HELL’S ASSASSIN: THE DEFINITIVE “JASON GOES TO HELL” INTERVIEW WITH ADAM MARCUS

 

 

Daily Grindhouse had a moment to speak with Adam Marcus about JASON GOES TO HELL, his entry in the FRIDAY THE 13th canon. What follows is a candid, honest interview that hopefully sheds light on an unfairly maligned film and will help you get to know its creator. It’s the biggest interview on the subject by far, straight from the source himself.

Here are the full, unleashed stories on JASON GOES TO HELL, MY BOYFRIEND’S BACK, TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D, and the new project that Adam Marcus is unleashing on the world, SECRET SANTA.

 

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Daily Grindhouse: Did you have a FRIDAY THE 13th bootcamp once you got this gig?

 

 

Adam Marcus: (Laughs) That’s funny. No, I was well-versed in FRIDAY THE 13th. I’ve been connected to the franchise, the first movie, since I was ten. Sean’s son, Noel and I were best friends since we were little kids. And so, I was always with the Cunninghams. In fact, I worked for them for quite an extensive period time during the time they were making FRIDAY THE13th and SPRING BREAK and a bunch of the other things they had done. I was really sort of involved from day one, I did a lot of readings, with Sean and Wes Craven when I was a teenager. I was actually at the first reading of the movie, HOUSE, so I was always somehow involved.

Sean was incredibly instrumental in helping fund my first theatre company back in Connecticut, which I ran for many years before I went to NYU, where I made my student film that won best picture and what got me, ostensibly, the job to do JASON GOES TO HELL. I was a huge FRIDAY geek by that point. I knew the movies chapter and verse. My writing partner, Dean Lorey, was also a huge horror fan.

When I first came to LA, what happened was, I got two job offers: one was to write for season two of Twin Peaks and the second offer was from Sean Cunningham who told me I should come to LA, be his slave for a year, and he would give me my shot to direct something.

 

 

Daily Grindhouse: Wow.

 

Adam Marcus: Yeah. (chuckles) So, being twenty and as dumb as a twenty year old can be, I turned down the guarantee of work for probably my lifetime in television on Twin Peaks, and jumped at the chance to make my first feature with Sean. So, I came to Los Angeles with $300 in my pocket, I had paid off my student loans and my films in New York. And I had no driver’s license, because I was living in New York so I never needed a driver’s license. I bought a car with the $300 that I had, a ’64 VW Bug, bright yellow. In fact, the exact same car that Kevin Bacon drives in FOOTLOOSE. That was literally what I was able to afford. And I slept in it, because I didn’t have money for an apartment. And it was a car that I was living in, that I wasn’t able to drive. It was pretty awesome all around.

So, I started working with Sean, and I had a project, a script that my old writing partner Dean Lorey, who wrote JASON GOES TO HELL  with me. Dean and I had workshopped this script for many, many years. This was Dean’s script and it was amazing, but I had been workshopping it as a director for about three years. And I brought it to LA with me, so that we could get it funded and I could make that as my first feature. It was this insane black comedy horror film called Johnny Zombie.

While I was basically being Sean’s slave, I started crashing charity events and finding any executive who would talk to me. And I got a bunch of people excited about this project Johnny Zombie. Well, Sean heard that I had this film going on, because of course I told Noel, who of course told his dad. Sean grabbed the script off my desk, walked into his office and slammed the door. About 90 minutes later, he calls me back into his office and says, “Okay, so I hate this script, but I love the title. I’m going to give you a million and a half and you’ll go to Connecticut and you’ll shoot the thing.” I was like, “Excuse me, what are we doing?” He said, here’s the one thing, I want to get someone else to do a rewrite. Again, I was twenty-one at this time and I said, “No, then I won’t sell it to you.” He was shocked that I was saying no to him. And I was like, “Look, my buddy Dean is a brilliant writer. Give him a chance to do your notes. Put Dean and I up in a shitty hotel for six weeks and we’ll rewrite anything you want. And if at that point you don’t love it, then you can have someone else rewrite it.” Part of it was me being loyal to Dean, and part of it was I wanted to get the hell out of the car and get into a hotel. Sean went for it. He flew Dean out here, put the two of us up in a hotel, and worked for the next six weeks. And Dean, he just killed it. And Sean loved the script when it was finished.

