Interview With Indie Kingpin Sean Donohue

Relentless independent filmmaker and Tampa Bay Screams horror convention founder Sean Donohue is at it again. Currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for his latest feature, Zed’s Dead, it is clear that the prolific provocateur has not abandoned his sleazy roots. Zed’s Dead promises gore, girls, and exploitation on a micro-budget— Donohue trademarks—but also intrigues with a premise loosely based on characters found within Quentin Tarantino’s epic 1994 film, Pulp Fiction

After delivering a substantial amount of independent fan favorite fare, Sean has never seemed to slow down. Bouncing back from the crap-tacular year known as 2020, Donohue not only unveiled Zed’s Dead, but has also delivered an extraordinarily eclectic roster for his Tampa Bay Screams convention taking place this March 19th and 20th. Visit HERE for a complete lineup and tickets.

I was pleased to be able to shoot Sean a few questions where he reveals his number one rule on set, his upcoming horror convention in Florida, and his plans for the future. 

Read our previous interview with Sean here.

PopHorror: What was your gateway into horror? How were you introduced to the exploitation subgenre? 

Sean Donohue: Visiting video stores in the mid ’80s until their downfall. I was always attracted to the colorful box art in those days, and like a lot of people, I rented stuff based solely on the box cover.

PopHorror: Give us the skinny on Zed’s Dead. How did you conjure this idea? What can we expect? 

Sean Donohue: Zed’s Dead is a parody based on Pulp Fiction that concentrates on the Zed and Maynard characters from the original film. I wanted to make a movie that concentrated on two men that ran a pawn shop that raped, murdered and robbed their victims as they came in to pawn valuables.

PopHorror: You have completed several features, including indie fan favorites, Death-Scort Service, Die Die Delta Pi, and Cannibal Claus [read the PopHorror review of the film here]. What initially inspired you to become a filmmaker? 

Sean Donohue: I always wanted to be an actor when I was a kid, and then in high school, I realized that I was not a very good actor, so I started learning what went on behind the camera. From that point, I started enjoying writing, directing, and producing, which I enjoy much more than I ever enjoyed acting.

PopHorror: What helps maintain your motivation to not only keep making movies of your own but also continue to support others in the community? 

Sean Donohue: I am very OCD, so it’s a constant battle for me to try to constantly improve my work. I am rarely happy with my movies, so it encourages me to make another one each time. I do enjoy it, but it’s almost a psychological disorder (laughs). I would say to anyone else that wants to do it or wants to keep doing it – if you enjoy it – then keep doing it!

PopHorror: This year marks the 5th annual Tampa Bay Screams Horror Convention [March 19-20, 2021] down in your home state of Florida. You have a killer lineup consisting of actors, special FX wizards, filmmakers, artists, and writers as well as a film festival sponsored by the world famous Grindhouse Video. How did you come to the decision of spearheading a horror convention catering to cult horror enthusiasts? 

Sean Donohue: That’s right! This is the 5th Tampa Bay Screams! I basically got tired of flying to out-of-state conventions to promote my stuff, so I decided to try to start my own convention. Kind of a crumby reason, but that’s what started it. With that being, said attendees, guests, and vendors all seem to really enjoy it, and like the intimacy it has that a lot of bigger conventions don’t. So I plan to keep it alive as long as I can. Cult horror fans seem to like our discount prices, indie directors that are usually in attendance, and the indie actors/actresses that may not get the same attention at a larger convention.

Some of the featured guests at this upcoming Tampa Bay Screams

PopHorror: What’s your number one rule on set? 

Sean Donohue: You have to be dedicated 100% or don’t even bother showing up.

PopHorror: Besides shipping out copies of Zed’s Dead to the folks who purchased, what else do you have planned for the future? 

Sean Donohue: Right now, I am trying to slow down a bit. However, I am working on a documentary about the Florida horror scene, and I plan on pushing out a Cannibal Claus Special Edition Blu-ray by the end of this year.

PopHorror: If you could program a drive-in double feature, which two films make the bill? 

Sean Donohue: The Blob 1958 and The Blob 1988.

Solid choices, Sean! We want to thank Sean for his time and hope you check out ALL his filmmaking endeavors.

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