LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview With Director Joe Lynch - Part 2
By James Whittington, Wednesday 4th April 2012
Joe Lynch is one of the most creative people working in the movie industry today. He first blasted onto the UK horror scene with his superb shocker Wrong Turn 2 and since then he has built up quite a reputation. Not only was he part of the team behind the awesome multi-story picture Chillerma, (one of the big hits of FrightFest 2011) but also the much anticipated movie Knights Of Badassdom.
In this, this second of a two part interview Joe talks at length of his involvement with the anthology movie Chillerama and his new project, Holliston.
HC: Where did the idea for your segment for Chillerama come from and did it take long to write?
JL: Actually, while the idea of "Zombies in a Drive In" for Chillerama originated from Adam Rifkin and Tim Sullivan's discussions about an anthology before Adam Green and I hopped in the car, coincidentally enough, I had been working on a script for a few years called The Ozoners which was about a creature taking over a Drive-In on Long Island in 1994 on the last night before it's closed down, which is when the last drive in actually closed from what I remember. The tone of The Ozoners was more akin to Dazed & Confused meets The Thing. This was also before I discovered Joe Lansdale's amazing The Drive In novel, which is a must read. So knowing I might never really get a chance to do The Ozoners (which is what Drive In's used to be called) I basically lifted most of the characters, storylines and set pieces from that script and applied it to the bridging story of Chillerama, which ultimately becomes something bigger by the end. The whole bridging script and the climax (which was double the length of the other shorts) took about a week to write while I was prepping Knights Of Badassdom and so much fun to do because in the context of an anthology, it just worked SO much better.
Having been such a Zombie movie fan in the past, I knew I wanted to push the idea of the Undead past convention and taboo; I mean, what's left to do anymore to keep that rotting flesh fresh for the audience who might be oversaturated by Zombies by now? Since sex mixed with violence is still considered too risqué, I thought "Perfect!" and things like the term "Xombies" and "Demon Semen" were born! Some of my favourite Zombie movies touch on the subject of bringing in a sexual element to the flesh-eating forte, from Dead Alive to Re-Animator, but I also remember the fantastic book collection called Book Of The Dead that Skipp & Spector put out that had a short story called Eat Me by Robert Mccammon which was basically Undead Erotica and so unique at the time. Funny enough, Skipp plays one of the Xombies in the Drive In (blink and you'll miss him though), which was like the Splatterpunk seal of approval for me! But if we were all going to use B-movies and exploitation flicks in Chillerama to be subversive, then I thought Zombie Sex and even the repression movies have towards sex and death (and full frontal male nudity, for example) was the last frontier I could push a film like this, and the humour element was the right kind of sugar to make the medicine go down. If we were having fun throughout the film and the other shorts did their job to entertain, a huge Xombie Orgy might be welcomed with loving arms rather than screaming from seats. Well, sometimes audiences screaming from the theatre is a good thing!
HC: You must be a fan of the genre and if so do you have a favourite zombie movie?
JL: Without question, Romero's Dawn Of The Dead! That was my first movie (don't tell my mom I repeated that. Whoops…) The idea of allowing subtext and satire into a horror movie changed my perception of the power of film on an audience. In terms of the idea that repressed sexuality is unleashed at a dying American institution is what hooked me to the idea of doing it and one way I looked at the storyline from a standpoint of subtext. That's because of Romero's digging deeper, asking questions and posing it to the audience who might have just come for a fun time, and now it’s always expected of him every time he makes a Zombie movie. It made me ask myself those questions when I wrote it and we made it; "Sure I'm trying to break taboos here and have fun doing it, but why?" I loved posing those questions, even if I’m the only one! In terms of visuals, I absolutely love Peter Jackson's Dead Alive (the gonzo camera, the amazing gags), Re-Animator (again taking sex and violence and mashing them together in the climax) and the fun, humorous spirit of Dan O Bannon's Return Of The Living Dead, which reminded me you can be funny AND dangerous with your zombies, walking speed notwithstanding.
