the producers did not go far enough ... they did not ignore the original
intention of course, but I think they should
or could have stayed a little bit closer to the
original comic books. Anyway so far it was
the best superheroine series. But my main inspiration
as far as movies and TV are concerned were German crime
series and Republic serials
and The Avengers.
German crime series
because they are amazingly
boring. A typical German crime series would show the
wife of a rich business man being kidnapped
within the first 5 minutes, then for 50 (!!!!!)
minutes they would show a German police officer
walking around and asking questions like"Where have you
been that night...?" - and within the last
5 minutes the heroic police officer would discover the
villains hiding place and free the victim.
I realized then it would be much more suspenseful if the
camera would stay with the kidnapped
woman and her kidnapper (many years later, I watched The Collector starring Samantha Eggar
and Terence Stamp - wow).
When I watched Republic
serials like Jesse James Rides Again
starring Linda Stirling and Clayton Moore, I realized
Republic had another formula. In German
crime series it was 5 % action and 95 % a police officer
walking around and asking questions.
Republic serials you would see Linda Stirling (who was
able to shoot and fight like Emma Peel)
being captured by the villains, bound and gagged, taken
to a steamboat with lots of dynamite,
then Clayton Moore looking for her, fighting with the
villains and rescuing her and it was 50 % of Clayton Moore walking or better running and fighting around
and 50 % Linda Stirling shooting,
fighting and being bound and gagged. I then asked my self,
what would happen if I use another
formula. lets say 20 % of talking and 80 % showing a
beautiful heroine being captured, bound
and gagged, always in deadly peril, menaced by some
(usually) female maniacs. My intention
was to eliminate boredom and bring in more suspense. (I
would also have done car chase scenes,
but it was just too expensive for me and my low budgets).
the Unhappy End!-films have bondage themes. How come?
There are two reasons for all those bondage scenes: 1) I love bondage
scenes. 2) The audience loves
bondage scenes. Indeed the series was not planned ithis way, in fact we shot several
only short bondage scenes or none at all and we got
lots of complaints by people who asked why there
are episodes WITHOUT bondage scenes.
Anyway the first
projects I did when writing for German TV channels SDR, WDR were comedies and shows, nothing
involving bondage at all.
I remember having witnessed several times when I was still in
school that some girls liked to tie up other
girls, and they ALWAYS chose the most beautiful girls
to be tied up. I had the impression that
those girls were kind of jealous and just
enjoyed to have the beautiful victim at their mercy.
There is a nice still of Die
Schulfeindin: The beautiful heroine Angela (Marlene
is bound to a chair and gagged. The two bad girls
Kerstin Orf and Claudia Splitt, look at her,
triumphant, grinning dirty and making fun of their helpless victim. That's exactly what I have witnessed
in school when those girls tied up a very beautiful
On the other hand, an actress once told me,
when she went to school she was always the one who
was tied up, and upon realizing she had been
chosen as victim because she was the most beautiful
girl in class, really liked it. Once an actress
whom I hired to play the bad woman asked me to hire a
certain actress to play her victim and
when I asked her why she wanted to work with that
actress she told me, she will really enjoy to
tie up and gag this "arrogant witch". I'm
actually very surprised how many women are interested
in bondage from the victim's point of view AND from
that of the villainess who just enjoys to
make her (more) beautiful victim suffer. I think that's
a big difference between men and women.
A man punches another guy in the face and that's it.
A woman really loves to watch her victim
suffer a long, long time.
few words about your actresses and actors, and is it hard to get people to
star in bondage-themed films?
I do not consider Unhappy End!
as bondage films. What we are doing in Unhappy End!
are thrillers and
horror involving lots of bondage scenes. Bondage indeed was a main
part of thrillers since silent movie serials à la Perils of
Pauline, then Republic's Perils
of Nyoka and The Tiger Woman [Republic
history - click here] ... all the US TV-series until today use
Diana Rigg and Stephanie Powers were bound and gagged in almost every
episode of Avengers and Girl from UNCLE, and in recent series like
Lost World or movies like Hostel 2 and Timber Falls,
the heroines are captured and bound and gagged all the time. There are several actresses
in movie history from Maureen O'Hara to Cameron Diaz who played bondage
scenes again and again, and Naomi Watts just was in Funny Bones bound and
gagged almost the whole movie AND she did produce it.
I think bondage was never out of style from John Willie, Bettie Page and
Irving Klaw till today. I do not like movies with lots of blood, I
prefer this old fashioned things like Emma Peel tied to tracks in The Gravediggers episode when the train comes closer and
closer. That's what I'm doing in Unhappy End!. One actress is the
beautiful heroine in deadly peril and the other bad girl plays the part
of the menacing locomotive. I really like that. The actresses are very
different. Some just see it as a job playing a victim and some insist
being tied up really tight to react better. We are working with
really good models and actresses from mainstream TV shows,
which is very important. I think most of the actresses we work with
consider Unhappy End!
thrillers with bondage scenes, like myself. Among the
actresses were Katja Bienert [Katja
Bienert interview - click here], who was in many
series and a lot of international movies, Marlene Marlow, who starred in
the ZDF series Die Rettungsflieger,
Bettina Müller who was a SAT 1 achorwoman and later had her own tv
show, Blitz, Magdalena Kowalczyk who was a member of the RTL Freitag
Nacht News cast, Amanda Carrier, a Los Angeles Model and actress
who also hosts a sports show on TV, and many other actresses and beautiful
models who had guest parts or starring parts in German soaps or prime
time series like Tatort.
