Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 29, 2008 - New Horror available on DVD today

At first glance, it looked like there were a lot of new horror flicks out today, but... after further review, the bulk of them are useless rereleases. However, there are some new ones out there, plus a few notable rereleases. I'd like to also mention that Dead Harvey now has a Youtube channel where we will have the trailers for the current new releases of the week up and we hope to do that each week... also, as usual, you can click on the films links below to purchase them from Amazon.

"Headless Horseman" is, yet again, another Sci-Fi Channel film, this one first aired in October, 2007 and is directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, who got his start in special effects, having worked as the special makeup effects supervisor on such films as: "The Dentist", "Progeny", "Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies" and "Faust, Love of the Damned". His only other feature length directorial effort was "Boo", which was nominated for Best DVD Release at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in 2006. "Headless Horseman" is, obviously, based on the legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Headless Horseman, however this film sets the record straight. According to this, the Washington Irving story was a little 'white-washed' and the events that take place here are the real deal. Oh... and if you're wondering whatever happened to Richard "Bull from Night Court" Moll, he's one of the stars.

"In The Blood" was written, directed and edited by Lou Peterson for the Logo Network, which is, yes... the lesbian and gay network from MTV. Logo, in itself, is kind of a cool concept, not because of their content, but in how they deliver it. It's a network that you can get on regular cable, by VOD, watch online, download, buy programming on DVD and even get on your phone. That's pretty 'ahead of the curve' and big networks should start shifting to this business model to leverage their properties and, I just heard today, that Warner Bros. is kinda doing this by moving The WB online, but I digress... "In The Blood" is about a guy, struggling with his sexuality, who happens to go to a college where there's been a string of co-ed murders and his sister, who also attends the school, fits the victim profile. Further, he's having vivid dreams of his sister covered in blood and his player buddy making moves on her. I haven't seen it, but almost every review says the end is shocking... and not necessarily in a good way. In a, 'where the hell did that come from' kinda way, which sorta makes me want, just to see what the hell they're talking about... and there's nothing wrong with that.

"Knock, Knock" was first screened around a year ago, May 7th, 2007, at Fangoria's Monster Mondays screening, to be exact and six months later, it was picked up by Grindstone/Mandate Pictures for distribution through Lionsgate Home Entertainment. It was written, produced and directed by Joseph Ariola, which explains why the trailer says 'Ariola Productions presents', here I thought it was a spelling mistake and a reference to boobs. It's a typical, retro-slasher flick and reviews are decent. Ariola's written, produced and directed a few other projects, but this is, I believe, his most ambitious to date.

"Karaoke Terror: The Complete Japanese Showa Songbook" was known as "showa kayo daizenshu" in its native Japan and it was written by Ryu Murakami, who's the same guy who wrote Takashi Miike's "Audition". This is your classic, over the top, extremely gory, Japanese satirical, twisted tale. However, you have to love the premise... a gang of karaoke loving middle aged women and a gang of young, slacker guys go at it against each other, first with knives... then guns... and eventually with rocket launchers... and beyond. The originality that comes out of that nation, I swear...

That's really it for new releases, so... I'm going to tell you about the rereleases because there's actually some good ones coming out.

First off, old Lloyd Kaufman must not have made a fortune off of "Poultrygeist", as we're getting both "The Complete Toxic Avenger" and "Make Your Own Damn Movie: Young Filmmakers Series, Vol. 1 - Pot Zombies" this week. There really has to be a soft spot in every indie horror filmmaker for the Troma stuff, bless the studio that brought us "Tromeo and Juliet" and "Surf Nazis Must Die". Who can claim to not like what they do? Either way, the Toxie movies are classics and there's a lot that can be learned from his whole "Make Your Own Damn Movie" stuff, so... there you go.

There's also a few grindhouse classics being rereleased, including: Umberto Lenzi's "Nightmare City", Pasquale Festa Campanile's "Hitch Hike" and the, 'banned in many countries' classic, Lucio Fulci's "The New York Ripper". I have the trailers for these up on our Youtube channel, you should check them out.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Linkapalooza - Apr 28, 2008

I think I'm going to start posting about all the new horror DVD's of the week on Mondays now, as I usually get to posting stuff later in the day and knowing what's coming out on Tuesday would be more useful to you the day before. I'll start doing that next week... which makes this the last Monday of links.

Is it just me or do others always think of Corbin Bernsen as Roger Dorn from Major League? When "The Dentist" came out, that sort of rattled the stereotype for me, but... I never really watched L.A. Law. That's my point. Granted, I do like "The Dentist" series, thus "The Dentist 2" pic, but whatever. Anyhow, he's been involved with a bunch of low-budget horror lately and now he's directing a zombie film called "Dead Air". Here's a link to a video on DEAD AIR: BEHIND-THE-SCENES. It's interesting to note that he's made "Dead Air", but has yet to secure distribution. I guess you can expect to see it on the festival circuit soon. Until then, "come on Dorn, get in front of the damn ball! Don't give me this "ole" bullshit!"

So, Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors just took place over last weekend and, that's right, I didn't say shit about it... It's really more of a fan-fest deal, where you can meet celebrities and they charge you for autographs, etc. Well, after looking at the site and the pics, I guess they did do various panels and they did do screening of "Night of the Living Dead", but... okay, I admit it. I dropped the ball. Here's a heads up, it'll be in New Jersey June 20 - 22 and I'll make sure to mention it again, as we get closer. If you want to see what it was all about, here's some pictures that were posted on ShockTillYouDrop.com.

Well, it's about time this book came out. Enough of this crap about Chuck Norris. You want to study kicking ass? Well, go get Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal.

There's a new show called "Very Independent Producers" with Ted Hope and Christine Vachon who are, and I quote, "two of the most celebrated and prolific producers of independent film." It's available on Plum TV, which you can find on cable in vacations destinations, such as Vail, Aspen and The Hampton's, on Cable VOD, as well as online. Now, I wouldn't consider most of their stuff to be indie, as it's really just indie in the sense that it's 'independent of the studios' - they've done stuff like "American Splendor", "Boys Don't Cry" and "Happiness". However, the episodes do offer some insight into how the whole system works.

