INTERVIEW WITH GREG LAMBERSON
by Jason Harris
Greg Lamberson is bringing back the slime!
Back in 1988, Lamberson brought audiences SLIME CITY. This year he brings everyone SLIME CITY MASSACRE.
“[After] I made my first three films [and] moved to Buffalo, [New York], I wasn’t going to pursue film anymore,” Lamberson admitted. He was going to pursue novel writing, but “the film bug never left me.”
When asked why make a sequel 20 years after the original? “It made sense for me to make a sequel because of the fan base and to expand the mythology,” Lamberson said.
In SLIME CITY, when the characters of Lizzie and Alex talk about the back story of Zachary, Lamberson made it up on the spot, he said.
Lamberson got into directing because of his love of the films of George Romero, who directed and wrote NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD,(1968) and Jack Arnold, who directed the original CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954).
SCM was shot in an abandoned train station which Lamberson found when he was asked to direct PRISON OF THE PSYCHOTIC DAMNED: TERMINAL REMIX (2006). He never directed the movie because he didn’t get along with the producer.
“I thought if I ever did a sequel to SLIME CITY, the train station would work well for it,” Lamberson said. “The train station is a smaller version of Grand Central Station in New York City.” A lot of films have been shot there like Red Screen films, which were horror films shot in eight days and at night. Scenes for Barry Levinson’s THE NATURAL (1984) were also shot there. SCM was shot in 20 days.
The city of Buffalo was fine with them shooting in the abandoned train station as long as they had insurance. “We had the full run of the place,” he said.
Lamberson did get a few of the actors from SLIME CITY to come back for SCM. Robert C. Sabin portrays Zachary as “a beatnik type rather than a Satanist.” Mary Bogle, who has gotten married in the last 22-years, was Mary Huner when she did SLIME CITY. Bogle returns in her role as Lori Swan, “an edgy Lori.” It was tough getting Bogle to come for the shoot since she was dealing with a sick family member at the time, Lamberson recalled. “[Bogle] has a lot to do in SCM.”
There are 10 actors in SCM that have been in all, or at least one, of Lamberson’s film projects. One of those actors is Jennifer Bihl who plays Alexa, the lead in SCM. She first worked for Lamberson in his short music video “Gruesome,” based on his book JOHNNY GRUESOME. He had his regulars filming their scenes over two days.
According to Lamberson, Bihl, who is a local actress, looks like Bogle. “I never had any doubt she would do a perfect job.”
Roy Frumkes and Lloyd Kaufman, who both had a hand in the 80s horror scene, are in SCM. Frumkes, who wrote STREET TRASH (1987), was Lamberson’s film school teacher and is an associate producer on the film. “SLIME CITY has been talked about being a knock-off of STREET TRASH,” Lamberson said. “I thought it be a nice joke for [Frumkes] to be in the film.”
Kaufman, who brought audiences the cult hits THE TOXIC AVENGER (1984) and THE CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH (1986), was brought into the film because Debbie Rochon, who plays Alice in SCM, is good friends with Kaufman. “Debbie went to Lloyd to tell him he should do it,” Lamberson said. The question for Lamberson after Kaufman agreed to be in the film was what to do with him. “Where should I place Lloyd Kaufman?” he recalled with a laugh. “[Kaufman] always plays goofy characters in his movies.”
The Alice character was specifically written for Rochon by Lamberson. “I wrote the part for Debbie when I learned that she was a trained actress not just a scream queen.”
He had a great experience working with Rochon. She brought a lot of professionalism to the shoot.
There is one break-out star in SCM: horror writer Kealan Patrick Burke. Lamberson knew he had charisma from hearing Burke read his work during Podcasts. Lamberson is waiting to see “what the horror writers think of his performance.” He was going to cast Burke in another film, but that fell through. Burke was joined by another horror writer, Sephera Giron. Giron was cast for the part after Lamberson read her blog. One of her performances got a round of applause from the movie crew after “a semi-striptease,” Lamberson said. It was only one out of three instances of applause that he remembers during the filming of SCM.
Medallion Press, his book publisher, has been involved with all his projects from writing to filmmaking. “I would still be working on [SCM] if they hadn’t come forward with the money” to finish the movie, he said.
For the next year, Lamberson isn’t planning on working on a movie project. He will be taking SCM around to conventions and festivals in hopes of finding a distributor for the movie.
Along with being a filmmaker, he is also an author who has two books coming out this year, THE FRENZY WAY and DESPERATE SOULS.
© Copyright 2010 by Jason Harris