ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview with Kelly Greene, writer and director of Attack of the Bat Monsters
By James Whittington, Tuesday 27th February 2018

Making movies can be a tough business but to have to wait almost two decades to release your work takes true dedication. At Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this weekend Kelly Greene's Attack of the Bat Monsters is finally unleashed. Here he tells us the story behind this celebration of 1950s creature features.

HC: You were inspired to write Attack of the Bat Monsters when you were researching 50s movies, did it take long to write?

KG: It took quite a while because I was working 50 to 60 hours a week at a video production facility while raising a 2-year old and 8-year old, along with my wife, who was also working. I would write at night between 9 and 11pm, and maybe a little more on the weekends. I wrote in quotas, believe it or not. My goal was 2 pages a session. I didn't take a day off, so I was knocking out abut 15 pages a week. I had one mantra, "Don't get it right, get it written." I did NOT rewrite as I went along. The first draft took six weeks, and was pretty hideous.

HC: Did it change much during the writing process?

KG: Before I started, the initial outline went through radical revisions; for instance, originally the shooting of the three day film was the middle act of the script. The first act was about "recruiting the team"; and the third act consisted of the screening of the film months later, which was loosely based on the premiere of Eyes Without A Face where members of the audience became nauseated, passed out and/or walked out because Chuck had pushed the edges of gore and nudity with re-shoots. Once I tossed out that third act, the story took shape, and after that first draft, I mainly cleaned up dialogue and deleted scenes, and dropped two sections; one, where Chuck recruits a poster artist, and another involving the monster-maker building the bat monster so large that he can't get it out of his studio.

HC: Was it written with a cast in mind?

KG: The two main characters, Francis and Chuck, were always written for Marco Perella and Michael Dalmon, and I also had Ryan Wickerham in mind to play Jack Haroldson. We just couldn't fulfill even the ultra low budget requirements for SAG, so Marco bowed out. You can go online to the Attack Of The Bat Monsters Facebook page to watch a scene we shot on spec that I ended up cutting from the shooting script. Marco plays Francis in that scene.

HC: The film has plenty for film buffs to look out for but also has lots to offer casual fans too, was it hard to make sure the film had a broad appeal?

I didn't design it that way. I simply made a film that I, as a fan of the genre, would want to see. Even if films about film making are perceived as a niche market, I always assumed that the film would tap into the same audience That Ed Wood had been made for, or Matinee, or even Living In Oblivion. And since we produced Attack Of The Bat Monsters for a fraction of those films' costs, my hope was that a cagey distributor would see its value, pick it up and push it in that direction.

HC: It does look and feel like it was shot in the era its set, was that hard to achieve?

KG: Like the 1950s exploitation films themselves, the film's visual style was a direct reflection of its budget. I had initially assumed I would shoot in two radically different modes; the first, in colour, handheld, with long takes, like a documentary, that covered the actions of Chuck, Francis and the crew, which required a high shooting ratio. The second style, in black-and-white, would mimic the visual look and feel of the '50s exploitation film. The plan was to shoot Beta SP video and create a "film look" in post, but then Tom Hennig entered the project late in pre-production with his Aton Super 16MM camera. Suddenly half the budget was now going to film and processing! So we had to shoot the entire film conservatively, cover action minimally to keep our shooting ratio down - all the trademarks of a Corman quickie.

HC: Is it true it was to be part of a proposed trilogy?

KG: Only if the first film had been successful. I never wrote the scripts, just jotted down the outlines. The second installment took place in 1965 in a small town in Mexico where the lone movie house there shows Attack Of The Bat Monsters over and over again and the eponymous Bat Monster has become a local sensation. A lucha libre masked wrestler hatches a plot to shoot a crossover film in which he fights the Bat Monster, along the lines of Santo Versus The Vampire Women. Naturally Chuck and Francis get involved. Believe it or not, two of my influences for that were Spirit Of The Beehive and Dassin's Night And The City! The final film in the trilogy takes place closer to home for me, in Austin, Texas in 1974 where Chuck is now a film instructor at the University of Texas and gets the idea for a horror film with a plot similar to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

HC: What was the initial shoot like?

