1). ROBBENT.COM: Let’s get right into it. Can you give us a synopsis of Exhumed?
RICHARD GRIFFIN: Well, without giving too much away, “Exhumed” centers on an unlikely group of housemates. Over the course of four days, loneliness, solitude, fear and longing will lead them to the darkest edges of life and death. That’s all I really want to say about the movie now. I want audiences to experience the film as fresh as humanly possible.
2). ROBBENT.COM: What inspired you to make Exhumed?
RICHARD GRIFFIN: The seed of the idea came from a really terrible nightmare I had a few years ago. A few days later, I wrote the very small seed of a story for it and I brought in a couple of screenwriters to flesh it out, but nothing really ever came of it. In 2010 I asked writer Guy Benoit (who had written “Atomic Brain Invasion” for me) to take a pass at it. Well, Guy brought in a lot of his own obsessions and interests, including research on cults and cult mentality. Within, I believe, two months, Guy handed in his first draft… and I can safely say it was the most original, exciting screenplay I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
3). ROBBENT.COM: What sparks your creativity?
RICHARD GRIFFIN: Having a project to work on; a challenge. When I was a child, I used to love jigsaw puzzles…. and now I see making a movie as nothing more than putting together an extremely large and complex jigsaw puzzle. But what really drives me is being surrounded by so many brilliant and talented artists. Not just the actors, writers and the camera folks, but the costumers, the set dressers, the composers, the audio folks. I also get a lot of drive and excitement when I’m working with a writer… I love sharing and building on ideas. That’s where the sparks fly!
4). ROBBENT.COM: Who are some of the filmmakers (past and present) that you draw inspiration from, and why?
RICHARD GRIFFIN: I’m very influenced by directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Bernardo Bertolucci, Dario Argento, John Carpenter, Orson Welles, Frank Tashlin, and Chuck Jones. Why? I have no idea! Their movies just touched me, sparked my imagination; each one for many different reasons.
5). ROBBENT.COM: What was it like working with Michael Reed?
RICHARD GRIFFIN: Working with Michael, and this was our fifth feature together (The other four being; Beyond the Dunwich Horror, Nun of That, Atomic Brain Invasion, and The Disco Exorcist) is always a pleasure. Outside his endless talent as an actor, Michael always comes to the set happy and excited to work. When you’re working long hours under considerable stress, it’s always a plus to have as many “cheerleaders” as possible – folks that drive you to continue forward and do your best work. Michael, like all great actors, comes to the set prepared, focused and he really knows his character inside and out. He’s a treasure.
6). ROBBENT.COM: What are three of your favorite films of all time, and why?
RICHARD GRIFFIN: This is always a tough one. The list, except for my absolute favorite film, changes on a daily basis… but I’ll give it a shot:
1. A PATCH OF BLUE (1965): I saw this one on late-night television in 1980, I think. It was the first film I saw that dealt with racism, and the first movie that made me cry. It showed me exactly how powerful this medium of film is. It’s also beautifully acted, sensationally directed, and the scope of black and white photography is breathtaking. I cannot say enough about it. Sadly, it’s also a movie that’s pretty much forgotten about. I would strongly suggest that people get a copy of it. It’s now out on DVD.
2. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962): What’s not to love? It’s true epic filmmaking that never loses sight of its characters or story. David Lean’s directing is just pitch-perfect, and the cinematography can’t be topped when it comes to breath-taking vistas. I had the pleasure of seeing this on the big screen in a restored version in the late 80s, and it just completely blew the top of my head off.
3. CASABLANCA (1942): I can’t go into all the reasons I love this movie, but I will say — if aliens came to Earth and said if we couldn’t give one good reason why they shouldn’t blow up the Earth — I would have them watch Casablanca.
7). ROBBENT.COM: What was it like working with Sarah Nicklin?
RICHARD GRIFFIN: Well, for six features Sarah Nicklin was my female lead. She is amazingly prepared, upbeat, dedicated and hard-working. She never came to the set unprepared or in a foul mood. In many ways, she was my muse during this period. She was just a delight to have around, and an honor to work with. I cannot say enough about Sarah.
8). ROBBENT.COM: What are some of your hobbies besides making movies?
RICHARD GRIFFIN: I love cooking, reading, and music. If for some reason I can no longer make movies, I would love to be a cook. Next to my spouse, food is my next major love.
9). ROBBENT.COM: What other projects do you currently have in the pipeline?
RICHARD GRIFFIN: Currently we have three features lined up for 2012. I hate to jinx things, but I’ll let you know right now we’re going to be shooting “Murder University” (Written by acclaimed playwright Lenny Schwartz) in March, and then “The Disco Exorcist: Part II: The New Wave” shortly afterwards.
10). ROBBENT.COM: And last but not least; why should people watch Exhumed?
RICHARD GRIFFIN: The four main reasons people should watch “Exhumed” is because of writer Guy Benoit’s highly original and disturbing screenplay. The next reason is the extremely talented cast of Debbie Rochon, Sarah Nicklin, Michael Reed, Michael Thurber, Rich Tretheway, Evalena Marie, Jonathan Thomson and Nat Sylva, director of photography Ken Willinger’s luscious black and white scope cinematography which is simply some of the best black and white photography I’ve seen in decades, and finally you should watch Exhumed because it would make me happy. And you want to make an old man happy, don’t you?
Many thanks to Richard for an awesome interview! Speaking of awesome; check out the trailer for EXHUMED on AWESOME MOVIE TRAILERS.
Exhumed trailer: HERE
Exhumed Facebook Page: HERE
Exhumed Premiere Page: HERE
Scorpio Film Releasing Official Site: HERE