Hannah Douglas [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Welcome to the 2020 edition of our Month of Horror. It’s almost humorous that we are showcasing the motion pictured displays of horror when it seems as though we simply have to look around us to see the natural horror that is enveloping our daily lives. But nevertheless, a quick escape from the surrealism of our daily lives is often appreciated. In this vein, we honor these wonderful folks who seek to only entertain us with a good scare and a break from the actual horror that is all around us. We have assembled a wonderful batch of actors, writers, directors & beyond, who have worked on so many different projects that you know and love. I am beyond excited to share them with you all throughout the month of October. Enjoy!

Today’s guest is the wonderful actress Hannah Douglas, who can be seen in the wonderful indie horror film Clownface, that is available now on DVD and VOD. Hannah’s other work include a role in Andrew Douglas’s 2013 thriller, U Want Me 2 Kill Him?, as well as a lead role in the upcoming film Lapwing, which sounds absolutely captivating. Douglas is also an acclaimed stage actress who is currently on tour with a production of Othello. Enjoy!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

I actually don’t remember making the decision to become an actor, I’ve been doing it since I was a kid! Apparently I went along to my big sisters ballet class when I was 2 years old and started joining in. That was the moment my mum gave up all hope of me getting a “real job”! 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today?

I did a couple of jobs as a child… but my first paid gig as an adult was a very small part in the BBC version of Little Dorrit, as a Music Hall dancer. I was still in my second year at drama school and it was an amazing experience. It definitely prepared me for life on set!

I really loved one of your most recent projects entitled Clownface. I am curious to know what drew you to this very insane story?

I liked the fact that it was a very female led story. It’s still quite rare, especially in horror, to have more than one strong female character. I am also a big horror/thriller fan!

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special? What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in?

Oh that’s hard! I think horror is really addictive… I feel like it’s a bit like eating spicy food – you build up your tolerance and you crave more and more. You need the next one to be scarier (hotter) than the last! I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else except me, but there you go!  

What is your favorite scary movie?

Also a tough question… I’ll name a few! Midsommar was amazing. The Babadook really got me as it was about grief. I really like Insidious. In fact, I like that whole world of films. The Haunting of Hill House (I know it’s not a movie!) on Netflix was brilliant. Pans Labrynth (is that classed as a horror?) is one of my favourite films ever, its so dark and beautiful… oh and I feel I would be a bad sister if I didn’t mention The Amityville Horror, which my big brother Andrew directed!

 

 

I know this year may be a bit different, but I am curious to know if you have any sort of Halloween traditions? Anything you would normally do each year? 

Not specifically. I do like dressing up and carving pumpkins though… Oh and watching Hocus Pocus, cause it’s the best!

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers? 

I am currently playing Desdemona in an international theatre production of Othello (I’m so grateful to be part of theatre making a come back during this time!) and I’d also like to tell everyone to watch out for feature film Lapwing, which has just been finished and will be released next year. It is a beautiful yet brutal thriller set in Tudor England. I play the lead role of Patience and it also stars Emmett J Scanlan and Sebastian De Souza.

What was the last thing that scared the hell out of you?

I woke myself up by shouting out in my sleep the other night. That was both terrifying and embarrassing…!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My fellow Othello cast mates make me smile every single day on this tour… but if I am being really honest, it was probably the really cute dog I saw about 10 minutes ago! 

 

Charlie Steeds [Interview]

Hello Folks! Welcome to the 2020 edition of our Month of Horror. It’s almost humorous that we are showcasing the motion pictured displays of horror when it seems as though we simply have to look around us to see the natural horror that is enveloping our daily lives. But nevertheless, a quick escape from the surrealism of our daily lives is often appreciated. In this vein, we honor these wonderful folks who seek to only entertain us with a good scare and a break from the actual horror that is all around us. We have assembled a wonderful batch of actors, writers, directors & beyond, who have worked on so many different projects that you know and love. I am beyond excited to share them with you all throughout the month of October. Enjoy!

Today’s guest is the wonderful filmmaker Charlie Steeds. His work includes the recently released A Werewolf in England. His other works include films previously showcased here at TWS including The House of Violent Desire, An English Haunting, Escape From Cannibal Farm, & more.

