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Copyright © Kitley's Krypt
2013 RONDO AWARD
Kitley’s Krypt: What can you tell us about SIMON, KING OF THE WITCHES?
SIMON, KING OF THE WITCHES was written by a practicing warlock. He was dead
serious about being a warlock. He had a coven of witches. The movie that he
wrote was based upon a part of his life. He was making money at Hollywood
parties, doing what he called ‘fakery’. And that supported he real motives of
which were to conjure up ‘witching’ powers. This guy was not kidding. He was a
KK: Kind of like a documentary?
AP: It had elements of it, but that was our motive. Was to do it as close to the real guy as possible. But it doesn’t have a lot of murder in it. I think I only kill a couple of people, which isn’t a lot for me in a movie.
KK: Was he on the set during the making?
AP: You know I don’t recall, but I think he was. Because we did chat a lot and it had to have been on the set, I just don’t recall.
KK: What about CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD?
AP: CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD was a great deal of fun. I read the script and didn’t like it. I said I wouldn’t do this. I’m not going to be a witch killer. I asked where are they going to shoot, in the valley? They said, “No. We’re going to the Black Sea, Istanbul, and Spain.” And I said, you know, maybe there’s something I can do with this. And I went and just had the time of my life. It took us three months to shoot it.
KK: Three months?
AP: Yea, we had a lot of logistical difficulties. We were on a small Turkish island in the middle of the Black Sea. So it’s hard to get things in and out of there. And then we were in Istanbul. And then we were in Barcelona. And Madrid. And shot the last scene back in L.A. at the Pacific Palisades. It was difficult movie to shoot, but I had a ball because I got to go all over the world. And I was with a very dear friend of mine, Ray Danton. He had been an actor and he was directing. So Ray said, “Come on and do it. We’ll have a hell of time.” And we did. A great adventure.
KK: Anything comments on Mark Damon?
AP: Mark was a very nice fellow. Mark was a star in Europe, but never was here. And he later became a producer. Though he never phoned. He could of phone, and said, “Hey Andy…” But he was quite well known in Europe, so that did very well for the film all over western Europe.
KK: What was the original working title?
AP: The original title was HANNAH, QUEEN OF THE WITCHES. Which didn’t work nearly as well as CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD to me.
KK: How about GRIZZLY?
AP: Well for
GRIZZLY, we had no script. My agent said, “They’re paying this amount of
money. You’re getting on a plane tomorrow. And you’re going to Clayton,
Georgia, in the Smokey Mountains.” And I said, “What do you mean? What’s the
KK: What about the director, William Girdler?
AP: We became very close friends. Unfortunately he died scouting locations for a movie that we were going to do about a couple of narcs on a drug bust in the Philippines. The last I saw of him, he said, “I’m leaving tomorrow to scout the location. I’ll be right back and we’ll start shooting.” And he died in a helicopter crash, which broke our hearts. Everybody loved that guy. He was the nicest dude in the world. And on his way. He was big in exploitation already by then. A real good guy.
KK: He had already done ABBY and THREE ON A MEATHOOK…
AP: He did DAY OF THE ANIMALS, which I would not do. He wanted me to do a role and I read it, and said, “I’m not going to do this. There’s no way I’m going to be in this thing where you kill one after the other. Not me.” And he actually liked me for it. I said there’s a bottom to all of this and I’m ain’t going there. I’m not going to be killed by a rabid squirrel. He also did one with Tony Curtis and Susan Strasberg.
KK: THE MANITOU. Which was very successful.
AP: Yes, that was quite a successful little a ‘popcorn movies’. And he was learning! He did these on very short money. So he was coming up fast. I’m awfully sorry he had to go.
KK: How about THE EVIL?
AP: I thought
THE EVIL was nice. It’s the genre of “put a bunch of people in a haunted house
and kill them off one by one”. You can not lose money with that formula. No
movie has ever lost money doing it. Now it’s always teenagers. Put a bunch of
teenagers in it and its Camp…Hell, or whatever.
KK: What about BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD?
AP: Oh…you would bring that movie up, wouldn’t you? That’s the worst movie I ever did, I must say.
KK: The title alone is what gives the film it's cult reputation.
AP: It was originally called TERROR CIRCUS, which was perfect. Because it was a terror circus. I ran a circus, and I was a terror. I killed the girls off…blah, blah, blah. And then in the wise-ness of producers all over the world, they thought, “Wait a minute….NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD…DAY OF THE LIVING NIGHT….BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD! The title along is enough to turn your stomach. I must say I get along on any movie and they were nice people. But I wasn’t glad I made that picture.
KK: Sorry I brought that up.
AP: Oh no, it’s alright. We all got one in the closet. Every actors got one, you know.
KK: Last one…AMITYVILLE 2?
AP: Oh, terrific. It was shot in New Jersey where the set is, not the actual house. Then all of the interiors were shot in Mexico City. Which was really odd. So it took us a long time to get it all done. They actually sunk a lot of money into it. That was Dino De Laurentiis. Damiano Damiani, the Italian director did it. Spoke no English, but was a terrific guy to work with.
KK: How did that work? Did you have an interrupter?
AP: To an extent, because we had some Italians, some of his crew was there, who actually did speak English. But after a while, it’s amazing how you get along. When I shot CRYPT OF THE LVING DEAD, of course the director spoke English, Ray Danton. But we had a German sound crew, Turkish grips, and Spanish camera crew. And almost none of them spoke English. My stuntman was Turkish, and he played the monster. And he spoke no English. And we hung out together the whole time and became great friends. Never understood a full sentence of what the other guy was saying. But we knew what we were talking about. You just knew. You get used to it. Isn’t that weird?
KK: Well, Mr. Prine, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.
AP: Oh sure. My pleasure.