Monday, April 30, 2012


It's been called a "joyless experience", but I beg to differ.   In this latest installment of Revenge Of The Trailer, Shock Cinema magazine contributor and the host of The Mondo Film Podcast, Justin Bozung, talks about the 1969 "comedy" The Maltese Bippy starring Dan Rowan & Dick Martin.

So when Bippy came out in 1969, it was destroyed by the critics, and it literally drove it's audience out of the theaters.  Of course, when you have two comics, who at the end of the '60s had the absolute hippest and politically poignant comedy series on television there's not much else you can do but give them a movie.  Bippy has a Skidoo (1968) feeling to it, and I think you'll feel the same way, in that you too will be wondering exactly how did something like this even get made in the first place?

It makes complete sense that a studio should give Rowan & Martin a G-rated vehicle in which they star as fast-talking porno film producers who get evicted from their NYC studio and have to relocate to a Collinwood type mansion to solve a who-dun-it in upstate N.Y....Flushing to be exact.  What we have here is an farcical and loving homage to the Abbott & Costello formulation.  Personally, I find The Maltese Bippy to be very funny. There are some wonderful bits sprinkled throughout the film which include a breaking of the fourth wall opening sequence, a weird Dick Martin as werewolf riding a bicycle through town that's reminiscent of Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, some weird animation, and a very humorous Laugh-In style ending -- trap door and all, and it has a big cast that will make you beg for more.  Check it Out.

 MVT:  The bookends of the film, in particular the opening sequence of the film, the first of three endings we are treated to,  as well as the wonderful banter between Dick Martin and the other members of the cast.  On Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Martin was notorious for playing the dope and the trouble-maker of the comedy team, and Dan Rowan -- the nice guy alpha.  The roles are reversed here in The Maltese Bippy, and critics ultimately had a major problem with that aspect of this film.  Bippy is very funny... However strange it is.

Make Or Break:  The film is a bit windy overall. But at times, moves so fast it's a bit of a struggle to stay on top of the story line.  We go from a porno movie shoot (titles of films produced by the duo include Jungle Lust and Lunar Lust) to upstate New York to a werewolf in a business suit riding a bicycle around town (puts the werewolf character in Turkey Shoot to shame), and then back into a back-stabbing hunt for the sword Excalibur with some eastern Europeans, a pair of bungling local cops and Dracula.  I know...I know...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cinema de Bizarre Review of the Week: Blood Ceremony (1973)

Directed by Jorge Grau

Starring Lucia Bosé ("Erzebeth Bathory"), Espartaco Santoni ("Karl Ziemmer"), Ewa Aulin ("Marina"), and Ana Farra ("Nodriza")

Country: Spain, Italy

While there have been many films based on the legend of the "Blood Countess" Elizabeth Bathory, BLOOD CEREMONY (also known as THE LEGEND OF BLOOD CASTLE and FEMALE BUTCHER) was one of the very first, and some would say that it's one of the best. Directed by Jorge Grau of LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE fame, BLOOD CEREMONY is a Gothic horror film set in the 17th century somewhere in Central Europe, and it's an interesting take on the Elizabeth Bathory legend in that it incorporates actual vampirism into the story rather than using the real-life Bathory's alleged penchant for bathing in human blood as a metaphor for vampirism.

In the film, "Erzebeth Bathory" is married to Karl Ziemmer - the Marquis of a region of land that supposedly serves as home to actual vampires. In what ended up being one of the strangest things I've ever seen in a vampire film, a doctor who was believed to be a blood-sucker is exhumed from his grave, staked through the heart, and later put on trial by residents of the village (and a magistrate with the familiar name of "Helsing") while still in his casket and presumably dead. At one point the corpse is even questioned, which is a bit funny.

The aforementioned trial of the vampire coincides with many strange occurrences involving the primary characters. Erzebeth turns to a sorceress when she accidentally discovers that the blood of one of her female servants essentially makes the wrinkles on her skin disappear. What starts out as a trial-by-error experiment sparked by Erzebeth's curiosity (and vanity), the sneaky extraction of blood from a young female virgin turns into a full-blown onslaught as committed by Erzebeth and the sorceress. At a certain point, Karl suddenly dies and comes back as a vampire, and so he teams up with his wife and embarks on a killing spree with her. It's a win-win situation for both parties, as Karl gets to satisfy his thirst for both blood and young women while Erzebeth gets to literally bathe in the leftovers and further her quest for eternal youth. It's also suggested that the sorceress (and old hag, mind you) wants to live vicariously through Erzebeth, as wall as the more prominent of the female servants, Marina, which would explain her motives for assisting both of those characters in their respective desires to achieve certain things, but since she's apparently a sorceress I don't understand why she didn't just come up with a spell to make herself younger.

Personally, I'm a sucker for European Gothic horror movies because of the inherent atmosphere that comes with them. Some seem to nail it more than others, but these films tend to be pretty atmospheric for the most part. BLOOD CEREMONY mostly delivers in that respect but falls short in a few areas. It's arguably a much quieter film that it has any right being, and as far as the atmosphere is concerned, the film could have benefited from a slightly better score; perhaps something a little more Hammer-esque or more ominous than the seemingly stock (but serviceable) horror-movie music used in BLOOD CEREMONY. Visually, though, BLOOD CEREMONY is quite good, as Jorge Grau and cinematographers Fernando Arribas (THE BLOOD-SPATTERED BRIDE) and Oberdan Troiani (a bunch of Peplum films) utilize shadows and lighting to create a haunting and occasionally nightmarish aesthetic.

It should also be said that BLOOD CEREMONY is a bit slow, which is to be expected with most European Gothic horror, in that they're not the most action-packed films, but rather movies that thrive on visuals and creating a certain mood. If you keep in mind that this film was one of the first to tackle the Elizabeth Bathory legend, it's quite admirable. In the context of it being just another horror film based on Bathory, it treads familiar waters and arguably doesn't stand out against films like Hammer's COUNTESS DRACULA or DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS (a looser interpretation of the Bathory legend), both of which preceded BLOOD CEREMONY. As a whole the film could potentially be a snooze-fest for a lot of people, and the fact that it takes itself very seriously could either hurt or help it depending on what certain movie fans are looking for when seeking this out. At the very least, BLOOD CEREMONY would make a great background movie at a Halloween party because of the foreboding atmosphere, the constant display of dark imagery, and the type of music that you'd hear blasting out of loud-speakers at a haunted house.

Make or Break: The conclusion of the film made it for me. While good, the film doesn't really have a lot of standout scenes or set-pieces, so a lot of what I ultimately thought about the film depended on how the story wrapped up. Luckily it doesn't quite fizzle out, and even though it ultimately plays out like you'd expect it to if you're familiar enough with Countess Bathory, it's still exceptionally haunting.

