From the Monte Hellman interview with Steve Voce, Psychotronic Video Magazine #25 (1997), p.78
BACK DOOR TO HELL and FLIGHT TO FURY, shot back to back in The Philippines, were Hellman's next as director. BACK DOOR, a WWII story with Filipino freedom fighters, stars singer Jimmy Rogers, Jack Nicholson and John Hackett. Nicholson gets drunk, worries a lot and is shot. 20th Century Fox released the Lippert production. FLIGHT (written by Nicholson) was released by Feature Film Corp. (they also released CYBORG 2087 and DIMENSION 5). It stars Dewey Martin, Fay Spain, Nicholson (with a mustache) as a psychotic diamond smuggler (who eventually kills himself) and Vic Diaz (also in many Filipino horror movies). The settings in the jungle after a plain crash.
"Well that was after doing all the little pieces for Roger. But I got BACK DOOR TO HELL and FLIGHT TO FURY because (producer) Fred Ross saw THE TERROR in
“It was really terrific because we were off in the middle of, well we were halfway around the world, and we could kind of do what we wanted, because there was nobody there to supervise it other than Fred who was on our side. So we wrote, literally on the way to the
"Trapped Ashes: Director Monte Hellman by Jonathan Doyle" on the Bloody Disgusting website:
BD: One last thing I want to ask you about because I know no Monte Hellman interview is complete without asking. I just saw "Back Door to Hell" recently when that was released on DVD for the first time and I was wondering if you could talk about Jack Nicholson and the collaboration you had over the years and whether you still correspond with him to this day.
MH: Jack and I are still good friends and that particular film was very interesting because, during the shooting of that film, Jack had one of those revelations that people have in their life. I think we were like a third of the way through the shooting and he said, "I think I get it. I think I know what it's about now."
BD: The film or acting in general?
MH: Acting. Something just clicked in his head and he said "I get it" and he just had a transformation as an actor during the shooting of that film. And I have to say, of all my films, that was one of my least favorite because it was very difficult. We had to shoot two films back-to-back and I became deathly ill between the two pictures. I had some rare tropical disease, which they never identified, so I was in the hospital for 3 weeks instead of being in the cutting room and that was the first picture that I didn't actually put into a rough cut myself. So what happened with the second picture is I would shoot all day then take a little nap when I came home and then go to the cutting room at nine until two in the morning and try to recut the picture to get it back into shape. I never felt that it was right because I feel that the first cut is really essential and normally under conditions like that, where somebody else does the first cut, I usually don't even look at it. I go in and I just do it all over again and there, I didn't have that opportunity. And so I kind of never really liked the movie. And seeing it on DVD, it kind of came back. And so it's like a lost child that I've welcomed back.
From MONTE HELLMAN INTERVIEW: EXPLOITATION OR EXISTENTIALISM? by Ron Wells (2000-11-07) on the Film Threat website:
Ron: How did the two films shot in the
Monte: It came out of the fact Fred Roos was in the
Ron: Well, you probably had a much easier time in the South Pacific than Coppola did.
Monte: I wouldn't say that. I don't think it's ever easy to film in the
Ron: What kind of working relationship did you have with Jack Nicholson?
Monte: Before we went to the