Quantcast Mike Mendez interview

Mike Mendez
MIKE MENDEZ is the director behind "KILLERS", 'THE CONVENT' (which features fan fave Adrienne Barbeau) and the recent 'THE GRAVEDANCERS', which was among one of the more impressive horror films shown as part of After Dark's 8 Films To Die For. We recently caught up with Mike at his place to talk about his film career and check out his amazing collection of toys, figures and memorabilia. (You can check out a tour of his place in the video at the end of this interview!) Read on for our FRIGHT exclusive chat with Mike Mendez! - by Robg. & Mike C. 7/07

What are your earliest recollections of the horror genre? Do you remember the first films to really impact or scare you?

One of the first horror films I saw, not sure if it was THE first, but I do remember going to a double feature of a re-release of HALLOWEEN and MOTEL HELL. And… that left an impression! I know I’d been to a fair amount of horror films previous to that, because I remember really liking a film called THE CHILDREN that came out and it had a score by Harry Manfredini. I liked that quite a bit. In the recesses of my brain, I have all these nameless horror films, which I actually don’t know what they were. I was 5 or 6 and kind of unaware of what movie titles were.
I have a feeling that whatever they were, they were probably Italian, because they were like nothing I’d ever seen before and there were these weird exploding heads and this whole visceral thing that would just terrify me! I went through a lot of phases. The phase of being too scared to cope, where I was so horrified about it, I couldn’t watch. To getting to the phase of wanting to see these movies. I remember wanting to see The Howling and also An American Werewolf In London because I was really big into werewolves, but I had to close my eyes during the scary parts, which is why jump scares were the worst for me because you couldn’t close them fast enough and you’d always see something you didn’t want to see! It’s funny, I’d close my eyes during the scary parts but it still wouldn’t deter me from seeing it.

I notice here you have just about every Jason figure that’s ever existed! Big Friday The 13th fan?

I have fond memories of Friday The 13th Part 2 and remember just loving that. I thought that was amazing and so scary. To me, when I was 9, Friday The 13th Part 2 was cinema. That was just great fucking filmmaking. Similar things that were out at the time, like Gandhi bored the crap out of me! (Laughs) But Friday The 13th Part 2, now that’s how movies were made. I briefly went into a period where Friday The 13th Part 3 in 3D scared me so much, that I couldn’t see it theatrically. I saw it years later in 3D and it was like a religious experience. There’s only 2 movies I wasn’t allowed to see. My recollection, I think Barbara Walters said you shouldn’t take your kids to see ALIEN and my dad heard that. I don’t know what the fuck he was thinking, because he’d take me to see Cannibal Ferox if it was playing (Laughs) but someone on the TV said “Don’t see ALIEN” so ALIEN was the one movie I was not allowed to see. I went with my 17 year old brother to go see Return Of The Living Dead in theaters and they gave us shit about me not being old enough to see it. His friends were 18 or 19, but I was denied access! By the time Return came out, this was no longer scary for me, this was just a good time!

Can you tell us the history of how you got into filmmaking? Where did your interest in films begin?

Well, I was somewhat lucky in that I had a very film savvy family, at least my dad and my brother were. My dad was an immigrant from El Salvador who sold restaurant equipment, but the reason he wanted to come to the United States was that he wanted to be a film actor. That was his first motivation, but he’d never done anything about that. We had a Mexican restaurant on Hollywood Blvd. So we were exposed to Hollywood through the most outsider way you could be. It wasn’t like any of us were in the industry but I grew up outside of the Walk Of Fame, and I’d go to the Chinese Theater every week. So film loving was certainly an integral part of my roots. It’s what we did. We weren’t a sports family, or a family that was heavily into functions. We went to movies.

