This edition Carl Isonhart chats candidly to Independent filmaker/producer Kevin Lindenmuth of Brimstone Productions about his career and more...
SGM. Let's start this out for those of us who are too damn lazy to go and actually look at the website before reading the interview, when and how did BRIMSTONE PRODUCTIONS begin?
KEVIN: It started in '90, with my first horror feature, VAMPIRES & OTHER STEREOTYPES. That movie took about two years to make, during which time TWISTED TALES (done with One by One Film & Video) was also shot and edited. Actually, I had been using the name "Brimstone" on these Super 8mm films I made when I was ten years old and the name just sort of stuck. Now we're known as Brimstone Media Productions, LLC. It seemed like a good name for a horror/sci-fi production company!
SGM. Is there any point that you can remember in your life that was the defining moment for you to get into the film business?
KEVIN: I've always wanted to make movies as far back as I can remember. Before I even went to kindergarten I remember watching the Saturday morning horror shows and thinking that I wanted to make those kinds of movies when I grew up. I've always been a fan of the genre.
SGM. How do you get the funding for your projects?
KEVIN: They've all been self-funded, which means I'm always broke. LOL.
SGM. About how long does it take for you to get your funding together?
KEVIN: What usually happens is that when I start making money on a movie I sink part of it into the next project. I seem to be putting out a movie every six months or so. The past two years were kind of weird because I had five different projects shot (by myself and with collaborators) at the same time-and then had to edit them all at once. With the ALIEN CONSPIRACY movies, for example, my segments were shot before Sept 11th-so the World Trade Center is prominently in those movies.
SGM. Which film has been the most expensive?
KEVIN: It is a non-genre movie I did called WALKING BETWEEN THE RAINDROPS, which was scripted and stars Evan Jacobs. The reason for the higher expense is that it was shot in California, so there were the hotel and car rentals, and the digital movie was transferred to 16mm film. You can check info at the movie at www.lindenmuth.com/walking. The second most expensive was my first movie, VAMPIRES & OTHER STEREOTYPES.
SGM. Any dreams of getting out of the "indie" area or are you not willing to lose the free control that you have?
KEVIN: Actually, I don't know if I really have a choice in that. It seems that the only way these types of movies get done is if you do them yourself. The guy who packs up groceries at Krogers has more to do with Hollywood type filmmaking than I do! Basically, I can do the type of movie I want to make but with that comes all the responsibility-the funding, the writing, the producing, getting food to feed the actors…everything.
SGM. I read that ADDICTED TO MURDER has been optioned for a major studio remake, have you been asked to direct it, or have any input in the film?
Kevin: I was supposed to do a bigger budgeted remake of ADDICTED TO MURDER through a private investor but that turned out to be a nightmare. I think the guy just wanted to talk and have meetings. Nothing happened after two years-so I stopped wasting my time. It was interferring with other projects I wanted to make…
SGM. When can we start to look forward to the BRIMSTONE DVD line?
Kevin: This year, actually. I just made a deal with a company that is going to release six of the newest movies…BLOOD OF THE WEREWOLF, THE MONSTER MAN (directed by Jose Prendes), ADDICTED TO MURDER 3 and the ALIEN CONSPIRACY trilogy (GREY SKIES, TIME ENOUGH, BEYOND THE LOST WORLD). Plus, John Bowker's THE EVILMAKER will be out soon and I'm working on getting the older titles released on DVD as well.
SGM. Are you planning on having any extra features on these DVD's, or are you going to start pretty bare-bones just to see how they sell?
KEVIN: Some extras have been made for the ALIEN CONSPIRACY movies but I think they will be released as just the movie, with no extras.
SGM. You mentioned THE MONSTER MAN, did you approach Jose "The Super Genius" Prendes : or did he come to you to release the film?
KEVIN: I'm always reviewing movies for the website www.buried.com and also for CULT MOVIES magazine-and when I came across info on his movie on his website it sounded interesting and I figured it was a way for me to see it and for him to get some publicity. Also, I know Conrad and any movie with Conrad Brooks in it is entertaining! I think his role as "The alien Leader" in THE MONSTER MAN is one of his best performances to date. Anway, I liked Jose's movie so much I wanted to distribute it--I'll only put that much effort in something if I REALLY like it-and he was agreeable. The movie was rather long, though, so we edited out a good twenty minutes or so, and it flows much better. It's the kind of movie you can watch over and over again and it's still hilarious. MONSTER MAN is currently making the rounds for foreign sales and also on the DVD in the U.S and U.K at the end of 2002/beginning of 2003. Jose is currently working on getting his short film, NERVE, made in to a feature. That's very different from THE MONSTER MAN, very serious, Argento-like horror movie.