HC: Was it a hard piece to cast?
JL: Yes and no. Some of the roles I knew who I was going to cast because I had already planned on casting them and told them beforehand and they were willing to go on the ride. Here’s an example: Brendan McCreary, who plays Ryan M one of the "Geek Squad", was really the first person cast; I saw him at a show he and his Brother - my long-time composer and good friend Bear - put on and I remember saying "I gotta put him in something!" I just asked and he, never formally acting before, said yes and I'm so glad he did because I think he rocks in the flick. Because this was such a low-budget "family affair" I HAD to cast family and friends. My lovely wife Bri and my son Remy play 2/3rds of the Marshalls (the also-quite-lovely AJ Bowen plays the husband/dad) mainly because I knew they’d let me do this wild sh*t and get the joke we were trying to make and Bri, like the rest of our friends, knew the limitations we had and wouldn't balk. We needed people willing to go with the flow, which is why having actors like Laura Ortiz (who plays the concession clerk Desi and my girlfriend in our TV show Holliston) or Ward Roberts, who played Miller (another talented director who made the sublime Little Big Top with Sid Haig), were great because they'd been there, done that. The other kids, Corey and Kaili, were cast traditionally through a casting call, as well as Olivia Dudley who plays Laura (who said she loved Evil Dead in the audition so we knew she was good peoples). The rest of the cast were just family and friends willing to freeze their asses off for us for little to no pay and my hats off to them for sticking with us. The casting of Miles Dougal was my homage to Rifkin's work since Miles is in every one of his films and was so iconic for me, so it was my way to pay tribute.
I'd say the hardest role to cast was Cecil Kaufman. I had written it for a particular actor in mind who I'd grown up loving in some of my favourite 80's horror movies (and who was already an acting veteran) and who I'd see all the time in Los Angeles, mostly at the movies! To me he WAS Cecil Kaufman and he informed my writing the character. Sadly, he wasn't up for it which I totally respected, but from there we went out to a lot of older actors (you'd be shocked at the list) but the problem was both the size of the part for what we had the budget for and also the content, which was a little "blue" (no pun). When Green originally mentioned Richard Riehle, I wasn't sure, mainly because I didn't want to use another Ariescope "friend" to so speak, since Adam had worked with Richard on Hatchet. But the second I met with Richard and talked about the role, not only did I realize I was in the presence of a true pro, but someone who "got" the part. The day Riehle was on set and immediately knew Cecil's 3-page monologues talking to a poster of Orson Welles by heart? That's when I knew we truly had some movie magic going. He was a dream to work with and the heart of the movie for sure... I'm so glad Green suggested him for the good of the whole film.
HC: Will there be more Chillerama movies in the future?
JL: Honestly, that's all down to the fans. If they go out and support the film by buying it, telling their friends to buy it, getting it on VOD, supporting the film when it comes to their town... hell yes there will be more Chillerama's. Part of the fun was how Rifkin and Sullivan handed us these titles, almost like Corman did back in the day when he presold titles and THEN made the films, so we'd want to do the same thing here. Get 4 new brave filmmakers who are up to the challenge and willing to have fun under very strict perimeters. That was half the fun of making the movie... there was not enough money or time to worry about things, so I would always say "What Would Corman do?" or "What Would Troma Do?" and just forge ahead. If the horror fans out there embrace the film and the fun, cinema-loving spirit we tried to bring back, maybe another night of Chillerama will be unleashed. God help us all!
HC: What can you tell us about Holliston?
