February 21, 2010

An Interview with Greg Lamberson.

[Note: In early 2007 after reviewing Greg Lamberson's films Slime City and Naked Fear on the now defunct Film-Talk boards, I posted a Director's thread for the man. To my surprise he found my notes (apparently at 3AM while surfing the web) and I took it upon myself to bug him with my questions. During the next few weeks, this is what came of it. I have re-arranged follow up questions and responses to fit in with the previous Q and A.]

Drunketh: Listening to your commentary on Naked Fear, you say that Undying Love is a lot more padded than NF. Obviously this isn't a gesture of disappointment, but I'm curious if you could expand on why you consider your second film to be the “best you've done”?

Greg Lamberson: I think that UNDYING LOVE has some actual atmosphere, and as the director, I take a lot of the credit for that. As I've already pointed out, SLIME CITY works because of SFX, music, art direction, acting (some of it anyway!), and my contributions as a writer and producer - but not my direction. UNDYING LOVE features most of my favorite scenes. It opens and closes with some pretty darned good bookend sequences that I'm proud of. I'm happy with the introductions of the various characters, the performance of Tommy Sweeney, and some in-your-face dialogue. I think the scene where the vampire chick goes down on our hero is pretty memorable as well. Of the 3 films, it turned out the closest to what I envisioned when I wrote the script. Also, although there is no nudity, the plot is driven by sex the same way that SLIME CITY was.

D: Speaking of Undying Love, If E.I. Cinema released the film on VHS, as well as your first and third film on DVD then my question would be: what is the holdup for this potential future release? On your website it states that there are no plans to release the Undying Love for DVD. I’d like to see a supervised transfer and commentary (it's already recorded right?), and basically the best release it could be.

GL: E.I. Cinema released UNDYING LOVE on VHS, re-released SLIME CITY on VHS, then released SLIME CITY and NAKED FEAR as a double feature DVD. They have the rights to release UNDYING LOVE on DVD as well, and Mike Raso and I have discussed doing so. I would supervise the transfer, we'd use my original title and the commentary that Tommy Sweeney and I recorded, a trailer, and it would be released as a double feature with another one of E.I.'s vampire flicks. There's nothing definite yet, but I'd say things look promising.

I actually recorded the commentary tracks for all 3 films around 2002 or 2003, before I left NYC. Since then, I've been able to watch the films on a pretty big screen here in Buffalo, as part of a mini-festival, and have had the opportunity to assess them collectively.

I think I shot 5 mins worth of additional scenes to UNDYING LOVE for running time reasons after finishing my first cut. They developed characterization, but didn't really advance the story. 3 scenes in total, and one of them was a reasonably sexy vampire seduction scene that I like quit a bit, that gave my villain a moment to shine. I shot at least 10 mins of additional material for NAKED FEAR after finishing my first cut of that; they turned out to be some of my favorite scenes in the film (partly because I shot them myself, and had a blast), but they totally changed my original concept of the picture. And while none of those scenes feel like padding, the dream sequence near the end of the film does feel like padding to me. There's a genuinely nightmarish feeling to it, I think, but there's no question that I was filling out the running time, especially since the dream comes 5 mins after what is essentially a music video depicting Camden escaping his apartment - I call this the ROCKY IV syndrome!

D: If E.I. is taking you in, then what are they going to do for you? Are they giving you money? Or simply making money off of you? The next feature from you, I'd like to see it on film. Since E.I. obviously supports low budget filmmakers, then why don't they save some cash up and get you do to something awesome. It irritates me actually, because I'd like to see you direct more.

GL: I have a good relationship with the E.I. people, and I'm sure they've made more money from me than I have from them, but they have zero interest in producing new films of mine. SLIME cost $50,000 to shoot on 16m; UNDYING LOVE cost $35,000, also on 16m; and NAKED FEAR cost $8,000, on Hi-8 video. E.I. finances their own productions, which tend to be silly sexploitation titles; I own my films. I would work as a director for hire for them, but they know I'm more interested in horror and subtext than nipples.

