'Creepshow' Series Director And Horror Legend Tom Savini On How Cinema Saved His Life [Set Visit Interview]

The first thing you notice when you sit down with Tom Savini is that the legendary horror make-up artist looks significantly younger than his 72 years. The second thing you notice is "Holy s***, I'm sitting down with Tom Savini."

The man behind the gore in films like Manic, Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, The Burning, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2 and so many more is beloved by horror fans the world over. He also worked on the original 1982 Creepshow movie, which makes him a perfect fit for Shudder's new Creepshow series. Savini is directing one segment in the upcoming horror anthology series, a Joe Hill story about an abusive father and a couple of kids who discover a dinosaur. And then things get dark.

When Savini talks, you listen. So that's what we did on the Atlanta, Georgia set of the new Creepshow. Savini didn't need much prompting to share anecdotes about his life and work, including his strong opinions about the current state of the horror genre and how cinema saved his life when he came back from the Vietnam War. He's a raconteur, prone to going off-subject. But really, you don't want it any other way.

Note: this interview was conducted with a group of other assembled journalists.


What can you tell us about your segment?

Ooh, am I allowed?

This is all embargoed until much later.



OK. It's about a sweet little family terrorized by a monster, and it's not a dinosaur in the story. It's the stepdad. He's a Vietnam vet, and not that that's an excuse for anybody, really, but it is, actually. When I came back from Vietnam, I was a zombie. I was an emotionless zombie. My marriage went right in the toilet. I can't live without love in the house and I don't blame her at all. I was just not there anymore. I wasn't even on the front lines. Guys that came from the front lines, you looked at them and they weren't there. So I was like that for about two and a half years. A movie brought my emotions back. When I went to see Midnight Cowboy, when Dustin Hoffman died, I became hysterical. My wife and my friend were the last people in the theater because I was crying so hysterically. And then when I left, I broke down again outside. It wasn't sad that Dustin Hoffman died, but it was all pent up from – we didn't call it PTSD. It was all pent up. From that day on, I was able to enjoy a sunset. I had feelings after that. My feelings came back.

This guy [the stepdad in the show] has not seen Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy. This has not happened to him. He's not back yet, the stepdad, clearly. It's the sweetest family, sweetest characters, beautiful sweet little teenaged girl, fourteen, her little brother, and she's really loved her dad. So when this guy starts carrying on, he doesn't even say, 'Honey, please get me a beer,' he just says, 'Beer.' He expects it to be, and it is. So the actress is an abused woman, an abused wife. So the kids leave the house just to run away from all this and they bump into, what? This thing that looks like a boulder. But walking around it, they see that it becomes Champlain, the thing that the stores in town are selling souvenirs and T-shirts of, like the Loch Ness monster. It's this myth that nobody has ever seen, but people swear it exists.

Well, that's why there's so much fog. Greg Nicotero loves to – I was going to say homage, but he would tell you 'steal' – so this movie is The Fog. This episode has more episode than the movie did. So the fog I think is why this thing came out and not worried about being seen. But however, the baby – have you seen the baby? You haven't seen Champy? OK, they're putting a clear coat on him now. It's a practical effect, it's not going to be CGI. It's there. The mother, of course, is going to be a visual effect, because – and this, to me, is the greatest moment in this episode – the father comes in and says, 'This is my ticket away from you stupid kids and dumb wife that I've hooked myself up to.' And of course, the big mother comes and chomps and eats him and takes him away, and the kids are horrified by this. Are they next? But they see the mother gently nudge the baby [to see if] she's dead. And she drags her back into the water. So whereas the kids are afraid, suddenly they're in wonderment, in awe – it's like a puppy being saved by its mother or something. So it's a very tender moment. You think that's where the [episode] really ends, except the stepdad's leg washes up on shore with this established boot. He's got this boot that has 'S***kicker' written on the side, and that's how I'm going to introduce him. The boot [Savini slams his fist on table, mimicking a boot coming into frame], and then come up behind him, haunting the little girl's boyfriend. Before that it's a shadow, it's a silhouette, so it's a slow introduction. When this guy's running through the woods, it's in slow motion. When they're running, they're [at normal speed] getting away from him. But he's this ominous presence, and we can establish that with film tricks. That's what I'm doing.

