Interview with Michael Berryman

Berryman is probably best known for his role as Pluto in Wes Craven’s 1977 horror film “The Hills Have Eyes” and the 1985 sequel “The Hills Have Eyes Part II”. He has also made appearances in “Weird Science”(1985), and the Academy Award-winning drama “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975). In 2005, he appeared in Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects”. MovieMikes asked Michael a few questions about his career and talked about his favorite genres and his passions besides movies and most importantly his love of craft service on a movie set.

Click here to purchase Michael’s movies

Mike Gencarelli: “The Hills Have Eyes” was your first major role. Did you have any idea that your were making a film that three decades later still ranks as one of the great horror films of all time?

Michael Berryman: To tell the truth, I didn’t. I was just happy to have another job. When I read the script it was called “Blood Relations,” which was the name of the company. Then it was changed to “The Hills Have Eyes.” And, having talked to Wes (Wes Craven, the writer/director of “The Hills Have Eyes”) about the McBain family and learning that the story was mostly true, I thought “OK, this is not really a monster movie…it’s about two families.” It was hot in the daytime, cold at night. Very physical. A lot of the people in what we called the “White Bread Family”…Dee Wallace….the guy that played Bobby (Robert Houston)….they were a little more citified. Which kind of fit. I mean, everyone on our side, the Hills family, had done Westerns and rough and tumble parts. So it kind of lent itself to a natural selection as far as having the two sides – protagonist and antagonist. No, I had no clue at all that it would be a classic. Wes was just getting going after “Last House on the Left” and, actually, nobody had ever heard of anybody in the cast at all. We all just threw ourselves into it. I wanted to make Pluto as real to life as possible. And we got lucky. It hit. The drive-ins helped. It created some controversy. By today’s standards it’s not very bloody or gory…not a lot of special effects. So I’m very proud that after thirty years it has those other elements to fall back on.

Mike Gencarelli: You appear as a patient in the Oscar winning Best Picture “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Any favorite memory from working on the film?”

Michael Berryman: Many. Many. I worked 127 days on that masterpiece. We had two weeks of rehearsal with camera on the major scenes. Blocking and just trying to get a feel for it. And during the two weeks all of the main actors, including myself, had to spend time with the real patients on different wards (note: the film was shot on location at the Oregon State Mental Hospital, which was open and operational at the time). We even went to the criminally insane ward which was on the third floor. And with a guard at the door looking through the window there were moments where we spent a half hour…up to an hour with the patients. One fellow had been committed because he had, unfortunately, burned down a church. We looked at his art work. It was a very strange place with these individuals whose lives weren’t like yours and mine. But it gave us a nice insight into what really goes on. My father having been a prominent brain surgeon (Dr. Sloan Berryman was a very distinguished neurosurgeon)…that helped also because I had been around doctors and nurses my whole life. And then Jack Nicholson…this is what made him. It got him his first Oscar. He was still pretty well known. And having filmed at a real hospital was kind of cool. We were all hoping that Ken Kesey (author of the novel) would drop by but he was pretty dissatisfied with the screenplay (the script, by Bo Goldman and Laurence Hauben, won the Academy Award) because it wasn’t through the eyes of the Chief (in the book, the story unfolds through the eyes of Chief Bromden). But all in all it was very impressive to me. The hand picked crew…everybody now has a legacy behind them and I was just proud to be a part of it. The days I had off I was still on the set watching so I could learn my craft. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the lighting and the blocking…how you do coverage.

Mike Gencarelli: What did you think about the recent remake of “The Hills Have Eyes?” Have you seen it?

Michael Berryman: Yes I have. I was at a sneak premiere at a film festival and then I was at the red carpet event in Los Angeles. It was great to see Dee (Wallace) and Wes (Craven) and everybody. I liked the beginning of the film quite a bit. It had a nice feel to it…a nice atmosphere. But after about 20 minutes it became obvious to me that the movie was losing its dramatic impact…the relationship between the two families as individuals dealing with other members of their own family…I thought it fell apart and it turned into a chase film. I thought it basically turned into a video game. And then the second remake…I have no interest in even watching it. I thought they were pretty weak. And I know they were financially successful but I’m an artist first and, while I always want my projects to do well so I can make subsequent films, all in all I was pretty dissatisfied with the remakes. Of course they’re remaking everything these days and some are better than others. I just didn’t care for these remakes. They could have been better.

MG: Your role in “Weird Science” was a change of pace. At first you seem to be your usual villain but, once you’ve been rebuked, you meekly ask “Can we keep this…between us? I’d hate to lose my teaching job.” Was that line in the script or something you and John Hughes came up with on set?

