“Caution! May strip touchy critics of their dignity!” So states the cover collage emblazed on David Nelson’s Miss Werewolf video. Good thing I’m not a touchy critic.
If I was, I’d be missing out on something totally unique and pretty inspirational: a dedication to doing what you love no matter what the costs. Even if what you love is churning out zero-budget video monster epics in your backyard. Over the past ten years, David “The Rock” Nelson has made quite a name for himself and his shot-in-the-backyards-of-Chicago videos. Judging from the little press I could find on the guy, his work is either derailed as senseless garbage or heralded as inspirational. Whatever the case, opinions are never middle road and always interesting. It’s like Dave Friedman said: say you love it or say you hate it, but at least say something.
Well, I’m here to say that the whole aura surrounding Mr. Nelson and his videos is fascinating, hilarious, and never boring. Nelson, an ex-marine and golden gloves boxer, has dubbed himself the “The Ed Wood of The Future, & Beyond That, Even.” And why not? I can certainly see the resemblance in dedicated enthusiasm. Sure, Ed worked with scripts, real actors, legendary horror icons, and the immortal Criswell, but you make due with what you have, right? Trash cinema is trash cinema, and if the heart is there, the format is inconsequential.
In June of 2004, Bleeding Skull confronted David “The Rock” Nelson via email about his steadily developing legacy. Answers have been pasted verbatim, save for the occasional paragraph break. Trust me on this one.
Bleeding Skull: Your videos are completely strange, mesmerizing, and quite funny. Despite their no-budget origins, they’re proof that anyone can decide to do whatever they want and be recognized for that decision. That’s admirable. What are your goals and aspirations in regard to your videos?
David Nelson: I want to entertain people, -& help them laugh & have a good, howling, spooky-fun time!
BS: What are your inspirations and influences?
DN: Roger Corman & his B-Monster movies of the fifties & beyond, which I watched quite often as a kid, on the after school, 3:30 pm movie, on ABC-TV Chicago, ‘The Big Show’, which screened Roger’s ‘It Conquered The World’ often. Then, there’s, of course, the ‘Creature Features’, like ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, ‘Son of Frankenstein’, ‘Frankenstein’s Daughter’, etc.! The first real monster movie I saw, as a 5-years-‘young’ boy, on a rainy, Sat. at noon, in the fall of 1961, on WGN-TV, channel 9! The movie was ‘Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein’, -& I loved every second of it! Sure, Dracula frightened me a little, as did Frankenstein’s Monster(played by Glenn Strange, my favorite Frankenstein Monster!), but, the movie was ‘spooky-fun’! Other A.I.P.(American International Pictures) were shown after school, on ABC’s ‘The Big Show’, like, ‘How To Make A Monster’, ‘She Creature’, ‘Robot Monster’, ‘The Killer Shrews’, -& two often shown Don Sullivan movies, ‘Teenage Zombies’ -& ‘The Giant Gila Monster'(which I’ll be hosting at the annual ‘Monster Bash’ Conference, which is held *June 25th-27th, 2004, in Butler, Pa., at ‘The Day’s Inn’! For more info., go to: www.CreepyClassics.com -& click ‘Monster Bash’! You may click my photo on their guest list for my other website)! Speaking of Don Sullivan, I recently wrote an article on him, which will appear in a future issue of the new ‘Monster Bash’ Magazine.
Other influences to me were actors Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney[Jr.], Boris Karloff, Dwight Frye(his Renfield character in ‘Dracula’!), filmmakers Larry Buchanan, Phil Tucker(‘Robot Monster’), & later, of course, Eddie(Ed) Wood! But, speaking of Dwight Frye, I can imitate his Renfield character to a T, -& have performed as him on stage at The Annual ‘Monster Bash’ Convention! Filmmaker/Prod. Buddy Barnett, of Cult Movies Mag., was so impressed by my rendition, that he invited me up to Las Vegas for a week, to be in his up-coming ‘Skid Row Dracula’, where I play Renfield # 2, -& the featurette will double-bill with The Late, Great John Agar’s last movie, ‘The Vampire Hunter’s Club'”!
BS: Approximately how long have you been steadily producing these monstrous schlock videos? When and how did you decide to shoot the first one?
DN: I had dreams of making my own monster movies since I was 7 years ‘young’, and would have made them in my own backyard, and asked my Dad for an 8mm movie camera, which he couldn’t afford, at the time. My parents did, however, buy me a then(in early 60’s!) .35-cent Kodak 120 photo camera, -& I posed for many shots, wearing the then popular plastic monster masks, with the rubber band around back! I’d wear my dad’s old high school letter jacket -& pose as Teenage Werewolf! Then, after seeing ‘Frankenstein’ on WGN’s ‘Creature Features’, I used mortician’s wax that my Mom, Harriett, bought me(at the Masquerade Shop on Milwaukee Ave., across from Portage Theater, in Chicago), -& tried to make my brow, above my eyes, look like Frankenstein’s Monster! Again, someone took a photo of me like that, dressed in an old suit jacket & black shoes, imitating The Monster! In the Fall of 1964, I got my first crack at acting in a monster movie! After I started a Monster Club, which was held weekly at my friend, Don Stillwaugh’s house(in the basement, Don was Pres., I was Sgt.-At-Arms!), in Park Ridge, IL., his Dad, Don Stillwaugh, Sr., a well-known architect in the area, filmmed Super-8mm footage of us with our new, Walgreen’s-bought 2/3-over-the-head rubber monster masks! I was a zombie coming out of a hole in the ground, doubling as a grave! Don was Cyclops, throwing a huge log! My little brother, Phillip, wore his much-larger-than-his-head, dangling, wiggling, Devil mask! My 20 seconds of fame! Then, in the summer of 1965, Don, Jr. directed his 3-minute ‘Ant Devil’, filmed by his dad! In my scene, I am playing, running around a tree with my pal, Len Lykowski, when, suddenly, a big, black, 6-inch, rubber ant crawls down the tree! It bites us, and we fall to the ground! Someone didn’t tell Len that he was supposed to pretend he was dead, for, as the camera was rolling, he was smiling, as he reached up to his nose and ‘picked a winner’! ‘Haaah’!!! A few years later, in The Fall, when I was 12, we made a Demon Monster & Werewolf movie, on the grounds of an old castle, which still stands, on NorthWest Hwy., in Fox River Grove, IL.! I played The Werewolf, and, after I was shot with an 8-ring cap pistol(pretending it was a silver bulllit!-‘Hah’!), Don, Jr., gradually removed hair, as his Dad filmed, to do a transformation back into a hu-man! The then owner invited us into his castle, to film behind the secret doors in the walls, where The Frightening Demon Monster(played by Don Stillwaugh, Jr.!) hid, and, then, as he came out, met his doom, with one swing of Don, Sr.s Father’s knight sword! It’s interesting, as I later used my friend’s(Andrew “Chief” Morritz, as seen in my “Mummy-A.D. 1993″) Grandfather’s knight sword in two of my short films; ‘Dracula From Space’, then, in ‘the hoot, ‘Mummy-A.D. 1993’!
