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Very Scary Productions
Interview by
Ray Hom


1) On your production site at “Very Scary Productions”, it is proclaimed that you’ve been “producing horrifyingly entertaining movies since 1996.” Tell us about who Jeff Kirkendall is, and the various works you have produced since that year.
I first began as an actor in the mid 1990’s, and was fortunate enough to land parts in some independent movies being produced in my area. At the same time I studied video production while completing a Communications degree. Right after graduation from college I used these skills to produce “Terror of the Master”, a feature-length independent horror movie about two sisters besieged by a vicious vampire. That was 1996, and the experience served as a crash course in guerilla moviemaking, encouraging me to continue making indie movies. Since then I have written, produced, directed, and edited six movies. The others are “Night Therapy” (1998), “The Green-Eyed Monster” (1999), “3 To Murder” (1999), “The Temptress” (2002), and “Of Theatre & Bikinis” (2007). All of these are in the horror genre except “Of Theatre & Bikinis”, which is a comedy. “Night Therapy” concerns three patients talking to a therapist about their experiences with a disembodied head. “The Green-Eyed Monster” is about a young woman home alone one Halloween night who is contacted by a mysterious voice “from beyond the grave”. “3 To Murder” is a story involving a criminal gang menacing three suburban women. “The Temptress” continues this story in a feature about three women battling an evil vampire cult in upstate New York. “Of Theatre & Bikinis” is a lighthearted comedy about a college girl who wants badly to become an actress, and the crazy quest she goes on to meet a Hollywood director visiting her small town. Many of my independent movies are available to purchase on DVD & Download at FilmBaby.com. In addition I was an Associate Producer & Editor on several horror features produced by other independent filmmakers, such as Joe Bagnardi’s “The Edge of Reality”, and Bruce G. Hallenbeck’s “London After Midnight” and “The Drowned”, the latter of which I also served as Cinematographer on. I have also appeared in quite a few movies over the years, and always enjoy new projects as an actor. Currently I am producing & directing a new feature - the horror anthology movie “Die Laughing”. I use the tagline “horrifyingly entertaining movies” on my web site because I believe my indie films have always had a sense of fun about them that audiences can identify with. I try to make movies that are, above all, enjoyable and entertaining to audiences.
2) I’ve read in a bio that you were inspired by “A Nightmare On Elm Street” to become a filmmaker. What is your opinion on the reboot in 2010, and the recent remakes of horror classics in general?
In general I’m not a big fan of the current trend of remaking every horror movie one can think of. Many bad remakes have been thrust on audiences, and although there have been some good ones as well, most of these have still been unnecessary. For example I thought the remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was generally well done, but still not needed when we have the original. I believe remakes can also do a disservice to younger audiences, who may think these newer films are the only versions, or as a result not have any desire to see the “old” movies. Filmmakers should concentrate on original stories, or creative sequels that move established franchises in interesting new directions. With respect to “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, I’d rather it wasn’t being done because that movie is still one of my all-time favorites and I can’t fathom a “re-imagining” of the story with different actors. However I’m not surprised that it is happening considering the trend. We’ll just have to wait and see what they’ve done with it.
3) What experiences in the lesson of filmmaking can you pass on to hopeful filmmakers that may be reading this now?
I think it’s important to learn as much as possible about the tools of the craft such as cameras, lighting, and editing equipment. And I believe it’s also important to work with people who are equally as passionate about your project as you are. And above all, “persistence is key” because, while filmmaking can be a wonderfully rewarding creative endeavor, there are times when the process can be tedious and difficult. So just keep on filming and never, ever give up!
4) What are your favorite horror films? Which one is the scariest, and why?
As mentioned previously, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is one of my all-time favorites. This is because it was the movie that drew me into the horror genre when I was a teenager. It had a compelling story and presented great drama, in addition to being a truly frightening horror film. I also liked Wes Craven’s “New Nightmare” ten years later, because it took the story and expanded it further in an exciting new way. So those would be two of my favorites. Some other favorites include Herk Harvey’s “Carnival of Souls”, the original “Halloween”, Lamberto Bava’s “Demons” and its first sequel, and George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead”, just to name a few. Some movies that scared me when I first saw them were “Jaws”, “The Exorcist”, and (the original) “Friday the 13th”. A recent movie I found creepy was “Paranormal Activity”, primarily because it presents a story that is thought provoking. In other words I think it has the potential to be most effective after it’s viewed.
5) If you were stuck in a horror movie, would you rather be the evil that lurks, or the hero that confronts the dark? Why?
Now that’s an interesting question! From an acting standpoint it’s always fun to play the villains, because they’re usually more dynamic and memorable. If I was really stuck in a horror film though, I believe I’d rather be the hero who (hopefully) triumphs in the end over the forces of darkness. I’m sure it would be very satisfying!
   

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