MB: That was actually something John Hughes (writer/director of “Weird Science”) and I came up with on a whim. I was talking to him on set while they were setting up the shot for my close up and he said, “Hey, Michael, I’m going to end with you. What do you think these guys do when they’re not out terrorizing kids on the weekend? So we kind of kicked it around and we thought it would be kind of neat if he was a school teacher. This was sort of his chance, by proxy…because Kelly’s (LeBrock, who plays Lisa, the “doll” the boys create) character zapped us in…it wasn’t our idea…it gave us an opportunity to mess with these kids, which is kind of neat because most school teachers get a lot of razzing…get a lot of grief from high school kids. That’s how that scene came about. And John was just tremendous…tremendous to work with.

MG: Which do you prefer doing, horror films or more mainstream ones?

MB: I don’t really have a preference, honestly. I like it all. I just finished the last couple scenes for the new “Scooby Doo” movie playing a zombie, but I got to sing and dance. So there’s a mixture of comedy – slash – pseudo horror and making it all work. I don’t have a particular preference but I do have to say in my library growing up as a kid, being a big fan of films, I loved the monster films. I loved the Universal Horror classics. I loved the “Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits.” Especially because of their content. They were social commentary about situations that you could hide under the guise of…protagonist – antagonist…situations where your average person has to figure out what choices are most important for them. At an earlier age, of course, I loved Superman. I wanted to have super powers like every other kid. But I really appreciated the misunderstanding of the monsters. Now when you have a monster that pretty much just capitulates, like the one in the Korean film “The Host”. The monster wasn’t one you could have a dialogue with or get a lot of back story. I consider that a monster film in the classic sense. I thought it was a beautiful film, I really liked it. But I don’t have a preference. If somebody waved a magic wand and said you can only do one kind of film…gosh…I’d have to say sci-fi because it embraces all the other elements. But if it’s a good script and its well put together and we have a good crew… as long as there are good craft services catering I’m happy. That’s true. They say an army runs on it’s belly but a production company runs on craft service.

MG: What are your passions besides acting?

MB: My biggest passions? The first one is humanity. I’m huge on the basic theme…if you look at the back of the jacket that I wear all the time. And I wear it for a reason. It’s a Hard Rock Café jacket and the back reads “Love all. Serve all. All is one.” That’s kind of my philosophy of life. That is the most important. And that gives us room for civility to do continued good work. For instance Paul Newman, who I met while I was doing “The Crow,” invited me to get involved with his camp for kids that have their faces and skulls reconstructed and it’s all paid for through his philanthropic organization. I’ve been to his camp a number of times. I also lived at the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary for a number of years. The website is wolfmountainsanctuary.org. There’s also a woman whose been saving the Santa Cruz Island horses off the coast of California. It’s called Sunshine Sanctuary and they work with troubled kids. They let them come up and interact with the horses and they have an opportunity to make a difference. (www.sunshinesanctuary.org) I work with local charities. I’m a reader for blind college students. I’ve volunteered at many drug and alcohol programs through my friends in law enforcement. I think it’s important for the artists in the community to make a difference, especially if you have a recognizable face and/or name. People follow your career and there’s so much more to it than just making a paycheck and telling stories and buying expensive toys. I would love to be a gazillionaire. I would set my family up but I would also take a lot of the money and set it aside. I would be a philanthropist. That would be my ultimate goal. I have horses at home, I’m an avid gardener, I love to cook. I’ll sum it up by saying I can’t live in a world without garlic and chocolate.

MG: Do you enjoy attending conventions and meeting your fans?

MB: Absolutely. I think they’re really cool events. I’ve been splitting it up 50/50 pretty much. Half of the events I go to are film festivals where I do the meet and greet…well, I’m usually out meeting and greeting so I don’t get to see all of the films I would like to. If there were two of me, one would be out at the table (greeting fans) and the other one would be watching every movie being shown. I’ve talked to a couple of people who put the events together and I’ve told them it would be great if they put all of the film submissions in a collectors set so they could be available for the fans. I’ve been to festivals in Indianapolis…Texas…Canada…all over. It’s really exciting to meet people who are just getting their feet wet. The themes and subject matter are usually a lot more varied than what you see from the studios. I really enjoy my fans and I appreciate them very much. And they know that. I also get to meet actors that I’m really keen on…people whose work I’ve watched over the years. I may have never gotten to work with them but it’s nice to meet them…hang out at the hotel and maybe have a drink or a bite to eat. I think the conventions are wonderful. If anyone reading this hasn’t gone to one, I highly recommend it. Get out of the house and go…you’ll have a lot of fun.

