View Full Version : Interview with Tibor Takacs

10-24-2009, 07:44 AM
You asked and he answered. We recently spoke with genre director Tibor Takacs about his experiences directing THE GATE, GATE II, I, MADMAN and other films in his lengthy career. Here's the man, uncut, with answers to all the questions asked from forum members earlier this month. Enjoy!

You asked and he answered. We recently spoke with genre director Tibor Takacs about his experiences directing THE GATE, GATE II, I, MADMAN and other films in his lengthy career. Here's the man, uncut, with answers to all the questions asked from forum members earlier this month. Enjoy!

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/gate1987/gate_shot4s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/gate1987/gate_shot4l.jpg)

Horror Digital: What was it like working under the Canadian Tax Shelter?

Tibor Takacs: Such serious questions? The Canadian tax shelter at the time allowed some films to be made that otherwise may not have found funding. I won't mention any titles but I think we've all seen a few. This can be a good or bad thing. In our case I think it was good.

HD: How did Canadian productions differ from the Hollywood ones of the time?

TT: I'm no film historian but by the late 80's you would have had trouble identifying any significant production differences between shooting in Canada and the USA. Several widely distributed genre films had already been shot in Canada and met with box office success. The only aspect that may have significantly influenced the commercial outcome of Canadian films from the time were that if you wanted to get the maximum advantage of Canadian financing you had to cast a certain amount of Canadian actors. At that time there may not have been enough Canadian stars to go around. Distributors south of the Canadian border were reluctant to promote films without significant stars. This has changed over the years as distributors got smarter, the talent pool grew and the rules were changed.

HD: Do you think there is anything distinctly Canadian about The Gate films?

TT: It's more gentle, naturalistic tone may be a result of my European film influences having been raised in Canada by European parents who watched a lot of foreign films with subtitles. However at one point we did move to a small city and lived downtown next to several movie theaters. Here the whole family went on a diet of American pop culture. This lasted for several years; 2 or 3 movies a week. We'd see everything good or bad. I don't remember watching much television during this time. Maybe this eclectic mix of influences is typical for Canadian film makers and is what makes their films feel different to the seasoned film buff. Or maybe its the Canadian accent that can creep in every once in awhile. Nowadays as the cultures seem to get more homogeneous European films do not seem all that different as they once did.

HD: What's up with the original cast members of The Gate these days…do you ever see any of them? I heard Louis Tripp went to prison.

TT: Drugs, rape, murder which would it be? I don't know about Louis in prison but I don't think so. Stephen Dorff and I have tried to get together on projects but it hasn't worked out as yet. Christa Denton has either changed her name or left the business.

HD: Are you surprised that The Gate still lives on 20+ years later and has its fans?

TT: It's a good feeling that it's still on people's radar.

HD: How did Gate II come about? Did you spearhead the project, or were you brought in later? Did you want to do it?

TT: I didn't initiate it but if there was going to be a sequel I did welcome the opportunity to be involved.

HD: Will there ever be a Gate III?

TT: There is a 3D remake in the works, no more sequels for now.

HD: Were you influenced by pulp/noir films when deciding upon the visual style of I, Madman? If so, who or what were your biggest influences?

TT: I collected pulp fiction paperbacks in the late 70's and 80's. I was very much into film noir at the time. I, Madman gave me a chance to indulge my pulp urges. I used the garish, over the top cover art of the paperbacks as a starting point for the production design. Bryan England my cinematographer had a noir fetish as well and had studied the old masters.

HD: On the I, Madman set, what was it like working with obscure and now rarely seen talented actress Jenny Wright (of Near Dark and Pink Floyd's The Wall fame), and do you still keep in contact with her or the screen writer (who also wrote what me and many others feel is the dark & underrated A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge) as well? I have tried to find out more about her, and I would really love to know more about what it was like working on a project with her.

TT: I first saw Jenny Wright with her back to me sitting on a bench outside the casting office. I didn't recognize her. I observed her movements and gestures as she read over her sides. She was too far away for me to hear anything. I knew this is the girl I wanted to play Virginia. When I did meet her she seemed perfect for the role in every way. I was pressured to go with bigger names, but after seeing Jenny that day on the bench I couldn't see anyone else as Virginia. During production she was great to work with she always made interesting choices and kept her good humor. David Chaskin and I are friends and have a project we are developing together.

HD: Looking over it, how do you feel The Gate holds up? Do you feel the same way about Gate II?

