Ever hear of a 20,000 percent return on an investment? When Mark Pirro made a Super-8 movie for $2,500 in l983, he intended it to be nothing more than a showcase for his writing and directing abilities. But since its release on cassette in 1985, the film has grossed nearly half a million dollars. And producers are taking note. “Some of the companies that wouldn’t even deal with me in the past are now returning my calls the same day,” Pirro says. The film, A Polish Vampire in Burbank, is the story of a virginal vampire who has yet to bite his first victim. When asked how a low-budget, Super-8 movie could be so successful, Pirro reflects, “The film has never had any advanced hype or publicity, and just rents because of the title alone. It really confirms that you can sell anything.” Pirro is currently directing his first 35mm feature, a black comedy called ‘Death Row Game Show’, about a group of death row inmates who get a chance to appear on television to “die or win prizes.” The film’s budget is set at just under $1 million. If it returns the same percentage on investment as Polish Vampire, Pirro should have no trouble in getting all his calls returned.
— Braddon Leigh Mendelson