Johnny Depp

Short, Comedy, Horror:
Interview With Clarissa Jacobson

Hello everyone, this is the Horrormadam here with the second in my series celebrating the Gifted Heroines of Horror and Women In Film. I was honored to interview the brilliant Clarissa Jacobson on her new short film Lunch Ladies which she wrote and produced. To say I enjoyed this short would be a gross understatement, I loved it! So well written, so well acted, so well directed. The only thing I want out of it…is more! But before we get into that, a quick tease to wet your appetites!

Now that your interest is piqued, let me tell you the extraordinary premise in Clarissa’s own words.

Clarissa: For the past twenty years, obsessed Johnny Depp fans and fraternal twin sisters, Seretta and LouAnne Burr, have shared a miserable existence as high school lunch ladies serving up rubbery chicken parts, ammonia-treated government meat and whatever else the cash-strapped national lunch program sends their way. This year is going to be different: The twin’s Cheesy Burger Bites recipe is the Grand Prize Winner of Johnny Depp’s Cook for Kid’s Charity Event. Convinced this is their ticket out of high school hell town and that “The Depper” will hire them to be his very own Personal Chefs, their dreams are shattered after a snotty head cheerleader pushes them one step too far. This forces the Lunch Ladies to ask themselves – WWJD? What would Johnny do?

Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? To all of those naysayers out there that say there are no new ideas, I say that you aren’t thinking outside the box. Clarissa’s clever story is outside the box, maybe even outside of leftfield and that is what makes it so surprising and refreshing.

Let’s see what else Clarissa had to say about Lunch Ladies and filmmaking:

Clarissa: When we first started out it was a bit disheartening, the first director said that no one would want to see this movie because no one wants to see two middle-aged female leads. Clarissa and I discussed this for a little while, especially how one of the nice things about the horror genre, is that horror does not discriminate. Young, old, beautiful, different looking, black, white, gay straight-in horror films we embrace them all.

Clarissa went on to discuss people thoughts on her influences:

Clarissa: I have heard John Waters (Serial Mom, Cecil B. Demented, Hairspray), John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Home Alone), and Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride) and I grew up on them and I love them. They’re saying that and its funny how it just seeps in and it is the biggest compliment.
Clarissa: This was my first time producing a movie and I had so much luck drawing the right people to me. The first set designer we had dropped out like one week before shooting and I was like don’t worry about it, just go with the flow. Then brought in this husband and wife couple, Ray and Alicia Ho that were one hundred times better. What happened is I just totally stepped out of the way and the most amazing people helped me and worked on it. They were all at the top of their game and everybody brought what they brought, everyone did their job and when we finished it was everything that I wanted. Exactly what I imagined in my head, even better.

I said to her how amazing that was that she was able to get what she wrote, everything that was in her head to fruition.

Clarissa: It really was magical. My writing mentor, he was a tap dancer on Broadway when he was younger. He came on as a producer also and he did the dancing scene in the cafeteria. What I had written was rhythmic and he said he had this crazy idea, how about we do a mash-up? We will have ballet dancers, hip-hop dancers, and tap dancers and I was like Joe, I have no idea what is inside your head but you are the most talented person I know so do what you want.

I was also honored to speak to Joe, who turns out to be Joe Bratcher who has been acting since 1976 in some really great shows like All In The Family, Laverne & Shirley, and The Rockford Files, and in films like The Howling and Coma. He also runs The Twin Bridges Screenwriting Salon, the longest running screenwriting classes in Los Angeles. He told me how hard Clarissa had been working and how much he loved working with her and what a great person she is. He also backed up the story Clarissa had just told me by saying that she really went to bat for him with the director. She really wanted him to create his vision for the cafeteria scene because she knew it would work.