MVT: The most valuable thing in this film, for me, is something - or rather someone - that I haven't even mentioned yet: actress Ewa Aulin. The Swedish actress, who made a name for herself by playing the lead role in CANDY (which also starred Marlon Brando and Ringo Starr to name a few), plays the character of Marina in BLOOD CEREMONY. The best way that I can describe her character is that she's basically built up to be the "Final Girl", in that she's the most prominent character amongst the group of young women who are targeted by both Erzebeth Bathory and her undead husband. Ewa doesn't exactly deliver a knockout performance or anything, but you'd be hard-pressed to find another actress from this era film as equally adorable and sexy as Ms. Aulin. She's also one of those promising actresses from this era of film who made a few movies and quit the business.

Score: 6.25/10

The Disc: The version of BLOOD CEREMONY available from Cinema de Bizarre features a letterboxed widescreen print of the film. Even though IMDB lists a running time of 102 minutes and the running time of this particular copy clocks in at 01:26:20 from the beginning of the film to the end of the closing credits, the version available from Cinema de Bizarre is the definitive cut of BLOOD CEREMONY. The censorship of this film is notable, as existing prints of it available (including the version currently made available by Mya Releasing on DVD) feature alternate scenes in which the nudity is either blocked or removed from the film altogether. Judging by screenshots out there of the cut version that was released on DVD, it's apparent that the quality is better than the uncut version that the folks over at CdB obtained, but I'm sure most collectors out there would stupid to overlook the uncut version in favor of the censored Spanish version. It should also be said that the only known existing prints of the uncut BLOOD CEREMONY are in English with hardcoded Finnish subtitles, which is the case with the CdB version that I'm reviewing. The audio is decent at best, but it's at least loud, and while the picture quality is a bit dark, it's still watchable. According to the Cinema de Bizarre website, this is also one of their top sellers.

Cinema de Bizarre
BLOOD CEREMONY on Cinema de Bizarre

Be sure to use the promo code GENTLEMEN for 10% off your orders!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Brinke Stevens Interview

Conducted By: Justin Bozung

It was because of my obsession with Rhonda Shear on the USA Network television series Up All Night (1986-1997) that I was provided a diverse education in all things B-movie growing up in the late '80s. Shear was one of the best late night movie hosts in the final days of the medium prior to the new Renaissance on public access stations across the United States today.  It was because of this show that I saw for the first time, Brinke Stevens in director David DeCoteau's Nightmare Sisters (1988). As time would tell, I would see more of Brinke's work on USA's Up All Night series as the years went by.  Films starring Stevens like Transylvania Twist, Sorority Babes In The Slime Ball Bowl A Rama, Slave Girls Beyond Infinity, and Teenage Exorcist all became some of my favorite B-movies of all time.  I still enjoy Brinke's work all these years later.

Brinke was a key player in the invasion of the B girls during the 80's. She, along with Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer and others were dubbed the "Scream Queens."  To be a scream queen, you had to qualify.  First, you had to be super sexy, gorgeous, and have the ability to act. Next, you had to be willing to shed your clothes, and run around in the woods or in a abandoned house or a bowling alley and escape every monster, axe-man, or anything supernatural that wanted to impregnate you then rip your head off.  And most importantly, you must have the ability to produce the loudest, most deafening ear numbing scream when in danger.

Brinke was a pioneer and more so, the best of the original "Scream Queens".   The loudest scream in B cinema to disrobe in the golden era. I truly miss the queens of the 80's. The B-movies of today, feature the beauty and nudity of the golden days but none of the girls can act their way out of the blood soaked paper bag their stuck in.

What most people don't know about Brinke, is that she is a member of MENSA. She can speak several languages, and she's written several screenplays. The standout being her cheeky 1991 cult film, Teenage Exorcist.  Stevens has appeared in over one hundred and twenty-five movies in the last thirty years.   She's a true icon of the B-movie, and after all these years later is still so incredibly talented and beautiful.  I had no choice but to corner her recently at my local horror convention like a crazed horny axe-man on the loose looking to make all the girls scream... Here's how it went.

JUSTIN: Brinke, you certainly are one of the sexiest and greatest women of B-movie history.  The real "Scream Queens" (like yourself) that could actually act are now gone.  Well, at least they're laying low. Could you share some of your fondest memories of the glorious 80's, when you "Scream Queens" reigned supreme over all things B?

BRINKE STEVENS:  The 1980s were a unique time for "Scream Queens" and sexy horror-comedies.  It happened during the rise of home video, and it made big cult stars of Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, and myself.  Back then, we were just hard-working actresses who took every project that came along... and there were so many cool movies being shot in Hollywood that decade.   As a result, I've since starred in over 125 horror movies during the past thirty years.  Now, B-movies are being made everywhere in the world on even smaller budgets, with lots of new actors and directors.  The low-budget studio system has fallen apart... it's a past era that we can celebrate, but it  will probably never be the same again.

JUSTIN: I read online that you actually had a part in the original William Castle production with Vincent Price, The Tingler (1959) as a small child.  Is that true?

BRINKE STEVENS: Not true, but pretty funny!  The Tingler was actually shot in the 1950's, so I probably hadn't even been born yet.  However, I DID pose for the cover of Mondo Cult magazine recently, holding a prop of the old  "Tingler" monster in my hands.

JUSTIN:  One of my favorite films you've done is Nightmare Sisters.   What was that experience like?  Can you share something about the production that none of us fans know?

BRINKE STEVENS:  That was such a charming little movie!  We shot the whole thing in just four days.  We were very well-rehearsed, which helped a lot -- and you'll notice the camera barely moves or changes angles during many scenes.  And that HAS to be the longest bathtub scene in movie history!  Fortunately, we were all great friends and didn't mind sharing a hot bath together while ad-libbing our dialog.  In the T.V version, the tub-scene was replaced with us three clad in lingerie, romping on a big bed while tossing balloons.

JUSTIN:  You've been amazingly productive in the film industry, writing and acting. Do you think you'd ever be interested in setting into the director's seat?

BRINKE STEVENS:  I've been attached to several projects as a director, but they all fell through in the long run.  I'd certainly like to try my hand at directing someday... I think I'd be pretty good at it.

JUSTIN:  You were the first to grace the cover of one of the greatest cult B-movie magazines ever, Femme Fatales magazine. Looking back,  do you look at the nudity in films and magazines you did -- different now than back in the 80's and early 90's?  Meaning, are you comfortable with the work you did in that vein back then?

