|Interview with filmmaker Joe
DeMuro director of Tales of
By AL J. Vermette
He is the man behind Wolfbain Productions
and the director & co-writer for the upcoming
creature feature "Tales of Dracula." The new
film will feature three of Universal's biggest
Monsters from their classic years of the 1930's
and 40's. With starring creatures as The Wolf-
man, Frankenstein's Monster and everyone's
favorite vampire Dracula.... ask how can you
go wrong? DeMuro's movie is not only a great throw back to the classic
years of cinema but he brings them back in all their glory with a new tale
unlike anything we have seen so far. You may know the Monsters....now see
them through Joe DeMuro's eyes.
AL: Please tell our readers about your new horror film and the use of its
Joe: Myself and Thomas Rice started writing the script back in 2009 together,
then in 2013 I brought in ( Dwight Kemper ) to help us with finishing the story. We
wanted it to be an homage to the classic movie monsters of the silver screen in
the tradition of Universal and Hammer films. We really wanted to start telling a new
story with the old characters. Back when the last Universal film was released, they
left it with too many unanswered questions. They also left it wide open for any
reinterpretation we might like to create. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love all
the old films and watch them religiously every week in rotation. That being said, I
wanted more story. Since no one else was giving me more story with these
characters, I decided to do it myself to answer questions that no one else had
answered yet, like the true origin of the werewolf curse, why Dracula wears a
cape, or where the ring he wears comes from. Now this particular feature is not
going to reveal any of that, but we do have hopes that this film will give us the
ability to launch into more of our developed back story on these characters. We
want to be able to continue the legacy of "our" monsters in future films.
AL: We here at Blood Moon Rising are big fans of the classics, what made
you want to use these creatures in your new film?
Joe: Having grown up back in the golden age of horror films and really developing
a love for the classic monsters, these being the classic trio (Frankenstein Monster,
Wolfman and Dracula), it only seemed logical to start our second movie endeavor
with the big three.
AL: I myself am a life long fan of Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolfman,
have you too always been a fan and why?
Joe: I have most definitely been a fan of the big three! Why? Why not? I was
originally a big fan of the Frankenstein Monster, hands down, but as time went on,
I became just as interested in all the other monsters of the silver screen. Let's not
forget the Mummy and Creature from the Black Lagoon, either, but my main stay
character is most definitely the Frankenstein Monster. One of the first items that I
ordered from Famous Monsters of Film Land as a kid was the Don Post/Glenn
Strange Frankenstein Monster mask! When I was a kid, we had a little fan club
that we were all monsters and used to hold plays in the back yard, never dreaming
back then, that I'd actually get to play the monster in a film! Happy to say, that I
DO! And I actually fill in the big boots...and yeah, they're big!
AL: Please tell us about the making of you new movie?
Joe: I met Mike Rudolph on another film set and he decided after that film was
done, to come work with us at Wolfbain productions. He is an excellent DP and
we're glad to have him. After that, we held two casting calls and met with about 60
people, and out of that came the group we have in the film. There were quite a
few other good reads, but not enough room in the film, character wise, to bring in
more people. We started production this year (2013) on April 26th with a minimal
crew and some of the cast at State Park in Port Crane, New York and various
other locations in Broome County (Roberson Museum and The Know Theater)
which made the movie possible through the cooperation of each institution.
We started gathering, building, and buying the props and costumes, set
production equipment, etc. to defray the cost over time versus coming up with one
lump chunk of change all at once. Our objective was to give the classic feel with
the Rembrandt style lighting that we used...lots of shadows and eerie camera
angles. We shot it on a DSLR Canon 7D, versus an actual 35mm camera, which,
if we had one, would have preferred, if only for the retro look of the film, but with
the video editing programs out there today, we can make it look as old school as
we like in post without too much trouble. We had a skeleton crew with myself
directing, Thomas running audio capture and Mike doing all the lighting and
filming. It was interesting to experiment when we could, but with some of the
pre-visual explanations well in advance of the shooting, we pretty much knew what
we wanted before we got to the set...most of the time. We wanted to stay with
practical make-ups and use very little post production CGI/Special visual effects.
The sets are also practical locations, or built sometimes inside other locations
because of the already existing environment. We had a great time, needless to
say, and we plan on doing more!
AL: What was the best and worst parts of shooting the movie?
Joe: For me, the best part of shooting the movie was getting to do something I
love. To create a new classic that I hope in time will become just as great as any
other classic of this genre. Getting to meet new people, make new life long
friends, and to work with people that enjoyed it as much as we did. The worst part
was scheduling and getting everyone to set on time, and some of those monster
24 to 26 hour days, equipment glitches, failures and accidents with equipment on
set (breaking lights, people tripping over cables, etc.) but it's an expected part of
the process, and well worth the minor aggravation, because in the end, when it's
all coming together nicely during editing, we forget about the trivial stuff. Even
some of the aggravations we look back upon now, rather fondly.
AL: In making the film, did you run into any copyright issues with the
Joe: One of the things that we talked about at great length with Ron Chamberlain,
was to come up with new designs for the Frankenstein Monster, the Wolfman, and
Dracula. Ron made a few changes to the Frankenstein Monster, with limitations. I
wanted our monster to have the heavy eyelids, the heavy brow and the flat head.
After that, it was all up to Ron. The Wolfman is going to be something more than
the traditional Wolfman. We wanted him to be something more fierce than the
original Lon Chaney Jr. version and I believe not only is it more fierce than that,
but more fierce than the Del Toro version and still kept as practical make-up! We
developed a full upper foam rubber body suit and the full application of makeup is
approximately a 4 hour process to get into. We really feel that the fans will be
blown away by the full Wolfman transformation. Yes, you get to see a partial
transformation in the trailer, but we aren't done yet. That character is being saved
for the big screen!
AL: Do you plan on using other classic film Monsters in any follow up
Joe: If we draw a big enough fan base for the film, we plan on continuing it as a
series, that's why we called it, "Tales of Dracula" so we CAN continue it. Trust me,
we have enough material at this point to do roughly 4 more films continuing our
own story lines. That's the plan. There's enough for prequels and sequels that
could keep fans happy for years to come...we also have to answer the previously
mentioned questions I have from all the original films myself. We have some back
stories already developed and are working on some as we go, because we had to
know where the characters came from in our own minds, in order to place them in
this film, and to move the story along.
AL: Your monsters look great and true to there names, who did your
make-up on the film?
Joe: In reading Blood Moon Rising # 53, which I enjoyed immensely, there was an
article called "Making Monsters" which featured the legendary makeup artist Dick
Smith! Ron Chamberlain is a former student and understudy of Dick Smith! Small
world, right? As previously mentioned, we've been working with Ron Chamberlain
and he did all the practical effect makeups for the monsters, as well as the beauty
makeup on the vampire girls. We have been fortunate to have Ron as our
makeup man and partner in Wolfbain Productions. We couldn't do it without him!
Ron is always saying he's not as good as Jack Pierce, but we beg to differ. We
feel that Ron's three makeups in this film will be held in the same regard, and with
the same esteemed level of excellence and perfection as Dick Smith and Jack
Pierce. We hope this film, and possible series of films, will give him the recognition
that he deserves as a leader in effects makeup design.
AL: After this film is done and in the can, what's next for you?
Joe: As of right now, the film is about 90% done. We have a few scenes left to
shoot, yet, and not to be a shameless plugger for things, but we did launch an
Indiegogo campaign in the hopes of raising enough funds to hire someone with
fight/stunt/wirework co-ordinator, so we can really bring home a great battle in the
film. When this film is completed and ready for viewing, we plan on screening it a
few times to see public reaction and to have the public take a survey to see if
maybe we want to re-edit/re-cut the film. If all goes smoothly, we then want to start
premiering it at different horror conventions and venues throughout the US. We
hope that a company will pick it up for distribution, but if not, we have a set time
frame decided that if no company picks it up, we will take it directly to DVD at that
point and distribute it ourselves under the auspices Wolfbain Productions. As far
as what's next, we have several other scripts in the works, and more ideas coming,
that if we don't decide to go back right away into this genre of film, we'll still have
plenty to do. Many options are open to us at this point.
AL: What would you like to say to other filmmakers out there about getting
their film project started?
Joe: First and foremost, surround yourself with people who have the same level of
love for the idea. Stay true to your dreams. No matter what anyone tells you,
stick to it. Network like crazy. Go to conventions, hold casting calls, join film
forums, utilize Facebook, artist websites, anywhere you can go to talk about your
project. Most of the time any crew/equipment you might be lacking, sometimes
they show up to the casting calls, too! If you feel that your current equipment
can't get you your finished product, do it anyway. Getting started is the key. In
reality, for your first project, you should probably pick something that is more
modern day, because Tales of Dracula was costume and period intensive, that's
where a good portion of the budget went to...was costumes, and the right location
and props. If you do have a small portion of your budget set aside for period
props (clothing specific) don't rule out the Salvation Army. We bought so many
hats from them, it's not funny. Yard sales and flea markets are also a great
resource to look for older period props as well. We picked up an old doctors bag
at an antique store, an old chest at a flea market, and a couple of bottles and
mugs from a garage sale. Whatever you do, always have fun with it. That's the
most important, is to remember to have fun. Best of luck in your endeavors.
AL: When your film is done, where can our readers find it to enjoy?
Joe: Currently, our plans are to take the film to film conventions and festivals to
see if we can get it picked up for distribution. We have a set time limit for
ourselves that if that doesn't happen, we'll be taking it direct to DVD sales, Itunes,
Netflix, and other forms of streaming content. As soon as that information
becomes available, we'll be sure to let all the fans know for sure through our
website, Facebook, and wherever else we are on the internet by then. If you're
looking for our website, we are setting it up as we speak, but we are already on
Facebook and Youtube. Everyone is more than welcome to stay in contact with us
through Facebook until the website is ready for launch. They can also contact us
through our Wolfbain Productions email which is email@example.com
anytime as we always love to hear from fans, just to chat, for feedback, and what
The link to our Indegogo campaign is : http://igg.me/p/520184
The link to our Facebook is : https://www.facebook.com/TalesOfDracula
Here is the link to our trailer on Youtube if you haven't seen it already :
Al, we'd like to thank you and Blood Moon Rising for allowing us this interview, we
look forward to seeing the issue we're featured in, and many more issues to
come. You have new fans!