INVASION FOR FLESH AND BLOOD was a direct sequel to
FLESH EATERS FROM OUTER SPACE. The shooting title was RAISING HELL, not INVASION FOR FLESH AND BLOOD, but when you cut
a deal with a distributor they can have the right to change titles to something they feel is more attractive to the buyer,
something they think is more commercial.
FLESH EATERS was a rough ride for me and I hadn't anticipated wearing so many
production "hats" when I started it. I ended up writing, directing, producing, doing the photography, lighting sets, helping
with the makeup, building sets and props and sculpting and building the monster suit (with the help of Tony Annunziata)
and when the filming was complete I was stuck for months editing everything into the most coherent story I could from what
footage I had to work with.
In all honesty I have to laugh at movie critics who criticize my story
telling abilities. If I had the luxury of money to hire and pay professional crews and actors instead of using volunteers
and working around their schedules, I would have a fighting chance at shooting the original scripts as written.
That hasn't been the case on FLESH EATERS FROM OUTER SPACE, INVASION FOR FLESH
AND BLOOD, SCARLET MOON or DARK BEGINNINGS. In all my features so far, my original scripts were re-written
out of existance as we shot to accomodate what locations we could get (or build) and what actors showed up for the shoots
and how reliable they were and if they stayed or dropped out of the picture before it was finished.
My main focus has always been to shoot enough material to cover my
ass. To shoot enough footage that I have something to work with creating a new story after shooting is over at the point of
For example, if only three of the five scheduled actors decided to showed up
to a particular scheduled shoot, I was forced to quickly adjust the scene to work with only those three actors. If a
main character actor decides to stop showing up all together, I have to come up with a reason for that sudden departure,
story-wise, and shift his/her scenes to another character, re-writing it to fit the other actor. Its insane. The
movies that suffered most from irresponsible actors were SCARLET MOON and DARK BEGINNINGS.
The down side to doing all the jobs I did on these movies, as one human
being, is that it doesn't allow me to give 100% to any one job. Everything became a compromise. And I didn't always have the
time to explain in great detail to the cast and crew what is in my head. I merely direct where people should stand,
how they should perform their parts and shoot as fast as I can.
I've learned the hard way that it is neccesary to shoot very long days with actors and
knock off all their scenes as fast as possible or run the risk of only getting half their scenes shot before they suddenly
decide not to be responsible and vanish.
Anyhow, despite what Jim Cirronella kept saying on the new TROMA DVD of
INVASION FOR FLESH AND BLOOD's commentary track, the movie was NOT ad-libbed every five seconds and didn't just happen
miraculously by itself. I should have corrected him on the commentary track while it was being recorded. It was foolish
on my part to not correct him and let him keep saying it. Oh, well, that ship has sailed...
INVASION started shooting a few months after FLESH EATERS (AKA "A TASTE FOR FLESH
AND BLOOD") got picked-up by a distributor. Some of the people who worked on FLESH EATERS stayed on for this sequel. Tony
Annunziata, Kathy Months, my father, Shawn Reich, Gary Hoffman,Steve Mezo, Kenneth Arotin and Adrienne D'Accardi stayed
for the sequel. Nick Primiano and James Cirronella were new crew members/ actors.
I wrote a script but kept it simple so things could be added as we shot. I wanted
as many splatter effects as I could get and we came up with a list of maybe 20 interesting ways for the monster to kill people.
We posted the kill scenes on a wall and individual crew members selected what splatter effect they would personally
like to do.
It was the best movie I made from a behind-the-scenes point of view. I had people
sculpting, painting, building sets and props, which allowed me to include more effects in the movie.
Jim resculpted the monster's mouth because he didn't like the "flap mouth" Tony
and I did. Actually Tony and I didn't get to finish the head before FLESH EATERS started shooting, we were going
to have finger-like claws in all of those holes around the monster's mouth that would reach out and grab a victim and drag
his head into the fanged mouth.
Jim likes Godzilla movies and resculpted the mouth area with very cool teeth.
The only problem is he didn't listen to me when I told him not to use cotton in the latex as a thickening material so his
new monster mouth looked great but didn't move. We had to make additional monster effects head for the attack scenes or when
the monster's mouth was required to move. I wish the suit head had mouth movement, it would have looked better.
I am always looking to grab footage anywhere I can to ad scope to these
movies. I used the airliners landing at the airport in all four movies.
A town was doing an emergency drill of some kind so I got lots of footage of
a wrecked train, police, helicopters and fire department stuff. A Critic said I stole that footage but he was wrong; I shot
everything that was on the screen myself.
Jim's father was a volunteer fireman and got us matching equipment and suits
so our scenes where Kathy Monks is found on the beach in the opening matched all the other footage I had shot previously at
the town drill.
One critic in a 2005 review said I was a filmmaker who didn't allow working conditions
or lack of budget to stop me from accomplishing my story-telling goals. He is 1000% correct. I did scenes whether I had the
money to do them right or not, hoping that my talent would still shine through to potential investors.
I must say INVASION was extremely hard work but I wanted it to be more of a splatter
comedy like Romero had done with DAWN OF THE DEAD, so we also had alot of fun doing it. There was a sense of pride on the
part of the young people working with me. They were fans of this kind of movie like I am and respected the material even as
we were trying to do comedy. I think that sense of fun was transferred to the movie itself and makes the movie more enjoyable
for the audience.
To be continued...