Interview with David ‘The Rock’ Nelson by Michelle Russo
QMR: “Where do get your actors and actresses for your films?”
The Rock: Anybody that I can ‘drag’ in-front of the camera has the potential, and opportunity to be in a ‘Rock Nelson Production’ (Good for them!-Hah, heh!!!)! But, basically, I ask friends and even family members to at least be victims of my monsters (usually played by me!)! I meet many willing extras in bars like ‘Delilah’s’, on 2771 N. Lincoln Av., in Chicago, Illinois, as that’s where The ‘PsychoTonic Film Society’ shows free B-movies each Saturday evening at 6:00 pm! The owner, Mike, and his people who work there, as well as the patrons, enjoy having me ‘whip-out’ my rubber six-inch ‘Devil Ant’ and toss it at ‘hapless’ victims/would-be stars in ‘Rock Nelson Films’! I meet celebrities like Chicago’s Own Comedic TV Horror-Host, ‘Svengoolie’, at Chicago functions and parades that he appears in! I even met The King of The B-Movies, Mr. Roger Corman at a film fest in Chicago and at Shelter NightClub, where he received a Lifetime Achievement Award on *Oct. 15, 1997!), and he willingly, gladly agreed to let me use footage I shot of him there, as I surprised him with my improvisation, wiggling my rubber Devil Ant in front of him for the very first time the evening before/Oct.14, 1997! I am an annual ‘ghast’/guest-speaker at The ‘Monster Bash’ Convention (at: www.CreepyClassics.com and click “Monster Bash”!) in Butler, PA, each year, and meet many celebrities willing to allow me to put them in my movies, as I either toss my Devil Ant at them, or don a rubber monster mask and attack them while my camcorder is mounted on a tripod, -or while a friend or available person is holding my camcorder! Many who’ve never used a camcorder before have shot their very first scenes for a movie with my camcorder; as I use anyone who is ‘available’! I even met Hillary ‘Rodham’ Clinton (who was graduated from my high school, ‘Maine South’, in Park Ridge, IL., ten years before me!), only days after I met Roger Corman, and video-taped her at a public appearance, and ‘shoe-horned’ her into my 1999 award-winning hit, ‘Devil Ant'(which won ‘Best Direct-To-Video PsychoTronic Film’ by The PsychoTronic Film Society, at: www.PsychoTronic.com )! I then saw a campaigning G.W. Bush, only months before he took office, video-taping him giving a speech, and then, only months later, got excellent video of then President ‘Big’ Bill Clinton in Chicago, and even a close-up of him giving his trade-mark ‘thumbs-up’! I have a press pass I was given at my former door-to-door dictionary sales job (1987-’91) for World Publishers, so I used that press pass, along with my I.D./driver’s license to gain entrance to meet/hear celebrities! I can use the footage, as the celebrities are public figures and the events were public appearances! -Hence, the footage I shot was/IS ‘Public Domain’! Above all this, I even met Mr. Bond, himself, Sir Sean Connery(of my favorite “Bond” flick, 1964’s “Goldfinger”, which I saw as a kid,- in the sixties a kid!), on *October 26, 2000, in Chicago! So, as I said, anyone I meet has the ‘opportunity’, and ‘potential’ to be an instant ‘star’ in a David ‘The Rock’ Nelson/’Ed Wood of The 21st Century, and Beyond Production!
QMR: “What monsters are your favorites and why?”
The Rock: My favorite monster of all is Frankenstein’s Monster (also called ‘Frankenstein’, after his creator, Dr. Frankenstein!)! When I was a boy, I’d see all the monster trading cards; such as ‘Spook Stories’ and ‘Monster Laffs’, in the grand-ol’ jolly ’60’s, the jigsaw puzzles with Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman and all the other great monster memorabilia of that era, such as the 1961 Aurora plastic monster model kits, in the windows of our local hobby shop! Such images sparked’ my active imagination, and I was especially excited to see the Glenn Strange (Actor who played The Monster in the 1940’s), in movies such as “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”!] Frankenstein Monster! I got the Palmer Co. little plastic monsters from my Mom, such as King Kong, Dracula, and Werewolf, and began drawing monsters on a pad of paper my Dad, Vernon, a commercial artist, gave me! So, my favorites are: Frankenstein’s Monster, The Werewolf, The Mummy, (Lon Chaney, Jr., Tom Tyler, and Christopher Lee portrayals, -NOT the “modern” versions!), Dracula, Monster On The Campus (title of a favorite B-Monster movie of 1957, with the late Troy Donohue!), and of course, ‘The Grandaddy of all Monsters: ‘King Kong'(1933 version!)! The reason I love these monsters is because they are the ‘Beloved Traditional Monsters of Old’; the good, ol’ Monsters of my ‘Spooky-Fun’ childhood in the good, ol’ 1960’s, which I love, and any good ‘Monster Boomer’ loves!
QMR: “What other hobbies do you have?”