Roy is busy writing a screenplay which STREET TRASH director Jim Muro may direct for New Line Cinema, so he's not looking for money for DR right now. But he has such a good reputation in the genre that an investor has approached him, so there is a possibility that we will shoot this fall. I think this could be a breakout project for me; if not, it will definitely be a good film, which is what matters most.

As you know from my commentaries, Roy Frumkes - who wrote and produced STREET TRASH, directed DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD, and wrote THE SUBSTITUTE movies--was my film school production teacher. We've become pretty good friends these last few years, and we have similar views on indie filmmaking. When the screenwriter of DEADLY RITES and I decided to resurrect that project (we'd developed it before I left NYC), we agreed that we needed a real producer this time out, instead of using friends who had a few thousand $ to invest. DR is a very rich, very ambitious script. I'm thrilled that Roy has agreed to serve as Producer or Executive Producer. My plan is to shoot this one in Hi-Def, under the SAG Ultra Low Budget agreement, which requires a film to be made for $200,000 or less. At least half of that budget will go to cast (I don't want to say who right now), so film is out of the question. But it's going to look terrific.

D: Regarding your commentary... the things I most look forward to are the "eating out" and "brain painting" scenes. I hope you've got those hidden somewhere, because they sound great.

GL: Sorry, the "eating out" and "brain painting" scenes were never filmed, just discussed.

D: A few other things: 1. I think the closet scene from NF is awesome. 2. Why Casablanca in the background? I mean, I heard the words... but really?

GL: Thanks for your comments on the NF closet scene. The credit for shooting the interior of the closet the way we did (with the actor standing against a piece of black paper behind him, in the middle of the living room, lit from beneath) goes to Ed Walloga, my Assistant Director. My personal favorite scenes are the murder of the burglar (the bloody crotch shot just may be the most horrifying image I've come up with); the 1-900-commercials, and any number of dialogue scenes between the two leads. I'm very happy with my direction in that one, especially since so much of it was on the fly.

The CASBLANCA and James Dean posters were already hanging in Ed's apartment, which we used for the film. I decided to leave them up because both served the homoerotic subtext of the film. Ed refuses to accept that there is a homoerotic subtext to CASABLANCA, but there is.

D: I'll admit the bloody crotch shot is well executed. Though rather sickening, it does add a lot... somehow. Heh! And yes, Casablanca is very that “thang.”

I think you've done great in your marketing. Whomever you get to do your artwork, they really pull it off. I've seen ads for your work in various magazines and in every one there's something that catches the eye. Your book's ad, for example, it goes to show that you've got people working for you that care. One of your major strengths is that you've got such interesting looking ideas…

GL: Yes, I've worked with some good artists, who taught me a thing or two about marketing. Eric Mache, who did the original SLIME CITY painting seen on the DVD, did a lot of my stuff, and graphic design is the strong suit of Mike Raso over at E.I. The cover for my novel (far and away the best thing I've done) was chosen by my publisher; the images are from paintings by Hieyronomous Bosch, a Medieval artist. Did you check out the DEADLY RITES art on my site? There's more on the way, but I'm real happy with what I have so far. A preliminary poster will be up soon (not the photographic flyer seen at the bottom - but Eric again).

D: Onto your Slime City commentary… I didn't quite enjoy it as much as Naked Fear's. But part of that is because it kept cutting out during select scenes (which is common), but NF just kept going and is more enjoyable. First off, I wish to say, that I am too a big fan of sex and violence. So I appreciate what you've done, even if they keep their clothes on while they do it.

GL: We actually recorded all 3 commentaries during a one-week period, while Robert was visiting from L.A. This was before I supervised the DVD transfer, so the SLIME CITY commentary was recorded to the VHS re-release--which was 8 minutes shorter than the original VHS release, and 4 mins shorter than the DVD cut. So someone at E.I. (now POPcinema) later had to edit the track, which is why it doesn't synch up perfectly. I had equal fun on all 3, just hanging out with old friends. The NF track was fun because we were drinking at my apartment. It cracks me up when I get a DVD delivery in the middle of the track, and then Craig Lindberg, my SFX man on UNDYING LOVE and NF, walks in.

