From the brief bio on the IMdb, it sounds
like you have led a fascinating life. Would you
care to share The Alan Rowe Kelly Story to date?
As far as a filmmaker and an actor, all I can say
is that my story is JUST beginning!
How did you find
yourself involved in horror movies? Were you a fan
as a child? If so, any specific movies that had an
impact on you?
I have been a fan of horror movies ever since I
saw "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" when I was
4 years old. I have been an ardent follower of the
genre ever since! I remember watching "The
Outer Limits", "Chiller Theater" and "Creature
my parents’ old black and white television set. I
loved movies like "Beast From 20,000 Fathoms",
"The Monster of Piedras Blancas" and "Kill,
The films that had the most impression on me were
"Invasion of the Body Snatchers", "The
Wizard of Oz",
"Attack of the Crab Monsters", "Not of
This Earth" and
"Attack of the 50 Foot Woman". But the biggest and
most important impact was when "The Poseidon
Adventure" hit the screen in 1972. I was in the 8th
grade. It convinced me to make my first film on an
8mm camera where my friends and I re-enacted the
scene of the boat tipping over!
Where did the idea of
“I’ll Bury You Tomorrow” come from?
A friend suggested the theme of a female
psychopath working in a funeral home - and this
predated "Six-Feet Under" (TV Series) by a good
year or so! So I simply took the idea and expanded
the story line from there. The script fell into
place in about 2-3 months. It was great fun
creating those characters and seeing how far I
could take certain subject matters. Many of the
'scare' ideas were totally lifted from scenes from
my favorite old horror flicks from the 70s - but
you must remember, we embarked on this film just
for the sheer joy and fun of making one.
Everything that followed was simply a lark! I had
no idea what lay ahead at the time - nobody does.
Where did you shoot
the film, what was your shooting schedule and what
kind of budget did you have to work with?
The film was shot in New Jersey in Montclair,
Boonton, Lincoln Park, Paterson, East Hanover and
parts of Staten Island. We began shooting in 1999
and wrapped two and a half years later. We could
only shoot on weekends to coincide with the actors
work schedules. I believe we shot a total of 85
days. About 20 days were scrapped because we
originally had an actor in a lead role that took a
powder on the film 4 months into filming. What a
nightmare! It took months to replace him with the
right actor – hence, a very prolonged shooting
Where did you find
your amazing cast, particularly Zoe Daelman
Chlanda and Jerry Murdock?
I met my leading lady, Zoë Daelman Chlanda
(Dolores Finley), on a photo shoot while I was
still writing the script. Following the first 30
minutes of our conversation while I was making her
up, I knew I had found my 'Dolores'! Zoe is truly
a consummate actress and needs to be in many, many
more films. I would recommend her to every
director reading this article. As for the rest of
the cast, I had known Renee' West (Tina) since she
first started modeling as a teenager. Great girl
and a real trouper - Boy, can she turn on the
panic button in a second's notice! Kristen
Overdurf (Ellen) has been my pal for years and
works as an actress and model in NYC. P.J.
Mehaffey (Eddie) was modeling on a photo shoot
that both Kristen and I were working on. Some of
the smaller bit roles we're friends I coerced in,
but all the main leads and secondary roles I found
through Backstage - a popular east/west coast
industry paper. Jerry Murdock (Mitch/Jake),
Katherine O'Sullivan (Nettie), Bill Corry
(Percival), Austin Sears (Dr. Gross), Tina Kay
(Mrs. Clark) and Linda Leven (the morgue nurse!)
all answered the search ads I put out. I love
actors - and especially these guys for hanging in
there as long as they did. I hope they feel it was
How did the actual
shoot go? Any interesting stories to relate –
funny things ALWAYS seem to happen on film sets.
