Hunter Johnson, actor, filmmaker and the man behind LA Horrorcom, gives us the scoop on what he does, why he does it and I can tell that his latest creation is going to be bloody fantastic!
Sick Lit Magazine: How did you get into film-making? What are some of the challenges you face but also some of the best parts of your job?
Hunter Johnson: I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker. One of the best presents I received was a handheld video recorder when I was in the 6th grade. I used this to film action figure movies with my large Doberman Magnus (or Magnusaurus), battling my Aliens and Predator action figures. I was making fake blood before I could reach the top cabinets in my kitchen.
Challenges of being a filmmaker? Lots, but usually they are all good ones. A lot of practical challenges are budget, equipment and getting people to work with you. I have been fortunate enough to make amazing friends on the shoots that I’ve been on that have allowed me to create more content for very little money. In the same regard, I try to make myself available if people need my help as well. And that’s the best part of the job, making friends that have similar goals, different useful skill sets and that above all else want to see a final quality project.
SLM: What inspires you? What are some movies that shaped your outlook as an actor and director?
HJ: As a horror filmmaker, a lot of films have inspired me. My favorites growing up as a kid were monster movies, however recently I’ve become a big fan of psycho killer movies, along the lines of “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” or “Sleepaway Camp 2.” I tend to gravitate towards films where you know who the bad guy is at the get go, so the film isn’t necessarily about who done it, but rather what they are going to do next. This inspires me as an actor as well, because films like this tend to have excellent, killer performances.
SLM: How can I watch your movies?
HJ: I have two short horror films that I have produced on my website LAHorror.com. “Melody,” which I directed is a psycho serial killer film & “Knife Party,” which I produced and acted in is a feast of gore. I also have two short horror films that will be apart of larger anthologies, one entitled “Moans” that will be featured in the zombie anthology “Virus of the Dead” and another entitled “Devilhead” which will be featured in a Grindhouse anthology entitled “Grindsploitation 2: The Lost Reels.”
My first feature film “2 Jennifer,” has just been completed and we are planning an LA premier this November. It should be available to the public not too far down the road but we are still exploring our options there.
A horror web series entitled “Rvth: Genesis,” which I helped produce as well as acted in, will be premiering it’s first season beginning October 24th. These episodes will also be featured on LAHorror.com.
I have also worked as an Associate Producer on three feature length horror films this year, two directed by James Cullen Bressack (“Bethany” & “Deadly Reunion”), and one directed by Zack Ward (“Restoration”). These are all still in post as well.
Needless to say, it’s been a very productive year however it takes quite a bit of time to get a film made and released, but I anticipate great things from all of these projects and cannot wait to see them all reach their horrific potential. Keep your eyes peeled.
SLM: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your acting history.
HJ: I’ve acted in Community Theater in Milwaukee as a child and always knew this is what I wanted to be doing. I was the president of my high school’s Theater and studied acting at Columbia College Chicago. I didn’t do many plays in college because I was always hanging out with the film kids. A lot of great filmmakers that I met in college are now doing incredible things out in LA, I’m just trying to keep up.
SLM: What music are you listening to right now?
HJ: Well, I hate to sound stereotypical but I like metal. Meshuggah is always on my iPod. I also try to support my friends’ musical endeavours as well. My favorite rap artist, who happens to be a friend of mine, is called Shine Brida. Her music is ridiculous and her lyrics are brilliant. I highly recommend checking her out – it’s just a matter of time before she blows up.
SLM: Give a starving artist some advice–if you could stress one thing to someone who’s trying to “make it” and keeps getting shut down and is on the verge of quitting, what would it be?
HJ: One of the best things that ever happened to me was at my freshman orientation at Columbia College. We were all sitting in an auditorium as our theater head said something like this: “Look to the left, now look to the right. Those two people will never become professional actors. That’s just the cold hard truth of it.” That really stuck with me, and at that moment I knew that I would succeed. Granted, I still have a LONG way to go, but you can never give up. This business is a marathon, not a sprint.
If you aren’t getting called back for auditions? Film your own movie. Don’t have a camera? Use your damn cell phone. Put something on line. Stay productive and stay positive. That’s the only way you can do it. If nobody hires you, then hire other people to work with you. Nobody will ever knock down your door to give you a great role or project. You have to create your own opportunities and make yourself available to help others with theirs. STAY BUSY. This keeps motivation up, gives you more material to show and helps with networking.
SLM: We think that’s some stellar advice. Any other pertinent information that you’d like to share?
HJ: Great questions! Keep your eyes peeled for my film “2 Jennifer”! It’s a scream! I should mention that “2 Jennifer” is a sequel to a 2013 iPhone horror movie called “To Jennifer,” written and directed by James Cullen Bressack.
SLM: So, where are you from?
HJ: I have been in California for four years. I grew up in near Milwaukee (five miles away from where Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment of horrors was discovered), then lived in Chicago for six years when I went to Columbia College (not University, haha).
**For more information on Johnson or LA Horrorcom, follow him on twitter @LAHorrorcom, visit his web site at LAHorror.com, and check out his IMDB page with links to all of his projects: imdb.com/name/nm33590841
The teaser for his new film, #2Jennifer is here: vimeo.com/134173422