• Rock! Shock! Pop! Presents An Interview With Filmmaker Todd Sheets!

    Todd Sheets has been toiling away in the low budget horror market for decades now. Having risen to prominence during the VHS rental boom years, the man has directed more than forty features since starting his career in the mid-eighties. Todd keeps busy but was gracious enough to take time out of his schedule to talk about his latest films House Of Forbidden Secrets and Dreaming Purple Neon, his legacy in the world of SOV pictures, the filmmaking scene in his native Kansas City and lots more.

    Rock! Shock! Pop! - So what made you want to get into filmmaking in the first place? As a kid were there certain movies or directors that inspired you?

    Todd Sheets - I spent much of my childhood in Drive-In Theaters. My first childhood movie memory was a triple bill of The Boy Who Cried Werewolf, Sssssss and Night of The Living Dead. I was honestly hooked. I spent my youth watching Creature Feature and Friday Fright Nights and would ask to see horror movies on weekends. The Universal Monsters and Hammer Horror films were my favorites. I recall watching some Hammer movies at the Drive In. Later, I found indoor theaters that played trashy monster movies and such, I called them Indoor Drive-Ins but they are known as Grindhouse style theaters today. I would watch exploitation films and horror movies at these fine movie palaces. As a teenager, I discovered Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento, along with other Italian directors whose films played at these theaters. Also, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. After I first watched that one, I was so shocked and disturbed I sat in my chair and never left. The movie started again and I sat through it a second time. Films like this, Phantasm and Slithis all served to inspire me.

    R!S!P! - You started making and releasing moves in the mid-eighties, early in the straight to video horror boom that came and launched a lot of careers. A lot of your associates from back then have thrown in the towel but you’ve kept at it – what drives you in this regard?

    TS - When I was a kid and a teenager, these films were an escape for me. A cinematic roller coaster. When I had a bad week or a bad time with my parents or at school, I would go to the movies and for a couple of hours I could let go of the stress and anxiety. I could escape any problems. It was my hope to do that for someone else one day, to have them watch one of my films and feel the same way I did back then. I love the creativity and the way I can come up with an idea, write a script and pull together people to bring it to actual life. Every film is a new cinematic life that was created by a group of people coming together with a goal and following through. It's kind of exciting and magical when you think of it. And I TRULY love the process. I watch every new horror film I can get my hands on. I love the genre to this day. And working with so many talented cast and crew people is so rewarding. I love every aspect of it. House of Forbidden Secrets was an official selection at over 87 Film Festivals all over the world. We just played the Bram Stoker International Film Fest in London over Halloween 2016. We took it on the road and showed it in over 30 movies theaters in the USA. Dreaming Purple Neon is just now hitting festivals. We had a sold out theatrical World Premiere on Halloween weekend and now it has already shown at 3 Film Fests with many more to follow. People are watching the films and we are getting awesome reviews and THAT is what keeps us going. I am actually doing what I really wanted, entertaining people.

    R!S!P! - You’ve recently undergone heart surgery – do you feel that’s changed your outlook at all, or your priorities in terms of filmmaking?

    TS - My kids were needing a full time dad, and my radio show Nightwatch was taking off and being syndicated to 420 stations worldwide. So, I gave it up for a while, but then I had a heart attack in 2012 and while in that hospital for 31 days, I decided if I ever got out, I was going to get back to what I loved. I began the final draft of House of Forbidden Secrets while I was there. After quadruple bypass surgery, and then a second surgery due to complications, I finally recovered and when I got out, I kept the promise to myself to get back to what I loved. Having such a close call, a true brush with death does change your whole perspective on life. I have never done drugs, never smoked, never really even drank.... I am a nerd! This was all from genetics. I am so blessed and lucky to be alive. I try and push positive energy. It changed how my films are made as well. On the set, before we begin shooting, we take time to do a spiritual cleansing so the actors and crew can focus on the project and let go of the negative energy, the stress and the frustrations of the week or the day. Dyanna Thorne, Ilsa herself, told me that she had never been on a set that felt so positive and full of good, vibrant energy. She said she wanted to bring ALL her directors to our set to show them how it should be done. That blows my mind. I just want to create a great environment for creating and making movies for everyone. I also want to point out that while I was in the hospital a group of people started reaching out to me. Brandon Bennet and Thomas Berdinski started a fan club for me on Facebook and suddenly people all over the world were writing and making YouTube videos. And these people moved me in such an emotional way. Some were in tears about my situation. I got over 11,000 letters while I was in there. It really showed me that my little movies had done what I wanted all along, in some way they had touched people. They had not only entertained but left an impression. It was so incredible and it truly helped me recover and survive the whole ordeal.

