Rowdy Herrington interview part 4

In the final chapter of our interview, Rowdy gets into what movies he’s working on now and what Hollywood is doing today.

B&S: What’s the last movie that impressed you?

ROWDY: I really liked Roma. I know that it is what it is. I also liked Green Book a lot. I like the values in it. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs — that was a hoot. I wasn’t a fan of A Star Is Born. After the love story took off, it was a trainwreck. I didn’t love it. But Roma — the man (Alfonso Cuarón) is a great artist. 

B&S: Any projects you’d like us to know about?

ROWDY: I’ve got a lot of stuff happening. I pitched three limited series ideas to Warner Brothers last week and I have a project called The Unseen that CAA is taking to Netflix, which I wrote with two friends. It’s about a maximum-security prison in Alaska and there’s a blizzard on the associate warden’s last day on the job. The new guy coming in is a prick and then there’s an earthquake — a 9.2 — and it busts the whole prison open. You have the rival factions inside the prison all at war, but then out of the crack, this prehistoric creature emerges! (Laughs) They all have to work together to fight the thing. 

B&S: I love that that’s the last part of your pitch. And oh, by the way, there’s this prehistoric creature. 

ROWDY: The prison was built in a place the Inuits would never go because it was the place of the Unseen. If anyone did go there, they never came back. So they built a prison there and, well, boom. 

Netflix is interested in interactive features where the audience gets to choose places in the story that can go different directions. This one is being pitched like that, as an interactive feature. I’m encouraged, so we’ll see. 

I’m also doing a rewrite on that movie I mentioned earlier, with Nick Cassavetes directing and Scott Eastwood as the lead. It’s going to be fun.

At Christmas, I have a book coming out set in a coal mining town in the 1930’s. It’s a true story about my mother and I’m very proud of it. It’s a novella. I wrote it as a script first but I wasn’t able to sell it because it’s about a young girl finding out the truth about Santa Claus. Hard to make a holiday film when the kids find out Santa doesn’t exist! But it’s a great coming of age story, so I wrote it as a book. Look for it — it’s called Father Christmas. Help me out! Spread the word!

Thanks to Rowdy Herrington for sitting down and spending so much time with us. We’ll share more info on his latest projects when he has more to tell about them!

Rowdy Herrington interview part 3

In this installment of our interview with Rowdy Herrington, he discusses some of the better relationships that he’s had in Hollywood.

B&S: You’ve worked with so many actors on more than one film. Like James Spader…

ROWDY: Jimmy is a very good friend of mine. My favorite movie we did together was The Stickup, we did that up in Canada for like $4 million bucks. That’s where he met Leslie Stefanson who he has a son with and they’ve been together ever since. He’s a fabulous actor and I told Leslie once, “Jimmy is the second-best actor in Hollywood.” She said, “Who’s the best?” And I said, “I have no idea. There’s always somebody better! But he’s right up there!”

B&S: You’ve worked with some great ones, so you’d know.

ROWDY: He’s my favorite. Without question. Jim Caviezel is phenomenal. He was a gem and I really enjoyed working with him. Really a fine actor and a nice man. 

Patrick Swayze? Are you kidding me? As good as they come. He could do everything. He could fight, dance, fuck…(Laughs)

Robert Loggia! He was a trip, 

Brian Dennehy — he’s a fabulous actor. 

Tom Berenger, Cuba Gooding, they’re all great. 

But Spader and I are joined at the hip. Jack’s Back was his first starring role and my first movie. We bonded. We’re friends and that’s a lovely thing. It’s great to work with your friends. 

B&S: Both Jack’s Back and Striking Distance feel different than most American thrillers, with a hero suspected of the crimes. Is that how you like to present heroes?

ROWDY: You know, I can’t really say. Jack’s Back started out with the idea that one twin is murdered and the other sees it in his dream. That’s a documented thing — twins have known the exact circumstances and time of death of their sibling. And I thought — that’s really interesting for a murder mystery. Then, I went to research serial killers and I saw that Jack the Ripper committed his crimes in 1888 and it was 1987. I realize — it’s going to be the hundredth anniversary, so the copycat angle was a no-brainer. 

You want to always have your main character in jeopardy. 

I hadn’t thought about the parallels between those two stories. And in A Murder of Crows, the main character is accused of the murders that are in the book that he plagiarized.

B&S: I’ve always loved that the killer in Striking Distance taunted victims with Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ “Little Red Riding Hood.” That feels like an element that other movies lifted. 

ROWDY: It’s an interesting process. I still have bits and pieces that never made it into the movie that I still think are interesting plot turns that might show up in the future. I just got tired of murder mysteries. That was dark and The Stickup, I said, “I’m over these dark stories.” But then, it’s another of my characters accused of a crime! (Laughs)

I like that movie because of the humor. I think that it’s my most successful movie, because when it first played at these big screenings in Hollywood, every person reacted exactly as I wanted them to with each turn of the story. That’s very satisfying as a storyteller to feel that. 

B&S: Do you prefer writing or directing? Or do you find they go hand in hand?

ROWDY: They do, but the difference is that writing is purely creative. It’s solitary. And directing is interpretative and it’s not solitary. You have a crew that you have to work with. So the advantage of going on to direct the picture once you’ve written it is that you really have a clear sense of every part of it. The disadvantage is that you can get blindsided. That means that there might be something that you like, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to work. You have to be careful. 

But it’s really rewarding to take a picture from behind your desk at a computer to watching it in a theater or seeing your billboard on Sunset Boulevard. That’s a pretty nice feeling. 

B&S: That’s such a long process.

ROWDY: The very first script I wrote, when I came out to Los Angeles, an agent at CAA got it from a friend of mine. She loved it and she couldn’t sell it. It was called Best Seller. It’s the story that ended up being A Murder of Crows about fifteen years later. 

The interesting thing was, she told me, “This is a really good idea, but you’re not a good enough writer yet to pull it off.” It kind of made me mad, but she was right! 

After I made my first four movies, I went back to it and got it. Time to fix this! It ended up being one of my favorite scripts. 

In our final chapter, we’ll get into what Herrington is working on today and what he thinks about today’s films.

Rowdy Herrington interview part 2

In part two of our interview, Rowdy gets into the movie that he’s most famous for, the Patrick Swayze-starring Roadhouse.

B&S: Jack’s Back recently was re-released on blu ray and is streaming, so it’s picked up a new audience. Are you surprised when movies get a new life like that?

