For me, it wasn't only a movie that night when I was 15 years old. I first dealt with the matter as a short story, and have regaled the scary tale for thirty years, each time eliciting the same visceral response from my audience, and I knew, that someday it would make a fun little movie.
That story became the Monsters of Suburbia short film production.
"The good news is your script is great! The bad news is I'm terrified right now and wish I hadn't read it!" Kim, mother of two, Illinois.
I have been writing scripts for twenty-five years, with this being my sixth to be produced into a short film.These kinds of scripts are much more fun because I can include the entire vision; every shot, edit, and sound effect.
It was my interest in Audience Reception Theory that led me back to school in my late thirties. I earned cinema studies degrees from Columbia College Chicago (BA, summa cum laude) and DePaul University (MA). I presented my "ideal spectator" research at the annual conference for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image at the University of Montana last year. I have enjoyed researching and writing about the mechanisms that have been so effective in the thrilllers that I love, and I look forward to employing them in Monsters!
Every short story I have ever written is in some way inspired by "The Twilight Zone." The name of this site is a homage to one of the great suburban paranoia episodes, "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" (1960 above).
The Gen X movie and TV era was the best ever when it came to anthology thrillers; I had memories of Rod Serling opening the creepy "Night Gallery" series in the 70s before I ever saw a classic TZ in the 80s. Along with other period anthologies like the 80s TZ movie (83) and series (85-89), Creepshow (82 & 87), Tales From the Darkside (83-87), and Tales From the Crypt (89-96), I was inspired to produce my own short thrillers.
The era of movie spectatorship between 1975-1989 (the Silver Age of Commercial Film) is special to me because cinema was already my favorite pastime whether it was all the great thrillers I went to see at the movie theater - a third of the titles on the AFI "100 thrills" list come from this era alone, or at home on TV/cable/VCR where I saw teen dramas like Over the Edge (1979 above), My Bodyguard (1980), Bad Boys (1983), Reckless (1984), Rivers Edge (1987), and Heathers (1989). Monsters of Suburbia is a homage to the style and attitude of the 80s thriller and teen drama..
I have been inspired by the filmmaking style of John Carpenter since I first saw Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) as a kid. It wasn't just the characters, camera movement, music, and action on the screen, but how he did it on a low-budget and in a short amount of time, like Halloween (1978 above). The Friday the 13th (1980) production and promotion campaign also inspired me as a kid. There is an energy and attitude about this type of producing that I'm addicted to!