It got set up at Disney, and when the first meeting happened with Disney, it was like, we’re greenlighting this one and we want to move quickly on it. It was like, “we love the movie. We think it’s awesome. Can you just get rid of the zombies?” We’re like, “it’s called Johnny Zombie!” They said, “yeah, about that, the lead guy, can he be less dead, and seem more tired?” Immediately, I was like, “okay, this movie’s not going to be the movie I wanted to make”! Look, it was a time when they wanted to make everything PG, PG-13 at most, and we had written this hardcore R-rated comedy that was super bloody.  It was a horror film buti had musical numbers. We were really trying to create a cult movie. And it was my sense of humor and Dean’s sense of humor. I went back to the office, I said to Sean, “I don’t believe in this version of the movie. Sorry. Find somebody who thinks that this is the right vision, and that they’re going to do a much better job on the movie.” I said, “But you’re making a lot of money off this movie, so I’d like to have the movie that I’m going to direct now, please.” And at that point, Sean said the funniest thing, and probably the truest thing, he said, “You know what, Adam, your greatest skill, is you are the world’s biggest nudge.” I said, “That’s probably true.”

He said, “Look, Paramount is selling the rights to FRIDAY THE 13th to New Line, and if you can figure out a way to get that damn hockey mask out of the movie, I’ll let you write and direct it.” So at that point, I was like, “Okay, what am I going to do with that?” ‘Cause Sean hated the hockey mask. Always did. It was not his creation. Personally, I loved the hockey mask, and I loved Jason and I was like, how do I make this whole thing work? About three days later, I delivered a treatment which was originally titled FRIDAY THE 13th: HEART OF DARKNESS. I don’t know if you know this, I’m sure you know this, of course you do, but New Line couldn’t use the title FRIDAY THE 13th, that was one of the stipulations, so that’s why JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY, JASON X, and “FREDDY Vs. JASON, those are all fine. They could use Jason Voorhees any way they wanted, but they could not use the title FRIDAY THE 13th from a legal standpoint.

 

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Daily Grindhouse: And that of course changed with the remake because Paramount was involved with New Line again.

 

Adam Marcus: Exactly. They joined together to make that, and that’s part of the reason that Paramount’s involved. So, I delivered this treatment and Sean really dug it. It was super dark, like crazy dark, and much darker than the movie we made. It was more centered on Elias Voorhees, who was the less favored son than Jason, that Jason had a brother that was never talked about, that was never mentioned, because Jason was sort of the golden boy.  And you can imagine if Jason was sort of the golden boy, what Elias was like. It was this very violent, kind of crazy movie about the struggle for Jason’s abilities, which seems to be endless. The one problem I had with the films, was that they never created a mythology for Jason. The mythology simply was there’s this poor kid who goes swimming and drowns because campers are having sex and not watching him. Great story, if the movie’s about a mom who kills teenagers, which the first movie is. And when Jason jumps up from the bottom of the lake at the end of the first movie, it’s a complete rip-off of Brian DePalma’s CARRIE, but it’s a great ending, and a great jump. It’s awesome. The problem is, they based the whole series of movies on what was originally thought of as a fantasy sequence.

Now, you’ve got this kid that’s been living at the bottom of a lake for thirty years, and still looks like a kid? But then, in the second movie, he is miraculously in a manner of days, grown into this full size man. For me, I said, I’m going to really treat these movies as though they are the gospel. Jason is not a human being, he ended being a human being when he drowned all those years ago and Mom somehow resurrected him. By the way, that’s why the Necronomicon is in the Voorhees house. That’s why I went to Sam Raimi and asked him for it. Because my feeling was, what better than to somehow tie it to the EVIL DEAD legend, because for my money, I saw Jason as hell’s assassin. Here’s this poor boy, whose mother literally makes a deal with the darkness, and resurrects her son. And for me that made it make plenty of sense, that now you’ve got pretty much what is zombie Jason, which I know isn’t officially Jason until part six. I kept saying, “I can’t get my head around the fact that a little boy turns into a grown man in under a year, and we’re all supposed to go, ‘that’s totally normal? And by the way, that kid’s been living underwater for thirty years.’”

