Ursula Dabrowsky / Cassandra Kane Interview

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Sometime ago I was fortunate enough to weasel myself an invitation to the cast and crew screening of Family Demons, a low budget film shot on the streets of Adelaide during one of the worst heatwaves in recent memory. I knew nothing about the film and was pleasantly surprised to find it was a taut little horror/thriller that transcended its budgetary restrictions. It delivered in most every way. The cast, despite their relative inexperience were convincing, this was especially true of young Cassandra Kane. The film looked great and there were a couple of genuine scares and a twist that wouldn’t have been out of place at a Chubby Checker concert.

Crimson Celluloid: Can you give readers of Love & Pop a little information as to what Family Demons is about?

Ursula Dabrowsky: It’s a psychological horror film about a teenage girl. Her name is Billie and she lives with her mother who is an alcoholic and treats her daughter really badly. So badly, in fact, that Billie plans to run away from home with her new boyfriend, but her mother discovers the plot and is about to chain her daughter up again and hold her prisoner, when Billie snaps and murders her mother. And then what happens is while Billie is waiting for her boyfriend to come and get her so they can run away together, the mother’s vengeful spirit returns to haunt Billie. She still refuses in death to let go of Billie.

CC: It was shot on an ultra LOW budget during the worst heatwave in recent memory, do you think this added to the atmosphere on-screen?

UD: I don’t think so. In the end, I think the atmosphere that was created on screen was because the entire cast and crew all worked together to pull this off, regardless of the budget or weather. We all worked within the given constraints. If it was freezing cold and snowing outside, I still think it would have turned out well. It would have just affected wardrobe.

CC: Many scenes belie the budget constraints and the film looks great on the big screen. Did you have a vision in your head as to how the film should LOOK and how it came across? How close to your vision is the final product?

UD: I had two of the best actors in Adelaide performing the lead roles, an amazing DOP who is strongly influenced by European cinema, and the music score is just brilliant, and I think I did a good job of directing. I was quite confident on set. Very organised. I knew what I wanted. But to be honest, the film turned out heaps better than I expected. I had never worked with Cass or Kerry before as actors, or Hugh as the cinematographer or Mick, the music composer or most of the cast and crew, bar Scott Venner and Tommy Darwin. When I started, I had no idea whether the film would work or not. It was a leap of faith and I’m still to this day blown away by what everyone’s contribution to help make this film turn out as it has.

CC: With the benefit of hindsight, what mistakes did you make on this film that you will endeavour not to repeat on your next film?

UD: If there are flaws in the film, it’s the script and I’m entirely to blame. I look at the film now and I only see the things I could have done better to strengthen the story. Particularly the relationship between Sean and Billie. I would have liked to develop this more and this is exactly what I’ll be doing with my next film which is develop a stronger love story, wrapped in a psychological horror film.

The other thing I’d like to say is that a $6,500 production budget is definitely not enough. Neither is a two week shoot. I’d be interested to see what I could do next if I had some upfront financing and a longer shoot.

CC: The film is definitely scary in parts. Which films have inspired and scared you?

UD: First and foremost, The Grudge by Takashi Shimizu. I watched that for the first time back in 2003 and it blew my mind. I had never seen anything like it before and that film definitely inspired me and stuck with me for a long time. The other film I saw for the first time around that time was Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Despite being an old film, I had never seen it before and man, I was glued to the screen. It’s no wonder it’s a classic. I loved the documentary feel of it. That scene when the brother in the wheelchair and sister are waiting by the kombi, not knowing what to do cuz their friends hadn’t returned. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next even though I was terrified for them. And I loved the ending. Both those films inspired me to make Family Demons.

CC: Your lead actress, Cassandra Kane, did an amazing job on the film. You certainly put her through the ringer emotionally and physically. Were you concerned about her welfare at any time?

UD: Yes I was. I fretted like a mother hen. But she was unbelievable. She never once complained. She ran a lot, in the heat, she jumped over fences, she crawled, she cried, she hit. She gave 150%. It’s amazing how unsure she was before we started shooting; she didn’t think she could pull it off. But she did, in spades. I admire that woman so much. She’s smart, she’s talented and she’s gorgeous, inside and out. I think she’s just gold. And I can’t wait to work with her again. Kerry who plays the mother is also amazing. I hadn’t worked with her before and I didn’t audition her. Just went with Kerry on another actor friend’s recommendation. I couldn’t believe my luck when I started to see what she could do on set. Lucky, lucky me.

CC: What are your favourite and least favourite parts of the whole filmmaking process?

UD: I love directing and editing. But I have difficulty with scriptwriting. Writing good horror scripts is really challenging. They say ideas come cheap. But great ideas, especially in horror, are rare. So difficult to come by and when you write a 90 page script, every single scene has to be a revelation and interesting, something done differently, cuz everything has been done before. And that’s very, very hard. I’ve thought about just being a director but because I can’t find scripts written by other people that excite me, that speak to me enough for me to want to make them, I have no choice right now but to write them myself. Producing is something people say I’m good at because I can pull off a feature with very little money, but producing is a means to an end. I don’t do it because I enjoy it. I do it, same as the writing, so I can get on to doing the things I enjoy and that’s being on set, working with people, or being in post production and watching the film come alive.

CC: You’ve had some great feedback on the film from various festivals and the like. This must be very gratifying?

