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The Unseen Things Series

Duane L. Martin is the author of the adult contemporary fantasy series, Unseen Things.

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Interviews: An Interview with Michael Legge - By Duane L. Martin
Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010 @ 15:42:29 Mountain Daylight Time by Duane

I recently discovered the films of Michael Legge when he contacted me about reviewing his latest film, Evan Straw. Once I had reviewed that film, he sent me two of his previous films, The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck and My Mouth Lies Screaming. Once I saw these, I was hooked, and Michael Legge had secured a place as one of my all time favorite indie film makers.

* * *

DLM: Let's start out like I always do by having you introduce yourself to everyone. Tell us all a little about yourself and your background.

ML: I was born in a log cabin…no, wait a minute. I was born in the early 50's in a small town in Massachusetts called Mendon. Yes, it really was a Leave It To Beaver existence in the 50's to early 60's. Little farm town, rural, quiet. Still is to some extent. Yes, I still live there. I've never felt obligated to leave my home town because you're supposed to. I just love the peace and quiet and I really don't like cities. It's also a very old town with lots of history which has always interested me. We were the TV generation; the first bunch of kids to grow up with television. Other than TV shows of the era, the movies that got shown were old movies from the 30's -50's, so I grew up loving both old monster, sci-fi movies and all the great comedy teams of the past. This was in the day when any kid could watch comedy movies without the parent worrying about you seeing or hearing too much vulgarity. There was still blow back from watching the Stooges, though. "Oh, too violent!" But Laurel and Hardy did some pretty painful slapstick as well and nobody groused about them. I also got to love the Marx Brothers for the almost surrealistic humor and really got into puns and word play via Groucho and Chico.

Like a lot of kids, junior high and high school was a hell to me, until I was around 15 and started playing around with my parents 8mm Kodak camera. It wasn't long before I and my brother, Bob, started making our own movies using friends as the cast. We did the usual stuff. "Laugh In" was big then so we copied that, and then veered into doing parodies of serious movies. And we didn't care how out of reach the parody could be. We even did 2001: A Space Odyssey. A sample of my humor then was when the ape touched the black monolith, he put on a pair of glasses to show he was suddenly smart.

I went to a broadcasting school for two years in Boston, which was pretty useless, and then branched off from the Super 8mm medium to make a couple of 16mm films. The first one was awful, but the second was pretty good. The turning point for me was entering it in the Toronto Super 8 Fest and getting an honorable mention. Then I knew I must have a little something.

Couldn't afford to keep doing 16mm, but in the interim Super 8 had grown up and now you could do synch sound and get better editing equipment. I invested in Super 8 gear and plunged back in. I made a bunch of short films, the most notable being "The Lemon Man," which got broadcast nationally on the USA network's all night show, Night Flight. That was a weird and wonderful moment to watch a short film of mine actually being broadcast. I entered many short films in film festivals both here and abroad and picked up some awards in Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania. Then I decided the next step was to make a feature film in Super 8. This was Working Stiffs, a zombie comedy. (Not the flesh eating kind, the old fashioned mindless slave type zombie.) This movie actually snagged me some grant money from the National Endowment for the Arts, with helped me fund my next movie, Loons, which got me another grant and helped me make my last Super 8 feature, Cutthroats. I made one more short Super 8, Sick Time, and got tired of all the technical headaches Super 8 brought with it. I switched to SVHS, bought a new camera and some analog editing gear and made Potential Sins, Braindrainer, and Curtains. It was a lot easier and more reliable than Super 8, but I wasn't pleased with it's limitations and the visual and sound quality of the stuff I was using. Then, the film Gods sent us DIGITAL! The best and worst thing to happen to film making. Now, anyone can make a movie, and unfortunately now anyone can make a movie! My first digital movie was Honey Glaze, followed by Democrazy, Dungeon of Dr. Dreck, My Mouth Lies Screaming and the newest, Evan Straw.


DLM: Let's talk first about something that I personally find incredibly cool about you. You're a horror host with your own show, and you also belong to a sort of a community of horror hosts. Let's talk first about your show. Tell us how you got into that in the first place, and all about the show itself.

