What are your earliest recollections
of the horror genre? What were the first films you remember really having
an impact on you?
nights and respect for sound design), Alien & Aliens (sci-fimagination
and my two fav genres combined), Texas Chainsaw (acidic nausea,
did we see that or just hear it?), Nightmare the first (just concept
alone, attack at our most vulnerable moment), Halloween 1 &
2 (stressful suspense and hey, he did the score too!), Dawn and
Day of the Dead (zombies make FX gruesomely cool and Romero has
the most fun), Evil Dead 1 & 2 (this shits gettin' funnier,
Bruce, what more can I say), Poltergeist (chicken maggot surprise),
Body Snatchers 78 (great double feature with the THING), Faces of
Death (well, it had it's impact!), Gourmet Zombie Chef From Hell
(okay, i guess anyone can get a film made)... and so I did.
At what point did you first start seriously considering becoming a filmmaker
or involved in filmmaking?
When I was a kid still drawing notebook comics, my dad showed me his 8mm
camera and some films he shot. I was making little stop-motion ditties
that night, and taking an 8mm film class shortly thereafter.
Can you give
us a brief synopsis of some of the short films you had started
making with your friends as guinea pigs?
Curse of the Dead: When a teenage kid is killed in a car
accident and his best friend commits suicide from grief, they
both rise from the dead and unleash flesh eating death upon all
who knew them... for some reason. When Father Comes Home:
He'll join you in wedlock, then decapitate you at the reception...
god bless him. Insane: You picked on the freak at school,
and now you're gonna pay.
Did you go to school or take classes in any areas of filmmaking? And
if so, what did you take away from those experiences?
|Well there's the 8mm
class I mentioned. I also took a stop-motion animation course, and
a film analysis class in school. I'm currently attending a undergrad
screenwriting course at Emerson. Honestly nothing has been as powerful
a learning experience as stealing the family camcorder and running
around the neighborhood shooting. From attempting in-camera editing,
to learning Final Cut, playing in a garage rock band to scoring,
buying how-to: make-up and effects books to actually attempting
the illusions on camera, from home video to working with the wicked
team on a 35mm shoot, learning from experience has been the most
educational and long lasting learning I have done.
How the hell'd
you hook up with sicko Paul Solet?
My mind is a blank. I think it had something to do with an Ichi
tee shirt. He's a bastard anyway.
|Which brings us
to Means To An End. Where'd the initial idea for the project come
about? It seems like there may be slight autobiographical frustrations
in the flick in regards to getting your horror movies made. Any
truth to that?
Apart from our mutual likes and dislikes in the genre, we found
ourselves complaining about a lot of the recent (at that time) horror
that had been released. Well we had do something ourselves to keep
our bitching rights, so the challenge came from one another to come
up with something original, compelling and within our means... yuk
yuk. We started with a snuff film scenario, then used that basic
idea, but turned it around on the main characters so they were now
mutilating each other. Basically it's us, ramped up on the insanity
meter a notch or two. How far would YOU be willing to go for your
supposed love of horror?
The budget was roughly $3500 from what I read in a previous interview.
Can you break down for aspiring filmmakers how you guys spent your budget?
Did you shoot on film or digital, etc?
Yeah, shot on DV
Cam format with a Sony PD-150. We spent about half on cam equip,
lighting gear rental and tape. The rest on all the production
stuff; props, effects materials, gas and food for the crew. Not
much was spent on post since I was taking care of most all post-production
work myself. However there was a lot of stuff we had donated to
us all around by countless friends and supporters; locations,
actors, assistants, vehicles, elevators, weapons, audio mixing
and mastering... ya know, the little extras that make all the
difference. Working with good people who love film and want to
be a part of your project has EVERYTHING to do with how well it
There's a lot of kick ass posters & horror memorabilia all thru-out
the Means To An End short, obviously belonging to you & Paul. What
do you consider some of the prizes in your collection?
Actually the things I prize the most are currently things we found or
created for MTAE. The bobble head Alien for one, the Fangoria cover prop,
and I don't think I can ever use my cheese grater in good conscience again.
Hidden in the opening montage are some of the first issues of Fango I
ever bought, along with the first How-To film-book my family ever gave
me. My personal love though is Savini's Grande Illusions special effects
book, which is in there somewhere, though I'll be dammed if I can remember
where it is.
|You also composed
the score music for Means To An End. Don't you have a history of
scoring independent short films?
I don't know if I'd call it a history of scoring really. I mean
I've spent most of the last decade writing and producing music,
hard rock mostly (www.thererock.com).
In the last four years or so I started experimenting with score
and sound design on a super hero project titled SMOKE. Then when
MTAE came along it was really the first time I had composed, performed
and produced the entire sound element for a film. I fell in love
with it, as well as editing. It was powerful to experience how much
can change in effect and even story at that point in the process.
Since MTAE I have contributed score for a couple other horror projects
and there's more still on the way.
