My newest interview subject, Sean Clark, is a very unique talent. If you purchased Scream Factory’s massive Halloween Blu-Ray box set a few years ago, you saw the work he did on many featurettes for the movies. If you’re into visiting filming locations for popular movies, you’ve seen his show Horror’s Hallowed Grounds on YouTube. If you’ve attended an autograph convention over the course of the past two decades, the chances are very good that you’ve met several of his clients, or even Sean himself.
With all that Mr. Clark has done, I knew he would be a fascinating interview subject. I talked to him in September about his many different fields of work, and I hope you all enjoy reading this interview. As a side note, all the pictures in this article come from his Facebook fan page, where you can find more information about his work.
Say hello to Sean Clark!
Johnny: Hello, Mr. Clark.
Sean: Hey. How you doin’?
Johnny: I’m doing good. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me.
Sean: No problem.
Johnny: Alright. I have my questions ready to go…
Sean: Let’s do it!
Johnny: …Starting with this: What were your pop-cultural likes growing up, like favorite movies and music, and how did they influence your work as an adult?
Sean: Well, growing up, definitely the band KISS was a huge influence on me. They kind of changed everything for me. They had everything I wanted. They had sort of a horror aspect and theatrics. I had a big love for music, so they were kind of everything wrapped in one, you know, so I would say my biggest influence growing up was KISS. Horror movies were just a natural progression. I was into horror movies as well, but I think my love for KISS brought it to another level.
Johnny: I can see that. They were true showmen and still are. To go to my next question, one of your earliest works, as listed on IMDB, was an uncredited role as Popcorn Biker in 1993’s Freaked, one of the most underrated comedies of the 90s. What are your favorite memories of that shoot?
Sean: Well, I was only on set one night. I actually won a contest to be in the movie. I was an extra. I wasn’t trying to be an actor. I was a huge fan of Alex Winter, and oddly enough, now I work with him, but at the time, although I liked Bill and Ted, I was a massive fan of his TV show called The Idiot Box, and he’d done some films in college that you used to be able to buy on VHS through Film Threat Magazine.
One in particular was called Squeal Of Death, and my friends and I used to watch that nonstop and quote it endlessly. To this day, we still quote Squeal Of Death. When I found out Alex Winter and Tom Stern were going to be making a feature film, and it was the same weird humor they used to do in their college films and on The Idiot Box, when I had the opportunity to possibly be in it, I was all over it. I got lucky.
As far as my memories, I have quite a few. The set we were in was inside the big top, and if you’ve seen the film, the scene I’m in is when you first see the big top, and there’s chaos. Everybody’s running around, and it’s just total mayhem. I’m one of the guys that runs by the camera, probably like 3 or 4 times. I have long hair, I’m wearing a black leather jacket, and I have a bag of popcorn. Every time I run by, I’m basically shaking the bag and popcorn goes everywhere. I remember we had to pick that popcorn up so many times, and redo it over and over again. It was a pain in the ass.
I do recall some stuff I saw that night that didn’t make the final cut that’s still kind of burned in my brain. One of the things you see them run by is this little person, and on the stand, it says “Fart Your Weight”. Instead of guessing your weight, he’d fart your weight. Stupid stuff like that. There’s this guy making out with a deer or an elk. One of the stands I remember that they shot, but didn’t make the final cut, was Inject A Stranger. I remember makeup artist Bill Corso was made up as a heroin addict with holes all over his arms, and you could inject him with heroin (Sean and Johnny laugh). Surprisingly, that didn’t make it.
Johnny: Yeah. That movie was a blast, and I look forward to an eventual Blu-Ray re-release, hopefully with all the awesome extras from the old Anchor Bay DVD.
Sean: I know that they’re trying. It’s a rights issue, but they’re hoping it’s going to happen soon.
Johnny: Well, knock wood. To go to my next question, you also had an uncredited role as a Theater Patron in the 1995 Clive Barker movie Lord Of Illusions. What did you learn from Clive that would later apply to your own work as a writer and director?
Sean: I mean, I’m just a fan of his work. I wouldn’t really say I learned much from him. I’m just a fan. I love his writing, but by no means compare myself to him at all because I’m not even in the same stratosphere as that guy.
As far as my experience on Lord Of Illusions, again, I was an extra. I had become friendly with Clive, and he invited me to set just to be an extra. He sent me an invitation and said, “If you’d like to come, we need an audience for this theater scene. Just wear a suit”. Basically, you bring your own wardrobe. At the time, I had a suit-and-tie job, so I just basically wore my work clothes.