BRINK STEVENS:  During the 1980's B-movie boom, all of us actresses were required to do nudity in films.  It just went with the territory, so you had to go along with it.  None of us really minded, of course.  We were all very athletic and comfortable with our figures.  However, when editor Bill George first showed me the cover of Femme Fatales #1, I was like, "O my god, surely you can't put THAT on newsstands!"  But it worked out okay for them, thank goodness.  I'm proud of my past pin-up work, but nowadays I tend to get more age-appropriate roles like mothers, aunts, doctors, detectives, and professors.  In Summer of Massacre, for example, I was actually SO glad to have some meaty dialog scenes (playing the Mom) -- and to not be the young actress who had to get naked, run from a killer, scream, and die horribly in the woods.  Much less strenuous and messy!

JUSTIN:  What does 2010 have in store for Brinke Stevens?

BRINKE STEVENS:  I hope to shoot a new zombie thriller called Deadlands 3 this autumn, and also reprise the Vampira-role in the upcoming Plan 9 remake from Darkstone Entertainment. Three horror movies that I shot last year will be released soon -- The Ritual from Fleet Street Films (I play a serial killer's deranged mother); Joe Castro's Summer of Massacre; and The Boneyard Collection (Irina Bell Films), which has been accepted at the Cannes Film Festival. I just wrote a tribute about Forry Ackerman for the new Famous Monsters magazine (FM #251).  I'm currently working on a new spec script, tentatively titled Fellini in Hollywood, about my amazing encounter with famed Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini in the 1980's

JUSTIN:  Are you still in touch with the girls of your past? Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, or Monique Gabrielle?  Of all those girls who was your favorite to work with?

BRINKE STEVENS:  Occasionally, we all meet up at conventions (like this April's  Monsterpalooza in Burbank CA.).  We really look forward to such reunions, and the fans seem to love it too.  We're always gotten along so well, and I wish I could see these gals more often, but we live in  different states now.

JUSTIN:  One of the more interesting things about your early career are all the uncredited appearances you made, in some really important and memorable films of the 80's.  Was that difficult for you to be getting all these walk on roles and not getting credit for it?  Or did you just look at it, as something you just had to do to achieve your next step?

BRINKE STEVENS: When I first started out in Hollywood, I had walk-on parts in Body Double, Three Amigos, Psycho 3, This Is Spinal Tap, and many more.  I was just so glad to be earning a living!  It would be another five years before I'd become a recognizable name in the horror industry.  So yes, everyone has to pay their dues so to speak, and those were mine.

JUSTIN:  I'm a huge fan of the anthology film you did with Michelle Bauer and Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski called Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991).  Any chance we could get everyone on board to do a sequel?

BRINKE STEVENS:   It was so iconic of that era... I'm not sure a sequel would go over as well now.  It was a really fun, wacky project and I'll always think of it fondly.  Fred was one of my most favorite filmmakers, and it was always such a pleasure to work with him in the 1980's and 90's.

JUSTIN:  Whats one thing that no one knows about you?

BRINKE STEVENS:   Last year, I was an official guest at San Diego Comic-Con, where I was honored as one of the original founding members way back in the 1970's.  In 1974, I'd won First Place in their first Masquerade contest, as "Vampirella" -- and I was pretty much put in charge of running the Comic-Con masquerade for years after that.  I watched it go from a tiny comic book club in college, to a huge extravaganza attended by over 125,000 fans now. I was also the very first actresses to ever sit behind a table at any fan convention and sell her own autographed photos.  Now, of course, it's become a nationwide industry.

For more with Brinke Stevens pleas check out her official website here.  For more interviews by Justin, please check out his official interview archive here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mr. No Legs (1979)

“Mr. No Legs” would have benefited from focusing more on the main attraction. Mr. No Legs (Ted Vollrath) isn’t even the main villain. He works for D’Angelo (Lloyd Bochner), who leads a drug ring. They smuggle cocaine throughout the country by hiding it in cornstalk (which would make for a radically different version of “Children of the Corn”).When one of their workers accidentally kills his girlfriend, they cover it up to look like an overdose and dispose of their worker. The victim’s brother, Andy (Ron Slinker), is a cop who catches wind of the incident. With his partner, Chuck (Richard Jaeckel), they track the drug lords down. This is when the films becomes a standard, rudimentary action drama. It follows the basic principles a crime drama would. Andy slips into depression, his wife is a bitch who constantly complains, his partner tries his best to understand his dilemma and Andy conveys his anger through destroying an entire bar.
There are two scenes that are worthwhile in “Mr. No Legs”. One would be the aforementioned bar scene. Andy goes in to investigate, only to discover a catfight has broken out (unfortunately, Joey Styles wasn’t present). When everybody discovers that Andy’s a cop, they all charge for him. He picks them off one by one. This includes chucking a few men through walls. The other scene involves Mr. No Legs himself. When a dispute between Lou (his actual name) and a few of his cohorts breaks out, a fight ensues. This all takes place by the pool, which sees Lou dunked into the water. This doesn’t stop him from pounding away on his adversaries and drowning them. He also displays his amazing karate kills, which Ted Vollrath has a black belt in real life.
There is also a car chase near the end that’s mildly exciting. Ricou Browning lets it run on for too long, causing it to lose steam. It starts out fast, then starts to move at a snail’s pace. The only clever thing about it is seeing the reactions of the pedestrians whose cars and trailers are accidentally demolished by policeman. Other than that, standard stuff. One way to improve this film would have been to make Mr. No Legs the main protagonist. Have him be the cop whose sister is murdered by drug lords. We all came to see him do his thing. Why not allow us to cheer for him? You can still get away with the guns and shooting stars attached to his wheelchair. He’d be a cop out for vengeance who isn’t afraid to bend the rules for justice. Screenwriter Jack Cowden missed a golden opportunity there. Instead, we’re treated to your average action film. Drug lords antagonize the local cops, chaos ensues, yadda yadda yadda. It does have Mr. No Legs himself to thank, as he does give the film it’s own unique flavor. It simply never utilizes him enough to fully stand out from the pact.
MVT: Ted Vollrath as Mr. No Legs. He is fun to watch and adds a unique flavor to the film. Only if we got to see more of him. Make or Break: I’m going to say the standard tone of the film slightly breaks it. Outside of the bar and pool scene, this has a “been there, done that” feel to it. Final Score: 5.25/10

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Rick Sloane Interview

Conducted By: Justin Bozung
Host Of The Mondo Film Podcast

Rick Sloane is best known as the creator of the 1980's USA Network late night direct-to-video staple, Vice Academy (1989) starring former adult film star Ginger Lynn and horror goddess Linnea Quigley.  The film is a goofy comic strip of sexy big hair chicks bumbling their way through police academy training amidst internal cover-up and corruption.  With the heavy rotation of the film on television in a now long gone era, Sloane would go on to produce five sequels for the franchise to date, and they've all been so successful that he now refers to his Hollywood Hills home as "the house that Vice Academy built."

