Monday, June 24, 2013

Heavy Metal: A conversation with Don Jamieson of "That Metal Show"

Being a fan of heavy metal means being part of the heavy metal family. As a Metalhead for more than 30 years, I've heard this from many people in many different cities. We may not know each other personally, but we share a similar set of values. Heavy metal fans tend to be extremely loyal, dedicated, and passionate people. They're not concerned about what's popular or trendy. In fact, long hair and black t-shirts have been the uniform of heavy metal since it first appeared sometime in the 1970s (exactly when and by whom is of some debate). Metal fans are authentic, and their interest in the music transcends time and shuns fads. And we know bullshit when we see it. That's not to say we always agree. No family ever agrees on everything. "Metal" comes in many varieties, including but not limited to classic metal, hair metal, doom metal, progressive metal, European metal, speed metal, black metal, and death metal. Even some of those sub-genres have blurred and morphed over the years. But at its core, metal is about power, vitality, and an uncompromising attitude. Metal doesn't give a fuck what you think about it.

I recently spoke with one of heavy metal's most prominent ambassadors, Don Jamieson. It only took a few minutes for me to appreciate his love of heavy metal. Don's childhood in New Jersey was all about the three M's: malls, mullets, and metal. Many of us who grew up with metal in the 1980s and 1990s—even outside of the Garden State—can relate to that sentiment. Don is an incredibly humble individual, the salt of the earth. He loves what he does and he makes no apologies for it. Jamieson has a soft spot for 80s hair metal (he's practically neighbors with Sebastian Bach, the lead singer of Skid Row from 1987 to 1996) but his tastes in metal go far beyond that. He loves the early heavy bands such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest as well as the titans of thrash like Metallica and Megadeth. Don is as comfortable talking about 1980s Ratt as he is the 1990s stoner rock scene of Red Bank, New Jersey, which spawned bands like Monster Magnet and the Atomic Bitchwax.

From his website:
"Don started his career as one of the young and talented comedy minds at MTV helping to launch the careers of comics like Jon Stewart, Kevin James, Pauly Shore (sorry) and Tom Green, but unbeknownst to many, Don was spending his nights on the local comedy scene developing his own comic style…Amongst his many accomplishments, comedian Don Jamieson's proudest moment is becoming an Emmy Award-Winner for his work on HBO's Inside the NFL. Don and long-time comedy partner, Jim Florentine, lent their brand of humor to the popular sports show; writing, producing and performing sports-themed comedy sketches."

Today, Don Jamieson is the co-host of VH1 Classic's That Metal Show along with Eddie Trunk and Jim Florentine. The website says that, "…the program is a round-table talk show where legends of rock hang out and discuss their past and current projects in front of a live studio audience full of metal maniacs." In addition, "…Rolling Stone Magazine just dubbed That Metal Show one of the 50 Best Reasons to Watch TV!" Don also tours the country doing his honest style of stand-up, and has become the first comedian signed to Metal Blade Records for his debut comedy album, Live and Hilarious.


For those living in northeast Ohio, you can see Don's live act this week. He will be performing at Vosh in Lakewood on Wednesday, June 26th, and at the Cleveland Improv Thursday, June 27th through June 30th.

Now it's time dig out your Tawny Kitaen poster, crack a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon, and rewind side one of that Shout at the Devil cassette as I talk metal with Don Jamieson.


Let's talk New Jersey. Were you around the stoner rock/Red Bank scene at the time bands like Monster Magnet and The Atomic Bitchwax were playing?

Yeah, and they're still around which is really cool, just in different versions now. The current drummer for Monster Magnet and Bitchwax, Bob Pantella, lives a few blocks from me in my little town here in New Jersey. So he and I hang out often and have a few adult beverages now and again.

Very cool. Those bands were a big influence on me [J. is the lead singer of Cleveland's Threefold Law] and it's really cool you're still in touch with those guys.

Absolutely. Dave Wyndorf lives in New Jersey. I've seen him at the grocery store before. So we got a small metal world here in the central part of Jersey.

My buddy, JJ, a bit further north, runs a blog called The Obelisk. He does a great job of promoting the New Jersey music scene.

