Matt Cunningham – September 14, 2007
He’s the man behind the 2005 movie “The Mangler: Reborn”, based on King’s novell The Mangler.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Matt Cunningham: Matt Cunningham, writer/director. I have been writing for quite some time. My first film Decampitated was a comedy-horror film that just got turned into comic book form through Devil’s Due comics in a Troma Graphic novel. I am working on several new projects for television and feature film – mostly family and comedy.
SKSM: How come you picked The Mangler to develop into another sequel? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Matt Cunningham: The film actually picked us – ha ha. I was working with the Executive Producer at the time and he came to me and asked if we would be interested in writing/directing the sequel that he bought the rights to. So of course, when an opportunity is put out there like that – you have to take it. I really like the idea of a machine having a life of it’s own. Something inanimate that could actually come to life and go after you. That’s pretty scary. Could you imagine if your toaster just attacked you while making toast. Takes breakfast to another level.
SKSM: When did you make The Mangler; Reborn? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Matt Cunningham: The film was shot in a seedy area of Los Angeles in 2005. The film was made for the price of two brand new BMW’s! and we shot the film in a scary ten days. Yes, that is not a typo. Ten days.
SKSM: You wrote and directed The Mangler Reborn with Erik Gardner, why two directors?
Matt Cunningham: Erik and I were working as a team at the time trying to set up a few other projects. This one just hit and we went full steam ahead. It wasn’t really a creative choice to use both of us, it just worked out that way.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick – at least – one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Matt Cunningham: Right now, I don’t have any plans to do more King movies. Honestly one of my favorite books by Mr. King is his book on writing. It is a fantastic book! I love it. However, if I could make a movie around him, I would love to do the story of a young Stephen King as a kid and how his world around him changed him. As if he saw a lot of these scary visions growing up and it sculpted him into who he is today. Like some sort of Roald Dahl story with Stephen King as the protaganist.
SKSM: Are there things cut out of the movie that you miss now?
Matt Cunningham: Ha ha, I wish there was footage on the cutting room floor! That would of been great. What you see in the film is what we shot. We were on such a tight schedule that we didn’t have time to shoot extraneous material – although we had a couple endings in mind. We also had a few scenes that would of been shot different and more stylistic. Time is not a filmakers friend in low budget.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Matt Cunningham: Hadley’s house in the film is a notorious adult film house in LA. A lot of adult films get shot there and we had many visits from the police thinking that we were shooting adult films. But when they found out it was a horror film they left us alone. We heard that neighbors would see naked people out on the lawn and other crazy stories like that. The owner of the house, well, I could blog for days on that guy.
SKSM: What do you think about of the first and second movies of The Mangler?
Matt Cunningham: I remember seeing the first one in the theater and thinking it was fun, but not really scary. The second one – hmmm… not a big fan.
SKSM: Why can we only viewing The Mangler Reborn on DVD and not at the theatre?
Matt Cunningham: The deal was for the film to be a DVD release through Lions Gate. There was never a thought of it going theatrical.
SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?
Matt Cunningham: Unfortunately, we did not get to speak to King about the film. And I am not sure if he has seen it. It would be intersting to see what he thinks. We took his story and added a little twist to it – trying to stay true to his style of creepiness and the idea of losing yourself (or Hadley losing himself in this case).
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Matt Cunningham: I appreciate the opportunity to speak about the film and the fact that it is being recognized on your site. That means a lot. Thanks to everyone for reading. Thanks Bernd, for everything. (imdb.com)