What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

It was an early aspiration. I grew up loving to hear scary stories and horror stories, told to me by older children, and then later on I loved telling them to my school friends. By around age ten or eleven I was so interested in films and filmmaking that I got it in my head that I’d like to direct movies. Tim Burton was a director I idolised back then, I could see how he’d made each of his films uniquely his own, his style was clear in the costumes, make-up, music, production design, and so on. By age 14 I was writing little scripts and shooting them with friends. I made 20 short films this way, continuing on into my years at film school, and when I graduated I got a micro-budget feature made and that started things off professionally.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today?

My film Winterskin was the first time a company offered up funding for me to make something, and around the same time this also happened with The Barge People which was eventually shot first (with Winterskin shot only 3 months later). Oddly, it came as a surprise to me that anyone would actually give me their money to me to make a film. I was used to saving up my own funds, crowdfunding and borrowing from family and so on. But making those early lower budget features is where I learned the most. Still today, when the budget is getting tight, or I’m over-schedule, I just think back and remember how much we achieved back then, on so little money, it reminds me how fortunate I am to have the budgets I’m currently working with. I did plenty of paid videography jobs before this, but they taught me nothing really, you can only learn filmmaking by getting out and doing it, and I think the less money you have the more you learn, you’re forced to get creative.

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special? What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in?

Horror is a unique genre because of how huge it is, the films can range from funny to terrifying, from depressing to uplifting, a whole spectrum of stories and tones which all fall under ‘horror’. It’s the most popular and most profitable genre of film too. The fanbase/community is massive for all these sub-genres; zombie movies, paranormal movies, cannibal movies, etc. A lot of people turn their nose up at horror, and I suppose it can be quite a geeky genre, but I think everyone likes horror, at least a little bit, whether they know it or not.

You bring up horror around friends or family and even if they say they hate horror films they’ll still rave about this one that scared them, maybe as a child, and recount in detail (and with glee!) all of the scariest moments. We all love the thrill of being scared. I was drawn to horror because, like many people, I’m just drawn to the darker stuff. I don’t feel comfortable and relaxed watching some cheesy rom-com, I just feel bored… Yet somehow I can watch the same horror story done again and again and always find it entertaining and enjoyable. It’s a genre that often allows for the best drama and characters too, it explores deep themes and human psychology, the things we are most afraid to discuss in everyday life.

What is your favourite scary movie?

I have many, but one I’m always coming back to is The Shining. I’m just obsessed with that film. Kubrick’s attention to detail in every frame, the filmmaking and grand style is so mesmerising that I just keep watching, trying to figure out how, how is it so bloody good?! Phantasm is another favourite, it captures the spirit of low budget movie making, but it’s truly inventive and full of wonderful imagination. Black Christmas is a movie that really scared me, and I watched it later on as a seasoned horror lover. Absolutely chilling! [REC] is another one that, just as an experience unfolding in front of you, gets so unbelievably scary… I showed it to my Mum, who enjoys most horror, and we had to turn it off in the last 10 minutes, it really is the most edge-of-your seat horror movie ever I think.

I know this year may be a bit different, but I am curious to know if you have any sort of Halloween traditions? Anything you would normally do each year?

Every Halloween I try to get to the cinema to watch a classic horror movie. The cinemas have been great with this over the past few years, I’ve seen John Carpenter’s The Fog, The Shining, but then also the Halloween remake and last year’s Doctor Sleep were great new release horror movies, all on Halloween. I carve pumpkins, usually listen to a good horror soundtrack as I do it (John Carpenter’s Halloween is an obvious choice) and I watch Halloween 4 and 5 at home with popcorn, 4 and 5 double bill every year, it’s a tradition. 4is the best one!

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

My latest film, A Werewolf in England, has just come out on DVD in the UK, and that has been my big project for most of the year and throughout lockdown. It’s a Victorian-era werewolf horror-comedy, loaded with action and carnage and 100% practical werewolf effects. I also have my 1970s- set tribute to Blaxploitation/Grindhouse movies, Death Ranch, having its world premiere at Grimmfest this month, which I can’t wait for horror fans to see! Aside from that, I’m currently writing my next movie, which as I often tend to do, is something so radically different from anything I’ve made before, trying something very new.

What was the last thing that scared the hell out of you?