Clarissa: The director was awesome, but that’s how everybody was, they all brought really creative shit to it. The director J.M. Logan is an award-winning filmmaker and who has filled nearly every position in the business over twenty-five years. Out of hundreds, credits include Kidnap, Manson Family Vacation, The Circle, The End Of The Tour, Stoker & Annabelle. He said his goal is to be as close to the script as possible. At one point he was like there is this scene at the beginning, it was gonna be expensive to do and I was concerned what might happen, it might not work. I was like you know we can just cut that and we can just do the scene in front of the school than we don’t need to get a car. And Josh was like NO! That is whats written in the script and that’s what we’re gonna do. And the car scene I mean the car scene is so great for starting out the movie, he was so adamant, he and everybody came up with great ideas, like the whole concept with the Russian posters, so inventive I just loved it.
Clarissa: I also had a hard time finding a location. I called like a hundred schools. This one place is like we read the script and we’ll never let you film your movie here! They acted like I had written a porn! But I wanted a John Hughes type of school kind of upper-class. Josh the director had a friend that was like call these two Catholic schools and I was freaking out because I couldn’t find a location. So I called these two schools and they both said I could film there. The only thing was that they had really big kitchens and we needed it to look run down so we just filled it with all this stuff. And then Josh had the idea to use these eastern block like posters which along with the lunch trays were the only real punches of color. We filmed over two weekends, four days with twenty thousand dollars. It was really great and everyone was really fun but the last day was the hardest, we didn’t get out of there till four a.m. We had one hundred and thirty people working on it and everyone is coming back to do the feature which is already written.

I asked her then, it is winning so many awards you would think someone would just jump on it? Atlanta Horror Film Festival 2017 (winner: Best writer/producer and Best Director), Nightmares Film Festival 2017 (best writer/producer, director), and the South African Horrorfest 2017 (Best writer/producer and director).

Clarissa: Well its still new so a lot could happen in the next couple of months. We started our run in August which went great and we had nothing in September, but we had a lot in October because it is Halloween. So we have only been on the film festival route for about four months and it goes on for a year and a half. The majority of competitions and stuff aren’t until next year. So we are just working our asses off to get it noticed. And I definitely want to give a shout out to the horror community. I LOVE the horror community, they are my kind of people! I didn’t start out writing horror, I thought it was a comedy. When I saw it on the screen I couldn’t believe that came out of my head! All I could think was, where did that come from and what was wrong with me? I have always been a closet horror fan, I love The Exorcist, Let The Right One In and The Shining. One time I was writing a Gothic horror story and as I went dark, I realized the dark side is the most creative place to be. In it, you can do anything.


I want to thank Clarissa Jacobson again for taking the time to talk to me at the
House of Tortured Souls and also thank her for writing such a unique horror/comedy short. I cannot recommend it to you highly enough readers. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I know that you will not be disappointed when you see it. All I am waiting for now is the full-length feature to be made so I can enjoy the further escapades of the Lunch Ladies! And from now on I may even find myself asking as I go through life…WWJD?

Clarissa also wanted to say a big thank you to Fire The Animal who wrote and performed the song Bury My Body, courtesy of Couch Guys Records and Antoni M. March who did the score.

And, like I said before, I don’t want to give any spoilers but some fun trivia: Lunch Ladies used 10 gallons of blood, 10 gallons of slime/goo, 15 gallons of “food,” 40 pounds of potatoes (200 pounds brought to set) and 13 pounds of ground meat. And Clarissa told me the meat had been left out and smelled like hell and they had to have the school back together for when the kids came in on Monday and she had to Febreeze everything to death (pun intended).

Before I send you on to the link so you can check out some more fun information on the Lunch Ladies I wanted to tell you the name of said ladies who are more Gifted Heroines of Horror. Donna Pieroni at Seretta and Mary Manofsky as LouAnne. These women were so wonderful and entertaining, so looking forward to much more from them!

