JG- How did you develop this love for the horror genre? Was there a film in your past that grabbed you ? What made it so impactful for you??
JH -I have loved monsters as long as I can remember. When other little boys wanted to play army man or astronaut … I wanted to play werewolf army man or zombie astronaut. What can I say, it was in the family. My dad had a Lon Chaney Jr. Wolf Man mask. (Oh, what I would give to still have that.) I loved watching him scare people with it. Then, one spring day in 1976, the Bookmobile provided me with what would become my bible … Alan Ormsby's “Movie Monsters”. (I still have the book.) It showed me how to make myself up as a werewolf and how to make a Frankenstein head out of a paper grocery sack. I was hooked. But, it was not until a few years later that I became addicted to horror movies. I always liked watching them; however, it took a stinker B-movie and wet pasta to seal the deal. Dad and I were up late one Friday night watching Midnight Madness in Pheonix, AZ. They were screening Squirm, a brilliantly horrible movie about killer worms. I was on the floor, glued to the screen, when dad went into the kitchen to grab a handful of cooked spaghetti leftover from dinner. He dropped the handful slowly on my head. My heart burst out of my chest and I came up swingin'! Even at that young age, I realized that it was the movie that had done that to me … not the spaghetti. It was like a kind a magic to me. Since then, I have poured myself into the horror genre. Not long after the spaghetti incident, a video rental store opened down the street from our house. A short bike ride and I was in horror heaven. Hammer, Amicus, Universal, on and on … I couldn't get enough … and still can't.
JG- What is your favorite horror movie (old and or new) ?
JH -I am sorry … but, it is impossible to answer this question. There is no way I could render it all down to one. But, I definitely have a good list. These are in no particular order. An American Werewolf in London Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man Vampire Circus Dog Soldiers Lair of the White Worm Cat People (1982) Alien
JG- If you were asked to be in a remake of a classic horror- one that would be respectful to the original , the type that would make fans happy and feel good about the film, what movie would you like to do?
JH -This one I can DEFINITELY answer ... Hammer's Vampire Circus! I will admit, I am really not all that big on remakes. I think Hollywood has lost its collective mind with remakes, prequels and sequels. But, there have been some admirable examples of remade/re-imagined horror movies … Cat People, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), The Thing (1982), etc. The original Vampire Circus is an amazing film; however, with current themes and effects techniques, it would be a fun film to re-imagine.
(JASON- LOVE VAMPIRE CIRCUS- ONE OF MY FAV HAMMER FILMS)
JG- I know you and Nicole share the love for Wicca ! How did you discover the Path and what brought you to position that you knew it was right for you ?
JH -Nikki's understanding and application of Celtic Wicca is amazing, and I am constantly learning from her. I, however, am not Wiccan … though, I do prescribe to much of what it teaches. I am an eclectic. I draw from many different spiritual paths. I was raised as a Christian, and I still hold to many of its teachings. In fact, I was all set to go to seminary. Yes … I was going to be a preacher! But, at some point I began to have more questions than answers. I started studying other religions … Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc. As an undergrad at Ball State University, I minored in Native American Studies. It was here that I started to see what made sense to me. My search soon became about finding the center. I compared the teachings of as many spiritual paths as I could … finding points of confluence. I soon began to realize the place where all spiritual paths converge. It was this place I was searching for … the core … the center of it all. My path is now an amalgamation of multiple traditions … Christianity, Wicca, Shamanism, Druidism.
JG- What kind of film would you love to do ,not horror in any way shape or form and why ?
JH -It is interesting that you ask that question. I am currently developing a story that I hope to film. The story of a man who has realized the best parts of himself through the movies he has watched throughout his life. And, coming to the end of his own story … reflecting on those experiences and allowing the audience to decide if a vicarious life can still be fulfilling.
JG - How did you get into writing for Horrorhound? JH -It all stemmed from my love of independent film. I was, at the time, working with the Dark Carnival Film Festival in Bloomington, Indiana … one of the best indie horror film fests in the US. I confronted HorrorHound about reviewing some of the amazing films that I got to screen as part of Dark Carnival. That lead to what is now HorrorHound Indie Spotlight. I have also had a chance to write a few articles on horror hosts, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, and even did an interview with John Carpenter. (THAT was a good day!)
JG - Are you a reader and if so , what is your favorite book and author?
JH -Yes … I love to read. Though, I don't read as much as I used to. I read a lot for work … so, recreational reading has become a little less appealing. But, I do have my favorite authors … two in particular that have had a profound effect on my life. The first is William Least-Heat-Moon and his book “Blue Highways”. The second is Ayn Rand and her books “The Fountainhead” and “Anthem”. These books are a must-read for anyone who is “searching”. If you don't know what I mean by “searching” then you aren't a searcher … so, disregard.
JG - Now ,fun stuff, if I were to snag your IPOD - what music would be on it right now ???
JH -Ah, technology. First … I have the Sony Walkman MP3 player. Bought it early on … though for sure it would become THE player. It still works great, but they have made NO accessories for it. Ugh … my luck! ANYWAY … right now it is stuck right in the middle of my favorite indie band, Otis and the Rufies … a brilliant mix of Pink Floyd and Trent Resnor. Beyond that is a schizophrenic mix of Dean Martin, Rob Zombie, Warrant, XTC, Oingo Boingo, Midnight Syndicate, and Damien Rice.
JG - Any guilty pleasures? Music (secret Loverboy fan) , Movie ( love Somewhere in Time perhaps?), maybe a Harlequin Romance (you know, the kind with Fabio on the cover ? Hehehe)
JH -Damn you John … get out of my head! No … really … Ok … confession time. (Breathe Deep) Hello, my name is Jason Hignite … and … I am a John Denver fan. My grandma played him in the car everywhere she went …still reminds me of her. Beyond that, I love Frank Capra movies … It's a Wonderful Life is one of my favorites. Jimmy Stewart is a god!
(ITS OKAY JASON- I HAVE A GREATEST HITS OF JOHN DENVER- HEHEHEI GET THAT ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH EVERY TIME I HEAR HIM)
Ok … that's enough. (whew!)
JG - If there was one thing that you could say challenged you in respect to your life being changed or challenged by your writing, or acting, what would it be ? ( if you care to share!)
JH -My writing, which has led to my relationship with HorrorHound, has allowed me the chance to meet, talk to, and get to know so many people who have been such an influence on me … Malcolm McDowell, John Carpenter, George Romero, John Landis, etc. Finding out what drives these people is fuel to me. As far as acting goes … a few years ago I was involved in a theatrical production of George Orwell's 1984. I played Commrade O'Brien … the “bad guy”. I have always loved playing the antagonist. But, this show demanded a lot from the cast. It took everyone (audience and cast) to very dark places. We rehearsed for six weeks, the show ran for two weekends (standard community theater), and I was a mess for about three months after! It was this role that taught me what it meant to give yourself over to something … letting it completely possess you. There is a price to pay for it … but, the result is worthy of the sacrifice.
JG -Now- guiltless self promotion ,spill it all- new projects- conventions (Horrorhound of course)? Anything- anything at all!
JH -LOTS GOING ON!! Nikki and I are in the middle of filming Kevin Jamison's Forced Entry … a film about highway serial killers. I was also cast to play a slasher in Jamison's next project. We also just had a preproduction meeting on Dan Dillard's The Apple Falls in which I am playing the lead and Nikki is playing my wife. This story is so brilliant … but, it is going to be one that leaves me messed up for awhile … guaranteed. We are wrapping on Muscle Wolf's Psycho Street … a messed up roller coaster ride of comedy, horror, and gore that will leave you needing a shower! It will be releasing soon through R Squared Films. Nikki and I are also playing a couple in Muscle Wolf's upcoming doppelganger movie Dead Ringers … bring the gore! I will soon be shooting my first short film (writer and director). No title yet … but, it will take a new twist on werewolves. Concerning HorrorHound … we are preparing to launch the first official HorrorHound Film Festival. I can't talk too much about it yet … but, I can tell you that we are working with some amazing people in L.A. They are working on something similar … so, we decided to join forces!! I will be sure to let you know when details go public. HorrorHound Weekend, Sept 7 – 9, 2012, in Indianapolis, Indiana will host the first film festival. The convention will also include an Alien reunion, a Terminator reunion, and a Monster Squad reunion!! This will be the first time all of the monsters have been together since they shot Monster Squad. (Oh, I need to add Monster Squad to that list!) Beyond that … HorrorHound will soon be dropping a nuclear bomb on the convention world. More to come on that … I promise! Thanks John … and thanks to all of the horror fans that keep the beast fed!! Remember, the key is to keep your blood warm … it's much tastier that way! - Jason