A few words about Katja Bienert
[Katja Bienert interview -
click here], who pops up in many of your movies, and has become your business
partner - and who was of course a renowned actress and former erotic star prior
to hooking up with you?
Katja was in all the German TV series like Derrick and Praxis
and she prefers a quiet
life like myself. For many years now she has worked outside
Germany with big international companies.
She shot with Mario Kassar, Sylvester Stallone, Anthony
Hopkins all over the world, she shot
movies and TV in Portugal, Spain, South Africa, she
produces TV-shows and documentaries in
Germany and strange places like Benin, Africa. She wrote
scripts and starred in
a movie in Spain with Maria Gracia Cuccinotta, all during the last
couple of years, but practically noone in Germany knows about this. She did co-produce several
and it's just fun because what
we do is really independent. Katja calls me and says "I'm
just shooting in Italy, it's wonderful, come
here and let's shoot an Unhappy End!
episode", and we fly there and
just do it, it's great. If you would like
to set something like that up with a TV-network, it
would take two or three
years from idea to shooting, so I really like to work this
We had many well-known actresses in Unhappy End!,
they would not work with us if they would consider Unhappy End!
as bondage. I think Unhappy End!
something singular which does not fit in existing designs, a bit like like
or The Muppet Show.
Katja Bienert has also made her
directorial debut within the Unhappy End!
series (episode Immer Vollmond/Full Moon). How does her episode differ from your films?
Immer Vollmond was shot many years ago at a time when we planned to do
everything in Unhappy End!, comedy, Fantasy, horror, thriller, so
actually it fitted in this concept. Later we moved more towards thriller
and horror, which is easier to shoot than comedy. But Katja also wrote the
script, so she can explain this better [Katja
Bienert interview - click here].
personal favourites within the Unhappy End!
series, and why?
Episode 3: Die Rivalin - Technically one of the best and Katja Bienert
was in it. Susanna Schwab was
a great villainess. It's episode 3 in the
series but it was the first to be shot. This started all ...
Episode 9: Nachtschatten - One
of the best stories, great cast and very good acting from Astrid Dicke
and Jean Bork
The Last Laugh
movie - Technically one of the best we ever did. Sandra Lüdke is
hilarious as the bad girl and her victims all were great. Maja Loom co-produced and did a perfect job. It was all fun.
Schulfeindin - Arguably technically one
of the worst epidsodes we ever shot (my fault), but acting
and script were absolutely great. A lot of
people wrote me Die
is their favorite episode.
Marlene Marlow was the perfect heroine looking
as beautiful as Grace Kelly or Veronica Lake, and
Kerstin Orf and Claudia Splitt were terrific as
the two mad girls, they were really scary. I hope I can
do one day a remake which is technically
better, but it will be difficult to find actresses who could
replace the original cast.
future episodes of the series lined up?
We just have
finished the first Unhappy End!
movie Last Laugh
with Maja Loom and model Micaela Schäfer, and several other episodes like Shock
Treatment and The Halloweenies are on sale now.
episode, The 7 Nightmares Girl is in post production and last year we
shot (but have not released yet) an international episode A Bouquet for a
Kill, starring and directed by Lydie Denier.
We are planning
new episodes the next two years in England, Germany, USA and Canada.
outside of Unhappy End!?
I wrote a vampire series and a crime series, no idea if we can sell it,
it's too expensive to produce for me,
and I'm busy with Unhappy End!
for at least two more years.
What can you tell us about
your life before Unhappy End!?
I tried to overthrow the government, but as the people here are too
stupid to recognize that I'm the
only rightful successor of our beloved Kaiser
Wilhelm, I decided to leave politics and just shoot Unhappy End!.
As an independent
filmmaker, what can you tell us about the German independent scene?
Actually, I know some directors and producers, but I'm not really
involved in the German independent
scene. I'm more in touch with producers in the
US, Canada and some other countries.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
and writers who have influenced you?
Ernst Lubitsch, Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder, Terence Fisher, Curt Goetz
and of course Alfred Hitchcock.
kind of films, and your favourite movies?
I love the old Warner
Brothers-, RKO- and MGM-musicals,
42nd Street, Fred Astarie, Gene Kelly,
Maurice Chevalier. Some of my favorite films:
Heaven Can Wait (Lubitsch), Ariane (Billy Wilder), Charade,
North By Nortwest, Dracula (Terence
Fisher), Frankenstein Must be Destroyed,
Rio Bravo, El Dorado, Hatari!, Mr Hobbs Takes a Vacation,
Das Haus in Montevideo, Bel Ami,
Napoleon ist an allem Schuld, Singing in the Rain, Battleflag.
Favorite TV series: I Dream of Jeannie, The Muppet
And some films
you really deplore?
That's a really difficult question as I stop watching movies if they
are boring. I recently
watched a French movie starring Carole Bouqet
as a lawyer. I am a fan of hers and
the movie started hilarious - let's say the
first 5 minutes - and then the rest was so silly
and boring, I really felt cheated. The first 5
minutes promised real fun but then it was
soooooooooo boring and stupid.
Thanks for the