Vincente DiSanti of Womp Stomp Films Interview
Recently we had a great sit down interview with Vincente DiSanti of Womp Stomp Films and got to ask him some questions about his past, present and future. For those who don’t know Vincente and the team at Womp Stomp are putting together some of the greatest fan films featuring Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and of course Jason.
Name some of the films you and the Womp Stomp team have done
Since 2016 Womp Stomp Films has produced 19 projects including feature films, fan films, short films, music videos, and even stop motion animation. We’re best known for projects like the Never Hike Alone: A Friday the 13th Fan Series (2016-2023), Dylan’s New Nightmare (2023), Jason Rising (2021), Pathosis (2019), Imagine (2018), and more which can be streamed for FREE on the Womp Stomp Films YouTube channel.
What made you switch to horror?
I found my way into horror at a very early age. It probably started when I stumbled onto the paintings in Stephen King’s Gunslinger novel. Specifically, the image of a young Jake being pulled down by the cave dwellers. After that it was Tales from the Crypt, Friday the 13th, and whatever else I could grab from the horror section at our local video rental store. It was a routine I followed almost every weekend until everything moved to streaming platforms. I’ve been deep diving into just about every subgenre ever since.
The “Never Hike Alone” series is some of the best films with Jason in it. Did you guys have a goal of wanting to make the best version of Jason, or did it just come naturally?
The original goal with Never Hike Alone was to create a film that looked cinematically professional, had exciting, horror inspired action, a bad ass looking Jason, and a nice big kill at the end. We were motivated by the pursuit to challenge ourselves as filmmakers and test theories I had about Jason and the Friday the 13th franchise. In order to achieve the look of Never Hike Alone, my team and I spent countless hours testing different costumes and camera techniques. That process helped us figure out a formula that would help us exceed expectations, despite a meager budget. It wasn’t until after we debuted at the Telluride Horror Show in October 2017 that we realized the impact the film would go on to have. It has since been rewarding to see a passionate audience for Never Hike Alone growing in the Friday the 13th fan-verse.
Can you explain a little about your writing/filming techniques?
No matter how much technology changes and evolves, my goal as a filmmaker is to tell the best story I can with the resources I have at my disposal. A big part of that strategy is to surround myself with a solid cast and crew, paint clear targets for each of them to aim for, and keep the project moving forward in a singular direction. There are countless ways to frame an angle, or write a line of dialogue, and mostly comes down to practice and personal taste. What is most important is the ability to communicate those decisions to your team, which then gets translated to the audience. That is an aspect I spend a lot of time focusing on during re-writing and pre-production in order to get what I am envisioning on the screen. When a project is completed, my goal is always the same. Put the audience on a ride they don’t want to get off of and, at a few strategic points, make them sit back in their seats and say “wow!”
People are commenting that your team should be directing the new Friday the 13th franchise. How does that make you feel?
Knowing where Never Hike Alone started, going through the trials and tribulations to bring it to life, it is equally humbling as it is rewarding to read and hear comments like that from Friday the 13th fans. No doubt. Directing a Friday the 13th film would be the dream. How realistic it is at this moment, I don’t know. What I do know is that I’d like to keep progressing in my career so that one day I may get an opportunity to plead my case to the studios. I do believe my experience with creating Never Hike Alone has connected me with the fan base in a way that would instill confidence with fans. Fans could rest easier at night knowing they would have one of their own working with the studios as they attempt to revive Friday the 13th for a whole new generation of horror fans.
What was it like working with Miko on “Dylan’s New Nightmare?” - was it strange to be bringing this movie to life?
Being able to work with Miko Hughes and Cecil Laird on Dylan’s New Nightmare was a wonderful experience and I am really proud of what our team was able to accomplish. My hats off to Cecil especially for weathering the delays, staying patient, and executing a very well run production when the time was right. Miko was super supportive along the way and we can’t thank him enough for entrusting us with his character. I don’t think any part of the journey was ever all that strange. Even at the initial start, the level of mutual respect we all had for each other created a very comfortable atmosphere to work in. The sense of trust and comradery played a big part in the film’s outcome.
What advice would you give a younger version of yourself now that you made it this far in your career?
Skip film school.
If I had to do it all over again, I would have saved up and moved to Los Angeles right out of high school and looked for work as a production assistant. Everything that helped me in my career happened on a set, in a story meeting, or simply having a beer with an industry lifer who’d seen it all. For me, seeing decisions made in real time right before my eyes is how I learn best. The rest of the technical skills I picked up along the way learning on the job and being taught by filmmakers through hands-on experience.
Which was more fun to be - Jason or Michael? Which films/actors did you watch a lot of to capture their presence?
Jason will always be my favorite. When dressed as Ghost Jason, every inch of my body is tucked away beneath the costume. There is something powerful to it, like feeling in control of an undead killer mech-suit. Especially in water scenes. The performance takes a lot of work, understanding the costume and posturing, but is super rewarding to see the results on screen. Kill scenes are obviously a lot of fun, but I really love putting work into the stalking scenes as well. I enjoy the challenge of suiting up as Michael as well. Myers is the opposite of Jason in a lot of ways. Jason is full of rage where Michael is a cold, empty void. I don’t think too much about other actors when it comes to performance. I mostly focus on the mindset of how I see the character, letting things flow naturally, and then practicing consistency of movement.
Out of all the work you’ve done; voice acting, commercials, directing, etc. what was the most memorable moment of your career?
This is a really hard question to answer because when thinking back over sixteen years in the industry, I consider myself lucky to have been a part of quite a few amazing projects and experiences. The Telluride Horror Show experience in 2017 will always be the one that stands out for me. Eight years into my career, it was the first time that I felt like I worked on a project that had met expectations and made an immediate positive impact with an audience. That experience opened the doors to the part of the industry I truly wanted to be in and I haven’t looked back since.
What are some new films you and the team are working on that you can let us know
With Never Hike Alone coming to a conclusion, Womp Stomp Films is shifting focus to producing a slate of original content in 2024. We are developing indie-horror features such as “Kindness of Strangers”, “Cold Blooded”, and “The Bonding,” and looking to make our pitches to investors over the coming months. Womp Stomp Films will launch crowdfund campaigns for, “EMF,” a short horror film about a paranormal investigator who gets trapped in a room full of ghosts, and “Ghost Chicken,” an animated horror-comedy short about a vegan restaurant haunted by the ghost of a chicken. Fans also should keep their eyes out for two co-productions releasing in the near future, a elegantly directed giallo short-film titled, “Bath Bomb”, by Collin Cooper, and “Fragment” a psychological thriller feature film by Rob Vornkahl.