Maggie Martin was in charge of all of the film's set decoration. She has been gracious enough
to answer several questions about not only the set pieces, but the movie as well. NOTTFO would like to thank Maggie Martin for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer questions for me. She is extremely busy with
other projects, so being able to sneak in an interview is incredible. Ms. Martin conversed with me for some time, although only the questions relating to the film, the focal point of the interview, are being listed here. Ms. Martin starts the interview with this small piece of background information:
Maggie Martin (MM): We made TV movies really fast back then. We usually had about 3 weeks of prep and about 3 weeks of shoot. I am fairly certain that was the case on NOTTF. In addition to the tight schedule, the budgets were always very low. I hopped from one TV movie to the next, so for me, they are mostly just a blur. Honestly, I don't recall if I ever even saw the movie until I watched it online after your email. There is one anecdote I do remember. When we filmed the homeless encampment, in the tunnel, there was some sort of technical problem and we had to put all of the set dressing into a container to store it in case we had to come back and film. I don't recall if we ever re-shot the scene, but I do remember that when we opened the container we were shocked to discover that it was infested by rats!
NOTTFO: Can you explain what you do and how you were approached and chosen to be the Set
Decorator for this film (even though the latter more than likely deals with your impeccable list of
MM: It is the function of the Set Decorator to select and install the furnishings of the set - that includes not
only furniture, lighting, and art, but also dumpsters, streetlights and that kind of thing. I was chosen to
do the project because I had done a project or two with the Designer, Phillip Dean Foreman.
NOTTFO: Were you told where to put certain set pieces or were all of their placements based on what
felt natural to you?
MM: I don't precisely recall- generally there is some discussion about key items and I fill in the rest.
NOTTFO: How many of the film's approximately 41 sets did you design and decorate? This includes
rooms in the Wessex, etc.
MM: I think I probably worked on all of the sets; however, on TV movies, we sometimes just adjusted and
supplemented the existing decor rather than start from scratch.
NOTTFO: Were any of the items placed for any subliminal reasons, or carry an alternate or hidden
meaning? Were any placed for personal reasons?
MM: We often like to include items that "expand" the story; however I don't recall anything particular that
we did on this movie.
NOTTFO: Can you elaborate about certain details of key items? Specific set based pieces that were
placed to give insight on the background or psychology of a character, to give insight on the scene itself,
or just placed for a special reason? This includes, for example, the items in Elaine's house which gives
such a detailed look at the psychology of her character, and items in the Sergeant's office which also do
MM: I am sorry, I really don't remember. I am sure I tried to select items that would help "flesh out" the
characters or carry a little irony with them.
NOTTFO: There is at least one room (#7) on the hotel's 13th Floor that was fully decorated but never
used on-screen. Do you know of it's purpose, and of any alternate or cut scenes that took place on sets
that you designed for the film. Do you know of any that took place on sets that you didn't design?
MM: I don't recall. Sorry.
NOTTFO: What were your biggest influences while designing sets for NOTTF ("Nightmare on the 13th
MM: I'm sure we did some research for the thirteenth floor and the script probably called out some items -
like the record player - beyond that I don't recall anything in particular. (I also think the taxidermy
animals might have been called out in the script - not certain)
NOTTFO: Can you say where most of the set pieces, or at least the most important, were acquired?
MM: Everything was rented from prop houses in Los Angeles. I think quite a bit probably came from
Warner Brothers, Omega, PSW, and House of Props. The taxidermy probably came from Bishoffs.
NOTTFO: Do you know what happened to the sets and set pieces after the movie?
MM: We didn't really build much except the thirteenth floor. That was probably thrown away. The dressing
was rented and returned.
NOTTFO: The burning question... Do you have any pictures of sets from the film, screen-used (or even
non screen-used!) pieces, set design diagrams, or anything relating to the film that you would be willing
to share on our treasure trove of NOTTFO knowledge?
MM: I'm sorry, I don't really keep much stuff. I do regular purges when movies are released.
NOTTFO: Are there any references to any other film, item or otherwise, that you know of, that was
placed into NOTTF? This includes any reference to your past work, as well, and have you placed any
references to NOTTF into any film that you have worked on since NOTTF?
MM: No, I don't really ever do that.
NOTTFO: Is there anything that you would have changed about the movie?
MM: I don't think the building we shot for the hotel was actually old enough to have a Victorian interior
which kind of bothers me. We could have used some more time and money, particularly to make the
"period" sets more authentic.
NOTTFO: How happy were you, after all was said and done, with the final film as a whole, and did it help
to change or influence the way you lived or thought in the years after the film's release?
MM: I can't honestly say the movie had any effect on me, as I mentioned, I don't think I ever even saw it.
Good luck with your website. I am sorry I don't remember more.
I thank you again for everything you have done. Your list of accomplishments is impeccible, and your eye for detail truly helps to give the set a life of its own. So many people overlook the time and attention that goes into placing items in just the right spot. Nor do they realize how much certain background details add to the plot or explain the psychology of a character. Thank you again for everything that you have done to make this film spectacular.