Thursday, 30 July 2015

Interview with a old skool SOV director and all round great guy Tim Ritter (Killing Spree, Wicked Games, Day of the Reaper)

This time around we have someone that everyone should really know about and if you don't then your clearly not into Indie Horror he has been putting out movies since the 80s Tim Ritter .....

Matt: So was going into movies/directing always what you wanted to do in life or were there other things you dabbled in before directing ?

Tim: Aside from wanting to be SUPERMAN or THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, yes indeed, my aspirations have always been to make movies- to produce, direct, edit, create, and write them in some capacity. While I’ve had many odd jobs and deviations in between projects, it’s always been the goal to do what I love: write and direct movies! I’ve also written a couple of novels, which was great fun as well.

Matt: Killing Spree, Wicked Games, Day of the Reaper, Creep: you have put out some beautiful indie horror movies in your time and it was so nice to see you having a segment on HI8 as well. What was the inspiration for all your slasher movies in your early days?

Tim: Well, thanks! Appreciate that you like them. The inspiration for those has always been the movies that inspired me the most- LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT ’72, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD ’68, DAWN OF THE DEAD ’78, HALLOWEEN ’78, the DIRTY HARRY films, especially the first three. HILLS HAVE EYES ’77, I mean, all the classic movies of the 70’s and 80’s by Carpenter, Cronenberg, Craven, and Romero- those guys were the big inspiration once I got into slasher movies. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, that was another biggie for me. MANIAC! Wow, just spectacular. And of course, when I was just a kid, JAWS, STAR WARS, THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN…those kind of whispered to me and I always wanted to emulate what I was seeing in some way with the family super-8 camera! Then there was a love for Italian cinema like SUPIRIA and ZOMBIE, and the oddball slasher madness like the incredible PIECES…H.G. Lewis and John Waters! Discovering their stuff was a revelation…

Matt :  Recently you have been concentrating on SRS Cinema, releasing all the great limited releases. I can imagine its hard work. How do you chose what you want to release or is it personal favourites? I know a lot of your movies have gotten some lovely limited editions?

Tim: Well, SRS Cinema is run by filmmaker/distributor Ron Bonk, and he actually comes to me and says, “I think there’s a market for this or that…do we have the materials? Can we get them?” And off we go! Which has led to some great releases in limited edition VHS and Blu Ray. Ron thought there was great potential for DAY OF THE REAPER, my 1984 super-8 gore film that was made while I was in high school, and I still had the original celluloid elements, so we were able to do a very nice HD transfer of that material for a Blu Ray which was very successful! It was great to be able to SEE the footage so clearly again after over 30 years, you know? It had great artwork and all kinds of extras, plus a new commentary. Same with KILLING SPREE, Ron actually went back to the best original elements we had, the 16mm negative transfer to Betacam tapes and did an entire new cut of the movies based on my original timecoded VHS cut. Plus tons of new extras, an interview show where I was on the radio with H.G. Lewis, and all kinds of goodies—not to mention the original cut and all the extras from ALL the previous DVD releases ported over onto Blu…So this was just a HUGE endeavour with a ton of extras! Everything is chosen by SRS as far as what to put on the discs- how much space we have and how much the fans like a particular project, that sort of thing. KILLING SPREE is selling well and will probably sell out before the end of the year. 

Matt: What has been some of your worst and best films you made to date?

Tim: That’s a difficult question. I usually don’t watch my own stuff too much once it’s completed and I’m probably too close to it all to actually judge it fairly, but WICKED GAMES still holds up well for me and the SNUFF edition [from Germany] is just an awesome occasional watch. RECONCILED, I watched that at Easter and thought it held up well, very cinematic and entertaining for such a small budget! As for the worst, well, not sure on that one, these are all my children in a way, and when they were made, there was always something inspiring and special that made each one happen, so…can’t really honestly say which one is the worst! I’m sure some people might have an opinion on that, though! [laughs]

Matt: It was nice to see Killing spree had a beautiful new re-release. What's coming on the horizon that you are releasing with SRS that you can tell us ? ....

Tim: Next up is DEADLY DARES-TRUTH OR DARE PART 4, which will feature CELLULOID CARNAGE- The Making of TRUTH OR DARE- A CRITICAL MADNESS on it as an extra, plus the 2 hr. HD cut of Deadly Dares, Truth Or Dare 4….Again, SRS comes to me with requests based on what they think will sell, which is based on fan requests and such! It’s pretty exciting, especially in a world changing over to streaming. There should be trailers and a new commentary and maybe some other surprises as well.

Matt:  What have been your standout movies you have seen this year?

Tim: THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN reboot/remake/sequel, whatever you want to call it---STELLAR! Loved that one. Also, in the theatre, I saw JURASSIC WORLD and TERMINATOR: GENYSIS and enjoyed them both! Gotta love the long franchises! Of course, I’m a huge FRIDAY THE 13TH and HALLOWEEN fan, so looking forward to the next entries in both those series…

Matt: Are you taking a step back from directing to concentrate on SRS .. As it would be such a shame?

Tim: I work with SRS all the time and used to oversee some of their branches, like Sub Rosa Midwest, but right now, I have no big plans to step back into the distribution game other than working with Ron Bonk and SRS Cinema to get some of my older movies out onto the new formats---which means finding the best source material available and helping to create the extras...I try to keep in the directing game when I can, at least collaborating on something every few years, but it has gotten to be a long process, with coming up with a cool script and raising funds, etc. etc. It takes about two years to fully complete a “no-budget” cheapie movie from start to finish, so… There you go! So I wouldn’t say I’m stepping back, but if a project hits a snag…it can take 3, 4 years to get something out…So it takes so much time!

Matt: Who do you like working with the best, as you frequently work with Joel D. Wynkoop?

Tim : Joel is awesome! You definitely try to work with a core group of like-minded people over and over to keep cranking stuff out, but I’ve enjoyed working with so many cool people over the years, including Ron Bonk, Scott Tepperman, Kathy Willets, Patricia Paul, Kevin Lindenmuth, and all the great actors in Kentucky that have been in my latest projects, like Heather “Scream” Price and Claude D. Miles, so many very cool people to collaborate with all around. It was great collaborating with scream queen Jessica Cameron on Truth Or Dare 4- Deadly Dares…I mean, that’s why you do these things, to work with all these great talents! And definitely don’t want to forget Hi-8, all the great directors involved with that one like Todd Sheets and Brad Sykes, it was an honour working with those guys and gals...

Matt: Can you tell us anything new on the horizon for you ?

Tim: Future plans? Hopefully some novel writing! Just finished the screenplay for TRUTH OR DARE 5: I DARED YOU, which looks like I’ll be co-directing with Scott Tepperman,[ from HOSPITAL 2 and GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL]. Scott initiated the project with his star power and is just a huge fan of the series and wanted to see it continue, so I was obliged! Should be out in 2016 sometime. Beyond that, you never know what might creep up!

Thanks again for the interview Tim it was an absolute please indeed always nice to hear an insight of directors from 80s...

Check out some of Tim's hard work at ...

SRS Cinema

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