Clu Gulager

Interview by David Del Valle

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The Gulager clan promoting FUCKING TULSA
The Gulager clan promoting FUCKING TULSA

situations. He has set ups, visual images in mind. He wants us to hit a certain mark so we can see the girl's nose just beyond the post. That makes sense to me. As far as changing you in one fifteen-minute rehearsal, that's impossible. You'll get a bad performance if you try and change the actor's quality, in my judgment. Most directors, being very knowledgeable after a time, they see, that you can't change directions in one moment. It takes days or weeks sometimes to create a whole character."

More horror roles followed. In Jack Sholder's NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST. 2 (85) he and Hope Lange were the parents and the NBC movie TERROR AT LONDON BRIDGE was about Jack The Ripper in Arizona. Clu played his most disturbing horror movie role in THE OFFSPRING. He was a creepy Southern necrophiliac (with Miriam as his wife). The anthology was shot in '85 in Dalton, GA, and wraparound scenes with Vincent Price and Susan Tyrrell (PV #6) were shot in 86, in Roger Corman's studios in Venice. Producer/ writer Darin Scott later made the similar TALES FROM THE HOOD (95). Miriam was also in Burr's STEPFATHER 2 (89), also produced by Scott, and LEATHERFACE - TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III (90) and Clu returned in more Burr movies too.

A major TV role was as Gen. Sheridan in the ABC miniseries THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH, BOOK 2 (85). The next year Fangoria interviewed Clu calling him a "New Horror Star" and footage of him as a convention guest turned up in FANGORIA'S WEEKEND OF HORRORS. They said, "he drives a pick up truck and lives and teaches acting in a loft in downtown Los Angeles." And he explained why he was doing so many low budget movies: "I need money to do my Hamlet, then I need money to do Three Penny Opera." His elaborate planned production of Hamlet featuring a multitiered set of Plexiglas floors never happened though.

'87 brought roles in SUMMER HEAT, set in 1930s North Carolina, Jack Sholder's THE HIDDEN, as a police Lt., Greydon Clark's THE UNINVITED, as an alcoholic hit man, and the Corman produced HUNTER'S BLOOD, a DELIVERANCE type story with a great cast including Bruce Glover, Billy Drago and even Billy Bob Thorton. The next year Clu was in two cult comedies, I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA!, as another police Lt., and TAPEHEADS, as a corrupt politician. Clu, Miriam, son Tom and son John (and his wife Diane) were all living in a rented Venice beach house at the time. They all

packed up and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in the summer of '88. The plan was to film The Secret Life Of A Law Enforcement Officer there, to star Tom as a character inspired by Ed Gein.

Meanwhile Clu paid bills by playing a reverend in TEEN VAMP, shot in Shreveport, LA, and a principal in the horror anthology THE WILLIES (90). DAN TURNER, HOLLYWOOD DETECTIVE (90) starred Marc Singer, with Clu and Miriam. MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS (91) starred Scott Glenn as a rodeo bull rider and Ben Johnson (from THE LAST PICTURE SHOW) as his father. In '92 the Gulager family began a new project to be called Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!, then renamed Fucking Tulsa: An Excursion Into Cruelty. Clu wrote the script for what was planned as "the cruelest film ever made" and started directing in an East Tulsa slum. It stars son Tom as a serial killer. Brother John was cinematographer (using Super 8mm), edited and scored. His wife Diane Ayala played the killer's girlfriend. The Gulagers raised $35,000 from their pensions and social security checks and from private investors, but after three years only finished 20 minutes of footage. Back in L.A. Miriam was diagnosed with a brain tumor and lost the sight of her left eye.

Clu and Miriam were both in the TV movie IN THE LINE OF DUTY: AMBUSH IN WACO (93). Jeff Burr's barely released EDDIE PRESLEY (93) stars Duane Whitaker from Texas, with Roscoe Lee Browne, John Lazar, Kitten Natividad, Ian Ogilvy, Ted Raimi, Tim Thomerson, Daniel Roebuck, Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Tierney, and Clu, who was also in Burr's PUPPET MASTER 5 (94). In Tulsa, the Gulagers gave acting lessons and taught "monster classes" in their garage at Halloween. Eventually some neighbors turned against them and accused them of practicing satanic animal sacrifices (Miriam was caring for 10 cats and 5 dogs). In '93 somebody hung a dead dog in front of their home.

In '96 the family went to NYC with their 20 minutes of Fucking Tulsa, and showed it to any and all potential backers, hoping to find completion funds. Those who saw it were impressed and horrified - or just horrified. Nothing was held back in the intense, gory, explicit footage. If made into a feature, it would be lucky to get an NC17 rating. They moved back to Los Angeles, where The L.A. Weekly did a very extensive warts and all cover article in '97 about Clu and his family and their artistic endeavors. Asked about what he had learned