Episode 1: Sausage Making, Hollywood Style

Fade In

The “How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast” tells the story of Hollywood sausage making but from the sausage’s POV. It’s a story of outsized egos, misused power, wasted money and utter foolishness. Of bad behavior and even worse behavior. Of grown ups acting like inmates running the asylum. Of bullshit winning the day. It’s about dedicated film-makers and the larger-than-life impresarios they work for. It’s about what happens when craftspeople see their craft turn into crap.


Tales From The Crypt” was one of the HBO’s early hits. It put some of Hollywood’s biggest movie producers on TV via a TV series. Back in the 1990’s the feature world was the feature world and the TV world was the TV world. But Crypt brought the two worlds together to make an anthology based on the classic 1950’s horror comics published by EC Comics. The show had no standing sets or characters. Every episode was its own little feature film – with feature film stars.

A L Katz, the Crypt Keeper & Gil Adler – making movies instead of sausage

Alan Katz and Gil Adler joined the Crypt team after its second season. Crypt’s third season was supposed to be its last. But, Alan and Gil reinvigorated not only the Crypt franchise, they reinvigorated the Crypt Keeper, too. Before their first season as Crypt’s producers was over, HBO ordered more seasons of “Tales From The Crypt” sausage.

More success followed. Universal Studios ordered three Crypt branded feature films (more sausage still!). The Crypt team’s first feature produced the successful “Demon Knight” starring Billy Zane, Jada Pinkett-Smith and William Sadler. As the team prepared to make the second mandated Crypt feature, circumstances beyond their control suddenly conspired against them.


The team spent six months working on a psychological thriller script called “Dead Easy”. With Universal’s approval, they spent months in New Orleans finding locations and setting up shop.

But, three weeks before starting formal prep (the production schedule was tied to a Halloween release date a year away), Universal canceled “Dead Easy”. Instead, they handed the film makers a whole other script called “Bordello Of Blood” – with the very same production schedule. That meant they had three weeks to revise and then start shooting a script none of them had ever seen before.

What happened next – the production of “Tales From The Crypt Presents Bordello Of Blood” – would make a train wreck look tidy. It’s what happens when sausage making replaces Hollywood movie making. From the casting of its stars to the choice of shooting in Vancouver, every decision the creative team made backfired on them horribly. When you do things for all the wrong reasons, nothing good happens. You end up making a horror movie where the making of the movie is more horrifying than anything in the movie.

But, ultimately, “The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast” is really about a creative relationship – how it started, how “Bordello of Blood” ended it – and how a podcast – this one – rekindled it. Who says there are no happy endings?

But, as the song says, “Let’s start at the very beginning…”.

The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast, Episode One: “Fade In…”

21 responses to “Episode 1: Sausage Making, Hollywood Style”

  1. […] to include an episode like this when I laid out the podcast initially. I knew as I interviewed Gil Adler and Ed Tapia and Greg Melton and Victoria Burrows and Todd Masters and Colleen Nystedt (and Randall […]

  2. […] knew while we were making “Crypt” that it was a special experience. But, it wasn’t until we’d all had careers and lives […]

  3. […] First, Jason interviewed me for an episode of his podcast. Then, he asked if I was up for another interview – this one about “Bordello of Blood”. […]

  4. […] you’ve probably gained from listening to this podcast, working for Joel Silver was an adventure. So, if you like stories about Joel, you’re gonna love this […]

  5. […] tone in his head. Literally. Gil reached out to feature film composers. In part, that was because our mandate was “don’t look or sound like a TV show!” When we made Crypt, TV shows sounded one way and feature films sounded […]

  6. […] years ago, the creative team behind HBO’s hit horror series “Tales From The Crypt” set out to make three “Crypt” branded feature films for Universal Pictu… The first film out the gate – “Demon Knight” – was highly successful. But […]

  7. […] I was 14 when I first met Groucho. From the first moment I saw him and heard him, I wanted to be him. […]

  8. […] Blood” (I just wrapped season one – a season two is coming very shortly!), I grew up a movie nerd. I loved classic Hollywood movies. Adored the Marx Brothers and WC Fields. Laurel and Hardy’s […]

  9. […] you haven’t heard season one yet, we highly recommend […]

  10. […] creative process is entirely unpredictable. Even creatives who genuinely aspire to produce greatness every time out can’t predict that […]

  11. […] season one of “The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast, we spent a long, long, long time talking about […]

  12. […] this episode of “The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast”, we sit down with a master storyteller: writer/director/producer Steve de Souza. You may not know […]

  13. […] creative partner Gil Adler and I took over Crypt at the start of its third season on HBO. Season two had gone wildly over-budget ($1 million) so […]

  14. […] is our very good friend Todd Masters. We’re sure you remember Todd vividly from Season One of The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast. Todd became Tales From The Crypt’s permanent in-house effects guy starting season four. He […]

  15. […] the most delicious irony! Making Bordello Of Blood changed my life entirely in negative ways. That making a podcast about Bordello would have the opposite effect? Man, who is writing this […]

  16. […] to bury the bodies with ya – those are the people you want on your team. In this episode of The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast, we chat with our friend Ed Tapia (producer of “All American Homcecoming” – […]

  17. […] happened (because “Bordello Of Blood” happened instead – hey, there’s a whole terrific podcast about it that Entertainment Weekly called the “Best Film Podcast of […]

  18. […] and a movie – “Bordello Of Blood” – altered my course and my ability to stay on the mountain. I absolutely could have but […]

  19. […] voice of Roger Rabbit. He’s appeared – in human form – on TV and in movies since the 70’s. We worked with Charlie on “Demon Knight” – the first “Tales From The Crypt” branded horror movie. He plays Wally Enfield. It’s been […]

  20. […] rriving in Hollywood, Mike got work drawing storyboards for feature films and TV shows. Storyboards help directors articulate their vision. That work eventually led him to Tales From The Crypt. We’ll talk comic books and working at Marvel. Penciling vs inking. John Frankenheimer, Ninja Turtles and film noir among other things. And, did I mention that Mike won an Emmy for directing episodes of Spawn on HBO? And, of course, we’ll talk a whole lot of Tales From The Crypt. […]

  21. […] bit to try and collect myself. Home was Pikesville, a largely Jewish suburb northwest of Baltimore. My dad was a general surgeon. My mom was a housewife. Everyone in my neighborhood, in my friend group, in my family’s social circle was Jewish. The […]

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