I mentioned "Machine Girl" a while ago and I still haven't seen it, but I came across a new clip.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Horror Screenplay Competition Updates - write your horror script, submit to one of these, get famous.

I took a look through our screenwriting competitions page and it was brutally out of date... so, here's a few updates. I'll get around to fixing up the actual page soon.

Shriekfest is one of THE horror festivals of the year AND I owe them big because they just sent out a big email blast on our behalf. Regardless, 2008 call for entries is officially open and, check this out... this year they're partnered with the biggest agency in town, C.A.A., and their horror division. Rumor around the campfire says they're looking for directors and screenwriters for representation AND they're a finalist judge on all screenplays and films. It can't be a lie, it says so right on the Shriekfest website.

The AAA Screenplay Contest, sponsored by creativescreenwriting, not only looks like it's always accepting submissions, it looks like they just randomly give away prizes whenever they feel like it. They had winners from June '05, December '05, June '06, January '07 and February '08. They're currently looking for submissions for their 'Spring - Summer 2008 Contest'. It says they're sponsored by 'creativescreenwriting' (all one word) and I have no idea what the hell that is, but they have prize money and prize money is nice. Remember, "AAA" stands for Access, Acclaim, Achievement... but, I'm thinking it stands for "get me at the top of every listings page". Not this one, buddy! Around here, you're number 2.

The International Horror and Sci Fi Film Festival and Screenplay Competition is not accepting submissions now, but they will be some time in May. Screenplay winners not only win cash prizes, but they also get the opportunity to have their screenplays reviewed by major entertainment companies. Well, one major entertainment company, Lionsgate. The other two, Jaret Entertainment and Energy Entertainment are a slight step down.

Screamfest is another one of the big horror film festivals of the year. They were formed a few years back by film producers Rachel Belofsky and Ross Martin to give emerging filmmakers in horror and sci-fi a venue to showcase their work to people in the industry. They have a bunch of success stores and they're currently accepting submission, deadline is August 15, 2008.

Eerie Horror Film Festival Screenplay Competition is part of the Eerie Horror Fest and they're now accepting, final deadline is August 1, 2008. These guys are also one of the more respected names in this category... and what's really cool is that they also incorporate video games. So, you can submit your film, screenplay and video game all at the same time.

Project Screamlight still has a website up, but I think they're done. I checked out all their links, their last log in on their myspace page was in 2007 and there's nothing that mentions new dates or anything on their webpage. So, done... and I'm glad I could pass that information on to you.

Screenplay Festival is open to all genres, specifically: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Family and Thriller/Horror and they give awards and stuff, but I'm not going to go into to much depth, as it's not really about horror, although you can enter your horror script. I'm just thinking that what they think is good horror, may not be what I think is good horror. Either way, they're now accepting submissions, final deadline is October 1, 2008

I guess I missed the boat on the 41st annual WorldFest-Houston Independent International Film Festival. It was April 11-20. However, it's one of those festivals that is open to EVERY category, like... there's an award for best Public Affairs program in Television and Cable Production, as well as best Horror/Thriller/Mystery Screenpaly. So, excuse me if I haven't been keeping a close eye on this one. I'll be sure to keep you posted NEXT year, though.

Now, I wonder if Something Scary was a scam, they appeared to be accepting entries up until last month. Now, their site's not there and I can't find information on them anywhere. Hmmm....

On top of not updating the above contests, I came across a whole bunch that I didn't have on there before. I'll look into them further, but for now, here's links to the screenplay contests that are new to Dead Harvey...

Terror Film Festival - deadline is May 1, 2008.

I covered these guys in the film festival section, but I wasn't aware that the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival accepts screenplays, as well. So, there you go. You learn something new every day.

2008 Great Lakes Independent Film Festival, which they boast as being one of the top 100 most popular film festivals in the world, has various horror screenplay categories. Final deadline is August 30, 2008.

Rhode Island International Film Festival is another festival that's covered in our film festivals section, but not in our screenplay competitions. A lot of these guys have screenplay competitions, who knew? They're final deadline is July 15, 2008.

The Movie Deal! Screenplay Contest: Respected Industry Judges, Potential Review for Representation by a Hollywood Lit. Agency and A chance to Have your movie made. Final deadline is September 30, 2008.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Horror at The Tribeca Film Festival

By popular demand (the one anonymous comment from yesterday), here's some information on what's going on at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal and Robert DeNiro in a response to the consequent loss of vitality in the Tribeca neighborhood in Manhattan following 9/11. It's now one of the big festivals of the year for Hollywood movies and those vain, vanity projects by actor-turned-directors, but they do have a "Midnight Section" for the... how do you put it? The less mainstream titles. For example, "Hatchet" premiered in the "Midnight Section" of the festival last year. This year, they have six films in the section, three (maybe four) of which I would consider to be horror. The non-horror films are "Auteur", a porn spoof that looks hilarious (check out the trailer), "SqueezeBox!", a documentary about SqueezeBox!, a drag queen nightclub in Manhattan and "Cottage", which is the one that I'm swaying back and forth on whether or not it should be classified as horror, but still looks awesome. Keep in mind, I haven't seen it.

"Cottage" stars Andy Serkis, who played Golum in "The Lord of the Rings" movies and it's being billed as "Shaun of the Dead" meets "Evil Dead". However, "Shaun of the Dead" was about zombies, "Evil Dead" was about, well... zombies and this is about a kidnapping gone wrong. Either way, it's an indie film and it's about a kidnapping plot gone horribly awry when two brothers and their shit-talking hostage stumble into the wrong farmhouse in a gory horror-comedy. It's directed by Paul Andrew Williams, who's only other feature is "London to Brighton", an award winning drama. Either way, it looks pretty damn good. I'll tell you what, there's been a lot of good horror-comedies coming out of the U.K. lately, such as "Severance", "Shaun of the Dead" and "Boy Eats Girl". Apparently, the farmhouse they stumble into is inhabited by a Leatherface kind of character or something... So, okay, okay, it's a horror.

