Exclusive Interview: Gary DeJidas (Night Of The Insolent Vermin)
What was the first film that you saw that made you want to get into filmmaking and how did you go from film fan to filmmaker?
I’ve always filmed things since the age of 8 or 9, but I can remember being VERY inspired as a pre-teen amateur filmmaker by fantasy/adventure movies like Goonies, Star Wars, Home Alone, Clue, but growing up I had an obsession with all the Classic Horror Films, Universal Monsters, and Classic Sci Fi TV Series have a big impact too, such as The Twilight Zone, Lost in Space and Land of the Giants.
I spent countless hours filming remakes and versions of Clue, and Home Alone, until puberty hit and I started writing my own scripts. Wanting to kiss cute girls may or may not have had an equal influence on my post-puberty storylines.
But in those early days, I used friends, neighbors and family members as the actors. Heck, I still do if I’m being honest. I wish I had the same level of obsession now as I did then, but unfortunately life, bills, making a living and raising money complicate the pure artistry of the filmmaking process. But in those early years, it was just pure childhood bliss and unabashed creativity.
I can’t complain though – I haven’t yet had to open an OnlyFans to make ends meet.
NIGHT OF THE INSOLENT VERMIN (2021) has recently been released by VIPCO and BayView Entertainment and is now available on Blu-ray (Region FREE) and streaming platforms. What can viewers expect from seeing the film?
Night Of The Insolent Vermin is literally the greatest chicks-having-a-hurricane-party-that-gets-crashed-by-aggressive-mutant-cockroaches movie ever made. I dare you to find another.
You’ll laugh. You won’t cry. You’ll laugh some more, you’ll see blood. You won’t see anyone nude but you’ll laugh some more. And you’ll watch a diverse group of badass ladies kick butt and save Orlando. Does it get any better?
How do you tackle projects with very tight timelines or challenging locations?
Minimize the locations, the company moves and do your re-writes based on what you know you have to work with. I rarely got more than 2 or 3 takes per scene. There simply wasn’t time. But you’ll never know it in the finished movies.
We never rehearsed formally, but the ladies all ran lines together while we did lighting and camera setups. Then I saw the first take, tweaked as needed, and usually by take 2 or 3 was it and we moved on. Being practical and economical, so you don’t leak money unnecessarily, helps a lot when you’re broke.
What would you say is your dream project that you have created or perhaps is still waiting to happen?
“Chinese Chimichanga” was it! We actually started filming in 2022 until I lost my lead actress (Who Played “Rosalita” in Night Of The Insolent Vermin). She didn’t die or anything, life just took her in a different direction. So we had to stop filming.
But I have since partnered with MLW Superstar Natalia Class, also known as “Salina de la Renta”, an absolute entertainment force of nature from the professional wrestling world, and we have a few projects in the works together such as a horror / dark comedy “Now Serving”, a Reality TV Series called “Trainwreck Take-Over” and of course “Chinese Chimichanga” a heist-comedy, that she’ll star in.
Anna Faith will also continue to be a regular in every film I make. She’s fantastic to work with.
But my DREAM PROJECT would be a horror film set in the 1990s, based on an old haunted legend from where I grew up in Pittsburgh. I just need more dough to make it.
How do you work with actors to create the best performances?
I tend to work with personalities more than actors, and I write to their personalities. Play to their strengths. When working with real actors, there’s nothing better – and I prefer to let them create and ad lib a bit and bring their own ideas to the table. Directors who don’t let talented actors create is baffling to me.
This whole process is creative, and I let anyone on set, even PA’s and grips, contribute creatively, if they have good ideas. Most of the magic happens live, not from what you wrote months prior, so I try to not be rigid with the script – but I’m ruthless in not straying from the overall story.
What does a typical day look like for a film director?
Not sure I’m a typical film director, because I prefer to do it all. There’s no greater joy out there than being in production on something you love. But with that passion comes a lot of sacrifice. And a lot of long hours standing on your feet. So don’t go cheap on your shoes.
But while in production, I’d be up before even the first PA arrives. I probably start an hour or two before call time. You make thousands of decisions daily, and you have to love that part of it. I’m very hands on so I’ll be involved with the DP on lighting setups, with Sound on what they need to do their best work, and I get involved with the art department to help design the production. I also edit myself. So for this movie, the editing took almost 1 year.
You get three chances to tell your story – on paper, while filming, and when cutting. I can’t imagine not wanting to be obsessively involved in all three of those phases.
Did you use any special effects in the film and if so, how did you create them (eg physical effects, CGI, a combination)?
ZERO bug/monster CGI in Night Of The Insolent Vermin. The Cockroaches all had to learn to land their marks as all actors do, and to be honest, they did exceptionally well considering how short their legs are.
We ordered 5 scientific roaches for the filming, that cost $5 a piece and they lived like kings the whole time. Ana Gil, my DP was also our cockroach wrangler. We used honey and compressed air cans among other things to guide them to their camera marks that they needed to land for camera angles. And they lived for around 1-1.5 years after the film wrapped. They were fed fresh fruit, vegetables and cat food for protein.
However, we used really basic CGI green screens for the TV news scenes, and for the ending cell phone screens. Everything else was done in camera I believe.
When it comes to CGI vs In-Camera effects, I’ll usually side with the old school optics.
What would you do differently if you could go back and do it again?
Not start production 1 week before COVID broke out would be a good starting point.
Otherwise, nothing. Everything I wanted to say in this one I said. The performances are AMAZING. I don’t know how anyone can watch this and not fall in love with the characters and the performances. The entire cast was exceptional. And I adore every one of them. I’d make every future movie with them all if I could.
Physical media will still be around for a long time and for quite a few people this is their preferred medium to watch content. Of course now with the ever growing amount of streaming platforms there is now even more content for people to watch, so much choice and so little time. How do you as a filmmaker make it so your project stands out from the rest?
Well, this is the million dollar question now isn’t it?
For Night Of The Insolent Vermin, we were told by BayView and others that we had one of the most unique trailers they had ever seen. Quite a compliment.
In general, if you want to stand out, you have to take some risks and not do what everyone else is doing. What that is… I can’t say. That’s for you to decide. But if you do what you love, how you love it, and make it uniquely you, that’s not a bad start.
The trailer for Night Of The Insolent Vermin is about as quintessential Gary DeJidas as it gets. Either you dig it or you don’t, but at the end of the day, it was being unique and being myself that caught BayView’s attention.
Finally, what projects do you have coming up?
We actually have a short horror film we will be filming, and are in pre-production on it at the time of this interview.
“Chinese Chimichanga”, “Now Serving” and “Trainwreck Take-Over” are all on our plate as well. I think you and your audience will be very excited by the horror work Natalia Class and I have coming up.
Interview by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins
You can stay up to date with Gary DeJidas and Flying Peanut Productions via the social media links below:
Night Of The Insolent Vermin is out now on Blu-ray (Region Free) in the USA from BayView Entertainment.
Available to order on Blu-ray (Region FREE) now at:
Night Of The Insolent Vermin is also available to rent/buy on Amazon Prime Video in the UK and Amazon Prime Video in the USA.