It was at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, and I got to sit there and watch them film the magician scenes with Swan. I’m sure technically I’m on camera somewhere when they show the crowd shots, but I’ve never been able to pick myself out. There was a scene that got cut that I totally would’ve been in, and I’m really bummed it didn’t make it because I was sure I was going to be in the movie.
There was a scene where Swan dies by accident, and then there was a scene where Scott Bakula was running to the stage. He’s running through the crowd, and he literally grabbed me and threw me to the side as he ran by. I was like, “I’m totally in it”, and then when I saw the final cut, he starts to run to the stage, and then it cuts to him on stage. I’m like, “NO!”. Oh, well. Such is life. I took some pictures while I was there, and I have some cool photos from that night.
Johnny: Cool. To go to some of your own work, you co-wrote and co-produced the 2009 horror film The Black Water Of Echo’s Pond. What was the inspiration behind that project?
Sean: There was really no inspiration because it was a script that was already written that I was given by a friend to basically just read, just to give my opinion. I read it, and I liked the concept. I thought it had a cool concept, but it needed a lot of work. I basically just liked the idea.
The producer asked me to read it just for my opinion, and I gave him a bunch of notes. He came back to me the next day and said, “Hey, would you be willing to meet with the writer/director and tell him what you told me?”. Immediately, I was like, “Oh god, this is not going to go well”, because most writer/directors are passionate and married to their work, and they don’t want anybody touching it. It’s usually a bad scene, but I agreed to do it.
I met with Gabe Bologna, who co-wrote the script and directed the film. I gave him my notes, which were pretty harsh, and then he just looked at me and said, “Go for it!”. “What do you mean?”. He said “Rewrite it”. I said, “Really?”. He said yeah, so I basically completely changed the script. The only thing I left in that script was the opening stuff in the caves. I pretty much left that alone, the scenes where they basically find the blueprints of the game, and then I left the concept, which was finding this game on an island. That was it. I rewrote everything else.
I gave it back to him, and I thought to myself, “He’ll read it and be like, ‘Where’s my script? You basically rewrote the whole thing'”, but he loved it, and my draft got the movie financed and greenlit. I ended up having to rewrite so much. I probably rewrote that script 20 times. Even during filming, it was changing because something would happen like, “We lost this location”, which completely changes the scene. Now you need to make it work with this location. “Oh, great”. There was a lot of stuff like that. It’s by no means a masterpiece, but it was a lot of fun to do. I’m proud of it. Not too many people can say they wrote a movie that actually played in theaters, you know? It had real actors attached to it.
I would’ve pursued doing more film if it wasn’t for the fact that my company, Convention All-Stars, just blew up right after I did that movie. I became so busy making a lot better living than I was doing the movie. I didn’t make anything with the movie. It was more for fun, so basically I never really pursued making films again. Will I ever go back? I’ve thought about. I’ve had script ideas that I would love to do, but I just don’t have the time. That’s the big issue.
Johnny: I understand. I’ll ask more about the convention booking in a few questions, but beforehand, you worked as a producer and/or director on several featurettes for Shout! Factory’s Halloween franchise Blu-Rays in The New 10s. What was your favorite part of working on those featurettes, and conversely, what was the most challenging part?
Sean: The best part of working on them was that I’m a fan, so being able to put together that kind of stuff for a franchise I loved dearly was a blast. The biggest challenge was the amount of work. When I think of a challenge, I think of the Halloween 15-disc box set that came out. They were basically covering 10 films in one box, and it was a massive undertaking trying to get bonus features for every film done in a short period of time.
I just remember we were under a tremendous amount of stress. We even brought in other people outside of my team. Viddy-Well Films is my production company. That’s the name I do our features under. On that project, we did Halloween 4, 5, part of 6, and H20. I think that’s it. They didn’t really do much new stuff on 1, 2 or 3, maybe a couple of things, and Resurrection, I don’t think they touched, or Rob’s films because there were plenty already made for those. It was still a ton of work.
I remember we rented a suite at The Sportsmens’ Lodge in the Studio City area, and I basically lived there for a week. We set up the living room as a studio and one by one, every two hours a Halloween celebrity showed up and we interviewed them. I remember on some of those days, as I’m sitting there on the other side of the camera asking those questions, just being so exhausted (laughing) and trying to stay awake as I’m trying my best to cram a dozen interviews into one day, day after after day.
