10/15/12

FRANK W. MONTAG

Interview taken from Horrophobic #3
Written by Tomas Larsson - 2012-10-15

The new breed of German splatter directors is growing every day without mercy to the genre. Frank W. Montag will satisfy your thirst for blood on the screen and he is definitley one of today's most promising directors. Back in 2007 he brought us his first feature film "Slasher", a true slasher flick with screaming teenagers and a crazy madman lurking in the woods with a razor sharp chainsaw. A very friendly Frank took his time to chat with us about his directing.




Tomas Larsson:
Can you tell us your story of why you got into the horror movie business?

Frank W. Montag:
That was a really long way in life. Deep in the 80s, I was confronted with all the movies at this time. The best movies ever made are coming from this decade. Maybe it started with the Police Academy, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Poltergeist and a lot of more. I could talk hours about them. At this time there were no mobile phones and no internet. There were only two ways to get good movies, so either you had to go to a video rental store near you to get them. I think I was about 15 years old, when I went to a good friend and he told me about horror movies and how amazing they are. Actually it was a revolution to get the big blockbusters and hits from cinemas to the home-screens.

He brought some of them from the rental store. The first real horror movies for me were A Nightmare on Elm street, The return of the Living Dead and Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason lives. I was deeply impressed of this movies caused by amazing special effects and thought to myself: Hey, this is a perfect illusion and this cannot be real, so everything they do in front of the camera has to prepared carefully. So how are they doing this? When I finished high school, I thought about a career in filmmaking. But in technical opportunities, there were only VHS and 35mm at that time. For a young guy without any experience, knowledge and of course money, it was unreachable. I got still my vision and I decided to learn more about the techniques. I did my first profession as a radio and television technician. After that, I visited a university for electro-technics. When I finished it, my dream was still there to make something in the movies. I went to the SEA in Cologne to finish my degree as an audio engineer and a digital filmmaker. Further I did a second degree in network and internet business administration. The last one should be for emergency, when I would fall in media business. As a summary, I learned everything in about 14 years, until I started filmmaking.

TL:
Is Slasher your first movie ever that you have been working with? I don't think your movie is a real Z-grade indie-splatter with a low budget as many other German movies. Did you have a bigger budget and could you put more money on this one?

FM:
It was a very sure thing for me, that I wouldn't start with some kind of short films just for festivals. I created my first script for a feature movie in 2005 and the shooting for that movie started the same summer. The thing I didn't know was how to handle with the giant ego of new actors. I cancelled the filming after three weeks and I lost about £7.000,00 for the first shots. But after watching my executive producer crying in a bar at night, it was more than enough to say that we cancel the project. In the late summer 2005 I directly started with the new script on SLASHER. The development of the screen-play took about five months and we raised the budget up to £50.000,00. I am still proud to say that SLASHER was the very first HD-feature movie shot on the new cameras at that time, reached German and Austrian cinemas and until now, only in Germany, there were over 15.000 units sold on DVD. It is still the all-time record of an independent production i Germany. Further SLASHER was sold to Canada, the US and Japan with a very good feedback.

TL:
The butcher in Slasher is clearly a "Leatherface" clone. Was that the idea of the character?

FM:
Well, I don't think it is a Leatherface clone. Sure he is wearing an apron and a mask and he is also working with a chainsaw. As a matter of fact, he created the mask by his own face. If you compare the mask with his real face in the scene when Julie is kissing him, you will know. After the explosion at the old house, where he met Erin, he was no longer socially acceptable and decided to hide his face behind the mask. So there is a huge difference between the character of Mike Corman and Leatherface.

TL:
You have a new movie "Cannibal Diner" coming out soon. I must say that I really love the title. What can we
expect of that movie?

FM:
The intention of making Cannibal Diner is to bring back the cannibal-movies to the big screens, but with a lot of difference to the old disgusting 80s cannibal movies. There will not be such hard special effects with close-ups of guts throwing around and animal snuff-clips and all these things. Cannibal Diner is built up on a dark atmosphere. The focus in the movie is the old factory deep in the woods. If something is being abandoned by people, there is a vacuum and this vacuum is about to be filled again with other things beyond the normal social structures. In our case with cannibals.

TL:
When will Cannibal Diner be released and will it have english subtitles?