There's a particular Ed Woodian bad movie aesthetic to the Vice Academy series, but the films will leave you on the verge of a softie and heartily laughing as you swab your tongue in your cheek, as well as a sparked interest in Sloane's other work such as the Rick Sloane / Wings Hauser messy team-ups Marked For Murder (1989) and Mind, Body & Soul (1992).   Or my personal favorite, the Citizen Kane of stripper-on-the-run-for-a-crime-she-didn't-commit films, Good Girls Don't (1993).

In addition, Sloane also directed the 28th worst film of all time according to IMDB, Hobgoblins (1988).  While Hobgoblins has been slaughtered by critics and fans alike, it has shown incredible staying power and entered into cult film status over the last twenty years. As a follow-up, in 2009 Sloane directed Hobgoblins 2 which instantly hit the internet for download against the wishes of Sloane before it was officially released on DVD, causing a legal stir which was promoted heavily by Sloane and the mainstream media, opening up even wider the on going debate about the potential damage digital downloads have on the artist. More on that later.

Across the board, there is a wonderful blend of comedy, comic book, horror, and exploitation in the work of Rick Sloane that doesn't take itself very seriously, but where does it come from?

Sloane grew up in Hollywood, and as a teenager was obsessed with Roger Corman films and film-making. While still in his late teens, Sloane was offered a job working for 20th Century Fox marketing the horrible sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Shock Treatment (1981).  Sloane also owns one of the biggest Archie comic book collections on planet Earth.  He's a self proclaimed Archie expert of sorts, contributing commentary to anything new being published on the classic comic character.

Regardless of Sloane's bad movie aesthetic, or any of his six cock teasing Vice Academy films, Rick Sloane has influenced many. His Vice Academy series feature some of the funniest comedy writing seen in the B movie direct-to-video '80s. Love him or hate him, Rick Sloane is quite an American original, and a master of the golden turkey.

JUSTIN:  So let's talk about your Rocky Horror days.  Can you shed some light on how all of that got started for you, and how you landed at 20th Century Fox?

RICK SLOANE:  I never quite grasped the Rocky Horror phenomenon to be honest.  I tried repeatedly to create a similar cult following for my early features.  The Visitants (1986) has the most Rocky Horror feel of all my films, though it never did find its audience.  I even dressed the lead female alien as Magenta in her space suit.  I didn't plan for Hobgoblins to develop a cult audience, which makes more sense that it was the one that developed its own following.  It's just not something you plan, it has to happen on it's own when fans embrace something.

But to answer your question, my first job was working in conjunction with Fox to promote Rocky Horror and its successor, Shock Treatment.  I put on a total of four conventions, all between when I was age seventeen to nineteen.  It was great experience to be in high school and have a drive-on studio pass to Fox's  lot.  I climbed in their massive trash bins and brought home discarded film and sound rolls.  I erased a demo mix from The Empire Strikes Back and mixed my first feature over it.   The sound mixing house couldn't understand how I could afford high end ninety dollar a roll sound stock, until I told them it was from the trash.

JUSTIN:  You've said that you were greatly influenced by the Joe Dante and Alan Arkush film Hollywood Blvd. (1976) for Roger Corman?  What do you like so much about that film?  And how has it influenced your work directly?

RICK SLOANE: I originally studied to be an animator, though being rejected from Cal Arts for three consecutive years certainly put a damper on that.  I've always said if it wasn't for the movie Hollywood Blvd that I would probably not be a film director.  When I entered film school, I settled for Los Angeles City College, I thought of feature films as being something that cost over ten million dollars and that it was an opportunity which very few film students would ever achieve.

As a joke, the film history class instructor screened Hollywood Blvd.  Introduced as a feature shot in a week for twenty-five thousand dollars, I instantly wanted to see what kind of film it was.  Everyone else hated and ridiculed the film, I was in complete awe.  It's the total inspiration behind every film I've made.  Full of in-jokes that embrace its cheapness and an entire script written around existing stock shots, it's an amazing film to this day.  The other students mocked the film and said that no one involved would ever go on to anything successful.  Director Joe Dante later did Gremlins (1984), art director Jonathan Demme later did Silence Of The Lambs (1991). Even the stock footage is borrowed from Corman features directed by Ron Howard and Francis Ford Coppola. Every aspiring low-budget director should watch Hollywood Blvd, it has more teaching power than an entire semester at film school.

JUSTIN:  As a writer and director, do you take criticism well?  How do you feel about bad reviews been written about your work?

RICK SLOANE: Earlier in my career, I used to be mortified by bad reviews.  After Hobgoblins, I learned to embrace them.  Some of them are really clever, my personal favorite is  "If a lack of talent were a crime, Rick Sloane would be serving a life sentence."  The few films I've made that received positive reviews, such as Marked For Murder and Good Girl's Don't are barely known today.  My career is primarily based on the success of my lesser polished films like Hobgoblins, which no matter what anything thinks of it, was a very profitable movie.

JUSTIN:  You seem to be one of the most ridiculed filmmakers of all time.   With that being said, it's mostly those film snob types that talk poorly of you and your work. So to stick it to those types properly like they deserve, what's one film that is critically lauded that you think is just a horrible film, and why?

RICK SLOANE: One very successful film, that I truly despised, was The Blair Witch Project (1999).   I don't care how much money it made, it was worse than nails on a chalkboard.  More poorly made and as pretentious as most student films, with that annoying  shaky camera, ninety minutes of walking in circles with nothing happening.  They find a pile of twigs and it's supposed to be scary.  And that ridiculous non-ending.  Its huge grosses were based on the internet buzz they had, which obviously cost more  than the movie itself.  Plus, no one seemed to noticed that it was all stolen from Cannibal Holocaust (1980).

JUSTIN:  In past discussions that you and I have had, I know you too are a huge fan of Showgirls (1995).  In fact you've been quoted as saying that Showgirls is one of your all time favorite films.  Besides the obvious appeal of Showgirls what else do you see there, that people should be paying attention to?

RICK SLOANE:  I truly love both Showgirls and Lindsay Lohan's I Know Who Killed Me (2007).  Or as I like to call it, "I Know What Killed My Career." Both of those films are so God awful.  You wonder what the lead actresses were thinking when they signed on.  Maybe they read better on paper.  I've watched I Know Who Killed Me, more of the two films, something compelling about stigmatic twins and an amputee stripper.

JUSTIN:  If a producer met with you and said, "Hey Rick, here's five million dollars, make anything you want." Do you have that one project that you're sitting on that you're just waiting for the right time, money or opportunity to make? 

