Chat Log: Benji Wilhoite & Michael Simpson (2007)
On October 28th at 6pm, sleepawaycampfilms.com held a live chat session with Benji Wilhoite ("fake Freddy" Anthony in Sleepaway 2) whom prior has not been publicly interviewed on his role during the resurgence of the series, and head honcho of the Sleepaway sequels, producer/director Michael A. Simpson who answered questions about the series and his script for the projected sequel Berserk. Praise for this chat beyond the two principle participants should be reserved for James Hendsbee AKA gatekeeper who spent many months behind the scenes setting it up from initial idea, scheduling Benji and Michael, and even coding the chat room from scratch. Also a huge thanks to all of the fans who showed up and made it a success.
MASReelman = Michael A. Simpson
Benji = Benji Wilhoite
Questions = In bold
Start of Chat:
<MASReelman> hi campers! It's Michael
<Redd69> Hi Michael
<Benji> Ok everyone, good evening
<cannibal_kiddo> wow this is awesome
<Redd69> Hi Benji
<Benji> Hi there! Hope you're well
<cannibal_kiddo> Michael you rocked with the Sleepaway sequels
<Redd69> I agree
<Benji> Michael it's great to see you're here also!
<cannibal_kiddo> is there any
new news on YOUR sleepaway camp berserk?
<MASReelman> Hi Benji
<MASReelman> Long time!
<cannibal_kiddo> Whoa Benji u rock too
<MASReelman> I believe more storyboards will be up soon
<MASReelman> The early feedback from the campers has been very
<cannibal_kiddo> I would love to see Berserk wheter it be a movie
or any thing really
<Racoon> Would Benji and
Michael tell us what was the last horror movie they saw?
<Benji> well the LAST one would be Sleepaway Camp II, wanted to
have things fresh...
<MASReelman> I saw 30 Days For Night yesterday
<Benji> but the last "other" one would be Suspiria,
another favorite, big film buff here
<Redd69> Where do you live
<Benji> I live north of Atlanta,
Cartersville, lived here my entire life
<cannibal_kiddo> what about u Michael?
where u live?
<MASReelman> city of fallen angels
<MASReelman> ironic but my family is from Cartersville also
<MASReelman> both my mom and dad
<Benji> Michael, am I correct
in thinking you told me your parents lived in this area as well?
<Benji> I thought so! amazing.
<MASReelman> yes, they were raised there
<Dusk2007> Hey Benji, did you
always know a cult fanbase for Sleepaway existed?
<Benji> small town, nice area
<gate-keeper-> I guess we are going to start guys
<gate-keeper-> Thanks to Michael and Benji for coming
<Benji> I did not :) honestly, I am honored to have been asked to
<MASReelman> glad to be here
<MASReelman> always fun to chat with the campers
<Benji> I appreciate that people enjoyed the film
<Benji> ask away
<cannibal_kiddo> Will Berserk
explain any untold revelations about Angela left unmentioned in any previous
<MASReelman> the story brings together all the various story
<MASReelman> and creates an underlying mythos
<Dusk2007> Benji, what was the
first film you appeared in as an actor? How old were you?
<Benji> 1979; The Long Riders, I was an extra, though I've never
found myself in there, to be honest.
<Benji> I was 9 years old
<Benji> The funeral scene
<MASReelman> you were a great actor even as a child
<cannibal_kiddo> Benji what was
the last thing you did in the movie industry?
<Benji> Thanks Michael, I have had the time of my life
<Camper93> Hi Benji! PLeasure to see you here!
<Benji> Thank you, nice to hear from you as well...
<Camper93> its awesome to actually talk to someone from a sc
<cannibal_kiddo> it trully is epic
<Benji> last thing was 1998, Mama Flora's Family, "roughed
up" Cicely Tyson, I am a major fan of Ms. Tyson, it was an honor to work with
<Camper93> oh and Dusk, thanks for setting this up...really
<Benji> It's my sincere pleasure to be here, this is amazing
<cannibal_kiddo> what did you
do on it?
<Dusk2007> I'll be shooting out questions to Benji and Michael
from fans that couldn't make it but will be sure to do so at a slow pace so
everyone else can get in on this too
<Dusk2007> For Michael - Tell
us something about yourself most people wouldn’t know?
<Benji> Mama Flora's Family? small role, can't remember my
character's name to be honest; Cicely Tyson, Queen Latifah, Mario Van Peebles,
Blair Underwood, great cast
<Camper93> Nice to see you here too Michael!
<MASReelman> I'm distantly related to
<MASReelman> Johnny Cash
<MASReelman> Thanks great to be here
<cannibal_kiddo> whao serious
<cannibal_kiddo> can you sing
<MASReelman> yes, one my grandmothers was a Virginia CAsh
<Racoon> I hear you play music
<Benji> I do, had probably a larger music career than acting; I
currently front a funk band, The Bretheren, out of Atlanta; http://www.myspace.com/bretherenband
<Camper93>Hey Benji, what was
your favorite scene to shoot?
<Racoon> that's awesome
<Dusk2007> Oh you've stayed in Atlanta, very cool. Have you seen any SC locations since '87?
<Dusk2007> Another fan q for
Michael - Could you tell us the wildest or craziest thing you’ve ever done?
<Benji> ok first question; undoubtedly my death scene, great
<MASReelman> I remember that Benji was always very musically
<Benji> I have been back to Bremen to see the general camp area, nice
<Benji> also to lakewood
studios various times
<Dusk2007> Whats the state of Bremen like?
<MASReelman> Sky diving in the California desert and bungie jumping from a
hot air balloon would both be near the top.
<Camper93> that must have been awesome!
<Dusk2007> Sorry, I should
rephrase - what type of state is the camp now in?
<Benji> Not actually been to the physical site, just around the
general area, i would imagine the site is mostly abandoned or torn down now? it
seemed quite old even then
<MASReelman> I haven't been there since we filmed
<Camper93> Michael, what did u
like shooting more, sc2 or sc 3?
<Dusk2007> You can see it on Google Earth, it seems pretty
<Benji> amazing michael!
<MASReelman> I liked the script more
<MASReelman> but all movies you make are like your children
<cannibal_kiddo> michael do you
have a solid script for berserk already to go?
<MASReelman> it's hard to choose between them
<MASReelman> yes Berserk script is finished
<Dusk2007> Benji knows how to take a cut to the throat like a
<MASReelman> it will be a major departure
<Camper93> sounds interesting
<Camper41> Would you return to
GA to film Berserk?
<gate-keeper-> Are you familiar
with the Berserk project Benji?
<Redd69> What about
"Return To Sleepaway Camp"?
<Benji> Not really familiar with it yet, no, I am intrigued, thougha
and will look into it
<MASReelman> I know very little about it either
<MASReelman> was it ever released?
<Dusk2007> Benji, you appeared
in Michael Simpson’s movie IMPURE THOUGHTS. I read that it was a dramatic
finalist at Sundance. How old were you when you made that movie?
<Benji> I was 15, another personal favorite, that's when i first
<Camper98> will there be any
returning characters in berserk other than angela?
<MASReelman> yes that was a fun shoot
<Camper93> when do u plan to
show BERSERK to a studio, Michael?
<Camper93> the script i mean
<MASReelman> Yes to the characters
<cannibal_kiddo> who will they
<Dusk2007> Benji, How many
movies that Michael directed did you appear in?
<Benji> I did 3 with Michael, the last being Fast Food. I need a
copy of that one, don't have it as of yet
<MASReelman> the first step with BERSERK
<MASReelman> is for the fans to weigh in on with the story
<MASReelman> it's interactive in the sense that we want the
campers to be involved
<Redd69> Where can I get a
"Camp New Horizon" T-Shirt????
<Camper93> well, whatever u do
<Dusk2007> Well Benji, I see from IMDB you were in one of my
favorite movies ever, the JOhn Hughes flick CAREER OPPORTUNITIES!!
<Camper93> im sure itll be awesome
<Dusk2007> Redd69, if you want an original, keep a vigil at ebay
<Dusk2007> If you want a replica... maybe soon
<EddietheHead> Michael, are the
new characters in Berserk going to be named after celebrities like the previous
<Benji> Yes! thrilled to have worked with John Hughes, a big fan
of his films as well. As strange as it seems, I've not seen a lot of my films,
the smaller roles anyway
<MASReelman> we do have some fun with the names but in a
<Camper93> Did you guys receive
any bad publicity for SC2, since two kids got their throats slashed in the
<gate-keeper-> good question!
<MASReelman> more on SC3 than 2
<Benji> I have one shirt packed away
<Dusk2007> Did you get a feel
for Frank Whaley and Jennifer Connely, much?
<MASReelman> the violence got us a X rating
<MASReelman> and I had to recut it
<Benji> I did 3 films, I believe, with Frank Whaley, he's an
amazing actor in my opinion
<cannibal_kiddo> How do you
come up with the way you Kill people Michael?
<MASReelman> for BERSERK we start with a new slant
<Benji> I have no memories, to be honest, of Jennifer Connely,
isn't that awful? she was a different set of days i think
<Dusk2007> Was it a real
<MASReelman> both more psychological and more supernatural
<Benji> yes it was, Lawrenceville area in Georgia
<Camper93> Like Jason Goes to
<MASReelman> more by way of explaining the mythos and motivation
<Dusk2007> Michael - Have you
ever been met or been in contact with Robert Hiltzik?
<Redd69> What was it like
working with Pamela in SC2 Benji?
<MASReelman> We’ve never met. We exchanged emails several years
ago when he was trying to get RTSC financed. We may spoken briefly over the
phone. I don’t recall.
<Camper93> Its a shame its never coming out
<cannibal_kiddo> Benji what was
the last horror flick you were in?
<Benji> VERY kind person, Pamela; of course I was, and remain, a
huge fan of her brother; many days spent thinking about having Bruce for a
brother. She's awesome, Pamela, and I understand a great photographer
<EddietheHead> Michael, did you
have to do anything to get the rights to use Jason and Freddy in SC2?
<MASReelman> she is a great photographer
<Benji> This was the sole horror film I ever did, thus making it
the most special project in my heart; i love horror flicks
<Camper93> have u seen HATCHET,
<Benji> Also, to have had a piece in Fangoria magazine, in 1987,
that alone was amazing to me, thanks Michael for that!
<Camper93> its an 80's style slasher film that my friend Adam
<Camper93> its coming to dvd december 18
<MASReelman> Nope, since it was satire I was covered under the
<Benji> Hatchet, no
<Camper93> you should check it out
<Dusk2007> Michael, Would you
clear up once and for all the question of whether you offered Felissa Rose the
role of Angela in UNHAPPY CAMPERS?
<Benji> I will do so
<Camper93> its along the lines of Friday the 13th and such
<Benji> oh cool, i'll look into it
<MASReelman> I never offered her the role. The ONLY actress I
ever offered the role to was Pam Springsteen.
<MASReelman> However, Felissa was offered the role.
<Benji> I was really impressed with what Pam did with the role
<cannibal_kiddo> Benji what is
your favorite movie of all time?
<MASReelman> Felissa met with the original SC producer Jerry
Silva and another business suit to discuss reprising the role in SC2 & SC3.
<MASReelman> Jerry felt she should be considered since she had
done the role in the original SC.
<Camper93> Benji and Michael,
are you guys fans of the Alien and Predator movies?
<Redd69> Will the cast of SC,
SC2 or SC3 ever come to Montreal
for fans to meet the cast, etc...???
<MASReelman> I understand that the suit that was with Jerry, who
was not a filmmaker, pretended to be the director attached to SC2. I have no
idea why he did that. Could have been his lame ego. Who knows.
<Benji> favorite of all time: jeez, probably A Clockwork Orange
<Redd69> If they do; please let me know
<Camper41> Michael, if Pamela
or Felissa isn't available, who do you want for the role of Angela?
<MASReelman> I do like Alien and Predator
<Camper93> Have you seen the
trailer for Alien vs Predator 2? It looks very good
<Benji> Love Alien films, not really into Schwarzeneggar
<MASReelman> I did see it just recently
<gate-keeper-> There was a
similar question Michael about who is going to play Angela?