ROWDY: Well, you know the movie that I worked on that will never go away? Roadhouse. American Cinematheque just had a thirtieth-anniversary celebration at the Egyptian in Hollywood and we had five hundred people in the audience. They knew every line! It was crazy. I was there with Dean Cundy who was the cinematographer, Tim who was the executive producer on the picture, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliot couldn’t make it and of course, Patrick is gone…We had some of these guys who played the bouncers and the bad guys, too. 

That movie broke the record for the most television viewings of any movie in history. It’s just on all the time!

B&S: There are so many interesting people in that movie. Terry Funk shows up in it!

ROWDY: Yeah! He was a trip. I loved Terry.

B&S: Is there any truth to the story that Bill Murray and his brothers call Kelly Lynch’s husband every time it airs?

ROWDY: Yes. (Laughs) Bill Murray said that to Anthony Bourdain when they were eating together, I saw a video of him saying that “Roadhouse was pretty much a perfect movie.” (Laughs) My attitude is that it’s better than it had to be!

B&S: It’s never gone away. You can turn on a TV and find it once a day, on some channel, anywhere in the world. 

ROWDY: I wouldn’t have guessed it. I knew it had broad appeal. If you watch it, I had the art direction do a lot of primary colors because I thought that it was kind of a cartoon. “Pain don’t hurt?” That movie…it’s out there.

B&S: Did some of the zen come from your days working on martial arts movies?

ROWDY: A little bit of it. I had input on the script. He was always a zen bouncer with a philosophy degree. We knew what we had. We just tried to play it straight. Nobody did that better than Patrick Swayze and Ben Gazzara. That villain is bigger than life and he played it as straight as he could. I was pleased to get him in the picture. He was happy to come back to the United States, he had been working in Italy and one of my favorite movies is Saint Jack. So I recommended him and said, “Let’s get him in here.” He did a fabulous job.

B&S: Obviously, people around the world know you for Roadhouse. In Pittsburgh, it’s Striking Distance. How did it feel to come back here and shoot a major film?

ROWDY: I was pretty excited about it. I had a lot of my friends on the movie, a lot of the guys that I worked with at WQED and I think we made the city look fabulous. The interesting thing about that picture was, when I sold it to Columbia, we got Robert Deniro attached. So I worked three months with Bob rewriting the script and his taste ran to the darker side. And he really wasn’t interested in the killer or the action. He said to me, “You know, Rowdy, at the end of the movie, when we know who the killer is, why do we have to chase him?”

After all that work, the studio hated the new script and wondered what happened to the script that they bought with the humor and action. So Deniro pulled out, gave me a hug and he said, “Get Mel Gibson.” 

Mel was busy. We made an offer to Michael Douglas, who said, “I just kinda played this guy in Black Rain.” My agent represented Bruce Willis.

The next thing I know, Bruce wants to do the picture.

Which makes it a go movie. 

But to put it nicely, we didn’t get along. He wanted to make the Deniro version of the script. How he got it, I don’t know. We had a lot of interesting conversations where he’d bring in scenes that I already wrote that were in a different movie now. It was kind of painful. I didn’t like him. He’s not a nice man. I’ll leave it at that.

I met him in a restaurant in Malibu and I saw him walk to the table and I thought to myself, “I get it. I see why he’s a movie star!” He had that presence. The first thing he said to me was, “Everybody says that I’m hard to work with. And that’s not true.” And you know what? It is true.

B&S: So there really is another cut of the movie when it was still Three Rivers?

ROWDY: No, that was the title of the script. The marketing people at Columbia — in their wisdom — called it Striking Distance. And I’ve always hated the title. My logline was “One killer. Two cops. Three Rivers.” 

When you get in the studio system…the independent films that I made were way more satisfying to me. I always had to fight and you never get final cut. Even Roadhouse had more vulgarity added back into it after my cut. I figured, Patrick Swayze coming off Dirty Dancing, more young girls are going to be coming into my movie. Why turn them off with something outrageous? It’s always a battle and the marketing drives the movie. And today — marketing decides what’s going to get made. 

In tomorrow’s part, Rowdy discusses some of the more rewarding relationships that he’s had with actors.

Rowdy Herrington interview part 1

Rowdy L. Herrington was born in Pittsburgh and made his fortune in Hollywood without ever forgetting his roots. After all, how else do you explain Striking Distance? I’ve been a big fan of his films for years, so after tracking him down — let’s not say stalking — I was pleased that he agreed to sit down for nearly an hour-long chat that covered a wide range of topics. He was beyond warm and kind, which made this interview a pleasure.

B&S ABOUT MOVIES:  Where are you from in Pittsburgh? 

ROWDY HERRINGTON:  I was born in East Liberty and when I was about 11 or 12, we moved to Penn Hills. My parents bought a house out there, I went to high school in Penn Hills, and then Penn State. 

B&S: How does one get from Pittsburgh to directing in Hollywood? You worked at WQED? NOTE: WQED is the public broadcasting station in Pittsburgh where Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was filmed.

ROWDY: I was a television major at Penn State and I bounced around for a while. I was an English major because I was interested in writing, but then when I took the English courses that they offered, I switched to Television. When I got out of school, it was tough to get work in television. I took a job with my brother at the steel mill in Homestead and I worked about six months before I finally got a part-time job on the production crew at WQED. I got my foreman at the mill to schedule me around that job so that WQED had first call on the days that I worked. It started to get a little tough the more hours I got, so I eventually had to quit the mill. They were surprised — they said, this is the best job you’ll ever have. And about five or eight years later, all of the mills were shut down. 

B&S: How did you make the move from public broadcasting to Hollywood?

ROWDY: WQED had funding issues and I got laid off, so I moved to Washington, DC. They cut way back so I went down to visit another brother, who was a Secret Service agent. I started to get freelance work and eventually, I worked on a movie starring Ossie Davis (NOTE: 1979’s Benjamin Banneker: The Man Who Loved the Stars). I worked on that and there were people there who had worked on some bigger movies, so I talked to them and asked, “If I want to do this, what should I do?” They replied, “You either need to move to New York or Los Angeles.” California seemed like a much more interesting place for me. 

B&S: What was the first thing you worked on?

ROWDY: The first job I got — I met a guy who was a gaffer — which I did at WQED, he hung lights and I had knowledge of movie lights, so I got a job as an electrician on a kung fu movie. This gaffer that I met, his regular crew didn’t want to do it because the pay was so lousy, but it was great for me. I worked my way into his crew and then, little by little, I started working with another gaffer, became a best boy, then I started gaffing…

In between — these are non-union movies, so some of them were four-week shoots, some were five or six, a really good one was seven or right. I’d get off work and write screenplays. I managed to option a few things that I wrote. 

