Friday, May 31, 2013


This is my 2002 interview with surrealist director Dante Tomaselli. THe interview took place upon the the release of his very original and still scary-as-crap film "Horror." Since this interview, Mr. Tomaselli released the film "Satan's Playground" which dealt with the Jersey Pine Barrens Devil. He has completed and is set to release his newest film "Torture Chamber" which has received some very promising reviews.


Today I turned 44. It was a very good day. My kids kept the fighting to a minimum. My wife got me season one of "The Sopranos" on DVD, and I got to interview Dante Tomaselli! Not a bad day for a balding fat guy.

Dante Tomaselli is a New Jersey filmmaker who is responsible for two excellent horror films. I first became aware of Mr. Tomaselli when his producer sent me a screener of "Desecration." Tomaselli’s first film was a flawed, but visionary debut film. Mr. Tomaselli examined issues of religion and family in ways I had never seen before. "Desecration" was a breath of fresh air in the often stale universe of horror films. Along with the screener was a five minute preview for Tomaselli’s second film "Horror." That trailer scared the crap out of me. I was very anxious to see the movie. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to review a screener copy.

"Horror" is the most original and terrifying movie I have seen in the last 25 years. After several viewings, the film’s impact has not lessened one bit. I was very happy when Mr. Tomaselli said he would take the time to do an interview with Mr. Tomaselli’s next film is "Satan’s Playground." The film will star Felissa Rose from Sleepaway Camp," Ellen Sandweiss from "The Evil Dead" and Tomaselli regular Danny Lopes. "Satan’s Playground" will also feature a cameo by Victoria Gotti, daughter of the late John Gotti.

Einsiders: "Horror" is the most visionary horror genre film to come out since "Suspira," I know it is hard to encapsulate the creative process for a canned interview answer, but what dark recess of hell did you pull those images from?

Dante Tomaselli: Thank you so much...I think I pulled the images from the dark pit of my childhood, my nightmares. Growing up, I had so many nightmares and was always wondering if what was happening was actually true. Or was it a dream? I didn't use drugs. I know...that's a shock. If anything, I was repressed and probably needed drugs to open me up. Everything I kept bottled up in the day would explode out of me at night. All of the negative debris of the would all come popping up, so strongly in my nightmares. I think I had a condition called 'Sleep Paralysis.'

EI: The late 60s and early 70s were (to me) the most innovative period of horror film production. The relaxed morality and end of the old production code freed folks up to explore the dark side with greater artistic freedom. Have you any favorites or undiscovered gems from that period?

DT: Ah yes -- so many...but most of them are discovered...DEATHDREAM, about the zombie child, ROSEMARY'S BABY...I never tire watching that, such a well-made film, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE - God there is nothing scarier. And LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH, the best ending -- ever. BURNT OFFERINGS always gave me the chills. Karen Black was spellbinding. The grinning man with the hearse contributed to many nightmares. THE SENTINEL, very 70s gothic style...spooky old brownstone...I know exactly where it is in Brooklyn. It's by the Promenade. Sometimes I go there and stare at it...that window. Where is Christina Raines? She was outstanding in THE SENTINEL. David Cronenberg's THE BROOD - dead serious horror, those scary children of rage under the bed and knocking at the door. Let's see...what else? NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, of course, so relentlessly eerie....That movie is a bona-fide landmark....

EI: Both "Desecration" and "Horror" walk a fine line between art-house and "commercial" films. If you are stuck between a choice to remain true to your vision, or make a film that has more commercial potential, how do you resolve the conflict?

DT: It is a conflict. You're more than ever. A side of me does want to make totally successful horror films, commercial horror films, whatever that means. And another side of me is so completely out-there and experimental. I'm a person who draws mazes. I feel both poles tugging. I know DESECRATION and HORROR are weird. Yet at the same time, I want them to be considered entertaining and of course, the results are debatable. Some critics just classify them as art films. There are some who write them off as pure exploitation and won't even give them a chance, based on the names and the subject matter. Actually, though, I've gotten a lot of positive reviews. Of course, I've been savaged too. But I have a feeling I'll always struggle with striking the balance between making commercial horror films and art horror films.

EI: Which American directors have influenced you?