<Benji> I would love to come to Montreal; perhaps one day
<MASReelman> in BERSERK?
<MASReelman> hasn't been cast
<gate-keeper-> the question was
if either felissa rose or pamela springsteen will reprise the role of angela or
if you are going to go a different way for the role?
<cannibal_kiddo> I really hope that you push Pam to reprise her
role in Berserk
<Dusk2007> But whom do you see
in your mind's eye Mike?
<Camper93> That would be awesome if Pamela would come back for
<MASReelman> Not sure at this point
<MASReelman> We are starting with a story and want to see what
the campers feel about it
<Camper93> So you would say its
diff. from 2 and 3?
<cannibal_kiddo> It would be a cool twist if Benji became the new
Angela in Berserk
<Benji> yeah! Michael, work that out for me! :)
<gate-keeper-> What is this?
EddietheHead> Was there any reason
why Ricky was never mentioned in the sequels?
<MASReelman> things will be much clearer regarding the story
soon.. keep an eye on John's site
<MASReelman> we will see what we can do Benji
<Dusk2007> Benji, did they let
you keep any props like the Freddy hat or glove?
<MASReelman> BERSERK is very different from any SC movie ever
<Benji> I did keep the prosethetic piece for my neck; i believe i
tried to talk EVERYONE into the glove, but for prop purposes they needed that;
i tried though ;)
<Dusk2007> Michael: What’s
happening with your rock group Ravenstone these days?
<MASReelman> The ravesters are writing songs with an eye toward
doing another album.
<Dusk2007> Benji, you've done
alot of TV movies, what are those shoots like?
<Camper93> Michael are you
still in contact with the band OBSESSION? They’re now one of my
favorite Metal Bands
<Benji> they're great; Atlanta
seems to get a lot of tv films, hence the number of them I've done. usually the
smaller roles are cast here, and I had a great run with all of them
<MASReelman> Eddie, I'm not sure why
<MASReelman> Camper 93, nope
<Camper93> do u plan on going
to any conventions to plug berserk?
<Dusk2007> Benji, anyone on the
SC2 set you didn't like? Come on, it's been 20 years, you can tell
<MASReelman> we'll see how it develops.. stay tuned to John's
<Benji> absolutely not; I didn't know a lot of the girls, i was,
and remain, a shy guy; but everyone was fantastic; i'd worked with a handful of
those kids on other things
<Dusk2007> Like FAST FOOD?
<Benji> yes exactly!
<Dusk2007> Michael, Mac or PC?
<EddietheHead> I liked Renee Estevez in the second
<MASReelman> FAST FOOD was fun
<MASReelman> I’m proud to have had a steady relationship with Mac
for more than 20 years. I bought my first Mac, the “Classic,” in 1984. I’m
currently using a 2.8GHz 24" iMac with a 1TB Serial ATA Drive for my desktop and a
PowerBook for the road.
<Benji> Renee Estevez, i recall being very, very quiet and sweet
<MASReelman> Renee is very sweet
<Benji> I remember you and the Mac stuff, Michael; incidentally
that's where my earnings on that film went, a Tandy computer!
<Dusk2007> What was Tracey
Griffith like on FAST FOOD?
<MASReelman> Adjusted for inflation the price of a Mac Classic
would be about $20,000 US
<MASReelman> Tracy is great fun to work with. She was a huge REM
fan at the time.
<cannibal_kiddo> Michael are
you planning any other movies other then Berserk any time soon?
<EddietheHead> I liked her in The First Power, she's a cook now.
<MASReelman> Yes, my company has several in development. My wife is
producing a movie in Shreveport
at the moment
<gate-keeper-> Benji, I have a question for you. I have never seen the movie Leader of the Band,
however Chung Yen Tsay & Jarrett Beal, who were both in Sleepaway camp 3
were in it. Do you have any memories about those guys?
<Racoon> Benji, what sort of
music does your band play?
<gate-keeper-> we don't often hear about them
<Camper93> Michael were you disappointed
with the first AVP?
<Benji> oh yeah! absolutely; Chung I remember driving him crazy
with a small Casio keyboard i always carried with me; I was closer to Jarrett,
i believe he is related to Martin Luther King Junior.
<Benji> My band is funk/soul/R&B, they are AWESOME:
http://www.myspace.com/bretherenband; yes white boys can do it too ;)
<Camper93> cool, ill check it out right now!
<Benji> I front the show with a female singer, Shirley
<Benji> they work me hard and I've had the time of my life!
<Camper50> IM STILL CONFUSED
WILL MOLLY BE MAKING A RETURN IN SLEEP AWAY CAMP BERSERK?
<MASReelman> Camper 93, AVP?
<gate-keeper-> Michael, I could
be misinformed, but you tend to lean towards producing/writing recently,
compared to directing. Have you announced/ decided if you would be in the
directors chair for Berserk?
<MASReelman> Camper 50, yes
<Camper93> yes, alien vs predator
<MASReelman> I have no plans presently to direct. I'm offered
films but find I like producing and writing more.
<Camper50> thats good will
pamela be playing angela again in this one?
<Camper93> Molly will be making
<cannibal_kiddo> I heard
berserk would be much darker than the the previous SC is this true?
<Camper93> thats awesome!!!
<MASReelman> Camper 50, don't know
<MASReelman> it is more supernatural
<cannibal_kiddo> Really like
how? Does she have telekinesis?
<cannibal_kiddo> that would be awesome
<gate-keeper-> Benji, I'm going
to throw out some sleepaway camp names and I'd like you to try to see if you
can remember anything about them or any stories..
<MASReelman> Camper 93, yes Molly does show up
<Dusk2007> Benji, have you done
any movies with people on SC2/FAST FOOD other than those? Like non-Simpson
<Camper93> that sounds awesome
<Camper93> but shes dead
<Camper93> perhaps flashbacks then
<MASReelman> We don't know that Molly is dead. Only Angela knows
<Camper93> True true
<cannibal_kiddo> very true
<Camper50> thats true
<Camper93> Mollys Revenge!