It was a huge challenge, but I ended up winning a Saturn Award for it, which I’m staring at right now as I’m talking to you, and which I’m extremely proud of. That was pretty much the height of my bonus feature production life. I’m sort of unfortunately out of that now, not that I wouldn’t do it if Scream Factory reached out. I mean, they did reach out for the 4K UHD releases that are coming out. They reached out to me for bonus content for all of those, and quite frankly, I felt like I didn’t know what more I could do. You can only get so much blood from a stone. I just felt like I don’t think we could top what we did, so I passed and they gave it to someone else.
Would I still do future projects with them? If they asked, sure. Absolutely, but they’ve been working with some other people that work a lot cheaper…I would say cheaper and dirtier. I don’t think the cheaper quality on some of them holds up, some of those features, but their budgets are shrinking, too, as physical media is starting to get less and less. As people go to streaming, they don’t buy physical media. That means less units are being sold, and they’re making less profit. In turn, they can’t afford to pay for quality work. You know what I mean?
Johnny: I understand. It’s a very sad thing. Me? I’m still big on physical media, and always will be. I’ve tried doing streaming in the past, but I’ve never been able to get into it. Physical media has always been where it’s at for me, and always will be until the wheels come off.
Sean: Yeah, I’m with you.
Johnny: Speaking of special feature work, you also worked on special features for the Blu-Rays of several other John Carpenter films, including Escape From New York and Village Of The Damned. Of all of John Carpenter’s movies, whether you worked on extra features for their Blu-Ray releases or not, which is your all-time favorite?
Sean: Well, the original Halloween. You can’t top that one. For sure, that, but outside of that, The Thing is obviously amazing, but one that has kind of a soft spot in my heart is The Fog. That one I’ve always been a massive fan of. I mean, it’s not the greatest movie of all time, but it captures a moment in my childhood that is special.
Johnny: I can see that. Sometimes those movies make the biggest impact. Now to go from bonus features to online content, a few years back, you created a YouTube series called Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, a show where you visit the locations used in classic horror movies. What’s made that show so special for you?
Sean: Well, the funny thing is people say that. They call it a YouTube series, but it never was. It is now (laughing), but it wasn’t back then. It’s funny. For years, people would come up to me at conventions and say, “Oh, my god. I love your YouTube show”, and I’d be like, “Well, I don’t have a YouTube show, but I’m assuming you saw Horror’s Hallowed Grounds on YouTube”. They say yes. The reason why is because people were ripping the Scream Factory DVDs and illegally putting them up on YouTube, so people were watching them on YouTube, but they didn’t realize it wasn’t my channel.
I was doing that as bonus features exclusively for Blu-Rays. I was trying to get it picked up as a series, but my stubbornness of trying to get that picked up as a series was the reason I really missed the boat on YouTube. i mean, I’m doing it now, but had I put those up back then, I would probably have a couple of million followers. Other people are doing the same thing with filming locations and this and that, and those guys got the jump on me, but I kind of felt like if I put it up for free on YouTube, how am I going to sell it to a network?
I was stubborn and it didn’t happen, so now I’m like, well, during the pandemic, maybe it’s time I get all the illegal ones off, start up my own YouTube channel, and put them up legally, so that’s what I did. I politely asked all those other guys that had been getting hundreds of thousands of views with my content to take them down so I could start monetizing them, you know?
Johnny: Perfectly understandable.
Johnny: What’s been the farthest location that Horror’s Hallowed Grounds has taken you to?
Sean: I don’t know if it’s technically the furthest, but again, I’ve done stuff in Europe. I haven’t done any video episodes in Europe, although I plan on possibly going next month. I’m trying to figure out how to travel with restrictions right now. I’m supposed to go to the UK for a convention in about a month, and I figure if I’m going to travel all that way, I should probably shoot some episodes while I’m there. I’ve been to Venice, Italy doing location stuff. I’ve been all over and outside of London. I guess the furthest would be there.
Johnny: Alright. Of course, some of the most memorable horror movies, and just movies in general, have been made in Europe, so I can only imagine how cool it must be to see those locations. The only place in Europe I’ve ever gone was a family trip to Ireland back in 1996. Other than that, I haven’t been overseas since then. I hope to do so again someday.
Sean: It’s funny. I went to Europe for the first time, I want to say, in 2002. At the time, I was married, and I went with my best friend, also with his wife. It was the first time they had been to Europe, and everybody was all excited to see all the monuments and museums, and I wanted to see the subway station where they shot An American Werewolf In London. There was a definite disconnect between what they wanted to see and what I wanted to see.
I remember we went to Stonehenge, and they were all like, “Oh my god, Stonehenge!”, while I’m like, “Technically, this is a Halloween III location” (Sean and Johnny laugh). I’m taking pictures because I love Halloween III, and they’re like, “Are you an idiot? What’s wrong with you?”. It’s funny. They went to museums. I went to filming locations. I broke away from them. I had no interest in museums. That kind of history doesn’t interest me.
