Hart D. Fisher – “The Scariest Man in America” – Pt. 1.
For those who do not know, Hart Fisher the darkly creative Horror entrepreneur behind the comic publishing company Boneyard Press, and is currently the Host of the Internationally syndicated "American Horrors" program. As an outlaw filmmaker, poet, writer (and publisher of the highly controversial “Jeffrey Dahmer” comic book) it is easy to see how he could get this reputation.
Love him or hate him, Hart Fisher has had to face lawsuits, angry mobs, and what could have at times felt like nothing less than a curse, in order to defend his first amendment rights and create his works. This certainly qualifies him as someone with significant “film courage”. Mr. Hart has graciously provided an extensive interview and images; In honor of that and his courageous independent film spirit, Part 1 of this Interview is posted here at Film Courage.
Part 2 will be posted at my own Nightmare Sound Lab Blog and will delve deeper into his comic publishing days with Bonyard Press, and his work with Glenn Danzig at Verotik, as well as his experiences in Milwaukee Wisconsin dealing with the fallout from the whole “Jeffrey Dahmer affair”.
A little research into Hart Fisher’s history reveals real life incidents of terror, some so devastating I wouldn’t dare to bring them up were it not for his own incredible candidness in the videos he provides to explain some of the challenges he has faced on his path to creating cutting edge horror entertainment, and the terrifying and brutal journey he experienced when fiction met reality during the process of making the horror film “The Garbageman”.
TR: And so with that introduction, Welcome Hart Fisher! What was your first inspiration that really triggered your love for the genre; that first book or movie; that moment in your life you knew you were forever pulled into the web of horror?
HDF: I don’t believe there was ever a single solitary moment, or movie, or book that drove me to horror. I would say it was life. My life drove me to horror. A steady progression of violence, lies, assaults, molestations, rapes, beatings… I mean, I grew up on the south side of Chicago. I grew up around a lot of human wreckage. I saw a lot of things a kid shouldn’t have to see or deal with, including a few brushes with death beginning at a very, very, early age….
I’ll just put it to you bluntly… I was cut out of my mother’s womb because I was dying in there.
Before the age of one, I rode the lightning for real when I bit into an extension cord and seared off a part of my face. I had to have two surgeries to repair my mouth. During the first one, I was awake (at the tender age of four) watching the doctors cutting my face in a mirror over the surgery table… A couple years later while camping I watched my father and his buddy blown up in a boat right in front of me and the whole family, watched them barely make it out alive, let alone just get third degree burns… Got mugged in front of the police station as a kid… Had a few strange deaths and suicides in the family… I dealt with a lot of the fall out when a violent crime is over. I’ve been there after the police are gone and you’re left a wrecked human being… Lots of violence against women… I’ve dealt with too much of that… My life experiences, my intimacies with violence and death – That is what gives me a perspective and knowledge most other horror creators don’t have.
What’s the first thing they teach you in any English fiction writing class? Write what you know. I know pain, so I work in pain. I think that’s why my work leaves marks.
TR: What inspired you to create "American Horrors" and could you give readers an overview of its scope and purpose.
HDF: American Horrors was originally envisioned as a distribution company specializing in exporting horror genre material to Japan, where my wife is originally from. When we signed the contracts to create the American Horrors television show in 2008 for the Global Broadcast Corporation that really opened up my eyes to what American Horrors needed to be. With a full 22 episode season of the American Horrors TV show shot, cut, and ready for release, I set out to create the ultimate horror fans’ wet dream of a genre company that straddles all things horror, from movies, television, video games, music, books and more.
I am here to take over the horror genre in a way that no man has ever done before. American Horrors is the company, the brand I’ve created to do that with.
HDF: Well… we’re launching The American Horrors Mobile Network for the iPhone and the iPad via the robandtv app. If you’ve got an iPhone, download the robandtv app, install it, and start watching The American Horrors Mobile Network. This is something new that my teams been working the kinks out of over the holidays. I’m getting ready to upload a boatload of special free material (including some unseen Garry Way footage) that you’ll only be able to check out through the robandtv app.
For the last year we’ve been scoping out the film festivals, trying to find challenging independent horror features and shorts that are the true cutting edge of horror. American Horrors has put together a killer library of horror feature films like Client 14, George Snow’s Us, Sinners, the German torture opus La Petite Mort by Marcel Walz, the Boone Brothers’ Brawlin’ Broads 1 and 2, and I’m working with the Black Devil Doll guys to get them foreign distribution. I have a slew of short films we’ve signed, a bunch of cool horror themed music videos from bands like The Cock Diesel, St. Madness, Gorgeous Frankenstein, Lockjaw, Skitzo, Obituary and so many more. It’s a big, big, big year for me. I’m looking for material non-stop, always on the hunt; I’ve got several negotiations going on at all times, including signing up bands to put their music into American Horrors productions.
I’ve been in meetings to develop the Boneyard Press universe as video games, feature films and possible animae with a lot of heat building on "Bill the Bull".
I’m studying the e-book game and scouting around for material to publish on that platform. There’s a book project in the works for my writing on In Cold Blog dealing with the decade I spent privately fighting to keep Michelle’s* murderer in prison, I mean, this is a brutal, blistering read.*(Michelle was Hart’s girlfriend who was coincidentally murdered by a serial killer during the time "The Garbageman" was being made.) There’s a documentary on me that’s been shooting since 2009 that has spawned interest in developing my life story as a feature film.
Then there’s my lecture circuit. I’m coming to Texas as a guest of the SXSW Film & Music Festival. I’ll be doing spoken word up in Waco before that. I’m up for several different music video directing gigs with bands I dig like Necrophagia. I’ve been cast in an upcoming horror film by the director of Sick Girl as a dirty nasty Santa, man I hope they lock down their financing on that one, and all kinds of other cool stuff is brewing behind the scenes.
I’m actively looking for a publisher for the "Poems for the Dead" revamped three volume set with new artwork and new poetry. This is a project I’ve been hungry to nail down for a while. I had to bench it while I was taking care of my wife in her recovery from cancer. Now that she’s back on her feet, this is one of the projects I’m pushing. "Poems for the Dead" is my most personal work, my most naked bleak and destroyed material.
TR: What new technologies, platforms, VOD services etc. are you engaging or looking into to expand sustainability and distribution for your productions/projects?
HDF: I’m glad you asked that question because I’ve just entered into an agreement with a new software development company that has put together a revolutionary new social networking tool that is going to blow away Facebook and Ebay. It’s a brand new community building tool that has all the features of Facebook but none of the privacy concerns because you, the user, have total control over your account and who sees what publicly. This is something we’ve just started developing and building out that is going to turn the tables on how material is bought and sold across the internet.
To me, this is probably one of the most exciting things we’re working on behind the scenes, I like taking down Goliath and this software is going to be a real game changer as is our new mobile phone network. I see major changes happening in my travels around the world, major changes in how and where movies & television are being seen and consumed. Once upon a time the powers that be thought the internet was the high holy next wave, the next thing to topple television, but it won’t. With the status of the world economy, the crappy infrastructure we currently have here in the United States won’t support it. Even all this B.S. you hear on TV about the new 4G network… it’s not really 4G. The speed of your phone’s connection depends mostly on how close you are to a cell tower. Period. And what I see kids using them for, it’s mostly entertainment; Watching web videos, listening to music, playing some apps, but nothing truly revolutionary.
Many companies see the web and mobile phones as a locked down revenue stream, one they can jam you up with commercials you CAN’T skip. They dump whatever extra shit they can find onto the internet with no eye for quality or consumer satisfaction. Well I got news for them! That shit doesn’t work in horror.
My focus is on creating quality horror entertainment across multiple platforms, for multiple consumer age groups. I’m not a snob. I want to scare the crap out of your 5 year old kid, your 13 year old daughter, the cocky 22 year old hipster who thinks he’s seen it all, the 35 year old vet who has seen it all and wants to go darker, to the 60 year old hardcore horror dude who has read everything, seen everything, and still wants more.
Then there’s some of the marketing alliances I’ve formed with several record labels, multiple metal and death metal acts, I mean, I’ve been putting together a true revolution in how horror is bought & sold and produced and this is the year I start unleashing some of this new marketing muscle on the world of horror.