"Dying Breed" is an Australian film written and directed by Jody Dwyer, with help in the writing department from Michael Boughen. This is his feature film directorial debut and, apparently, it's a gory one. The film weaves two stories together, one of the extinct Tasmanian tiger and the other of "The Pieman", who was hung for cannibalism in 1824. How do you intertwine those stories? Funny you should ask... A zoologist and the, otherwise, typical group of horror film prey set off to find the fabled tiger, but end up finding "Pieman" descendants who passionately uphold their cannibalistic heritage. Hilarity ensues.

"From Within" has, what I would call, an eclectic cast, with Thomas Dekker from "The Sarah Connor Chronicles", Adam Goldberg from "Zodiac" (also, previously from the shows "Joey" and "Friends"), Laura Allen from "The 4400" and Rumer Willis from Bruce Willis' penis. It's about a young girl who grew up in Christian town, who wants to get out and see the world and when people in the town start dying by suspiscious suicides, it only strengthens her resolve to leave. The film was actually financed through a European equity fund, even though it was filmed in Maryland. It was directed by Phedon Papamichael, who's mostly known for his work as a cinematographer on films like "3:10 to Yuma", "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Walk the Line". Papamichael, known by his friends as The Greek God of Cinematography, made his directorial debut with Showtime's "Sketch Artist", then later directed the indie film, "Dark Side of Genius".

The last horror film at the festival could also reside in the 'is it horror?' bin, right beside "Cottage". That's not to say it won't be good. Quite the contrary, "Killer Movie", much like "Cottage", looks like it's going to be good. The plot, reality show turns horror, has been done a few times... but there's something different about this one. First off, it's about a reality show gone bad... not a reality show where contestants getting killed. Secondly, what's awesome is that the writer/director of the film, Jeff Fisher, cut his chops directing actual reality shows, such as: "The Real World/Road Rules Challenge", "The Simple Life" and various other crappy, MTV reality shows. So, he's got a bit of insight into how the whole reality show shit goes down. I'm wondering if he didn't come up with this idea while shooting "The Real World", thinking to himself... "Why can't all these people just die?".

So, there's what's in store for you at the Tribeca Film Festival. For showtimes and more information, go to the Tribeca Film Festival website or, to skip past all the artsy junk, just go straight to the Midnight Section.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"The Veil" - A Case Study in Getting your Indie Horror Film Finished

This is going to be a new feature on the site and I hope to get a new one done each week. One of us will talk with a filmmaker about their film and get some insight to share with other indie horror filmmakers. This is really the first one that I've finished and I have about three others that I'm working on right now. As I post them, I'll archive them, so they can be referenced in the future. You'll find them on the left hand side of the page under "Case Studies". If you're an indie filmmaker and want us to cover your film, let me know. I'll get to it... eventually.

Our first case study is on "The Veil"...

Film: The Veil
Written By: John & Richard Chance
Directed By: Richard Chance
Released By: Brain Damage Films

About: The Veil is an ambitious micro-cinema horror that came out last year. Packed with effects and action, it’s a zombie movie about a small town that’s infected by a deadly virus and the frantic cover-up that’s taking place because of it. The film was completed in just over 4 years and funded completely out of pocket by Chance Encouters, which is the moniker of John and Richard Chance's production company.

Budget: The budget is low and was paid for out of pocket. “I’d say for clothes, weapons, tapes, camera/editing/FX equipment and props, (it cost) around ($4,000 - $5,000) max.”, according to John Chance, the films producer and co-writer. “It was done over a long period of time: weekends, whenever we were not working and could get people over, that’s a rough estimate of how much everything cost.”

Getting it made: Not only is the film an epic (running over 150 mins), the making of the movie was an epic, as well. “The Film took a little over 4 years to make”, but “if that’s what you want to do – even if you are exhausted from working all day, to then coming home and still have energy to shoot scenes at midnight in full SAS gear or made up as a zombie and make it realistic and believable, you do it.” The film was shot in black and white, using a Sony DV cam. As for editing, essentially they have no comment… but they will say this, “invest in a good editing kit; in the long run, it will save you a lot of time and energy.”

The special effects: Their budget may have been limited, but that didn’t stop them from loading the film up with gore and effects. They used squibs for gun fight scenes, there were exploding heads, lots of blood and, although some of it was exactly what you’d expect from a low budget film, there was a lot that will exceed your expecations. They offers some advice on effects... “If you can setup a couple of cameras when you are doing an effects scene, (even if one is lower quality than the other), you'll have a better chance of getting the good shot or having an interesting cut between the two. (Take) the exploding head in the carpark… we used a ‘ground shot’, which would normally be used for gun shots that miss from machine gun fire in a movie. (They are meant to burst from the ground and spit dirt up) We used something that was much more powerful than what we were supposed to - the fake head, and blood mixture contained, bursted perfectly upon the impact of 'ground shot' squib we used. The eye rolled out nicely too…”

Distributing the film: They shopped“The Veil” around and it ended up being distributed by Brain Damage Films and is available almost everywhere. When asked how distribution is going, they said “it’s selling well (right now and) it’s sold out quite a few times on Amazon and other places, but it’s too early to say. I’ll let you know when I receive the first paycheck.” They also offer some advice when it comes to distribution… “With any Distributer, especially if you’re starting out, it’s best to find out information about the company you're getting involved with. There are a lot of crooks out there willing to sell your film that you slaved over, but you want to make sure you're not getting a bad deal. You're doing them a favor, after all. You have something to sell, they're just selling it for you. If in doubt, try to sell it yourself. Reviews from the vast range of people, critics, magazines, websites newspapers, etc., applauding your film could go a long way too. Know your rights, read the small print and good luck!”

What’s next: Richard and John Chance are just finishing up a short film called “The Day I Tried to Live”, a sci-fi fantasy narrative with elements of horror and drama, which they hope will be hitting festivals soon. They’re going to continue to make short films until they find people interested in helping finance their second feature. They’re open to offers and they have plenty of scripts that require some financing…

If you'd like to know more about John and Richard Chance or you'd like to finance their next feature, you can go to their website.

To buy "The Veil"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 22, 2008 - All the new horror available today that's worth checking out

It's a fairly slow week in horror, although there are two major releases in "The Orphanage" and "One Missed Call". There's really no indie-horror out, but there's enough to keep you occupied until next week, which is chock-filled with indie releases. As usual, feel free to click on those links and purchase them from Amazon...

