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Interview with Homo Horror Maverick Jason Paul Collum

The Midwest: It's Not Just For Flying Over Anymore

As a sissy from America's Breadbasket (aka, a "Flyover State"), I am particularly pleased to present the following interview with indie sissy Jason Paul Collum, who seems to be a genuinely delightful person despite being from my arch-nemesis state of Wisconsin (we Iowans are a territorial bunch -- and Cheddarheads can't drive for SHIT).

Jason slipped onto the horror scene with a series of direct-to-video cheapies while just finishing college, and in the tradition of the most glamorous Hollywood stories of old, was discovered by none other than Gay Horror Warlord Dave DeCoteau at the soda counter of Schwab's drugstore at Sunset and Vine. Or something like that. But before you can click your heels together three times and say "There's no place like Wisconsin", Collum was chilling out with the likes of Brinke Stevens and Julie Strain, working on a half-dozen of DeCoteau's Rapid Heart boys-in-underwear epics (The Frightening, The Brotherhoods, etc), and basically proving all his guidance counsellors wrong by having a successful career in film production.

Now, after long last, Collum has returned to the dairy state to direct the gay horror pic October Moon, which promises to be "a drama of horrific proportions" (a description that I had thought was reserved for Glitter). Ever the nosy sissy, Buzz pressed the devilishly clever and disarmingly charming Collum for his thoughts on his new film, ogling straight boys in underwear, and the silly genre we all know and love. And guess what? He pressed back...

Yes, Buzz has come as close to being violated by Jason Paul Collum as he ever thought he'd come, and lived to think about it fondly every five minutes. Read on for the good stuff...


The Many Mugs of Jason Paul Collum
(photos by Ward Boult)

The Interview

So you worked for years for fellow CampBlood.org interview victim Dave DeCoteau. Did he ever try to squeeze your butt?
Thankfully no. It would have been like my mother molesting me... if she were a raging queen. Besides, I'm not his type... I'm actually gay and over the age of 19....

Goodness! You don't look a day over 17. Did you enjoy working on the Rapid Heart films?
I honestly can say that I did. I learned a lot about the business from David. I also knew with The Brotherhood that something special was being created. It may not be a deep, emotional, life changing experience, but he was taking those small steps into getting gay horror out there in a way that was non-threatening to the general public. I, meanwhile, was behind him screaming "Why aren't they naked and kissing?!" Not so subtle, I guess... I learned that while it's honorable to make a movie that speaks from your own heart, there's also a need to make movies that make money. David has that aspect down to a science. He also taught me how to interact within the business, specifically the B-Movie business, and how to get noticed... which on his sets is to bust your ass and get the job done.

What’s the story on this 5 Dark Souls thingie? Looks like a labor of love of some sort – how’d you get it off the ground?
5 Dark Souls and its sequels really are not much more than a labor of love. I was a Senior in college and had already directed a steaming pile of a movie called Mark of the Devil 666: The Moralist (1995), which, I might mention, had a killer going after those he deemed immoral to society (i.e. queers and hookers). It had made its
distributor (Moore Video) some quick cash, so they asked me to write & direct a sequel to Three on a Meathook (1973). I had started working with my own angst in
Junior High/High School and developed a story about these three nerdy kids (hence, Three on a Meathook), two of whom had some fairly obvious gay-tendancies. The leader of this gang of popular kids picks up on the "interest" one of the boys has in him, and gets his clique to trick these nerds into the woods with the intention of killing them "Just to see what it would be like to kill someone." They rationalized that since they were nerds, no one would miss them. I hated calling it a sequel, because it had nothing to do with the original. Then the title 5 Dark Souls (the 5 killers) popped into my noggin'. Much catchier. I made it for CHEAP, got some good notices for it, it actually made a nice chunk of change, and we went onward with the sequels. I look at it now and kind of go "Yikes! Some amatuerish movie making going on..." But the story and parts of the movie still hold true to my heart and what I was trying to express. GAY KIDS RULE!.


Buzz gets his proof.
(actually, it's Jeff Dylan Graham and Sean Michael Lambrecht in October Moon -- but I can dream, right?)