DT: In terms of picture and sound design, John Carpenter, definitely...HALLOWEEN and THE FOG are two of my all time favorites. Carpenter's early films represent a happy, innocent time for me. It was in 1979, on my birthday party, right around Halloween, my mother took a bunch of my grammar school friends to see HALLOWEEN. Some of the kids were traumatized. I wanted to see it again and again. There was just something about the music and the images...because I was so was like a release...The suspense sequences in HALLOWEEN are really exciting...if you just let yourself go, it can be like an out-of-body-experience...and the film is so engaging because it's so stylish, so visceral, so gorgeous to look at. Beauty and horror -- different sides of the same coin.

EI: Are you a fan of film noir? If so, have you ever considered working in Black and White for artistic rather than economic reasons?

DT: Film Noir? Well, I enjoyed Jacques Tourneur's CAT PEOPLE and I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE. Black and white can be creepy...Lynch's THE ELEPHANT MAN, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, PSYCHO, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD - they all benefited from Black and White. I love playing with light and its psychological implications, so someday, yes, I'll direct a Black and White film...I hope.

EI: I read that you didn't discover Italian horror films until you were in your 20s. I see influences of Argento's work in your films. The storylines, especially in "Horror" seem to be bare-bone skeletons one which you hang your vision of hell. Do you ever see yourself doing a more plot-driven film?

DT: Sure, some day. But I prefer the atmosphere to completely take over. I hate having everything explained to me...I love to get lost in a film, to have no idea what to expect next...I think too much dialogue is distracting, especially in a horror film. It should be mood driven. You can find plot clues in the design of the film, in the clothes the characters wear, the colors, music...As far as Argento goes, I respect him. Yes, in my 20s I discovered his work, though I do remember...a long time ago...when I was 7, repeatedly seeing the scary, color-saturated SUSPIRIA commercial on TV. I find Argento to be magical, amazing. I am in awe of him as an artist, but since I didn't grow up on his films, there's no way I can say that I'm influenced by him...inspired is probably more accurate.

EI: The issues you deal with in "Horror" and "Desecration" are well suited for the minimalist story line you wrote. I liked that the movies are open to interpretation and at the same time coherent in their incoherence. Was it your intent to leave the movies somewhat ambiguous?

DT: Thanks. Yes, I'm a surrealist first and a filmmaker second. I want to stand for surrealism. Let Dali's energy run right through me...From the very beginning, I wanted to create trancelike horror films. They're dreams. All of the characters and objects are symbols.

EI: Which kind of movie do you prefer, the popular hit that ties everything up by the last reel or movies that challenge you to think?

DT: Definitely the kind that leaves it all up in the air...something like DON'T LOOK NOW or BLACK CHRISTMAS. When everything is spelled out -- you don't have to think or just react...It's like a nutritionless meal, a McDonalds meal...Those are assemly-line movies, and I avoid most of them...I only rent or buy old DVDs and VHS tapes. Nothing moves me to go to the theaters anymore. The last great horror film released in theaters was HELLRAISER in 1987. I was 17.

EI: It would seem you have some issues with organized religion. At the same time, the character "Grace" seems to have some sort of spiritual faith that can exist outside (as well as within) organized religion. Do you have an axe to grind with the Catholic Church, or is it that their icons lend themselves so well to the genre? Care to share your beliefs, whether they are firmly held or in a state of evolution?

DT: I'm no theologian -- believe me. It's just that...being Italian American, I was raised with the religious icons around me, there was no avoiding it. Christmas was dramatic. My grandmothers were very religious, but not in a twisted way at all. They showed me the nice side of religion, of Catholicism, that it can be something life-affirming. My Grandma Rose Ruocco always had her Rosary Beads with her and seemed to be silently praying. She was a good person. At the same time, I felt detached from religion. I never experienced the faith. I was skeptical...The bible had talking snakes, walking on water...even though I was imaginative, it all became a jumble of confusion and doubt in my mind. I felt like I didn't buy it. Going to church became a very strange experience. I just felt detached...I always wondered what I was doing there, on my knees, chanting songs and praising, what appears to be a Ghost. I would stare at the architecture of the church. Where is God? I would try to talk to him but I ended up speaking with my imagination. Then there was a period where my childhood became nightmarish, underneath the surface, no one really knew, it was all kept hidden and things seemed to warp, to twist around. I guess I was perplexed with this God. Where is he? Give me a sign? I was conflicted, because I wanted to believe. And a side of me didn't care at all. Suddenly, going to confession seemed sadistic....I detected hypocrisy. The religious icons, in my imagination, looked powerful and majestic but sometimes cold and monster-like. My cousin's film, COMMUNION (AKA Alice, Sweet Alice) also had a subliminal impact. And maybe THE EXORCIST.