"The Orphanage" had a fairly limited release in North America, but was hugely successful in its native Spain. In fact, it won various awards and was chosen by the Spanish Academy of Films as Spain's nominee for the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. It's by first-time feature director, Juan Antonio Bayona and produced by the Spanish production company, Rodar & Rodar, co-produced by Telecinco and presented by "Pan's Labyrinth" director, Guillermo del Toro. In 2007, New Line bought the rights to produce an English-language remake. This is a great, little movie and is worth checking out before both the film and it's director get run through the Hollywood grinder... I'm betting that Bayona will be signed up to helm some sort of remake in Hollywood and we already know that there's a U.S. remake of this coming...

Speaking of foreign films and directors that have been run through the Hollywood grinder, "One Missed Call" comes out this week, also. "One Missed Call" is the 2008 U.S. remake of a Japaneese film, this one is directed by Eric Valette and written by Andrew Klavan. I haven't seen this version and probably won't, but the original "One Missed Call" is directed by legendary J-Horror filmmaker Takashi Miike. It was so big in Japan that the trademark 'ringtone of death' from the film became rather popular and was actually used as a ringtone and background music for unofficial haunted houses. Valette, the director of the U.S. version, is actually an award winning French director, who's probably best known for his award winning horror, Malefique

5 college kids, one ghostly killer... you do the math. "Seance", which won awards at the Eureka Springs Digital Film Festival and the Modesto ShockerFest, is written and directed by Mark L. Smith. Smith is the writer of both "Vacancy" and "Vacancy 2", which is currently filming and "Seance" is his directorial debut. The production value is great, so I'm thinking that they may have been thinking theatrical release at one point, but... well, you know. It's about a group of college girls who attempt to rid their dorm room of a troublesome little girl ghost, but inadvertently bring back the little girl's killer. The killer is played by TV's the Highlander's own Adrian Paul.

Let's continue the trend on remaking films... "Black House" is actually the 2007 South Korean film, "Geomeun jip", directed by Shin Tae-ra. However, the film was actually based on the popular Japanese novel by Yusuke Kishi called Kuroi le (The Black House) AND a Japanese version of the film was also made in 1999. Further, imdb says that there's an American version 'in development'. So, I don't know who to blame, who's at fault or what I can say... I haven't seen any version, yet. I don't know. Either way, the story surrounds an insurance agent that suspects a family murdered their son to receive his insurance policy.

"Sick Nurses" or "Suay Laak Sai" in its native Thailand, is a horror-comedy written and directed by Piraphan Laoyont. This is actually pretty cool, as it was released in Thailand on June 14, 2007, but critical and box-office responses were, well... muted. It was eventually shown at the 2007 Hawaii International Film Festival in the "Extreme Asia" section, where it received positive reviews. As of 2007, the film had only been released on DVD in Thailand, with no English subtitles. The story is about a group of sexy nurses, who harvest organs and are haunted by the ghost of one of their dead patients. Expect tight fitting nurse outfits, J-horror style ghosts and gore.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Making your indie film in Hollywood... and an introduction to Brad Paulson

note: This is the first post from Brad Paulson, a good friend of mine, who also happens to be an indie horror filmmaker living in Hollywood. He'll be posting every once in a while about all the stupid stuff he see's, does and goes through to get films made. Without further ado...


Hi, my name's Brad Paulson and this is the first blog in an ongoing series based on my experiences trying to make it in Los Angeles as a writer/director. Why should there be another blog by some jackass writing about their experiences in the movie industry? Simple. I'm going to tell you the truth. What you will read in my contributions to Dead Harvey is the complete opposite of what you see on most dvd featuretes. A.K.A., an absence of bullshit.

To those of you wanting to make it in the movie industry, here's some advice. Which, please take with a grain of salt because not only am I not successful, I'm one step away from homeless. However, I am making movies, so I guess, technically, I'm qualified. That being said, here we go. If you're thinking about moving to Los Angeles to make your mark in the movie industry, this is what you should consider:


All those people you're close to that you're a little annoyed by. You know, those people with the same questions every time you see them: when are you going to get married? When are you going to get a real job? When are you going back to school? This last question, decoded, means: when are you going to wake up and get a career in something you can actually make money at?

Let's get at the root of the problem: why are all these questions asked? Is it because these people all have dreams that have gone to s and they want you to share in their misery? Have they become tied down to their mundane, boring existence and this is their way of dragging you into the mud with them? There's probably some truth to that theory. Mostly though, they're just looking out for you and don't want you to fail. What it all boils down to is odds. Going to film school is not like going to law school or med school. Not only are you not guaranteed a job after you graduate, you're out an s ton of money.

Long story short, if you're going to move to L.A. to pursue the movie business, especially in the low budget horror scene, you'd better favor the odds against you like Han Solo favors the odds when he battles the empire. Don't be resigned to the dream you're going to make a living making movies. Millions of people live in L.A. with the same goal. However, that doesn't mean dreams don't come true in the city of broken halos. It's just few and way far between. However, if you're crazy, have a relentless passion for making movies and can cast aside any aspirations for material objects, the ability to pay your bills or afford health insurance, you might just be able to stick it out in this town.

Sounds depressing, doesn't it? Sorry, but happy endings are for g-rated Disney movies. And, like I said before, I'm not going to bullshit you. I can promise you some entertainment though. Upcoming articles will feature my adventures, or more appropriately misadventures on the set with adult babies, midgets and a whole cavalcade of interesting characters and life lessons I usually don't learn from. And as long as my good friend Dead Harvey keeps sending me all those cool horror movie screeners, I'll keep writing.

See you on the next one,


Linkapalooza - April 21, 2008

Trigger Street was originally some sort of production company formed by Kevin Spacey in 1997 and, quite frankly, I'd never heard of it. So, after 5 years of what I can only assume has been underwhelming success, they founded TriggerStreet.com in January of 2002. Here we are in 2008 and I JUST came across the website... need a bit of help getting the word out there, Kev? Anyhow, I was going to cut and paste a bunch of info from their about us page, but it's a lot of artsy babble. So, is it a good site for horror? I don't know, but scripts are scripts and short films are short films and on this site, you can upload your scripts, short films, books and other stuff, then have people read it, watch it and discuss it. If you're looking for exposure, networking or feedback, go check it out. It may be worth it. I believe there's a bunch of industry professionals involved, you know... besides Spacey.

