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Oct 09, 2006 at 07:00 PM
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DG Oct 06 - The Man with the Screaming Ted!
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Ted Chalmers has had a hand in some incredible horror flix - from FAUST: LOVE OF THE DAMNED to THE MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN. We delved into Ted's past and he was kind enough to tell us all about his work.

DG: You co-wrote and had a role in the horror/comedy BRAIN FIX in which a black-listed Professor believes he has found a cure for acute schizophrenia by implanting living parasites into his patients' brains. It looks like this is only available in the UK - do you know if it ever came out in the US?

TC: No, thank God! I co-wrote the film with a partner in one week. The producer had fired the previous writer and threw out the script. They only gave me a week so I went to a writing friend of mine, Tracy Charlton, and offered to split the paltry fee with her to write it with me. She agreed, but the funny thing is we did not actually collaborate. We literally split the project in two and she took the first half of the script and I took the second half and we just pasted them together to form one script. In a funny way it worked. But, the whole thing was so under produced that I don't think anyone would have noticed. Still some of my favorite lines are in that film, like "I was scrubbing bedpans while you were still sucking on your mother's dick..." I won't tell you who wrote that line... ;)

DG: You were an associate producer on THE MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN, which also has a crazy scientist messing around with human brains. Was it this subject that drew you to the project? I know that Bruce Campbell had been trying to get the movie made for a while and understand that he starred in ALIEN APOCALYPSE in exchange for getting THE MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN made - it that true? How did you become involved in those projects?

TC: I met Bruce back in 1992. I had just optioned the rights to FAUST: LOVE OF THE DAMNED and I thought Bruce would make a good FAUST. He didn't like the idea, but offered MWTSB to me to look at. At the time, I was working at Trans Atlantic Entertainment, which was later sold and became Lakeshore. MWTSB was from an idea by Sam Raimi. I told my boss about the project and he told me, "If you can get Sam Raimi in my office, I'll make the picture." The next week, we had a meeting with Bruce, David Goodman, myself and Sam Raimi. My boss was totally blown away. They ended up signing a deal, but the film never got made due to scheduling conflicts.

Years later, I was working at Creative Light Entertainment. At the AFM, Ray Haboush and I were meeting some execs for Sci Fi Channel and they told us how much they liked Bruce. So, I introduced Bruce to my boss at Creative Light. We tried to come up with all sorts of ideas for Bruce and Sci Fi and finally Bruce just said, let's do MWTSB. Sci Fi was not excited at first, and we were developing a "bug" movie called "EarWigs" at the time and they liked that idea with Bruce. But, MWTSB was a comedy, and they had not really done one. But, they did agree to a two picture deal, one being MWTSB to go first, and the second was going to be some kind of creature movie. Bruce hated the EarWigs idea, and we eventually dropped it.

During our conversations with Sci Fi Channel, they told us that they always wanted a movie with the title, ALIEN HOLOCAUST or ALIEN APOCALYPSE. I kept that in the back of my head. Enter, Josh Becker, a filmmaker and long time friend of Bruce's. He sent me a script called HUMANS IN CHAINS. I read it and thought, wow, this is Alien Apocalypse! So, I changed the cover page and sent the script into Sci Fi. They loved it too and Bruce agreed to do the project first while he prepped for MWTSB.

DG: DARK GALLERY recently spoke to screenwriter Adam Hackbarth who said he was "extremely excited about DARKWORLD." Tell us how that movie came about and what fans might look forward to seeing in it.

TC: I had always wanted to do a sexy devil girl movie. I had done a devil guy film, i.e. FAUST. So, a sexy girl with horns really intrigued me and I thought fans would like it. So, I really just created my own world of comic book type characters. I was heavily influenced by comic book creators like David Quinn, Tim Vigil (both of FAUST) and Brian Pulido (EVIL ERNIE and LADY DEATH). I also took elements of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and the classic Gena Rowlands film, GLORIA. Then, I called up Adam who I knew from STUDIO 666. I basically gave him the proto-types and the basic plot and let him have free reign over the script. I couldn't believe it. When he turned it in, it was exactly what I had envisioned. It was a lot of fun to read. But, then we had to cut things down for the budget. But, I think we kept most of the spirit of the original piece. The film has sold very well in Japan, Germany, U.K., Asia and here in the U.S. to Maverick Entertainment. It should be out early next year (2007). I can't wait.

DG: Now, FAUST: LOVE OF THE DAMNED was a very ambitious project. I used to own a comic book shop and I remember first seeing the FAUST comic book and being shocked at how graphic it was. How did you first become involved with that project?

TC: I was a real FAUST freak in high school. That was before the comic book and I was hoping to one day adapt a film version of Goethe's play. Ironically, after graduating from film school it was my own mother who bought the comic book for me. I don't think she had any idea what was inside. She just saw Faust and figured I would like it. Boy, did I. When I was working on a creature film years later, I asked Tim Vigil, artist for the comic, to come down to L.A. and draw the creature for me. It was a half-man, half-porcupine type of thing. He did an awesome job. But, I started talking to him about doing a movie of FAUST. The rest is history...