Movies/TV-wise it was The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. I think Mike Flanagan really leaped to the horror top spot with this and Doctor Sleep, he’s the most exciting director working in horror right now. I don’t really get scared by anything, aside from my fear of sharks, but that doesn’t come up very often… Some things on set scare the hell out of me, every time an actor is about to do something slightly dangerous, a fight sequence, a little stunt, that’s when I get scared. They could get badly injured, or even worse, sue me!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

After lockdown, seeing months of editing finally come together for A Werewolf in England! The film is full of humour and silly jokes (such as a werewolf taking a shit on two character’s heads) so it makes me laugh and hopefully horror fans are equally entertained and have a good time with it too. I did a premiere screening in Soho, so it was great to see it with a [socially-distanced] mini audience. I’ve not done comedy-horror before, so this was really fun, it’s very light-hearted compared to some of my other work.

Helene Udy [Interview]

Hello Folks! Welcome to the 2020 edition of our Month of Horror. It’s almost humorous that we are showcasing the motion pictured displays of horror when it seems as though we simply have to look around us to see the natural horror that is enveloping our daily lives. But nevertheless, a quick escape from the surrealism of our daily lives is often appreciated. In this vein, we honor these wonderful folks who seek to only entertain us with a good scare and a break from the actual horror that is all around us. We have assembled a wonderful batch of actors, writers, directors & beyond, who have worked on so many different projects that you know and love. I am beyond excited to share them with you all throughout the month of October. Enjoy!

Today our guest is the legendary actress & producer with over 40 years of experience in and out of the world of horror. Her projects include the recently released Evil Under the Skin, as well as work on projects like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, The Dead Zone, My Bloody Valentine, and many more.

What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

I was always attracted to creative arts. First I wanted to be a ballerina but as a child even though I was the shortest in the class the teacher started moving me to the back. That was the death knoll. Then I turned to music and formed a band with my bestie Marla Neftin, but it turned out that she was 10 times more talented and had a much better voice … Then I found acting. After watching The amazing Australian movie Galipoli and watching the whole audience in this tiny little rep theatre leave the place sobbing I knew that I had found the best way to feel in communion with humanity and exchange ideas about life & what it means to be alive. I felt connected in an inexplicable way. And so it has always been acting, for that reason. I was subsequently kicked out of theater school at the age of 16. The rest is history.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today?

My first paid gig was a super fun pilot of CTV in Canada called Off the Wall at the age of 15. We were treated like absolute stars. It was so much fun! There was so much money thrown at this thing. It was magical. It did not go however. It was like a Canadian version of Donnie and Marie. The lesson?… This is the best job in the world. I can do this…. So in the years to come, rejection was never a hard thing because the 1st thing I ever auditioned for I got and I never lost my confidence after that. It always reminded me that anything was possible. If I did it once I could do it again.

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special? What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in?

Well … As an actor it is the people involved on the filmmaking. The horror genre filmmakers I have had the good fortune to work with are incredibly creative and passionate about their visions and they never let a tiny budget get in the way of their massive sense of invention. Horror movies are so fun to work on. And strangely enough I have noticed that horror movie fans are the kindest, least pretentious, most enthusiastic and lovely folks I tend to meet. I was never a horror movie fan myself. And rarely watched them until maybe the past 5 years, when Netflix became a thing and then suddenly the horror genre caught on for me. I now understand that when life gets rough there is nothing more consuming than a scary movie to take your mind off your own woes. And horror is so great for that.

Can you tell us a bit about your recent film Evil Under the Skin? What drew you work on this insane project?

I was extremely lucky to be great friends with the talented writer of the project Luc Bernier who introduced me to the Director Jeffrey Schneider. And that is how I was cast. I sort of feel that knowing Luc beforehand and knowing his intention for the movie, understanding the way he likes to write and the respect he has for actors being one himself, combined with Jeff’s seasoned indie approach made the whole project tantalizing. It’s terrific that it worked out as beautifully as I had hoped for. Sometimes they don’t. But, this was the right movie and the right team. Donna Hamblin, Timothy O’Hearn, and the rest of the cast were also incredibly excellent fun to work with. 

What is your favorite scary movie?