TT: I prefer The Gate because its based on a solid script and there were no real compromises in its production. Even with some of its dated production design it still holds up as an entertaining film. Gate II was filled with things that were done because of budget limitations. Several things combined to mess with our plans: A major killjoy was the Canadian dollar shifting in value. It suddenly had gone up during prep and our budget had to be cut right before going to camera. The film was being paid for with American dollars. This combined with our overly ambitious plans made for a difficult production. But It does have many fun scenes.

HD: Being Hungarian, what was it like when you first came over here to North American shores, and started production(s) on your first English language speaking, Anglophonic movies?

TT: My English is not so good but was ok by the time I got to direct The Gate.

HD: Do you plan to show support of the new special edition DVD (and hopefully Blu-Ray in the future, may we ask for with a grin & some hope?) of The Gate with any genre film conventions here in North America? And if so, when & where with scheduled appearances'?

TT: I'll support anything I've done. I'll go anywhere there are people who love movies.

HD: Will we be seeing a special editions of Gate II and I, Madman in the near future?

TT: I have not heard any plans but MGM re-released I, Madman on DVD a few years ago.

HD: What are your thoughts on the remake?

TT: I hope they can revisit the enchanted tone we had in the first Gate. Knowing the realities of today's marketplace and the deal they set up, that might not be in the cards. I hope they remember that the concept of The Gate, the central idea of digging a hole in your backyard and unleashing demons, is a PG-13 idea meant for kids and any adults wanting to explore nostalgic scary feelings from their childhood. That may not fit so well in a movie aimed at an R audience.

HD: What's next for you?

TT: As always I've got several sci-fi projects cooking as well as a few personal projects to write and maybe direct and or produce.

HD: Comparing your older horror movies (The Gate I/II and I, Madman) and your newer ones (Mansquito, Ice Spiders), what are the main differences in approach to the material?

TT: My tastes have become more eclectic over the years and I'm more comfortable with adding different types of humor into the mix.

HD: The DVD of I, Madman is presented full frame; what was your intended aspect ratio for that film?

TT: It needs a letter-boxed version. Nobody shoots movies for 4x3.

HD: I thought H.P. Lovecraft might have been an influence on The Gate and I, Madman, did his work influence you at all?

TT: I read a lot of him when I was a teenager.

HD: How did you get into the movie making business?

TT: When I was 14 years old I started to try and tell stories with a camera. I had a big history project at school and my dad had just brought home one of the first home video cameras. It was an AKAI and the 1/4 tape was inexpensive. After that, I got a super 8 camera and the budgets got bigger. During college I started to work in theater and got a lot of support from the different Canadian Arts councils. Eventually I applied for film grants, made several experimental films and won some awards. I then made a short film that had a commercial sensibility. It won awards and was released theatrically, attracting more interest from Hollywood than Canada. So I started to visit Hollywood to promote my projects and eventually had to make the move.

That's it, folks. Thanks to Tibor for answering our questions and Lionsgate for supporting the whole thing.

10-24-2009, 07:53 AM
Excellent interview rhett!

I'm still hoping that Louis Tripp and Christa Denton pop up some day. I heard once that Tripp was working as a cartoonist.

And if Lionsgate does release this on Blu-ray sometime in the future, I'll forgive all of their past misdeeds. :evil:

10-24-2009, 07:54 AM
Great interview - He seems like a pretty cool guy and it was interesting to read his answers to some great questions.

10-24-2009, 10:27 AM
Awesome interview rhett my good man! And I counted three of my questions that were copied & pasted that he answered, so that was very nice of him. :D

Look's like I'll have to break down and order The Gate before Halloween. But seriously, this was really cool to see posted this very early morning. A big thanks to Mr. Takacs for answering all of our questions, once again. :) Hopefully, we'll have some more of these in the future (I hope I hope ;)).

10-24-2009, 04:30 PM
Very cool

10-24-2009, 09:53 PM
Nice interview Rhett!! Cool to see my question in there, and a good answer too :D

10-24-2009, 10:22 PM
Yeah, we need more interviews

10-24-2009, 11:51 PM
Great interview, rhett! Some very good questions there.

Richard Anthony
10-25-2009, 01:32 AM
That was Very Cool!! I wish I got a question in there but I must have missed this! I've always been a fan of Tibor Takacs and his Films!! Hey, no one asked him about Sabrina: The Teenage Witch!!:D I would love to see more Interviews like this!!

10-25-2009, 01:36 AM
wow, my question was in it! good review!

Erick H.
10-25-2009, 04:17 AM
Nice interview,he answered two of my questions too,cool.

10-25-2009, 07:27 AM
Nice read. Thanks to everyone who offered up such good questions. Gives this site a solid rep.