Yeah, it's still a good music scene here in Jersey. I lived in Manhattan for 15 years and obviously the New York scene, for the longest time, was incredible. But they started to shut down all the rock clubs the last few years I lived there. It was really disconcerting because it was like, if we can't rock in New York City, where can we rock? So it's funny, but at this point New Jersey has a better music scene.

I definitely believe it because I lived there through most of the 1990s. What was it like to be on the same stage as Metallica at the Orion Festival?

This whole journey—with everything that's going on with That Metal Show, around every corner—I'm just amazed. It's like, I'm just a kid from New Jersey, I like to tell dirty jokes, have a few laughs, and hang out with my friends, and here I am standing on the side of the stage watching Metallica play. I never would have dreamt of this when I was driving around New Jersey with my mullet, trying to pick up girls in the mall, and buying Metallica albums. It's incredible that all these years later I'm part of their lives and they're part of mine.

If heavy metal didn't exist, what flag would you be flying? If it were not heavy metal, what type of music would you have been driving around listening to?

Growing up in New Jersey was all about the 3 M's: malls, mullets, and metal. So you basically had to listen to metal, have a mullet, and hang out at the mall, which I did all the time. Now people think of Jersey as TTL. But back then when I grew up it, was MMM, and so I lived by that code strictly and still do to this day.

Can we do a quick version of "Put it on the Table"?

Yeah, let's do it. I like that you're pulling out a new segment. Very good.

If you weren't on That Metal Show, what other talk show would you be on?

I'd be on my other television show, Beer Money, on SNY here in the New York/New Jersey area. I do a sports trivia show here because I'm a big sports fan. So that's where you'd find me. Where you still will find me.

You're in Cleveland, right?

Yes. That's where I live now.

They have their own version of Beer Money out there and I do the one in New York on the Mets Channel, SNY, out here. You guys have a chick with really big boobs and they have a silly man with sideburns. So I think you guys win on that one, but I got nothing but love.

Right. Boobs trump sideburns. Sorry, man.

Always.

What's your one vice?

Beer. That's about it. I'm not a real extreme guy except for my taste in music. That's my one vice, beer. It's getting close. As soon as we're done, it's going to be about that time.

What's something you did that neither Trunk nor Florentine know about?

We're like three best buddies. We tell each other everything. Something I did...boy, I don't know. I'd have to really think about that one. Probably something crazy in L.A. that I didn't tell them. The first couple years we did the show in L.A. I was getting around a bit. It wouldn't be so much what I did, but who I did.

Fair enough. I'm not going to push any further on that.

That's alright. I'm settled down with my girlfriend. So that stuff's all good. I'm a domesticated Metalhead now.

Let's talk about mullets and hair. I was watching That Metal Show with my wife and she was like, "What happened to all the hair? I thought metal was about black shirts and long hair? I don't see much." I was like, "You know what? I'm going to ask Don that question." What happened to the heavy metal uniformthe long hair, the black shirts?

If you hang out in Jersey, if you go to the Stone Pony or Dingbatz up in Clifton, you're still going to see guys that are living in 1986. My buddy from college still has long hair, not quite as mulletty as it used to be but he still has the same look. I think he still wears the same jeans he had in college. They're still around. If you go to the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, you're still going to see those people. I love stuff like that. Bobby Blotzer from Ratt came and did our show, I mean that guy is still in 1987. I love it. That's commitment. He's still saying "Ratt-n-Roll". He's got the young girlfriend. He shows up in the stretch limo. He's wasted at eleven in the morning and he's still living the rock star life. And God bless him, man. That's a great way to live.

And that attitude is really different than another 80s guy like Vince Neil. I'm not passing judgment, but Vince Neil seems to be in a very different place than some of those other guys from the 80s. He's much more businesslike in his ventures, seems to have taken more lumps.

Well, Vince, he's lived a rock star life. Obviously he's gone through lots of tragedy. There are some guys who have had it better and hopefully they've calmed down over the years. That's the thing, man, when you love these artists—and I've been a Mötley Crüe fan since 1983—you want them to stick around.