And from that, that started my brother on a path that he wanted to be a filmmaker. I think Steven Spielberg probably was what really cemented that for him, and it became his dream to go to UCLA film school. Now, because that was his dream, it never really felt like it was my dream. I felt like I’d be copying him. So, I actually got very interesting in the make-up FX side of it. I think it’s also partially the reason for my love of toys. I was really into sculpture. Not that I’m a good sculptor myself but I have a tremendous appreciation of it. So, for the longest time, I was interested in being a writer, and also (slowly because of my love of Fangoria magazine and Gorezone) it turned into wanting to be an FX artist.

My heroes became Rob Bottin and Kevin Yagher and Rick Baker. It started for me when I was about 13 or 14 and when you’re 13, it’s a really expensive hobby! Making masks and prosthetics. I’d spend my allowance on alginate, which isn’t the most exciting thing to spend your allowance on! (Laughs) Back then, the make-up FX guys were like the rock stars to me. So, my brother in the meantime was following his film dream. He quickly started to lose that dream and lose that focus. For me, what started the filmmaking craze was that it just seemed logical.

We were one of the first families in my neighborhood to have a video camera and my brothers made movies, and I loved toys so much that I’d take that video camera and start making really bad stop-motion things with my action figures. My parents later sent me to an all boys Catholic school, so there weren’t too many fun things to do. We weren’t drinking, smoking dope or getting laid – that came later. (Laughs) But in the interim, we thought why don’t we get everyone together and start making films. At that point we were all into Monty Python. We did skits for school, and made up a club we called “The 8 Ball Club”… which now later in life has a more dark connotation. (Laughs) Back then, we thought it sounded cool. (Laughs)

We made films like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Nazis” or “Poltrygeist”, far before the Troma one. They were for fun! And since I was the FX guy, I’d always worry about the blood and rigging of these FX. By college, we’d done 25 short films, so the only thing that made sense to me at the point was making movies. So, really over the span of a night I decided that I should be making movies. I never looked back ever since. I dropped out of college and got any job I could as a production assistant and started showing off my films until I could meet someone who’d want to do something with me. I met a guy who wanted to make an independent film called “KILLERS” and that’s how I got my first film off the ground.

“KILLERS” was your first feature length film. How difficult was it for you to make that film?
“KILLERS” was a real hard film to make, because I was 22 at the time, I just dropped out of college at that point. I met this guy who made this film called “Tears Of Heaven”. He spent something like $350,000 on it. And he directed in it and stared in it, and it was a piece of shit. He couldn’t do anything with it, you couldn’t even cut it together. So, we had this stack of short ends. So he had the idea, “You know, sometimes I think I should just make another movie with this stack of short ends.” So, I convinced him to let me direct it. We wrote the script together, myself and this guy Dave Larsen, who unfortunately has passed away since.

He was also 22 at the time and we basically did the film with credit cards and family loans and whatever money we could muster. We had a stack of short ends of 35 mm film, we bought a little more, got a crew of maybe 9 people together and shot this thing. I’m sure lots of people do that, but to our surprise it got into Sundance. For me at the time, it was a total whirlwind. Here you go from being unemployed, making these little films & music videos for garage bands, but it took me to a level at age 23 that was suddenly in the professional world.

I got an agent at ICM who was Robert Rodriguez’s agent, and I was meeting everyone in town. I got money to write my first script, so it was a huge jump for me, but again it all started with 9 people over 24 days with no money and no PA’s. I was getting lunch for everyone and directing the film at the same time. (Laughs) The first pass at it, I think we spent $125,000 for a 35 mm feature film, which is kind of unheard of these days. I don’t think you could do that if you tried. It was very hard, but obviously very beneficial. And it really is what started this crazy ride that I’m still on.
Can you talk a bit about the availability of your first film KILLERS?

