100 Creatives

100 Creatives 2013: Joe Grisaffi, The Man Who Will Play Dean Corll

What He Does: Watch more than three horror movies that have been produced or shot in Houston you will likely stumble across the name of Joe Grisaffi in some form. His IMDB page lists 62 appearances as an actor alone, in addition to work as a director, writer, and cinematographer. He recently completed his first feature length film as a director, Dead of Knight, about a resurrected medieval warrior on an unholy quest against virtue in the modern day.

His acting credits include some of Houston's most critically acclaimed movies like Jacob and Zombified, but what may be his most important work is still coming up when he portrays Houston's notorious serial killer Dean Corll in Josh Vargas' In a Madman's World. Corll murdered at least 28 boys in the early '70s before being killed by his accomplices David Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley. The film is slated for release later this year.

Why He Likes It: "My absolute favorite part of filmmaking is sitting in the theater with an audience that is enjoying what they are seeing. I also enjoy the writing process. When the film turns out well, it makes all of the headaches in between worth the struggle. It can be little things during the process that keep me going, though, like when a music cue works perfectly or when I show a veteran actor a trick they didn't know."

What Inspires Him: Though he's a film buff, Grisaffi draws a lot of his inspiration from classic adventure video games. He's an acknowledged collector of and expert at video game systems and releases, including being one of the only people I know that actually owns a physical copy of the most violent game ever released, Chiller. Text adventures like Zork and Colossal Cave are big on his list, as are Mystery House, Wizard and the Princess, and early RPGs like Ultima and Wizardry. The Resident Evil series is also good for jumpstarting his creative juices.

If Not This, Then What: "If I didn't work in film, I would love to be working in the video game industry. Growing up, that's actually what I wanted to do, design video games. The filmmaking bug didn't bite me until I was in college. I am lucky being able to make a living in the film and commercial scene in Houston."

If Not Here, Then Where: Grisaffi has worked out in Hollywood in big budget mainstream films such as Austin Powers and Pirates of the Caribbean, but he loves Houston the best because of the people he knows and respects here. He's flirted with the idea of moving to New Mexico or Louisiana, but if Houston was off limits he would most likely enjoy working in Austin.

What's Next: "I am very excited about the future as a filmmaker. In recent years, I have taken the 'trying to do everything myself' approach to filmmaking. After my current project Lars the Emo Kid is finally completed, I plan to collaborate more and plan for slightly bigger budgets, wearing fewer hats and trying to speed up the process, which can take a while at the shoestring budget level. There is more horror and comedy in my future and hopefully a video game-based movie which would be my love note to the '80s."

More Creatives for 2013 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Jordan "Monster Mac" McMahon, artist, designer

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner