Writer and director Michael Merino seems to have followed the path of most people who dream of making a living in the creative arts. As it states on his IMDB bio, “Mr. Merino held many jobs which included jobs as a contractor, bartender, waiter, short order cook, ladies shoe salesmen, door to door sales and jewelry rep, a landscaper, art dealer, carpenter, brickmason, house painter, truck driver, dock worker, and his most interesting jobs as a pornographic pizza-maker in Sydney’s ‘red-light’ district.” And yes, we will get to that pornographic pizza job in the interview. In all seriousness, Merino has grit. Persevering through those jobs and with the support of his father, Michael was able to pursue his passion which is writing and directing witty, intelligent, independent, horror films. I have seen 502 and The Haunting of Pearson Place and I can say that a Merino film involves more than a high-priced special effects team and crafty CG. He recruits folks that know how to act and he writes interesting stories that are frightening, but retain a subtext of humor which keeps the viewer hooked.
Also from his IMDB bio, “Michael directed his first feature, the award-winning (Two Rivers Film Fest) action film ‘The Deal.’ in 2003. In 2006, Michael released the horror film ‘The Milkman’ to critical acclaim. In 2008 he released the thriller/horror feature ’502′ which won the coveted ‘Shakes’ award in the Dead-time film festival. And in 2012, Michael was awarded Best Director for the feature film ‘The Haunting of Pearson Place’ at the WMIFF and HORRORFIND film festivals.”
Merino took time to speak with me from his home near Washington, D.C. Michael is an engaging, gregarious, fellow and I am pleased to share our conversation with you.