SGM. Any idea why Denice Duff doesn't mention that film in her filmography?
KEVIN: I don't know why she doesn't list that movie. It's really one of her better performances in a movie. I think it may have something to do that it was shot on digital video. But I don't know. I'll have to ask her that.
SGM. Is Jose the martial arts expert he seems to be on camera?
KEVIN: That's a good question as well…which I'll also have to find the answer to!
SGM. Hell, how have you found most of the guys whose films you have released, such as the Polonia brothers and the slew of others? Are they all guys you have met or have they sent the stuff to you?
KEVIN: I've been in contact with the Polonia Brothers since we all first started making features, since '89 or so. In fact, it was Producer Dave Sterling (Demonicus, Hell's Highway) who introduced us via the phone. It was a number of years before I met them in person, though, as well as for meeting Dave. I've been in contact with Gabe Campisi the longest, since he was in high school and submitted a short film for a cable access show I put together at the time. I met Mick McCleery through a special effects guy I met at a FANGORIA convention…Ron Ford contacted me to review my first movie, VAMPIRES & OTHER STEREOTYPES and we kept in contact ever since…Jeffrey Arsenault I met at the Chiller Convention in New Jersey. Lately it's been via the internet, as with Jose Prendes and John Bowker.
SGM. What is the most number of monsters you have filled into a movie so far and do you have any goals of increasing that number?
KEVIN: That was probably VAMPIRES & OTHER STEREOTYPES-I think there were over fifteen different creatures in that movie. The only way to top that is to do a zombie movie, which I might be doing soon.
SGM. What is a film topic that you have yet to cover but are dying to do? You don't have to give away any secrets if you don't want to!
KEVIN: That zombie movie sounds like a good idea…always wanted to do one of those.
SGM. Do you have any ideas what it might be about? Would you try and spin the zombie genre on its ear? For some reason with what I have seen in your stuff so far, I am guessing the zombies would almost be a "super-zombie" type of thing!
KEVIN: The zombies are definitely different…their reanimation has to do with an ancient viking curse…the tentative title I have is "BERSERKERS" and it might be a part of this anthology series called GOREGOYLES, which is being produced by Montreal filmmaker Alex Michaud.
SGM. Joe Zaso appears to be a bit of a regular with your films, what is the background with Joe?
KEVIN: I've known Joe for a while…he's been producing and directing his own movies as well (as well as starring in them) such as FIVE DEAD ON THE CRIMSON CANVAS and EVIL STREETS. The independent filmmaking in NYC is pretty small so most of us filmmakers know each other and have helped out on each other's projects. The most recent movies I've used Joe in are ADDICTED TO MURDER 3 and RAGE OF THE WEREWOLF, where he plays the bad guy. On camera he's intimidating, in real life he's a goofball.
SGM. Was 5 DEAD that film from a few years ago that was a US Giallo?
KEVIN: Yeah, it was an American Giallo. As a friend of mine, Scooter McCrae, has said, "There's always room for Giallo"!!!!
SGM. Any chance of you starring in a Zaso film?
KEVIN: No! I am not an actor. I'll maybe do a brief, non-speaking cameo but you'll never see me as an actor in a movie…just not my thing.
SGM. Are you still in New York or have you gone back to Michigan, and If you are still in New York, why the Hell do I keep thinking you are in Michigan?
KEVIN: I moved back to Michigan a year and a half ago, though I'm back in NYC every few months for some freelance clients I have. It's a lot cheaper living in Michigan! I was in NYC on Sept 11th, though, which really really sucked. Nothing like travelling back in a Greyhound for twenty hours…agghhh.
SGM. For our technical readers, what cameras are you using and what is your whole process for making your films?
KEVIN: The earlier films were all shot in Betacam SP with broadcast quality tv equipment and the movies made during the past four years were all shot with a higher end digital camera, which looks as good as the Betacam. Then, they are put through a "filmlook" process to make them more palatable to the general viewer.
SGM. Is there one of your movies in particular that you would like to broadcast for millions to see that you think would make people sit up and take notice? In other words, for the readers, which of your films do you think is the best starting ground?
KEVIN: I'm partial to the first two ADDICTED TO MURDER movies because they turned out exactly how I wanted them to and there's nothing about either of those movies that I would want to change. Those are probably the most popular movies as well…
SGM. The first one is a damn fine film by the way, I just finished watching it the other night.
KEVIN: Thanks. Some people are really put off by that film and tend to like the sillier ones (like VAMPIRES & OTHER STEREOTYPES) better.
SGM. Is there one film of yours you would like to keep people away from?
