Q: First, tell us about yourself & your influences.
A: Well, I was born in the late Jurassic era… 1958, to be exact, in a small town in MD, Salisbury. I attended the local University, SU and after that I got the hell out. I joined the Army in 1980 and spent a number of years working in Intelligence in Germany. I started making movies in High School and studied film and theatre in College, so when I left the service in the 80s I stayed in Germany for a while and did some film and theatre work over there. It was a very artsy scene. Soon after I moved to NYC and started doing small off-Broadway things there, some Shakespeare, some Pinter… Just a wide variety of stuff. I sold some scripts that were Produced and was sooo incredibly disappointed by the results that I decided to direct my own films from then on out. That was 1990, I guess. So from then on out, except for a script I sold to Market Square, I directed my own stuff. Hmmm, about me… I'm 6'2"… smoke too much, drink too much… I was married 3 times, first time in the Army, second time to a Centerfold model, the last time to Scream Queen Maria Pechukas, who was probably the love of my life… I have two kids, Justin (20) and Amanda (16)… They're great. I do a lot of painting, nudes… Just had a show at a local gallery. I'm dating some wonderful girls right now, just don't do the marriage thing well, but maybe someday I'll give it another plunge. I love the Beatles, Kinks, Ramones, Clash… Marshall Crenshaw, Kate Bush… I believe you can tell a lot about a person by the music they listen to. I'm basically a pagan, religion-wise… the whole solstice bonfire thing… No idea what else to put, I think an artist is defined by his work, so to know me, look at my movies and my paintings… my pictures, I've been doing a lot of nude photography with Maggi (Horseman, she plays Valerie" and Crissy (Madarang, the Vampiress)… Check those shots out and you'll learn more about me that you can by talking to me. People always lie when they talk about themselves. They don't mean to, it just happens. An Artist, if they're any good at all, tells the truth in his work. Sometimes by lying, but the truth is always there, somewhere… I'm doing this life sized sculpting of Maggi as ST. Sebastian and another of Crissy crucified like Christ… There's a lot of hidden agenda there to check out too… My influences? Hmmm, that's tough. Everything influences you, you can't help it… But consciously, I love the way Copolla Edits… The way Wim Wenders paces his movies… Visually I try to shoot for a dark, shadowy Rembrandt look… Woody Allen lays out a joke better than anyone else and Scorcessi weaves stories together really well… James Whale had a wicked sense of humor… Hitchcock was the master of composition. Clouset did suspense better than anyone… John Lennon and Kate Bush influenced by soul… Actors like Austin Pendleton (A friend from NYC) and Frank Langella are actors I emulate when I perform… The whole Punk scene, the idea of just making art, in your garage if you have to, but making it yourself whether or not you've got the money. That inspires me.
Q: What is your newest movie, VALERIE, about?
A: It's about 81 minutes… Actually it's about a Long Island teenager, Valerie Borden (Maggi Horseman, who's a doll) who's been raped. In order to survive the trauma, she convinces herself that she was attacked by a Vampire instead. Then, well, then she begins to suspect that she may be turning into one. The movie is about pain and denial and coping and love and sex… Violence. I'm fascinated by violence and sex, I don't think you're closer to a person then when you're fucking them or killing them. If the two somehow get entwined, well, then we're in deep psychological doo-doo. It's the complexities, the vagueness, the shadows, that's what I find interesting. I don't want things laid out for me like Hollywood insists on doing, so I expect my audiences to be at least as smart as me…
Q: How does it differ from other horror movies?
A: A lot of the difference is style. My movies look different then other low budget, or even big budget movies… I light them differently, dark, sensual, shadowy. You can always see what I want you to see, but the shadows are hiding something, something bad, usually… Also the script is more complex and the characters tend to be more complete than in mainstream Horror Movies. The acting is really, really good. Maggi just blows me away, and Mellanie Love, who plays Lori gives a great performance, very nuanced… Crissy Madarang is so sensual, and so perfect as the Vampiress, that it's spooky. John Ebert is spot on, note for note, excellent as Dr. Crippen, Valerie's Shrink… I played Jack, so I don't think I'm qualified to comment on my performance… But I did remember many of my lines! I think the effects are really good, we did a lot of the complex visual stuff in camera, but much of it on the Avid… The physical effects are good, the blood and the wounds, there's a scene where Valerie Cuts her Arm that makes me cringe… And the blood spray during the suicide attmpt is impressive! While I'm thinking of it, another thing that makes VALERIE different is the amount of research I did to make the Vampirism conform to the real rules… I interviewed over 200 girls and young women who believed themselves to be Vampires, I read a number of texts on human vampirism and hemotomania, studied the historical and the folkloric Vampire… Found myself using some readily identifiable Hollywood archetypes, the 3 brides in white, the caped male Vampire, because they were so easily recognizable, but I had them follow the rules that I had found to be universal… That was cool… Plus there's a hell of a lot more nudity than you'll find in anything this side of Seduction Cinema or a Vivid Double Feature! (I'm laughing right now.)
Q: Talk about your cast and crew.
