BlairWitch.de: How do you explain the fact that Slither broke down at box office, but will surely be a hit on DVD?
James Gunn: Oh, who knows? It's a variety of factors. SLiTHER doesn't fit into any easy category -- it's a graphic horror film, it's a dark, independent comedy, it's a gross-out spectacle, it's a B-movie. It's not easy to get that across in a two minute trailer or a poster at your local theater. As to how it does on DVD, I think it's too early to count our chickens -- but I do feel positive about the long-term future for SLiTHER.
BlairWitch.de: You said about your upcoming project "Scratch": "It's pretty dark and it's fucking with my head a little actually". Sounds cool, give us some more information!
James Gunn: Oh, I can't give you too much info, actually. That script is so fucking dark and so sad I'm not sure I'm able to commit a year and a half of my time to directing it. So I'm writing another script as well. At the end of that one, I'll figure out which one I'll direct. But, honestly, SCRATCH is five times darker than anything else I've written, and it invaded my soul for about six months. As I turned my life over to it, I really think I became an almost evil person during that time.
BlairWitch.de: What brought you to work within the Troma Inc. and what was it like working there?
James Gunn: I used to walk by the Troma building on 9th Avenue all the time. I decided to apply for a job filing papers or whatever, and got hired to write a screenplay for them instead -- for a hundred and fifty bucks. I then went on to become the head of production. It was a lot of hard work while I was there, and was a bit frustrating at times, but it was a creatively free place and I had a lot of fun. And I liked being surrounded every day (and a few lucky nights) by lovely Tromettes.
BlairWitch.de: Slither was a fun/gore flick, being influenced by the late 70s and in particular the horror movies of the 1980s. Which directors do you admire, besides Cronenberg and Carpenter; and which films influenced you as filmfan?
James Gunn: I admire a shitload of directors, from Scorsese to Sergio Leone to Lukas Moodysson to Paul Greengrass. But, in terms of SLiTHER, I was influenced by a very specific group of guys. In addition to Cronenberg and Carpenter, there is Frank Henenlotter and BASKET-CASE, Stuart Gordon and RE-ANIMATOR, Sam Raimi and the EVIL DEAD movies, Peter Jackson's early stuff, TREMORS, CABIN FEVER, FROM DUSK 'TIL DAWN, and a few more. I also have to tip my hat to the graphic novelist Junji Ito and his UZUMAKI series. That was actually my very biggest influence.
BlairWitch.de: You wrote scripts for the "Dawn of the Dead", "Scooby Doo", made films like "Tromeo & Juliet" and last but not least "Slither". What can be expected for the future ? Maybe another trash-movie, a serious drama or a love story?
James Gunn: I'm thinking mostly straight-to-internet bukkakae films starring Muppets. Really, I just go with what I feel like. My next film is probably in the horror vein. After than it could be anything.
BlairWitch.de: Besides your gory-trash ideas, you also seem to have a really serious and intelligent vein in your mind, for example quoting films like Cronenberg's masterpiece "Videodrome" (the thing with Max Renn in "Slither"). What's your fascination towards him about?
James Gunn: VIDEODROME in particular is an extremely courageous work. It's a graphic and violent film which actually examines and questions the effects of violence in the media. I don't think any of us know for sure the effects our films have on the community -- are they a cathartic experience for people, giving them an outlet where they otherwise don't have one, or do violent films actually stir up more violence in society? Or do they do a little of both, basically nullifying themselves and having no impact at all on the world
Cronenberg isn't a reactionary. He's thoughtful. He examines things. His films aren't fascistic, telling us what's right and what's wrong. SLiTHER is first and foremost a fun popcorn film. What I cared about more than anything else was keeping it fun and moving and funny throughout. But, secondarily, it was always about marriage and the effects on a couple's surroundings when they break up. That's really what the disease in SLiTHER is: it's a couple's infidelity and subsequent breakup. I've seen so many marriages end around me, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad -- but they always affect the fiber of the immediate community. I'm usually reluctant to talk about this aspect of the film, as people rarely pick up on it. They often pick up on the evolution sub-themes, as I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Darwinist. That's also there. But to me it was mostly about marriage.
BlairWitch.de: "Slither", "Snakes on a Plane", the upcoming "Black Sheep" - what do you think is it that makes so many, many trash movies cult?
James Gunn: Well, I don't really think either SLiTHER or SNAKES has passed the test of time to become cult. I think cult films have enduring audiences. Neither of those films is even a year old.
BlairWitch.de: Let's assume that the aliens would invade the world tomorrow. What would you do?
James Gunn: See what it's like to fuck one, if it's got an appropriate orifice somewhere. Make friends. Teach them how to play CALL OF DUTY 2. I might pitch them some of my really sick ass ideas for reality TV shows, that would be inappropriate and unethical for humans to make, but would probably be pitch-perfect for the alien community. You know HUMANS HUNTING HUMANS and IRON CHEF: CANNIBAL EDITION, stuff like that.
BlairWitch.de: Do you think there will still be horror in cinemas in a few years? Or will it be replaced?
James Gunn: Horror films will be around as long as film itself is around.
Date of birth: 1966
Born in: St. Louis, Missouri
Favourite country you would like to travel to: Japan
In contrary - place you would never like to go: Kabul
The one song that changed your life: Teenage Lament '74 by Alice Cooper
If you weren't a filmmaker, you'd: be a psychologist.
Person you'd love to date: If Jenna died I would love to not only date but have repeated sexual intercourse with actress/model Josie Maran
The monster that scared you the most when you were a child: The zombies in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
The movie you'd desperately want to see right now in this moment: UNITED 93
I'd recommend the users of BlairWitch.de to...: (da war wohl plötzlich die Tastatur kaputt...)