Mark Mendola BIO:
D.O.B. – 11/19/63
Trivia question: Who exactly are Dr.’s Howard. Fine and Howard? See below for the answer.
Awards: Received an award of Commendation from H. McCarthy Gibson (Buffalo Chief of Police) for saving the life of an inmate who was choking in the Erie County Holding Center where I used to work.
Hobbies: Playing pool, writing stories, poetry and screen plays, playing and coaching soccer.
I joined the DefTone family in 2008 on the movie BITEZ.
Born in 1963, just 3 days before JFK was shot, I grew up my entire life in West Seneca, NY, a small town outside of Buffalo where I still reside.
The study of movies has always been a love of mine. I’ve always been fascinated with special effects and old school technology. I’ve studied the stop action works of Ray Harryhousen, done research on the effects/ancient prosthetics used on Boris Karloff in Frankenstein and Lon Chaney, Sr. in the Hunchback of Note Dame. Both of which suffered great personal physical pain during filming, due to awkward costumes and 50 – 60 pounds of extra prosthesis.
Another inspiration were the early comedy teams, these really had an impact and helped form my truly warped sense of humor. Some of my personal favorites are the slapstick films of the 3 stooges (also known as Howard, Fine and Howard in their Vaudeville days), the zany Marx Brothers, the side splitting comedy of Abbott and Costello. Lou Costello showed the most dedication and courage one night, going on with the show the same day his young son, Louis Jr., drowned. Despite offers by others such as Bob Hope, Red Skelton and Danny Kaye to go on in his place.
In my youth I collected comic books, not just super heroes, but horror such as Tales from the Crypt, Tomb of Dracula, Tales of Suspense and the Twilight Zone. One concept was really special, the “What if:” series by Marvel. Where known story lines from stories in the past are changed by one chance occurrence not happening. This allowed the exploration of many new story lines and alternate realities. This is a topic that still fascinates me today in much of my fiction reading.
In 2008, a friend of mine asked if my son Nick and I wanted to be extras in a zombie film. As I love all of the George Romero zombie films as well as the Evil Dead films starring Bruce Campbell, we said yes. The first day we met Adam and Stephanie and their crew, went to this small local set and worked from 8am to 11pm on BITEZ. We had so much fun we went back another day and were different zombies in the finally of the film. In early 2009, I was approached by Adam and Stephanie to work on GORE, initially as script manager. Eventually I did the wardrobe, script, props and even co-produced. During GORE, I began working on a script/outline for a movie starring myself and Nick in the BITEZ universe. In July, as GORE was wrapping, the green light was given for BITEZ: the Fever. The only catch was neither Adam nor Stephanie were going to direct it, I took the ball and ran. An associate of mine from work, Chris Brechtel, came on board to play my role as Duke, Nick is Danny. Several friends and family came out to be in the film, as well as a cast of many from the DEFTONE family of characters. The one tie to BITEZ is the B.C. Zombie, a reprisal role by the legendary Julian Dickman. Initially, many roles from BITEZ were written in, but availability of actors and scheduling conflicts took out almost all, until Julian was the sole survivor. We brought in Andrew Levin who did an amazing job on makeup, Adam and Stephanie did all of the filming and Adam is editing. This has been a MASSIVE learning experience and I look forward to doing more with DEFTONE, in association with my company, MJM Enterprises, in the future, both in front of and behind the camera.