<MASReelman> Who knows maybe Angela adopted Molly
<Dusk2007> You could make a case either way, and it's been hotly
debated by fans over the years
<Benji> I have, Tony, Julie, Amy, Jarrett, Chun, and I think
<MASReelman> Maybe she wanted to make her into a really good girl
<Camper93> hahaha so true
<Camper93> is there going to be
a twist ending or shocking ending?
<gate-keeper-> Valerie Hartman
<Camper50> yea she played ally from sc2
<Benji> you know, Valerie, I didn't really get to speak too much
at all, i remember wanting desperately to see the sex stuff filmed, and michael
and other adults saying no!
<MASReelman> one that would relaunch the franchise
<Camper93> like a new chapter,
<Benji> i recall most of the younger guys wanted to see those
scenes, but of course wasn't possible. just my luck.
<MASReelman> but keep in mind for now it's an interactive
experience on John's site.
<cannibal_kiddo> Michael what
was the deal with the original Sleepaway camp 4 why did it fell and where you
offered the movie?
<MASReelman> whether we go further with it is up to the fans
<Camper93> What about Charlie
and Emilio? lol
<Camper50> what was it like
workin with angela Benji?
<MASReelman> I know nothing about SC4
<gate-keeper-> Michael, most
people who I talk to state that sleepaway camp 2 & 3 were the most fun they
ever had on a movie job. Kyle Holman told me this, Benji, Norman Andrews.. the
list goes on. What is the reason in your opinion?
<MASReelman> John is the true expert
<Camper93> i bet they had to be a safe distance away from those
valerie scenes lol
<Dusk2007> Gee, thanks
<gate-keeper-> Benji: Brian
<MASReelman> I try to run a smooth set
<MASReelman> no yelling unless someone is dying
<Benji> Emilio! he was HILARIOUS, cute kid, and turned out to be
quite a hilarious stand-up comic; did a show with him a few years back, not
sure where he's at now
<Dusk2007> Benji, were you
aware on set your character was named after a brat packer?
<Benji> Brian Patrick Clarke; Eight Is Enough! ok this is a story
he will probably laugh at, but the beginning scene, we were sitting on the logs
ALL night filming; he had to sit on a log with a big knot on it; i remember him
asking if he could at least have some vaseline if he had to sit there lol
<Camper93> what about Charlie,
<Camper50> will berserk be in
the movie theaters?
<Benji> I did not know that about the brat packer character, no,
for my character name
<Benji> forgive me Brian; but a funny story is a funny story
<Benji> ok was Charlie the other kid right?
<MASReelman> camper 50, BERSERK starts as an interactive story
for John's site. Where it goes from there is up to the campers
<cannibal_kiddo> when will you
have some new stuff for johns site michael?
<Benji> I actually went to auditions with he and his brother,
Tommy Nowell, all the time, so saw them almost every week at auditions; he was
quiet but seemed a funny guy too.
<MASReelman> Kiddo, soon
<Camper93> do you know what
theyre up to now? stand up comedy, right?
<Benji> last I heard about Emilio/Jason yes
<MASReelman> here's a fun fact i just remembered about Brian
<MASReelman> he arrived to ATL one day before we were to begin
<MASReelman> the Prod Asst who picked him up at the airport
<MASReelman> had a wreck!
<MASReelman> Brian couldn't work the first two days of the shoot!
<Benji> oh man! i didn't know that story
<MASReelman> I just recalled it
<gate-keeper-> Benji: Terry
<cannibal_kiddo> how long after
Sc3 will berserk take place?
<MASReelman> funny how things pop in your head
<Benji> Terry! one of my favorite peers; went to many auditions
with Terry, always wondered what's going on with him
<Benji> I was closest to Walter, who was a HUGE country music
fan; one evening walter dragged me to a Waylon Jennings concert where we got in
for free (as ushers) so we could see the show
<MASReelman> Kiddo on John's site, you'll see that it starts in
present day with Angela in prison
<gate-keeper-> Michael, how are you doing for time? Can you
stick around for awhile longer or?
<gate-keeper-> I thought I would check in because we are 1 hr in
<MASReelman> I can stay for another 15 mins or so
<Camper50> where will you be
filming berserk at?
<MASReelman> 50, no decision yet
<gate-keeper-> Benji: Walter
<Camper93> Michael do you know
how gory Berserk is compared to 2 and 3?
<cannibal_kiddo> is it gonna be
at a camp setting or in a city?
<MASReelman> it has a very strong visual intensity to it
<Benji> Yes, Walter, as I was saying, was a huge country music
fan; he dragged me to a Waylon Jennings concert, stating we would get in
"as ushers" so we could see the show for free; i love walter to
death, and was closest to he and his mom.
<gate-keeper-> oh, sorry i missed that :)
<gate-keeper-> Do you ever keep
in touch with anyone anymore or?
<Benji> not a problem :)
<MASReelman> cannibal, it's in the woods mainly
<Camper93> Michael will there
be any references to past characters?
<MASReelman> john, you have
read BERSERK , how would you compare the violence?
<Benji> I haven't hear from anyone in the film, as i've really
been out of the loop with the movie business. i did some casting work with Shay
Griffin for two years in the late 90's, but devoted everything to music and
family after that
<cannibal_kiddo> benji congrats on the family and the baby
<Benji> thank you very much! this will make two boys and two
girls for me, very proud i am
<MASReelman> 93, yes
<Dusk2007> Michael, what gave
you the idea for Berserk's heroine to be a self-mutilator instead of a perfect
girl like other slashers?
<gate-keeper-> Michael, from a
production standpoint (this is a return to sleepaway indirect question). Ok,
let's just say the film is done and they can make their $ back... if companies
are offering them the $$, why wouldn't they cut their losses and just release
it, instead of holding onto the film and making nothing back. Shouldn't they
care about the investment??
<MASReelman> I wanted to stretch the mold a bit; she still has a
<cannibal_kiddo> whoa i didnt know that about the heroin now i
want to see the movie even more
<Camper93> make it not so
<MASReelman> yes. we've all been to the woods with Angela so I
think we need a new reason to go.
<Camper41> Michael, has
Return's troubles hurt the development of Berserker?
