"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> GREG ANSIN
Pamela Torres Goes One on One With
Last month I had the morbid pleasure of introducing to punk and gore fans everywhere the DVD extras of an indepedent horror flick called THE DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW. Just recently, I got an exclusive one-on-one interview with Greg Ansin, who not only co-wrote the film's 5-story arc with his tag team partner Michael Neel, but also played a couple of songs for the rock & roll soundtrack.
PUNK GLOBE: When you and writer Michael Neel came up with DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW RECORDS, did it first start out as a film idea or an indie band label?
G.A: The film was first. The soundtrack just kind of happened. We ran a local (Boston) music video contest to have something to promote during the making of the film. The winning band would get on our soundtrack and in exchange we would make them a music video shot on film. We had such a great response to the video contest that a bunch of bands made the cut, and helped us fill out our album and Ghoulish Videos. There are so many talented groups in Boston; we had to turn away a bunch of great ones. There was only so much room in the film for music.
PUNK GLOBE: Can you tell me what particular bands or artists influenced your sound?
G.A: My influences are just about everything, from jazz to death metal to hip-hop and even jingle music. If it is hooky, it will probably get stuck in my head. Which means that at some point it will come out in my music, in a song or sound bed.
PUNK GLOBE: One of the bands on the soundtrack is Trouble on the Airwaves, a first-time collaboration with you and singer Amber Daniels. The song "Bombshell" has an infectious glitter rock sound similar to The Rolling Stones or Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Will there be a Trouble debut album on the horizon?
G.A: If enough people like it, sure! Why not? We had a fun time making "Bombshell".
PUNK GLOBE: I really hope so! Speaking of which, how did you get to meet Amber? Was she in any other bands before Trouble was formed?
G.A: We met at my old company. I knew she is classically trained and has done theatre work. Not sure if she ever played in a rock band, but I thought she'd be great for the project.
PUNK GLOBE: What I also love about the video is how minimal it is production-wise. Is it meant to pay tribute to the early days of MTV when European punk, pop and new wave bands shot promo clips with very little cost?
G.A: You could say that. We shot on super 8 film so it has that grindhouse dirty feel. We didn't have much time for pre-production and we were under time constraints. It was one of the last things we did for the Ghoulish Videos DVD. Michael Neel (Director and Director of Photography) is a master of doing a lot with a little. I wanted a red theme, I don't know why. It just seemed right, it fit the music. Sometimes I find that you don't want to overthink music videos, just go with your instincts. We got a bunch of red gels and light bulbs and took it from there. I wanted this one to be different from our other videos, and I am happy with outcome.
PUNK GLOBE: Okay! Moving right along, please tell me a little bit about MonkeyRay Productions?
G.A: MonkeyRay Productions is the little productions company I run. I have had it for like six years or so. I have mainly been producing documentary films. It is my test bed for a bunch of little projects I've been involved with. Music. Editing. Design. You can see more at MonkeyRay.com For the Drive-In Horrorshow, Michael Neel and I formed Grim Films LLC. That's where most of my time has been going over the last three years.
PUNK GLOBE: Could you introduce the other members of the MonkeyRay group?
G.A: MonkeyRay is me. It's just me messing around, wanting to become a rock star. Some of the drum loops are my good friend Dana Robertson, who has played with Dale Bozzio and John Finn. I should also mention that "Bombshell" was mixed by Anthony Resta, who has worked with Duran Duran, Elton John, Megadeth, and more (Anthony also wrote and performed "Love is a Twisted Melancholy Disease" and produced "Hollywood Nights" for our soundtrack).
PUNK GLOBE: What motivated you and Michael Neel to make the transition from candid interviews and political documentaries to ghoulish gore horror?
G.A: I will do documentaries again but they can be tough. A few of the MonkeyRay documentaries are still being shopped around - it is not the easiest market to break into. It is a long process. Making a narrative film was a completely different process - a process which I enjoyed and hopefully can keep doing. Horror films have a different market than documentaries, and people always say that horror films are some of the easiest independent films to sell. We shall see. Making them is a lot of fun, that's for sure.
PUNK GLOBE: What's quite interesting about DRIVE-IN is the fact that you chose to release a DVD of "extras" before the actual movie is available to a wider audience. Do you think other independent film studios will follow your example?
G.A: I'd love to see more indie filmmakers do it but we were lucky to have money to produce and to put these out. Most of the time you just trying to make your film and get it to your audience, which costs enough on it's own! As for an indie studio, hell yeah, they should be pressing more vinyl, making cool music videos and adding extras whenever possible. It's what people want now, lots of content.
PUNK GLOBE: I can't agree more! Now as indicated by the trailer, THE DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW is an anthology similar to "Tales from the Crypt" and "The Twilight Zone." Out of those programs, which are your most favorite episodes, if any?
G.A: Mike and I are big fans of "What's Cookin" from "Tales From the Crypt". It stars Christopher Reeve as a down-on-his-luck restaurant owner who saves his failing business by serving human flesh! Its a really funny story, very well written and executed (no pun intended). We are also huge fans of "Creepshow". This is by far our favorite anthology horror film. And I especially love "They're Creeping Up on You", the cockroach story. It was scary as a kid and it is scary today. I'm not sure I can watch it even now.
PUNK GLOBE: Ugh, cockroaches! In the world of underground cinema, what director, actor or writer would you most want to meet?
G.A: Dan Donley. We just saw his film "Shelter" at the Dark Carnival Film Fest, and it is amazing. Very inspiring for indie filmmakers.
PUNK GLOBE: Thanks so much for your time!