Quantcast ICONS Interview with Director Jeff Burr - LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3, STEPFATHER 2, FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM, PUMPKINHEAD 2, PUPPET MASTER 4 & 5

Director
Jeff Burr!

Words can not express how much I love LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3. When I was roughly about 14 years old, I waited for hours outside my local theater until someone would pretend to be my "guardian" to sneak me in. And from then on, I continued to follow the career of the film's director Jeff Burr. It wasn't too difficult. After all, Burr had helmed several franchise sequels through out the 90's, all of which I sought out. STEPFATHER 2, PUMPKINHEAD 2 & PUPPET MASTER 4 & 5. I eventually went back to discover his underrated anthology debut THE OFFSPRING (aka FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM).

Most recently, I checked out EDDIE PRESLEY and STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS, 2 great independent films that truly round out the career of such a diverse & prolific filmmaker. Jeff was kind enough to sit down with Mike and I to discuss candidly in great detail all of the above movies. We got the full scoop on making LEATHERFACE, heard stories about Vincent Price and LOST's Terry O'Quinn and got the real story on the behind-the-scenes of THE DEVIL'S DEN. FRIGHT fans, this is one of our finest interviews. Sit back, read and enjoy! - by Robg. & Mike C.

Robg.: What are your earliest recollections of the horror genre? As fans, we always remember what introduced us and opened us up to the genre, so what was it for you?

Actually, one of the first movies I can remember seeing in a theater was a double feature, and really it’s not a horror film, but it was FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD and TARZAN AND THE VALLEY OF GOLD. It was my brother’s 6th birthday party, so I was dragged along when I was 4. And I just have vivid memories of both those movies. I’m sure that was a big influence just because it was such an amazing thing to see. A giant monster and a giant kid with a big forehead in FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD. (Laughs) The first horror film I remember in a theater really getting me was EQUINOX, and it was a double bill with THE BLOB. I was probably around 9 years old, around 1970, it was a double-bill re-issue and EQUINOX just scared the living crap out of me! I love that movie still to this day. So, that was a big influence, and then very early around the same time, we had something called Shock Theater with a guy named Dr. Shock (and Dingbat) who was a hilariously bad horror host, but they showed THE THING, the original THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD. That just scared the crap out of me too! Of course, all the FRANKENSTEIN movies. They had the horror package of all the FRANKENSTEIN and WOLF MAN movies, so those were big influences too from very early on.


Robg.: So, it’s safe to say that from a very early age you were a big fan of the genre and followed it?

Oh yeah, absolutely! And then, the other thing that really happened kind of concurrently was (and it’s so cliché) I saw my first issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. The cover was at a supermarket, and I’d never seen the magazine before and boom there it was. Just the fact that there was a whole community of people that made these magazines. There was another one called THE MONSTER TIMES. I never subscribed, but I would try to get them. They had very spotty distribution, so it was just amazing to get a copy when you did. All of those were big influences.
Robg.: Did reading some of these magazines like FAMOUS MONSTERS introduce you to the “behind-the-scenes” of movies and how these things were made?

Oh yeah!

Robg.: Where’d your interest in how films were made begin?
That’s interesting because I really don’t know. The only thing I can say is that my parents acted in community theater, so I would go see plays with them in it. It was a cool feeling to go to a play and see them, or see behind the stage at how the play was done. So, I guess that did have an influence. Like so many people my age, my grandfather gave me an 8 mm camera that he didn’t use anymore for home movies. So I did the home movie thing and it was a natural thing, just like kids now with digital cameras. You just start screwing around in the backyard. Eventually making little movies. 99 percent of the people who do that, there is a point where they get interested in other things, but for me it always stuck. So that was kind of the progression.
Robg.: So, what was it like at the very beginning of your career?

Well, same way it is now in terms of – the one thing – I swear to God, there is in some ways no difference in making Super 8 movies in the backyard and making professional movies. You bring kind of the same things to bare. And the fun is still there. But of course, there are differences. But it’s more similar then dissimilar to make a Super 8 movie with your friends and to make an independent horror movie. Because really, the first movie that I did THE OFFSPRING (aka FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM), it was really working with some of the same people that had worked on my Super 8 movies and shooting in my hometown, so it was very different but it was also very similar. With my Super 8 movies, like with most people, they started small and then they grew. Each movie got more and more elaborate or I would try different things and it all led to features.
Mike C.: For your first feature, you have a terrific cast! You’ve got Susan Tyrrel, you’ve got Vincent Price. How’d you get them for your first movie? Nowadays you see a lot of classic horror stars coming in for a lot of independent movies. But you got one of the most classic of all horror stars at a completely different time.

And we didn’t have a lot of money! One of the things that happened was Courtney Joyner who co-wrote the movie, he knew this director Steve Carver. So I would occasionally go over to Steve Carver’s house. Every Thursday, he would have a gathering. And that’s where I met Terry Kiser and R.G. Armstrong, people like that and Oscar Williams. And really, everything worked in concert. Oscar Williams was a writer/director who wrote BLACK BELT JONES and did FIVE ON THE BLACK HAND SIDE, great guy. He actually got us Rosalind Cash. It was one of those things where we were talking and then her name came up and it was like, “Oh I love her. Rosalind would be great.” And he said, “Well I know her! Here’s her number.” So he made the call and introduced us.
So with Terry Kiser and Rosalind Cash and Susan Tyrrel, we literally just got them directly from friends. Clu Gulager was a friend of Susan Tyrrel’s, so one thing led to another and we assembled the cast that way. And Vincent Price, that was literally Darin (Scott), the other producer and I just going up to his house. We found his address, and went up to his house, knocked on his door and gave him the script.

Mike C.: Wow, really?
Yeah! It was hilarious. All we had was his address from a celebrity address service, which they don’t do anymore because of stalking laws and whatnot. Anyway, so for 50 cents you could buy addresses, so we get this address and that’s all we had. We had the script and a note. We park on the opposite side of the street to his house. So, we get nervous and we’re sitting in the car saying, “Well, how do we know it’s his house?” “I don’t know. You gotta go up there!” “No, we both gotta go up there!” (Laughs) And as we’re babbling and trying to talk each other out of doing this, a mail truck pulls up, the postman gets out, knocks on the door, the door opens, there’s Vincent Price. So A) we know it’s his house and B) we know he’s home, so we have to do it. So, we pull up, we wait a little bit, we knock on the door, he answers! And “Gee, Mister Price! We’re filmmakers and we have this script and we really love you!” (Laughs) You know, he had every right to say "uh-huh", grab the script and just close the door. He actually invited us in, he spent about 15 minutes with us, and couldn’t have been more gracious. He said he would read the script and get back to us. It took a while to put everything together, but several months later he was on the set.
Robg.: That’s amazing!