MG: What can you tell me about your upcoming role in “Below Zero 3D?” Are you excited to be in 3D?

MB: I’m totally stoked. I just finished up the paperwork. I have a son who’s a serial killer. It’s sort of a “Fargo” esque story where a screenwriter gets locked into a meat locker so he can get into the mood to write his screenplay. It’s a three part story with a couple of nice twists to it. I’ve noticed that 3D is becoming pretty popular and they’re doing it different then before so maybe it will really be fantastic. I like the script a lot. It should be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to going to Canada and shooting it.

MG: Any other projects you have coming up?

MB: A movie called “Stingy Jack.” We’re hoping the project gets green lit soon. I’ll play the title role. I can’t say too much about it…it’s kind of top secret! But it’s a really, really, really cool script. I’m just very grateful to make new contacts. People who are trying to put together their companies and create a library of good work so we can continue doing what we love to do, and that’s entertain…tell stories. It’s one of the oldest art forms in the world and I’m proud to be a part of it. Thanks to (legendary filmmaker) George Pal who gave me my first role. I’m really excited. I just want to pack my bags, head up to Canada and have a great time doing “Below Zero.”

Click here to purchase Michael’s movies

Interview with Chuck Williams

Chuck has appeared opposite Bruce Campbell in Don Coscarelli’s “Bubba Ho-Tep” and “The Carbon Copy” with Jonathan Breck. Also “Bryan Loves You” with Tony Todd and George Wendt. Chuck has also performed lead roles in “Groom Lake”, “Soultaker”, “Up Against The Eight Ball”, “Double Blast” with Linda Blair as well as countless other films and television shows, including “The Young and the Restless”. He has worked as an assistant director alongside such Hollywood heavyweights as James Cameron, Rob Cohen, Kathryn Bigelow, John Badham, Penelope Spheeris, Jonathan Kaplan, David Fincher, Jim Kouf and a host of others. MovieMikes talked with Chuck about his fantastic career, which shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Click here to purchase Chuck’s movies

Mike Gencarelli: You’ve starred in numerous low-budget horror films, is that your favorite genre?
Chuck Williams: No, not really, I love all kinds of films….especially romantic comedies. It’s just easier for everyone to raise the money to make horror movies and that seems to be the most kinds of films that filmmakers ask me to be in. I remember in the beginning of my career, my mom would ask me “Are you ever going to star in a movie you don’t die in?”…LOL

Mike Gencarelli: Tell me about your involvement with the show “The Girls Next Door”?
Chuck Williams: I was asked to come on the show and produce a horror movie with Bridget Marquardt. She is an amazing, talented woman. She truly loves horror and scary films. So we developed a movie called “The Telling” that she also starred in with her friend Holly Madison. We had a blast and shot a lot of it at the Playboy Mansion thanks to Hugh Hefner. It now is playing on The Movie Channel.

MG: You’ve taken on many roles, actor, producer, writer, directer, what is your favorite job on the set of a movie?
CW: My favorite is always acting. That is why I came out to Hollywood. But I knew if I learned the craft of making films, I would always work. I want to be in this business for a long time like Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood and they both learned how to make movies!

MG: What was like working the film “Bubba Ho-Tep” and with Don Coscarelli and Bruce Campbell?
CW: One of the best experiences in my life. I love Don. He is a great writer and director. Bubba Ho-Tep is one of those films like Spinal Tap or Rocky Horror Picture Show…It will live forever. The fans love that movie and so do I. Bruce is the King….while on set in front of the camera or behind, he never broke character. As he would always say, “Thank you, thank you very much….now lets get something to eat boys.”

MG: What was your craziest experience on a film set?
CW: Working as a assistant director on the cult classic movie “Near Dark” directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow. Long and cold nights, great cast and for some reason, we kept blowing up things that would knock out the power in the middle of the night of this small little town in Arizona…LOL They were happy to see us leave…I mean, imagine waking up more than once and finding out your not going to have hot coffee in the morning.

MG: If you have all the means necessary, what would be your dream project?
CW: Well, I have always been an independent filmmaker, which I think that keeps the game interesting. But if I had 200 million dollars to make my dream project, I would make a film that makes people laugh!

If you would like to contact Mr. Williams directly, feel free to send him an email at:
chuckwilliamsfanclub@yahoo.com

www.chuckwilliamsfanclub.com
www.myspace.com/chuckwilliamsfanclub
www.facebook.com/chuckwilliamsfanclub

Click here to purchase Chuck’s movies

Exclusive Interview with Amelia Kinkade

Amelia Kinkade, although known for her more prominent role as the Angela Franklin in the horror series “Night of the Demons” and its sequels. That was only the start of Amelia amazing journey. Besides being a champion level dancer, Amelia has written two pet psychic books and she is a practicing animal communicator. Amelia gives lectures, classes and book discussions have all around the world. Thanks to Neal DeConte, who is creating a figurine of Amelia as Angela from “Night of the Demons” for his company, Horror Idols (revealed this July at Famous Monsters Convention), MovieMikes was able to ask Amelia a few questions about her days as an actress and more importantly her current work which is her true passion. During this interview Amelia realized that “There CAN be a lovely cross-over between the horror lovers and the spiritual animal lovers.”

Click here to purchase Amelia’s books
Click here to purchase “Night of the Demons” films

Mike Gencarelli: You majored in dance and was featured in films and rock videos? Is dance still apart of your life?
Amelia Kinkade: If I didn’t still dance, I’d be lying on my back in an insane asylum dancing on the walls with crayons between my toes. I am a champion level salsa dancer, I’m proud to say, after many years of humiliation on the ballroom dance-floor. Salsa is a BLAST and I recommend it to all my students no matter how much they think they can’t dance. Dance is an outlet of joy, release, gratitude, and respect for these amazing bodies God gave us, no matter what shape we think we’re in or how critical we may be of ourselves. I trained all my life as a professional ballerina and jazz dancer, quit for many years after my Demon’s days, went into a horrid depression and realized I couldn’t live without the hope and joy that dance brings into my life. I decided to get my groove back on in my early thirties and and one of the reasons I moved to NYC was because I can still dance like a bat out of hell. I needed the best dance studio in America where I can smoke every nineteen year old Broadway star off the map. I found it. Good times! If I had any shame, I’d feel terrible about this. But I taught for years in Hollywood, and I can still ROCK IT.

Mike Gencarelli: You starred as Angela Franklin in the “Night of the Demons” franchise, did you enjoy planning the character?
Amelia Kinkade: Does a bear shit in the woods? Does the Pope eat fish on Friday? I got paid to get possessed and kill everybody. In my early 20’s, I was still doing this on a monthly basis, but not getting paid for it. These movies allowed a rare glimpse of my PMS before I had my monthly dose of Midol.

Mike Gencarelli: Do you have a favorite moment from the set of the films?
Amelia Kinkade: “I was just warming my hands over the fire!”


Mike Gencarelli: How do you feel about the franchise being remade planned for release this Halloween?
Amelia Kinkade: I didn’t know it was! But thanks for telling me! As long as I get my .0000000000002 % maybe I’ll have enough money to buy some cat food for my hilarious funky half-dead ol’ Persian, Doc!

MG: After you starred in “Night at the Demons III”, why did you stop acting?
AK: I got the calling to work with animals and write my first book. Divine Intelligence took over my life and it was time to allow my destiny to be more important than my history–a lesson I now teach in at least 12 countries all over the world every year. Working as an actress was a mindless cake-walk. Working with tigers in Thailand, elephants, cheetah, sacred White Lions, Great White Sharks, penguins, baboons, jaguars and giraffes in Africa as the human monkeys destroy their environment and exploit them off the face of the planet is not a mindless cake-walk. It’s time to take responsibility for our world and the other living creatures on it that we were put here to protect and champion. If my movie career can help position my work as an animal ambassador, I’ll run naked through the streets. What do you think THAT would do for my reputation? Grin You know that saying, “Good girls go to Heaven. Bad girls go everywhere?” Well, it’s true. But maybe this bad girl can get some GOOD things done in this world. If my fans join hands with me, we’ll have a better chance. The movies were “fun.” Rolling around with tigers and diving with Great White sharks is ecstatic. And even if the animals are in pain, and most are, the work is REWARDING, so I can go to sleep every night knowing I made a difference in the world. I’m not the one wearing the fangs anymore. I’m loving the ones with the real fangs, and it’s a LOT more fun than pretending I have fangs of my own.

