Looking like he belongs in some heavy metal band such as Megadeth or the like here we have independent horror director and co-founder of Extreme Entertainment, Todd Sheets.
Now admittedly I have yet to see one of his low-budget films he contacted me after seeing this page and is really enthuastic about the genre. He's committed to keeping the horror film alive and will probably do anything to prove that fact.
Todd has been making horror films for years now and was even responsible for the sequel Sorority Babes In The Dance-A-Thon Of Death. His latest project, The Shivers, is about to come out on video soon and it looks like it'll be one Hell of a fun time.
I posed Todd a few questions through e-mail and below you'll find the results of those.
It's refreshing to me to see someone like Todd who tries his hardest to make entertaining horror product and basically makes rude gestures at fickle film-finacers who have thumbed their nose at the genre believing there was no longer any money for them in it.
Firstly, why horror?
Because I love Horror. It offers the most creativity in cinema. I have always loved things that are scary and "dark" in nature. My first childhood memory was Night Of The Living Dead and Boy Who Cried Werewolf. I love the way those films make me feel. I loved the thrills, the magic... the whole experience.
Why did you form Extreme Entertainment and what goals do you have for it?
I started Extreme to make movies that pushed the buttons, that never play it safe. I want my movies to be the ones that always go over the edge. I thought the name fit the movies I wanted to make. My goals are simple: I want to entertain people and bring that old feeling I got watching Horror movies of all kinds and budget back to today's audiences. When I was young, I didn't care if it was zero budget or 10 million, I just liked each movie on it's own merit.
How hard is it being an independent filmmaker in this genre?
Being an independent is never easy. Ask anyone who has done it. I give credit to anyone who can actually FINISH a movie in today's climate, but I just got the equipment and a good crew and I get a stock of main actors and we work hard and make it happen against any odds. It's never easy because we cannot compete with the polished look of Scream or the latest Spielberg crapola, but we can compete when it comes to delivering the good, something big budget crap NEVER does! We already have our budget against us, so that makes us work harder to insure good production and effects.
What influences do you have?
I have always been influenced by true Horror films like Texas Chain Saw Massacre and the films of the 80's. But as far as directors, Roger Corman is an inspiration to me as well as Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci. I always loved the Italian Horror films. They have so much more style. Argento's Terror At The Opera is a painting come to life and Fulci creates an atmosphere that can never be surpassed. I also love the work of Sam Raimi.
Any favourite horror films?
Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Demons, Re-Animator, Gates Of Hell, The Beyond, Zombie, Dead Alive, The Thing, The Fog, Escape From New York, In The Mouth Of Madness, Demon Knight, Halloween, The Church, Suspiria, terror At The Opera, House By The Cemetery, Jacob's Ladder, The Howling, An American Werewolf In London, Bordello Of Blood.....
What film of your own is your personal favourite?
So far, Violent New Breed and The Shivers are tied.
What do you think the state of horror is today?
It is in a state of Political Correctness. It sucks. Audiences of today have no idea what Horror is. I heard teens slam Wishmaster because it wasn't like I Know What You Did Last Summer.... That is a mess!!!! Horror is supposed to be like Wishmaster, only grosser and more action-packed. Evil Dead and The Thing would never get released today in theaters... SAD... You and I and other Horror fans need to e-mail the studios and the theaters like AMC and DICKINSON and raise hell about it. WE need to call and e-mail Blockbuster and tell 'em all off about the lack of good Horror. The Beyond is being played in theaters thanks to Quentin Tarantino and Sage Stallone, but no theaters are getting it!!!
Images are © 1998 Extreme Entertainment.
Thanks to Todd for taking time out to talk to me and let me use the images here.