Metal Life Exclusive Interview With Mike Schiff, Director Of “History Of Metal And Horror” Documentary
Heavy Metal and the horror genre have always seemed to attracted each other, like a twisted moth eagerly dancing around an unholy flame. Both genres histories are so incredibly diverse and yet so intertwined director Mike Schiff decided it was time to really dive in and explore the connection between metal and horror. In his up coming documentary, The History Of Metal And Horror, Mike and his incredibly talented team of metal and horror fanatics explore the links between the two by not only looking back through their varied histories, but interviewing metal and horror movie stars such as Doyle Wolfgang, Alice Cooper, Gunner Hansen (R.I.P), and John Russo to see how each genre helped grow the other and make them nearly synonymous. In our interview, Mike proves that not only is he as metal as they come, he is also one die hard horror fan that is creating a serious documentary that will not only pay a fitting tribute to our beloved genres, but to the loyal fans that have made them what they are today.
1) Mike please tell us about your project “History Of Heavy Metal And Horror.”
“The History of Metal and Horror” is a documentary which explores the history of horror, heavy metal, and the ongoing connection between the two genres. The project consists of interviews with various horror and metal icons who share their thoughts on the subject.
2) Who are some of the metal artists and celebrities that are featured in the documentary?
So far, we’ve interviewed over 30 horror and metal icons such as Tom Savini, Gunnar Hansen, Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, and Alice Cooper, Kirk Hammett, Philip Anselmo, Corey Taylor, Jonathan Davis, and many more.
3) Tell us about your personal history with metal and horror flicks. What drew you to both genres?
I’ve been a horror fan since I was a little kid. My dad was a horror fan, so he introduced me to the genre very early on. As soon as we got our first VHS player, I began renting tons of horror films and decided I wanted some sort of future in the horror business. I was a late bloomer when it came to music. I first became a fan of horror film scores and soundtracks. Then I was a huge grunge and alternative fan in the early to mid 90’s. And later, I finally started catching up with the metal genre, getting into bands like Metalica, Slayer, Pantera, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, etc.
4) Why do you think metal music and horror stories/movies/games etc. seem to go together so well?
It’s a mix of an interest in darkness, fantasy, and aggression. There’s a similar adrenaline rush that comes from watching horror films as well as listening to heavy music.
5) How did both Robert L. Lucas and Brian Slagel become involved with the project?
I met Robert in 2009 at a Fangoria convention in Las Vegas. We were introduced by our mutual friend, Richard Christy (Death, Iced Earth, Howard Stern Show) and we later began working on a Tom Savini documentary “Smoke and Mirrors,” several years later. From there, we started work on “The History of Metal and Horror.” I also met Brian Slagel through Richard some years ago and I interviewed him for the project. He later gave a very generous donation and I made him executive producer.
6) Let’s talk about you for a moment. How long have you had your hands in directing and movie making? Have you done any other films?
I started shooting short horror projects back in high school and continued on for a bunch of years after that. I’ve written several horror screenplays but put them on the back burner until the opportunity comes to put them into production. I was working full time as a producer for Howard Stern’s television show for some years, so I didn’t have much time to work on any other big projects. I think after this documentary is released, more doors will begin to open for feature lenth films.
7) Who has been your biggest influence in the movie and music industry?
Some of my early horror influences included Tom Savini, Clive Barker, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, etc. Musically, I’ve been influenced by Metallica, Slipknot, Manson, Gary Numan, and a bunch more.
8) What are you hoping to accomplish with the “History Of Heavy Metal And Horror?
I want for this project to be well known within the worlds of both metal and horror. I would like to go to a horror convention and music festival and have fans and artists be familiar with the project. I think it’s something that will be fun and informative. Hopefully there will be various outlets available for showings and distribution.
9) How far you towards meeting your IndieGoGo goal?
So far, we’ve reached the 25% mark with the first phase of the campaign. Enough funds have been raised to keep the production moving comfortably. More will need to be raised in order to cover the big expenses in the post production process.
10) Finally, what piece of advice can you give aspiring directors to help them get their name and work noticed?
About 25 years ago, Bruce Campbell wrote on a autographed photo to me, “Work hard.” You can’t be lazy and succeed in this business. It’s also important to be humble, friendly, aggressive, and appreciative. Without those behaviors, I would have never been able to establish the relationships needed to make this project happen. Having a vision and skill set is the foundation but making a dream a reality requires good relationships in the business. But I also need to say that luck has a lot to do with it as well. Being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference in the world.