<cannibal_kiddo> i love when movie heroein arent the traditional
<gate-keeper-> Does this mean
the new Molly type character cuts herself? Is she a goth molly? lol
<cannibal_kiddo> Michael i think it is really great how you
interact with your fans instead of ignoring them
<MASReelman> i think what happened or didn't happen to RTSC is
really sad.. a great missed opportunity
<MASReelman> cannibal, thanks
<cannibal_kiddo> hey benji what
is you fav music genre?
<Dusk2007> Benji, did you watch
FREDDY VS JASON and smile to yourself?
<MASReelman> the fans are the reason for the franchise
<Benji> music: i'm probably crazier about Bowie than anything; 70's rock is my favorite
<MASReelman> I'm a huge Bowie
<Benji> You know, my son is a huge horror buff as well (he's 14)
and loves that film, i have not seen it
<MASReelman> I've seen him in concert many times
<cannibal_kiddo> I love Bowie
in a purely hetero manor
<Benji> yeah i love bowie, Michael! total addict here
<gate-keeper-> Benji: Did you
interact with all the other actors while waiting to shoot, or did you stick
mostly to yourself? If so, who did you chill with?
<Benji> ha ha, fair enough cannibal?
<Benji> i was big into reading back then, and remain so; but yeah
we had MANY laughs together.
<cannibal_kiddo> thats cool
<cannibal_kiddo> hey Michael
you ever think about writing any books?
<Benji> mostly Walter, he was SO funny. Tony was another one I
hung with, and even Jason, the smallest kid; god Jason cracked me up with
everything he said pretty much.
<MASReelman> I just finished writing my first book.
<gate-keeper-> Michael, another
question from a fan: Do you think Berserk will be theatrical or DTV?
<Benji> i always had "a thing" for Julie, because we
did Leader Of The Band together, and then did this one; but not sure if she
liked me. ah, youth!
<cannibal_kiddo> i think it
would be awesome if Sc became a book series, what was the book you wrote about
and where can i find it?
<MASReelman> Don't know yet. Depends on the response of the fans.
<MASReelman> Campers, this has been a great experience but I need
to go. Let's do it again sometime. Happy Halloween to you all!
<Camper93> thanks for stopping bye Michael!
<Dusk2007> A great thanks to Michael for taking part in this
<cannibal_kiddo> later Michael and thanks
<gate-keeper-> Benji, you
mentioned to me that you watched Sleepaway 2 earlier today.. what stuck out? What
was the most fun to shoot?
<Camper41> thanks very much
<Benji> Happy Halloween Michael, and best of luck!
<Camper93> you’re awesome!!! come back soon!!
<gate-keeper-> Thanks Michael
<MASReelman> My pleasure. It's great to hear from you all
<Benji> what stuck out, which no one has asked, is why I had on a
black shirt in the pool!
<gate-keeper-> Michael, one last question
<MASReelman> Benji, great to hear from you
<gate-keeper-> What kinda Ride
do you have?
<Benji> and you Michael; please keep in touch ok?
<Camper50> thanks michael
<gate-keeper-> John tells me it's pretty pimp
<MASReelman> Yes, let's do.
<ManiacCopFans> Thanks for your time, Michael.
<Camper93> have a great halloween!
<MASReelman> Bye all!
<Camper50> bye michael
<gate-keeper-> Benji, I had a few more questions for you. Can
you stick around for a bit?
<Benji> absolutely, please go ahead
***** 5 minute break ******
<gate-keeper-> Benji: Ok, so
why did you have a black shirt on? do tell
<Benji> ha ha, i am cracking up, i'd forgotten it. i remember that
day, every guy out there had these big chests & me being a skinny white guy
lol. my logic was that NO ONE would notice if i wore a shirt. looking at it
now, i crack up how it stands out. sadly, my chest is still about the same size
<gate-keeper-> lol.. man.. i would of guessed the sun fried your
<Dusk2007> Benji, did you enjoy
the interior shoots more, or exteriors, on SC2?
<Benji> actually it was fall, or beginning to be; most of the
days were pretty cool and nights were almost cold, several of them anyway
<Benji> the exteriors, the campsite was dead-on what i would have
thought a horror movie should've been filmed in, so those were favorites.
<Benji> interiors of cabins were at Lakewood Studios, and they
were of course fun, but exteriors were my favorite
<gate-keeper-> Michael always
told us that the pool was filthy.. tell us the truth, he threw you in, didn't
<Benji> lol the pool WAS filthy, i agree; i remember everyone
worrying about getting in there. i think, as i recall, they were working hard
at cleaning it for some time
<Camper41> Benji, wasn't the
camp supposed to be haunted or had some tragic past?
<Benji> that's amazing you mention that, i've not thought of that
in 20 years, jeez. i do recall something vague about that but i apologize i
don't recall details. however, i will be looking into that, now that you
<Camper50> benji do you and
pamela keep in touch with each other?
<Benji> i think pamela and I may have spoken a couple months
after that, but that was it really. knowing she and her reputation as a photographer,
i did research album covers she did, stuff like that. i remember her being so
sweet to me, and constantly reading a shirley maclaine book
<gate-keeper-> Do you have any
stories about filming or any crazy stuff that happened?
<Benji> the night of my death scene, i remember that the crew
were digging around that log that i got my throat slashed at, and they hit upon
an apparently large hornets nest, EVERYONE went scrambling for quite some time
until they were able to clean out the area of angry hornets.
<Benji> i was allergic to bees etc and i was really excited to do
my scene; i remember worrying about getting stung, as we all were.
<Dusk2007> How did your parents
feel watching your character's death scene?
<Benji> i think my mom was a little freaked out, she hates films
with scenes like that.
<gate-keeper-> Where were you
the first time you seen the completed film? What did you think about it?
<Camper41> Did your mom or dad
cry when they watched the death scene?
<Benji> no my parents didn't. my mom, who was with me for the
entirety of filming, didn't want to be on set at that time because of me "getting
<Benji> as for how i felt, i laugh now, and wanted to ask
michael: WHO DUBBED MY DEATH RATTLE VOICE? i crack up; that is not me!!!!!!!
<Benji> but other than that, i thought it was very cool.
<gate-keeper-> How long were
you on set for?