At times it was more than overwhelming. So much to
think about when you're doing production, set
design, make up, wardrobe, food, car travel for
cast, prop rentals, keep the books, and then
taking the time to sit down to give actors their
We originally had another actor cast as 'Jake'. We
shot with him for four months and one day he
suddenly disappeared, never to be heard from
again! We later discovered that he wound up in a
county jail up in northwest NJ as a 'deadbeat
dad'! Almost every scene I had with him was
already shot. So with this actor no longer
available, we now had only two minutes of footage
that was salvageable following four full months of
shooting! Talk about depressing! Thirty thousand
dollars down the drain! So we moved on and shot
everything we could around Jake until we found the
right actor to replace the original - not
realizing that he was standing right next to me
every day! Jerry Murdock went through the most
amazing transformation to become Jake and I'm
convinced that "I'll Bury You Tomorrow" would never
be the film it is today, without that cast change.
So there's a lesson; horrible things that happen
during shooting can have a silver lining after
all! I got to reshoot all my footage ‘again’ with
a real actor and bring great chemistry between
Corey and Jake - as well as give the film the
much-needed edge it was begging for by casting
Jerry in a dual role! Isn’t he just fantastic in
this movie? Jerry rules!
Was it your decision
or a collaborative decision to have Jerry play
both Mitch and Jake?
Many viewers, including myself, were TOTALLY
fooled and my jaw dropped during the closing
credits – brilliant! Wish I could take all the
credit for that one, but I can’t! It was really
Kristen Overdurf (Ellen) who originally thought of
Jerry and making both the characters brothers. But
it really took me only 3 minutes to think about it
and say ‘why not?’ After a week of make up tests
and photos, I would ask the cast what they thought
of ‘this guy’. They all thought he was great –
they also didn’t know it was Jerry!
Where is the
wonderfully creepy “Beech Funeral Home” located?
That wonderful house is called ‘The Bond House’ at
Montclair State University – right on Valley Road
as you go into Montclair, NJ I had 3 other houses
scoped out as well, but this one, along with a
generously low rental fee from the university, fit
the bill perfectly! I recently heard that the
estate is up for possible demolition so they can
expand the damn parking lot!
Did you have to do
much research into mortuary science to write “IBYT”?
What was THAT like?
Complete study – even down to sitting through a
real embalming – Bluck!! They tell you to stand 3
feet away from the table for a reason! But I had
to be sure procedures, terminology and the entire
workings of a funeral home were correct. So I
worked with 3 funeral homes and was grateful for
the education. Many involved in mortuary sciences
that have seen the film commented that we did an
excellent job with the film and how it the subject
was represented. That’s research for you!
Who did your set
design – Sharon Beech’s bedroom is pretty weird,
all the religious images and that “beheaded” doll!
I did the set design – but fortunately, most of
our sets (except two locations) were actual
locations and not studio sets. I added finishing
touches to locales that were pretty much ready to
go! Sharon’s bedroom did have to be designed from
top to bottom because it was an old bedroom used
as a storage room. Set design is crucial. You need
to fill a frame with props and items that will
subliminally feed the story and let you into the
character’s world. The headless doll is part of a
sick toy collection from my dear friend Robert
Norman – the burn scarred priest!
Were you ever
concerned that viewers might be put off by the
necrophilia/body-snatching plot of the film?
I’ll be honest, I was so outright bored with all
the candy-coating most horror films had received
in the previous decade that I simply wanted to
return to some gruesome story telling and shake
people up a bit. I never really expected "IBYT" to
go this far in the first place. You hope it does,
but it’s such a tough industry to break into and
find acceptance. "I’ll Bury You Tomorrow" isn’t a
film for everybody, and we knew this from the
beginning. But it does have it’s own niche of
followers who thoroughly enjoy it. If you start
making a horror movie with only a ‘demographic
viewer’ in mind, you just compromised your
original vision and the entire project. Why sell
out? There is always the ‘director’s cut’ – so no
matter where your film goes with distribution,
ratings boards, pre-sale editing, etc. – you know
your ‘original’ movie can still be enjoyed by
those who want to view it uncut. I purposely
awaited Rob Zombie’s director’s cut of "House of a
1000 Corpses" because I knew from his interviews
that he had to chop, chop, chop to please the
ratings and the SUITS (which are now in baseball
caps and sweats!).