How long have you been a sodomite?
Are we talking in my bedroom or in my career?

Is there a difference?
Career wise... 10 years and I've still got the whip marks and a general need for enduring torture... In my bedroom... you'll have to come over so I can show you in person....

Really? Pitcher or catcher?
Pitcher...want proof?

Um...

How have you reconciled being both a dirty sissy and a horror fan – do people treat you doubly-bad? Or do they cancel each other out?
People seem to love me as a dirty sissy... I think I'm too non-threatening. So when I talk like a dirty sissy...and I do mean DIRTY...it catches them off guard, and makes them like me even more.... You should hang out with me when I'm in full trailer-park mode... I actually get more weird looks from loving horror. People just don't get it. They all seem to think I enjoy seeing people get killed. That's not it at all. I just love being scared. And they also always associate horror with porn...a comparison I still just do not understand. It annoys me.

Seriously, how has your experience as a homo in the horror community been? Do you feel it’s a group that is accepting of gays?
Oddly, no. Not accepting, which boggles my mind because soooo many fans seem to be GAY! I appeared at the Halloween 25 Horror Convention in Los Angeles last year -- WALL TO WALL homos! Yet people just steer clear of me when I'm at my table. J.R. Bookwalter and I play a fun game. I'll step away from my table and we'll see how many seconds it takes for people to surround it, then immediately dispearse when I go back. It's very amusing. I've had the joy of being called a "fag" a few times at the cons. The thing is, so many horror fans seem to be outsiders-- queers, nerds, or just simply "misunderstood" folk who find horror to be their escape from the real world. Yet they come down on each other as well - especially on the horror message boards... I seldom partake in them, but whenever I click on I read nasty message after nasty message. Where's the unity and love? A very different crowd from when I first started attending conventions as a fan back in the days when DeCoteau would have found me attractive... However, I would like to note that very OUT gay horror fans have been very generous to me...complimentary even. Many letters and e mails from "fans" (for lack of a better term) who want to say hello just because I'm gay. So I'd like to thank them for not being assholes.

How do you think your faggotrocity has contributed to your narrative voice?
Greatly. My earlier works -- especially my very first screenplay, Last House on the Left - PART 2 -- often dealt with the angst of being gay. One of the lead characters in my stuff was always secretly gay and would go through the process of accepting themselves. The earlier stuff was also VERY VERY dark... a lot of my own personal anger at myself and at society involved. As I grow older, my material is still dark in the tone of violence, but there's more humor infused throughout. I'm a happier person, so I'm able to bring both sides of the queer experience into play, and hopefully as a result get a more rounded story.

Do you think that it’s possible to have good, scary gay horror? Does gay sexuality even have a place in the genre?
You'd better believe it has a place. What's the most prominent aspect of a horror film? The outsider. What's more on the outside than being gay? Plus, horror is supposed to make people uncomfortable. GOOD horror makes people THINK. There's a lot of politcial nightmares right now with gay rights. What better time to strike? Straight America is AFRAID of us. Why? I think it's because we're waaaay more creative. We look good. We follow our dreams more often. With many of us childless, we stay youthful (or perhaps immature) longer than straight couples. And even though we probably hurt more on the inside about the way society acts towards us, we often portray this image of joy and laughter and fun and dancing. So maybe it's not hate... perhaps it's more jealousy?

Can there be a good SCARY gay horror movie?
Yes. It simply has to be believable, like any good scary movie. It has to pull the audience in and involve them -- gay or straight. And there can also be two kinds of gay horror movies. Movies about gay people in gay situations, or movies that are about everyday topics which just happen to have gay people as the leads. I think they can both work.

Who’s your favorite final girl (cough! Amy Steel! cough!)?
I LOVE AMY STEEL. My fave Friday girl... though I really do love them all. Amy's the fiestiest though. That's why she won my heart. I think I even had an odd hetero type crush on her as a kid (gasp!).

