Scariest Interview: A Chat with Writer/Director Joe Clarke

ATMOSfx! Woo!

bts-chairWith his latest movie, Spiral, wrapped up and primed for release, writer/director Joe Clarke is a busy man these days. Luckily, I was able to catch up with him for a few minutes to throw a couple of questions his way.

What filmmakers do you keep a close eye on these days and/or inspire you?

Can I tweak this a bit and give you a few movies I’m looking forward to this year?


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Uncle Drew (Still haven’t seen it)
The Predator
Creed II
A Star is Born
Boy Erased

Your last picture (Up on the Wooftop) seemed like much more of a studio endeavor and, from other interviews you’ve given, I gather the experience had its share of unpleasantness. Going forward, does this mean you’d prefer doing the Indie thing or are you itching to try studio work again now that you know what to watch out for?

It’s always a case by case basis. We were still completely independent, but we did have several companies involved with the process. I would love to try a traditional studio film. I’m committed to doing this next movie independently, but it’s certainly a goal to get to that point.

I understand your next project will be a documentary with WWE wrestler Rob Van Dam. Are there any plans for another Joe Clarke genre picture in the future?

‘Headstrong’ is getting really close to being finished. We’ve been working on it for the past two years. We’re really excited to see where it goes.

Beyond that, we are getting our first LA flick off the ground in the coming months. It’s a been a lifelong goal to make a movie here, and we have some really cool things in store. It’s probably going to be our smallest crew and smallest budget, but the level of talent that’s at the core of it is going to be awesome.

On a mildly related note, what do you think of the new BlumHouse/A24/IFC Midnight environment where small budget movies hit it big? Does that add more pressure or provide more opportunities?

All three of them are doing a great job of building their brands and making themselves very valuable. I believe it’s a good that everyone is pushing each other to take the next steps, and produce fresh content that hasn’t been seen before.

In case our readers didn’t know, you used to be based in Iowa and your latest movie, Spiral, was filmed entirely within the Hawkeye State. Did you run into anything during filming that might have been easier to do in a more “traditional” movie location (like L.A. or New York, for example) or do you feel that movies can be made anywhere these days?

I actually moved to LA about six months ago, but I go back to Iowa a good amount as well. It’s been fun to bounce back and forth. There are a lot of differences between filming in Iowa and LA. It’s much easier to film in Iowa. Businesses, friends, and family have all opened their doors over the years. There’s a lot of support there for independent filmmaking. At the same time, LA was built on the film business, so it’s much more of a protected commodity. They are two different cultures.

I understand that Spiral is going to be streaming on Amazon and iTunes October 16th. How does distribution work for your movies? What’s that like?

Ideally, as the films get bigger, we want to really utilize more theaters in the future. I think it’s still very important to keep them thriving. That’s been one of my favorite parts about LA. The movie theaters are amazing. Streaming is huge now, so that made the most sense for Spiral. It’ll be interesting to see where the industry goes from here, but it seems like streaming is here to stay. I hope that DVD’s can still have vintage value, similar to vinyl records. I miss Blockbusters, and roaming the different covers.

How important has the film festival circuit been in your movie making career?

I haven’t been to any nationally known film festivals, but I really want to someday. There’s one in Dubuque, Iowa that’s awesome. We watched movies in bar, hotels, restaurants, and theaters. Gary Busey was there. And Tupac’s brother. It was crazy.

And, lastly, what are the best places for our Scariest Readers to get more info about your current projects?

Instagram: @joeclarkecity
Instagram: @spiralthemovie

And there you have it. Thanks to Joe for giving us a sneak peek at his latest (and possibly craziest) movie, Spiral, and double thanks for taking time for one of our Scariest Interviews!

Spiral will be streaming on iTunes and Amazon this coming October 16th.

And here’s the brand new, official release trailer to whet your cinematic appetites. Enjoy!


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