UD: I’ve only had one screening so far, the World Premiere at A Night of Horror International Film Festival where I won Best Australian Director. And I just found out that Family Demons will be screening in August at both the Melbourne Underground Film Festival and the 5th Annual Fright Night Film Fest in the States. It’s also screening at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival in the UK in October. I’ve submitted Family Demons to quite a few film festivals overseas but still haven’t heard back from the majority of them but so far, so good. So yeah, I’m really happy this little film is making its way into the world.

CC: What advice would you offer a first-time low budget film-maker?

UD: Don’t go ANYWHERE near the set until your script is as perfect as you can make it. Show it to people who can give you feedback. Work it and rework it. Don’t waste your time and your cast and crews and your money with a story that isn’t working. And get people who know what they are doing in the top jobs. And above all, make sure there is good food on set and don’t overwork your cast and crew. 10 hours a day MAX.

CC: What can you tell us about your next project?

UD: Well, right now I’m working on two screenplays: Demons Voices and Demon Drug, both once again psychological horror films and they are coming along, even though liked I’ve said, writing them is like pulling teeth. I’ll get there cuz I can’t wait to shoot another film. I’d like to work with Kerry and Cass again and Hugh the DOP is hounding me to get the script written cuz like me, he can’t wait to get back on set. So I’m motivated to get things happening and work with these talented people again. When I make Demon Drug and Demon Voices and combine them with Family Demons, they will form part of Ursula Dabrowsky’s Demon Trilogy. It’s pretty clear I’ve got demons in my head but I’ll be a good girl and I’ll just get them down on film.

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LEAD ACTRESS CASSANDRA KANE.

Firstly congrats on your performance in Family Demons, for someone so young it speaks volumes that you carried the whole film.

Crimson Celluloid: What are your lasting memories of making the film?

Cassandra Kane: It was hot! I remember being exhausted at the end of every day and, because the character was often in some sort of distress, my own emotional state was very tenuous – it had to be for the character to work. Other lasting memories include acting with Kerry Reid, Alex Rafalowicz, Tommy Darwin and Chrissie Page. It was a great privilege to work with these very talented actors and I learned a great deal from them. Overall, I look back on the making of this film as a very challenging and exciting time. I’d do the whole film again in a heart-beat!

CC: It was your first lead role. What preparation went into your character and getting ready to shoot the film?

CK: The first thing I did was study the script. I read and re-read the material, and got between the lines until Billie started to grow under my skin. And the script was challenging. For instance, I found it difficult to grasp the unusual relationship Billie shares with her mother. Even though Billie is abused by her mother, there are real tender moments between them in the film. It’s a common dichotomy in abusive relationships, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to understand.

CC: You were certainly put through the ringer in the film, both physically and emotionally. What was the hardest part for you?

CK: It’s an incredibly intrusive experience, being an actor, and this character is always being exploited or abused. A film set, even a low budget one, is always filled with people, all of whom are focused on their role and on the scene playing out. So an actor is forced to reach a very personal place in a very public environment, where he or she is watched carefully and scrutinized. I’m not naturally someone who finds it easy to ‘bare their soul’, but the camera picks up anything false, so reaching that place is essential – but it’s never easy.

CC: What would you say were Ursula’s strengths as a director? Any weaknesses?

CK: Ursula and I have an excellent relationship, both professionally and personally. I think an important part of the actor-director relationship is mutual trust. The character I play is very raw and she suffers a lot of humiliation and degradation, but Ursula trusted my instincts with the character and was careful to ensure that I felt as comfortable as possible. Despite the unpleasant things I had to do in this film, Ursula always looked out for me, and I trusted that she would respect me as an actor in the way the scenes translated onto film.

Another thing about Ursula is the way she communicates with cast and crew – she gives generously to each of them, and her warmth as a person comes through. Ursula is so inspiring that she makes people want to work for her – even for nothing!

Weaknesses? Nope. Can’t wait to work with her again!

CC: The film was shot during one of the worst heat-waves Adelaide has ever experienced; do you think this added to the atmosphere the film created? Did it make it even harder to shoot or add to your performance?

CK: Both! Actually, one good thing about the heat was that it brought out the flies – which I think is great. Very Texas Chainsaw. They should have received top billing. The heat certainly had an effect on my performance. It made it easier to play exasperation. But other than that, it drove us insane.

CC: It’s a genuinely eerie film, was it ever scary shooting it?

CK: Yes. I was terrified throughout the entire shoot that I was going to ruin the film. Apart from that, no.

CC: Despite the ultra-low budget the film transcends its budgetary constraints and looks great on the screen. What did you think when you first saw it?

CK: It was surreal, but to be honest I spent most of the time squinting. It’s awful to have to watch yourself! But I knew that Ursula and the crew were going to do a good job on the movie. It didn’t come as a surprise to me that the film overcame it’s budgetary constraints.

CC: What advice would you give a young actress about to make a film debut?

CK: I’ve always been told that to survive in the film industry you need to be tough and ‘thick-skinned’. But I don’t necessarily believe that. I think it’s an asset to allow yourself to be sensitive and to feel, and that vulnerability is often the key to a good performance. So I’d tell young actresses that it isn’t necessary to become some sort of hard-nosed, psycho-ambitious bitch. Just be truthful to yourself – I believe that that can get you just as far.

CC: Rumour has it that despite your wonderful performance you don’t even have an agent. What’s the story there?

CK: I don’t know, I suppose I should have one but I would want someone I could trust. It isn’t a decision I would take lightly. Perhaps I’m just waiting to meet the right agent.

