We thought we’d had a great day when myself and Zomblee recently met Tom Savini at London’s The Cinema Store (read Zomblee’s report of the meeting here), but Jason Arnopp, webmaster of www.slasherama.com has gone one better and secured a very long and detailed interview with the gore master himself, and it has now been published online.
The interview covers Savini's whole career, from its beginnings as a Vietnam war photographer, to his non-work on Night of the Living Dead, his special effects work on films such as The Prowler, The Burning and Maniac through to his directing gig on the Night of the Living Dead remake.
We've included the first section of the interview below just to whet your appetite, but to read the full unedited feature, visit www.slasherama.com.
THESE DAYS, an interview with Tom Savini comes packaged with certain preconceptions. Some say that the groundbreaking make-up and effects guy (turned actor and director over the past decade or two) now turns his nose up at some of the early gore flicks which made his name. I remember someone telling me that Savini disowns The Burning, for instance.
This, as I soon discover, is nonsense. Seated in a North London hotel on November 29, 2005, Savini is the very picture of enthusiasm - not to mention zen-like calm - as he discusses all aspects of his career. It's not difficult at all to get him chattering away about his remarkable life. Furthermore, you get the feeling that you can ask him pretty much anything: this man has nothing to hide. So let's get stuck in...
Slasherama: You worked in Vietnam as a combat photographer between 1969 and 1970. How did you end up there in the first place?
Savini: "I enlisted to hopefully stay out of Vietnam. I enlisted so that I could choose the training. If you're drafted, you're in the infantry, you're in front lines. But when you enlist you have a choice of schools. I was already into photography: I had a dark room and I was processing colour film. I thought it'd be a breeze to just enlist as a photographer. I did learn a lot more about the technical aspect of photography during my 13 weeks of basic training in the Army Photo School in New York. When training was over, we all went into this big room and got our orders at Fort Monmouth. One of my friends was going to Italy; another to Turkey; another to Germany. But my papers said 'RVN'. I went to the sergeant and asked what it meant. He just said, 'Vietnam. Next!'. It was a complete shock. I couldn't believe it. I'd enlisted to stay out of Vietnam, but I must have done well at school, because they only send the best to the war!"