KG: I was fighting a cold and I got badly sunburned shooting long days at the quarry. I handled stress as best I could. It was a bit of a blur. You may have heard of Goleman's Six Leadership Styles - Visionary, Coaching, Affiliative, Democratic, Pace setting, and Commanding? I was none of those! But we kept on budget and on schedule. The cast and crew stayed in good spirits. Mark Rance and I want to have a private screening in Austin and get as many of them back together as possible.

HC: How did it feel to have a movie ready to be distributed but no one would pick it up?

KG: How did it feel? Pretty much like those stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining and depression; I don't think I've ever gotten to acceptance mode, because Attack Of The Bat Monsters is an "evergreen" movie. Nothing really dates it. Now that Watchmaker is repping the film, I think it will be available through a variety of formats - 2K and 4KDCPs, streaming, DVD, Blu-ray, etc.

HC: It's been almost two decades since you shot Attack of the Bat Monsters, how does it feel to have it finally unleashed properly?

KG: I'll quote Eddie Felsen from The Hustler - "Tight but good." I've only seen it projected in standard definition, or as a rough 1920x1080 file; never as a 2K DCP. To call this screening a restoration is a bit of a misnomer: the more accurate term is upgraded, since Bat Monsters has never looked as good as it will in Glasgow on Friday! So I'm exhilarated, and also grateful to FrightFest for their inclusion of my little movie in their incredible line-up.

HC: The title sequence is just wonderful, you must be happy how that turned out?

KG: I am. I think the title sequence, which is heavily indebted to Saul Bass' work for Anatomy Of A Murder, signals several things to the audience. It clues them to the time period, to the pastiche-like nature of the film they're about to see, and most of all it alerts them that the movie they are about to see pays homage, that it aims to pay tribute. I originally created the sequence in standard definition using the crude rudiments of Avid DVE and it always looked horrible in festival screenings blown up in projection because of the frame size and pixilation and interlacing aliasing. Yuck! Now my daughter, Matty, has rebuilt it in After Effects in progressive video and adjustable rastering and it looks great! Plus, Matty was able to approximate some of Bass' 2D effects much better than I was, so it looks even more like a sequence generated from an animation stand. And in true Corman fashion it didn't cost me a dime. Nothing like exploiting your kid's talents.

HC: How has the industry changed since you made Attack of the Bat Monsters?

KG: Two big differences are that, even with inflation, I could make Attack of the Bat Monsters today with less money and it would look, technically, comparable and arguably better. That's because of the relatively low cost of 4K cameras with CMOS sensors, versus the cost of film and processing and negative cutting and print striking and all those steps which have been rendered obsolete by digital technology. The other change, of course, involves the rise of different kinds of distribution paths. When Bat Monsters was shot, there was Theatrical, TV and VHS. End of story. Today, video-on-demand means a film can reside on multiple platforms and devices, with the net result that demand for original content has skyrocketed.

HC: This is your first piece, did the experience put you off the film industry so much that you walked away?

KG: I returned to corporate video production in 2002. I had given it my best shot at that point, and we were dead broke. Our two girls would both need help financially to get through college in just a few years. Today, as of just a few weeks ago, we're empty nesters and I'm looking at this new cinematic landscape and licking my chops!

HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?

KG: I'm really excited about a script called American Monsters, first in a series loosely based on the Lovecraftian model of dimensions parallel to our own chock-full of loathsome entities, and people in this world determined to open the floodgates to let them in - never a good idea! That project requires some real low-budget financing. I'm just as hopeful that I can do another micro-budget project on my own, in particular one designed around the Christmas season, because I have a story to tell in that genre. I'm also currently brainstorming with another writer-director, Jeff Stohland, and Bat Monsters' cinematographer Tom Hennig, on a low-budget genre bender.

HC: Kelly Greene, thank you very much.


Related show tags: ATTACK OF THE BAT MONSTERS, FRIGHTFEST, KELLY GREENE
MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with Tom Paton, director of Redwood
Posted on Monday 4th February 2019
Redwood Poster

Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Redwood, director Tom Paton reveals the secrets of his prolific work-rate, talks about tackling the subject of fake news and the twists and turns of his new film Stairs.

