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Horror Business: Derek Dennis Herbert on TO HELL AND BACK & Documentary Filmmaking

TO HELL AND BACK THE KANE HODDER STORY still 3 - Horror Business: Derek Dennis Herbert on TO HELL AND BACK & Documentary Filmmaking

When you haven’t seen To Hell and Again but, critically, what have you ever been doing? Now that it’s out there on Amazon Prime, there’s no excuse to not see this enjoyable, surprisingly touching and inspirational exploration of the person behind the masks of Jason Voorhees. We principally know Kane Hodder because the beloved horror icon, however few know the harrowing particulars of his life story. The film pulls off a troublesome feat of illustrating a really poignant memoir that unflinchingly confronts problems with bullying and PTSD, whereas nonetheless delivering sufficient movie trivia and gore gag clips to maintain us horror nerds joyful. The cohesion of those parts, working collectively to effortlessly spin a radical and pleasurable narrative, converse to the storytelling potential of director, Derek Dennis Herbert.

General, Kane’s life story is a saga of the triumph of the human will over excessive adversity, and a heroic story of using ache as a useful resource for power. Excruciating accounts of his medical remedies at a mal-practicing, ill-equipped burn middle are appalling and tear-jerking and the viewer comes out with a fair larger degree of admiration for Kane, whose plight would have buried most males. However, like his titular character of Jason, he continually proves to be an unstoppable drive who comes again repeatedly from the very depths of hell, a bit bit stronger each time.

TO HELL AND BACK THE KANE HODDER STORY still 3 - Horror Business: Derek Dennis Herbert on TO HELL AND BACK & Documentary Filmmaking

TO HELL AND BACK THE KANE HODDER STORY still 3 - Horror Business: Derek Dennis Herbert on TO HELL AND BACK & Documentary Filmmaking

Let’s kick this factor off with Derek Dennis Herbert’s three keys for aspiring filmmakers:

  • Salute your shorts. Regardless of listening to from Dov Charney that “Nobody cares about your short,” a number of administrators have spoken of how the condensed and low-risk expertise of doing a brief, teaches administrators priceless classes that put together them for subsequent options. Derek cites his first brief as a troublesome however crucial expertise that was loaded with errors. However, regardless of how painful it was, the expertise of creating a brief paid off as a result of Derek was capable of keep away from those self same rookie errors on his function the place the stakes have been a lot larger.
  • Put on one hat on-set, however a number of hats off-set. Filmmaking typically calls for the execution of many roles: author, director, producer, editor — every of which requires a distinctly totally different mindset. Derek’s manufacturing on To Hell and Again was no totally different, as he was the director, producer and even one of many editors, BUT, he made a acutely aware effort to focus on being a director on-set in order that he might greatest serve the story with as a lot focus as attainable. Sporting a number of hats is a vital a part of getting your movie off of the bottom, however focus is equally essential, notably whereas directing. The stability between focus and multi-tasking is essential, and Derek completely articulates it when he says, “It’s about wearing the right hats at the right time.”
  • Be certain that your topic has charisma:  Derek states that, no matter how superb a documentary’s story is, if the topic can’t compellingly ship it, the film will fall flat. Fortunately for Derek, Kane Hodder is superb on digital camera (with and with no hockey masks). All the time be sure that your topic and the individuals you focus probably the most quantity of digital camera time on are articulate, charismatic, and endearing sufficient to hold a film. With out these qualities, the viewers will probably take a look at, no matter how unimaginable the story may be. 

Dread Central: Hey Derek, thanks for taking the time. To Hell and Again was actually incredible. Bravo, man, really.

Derek Dennis Herbert: Thanks!

DC: How did this venture come about?

DDH: We began filming in June of 2015, however I’d been working on fundraising, prepping, the pitch deck and all that since round 2014. It’s been a very long time coming, so I’m very completely happy now that it’s being acquired so properly. I’ve been speaking with another documentary individuals who stated that it took them ten years to get their movie completed! Finally what I’d love to do is figure on narrative movies with docs in manufacturing, as a result of I might in all probability get three of these out whereas an entire doc is being made.

