This week to complement my 100th review, I interviewed star and associate producer of the movie 'Psycho Santa' Eric Spudic, an all rounder who is currently climbing the ladder of genre success. Here's what Eric had to say about the industry and the genre right now.
What was it about film that made you want to work in the industry?
Well, at one time or another I wanted to be a SWAT team dude. But mom and dad thought that would be a bad job since I could get hurt....or worse, killed. So I thought, "What's safer?" And then I figured with movies, everything was make-believe. A total fantasy. I could die over and over and still be alive! It's all about the magic!
Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?
Actually, I was mostly raised on Norris, Van Damme, Schwarzenegger, and Stallone action pictures. As a kid, I watched stuff like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE BROOD, CAT'S EYE, and the "Tales from the Darkside" series, but it wasn't until my teen years that my obsession with horror came about.
What are your feelings on the current state of the horror genre?
All in all I feel there are still plenty of cool movies coming out. But we, as a group, really need to change our ways. Over the years, producers have gotten this crazy idea that we need to do things cheaper. For a while, they started cutting down on shooting schedules to save money. Then, it was shooting less takes to save even more money. Even cutting actors salaries to reduce the budget. All to make more of a profit, It's ridiculous.
Everything's about product, it's rarely about the movies themselves anymore. And what's worse, is now they're making movies on digital cameras to save even more money. Moviemakers figured out that if they shoot these movies on digital cameras, they can easily save $200,000 - $300,000 that would've been spent on film, camera rentals, processing, transferring, etc. What this has caused is an overabundance of product and a LOT of bad picture quality movies. The industry needs to revert back to making movies on film, and only film. Video doesn't look like 35mm film no matter what anybody says.
What films have stood out for you lately and what would you like to see more of?
Lately it's been DOG SOLDIERS, HELLBOUND: BOOK OF THE DEAD, TOXIC AVENGER 4, JEEPERS CREEPERS, FINAL DESTINATION, and CROCODILE 2: DEATH SWAMP. I'd like to see more action/horror hybrids. Not sure why there's not more, because almost every single one becomes a hit. Everything from MANIAC COP and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN to BLADE and RESIDENT EVIL. Some horror movies simply need more action in them, whether it's shootouts or martial arts.
Eric wheelchair bound in Dead Clowns.
How did you go about getting started in the industry then?
I contacted David DeCoteau and wanted to submit some scripts to him. He never did read any, but after he saw my acting in a low-budget feature I had made myself, he helped get me cast in MICRO MINI KIDS. It was a Charles Band PG-rated sci-fi movie shot in Glendale, California. The rest, as they say, is history.
What was the first project you worked on and what was it like to work on?
MICRO MINI KIDS was my first actual feature. It probably remains the most memorable shoot. Such a fun movie! All the actors were nice. I got to vacation in Hollywood for 2 weeks as a result of it. They gave me 3 lines and I got a huge paycheck for it. I went around to people like Jesse Long and Don Dowe and just named off all their credits! Some of the cast members went on to bigger stuff. Josh Hammond was in TIME COP 2 and JEEPERS CREEPERS 2. Michael Beardsley played "Humphries" on FREAKS AND GEEKS. I have tons of pictures from that shoot.
You are now mainly concentrating on acting but did you initially want to write or do you just want to try everything?
I was confused for a long time. At one time it was to do special effects for 5 years, then move on as a director. I figured out I had no talent for FX work. So I started writing songs and discovered I could write. Actually had 2 songs produced.
Then, I made ATTACK OF THE BATHROOM CREATURE. I had to act in it 'cause nobody else wanted to. Over time, I've discovered that acting and writing gave me not only the most pay of anything, but also the most fun. I'm tired of doing grip, gaffer, and PA work because the hours are long, the pay is usually nonexistent, and you get much less respect. I'm focusing full-time on acting for a little while. Might as well while I'm still young. :-)
Aquanoids is out here in the UK in March, what can we expect?
Lots of gore, cheesy dialogue, hot babes, some action, tons of underwater shots, and funky editing.
My 100th review is for your latest release 'Psycho Santa' (thank you for sending me my own copy) can you tell us how you got involved in the project and what it was like to work on?
This was one of the most fun shoots. I believe this was Peter Keir's first movie. I was recommended to him via another director and so I drove down to Mississippi and had an incredible 5-day shoot. It went so smoothly. No arguments, no nonsense, just plain fun moviemaking. Had some run-ins with the cops, but that's pretty much it. We even got to see a 'gator in that there swamp!
Eric on the set of Savage Harvest 2.
Your new movie Dead Clowns should be out here in the Spring, can you tell us what to expect from that?
Truthfully honest, I think DEAD CLOWNS will be my best movie. Not only does the film have a creepy atmosphere, the set had a creepy atmosphere at times! We filmed like 90% of my scenes in the dark and in the house where it was shot, it was totally quiet most of the time. Just a constant feeling of eeriness. I think it was probably my best acting. This one revolves around zombie clowns who are back with a vengeance after 50 years! I'm in a wheelchair, so I'm kinda helpless...
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm promoting quite a few of my movies, about a dozen of them. EVIL UNLEASHED comes out Feb. 24th. FETALBOY GOES TO HELL just got finished. Working on editing KILLERS BY NATURE soon. I'm trying to spread the word as much as possible. Writing a spec script now to hopefully pick up some quick cash. Been sending out a lot of resumes lately looking for my next job.
Finally, on your official site you have a wish list of people you would like to work with. Have any of them contacted you yet? And if they did what would you say to them?
Quite a few of those folks are email buds of mine. People such as William Butler, Rolfe Kanefsky, Fred Ray, Jim Wynorski, and Brian Yuzna. I try to keep in touch with everyone I can. I hope to work with every single person on that list someday. I've learned that it helps to have knowledge of a person's past films and to treat them with the utmost kindness. Later on down the road it seems to pay off.
"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview Eric,
and we wish you the best of luck in the future."
Visit Eric's website here: www.ericspudic.com