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Hell's Jailor

Post Number: 4354
Registered: 06-2004

Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2008 - 11:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What got you first interested in filmmaking?

I loved painting and playing creepy organ music since I was about 3 years-old. There was a chalkboard over an electronic organ in our dining room and I used to just sit there for hours...sketching haunted houses on hills with graveyards while hitting all the low and high tones on the keyboard. I would escape into color saturated worlds. And my nightmares were like out-of-body-experiences. So many nightmares. They went on for what seemed like lifetimes. I wanted to project what was in my mind, the colors, the landscapes, the anxieties...these very specific nightmares. I wrote short horror stories, I drew mazes. My room was decorated like a Funhouse. When you'd walk in, red glowing eyes would blink from evil masks. I would hide tape recorders with sounds under the bed. I played Ouija Board. Thinking about what to do around my high school graduation...It was either parapsychology...or horror movies. I always really knew it would be filmmaking. Most kids had sports teams or rock bands on their school notebooks. I had horror films like...THE OMEN, IT LIVES AGAIN, THE SENTINEL, PHANTASM...all those 70s horrors in their exact movie fonts. I ended up majoring in Film at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where I lived on campus, then I transferred to the New York School of Visual Arts. Once I graduated, I made a series of hallucinatory shorts called DESECRATION.

What films inspire you in you own work?

John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN...Alfred Sole, my cousin's film, ALICE, SWEET ALICE...David Cronenberg's THE BROOD...Nicolas Roeg's DON'T LOOK NOW...Brian De Palma's CARRIE...William Friedkin's THE EXORCIST...Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA...Ridley Scott's ALIEN...George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD...Roman Polanski's ROSEMARY'S BABY...Pete Walkers FRIGHTMARE...Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING...Tobe Hooper's TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE...Sam Raimi's THE EVIL DEAD...John Carpenter's THE FOG. I'm sure I'm forgetting many.

What are your thoughts on the state of horror movies today?

I think a truly scary horror movie has a better chance at getting released, theatrically, these days. Over the past 10 years there has been improvement, as far as horror films being taken seriously. I mean, of course it's not like the way it was in the 70's and early 80s. But I think the world is so violent and unsettling these days that audiences are looking for an escape, something to mirror their nightmares.

Would you please tell our readers about Torture Chamber?

It's about a devil possessed boy with telepathic powers. 13-year-old Jimmy Morgan has a burned face from experimentation with drugs. He's also a pyromaniac who killed his own father. When his family is threatened with another fiery death, he's sent to a juvenile detention center. Jimmy escapes...and unleashes a group of disfigured children from the hospital's burn unit. Soon, the small New England town of Smithville is terrorized by Jimmy and his murderous followers. The sadistic kids attack and abduct residents—innocent and guilty alike...dragging their victims to an abandoned castle...an underground medieval torture chamber. The 35 mm movie is a gothic nightmare with a strong emphasis on nerve-jangling scare sequences.

What is the current status on The Ocean?

It's on hold until all the financing falls into place. The Ocean's budget, since it's essentially a disaster horror film, is much higher than anything I've done before. My water cinematographer, Mike Prickett, and I, shot a bunch of intense water sequences for the film last year, on Super 16 mm and 35 mm. You can see some takes on YouTube. That footage will be edited in when the time comes. The Ocean is a work-in-progress. Some films take years to complete, this is one of them.

Your films are more psychological than most horror films today. What made you shy away from the gore schlock films crowding the market?

I didn't really shy away from gore with my earlier films. It all just felt instinctual. I feel differently now, though, with Torture Chamber. It will be very bloody. Still, there will be a mood-drenched atmosphere, very interior, very, yes, psychological.

Sound and lighting seem to play a very major role in your films. How important do you feel these departments are to crafting a good horror film?

Certain horror films work so well, because they're so gritty and have bad lighting and sound...something like THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. But with my films, well, I think there will always be an accent on sound and lighting, color and design, no matter what. I can't help myself. Plus I have something called synesthesia, it's a neurological condition where I see sounds. It's very important for me to express these involuntary audio-visual fireworks.

You have worked with a few horror icons in you previous films, are there any others you would like to work with in the future?

Oh there are so many more I'd love to work with. Jamie Lee Curtis...please come back to horror.

Do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers?

It's really a matter of hanging on and never giving up. In my early days, almost everyone around me was skeptical. Or it seemed that way to me. Struggling filmmakers in their 20s are sometimes like crabs in a bucket, clutching and clutching to get out, but stuck. Once I broke out of this trance and I had some genuine faith in myself, I no longer needed to rely on people for approval. I was able to turn off the negative internal dialogue saying I can't do it. That's when good things just started happening. You have to turn off the negative chatter in your mind.

Who are some filmmakers you would like to suggest our readers seek out and discover their films?

Well, one filmmaker who immediately springs to mind is COFFIN JOE. I recently discovered his Spanish horror films like THIS NIGHT I'LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE and AT MIDNIGHT I'LL TAKE YOUR SOUL. They're gems. Psychedelic, deeply personal and always macabre. Every horror fan should take a look.

Jonathan Pitner
Brownbag Magazine

(Message edited by obsessed on September 12, 2008)
You Will Burn in Hell...
Torture Chamber
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Pit Citizen

Post Number: 300
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Friday, September 12, 2008 - 06:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Very Good Dante
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Pit Fighter

Post Number: 892
Registered: 04-2005

Posted on Monday, September 22, 2008 - 07:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Interesting interview, thanks for posting Ronda.
"Let my enemies devour each other." - Salvador Dali
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Long Live the Pit!
Username: thejerseydevil

Post Number: 4168
Registered: 08-2005

Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2008 - 11:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


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