Look at Rob Halford. He has said for a long time how messed up he was in the early 80s. He's a mellow guy now and we all think of him as basically our leader in heavy metal. And he's real smart and well put together. Yet, who knew all the troubles he went through? And he's been sober 25 years at this point. You either make that jump and start taking things seriously or you die. That's the bottom line. I'm thrilled to death that Priest is still making music today.

We forget that these rock stars are people like everybody else.

Yeah, exactly. For all the excesses and all that rock 'n' roll stuff, that's why you love your rock stars. But at some point, too, it becomes about the music, and when you're a fan of that band and that music, you want it to keep going. Especially if that band is still putting out good music after 35 or 40 years.

You're coming up to our neck of the woods, to Cleveland, Ohio, this week, beginning on the 26th of June. I was wondering if you could tell us a little about Live and Hilarious?

I did a comedy album on Metal Blade Records a couple years ago. Metal Blade is home of Slayer and King Diamond and lots of great metal like that. So obviously I'm very proud that I had a comedy album out on a metal label that I've loved since the very beginning. They're celebrating 30 years. They didn't crumble like all these major record companies. You know why? Because they weren't greedy. They said, "Hey! We're going to change with the times. If downloading is the way to go, then we're going to make sure our fans can get physical copies and they can download them, too." The big, old, dinosaur companies were just greedy. They still wanted $20 for a CD. Metal Blade never operated that way. They changed with the times. But most importantly, they put my album out. I was the first comedian ever signed to the label and we did great with the record. Thanks to the power of social media, my album hit the top 20 on iTunes, on the comedy iTunes chart, and the Top 10 on the comedy Billboard charts, which I do want to qualify: I'm very proud that I went to the Top 10 on Billboard's chart, but at the same time Louis C.K. had an album out called Hilarious and I suspect a lot of people downloaded my album, Live and Hilarious, thinking it was Louis'. And that's probably what got me in the Top 10. So for anybody who did that and thought they were getting Louis' album, I apologize. But thank you for giving me some time on the charts. I appreciate it.

What a fortunate alignment of the planets, the way that worked out for you?

And thank you to Louis also. Probably without his release I would not have cracked the Top 10.

Here in Cleveland, we have our own version of Metal BladeAuburn Recordsrun by long-time DJ and Metalhead, Bill Peters. It's got the same feel as Metal Blade. It's a family operation.

I know Bill!

Excellent guy. And he didn't get greedy either. He was all about the metal and about promoting the bands he loves, and he still does to this day. So thankful for those kinds of guys…

Yeah, that's the thing. We're a very close, tight-knit community. I think that's what's appealing about our fan base—everyone feels very connected. There's a lot of music you're going to tune through your radio while you're driving around during the day. You're not going to come across the type of songs we listen to. You're not going to tune into whatever the popular afternoon show is in Cleveland and hear Slayer, Raining Blood. That's just not going to happen. You know us Metalheads have to find our ways to listen to music and commune together—that's what we do.

Absolutely! I really appreciate you taking the time to talk and I don't want to cut in to your beer time tonight. Anything else you want to say before we finish up?

Well, I'd like to let people know the new season of That Metal Show is currently on the air and we're really proud of the new version of the show. The hook is still talking to the artists, but there are a lot of changes to the show, a lot of new segments. We hope to give the show new life. This Saturday is Rex Brown/Sebastian Bach. It's our 100th episode to date, so we're real proud to hit that milestone and hopefully we'll continue to do it [aired June 15th]. If you want to come out and see my stand-up, you can check out donjamieson.com—that's my website, and it's minutes of fun. You can also check me out on Twitter @realdonjamison. There you go.

I appreciate it, Don. Have a good one.

Thanks for the support, man.

Contact:

Official - http://www.donjamieson.com
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/donjamiesonofficial
Twitter - http://twitter.com/realdonjamieson
That Metal Show - http://www.vh1.com/shows/that_metal_show/series.jhtml

Monday, June 17, 2013

Want a tune from Threefold Law? Pay with a Tweet or Facebook mention.

As some of you may know, I’m in Threefold Law, an original heavy band playing in and around Cleveland, Ohio. For the past year or so, we've been looking to fill a few spots in the band. We’ve recently added a new rhythm section and are hoping to be performing again in a matter of weeks. The energy these two guys have brought to the band has been really inspiring and I think all will notice the change.

