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An Interview with Walter Ruether a.k.a. Scarlet Fry and Laurence Holloway on Nightmare Alley

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2007

 

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First up, could you all introduce yourself and talk about your (film-)career so far ?

 

Hello Mike, it's good to talk to you again. Well as you may know my film career started as early as age 12. Being a life long horror fan me & my neighborhood buddies started filming stuff just for fun on 8mm film as early as 1980. Later when I became of age I starred in a few genre films under the name Scarlet Fry (my alter ego). The first film I appeared as an actor in was called Satan's Storybook which starred x porn queen Ginger Lynn who had a small role recently in The Devils Rejects. The film also starred the author of The Howling Gary Brandner & was released on VHS with moderate success.

 

The first theatrical release I appeared inwas a movie called Grossout which was filmed in the tradition of the old John Waters movies & still plays occasionaly as a midnight movie in big cities like Los Angeles & New York. 


Once I decided I wanted to make my own films I put out my first movie back in 1990 called Scarlet Fry's Horrorama. The intent of this film was to establish that Scarlet Fry is here to stay. Horrorama was an anthology like most of my films & made it into about 100 video stores nation wide. I did a lot of things in between such as appear in a Kiss video & several bit roles around Los Angeles, I also did a lot of audience work which is where you get paid to appear in the backround on court tv shows & game shows. I'm on like 30 episodes of Judge Brown. When I got tired of that I decided to release a follow-up to Horrorama & released Scarlet Fry's Junkfood Horrorfest starring Calico Cooper (Alice Cooper's daughter). This was a major accomplishment for me. The film actually got picked up by a distributor, Brain Damage Films & will hit shelves in late July of this year. During this time is when I met my partner Laurence Holloway, who is currently working on my new project Nightmare Alley with me which is by far the best work I've ever done & I'm very excited about. Larry would like to share a few things with you guys ...

 

Hi Mike, Laurence Holloway speaking, & I too am a lifelong horrorfan. I remember being towed to drive ins as a kid with my parents I loved it. The ticket booth attendant would hand out cheap plastic vampire teeth & sometimes rubber eye balls & the speakers would cut in & out, but most of all I remember the movies, Night of the Living Dead, old Charles Bronson action flicks & the like, but I was hooked on horror. I saw the omen with my folks As a kid & didnt sleep for a week after words, I spent saturdays watching creature double features & actually met the local horror host as a kid growing up in Richmond Va. I grew up on Hammer studios & i loved the genre & wanted to model myself in that mode of filmaking. 

I also love splatter movies to death, I used to shoot short horrorfilms with my brother that my dad who was a videographer would use in his classes to teach students how to set up intresting camera shots.

 


You have a new movie coming out, Nightmare Alley. Could you tell us in a few words what it is about ?

 

Its a horror anthology in the style of Tales from the Crypt & Creepshow, with a little hint of the old school 50's & 60's Horror hosts & 70's grindhouse style films. The host Scarlet Fry will tell you six twisted tales from an old comic book called Nightmare Alley.

 

As co-directors of the film, how did you get along with each other, and did you often clash ?

 

Our directing styles are very similar, we both like to get in there & make things work, we value each others creative input & criticisms, & we listen to each other & try not to have inflated egos, so we work well together, we just want to do the best we can with what we got.

 

You seem to have a predilection for anthology films, since the last Scarlet Fry-outing, Scarlet Fry's Junkfood Horrorfest, was also an anthology film. Why is that ?

 

I think there's something about those old horror hosts that made the genre fun, & I see that lacking these days. There's way too many sadistic horror films out there now that just don't have anything about them to make it fun. Don't get me wrong I love being scared, but in a fun way, & I love gore the more the better, there's nothing like a bloody scare that you can laugh about later & not have to go see a psychiatrist. I want to bring back the old tradition, the likes of Vampira , zachery, etc, & make everyday like Halloween.

Is there any way to compare Nightmare Alley and Scarlet Fry's Junkfood Horrorfest ?

 

Only that they are both anthologies. The host Scarlet Fry also will be in Nightmare Alley, but there is a great difference, Scarlet Fry's Junkfood Horrorfest was shot on video , where as Nightmare Alley will be done on film & made to look like an old print in the style Robert Rodriguez did with Planet Terror [his segment of Grindhouse - the editor]. We are also making our trailer to be just as cool as the ones you see in Tarantino's Grindhouse which has been a big influence on this film. Scarlet Fry's Junkfood Horrorfest did star Alice Cooper's daughter Calico Cooper who is to play a cameo in Rob Zombie's Halloween, in Nightmare Alley we got Jack Grisham to star who is the lead singer of the legendary Punk band TSOL.

