Your new movie The
Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man - in a few words, what is it
Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man is a fictitious, yet historically
accurate account of when American serial killer John
Wayne Gacy met Dean
Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man being about real life serial
Wayne Gacy and Dean
Corll - what fascinated you about these two men exactly, and did
you do any in-depth research on them prior to writing your script?
John Gacy and Dean Corll are particularly interesting serial killers
because despite their horrific past-times of seducing torturing and
murdering teenage boys, they were both incredibly well connected
and well liked in their respective communities. Gacy from Chicago was a
prominent business man who used to dress up as Pogo the Clown and
entertain children at charity events. Dean Corll from Texas owned a
candy factory and was known to give away free candy to neighborhood
children. Dean Corll was particularly interesting because he befriended
two teenage outcasts (David Brooks and Wayne Henley) and paid them
$200 each for every teenage boy they brought to him to kill.
Eventually they participated in some of the crimes and helped Corll
dispose of the victims.
There is a lot of information about these killers out there. In addition
there have been multiple films and documentaries about them. But no one
had dared to depict the murders in any sort of detail or realism.
Nor, in my opinion, has anyone attempted to depict them in the way we do
in our film. By utilizing many actual quotes and situations (as
described in interviews and court records) we have managed to weave a
fictitious story laced with uncanny and disturbing factual detail.
sources of inspiration when writing The
Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man?
Since an early age I have been interested in horror and intrigued
with the subject of sociopaths and serial killers. If you think
about it, serial killers are TRULY the stuff of horror. More so because,
unlike vampires, zombies, werewolves, and other inhabitants of horror
folklore, serial killers are REAL, and walk the earth in surprisingly
great numbers. Some psychologists believe as many as 1-2% of the world
population demonstrate sociopathic behavior. Although not all sociopaths
are serial killers, the most conservative statistics indicate there
may be as many as 50 active serial killers prowling the streets of
the United States at any given time - all potentially performing
unspeakably horrific murders of innocent men, women and children. As a film maker,
I have always been particularly interested in serial
killers that target men and boys, perhaps because it shatters the
stereotype of the "innocent, helpless female victim" that has
monopolized horror films for years.
What can you
tell us about your co-writer (and star) Edward X. Young, and about your
collaboration during the writing process?
Edward X Young has been my friend and filmmaking colleague for years.
Through the years we have often talked about doing a film about serial
killer Dean Corll. Ed, being from Texas himself, recalls his own
experience as a teenager and learning about the murders committed by
Dean Corll. He himself, being an outgoing attractive teenager, could have
easily fallen victim to Dean Corll's perversities. Perhaps that is why
Ed had often discussed his longing to play the serial killer in a film.
Several years ago I had developed a short story involving the meeting of
Dean Corll and John Gacy. Although it never actually happened, it is
believed that some of John Gacy crimes may have been inspired by Dean
Corll, and it is theoretically possible they COULD have met around 1972,
just prior to Corll's shooting death by one of his accomplices in August
of 1973. Anyway, initially the story was sort of a three act short,
but after hours, actually months, and even years of discussion, we
eventually managed to expand the story to feature length. I think
in the end, Edward truly embellished the character of Dean Corll. He
gave the character his own unique spin, but I do not think anyone could
have surpassed Ed's enthusiasm nor the perverted nuances he managed
to infuse in his portrayal. Equally so, Jeremy Woodworth, also our good
friend, and known John Gacy/Pogo the Clown impersonator at local
horror conventions, could not have been better cast as John Gacy.
Do talk about
Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man's approach to horror!
Because of the known social popularity of these men, it is assumed
they were likeable people to be around.
