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Weresmurf Interviews Mike Mendez, Director Of THE GRAVEDANCERS!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Weresmurf’s an Australian chap who did a few interviews for us, and I think he’s been bit by the bug. He’s started a podcast of his own, and he’s sent me a few excerpts from an interview he’s done with Mike Mendez, a horror filmmaker I’ve had occasion to meet and chat with a few times in recent years. He’s the real deal, a passionate horror fan who also happens to make movies. I’ll let Weresmurf tell you more, though, and make sure you follow the link to his podcast so you can hear the whole thing:

Hey guys, Weresmurf here. Recently my resources upgraded and I’m now doing live interviews, so what I’ve got here is a little different. I’ve extracted two or three different segments from a new pod cast interview show I host. The second interview I did, was with Mike Mendez, director of the new upcoming THE GRAVE DANCERS movie. I really enjoyed doing this interview I must admit. I’ve taken two or three different parts and presented them here. If you want to check out the whole interview, there’s a url at the bottom where you can check out this and my first live interview with Jeff Reddick. So here we go! ------------- Part 1 ------------- Weresmurf: “Mike is best known for his movie The Convent, a movie about a bunch of demonic nuns running around killing people. That’s a very hackneyed take on what the plot is… *laughs*” Mike Mendez: “But very accurate! So, so no problem there! *laughs*” Weresmurf: “So Mike, what’s your new movie The Gravedancers about?” Mike Mendez: “Ah the grave dancers is about three friends who reunite on the funeral of a fourth friend from college and they wanna say a final farewell to him, so they jump the cemetery gate and have a drink, ah, over his tombstone. And one thing leads to another, they get drunk and find a strange card about celebrating life. Turns out its not really about celebrating life, but it’s a curse, that allows the ghosts to follow them home and haunt them for 30 days until they’re laid to rest.” Weresmurf: “Ah ok that sounds pretty cool, so essentially is it their friend haunting them? *laughs* Or is that a plot point?” Mike Mendez: “No, no no its actually not they have a good time and dance around some of the other graves, they actually dance on the condemned part of the cemetery, the part that has the beggars and the murderers and rapists which is the wrong part of the cemetery to dance on.” Weresmurf: “Essentially the part not to do that to if you wanna go home safe.” *laughs* Mike Mendez: “*laughs*” Weresmurf: “So how was it shooting Gravedancers…?” Mike Mendez: “It was very cold!” *laughs* “Uh, we we shot in North Carolina which you don’t normally associate with bitter cold but they had a freak winter and it went on six weeks longer, you know, the exact duration of our shoot! Uh and we were supposed to be in springtime but we got snow, and ice cold rain, and shooting at cemeteries at night and ice cold rain, I don‘t recommend to anybody!” Weresmurf: “So halfway through the winter we’re gonna notice a change from snow to like leaves and then snow?” Mike Mendez: “Well no, thanks to some clever editing, you wont notice that it’s winter, but you’ll notice it looks dead. I mean we did want it to look dead that’s fine, but often we had to shut down shooting because it’d start to snow and ruin our shooting.” Weresmurf: “So a lot of writers and directors like to slip a little social commentary into their movies, uh personally I believe I’ve noticed it in the one or two Rob Zombie has done, have you managed to slip any into yours?” Mike Mendez: “Noooo not really. No not at all *laughs* I go the really much more straight laced horror and comedy, no real message there other than respect the dead and the people around you as they might be gone one day!” -------------- Part 2 -------------- “So The Convent… was that as hard a shoot as Gravedancers?” “You know, in some ways its kinda weird, theyre all hard obviously cause making movies is generally hard, to me is seemed much harder actually than making Gravedancers, but to ask the crew on Gravedancers they’ll tell you it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever had to do. But I dunno I kinda come from a school of Geurilla film making, I made movies as a kid with a video camera and then in high school with my friends and stuff like that, so all I KNOW is pain and suffering!” “I sat through three Uwe Bolle movies, I KNOW pain and suffering!!!” “OH YES you know pain and suffering very well, totally, but I always feel if youre not suffering and its not hard as all fuck, then you’re not making anything worth while. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it and it’d be ‘oh great!’ but you know I kinda think especially when you’re dealing with a low budget, the pain and the struggle is part of it.” ------------- Part 3 ------------- “The thing that I was wondering, Kevin Smith, someone asked him this question, how much are you worth how much money do you have, I’m not asking you that, but what Im saying, do you live the same sort of life, do you work paycheck to paycheck?” “Yeeeeeah absolutely but I think he’s doin far better than I am!!! *laughs*” “*laughs*” “I talk about being a real geurilla filmmaker, a real indie filmmaker, it doesn’t get much more indie than me. I don’t get the big Hollywood cheques, the movies I make are purely out of love for the art form and are stories I wanna tell.” “So we’re not gonna see Dominic Purcell rattling a tin cup on the highway to help fund the movie?” “Nah he’s doin alright… you’re giving me the idea I should probably hit him up for a loan for the next film! *laughs*” “*laughs* Hey Dominic you’re signed up for season 3 arent you! *laughs*” “You know ah, thankfully, Kevin Smith said is like ‘Oh shit we’ve gotta pay the rent, what do Silent bob and Jay do now?’ Well, I can’t say that! *laughs* Its like, you know, we’ll see how The Gravedancers sells on dvd, but it’s not like I have that one hit of Clerks I can hang my hat on!” ------------- ------------- Ok people, there you go. The segments as said before, are three separate parts taken out of the interview, and taken directly in context covering Mikes new movie THE GRAVEDANCERS. If you’re interested in hearing the whole pod cast, head over to my official website and download Episode 2. Thanks guys and I’ll see you real soon! The Weresmurf!
Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 3, 2007, 2:56 a.m. CST


    by RickSlamu2

    Couldn't care a lick about this film. Just wanted to be first once! Oh and "IN BEFORE' that stupid "GOTTA EAT" dumbshit.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 2:56 a.m. CST

    grave dancers ended terribly

    by beefywhore

    but the ghost chick on the bed was good and creepy

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 3:05 a.m. CST

    Isn't Mike Mendez best known for "Killers"?

    by DerLanghaarige

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 3:26 a.m. CST

    Thank you for that unreadable mess

    by BitterMan23

    if i hadnt already seen it (and it is quite good) i would avoid gravedancers just because of this article.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 3:45 a.m. CST

    The lesson here

    by BannedOnTheRun

    Follow the signs to the right part of the cemetery to dance on.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 3:54 a.m. CST

    Sorry for the mess - This is Weresmurf

    by Ridge

    Im in the midst of having it corrected, it seems I sent the wrong unfinished file to Moriarty, completely my fault and I take sole responsibility. Apologies all round.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 4:02 a.m. CST

    GOTTA EAT is the new FIRST

    by Mace Tofu

    They both suck ... really. The best part of being first is not bragging about it ( especially if it is a young virgin post )

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 7:24 a.m. CST

    My SN is from "The Convent"...

    by Frijole

    Huge huge huge fan of that movie! I've heard mixed things about "GraveDancers", but based off of "The Convent", I sure wanna give it a shot.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 7:35 a.m. CST


    by Ridge

    The sad thing is (weresmurf here, gotta change this damn nick lol) that I cannot find EITHER Convent or Real Killers around my area, being in australia we only get selectively released horror, and I know Mikes stuffs out here, its just uber hard to find. I remember watching The COnvent years ago and had fun, it was Night of the Demons but with habits! Mikes not ashamed to admit this and that's why I think he's great, he made a damn good homage and had fun doing it. Gravedancers, I've heard mixed things too, but Mikes enthusiasm IS infectious about that movie I must admit. Listen to the podcast on the url and you'll see what I mean lol.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 7:44 a.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

    Mike Mendez has a drink and dances on a grave

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 8:09 a.m. CST


    by Ridge

    Amazingly this talkback has stayed on track longer than all the others put together from my previous articles! Amazing! Kudos guys lol.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 8:32 a.m. CST

    flick is okay..

    by Jarek

    Pretty good till the overblown CGI ending.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 9:32 a.m. CST

    God, the ending!

    by great trash

    I really loved this movie right up until the last few minutes, which seems to be the prevailing sentiment. If you haven't seen the film already and want to have your mind totally blown, here's the final scene of the movie from the effects studio's website: IN GLORIOUS QUICKTIME! The previous hour and twenty minutes of the movie are absolutely nothing like this.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 9:52 a.m. CST

    I liked this movie until

    by godoffireinhell

    the homosecual French exorcist showed up and giant CGI death's heads came screaming through collapsing buildings. Until that point it was actually a very effective (if entirely unoriginal) little genre flick. Too bad Mendez felt the need to turn it into a bad riff on EVIL DEAD 2 in the third act.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Ridge/ Weresmurf

    by Frijole

    Yeah, I actually lucked into finding it for like $5 at a local used DVD place's going out of business sale a few years back... I've been trying ever since then to get the Nightmare Theatre guys (the guys that do the Gulf Coast- where I live- classic and cult horror screenings) to set up a screening of it. It's no masterpiece, but it a super entertaining and super funny and super gory homage to all things Dead/Demon/Barbeau... Bill Moseley and Coolio are cops?!?!? I mean, that's gold! The cast of "Goth Talk" (not really, but it might as well be) getting shown for the posers they are??? That's gold! An opening scene, entirely in slo-mo of a Catholic School girl in a leather jacket going full bore with a baseball bat, shot gun and molotov cocktails to a bunch of priests and nuns (all to the tune of Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me", no less).... GOLD! Such a fun movie. Sweet fuck. I'm watching it when I get home.

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 2:18 a.m. CST


    by Ridge

    I'm sure Mike will be glad we've had that effect on you via this interview and happy memories lol!!!

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 10:36 a.m. CST

    The Ending

    by Metrogenic

    Sure, it was over the top, but I actually enjoyed it a lot. I'm not sure if it was what Mendez intended, as it seemed pretty grandiose compared to the first two thirds of the flick and would have been tricky to film on a budget, but it really brought a Frighteners kind of feel to the movie, and that's never a bad thing.