The Daves would like to welcome friend and fellow horror fan Jason Schoolcraft to our site with his take on the film Seven Dorms Of Death! We are honored that Jason is sharing his first blog with us here on Terror From Beyond The Daves! Now, a little about Jason from Jason!
My name is Jason Schoolcraft and, just like the Terror Daves, I’ve always loved movies and animals! The former was sparked by my local library playing classic Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts back when I was growing up in the ‘70s. Later, my world would be forever changed when I was thirteen and my best friend Mike’s dad took us to a midnight showing of the original Dawn of the Dead by George Romero. I can honestly say that the film changed my life and single-handedly sparked a love of horror that persists to this day. I’m now forty-nine years young and fortunate to work at the Roger Williams Park Zoo (the same one that Terror Dave Albaugh works at) for twenty-six years and also part-time at a movie theater for the last nineteen. Both jobs have their perks but being affiliated with a theater not only garners me free admission but an introduction to just about every genre imaginable. In fact, calling me a “movie lover” is a definite understatement as I watch, on average, about 350-400 movies a year; not an exaggeration as I track and “grade” every single one of them! Though I’ve gained a broad appreciation for cinema, horror remains at the top, and my latest viewing was one I felt compelled to share with all of you.
Photo courtesy of Scorpio Film Releasing.
You need to see Baron Von Blah as the Horror host of the Celluloid Crypt (what a great name) in Seven Dorms of Death!
A short time ago I was lucky enough to have scored one of the very last tickets to the premiere of Richard Marr-Griffin’s newest feature Seven Dorms of Death. It was a full house, including many fans and the cast members. Richard said a few words before the lights were dimmed and then the crowd grew silent as the title appeared on the screen. The theatre was full with laughter until the final, final credits ended!
Let me back up and start at the beginning. I met Richard many years ago working on some TV shows. I was always working a camera while Richard was directing, editing and pretty much doing anything else they would let him do. I think he cut his teeth on those early shows. A short time later he kept moving on doing more shows and I lost track of him. Then, ten years later, a writer friend of mine said he was working with this guy Richard Griffin. I said there can be only one Richard Griffin so I began to follow his career and his films.
Photo courtesy of Scorpio Film Releasing.
His early films seemed to have what has been missing in Hollywood. He is someone who longs for the old films with directors who made films with hard work, fun and a good story. I have been on the set for a few productions because I was curious. Richard works at break-neck speed and his cast and crew would do anything for him. Besides directing and running his company, Scorpio Film Releasing, he has written screenplays for others and worked with many other producers and directors.
Richard tells me he is lucky to have worked with the greatest cast and crew in the business. Since I am a fan of the horror genre, I need to let you know about just some of his recent film titles. Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead, Normal, They Stole the Pope’s Blood (short) and The Sins of Dracula! As Richard matured as a director his skills for directing continued to be refined. Most (if not all) of these films can be bought at the website HERE or for sale on many formats of Video On Demand. So, please check them out for yourself. Richard has been fortunate that the films he produces are in demand and he has recently partnered up with MVD, which I understand is an astounding distribution company for indie directors.
Seven Dorms of Death merchandise table.
On a cold winter’s night as I entered the theatre, I was met by a growing group of fans aching to catch his newest film. I saw cast members and crew milling with the fans. Everyone was a buzz. Once ushered to our seats, the director went to the front of the screen and said a few words about the film, spoke accolades about the cast and crew and prepared us for what we were about to experience. He said that everyone thought that this broadcast of Baron Von Blah’s The Celluloid Crypt was lost forever, but that in a very old UHF television station they found a rough copy on VHS, and we would be the first to see a screening of the film Seven Dorms of Death. The film, in my opinion, is his best film. I think it would do well in a wide theatrical release, or an admirable wide DVD release. I know there is rarely a film that can be called perfection. Many come close, but this film came so close that I give the film a 9.5/10! It was the most fun I’ve had at the theatre in quite some time.
Photo courtesy of Scorpio Film Releasing.
