First up, let’s get The Paul
Solet Story and The Jake Hamilton Story for those
who might be unfamiliar with you gentlemen.
Jake Hamilton: I
spent most of my childhood shooting FX driven VHS
movies with titles like “Insane” and “Curse
of the Dead”, and scribbling ballpoint sci-fi
and horror comics in 5 subject notebooks. In high
school I started writing music and became
interested in scoring. About that time, my friends
got sick of being guinea pigs in my horror-movie
special effect experiments, and I started
concentrating on a sci-fi comic, doing colors and
CG effects, for what later became a graphic novel
distributed by Diamond. After publishing, it
evolved into screenplays & storyboards, but we
never went forward with production. During that
time, I worked as an assistant art director in
Boston, and scored some local indie projects.
Then, just when it seemed things couldn't get any
worse, Paul Solet showed up.
Paul Solet: I’m 26,
born in Newton, MA, raised in Cambridge. I’ve been
obsessed with movies since I was a tot. I’d watch
horror movies and terrify myself to the point of
developing obsessive compulsive routines around
them, and I’d always go back for more. I
commandeered the family’s giant Panasonic VHS
camcorder and set to work torturing everyone I
knew on tape. When I was about eleven, I went to
day camp and ended up meeting an eighteen year old
counselor named Eli Roth. I was the only camper
toting around a Fangoria, so I rapidly fell under
his tutelage. He schooled me in seventies and
eighties horror. I’d get off the bus home and run
straight to the local, pagoda shaped, video hut
and ravage their horror and cult sections until
that well ran dry. When I watched all the twisted
movies he was making with his brothers and
friends, it occurred to me that it was actually
possible to have a career making movies. I wrote
my ass off through high school, then took off to
film school. When I graduated, I kind of went on
assignment for Eli. He gave me an outline for a
pet project of his, and let me take a crack at it.
I learned a tremendous amount working on that,
doing research, scouting locations, and writing. I
met Jake not long after, and we hit it right off.
We were both obsessed genre freaks, and we were
both frustrated with the state of horror, so we
decided to get involved in trying do whatever we
could to be part of the solution, instead of just
sitting around and bitching. I’d been behind the
computer, just writing scripts for almost two
years, so the idea of getting back on set was
awesome. Within a couple months, Jake and I were
in pre-production on "Means to an End".
Where did you get your
Everything I ever needed to know, I learned from "USA
Up All Night". When I was a kid, I watched a
whole lot of HBO, and hit up every video store
within bike riding distance of my parent's house.
I went to a couple different creative arts
programs when I was a little older and learned to
shoot film and do stop motion. I ended up going to
Emerson College for a Bachelors in Film and
Psychology, and then went back to Emerson to study
Education... well let’s just say thank god for
director's commentaries. I always watched tons of
filmmaking documentaries and spent every moment I
could studying what went on behind the scenes,
reading about indie filmmaking, splatter effects
and make-up illusions. I took some classes on
stop-motion, 8mm, creative writing, film analysis,
photography… Whatever I could get involved with, I
did. Everything else I’ve learned has been through
good old fashioned DIY experimentation. I have the
scars to prove it.
How did the two of you
first hook-up and discover you shared a similar
“aberrant” interest in the macabre?
Jake Hamilton: I
think some horror fanatics have a sick, sixth
sense about one another. Or maybe it was Paul’s
“Fulci Lives” tee shirt.
Paul Solet: It didn’t
take us long to realize we were both quite sick.
How did “Means to an
End” come into being?
Jake Hamilton: We
challenged each other to come up with a more
compelling premise than all the mediocre PG-13
stuff coming out. Since we had limited time and
resources, we decided to play the leads ourselves.
What drives them is basically what drives us. The
mutual mutilation is just these guys answer to the
same question you ask yourself every time you have
to miss your day job to finish a shoot, or get
fired for getting fake vomit all over your work’s
bathroom: “How far would you go for your dreams?”