What was up with the
scarred priest, Mrs. Beech and some of the other
weirder resident of Port Oram?
The scarred priest is my great friend Robert
Norman. He’s an accomplished photographer I
coerced into playing the priest. After discussing
the part he suggested some sick make up effect and
we decided to cover half his face in burn scars-
just for kicks! Katherine O’Sullivan (Nettie
Beech) is one of the most talented actresses I
know. She so embodied the role of Nettie that I
actually came to believe that she was actually
like her! Of course in real life she is 20 years
younger than her character and has been dating the
talented Tom Burns, (IBYT’s composer and lead
singer for the indie rock duo The Kimballs) for
over two years now! The rest of the residents of
Port Oram are loosely based on some of the nuts I
grew up with in my hometown of Wharton, NJ –
formerly named ‘Port Oram’ until 1906.
Do you plan to appear
in your future films? Corey was a wonderfully
bitchy character and worked so well with Jake. How
did you go about creating her?
Corey is simply ‘me’ in a pissy rotten mood and a
bad Betty Page bob! LOL! (And that IS all my own
hair, thank you very much!). I wanted Corey’s
character to be sexually ambiguous – which I am in
real life anyway. Many see Corey as a diabolical
femme fatale, where others see the role as a
shrewish transvestite. Even the character's name
is bisexual. Either way, I felt the sexual
confusion would add intrigue for the audience and
allow them make their own personal decision to
Corey's identity by purposely NOT bringing
attention to it. And YES - I’ll always be in my
films! That’s really the main reason I made I’ll
Bury You Tomorrow in the first place – it was the
opportunity to act and see if I was any good at
it. The only acting training I ever received was
in high school from my drama teacher, Flo Stephens
– the same drama teacher my parents had in high
school thirty years earlier! I certainly wasn’t
going to put myself in a starring role, or any
part for that matter, that would have to carry the
majority of the film’s story line. That would have
been just dumb and way too egocentric – even for
me! I know my strengths and weaknesses. And
working with such a talented ensemble’ cast
certainly makes you step up to the plate and do
your best – especially when they are pouring
everything they got into their roles! Hopefully,
with more acting opportunities, I’ll grow and
improve, and one day be ‘good’.
What kind of fan
reaction have you had since the DVD has come out?
Very, very positive, which is quite encouraging
for a first time filmmaker. The indie horror
community and it’s writers, actors and reviewers
have been so supportive, generous and gracious –
and I’ve been very humbled by that. But, there are
always those you can’t please – and they’ll
certainly let you know it. And that makes me have
to work all the harder the next time. And my
distributors, Ian Reinhard and Alex Afterman over
at HERETIC FILMS have been absolutely amazing with
getting this little indie out to all retail stores
like Hollywood Video, Borders and Tower Video. If
you’re a new genre filmmaker with edgy material,
these are the guys to see!
I saw that you’ve
acted in two more films since “IBYT”- ”Opening the
Mind” and “Dead Serious”. What can you tell us
about those roles?
Yes, lucky me! And juicy roles they are! Moodude
Films cast me in Joe Sullivan’s "Dead Serious", a
gay vampire thriller with Felissa Rose, Tom Cahill
and Kane Manera. I play Eden, a patron at a gay
bar abducted by religious zealots and transformed
into a vicious vampire – nice and bloody!
And Pittsburgh horror maestro Michael Todd
Schneider dropped the actress he originally had
slated to play a used up whore in his serial
killer opus "Opening the Mind" and cast me in her
place after a viewing of "IBYT" at a New York film
festival! And boy what he did to me! My character
was beaten, drugged, nailed to a torture chair
device, sliced with rusty razors, knocked out with
a sock full of marbles and shoved in a car trunk
(again!). Whew! Exhausting shoot. The film is
still in post, but the 10-minute promo DVD he sent
me was very disturbing! I can’t wait till its
finished! The guy is a genius!