Johnny: Well, we all have our own interests, and I’m glad you have such fun with yours’. What locations are you most looking forward to visiting in the future for the show?
Sean: Well, like I said, I’m trying to get back to Europe, hopefully next month. If I do that, I’m basically going back to locations I’ve already been to. I did written articles on these films. I just didn’t do video episodes back when I was doing those articles for HorrorHound Magazine, so the ones I want to do video episodes of are A Clockwork Orange, Hellraiser, Shaun Of The Dead, An American Werewolf In London, and The Omen. Those were ones that I’ve already done.
I mean, I’ve missed a couple. I never got to go to the actual moors they were hiking in An American Werewolf In London because it’s pretty far outside London, as well as the exterior of The Slaughtered Lamb. I went to the bar where they shot the interiors. I just haven’t been to the exterior yet, so that’s kind of a bucket list location. Hopefully I’ll get to hit that one up when I’m there. It’s really going to depend on the travel restrictions, you know? That’s the problem right now.
Johnny: Yeah, they definitely can be a problem. That leads into my next question: You’re a well-known talent booker for autograph conventions. How did you start out doing that?
Sean: Completely by accident. I kind of fell into it, to be honest with you. There’s no real story there. It just kind of happened.
Suddenly I was doing it as a favor to an actor, and then he decided that he wanted representation permanently. He asked me if I knew someone, so I recommended a guy that I knew did this, and the booker brushed him off like he wasn’t worthy. He then said, “Well, why don’t you represent me?”, and I said, “Uh, okay”. That’s literally how it happened. I had no intentions of doing this for a living. I’m glad it happened. It worked out great, but nothing was planned at all. It just fell into my lap.
Johnny: Cool. What conventions are your favorites to bring your clients to?
Sean: My favorites? HorrorHound Cincinnati is my number one favorite. I can’t really say in order, but I would say HorrorHound Cincinnati, Texas Frightmare, Monster-Mania, Chiller…I used to love Spooky Empire back in the day. There was this old hotel that was such the perfect venue, but then they moved and it just got lame, but back in the early 2000s, that was such a great show. It’s a shame it’s kind of gone to crap. Mad Monster Party is another one I love to do. Those are the ones off the top of my head.
Johnny: Alright. Since you do mention Chiller, i’ve had the great pleasure of meeting several of your clients at Chiller over the years, most recently in October of 2019 with the Revenge Of The Nerds reunion that allowed me the opportunity to meet Robert Carradine, Curtis Armstrong, and my Facebook friend Julia Montgomery, as well as the Warriors reunion which allowed me to meet Facebook friend Michael Beck again, as well as David Harris. I really did enjoy meeting all of them, so thank you for helping to bring them,
Sean: No problem.
Johnny: I don’t know if you’ll be bringing any of your clients to Chiller this October, but if not, are you pitching ideas for the 2022 Chillers?
Sean: I’m not bringing anybody this October. I kind of knew Kevin was overwhelmed with all these postponements and cancellations. I felt, You know what? I’m just going to sit this one out and let him get caught up with everything. We’ll get back at it in April. I don’t have any real big plans at the moment. We haven’t discussed anything yet, but he’s a great guy to work with, and he always seems to be very receptive to my suggestions and ideas for guests. We work well together.
You know, one thing in this business that’s tough is trust with promoters. Unfortunately, one thing I’ve seemed to notice that’s happened with a few promoters is they start to get egos. I mean, hey, I have an ego, but I don’t let it interfere with my business. Some promoters let it interfere with their business, and make bad or poor business decisions based on their egos. That’s why I stay away from certain shows these days.
The conventions are about the fans. None of the fans who come to these conventions are coming to see the promoter, just like none of the fans are coming to see the booking agent. I book the celebrity into the show, and they’re coming to see the celebrity. Certain people, I’m not going to say who, just need to realize it’s about the fans and not themselves. Unfortunately, that kind of attitude ultimately hurts the fans. They don’t get the show they could’ve gotten. They could be a little more like Kevin from Chiller or Dave from Monster-Mania or Nathan from HorrorHound or Evan from Mad Monster. Their main goal is making the fans happy, and not trying to be the front-and-center focus of the event.
Johnny: That’s true. Speaking of Chiller, that show saw bomb scares happen in both October of 2018 and October of 2019. As I’ve asked several previousinterviewsubjects who attended those shows, how did you and your clients ride those threats out?