This company called Alpine bought it, and they released it themselves on VHS. You can find it at Hollywood video and a few places like that, but they cut the shit out of it. They cut out all the real gory and more violent, disturbing aspects of it. But they did a great job of selling it foreign. So, it came out theatrically in Germany. It came out theatrically in France. And it came out on video and DVD everywhere else. But this was before DVD really got started, so there’s mostly only these VHS copies of it.
This movie started to become a cult hit in Europe, so that led to them making a double-disc collector’s edition DVD. So, when I would go to Germany people would tell me that they’re big fans of mine and I’d think, “What are you talking about?!” because over here it was on a video shelf somewhere, maybe if we were lucky! When we made my second film, THE CONVENT, I remember we went to a film festival in Germany and it was weird, they thought I was Darren Aronofsky or something! They thought I was this real filmmaker from the US and I didn’t have the heart to tell them any differently! (Laughs) I must always thank the Germans for their support of the Mendez films! A lot of people tell me they love the film and that they can’t get it anywhere, and it’s true, they can’t. The best you can do is that German double disc DVD. So, I’m trying to get the rights back, because I think it’s high time that I released the film on DVD again.

You just mentioned your second film THE CONVENT. Now, here’s what I’d like to know. It’s an independent film. So, I want to know how you went into early meetings and pitched to people, “Ok, I’ve got this new film, and it opens with this young girl running into a church and blowing away a bunch of nuns!”

(Laughs) You know? That was the crazy thing! No one really fucking looked twice! Or said anything, and that’s the reason I did it. At the time, all these doors opened up for me. I was this 23 year old kid in Hollywood taking all these meetings for all these big projects, like Species 2 or Idle Hands. I couldn’t find anything I really liked that I could be passionate about. It was studio stuff but it was all crap. And so the company that released KILLERS said we have to do this other movie, and one of the secretaries here has a treatment.
So, I asked what it was about, and they told me, “Well, it’s about a group of kids that break into a convent and then bad stuff happens.” At first I thought it wasn’t all that original or exciting! (Laughs) I asked, “Well can I put some demonic nuns in it?” And they’re like “Sure!” And I added, “Well, can we blow them away and make them explode?” And they’re like, “Yeah! Sure!” And honestly the reason I did it is because they pretty much said I could do whatever I wanted! I had to do it for a certain amount of money with their people, of course. I only had a certain amount of days. But providing that I delivered them a horror film, that’s all that mattered. And of course, the last thing I made was a horror movie with the film! I wanted to make an 80’s style comedy. Thankfully when you’re dealing outside the studio system and it’s just guys that are contractually obligated to make a movie, they really don’t care what it is that much. I told them the opening I wanted to do, and they loved it. In the original idea, she just comes in with a gun and starts shooting everyone, but then Columbine happened, so I felt very badly about it.
So, my solution to it was, “Well, it’s bad if she just goes into a school and starts shooting people. BUT if she goes into a church, and takes out a baseball bat, and then beats them, and then pours gasoline on them, lights them on fire and THEN shoots them, you no longer think of Columbine!” (Laughs) By some fucked up logic, it’s true. It’s so outrageous and so ridiculously violent, you can’t take it seriously. I’ve only had one complaint EVER from a Catholic who wrote us when the movie was about to come out that “God is going to kill you all!”
She never even saw the movie, she just wrote us this freaky letter about how God will strike us all down for our sins. The biggest complaint we had was for our portrayal of Satanists. (Laughs) It was so under the radar, no one caught onto it. Of course, because of that opening, you’ll never see it at Blockbuster, you’ll never see it on cable. But I kind of like being a cult director. I like that audiences can find your film and that it can grow over time. Sometimes, I think that’s cooler then being in Blockbuster. The people that have seen THE CONVENT had to go seek it out! Had to hear about it from a friend or read about it somewhere.
Was THE CONVENT influenced by a lot of the movies you snuck into growing up?

Sure, my favorite movie is EVIL DEAD 2! The first time I saw DEAD ALIVE was on a bootleg. The first time I saw THE BURNING was on a bootleg. And so, I love that. So when I see people bootlegging THE CONVENT or KILLERS, I’ll sign them because I think that’s cool. That makes me feel like a real filmmaker, people are out there trading my movie and selling it illegally. I think that’s kind of awesome!