ML: I grew up during the monster boom of the late 50's -60's. Back then there was local programming where nowadays you see horrendous informercials or syndicated crap. Universal led the way with their Shock Theater package that was released to local stations to broadcast. The first horror host, Vampira, started it all in LA, and soon horror hosts popped up on all the local affiliates. So many local heroes like Ghoulardi, MT Graves, Svengoolie, Dr. Paul Bearer, Jeepers Creepers, and others became some of the fondest childhood memories of my generation. Here in Massachusetts we got the Boston stations, and we had Chillerama, which wasn't hosted, just showed a skeleton hand with a candle at the beginning, but then we got Fantasmic Features hosted by a little space alien named Feep. (Feep was played by on air talent, Ed McDonnell, who also played Major Mudd for the kids and Lord Bumblebrook on Saturday mornings showing jungle movies. What a great time to be alive!) Feep showed mostly Allied Artists offerings like Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, From Hell It Came, Not of This Earth, Brain from Planet Arous; I could go on and on. I just loved every minute of it. Between the sci-fi's and classic horror I had reason to live.

So, local programming went away and with it the horror hosts. One of the fantasy based magazines I read is Scary Monsters, which is great for nostalgia sake and to educate the uninformed, and I started seeing articles about horror hosts making a comeback. But not on the local affiliates, but on public access! They would use public domain movies, come up with a character and host them. At first I thought that was cool that someone was doing that, but as I thought about how much I loved those days, it suddenly occurred to me that I could do that. I have all the equipment, I don't need a studio, just shoot it on the cheap in my basement, who cares? Fortunately my long time girlfriend, Lorna Nogueira is just as weird as I am and we launched the show back in 2004. Along the way we added characters, Moaner's sister, Groaner, played by Diane Mela, Bigfoot, played offscreen by my brother, which is a homage to Soupy Sales White Fang, and our most popular character Stu the rat. In the show itself, Stu is a real rat that I've experimented on and initially his speech was incoherent so I subtitled him. I got tired of that and Stu got elocution lessons so he could be understood. Madame Nicotina is a cigarette smoking lousy psychic usually paired off with another character, Shrunken Ed, the famous disembodied talking head character that everyone seems to have in these shows.


DLM: What have been some of your greatest moments in doing the show, and have there been any low points or problems that you've had to endure in putting it all together?

ML: When you initially throw a show together without much thought, the character development comes as you do show after show. Moaner was originally a zombie cheerleader who didn't speak much, but as time went on the "valley girl" persona came out, and the cheerleading got left behind because it wasn't really needed anymore.

I vowed to do two things with the show. One was that it would be kid friendly. Imagine if I hadn't been allowed to watch my horror host when I was a kid because of suggestive language or out and out trash talk? I wanted all ages to be able to watch. The second thing was a particular thing that peeves me no end. I know this is blasphemous, but I don't like MST3000 or Elvira. Why? Because of the obvious contempt they have for the movies they're showing. It's probably because I'm a movie maker, but I don't think anyone sets out to make a bad movie, and it's so easy to blast movies but very hard to make one. I show the movies I show because I LOVE them, warts and all, no matter how silly they are, or ineptly made, I love them because someone actually got one made. Not that we don't have fun with the movies, but I don't dump on them. Let the audience decide for themselves. I'm not trying to be the cool guy telling you what's junk and what isn't.

Any horror host will tell you of the horror stories of getting your show broadcast. These stations are run by volunteers, and while their intentions may be good, getting the shows broadcast can be touch and go. I am not the only one who has gone through the following:

1. A black screen comes on for two hours

2. The show cuts off before it's over.

3. The show freezes at a particular point and stays that way, all night.

4. The "gain" of the show is set wrong so whenever there's any white in the broadcast, it flares out and creates a loud buzz in the sound drowning out the dialog.

5. The wrong show gets shown.

6. The show starts in progress.

There's probably variations of this, but these are the major ones. Fortunately for my show, our local station has gotten a server, so the shows are now computer files and everything has been running very well since then.