So if he's a Vietnam vet, is this set in the 1980s like the original movie?

1984. And only because, and nobody thought it was a period piece until I said, 'Hey Greg, this guy's got a lot of talk about Vietnam. Is he bulls***ting or was he really there?' He said, 'Well, I think he's bulls***ting.' And I said, 'Well even so, I'm 72, and I was in Vietnam in its heyday, the Tet Offensive. If he's thirty, it can only be like '81, '82. So we settled on '84, and that's what the kids carve in the dinosaur. 84.

How many hats are you wearing on this production? Are you going to be doing effects, or are you just directing?

No, no. I'm not even doing a cameo. I said to Greg, 'I want to be the woman's ex-husband, the one that died, in the photos on the windowsill.' He says, 'No, no, you're too old to be married to a 40-year-old,' and I'm sitting next to my 35-year-old wife when he said that. And he knows her! Anyway...

Are the makeup effects for the show practical like the original movie?

Everything. Except for, when Chet, the stepdad, he's lethal, he's really flipped, he's going to kill people, and the mother monster comes in and takes him out. That head might be CGI. The one that briefly comes in and pulls the stunt guy, wiggles him, and then pulls him out of frame. We're actually going to wiggle him before. We've gotta break his spine, you know. So that might be CGI. But the nudging and the dragging, that's a silicon baby with a rubber and foam puppet. We'll shoot that at K&B after we leave here when this is over.

What's the collaboration like with the other directors? Is there a lot of talk to make sure people aren't repeating the same types of stories?

Well, the stories are all different, sure. But when you said that, I was thinking that there is something like that happening, or happened. Let me get a lock on it. I'll give you an example: the stunt guy, because another guy is taken and pulled out of a scene, I don't know why, I don't know the story, but we're going to make this one different, he's going to wiggle him and travel and not just yank him out. So that's something another director did. But that's all really that I'm aware of. I don't know the other stories. I don't want to know them. I want to be surprised when I watch this, you know?

Greg is the keeper of all that as the showrunner, to make sure they're all their own unique thing?

Yeah, and we haven't been allowed to post anything, and we have tons of photos to post. But AMC is going to make their own announcement, and he doesn't want us to do it before them, you know? A couple people did, and we were like, 'Hey, you've gotta take that down.' The cameraman and one of the makeup guys. I said, 'No, Greg's not going to like that.' But you should ask him. He'll just say no to me, too. I've known Greg since he was 14. He was a little kid, visited the set of [Day] of the Dead. He was my assistant on a couple of movies I did, and I said to him – he mentions me at awards ceremonies and things, and we're in his hot tub, and I said, 'Greg, you would have all of this if you had never even met me.' Because he's a hard worker. He's incredible. He starts Walking Dead after this. Come on. It exhausts me just thinking about it. So we're in his hot tub and I said, 'There's two words for why this is all happening to you: you're good.' And he absolutely is. He was this little kid – he was gut boy on Day of the Dead. He handled the pig intestines for us. Unfortunately, they had unplugged every refrigerator while we were in Florida for three weeks. The stench was – and we had to use them. You can't go buy new pig intestines at three in the morning when we did the effect. But the stench was unbelievable.

My aunt was on that set as one of the zombies.

You're kidding! Because they had wax up their noses and we had gas masks on, but the actor, poor Joe Pilato. He was breathing that for three or four hours. He was ready to heave when it was over. He died like a couple days ago. But we couldn't protect him, you'd see it! But why are we on that. What are we talking about? Did I go off on a tangent?

creepshow tv series director

How often does Romero come up when you're working on Creepshow right now?