Quick note, Friday the 13th will be rated R - link at Bloody-Disgusting. Well, thank God. At least it's got that going for it, which is nice... and, by the way, I'm STILL not excited to see it.

Funny that I come by two online film competitions/website film initiatives within a couple days of each other and both are backed by Hollywood professionals. It's just crazy, it's like this internet thing is catching on. Here, I thought it was just a bunch of tubes. Filmaka doesn't have Keyser Soze or K-PAX behind it, but it does have Deepak Nayer, an acclaimed movie producer and Sandy Grushow, the former head of Fox Television Entertainment launching it. What they're trying to do is build a new kind of studio that taps into an aspiring community of moviemakers on the Web to cultivate the next great talents. Similar to Lester Burnham's site, but a lot less artsy fartsy.

Big media slams Martin, FCC on "a la carte" cable issue - link at ars techna. This is just kind of interesting, as they're arguing about the future of cable. Personally, I see positives to both. The 'a la carte' style of programming should, fundamentally, improve the quality of programming by forcing the studios to make products that people will buy, but packaging things up would be cheaper and offer consumers more channels, as well as let lesser known and new shows get air time. You see, if it were 'a la carte', you would be able to pay a premium to see what you want, such as specific sports, movies or big shows. However, other shows that may be fighting for market share may never even get made, as no one would be ordering them. You think that they axe shows without giving them a chance now? I don't know, this is a great debate... My theory is that, eventually, unlimited programming will be available through various providers and it will all be supported through marketing and advertising dollars. We have to move forward as an industry and, if that's the case, I'd say that the 'a la carte' system would work best. Get consumers used to a system where they get what they want, when they want... and have them pay for it as a premium. Then, let it evolve.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Film Fest Friday - Dragon*Con Independent Film Festival

Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, pop culture convention focusing on sci-fi and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the US, it's going to take place in Atlanta, Georgia over labor day long weekend (Aug 29 - Sep 1) and it's one of THOSE conferences, you know what I mean... where Star Trek alums show up to sign autographs and all the people attending get dressed up like their favorite video game characters? That's right, one of THOSE festivals. The kind that you secretly want to go to, but you just can't bring yourself to... These conferences are like Halloween for nerds, where girls who would usually wear an oversized sweater and an ankle length skirt, throw on a bunch of spandex and dress up as Wonder Woman. Check out this link to some pictures that were taking at last years Dragon*Con. You can find more links to pictures, plus other information on the conference at the home page here. As much fun as I'm sure the conference would be and as much as we like nerdy girls dressed up in dominatrix Darth Vadar outfits, we're going to talk about the film festival that takes place at Dragon*Con, as we're an indie-horror film site about indie-horror.

The Dragon*Con Indie Film Festival doesn't actually bill itself as a horror festival, but there's lots of horror films that screen there. Check out all the 2007 films that screened here. The festival is a combination of film oriented panels, celebrity guests, new and classic independent feature and short film screenings, discussions, and a short film competition (sometimes referred to as the Dragon*Con Independent Short Film Festival). All that combined with the 30,000+ Dragon*Con attendees creates an extraordinary film event. For film-lovers, you can hear some of the masters discuss their projects, watch the films entered in the festival, and then drop by a panel and hear the winning directors / producers discuss their films. Film screening and panels will mix, guaranteeing that you won't have a moment without something film-related to do.

It would be a great festival to get your film into and if you want to submit your film, Dragon*Con is a great opportunity to meet others in the field, discuss the trials and tribulations of making a film, get some tips, and make some connections. They're currently accepting submissions and the deadline is June 15. For more information on how to submit your film, click here. Unfortunately, though... if you do submit your film, you better start thinking about what you're going to wear now.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Movie tie-ins may work on an indie level, too... So, go get some advertising dollars

I came across this article, Movie Tie-Ins Coming Soon to Everywhere Near You at Advertising Age - link - and it got me thinking... if Hollywood is doing movie tie-ins to make extra cash to hedge their bets on making money, why can't indie filmmakers do it too? The way I look at it, it's just about scale. Whatever they can do, you can do. First, let's look at what Hollywood's doing.

As was discussed in my last post, Hollywood is always trying to make as much money on opening weekend as they can. Movie tie-ins just add to their bottom line and help to, hopefully, ensure that they make some money on the movie. Tie-ins are supposed to be win-win scenarios where it adds to the film, gives the studios a bit of cash and on the other side, it gives the advertiser exposure, helps sell their products or boost their awareness. It's just advertising... and brands have a budget for it. It's nothing new... apparently, in "Iron Man", Robert Downey Jr. drives the new Audi R8 and eats Burger King cheeseburgers. James Bond drives the new Austin Martin and, for some reason, now drinks Smirnoff Vodka. In "Demolition Man", Taco Bell won the 'fast food wars'. I can't find it online right now, but, at one point, I think Husqvarna or one of the other chainsaw brands actually had their chainsaws used in one of the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" films. So, Hollywood's been at it a while... but I think indie films can do it, too.

I'm not going to say that this would be the easiest thing to do, but I'm saying it can be done and it would be a great way to get a few bucks from (or for) your film. I don't think you'd be approaching Audi, McDonalds or even Coke, but... go down the trough a bit. Smaller beer brands, skateboard companies, mountain bikes, etc. Either way, your first problem is going to be your audience. As in, you're going to have to prove that you're going to have one. After you get over that hurdle, there's a few things that you're going to need to know... first off, brands, companies and advertisers have a budget for this stuff, it's not just coming out of someone's pocket. They have promotional and advertising budgets and whatever they give you, they can write it off. However, they're going to expect something in return and that means reaching people, aka - your audience. Approach the right person in the right way and they will listen and when you do approach them, think about what they would want, not about what you would want. For example, if you're doing a horror film that takes place in a big box retail store and customers are getting killed by an insane greeter, don't go approaching Wal Mart. I don't think they'd appreciate the connection. However, if you're doing a swamp-thing type movie that takes place during Spring Break in Florida, approaching a beer or alcohol company and saying that everyone in your film will drink their product could work. Maybe they'll just give you some free samples for the set... and that can work, too. Basically, when you're approaching them, think about who's going to watch your film, then what products they would use, what places they would go and what they would buy... those are the companies that you're going to want to approach and they're going to want their product shown in a positive light. Prove that you have a relevant audience and there's really no reason they'd say no.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Yet another reason studio movies suck...

