PAUL SCRABO: MASTER OF THE “EROTIC HOUSE OF IDIOTS”

In terms of sheer cameo-weight, “Dr. Horror’s Erotic House of Idiots” may possibly be “The Longest Day” of B-movies. Made with love and affection towards the low-budget horror genre by filmmaker Paul Scrabo, “Dr. Horror’s” feels like an old-fashioned ‘60s cavalcade film packed with recognizable faces.

Starting off with a flashy animated title sequence reminiscent of “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”, “Dr. Horror’s” tells the story of a former horror writer who is conned into posing as a famous sex therapist to bilk the good doctor’s patients out of their ample amounts of cash. Equating their sexual problems with plots of dumb horror movies, the movie spins into multiple colorful areas as it becomes an anthology parody and even a musical!

With the star-power of heavy-hitters like Debbie Rochon (Nowhere Man), Trent Haaga (Terror Firmer), Michael R. Thomas (“Lord of the G-Strings”), Conrad Brooks (“Plan 9 from Outer Space”), Zacherly “The Cool Ghoul”, Tina Krause (“Witchouse 3: Demon Fire”), Jasi Cotton Lanier (“Were-Grrl”), Amy Lynn Best (“Severe Injuries”), Ruby Larocca (Flesh for the Beast), Rachael Robbins (“The Screaming Dead”), George Ann Muller (who also co-produced) and Brinke Stevens (“Something to Scream About” – who also co-wrote the final story), there’s a familiar face at every turn and if you didn’t like one joke, wait a few seconds and another is sure to follow.

I recently spoke to Paul about his “Erotic House of Idiots.”

What was the inspiration for “Dr. Horror’s Erotic House of Idiots”?
Well, first I have to mention that I have been truly inspired by the amazing work produced by “backyard filmmakers” around the country. They spend their own money, and when it’s your own, it’s a LOT. So, I do try to support them by checking out the various independent film websites and buying many films. I haven’t visited Blockbuster in a few years!

There is a real kick to watching these films because you get to view interesting locations from around the country. I hesitate to list some favorites for fear of leaving a few good ones out, but I do enjoy the multi-directed “Alien Agenda” series, “Hardcore Poisoned Eyes”, “Blackwood Evil” and “Housebound”. I also enjoy some completely off the wall films like Michael Legge’s “Honey Glaze” and Amy Lynn Best’s “Severe Injuries”, of which just the premise alone makes me laugh.

Anyway, these folks are the true independent producers and are my overall inspiration for even trying. However, the inspiration for “Dr. Horror” came from the other side of the spectrum – the professional B-movie industry. There is this endless list of films with “erotic” in the title. I watched a few and thought, this couldn’t be too difficult.

The actual truth is that I am the oddball producer in the B-movie world, and that “Dr. Horror” is my dirty trick to the industry. Whatever the B-movie rules were, we would do the opposite. But we WOULD have “erotic” in the title.

In my regular job in network television, I work with the “hype” and “what sells” mentality. I’m used to it and I am very good in delivering what writers and producers want. This could be a reason why, in doing a project on my own, I did not want to concern myself with what’s perceived as marketable for a B-Movie.

What made you decide to jump feet-first into the filmmaking world with an epic of this proportion?
I have actually made a few shot-on-video features over the years, but not for public consumption. Years ago, I used a two-piece VHS system for our “video features”. Today they call it digital filmmaking. It’s still a “video feature” but it sounds sexier, doesn’t it?

“Dr. Horror’s” was conceived as a B-Movie “epic” because I truly wanted to show off the talents of many cult movie stars, and along the way present some mini-movies parodying some B-movie genres.

What is your own filmmaking background?
I started in Super 8mm. Better start going over the will while I’m here. I made several films with my high school classmates. Most of the footage is lost forever, which is perhaps the best news for the film-viewing public. Only a few reels have survived, and we may include a few minutes of them on the “Dr. Horror” DVD. It was a wonderful era, and it taught you severe discipline. Every shot had to count since film was not cheap, and you only had a few minutes in each cartridge. And what you got back from the lab was your one and only original!

Back in those days, you were the oddball if you took out a home movie camera and attempted to tell a story. Flash forward to today, and I actually read in a B-movie forum that a guy felt his life was a failure, since he was approaching 22 years and hadn’t made his first feature yet. We’ve gone crazy. I’m still amazed at this fascinating scam called “film schools”. This is wonderful. I’m not negative on it. In fact, I wish I had gone to one. Imagine how much better “Citizen Kane” would have come out if Orson took “Film Appreciation.” I suppose they are good for making contacts. It is a terrific racket and everyone should go for it.

Get the rest of the interview in part two of PAUL SCRABO: MASTER OF THE “EROTIC HOUSE OF IDIOTS”>>>




Posted on January 7, 2005 in Interviews by

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