What can you tell us
about your next film “Unhallowed Ground”?
"Unhallowed Ground" tells the tale of a young man
who inherits an abandoned hotel attached to a
deserted and cursed Fairy Tale Land attraction.
Once he arrives in the small rural town of High
Point Junction to claim his legacy, the property
takes on a life of it's own. It’s haunted – and
very hungry! If you have a fear of fairy tales,
demonic clowns, wicked witches, killer mannequins
and talking dolls with very sharp teeth – then
this film is for you! It will be a completely
different type of storyline than "IBYT", but I
promise to still maintain the same dysfunctional
characters and their weird storylines. So far I
have casted Zoe Daelman Chlanda, Jerry Murdock,
Katherine O’Sullivan and myself (all returning
form "IBYT"), Jeff Dylan Graham ("Home Sick"), Joshua
Nelson ("No One Gets Out" a.k.a. "Aunt Rose"), Michael
Todd Schneider ("Mordum", "The Wickeds"), Paul
Coughlan ("Dead Serious"), handsome newcomer Kane Manera ("Dead Serious",
"Sludge") and the very lovely
Sandra Schaller (The horrified blonde on the movie
poster). I also have some keen interest from
horror legends Debbie Rochon ("American Nightmare",
"Terror Firmer"), Amy Lynn Best ("The Resurrection
Game"), Felissa Rose ("Sleepaway Camp",
Playground"), and Brandon Johnson ("Malevolence").
Keep your fingers crossed for me on this one,
Elaine! I’m going for a bigger budget this time
and by hook or crook I’ll get it!
What are some of your
favorite horror movies?
That changes with every week! But my all time
favs are "The Uninvited", "The Funhouse",
"House on Haunted Hill" (original!), "The
(original!), "Horror Hotel", "Alice
"Voodoo Island", "Dementia 13" and "Night
of the Living Dead".
I guess I‘m an old time purist!
Do you have any
favorite horror authors or horror novels?
Stephen King always. But most recently I’ve been
reading Vince Churchill ("The Dead Shall
Inherit the Earth / The Blackest Heart") and Christopher
Alan Broadstone ("The Puzzleman"). Wonderful new
writers who can scare, torment, repulse and
titillate at the same time! Christopher is also a
great filmmaker ("Human No More/ My Skin/ Scream
For Me"). And some day I feel Vince’s work will
translate beautifully to the screen as well. They
both are great visionaries.
When you were still
working as a fashion/makeup stylist, were there
any ads or commercials we might remember that you
worked on? Any famous models you worked with?
Wow! I’ve gone through a lot of lipstick, powder,
and temperamental young things! I had done many
editorial spreads for Vogue, Bazaar, L’Oreal,
American & Modern Salon, Saks 5th Avenue,
Bloomingdales as well as work for MTV, Court TV,
Comedy Central and Fox Television (where I just
recently worked on NFL star Troy Aitken). I wasn’t
Kevin Aucoin by any stretch, but I was a full time
working artist and that alone in this crazy
industry was very satisfying. My brushes glided
along the cheeks of Rebecca Gayheart, Michael
Michelle, Callie Thorne, Paul Newman, Howard
Stern, Dixie Carter, Julie Brown and a host of top
models from many numerous fashion shows in NYC and
Italy. Since I’ve done it for over 20 years and
still work as a make up artist – most people in
that industry have no idea I’m in the horror biz.
It is a very fun life and you always need
something to fall back on in the film industry
cause we’re far from rich!
Is there anything I
haven’t asked you that you would like our readers
I’m much taller than people think!
Any final thoughts on
“IBYT” and that whole experience?
I just want horror audiences to enjoy it and ‘get
it’ simply for what it is – a simple, low-budget
indie feature that was made to reflect what was so
great and fun about the good old gory days of ‘Horrorwood’.