FM:
Cannibal Diner will be released in German theatres on October 18th 2012. Unfortunately, right now there is big modification of the cinemas from old 35mm projection to the digital one. So there are not enough screens and some cinemas will start to show the movie at November 1st 2012. In Austria the theatrical releases will start on November 30th 2012. There are theatrical copies with English subtitles, aspecially for the film festivals in the US like the Horrorquest Film Festival in Atlanta and the Killer Film Fest in Sommerville.

TL:
Why did it take so long time between Slasher and your new flick?

FM:
This is very simple to say. The oldest misbelief from people is that a movie producer, director or actor is something special and that those groups don't have to work any longer in case of getting big money for their works. Regularly there is no chance to survive only in movie business. So my company is producing image movies, advertisements and 3D animations since 2007. In these years we were producing clips for companies like Starbuck Coffee and BMW. I had a lot to do with building up the company and decided to return to the director's chair in 2010. Mondaymovies is also a digital cinema distributor in Germany and Austria and I'm taking care of other directors to get their movies to the big screens.

TL:
The cover at IMDb looks awesome. Will there be some nice nudity in Cannibal Diner? I believe the horror audience appreciates some kind of sleaze in it. I do for sure.

FM:
Thank you. It is a commercial horror movie, so blood and tits will be guaranteed.

TL:
You are behind the special effects with Oliver Müller as a team. How has the cooperation worked and what can we expect from the FX?

FM:
I just did the visual effects with my subsidiary Mondaymagic, but all the blood and gore was made by Oliver. He is a very nice and talented guy with a good heart and a lot of skills for effects and I'm proud to say that we will work together again on the prequel "Cannibal Diner - The Beginning"

TL:
So you already have plans for a prequel? That's great news to hear. When is it supposed to start shooting? Will there be a third one as well in the future?

FM:
Well, right now we got a lot of things to do. Just three days more and Cannibal Diner will have its theatrical release. Mario sent me already his treatment for the new movie, but actually I don't find time to work it out. The casting are running right now and we got a lot of new actors for the prequel. The plan is to start shooting in Februari 2013, so it won't be a "happy summer movie" again, even for the crew. I got things in mind with a new old factory area and I just thought the beginning of Cannibal Diner should be rougher. There will be more action and even more blood in the movie, deep in the winter. We have to show the audience where everything started and we have to show more in every case. In Cannibal Diner there are questions without answer, where they are from, what is their real intention, what happened to Kati's car, who was the killer in the woods, where do the little girl come from and is the trap just a coincidence or is she deeper involved to the cannibals? I can't say if there will be a third part in the future. We are keeping our focus on the beginning now.

TL:
Most of the actors in CD are quite inexperienced actors. Many of them make their first role, what was the procedure in the search for actors?

FM:
Most of them just finished their graduation as actors. It's very difficult in Germany to find good new or young actors. On the one hand you can cast the "standard" from the official actor schools in Germany, but they are all really same: capable to play a role, maybe in perfection for stages, but there are no optical highlights. Everything is going in these typical German art patterns. On the other hand there are German private schools who wants to earn money and nearly everybody can make an exam there. So in fact, there is no need for them to get deeper to movie business. My castings have been running for about seven years and I decided to like the open castings. I like to work with new talents without matter what they have done before.

TL:
What do you think about the future of German Horrors?

FM:
Unless there will be a commercial background and commercial thoughts from directors and even non-commercial horizon of producers, investors and distributors, a future for German horror movies can't be guaranteed. At first they all have to know how to deal with it. A good star would be, if they would make up their mind about it, what the audience want to watch at cinemas. I am still fighting for good German movies to take them to cinemas with my digital cinema distribution, but it's very hard to show audiences in Germany that there's a way and a beginning to bring Germany to a higher class of filmmaking. This is caused by people who can't see the difference between a movie with a budget of maybe £100.000 and they compare it with movies at a budget of £30.000.000. We need a change of understandning the movies with a lower budget. Another big problem in German movies is the stage. We got no national patriotism caused by the past, so if you present real German sets to the audience, the will be pissed and they won't accept it.

TL:
Thanks a lot for taking the time for answering all the questions. Any last word for the readers?

FM:
Always a pleasure for me to talk to you guys, fans and freaks. Without your support in watching the movies, I wouldn't have been here to tell you all about this. And I want to thank Tomas Larsson for the biggest written interview I have ever made.







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