DG: What were some of the difficulties in bringing FAUST to the screen? Have the comic's creators as the screenwriters must have helped but obviously you can't do everything that was in print on screen.

TC: One of the first attachments to the project was Stuart Gordon of Re-Animator fame. He loved the comic book. He worked very closely with the comic writer, David Quinn, to write the script. Stuart wanted it to be gory and sexy just like the comic book. I remember one film exec who abruptly ended a meeting when Stuart mentioned that he was considering using real adult film actors and actresses to play the parts so we could mimic all of the comic's explicit sex! But, that's Stuart... You gotta love him. He wanted to make the first real NC-17 Hollywood movie. I think it was noble, but there is just no way. My partner on the project was Michael Burnett the famed make-up effects artist. I think we were both pretty surprised at Stuart's ideas. But, he was our mentor and we would have gone along with any of his ideas. In the end, Brian Yuzna used the same Script. But, we cleaned it up quite a bit. But, I am really appreciative to Stuart for walking us through an amazing journey.

I had called Brian years later about licensing RE-ANIMATOR for England, I think. He told me he was looking for a project that was ready to shoot to launch a new line of film he was making in Spain for Filmax's Fantastic Factory. I mentioned FAUST and he took a look at it. It just happened so fast. We were in production a few months later. Funny how things work.

The Stuart Gordon version was going to be a big movie with stars. It would have been an amazing feat. But, I am proud of Brian's version. It is very faithful to the imagery and tone of the comic book. Fans are split on it, but I do know that Tim and David, the creators, at the end of the day, were pleased. So, I think that says something. Of course, I would love to do the sequel... Who knows. Maybe someday.

DG: OK, here's a chance to promote Movie Plan software. Funds for the movie DARKWORLD were 100% secured using a Limited Partnership Investment Memorandum created by Movie Plan Software, correct?

TC: Yes, that's true. I wrote the program for the small filmmaker who can't afford a lawyer. There are so many movies being made on DV for micro budgets and I wanted to serve that market. I mean, they need to raise money too. At the very least it will explain how their money is used and how they get it back! That's important too, I would think.

I had been selling Movie Plan software since 1995. It was a text template for word that I offered online and in the trades. It was based on an Investment Memorandum that I had written right out of film school in 1986. I never raised the money for that film, but everyone kept telling me what a fine investment memorandum I had created. So, I figured in this day of "lawyer in a box" software programs, maybe I could offer it up.

It is not really a contract. It is more like a business plan and can be used with one or in place of one. It helps filmmakers plan out and explain their project to friends, family and other potential investors. It explains the formation of a limited partnership or LLC, witch are fairly simple investment vehicles for filmmakers to create.

I finally launched the website, www.movieplan.net in 2002. I am really amazed at how many people have bought it and written to me with good news and good reviews. I had so many happy customers saying it's the best $39 they ever spent, that now I just offer a money back guarantee with no questions asked. I have rarely had to return any one's money. So, I am pleased with the results. I guess there is nothing out there like it. It comes up pretty high on Google too... Under film finance software... I pay for Google ads, but it also comes up in a regular search. I get most of my customers from search engines.

I used it myself in 2005 to raise money for DARKWORLD. I secured two investors who read my Investment Memorandum and decided to take a chance with me. Its paid off. As I told... you, we have sold the film very well. It's a total success. I just used Movie Plan again to finance my latest film, PIRATES OF GHOST ISLAND.

DG: What are you working on now - what might fans look for in the near future?

TC: Well, we just completed principle photography on PIRATES OF GHOST ISLAND. This is going to be a kick ass cross between the DISNEY movie, LOST and SCOOBY DOO... Yes, you heard it right. Six Spring Breakers wake up on a creepy island that is inhabited by real 17th Century Pirates. Trouble is they are dead... And looking for flesh. It's a real romp. We have all these authentic pirate clothes and gear. The Pirate cast is all made of real re-creationists who dress up like real pirates on weekends... I am not joking. This stuff looks authentic. It will be completed and ready for the AFM 2006 and will probably be released next year.

I am partners in a new company with Ray Haboush and Brian Yuzna called Halcyon International. We are working on a new sequel update to RE-ANIMATOR, currently called HOUSE OF RE-ANIMATOR. We have Stuart Gordon back as director which is awesome. William H. Macy is attached to play the President of the United States, who of course gets re-animated, and we will have Jeffrey Combs returning as Herbert West. Probably won't shoot that one until late next year.

DG: Holy crap! That would be awesome! Anything else you'd like to add?

TC: My partner Ray Haboush and I shot a movie last year called DOOMED. This will be coming out from Maverick Entertainment next year. It's a blast... 28 DAYS LATER meets BATTLE ROYALE. In fact, the Japanese version is called BATTLE ROYAL ISLAND. It's a balls to the walls battle between infected soldiers and human game show contestants. Its so violent and crazy.. The tagline is NO ONE WILL SURVIVE. So, you know going in that everyone is going to die, so its just a matter of when... And how.

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