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INTERVIEW WITH SANTO MAROTTA

RAGE OF THE WEREWOLF, which will rear its head this Fall on home video, is the first collaboration between independent producer Santo Marotta and horror film director Kevin Lindenmuth (ADDICTED TO MURDER, ALIEN AGENDA). The movie, about what happens when the moon is put into a closer orbit about the earth, causing many more people to become werewolves, also features a veritable "who's who" in microbudget horror films-with Sasha Graham, Tom Nondorf (ADDICTED TO MURDER II), Debbie Rochon (TROMEO & JULIET) and Joe Zaso and Sarah K. Lippmann.

On a recent trip to the Big Hairy Apple I had a chance to sit down and chat with producer Marotta, who, in the best tradition of low budget cinema, is also the lycanthropic star of the movie.

Q: You are new on the independent horror movie scene. Tell us a bit about yourself.

SANTO: Well, I spent a good deal of my youth-and my adult life, for that matter-reading comic books and watching classic Sci-Fi and horror movies and tv shows. I also spent a lot of time drawing and trying to be as creative as possible. I didn't get into filmmaking until about six years ago. I took a course in it at school and loved it! I felt it was an extension to what I could do with my characters. To me watching a movie is like watching a painting or drawing in motion. I felt that this was my next step, my next challenge, to make my own movie. For the first one I decided to go with the classic monster horror theme. I found the characters and story to be very interesting because of their various problems and the powers they have to deal with. I think the first film project is always the toughest because it'' so new and overwhelming at first but in the end it's always a great feeling to see the stuff you wrote on paper come to life when the project is complete.

Q: Why did you decide to work on a werewolf movie?

SANTO: I find the whole werewolf stuff very interesting. The werewolf usually has two personalities, sort of like DR. JECKYLL & MR. HYDE. One is a good natured person, the other a savage animal. This makes for a tortured soul and an interesting character different from the usual monsters portrayed in books and movies because the character wants to be rid of this curse. We, as the audience, sympathize with the human part of the werewolf. The classic "WOLFMAN" has always been one of my favorite monsters. In doing this film on werewolves it gave me the opportunity to show a different kind of werewolf, someone who can change at will and retain some portion of his human persona and memory, depending upon the degree in which he transforms.

Q: How is RAGE different from other movies that involve werewolves?

SANTO: RAGE is different from the other movies in several ways. The first is that the two main characters, Jake and Lazlo, are two brothers who were cursed with the werewolf legend. One wants to be free of it, the other wants to use his power to make more of his kind. It usually goes against the grain of the werewolf mythos for him to want to keep his curse, but in Lazlo's case he wants to gain even more supernatural power. Werewolf movies are usually set in the present or past. RAGE takes place in the near future in a world where there are not just one but HUNDREDS of werewolves prowling the night. In the world of RAGE there are also vampires and mutant creatures who live underground. I've never seen a movie with all these elements in it before, have you?

Q: How did you decide upon the casting of the movie?

SANTO: Between Kevin (my partner in crime) and myself we have a great deal of friends who are actors and special effects people. We tossed around the idea of having a casting call but then soon realized we had everyone we needed. I think everyone we picked was tailor made for the party they played. They all also had previous experience working with either Kevin or myself on our previous film projects.

Q: How did you handle being both the producer and the lead actors?

SANTO: Because I had co-written the story with Kevin Lindenmuth I had a good handle on the character of "JAKE". I got into the character's specific "look" and picked out his "costume" weeks before we even started shooting. This freed me up to help out with other tasks in and around the various locations and sets we shot in. I think when everyone works as a team it makes it a lot easier to juggle a few things at a time. That's the way everyone worked on this project, like a team.

Q: You worked with both Sasha Graham and Debbie Rochon on this film. How was it to work opposite these "Scream Queens"?

SANTO: It was a real pleasure. Both actresses were extremely professional and we had a lot of laughs along the way. I had seen their work in some of Kevin's previous films and thought they were very talented. They were both friendly and very much into the characters they played. We had a lot of fun and got a lot done, which was great.

Q: What are some of your favorite movies? Do you think this has influenced your filmmaking in any way?

SANTO: My favorite movies are THE GODFATHER 1 & 2, HIGHLANDER, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, FRANKENSTEIN, THE WOLFMAN, THE INVISIBLE MAN, SUPERMAN 2, FRANKENSTEIN 1 & 2, DRACULA (with Bela), TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN, ROCKY, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (w Lon Chaney), ABBOT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN-my list could go on. I love movies and have a lot of favorites. They all affect me in some way or another. Some for the unique camera angles used and others for the way the characters are portrayed. The way makeup, lighting and special effects were used also influenced me a great deal.

Q: Do you think the lead character of Jake will appear in more movies?

SANTO: I'm not sure. The film certainly lends itself to a sequel. Both JAKE and KESSA evolved through the "Odyssey". I like the JAKE character and would feel comfortable playing him again. I also have a few ideas for a sequel but for now I'm going to use the time I have to get back to my other love, which is painting.

Q: Anything you want to add?

SANTO: I just want to mention again how much fun and exciting it was working on RAGE OF THE WEREWOLF. I'd also like to take this opportunity to once again thank the cast and crew for all the hard work they put in to it. Thanks!

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