LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Brand New Interview With Tim Sullivan Co-Director Of Chillerama
By James Whittington, Tuesday 9th April 2013
The superb shocker Chillerama was given its UK Television premiere last month on the Horror Channel and can be seen on April 11th. This comic horror anthology was directed by four of the most talented directors around at the moment; Adam Rifkin, Joe Lynch, Adam Green and Tim Sullivan.
Over the next four nights we're posting brand new interviews with these fine fellows about this movie and what other projects they'’re working on. Tonight it's the turn of Tim Sullivan.
HC: Did you know from an early age that you wanted to be a director?
TS: Pretty much yeah. Once I saw Bela Lugosi as Dracula on television when I was five years old, I just KNEW I had to make monster movies. I used to take my GI Joe action figures and pose them and move them around as if they were in movies that I would make up. I would always steal my baby sister's Barbies to be the 'femme fatale'. Even then I knew you had to have a ‘final girl’.
HC: Is it true you worked on movies such as Godfather III?
TS: Nah, I just made that up to look cool on IMDb. JUST KIDDING! Absolutely. Godfather III, Cocktail, Coming To America, Scrooge, a host of others... After I graduated from film school, I immediately went to work on the streets of New York working on Hollywood productions that would come to the Big Apple to shoot mostly exterior scenes. I was a Production Assistant, which is a fancy way of saying 'grunt'. I did everything and worked my ass off for five years, learning from observing amazing directors such as Coppola, De Palma, Mike Nichols, Richard Donner, and my all-time fave, John Landis, with whom I formed a lifetime friendship. These were the days when one actually worked their way up the ladder and gained 'in the trenches experience and wisdom' didn't just post a homemade video on You Tube and get a studio deal to direct the next super hero franchise. LOL
HC: There's been a resurrection of the Anthology genre recently, why do you think that is and do you have a recent favourite?
TS: Quite honestly, I think Chillerama lead the flock. There was actually an article here in the States about how Chillerama started a trend. We did come out long before Theater Bizarre, VHS and ABC's Of Death ya know. And before Chillerama, I wrote Hood Of Horror. I tell ya - I think a lot of it has to do with the short attention span of folks these days who are used to quick little vids on YouTube or tweets on Twitter. An anthology film is like a great way to explore lots of different styles and stories and themes within one sitting - often with several different directors - which is actually quite different from the anthology films that inspired me and Adam to create Chillerama - films like House That Dripper Blood, Dr Terror's House Of Horrors, the original British Tales From The Crypt - all those great Amicus classics. They all were done by the same director. Even Creepshow in the 80's was all George Romero. I may be wrong, but until Chillerama, the only horror anthology I can think of with several directors was Spirits Of The Dead from the 60's.
HC: What was the inspiration for your story for Chillerama?
TS: Being gay, as a teenager, I was very much aware of the gay subtext in a lot of 'teen angst' films, whether it be subtle such as I Was A Teenage Werewolf, where the main character is wrestling with the 'wild beast inside', or films such as Freddy's Revenge which was not so subtle at all, I mean come on - the scene in the shower with the gym coach and all those whips and leather? So since the whole point of Chillerama was doing it at such a low price that all four of us could literally make whatever we wanted (sort of like when the KISS members all went off and made their own solo albums showcasing their individual personalities), I thought this was the perfect (and maybe only) opportunity for me to make a statement thru comedy, music and horror about how the lack of love and acceptance by society can truly breed monsters- or in this case, werebears. And remember werebears need love too. LOL
HC: Do you think you've created a new horror genre with your story?
TS: I've been told I'm the father of "Queer Fear"! LOL I was at Amoeba Records here in Hollywood the other day, and they now have section called Queer Fear! I Was A Teenage Werebear was the only movie in there! LOL
HC: Was it a fun shoot and what was the atmosphere like on set?
TS: It truly was a fricking blast. Even with all the pressure of the limited budget and shooting schedule, we all had so much fun. Everyone knew exactly what we were making and gave in to the hilarity of it. Just being on the beaches of Malibu with beautiful talented people shooting my personal twisted version of Grease with blood, nakedness and dance numbers? I mean- can I take a time machine back there now please?
HC: Did you all have similar sized budgets?
TS: Not at all. Green shot his for $20k. I shot mine for $35k. Rifkin shot his for about $75k. Then Joe took all the money we saved and hoped to pay ourselves a little bit with and blew it all on zombie puss and excrement. B******d! LOL
HC: Would you like to be part of another anthology film such as the recent ABC's Of Death?
TS: Honest? I'd rather be part of my own idea! (As in a follow-up to Chillerama, wink-wink.)
HC: You must be pleased Chillerama got its UK premiere on the Horror Channel?
TS: Thrilled. I am a HUGE fan of Horror Channel and all you guys who run it. You guys are the real deal. You really love this stuff and it shows in the way you run your network. I must say, it is a bit surreal having the movie premiere on the Horror Channel without it being followed up by a proper DVD release. I've been told by the 'powers that be' that no distributor in the UK wants to touch it. Are we really that controversial and politically correct? Guess we've really pushed the boundaries. And that’s why I LOVE the Horror Channel - you guys rush in where others fear to tread!
HC: Would you like to go back to your 2001 Maniacs series?
TS: Ah, 2001 Maniacs. I love my maniacs and miss them deeply. Hell yeah I'd like to go back. The possibilities are endless with where we can go with those characters and the concept. What I'd really love to do is make the third one epic - get every 80's horror icon and divide them up into the north and the south - do a Zombie re-enactment of the Civil War with a bunch of idiot 'victims' caught in the crossfire. Basically what The Expendables is to 80's action icons but with 80's horror icons. I'd bring back brother Robert Englund AND Bill Moseley and have them be the Buckman brothers with Lin Shaye's Granny Boone fighting over them both. Any financiers out there interested? LOL I work cheap! Just ask my Chillerama producers! LOL
HC: So what are you working on at the moment?
TS: I've got a couple of things up my sleeve going back to my rock and roll roots of Detroit Rock City. First up, I am writing and directing a film based on The Poet In Exile, the novel written by The Doors co-founder Ray Manzarek that imagines "what if" Jim Morrison had NOT died, and all these years later reaches out to Ray to explain why he faked his death and why he’s coming back. It's a real departure for me from my 'splatstick' projects. It's subject near and dear to my heart and soul, and I am beyond honoured that Ray trusts me to tell this story. I also have a crazy-ass reality show with my pal Gene Simmons – but if I say any more about that, he’ll kill me. So - 'nuff said on that. Lastly I've been asked to develop I Was A Teenage Werebear into a play for the UK stage! I always saw Werebears as a truncated version of a bigger vision. In fact, I designed it with two extra songs and a lot more campiness that worked as a 40 minute stand-alone Hairspray meets Rocky Horror short film, but in the context of Chillerama was way too long.
HC: Tim Sullivan, thank you very much.
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