Paul Solet: We just wanted to make
something we would actually like to watch. If only
to earn our bitching rights back. I was still in
Boston at the time, but moving to LA in a few
months. We thought it would be a cool little
challenge to get something written, produced and
shot in that time. It started as a snuff flick,
and then that morphed into a kind of mutual
snuffing concept. We pretty much just inserted
caricatures of ourselves into the roles of Pete
and Jasper, and let them dictate the story’s
direction. Once the idea was in place, we banged
out the script pretty quickly.
What sort of budget did you have to work
with and how long did it take to shoot?
Paul Solet: We had
Jake’s credit card. All told, our budget was about
Jake Hamilton: Better
than money, we had a talented, motivated bunch of
psychos who showed up every morning for four,
blistering hot, eighteen hour summer days. I
believe we paid them in salty snacks from the
convenience store location.
Since you did you own
makeup FX, is there anyone working today in makeup
FX that you admire?
Paul Solet: Actually, our friend Matt
Morgan came on board to do effects. He’s been at
it since he was a kid. He had another shoot that
week, but he read the script and loved it, and
agreed to come on board, anyway. As for effects
guys, we admire: Giannetto De Rossi, Rob Botin,
Aldo Gasparri, Shinya Tsukamoto’s stuff, Kurtzman,
Berger, and Nicotero. Those guys know how to keep
it moist. The stuff that really got me excited
about effects, that really made me want to do them
myself, though, was Troma stuff and other lower
budget flicks, like "Basketcase".
Jake Hamilton: I grew
up admiring the hell out of Savini, as much for
his effects work as for his larger than life
personality. He was accessible to me in a way that
a lot of the more mainstream guys weren’t. Still,
Stan Winston’s work is pretty great. But, yeah,
the Italians really know how to make you sick.
Paul, you’ve written a
number of excellent scripts. Are any of them
ready to be filmed? Or are you already into your
Paul Solet: In
addition to the "Means to an End" feature,
which Jake and I are honing, I have a script
called, "Heartland", equal parts serial
killer film, political thriller, and cannibal
story, that will go out as a spec in a couple
weeks. It’s gotten a good reception so far on the
festival circuit. It was a winner this year at
VisionFest, in New York. I’ve also got a feature
called "Grace" that will go out within a
few months. I’ve gotten some bites on that one,
too, but I really want to get it to people who are
really into it. I may shoot a "Grace" short
in the not so distant future, then take that on
the warpath to raise funds to shoot the feature,
myself. I also have a body horror script, called "Repetition
Compulsion", about a savant bike messenger
attempting to perform a grand reenactment of his
life’s trauma’s by physically merging with his
bicycle. That’s another one that would be really
fun to shoot. Wouldn’t cost too much.
How did you manage to
collect all of the horror movie posters that are
shown in “Means to an End”?
Jake Hamilton: What kind of fanatics do you
take us for? All the posters, tee shirts and other
memorabilia shown in "Means to an End" were
excavated from our collective adolescent bedrooms,
basements, and attics. When we say we are these
guys, we’re not kidding!
What are some of your
favorite horror movies?
Jake Hamilton: I like
the ones where a menacing alien, lunatic, zombie,
infant or animal threatens to slaughter the more
sympathetic, or at least attractive characters,
and through a suspenseful and terrifying course of
events, proceeds to do just that, with wonderfully
gruesome results. I’m sorry, were you looking for
Paul Solet: You want
titles, I got titles: "Rabid", "Shivers",
"Deathdream", "Black Christmas",
"Dellamorte Dellamore", "The New
York Ripper", "Phantasm", "The Texas
Chain Saw Massacre", "Last House on the
Left", "Hostel", "Prince of Darkness",
"Alien", "The Slug and the Snail", "Basketcase",
"It's Alive", "Cannibal Holocaust",
"Night of the Living Dead", "Omega Man",
"Cronos", "Audition", "Dead and
Buried", "The Hitcher", "The Thing",
and "Brotherhood of the Wolf". Oh, and "C.H.U.D."
Everybody loves "C.H.U.D."
Do you have any
favorite horror writers and if so, who are they?
