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Ron Ford
Horror Interview by The Gravedigger

Born in Bremerton, Washington, Ron received his Drama degree from Olympic College in 1980. While in college he was nominated for the Irene Ryan acting award for his performance as Dodge in Shepard's BURIED CHILD. He wrote a play, OUTLAWS, which was produced for the American College Theater Festival, and was nominated for the David Library Literary Award. That same year (1983), Ron married the woman who played his wife in BURIED CHILD in the same theater in which the play was produced. In 1985 they moved to Tucson, Arizona, where Ron worked on the production crew of many motion pictures (including CAN'T BUY ME LOVE and WORLD GONE WILD) in many capacities, from driver to makeup artist. There he got his first professional acting roles in the TV series HEY, DUDE and THE YOUNG RIDERS. He made a public access video, LETTER TO AN ANGEL, which won an award in American Film Institute's 1985 Visions of U.S. competition. In 1990 they moved to Los Angeles. Ron has since appeared in KILLER TOMATOES EAT FRANCE, ADDICTED TO MURDER, THE FEAR, ALIEN FORCE, BLAZING FORCE, ALIEN AGENDA: ENDANGERED SPECIES, THE TRIGGERMAN, THE MARK OF DRACULA, HOLLLYWOOD MORTUARY, RIDDLED WITH BULLETS, VAMPYRE FEMMES, EYES OF THE WEREWOLF, RAGE OF THE WEREWOLF, CAMP BLOOD, V-WORLD MATRIX, and THE COOL AIR, among others. He played Bottom in a film of A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT'S DREAM called ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT. After winning the 1992 Christopher Columbus Screenplay Discovery Award, Ron wrote the 1995 release, THE FEAR (A-PIX). Ron has written and directed many motion pictures, including WITCHCRAFT XI: SISTERS IN BLOOD.

1) Did you MIND doing another horror movie?

MIND? I was born to make horror movies. The day I say I want to make a romantic comedy, shoot me! No, really, I love all kinds of movies and I would love to make a romantic comedy someday, and a western, and a political thriller, etc., etc. But horror is my first love. That's what stimulated me as a youngster and got me interested in filmmaking in the first place.

2) How much THOUGHT went in to the script? Tell us a bit about the story…

It started with the title. I THOUGHT of this title years ago, and where it came from I am not sure. But it seemed to me the quintessential title for an AIP fifties monster movie. There were lots of movies about crawling body parts (THE CRAWLING HAND, THE CRAWLING EYE... ) and lots of brain movies (THE SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN, THE BRAIN EATERS, BRAIN FROM THE PLANET AROUS... ), so combining the two seemed a winning combination. When I finally sat down and wrote it, it all came together pretty quickly. There is always a lot of THOUGHT put into a script. I began with a very detailed outline, where I worked hard to get the structure where it needed to be. Then I delved right into the scripting and produced a first draft very quickly, in about a week. Then the rewrites, the fine tuning, the tweaking. I guess I spent a couple months on it all together.

Basically the story revolves around two brothers who move in with their grandmother (Anita Page), whose health is slipping. The good brother, Stefan (Randal Malone), is there out of love. The opportunistic brother, Ken (Mark Shady), is there for the inheritance. Then the brothers learn that their grandmother was actually the assistant and lover of the notorious Nazi scientist Franz Kindler (Martin Dorman), and that she has been hiding in America all these years in exile. They learn that Kindler's brain and spinal column have been kept alive in a tank in the basement of the house for sixty years. Over the years the brain has evolved and developed the ability to leave the tank in search of food: fresh spinal fluid sucked from the living. Then their grandmother requests that they perfect Kindler's experiments on brain transplantation, in order to restore Kindler to life by putting his brain into a new, young body. Stefan refuses and attempts to leave the house. But the brain takes over his mind and the mild Stefan turns into an evil tyrant. The brothers acquire innocent "test subjects" and experiment, resulting in many deaths. Will they succeed? Will Franz Kindler live again? -- I'm not telling.

3) What was the biggest HEADACHE that happened during the shoot?

It was a pretty smooth shoot. The only real HEADACHE I can recall occurred on the last day of the shoot, a day I had reserved for all the requisite nudity. There were supposed to be three actresses showing up to do topless scenes. One girl simply did not bother to show, and a second one showed up on the set and then freaked out, saying she couldn't go through with it. Now mind you, this was after showing up for auditions and callbacks, and being promised a pretty healthy paycheck. But luck was with us, because the third topless girl, the wonderful and talented Athena Demos, made a couple of calls to some actress friends and they showed up, eager to work, and with good attitudes. They were very beautiful, and both could really act as well. So all's well that ends well, as some hack writer once said.

4) Are any of the actors returning from your other movies? Or are there some new FACES?

Lots of both. The leads are eschewed by Randal Malone, Mark Shady and Anita Page as the brothers and their grandmother. Randal of course has appeared in most of my movies, and is particularly known for playing the lead in HOLLYWOOD MORTUARY. Mark has played roles in my movies WITCHCRAFT XI and DEADLY SCAVENGERS. Anita, of course, is the last great living silent screen star. She was also in my HOLLYWOOD MORTUARY and WITCHCRAFT XI. This, however, is the largest role she has ever done in one of my movies, and she is really great in it. Amazing, in fact. Scream queen Stephanie Beaton also returns for this picture. She also has been in many of my movies, most notably WITCHCRAFT XI. Newcomers include William Combs (who also executive produced the movie) as a preacher, and Keven Undergaro as his partner in religion. A detective is played by Northern Californian radio personality, Gary Halsten. Beautiful Amy Hudson makes her movie debut as a nurse.

I can't thank or praise these talented and nice people enough.

5) The special effects must have been MIND-BOGGLING, particularly the brain itself. Who did the special effects?

MIND-BOGGLING only begins to describe it! Our effects guy was Chris Bergscnieder, who has worked for years on major and minor genre movies. A top notch effects guy. He and his partner Jeff Farley did effects for lots of Full Moon pictures, and lately, most of David DeCoteau's Rapid Heart pictures. In fact, he not only made the mummy suit for ANCIENT EVIL: SCREAM OF THE MUMMY, he wore it in the movie. Recently, he was the winning contestant in a horror-themed segment of WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY. Chris is an old friend. We used to work making props and stuff for the same haunted house every Halloween back in Tucson Arizona, where I lived for a while. I caught him between jobs and begged him long enough to slum it for the pitiful money we had to pay him that he finally broke down and agreed to do it. He did a great job. He made and operated three brains. One was a stunt version, used to throw around, wrap around necks, etc. One was a marionette puppet version for a lot of the kill scenes. And then a mechanical version which crawled across the ground by radio control.

6) Anything that you want to ad, that you can THINK of?

I THINK this is one fun movie which won't disappoint fans of the old fifties movies. It's campy and creepy at the same time. Also, we have an incredible score, which will seem familiar to many. Through my friend Ted Newsom at Perma Productions I was able to procure the rights to use Ronald Stein scores from many of the old classics. We used selections from the soundtracks of such movies as SPIDER-BABY, DEMENTIA 13, IT CONQUERED THE WORLD and ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS. The movie really has that cool fifties feel because of it.

I THINK that about covers it.


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