Hmmm…. Well the most disturbing movie I have ever seen if it fits into this category is Roman Polanski’s The Tenant. Also Rosemary’s Baby. And then of course my alma matter My Bloody Valentine directed by the iconic George Mihalka. I’m also a huge fan of the American Horror Story series especially the first 3 seasons. Just terrifying.

I know this year may be a bit different, but I am curious to know if you have any sort of Halloween traditions? Anything you would normally do each year? 

Well my Birthday is November 1st. he day after Halloween. So Halloween was always a big deal at my house. I lived in a great neighborhood for trick or treating and looked forward to it every year. My parents were not keen on candy but that was the one time they let me eat all the candy in my bag without question and normally took almost a month. I’d be sad when I worked my way from the good stuff, the chocolates, hard candies, bubble gums down to the  yucky taffies which I really hated. But you know candy is candy and by the end I would eat it all. Tradition. 🙂 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Well I just finished shooting a fantastic Movie in Indiana called The Embalmers directed by Sisters Rebecca Rinehart and Diane Fraker. Just before that I did just finish a sci-fi movie really fun called Bad Voices. In my mind, it is a very indie version of Men In Black. Check on IMDb for when that gets released. In Ocotber I start rehearsals for a mind bending drama called Reflections of a Broken Memory with Director Marco Bazzi that i will be shooting in December.

In between I am so excited to be shooting a crazy wonderful parody drama by the incredibly talented Israeli Performance artist Lior Shamriz. And finally in February, if all goes well, I will be shooting a wonderful atmospheric and heart rending ghost story in England with Kemal Yildrim and his team. And then another mind bending drama stretching the genres between horror and drama I think called Blood Covered Chocolate with Monte Light.

And between all of that? I produce a monthly Cabaret show in my front yard called “Was Ist Das?” were the most fantastic ,and out of this world performance artist and clowns and musicians come to perform for a very social distanced crowd that stands outside on the other side of my garden fence. And our Halloween show is planned for November 1st! You can tune in at Helene Udy Live on Facebook. Please do!!! Or just find me on Facebook at the “Was Ist Das show?” page and stay up on the news. I would be so grateful if you did!!!

What was the last thing that scared the hell out of you?

We just had an earthquake a few days ago. It was scary actually even though it only lasted 4 seconds. With so much going on these days on California from COVID to wildfires and earthquake momentarily just felt like the end of the word. I had 4 gloriously terrifying seconds of terror. And then so much fun gathering with.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last show “Was Ist Das? show” I did last night September 20 . It was such spectacular fun!! Thanks for asking. Also my 8 dogs make me smile every moment of every day.

Keith Payson [Interview]

Hello Folks! Welcome to the 2020 edition of our Month of Horror. It’s almost humorous that we are showcasing the motion pictured displays of horror when it seems as though we simply have to look around us to see the natural horror that is enveloping our daily lives. But nevertheless, a quick escape from the surrealism of our daily lives is often appreciated. In this vein, we honor these wonderful folks who seek to only entertain us with a good scare and a break from the actual horror that is all around us. We have assembled a wonderful batch of actors, writers, directors & beyond, who have worked on so many different projects that you know and love. I am beyond excited to share them with you all throughout the month of October. Enjoy!

Today we have legendary producer & writer Keith Payson. Keith has worked on plethora of projects you know and love alongside quite a few folks we have spoken with in the past. His work includes Puppet Master 4 & 5, Dollman vs. Demonic Toys, & Trancers III.

Please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Keith Payson!

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it an early aspiration you can  always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day? 

When I was a small boy, maybe four or five years old riding in my mother’s Chevy Bel-Air coupe  we would frequently drive from West L.A. where we lived, to Beverly Hills or some other mid-city  address and use either Pico or Olympic Boulevard as the common route of travel.

In those days when you drove on Pico or Olympic you were driving along the edge of the 20th Century Fox back-lot and at certain sections I could see the tops of western street sets popping up  above the chain link fence which was about 16 ft. high. I was enthralled because I recognized  that these wooden flats were related to what I was seeing on TV and I was so hungry to get on that  back lot that I would ask everyone I met, the grocery clerk, the bank teller, our family doctor if  they know how I could get on the other side of that fence.

