Amanda Thompson-Carver: Stephen King has admitted that when he was writing “The Shining”, it really got to him. When you were writing about Michael Myers for Halloween, did you have to step inside Mike Myers’ head and crawl around, or were you able to detach and write more objectively from a safer place?
Rob Zombie: I don’t know how other people do it, but you have to really inhabit the character. You really have to find an angle on every character that you understand and that you can believe in or they just feel like false movie characters. You know, you’re either basing them on your own experience, or you’re basing it on someone you know. Even with “Devil’s Rejects”, every character in that movie is based on something connected in real life that has happened in some way, shape, or form. Not the exact events, but just a general biography or something. You can’t just sit there in a vacuum and make up, well, you can but, it will feel false. I think that that is when you react to things in movies, when they resonate with some kind of truth. That’s why Stephen King is always a writer, because that’s what he knows. Each writer or director only has one voice, their own. Sometimes it’s funny when people complain “Oh, it seems like such a Rob Zombie thing” and I’m like, well what else is it gonna seem like, I’m only one person and I can’t be other people. To me, those are the best things. That’s why Woody Allen is so great and unfortunately, if you don’t like Woody Allen, then you’re never gonna like Woody Allen, because Woody Allen is Woody Allen. You can find sometimes that with writers and directors that don’t have such a strong voice that you’ll go see their movie and you don’t even know they made it. Now if you go see a Tarantino movie, then you don’t even have to be told who made the movie. You can sit there for 5 seconds and you’ll go, “Oh, this must be the new Tarantino movie”. To me, that’s the best thing you can do, when you can breathe so much life into your characters, that people can see it.
ATC: You filmed Halloween and your previous films on budgets that, by Hollywood standards, are pretty small. Do you think that if you had filmed Halloween at $100 Million or one of those ridiculous, designer budgets, would that have made any difference?
RZ: I think that when budgets get that big, I mean, when you know how a budgets breaks down in films, when you get budgets that high, most of that money is not going on screen. If you have a giant action movie and tons of things are blowing up, then you might see it. I think the budget for “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” was like $80 Million. That’s not on screen, it’s because you have high paid actors and so much overhead. It’s not making the movie look or sound any better. In Halloween, all the money is on screen. If I had replaced some of the actors with much higher paid actors, then I could have jacked the budget up another $20 Million and it wouldn’t look any different or seem any different. You would just be paying people more money to do the exact same thing. I think sometimes, too much money, makes people lazy. It makes people uncreative. Money doesn’t make you more creative. Sure, there are times when you wish you had a little more money because one more day here would have been great or a little more time here. Was “Evan Almighty” any funnier than any given episode of “The Office”? No, because all you needed was Steve Carell. He’s the only thing that’s gonna be funny, not $100 Million worth of CGI animals. That’s not funny. A lot of times, it’s just a joke.
ATC: Speaking of Computer Graphics, you used no CGI in the making of Halloween and made the decision to stick with the old-fashioned means of special effects. What factors led you to making that decision?
RZ: I just don’t like CG effects.
ATC: Too cheesy?
RZ: Well, unless it’s something you really need them for, like something other-worldly, um, I just didn’t need them for anything.
ATC: We were fortunate enough to have Danielle Harris and Kristina Klebe with us at the Texas Frightmare Weekend horror convention in Dallas this June and both ladies went on and on about how amazing you are both as a director and also as just a really nice guy. How important is it to you to maintain that relationship with your cast and crew?
RZ: Well, I don’t know how other people like to work, but I need to work with people that I like. I need to have a good time, not like, it’s all laughs and jokes, but people need to be happy and they need to want to be there because that’s when they’re gonna do great things. The number one thing I care about is the actors because at the end of the day, that’s really the only thing that’s gonna make the movie great. All the special effects in the world and this and that don’t mean [anything] if you don’t have actors giving you a great performance because that’s really all you’re watching anyway.