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(IFG) Tell us who you are.
My name is Geno McGahee. I am a filmmaker out of Western Massachusetts. I picked up a camera at the age of 12 and have not put it down since. I made my first feature, EVIL AWAKENING in 2001, and got distribution for that in 2008 along with my second feature RISE OF THE SCARECROWS. In 2009, I filmed FAMILY SECRET, and have filmed SCARY TALES, SICKLE, LONE GUNMAN and SCARY TALES: LAST STOP since. I own Scaredstiffreviews.com, co-host a podcast called “Reel Talk,” and am the Acquisitions Manager for CINEMA EPOCH, a company that is currently making history with the production of SAMURAI COP 2.
(IFG) So why do you make films?
I have always been a storyteller. I grew up in the eighties and my parents bought a camcorder that was just collecting dust. I watched a film called GALAXY INVADER by Don Dohler, and it was so low budget and fun that I thought that I could do that. I didn’t need to set a high standard for production and just could tell the story my way and so at 12, I filmed a skit and then that continued into my early twenties and led to my feature film run.
(IFG) What are your top 3 favorite films?
Tough one. My favorite film of all time is 12 ANGRY MEN. Ranking the others is tough, but I will put THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS up there as 2 and 3.
(IFG) How do these films influence you in your work?
I’m a writer first and so 12 ANGRY MEN is a movie that relies on its writing. Even though you may not have seen my writing talent on display as much in my first two films, I think that I bring or attempt to bring the dramatic dialogue-driven movie experience to the viewer. I think that the other two definitely show in my work. The grit, the approach. I’m definitely influenced by all three to a great degree.
(IFG) If you had a million dollar budget what kind of film would you make and who would star in it?
Well, the star would be Nic Cage…if I could convince him to work for that amount… I think he is hilarious and a great actor, bringing a style all his own to the screen. You know, it would be a toss-up. I have a demon movie that I wrote called HEAD HUNTER that I desperately want to make but it needs a budget to make it right and I’m not going to make it if it’s not right. I also have two action films I wrote that I would love to do. So, I would suspect HEAD HUNTER with Nic Cage would be the best answer at this point for that.
(IFG) So how did you come up with RISE OF THE SCARECROWS?
The film that never dies!!! OK, I’m a huge fan of the 1988 film SCARECROWS, and we had just finished EVIL AWAKENING in 2001. I wanted to make a scarecrow horror movie and wrote the script and, believe it or not, it wasn’t bad. I’m a much better writer now, but for the time, I thought it was pretty good. Unfortunately, RISE OF THE SCARECROWS got me out of film because the experience was so bad. The script was forever changing due to actors falling out of the film and nobody knew their lines or cared to learn them. I was very frustrated and wasn’t mature enough or seasoned enough to pull it together. So, the end result was a big mess that has won nearly every horror site’s WORST MOVIE OF ALL TIME or BEST WORST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. I hope one day to get redemption for this title. It’s still my most popular and it still has its fan base but it could have been much better than it was if I was a better director and filmmaker at that time. In the end, RISE OF THE SCARECROWS was a great learning experience. It has some fans, it has a lot of people that don’t like it, and I’ve heard it’s become a drinking game to some. So, whatever joy people get from it, good or bad, I’m happy.
(IFG) Where can people see this film or more of your films?
RISE OF THE SCARECROWS, FAMILY SECRET and SCARY TALES are all available on DVD in the Scared Stiff Horror Collection. You can find it on Amazon.com. FAMILY SECRET is coming to cable in May and if you hated me for EVIL AWAKENING and RISE OF THE SCARECROWS, I think you’ll hate me a lot less for FAMILY SECRET. You can also find me on Facebook. I also own and operate ScaredStiffReviews.com. I enjoy any commentary on my work, good or bad, and I welcome anyone to my Facebook friend’s list. I’ve got plenty of room before I meet my limit.
(IFG) What is one of your most craziest behind the scenes adventure?
I have had many of these… Putting together a movie is incredibly frustrating and I often bang my head against the wall and vowed to quit film after nearly every production, but to narrow it down to one… I guess it was FAMILY SECRET as a whole. It took six months to shoot, I was working my regular job 60 hours a week and spending every Friday, Saturday and Sunday shooting and during this time, I had an actress no-show after shooting 2 full days and they were important days. I had to scramble and replace her, but the film proved to be the most trying experience ever. We started filming and it was 100 degrees. We ended filming and it was snowing…and we shot every single weekend. I often tell people: “If you can survive FAMILY SECRET, you can survive anything.”
(IFG) What is next for you?
On March 28th, I’m having a double feature of my film SICKLE and SCARY TALES: LAST STOP in Three Rivers, MA. SICKLE is the one that I get the most attention for, it’s been a headache to produce but it’s finally done and I expect some big things from it. SCARY TALES: LAST STOP is another anthology in the “Scary Tales” series… It has the highest production value and the best acting thus far. I’m hoping that SICKLE will be my franchise, but we’ll see. I have entered both into a boatload of film festivals with high hopes and fingers crossed. My next film will be shot in 2016 and is one of three: SICKLE 2, FAMILY SECRET: HALLOWEEN NIGHT or SKULLFACE, a class reunion massacre movie.
(IFG) Where can people see more of your work?
I got to give it to John Reign and his site Crankit-up.com for pushing indie artists. They have a great page where people can see my work or they can hit me up on Facebook and see all of the pages that I have, including the Xposse Productions, SICKLE, SCARY TALES or any of my other pages.
(IFG) What is one tip you think other film makers should know?
I think the best advice I can give is this. Produce. I know so many filmmakers that will talk themselves out of shooting because of something not being right and they end up letting years go by and time is a thief. You need to just get the camera and go. If you really want to make a film or do anything, really, the only thing stopping you is yourself.
(IFG) Tell us whatever you want! Promote whatever you want!
I want to thank you for the time. I really and sincerely appreciate that. My two films are hitting the festival circuit and I really want people to check them out. SICKLE is a paranormal monster movie that has great music from Jonathan Tiersten (SLEEPAWAY CAMP) and TigerTailz, and I think it really satisfies the horror fans in a lot of ways. SCARY TALES: LAST STOP is another step forward for me. I hope that people will give both of them a chance and I hope that they do well in the festivals that they are entered into.