D: Regarding the framing… it’s not as bad as you think. I actually don't see much of a problem with it. Every time you'd complain about it, I'm looking and I don't see anything wrong. Then again, the only thing I've ever directed is my ex-girlfriend bouncing around topless... but I wasn't at all distracted by any of the camera shots (I see the point on white wall backgrounds however).

GL: When I'm complaining about my framing on the SLIME CITY track, it's because we were watching a full frame VHS tape, which preserved the original 16m dimensions. I'm actually THRILLED with the framing achieved on the widescreen DVD. We originally framed for a 35mm blowup, which would have meant lopping off the top and bottom of each shot, but we never found a distributor to pay for the blowup (it would have doubled our budget). So the DVD actually looks the way we meant the final film to, and I'm happily satisfied.

D: Well that makes a lot of sense then, since you were watching the Unmatted Full Frame version. During this commentary I was just confused a bit. I thought for a moment that you are perhaps some insane perfectionist and no shot could please you... but I dismissed that bubble rather quickly, knowing that someone working with such a low budget has neither the time nor the money to do things that way and succeed as you did. So my second thought was that you're perhaps too hard on yourself...

Something that always get me laughing are the Boombox gags. Every single time... I guess it's universal, but they're just so precious. Are you really into rap or what? You and I are from completely different coasts, so whatever rap you know…

GL: I'm not into rap music at all. The big boom box was an actual part of life in NYC during the '80s. I like rock, some classical, some opera, some doo-wop, even... but not rap. There's a little bit of rap in each film, because it's part of pop culture in America. I like the rap songs in UNDYING LOVE and NAKED FEAR, but anything can grow on you. I actually like all of the music I've used: the score for SLIME gets a lot of attention, the one for NF is just insane, and the one for UNDYING LOVE is pretty unique.

D: During your commentary you mention that you shot on film, and then not shortly after people started shooting on video and one of the first (I guess) was a movie starring Tom Savini. You mistakenly referred to it as "New York Ripper" which is Lucio Fulci's film. The movie you're speaking of is actually "The Ripper". I agree with the people who say it's boring, it really is... really... but when the gore hits, it's off the charts.

GL: That's right, THE RIPPER! I hated it, but the filmmakers were ahead of their time.

D: You said, regarding the Seduction Cinema line of work, that you would rather "kill yourself first", then going the route of Lesbo-Vampires. While I am a fan of Seduction Cinema's work (I have a small collection and am not afraid to admit it), I do agree with you that you're above that… (However independent director Brian Paulin did director-for-hire work for them called Mummy Raider, and despite the abundance of softcore scenes they imposed on him, he really made it his own and it’s a solid work.) For you to even say that your films are padded out, try comparing yours to one of theirs and see how it comes up.

GL: I don't want to slam the Seduction Cinema stuff--because I can't bring myself to watch any of it! I did sit with Darien Cane at one of the conventions, though.

D: Speaking of padding though, I'd like to bring up someone: Misty Mundae (Erin Brown). I don't know if you have anything against the actresses from Seduction Cinema, but I figure Erin Brown would be perfect for one of your films. (I know you don't wish to name names dealing with your next movie).

GL: The basic concept of DEADLY RITES is that a Charles Manson-type escapes from prison, hooks up with his old followers, and carves up some woods at the same time that 2 cops and a priest are taking some inner city kids camping (cue the rap!). It's extremely brutal, but very thematic--DELIVERANCE meets HELTER SKELTER. I honestly think it has the potential to be pretty significant. Because the women in The Clan were killers back in '79, they're not exactly ingénues. I plan to have some real fun with the casting there. We have 2 younger females as well: a Hispanic police officer, and a character that would be perfect for Erin Brown. In fact, Erin Brown has been my first choice for the part since I met her at Chiller 9 months ago! So we'll just have to see on that one.

D: There are a lot of young talented actresses out there... Which sexy young woman would you most enjoy working for you?

GL: I'm not a fan of the whole Scream Queen scene. I did see a film called SKIN CRAWL, directed by Justin Weingrod, who works for EI. It starred Debbie Rochon, and I was pretty impressed with her performance. To me, Fay Wray and Elsa Lanchaster and Janet Leigh and Jaime Lee Curtis were Scream Queens. Now any actress flashes her breasts in a cheap-o horror film is called a Scream Queen, and entire films are built around them. I've had a few conversations with Brinke Stevens, and find her extremely friendly and intelligent. I'd like to work with her sometime.

D: Debbie Rochon is one of my favorite actresses. For a while there I was a bit obsessed with her actually. I mail order purchased a bust of her likeness, dressed up like a Goth Santa and went nuts with a garden tool this one time…

GL: I spoke to Debbie for a little while at Genghis Con is Pittsburgh last year, after the SKIN CRAWL screening. Very nice, very intelligent, very funny and, I get the impression, very tough.

D: Would you like to make your upcoming story "Johnny Gruesome" a film as well as a book? Has it crossed your mind or it that something completely separate?

GL: The JOHNNY GRUESOME page on my site is really nondescript, aside from that cool artwork. Here's the skinny: JG exists as a complete screenplay, and I'm 2/3 of the way through the novel. It was the second original screenplay I wrote, after SLIME CITY, and it's the one script of mine that is really scary. Unlike PERSONAL DEMONS, which would be too expensive to film (a William Morris agent looking for horror projects to rep to studios loved it, but said it would cost $100 million, and the studios only want to spend $20 mil on horror films), JG could be done in the $2 - $3 mil range. It's a small town horror story, with a murdered heavy metal teen coming back for revenge in the dead of winter. From a production standpoint, the biggest challenge is that the climax takes place on a frozen creek, which of course splits apart, and I'm not willing to compromise on that to get the film done. My hope is that I'll be able to finish the novel soon and place it with a publisher, promote it and DEADLY RITES at the same time, and then do JG as a film. Big plans, right?

D: I read on your site that Romero's "Martin" is one of your favorite films. Martin is actually my favorite film of his. Despite the popularity that Romero has gained with his living dead films, I find Martin to be his best work by far. It’s a film that really touched me, since I found that I had very much in common with it. It's a very disturbed and moody film, often times depressing.

GL: MARTIN is a classic. I feel sorry for people who have never seen it. I had an uncle who took me to see NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD when I was pretty young (because I begged him to), and then DAWN OF THE DEAD and MARTIN during their original releases. They had a huge impact on me. UNDYING LOVE is not in MARTIN's league, of course, but MARTIN did have a huge impact on it. I made UNDYING LOVE at the same time that my friend Larry Fessenden made HABIT--now those two are very similar in subject matter, although Larry had a bigger budget than me and took an artsier approach. While both of our films sat on a shelf looking for distribution, NADJA and THE ADDICTION came out and beat us to the punch. All 4 are NYC set, indie takes on vampirism. But the kid from Pittsburgh did it the best!

D: What exactly is your major dispute with Land of the Dead? I can understand how it doesn't live up to the other films, but why do you think so low of it? Do the rumors of bringing back the cast of the Land for a second installment prove true your hatred for the film? That Romero is seemingly giving in to the fact that he couldn't do it one time around? I know Romero is a hero of yours. So this must indeed be obviously troublesome. Perhaps he'll rectify it all?

GL: LAND OF THE DEAD sucked. The script was underdeveloped. The Toronto location blew as a stand in for Pittsburgh. It looked like a cheap (shot in Toronto) TV movie. Some of the characters were OK, but they never became real. The story made no sense: why would Leguizamo do these raids for money? How could money have any value in that world? It just didn't feel real to me, or brave, or dangerous, or scary. And the Dead Reckoning really blew! I know that Romero lost a big chunk of his budget, and the producers were jerks to him, and he walked off the set, but the most serious flaws in the film stem from his own lackluster script. Definitely not the film I waited 20 years to see. But I hope he gets another crack at it: I'd like to see Riley and Charlie again, and maybe George will write a better script this time.

