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When it comes to horror fans, Joe Lynch is a man of the
people. He knows what horror nerds crave, and that’s because he’s one of us.
Having directed WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END, which is (easily) the best installment
of that franchise, he followed it up with ZOM-B-MOVIE the wraparound segement
of CHILLERAMA, and beginning tonight on FEARnet, he steps out from behind the
camera and co-stars in his good friend Adam Green in HOLLISTON.
A show that will no doubt warm the cockles of all of your
rotten little hearts, HOLLISTON casts Lynch and Green as fictionalized,
struggling-filmmaker versions of themselves. Lynch’s next feature, KNIGHTS OF
BADASSDOM, will be released later this year, and finally, 2013 brings Lynch’s
unusual action-thriller EVERLY, which starts filming later this year.
This writer first met Lynch at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con
after a screening of CHILLERAMA. Actually, that was the first time I thought I
had met him; during the Q&A, I was astonished to find out that he is, like
me, from Long Island. But here’s the crazy part: He actually worked at 112
Video, my video store! The one I spent most of my youth renting tapes from. The
one I graciously gave my allowance to every week! The one that first exposed me
to some of my all-time favorite films! And from speaking to him, it turned out
that the years he worked there fell within the time I was furiously digesting
every weird and wacky film that store had to offer.
We recently caught up again and chatted a bit (well, a lot)
about everything from HOLLISTON to his career to the few final taboos of
FANGORIA: Let’s talk about HOLLISTON first: Tell the fright
fans what they can expect from the show.
JOE LYNCH: Hopefully, the fright fans will find a show that
is for them. I’m not saying no one else will get it, but as fans who grew up
with horror and heavy metal and a passion for film, Adam and I basically play
ourselves. So expect a lot of references to horror and genre movies from the
past, expect a lot of T-shirts that you’ll see and go, “Hey! I own that!” and a
lot of love. But at its essence, its true heart is with being that certain age
where you don’t know where life is taking you. You’ve gotten out of college,
you’ve had dreams with you since you were a kid and life just starts slamming
doors on you. So the characters of Adam and Joe, who are basically younger
versions of ourselves, know what it’s like to be 25 or 26 and say, “OK, world,
here I come!” just to be slapped in the face. I think everyone goes through
that, not only with film, but with making music or any passion job.
You’ll definitely see a lot of cinema references, a lot of
off humor and a lot of heart and soul. It’s BIG BANG THEORY meets EVIL DEAD II,
is what I always say. Yes, it’s a sitcom, but we’ve applied it to the horror
world. It’s a show you can watch with your mom, as long as she does mind skin
being ripped off.
FANG: How much of a character does the actual town of
Holliston play in the show?
LYNCH: Well, as you probably know, Adam grew up in
Holliston. So there are a lot of places we reference and go to that are actual
places there. Adam’s longtime collaborator, [cinematographer] Will Barratt, is
also from Massachusetts. So they got to go back and actually shoot those
establishing shots you always see in sitcoms where you see the place, cue music
and then we’re inside with the scene. So people from Holliston watching the
show can say, “Holy crap! I go there too!” We’re trying to make the place as
much of a character as it is the setting.
Now, the original genesis for the project was Adam’s film
COFFEE & DONUTS, which he has been trying to turn into a TV show since
2000. The show went from being called COFFEE & DONUTS to BLOOD AND GUTS at
one point. Which made sense, because it went from Adam and Joe, the characters,
having a radio show to a horror show. But then we thought if people were
flipping the channels and saw BLOOD AND GUTS, some would tune in, but not all.
And at the last minute, one of us said, “Why don’t we just call it HOLLISTON?”
And it immediately clicked. Thankfully, we’ve had nothing but positive
responses from the town of Holliston.
FANG: Was it a relaxing experience being able to concentrate
on acting and not worry about being behind the camera?