Sean: Well, it seems to me like somebody has a beef with Kevin. It’s clearly somebody just trying to disrupt the show. It’s almost getting to the point where we expect at every Chiller that it’s going to happen, you know? It’s more of a prank. Nobody really thinks that there’s a bomb scare, but unfortunately, they have to follow protocol when that happens.
They have to evacuate everyone, and it’s a big pain in the ass. I’m sure if they ever catch the person who’s doing this, they’re going to really regret it (laughing). Based on Kevin’s biker buddies and security there, I’ve got a feeling that if they caught the person doing it, they would not be walking away from that situation. They’d probably be taken out on a stretcher if they’re lucky.
Johnny: Yeah, throw down that hammer. Have you ever encountered any unusual events along those lines at other conventions besides Chiller?
Sean: As far as a bomb scare?
Johnny: Yeah, or things in that disruptive spirit.
Sean: Not too much, to be honest with you. It doesn’t happen very often. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. Usually they run smooth. The only thing I can think of that’s sort of close that’s happened a few times at shows, and it’s a little sketchy when it happens, is the lights going out. It’s usually somebody leaning against a power switch or something, but I think there was a time when a fuse blew or something. That’s the interesting thing with hotel ballrooms at convention centers. There’s usually no windows, so when the lights go out, it’s pitch-dark. That’s an interesting situation when it happens.
Johnny: I can definitely see that. Well, I hope that, whatever conventions we both go to in the future. neither of us will have to worry about disruptive events.
Johnny: On a lighter note, do you collect autographs yourself, and if so, which ones do you treasure the most?
Sean: I do. I used to be a massive autograph nerd. Now I’ve really toned it down a great deal. I mean, for the most part, I’ve got the bulk of what I want, but every once in a while…I’ll give you an example.
I rarely bring anything to get signed anymore at conventions. It’s a combination of two things. Part of me feels kind of like, “Okay, Sean. You’re the agent guy. You shouldn’t be running around trying to get autographs. It’s kind of not professional”. There’s a little bit of “Should I be doing this? How does that look?”, but for the most part, over the years I’ve gotten most of everything I wanted signed.
So rarely is there a guest I need on a piece, but it happens, like this past weekend at HorrorHound Cinncinatti. I brought in the two girls who are jumping rope in A Nightmare On Elm Street. They’re Tony Cecere’s daughters, and Tony was a stuntman on Nightmare On Elm Street. He did all the burns as Freddy Kruegger, running through the cellar and the basement, and on the stairs and on the mother, all on fire. That’s Tony Cecere.
He told me his daughters were the girls jumping rope at the end of the movie, and I was like, “Oh, my god. That’s pretty cool. I’m sure there’s lots of Elm Street fans who would love to get their signatures”. I set that up, and I thought to myself, “Well, there’s not going to be a big demand for them. I don’t know how many shows they’re ever going to do again”, and the fact that they live in Cincinatti, where the convention happened, was a perfect storm. They literally drove to the show.
I have a framed, signed Elm Street poster that’s always on my wall. I took it down and brought it out of the frame, and I brought it to the show specifically to the show to have those two sign it because they were two signatures I didn’t have on it when I had pretty much everybody else. Every once in a while, I break it out and add new names to it.
Johnny: That’s good.
Sean: Yeah. It’s funny. I’m looking at my upcoming schedule as I’m about to put my poster back in the frame. I was looking at the shows coming up randomly, and I noticed we’re doing this show, Fantasm, in Orlando, October 1st through the 3rd. That’s Fantasm with an F, and I noticed that one of the guests at the show is Mimi Craven. She was Wes Craven’s wife at the time, and she played the nurse in the dream center. I’m like, “Oh, I don’t have her. I might as well keep the poster out and bring it to Orlando now”, so I’ll get one more on there.
Johnny: Very cool. That does it for my questions. I again thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to speak to me. I look forward to who you’ll be bringing to Chiller next year, and perhaps we can get a picture, too.
Sean: Let’s do it.
Johnny: Alright. That’s all from me for now, so I hope you have a wonderful afternoon.
Sean: You, too. Take care, man.
Johnny: No problem. Bye.
I would again like to thank Sean Clark for taking the time out of his schedule to speak to me. For more about his work, you can visit his Facebook fan page.
Coming soon to the Flashback Interview are conversations with acclaimed dancer/actress Sandahl Bergman and Oscar-winning makeup artist Matthew W. Mungle, as well as a second interview with Shelley Michelle, where we’ll be covering some exciting new developments in her work, as well as some topics we didn’t have the chance to cover in our first interview.
Thank you as always for your time and support,