What motivated you to make this film?
This particular flick came about a few years after I
graduated from college in NYC and found myself working
for peanuts in retail to pay the rent and student loan
bills. I wanted to do a feature-length adaptation of
H.P. Lovecraft's "The Thing On The Doorstep",
and I began developing a script with my friend Chad
who was over in Chicago. We kicked notes/ideas back
and forth and came up with quite a cool modern version,
we thought. For reasons not really worth going into,
though, this project never made it to production, and
I ended up moving to Germany and getting married of
all things! Prior to the move, circumstances in NYC
for me had been growing continually worse, and relocating
for a while felt like a needed change of pace. It turned
out to be just what the doctor ordered in fact, as my
brain soon began cooking up ideas.
occurred to me, probably while in the shower (a place
where many a light bulb has gone off in the past), that
Lovecraft's great influence on modern horror coupled
with his relative anonymity, was a topic ripe for parody.
So I set forth to make a short mockumentary on the subject,
casting myself as a clueless, inept journalist searching
out the truth behind this 20th century icon of horror
in all the wrong places, and of course forming all the
wrong conclusions. As the shoot began to draw to a close,
it occurred to me that it was a shame to put all this
work into a film that, due largely to its short duration
(appr. 30 min), would end up being relatively anonymous
as well. Given the segmented nature of the mockumentary
I thought: why not open the floor to other filmmakers
and release the film not as "LovecraCked!",
but "LovecraCked! The Movie": a feature-length
anthology with the mockumentary segements acting as
a running narrative or wraparound for a number of other
Lovecraftian tales. And that's pretty much how the flick
came to be.
How did you get started in this business? (i.e. A bit
of background to you and BiFF JUGGERNAUT).
I started out pursuing writing and acting for theatre
when I was a teenager. My mother encouraged me to express
myself a lot in these ways, though having no theatrical
background herself really. As I grew older and the forums
for performance (mainly community theaters) became less
and less inspiring, the desire to expand my ideas and
my creative outlets, and to just do more than play bit
parts in these local productions, grew and I started
making short films on VHS and 8mm video with my friends.
After a few years this, and a year-long stint at an
acting conservatory, I ended up in the film department
of the School of Visual Arts in NYC, where I graduated
JUGGERNAUT" is the name my friend and collaborator
Chad and I came up with randomly to label past and future
productions. Over the years myself and a variety of
other great collaborators have made films and music
videos that somehow nearly always manage to put actors
in incredibly uncomfortable and adverse circumstances.
For this reason (and because with acting I'm just such
a glutton for punishment), I often cast myself in the
most physically tortuous of these roles. For an example
of this check out "The Voice Inside", which
can be found online and on the Ltd edition DVD for "LovecraCked!
only way to really make money in the film industry is
through feature film release, but the cost of producing
such films, financially, logistically, physically and
emotionally, can and usually is quite high. Add to that
such factors as advertising costs, competition, and
the MPAA and one's really got their work cut out for
them. In the end the more commercially viable the product
the better your chances of financial success, but creating
a commercial flick isn't necessarily that easy, especially
with a low budget or perhaps worse, a socially unpopular
theme. Really if you look at what's successful, I'd
say it's largely a combination of simplicity and money.
The Movie", though still on the fringe, is the
most mainstream flick we've ever done because its feature-length
and designed with the primary purpose just to be entertaining.
Its release, regardless of financial gain, will help
to pave the way for future productions from BiFF JUGGERNAUT
and all the filmmakers involved. It's a stepping stone
for things to come.
How would you describe "LovecraCked!" for
the uninitiated? What were you hoping to achieve?
Isn't that a bit like having the pot describe the kettle?
Nevertheless, I'm glad to whore the flick for those
out there reading. LovecraCked! The Movie is a chaotic
mass of creeps, freaks, monsters, gore, silliness, sex
and of course a little H.P. Lovecraft to make us respectable
in the mornin'. At the very least I hope folks find
it entertaining; it has a lot of elements, probably
nearly something for everyone. It's won great praise
from some and has offended and revolted others. It has
turned out, somewhat surprisingly to me, to be quite
a polarising little flick. Over the last month or two
we've been compared to Monty Python, Broken Lizard,
Troma, Cronenberg, Kafka, toddlers, dried up crusty
dog-shit, cocksnot, punishment -- the list just goes
on and on. One critic hated it so much he said all the
DVDs and all other evidence of the film's existence
should be torched. Ironically, he's yet to cremate his
copy and has instead been making his friends watch it
so they too can see how awful it is. Even more ironic
still, another reviewer from the same site actually
quite enjoyed the flick and gave it a strong recommendation.
But I stray, I stray. The goal was to create an entertaining
flick and help to get some exposure for a small group
of filmmakers, from the reactions we've been getting
I feel like we've achieved that and then some. I'm definitely
happy with the result.
Some of the influences behind the film seem obvious.
