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John Landis
Master of Humorror

© Girls and Corpses Magazine
all rights reserved

issue #10

Girls and Corpses is thrill-ered to interview one of the true icons of Cinema, John Landis. Director of some of the most memorable movies of our era and more than a few that made us laugh off our chairs in the theater. John also has been very supportive of my comic books and graphic novel, purchasing every one over the years.

We had a chance to ask John a few questions that our corpses wanted to answered:

R.S. Rhine: John, welcome to our crypt. Our corpses have greedily gobbled your work since Kentucky Fried Movie (we are huge Kentucky Fried Theater and Zucker Brothers fan, never missing one of their shows). You began your early career directing ribald, right of passage comedies, such as: Animal House, Blues Brother and Three Amigos, which truly defined a genre, then branched into horror with an American Werewolf in London and Michael Jackson's Thriller video, then elevated to the more sophisticated comedies Trading Places and Coming to America. What defines a John Landis film? And what is it in your life that draws you to humor and horror -- often blending them?

John Landis: The director of a film is the person telling the story. The director collaborates with the writer, the cameraman, the actors and technicians to put on film the necessary elements to best tell the story. Therefore, I suppose a "John Landis film" would be one directed by me. Directors (like actors) get "type cast." Although I have made successful comedies, I have also made musicals and horror films. You could make the argument that "Thriller" is a musical-comedy-horror film! But I would like to do every other genre; western, mystery, romance etc, if I ever get the chance.

R.S. Rhine: Steven Spielberg was once asked by a young Sam Mendes what was the best advice he could give directors and he said, "wear comfortable shoes." What advice could you give young filmmakers trying to break in the business, who might not be able to afford comfortable shoes? And speaking of shoes, I met your son, he has a great energy and enthusiasm, and I was wondering if he might follow in your footsteps?

John Landis: I have heard that "comfortable shoes" line attributed to Christopher Guest, Alfred Hitchcock and Carl Reiner! In any case, I would suggest to all aspiring filmmakers to watch as many old movies as they can. I mean from the silents through the so-called "Golden Years of Hollywood" to now. And read as many of the classics of literature as they can: Dickens, Tolstoy, Twain, Thackery, Dumas, Nabokov, etc. etc.

R.S. Rhine: As a horror movie fan yourself, and a "Master of Horror," what movies terrify you and what's missing from today's horror films? Which directors are getting it right? And what frightens you in real life?

John Landis: The Masters of Horror I recently completed (written by Brent Hanley and starring George Wendt) is about what really scares me... people! People kill people all the time. I am unaware of anyone ever murdered by a ghost, werewolf or vampire. As for my son Max, he is a gifted writer. He just sold three screenplays to a comic book company! They will be turned into graphic novels. He wrote DEER WOMAN on that insane premise because that is what I assigned him. His own stuff tends to be much darker. He writes terrific dialog. He is going to the University of Miami. I haven't seen a truly scary movie for a long time. Tomorrow I'm going with Mick Garris to see THE DESCENT -- I hope it's good.

R.S. Rhine: I think The Descent is an excellent horror film, I think you'll enjoy it. Speaking of horror, name three famous corpses would you most want to be stranded within a rowboat? Or, putting it another way, if you could skin someone, and wear them for a day, who would that be -- and why?

John Landis: Do the three people have to be deceased? And do I have to wear someone else's skin? Couldn't we just go to a movie or dinner or something? This is a tough one.

R.S. Rhine: I was hoping you'd say you'd skin and wear me. Finally, what's next? What are you inspired to do but haven't had the chance to direct, or act in or produce?

John Landis: After I finish this episode of PSYCH, I'm directing something for the internet! And I am making a documentary on Don Rickles! Other than the three movies I have in pre-production, there are a number of movie projects I would love to do; the musical BAT BOY, and Mark Twain's A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT. All I need is for someone to give me the money!

R.S. Rhine: Money?! What are they insane! I can't believe you still have to scrounge for funding! Well, at least you've got the Don Rickles project. Is that a horror film? Don – hunted down by zombies he's insulted. Should be called, "Dummy!"

One final question, John: How would you like your corpse to be remembered?

John Landis: How do I want my corpse remembered? I would much rather be remembered as I looked alive thank you.

R.S. Rhine: No, thank you John for agreeing to do this interview. Your career is still quite alive and we are excitedly looking forward to your next project... and the next...