From a musicians point of view, how pivotal is music when it comes
to a horror feature? And what are some examples of your favorite score/horror
Once it has been edited, the score makes up the other half of what the
experience of the film is. It can make or break movies for me. Perhaps
because I am paying alot of attention to this element. Score often times
tells the audience, more than anything else, what the story feels like.
I observed total reverses of experience with scoring in MTAE. Scenes took
on new meaning and purpose when the music was changed. We have all noticed
when filmmakers have resorted to trying to fix a film by overusing or
over stating score to imply or tell the audience stuff that just isn't
there on the screen, with not so good results. Carpenters scoring is near
and dear to my heart cause he did so much with so little. It really showed
me what the possibilities were without needing alot of money. There are
so many great examples of beautiful score out there, I don't know where
What was the
most difficult aspect of shooting Means To An End and in turn,
what was the funnest part? (My bet is shaving Paul's ass, you
The most fun for me was the room we had left for improvisation.
In particular with all the visual effects. Participating with
three other wonderfully sick minds (Paul, Adam and Matt), was
truly something I will never want to forget. Everyone was willing
to try anything, and we did. Also, Paul and I trying to bring
the "Pain is temporary..." philosophy into our jobs
as actors was intense as well, and I have the scars to prove it.
When we got the last shot and said "that's a wrap",
it kinda felt like last day of high school, relieving but sad.
Overall it was an experience I would live again if I could.
|Now, you were one
of the winners of the Fangoria Blood Drive and your flick ended
up on Fangos 2nd DVD compilation. Did you guys intend the film for
Fango's contest, or was the timing just right for when you guys
were working on MTAE?
Everything about the timing around MTAE involved strange coincidence...
or not. It was shot in four days and edited, for the most part,
in a week or two. We were caught up in so many things at that point
that when the opportunity to enter Fangos dealie came up, we just
added it to the list of entries Paul was assembling. I don't think
either of us had any idea that we might actually win. The coincidence
being that Fango's first blood drive had a lot to do with our initial
decision to write a new film in the first place. Though that was
almost a year before, and well outside our intentions in the beginning.
MTAE has screened at numerous festivals, and played at a few conventions,
always with a strong audience response. How does that feel from your perspective?
It's like sex... without the mess.
we partied with you boys a bit at the Fango Weekend Of Horrors
in Jersey last year. What were some of the highlights of that
Meeting the wicked effects team and your boys from icons, Tony
Timpone, Eli and Gabe Roth, and all the other folks we ran into
was totally inspiring and a good time was had by all... s'far
as I know anyway. The blood gag on stage during the filmmaker
panel though was totally exhilarating. We knew what we were doing,
and keeping it a secret from everyone made it that much more fun
to pull off.
|I like that on the
separate promotional DVD of MTAE, you include a number of special
features, including two of your score tracks. Any plan to release
more of your score work on CD?
No plans per-say, but anyone whose interested need only email me
and ask and I'd be happy to spread the music around. Maybe after
Grace I will put out a best of Hamilton Horror soundtrack CD. HA!
Speaking of score, arent you working on music for Paul's next project
That is correct sir. However I am not at liberty to divulge the
specifics as they might spoil the big surprise for everyone. Plus
he's a bastard.
Music in general is a completely different element when it comes to
filmmaking. How do you approach scoring a project. Do you have ideas in
advance or score to the finished film?
Thus far, I like to get as much as I can from the film script, footage
and speaking with the writer and/or director as I can. I like to kinda
absorb as much feeling from everything involved and see where that brings
me emotionally and idea-wise. Then I will discuss this with director and
see how close we are to being on the same page. I also like to make experimental,
unstructured test pieces that explore the basic terrain that I feel is
appropriate and go over it with them as well. Looking for what strikes
us and what falls short.
What can you tell us on the status of the full length Means To An End?
Currently I am writing a new version of the story that begins with the
same characters and same basic premise, but goes into a much darker and
even more horrific place than the previous version. Less comedy and more
suspense. There's still plenty of humor, but the stakes are higher and
the real vs. fake theme is explored in a more realistic and gritty way.
I am loving it so far.
Horror has been
in flux now the past few years, but there seems to be a strong
circle of independent filmmakers ready to take this thing back.
How do you feel both about the local independent film scene
now, and have you seen anything impressive lately? (either independent
As I have visited numerous festivals and conventions and met countless
filmmakers and supporters I can safely say that there is a shit
load of great stuff being made out there, and a ton of people
ready and willing to come and get it. It really is up to us each
as individuals to not be swayed by only supporting the films that
can afford massive promotion. Don't get me wrong, there's alot
of amateur blah out there as well, but thats the price for discovering
those gems that make there way to the surface when you're looking
for em. That being said, I recently saw Eli Roth's Hostel and...
yeah. It's films like that that will help us all keep working
in the future and keep the genre alive and well.
Besides Grace & the full length Means To An End, what else can we
look forward to from your camp?
At the moment all sights are focused on the feature of MTAE. Once I have
the first draft completed, more will be revealed.