So, how much creepier is it that this obsessive mother, who adores her son Jason beyond all others, that this Mom would make a deal with the Devil for her child. It becomes this ‘Medea meets Faust’ story. That was the jumping off point for Jason, and again, I wanted it to be rooted in what we’ve seen, but no one had ever explained what we’ve seen. All they explained was that Tommy Jarvis stuck a pole through his heart and the thing got struck by lightning and that’s what gave him life. And I went, “that’s a great FRANKENSTEIN story.” By the way, for the record, part six is my favorite of all the movies. I think part six is a masterpiece. I think it’s a phenomenal movie, I think it’s super clever, I think the writing’s great. I think it’s a super smart movie. To me, that’s the one movie that tried to have some mythology.

I went into this as an uber-fan of these movies, and I went, as a fan, I’m asking a lot of these questions about this kid at the bottom of the lake. And no one was ever giving me any real answers. And I thought, okay, I’m going to make a movie about those answers. So, that’s how I approached it. Again, I had seen them so many times, I could’ve quoted them. When part eight, when we’re in JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, for me and honestly for Sean, his disappointment levels in the movies had grown from movie to movie. While I thought it was an awesome idea for Jason to take Manhattan, I felt a little gypped as an audience member, saying “wait a minute, we took a boat ride. We didn’t take Manhattan.” We’re on a boat for most of the movie. We get to Manhattan, which is clearly Canada. There’s one great scene in Times Square. But the idea of the baddest guy in the world versus the baddest city of that time was awesome. And again, I’m a New Yorker, so I couldn’t have been more thrilled. For me, I felt like pulling him out of his environment, and that weird fetus Jason at the end in the sewer, I was like, “what’s happening, now?” So I went, okay, well if this is just magical thinking, then I can actually still preserve the canon of movies, and still make this film about this un-ending zombie creature, this evil dead who keeps reappearing.

 

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Daily Grindhouse: Will we ever see a full director’s cut of “Jason Goes to Hell?”

 

Adam Marcus: Boy, I really hope so. When we went off to shoot the movie, I was told to shoot stuff that would never be in the film. I was told, “Make it as gory and hideous as I possibly could.” Again, my movie has more kills than any other FRIDAY THE 13th film. With the help of KNB, most specifically Bob Kurtzman, who was also my second unit director, the kills are awesome. The effects are brilliant. Those guys just really brought it. Like, the camper’s scene, we just knew it wouldn’t get to an R-rated cut, we knew it! And quite frankly, the way I was shooting the scene as far as the sex was concerned, I was like if we’re going to do a sex scene in this movie – which I was patently against. I was against the idea of sex equals death. I wouldn’t put it in the movie. It’s why there’s a condom in the scene, because I was like, “Okay, unsafe sex equals death, that I’m totally cool with.” I hated this idea that teenagers should be afraid of smoking and drinking, and having sex, these are all rites of passage, and these are all things that happen in your teen years. I know no one ever wants to think that way, or imagine that it happens. For me, I wanted to make a movie that embraces experimentation and being crazy and being wild, and that that’s not what gets you hurt.

With that tent scene in specific, New Line asked for these bigger scenes, we did them and the MPAA went berserk when they got this film. We knew we were going to cut them down. The thing about the ‘quote-unquote’ director’s cut, and why New Line was so genius is, remember this is the first time they released a rated and unrated VHS copy in their business. And at that time, it was the number one video that New Line had ever released. Because every mom and pop shop had to buy two, instead of one copy. Everybody doubled their orders. Except Blockbuster of course, who bought the unrated sleeves, and the rated videos. Which drove me nuts. I was like, “that is so not cool.”