 

Will we ever see Scarlet Fry in another role than a host of horror anthologies, and does he have a special origin story ?

 

Scarlet fry does appear in some other films. Like I mentioned earlier one is called Satan's Storybook & was released in 1989 on VHS. Fry plays the leader of satan's servants, also Scarlet appears in a film called Grossout where he plays a street punk who likes to harrass girls for their underwear, Fry also always makes a cameo in the films he hosts, if you pay attention you can find him in multiple roles.

 

Your cast includes Jack Grisham from the legendary punk-band TSOL. How easy (or difficult) was it to get hold of him ?

 

I have mutual friends of Jack Grisham so when it came time to contact him about the film it wasn't to hard to get him to agree on being a part of it, we just sent him the script & he loved it, we are very honored to have him aboard. For those who don't know, Jack's band TSOL can be heard on the soundtrack to Return of the Living Dead & Jack can be seen in the movie American Hardcore which was recently released on DVD.

 

How difficult is it in general to get actors and a crew for an independent horror film, and do people turn you down once you mention horror ?

 

We let people know right away what they're in for, so far it hasnt been to difficult. It's the nude scenes that are sometimes troublesome, but everybody has a price haha.

 

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As with many horror films, make-up plays a big part in Nightmare Alley. What can you tell us about this aspect of the film ?

 

ScareFX Studios is handling the make-up chores on this film. We have zombies, beheadings, thumbs ripped from the socket & lots of the proper red stuff, there's a Jack the Ripper joke who also will be featured in one of the stories. We are currently in the works of trying to aquire Dick Ayers who worked on the original Halloween & the the original Hills Have Eyes & Tourist Trap, all 70's classics.

 

The Scarlet Fry character himself has been graced with a new look. What can you tell us about this ?

 

Well in the first film Scarlet Fry Was a more traditional Gothic host Like Lon Chaney's charctor in London after Midnight, & in Junkfood Horrorfest he was a redneck zombie similar to something out of House of 1,000 Corpses. In this new film we will go for more of a zombie look but don't wanna give too much away, It's gonna be deadly frightening, we just don't wanna scare you too much until the film is released.

 

What can you tell us about the music in the film/the bands on the soundtrack ?

 

So far the soundtrack includes a great psychobilly act called Grave Danger who can also be heard on the film Chainsaw Sally which stars Herschell Gordon Lewis [Herschell Gordon Lewis bio - click here], also they can be heard on the film First Snow. We also are featuring an up-and-coming band out of the UK named Invey along with several other studio musicians who will contribute to the filmscore.

 

By and large, your film was inspired by grindhouse movies from the 1970's. Do you have a special love for these films ?

 

I think one of the reasons grindhouse films are having a comeback is because people appreciate the escapism from reality that the old grindhouse horror/kung fu movies gave. Larry & myself both love the Shaw Bros., Sonny Chiba & horror greats Like Fulci [Lucio Fulci bio - click here] & Herschell Gordon Lewis [Herschell Gordon Lewis bio - click here].

 

Any favourites from that era ?

 

Larry's favs: Zombie, The Beyond, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Hammer films like Kung Fu Vampires [he might be referring to Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires - the editor], Movies like The Car etc. 

Scarlet Fry's favs: She Devils on Wheels, Wizard of Gore, Suspiria, & anything by Mario Bava [Mario Bava bio - click here].

 

In that respect (I just have to ask): What did you think about the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino grindhouse hommage Grindhouse ?

 

It was great & is a huge influence to what we are doing, I believe you will see a whole wave of this stuff in the future.

 

Any good genre films you've seen lately, and your all time favourites ?

 

Lately Grindhouse of course, Dead Silence was good & 28 Weeks Later, all time favs Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, Bava's Black Sabbath, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Excorcist & The Evil Dead.

 

... and the films you hate ?

 

Bad modern vampire films, there are so many crappy ones out there. I Think any movie based on a video game is pretty bad as well.

 

Anything else you are dieing to tell and I have just forgotten to ask ?

 

Nightmare Alley is coming to your town, terror will begin where the sidewalk ends. Beware! & remember, always look down!
 

Thank you for the interview, and good luck with your film.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
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Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

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