None of us would have a career without George. For me, anyway. If there wasn't a Dawn of the Dead, I wouldn't have gotten Friday the 13th. And that one-two punch is what catapulted my career. I mean, the '80s was the splatter decade and I was the king of splatter. The wizard of gore. I've been called all those things. The Burning, The Prowler, Friday the 13th, Day of the Dead. That was the heyday of stuff that was happening right in front of you. This is before CGI. I love CGI when it's done well. I wish I'd have had it back then to solve some problems, but it's kind of an economic thing. I think the first episode of The Walking Dead two years ago that Greg directed, was the people over the trough. They didn't even put appliances on those people. It was just tubes on their neck to shoot the blood. Visual effects just erased it later. Which is an economic decision. For me, if I had to tear the guy in half again on Day of the Dead, that's five or six hours from now before you can do that. No blood, CGI blood, you can do it again over and over instantly as many takes as you like. They haven't mastered certain things, but like I said, I like it when it's done well. It's just a tool in your toolkit to use. There wouldn't be the bicycle zombie without CGI, the half girl. And we were going to do that in Land of the Dead. Before Greg did it, it was my gig and I forget why I had to give it up, but we were going to have like eight CGI zombies with green so you can see through them or with half their head gone, because the longer their brain's in tact, they're still walking around, you know? Greg incorporated that into his special effects work when he did Land of the Dead. So it is part of that toolbox that we can use to make it visually more exciting. Because if I were making you a zombie, I can't subtract from you, I can only add to you. CGI can subtract all they want, whittle you down like a skeleton. It's a great tool.

You mentioned having your career because of George Romero. Who gets your seal of approval, horror-wise, now?

Have there been any good horror movies lately? I'm serious. Get Out was a great horror movie.


Hereditary bugged the s*** out of me. I don't buy the whole cult thing at the end. There was some scary moments in it, but you didn't know why. Why did that guy catch fire in front of the fireplace? Why am I seeing this? I was constantly asking myself, 'What's this leading up to?' and then I didn't buy the premise at the end. Everybody was touting about Hereditary and I couldn't wait to see it. And again, scary's scary to a point, but then what is that? What does that mean? Because OK: what happens ten minutes after the movie's over? What happens to those people and the kid? That's my first thought. Now what? There can't be anything else? They're there. Boom. It's a set-up to be scary and it doesn't make any sense.

Did you see Us yet?

No. I hear it's really good.

What about horror TV?

Well now. For me, horror TV was Twilight Zone, Thriller, hosted by Boris Karloff, One Step Beyond. Those are things that I went to bed covering myself with a mattress so the monsters wouldn't get me. That's when I was a kid and that's when you're most – I wish I could see a movie again through the eyes of a nine-year-old child. That's when it was all real for me. Frankenstein was real, the Wolfman, the Mummy, they scared you. And they hardly showed anything, it all happened behind doors. Val Lewton's Leopard Man, when the leopard is chasing the girl home and you hear the pounding on the door, and her mother is saying, 'Did you get the flowers?' or whatever it was. And you hear her screaming, and they show the bottom of the door and blood comes under the door. Boy, that stuck with me as a kid more than seeing a special effect.

The magic is destroyed for you, if you're a movie fan and want to work on movies, as soon as you get behind the scenes. The magic of that, believing everything is really happening is over. A new magic takes over, which is the magic of creativity. And that's OK, but I still miss that one. My daughter made me take her to see Coppola's Dracula – she was nine-and-a-half – ten times, at least. I'm sure there were people in the audience saying, 'What's that guy doing with that little girl?' If you sat next to her, it was like, 'Is that yak hair or crepe hair?' I'm saying, 'Shut up! It's hard enough for me not to think of those things.' So you don't want to sit next to her as a nine-year-old watching a movie because she destroys the goal of believing stuff.