The next year, having just completed the first grade, I was beginning my first summer vacation  from school and I was determined to use my three months well so I recruited a few neighborhood  kids to help me build our own western town in an empty lot up the road. My mother was a  prolific filmmaker of family documentaries and I planned to use her 8mm Bell & Howell camera  for shooting. She also had an editing table permanently staged in a corner of the dining room  where she regular sat cutting and splicing her most recent projects, so post production was  covered as well.

Between us we were certain we had everything we needed, props and wardrobe included so we  loaded our little red wagons with all the scrap wood our father’s were hoarding in the garage  along with any tools that weren’t locked up and marched the two blocks up Grandview Boulevard  to a huge empty lot where we used to build forts and play games (it’s now a collection of Little  League baseball diamonds and soccer fields) and we proceeded to lay out the design of a western  town set. Of course we didn’t even have enough wood to build half the boardwalk in front of the  entrance to the saloon, but we started nailing pieces together anyway. Then, one by one the  recruits either got hungry or bored and I was left alone with a wagon full of my Dad’s tools that I  had get back in place before he returned home from work, so we didn’t even complete a flat 8  hr./day and the show was over. I realized that day that my dream and my success would be  directly linked not just to other people, but to other people who shared the same dream I was  dreaming.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any kind of  lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today? 

Actually the first gig was while I was still attending high school. I was so far ahead in earned  credits because I had a habit of taking every summer school class I could that I was slated to  graduate early leaving open the possibility of an off campus apprenticeship. My photography  instructor, who was very well connected in L.A. held a photo salon at the end of each academic  year and the judge’s were very established fashion, editorial and commercial photographers in the  Los Angeles area. One of them liked the images I submitted and offered me a position as his  assistant on specific photo shoots. His name was Mario Casilli. He was one of the original  Playboy Magazine photographers. I began assisting him shooting 8×10 still images for Playboy test  shots to be submitted each month in the selection process for the monthly centerfold finalist. I was  certainly elated with the opportunity I was presented at just seventeen years old and although it  was, at times, difficult to stay focused on my work, I did learn quite a bit about large format  camerawork and masterful lighting techniques.

But my real first paid gig was after I graduated high school while I was waiting for the scholarship I  had received to Rochester Institute of Technology to begin, I went to work for a TV commercial  production company as an office runner (errand boy) as well as their projectionist and from time to  time they would have me perform tasks on or around the set as well.

I was told one day to report to a particular soundstage in L.A. where the company was completing  a Schlitz Beer commercial – this was in 1973. The scene was a group of people socializing and  partying, many of them drinking, and suddenly a live bull comes crashing through the wall and the  brand name Schlitz comes up on screen in big letters?

In order to have the bull crash through the wall on queue, (no CGI in those days), the set was built  with one stunt wall up against an opening to the stage next door where the bull was kept until they  were ready to roll camera. At that point the bull would be guided by an animal wrangler to a  chute leading to the back of the stunt wall. Upon hearing action called the wrangler would count  down a prescribed number of beats the use an electric cattle prod on the bulls balls setting him  moving violently forward at full speed and crashing through the break-away wall onto the set next  door where cameras were rolling as stunt actors scattered out of the way of a really pissed off bull.

By the time I arrived at the stage the filming was completed most of the crew was gone and the set  was being dismantled by the art department. I was told promptly handed a broom and a dust pan  and instructed to report to the set next door. As a walked away I heard the entire art department  break into laughter. The stage where the bull was kept was one of the smaller soundstages at  about seventy-five feet square. For some reason the wranglers determined it was a good idea to let  the bull have the complete run of the entire stage rather than section off fifteen or twenty square  feet. The entire soundstage was littered with straw and of course, bullshit. It took four and a half  hours to sweep the entire stage clean and to this day I have a distinct ability to discern the  difference between the fragrance of horseshit and bullshit.

In 1993, you jumped into one of our favorite horror franchises, which would be the Puppet  Master franchise. I am curious to know what drew you to this world? What intrigued you most  about working on this one? 

