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Jeff Kirkendall
Horror Interview by The Gravedigger

Q: How did you first get involved with the world of low-budget moviemaking?

A: My very first involvement with low-budget moviemaking was when I acted in some locally-produced movies. I had become interested in acting in the early nineties and had taken some classes in it. After that I auditioned for some pictures and was lucky enough to land small parts in a couple of low-budget horror movies. I appeared in filmmaker Joe Bagnardi's vampire epic Shadow Tracker: Vampire Hunter and also Bruce G. Hallenbeck's horror anthology Black Easter. Around this same time I was finishing up a degree in Communications at The College Of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. As part of my program, I was able to take some technical courses in video production. After producing some short pieces for these classes, I decided to use my new skills to begin making my own movies. Since 1996 I've been producing my own pictures - both shorts and features - as well as staying active as an actor in other movie productions.

Q: What people and movies have most influenced you?

A: Since I was a kid, I've been a big fan of cinema. To this day, going to the movies is still one of my favorite activities. I got interested in the horror genre during my teenage years in the mid eighties. The movie that really hooked me was A Nightmare On Elm Street from director Wes Craven. That movie had one of the most fascinating and exciting stories I'd ever seen. I really got to like a lot of the films from Wes Craven and some of the other filmmakers of his time, like John Carpenter and George Romero to name a couple. It's great to see that these guys are still active today. I also began watching some of the older classics, like the films of the 60's from Hammer studios. Horror Of Dracula is one title that comes to mind here. I would say that both of these styles of filmmaking have had an influence on my own work. Also, when I got involved in the low-budget moviemaking scene as an actor, I was able to gain a lot of knowledge just by being on shoots and watching the movies when they were finished. Therefore I would say that I have been influenced by the filmmakers I have worked with over the years as well.

Q: With your first movie you chose vampires. Why not a zombie or alien movie or some other type of horror movie?

A: Actually, The Temptress isn't my first movie. Since I began in 1996, I've made five movies. The last few I've done have been shorts. The Temptress is an expansion on a 42-minute short I did in 1998 called 3 To Murder. The story in that movie concerns a gang of criminals who have their sights set on three women living on the outskirts of a small suburban town. It is mainly a drama/crime story, but it does have a horror twist at the end of it. In the new feature most of the characters from 3 To Murder return, plus we have added a lot of new characters as well. The Temptress is a much bigger story that has it's origins in the short film.

Q: Tell us what THE TEMPTRESS is about and what the viewer can expect.

A: As I mentioned, the movie concerns three women living in a small suburban town. They are enjoying a relatively subdued lifestyle until they are paid a visit by an evil and powerful vampire named Angelique, whom they have past ties with. With the help of her followers, Angelique soon forces a confrontation between the two groups as the past comes to life and secrets are revealed. Angelique is the character the title refers to because she is the one who sets all the events of the movie into motion. Other characters involved in this battle include a mild-mannered young man and a sadistic jewel thief. Basically this movie deals with several female vampires and the battles between them. Angelique's group has a dark and somewhat gothic look to them, and they definitely represent the bad side. However, she and her cohorts all have distinct motivations and reasons for their actions, which make the action scenes more than just fighting for the sake of fighting. For the most part the story moves pretty quickly. We have some cool costumes, neat little effects shots, bloody staking sequences, and enjoyable performances. In general I'm hoping that the movie will be a good time for everyone.

Q: Talk a bit about the production... your actors, the shoot, et cetera.

A: We shot The Temptress on weekends over the course of a couple of years. Our first cast meeting was around February of 2000. We started shooting shortly after that and were able to get a good majority of the footage within the first year. However there were some delays along the way which extended the schedule. We lost one of our main actresses early on and as a result had to do some rewrites. Also, there were some shots we had to wait on as a result of the winter season here in the Northeast. The movie actually wound up being produced over a few seasons. Basically we ran into many of the factors that can be typical of low/no-budget productions. I began editing the picture (mainly on weekends again) early in 2002 and finished around November of that year.

The actors were all generally good to work with. As I mentioned before, I had worked with many of the leads in my previous short film 3 To Murder. They were all excited to do another movie after the successful screening of that picture. Many of them had also been in my other previous short films as well. In addition, I worked with several new people this time around, and everybody did a great job. Many of the actors had a theater background, so although they might not have had any movie experience, they had acting experience nonetheless. All in all it was a long but mostly smooth shoot.

Q: What else are you working on?

A: I'm currently working on several other projects. I'm serving as post-production supervisor and editor on two new features. The first is a horror anthology called The Edge Of Reality, and the second is an action-horror picture titled London After Midnight. Joe Bagnardi wrote and directed The Edge Of Reality. It features three short horror tales and is hosted by Bruce G. Hallenbeck. Bruce wrote and directed London After Midnight. This movie is about two psychic investigators battling the forces of evil. London After Midnight is a project that began several years ago. The post-production has been held up for some time now, so I'm glad that I can help out and get it completed. In addition, I've also recently become the editor of a historical drama titled Hamilton & Burr: The Duel Of The Century. This is a short film that I acted in a couple of years ago. It is about the famous Hamilton/Burr duel from history. It was written and directed by a Schenectady, NY filmmaker, Ed Henderson, who was sick and passed away shortly after shooting was completed. I'm looking forward to putting this movie together for Ed -- it will be a very polished piece of work with its costumes and historical drama. The cast and crew all did a terrific job, and hopefully when it's finished we can have it shown on some of the local channels as well as other outlets. Maybe even The History Channel.

I also have my next script completed. It's a half-hour comedy piece that is currently titled Summer Comedy 2003. I plan to shoot it during the warm months of 2003, as the proceedings take place mainly outside on a hot summer day. It is the story of a young girl who is nearing the end of her college years. She is a theater major who wants desperately to become an actress. One day she reads in a tabloid that a famous Hollywood director is going to be passing through her small town. She and her friend then go out and try to meet him, and get involved in a crazy situation.

Q: Anything you want to add?

A: I'd just like to say thanks for the interview and anyone who wants more information about my projects can visit my website.

Official Web Site at www.veryscaryproductions.com

find information about Jeff Kirkendall at imdb.com find horror stuff by Jeff Kirkendall

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