The Thrill of it All
Q & A with Michael Huck Producer
Q: Since decades you are producing thriller and horror films with beautiful heroines being kidnapped, bound, gagged and tortured. What horrible events did influence you to make such pictures?
M-H: Well, I think you can blame Diana Rigg, Maureen O´Hara, Karin Dor and some other actresses in the first place. I remember watching at a very young age - maybe 7 or eight - that extraordinary episode "The Gravediggers" of the British tv series THE AVENGERS and I was blown away. Mrs. Peel is catpured by some villains and she is bound and gagged twice in that unbelievable leather suite, in the first scene the villains stand around her and discuss how they will kill her and the helpless bound and gagged Mrs Peel struggles in her bonds and in the other scene she is tied to railroad tracks in the old fashioned silent movie style. Very impressive. I´v e read on fan pages that this scenes had quite an impact on a lot of fans. The next thing I remember is Mauree O`Hara in Alfred Hitchcocks JAMAICA INN . The great Charles Laughton had the pleasure to kidnapp her and bind and gag her in the great finale. This scene also seem to have a great impact on lots of people including the artist STANTON who in one of his comic book stories used a drawing of O´Hara in that scene. There is obviously something about this damsel-in-distress storylines and it seems also to have had a certain impact on the actress Maureen O´Hara herself as in quite a few other movies she had bondage scenes or scenes in which she is beaten up and even spanked. The kidnapping and bondage scenes in O´Hara movies became step by step more colorful and violent, sometimes a variation of earlier scenes. Take that scene in THE BLACK SWAN when she is kidnapped and bound and gagged by Tyrone Power, it´s a variation of the scenes with Laughton in JAMAICA INN but from movie to movie she had to fight against more and more villains who overpower her and tie her up. And this happened in movies with different co-stars, directors aqnd writers. When I watched those two there was a tv-system with 3 channels, no video, no dvd, you watch it and it´s gone. For years those scenes stayed in my mind, I really was quite impressed. The one day there was "Der Schatz im Silbersee" with thtat unbelievable beautiful Karin Dor who managed to have more scenes in that movie in which she is tied up than scenes in which she is free and I realized soon Ms Dor made quite a couple of western, thriller and horror movies and she is always captured and tied up. At that point I knew, when I am grown up. I want to make pictures with beauitiful heroines being bound and gagged.
Q: What is so special about Bondage scenes in thriller and horror movies? It´s a matter of fact that inb movie History Bondage plays an imortant part in the old Universal Horror movies, of course the Republic Serials and even James Bond movies and of course many tv series.
M-H: Exactly. I think Bondage scenes are an integral part in horror movies and thrillers. Those scenes in which the heroine is captured and bound and gagged at the mercy of some maniacs is kind of a nightmare that everyone is afraid of. One rule is also that it is ALWAYS the most beautiful actress in such movies who finally get captured and bound and gagged or tied to a torture rack or like Mrs Peel to the railroad tracks. Those scenes are also perfect for that kind of fairy tale fantasies when the White Knight in shining armor comes along to the rescue like James Bond in Dr. NO.
Q: Certainly. But what is very obvious in those movies and tv series is that the women are no helpless damsels in distress but like Emma Peel very tough women who can fight.
M-H: Yes, that was a clever thing to do. Linda Stirling who played in some of the best Reublic Serials once said that she earned her living by being beaten up, tied up, gagged and thrown from horses. On the other hand she played characters who can shood and fight in one serial she carried a whip and did beat up many villains. So like many comic book heroines like Wonder Woman there was a sadistic and masochistic element. You have that in many comic books, Lois Lane in Superman is quite a tough girl but very often she is tied up, gagged and put in deadly traps and always looks hilarious.
Q: So comic books and movies and tv series did influce you a lot?
M-H: Yes, sure. I read the Superman comic books especially because of the Lois Lane character who always gotr somehow in trouble and I became an instant fan of Marstons WONDERWOMAN . WonderWoman in fact was the ideal character, a very beautiful superheroine who spent most of the time being bound and gagged and tortured. Quite interesting. Marston was a genius to get away with this. I lager discovered John Willie who was also a genius in his own right. Stan Lee and Marvel provided us with a couple of beautiful women like Sue Storm, Gwen Stacy, the Scarlett Witch. When I finally started shooting my own stories, especially the Unhappy End! series I realized how important it is to have actresses in those stories who ARE as beautiufl as those heroines in ther comic books or in the Republic Serials.
Q: Was it difficult to cast those and find the right actresses?
M-H: I started producing in the late 1980s that was a very good time for shooting independent. SVHS and Hi 8 and shortly after the first Digital HD camcorders were on sale and that changed a lot in independent filmmaking. The first shorts I made were on 16mm and to shoot on 16mm you had spent much money and 35mm was even much more expensive. I never could have financed that. But with a Panasonic SVHS and two editing recorders and an Amiga you spent around 6000 - 8000 USD and you had a perfect little studio to shoot on SVHS and distribute on VHS, later on DV and DVD. I later learned that Robert Rodriguez started with even less expensive equipment. Till the 80s you had to have a tv station or a movie studio backing you. With the new Camcorders and computer systems anyone can be a filmmaker. The technical side is now affordable for almost everyone, what you need is ideas. And of course talent. I was fortunate to start in the late 1980s and early 1990s producing the first Unhappy End! episodes and at that time many new tv channels started with new programs and they needed talent and suddenly there were many beautiful models and young actresses around and the chance was great then if you hired an actress one or two years later she would be featured in a tv series. I was lucky to have worked with a couple of young actresses who were on their way up when I worked with them and I also knew I had to hire some already wellknown names to attract more viewers. As the technical side of producing became very reasonable with the new camcorders I had some money left I could invest in talent and hiere some actresses who were already well known, I could not hire them for 3 or 4 weeks like a tv channel but I had the money to hire them for 3 or 4 days. That´s how it started. And after we released the first VHS with the first couple of episodes of the Unhappy End! series we had some wellknown actresses like Katja Bienert in it along with some new beautiful models and actresses of whom some became famous.