<Benji> where i was when i saw the film: i believe we went to a
and then i got a video copy to keep
<Benji> on the set for approximately 3 weeks? something like
<gate-keeper-> What did you do
when you weren't filming?
<Benji> i was in my trailer either laughing with walter, looking
for julie to flirt with, or reading books on Elvis lol
<gate-keeper-> What you
remember about Julie?
<Benji> well i'd done leader of the band with her a year earlier,
and we had a make out scene, and i always had this thing for her. She was SO
sweet, as were her parents.
<Benji> julie was just the sweetest girl to talk to; also Amy
Fields was also in the makeout scene with me in leader of the band
<gate-keeper-> Benji, you know who I recently got in touch
with... the girl who played Mare
<Benji> two chicks + me in a closet scene, yep nice.
<gate-keeper-> Susan Marie Snyder (her last name changed tho,
<Benji> really? mare, i
remember talking to her, how is she doing now?
<gate-keeper-> she's good.. i was going to shoot her some
questions.. maybe one time she'll do a chat
<gate-keeper-> Any interesting
facts or timbits that you recall that most fans may not know about the movies?
<Benji> that's awesome. really the set was pretty much real life
- the older girls were pretty much talkative to the older guys, and the younger
guys not so much. susan was really sweet to me though as i recall.
<Dusk2007> They repeat your death scene in Angela's nightmare
sequence, shaded in blue. It's kinda funny in how it's kinda slow mo.
<Benji> i know that is funny!
<Benji> as for thoughts: shooting scenes is very time consuming;
lots of hard hours....
<gate-keeper-> Have you seen
sleepaway camp 3?
<Benji> my mother would take me back & forth between set; one
night she fell asleep with me (asleep in the backseat) and ran completely off a
mountainous road, and we really thought we would be killed. my mom had to pull
over & cried, she was really scared. i thought we were goners :)
<Benji> i saw pieces of sleepaway camp 3, as my friend Jarret was
in the film, and Chun, but not the entire film
<gate-keeper-> Are you aware
that sleepaway 2&3 are on dvd now? With Michael Simpson
<Benji> yeah it was really a big deal that night; now it's not so
scary but it was a very curvy road and very frightening for both of us out in
the middle of nowhere
<Benji> i need to get a copy of 3, definitely; i do have part 2
that i was in
<Benji> i've tried to collect everything that i did on dvd, but
haven't gotten everything yet to be honest. i would far rather blow my money on
other films than my own sometimes, sad as that seems :) my wife just got two
more of them in the mail today for me :)
<Dusk2007> Was the vibe on the
FAST FOOD set different than SC2?
<ManiacCopFans> i need to get a copy of fast food.
<Benji> i enjoyed michael's commentary; i want to stress that i
have the highest respect for michael; he was a complete professional on all
levels and a very kind man to me through all 3 films i did with him.
<Benji> no, not really. michael's films always had generally the
same people all together, so very much like family to be honest.
<Benji> see i don't have fast food either, that's one i lack
<gate-keeper-> what is your
favorite memory from doing the whole sleepaway experience?
<Benji> the fact that michael's family are from cartersville as
well, makes me like him all the more
<Benji> just the vibe of "doing a scary film", which
was a dream for a guy like me. my life has been based around experiences, experiencing
something and moving on to the next interest. i love films, but i like doing
things & trying something new afterwards. filming was just another
experience in my life.
<Benji> i would love to do another, and perhaps i will. but if
not, i did it, and remain very proud to have done so, and with michael made it
all the better. i met him in impure thoughts & the fact that he kept me in
mind for this role was very meaningful to me.
<Dusk2007> I've got to run and get some Sunday chores done, I'd
like to thanks Benji for his time and gatekeeper for setting this up
<Benji> absolutely, and thank you for the experience, Dusk2007,
best of luck
<gate-keeper-> see ya buddy
<gate-keeper-> Ok, you know
someone would be asking you this question. Tell us about the "panty raid
scenes".. Were they as fun to shoot as it looked on the film??
<ManiacCopFans> see ya later, john.
<Benji> ha ha, the panty scenes! yes they were actually, just
goofiness with Terry and the other guys.
<ManiacCopFans> "just us monsters!"
<Darksunguru> did you save any
of the panties?
<Benji> you have to remember, almost every audition i went on, i
ran into walter, terry and tony. so we were all very close guys in the atlanta area.
<Benji> "just us monsters" i loved that line! that was
<Darksunguru> thats cool
<Benji> i saved no panties, no. what an idiot i am!
<gate-keeper-> Did you guys
ever go have a drink or "shoot the shit"? Or just hang out on the
<Benji> all the time, we were always together, like i said even
in the general atlanta
area. so it was family to me. even now, i haven't heard from those guys in
YEARS, but if i ran into them now, it would still be family.
<Benji> i was out of school a lot, doing nightclub shows and
acting. so these were my peers in my life, rather than from school, if that
<Benji> no drinks; i didn't drunk until in my 20's
<Benji> i didn't drunk! i mean i didn't drink. you see now i
<gate-keeper-> What's your
drink of choice?
<gate-keeper-> I myself like scotch whiskey.
<Benji> usually when i'm about to perform i'll have a couple
shots of vodka. that's "my thing". my fave is really cold beer but it
makes me sleepier as i get older, sadly :) other fave is hot sake with the wife
at the japanese steakhouse
<gate-keeper-> 15 yr old, 2 shots... drink it slow, goes down
<Benji> hmm, good one too
<gate-keeper-> No ice or water or gingerale. It’s all garbage.
Take it like a man. haha
<Camper41> Were you a fan of
Fangoria before the interview?
<Benji> yep! the good old tummy burn after a nice shot
<Benji> i was a HUGE fan of fangoria; again, that was probably
the coolest thing out of making that film, fangoria sitting me down to talk.
<gate-keeper-> So forgive me if
i asked this question earlier.. but how did you hear about sleepaway camp 2 in
terms of auditions?
<gate-keeper-> was it in a magazine or Michael asked you or...
<Benji> Shay Griffin was doing the casting; she was my original
agent and manager for a long time. love her to death....
<Benji> anyway, she said michael wanted to see me, after having
done impure thoughts with him.
<Benji> and that, too, was how i did the thing in fast food.
kindness of michael really.
