It seems like yesterday in some ways, while at other times it seems like years ago that we were on set filming House of Forbidden Secrets. We crammed so many hours into those long weekends…. cast and crew gave their all in the insane temperatures to make this film a reality. It was the best of times, and sometimes it was the most frustrating of times… but mostly, it was an amazing experience. For me, after the quadruple bypass, being on set again was a vindication. Not sure everyone quite understood it…. but this was like being alive again for me – standing there on set, I felt like I was back home. In my element. With great friends surrounding me, and awesome talent all working toward the goal of creating something new….
Creation by its very nature is to create something from nothing. That is to bring into existence something not seen and not previously experienced. Where nothing existed before something is created. Whether we realize it or not we routinely create something from nothing. However most are unaware they do it let alone how they do it. But we were not only aware, we were pouring our hearts and souls into it. This was a labor of love for me – a dream come true – and even now, with the insane amount of hours I have in this project, including the super long hours editing, it still feels fresh and vital and alive.
Before we all came together and stepped onto that set, there was the script I wrote – coming from ideas and thoughts and images in my head. I had started it in 2011. We even began to shoot some scenes of the film – test shots – to try out some new lighting techniques and ideas I had, and to check sound and video on some new gear. The resulting scene was pretty darn good for a few hours of shooting. At that point the script had been started, but rested mostly in my head and on a few scraps of paper where I had started an outline of events and ideas. IN the hospital, I honestly thought I was going to die. That I would never make it out of there. I had two surgeries. Laying in that place for over a month wears you down. You try and stay positive. I had my awesome friends bring my computer and I started writing again on the script. Revising and throwing away things. Many of my original ideas had been in other movies by this point – great minds thinking alike I suppose. SO those parts were trashed. Soon I had finished another draft.
When I got out of that hospital finally, it to0ok me a while to get my life back on track. Having a tragedy like this befall you without planning is really devastating to your life. Everything was on hold. The whole world felt like the Twilight Zone. I had so much to do – and in the middle of this, there were some business shake ups going on at the radio station and our studio. SO all of that had to be dealt with. And then I got back to working on what would become the final draft of the script. This was phase one of creation….
Phase two began when I started putting together a crew and some gear and actually talking to locations. I met Bryan David through a mutual friend and he agreed to Executive Produce the film as he had wanted to learn more and gain more credit himself in the film industry. Once we had a budget in place, we started getting casting together, holding two auditions to find just the right people. During this time, some of my industry friends heard about the film and asked to be involved. We had Lew Temple on Nightwatch and Lew asked where hi part was – I thought he was just joking as Lew and I had become friends over the last few years. But Lew was serious, he wanted a part and I had the perfect one for him. George Hardy was a dear friend, and after loving him in Troll 2, I knew he had to be part – and Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer were heroes to me – icons of the best in cinema – the Drive In era!!!! Stars of the infamous ILSA films!!! I asked them to be involved, and thanks to our friendship, they agreed. I had one major part left and I had written in with one guy in mind – Allan Keyser. Allan had played Brad in the NIGHT OF THE CREEPS…. And I basically had imagined what had become of Brad – where did he end up? So this is where he ended up – of course if he hadn’t become a zombie whose head splits open and leeches burst out…LOL. Allan and I have also become friends – I admire him and think the world of him – and he said YES!!!! The rest of the cast was rounded out by amazing local Kansas City area actors, some whom I knew and some who were new to me. No one could ask for a better cast! I have written much about them here – so I won’t retread – but they blew my mind every day we shot.
So with everything in place, we began phase three – gathering last minute gear, scheduling and then finally starting the shoot. Actual production time! But even as we worked our butts off all night every weekend from dark until the Sun came up… It was still nothing more than a concept. But every minute we worked on it brought it to life, pouring energy from ourselves into it…. creating new energy from seemingly out of nothingness. We have created ways to explain it and use it but we cannot hold energy in our hands. It is something well beyond our range to fully understand. Yet we are energy manifested and energy animates our life. We are energy beings who can create new energy and new creations.
“A Great Relationship Happens When People Who Truly Understand Each Other and Love Each Other for Who They Are Come Together and Create Something Stronger Than Any of Them Could Ever Create on Their Own.”
We set a goal to make a film that will entertain people, that will give back a little of what we have all received from movies all our lives. When I had a crappy day, or when my parents split up, or when my friend died at age 9 – movies helped to make things better – if only for 90 minutes or 2 hours at a time… movies changed my life, maybe even saved my life…. my film is richer thanks to my film heroes – the Universal Monsters, the Hammer years, Chris Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, Lon Cahney Jr, Boris Karloss, Bela Lugosi, the Creature when he rose from that Black Lagoon. All my childhood friends. And as I grew up with my superheroes and monsters, I learned of the others – Lucio Fulci, Joe Dante, John Landis, HG Lewis, Dario Argento, Jess Franco, Roger Corman, The Shaw Brothers, Japanese Samurai Cinema, Mario and Lamberto Bava, Joe D’Amato, Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas, Jack Hill, Rudy Ray Moore, Pam Grier, Russ Meyer, Jackie Chan, Stallone, Seagal, Eastwood – the greats – movies like Phantasm, Humanoids From The Deep and Slithis filled my Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. My first crushes were Linda Blair, Sybil Danning and Dyanne Thorne!!! And I know for me – making movies is my way of trying to give back – just a little….
More to come – Thank you for reading and we’ll catch up again soon – back to editing!
Director / Writer / Producer