Jack Thomas Smith
Jack Thomas Smith
|Occupation||Screenwriter, film producer, film director|
|Years active||1996 - present|
Jack Thomas Smith (born 1969) is an American producer, writer and director of horror films, including The Regenerated Man, Disorder and Infliction. Smith is a member of the Horror Writers Association.
Jack Thomas Smith was born in 1969 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has a brother, Michael A. Smith. Their family lived in Philadelphia until he was eight, when his family relocated to a quiet island community in Michigan, which would later serve as the inspiration for his film In the Dark. He began to develop an interest in storytelling and horror at the age of nine when he read the Stephen King novel The Shining. As a teenager, he moved to Sparta, New Jersey.
Smith initially desired to be a writer, and completed a 300-page horror novel by the time he was eleven, though it was never published. While in his teens, Smith's father bought him a Super 8 film camera, with which Smith, Michael, and their friends shot horror and comedy shorts in the neighborhood. From that point, his interests shifted to filmmaking.
While living in Sparta, Smith worked at a video store, where he discovered the films of George A. Romero, Stanley Kubrick, Brian De Palma, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and Tobe Hooper, who would influence his work. It was during this time that he began working on his first screenplay. He became friends with a customer named Lee Estrada who was a frequent renter of horror films, and who put Smith into contact with Ted Bohus, an independent horror filmmaker. When Smith sent Bohus his script, Bohus reacted positively to it, though he felt the budget it required was too high to produce it as an independent film, and suggested to Smith that they work on a screenplay for a different film. They co-wrote The Regenerated Man, and after raising the financing for the film's USD $75,000 budget, Bohus directed it, while Smith worked with the film crew in order to learn how to perform their duties, saying, "I learned every job in making a movie. I held the boom, worked the lights. You've got to check your ego at the door." After completing it, the two filmmakers sold it to Arrow Entertainment for $150,000, doubling their investment.
Smith subsequently met John A. Russo, the writer of one of Smith's favorite films, the 1968 film Night Of The Living Dead. Smith raised the financing for Russo's script for the 1996 horror film Santa Claws, which is about a serial murderer dressed as Santa Claus. The film was distributed by EI Independent.
Smith wrote, produced and directed his directorial debut, the psychological thriller called Disorder, executive produced by Chris Valentino. The film was shot in 61 days in the Poconos, in Blairstown, New Jersey (where the 1980 film Friday the 13th was filmed) and in the woods near Millbrook Village, New Jersey, in a 300-year-old abandoned house owned by the National Park Service. Smith, who had full creative control on it, learned much about filmmaking during the course of its production. It was released by Universal Studios on DVD.
In 2005, he directed the music video for the Purple Pam song "Take Me Away".
By 2014 Smith had shot four music videos for his brother Michael A. Smith's songs "Whiskey River," "I Can't Take It", "Leaving That Old Life Behind" and "Keep It All To Myself."
Smith's next feature film was the found footage horror drama Infliction, which he wrote, directed and produced through his production company, Fox Trail Productions Inc. Filmed from October 3 to November 4, 2011, in Mooresville, Cornelius, Salisbury and Charlotte, North Carolina, with a cast of actors based mostly in Charlotte, Infliction depicts two brothers, John and Kenneth Stiles, as they chronicle a vigilante murder spree in North Carolina in 2011. Smith chose to structure the story, which was inspired by an acquaintance of Smith's who lived through an experience similar to the one depicted in the film, as a first-person narrative in order to provide the audience with a behind-the-scenes perspective into how the motives for the crimes develop, and the effects of long-term child abuse. Smith said of the film, "Working on 'Infliction' left me troubled and haunted. It left me thinking about people's actions or lack thereof and the inevitable domino effect. We all walk our path in life, which shapes and defines us. What happens to us today, good or bad, will affect generations to come." The film won Best Story at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival in 2013, and was shown at several screenings on the East Coast, including a March 16, 2016. It will be shown April 5, 2016 in New York City at Anthology Film Archives, and at a number of horror conventions through 2016. It was positively reviewed by East Stroudsburg University's Stroud Courier and the Pocono Record. It will be released in the U.S. on pay-per-view and on-demand, and on DVD by Virgil Entertainment.
Fox Trail Productions' subsequent projects include the action/horror film In the Dark, the drama Illegals and the comedy Ties that Bind.
Smith's girlfriend is Mandy Del Rio, who has collaborated with him on his projects. She also hosts The Indie Lounge on TV34 in Montclair, New Jersey. Smith has a daughter named Megan Cruz, who works with him on his projects, and a stepdaughter, actress Luna Del Rio.
- "Producer Creates Series Featuring War Heroes". Mount Olive Online Today. Mount Olive Township, New Jersey. March 9, 2019. Archived from the original on March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
- Petaloudis, Greg (April 3, 2014). "One Time Screening: Jack Thomas Smith's New Horror Movie "Infliction" Anthology Film Archives New York". Horror Unlimited.
- Papadopoulos. John (July 10, 2014). "Horror film shot locally debuts on DVD". The Herald Weekly.
- Vanderveeer, Melanie (March 14, 2014). "Native son debuts film in East Stroudsburg". Pocono Record.
- Wien, Gary (October 19, 2014). "Infliction: An Interview With Jack Thomas Smith". New Jersey Stage.
- Cusick, Ryan T. (December 16, 2014). "Movie Review: 'Disorder' (2006)". iHorror.com.
- Primerano, Jane (January 2, 2015). "Indie filmmaker has local ties to Jefferson Township". NorthJersey.com.
- "Chris Valentino".
- Cummins, Emily (May 5, 2014). "Blairstown Theatre to screen latest horror film by local director". NJ.com.
- Reed, John (March 29, 2014). "Infliction: a new meaning of pain". The Stroud Courier. East Stroudsburg University.
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