Since then I worked on some other smaller independent films, like Pro-Wrestlers vs. Zombies, and Luciferís Unholy Desire. Along with editing two short films my friend, Jonathan Patrick Hughes, directed.
I made some connections along the way, and just decided it was time to direct my own feature.
Can you tell us anything about Spirit Animal Movie?
Yes! It is a horror/comedy that we shot on VHS. I wanted that retro look you would find in random horror movies I rented in the early 90ís.
I love shot on video horror like Cannibal Campout, Video Violence, and Redneck Zombies. The movie is about a group of annoying young people who decide to rent a cabin for New Years Weekend.
Little do they know that a killer stalks these woods, named Aarav Niktomi. He wears a different animal mask each time he kills, which kind of makes it original. And we are releasing the movie in Smell-O-Vision!
What do you consider to be the strongest element of your work?
Comedy and originality. I love campy movies, I think that my films have an element of originality and fun not all indie films have lately.
We didnít make Spirit Animal to make money, I mean I DO want to make some money, but first we did it for fun. We had a lot of fun making it and I believe that fun will translate on screen to those who are watching it. I think even though I was inspired by a lot of films to make Spirit Animal that the movie itself is pretty original.
Can you tell us about the greatest moment in your film career?
This is a hard one, I donít think that moment has happened yet haha. I believe that will be at Spirit Animalís world premiere next month!
But I would say that the best moment now is getting actor Toby Radloff involved with Spirit Animal.
Toby is best known for his role as Harold Kunkle in Killer Nerd. Killer Nerd is one of my all time favorite films, and I rented it randomly from That Tape Place in 7th Grade. My friends and I had a blast watching it.
And to work with him after all that timeÖit is amazing. If you had told 13 year old me I would have the chance to have Toby in a movieÖI would not have believed you!
Do you think you've changed as an Director/Producer since you first started?
Yes, I definitely have. I have a lot of growing to do as a filmmaker, but I have still learned a lot since I started out. I hope to continue to grow!
How did you come up with the idea for your film ?
Well, this is a bit of a story. It kind of evolved from some of my other projects that never happened, and hopefully will some day. First, a friend and I talked about making a movie about a shark God, Dakuwaqa, and making it like a slasher film with a killer Shark-Man.
Of course, a good Shark-Man suit would have been too expensive for me. So I wrote a script for a short film called Bathtub Shark Attack. I toyed with wanting to shoot on VHS but we were going to shoot on digital video. And it was almost a prequel to the Man-Shark movie.
But all the actors except one dropped out, and it just never happened. So I said, screw it, letís make a feature and shoot it on VHS. So I wrote Spirit Animal. I was inspired by movies like Friday the 13th, and the one-liners in Nailgun Massacre.
I had been wanting to make a slasher film, and I was originally just going to have a Shark Masked Killer. But instead, I thought what if he had many animal masks, and the ideas kept coming. And here we are!
Can you tell us more about your upcoming project(s)?
Well, as mentioned above, I did a short film called Alan and I plan to make that my next feature. I wrote it into a feature length script, and have a few cool names I have been talking to about it.
It is my dream and passion project. I was heavily inspired by films like Psycho, Taxi Driver, and Silent Night, Deadly Night. It is basically a love story with a horror twist, which is all I can say.
We also are putting together a film by my cinematographer/actor/effects artist Joseph Russio titled Beyond Dark Dreams which I am excited about. We also have talked a lot about Spirit Animal sequels, there is infinite possibilities in that whole universe.
Where can we found out more about you and your work?
You can follow myself and my films on Facebook or IMDB. NekroShark Films and Spirit Animal are both on Facebook! I am not very up with the times technology wise, so I am not on Twitter or Snapchat or anything!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to try a career in Director/Producer?
Just go and do it! Get your friends together on weekends and make a short film, or a feature like I did. You donít need a lot of money, just the passion to get it done. If you have one or two others who are passionate about your projects, that is what matters.
I was lucky to have my actress Jenny Lou and cinematographer Joseph Russio on my project because I never would have gotten it done without them both. I believe Jon McBride said something similar about Cannibal Ccampout, that few passionate people is what will get your movie done.
And donít worry how long it takes, or if your first film sucks (it wonít suck, donít be too hard on yourself!) just keep going and never give up!
If you could work with any Director/Producer who would they be and why?
David Lynch. He was a big inspiration on my script for Alan, I am a big fan of his works and Twin Peaks is my favorite TV show. The man is a genius! I love everything he does, and there is no other filmmaker on Earth like him.
I also would add Jorg Buttgereit. His works inspired me as well, I am a big fan of all of his films. His style really inspired me as well.
The Toxic Avenger, believe it or not! When I was younger, I rented this movie, and I was blown away. I had never seen anything like it.
I suddenly realized that you donít need millions of dollars to make a good movie, just passion! Between this movie and Killer Nerd, I became a huge fan of B-Movies. I also think The Toxic Avenger has a really good love story too it, it kind of tells me there is someone for everyone.
What is the last horror film you saw? What did you think of it?
I recently watched the Poughkeepsie Tapes. I am NOT a fan of found footage movies at all, and this was likeÖfound footage/doucumentary style.
I heard a lot of good things about it, so I finally watched it. It was actually pretty good! It had some really creepy and messed up moments. I would recommend it!
Favorite country or place?
Oh, Jeez. I guess Pittsburgh. It is where I live. Iím from Upstate NY, and I love it there too. But I like the city. And I love a lot of the people here. I have made a lot of long lasting friendships I will have forever. I think good people can make any place a home. You know?
Did you know anything about sweden?
Not much at all! I loved the Swedish movie Force Majeure, and they just remade it in English without any mention of its roots, which made me mad. But thatís about all I can think of for this question. I must look up some other Swedish movies to watch haha!
Anything else you want to mention?
Just to young filmmakers, keep at it. Make connections. And check out Spirit Animal, it will be on DVD and Bluray, along with VHS, this July. Thanks so much for interviewing me!!