In order to celebrate the next stage of the band, we’d like to offer you "Earth", the first Threefold Law song off of our last EP, Revenant. How much does it cost? A tweet. That’s right, a tweet or Facebook mention. The good folks over at paywithatweet.com have created a free service that allows artists to “sell” some product in exchange for a social media mention. There’s no catch. Click the button below (or the one at the top left of our band website, www.threefoldlaw.com), authorize the paywithatweet app, and send it. You’ll then be directed to a page where you can download "Earth".


Thanks for your support and check out our return on July 20th, 2013 at The Phantasy in Lakewood, Ohio.

And if you have a second, check out our ReverbNation page where we’re currently ranked the #2 Heavy Metal band in Cleveland.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Let’s talk. Call me at 216.245.8476 and I’ll call you back. Seriously.

The number is 216.245.8476, or if you appreciate creativity on the dial pad, 216.24J.THRN.

Seriously, that’s my phone number. Call and leave me a voicemail with your name and number and I promise to call you back. Did a scene in one of my books trouble you? Call me. Did you love one of my novels and want to shower me with praise? Call me. Do you want advice on writing or publishing your own book? Call me. Do you want to order a large pepperoni with mushrooms and cheese? Can’t help you there.

When I shared this idea with some of my friends it confirmed their hunch that there is something really wrong with me. Some of them think I’m insane. They can’t understand why I would want to talk to total strangers, let alone give out my number on the internet. I am insane. But that aside, I’ve always gone against the grain. I mean, you’ve read my other blog posts, right? In an increasingly faceless world where people can hide behind a keyboard and spew hate, or where “collecting followers” is a game, an element of humanity is becoming lost. I am very active on social media and enjoy using it. However, I’m more interested in aligning with the RIGHT people instead of the MOST people.

Why do I get up in the morning? Because I believe in giving. I believe in making the lives of others better. I do this by creating art that makes life more enjoyable, rejuvenates the spirit, and connects us through universal human experiences. And I happen to tell great stories. Wanna try one?

So about my phone number…Leave me a message along with a good time to call you back and I will call you back, I promise. I love heavy metal, hockey, horror & dark fantasy, and long walks on a post-apocalyptic beach filled with zombie parts. Of course we can still be Facebook friends, sharing cat memes. But maybe we can inspire each other with something more meaningful than a re-tweet.  Let’s help each other out instead of tearing one another down. Back in the day, before Facebook, I believe they called that “friendship”.

I look forward to your call.


Note: I’d like to give credit to Dan Blank at WeGrowMedia. He was the first person that I discovered in the publishing industry to make his phone number available to anyone that wants to call. He is a master at platform-building and if you’re an author, you need to check out his stuff. I’d also like to thank Simon Sinek for starting me with why.

If you haven’t done so yet, please click on the $10 Amazon gift card at the top left of the blog to take a quick 3 question survey on what you read with the chance at winning a $10 Amazon Gift Card! Complete the survey by June 30th, 2013 to be eligible. Winner picked at random and notified on July 1st, 2013.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Meet Eduardo Sánchez, writer & director (The Blair Witch Project, Lovely Molly, V/H/S/2)

The Blair Witch Project was the focus of last week’s post where I explained why I found the movie inspirational and how it has influenced me as a writer of horror and dark fantasy. This week, I’m honored and excited to bring you part two. I recently spoke with writer/director Eduardo Sánchez about his films and it became clear to me that we share a similar approach to storytelling. His movies expose the terrifying isolation inherent in the human condition, and yet the characters still illicit feelings of empathy. The stories help us to realize that we all share the same hopes, dreams, and fears which can be one of the redeeming elements of horror and dark fantasy. We can see ourselves in the characters Sánchez creates; our joy and pain originating from the same source as theirs.

He can be found huddled in a home office and surrounded by action figures and movie mementos. Eduardo is a fast-talking, high-octane guy that answered my old questions (about The Blair Witch Project) with the same enthusiasm as my new ones (about V/H/S/2 and Exists). Sánchez loves storytelling and his energy is contagious.