Now, as an adult, I seriously don't have an axe-to-grind with Catholicism. I'm not about being political. My first two films just made a comment on how religion intertwined with my childhood. I'm really not anti-Catholic. I don't follow any organized religion now. If there is a God...I think he is a ball of energy, an all-seeing eye who watches over the universe. And he stands for karma. What you put in -- you get back...Sometimes, the word God is used as a veil to cover violence and hate and prejudice. Don't forget the Salem Witch Trials, the Inquisitions...And when a terrorist commits an act of evil and says, 'God is Great' - I think that is chilling, horrifying...

EI: Each viewer reads into a movie what they know and feel. I saw some Italian influences in "Horror," but I also felt that the movie captured some of the gritty and claustrophobic elements of Tobe Hooper's "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Was that movie an influence on your development as a filmmaker in general and "Horror" in particular?

DT: I'm glad you said that. Yes, I am very influenced by TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and you'll see much more of that influence in SATAN'S PLAYGROUND. I love how Hooper used his locations so economically. And how there was this sense of pervading danger, of doom, it never stopped...pure intensity...With the plot so minimal, it made the experience all the more effective. It was more about mood and feeling and atmosphere and creating its own universe.

EI: Tell me a little about your musical background? Your music over the credits of "Horror" is great. Sounded like Bernard Herrmann on speed.

DT: Actually Raz Mezinai - a fantastic young musician living in New York City, created the music for the opening credits. If you watch the opening credits you'll see his name clearly there. I know it does sound like Bernard Hermann on acid. For the rest of the film, I produced and designed the soundtrack. I wove together samples and sound effects. I'm always collecting sounds. I'm a sound hunter. And my brother, Michael, contributed some samples and loops as well. Scoring the film, is like shooting it for me. I consider the soundtrack to be 50% of the film's equation. When I'm in the sound mixing studio, I'm in heaven. I visualize myself there, in fact -- to get me through the days of shooting.

I go to a phenomenal sound mixing company in Manhattan called HOTWAX RECORDING. In the studio, I have all my sounds around me like toys and I just layer them. I work with sound engineers and tell them what I want. The final mix is done with re-recording mixer Dave Huber...he's like a Wizard...I've been mixing with him for ten years straight -- since my very first short called MAMA'S BOY, when I was 23. In the studio, many times I'll add the sound of an earthquake or an avalanche or a volcano...some kind of natural disaster makes it feel very organic, something subliminal, mixed in the back. I may have 24 sounds going on at organ, a backwards moan, the sound of a forest fire, synth tones. I play them like notes. I definitely want to produce more music, make, like, a horror-themed ambient album, something dark and hallucinogenic...I'm itching to do that. I really want to do an album sometime soon.

EI: Tell the truth, you were so abused as a child that you have totally repressed the memories of being locked in the basement by elderly leather clad relatives. Your movies are your therapy!

DT: (Laughs) Oh God - - well okay. Seriously, yes there are memories of abuse but not by leather clad relatives. Everyone has memories of abuse. I did have a bad relationship with my father and he died of a heart attack when I was 17. I won't go into detail, but yes my movies are my therapy.

EI: Your work exudes passion for the movies. Am I far off base with that comment? When did you first want to become a filmmaker? Were you the kind of kid that ran around with an 8 mm camera (showing my age) or the home video camera in Jr. High and High School?

DT: Since I was like 3 or 4, I wanted to be a filmmaker. I'm not kidding. I remember being that age and seeing EARTHQUAKE and THE TOWERING INFERNO in theaters and wanting to make horror movies, scary movies so badly. I'd fantasize about it a lot and draw and paint. I saw THE OMEN in a drive-in when I was like 6 and loved it. Of course the artwork for my cousin's film, COMMUNION was all around my house, even one of those scary masks...I was intrigued that someone in our family tree made such a movie. I'd wear that doll-like translucent mask a lot. It was like a grotesque clown, very striking, very shocking. I was just being creative. My brother, Michael, became fascinated with it too. I was about 7 years-old when COMMUNION made its World Premiere in Paterson New Jersey in November. Brooke Shields was there with her mother.


EI: You work on film. Is it worth the extra cost to you as a new filmmaker to use film as opposed to video? Couldn't you make 10 films for the cost of "Horror" if you had just used Digital video?