I detected a bit of Monty Python, but also genre films
such as “Evil Dead 2”. True? What else has
The running narrative of the flick is definitely inspired
somewhat by Monty Python. As far as my own general inspirations
go there are many, though for my part in the project
the bulk lies with the Python boys. I did find inspiration
in Evil Dead II back when I was in school. You can see
some of that in a short I did called "The Voice
Inside", which can be found on the "LovecraCked!
The Movie" DVD and online. Lately I find inspiration
in many... David Cronenberg, Peter Jackson, Ki-Duk Kim,
Mario Bava, Poppy Z. Brite, Douglas Adams, Warren Ellis,
Richard Salla, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Scott McCloud,
Frank Black, Ministry, life, people, experience... the
list goes on and on...
Though independent productions are often the target
of some scorn by, shall we say, “mainstream”
viewers, there’s no getting past the fact that
independent filmmakers are in a better position to tackle
commercially dubious subject matter than those working
within the system -- and so can attract a “cult”
audience. Where do you see "LovecraCked!"
fitting into the scheme of things in this regard? What’s
the film’s appeal and what does it do that couldn’t
have been done elsewhere?
Wow, quite a question! Actually, strangely I've found
there to be just as much derision towards indie productions
from the non-mainstream crowd as there is from the mainstream
viewers. If anything, the later just don't seem to notice
or care one way or the other much of the time, but I
have to admit it's surprised me at times how angry and
hostile some of the low-budget cinema fans can be towards
actual low-budget productions. Some really rail on everything;
it almost seems like they find more fault with indies
than with some of the money engorged Hollywood bombs
that get dropped. I guess a lot can be attributed to
the existence of the internet, which has provided a
vast forum for so many of us. It's pretty amazing really
when you think about how quickly the web has changed
the nature and sheer quantity of communication. It's
great, too, for low budget promotion!
far as indie filmmakers being better suited to deal
with fringe subject matter: I guess that's true, when
you subtract direct studio involvement. However, at
the same time indie filmmakers still usually have financiers
of their own to answer to, and once a flick is completed
the MPAA will be waiting gleefully with meat cleaver
in paw. Gloomy sounding, yes, but that's largely the
way of it, I believe. On the bright side, the advent
of affordable digital technology has helped to give
voice to many that might not otherwise have been heard.
Business is business, though, and I think that factor
will most often influence the end result on any level
-- indie or studio based. Who's better suited depends
more on one's own personal level of commitment and willingness
to risk everything if need be. Coppola did this when
he made "Apocalypse Now", and he was quite
established at the time. The more risks you take the
more alone you'll be, that's for sure. Who is better
positioned? Whomever has the least to lose, I suppose,
but that is probably quite debatable, and then again
maybe the risks themselves are part of what fuels some
far as how "LovecraCked! The Movie" fits into
all of this... I'm not sure I really know. It's certainly
not mainstream, but it does have some mainstream elements
-- comedy and horror to name a couple. The intention
from the inception of the anthology was to bring more
mainstream exposure to the filmmakers involved by creating
a more commercially viable product: a feature film.
Given the eclectic and diverse nature of the film, it
will likely never be seen by most of the movie-watching
public, but there are a number of cult niches we can
fill, namely Cult Horror/Comedy, B-Cinema, Lovecraft
on a Popsicle stick. These cult audiences, though small
by comparison to the mainstream, are a force of their
own and without them many a memorable film would never
see the light of day - take "Serenity", for
example. The demand of these audiences goes along way
to fuel the low budget/indie filmmaking world. The good
thing and the bad thing about LovecraCked! is that it's
a really eclectic mix and thus offers something for
many, but at the same time this lack of easy definition
makes it harder to exploit than a more traditional single-storied
feature horror or comedy. At the end of the day, I hope
people find it entertaining and I hope it helps to serve
as a bridge for the other endeavors of those involved.
The real issue for independent production generally
comes down to money... Or lack thereof. How big a hindrance
was this in the making of “LovecraCked!”?
And how did you get around the problems?
quite agree. Lack of money can be a huge factor in indie
filmmaking, which is why it's especially important not
to let one's reach exceed the grasp of one's financing.
Of course it's pretty easy for this to happen, but I
think it's important to try to operate within one's
means -- either that or shoot something else that better
fits the budget. The good thing about comedy is that
in the name of silliness much can be done that would
never be acceptable otherwise, such as tossing an obviously
fake dummy down a long flight of stone steps in the
place of a stunt-man. I can't speak for the other filmmakers
involved, but I tried when shooting the running narrative
to exploit every natural resource available in the way
of locations, while at the same time poking fun at our
own lack of budget by shooting the opening sequence
in a toddler's swimming pool. Being as this running
segment is a rather hair-brained mock/spoof, I was able
to take a lot of liberties, which might not normally
have been possible and allowed me to work more creatively
within our low budget. I think making the most of a
low budget, but not overstepping and drawing unnecessary
attention to it is somewhat of a tightrope act, one
which I'm trying to better myself at all the time.
review of LovecraCked
out Elias' website