The high points have been when I've been out as a "civilian" and get recognized as Dr. Dreck and people tell me how much they enjoy the show. That is the greatest feeling in the world to know I'm giving pleasure to people. Even better if they're too young to remember such things as a horror host. I also hope that people that never saw old Lugosi movies or obscure sci-fi's will appreciate them in their own zany way.


DLM: What elements do you think made classic b-movies so awesome and fun as compared to modern films?

ML: In the movie of Dr. Dreck, I have the line where I tell Moaner, "B doesn't mean bad!" B stood for budget movies and that's what they were. They were cheap, quickly made movies to fill out the bottom of the bill or completely fill a drive in theater marquee. The people that made them knew they weren't making great art; they strove to be entertaining, no matter how outlandish. Even the big bug movies or atomic radiation mutant movies were telling us something relevant. "Hey, you play with something you don't really understand, and you might screw up the whole world." We still haven't learned that lesson, have we

What's really strikes me is that a lot of these B movies are now more remembered and beloved than many of the A pictures they were supporting.

Now I can enter into "old crank" mode. One of the great things about the B's is that they're short! Usually not more than an hour. It seems as time has gone by that a lot of movies are longer if not a lot longer than two hours. How many movies have you seen over the years that looks like they should end at a certain point, but then go on for another half hour. I really don't want to spend three hours watching a movie, not that I haven't, but there's an editor in me that always think they could have been shortened.

And of course, as far as horror movies go, there's a new cliche. Evil wins. Kill everyone that suffered through the movie and leave room for a sequel. I don't know about anyone else, but if some poor slob spends the entire movie trying to escape from a nutcase slasher or monster, I don't want to see them get killed at the end. Real life sucks enough, why can't somebody come out alive in these movies?

Also, gore and SFX have become the only reason for a lot of these movies to exist in the first place. I'm not a fan of seeing people, especially women, tortured and mutilated. Again, I can watch the news if I want that. The old movies are more appealing to me for their promise, no matter how unrealistic, that we can make it out of whatever mess we happen to be in.


DLM: Ok, let's move on to a film you made a few years ago that's based around your horror host show, The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck. How long had you been doing your show before you decided to turn it into a film, and how did it all come together?

ML: I'd been doing the show for about three years, and Lorna and I really enjoyed ourselves every time we shot segments for it. It just came to me that it would be interesting and fun to do a movie with these characters. But I didn't want to just do what we'd already been doing, I wanted to give a back story to the characters. I knew I had to keep the cast from show down to just me and Lorna, but I couldn't do the movie without Stu, who had become an extension of my personality. However, I knew I couldn't get away in a movie trying to pass Stu off as a real rat, so I came up with the idea that he was a rubber rat that I had given life to. That way I could pull a fast one on the audience; they couldn't chide me for using a rubber rat when I admit flat out that it is a rubber rat. I went back to making him need sub-titles too since he couldn't really move his lips. The next step was the time frame. It just made sense to date it back to the monster boom of the 60's, when horror hosting was in full swing, and to bring back that sense of nostalgia when local programming was still the norm. Hence, the decision to make it black and white, and trying to be careful to avoid anachronisms. So, we used some real small office spaces for the studio, removing any modern devices, and Dreck's lab was in the basement of the house. We removed lots of junk in the background and filled shelves with body parts and lab equipment. I got a friend of mine who is adept at CGI to do the lab effect of the rising table and bursting roof. While I was writing the script, I thought of how much I enjoyed William Castle's gimmick movies and thought it would be cool to put one in this movie. So I did the horror host promotion of tying in with the movie being shown, the bogus "27 Spooks", based on Castle's "13 Ghosts." Get your "spook specs" at your local store to see the spooks in the movie! Now, some people mistakenly think this is a 3D segment in the movie. However, it is not 3D. Just like in Castle's movie where he had "ghost viewers", the glasses have a red filter. The effects on screen are a combination of colors in which the images aren't too distinct unless you wear the glasses, which filters out the red giving you a clearer view of the picture. You might feel a slight 3D effect from it, but it isn't genuine 3D. I knew I had to do it for real instead of just spoofing it, so I had to pay the extra money to have a pair of spook specs enclosed with every DVD.

