Welcome back fiends to another installment of Skeletons in the Closet! This week, we are joined by visionary horror director Dante Tomaselli (Torture Chamber, Satan’s Playground) who shares with us his thoughts on the retro horror film that continues to inspire him to this day; Don’t Look Now!
Dante: I saw DON’T LOOK NOW at a very young age and it drips in my unconscious mind like acid. I used to have bad dreams of the knife wielding dwarf, smiling sadistically, shaking her head as if saying, “You’ve been warned.” I couldn’t shake that image and it’s still doing damage. I fully expect her to be waiting for me at the Gates of Hell.
Although my films come from my own personal nightmares, I’m definitely influenced by the eternally mysterious Don’t Look Now. Like Rosemary’s Baby, Alice, Sweet Alice…Halloween or Suspiria, it’s a magical horror film. I watch in awe, every time. It’s so cold yet emotionally-charged, so intricately woven, so beautifully constructed, it just takes my breath away. Dreamlike, puzzle horror at its best. The old psychic, the blind sister with the milky white eyes still gives me a deep chill. The whole film is really a warning.
Greetings creeps and ghouls! Normally at this time I would be ushering you into a world of drive-in cinema’s greatest fright flicks and pushing concessions that more than likely expired around the time your parents went on their first date…but this week I am offering you something a little different! That’s right fiends, this is the inaugural edition of Saturday Frights Presents: Skeletons in the Closet; a new series where we will talk to legendary creators to discover what horror films from the past inspired them to be the leaders in the field today!
To kick thing’s off, this week’s guest is famed horror director Craig Singer (Dark Ride, Perkins 14)!
Craig: The Horror film that influenced me the most by far was Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead. My parents took me to see the film at a Drive-In Theater in the middle of the woods when I was 6 years old. (What were they thinking?)
I was so terrified that I began to have reoccurring nightmares over the next few decades – in the dreams the dead would come to life one night a year and I would find myself in various locations – my house, school, mall defending myself and whoever I was with from the flesh eating ghouls. The impact the film had on me lasted and was meaningful – the power and impact of what cinema could achieve was seared into my young mind.
Years later while at the Cannes Film Festival I was approached by two Lions Gate executives after my film A Good Night to Die screened – they congratulated me on my work and asked me what I wanted to do next – I replied “A horror film” … “We want to be your partner” was the reply and that’s how DARK RIDE came to be. It was such a privilege to be able to shoot that film at Universal Studios. The old Universal back lot was our primary set. Actually the guts of the New York street facades were where we built most of the interiors in large part because the guts of the building strongly represented what the inside of an actual Dark Ride looks like.
My last film Perkins 14 (Also released theatrically via Lions Gate) was shot in Romania and while many people think it’s a Zombie film, it’s actually a bit of a hybrid. Perkins 14, along with my love of all things “Zombie”,was directly responsible for my current creation Ollie Mongo SZ. The “SZ” stands for Skateboarding Zombie, which is a wonderful collaboration with Arlene Klasky, the principal of Klasky Csupo animation studio. Arlene has created and produced a number of TV series for Nickelodeon, a few being “Rugrats”, “Wild Thornberrys” and “Rocket Power” as well as produced 4 feature films for Paramount.
“Ollie Mongo Adventures in the Apocalypse,is the story of a 16 year old skateboarding zombie with supernatural powers, that lives 200 years in the future in Asbury Park, NJ. There are 2 issues of an “Ollie Mongo” comic book and a music video – We are currently in the process of developing Ollie as a feature film.
Hopefully you’ll be reading a lot more about Ollie, our little Rebel Without A Pulse shortly. In the meantime I would invite folks to “LIKE” and “SHARE” Ollie on Facebook, and check out the Ollie Mongo comic!