Interview with Sean Clark

Sean Clark is best known for his “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds” but he also has a T-Shirt company ( and a mask company (Silver Shampain Novelties). He recently represents dozens of celebrity talents under his company, Convention All-Stars. If you think that is enough, think again. He is also a writer/producer on the recently released horror movie “The Black Waters on Echo’s Pond”.

Mike Gencarelli: You’re probably best known for “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds.” What gave you the idea to guide fans through classic horror locations?

Sean Clark: Basically I was a nerd myself. I’m just a big fanboy. It all started when I was reading an article in “Fangoria Magazine” written by Anthony Ferrante, who went on to direct the horror film “Boo.” He did a retrospective on “Halloween” around 1995 and in the article he interviewed (“Halloween” director John) Carpenter. In the interview Carpenter mentioned the street “Orange Grove” and also mentioned South Pasadena. When he mentioned Orange Grove he was talking about the street the house stood on in Hollywood but I thought he meant South Pasadena. I looked and found a street called Orange Grove in South Pasadena. So I went there, got off at the Orange Grove exit and just completely coincidentally I made a left off the exit and the Meyers house is right there. It was just dumb luck that I found it. And once I stumbled upon that location, it was such a surreal feeling ….like going back to your childhood home or childhood elementary school. Even though I’d never been there….I was like, yes, look there, that’s where so and so was walking…even though I’d never been there. From that point on it just clicked…wow, I could visit the locations of my favorite films. I really got into it. Me and a group of friends went to Bodega Bay and saw “The Fog” lighthouse and that town. We hit some “Scream” locations along the way. We went to the “Phantasm” mausoleum that weekend, which is in Oakland. I was just hooked. The way it started with me sharing it with fans is that I started filming the locations and I put together this really horribly thrown together-edited in a hand held video camera thing with film clips I called “Halloween: The Retrospective.” I used to sell it on line for twenty bucks for a VHS copy. I probably only sold 20 or 30 copies but that thing got bootlegged and passed around and today, sixteen years later, I still have people come up to me and say “Dude, I just got a copy of “Halloween: The Retrospective!” And from that I started working for Creature as a journalist and I pitched to them, just as we were transitioning to work with the Horror Channel, which never really happened, it was just a web site, but I pitched to them “you know, I do this locations thing that I think would make a neat article” and they loved the idea. It started as an on line article and then I did the “Halloween: 25 Years of Terror” documentary that I worked on..we did it as a t.v. episode. I can’t remember if it was before or after that but I bumped into Nathan Haniman from Horror Hound at the San Diego Comicon and…I think it was after because he recognized me from the episode…he said to me, “Dude, I really love those articles you do. Would you be willing to do them in our magazine as a feature article in every issue?” And I said, “are you kidding me? Hell yeah!” So from issue # 4 to, I think we’re up to issue 22 or 23 right now, I’ve done one every issue and the fan following on line…on the website…it’s crazy how many people come up to me and talk about “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds.”

MG: Tell me about “The Black Waters of Echos Pond.”

SC: What would you like to know? (laughs)

MG: Was it hard to bring it to the big screen?

SC: It was a hard process just to get it out period. This thing has been done for two years.

MG: I remember meeting you in 2007 and watching the trailer at Rock and Shock.

SC: We had just wrapped production then. But to tell the truth, once it got edited the movie had tons of problems. The opening didn’t work whatsoever and we begged for more money to re-shoot the opening. I rewrote a completely different opening and we re-shot it in July of 2008 and in September of that year we did a day of pick up shots…little insert shots of things we missed. Then we went back into editing and edited the film. When we got into post production, which is sound and visual effects, we ran out of money. And for whatever reason it took eight months for the investors to give us the money…we were about 30 grand short…to finish the film. Once we got the money we finished it. And it wasn’t that long after we finished it that we did a rough cut screening at Monster Mania in August 2009. Then we did another rough cut screening that month in Toronto at the Festival of Fear. We ended up screening the finished cut at Screamfest in Orlando in October and again the finished cut at HorrorHound Cincy in November. So it wasn’t that long after that we got into theaters. We just had to get the film finished. And as far as being in theaters…everyone is coming up to me saying, “way to go…huge accomplishment…blah, blah, blah” and I’m extremely proud that I’ve got a movie on 404 screens across the nation but the reality is we bought our way into the theaters. We self distributed. The investors paid the money to get it into the theaters and promote it themselves. It wasn’t like we got picked up by Lionsgate or 20th Century Fox. But in our defense we never shopped it to any distributor. No distributor saw our movie, which in my opinion was a mistake.