RICK SLOANE: I wrote a superhero movie twenty years ago which never was made.  I've always considered it my best script.  Ten different film distributors read the script, they all said the movie would make a lot of money, but they couldn't afford to produce it because of the heavy special effects it required.  It was called The Adventures Of Captain Icon.  It was about a fictional World War II comic book superhero who is accidentally brought to life in the present day by a teenage boy who avidly collects all the original comics.  The villains quickly appear afterward, they're known as the "trio of treachery." Master Gestapo, Madame Seductress and Doctor Hypodermic.  They attempt to finish their final mission from  1945, to steal an atom bomb and destroy the United States.  Since the War ended and the final issue was never published, Captain Icon doesn't know how to stop them, and it's up to the teenage boy to find the original artist to learn how to defeat them. With so many special effects shots done on green screen today, it would cost less to make, but it's still an expensive movie which would also need name actors for all the lead.

JUSTIN:  Can you tell me some about how one of my favorite of your films came about, Good Girl's Don't?

RICK SLOANE:  I loved working with Julia Parton so much on Vice Academy 3, that I wanted to create a vehicle for her.  It was heavily borrowed from Thelma & Louise, except one of the two leads is a stripper.  I think it's the best film I've made, though hardly anyone has seen it.  It had the highest budget of all my movies, but never became as successful as  any of the Vice Academy films.

JUSTIN:  How important do you think pay cable and USA Network in the late '80s was to the longevity you've had with your career?  Do you think your films would've got as much exposure had you not been working with USA Network?

RICK SLOANE: USA Network paid me an obscene amount of money for the Vice Academy films over their seven year run.  I didn't ask for much for the first film, but once it brought in the highest rating the show ever had and they started asking for one sequel after another, I asked for top dollar.  they generally would license a film for two years, then let the  contract expire.  They kept renewing all my contracts and the films just kept making money.  i was completely locked into an exclusive contract with them, and when they were sold to Seagram's, they didn't renew USA's Up All Night and I had no other outlet for my movies.  I stopped making films for a number of years after that, but was grateful to finally make a comeback with Hobgoblins 2.  I've always had success with sequels, though this one had its problems with major internet piracy within twenty-four hours of its release.

JUSTIN: With the B-movie industry essentially now gone from television, how do you feel about the industry now?  Is it more difficult for you to get a project off the ground, than it was -- say fifteen years ago?

RICK SLOANE:  I'm still waiting for another quirky show to air B-movies, but none of the stations have interest in campy movies today.  I'm still planning another film for 2011, but I'm aware I'll never get the same financial return I did twenty years ago.  I'm still deciding between a Mean Girls / Heathers type movie, which I'd have the most fun making, or an urban legend killer film, like Candyman or Dead Silence.  The first twenty minutes takes place in the mid 60's, I've always enjoy making period pictures.  I'll probably have to go to a small town outside of California to recreate an entire city block from that era.  It's far too cost prohibitive to attempt in Los Angeles.

JUSTIN:  After the whole rumored fall-out you had with Linnea Quigley on Vice Academy 2, how did you come to cast Elizabeth Kaitan for the final Vice Academy sequels?

RICK SLOANE: Linnea had agreed to return for Vice Academy 3, but her agent told her not to do it.  I'll never forget the rude phone call I got from her agent, "I think this script is far beneath Linnea's abilities, (is such a thing possible?)"   I had just worked with Martin Sheen and Wings Hauser in Marked For Murder  and didn't need to bother negotiating with Linnea's agent. I did feel badly that Linnea took such bad advice, she had a period of a number of years where no one hired her after that.  I remembered that Liz Kaitan had read for Hobgoblins a few years earlier, and that she had replaced Linnea in Assault Of The Killer Bimbos (1988).   She was my first choice and she stayed on for four of the Vice films. Liz always received the most fan mail by a large margin, so i guess it was meant to be.

JUSTIN: So do you think you've got another Vice Academy in you?   Could we see something like a Vice Academy Part 7 or Vice Academy 2000?  If so, what would it be about?

RICK SLOANE: Of course, I had a script for Vice 7, though I seriously doubt it will ever be made.  Action pay-per-view wanted the film, but they asked me to shoot hardcore sex scenes, which I declined.  The Commissioner's first wife returns after her career as a lap dancer didn't work out.  (There was a scene of her dancing with her thong'd butt waving in front of a drunk patron's face and she lamented, "Some men can have talent staring them right in the face and not even know it).  I wrote the part for Tane McClure, another actress I always enjoyed working with.  She tries to ruin his current marriage to Miss Devonshire, but not because she still loves him, she wants to steal the lottery money they recently won.  My favorite line she says to Miss Devonshire, who still hasn't had sex with her husband a year? Does he still make love three times a day like he used to?  On the bathroom sink, on the dining room table, in public restrooms?"

JUSTIN:  Most of your non-franchise films do not have a official DVD release.  Can you shed some light as to when we could see an actual DVD's released of the reminder of your films?

RICK SLOANE:  I'm currently working on DVD bonus material for many of my earlier films.  Some are re-issues, some will be first releases.  I've completely re-edited Mind, Body and Soul into a new film, which will be re-titled Devil's Passion  It's the only film I've done that I didn't do the post-production myself, and I've always felt it was poorly edited and mixed.  It was also banned in fourteen countries, which was a kiss of death back in the 90's.  Today, an unrated movie is a huge plus, so maybe the film will finally find its audience.

Good Girl's Don't was buried in a box set with no bonus material.  We actually shot a documentary while the film was being shot, which will be shown for the first time.  It will also have the rarely seen trailer.  I've always been proud of this movie and really hope that fans will want to see it.  My personal favorite film I've done is The Visitants, which has never been available on DVD.   I reassembled the original cast for reunion interviews like I did with Hobgoblins.  This was the movie that I always hoped would find a cult audience, though it's basically a lost film that very few people have ever seen.

I shot a new interview with Mary Woronov for the re-issue of Blood Theater (1984).  The DVD will also include footage from the 25th anniversary theatrical screening I had at a local cinema.  It was great to see my film son the big screen again, as well as answer questions from fans.  I'm also going to add all the fake grindhouse trailers I made in film school.  The Clown Whores Of Hollywood appears in the original version, it will now be joined by Chainsaw Chicks, Nightmares Of The Lost Whore and Amputee Hookers .  I may even add scratches and film damage to give them a truly distressed look, which is fitting for this type of movie.  Finally, a re-issue of Bikini Academy (1996).  With cast reunion interviews and other added bonuses, such as using the correct mix where you can hear the dialogue.  A previous version was never quality control checked and the sound  mix lost all the dialogue under the sound of the ocean.

JUSTIN: Of all your films, which one are you the most proud of?

RICK SLOANE: My best film is still Good Girls Don't, but my personal favorites are The Visitants and Vice Academy 4 and 5. 

JUSTIN:  What do you want your legacy to be after you're gone from here?