But that's still alive, that magic. There are movies where you're not thinking of camera angles and the decisions that the director's making and the lighting. Two movies, The Exorcist and Alien. Those two movies scared me. I never thought about a camera set up or anything. I was in the story. But then, I'm raised a Catholic, and that stuff was brainwashed into us. It hit something in us deeper than non-Catholics, I think. I've spoken to non-Catholics, and some people think that movie was silly. But to us, you don't believe it now, but it was ingrained in us as kids with the nuns and the priests. And Alien was a haunted house in space. That was just unbelievable. And it proves a point. If Syfy called me today and wanted me to direct a movie for them, the rule is, you've gotta show the monster in the first five minutes, and you can't do a night shoot, and if it's a night shoot, it has to be very bright. Well, that violates the rules! You don't show the monster in the first five minutes. As soon as you show the monster, it's over. 'OK, now what? That's it? That doesn't scare me, so it's never going to scare me.' Alien, you never saw that monster until the last frame when he's blown away from the ship. You saw bits and pieces, and you created the rest of him in your head. That always seems to me why the old movies were so great. You created in your head what was going on behind the doors when you heard screams and the leopard growling.

We're all special effects people in our minds. Look at your dreams, OK? This, to me, is like the biggest deal that people don't give enough thought to. When you're dreaming, your thoughts are creating a world just as solid as this table. Taste the food, the colors, you know what I'm saying? You're not plunked in a scenario. You created that whole – I mean, I dreamt last night about this elaborate interior dwelling, and I'm creating all of that. Where does that come from? It comes from the special effects living inside you. Or your point of view is based on your experience and anything you've ever seen, you can recreate in your dreams. So here you are, I don't know what your religious thing is, but if you believe there's one mind and we're all a part of it, people call it God, whatever, OK? Then everything that's supposed to be around us is created by that intelligence, right? You're fucking God when you're dreaming! Your intelligence is creating an elaborate scenario, a labyrinth of stuff. You gave that life. You're lying in bed, seeing without using your eyes, hearing stuff that doesn't exist. You're creating this world. Again, it's just as solid as this. So what's the difference between us right here, alive, and then our dreams? This is created somehow. Do you ever wonder why you have taste buds and you can see? These are all things to make you enjoy or give reality. Anyway, I'm going off on a huge tangent. But I also believe in reincarnation, only because of my first memories. And that is, I'm less than a year old, I'm in a kitchen, there's boxes, my parents are moving into the house, and I felt like I had just come from someplace, and I was super intelligent. I knew everything. Until my dad chased me down the steps because I had crapped in my pants and I became the kid I was supposed to be. But before that I thought I had just come from someplace and I felt super aware, and then I became this kid. So I think, since I believe in reincarnation, just like when you wake up from a dream, the first thing that happens is, you forget the dream. You're programmed to forget the dream. So if I came from another life into this body as a little kid, I think I'm programmed to forget the past life. I think we're programmed to do that. Anyway, this is very strong and powerful for me and I'm sorry if I'm going too philosophical here. What the hell were we talking about that led me to this?

Horror TV. (everyone laughs)

Wow. OK, let's trace this back. So I said Thriller, One Step Beyond, Twilight Zone.

Not showing the monsters. Seeing through the eyes of a nine-year-old.

OK, great, great. But something made me – the power of dreams. It's a very powerful thing for me. It's a big deal.

How many of your inventions would you credit to your past dreams?

One. One or two. The reverse machete in Day of the Dead, that was something I created in a dream. Because, here's the deal, and I even teach my students this, if you're a special makeup effects student at my school, your mindset should be what do I need to see to make me believe that what I'm seeing is really happening? That translates into, what do I need to show people? It's simply what a magician does. A magician makes you look here, and he's pulling a wad of flowers out of his ass. He misdirected you so he can do the trick, and he also has mechanical devices you're not aware of. That's what special effects is, mechanical devices. So what do I need to see to make a machete go into a guy's head? Well, I need to see it embedded in his head. Well, how can I do that? It has to be a real person. I never use a fake head. A real person can emote and it's real. You look at a fake head in a movie longer than three seconds, you know it's fake. Think of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the mirror in The Terminator. You knew that was fake. Or Poltergeist, the guy tearing his face off. You got to stare at that longer than three seconds, so you know it's fake. I like to use the real person because I can stare at you all day and you're never going to look fake. Except Kevin Yaeger's [fake] heads for the movie Sleepy Hollow. You can stare at those all day, they were exquisite. They were extremely well done. But mostly. So what's the point, what am I talking about?

