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An Interview with Jeff Gresham, Director of Dollface: Terror on Route Nine

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2023

Films directed by Jeff Gresham on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Dollface: Terror on Route Nine - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Dollface: Terror on Route Nine is about a group of people just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, typical slasher movie set-up.

 

The Route Nine Challenge - is that an actual thing, or how did you come up with it? And do get into a bit of detail what the challenge entails?

 

So the Route Nine Challenge is 100% my creation, pretty much in a time where jnternet challenges like tide pod eating, cinnamon eating, pouring ice over each other's heads, and the cracked skull challenge, I wanted to base a horror film on the naivety of people doing silly challenges with no regard of other people. So it's 100% not a real thing, I actually hoped that after seeing the film people would realize just how dumb internet challenges can be, so we came up with a list of silly challenges.

 

Other than the ones mentioned in the movie there was:

Cause chaos at a roadside bar.

Get a stranger to kiss you.

Get into a fight with a group of locals.

Cause at least $100 damage to a business.

Steal a houshold pet from someone's property.

 

With Dollface: Terror on Route Nine being a slasher movie, is that a genre especially dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?

 

Yes very much, slasher movies are my favorite genre, I grew up watching jorror movies, my first experience was when I was 8 years old, I woke up at about 2am, and went into the family living room, and turned on the TV, where I sat and watched the original Halloween for the first time. All the lights in my house were off and the restroom was on the other side of the house. I was so scared I ended up using the restroom on my dad's recliner chair. The crazy thing was I felt so alive being that scared as a kid, and I have chased that feeling ever since.

 

Other sources of inspiration when writing Dollface: Terror on Route Nine?

 

Some other inspiration for the film was looking around the desert in Nevada and seeing just how creepy it could be, I came up with so many scenarios for horror films, and just ended up throwing them all together, with a little splash of Leatherface - and Dollface: Terror on Route Nine was born.

 

Dollface: Terror on Route Nine doesn't exactly hold back when it comes to blood and guts - so do talk about the gory bits in your movie for a bit, and how were they achieved? And in terms of violence in your movie, was there ever a line you refused to cross?

 

When I set out to make the movie my #1 goal was to just do what I felt it needed, I don't think there is a line I wouldn't cross, I really wanted this to be a depiction of the evil in the world, and if a killer is willing to kill, generally he's already crossed the biggest line already, what he does beyond that is just as bad. 

 

Funny bit about the brain scene, I have a jello brain mold that I forgot to use to make the edible brain, and the day came for that scene, and we needed something for that scene, so I ran to the store and grabbed cauliflower, it was a full head and raw, we broke it apart and added our edible blood mixture. In my opinion it ended up looking better than I could have imagined. If you think these scenes are gory you should see the rough draft script for Dollface 2.

 

Do talk about Dollface: Terror on Route Nine's approach to horror!

 

The approach for the movie was just simply do what I felt the film needed, put it out into the world and see where it fits within the genre, could be cannibal, slasher, horror/comedy.

 

A few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

I just had fun with everything, I wanted to make the type of movie that stands out, I know i'm not going to re-invent the wheel, but I can make a movie that people talk about, and that's the approach I took.

 

What can you tell us about Dollface: Terror on Route Nine's cast, and why exactly these people?

 

The cast was outstanding, in every way. I believe only C.J. Sibley, and Suzie Sugg had any drama training, I believe it was high school drama class. So the role of Cris was written for another person because I liked her look and something about seeing her covered in blood was exciting. But when I saw C.J.'s audition everything changed, and luckily the original girl flaked out and couldn't do it. Once C.J. auditioned there was no other person I wanted. Eddie Blake, who played Dollface, also had an amazing audition, as he did the monologue from Deep Blue Sea from Samuel L. Jackson complete with being eaten by a shark that was thrown across the room by his wife. Chad was 100% perfectly played by Chris Sugg, and just everyone, they were all so great and fun to work with, that I intend on putting them in everything else I make. Just so much talent.

 

Where was Dollface: Terror on Route Nine actually filmed, and what was it like filming there?

 

We filmed in Fallon NV, which is a small town an hour from Reno and 5 Hours North of Las Vegas, We shot on 2 different farms, the main farm was the Miller Farm that the house, car graveyard, bus, and all the kill scenes were filmed, whereas the Dodge/Sorenson Farms were used during Chris's end walk back to the car, as well as the swamp land area. It was a great time shooting at all the locations, around every corner there was something awesome and new that I wanted to use.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

On set it was really laid back, well other than the fact we were 1 week into the shoot and then Covid broke out. We all agreed to continue on because the cast was enjoying the shoot, and did everything they could to stay safe which worked out, because no one in the cast caught Covid, but things did get interesting. Eddie Blake got called out of state for work for a month and a half during the shoot, Trina Enloe and Junior Alanis moved to Kansas, so we had to re-write their parts so they could move on time, as well as Trina and Junior getting married and pregnant during the shoot. But I feel safe speaking for everyone in saying it was fun, so fun in fact we have all become friends and plan on working together again soon.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Dollface: Terror on Route Nine be seen?

