An Interview with Darla Enlow, Founder of
Next Monkey Horror Films
---by Nic Brown---
Darla Enlow, founder of
Next Monkey Horror Films
When someone thinks of Oklahoma, any number of things can
come to mind, from a festive musical, to images of settlers
lined up for the famous land rush of 1889. One thing that
doesn’t jump to mind is filmmaking. Darla Enlow would like
to change that. In 2001 Darla started an independent film
Next Monkey Horror Films. If you can’t guess
from the name, the business of Next Monkey is horror.
Next Monkey has been busy. October will see the DVD release
of their most ambitious project yet: The Stitcher.
I caught up with Darla as she works frantically to prepare
for the first full theatrical screening of the film, and
despite her busy schedule this gracious filmmaker agreed to
talk with me about Next Monkey Horror Films and The
Nic-- Darla, can you tell us about your company?
What is Next Monkey Horror Films? What gave you the idea to
start your own film company?
Darla-- Next Monkey Horror Films was started by me, as I
was so disgusted with working with film makers that would
not complete their projects. I would work as an actor or
crew, and half of the projects would never get finished. I
called bullshit on that, and started my own movie company.
Next Monkey will always do some fashion of horror. I don’t
do chic flicks, I love the rush of a good bloody scare!
Nic-- It sounds like you have a lot of
experience in the filmmaking. What are some of the “hats”
you wear at Next Monkey Horror Films?
Darla-- There are only 2 of us on the production team. I
write the scripts, cast actors, run camera, direct, set
lighting and do all the editing. Dana runs sound, and
wrangles the cast around. The Stitcher movie is the
first project where we brought an outside professional in.
Ben Hosterman came on board during post production as our
music supervisor. Music and sound effects are 50 % of a
movie experience... and we wanted our sound to kick some
butt. Ben did a great job scoring our movie, even if he is a
Nic-- So does Next Monkey Horror Films only do
feature length films or do you handle other types of
projects as well?
We have produced a few short films and music videos.
However, our passion lies in feature length movies...as they
are more challenging to complete.
Nic-- Your new film The Stitcher will be
released shortly, can you tell us a bit about the film?
Darla-- The Stitcher is by far our best movie yet.
Through the years, I have done tons of research by means of
attending several film festivals and watching films to see
what makes a movies work...or not... with an audience. I
wanted a good mix of horror, comedy and entertainment in our
Sticther movie, and I think we pulled that off
successfully. The Stitcher story is inspired by
true events, and is set in a small creepy lake town. Our
killer is unique in his design, and his obsession to obtain
what he desires is relentless. You have something he wants.
Darla & with some of the cast and
crew of The Stitcher!
Nic-- That sounds creepy! So when will The
Stitcher be making its premiere?
Darla-- We are screening at the Riverwalk Movie Theater in
Tulsa. This will be the only place it can be seen at a movie
theater. However, the DVD will be released October 16th,
with several outlets of places to purchase the DVD. The DVD
is loaded with extra's, which you would not be able to watch
at a movie theater.
Nic-- This isn't your first film, what are some
other Next Monkey Horror Films productions and where could
someone see them/get them if they were interested?
Darla-- Toe Tags and Branded are currently
in circulation world wide. You can find both movies at Best
Buy, FYE stores as well as amazon.com. Both of these movies
are award winning films and are currently being distributed
by Brain Damage
Nic-- What have you found to be the most
challenging aspect of independent film making?
Darla-- Nic, I hate to say “money”, because that is every
film makers answer. However, you always hear about Hollywood
magic. Hollywood has all the money they need to make movies,
there's no magic in that! Try blowing up a town and feeding
a cast of 100 people with no money...now, that is magic! ~he
he...so, forget the money answer. I would have to say, the
biggest challenge for me as a film maker, is always trying
to make the scene we are shooting... better. Our motto every
time we shoot is “don't be boring.” We are always directing
the actors to Bring it. I'll have to say, the cast of
The Stitcher brought their A game every time we shot.
We could not have selected a better cast for this movie.
Nic-- Money seems to be a common problem for
many independent filmmakers. Distribution and marketing for
independent features also seem to come up often when we talk
about the challenges of filmmaking. How do you handle those
aspects for your films?
The Stitcher won't be short on
Darla-- You have to have a plan. Making a movie is one
thing, but before you begin, you have to ask yourself as few
questions. Where is my audience? Why am I making this film?
As a film maker, once you can answer these questions, you
can then move forward. If you are making a horror movie, you
start working that genre, if it is a documentary you start
networking with those distributors and Doc film festivals. A
lot of film makers that I have met jump out there before
they do their research. You have to have a game plan before
you start, or at least I have to.
Nic- Is it hard for you as an independent filmmaker
to find people like the cast of The Stitcher that are
willing to really “Bring it” to the roles?
Darla-- In Oklahoma, yes & no. We do not have a large
talent pool like LA, NYC or Austin... however, we do have
some of the most talented actors. LA is full of actors from
Oklahoma. Music talent is huge here in Oklahoma as well.
Several Oklahoma artists always take the stage during the
Country Music awards and the Grammys.
Nic-- We've heard about some of the challenges, what
are some of the best parts (for you) of making your own
Darla-- The best part is having the freedom to create,
and complete an entertaining story. The second best part is
eating popcorn in the movie theater and watching all the
actors' faces as they see themselves on the big screen! When
our cast & crew work on a project together, it’s like being
back in college... a lot of work, a lot of play... and
months of insane craziness!
To learn more about Next Monkey Horror
Films, The Stitcher, or Darla herself,check out some of the