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Interview : Drew Godderis on the re-release of L.A. Aids Jabber

‘Video’ classic L.A. Aids Jabber, released on Blu-ray this month in a super-duper special edition from boutique label Visual Vengeance, was a new breed of film at the time of it’s release. We spoke to director Drew Godderis about the resurrection of a low-budget nasty.

Was L.A. Aids Jabber a departure from what came before?

Well if you’re asking me if LA Aids Jabber was a departure in the context of ‘was there anything done prior with such a crazy scenario?’, I would have to say from the best of my knowledge , probably not. AIDS was very much in the headlines back then late eighties when I scripted the movie, and  continuing very early 90s when I filmed it.I think I may have been a little out of the box with this idea, but I was trying to get noticed,  and I am getting noticed 30 years after the initial home video release and I’m cool with that …finally .lol  thanks to Rob Hauschild and his great team at Wild Eye releasing … and his current new… brand new I should say Visual Vengeance Boutique label for shot on video movies like mine. Rob and his team have done a remarkable job at resurrecting this 30-year-old time capsule Freeze Frame movie that had almost no exposure, except very briefly in video stores  way back when, and now it’s being  released as a brand new film, which for all intents and purposes it is.We have bonus features in addition to the movie that are very lengthy, very in depth  giving you a wild behind a scenes look at what it took to make such a a movie that involved gorilla shooting some of the mishaps that happened.. it’s amazing we were able to get this movie made in the first place.  this was really run and gun movie making in it truest form

 

Were you a fan of horror movies growing up?

I was an equal opportunity enjoyment Seeker of all genres of movies I had a wide palate of Interests in just about any kind of movie being made,  including documentaries I remember, I especially liked the Twilight Zone series with Rod Serling… it’s amazing to me how he could come up with very scary scenarios but without too much blood.. I was  intrigued and impressed that he was able to hold stories together very cleverly.. with a minimum of violence in blood,. but saying that, I think blood is good too LOL

Do you remember your first scary movie?

Oh I think they were probably a couple of memorable ones that stood out …the creature which I think was somewhere around the mid 1950s, also Frankenstein of course, and  the classic  The Mummy!

Would you say L.A Aids Jabber is like any of the movies you watched growing up?

I would answer that with an unequivocal…no it does not…. I never planned to make. a movie… extenuating circumstances arose that precipitated leaving my acting career behind due  to the untimely death of my wife,  and I had to focus my efforts on raising my son which took me away from the acting, but I was happy to do that. Producing a film was a way for me to keep my foot in a very small way in the industry that I loved … and was hoping that this film might propel me to somewhat Greater Heights.. and here we are 30 years later.. Never Say Never….. I think this movie will be hopefully a permanent snapshot of what a panic situation like AIDS was during its initial stages, considering how it was basically a death sentence at that time with no medications to send it into remission or cure it.It’s a great look at Los Angeles 30 years ago, the hairstyles, the clothing and cars… a kinder, gentler, and more considerate Los Angeles of the past… the more calm and relaxed environment back then versus what’s going on now in 2022… in cases which feels like Mad Max Personified

Did you do anything special for the new physical re-release?

It has been completely remastered byWild  Eye and a beautiful thoughtful job  been done with new fresh box art, lots of add-ons like stickers the original box art is included in the DVD release, a pamphlet ..bonus material on the DVD …it is lengthy, and as I mentioned before almost as long as the movie itself.. I returned last year to Los Angeles and filmed a then and now segment with voiceover narration… revisiting locations where filming was done and comparing what they looked like then and currently in the summer of 2021…. some of the places are completely unrecognizable. I interviewed actors who were in the movie.Visual vengeance has done a remarkable job at piecing all the elements together to make this a a real standout” WOW” look at what went down with the AIDS pandemic and all the craziness surrounding it.  Also great  interviews on it,  with Jackie Kong who directed blood Diner, Jason Majik, the actor who portrayed Jeff Roberts…. an interview with my son Justin who was about three at the time we filmed …. portraying the son of the female Detective in the movie… too many things to mention….This movie  it really is a freeze frame of LA in the late 80s and early 1990s and all the panic that gripped not only Los Angeles but the rest of the world at that time

Thinking back did you have to learn to do anything special to make this movie?

Well some of it was new to me never having produced or directed a movie before.. there were a lot of things I learned in the process… some things that I would change now and other things that I think turned out okay. I think the big takeaway for me was that you can accomplish whatever you need to if you just put your nose to the grindstone,  believe in yourself and have very capable people on your team that will help you pull it off. I can’t think of any people that make movies that would look back in hindsight and say that they would do everything exactly the same.. we all learn something new and quite often it’s from the vantage point of standing on the mountain or the hill and looking back and thinking oh I could have done this..the “coulda shoulda wouda” syndrome  I think one very important take away for anybody watching this movie is that you can make a movie. The technology is there and now you can a movie with a telephone. That didn’t exist when I was making this movie you can literally make a movie with your phone,  you can edit it on your home computer you can make a box for a DVD  and you can  self release so the ability to become a producer/director is available to anybody now… that’s absolutely mind blowing as far as I’m concerned they have all these venues available for Creative fertile Minds

How do you think your movie differs from any other horror movies out there now?

Well that’s really subjective and in the eye of the beholder to determine that.  Every human being has a different opinion of what they like, some people may look at a movie and say oh it’s just like something else …others  may look at it and say holy crap what is this all about,…. well I guess it’s  all subjective , and I wouldn’t begin to consider my movie to be different with the exception that it is a time capsule of an event AIDS that was Earth shattering where countless lives were unfortunately lost .I would just call it the original OG pandemic In conclusion just let me say that I appreciate you asking me to do this interview…. I encourage everybody to pick up a copy of this movie, this is one that definitely should be added to your collection.

 

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