Creator, Michael Plumides talks about GHOST TREK, GWAR, and More!
“I was deep in the throes of developing GHOST TREK, a horror-comedy concept sprung forth from the head of Zeus after watching marathon episodes of paranormal reality shows. In late 2009, I absorbed myself in Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State and Ghost Hunters International. In one particular episode, a team was looking for the “Ghost of Robin Hood”- who is a fictional character for the most part – and I thought that was so stupid. Although the investigators use a number of electronic devices to detect these supposed entities, there’s no valid scientific approach. A lot of it is based on personal experiences like a ‘cold spot’ or an unintelligible ‘EVP’ (Electronic Voice Phenomena). They basically created their own mythology regarding how the research is conducted, almost like in Ghostbusters, and viewers are fascinated by it.”
“On Ghost Adventures, a muscled Zak Bagans, the lead investigator, flexed his arm in camera view and said, “Look at the goose bumps on my arm, dude.” I laughed to myself – it was really more about Zak’s muscle than it was about the paranormal. What Bagans was really saying was, “Check out the goose bumps on my guns, dude”. I wrote an entire feature script around that line, entitled Ghost Trek: Confederate Ghouls, a story about a ghost hunt at an old house adjacent to a Confederate cemetery in South Carolina where the restless spirits of Confederate soldiers are antagonized and rise from the grave to kill the investigators. How utterly hilarious would that be?”
“The script was funny and the characters were all founded in paranormal reality TV. There’s a good-looking lead investigator (who’s an ex-chiropractor), his ex-girlfriend is the showrunner, there’s a security team called the “Goon Squad”, there’s a flamboyant psychic, a couple of stoner tech specialists, and a cute, bubbly, investigator-in-training (one in real life ended up getting a big boob job and became a sex symbol of the paranormal crowd). I felt Ghost Trek had to be character driven and familiar, but more like Clerks or Entourage meets Scooby Doo than Ghost Hunters.”
“In case I couldn’t get the feature made off the bat – admittedly I wanted to do it right with a decent budget, I wrote six television episodes to keep my options open, the first being loosely based on the JonBenet Ramsey case, entitled, Ghost Trek: The Kinsey Report, where the Paranormal Underworld Detective Society (PUDS) travel to Aspen, Colorado to investigate a supposedly ‘cursed’ house where a young pageant girl was strangled with a jump rope – that’s the one we made. Another episode investigates the “Ghost of Ike Clanton” in Tombstone’s Not A Pizza, a third where a rapper is resurrected by a voodoo priestess after he is shot in a drive-by entitled, Zombie Straight Outta Compton, and one based on the bizarre New York mortuary case called The Goomba Body Snatchers. After all, the tagline is “paranormal research with an emphasis on bad taste”.
“We shot the pilot in December of 2010, with some additional footage in March of 2011, and completed the final edit by May, just in time to screen at the summer horror conventions. I hand-picked most of the cast from local indie film screenings. As there were certain budgetary constraints and I couldn’t afford to do a SAG/AFTRA film, we had little choice other than to use unknowns, reality stars and wrestlers. We had some preliminary casting calls in the summer of 2010 for the feature. I did pick one rising young starlight, Julia Bullock (recently featured on X-Factor singing “Pumped Up Kicks”) who was in high school at the time, for the role of our cute college newbie Jules Partridge.”
“Robert Filion, my co-director and producer, had a guy he used occasionally, a full-time cop and part-time thespian, Michael Melendez, I hired for the lead role of ‘Dr. Zeke Wallace’. Another great comedic actor, Brett Gentile (Seeking Justice, You Are Here) I hired as Guy Swisher, the psychic. Glenn Gilbertti, otherwise known as the wrestler Disco Inferno, was a friend of mine and he agreed to be in the pilot. After seeing a post on Glenn’s page, I was hit up on Facebook by Jonny Fairplay (Survivor) inquiring “What is Ghost Trek and can I be in it?” I hired Fairplay as one of the “stoner tech specialists” and he brought on his Survivor associate, Mike Bortone, wrestler Colt Cabana, and Gia Allemand (The Bachelor).”
“I cast Zeke’s side love interest, model Cora Deitz (K-Swiss ads with Danny McBride) as Svetlana, actor Kevin Johnson as Weasel, the kleptomaniac cameraman, Christy Johnson (Tobe Hooper’s Mortuary) as the ‘Living-Dead Roller Girl’ case manager called Scary Carrie Carmichael and lastly, Addy Miller (the iconic “Little Zombie Girl” from The Walking Dead) as the ghostly pageant princess Tyler Rae Kinsey. When I saw Addy in the opening scene of Dead, I knew we had to get her – I thought she would be the next Linda Blair. I was right. Addy now has her own Halloween “TWD Animatronic” for sale in all Spirit Halloween and Party City stores.”