They were probably generous, and funny, and genuinely fun. We tried to
portray that in their on-screen personalities. In addition, we
asked ourselves, if these personalities with so much in common were
to meet, what would they discuss. Well, you or I might discuss film, or
the arts, what do you think they would discuss. Given their respective
heinous perversities, I am sure their discussions would be nothing less
than vile and repulsive. So we tried to portray that as well. In
addition we tried to use the actual quotes of these men (derived from
court records and interviews) when ever possible. Regarding their crimes
-- we strived for realism whenever possible.
Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man is also a darkly funny movie - so
what can you tell us about your film's brand of comedy?
I think given my above comments regarding the presumed likeable
personalities of these killers combined with their utterly perverted
crimes easily sets the stage for some dark humor. It was never my
intention to make light of the real crimes that transpired nor to be
disrespectful to the actual victims of those crimes. As a filmmaker it
was merely my intention to re-tell a story of
their crimes that would enlighten, entertain, and appropriately
disturb people watching it. Based on people's initial reactions, I
believe we succeeded. Many people thought the movie was very funny. But
many found it overly offensive.
can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
In telling this story, I tried
to take a natural approach to directing. I did have an initial vision of
Typically what was written in
the final script was my vision. But I tried to allow the actors to
embellish their characters and give them true personalities. I often
try to cast actors in roles similar to their real personalities. In
addition, especially in this film, I encouraged actors to research the
crimes, and if appropriate, the actual personalities, killer or victim,
they were depicting. If they did their jobs, and were really into
it, then directing them would be easy. It became more of a job of
blocking and/or calling shots vs directing the actor's actions. That was
at least the way I tried to work this picture. It seemed to work.
Do talk about your key cast, and why exactly these
for the main characters of Gacy and Corll, the movie was almost
exclusively cast through NY Backstage web site. I posted a casting call
describing the project and got literally hundreds of submissions. I then
requested the ones I liked to submit video taped audition re-enacting some
of the scenes. That request tends to eliminate all but the most
interested applicants. Then I make a point of speaking to each of
the actors who submits a video. Out of them, I picked those who were
really enthused about the movie and understood all of the required
emotional and visual demands. As it turned out, most
of the actors I picked did considerable research on the crimes and/or
their specific characters. The actors that played David Brooks and Wayne
Henley (Seth Leighton Hale and Eric Fleising), the infamous teenage
accomplices of Dean Corll, thoroughly researched their characters by
reading and viewing video tapes of their respective interviews.
This resulted in unprecedented realism in every actor's portrayal.
A few words about the shoot as such, and the
To me as a filmmaker, it's all about having fun. Of course we are all
pretty serious about what we are doing, especially me, I suppose, thus must
pay close attention to the schedule and the scenes at hand. Being low
budget, I need to accomplish what I must accomplish that day no
matter how long it takes. But on the other hand, if it's not fun, I won't
do it. As you know a lot of the material in this movie is
pretty intense, and some of it downright disturbing. So when we are
taking on a tough scene, everyone must get into character as
is appropriate. But after "cut" is called, there's typically a
lot of laughing and joking going on.
The $64-question of course, where can
your movie be seen?
As of my writing this, there are no scheduled screenings of the film.
But I believe that will soon change. We are slated to screen in NYC
in the spring - date TBA. In addition, I strongly anticipate the movie
will screen at various film festivals and select screenings throughout
the country. It is unlikely the movie will be available for purchase
either digitally or on DVD until late this year or early 2020. If you
want to see the movie, you'll have to stay tuned and look out for local
screenings as will be announced through social media.
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of The
Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man?
As of this writing, the film
has screened twice. The first time was a "pre-premiere sneak
peak" at midnight in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Reels of the Dead
film festival as part of the Days of the Dead horror convention. And the
second was our official cast, crew and special guests premiere in
Chatham, New Jersey. It has also been reviewed a few times.
has been mixed. Mostly good I think. What I would say
"appropriate" for a movie of this nature. By appropriate I
mean most people find it funny, disturbing, offensive, realistic, and at
the very least entertaining.
projects you'd like to share?