HC: Redwood gets its UK TV premiere on Friday 8 February, courtesy of Horror Channel. Excited or what?

TP: Honestly, I'm so proud that Redwood has made its way onto Horror Channel. I've been a huge fan since the channel launched and over the past decade I've discovered so many horror gems on there from classic through to films I'd never heard of but now love. It feels incredible to know that someone might discover Redwood in the exact same way.

HC: Is it true y...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with journalist and documentary maker Calum Waddell
Posted on Saturday 2nd February 2019
Callum Wadell

Calum Waddell has been involved in writing, reviewing, making documentaries and teaching about movies for over a fifteen years. His knowledge on cult movies has been used by such labels as Arrow Video and 88 Films as well as appearing in magazines such as Total Film, Fangoria and DarkSide.

We managed to talk to Calum about the ups and downs of his career and his plans for the future.

HC: When did you decide that you wanted to become a journalist?

CW: I am not sure I ever was a journalist [laughs]. Maybe just a for-hire film writer more than anything else! But my biggest inspiration about cinema was and still is Kim Newman, whose work I discovered at a very young age...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Iain Ross-McNamee director of Crucible of the Vampire
Posted on Sunday 27th January 2019
Crucible of the Vampire Blu-ray packaging

Making its World Premiere at Cannes Film Festival and garnering rave reviews at other major festivals, Iain Ross-McNamee's gothic chiller Crucible of the Vampire is set to arrive in UK cinemas on 1 February.

This will be followed by its home entertainment release on 4 February on dual format DVD and Blu-ray and on digital platforms courtesy of Screenbound Entertainment.

Here he chats about this retro-feeling piece of cinema.

HC: What inspired you to write Crucible of the Vampire?

IRM: I chose the location first and wrote the story around it with my two co-writers, John Wolskel and Darren Lake. The idea of people ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Corin Hardy, director of The Nun
Posted on Sunday 20th January 2019
The Nun blu-ray cover

The Conjuring universe expanded recently with the box-office chill-filled thriller, The Nun. It's just been released onto Blu-ray and DVD so we had a quick chat with the very talented director of this gothic entry, Corin Hardy.

HC: How did you become attached to the project?

CH: I had made The Hallow and that had caught the attention of James (Wan) through his company Atomic Monster and he sent me The Nun script, I am obviously a die-hard horror fan, and I knew all of James' films and was particularly a fan of The Conjuring movies so I was quite intrigued as to what this story would be as I am always on the lookout. I have my own films I want to develop and make and I'm ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of zom-rom-com Ibiza Undead, we ask actress and producer Marcia Do Vales 10 scary questions.
Posted on Tuesday 8th January 2019
MDV Image 1

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of zombie rom-com Ibiza Undead, we ask actress and producer Marcia Do Vales 10 scary questions.

HC: When did your interest in horror films begin?

MDV: About the age of 11 or 12, I started enjoying watching horror films, after my parents had gone to bed. I remember watching Child's Play with the volume turned off, sitting directly in front of the TV so I could quickly turn it off if my parents came in.

HC: Tell us about your first horror film role.

MDV: In my first film role, I played The Girl in The Reverend I found myself working alongside the legendary Rutger Hauer who was cast as the Devil. He had his own private room...

SHARE: READ MORE
A chat with Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Attack of the Adult Babies
Posted on Wednesday 2nd January 2019

Ahead of the Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Attack of the Adult Babies, on January 5 at 9pm, director Dominic Brunt and actor/producer partner Joanne Mitchell unpin the nappies...

HC: Attack of the Adult Babies will receive its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Are you both excited?

DB: I'm over the moon. As a fan of horror, I'm also a fan of the Horror Channel. It's an honour to have our work premiered with one of our favourite channels. The Horror Channel (along with FrightFest and Metrodome) took Before Dawn under its wing when that was released as our debut feature film. It marked our transition from horror fen geeks to horror film makers and we were well looked after indeed.