It is pretty cool. And for people to discover it the way you discovered films like DEAD ALIVE is awesome.

When THE CONVENT came out, no one knew what the hell it was, but now years later, it kind of tends to grow, and that’s great. Sometimes, when I’m broke as shit and doing some job that I’d rather not be doing like editing, I wonder “Wow, maybe I should’ve taken those big $10 million dollar studio movies.” (Laughs) But I don’t know! There’s something about having pride in your work and doing what you believe in. That’s cooler to me rather then cashing in and directing a bad studio film.

Well, let’s talk about those Satanists! (Laughs) What I loved about THE CONVENT and what I didn’t expect was he way you infused humor into it. Knowing you a bit now and having met you a few times, it makes total sense to me. It’s your type of humor. Was it always a conscious effort to make this funny?

Yeah, we never ever intended to make a serious horror movie…

You think you might go in a serious direction from the opening. I mean, ya kill a bunch of nuns! But then it gets funny...

Well, even the opening is so outrageous that it’s supposed to be funny. Some people complain about that with THE GRAVEDANCERS. Is that they don’t know what to do with the comedy. But I don’t know! I like comedy. I like to laugh at real life. I like hearing audiences laugh. I like GRAVEDANCERS more as a film, but I love watching CONVENT with an audience, because people are laughing and having fun with it. When people are scared, it’s very quiet, and I get freaked out, wondering “Are they into it?!” The most natural thing to me is to write some comedy. Or take scary things and make them funny. I often find myself fighting myself against that. But I have one more script in the vein of THE CONVENT that I’d like to make called DEAD STUFF that is completely just the goriest comedy ever. That’ll be fun, but I wanted to try to make something that more people would want to see. GRAVEDANCERS was my blatant attempt to make something “mainstream”. Something that I still like and can get into, but something much more commercial and accessible then anything I’ve made before, because I just like making my weird little films. It’s a balance I’m always fighting within myself.

How’d Adrienne Barbeau get involved in THE CONVENT? Because she hadn’t been in anything for a while?

Honestly, I think she hadn’t done anything in a while because no one was asking for a while. And I’m happy that we kind of re-started the resurgence of Adrienne Barbeau, because she went on to do Carnivale, and now HALLOWEEN. Which is great. People should have the good sense to hire her because she’s awesome. We had within the budget for one kind of actor to play that part. And they were trying to push Lynda Carter on me, which would’ve been great. Or Morgan Fairchild or even Linda Blair, and they all would’ve been fine! But I really wanted Adrienne Barbeau. It was a great experience, and I feel fortunate to call her a friend, and I look forward to working on another movie with her.

Thank you for putting her in THE CONVENT, because growing up in the 80’s I had the HUGEST crush on her!

I think we all did! She was always the bad ass chick! You didn’t want to mess with her, which is funny, because when you meet her, she’s fairly petite. But she still has this presence, which is perfect. I’ve always really liked her. She read it, liked it, and did it. It didn’t take much convincing. It was harder convincing Coolio! (Laughs)

Bring us through the process of getting this second independent film of yours out there? How’d you go about getting this film out on DVD?

It was easy and it was difficult. The good thing is that because my first film was at Sundance, my second film got into Sundance. Which is kind of funny, because Sundance is known more for more arthouse fare. They’re not really known for the schlocky genre thing, and my thing was a celebration of all things schlocky! But they loved it. So, we premiered at Sundance and we hoped a big company would buy it and put it in theaters. I only found out recently that the production company had offers to put it out theatrically and they chose not to because it wasn’t enough money. Lions Gate came around, finally after about a year and picked it up. It was a long journey, but what was cool about THE CONVENT and what I didn’t appreciate until later on was that it played EVERY festival. It must’ve played 30-40 festivals around the world. So, even though it wasn’t selling, I was going to Japan, I was going to Spain, and France and Germany and Brussels. All over the globe to tour with it. The short answer is it was painful, but I was getting a wonderful reaction from the fans at all these festivals. It won awards in Italy, and Adrienne Barbeau won a Chainsaw Award. But it was a solid year before it ended up on DVD.