DC: Three and a half years’ value of effort; it sounds prefer it was an actual labor of affection.  Might you speak concerning the means of getting this made?

DDH: Nicely, I knew I needed to make a movie with somebody within the horror style, as a fan. I additionally knew that I needed to make one thing that might attraction to a broader demographic, with human curiosity as nicely.  I’ve labored on so many docs–you want the topic (or at the least one of many topics) to be very compelling to ensure that the doc to work; as a result of the story might be unimaginable, but when the topic can’t converse nicely on digital camera, and may’t make individuals care about it, then it simply dissolves.

Kane’s story sounded very compelling, so I learn Unmasked which he wrote with Mike Aloisi. Then I instantly learn it a second time earlier than I gave it to my lawyer, Andrew Barcello, who learn it and stated, “You really should make it.” We obtained in touch with Kane’s supervisor, who was an actual sweetheart. As soon as we received to some extent the place everybody was pleased, we met with Kane instantly.

In that first assembly, Kane knew we have been the best individuals to make this, and he agreed one assembly in. In that first assembly, he went, “Alright, assuming you guys can do this, we’re doing this!” And we stated “Yep! We can start filming really soon.”  And he’s like, “Alright, where do I sign?” And we made this factor occur. So it was very fast.

maxresdefault 1 - Horror Business: Derek Dennis Herbert on TO HELL AND BACK & Documentary Filmmaking

maxresdefault 1 - Horror Business: Derek Dennis Herbert on TO HELL AND BACK & Documentary Filmmaking

DC: He should have simply recognized that he was in the appropriate palms from the get-go. What do you assume it was about your pitch, or about you and your staff, that was capable of achieve Kane’s belief so shortly?

DDH: He stated he has a sense about individuals–he’s stated it earlier than, like when he met with Adam Inexperienced for the primary time, he knew that one thing was totally different about Adam. He stated with Adam he by no means thought it wouldn’t occur. And I feel that’s the identical type of feeling he had with us, like, ‘These guys are relatively unknown, but I’ve trusted individuals earlier than. I’ve trusted Adam Inexperienced, I’ve trusted Mike Aloisi with writing my guide, so if I’m going to do that, why don’t I do it with these individuals?’

Plus, he didn’t assume it was essential to do a doc. He thought he had put every little thing on the market with a ebook, and that’s all he’d do with it, till we satisfied him that we’d attain a bigger viewers and make it a extra simply digestible format for lots of people. Not everybody has days to learn a e-book, however individuals have ninety minutes to observe a film. So it permits him to get his story out to extra individuals. He thought it was a fantastic concept.

We advised him, “Pay attention, we need to inform your story and your phrases; you’re going to have final-cut approval on it. That definitely helped too, as a result of there’s some actually delicate issues right here, that in the event that they have been dealt with within the fallacious means, might have made this a totally totally different movie.  I needed to show I might do that, and do it properly, and make a movie that Kane can be pleased with. Hopefully it’s simply the beginning of me working with Kane–I’d like to work with him once more, very quickly.

DC: What was probably the most shocking factor that you simply came upon about Kane once you have been capturing this?

DDH: The size and quantity of malpractice that he endured at that hospital was very troublesome to listen to about in individual. Clearly, I’ve learn the ebook, however to listen to him listing it was a special story. We flip it right into a montage within the film.  A whole lot of occasions we might speak concerning the malpractice for lengthy durations of time, after which I’d change to speaking about Jason Takes Manhattan for some time, after which we’d return to it a bit extra. I needed to maintain us on a path the place, once I noticed him get bodily drained speaking about these things, we’d change the temper and speak about one thing enjoyable, or take a break, and reevaluate. I feel he appreciated that as properly, typically he would say, “No, I’d rather continue talking about the same subject.” And I had all my questions, so I might simply go proper again to the place I used to be.

DC: So, you have been strategic in not exhausting him a few single matter?

