Wednesday, August 4, 2010

William Grefe Returns to Horror

Fangoria has reported that Florida filmmaker William Grefe and screenwriter Gary Crutcher are trying to revive an old script they put together in the 1970s called Why Won't Valerie Die?

Even better, Crutcher and Grefe, who previously collaborated on Stanley, asked writer, historian and Temple of Schlock curator Chris Poggiali to update and finish the script. Chris has been a huge help to me during the research and writing of The Dead Next Door, so it's great to see him involved in a project with one of the 13 filmmakers I interviewed for the book.

Chris explained to me in a recent email that he wrote 30 new pages of material based on Grefe's original six-page outline and the existing 90 pages of script material, and restructured some of the original script.

"Gary and Bill are both thrilled with the result, which is a whodunit mystery/ghost story that -- to me, anyway -- is reminiscent in structure to THE NAME OF THE GAME IS KILL but also calls to mind THE NAKED ZOO," Poggiali says. "Despite my recent input, it's very much still a 1971 script. In fact, because they wanted it finished in the style that it was originally written, I had to teach myself how to write a shooting script, which was a totally new experience for me. It was very difficult at first, because it's like directing a movie at the same time the movie is being written, but once I got the hang of it I actually enjoyed it. Gary is especially impressed with the way I mimicked his style, because he has no idea who wrote what anymore!"

Crutcher, as Chris mentions above, wrote The Name of the Game is Kill (1968), a crazy thriller featuring Jack Lord that at one point was supposed to be released by Code Red, but now appears to be in limbo.

Here's an excerpt of my Grefe interview, in which he describes his first meeting with Crutcher in the 1960s:

"[He] didn't look like a typical Hollywood guy. He had short hair and a suit and tie. I said, 'I'd like to read a couple of your scripts.' He opens up his briefcase. He's got a .45 automatic, he's got a dagger, and it's lined with pills ... I never hired him, but when I made the Stanley deal, I called him."

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