RICK SLOANE: I've always avoided being a director for hire, so I've always written the scripts to every film I've made.  I don't think I've ever sold out and I've never made porn on the side.  I hope to be remembered for my body of work, and not just Hobgoblins.  I truly hope my comparison to Ed Wood and Uwe Boll is not my legacy, I'd like to be  thought of as a cult director in the same vein as John Waters.

JUSTIN: How do you feel about the film industry vs. the internet?  Anyone can go out and buy a cheap HD camera for one hundred and twenty-five dollars, make a movie, and distribute it for free online.  Is that something you think is a good thing?  Do you see any type of backlash that could come from such?

RICK SLOANE: I'm a film purist, if digital video was that good, they wouldn't add "film look" in post.  though I've reached a point where I'll probably do my next film on digital, which will be the very first time. I think viewers have gotten wary of direct to DVD releases with great box art and an unwatchable movie inside.   It does bother me to hear people brag that they learned Final Cut Pro in two days and consider themselves editors.  You need to edit three features to become adequate and five to become good at it.    I still think if you can edit an entire feature in five days, that's its just an assembly of shots, not a true edit.  I was trained at sound editing by Steve Flick who won an Academy Award for Speed (1994).   I've never been certain if anyone notices, but my films have elaborate sound mixes that you will rarely find on any movie with a miniscule budget.

JUSTIN: With the buzz for Hobgoblins 2 abound, I've noticed that it's out there for easy download, how does that effect you?  Is it good exposure for the film?

RICK SLOANE: That's a touchy subject for me.  Hobgoblins 2 was pirated onto thirty-five websites for free viewing within one day of its DVD release.  I'm sure it cost me many potential DVD sales.    It's incredibly rare that anyone bothers to bootleg a direct to DVD release, it generally happens only with theatrical releases.   Many people told me that I should be flattered by that, but the low DVD sales actually prevented Part 3 from being made.

JUSTIN:  I know you're also working with Dark Horse Comics on a few things as well, right? 

RICK SLOANE: I have a massive collection of Archie comics, which I've collected since I was seven years old.   I have almost 3,000 Archie comics, beginning with Archie's first appearance in 1941 through 1975 when I stopped buying the new issues.  I still have the Archie lunchbox I carried to school every day when I was in the second grade. 2011 is Archie's 75th anniversary and I'm going to be contributing to many of the Dark Horse books on Archie.  I became somewhat of an Archie authority when I started writing for the Overstreet Comic Price Guide when I was thirteen.  Archie #1 was only worth $40 at the time, within five years I had raised its value to $700.  Today, an excellent condition copy will actually sell for close to $30,000 dollars.  Not bad considering Archie used to be considered the lowest rung of comic collecting.

JUSTIN:  Any chance of a reunion with Ginger Lynn? I know there was a bit of a falling out there. If you could both get in a room or on the phone with each other, do you think old friendships could be mended?

RICK SLOANE: It's funny you mention Ginger Lynn.   I recently contacted a mutual friend to see if Ginger was interested in doing an interview for the new version of Mind, Body & Soul.   I never got a response. Ginger has always discussed the film in interviews as the worst movie she's ever done, though she places the blame on me, not the fact that she was hung over every day, three and a half hours late and never knew her lines.  It would have been nice to have her do the interview, but without her involved, I can truly trash talk about what a pain she was to work with at that time.

JUSTIN:  What's one non movie related aspect that people don't know about Rick Sloane?

RICK SLOANE:  Not sure what's left to tell.  I was a straight A student in grade school and I'm still one of the most hyper-competitive people you'll ever meet.    I don't believe in failing at anything I do and every hurtle I tackle, I'll always finish, no matter how difficult the journey.   I had goals at eighteen of shooting my first feature at twenty-one, having three completed by twenty-five, having one released by a major studio and buying a house before thirty. Everyone laughed at me, but I achieved every single one by twenty-eight.  Not bad for being told in film school that I had no talent and should choose a different profession.

For more on Rick Sloane please visit his official website here.  And for more interviews by Justin please visit his official website here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Casablanca Express (1988)

Kids play "War" (not the card game, although I suppose they do that, too), because the concept is the soul of simplicity itself. You get to wipe out your enemy (read: friends) through the deployment of stealth and/or superior firepower. The imaginary rivalry doesn't even need to be drawn along any sort of realistic lines. It doesn't have to be Allies versus Axis. It can just be (and often was) our team versus your team. May the best "men" win. You can't really have this sort of equality in games like "Cops and Robbers" or "Cowboys and Indians," where the notion itself implies a conflict of good versus evil (naturally, these values are mostly antiquated today). Plus, you got to shoot off (toy) machine guns (when they didn't have to be Technicolor because the world was far less insane and scary) and bazookas (read: sticks), and you even go to lob grenades (read: pine cones) and fulfill the ultimate fantasy of damn near every adolescent boy; you got to blow shit (imaginarily) up. I always get the same cathartic thrill when watching a Macaroni Combat film.

The time is November 1942. The place is North Africa. Sir Winston Churchill (before his knighthood, naturally, and played by John Evans) needs, for some nebulous reason or another, to get from Morocco to Casablanca. Major General Williams (Glenn Ford), Colonel Bats (Donald Pleasence), Colonel Del Croix (JRM Chapman), and Major Valmore (Jean Sorel, France's answer to Robert Wagner) are charged with the Prime Minister's security. To that end, they enlist British agent, Alan Cooper (Sean's son, Jason Connery), American Captain Franchetti (late son of Anthony, Francesco Quinn), and British Lieutenant Lorna Fisher (Jinny Steffan). In order to deceive the Axis opposition, led by Otto von Tiblis (Manfred Lehmann), the Allies put Churchill in a special car of the eponymous train and have his double (Phillip Vye) leave Morocco at the same time via plane (I assume, because we are never told outright nor do we see any of this happen onscreen). However, soon after the train departs the station, it is discovered that there is a double agent among the Allies, and Churchill's life and the lives of all the other people on the train (conveniently making up a nice little microcosm) are thrust into imminent danger.

Everyone knows who won World War Two (I mean, you do, right?). The final outcome has been preordained by history, and we all know how that outcome came down (unless you believe movies like Inglourious Basterds and The Madmen Of Mandoras are factual accounts). That's the big picture, but war (like the devil) is in the details, and the individual stories that make one up are less certain (think along the lines of the expression "we lost the battle but not the war"), unless they are heavily chronicled like the Battle of the Bulge and so forth. But a story's conclusion is especially uncertain when the storytellers use a war as a backdrop only. Then, the good guys don't have to win and/or make it out alive. This is also one of the main reasons why war films must often have major twists in them. For as much as kids can enjoy playing "War," it eventually gets old. Throwing curve balls at the audience is the cinematic method of maintaining interest in this regard.