DDH: Precisely, as a result of I knew we had two days in L.A., which is what we constructed the entire set for, for him to speak. We additionally had two days in Hawaii in a lodge, however I needed to get as a lot achieved with the gorgeous set we constructed as I might. I knew they’d be like ten-to-twelve-hour days for him sitting and speaking about his life, so I needed to make it possible for it was as snug as attainable for him, given the subject material.

DC: That set you guys constructed was superior, by the best way. It was that type of Dario Argento-looking Giallo lighting within the background.  It was actually cool. I used to be going to ask you about that.

DDH: We went to this Laymont Studios in Kilda Park, the place they really filmed a bunch of Victor Crowley. They’re a reasonably low-cost facility however they’ve plenty of stuff, together with an entire in-house set division that constructed that set. It was one among their package units however then we closely modified it — I needed the background to be fascinating however not overpowering of Kane, and I feel that’s what it did. I needed to make a really cinematic documentary. I didn’t need to shoot towards inexperienced screens — they did that in By no means Sleep Once more, and it undoubtedly works, however I actually didn’t need to should cope with making an attempt to make this look reasonable once more in submit. I needed an actual background.

DC: It appeared actually superior.

DDH: Thanks!

Robert Englund on Kane Hodder Story - Horror Business: Derek Dennis Herbert on TO HELL AND BACK & Documentary FilmmakingRobert Englund on Kane Hodder Story - Horror Business: Derek Dennis Herbert on TO HELL AND BACK & Documentary Filmmaking

Robert Englund is one among many star cameos made in To Hell and Again

DC: In relation to a documentary, I really feel just like the directorial duties are very totally different from directing a story function. If you’re doing one thing like this and you’ve got such compelling material, how a lot are you able to truly direct?

DDH: Not an excessive amount of, however sometimes I might say, “Can you say that again, the same words, just quicker?” Typically he’s speaking for twelve hours, and typically everybody stumbles on their phrases. They have been tailor-made questions. So persevering with to ask questions, pushing so far as I might. But in addition understanding when he was completed. Figuring out when a topic was closed for dialogue. It was definitely a studying curve at first, to understand how far to push it, how far to go. At first I used to be a bit extra hesitant, however as time went on, I lastly pushed it a bit extra.

DC: Did you go to movie faculty?

DDH: Yeah, I went to movie faculty at Full Sail College.

DC: Isn’t that the place Daren Lynn Bousman went?

DDH: Sure. It’s an ideal faculty, an outstanding approach to meet individuals. I discovered extra on my brief movie I made than I did at movie faculty, however that doesn’t imply I wouldn’t have gone to movie faculty. I wouldn’t have recognized greater than half the crew that labored on this movie, and most of my pals are from there.

DC: In order that’s the way you met a lot of the crew you labored with?

DDH: Loads of the start crew we used have been from there. As a result of with a doc it was two years of filming, so my DP stayed the identical, however we used a number of sound mixers, additionally relying on the place we went. We all the time flew the DP with us, however we employed native sound individuals. So in Hawaii, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Massachusetts, New York, San Francisco, we all the time employed totally different individuals. 

DC: With a documentary, notably with such a multifaceted topic as Kane Hodder, what was a number of the most difficult stuff to chop?

DDH: Nicely, since I labored on a number of documentaries earlier than, I type of knew that it was going to be difficult. I really feel like modifying was somewhat tougher than I anticipated. We had thirty-nine hours of footage! It was arduous to slender it right down to stuff that was essential to Kane. We might have just about made two documentaries right here.  We needed to all the time assume: “Is this important to Kane?” We needed to reduce a number of parts from Jason Takes Manhattan or different movies he’s completed, as a result of they only weren’t revealing of Kane as an individual.

