Home » Monthly Update » The Pirromount Family – Credit where Credit is Due


Mark Pirro directing Hugh O. Fields in Pirromount's first feature film, A Polish Vampire in Burbank (1983)

Mark Pirro directing Hugh O. Fields in Pirromount’s first feature film, A Polish Vampire in Burbank (1983)

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge all the wonderful, talented and absolute angelic people who have been involved with our films  through all these years.  A good company is like a family.  Established filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese know that if you have a good team, you get good results.  Can you think of many Tim Burton films that didn’t star Johnny Depp?  Other than the budget level, we’re not much different here at Pirromount.  There are members of our team that go back to the beginning.  Others we have picked up along the way and once added to our group, have become valuable assets to our sandbox.  I’d like to use this forum to acknowledge a few of them.  I know I won’t get them all in here, so please don’t take offense if you are not mentioned here.  Like someone giving an academy award speech, it’s tough to fit everybody in when you’re extending thanks.

MEET THE FAMILY

BRUCE HEINSIUS – CINEMATOGRAPHER

Bruce Heinsius

Bruce Heinsius

Cinematographer Bruce Heinsius has worked in some capacity on many of my movies dating back to my first feature film, A Polish Vampire in Burbank, when I believe he was about 16.  He met me at a screening of my James Bond parody, The Spy Who Did it Better, and was impressed with what we achieved for no money.  I told him we were making a feature film for a couple thousand dollars and he asked if he could help out in any way.

Director Pirro with Bruce Heinsius working on Curse of the Queerwolf (1988)

Director Pirro with Bruce Heinsius working on Curse of the Queerwolf (1988)

He was more or less a production assistant on the film, and an extra in practically every scene in the movie that required bodies.  That was the beginning of a 30 year friendship that goes on to this day.  Bruce incidentally is the director of photography on the film we’re currently making, Rage of Innocence.

JOHN MCCAFFERTY – ACTOR

John McCafferty

John McCafferty

Actor John McCafferty and I met when we were both tour guides at Universal Studios in the mid 1970s.  I had asked him to appear in my 1978 short film, Buns, which was shot for about $300, and was the first short film I had shot after moving to Los Angeles from upstate New York.  John has made an appearance in just about every movie I have made since then, either starring, co-starring, or at the very least, making a cameo.  John stars as the lead in Rage of Innocence.

GLENN CAMPBELL – VISUAL EFFECTS ARTIST

Glenn Campbell with actress Darwyn Carson

Glenn Campbell with actress Darwyn Carson

Emmy Award winning visual effects artist Glenn Campbell is another one that I met at Universal Studios tour.  He co-starred alongside me as an actor in Buns, then later went on to do the title sequence for The Spy Who Did it Better.  He has worked in some capacity on practically every Pirromount film since, from visual effects to co-producer, to background extra.  He also taught me everything I know regarding the software After Effects, but will still help me out when an effect is required beyond my scope of expertise.

CRAIG BASSUK – CINEMATOGRAPHER

Craig Bassuk

Craig Bassuk shooting a scene from Pirromount’s Deathrow Gameshow (1987)

Cinematographer Craig Bassuk first worked for Pirromount as Director of Photography on A Polish Vampire in Burbank.  I met Craig at Universal Studios when I saw a short film he produced called, “Withering.”  I was impressed by his cinematic technique and asked him to shoot Polish Vamp.  He had gone on to D.P. two other Pirromount films and has volunteered to add his 3D modeling skills for Rage of Innocence.

Pirro directing Polish Vampire, Craig Bassuk on a 'crane' of his own design.

Pirro directing Polish Vampire, Craig Bassuk on a ‘crane’ of his own design.

Bassuk also designed the miniature castle used in A Polish Vampire in Burbank, as well as some of the skeleton effects.

Craig Bassuk and the miniature castle he designed for Polish Vampire

Craig Bassuk and the miniature castle he designed for Polish Vampire

HANK GROVER – ASSISTANT DIRECTOR/ACTOR

Hank Grover

Hank Grover

Hank Grover was my assistant director on Nudist Colony of the Dead in 1991.  He went on to work on Buford’s Beach Bunnies as an A.D. and is a performer in Rage of Innocence.  Hank is another devoted crew member/actor who I know I can always depend on.