D: I recently read on your blog that you've run into a bit of tough luck getting that deal with the investor on your Deadly Rites project in time, and that he's moved to another one. That really sucks dude. I know though that you're a determined guy, so I don't really need to tell you to stay determined... but know your fans are hoping that everything works out. If you've got to wait another year (and if it doesn't happen very soon, hopefully it happens during the season you wish), then keep on track with your other projects and get something done.

GL: I actually didn't expect to shoot DEADLY RITES until next year. It was a long shot that I'd be able to do it this fall. The potential investor didn't pass on the project, he never even knew about it; our producer Roy decided not to present it as a possible project until he saw the rewrite of the script... which is even better than the last version. Imagine DELIVERANCE meets THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE! So it's a bummer that they're making something else first, but that is, unfortunately, showbiz. Roy is still interested in the project, and there's still a slim chance it could happen this year. But it will happen: the script and concept art (much of which I haven’t posted yet) are that good.

D: Do you consider yourself a filmmaker first or a writer? We know you're both, but would you consider writing to be your true passion?

GL: Someone once asked Harlan Ellison what he wanted his tombstone to stay, and he answered, "Storyteller." That's how I feel. I've made 3 films (and worked on 7 others--2 incomplete and 1 never released) and only one novel, but the novel is the best thing I've done. I really can't choose one over the other. But I can always write a novel, and I can only make a movie if I raise money.

D: I see aside from scripts and Award Winning Novels you also do multiple "for hire" writing jobs, where your work goes for something like $63 an hour or so. Is this in fact your "real life job" or do you own a pub or something?

GL: I've been toying with a freelance writing job, but haven't really done anything with it. My rate is $65.00, which is the going rate for a copywriter. I've always managed movie theatres and video stores for a living; right now I'm the District Manager for Dipson Theatres, a locally owned chain in Buffalo. The best part of the job is that I program 1 or more midnight series a year. But it's too time-consuming now that I have a baby and it leaves me little time to chase my dreams. I recently switched to a part time schedule, which was working great, but now I'm full time again because we're short handed. The freelance writing would allow me more time to work on my other projects, except that the start-up time required is greater, and I just can't spare the minutes right now.

D: What is your attraction to the gore & shock / emotionally screwed up film genre? Is it something deep rooted and meaningful, or just rather simple and obvious... or both? Personally, I couldn't be happier that you've chosen that direction, since it's what I'm into.

I understand that with low to no budget films, doing something creative with splatter is a sure way to get a better (read: more marketable) product. Naked Fear isn't a "gore and shock" film, but instead relies heavily on emotions and feeling with a bit of grue thrown into the mix (ala History of Violence). So I'm wondering if you're heading into this direction, and at the same time hoping that you don't cut back the violent, obscene and sexual images.

GL: I don't know why horror gives me such a rush; it always has. We're freaks that way, aren't we? I like horror the same way I like violent crime stories; the good ones push the envelope of what we expect to see, and we can't look away.

D: A few months ago I took offense to a comment in a review written by Last Chance Lance in the 54'th issue of Rue Morgue magazine. Firstly, he begins the review by speaking of Tromaville, not that there's too much wrong with that. But to end his rant while talking about the disc features he writes that Naked Fear is a "lame extra". Way to drop the ball Lance. They give this guy all the straight to video “dirt jobs”, and usually they're put in his little one paragraph Last Rites section, but Slime City actually got its own "full" review in the Reissues section. Though Slime gets a decent review and mention, I feel he didn't give credit where it's due. [Dude, they make you watch the shittiest flicks of all time (like Shark attack 4, and Ghetto Voodoo - or whatever the hell), you should know better. Did you even watch it? For shame!]

GL: Last Chance Lance's review of SLIME CITY was actually a good one. I'm used to receiving backhanded compliments on the film, and as long as they're funny, I'm not offended. Like I said earlier, few people like each of my films equally; some think the extra feature is better than the main feature, and vice versa. When you make something for public consumption, you have to take your knocks. RM is a great mag; they've given me positive reviews for PERSONAL DEMONS and SLIME CITY, so I can't complain. But I will admit I was hoping for a review from the Gore-Met, because he's a big fan of the film.

