How about telling
us The Keith Hammer Story to date?
Let's see, I was born near Philadelphia, PA on
November 6, 1969. I grew up with a somewhat
"normal" family...Started with a love of film very
early. Around the age of six, I think. Just like
many other kids dreaming of becoming a Director, I
made goofy short films with my dad's 8mm camera.
Sound familiar? Then about the age of ten I became
interested in music. Started with Guitar and
eventually moved to synthesizers. It wasn't until
1996 when I recorded my own Electronic/Ambient CD
titled "Nocturnal". Followed by "Dimensions",
"Stonehenge" and "Cydonia". In 2001
and 2002, music from my "Best Of" CD "Dark
Ambience" was aired in Philadelphia on 88.5
WXPN radio making the top 20 of the month and the
top 100 most significant artists of the year.
After that, I slowly moved away from making
Ambient CD's and went into composing film music
for low budget filmmakers. All this time having
making my own films in the back of my mind. Then I
finally wrote the script for "House of Dolls".
Been working on it a little at a time while doing
other things. That's the short story.
did you receive your film training?
I mainly learned by watching movies...and listening to all
the DVD commentaries from my favorite directors. I
studied every frame and camera angle
Have you always
been a horror fan?
Absolutely, One of the first movies I can remember that
really gave me the creeps was the TV movie “Trilogy
of Terror”, with the Zuni Doll. Then at the age of nine I went to
see “Halloween” and “Alien”. I was hooked from then on.
How did you start up Dementia Films? And is the
title any sort of reference to the film
“Dementia-13” by Coppola?
I was simply looking through the dictionary for something
cool. I think “Dementia” fits well
Tell us about your
latest film, “House of Dolls”? I have read that
you have already cast Suzy Lorraine and are hoping
for some other genre favorites to join the film.
It’s an homage to the late 70's early 80's horror films. A
Chainsaw” with some “Tourist
Trap” thrown in. I’ve mentioned it to Danielle Harris who I
really want to work with, I think she’s great and
very underrated. She needs a good lead role. Bill
Moseley, Steve Railsback, Marc Singer. It’s my
first big deal movie. I have mostly been
interested in composing film music. Now I want to
start doing my own thing.
What about your
other film-to-be “Da Jui”? Even though it will be
set in the Philadelphia area, how much Asian
horror influence will be seen in the film?
friend got me into the Asian horror scene, but he
was extremely into it...and I liked how they were
made. I love the creepiness of them. Not much into
the sudden cheap scares. It’s based on an actual
Chinese ceremony called the Hungry Ghost Festival.
Where people put out gifts and food for the dead.
I want to make it look and feel like it was shot
by Takashi Shimizu.
You are also a
composer. How did you get started in that field
and whom have you worked for?
I have always been influenced by John Carpenter's scores.
Ever since the age of nine when I saw "Halloween". I really love the simplicity and atmospheric tone he
sets. Have all of his soundtracks on CD. So I went
out a bought a Korg synth. I have worked on
several movies for Ryan Cavalline of 4th Floor
Pictures. I worked on "Serial
of the Ax" and "Dead
Body Man 2". FX Artist Jerry Constantine introduced me his friend,
Mike Gutridge, who was also a big Carpenter fan
and needed some music for his short film "Loretta" starring Billy Lenk from "Buffy
the Vampire Slayer" and Traci Savage from "Friday
the 13th 3". I have a few more coming up. I really wanted to do the
music for "The
Fog" remake and "Land
of the Dead". And even “Halloween
9” since the original got me interested in this biz.
Aside from film and
music, you are also an accomplished photographer
and artist. Are there any aspects of the creative
world you haven’t yet attempted?
Acting, and singing but I’d like to give it a try
sometime...I will be working on some more original
music CD's soon. Three Ambient and one heavy NIN
type where I will do some vocals. So I guess
acting will be next.
Who would you say
has been the biggest influence on you in each of
the various mediums you work in?
Composing, of course John Carpenter. Photography,
not sure, I pretty much just did my own thing. But
there are a few celebrity photographers I like.
Art, H.R. Giger...He is amazing. Goes back to "Alien".
Ambient music artists, Robert Rich, Steve Roach,
Klause Schulze, Red Shift...And any heavy music
artists like NIN, Rammstein, Tool and Rob Zombie.
What are some of
your favorite horror movies?
addition to the obvious...there are many. Any JC
movie. But the latter hasn't been his best. "Seven",
all the "Dead" films. I even enjoyed the "Dawn"
and "Texas Chainsaw" remakes. "Ed Gein",
"Chainsaw 2", I can’t think right now...Too
many to mention.
Do you have any
favorite horror authors?
Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft.
are you hoping to be able to work with one day, as
Wow...still too many to mention...but here goes a few:
Christopher Walken, Steve Buscemi, Natalie
Portman, Brittany Murphy, Kurt Russell, Liv Tyler,
Harry Dean Stanton, Gene Hackman...I’d love to
work with anyone. There is so much talent out
What does your
family think of your work and your obvious passion
for being creative?
They are behind me and proud of what I do. They get a kick
out of it. Everyone loves horror films.
What is your
long-term goal as an artist?
Just to have fun doing what I love to do. I have many
interests so there is a lot for me to do.
Is there anything I
haven’t asked that you would like to tell me
Nothing I can think of at the moment.
What is one thing people might not know about
Keith Hammer that you think they should?
I’m a fun down to earth guy and easy to work with, so let's
make some movies.