An Interview with Greydon Clark – By Nic Brown

You may not know the name Greydon Clark right away, but you’ve probably seen his work. A prolific director, Clark has helmed 20 films. He’s also a writer, producer and actor. He may be best known to fans of B Movie cinema for his films FINAL JUSTICE and ANGEL’S BRIGADE, both of which were featured on the popular, if not overly flattering show MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000.

Clark got his start as an actor. Many of his early roles were for director Al Adamson, known for his “grade Z” films such as DRACULA VS FRANKENSTEIN and HELL’S BLOOD DEVILS. Soon enough though, Clark would make his move from acting to working behind the camera when he wrote and directed his first feature film TOM in 1973.

B Movie Man Nic Brown was lucky enough to catch up with Clark at the 2011 Horror Hound Weekend convention in Indianapolis. Between signing autographs and talking to fans, Clark took some time to talk about his work in films, why cheerleaders and Satan make a good combination and he also answers explains why David Caruso might not be on CSI MIAMI if it weren’t for him!

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Nic – Greydon, it’s great to see you here at Horror Hound. How are you enjoying the convention?

Greydon – It’s great. It’s the first time I’ve been to Indianapolis! It’s also the first time I’ve been to this [Horror Hound] convention and there are a lot of people and they’re very interesting. Also, a lot of the people here know my movies and that’s something I appreciate!

Nic – Speaking of your movies…you’ve had a very diverse career in filmmaking. You’ve done films like WITHOUT WARNING, JOY STICKS, FINAL JUSTICE, SATAN’S CHEERLEADERS and more that cross many genres. I mean you’ve been making films for close to 40 years now, right?

Greydon – Well I’m only about 45 myself…I started when I was five! (Laughing) No, you’re about right, give or take a couple of years. In that time I’ve been an actor, writer, director, and producer.

Nic – What were some of your favorite films that you’ve directed?

Greydon – I’ve directed 20 different movies and like you said they are from all different genres. I like horror, action, comedy, adventure, mystery and I’ve been lucky enough to do all those different types of films. I really can’t choose a favorite from those. Especially when I look at my old films, which frankly I very seldom do because there is some pain involved; all I see is are my mistakes and I tend to see a lot of those. It’s just impossible for me to choose one over the other because you remember how it was when you were making the film: the actors, the crew people, the locations and all that. So I have to say I like them all but at the same time I find something wrong with all of them too!

Nic – So is it true that we have you to thank for CSI MIAMI’s David Caruso?

Greydon – Yeah! (Laughing) Well actually I think his parents might have had something to say about that, but in a business sense I gave him his first job. I hired him to act in my film WITHOUT WARNING. David came into my office and he had this huge shock of bright red, almost orange hair and was just a very interesting looking fellow and he gave a very good reading for the part, so I was lucky enough to cast him and he was very good in the picture. If I’m not mistaken David got his SAG card because of that role.

Nic – Thinking of other things that are bright red, let’s talk about one of your films from the 70s: SATAN’S CHEERLEADERS. Tell us a little about how that film came to be.

Greydon – You know at the time THE EXORCIST was a huge hit and movies about Satan and Satan worship were very popular. Also there were also a bunch of cheerleader movies out and I always first look towards comedy to try and come up with an idea that might work. So I came up with the idea of combining the comedy and horror elements and that was SATAN’S CHEERLEADERS. I stuck my tongue firmly in my cheek and went out and made the movie.

Nic – Well that is one of my favorite of the “Satan’s this and that” films and the comedy really comes through in the film.

Greydon – Thank you!

Nic – Thinking of one of your later films. You made FINAL JUSTICE starring Joe Don Baker and that film was set in Malta… why Malta?

Greydon – Well that’s easy enough. The Maltese government came to me and asked me if I’d make a movie over there! I had a relationship with Joe Don; we’d already done two pictures previous to that and so with the financing set out of the Maltese production company, I sat down and wrote a script specifically with Joe Don in mind. You know a Texas cowboy who gets involved in an extradition case where he’s supposed to take a mobster back to Italy only the plane is forced down in Malta and an adventure ensues.
We filmed that in 1984 and it was the first time I’d ever filmed overseas. I worked with an all Maltese crew and they were great to work with.

Nic – Let’s talk about your work in SATAN’S SADISTS, the cult biker movie from the late 60s. How did that role affect you and your career?

Greydon – I actually wrote the script for SATAN’S SADISTS (under the pseudonym Dennis Wayne) and I wrote a good part for myself as “Acid”, one of the motorcycle guys. Of course, I’d never been on a motorcycle in my life before or since. I was fortunate enough that I had a relationship with the director Al Adamson; I showed him the script and he wanted to make it so I got the part. We made that movie in November of 1968 outside of Palm Springs California. It was really a big break for me because SATAN’S SADISTS was the first film that I had a chance to work on.

Nic – I guess it did have some affect on your career then.

Greydon – (Laughs)

Nic – If I were interested in finding out more about your films or picking up some of these great production stills you’ve got here, is there anywhere on the internet I could go?

Greydon – Sure! It’s the easiest site in the world to find if you know my name because it’s and people can email me, I will respond! They can also pick up some of my movies or photos there.