It’s a much more complicated story that I don’t know if you want to get into it. It’s convoluted but what happened really – the real story – what I just told you is absolutely true, but here’s the curve in the road. He read the script, and then he called 2 days later and said, “Well boys, it’s pretty good and I like it. And I like you guys, but I just don’t know. I don’t know if it’s for me. I’ve been trying to not do horror films.” So, it wasn’t a true “no” but it wasn’t a ringing endorsement either. So we’re thinking what do we do? We had shot the movie and continued editing, and then I kind of forgot about Vincent Price because I assumed he was not going to do it. Why? I don’t know, but in my head I thought “You know who would be great in this movie? Max von Sydow.” And why him? I have no idea.
So I call up Max von Sydow’s agent, Walter Kohner, so he reads the script and says he wants to meet me. I go in for a meeting, and he says, “Max will not do this movie. I can tell you. But I have the perfect client for you. Vincent Price.” (Laughs) So, I make no mention that we contacted Vincent several months earlier, and what happened was the door opened again, we got a dialogue open with Walter and it came down to Vincent wanting to see a little bit of the movie that we had done. So we set up a screening of a rough cut. He sees it on the big screen, we showed him the most tame episode we shot and he agreed to do the movie. That’s really how we got him. It was a total fluke!
Robg.: And that ended up being one of the last things he did, right?

He announced during the making of the movie to the LA TIMES that it’d be his last horror movie. Nothing to do with the movie. At that point, he had a chip on his shoulder for being known for that only. He had done so much other stuff. He ended up doing the movie, and I believe he did 3 more movies after. EDWARD SCISSORHANDS was his last movie. He also did the voice for a Disney movie around the same time.
Robg.: So, when I was a kid, I wanted to see LEATHERFACE: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3 so badly, that I waited outside of a movie theater until a couple would pretend I was with them so I could get in. Because I was under age at the time!

That’s great, that’s great!
Robg.: I’d do that all the time, because I had no one to take me to horror movies as a kid! So, I’d wait outside for every new horror movie and ask some older guy to just pretend to be my older brother! I’d say “I’ll pay for my own ticket. I’ll sit far away from you. I just have to get in to see this movie!” So, I got into LEATHERFACE and for a 14 year old kid at the time, I was blown away. I absolutely loved it.

Aw, thank you.
Robg.: I know it was hell to make! But I loved it back then and I still do. How did you get that gig? Because it seemed LEATHERFACE was a very hectic movie! I know Peter Jackson was attached at one point and maybe another director? So how’d you get involved?
Here’s what happened. I had done STEPFATHER 2, so my agent at the time Bobbi Thompson at William Morris, she said “Hey, I can get you a meeting on the new TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE movie.” I thought great! This would’ve been around May of 1989 and we had just finished STEPFATHER 2. So, I have a meeting with Michael DeLuca and Jeff Schectman, who was an original producer that ended up dropping out of the movie. They had a script then, so I read the script and gave them my impressions. And… that was it. That was in April or May of 89. Didn’t hear anything more about it. Then at the end of June, I get this phone call from my agent saying “New Line wants to meet you about LEATHERFACE again.”
I have another meeting and they offer me the job essentially. So I’m thinking (stupidly) “Wow, they must really want me!” But what they told me then was that they’d hired a director and he’d worked on it a little bit, but he had to drop out because of contractual reasons with 20th Century Fox on the TV show of ALIEN NATION. It was a guy named Jonathan Betuel. He did MY SCIENCE PROJECT and some other stuff. But he dropped out, and I was their next choice. I had the weekend to mull it over and I decided to do it. But, I was operating under the delusion that they actually did want me. And what really happened, which I found out later was I was the only director that they kind of would accept that agreed to do the movie.
In other words, they’d offered it to several people, including Peter Jackson and they were really high on him, even back then. This would’ve been after DEAD ALIVE, I guess? I’m sure there were many others, so I’m probably being charitable when I say I was 10th on the list. I was thinking they liked my work, or liked my take on it, or whatever. That was kind of the way I entered it. It was 2 and a half weeks before production had started, so we were casting and doing everything else. But a lot of stuff had already been done, like the house had been constructed. Which I thought was a mistake.
I think one of the biggest mistakes of the movie was the idea of shooting it in LA. And that was one of the first things I said, “We have to shoot in Texas!” And they said “No, we’ve already built the house.” So that was not even negotiable, the fact of shooting it in Texas. And I think to date, it’s the only CHAINSAW movie that was shot in California. There were a bunch of things like that I couldn’t change as the director, but… I knew it going in. It was an odd thing, because I’d never really replaced a director before…

Robg.: Now, didn’t they have a release date locked or something like that?
Well, here’s the thing, what they had – they were working backwards. They had a release date locked. And the theaters were already booked and it was set for November 3rd, 1989. It was basically set for around Halloween. So all the theaters were booked, and they’d promised the movie, so that was the whole thing. It had to be finished by then, so they couldn’t really delay it. Or spend any more time in prep.

Robg.: So, they never contacted Tobe Hooper or anything?
No I think Kim Henkel was involved initially? There was another synopsis that I read on the initial sales sheet that they gave me that they took to Cannes. I bet you it was much more like 4. I think there was a prom? Was there a prom in 4?

Robg.: Yep.
So, I think that’s what Henkel was going to do, but he dropped out very early on, and I had nothing to do with that development and I don’t know how they arrived at David Schow. I think he’d done some Freddy’s Nightmares. One of the first things I said was that I would love to contact Hooper, just tell him what I’m doing. Not necessarily to get his blessing, but I just thought it’s an obligation. I had done the same thing for STEPFATHER 2. First thing I did was I called Joe Ruben the director of the first STEPFATHER, because a friend of mine had done DREAMSCAPE with him. He was very gracious when we spoke about STEPFATHER. So, I felt I had to do the same thing with Tobe Hooper. But they (the producers) said “Contractually, you can not talk to him.” They had no contact with him at all. It’s all to do with the Vortex limited partnership or something.


Robg.: Did you ever talk to him afterwards?