<gate-keeper-> Michael told us
that sleepaway camp 2 and 3 both had a limited theatrical release, in some
markets. Do you recall this? And if so, did you check it out on the big
<Benji> i did check it out on the big screen yes. i believe i saw
it locally when it was out.
<gate-keeper-> Do you remember
what the fan reaction was in the theater?
<Benji> yeah it seemed pretty normal, as far as horror flicks go.
the screams and jumps in all the appropriate places.
<Benji> my mullet was probably more frightening than anything lol
<gate-keeper-> i had a question about that actually
<Benji> i think that my mullet should've had equal billing
<gate-keeper-> was just going to ask that
<gate-keeper-> Ok, so did the
stylist whip that up for you, or was it man made by choice?
<Benji> sad, wasn't it?
<Benji> ha ha, i regret to say that was ALL ME!!!!!
<Benji> i am in therapy for that now
<Benji> i still get teased about that to this day. again, ah
<gate-keeper-> well at least brian patrick clarke was with you
<Benji> it was the 80's my friend
<Benji> right!!!! yep he was for sure
<gate-keeper-> Let's throw out some facts on the table.. then
i'll get to the question
<Camper41> I'm guessing you don't still have the mullet
<Benji> i do not :) i shaved my head entirely for 5 years and
just recently grew it back out. i have a few gray ones on the old head now too
<Benji> but no mullet
movie" + "trendy mullet" + “shown on the big screen”
<gate-keeper-> I am
wondering.. did being an actor in Sleepaway Camp 2 help you further your
success with the ladies back in the day (circa 1988)? haha
<Benji> yes it did. most definitely. i also owe michael for that
i guess ;)
<gate-keeper-> What do you
remember about working with Bill Splat Johnson?
<ManiacCopFans> don't worry benji. i had a mullet at one time
too. i was about 5 at the time & it was the 1980s so it was ok haha.
<Benji> here's an even lamer thing, if lamer is a word: i had a
stone-washed levi jacket that i wore to set every day; I STILL WEAR THAT JACKET
SOMETIMES. i am certainly no fashion guy
<gate-keeper-> John and I joke about the mullets all the time, we
think it's awesome
<Benji> ha ha gotcha Maniac!
<Darksunguru> that is badass
<Benji> i have great memories of bill Splat johnson; very
passionate guy about his work; went to his home in 87 & spent the entire
day with him spackling up my neck for the prosethetic piece.
<Benji> seriously he was just really into what he was doing and
it would show; he worked very hard, and was like a kid really, just so INTO the
<gate-keeper-> I talked with him about 5 years ago and he
answered a lot of questions for me, like you are doing :) Guy is amazing.
<Benji> as for the mullet, i have pix from that era, wearing the
sone washed jacket AND with the mullet in the same way. very sad.
<Darksunguru> We must see
<Benji> bill was a great guy, and like i said, mostly i just
recall how on fire he was for his work
<Camper41> What was your
reaction the first time you saw yourself bloodied up?
<Benji> i will dig up the pic and when i find it, i will send it
<Benji> just how cool it was to be in a horror flick! man this is
the real deal, you know?
<gate-keeper-> John and I were going to ask, if you found any
photos from sleepaway 2..
<gate-keeper-> it's like everyone's dream!
<gate-keeper-> well at least mine..
<Benji> again, an experience that not a lot of people get to do,
and i hold onto that
<gate-keeper-> and like millions of other peoples.. who doesn't
want to be in a movie, let alone a horror!
<Benji> it was awesome. walking through those trails at night at
that camp, the moon large and forbidding, mist and cool, dark cabins. amazing.
<Benji> the set was really that way without a lot of trickery.
<Benji> there were two gloves only, i believe. one with plastic
cutlery, one with metal. i wanted desperately to have just one set, but due to
needing it for continuity, it wasn't possible. i did try my best though.
<gate-keeper-> Cause we wanted to possibly post them up on his
site.. That is, if you have any. This is 20 yrs ago tho so...
<Benji> what the mullet pic?
<Benji> oh, sorry, i see about photos, let me look into that
<gate-keeper-> That and if you kept any pictures during filming
<Benji> i believe i did take some of my own, yes.
<gate-keeper-> John's site is amazing..
<gate-keeper-> So were most of
the cabins on location.. or you said at the studio?
<Benji> i also would like to get into my archives and look for
that prosthetic neck piece. i remember them giving that to me.
<Benji> the exteriors were at the abandoned camp in bremen; all interiors were at lakewood studios
<Benji> i was at lakewood
several months back, seeing tom petty; while there of course my mind drifted to
<Benji> i also did interiors for fast food at those studios.
<Camper50> do you still have
your camp rolling hills shirt?
<Benji> i do! packed up with my other things from the film. most
<Benji> i have a question for you: do you know where the lake shots were filmed? i do not
personally recognize that location and wasn't there for those shots.
<gate-keeper-> John actually designed and made sleepaway
t-shirts.. that look identical to the ones in the film..
<Benji> really? that's really cool.
<gate-keeper-> ya.. fans can buy them on the site
<gate-keeper-> well.. Kyle Holman showed me a map of where the
original camp was...
<Benji> i'm going to have to look more into the site, because
what i did see just blew me away.
<Benji> yeah that was bremen,
near the alabama/georgia border.
<Benji> the drummer in the band i'm in lives that way
<gate-keeper-> Kyle Holman, told me this about the location for
sleepaway camp 3
<gate-keeper-> Camp Younts location: “From Alabama, go I-20 East. Take exit # 2 (Waco). At the top of the
exit, turn right and go about 500 yards. The camp entrance was on the left. It
was a horrible dirt road. Lots of twists, turns, and ruts. Even in my 4WD it
was rough. It's probably not there now.”
<Benji> amazing! i am going to look into that. strangely, my
wife's former married name was Yount! i am intrigued & want to learn more about
the tragedy info from there, because i remember that was part of the mythos
filming there, something i recall was said about something bad happening.
haven't thought of that in years though.
<gate-keeper-> There's actually an image on John's site I can
send you which was like a map to get back to the camp
<Benji> oh that would be great! thank you.
