Michael B. Druxman Talks THE DOORWAY
March 11th, 2004
Interview by Christopher Wehner
"I'm probably the oldest first-time director," said Michael Druxman with a chuckle. At age 59 the screenwriter now director may not be the oldest first time director, but his first effort as a director is extremely interesting when you consider his previous writing credits.
THE DOORWAY, a New Concorde picture, is a supernatural horror film. The premise of the story is very simple, four college students agree to fix-up an old manor for $10,000 and a semester's lodging. Not more than a few hours into their new home and weird things start to happen. Early on it's obvious that the script was written with the intention of providing humor within the context of the story.
"We had a budget, it was Somewhat more that THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and somewhat less than TITANIC," said Druxman. Without millions to spend on special effects and cgi, Druxman had to improvise a little and felt that by writing the script for a younger audience with some humor would be a good way to accomplish that. "I felt the story lent itself toward black comedy. Here you have a demon lady who only turns nasty when she doesn't get laid. To me, that's funny. For example, when she chases the kids out of the house at the end of the 1st act, I think that's a riot. Hopefully, the music helped conveyed that."
The house is haunted by a female demon named Evelyn (Teresa DePriest) who can posses the living. This demon used to live in the home and worshipped the devil. As a matter of fact the kids learn that the house was built over an old witch site. Evelyn manages to cause chaos as she possesses and manipulates her house guests into having sex and trying to kill each other.
The film also boosts a fairly long cameo by Roy Scheider, he plays a professor who is an expert of the occult. He attempts to help the kids with their demon infestation. The rest of the cast: Don Maloney, Christian Harmony, Suzanne Bridgeham and Lauren Woodland. They seemed to have a lot of fun making the film, and that came through on screen. Overall the acting wasn't bad.
But how did a writer of CHEYENNE WARRIOR and DILLINGER AND CAPONE end up with this gig? "I already had a relationship with Roger Corman. He'd purchased and produced a couple of my original scripts, and for the previous 2-3 years and been giving me one writing assignment after another." When offered the chance to write and direct Druxman jumped at the opportunity, "One day he called me into his office and told me he wanted me to write/direct a horror film that would shoot at his studio in Ireland."
Druxman isn't a fan of slasher movies and had no intention of making one, though they are a popular genre nowadays. I feel he should have gone for the gore and guts, and should have made this film a much more darker one regardless of budget. THE DOORWAY at times seems lost between a horror film and a kind of SCARY MOVIE that pokes fun at itself and hopes that you were distracted long enough not to notice the lame special effects and makeup. As a B film it is what it is and does not pretend to be something else. And that is a credit to its director. THE DOORWAY has some entertainment value for horror fans who should enjoy it. As for Michael B. Druxman the director, he gets a thumbs up for the effort.
I have to believe that making this kind of film would not have been his first choice, but it was a chance he could not pass-up I'm sure. Hopefully he'll get the opportunity to make something that he believes in and has a passion for. He clearly has the ability to direct and hopefully will get another chance.
One thing is for certain, Druxman is following a nice lineage for beginner directors with the likes of James Cameron (TITANIC) getting his first shot on a Roger Corman produced film. Druxman hopes to work with Corman again saying it was a good experience and enjoyable.
The entire shoot took only 20 days, and from what I understand it came in on budget -- it better as far as Corman was concerned I bet -- so not a bad first time effort. With plenty of action and T/A the film will be enjoyable for the under 30 crowd for sure.
The film is released today nationwide on video and DVD.
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