Reverse machete.

Thank you, yeah. So the machete has to be embedded in his head, and I said, 'How can I do that to a real actor?' I've gotta cut a groove in the machete so when it's on him it looks like it's in him, and then we just pull it out and do it in reverse, OK? That was in a dream that I thought about that. And now they manufacture those. In Martin, when the razor blade slices the girl's arm open, you can go to Morris Costumes and buy a baby ear syringe attached to a plastic ear. I don't have merchandising rights on any of this stuff. People are just taking it because they saw it in a movie. Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent. Sorry.

creepshow tv series featurette

How do you think that Creepshow is going to fit in with this explosion of anthology horror shows?

It's going to lead the way. What makes it the thing that's unique – plus, it has a history – go on YouTube, man. People love Dawn of the Dead and Creepshow. I was just showing my friend that's visiting all the new artwork for Creepshow. Not for this, just fan art [for the movie]. So I think they're going to be chomping at the bit for this thing. Is there anything? Well, Walking Dead is a contender. But this is all different, every episode. He wanted to have seven minute episodes, now they're all almost the same length, which is twenty minutes, I think. So people who love that movie, and there's a lot of them, are just going to love this. Because they're getting the movie in twelve episodes. The ash tray is going to be in every episode. Sometimes it'll become a comic book with the pages turning or the yellow box. I mean, I wasn't a great big comic book fan. EC Comics was something I looked at, but my favorite comic books were Little Lulu and Superman. I have the whole EC collection, but I bought it as an adult. I think I saw one or two issues when I was a kid. Even then, it was too real, too bloody or something. Because it haunted you. If it haunted your dreams, you stayed away from it. It gave me nightmares. So yeah, I think people are waiting for it.

Were there ever any discussions of you reprising your role as the Creep?

He and I were the garbagemen at the end. Greg was saying, 'Oh s***, we should have a scene, because here's you and Marty.' There's no cameos. They were talking about putting one of my tattoos in as a cameo, but that's not going to happen. I was going to be one of the Nazis because they're wearing gas masks. It'd be like Daniel Craig playing a Stormtrooper, but not even doing that. (laughs)

Did you get to choose your segment/story?

No. The first segment he offered me was the monkey's paw segment that John Harrison ended up directing. This is pretty funny, I just thought of this. I was set to direct Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie. Greg talked me out of it. He did. A long time ago, and John Harrison directed it. So here I am, I had monkey's paw, but John Harrison directed it. But I prefer this story, no doubt about it. But I remember Greg videotaping me turning down the producers for Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie. They had sent me like $25,000 as a non-refundable token of, 'Hey, please stay on board, I hope you direct this movie' kinda thing. But my agent had offered me a Stephen King project called Graveyard Shift, and Greg was like, 'Tom, it's Tales from the Dark Side. This is Stephen King!' So I agreed, and Greg ended up doing Tales from the Dark Side. I'm with no agent, and the studio, New World Pictures, went belly up, so Graveyard Shift didn't happen. So there I was, no agent, no film, and they were making Tales of the Dark Side: The Movie. But wait, what was the question?

You answered it.

So he sent me this script, and I said, 'Greg, are all the endings to all the episodes so ambiguous?' There was no ending, no resolve to my episode. And he said, 'I'm sorry you don't like it, we could give you an episode next season if you like.' I said, 'No, no, let me try to work with this.' And he had some writers redo, and it came back as great, the conversations were great. They cut a character. It evolved into something that's got heart. I don't know what the other episodes are other than this werewolf thing, only because I'm sharing an office with Rob Schrab, who's directing that thing. So I know what that's about. But this episode is sweet and sad and then heroic. It's kind of a feel-good episode, so I don't know if any of the other ones are feel-good episodes.

