Scott: "A person who wants to make a difference in horror cinema".
Conducted by Phil
July 21st, 2006
Scott Goldberg may only be 23, but he has already amassed a huge amount of experience in the low budget horror industry, with a number of films already under his belt, and many more on the way.
I caught up with Scott to discuss his great plans for the genre. Read on for the scoop on this exciting new filmmaker.
In one sentence, who is Scott
Scott Goldberg is a person who is passionate about horror films and a
person who wants to make a difference in horror cinema.
How did you get into
When I was younger, I was always into horror films and loved how films
took me away from everyday reality. There were certain actions and images
put on screen that if you really did do, would have been illegal. I think
there’s a certain psychological element in horror elements and it keeps
people glued to the screen. I have always been interested in the process
of filmmaking, and throughout my teen years I learned about filmmaking and
decided to enroll in a film school. I’d say that enrolling in film school
helped my filmmaking career to a certain degree, but I learned the most
when I was working on the locations and sets of films. During my second
year in college, I was hired as 2nd Assistant Director on a Super16mm
short film entitled, ‘Dancing With You’, which was a 12-minute short film
that was shot on Long Island and in New York City. That was my first
experience working with a professional crew, Super16mm film and
understanding the process of filmmaking more. Everything else that I have
worked on has been Digital Video. The great thing about Digital Video of
today is that it’s easily available to filmmakers who want to make films
and get their views across to a wide audience. There are many aspiring
filmmakers who are making films, and the advice I would give them is to
just keep working on the craft and making films.
What are your thoughts on the
current state of horror?
Mainstream horror films of today have no passion put into them, which is
what really upsets me as an artist. To effectively make a great film, you
have to be passionate about it. Every shot has to mean something to the
story. In today’s mainstream horror, that is what is lacking. Horror needs
a voice and many filmmakers are pushing independent horror films in the
What are some of your favorite
horror films of all time?
I love classic horror films. My top favorite horror films in no particular
order are: Carrie’, ‘Phantasm’, ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’, ‘Halloween’,
and the list goes on. I love ‘Halloween’ because of the element of
suspense that was built up in that film. A lot of people say that it was a
rip-off of Bob Clark’s ‘Black Christmas’ and I can see where it borrowed
from some of the shots and elements, but I think that ‘Halloween’ was a
great film because of the way John Carpenter executed it.
Do you ever feel hard done by
as an independent filmmaker, or does lack of money only encourage your
enthusiasm for the genre and filmmaking?
I think with lack of money, there is more creativity, but then you have to
think about it this way… There is never enough money, no matter what
budget you have. The more money you have, the bigger and better quality
your project will become. The bigger your project will come, the more it
leans towards being a union film, with union actors, and paid cast and
crew. I have learned to work with nothing and make something effective and
original (‘All I Want For Christmas’). That is what mainstream horror
films are missing today – originality and passion put into the films.
"Your job as a filmmaker is to get it out there and promote your film".
On paper you are a 23 year old
indie filmmaker, what do you feel makes genre stars like Paul Kratka want
to work with you?
I was very honest when I approached Paul about the role of Detective Jason
Ronner in ‘The Day They Came Back’. He had expressed interest when I had
sent him the script for and he was looking to get back into acting, and we
talked via e-mail about him coming down to Long Island to act in the film,
and soon enough we were working together. We have been good friends ever
You started out making short
films which played the festivals and are now working on a huge amount of
projects, some feature length, some shorts, what is your ultimate
My main goal is to make films on bigger budgets than $3,000 and to make a
living out of this. A lot of people were very surprised at how
professional ‘The Day They Came Back’ was, especially for a film with such
a low budget. That’s the kind of response you’d like to hear, especially
from the audience. I also think that entertaining the audience is the most
important thing as well. You always have to keep busy and be 110 percent
committed to making things happen for yourself. If you finish a film and
let it sit there on your desk collecting dust, you aren’t doing your job.
Your job as a filmmaker is to get it out there and promote your film,
along with yourself. On my end, I have done all of the promoting for my
films by myself, and they have been making a great deal of noise on the
Internet. I also made sure from the beginning to put ‘The Day They Came
Back’ online for free so horror fans can download the film and watch the
film right from their computer.
You’re an animal rights
activist, what is your opinion on animal cruelty in horror
Here is how I see it: If it’s real murder, then it’s wrong. If it’s a
fake, on-screen murder and no animals are harmed, then that’s art. I have
always been passionate towards animals and believe that they have feelings
just like humans and should be treated with love and respect. This
includes not eating or harming animals, thus why I am a raw vegan and
believe so strongly about animal rights.