In 1971 I became facinated with boxing, after ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier whupped Clay/Ali! I then began body-building, naturally, through good eating, drinking lots of milk, snacking between meals, as I weight-trained 3 times a week, after school, for 1 & 1/2 hours! I also boxed after school, -& even decked my boxing coach, fellow Maine South High School student, Joe Nicolau, who outweighed me by 25 pounds! I was 120, he was a muscular 145, but, when he came in with a right cross to the body, I threw the big right cross, -& down he went! …And he stayed down, rolling around on the mat, as he moaned, ‘What did you hit me with’?! We sparred often in the girl’s dance class rooms, after school! I later became a Chicago Golden Gloves boxer(’76, & ’88 thru 1991!), and boxed in The Marines, between 1976-’80, becoming a member of The Subic Bay Boxing Team, in Subic Bay, Republic of The Philippines, as a featherweight(126) & lightweight(132) from 1977-’78! It was also, in The Philippines, that I bought my 1st dual-8 movie camera, on base, with my first paycheck there, for $135.! I took many movies of our activities there, on & off the base! I continued filming my activities throughout my 4 years in The Marines, as I went on 2 Mediterranean cruises, touring Spain, past The Rock of Gibraltar, Greece, Turkey, the island of Crete, Sardinia(where many sword & sandal Hercules epics were filmed in the 60’s!), -& even The Leaning Tower of Pisa, & Florence & Rome, Italy! I even saw, -& filmed The Pope! I utilised some stock footage from the Philippines in my later 2002 ‘Devil Ant-2’ sequel(Wilder than the 1st!) & used Naples, Italy stock footage as a backdrop for my detective office in ‘War of The Werewolves’, the 3rd story on my ‘Monster Tales’ trilogy(early 2002)!
Later in The Marines, I got saved, and wanted to preach for Jesus, so, after The Marines, I went to Bible College, where I stayed 5 years, majoring in Evangelism, but minoring in English, and doing well in speech, of course! There, since there was no boxing(or punching bag!), I wrestled varsity, for 4 years, starting, my freshman year(1980), as a 126-pounder! Each year, through natural bodybuilding(no steroids, just good eating, twice-a-week weight training, lots of milk, -& an occasional natural protein powder drink), I’d go up in weight! My 2nd year I was the 134-pounder, then, in ‘82,142, 150 in ’83, -& in my final year, I went up to 158, then, down to 150, for my final match, which I won, by 2nd period pin, -after my opponent, who outweighed me, head-butted me! I have that match on film(a team member filmed it w/my movie camera!), -& it’s now on video, as well as many of my wrestling & boxing matches! After I was graduated from college with a BA Degree, I preached at Chicago’s Rescue Mission once, & a few Bible Baptist Churches, but, mostly, on street corners, sometimes with a battery-powered megaphone(not that I needed it, as my voice is loud, as it thunders from my diaphram!), to any & all who would listen or pass by! Once, when I said, ‘Jesus saves’, some Satanists yelled back, ‘Satan Lives’! I yelled back, ‘The Devil is The Loser! You better get Right, boy’! -And, I have that incident on tape! That particular weekend, I had rented a vhs camcorder, from a Des Plaines Photo, mounted on the tripod, as I preached-away! That incidence is ‘classic’! At that time, to make money, I was a door-to-door salesman for World Publishers, which sold Funk & Wagnall’s Dictionaries, medical books, and encyclopedias! I have video of that, too! In 1989, I went into former Ditka’s City Lights Restaurant, on Ontario St., in Chicago, -& sold a 2-year subscription of Newsweek & US News to ex-Heavyweight World Champion, Leon Spinks! He recieved a free 2-vol. dictionary from the sale(my commission on that was $20.)! Ironically, I met him, again, in Aug., 2000, at a sports convention, he remembered me, I shot video of him with my rubber Devil Ant, -& he will be in my next ‘Devil Ant-3: Son of Devil Ant’!
Back to my filmmaking; I have been filming, then, video-taping all my life, ever since I could get my hands on a camera! I even took 2 years of Photography at Maine South High School, in Park Ridge, IL., where Hillary Rodham(now Clinton) was graduated, about 10 years before me! Ironically, I saw her at a Park Ridge, IL. visit(only a few blocks from Park Ridge Public Library, where I am typing this interview!), on Oct. 27, 1997, -& inserted the footage into my ‘epics'(??!), ‘Devil Ant'(1999), & then, ‘Miss Werewolf'(2001)! Ironically, her husband, ‘Big Bill’ Clinton, has a cameo in the sequel, ‘Devil Ant-2’, which also has G.W. Bush! Yes, I saw them both, at public speeches, and, with my press pass & i.d., was permitted into the area, where I got much of their speeches on video, to use in up-coming monsta(monster) flicks! I did want to add, that, the 1st 8mm movie I ever shot, was in 1972, in photo class, for Mr. Phillip Dunn! In that, my younger brother, Phil, throws watter balloons at his pal, Dave, who’s on his mini-bike, show-boating! Phil then steals his friend’s mini-bike(belonging to neighbor, David Swanson!), then crashes it into our garage wall(same garage used later as The Mummy’s hide-out in my ‘Mummy-A.D. 1993’!)! David sees Phil, whiped-out, then, as he checks to see if he’s alright, my brother slaps him, -& I inserted a ‘Pow’ cardboard poster(magic marker lettered, on cardboard), after he slapped him! ‘The End’! Even though, in the early 70’s, my interest in monsters diminished, I still, occasionally, watched the monster movies, as well as Bruce Lee & action flicks! Bruce Lee & Rocker, Jimi Hendrix were born on my birthdate, *Nov. 27th, I in 1956(the year Bela Lugosi died & Elvis 1st came to Hollywood!), & Bruce Lee in 1940, Hendrix in ’42, -but, all 3 of us, the same day, *Nov. 27th! Ironic, as I’m a big Bruce lee fan! Jimi’s music ‘Rocks’, too! The monster/sci-fi bug came back during Bible College, around 1983, -& even more so, when my brother, Phillip, invited me to a midnight screening of ‘Terminator’! I hadn’t been to a movie theater in 7 years(due to restrictions at our Bible college!), -& I loved it! I started going to movies more, and, during my Bible college days, on break, watched movies like Al adamson’s Dracula Vs. Frankenstein’, for the 1st time, on TV, -at 5:30 am! Years later, at Chiller Theater Expo, May, 1994, I met Director Al Adamson, a very nice man, -& his Producer, Sam Sherman, -& got my photo taken, standing with these two icons, heroes of mine! Sadly, Mr. Adamson was murdered about 5 months later. Although I stayed with filming Super-8 movies of my activities through-out college & beyond, that deep love for making ‘monster’ movies returned around 1990! As my District Sales Manager(& guitarist/vocalist for his rock band, formerly ‘The Attics’!) Mark Wasserman & I drove back to the office, at night, past the forrest preserve, I’d tell him, ‘That[forrest scenery] would be good for a monster movie’! Everytime we’d pass something creepy-looking, I’d say, ‘That’d be good for a movie’! But, the very 1st day of filming my ‘Volume 1 Video Shorts’, with ‘Frankenstein & Dracula Vs. Sodom INsane(saddam hussein parody!)’, was in Chicago’s Loop, at an old, creepy-looking, over 100 year old house, at 1919 S. Prairie, on *Oct. 23, 1991”!
