Movies & TV / Columns

Gregory Lamberson On Directing Guns of Eden, Sequel Possibilities

December 5, 2022 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Guns of Eden Image Credit: Uncork'd Entertainment

The 411 Interview: Gregory Lamberson

Image Credit: Gregory Lamberson

Gregory Lamberson is a director, writer, and producer who has been making movies since the late 1980’s, starting with the classic horror flick Slime City. Since then, Lamberson has directed such movies as Naked Fear, Slime City Massacre, Dry Bones (he co-directed this with Michael O’Hear), the absolutely fantastic horror comedy Killer Rack, Johnny Gruesome (the best movie of 2018), and the unsettling horror flick Widow’s Point starring modern horror icon Craig Sheffer. Lamberson is also an author, responsible for the books Black Creek, Carnage Road, Johnny Gruesome, The Frenzy Wolves, and The Jake Helman Files series (Lamberson also co-directs, with Chris Scioli, the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival). Lamberson’s latest movie is the non-stop action flick Guns of Eden, starring Alexandra Faye Sadeghian, Bill Kennedy, Peter Johnson, and Lynn Lowry and which will be available on DVD and digital starting December 6th, 2022 (you can get the DVD here or here). In this interview, Lamberson talks with this writer about completing Guns of Eden, how he thinks the movie turned out, how Lynn Lowry got involved in the project, and more.


Image Credit: Uncork’d Entertainment

Bryan Kristopowitz: Now that the movie is finished how do you think Guns of Eden turned out? Is it the movie that you ultimately wanted to make?

Gregory Lamberson: I’m very happy with it. When we were prepping it, friends thought I was crazy to even attempt such a big film on such a small budget, but we pulled it off. The reactions from people who have seen it haven’t even touched on how much it cost, which is nice. Often with micro-budget films folks will say, “It was great for what you had to work with,” always with that qualifier. No qualifier seems to be necessary for this one.

BK: Just how many different locations did you end up shooting at for Guns of Eden?

GL: Main Street in downtown Buffalo, the Union Pub bar and grill, Chestnut Ridge Park, Little Rock City Park, Akron Falls Park, our “cabin in the woods,” and the farm of Rachel Levin and Mike Ranallo, who were an enormous help to us and had some small roles.

Image Credit: Nancy J. Parisi

BK: What was the hardest location to shoot in? What was the easiest?

GL: The hardest was Little Rock City, where we shot the chase through all those rock formations and a few other scenes. It was almost 90 mins to get out there, it’s very isolated, and our permit didn’t come through until after the fact. It was hard for people to find, we had to make sure the company with our two portable toilets knew where to leave them, and the bottom of that rock maze Alexandra Faye Sadeghian is chased through had about eight inches of mud all the way through it. It was her, the other two actors, cinematographer Chris Cosgrave, and myself down there, with everyone else up above, looking down. It isn’t easy to run through eight inches of mud, or to haul a heavy camera.

The easiest was Kathy Shadrock’s cabin, where Lynn Lowry’s character lives. It isn’t a cabin at all, but a gorgeous house built over a stream. One of the Buffalo Bills once owned it, and Kathy maintains these beautiful gardens that people visit in the summer. We had to crop the shots carefully to make it look smaller than it actually is. It was a rare day inside, with amenities available for the crew outside.

BK: How did you cast Guns of Eden? How did you find Bill Kennedy, who plays the absolutely despicable Sheriff Preacher?

GL: Making movies in Buffalo, the first question in casting is always, “Which roles do we need to cast with out-of-town actors, and which ones can I cast locally?” I knew I wanted Lynn to play Frances if I could swing it, and producer Tamar Lamberson and I agreed we had to look out-of-town for someone to play Megan, the main character. I knew we had the talent in Buffalo for the other roles, it was just a question of whether people could be available for the time needed. Fortunately, after everything being shut down over Covid, people were very supportive of the project and anxious to participate in it. Bill Kennedy is from Niagara Falls, basically next door, and I’ve known him for several years; we’ve screened movies he acted in and produced at Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival, which I co-run. I felt he fit the character as I had envisioned it since writing the script back in 1996. He worked hard on the role and did an excellent job.