INTERVIEW: Clarissa Jacobson of Lunch Ladies (2017)

INTERVIEW: Clarissa Jacobson of Lunch Ladies (2017)

Short, Comedy, Horror:
Interview With Clarissa Jacobson

Hello everyone, this is the Horrormadam here with the second in my series celebrating the Gifted Heroines of Horror and Women In Film. I was honored to interview the brilliant Clarissa Jacobson on her new short film Lunch Ladies which she wrote and produced. To say I enjoyed this short would be a gross understatement, I loved it! So well written, so well acted, so well directed. The only thing I want out of it…is more! But before we get into that, a quick tease to wet your appetites!

Now that your interest is piqued, let me tell you the extraordinary premise in Clarissa’s own words.

Clarissa: For the past twenty years, obsessed Johnny Depp fans and fraternal twin sisters, Seretta and LouAnne Burr, have shared a miserable existence as high school lunch ladies serving up rubbery chicken parts, ammonia-treated government meat and whatever else the cash-strapped national lunch program sends their way. This year is going to be different: The twin’s Cheesy Burger Bites recipe is the Grand Prize Winner of Johnny Depp’s Cook for Kid’s Charity Event. Convinced this is their ticket out of high school hell town and that “The Depper” will hire them to be his very own Personal Chefs, their dreams are shattered after a snotty head cheerleader pushes them one step too far. This forces the Lunch Ladies to ask themselves – WWJD? What would Johnny do?

Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? To all of those naysayers out there that say there are no new ideas, I say that you aren’t thinking outside the box. Clarissa’s clever story is outside the box, maybe even outside of leftfield and that is what makes it so surprising and refreshing.

Let’s see what else Clarissa had to say about Lunch Ladies and filmmaking:

Clarissa: When we first started out it was a bit disheartening, the first director said that no one would want to see this movie because no one wants to see two middle-aged female leads. Clarissa and I discussed this for a little while, especially how one of the nice things about the horror genre, is that horror does not discriminate. Young, old, beautiful, different looking, black, white, gay straight-in horror films we embrace them all.

Clarissa went on to discuss people thoughts on her influences:

Clarissa: I have heard John Waters (Serial Mom, Cecil B. Demented, Hairspray), John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Home Alone), and Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride) and I grew up on them and I love them. They’re saying that and its funny how it just seeps in and it is the biggest compliment.
Clarissa: This was my first time producing a movie and I had so much luck drawing the right people to me. The first set designer we had dropped out like one week before shooting and I was like don’t worry about it, just go with the flow. Then brought in this husband and wife couple, Ray and Alicia Ho that were one hundred times better. What happened is I just totally stepped out of the way and the most amazing people helped me and worked on it. They were all at the top of their game and everybody brought what they brought, everyone did their job and when we finished it was everything that I wanted. Exactly what I imagined in my head, even better.

I said to her how amazing that was that she was able to get what she wrote, everything that was in her head to fruition.

Clarissa: It really was magical. My writing mentor, he was a tap dancer on Broadway when he was younger. He came on as a producer also and he did the dancing scene in the cafeteria. What I had written was rhythmic and he said he had this crazy idea, how about we do a mash-up? We will have ballet dancers, hip-hop dancers, and tap dancers and I was like Joe, I have no idea what is inside your head but you are the most talented person I know so do what you want.

I was also honored to speak to Joe, who turns out to be Joe Bratcher who has been acting since 1976 in some really great shows like All In The Family, Laverne & Shirley, and The Rockford Files, and in films like The Howling and Coma. He also runs The Twin Bridges Screenwriting Salon, the longest running screenwriting classes in Los Angeles. He told me how hard Clarissa had been working and how much he loved working with her and what a great person she is. He also backed up the story Clarissa had just told me by saying that she really went to bat for him with the director. She really wanted him to create his vision for the cafeteria scene because she knew it would work.