Yes. And that’s hilarious. (Laughs) The only thing he ever said to me about the movie – because we talked about a whole bunch of other stuff. But I went out to breakfast with him. I don’t remember how this all happened. But the movie came out in January of 1990, so this was around March 1990. And uh, the first thing he says to me as we sit down for breakfast, he goes, “Jeff, I got to tell you. I went to your movie opening night, and it was such a strange experience walking into that movie knowing I had nothing to do with it.” And I said, “Well, Tobe. It was strange for me too, man!”
Because I saw the movie for the first time in January in Tennessee and I literally did not know how it ended, even though it had my name on it. So that was a very strange experience to me! We never got into the actual movie. I’m sure he hated it. But we never got into if he liked things about it or anything like that. But again, he was very gracious, and I’ve since met him several times.
Robg.: Did you have anything to do with the infamous teaser trailer they did for that?

No, that was literally done before I was hired. Here’s the thing! Literally when I signed the deal to make the movie, the next Friday, I went to see A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD opening night at the Chinese and the teaser for LEATHERFACE was playing with it!


Mike C.: Ha! They hadn’t even made the movie yet!

No! I literally just signed to make the movie a few days earlier and there’s the trailer for the movie I’m making!

Robg.: It must’ve been surreal!

Yeah, yeah. Unfortunately, it was a midnight show I went to, and it wasn’t a full crowd. But the audience that was there went nuts! So, that was kind of a cool thing. It’s very much like the trailer to FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 8: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. It’s a very similar trailer in the sense that you think it’s one movie and then boom, it’s not.
The original teaser trailer for LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III:


Mike C.: What about the look of LEATHERFACE? It looked more glossy than the previous movies.

I don’t know if it’s my style or anything, but one thing a lot of the reviewers said was “they obviously had more money then all the other ones!” And I would say, “No, we didn’t! We had nothing!” At the time, it was a $2 and a half million dollar movie. And something like $700,000 of that 2.5 went to Vortex. They got the rights to make that movie and one more by a certain date. It wasn’t like we had a lot of money and it was a under 30 day shoot. It was a relatively low-budget movie. Again, I felt because we couldn’t go the totally “gritty” way – if I was left to my own devices I would’ve shot it in 16 mm, but it was a much more of a corporate movie.
Mike C.: Right, it had that feel to it. I mean, it was New Line! It was very much a New Line movie.

Yes, in a lot of ways. It really was. So there’s good production value, and a good sound job.
Mike C.: What about this actor, Ken Force?

Ken Force! There’s 2 misspellings on the poster! Ken Force (Foree) and Tom Hudson. Tom Hudson is Toni Hudson in reality. It’s bad enough there’s one mistake on it! But there’s 2! Unbelievable. But Ken Foree, it was my choice to bring him in, because he was in DAWN OF THE DEAD. And he was just a blast to work with. I loved him. He was great.
Robg.: One of the things I always liked about the CHAINSAW series, unlike the Freddy franchise, Leatherface was totally different in each movie. He looked different and acted different, maybe because of the actors that played him. But I always loved R.A. Mihailoff’s version of Leatherface.
I think R.A. did a great job. I’d known R.A. for a long while. He was in a student film of mine at USC. And I thought he was the perfect guy to do it. But again, I felt I should talk to Gunnar (Hansen) first. So I called him up and offered him the role. Also the thought was if Gunnar comes back for the 3rd one, then it’s a true sequel on some level to the first one whereas the 2nd one was a diversion. But New Line would only offer him scale, which to him was a big insult. So he didn’t want to do the movie, which I totally understand. So, after that, I thought R.A. would give it his all and he gave it his all & was a great guy to work with.
Robg.: Billy Butler and Viggo Mortensen are both in this and weren’t they roommates at the time?

They knew each other then, yeah.

Mike C.: What ever happened to this Viggo Mortensen guy? (Laughs)

Yeah, I don’t know! I wished him the best. But, no he was great…


Robg.: And I had heard that his first audition didn’t go all that well? He had a bad day or something?

Well yeah. I brought him in because I had seen him in PRISON, which a friend of mine had written. And I thought he was great in that, and I thought he was a really interesting guy. I knew who he was, so I brought him in. The problem with the casting on this, there was always Bob Engelman there, and sometimes DeLuca. So there were other chefs in the kitchen, you know? It wasn’t that his audition was bad, but New Line had a guy that they wanted. Deborah Moore, the executive in charge of production had a guy that she really thought highly of, and he actually was cast very briefly as Tex.
Then he booked a very high paying commercial that would’ve conflicted with the first day of shooting. So, I said you have to pick one or the other, because I need you totally there on the first day. So, he chose the commercial. (Laughs) So, I was able to get Viggo, so it all worked out. And Viggo, just like everyone else in the cast was always there, ready to go and had great ideas. Just a joy to work with, and I’m not just saying that. I can guarantee his approach to stuff now is exactly the same as it was then. He’s just so committed and he’s such a really good guy. All the family members were great.
Robg.: I love that you gave Caroline Williams from CHAINSAW 2 a little cameo as the news reporter!

Yes, I did! Because I had just worked with her on STEPFATHER 2 and it was so weird that I was going from that to CHAINSAW 3, and she had done CHAINSAW 2. So yeah, had to get her in there.


Robg.: I think you even say in the commentary on the DVD that maybe her character got so screwed up from the events of CHAINSAW 2 that she became a reporter.

Well yeah! She was a radio announcer in Part 2 so in my version of it she was a marauding journalist trying to track down Leatherface. The thing I didn’t like in the movie, in terms of conceptually, which there wasn’t really an answer to, was the similarity of this family to the original family. Was there a direct connection? We should’ve just said screw it all and just done something completely different. Because you have the old grandpa, so there’s enough similarities where it gets confusing. Was this supposed to be relatives of the original family?
Robg.: I always though Alfredo was actually the Hitchhiker from the original!

Yeah! There’s too many similarities.
Mike C.: I like to think they’re just an extended family of nut jobs all over Texas!

Yeah, but are they literally related? Or is it birds of a feather coming together? Is there a swingers newspaper that they subscribe to? (Laughs) “Wanted: Old guy that sucks blood!” So that always irritated me because it wasn’t as thought out as well as it could’ve been. The leg brace was probably a bad idea too.
Robg.: Well that was because Leatherface saws his own leg at the end of the first one though, right? That’s what I always took it as.

Well, it was continuous of the 2nd. He gets injured in the 2nd movie? I can’t remember, but I think there was a more catastrophic leg injury. The leg brace was a continuation from that, which at the end of the day I thought was a mistake. Because it decreased his mobility. Cool sound effect though!
Robg.: As a huge fan of the film, I must’ve boughten it a dozen times over the years! There are so many different cuts of it. I bought the original VHS, which is the theatrical one. Then a few years later, they came out with another VHS version that was “unrated”, BUT there were scenes missing from it from the theatrical, and even more bizarre was that they edited out the “OJ joke”. Did you know about that?