Well I must admit this was an opportunity of proximity and happenstance. I was already head of  production of Full Moon Entertainment when this franchise was put on the slate for production.  A year or so earlier I had reluctantly agreed to help a friend who desperately wanted to get out of a  contractual obligation to continue line producing films for Charlie Band, the owner of Full Moon.  She had been engaged for a while and was anxious to get married, take a one-year honeymoon in  Ireland rent a small country cottage and write the screenplay she believed would launch her  writing and directing career. It’s not that I didn’t want to help her out, but for various reasons I  didn’t want that particular gig. In the end I relented and just couldn’t say no to helping her so I  took the job as a single project deal and as it turned out my instincts were right and it was a truly  painful experience for me. However, before that film was through editing I was asked to do  another film for the company, only this time the script was better and I had developed a better  idea how to approach the production, this time with the freedom to start from scratch rather than  an entirely inherited cast and crew.

I also had come to realize that I could use this new opportunity as a private master degree program  to learn everything about film production, writing, acting, producing, directing, running a small  film studio, even designing sound stages and related studio facilities that the world of commercial  production had not provided me.

By the end of the second film at Full Moon I was Head Of Production with a ten-picture deal at  Paramount Studios and Puppet Master IV and V soon came to me to produce. In actuality I was  supervising and running the studio, line-producing, 2nd unit directing every film, on occasion ghost  directing as well as supervising post production. I completed twelve films during my tenure at Full  Moon and Moonbeam Entertainment, the family film division I helped create.

So, while I grew up watching every genre I could get my hands on and as a young boy horror was  certainly among them, at the time I was working on Puppet Master I must be honest it was not  because I was enthralled with the horror genre it was more that I was enthralled with the process  of filmmaking as a collective mechanism. The idea that a group of creative people could come  together for a prescribed period of time around a script, agree on an interpretation of that script  and then mobilize and choose to behave each day as a synchronized mechanism, a machine that  would produce a singular piece of art yielding the highest production value possible within the  budget and schedule constraints we had all agreed to abide by – this to me was fascinating!

 

 

 

 

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special?  What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in? 

The great horror films divulge an aspect of the human condition that is generally inaccessible in its  pure form or at least not easily available in many other genres. Because these other genres exist in  a landscape where the actions unfolding are more or less commonplace to our daily experience of  the world and by contrast not uniquely extraordinary therefore we frequently are not able to fully

pull the curtain back and witness our individual existence for what it really is – a testament that all  life has meaning and all death is justified.

This is not to say that other genres do not deal with many of the same concepts, but they tend to  rely quite heavily on varying definitions of justice that are based on social, religious and moral  precepts, all of which complicate rather than clarify the art of grappling with death as it relates to  justice and seeing one’s own death as the key to a meaningful existence. As represented in a great  horror film the instinct to cling to life regardless of how monumental and incomprehensible the  attack is upon us brings us to an edge of self-awareness most other genres find difficult to  accomplish in ninety-minutes.

An earthquake, a fire, a car accident, a stray bullet – these are all things we ascribe to the will of  God and we may grieve their occurrence and forever ponder their specific meaning in our lives,  but we do not doubt the origin or the characteristic of their being born out of benign intent.  Nature is worth loving and revering even when she is cruel and relentless and deadly. To attempt  to rescue oneself from an unjustified death is the necessary struggle portrayed in the best horror  films. The seemingly meaningless or random attack is misconstrued as an act of pure evil when in  fact whether the life in jeopardy has meaning is not up to the attacker but rather it is in the  behavior and choices of the victim. Whether the life of the victim will overpower the attacker, not  necessarily by stopping the killing, although possibly, but instead from rendering the victim’s life  meaningless. To explicitly show an audience a character in the midst of discovering the meaning  of her or his life under incomprehensible circumstances gives us hope we may discover the  meaning of our life within our mundane and less critical conditions.

What is your favorite scary movie? Why? 

Let The Right One In, is a film that captures the essence of a character becoming more self-aware,  realizing that they possess the capability for expressing and manifesting both good and what they  perceive or have been taught to understand as evil. Yet upon further self-reflection they discover  that evil does not in actuality exist at all, but rather what people have come to understand as evil is  quite simply the absence of goodness or said somewhat differently what many understand as, “the  privation of goodness.”

I know this year may be a bit different, but I am curious to know if you have any sort of  Halloween traditions? Anything you would normally do each year? 

The occasional costume party is the most fun, but they are not as frequent as they used to be. The  allure of giving out candy to kids vaporized a long, long, time ago. And decorating the house has  never been my thing… I much prefer watching the neighbors get creative. So that leaves a dimly  lit room, a big bowl of ice cream, a glass of single malt scotch and a horror film I haven’t seen yet.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers? 