Image Credit: Uncork’d Entertainment

BK: How did you get Lynn Lowry involved in the movie?

GL: I’ve worked with Lynn in the past. I was the Line Producer and Assistant Director on Debbie Rochon’s Model Hunger, and on Lynn’s first day on set she blew me away with her talent. And then she and Debbie both played roles in Sam Qualiana’s The Legend of Six Fingers, which I produced. So she immediately came to mind for this role, and I wanted to work with her as a director. Lynn is her own agent and manager, so it wasn’t a hard sell. What you get with her is ferocious talent, commitment and professionalism; like Debbie, she elevates everything she’s in, and that’s what you want as a filmmaker. Debbie was supposed to be in the film too, but there were some travel issues due to Covid regulations, and she had to drop out at the last minute. I was really looking forward to working with her again, because it’s been a while.

Image Credit: Nancy J. Parisi

BK: How long did it take to put together the big brawl between Megan Forest (Alexandra Faye Sadeghian) and Caleb (Tim O’Hearn)? You’ve worked with Alexander S. McBryde multiple times, both as an actor and fight choreographer/stunt coordinator. Describe your working relationship with McBryde.

GL: Well, I wrote and re-wrote the scene many times since 1996, with many different permutations, so there’s that. But in terms of production, Alex did his own preparation, and I got Alexandra and Tim together with him on their day off – I think Chris Cosgrave, our cinematographer and co-producer, was there too, to plan camera angles – and they worked everything out. And then we spent maybe half a day shooting it. One of the hard parts about shooting a long fight like that outside is that the sun changes location, and there was no tree cover in that spot, so we still had to shoot it at a good clip. It’s a good example of how collaboration works on a film: you have the script, the actors, the choreographer, and the camera, and everyone has to work together to make it work the best way possible. Plus the prop master, in this case our Production Designer, Bryan Varney. And then of course there’s the whole post-production aspect: editing, sound effects and music. My longtime editor Phil Gallo cut it, with input from Chris; there was no ego to get in the way. Adam Bloch recorded and mixed the sound effects, and Armand John Petri and Joe Rozler did a really strong job with that music cue, I think it’s one of their best. It takes a village, but after spreading all that credit around, Alex designed two big fight scenes for this film, and delivered on a major level. He reads the script, we have a conversation, and then I trust him to go off and create, just like I do with Chris. On the other fight scene, between Peter Johnson and Andrew Dale, on the last day of shooting, I was really a spectator with right of approval, just like directors are on bigger films. You can only have that kind of luxury when you collaborate with the right people. I’ve already told Alex that if we do a sequel I’m going to give him more to do.

BK: Describe your working relationship with cinematographer Chris Cosgrave.
GL: We’ve known each other about eight years at this point, and we live five blocks away. We have a lot in common, so we can speak in shorthand, which is a big help on set and in post. I trust him implicitly, whether it’s dealing with shooting, graphics, or editorial decisions. He’s a storyteller in his own right – it’s important to realize that most of the names you see in the end credits of a film belong to people who are storytellers, not just extra hands serving the director’s will – so when doing visual effects for me he often goes off on his own and comes back with something completely different than I had scripted, but something with more impact than what I came up with. It’s harder for him to do that when we’re on set! But again, it comes down to checking your ego to do what’s best for a film, and we’re both able to do that. Working on films at any budget level is intense, and working with people you respect, and showing respect to others, makes the days easier and the film better.

Image Credit: Nancy J. Parisi

BK: The soundtrack is fantastic. What sort of direction did you give composers Armand John Petri and Joe Rozler?