Sergio Martino's film, Casablanca Express, then, uses one of the genre's favorite curve balls: the double agent. Granted, you would have to be pretty daft to not be able to parse out who the mole within the Allies is relatively quickly. Nevertheless, here's where the train and its microcosm of passengers come in. Sure, we know who the main Nazi is, and we know who the mole is, but what about the supposed civilians on the train? They all appear normal, but what lies beneath? Who can be trusted? This evokes the film's major theme of deception. The mole acts as an ally while colluding with the enemy. Churchill has a doppelganger that he uses to elude attack. There's even a couple of exchanges early on between Churchill and Williams in regards to who knew what about Pearl Harbor and when. In fact, the whole train and period setting summon up the feeling of an Agatha Christie mystery. To be sure, that elicitation is thin, but it is in there. 

In that respect, this is more an espionage film than a war film. Sure, there are Nazi soldiers getting mowed down by and mowing down good guys, but I feel in this instance you need to look no further than our main actor's pedigree as to the reason why. I think it's safe to say that Jason Connery has not achieved quite the level of success his father has (just ask Don Swayze, Chad McQueen, or Mike Norris), but his surname provides marquee value. This value is amplified if there is an actual blood connection to the celebrity insinuated in the advertising. This is the same reason Connery was not cast as a part of the British soldiery but as their "expert in impossible operations." This is also why the second-billed Quinn was cast as a more two-fisted man of strength. Where Cooper has wits, Franchetti has guts. The film's narrative plays off these two aspects. Franchetti gets to fight atop the moving train, while Cooper gets to infiltrate the guarded locomotive and disarm explosives (or start to, anyway). This is not a film of artillery bombarding a platoon of combatants. This is a film of interpersonal action and artifice.

Now that I've only scratched the surface on this subgenre and this film's place therein (or at least enough to only muddy the waters and aggravate the devotees of these types of film), I feel it incumbent upon me to address the technical aspects of this little opus. Martino has forever been a solid technical director. Even when the material is subpar, the man's talents are always on display. This is not to say he has a distinctive style, per se, but he has skill, and it is evident in Casablanca Express. During an early foot chase, he uses dolly shots intercut to great effect. Later on, he uses the same dolly to reframe action during long takes to provide shot variety without extra setups and editing. It's a technique used by some of the greats in cinema history (Woody Allen springs to mind, but feel free to add your own) and something fledgling filmmakers on a budget would do well to study, in my opinion. The action is well-choreographed and well-shot, and there are some hairy-looking stunts (notably in the train top scenes) that manufacture a good deal of tension. In all fairness, the film has its share of problems, but for an hour and a half of entertainment, I have certainly seen far worse war films.

MVT: The action is edgy enough and professionally done. Martino never loses sight of the importance of keeping the viewer involved during this type of scene, and it satisfies.

Make Or Break: Strictly on a technical level, the Moroccan chase is some grade A filmmaking (okay, maybe B+). Who would have thought that of an under-the-radar Macaroni Combat flick few people probably even know exists? But it's there (unless your standards are way higher than mine).

Score: 6.5/10

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Episode #181: Beyond the Vampire Circus

Welcome to another episode of the GGtMC!!!

This week we are programmed by and our good friend Martijn for a couple big releases....we cover Vampire Circus (1972) directed by Robert Young and The Beyond (1981) directed by Lucio Fulci. We want to take this time to thank the good people of OMG-Entertainment!!!

Direct download: Beyond_the_Vampire_CircusRM.mp3

Emails to

Voicemails to 206-666-5207


DVD/Blu-Ray Picks Of The Week - 4/24/12

Sammy's Pick: THE SCARLET WORM (Region 1 DVD and Blu-Ray; Unearthed/MVD)
I still have a hard time believing this film was made for about $ baffles me because it has a nice strong atmosphere and some good performances. The lead may be a bit much for some but the film is pretty solid for a modern Western....color me impressed. I should say that this film has a GGtMC connection with good friend of the show Mike Malloy in a supporting role and as a producer. This disc is loaded with commentaries and other bonus features. Support solid low, low budget film making folks!!!

Amazon Blu-Ray and DVD
Diabolik DVD and Blu-Ray

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Greydon Clark Interview

Conducted By: Justin Bozung; Host of The Mondo Film Podcast

Greydon Clark is one hell of a nice guy.  I've exchanged many emails with him over the years, and we've met face to face, having dinner in Indianapolis.  We appeared on a radio show together talking about the tragic passing of actress Elizabeth Taylor in 2011, and he's even helped me secure an interview or two with some of his esteemed colleagues as well.  He's a true gentleman.

Clark has spent an entire career making film's the way he's wanted to.   Coming to work in film by a chance meeting/pick up basketball game in the mid '60s with Z-Grade schlock-master Al Adamson, Clark would befriend the director and eventually act in Adamson's biker cult classic, Satan's Sadists.  Throughout the '70s and '80s, Clark would write and direct several low budget horror and exploitation films that would by today's standards be considered to have achieved a cult status.  Films like, The Bad Bunch, Black Shampoo, The Hi-Riders, Joysticks, Wacko and Without Warning would en-grain themselves in the consciousness of drive-in loving teenagers across the United States of the '70s looking for that first cinematic impression.

Here's the first interview I did with Clark in the spring of 2010 on the heels of the release of his film's The Bad Bunch & The Hi-Riders onto DVD for the first time via VCI Entertainment.

JUSTIN: Greydon, it's well documented how you came about to work in the film industry. But I can't imagine that you really just sat up in bed one day, and said " I'm going to Los Angeles to be an actor." There must have been some sort of catalyst growing up in Michigan, that put that thought or dream into your head. So, growing up what influenced you to make this decision? Was there a film or a particular actor you liked or idolized growing up that made you want to act and direct? And what was it about either that inspired you?

GREYDON CLARK: I was raised in Niles, Michigan - a small town in Southwest Michigan. At that time there was one drive-in and one walk in theater. The movies would change each week and I’d see everything that was playing. I liked all genres – comedy, western, horror, science fiction. I knew nothing about how movies were made. The only thing I knew about directing was that the director’s title was the last credit and the movie was about to begin.

I’d never been in a play or taken a drama class. However, during my first year in college I took a speech class. I’d always been able to tell a story and keep people’s attention and the class went well. When I received an injury my dream of continuing to play basketball in college ended. I foolishly dropped out of school and waited to be drafted into the army. This was just prior to the Vietnam War heating up. During the physical for the draft it was discovered that I had a scar on my ear drum from a childhood disease. I received a deferment.

