Great Job, Internet!: Don Dohler’s Nightbeast gave J.J. Abrams his start in sci-fi
It could be argued that audiences owe two of this decade’s biggest space operas to the mad genius of Lloyd Kaufman, founder of Troma Entertainment. Not only did James Gunn, writer-director of Guardians Of The Galaxy, get his start at the New Jersey-based studio, but The Force Awakens‘ J.J. Abrams got his first film credit there, supplying music to the Troma-distributed Nightbeast.
Released in 1982, Nightbeast is a sci-fi/horror hybrid directed by Baltimore native Don Dohler. Dohler was a publisher and filmmaker who conceived the magazine Cinemagic, which provided amateur Super 8 filmmakers in the ’70s step-by-step articles about special effects and shooting tips for their low-budget films. Abrams was an avid reader of Dohler’s magazine, and recounted how he got the Nightbeast gig—at the age of 16—to the Washington Post in 2011:
“I remember writing him, you know, writing letters to the magazine …