Finally, I worked with this key grip a lot named Tim Moore and we were very good friends. He was on one film and I was on another and I had just finished the script for Jack’s Back. I sent it to him — he was in Hawaii — and he was working with this producer named Elliott Kastner (NOTE: producer of Where Eagles Dare, Angel Heart, the 1988 remake of The Blob and many other films). Elliot would come to Tim, who was a really sharp guy, and he would ask him, “Is this movie going to make its day?” Tim was a fountain of information for him, so one day he asked, “What do you really want to do, Tim?” And he answered, “Well, I really want to become a producer.”

His advice? Get a good piece of material and get it to someone like me.

When Tim read my script for Jack’s Back, he thought that it was ready to shoot. He got it to Elliot and the first page said: “One hundred years ago in the city of London, a man shocked the world by murdering, raping and mutilating five women. He was never caught.” Turn the page and it says, “Jack’s Back.” Elliot handed it back to Tim and said, “Make it for $900,000.”

We ended up with Elliot’s stepson Cassian Elwes (NOTE: brother of Cary and producer of tons of movies like Nomads, Psycho Cop, Crispin Glover’s What Is It?, Dallas Buyer’s Club, Reach Me, The Stranger and more — he’s also a pimp in Jack’s Back) co-producing. And Tim? He’s currently the producer for Clint Eastwood. 

We’ve also done four or five movies together and we’re still working on things together. I’ve been re-writing things for him and we’re about to start on a movie called Looking for Water together. We just got more notes, so I’m doing another pass on the script. We think Nick Cassavetes may direct and I’m looking forward to that. 

Part two — coming tomorrow — will cover Roadhouse, perhaps the film that Herrington is best known for.

Exclusive interview with Brendan Steere, director of The VelociPastor

Brendan Steere made his feature debut with the horror/thriller Animosity in 2014, which he has now followed up with The VelociPastor, which was in turn based on a viral 2011 short trailer that he created.

We were lucky enough to get to talk to him about the film, as well as some of his influences and what’s coming up next.

B&S About Movies: How do you come up with an idea like The VelociPastor?
Brendan Steere: Well, the short answer is that it was an autocorrect on my phone that inspired the title, and I was young-and-20 enough to think it was a good idea. Haha! Grindhouse had just come out at the time we were making the original trailer, so starting with the title seemed natural in the circumstances. I worked backwards from there.
B&S: How did you go from the 2011 trailer to the final film?
Brendan: It took a lot of work. The trailer wasn’t intended to be a proof of concept film or anything, it was just intended to be the full idea. A lot of the work was taking what was supposed to last for 3 minutes maximum and making sure it still worked over 70-75 minutes, so that meant fleshing out and changing characters, exploring relationships and making them more interesting, etc.
B&S: Were you surprised by the buzz the movie got when it was announced?
Brendan: Um… yes. Haha! Let me say this: there’s no point in making a film if you don’t think it has an audience. The end goal is for people to SEE it, so I always thought we would have some group of people paying attention, I just had no idea how many we’d have. It’s been an incredible surprise.
B&S: Are you Catholic? Or did it just seem like a priest would make a good hero?
Brendan: Not a single bit. I was raised without a religion. I think I’ve been into churches for services like 3 times, all at the bidding of friends/ex-girlfriends. I have nothing against any religion whatsoever, it’s just not for me. Strangely though, even though I don’t have a single religious bone in my body, I really love crisis of faith movies like Silence or Andrei Rublev. It’s really easy for me to identify with someone who believes in something so strongly, kind of regardless of if it’s “God” or not. At that point it’s just about questioning your core beliefs/what makes you YOU, and a character in that much conflict is always fun to watch. In terms of this movie in specific, it was definitely because of the title. You can’t call a movie VelociPastor and NOT have the main character be religious.
B&S: Are there plans for a sequel?
Brendan: Yes. Big ones. I’m actually in the process of writing it with (co-producer and cinematographer) Jesse Gouldsbury as we speak. What I can tell you right now is that it gets waaaaaay weirder and hopefully remains just as funny and entertaining for fans.
B&S: If you could cross The VelociPastor over with any film, what would it be?
Brendan: Wolfcop seems the obvious choice. I think it would make a fun dynamic, with the VelociPastor on the run from the law.
B&S: What villain would make a great arch-nemesis for him?
Brendan: We’re exploring that in the script for the sequel right now, actually! Hopefully the answer surprises people.
B&S: What films influenced you? 
Brendan: There are definitely specific films that led to VelociPastor, like Hausu, Equinox and Black Dynamite, but I’m someone who tries to draw inspiration from anything I watch, even (and sometimes especially) if it’s bad. Like, I watched the entire first season of Riverdale in a single day, and I’m sure parts of that will bleed in somehow. Haha! This is a movie that was started from an autocorrect – you’ve just got to be open to seeing or hearing anything and thinking “Huh… that’s kind of funny.”?
B&S: We loved the scratchy look of the film. Did you really bake it in an oven as IMDB states?
Brendan: Yes! …for the 2011 trailer, not the final film. IMDb is a very old and slow site, and try as we might, we can’t seem to get the trivia from the original short to stop mixing up with the trivia for the feature (because they have the same name). It’s NOT our intention to mislead people, so if anyone could help us remove that from the feature’s trivia: please do so. We achieved the look of the movie through cinematography, lighting design, and digital manipulation in post.
B&S: We loved the ninjas. Movies need more ninjas. Am I right or what?
Brendan: SO right. “Ninjas” are the biggest element missing from the original trailer that we brought in for the sequel, and I think we can all agree it’s an upgrade.
B&S: That poster art needs to be a shirt. Any plans for merch? Action figures? Comic books? Video games? Stuffed Velocipastors?
Brendan: Yes! We’re actually going to open up a merch store very soon, and at the very least shirts will be available. I wish I could talk about other plans we have for merchandise, but it’s still too early.
B&S: If you had to confess anything to The VelociPastor, what would it be?
Brendan: I’d confess that I’m ready to make the sequel already. Haha! I think people tend to forget that we shot this in 2016, so I am READY for more movies.
B&S: Are there any plans for a TyRabbisaurus Rex? A Brontosisterous? Stop me before any more bad puns come out.
Brendan: In a word: yes. We’ve had so many amazing suggestions come in on this festival circuit and you can rest assured that some are already in the sequel’s script.
Thanks to Brendan for his great interview and Katie from October Coast for setting up this interview. We had a blast! Check out The VelociPastor review and grab the movie as soon as you can!

An interview with Chuck and Karolina Morrongiello, makers of Amityville Mt. Misery Road

We reviewd Amityville Mt. Misery Road a while back, but we were really excited to get the chance to interview the filmmakers, Chuck and Karolina Morrongiello, to learn more about how the movie got made. Thanks to them for opening up some time in their busy schedule for us!

