FM has been covering the theatrical and festival circuit that SPIDERS has been on ever since it premiered at the 3D Film Festival in Los Angeles back in September. The movie is finally nearing its limited release on February 8th, with it being available on VOD that same day. Today we begin part 1 of a 3 part series in which we talk with the man behind the camera and the two stars in front of it. That would be Tibor Takacs, Patrick Muldoon, and Christa Campbell, respectively.
First up is director Tibor Takacs, a man with a lengthy filmography spanning all sorts of genres, featuring such titles as SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH, THE OUTER LIMITS, THE GATE, MANSQUITO, RATS, ICE SPIDERS, and MY BABYSITTER’S A VAMPIRE. We talked about his early influences, his inspiration for SPIDERS, its impressive FX and the possibility of a sequel. Stay tuned for a review and for new stills from the creature feature. But sit back, relax and read on, and…watch out for the creepy crawler on your shoulder (and bad jokes).
FM: What kinds of films, or TV, or books did you grow up on? What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Like a lot of genre fans I watched Twilight Zone and Outer Limits on re-runs. My parents weren’t into genre films they mostly took me to European stuff until I was about 12 when we moved downtown next to a bunch of theaters and so for a couple of years I was on a diet of mostly American mainstream fare two or three times a week. Over the years I have developed an eclectic taste in movies- for example my favorite films this year were Holy Motors and Chronicle.
You’ve been in the film industry since the 1970s. Is there anything you can attribute your long time success to?
Maybe it’s this eclectic taste in movies and movie making? I’m down to do a lot of different genres and have had opportunity to work in several. My brand tends to be seen as sci-fi fantasy but I’ve always been interested in all kinds of stories. Often I get to do other genres and styles when they have a fantasy or sci-fi component like when I did the pilot movie for Sabrina The Teenage Witch or more recently the My Babysitter’s A Vampire series.
FM: SPIDERS is clearly inspired by the creature feature subgenre of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Were there any movies in particular you love in the genre or wanted to aspire too while making the film?
I have a nostalgic love of classic giant creature features but at the same time also love the modern twist that Cloverfield brought to this subgenre.
In a way this is my tribute to Godzilla and Mothra and I tried to do it in a somewhat updated fashion with a definite nod to the past without any overt campiness. Getting the tone of the movie right was the big challenge, too much homage to the classics and you ruin the suspense. I wanted the film to remind me of the feelings I had as a kid watching these movies and hopefully enchant a new generation of young creature feature fans. After talking to some 10 year olds at a screening I thought to myself this is a movie Glen and Terry (the characters from The Gate) would have enjoyed.
FM: What many people have been impressed with in SPIDERS is how great the movie looks with a low budget. How were you able to achieve such real and life like monsters while pinching pennies? Was there anything that you had to cut because it was too costly to shoot?
It all worked down to how much rampaging the spiders could do on our given budget. Having a great in-house effects facility (World Wide Effects) with dedicated crew who respected what we were trying to do didn’t hurt our efforts either. Of course we all had the crazy cliché ideas of the spiders crawling all over skyscrapers or running around Times Square but on our budget the execution would have been too campy for the style of movie we were doing. If it was too campy it would diminish the suspense aspect of enjoying a film like this.
FM: You’ve done a lot of work in TV, and with TV movies, and in features. What are the differences between making them, and what are the advantages and pitfalls that go along with each of them? Do you have a preference?
Each of the mediums you mention has an aspect that makes them attractive to a filmmaker especially when it comes to Sci-Fi Fantasy Horror genre material.
In TV series, you have an opportunity for character development so you aren’t expected to constantly create spectacle, you have time to spend with actors and they already know a lot about their characters, audience becomes invested and are willing to stay put without too much eye candy. TV movies want to be somewhere in the middle where focus between character and spectacle are split but you really need to worry about the audience pressing the remote and changing the channel. In a theatrical movie you have the most latitude because once people buy a ticket they have an intention to enjoy the show it would have to be very boring to have them walk out. The same goes for VOD.
FM: How would you describe your film to not just horror fans, but just movie fans in general who may have never heard of SPIDERS?
It’s always fun to hunt or be hunted by giant creatures in the safety of the theater or your living room. Spiders 3D is basically a fun scary adventure movie a family (with kids older than middle school) can actually watch together. It’s about a family in a bad situation and how they work together to survive a major disaster.
FM: What’s up next for you? Can we expect a SPIDERS 2?
A few projects nearly going but nothing set that I can really talk about yet. For a Spiders sequel to happen we need a lot of people out there telling their friend how much they enjoyed Spiders 3D and getting them to order it on pay per view so it’s really up to the fans if we make another one.