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Q&A, Teaser Premiere: Director Jason Baker & Misfits’ Jerry Only on Savini/Bradley-led Horror Short

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In Monessen, Pennsylvania many people were recently seen crawling through the streets in zombie make-up. But who is behind this zombie apocalypse? Legendary, punk rock band, the Misfits. They may be punks at heart, but they are total professionals when giving fans what they want: a live horror show. The band wanted to give something more for their live shows and so they decided to make their own horror clips with the help of Director Jason Baker and award winning, special make-up effects artist, Tom Savini and his students from the Tom Savini Special Make-Up Effects Program as well as the Factory Digital Filmmaking Program at Douglas Education Center. 

The project is produced by Robert Tinnell, whose previous genre efforts include SURF NAZIS MUST DIE and THE HUNTED (2014) as well as having directed FRANKENSTEIN AND ME, through his company Allegheny Image Factory. Baker, who worked on such films as REQUIEM FOR THE DAMNED and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, and Misfits frontman Jerry Only took the time for a quick interview with Fangoria to talk about how the whole concept came to be…

FANGORIA: How did you come up with this project?

JERRY ONLY: We are rolling into our 40th Anniversary and we wanted to revisit our original records. We had a calling for it out in California. One of the clubs out there wanted us to do three nights in a row at the same venue and showcase our first three albums from the late ‘70s to early ‘80s. We had come to the conclusion that we would try and make it like a mini-horror film where we would show different horror films in the back and obviously came to the realization that trying to get people to give you permission to use horror films is a very complicated process and normally very expensive.

We just decided with Tom, his school and Jason, that we would remake a lot of these films for us to show. The kids at the school were all about it. They really wanted to have it on their resumes that they worked with Tom Savini and The Misfits. They put in the time doing the make up and the project. I think it was a good time for everybody. I think that is what the entertainment should be about with people wanting to do what they can do the best and in that case, it is zombies and make-up and who better than Tom Savini and The Misfits for pulling this off

JASON BAKER: Jerry and Tom Savini have been friends for around 20 something years now. I do a lot of stuff with Tom; he has been like a mentor for me for the last couple of years. Jerry started getting these ideas and wanted to re-vamp their stage show. I was not going to turn down a project working with The Misfits.

Originally, we were just going to show a few B-movies and stuff. I made these smartass comments to Jerry and told him “You know it would be cheaper to shoot new stuff instead of paying royalties for using all these old movies.” I guess that struck a nerve and he was like “Okay, let’s shoot some stuff!” We did a cheesy DRACULA thing where Jerry is playing Dracula and we got Doug Bradley to play this Abraham Van Helsing-type character.

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FANGORIA: Where did you film the short?

BAKER: We shot everything in Pittsburgh. Tom is in Pittsburgh. I am in Pittsburgh. Doug Bradley is in Pittsburgh. The Misfits are in New Jersey; they are four hours away. Tom Savini’s school is here in Pittsburgh. We collaborated with them and got a lot of students involved as we wanted to give back and give these students a fun experience. We also shot quite a bit in the historic Woodlawn Cemetery in Fairmont, West Virginia.

FANGORIA: How long did it take to film the project?   

BAKER: Collectively, it has taken us about off and on two weeks. But the project has been in development for two months. The big thing was to work everyone’s schedule around. We will be showing the short in Santa Ana, California on June 18. We are doing the editing and all the fun post-production stuff now.

FANGORIA: Jerry, you’ve known Tom Savini for so long but is this your first time working with him?

ONLY: Yeah, normally him and I are hanging out. We do conventions then go out afterwards and hang in his room until 2 a.m. and talk about stuff and ideas. This is the first time I actually got to work with him. We’ve worked with George Romero back in ‘99 on doing a screen video for one of our albums and at the time he was based up in Toronto. But Tom is basically based in the Pittsburgh area.

It was really nice to work with Tom this time and we got to use a lot of his molds from his NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake, which saved a lot of time, money and effort and we shot it on Memorial Day weekend. So all the kids from Savini’s school, instead of going out and partying with their friends, got their make up kit and came back to the school. We had the Monesson Police from Monesson, Pennsylvania came down and the chief was there and they were in the scenes too. It was really great.

It was something that I always wanted to do and everyone really had a wonderful time. When you go back and think about what people have done on their Memorial Day weekend, this is going to be the one that stands out for everyone that was there. My son was a zombie, my daughter was a zombie, James (Tom Savini’s grandson) was a zombie as well as my nephew. So everyone you see in there was one big zombie family.

When you look back on it and think how popular zombies are today with THE WALKING DEAD and a new show that is on called iZOMBIE, you kind of realize that zombies are the new hip thing and George Romero made them and Tom made them real.  We actually have a new song called “Zombie Girl” that we will be releasing this Halloween.

You can check out the newly shot video from Jason Baker, Tom Savini and Jerry Only below. You can also find dates for Misfits 2015 tour below as well.

Misfits 2015 Tour Dates:

06/18/15 SANTA ANA, CA @ THE OBSERVATORY
06/19/15 SANTA ANA, CA @ THE OBSERVATORY
06/20/15 SANTA ANA, CA @ THE OBSERVATORY
06/21/15 SAN DIEGO, CA @ THE OBSERVATORY NORTH PARK
07/25/15 PHILADELPHIA, PA @ THE ELECTRIC FACTORY
07/31/15 VYSKOV, CZECH REPUBLIC @ FEST POD PAROU
08/01/15 LONDON, UK @ O2 ACADEMY ISLINGTON
08/02/15 MANCHESTER, UK @ CLUB ACADEMY
08/03/15 GLASGOW, UK @ QUEEN MARGARET UNION
08/04/15 BRISTOL, UK @ MOTION BRISTOL
08/05/15 SOUTHAMPTON, UK @ ENGINE ROOMS SOUTHAMPTON
08/06/15 BLACKPOOL, UK @ REBELLION FESTIVAL
08/08/15 NASHVILLE, TN @ INK N IRON FESTIVAL
09/26/15 POZO, CA @ PICNIC IN POZO FESTIVAL

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About the author
Carly Knaszak
Carly Knaszak attends Fredonia State University and is studying Journalism and English. This is her first time doing an internship for Fangoria. She has grown up with horror movies. She was deathly afraid of them when she was younger but the fear turned into a passion as she loved the adrenaline rush of them. She attends Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights every year just for the special effects of the haunted houses and to be scared. Carly writes for many different websites including NYS Music, iHorror and Back To The Movies. She is also one of the editors for the entertainment section of her school’s paper. Her horror icons are Elvira, Alice Cooper and Robert Englund.
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