The happy couple in better times before they took a ride down Mt. Misery Road

B&S About Movies: We were really by the distribution the film has.

Chuck Morrongiello: Yeah. We worked hard on that and it ended up being a great deal. When the film is good, that’s what happens.

B&S: What inspired you guys to make this movie?

Chuck: The thing is, my wife is from Poland and I’m from Long Island, New York. We went to Poland and she showed me some historical things like World War II bomb shelters and a lot of other places — ghostly places, haunted places — so when we came back to New York, I wanted to show her some of my old stomping grounds.

One of the most famous places and it’s considered one of the most haunted roads in the world is Mt. Misery Road. It’s been cursed for centuries and it’s right around the corner from Amityville.

I took her there right before Christmas in 2015 and we walked around in 10-degree weather and I said, “Hey, nobody has ever made a movie about this place and it would make a great story.”

We had about ten days there and I said, “Just start walking in the woods and I’ll start filming.” When we got back to the hotel, we watched it and thought that we were on to something. Within a day or two, we wrote 25 different scenes and it all came together.

We knew the story we wanted to tell, of the asylum that burned down and all the great history and tales of Mt. Misery Road, like the creature with red glowing eyes, a hellhound the haunts the woods and even Mothman, they’ve all been seen there.

Buzi has her copy!

B&S: Was it frightening to be in those places when you shot the film?

Chuck: We had many, many things happen while we were there.

Karolina Morrongiello: Check out our Facebook page!

Chuck: We have ten different testimonials of people that have witnessed the horror there. Plus, I grew up around the corner, so in the 70’s and 80’s we’d go there to get spooked. On Halloween, everyone goes there to find the hellhound.

While we were filming, we had a lot of problems. The camera wasn’t working. We went back another time a year later for more footage and we started hearing noises and seeing ectoplasmic fog and heard laughing sounds and even saw red dots that floated around. All of that is in the film. You can actually hear the granny laughing in the background and we left that in there. We experienced it — people won’t go there because it’s cursed and bad things have happened.

B&S: So you were lucky to escape with the footage you got.

Chuck: Well, we went in there with a mission. We wanted to see if we could really found something and we did. We were blown away when we listened to some of the audio and watched the footage.

When my wife was editing this film, she had nightmares!

B&S: Are there any plans for a sequel?

Chuck: That’s a good question. We’ve been talking about doing Mt. Misery Road 2 because people have been asking us. Everyone in Long Island — you can ask anyone there — they’re proud of having the most haunted road. My grandparents, my mom and dad, they all warned me to stay away from this place since I was a kid!

We put the movie out and it sold out in Long Island. WalMart stores were sold out across the country! You were lucky that you found a copy!

B&S: What are your influences? Did you grow up watching horror movies?

Chuck: We like horror flicks, we like drama and suspense. While we were there, the idea just came to my head though. Nobody ever made a film about this place.

We do watch Lifetime almost every night. Our new movie that we’re working on is very sinister, a blend of The Shining and the movie Misery. We liked A Quiet PlaceTerrifier was great.

Karolina: The Intruder.

Chuck: That was great.

B&S: What else would you tell people about your movie?

Chuck: It’s a b movie. We filmed it on our phones. That movie Tangerine and Unsane, they’ve been filmed on phones too. We made a low budget movie on our terms, with a few actors, and all three were from the area and knew that road. One of them even had their car jolted near the cemetery and had no idea how many people that has happened to! I said, “That was probably Mary!”

Our budget was probably the lowest ever — $2,500 bucks.

Karolina: We should call the Guinness Book of World Records.

Not a place for the easily freaked out!

B&S: It was cool to see that you’re a couple making movies together.

Chuck: We’re always doing things together. We have a passion for this kind of stuff. We have an album right now, I was Marty Balin’s guitar player. I even wrote the whole soundtrack for this movie.

We were inspired! I didn’t see my wife for six months because she was in the next room editing the film!

B&S: Where does your wife’s nickname come from in the film?

Chuck: Her character name is Buzi.

Karolina: (laughs) Buzi means kiss in Polish, so basically when we started dating, I was telling him, “Hey give me a kiss,” but I said, “Give me a buzi.” So he started calling me that instead of Karolina. So we left it in the movie.

The most haunted road in America!

To see Amityville Mt. Misery Road for yourself, you can grab the DVD at WalMart or watch it for free on Tubi. You can also visit official site to learn more.

An interview with Arlene Sidaris, producer of so many of the films we’ve covered this week

One of the things you may notice as you watch the Andy Sidaris movies that we’ve been covering this week is that they’re all produced by his wife, Arlene. We’re beyond pleased that she took the time to answer a few of our questions about these iconic films and why we still love them years after we first saw them on late night cable TV.

B&S ABOUT MOVIES: How did you and Andy meet?

ARLENE SIDARIS: I was working on Nightlife in NYC, hosted by Les Crane, directed by Mac Hrmiom, pal of Andy’s from ABC Sports. The show was moving to LA, the same weekend that Andy was moving from NYC to LA. Les gave a welcoming party. Mac invited Andy.

B&S: I’ve always loved that the L.E.T.H.A.L. movies seemed to be a family affair. What was it like to be on set?

AS: Andy set the tone of mutual support and cooperation on set and in our family life.

Andy Sidaris surrounded by the L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies

B&S:  It seems like every interviewer wants to know if you were intimidated on set or upset by the nudity. Does that question get old?

AS: No intimidation. The women are beautiful, with bodies they are proud of. I am happy to help them show their pride.

B&S: How did the movies become a series? How long did it take until you saw some level of success?

AS: Andy made a deal for 2 films. At first, HBO & Showtime scheduled them in the middle of the night. To their surprise, the films gathered an audience. From that attention, we then made a deal for another 5 films.

B&S: How much input did you have on script or story? Did you ever feel empowered to say, “This is a bad idea?”

AS: In the first round, my input concentrated on scheduling, location & budget. Once we were filming, on occasion, Andy would accept a take and I would request another…and then insist, if necessary.

B&S: The films are often filled with lots of humor. Was that what Andy enjoyed?

AS: Andy had a very unique, original way of looking at life which was reflected in the films.

B&S: What’s your favorite of the films you made?

AS: People often ask that question. My answer is that the films are like children, I love them all…but, if pressed, I can say Fit to Kill and our last, Return to Savage Beach.

The inspiration for this question. PS – I wouldn’t call Andy’s movies dumb.

B&S: I saw a really interesting Twitter post that said that in 20 plus Marvel movies, you have no idea of who Black Widow or any of the female characters really are, but in Andy Sidaris movies, you know all about the girls on a much deeper level. Thoughts?