I would like to sincerely thank Eduardo for the opportunity to talk horror and I would also encourage you to watch all of his films, especially if you love psychological terror or found footage features. Links to several of Sánchez’s movies are at the bottom of the post. Although we did not talk about Seventh Moon, those of you that have read Preta’s Realm or Demons Within (books 1 and 2 of The Hidden Evil Trilogy) will recognize the “hungry ghost” mythology in that movie, although in a slightly different context than my novels.

Please allow me to introduce you to storyteller and film maker, Eduardo Sánchez.

*Note: The trailer for V/H/S/2 is at the bottom of the interview. It is intended for mature audiences only. The entire film is available on June 6th, 2013 here.


J: Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

E: I was born in Cuba. My parents got out of there before I turned two. We moved to Spain and then to the United States, the Washington D.C. area, around 1972. Most of my early memories are from Spain but I’ve spent pretty much my whole life in the United States. My parents still don’t speak any English. I am an American citizen now and I consider myself as American as can be but I also have this very Cuban side. So part of me doesn’t really fit in anywhere. I think that feeling kind of drove me to film making; the idea of being able to create another world, creating something else, another reality, and then to populate that reality with characters and control it. With writing and directing you are world-building, you’re choosing what to show the audience, what the audience hears, what the audience sees. There is this kind of God complex that we all have and we all try to control. For me, I think it comes from being a Cuban-American and not really fitting in to either society. So it’s kind of a unique perspective that I’ve brought to my film making in general.

J: I think we’re about the same age, so I’m guessing you grew up in the 70s. Are there film makers or directors that inspired you as a child?


E: There are so many film makers that I love. Those from our generation stand out. Without Star Wars and Spielberg none of us would really be doing this and most of us wouldn’t be interested in films the way that we are. Lucas and Spielberg really did provide the spark for the explosion of independent film making in the late 80s and 90s that continues to this day. In the generation before us, I don’t think many people shared that desire. I think those films made us want to be film makers. Other than the big early inspirations the few pivotal films for me were Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and before that I was always very much in the Speilberg/Lucas camp. Do The Right Thing really opened my eyes to the other possibilities of film making, the social aspect of it. Early in my college career I did a film called Gabriel’s Dream which was kind of like Clerks meets Spike Lee. It was basically a bunch of guys in a warehouse during a particularly hot summer fighting for the boss to turn on the air conditioning system in their warehouse. I was 20 years old when I wrote it and I think it definitely needed a little more age, a little more maturity to be better but it was a feature that I did. It always helps; even failures help you. Failure teaches you more than success. I was very much into that social kind of film making for a while but later in college I really got into Scorsese and Woody Allen and a ton of other filmmakers.  My favorite science fiction movie is Blade Runner. I love most of Ridley Scott’s films. I like The Exorcist. That film had a big impact on me and The Amityville Horror really scared the crap out of me. Of course there’s The Shining and The Changeling. For the comedy/action type of horror movie I love Evil Dead 2. I think if I could I would constantly make movies like Evil Dead 2. Jamie Nash and I have so many ideas about these kind of goofy comedy/horror/action movies. My segment in V/H/S/2 that I directed with Gregg Hale is about as close as I’ve gotten to that kind of filmmaking since Blair Witch. It’s the funniest segment in the movie. Jamie wrote it and it’s kind of a twist on the zombie thing.  It’s good, pretty funny. It’s a point of view that hasn’t been seen before. That’s the stuff I’d like to do. I get a lot of inspiration from a lot of different film makers and now is such an exciting time because everybody is making films. There’s a lot of bad stuff out there but at least people are doing it. People send me features and they’re like, “Check out this film. I haven’t been able to sell it,” and I see that they’re making a lot of mistakes or maybe they just don’t have the inherent talent, but at least they have the spirit to go out and do it. I’m kind of fascinated by film makers that are constantly making films no matter what the outcome. They just need to do it, like an addiction. I love that energy because that’s the energy I had before I started making a living at it. Not that I don’t have fun making films anymore, but once you start making a living at something it becomes a little different, it becomes your job, and you have to find that energy again. 

J: Film making and writing today are very different than they were even five years ago. The technology has really leveled the playing field. If you had to make The Blair Witch Project today, how would it be different?