I did know that! And I have no idea why!
Robg.: There’s one point where Alfredo calls Ken’s character OJ, and I think the “unrated” VHS re-release was when the trial was going on. I watched it back then and remembered there were a few new scenes, older scenes missing and then they totally removed the “OJ” joke!

Exactly, I have no knowledge of that. (Laughs) Literally, I had no contact with New Line for years. The first time I went into New Line’s office after making that movie was in 2003 when we were doing the Special Edition DVD.


Robg.: Wow. And for me, I’ve owned it so many times, including the work print…

That work print would be the closest thing to some kind of so-called “director’s cut” on some level. What happened was it was just a cursed project basically, all the way around. The time line was we cut a version of the movie. We had a test screening, which is what they always did with their horror movies. They had a research test screening in a mall in… Glendale or Burbank. In the valley. So, that’s the first time that Rolf Mittwig who was the head of foreign sales saw the movie. It was the first time that Sara Risher saw it all put together and probably the first time Bob Shaye saw it too for that matter.
They’re all in attendance, and the movie plays pretty good. It wasn’t thunderous, but we could see where we could improve it. What happens is there’s a meeting afterwards and it gets better numbers then NIGHTMARE 5 and some other stuff. So, they’re not ecstatic but they’re not unhappy in terms of the numbers they were getting. But there’s a pow-wow afterwards and Rolf Mittwig from foreign says “I can not sell this movie anywhere. It’s going to get banned in every territory. I can not sell this movie.” Everybody panics. Sara Risher hates the movie and is very offended by it. She thinks it’s sick and offensive and uh… (Laughs)


Mike C.: It’s called THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE! What’d they think they were making?

But also, have you seen the first 2 TEXAS CHAINSAW movies? You know what you’re getting into! So, Shaye goes, “Well ok, I’m coming to the editing room tomorrow and we’ll work on it.” So, Bob Shaye comes into the editing room and this would’ve been late August, and literally, it was so painful, he’d say “This goes, get it out. That goes, get it out.” And a lot of it was the gore and some other stuff, some little bits. So I think the movie is getting emasculated then. So, we finally agree on the cut and we submit it to the MPAA, while we’re still mixing the movie, doing the sound work on the movie.
Because of the release date, they concurrently submitted to the MPAA while we’re cutting the negative of the movie as well. So, the MPAA, the first pass on that, Richard Heffner, the head of the MPAA at the time calls up Bob Shaye, apparently, this is what I was told and said, “There is no way this movie is going to get an R rating. No matter what you do with it, there’s no way.” So panic ensues, they start chopping and literally we’re chopping the negative. Because they want to keep up the negative, because they were going to be making release prints right away to meet this deadline.
Mike C.: And the MPAA was coming down hard on horror at this time.

And the other thing, I really do think this made a difference. The title itself. The 2nd CHAINSAW film went out unrated. So, I think that had a psychological effect. Basically, LEATHERFACE was submitted 11 times. After each submission, more stuff was cut out.
Robg.: Does the M.P.A.A. even tell you what to cut out?

No, they do not tell you. They say “the overall tone.” Well, the overall tone, then that means we did our job! You can’t really cut down a tone. The other problem was that because of the release date, we were actually physically cutting the negative of these shots. We didn’t have digital masters, we just cut on film, so they never made a protection of the shots. They could’ve made protection IP’s, an inter-positive for each effects shot for later in an unrated release or something. But it didn’t exist.
So that’s why yes, there is an unrated version of the movie, it’s not the “unrated” version that it would’ve been, unfortunately. It was crazy! Literally, it’s getting written up in Variety everyday. William Friedkin was doing preliminary sound on THE GUARDIAN at the same sound place we were at, so I would see him every morning. I was a big fan of SORCERER so we’d always talk about that. Finally one day he comes up to me and says, “Man… what is in your movie?” (Laughs) “I gotta see this thing. What is in your movie that I’m reading about it everyday?” Turns out he was a huge fan of the first CHAINSAW movie and he had actually gotten Tobe Hooper some development deal at Universal in 86.
So, it was written up in Variety saying “Will this movie ever get a rating?” I don’t know if it was a record at the time, but it must’ve been. Submitted 11 times?

Robg.: It delayed the release date at the time, didn’t it?

Here’s what happened – It’s unheard of. At a certain point, we realized we were never going to make the original release date, not because the movie wasn’t finished, but because we couldn’t get a rating on it! So, then after that, we finished the movie and everything kind of shut down.
The movie was mixed and basically finished and I was let go. I was completely upset. Right around that time, they had a test screening, which I didn’t know about in New York. Again, this is what I was told so I don’t know if there’s more to the story, but the Ken Foree character got high ratings at the NY test screening so they wanted to keep him alive for the sequel, for the next movie. So they shot this ending with this guy… Michael Knue, an editor who had done a lot of New Line movies.
So, he shot that new ending where Ken Foree shows up with a bandaid. (Laughs) They cut down the chainsaw to the head thing, but anyways, they did that without me, and I had no knowledge of it until after it was done. Finally when it did come out during the dumping grounds of early January, I didn’t know how the movie ended! So, I literally bought a ticket to the movie back home and watched this movie with my name on it. I called DeLuca earlier and said, “Well, look, all this shit’s happened. Call it the MPAA’s movie. Don’t call it my movie. I want my name taken off of the movie.”
And the problem with that was, the first reel of the movie had no changes. So they’d already printed up 1000 copies of that first reel. So that’s why the “directed by Jeff Burr” credit is still there. That was the last words I said to DeLuca. “I want my name off this movie! … Hello? Hello?” (Laughs)

Robg.: Well, I’m glad your name is on there.
It was just a bad combination of all those things. It came out in January and they didn’t advertise it at all. I saw some TV spots of it, which I’d love to see again, but I don’t think they ever did a trailer other then the teaser one. I know they did TV spots that said “the most controversial horror movie of all time”. I was like OK. I hated the poster. A picture of Leatherface with the chainsaw? OK.
Robg.: I’ve been dying to know this since I was a kid. I saw a picture of R.A. Mihailoff getting make-up put on his face before putting on the Leatherface mask. Did you ever shoot anything revealing Leatherface’s face behind the mask?

No, we didn’t. Never did. Never did. A reveal? It was discussed, but there was nothing like that ever shot.


