Written by David Strege
So my fellow Galorians I’m back at it again with Amduck Productions director Jerri Landi of Krackoon and Bloodmarsh Krackoon! As I reviewed both of these films before… I felt it necessary to touch bases with the director and his thoughts on production of these films from 2010 and 2014 as well as maybe what hes planning for the future let’s begin…
MGOM: First let’s begin with your name, where your from, and what were your inspirations for becoming a director of independent films?
JL: My name is Jerry Landi; I was born in Brooklyn and raised in The Bronx. I always preferred Horror films over mainstream stuff. I am a big fan of low budget horror, this story is really funny. My mom raised three boys, when there were just two of us, we would drive my mother crazy. Fighting and screaming, boy suff. Well when my father came home that night, my mother was waiting by the door. She told him we were driving her nuts, and she needed a break. So my dad heard about this new film that was scaring the shit out of everybody, so he decided to take us to see it. The film was the original Night Of The Living Dead, and my life was never the same. I had a chance to play a zombie in Day Of The Dead, and being the President of the Bronx chapter of The George Romero Fan Club at the time, He took us out to dinner and we spent three hours talking about his process, a great night.
MGOM: Why did you choose horror?
Horror is universal. When Times Square was not Disney, and video stores ruled, Horror was always in the forefront. You can make a great independent film about a clay pot maker in Brazil, and no one will see it. If you have a choice between that, and a movie title like Krackoon, I think most people will choose the film about a crack-addicted raccoon. We love to be scared and we love to laugh. If you’re a fan of my films, you do both.
MGOM: What kind of challenges did you have in making the Krackoon movies? And what was your budget on both films?
JL: Krackoon was shot on a pizza budget. I have my own cameras, editing bay, lights and whatever hardware I needed to shoot a film from start to finish. My first film, Silent Deafning was a documentary, so I was now working with a script and actors. I come from a production back round, so I knew I could finish the film. My concern was making something people would want to watch. When I submitted Krackoon to The New York International Film Festival, we won Best Cult Film, and little did I know that an editor from New York Magazine was at the screening. The next week, he printed a statement on the back page of the magazine declaring KRACKOON IS LOW BROW BRILLIANT. That day, the trailer got 16,789 hits, we were getting calls from all over the place to screen the film in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Etc, It was a wild ride, with a sold out show at the historic ROXIE in San Fran, probably the greatest night ever.
Little did I know that a producer and makeup effects gut lived in my neighborhood (Marc Makowski). He worked on Dawn Of The Dead (his great scene was the head blowing in the tenement building) He asked for a private screening, and after it was done, he offered to help me with the next film. Bloodmarsh cost $50,000 to make, my biggest budget yet. We had insurance, catering, permits, everything legal. I enjoyed the first film because two of my closest friends (John Mc Dermott and Marty Vanihel) were my crew. They are still with me; I wouldn’t have it any other way.
MGOM: Did you have a favorite scene or shot you remember that you can share from Bloodmarsh Krackoon/ Krackoon?
JL: In Krackoon, It was the mass killing scene on the beach. I killed three people in that scene; we had the Krackoon flying at people’s faces, ripping open intestines, a really fun time. It was also the first time I did any major gore effects, and till this day, I feel Krackoon had the best gore scenes of all my films. I had real bloodlust on that one.
In Bloodmarsh, It was all the scenes I shot with Scott and Marty. We all grew up together, so I basically wrote those two guys the way they really are, that’s what its like hanging with those two guys, and I wanted it to reflect on screen. I also loved killing Little Bob on the toilet. That scene was epic to shoot. But the Transformation scene was so cool, and after it took hours to shoot, the final product was better than I expected.
MGOM: Where did you shoot the Krackoon films?
JL: Both films were shot in The Bronx. I live here and shoot all my films here. I know so many people in my neighborhood, that it makes it easy for me to get locations. My crew is all from the Bronx, so it’s just a natural thing to do. Plus, I love The Bronx. We get shit on by everyone, even our Politicians, so I love to show people outside of the borough that we are proud of where we live, and I use The Bronx as my backdrop, which also attracts many fans to my films. We consider ourselves Bronx centric. Bloodmarsh premiered at The Lowes American Theater in The Bronx. I grew up in that place, also was kicked out a few times. After we screened the film, the place shut down. There used to be three venues within walking distance, now there are none. Were trying to
Keep it all here.
