Published in IN Community Magazines – South Fayette Summer 2016

PITTSBURGH – When Steve Rudzinski began acting in low-budget horror films more than a decade ago, he never expected he would eventually shoot a movie in his hometown of Bridgeville.

Rudzinski finished filming his horror comedy feature, called “CarousHELL,” there in late May and early June. The film is about a carousel unicorn that goes on a bloody rampage.  The script is extremely funny, Rudzinski says, and he hopes to have a local premiere for the film. His wife came up with the name for the movie while she was in the shower.

“I said ‘honey that’s a great title,’ which is like 90 percent of a picture idea,” Rudzinski says.

He grew up in Bridgeville but has lived in New York, New Jersey and California while pursuing his career as an actor, writer, producer and director. Rudzinski’s wife is also from Pittsburgh and they moved back to the area after they were married.

“It’s interesting and cool to be back home after being one for so long,” Rudzinski says. “But part of me is also saying I went nowhere.”

The iconic horror comedy movie “Army of Darkness” drove Rudzinski to pursue a career in film.

“It was a movie that very much wanted to be its own thing,” he says. “It really spoke to me because it didn’t care about being a comedy or horror or fantasy film because it was all of these things. It was completely up my alley.”

Bruce Campbell, the star of “Army of Darkness,” also inspired Rudzinski with his expressive acting style.

“His entire being is expressed through his face,” Rudzinski says. “Emotions in a face can tell so much more of the story than almost anything else on the screen.”

When he turned 18, Rudzinski began acting in micro-budget films and he says it was a learning experience. Because the budgets were so small, there was a lot of pressure to get scenes right on the first shot. He also wrote and directed, and in 2010 he started producing his own horror comedy films.

“I am extremely lucky with what I have accomplished, because I can do it as a career instead of struggling to do it on the side,” Rudzinski says.

His advice to aspiring actors is to follow their dreams, but he also cautions them that it’s a lot of hard work.

“You have to keep practicing, even in your bedroom by yourself,” Rudzinski says. “Audition for as much as you can for whatever you can. You may not like the project or character but it’s a job as much as it’s an art. I don’t think people can be choosey in a very difficult industry.”

For aspiring directors, Rudzinski says they need to learn that nothing will ever be perfect.

“Sometimes you have to say it’s good enough,” he says. “The whole movie matters more than just this one shot right now.”

In addition to being filmmaker, Rudzinski works for Marvel Live Appearances and portrays Spiderman at parades, stage shows, and other events around the world. Rudzinski is a comic book fan and says the job has fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a superhero. He loves meeting children and making their dreams come true. Some children love to ask questions but Rudzinski says he’s never been stumped. However, sometimes a child is too overwhelmed by the experience and it helps when the parents can step to make them feel more comfortable.

“It’s really fun when the parents are part of the fantasy,” Rudzinski says.

He also acts in stage shows where Spiderman and other superheroes battle a villain. The shows are very similar to professional wrestling because there are a lot of choreographed falls, leaps and hits. The events also teach children the importance of physical fitness or standing up to bullies, among other messages.

Rudzinski also had the opportunity to portray the Joker at the Shrine Circus in Pittsburgh in April. Although he usually plays heroes, Rudzinski says he also enjoyed being a villain.

“I jumped at the offer because it’s so nice to be the heel,” he says.

The Shrine Circus was very different from the Spiderman events because he appeared before a much a larger audience. He had to exaggerate his movements even more than usual. Plus, he had to avoid all the circus animals.

“The tigers act more like house cats but you still have to be very careful,” Rudzinski says.

In the future, Rudzinski says he would like to act in more films and direct projects with bigger budgets. He would also hopes to become a Power Ranger but says that will have to wait until “CarousHELL” is finished.

“I never worry about more than one major project at a time,” Rudzinski says.

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