BS: Can you discuss the kind of equipment you use to shoot and edit your videos?
DN: I first learned how to use a camcorder after my older brother, & former stand-up comic, movie extra, actor, carpenter, and ex-college varsity wrestler, Keith ‘Noodles’/’Mini-Hulk’ Nelson died, on *Oct. 18, 1990. He began using my super-8 movie camera on trips to Club Med., Mexico. Then, he bought a big Sony Video-8 camcorder, & video-documented all of his exotic travels! We still have those videos, today, -& occasionally I use some of that as stock footage in my films(ala Eddie Wood), in a way to keep my brother’s memory alive! Eddie(Wood) did the same thing for his 1956 footage of Bela Lugosi, who died 2 days after Wood shot Bela’s scenes, wearing his cape, -& inserted it into his 1959 ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’, 3 years after Bela’s death! So, since my late, Great Brother, Keith, used a Video-8 camcorder, I began figuring-out how to use that, after he died. So, to this day, I still shoot my masters in the regular video-8 format, -& edit onto(copy onto) vhs, for the edited masters, which I make copies of, to run-off/dub-off copies for my fans, customers, -for only 18. ‘stinkin’ bucks each! Such a deal! At that price, you CAN’T go wrong! As Michael Flores, Fearless Leader of Chicago’s PsychoTronic Film Society(at: www.PsychoTronic.Info -click “It’s Only A Movie”, then click “David ‘The Rock’ Nelson’s Basement of Bloody Horror” for my website there!) says, ‘It’s(my movies) woth evey penny’! Incidentally, he first gave me the title, ‘The Ed Wood of The 90’s’, in the Fall of 1992, before I even knew anything about Ed Wood! Later, Conrad Brooks, after working with me in my 1993 shot-in-Baltimore & Hagerstown, Md., in 3 days monsta(monster) flick, ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’, called me, ‘The Ed Wood of The 90’s, -& Into The Next Century’! Then, I others, & myself, decided to add ‘& Beyond’, to the 90’s! In 1997, after meeting my favorite comedic, TV horror host, ‘Svengoolie'(Rich Koz, formerly ‘Son of Svengoolie’), again, & ordering one of his t-shirts, he signed it to ‘The New Ed Wood’! In ’98, he signed my other SvenGoolie t-shirt to ‘The Next Ed Wood’! After being a guest(or, ‘Ghast’!) of honor at The Annual ‘Monster Bash’ Classic Monster Movie Conference, in Pa., it’s creator, Ron ‘Rondo’ Adams, named me, ‘The Ed Wood of The 21st Century’, & then, in 2001, ‘The New Poverty-Row of Horror’! Just last year, on live radio, Chicago’s Q-101 FM, on ‘ManCow’s Morning Madhouse’, SvenGoolie(Rich Koz), himself, was on the air live, at 7:oo in the morning, -& called me from the show, as the call was over the airwaves! I had just woken-up, and didn’t think it sounded like ‘Sven'(SvenGoolie!), so, I said, ‘This isn’t Svengoolie’! They all laughed, then, I realised, it WAS ‘Sven’/’svengoolie’, -& I said, ‘Oh, sorry! -It IS ‘Svengoolie’! -It was funny! Shortly into our talk on Q-101 FM began, Svengoolie named me, ‘The Ed Wood of The Future, -& Beyond That, Even’! So, that’s how I got these names! As for my name, ‘The Rock’, in March, 1987, my 1st boxing coach of my come-back(at age 29), a former pro lightweight from Mexico City, named Oscar Rodriguez(who trains pros, now has his own construction company) called me ‘Rocky Balboa’, because I was ALWAYS fighting back! Then, in 1989, my friend, fellow Maine South Graduate, martial arts expert & my personal boxing instructor, Gregg Ozimek, gave me the new name, ‘The’ Rock! He said, ‘There are many Rocky’s, -but, there’s only one The Rock’! This was way before the pro wrestling champion, The Rock, was known. That was 1989, when I was named ‘The’ Rock! Gregg Ozimek, now a college teacher in Albuquerque, NM, taught me the correct way to throw a left-right combination, which enabled me to beat a Guamanian Marine, in The Philippines! Gregg is in alot of my monster movies, now, -& starred in his very first role, ever, in my 1992 short, ‘Werewolf Vs. Dracula'(I play Dracula!) ! Well, my time on this comp. is almost up, in 50 seconds!
BS: I know you’ve made some national TV appearances (Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, among others). Can you briefly discuss your most memorable experiences?
My favorite moments were live, on ‘The Jon Stewart Show’, in New York City, N.Y., on that ‘fateful’ night of Thursday, May 18, 1995! The show covered my travel expenses(I insisted on AmTrac train, as I don’t like to fly, which they tried to get me to do, but, I told them, ‘I don’t fly’), my hotel accomodations in the fancy-‘shmantsy’ Saint Moritz Hotel, on Central Park Blvd., across from Central Park. I had sooo much fun there, & after my appearance, many fans were awaiting me outside the studio, fans I didn’t even know I had! They ‘squealed’ with delight & laughter, as clips of me as a mummy(from my ‘Mummy-A.D. 1993’) & werewolf(from it’s double-bill, ‘Son of Werewolf’) were shown! That was my ‘6’ minutes of fame, -& only after a mere 3 & 1/2 years of making these monster/comedy movies! Realise, I have no agent or sponsor! I’m totally independent, -& I’m very proud to admit that, though, I got help from others who encouraged me along the way, my family, -& God/Jesus, who encourages me daily! I also have to ‘encourage myself’, be my own ‘cheer-leader’, as I face criticism often, usually from those who are just plain ol’ jealous & envious of my happiness & out-going spirit! I’m enjoying life, doing what I want to do, -& making it, in my own way & style, -& this ‘irks’ some those who have no ambition, or have given up their dreams; but, those who appreciate my ‘never-give-up’ persistent ‘Fiesty’ attitude, love me! -It’s like what you said in the introduction(& same thing Dennis “Scary” Druktenis said of my ‘Monsta’/Monster Movies, in his review of me on pg. 44 of his ‘Scary Monsters ’94 Yearbook’!), ‘You either love ’em, or you hate ’em! There is no sort-of like them attitude, there is no middle ground’!
After my fateful appearance on Jon Stewart, I met X-Files’ star, Gillian Anderson(who was a guest on the same show), -& posed for a photo with her, then, gave her my card(w/ad for my ‘Mummy-A.D. 1993’ movie on it!)! After that, I was treated to a meal at the studio, but, all other meals, drinks at The Infamous ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ Pub/Restaurant, etc., I bought out of my own pocket. I spent a total of $92. bucks in those few days, but, it was well worth it! I went to both ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ Pubs/Restaurants, # 1 & # 2, but ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ # 2, on Ave. of Americas, is “BeAst”/Best!-They even show old, classic monster movie previews in there, as you sit at the counter, on tv monitors! Since then(1995), I’ve been on ‘Wild Chicago'(on WTTW, a PBS station in Chicago, IL., the town I was born in), ‘Ben Loves Chicago'(hoted by Ben Hollis), ‘WGN Morning News’, various mentions on ‘SvenGoolie’, got a 5-second clip of me as a werewolf with SvenGoolie shown during a break from his screening of ‘The Boy Who Cried Werewolf’, my name in closing credits of that SvenGoolie show, & am now on ‘WGN Morning News’ several times a year, but, always on Halloween Morning, with a live 5-minute bit, with scenes of my new yearly monsta(monster) movie shown! There’s no pay for that, but great free publicity/press, free breakfast & all-I-can-drink ‘Java’/jo(coffee), -& I have ‘Fun’!!! Before, when I was first invited on WGN in 1997, I had to ask for a chocolate-frosted plain cake donut(my favorite donut), but, now, The Producer said to me, ‘Help yourself, Rock! You’re only here once a year, you might as well enjoy it’! So, now I get ‘All-I-Can-Eat’ Breakfast, bacon n’ eggs(over-medium), my favorite breakfast, -& sausages, all-I-want ‘Java’, -& I have a ‘Great, Spooky-Fun’ Time! I ‘Love’ WGN! -God bless ’em; Larry Potash(who 1st called me, in April, ’97, -& interviews me every year on the WGN Morning News TV Show!), The Producers, Weatherman Paul Konrad(a great, fun guy), Sports-caster, Mike Barz(another great, fun guy!), RoseAnne Tellez, Robin BaumGarten, Jim Ramsey, Jeff Hoover, -& all that work behind the scenes, there! It’s ironic, as, through-out my boyhood days, I always watched WGN, as they screened ‘Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein’, The Cubs games, & ‘Creature Features’ late Fri. & Sat., in the ‘Glorious Sixties'(my favorite decade!)! And, now, I’m mentioned on their morning news about three times a year! -Who would’ve ever thought that possible??! But, I prove miracles CAN, -& DO happen, to those who have even ‘a little bit’ of faith, -& who keep trying, & trying, when the going gets tough, -& after countless so-called failures, er, ‘temporary set-backs’! Then, again, I’m a good letter-writer, -&, as Wild Chicago’s Wil Clinger called me on his show, ‘A Shameless self-promoter’! No ones going to come knocking at your door just because you want them to! You have to use your own God-given ingenuity, -& ‘Make’ things happen! You reep what you sow’!
In 1994, with the coming of Tim Burton’s greatest movie, ‘Ed Wood’, I wrote every tv channel & well-known newspaper in Chicago! From that seed I planted, over a span of years, it ‘grew’ into my being on about 7 of those tv channels, including ‘Fox Thing In The Morning’ with the now infamous Chicago Icon, Bob Sirott, -3 times! He(Sirott, a good friend of ‘SvenGoolie’/Rich Koz), now hosts WTTW’s ‘Chicago Tonight’, which, someday, I hope to be on! In fact, it was he/Mr. Sirott, who 1st sent a copy of one of my movies to Rich Koz/’SvenGoolie’, in 1994, after he did commentary on my then new, ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’, on their Nationally-syndicated, ‘Fox Thing In-The-Morning’! Since then, I’ve been on ‘scads’, -er, a ‘plethora’ of tv shows, too numerous to name! But, don’t forget the 4 ‘Daily Show’ on Comedy Central, between 1997-2000, where I was interviewed by ex-Sat. Night Live Comedian(& author), A. Whitney Brown, who had come to my house to interview me, in Nov., 1997! He’s a great fan of mine, and afterwards told me he wanted to do a special half-hour special on me, for tv! He said, ‘It’s about time The World knew who David The Rock Nelson is’! -Wow! What a compliment! It’s amazing, how many kind people you meet along the way of life, who really want to help you! God bless ’em! Where would I be without them?! It goes to show how much we need people, -& not just the ‘big’ people, but just ordinary folk who want to help you! After all, well-known stars are regular people, too, with feelings, just like us! Noone is born a star, as we’re all human, -or as Ro-Man, er, ‘Robot Monster’ says in that favorite 1953 Sci-Fi movie of mine(which was rerun at 2 am, on SvenGoolie reruns early Sun. morn., on WFBT/”Me-TV”), ‘Hu-Man’! So, we are all ‘Hu-man’! Only God is perfect, which is why there’s no perfect movie. I relish the fact that my movies may not be perfect, but, their flaws & so-called mistakes, some of which are funny & make the movies more enjoyable & fun to watch(hence, why I often leave those mistakes ‘in’ the actual movie, if not on the ‘bloopers’ following the movie!), are some of the reasons that make them ‘perfect’ to me & others to watch, just like the late, Great Eddie Wood said, ‘That was perfect’! Oh, I heard from my Timonium, Md. friend(& monster sculptor, -& actor), Karl Hopf(bro. to Ed Hopf, -& both are in my movies, too), that, he heard from a friend that Rob Zombie was on National TV in Portland, Oregon, & on that show he said that ‘David The Rock Nelson is my favorite modern director’! Wow! What a compliment! Thank you, er, ‘Fangs’, Rob, -& all you ‘Fiends’ out there!
As for other shows; I don’t have to ask or promote as much, now(but, still do!-It’s fun, -& necessary) as word gets around about me & my monster/comedy movies, & many come looking for me! But, I guess I’ll always be a ‘Shameless’ Self-Promoter! I’ve got a product to sell, -& every good salesman knows, to sell, you have to promote, speak, advertise, -& do anything possible, in a good way, to sell your niche! I WON’T try to hurt or take advantage of others, though, just to get a screening of my movies. If someone else is scheduled for a screening, that’s good for them! I believe in waiting for your turn, -& not trying to muscle-in or steal the thunder from someone else’s chance at recognition! Some have done this to me(tried to steal my thunder, get their movies shown before mine, after mine was scheduled for screening at a convention), but, I will NOT do this to others! We must earn our respect the right way, not greedilly walk over others! As the saying goes, ‘Be nice to those on the way up, because those same people will meet you on the way down’! Jesus said, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’. We reap what we sow. I do not believe in a ‘win at all costs’ philosophy. Greed is a very bad, ugly thing. Rather than getting jealous of others’ successes, we should congratulate them, and feel good for their success! This is being a friend, rather than a competitor. Good things come to those who wait, patiently, while continuing to make our own art & niche! We all have talents, we just need to plug-into those talents, -& we’ll discover we have talents we didn’t know we had! As Thomas Edison said, ‘Art is 5 percent inspiration, 95 percent perspiration’! And, as Thomas Omalia, Professor of Entrepreneurship at University of California says(on his PBS show on ‘Entrepreneurship’, I believe ‘Entrepreneur’s Workshop’), ‘What it takes is not a great idea, but great execution’! So, hence, an idea is just that! Show me a guy or gal who ‘executes on that idea, -& I’ll show you someone who’s industrious, -& will go somewhere in this World! I say this as many tell me, ‘Rock, I’ve got a great idea for a movie, but they don’t actually ‘Do’/’Make’ that movie! I, on the other hand, often take little steps, gradually executing my plans, ideas, shooting scenes I feel inspired to create, fueled by watching old monster movies, from dreams & my own vivid, Wild imagination! I execute my plans, ideas ‘here a little, and there a little’, -and, over time, I have completed a plethora of entertaining monster/comedy movies! I’m not trying to win an award, like an ‘Oscar’, but, my goal, as I said earlier, is to ‘Entertain’ & make others happy, to give them laughs & a howling, ‘Spooky-Fun’ good time”!