DLM: The cast in the film was just incredible, but Phyllis Weaver, who played Louise Morgan the owner of the television station was just amazing. I believe I said in my review that she was like acid reflux in human form. Was Phyllis someone you knew well before hand, or was she someone that was just cast for the film when it came time to make it? Tell us about her.

ML: Phyllis and I go a long way back to when I first got into live theater in 1980. We both auditioned for a local play and since I'd never been in a play I was scared to death, but Phyllis was new to the group as well, so we kind of bonded. I had been doing movies forever, so when I got to know her better I asked her to do one. She was just a wonderful character actor and excelled in venomous roles. Of course, in real life she's the nicest person in the world, at least I think so! She's been in most of my movies since the 80's, sometimes a small role, sometimes a big one. That's the thing about my "rep" company, nobody is a star, including me. Phyllis is also one of those people who is very dignified in real life, so it's fun to make her do ridiculous things. In a old short film of mine, I had her play a transvestite contract killer. In another short film, I had the entire cast playing squirrels. Phyllis was one of the poor squirrels that gets hit by a car while crossing the road. (That short, "Squirrels", is an extra on the Democrazy DVD.)

Phyllis is also a active member of the local theater scene, and appears with my theater company, The Medway Players, which I've run since 1995.


DLM: You and Lorna Nogueira, who played Moaner the zombie cheerleader in this film, have been working together for a long time now. How long have you known each other and what's the secret to the great chemistry you guys have on screen?

ML: It's love, man. I met Lorna when she auditioned for a play I was directing back in 1999. I didn't abuse my power, though. I asked her out after the play had finished it's run. It was a mutual attraction and we've been together ever since. Our on screen chemistry just mirrors our real life one. We've both eccentric and kind of social phobic, with a real devotion to live theater and film. We're both writers, she and I have plays published by JAC Publishing.

The funny thing is where we differ when we do the segments of the Dreck show. When we come up with "hooks" for each show to talk about, she will fully script the segments like a play, where I scribble a few lines and prefer to ad lib. She hates ad libbing but she's good at it. I hate learning lines so I love to ad lib. You can kind of tell which shows she and I write. Mine are usually silly or bizarre, and hers seem more "epic" and like a story.


DLM: I've often seen film makers appear in their own films, with mixed results. You however, have been in all of your films and are often the best, or one of the best performers in the cast. What kind of acting experience did you have over the years that led up to the great performances in your own films?

ML: I suppose you could go back to when I was a little kid. I found out that I could make people laugh by imitating cartoon voices. I did a show with friends in my garage when I was around 10 years old. When I started making my own films when I was 15, I found the actor that was easiest to get was me. Then about 10 years later, I steeled my courage to go audition for a play. I tried out for the smallest part in it and got the lead. So between acting and directing in theater and doing movies simultaneously I guess I learned how to act. No acting lessons or schools or any of that, I didn't want to know the rules. I don't want to "think" the part to death ahead of time; I just go by instinct. Fortunately that seems to work for me. Subsequently, I have also worked professionally as an actor and director in regional theater. I think getting used to acting in front of a camera helped me to do theater acting more easily than the other way around would have. Some theater actors have a tricky time "toning" down their performance and line delivery in movies. I purposely rehearse the actors just before doing a shot to try to give the performances an ad libbed feel. In all my comedies, I don't want a naturalistic performance, per se, I know full well I'm doing low comedy, so I like the performances to be broad and over the top. The whole world I create isn't this one anyway, it's my own bizarre little world with it's own set of logic.


DLM: Do you find it difficult to juggle your acting and directing duties, or does it all just sort of mesh together fluidly while you're in that zone of production?

ML: I grew up being in my own movies, so it just seems natural to me to do both. It happened in theater too. I direct more than act in theater, but many times I've had to be in a production because we just couldn't find enough men to fill the roles. That happens a lot in local theater, especially out in the burbs where I am. But as I said earlier, it's one less actor to worry about and direct, I know what I want. I think being a film maker helps in theater under those conditions since I can visualize what the stage will look like even when I standing on it.


