The Halloween Horror Party | 10.16.10

If you’re a fan of the movie The Lost Boys, this Saturday could be a memorable kickoff to your Halloween festivities. 

 
 
 
On October 16th, St. Louis horror fans have yet another reason to howl at the moon. Dave Dyer and Dyer Straits Productions will be presenting the Halloween Horror Show with Brooke McCarter and Billy Wirth from the granddaddy of vampire flicks, The Lost Boys, as well as G Tom Mac, composer and performer of “Cry Little Sister” from the movie’s soundtrack. If you’re a fan of the movie, this Saturday could be a memorable kickoff to your Halloween festivities. I spoke to G Tom Mac and Brooke McCarter on the phone recently, and they filled me in on all the cool stuff they’ve been up to.
 
Kicking off our PLAYBACK:stl Halloween Horror interview is G Tom Mac, who talked about everything from working with Eminem and Roger Daltrey to discovering music composition via Audrey Hepburn.
 
You seem to have so many projects going on all the time. What’s new on your plate?
 
I just scored a movie called Emerging Past, which comes out next year, and I also have three songs in the film. Actually, it just won Best Horror feature in the NYC International Film Festival, which is a really good sign. So besides scoring, I go out and do gigs. And I’ve been in the studio recording my next album, which will come out in 2011. I mix that up with writing songs for TV, so I keep very busy.
 
It’s a wonder you find time to sleep. How did all of this start?
 
Well, I’d like to say it was accident, but that’s not really the case. To make a long story very short, I came out to L.A. and had the good fortune of having people like Cameron Crowe come out to my gigs. That led to having songs in Fast Time at Ridgemont High, and then All the Right Moves and Jerry Bruckheimer’s Defiance. Later, I moved back to New York and that’s when I met Joel Schumacher, who wanted me to write the theme song for a movie he was about to shoot called The Lost Boys. That’s when I came up with “Cry Little Sister,”—from reading the script.
 
Is that the way you usually work? I know many composers have to wait [to write any music] until they see actual footage.
 
I thought the script was really great, and that was the first time I wrote a song without looking at the film first. I never get tired of hearing from fans about how much the song means to them. I don’t know if I would have been able to write that song or if it would have turned out the same way if I had seen the movie first.
 
Speaking of “Cry Little Sister,” Eminem samples the song on his new album, right?
 
Yeah, it was totally unexpected. Months ago, I got a call [telling me] that his engineer wanted to sample “Cry Little Sister” in one of the songs. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. Then they called in to license the song from my publisher, and it became a reality. 
 
The pieces you do for film are very stylistically diverse. Whose work do you appreciate, from a composer’s perspective?
 
Wow, you know, I love the sort of big orchestrations used in The Godfather films and Goodfellas, not to go too far down gangster road or anything. I also like how certain songs are used, though. You might think I’m crazy, but I remember being a young kid and seeing Breakfast at Tiffany’s on television, and I just thought it was my parents’ kind of music in there, you know? But there was something about the song “Moon River” that made me think about how cool it must be to create a piece of music that works so well with the movie you’re seeing. Of course, it has gone on to become a classic.
 
You were a very observant kid to notice that.
 
(Laughs) Well, you have to remember, I was probably around eight years old. But if you begin to appreciate that stuff when you’re young, then when you become an artist, you can give yourself the tools to run the gamut and paint in broad strokes. That’s the great thing about music; you can show different sides of yourself, if you have the inclination to do so.
 
Were you a fan of horror films growing up?
 
Well, I liked the original Frankenstein and I love Young Frankenstein, even though that’s more comedy-horror. Ever since I was a kid though, I was very intrigued by vampires, particularly in those great Christopher Lee vampire movies. I always liked how they were kind of dark and explored the good and bad in all of us.
 
And vampires are huge now, so it’s a great time to rediscover The Lost Boys.
 
You know, we’re living in dark times, and it’s interesting how the vampire has really become a lot more popular in culture. There’s also something very sensual about the idea of the vampire, and of course there is something comical about it as well. That’s one of the things that I found attractive about The Lost Boys.
 
That The Lost Boys has a cool sense of humor?
 
When I first read the script, I couldn’t get over how clever it was to mix the horror and comedy. I wondered how Joel Schumacher would be able to pull that off in the film, and obviously he did it incredibly well.
 
What was it like working with the legendary Roger Daltrey?
 
It was terrific, and he’s been a friend of mine for a long time. He was on The Lost Boys soundtrack, but we never met at that time. His daughter became obsessed with “Cry Little Sister” and was playing it around the house all the time. Roger wanted to know who wrote the song, and he tracked me down and got in touch with me. We got on really well, and I wrote some songs for an album he did called Rocks in the Head. It’s interesting writing for one of your idols, but very cool.
 
I know you haven’t done too many conventions. What do you like about them?
 
Seeing the enthusiasm that comes from fans of both the movie and of the song—it’s just very intriguing and gratifying. When I’m on the road I don’t have a chance to hang out with fans that much, but at a convention I can meet everybody and sign autographs. Plus, people that come to the convention and only know the song from The Lost Boys can get turned on to my other music and discover other records I’ve done. It’s great.
 
Next up is the lost boy that all the girls would have gladly given up their necks for back in the day, Brooke McCarter. We spoke about the legacy of The Lost Boys, his passion for music, and his friendship with the late Corey Haim.
 
Everyone knows you from The Lost Boys of course, but you’ve got some new stuff cooking too, right?
 
Yeah, definitely. I dropped out of the business for a long time and moved to Florida. Last year, I went back into the minor leagues, so to speak, and had a good time doing a couple of films. One is a comedy and one is a horror-thriller directed by the legendary, iconic father of gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis. He came out of retirement to write and direct at 85 years of age. It’s a comedy-horror spoof of game shows, and I play the host of this show called, “The Uh-Oh Show” [also the film’s title]. I had a blast with it. That’s going to be released really soon, and Herschell’s got a huge cult following.
 
You also worked on a film that G Tom Mac scored recently, correct?
 
Yeah, that’s a movie called Emerging Past, which is going to be screening at The Spooky Empire Freakshow Horror Film Festival. It has a lot of horror icons in it, people that have played Jason, some guys from Fright Night and a new scream queen who did a terrific job, named Krista Grotte. I play this boozing, womanizing jerk that I tried to make a likeable, and it turned out really good. It’s a great script.
 
Besides diving back into acting, you’re branching out into music as well?
 
I’ve really been enjoying doing this music tour with G Tom Mac, where we do this unplugged, sort of “VH1 Storytellers” [type of] show. I’m on djembe [drums] and he’s on acoustic, and we play songs from the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s and mix it up with a Q&A session. We do a vampire culture, ‘The Lost Boys versus Twilight’ thing and a “Where Are They Now” segment about icons from the ‘80s. It’s a really good time.
 
G Tom Mac had a lot of nice things to say about you. He told me you’re a really talented musician.
 
Well, I’ve been playing drums since 1975—entered all of the talent contests, had a record deal in the ‘80s, the whole thing. I had a big funky band with a brass section and played all the clubs, did all those things. It’s nice to have a resurgence and take it to the people again and play live and raw.
 
Were there any horror movies that lit you up when you were a kid?
 
The one that I always come back to is the original Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis. That was probably my favorite.
 
Looking back on it all these years later, how do you view The Lost Boys now?
 
Oh man, looking back, I can’t believe that I didn’t pay more attention to how cool it was and try to parlay it into something else. I can’t even believe that we can talk about it. There are so many films that go by the wayside, and here we are talking about it. 
 
Fans of the film never gave up on it.
 
I’ll tell you, horror fans are the best, and they’re the most loyal fans you can ask for. And God bless Joel Schumacher for getting it done, doing it right and having such a great touch for adding humor to the horror. It launched Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jason Patric and Jamie Gertz. Working with Ed Herrmman and Dianne Wiest and Bernard Hughes—we just didn’t have any idea what we were making or that we were working with these amazing people.
 
Any fun behind-the-scenes stories you can share?
 
Well, you know we were shooting nights. So you start work at 6:00 at night, and work ends at 6:00 or 8:00 the next morning. It got to be a really hectic schedule, and Joel wanted us to be method actors, so we never came out in the daytime. They even painted the windows black in our hotel rooms. Warner Bros. took over the Holiday Inn and they had 500 rooms that were all taken by cast, crew, executives, everybody. It was the time of your life.
 
You mentioned the late Corey Haim, is it correct that you managed him for awhile?
 
We had been friends for a long time—since he was 14. I was kind of fading out of acting, and there was a time in the ‘80s where he was just trying to make decisions and we joined forces for three movies that we took to the big screen. They were good years. He finished License to Drive and we went straight into Dream a Little Dream, Prayer of the Rollerboys and the Fast Getaway movie. They weren’t big box-office successes, but he still did a great job. He was a great actor, and it’s a shame that in Hollywood you have to be so careful about what you choose and what you do. It’s all in front of you so quickly, you know? But I love my little brother, may he rest in peace, and we still pay homage to him in our live show.
 
I asked G Tom Mac this question, what has your experience been like, doing these conventions?
 
Any of the fans that have ever met me will attest, I go into overdrive at these conventions, I really do. I make sure I’m hugging and kissing everybody in the entire room. I’m so astounded, because my life is pretty boring compared to these events, which are so amazing and so refreshing. We’ve had a blast, and bringing the musical element with G Tom Mac into it, we get to really see the fans groove. I give everything I’ve got, and I’m very grateful. | Jim Ousley
 
The Halloween Horror Show featuring The Lost Boys’ Brooke McCarter, Billy Wirth and G Tom Mac will take place on Saturday, October 16, 2010 at The Firebird.
Tickets are $55 in advance at www.con-tamination.com or www.firebirdstl.com, and include autographs on up to 3 items by each actor from 6-8 pm, the live performance by G Tom Mac and Brooke McCarter, a screening of The Lost Boys and a Q&A session.

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