Q: I thought ReVAMPED was a fun movie, I liked it.
Yeah, it's a fun popcorn movie. I was going for something different and a sort of twist. We've seen a million vampire movies and I just wanted to do a fresh take on it.
Q: You had aspects of what has gone before, like the old Hammer movies.
I probably got that from the third Christopher Lee DRACULA movie, ashes mixed with the blood,''
Q: You're pretty knowledgeable about horror films...
I'm the official spokesman for the Academy of science fiction, fantasy and horror films.
Q: How did that come about?
I became an Academy member, which is a film society, and we produce the Saturn Awards, which is the most prestigious non-television award show. We get Cameron, Spielberg, because of Lord of the Rings and Buffy and what-not, it basically encapsulates all the major studios and so being a working actor and doing the genre stuff the president, one day, asked me to be the spokesman and I said "sure", eight years ago now. And I'm the announcer for the awards show, which is cool. I got to meet Frank Darabont and pretty much all the genre directors, Tel Toro, because we gave him the George Pal Award, for PAN'S LABYRINTH. And Jon Voight, Dolph Lundgren was one of our presenters, it was a fun night.
Q: I haven't seen PRAY ANOTHER DAY but it seems like it's a spy spoof...
Yeah, I made James Bond a Christian Super Spy. I kept the evil villains and the sexy bond girls but he was super clean.
Q: Is that your style...
I was a fan of NAKED GUN and those type of movies but it wasn't like, I got KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE, it just sort of gets ingrained, what you enjoy and become a part of you. But I have a full-fledged Hollywood Sci-Fi script, a comedy. I want to do drama, do it all, but the dark comedy is what came to the surface.
Q: What about the vampire movie?
Well, FATAL KISS was a short I made and sold it to HBO and I got James Karen in it and Ted Raimi and REVAMPED is the feature version of FATAL KISS.
The opening of the movie is all footage from FATAL KISS. I took eight minutes of the half an hour movie, because the feature took off from there, which sets it up. Then when I get burned up it's the beginning of ReVAMPED.
Q: What's the time period between the two films?
Remember in the movie where the graphic comes up and it says "Five Years Later..."?
Q: Oh, it was really five years.
Yes, it was literally five years later.
Q: That's cool, though.
Fortunately everyone looked the same and I used many of the same actors who were in FATAL KISS.
Q: If you didn't tell me I wouldn't have noticed there was that time gap.
Most people don't notice.
Q: You produced, directed, wrote it and star in it. Do you find it difficult juggling all those things?
That's the one question everybody asks me.
Q: Does it simplify it, to a certain extent?
It simplified it because it was easier for me to do five jobs than to relate to four other people what I wanted. So I jumped right in and I knew the script.
Q: When you were writing the script did you write the other parts for specific actors?
Not really. I co-wrote it with Tiger Torres. I had the story and he came up with new characters and some new ideas, which I loved and he knows structure better than I do. But being an actor, I know dialogue and I know funny. So he structured it out and then I went through and sweetened all the dialogue, I humanized it and added humor, and he had some good lines, too, so we were the perfect team. Then, when we were done then you start thinking about your friends (actors) and that he'd be good for that part or she for that part. I just picked up the phone and it saved me a lot of casting. I don't know anyone who has that many recognizable faces in one movie. There are probably thirty roles. That's what makes it fun for people, too. It's kind of a throwback to the 80's, sort of horror/action films.
Q: I always like seeing Reggie Bannister in movies.
I've known Reggie for years. Most of these people,we've been friends for years, and I finally got a chance to work with them by putting them in my own movie. The only person I didn't get is Charles Napier. He was originally going to be the police captain, the Fred Williamson role, and he said he loved to do it but was going through a divorce. He was still going to do it but the day we were going to shoot we lost the location. The guy who was renting me the studio didn't tell the owners and they found out and said "what the f*ck is going on" and locked the gates so we couldn't get in to our set. When something like that happens you go, "Shit, I'm screwed". So that pushed that scene to a different day and different location down the road. But one door closes and another one opens because it was much more advantageous for that to happen, so it was a good thing. And I lost Charlie Napier for that part because he had a scheduling conflict and couldn't do it, so I got Fred Williamson. I didn't know Fred. Billy Drago and Fred Williamson were the only two actors I didn't know. I got them through my line producer, they liked the script, said yes and that was it.