We have been telling Kane’s story, not the story of his profession.  To start out with, we had a few six-hour reduce of the film, like By no means Sleep Once more and Crystal Lake Chronicles. I really feel like Kane’s onerous core followers would have beloved a six-hour reduce. It was not prepared, although.  We referred to as it ‘Going in with a machete,’ the place we chopped out entire sections. Then we ‘went in with a hatchet’ and hatcheted little bits off right here and there, after which we needed to ‘go in with a scalpel’. We acquired it beneath three hours, and that’s when it began getting a bit of painful for me to get it beneath two hours. Once we acquired it beneath two hours, we have been like, “Alright, it’s like 117 minutes, it’s perfect. It worked.” And now I nonetheless really feel like I might in all probability minimize it down just a little bit, however that’s being a pair years out of the modifying room.

DC: One of the shocking issues to me was how completely however tenderly it confronted main social points that we’re nonetheless coping with in the present day: specifically, bullying, and PTSD. What have crowd reactions been wish to your very trustworthy exploration of those points?

DDH: It’s been extra resonant than I anticipated.  When Kane did the e-book, he advised us that lots of people come as much as him and thank him for sharing his story. If any person like him might undergo bullying and are available out one of many largest bad-asses in movie historical past, then they perhaps can discover hope of their lives. It was an American Dream story.  Kane went from being raised in a not-so-nice a part of Nevada and having no cash when he moved to L.A., however constructed himself up within the stunt world, solely to endure this horrific burn, then obtain horrible medical consideration. Then after lastly getting good medical care, he picks himself up, fights by way of the whole lot and turns into one of many largest horror icons of all time and some of the revered stuntmen and stunt coordinators in historical past.

DC: This documentary and the subject material it covers are very common. How have non-horror followers acquired the film?

DDH: There’s lots of people which have stated, ‘I don’t like horror, I used to be not a fan of Kane’s; I’m now, although.’ We purposely made the poster very impartial. That’s what we tried to do within the film. Each ten to fifteen minutes, we needed to ensure we glad each human curiosity and horror, so everybody might take pleasure in it. I’ve had individuals ask me at signings and stuff, “I’ve never seen a Kane Hodder movie, where do I start?” The Hatchet collection are often those I like to recommend. 

I’m a a lot greater Hatchet fan than I’m a Jason fan.  However Jason X might be my favourite of those Kane did. He had probably the most say in what he did, and I feel he had probably the most enjoyable in what he did. Half 7 is certainly the most effective of the Jasons, however I feel Jason X, it’s so enjoyable–it knew precisely what it was doing, it didn’t take itself significantly, and that’s what I appreciated. It was only a enjoyable film. And that’s why I just like the Hatchet films; they’re very tongue-in-cheek, they’re very comedic, enjoyable, ugly extravaganzas.

DC: Kane Hodder looks like the type of man that administrators like to have round as a result of he brings a constructive power and work ethic to the set that rubs off on everybody and retains them motivated whereas holding morale excessive.

DDH: Sure, undoubtedly. He additionally will name individuals out. If anybody is being a diva he may say ‘Why don’t you get your personal rattling water? It’s not such as you don’t have 2 legs,’ and say it in a approach that’s humorous and makes the actress snigger.  That’s one of the best a part of having him there; more often than not he is aware of that wonderful line, that stability. I’d a lot fairly have that power than to have people who find themselves afraid to say something on set. 

Whereas he’s this badass, he’s a really good man; he cares so much and if he’s a good friend of yours he’s going to be there for you. When Adam Inexperienced was capturing Frozen, he flew to the set on his personal dime to stunt coordinate as a result of he needed to ensure it was achieved safely.  Adam actually needed him there. He knew he would ensure that everybody was protected.  On set it simply feels safer when he’s round.

v1 - Horror Business: Derek Dennis Herbert on TO HELL AND BACK & Documentary Filmmaking

v1 - Horror Business: Derek Dennis Herbert on TO HELL AND BACK & Documentary Filmmaking

DC: How did you prep for doing a documentary? Did you research documentary filmmaking?

DDH: I did pull out a few of the previous supplies from our documentary class at Full Sail, nevertheless it was extra alongside the strains of simply learning documentaries on plenty of topics.  I talked with Adam Rifkin, who had made documentaries. I drew from expertise. My brief movie was not an amazing shoot, however I discovered lots and I all the time stated I might by no means repeat any of the issues I did on that set. This time every part was deliberate.