MG: When did you first realize that you have the ability to hear and speak to animals?
AK: I wrote a book about this called “Straight From the Horse’s Mouth: How to Talk to Animals and Get Answers”. In my Demon days, when I was 24, I took a workshop that was the seed of what I now teach. When it came time to try to actually “do it,” I was convinced I’d be the only person in the entire room who couldn’t do it. But when we were asked to “tune in” to a dog, I started writing pages and pages of notes, crying hysterically. The teacher asked us is the dog we were trying to connect with had ever had puppies. Suddenly the dam burst between me and the dog and I “became” her for a moment. In the vision, I WAS the dog, like being in a movie clip, in holographic 3D. I could see and touch the nose of my great love through a chain link fence. He was a big black doberman mix who lived next door and I was living in a trailer home that had a huge pine tree in front. The human got divorced and took “me” away from the only dog I ever loved. Then she got “me” fixed so that I couldn’t have puppies. Emotionally, I was heart-broken. The level of grief was over-whelming, but I knew I had to be loyal to my human owner. I looked down and saw the huge incision on my belly and felt the agonizing pain. The pain was devastating, both physically and emotionally. Then inside my mind, I heard the dog say, “I couldn’t be a mother myself, so now I take care of all the neighborhood cats.”The woman who owned the dog burst into tears and confirmed everything I said, from the trailer to the pine tree to the big black dog next door. She kept saying, “Tell her I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” And she confirmed this huge pitbull mix herded all the neighborhood cats in the most loving way. That was the beginning of a shocking new career that has taken me all the way to Buckingham Palace to read the Queen’s Horses. I didn’t mean to do it. But God needed it done, so She chose to do it through me, and to tell you honestly, I didn’t have much choice in the matter.

MG: Tell me about the books you have written, “Straight From the Horse’s Mouth: How to Talk to Animals and Get Answers” and “The Language of Miracles: A Celebrated Psychic Teaches You to Talk to Animals”?
AK: It’s this mobility of consciousness that I now teach. Psychic ability is a learned skill, an innate part of our brain chemistry that only needs to be developed in order to function automatically like any of our other motor skills. In every workshop I teach all over the world, one of my first questions is, “How many of you think you’re going to be the only person in the room who CAN’T do this?” and almost every hand goes up. Then, I applaud their courage for coming. By the end of the seminar, almost ALL my students are able to download names: Names of the other animals at home, names of the other people at home, names of the neighbors, names of the animals’ medical conditions, names of the humans and animals in the household who have crossed over into Heaven and details that are absolutely impossible to dismiss. And it is often the most skeptical down-trodden students with the least amount of confidence who come out as the most SHINING professional psychics, because they are so humble and their ego doesn’t get in their way. Plus, if they question themselves constantly, they are all the more likely to push for more detail in their information and they get more accurate data. I’ve poured my heart and soul into my books and I’ve made my life an example of giving everything I’ve got to give in order to restore some peace to this planet and some comfort to Her animals—two and four-legged alike.

MG: You are currently on a world tour, how does it make you feel to be able to spread this gift all over the world?
AK: Tired. I’ve been on a world tour for eight years. I’ve got FOUR more world tours this year. That’s why I’ve chosen to start appearing in Horror Movie conventions here in the states. I’m willing to join forces with my horror fans who are also animal lovers and not have to fly all the way to Switzerland to find like-minded animal lovers who want to talk about Quantum Physics, Interspecies Communication, God, Spirit, life, and the future of the planet. My students in Europe share their inmost secrets with me, dance, and laugh, and cry with me. Maybe my horror fans will do that too, and Dorothy won’t have to fly all the way to Oz to get her rocks off.

MG: Are you excited about your return of the horror convention circuit this July at Famous Monsters Convention in Indianapolis?
AK: With bells on, baby.

MG: How do you feel being about becoming a figurine created by the company Horror Idols?
AK: The only thing my figurine can’t do that I’m doing is JUMP FOR JOY, but maybe we’ll work on that for the NEXT action figure/figurine.

Click here to purchase Amelia’s books
Click here to purchase “Night of the Demons” films

Interview with Steven C. Miller

Steven C. Miller wrote, edited, directed and even had a role in his first horror movie, “Automaton Transfusion”. The film made on a no budget but it looks like $5M dollar film. MovieMikes has the ability to ask Steven a few questions about his career so far. Keep an eye on Steven he will be the taking over the horror genre, no question.

Click here to purchase Steven’s movies

Mike Gencarelli: What were the main challenges you faced while making “Automaton Transfusion”?
Steven C. Miller: The biggest were obviously Time and Money. We had next to none of both. Its hard to make any movie in 9 days, but it gets even more challenging when you have less that 20k to do it with. We had to be extremely creative but ultimately I think that’s what gave us a unique little film. Other main challenges included– Locations, Make-up FX, and Exhaustion.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you feel when the film was picked up by Dimension Films?
Steven C. Miller: It was a huge honor for me. I felt like Dimension really brought back horror with the release of “Scream” back in the day and nothing thrilled me more, than to be in that library. They did an amazing job on the box art for the film and the overall marketing was fantastic.

