Craig Singer

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About Me
"My name is Craig Singer and I'm the master of all that is evil."
Q: As a director are there any particular people who have greatly influenced you?
A: Personally, many
friends and family.  Professionally, Elia Kazan.

Q: I know you've worked on a couple of other films, out of all of them who was your favorite actor/actress to work with?
A: Sarah Graham Hayes, who I directed in a film called Dead Dogs Lie, really took the role to a whole new level.  She received best actress for her work in my film and one festival went so far as to create a special acting award just for her performance.  Matthew Lillard was also wonderful, as was Gary Stretch and Amanda Peet, in Animal Room, my first feature film. I'm extremely particular when it comes to casting; many of my choices aren't always people I would like to hang out with during my off time.  The performance is what matters most.

Q: Did you ever have a production come close to shutting down for good?
A: A Good Night to Die had a few false starts.  The main funding for Animal Room dropped out two days before principal photography...independent films can be so much fun :)!

Q: Are you a big horror film fan?
A: Yes!  When I was six years old my parents took me to a drive-in movie in the middle of the woods to see Night of the Living Dead.  I had reoccurring nightmares for about ten years after that.  No film has had such an impact on me since.  I also like some of the lower budget "horror," films like Deep Red and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.  The old Hammer films as well, etc...

Q: Would you say you're an eclectic horror fan or more "slasher" oriented?
A: I'm actually not a big slasher fan.  I never thought Jason or Freddy were particularly scary.  I'm more a fan of the "post apocalyptic thriller" like Omega Man and The Last Man on Earth or "supernatural horror" like The Exorcist.

Q: What's your favorite scary movie?
A: Night Of The Living Dead

Q: In regards to horror, do you feel the After Dark Horrorfest is a valid outlet for directors, like yourself, to break into the mainstream?
A: Without question.  You must be mindful of how challenging it is to get ANY film a theatrical release let alone a film with a very small budget like Dark Ride.  After Dark was a blessing.  Fifty theaters would have been a home run for our film; we ended up with five hundred theaters, five hundred prints of the film.

Q: I see that you helped write the script for Dark Ride.  Were you always solid on that idea or did it kind of end up that way?
A: I have wanted to make Dark Ride since I was about eight years old.  I used to go on these types of attractions down on the Jersey shore, on the piers in Atlantic City and Seaside Heights.  Also the walk through attractions in Brigantine and Long Branch (both in New Jersey).  When I was about seventeen some teens lost their lives in a walk-through dark ride fire at Six Flags Great Adventure.  I sort of put the pieces together from there.  I wrote a rough draft and sent it over to my writing partner Robert Dean Klein.

Q: Speaking of the script, was the head split your idea?
A: It was.  It's pretty tough to come up with new and imaginative "gags" for horror films, the mine has been pretty much tapped!  One thing I am extremely proud of is the fact that Dark Ride offers up some scenes you can't find in any other (to my knowledge) horror film.  The Jen's head scene was featured as the "Clip of the Week" on E!'s Talk Soup Show.  We all thought that was pretty cool :).

Q: Was it hard to decide on a mask for Jonah?
A: Very challenging indeed.  Like the "gags," the look of Jonah was no easy trick.  The killer with a mask has been done to death so when I decided to go with the child's mannequin face I was happy with the results.  I always liked the baby face masks from films like Deep Red and Brazil and decided to go in that direction for Jonah.

Q: Who's your favorite character in the film?
A: That's a silly question.  Naturally it's my boy...Jonah :).

Q: What's the craziest contraption you used to get a shot?
A: Now that's a great question (you have redeemed yourself)!  I had designed a body rig cam for Jamie Lyn (Cathy), something I have never seen before.  It was like a metal hula-hoop that went around the actor so when she ran through the dark ride the camera could do circles around her.  I still may design it one day, but time and money prevented me from getting the rig made and we ended up improvising.  I had this "Pumpkin Cam" shot that was meant to navigate the hallways of the ride but I didn't get what I was after and the footage ended up being cut from the film (sigh).

Q: Love the fact that you're a hater of CGI and props to the effects team on this one.  However, in the commentary you mentioned something about one CGI shot in the film.  I was wondering if you would be willing to reveal where that is?
A: Now what fun would that be?  Let your readers have at it.

Q: Were there any major set backs on the set involving money, weather, or otherwise?
A: On all of my films the weather Gods have been very kind to me.  When I need sun or rain I'm pretty lucky.  One day in Santa Monica (which doubled for Asbury Park, New Jersey) we got a nice downpour for most of the night.  The LA crew wasn't too happy, but it suited me and the film just fine!

Q: Is there a particular funny story about Dark Ride you would like to share?
A: One of the most interesting stories is the fact that we shot the "interior" of the Dark Ride inside the guts of the backlot streets at Universal Studios.  No film had ever done this and some of the great classic horror films of all time (Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) had been shot just outside the walls where we were shooting Dark Ride.  Also, the 35 MM camera we were using has a sort of time code on the side that stopped many times on 666.  Now the odds of this are astronomical but the fact that it always happened on the same character in the film really shook up some of the crew.  I'll only say that it's a true story and the character it happened to was very shaken up.

Q: About how long from conception to birth did Dark Ride take you to make?
A: Three years (plus the years it rattled in my imagination).

Q: Did Dark Ride have a successful festival run?
A: No...We premiered Dark Ride at the Hollywood Film Festival and then went straight into theaters across the country.

Q: Any future film plans for us "slasher" fans?
A: Stay tuned...CAS

Don't Move, Don't Breathe, and Whatever You Do...DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU!