LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview With Chillerama Co-Director Adam Green
By James Whittington, Monday 8th July 2013
The superb shocker Chillerama was given its UK Television premiere in March on the Horror Channel and can be seen tonight at 10.55pm. 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.
Here Adam Green talks about this and what he thinks of the state of horror at the moment.
HC: Your story for Chillerama could be looked at as being controversial by some, how did you pitch it to the other directors?
AG: Actually, Adam Rifkin pitched me the title (The Diary Of Anne Frankenstein) when the four of us first met up to discuss potentially doing this project. He said, "Green, you’re Jewish- you should do Anne Frankenstein." I said, "But Rifkin, you're Jewish, too. Why don’t you take that one?". He replied, "Yeah, but what if instead you did it?" And that was sort of it. Though the phrase "The diary of Anne Frankenstein" is a joke that’s been around for decades, I have to admit I was still scared to death of it at first. I mean, who wants to touch that title with a ten-foot pole? Unfortunately, we live in a world full of people who literally seek out reasons to be offended and who love nothing more than to be “outraged” so that they can get attention. Especially coming off of Hatchet 2 and all of the controversy I had just lived through with that film’s public battle with the MPAA and its assassination from cinemas here in the US… the last thing I wanted was to be put in the spotlight for ridiculous negative reasons again. However, right there in that first meeting I immediately came up with the idea of doing a piece that would be a complete mockery of Hitler and not something that could possibly be taken seriously even for a moment. I started getting really excited about doing a true black and white Universal Monsters style film and once I had the idea of casting Joel David Moore (who knows not a single word of German) as Hitler and surrounding him with authentic German speaking actors who would play it straight… I was no longer afraid of the title but truly inspired by it. Hell, I was going to get to make my own Frankenstein Monster! How could I turn that down? As a Jewish person, I reviled in the fun of making a clown out of Hitler and I channelled my inner Mel Brooks (one of my biggest comedic idols) while I wrote the script. The interesting thing about Anne Frankenstein is that the Frank family is only in the movie for a few seconds as part of the set-up. I barely even made reference to the holocaust or the atrocities that took place in World War 2. In fact, though it may be the most controversial title in Chillerama, Anne Frankenstein is probably the tamest piece in the film and the least offensive segment of all. I’ve seen the film with audiences all over the world and only once has someone ever said they were offended by it after watching it. The guy was a self-proclaimed Neo Nazi who accused me of “painting the Fuhrer like a clown”. As the son of a Hebrew teacher, I considered that moment a victory. There is a fantastic documentary on the DVD and Blu-ray release of Chillerama where the cast, crew, and I discuss not only how we technically made Anne Frankenstein but all of the thought that went into the delicate process of making a comedy set in one the most horrific and devastating time periods our world will ever know. I highly suggest checking it out.
HC: To me its Monty Python at its creative peek meets classic Universal horror, would you agree?
AG: Wow. That’s a very big compliment and yes, that was exactly what I was going for. I walk away from every screening feeling so incredibly proud of the piece. Reviews, awards, and accolades… those are all nice. But as a comedian, there is no feeling of accomplishment greater than hearing an audience howl with laughter to the point that they drown out the film itself. You can’t fake laughter like that. There are no politics or agendas behind that kind of uproarious laughter. It’s the most primal and real reaction you can hope to get and when it happens universally across oceans and language barriers… it’s a wonderful thing.
HC: Do you think the horror genre is in good health at the moment?
AG: I’m excited to see what the next decade will hold. Looking back, filmmakers my age who came onto the scene in the past ten years or so were saddled with some very difficult hurdles. Not only was the “trend” all about remakes over originals (both with the studios who churned the remakes out and the fans who supported them in droves) but we also saw the indie financing industry take a nosedive with budgets and distribution as internet piracy wreaked havoc on us. There was never a harder time than this past decade to get an original (decent budgeted) horror movie made and distributed. But now that remakes have kind of run their course (at least as far as being the only horror films studios will finance- they’re now out of recognizable titles to remake!) and people are starting to see the light about internet piracy (on both sides of the coin)… I am optimistic that more and more original horror movies will get a chance to be made and to be seen. I hope that this next wave of new horror story tellers has an easier time getting their movies made than my generation had and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table. As a genre- we’re always alive and well. Horror will never die and we will always survive the passing trends because we’re a “community” unlike fans of other genres. Just walk by the “sleepy queue” for FrightFest and look at the die hard fans standing in line over-night for tickets (not even knowing 100% what the programming will exactly be yet). It’s the true horror fans like that who always make this an easy question for me to answer. “Are we in good health?” Well, who needs health when you’ve got the living dead as part of your community? Of course we’re fine! We’ve got zombies! The rest of ya’ll are f***** though.
HC: You must have been pleased that Chillerama got its UK premiere on the Horror Channel?
AG: I’ve had a very special connection with the UK audience ever since Hatchet first premiered at UK FrightFest in 2006 and so I’m always especially excited when a new film of mine premieres across the pond. The Horror Channel has been incredibly supportive of my career over the years so this is like a double-win. Who knows? Perhaps Holliston will wind up on the Horror Channel when it arrives in the UK? You never know!
HC: Would you like to be part of another anthology film such as the recent ABC's Of Death?
AG: I was approached for ABC's Of Death when they first started putting the project together but I passed. I was in the middle of post-production on Chillerama when they started assembling their team of directors and the thought of doing another anthology film at that time just wasn’t appealing to me, as fun as the project sounded and as terrific as the people behind it were. While I can never say “never”, right now another anthology just isn’t in the cards for me. Remember, with Chillerama I didn’t just write and direct a segment. My company (ArieScope Pictures) also produced it and put the money and distribution together to make it happen. That’s a hell of a lot of responsibility/heartache and so I couldn’t just make my segment and “let the chips fall where they may”. When you produce a film it is essentially an STD for your company. It never goes away and it is never really over. Wait, did I really just compare Chillerama to syphilis? Yup. Have at it, critics and haters. You’re welcome for that one.
HC: How much involvement have you had with Hatchet III?
AG: I wrote it, I produced it, I’m presenting it, I cast most every actor in it, I was there for every step of pre-production, filming, and post-production, I surrounded our new director with my incredible ArieScope crew, and I had final cut of the film. So let’s just say that it won’t feel like I ever left. If you’re a fan of the first two films I think you’re going to really like what we did with Hatchet III.
HC: Adam Green, thank you very much.
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