AS: In our films, the good guys don’t stay good and the bad guys don’t stay dead.

B&S: I’m so excited that these films are getting a proper blu ray release from Mill Creek. Have you heard from any new fans?

AS: Yes. The increased theatrical dates, new HD DVD’s, streaming and social media have brought many new fans…and I love them all.

B&S: As you know, people get upset quite easily today. How do you think millennials will react to the films?

AS: In November, I was in San Francisco for a screening and Q&A. The screening was on a Wednesday night at 10:30. I didn’t think anyone would show up.  It was sold out.  The audience reaction was great and, except for me, I don’t think there was a person in the audience who was born when the film was made, almost 30 years ago.

A magical moment in Hard Ticket to Hawaii.

B&S:  If there was a big budget remake of Malibu Express, who would you cast from today?

AS: That question takes too much thought.

B&S: Finally, what do you miss most about Mr. Sidaris?

AS: How much time do you have?

Devin Devasquez, Liv Lindeland, Sybil Danning, Shelly Taylor Morgan, Julie Strain, Andy Sidaris and Arlene Sidaris (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

Thanks again to Mrs. Sidaris for her time and great responses. Want to learn more? Visit www.andysidaris.com and check out the shop section while you’re there for everything from the first two Mill Creek blu ray reissues of Malibu Express and Hard Ticket to Hawaii to the Girls, Guns & G-Strings 12 Movie Set (I have all of the above and recommend you do the same) and Bullets, Bombs and Babes, a coffee table book about Andy’s films. Plus, sign on with this Feedback form to get a monthly newsletter.

Interview with Mike “McBeardo” McPadden, author of Teen Movie Hell

Subtitled “A Crucible of Coming-of-Age Comedies from Animal House to Zapped!,” Mike “McBeardo” McPadden’s new book Teen Movie Hell does for teen films what his Heavy Metal Movies did for, well, heavy metal movies. I’ve long been an admirer of Mike’s writing and was super excited when he agreed to do an interview as part of our teen comedy week, which was totally inspired by his book!

B&S ABOUT MOVIES: In the postscript to the book, you wrote that you’ve been working on this off and on for a long time. Did today’s environment play into why you put this out now?

MIKE “MCBEARDO” MCPADDEN: The short answer is no. The longer answer is this book would have come out at any point since I started working on it in 1994 had a publisher agreed to make it happen. That TMH finally emerged now in the era of “cancel culture” et al was just happenstance.

On the surface, it seems like the exact wrong moment, but the challenge of our present culture directed the project into something better than it would have been in the past.

It was kind of like the limitation of haiku. Consideration of potential missteps with language inspired me to come up with clever means of expressing what I wanted to express and, more importantly, to open the book up to contributors who could experience these movies in ways I could simply could not.

B&S: Last year’s Blockers did a fun job of subverting the teen movie cliches. But honestly, is there any way 90% of the movies in your book could be released now?

MCBEARDO: No, but I think that’s true of all movies from the past. I get what you’re asking though, in terms of content and humor that is now deemed not just unacceptable but demanding of punishment. And that answer is very much a “no”—and that’s fine. It’s right even.

Any attempt to make something today as outrageous, say King Frat or Screwballs would come off like those christawful “neo-grindhouse” movies on the order of Machete or Hobo With a Shotgun or, worst of all, Mandy.

Those things are the lowest of the low to me—technically upscale Troma, cutesy shock charades imitating nostalgia for somebody else’s nostalgia, like living, stinking pages of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Misappropriating Legitimate Cult Cinema.”

Of course, those neo-grindhouse movies are allowable in the current cultural environment because they focus on violence. No one would dare attempt to translate that to the vintage teen comedies because sex—as it once was and perhaps will forever now again be— stands out as the ultimate “don’t go there” taboo.

B&S: Porky’s is often thought of first when it comes to these films. What would you say — outside of the beach movies of the 60’s — is the real progenitor? And if you had to pick 2-3 of these films for someone that had never seen them to give them an overall flavor of the genre, which would they be?

MCBEARDO: All previous teen comedies lead to Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and all subsequent teen comedies have proceeded forth from it. So there’s that one.

Revenge of the Nerds really exemplifies the genre, overall. For good and ill.

In terms of utter insanity and to choose something off-Hollywood, I’d say Surf II. It’s the best made of the completely off-the-wall examples such King Frat, H.O.T.S., Screwballs, Oddballs, and Hamburger: The Motion Picture. There’s a film festival for you.

A near-legendary film, so to speak…

B&S: One of the most impressive parts of the book was that you had no issue printing a dissenting opinion if someone didn’t agree. The Valley Girl review really stands out. How did that come up?

MCBEARDO: Christina Ward, who hates Valley Girl, is a great writer and she has brilliantly taken over the reigns of Feral House publishing in the wake of founder Adam Parfrey’s death. I’m always interested in reading terrifically constructed words, regardless of whether I agree with the ideas being expressed or not.

On top of that, I’m also a fan of extremely well expressed hothead outbursts. Christina pulled that off, tone-wise, while also eloquently illustrating what she doesn’t like and why she doesn’t like it.

B&S: It’s a pleasant surprise to see a celebrity you don’t expect to show up in a teen sex comedy, like Kurt Vonnegut in Back to School or Charles Bukowski in Supervan. What would people who haven’t read your book be surprised by?

MCBEARDO: Crispin Glover comes to mind. He’s existed in the popular consciousness for a long time as offbeat cinema’s supreme King Weirdo, but he started out as just another young actor eager for gigs. As a result, he plays one of the leads in My Tutor, Teachers, and the 1983 NBC TV-movie High School USA.

Crispin also acts as the sort of host of The Best of Times, a 1981 narrative musical-variety series about “today’s youth” that ABC aired once and which, at age 12, I managed to watch. It’s really jaw-dropping.

In between sketches and dance numbers that are set to, like, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” there are dramatic monologues wherein a youthful cast member just addresses the camera. Nicolas Cage delivers a true stunner about being afraid to register for the draft. You can watch it on YouTube. Which means you should be watching it right now.

B&S: I’m always struck by the old Hollywood types that show up in these films. It reminds me of how old comedians and Boris Karloff would show up in beach pictures. Why do you think that happens so much?

MCBEARDO: From the actor’s point of view, a job’s a job. Especially when you’re old. From a studio’s point of view, a famous name is a famous name—and all the better when you can match it to a genre. That’s why John Carradine was still being “featured” in shitty Z-level horror movies into the ’80s and, I’m sure, even after he died.