Clarissa: The director was awesome, but that’s how everybody was, they all brought really creative shit to it. The director J.M. Logan is an award-winning filmmaker and who has filled nearly every position in the business over twenty-five years. Out of hundreds, credits include Kidnap, Manson Family Vacation, The Circle, The End Of The Tour, Stoker & Annabelle. He said his goal is to be as close to the script as possible. At one point he was like there is this scene at the beginning, it was gonna be expensive to do and I was concerned what might happen, it might not work. I was like you know we can just cut that and we can just do the scene in front of the school than we don’t need to get a car. And Josh was like NO! That is whats written in the script and that’s what we’re gonna do. And the car scene I mean the car scene is so great for starting out the movie, he was so adamant, he and everybody came up with great ideas, like the whole concept with the Russian posters, so inventive I just loved it.
Clarissa: I also had a hard time finding a location. I called like a hundred schools. This one place is like we read the script and we’ll never let you film your movie here! They acted like I had written a porn! But I wanted a John Hughes type of school kind of upper-class. Josh the director had a friend that was like call these two Catholic schools and I was freaking out because I couldn’t find a location. So I called these two schools and they both said I could film there. The only thing was that they had really big kitchens and we needed it to look run down so we just filled it with all this stuff. And then Josh had the idea to use these eastern block like posters which along with the lunch trays were the only real punches of color. We filmed over two weekends, four days with twenty thousand dollars. It was really great and everyone was really fun but the last day was the hardest, we didn’t get out of there till four a.m. We had one hundred and thirty people working on it and everyone is coming back to do the feature which is already written.

I asked her then, it is winning so many awards you would think someone would just jump on it? Atlanta Horror Film Festival 2017 (winner: Best writer/producer and Best Director), Nightmares Film Festival 2017 (best writer/producer, director), and the South African Horrorfest 2017 (Best writer/producer and director).

Clarissa: Well its still new so a lot could happen in the next couple of months. We started our run in August which went great and we had nothing in September, but we had a lot in October because it is Halloween. So we have only been on the film festival route for about four months and it goes on for a year and a half. The majority of competitions and stuff aren’t until next year. So we are just working our asses off to get it noticed. And I definitely want to give a shout out to the horror community. I LOVE the horror community, they are my kind of people! I didn’t start out writing horror, I thought it was a comedy. When I saw it on the screen I couldn’t believe that came out of my head! All I could think was, where did that come from and what was wrong with me? I have always been a closet horror fan, I love The Exorcist, Let The Right One In and The Shining. One time I was writing a Gothic horror story and as I went dark, I realized the dark side is the most creative place to be. In it, you can do anything.


I want to thank Clarissa Jacobson again for taking the time to talk to me at the
House of Tortured Souls and also thank her for writing such a unique horror/comedy short. I cannot recommend it to you highly enough readers. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I know that you will not be disappointed when you see it. All I am waiting for now is the full-length feature to be made so I can enjoy the further escapades of the Lunch Ladies! And from now on I may even find myself asking as I go through life…WWJD?

Clarissa also wanted to say a big thank you to Fire The Animal who wrote and performed the song Bury My Body, courtesy of Couch Guys Records and Antoni M. March who did the score.

And, like I said before, I don’t want to give any spoilers but some fun trivia: Lunch Ladies used 10 gallons of blood, 10 gallons of slime/goo, 15 gallons of “food,” 40 pounds of potatoes (200 pounds brought to set) and 13 pounds of ground meat. And Clarissa told me the meat had been left out and smelled like hell and they had to have the school back together for when the kids came in on Monday and she had to Febreeze everything to death (pun intended).

Before I send you on to the link so you can check out some more fun information on the Lunch Ladies I wanted to tell you the name of said ladies who are more Gifted Heroines of Horror. Donna Pieroni at Seretta and Mary Manofsky as LouAnne. These women were so wonderful and entertaining, so looking forward to much more from them!




