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An Interview with Master W and Crippler Criss, Makers of The Secret of the Magic Mushrooms

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2009

Master W on (re)Search my Trash

Crippler Criss on (re)Search my Trash


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You have recently released your film Das Geheimnis der Zauberpilze/The Secret of the Magic Mushrooms. Can you tell us in a few words what the film is about?


It's about friendship beyond the grave but not necrophilia. In an accident the Tall Guy kills his best friend the Small Guy. While trying to get rid of the body a dwarf appears and tells him about some vitalizing magic mushrooms that could reanimate his friend. A weird quest for the mushrooms takes the Tall Guy to the strangest places of the Silschede Woods. He meets a non-aging hippie, a paranoid soldier, a cannibalistic anchorite, some strange beast and - of course - a giant mushroom with a tremendous hunger for love.


How did you come up with the idea for the film?


For a long time Master W was day dreaming about his friend Crippler Criss carefully preparing a slice of bread with chocolate sprinkles and putting it in his mouth ... all in one piece. This idea combined with the inspiring memory of the P.S.Y.C.H.O. Productions short film archive filled within the last ten years made it easy to write a screenplay for a feature film reaching out for international distriubution, argh...


With the film featuring zombies, cannibalistic hermits and the like - how far do you go concerning gore?


We have some gore scenes in the movie but they are not predominant. Our old short movies mainly consisted of one major gore scene with a little bit of plot constructed around that scene. So this time we did something completely different. Instead of using gore as the main attraction we focused on the psychological structures of the characters mostly taken from our old short movies by letting them interact with each other on two levels: sick dialogs and senseless killing.


You two play all roles in the film, right? Why is that, and wasn't that a bit of a strain?


Sometimes it was. Since we had no real crew and we were the directors, producers and actors we had to carry all our heavy and heavily expensive (argh...) equipment from our homes to the deepest spots within the Silschede Woods (approx. 500 meters away). But one scene became a major challenge to us being different departments in personal union: The heavy drinking in the first quarter of the movie which leads to the accidental killing of the Small Guy. Real booze was involved and Master W has a little alcohol problem since you can get him pissed as a newt by giving him three beers. So Master W couldn't read the screenplay any more and threw it away which resulted in a 15-minute improvisational one-shot.


How did you come up with all the characters featured in the film?


We just recycled characters from our old short movies with a few expections and partly placed them in new surroundings. For example the paranoid soldier debuted approx. ten years ago in a short movie called Behind Enemy Lines. That time he was looking for Charlie but this time he's out for Osama, argh...


Characters in the film you have grown especially fond of, and those you think you could have done without in hindsight?


To be quite frank, without a doubt and without one single exception, they are all awesome. Taking out one character would result in the whole movie being one giant piece of shit. It is the organic totality of the interaction of all the characters which makes The Secret of the Magic Mushrooms an enterntaining and thought provoking piece of trash!


If you would shoot the film again today, what would you do differently (if anything)?


We would use a bellows to clean the ground glass of our 35mm-adapter. To reveal a secret the dirt and dust you see within the picture was not an intended effect to give the movie a grindhouse look.

Besides that we would get ourselves a decent mic to record the audio tracks directly. We had to record all the dialog twice because the first mic we had was a piece of crap.


Films that have influenced you while making The Secret of the Magic Mushrooms?


Besides Schlächter vs. Kinder des Zorns, The Naked Gun, Behind Enemy Lines, The Evil Dead, Animalisch and Rambo there was no influence of any kind, argh...


As I see it, The Secret of the Magic Mushrooms is a horror film, though definitely on the weird and even comic side. Is horror a genre dear to you?


While Master W's most favorite film genre is horror with many of its subgenres like splatter, vomit gore, rape gore and Al Gore, Crippler Criss is mostly disgusted by the violence portrayed especially in Japanese horror movies and the crappiness of German horror movies except - of course - the masterpiece called The Secret of the Magic Mushrooms, argh...