Paul Solet: I really
dig old David Cronenberg, Roman Polanski, and John
W. Cambell Jr. I’m a huge fan of Larry Cohen, too.
Alan Ormsby is awesome. With the literature,
nobody does horror mythology like Lovecraft and
Clive Barker. I’m still a big Stephen King fan.
Richard Matheson is my favorite, though.
Are there any movies
coming out soon that you are especially looking
forward to seeing and why?
Paul Solet: I got to
see Eli Roth’s new movie, "Hostel", in the
editing room, and it blew me away. That was on a
little screen, without visual effects. It’s
seriously disturbing. And I am not squeamish. I’m
also psyched to see the whole "Blood Drive II"
DVD. I’ve seen a couple of the other shorts on
there, and they were awesome. Adam Barnick’s
short, "Mainstream" will leave you hollow
and soulless. His sound design is fantastic.
Jake Hamilton: I
haven’t come up for air from "MTAE" for so
long that I feel completely out of touch. One film
that we saw at the last festival we attended
entitled, "I’ll See You in My Dreams" was
killer cool. Made in Portugal. Best horror/sex
sequence I’ve seen in a while. Not that that kind
of thing actually turns me on. Because it doesn’t.
Which horror directors
do you admire?
Jake Hamilton: I’m
partial to directors who spend excessive amounts
of money and go for a PG-13 rating to sell more
Paul Solet: Don
Coscarelli, David Cronenberg, Larry Cohen, old
Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, Takashi Miike, Guillermo
del Toro, Sam Raimi, Bob Clark, George Romero,
Jörg Buttgereit, Frank Henenlotter, Peter Jackson,
Fulci, Deodato, Lenzi, Mario Bava. But I really go
for anything where the majority of the movie is
CGI, or the editing is REALLY FAST.
What are your
long-term goals in terms of horror and making
Jake Hamilton: I look forward to many years
of creating films that make people happy… and
nauseous. Happy and nauseous.
Paul Solet: To put the "ho" back in horror.
What’s the best advice
anyone has ever given you with regards to being in
the horror business?
Jake Hamilton: At a hotel lounge in
Chicago, one of my idols, Tom Savini approached me
and said, “You’re one of the guys in the room next
to mine that kept me awake all fucking night last
night! How about you shut the fuck up!”
Paul Solet: Someone
once told me attitude is everything. He said the
guys who get the jobs are the guys who can stand
in the pouring rain for thirty days straight
yelling action and cut, and not complain. Another
guy told me, ‘Pain is temporary, film is forever,’
and proceeded to jump off a roof to get a shot.
That made an impact.
Is there anything you
would like to add that I haven’t asked?
Jake Hamilton: Yes.
To the readers, if you’re enjoying the insightful,
intelligent and mature discussions you have found
in this interview, check out the "MTAE"
www.meanstoanendthemovie.com... even more
sophomoric violence and updates on where and when
we will be shamelessly promoting our disgusting
film at a festival near you. And check out the new
Fango, I think we should be in there.
Paul Solet: Keep your
eyes open for "Blood Drive II". You can
rent it on Halloween, or come check us out at the
Fangoria Weekend of Horrors, September 22, in New
Jersey, where clips will be screened. We’re on a
panel, tentatively scheduled for Sunday the 25th
at 4:00PM. You won’t miss us; we’ll be covered in
blood, wearing orange prison jumpsuits.
What is one thing
people should know about Paul Solet and Jake
Hamilton that they probably don’t?
Paul Solet: Between us we have suffered the
following injuries: 5 broken noses, a fractured
patella, a broken leg, total of 8 staples in the
head, a broken wrist, a slashed achilles tendon, a
torn lip, nerve damage of the foot, a lacerated
ass cheek, a chipped tooth, at least one hernia, a
dislocated shoulder, several serious hand and arm
lacerations (one with nerve damage), a sliced
forehead (through a windshield), a torn ACL, an
ear-to-ear slashed open scalp worth 21 stitches,
and a broken finger nail. That one was Jake.
Jake Hamilton: Oh
yeah, one more thing: Pain is temporary…
Paul Solet: Film is