Maryland-born Jay Lind made his first film Sangre Songs in New York in 1990. During the shooting of the film, he met his first wife, Maria Petchukas, who starred in many of his films, including his 1998 version of Carmilla. Lind’s films tend to be quirky, erotic and consistently more intriguing than that of many of his contemporaries in the Indie horror field.
In addition to an array of issues pertaining to his filmography, Diabolique spoke with Lind about his new version of Carmilla,entitled The Bride Wore Red, which he is currently preparing to shoot in the Philippines.
DIABOLIQUE: Your first film was called Sangre Songs (aka Valerie). Tell us what inspired it.
JAY LIND: Sangre Songes wasn’t so much inspired as just happened. I had intended to raise money to shoot Valerie (which I did, finally, in 2002). I shot a bunch of footage to cut some proof of concept trailers and, while I was unsuccessful in raising the budget for Valerie, I was successful in getting a bunch of interest. So I just cut the footage together into a 20-minute vampire short. No dialogue. Just a bunch of surreal images and action scenes. Again, since I had the footage, it was solely for attention. I do believe that attention is as good as money… Sometimes.
DIABOLIQUE: You met your future wife on the production. She soon became your muse. It sounds as though your relationship was complex. What was Maria like?
JL: Maria was the most beautiful, mercurial, self destructive force of nature I have ever come across. She was damaged, and yet the most talented actor I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I was enabling her. I loved her tremendously, but I was unable to help her. She was intent on hurting herself and everyone around her got caught in the whirlwind. Wherever she may be now, I harbor her no ill will.
DIABOLIQUE: You had previously made a version of Carmilla in 1998 starring Maria. How is your new adaptation, The Bride Wore Red, different?
JL: Carmilla was about the relationship between the immortal vampire and her descendent. Maria played both roles. It took almost three years to shoot, with Maria being hospitalized in psych hospitals several times, so the story got muddled. It became a series of stalking situations. Very good action sequences and attacks, but I lost the story. Still some great images though. Bride is structured more along the lines of the classic Hammer movies. A couple on their honeymoon get stranded in the woods, see a big house in the distance, walk to it… and wackiness ensues. Visually, it’s much more like the Jean Rollin vampire movies I love so much. Surreal imagery, languid, beautiful naked women… As a fan of both Hammer and Rollin, this is what I always wanted to see. So, I suppose, they (Carmilla and Bride) are from two different subgenres of horror.
DIABOLIQUE: Who are the stars of The Bride Wore Blood? Why is it being produced in the Philippines?
JL: The stars are Irene Paquibot as Carmilla, and Jessa Mae as Jenni. Jasmine Creolle was originally going to play Jenni (The Bride), but her school requirements have forced me to move her to a smaller role. Reena Rollenas plays “Rita” and Elektra LeTigre (proof that I should never let the actresses make up their own screen names!) portrays the White Lady, a famous Filipino mythical character. The husband is played by H. Jaymes Boteler. All the primary cast are students or former acting students of mine. We are producing in the Philippines for a number of, all very good, reasons. One is that this is where I am. It will be at least another year before my wife can go to the States. We are also taking care of her niece, and I cannot imagine the life she would have without our care and support. Another excellent reason to shoot here is financial. So much can be done less expensively here, so most of the budget gets on the screen. The final, truly cool reason, is that this country is overstocked with incredibly beautiful women, who can be taught how to act.
DIABOLIQUE: You have said that your cinematic influences are the vampire films of Jean Rollin and Hammer. Which of their films particularly influenced you?
JL: With Hammer, the obvious answers: the Frankenstein and Dracula series and the Carmilla movies, especially Vampire Lovers and Twins of Evil. The Amicus films too, I’ll lump them in with Hammer, why not? I loved the Rollin Vamps, Viol and Requiem were faves because I saw them first. But there are incredible sequences in all of them. I wish he had allowed the story to dictate the action, rather than the images. I believe he could have still included those incredible images without sacrificing the plot, or the characters.
DIABOLIQUE: Where are your previous films available?
JL: Well, SRS is doing a limited edition of Carmilla. That should be fun. A lot of them have fallen off the face of the Earth. Draculina Cine carried everything I had done, but not so much in the last few years. Some friends have told me they bought To Dance With Death on DVD from SRS, so they obviously have some of them. I can’t find Night of the Cat anywhere. We are looking into doing re-releases, investing in the DVD burner and setting up a YouTube Channel and an online store.
DIABOLIQUE: Where and when will The Bride Wore Red be available?
JL: Where is an excellent question. I’ve reached out to a number of genre distributors, and they are all interested, so we will compare offers when the time comes. Some of the distributors we’ve talked to have connections with cable, so that does influence the decision. When? Well, we plan to shoot in August/September for principal photography, and we will do post September/November… After that, it’s up to the distributor. We hope for Spring 2015.