Robg.: Finally! Put to rest. Do you think TEXAS CHAINSAW 3 now would have an easier time securing a rating considering what’s out there now?

Oh my God! Whatever original cut, let’s say the test screening cut of LEATHERFACE would get an R rating now. Absolutely. CSI has more graphic stuff now! Unless there was a political reason, because of the series. I mean, it really is one of the most infamous titles of all time. A lot of people take offense just because of that. But yeah, I can’t imagine it not getting an R. Also, at the time, another thing to consider, New Line was a true independent. They had not been bought by Time Warner. And when they got bought by Time Warner, and became a true studio with studio backing, you have more clout. You know what I mean? No one would ever articulate that but it’s true. Yeah, it’d be a whole different thing now.


Robg.: Because New Line at that point had both Freddy and Jason, did you ever get the impression they were trying to make him the next Freddy or Jason?

Oh absolutely! Not necessarily him, but the film, absolutely. The whole idea was the NIGHTMARE movies may have peaked. It was another horror franchise. Anytime anyone uses the word franchise for a movie, it’s over. Nothing good can come of it! Because you can’t just concentrate on making a good movie, and then worry about it as a franchise. Because if you worry about maybe doing this in Part 1 and then maybe this in Part 2, it’s a bad way to think.
Robg.: Let’s talk about your experience with STEPFATHER 2, which is a movie I like tremendously.

I’m kind of an independent filmmaker at heart. And STEPFATHER 2 was really my first movie where there was a corporate structure around it. But in retrospect, they were ok.

Robg.: Weren’t the deaths in STEPFATHER 2 amped up to be a bit gorier?
That was a weird thing, because it was just a made for video movie. ITC, the company that made it was going to start a new division of direct to video titles. Very much how Dimension ended up doing direct-to-DVD sequels recently with DIMENSION EXTREME. This company did ZAPPED AGAIN! That was another one right after ours. That was the plan. They decided they liked the final version of the movie and decided to try to sell it. Miramax bought it! To my knowledge, it was sight unseen, they bought it for a lot of dough. There was a test screening of the finished movie. That’s the only time I met Harvey and Bob Weinstein. I believe it was the first time they saw the movie. And they were livid! The movie played, it got a good response, and got good numbers. But they were just livid, because they were expecting something with mucho blood! They were expecting a totally different movie. I remember they were out in the lobby like these 2 big school yard bullies saying “What the fuck? What the fuck? Where’s the blood?”
I’m kind of defending what I had done, but they were asking “Who the fuck are you?” This was before they were “The Weinstein’s”, before they released SEX, LIES & VIDEOTAPE. They bought the movie, put it out theatrically, but they cut a little bit of it out and they added some badly done blood effects. Badly done, because Terry O’Quinn refused to do it. Really, they were meaningless, so that was irritating.
Mike C.: STEPFATHER 2 is interesting, it’s really got a much different tone then the first movie. It’s a little broader then the 1st.

Definitely. My brother and Darin Scott were the producers, so I had a cocoon of support. We had different ideas, and there were things we wanted to do. When we were writing and working on it, it was not a given by any means that Terry O’Quinn would do it. Not at all. We were praying for him to do it, but it wasn’t absolute that he would do it.
Mike C.: Was he interested at all?

Fortunately, they paid him a fair amount of dough and he agreed to do it, but it was one of the things I asked the original director Joe Ruben when I called him. “O’Quinn is so good, I can’t imagine the movie without him, but did you have a second choice? If you couldn’t have gotten O’Quinn for the first one, did you have a second choice, just for curiosity’s sake”, I asked him. And he goes, A) Don’t make the movie without him and B) Yes, I had a second choice and it was Art Hindle, a Canadian actor from THE BROOD…


Robg.: The original BLACK CHRISTMAS.

Yeah, BLACK CHRISTMAS. That was his second choice.

Mike C.: What about the casting of Meg Foster?

Well, it was a very low budget movie, so that role was always going to be scale or close to scale. They were hard lined for that because they had to pay O’Quinn a fair amount of money. So we interviewed, and I met with all these wonderful actresses. I wanted Kay Lenz. She had done a ton of stuff. She did Clint Eastwood’s 2nd directorial movie BREEZY and she was a real interesting actress, perfect for the role. Lovely to meet and had good ideas about the script. Then one executive thought she wasn’t classy enough, because recently before that she had done a Roger Corman movie called STRIPPED TO KILL.
Robg.: Oh, Katt Shea’s movie!

Yes, Katt Shea wrote and directed that one. This one executive thought she wasn’t classy enough because of that movie. We end up settling on Season Hubley, whom I’ve always liked. So I had dinner with her, she agreed to do the movie, but in the negotiations, all her agent wanted (and this is very fair, because this is a direct to video movie), if it shipped more then 50,000 units or 100,000 units, something huge like that, she wanted a bonus of like $10,000, which at that point, if it shipped more than that, we’d all be heroes!
Everybody would’ve made money. They did not go for it, so at the last minute, she dropped out. So then, the producers said we’ll get Meg Foster. It was a last minute thing. They paid her a fair amount of money and they thought she was a classier name then Kay Lenz. She had done a movie with O’Quinn, I don’t know if they had any scenes together but it was a movie called BLIND FURY.


Mike C.: She was mostly acting against Rutger Hauer in that one.

Yeah, so anyways. She gets cast at the last minute and I really didn’t want her. Not that I wasn’t a fan of hers! I loved her in several movies. Thematically, what O’Quinn wants is something very traditionally, blandly American. Like middle-American. You had Shelley Hack in the first one, who’s kind of a bland American attractive beauty, but not intimidating and not really out of the norm. And Kay Lenz is definitely in that sweet spot too. Now, Meg Foster visually, you can’t get around it. She’s striking and call it any euphemism you want, exotic. Strangely beautiful, or beautifully strange. And I thought she was totally wrong for the movie.
She gets cast at the last minute, and she’s an experienced enough actress to know that she was cast at the last minute and so I think there was a little bit of insecurity there. I wasn’t as experienced of a director at the time to pick up on that & realize that, and I could’ve been more supportive of her in the beginning. So, that’s how she was cast, but as I say I think she was miscast in the movie, not by any fault of her own at all! But she was great to work with, but it was also a weird time for her, because she was making that transition from leading lady to character actress in the sense that she had just turned 40. It was tough for her too. She was good to work with, but irritatingly miscast. Just the reason they thought one person over the other was stupid.


Robg.: What about Jonathan Brandis, who was in a lot of great movies at the time, Stephen King’s IT and THE NEVERENDING STORY. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us.

