Note: This online post corrects the mistakes from the print version. Please pardon the Gremlins.
Zach Lorkiewicz is no freshman in the horror indie film scene. He’s crafted a lot of shorts, and to be recognised is tough. Although he’s been at it for a decade, his solid work ethic is one that Brinke Stevens says is worth noting. For this Scream Queen legend to agree to be in his work did more than make his day. It’s validation that he has a promising future and we at Absolute Underground Magazine got to interview not only him, but the star too!
“I’ve been very fortunate and very lucky because I met a lot of really creative collaborators in my career,” admits this filmmaker. “It’s very difficult to meet producers in the Indie world who will commit to your project.”
Some may say the short, The Night Jane Went Insane, might not have happened if it wasn’t for this creator making the right connections. And the story is rather sweet:
ZL: I knew Linnea Quigley through my friend Britton Buchanan, and we’d occasionally hang out. When I went to a couple of events with her, Brinke happened to be there. She introduced us to her and Michelle Bauer. We simply kept running into each other at conventions and other places. After a while, I simply asked Brinke and said, “I’m free next month. Let me know.”
I wanted to write a story that’s unique to her and different from films she’s done in the past.
BS: Zach came up with a concept that was called The Invasion. It’s about a woman who is contacted by aliens. And at the end, in the original pitch, she’d be beamed onboard by the aliens, and we’d see them dancing together on the TV screen. He found a studio for rent that had an apartment that looked like it was from the 70s.
That created the look of the film, and he had the germ of an idea. So everything just kind of evolved from there.
And in my understanding of these types of narratives, there’s always a fear of what’s coming, and how one deals with this extraterrestrial threat, correct?
ZL: Yeah, and part of the story also included creating a character who wanted to escape in some way. But I don’t know if I can push that idea a little further [into a feature film]. Instead of ones from another planet, I thought they should belong in a different dimension!
BS: When I grew up, I read a lot of science fiction, including Galaxy magazine. I was a very weird child and I always thought I’d been dropped off by aliens who sooner or later would return for me. And when Zach pitched the idea, I even created a backstory: I was once a hotshot NASA scientist whose one big dream in life was to communicate with aliens. And when it never happened, it would lead to that downward spiral [which you see in this film] and what you see is me, smoking, drinking and so on. That life was never the same.
And to create Jane, I worked with hair and makeup artist, Tatiana Tovar. When I asked to make me look like Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club, everything fell into place. She also helped develop my wardrobe.
Brinke, was it odd that your performance meant emoting more than anything else?
BS: I really only had two lines of dialogue. I had to go from dissolute to hopeful to gleeful to terribly disappointed and then to ecstatic at the end. And nobody ever asked me to dance in a movie before, so I’m really grateful to Zach for giving me those seven minutes to really give it all I’ve got.
And maybe that is the sign of an insane person to go through so many emotions in a short period of time. I don’t know, but for me as an actress, it was a role made in heaven.
How did the others get their role?
ZL: When the piece was in sound design, Michael Coe, my co-collaborator, said, “Why don’t you ask Michelle Bauer?” He knew her, and I thought it was a great idea. She was down for it, and Linnea was easy to approach. They are the kindest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I really can’t emphasise that enough. It was Kismet.
Why do you think these classic Scream Queens keep ongoing like the Energizer Bunny?
ZL: I’ve so much respect for people who are in the industry who, even when they get older, are still doing stuff. Brinke was one of the firsts–she’s there at conventions, like Fangoria’s first one, if I’m not mistaken. She’s created her own merchandise label, had her own comic book–it’s just crazy to see. For all three of them, the fact that they have very supportive fans says it all.
What made you decide to distribute The Night Jane Went Insane freely on YouTube?
ZL: Right now, it’s more about getting my work out into the world and allowing people to see it. We live in the age of the Internet, with TikTok and all that. So why not? The response has been just really great. And although I try to submit to festivals, it’s expensive, and you don’t know if you’re going to get in or not. Instead, I encourage readers to subscribe to my YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/@CounttheClock
BS: It’s really hard to monetize short films, and I think of it more as a calling card for Zach’s talent. I can’t wait till he does his first feature film. I don’t know when that will be, but I think he’s going to be an amazing filmmaker when he finally graduates into feature films.