Mike Gencarelli: You career started right out of film school, tell us about your road to success?
Well, I by no means think I am a success yet. I still see myself as learning and trying to perfect my craft. Anyway, I came to Hollywood right after film school (sleeping in my car/on friends sofas) and started Editing a few low budget horror films. I finally just got sick of all the crap I was seeing. It wasn’t necessarily the film makers fault, gotta pay the bills, but I always felt like there was no heart in those pictures. I wanted to make something that felt like “Evil Dead”. Something that had heart and showed a love for the genre. I gathered my friends Mark Thalman and William Clevinger and explained to them what I felt like we needed to do. They both agreed and we immediately contacted our film school. The school was on board and we were off to the races. Once “Automaton Transfusion” was finished, the journey of getting it bought seemed long, but eventually it landed at film festivals and ultimately at Dimension. It was an amazing time in my life and I will never forget it.

MG: Are you planning a follow-up to “Automaton”, if so can you tell us about it?
SM: I am. Its been in the works for a while now. Its the movie that ties up any loose ends or questions from the first film and leads into a whole new world for the third. It picks up where our characters were left for a brief moment before being thrust 5 years into the future. I can’t say too much because the script is just too exciting to spoil, but it will mix genres like nothing before. The biggest issue with the movie is the financing. It needs… well.. deserves a bigger budget than the first and that is always about timing. Its not a film I am going to just make for half a million bucks and hope it turns out good. Its something that I consider my Empire Strikes Back and I take it very seriously.

MG: Has horror movies always been your favorite genre? Do you see yourself ever making romantic comedy?
SM: I love all kinds. My favorite is really action. I always felt “Automaton Transfusion” was an action movie with horror elements. I also do love comedy. Horror and Comedy are very similar, its all about the timing. I would definitely do a romantic comedy if it was R rated and felt like something out of the 80s.

MG: Who is your inspiration for wanting to make movies?
SM: My biggest inspiration when I was growing up was Sam Raimi. It was amazing to me that he could be all over the genre map, from “Evil Dead” to “For The Love Of The Game” to “Spider-Man”.

MG: If you had any means necessary, what would be your dream project?
SM: I have a werewolf bank heist film called “Bad Moon Rising”, that if I had the chance, I would make in a instant.

MG: Tell me about your involvement with the proposed remake of “Motel Hell”?
SM: I was hired by MGM and Craig Perry to be the Director of the remake. There is a really fun script and Craig Perry has some killer ideas. The problem is that It’s at a stand still while MGM figures out there money situation. Its unfortunate that the movie hasn’t just been made. Its a great title and one of my favorite 80s flicks. Hopefully soon!

MG: What other projects do you have in development that you want to talk about?
SM: I’m in post production on my next feature for After Dark Films called “Scream of the Banshee”, which stars Lauren Holly and Lance Hendrickson. Its a fun little monster movie meets “The Ring”. It’s slated for a October theatrical release. I’m also working on a few things with various producers and Writers. I try to throw as many things as I can at the wall because eventually something will stick!

Click here to purchase Steven’s movies

Interview with Dante Tomaselli

Dante Tomaselli’s first film was a 23-minute short called, “Desecration”, which was expanded to feature length. The film received acclaim for its nightmarish visuals and became a cult horror classic. His second was a sequel titled, “Horror”, The film earned rave reviews in the horror world. Tomaselli third feature, “Satan’s Playground” was released in 2006 and featured an amazing group of cult-horror icons. MovieMikes has the opportunity to talk to Dante about his films and his what is in stop for the future.

Click here to purchase Dante’s movies

Mike Gencarelli: “Desecration” started off as a short film, how do you feel the film translated into a full length feature?
Dante Tomaselli: Not bad, considering it cost only $150, 000. “Desecration” was my first feature and I was still in my twenties.  It was 1999 and the genre was just finishing that God-awful cycle of “Scream”-like comedic horrors. My film premiered at the Fantafestival in Rome, Italy and then Image Entertainment picked it up for DVD distribution. It got some good notices in the horror world and art-house arena. Then came the Internet. Lots of press there. Lots of review sites popping up all over the place. That was around the time that the Internet was starting to replace newspapers and magazines as immediate media information and I felt I was riding the wave of something….

Mike Gencarelli: What was the biggest challenge making the full length “Desecration”?
Dante Tomaselli: Getting all the elements together…crew…actors…artists…money. Filmmaking is not like photography or painting. You can’t just have your paint brush and easel and display your vision. I needed to build a whole network of people around me. I’ve always been a mixture of shyness and occasional confidence, so socially, it was rough, but the film pokes through and leads the way. I think people around me understood that I meant business. The visions must be extracted. The film itself speaks and commands…and I’m the vessel, really. It was challenging creating my first feature…at the same time it came so naturally. After “Desecration” was released, I was hooked and deeply in love with making low budget movies….Film is a moving painting, a moving sculpture…a doorway to somewhere else…wow…I definitely felt that this was my destiny and I was on a mission. I wanted…needed…to make creative, intimate horror films.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell me about its follow-up “Horror”, what made you want to continue the story?
Dante Tomaselli: Horror was like a sequel to “Desecration”. It was a continuation of the eternally damned boy’s life. I was honing my craft. Even though I switched cinematographers and production designers from “Desecration”, “Horror” still retained my signature look…and sound. It was important for me to illustrate that I had a voice that was my own. I’m trying to construct a nightmare in which we experience the protagonist’s damnation. More than anything I wanted my films to be different, unique. Possibly I could have made a mainstream horror film…possibly…but instead I went the other way and created something crazier, wilder, and even more non-linear than Desecration”. “Horror”. My imagination was unhinged on “Horror”.

MG: You worked with a great cast in “Satan’s Playground” like Felissa Rose (“Sleepaway Camp”), Ellen Sandwiess (“Evil Dead”) and Edwin Neal (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”). What was it like working with them?
DT: Exhilarating. Looking back, I might have been a little too caught up in the horror fanboy dream of it all. It might have distracted me a bit from the film itself, sometimes. Ultimately, though I forged some actor director relationships that are enduring. Felissa was fun to work with; she really got into the part and put her heart into it. Ellen Sandweiss is a great friend and had one of the best roles in “The Evil Dead”, one of my favorite films. She was terrific…especially when her character’s baby was stolen. “Satan’s Playground” was her comeback after so many years. And Ed Neal, well, I am about to work with him again on my new film. He’s a really gifted performer, very underrated.

MG: Your films have all seem to involve religion undertones? Why?
DT: Well, I grew up in an Italian American Catholic household so it was unescapable. My older siblings all went to Catholic school and I went to Sunday School…or Catechism. And church. My religious grandmothers both lived in Paterson New Jersey, with all the Blessed Virgin Mary statues on the lawns and everything. A staple of Italian neighborhoods. It was a vibe all around me and I picked up on it. I remember, many times, being in church, on my knees, and chanting the prayers and zoning out and marveling at the architecture of the church and the eeriness of the church organ. I’m not a religious person. Spiritual? Yes. I’m more skeptical of organized religion. It causes wars and divides people. Certain religions thinking they know better than the other….It seems to have happened since the beginning of mankind and never stopped. Also, of course, sometimes the hypocrisy, the perversion of religion can be terrifying. I think organized religion could be the death of us. So yea, I fear it. In the end, though, my films are really about family.

MG: What made you want to get into the movie business? Is horror your favorite genre?
DT: Yes! I’m a lifelong horror film fanatic. Good horror films release serotonin in my brain. Growing up, my room was decorated like a Funhouse. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, for as long as I can remember. My notebook in school was filled with horror movie artwork and the titles of the films in their original font. Movies like…”Halloween”, “The Omen”, “Carrie”, “The Shining”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “Tourist Trap”, “The Fog”, “Burnt Offerings”, “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death”, “The Sentinel”…When I’m inspired or in…the trance…I close my eyes and the images from the film I want to create are as clear as slides projected in my mind. And the sounds. It’s an all-out sensory take-over, like dreaming while wide awake. It’s been happening since I was really young and it’s like a faucet I can’t turn off. I fantasize for a living.   

MG: Your cousin, Alfred Sole, made “Alice, Sweet Alice”, would you ever consider remaking that film with him?
DT: I will be remaking that film. I have the rights from my cousin and he will work on it as well. It’s inevitable that all notable horror films will be remade so we want to beat others to the punch. It’s coming up.

MG: You are having a documentary made about you by filmmaker, Christopher Garetano, titled “The Horror of Dane Tomaselli”.  What can you tell us about this?
DT: You’d really have to talk to Chris about what he has in store because he’s totally in charge of it. He’ll be shooting the conclusion of the documentary soon, possibly next month.  I’ve seen clips and it’s like an out-of-body experience.  For me, it’s intense, hallucinogenic.

MG: What are your plans for the movie “Torture Chamber”?

