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Written by Administrator   
Dec 23, 2004 at 07:00 PM
Actor Sam White is perhaps best known for his role in several Herschell Gordon Lewis movies, namely JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT. Although he has taken a lengthy break from acting, he has decided to re-emerge onto the genre scene, appearing in both ALIEN AGENDA: UNDER THE SKIN and the upcoming vampire feature BLOOD LUST, segments directed by Chicago filmmaker Tom Vollmann (DEAD MEAT).
Q: How did you become involved with director Tom Volmmann?
SAM: I ran into Tom at a local print shot, just after he had finished DEAD MEAT, we struck up a conversation and have been working on projects ever since.
Q: Tell us a bit about the character you portray in ALIEN AGENDA: UNDER THE SKIN, Lt. Sam Minella....
SAM: Sam is an off-the-wall, ex-hippie type cop. He has that "whatever" type attitude. He also has a great camaraderie with "Andy", his female partner, that really comes across on film. Towards the end of the story you see a change in poor SAM--you'll have to see the movie.
Q: Are you a fan of sci-fi and horror films?
SAM: I like ALIENS and Ray Harryhausen Sinbad movies, DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. The ALIEN AGENDA series I find very interesting in that it just so happens I'm in the third installment of a trilogy. It sums everything up and shows how deep the aliens power goes. Is it truth or fiction? Right now, I think people in Washington are aliens themselves...
Q: In JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT you're known for chopping off a baby's head--
SAM: I've been accused of chopping a baby's head off but you should run to the video store and get a copy of the film--if they don't have a copy make them get one--and you'll see that all I did, and let's not make a big deal out of it, is throw a baby into a garbage can--is that like chopping off a baby's head? I didn't chop off his head. It was just that type of movie, I was throwing everything. A baby got in the way. But to answer your question I did not chop a baby's head off.
Q: How did you become cast in several Herschell Gordon Lewis films?
SAM: I had a Rock and Roll band and were practicing and a neighbor lady was working in the office with Herschell. Herschell needed a band to be in BLAST OFF GIRLS and after he saw us perform he hired our band, about a band being ripped off by a manager/agent and a couple of expressions I made got Herschell's attention--and he picked me up for another four films. We traveled quite a bit. We went down to Florida to do HOW TO MAKE A DOLL, JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT, SHE DEVILS ON WHEELS and a couple other films I wish would stay in my past--
Q: How was it to work on a Herschell Gordon Lewis film?
SAM: Herschell was business, period. He understood it was a business deal--you were making a product. He was very film conscious but would only do a few takes then move on to the next setup. His crew was like a swat team--they'd come into a location, set up everything, have it all ready. He was always covered. Also, he usually had the movie sold before he ever made it--and always did quite well, even to this day.
Q: What is the favorite movie you worked on?
SAM:JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT. It was a sort of prophetic, "Nostradamus" type film because if it was shown today it'd be just like a normal day on a Chicago street, with everyone sort of crazy and violent. It was also the beginning of the "Wilding" films, the motorcycle films. Also, my likeness is on the poster and I star in it. It's purely egotistical but I like JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT.
Q: Any interesting stories about what is was like to work on a Herschell film?
SAM: One of the funniest things, that wasn't so funny at the time, is when I had to pick up the lead for HOW TO MAKE A DOLL and he was not shy about "copping a buzz". So by the time I got to his house he still wasn't awake, and I was "straight Earl" at the time, and he says "have a beer". I don't recall the drive to the set ad the next thing I know is I'm behind Herschell's 35mm Mitchell Camera pretending like I was the cameraman, playing with it like it was a cardboard box. Nevertheless, I left on the next train... When we were making HOW TO MAKE A DOLL girls would appear in a puff of smoke. I didn't understand you had to be careful with pyrotechnics and I think, at the time, I was a little left of center and the person who was doing the little puff of smoke left and told me all I had to do was put a little gunpowder in and I put a quarter cup--and it's still in the film, Herschell didn't want to retake. Well, we were in a small studio and when it was time for the girl to appear I set it off and the whole place filled with smoke and bright lights--thank goodness the girl and other actors didn't have heart attacks, but they went on with the scene, which Herschell would do, then somehow work it into the script.
Q: How did you end up on Johnny Legend's SLEAZAMANIA tape?
SAM: That controversy had been going on for years and I don't know if it's from Lew himself or what. Anyway, Johnny was doing a parade of "B" film stars on Hollywood Blvd and Lou Ferigno or somebody had been telling people that he was the star of JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT, not me. And I guess 20 years ago I had a certain appearance that resembled Lou or maybe Lou just needed a credit. The only similarity I see is when I go through certain mood swings that I could resemble the HULK. The controversy was that he was in the film and I wasn't--Johnny did a satellite hookup and we cleared this all up.
Q: You also have a musical background...
SAM: I was in another garage band and someone needed a lead singer and a writer and somebody came to my house and auditioned me and I got a job with a band playing in a refurbished chicken coop in Gerney, Illinois. We ran into a man named Ted Ashford, who as a producer--it's all who you know, I don't think we were that good of a band. So I personally went from living in a chickencoop to 201 E Chestnut Street, which is a pretty fine neighborhood in Chicago.
We put three tunes together, which I wrote, brought them to different recording companies in LA and Capitol bought it. They pressed quite a few records. In fact, a recent London paper gave it a favorable review. It's called "FOREVER IS A DREAM".
Q: This led to more film related work? SAM: THE WARRIORS, THE BABYSITTER, a bunch of films I worked on with Ted Ashford and when we went to Los Angeles I was assigned to Fantasy Films for a while, where we did the WARRIORS soundtrack.
Q: What are you working on now?
SAM: I'm working on another film with Tom, a sort of apocalyptic film, about the end of the world. Whether you believe it fact or fiction these disasters are actually occurring...
Q: If Herschell called you up tomorrow and asked you to work on a new film would you do it?
SAM: Sure, if Roger Corman could come back so could Herschell, though I don't even know if he has that desire. To JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT II, with more of a modern theme with actors much older, I think would be quite a good film. I hope he does it. Herschell, call!!
LOOK FOR SAM in the upcoming BLOOD LUST, available in early '99!

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