JIM BRUCE – ACTOR

Jim Bruce in Deathrow Gameshow

Jim Bruce in Deathrow Gameshow

Jim Bruce was on the way to becoming a record holder for the most appearances in Pirromount films.  He had appeared in six of my films from Polish Vampire in Burbank (1983) through Color-Blinded (1998) until his untimely death in 1999.  Jim would constantly call me asking when we would start another movie.  Jim was a great guy and would basically be the first one to arrive on the set and the last one to leave.  Jim worked the entry gate at Universal Studios, which is where we first met.

BRADDON MENDELSON – LOCATION MANAGER/ACTOR

Braddon Mendelson

Braddon Mendelson

Braddon Mendelson has been associated with Pirromount since he was asked to do a shower scene and appear in a sauna with a bunch of horny guys in Curse of the Queerwolf (1988).  Brad has gone on to appear in several other Pirromount films, including Nudist Colony of the Dead, Deathrow Gameshow.  He runs his own company called Noisivision and produces several comedy and children’s shorts.  Not to mention that he also designed this website.

TYRONE DUBOSE – ACTOR/NARRATOR

Tyrone Dubose

Tyrone Dubose

Actor Tyrone Dubose’ was 19 years old when he first appeared as a pimp in A Polish Vampire in Burbank (“What’chu be doin’ wit my woman?) and has worked on four other Pirromount films, (Color-Blinded, Rectuma, God Complex, Rage of Innocence).  Tyrone’s talent is only surpassed by his passion and enthusiasm to be involved in anything we do.

JOHN AHERN – ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

John Ahern on the set of Rage of Innocence

John Ahern

John Ahern was a late arrival to the party, relatively speaking.  John first came into the Pirromount fold back in 1996 when we started working on Color-Blinded.  He was a production assistant then (I think we called him production coordinator).  He has since worked on every Pirromount film thereafter as associate producer.  He is a valuable member of the gang and I can’t imagine doing a film without him.

DANI LEON – ACTRESS

Dani Leon in Color-Blinded (1998)

Dani Leon in Color-Blinded (1998)

Actress Dani Leon first worked for Pirromount when we adapted the movie “Nudist Colony of the Dead” as a stage production, and did it live every weekend for four months in Hollywood in 1995.  Dani then went on to star in Color-Blinded, Rectuma, and made cameos in God Complex and Rage of Innocence.

Dani Leon, pictured here with John McCafferty and Mark Pirro

Dani Leon, pictured here with John McCafferty and Mark Pirro on the set of “Rage of Innocence”

Although she has moved from acting to becoming a successful hair stylist with her own salon in Studio City, she still returns to perform for us when a part is available for her.

ROBYN BLYTHE – ACTRESS

Robyn Blythe and Mark Pirro around 1988

Robyn Blythe and Mark Pirro around 1988

Actress Robyn Blythe joined our troupe in 1987 as the female lead in Deathrow Gameshow.  She also appeared in Buford’s Beach Bunnies, Rectuma and did some behind the scenes singing in the film version of Nudist Colony of the Dead.  She most recently appeared in a documentary of the making of Deathrow Gameshow which will be on the new DVD release due out later this year.  Robyn has retired from acting to become a licensed therapist.  However, she recently said that she would love to appear in another of our films, so we may just bring her back in the future.

SUZANNA GRIFFITH – ACTRESS/SINGER

Suzanna Griffith - the voice of Pirromount

Suzanna Griffith – the voice of Pirromount

Suzanna Griffith is what I have come to call “the voice of Pirromount.”  She was brought in as a singer/actress for our stage version of Nudist Colony of the Dead, but since has provided the singing voice whenever needed.  She was the singing voice of the Japanese twins in Rectuma, the angel’s singing voice in The God Complex, and as an actress appeared in Color-Blinded, Rectuma and God Complex.  Suzanna has been invaluable to the Pirromount family.

Suzanna as Noah's wife, "Yessah" with Gust Alexander in "The God Complex."

Suzanna as Noah’s wife, “Yessah” with Gust Alexander in “The God Complex.”