Which is shocking to me! I had run into him a few times since we made the movie and he was a great actor. He was so cool to work with. I remember, it was down to Brian Austin Green, Jonathan Brandis and one other actor. I thought Brandis was really interesting and had… not a haunted quality, but let’s say a sensitive quality. He was perfect for the role, and his parents were great. They didn’t strike me as traditional stage parents, they were just genuine down to earth people. He was very committed and very intense with his role & O’Quinn loved him too, they had a really nice bond.
STEPFATHER 2 trailer:


Mike C.: For O’Quinn, this is one of those roles for an actor where they get to play these 2 sides to a character. THE STEPFATHER is kind of like Norman Bates, where he has to be really normal, and then also really sinister. He stepped into that so well on the first movie, did he need anything to get back into that for STEPFATHER 2?

Ok, what we did have, and I didn’t even ask for it really, was 3 days of rehearsal with O’Quinn. Paid rehearsal, which is almost unheard of on a low-budget movie. So we got a chance to know each other a little bit and bond. He’s one of those actors, which is my favorite kind of actor, where you can joke with him, but as soon as you’re needed on set, he’s instantly in character and just knocks it out of the park.
Once you yell cut, he’s back to picking up a story he was just telling you about his high school football days or whatever. So, he was just a really great guy to work with, I’d love to work with him again. I tried to get him in a couple of other movies and we either couldn’t afford him or the schedule wouldn’t work out, but I’d really love to work with him again because I loved him to death.

Mike C.: He’s one of the reason’s I couldn’t trust anything during the first season of LOST!
He won the Emmy, which was just so cool and he totally deserves it, because he’s incredibly talented. So, we talked a lot about the character in those rehearsal days and he told me about a lot of the stuff he had done on the first movie, and so it was certainly more O’Quinn. It was almost like a TV thing in a sense. It was like being a director coming in to an already established character. We tried to give him different shadings, but it was really his interpretation that came through. In retrospect, it’s certainly broader than the first, but that’s always the problem with doing a sequel is that the surprise element is gone. If you’ve seen the first movie, you know the character.


Mike C.: Did he contribute? Did he want re-writes or offer suggestions?

Oh, he did! I was worried about that quite honestly, because let’s face it, if there was an 800 pound gorilla on the movie, it was him. They could do it without Jeff Burr, but they couldn’t do it without Terry O’Quinn. So I was worried that he might wield that as some actors would as a contentious power thing, but never, he never did that. He always had ideas, but he would never say anything like “It’s gotta be this way or no way at all.” With the 3rd movie, THE STEPFATHER 3, I guess they offered him to write it, direct it, produce it, whatever he wanted and he didn’t want to do it. If he had that in his mind, he could’ve absolutely done his own movie.

Robg.: I’ve never seen the 3rd one.

And the weird thing is that Season Hubley, who dropped out of STEPFATHER 2 is the lead of STEPFATHER 3. It was a weird rounding of the circle! Guy Magar, the director of Part 3 called me up and did what I did, “Oh hey, this is Guy Magar and I’m directing STEPFATHER 3.” So literally I got the same call I’d given to Joe Ruben! (Laughs) And the first thing that Ruben said to me was, “Sequel? We killed that son of a bitch!” So I kind of said the same thing to Guy, just for a laugh.


Mike C.: Well, they brought him back!

Robg.: And they’re bringing him back again for the remake of STEPFATHER!

Now, what I was told about the remake was that it combined certain things from the first 2 movies. But yeah, remaking STEPFATHER is going to be crazy. But for the 3rd one, Guy asked me the same thing, if I saw another actor for the role of the stepfather because he knew he wasn’t getting O’Quinn. I was curious about the movie but I think I only saw the first 15 minutes of it, but I did think the composer who worked on STEPFATHER 2, he weaved the music from the first and the second into 3, so there’s not clips from the 2nd movie, but there’s a musical homage so that was cool.

EDDIE PRESLEY trailer:
Mike C.: So after doing STEPFATHER 2 and LEATHERFACE, what brought you to Charlie Band over at Full Moon to do the PUPPET MASTER sequels?

I had done an independent movie, a labor of love called EDDIE PRESLEY in between and some TV. Quite honestly, I needed a job. I had worked for Charlie Band years before on a movie that didn’t get made for Empire called THE VAULT. I got paid for it, worked on it for 3 or 4 months but nothing really came from it, and Empire kind of collapsed. So, then I got a phone call out of the blue in January of 1993 and it was Charlie Band who asked me to come in for a meeting on Monday. I hadn’t talked to him in years! So I came in, and it was presented to me that “ok, you’re going to do 4 movies for me and we’re paying $25,000 for each movie so you’ll make $100,000, but you really won’t make $100,000 because the first 2 movies you’re going to do are really one movie so I’m only going to pay you $25,000.” (Laughs)

(Laughs)
But still, it was cool! It would be 4 movies and I get to go do this crazy movie in Romania called OBLIVION. It sounded good. He was going to direct PUPPET MASTER 4 and 5, but it was called PUPPET MASTER: THE MOVIE, because they were going to do it as a feature for Paramount. The first Full Moon theatrical feature. That was what it was! And so what they did was they had split the script that they were going to use for the feature in half and then padded it out so you now have 2 movies that could be done for much less money. It was originally going to be the PUPPET MASTER feature that he was going to direct. So he couldn’t direct the 2 movies so he got me.
Never say never! I vowed never to replace another director again, and not have a long prep and here I am basically doing almost the exact situation I had on LEATHERFACE. So we started shooting 3 weeks after I got the job. At the time, it was really like a TV studio so they had the same people on staff. The same director of photography for most of the movies, the same production designer, a lot of the same crew for each movie, so it really was a machine. So that was a very short shoot for the 2 movies, but it was a fun experience. The scripts truly made no sense to anyone. To anyone!
Robg.: Well at that point, the PUPPET MASTER series had redefined it’s continuity. 1 and 2 are in continuity. 3 retold the original story, so 4 and 5 were following the continuity of 3.

Yeah, 3 was more the prequel in a sense, and this was after that. They forgot all the Egyptian sort of stuff and now it’s like this Sid and Marty Krofft demon in the underworld that’s wreaking havoc! (Laughs)
Robg.: Was it difficult to simultaneously do PUPPET MASTER 4 and 5 together on a tight schedule and deal with the puppets?

