John Schneider‘s movie “Smothered” had its premiere in New Orleans last weekend. “Smothered” is the first film Mr. Schneider wrote and directed at his new studio in Louisisana. Prior to the premiere, John N. Collins of The Weird Review, had the opportunity to see “Smothered” at a sneak preview of the movie. After the show Mr. Schneider consented to an interview. Check out the video interview or read the text as transcribed by The Weird Review’s Minion in Chief, Kelvin Thompson.
John N. Collins: Okay. Here we are in Charlotte, North Carolina with John Schneider of “Smothered”. I just saw your movie and-
John R. Schneider: John Schneider of “Smothered”, that’s right! Now, that’s the first time! Hey! That’s the first time anybody’s called me that. And I love that. Thank you.
(JRS): No, no, no, no. “Smothered” is where it’s at, now.
(JNC): Awesome shows, but…
(JRS): “Smothered” is a line in the sand.
(JNC): A line in the sand.
(JRS): The first, well, it should be carved in granite. I’m hoping there will be…my career before “Smothered”, and my career after “Smothered”. Rather than always talking about Dukes-love Dukes of Hazzard, but I think “Smothered” could very well be the turning point where people start talking about the writer/director, rather than the guy in the nice car.
(JNC): Yeah, you did have a small part in “Smothered”, but-
(JRS): Only because Rowdy Roddy Piper was sick, and couldn’t make it.
(JNC): Is that how you got your own-
(JRS): That’s how it went at that minute, yeah. My plan was not to be in “Smothered”, but Rowdy came down with something, and he couldn’t fly.
(JRS): Only there for two days, yeah, so, he couldn’t fly, so I did that role, with Michael Berryman. How cool was that?
(JNC): That was awesome. It was awesome seeing Michael Berryman.
(JRS): Yeah. ‘Cause he scared me to death in “The Hills Have Eyes.”
(JNC): (chuckles) Understandably so.
(JRS): He’s a scary dude. Yeah.
(JNC): So, why did you go from all your other past works, into this? What brought you into “Smothered”?
(JRS): Well, if you look back at the things… all the other movies you’re talking about, with the exception of “Collier & Co.”, were things that I was hired to do. So, when people hire you to do things, they have a certain picture of you, in their heads. But, the pictures that are in my head, are much darker than that. They are more, ‘horror film’, or, they’re films about hospice, about Alzheimer’s, and dementia. They’re films about justifiable homicide; the stories in my head are not… puffy clouds and puppy dogs, and unicorns. They’re films that are far more realistic, and far darker than that.
(JRS): So…really, because these are the pictures I live by, this is how I really am. There hasn’t been a departure from me, there’s only been a departure in the perception of me.
(JRS): Pretty screwed up.
(JNC): (chuckles) Aren’t we all?
(JRS): Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, we’re all screwed up.
(JNC): With “Smothered”, I found it very… I already wrote a review of it, and you probably haven’t had the chance to read it, but it reminded me of, like you would see at conventions, you see panels on who would win, if you put, Darth Vader, and Captain Kirk together, or-
(JRS): Right, right, right.
(JNC): Except it was, and I don’t want to say there was, “Who would lose?” Because I wouldn’t want anyone saying, “They’re all losers.” Because they’re great guys.
(JRS): Oh, yeah, yeah.
(JNC): But, you know, it was, “In the end, who’s going to survive, if anyone?”
(JRS): Isn’t it cool that–what did you think about having the girl, the person that’s usually the victim, be the bad guy?
(JNC): I didn’t even know if you’d want to say that.
(JRS): No, it’s okay. ‘Cause the poster has her smothering someone with her rather large…
(JRS): Breasts, and…
(JRS): When I signed an autograph, which I think maybe I’ll put on the poster from now on, it says, “It’s her turn, now.”
(JNC): Making a woman a serial killer is definitely a twist.
(JRS): Right! Right.
(JNC): And the manner in which she does so is really, rather twisted. (Chuckles)
(JRS): What does she say? “What a way to go.” Right?
(JNC): Right, yeah, exactly.
(JNC): But, yeah, it’s like, hmm. You really don’t wanna go, anyway.
(JRS): No, you’re still…still smothering. No matter what it is that- (direct address to audience) y’gotta see it to know what we’re talking about.
(JNC): Or you can, imagine it.
(JRS): Imagine it, yeah. Use your imagination.
(JNC): Where d’you wanna go from here?
(JRS): With “Smothered”, or movie-wise?
(JRS): “Smothered”. Movie-wise, Doug Blake, who produced the sessions, has been here this weekend, and he is in charge, now, of, either identifying a sales agent, or selling it, himself. Because of his success with the sessions, he has the ears and eyes of Lionsgate, Sony, and the Weinstein Company-lots of great distributors, so-
(JRS): Hopefully it’ll be a major distributor that will go for it. If not, then we’ll go, and he’ll try to go with other ones, but I’d rather be for there to be a wide theatrical release, and I think it’d do really, really well for a couple of weeks. I really do. I think once you see “Smothered”, it’s one of those-number one: you tell a friend, who’s also a Kane Hodder fan, or a Don Shanks fan, “You gotta see this movie.” And number two, you probably would take them to see it.
(JRS): Which is where the real box office magic lives in. Not everybody going to see the movie once, but everybody going to see the movie with everybody else, a second time.
(JNC): And I might also point out, once you’ve seen it, you will want a copy of the DVD to take to the conventions and get each one of the people to sign it.
(JRS): Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Especially R.A. How great is R.A. Mihailoff in this movie?
(JNC): I thought they were all great.
(JRS): Aw, good. Good.
(JNC): Your acting was a little bit difficult to believe (joking of course.)
(JRS): Yeah. I know, I know.
(JNC): You signing signatures, and things.
(JRS): And then personally, where we filmed “Smothered”, I bought the property where we filmed it, it was a… honestly, haunted camp.
(JRS): Rumored to be haunted. And, in Louisiana, outside of Baton Rouge, that’s where we filmed. I bought it: has two houses, and a soundstage, and a bunch of out buildings. Lot of water: a lake, a river, and a swamp. So that is now John Schneider Studios. So, come, April 15th, because nothing good happens on April 15th, we decided we would start pre-production on the next film, which is called “Anderson Bench”.
(JNC): Very cool.
(JRS): So we’ll be pre-production for a couple of weeks, then we’ll be filming that, in and around Baton Rouge, and also right there in the studio. So the long-term plan is to do two movies a year, at the studio, and then rent it out for independent filmmakers, the rest of the year.
(JNC): And the movie is “Anderson Bench?”
(JRS): “Anderson Bench”.
(JNC): Can you give us a little hint of that?
(JRS): Well, it’s… if you had an absolutely miserable life.
(JRS): And realized that you were in the process of having, not only the best day you ever had, but the best day you were ever going to have. How would you end that day?
(JRS): Yeah, it’s pretty strange.
(JNC): Very cool.
(JNC): Well, I know you’ve gotta get going.
(JRS): We’re headed to the airport, after Mad Monster Party–by the way, this was great. I think it was run very, very well. The folks; the fans were delightfully polite, even though they were bludgeoned and bloody, but it was great. So I recommend, if you haven’t been to Mad Monster Party, find out when it is, next year, and come to Mad Monster Party, because it’s a class act; lot of fun; good place.
(JNC): By the way, in the photos that I took, Friday night, during the discussion-
(JNC): One of them, I looked at, and I looked like, y’know, this is the expression of a proud father, and then my reflection was, ya know? It is. He just gave birth to a studio.
(JNC): His first successful film.
(JRS): Can you send me that? Can you send me the picture?
(JNC): I’ve got several.
(JNC): Anyhow, it was a pleasure, and, thank you so much and-
(JRS): Thank you very much. Thanks for making the drive.
(JNC): You’re welcome!