DT: I'd only work with film on a feature -- it gives it a much more painterly feel. I don't care what anyone says...Digital Video looks thin. Film is the only way to go on a feature. Super 8 mm, 16 mm, Super 16 mm, 35 mm -- as long as it's film.

EI: Can you give us some background on your actors? Vincent Lamberti reminds me of the Prince of Darkness himself. Where did you find him, and why hasn't anyone else discovered him? Talk about being perfect for "The Sopranos."

DT: Yes, he is ghostly, isn't he? Vincent sent me his headshot in 1997 for the role of Brother Nicolas in DESECRATION. When he auditioned -- it was just one of those things - I just knew we'd be working together. He's magnetic and a huge horror fan. At the time we were shooting DESECRATION, he was starring in an off-Broadway production of THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI. He wrote, directed and starred in it -- of course he played the spidery, mysterious figure, Caesar. I wanted him to draw from that character for Brother Nicolas. Also, in gesture, presence and body movement -- the shadowy vampire from F. W. Murnau's silent film, NOSFERATU. Lamberti fused those two horror icons together even more so in HORROR. The unholy Reverend Salo Jr., in HORROR is really Brother a different form. He's a shape shifter.

>EI: Danny Lopes matured as a performer between "Desecration" and "Horror." Has he had any formal training?

DT: Yes, he has matured as actor - I think so too. No, he's purely instinctual. Danny came to me only two weeks before shooting DESECRATION. He had no real experience. I was going to go for another actor to portray Bobby Rullo. But this other guy was 26 and the character, Bobby, was supposed to be a Catholic boarding school student - 15 - going on 16. That's exactly the age Danny Lopes was at time. And he was already going to Catholic school. He had teachers who were priests. On top of it all, he wanted the part badly and was absolutely perfect for it.

EI: Do you storyboard or just use a shooting script?

DT: It depends. With DESECRATION, I made meticulous storyboards; I even had them water-colored. When it came time to shoot, though, I didn't look at them at all. I was too busy looking through the lens. For HORROR, I decided not to storyboard at all, yet, oddly, when it came time to shoot, I started storyboarding because my cinematographer felt comfortable doing that...and it really clicked. The storyboards were shorthand sketches. They helped. We'd do them right before we'd go out...The main difference with the HORROR shoot though, was that I finally got to see the image through a monitor attached to the camera. With DESECRATION, I didn't have that luxury. I really enjoyed looking through this monitor; I felt like I was painting. I think the production values on HORROR are definitely better than DESECRATION. I'm eager to work with same crew again.

EI: Some of the shots in "Horror" are unforgettable. Two in particular stood out in my mind: The shovel wielding demon and the shadow of the horned beast rising over the blonde's face. There are so many others. The scene between Grace and her Grandfather in the bedroom during the lightning storm gave me the creeps. Were all of the shots planned out in advance or were there any lucky accidents?

DT: Hey, thanks...Almost everything was planned -- except the tranquil scene where Grace talks to her Grandfather (Kreskin) on the church steps. That was not planned. That sequence was supposed to be shot in a moving vehicle. And the mood was anything but tranquil. The Amazing Kreskin crashed into the barricades of an upstate NY horse farm. He ripped through fences and damaged a vintage black Cadillac. I was cringing in the back seat as it happened. The roads were snowy, Kreskin was driving...and my cinematographer was next to him, looking through the camera lens. I was in the back seat, looking through a monitor attached to the camera. We were setting up a scene from the film when all of a sudden Kreskin accidentally swerved off the road...we started plunging down a steep farm hill. I couldn't believe it. I saw fences breaking and horses...these horses were going mad, galloping in different directions. It was very surreal. Slipping and sliding, we were aiming for a big, thick tree. It was scary. I saw flashes of impalement, death on the set of Horror... Luckily, we just missed hitting the tree, though the car had to be towed out. The man who owned the Cadillac was very mad. Everything came to a halt. Time passed...I looked at the clock, time was running out. So then, with that kind of atmosphere, I shot the scene. I knew I had to. Of course, I didn't want Kreskin to drive -- so we had to rethink the entire scene. Tim Naylor, my cinematographer made a suggestion and we shot on the steps of a church we were all stationed at. I never expected to shoot there. In the end, the scene turned out to be very interesting and offbeat.

EI: You've got two complete (in every sense of the word) films under your belt. Any words of wisdom for others who wish to follow in your footsteps. How did you finance the films, pick up the talented cast and crew, etc.?

DT: It's very difficult that's all I can say...There's no easy path...My years of living in New York trying to develop a network of artists around me who believed in my vision were not always fun. A lot of it was unpleasant, dealing with different people's personalities and trying to make it work...I sure made my enemies...some of them are special effects weirdoes...sculptors and model-makers. I respect what they do, but the frustrated bipolar non-working ones...they are deranged. When I was 23, I made a 16 mm short called MAMA'S BOY. Based on that experimental film, I made a series of practice shorts called DESECRATION. I did about five of them. They started getting screened at international film festivals and at bars and clubs. In 1996, I met my investor for the feature length DESECRATION at NY Angelika Film Center's Independent Feature Film Market. On November 18, 1997, during a cold winter storm, I shot the feature, over a four week period, with a $150, 000 budget. In 1999, it premiered at the Fantafestival in Rome, Italy...and in March 2000, DESECRATION was distributed on DVD and VHS by Image Entertainment.

EI: Did you run into any interference from investors as to the content of the movie, i.e., pressure to add some T&A or more gore to insure commercial viability? If so, how'd you handle it?

DT: No - I haven't really experienced that yet. I was lucky in that Jack Swain, the investor, let me run with the ball, 100%, creatively. Actually, I would have it no other way. I had to have complete control over these two early films.

EI: Speaking of T&A, neither one of your films has any overt erotic content. There is the makeout-scene in "Horror," but no skin. I thought it was the right choice, especially in "Horror," Do you feel that erotic content would have distracted from the fear factor of your first two films? Do you feel that erotica can be successfully mixed into the horror genre?

DT: I want to - Brian De Palma did it so well with DRESSED TO KILL, another favorite. It kind of makes sense that my first two films have little sex -- because they are about repressed states. Eventually, I'll do a more sexually explicit movie...I can tell you that SATAN'S PLAYGROUND, my next one, will have a satanic orgy...but the nudity will be more suggestive...

EI: Tell me about the time frame for development, casting, preproduction, principle shooting and post-production on your movies?

DT: It takes me three months to write the script. Two months to get everything together for preproduction. Sometimes, some of the prosthetics may take longer, because molds and casts have to be made ahead of time...But I shot DESECRATION in 23 days and HORROR in exactly 18 days. They were long days -- at least 15-hour days...After shooting is done, I need about a month to absorb all the footage, watch it over and over, know every nook and cranny. Then the picture editing takes 18 days. There isn't any room for awkward debate -- during post production I know exactly what I want and have it all planned out. The sound mix takes a little longer, like about six weeks and then I'm done. I have a movie made. Oh yeah, then there's a period of tweaking the picture and sound...That period lasts about six months.

>EI: Film school: positives and negatives? Is it a necessary step to becoming a good filmmaker? The industry was founded by folks who never heard of film school. Is it enough to study filmmaking by watching the films of the past?

DT: Well, film school is a good thing but it's not the end all. I think it's important to take at least a few film classes...just to put yourself in the environment...though I have to say, I've learned that it doesn't really matter what film courses you take or if you attend film school at all...It's what you have inside you and your ability to get it to come out...Making a full length movie is like building a very large house; it's a huge task...but it's doable and easier than you think, with patience and tenacity. You just gotta hang in there and know it doesn't happen overnight. It never does. I started off as a film major at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn but then transferred to the NY School of Visuals Arts and changed my major to Advertising. It didn't matter that I didn't graduate with a film degree...I got a B.F.A in Advertising and I'm a filmmaker.

EI: Opinions about David Lynch's work? Also, are you familiar with Alejandro Jodorowski's "El Topo"? If so, an opinion and did either of those filmmakers have an influence on you?

DT: I think I am influenced by Lynch. He is one of our living masters...a brilliant artist. I haven't seen all of his films but recently watched some of his early work like, THE GRANDMOTHER - all I can say is: wow....Unbelievable! ERASERHEAD freaks me out and puts me in a trance like no other. It is the most genuinely bizarre poem-movie ever made. THE ELEPHANT MAN is actually a horror film in disguise and still scares me.

I've been urged to see Alejandro Jodorowski's "El Topo." But I still haven't seen it. I haven't seen any of his films yet.

EI: Movies you enjoy: Guilty pleasures? Favorites?