Would you come back for season 2 and direct more?

Oh yeah, absolutely. This is intoxicating. However, before it, I was like, 'Oh, s***. I've gotta go down there and prepare.' And my assistant's going, 'Oh, you poor thing. They want you to direct a Creepshow episode and you're complaining that you have to do some work.' Because before coming here, my big decision of the day is, 'Are we going to Whole Foods today?' Now it's like a decision, I never stop thinking of this. When my head hits the pillow at night, I'm staging stuff. I wake up, I'm staging stuff. For hours before I get out of bed. So it's alive, I'm on the wire now, and that's exciting. I was just thinking, you can compare it to fireworks. You don't have that feeling all the time. I'm 72, I have my school, I don't have to do anything, really. So yeah, when I first thought – I can't wait to get here in the morning...I was thinking to myself, you're alive. It's a whole different mind that I possess now that I'm walking around in. Full of detail and making it scary and keeping in mind Greg's notes: when you're done shooting a scene, put another lens on and go for the close up on everybody. That's true. Rule number one of making a film is, what's my cutaway? If you're shooting something, what am I going to cut to? If not, you're trapped with that. That's it. Always have a cutaway. Greg directs like four episodes of The Walking Dead per season, and he's an experienced director, and I like I said, your point of view is based on your experiences. So he's got a great point of view.

But you must also learn from the masters, you know? I completely directed this movie on paper first, only because that's what Hitchcock did. You make mistakes, it doesn't cost anything on paper. It was boring for him to make the movie, he said, because I've already made it on paper. Now he's gotta go make the pieces. I have every confidence of just going in there with my shot list. We're going to move the dinosaur into the set in about fifteen minutes. He's doing a clear coat on it to make it look wet. That's funny, too. I heard that one of my teachers from my school was in Atlanta. My assistant told me, Eric Molinaris. I says, 'Well, I hope I run into him.' And he shows up to paint the dinosaur. I mean, my students are everywhere. Every time I go to a mask company or something, 'Hey, I went to your school!' They're everywhere. But what's the point? It was boring to make the movie, that's what Hitchcock said. Oh yeah, but when they move the dinosaur, I'm going in with my iPad and I'm shooting my scenes. So tomorrow when the cameraman says, 'What's next?' I go, 'Here it is. Let's got for this.' One after another. We only have three days to shoot this thing. It's only 20 minutes.

Every minute counts.

It really does. And decisions made, like should we lay a track down or do the Steadicam? Steadicam is faster, let's do the Steadicam. Plus, I won't see the track around the dinosaur if I'm doing a POV of them walking around town. But that's the decision you make, and in fact, there's budgetary decisions. There was a staircase in my episode, and they said we can't afford that staircase. I was like, 'Oh, that's how I was going to introduce the bad guy, with a shadow in the image and make him a towering presence up there.' It doesn't matter. It's gone. So now he's coming from a back room. It'll still be the same effect, because I'm still going to introduce him the way I said.

Where do you see the future of practical effects?

Well, look when The Evil Dead came out. They were bragging that there was no CGI, it's all practical. J.J. Abrams on the new Star Wars movie did a lot of practical stuff in that. Greg and I are firm believers in practical effects, but every now and then, you need to take that thing out of the toolbox and use it. My school teaches practical effects, you know. There are famous makeup artists who say they've quit the business because of CGI. Steve Johnson, for example, two movies in a row. What's the one about furry creatures in the woods?

Where the Wild Things Are?

