The Critic’s Word editor in chief Clifford Kiyabu sits down with Indie horror master Ron Purtee for an exclusive interview. As a Wisconsin local, Ron is a striving independent director, writer and self-proclaimed Kicker of Asses! He’s also the owner of Vinyl and Villains Films and is most notably known for his 2011 acclaim web-series The Social Media Massacre! I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ron to talk shop about his past and present projects as well as his love of the horror genre.
Clifford: First off, thank you for dropping by our little space of the interweb for an interview.
Ron: No problem. Pretty cozy. I like what you’ve done with the place.
Clifford: Since this is your first time here I think my readers would be interested in knowing a bit about the man behind the camera, what can you tell us about yourself?
Ron: I was born and raised in a “small” town in Wisconsin. I’ve always wanted to entertain in one form or another and that’s lead me to where I am now..
Clifford: impressively enough, you’re both a writer and director. Which of the two do you find the most challenging?
Ron: They each have their challenges. Writing, actually coming up with the idea is hard enough in and of itself but being on set and trying to get every comma up on the screen, that can be ulcer creating as well. haha
Clifford: Some of the actors you’ve worked with have spoken highly of you, is keeping those in your productions happy a priority?
Ron: For sure. We tend to work super quick, and super cheap so making the focus in front of the camera as happy as possible is the way to go.
Clifford: Your films tend to have a very twisted tone to them, why is that?
Ron: I think a lot of pictures tend to lean towards the happy endings and well, Im all about upsetting the apple cart.
Clifford: I assume it’s safe to say you’re a fan of the “SAW” films?
Ron: Actually, and this is going to sound really weird, but I’m a fan of Darren Lynn Bousman, but not so much of the SAW franchise.
Clifford: Seeing that you’re into upsetting themes what are your thoughts on Tom Six’s “The Human Centipede” films?
Ron: Shock for shock’s sake. There is at least a reason for the disturbing themes in my films. I can only imagine how those films came to be. He must have woken up one day and said, “I wanna sew someone’s lips to someone’s asshole!”
Clifford: All creative artists have their niche in which they draw their inspiration from, what is yours?
Ron: Society really. The first Social Media Massacre short was taken from the growing trend in society that no one wants to be alone. Myself included. Then I read “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner and it all kind of clicked..
Clifford: So now that your project “Love is Not Enough” is out there, what’s in store for you next as a filmmaker?
Ron: Well, Minion and Nightmare are both in the cans and I’m not sure if I am taking a break for the holidays or what yet. I do have a short that I’m writing for a contest that I don’t want to jinx but it would be one of my first real journeys outside of the horror genre.
Clifford; Care to elaborate on how far from the horror genre this journey will take you?
Ron: It’s a total and complete 180. The only thing “horror” about it is the way it makes you feel in the end. No blood. No guts. No killers.
Clifford: As a director, what would be your dream project to work on?
Ron: I’d love to direct something that Garry Charles wrote again. The segment he wrote for Social Media Massacre still makes me cringe and I directed it! I’d also love to direct something that Todd Farmer or Simon Barrett wrote. Just my bucket list.
Clifford: Speaking of remakes, how do you feel about all horror icons getting the “re-imagining” treatment as of recent?
Ron: Remake something that DIDN’T work. I’ve been VERY vocal recently about how I want to remake Cherry 2000. From what I have read the original producer is on top of that already. So Edward Pressman, I know you are reading this. We need to talk.
But seriously, I think remaking old horror films shouldn’t be done unless it was a film that didn’t work in the first place. Plain and simple.
Clifford: Okay but for the sake of argument, if a remake is being made regardless if it worked or not; do you feel there should be a grace period of time allowed to pass before a studio decides to jump on the bandwagon of remaking it?
Ron: For sure. The fact that they were trying to remake the Crow sickened me. I remember on set for Love Is Not Enough, Tina Renee Grace and I would talk for a fair amount of time between takes about how remaking that film is pure evil. And the way that they are rebooting Spider-Man after just a few years? I mean does big Hollywood have NO ideas left?
Clifford: So if you were the one remaking Cherry 2000, who would be your dream cast for the film?
Ron: Right now I only have two folks that I would HAVE to have. In the Melanie Griffith role, Tina Renee Grace I think she would be perfect and in the Tim Thomerson role. Christopher Meloni. Him leaving SVU for True Blood pissed me off so damn bad.
Clifford: Seeing that most of your work is done over the internet, what seems to be the most challenging aspects of working on the internet as a filmmaker?
Ron: Getting exposure. It’s really one of the biggest draw backs to working on the net. You have thousands of videos coming out on a daily basis and you tend to get sucked into the vortex.
Clifford: And the most rewarding?
Ron: Instant feedback. Knowing what people think right away is always great. You don’t want to wait for a release date for the folks to really let you know if they liked or didn’t like what you’ve done.
Clifford: Okay now this next question is The Critic’s Word’ signature question so don’t feel alarmed, you’re not the only one [Laughter]
Ron: Lay it on me boss!
Clifford: The term ‘For The Sake of Art’ has always been coined in the entertainment industry for how far an actor/actress would be willing to go for, well… the sake of art. So my question to you is; How far are you willing to go for the sake of art in this industry?
Ron: I really don’t know if I can answer that yet. I always try to make my actors and actresses as comfortable as possible. I guess the farthest I’ve gone so far is to perhaps cause lack of sleep on the set of “From the Heart” from The Social Media Massacre. That was a VERY long shoot. (Laughter)
Thanks for dropping by The Critic’s Word, Ron. We’d love to see you back again sometime. For those of you interested in knowing more about Ron Purtee you can check him out at the following:
Once again thanks to Ron Purtee for sitting down with me for a no holds bar interview. Thanks for reading.