"Jennifer’s Bodies is a roving annual festival of female-helmed horror movies and part of Women In Horror Recognition Month, an international assortment of affiliated events organised partly to highlight just how much women can and do contribute to the genre outwith the typically accepted factors of tits, ass and mezzosoprano screaming." Starburst Magazine

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Blast from the Past - An Interview with Amy Lynn Best - Director/Actress of SPLATTER MOVIE!!!

Right….first and foremost, I am most curious…how was it that you came to become part of the Tromaverse!?!!  :D  I mean, you had Lloyd Kaufman in your first movie…that’s pretty fucking rad!!!  I know that prior to SEVERE INJURIES you had done a short WEREGRRL, that starred the lovely Debbie Rochon.  How did you two meet and was this what ultimately got you stepping into the weird and wonderful world of Toxie and pickled dick!?!

Well, it all started with my company's first movie The Resurrection Game. My husband and partner, Mike Watt, came across a TV series done by Paul Scrabo, who later did Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots starring Debbie Rochon and featuring MANY others. Mike contacted Paul and then we saw an episode Paul did with Debbie. We then contacted Debbie through email and later met her at a convention. She was very supportive of us from Day 1 and when we were going to be at another film festival together she suggested we shoot a scene together. That is how Debbie because involved with our movies. From then on anything we were producing included Debbie, who is a fantastic person to work with. We met Lloyd through Debbie at a convention and at that time we were going to a lot of Horror Conventions where Lloyd and Debbie were guests. When I was casting the part of the doctor in Severe Injuries Lloyd was one of the first people we thought of. He was in town doing a master class and was kind enough to agree to do the part. Lloyd was also wonderful to work with and is a great supporter of our movies. Since then we've done a number of conventions with the both of them and come to respect and care about them immensely. 

When was the first moment that you can remember loving horror?  Was it a morbid, blood, guts and gore moment you remember as a child, or was it something that scared the crap out of you…yet you kind of liked or were fascinated by it at the same time???

I grew up across the street from a cemetery. My mother always enjoyed the history and feel of cemeteries and taught me from early on they were nothing to be afraid of. My uncle was also a fan of morbid and supernatural experiences. He took my cousins and me to a double feature of Amityville Horror and Last House on the Left when I was nine. My cousins told me Amityille was based on a true story and my Grandmother was living in a house where the basement had a crawl space and I was told that it was the room in the basement of the house in the movie. I was terrified but also drawn to it. I became fascinated with true life ghost stories and was allowed to watch horror movies and loved them. I loved, and still love, the feeling of being incredibly creeped out  and getting chills. I still run through a dark room to turn on lights! Then when Michael Jackson's Thriller video came out I fell in love with it. I was a big fan of Michael Jackson and of Vincent Price. When the Making of Video came out my parents got it for me and I loved how the effects artists turned Michael and the others into Zombies. That started my admiration of special effects and actively started watching more and more horror movies not only to get scared but also to see the effects.

Name vomit….Who are your favourite women working in horror today???  GO!!!

I hate you! lol This question is always horrible because I will leave someone out and feel bad. Obviously I love Debbie Rochon (pictured right on set of SPLATTER MOVIE) and can't say enough good about her. 

I'm also a big fan of Brinke Stevens and Linnea Quigley, both wonderful people and talents and the true Scream Queens. And honestly I think I'm going to stop there and chicken out since my mind isn't working and I don't want to forget anyone. I will say that I'm excited about the women working today, acting, directing, producing, writing, and everything. It is wonderful to see so much talent out there and such a true love of horror from so many women.

Is there any one person, dead or alive, whom you would kill (or ressurect, haha) to work with?  Be it in any capacity, director, actor, producer, writer…tea lady!?!!  Anyone?

Debra Hill certainly comes to mind. It is a shame that she passed away so soon. I'd also love to work with Ann-Margret, I've always been a fan of her dancing and acting. I'm lucky that I've been able to work with Debbie, Brinke and Linnea and would always work with them given the chance. Again, so so many people I'd love to work with.

When you first realised you wanted to make films, what came first, the desire to act or direct?  

I never really had a big desire to direct, even though I've always been a control freak. I've acted on stage and when Mike was in film school I'd act in his films and that's how I got involved in the behind the scenes work of producing and lighting. When we started working on Were-Grrl it was my idea and after he wrote it he said that since it was my project I should direct it. I had a great cast and crew to work with and even though it was a busy shoot it was enjoyable. And Severe Injuries was the same way.

