Interview: BRIAN KRAUSE, Camel Spiders

A while back, I was able to interview Brian Krause regarding his starring role in the film “Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer”. That interview is available on this site. Recently, I chatted with Brian again, this time about “Camel Spiders”.

GS: To start off, I only have one “Sleepwalkers” question today. I have heard that towards the end of production, people had to run interference with line producer Dick Stenta because he did not want the final scene filmed due to budget constraints. Do you know anything about that?

BK: I don’t. I know we shot a couple of different endings. As you know, my character dies just before the ending. So they re-shot a couple of days when I wasn’t there, so I wouldn’t know. I was hoping they would bring me back to life so we could make another one. Who wrote that scene? Nobody wrote that scene! (laughs)

GS: The legendary Roger Corman produced “Camel Spiders”… was he on set?

BK: No, he wasn’t. We were on location for about two weeks, so we were out in the middle of nowhere most of the time. It was just us.

GS: Both Corman and director Jim Wynorski (“Chopping Mall”) have a reputation for cheesy movies, which I mean in the nicest possible way. Is there a lighter mood on set because of that?

BK: Well, I don’t know if we took things less seriously, because we were still trying to finish the film and get it in the can. But I don’t think there are as many dramatic scenes when someone dies, because we all know what it is. There’s a little more fun with it when someone dies as opposed to a straight-up drama. It just doesn’t seem as “hardcore tears” or someone needing five minutes to get into the mood. It’s much lighter, it’s not “E.R.”

It’s fun. It is cheesy, it is campy, and everything is done with a wink. I’ve got an M-16 and I’m shooting a spider. How serious can I be about it? There’s a lot of ridiculousness and you just have to have fun with it. The more fun we have, the more fun the audience will have watching it. I think sometimes movies like that make the mistake of taking it so seriously, and the audience is, “Oh, come on.” Wynorski is a fun guy, and he’s definitely a character in his own right. He knows how to get it done, he has his own way of doing it. He’s a funny guy and made sure we were all in the right mindset for the film.

GS: I completely agree with you about cheesy movies that try too hard. That just ends up making the film worse.

BK: Right? I hope you didn’t get that experience with “Camel Spiders”. We all had fun, and everyone involved was great — Diana Terranova, Matt Borlenghi, Kurt Yaeger and C. Thomas Howell. We all got along as a group of actors and hung out after work. We had fun together, and kudos to Corman and Wynorski for creating that environment.

GS: Obviously the spiders are computer-animated. Were there cues to work off of for interacting, or was it pure imagination on your end?

BK: A lot of it is in our mind. We met with Jim on the first day, and he showed us drawings and pictures from the Internet. He described how they were, how many there are, and painted a picture for us. “Okay, look at this piece of tape over here, and now the tape’s running!” You’re trying your best not to laugh. You imagine what you can, but it’s still just a grip with a piece of tape on a stick saying “I’m a spider”. (laughs) It’s hard sometimes.

GS: You prefer the practical effects?

BK: Yeah. Having something physical helps. I don’t mind the green screen. It’s like being a kid with make-believe, playing cowboys, living in a pretend world. How great can your imagination be? It’s fun and takes you back to being a kid. I think that’s sort of the point of the movie, just having a light attitude. I think if you get the practical effect in there, something you can see and hold, you have to take it a little bit more serious. I did a movie years back where I had to carry around this huge Loch Ness Monster egg and there was a claw… [Gavin notes: Presumably, Brian is referring to Paul Ziller’s “Beyond Loch Ness”.] They wanted us to be so serious. And I was like, “It’s a dinosaur egg. Really?” You can only be so serious — it’s not “Jurassic Park”.

GS: For the final question, let’s steer wide from “Sleepwalkers” and “Camel Spiders”. You were allegedly involved in a remake of “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. Is that true, and when can we see it?

BK: That is true. John Johnson is a filmmaker out of Virginia. He’s an independent filmmaker who secured the rights, and I played Jeff Trent. John is great, he moves fast, and I think we got a really good cast together. Matthew Ewald is a young actor who takes the lead, and horror host Mister Lobo is in there. It’s a great, fun cast, and John did a great job. They’re in editing now, I’m not sure how far along, but I would think that some time this year it will come out. We had a great crew and it looked great. It’s an homage. Knowing what John does, making movies out of his backyard, it was exciting to work with someone like that who is trying to make his own mark. I respect that a lot — he gets things done his way. He could very easily be working in Hollywood making his own movies, and you will be hearing more from him for sure.

GS: Very cool. That’s all I have, so I thank you again for your time and I know we’ll chat again.

BK: Sure thing. Thank you!

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