viernes, 31 de julio de 2009

Interview with Brian Paulin, Morbid Vision Films

Brian Paulin is one of the most interesting and innovative filmmakers in the indie horror scene. In the past decade, he's made some original, and interesting films, letting his imagination not be crippled by his budgets. Films such as Fetus, Dead Girl On Film, Bone Sickness and Fetus show us that money isn't everything.

-For starters, how did you become involved with filmmaking in general? and what films would you say influenced you?

I became interested back in the late 80’s after I rented the Fangoria video Scream Greats: Tom Savini. I thought it was a just a behind the scenes look at horror films. I didn’t realize it was about the Carrer of a make-up artist. I instantly became obsessed with wanting to learn how to do special make-up effects and bought any book I could find. It wasn’t as easy back then as it is today to find information.
Once I started to learn how to do effects I became bored with just taking still photos. So I started talking with my friend Rich George about trying to shoot a short movie. We shot our first short in 1990 and have been making movies constantly ever since then.
The Evil Dead is my favorite movie so that had a big influence on me. Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento’s work as well. I’m also a big fan of Asian horror. The more over the top the better with movies like Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Mystics in Bali.

-I read your website about your early movies (pre-At Dawn They Sleep). What could you tell us about them and will they ever be seen by the geek fans like us?

All of our early movies are completely amateur. All we had back then was a VHS camcorder and I literally edited by plugging the camera into a vcr and hitting pause and record for every edit which was very difficult because old vcrs would take about a second before it actually started recording. Back then instead of telling actors “Action” I had to tell them “count to three, then go” because it was almost impossible to edit someone who started talking right after saying action.
But all of our early movies had make-up effects, gore and creature effects in them. I learned how to make movies as I went along and from my mistakes.
Once we finish BloodPigs I plan on putting together an anthology that will incorporate the first four movies. They will be used as torture devices. Kind of an in joke about how bad they are.

-Could you talk about your collaboration with Rich George? Seems like wherever you are, he's right behind you.

We became friends in high school. We both watched horror films and listened to death metal so we started hanging out. Rich was obsessed with horror films since he was a kid. He would show me movies I hadn’t seen, and I would give him new bands to listen to. When we started out we would joke around saying that Rich was Morbid Vision Film’s Bruce Campbell because he would received all the damage to himself. He was always the one to get covered in blood, or hurl himself down a hill or out of a tree.
I handle the writing, direction, and make-up effects side of the movies and Rich handles the set construction, securing locations, and he performs and coordinates the stunt work. He was on a stunt team for seven years before it disbanded.
-Would you recommend some sort of film education to anyone starting in films?

It depends on what they want to do. If they want a career in the film industry doing a particular job like lighting, production or cinematography then yes they should go to film school. If you want to make your own independent films then I think people should just pick up a camera and start learning by doing it. I’ve never set foot in a film school, but managed to get movies distributed worldwide and into large retail stores.

-Dead Girl On Film, to us, holds up a grand tradition about Horror and FIlmmaking put together. Films like Peeping Tom, Last House On Dead End Street, etc. Did the film, to you, have any meaning or message about the world of gore films?

To be honest, none of my movies have any meaning behind them. The stories I come up with are simply meant to entertain and what ever movie I choose to shoot just happens to be the idea that has filled my mind the most at that particular time. I had an idea about people making snuff films and wanted to turn it into a ghost story where the victim gets revenge after she dies. Dead Girl on Film was an idea I had to film to get it out of my system. It’s actually my least favorite out of my distributed films. It was made too fast and could have been much better and nastier.

-Bone Sickness is awesome, and I personally prefer the second version. how did the idea and development of the film come about?

Between 2000 and 2002 we had allot of people tell us they would like to see what we would do with a zombie movie. Back then zombie films were still dead so we decided it was the right time to go for it. But we had to do it right and make sure all the zombies were full prosthetic and completely rotted like the great Italian zombie films. And it had to be as gory as possible. While staying with a traditional look I also wanted to add a new element to the zombie story with the old myth of Ghouls and Goblins, where the Goblins inhabit the cemeteries and feed on the dead. But they become extremely angry when people begin to steal from their food source.
In 2004 we distributed Bone Sickness on our own until Unearthed Films became interested, but were concerned about how many sales we already did on our own. Since there we some effects I didn’t put into the first version because it took a very long time to film the movie, I offered to go back and film more gore effects for their version. It also allowed me to expand the Goblin story. So the first version can be considered our demo tape of Bone Sickness and the Unearthed Films dvd is the official release.
Unfortunately by the time Bone Sickness was finally released, zombies were big again and the market was completely flooded with crap zombie films made by small studios trying to cash in on the sub-genre. I think if we had released Bone Sickness in 2001 or 2002 it could have been a much bigger release. But it managed to rise above the filler and cash in films with it’s rotted zombies and over the top gore and has now been released in Germany and Japan, who’s distributor called it the #1 splatter movie of 2007! That was a dream come true.

-The gore fx in your films is impressive, to say the least. Could you tell us how you got involved in making your own fx?

Thanks! Tom Savini’s make-up effects were what got me interested and made me want to learn how to do this. At first I started making movies as an excuse to do effects. I learned through reading Savini’s Grande Illusions book and by watching the Michael Burnett Video series, which I think are the best instructional videos out there. I eventually took Dick Smith’s Advanced course and I continue trying new things. I find myself being even more experimental now because I want to make bigger creature effects but I have even less money now to spend on effects than when I first started.

-What did you learn from your experiences through Bone Sickness?

Everything clicked during the making of Bone Sickness and I realized what we are meant to do and who our target audience is. During Dead Girl on Film I had distributors filling my head with crap about not going too far and not ruining the movie’s chance of getting into retail stores. While making Bone Sickness I said to hell with all that, lets go as far as we can with the gore. And it turned out that Bone Sickness was given studio film treatment in certain markets because of it. But now I just concentrate on making movies that will please our hardcore gore audience.

-How did the idea of Fetus come about?

At the time I was waiting to hear from a distributor who wanted to fund a sequel to Bone Sickness. Months went by and I was sick of waiting around for them to make a decision. So I started making Fetus. The story came together from a few different movie ideas I had that all blended together perfectly once I thought of the premise. There was no script for Fetus. The story was created as we shot the movie. I knew what direction I wanted to go in, but scenes gained momentum as other scenes were shot. This is how I prefer making movies now. Allot of times what sounds good on paper doesn’t come across well on screen. Since we are completely self funded I can make movies this way and decide whether or not the ending works well half way through shooting the film.
It’s kind of strange that I started making Fetus out of frustration over waiting for the possibility of getting my first budgeted film. While the money people were wasting time I turned away and shot my own movie and it cost me hardly anything and ended being the sickest movie I had ever made and my personal favorite. Bone Sickness 2 fell through and I really didn’t think it needed to be made anyways. I knew Fetus was the right choice to go with and was going to be a superior movie.

-The storyline in Fetus is truly devastating, emotionally. Are you a believer that horror films should have a deep content to balance it's horrific aspects?

I think when horror films have deep content, the audience gets more involved in the story as it unfolds which makes the horror elements that much more powerful. Fetus has been given the best reviews that any of our movies have received and it seems to be because the movie has real characters in a very real situation many people can relate to. I like it when a horror movie has a complex story that you have to pay attention to because the story slowly reveals itself as the movie plays out.

-We personally are fans of yours, but how have the general public and other horror fans reacted to your films?

Before Fetus came out it was just indie horror fans that watched our movies. Bone Sickness allowed us more attention from zombie fans and the gore, zombie effects and stunts finally gained us some respect once people saw we were creating studio level gags with no money. I thought Fetus was going to stay completely underground and only be watched by hardcore gore fans. It turns out that many people I never expected to watch anything like this have enjoyed it because of the character story. Joe Olson who plays the medical assistant that gets his arm flayed open let a couple of middle aged women he works with borrow it and they loved it! His mother has even watched it twice and loved it! It’s really weird.

-What can you tell us about Bloodpigs?

BloodPigs is a post apocalyptic horror film that takes place 4 years after a bio-chemical attack on the US. Those that have survived have been forced back into the dark ages with no power or technology and need to resort to extreme measures just to survive. It starts out looking like a zombie film with a few living dead lumbering around. But as the movie progresses and situations get worse, some of the survivors become something much worse than the living dead. BloodPigs is the bloodiest movie we have ever made. We are spilling an insane amount of blood from the largest amount of gore effects I’ve ever put into one movie. The last half hour of this movie is going to be unreal. I tried my best to create an original film with a complex story with over the top sequences. This one is made in the style of Bone Sickness with fast paced action.

-How do you feel about people who criticize horror for it's violent content?

I could care less about anything these people have to say. Their opinions mean nothing to me.

-How do you feel about the state of horror films coming out today?

Most of the horror coming out of America now is pointless remake shit made by people with no talent whoring off the work that people with real talent made back in the 80’s. Or movies from small studio’s cranking out horror films as fast as they can and filling them with cartoon cgi bullshit.France is kicking some serious ass right now with their no holds barred horror! I think British horror as been excellent as well. And I have always loved Asian horror films. Japan and Korea are still making great films. I think horror is still going strong but, with American studios only caring about their opening weekend box office, it’s going to be a while before we see anything like the way it was in the early 80’s. We came close in the mid 2000’s before the pathetic remake craze exploded.

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