So if you can get Huntz Hall and Joe E. Ross to do a few hours work in Gas Pump Girls, for example, you get them!

B&S: Who would be your dream teen movie cast?

MCBEARDO: It’s an interesting question, because, outside of the John Hughes casts, these movies really aren’t star driven.

When it comes to a core group of goofy dudes, Michael Zorek is a great party-hearty fat guy in Private School and Hot Moves. Eddie Deezen, of course, is the nerdo-di-tutti-nerdi. Dana Olsen, who plays a fast-talking preppie con man in Making the Grade, should have starred in more movies. He didn’t, opting instead to focus on screenwriting. He went on to write The ‘Burbs.

In terms of actresses, I am an enormous fan of Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith, who ruled ’70s teensploitation in The Swinging Cheerleaders, The Pom-Pom Girls, Slumber Party ’57, and Revenge of the Cheerleaders. She first mesmerized me when I was 13 and caught Lemora the Lady Dracula on TV.

When it comes to ’80s, it’s always great when Corinne Bohrer shows up, as she does in Zapped!, Joysticks, Surf II, and Stewardess School.

The best female lead performance in the genre comes from Joyce Hyser in Just One of the Guys. The funniest female performance belongs to Katt Shea in Preppies.

B&S: Seriously, will any single scene change as many lives as Phoebe Cates in Fast Times?

MCBEARDO: No. That kind of shared cultural experience is as much a part of the past as the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. We don’t live that way any more.

The exact moment nearly every American teen in 1982 hit puberty.

B&S: I really liked the overall tone of the book, as it’s not leering but not prudish. You struck a real balance while keeping things fun. Was that a challenge?

MCBEARDO: Obviously—I hope—I’m a free speech advocate and that calls for defending offensive, ugly, and unpopular speech. Still, there can be odd value in imposing censorship on one’s self.

I recall the fearless and flamboyant writer Quentin Crisp once bemoaning the new cinematic freedom of after the 1970s, particularly in regard to sex. Now, bear in mind, Quentin got arrested for being gay in the 1940s and announced in a London courtroom, “I am a self-evident, self-possessed, effeminate homosexual for all the world to see!”

But in terms of sex on screen, Quentin thought the ability to just show it prevented filmmakers from having to use their imaginations and he asked, in effect, “Are movies in general better now because we can see the actors naked?”

I would agree with his implication that, no, after the New Hollywood explosion, movies have only always gotten dumber and duller and worse—which doesn’t mean I haven’t also enjoyed a bunch of nude scenes.

So to turn that back around to the book: I think writing it while thinking about larger implications resulted in a richer, funnier, and more meaningful project than it would have been had I just loaded it up with dick-and-tit jokes.

B&S: At numerous junctures, you call out John Hughes. Is that something you felt in your teen years or something you grew to feel? For me, it’s the scene in Breakfast Club where Ally Sheedy is only seen as attractive once she conforms. I wanted to shut the movie off and I was just in my teens!

MCBEARDO: Sixteen Candles came out the year I turned 16. I reviewed it in my high school newspaper and expressed disgust over the ham-fisted obviousness of underscoring the family running around like idiots at the sisters wedding by playing David Bowie’s “Young Americans” on the soundtrack.

The bitch of that was that when the movie came out on video, they couldn’t get the rights to the song, so it’s no longer there. Anyway, Hughes annoyed me from the get-go.

The Breakfast Club opened while I was still 16 and a high-school fuck-up intimately familiar with detention sessions and I loathed Judd Nelson’s character being portrayed as this “noble savage.” And I let people know.

I always liked Pretty in Pink, though. Harry Dean Stanton as the alcoholic dad, Annie Potts as a glimmer of hip hope for the future, and especially the ending felt true to me.

Ferris Bueller gave me a fucking brain aneurysm on immediate contact, though. It was perhaps the only film that legitimately “offended” me.

I write in the book about that experience, but I’ll reiterate here—I was 17 years old. My heroes were Howard Stern, Sam Kinison, Don Rickles, and Johnny Rotten. Musically, I was obsessed with the Butthole Surfers, the Mentors, and S.O.D. I was actively attempting to consume every Nazisploitation and Italian cannibal film ever made. Into that exact milieu arrived Ferris Bueller and I was completely, frothing-at-the-head-holes outraged and infuriated and saddened for all humanity by it and by him.

Naturally, it annoys me now that the rest of the world seems to have “caught up” with me circa June 1986.

Mark Twain nailed a policy I think is proper: “When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to check your position.” I checked and, to be sure, I remain where I always have regarding Ferris Bueller.

The real enemy.

B&S: Porky’s was another movie that made me feel similarly. Between that and Revenge of the Nerds, why does each oppressed group in those films only reply back with more oppression?

MCBEARDO: Sorry to go all Oprah on you, but, really, “Hurt people hurt people.”

In Porky’s, the jocks who suffered bruised egos literally destroy the livelihood of the guy they blame for it, along with all the people he employs. Today, Porky would taken down via doxxing or SWAT-ing.

In Revenge, the ugly and unloved nerds humiliate women they feel humiliated by simply for existing. In modern parlance, we’d call those guys “incels,” and we’re all too horribly aware of what they’ve been capable of doing.

B&S: Finally, it’s awesome that people are talking about The Last American Virgin. Were you warned to the ending or did you get punched in the balls like I did?

MCBEARDO: I saw The Last American Virgin at the Nostrand theater when I was 14 with a big, raucous group of dudes. The one guy among us who was 17 bought all the tickets. We snuck in an entire pizza and hooted and laughed through the whole movie, right up to that sudden pitch-black drop off a cliff.

Afterward, we all walked out in a thick, heavy silence. It was only broken a half-a-block away when that one 17-year-old said with genuine earnestness, “I felt bad for that asshole.” He spoke for all of us.

Don’t be fooled by this happy poster. This film crushes souls.

Thanks Mike for taking the time to do this. Look for our review of Teen Movie Hell later this week, but this is one book that all movie fans should pick up. You can get it now from Bazillion Points.

Interview with Dante Tomaselli (UPDATED)

Dante Tomaselli is a screenwriter, director, and score composer behind the films Desecration, Horror, Satan’s Playground and Torture ChamberThe evils of advertising have brought us into contact with one another as we’ve discussed the lost power of poster art, particularly when it comes to the artwork for the film Prophecy.

I’m excited to get the chance to share this conversation with our site readers, as Dante was born in Paterson, New Jersey, the shooting location of Alice, Sweet Alice and more to the point, he’s the cousin of director Alfred Sole. Currently, he’s working on a remake of the film along with another feature, The Doll.

