How did “Chainsaw
Sally” come into being?
When I got into writing and composing musicals, I
had a wonderful partner named Jimmy Taylor and the
two of us composed about 4 musicals. One of those
musicals was an homage to all of our favorite
horror movies called “Silver Scream”. We
produced it and opened it in Baltimore and it
played over several years to great popularity. We
then thought about making it into a film, which we
did, and many of the great folks in “Chainsaw
Sally” are in the film version of “Silver
Scream” – Kristin “Cynthia Prescott” Hudson,
Alec “Ruby” Joseph, April “Sally” Burril, David R.
“Harvey Benton” Calhoun – and we started shopping
the film around at horror conventions. By then,
April and I were married and we decided to create
a sort of “Elvira”-like character to help market
the film and April came up with “Chainsaw Sally”.
She did the costumes, everything. And before we
quite knew what was going on, people were asking
us about “Chainsaw Sally” and what was her
story? At one convention, producer Mark Redfield
approached us about making a movie about “Sally”
and the rest is history. And Mark even got to act
in the film, besides producing it!
How did you and
April meet each other?
when I was taking dance lessons, April was in the
same dance company as I was and my sister, Katie
choreographed this dance called “Family
Portrait” to three Led Zeppelin songs. April
and I were the “parents” in the dance and as the
songs played, we painted our “children”, thus the
title of the dance. And during the last song,
“All of My Love”, April and I danced together.
But we were each seeing other people, then I got
married and eventually divorced and she broke up
with her boyfriend and we finally got married on
Halloween 1998. It was a great ceremony as I was
dressed as The Wolfman and April was a Pooka, a
kind of fairy. And now we are the proud parents
of Willow whom April was pregnant with while we
filmed “Chainsaw Sally”! Lilli Burril, who
played “Sally” as a young girl, is my
daughter by my first wife, just so there's no
What was the budget and shooting schedule for
The budget was $100,000 and we shot on and off for
about 24 days in Baltimore and Perryville,
Maryland back in October of 2003. We had to do
some additional photography in early 2004 which
was tricky, considering how far along April was in
her pregnancy, but, as she did her own costumes,
it’s pretty hard to tell.
about a lot of the physical stuff Sally does in
the film? Did you have a double or did April go
for it herself?
We had a double for the scenes where Sally is
doing her “Leatherface Dance” – April was SO
disappointed she couldn’t do that but perhaps next
time – and the scene where Sally and Ruby are
running around playing “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. The only running April actually
did was when she was chasing the girl who didn’t
return a library book through the woods.
How about the old farmhouse where Sally and Ruby
grew up – where did that come from?
That’s one of the great things about working with
people who are both local and that you know. That
old house belonged to the uncle or great-uncle of
April Rouse who plays the bitchy “Ice Cream
Girl”. And it was right there, where you see it
in the film, in the middle of a field. The
interiors, however, were shot on a set, which
apparently fooled you (laughs).
And Sally and Ruby’s home?
April and I live in an old, historic duplex and
the unit next door was being renovated so, while
that was going on, April and Alec went in there
and decorated the place with the Halloween stuff
and the lights and that became their “home”. Very
convenient. And the scene with “Miss Busybee”
was filmed in our own bedroom – we just gathered
up as many of the kids’ toys as we could and
covered her with them. More ease.
How did you manage to cast horror icons Gunnar
Hansen and Herschell Gordon Lewis in your film?
And I’ve heard that you are the first person to
ever direct Mr. Lewis in a film.
ran across the “Chainsaw Sally” website and
wrote her. We kinda went from there. When we
started to shoot “Sally”, I just e-mailed
him and asked. He said he'd like to see the
script, I sent it to him and he said SURE! So,
there you are.
With Herschell, I just asked him. We had been
talking on the net, then had dinner with him one
night. When the movie came up, we just asked.
And that was that. I don’t know if I'm the ONLY
one at this point who has ever directed Herschell
but I know I was the first, besides himself...at
least that is recorded somewhere. According to
everything we've read.
What are some other interesting little bits of
trivia you can tell us about “Sally” that viewers
can look for?
Well, the two cops in the movie – Zeke and Earl
(Aaron Martinek and Brad Smoley) are actually
co-workers of mine at Johns Hopkins. Not
professional actors but they were SO good and
worked so hard – they will definitely be back
And the death of The Ice Cream Girl, which IS
pretty gruesome, is medically accurate as I
checked with some of the doctors at Johns Hopkins
and asked what would the physical effect of
pouring acid down someone’s throat be. And that
“cone” we use is the actual kind morticians and
coroners use to “clean out” a body although the
one we used was brand new.
And one of the bands on the soundtrack, The Dead
Elvi, their guitarist is the guy who runs “Chiller
Theater”. And speaking of conventions, most of
the cast of “Chainsaw Sally”, including
Gunnar and Herschell, will be at the Genghis Con
convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November
18. Check out the official site at
http://www.genghisconpa.com/. Sally would
love to see everyone!
You mention Zeke and Earl will be back – there
have been rumors of a sequel with some pretty
exciting horror icons in it. What can you tell
is a sequel, “Chainsaw Sally – Blood Kin”
and we hope to start filming next April. The new
faces in the cast will include “Texas Chainsaw
Massacre” stars Marilyn “Sally Hardesty” Burns
as The Lark Lady – this ancient-looking old woman
who chain smokes and wears an oxygen tank and goes
around making predictions. That should be
hilarious – poor Marilyn. Ed “The Hitchhiker”
Neal will be the new mayor of the town and John
“Grandpa” Dugan will be the Chief of Police,
running Zeke and Earl around. Also, Gunnar WILL
be back but as Uncle Ed, Sally and Ruby’s father’s
brother, his twin brother. And I have this great
band, Uncle Fucker, on the soundtrack and they
play this blend of Bluegrass, country and punk, if
you can imagine that. So everyone is really
excited about the sequel. Plus, I actually have a
total of 4 movies planned in the franchise, if all
Any final thoughts or words on “Sally” or anything
not already covered?
Just that we love doing this and love the fan
reaction – Sally’s website gets SO many hits and
April gets so much fan mail. If you haven’t
checked out Sally’s site, do what Leatherface
himself did and go to