Were you a horror fan growing up? What in horror did you identify with?
I HATED horror as a wee queerling. I thank Jaws (1975), Burnt Offerings (1976) and Tourist Trap (1979) for permanantly f*cking me up. I couldn't even watch TV horror ads. (And to this day I can't swim in large bodies of water, wince when I see pall bearers, and literally CAN NOT stand still next to a store mannequin.) That all changed when I was about 12. Horror became very cathartic for me. It even consumed my life. I couldn't see enough of them! I would always imagine myself within the movie. I was never the killer or the victim -- I was ALWAYS the final girl. Even when there was a guy with the girl, I was still the girl (take Nightmare 2 - I was Lisa, not Jesse)
. My easiest analogy is to say that I was this person who had so much terror and drama heaped onto them -- something they didn't bring on themselves, but were forced to deal with anyways, who comes out bruised and battered, torn and deshelved, but always survived. They remained strong in the scariest situations...even when someone else was trying to destroy them. They always came out the winner. Now what does that sound like I'm describing?

Do you think fags like horror because it’s a masochistic experience and gays are encouraged to be self-loathing? Or is that just me?
Honestly, I believe my answer above. I suspect many gay men are simply placing themselves in the role of the heroine. Plus, how dramatic is it when the girls have torn clothes, messy wet hair, and runny make up! It's like they're demented drag queens! Come on, boys, admit you liked Amy Steel the best because she got the most fucked up and peed her pants under the bed...(though Marilyn Burns of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre gets pretty mangled too -- and look at how many queers love that one!).

So where the fuck is Brookfield?
It's a western suburb of Milwaukee. And I only list it as my birthplace for technical reasons. I was physically born there. Lived there for 9 months. Spent the remainder of my queer youth in Racine, WI, about 40 minutes south... I really consider Racine to be my home town. (Not to mention there's cuter boys in Racine...)!

 


Talk about a dead lay...
(Jeff Dylan Graham and Sean Michael Lambrecht in October Moon)

Let’s talk DeCoteau again – he gave you your break, right? How'd that happen?
I'm probably going to inflate his ego about 10-fold, but, yes, Dave gave me that BIG BREAK. It was part of a chain... I had met Brinke Stevens at a fan convention in 1994. We stayed in touch and when I moved to Los Angeles in 1998, she took me under her wings and started introducing me to people. One of these kind folks was J.R. Bookwalter. I met him at one of her famous back yard BBQ parties. I'd been a fan of his for many years, so I babbled endlessly to him, sized him up and realized he wasn't gay and trying to get down my pants, so I assessed he was genuinely interested in what I had to say. I mentioned being a fan of DeCoteau's as well, and that I'd wanted to get in touch with someone who would help me get some gay horror movies off the ground. To my genuine surprise, Bookwalter worked with DeCoteau at Full Moon, and a few days later DeCoteau called me himself for a meeting. A very cool day.

DeCoteau and I clicked right away...two fags with a love of boys in their undies. Go figure. He offerd me a double-whammy. He hired me on as an Assistant Director on his new company's maiden release, Ancient Evil: Scream of the Mummy (2000). He also got me a meeting with Charlie Band to develop a series of gay-themed horror flicks. This was late 1999. Band seemed interested, but it never really came to be. Meanwhile, Ancient Evil was a success for DeCoteau, and we worked well together, so he offered me the Line Producer position on The Brotherhood -- which I TURNED DOWN. It may sound like a stupid decision, but I just felt I was underqualified at that time and didn't want to fuck up a good situation with him. So he instead made me an Assistant Director and Production Coordinator. I REALLY had to bust my rear on that flick -- I actually lost 10 lbs in 4 days making it. I guess my dedication impressed him, because he kept hiring me on his flicks over the next two years and even put me in charge of Marketing and Publicity at Rapid Heart.

What was it like being around all those boys in their underwear all the time? On the Rapid Heart movies, I mean...
DELICIOUS... Let me share a story. I'm on the set of Ancient Evil. In wanders Michael Lutz - a perfect, perfect body and face, and genuinely nice guy. He's in only his white undies, which promintently display his large, um, talent, and has to get gore FX applied to his bare chest. So he lies on a bed for an hour while this is done. As the process starts, there are 3 of us in the room. 5 minutes later, 8 people...10 minutes, about 20 people... all standing around the bed smiling and staring directly at his crotch. This is when I suddenly realize that not only are there 20 people in the room, but they're all gay men. I hadn't noticed before that 80% of the crew were gay men.