B&S ABOUT MOVIES: This week, we’re covering many of the movies on the Church of Satan’s film list. I was wondering if you had any thoughts:

DANTE TOMASELLI: Visually, I would say The Masque of the Red Death is one of my favorite horror films.  It’s not very suspenseful but the cinematography by Nicolas Roeg and those eye-popping Daniel Haller sets are to-die-for. The movie glows and has the unearthly feel of the supernatural with its macabre and surreal visuals.  Corman is at the top of his game. It’s as if The Masque of the Red Death and The Pit and the Pendulum were directed by Poe himself. Vincent Price was born to portray sadistic characters and I just love him as the Devil-worshipping Prince Prospero. Dripping with evil, Price delivers a multi-layered Oscar-worthy performance.  The colors bathing the interiors of the film’s castle are pure 60’s psychedelia.  Filmmakers just don’t make stylish gothic horror films like this anymore.

Dante with Alfred on set.

B&S: Obviously, Alice, Sweet Alice is near and dear to your heart. It’s the final movie we’ll cover. I just saw it in a crowded theater and the end disquieted an entire crowd. Why do you think the movie still retains such power?

DT: Well, first off I just witnessed exclusive clips of the upcoming Arrow Blu-ray release of Alice, Sweet Alice and you will be blown away. I am floored by the quality of the print. It looks gorgeous, luscious, painterly, brand new…better than ever!  The movie is lovingly preserved by Arrow Video.  Michael Gingold and Glen Baisley created the featurettes and in one of them they brought their cameras to my home studio in south New Jersey and interviewed me.  I spoke about my love and passion for the film and how proud I am of my cousin, Alfred Sole. I think the film retains such power because it’s genuinely enigmatic. In this age of McDonalds movies where everything looks the same with the computer generated imagery and sounds the same with the exact sound design and scores…There’s a sameness to almost everything these days. It’s numbing. People are slaves…drones to their cell phones. I walk through Manhattan and almost everyone is looking down at their little boxes. I get into the bus at Port Authority and everyone is looking down at their boxes. I sometimes do it too of course and I don’t want to be this way. When I walk through the streets of Manhattan I often get a chill as I pass by a crowded area. I feel as if at any second I might explode. There have been major terrorist attacks in NYC and time after time I seem to miss each one by the skin of my teeth. I feel the Grim Reaper moving closer and closer.

But getting back…You will love this new Arrow preservation. What a treat!  And the featurettes. Alice, Sweet Alice fans have a present coming to them. It is hands down, the ultimate presentation of Communion also known as Alice, Sweet Alice. And what I was leading up to…

I do think the film retains its power because there’s a real mystery to Alice, Sweet Alice, an aura of mysteriousness, and that’s a rare thing, especially in these times where every horror film that you see advertised on TV has the same visuals and the same exact sounds!

Alice, Sweet Alice is ferociously unique and marches to the beat of its own drummer in every way. It remains a landmark independent horror film and I’m so proud of my cousin, Alfred, who worked miracles with his $340, 000 budget. The eerie mask is unforgettable and we are talking about the possibility of releasing official Alice, Sweet Alice Halloween masks.

B&S: Are you still in the works of remaking the film?

DT: Yes, definitely,  I won’t talk about it anymore until I’m literally on the set but, yes. Michael Gingold is co-writer of the remake screenplay and we think we have something very frightening in store for horror fans, almost like a Giallo.  It’s just a matter of funding and it could happen at any time.  No one should ever dismiss me in mounting an independent film…I am nothing if not tenacious.

For now I’m focusing on my next film, which will be my fifth feature, The Doll.  It’s also a project co-written by Michael Gingold, who brings a lot to the table. The Doll concerns a haunting at a family owned wax museum in Salem. I’m getting closer to the film’s actual production.

Desecration, my first film was recently re-released on Blu-ray by Code Red and Kino Lorber (available at Diabolik DVD). I just finished my fifth dark electronic album called, Out-of-Body Experience. It will be released digitally and on CD in a few months and I’ve been encouraged by the feedback in the horror world on all my instrumental  albums…Scream in the Dark, The Doll, Nightmare...Witches.

For example, Mark R. Hasan at Rue Morgue always analyses the music and surprisingly my last album, Witches was even nominated for Rue Morgue 2017 album of the year. I create these strange sound sculptures in my home studio.

Lately, I find myself really drawn to the music side of things. In fact that’s what I’ve been doing exclusively since 2012. It’s time now, though to get back into creating hallucinatory horror pictures. I’m painfully pregnant with The Doll. It’s clawing at my insides.

Check out Dante’s site, Enter the Torture Chamber.

DEATH WISH WEEK: An interview with Paul Talbot, author of Bronson’s Loose!: the Making of the Death Wish films

As I wrote this week worth of Death Wish, Paul Talbot’s Bronson’s Loose!: The Making of the Death Wish Films was an amazing resource. It’s packed with stories and anecdotes from director Michael Winner, actor Kevyn Major Howard, novelist Brian Garfield, and interviews and articles from when the films were originally released. There’s also a sequel, Bronson’s Loose Again! On the Set with Charles Bronson, that I’ll be grabbing.

I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Paul about the films and am so excited to share it with you.

B&S: How did you come to be such a fan of not only Death Wish, but Charles Bronson?

PAUL TALBOT: When I was a little boy in the 1970s, I’d watch a lot of Elvis Presley movies on TV with my mom. One weekend we watched Kid Galahad in which Elvis plays a boxer and Bronson played his trainer. It was the first time I saw Bronson and I was fascinated by him.A few days later, I watched The Great Escape on TV with my dad. It was his favorite movie. And I was fascinated by Bronson in that.

The mid-70s was the era of Bronsonmania when he was hot at the box office and his older movies and TV episodes were constantly on TV. This was way before cable TV and way, way before VHS and you had to find older movies and TV episodes on obscure local channels called UHF channels. I used to always look at the movie ads in the newspaper and I was intrigued by the image of Bronson at the bottom of the stairs and I was disturbed by a review that described the plot. In elementary school, one of best friend’s dad took him to the drive-in to see it and my friend described the images to me. But I was way too young to see it then.

I grew up in Beverly MA, which is a suburb of Boston. There was a local theater called the Cabot and they showed 2nd run movies (i.e. movies that had already played the big cities). I would walk there a lot to see matinees. In the fall of 1975, a friend and I went to see Breakout. It was the first Bronson movie I saw at a theater and I loved it. I saw Hard Times at the same theater a few months later. From then on, I saw almost every movie Bronson made at a theater until his last feature Death Wish 5. I didn’t get to see the original Death Wish until around 1981 when I saw it late-night on a cable station. (I think the station was a Washington, DC station.)