E: The biggest problem with all horror films now is the cell phone. You’ve got to come up with a way people can’t use cell phones. Even in the time period Blair Witch takes place, 1994, we still got that question, “Why didn’t they use their cell phones?” In 1994, not many people had cell phones, especially students. When we were shooting The Blair Witch in 1997 there was no cell phone reception in that park. It was just two square miles of woods and there was no reception at all. Today I think you’d have to figure out the cell phone issue in Blair. Technically (if shooting The Blair Witch today), they would have GoPros, they wouldn’t be lugging around 16mm cameras - that’s for sure, and Mike Williams wouldn’t have that sound rig. It was like a two square foot box he was lugging around, a huge digital audio recorder.

J: The box and the boom microphone.


E: Yes. Nowadays he’d just have an iPhone or a little digital recorder he could put in his pocket. So technologically, I think it would definitely change. We wouldn’t shoot it on Hi8 of course. A lot of people have asked if they’ll ever remake The Blair Witch Project. It was an experiment, almost like capturing a moment, coming together, and building this movie, a kind of magical alchemy that happened out there between the actors and the crew. So I never go back to Blair Witch and think if we should have done this or that. The only thing I think is that I would love to be able to re-edit a two and a half hour version. That was the original version that we had tested on our way to editing it down to eighty five minutes. But we screened it just to see if people could sit through it. I don’t know where that version is. I’d love to show that version of the movie because there’s a lot of really great stuff in there, mostly for the actors because there are a lot of really cool scenes that we had to cut out. The thing about Blair Witch that is so weird is that you really have to be patient with that film. Movies have changed so much just in the last five years. The attention span of the horror audience, especially the young people, is so short. You look at some of those movies from the 70s and you really have to sit yourself down and say, “Okay. I’m here for a while and I’m going to invest myself in this,” because they are really slow, a much slower burn, which I think Blair Witch does as well. You can’t compare Blair Witch to something like Cloverfield or even Paranormal Activity, even though Paranormal Activity followed Blair Witch almost like a formula. It was great - I had breakfast with Oren Peli and that’s what he told me; he studied the movie and came up with Paranormal.  He did hell of a job, I’m telling you. But things always change. You can compare Blair to the movie I just finished, my Bigfoot movie, which is found footage.  The pacing is completely different.

J: I can’t wait to see that movie.

E: It’s a completely different kind of film than Blair. You have to keep in mind that when we were doing Blair Witch we were trying to make it real, “This is really happening. This is real footage and now were going to take this footage and were going to make a documentary out of it.” Like we were real documentarians. Now, you’re not fooling anybody. I was just trying to make a cool Bigfoot movie.

The technology to capture these films has definitely changed and will continue to change but at the same time good stuff still finds its way out of the crowd. Now it’s so much easier, if you’re extremely talented, to get noticed than it was before. With YouTube you can have your own channel. There are people making a living off of YouTube which is an amazing thing. It’s definitely cool and everybody’s trying to predict what’s going to happen. I just kind of step back and absorb stuff, observe, and just see where the next Kevin Smith, the next Spike Lee is coming from.

J: As a horror novelist and a fan of scary movies, I can trace my influences back to The Blair Witch Project and The Shining because of the element of creepy, unseen evil. There is something very powerful in that. However, Lovely Molly is the kind of frightening story I aspire to tell because it’s character-driven and they are so visceral, so real. Why did you place Molly in her parents’ old house?

E: Well, as you know from writing horror, you have to figure out how to get people into danger, whether that’s psychological danger or physical danger, and how to isolate them. With my Bigfoot movie, it’s easy. You throw them in the woods, in a cabin, and then Bigfoot attacks. In a lot of horror movies the physical isolation is the easy part. The psychological isolation is what is really difficult. For Lovely Molly, I had to figure out how to get this woman back into her house where all these bad things happened. It was the economic reasons of not being able to have enough money, which is what a lot of America is facing right now. The idea of having a bunch of jobs and not being able to make ends meet forces you to go back to this place that you probably don’t want to have to go back to. I also think Molly had unfinished business and at the end of this ride, this horrendous trip into hell, it’s about Molly empowering herself in a really weird way. At the end of the movie she kind of wins, she deals with her shit, which I think was part of the reason she allowed herself to go back to this house.