D: I don't actually mind Last Chance Lance… in fact I was pleased to see that they actually gave him a place in the regular review section. I just think he mucked it up, that's all. And yes, your movie would have fit in better within the Gore-Met or Schizoid Cinema section.

GL: Troma... I worked on CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH for a day, and that's how I met the costume designer/dance choreographer and SFX guys for SLIME CITY. I hate Troma. Lloyd Kaufman acts like a fool. I don't like the "let's be as stupid as possible and people will think we're funny!" cynicism. I can understand why people make the comparison, but there is nothing intentionally stupid about SLIME CITY. And at least I TRIED to make a good movie, which they never even attempt. The only thing they've done that I cared for was distribute COMBAT SHOCK. So I don't like the comparison, but I don't pay much attention to it, either; I suspect that reviewers who use that slant are only passingly familiar with Troma product.

D: Well I was a bit ticked when your film was compared to Troma. Maybe some people just see in that straight-line type configuration... not many people branch out with their mindsets, you know? "Weird gore, low budget... it's troma." I noticed the difference. I'm sure others will, despite what that dude in Canada said.

GL: I understand that Troma films have their charm and their fans. My complaints about the company, and Lloyd, have more to do with the way they exploit their crews and filmmakers.

D: You know a lot about low to no budget movies and I’m sure you know about other types as well. I'm wondering what a few of your favorites are. Any rarities?

GL: Some films I recommend: COMBAT SHOCK, DEADBEAT AT DAWN, OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN, DEATHDREAM, DEAD & BURIED, HORROR HOTEL, LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH, and THE DEADLY SPAWN. I'm working on a proposal for a book on making low budget horror films, and if I get a go ahead, I'll interview a bunch of low budget filmmakers.

SavageDragon77: Greg, I’d like to see that book on low budget filmmaking. I’m going through quasi-film school and you wouldn’t believe how many people frown upon horror. I’m not kidding. Everything is about comedy.

GL: Things haven't changed, Savage. One of the reasons I attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC was that all of the teachers were professional filmmakers, not academians; the other was that Roy Frumkes, who was famous mostly for directing DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD with an SVA crew, was one of those professionals. I had a lot of good teachers, with a lot of wildly different ideas about filmmaking--which is a good thing. But the one thing that united them was that, except for Roy, they shared mutual contempt for horror films.

Get ready for a lot of this. It's called artistic discrimination. Even though Hollywood is enjoying its biggest horror boom in years, even Hollywood hates horror; they want your money, but they don't want to spend more than $20 mil to get it (not that they should have to...). I recommend you dig up a book called SCARE TACTICS, by John Russo, who co-wrote NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and has turned out crap ever since (he wrote the book that RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is based on, but the movie has nothing to do with the novel). This book is the second best thing Russo ever did, and even though it was written with 16mm filmmakers in mind, before digital video existed, there is a lot of good advice in the book, including sample contracts.

For a more contemporary look, I recommend a book called SHOOT ME, co-written by Roy Frumkes and his then screenwriting partner, Rocco Simonelli. The book is structured around the making of THE SWEET LIFE, a romantic comedy starring James Lorinz (STREET TRASH, FRANKENHOOKER) and Joan Jett. The book is a look at Hi Definition indie filmmaking from the POV of two filmmakers used to working on film. Roy uses STREET TRASH and a never completed (but amazing!) film by Lorinz called SWIRLY, about a man made out of ice cream, as frequent examples in his text. It's a breezy book, with Roy and Rocco alternating chapters as screenwriter/producer and screenwriter/director.

I'll take this opportunity to plug a magazine I write a column called 'The Big Scream' for: POST MORTEM, from Nocturne Press. My first column appears in issue #4, due out this month, and is about mainstream horror films from the '70s (like LITTLE MURDERS and DEATH WISH and DELIVERANCE) that are more frightening than any horror films churned out by Hollywood today. The next column is "Political Horror," and the one after that is "Why Hollywood Hates You"--which is the connection I'm making now. It's a good mag, full of fiction, artwork, interviews, and articles.