What were the origins of THE GRAVEDANCERS? How did you get introduced to that script?

I finished CONVENT somewhere towards the end of 2000. On my door step, I got this script on Halloween for The Gravedancers and I just fell for it. I thought it was everything that I wanted to do for my next film. I didn’t want to do another schlocky picture because then that’s all I’d be known for.

I really wanted to do something with a little more substance. What I liked about this script was it was very much an homage to POLTERGEIST. And THE HAUNTED MANSION. I knew I could inject my visual style into it, and it got really crazy by the end. I liked that it wasn’t just one thing. It had this arc, this evolution that started at one point and ended at another point. Some people hated that about the script, that it had different arcs. I still get that as a finished film, people think it’s tonally inconsistent, but that’s weird to me. I don’t know how people can’t follow that arc.

Well, that’s how most ghost story pictures work, though. That’s the format of POLTERGEIST, for example.

Yeah, it’s definitely an escalation. I loved this script. It had been at Artisan for a bit, and they dropped it, and I opted to make it, which took way longer then any of us thought it would be. I’m tenacious. I see something that I want to do and that’s all I focus on. It took 5 years from that point to get it financed. It was a solid year to option it and get the script out. And then another 2 years to get someone to finance it. We made the trailer because it was set up at Fox, but they didn’t want me to direct it, so I made the trailer (which is on the DVD) as proof that I could make it.
So, they let me do it, but then we were doing it with this other company that was supposed to have the money to do it, but then they didn’t.The whole thing fell apart, but thankfully we had the trailer. So, we shopped it around and finally got it to an independent company, who sat on it and let it sit around for 2 years before we actually made it! It wasn’t until SAW and THE GRUDGE were hits that one weekend that they were like, “Oh, let’s make it now!”
The unfortunate thing was that everyone and their mother decided to make a horror film once SAW and THE GRUDGE were successful, so when we were finally done with ours, now we had to compete with 800 other horror movies, as opposed to if we had done it earlier. It was a long process, but it was a script I immediately fell in love with.
When you finally started shooting it, were you relieved to finally be making it or was there pressure?

It was kind of a relief just to get it done, because we had waited for so long. We were trying to get it made for $15 millions dollars and then $10 million, and then $6 million, and finally we were at $2 and a half million. The production company actually wanted us to stop and go make it in Romania 6 months after we were scheduled to. We just knew we had to do it now. It wasn’t more pressure, it was more relief.

The cast was great. Can you talk about finding the right people for GRAVEDANCERS?

Sure. Tcheky Karyo I met in Japan. We were at a festival together and Tcheky was in the jury and they had all these other movies. The rest of the jury looked at me like, “Who farted?!” after watching THE CONVENT, but Tcheky loved it and got it. Thankfully, he wanted to work with me. Wonderful person that he is, stuck with us, because he was attached to it for a long time. Clare Kramer came to us through auditions. We just liked her and thought she was great. Dominic Purcell we got through a meeting, but it was before Prison Break was a reality, so we just happened to catch him in the nick of time.

That was lucky, although funny enough, they didn’t advertise the fact that he was in the movie. You figured they would! And Josie Maran was someone we cast very last minute. The production company had cast her something like 3 days before we started shooting. But she was great.

What was it about a ghost story that made you want to make this kind of horror movie?

Right when I read it, we were coming off of the “friendly” ghost phase. Well, not friendly, I should say the “troubled” ghost. The ghost where something was unsettled. And they came back to make the wrong things right! That’s fine. I mean The Sixth Sense is a brilliant movie, but everything started to become a clone of it. I wanted a reason to make ghosts scary again, because I haven’t seen a ghost even try to harm anybody in years! POLTERGEIST was certainly the model. Ghosts are inherently scary to everyone. I don’t know why, I don’t believe they even exist, but they’re scary. One of the things I really wanted to do was explore atmosphere because it feels now like a lost art form.