The Rock: I love traveling to other parts of the United States, by train or car, as I will NOT fly. Illinois has many, many great sites, such as old Indian Burial Grounds, old caves, historic Route 66, and many other interesting towns and places I’ve yet to discover, though I enjoy PA, Ohio, Wisconsin, Hollywood, Ca., and want to visit Albuquerque, N.M., where my friend, Gregg Ozimek (who coached me in boxing and gave me my name, “‘The’ Rock” in 1989!) teaches school, and make a Werewolf movie there! Gregg and I will portray Werewolf Hunters! I also want to visit Las Vegas, Nevada, and re-visit Texas, look for dinosaur bones in Montana, South and North Dakota, and any other interesting and/or ‘exotic’ locale! Among my other hobbies are: movie-watching, all-natural body-building and weight-training (done without illegal drugs!), boxing training such as hitting the heavy bag, and watching ‘Big’ George Foreman, The Future Heavyweight Champion, and other great, exciting boxers on TV! I especially love watching ‘The Big Boys’; Heavyweights fight, and am especially impressed with new World Heavyweight Champion LeRoy Jones, and believe he can beat anybody on the planet.
QMR: “You make monster films…what makes a good one?”
The Rock: A fun, entertaining, humorous one, -with ‘hokey’-looking ‘Monstas’ (Monsters)! Also, one that you will want to watch in late to ‘wee’ hours of the morning, with munchies (food) and ‘java'(kava/a.k.a.-coffee, -or as Ed Wood called it, ‘Jo’!); one that you can watch over and over again, like Ed Wood’s 1959 epic, “Plan 9 From Outer Space”, which I really enjoy, along with Wood’s ’59 sequel, “Night of The Ghouls”, -which I was just watching yest erday morning! I also love Universal’s 1935 epic, ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ and it’s sequel, ‘Son of Frankenstein (both w/Karloff as The Monster!), ‘Ghost of Frankenstein’ (’42) w/Lon Chaney as The Monster, plus all of The Universal Frankenstein movies, plus any of their ‘Creature From The Black Lagoon’ movies, ‘The Werewolf'(1956, the year I was born!) and ‘The Giant Claw'(1953) by Columbia Pictures, The Robert Wise 1953 classic, ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still'(which I saw at age 5 !), any of the 1950-’60’s ‘B’-Monster drive-in flicks, any ’50’s monster flicks by The Great Roger Corman (a main inspiration to me, growing-up, as I’d see many of his films after school in the ’60’s, on the 3:30 pm ‘Big Show’!), Phillip Tucker’s classic, ‘Robot Monster'(a ‘Fun’ flick!), any ’50’s A.I.P.(American International Pictures, The Late/Great Samuel Z. Arkoff’s Company!) flick, Ray Kellogg’s ’59 ‘Giant Gila Monster’ with Don Sullivan, Jerry Warren’s 1957 fun flick, ‘Teenage Zombies’, Richard Cunha’s ‘Frankenstein’s Daughter'(1957)-or Al Adamson’s ‘Dracula Vs. Frankenstein’! Incidentally, I’ve met Roger Corman three times, and met the late great Al Adamson at a ‘Chiller Theater’ Con. in ’94 and met Sam Arkoff in 2000; both passed away now. But, these men made the types of ‘Spooky-Fun’ B-Movie Monster drive-in type flicks that inspired many of us ‘Monster Boomers’! These were(and still are!) the great, fun ‘Monster’ movies us true monster fans enjoy; therefore, they ARE GREAT movies, -right?!’ These are also the movies that inspired me to make my own monster-movies, and I try to ’emulate’ these directors/producers and their films, trying to make my monster movies much like those from the ’50’s and ’60’s!
QMR: “What bizarre places do you film at?”
The Rock: Old, abandoned buildings, decrepid old cemeteries, and old, creepy woods, forest preserves, -with barren trees! For that look (barren trees), I shoot those scenes either late Fall, -or early spring, on or before ‘Beltain’, *The 2nd Scariest Day on The Witches Calendar, Half-way to Halloween, -*April 30th! I shot my Mummy scenes for the upcoming, ‘The Mummy’s Mad Mahem’/formerly Rock Nelson’s ‘Mummy Returns’, on *April 30, 1998! My ‘Mummy Returns’ was filmed(video) 3 years BEFORE Universal’s movie of same name even hit theaters, -so mine was first! However, I like the more ‘bizarre’, new title of ‘The Mummy’s Mad Mayhem’ better, -as it sounds more ‘campy’, -like I want my movies to look, sound, and be! Anyway, for my up-coming Sea Monster movies, I shot at a rocky area at a stream, in LaTrobe, Pa., while attending an annual post-Monster Bash Picnic, there, where Ron ‘Rondo’ Adams and friends(I like to call them ‘Fiends’!) were! I have often used sandy beaches in nearby Evanston, Illinois, by The North Western University Campus(where I attend Annual ‘B-Fest’ every Jan. at: (B-Fest.com), for beach scenes, such as in my 1992 short on Volume 1, ‘The Rock Vs. Sodom INsane’! The other day I was shooting video outside our back door, at our house in Des Plaines, IL., as it was extremely cloudy and windy, at that time. It’ll look good, nice and spooky, creepy, for atmoshere, in one of my ‘Spooky’ Rock Nelson Monster Movies!I’ll edit it into a future ‘Rock’ Nelson ‘Epic'[‘Hah’]!