JM: We're delighted and incred...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Leprechaun Returns director Steven Kostanski
Posted on Monday 17th December 2018
LR Image 3

Horror's smallest terror is back to reclaim the treasure that's been lost for 25 years in Leprechaun Returns which has just been released across all streaming platforms. We spoke to its director, Steven Kostanski about this movie the challenges of carrying on a much loved franchise.

HC: How were you approached to direct Leprechaun Returns?

SK: The producers contacted my manager and he sent me the script. I had a few conversations with them over the phone discussing the direction they wanted go, and once I saw that they were looking to get away from the seriousness of Leprechaun Origins I knew I wanted to do the project.

HC: What did you think of Suzanne Keilly's script when y...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Bill Watterson director of Dave Made a Maze
Posted on Sunday 4th November 2018
William Watterson

At Grimmfest 2017 we had the chance to view one of the most original pieces of cinema we'd seen in a long time, Dave Made a Maze. Directed by Bill Watterson it's an intelligent, thought-provoking film that deserves to reach a global audience and will be released here early 2019. We chatted to Bill about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did this concept come from?

WW: Three places: Steven was underway on a script called 'Operation: Death Maze,' or something cool like that. Portions of it were re-purposed after he jibed with a story I told about my mom coming home and seeing an incredible fort that I'd build in my bedroom, and concluding that I'd gotten lost within it when I d...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Paul Hyett director of Peripheral
Posted on Friday 2nd November 2018
Paul HyettPaul Hyett is a firm FrightFest favourite. His work jumps from genre you genre with ease but still retains that "Hyett" feeling in each piece. His latest work, Peripheral is having its UK Premiere at the FrightFest Halloween 2018 event so we decided to chat to Paul about this and his view on technology.

HC: How did the project of Peripheral come together?

PH: Peripheral was bought to me by the original producer, he thought I'd be a good fit. Originally he had pitched me a one woman in a room, contained location about bad technology theme. It didn't feel appealing as after Howl, which was a big film in terms of cast, VFX, stunts etc and I was looking for a more challenging film logisticall...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Julian Richards, director of Reborn
Posted on Wednesday 17th October 2018
Julian Richards

Ahead of the World premiere screening of Reborn at FrightFest Halloween, Julian Richards discusses the torturous challenges of Daddy's Girl, why he wishes every actress was like Barbara Crampton and future plans, including directing the English language remake of Rabies.

HC: After six years away from directing, you have two films, Reborn and Daddy's Girl poised for distribution. Why these two very different films now?

JR: My previous film Shiver was completed in 2012 and it took longer for me to get back into the directing saddle because of commitments I had to my sales company Jinga Films. The company was growing quickly and needed more of my time and energy. We had grown from handling th...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Jules Vincent, co-writer and producer of Alive
Posted on Thursday 4th October 2018
Jules Vincent

Grimmfest 2018 is well underway and delivering some memorable movie moments, and one of the best is showing on Sunday, Alive. This cracking film sees the return of Grimmfest favourite Rob Grant as director and has been co-written and co-produced by Chuck McCue and Jules Vincent. Here Jules tells all about this brilliant piece.

HC: Where did the idea for Alive come from?

JV: We'd talked about writing a horror screenplay for a number of years before we finally came up with the right idea. We're both big fans of classic horror and we love the works of Hitchcock, Carpenter, Friedkin, and Cronenberg so in a way we had a very specific style and feel in mind before we even had the story. A...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Olivier Afonso director of Girls With Balls
Posted on Wednesday 3rd October 2018
Olivier Afonso director of Girls With Balls

Grimmfest 2018 kicks off tomorrow and one of the many highlights of the four day event is the blood-splattered shocker Girls With Balls. We chatted to it's director Olivier Afonso about this fab film and his career as an SFX artists.

HC: What inspired you to write Girls With Balls?

OA: My co-writer and I we wanted to write a trash comedy to entertain an audience because we love festivals: the atmosphere, people screaming, laughing... Personally, I'm inspired by the eighties and nineties movies such as of Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, Alex de la Iglesia. We wanted to make a survival movie but with strong women, a girl ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Prey
PREY
Saturday 23rd February
9.00 PM
Splice
SPLICE
Sunday 17th February
9.00 PM
Bound
BOUND
Friday 22nd February
9.00 PM