J: She gets closure, one way or another.

E: She gets closure. She kind of rights these wrongs, whether it’s in her head or whether it’s real, she figures it out. At the end of it she’s like, “Alright. I’m fine. I’m going to walk into these woods and I’m good.” She’s taken care of business. There’s always a question of how much she remembers. Did she block it out? She tells the cop she doesn’t remember any of that stuff and he’s like, you’re lucky you don’t remember any of it. Gretchen Lodge [Molly] and I talked about this a lot. What is she doing going back? She knows she’s going to get into trouble by going back there but she has to get this part of her life behind her or she’ll never be normal.

J: Can you give us an update on the Bigfoot movie and V/H/S/2?


E: V/H/S/2 is playing festivals. It last played the Maryland Film Festival in May and is coming out on VOD on June 6. It’s got one of those VOD and then limited theatrical releases – on July 12. It was a really fun film to work on. All the film makers were at least ten years younger than Gregg (co-director) and I so it was kind of humbling. It was cool and they all had such great energy and their films are fantastic. It was cool to come back and be a part of something Dan Myrick and I popularized fifteen years ago. It was cool to be on the cutting edge of found footage again; even in the very little way that Gregg and I are involved in this movie. I really liked the first one and I think V/H/S/2 is much better than the first one. It’s more cohesive, it makes more sense, and it’s shorter; about a half hour shorter which helps in the found footage genre. I’m really proud of it and now there are a lot of people who want me to be part of other anthologies. I haven’t done a short film since film school and I discovered it’s a really great way to put an idea down and to work but not kill yourself. You can literally be done in a couple of months whereas a feature film usually takes at least a year if not two our of your life.

J: And the Bigfoot movie?

E: Exists is finished. It’s my first found footage feature since Blair Witch. I’ve wanted to make a Bigfoot movie since I was a little kid. It’s literally the third Bigfoot story I’ve been involved with. But we finally got this one done. I’m really proud of it. We shot it near Austin, Texas. The creature was designed by Weta and built by Mike Elizalde and the guys at Spectral Motion who have done tons of stuff and were nominated for an Oscar for Hellboy 2. They’ve done all the effects for my films after Blair Witch. The creature looks amazing. It’s played by Brian Steele who’s the dude in the creature suit. The creature came out so much better than I thought it was going to come out. For me it’s always been about Bigfoot being real, something that lives in the woods. Bigfoot is not CG. That was kind of the big thing. Can we pull this off with a guy in a suit and make it look cool and make it look threatening and make it look scary? I think we did it. The audiences that have seen it so far, especially the young audiences, are reacting really enthusiastically to it because they’ve never seen Bigfoot like this. I always thought of Bigfoot as being a scary monster but after Harry and the Hendersons he became a punch line. Even though I like Harry and the Hendersons and I love the beef jerky ads, I always thought Bigfoot deserved to be scary again. So hopefully I did it and hopefully people will be seeing it, maybe later this year or early next year. I’m really proud of it and we hope to get it out as wide as possible and see what happens. Then we have other Bigfoot stories we’d like to tell so we’ll see how that develops. I would love nothing more than to spend the next three or four years making two or three more Bigfoot movies.

J: There’s definitely an audience for it. People our age grew up fearing the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot and unless you’re in Scotland you don’t have to worry too much about the Loch Ness Monster. But anywhere there are woods...

E: Anywhere there are woods, there are reports of Bigfoot. It was really important for me to be respectful of the real Bigfoot enthusiasts who respect it like a religion, and I understand that. They have a particular dislike of Harry and the Hendersons because it made Bigfoot a joke. So my whole thing, coming from that generation, is that you have to be respectful to them. I think Bigfoot enthusiasts from all over the world are going to love this movie, or at least they’re going to love the creature. It’s not just a monster; it’s Bigfoot. He has human characteristics and Brian does an amazing job showing that human side of the creature. We go in close and you get the money shot at the end of the movie; you see the creature. There’s this human element to it that I haven’t seen in a long time without CG. I think it’s going to be popular in those circles and I can’t wait to show people.



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