I was twenty three when I shot the film, and I was twenty four when we were editing, and I’ve got to tell you man, we started cutting and … look, every director has these stories about scenes that go by the wayside, and you’ve got to kill your babies to make the movie work. For my money, and you may disagree and a lot of fans may disagree, but the movie moves like a house on fire. I think it moves really quickly, which is awesome. There were a couple of dramatic scenes that I really loved, that I thought gave some weight to the story, that I was really hoping would be in the movie. Those scenes exist, and I wish there would be a cut of the movie because they’re all there. They have all this footage. I wish there would be a Blu-Ray that would have a couple of those scenes and all the extra death footage. Because Paramount put out the Blu-Ray box set, and the treatment that the New Line films got was shit. We got totally shafted in that box set. And I get it, those weren’t the movies that those licensors cared about, I understand it. But the fact that there’s never been a Blu-Ray of JASON GOES TO HELL that has the extra material, and by the way, there’s no Blu-Ray with the commentary. There are people who hate the movie, but love the commentary. Or at least that the commentary got them to understand why we made the movie the way we made it.

 

Daily Grindhouse: Your commentary gave me more appreciation for the film, for what it’s worth.

 

Adam Marcus: Aw, thanks man, I appreciate that. That’s awesome. Thank you.

We were proud of the commentary. Look, here’s the thing about the commentary, we didn’t really prep for it. We showed up to this awesome place in LA called Margarita Mix, where they serve you margaritas while you do the commentary, they think it gets you a little funnier and a little wilder. The two of us had a ball doing that commentary, but mostly it was like, we got our say on why we did all this. I know the fans are divided on JASON GOES TO HELL. I totally get it. And I can’t blame them for it. The shame for me, is that horror fans are always asking for something different, and then when they get something different, the immediate reaction is to hate on it. I’m not comparing myself to these films but things like THE WITCH, I know it’s not traditional horror and it’s not a slasher movie, I get that too, but we’re starting in an era where people want to make really cool, different horror again and the core audience doesn’t want that.

There are seven films with hardcore, big giant Jason up to mine. There’s one with him in a potato sack and six with him in a hockey mask. You want another one of those? You want the same damn movie? Why? You’ve got those. They’re all on VHS, they’re all on DVD, they’re all on Blu-Ray. Can’t we do something more forward thinking? Can’t we start trying things? Because if we don’t, this franchise is going to dwindle and die. It’s not James Bond. It’s Jason Voorhees. And in order to make that great, we have to try things. And a lot of people hate on JASON X, and I get it, I’m not a huge fan of putting monsters in space either. But at some point, somebody’s got to give a little bit.

The only regret I have about JASON GOES TO HELL , there’s only one regret that I have in the whole damn thing. I wish that I would’ve had the coroner at some point, pick up the hockey mask and put it on. Because the minute that hockey mask happens, all is forgiven. It’s crazy, and it would be the same movie, there’s no difference except there would’ve been a hockey mask. And that’s such a shame, because the hockey mask is a mask. That’s the whole point. So what’s the difference between the hockey mask, and the faces of other people? That’s his chosen mask for that moment. It just made Jason more badass, it didn’t make him less badass. For me, when Andy Block becomes Jason, here’s this terrific actor and terrific guy, but a slightly paunchy middle aged dude as Jason. I’m sorry, but I think that’s scarier. I think the fact that that guy can do all the shit that Jason does, that’s much more frightening. And show me a movie more frightening than THE THING. I love when people say “you’re doing THE HIDDEN.” No, I’m not doing THE HIDDEN, I’m doing THE THING. If someone wants to say, I’m ripping someone off, great, but … by the way, THE HIDDEN is a terrific movie and Jack Sholder is a fantastic director, but that’s not the movie I’m doing. I’m paying homage to one of my favorite filmmakers of all time which is Carpenter. What’s more terrifying than not knowing if the guy next to you is the monster? The idea that this little town is suddenly besieged by Jason and now he’s not wearing the hockey mask, now you don’t know what the fuck he’s wearing. Everybody becomes a meat puppet. To me that was more fun and scarier.

I really hope we get the director’s cut. In the last two years, I’m sure you’ve noticed it, there’s been a great resurgence where people are starting to rediscover the film, and that’s exciting for me and Dean, and for a lot of people who worked on this movie. There’s been a lot of sweet comments and terrific letters and articles written about how this movie was SCREAM, a few years before that film came out. That we were being self-referential, and not in a snarky way. The movie loves the genre. Everything about that film is an in-reference to the genre. I tried to populate the film with enough goodwill and love for the genre I care about the most. I hope that there’s enough of a resurgence that it demands a Blu-Ray that can actually give the movie the life I always hoped it had.