DC: What was the collaboration like with you and your companions on the movie?

DDH: It was solely Kane, our sound mixer, my DP Zach Conner, and myself on-set. We had walkie talkies and I had an earpiece, so they might give me concepts on further questions. That method the producer might decide up on issues, make his personal notes, after which we might examine them and provide you with potential follow-up questions or different issues to the touch on.

In filmmaking, lots of people attempt to be these one-man machines. On the brief, I did just about every thing, and so I did nothing properly. Whenever you do the whole lot, you possibly can’t focus on directing, you’ll be able to’t focus on producing, or any of that stuff. So this time I needed to direct it whereas I used to be there, and produce it whereas I used to be off set. I wasn’t considering as a producer on-set. I needed to ensure we received the footage, in order that in modifying, Mike Hugo and I might sit down and put collectively an amazing movie. However I needed the items there as a way to put it collectively into one thing higher. On-set it is best to put on one hat each time potential; off-set I say sporting a number of hats is okay, however on-set I really feel like sporting one hat is necessary.  It’s about sporting the best hats on the proper time, that’s all.

DC: Is there any recommendation you’ve got for aspiring filmmakers, even documentarians?

DDH: I really feel like the most important piece of recommendation is that in relation to protection, it’s higher to have it than to not have it, and that’s one thing that I took to coronary heart, clearly, with thirty-nine hours of footage. I attempted to get as many tales as I assumed have been probably good for the film. It’s higher to have it and never want it than to wish it and never have it. It’s rather a lot more durable to return and movie the set once more and re-shoot, than shoot elsewhere. We knew we have been capturing two days right here and two days in Hawaii at first, and people have been the 4 days we shot with Kane in entrance of 4 interviews.

DC:  Did you have got any documentaries that have been favorites, or key examples of buildings you needed to emulate? 

DDH: I might say By no means Sleep Once more and Crystal Lake Chronicles as horror. Non-horror I must say in all probability SupermenschTremendous Duper Alice Cooper was additionally very cool. I really like documentaries of all types.

DC: Wanting on the completed movie, on reflection, what would you’ve got spent extra on and what would you will have spent much less on? I don’t essentially imply cash — it could possibly be time, power, focus, and so on.

DDH: We discovered so much concerning the course of. When scheduling celebrities, it’s a must to work with their schedules; you’ll be able to’t have them work with yours. So, what I might do subsequent time is schedule half-day shoots. To attempt to get a few individuals in half-days and shoot them, versus trying to attempt to fill full days. At first we have been spending cash on the crew, paying for full-day charges and capturing one individual within the morning and one individual at night time, at their homes. So we spent hundreds of dollars on capturing this, however we might’ve in all probability minimize that in half if we had requested individuals prematurely to do half-day shoots.

DC: What are you working on subsequent?

DDH: Properly the subsequent doc would be the one on Adam Inexperienced’s Holliston, which is within the early levels. Then I’ve They’re Inside which is a horror/thriller movie about two sisters who go outdoors right into a home within the woods with some associates and never the whole lot goes properly (it wouldn’t be a lot of a film if issues did go nicely). In order that’s that one, that ought to hopefully be at festivals or out there pretty quickly. It’s within the very tail-end levels of submit proper now. 

I’ve a brief that I’m working on proper now that I’m hoping to movie in September, which is a story. I’m making an attempt to get a function executed, so I might parlay that into my function narrative debut. I really like documentaries and I’d definitely like to do extra of them on different individuals. I’ve individuals in thoughts, we simply have to get our buyers paid again first. As soon as they’re paid again, I’ll undoubtedly be very excited to leap in full drive on the follow-up.

DC: Derek, this was nice. Thanks a lot, and congratulations on the movie!

DDH: Thanks, I’ll speak to you later.


A reminder to all you superfans, that for those who purchase earlier than Halloween, you will get the blu-ray/DVD combo pack of To Hell and Again, with over 90 minutes of must-see bonus content material, for less than $14.99 direct from Dread Central Presents/Epic Footage!


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