What about the killing of
innocent people in horror films?
Innocent people being stalked and killed in horror films have been going
on for a long time. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was a great example of
the sort of horror that was happening in factory farms and
slaughterhouses. Instead of animals being brutally murdered and eaten, it
was people. The thing that made the film so creepy was the fact that
cannibalism is real and that this could happen anywhere in the world.
There is nothing scarier that a horror film that is realistic and
shocking, which is why The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of the greatest
horror films of all time.
Many of your favourite film
directors (Romero, Craven etc) are the same as mine, what did you enjoy
most about growing up in the age of the video nasty?
I really enjoy the entertainment value of horror films. You have all
different type of sub-genres, which made it even better. I would always
bring “Friday the 13th” films on videotape over to my friend Sahil’s house
when we were younger and we’d watch them after school and really get into
them. We’d always laugh at the parts of the film which we found funny and
would recite lines, and have a great time. Video was great because many
horror films were available at the time in the late 80’s and early 90’s,
and it’s what I grew up on, especially at a young age.
Your first feature film ‘Dead
End Massacre’ sounds like an homage to 80’s horror; would that be a fair
‘Dead End Massacre’ was my first feature film and it was unfortunately
never finished. It was a film that was shot throughout 2003 and it was a
complete rip-off of ‘Halloween’. It was about a seven year old girl who
killed a school bully and was locked away in a mental institution. Ten
years later she escapes, and terrorizes her neighborhood to get revenge on
all of those who made fun of her. I was heavily influenced by John
Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ and wanted to make a film just like it, with my
own spin on it. We were actually planning a sequel right after we had shot
‘Dead End Massacre’ called, ‘Dead End Massacre II: Summer Camp Nightmare’,
but since the first one was never completed, it made no sense to shoot a
sequel. It did help me learn about the craft of filmmaking more and that
made me a better filmmaker.
‘The Day They Came Back’ is a
horror film you shot in 2005. Can you tell us more about that
The idea for ‘The Day They Came Back’ dawned on me when I had just
finished my final thesis for college, ‘The Night They Came Back’, which
was a short zombie film. I wanted to direct another zombie film, and we
shot the film in a two-month period, with re-shoots in the months that
followed. Chiko Mendez and I had worked on the thesis project the previous
year and I knew of his abilities as an actor, so I cast him as the lead
role, Sergeant Enrique Hernandez. Believe it or not, the story from what
it was in the beginning was much different than what the final film is
today. The problem with shooting the original concept was that it called
for a lot of blood and gore, and the locations for the original concept
were going to be suburban homes on Long Island. We didn’t have any money
to build sets in a studio, so I figured to change the location of the film
to an old, abandoned foundation at Welwyn Preserve in Glen Cove, New York.
It actually worked out better for us as well for the overall feel of the
film. I wrote the story, while Chiko Mendez and Caley Bisson helped round
out the script and make it an effective screenplay.
‘All I Want For Christmas’ is
a short film you recently finished. Can you tell us more about that and
what you’re looking to do with the film?
‘All I Want For Christmas’ is a short horror film series and the idea was
thought up in December 2004. I have always wanted to do a Christmas film,
or a film based around a Christmas theme. I brainstormed ideas for a short
film that I could shoot with no money and came up with the idea for a
super short film, about a demented rapist who spends the holidays with his
“daughter”. We shot the first scene in January 2006, and every weekend
would add more scenes to it, because I felt there was more of a story to
tell. Chiko Mendez was the only person I had in mind to play the role of
Santa Cruz because I knew how versatile an actor he was since we worked
together on two projects before ‘All I Want For Christmas’. The film is
finished and is in film festival circulation. It will be posted on my
website very soon so if you want to watch it online, you may do so at:
‘The Forest Hills’ has an interesting premise, how did you come up with that idea?
I had just finished the first episode for the ‘All I Want For Christmas’
series and was on the phone with two good friends of mine, Elaine Lamkin
(Bloody-Disgusting.com) and Wes Vance (DeadPit.com). We were discussing
films and I had the crazy idea of coming out to Kentucky to shoot a short
horror film. After two weeks of discussing it, we knew that money and
locations would be an issue, so I decided to use Long Island as the shooting
location for ‘The Forest Hills’. The film is currently in pre-production and
will start shooting this summer.
"It was a chance we had to take
to finish the film".
Can you tell us about any funny or interesting stories from your films that you can recall?
There are a lot of great memories that I’ve had while shooting my films, and
I do remember specifically while shooting the first scenes for ‘The Day They
Came Back’, a Production Assistant was putting a Wide Angle Lens on the
front of the camera we were shooting with and it snapped on the wrong way.
The lens was stuck and it would not come off. I had no money to send it in
to be repaired, so we shot the whole week with the Wide Angle Lens on the
camera. During one of the scenes involved zombies walking past the camera to
pick up one of the actors, which was later re-shot, the Wide Angle Lens fell
out. We had to shoot the rest of the film without a lens, which was a very
big risk because one scratch of the inner lens and the camera wouldn’t be
able to get fixed. It was a chance we had to take to finish the film.
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming short film, ‘Nightmare’?
‘Nightmare’ is a super short film about a young girl who falls asleep and
through the images in her dreams, dies from mental trauma. It’s a really
super short film, which we shot on one weekend at JHD Productions in Deer
Park, Long Island.
Paul Kratka has spoken highly of you and has worked with you a few times now; do you get a buzz when your idols are so supportive of your career?
Paul is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. I was very nervous before we
met, and was a little bit ashamed of how low the budget was for ‘The Day
They Came Back’. I was thinking to myself, “Why the hell would the lead of
“Friday the 13th Part 3” want to act in my no-budget zombie short?” The
answer was simple: He believed in the project and believed in the people who
were making the film. Since working with Paul in ‘The Day They Came Back’,
we have been discussing future projects to collaborate on, as well as horror
film festivals and conventions in the near future.
Tell us about future film festivals you will be attending to promote your films and be a special guest at?
I do have a couple of film festivals that I will be attending this fall as a
special guest/guest speaker, and people can check out the up to date
festival information on my official website, www.ScottGoldbergFilms.com. One
of the film festivals that has been confirmed which I am very excited about
is the 2006 Eerie Horror Film Festival. Greg Ropp, the festival director is
a really nice guy and is interested in bringing independent horror back by
showcasing the best of independent horror at the festival. There are a few
other festivals that I will be a special guest at that will be made official
later on in the year.
You’re featured in Christopher P. Garetano’s forthcoming film ‘Son of Horror Business’ and also feature in the documentary ‘Horror Business’. How did that come about and what has the experience been like?
Christopher P. Gareteano is a filmmaker who I met in September 2005 at the
‘Fangoria Weekend of Horrors’ convention in New Jersey and being that we
both lived on Long Island, we knew we had to work with each other in some
capacity. His film, ‘Horror Business’ was in festival circulation and I was
interested in being in any upcoming documentaries he had planned for the
future. He told me about ‘Son of Horror Business’, and I told him about
future projects I was working on, and he decided that he wanted to make me
one of the main subjects for ‘Son of Horror Business’, not for my projects,
but for the reason that I was an interesting subject. At the 2006 Long
Island Film Festival, horror filmmakers were coming up to him asking if they
could be interviewed for ‘Son of Horror Business’ and Chris had to tell
them, “Sorry, but I’m here for Scott.” He has a plan and vision of what he
wants specifically, and that’s the sign of a great filmmaker. Believe it or
not, but I didn’t see ‘Horror Business’ until early 2006, right before I
shot ‘All I Want For Christmas’, and I was blown away by the quality and
passion put into the project. ‘Son of Horror Business’ is the celebration of
independent horror as well as the people involved and films being made
Last April, Chris invited me to come out to Montauk, Long Island with conspiracy theorist John Brodie, whom is one of the main subjects in ‘Horror
Business’ to shoot some footage for what was to be footage for ‘Son of
Horror Business’, but then later changed to being footage for a special
feature on the ‘Horror Business’ DVD which I believe is coming out this
fall. We went to Montauk and shot two hours worth of footage about a
conspiracy that was surrounding an area called Camp Hero, which is located
at the end of Long Island. There is a theory and a strong truth that
government experiments were conducted there many years ago, and we went to
the location to check out what it’s all about. It was an interesting
experience hanging around John Brodie and listening to him talk. He is very
passionate in what he believes in. As for me, I believe there is some truth
to what he says.
What can we expect to see from you in the coming months?
I am in early pre-production on a feature length film right now and it’s a
spin-off of one of my short films. I am currently in the early storyline
stages right now, trying to figure out what to do with the story, as well as
expanding the story from the short film. I’m going to keep the same premise,
but make it darker and creepier. Until next time, stay scared.
"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."