 

Currently Dollface: Terror on Route Nine is being submitted to several festivals including Tromadance and Calgary Horror Con. Also once I finish the caption track the movie will be submitted to Filmhub where we have the opportunity to be found on various streaming sites and apps like Tubi, Freevee and Amazon. I will also be getting everything together very soon for the Blu-ray release.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Dollface: Terror on Route Nine?

 

We released Dollface: Terror on Route Nine locally in Fallon NV, at the Fallon Theater on 2 screens, at first I wasn't very optimistic about releasing on 2 screens on Halloween but we did it anyway, and I was very surprised to see that BOTH screens sold out and the theater had to open more seats. This added to my stress as there isn't much of a horror community in this small town, and I was worried if in people's opinions did I cross the line? To my dismay, I had people walking up to me and the cast after the shows, and tell us how much fun it was, and offering to be killed in a sequel. It seemed people actually thought it was artistic.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

So I just finished a script for an anthology horror film that covers various subgenres of horror, with a lot of the cast from Dollface: Terror on Route Nine wanting to take part. I also finished a 5 episode webseries script, which is 100% comedy, and just a little description of that is Big Bang Theory but in reality, or better yet Big Bang Theory meets Kevin Smith. Lots of adult language as well as dick and fart jokes. Also working on completing the script for Dollface 2.

 

What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

What got me into filmmaking was just being a fan, but I guess the final piece was when I met Brandon Parmley who was the camera operator, director of photography and FX guy on Dollface: Terror on Route Nine. We met in 1993 and he would show me these little terrible movies he made with his neighbors, and I was like, dude we can do better than that. So we ended up making about 20 or 30 little terrible horror movies on his dad's video camera. It was something we always wanted to do, and we promised each other we would do a real one together someday - well we did. 

 

As far as training nope, everything I learned was from DVD special features, YouTube, books, anything I could find, and I'm obviously still learning.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Dollface: Terror on Route Nine?

 

Prior to Dollface: Terror on Route Nine I have 2 actual films to my credit - or discredit. The first was a full length slasher/supernatural film Sinner that I shot in 2006. I was in a terrible place in life, having just moved from Tennessee to Nevada after a very very messy divorce, I wasn't it any shape to shoot a film and it showed,.That film also opened at a local theater to a packed house full of disappointed viewers. My next project was overseeing, editing and in a way directing a documentary about my actual heavy metal band Pain Clinic. It was about our hunger for becoming something other than just another local band. It was alled Thrashed, Trashed, and Smashed: Pain Clinic's Quest for the American Dream. This film can be found on YouTube.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

As a director I would describe myself as a visionary but not trying to become anything other than myself, I try to create a fun and enjoyable set, anything I expect my actors to do, I will do myself, I am hands on, but I don't micro-manage, and I am always open to ideas.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

The filmmakers that have inspired me are kind of all over the place. John Carpenter of course, Kevin Smith, Daniel Farrands, Eli Roth, Lucio Fulci [Lucio Fulci bio - click here], John Waters just to name a few.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

My favorite movies are movies you will find on most horror lover's lists. Halloween, Friday The 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, things in that vein. However I love everything Kevin Smith has done, Clerks, Mallrats, etc. But my all time favorites are Halloween, Psycho, Strangers on a Train and Oliver Stone's The Doors.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

Movies I deplore. Hmm tough one, as I generally enjoy all movies - but if I had to choose a few, I'd say right off the bat there was a very low budget film, BTK, not the one featuring Kane Hodder, but there is an earlier one, that is absolute trash, that was just godawful. Typically if I hate a movie I erase it from my mind, as I'm having a hard time coming up with another.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Feeling lucky ?
Want to
search
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Jeff Gresham
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
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Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

Dollface: Terror on Route Nine does have a Facebook page, it can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/TheDollfaceMovie

I do have a Youtube page that is mainly my photography: https://www.youtube.com/@jeffgresham

I haven't really built a huge online presence, and after making the film, I honestly didn't know what to do with it. So I am looking to build that presence and get out there to as many people as possible.

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I think you covered everything pretty well. you conduct a great interview, and it was a pleasure answering these question, I thank you for taking the time to check out my little film, and I'm glad you had some fun with it. I will 100% keep you up to date with the future of Dollface and other projects.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© 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
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... 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