The thing that a lot of horror movies DON’T do these days is take the time to build up that suspense, which is what you do in your movie. When you finally get to the point where you see that first ghost in the corner of the room, it’s a shock! It’s a great scare.

It was very important to me. It was probably a reaction to all criticisms I got for THE CONVENT. As much as people loved it, a lot of people fucking hated it! I’d hear people say, “It’s not scary, it’s stupid!” So I thought, “Fine, I’ll make a fucking scary one next time, dicks!” (Laughs) I wanted to make people jump out of their seats. I wanted to make people tense and then have that release. When we were at Tribeca, I can’t tell you what a relief it was to see all those heads jump up. I felt like I did my job. I miss atmospheric films.

The one thing that always takes me out of a movie is the usage of CGI with ghosts. I know you dabble with it a bit towards the end, but it’s well done. Most of the stuff in your movie is practical. Was it a choice on your part to opt more towards practical ghost effects? Because to me it’s frightening when you see a ghost that’s psychically there!

That was the thing. I had this dream a long time ago that I was walking up the stairs and I turned around and there was this very tall thin creature following me with a grin on its face. And I just woke up in a cold sweat and it always kind of stuck with me. I think when people see ghosts in real life, from what I’ve been told, you would see a person just sitting there, and then you’d do a double take and they’re gone. You certainly have never heard someone say, “Oh yes! It was glowing blue. And it was pale. And drifting off the ground!” I’ve never seen a ghost, so I don’t know!
But from most stories you hear and what you’d imagine, you would see a real thing there for a moment and then it’s gone. I thought it’d be scarier to just see someone there and then have them be gone. The smile always seems creepy. An angry dog, you know what it wants. But a freaky, skinny ghost just smiling at you. What the hell does it want?

Does it help the actors when there’s a ghost psychically there?

It depends. Dominic always thought the whole thing was goofy, so he just wanted to react as little as possible, I don’t think he wanted to scream, so for him it didn’t matter. But for Clare it helped quite a bit, and I think it freaked her out. I love practical stuff. But I had this idea for how I wanted the ending to be. If I could’ve done the whole thing practically I would’ve, and in fact, I actually tried to do it.
The big head at the end, even though I get accused of using a CGI head, it’s not CG! That’s a big puppet. A giant head! We did it like Star Wars and did it in front of a green screen and moved the camera past it and had a fan on it to look like wind. We did it old school, but everything around it has an ethereal glow, and is CG, so everyone assumes the whole thing is CG. We couldn’t afford to destroy a set like I would’ve liked to! The biggest criticism I get for the movie is the ending, which I think is funny, because it’s my favorite part.

Being that you’re not a fan of CGI yourself, what kind of instructions did you give the people that created some of those effects?

I don’t believe in CGI really unless you have Peter Jackson money! I think wonderful things can be accomplished with CGI but for low budget filmmaking, it’s horrible! So, my instructions were basically “Use as least CGI as possible!” (Laughs) I told the graphics guys that I don’t like CGI, which probably offended them, but they promised it’d look great. So, I was always trying to shoot as many practical elements as possible. But when you’re trying to blow out a wall with spectral energy, there’s only so much you can do.
At that point, it all still worked. Maybe because you build everything up until that point?

Well, that’s how I feel. To me, that big head and that ending is the final drop of a rollar coaster. You have to suspend your disbelief. People say “Well, it was scary up until that point.” But the thing is it wasn’t really trying to be scary by that point. By that point, I’m just having a great time, I’m just having fun. I hope the audience is too. Some of them get it, some of them don’t. I knew going in from the arc of the script how it was going to be. So I made it for the people who would appreciate it. And for those who didn’t, well... my apologies! (Laughs)

When did After Dark get involved and when did you know you were going to be part of that fest in theaters?