CC: If you’re a horror movie fan, here’s where you list some of your favourite films.

CK: Well I love Brian De Palma’s Carrie – Sissy Spacek in pig’s blood is iconic horror. Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacreand John Carpenter’s Halloween are classics also. Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes and Kubrick’s The Shining are two more. I could go on forever..

Veronica Sywak Interview

Veronica-SCrimson Celluloid: What was your initial reaction when approached to do Welcome to the Jungle? How does a nice girl from Sydney end up in a film where she gets eaten by cannibals?

Veronica Sywack: I auditioned like everyone else. The screen-test was interesting – no script – just a chat to camera. At this stage, I had no information about the project or its mechanics. I didn’t know if it was TV or film and I certainly did I know that Gale Anne Hurd or Jonathan Hensleigh were attached. All I knew is that my second screen-test was successful, and that I was being flown to Fiji for a meeting. I landed in Nadi airport not knowing who I was going to meet or what the project was about. I was introduced to Gale and Jonathan and had a ½ hour meeting before they had to catch a flight back to LA. To add to the excitement – I think they may have had a military escort to the airport….

It looked to the untrained eye that it would have been a pretty gruelling shoot. Did you do anything in advance to prepare for the film physically?

Continue reading

Eleonore Hendricks Interview

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Crimson Celluloid: Were you aware of the films of Frank Henenlotter before you took the role in Bad Biology?

Eleonore Hendricks: Sorry to say I found out about legendary Frank Henenlotter when I was introduced to the project Bad Biology. I wish I were so cool as to have seen these films when I was growing up. Its funny actually, Frankenhooker was filmed just down the block from where I grew up in NYC. I wish I was awake or around at the time to have seen exploding prostitute limbs, a little nine year old me would have been quite impressed. When I was about that age I used to beg my parents to take me down the streets in the me at-packing district where all the transvestites and prostitutes hung out, I just loved it. RA the Rugged man brought me into this project, I had known him from around and when he told me about Frank I immediately went to the video store and checked out some of his epic work. I watched Basket Case and Frankenhooker– classic! I was an instant fan and knew what a unique opportunity I had before me.

Continue reading

Rex Sikes Interview

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John Harrison: Tell us a little bit about your background and upbringing – where were you born and raised? What initially drew you to acting?

Rex Sikes: I was born in the Midwest and moved to Los Angeles first chance I got. My parents put me in dancing and acrobatic classes as a three year old. Acting classes by four or five and I loved performing. I made movies with friends as early teenagers.  I travelled and performed as a “mindreader” from about the age of 8. Around 18 or 19 I joined the Screen Actors Guild after some years working non-union features. I think I was drawn to acting because I so loved early movies and I glamorized the show business of the 30’s and 40s. Loved the mavericks of the 50’s like Dean, Brando, and Clift and was in love with the idea of being a film start. I liked the craft, I liked the movies, and I like the idea of Hollywood glamour. I think mostly I figured I would get more girls as an actor – only I learned I should have been a rock star instead. Even the dingy bar bands seemed to meet more girls than actors ever did especially in Hollywood where everyone is an “actor”. I hope this is honest enough. I believed I would get benefits I wouldn’t in any other way by being in the film business and it was a business I did love anyway. Continue reading

Bill Zebub Interview

Love and Pop talk to film maker, editor of The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds magazine and radio host Bill Zebub about metal and movie making.

Love and Pop talk to film maker, editor of The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds magazine and radio host Bill Zebub about metal and movie making.

The Naked Kiss: You wear a lot of different hats; you produce a magazine, a radio show and direct films. Do you prefer one over the other?

Bill Zebub: Each role has rewards, but I like making movies more than I like the other activities. When I am on the radio it is usually as a character called “Professor Dumdum” and I pretend that I know nothing about American subcultures. I provoke listeners into calling up, and the exchanges are live, on the air. What I like about that is that it is 100% improvised, with no preparation. It’s a creative exercise. And it is also the opposite of customer service. I get to yell at people and to ridicule their short attention spans, their grandiose notions of entitlement, and their ignorance. Movies engage a different kind of creativity, and although scripts are written and shots are planned, unforeseen things constantly happen so the improvisation that I use on the radio is used for creative problem solving on sets. When I am on the radio, improvisation is used to combat problematic people for the sake of comedy. When I am making movies, improvisation is used to combat problems and usually takes a few months after the fiasco to be considered funny. I fell off a friend’s backyard deck and couldn’t walk for a few weeks. It’s funny now, but wasn’t back then.

For those who have never encountered your work what films do you recommend they check out first?

That’s a good question. Indie Director is my most mainstream-friendly movie. I replicated 3,000 of them to give away at horror conventions because it makes more sense to give away $1800 worth of movies than to pay $1800 for a full color ad in a magazine. These give-aways are a different edit that the director’s cut that is for sale. It’s about 30 minutes shorter, and the camera work is different in many scenes. I have yet to see if this was a smart movie, and whether it is better to suggest that title rather than one of my absurd movies. In a way, it’s misleading. I am the king of absurdity. Straightforward stories like Indie Director and Assmonster are rare in my catalog.

You’ve pumped out quite a lot of films, do you have a favourite and which one/s were the most challenging to make?

