CESSPOOL CINEMA: AN INTERVIEW WITH JOEL M. REED

Did you help to bring Harve Presnell to the mainstream status that he is currently at? ^ Far from being his discoverer; however Harve Presnell was on the down swing when I hired him.

Most people would only recognise Presnell’s emergence in film in the mid-1990s, most likely with his role in “Fargo” (1996). But he indeed had a promising film career in the 60s that not many people know about. ^ Harve Presnell was a household name years before the picture. He was in a decline when I met him.

Would you ever work with him again? ^ Harve Presnell is too expensive and too old.

Maybe if you show “Blood Bath” (1976) to the Hollywood Execs, Harve’s fee will drop heavily? (Laughs) ^ “Blood Bath” is preparing for a fall 2005 release.

It will be met by fans and curiosity seekers as it also features P.J. Soles, Sonny Landham and Doris Roberts in early film roles. What made you want to become a filmmaker? ^ I was in show business since 1954 most on Broadway and off-Broadway. I was asked to do a movie with Joe Sarno. He didn’t show up so I ended up directing it. (Besides you get to meet a lot of girls directing a movie.)

How did you break in to the film industry? ^ My first job was in publicity with MGM years ago. I never attempted to break in.

You worked with yet another tragic figure that created a minor stir in his day. How did you come to meet Luis de Jesus who fell into the role of Ralphus? ^ Luis de Jesus was with the circus when I hired him. He went on from there to porn fame as the “Anal Dwarf” and Star Wars. At our BSF cast party I saw him in action for the first time. We double fucked Viju Krem. I wouldn’t normally be so gross but they’re both gone now. He was also a great personality. (We had originally hired the dwarf from “Love Boat” but he wanted a ticket back from Paris — then Luis walked into the office.)

After the release of “Bloodsucking Freaks,” I imagine that your name was on the door of some of the top S&M clubs in New York? ^ No, but the top S&M practitioner in NY contacted me. Lovely girls but the list of things you could do to her was extremely limited.

As a curious fan of film personalities who have ventured into the unknown and fallen by the wayside, what has come of some of the original cast members of “Bloodsucking Freaks”? ^ Dan Fauci is a major television executive in Hollywood. Niles McMaster is a real estate broker in the Midwest. The girl I used in BSF for the girl torn by the rack was Jennifer Stock — which wasn’t her real name. Viju Krem spoke English with Estonian-Canadian English. We didn’t dub her but she was sometimes hard to understand. We were having dinner; she excused herself, and then came back into the room totally nude. Luis had never worked in porn films until after BSF. He was the perfect gentleman until the wrap party of BSF when everybody went mad.

Troma chief, Lloyd Kaufman claims that he may have secured his place in hell just by watching “Bloodsucking Freaks.” Does that make you feel like your vision was a success or a failure? ^ A success. I constantly have dreams about going to hell and Kaufman is the devil. He looks good with horns.

Sounds like you had some interesting experiences being an indie filmmaker from the sixties and seventies. What else aside from the obvious have you done along the way? ^ I worked on many major features and have broken bread with everybody from Gerard Damiano, Georgina Spelvin, Sharon Mitchell, Annie Sprinkle all the way up to Marilyn Monroe.

Gerard Damiano. Does that mean you worked on porno? ^ I don’t like porno and I wouldn’t work on one!

When you say that you worked with Gerard Damiano, people don’t usually think that you worked on a Disney film. ^ I didn’t work with Damiano I met him when Ron Dorfman shot “I Don’t Do Windows.”

Being part of the historical New York underground film circuit, did you know your contemporaries Michael and Roberta Findlay? ^ I don’t think I actually met Michael, however Roberta tried to buy my script “Teen Demon” for years. She offered $250.00. I sold it to Cannon. Roberta Findlay offered me less than $500 for the script. I told her to fuck off. Cannon paid me $50,000. It was never made. Most of Roberta’s movies were shot for peanuts and none of her projects impressed me, they were all low-end! She claimed that my association with her would lead to fame and fortune.

That would have hardly been the case. Ever considered re-selling “Teen Demon”? ^ I probably could get the rights to “Teen Demon” back. Cannon went out of business.

After such a long absence from feature films, what are you currently working on? ^ I am putting together “Bloodsucking Freaks II” and a spoof of low budget movies called “Hard Gore.” Some meetings are in progress. I am also working on a script, “New York Rules,” which is about a pickup Cricket Team in this city involving virgins, adulterated beer, and if beautiful young girls are required to wear underwear when playing. That question drives the referee to the rulebook. It’s a comedy. I think it would clean up in those territories where the game is popular. Could use some financing. May be a good bet for Roadshow. I just finished a book (mystery) about a dirty old man and a teenage girl who runs a hot porn site in Japan. Also, my memoirs, but my agent died and I haven’t had any luck finding anyone who’ll read them. A film professor wrote an article about me in England and was expanding it into a book but I stopped co-operating with him after I inadvertently got him laid and started missing all his appointments.

I heard that you once called Australia home many years ago? ^ I worked for Channel 7 in Sydney years ago and learned how to speak Australian. Love to return and “Have a pour and talk up the ladies again.”

And to think one of the worlds most infamous filmmakers graced Australia with his presence, and not many people know about it. How was that experience? ^ Actually, I had some remarkable success with the ladies in Sydney but not until I figured out Australian rules. My “mate” finally asked me, “Why are you always talking up the ladies like a French puff for?” When I explained my motives he said, “They haven’t any idea what you’ want. You have to be more direct.” His advice worked. It was the late sixties and I believe I fucked half the Hippie chicks hanging out in Rush Cutter’s Bay Park. There were only two. I haven’t been to Australia in 30 years. I got paid by Channel 7 but since I was hired by (Rupert) Murdoch they thought I was a spy and I never really did anything.

So there is background to your interest in parodying the sport of cricket. It seems to be an unusual choice for the Joel M. Reed that the cult film public has grown to know and love, or know and hate depending on personal taste or distaste. ^ The style of my films have changed completely. I really don’t have a synopsis of the cricket movie. Due to a set of circumstances, a New York City softball team sponsored by a defunct beer company have to make themselves into a cricket team when their field is converted to a Cricket Pitch. They recruit a disgraced Australian batsman as coach and, against all odds, win their first game by one run. There is a cricket league here mostly Indian and West Indian. The “Heroes” also have to brew a minimum amount of beer each year. The principal’s daughter tinkles in the brew by mistake and they discover they have created a taste treat that sweeps the city. “Frommer’s Extra Added Virgin.” That’s the limit of the raunchy doings although the “regulation” whites of the girls on the team disorientate the opposing batsmen and bowlers. However, unless there is some money to develop the project in Australia, I have to pay my attention to other areas. I think a good part of the film will be Cricket training and the game. All the beer stuff is extremely logical. It has to be shot in the US to ring true. (It’s not “Langan.”) I’m not giving away much because, although it isn’t all down on paper, there are a lot of Joel Reed nuances in the film that would make it a hit and a mainstream picture.

Sounds like the gore and sex quotient has been toned down since your earlier efforts, but at least the humor is still intact. What about the long awaited “Bloodsucking Freaks II?” ^ I have a script of “Bloodsucking Freaks II.” The villain and lead is actually a beautiful, young teenage girl into S & M (The presidential candidate’s or Prime Minister’s daughter.). There is a Dominatrix. Production requirements are minimal. A rather nice looking farm that can pass as a girl’s school. (I wrote the script right after the production of BSF but did nothing about it. The idea is to have conventional people adopt it. A minimum budget of US 250,000 16mm to digital editing.

Well it sounds like it will be an interesting project to take on so many years after the notorious original and I speak for myself and members of the public when I say that I will be eager to see what Joel M. Reed contributes to modern day cinema. The seventies will never forget you and hopefully soon the 21st century will have Joel M. Reed embedded in their brains also. I would love to see you come back to Australia some day. ^ Love to come over and make a picture or even lecture.

Very Cool. Maybe we can find the other Hippie chick from Rush Cutter’s Bay Park so you can complete your half finished conquest and then you can say “I FUCKED ‘EM ALL!” Name your favourite film, director, actor and actress? ^ “Whale Rider” (2002), Quentin Tarantino, John Travolta, Dakota Fanning

What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers? ^ Keep trying. Make that great low budget film.




Posted on May 16, 2005 in Interviews by
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