 

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Daily Grindhouse: Would you direct another FRIDAY THE 13th film?

 

Adam Marcus: I would do another Friday, only because I think there’s still life left in it. I’m not a big fan of the remake thing, and that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of remakes in general, because I think the Texas Chainsaw remake, the Michael Bay/Marcus Nispel one, is so good. I think it’s a fantastic film. It’s not the original film, no, but it’s a really cool new take on those characters.

I have to say, yes, I would love to, if wasn’t just hockey masks. Again, I would definitely not make the mistake of removing the hockey mask in the new film. Look, I think Tommy Jarvis is as interesting as Jason Voorhees, and I don’t know why people have just abandoned that character. I didn’t get it to begin with. I couldn’t use it, because it was New Line. There were certain parameters that I could and couldn’t use. It was the first question I asked. So John LeMay became my surrogate Tommy.

I would want to make the movie about the human beings and about the hunt for Jason. I would love to see more of what Creighton Duke represented where people are going out on a bounty to get Jason, and treat it a little more like JAWS.

 

Daily Grindhouse: I love Creighton Duke, by the way. I love that character.

 

 

Adam Marcus: Thank you. He’s my favorite thing in the movie. Here’s the thing about that character, again, it came straight from JAWS. It was something Dean and I are both obsessed with. And we wanted somebody who was a little more magical. Here’s a perfect example, there is a monologue that Steven Williams gave at the end of the film that is not on the cut that is hilarious. It is an amazing performance. And I would love to just see that on the extras, it doesn’t even have to be in the film. Creighton has a very specific relationship with Jason, which is never talked about in the movie, because it got cut. He’s a badass. He’s a guy who’s been around for a long fucking time coming after Jason, and for very specific reasons. It’s such a badass performance.

 

Daily Grindhouse: And that exposition scene, with the finger breaking, it’s quite the fun scene. It makes the audience complicit with the violence. We want to see the hero get hurt, because we want to know what’s going on too. And exposition scenes are never easy.

 

Adam Marcus: Every horror movie has to have that Van Helsing scene, every horror movie has to have that scene where an expert tells the hero, this is how you kill the monster. It’s just the way it goes. The trick is to get the hero to pay for the information in some way, whether it’s emotionally, whether it’s physically or even paying cash for it. Something that forces the guiding character to guide them. Otherwise, you’re just left with a whole lot of talk.

Look at STAR WARS, you see Obi-Wan Kenobi giving Luke Skywalker literally thirty minutes of exposition in that movie. It’s exposition scene after exposition scene. But Luke is doing things to train as a Jedi, getting zapped by that little training droid while he’s being schooled in what the force is. That’s why we’re okay with it. The hero goes through a journey, the hero has to go through pain to get that information.

 

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Daily Grindhouse: Doubling back to TEXAS CHAINSAW, I really enjoyed TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D. What was the genesis of that project?

 

Adam Marcus: Interesting thing, Debra and I, we pitched that movie along with seventeen other writing teams. There were seventeen teams up for that job. I love THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, I love that first film. I think Tobe is an extraordinary talent, and I wish our industry would allow these guys to do the kind of work that they’re clearly capable of for a much longer period of time. Tobe’s endlessly kind, he’s a good dude. He reacted beautifully to our script, which was kind of amazing, because I was not expecting that at all. We went up against a lot of big heavy-hitting writing teams, and it was tremendous fun to write for Lionsgate. We had incredible partners at Lionsgate, who were very helpful in crafting that story.

The only problem that I found was that since Lionsgate didn’t produce the actual film, they released it and were there for development at the beginning, theoriginal producer’s funding fell through. We had written a $20 million movie and suddenly, the movie was being made for less than half of that. There were a lot of things that had to leave the script that they just couldn’t shoot. It was just too expensive. That’s the only shame for me about that film.

