William D. Prystauk is a darkly delightful screenwriter, novelist, poet and reviewer—and, that’s just for starters!
His horror-infused screenplay “Ravencraft” won third place in the AWS Screenplay Contest (2011), and his horror script “Red Agenda” won First Place at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival (2008) and was a Top-Five Finalist at Screamfest!
Some cool places he can be found:
His horror podcast: “The Last Knock” on iTunes
His horror blog: crashpalaceproductions.com
For your viewing pleasure:
His horror short: http://vimeo.com/54583103
His dramatic short: http://www.productionhub.com/video/view.aspx?item=11974
GL: So great to host an interview with you here, especially since it’s “Horror Month!” I’m going to start off with a fun question. On your Twitter page at https://twitter.com/crashpalace you mention that you’re a “Writer. Producer. Consultant. Horror aficionado. Zombie Killer…”, so what are five items (that you can carry with you) you’d choose to have in the event of a zombie apocalypse? And, why?
WP: Hmm… Great question. In the midst of a zombie apocalypse, society will have collapsed, therefore, I have to keep things basic and simple for guerrilla style warfare.
Shotgun: I’ve learned that I’m solid with a shotgun, especially with the extremely accurate and durable Franchi SPAS-12. And I’m talking slugs, not birdshot. This will allow me to keep zombies at a distance.
Handgun: I’d have a large bore handgun, preferably a .41 magnum Ruger Redhawk with a seven inch barrel, for close encounters. A .41 has great stopping power and won’t rip through the undead to possibly strike down the living. This is also a revolver, which won’t have a tendency to jam.
Body Armor: Yes, I’d create my own damn armor. Looking like a modern knight isn’t bad – and it sure beats getting bit by hungry as hell zombies.
Night Vision Goggles: I want to see in the dark to not only avoid walkers, but to make certain I don’t take a wrong step and get hurt. Without working hospitals and such, as well as medical evacuation, even a small injury can ultimately prove fatal.
First-Aid Kit: Self-repair is the key in the field. Additionally, another oxygen breathing life form may need some help, and a compact kit can do the trick to keep people living to fight another day.
Of course, the list goes on, but those are my top five.
GL: Great answer! Next, please tell readers about the movie you produced (title, actors, plot, etc.). How is it being distributed?
WP: I wrote and produced my short horror film TOO MANY PREDATORS late last year with advanced film students from the New Jersey Film School in New Providence, New Jersey. I had originally written the short script for an online contest. Chris Messineo, the man behind NJFS, liked the script and wanted his students to film the short because they were interested in making a horror film.
The script is about Claudia (Ella West) and Marissa (Shannon Kelly) who find themselves hungry and trapped in a warehouse – even as hungrier forces try to dine on them.
Location is key, and I had a great place at the ready, but the owner developed cold feet and backed away, leaving us to create a warehouse-like venue at the school, which added to the twelve-hour shoot. We cast two professional actresses and hired special effects makeup artist, Paul J. Mason, who worked on The Walking Dead. We even obtained composer Justin R. Durban to write the score. After 100 hours of work, from preparation to editing, we ended up with a three-and-a-half minute film. And I’m not kidding about the 100 hours.
The shoot was fantastic and the students worked like diligent professionals. And what we all created paid off: TOO MANY PREDATORS is an official selection at this year’s New Jersey Horrorfest as well as the Twisted Tails Film Festival in Texas. The short also took third place in an open genre short film contest at MoviePoet.
I hope the short will attract investors because I would like to expand the story into a fullblown feature film.
Right now, the best place to see the film is via my blog at Crashpalaceproductions.com or on Vimeo.
GL: That’s truly awesome! And, speaking of Crash Palace Productions, it’s no secret that I love to hang out at the Facebook site, too! You keep up with some great, though sometimes undervalued, horror movies and actors there. What inspired you to create Crash Palace Productions? What other, perhaps blood-splattered, gems does the Crash Palace Productions site offer?