DT: I’m ready to start shooting. We’re days away. It’s a horror shocker about a demonically possessed boy who escapes from a mental institution and discovers an old abandoned castle with a secret passageway to a cobwebbed torture chamber. It’s the first serious independent horror film in a while that’s in the vein of “The Exorcist”.

Click here to purchase Dante’s movies

Interview with Paul Solet

Paul Solet is the director of the recent horror film “Grace”. If you haven’t seen it, where have you been living under a rock?! The movie which started off as a short film tells about a pregnant Madeline (Jordan Ladd) which is involved in a car accident and doctors tell Madeline that her unborn child is dead. Madeline, desperate after trying to have a child for years, decides to carry her baby to term anyway. The child, a girl, initially appears stillborn. After a while, though, she seems to revive, and Madeline names her “Grace”. It soon becomes clear something is wrong with the baby and its cravings.

MovieMikes has a chance to ask Paul some questions about the movie and its journey to the big screen. Keep an eye out for Paul he already made a name for himself and its going to be one of Hollywood’s biggest directors very soon!

Click here to purchase Paul Solet’s “Grace” on DVD or Blu-Ray

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally come up with the idea for the short “Grace”?
Paul Solet: The idea for GRACE comes from actual medical science. I had a conversation in which I learned that when a mother loses her unborn child, unless labor is artificially induced, the mother will often actually carry that baby to term. I just find the inherent drama and terror of that idea so remarkably potent. What better way to explore the power of motherhood and love, than through a physical merger with death?

Mike Gencarelli: Besides the “Grace” short, you were featured on “Fangoria’s Blood Drive 2”, How do you feel that making a short differs from feature?
Paul Solet: It’s the same exact thing at a different scale. You still need to tell a story in a compelling way, and the same concerns are always present. Shorts are wonderful. I really miss making them, but I seem to always be writing these days.

Mike Gencarelli: What was your involvement with Eli Roth and Adam Green while working on “Grace”?
Paul Solet: Adam produced the film, and was a very hands on presence. He and his partner Cory Neal were on set quietly putting out fires before I even knew they existed so we could just focus on the creative. Green has been through this type of run and gun low budget filmmaking four times now, so he understands in his blood what the challenges are, and it’s such a huge value having a producer that is also a director. Not to mention, if you need to drop a shot, Adam can just run a splinter unit and snag it and the day still gets made, and you know it’s going to be good. Eli didn’t work on GRACE, but he’s always an inspiration and an influence for me creatively.

MG: What was the biggest challenge in bringing it to the big screen?
PS: Time. We had 192 scenes to shoot in 17 short days. So, learning to embrace and exploit our limitations was key. It reinforced our allegiance to story and character over spectacle. The films that I love hold to that discipline, no matter how broad their available canvas. I think we’ve been faithful to that principle, with GRACE. I think there’s a tendency for younger filmmakers to become anxious to get something in front of a camera before it’s ready. I see development time as a filmmaker’s principle luxury, so I waited to find a home for the project until the script was as tight as I could get it and I had story boarded and shotlisted the entire project. I didn’t want there to be any questions I couldn’t answer truthfully when asked.

MG: The characters in your film are very intense and well written, how do you feel about the cast you worked with?
PS: I couldn’t have been happier with our cast. My Canadian casting director, Carmen Kotyk really brought in the best talent up there, and of course, Jordan is always wonderful. You always wish you had more time to rehearse, and more takes to shoot, but these guys have such chops they really can work within the confines of a schedule like this and still deliver something really breathtaking.

MG: After playing all over the world in theaters and festivals, anything you would have done differently?
PS: Not a thing. It’s been such wonderful ride for me. I got to got to Korea, and Scotland, and France and Spain, and hang out with some of the best filmmakers of our generation. I’m so immensely grateful for the film’s success and the support we’ve gotten from fans and critics. It’s really been magical.

MG: With one feature film you have made such a name for yourself in this business, how do you feel about that? Any pressure?
PS: There’s always some pressure, but I’ve been writing screenplays very seriously for almost ten years at this point, and making shorts and studying the craft of filmmaking since I was a kid, so it’s not like this happens overnight. I’m a real believer in hard work, and I have no intention of slacking. I’ll keep breaking my ass to give you the best I can give, and however it’s received is up to the universe.

MG: I am sure your fans want to know, what is your planned follow-up project?

PS: We haven’t announced yet, so I can’t say, but it’s going to be fucking terrifying.


Click here
to purchase Paul Solet’s “Grace” on DVD or Blu-Ray