<gate-keeper-> how far do you
figure you are from the locations? Like driving wise.
<Benji> i live in cartersville, and we had to go through dallas, kind of south west
of here. those were the curving roads i mentioned my mom almost ran over the
edge with. i believe it was roughly 2 hours?
<Benji> but yes, very remote. i don't think that, previously, i'd
probably ever been to that area of the state before.
<gate-keeper-> i see :)
<gate-keeper-> Do you know how
they executed your death scene?
<gate-keeper-> like the whole slice across the throat
<Benji> i do remember the prosthetic being set up to where when i
threw my head back, the wound would open up, and there was the tubing there
that would spurt out the blood; bill (i think?) would be to the side with the
pump device and when i would do my thing he would pump out the blood
<Benji> fascinating to watch really and i remember screwing
around with that prosthetic piece for ages after the filming
<gate-keeper-> Does a scene
like that take a long time to set up so you only have a few times to nail it?
or is it pretty relaxed and not rushed?
<Benji> it's usually done very meticulously with attention to all
details, because of the mess involved and i'm guessing the life of the
prosthetic. it may have been 3 times if that many. but i don't think it was
more than twice. plus, after the hornets swarming i think they were trying to
nail it all as quickly as possible.
<gate-keeper-> Did you watch
any of the filming for scenes you weren't in, or were you just waiting around
with the others??
<Benji> i watched a lot of things, as much as it's hard to
believe being on an exciting film set (and a horror one at that!) we are always
doing schoolwork in between shots or just trying to catch up on rest. also, i
don't think they always like everyone RIGHT THERE at the scenes because of
people just being in the way. so they try to deter that. i did see several but
i didn't see Walter's scene, which i had really hoped to, and the sex s
<gate-keeper-> I'm just trying
to paint a picture in my mind what there was to do.. You guys stayed up in a
hotel close by? Kyle Holman said like a shuttle bus would come and pick you
guys up. remember anything about that?
<Benji> well that would've applied i'm sure for Kyle, but i was a
local actor; meaning i had to get my own transport to and from (which is
standard on all films) as well as no hotel or anything. i was like two hours
away. hence, my mom being overtired with me and almost running over the road
<Benji> it was a busy time of my life, and when i wasn't there, i
was doing nightclub things, i also was doing a circuit of shows with a carnival
outfit, as well as normal school and stuff. so we were always tired a lot :)
<gate-keeper-> So do you
remember how many kids were in high school on the shoot?
<gate-keeper-> I know Kyle said Jarrett Beal had a tutor on set
<gate-keeper-> It must of been tough to balance both
<Benji> that would've been myself, terry, julie, amy, walter,
justin, heather?, jason, those for sure.
<Benji> it was tough to balance both, yes. but it was my passion.
so i made it work.
<Benji> i've been fortunate enough to do so many different things
with my life, it's really been interesting.
<gate-keeper-> What do you
remember about shooting the "happy camper song" in the hall? Was that
a lot of fun or..
<Benji> i remember, strangely i couldn't seem to keep all the
lyrics in my head, which is crazy being i was doing nightclub shows! lol. i
kept having to look and watch the other guys
<Benji> but yes it was great fun because we were all together.
<Benji> a majority of scenes you did without the others. so when
we were together completely that was great fun.
<gate-keeper-> If you could go
back in time and change anything about the shoot, would you?
<Benji> Lonnie was another great guy (stunts). i worked with him
as far back as 1982 on the Kenny Rogers film i did, Six Pack.
<Benji> yes i would; i wouldn't wear the shirt!
<gate-keeper-> what did you get
teased about it or? :P
<gate-keeper-> I think i talked with Lonnie once.. but I lost
contact with him
<Benji> no i just laugh about my logic: if i wear this shirt no
one will notice me. i was a kid! now it's totally a big laugh for me that i was
assured i would be "unseen"
<Benji> lonnie is a GREAT guy, love him to death. seen him, also,
on many auditions & shoots.
<gate-keeper-> So what do you
do for fun or in your spare time? you a poker player or a golfer?
<Benji> i collect films, and i collect music. that's really my
passion, sound and vision :) but first and foremost are my kids and my wife.
cliche, yes. but i am a hell of a lucky guy to have my family.
<gate-keeper-> I'm excited and scared !
<Benji> the band is the other thing too. i don't relax really,
never have :) but i do enjoy a good film, and being moved by a great song, no
matter the genre.
<gate-keeper-> So do you play
at a lot of clubs or pubs or?
<Benji> yeah we stay booked every weekend pretty much. i don't
have to book anything, which i love; we are high energy and i just show up and
work my ass off for four hours & go home :) it's fantastic. easily the
greatest band i've ever been in.
<gate-keeper-> great! Glad to hear it.
<gate-keeper-> So, what is
going to happen in 2008 with the band? You had mentioned you may be
<Benji> we've just done a live cd which we're almost finished
with now as far as mixing. we have a fantastic guy doing the mixes and it's
turned out amazingly. we'll have more on the band site for this soon as well.
<Benji> yeah we're looking into selling the house & stuff.
but we're going to get the baby here safely & everything first.
<Benji> well guys it's time to get my kids down for the night. I
have thoroughly enjoyed this, and i appreciate everyone's questions
<gate-keeper-> thank you
<ManiacCopFans> Thanks for chatting with us, Benji.
<gate-keeper-> I really really can't thank you enough. It was my
pleasure to have you here. It was great!
<gate-keeper-> I've been a sleepaway camp fan for the last 10
years and it's stuff like this, your experience, that makes it worth wild
<Benji> absolutely! best wishes to everyone, and thank you so
much for THIS opportunity. it's great to know you guys have such an interest in
this film, which was a great part of my growing up.
<gate-keeper-> Well have a good night, we'll post the log of this
on the site and we'll talk to you later:)
<Camper50> thanks benji
<ManiacCopFans> Take care, Benji! And thanks again. :)
<Benji> and best of wishes to you with your baby's arrival; i am
always here if you have baby questions too lol :)
<gate-keeper-> Thanks again. Goodnight everyone
<gate-keeper-> lol great
<Benji> take care everyone
<gate-keeper-> thanks for coming out guys.
End of Chat.