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Gargoyles in Dracula's Castle! An Interview with director Jim Wynorski PDF Print E-mail
Written by Written by Joe Sherlock   
Apr 08, 2005 at 02:00 AM
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Gargoyles in Dracula's Castle! An Interview with director Jim Wynorski
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Jim Wynorski is known to b-movie fans as a master of sexploitation starting with his busty adventure THE LOST EMPIRE through SCREWBALLS to his more recent BARE WENCH parodies. Wynorski is also quite an action auteur, directing fast-paced features often under the name Jay Andrews. In addition, Wynorski is a monster fan (after all, he did direct a classic beast and babe flick, RETURN OF THE SWAMP THING!) and his latest offering is GARGOYLES.

Jim took a few moments to talk about his latest creature feature. 

DG: So as to make sure our readers don't confuse this with the 70s TV movie, tell us what GARGOYLES is about.

JW: First of all, I love the original GARGOYLES. It was back in the day when the three main networks weren't afraid to try something new in their programming. The film itself is truly creepy, and evokes a horrific atmoshere even from its early moments out in the Palmdale desert. For me, it was like an extended color episode of the The Outer Limits, with its shadowy action sequences and, for then, state-of-the-art make-up. And in a pre CGI era, director Bill Norton still had the guts to pull off a dramatic flying sequence.

DG: You shot it back in July/August of 2003 in Romainia, correct? Did I read that you actually shot at Castle Dracula in Transylvania?

JW: When I first came up with the idea for GARGOYLES, I set the story in Los Angeles. But then the folks at Cinetel suggested I go to Spain to helm the production. Being a fan of spaghetti westerns and horror movies, I was thrilled by the idea. But as I kept reworking the script, I kept thinking how much better it would be to film in Transylvania. And then, through a series of fortunate circumstances, we were able to arrange a co-production deal with the government of Romania. I flew there in June to prep and was promptly told that Castle Dracula was off limits to film making. Well, I didn't come half way around the world to be told "no, you can't do that." So I made several trips to Vlad's Castle and finally conviced officials to let me at least shoot there for a couple hours - which we did.

The place is steeped in atmosphere and, for a guy who was brought up on horror films like me, it was a thrill to actually shoot a picture there on the unhallowed grounds.

DG: Had you shot in Romania before? It seems to be a frequently-used location for a lot of lower-budget fare these days, although I hear tales of communication problems due to language difficulties. Did you have any such troubles on set?

JW: This was my first trip to Romania, and I truly enjoyed it. Yes, there is a slight communication problem occasionally, but I find that I have the same problems here in the States when I make a film. There's always a few dead-heads on a crew who never get it right - no matter where you're filming.

DG: Michael Pare has commented that he got along very well with you during the shoot. Had you worked together before?

JW: No, but I have worked with him since on my upcoming film CRASH LANDING. He's a great guy with a long track record of genre work. I loved him in STREETS OF FIRE and THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT. I recall him worrying a great deal about not having any monster to react to, but I assured him he was doing fine. I discovered both he and I are fans of Ray Harryhausen, and GARGOYLES was my chance to do a stop-motion animation-type of flick. I even went so far as to instruct the CGI artists to emulate all the Harryhausen monster moves. So when you see it, check out all the references.

DG: Initially one might think that use of CGI for monsters in today's creature features would make shooting easier - not having to deal with monster suit mishhaps and troubles on-set, etc. But do other allowances and planning for post-production CGI work seem to pick up any ground you might gain?

JW: There are, of course, both pros and cons for CGI - but I think the advent of inexpensive CGI has leveled the playing field between the majors and independents. Now an enterprising kid in daddy's garage can deliver the same thrills as ILM.

DG: Any more monster flicks in your near future? What can we look forward to from you in the coming months?

JW: In December, I start work on SHOCK WAVE, about a pair of high-tech robots loose on a desert island. I'm modeling the machines after some old sci-fi magazine covers from the 1930s. After that, I'm going to Hawaii for KOMODO VS. COBRA, a title I believe that says it all. You should also be on the lookout for two comedy erotics, THE WITCHES OF BREASTWICK and THE BREASTFORD WIVES, both starring Glori Anne Gilbert.

Thanks for the interview, Joe. Best Regards.

DG: Thank you, Jim. Hey everybody - watch for more creatures and cuties from Jim and you can pick up GARGOYLES right here at www.b-movie.com!

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