Megawide releasing a foolish film trend - link to Hollywood Reporter article. I know I post a lot of stuff from Hollywood Reporter, but so what? I subscribe to their daily emails blasts, so I read them... and there's generally something to comment on. In this case, it's about how ridiculously greedy the studios are.

I've never really thought of or heard this term 'megawide releasing', but I'm definitely going to add it to my repertoire of things to bitch about whenever I see fit. It just goes to prove something that we all already know, the studios are greedy. First off, to preface my point on 'megawide releasing', I think we can agree that the studios aren't really making movies anymore, they're making products that are a result of market research and spoon feeding it to the public, hoping that it makes enough money to warrant a sequel. Further to that, they want to spam out this pablum to as many people as possible and I don't doubt that part of the reason they want a 'megawide release' is to simply say just how big of a release they have. However, there's another a more important reason, one that they touch on in this article, but don't really explain...

The way they explain it is that with so many widely released films coming out every weekend, you need as big a release as possible to get all those people in before they go see the other movie the next week. Let's think about that, though... you're willing to pay (potentially) millions of extra dollars in prints to make a few extra bucks on opening weekend? Why not just cut back on the releases and leave it in the theaters? Surely, someone who was planning to see it on opening weekend, but couldn't get in, would see it the next weekend or the weekend after that, right? Why wouldn't they? Well, here's why - negative word of mouth. Your 'film' is, for all intents and purposes, gunning to be average, catering to mass audiences, and it's bound to get people walking out of it saying, "it could've been better". So, you've got a multi-million dollar marketing campaign around it and you have it on as many theaters as possible... which makes it really kinda like a robbery - distract everyone, then get in and out of there as quick as possible with as much cash as possible. It's big business, they just want your money and they really don't care how good the film is.

Now, I'm not the type of guy who is opposed to big business and making money. In fact, I'm all for it. What I'm against is crappy movies... and this system breeds crappy movies. They're starting from the end and working back. They think about the audience, create a marketing plan, then make the film. How about we start with the idea, then film it, create a marketing plan around it and put it in as many screens as the market will bear? If it's good, who cares how many theaters it plays in? You should run for months on your good word of mouth and everyone will have a chance to see it. If not, I'm sure there's some good indie films that are playing in limited release or just available on DVD, having never even had a chance to run on one screen.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

April 15, 2008 - New horror on DVD today... including the kick-ass film, "Inside"

I've already discussed "Inside" (À l'intérieur) in a post yesterday and I've been blowing this movie for a while now. So, just do yourself a favor and go get it. It's a French film, directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (Bustillo wrote it, as well) and they're also the two guys that were supposed to remake "Hellraiser", but... after seeing "Inside" and reading the first draft of their interpretation of "Hellraiser", the producers got a bit scared and decided to 'go another route'. So, the guys who make one of the most talked about, f'ed up films of the year write you a truly horrific vision of "Hellraiser" and you back out??? Seriously... come on. I'm smelling a music video director being brought on to pump out a flashy PG-13 version. Garbage. Anyhow... again, support horror and go check out "Inside".

"AVPR", or "Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem", if you're not into the brevity thing, was directed by 'the Brothers Strause' (Colin and Greg) and was written by Shane Salerno. The Strause brothers are actually special effects guys, having founded their own company, Hydraulx, which produced effects for such films as "300", "T3" and "Titanic". As for directing, this is their first feature film. Shane Salerno wrote the script and he's done a few quality Hollywood films, such as: "Shaft" and "Armageddon". The Strause boys actually pitched an idea for the first "AVP", which was rejected. So this could've been a great chance for them to thumb their respective noses at the studios, as well as get the franchise back on the right foot, but... this sucked. It sucked bad and I'm very surprised that it's made over $128Million worldwide. Oh, further to sucking, it was nominated for two Golden Raspberry's in the fields of 'Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie' and 'Worst Prequel or Sequel'. Unfortunately, the awards went to "I Know Who Killed Me" and "Daddy Day Camp". Don't fret "AVP", maybe you'll get 'em next time. Actually, please don't. Just let the franchise die.

Once again, the Sci-Fi orignals keep coming. "Loch Ness Terror", which was originally called "Beyond Loch Ness", was produced by Insight Films for the Sci-Fi Channel and was directed by Paul Ziller. I swear that the Sci-Fi channel keeps directors and writers on salary, there seems to be a handful of them and they just keep making this stuff. Ziller started out doing some low-budget horror, like "Pledge Night" and "Bloodfist IV: Die Trying", but then he got in to the Sci-Fi gravy train, with films like: "Snakehead Terror", "Swarmed", "Android Apocalypse"... My take - if you want a regular paycheck and you like low-budget sci-fi and horror, just get your resume over to the Sci-Fi Channel. Once you're in over there, you've got the golden ticket.... to make lots of low-budget, horror/sci-fi crap.

I guess the orginal title, "Polycarp", didn't exactly portray what the distributors were hoping for. So, they went with the less subtle title, "Kinky Killers". Directed by George Lekovic and written by Ken Del Vecchio, "Kinky Killers" is probably everything that you think it is... there's a sexy psychiatrist and her patients are being murdered in bloody, satanic rituals that involve sex and mutilation. Then there's the detective who discovers that some beautiful women are the prey.... or, wait... are they doing the preying? Who cares, when sex, nudity, gore and murder are involved, everyone's a winner.

Okay, I really wanted to write up something about "Queen Cobra" because it's being independently distributed. However, as I haven't actually seen it and I can't find anything online about it, there's not much I can say. I can say that it's directed and edited by Lewis Schoenbrun, who's edited more horror movies than the Sci-Fi channel has made. I can also say it's written by Keith Schaffner, who wrote a couple other low-budget horrors. Well, actually, I can also tell you that it takes place on a college campus where students are being slaughtered by a monstrous half-woman, half-snake creature, but that's it... and man alive, that doesn't sound bad! Let this be a lesson, if you're going to independently distribute your film, there's a few basic things you can do: a trailer on Youtube, a simple website and maybe send a screener or two out to some people to review.

