Sunday, February 14, 2010
Scarlet Fever Dreams
My friend indrid13 (Dan) over at Scarlet Fever Dreams wanted me to tell everyone that due to a heavy work schedule and other obligations he won't be able to keep up with his blog anymore. Thus he'll closing shop there. But the good news is he'll be returning here occasionally with his own column, Scarlet Fever Dreams. First up a interview with director Ford Austin who talks about his film Dahmer vs. Gacy.
What can you tell us about your new film Dahmer vs. Gacy?
Ford: I can tell you a few details about the film. We shot it last Christmas (2008), and it’s a horror comedy, little bit of a sci-fi element, it’s definitely based in the world of absurdity. The whole thing is about a secret government program, that is cloning serial killers, and they are doing that so that they can genetically splice them together into one SUPER serial killer called X-13 (played deftly by Star Trek: Voyager actor, Ethan Phillips). The whole movie focuses on Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy, the clones of them, who escape the facility during a fire in the lab that gets out of hand. Then they go on a rampage trying to kill people all over the country, and they wind up trying to track down the man that created them in the cloning program, who’s known as Dr. Stravinski (played by Russian actor Peter Zhmutski). Then there is another doctor, Dr. Hess (played by Art LaFleur) and another doctor (Dr. Pruitt, played by Irwin Keyes), [as well]. The whole movie is very exciting. The adventure of it follows Dahmer and Gacy as they are trying to track down this man, and basically kill him for bringing them back from hell as clones. The movie also has another character named Ringo, who is a hick who is talking to God (Harland Williams from Rocketman, Half-Baked and Meet the Robinsons, not to mention the stand-up circuit). That’s what the movie is about. You follow on this journey as Dahmer and Gacy try to track this guy down and kill him, and everybody around the city really starts to celebrate the fact that these people are really an homage to the history of serial killers from the good ‘ol days of serial killing. Along the way you have this reporter who works for California One named Hal Anderson (played by Trey Alexander) and he basically reports to the people throughout the movie about the goings on, the new murders, what the body count of the spree is, etc. And it keeps on building. We shot the movie last December (2008), and right now we are on post production on it (note: this interview was conducted in October 2009), we’re doing the effects and all of the music, which also includes a really amazing theme song written by Jed Rowen, who plays a role in the movie. We’re recording that this Saturday! We’re getting a lot of help from Steven Adler from Guns n’ Roses, he plays a role in the movie, and he is incredible! Steven basically collaborated on his role. It was not in the original script, and we ran into each other, and his brother asked if he could be in the movie, and I told him what I think I could give him as far as his involvement if he wanted it to be limited, such as a voice-over role, or if he wanted it to be extensive, which is what he ended up choosing. I’m just going to say that it’s probably the farthest that anybody goes in the entire movie! In my opinion, Steven Adler really hits a home run with this movie, and I can’t wait to work with him as an actor on my next movie. I only hope that he’s available, because he tours so frequently. The movie also stars Bonnie Aarons, who was in Mulholland Drive, The Princess Diaries and Drag Me to Hell, and Randal Malone (from MTV’s Singled Out ). The whole movie takes place in Los Angeles and around California. There are also ninjas that come in to the movie, at a certain point, because the Japanese are trying to get their hands on this genetic cloning technology, and if they capture the clones, well, and then they’re going to be able to steal the technology, and start creating their own evil clones for warfare!
What was the shooting schedule like for Dahmer vs. Gacy?
Ford: I would say that it was so intense that by the time we got to post, and I’m looking at some of the footage I’m saying there I am playing two roles in the movie…plus I produced it, and I did all the SAG paperwork on it, and I booked all the locations, and I booked all my crew…We shot it from December 5th 2008 to December 20th 2008, and we did a lot of pick up days after that, I think the whole movie was a 21 day shoot, and it’s EPIC, it’s really EPIC!. The first string-out was almost 2 and half hours, and we are now cutting that back to about 90 minutes, 85 minutes. It’s going really great. The rest of the shooting schedule, as far as getting into specific days, each day we shot from around 6am to 2am, because we had to load out, all my actors would get cut because of the SAG contract, so my crew and I would stay there and pack everything and load up so that we could go to the next location. But the way that we structured the schedule, because I do play 2 roles, is I had to play all of one role for the first 4 days of the shoot, and I wrapped that role out, and I literally, after that character got his throat cut at the end of the movie, I drove from the set to the hair stylist so that I could have my hair cut and my beard chopped off, and then I had my hair changed to establish it as Jeffery Dahmer. So I went back to the set because both of those characters appear in the same scene, and I picked up the rest of the Jeffery Dahmer footage, from that point. So, literally I shot every day of the movie, as an actor, I played one role for the first 7 days, and another role for the next 7 days! The movie will be out around January 2010 (The premier is this weekend, January 15th and 16th, at Laemmle Sunset 5 in Hollywood, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood in a special midnight screening (www.laemmle.com)!!!)
How did you come to be involved with David Stay and Keith Grening’s Sphere of the Lycanthrope?
