Lucien Eisenach: Dissecting a Master of Modern Horror. By Brian Kirst
Lucien Eisenach is one of the finest independent horror film actors currently working. His portrayal of a rampaging killer in Dead Clowns is spookily skilled and he most recently hit the blood speckled DVD shelves as Dissecto, a murderous clown, in Steve Session’s most recent gore-dream Tormented. In fact, Eisenach has a thumb torn creative history with Sessions dating back to the monster on the loose-kidnapping caper Malefic. Eisenach is funny, wise and on the move, but recently took some time out to answer some questions. So, smile kiddies – at least until the sadism starts!
Brian: Who were your first performing influences – Elvira doing the Rumba in Mistress of the Dark – Conan the Barbarian double features as the kid – The legless bum with the ukulele on the corner?
Lucien: John Travolta in Grease shaped me into the creature I am today. He was a sensitive, loving guy that hid behind his tough guy exterior and sang about his problems when no one was around and danced away his troubles when friends were around. I strive to bring a bit of Travolta to every role I portray. Not only in Grease, but Welcome Back Kotter; he was just kind of there. Didn’t seem as much like acting as just being. I try to just be.
Brian: In Dead Clowns you truly command the screen as the on the run murderer. Is there a certain place you have to get to in your head to create such intensity?
Lucien: I do kind of bring a bit of darkness to that character, huh? Well, I don’t have to dig to deep to find the inspirations for evil characters. It just comes natural. Mental instability runs in my family. It’s in there; I just have too much control over my own actions. In Dead Clowns, I was able to just let go and show off the anger that lives inside of me. Very therapeutic for me.
Brian: Were the weather conditions on Dead Clowns as wet as they appeared to be – and what was the most memorable part about making that film?
Lucien: There were some horrible storm scenes dropped in there and a few rainy days during filming, but most of the moisture came from someone off camera spraying water from hoses at me. The most memorable scene of filming for me was being dressed as a clown and devouring Eric Spudic’s innards! Nothing beats the smell of latex and a face full of fake blood. I had a blast digging into that!
Brian: What is the thing that makes you and director Steve Sessions such equitable creative partners?
Lucien: We are both way too laid back. It works out. He has great ideas and I try to push him to do them. He does everything on his movies, so he doesn’t have time to talk about character motivations and the “whys” of the plot; with that in mind, I just do what I feel should be done and if it’s horrible…sometimes he’ll tell me. We work well together because we see reality, not false glamours of movie making.
Brian: Malefic is a pretty kick ass-puppet creature, kidnappers on the run type film. What is your defining memory of working on that film – cold sets, late night working conditions, the desire to be filmed in color not black and white?
Lucien: Malefic was my first acting experience and it came to be when I met these strangers in a cabin in north Mississippi. It was creepy. People were late, the locals got concerned about the “Goth kids”, aka us, being in there town, we were followed by the cops, stopped by the cops, stalked by the locals, we “lost” our director for a while when he took an unannounced stroll through the woods. Things looked dim. Things were hectic. It was the most fun I’ve had filming thus far though, simply because we were all into the movie and trapped in the location together for days. Good times!
Brian: Any specific memories about working with low budget genre icons Lilith Stabs and Jeff Dylan Graham on Malefic?
Lucien: The first night of our stay at the cabin, Jeff and I were supposed to share a room, a room with bunk beds. We had both left our stuff on the beds. I saw underwear and freaked out thinking mine had fallen from my bag and went to grab them. Then, I realized that those were not mine, but Jeff’s and barely caught myself before making contact. We had similar taste in under gear apparently. Strange.
Also, the window in that room was closed, yet the drapes kept “blowing” open. I have no belief in the supernatural, but I slept on the couch that night.
Lilith, I remember was our fashion girl. I looked at her in envy of the determination she had to always create the perfect outfit for each scene. She has an eye for fashion.
Brian: How did you bring about the tormented characteristics of Dissecto in Torment while being virtually costumed beyond recognition?
Lucien: I actually researched the acts of many serial killers before shooting and even practiced the steps leading up to a murder using neighbors as faux victims. Stalked people through there daily routines until I figured out the perfect time to do the deed, and then backed down. It was a rush. Got the ol’ adrenaline pumping! – No. I lied. I just projected my hate through my eyes, out of that mask, and asked myself, “What Would Travolta Do?”
Brian: What was your favorite moment of working with co-star Suzi Lorraine (who puts up quite a struggle) in Torment?
Lucien: Suzi was a total doll and I loved being a part of “Torment” with her! The standout moment of shooting with her though was when the spit hood was removed from her head and she was supposed to spit in Dissecto’s face. I was being a trooper and figure we should just go for it. I ain’t afraid of no spit. Somehow, though, little miss spitfire got me right in the eye! The probability of having that kind of aim is ridiculously low, but she nailed it! Got a good laugh out of that though. I’d love to relive the filming of “Torment”! There was a good group of people involved with that movie.
Brian: All of Steve Sessions’ films seem to have a lingering, dreamlike quality. Where do you go to when you dream?
Lucien: I don’t ever remember my dreams. Sadly, I rarely sleep. I’m sure there are some crazy dreams happening through the night, but I’ll never know what they are. Day dreams though consist of me being an artist, musician, actor, and director and having festivals to applaud myself and my work, walking down long red carpets, and having the means to get what I need to fulfill my creative desires. It will never happen though if I keep daydreaming, so I shall try to not dwell on it too often.
Brian: Lastly – any words of advice (IE: Don’t look in the mirror if you’re afraid of turning into a psychotic clown at the end of the film) and/or future projects that you’d like us to know about? And thanks – this has been better than a hand crafted balloon monster!
Lucien: Advice: Have fun. If you can’t have fun doing what you are doing, then do something else. Don’t let people tell you what to do. Hold strong to your vision and create it out of whatever you have to work with. It’s better to have something flawed and complete, than to have nothing at all.
I just finished a short scene for Ruben Rox’s
Birthday Bash, have another Steve Sessions film, At the House of Madness, being released from Brain Damage films very soon, and have begun work on my next directorial experiment, tentatively entitled The Gore-geous Divine which will hopefully be a trippy gore filled psychological journey.