2003 will see the release of HELLTIMATE STUDIO'S GOREGOYLES series, each which feature two mini-horror movies. GOREGOYLES #1 introduces director Augie Arrendondo with his HOLY TERROR, a tale of violent possession.
Q: Tell us about your background…
Augie: Well, I am a Mexican-Italian-Dutch-Indonesian Mutt in his late 20's and a native of the beach cities south of Los Angeles. I attended college at UCLA and received a history degree (classics focus - love them Greeks and Romans). At this time I have no intention of pursuing a future in Academia. I became of fan of fringe movies when I was nine years old and my Father rented me a double feature of A Clockwork Orange and Eraserhead.
From then on I knew there was another type of entertainment out there aside from Superman and Mr. Mom. Then at 14 I talked my way into a double feature of Santa Sangre and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. After that the mainstream was dead to me.
Q: Your influences?
Augie: What specifically has influenced me in filmmaking has a lot less to do with style and content than with approach. Many different things about films have affected me but the main thing that gets my attention is the energy that can come across. It is hard to describe, but take a film like Sogo Ishii's CRAZY THUNDER ROAD. Hardly a perfect film. In many ways it is juvenile and inept but at the same time their is a rawness about it that comes through and makes it completely captivating. It never quite attains reality or drama, but just the same this ferocious attack manages to stir emotions. It is the work of directors with this type of spirit that make me want to get off my ass and do something.
Q: How did the idea for HOLY TERROR come about? What did you want to get across to your audience?
Augie: Good question. I only remember it being there, but I think the idea must have germinated after drinking a lot of whiskey and watching Iglesia's DAY OF THE BEAST. At the same time I was watching a lot of American underground horror movies and was feeling pretty negatively about them. I mean there were a lot of people making these films, but it seemed like none of them were very talented or even trying very hard. In the end all of them were more or less creating re-makes of the films that they enjoyed. You know fan-boy stuff. I hated myself for being such a hard critic and told myself that I had to do something about it. Maybe I couldn't make a better film than them, but I couldn't just sit by and criticize any longer.
Luckily, the idea for the Holy Terror was just right -budgetwise for this type of endeavor. But , I still sat on my ass for a while before getting it together. Actually I sat around for a year, then I met Alex Michaud and he lit a fire under my ass and got me working.
Q: How hard was it to pull off as a production? Did the finish product ultimately match what you had in mind?
Augie: Production was hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be. I mean the hardest part was staying motivated. Bad things will happen that is certain, but if the director maintains his obsession then he can get it done no matter what. There were times when actors would drop out, not show up, times when I couldn't get a crew together, but I never really let it get me down and I managed to figured out clever ways to get through whatever every time. Had I given up once, the project would have fallen through. So, no. As long as you're consumed by the fact that the project must be finished, then production definitely isn't impossible.
Q: Did the end film end up matching what I had in my mind?
Augie: Oh, Hell NO! Not even 40%. There are scenes in the film that aren't even in the script. I made up a lot in order to fix things that fell apart along the way. It is a different movie. But, I like it.
Q: Talk about your cast and crew.
Augie: My cast and crew were mainly my friends. The lead actor, Rob Harvick, is my longtime friend. He starred in my first short. He has a great presence, I want to continue making movies with him until we OD on geritol. The other actors I found through Backstage West and they all worked great. Jacques had a great spirit, Oto was a great sport, and Brendan was hilarious. All fine actors. I would love to work with them all again.
The Crew was a mixed bag. It was never larger than two people at a time and many times it was just me, Camera in one hand Boom in the other. That sucked big eggs. But, when your crew is consists of your friends that aren't into filmmaking and your 17 year old cousin whom is always grounded, you take what you can to get things done.
Q: How long did it take to complete? Talk about the shoot.
Augie: The shoot was on and off for about 7 or 8 months. Solely on weekends. Usually just one day per. We had several false starts. Bad or unreliable actors caused us to reset production about three times. Taking it slow was good because it was my first film. Also, since I had no money I could plan things from paycheck to paycheck and not get crippled by the bulk of costs. Since shooting was so spacious and sporadic it was pretty simple. We couldn't afford lights so we didn't use them - only on two days did we have a set of Kino-Flo's and Tota-Lights. The shoot was as bare bones as any could be.
Q: What's the oddest thing that happened during the production?
Augie: The worst thing that happened during production - aside from on the spot script changes due to actor's not showing would have to be the gigantic hole I burned in my carpet with a melted tota-light. We set up the confessional booth in my living room and the light had to be placed low for the effect I was after. Apparently the light was placed too close to the carpet.
Q: What are some of your future projects?
Augie: Well, I know for sure I am going to make a post-apocalyptic-spaghetti-western. The title as of now is MAN OF THE WASTELAND, kind of a take on Anthony Mann's MAN OF THE WEST. i am writing it now. I hope to start shooting in the spring, but my finances are pretty shoddy. As for beyond that, lord knows. I try to keep things simple.
For more information on GOREGOYLES check out the Helltimate.com website.