DAVID CHAN – ACTOR

David Chan in Rectuma

David Chan in Rectuma

David Chan was another actor I met when we did Nudist Colony of the Dead on stage.  He’s another devoted one who has come back to appear in Rectuma (as the Japanese Tashira who spoke out of sync) and The God Complex (as Adam’s lover, and Noah’s son Rye).  He also made a hilarious appearance in one of our Submissive Jesus commercials.  David is a joy to work with and is another reason I love what we do.

RON CURTISS – ACTOR

Ron Curtiss in Rectuma

Ron Curtiss in Rectuma

Ron Curtiss first appeared in our short film, Buns (1978) and has gone on to appear in three other Pirromount movies: Color-Blinded (which he also was associate producer), Rectuma and God Complex (where in both films he portrayed a character named Dr. Coldstone).  Ron was also involved in the stage version of Nudist Colony of the Dead as sound designer and later also an actor.  Ron is another one I met while working as a Universal tour guide in 1975.

BILL DEVLIN – ACTOR

Bill Devlin

Bill Devlin

Bill Devlin has been a part of the Pirromount universe since we hired him to play the ill fated Waldo Williams in Rectuma (2003).  Since then, Bill has appeared in The God Complex, a couple of Pirro directed commercials, and now Rage of Innocence.

DAMON EVANS – ACTOR

Damon Evans holding a Submissive Jesus toy at the premiere of "The God Complex."

Damon Evans holding a Submissive Jesus toy at the premiere of “The God Complex.”

Damon Evans joined our group in 2003 appearing as a thug in Rectuma.  He went on to be a waiter at the last supper in The God Complex, and continues with us as an arresting officer alongside Tyrone Dubose  in Rage of Innocence.

PAUL BUNNELL – ACTOR

Paul Bunnell

Paul Bunnell

Actor/Filmmaker Paul Bunnell first appeared in Deathrow Gameshow as a convict, he later went on to co-star in the stage version of Nudist Colony of the Dead, Buford’s Beach Bunnies, and then God Complex.  Paul still acts, and has gone on to produce one of the most expensive indie movies shot on 35mm film in our digital age.

A good representation of many of the Pirromount ensemble (taken at the cast party for "The God Complex."

A good representation of many of the Pirromount ensemble (taken at the cast party for “The God Complex.”)

Over the last few years, we have added some new people to the team: Ted Nichelson, Doug MacPherson, Scott MacLachlan, Lauren Baldwin, to name a few.  They joined us for The God Complex, and continue to be a part of our family as they appear in Rage of Innocence.

Starting with “Rage of Innocence,”, we have a few more newcomers: Tammy Klein, Stef Dawson, Keeshan Giles and Chelsea Cook.  I welcome you to the fold and so far am glad to have brought you aboard.  As of this writing, we are roughly half way through this movie and you are treating it with the passion and professionalism that we have gotten from the rest of our ensemble over the years.

I feel I’ve been pretty lucky.  In over 30 years of filmmaking, I have only encountered a small handful of flakes (I won’t mention their names here, but they know who they are).  There were two from God Complex, one from Color-Blinded, one from Nudist Colony of the Dead – the movie, and three from Nudist Colony of the Dead – the stage play, one from Polish Vampire and one from Curse of the Queerwolf.  Having worked with hundreds of actors and crew members over the years, it’s inevitable that some bad apples will fall into the mix.  It’s a weeding process.  Once a person flakes, they are banished from the Pirromount team.  I won’t say forever, since we’ve had a few over the years who have done us wrong, but have redeemed themselves and proven themselves worthy to be taken back.

But I have been fortunate to have found the cream of the crop.  A filmmaker is only good as the people he insulates himself with, and I am grateful for a stellar team who, whether there is a budget or not, keep coming back again and again to work on whatever film we have in production.  I know I haven’t mentioned everyone, and this blog is even longer than I thought it would be.  But every time I was about to end it, another name would come to mind.  As I said at the beginning, please don’t take offense if I didn’t acknowledge you here, it doesn’t mean I appreciate you any less.  Just note that whether I mentioned your name or not, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  I love you all and know that it’s because of you I’ve been able to follow my dream of continually making movies all these years.  Thank you and god b. less.



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Mark Pirro is the Owner of Pirromount Studios.
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