MGOM: Who were your make up artists for Krackoon and then on Bloodmarsh Krackoon? And how were your relationships with them during production?
JL: My good friend Rich Rethorn and I did all the prosthetic effects in the first film. Rich built the original Krackoon. Funny story, Ten minutes before we were about to shoot the last scene of the film, I realized I accidently threw out the Krackoon puppet. In a state of panic, I ripped my house apart looking for it, but it was gone. So Rich and I had to build another one within a week, which we did. Rich and I grew up together, so having him help me out on my first real film was major. He’s so mellow and easy to work with; it made the process so much fun. He also taught me a few tricks along the way. On Bloodmarsh, I Had Marc Makowski on effects and he was also one of the people who put up money to make the film. He had worked on major films, so he was more into the detail. His company South Bronx Effects did the robotic baby Krackoons and the Human sized one at the end of the film. I met Marc a year before we worked together so I had to get used to doing things by the book. I think its great to combine the guerrilla aspect of filmmaking and the professional production model into a mash up of ideas and style. It works for me.
MGOM: How do you think your creatures and effects turned out after production for Bloodmarsh Krackoon?
JL: I loved them. It’s a creature film, so the monsters have to take center stage. We had Redeye
(Krackoon) Her two Babies, and the mutated humanoid creature that Redeye transformed into. Most of the crew worked the puppets and the pumps that supplied the blood and drool to the creatures. It was like playing with toys, but disturbing ones. Monster films are so much fun.
MGOM: Did you have any problems casting? And how was your relationship with your casts and the rest of your crews for the Krackoon films?
JL: Most of the cast consisted of friends and family. On Bloodmarsh, I hired Cindy Guyer (Ex Celebrity Playmate and Romance cover model) who was a dream to work with. Her mom passed away the night before we started her scenes, but she was determined to go on. She bought her dad on set, and we wound up putting him in the film. We hired a few professional actors to sprinkle in with my crew. Bloodmarsh had a different feel because of that. I have had to recast a few roles because of what I call Diva Syndrome. When you’re shooting a low budget film, a Diva can really kill you. I learned early on when someone starts to screw with you, cut him or her loose. We call it Landi Baseball, one strike and your out. It’s hard enough to make a film, when an actor starts to play games you have to end it. I had one actress who kept screwing with the schedule. She would say the date was fine, and after we cleared all the actors, she would call and say no good. So I cast my Production Assistant in the role and went on. She then called me back and said the last date was OK, I informed her she was re cast, see you again. Believe it or not, that has happened five times, on Bloodmarsh alone. But every replacement turned out to be better than my original choice.
MGOM: What have you done since the Krackoon movies?
JL: My new film BRONX BIGFOOT,https://vimeo.com/ondemand/bronxbigfoot2/158115938 can be rented on VIMEO now. We are starting the Festival process and have high hopes for this film. It’s a Gangster Vs Bigfoot scenario. With a lot of twists and turns. We had three sold out screenings so far and everyone loves it. The film before that was Bill Hucktabelle Serial Rapist https://vimeo.com/ondemand/billhuckstabelle, also on VIMEO ON DEMAND. That’s my take on the Bill Cosby situation. Probably my best reviewed film so far, and really disturbing. I did a few short films, Rex Bailey (on the Huckstabelle VOD site) THE BUTCHER GAME and DEMONIC FREQUENCY (which are in my film VAULT OF TERROR 2 – THE UNDEAD (available on AMAZON). I’m taking a Sumer break, and hopefully in the fall I will be working on my most ambitious film yet, details soon.
MGOM: Are there any last words that you’d like to ad?
JL: Yes, Thank you for conducting this interview; it’s been a pleasure. And please, support independent films. In a politically correct world gone Batshit Crazy, Micro budget films are real and are not bogged down with producers who just don’t get it. And if you want to be a filmmaker, my best advice is to not talk about doing it, go out and do it, no matter what medium you use, get it done. You can also apply that to anything in life. And try and make a feature film. Short films are great for awards, but never get you anywhere else. We make short films in between features to keep our teeth sharp, but features can get you distribution, and people beyond the Film Festival crowd get to see your work. That is the whole point, isn’t it?
Well I think that wraps it up for my curiosity as well as our readers I appreciate your candor and the time you spent to care about giving me this exclusive about you and the work that you do out there in the indie horror world. I thank you for the opportunity and hope we can pass words about your films again soon. Well there you have it folks… a look into that toxic mind from the bronx!