Posted by Alan Smithee in FEATURED CONTENT, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR HEROES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments

Celebrities in Horror #1

Celebrities in Horror #1

By Tammie Parker

I don’t know about you, but every time a horror movie comes out featuring a well-known actor, I’m wary. Can they pull it off? Will their fame ruin the entire thing? I certainly watch each one as soon as possible. I just have to find out if they can pull it off. I am impressed with quite a few, I must say!

Here is my inaugural Celebrities in Horror list, the first in a series:

1) How about we start off with Johnny Depp and his role in A Nightmare on Elm Street! Did you forget that was him? How many didn’t even know that was him? OOOH boy, that hair, and LMAO that shirt!

Celebrities in Horror 01-johnnydepp-nightmare

2 – 7) One of my all-time favorite celebrity horror films is Stir of Echoes (1999).

Celebrities in Horror 02-kevinbacon-stirofechos

OH, my Lord! Kick off your Sunday shoes!! Not only is the main character Kevin Bacon, but pretty much everyone in this film was well known, or became well known afterward. I mean, seriously, that’s Kathryn Erbe (Law&Order: Criminal Intent) as his on top, “I’ll just carry the baby monitor with me to the party” wife, and the sister/hypnotist Illeana Douglas (stroll back to the beaten nurse in Cape Fear). The neighbors, Kevin Dunn (Mississippi Burning, the Dad from Transformers!), Conor O’Farrell (Dark Skies, NYPD Blue) and, last but not least, let’s stop and think who could be that creepy moving thing? (This is where my mother card kicks in and I yell at the TV, “You stop walking backward, right now, young lady!”) It is most certainly Jennifer Morrison (you know, from House, Once Upon a Time, and How I Met Your Mother!) This movie is INCREDIBLE! Hands down to the writer and the director of the film for opening a new creepy door.

8) How about The Amityville Horror (2005) remake? Maybe you forgot all about the fact the Ryan Renolds debuted as that chirpy fresh face in Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Joint.

Celebrities in Horror 03-ryanrenolds-pizza

And around the bend, BOOM! He turned into this:Celebrities in Horror 04-ryanrenolds

Next, you will be telling me the Seth Rogan has a Disney film out!!

9 & 10) Another OMG movie is What Lies Beneath.

Celebrities in Horror 05-whatliesbeneath

Han, I mean seriously, Harrison Ford! Excuse me, Mr. President! What did you do Indy? And I certainly didn’t see that coming out of Michelle Pfieffer!! I am impressed!! Applause.

11 – 13) Moving right along to Halle Berry in Gothika.

Celebrities in Horror 06-halleberry-gothika

What a freakish movie, huh? And Halle should win an award for that panting/scared stance she pulled off several times in this movie. And… wait for it… John Carroll Lynch (Twisty the Clown from American Horror Story: Freak Show, the cheesemaker and caregiver to Tabitha on The Walking Dead) in another scary role! And how dare you Mr. Charles S. Dutton (also American Horror Story: Murder House, and Alien 3), you are grounded!

14 & 15) Hide and Seek (2005). Who thought Robert DeNiro had that in him??

I must confess, I first watched this because of Dakota Fanning! She can turn eating breakfast into a living nightmare with only her facial expressions! This was another story I thoroughly enjoyed.

Celebrities in Horror 07-hideandseek

16 & 17) Did you forget John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun and Harry and the Hendersons) once has our eyes bulging by his role on Ricochet? I mean GOOD GOOGLY what a transformation!! How do characters like that coexist inside in the mind??

Celebrities in Horror 09-johnlithgow-ricochet

Celebrities in Horror 08-johnlithgow-3rdrock

Speaking of Ricochet (1991), that was Denzel Washington’s beginning as well remember. I know Denzel went on to play several suspenseful roles, but have you seen Fallen? Now, for the rest of the day you will bust out singing, “Ti-i-i-me is on my side…” Denzel has that ‘shocked’ portrayal down pat!