MG: I’m curious…why wasn’t that done?

SC: I don’t want to point fingers but…the reality is that people behind the scenes go really gung ho on the whole self distribution thing. They saw dollar signs, thinking “this is our chance to clean up…let’s take all the profits.” But based on the box office results, it’s not going to go in their favor. (at the time of this interview, the film had taken in under $250,000 at the box office against an estimated budget of $5 million)

MG: Where was the movie filmed:

SC: It was shot in L.A. The interiors were shot in a warehouse on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland in Hollywood. The exterior shots of the two houses and the woods were all shot in Topanga Canyon. And the lake stuff…with the stone walkways and the areas where the friends all first meet…that was all in Lake Malibu.

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

SC: Well, it wasn’t my idea. It was a rewrite. Basically I was given the script to read to give my opinion on and I gave a pretty harsh one. I thought the script was awful, except I liked the idea at the core…the Greek mythology, the “evil game” thing. And, through part of a long story, I got brought in to rewrite it. I completely changed it…probably 70%…I mean it’s a night and day difference if you read both scripts. And it was my version that got the film financed.

MG: Despite the poor box office, do you have any interest in doing a follow up project?

SC: The fan response has been extremely positive. We got torn to s**t by the reviews but some of the reviewer’s got it ( gave the film a favorable three out of four stars rating). They understood it was a homage to “B” movies of the 1970s and 80s. It wasn’t supposed to be the most terrifying film in the world and that was a mistake…they marketed the film wrong. They marketed the commercials…the theatrical poster they came out with…not the one I did. The theatrical poster I did represented what the movie was. But the trailers that they did…they all were like (in eerie voice) “come and watch the most terrifying film you will ever see”…and it’s not “Seven.” It’s not “Silence of the Lambs.” It’s not a serious horror film. It’s not meant to be scary and terrifying. I mean, sure, it would be to somebody who’s not a real horror fan…a fourteen year old girl might go see it and be freaked out by it. But a real horror fan would not be scared by this. It’s meant to be fun. It’s supposed to be a fun, good time horror film where you can laugh at the kills and have a blast.

MG: When I saw it there were two senior citizens in the theater and I’m sitting there thinking, “why are they seeing this film?” And about the time the guy gets chainsawed they got up and left. Like three-fourths of the way through the movie they threw their hands up and left.

SC: They actually threw their hands up? (laughs) Well, it’s not for everybody. Wow…what was the original question? I kind of went off topic.

MG: About a sequel.

SC: Like I was saying, the fans got it. There are these two guys…I can’t remember their names…they do an internet review show. And I actually saw them today. They do like a fifteen minute review. They show themselves going to the theater, they film the poster. And they LOVED it. They raved about it. How there should be more movies like this one. They totally got it. And when I saw them I told them, “Dudes, I’m sending you guys shirts and posters…give me your address.” They were cool. And they got it. The fans totally get it. And I have a feeling this film is going to find an audience on DVD. I don’t want to knock the film, because I’m proud of it, but it shouldn’t have been in the theaters. It’s a straight to DVD movie in my opinion. But I’m proud of it. I’m glad it got there. And if there is a sequel I’ve got an awesome idea. I’m working on my own things right now but if they want to do a sequel I’ve got a really, really cool idea.

MG: Which takes us to my next question. Are you going to do any more writing or directing?