First and foremost, we are working on a sequel to The
Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man which
will introduce another true life American serial killer to the mix. One
who is perhaps even more perverted and brutal and bloody than Gacy and
Corll combined. I know, that may sound impossible. More on this soon, I
Meanwhile I'll be finishing a project I started about a year ago called Sins,
about a psychopathic priest
(I just love psychopaths!). The movie also addresses some of the topical
controversy surrounding the Church these days. The movie will
feature lots of perversion as well as murder.
Besides that, I am constantly working on short films, film essays, and
character studies involving my "fictional" insane asylum
The Lawrence Psychiatric Institute.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal education on
I remember sitting in a car in a drive in movie (remember those?) as
a teenager with my best friend watching a double feature of Night of
the Living Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre and
I would love to make a horror movie some day." Ten years later I
made my first shot-on-video movie: Psycho Sisters, which I
co-directed with Gary Whitson [Gary
Whitson interview - click here] of W.A.V.E. Productions. With no formal
film making education or training I would go on to produce or
direct a dozens of features and shorts using common sense
methods which I feel actually worked to my advantage in creating some
unique and different if not twisted films.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to The
Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man?
My first film was SOV Psycho Sisters (1995), which, a few years
later (1998) I remade on 16mm film with producer Mike Raso [Michael
Raso interview - click here]. Other
films I produced include DUCK! The Carbine High Massacre (1999)
(co-produced with William Hellfire [William
Hellfire interview - click here] and Joey Smack as Todd Russell). I
subsequently directed Dead Students Society (2000),
Erotic Mirror (2002), BEEF: You Are What You Eat (2007)
(2009), Creepy Clowns: The Lunatic'ler (2016), and Chad's
Dental Nightmare (2017) as well as numerous short film productions.
indie movies for more than 20 years now, how has the indie film world
changed over time from your point of view? And how have you changed as a
As an filmmaker and artist, I think the technology has definitely
changed: digital vs video tape.
Cameras are more accessible.
And with that there are a lot more "filmmakers" out there. That's why I constantly aspire to make more "films"
- I mean movies actually shot on film, as I'm sure do most filmmakers.
But the biggest change, I think, is in terms of distribution. It's much
tougher these days. In the "old days" Netflix would often pick
up low budget indie projects. In addition distributors would pay actual
money, sometimes in the tens of thousands of Dollars to distribute a low
budget indie film. No more. More often than not, a distributor will ask
the filmmaker to pay THEM for the privilege (?) of distributing their
film. Of course there is always hope that a film unique and different
enough will get noticed and picked up big time as was The Blair
Witch Project and Paranormal Activity.
Recently I have figured out a way to generate decent income
self-distributing films online through digital streaming and/or digital
But ultimately, I make films because I need to. I need to fulfill my
desire to tell stories and affect people's emotions. I've always tried
to do that, first through art, then music, and now through film.
How would you describe yourself as a director?
I guess I have to say I'm pretty laid back. I do it mainly because it's
fun, and fulfilling.
I love the whole process: Thinking of an idea, then developing it into a
story. Then writing a script and finding actors to play the parts. Then
making it happen by filming it, then editing it, then ultimately
screening the finished project. To me it's all fun. Of course, it takes
some degree of determination and talent, I suppose, to make it happen.
But to me, if I find the right cast and crew, who are dedicated to the
project, and who at least in part share my passion, it's easy to make it
happen. Directing becomes more about pulling it all together than
telling people what to do.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Hitchcock - because he seems so weird and didn't seem to care about what
others around him were doing, especially in terms of his unique brand of
Your favourite movies?
The original Frankenstein -
did you notice there is no music in that
film? It's images alone carry it.
Night of the Living Dead - nice twisted ending.
The Exorcist - wow, good horror. A brilliantly and almost perfectly
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Hmm... I'd like to think that every film has some redeeming quality.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying to tell us that I have merely forgotten to
Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed!
for the interview!