QMR: “What bizarre experiences have you had during filming?”
The Rock: I was chased by a security guard, who tried to confiscate my video tape, after I had shot some scenes, in an old, historic Chicago cemetery, Saturday, *Nov. 9th, 2000! I had just shot scenes for ‘Frankenstein Stalks’, plus important atmosheric scenes for the up-coming double-bill, ‘Miss Frankenstein’ and ‘The Mummy’s Daughter’! After a short take (which was my ‘last’ one planned for the day!), of myself running with my Werewolf mask on(for ‘War of The Werewolves’ on my 2002 ‘MONSTER TALES’ trilogy/feature-now available on vhs from me, and it’s sequel, -‘The Werewolf’s Brother’), that big, heavy security guard abruptly drove up right after I shot the ‘last’ scene of the day, walked right up to me(with my camera still rolling, taping), and said, ‘The tape’s mine’! I asked, ‘What did I do wrong??!!’ -He said, ‘You’re not supposed to film, here! Didn’t you read the sign?!’ He insisted I give him that tape, saying, ‘If you don’t give it to me, I’ll have the cops come up here, and they’ll not only confiscate it(your tape), but, they’ll put you in jail’! As I walked to my car, non-chalant, slowly putting my camcorder and tripod in my back seat, I said to him, ‘Then, you’ll just have to have them arrest me, then’. As I sat in my car, he was on his cell phone, far from his car, with his back turned away from me. I saw my chance to escape the cemetery! I just ‘none-chalant’, slowly turned my ignition switch, and crept away, then, ccelerating to a higher speed, to escape! He, being out of shape, ‘trotted’ to his vehicle, and, as I passed a figure-8 intersection in the now empty cemetery (except for us, and ‘maybe’ a few ‘ghosts’!-‘Hah’!), his small car missed mine, by just 5 feet, as I drove through! He knew a short-cut, so, as I approached the front gate, at 40 miles per hour, he already was closing one door of the steel barred gate! As I approached the gate, with his small car blocking the one door, I braked slightly, in case a pedestrian might be walking on sidewalk outside the gate, as the security guard stood in front of the almost chained-shut doors! Figuring he would get out of the way of a vehicle, I continued to drive forward, suddenly having a ‘flashback’ of Lon Chaney, Jr’s line in a Captain Marvel episode, none other than his infamous words, ‘Ram the gates’! Yes, I did, indeed, ‘Ram’ the gates, but, wisely, braked slightly, as my front bumper hit the bottom of the heavy steel South gate door, which then, slowly swung open(‘Thank God/Jesus’!). I looked to avoid any pedestrians were walking by gates, but there were none, as I crept out onto the street. I saw a car about to turn in my direction, at the intersection, but, he kindly waved me on, to turn first. I turned right, going the 30 mile per hour speed limit, as I thankfully, drove out to my ‘freedom’! I turned at the first side-street, then, turned off that onto another, zig-zagging my route, to throw off anyone that may follow. But, I was safe, off the post/cemetery of the security guard! I know all about security posts, as I was on 4 years active duty in The Marine Corps(1976-’80) and one of my MOS’s was ‘Security Guard’, while being stationed for 15 months in Subic Bay, Philippines(Jan.1977-April’78)! I continued driving on, until I stopped at Evan Howe’s place(an actor in many of my monster movies, and a friend/’fiend’), to tell him all about my ‘wild’, too-close-for-comfort experience, and relax with a few needed ‘brewskies’! -After ALL that, I needed a ‘drink’! As I sat parked in front of his Northside Chicago apartment building, a car resembling the security guard’s was in my side-view mirror, some 60 feet back! I leaned back, down, out of sight, in my seat, as the little white car passed. Since Evan, wasn’t home, I continued on, not stopping, until I reached Morton Grove, Illinois, a suburb near my home. I stopped at Burger King, put a Whopper in a plastic grocery bag I had(to hide the smell inside theater), stuck it inside my jacket or under the back of my shirt(to sneak it into movie, as no outside food is allowed, the sign ‘says’!), and went across the street to the now former ‘Morton Grove Theater’, saw the Keanu Reeves serial killer movie. During the movie, I leaned back in my seat, still thinking of the ‘possibility’ of that big security guard coming after me! Now, THAT’s ‘Scary’!!! -Hey, like my friends would say, ‘That’s a good idea for a horror movie’! -‘Hah, heh, heh'”!!!
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