CHRIS: When I was kid horror films scared the shit out of me. I couldn't watch them. I choose comedy as my outlet, both as a performer, actor and editor. It wasn't until I graduated college that I begin to watch more and more horror, through my room mates. Later, I stayed in comedy, but would always catch an occasional thriller or horror film. Through time I began to enjoy it more and more. After years of working in comedy (specifically after shooting my romantic comedy feature-JUNE), I needed to take a break, so I decided to dive into making horror films. My first horror was DARK REALITY. In particular this feature was improvised and shot for $6K in 6 days. I had fun making it, but after I finished the edit, I didn't like it. We screened it and I disliked it even more. I let it sit for awhile, then later to my surprise a distributor wanted to take it out and it hit the shelves. This is not a film I am fond of. In fact, I am shocked it has done what it has. It won't die, it's now on PPV. The commentary on the DVD was kind of a weird for me, one of the producers told me to be serious, so I played it up. I feel like Ed Wood now.
Q: What is your next project?
CHRIS: I would probably say, my next challenge (outside of my upcoming feature) is some sort of comedic horror film, my writing partner and I have one in the works. I do however realize that this could be a big bomb, due to the fact that both the horror and comedy fans are so picky. But what the hell, I have to work it. Better than just wishing you made it. You have to go through the process several times before you hit something. I think the true film buffs understand this.
Q: What do you think the advantages are with making a smaller budget horror movie?
CHRIS: NO STUDIO or CORPORATION breathing down your neck. If it fails or if it's a hit, it's all you--you can't blame them, they can't blame you. Double edged sword there however. I also think egos have to go away. You don't have the funds or the time to deal with them. I could get an agent and work the studio system, but that doesn't appeal to me. The more money you get the bigger the headaches from the upper level. I would rather deal with the budget headaches and know that it is up to you and your team to solve them. Either through writing, shooting, editing, etc. When I was an actor working in Network TV and Commercials I saw the bullshit, and knew then I didn't have the patience to deal with it.
Q: Do you think your work as an actor & editor is an advantage in an independent production?
CHRIS: When I shoot I am constantly thinking of where the edit is. When I shot BUTCHER HOUSE, I spent hours shooting hallway shots, the crew thought I was nuts. Why are you wasting time shooting the damn hallways, actors going through the hallways, re-lighting the hallways, etc? Then when they saw the feature, they looked at me and said "oh, the hallways shots, now I get it". Hey, I had only seven days, the last thing I wanted to shoot was hallways, trust me. The action scenes lacked because of those damn hallway shots. As former working actor, I understand the mind and emotions both off and on screen of actors. It's funny, if the film works everyone says the actors were great, they really pulled it off, but if the film sucks, they blame the director. I take that as a compliment when the actor does well, I knew I was doing my job. Plus, I actually love working with actors, I like to give them the chance to put creative input into their character. In fact, when I write I usually leave room for that in the character description.
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of making BUTCHER HOUSE?
CHRIS: Hallways!!! Actually 7 days of shooting with special effects make up, action shots, two HD cameras, and a low budget. 18 hour days, a crazy building owner, etc. You know, the average viewer looks at a feature complete and doesn't really know what it took to make it. I stopped critiquing features once I started making them. Making a film with little or no money is like asking for a miracle everyday. We made so many changes each minute due to our time constraint. Sound was always an issue, I could go on and on. But I signed up so I take the hit in the end, that's okay, I am proud of everyone who worked so hard to make Butcher House. We became a family through this, and will work again on the next one.
Q: What is your favorite scene and why?
CHRIS: Not sure. It changes from viewing to viewing. I don't fall in love with my stuff. I haven't made a great film yet, when I do, I'm done. It is a learning process, if you think you have arrived, then you have. I always know I can do better, I don't pass blame around. Buck stops with me. Good, bad or whatever.
Q: What was your intention with BUTCHER HOUSE?
CHRIS: When I sat with Marc during our first production meeting, I told him my goal was that when someone pops it in their DVD player and watches it, they turn to their friend and say: That wasn't too bad. Had some holes, but all in all, not bad. I told Marc don't expect "magic" in 7 days, but it will be fun.
BUTCHER HOUSE is intended to be a fun horror film. Entertaining, I don't want people to take this feature too serious, as it wasn't meant to be. If you had fun watching it, then we did our job. If you hated it, well, sorry, it wasn't for you I guess.
Q: Anything else?
CHRIS: Interviews feel so self- serving to me. It takes so many people to make a feature, and in the end, that is who I want to acknowledge: The cast, the crew, and anyone else involved in making it happen.