SC: The next thing I’m writing, called “Sugar,” I’m finishing that right now. We supposedly already have financing in place for it and I’m going to direct it. It’s a real throwback…not a homage kind of thing…this is more…it’s not as campy as “Black Waters.” This is a serious 80’s style slasher film. I say it’s a cross between “Halloween” meets “Terror Train” meets “Scream” meets “Footloose.” (laughs) If you read the script you’d get all of those references. I think it’s the kind of movie that could actually become a franchise. It could be an iconic Michael Myers/Jason kind of thing. I want to do something that’s fun…that’s back to the basics. I have another script they’re also talking about making that I would just be a writer/producer on…they’d find someone else to direct it…it’s a really complicated haunted house type story with all kinds of crazy special effects. It’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t want to tackle for my first film as a director. I’m like “you know somebody else can do that one…I’ll do the slasher movie.”

MG: Last question…how did you originally start the convention tour stops?

SC: That was an accident. It was a happy accident because it’s turned into a very good business for me. Basically what happened was…I was doing all the other things I do within the genre’…I have a t-shirt company (did not catch the name)…a mask company (Silver Shampain Novelties) and I don’t know how much longer I’m going to do either because I really don’t have time any more. It’s not like their paying my bills…it’s nice to have a little extra money here and there…but I’m really working on the convention things. And I have the movie stuff. So I want to concentrate on those. And I have some reality show things that are brewing. I’ve had a camera following me all weekend. I’ve been really involved in the convention scene as a vendor…as a journalist…and through that I became on a first name basis with all these celebrities…all these horror icons. I think Tony Moran (the original “Halloween”) was technically my first client. When I found him he was a loan officer. And basically, I’m a fan. I found him because I wanted to meet him. He was a signature I was missing on my “Halloween” poster. I needed it so I found him. And I told him I wanted to do an interview with him. Nobody had ever interviewed him before. He was down and I told him, “dude, you should do conventions.” When he signed my poster he said “you know, this is the first autograph I’ve ever signed on anything having to do with “Halloween.”

MG: Really? Now when I go to the conventions he seems to be everywhere.

SC: I told him, dude, you have no idea. And he said “nah, nobody cares.” I told him to trust me and give it a shot. I told him I had a friend that was putting together a really crappy…it turned out to be really crappy…convention in Ventura. I told him to come by and give it a shot. So he comes by and about half way through the first day he comes up to me and says “dude, this is awesome! This is so cool, I want to do more of these. How do I do more of these?” And I hooked him up with an agent who’s well known in the horror biz…I said “hey, I know this guy…let me hook you up with his people.” So I go over to the guy and say, “Look, Tony Moran, the face of Michael Myers” and the agent goes, “hmmmm….wasn’t that guy only in the movie for like 10 seconds?” I said, “Yeah, but he’s the face of Michael Myers.” And the agent goes, “hmmmm…I’ll pass.” Really? Yeah. OK. So I go back to Tony and he asks me if I talked to him. I told him what the agent said and he said “F*** that f***ing a**hole…why don’t you rep me?” And while I’m thinking about it he says “dude, I’ll give you the percentage…what does he make?” So I told him ok. And by the end of the weekend, Tony had this big line and the agent saw the line and saw he was making cash and he comes back up to me and says “you know what, on second thought, give him my card.” And I said “dude, I told him what you said and he told me to tell you to pretty much go f**k yourself. He wants me to rep him.” And from that point on, me and that other person…suddenly I was competition and it got weird. We’re cool now but for a while it was weird for a long time. Anyway, I knew all the promoters so I called around and asked if they were interested in booking Tony and they said yeah. Word got out and, it was Richard Brooker, Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th Part 3”, who called me and said “I heard you got Tony in a show, can you get me in a show?” And it hit me…I know all of these dudes. I should start calling them all. Because I had done the “Halloween” documentary so I had every “Halloween” persons phone number. So I started calling them up and building a roster. Unfortunately I took on a partner for a short time and that ended badly and still continues to haunt me but now that I’ve watched that stink off of me things have gone swimmingly. Bigger names and bigger shows. It’s been really awesome.

One Reply to “Interview with Sean Clark”

  1. “Unfortunately I took on a partner for a short time and that ended badly and still continues to haunt me but now that I’ve watched that stink off of me things have gone swimmingly.”

    What a odd thing to say since the partner was the one that “washed his stink off first”

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