“I was convinced horror-comedy was the untapped commodity that TV needed. I did so much research on horror-comedy I knew everything there was to know: Who was doing it, where they lived, and what they ate. I’m tenacious like that. I first heard that David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) had acquired the rights to the 80’s art slasher film, Suspiria. Then I heard about Ghostbusters 3 stalling. Then I heard about this guy, Adam Green (Hatchet, Frozen), who was originally optioned by Comedy Central for a show called Holliston which was now at FEARnet, about a couple of cable access horror show guys played by Green with his partner, Joe Lynch. And guess who plays Green’s imaginary friend who lives in his closet? Dave Brockie – AKA Oderus Urungus. No shit. We’re both doing horror-comedy now. Well, Dave was always doing horror-comedy but it was normal to me because I’ve been an interested party for two decades.”
“I wrote, produced, and co-directed, GHOST TREK: THE KINSEY REPORT and won “Best Comedy” at Fright Night Film Fest – believe me, I wasn’t expecting it. The horror folks really embraced the concept. We also won a “2011 Silver Addy Award” for “Best Film Presentation Package”, a “Daily Deviant” from www.deviantart.com for a promotional photo designed by Associate Producer, Justin Kates, and lastly we won the “Viewer’s Choice Award” at Mad Monster Party 2012 and hosted a make-up exhibition with Conor McCullagh from SyFy’s Face Off, which was a huge success. I put it all together from scratch and I promoted the shit out of it, grass roots, treating Ghost Trek like it was an indie band on the road, driving to horror conventions and stirring up fan interest. Fuck, if I could put on rock-n-roll shows nightly, for years, I figured I could make a movie, and promote it.”
Now we’re enjoying some notoriety on www.dreadcentral.com, as our very popular webisode presentations have been airing for the month of October to rave reviews – with the fourth episode of the award-winning GHOST TREK: THE KINSEY REPORT having it’s finale’ on Monday, October 29th. Go here to catch up on our webisodes: www.dreadcentral.com/ghost-trek. Described by Fearnet.com as “Haunted hilarity…” and by FilmThreat.com as “Ridiculously entertaining…” we’ll also premiere GHOST TREK on October 29th in its entirety at Crownpoint Cinema in Charlotte, NC for the first time – in high definition, no less, along with the Canadian indie darling hit, A LITTLE BIT ZOMBIE for a “Double Creature Feature” and our next screening will be in Los Angeles in mid-to-late November.
On Monday, October 22nd, GWAR played in Charlotte, NC with DevilDriver, Ghost Trek creator, Michael Plumides had an opportunity to get together with his old jailhouse roomie, Oderus Urungus. Plumides and Oderus, aka Dave Brockie, spent the night in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg jail together after the infamous “GWAR Obscenity Bust” in North Carolina, circa 1990. Plumides owned the 4808 Club at the time of the raid, which later resulted in the venue’s demise and GWAR’s banning from the state for a year, chronicled in Plumides’ memoir, Kill the Music, on Amazon.
Just fresh from Rock and Shock, where the GWAR slaves shoved Danny Trejo and Bill Moseley in a meat grinder for the horror fanatics, the band is also on tour for five weeks to debut their Flattus Maximus replacement (after the tragic death of long-time guitarist and producer, Cory Smoot), “Pustulus Maximus” – the latest addition to the GWAR menagerie.
Plumides said of his meeting with Dave Brockie, “In full costume Dave hugged me for a moment, and said, “Dude, what you’ve been doing is amazing – getting your name out there. I have been keeping up with all of your shit, with Ghost Trek. I even answered one of your posts on Fearnet about Holliston. The stuff on Dread Central is awesome. I applaud all of your efforts. I read about everything you do. Please don’t leave, Mike. Hang out after the show. We really need to talk.”
“After the show, Dave invited me up to Richmond in January – He must really be impressed because he’s never invited me before now, and I’ve known him for over twenty years. Dave also asked me to produce on a project he has in mind, and he’s expressed interest in furthering my efforts with a Kill the Music film. In a weird way, Dave and I are like family members, who don’t necessarily see each other that much, but pick right up where we left off – what Dave referred to as “Kindred Spirits”. When I asked Dave to help me get my book adaptation made, Dave replied, “When have I ever turned you down?” Dave’s got connections with Fearnet, and now I’m consulting on this Nightbreed television show in development at Morgan Creek, so I think its time for us to seriously consider working together in the genre – it was Dave’s idea, anyway.”
“I’ve developed exponentially and he said he needs someone to ”keep him focused” so, we’ll see what happens. We are both working on horror-comedy projects, and a creative collaboration makes sense. It was all very positive.”
“It seems like GWAR has “been in my life for so long, I don’t know anything else,” as Ellen Ripley once said of the Alien. I am tethered to GWAR, to the point I feel like a growth on the Cuttlefish of Cthulhu’s testicle… and that, in itself, is strangely validating.”