DLM: Let's move on now to the film you released after this one, My Mouth Lies Screaming. It was quite a departure from your Dr. Dreck film. Had you considered making a sequel to Dr. Dreck rather than making this film, or had you decided from the beginning that you were going to go in a whole different direction with this one?

ML: I wouldn't rule out a Dreck sequel, but I'd have to come up with a good idea that would take the characters to a different place. To me there's always a sequel; every week I do them on TV!

MMLS isn't really a departure from Dreck; all my movies have at least an aspect of the absurd or fantastic in them. When I got around to Mouth, I let myself be the sole audience member. What do I think is funny? I wrote it without any stops in my imagination as to what was completely implausible and threw any natural laws out the window. After all, if you can accept all the living head B movies out there, you can certainly accept someone being decapitated and than having their head sewn back on with no ill effects.

The more time goes by, the more I think the Earth was initially seeded by aliens to use as their insane asylum. Then they just left us to our own devices. I really think the human animal is nuts by and large, and that attitude reflects in my comedies. I went that way the most in Democrazy; although right wingers hate me for that movie, they failed to see that I was skewering the human race in general. We're a mess. But being a cynic, I know underneath I'm an idealist, and maybe in 2012 the aliens will come back and cure us of our mental illness! This is why I'm blessed with Lorna's presence in my life, she balances my very dark attitude.


DLM: You had some difficulty while filming My Mouth Lies Screaming when your camera failed. Tell us about that and how you dealt with that, and also, did you have any other technical issues pop up on you unexpectedly that delayed production aside from that?

ML: In a no budget production you can't afford to have any back up equipment. On one of my shooting days, I had everyone coming for the shoot, and my camera died. It just stopped functioning. I quickly ransacked my brain to think of anyone that had a digital camera and I finally thought of a friend. I called him and luckily he was home and let me borrow his camera. Unfortunately, the camera was an older model than what I was using, so the lens and aperture range wasn't as good as my dead camera. But it was either stop the movie and use the camera. I decided to go ahead and shoot from that point with the borrowed camera. I ended up with two different quality images, frequently in the same scene. The older camera wasn't as sensitive to low light and yielded a very "noisy" image as compared to the one I'd been using. I was able to improve the image a little when I was editing with Final Cut, mostly reducing the noise, but the cutting between the two cameras really reveals their differences.

That was probably the biggest delay. Another re-work I had to do was when the killer gets the side of his neck slit and blood spurts out. I had rigged up tubing with blood, but on camera the blood squirting didn't show that much. I later "green screened" some blood into the shot using a syringe with blood in it that I squirted in front of a green square and then layered it into the original shot. Another lesson learned was I tried to do on my own the final shot of the decapitated head that was still alive, and I just couldn't make the green screen as clean as it should have been. My friend who has helped at times with CGI said he couldn't improve it after the fact; it would have be done again. I just accepted what I had; maybe I shouldn't have, but sometimes you just want to FINISH the movie.


DLM: When it came to casting this film, Lorna Nogueira was with you again of course, as was John Shanahan, but where did you find the rest of you cast, and in general, how do you go about casting roles for any of your films? Do you typically use people you know, or do you put out casting calls and audition various people for each part?

ML: Everyone is MMLS has been in previous movies. John Shanahan, Robin Gabrielli and Diane Mela were the leads in Democrazy, as a goofy sort of superhero team. Diane has been with me since the early days when I was making short films. John and Robin are both talented actors who had been in some stage productions of mine and whom I felt would enjoy being in one of my movies. John is also a published playwright and writer, so I knew his sense of humor already fit with mine. Cherry Zinger, (yes, real name) was the evil Nurse Tarika in Honey Glaze, a cheapjack spy flick with Lorna playing the title role. If you see enough of my movies you'll see the same people pop up again and again.

I've never used anyone I don't already know and have worked with. By doing theater, you run into some real jackasses, so I want to know their personality before I ask them to be in a movie. One of the things I look for is the ability to act like an idiot with a straight face. I prefer deadpan, almost under the radar humor rather than blatant in your face stuff.