D: Since you've been in the theatre business forever, mind to tell us about the movies you've seen on the big screen and how they've affected you? Batman? The Goonies?

GL: Here are the films I saw on the big screen that warped me forever: CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, THE 7% SOLUTION, LOGAN'S RUN, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DAWN OF THE DEAD, MARTIN, and STAR WARS. There are no substitutes. I have a bunch of younger friends, so I understand that GOONIES has a huge following, but I hated that shit! BATMAN was OK, but Batman should have been the main character, not Jack Nicholson as The Joker.

D: Surely there's an arcade section where you are or have managed before... so, have you dabbled? Are you addicted to video games by now any chance? I assume you would enjoy those Standing while shooting games… whatever that platform is called.

GL: In high school, I dabbled at DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. But I never took it seriously. I was there to sabotage my friends' fun. If a player missed a game, I killed his character so he'd have to start all over. If the Dungeon Master created a world for us to enter, and we found ourselves standing at a mysterious door, I was the one who'd say, "Let's go back!" I'd watch that same friend mesmerized at arcade games, and I thought, I'm not touching that drug! So I'm not a gamer at all. If I was, I'd never get anything done. I'd rather read a book or watch a movie. But most of my friends, and many of my family members, are video game junkies, so I see the devotion required. I do feature a "standing and shooting" game in JOHNNY GRUESOME.

D: How much popcorn do you consume on a regular basis?

GL: After 12 years in the theatre biz, the rotting stench of popcorn makes me sick to my gizzard.

D: What are your thoughts and opinions on the state of televised no limit Texas Hold-Em poker tournaments? If you're not into poker, just switch that with Pool or Darts.

GL: I'm not into poker, pool, or darts!

D: If you're not into poker, pool or darts (which confuses me), how about bowling, pride fighting or hot dog eating contests? Personally I don't think that those involved should be allowed to dip their bread in water… that's weak. As for bowling, candlepin should be outlawed. And pride fighting? They stop the fights too early. What's your opinion?

GL: …

D: Garbage Pail Kids, the cards from back in the day… What's your view?

GL: I'm too old for the Garbage Pail kids, but I believe that Scott Coulter, the SFX man on SLIME CITY, did the SFX on the crappy movie version. The only cards I ever collected were for the PLANET OF THE APES TV series.

D: You must have a pretty cool looking yard right? Have you put work into it to make the landscaping your own? If you don't have a yard, then have you considered moving to a place with a big backyard where you can BBQ and walk about nude to your desire?

GL: I have a backyard, a fence, and a grill, but not the degree of privacy conducive to nude frolicking...

D: To me a backyard surrounded by a tall fence is like a sanctuary. One where I can go out at dim-night, grill some rib-eyes, blast some Danzig, and drink a couple 40s. It's something sacred actually. Where I'm at now I don't have a yard like back home... which is awful. And I miss my mum too.

GL: My own mother was a big influence on me, she died 4 years ago, and I definitely miss her. She did that cool oil painting of the Phantom of the Opera on my website.

D: You tend to visit many conventions. Can you tell me or us about the weirdest experience that you've had at one of these nerd-fests?

GL: Believe it or not, I actually haven't had ANY weird experiences at these cons. Oh, you find yourself surrounded by eccentrics, but it would be dull otherwise. Harlan Ellison got stuck in an elevator for 30 mins at World Horror Con, which was funny... and Ted Raimi spent the entire Twisted Nightmare Weekend trashed and away from his table, which was embarrassing. And at that same con, a disgruntled baseball team--angry that they lost their championship--fanned out through the hotel, beating up any "horror faggots" they could find (I slept through the whole thing, but the team was locked up), but that's about it. I usually sit at my own table with my wife, or at the E.I. Cinema (now POP Cinema) table with those folks, so I tend to have a mellow time talking to them and a couple dozen or so fans about movies.

D: What about the Sexiest?