I have two films in development, each in line to produce and also direct. One is a investigative  crime drama, suspense/horror/thriller and the other a true story, bio-pic, survival drama about four  men on a thirty-five foot sail boat caught in a hurricane while transiting the Gulf of Mexico. These  two films will be full DGA productions. The first one funded will be my DGA directorial debut  and I will happily hand the line-producing responsibilities off to someone else… whew!

I have been a consultant for many years as a specialist in physical production so during the  development phase on my own projects I also work with other screenwriters, directors and  producers as a consultant and production planner preparing complete business plans and singular  components of business plans, i.e. budgets, schedules script and production analysis, etc.  [http://www.filmproductionservices.info]

A few years ago I launched a specialized consulting program for new screenwriters or anyone  really who needs help navigating through the minefield that surrounds Hollywood. There is a lot  of mythology about what can and cannot be accomplished by unknown or uncredited  screenwriters, those who have not yet sold a script or gotten something produced. So I established  a six-week program at heavily reduced consulting rates to coach them through what is and what  isn’t true about landing a literary manager or agent or about pitching and selling their scripts. My  interest is in allowing these artists to shed the burden of false assumption, gossip and mythology so  instead of wasting all that energy fighting negativity and a collection of urban legends they can  strategize a more secure path toward success, whatever that looks like to them.

The reality is that after a writer or writer/producer figures out how to write a good or great  screenplay they then face the daunting challenge of having to learn how to sell it. Well as we all  know, selling a script is easier said than done and it’s a pretty competitive and confusing  landscape you have to travel through to accomplish that task. All too many talented young writers  actually fail and walk away from writing not because they weren’t good writers but because the  business side of screenwriting became an impediment that they just couldn’t overcome in time  and felt compelled to bail out.

And lastly, I continue to pursue my oldest and original artistic passion – photography, by shooting  my own fine art and by teaching the fundamentals of photography and image capture as well as  portrait lighting to more advanced students.

What was the last thing that scared the hell out of you? 

The possibility of Donald Trump, William Barr and Mitch McConnell getting four more years in  office rather than prison or in the later two cases impeachment and forced retirement.

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

My wife and I have two pet Holland lop bunnies who are a constant reservoir of behavioral and  emotional insight and delight. The sight of either one of them approaching and then standing on  their hind legs begging to be picked-up and cuddled is precious.

Dan Yeager [Interview]

Hello Folks! Welcome to the 2020 edition of our Month of Horror. It’s almost humorous that we are showcasing the motion pictured displays of horror when it seems as though we simply have to look around us to see the natural horror that is enveloping our daily lives. But nevertheless, a quick escape from the surrealism of our daily lives is often appreciated. In this vein, we honor these wonderful folks who seek to only entertain us with a good scare and a break from the actual horror that is all around us. We have assembled a wonderful batch of actors, writers, directors & beyond, who have worked on so many different projects that you know and love. I am beyond excited to share them with you all throughout the month of October. Enjoy!

Today’s guest is the wonderful actor Dan Yeagar. Dan infamously portrayed the legendary character Leatherface in 2013’s Texas Chainsaw. He is also a brilliant writer and director with projects slated for release in the near future when the world comes back together. His other work includes roles in Sharknado: The 4th Awakens and A Wakefield Project.

So please enjoy some words from the great Dan Yeagar!

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

I started in infancy. I was born two feet tall, pushing twelve pounds, and a full head of curly blonde hair, so I was always used to a lot of attention. I had a Superman costume at three years old, but through the creativity of a dedicated older brother was often transformed into hideous monsters regardless of the season. My mother claimed she always knew I was an actor, primarily based on my school-avoidance deathbed plays performed almost every morning of the school year.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today?

I was an extra in a movie in 1984 starring Christopher Lee and a bunch of non-horror non-icons. I never mention the title out of respect for His Majesty as I’m sure he did it just because we all got bills to pay. It was a terrible film, but like every project before or since, I learned a lot and it made me want to do more.

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special? What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in?

Horror is the only truly universal genre. Our fears are what unite us as Humans. I used to do British Pantomime on stage, which is where I really honed the craft of working in a mask. I always played the monster there, too.