We showed it at AFM, which is a film market back in November of 2005. This was much more painful the THE CONVENT, because we screened the film, and a lot of people liked it. We had people circling it, like Lions Gates and New Line and all these companies. Towards the end of November, town started shutting down and it hadn’t sold. So, January came and we thought “Ok, is this going to sell?!” So, then Feburary, March, April, May! The movie was up for sale for 9 months! At this point I knew everyone had passed on it. Lions Gate was talking about releasing it, but that required the production company to put up a certain amount of money and they weren’t willing to do that. So when that happened, out of the blue, (like a knight in shining armor) Courtney Solomon showed up with the After Dark fest. Of course, we were skeptical at first! We all thought, “You want to do what?!” (Laughs) You want to release 8 movies for one weekend? And only one weekend? But the more we talked to him, the more we thought this guy was really onto something.
This was kind of revolutionary and exciting! We were very quickly approaching the point where it was going to be a direct-to-DVD movie, despite our hopes. We didn’t feel it deserved to be, but then Courtney showed up and said “This is a way to get it into theaters.” To it’s credit, it’s been great in terms of how it’s out there. I can download a HD version of GRAVEDANCERS on my Xbox right now and that’s pretty impressive! That doesn’t happen to movies often, especially a movie like we did. It played in 500 theaters and the DVD release was huge.

We bought the last 2 copies at the Best Buy in New York by us!

Well, thank you very much! It ended up being the best seller (of the After Dark films) and I don’t know exactly why. But I’m not going to complain about it! (Laughs) That’s the one a lot of people took to. Every filmmaker is going to have a different opinion of how they were treated with After Dark but I don’t have anything but great things to say. I think it’s fantastic, and I really support Horrorfest. And I hope they get some great films this year and next. Not every film at Horrorfest was a gem, but there was enough stuff there to really warrant it as a force to be reckoned with. And I’m proud to have been a part of it and anything they want to do, I’ll be there to support it.

Is that your wife at the beginning of both GRAVEDANCERS and THE CONVENT? Can you talk about always opening your films with Oakley?

Yeah, it kind of happened by accident! Well, CONVENT I purposely cast her for that. GRAVEDANCERS, I didn’t want that opening in the movie! But I wanted to give her a part in it, so it kind of worked out. One of the reasons they were ok with letting me put my wife in the opening was that they thought that would endear me to have that be the opening of the movie. But no, I fought tooth and nail to get it out, because it doesn’t have anything else to do with the movie! It was just something the foreign sales market wanted. But I did like the idea and since it was forced on me, I was very happy that she was in it. And now, it feels like we must do this on DEAD STUFF.

She doesn’t die at the beginning of CONVENT, but I like the idea of killing my wife at the beginning of every film. (Laughs) Some people think it’s morbid, I think it’s sweet!

You’re name has been attached to a number of projects, in particular TOOLBOX MURDERS 2. Can you talk at all about that?

Well, TOOLBOX 2, if it happens I am more then happy to be a part of it. An excuse to kill people with power tools is cool with me. Other then that, there’s a movie called DEAD STUFF, which to me is my unofficial sequel to the CONVENT, in tone, because it’s the same type of movie. But hopefully we’ll have more money, and it’ll have more gore, and hopefully be in 3D. That’s something I’d like to do in the next year or two. I have a project with a young writer named Evan Katz called 100 DEMONS. It’s our John Woo meets EVIL DEAD movie. Lots of guns and demons.
You mentioned DEAD STUFF possibly being a 3D film. What are among your favorite 3D films?

Friday The 13th Part 3 in 3D is definitely my favorite one. MONSTER HOUSE in 3D was fabulous. And… that ends my list! Actually, Creature From The Black Lagoon. And House Of Wax. But no, no JAWS 3. Sorry, Mike C. (Laughs)

Icons Of Fright Mike Mendez interview clips!


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