‘Hybrids’: a vampire-witch love story for the ages

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

It’s an age-old tale: A vampire has fallen in love with a witch, but sadly their union is frowned upon (like Romeo and Juliet before them). Of course, love conquers all. The Count and his bride run away together and breed a pair of “hybrid” kids (part-vampire, part-witch), making up one of the strangest nuclear families you’ve seen in a while. Next week, former Durango resident Tony Schweikle will be screening his movie “Hybrids,” a campy family comedy appropriate for all ages. Last month, “Hybrids” was featured at the Sedona Film Festival, and this past November it won “Best Feature Comedy” at the 20th Int’l Family Film Festival in Hollywood. We spoke with Schweikle about working with his veteran cast of actors, and asked his advice for young people with budding filmmaking aspirations.

How did you come up with the idea for “Hybrids”?

It’s a family comedy with a twist. Blaz and his sister Velana come from a very different kind of mixed marriage: Their father is a vampire and their mother is a witch. I wanted to address the problems of intolerance and bigotry and racism – I grew up in a neighborhood in Chicago that had all of those things. Especially now, our country is going through divisiveness. And I knew this story had been told before by other filmmakers, so mine had to be different. The genres of horror, vampires, witches and zombies are popular now. So in “Hybrids,” a young vampire and a young witch have met, fallen in love, and run away from home because their parents didn’t want them to be together. Then they had two “hybrid” children.

I wrote and produced “Hybrids.” My director Tony Randel had never done a comedy before; he’s actually famous for “Hellbound: Hellraiser 2” and other horror films. This took me a couple years of research. We live in Italy seven months out of the year, and witches are big there. So I actually discovered a real witch, Aradia, from the old days – that’s the name of the mother character in the film. She was a historically-known witch from Benevento, Italy. Then I thought, ‘Who would she be intolerant of? Oh, a vampire!’ The way we wound up with zombies is because the young character Blaz goes to school to be a filmmaker, and winds up falling in love with a girl who is making a student film about zombies.

Tell me about your cast.

Paul Sorvino is a wonderful human being and a real veteran. As a producer, he drove me crazy; we’d be ready to shoot a scene, and he insisted on rehearsing and rehearsing. This was a small-budget film that was self-funded, so it was my money being spent. But it paid off; when we shot the scenes, they had rehearsed so well that we didn’t need to do a lot of takes. Actually, Burt Reynolds was on tap to play the father vampire, but then right before we finished the contract he got sick and couldn’t do it. We offered Paul a script; and unbeknownst to us, he accepted and did the film for minimal money because he always wanted to play Bela Lugosi! It was serendipity. Aradia the mother witch is played by Carolyn Hennesy, who is known for her continued role on “General Hospital.” And the young actors are fantastic, too; they were just beginning, and now their careers are going crazy. There are some smaller roles, too, for example Tatanka Means; he’s so well-known, every Native American in the Four Corners region would come to see the movie if they knew he was in it. He has a featured role on “Saints and Strangers,” the National Geographic show now.

How did you get into film production and script writing? Did you go to film school?

No. I moved to Durango in 1972 when I was in my 30s. I got a job at Purgatory as the photographer; I was one of the top ski photographers around at that time. This movie “Avalanche” came to Durango – it’s now a cult classic, done by cult filmmaker Roger Corman – and I would up getting hired because I could take stills and ski with their cinematographers. After that, I started getting jobs as a location scout and manager. I worked on a lot of great movies, including “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” Then I took a job with the Colorado Film Commission for four or five years, but eventually got burned out with government and went back into production – and I was out of the loop! Especially because of my age. I loved the business so much, and I knew the only way I’d ever be able to work on another feature film was if I made it myself. That’s what started me writing screenplays.

Any advice for youngsters who dream of becoming directors or screenwriters?

Go to school. I’m serious. Nowadays, there’s a lot of universities with great film departments – even at Boulder, they have a good one. They’re all over the country. Your next step is to get a non-paying internship with some company in Los Angeles or New York. Forget every place else – I was lucky, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. But that doesn’t usually happen. You have to go to LA or New York. Those internships work out really well for people; if you stick with it, you’ll generally end up getting into the business. The most important thing is to pick something you want to do. If you want to produce, work on that. If you want to direct, work on that. If you want to be an actor, do that. You pick something and go in that direction. Once you achieve it, then you can branch out. So many actors are directing and producing, or directors are acting. But you have to get in there first. Pick a category; ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ That’s how they used to put it. If you are scattered, you’re never going to get anywhere.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media

Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.


On Key

Related Posts

DGO July 2023 Page 14 Image 0001

The fall of Satan’s Den

The Story of David Parker Ray, one of New Mexico’s Most Notorious predators Amanda Push SPECIAL TO DGO Warning: This article contains disturbing descriptions of

DGO May 2023 Page 14 Image 0001

The epic stoner coloring book

Grab your markers, blunt, and color to your heart’s content to win some cool weedy prizes We want you to do something that adults never

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Get notified about new articles

Explore the weed life with DGO Magazine

Contact Information

Find Us Here:

Leave us a message