SPLATTER MOVIE not only sees you reteaming with Troma darling Debbie Rochon, but also Tom Sullivan, the man behind the EVIL DEAD special effects.  What was it like working with such genre favourites?

Again, can't say enough good about Debbie. Not only is she a truly talented actress she is a wonderful person. She is always ready, never complains, and is a great supporter. Tom Sullivan was also great to work with. We knew him for a few years, again from conventions. He was a nice guy at these shows and we always thought it would be great to work with him. When we were casting Splatter Movie we were at Cinema Wasteland in Ohio, where we see Tom every six months, and decided to approach him. Mike pitched the role to him, which grew as we talked to him, and Tom agreed. Tom came to the shoot with his nephew and they were both great. It was hot out and yet there was Tom, running around outside in coveralls and a mask and never complaining. He really brought his all and he gave us a terrific performance. 

Over the top special effects, blood, guts and gore and tongue in cheek plotlines and what not, may raise more than just a few eyebrows amongst the avereage moviewatching population but least we not forget, this is how some of the greatest directors of all time started out.  A large fucking percentage of the best directors working in Hollywood today started out in horror, Peter Jackson, David Cronenberg, Sam Raimi and James Cameron are just a mere few.  I mean, who would have thought that the director of BRAINDEAD (Dead Alive if you’re in the States) and BAD TASTE would go on to make the greatest trilogy of all time…in my humble opinion of course, haha!?!  <3

Oh I know! And that he mentioned Meet the Feebles in his Oscar speech was so great!

Sam Raimi, after leaving horror for a while to concentrate on the SPIDERMAN franchise, recently came back with the brilliant DRAG ME TO HELL!  Now the thing with all these guys is exactly that…they’re GUYS!!!!  I think the most obvious woman in the genre who has kicked serious fucking arse has of course been Kathryn Bigelow who obviously went from vampire flick NEAR DARK to Oscar winning, Jeremy Renner <3 starring, THE HURT LOCKER.  She was the first woman EVER to win a Best Director Oscar, nabbing it from under ex-husband James Cameron’s nose. 

Yay Katherine! I was so happy for her!!!!

I guess the point I’m trying to get to is how does this make you feel as both a female director, and a director in general?  Do you have any lifelong ambitions to say make a film adaptation of a book or bring a comic to the big screen?  Or are you happily content being happy at Happy Cloud Pictures (your film company) making awesome fun splatterfests?

I don't know. I'm spoiled in that I can call the shots on our movies without having too many people to answer to. I don't know how I would be on a Hollywood set when studios and suits are telling me how to make my movie. Of course it would be wonderful to be involved with a project like Iron Man and see the results. I just don't know if I have the temperament for it.

What is your favourite Troma movie?  Mine pesonally is TERRORFIRMER.  I LOVE that movie.  I remember first seeing it over ten years ago, it’s was when I was at Uni and a bunch of us went through this massive phase of watching tons of Troma movies.  That one has aways stood out a firm favourite though.  Boom boom!  

Hands down it would be Tromeo and Juliet. I have a love of Shakespeare and feel that Troma did an excellent job with the adaptation. In my opinion it blows the DiCaprio version out of the water!

What can we hope to see/hear from you in the near future?  It’s great even seeing the transition from SEVERE INJURIES to SPLATTER MOVIE so I have to say, I can’t wait to see this further progress!

Right now Happy Cloud Pictures is working on a project where my main job will be acting. It has been a long time since I've been able to do a role where I'll be able to concentrate on character only. The project is Razor Days. Mike wrote it a few years ago and we've finally been able to get the funding for it. It's a bigger budget than we're used to so I want to really do my best on it. To help with this we've brought in Alan Rowe Kelly to line produce, Bart Mastronardi will be shooting it, Michael Varrati has a role in it and is also goign to be a huge help behind the scenes and David Marancik has a role and is keeping us all sane. It is a very woman-centric film and I'll be sharing the screen with Debbie Rochon as a costar and I'm really looking forward being able to learn from her and work in front of the camera with her.

And lastly, are there any projects or people out there right now that you want to bring awareness too??  

Well, Razor Days is one.There are a lot of projects out there right now being helmed by woman that all sound interesting. I'm always a fan of Devi Snively's work and I'm looking forward to seeing The Soska Twin's movies too. I would say check out any Woman in Horror film festival and look into the works done by the women. Like any other festival there will be some movies that people won't be into, even though others will, but there is such talent out there these days it is great to be able to see these festivals popping up all over!

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