That wasn’t so difficult on that level, it was difficult because it was such a short shoot. And to try to get around certain people who had done so many movies for that company, just like a TV episode, they’d be hesitant to do something different. It’d be like, “Well, we didn’t do that on TRANCERS 2.” Well, you’re doing it on PUPPET MASTER 4 and 5! (Laughs)
It really was like making one movie, like a mini-series for television, it was a very quick shoot. Of the 2 movies, I prefer 5. But most people prefer 4. 5 is goofy and… 5 had the promotional team at Full Moon, Dan Schweiger and Dave Parker at the time, they affectingly nick-named PUPPET MASTER 5 “HALL WALKERS”. Because SLEEPWALKERS just had come out and half the movie is guys just walking down halls. (Laughs)
It’s a little dull, but the cast in 5 I like. Ian Ogilvy was great. Charlie Band’s dad Albert was always around and I loved him. He was great. A guy that truly loved film and loved being on the set, so he was always fun to have around. All the Full Moon movies were under-budgeted and the promotion was more important then the movie! But what was cool was they’d always make a print of the movie to show at Paramount. They would have a big screening there. It was a good experience because quite frankly it got me back into professional filmmaking in a sense. Because in 1991-1992, I was working on EDDIE PRESLEY and just finishing that up, writing some stuff, so to have a professional job as a director was a good thing, it came at a good time for me.
Mike C.: You had one more sequel to get through after all this…

Robg.: And I like this sequel, damn it!

Most people hate it and I know what you’re talking about. I’ve gone on record, and I’ll say it, PUMPKINHEAD 2: BLOOD WINGS, I think it’s my worst directing. Why, I don’t know? Ultimately yes, I’m the guy to blame, but I think purely for me, it’s my worst directing job.

Mike C.: What do you think went wrong on it there?
Everything really. Again, it was replacing a director and coming in on such short notice and not being involved in the script development at all. I found out later, Krevoy tells the story on the PUMPKINHEAD 2 DVD that basically he lucked into this. He had a script that was a horror film and literally someone said “Can you make PUMPKINHEAD 2 and get it started in 90 days” or something like that, and he said, “Yes, I can!” And what he did was took a script that he was developing for a horror movie and just retooled it somehow into a PUMPKINHEAD movie over night.
Robg.: That happens a lot.

To the people that wrote it, they’re big TV writers now, but then they had no real affection or affinity for the genre. It was a really quite frankly not a good script, but it had to be shot within a certain date to retain the rights. Again, all the wrong reasons to make a movie. People think it was a thought out sequel to the first movie, and it was not at all. It was not designed as a sequel to the first movie, script wise. It was not designed as any continuation, it was a completely different movie that they just added Pumpkinhead to. Structurally, it’s very much like a Stephen King type story. I just feel that it’s not so, not so good…
Robg.: You had a great and interesting cast! I mean, Soleil Moon Frye, aka Punky Brewster. It was the first time I’d seen her as an adult. Andrew Robinson was in it. Cameos by Kane Hodder, R.A. Mihailoff, Linnea Quigley.

Actually Linnea was hired before I was, because Krevoy had met her at the Dylan Dog festival in Milan, Italy and had never known her, and she was being honored at the festival, so he thought she was this big, big star. “Oh, we gotta get Linnea in the movie!” “Yeah? I think we can get Linnea!” But yeah, I’ve always liked her.
Mike C.: Was Stan Winston involved at all?

Not at all.

Mike C.: And did you feel the need to make that phone call to Stan?
Yes! It’s like a recurring thing. It was a contractual thing where I couldn’t talk to him though. My thing was call Stan and see what make-up stuff there is. Is there anything from the first movie we could still use? But no. I wasn’t allowed to. I will tell you the end of that. Years later, many years later in 2003, I’m at Stiges Spain for a film festival and Stan Winston is being honored there for a lifetime achievement award. So, I’m in Spain at the bar in the hotel where the festival is. Stan Winston is alone at the bar. Just looking around. I think “Ok, I just gotta go up to him.” (Laughs)
So, I go up to him and introduced myself, and I go “You know as a matter a fact, I uh…” and I was being self evasive because I recognize the faults of the movie, but I continue, “I knew the production designer of the first movie, and… I directed the second movie.” And he looked at me and didn’t say a word to me. Just looked at me, and took off. I don’t know if he was jetlagged or what! What I had heard was that he was genuinely pissed that a sequel was made. And I believe it! (Laughs)
Robg.: You should’ve went up to him and just said, “I made PUMPKINHEAD 2. Sorry.” (Laughs)

(Laughs) Yeah! It wasn’t like “Hey, we got a lot in common! You did one and I did one!” I was a big fan of his work, of course and wanted to say hello. Maybe he’d just arrived or something, but that was my one and only contact with Stan Winston.
Lastly on PUMPKINHEAD 2, it was great working with Andrew Robinson and there is some stuff that I’m happy with, some set pieces that are ok, but there’s one thing that always pisses me off, and I folded too quickly on it. I designed this sequence to be a split screen sequence. Even if I had to pay for it myself, I should’ve just kept it, because you would’ve talked about that sequence at least, even if you hated the movie. It could’ve been really cool. It was the scene with R.A. and Linnea and Pumpkinhead is stalking the cabin. It would’ve been very cool and to this day it pisses me off that I didn’t make it happen.
Mike C.: After that you did NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, which on the early days of the internet, I remember people being very complimentary of.

Some people really like that movie and I’m proud of a lot of it. It’s very action packed for the last 15 minutes of it. And that was the highest budget I’d had since LEATHERFACE really. It was like $2 million. That movie… it’s not that it died, it’s just that nobody saw that movie. The problem was Republic, the producers that made it were a team, Steve White, with Barry Bernardi. And Barry Bernardi had done a lot of Carpenter movies. During the making of the movie, they split. So that was problem one. Then Republic, the company that co-financed it went through a management change and basically went out of business.

Mike C.: It’s not on DVD!

No, it’s not on DVD, I don’t think it’s out foreign, because there’s a bootleg of it that Dave Parker got me at a convention but all it is is a bad transfer off the VHS.


Mike C.: I remember I caught it and liked it very much!

Well, did the world need another scarecrow movie? The answer is no.

Mike C.: Well, are there enough scarecrow movies should be the question! Because there’s a terrible series of them out now.

The weird thing on that movie too which just mystifies me is that the poster for it, for the video release is really cool artwork! But the actual video box is not that! I don’t understand it! The poster is really cool but it’s not what’s on the video box. I just don’t get it.

Robg.: Can you talk a bit about THE DEVIL’S DEN?

I can talk about whatever I want! It’s America, man! (Laughs)

Robg.: What’s the true story about DEVIL’S DEN?

