Interview with Jimmy George, Screenwriter of ‘Call Girl of Cthulhu’

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When I first heard the title Call Girl of Cthulhu I envisioned H.P. Lovecraft meets Russ Meyer and thought, “Who are the geniuses behind that?” I got to chat with one of them, screenwriter Jimmy George, who along with co-writer/director Chris LaMartina makes up Midnight Crew StudiosCall Girl… will be playing at the Spooky Movie Film Festival this Friday.

Jimmy George
Screenwriter Jimmy George.

Lucrezia: Tell us about Call Girl of Cthulhu

Jimmy: Call Girl of Cthulhu is a horror/comedy inspired by the works of horror and weird fiction master H.P. Lovecraft. We wanted to create a gory, fun homage to his stories. The entire screenplay is one giant Easter Egg for Lovecraft fans. It’s about a struggling artist named Carter Wilcox (David Phillip Carollo) who’s been saving his virginity for someone special. When he meets the enchanting escort Riley Watley (Melissa O’Brien), he believes he’s found the one. Unfortunately she’s also “someone special” to an ancient cult that believes she’s the chosen bride of their alien god, Cthulhu. Forced to mate with their tentacle deity, Riley becomes a vessel for the spawn that will destroy mankind. Carter and his noise musician roommate Erica Zann (Nicolette Le Faye) must battle the sinister cult and unimaginable creatures to save Riley … and the rest of humanity.

You shot locally and used all local talent, yeah?

Yes, we shot most of the film in the Baltimore area with some additional scenes shot in Frederick, MD. Carl Glorioso of the Frederick Film Office was a huge help in assisting us with finding locations we weren’t able to get in Baltimore. With the exception of a few actors we used all DC, MD and VA-based talent.

Complete this sentence, Call Girl of Cthulhu is the perfect first date movie if you …

If you want to dazzle your date with alien STDs, exploding heads, tentacles, laughs and love.

And who doesn’t want to do that? Minus the STDs though, probably. From the trailer it looks like there’s a lot of crotch gore …

Ha ha ha, not really, more implied.

You all kickstarted the movie with some very interesting premiums: three of your backers are in sex ads featured in the movie and you cooked someone dinner …?

Yeah, and the funniest part is they’re all dudes and they’re all in the movie. The ads show up on screen for a second or two. Yes, we did cook someone a candlelit dinner as promised. It was our friend, local comedian Justin Jones. I dressed up like a waiter at a fancy restaurant and everything. We asked him what he wanted and were prepared to cook anything within reason. He went easy on us and requested pizza and soda.

How long has Midnight Crew been around?

Midnight Crew Studios has been around since 2006. That’s when Chris and I started making movies together. There is this misperception that we are a large company, but it’s just the two of us.

Did you guys have a film background?

Chris graduated from the Towson University Electronic Media and Film Department. I’m a self-taught screenwriter. We teamed up to make micro-budget films together, but prior to making films with Chris I had never shot anything in my life. Chris has been making horror films since he was 14.

What was Midnight Crew’s first movie?

Our first feature film, Book of Lore, was made for $8,000 with a two man crew. Despite its meager budget it won a film festival out in Modesto, California, It’s rough around the edges, and from a technical standpoint the worst of our films. But you have to start somewhere. Every film is a learning experience and stepping stone to the next film.

Awesome! And Call Girl was $25,000?

We raised $27,750 through Kickstarter and with additional funding from a few other investors and our distributor, Camp Motion Pictures, the final budget was around $40,000.

David Phillip Carollo and friend. Photo  courtesy of Midnight Crew Studios.
David Phillip Carollo and friend. Photo courtesy of Midnight Crew Studios.

How much time do you all spend making movies? Like in a typical year you spend how much of that making a movie/movies?

Making micro-budget films doesn’t pay the bills. We do it because we love it and it’s the only way our stories will continue to be brought to life. We both have full-time jobs, and making movies is a full-time job in itself. When we’re going full force on a project it takes up every second of time we have outside of our paying jobs. There is no such thing as free time when you’re a micro-budget filmmaker.

Since you all started in 2006 how many movies have you made?

We have made six feature films, a handful of shorts and a web series. Our film previous to Call Girl, WNUF Halloween Special is our most famous film.

What’s the web series?

Back in 2011 we made a web series called Lost Trailer Park: Never Coming Attractions. It was a series of faux trailers for horror films that never existed.

Sweet! Where can we see that?

You can find them by going here.

Any plans to do another web series or is it just features from now on?

We have a web series in development entitled Death Scenes. The plan is to shoot ten creative, fun, gory death scenes from high concept horror comedy flicks that don’t exist…yet. At this point, we’re still trying to find funding. Other than that, features are our main focus.

Chris LaMartina and Jimmy George/WNUF courtesy of Midnight Crew Studios.
Chris LaMartina and Jimmy George/WNUF courtesy of Midnight Crew Studios.

Who are your influences? From the trailer I’m picking up a lot of Troma Studios and John Waters. 

While we both love John Waters, his films do not influence our stories. We are often compared to Troma because of the gory imagery coupled with the laughs which is their signature, but we take the screenwriting process seriously and feel that our stories and characters have more depth and heart than your average Troma film. One of the strongest aspects of our creative partnership is the dramatic difference in the films and storytellers that inspired us to want to make movies. I grew up on big budget Hollywood films – Star Wars, Indiana Jones – classic Hollywood storytelling. While Chris was inspired by shot on video horror filmmakers like J.R. Bookwalter and Eric Stanze. These guys worked with what they had and made movies with little to no budget. We both grew up in the ‘80s, a time where films had energy, heart, imagination and originality. Despite our differences in taste we share a love for that style of film. We lovingly refer to ourselves as “Fake Blood Brothers”.

Do you feel being in Baltimore influences you at all? Baltimore has this gritty, sweet-natured irreverence. 

ABSOLUTELY. It’s everything. The only reason these films exist is because we made them in Baltimore. We could never make a movie like this in LA. The film is one long showcase for local talent. Every time I watch it, all I see in every frame is the hard work put in by the cast and crew. At every step of the process, from raising the funds to pre-production to the filming itself, the only reason we were able to get things done was because of the support of the Baltimore community. They mean the world to us.

What’s up next for Midnight Crew?

We are in the early stages of development on our next project – can’t really say much other than that.

If people want to keep up with what Midnight Crew is doing they should …

Go to our Facebook page. They can follow the progress of Call Girl of Cthulhu here. We’re also both on Twitter – @ChrisLaMartina and @_JimmyGeorge.

Cthulu Cultists. Courtesy of Midnight Crew Studios
Cthulhu Cultists. Courtesy of Midnight Crew Studios

Call Girl of Cthulhu will screen as part of the Spooky Movie Film Festival on October 10, 2014 at 9:45 PM at the AFI Silver Theatre – 8633 Colesville Road, in Silver Spring, MD. A Q & A with writer Jimmy George and Co-Writer/Director Chris LaMartina follows the screening. Tickets are available at the door and online.

LINKS

An Interview with Film Director Eduardo Sanchez and Screenwriter Jamie Nash on ‘EXISTS’ at the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival at AFI.

An Interview with Film Writer-Director Mike Cramer on ‘Teenage Ghost Punk’ at the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival at AFI by Andrew Lloyd Baughman.

The trailer below may not be suitable for some folks particularly if you have problems with beheadings, hearts being torn out of people’s chests, hookers, or crotch tentacles. The rest of you knock yourselves out!