I loved Death Wish and I thought it was very disturbing. I did see Death Wish 2 thru 5 on their first theatrical run.

B&S: We’re from a town not far where Bronson was born, and some restaurants here still have his photo up on their walls and bars (I always request said tables). How much do you think his hardscrabble beginnings created his personality?

PT: That’s cool about the restaurants. He came from a dirt poor background and I think that had a lot to do with his stoic persona. He didn’t really trust people. He had a strong work ethic.

B&S: There are a lot of legends about the actor — Andrew Stevens shares one in the intro, after all. What are a few of your favorites?

PT: I interviewed dozens of Bronson’s coworkers for my two Bronson books and I collected lots of good stories. One of my favorite anecdotes involves Bronson’s mysterious oldest brother. Bronson wouldn’t see him for years and then the brother would show up on movie set. The brother lived on the streets and he would only accept small amounts of money from Bronson whenever they would meet. The brother ultimately ended up dead in a sleazy hotel in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.

B&S: Do you have a favorite of the five movies? A least favorite?

PT: The original Death Wish is a flawless masterpiece and one of the best films of the 1970s. It is not an action film, it is a gritty, dark psychological drama. The sequels became progressively more absurd and more cartoonish, much like the James Bond and Dirty Harry movies did. But the sequels work on their own level as efficient comic book programmers. My least favorite is Part 2 because of the horrifying rape scenes and because it is a disappointment coming from Michael Winner.

B&S: What I find interesting about the films is that they each reflect the changing climates of the times they are made, going from introspective analysis of what it would take to make a man a vigilante to out and out high action epics. How do you feel about the shifting narrative tone of the films?

PT: The original Death Wish was shot in early 1974 when crime was rampant in the major U.S. cities—especially in New York. I remember that some of my classmates’ parents didn’t allow their kids to go on field trips into NYC. Death Wish audiences, particularly those in New York and especially those who had been victims of crimes themselves, screamed and applauded with delight as Paul Kersey responded on screen the way they wished they could have in real life. DWII was released in 1982 during the Reagan era when Americans were in a right wing, eye-for-an-eye mood. By the time DW3 went into production in 1985, every action film was copying the Stallone’s epic First Blood and Kersey was turned into a Rambo-like character with unlimited firepower. DW4 was released in 1987 during the heyday of the VHS boom when young men stayed home and watched an endless supply of action epics. DW5 hit video shelves during the last gasp of the video rental craze.

B&S: My theory is that all the films are in the same universe, unlike today’s films that often move in and out of canon with reimagining. That means that Paul is the most Jobian hero ever, constantly facing more misery than perhaps any fictional character ever. How does he keep going?

PT: My theory is slightly different. I see Kersey as only the same character in the first two movies. I see DW3 as being set in a bizarre alternate universe that bears no resemblance to Earth. That movie is totally insane and is like no other. DW4 and 5 I see as not sequels to DW but as sequels to The Mechanic with a retired skilled hit man assuming the name Kersey.

B&S: I love that! Have you seen any of the films inspired by Death Wish, like Il Giustiziere di Mezzogiorno, Mohra, the 1975 Turkish shot for shot remake The Executioner or Sex Wish?

PT: I’ve seen parts of the first, second and fourth movies on that list. I didn’t want to finish them.

B&S: I’m sure you’ve been asked this a ton of times, but please indulge me. What are your feelings on the Eli Roth remake?

PT: I have not seen it nor do I intend to. I read the script a few years before the film went into production and I thought it was not good. It had nothing to do with the novel or the original film. It was just another vigilante story but it was commissioned by the studio that owned the rights so the character was called “Paul Kersey.” I did try to watch the trailer but I couldn’t get through the first 2 seconds.

B&S: So much of the press for it was very reactionary — articles that said, “There’s no good time for a remake of Death Wish.” What are your feelings?

PT: A better phrase is “There’s no good time for a remake starring Bruce Willis or one directed by Eli Roth.” A remake should be set in the era of social media. Kersey’s teenage daughter gets bullied on Facebook and she commits suicide. Kersey goes after the kids that bullied her and breaks their fingers so they can’t type on their phones anymore.

B&S: Have you ever been in a personal situation like the film? Does that inform how you feel about the movies?

PT: I don’t want to go into the details. But, yes, I have been mugged and I have been a victim of crime on several other occasions and I got no help from law enforcement or the (in)justice system. I certainly understand Kersey’s rage in the first film. But I never suffered as bad as he did.

B&S: What inspired you to write the book?

PT: The first Bronson’s Loose! book came about when I re-watched the original Death Wish in the early 2000s. I hadn’t seen it in many years and I was shocked at how great it was. I then decided to revisit the sequels. This was before any of them were on DVD, and I had to go to several mom and pop video stores to find VHS copies of each sequel. I re-watched all of the sequels in one marathon weekend viewing. I thought, “How did we get from the original masterpiece to these bizarre sequels, especially since the first three were directed by the same man?” I decided to write an article on the first three movies. I did a lot of research on the first three and then I tracked down an address for Michael Winner and wrote him a letter. His assistant sent me an email with a time to call for an interview. He lived in London and I had to do the interview at around five a.m., my time. We talked for about an hour, and Winner told me some great stories. He was hilarious. I wrote an article on the first three movies, included Winner’s quotes, and sent a query to numerous movie magazine. I got no response. No magazine editors wanted to read the article. I then decided to track down more people from the series, do more research on the sequels, and write a book.

B&S: So how did the sequel to the book come up?

PT: I hadn’t done any extensive Bronson research in awhile. But around 2013, I did an interview with The Evil That Men Do screenwriter John Crowther and wrote an article on that film. I couldn’t find any magazines that were interested in even reading that article. But, that research got me thinking about a sequel to Bronson’s Loose! and I decided to try and interview as many living actors and crew members who worked with Bronson as I could. So over the course of two and a half years, I interviewed over three dozen actors, directors, producers, and writers and I put the book Bronson’s Loose Again! together. That book came out in 2016. Many of the people I’ve interviewed have since passed on and I’m grateful that I was able to capture and document their Bronson stories.

B&S: Thanks for answering our questions. I learned so much more about the films (and had already learned so much from the first book)!

PT: Thanks for talking to me, Sam. If people want to learn more about Bronson, they may want to read my books Bronson’s Loose: The Making of the Death Wish Films and Bronson’s Loose Again: On the Set with Charles Bronson.  I’ve done commentary tracks for the Blu rays of the Bronson movies Death Wish 2, 4 and 5 and Mr. MajestykCabo Blanco and The Stone Killer and I just recorded two more this month that will be out in early 2019.