It’s hard for me to pick out a favorite because each one has moments of fun, even the dark sex-horrors. I don’t show bloopers from those movies because it will spoil any tension in a re-watch. It’s hard to feel tension if you know that the actresses are having fun in real life. As for challenges, I don’t remember them unless they are comical, or if I can be proud of the way that I surmounted an obstacle. I still have not used ADR – recording audio after a scene has been shot and matching it to the actor’s mouth. But I should. There was one scene that should have only taken half an hour to shoot, but car horns, train horns, airplanes, dogs, and a local parade turned it into hours of aggravation. The scene was supposed to be in the deep woods, You’re not supposed to hear cars in the deep woods. I could have just recorded the audio as a reference and then had people re-record their lines in a quite place. But I am more afraid of post-production audio not syncing up 100% and looking stupid. Maybe I can pretend it’s a foreign film. There have been other problems that seem hilarious now but were paralyzing back then, like when a construction crew suddenly showed up and were using jackhammers. We had to time our recording between the noises. I feel bad about hoping that one of the construction workers would get hurt so they’d have to stop work. Such is the way guerrilla film making.

You’re love of metal is evident, you’ve done documentaries about Black and Death metal, not to mention your magazine, what bands are you listening to these days?

A staple of my musical diet is older Mercyful Fate albums, but my musical choices depend on my mood. I like to get lost in music, so I tend to listen on headphones, in darkness, with eyes closed. I can enter a theater of the mind with Elend which brings tortured death metal vocals into opera rather than heavenly soprano into death metal. That is when I enter hell. I also like the rich and atmospheric doom of Estoeric, from England. Shape of Despair from Finland have excellent dark and ebbing songs. I gravitate toward the melancholy.

I was kind of skeptical about your Black Metal documentary but budget and editing aside found it one of the more respectful and less sensational documentaries on the subject matter. I liked that you let the musicians tell the story and that it wasn’t art-wanky. Do you have any anecdotes about interviewees/making the film?

The irony is that some people complain about the budget, but black metal exalts the super low budget 4-track recording. I could have sought a big budget, but in exchange for seeing artists in luxurious surroundings the content would have to be censored, and the price of the DVD would be high. I wanted this to be seen, not to rot on a store shelf. What difference does it make whether an artist is backstage or in a castle? The words would be the same. I hate the idiots who want the documentary to basically rehash the fictional and sensationalist tales that everyone knows. I hate those posers who just want the documentary to make them feel good about knowing bullshit. “Oh, yes, this is the part when Grishnak stabs Euonymous in his underwear. I am so glad to see that in a documentary because this time I was just masturbating about a fantasy, and now that it’s real I feel rewarded for believing a distorted story.”

One of my favorite differences between my documentary and a big budget one is, a big budget documentary showed a guy from Gorgoroth with fake-evil lighting from beneath him, making him appear more like a kid who is playing with a flashlight under his chin. He was holding a glass of wine and took a long pause before saying, in a fake evil voice “Satan”. In my documentary he is sitting hunched and submissively, and comes out of the closet. Yes, he’s gay, and so is the lighting in that big budget documentary. I wanted to to show the wizard behind the curtain. I had regarded black metal to be the pro-wrestling of metal. It’s not real. Some of the “wars” are pure fiction. So if you are looking for that, I will disappoint you.

As for anecdotes, this may not be funny, but I discovered how cool and down-to-earth many people are. I had expected otherwise. But you asked for anecdote, and I will reveal this as a worldwide first. King from Gorgoroth claimed to know the forefathers of black metal, and he promised me that he would get me in-person interviews with them if I flew to Norway. I bought my ticket. But the night before I had to fly, King notified me via Email that nobody wanted to do the interview but a couple of others would do interviews as a consolation prize, like the guy from Cadaver who played with Celtic Frost on the last tour. Needless to say, I did not go to Norway. I found out afterwards that he didn’t know any of the people he claimed to know. Some of the forefathers ridiculed him. He was called a poser and a newcomer. Absolutely no respect whatsoever. His public personality was a thing of jokes. My favorite story about him was from the guy in Enthroned who said that when Gorgoroth and Enthroned played a show, King from Gorgoroth had a Prima Donna tantrum about the amplifiers not being the exact ones that he had requested. By the way, King’s nickname to those guys is “Queenie” – so Queenie was told in no uncertain terms to close his bitch mouth and to get the fuck on stage or else….

Do you have any more documentaries in the works?

Actually, I am thinking of making a mash-up of several documentaries into one, in which black metal is the primary focus, but it has far more artists talking. This won’t replace the black metal documentary but should make for a nice companion piece. I made a series called Metal Retardation: in which everyone gets smashed, and the aim of the interview is retardation. You can read “What are your influences” kinds of interviews elsewhere. But if you want to see me get the vocalist of Cannibal Corpse to sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” then tune in to what I do. So far, we have Metal Retardation, and Extreme Metal Retardation as their own DVD’s, but the third in the series is a bonus movie on Scienceless Fiction and is called . The fourth is in HD and will be simply called Metal Retardation Volume 4 and will be almost 4 hours. But there is no active plan to make a documentary per se, although I was thinking about making one about King Diamond.

I haven’t seen many of your films but really enjoyed Dolla Morte, was it a rather time consuming film?

