The first two days of the shoot were unusual as we had power and a bathroom to use. Not having to the face the Johnny-on-the-spot or Jenny-on-the-job the first few days made everything seem like it was going to be a comfortable, happy shoot.
The location was a warehouse that has been made into a hall for concerts, and has an interesting look that has attracted filming before us and probably after us. We would be returning later in the schedule to shoot a scene in the cellar later in the shoot but that was much later in the shoot. We were now focused on the scenes that will be the flashbacks for the movie. The scenes will flesh out the history of Zachary and his followers that is mentioned in the first movie.
One of the things that attracted me to performing in the flash back is that it would be filmed in glorious black and white. It is not often that you get to work without color and I grew up with the old time creature feature playing old, old movies and somehow even the cheap ones looked better. The other drawing card of the flashback was taking on a character that already appeared in the first film. The character was nothing like the way I was playing him but as I was playing the first “Roman” who killed himself (with the rest of the cult) and took over the body of the actor from the first film I wasn’t limited to imitating him.
Most of the lines were similar but I did put my own spin on them. I watched the first movie many times to see if there was anything that could be a carryover in the way I moved or dressed or talked but nothing about the earlier actor and myself were the same. We would just have to be two different version of the same character. He was blooding and intensive while I was over the top and needing an audience.
I had been looking forward to working with the other actors in these scenes, as I have been impressed with their work. Robert Craig Sabin who was the hero in “Slime City Massacre” was playing the cult leader Zachary now (Zachary was the spirit who possessed his character in Slime City). Robert has a strong background in standup comedy and he took over the tone quickly. He was very funny behind the scenes but serious when the camera’s rolled. His wife was played by Sephera Giron (Ruby) who is an erotic fiction writer out of Canada who seemed more than a match for Robert was. Brooke Lewis played the important role of Nicole whose’s spirit would survive on and on.
Sandra Roland came in last minute as Zachary and Ruby’s daughter. At first I thought it was funny that a Spanish actress (Sandra) would be playing the daughter but she brought a sensitive tender side to a character that could have been funny in different hands. After some rehearsing we all found that our characters were not the least bit dark but more misguided somewhat caring souls. We played the cult members as people you wouldn’t mind meeting (other than the suicide and soul taking parts).
The first day went smooth and Chris Santucci’s footage looked amazing on the monitor. The scenes looked great. The second day involved extras, which was parting of my casting efforts. Quite a few of the women I knew who agreed to get down to their underwear in the “orgy” scene were no shows. Thankfully between the ones who did show and the ones who came to be non-stripping extras and a few people that came with others we had enough to dress the scene. My friend Tammy Reger (cult movie Slugs), Jennifer (House of Horrors) and my group of women bonded and were so funny and a joy on the long shoot. There were more camera set-ups and everything was going slower than we hoped, but everyone stayed in good spirits.
I made the rounds trying to play cheerleader (which would later get me in trouble) but was against my normal nature of keeping to myself, but I wanted all the extras to feel how important they were to the production so I would do it all again. The “orgy” ended up getting cut back and the few that had agreed to go down to underwear were a little disappointed but we needed to get the most important footage in the can. I had been scared to strip down to underwear but after stealing myself up, it was a little bit of a let down and I knew we wouldn’t be able to do the digital effects which were in the script such as me starting to change before your eyes. We jumped into the suicide scene and the big effect worked like a charm and all of the cult members had wonderful emotional reactions to the coming end.
The scenes were over all too quick and suddenly Sandra, Robert, Sephera, Brooke and some of the extras were done. One of the lead actors had shown up in his slime makeup and it was time to pass the torch. It was like a mini-movie ended. I found myself feeling rather sad; my dysfunctional family was breaking up. Little did I know that there were more reasons I would miss these first few days. I was no longer an actor but a first AD, and in for a world of hurt.