GL: Sexiest time: like I said, I sit with my wife! And we sat with Darien Cane at one show, and I met Karen Allen, my favorite actress, at another. I never attended a con, as a guest, while I was a swinging single, so I have no tales of drunken debauchery, drugs, or orgies with scream queens. I think my favorite show last year was Horrorfind in Baltimore. Roy Frumkes was there, promoting the STREET TRASH DVD a few months after I had him screen a 35mm print of the film at the theatre I used to manage; a bunch of my fellow horror writers were there, like John MaClay, Brian Keene, Steve Wedel, and Edward Holsclaw, and some of the biggest SLIME fans I've met in my life.

Kate had a comment on conventions that I unfortunately lost… yet somehow Greg’s response still got copied into my file:

GL: Years ago, I used to attend the Chiller Theatre Show in NJ, but my friends and I bailed after only a few hours each time. I don't really enjoy huge crowds, overpriced merchandise, or "celebrities" charging for autographs (last year at the Canadian Expo, which included Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear, Elijah Wood and James Marsters were each charging $80 per autograph!). And I hate standing on line (I don't think you mentioned how insane the wait to see Bruce Campbell was). But it's a whole different story when you're a guest / dealer. I'm no good at hucksterism; I don't like trying to "sell" my work or myself. Not my style. But I'm happy to sit at the E.I. table, have E.I. reps push SLIME CITY and offer to have me sign it (for free, of course; I could NEVER charge someone for an autograph), chat up the person, and if they seem interested, recommend my book.

Horrorfind is one of the few cons to pay any attention to authors, and they set up non-stop readings in 2-3 different rooms; you could literally spend an entire day listening to authors read their work, and not have to shell out a cent. For me, this was a great opportunity to meet a lot of fellow writers I knew only from the Horror Writers Association message board. As a guest, I was invited to the Big Private Party, where such luminaries as Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Ken Foree, Tom Savini, etc. gathered in a more relaxed and Fanboy-free atmosphere. After that, a few of us writers and our better halves relocated to our own hotel room party and had a great time. Regarding Fanboys: we all have our stories, and make our jokes, but when I'm selling a DVD of SLIME CITY, and a guy comes over to me with a beat up old VHS copy of the film, tells me he loves it, and asks me to take a picture with him, he makes my day. I'm no celebrity, I'm not famous, and I'm grateful for anyone who appreciates the flick. This year, I'm only attending 2 cons for sure: FOF again, and the Eerie Horror Film Festival, and possibly Screamfest in Florida, but next year I plan to do Horrorfind again if I'm free.

RE: the bootlegs, I don't condone them, but most bootlegs are of movies / TV shows not available yet, and I can understand a diehard fan shelling out too much money for something they're dying to own. I've done it myself--and almost every time I've done so, the announcement for the official, extras-jammed legit edition was right around the corner!

[That's splat.]

[Since this interview, Greg did indeed go on to work with Erin Brown in 2007 (in the Johnny Gruesome short film / music video) and Debbie Rochon in 2009 (in his sequel to Slime City, appropriately titled Slime City Massacre, which has just been completed and is making rounds in the festival circuit now). Also, Shock-O-Rama (a sub label of I.E.) went all out and finally released Undying Love, along with the Gruesome short and Slime City / Naked Fear in the Slime City Grindhouse Collection Set. Not only that, but Greg did go on to write his book on low budget filmmakers, entitled Cheap Scares. Right on Greg!]

For up to date news, and journal postings, visit Greg’s website: Slime Guy: The Gregory Lamberson Files.

February 1st, 2010, Bearded Weirdo Reviews did an interview with Greg. Definitely CHECK IT OUT as it’s got pretty much all of the new stuff he’s been doing and it gets really in depth.


KFelon said...

Awesome work, thanks for bringing it back from the Film-Talk dead, revising it, and giving a proper update at the end. I enjoyed reading it from start to finish.

As for Film-Talk I'm still upset how Ed handled the whole shut down of the board giving members a single week to save any of their posts.

DrunkethWizerd said...

Thanks man!

As for Film Talk... bleh.

My words are my own and as of posted from their creation forward I hereby claim originality to them. Pictures may prove to be promotional items and are the sole possessions of their respectful owners and/or companies. I do not sell, nor do I buy. I only rent, so therefore, nothing I own is truly mine.