DLM: Let's move on to your latest film now, Evan Straw. This film, once again was a departure from your previous efforts in the sense that it was a more serious than the others. You had stated in our various communications that that wasn't the type of film you normally do. What made you decide to go more serious for this one, and did you find that you prefer to be more serious, or are the goofier films more to your liking?

Evan Straw was a very nervous experience for me. I'd never done a serious movie before, but always in the back of my mind I wanted to do a serious, spooky movie someday. The writing of it and the directing of it just felt very foreign to me, because I wasn't going for laughs. I knew the time had come to do a serious ghost story when I found myself working with someone who owned a very old, great looking house. I asked to see the interior and I knew I had to do a ghost story about this house. I was very lucky that she and her husband gave us the run of the place because it took about six months to shoot it. We even used her two little girls in cameos!

Two big differences in making Evan Straw. I had Lorna, who played the lead, act as a story editor, so I could double check what I was writing to keep it real. Her input was invaluable. Secondly, I wanted to make it more like a cinema verite, not in the Blair Witch sense, but I made a conscious decision to not have music in it, which would remind people they were watching a movie. Secondly, I wanted to remain close to events that had really happened to people. I was lucky to know the paranormal researcher and writer, Jeff Belanger, who has written a number of books about the paranormal and also writes for the History Channel's "Ghost Adventures." He plays the first researcher you see in the movie. I had him look at the script to see if I was being as accurate as possible in the depiction of events. His best advice was don't let keeping it real get in the way of a good story. He had some good suggestions that I incorporated into the script. There are events in the movie that may not seem like they belong there and lead nowhere, but they do make sense in the whole context. In real life paranormal situations, you're not really in any danger, unless a poltergeist is heaving stuff at you, or if you're fearful of possession. The fear is the thing. That's the biggest challenge, not physical danger. Also, real researchers frequently consult with each other, and I wanted to show that, too. I did take liberties or dramatic license. Particularly in the EVP sequence. Normally you don't hear EVPs when you're recording; you can hear them on playback and they are hard to hear clearly unless you're listening for them. So, I fudged that sequence to make it more immediate and interesting to the audience. Most of the events that happen in the movie, I've read about happening to real people, and the spookiest stuff was incorporated into Alice's experience. Even the facts about the ghost, (I won't reveal that here), is an genuine theory expounded by some researchers and historians.

I can't say I wouldn't make another serious movie, but I'm definitely more comfortable doing comedy.


DLM: This film was a bit of a departure as well because it featured a lot more CGI than your previous films. Who did the CGI work for this film, and are you happy with how it all came out, or are there some aspects of it you wish had a different look or had been done differently?

ML: In earlier movies like Democrazy and Dungeon of Dr. Dreck, what little CGI is in it was done by a friend of mine who had the software and expertise to do that. However, in Evan Straw, I took it all on myself. I really like to learn new things, so I tried to do everything on my own. The biggest plus came from learning to use "machinima." This is the same system that is used in video games; a 3 dimensional rendering of figures and objects. It's become an art in itself and is available on various sites to use. I joined up with Moviestorm, and was able to create the Evan Straw figure with it. Between that and the things you can do with Final Cut, I was able to pull off the stuff I wanted to, and I'm pretty happy with my first time out. I kept it to a minimum, because CGI gets way overused, in my opinion.


DLM: Since this was a ghost story, there were some really cool interactions with the ghost. I think the one that looked the best for me was when he pulled the psychic's hair. Which of the ghost interactions do you think worked the best, which ones, if any, didn't work as well as you'd have liked and which were the most difficult to shoot?

ML: The easiest and most effective one was the hair pulling. Because it was real and came out of nowhere. The hardest ones were the final scenes at the table where I had to leave space for the ghost to appear and to make it interact with the live people. That was done mostly through machinima. I think if I had something like Motion or After Effects, I could have jazzed things up a little bit, but really, that stuff isn't worth the investment if it's something you're not going to use often. And I think overall I'm pleased with the effects I did.


DLM: For all three films, tell us what you were the happiest with and what, if anything, you'd do differently if you had to do it over again.