DT: Guilty pleasures? Well, I think these are great films and I don't feel guilty but, let's say MOTHER'S DAY, XTRO, Ulli Lommel's THE BOOGEY MAN, THE BEAST WITHIN, JAWS 2, MARK OF THE DEVIL, IT LIVES AGAIN, MOMMIE DEAREST, THE ANTICHRIST and BASKET CASE 2.

Some of my favorites? Well, aside from the ones I mentioned earlier, I love THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, ALIEN, Hitchcock's THE BIRDS, Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA and DEEP RED, Henelotter's BRAIN DAMAGE, Cronenberg's VIDEODROME and THE DEAD ZONE, Fulci's CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD,Maya Deren's MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON, Romero's CREEPSHOW...

EI: Actor and actress you'd most like to work with and why: Living or Dead OK?

DT: Hmmm...let's see...well first off I'd only want to work with an actor or actress who really wants to be involved with the film. If I knew there was a chance they'd be into it? Madonna. I'd like to put her in a horror movie scenario and watch her shine in a completely humbling, stalked-victim-role. She'd win an Oscar. I'd do the same for Mariah Carey. Or Christina Aguilera. I'm serious. Of course, someone would have to give me a slightly higher budget than $250, 000. I'd love to work with Linda Blair and give her an Exorcist-like role where she could make peace with her past, come full circle, and scare the hell out of us all over again. Actually, I have a role for her in SATAN'S PLAYGROUND, if she's interested...Oliver Reed would have been interesting as a killer priest, what a frightening presence...Ric Ocasek, the lead singer of THE CARS, because I was completely obsessed with his ethereal-pop-rock music growing up. I'd love to work with Martin Gore from DEPECHE MODE in some capacity. I have to direct a DEPECHE MODE video one day.

EI: What do you think of Jean Rollins and Jesus Franco? Would you ever do what Franco does, make porn to finance the real movies? If no, why? Barry Sonnenfeld did it, or was it Barry Levinson? One of them Barry's did it!

DT: My cousin Alfred Sole -- he made a porno movie when he was in his 20's called DEEP SLEEP. It starred Harry Reems. I never saw it though. But honestly, I don't foresee a porno in my future...I'm not familiar with any of the films of Jean Rollins and Jesus Franco.

EI: Howard Stern, Hero or Villain? Why?

DT: He comes across as a mean person who enjoys putting down other people. But that's just his entertainment shtick. He could be nice. I don't know...I'm against all forms of artistic censorship. Sometimes I watch his show and find it very funny.

EI: What is you favorite era of horror movie production? Universal in the 30s, Hammer in the 50s-70s, Splatter of the 80s?

DT: Probably splatter of the 80s because that's when I was growing up and experiencing it all. Images from movies like THE BROOD and SCANNERS are seared into my memory forever...THE EVIL DEAD, THE THING, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET...all those 80s classics...

EI: Your next movie "Satan's Playground" will feature two of the great scream Queens of the 80s, Felissa Rose and Ellen Sandweiss. Was the film written specifically for them? How did Victoria Gotti become involved? Are you willing to reveal any of the plot to us, or should we be good kids and wait for Christmas to open our presents?

DT: Ah Felissa Rose and Ellen Sandweiss. They will play sisters in my new movie! Did I write the roles with these beauties in mind? YES! I met Felissa on HORROR and we have a bond that is unbreakable. Many months ago, while writing the SATAN'S PLAYGROUND screenplay, I sent out an email to to The Ladies of The Evil Dead website. I wanted to contact Ellen Sandweiss and ask her to be in my movie. Just like Felissa's 'Angela' in SLEEPAWAY CAMP, I was deeply affected by Ellen's portrayal of 'Cheryl' in THE EVIL DEAD. I saw both THE EVIL DEAD and SLEEPAWAY CAMP in theaters when I was thirteen years-old. What a thrill to work with these 80s scream queens all these years about coming full circle! I have to pinch myself...I am also honored that Victoria Gotti is slated to have a little cameo, you'll see, you'll see...SATAN'S PLAYGROUND is about a vacationing family lost in the woods and the Jersey Devil lurking in the Pine Barrens. The story is straightforward and not confusing like DESECRATION and HORROR. Those two films were made for me, to work out my own issues and nightmares. All I can say is that SATAN'S PLAYGROUND will be very frightening and suspenseful...Those people who got so excited for THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and were let down? This movie is for them...

EI: Do you ever see yourself working in other genres?

DT: No. My reason for being here on this earth is to create more horror films for people who enjoy horror films. That's why I'm here...I'm a Supernaturalist.

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