You stepped into the shoes of a very renowned character in the world of horror known as Leatherface in the 2013 addition to the Texas Chainsaw legacy, the hit film Texas Chainsaw. I am curious to know what drew you to Leatherface? What made you want to hop into this role?

I first saw Leatherface at a drive-in in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1981. I never dreamed as I leaned back on the windshield of my buddy’s car that hot Summer Night watching the original TCM in a re-release that Leatherface was a ‘character’ that someone (forget about me) could ‘play.’ I wasn’t really thinking about acting at that point, but rather learning architectural drafting at the local vocational high school. I was trying to be a serious person, but when my Mom later bought a VCR, I went out and bought two videotapes that made up my entire film library for at least a year: Eraserhead and Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

It was later observed, after I had begun pursuing acting, by none other than Count Yorga himself, Robert Quarry, that I’d make a living playing monsters. He was right. And while I’d love to play Frankenstein’s Monster one day, I don’t think I am physically suited to any monster in the Horror Pantheon better than Leatherface.

Texas Chainsaw – Poster: ‘Leatherface” (Dan Yeager) ©2013 Lionsgate

What is your favorite scary movie?

The Shining, Psycho, The Wizard of Oz, or The Exorcist, depending on the season, weather, and time of day or night… There is also a short Yugoslavian film from 1975 called The Mallet that scared me so well it made me want to be a filmmaker.

I know this year may be a bit different, but I am curious to know if you have any sort of Halloween traditions? Anything you would normally do each year?

I grew up in Ohio where Halloween is better celebrated than Christmas, so I’m a devout traditionalist. Before I was always traveling for Halloween, I used to love creating Halloween themes to give the local children and their parents pause and question whether they should pass by my house on their trick-or-treat excursion. One year I carved a dozen pumpkins to represent the severed heads of my enemies and placed them on pikes along either side of the walk to my porch. Another time I sat motionless as a Leatherface-like figure on the darkened porch with a tempting bowl of big chocolate bars in my lap. Everyone discovered their limits of bravery that night.

One year I took a reciprocating saw and wired it inside a large pet carrier and placed it on the porch with a sign that said ‘Beware of Dog.’ I added sound effects and a strobe light and hooked it all to a switch. The one flaw in that plan was the peep-hole in the door was so high, I didn’t see this one kid had his three-year-old brother with him, and I flipped the switch. I know I scarred the little fella for life.

My greatest triumph was probably the year I created a porch tableau featuring the shredded costumes and blood-spattered trick-or-treat plastic candy pumpkins and their spilled contents from some beast that grabbed victims and dragged them into the bushes. I also created a little candlelight memorial for one victim, a little boy in a dollar store picture frame, including his little blood-stained teddy bear. It was particularly gratifying when I could hear the mothers with their young children express their reflexive sympathy and then realize what they were seeing and dragged their children away from the madhouse. I love giving candy to the kids, but it was strangely satisfying to know I offended the sensibilities of their parents to such a degree. The kids just thought it was cool and creepy. It was.

This year I will be at a film festival in Scranton, PA, at the Circle Drive-in, and on the Halloween Train in Stourbridge. I hope I can make it back to my lair in New York in time to at least disembowel a pumpkin or two and give out some candy.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m always working on getting movies made. We have two scripts ready for funding and two more completed waiting their turn, and a dozen more projects in various stages of development.

I mentioned the Halloween Weekend festivities above. I don’t have links to those events yet, but I’m sure they’ll be listed on numerous NEPA websites.

I also have been working on my own line of coffee. You can check that out at killerschoice.com.

What was the last thing that scared the hell out of you?

I haven’t been really scared in a long time, but I live in an old Baptist church built in the mid-1850s. It is full of ghosts. Really… While they don’t seem to try to scare me, they do catch me off guard occasionally, and it can be disconcerting. I want to have a séance, but my wife is scared. I’m looking for local volunteers to participate.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I watched City of Lost Children the other night. It is such a sweet story, but not cloyingly so, all about those things that connect us, sometimes in such unexpected ways. No! Actually, Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, and I did a live-stream commentary on Texas Chainsaw last week. During the Q&A afterward, Adam gushed a little over my performance as Leatherface and made me blush. I smiled at that and remembering the good times we had making that movie, and remembering the friends I made because of it, especially those who are no longer with us.