I am embarrassed. That movie was done purely for fun. When I received feedback from fans I decided to halt sales. Only about 400 sold and I gave the rest away. Years later, an acquaintance asked to re-release it. He loved it. He said that, when you watch a film you make a handshake with it in the first five minutes. You see the rules and you agree with them,or you shut the movie off. Looking back, he may have seen how inflated the auction prices were. You see, I make movies as soon as I dream them up. I sometimes realize that it was a mistake for me to release them, and I take them out of circulation. It seems that people want what they can’t have. Seeing my movies bid upwards of a thousand dollars per DVD may blind people to the actual market value of a re-release. I didn’t want to take advantage of that guy, so I sold him the right to lease the movie for a nominal fee. However I was angered by his deceptive marketing. When you look at my DVD cover you can tell that it is a low budget movie. He paid an artist to make a cover that in no way let you know what you were getting, and he also wrote “In the tradition of Team America and Robot Chicken.” First of all. those two movies are not similar, so how can there be a tradition if those two movies have different animation? Secondly, Dolla Morte has nothing to do with either of those great works. So I warned the guy that if I ever see that deceptive claim made again, we are going to have a face-to-face. I don’t hoodwink people. If I wanted to make easy money I would be doing something else.

How much money did you spend on toys for Dolla Morte?

Almost a thousand dollars. Many of the toys were not used in the movie. When I finished the project, I chose a family that had a boy and a girl and I arranged to give the children ALL of the toys in one day, to create a magical memory. Can you imagine how you would have reacted if you were a child and came home to a treasure trove of toys? I created that event anonymously. The kids thought that the parents did that. I didn’t videotape it for the public because it wasn’t a stunt. I genuinely wanted to create an amazing memory.

Who has been the biggest influence to you as a director?

Years ago I was at a horror convention to give away my magazine to would-be fans. until that point I had only videotaped skits for my own fun, as well as Jackass types of public stunts. A “director” knew about my mag and handed me his movie for review. I told him that I only review metal music, but when I saw there were hot chicks on the cover I told him I would gladly review it. I was impressed with myself. A director knew about me and came to me personally for a review. Well, when I got home I was surprised by how bad the “movie” was. Even though it had nude girls it was unwatchable. He was selling these VHS dubbs, with deceptive packaging, for lots of money. At first I hated him for being a thief and a fake, but I suddenly realized that, unlike that guy, I actually wanted to entertain when I videotaped my stuff. Why shouldn’t I also get a booth at a horror convention and sell my wares, but at a real price and without trying to deceive consumers. I’d do that one day when I was ready. I ran into him again, and he revealed that he had cancer. He was undergoing chemotherapy but still actively shot his talentless and fraudulent movies. That made me feel shame. What was my excuse for waiting? I have all the time in the world and this man could die any day. So I immediately went to a bookstore and purchased a book about screenwriting. I never wasted a moment since that time. When I get an idea, I act on it. I don’t wait for anything. By the way, he survived the cancer, but has never improved his movie skills, ha ha.

I am assuming your a self-taught filmmaker? How did you get into making films?

I’ve hogged up a lot of your time, so I will give a short answer. I always wanted to make movies but I thought that was just for a different class of people. I knew nothing about it. Some say that I still don’t, but the point is that I was always dreaming of owning a camera, and when I finally got one on my 18th birthday I constantly used it for fun. I never thought it would lead to anything other than personal amusement. Skipping ahead to when I bought the book about screenwriting, I made Metalheads as my practice movie, thinking that maybe in ten years I will be skilled enough to get a deal with some company. Even in that practice movie I paid the girls. I considered it my film school, and the girls were my textbooks, or at least they cost as much as college text books. When I finished the movie I handed out VHS dubs of it at a horror convention, and one fell into the hand of a distributor. He called me with a deal.

You utilize a lot of shock-tactics throughout your works, does anything shock Bill Zebub?

 Indeed. Brainwashing is terrifying to me. Years ago when I was in the corporate environment I had to undergo “diversity” training among myriad other sessions in which adult employees were treated like children watching videos that were so boring they may one day be considered war crimes. In any case, I dismissed that colossal waste of time as just a protection for the business. Over time, that idiocy began appearing in movies. The term was “political correctness”: which I didn’t think was taken seriously by smart people. It’s polite fiction. I thought it was just a phase. But it’s become worse. I kept joking that it’s leftist fascism, that the “correct” Nazi’s should have their swastikas pointing to the left. Then I saw an episode on Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! which basically revealed political correctness to be based on Nazi methods of thought control, but instead of manipulating people for evil, the through control was for good. Impossible. Thought-control is evil no matter what. People are trained to have knee-jerk reactions, which is dangerous because it’s CONFORMITY, not MORALITY. A moral person actually thinks about why he or she makes a decision. A conformist doesn’t think – a conformist just acts. This allows him or her to commit atrocities. A conformist thinks that he or she is correct. No thinking needed. A moral person doesn’t punish or condemn. Rather, a moral person will be happy to enlighten. Conformists like to ostracise, condemn, and to punish. They are the hate-haters. Well, that’s still hatred. It’s reaching ludicrous levels. I’ve made movies in a category I call “sex horror” and a trademark of that is rape. Rape is taboo in movies, and that is why I use it. I try to tackle what others fear. Lately someof my movie became banned, or economically censored, meaning that credit card processors refuse to allow credit cards transactions to go thorugh. I am on the verge of finding a lawyer to file a massive lawsuit. These are LEGAL products. What is happening is the equivalent of a gas station attendant refusing to take your money for gasoline because he does not approve of your taste in cars. If the word “rape” is in the movie title or anywhere in the synopsis then there is a good chance for it to suffer this blacklisting. Remove that word and you can have a chance at doing business for a while, until some asshole decides to cause trouble. So you can kill a woman every ten seconds in your movie and get mainstream distribution, but the moment someone touches her breasts without first asking please, the movie gets banned. I can understand if a movie is a how-to guide for a would-be rapist. But for a narrative? Some studios are of course exempt. This era is stupid. Stupid and shocking.