So, please do NOT mistake the DVD being released today, "The Curse of Lizzie Borden II - Prom Night" as anything to do with the "Prom Night" series. This is the sequel to the 2006, low budget horror, "The Curse of Lizzie Borden"... they just tacked on the 'Prom Night' in hopes of some sort of residual effect from the "Prom Night" remake that's in the theaters right now. This one is directed by Eric Swelstad and written by Jeremiah Campbell, who actually also wrote the next film that I'm going to talk about...

"Attitude for Destruction", which is brought to you by Cleopatra/Music Video Distribution and is a self-proclaimed rock horror film. It's about a Guns N' Roses - esque band called Hollywood Roses... who kill their lead singer in order to get signed, but then the lead singers girlfriend, who made a pact with the devil, brings him back from the dead, so he can go on a killing spree, slaughtering all who have crossed him. It's a really low-budget, shot on DV film and it's got a lot of things I like in it, including a body building midget, but... here's my problem. Remember how it's brought to you by Cleopatra? Well, they happen to also be the the company that releases albums from, you guessed it, Hollywood Roses. So, this film is really just a big, long, low-budget music video / promotional ad for Hollywood Roses, the LA based Guns N' Roses tribute band. Ahh... whatever, it's got a midget in it... I'll check it out.

Click on the links below to buy any of the DVD's discussed above:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Linkapalooza - April 14, 2008

Blockbuster bids for Circuit City - link to Variety.com. This news was all over the place this morning, but from our perspective, what's really interesting is what you can ensinuate from this... and that is that Blockbuster believes that the future of entertainment is in how content is delivered, not in the content itself. Even an arm chair film fan could tell you that the DVD/video rental business has been sucking hind tit lately and Blockbuster's current CEO, who came from 7-11, believes that the key to Blockbuster surviving is to turn them into more of a retail outlet. That would mean that Blockbuster would offer the whole movie experience, which would include things like DVD players, TV's, whatever... thus trying to take over Circuit City. My take on this is that they simply don't believe that DVD's will be around much longer AND Blu-Ray will not be 'the next thing', like a lot of people think. They must think it's all going digital - downloading and streaming is where it's going to be at and if that's the case, sell (or rent) the vessel and make money on the players. Further, if Blockbuster figures out a business model that allows them to make money through renting or distributing content digitally, the idea of shelf space will be gone. The fundemental result? Infinite shelf space and low, low costs on stocking as many films as they want. Long and short, as an indie filmmaker, there will be absolutely no reason why your movie won't be available in every Blockbuster, everywhere... and that means revenue for you... not to mention a worldwide audience.

johnaugust.com - link to site. I came across this fantastic blog, written by award winning screenwriter John August, whose credits include "Go", "Big Fish", "Titan A.E.", "Charlie's Angels", "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Corpse Bride" and "The Nines". Self-titled as a ton of useful information about screenwriting, he basically answers questions from aspiring and up-and-coming screenwriters. If screenwriting's your deal ... or your weakness, it's definitely worth reading.

"Prom Night" takes the weekend in a big, fat, smelly way and "The Ruins" just smells... link to boxofficemojo.com. Okay, so "The Ruins", which is not a remake and is based on a novel of the same name, is actually a decent film that a lot of horror fans are giving good reviews to. Now, "Prom Night", which is a PG-13 remake, is getting shat on by all the horror fans. Result? "Prom Night" does over $20Million on its opening weekend, "The Ruins" has done just over $13Million in 2 weeks. So, what's going on here? A couple things... one, horror fans aren't going to the theaters anymore, they're getting their fix from DVD's. Two, the people who are going to see "Prom Night" aren't really horror fans. So, if you're the type of person that bitches and complains about how they keep remaking movies and bringing them out as PG-13 junk, don't blame the studios. They're just doing what the numbers tell them to.

Now, juxtapose what's going on in that last paragraph with what I'm going to say about "Inside", in this paragraph - link to trailers, summary on Shocktillyoudrop. "Inside" is the english bastardized title to the French film, "A L'interieue", which is a brutal horror film that's a complete attack on the senses that will leave you emotionally drained and just f'ed up. Reviews include phrases like: "the most stomach-churning movie I've ever seen", "the most powerful and disturbing films to come along in a long, long time", a "mutilated finger pressed firmly to the pulse of horror". Let's just say that "Inside" isn't getting a theatrical release over here, but it'll make money on it's DVD release. So, my questions is, why aren't we making movies like this over here? They're what horror audiences want, they're not that hard to make and, when done on a low-budget, they can turn a profit fairly easily... what am I missing?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Film Fest Friday - some updates to get you through the summer

I went through all the festivals that take place from around now through August and updated them on our film festivals section. (actually, I'll write this, then update the festivals section in the the next few days) Summer's when the horror festival circuit starts to heat up and it really gets going in the Fall. I'd encourage any horror fan or filmmaker to get out and support them, whether or not you're entering a film, screenplay or just attending. Anyhow, here's the updates:

It would appear that the PhantasmaGoria Film Festival, which took place in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK is no longer around. All I can find is info on their 2006 festival, which really doesn't say too much about what they did in 2007, let alone their plans for 2008. Further, it looks like it was never called the PhantasmaGoria Film Fest at all! It was called Bloodbath. Either way, it's no longer going on. Cancel your flight to Swindon.... wherever that is.

The Indy Horror Film Festival seems to have been melded into the Chicago Horror Film Festival, which takes place in September this year (Sept 26 - 28, to be exact). The last bit of news on their site is from March 26th, 2007, where they reported that they've been having "many ups and downs with getting the Indy Horror Film Festival into it's second year." Now, when you click on the Indy Horror Film Fest's Myspace page, you're taken directly to the Chicago Horror Film Festival. So, long and short, seems those "ups and downs" are all downs now... see you in Chicago.

They haven't fully updated their site, but Fantastic Films Weekend is back on and will be held June 13 - 15th this year in the National Media Museum (NMeM), based in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The Fantastic Films team is hard at work putting together the program and they've already lined up some special guests... also, they're planning on screening film prints of "The Thing", "Outland" and "Poltergeist". Cool...