Our idea behind it was we wanted to make the Frankenstein monster’s version of TEXAS CHAINSAW.  And it was awesome was that Lionsgate allowed us to take the movie back to the original film. My thought was, “What the heck happened to Sally? Wouldn’t the cops go out to the ranch immediately?” They allowed us to do that, which was so thrilling to tell the aftermath of the first story. And I know that Tobe really loved that. When you get the thumbs up from Tobe about his masterpiece of horror, and that you’ve gone in and touched that masterpiece and he’s still like, “No, that’s perfect. That’s the way to do it.” That’s an amazing moment.

In our original script, there was a lot of backstory, I think they’re going to get to a lot of that in the new Chainsaw movie. We came up with a lot of really cool stuff about what happened to the Sawyers, and that they were not always like this. It isn’t just simple, inbred backwoods stuff. That’s too easy, that’s disrespectful in my opinion. We had a whole sub-story about how there was oil under the Sawyer plantation and it poisons the family. And you have people with illness who are then having children, and making it worse and worse and worse. This thing ends up making the family rich, which is why the grandmother has all this money and Alexandra Daddario’s character is able to hole up in that mansion. It’s simply because there was all this money at the end of the day, but the thing that made that money for that family is what turned them into cannibals.

We had a backstory for Leatherface that would’ve broken your heart. It was beautiful and tender. Again, like the Frankenstein story, the monster isn’t always the monster. So, that was our take on Jeb and the Sawyers in general, we wanted to make this family that was in some way a retelling of the book of Job.

 

Daily Grindhouse: Can you tell me about Skeleton Crew Productions? What’s your main goal?

Adam Marcus: Skeleton Crew’s been around for about a year now. It’s the brainchild of myself, one of my best friends, the remarkable producer Bryan Sexton, and my amazing partner and wife, Debra, who co-wrote TEXAS CHAINSAW with me. And she in fact, did a ton of the ADR on JASON GOES TO HELL , every female scream in that movie is Debra. I’m the voice of Jason, by the way, throughout the movie.

 

Daily Grindhouse: Interesting.

 

Adam Marcus: Every groan and grunt, that’s me. You should’ve seen me on the soundstage. At one point, I had Dean punching me in the stomach just to get the sound right. I think he enjoyed that a little too much.

Anyway, Skeleton Crew began when Deb, Bryan and I met years ago when we made a movie together with Val Kilmer called CONSPIRACY. We were making this movie and we were all hating our lives as people who got hired to make movies. I said, “why do we keep chasing jobs, when the truth is the only way to really be successful, is to have some ownership of the projects that we’re making, and have a little bit of control of the content.” And Bryan agreed, Debra had always felt the same way I did, and the three of us formed this company. Part of the reason behind this was, where are the Roger Corman’sof our industry?

There’s a way to usher in great new talent without spending five million dollars to make a movie. It’s crazy to spend that kind of money, especially on a horror film. If a horror film has that much CGI, somebody forgot how to make a horror film. You can do EVIL DEAD, and do practical effects and get young makeup artists who are dying to show off their work, and it’s not going to cost you millions to make that happen.

I know all these writers who have had a ton of material produced, but have never gotten to direct their first feature. So we started Skeleton Crew, which has three divisions; TV, which we have two TV shows happening right now, I can’t say what yet because we’re still in negotiations. We’ve got a higher budget division, we’ve got a couple of pictures, one of which is with Lionsgate, which is very exciting. That will be shooting in January. And then we’ve got our ultra-low budget division, and the ultra-low is truly about giving people an opportunity to make their dream movie, a tiny film that can launch their careers. .

The thing is, I’ve been teaching screen acting, writing and direction for over twenty years in LA, and I’ve got over 70 acting students that I work with every week. They’re some of the best actors in Los Angeles. They’re unbelievably talented. A lot of them you would know the minute you saw their faces. But they’re people who do a lot of guest spots on television, do small parts in movies. They don’t get to break into those huge roles that their talent is deserving of. So one of the things that we do, is when we bring a director into the micro budget side of Skeleton Crew, the first things I say is, “You’ve got 70 actors at your disposal. Take a look, this is the troupe.” Not unlike Christopher Guest. I’ve got this amazing group of people who range from fourteen to seventy-five. You’ve got this multi-ethnic, multi-cultural group of brilliant performers who can do pretty much anything. What it does then, is it gives them their first shot at having the kinds of roles they’ve deserved their whole lives. It’s really about giving people the chance, the opportunity to take flight in film.

