Thursday, January 12, 2012
Dollar Bin Horror Spotlight - Rage (Review and Interview with Christopher R. Witherspoon)
I had the honor to sit down with the man behind the great indie film, Christopher R. Witherspoon, for a little chit chat.
Q: What inspired you to make Rage?
The idea for Rage came from a couple of places. The first was Steven Spielberg’s 1971 film classic “Duel” which I have always been a huge fan of. Another of its inspirations came from things that were transpiring in my personal life. I had been having an affair and got caught by my girl, the mother of my three children. The fall out was so very destructive and the saddest thing of all was the “collateral damage”… that being my children who were completely innocent. My infidelity made me really think about how the actions / decisions of a single person can effects the lives of others. This ultimately became the subtext of Rage. Many months later I was up in the wee hours of the morning and Duel came on and I watched it and thought to myself… “Wow this flick is still so effective”. After that the screenplay just fell together.
Q: You wrote, produced, edited, did the cinematography, sound, and visual effects while also playing the mysterious "Biker". How in the hell did you sleep at night?
To be honest I didn’t get much sleep but that’s okay because I don’t sleep much anyway. And when I do sleep I usually dream about films or story ideas.
Q: Rick Crawford's performance in Rage was so believable that it drew you into the film's story and, for me at least, made me root for your character! What was it like to work with him as well as the rest of the fantastic cast?
Rick was my first choice to play the lead role of Dennis Twist and I was very lucky to get him. It was a very complex part to play because he, Twist, is not a very sympathetic character, do to his infidelity and how he chooses to deal with that. I didn’t want the audience to hate this character throughout the entire film so I needed someone who could give a performance that could solicit some measure of sympathy even though he clearly doesn’t deserve it and Rick was more than capable to deliver that. The other members of the cast Audrey Walker who was fantastic in the role of Crystal Twist did an incredible job. She was subjected to some really physical and mentally violent scenes, which she handle like a true professional. The other cast members, Jo Black Jacobs, M.L. Maltz, Richard Topping and Spencer Conway all did an excellent job.
Q: What's next for Christopher R. Witherspoon
Up next for me is a horror anthology entitled “The Twilight Hotel”. It is a film that is in the style of George Romero’s “Creep Show” and HBO’s “Tales from the Crypt”. The film will be composed of 4 short stories and a connecting element. The idea for the film came about as a result of a question that I’ve asked myself for many years, which is… What would happen if Alfred Hitchcock had directed episodes of the Twilight Zone? Well, The Twilight Hotel is what I believe to be the answer. The concept is… There is an old hotel called the Twilight that was constructed in the late 1920’s and over the years there has been many, many horrible things that have taken place there and as a result of that there is an overload of “bad karma” so today when someone of questionable character checks in, they will have to deal with their “personal” baggage, so to speak. There are zombies, violent mobsters, serial killers, indestructible insects, monsters / demons and much, much more. Also, it’s gonna be very, very graphic and there will be blood… by the gallons and gallons and gallons and… you get the picture.
Q: This is really a question I like to ask everyone, but what would you say was the film that got you into the horror genre and why?
I would have to say it’s a three-way tie… The Exorcist, Alien and Jaws. I saw these films when I was very young and they damaged me, in a good way, permanently. I was so freaked out and terrified that I couldn’t sleep for weeks after seeing them but they also inspired me to want to make films that could do the same thing to other people.
Check out this killer film's trailer!