Actor-author-screenwriter-director Greg Lamberson took a few minutes to fill us in on not only some of his past projects, but his upcoming film Johnny Gruesome which will be out later this year.
Starring Anthony De La Torre, Byron Brown II, Aprilann, and Michael DeLorenzo, Johnny Gruesome is a tale of murder, revenge, and the undead, based on Lamberson’s award-winning novel.
Horror Fuel: “What role did you play in I Was A Teenage Zombie? I saw the trailer and I’m going to have to find a copy.”
Lamberson: “I was the production manager and I also played the role of the nerd who tries to score some weed from the zombie drug dealer right before the big high school dance. It is sort of a long history of how I became involved with that. I moved to New York City from a small town and at my very first job I met a gal who had worked in a slasher film called Splatter U. Then later I worked at another theater and I saw the film, a Troma release. Later I met the assistant director of Splatter U and he was getting ready to direct his first film, I Was A Teenage Zombie which was written by Jim Martin the brother of the girl I originally met. I immediately jumped at the chance to be involved with the film. I ended up quitting my job to work on it for a month for free. I agreed to be the production manager even though at the time I didn’t know what a production manager does. I ended up playing a role because and actor didn’t show up to set one day. It showed in New York for about two months then had a successful VHS release. Now you can find it on Hulu. One of the actors in that film is Robert Sabin who went on to star in my film Slime City. The assistant camera man, my partner Peter Clark, was the cinematographer from Slime City. The three of us volunteered to work on that film to learn how to make our own.”
Horror Fuel: “What inspired the Slime City franchise?”
Lamberson: “I was from a small town, but I was used to New York City because I would go visit my uncle there during the summer and we would watch a lot of movies. When I moved to New York, I lived in a very scuzzy YMCA on 34th and 9th. Now it’s a high-end condo. But back in ’82 it was surrounded by drug dealers, prostitutes, occultists, just on the walk to school we would encounter all these sleazy types. They all played a role in Slime City when I wrote it.”
Horror Fuel: “I have to ask, is Killer Rack really about a killer rack?”
Lamberson: “Killer Rack is about killer ankles. No, it is really exactly what the title says it is. It is a somewhat feminist comedy. It’s not what people expect necessarily. It’s about how society objectifies women including the way many women do. It’s very funny. In fact, a local theater is putting on a musical version this fall. We have one musical number in the movie and Lloyd Kaufman sings a duet. There’s a real heart at the core of Killer Rack. [Laughter]
Horror Fuel: “Your most recent film is Johnny Gruesome. Can you please tell us about it?”
Lamberson: “Johnny Gruesome is the story of a murdered high school student, sort of a heavy metal rebel. The kids who kill him cover it up, like they often do, and he comes back from the grave as a wise-cracking zombie. It’s a very typical EC Comics type of revenge from the grave story. It was always planned as B movie and that’s exactly what it is.”
Horror Fuel: “Is it true that you wrote it when you were 18?”
Lamberson: “Yes, I wrote Slime City and then maybe six months later I wrote Johnny Gruesome. My thinking all along was that if I could raise the money to Johnny Gruesome, a half a million dollar film and if I couldn’t do it I would make Slime City for $50,000 and that’s what happened. There were a few people that flirted with Johnny Gruesome over the next ten years. It just never happened so I turned it into a novel in 2007 and that generated quite a bit of attention. Then the novel won some awards and we sold trading cards and masks. It got a decent amount of attention. I thought that would be it, but after I did Killer Rack, I decided I had to make Johnny Gruesome.”
Horror Fuel: “Is it true that the lead actor in Johnny Gruesome plays young Captain Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales?”
Lamberson: “Yes, Anthony De La Torre can be seen very soon as young Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. They actually released an entire trailer emphasizing that flash back. I do not know how many minutes of the film he is in. I guess it’s sort of like a flash back. They digitally enhanced his face so that he resembled Johnny Depp even more than he does. So, people won’t really see him until Johnny Gruesome comes out.”
Horror Fuel: “Besides being an actor, writer and director, you are also a novelist. Where can our readers find your books?
Lamberson: “They are usually available at Barnes & Nobles and other brick and mortar stores. They are available in both the print editions as well as the ebook versions on Amazon.”
Horror Fuel: “You are a busy man. On top of working in the film industry you also co-founded Buffalo Dreams Film Festival. Can you tell us about this year’s event?”
Lamberson: “This will be our fifth year of Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival. We had another festival for three years before this one, so it will be our eight year. We run for ten days, programming all day long. We tend to show twenty to thirty features and a hundred shorts. The festival is really taking off. People travel from all over the country to show their films. Filmmakers come from Australia, Mexico, England. Year by year it becomes more of a destination festival. We haven’t selected this year’s films. We are open for submissions until September first. We show all genres, mostly horror films, but also sci-fi, comedy, anything that we think is any good.”
Horror Fuel: “What are the dates for this year’s festival?”
Lamberson : “I believe November 4th through the 14th. We always start on a weekend and finish on a weekend. We show ours in a theater. We do one screen at a time so festival goers don’t have to choose between films. Typically I spend the three months before the festival working 15-16 hour days.It’s just insane. Just getting through 350 film submissions is a lot of work. You have to go through semi-finalists, then award-winners. We stay in touch with filmmakers throughout the process. As a filmmaker I know that it is frustrating when your emails don’t get returned. It’s a lot of leg work. ”
As soon as a release date is announced for Johnny Gruesome we will let you know. In the meantime follow the film on Facebook. Don’t forget to check out Killer Rack on Facebook as well.
You can pick up your copy of Greg Lamberson’s novels here. The titles include Johnny Gruesome, The Frenzy Wolves, Black Creek, Cheap Scares, and Carnage Road and many more.
Visit the official website for the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival to purchase tickets, find a listing of films feature at this year’s event (at a later date) or submit your film. Follow on Facebook for regular updates and more.