What happened with that movie, again I got a phone call out of the blue and it was this guy John Duffy who had produced some movies that friends of mine had done. It was really a traditional meet, “hey read the script, tell us what you think.” It was written by Mitch Gould, who had written one of these Steven Cannell series of million and a half dollar horror movies. Anchor Bay put them all out. So it was intended to be one of those, but Cannell didn’t want to make it, so John Duffy and Mitch Gould ended up raising money and putting it together with New Arc Entertainment, which was a part of Anchor Bay and Starz Media. So, they hire me to direct the movie.
Mitch Gould is a stuntman, so he wanted to be the stunt coordinator/ second unit director and that was part of the deal going in. Wouldn’t be my choice, but ok. It was an 18 day shoot, very low-budget. So we’re casting the movie and you look through all these lists of names. So we end up with Devon Sawa and Kelly Hu, at the very last minute. They wanted Kelly very badly in the movie. I was thinking there were a lot more interesting choices, but they wanted her and paid her a lot of dough. She really didn’t want to do the movie. She was basically… it was basically paying for her to be there every day on the set.
I’m not saying she was unpleasant. She was civil, but you knew underneath the surface that she thought it was all bullshit and she didn’t want to be there, which was disappointing. Uh, and they treated her like she was Grace Kelly or something. Devon was cast at the last second. He was cast practically by Anchor Bay. I like him a lot. He was a very inventive actor and a lot of fun, and great in many ways to work with. He gave his all to the performance, where as Kelly was reading the script maybe 5 minutes before she did her scene.


Robg.: Well, you got Ken Foree in DEVIL’S DEN! So it must’ve been great to have worked with him again.

They had Ken in mind even before I came on. Starz liked him so that was almost a done deal from the beginning. He did a great job on the movie. The rest was cast traditionally through auditions. So what happened during the production of the movie, Mitch because he had written it was very protective of the script, and he was the second unit director and it was such a quick schedule where what I would do is shoot a set, and I’d have a list of shots to do when we went to the next set that he was supposed to do. He would never do the shots that I gave him. He would do his own stuff, which was totally irrelevant to the movie I was making. That was problem one. So, we wrapped the movie, we shot it in 18 days. It comes in under budget and on schedule. And we started editing. It was a quick editing schedule, so I show a cut of the movie to Mitch and he goes “Well, let me work with the editors for a day”, which I’m not happy about but I placate him. And in one day, he makes some of the stuff just so much worse. So then, it’s right around Christmas, he was supposed to come in the next day for us to talk about how the cut is going to proceed.


And he doesn’t show up. The producer shows up and says, “Mitch feels that he needs to take over the movie.” So I’m like, “Why does he feel the need to take over the movie?” “Well… he just does.” “OK. Well, where is he?” The producer says, “Well, he feels if he shows up it’ll weaken his position.” (Laughs) I’ll always remember that! The up-shot being, he took the movie, got a new editor and spent 8 months re-cutting the movie. We only had 3 weeks to do it! 8 months to re-cut the movie, and he totally re-cut it. Literally, there is not a single edit that was in the original version. And every line of his script, every word of the written script is in the finished movie. Which is unheard of! There’s always stuff cut out! To either make it play better or play faster. Every word of the script was in the movie. He was completely protective of that original script. And as it turns out, how he was able to do this was that basically he was one of the main investors of the movie, which I did not know. So he was really the power behind the throne when it came to that. He was so adamant that it had to be his script. There was some fun stuff in there, but it was basically a FROM DUSK TILL DAWN low budget knock-off, really. So the way to have fun with it would’ve been to make it as quick and wild as possible, and it kind of just lays there as it is, in my estimation. I thought the sound job on the movie was just dreadful. He had scored it a totally different way. Because it was re-cut, I thought I’d use a pseudonym and take my name off the movie. I gave them my pseudonym, and I also said in the making-of, if I was in it, just cut me out. So, it’s Mitch’s movie in the sense that it’s his cut, and it’s awful.

Robg.: Well, I’d like to see your cut!

And not to say that my version is a classic! It’s just fun. It’s a fun bad movie versus a bad bad movie.

Mike C.: Any happier experiences lately?

I’m really cut out to be an independent filmmaker. I don’t know, it’s just my view of what a director does and what a film editor is supposed to do bumps against a lot of what people think director’s do nowadays, I guess. I do want to do another horror movie, but I do want to make it on my own terms and make something that really can do something. Like DEVIL’S DEN, no matter what you do with it, it’s still going to be a FROM DUSK TILL DAWN remake. So my goal is to make another horror movie eventually and whatever fans I’ve had have always been very loyal & supportive, so I want to do something that will justify their faith. My career so far has been very checkered, charitably if you can call it checkered and there were a lot of misguided projects, but the older you get you want to do better things.
Robg.: Is it true you’re working on a documentary right now too?

Yes, one of the things I’m doing now is a documentary on TV directors from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Guys that have done a lot of TV movies and who have IMDB pages that are a 100 entries long! Some of those guys are amazing. They’re in their 80’s and they’re still so energetic and passionate about what they’ve done and what they’re doing. Those guys inspire me. We’re still interviewing people for it.

Robg.: I caught a little bit of STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS recently on cable and I thought it looked absolutely beautiful.

Oh thank you, thank you. That and EDDIE PRESLEY, those are 2 that I’m very proud of it. Along with THE OFFSPRING (FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM). These are more representative of what I want to do and am capable of doing. The frustration for me is to not be able to be allowed to put the creativity you know you have on the screen, for various reasons. That’s the frustration.
STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS trailer:
Mike C.: Can you talk a bit about David Warner in STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS?

Warner was great! I adored working with him. He was hilarious off the set, totally professional and old-school. And totally committed. We only had him for a week so it was a very tough shoot. He was totally committed to the role, had great ideas and brought so much to the table. I was a fan of his anyways, but as a director it was amazing. This particular movie had very difficult shooting conditions in Romania. It was miserable! But he was great, and I mean, what a face! He has an amazing face.
He works all the time, but I wish people would allow him to do more high profile jobs in America. He should turning down stuff! And maybe he does, but he moved back to England. We talked about THE OMEN a bit. (Laughs) And Linda Thorson, even though we had a problematic relationship in the beginning, she was really cool too. She was on THE AVENGERS. That movie’s representative of the type of stuff I’d like to do. I’m not abandoning horror films or anything! I love horror movies, but the next horror film I do independently, I’d want to do something that I can really shake people up with and get a chance of really breaking out.

Robg.: We’ll be first in line!




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