JOANN THOMAS & MIKE THOMAS -Bringing the FAN in ‘ FANtastic Horror Film Festival ‘

JoAnn & Mike Thomas  Interviewthomascouple


1) Heard you were kind of tricked into loving HORROR, how so? And now?

I can’t say that I was tricked into liking horror. I come from a family of avid readers and I have always been a big fan of Stephen King. As a reader I have been creating my own movies in my head for years. I am also fascinated by the type of television shows that shed light on the psychological issues that serial killers and sociopaths use to justify what they do to others. In most of these shows they delve into the gory details more so than they have in the past so the jump to enjoying horror movies was a little something like doing the time warp in Rocky Horror. For me it is all about a good story, good character development, and the surprise. I want to have some kind of feelings for the characters, be they good or bad and I don’t want to figure out what is gonna happen before it is time.

2) You remind us so much of BJO TRIMBLE, who saved Star Trek: TOS from cancellation, Think you might do same with HORROR?

My goal is to bring Indie horror to the big screen in a big way. These films need to be seen on the big screen in order for the fans to come together and find that common bond that sharing your passion brings to you and those around you. Watching Indie Horror on your TV or computer is fine if you cannot afford to go to the movies, but unfortunately, even if you can afford to go to the movies you won’t see these movies in your average movie theater. They don’t get the endless publicity that the major studios give their movies and are dependent on smaller film festivals to gain a following. By introducing a 3 day festival with at least 30 Indie Horror Movies to be to the horror fans in San Diego I hope to create a venue that will help some of these filmmakers explode on to the scene in a unique and wonderful way. I encourage our filmmakers to plan to come to San Diego for the full 3 and a half day event. Meet the fans, network with other filmmakers and have a great time while they are at it. Will it save Horror? Who knows, I don’t think horror will go away anytime soon, but I hope to bring new life into these new exciting Indie Horror Movies by bringing them to the viewing public.

3) Really think San Diego can do for Horror, what it did for Comic Books?

If we keep our focus, who knows what San Diegans are capable of . . . I doubt that when ComicCon started that they ever thought it would become the International Event that it is today.

4) So now you have podcast interviews, press coverage …You ready for Halloween 2014?

We have a long way to go before Halloween 2014 comes around. A lot of planning still in the works and keep getting new folks to join us in our vision of what this film festival is and where we want to take it in the future. As Mike would say ~ We want to own Halloween in San Diego. We want to enhance the Halloween experience for every one; from the hard core horror fans to those horror fans who keep their love of horror in the closet, and everyone in between. We want everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy our FANtastic Horror Film Festival featuring the best of Indie Horror.

5) Top 3 BEST films, Top 3 WORST films?

Best Horror Films ~ Exorcist, The Shining 1980, and Children of Sorrow Best Non-Horror Films ~ Exodus, Schindler’s List, and Fiddler on the Roof, and no I am not Jewish.

Worst Films ~ I really don’t have any, because I can usually tell within 5 minutes if I will like a film. If I can’t get through the first 5 minutes I turn the movie off and move on to something I do like.




1) So, You have been a movie critic and a film festival judge.

Why host a film festival in San Diego?

The quick answer is that I live here! 


The long answer is that if JoAnn and I wanted to go to a screening for a new film, it usually involves a two-hour drive and a tank of gas.  That’s a lot of expense for a single film.  And after going to a few festival screenings, JoAnn and I said to ourselves, “We’ve been doing this kind of meeting service for decades!  We can bring the indie horror experience to our fellow San Diegans.”  Unfortunately, the right people overheard us, and here we are!


It was unusual to note that for one of the largest cities in the country, the city enjoys a wide variety of Film Festivals.  We have a general Indie Film Festival, an Italian Film Festival, an African American Film Festival, and a half dozen more, but San Diego, home of the largest pop culture convention in the world, has no venue for indie horror film fans.  We wanted to fill that gap.


2) Why Horror above all genres?

Aside from the primal need that people like to be scared, horror has been a stepping stone for today’s most talented actors.  Golden Globe winner Kevin Bacon (currently in his second season of “The Following”) was in the original FRIDAY the 13th.  Academy Award winning actress Jessica Lange was in the first remake of KING KONG.  Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon played Janet Weiss in The ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, as well as Tony Award winner Barry Bostwick.  You get to see these people as they are starting out, and in a few years, you’ll see the stars of our current crop of indie filmmakers walking the Red Carpet.


3)  Most of us geeks could never get the Wives or whatever see a movie with us and yours is Co-hosting the film festival?

That is actually a funny story.  JoAnn was never terrified of horror films – she was bored of the concept.  The faceless stalker randomly slaughtering nubile teens never appealed to her.  Then, one day, I dragged her to a screening of CHILDREN of SORROW.  She realized that the “slice and dice” generation had matured, and wanted an actual story, not some contrived plot.  And since she is a fan of crime dramas on television, the transition wasn’t that dynamic.


4)  Your ‘Clark Kent’ identity is that of a pharmacist, Does your passion for film ever creep into ‘9 to 5’ world?

NEVER.  As all those involved with the Entertainment World, waiting on tables pays the bill; theatre fulfills my life.  Actually, my current 9 to 5er is an editor for a Pharmacy Buyer magazine.  Talk about excitement.


5)  Top 3 BEST films, Top 3 WORST films?

Top THREE films – hmmmm.  I’d have to say Number One would be The TEN COMMANDMENTS, because it was the very first movie that got me out of my cinemaphobia (that’s a story for another day).  Then it would have to be BLAZING SADDLES, then The TINGLER (which ties into Number One).


Bottom Three – easier.  NEW YORK, NEW YORK, Andy Warhol’s MEAT, and GALAXY of TERROR, which was so bad, it’s addictively watchable.  There is actually a longer list of films that fills my “stinker” list, but you only asked for three (heh heh heh heh).


Thanks, Chris, for this opportunity!





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