LYNCH: No. If anything, I’d say it was nervewracking! But
working on that show has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. I
got to work with so many people I truly love. But I gotta tell you, man, I have
so much respect now for actors and the process, because I’d started out as an
actor, but used it as a springboard to directing. But taking a step back and
focusing solely on acting was a great experience, especially when we really got
in the moment. I felt bad for Adam because as writer/director/actor, he had to
worry about so much. But it was a flawless victory, because he never showed it
It was great, because I really got to see what it’s like on
the other side, and in a new format too. It’s one thing to be acting for one
camera, but now you have three of them?! We were basically doing theater. That
was the crazy part. We weren’t just acting in a cinematic form, we had multiple
cameras and a laugh track now. It was all stuff we had to learn quickly, and
it’s so satisfying watching the episodes and saying, “Man! This really works!
It didn’t crash and burn!” Having that experience and now going on to the next
thing, I have a new appreciation and know what it’s like to wear the other
FANG: GWAR’s Oderus Urungus is certainly an interesting guy
to be around, and he plays Adam’s imaginary friend in HOLLISTON. Any fun
stories about him from the set?
LYNCH: Well, one of the craziest things about the production
was that we had to move very quickly. We only had Dee [Snider] and Oderus for a
very limited time. It was really a whirlwind production, and instead of doing
an episode at a time, we had to do all of Dee’s scenes and all of Oderus’
scenes for every episode, all at once. Now, I’ve been a GWAR fan since ’86 and
become casual friends with Oderus over the years. But to actually be able to
hang out with Dave/Oderus on set was a trip. Because Dave is a normal guy, but
then Oderus comes out, this huge space alien with a cuttlefish penis, and it‘s
like “Yeah!” And one thing I can safely say about Oderus is this: That costume
smells like a bag of dicks. We knew he was coming from a mile away. And that’s
only a testament to the fact that this guy kills himself on stage every night.
Adam and I have seen GWAR live countless times, and it’s amazing that he
doesn’t pass out from exhaustion after the third song. So to answer your
question, spending a day on set with Oderus in a tiny room…I’ve never smelled
anything like it. My sinuses were completely cleared an hour in.
FANG: Do you have a single favorite moment from making
LYNCH: Too many to count! But I’d say it was the first
moment we started filming. It’s one of those things where your buddy says,
“Hey, I’m making this movie. Wanna help?” and you go, “F**k yeah, this is gonna
rule!” But then it never works out. And that’s the way the cookie crumbles in
this town. So, not to say I didn’t believe in Adam, but I said, “Sure,” and
then we spent two years writing out all these scenarios and plotlines, but
there was always this idea of This may never happen. So we took it to one
network and it didn’t work out; then we went to FEARnet, and thanks to them for
believing in us, but we still had this feeling of, This still might not work
out in the end. Even when we were on set putting it all together, it was always
like, Any minute, the plug gets pulled.
But when we shot the very first shot, you know that exciting
feeling of butterflies in your stomach? There’s something really exciting and
scary about that, but the first shot we had the girls driving a car in front of
this greenscreen and there was a stunt that went so perfectly wrong and turned
into the best happy accident ever. There was this moment when Adam and I looked
at each other and had this silent moment that was so very bromantic, I‘ll admit
it. It was like the end of SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, where they’re up on the Empire
State Building and you go, “Yes!” That was such a proud moment, and the single
best one I can walk away with.
But, man, I was in a scene with John Landis! And Tony Todd!
I got to work with Candyman! So collectively, there were too many moments to
count. And I hope it gets a second season and we can do it all again. But that
first moment, the butterflies and the stunt that thankfully went wrong—and
you’ll know it when you see it, it happens in episode four—that’s what it was
all about for me. That moment. That magic.
FANG: Well, just from the one-minute trailer, this show
looks awesome, and like something that will really be embraced by the fans.
LYNCH: Thank you. It’s been real tough trying to explain it
without having anything to show. I don’t think anyone understood its sitcom
structure. I think it always comes across as a short film, not an actual TV
show. So to be able to get that out there, I can tell it really takes everyone by
surprise. I’d much rather be the show that slowly works its way into a loyal
fan base, not some new big series with all this buzz surrounding it. I love how
there’s this plot that flows through the whole show of these guys trying to get
money for their feature, not just wrapping everything up at the end of every
episode. The first episode, Adam is writing it. The second, we’re stealing
cameras to film it. And by the end, we’re giving it to one of our favorite
directors at a horror convention. My hope is that people will tune in and say,
“I need to know what happens in the next one.”
TO BE CONTINUED
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