Celebrities in Horror 10-denzel

There are many many more (I think I will do an entire article on John Goodman, who played Roseanne’s husband Dan) but this article has grown quite lengthy. I want to leave you with the Wahlberg brothers…

18) Did anyone else catch that the cop role in Saw II (2005), Saw III (2006), and Saw IV (2007) was that ‘spunky rebel’ from New Kids on the Block, Donnie Wahlberg!! :O!!!! #MindBlown

Celebrities in Horror 11-donniewahlberg-saw

Celebrities in Horror 12-donniewahlberg-nkotb

Or that he played Bruce Willis’ killer in The Sixth Sense (1999)?

Celebrities in Horror 13-donniewahlberg-6th-sense

19) And his little brother (You know… that Calvin Kline underwear model.) Marky Mark turned into Mark Wahlberg and went on to play a science teacher in The Happening (2008).

Celebrities in Horror 15-markwahlberg-happening

Feel free to leave comments about other celebrities in horror movies.

Posted by Alan Smithee in STAFF PICKS, 1 comment
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

By John Roisland

Sleepy Hollow poster

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a story that I hold very true to my heart. People always ask, "What movie was it that got you into horror so much?" It wasn't a movie at all; it was a story that was read to me as a very young child at a public library at a fall festival, and yes it was in New York state, where our legend just happened to have taken place. I can still remember the tone and descriptions given by the reader, the sound of the wind blowing outside on a late fall afternoon, the smell of cinnamon and burning leaves as I was enthralled in this (new to me) classic tale of horror.

From that day forward, I, like every child, looked forward to Halloween, but even more, I looked forward to listening or even watching a cartoon movie short in school of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

In 1999 filmmaker, Tim Burton brought to us on the big screen, his vision of this tale with Sleepy Hollow. Love him or hate him, Burton's work is always extremely imaginative , and dark to say the least. Burton's version is one that I do quite enjoy. Although parts of the tale have been changed. For example, our lead character "Ichabod Crane" in earlier versions, is portrayed as a school master who is trying to win the hand of a young lady, "Katrina Von Tassel", who is haunted and attacked on his way home from a town party. In Burton's adaptation of the classic tale, they are introduced as Crane's character first arrives in Von Tassels small town sent by New York City authorities to investigate a murder - a murder caused by an alleged headless horsemen who rides the stormy nights on his steed seeking revenge on those who killed him. One by one, the headless horsemen runs down his victims, beheading them, just as he is.

Burton's change of storyline slightly from the original American version of the folk lore and in my opinion works beautifully! The story flows and actually helps to make for interesting turn of events through the film. As mentioned, Burton's films always have a dark overtone to them, this time the cinematography is just as dark and is incredible! Set in the fall of the late 1700s, the scenes are dark, dismal, yet beautiful all at the same time! The settings, the props, the outfits, and especially the cloud covering for a northern fall season, are like none I've seen executed nearly as well.

 

The film's run time is 105 minutes and carries an R rating. The film stars:

Johnny Depp (Sweeny Todd, Edward Scissorhands, Tusk) as our hero Ichabod Crane, yes, yet another Depp /Burton film!

Christina Ricci (Monster, Black Snake Moan, The Addams Family)

Miranda Richardson (Empire of the Sun, The Phantom of the Opera (2004), The Crying Game)

Sir Michael Gambon (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Gosford Park)

Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers)

Jeffrey Jones (The Hunt for Red October, Beetlejuice, Ferris Bueller's Day Off)

Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, To the Devil a Daughter)

Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter, Suicide Kings, The Prophecy, King of New York)

And let me tell you, Walken, who plays our dark horseback riding killer, is brilliant. Even though you only see Walken as the horsemen in the beginning and the ending because the rest of the story he has no damn head (could be anyone), but it was Walken, brilliant as always!

Headless Horseman

No matter how many times the story is altered or put the through the Hollywood shredder, this will always be my all time favorite horror story!

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments