The instant classics ‘Sharktopus’, ‘Dinocroc vs. Supergator’, ‘Piranhaconda’, and ‘Attack of the 50ft Cheerleader’ began with the screenplays written by Mike MacLean. Mike is a family man and a talented writer that can write hybrid horror creatures, a comical giant cheerleader and short crime fiction. I can only imagine how interesting and fun it is to be one of his high school students.
How was brainstorming kill ideas for ‘Sharktopus’ with Roger Corman and Julie Corman in Puerto Vallarta? Did the brainstorming get better the more Pina Coladas you had and were there any kills left out that you wish were in the film?
MIKE: Meeting Roger and Julie Corman in Puerto Vallarta was phenomenal. They teamed me up with the photographer and a producer, and we toured possible locations. One highlight was driving into the jungle to visit the Predator set, which has become a restaurant (seen in the finale of Sharktopus). The helicopter still hangs from a tree; only someone mounted a cheesy Predator statue on top. I was in nerd nirvana.
Afterwards, we met up with Roger and Julie to brainstorm some kills at a resort bar. My favorite is still the bungee jump chomp, which was all Roger. A few Pina Coladas were indeed consumed, but I kept it to uno. I was working after all.
I’m happy with the kills in Sharktopus. I’d only change one—the death of the reporter, Stacy Everheart. In the script, she chooses to capture Sharktopus on video rather than save her cameraman Bones. Bad karma then gets the best of Stacy, and Sharktopus rips her apart in very gory fashion. Limbs flying, blood spraying, yada, yada yada. Guess that was too gruesome for Syfy.
When you don’t have a big budget you need to add comedy to enlighten the lack of big budget effects. Is the comedy something you add while writing or do you go back to add it afterwards?
MIKE: Anyone who has seen Piranhaconda knows I dig cheesy one-liners. I add any I can think of right off the blocks then sprinkle in more while punching up subsequent drafts.
All over the board on this question, but what is more fun, challenging, and the differences to write about a creature with two features versus a 50 foot cheerleader?
MIKE: I found Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader more challenging to write. Even though it had a heavy sci-fi element, it was a comedy at heart. Being funny consistently for 90 minutes is much tougher than tossing out a few chuckles between mutant monster attacks. Thankfully, Cheerleader had a cast that committed to the mayhem and a director/producer team who cut some groaners out of the script. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
You’re a husband and father. When you’re told to write a script about a ‘Sharktopus’, ‘Piranhaconda’ and especially a ’50 Foot Cheerleader’, how does your wife and daughter react and what do they say about that?
MIKE: My wife is a TV/film fanatic with an appreciation for every genre. She chuckled when I first mentioned Sharktopus and there might have been some eye-rollage. After that, nothing could faze her. My daughter was born around the time Roger hired me to write my first script. Dinocroc, Supergator, Sharktopus, and Piranhaconda are all just part of her vocabulary.
I understand you can’t give much away if you’re working on a new screenplay, but is there anything in the works that we’ll be seeing in the near future and anything about it you can share about it?
I’m happily working with the Cormans again, this time on a straight forward action flick. Then I’ll collaborate with Brian Pulido (creator of Evil Ernie and Lady Death) on a horror comedy script. Between scripts and my full time gig as a high school teacher, my plate is pretty full.
Good to know there’s plenty more scripts on the way from Mike!!! Be sure to visit his website that has trailers for his films, short fiction amongst other information including a link to his Facebook page for even more information.
Mike’s ‘Piranhaconda’ will be available on DVD soon http://www.bmovienation.com/?p=5291 and in case you missed it check out ‘The Cheetah Whores’ who did the theme music for ‘Sharktopus’ http://www.bmovienation.com/?p=4830
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