ML: It's kind of a tie. I was very happy with the Dreck movie because it all just came together for that one. The characters were already established, and I found the right locations to shoot in to keep the feel of an earlier time. A friend even had an old small broadcast camera from around that era which you can see in a couple of shots. On the other hand, I ended up being happy with Evan Straw because it was a different and iffy thing for me to do, and it really came out better than I hoped.

The technical drawbacks on MMLS irk me a little, but it's all on my side or just circumstance. I could have shot things over, but when you have a cast that works for gratis, I feel reticent to take too much of their time. However, I think I did cover up or at least improve some of the technical problems in it. As a script and performance wise, I was very pleased with it.

DLM: Have you sent these films out to film festivals or held screenings? What's been the general reaction to each of them from both people who've viewed them and the reviewers you've sent them to?

ML: Dr. Dreck was screened at the New Haven Underground Film Festival a couple of years ago, and I won the Best Actor award, for which I was very grateful. I wasn't there to see the screening, but I heard from the festival organizer that it went well. I can only think of one negative review for Dr. Dreck. The reviewer just plain didn't find it funny. The only part he liked was the William Castle spoof. Another reviewer who liked the movie for the most part, thought the same segment slowed down the movie. Again, just people's opinions and how each viewer sees something different.

MMLS has just been nominated for two awards at the B Movie Festival in Syracuse, NY. Diane Mela was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Phil Hall for Best Supporting Actor, and I was nominated for Best Screenplay. The movie got a few good reviews both online and in print, the only detractor thought it was threadbare of production values, nonsensical, silly, etc. He did admit to laughing sometimes so it even got to him. I've often joked about if we did one of my silly movies with British accents, then we'd be called geniuses, but American silliness, well, that's just stupid.


DLM: Do you have your next film planned out already? If so, can you tell us something about it?

ML: The next movie is back to comedy, and the title is Coffee Run. I actually used an old short film plot of mine for a jumping off point. It's about an agoraphobic played by myself, (little acting involved there), who finally tries to get out of his rut and venture into the outside world and regrets that he did. This may be the most purely "made for myself" movie of all. I've asked a few actors who go way back with me and who haven't been in movies in years to appear in it, plus I'm bringing back some characters from other movies of mine such as Honey Glaze, The Spiderwoman, The Creeper and Matt Retina, the blind doctor. It really might have very limited appeal, but at this point in my life, I don't care anymore!


DLM: If people want to check out your films, where can they purchase them? (Just as a note here to the readers, I highly recommend Michael Legge's films. Especially my personal favorite, The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck.)

ML: Whole bunches of places. I sell most of my films on my website: (You need Paypal or send a check or MO)

Filmbaby has:

My Mouth Lies Screaming -
The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck -
Evan Straw -

Amazon has:

My Mouth Lies Screaming -
Evan Straw -

Creepy Classics has:

Dungeon of Dr. Dreck -

But if you just do a search for the titles, you'll find them in a lot of places. The places I've mentioned has the best prices.


DLM: Do you have any bits of advice for newer or first time film makers out there to make their project go smoother?

ML: Start small. Make a short movie first. Learn how to do it. No books or instruction will really do it for you. Don't overreach. Do what's feasible for you. If you don't have the locations or the software know how, don't try to do a flashy science fiction movie. Try to get actors from local theater groups. Your friends may be more available, but not the talent. A little acting is usually better than none at all, although there are exceptions to that rule. I know that from personal experience. As the great sage Ricky Nelson said in his song, "Garden Party", "you can't please everyone so you got to please yourself." Don't make a product. Don't make what you think people want to see. Make the kind of movie YOU'D like to see. It sounds selfish, but unless your goal to be part of the Hollywood machine, you'll be much happier in the long run. And for god sakes, please no more vampire or zombie movies already!


DLM: Is there anything else you'd like to mention before we wrap this up?

ML: Just that this is the most extensive interview I've ever had. I feel like this is my Rolling Stone interview. Except the public is lucky not see me naked.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010 @ 15:42:29 Mountain Daylight Time Interviews |
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