A very similar story could go along with that regarding filming the seduction scene between Bradley Striker, Sam Page and Chloe Cross while filming The Brotherhood... but I'd just be repeating myself.... One thing I would like to note: Of all the boys David DeCoteau has hired onto his movies to be oogled by gay men, 99% of them were absolute dolls to work with. Nice, genuine and gracious guys.

My readers want to know: is Sean Faris a good kisser?
You'd probably have to ask his girlfriend... (insert sounds of weeping here).


Oh... so that's where the "Moon" comes from...
(from October Moon)

Your new movie is called October Moon. And the story is about 3 men who have a love triangle that gets bloody. What does that have to do with the moon? Is one a werewolf?
Believe it or not, it is actually more than just a cool title slapped onto a movie. An October Moon is described by the character Elliot (Jerod Howard) as he speaks to Corin (Sean Michael Lambrecht), the man of his dreams -- His description of the moon is actually a metaphore of how he views Corin... this gorgeous, perfect man he knows he'll never get.

"...it's just so beautiful and perfect...and untouchable. It's the most incredible sight. I'm happy just being able to look at it, even though I know it'll never be just mine." It's a very nice, moving moment in the movie... very sad at the same time.

The movie sounds just like Making Love, if Kate Jackson were a man. Are you saying that Kate Jackson is a man?
I hear she has a pretty narly set of balls....I've never seen Making Love, though I do know of it. Is that what it's about? Dang!

Seriously, your site says that the movie is based on actual events. How so?
It's based on actual relationships and conversations, both between myself and two previous relationships, a friend's very bad experience in coming out to his family, and a very close and personal experience between my mother and bio father -- whom she caught in bed with another man... those sorts of fun things. This is a VERY personal movie for me. I had to watch portions of my own life play out before my eyes, which was both good and bad. I had to deal with a lot of issues I'd locked away over my previous 31 years. The characters are all based on people I know, but each character is additionally a little part of me... even the crazy guy. That's why I hope this fucker makes money... it was an incredibly draining experience -- but also an excellent release. So it was good and bad. Happily, there have been no actual murders -- yet.

You and Brinke Stevens seem to be thick as thieves – what’s she like to work with?
Pure Heaven. She is one dedicated woman. Both professionally and personally. She comes in prepared. She gives it her all emotionally and physically. And she understands the medium and the stress levels we work at on practically non-existant budgets. No complaints and a true joy for what she does. I'm now a professional film maker because of Brinke Stevens. She pryed open the movie business door long enough to make sure I got in, and for that I will forever be indebted to her.

I tend to think that Brinke, as with most of the Scream Queens, is better than her material. Are you giving her something to work with here?
Thank You. I couldn't agree more. Have you ever seen Brinke, Linnea Quigley or Michelle Bauer act? Because they CAN! Linnea is wonderful in Kolobos. Michelle has this incredible sense of comedic timing in soooo many movies! And Brinke deserved all the attention she got for the Mommy movies. They need to be directed! They need to be given material to chew on. Not just given a script and a pat on the back saying "Go for it!"

It may seem like I'm patting myself on the back, but Brinke really does have something worthy of her talents in October Moon. She does a fantastic job! No shower scenes. No chase scenes. No death scenes. She's a fun character who plays wonderfully off of Sean Michael Lambrecht's "Corin." You really get the sense that they're best friends. There's such a great spark between them I'd recommend somebody hire them as a straight couple in a romantic comedy. She gets to actually ACT. I just hope she's as proud of her performance as I am. My other hope is that the gay set will fall in love with her as well... open her career to that audience as well as horny straight guys. She deserves it... she's an excellent "Fruit Fly" in real-life.

How did the denizens of Wisconsin feel about being host to a gay horror movie? Did they come after you with torches?
Not yet. The thing is, most of the city has no idea a gay-horror flick was shot here. They have no idea 9 other movies have been shot here in the last 10 years... it's a pretty oblivious town. It's also a town where people often don't state their true thoughts out loud. They'll probably talk about it like it's fine, then go home and rage in disgust. Not really my concern at this point. The people who do know are a bit weirded out at first, then think it's cool. So you're guess is as good as mine. We'll have to see how many picketers showup outside the theater on premiere night...

