Interview by Joshua T. Gravel
Musician and filmmaker Dave Neabore raps about his love of horror, his music career, and how his two passions led him to Stephen Romano Presents Shock Festival and DEAD BUGS ON THE CARPET.
Could you give the Alternative Cinema audience some background information on your career in film or the arts in general?
I've been a musician since I was very young, and had a successful career for over 20 years now with the bands DOG EAT DOG and MUCKY PUP. My interest in film dates back to the mid-70s when I was exposed to JAWS, CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, and INVASION Of THE BODY SNATCHERS among others as a young kid. My parents forbade me to EVER see LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT after they walked out on it in the theater, and of course it then became my holy grail as an adolescent. I got a super 8 camera in high school, but the film processing was too expensive, and I gave it up when I recorded my first album and went on tour of Europe at 18 years old. In the late 90's I got back into it and made my first real short film with a $20,000 budget. It was called REEL FEAR and had a few screenings on the east coast including the first New York City Horror Film Festival. Since then I have continued to make short films while touring and recording.
I see that you have done some music for films and even for the Lucio Fulci documentary PAURA, when did you begin to incorporate your love of horror into your music career?
I have a very extensive horror soundtrack collection. I guess the most influential soundtrack to me is from CREEPSHOW. When I saw this opening night in 1982, the experience blew me away, and the music was a huge part of that. I always wanted to do a soundtrack, which is the reason I started making short films in the first place. In 2001, my good friend and high school buddy Michael J. Hein, had just directed his first feature, a zombie movie called BIOHAZARDOUS, and offered me the chance to do the music as well as provide 2 songs. A couple of years ago when Mike Baronas was working on the PAURA DVD, he liked my music from the FULCI Symphony Of Fear album, and asked me to provide music for his movie. For me it was an honor and an amazing experience. There is a limited CD soundtrack available, so it's out there for the fans to hear. I am so busy touring with my rock band that I'm not really out there pimping myself as much as I should to get more soundtrack work. I basically just wait for the phone to ring, so to speak, and take the jobs as they come.
What brought you to this project and what drew your attention to choose the specific trailer you made?
I first met Stephen Romano after we both worked on the 1999 CD, FOR LUCIO FULCI: A Symphony Of Fear. I always thought he was an incredible musician and artist, so I have followed his work since that project. After I sent him the soundtrack to the PAURA DVD, he responded with a very positive email about my music. A short time later he sent me a demo proof of the SHOCK FESTIVAL book. As soon as I saw this book, I freaked out and proclaimed it a work of genius to anyone who would listen. I wrote Stephen, basically begging him to be a part of any future incarnations of the book, and also included a list of my favorite posters. Stephen wrote me back and gave me the go ahead for DEAD BUGS ON THE CARPET, which was my first choice on the list. The poster just screamed giallo/slasher, my favorite sub-genre, so I knew this would be the perfect trailer for me.
Were there advantages or limitations to choosing a film that is barely mentioned in the book?
I read the corresponding chapter over and over and tried to remain faithful to what was written in the book. There we definitely some challenges going in, but my goal was just to please Stephen. If he was happy, then my job was done. My limitations were really budgetary. I had no money and no crew, so I really had to do everything myself.
Can you tell us a little about the actors you worked with?
I like to use my close friends in my short films. I know that they will be there for me, show up when I need them, and give me all they got. For DEAD BUGS ON THE CARPET I used the same cast as my previous short, JASON HURTS, which appears as an extra on the FRIDAY THE 13th documentary, HIS NAME WAS JASON. Justin Pawelec played the black gloved killer and also provided important locations, props, and extras. My long time friend Greg Merkle, who previously played Jason, took on the role of a victim this time, and did a fantastic job. Kim Berlin, who usually works behind the scenes, also makes a special appearance. Finally, Lou Strippoli, a very talented stand up comedian, did the voice-over. Since my trailer has no on-screen dialogue, I didn't have to worry about bad sound or acting, which really helped the process.
Who worked on the technical end of the production, specifically cinematography, music, and special effects?
I directed, shot, edited, scored, and did the makeup effects. Basically, I was a one man crew. It can be frustrating trying to do everything while communicating with the actors. There are times where I lose my cool, but eventually I get what I want, and we laugh about it over a beer at the end of the night. This is how I've shot my last 3 short films, and even though I take on the whole burden, I know that I am getting what I want.
Are there any current or future projects you would like people to know about?
I've now made a string of short films over the past 10 years, and feel that I am ready to make a feature length film now. I know how long the process will take, so I am really looking for the right script or idea before diving in. I have a few scripts that have been sent my way, but I am still keeping my options open. I'd like to be involved in the writing to some degree, but wouldn't mind directing someone else's material. I've been very lucky to have constantly gotten new opportunities throughout my life, and one project always leads to another. Maybe someone reading this will be the link to my next one.....
DAVE can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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