Bret McCormick has guest stared in "Law And Order" and a few TV movies. We interview him about producing and directing the 80s horror movie "The Abomination". This film was released on Blu-Ray in 2023.
Do you have a favorite moment from the movie The Abomination?
I would have to say that I really like the final scene, where Kelly comes into the house and finds Cody, feeding all this terrible stuff to the monster in the cabinet. She ends up killing Cody with the pitchfork, but she herself gets dragged off into the cabinet with the monster. I think that whole sequence works really well.
What was the most enjoyable part of making this movie?
There were very many enjoyable parts to making The Abomination. First of all, it gave us a chance to get out of town and into the countryside. We were doing this completely on our own, so we didn't have anyone telling us how we had to do it. We pretty much spontaneously created the whole movie, much of it very much on the fly. We were also given a big stack of beer as a product placement deal from The Shiner Bock Brewery in Texas. So, at the end of the day, we can have a beer and relax afterwards. That was nice. It was just a really good group of people that had a great deal of camaraderie with one another.
Where did the idea of the creature that appears in the movie come from?
That's kind of strange. For a long time, I would have this image appear in my mind of a big vagina with teeth in it, and I knew that I couldn't literally do a vagina with teeth in it. So, I decided to kind of compromise and make this huge, ugly thing that was sort of suggestive of that, and that ended up being the abomination.
Would you do anything differently if you were making the same movie with a similar budget today?
Oh my gosh, there are so many things I would probably do differently. I would shoot a great deal of it in front of a green screen. That makes it so easy to put your actors wherever you want them to be. We'd still have all of the gore and the effects, but I would have probably a more comfortable situation for the actors. We wouldn't have to be in this hot, uncomfortable, old rundown house out in the middle of nowhere.
What were the main challenges of being a filmmaker in the 80s and 90s?
Well, there were a lot of challenges for all filmmakers in the 80s and 90s, but for us, especially since we were in Fort Worth, Texas, and we really didn't have any connections with the west coast or east coast movie community, we were kind of doing everything in the dark. We didn't have anyone to give us advice. We didn't have any connections that we could network with people in distribution, or other producers whose experience we could profit from. We were kind of just fumbling in the dark. We were like many young filmmakers today. We were very committed to just getting something out there and hopefully making something that was fresh had a different look to it, had a different feel to it, something that people would remember when they saw it. And I think The Abomination was different enough at the time it came out that we accomplished that goal.
What did you like about directing?
Oh, I loved everything about directing on The Abomination, especially, I was running the camera most of the time, which I really liked that hands on approach. Now that we have digital cameras these days, it's very easy to do all sorts of spontaneous things with the small handheld cameras, and that's very much like the way we made The Abomination, because we were using Super 8 home movie cameras, which were very small and portable too. Later, I moved on to 16mm and 35mm film, which meant that you had this very heavy equipment you were dealing with. I really like now that you can take even your cell phone and shoot some really great video under all kinds of lighting conditions, and the quality of the video that you can get out of it is just really, really remarkably good.
What would you say was the highlight of your film and acting career?
Oh, I think every single project has some really wonderful memories attached to it. The very first movie I did was called Tabloid, and it was not a successful film. We spent too much money on it. And the film we ended up the finished film just really wasn't very good. But I learned a great deal on that production, made a lot of friends on that production, some of whom I'm still in touch with today. After that, I did a couple of horror films. I did some action films. Every single one of them has some really wonderful, memorable moments that I still think about even though it's been about 30 years ago now.
How did you get into acting and creating films?
When I was 12 years old, I was reading a magazine called Famous Monsters of Filmland, and this was 1970. Somewhere in the back of that magazine, I was reading there was a section where you could find pen pals, because there weren't that many people that liked horror movies back then. We didn't have the internet. So, you could have pen pals with people all over the country that shared your interest in horror films. And I saw an article there about some boys in New York at a boys club who were making their own Frankenstein movie, and they were using a home movie camera. And I thought, “Oh my god.” That had never occurred to me. I had a couple of different uncles who had movie cameras. My grandfather had one. And all of these cameras were just sitting around not being used very much, and I thought, “Heck, yeah, I could do that, too.” You know, it was like a light bulb went on. So, I started making movies with my friends, and all through middle school and then high school and on into college, I made all sorts of short films. And when I was 27, I finally got the opportunity to make a film professionally, and I did it quite prolifically for about 12 years. 1996 I got out of that business, and I didn't make another movie until about a year ago when I did a very inexpensive digital movie called Christmas Craft Fair Massacre.
Which screen production throughout your career did you enjoy working on the most?
I really enjoyed working on Rumble in the Streets. We shot on 16mm. We had a good crew. We had a decent budget. We I think we spent $115,000 on that. We were able to accomplish everything in the screenplay without skimping too much, and that was the very first movie that I did for Roger Corman. And that had been a dream of mine since I was 12 years old, to make a movie for Roger Corman. So, it finally happened when I was 37 years old, and that's just a very memorable production situation for me.
What was the most enjoyable part of acting for you?
Well, I didn't do a whole lot of acting, but when I did do acting, it was usually because either an actor didn't show up, and we needed to go ahead and shoot the scene, even though we didn't have our actor, or because a friend who was doing a film asked me if I would step in and do a part. And under those circumstances when you're working with people you know, and you don't really feel so much pressure, I was willing to give in front of the camera.
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