What do you think of the current homo horror trend? Seen anything you like/identify with/get off on?
I don't see much of anything. I know the Dead Guys on Film series/company is basically a reverse on the W.A.V.E. movies of the late 1990s. I hear Hellbent is actually a pretty decent flick. And I'm still confused as to wheter or not Hard is actually a gay horror movie, or a police thriller with a gay character. And Make a Wish... eh, Lesbians... I do believe we're at the start of a trend that's going to be HUGE. Mark my words... in two years there will be so many gay horror flicks nobody's gonna care anymore. One thing which does make me laugh is everyone's claim (including our own) that they're the first gay horror movie. Sorry fellas.That honor was taken back in 1972 by Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things... You see, Aunt Martha is actually a man in drag who kills the women trying to steal his gay lover away... Similar in plot was Too Scared to Scream (1982), and of course the controversial Cruisin' (1980) by William Friedkin (Buzz: Yes, we don't say the "C" word here...). So we're all actually just approaching the subject with a new openness...


The Incomparable Brinke Stevens with Judy, a Time-Life Operator (from the set of The Frightening)

So what’s the story on the movie? Will it be coming out soon? Any screenings slated?
We're in the final (THANK GOODNESS) days of post-work. Securing music rights, etc. Looking at theatrical showings in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Milwaukee, Greenbay, Boston, Miami Beach and Palm Springs to start. Hitting the major gay areas. We'll also be showing at Film Festivals, Pride events, gay bars across the nation, etc. How well it does decides how wide we release it. We're a bit behind schedule and should have been in theaters already this month. The DVD release is currently listed as September 27th, but it's more likely to see DVD in July. So now we're rushing it out to theaters to get as much exposure as possible before hand. Still aiming for the end of April with the theatrical showings.

So what's Jason Paul Collum's idea of horror? What makes a good horror film?
Again, any movie that sucks me in --- makes me forget I'm watching a movie. For me personally, I need realistic situations. Think Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Last House on the Left, Psycho... movies that could happen, or already have. Monsters and most supernatural doesn't scare me very much anymore. I need to feel genuinely threatened. I need to be afraid to leave my seat and go to the bathroom... or walk back out to my car afterwards not because a monster from outerspace might get me, but because a human monster could.

Who would you kill to work with that's working in horror today? Because I know people who can do that sort of thing...
Well, if I killed them, then I couldn't work with them... I actually love the older generation more. I'd LOVE to work with Linnea and Michelle. Julie Brown, Elizabeth Kaiten, Heidi Kozak, Linda Blair, Olivia Hussey... ooh! And Margot Kidder. I LOVE Margot Kidder... even if she did go crazy. My love rests mostly with the B-movie girls. You can have Jessica Biel... I'll take Debbie Rochon and Felissa Rose any day!

Anything else you’d like to share with the horror homo community (i.e., measurements, nude photos, recipes)?
Let's see. I'm slightly above average in "measurements." No nudes...yet. Very ticklish. Nice smile with very full-kissable lips. Been told I have an incredible toosh, though I really can't see it well enough to verify. Guess I'm a bit flirtatious... (Buzz: Nooooo....) and have an unexpectedly wicked sense of humor when it's least called for.... and if you see me at a horror convention, please come up and talk to me. I don't bite (unless you ask me to), and you don't have to buy ANYTHING on my table. I'm there to promote my movies and meet the folks who love this freaky genre just as much as I do.

Ask Him to Bite. I Dare You.

I, for one, am very interested to see what October Moon is all about, and what Jason Paul Collum has in store for us picky sissies going forward. After hosing yourself down, check out the movie's official website, and also give a gander to Jason's personal website as well, which is chock-full of fun articles and photos that he's collected over the years.

Sincere, wet-kissy thanks to Jason for the time, thought, and flirtation -- and best of luck with the project from all of us here at CampBlood.org!


Jason learns the ropes from the ladies
(Brinke Stevens, Lisa Wilcox, Julie Strain)