Do you have any anecdotes about offended viewers/criticisms of your films? Ever had the Westboro Church protest one of your films?

When I first released Jesus Christ: Serial Rapist it wasn’t a film. I had planned on making a film, but in those days I was shooting with a camcorder. When I examined the footage I didn’t like it. Back then I didn’t understand that the footage looked bad because it was 30 frames per second and looked like a home video. The film look is 24 frames per second. Well, I halted production and scrapped the footage, but someone talked me into releasing it as soft core bondage, or whatever, that should be sold to porn stores. Of course, I didn’t know anything about that world. I was told that bondage has no sex, and that I have enough damsels in distress to merit the release. My distributor would not take a movie titled Jesus Christ: Serial Rapist but I asked, if I replicated the DVD’s myself and had only my name on it, not the distributor company, would they sell it? Yes. Well, I was under the assumption that they would only target porn stores, but this movie ended up in a major chain. A morbidly obese christian woman was so outraged that she threatened that if the movie wasn’t banned, she would launch a christian campaign and take it to the highest levels of the company. All of the units were returned. I could have used that as a publicity event, but I was not proud of the DVD. I hastily stopped all further sales. Years later when I had a better camera, I shot the movie as an art house horror, and by then I had developed some brand recognition, so the distribution company acquired the title as an exclusive. It sold well. A fan notified me that it has over 100 reviews on Amazon.com. Christians who had never seen the movie were rating it 1 out of 5 to ruin the likelihood of someone buying it. Their reviews showed that they never saw it. They were furious that a movie with that name existed. Then people who hated the christian abuse of power started rating the movie 5 out of 5, but they didn’t see the movie either. Eventually, the Christians changed tactics and they successfully got Amazon to remove the title. I protested, citing that none of them had seen the movie, but to no avail. After that, when I made the movie Forgive me for Raping You it had a priest on the cover with his arms around a girl. Christians again protested, claiming that the movie was about raping boys. Clearly they did not see the movie. There are no children in the movie, and the girl on the cover is obviously not a boy. The priest in this movie does not swing this way. The Christians got Amazon to ban the title. I protested again, asking how they could allow people who never saw the movie to even review it, let alone call for its removal. The response was, “As long as there is a perception that THAT’s what the movie is….” but it’s not a public perception. It’s just a bunch of Christians who have nothing better to do than to fuck up everyone who is not part of their club.

So I appeal to anyone who is reading this, if you have an urge to kill people and haven’t figured out who your targets will be, please start with Christians who go around trying to fuck people over. By the way, you may have heard of peaceful loving Christians being fed to lions. That is religious fiction. The historical Christians who were fed to lions were terrorists. They were nasty assholes, not the meek people depicted in paintings.

One of the barriers for budding directors seems to be money. Your films are extremely low-budget, I’ve read you fund them yourself, how do you manage to produce feature films on such a low budget?

Let’s get something clear. My movies are low-budget, but they are not zero-budget. I spend about $3,000 on girls alone. Where other people spend money on blood, I spend money on boobs. Lots of boobs. Other indie directors talk girls into being naked for free. You can tell that they are free. I hire models. The reason why I can afford it is because my promise was to always re-invest the money. So my first movie, which was done purely for practice, cost me about $800, which I considered to be tuition, because I was learning how to make movies. I could have done it for far less. but if I paid nothing for it I wouldn’t have such respect for what I was doing. When I got the surprise of a lifetime and was offered money for the movie, I took half of that and made another movie, and that snowball has turned into an avalanche. In recent years I made four movies for an other producer, and I used the money to get better equipment, I really should have bought a car and taken care of some health issues, but I am a fool.

Any tips or advice for those looking to become directors?

I have realized that the people who succeed don’t need advice. When I tried to help people, they never acted on my advice. I didn’t understand why. When I started, no one helped me. Other people who succeeded had the same history. There is something wrong with us. We embark on high risk journeys. We can write down exactly what someone needs to do in order to succeed but if you do not have the drive, or the madness, then it’s meaningless. People who succeed are not smarter than you. They are just people who actually DO things, not just TALK about doing things. So if you are open to advice, the only thing that I should tell you is to DO something immediately. Use what you have. Don’t wait until the day that you can afford what you want. Time passes by faster than you think. Also, making movies is something that you learn by actually DOING it. You can read about film making, but until you try the lesson is meaningless. Everything is clear in your head. Try real life. When I started, there were no books about film making or cinematography. Now there are dozens, as well as free tutorials online. Even if there were those resources for me, I learned by failing. Why did that scene not work? By the time those books were available, I could use what was in them But being outside of film school, and being dismissed by actual film makers, it made me develop my own style. But before I masturbate about myself here, let me make a point that should sink in. I purposely did everything wrong, and I still attained a big following. The mainstream hates me. So what? There are enough people who resonate with my own style that they keep me afloat financially. I am a loser. But I got far for being a loser. You are probably a winner. Start doing things immediately and you will far surpass me.

What projects are you working on now?