JL: Holliston the town? Very lovely place, great people, it's like Castle Rock without AS MUCH weird sh*t going on. Oh, did you mean the show? Oh... the show Holliston is, in a way, a traditional sitcom; you know, multiple cameras, audience laugh track... but in this we have more irreverent humour, hotter girls, cooler cameos and lots more blood. Oh and Dee Snider. Key component there. It's kinda like Friends... if there were more head explosions and space aliens in the closet. This was Adam Green's baby for 13+ years and its so gratifying to be part of it both on the creative end - I was an executive producer and helped with the writing - and also acting with my closest friends. It was always a pipe dream for Adam and I to make this happen, one of those "Wouldn’t it be crazy if…?" scenarios, but Peter Block and FEARnet loved our FrightFest shorts and believed in our off-beat vision for the show, which was both adhering to TV comedy tradition but also turning it on its head as well. We're not making fun of sitcoms... we've just watched enough to play by their rules... and then subsequently break them! That the show also has a lot of heart and pathos is also really exciting too, not something you'd expect from a show like this. I don’t think anyone knows what to expect with Holliston, and that’s what I love most about all this. Like it or not... we like it and could do it for year. It's been a blast, and we're so f*****g proud of the show, it was one of the most enjoyable creative experiences I've had thus far, and like you asked before, I think I grew from this project by fully embracing what it's like to be an actor in this situation since usually I'm on the other side of the lens, and also learning that I always do my best work when I'm surrounded by people who I enjoy working with. When its fun, that kind of energy and passion shows in every frame. That's so important to me.
So in a way, we have you guys and FrightFest to thank for all of this... without FF and the Road To FrightFest saga, none of this would be possible. Or... it might all be your fault! But seriously, on behalf of Adam and myself, we can't wait for our family and friends at FrightFest to see Holliston. I think the horror crowd is gonna dig it for sure but it's also something their mums will enjoy as well. Look at us, bringing families together with exploding heads! Maybe if there is a demand, the FF boys will throw us in that Discovery Screen One night and we'll just have a party watching a bunch of episodes together and then hit the Phoenix for a pint or 6. Sound like a plan?
HC: And what about Everly?
JL: I'm currently prepping Everly as we speak, which should be shooting early summer. Everly is a unique action-thriller that I wrote with my friend Yale that takes place in one space... I keep calling it "Die Hard in a room" which is pretty fitting. It's clearly unlike anything I've done before and that's what excites me; I love changing things up and playing in other genres. Now with Kate Hudson cast in the title role as the woman who has to defend herself and her family from an onslaught of Yakuza as they besiege her apartment, this thing is gonna be a powder keg of kick-ass but also have a true emotional core which we needed. To me, Everly is like my genre doctorate, taking everything I love about movies, learned about moviemaking, the power of cinema and just cannon-blasting it on-screen. It's the most personal thing I've done, it's the biggest project I've been a part of and cannot wait to shoot us the hell OUT of that room... literally.
HC: Joe Lynch, thank you very much.
JL: Thank YOU! See you at the Drive In!
MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
Posted on Friday 29th April 2022
A birthday bash becomes a bloodbath when monsters escape from a supernatural storybook, leaving a group of teenagers to fight for their lives and shut the party down in the UK TV premiere of Book of Monsters on May 16th on Horror. We chatted to its director, Stewart Sparke about this fun, retro-filled fright-fest.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a film director?
SS: I remember first realising that I wanted to make films during one of many viewings of The Mummy (1999) on VHS in my bedroom on an old 15" TV. I became quite obsessed with the film and tried to make all my friends come over to watch it ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Hyett, director of Peripheral
Posted on Wednesday 16th February 2022
Paul Hyett is a multi-disciplined creative whose work is as inventive as it is imaginative. His latest movie is a dark sci-fi chiller named Peripheral and it will have its UK TV premiere on Horror, Friday 25th February at 11.05pm.
Here he chats about this incredible movie and his plans for the future.
HC: How did you become attached to Peripheral?
PH: The producer Craig Touhy and I had been friends for a while and had nearly done another movie together and he'd liked the claustrophobia and tension of The Seasoning House so we met up to discuss Peripheral. When he pitched it to me, very much a low budget, contained movie, in one apartment. I must say I was a little hesitant. I...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Abigail Blackmore, writer and director of Tales From The Lodge
Posted on Tuesday 14th December 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's Xmas Day broadcast of her horror comedy feature Tales From The Lodge, director Abigail Blackmore recalls the brutal weather conditions, the challenges of casting and the joy of playing at FrightFest.