While Skeleton Crew right now is focused on thrillers and horror films, we are expanding our slate. We have a love story, a sci-fi comedy, even a musical.  We’ve got different things around the country, even a project that will be half-English, half-Spanish language.

After a career that’s spanned a quarter of a century, this is the most exciting time I’ve ever had in my life, and the most rewarding. Sean Cunningham gave me a huge break, everybody thinks I got handed the thing, which I think is hilarious, because I had been in the industry as a professional since I was eleven. For me, to get my first feature directly out of college is kind of incredible. Yeah, I worked really hard to get that feature but I know a lot of people who are working their butts off and they’re in their forties and they haven’t gotten their break. For me, that’s what Skeleton Crew is about. We’ve got a couple of directors we’re working with, who have been around a long, long time, who haven’t worked in a while, because our business is ageist. This is giving them a chance to jump back behind the camera and do that little movie they always wanted to make. We make it for enough money that you have the tools you need, and everything on it is upside. So it ends up being a success.

And to prove that it can be done with almost no time and even less money, I am directing two pictures to start us off.  One is a pretty hardcore thriller I’m shooting later this year called DREAD.  But the first up is the horromedyI directed in January called SECRET SANTA.

 

Daily Grindhouse: Can you tell me about SECRET SANTA?

 

Adam Marcus: With pleasure. SECRET SANTA is the first film from Skeleton Crew, my wife and I wrote it and I directed it. With our brilliant producing partner Bryan Sexton, taking the production reigns.

Secret Santa is my return to horror.  And like JASON GOES TO HELL, there will be a stress on my comedic sensibility as well. It is a super gory movie, really gory, and creative and out of its mind. It’s what would happen if you came for Christmas dinner with your family and like most families there’s a bunch of people who don’t like each other, they really grin and bear the holidays. Except tonight is different.  Tonight, for some unknown reason, everyone decides to say what they think about each other.  What they really think.  All the ugly truths they’ve been hiding for years start splattering the table, like spoiled gravy.  It isn’t long before saying what you want to say, becomes doing what you want to do.  Always wanted to kill your uncle for his racist remarks, Go ahead, do it.  Make your little brother eat his words, or his own tongue?  You outweigh him, go for it.  Wanted to dismember mom or dad for questioning your life choices when they made the exact same choices?  Just let them try and stop you.  Secret Santa lays bare all the false veneers we hide behind and shows who we really are beneath our social graces…  vicious, murderous, twisted.  In short, it’s August: Osage County with teeth.

 

I’ve never been so excited about a film I’ve made. And I got some amazing, talented friends to join me on the journey.  Bob Kurtzman, who now runs his company, Creature Corps, came out from Ohio and did this movie with me for the love of movie making. He’s one of the executive producers on the film in fact, and not only did he do all the effects on the film, he also shot second camera for me. Bob and I had been friends since a couple of years before JASON GOES TO HELL, and it was like reteaming the two of us. And dude, it was like not one day had passed. It was amazing.  My buddy Jason Honeycutt, who is a brilliant filmmaker who works for FX, shot the film.  One of my best friends of the last twenty-five years, Tim Eilers, whose day job is making large scale props for movies like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2 and FAST AND FURIOUS 8 but has always been a frustrated musical genius, composed our soundtrack which will be released in a double album set from Skeleton Crew records!  So as I said, this company is a chance for people to do the thing they were meant to do, and to it in an environment of creativity and support.  As a filmmaker, this has been what I’ve always wanted to do.  Give other artists wings.  I can’t think of a better thing to do with my life.

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Grindhouse thanks Adam Marcus for his time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith is a Dallas-based writer of both films and of Internet goings-on. He's also in a movie on Netflix, but won't tell you the title, for fear of transmitting a RINGU-type curse into your home. He can be found on Twitter as @madmanmarz81.
Nathan Smith

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      December 13, 2016

      Great article!! Congrats on all the new projects!

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