Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Terror of the Undead: My Filmography

Terror of the Undead. The mere title of this 30-year-old independent American horror film is enough to make older genre fans' eyes mist over with fond memories. Where were they in the summer of 1980 (or somewhere around then) when this film was crafted by a bunch of young teenagers in Manitowoc, Wisconsin?

Just like the hundreds of film vets who got their starts working for B-movie king Roger Corman, Terror of the Undead provided the training ground and launchpad for such modern film legends as mmmmbbllee mummble mummblle and mummble mmrrmerr mummble. This movie is a great example of what art can be created if enough talent is deployed, along with blood, sweat, tears, and about 15 minutes of pre-production planning. Just like you witnessed with the guerilla filmmaking techniques used by The Blair Witch Project, you'll be amazed at the shaky camera work (accomplished using the pre-digital effects technique known as we didn't know how to hold the camera steady).

The acting is, if I may say so myself, sublime. I was honored at this point in my junior high school career to be offered the lead role of "the reporter" in Terror of the Undead. I had been dissatisfied with the scripts being sent to me, and I was on the verge of seeking new representation when the Terror opportunity presented itself, and I recognized it immediately as the career-changing role it was. (Seriously, career-changing. I'm now a magazine editor.)

As I told the Actors Studio's James Lipton, I've never gone in for that old-fashioned method acting stuff. For me, it's enough to know the camera is on and that I remember I'm supposed to look (a) pensive, (b) unemotional, or (c) expressionless. Though I was beaten out at the Oscars that year (damn you, Dustin Hoffman!), I think the industry appreciated my "new-wave" approach to fleshing out and humanizing "the reporter."

Go ahead, watch the film. When you see me, I'm sure you'll immediately say, "Oh, wow, you had a full head of hair back then." No, no. I was a bald 12-year-old, too, but I made you believe that I had a full head of hair. That's called acting.

Watch the entire film – free of commercials or film industry censorship!!! – here.

1 comment:

Schlockmaniac #1 said...

We've all got to start somewhere, John - and I'll never look at a pile of discarded newspapers the same way again.