Director John Gulager happy horror fans still eating up his cult classic gorefest Feast

While he may not be here this weekend for the screening of his horror film Feast, California director John Gulager admits to at least having a very vague knowledge of the city.

No, it’s not through the Calgary International Film Festival, which will announce the Late Show programming for its Sept. 20 to Oct.1 event at a special showing of the 2005 cult classic Sunday night at the Ship & Anchor.

It actually was when he was a kid playing “ice hockey” in L.A. and a team from Calgary travelled down for some games and were billeted with Gulager and his teammates.

“It was a long time ago when I was a little teeny tyke,” the director says with a laugh. “I was a pee-wee.”

Again, he expresses some regret he won’t be in the Ship watching the reactions of those who might be catching the film for the first time or are revelling in its gory glory for the umpteenth time.

For the former, Feast grew out of Project Greenlight, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s series about helping first-time filmmakers, with Gulager and writers Marcus Dustan and Patrick Melton winning the third season, having the opportunity to have their movie made.

Starring Balthazar Getty, Navi Rawat, Jenny Wade, Judah Friedlander, Henry Rollins and Gulager’s wife Diane Ayala Goldner and his father Clu — a veteran character actor who’s unbelievable resume includes everything from The Last Picture show to I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and TV series such as The Virginian, Magnum P.I., Murder, She Wrote and The Fall Guy — it features a group of disparate group of strangers stuck in a Nevada bar with a family of monsters terrorizing them.

It’s bloody, it’s bloody funny, incredibly R-rated and it spawned a pair of Gulager-helmed sequels, not to mention making him a name in the b-film and horror world, with other projects coming his way including Piranha 3DD and the almost completed Children of the Corn: Runaway.

But, for Gulager and fans, it always comes back to Feast, which he thinks Ship-goers on Sunday should enjoy.

“I hope people come, I hope they play it loud,” he says and laughs.

“I hope people aren’t too offended by a monster appendage, but that’s the way it goes.”

Before the screening, Gulager spoke with theYYSCENE by phone from L.A. Here are some excerpts from that conversation.

Q: You can’t plan on having a cult film, can you, it just happens. And Feast just happens to be one of them doesn’t it?

A: I am sort of partial to some of these types of films — John Waters and stuff like that. But, yeah, I know when people do plan on it, it’s pretty cheesy sometimes.

Q: Are you shocked or surprised? How do you feel about it and how do you feel about the fact that it still has life and is being screened for something like this?

A: I think it’s pretty cool. I have to say when it first came out, though, it didn’t get such a great reception. In fact, it was supposed to come out in theatres and then it just ended up coming out for a weekend, basically, of midnight screenings and then some of the theatres just on their own played it longer because they had the print. But I think it found it’s own life later at the last vestiges of the video store and things like that. I think people just said, “Oh, there’s a monster and a girl — I’ll check it out.” That became what happened as far as that goes and how it continues on today somewhat.

Q: And it’s got Henry fucking Rollins in it, too.

A: (Laughs) Yeah. The funny thing is, the movie came about because of this thing called Project Greenlight, and one of the producers on the show went with his brothers and created The Henry Rollins Show (which aired on IFC in 2006-7) … I knew that he was doing that, so it kind of became, “Oh, would Henry be interested in being in this film?” and basically all they said was, “Um, but just don’t have him shave his head or anything like that.” In the end it worked out. And sometimes after the film I would actually go and be a cameraman on his show, (laughs) to give me a little bit of support between jobs, so it was a symbiotic relationship. And I still listen to his (radio) show all the time in Los Angeles.

Q: Do you have fond memories of making this film?

A: Ummm. I have both, you know. (Laughs) I have fond memories and I have tense, nightmarish memories, because it was the first time I’d been involved with people that you knew when you expressed something you needed to do in the film would either say, “That’s a terrible idea,” or, “We can’t do it because of money or whatever” or they just don’t think it’s a good idea. I’d never had a boss. And when I say “the boss” I mean the head of the company, that type of thing. So that was all new to me, and now when I see other filmmakers going through the exact same thing, I know what’s going on. A lot of times they’re much younger, but I know what’s going on …

I never regret doing it. Anything I say that’s kind of negative is from the perspective of I never regret doing Feast at all. It’s one of the biggest things that ever happened to me in my life. And Project Greenlight, a lot of people ask if I regretted doing that and I’m like, “Well, no because first of all I wouldn’t be talking to you now in whatever capacity,” and I’m still able to make films.

Q: Do you still hang out with Ben?

A: (Laughs) No, I never really got to hang out with those guys. But I follow them in the news and I feel connected, but we don’t hang out in the same circles … I’m just not one of those guys that constantly calls up people to remind them I’m alive. But some day, hopefully, I’m going to do something that they’ll be proud that they were part of a situation to help me make something that they would be proud of — I’m not saying they weren’t proud of Feast, but up and beyond that, something in the future, maybe it hasn’t happened yet.

Q: The two Feast sequels, those had to have been fun to make?

A: They were pretty fun. But they have their own disastrous stories along with them. They were two sequels shot at the same time for less money than Feast, but they were pretty fun to do and pretty much we just made them. We have Mexican wrestlers, we have topless women who have to take their clothes off to make a catapult …

We went a little town called Plain Dealing, Louisiana, and I guess our badge of honour is that someone went back there recently to see if they’d be interested in letting them make a movie there and they said, “Never again.” (Laughs)

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Possibly a western. I can’t say what it is or anything, but if it happens it should be pretty wild and pretty crazy. Again, I think because of Feast most of the things that people come to see if I’d be interested in are pretty far out, not always just a normal drama. Which ironically Children of the Corn is more of a drama than anything I’ve ever done, which is probably one of the reasons that I enjoyed it, too. But that said, the next thing looks to be pretty wild and violent and crazy, but it’s a western.

Calgary International Film Festival screens Feast Sunday night at the Ship & Anchor. Admissions is free and it’s a licensed event. For more information go to