WP: Well, Crash Palace Productions goes back to my days in graduate school at Slippery Rock University. I had been rear-ended by another vehicle and a friend, Saint Martin, asked if I was okay. When I told him that was my 23rd accident and I was used to it, he called me “Crash.” I had called my non-descript, cell-like dorm room a “Palace,” and I’ve used the “Crash Palace” copyright for all my tales ever since.
The Facebook page was developed to get people to the Crash Palace Productions site. On the site, one can find links to other great horror pages and contests, learn about filmmaking (including a diary of my experience in making TOO MANY PREDATORS), find links to my THE LAST KNOCK podcasts as well as interviews. There are also horror film reviews, “best of” lists, and comments about the horror genre in general. The goal is to indulge in an analytical approach to horror where I can apply literary elements to the material, such as imagery and theme. After all, the horror genre is treated as a joke by many, and I want to prove it has merit.
And you know I love it when you visit!
GL: Love listening to “The Last Knock.” Please tell readers about its inception and what topics are discussed.
WP: Everything has come about thanks to my beautiful wife again (editor, engineer, chef, writer, and everything else under the sun). She prompted me to create the Crash Palace site (she did all the work in set up), and to get together with our mutual friend, Jonny Numb to conduct our horror podcasts. In fact, Jonny came up with the name, THE LAST KNOCK after the classic tale where a person knows they’re the last living soul on Earth – only to hear a knock at the door. And that’s probably one of the greatest writing prompts if there ever was one.
Jonny and I choose a theme each week. For instance, we’ve had shows based on werewolves, zombies, vampires, or specific movies like The Day, or our new “Directors of Doom” segments (we’ve covered Stuart Gordon and John Carpenter thus far). We invite listeners to not only leave comments on iTunes about THE LAST KNOCK, but to let us know what horror ground they’d like to see us explore. To date, we haven’t turned down one fan request, and our fan base is really growing, so please let us know.
GL: You had the truly amazing Denise Gossett of the Shriekfest Horror Film Festival on “The Last Knock” earlier this year. Which upcoming guests should we be on the lookout for there?
WP: Denise is such a sweetheart! She’s beautiful, intelligent, and an amazing patron of the arts. Though an actress, she is co-founder and director of Shriekfest, Los Angeles’s biggest genre festival. I’ve also had the pleasure of interviewing inspiring and passionate filmmakers, David Paul Baker, who is filming one movie a month for a year, and Michael Dougherty, who is raising money to film Z*CON. What’s to come? I can’t say. It’s not because I don’t have guests lined up, but I have to wait for the stars to align so they can take breaks from filming to be interviewed. Rest assured, more filmmakers are on the way, among others in the horror business.
GL: How are your novels coming along? And, where can readers pick up copies of your previously published works?
WP: My crime thriller, Bloodletting, about a masochistic punk detective looking for a killer in New York City’s BDSM underground is with two publishers right now, and the script should be filmed by LGG Digital Motion Pictures in 2014. My new crime horror is based on my award winning script, Red Agenda, which won First Place at the International Horror and Science Fiction Film Festival in 2009. In that tale, Detective Bobby Keagan is a member of Philadelphia’s Paranormal Crimes Unit, and he must stop the vampire terrorist group, Red Agenda before they assassinate the president. That is currently with a New York agent. As for previous material, my short noir story, “Mara” was published in Criminal Class Review (http://www.criminalclasspress.com/products/criminal-class-review-volume-5/). People can also visit Crashpalaceproductions.com for any links.
GL: Where can readers go to connect with you and your darkly delightful work?
WP: People can follow me on Twitter at #crashpalace, visit my site at Crashpalaceproductions.com, and listen to THE LAST KNOCK on iTunes. October is “Horror Month,” so I hope they take a look, and leave a comment or two – I love to hear from other horror fans. And thanks for being a fan as well, GL. You’re fabulous!
GL: Many thanks, and I’d love to have you back here anytime!