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An Interview with Phil Herman, Creator, Co-Director and Star of Doomsday Stories

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2023

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Your new movie Doomsday Stories - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Zorack from The Hell on Earth movies from over 30 years ago returns. Meanies pretty wiped out mankind. Creatures and the Meanies led by Balrog have died out. Zorack over the years has hidden from what is left of society. He wanders the wasteland and survives. He comes across a book of stories from the past which make up Doomsday Stories.

 

With Doomsday Stories being an end-of-the-world movie, is that a genre at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?

 

End of the world Mad Max type movies have always been my favorite . Plus movies like Mad Max and Omega Man have inspired me to do this. Due to budget limitations itís easier to go to less densely populated areas and shoot. Woods, deserted beaches etc. Plus how scary is it to be alone with the unknown. I put my own take making the star pretty much a maniac with a grudge who kills good and bad.

 

To ask quite bluntly, why make an anthology film, and were there any guidelines your fellow filmmakers had to follow?

 

An anthology movie is easier than making a feature. I have a great team that we have worked on 3 anthologies already. We all know our jobs. After numerous meetings on the storylines and approvals of their stories they were let loose to create their segments. Once theirscripts are approved I give them complete artistic control. When done me and my editor Marcelo Fabani dropped them in an already edited introduction segment and it flowed great. When everyone knows their jobs things flow easy. The final touches were made by James Panetta, who finalized the movie and got it out to our copier. Me and Joel D. Wynkoop [Joel D. Wynkoop interview - click here] approved cover, disc and posters we are doing as a bonus for every DVD. Itís a team effort.

 

Let's for the moment focus on your segment in Doomsday Stories - what were your sources of inspiration there?

 

It was supposed to be just a survivor of the apocalypse, but then I said hey letís bring the character of Zorack back and have him tell stories. We really had fun going back in time and giving him a backstory also. Showing he was once human and what made him lose faith in humanity and become the killing machine he became.

 

Do talk about your directorial approach to your story at hand!

 

It was cool. I starred and directed the scenes of my intros to the stories. My wife who is a photographer did the camera work and had my son do the drone footage. It was a family affair. The other stories I had complete confidence that they were told the premise and they knew what to do. I gave complete freedom on what they created.

 

You also appear in front of the camera in your segment - so do talk about your character, what have you drawn upon to bring him to life, and did you write him with yourself in mind from the get-go?

 

I played Zorack in 2 films, then he was loosely done in Tales Till the End. This was the first time we really got to know who he was. He had a girlfriend and sister and a best friend - who were all taken from him. He grew bitter and angry and killed everyone good to bad in the Hell On Earth movies. So when bringing the character back after 30 years he has to have matured and calmed down a lot. The world is changed and the evil monsters have pretty much died out. He lives alone and stays off the beaten path to avoid any human contact. I like my privacy and the settings I chose to shoot reflect that. These are my escape woods when not filming and escaping from the stress.

 

What can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?

 

We have a huge cast with these movies. With my segments I always got to my friends and people from the past movies. I was very excited to get Bryant Sohl [Bryant Sohl interview - click here] from the original Hell on Earth movies to return. Also my friends Alba OíNeill [Alba O'Neill interview - click here], Carl J Grasso [Carl J Grasso interview - click here], Will Devokees, Jaysen Buterin [Jaysen P. Buterin interview - click here], Michael Moutsatsos [Michael Moutsatsos interview - click here], Tim Hatch and Kimberly Lynn Cole return in my scenes. I love working with them.

 

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

 

Iím known for my laid back approach to things. I give a lot of artistic freedom. I always tell my people I am giving you a script, itís a guideline. You can improvise and as long as itís the right idea of what I showed you, improvements are welcome. Kimberly Lynn Cole, who I have known and worked with for 30 years, is a perfect example. I will give her a scene and I know she is a pro and let her go with it and go bigger. She always turns out a great performance and never request any reshoots.

 

What can you tell us about the other filmmakers involved in Doomsday Stories and their segments? And how easy or hard was it to gather all these people for your project?

 

Joel D. Wynkoop [Joel D. Wynkoop interview - click here], who is my partner and whom I have known for over 30 years, helped with this. We both agreed and got people we were familiar with and knew we can get a good project done quickly. Joel had a great time travel story called 187 Times and pushed the budget, but was so worth it. It was so good we are now shooting a feature based on the short 187 Times.

Next up is Derek Braasch [Derek Braasch interview - click here]. What this young filmmaker and his wife Nina Trader come up with is amazing. This is our 3rd collaboration, and his short A Broken Promise is a really dark journey into hell that was beautifully shot. He instantly draws you in these well fleshed out characters. His choice for lead is Justin Bower who always gives a strong and very likable performance.

Director James Panetta has the privilege of bringing to life actress/writer Debbie D's story Bomb Threats [Debbie D interview - click here]. A chilling performance and equally chilling shot of the world going mad and the results.

Marcelo Fabani brings us Forever Man. A really fun gory entry which has the Meanies that were taking over as a backdrop to create the perfect atmosphere for his short. Heather Carson as the president does a fine job.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Doomsday Stories be seen?

 

Doomsday Stories will be streaming in different platforms a month after its DVD release. Right now you can get Doomsday Stories to purchase directly from Phil Herman or Joel D. Wynkoop on Facebook messenger for $20. Message is for information or questions.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Doomsday Stories?

 

So far everyone is loving the energy and the elaborate approach we took. We did everything we could to make this a visually enjoyable movie.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

This year Iím working on Michael Moutsatso's Contaminate [Michael Moutsatsos interview - click here], Will Collazo's Amityville Turkey Day [Will Collazo jr interview - click here], I Slay on Christmas, 187 Times the Movie, and a few other projects early in development and will announce soon.

 

Feeling lucky ?
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Find Phil Herman
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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

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

 

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1977592975924662/  

Trailer: https://youtu.be/xo95Qzhgb3o

 

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

 

I just want to thank everyone for year after year returning and supporting my movies. I have been doing this for over 3 decades and have so many friends and supporters would just love to thank them all. I can only keep making these movies with your support. So please order your copy of Doomsday Stories now. All purchase go towards future productions.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you as always Michael.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
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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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

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