Q: Billy Drago has such a screen presence..
He's the nicest guy in the world. He always plays these creeps and sickos but he's the nicest guy.
Q: How was it working with Tane McClure?
She was great. She was also in FATAL KISS. That whole scene where I'm on the couch and she bites me? That's all from FATAL KISS.
Q: How about Martin Kove?
Marty Kove, I have to say, is the first actor who came on board for ReVAMPED. He's the first who read the script and said yes. And then you go to the next guy and say "Marty Kove is in it" and they say "Marty Kove! That'll be fun." Then you get two and three. So if there's one actor I really have to thank, it's him. He's good with the action and good with the humor, too. He was perfect.
Q: You've done a lot of horror and sci-fi movies. What stand out as some of your favorites?
Some of them are pretty obscure....LEGION OF THE NIGHT was probably one of my most fun but no one has ever heard of it. I play a mob boss who reanimates these corpses then they go nuts and kill everybody. What's cool is that halfway through the movie I get killed. And then they bring me back as a zombie and then 3/4's of the movie they kill off the hero, so in the end it's bad zombie vs. good zombie and then they kill me again so I get to play two death scenes in one movie, an actors dream. I don't know if anyone's done that. That was a lot of fun.
Q: You were also in HELLMASTER, another Michigan movie..
John Saxon was actually a presenter at the Saturns this year so it was good to see him again, he looks terrific, still working away. I was living in California at the time, so they flew me and John in. Everyone else was local, which you can tell by some of the performances...it was one of those "way back when movies" that was done for $40,000 and made $400,000, back when movies were making big money in the foreign markets.
Q: It's a whole different thing now.
It's all changed. I'm lucky I got mine in. The market is inundated with zombies and vampires. The distributors are saying "We don't want horror'. But ReVAMPED is doing pretty good on DVD.
Q: You also have an identical twin who is also an actor...
We did very well when we were younger, when were still identical looking. We were the mayors yes men in BLACK SCORPION. We were recurring but that series only lasted one season.
We did DOUBLEMINT GUM, we did an episode of NYPD BLUE and almost got nominated for an Emmy, because we were portraying one character together. But it was $10,000 to send out all the screeners and we didn't do it. And someone else, from that same episode, won the Emmy for Best Actor. So we probably wouldn't have won but we might have gotten as far as the nomination. But it's all hind sight. That was a cool episode. In fact, Stephen Bocho was interviewed once about NYPD BLUE and said that was his favorite episode of seven seasons. We did a lot of work. STAR TREK: TNG, we starred in that together. I did three episodes of TNG. In the first season it was a "beam out". We just stood in the transporter room and then got beamed out. Then in the second season, I think it was called "UP THE LONG LADDER", they beam down to a clone planet so Jerry and I were featured extras. In the third season we were major guest stars and all of our scenes were with Patrick Stewart.
Q: Speaking of STAR TREK, you're in INALIENABLE? That features a lot of Star Trek actors...
Yep, Walter Koenig did the same thing, called up all his friends and they said yes. And it helps with the distribution as well.
Q: What about DARK WORLD?
Jeff; I play a police commissioner, Michael Pare's boss.
Q: How was it working with Pare'?
He's a great guy. Here's the thing, I grew up watching all these horror and Sci-fi movies, PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT, STREETS OF FIRE, you almost idolize these guys. The leading man, that's who I want to be. And years later, Sam Jones, FLASH GORDON, you know, and one day I'm co-starring with him, way before my movie. Here are these people you wish you could be and then you're working together on a movie. It's pretty gratifying.
So I'm sitting in the makeup chair and I didn't know who was in it. I auditioned, six months later got a call-back and said I was shooting in two weeks. Knew nothing about it. I just knew that most of my scenes were with a character named Harry. So I'm in the makeup chair and I go, "Who is playing Harry?" and they say "Michael Pare" and I go WHAT? James Russo and Theresa Russell are also in it.
Q: Any other projects you want to talk about?
We have a script for ReVAMPED 2 all ready. We're just waiting to see how this one does.