Actor and Director John Schneider (probably best know for playing Bo Duke on the “Dukes of Hazard”, and Jonathan Kent in “Smallville”) has a new movie out this week, called “Smothered”. It’s a horror satire that turns upside down the most basic story of naive people in the woods getting picked off by a serial killer. “Smothered” boasts “The largest collection of horror icons on one screen ever.” The movie is ironically realistic in that past film stars really do spend a large portion of their time sitting at conventions, signing autographs, posing for photos, and telling fans all about the favorite moments of their careers. When you see a star sitting at a table alone… well “Smothered” shows how an actor feels when that happens. The film stars Kane Hodder, (“Seven”, “Monster”) Bill Moseley, (“House of a Thousand Corpses”, “The Devil’s Rejects”, “Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2”) R.A. Mihailoff (“Leatherface: Texas Chain Saw Massacre III” “Hatchet II”) Don Shanks (“Dumb and Dumber”, “Revenge of the Ninja”) and Malcolm Danare (“Godzilla”, “Flashdance”) along with many other actors that have been in the business for years. John even has a little cameo appearance of his own. The slasher comedy starts out with our ensemble cast, mostly playing themselves, as modern day horror icons trying to make ends meet. All of their various horror convention appearances have been financial failures and they’re in desperate need of money. After a humiliating experience at Voodoo Con, a convention in New Orleans, where none of them make any money, Kane Hodder, playing himself, asks everyone to come with him and appear at an RV park for a sort of “weekend haunted RV park” thing. Everyone is a bit apprehensive about the offer at first, but as soon as Hodder makes them aware that the woman making the offer, Agnes (Amy Brassette), is one of his exes, everyone agrees to do it. The promise of $1,000 each makes them more interested too! So everyone packs into Hodder’s beat-up old RV and they all head off to a trailer park in the middle of nowhere, where of course things go bad immediately. No spoilers from me, but it’s interesting where the title comes from! It was great meeting John at Wondercon 2016, where I got a chance to talk to him about what he’s doing now and about about his new movie “Smothered”.
Los Angeles Zombie Examiner: When did you make the transition from acting to writing and directing?
John Schneider: “I actually wrote and directed the last episode of “Dukes”, so I started way, way back then, with every design and every plan for that to be what I would be doing from that point forward. Before “Dukes” I wrote and directed 8mm films and cut them together on my mother’s shag carpeting, in addition to plays and all sorts of other things. It’s always been part of what I felt I was to be doing, the acting was part of it, but it kind of got in the way, honestly. Helping other people tell their stores got in the way of me telling mine. I finally got enough miles of wonderful things and heartache under my belt so that by the time I turned 50, all of a sudden my writing really improved and I started doing things like “Smothered”, “Like Son”, and “Anderson Beach”. We have a non-zombie, zombie film we will be doing next year called “Painless” and I’m loving every minute of it. I am truly living the dream I had when I was 7 years old.”
ZE: So tell us a little bit about “Smothered”.
JS: “Smothered takes the good old horror slasher model of having several beautiful people go camping and get killed one at a time by the man in the mask. The story gives our horror actors a legitimate reason to go camping and then they get killed one at a time by the beautiful girl (played by Brea Grant) with the large, albeit fake, breasts. Those are her mask. So the guys in the masks, get killed by the girl in the mask. It’s quite unique and when Kane read it he said ‘I don’t know why no one has done this before!’ It’s not actually a spoof, but it’s funny, it’s horrific and it’s heartfelt, because you care about these people, especially Malcolm, because when Malcolm dies and even when R.A. dies it’s tragic. Tragedy is something I felt was missing from recent horror. We haven’t had the scene with the Frankenstein monster and the little girl with the petals in the water, in a long time, and hopefully I brought some of that back in “Smothered”. This is what I want to continue to do, so I hope folks check it out!”
“Smothered”, the comedy horror film with a heart, is out right now and is available On demand, on iTunes, Time Warner Cable and in stores.”
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