One of the better known independent directors working today, New York filmmaker Lindenmuth continues to work on the fringe of the genre making some of the more thoughtful and character-driven low-budget horror films on the go.
I first heard of him by reading a review of his film Vampires & Other Stereotypes which admittedly didn't get a sparkling review but managed to catch my attention for its original sounding plot.
Kevin contacted me about a month back offering me some screener tapes, I'm not sure how he came to hear about the Graveyard but nevertheless I'm glad he did for it gave me an opportunity to view some of his films and let me see for myself how he's bringing new twists to the genre on at times shoestring budgets.
Below is an interview I conducted with Kevin, he currently operates Brimstone Productions.
What made you decide to become a director, and why did you choose the horror genre?
I grew up watching horror movies. In fact, the first movies I remember seeing were The Corpse Grinders and The Undertaker And His Pals. It was all because of my father, my uncle and my grandmother taking me to see these types of movies at the theatres and drive-ins. There were also the Saturday afternoon TV shows as well, such as SIR GRAVES GHASTLY (local Detroit show) and latenight programs like The Ghoul. So as soon as I was able to get my hands on a camera-an old Super 8mm film camera-when I was eight years old, I started making "movies". It's simply what I wanted to do-namely, being a writer and a filmmaker. There wasn't an alternative.
Any influences on your work?
I'm much more influenced by movies themselves rather than any director and I don't try to emulate anyone. I like early Carpenter and Craven, when they were doing low-budget films. The biggest influence of all is probably LIFE, things I've experienced, more than anything I've watched or read.
What is your favourite film of your own and why?
My favorite film of my own is probably Addicted To Murder because it turned out %95 percent of how I envisioned it before I started filming.
How do you see the state of independent filmmaking?
Independent filmmaking is hard and micro-budget filmmaking is perhaps even harder because you have to get more bang for your buck. I've had many successful collaborations with other filmmakers-such as Tim Ritter, Ron Ford, Gabe Campisi, Mike Legge and Tim Thomson-but there are many others who simply refuse to help each other out in this difficult business. Even though the budgets are extremely small and not a great number of people are doing these low budget direct to video features there's still quite a bit of backstabbing, bad-mouthing and lying by filmmakers, particularly from those who think they're God's gift to filmmaking. I simply choose not to deal with those individuals.
I also think direct-to-video features are gaining a wider acceptance in the video stores and public mind in general. Because of technology and "filmlooking", an electronic process by which video is made to resemble the look of film, these films can now compete with much higher budgeted product.
I think within the next decade that most of the movies that go directly to the video shelves will be shot and editing on video.
How do you see the horror genre today?
The horror genre is in a resurgance, which is great. It's like the early 80's all over again when you had a choice of several horror movies to choose from at the theatre. Sure, a lot of the current movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer and H20 are basically remakes of those 80's movies, but this time around they have bigger budgets, better production value and better actors. And because Hollywood movies are doing well with the genre this trickles down to the smaller studios and independent filmmaker's product as well. For example, I think Tim Ritter's new movie, Screaming For Sanity will do quite well because it stays true to what a "slasher movie" is. It's all in the timing.
The best thing about the horror genre is that no matter if it's popular or not it tends to have the most loyal fans.
If you could meet any person involved in the horror genre throughout history who would it be and why?
It would have to be Edgar Allen Poe. I need not explain.
You've teamed-up with directors such as Tim Ritter a bunch of times, how does this creative process differ from solo directing?
When I collaborate on a project with another filmmaker it's always so much easier because the burden is lessened. I don't have to do EVERYTHING, it's divided fairly equally between the different filmmakers involved. That's the reason I've collaborated on seven different features I've worked on.
But collaboration isn't for everyone-you have to find kindred spirits and be fairly easy going. There's no room for attitudes or egos.
I noticed from skimming your films that you like to give it the look of a documentary at times, is this to enhance realism? Why do you use it?
I have "interview" segments in some of my movies because, yes, it does give it a sense of realism, convinces the audience that what they are watching is real. It's also much cheaper to shoot! Basically I just like the feel of it. It's a stylistic thing.
Who working within the independent film community do you think holds promise?
I think everyone currently working in the genre holds promise because of this one simple fact-if you succeed in making one feature and go on to do another you will have learned from your mistakes and probably make a better movie the second time around. I think everyone I know has been improving, from Ron Bonk (The Vicious Sweet), MIKE LEGGE (Potential Sins), Tim Thomson (No Resistance), Nathan Thompson (Contact Blow), Mark and John Polonia (Feeders), Ronnie Sortor (Ravage), and Joe Zaso (Guilty Pleasures). There's a big difference between their first film and their most recent ones. This will continue to improve the quality of the genre.
I just finished editing Addicted To Murder 2: Tainted Blood, which is a continuation, of sorts, of the events depicted in Addicted To Murder. It's a totally different take on some of the same characters and you see the Angie and Joel characters in a new light. It's all about the vampire sub-culture in New York City.
Also, I just completed my first 16mm drama, Walking Between The Raindrops, which hits the film festival circuit this month. It's probably my biggest budget production to date. It's interesting to see one of my movies projected in a theatre for once. I like it.
Currently working on a vampire movie called Blood Lust.
My only regret is that there's not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do. Otherwise, my job is perfect! I'm doing exactly what I want to do-making movies and making a living at it.
Images are © 1995 Brimstone Productions.
Big thanks to Kevin for contacting me and fielding my many, sometimes inane, questions. Cheers!