The Q&A Background
At the beginning of January, we reached out to a friend who happens to run an amazing Video Game Convention in Philadelphia called Too Many Games. Too Many Games is one of the regular convention destinations for James Rolfe and Cinemassacre as the Angry Video Game Nerd character is quite popular in the gaming world. He appears there yearly and I asked if she could reach her regular contact to help us get in touch with James and Mike and offer to have them on for a Director's Chat here on the channel. At the moment the schedules for both men make that pretty difficult but they were extremely gracious to allow us to submit some text questions to both and have given us permission to air The Deader the Better, one of James' horror films from 2005.
As for James, I have been a long time fan of his work. Not just the AVGN stuff but he has other characters which have quite a lot of comedy elements to them. Some of his videos are very basic, just him and Mike talking about a game or movies they loved. Some are elaborate productions like most of his AVGN work or even stuff like his tour of Sleepy Hollow (check that out, it's a fantastic watch) or even the video he did for his Board James character on the game Mr. Bucket. What was easy to pick out in all of this was that James has been heavily influenced by horror films and loves the genre enough to use it in many of his other videos. In those videos, he often professes his love for the Universal Monsters series.
With all of that in mind, I felt that James and Mike would be a perfect fit for our channel and we opened up the questions to our viewers who sent them to me via email, posted on our Facebook page and even threw some at me verbally to jot down. These questions are from that list that I compiled.
JAMES ROLFE'S ANSWERS
Questions in RED, Answers in WHITE
This is a little long winded but I find as a horror fan often times when I am writing something or being creative a lot of horror concepts seem to come to mind first and ultimately seem easier to pull off just because of the heavy interest and imagination I have had with the genre. I have seen this play out a bit in some of your videos (namely Mr. Bucket on Board James). Do you consider horror to be a natural fallback in terms of idea origination for a lot of your work?
Yeah, I suppose it's easy for your mind to gravitate towards the horror genre if you grew up having a heavy interest in it. My earliest memories are nightmares, rather than my real life waking hours, so my imagination starts with ghouls and monsters.
If you could choose one deceased and one currently alive horror star to work with, who would you choose?
I would choose to work with Lon Chaney Jr, because he seems the most relatable. For someone who's still alive, I would go with Christopher Lee, because he's a living legend. I think that's almost as impossible to get him to act for me, unless I was Tim Burton or Peter Jackson.
What is your least favorite style of horror film type (or sub-genre) being produced today that you would like to see go away?
I guess the "torture porn" genre. They're disturbing, even if well-made sometimes. I prefer my horror films more on the "fun" side.
What was the one film that most inspired you to make horror films and why?
It was really a combination, but if I had to point at one, I'd say Night of the Living Dead, because it was independently made. You can tell it was made by a group of young filmmakers with a lot of balls. That was inspiring.
What horror based video game would you like to see as a movie?
Maybe an RPG with all the Universal Monsters as the heroes. I think that would be great!
(Editors note: I think the answer is reversed from the question but we agree, a Universal Monsters RPG would be pretty sweet.)
When you decide to do the Monster Madness reviews every year, what is the process like to choose all of the films for that given year? Have you had a lot of requests for specific films?
The first year was easy, because I picked all the most famous horror movies. Then I started digging deeper into the cracks, and trying to showcase more obscure ones. Now it's all over the place. I just pick a theme and go with it. And yes, we get a lot of requests. Every year, there seems to be one really big request that we end up tackling the following year. Last time, it was Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Everybody wanted that. And they got it!
After completion of the AVGN movie, will you attempt to film a larger budget full length horror feature?
I would love to, yes. It was what I was born dreaming to do.
What is your favorite lesser known horror film?
There's tons of them. Off the top of my head, William Castle's The Night Walker is extremely underrated, and has never been released on DVD.
It's clear from some of your videos ("heads explode" in particular) that you appreciate gore fx. What is your favorite gory horror scene?
Either something from Dead Alive or Day of the Dead (like when Captain Rhodes is getting torn apart by the zombies.)
What is your advice to up and coming independent film makers?
Right now, I've been working on the same film for 6 years (if you count the writing phase). There's a lot of pressure to get it done, and I'm working as fast I possibly can. The advice is to keep it simple. If you have lots of locations, and lots of special effects, get ready for a long battle. If you're in no hurry to finish it, than there's no worries. But know what you're up against. Once you start a film, you're stuck with it, until it's over. Of course, a lot of people end up abandoning their unfinished projects, but I don't have that option. There's no turning back.
MIKE MATEI’S ANSWERS
Your artwork is incredible. If you had to put together an animated film based on any horror character in films or comics, who would it be?
If I was going to do something like that, I would probably make it a gigantic VS movie, where all the old monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy and The Wolfman had to fight the later day horror icons Leatherface, Jason, Freddy and Michael Myers. I actually wrote a synopsis about this a while back.
It mostly had to do with how Dracula ends up tricking them all to go to his castle, where he's at his most powerful, and they all become his slaves. Then Dracula takes over the world.
It's an idea a kid would come up with, but I think it'd be good if it was done well.
I was going to make some sort of comic book about it, but I'm sure I'll never get the time..
We've seen you play The Joker on AVGN and a Zombie in "The Deader the Better".
Do you and James work out the entire script together or do you get creative and do your own thing?
This is a hard question to answer because it's all over the place. Some stuff James writes and some stuff I write. When it's something theatrical, that's mostly James. I help out more with the movie and game reviews.
You have said you aren't as big of a horror fan as James, however are you still a fan of the genre?
I don't recall ever saying that. And if I did, what I probably meant was that James retains more horror knowledge than I do.
(Editor's Note: This is actually what was intended in the framing of the question, however it was worded poorly when sent over.)
Sometimes we do horror trivia, and he can instantly recall all sorts of obscure facts better than I could.
I am most certainly a huge, huge fan of the genre! I have thousands of horror movies on DVD and VHS. I review horror movies all the time. My apartment is lined from floor to ceiling with horror movie posters. My family line goes back to Transylvania. (no really it does) I'm probably related to Dracula. I have seen every single Bela Lugosi movie going back to his silents. I still dress up every single year for Halloween to celebrate my love of horror. My favorite movies of all time are the Universal Monster Movies. Should I go on?
What are some of your favorite horror films and what drew you to them?
Well, I just answered that question. Again, it was the Universal Movies. In particular, it was Dracula. But I feel like I've talked about this a million times before. We did a commentary on the entire movie from 1931. People are probably sick of me talking about Dracula by now. haha!
I do love the horror genre. But I'll tell you what I don't like. Movies like Saw where it's just people getting tortured most of the time. Horror movies like that are just no fun to me. Gremlins, that's fun. The Wolf Man, that's fun. Even though I love Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which is more serious, in general, I'm more into horror-comedy.
A recent example is Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. That movie is hilarious. That's the kind of horror I'm into.
You've had a large hand in the artwork of AVGN and James' other projects. What horror related (game or otherwise) artwork would you say was your best of the genre?
You're asking what I think my best horror themed AVGN title card was? Well, the ones I did for James four part Castlevania review were, I think some of the best ones I did. They were all parodies of the Castlevania box art. I was happy with how those came out.
If I somehow misunderstood the question, and you were asking my favorite horror posters in general, well, the best horror poster art was done back in the 30s & 40s. Though, I think my favorite horror art ever is the DVD cover to Monsters Crash the Pajama Party. Now that's fun!
Visit Cinemassacre.com for AVGN, Board James, Horror Shorts and a lot of just seriously fun videos.