    R!S!P! - When you began, you were doing everything with a camcorder. These days, with the advent of digital video, computers and even smart phones it seems like filmmaking is more accessible than ever. How do you feel modern technology has helped you in recent times?

    TS - I think technology is simply a miracle really. You are right, when I started it was so difficult. I used to do Super 8 movies in the early days and I had to actually use a splicer to cut the films. After that, I edited between 2 S-VHS machines. No edit controller. I would use the pause button. And then I would dub the music and effects on the linear tracks of the master tape. The HI-Fi tracks held the voices and on set sound. Now anyone can make a movie. Kind of a blessing because so many great talented people who don’t have a million bucks can do some great things, but also, there are 3000 cellphone Hitchcocks out there in every city flooding the shrinking video market with stuff. I learned by making so damned many mistakes, so I urge people now to read every book, watch You Tube videos and mainly watch movies, CLASSIC movies. Grab the book Film Directing Shot By Shot. It is incredible. Distributors today said if I had not created some kind of name for myself years ago, it may be almost impossible to get a movie out there. No one has the time to go through the hundreds and hundreds of movies they get both online and on DVDs every week. But I love the new stuff. Breakthroughs are coming out every day. I think in some ways though, the resolution is almost TOO good on newer cameras like the 4k and the 8k. I feel like I need to dumb it down. It looks too real. Not like film at all. I think the 2k was the last of the cameras that at least look close to film, but some of these cameras take amazing and crisp footage that looks flat and like a very expensive soap opera. No depth of field, almost so real it has become unreal, like plastic. I like it to be closer to film with the 24 frames per second rate and such. To smooth is just not my thing.

    R!S!P! - Some of your early films were dedicated to Jesus, which is odd considering the extreme gore and hyper violent set pieces. What was behind the decision to do this and do you feel your movies make any sort of religious statement?

    TS - My mother went and saw The Exorcist and it changed her life. She went to a Baptist school and became a Baptist schoolteacher. My dad is Italian Catholic. Kind of a crazy upbringing. The main reason for those things being in the end credits was my investors who wanted to make sure people here in the Kansas City area, a major Bible Belt town, knew it wasn't Satanic, that we were not Satan Worshippers. I have had many run-ins with these Baptists and it sucks. So now everyone thinks the whole message was from me, but it was from several people involved in our funding and producing. A few of my films do make a religious statement, like Violent New Breed and some parts of House of Forbidden Secrets. It creeps in. I have nothing against Jesus, just the jerks who use his name to do nasty things to people. Man-made religions persecute so many good, innocent people, especially kids and teens, that it should be illegal.

    R!S!P! - You shoot pretty much all of your movies in and around Kansas City, which is hardly known as a hotbed of filmmaking. I think that this gives your movies their own sort of regional flavor, which is part of their appeal, but it’s got to be challenging in some ways. What’s the filmmaking scene like in KC?

    TS - When I began in Kansas City, literally NO ONE was doing it. Doors were slammed in my face, people accused me of making Porn films when I wasn’t even old enough to BUY them, and I was told I could NEVER make movies here. But I did it anyway. I guess my crew and I paved the way for people now. There is a group here that began because I fired some people from my crew. One guy stole my gear and tried to sell it to a pawn shop. Luckily I knew the guy who owned the shop. He saw the gear that had my company name inscribed on it and he called me. I could have had the guy arrested; I just fired his ass and cussed him out. The other guy broke my generator. Blew it up. Lied to me about taking care of it. They went off and formed this Filmmakers Coalition here and basically spent every meeting trashing me. I was suddenly the bad guy. This went on for years. They are no longer part of the Coalition, but even now I hear from people who go to their meetings that they still trash talk me and dog me out even though I never even met most of these people. Sad really. Use that energy and make a movie instead of bashing me. They make a lot of short films. Most the stuff stays local. Patrick Rea is in Kansas City and he is awesome and has talent to spare. His horror films are more family friendly, not gritty and gross, but I really enjoy them. Jill Sixx has made a couple cool short films and she is very supportive of indie artists. She and Gary Cooper do Slaughter Moviehouse the first Monday of every month. We have an Alamo Drafthouse here now and House of Forbidden Secrets was the first film to every sell out a screening there. And then we have my buddy Adam Roberts. Adam kind of got his start making movies with me way back in the day, and now he has grown up and owns Screenland Theaters. A local chain that REALLY helps local and indie horror. It's Adam's favorite genre. He is an amazing dude. As for Kansas City, there are some very talented people here that I have the honor of meeting and working with, and some really cool people who support what we do. But, there are still some issues with cliques and back stabbing here and I find that ridiculous and sad. Jealousy, uneducated opinions and gossip really hurt the creative flow and energy. I try and ignore the BS and the politics and do what I love to do. My films are distributed worldwide and I guess it really pisses some people off. Instead of celebrating our success and working together, these people would rather burn bridges and lie and create drama. Sometimes it really blows my mind what I hear about myself. Too bad most of it is nonsense.

    The great thing is that, as I said, I have met some incredible people in Kansas City over the years, really talented, and I have a core group that I work with over and over again. Antwoine Steele and I have been working together for over 20 years, and we have Amanda Payton who is producing and even directing her own films with Extreme Entertainment and Johnnie Reed who is has directed his first short and works on every film. On Dreaming Purple Neon I met a young guy named Alex Brotherton who reminds me of myself at his age. He is gonna be working with us again as well. We have a great group of effects artists, actors and actresses that we work with on every film as well. So even though it IS tough and has been difficult at times in this area, there are some people who make it a true pleasure. I could not do what I do without these great people. Every film is a true effort from ALL of the people involved. From Crew to Cast to myself, there is no way it could be done without each person. Everyone brings something to the table. Dreaming Purple Neon would not be the film it is without every person who worked on it with me. I could not do it without them.

    R!S!P! - Out of all the features that you’ve made, which movie is your favorite and why?

    TS - Well, since 1993 and the original Zombie Bloodbath, I consider each film to be like a new child that was brought to life with hard work, passion and dedication from so many great people. I have a couple of them that are closer to my heart. Violent New Breed was one of my first bigger budgets. Butch Rigby and Jeffrey Westra, along with Ted Irving, produced the film and invested in me. I was able to bring in Rudy Ray Moore, Dolemite himself, and put him in an awesome part in his only horror film. The script was huge and complicated. It was an epic. And I had a jerk Associate Producer named Greg who basically tried his best to turn my crew against me, some of my cast as well. He spread lies about me, and he told people terrible things like the money was gone and the film was not going to be finished. He caused me so much trouble. My investor Butch was also my lawyer, so he stepped in and stopped him, but some damage had been done and some of my crew, not knowing what was true or not, decided to mutiny. I finished the film, the biggest of my career at that time, and basically went through the fires of Hell and back. At the same time I was in the courts fighting a custody battle for my son. So that film has a special place in my heart for many reasons. Through all the issues and BS going on, I fought through it, and along with the ones who stayed and believed in me, we got it done and it turned out pretty damned good. The other is House of Forbidden Secrets because it was me screaming to the world that I am still alive and that I am back, doing what I love. It was my largest budget, and I called in some favors from my friends in the industry like Lew Temple, George Hardy, Allan Kayser, Dyanne Thorne, Howard Maurer, Lloyd Kaufman and Ari Lehman. Lew was amazing, he came to see me when I came out of the hospital and was so supportive and helpful. But with the investor, I had another difficult situation, on one side he was supportive while we were in pre-production and while we were beginning the shoot, but as things progressed, he was very difficult in some ways, one time actually having a guy not even involved in the project in any way rewrite part of my script without my approval to make it “better” for the “Comedy Central Audience.” I kid you not. And then things got worse in post-production. I truly had to fight for my vision. He would put me through hours and hours of Hell, demanding changes and cuts and saying I wasn't meeting HIS vision, when in fact I wrote the script, directed it, produced it, edited it and I owned 100% of the film. I made it clear on our first few meetings that if we did this, I had final cut, I was not to be forced to change my film and that this was my vision, my comeback film. To me, I had to fight. This was my big comeback. And let’s face it, if it sucks, director's very often get all the blame. I didn't want to be blamed for things that were not my choices. It was never understood what this film meant for me. Things got very surreal for a while there. Pages and pages of notes on changes every week during post production. The contracts kept getting changed and I was basically forced to sign or there would be serious repercussions and the film would never have been finished. It goes even deeper, but I cannot talk about it. There were some serious issues happening, and I fought through it, almost landing back in the hospital again. Let me be clear, I am VERY thankful for the investment in the film, it would probably still exist, but not be the same film it is today. I am so thankful for anyone who believes in a script or idea and invests time or money into it. I just felt that most of the conflict was not needed and should never have happened. Positive energy got me through it all.

    R!S!P! - Anyone who works at their craft as long as you have will improve, and it’s obvious when comparing your earlier efforts to your more recent ones that you’ve grown a lot. What do you think is the biggest difference between your early movies and your more recent efforts?

    TS - Basically, as you said I learned new things. Anyone who thinks they know it all has already failed. I learn new things on every project and continue to grow and evolve. I soak it all in! Working with so many amazing and talented people helps, and knowing so many great people in the horror business helps as well. Just sitting and talking to any one of my talented friends will teach me. I was on the set of Fred Olen Ray's movie Unwanted Guest after shooting House of Forbidden Secret and I learned so damned much from Fred and Chris Olen Ray. I applied what I learned while making my latest film Dreaming Purple Neon. It has to be this way. Our industry is always evolving and rolling and you have to roll along with it and improve and grow as a person and an artist. For instance, back in the day I was a kid who got a break from my mentor David DeCoteau. He took me under his wing and released my first 5 films. Dave taught me much and saw some kind of spark in me. Those films are terrible. But the thing is, I kind of got a bit of an ego back then for a few minutes. I was told I could never make movies and yet here are my films distributed all over the world! I had a bit of an attitude, I admit it. I felt that sting of pride. I was the nerd kid who was always being laughed at, and suddenly I am on MTV, FOX, CNN, ABC, NBC, John Stewart Show, PBS and in magazines and newspapers all over the country. I felt vindicated!!! It was a mistake to be that way of course, and it wasn't like I was some ego monster. Just enough that it made me feel bad about it. Some of my advisors back then didn't help. They had worse attitudes than me. I quickly learned that I had no reason to have any ego. I was knocked down hard by people, some I even thought were my friends and they trashed me and my films. My movies sucked. But it made me work harder. It made me evaluate myself and be brutally honest. Since then, I never had an ego problem again and I never will. Ego can be the worst enemy of a true movie maker. It will block your growth, stifle your creativity and create tension with your peers. Again, I really began to take it serious and try and grow and learn. And I got better. Practice makes perfect, or in my case, practice makes watchable! Again, the heart attack changed me even more and really put things in perspective and focus and I think I improved so much on one film. Almost as much on one as I had on the previous 4. It's all about heart, passion, patience and knowing what to do on set and if you don't know, READ and find out. Don't be afraid to ask. Reach for that next level and refuse to take no for an answer.

    R!S!P! - Gore plays a huge part in your movies, often times very extreme and over the top gore at that. Do you feel that strong gore scenes help your movies? How much of your typical budget goes to the gore set pieces?

    TS - Almost every bit of our budget goes to the effects and to getting new gear and improving the quality of the film. I think for me, it was how people reacted in those early days. I didn't have the skill to make drama or even a good comedy, but I could get a reaction by shocking people like many of my favorite directors had done. And I really liked that shock. It was like the payoff after a coaster ride. As I would improve and branch out, trying new ideas, I noticed I didn't use it as a crutch and the effects became part of the story. Moonchild has damned near no gore at all, but it has a ton of effects. It was also one of my first films to win awards at festivals. Dee Wallace handed me the award I won at the KAN Film Fest... 2nd place winner. On a $500 budget. And $150 of that was for ‘film-looking’ and mastering on Betacam SP. I feel that the gore scenes give people a rush, and in my newest Dreaming Purple Neon, we did more gore than I had EVER attempted and honestly it is by far the most extreme movie I ever made. And I love it! I love the reaction! I am so tired of homogenized horror films, these PG-13 things - and even R-Rated horror is closer to PG-13 now. This was me rebelling. This is me saying - WE MAKE HORROR MOVIES AND WE DO SO IN A WAY THAT IS NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT AND WE ARE PROUD OF IT!!!

    R!S!P! - You’ve distanced yourself from some of your earlier movies but the fact is that movies like Goblin, Nightmare Asylum and the Zombie Bloodbath films definitely have cult followings. How do you feel about the cult followings some of these pictures have garnered over the years?

    TS - Most directors hide these kind of early movies when they were just learning, I allowed mine to be distributed worldwide. Still trying to live those old movies down in some circles. People saw one of them and never gave me another chance. This is really true in Kansas City. Closed minded people just assume that you can never grow and evolve and get better. Their loss. I am not trying to win Academy Awards. I am simply trying to entertain an audience. And you are right, anything before Zombie Bloodbath I disown due to the pain it has caused me. I consider Zombie Bloodbath my first real movie. It is the first one where we all really applied what we learned from our early stuff and took it serious. Of course we had to make that film during the great flood of 93. Our locations were damned near completely underwater, some only the roof showing. We had to rewrite the script on the fly. We had a pre-set premiere date that had already been selling tickets so we had to finish on time. But it had 700 extras and a crew of about 60 people and a cast of about 25. Insane.

    R!S!P! - Let’s talk about Moonchild – in some ways your craziest movie. There’s a car chase scene in this picture where the vehicles are going kind of slowly but seemingly inexperienced ‘stunt people’ are duking it out and honestly endangering themselves. Was there ever any concern on this or any other shoots where you were worried your cast or crew might get hurt?

    TS - Moonchild was a blast, and a true effort to show we could make a decent movie on no money that was not a gore flick. That chase scene... most of it was shot doing about 40 or 45 miles an hour. It looks in some shots like 10. Hehe. But it was actually faster than that. In one shot, our hero Jacob played by Auggie ALvarez is stretched between the two cars. My buddy Chrios Weisbach is blowing stuff up with his amateur pyro and I'm lying in the center of the road. The cars were to drive next to me and Auggie would go over me. Suddenly his foot swings down and hits me in the face going about 38 MPH. It busted my mouth and caused a tooth to go through my lip. I had to rush to the hospital to get stitches. I told everyone to prep for another take while I was gone and for Chris to reset the pyro. They rehearsed a few times and reset and when I got back an hour later, we shot it again. We never stopped and the set was not shut down. On Catacombs there was a scene where 2 of the heroes, played by Antwoine Steele and Rico Love, were repelling down the elevator shaft of a 7 story building. For one shot, I was hanging by a harness in the shaft, spinning, and for another take I sat the camera and tripod up across from them in the shaft on a ledge about 3 feet wide. I said “Action!” and fell through the damned floor. I caught myself by my elbows. It hurt like hell. Everyone freaked. I felt okay enough to go ahead and get the shot before climbing very carefully back up. So many crazy things have happened. We really just wanted to entertain people and bring the best movies we could on no money. We actually never thought about serious injury and up until my heart attack, I kind of thought we were all invincible.

    R!S!P! - There’s a resurgence on the popularity of SOV horror movies lately – Polonia Brothers, Tim Ritter, Donald Farmer – a lot of these guys, yourself included, seem to be getting some overdue attention. Why do you think this is?

    TS - I am so damned honored really. I think people finally understand how hard it was back then to do what we all did. And why we did it. For the simple love of movies! We had no delusions about getting rich, at least I didn't. I just wanted to give back and entertain people. I wish John Palonia was around to see all of this. He and Mark were so young when they started and against all odds they got movies out there. Splatter Farm was so damned crude, but so full of heart and passion. Donald was doing it too! I recall grabbing his stuff at MOVIES AT HOME, a video chain I loved back in the day. Tim got his start on film with Truth Or Dare and Killing Spree. Many things he started on video, but I don't think he did video until he had no choice financially. It really helps to keep me going when things get tough. And they do still get tough. Things are hard even today. Doing this is not easy and even though we have better tools, it is just as hard to finish a film. I think the SOV movies are a kind of flip-side to Hollywood stuff. It was an era of innocence. It was a time of exploring new ideas and trying new things. SOV movies will do things you would NEVER see in any other kind of movie. We were a new generation, working with what we had because our desire to do this was so insatiable. We had no rules and nothing was off limits. It was so interesting to discover things as we went along about our craft and apply it on new movies. I think people are tapping into that, seeing what our true intent was and how impossible it was and that we all succeeded in getting films out against every odd you can imagine. It blows my mind, and I am very thankful for the support.

    R!S!P! - You’ve worked with some interesting people over the years. In Violent New Breed you worked with Dolemite himself, Rudy Ray Moore. How did you wind up with him in the cast and what was he like to work with? It also seems to be out of print – how do I get a copy?

    TS - I had always been a huge fan of his work, and so when I got a budget for the first time, he was my number one choice to work with. Rudy was a joy! He was all I ever hoped he would be. One night I got a call from the hotel he was staying in to come down, there was an issue. When I got there, Rudy was in the lounge, on a table, doing his comedy routine. People were loving it. The place was packed. I asked the manager what I should do, he said “Leave him up there! People are loving it and we're selling lots of drinks!” I was proud of him. He was in his element. Rudy made me a clack, with velvet and big Rhinestones. It had his picture. He drew all over it with Crayons and signed it to me. He also gave me a signed headshot and told me he had an amazing time and he would always consider me a friend. We spoke now and then until he passed away. I will always cherish those days with him. The film has been remastered and is pretty damned nice looking. Wild Eye Releasing is supposed to release it in 2017. I cannot wait!!!

    R!S!P! - More recently in House Of Forbidden Secrets you’ve got appearances from Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, Ilsa herself Dyanne Throne and Friday The 13th’s Ari Lehman. There have got to be some fun stories there – dish it!

    TS - Dyanne Thorne is one of the sweetest, kindest, most giving people I know. She considers me family and has my name on her couch she says! Howard Maurer is her incredible husband and he is just great as well. So much talent. Dyanne had a few scenes with Lew Temple and together they bring the screen to life!!!! She was so talented and she truly enjoyed the experience. She helped me with SAG as well and they said I was one of their favorite people to deal with that year!!! So great. Lloyd Kaufman and I go way back and I really wanted him to be part of the film. It took forever to get him here thanks to blizzards, but we brought him in and had a huge night of celebration at Alamo Drafthouse showing Poultrygeist and Toxic Avenger. Then we shot the next day. He was so much fun. We decided that his character would be drunk. I did not write it that way, but Lloyd asked if he could try it. The whole crew laughed so hard we kept blowing takes. And each time would wind Lloyd up and he would get wilder and wilder. It was an honor to direct him and so much fun to create together. Ari Lehman was on tour with First Jason, his rock band. I knew him and asked if he would drop in and do me the favor of appearing in the film. He agreed and did a great job. George Hardy from Troll 2 is in the film as well and he did such a great job. George was nervous until his co-star Allan Kayser showed up. Allan was in Night of The Creeps as The Bradster and also he played Bubba on Mama's Family. I knew Allan for a while, and I am a HUGE fan, so I knew this would be special. Allan was armed with props from a local JACK IN THE BOX... mainly brownie bites and once we started rolling, the whole scene lit up. Every horror icon in the film I had promised that I would give them a part of I ever had a budget. Everyone did this for me as a favor, they were and are my friends, and they made my dreams come true. I am thankful for so many talented friends who really care about me in this sometimes cynical business.

    R!S!P! - Music plays a big part in your movies, a lot of time there’s a metal soundtrack to your stuff. Is this just a reflection of your own personal tastes or is there a more complex reason for that?

    TS - Honestly, I try and fit the mood of the scene as best I can.... sometimes I listen to certain music when I write the script to set that mood. My in house composer is Toshiyuki Hiraoka. We have been doing work together for many years, almost 15 I think. He can pretty much do anything musically. He's a genius!!! I am also always looking for new music, new ideas and new soundscapes for the films and I love the creative process. I like to hear what each artist brings to a scene. I use many musicians now to complement Toshi's work and to broaden the mood. In House of Forbidden Secrets I really wanted a certain sound. The film was an homage to Italian Horror, especially one of my heroes, Lucio Fulci. When I met Lucio, I told him I would one day make a film that he would be proud of. I contacted Fabio Frizzi, one of my very favorite artists and we talked quite a while. We struck up a friendship and Fabio created a truly amazing, haunting and beautiful score for the film. I had mentioned some issues earlier with an investor, and this was one area. He said he loved Italian Horror but obviously had no idea what I was talking about. He didn't like Fabio's score. I was in love with it. It was perfect. Eventually, the film was taken to a third party sound editor who changed things around and remixed the film, losing some of Fabio's score. IT broke my heart. Much of the score is still in the film, but parts are gone. One day I plan on doing the FABIO FRIZZI CUT of the film.

    R!S!P! - Tell us about your most recent movie, Dreaming Purple Neon. What are the release plans for this one? What sets it apart from your other films?

    TS - Right now I am talking with my good friend Stephen Biro at UNEARTHED FILMS about releasing the film in the USA. He is already handling my foreign sales. Ron Bonk at SRS is going to do a VERY limited VHS release for collectors. It is an homage to those early days, the glory days of VHS and of my early films. I know people love that early gore stuff, so I wanted to take all I had learned and make a gore film, a true splatter flick that I could be proud of for fans of those movies. This one is insane. We went too far and then kept on going! And I wanted to kind of go back and do a film that I financed myself, no investors to deal with, no egos and no politics! I wanted to make a fun movie with a good story, strong characters, an epic feel and more gore and crazy stuff than ever before. This is a film for fans made by fans with no pretension. No delusions. It's a low budget splatter flick and it is meant to entertain and like I said earlier, take away stress and make someone forget their problems for a couple hours.

    R!S!P! - What’s next on your plate – any other projects in the works that you want to talk about?

    TS - The old stuff is coming in 2017 from Wild Eye Releasing, House of Forbidden Secrets is coming from Gator Blade Films, Spirits and Spirits 2 are our only Found Footage style movies, made by request and those are coming and our anthology Sleepless Nights is coming from Lo-Fi Video. I am writing a werewolf movie that will have all practical effects and an old school vibe called Moonrise Massacre and finally I am working on a vampire movie that will return us to those days of awesome EuroHorror called Cruel Midnight. Lots going on, never a dull moment.