HC: Thanks to Horror Channel, Tales From The Lodge finally gets its UK TV premiere on British TV. Excited or what?
AB: So excited! I know a huge amount of people watch the Horror Channel so I'm hoping it opens TFTL up to a whole new audience.
HC: Looking back to its showcase screening at FrightFest in 2019, what are your abiding memories?
AB: It was a wonderful experience! FrightFest has long been one of the highlights of my ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Barbara Crampton, star of chilling horror Sacrifice
Posted on Wednesday 8th December 2021
Barbara Crampton is a Horror Channel favourite. This much loved and much admired creative is starring in the UK TV premiere of Sacrifice, which is showing December 12th at 9pm on Horror so we chatted to her about this movie and her plans for the future.
Note that there are some spoilers for Sacrifice in the interview.
HC: Can you recall how you felt the first time you stepped onto a TV or film set?
BC: Yes, I remember the first time I was ever on a television set, it was for the soap opera, Days of Our Lives, and it was my very first job, and I had one line, "Hi. I'm your cousin Trista from Colorado". It was to the character Marlena Evans and subsequently I had w...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Michael Mayer and Guy Ayal from the acclaimed movie Happy Times
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
Happy Times, which is showing at Grimmfest Online, is a movie that takes the home invasion genre and turns it inside out! Directed by Michael Mayer and co-written with composer Guy Ayal, the movie is a bombastic, bloody and hilarious piece of cinema. I chatted to them both about this dinner party from hell.
HC: Where did the idea for Happy Times come from?
MM: The idea for the movie started forming when I was invited to a Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year's) dinner in Los Angeles. It was the first year of Trump's presidency and wherever you went all people wanted to talk about was politics. One thing to know about the Israeli expat com...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with D.M. Cunningham, writer and director of The Spore
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
If you like your horror with a huge lashing of gruesome effects and a strong story then The Spore is for. Showing at Grimmfest Online, the movie from D.M. Cunningham is a smart take on the body horror genre. Here he chats about this movie which is guaranteed to get under your skin.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a director?
DM: I started out wanting to be a makeup effects artist. After seeing Night of the Living Dead and discovering Fangoria magazine I was hooked. Tom Savini was a huge influence on my trajectory toward becoming a filmmaker. It wasn't until later that I discovered that you could boss the monsters around on set being the director. That's...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ben Charles Edwards, co-writer and director of Father of Flies
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
A vulnerable young boy finds his mother pushed out of the family home by a strange new woman in Father of Flies, and he must confront the terrifying supernatural forces that seem to move in with her. This intense and chilling movie is showing at Grimmfest Online Edition so we chatted to director and co-writer Ben Charles Edwards about this movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Father of Flies come from?
BE: It came from my childhood experiences. When my good friend and journalist Dominic Wells was talking to me about my next project, he told me to draw on real life experiences. So, I did. My own experiences were neither as heightened nor as traumatic as they may...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Marcel Sarmiento co-writer and director of Faceless
Posted on Friday 15th October 2021
Showing at Grimmfest Online Edition is the incredibly inventive horror/sci-fi hybrid Faceless. Here, co-writer and director Marcel Sarmiento speaks about this superb movie.
HC: Have you always been a big horror movie fan?
MS: Definitely as a kid. My first movies made with my Betamax were all about scaring one other and how gross we could push makeup effects. We mostly strangled, stabbed, and threw each other off buildings. I think as I got older, I appreciated what you could do with horror more than horror for horror's sake. I love that you can make characters do things that in any other genre you couldn't make them do and still come out the other end liking them and routi...SHARE: READ MORE Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted on Tuesday 14th September 2021
Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.
Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?
It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.
HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.
HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.
HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!
Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.
HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.
The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?
MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 29th June
Tuesday 28th June
Wednesday 29th June