BS: A few of your shorts appear on Retromedia’s DVD of Ed Wood’s The Bride And The Beast. Although I had seen your name in articles for awhile around Chicago, that DVD was my first exposure to your work. How did you hook up with Retromedia? Any plans for future DVD releases featuring your movies?
Although I’d heard of him, I first met Fred Olen Ray at ‘Fanex 8’, in N. Towson, Md., in July, 1994, a year after I videotaped ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf'(right after my 1st Fanex, in 1993)! He/Mr. Ray was very nice & complimented me on my ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’, saying, ‘I saw your movie, Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf, -& enjoyed it very much. It was too Bloody for me(laughs!)’! In March, 1999, again, our paths crossed, when I(& he) were guests of honor at The Annual ‘Fright Vision’ Con., in Akron Ohio, Quaker Square Hilton! I got to screen about 45 minutes of my movie trailers/previews, -& gave commentary, & a late, midnight speech to the then smaller audience of about 20! -But, I was excited, -& Fred Olen Ray & his beautiful wife were sitting right there on the front row, enjoying every minute of ‘Rock Talk’! That weekend, Fred bought a copy of my ‘Mummy -A.D. 1993’, & gave me an autographed copy of his hartd cover book, ‘The New Poverty Row: Independent Filmmakers As Distributors’, -& he wrote a personal note in there, to me! It read, ‘To David, who’s films have entertained me for years! Fred Olen Ray’. A year later, after ‘Monster Bash, 1999’, I met Fred again, at ‘Fright Vision-2000’, in Akron! There, I video-taped even more scenes of him, along with others, like Producer Ted Bohus, Countess Vladimira, Buddy Barnett(of ‘Cult Movies Mag.’, & since a filmmaker, who recently put me in his ‘shot-in-Vegas ‘Skid Row Dracula’, as Renfield # 2 !), & many others, attacking them with my trusty rubber ‘Devil Ant’, making them ‘Instant Stars’ in a future ‘Rock Nelson Production’! Hah, heh!!! Fred Olen Ray appears in both of my 1st two ‘Devil Ant’ Sagas! Beware! ‘Devil Ant-3: Son of Devil Ant’, is on the way, -& Fred appears in that one, too(footage I shot at Fright Vision-2000 !), along with the lovely Brionke Stevens, who gladly went along with my ‘Ant’-ics! -‘Haaah, heh’!!! Just a few years ago, Fred Olen Ray wrote & asked if I’d like him to distribute my movie, ‘Mummy-A.D. 1993’, & we set up a deal, of which I got a flat fee, for a 7-year dvd contract. As Ron ‘Rondo’ Adams, Creator of The ‘Monster Bash’ Convention(at: www.CreepyClassics.com ), where I am an annual ‘Ghast'(Guest) of Honor, ever since 1998, ‘Your foot is in the door’! Yes, that’s a positive thought, view! My foot is indeed, ‘In the door’, -& I thank Mr. Fred Olen Ray for kindly offering me this opportunity! Later, he said he loved my 1999 ‘hoot’ feature, ‘Devil Ant’, & according to Timonium, Md’s Ed Hopf(who appears in that movie, & others, -& even directs his own movies, like the Conrad Brooks film, ‘Grandparents From Outer Space’!), at a Chiller Theater Expo/Con., a few years ago, Fred[Olen Ray] said of my Devil Ant movie, ‘David The Rock Nelson is doing a remake of The Green Slime’! Laughs from the audience! I love & appreciate all this promotion & recognition of my movies, my niche! Thank you, Fred, -& everybody who promotes me & my work! I couldn’t, wouldn’t get the recognition I get if it weren’t for these guys & gals talking about me, in a positive, fun way! My movies are supposed to be ‘Spooky-Fun’, -just like Ed Wood’s are! They’re a ‘Good Time’! They’re supposed to make people laugh! -That’s the ‘Fun’, -& my ‘Reward’ of it! Not the trophies, awards(though, of course, we all like those, too!), but the satisfaction that I’ve helped make alot of people happy & smiling, laughing with delight at the fun on the screen! And, yes, I believe it’s only a matter of time before even more of my movies(even the feature, ‘Devil Ant’, or ‘Devil Ant-2’, or ‘Miss Werewolf’, etc.!) will be distributed by ‘RetroMedia’ Entertainment( www.RetroMedia.Org ) & others! I can wait! I have all the time I need.
While I wait for the word to catch on, I’m busy making even more creations, monstrosities, like the almost-finished ‘Night of The Pumpkinmen'(on my over 2 hour feature video, ‘The Pumpkinman Saga’! -The 1st 5 Chapters, that is!), which should be done in almost a week! Yes, atleast 2 more episodes are planned, including ‘Ghost of Pumpkinman’ & ‘Mrs. Pumpkinman’!-‘Terrifying’! -In a ‘Spooky-Fun’ way! Hah, heh!!! Then, there’s the feature, ‘The Demon Monster From Outer Space'(formerly ‘Man From Plan 9’!), expected to be released by Halloween(*Oct. 31, 2004!), -with clips to be shown on Super-station, ‘WGN Morning News’ Halloween morning! That one was to star Conrad ‘Plan 9’ Brooks, as the monster-waster, but, he backed out, saying, after Fanex 8, in early August, 1994, ‘I don’t want to do that one, Rocky’! Though I was saddened to hear that(as I was to shoot hios scenes that week), I decided to play the hero of the movie, instead! It was changed to ‘Monster Invasion’, then, to ‘David The Rock Vs. The Monsters’, & finally, in honor & tribute to the late, Great Eddie(Ed) Wood, in reference to his ‘Plan 9’, I changed the title to, ‘The Demon Monster From Outer Space’! Conrad will appear in a cameo I shot of him, in 1995(ala ‘stock footage’, like Eddie Wood did with Bela’s footage in his ‘Plan 9’, edited 3 years after Bela’s death!)! And, yes, Fred Olen Ray appears in that one, too, as does Pres. G.W. Bush, -& eex-Prez. ‘Big’ Bill Clinton, both of whom I videotaped at public appearances! Since they are political public figures, the footage I shot of them is lawful to use! They are ‘public domain’! My movies, of course, are all copyrighted by me.
I’m not hung-up about other companies distributing my monster/comedy movies, as I am a confident individual: CONFIDENT of my own abilities, of myself, -& of God’s/Jesus’ provision & care of me! I’m His child, too, -& He takes care of His children! I’ve always had enough food to survive, am healthy, energetic, -& have a prpose in life! That says ALOT, for which I am grateful! So, I’m doin’ a heck of alot better off than most people. If you have a place to live, food, clothes, -& can clean your body, you are rich, vastly better off than alot of people who have no home! As for my movies, I am not desperate or worried about other distributors releasing my movies, as I am still distributing them, myself! I am an ‘Entrepreneur'(with a capitol ‘E’!)! I sell myself with my enthusiasm for life and what I do! I’m excited, ‘high on life’! I DON’T need drugs; I’m on an ‘All-Natural High’! Eventually, as fellow ‘fiend’/friend, Neal Richards(who, like me, also goes to The “Monster Bash” Convention every year, now in Butler, Pa. at: www.CreepyClassics.com ) said to me at ‘Monster Bash-1998’, my first time as an annual guest/ghast of honor; he/Neal Richards(whose son is Nemis) said to me of my movies, ‘word will get around’! Also, Ron ‘Rondo’ Adams, head/Creator of Monster Bash Con. said to me, after my ‘Mummy-A.D. 1993’ video was released by Fred Olen Ray’s RetroMedia.Org on dvd, ‘Your foot is in the door’! Sure, I said that earlier, but repetition helps people remember. My positive attitude tells me, in my heart/soul, that ‘things WILL work out for my good, -& everything’s going to be alright, no matter what happens’! Things happen for a good reason, whether we see and realise it at the time, or not! I still sell all my own monster/comedy movies on vhs video, -& all titles are available from me, by writing: *David Nelson -1170 Howard Ave. -Des Plaines, IL. -60018. All my movies are $18. post-paid/total, except for the mega-opus[??!] , 2-tape, 4-hr. ‘Vampire Woman’, which is $32., -but, like the others, as www.PsychoTronic.Info Fearless Leader, Michael Flores(who 1st gave me the name, ‘The Ed Wood of The 90’s’, in Fall, 1992, before I ever knew anything about Ed Wood!), he says my movies are ‘Worth EVERY penny’!
BS: In your opinion, what are the best horror films of all time? What’s your favorite Edward D. Wood, Jr. picture?
DN: My favorite horror/monster movies are: 1)’Bride of Frankenstein’, 1935, 3)’Son of Frankenstein'(1939)-the 1st Karloff Frankenstein movie I saw as a 12-year’s young kid, from 1:30 am to 3:05 am-on NBC/Ch. 5 in Chicago! -When it ended, my Mom & Dad were walking up steps, so we turned-off TV & pretended we were asleep, on the floor! -Those were The Days! -‘Heh’! 3)’Return of The Vampire'(1943) w/Bela Lugosi turning Matt Wio=llis into a werewolf! My Dad woke me for the last 15 minutes of this, at 2:45 am, -& I loved it! It really stuck-out in my mind & heart, -&, when it came on video, at a local Des Plaines Walgreen’s, for only $5.99 in 1987, or so, I bought it, though low on cash that day(selling dictionaries was low, I was a door-to-door Funk & Wagnall’s Dictionary District Manager for World Publishers, then), & had only about .03 cents left in my pocket after I did! -I still have that video! 4)’Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein'(1947)! I saw this one rainy Sat. at 12-noon, on WGN-TV, Chicago, Channel 9(same station their WGN “Creature Features” would air on!)! I loved Glenn Strange as The Frankenstein Monster, was scared of Bela Lugosi as Dracula, -but it was a ‘Spooky’-Fun scare!
However, in the sci-fi(rather than ‘monster’) department, I’d definitelly say the greatest film would be Robert Wise’s 1953 epic, ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’! -I saw that as a 5-years-‘young’ kid, in 1961, watching WGN’s ‘Family Classics’, with the late/great Frazier Thomas(who also hosted ‘Garfield Goose’! -These sets/props are on display in Chicago’s ‘Museum of Broadcast Communications’, -with free daily tours!)! I was in ‘awe’ of the robot, ‘Gort’, with his beaming light ray, coming from his head! To me, he was like a metallic Frankenstein Monster! I ‘loved’ it(Gort), as well as the movie, -& the ‘thrilling’, great atmosheric musical score that played throughout this classic, orchestrated by The Great Bernard Hermann! ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ was way ahead of it’s time! It still gives me ‘goose-bumps’ to this day, every time I hear the strong, powerful, thrilling soundtrack music! The story is magnificent! In fact, two of my friends(er, ‘fiends’! -‘Heh’!) from Timonium, Md., The Hopf Brothers(who’re often search for monsters in my movies!), Ed & Karl, had the priviledge of driving The Director of ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’, Mr. Robert Wise, around town, taking him to restaurants, etc., during his guest of honor appearance at a Fanex Convention in the late 90’s! In Wise’s classic, epic movie, Michael Rennie’s reaches my heart every time I watch it! As the film comes to a close, I can’t help but get emotional, getting ‘goose-bumps’, at seeing such great moments and achievements in cinematic history, and from being so much into the message of the story, and I cry as the spaceship flies up into the sky, then, as the words ‘The End’ is superimposed across the screen, with the moving soundtrack, I clap, & cry, at the same time, then, wiping the tears running down my cheeks!
There are many more I love, but, my favorite ‘Ed Wood’ movie is ‘Night of The Ghouls'(1959), the supposed sequel to both ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ & ‘Bride of The Monster’/’Bride of The Atom’! I love the spookiness, eerieness, the spooky settings; like the old, haunted house, -& the ghosts flying around during Dr. Acula’s sceance! But, ‘Plan 9’ is almost a tie, for it’s ‘Spooky’, campy fun! I love the flying saucers, Bela’s stock-footage mixed w/Tom Mason/Eddie’s chiropractor, -the day & night mixing of footage(I learned from Eddie for this, -& even use this method in my newest monstrosity, ‘Night of The Pumpkinmen’, out on video, from me, now)! Eddie got the job done!
BS: “This gun don’t have no effect!” How was it working with Conrad Brooks (infamous Ed Wood stock player) on Conrad Brooks Vs. The Werewolf? This kind of brings things full circle for you — working with someone that actually appeared in Ed Wood’s films. I imagine it was pretty thrilling to shoot “on location” in Baltimore as well.
DN: Yes! It was great, -& thrilling, working with Conrad Brooks & his ‘infamous’ brothers, all whom worked also with the great Baltimore filmmaker, John Waters! Waters, interestingly enough, I met in Chicago, Nov. 4, 1994, 15 months after doing my Conrad Brooks movie! I told him I was[then] ‘The Ed Wood of The 90’s’, & that I worked with Conrad, Ted & Henry Biedrzycki(stage name “Brooks”). Henry & Ted appeared in his ‘Female Trouble’. In a bar scene at the counter, Ted throws a hat up in the air, -& Henry, the eldest, is a drunk in an alley! He/Henry, would reprise his role, to Conrad’s request, in my late July-early Aug., shot-on-video-in-4-days there(except for 2 pick-up scenes I shot w/a werewolf dummy, shortly after, in Des Plaines, IL.) ‘classic'(?), ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’! -While doing my later ‘Werewolf dummy’ scenes(my clothes I wore as Werewolf, stuffed with newspaper, -& the trousers & flannel shirt held together by safelty pins!), a little girl’s dog thought I was carrying a real person, -& snapped at my trousers’ leg! Fortunatelly, it only bit my jean clothing! The little girl, pulling back her dog, said, ‘He thought you were carrying a real person’! But, working with Conrad Brooks & 2 of his 3 brothers(Ed wasn’t in it, though I spoke to him by phone, as he took care of his 84-years-‘young’ bro., Henry!) was a great, exciting experience, -& a priviledge! As for Eddie Biedrzycki(a.k.a.-‘Fast Eddie’!), I heard recently, he passed away. He used to work for The Baltimore Sun, cranking-out copies of books, etc., which termed him the nick-name, ‘Fast Eddie’! I saw Conrad, 3 weeks ago, at The ‘Scary Camp’ Convention in Dayton, Ohio(along with co-star in a few movies, Joe Estevez, older bro. to Martin Sheen, a great guy!), -& Conrad told me that Henry passed away recently. I really enjoyed meeting them & shooting on location in Baltimore, Md.! The pier we shot at was used in Hitchcock’s ‘Marnie’, when Sean Connery goes to Baltimore to visit Marnie’s mom. Also, that pier was later used in a movie I was a movie extra in(though, I wasn’t seen), ‘Sleepless In Seattle’, at the opening scene at the pier, etc. Also, the building in background, where Henry[Brooks/Biedrzycki] sees The Werewolf, was used as the detective station, only about 1-1/2 years later, for the great NBC show, ‘Homicide: Life On The Streets’! In fact, after I’d shot ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’, in Aug., 1993, I returned the following summer(July-Aug., ’94), to attend The ‘Fanex 8’ Sci-Fi/Horror Movie Convention, -& shoot the sequel to my Conrad Brooks movie, called, ‘Man From Plan 9’! As Conrad & I sat with our ‘brewskies’, outside the bar at the end of the pier in Fells Point, Baltimore, Md., Conrad said ‘I don’t want to be in that one, Rocky’! I was saddened, as I’d gone to Baltimore with the hopes of us working on this project, -& finishing it, in a few days! I had all my 3 or so monster masks, disguises & props in the trunk, ready & willing to make a sequel, much greater than it’s predecessor! However, Conrad had another idea for a movie, that he’d direct, wuth monsters attacking his grandson, on a small island. However, it wasn’t the movie I wanted, -and, besides, -he(Conrad) said ‘I’m gonna direct’ it! I didn’t want to just be a cameraman, and, although I let others use their own imagination in my movies & add-lib, I wanted to have control over my art/movie. As I sat in front of the bar at Fells Point(Baltimore, Md.), sadly, after Conrad didn’t want to play the part I thought he would, in my movie, I noticed an actor I’d seen in Roger Moore’s 1st James Bond movie(“Live & Let Die”!), standing at the other(front) end of the pier! I told Conrad I’d seen him, before, but, Conrad said, ‘Nah! Don’t bother him, Rocky’! But, I had to listen to my heart, -& walked up to the man & asked him, ‘Didn’t you star in a Roger Moore James Bond movie, as Bond’s villain, Mr. Big’?! He said, ‘Yeah’! With a mild smile on his face, as he put out his hand to shake mine, he said his name, ‘Yahphet Kotto’! Wow! I knew I’d seen him in that movie! Years later, I’d see him in an episode of ‘Hawaii, Five-O’, -which was just rerun last Tues.morn.on ‘Me-TV’! I told Mr. [Yaphet] Kotto I made monster movies, was[then] called, ‘The Ed Wood of The 90’s’, -& gave him my ‘Mummy-A.D. 1993’ flyer! Note! This was 3 months before Tim Burton’s movie, ‘Ed Wood’, came out to theaters! Mr. Kotto then walked into the same bar Conrad, Ted, Henry & I had sat for drinks, during a break & while shooting ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’, exactly 1 year before! In ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’, Henry sits for a drink(really the rest of my .75-cent ‘Apple Jack Cider’, in a stein glass!), -& later, his brother, Ted, has a drink(glass of water, doubling as something stronger, maybe ‘vodka’, or ‘gin’). Well, that is the same bar Mr. Kotto & his friend stopped in that day I met him, exactly one year after I shot the movie! Also, when Mr.[Yaphet] Kotto & his friend sat down, to read over a script(obviously, I figured out months later, a script for the then up-coming NBC series, ‘Homicide: Life On The Street’), he/Kotto sat in the very same seat I sat, one year before!
Now, onto the making of ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’! In that cemetery scene, where walk from behind the huge monument, in human form, to first meet Conrad’s brother, Ted, I did walk through, as Ted had warned me about, Poison Ivy(or Poison Oak)! Driving home, to Park Ridge, IL.(when I got home, we were packing to move to the next town, Des Plaines, IL.), my legs itched & itched! When I arrived in Park Ridge, IL., I was in such pain, that I couldn’t help my parents move much! There was ‘puss’ coming out of the sores, from the Poison Ivy! So, my brother, Phil, drove my Dad, Vernon Roland Nelson & I to the Emergency entrance of Lutheran General Hospital! The nurse said, excitedly, ‘That’s an Open Vound(she meant ‘wound’, but that’s how she pronounced it!)’! She, again, said, ‘You have an Open Vound(wound)’!! I said, ‘I KNOW that! -That’s why I came to you guys’! I’d bought salves, etc., at the drug store, -& they didn’t help. After some anti-biotics, my swelling & infection went down, -& disappeared in days. So, that cost another $100. of my previous budget for ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’ of $225.! That’s($225.) how much it cost me for gas money, meals on road, drinks in Baltimore, ‘Fanex’ Con. expenditures on videos, etc., -& ‘All-U-Can-Eat Crab’ in Hagerstown, Md.(where Conrad Brook’s daughter, Connie’s former ranch & home is, & where we shot scenes for the movies, in their backyard & the woods nearby)! After leaving Conrad’s former residence in Hagerstown, Md., & heading home, I stopped for the $15.95 ‘All-U-Can-Eat’ crab at ‘Subway’ Restaurant & Raceway(racing cars on track, next to the restaurant, in no way related to subway sandwiches; this is independent/one-of-a-kind!)! I loved the crab there, dipped in melted butter, with, of course, a few of their .90 on-tap ‘brewskies’!
But, back to your question, yes, meeting Conrad Brooks & his brothers does sort opf bring me ‘full circle’, I guess! I’d first met him only 2 months before shooting our movie, at The 35th Annual ‘Famous Monsters of Filmland’ Convention, at The Crystal City Sheraton Hotel, in Arlington, Va.(ironically, the same town where the famous ‘Arlington Cemetery’ is, that was seen in that epic I mentioned, ‘Day The Earth Stood Still’/1953, The Greatest Science Fiction ‘Classic’ Ever Made, -& That Ever Will Get Made!)! Anyway, as I walked past tables in the dealer’s rooms, an extremely out-going, bubbly man kept saying, as I passed, ‘I’m Conrad Brooks! I was in the worst movie of All Time, Plan 9 From Outer Space! I worked with Ed Wood’, etc.! I looked at him, trying to figure out ‘what’ movie he meant! Only 6 months earlier, in of Fall, ’92, Michael Flores of Chicago’s PsychoTronic Film Society first introduced me to [Ed]’Wood work’, showed me ‘Night of The Ghouls’, followed by ‘Plan 9’, etc., & had given me the name, ‘The Ed Wood of The 90’s’! I’d read some on this Conrad Brooks in Cult Movies Mag. former magazine, though, I didn’t know what Conrad looked like, or what part he played in Eddie’s(Wood’s) historic opus, ‘Plan 9’! But, back to The May, 1993 35th Annual ‘Famous Monsters of Filmland’ Convention! Conrad held out photos of himself with the great Bela Lugosi(publicity shot, between scenes of Wood’s 1952 ‘Glen Or Glenda’), and as Officer Jamie from ‘Plan 9’! He was so friendly & out-going, more so than anyone I’d met there, that I just ‘had’ to buy some of his movies, photos, etc.! Later, Sunday, the final day of the weekend event, I saw Conrad sitting in the lobby, and went up to him, to tell him where Sara Karloff was(as he wanted to meet her), but he was asleep, so I just sat across from him. He opened his eyes, & I told him Sara Karloff was nearby, but, being tired, he said, ‘That’s alright, Rocky’. Then, after a short pause, he asked me, ‘Now, you make your own pictures, don’t you, Rocky? -‘Cause I’d like to be in your pictures’! Felling ecstatic & honored, privileged that he’d ask to be in ‘my’ movies, I right away agreed, it’d be a good idea! I asked how to contact him, to do the movie, & only said, ‘I’ll be at Fanex! Just meet me at Fanex’! I asked, ‘When is it’! He said, ‘In July’! Then, I asaked, ‘What’s Fanex’? He looked at me as if he was surprised I didn’t know, & said, ‘You’ll hear about it’! Conrad’s daughter, Connie, along with her 2 kids, drove back to Hagerstown, Md., with Conrad! On my bur ride back to Chicago, I ”excitedly’, ‘feverishly’ wrote the screen-play for my movie, ‘The Werewolf of Baltimore’, and it’s double-bill, ‘Man From Plan 9’, where Conrad would face monsters from outer space! I had intended both as short, 20-minute movies, to be on a double-bill, all shot in one day, in Baltimore! But, Conrad wanted me to turn it(‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’) into a feature, so, for 4 days, we shot many more scenes than I’d planned. Because of that, there was not enough time[or energy in us left, due to heat, & energy expenditure, & will-power] to do the 2nd movie, but, I did get Ted & Henry to do those short scenes, where they pretend to see the flying saucers! For the sound effects(fx) there, I had Conrad(Brooks) twirl my plastic toy sound maker(a 3-foot long, hollow red plastic thing available in toy sections of stores), to make a sound like a flying saucer, as Henry & Ted(Brooks) looked up, saying, ‘There goes flying saucers’!! Henry ad-libbed, humorously, ‘Well, I’ll be a son-of-a-gun’! As Conrad later told me at Fells Point, Baltimore, Md., before Ted drove us to the nearby old, spooky cemetery in Dundalk, Md., he/Conrad said, ‘Ya gotta love Henry’! I got Ted & Henry’s scenes, where they see the flying saucers, in several takes, do to ‘Bloopers’! -‘Heh’! That movie, originally intended as a double-bill short film, will now be a full-length feature, as well, -& will be my next movie released, since I finished editing my latest monstosity, ‘Night of The Pumpkinmen’, last week!
As for the 1st movie’s title, later, I changed the title, ‘Werewolf of Baltimore’, to ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’, to let viewers know that an actual HollyWood movie star was in my movie! ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’, ‘starring Conrad Brooks’, the later front video cover said! As far as my meeting Conrad, to do the movie, that is almost a miracle, in itself! I called ‘Scary Monsters’ Magazine’s ‘kooky Kent’ Deluga, who, surprisingly, not only knew of Fanex, & who Conrad was, but had several phone #’s for him, which I called! At first, Conrad’s daughter, Connie, answered, then, she gave me Conrad’s brother, Ted’s ph. #, saying, ‘that’s the beach house! Conrad’s over there, now’! Ted answered my call there, & he gave the phone to Conrad! He said, ‘Hi, Rocky’! We agreed to meet at The ‘Fanex 7′(July, 1993) Con., in where it was then held, in N. Towson, Md., near Baltimore. Connie Granda, Conrad’s daughter, got ahold of Mark Bialek, a real nice & helpful guy(whom I gladly met again, recently!), who sent me flyers/info. on The ‘fanex’ Con. & The Bengie’s Drive-In Theater, where some of the late night horror films were screened! This all lead me to ‘Fanex’, 1993, where I met, first, Conrad Brooks(for the 2nd time in my life), then, the same day, The Great *Robert Clarke, star of his directed/produced 1959 epic, ‘The Hideous Sun Demon’! He/Clarke, as I later told Conrad, during the interview included on video with my ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf'(available from me), ‘He(Robert ‘Hideous Sun Demon’ Clarke) certainly wasn’t hideous! He was nice, friendly’. Conrad agreed, ‘Yes he was’! As for ‘The Man From Plan 9’, that was the movie I wanted to make the following year, with Conrad, but, as I said, he turned it down. Now, ‘All things work together for good’, as I play the hero of that movie, instead of him, -& get to battle the monsters, instead! So, it’s better, for me! Though, Conrad(Brooks) does have a few cameo appearances, due to stock footage I later shot of him, later in ’93, when he stopped in Chicago, before heading back to L.A./Hollywood, Ca., to do his scenes for Tim Burton’s ‘Ed Wood’! Then, in Nov., ’94, after I’d finished editing ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’, I met Conrad again, in Downtown Chicago, at the train station, shot more scenes of him there, then treated him to a drink at ‘Cal’s Liquors'(at Van Buren & Wells St.), where we were, surprisingly, interviewed by bartender, Mike Fierstein, for a Chicago Cable show, ‘Van Buren Street’! We spoke on my movie, ‘Conrad Brooks Vs. Werewolf’, & of Ed Wood, Conrad spoke of his part as a bartender in Tim Burton’s ‘Ed Wood’, etc. The new title of my movie, ‘Man From Plan 9’, since I’ll be battling the monsters from space, including The Demon Monster, I changed to ‘Monster Invasion’, but, then found out that Fangoria Mag. has a section of reader mail in their pages called Monster Invasion! I then called my movie(later with a cameo by Forrest J./’Forry’ Ackerman, his scene shot years later at ‘Monster Bash’-1998, my 1st time as a Guest of Honor there!), ‘The Rock Vs. The Monsters’, as I told Forry Ackerman, himself, on tape, at 99’s ‘Monster Bash’! So others wouldn’t think of the pro wrestler when they hear my name, I wanted the movie’s title changed, again, -and to give it an Ed Wood type title & feel, in a sort of homage to Eddie’s(Wood’s) ‘Plan 9’, I made my final name for this epic-in-the-making of mine as ‘The Demon Monster From Outer Space’! It’s already 1/4 edited(right now, 30 minutes edited, of an approximate 2 hour ‘opus’!), & I hope to have it finished in by October, 2004, with scenes to be shown on Super-station, ‘WGN Morning News’, *October 31st, 2004/’Halloween’, when I’m on, every year(since 1997!)!
Thank you, Bleeding Skull at Sweet Thunder, for this interview, -& all the interest you have in my movies and life”! Sincerely, *David “‘The’ Rock” Nelson, “The Ed Wood of The Future, ‘-& Beyond That, Even'”! Also, “The New ‘Poverty-Row’ of Horror”, -& “dang” proud of it! -“Hah, heh, ‘heh'”!!!
To order any of David “Rock” Nelson’s monster/comedy movies, on video, write to: *David Nelson -1170 Howard Ave. -Des Plaines, IL. -60018. All titles/monster movies are $18., except for the 2-tape ‘Vampire Woman’, which is $32. post-paid. To order any, please make the money order payable to: *David Nelson. You may also ‘e-mail’ me on Facebook.
Bleeding Skull Reviews David “The Rock” Nelson
The Pumpkin Man Saga
Vampire Woman (Reel #1)
Vampire Woman (Reel #2)