A bit of soul searching followed… what did I really want to do with my life? A small voice whispered… “You love the movies… wouldn’t it be fun to be an actor in the movies?” I was young and very naive regarding the movie business, but I knew most films were made in Los Angeles. I figured I could do anything I really wanted to do if I put my mind to it. I’d always had super self confidence… blame my parents I guess. Within a month I was driving west with everything I owned - a small black and white TV and record player in the back seat of my car. After several years of knocking on doors I got lucky and my career began.

On Set of The Bad Bunch
JUSTIN:  With the release of your film The Bad Bunch on DVD, I went back and watched it again.  It's really aggressive in it's tone and the message there was pretty powerful.  Did you ever worry when you wrote it  that the public opinion would back-lash against you or the film?   For example, in the film's written and directed by someone like Spike Lee, some have perceived that there's a negative portrayal of white people in his film's, so with something like The Bad Bunch, could it be seen in that same way?  Meaning, could it be interpreted that the African American's are the villains of The Bad Bunch in a sense, simply because of their relentless assault on your lead character whom just so happens to be white.  Did you worry about?  

GREYDON CLARK: I’m a big fan of Spike Lee and enjoy his films a great deal. I was always a political person. Unlike most in Southwest Michigan where I was raised I was strong supporter of liberal ideas. The civil rights struggles of the 1950’s and 60’s dominated the news when I was in school. One of the proudest moments of my life was in the fall of 1963 when I participated in a parade honoring Dr. Martin Luther King in South Bend, Indiana. Friends of mine asked, “How could I do that?” My response, “How could you not?”

When I began to make films my personal views of life became part of my movies. In the fall of 1972 I was able to make The Bad Bunch. Those that look at the young African Americans as the villains have misread the intent of the film. The white racist cops played by Aldo Ray and Jock Mahoney are the villains in the piece. Our racist society and the way these young men are treated is an even greater villain. I was trying to shed as much light on the situation as possible. The inter-cutting of the life circumstances of the young black man and the young white man was intended to illustrate conditions in our society. Until society actually examines treatment of minorities we’ll continue to have nothing but tension, violence, and sadness. The Bad Bunch is a very explosive, political film with offensive situations and dialogue. It is a sincere look at the times during which it was made and a sincere desire to expose conditions and a plea to make them better.

JUSTIN:  Originally you released the film under the title, Nigger Lover right?  With the DVD release did you consider that original title for the DVD or ultimately wasn't that something that was left up to you?

GREYDON CLARK: The film was released theatrically under both titles. The decision regarding which title would be used for the DVD was not mine. I support VCI Entertainment’s decision and feel that at this time The Bad Bunch is the appropriate title. I hope people take a look at it and give some thought to the message behind the film.

JUSTIN:  The thing I've always admired about your career in relation to the films  you made in the '70s and '80s was that you were always making films that seemed very current in comparison to what was trendy in pop culture at the time.   You made Joysticks during the early '80s video game arcade craze. You made The Hi-Riders in the middle of the '70s custom car craze.  Was that something you always intended to do?  Also, working that way did it ever delay you from making a more personal picture that maybe you wanted to?

On Set Of Joysticks
GREYDON CLARK: I have always been a very curious individual - aware of what’s going on in the world. Getting the funding for a picture is very difficult. I found that if you could come up with an idea that was “current” it would be easier to raise the funding. I can’t say that I actively looked for story ideas; most of them came by accident. I was in San Antonio, Texas attending a “sneak preview” of Wacko when the idea for Joysticks came to me. I saw a group of young people standing in line to play a video arcade game in the lobby of the theatre. It was the first video arcade game I’d seen and I realized I could create a movie based around an arcade. Most of my movies come from an idea that somehow snuck into my consciousness. Often I’d have an idea, work on it for a few months find it didn’t work and walk away from it. Sometimes the story would work out and I’d be able to raise the financing and make the movie.

JUSTIN:  Trying to get your foot in the door in Los Angeles in the mid/late '60s must have been a exciting and frustrating time for you.   Do you have any stories about those days in Los Angeles?

GREYDON CLARK:  The late 1960’s were an interesting time in Los Angeles… an interesting time in the world. I was selling stuff door to door in the evenings – trying to pay the rent. During the day time I was knocking on doors trying to get acting jobs. When I first got to Los Angeles I found an acting class and began lessons. After a couple of years I got lucky and met low budget director, Al Adamson. Al was making a movie and I managed to get a small part and got into Screen Actors Guild. Getting in SAG is a big step for a young actor. At the time I had no thought of directing. After a few days on the set I became fascinated with the job of directing. I thought it was the best job in the movies – I still do.

Within a year I’d written a script and wanted to direct. Once again, I got lucky and was able to raise a few bucks and make the film. Over the next three decades I was able to direct twenty films… I feel luck played a great part in my career. I think back to the young man who happened to take a speech class and sometimes wonder what might have happened to him if he’d not taken the drive to Los Angeles.

JUSTIN:  You haven't made a film in a while.  Do you see yourself coming back to filmmaking any time soon?  If so, what are your plans?

GREYDON CLARK:  I’ve been working on a remake of Without Warning for several years. MGM owns the U.S rights to the original. We’ve been discussing the remake in detail and we’re working on it. As you may know, MGM is re-organizing and may be purchased by another company so we’ll see what happens. I may have to start over. Making movies has never been easy… just keep trying.

JUSTIN:  Without Warning, has achieved a pretty impressive cult following over the last few years.  Are there any updates as to when fans could actually see an official DVD release?

GREYDON CLARK: MGM controls the US DVD rights. For years they’ve been saying that they are going to release a DVD. I’ve encouraged them. I’m told that Without Warning is the most pirated film on the internet. MGM should release it.

JUSTIN:  Looking back in retrospect, what's the one project that is your all time favorite, and why?

GREYDON CLARK:   I can’t select a favorite. I see so many mistakes in each of my films… I’d like to do them all over again. Some work better than others… some were received better than others. I do like all my films. Each brings back fond memories. I’ve been fortunate to work with exceptional cast and crews and owe them all a big thanks.

JUSTIN:  Listening to the commentary tracks you've done for some of your DVD's, you mention several films that have been made over the years that you seem to be a big admirer of.  Do you enjoy one genre of film over another, and if so what are some of your favorite films?

GREYDON CLARK:  I’m a film lover… all kinds of films… all genres. When I first got into the film business and learned what a director did I began to notice that many of the films I liked were directed by the same people. This was before the internet, before cable TV, before people really knew anything about directors. I began to scour the book stores in Hollywood looking for more information on directors and directing. I devoured books about the great American directors… Ford, Hawks, Capra, etc. I loved reading about their lives and directing philosophies. I guess it was sort of my film school.

For more information on Greydon Clark, or to purchase autographed behind the scenes photos or DVDs of Greydon Clark's films, please visit

For more interviews by Justin, please visit his official website here