Shut Up Kids #85: Motivational Growth (2013) Shut Up Kids #85: Motivational Growth (2013)
Shut Up Kids interview Jeffrey Combs, talk about the film "Motivational Growth" and interview actor James Wilder about his film "Three Holes and a... Shut Up Kids #85: Motivational Growth (2013)

Hey, hey everyone,

We have a jam-packed show this week! We mostly talk about the horror film Motivational Growth but we also interviewed one of the stars of that movie, Jeffrey Combs! You can read some of the interview below or if you want to hear the whole thing, click the play button below! We talk more about Motivational Growth but also about Re-Animator, From Beyond, Star Trek, H.P. Lovecraft, his favorite roles, horror vs. science fiction, and much more.

We also interviewed actor James Wilder about his starring role in the indie film Three Holes and a Smoking Gun!

The Wilder interview starts at the 7:11 mark and the Combs interview starts at 29:02.

All that and a special guest host, Slate!


Dan & Nick

SUK: First off, Re-Animator just turns 30 years old this year. I know you just did a great reunion for that in celebration. It’s such an iconic horror movie, what does it feel like to reflect back on that after 30 years?
JC: Well, first of all, it’s pretty surreal to think that it is thirty years ago because so many of my memories of that experience are still crystalline and fresh. And it just doesn’t seem right. Like some alternate universe. I can’t quite wrap my head around it. However, we just went to Horrorhound and I was thrilled that Bruce Abbott was attending. He doesn’t do a lot of conventions and we just fell right back into our ridiculous rhythm. And I had a blast just hanging with “Dan Cain” again. He has remained a great friend of mine, even though we don’t see each other that much. It was like a homecoming for me. It was really great. We were kind of like our characters. We were kind of stuck at this convention because if we wanted to get something to eat it wasn’t so easy. So here we were, in a predicament together, but solving the problems and doing the work.

SUK: In Motivational Growth you play a life coach of sorts only, you’re a fungus.
JC: Yes, the strangest life coach you could probably have. I am mold. I am THE Mold. The premise of the movie is that there is a depressed young man who hasn’t left his apartment in a year and a half. His apartment is filthy because he hasn’t bothered to clean it. He decides to off himself because his TV breaks because there is nothing else to live for. He fails at his attempt at suicide, hits his head and when he wakes up, The Mold, that has been growing in the corner of his bathroom begins giving him life advice and he kind of follows it. It’s the strangest, psychedelic, most bizarre, nonlinear, film that I have ever been in. But great words, man. I’m riffing off with a lot of beautiful, colorful dialogue. So I’m basically a voiceover, but there is a hell of a lot of it. I was just really pleased when the director heard my voice in his head and asked me to do it. Just some really rich dialogue and I had a great time doing it. I’m not sure I understand what the movie is about. That’s for others to decide.

SUK: Now you’ve done some other voiceover work before. You’ve done cartoons and some videogames. But how did this work? Were you on the set feeding lines and then do a voiceover later?
JC: No, not at all. Before Don [Thacker] shot a frame of film, he acquired my services. The movie was made in Chicago and he flew out to L.A. I helped him find a good recording studio and we just went into the recording studio and I’m in the booth and he’s outside the glass. We recorded it over two days and the great thing is that he was wise enough to bring the actor who plays the young man with him. So my timing was so much aided by the fact that this kid was feeding me lines. So it helped me, instead of saying lines in reaction while in a vacuum, I had someone to play off of. And it helped him, because once they went back to Chicago and started shooting it, they used my best takes to use as a running dialogue that he could time in real time. So it helped the overall performance for him and for me. So that was a really, really smart thing for the director to do. To know that actors need that. Acting is reacting. So that was really helpful.

It’s the strangest, psychedelic, most bizarre, nonlinear, film that I have ever been in.

SUK: Did you base the character of The Mold off of anyone or was there a specific inspiration for how you played it?
JC: The dialogue and the rhythms and the images really made me feel like it was something out of the late 50s/early 60s before hippiedom came and had everyone kind of slooooooow dowwwwwn. There was this sort of jacked-up vibe where you had a hot car and cigarette hanging out of your mouth. Just braggadocio and confidence mixed in with a little but of beatnik. So I went with that kind of feel and that’s how Don heard it too. 

SUK: Motivational Growth is a unique movie. And I can tell that it takes a lot of inspiration from those cool horror films from the 80s. Is there anything that you would best compare this to?
JC: I don’t know if it’s comparable to anything, quite frankly. This movie is so unique. It’s almost like the dark Yoda. Even the fact that it’s mold. There is something very primordial about that. The first living organisms on this earth were probably lichen and mold and not highly evolved organisms. So there is something really earthy about this idea about making mold be the one giving out sage wisdom. You can’t tell if The Mold is a good guy or a bad guy. Is his advice correct? Or is his advice meant to destroy Ian or uplift him. It’s kind of a mixed thing and one of the things I like about the movie. What happens at the end? I’m not quite sure.

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