Up first is Jules Brenner, the Director of Photography.

1- How did you get involved with "Return of the Living Dead"?

My work on previous horror genre films had a lot to do with it, notably "Salem's Lot" for Warners TV.

2- What was it like working with Dan O'Bannon? Would you work with him again? What do you think of him, both professionally and personally?

At its best it was a highly creative experience to work with a director who had written such an original work and who so firmly pre-visualized what he wanted to see on screen. In many instances he was very generous with me on the creative level and I felt he appreciated my contribution to his film. I'd work with him again in an instant.

3- Which cast members were the easiest to work with? Which were difficult?

They were all great. You had consummate professionals like James Karen and a crew of newcomers who were industrious in doing the very best they could. It was a real team effort to get behind what we all understood was a very unusual undertaking in the horror genre.

4- Of all the work you've done, how often are you asked about ROTLD?

Lately it's jumped to the top of the list in terms of inquiries and general interest.

5- Can ROTLD fans send you things to autograph? If so, how would you like the process to be handled?

Anyone who might want a signed memento can order the reproduction of the production slate. I'll be glad to sign it upon request. It costs $29.95 (helps to defray the cost of maintaining the site) and is available at http://variagate.com/livddslt.htm

6- How proud are you of your work on ROTLD? Is there anything you would've liked to have done differently?

I feel it's a very good example of my work when you take everything into consideration, not the least of which includes working under a tight schedule and limited budget. While I might look at a scene and think, "gee, maybe I should have done x or y" I only have to remind myself that creative decisions you make on the set are almost always dictated by the circumstances, the opportunities and the guidance of your aesthetic sensibilities. The reality is, you live by those decisions. As for being proud of it, while I might not be equally proud of every frame, I'm quite pleased with the look of the film as a whole and think I accomplished what I set out to do and was capable of.

7- What was the general mood on the set? Did you find it a difficult or easy environment to work in?

As I recall, there was a high level of morale, for the most part, and I think we all enjoyed what we were doing and the artists we were collaborating with. I wouldn't describe this production as particularly "difficult" or "easy". It was, however, challenging, and that's what makes it gratifying. The main thing for me is to be able to apply my work to good material.

8- Are you happy that, after many years, ROTLD is *finally* being re-released on home video?


9- What did you think of ROTLD the first time you watched the completed film?

I watched it with the producers and backers and one of the great joys of that moment was showing them that what they had was a highly unusual horror film in the way it handled the comedic aspects without rendering it into a simple spoof. This elite audience laughed in all the right places and their estimation of the project rose. My personal thoughts were in evaluating how well our creative decisions worked for the film and their reactions certainly put me in a good frame of mind.

10- Do you enjoy hearing from ROTLD fans? Any funny/odd experiences you could share?

It's a very pleasant surprise to see the support this film has generated and the interest in seeing it the way I photographed it. I always felt there was an audience for it but you never anticipate such a widespread and faithful one. I guess that's the thing that makes a film a cult classic and I certainly have no objection to this film reaching that status.

11- What is your creative process like?

To reduce it to the essentials: I bring my sense of what is beautiful photographically, and my feeling for movement and composition to the service of the story and the director's vision.

12- Since ROTLD was filmed in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, has it been frustrating that the majority of people have only seen it in 4:3?

It would be if I weren't realistic about the media in which people see films. Remember that while filming we're protecting the area for 4:3 (TV release). Filmmaking is a business that provides the opportunity for creativity so you can't ignore the TV marketplace. Core filmgoers who care, as many of the fans of this film have proven, will continue to value the primary composition and see it in that format.

13- Are you happy that next year's DVD from MGM will finally present the film in it's OAR?

That's one of the great virtues of the DVD medium and I'm very pleased that the film as I composed it will be available on a mass scale.

14- Were there any shots that were difficult to compose?

As I recall, the helicopter scene was one of the more challenging, in terms of special effects and illusion.

15- How much visual information do we lose on the 4:3 version of ROTLD?

When you cut off the sides of a composition you lose frame integrity and balance. Certain kinds of shots suffer more than others and no pan and scan techniques make up for that. With some scenes, when you cut off the sides you don't have what a cinematographer would call "composition". I'd refer to it as "marketing compromise".

16- Have you seen the 2 sequels to ROTLD? If so, what did you think of them?

I haven't.

17- Finally, what are you working on now? Any projects we can look forward to in the near future?

No current projects.