Here’s what the press release said about the film:
Seven Dorms of Death tells the tale of a cursed stage play that is about to be performed at a New England college. Unfortunately for the director, the young cast, and anyone else involved with the production, someone has much deadlier plans for this play! Can a pair of homicide detectives, an intrepid newspaper reporter, and a student with psychic powers solve the mystery and catch this ruthless killer before more people are horrifically murdered… or is everyone doomed? Put on your Members Only Jacket, fire up your Walkman, and get ready to go back the 80’s with Seven Dorms of Death.
So I caught up with two of the stars after the premiere and I am grateful for their time and candor. I wanted to ask what it is like to work with Richard Marr-Griffin.
Aaron Andrade as Detective Vargas. Photo courtesy of Scorpio Film Releasing.
First up was Aaron Andrade who plays Detective Vargas. His character of a loud and tenacious detective is a stand out performance in the film.
He met Richard about 15 years ago, while shooting Future Justice. It was nice meeting him for the first time. When asked was he great to work with he said one of the best things a director can do is trust their actors. And if Richard casts you, then it’s safe to assume he trusts you to do the work required and be able to roll with the punches as they come. Aaron said Richard’s style compliments his immensely. He’s an experienced enough filmmaker to know what he’s looking for. And just as he trusts you, it’s got to be reciprocal. I, with a wink, asked if Richard was tough on the set and he said “a tyrannical pussycat.” He added that Richard is a prolific, hard-working director. The man has an amazing work ethic that is both inspiring and terrifying. Lastly I asked him to use one word or phrase to describe Richard. His response was, “He’s not just one of my favorite directors, but one of my favorite people.”
Check out Aaron Andrade’s IMDB page HERE for some of the great work he has been up to lately, other than his tremendous work on Seven Dorms of Death.
Michael Thurber as Baron Von Blah. Photo courtesy of Scorpio Film Releasing.
Then I was able to get Michael Thurber to take a few minutes to share his thoughts on Richard. Michael plays the horror host that ties the film together. Baron Van Blah is not your typical horror host. No, MUCH better! After you see this film, and you must, you will agree with me that Baron Von Blah needs his own film! Here is some of what Michael had to say about Richard.
Michael first heard about Richard while working in a stage play with Sarah Nicklin. She told him that she did these Indie films and Michael expressed a sudden interest! As luck would have it, Richard would be coming to the play that night and Sarah introduced Michael to Richard. As they say, I think sparks flew that night because Richard offered him a small role in The Disco Exorcist! The rest, as they say, is history. He said Richard is a “no bullshit” director and that suits him fine because Michael is as well with his own theatre company. He said, “Richard does NOT waste my time, and prefers the actors NOT to waste his.” He is completely prepared when he starts production because of all of the pre-production legwork that he has accomplished – no wasting time! Michael sees a lot of what Richard does is the way that he, as Artistic Director and founder of his theatre company, has run for 32 years.
I asked the same question with a wink if Richard was a tough director to work with and he said, “Neither a tyrant NOR a pussycat! Richard, a professional who knows his craft, has one of the best senses of humor that I have ever come across in my life! He can and has reduced me to absolute tears of hysteria many times. And then it’s back to work!”
I still can’t hear! Photo courtesy of Scorpio Film Releasing.
Asked for a word or phrase to describe Richard he said, “Benevolent Dictator.” Someone has to be in charge, to be answerable for any and all things “Scorpio”…and yet at the same time be focused on the schedule and quality of the project you are creating as well as the care and well-being of the people involved! He handles it like a master and I am one actor who would take “the bullet” for this guy, any day, and any time. I hope I have been helpful, my friend.
Check out Michael Thurber’s IMDB page HERE for some of the great work he has been up to lately in addition to his tremendous work on Seven Dorms of Death.
And you can see his cast love Richard. And if you ever get a chance to see a screening with Richard you would see all of his cast and crew feel the same way.
Dinner time. Photo courtesy of Scorpio Film Releasing.
After the film I wanted to interview him as I had decided to do a story for the Terror Daves web site. Richard was reeling with the great feedback at the theatre, and so many great, incredible reviews online. I was afraid he might not have time (did I mention this guy never stops?). But he was gracious and answered my questions. I even called him back after I finished writing it with 2 more bonus questions.
Coming up next: TEN QUESTIONS WITH FILM MAKER RICHARD-MARR GRIFFIN!