GL: This is the fourth consecutive score Armand and Joe have done for me. They’re both talented and successful professionals in their fields, so they do this work for me for fun. I watched Guns of Eden on a big screen the other night, and found my foot tapping to the music at key moments, and someone else in attendance mentioned they did the same thing. So I think this is their best score, although all four have plenty to appreciate. The films have been so different that they’ve gotten to flex different muscles, just like I have. The way we typically work is that I discuss what I want with Armand during pre-production, and he’ll visit the set during shooting when he can – he enjoys the process – and we’ll have some very general conversations during editing, and eventually we’ll have a final cut or a close to final cut, and have a spotting session and he’ll take notes. Now during the meantime he’s been listening to other scores, the same way I’ll watch certain movies before I start directing. So he already has some melodies in his head. Then he and Joe will get together, and they have a very intuitive relationship, Joe will come up with some rearrangements, and they’ll sort of feed off each other, and that’s when their magic happens. On Guns, I told Armand I loved the scores for The Omega Man, Assault on Precinct 13, and Paul Schrader’s Cat People, and they went off from there. For the end credits song, I told him Armand I wanted something evocative of theme songs from films from the 70s and 80s, like The Wild Geese and First Blood. We didn’t think there would be time to do one, but he and Joe got together for a day, worked it out, and then Kim Piazza, Armand’s wife who played Olivia Dahlly, knocked out of the park in one take.

BK: How did the political subtext of the story develop? Was it always sort of there in the script or was it something that you enhanced as you went on?

GL: I wrote the script in 1996, and there really wasn’t any political subtext. I knew I wanted this female cop running through the woods, hunted by a bunch of men with guns. Well, who would these guys be? I didn’t want them to be cult members, because Thou Shalt Not Kill had already done that. I liked the idea of cops and rednecks being the bad guys, like in First Blood but I hit on the idea of a bunch of extremist groups, each with its own unique personality, like the gangs in The Warriors. The script was finalized and we had launched our Indiegogo when January 6th happened. Who could have guessed the over-the-top fantasy villains I imagined in ’96 would not only be on the nose in 2021, but tame compared to the people actually running around out there?

BK: What would a hypothetical Guns of Eden 2 look like? Would it be a direct sequel to the first movie or would it be something else?

GL: GoE2 would pick up right when the first one ends, an absolute continuation – “DAY 2.” It would look and play very much like the first one, except there would be less need for exposition, and I’d like to devote more time to filming the action scenes. The biggest difference is I would like a lot of practical gore effects. That’s something we just couldn’t pull off this time around. And hopefully we would get Debbie for that one.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

GL: We’re looking for financing for my werewolf film. It can’t be done microbudget because of the special effects, but after GoE I feel like I’m at the top of my game, and I’m roaring to go.

Image Credit: Nancy J. Parisi

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Guns of Eden?

GL: I just want them to experience the visceral thrill you get when you see any well-made action movie. That’s it. Anything else is gravy.

BK: Any chance of an Olivia Dahlly spinoff? I bet that would be a bizarrely hilarious movie.

GL: If we do a sequel it’s likely there will be another Olivia Dahlly commercial. She and Justice Jenny could both return for some humorous cameos, because everything else would be intense.

BK: Would you ever agree to appear as a guest on Justice Jenny’s TV show?

GL: No, I’ll stick to The Gratuitous B Movie Column on!

Image Credit: Uncork’d Entertainment


A very special thanks to Gregory Lamberson for agreeing to participate in this interview and to Jeff Michael for setting it up.

Guns of Eden is out on both DVD and digital starting December 6th, 2022. Purchase the DVD here or here!

Check out my review of Guns of Eden here!

Check out the Guns of Eden Facebook page here and Twitter page here!

Check out Gregory Lamberson’s Facebook page here!

Gregory Lamberson headshot courtesy of Gregory Lamberson. Guns of Eden DVD cover, Lynn Lowry, and Alexandra Faye Sadeghian with big machine gun images courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment. All other images courtesy of Nancy J. Parisi.