Father of Spider Baby by Yuck Foo

Director Jack Hill is a pioneer of exploitation. From his landmark film "Spider Baby," in 1964, through the early 80's, Hill has delivered consistently entertaining drive-in fare. He directed the two seminal Pam Grier Blaxploitation films of the 70's, "Coffy," and "Foxy Brown." Quentin Tarantino continually pays homage to Hill, and rereleased his female gang picture, "Switchblade Sisters" a few years ago.

For me it always comes back to "Spider Baby." One of the true original horror films of all time. Weird, surreal, funny, and creepy. This being the TCPUNK Halloween issue, I wanted to ask Hill about his experience as a horror director.

TCPUNK: Can you tell me about the genres of film that impressed you growing up.

JACK HILL: I liked the Warner Bros films of the forties. They had a verve and kind of insolence all their own, probably because the producers had to work on low budgets and had to come up with strong ideas to compete with the big-bucks

productions of some of the other studios. For example, Warners had Cagney and Bogart, even Flynn. The bigger studios had -- who? Tyrone Power and Robert Taylor. When has there ever been a creepier moment than in They Died With Their Boots On, when Flynn, playing George Armstrong Custer, suddenly says, "There's one thing about glory, Sharp. ... You can take it with you when you go."

TCPUNK: What horror films do you remember having the greatest impact on you?

JACK HILL: Well, at age 10 or so, there was no contest: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man. Later on, of course, there was The Thing From Another World. Whooo!!!

TCPUNK: What scares you?

JACK HILL: Myself, sometimes. But most of all, the current president of the United States and his goons.

TCPUNK: What was it like going to film school in the early 60's?

Everything was pretty much makeshift; but at least, we had access to equipment. So you could grab a camera, get some film, patch and paste whatever you could and shoot, shoot, shoot.