I just wrapped up Scienceless Fiction, which is my anti-indoctrination movie, although brainwashed people are going to consider it a racist movie. I am hoping to raise funds for a drama called The Reaving of Isabelle but I will probably film Holocaust Cannibal and Dickshark in the next few months. Hopefully I will make Santa Claus: Serial Rapist and Nightmare on Elmo’s Street before the end of the year.

Any final words / pimp yourself here:

Break from the spell.

Check out more Bill here:

Greydon Clark Interview

Greydon_Clark_Interview

Crimson Celluloid: Firstly on an entirely self-indulgent note I have to say a hearty thank you for all the great film entertainment you have provided over your career. You have worked with a veritable who’s who of actors and you always deliver. Is this common of the fan reaction to your films?

Greydon Clark: Thank you for the kind words. I’ve been extremely lucky throughout my career. I’ve worked with many wonderful actors. I’ve found that those names you’d recognize were always most helpful, creative, and involved in our production. Many people are eager for me to discuss working with particular actors they know. Film production is a complicated process. The actors are a very important part. Casting a film correctly can make or break a film. Again, I’ve been very lucky in that area.

For me the holy trio of my all-time favourite films are Patrick G Donahue’s Kill Squad, Jonathan Kaplan’s Truck Turner and your masterpiece Without Warning. What kind of memories do you have when you look back upon making this marvellous monster film?

Continue reading

Samantha Mills Interview

Samantha-Mills

Crimson Celluloid: I imagine, as the outsider I am, that it’s a massive change of lifestyle going from your home state of North Carolina to the mean streets of Los Angeles. How have you found things since you have moved?

Samantha Mills: It is a big change that’s for sure. Going from yards and suburbs to city life. But I absolutely love it and wish I would have moved to LA sooner. I’m still very new to the area so I’m still trying to gather my bearings but just the overall vibe and atmosphere of the place is absolutely wonderful. I just love how art in a general sense is accepted here whether it be acting or dancing or drawing or any form of expression. It’s great. I can’t wait to experience more of it.

CC: Has it been a case of non-stop auditions, dodging producers trying to lure you onto the casting-couch and avoiding any bodily fluids spilled by Charlie Sheen? Continue reading

Ted V. Mikels

Ted_V._Mikels_Interview

Ted V Mikels is a legend. No two ways about it. From his earliest work through to latter day works he put his heart and soul into every film. Younger gorehounds should check out his entire back catalogue of films, we old bastards already know how cool and influential he is!!

Crimson Celluloid: Ted, in a couple of years time you’ll be 80. Yet you seem to have the vim and vigour of someone half that age, how do you manage it?

Ted: Strangely enough, a lot of folks ask me what it takes to have my kind of energy. Actually, with the book coming out in October, the Ted V. Mikels Signature six-pack of DVD’s from Alpha Video coming out also in October, the documentary on myself by Vamp Productions also due out in October (a lot shot in my studio recently) , and my editing day and night on my latest movie Demon Haunt also anticipating completion of all CGI and effects plus music by the end of October, I never have enough time to accomplish all I wish by the end of every day. Tonight, it’s only eleven p.m., so I’m early and now have some time to answer your questions. Never thought much about having or needing ” energy”, I just work hard to get everything done. Continue reading

Nick Zedd Interview

Nick_Zedd

Crimson Celluloid: I guess the most obvious way to start this interview is to find out what you have been doing for the past few years? We haven’t seen much mention of you and, frankly, were concerned that you may have died.

Nick Zedd: You wish. Learn to use a computer. Look up my name on two websites & you can see my filmography up to now. Frankly, you’re being disingenuous and it’s not funny.

CC: What is the current state of play in regards to ultra-low budget filmmaking in your neck of the woods? Any promising new talents that you think we should be aware of?

NZ: Perhaps Mark Hejnar, Jacob Pander, Will Keenan, Jon Vomit, Saint Rev Jen, Andras Troeger, Steen Jorgensen, Bob, Nick Bohn, Mike Diana, Jaiko Suzuki, Gritt Uldall Jessen, Darly Free, Dr. Ducky, Doo Little and all the other people who’ve acted in my last six films which you probably haven’t seen. Continue reading

Gene Gregorits Interview

 

Photo credit VATO

Photo credit VATO

Crimson Celluloid: There’s a quote that I think of when I think of you Gene… “I suffer for my art, now it’s YOUR turn”. How much does suffering and adversity play a part in your creative process?

Gene Gregorits: It’s NOT the suffering necessarily, it’s the wisdom you acquire from being humbled. And people usually start developing ego, arrogance very early on, and suffering is the only thing that humbles someone –or shuts them the fuck up- long enough to understand the world’s natural energy, and their own natural energy. If you can’t understand certain kinds of dynamics, and the real flow of energy that defines life, you’re better off sticking to your punk rock or your soap operas or your sports because you’re still just an ignorant child.

CC: I never really rated Bukowski as a writer…just a fat, old drunk who got lucky. Do you get sick of the Bukowski comparisons to your writing?

GG: I grew up reading Bukowski. I grew up hard and poor, yet there were other poor people who were poorer and harder and I saw a lot of that as a kid. Bukowski taught me to have empathy and he more or less destroyed any ability I might have had to be a careerist. When I was young and drunker, people thought I was a walking joke, that I was stupid, that I was naïve. I was all of those things. But beyond all of that, I was very wise, and that came from Bukowski. Stoicism is waiting for your time to understand your world and your people. Now I know my world, and I know my people. Bring on the Bukowski comparisons. I don’t read Bukowski anymore, I find him juvenile most of the time. But I like much of his poetry and much of his prose and he always makes me laugh. I may be juvenile myself, but I have grown, and I owe a lot to Bukowski. It’s a compliment.