A: Okay, I love my cast and crew. I always fall deeply and romantically in love with my girls… They're so cool, especially this time out. Let's start with the Star, Maggi Horseman… There are not enough good adverbs to describe her. She's beautiful, and cute at the same time. Stunningly talented, her paintings are incredible. As an actress, she's a natural. Totally comfortable in her skin, which made the nudity so easy to shoot. She was just perfect as Valerie, she needed very little direction, and took what I gave her and ran with it. The part is totally hers. Is it any wonder I'm in love with this girl? When you see the movie, I'm betting that no one, Male, Female, Straight, Gay or Bi, will be able to not fall for her! Her Co-Star, Mellanie Love is exquisite, she goes from sophisticated to teenie girl so smoothly it's scary… She's just wonderful as Lori, a total pro and one of the best actors I've ever worked with… I can totally see her as a big star. What can I say about Crissy? She's just beautiful, and graceful, and smart and talented. As an actress she's got a confidence and serenity, it's just so cool to watch her do her part. And I couldn't think of someone more lovely to look at. John Ebert was a total pro and shooting his scenes as the psychiatrist was a blast… He also Produced and was Director of Photography. His help, his organizational abilities made the film possible. But it were his ideas and his talent as a Lighting Director and Videographer, that made the movie look so damn good. I can't forget to mention that he edited the whole thing as well. Yes, I know that it looks and moves like a Jay Lind Movie, but it does because John was able to capture what I wanted, and believe me, that ain't easy. On set design and construction we had Tom Martin, who totally rocks. He did a great job, and the crypt he built for us is just so cool. It always helps to have professionals like John and Tom on your set, let me tell you.
Q: Any weird anecdotes about the production?
A: well a couple of weird things, I suppose. I was planning on asking Crissy out after we wrapped, I never date people during a production unless we're already involved, and we had to shoot a make out scene, with toplessness, between her and a character who was supposed to be her boyfriend. Well, he was played by my son Justin. So here's the girl I'm going to be going out with (And who, it turns out was interested in me) making out with my son. Take, after take, after take. He swears he didn't intentionally need all those extra takes! I dunno… We shot in the summer, and there were a lot of exteriors, at night where the girls would be naked and covered in the karo syrup blood. They didn't enjoy the onslaught of ravenous bugs that they endured, that's for sure… And the time Maggi and I were doing the love scene in the artists loft… Well, it was about 110 degrees before we turned on the lights, she wasn't drinking fluids, I didn't notice she was flagging… We had a lot of blood in the scene, on her, on us, in her mouth… NEVER Swallow Karo Blood! It was a nasty scene, then after, we had a scene to shoot at a gallery, but Maggi had a little physical/emotional breakdown. Shaking and crying… Heat exhaustion, really… After some fluids and rest, and air conditioning, she was okay. What a trooper.
Anything that mirrors reality?
A: I hope a lot of it mirrors reality. Some of it, since I based the premises on some events in my life, (I was Jack, a girl called Jen was Valerie) should really mirror true life! There's a lot of Maggi, emotionally, in the Valerie Character… That whole teen angst thing. A lot of the self mutilation came from my third wife, Maria, tho it was in the script before I met her, a lot of the real world basis came from her. It's amazing how wide spread the cutting is in today's world. A lot of teen girls do it. It's a way to feel in control. Most teenagers go through the us vs. them thing. The sexual ambiguity of teenage girls I think is very realistically represented here… It's not actually bisexuality, it's just that their sexual consciousness is still developing. I believe, and this is going to sound really Man Show of me, but it's an observation from my life with women, I believe that most women are bisexual. They learn heterosexuality from society as they grow up. Please, no hate mail.
Q: What are your next projects?
A: Right now I'm shooting "Apocalypse" for David Gwin Productions. I should be wrapped with that in Feb, early March. Next summer I'm shooting a comedy, "The Adventures of JiggleGirl" about a college student who's bitten by a radioactive Stripper, so she gets Stripper Powers. (You know, money levitates out of pockets and floats to her. She can break up marriages, make other women anorexic… Lawyers and Accountants buy her things.) It should be pretty funny. Maggi plays the title character… Her Superhero costume is just body paint. Crissy Plays Exotica, her evil Nemisis (Black Paint-On Latex for her!) Then a Werewolf Thriller, "Dark Night of the Wolf" with Maggi, Crissy and Stephanie Leighs (Skunk Girl from Scott Phillip's Hilarious "Science Bastard") In the fall I'm starting a sequel to my movie "Night of the Cat", "Season of the Cat" with Maggi, Crissie, Stephanie, Mellanie, maybe Darian Caine or Ruby LaRocca… I'd like to use Suzy Lorraine and Katie Jordan… Next year I'll be Directing a Lady Chatterley Movie for David Gwin, which should be fun… I'll be doing the paintings and the sculpting projects I was talking about before. Love the models and actresses that I have now, it's just so much fun working with them.
Q: Anything you want to add?
A: Well, I'd like to thank you for talking to me. And I'd like to thank the people who buy, watch or bootleg my movies for their support. Please support the independent Artists, they really are the future. And if you bootleg one of my movies, go for it, but at least sent me a couple bucks! Anyway, I hope you all like "Valerie" and have as much fun watching it as we had making it.