Buddy Giovinazzo is a well known favourite with genre fans. His debut movie Combat Shock made a huge impression on fans of the genre but he had to wait a decade to make his next picture.
Buddy is at FrightFest 2011 for he's directed a segment in the anticipated anthology movie The Theatre Bizarre so we chatted to him about his career and how he became involved with this project.
HC: You made quite an impact with your debut feature Combat Shock, what was it like to get such a reaction for your first movie?
BG: A shock, no pun intended. CS was not successful on its initial release. In fact it took years before the film achieved the acclaim that it eventually received. It all started with Steve Bissette and Chas Balin at Deep Red magazine. From there the film found its audience, but it took many years for that to happen. I was completely shocked when the film was being written about in magazines. But shocked in a good way.
HC: It was ten years till your next picture, why did it take so long?
BG: CS was such a strange and unconventional film, so dark and creepy, so bloody and disturbing, that I couldn't get any work at all because of it. People in the U.S. hated it and thought it was a terrible film. I wrote many scripts in the time between CS and No Way Home, but I had no luck at all finding a producer for them, and I couldn't get hired on any other films, be they horror films, exploitation films, or whatever.
HC: Are you a fan of the classic anthology movies such as Tales From The Crypt and Creepshow?
BG: Tales From The Crypt scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. I saw it in the theater! I'll never forget the skeleton on the motorcycle; still a great image. That film had a powerful effect on me then, and I recently saw it again last year, and it is still a great film. I like Creepshow, but in a different way. I think seeing Tales....when I was so young really just shocked me.
HC: Who came up with the idea for The Theatre Bizarre?
BG: I believe it was David Gregory.
HC: The film has a cast list containing some cult favourites, were you part of the casting process?
BG: I only casted my part of the film. The other cast was done by the other directors. There was absolutely no interference from anyone on casting. We all could cast whoever we wanted, and whoever we could get.
HC: Your section is called I Love You, a tale of blind love where a husband is so obsessed with his wife, where did the idea come from?
BG: Like all of my films, I'm not sure where the idea came from. I think my film stories are nightmares that I have, because they haunt me and it seems that until they're filmed and out of my system, they're constantly in my thoughts. I find realism much more horrifying than fantasy, so my ideas generally tend to be realistic, at least up to a point.
HC: Were you restricted about how violent or gory I Love You could be?
BG: No. That was the best part of doing the film. We all got the same amount of money to do our films, and the catch was: there are no restrictions at all. You could shoot as hard as you wanted to and there would be no censorship at the editing process. Although it's only a short part of the film, I think I Love You just might be my bloodiest film. The fact that it's a love story makes this all the more creepy.
HC: Was it an easy piece to shoot or was there any technical problems?
BG: No piece is easy to shoot. Especially when the budget is so low, as far as technical problems, we didn't have any. I Love You took a long time to shoot, 5 days, because of the complexity of the story and because of the performances of the actors. To portray something that has a certain realism in it, takes time to get right. The biggest problem was not having enough time, but then, you'll never have enough time on a film no matter what your shooting schedule is.
HC: Do you have a favourite from the other stories?
BG: That's a loaded question and it's been asked of all of The Theatre Bizarre directors. We don't know any other way of not answering it, we've decided that Udo Kier is the favourite story in our film. We love Udo!
HC: Would you like to be part of The Theatre Bizarre 2 if there was one?
BG: Sure. This was a great experience for me. I really liked all the other directors, there wasn't any competition between us, we screened each others films during the editing phase and were supportive of each other. We all knew that the film had to work as a "whole" and not as separate films. So for this kind of experience, I would gladly do a Theatre Bizarre 2, however, I'd also like to give other filmmakers a chance to be part of the experience. I've had my chance, so it's not so bad to share the wealth.
HC: Recently in the UK censorship has hit the headlines concerning A Serbian Film and The Human Centipede 2, where do you stand on censorship?
BG: I hate it. It's wrong. Why should anybody play God and decide what we should or should not see? The video nasties never stopped anyone from seeing horror films, in fact, it had the opposite effect.
HC: So what’s next for you?
BG: I have a black comedy thriller, Dying Flowers that I'd like to make next year. It's a Buddy Giovinazzo film in that it's a realistic story with drama, but when sh*t happens, it happens in a very bad way.
HC: Buddy Giovinazzo, thank you very much.