Between the two of you, you have pretty much done everything on the movie, producing, writing, directing, editing, special effects and of course acting. Which aspects of filmmaking do you enjoy most, and which could you do without?


Concerning Master W the best part in movie making is developing an original story and bringing it to life by acting it out and directing it. Technical aspects like operating the camera and sound editing can become quite frustrating and boring for him so he would like to avoid that the next time. Crippler Criss basically likes every aspect of the movie making process, but since making a movie is not our full time job he needs to cut it down to some crucial things that every idiot could do: editing, directing, acting, producing, promoting, and surviving the annoying presence of his hyperactive production company co-owner called Master W.


A few words about the music in your film, one of the few things you didn't do yourselves?


Although Crippler Criss and Master W have some exprience in making music, they left this time-consuming part to more professional musicians. Composing the music for one scene took up to 36 hours pure working time and we had the massive amount of over 20 scenes in the movie. But obviously we made the right decision because the music composed by Holger Jahnke and Carsten Grote turned out really great.


The 64-Dollar-question is of course: Where's the film available?


Right now the film is mainly available at some online shops. A list of that shops is available on the movie website


What can you tell us about the reception of the film so far?


The reception at screenings, film club and festival appearances was pretty good and the vast part of the reviews was positive.


As far as I know, The Secret of the Magic Mushrooms is your first feature film. What can you tell us about your life prior to the movie, and did you have any previous filmmaking experience?


We didn't have a real life prior to this movie, argh... No, seriously, we've been making little movies since we were 16. We experimented with special effects, visual effects, story telling, the forming of characters, editing and all the other aspects of moviemaking and as time went by we mastered our skills and our movies developed their own special look and feel. But after five years we stopped making movies for personal reasons. Six years of boredom followed but then - totally refreshed by recycling old ideas - we came back to produce The Secret of the Magic Mushrooms! Hell yeah!


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Any future projects you'd like to talk about?


As a matter of fact we are already working on part two of our Mushroom-Saga entitled The Curse of the Magic Mushrooms. But this time it is going to be totally different. More drama, more suspense, more gore, more actors, a bigger crew, and - check this out - a camera crane! Argh... The movie tells us the story about a gang of drug dealers who try to make the biggest deal in their history, an old school police commissioner trying to bring those gangsters to justice, and two friends getting caught between the frontlines... What they all don't know: The Curse Of The Magic Mushrooms is... ARGH!


Your website, MySpace, whatever else?


Indeed, we show decent presence on the internet. In fact, we have a huge empire of spam! Feel free to talk with us in our forum, leave a comment on our MySpace page or in our guest book or - last but not least - follow us on twitter. Here is a delightful selection of our ass-kicking virtual addresses:


Directors who have inspired you?


Master W is mostly inspired by innovative directors like David Lynch, Darren Aronofsky, and the Coen Brothers. But also classic horror movie directors like Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson and George A. Romero. Three of Crippler Criss' main influences are Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone and Sergio Leone.


Your favourite films?


Crippler Criss likes Dirty Harry, Rambo, American Gangster, The Naked Gun, which is also one of Master W's favorites. Furthermore, Master W loves Requiem For A Dream, Man Bites Dog, The Man Who Wasn't There, Inland Empire and Psycho. As an insider tip regarding German independent movies The Knochenwald Trilogy should be mentioned.


And of course, some movies you really hated?


Some extremely annoying movies both of the filmmakers remember are certainly Voodoo Blood, Hell Of The Living Dead, Razorback. Master W also hates Titanic, Pearl Harbor and all Dolph Lundgren movies the Crippler forced him to watch. Crippler Criss dislikes most of the professional German movies except the old German co-productions starring Bud Spencer and Terence Hill.


Anything else you are dying to tell us and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Proudly we present the fact that The Secret of the Magic Mushrooms is now being distributed internationally by Troma Entertainment, USA! Big thanks to Matt and Lloyd at Troma for putting their trust in us and our movie!


Thanks for the interview!


Anytime! You're welcome!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




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


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD