WHAT BUDGET?

homepage some reviews, part 1 reviews, part 2 production pics What budget? the release 1980 script & 1983 reviews DVD recording session What's the latest? Contact the writer-director NIGHTMARE USA ARCHIVE

production values?

There was no costume designer, no production designer, no crew assigned to sets. Co-producers Tim and Rita Hildebrandt provided their New Jersey home, interior and exterior, and FX director John Bruce Dods provided his workshop/studio: the basement of his apartment building in New Brunswick

how low-budget?

The Deadly Spawn was created on the fly, week by week. Though the basic story was outlined and several scenes blocked in before casting, for most of the principal photography writer-director Douglas McKeown came up with script pages during the week, then shot scenes on the weekends. (Often, the intrepid actors had maybe a couple of hours early in the morning to learn lines and actions before the camera rolled.) The budget was so low that no one was paid a salary - not the director, not the effects director, not the cinematographer, not the actors.  Instead, everyone agreed to "points": a percentage of the net (!) profit

Estimates of the final below-the-line cost of the film have ranged from $20,000 to $27,000

the perpetrators

Douglas McKeown wrote the screenplay and directed the film

Ted A. Bohus produced with Tim and Rita Hildebrandt and John Bruce Dods

Bohus, Dods and McKeown are credited with the story

Harvey Birnbaum was credited with the principal photography (most of the excellent, atmospheric insert shots were made much later by John Dods, who also took charge of most of the Charles-in-the-basement sequences)

The cast included Tom De Franco (as Pete), Richard Lee Porter (as Frankie), Jean Tafler (as Ellen) and Karen Tighe (as Kathy); also, Elissa Neil (as Barb) and James Brewster (as Sam)

One of the ladies at the vegetarian luncheon was Dr. Madeleine Charanis (Ju-Ju) who taught French at Metuchen High School and was a former colleague of the director; she died in 2010 at the age of 99

The young co-star (co-starring with the mother Spawn, that is) was Charles George Hildebrandt (as Charles), son of producer and artist Tim Hildebrandt

John Schmerling (Uncle Herb) and John Arndt (Camper #2) were then members of the Jean Cocteau Repertory

Judith Mayes (Bunny) had performed in a Moliere play with McKeown Off-Off-Broadway

Director Tim Sullivan, a teenager at the time, was a production assistant to Dods (uncredited)

 
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