That's it, yeah. He was all set to do that with real creatures, used his own money and spent a fortune on building all that stuff, and then oh, by the way, we're going to do CGI. OK, then the Hulk. He built a full-sized Hulk for The Incredible Hulk, and oh, we're going to do CGI. So those two in a row put him sort of out of business. I was never in that position. I wasn't making millions of dollars, making big productions, there's still a call for what we do for the practical stuff, in low budget films, independent films. Old timers who don't want that feeling. With CGI you have to pretend it's there, it's not really there. If you watch the werewolf transformation in An American Werewolf in London, that's happening right in front of you. All my stuff happened right in front of you, and there's a feeling you get from that. It's like Steven Spielberg says of his son Max when he was twelve years old, if he's watching a movie and what he's watching is impossible, it has to be CGI. Which is not fair, because Greg did this incredible makeup on the baseball player in Land of the Dead to make it look like her jaw was gone. People thought that was CGI because it was so good. That was a little unfair. That's the scary thing, we're training new generations to accept all the CGI stuff, you know? It's us old timers who have a collective dislike of it. When I saw Jurassic Park, I didn't see any dinosaurs. I saw a guy sitting at a computer and this pissed me off. I wanted to get into this movie and enjoy it, so I had to say to myself, the next time I saw it, 'OK, no matter what I see in the foreground or the background, it's really there.' And I enjoy the hell out of that movie, but I had to make that mindset change. People don't want to do that, a lot of people don't want to put the effort in to make that mind change. Like, I saw Captain Marvel. I don't remember a minute of it. I have no idea. I remember Brie Larson in a suit and it turned colors, that's all I remember because I didn't care. 'We're going down to catch a spy.' Then what happened? Nothing related to catching that spy occurred in that movie, you know? And it was so much CGI coming at me, I tuned out. I think I fell asleep like eight times. But that's what I mean. I'm not going to fall asleep in a Jack Nicholson movie, or a Daniel Day-[Lewis], or something that I know is really happening in front of me.

Besides don't show the monster, do you have any hard and fast rules for horror?

This is it right here. Anybody can jump up and go 'Boo!' That lasts for three seconds. They do it constantly, even in big budget movies. The Wolfman, birds flying out of the box. And I love The Wolfman. But these are chair jumpers, OK? That's what we call them. Those scares last for a couple of seconds. The best scares come from suspense and you can draw that out. Here's an example. Here's a room, and there's a door here and here. You show the monster behind this door, or this psycho, or the tentacled creature, or the bomb, or whatever it is. You show it behind this door, and then the girl walks in [the other] door. If it's a horror movie, there's usually a girl. As soon as she walks in, the scare has started. You can't wait for her to get to this door because you know what's back there, and it's only because we've shown it to you. And if you're a good director and you're smart. You slow her down. The phone rings. The whole time she's on the phone, 'Get to the door! Get to that god damned door! We want to be scared, and we want to see what happens.' So she hangs up, and you're like, 'Ah, great.' And now she breaks a nail. You slow her down again. If you're a good director, you don't draw this out too long, because there's a point where the audience gives up and says, 'Oh, I don't give a s***.' But if you time it right, and you're building up this scare, and it's not just three seconds. You've got seventeen, twenty seconds, because when she does open the door, there's nothing there. And you go, 'Huh.' And that's when the monster jumps up. When you've scared people and given them the reaction of, 'Huh, I thought the thing –' and then the thing jumps up, catch them unaware. But you've built up to that. That, to me, is the main rule, that the scares have to be suspenseful. Because anybody can – and that's what's horrible about these haunted houses. Even Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, the sets are incredible, but it's just people jumping out and yelling 'Boo!' at you. There's no psychological build up. Except when I did haunted houses. We had pants pissers. Mostly pregnant women. Tom Savini's Terror Mania, we had 27 rooms, and some people never got past the third room, which was the spider room. Because leading up to that was a long hallway with projections of bugs on the walls and foam peanuts on the floor so you're stepping on, and then fishline hanging so you're walking through. It's a psychological – a haunted house has to be scary, but also psychologically disturbing. So all these things were aggravating you before you got to the big spider room. So that's the science. There's a science to scaring people, especially in haunted attractions. You never scare the group from the front or they're never going to move. You scare them from the middle, it propels them forward. You never have a three act play going on when they're standing there and they have to watch something. It's just constant, when they walk past it, it's scaring you forward.