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13 Question Marks of Horror: The Hard Cut Director Vince D'Amato

Vince D'Amato is a Film maker originally out of Canada. His production company, Creepy x Films, has been growing constantly into a force to be reckoned with on the independent scene. I spoke to Vince recently about his Films, his future, and the special brand of nful celluloid that he delivers to the masses.

1. You are a master of Horror and Exploitation. Do you remember the films that first got you into those genres?

Yes, absolutely. When I was a kid it was almost as much the lurid VHS covers in the horror section of the video store in the local mall as it was the films themselves. But when I was a kid, without a doubt, Friday the 13th, The Howling, Halloween, The Thing, House, and Creepshow. As I got older, I got really into Stephen King and Clive Barker, and soon after that, it was films like Re-Animator, Big Trouble in Little China, They Live, The Hills Have Eyes, Evil Dead, all of the Goerge Romero films up to that point (by now we're talking 1994/1995), David Cronenberg, Dario Argento (what I could get me hands on at that time, anyway).

2. Your first film was “Corpse O Rama”. How did you choose that as your first project?

Actually, that was the second project we chose, after a failed attempt to shoot a feature a year earlier. Not having another feature film script I was confident in shooting on a really low budget, we came up with a handful of stories and shot an anthology. Most people haven't seen this movie, we released it ourselves on VHS in Vancouver, that was around the year 2000, if I remember correctly. We only printed 50 VHS copies – and I think I still have 4 of them somewhere... probably lurking in the basement.

3. Tell me about that first shoot; was it everything you thought it would be?

The first shoot was amazing, because we didn't know what it would be like- we had no expectations, other than we wanted to capture our script onto film. And yes, we shot it on 16mm, like the first few films we made. I still remember the high we were all on – at that time, Creepy x Films was Nicole Hancock, Peter Speers, Damien Foisy, and myself – when we celebrated with the cast and crew at the wrap party. Our first wrap party, but not the last.

4. Your first film is a tricky thing. Some people will always hate your first film while others will feel it’s the only good thing you ever did. What has the reaction been to your films?

Well, technically speaking, Vampires Vs. Zombies (or Carmilla, as it was originally called), was our first widely distributed film. For all intents and purposes, that was Creepy x Films' first one. Worldwide sales and exposure were through the roof – but everyone (well, a lot of people, anyway), didn't like it because there really was no vampires vs. zombies in the film! That was what The Asylum, our distributor at that time, decided to re-name the movie to boost sales and interest. And it did work, that's for sure. But it really was a bit of a mis-lead.

5. You mix up your Feature work with Series. Which format do you gravitate toward and why?

Actually, for me, it's the story that dictates the format.

6.“Human Nature” was the first film of yours that I came across at Hollywood Video. I always scroll down to the director to see who’s new on the scene. Do you remember the moment when you stepped back and said “Wow, people are seeing my work”?

Absolutely, it was when all the angry video-renters Emailed in about the misleading Vampires vs. Zombies title. But you know, at the end of the day, The Asylum did get us a large audience both with that film and with Human Nature, so what can I say about that?

7. I know a lot has gone into “The Hard Cut”. What’s it about?

The Hard Cut was actually two films that were shot back-to-back, and then later cut into a ngle film. The first story is about a detective, Roddy Tillinghast, who is hired to find a misng film - “Catholic Cheerleaders for Satan”. During the story he's kidnapped by two gangsters named Rocky and Alex. The second film, which was titled “I Woke Up Screaming the Day I Died”, is actually all of the events and timeframe of The Hard Cut as seen through Rocky and Alex's point of view. So you get two des of the story. Anyway, the finished film is now “The Hard Cut Double/Feature”. It took over two years to edit together, but we never had to re-shoot anything.

8. You know I’m a huge fan of “Catholic Cheerleaders for Satan”. What was the genes of that kick ass throwback?

That was the film-within-the-film in “The Hard Cut” story. There's more of those gals to be seen in the latter film, too. Originally we'd only shot a few minor scenes (Shots, really), to cut throughout The Hard Cut movie – but about a year into post-production, we all decided it would be pretty awesome to go and actually shoot that film in its entirety.

9. Does it fit in with the mythology of “The Hard Cut” and if so, how?

It does fit in, but I wouldn't say much more about it than I already have.

10. Last year you started a second production company, Brivido Giallo.

How does this company differ from Creepy x?

Brivido Giallo was started in London, UK, after my wife and I moved there in 2011. It was set up to produce micro-budgeted features in Europe.

11. The first film to come out of it is “Reversed”. What can you tell me about it?

“Reversed” was hugely inspired by the Italian Gaillo, the genre Argento has done most of his work within. I have had a huge affinity for this genre for years now, and I felt that if I ever had a decent enough idea for a giallo, I'd have to shoot it in Europe. Part of the attraction of these films are the locations, the actors, everything that's over on the de of the water. “Reversed” is what I'd tag as a neo-giallo. At first I though I'd come up with the term, but I've nce seen it around the internet describing films like “Amer”, which I thought was brilliant. “Reversed” is about a woman who goes on a killing spree. There is absolutely no dialog in the film at all, and the scenes are played out in reverse order.

12. You’ve done a lot of work over the past 10 years. Do you have a project that you’re most proud of?

Hell Hath No Fury, The Hard Cut Double/Feature, and Reversed.

13. You’re setting up shop all around the world. What’s next for Vince D’Amato?

I was just talking to our producer Rob Carpenter about posbly doing another horror/sci-fi anthology (a la Hell Hath No Fury) with three directors, and I'm going to be writing the next Creepy x feature film this September, to be shot in Vancouver in the summer of 2013. The Hard Cut and Hell Hath No Fury Blu-rays should be out for the end of January, to coincide with the Shivers Film Festival launching in Vancouver that month. But that's a whole other story.... you can check out Thanks for all the questions! Very truly, Vince.

Other Horrific Mungs:

Gimme a K.I.L.L.: Catholic Cheerleaders for Satan (2011)

Bikers vs. Bigfoot! Dear God No! (2011)
sinful Celluloid Wednesday 9/05/2012 at 02:17 PM | 96098