Ford: The way that I came to produce it was one of the actors in Dahmer vs. Gacy showed me this clip from YouTube one day, his name is David Stay, and when he showed me that, I said “This is an amazing trailer, where is the movie?” He said “It hasn’t been done; it’s sitting on the floor of my closet in a box of tapes!” I said “We have to get an editor for it and finish it!” So, we ended up hiring Jason Peri to do the editing. [David] went through so many journeys and bullshit things on the way to finding Jason Peri. I gave him a hard drive and said go and get the footage from the tapes on to this hard drive, and bring it back to me. He did it, gave it to some guy, and the guy stole all his stuff, kept it on his boat, kept it hostage on his boat, I really don’t know the full story of it ‘cuz it’s so crazy, and David Stay had to go kick the guys boat doors off the hinges so he could steal his footage back. Once he did that. He got it all back to me, and we ended up getting it to Jason, and about three months later the movie was done. It got accepted into the Action On Film Festival, where we won, that was actually really cool. David Stay gave THE award speech of the night, and Ron Pearlman and Kim Coates came up to him afterwards and said he was just the funniest, best thing. It’s such a great story, because it took him 18 years to make it, and he put it into a box, and it took another year and a half to actually edit it. We just won best sci-fi/horror/thriller at the Script 2 Screen Festival. So, now we’re trying to get into a few more, and that will be happening soon.
Will there be a sequel to Sphere of the Lycanthrope?
Ford: There is a sequel that’s in the works that’s called the Sphere of Antondioquazgaa. I don’t even know what that title means, but the Sphere of Antondioquazgaa is some incarnation of David Stay’s mind, so we’re going to have to see what in the world he plans there, but I know he’s trying to make something out of that which I’m going to be helping him with.
What influenced you to become a director?
Ford: Probably the best experience that I can talk about…was an HBO movie where I wound up working with Christopher Walken, and it was my first big feature film thing. I was sitting on a blanket with the director, who was Anson Williams (Potsie from Happy Days), and I’m just sitting there, and it’s this bizarre thing, it’s absurdly weird. He was having this conversation with us about how he always wanted to sing more, and I’m looking at this guy, and I’m looking at this amazing career that he had on the show Happy Days, as an actor, and I start to realize that all those actors, they sort of just went into directing, and for me it seemed like a really natural thing because Hollywood loves young, beautiful 20 year olds. Unless you’ve really blown up and become a huge star, you’re going to wind up just doing B movies and straight to DVD stuff and I wanted to make more money than that. That was kind of a defining moment for me in wanting to be a director. I always wanted to be a director when I was a kid. I used to make all my friends pretend to be ninjas in my front yard, and I’d shoot video of them, then I’d cut it together on a VCR. I never really got to direct my first thing until 2003. That was a film called Soiree. Soiree was a short film drama. I ended up making it in two days with some friends, and it was about a murder that happened between a romantically linked couple that happened in front of all their friends. It’s turned out to be the type of thing that I normally do which is mental…there’s more of a psychological aspect to my films. They are comedic, and yes, they are absurd, and funny, movies like the Wright stuff, the series I did about the Wright Brothers , where we made an undocumented historical comedy, where the Wright Brothers were using their plane to fight crime, and fight evil. Teddy Roosevelt (played by Ethan Phillips) sends them out on missions. Well, we ended up putting a little bit of money into that, and building miniatures, and having a lot of fun with it and we got that onto Channel 101, which was this whole festival created by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab (Emmy winners for writing the Oscars, The Sarah Silverman Program). We got the Wright Stuff on Channel 101 for almost half a year, and that was a big achievement because each month you could get kicked off the network based on audience feedback.
What is your favorite horror film?
Ford: There’s a couple, but definitely the first Nightmare on Elm Street. I love the whole idea., and I love the character of Freddy Krueger. I also love the fact that Jackie Earle Haley is playing Freddy Krueger in the remake. I know for a while they were talking to Billy Bob Thornton, and when that was being kicked around, I thought “Oh this is a shitty bullshit Hollywood movie!” , and it still might be kind of like that, but I think that they’re having fun with it, and I like that. I also really love the Exorcist, and of course the original Omen was awesome! Another movie that scared the hell out of me was the original Amityville Horror. I really like a lot of the Italian horror film makers. They’re nice!
What projects can we look forward to from you in the future?
Ford: Right now I’m in development on 3 features. First of all you can look forward to Dahmer vs. Gacy! You can also look forward to a movie called Cannibal Cop. Cannibal Cop is about a policeman in the L.A.P.D. police force that gets taken hostage and turned into a cannibal, and then the police force decides to use him to fight crime. So instead of turning criminals in to prison, he just eats them, so it serves as a really great deterrent for criminals. Then, I’m also getting ready to shoot a movie about Charles Manson, a biopic, where we going to show exactly how charming Manson was . We’re in pre-production on another movie called Killbulance, and we’re also developing a movie about Mars, and there’s another film that I’m working on the sequel of for Tony Wash. Tony Wash’s first film was It’s My Party, and I’ll Die If I Want To, and it’s a great movie! If you ever want to see some incredible effects for no money, go online and look that up, because Tony Wash did an amazing job, he and his partner. They came out of Tom Savini’s gore school out of Pittsburgh. Now they’re living in Chicago, and we’re going to go, and we’re going to shoot the sequel, and we’re going to try and involve a lot of these students of gore out at Savini’s school, so that we can get Tony Wash launched as a sort of another major gory gore maker film maker.
I just want to say thanks again to Ford for providing us with an opportunity to talk about his projects, and remember, if you live in the Hollywood area, check out the premier of Dahmer vs. Gacy this weekend , January 15th and 16th, at Laemmle Sunset 5 in Hollywood, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood at Midnight! Head here to get tickets www.laemmle.com!