CC: I had a friend who was very creative but crippled with terrible Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He didn’t want to take medication because he thought it would negate his creative ability if he were “normal”. Do you think your writing would suffer if you didn’t lead the kind of life you do?

GG: There’s no answer to that. Sometimes alcohol helps, most of the time it just makes you resistant to knowledge or growth or creativity. It makes you boorish. But when you live with a bunch of apes who are either afraid of you or who find you an amusing novelty, or are jealous of you, etc., it’s a way to commune with yourself. But back to Bukowski, you commune with yourself too much, and you end up writing the same thing 50,000 times and that’s no good. Just because you don’t want to be Stephen King or Tom Hanks…well, that’s no reason to try to be Rimbaud or Oliver Reed. I lead the kind of life I lead because I don’t have an ounce of respect in me for anyone who lives for money, or who wants to make money dishonestly. If I take money from someone who thinks I can or ever would play nice, then I am one of those people. I have never done this and I never will. As for medication, it’s poison unless you are so sick that you can’t live without it, but usually thinking that you can’t do something without medication is part of the sickness that keeps the drug companies in business. I have chosen to learn my own sickness and make severe compromises to accommodate my sickness so I can write. I have chosen to avoid nearly everything in life. I live on the beach with my cat. I have everything I need and I am extremely happy. I will break as many hearts as I have to, so that I have dolphins with my coffee. My family might not understand this; but it’s the lack of understanding that drove me to the edge of the world in the first place. I was a difficult child. I guess I should have been medicated. That’s my idea of a joke.

CC: SEX AND GUTS was an incredible fanzine in its day..the pairing of you and Lydia Lunch was brilliant and scary. What memories do you have of working with her?

GG: Lydia was embarrassed by me and still is. I don’t care. I’m a writer and Lydia is a musician. That’s all there is to say about us as a couple. As for working with her; I wrote my sections for the Johnny Behind the Deuce novel, handed them to her, she would bang something out in 2 hours, and I’d spend a week on my response. That’s how that book happened and that’s why the book I published, with only my stuff, doesn’t make any sense. It works better that way. As for the magazine, we have very different tastes, I think. She loves Hubert Selby, whom I find demonic, and I love Nelson Algren, who she probably finds corny as all get out. Lydia’s a harder person than me. As for the magazine, she wanted Sex and I wanted Guts. The third and fourth issues were scary and brilliant. But I think so much of the nihilism was cosmetic and I didn’t question it at the time because I was rather engulfed in cocaine and I hadn’t grown very much as a man.

CC:  Your in-depth interviews were always a highlight…do you have a favourite interview? Did anyone disappoint?

GG: My favorite interview was probably Jenny Wright, from last year. No one ever disappointed. I wouldn’t let them. I’m too good to be disappointed that way. As an interviewer, I have incredible power. I know how to push all the way to the brink, before someone leaves the table or hangs up the phone. You’d better print every word of this.

CC: What memories do you have of doing your spoken-word show in Australia? Rumour has it you spent the entire time stoned and defiling local ladies.

GG: Richard introduced me to a girl named Bec. I spent my time in Australia “stoned”, yes, and smelling of pussy. I went to expensive nightclubs with wealthy men in suits, “stoned” and stinking of pussy and wearing pissed-in Florida swim trunks, a blood smeared tank top, and motorcycle boots. It was winter time and I had no coat. The flipside to that is that I really fell in love with that girl and when the drugs wore off, my feeling hadn’t changed. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if my Aussie lover had come to my place on Corey Avenue, St. Pete Beach Florida. I have a much prettier and smarter and younger girl now. I HAVE turned into Charles Bukowski. But to get back to “the entire time”, me in Australia, well…I really liked the donkey fucking movie and insisting that that film win best picture when I hadn’t seen any of the other films at all, due to Bec’s pussy and the drugs we were doing, well…not only did that get me international fame, it’s also fucking hilarious.

CC: What’s with the self-destructive behaviour? You willingly document your self-mutilation, drug-taking, drinking and sexual liaisons….a cry for help or a cunning ploy to build a “bad boy of literature” reputation?

GG: Well…there’s then and now. Two different games. The old game was romantic angst that needed voice somehow and I threatened by both circumstance, ALL the circumstances, and what I knew was a miraculous talent. I was also terrified by the world. The new game is selling books and I did through both the old game, and my childhood, cultivate an inhuman physical pain tolerance. I’m a sack of dead meat with a brain that won’t stop growing. I’m not the bad boy of literature. I am a bad man who happens to be literate. I don’t want to be ANY man of literature. I just want to pay my rent and be happy.

CC: For the uninitiated, which of your books would you recommend to the first-timer?

GG: DOG DAYS. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t see how I’m ever going to be able to top it.

CC: I admire your writing and am jealous of your talent and output. What advice would you offer to someone wanting to get their writing out there but perhaps not having the confidence to do so?

GG: Cut off your fucking ear and eat it on pristine High Definition video. No one’s done that yet. I was using a 2002 Kodak EZ Playsport that had dried blood on the lens.

CC: What’s next for Gene Gregorits?

GG: Husbandry. And Intra-Coastal. The magazine AND the novel. Thank you David. I had fun.