KEVIN: No…they are all very different from each other and appeal to a wide range of people…one person will absolutely hate one movie and like another and someone else will have the exact opposite reaction. You see this all the time with reviewers.
SGM. Why is RAGE OF THE WEREWOLF also known as PLANET OF THE WEREWOLVES? Which is the true title?
KEVIN: RAGE is the original title and a version was made with the title PLANET OF THE WEREWOLVES for the foreign/international market since we thought it would help it sell better. It worked!. Both titles fit that movie.
SGM. Now I have to ask this question, which do you prefer, Werewolves or Vampires?
KEVIN: I like vampires better. I think it's because I watched DARK SHADOWS when I was a child and Barnabas had an influence. Also, vampires are a bit more complicated than werewolves because they can think, werewolves are more like animals out of control. In the ADDICTED TO MURDER movies I treated the vampires like hyper-humans…they have human characteristics and problems only MORESO. Everything is more intense with them.
SGM. Really? I think one of the things that make's Werewolves so effective is that they are out of control and that they don't wish to be what they are, normally. Whereas being a Vampire could be fun, a werewolf would not be fun. Though in your film PLANET OF THE WEREWOLVES (RAGE) your main Wolves are able to change at will, so these two are not so much out of control. Is this your way of making them a cooler monster and more in the way of the Vampire? Meaning under these circumstances would you take a Werewolf over the Vampire?
KEVIN: Yeah, I think that's it…I was making the two brother lycanthropes more like vampires in that they are able to control their rage and emotions-and then I have them both get injected with the blood of a vampire, which succeeds in transforming them even more. Given a choice between the two, though, I think I'd still take the vampire.
SGM. Was that last question much too "Trekkie" style for you? I think it was for me.
KEVIN: Not at all. You know, I'm a huge Star Trek fan, though…
SGM. I guess as long as you're making the films you can make any monster to be what you wish, right? Hell, you can make a Mummy the most intense creature under the sun, look at how Stephen Sommers made it a high-octane action film!
KEVIN: Exactly. In fact, I have the script for a mummy movie ready to go. I was swamped this past year with projects and had this great idea for a movie but not the time to write it…so when screenwriter Todd French approached me to write a script for a future movie I told him my idea and he went crazy with it. It's a really well written script, very fast paced and with great characters…it crosses the mummy genre with the "Mars" genre and, of course, it's called MUMMY FROM MARS. Hopefully that movie will get made in the next few years, though it needs a budget akin to VAMPIRES & OTHER STEREOTYPES because of all the effects and logistics.
SGM. What aspect of BRIMSTONE do you enjoy the most? Is it the directing, producing, releasing, or do you love it all the same?
KEVIN: I love the directing. Like the producing, hate the releasing.
SGM. And the obvious follow-up question, what do just dread doing?
KEVIN: I dread the distributing. Trying to get the movie "out there". In comparison, making the movie is the easy part.
SGM. Looking at the "Filmmaking" page on the website, I now know why your name seems familiar to me, I have been reading stuff by you for sometime now in all the different publications you are involved with, when do you sleep and find the time for making films?
KEVIN: What do you mean by sleep?
SGM. You're an ambitious guy, aren't you? Just a guess.
KEVIN: I think I'm more compelled to do these things than anything else…there's simply certain things I want to do and I try, to the best of my abilities, to do them.
SGM. Have you found that the writing for these publications, such as Fangoria, Cult Movies, World Of Fandom, has helped you getting the name out for BRIMSTONE or has BRIMSTONE made it easier to get these publications to notice you? Or has it all been a hand in hand type of love-fest thing?
KEVIN: I think Brimstone has made it easier for me to get in these publications, not the other way around.
SGM. Standard stupid question for you (yeah, and you thought the others were bad!), what was the last film you saw that deserves your praise? And no answers like "as a film maker I know what goes into them all and they all deserve praise", this is a stupid question so play along!
KEVIN: For the truly independent movies and films…there's HALL OF MIRRORS, one of the best shot on digital movies I've ever seen…and Andy Kumpon's and Wayne Spitzer's LAST STOP STATION, a very engaging short film. I enjoyed Jeff Forsyth's HELL'S HIGHWAY a great deal-that movie kept my attention riveted.
As for Hollywood type movies…I saw David Lynch's MULHOLLAND DRIVE the other night on DVD and that was GREAT. I also loved John McTiernan's remake of ROLLERBALL.
SGM. This could cause your email inbox to explode, but is BRIMSTONE in the business of accepting scripts and non-released indie films for possible filming and release?
KEVIN: We don't' read any scripts because I simply don't have the time lately but we do look at non-released indie films for possible release, though we only take a few a year.
Special thanks to Kevin and everyone at Brimstone Productions.
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