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In my teens John Carl Buechler was one of my favs. He directed three movies that stuck with me ever since. Troll, Friday The 13th Part 7The New Blood and Cellar Dweller. I’ll always remember Sonny Bono turning into a plant (Troll), Jason killing a girl hiding inside a sleeping bag by whacking the bag against a tree (Friday 7) and the very animated creature that lived in that cellar (Cellar Dweller). Thanks man. John is also a special effect artist. He worked on From Beyond, Prison, Trancers and also contributed a few grisly effects for the dynamic trio: Freddy (Nightmare4), Michael (Halloween 4) and of course Jason (Friday 7).  

The genre is lucky to have him. John took some time to stab a few words The Arrow’s way. Here they are…

1- What's your favorite horror movie?   

Number one horror movie is the Exorcist.

2- You started off in the business as a special effect artist, what made you jump on the directing bandwagon?

I was originally trained as a film maker,--Yet I always had an affinity for creatures and Make-up effects, (my favorite film as a  kid was King Kong. --(Still is in a lot of ways) So I taught myself how to create make-up & creature effects as I created them for my own films.

3- You directed one of my favorite Friday The 13th...Part 7 The New Blood.  That entry in the series defined Jason's new look, gave us an official Jason in "Kane Hodder" and gave Jason a worthy adversary. Were you a big Friday The 13th fan before directing part 7?  If so what’s your  fav Jason flick?

I look at any film series with great respect, be it: Tarzan, James Bond, Superman, Batman, Sherlock Holmes ,--or even Jason Voorhees.  I believe that all films in the "Friday" series have their strong and weak points. --Including my own.

4- Are you satisfied with the way The New Blood came out? My only complaint about it is the lack of gore but we all know the MPAA are to blame for that.

Aside from the fact that the ratings board castrated my film by making  us (Paramount & Friday Four Films Inc) cut out almost all of the visceral impact of the make-up effects sequences, my strongest criticism of my film is that I was not allowed to develop it further away from the same old often illogical "stalk & Slash" formula.  I would have put in more surrealistic moments which in my opinion would  have enhanced the elements of pure horror.-- But all and all, I like the beginning of my movie, and the end, where the show down between Tina and Jason occurs. --I believe that it was quite successful there. I'm also quite proud of my Jason design as well of the make-up effects, most of which hardly anyone has seen.

5- You directed the movie Troll (one of my childhood flicks, I'll always remember Sonny Bono turning into a plant). There's a sequel out there and I hear it kind of sucks. What pops in your head when you think of Troll? Ever think of getting back on the Troll vibe and giving us a worthy follow up?

I have not seen the sequel to Troll. I hear it suck in a major way. Regarding whether I could get back into a Troll "vibe" again?... Well not as such. --Don't get my wrong, I love the genre of sword and sorcery, with imps giants, dragons, and Trolls. I am in fact developing an epic based on a legendary figure of myth, which includes these critters.

6- The movie Watchers based on the book by Dean Koontz has been made and remade four times. You directed the last attempt at translating the book to film with Watchers Reborn. In your opinion do you think you succeeded in doing the book justice?  

While I'm pretty happy with the way my "Watchers" picture came out, I  still wasn't allowed to take it all the way back to the book,--WHICH IS A DAMN GOOD BOOK!  Remember when I said that I have a great deal of respect for film series?-- This applies to the "Watchers" films as well. Roger (Corman) wanted another sequel, not the book. I did my best to at least steer it back to the basic elements that made the book so great.  And I'm rather proud of the fact that I was able to make a picture as good as this with the little money and time that we had.

7- Any new projects in the works? When can we expect to see John Buechler again?

As writer/director, the most immediate projects which I have that are just about ready to go into production are: FOLK LORE, this is a sci-fi horror film. and MIDNIGHT HITS, a horror anthology in the tradition of CREEPSHOW.

 8- Of all the movies you've directed which one are you most proud of?

All and none. I guess there's parts of my Friday film which I truly like.  "RETRO" magazine said it in an interesting way:, "most of these films really suck (I'm paraphrasing here) but Friday The 13th Part 7 is the best one."-- I don't know if I'd go that far but maybe I'd pick the Friday film.

9- Of all the effects you've done (I love the Cellar Dweller creature) is
there one particular effect that you're most proud of?

I think it's gotta be a four way split. I like the Mausoleum monster: (it's goofy but pretty cool with the biting tits),--The principle Troll creature is pretty nice --lots of character and good movement, Jason of course, I think is a strong design and quite innovative, and of course; Cellar Dweller, he's a very cool cinematic demon.

10- Being the year 2000, what state do you think the horror genre is in?

I believe that the term horror needs to be reclassified. As some of these pictures are truly horror films and others are just down right horrible. For me horror needs to be chilling and at the same time devastatingly visceral. So few films are these days.

I enjoy a good splatterfest as well as the next guy, but c'mon, these aren't truly horror films. They are grotesque, ugly, nauseating, disgusting, and if they're over the top enough they can be quite funny. Don't get me wrong! --I find these pictures to be very amusing and quite enjoyable-- in the context of a horrible movie. A lot of people love these films. Hell, Joe Bob Briggs made a career out of reviewing them. These are fun films. --But they're not always horror films.

A horror film has to scare you, not just gross you out. The EXORCIST did both. It was a picture which was fundamentally rooted in --Believable characters, realistically photographed, very down to earth, real looking effects sequences, and a story that you could empathize with,-- so when the awful stuff started happening, it was real. There's not a lot of that going around these days. Blair Witch took a good stab at it, but ultimately got tedious and silly. I think that this was absolutely due to their minuscule budget. But I have faith. They are good film makers, and I expect to see good stuff from them in future. Reality based in horror is the key, spiced with an element of supernatural to make it interesting.-- This works. It always has, and it always will. I have faith in the future.

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Thanks a lot, John, you made my day. If you guys want more of that Buechler stuff, click the pic and have a blast!!!

Official Carl Buechler Site
  

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