I have the wrong website on the festivals page for the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival, I guess they changed it - here's a link to the new page. It's going to take place from July 1 - 6 this year. If you don't know where Neuchatel is, don't fret... neither do I. However, since it's subtitled, 'The Swiss Event for Fantastic Films, Asian Cinema & Future Images", I'm guessing it's somewhere in Switzerland. ...and is it just me, or does that subtitle sound like it could be the sequel to "Borat"?

The 2nd Annual "B" Movie Celebration is going to be held in Franklin, Indiana this year from September 26th - 28th and they're screening some pretty cool movies. It's too long to list here, but here's a link to their site, where you can take a look at what they're screening in glorious 35mm original formats.

Dragon*Con 2008, the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music and film, will be held Labor Day weekend (August 29 - Sept 1) in Atlanta, Georgia. A lot of their site is still about the 2007 festival, but I'm assuming it'll be quite similar to the 2008 festival. In any case, the link I have on the festivals page is current.

Everything else in our film festivals section appears to be up to date through the summer. Now get off your ass and go support indie horror by either submitting a film or attending one of these festivals!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Adrenalin Group's "Fistful of Brains" and the zombie-western genre

So, The Adrenalin Group, the guys behind "Forever Dead" and "The Second Death", are currently in production on "A Fistful of Brains", a zombie-western. If you've seen their movies, they really seem to be getting better and better and now, this production's got Heidi Martinuzzi pretty-scary.net and Chuck Williams (piles of horror credits) in it. Also, make sure you go check out the site for "A Fistful of Brains" over at fistfulofbrains.com, it's a great site with lots of cool stuff on it, including a trailer, blog, etc. Can't wait to see it, guys.

Hearing about "A Fistful of Brains" made me think about how there seems to be a few zombie-westerns coming out lately, most namely "The Quick and the Undead" and the lesser known "The Wretched" from a few years back, starring Chow Yun Fat. I like the idea of zombies in a western setting, for some reason it seems to fit really well. What I'd like to see next is zombies in a Roman setting, basically "Gladiator" meets "Dawn of the Dead", where there's a zombie outbreak, due to some curse and they have to fight them off. Actually, maybe we could throw in some mythical creatures, too. So, it'll be more like... "Clash of the Titans" meets "28 Days Later", where there's a war between to the two worlds (Gods vs. Perseus, obviously) and the Gods unleash the curse of the dead, which Perseus has to deal with... along with Medusa, the Kraken monster and that massive squid creature. It can be called "Clash of the Titans: Perseus and the Legion of the Dead". Man alive, someone get me an agent... this is pure gold.

In conclusion, I'll leave you with a little gem that I came across when I googled "zombie western"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April 8, 2008 - New Horror out on DVD today

Well, it's taken a few years for "Cruel World" to make it out on DVD, but there's more than a few folks out there that would say it's worth the wait. An official selection at New York City Horror Film Fest, Screamfest, Newport Horror Film Fest and Rhode Island Horror Film Fest, "Cruel World" is slowly becoming a bit of a cult classic for those who've seen it. Directed and Produced by Kelsey T. Howard, it stars Edward Furlong as Philip Markham, a deranged runner-up from a reality show that holds a group of co-eds hostage on the set of his own fictitious show, where losers suffer a deadly fate. So, why should you see it? You could see it for the tongue-in-cheek humor or the blood & guts, possibly the T & A... but there's also an extended cameo from Jaime Pressly. Whatever, enough said, it's worth checking out... and, John, your foster parents are still dead.

I will give "P2" credit for one thing, it takes a common, daily anxiety and makes a feature film out of it. I mean, until now, the only other take on getting locked or lost in a parking garage was comedic genius by Seinfeld. This take on the parking garage fear is a little less funny, as it has a business woman being pursued by a psychopath who's been stalking her for months... and, no, it's not Kramer. "P2" is directed by Franck Khalfoun and it was written by Khalfoun, Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur, who are the same team of French guys that brought you "The Hills Have Eyes" remake and "Haute Tension". "Haute Tension" (or, "High Tension", as it's properly called in the U.S.) is what put them on the map, they were offered "The Hills Have Eyes" after that. They're currently working on a variety of projects, including: a remake of "Piranha", a remake of "Silent Night, Deadly Night" and "Mirrors", a film about a mall security guard who becomes wrapped up in a mystery involving a particular department store's mirrors, which seem to bring out the worst in people.

I'm not going to spend much time on the remake/reimagination of "Day of the Dead", as it sucked ass. Do yourself a favor and pick up the original Romero "Day of the Dead", which was overlooked in its own right. This version was written by Jeffrey Reddick, who's the guy behind all the "Final Destination" films (I posted this link to an interview with him a few days ago) and it's directed by Steve Miner, who directed "Friday the 13th Part 2", "Friday the 13th Part III", "House" and "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later", among other films. Believe it or not, this was originally supposed to get a theatrical release, but it was leaked online and early reviews were horrible... ergo, it's getting its straight-to-DVD release today.

Alright, now on to some indie fare... "The Cellar Door", written by Christopher Nelson and directed by Matt Zettell, comes to you from Six Sense Productions. Six Sense is three indie producers (Nelson, Zettell, as well as Hilary Six, who served as Exec. Producer on this) who got together to create 'quality' films and, combined, they have some pretty interesting credits, such as: "Adam & Evil", "Monster Man", "Gacy" and "Demon Slayer". "The Cellar Door", which is about 'the girl next door' that awakes to find herself imprisoned in a serial killer's basement, actually won some awards at Shriekfest (Best Actor, Best Actress and Fan Favorite).

I can't find much information on "The Red Cell", but it looks as indie, b-horror as it gets, so I'll mention what I can. Directed by and starring Chris Schwartz, "The Red Cell" is about Ayden, who checks into a hospital for treatment on his inoperable tumor, then passes out, only to awaken in a makeshift, underground torture chamber where a 'doctor' in a gas mask conducts gruesome experiments. Is it really happening or is the terminally ill Ayden suffering from delusions? Who knows? You will... if you check it out.

Buy any of the films mentioned above by clicking on its picture below: