Friday, January 30, 2009

Festivals, movies and things to look forward to...

Another Friday... and it's another countdown to cocktail hour. "The Uninvited" comes out this weekend, which is actually the American remake to the 2003 Korean film, "A Tale of Two Sisters", if you're interested... which was a great film. However, I'm not sure that'll get me to the theaters. I'll be honest, I'm on a countdown to "Friday the 13th" right now. Trailer looks great, anticipation is running high. I hope it doesn't let me down... much like every other Platinum Dunes remake released to date. I've got lots of indie shit to get through, anyhow, so I can wait two weeks to get to the theaters. Regardless, it's Friday and I'm anxious to try and find the solution to all of life's problems at the bottom of some bottle tonight... and I do know it's down there somewhere, just gotta keep looking. However, before I get to that, here's some things to look forward to!

February 6 - 8 is the New York Comic Con and, if you haven't figured it out yet, these conventions are for more than just comics. Sure, there's lots of comics there... and lots of nerds, but there's lots of movie and TV panels, as well as screenings and autographs, etc. Horror is tightly knit with this scene, so they tend to be great places to network and meet like minded people... and I can only imagine that the New York Comic Con gets more than a handful of people attending. If you live in, or around The City, go check it out. If not for the horror movies, for the nerds.

Now, if you're anywhere near North Carolina, you're going to have to attend the Nevermore Film Festival, which takes place this Feb 20 - 22 in Durham. They're a good group of guys, they put on a great festival and they've got a wicked list of films this year, a few of which I've seen. You'll want to make sure you check out "Alien Raiders", "Eel Girl" and "Reel Zombies" for sure.

Also, if you're just finishing up your film, there's a few festivals with deadlines approaching. Now, that doesn't mean that their FINAL deadline is approaching. It could mean that their early bird deadline is approaching... or something. Anyhow, if you're looking to submit a film any time soon, you should be looking at: the Eerie Horror Film Festival, Chicago Horror Festival, Paranoia Horror and Sci-Fi Convention & Film Festival, Sacramento Horror Film Festival, Terror Film Festival and Zompire: The Undead Film Festival.

Lastly, I just read a great little article called "In Praise of Low Budget Films" by Elliot Grove. Now, he's really just trying to push Raindance, a film festival that he founded, but there's a lot to read about in there, such as stuff on elements of a press kit, how to write a film on a minimal budget and script format. A good, short read.

Now, turn that sand timer over... just a few hours until the weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A little company called Amazon.com...

As you may or may not know, us Dead Harvey guys are working on a pilot for a show called Dead Harvey TV. You can check out our posts on its progress here, here and here. Anyhow, as much as I fantasize about it being the next "Three's Company" or "Alf" and that networks will crawl all over each other to take a look at it, I have to face facts... they've got bigger fish to fry and, well, we're more like a barnacle in the ocean that they play in. So, I've been thinking about alternate forms of distribution, outside of the mainstream, that may be viable options. I was thinking about XBox or PS3 and wondering if they would be interested in something like this for their online networks. Maybe Netflix or some VOD service would have a use for it? We could work with some web-based company and stream it, maybe? I mean, there's lots of options out there. Well, what if no one wanted to pay us for it and we just wanted to find an audience? Well, what about Amazon.com? So, I looked into it...

But first, check out this email that ended up in my inbox...

"Dear Reader,

We are excited to announce that Box Office Mojo has been acquired by IMDb.com, Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. This is a major landmark in the nine year history of our company.

Box Office Mojo will continue to operate as a standalone business and produce analysis and the most comprehensive box office tracking freely available online. Our headquarters will also remain in the Los Angeles area.

We expect this change to allow us to expand our offering to readers like you by leveraging IMDb's comprehensive database of movies and those who make them. IMDb is committed to further developing the Box Office Mojo brand and building upon the success of the past nine years.

Our readers have been a vital component in our success, and we are grateful for your continuing support. Please feel free to email us with your questions or feedback at mail@boxofficemojo.com.
We realize this is important news for our community, and we are confident that this acquisition will benefit Box Office Mojo readers and provide us with many opportunities for future growth.

Regards..."

Okay, so... interesting, huh? Now, go to Withoutabox.com and tell me what it says at the bottom... you don't really have to go there, I'm going to quote it, but that's right, "A division of IMDB, an Amazon.com company". Alright, so what? So, let's tally this up. Amazon owns: IMDB, box office mojo and Withoutabox. That's a lot of film related stuff. So, where am I going with this? Well, check out what's at the bottom of an email I got from Withoutabox.com...

FILM MARKETING 101
1) Get an IMDb Title Page for your film. Most films now qualify as soon as their first Withoutabox submission is received by a festival.
2) Bring that Title Page alive by uploading video ASAP: Trailers, Clips, or even your Full Movie to build momentum and word-of-mouth.
3) Sell copies of your film on DVD and Video On Demand, on Amazon.com and other channels, all via CreateSpace. Setup is free, risk is none, and it works as well for selling 10 as 10,000.

Filmmakers who take charge EARLY in these ways see the benefits every day. You can, too. Your Withoutabox Account Home Page has complete step-by-step details to help you find your worldwide audience. So log in today, get with the program - and let us know how else we can help!

So, why would Amazon be promoting CreateSpace.com, an on-demand publishing company that allows you to make your own books, music and video's available to millions of customers? Oh, that's right... it's another Amazon.com company.

It looks like Amazon.com doesn't just own a lot of film related companies, they own a lot of INDIE film related companies. Really, if you've just finished a film, you can submit it to all the festivals, easily, through Withoutabox. Then you can get listed on IMDB.com and promote it. Then, you can submit it to CreateSpace.com and have it available on Amazon.com and Amazon VOD... and it can all be tracked and talked about on Box Office Mojo. ALL companies owned by Amazon.com... I don't even need to find a distributor. Amazon does it all and it doesn't even cost me much.

Long and short, who the hell knows what the future holds for media and media consumption? Only time will tell. But until we find out, you and we, both, do have a lot of options when it comes to finding a company or place to distribute our content, and I think more options are coming. But right now it looks like all of us indie filmmakers better get to know Amazon. They're a one-stop shop for indie filmmakers and it looks like they've got some sort of plan to be involved in the scene for a while...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Interview with Thomas Seymour, co-writer and co-director of Bikini Bloodbath Carwash

What's in a title?

Well, a lot... I think, anyhow. I've never understood people who give their films weird titles, stuff that is esoteric or simply doesn't make sense. A good title is like having a good business card, remember that scene in "American Psycho"? "The coloring? That's bone... and the lettering is something called scillian rail." Really, a film is going to be what it is, but the title helps sell it. The title should capture what your film is about... it's the bow on the present that holds the whole package together. It should make the person reading it understand, at least in part, what they're about to get into. "Star Wars", "Scarface", "Nightmare on Elm Street", "Jaws"... these are good titles. So is "Bikini Bloodbath Carwash".

I actually saw the first film, "Bikini Bloodbath", based solely on the title and, quite frankly, the film is exactly what you'd think it is... and it pays off, in spades. I loved it. So, I was more than excited to review the second installment, "Bikini Bloodbath Carwash", then have the opportunity to discuss it with co-writer/co-director, Thomas Seymour. After checking it out, this second installment builds on the first, both in quality and story. Really, it's a great film, especially if you're into boobs, blood and a laughs. And now knowing that there's more installments coming, I can't wait...


First off, tell us a bit about yourself. What are your influences and what brought you into the world of indie horror filmmaking?

Well I love Monty Python, Robert Rodriquez, John Mctiernan, Ridley Scott, Frank Darabont,Sam Raimi, Curtis Hanson and Benny Hill. Yes that’s right I think Benny Hill is a comedic Genius. However, if you're talking about my influences for the Bikini Bloodbath films it's more like films like Slumber Party Massacre, Silent Night, Deadly night, Friday the 13th, Gut Pile but the actual references in the Bikini Bloodbath films are from films like Revenge of the Nerds Krull, Aliens, Jaws, Indiana Jones,Flash Dance, Silence of the Lambs, Streets of Fire, Mad Max films like that.

Film School: Yes or No?

Yes, I went to school for Film and Video and Northwestern Connecticut College

Where did the idea for the "Bikini Bloodbath" series come from? Was it intended to be a series or did the first one do well enough for you guys to think, 'hey, let's go make a few more of these'?

From the very start we planned on making 8 of them. We wanted to push through the age old idea that a film had to be successful to have a sequel, fortunately people tend to actually like the Bikini Bloodbath films and they have done well for the most part in there reviews and there sales. As far as the title goes I had been making indie films for some years when Jon Gorman and I decided to team up. Jon and I knew we wanted to delve into B-movie horror. We were always huge fans and saw it as an opportunity to make fun movies, double our money and improve our craft. We were trying to make up names that summed up everything that the film represented in one title. We had like twenty combinations of words we were working on and then Jon just blurts out "Bikini Bloodbath" and my brother Bruce Seymour and I were like "Yup, that´s the one."

What's the approx budget for these films and talk about getting financing the first one, versus getting financing the second one...

Jon and Bruce we able to get financing for all three. Bikini 1 was eight grand, Bikini 2 was twelve grand and Bikini 3 was twelve grand. The budgets were small some we didn’t need to raise much at all.

What do you shoot on and how long are the shoots?

We use the Canon H1 HD camera. The shoots for the first two films were 9 days and 11 days for the third. I like the Canon H1 one a lot. We may move to the Red camera for the next film.

Debbie Rochon's a bit of a legend in the B Movie world, how'd you manage to get her in the films?

Have you ever heard of Phil Hall? He’s one of the higher profile online critics, he wrote a bunch of books too. He took a liking to my work way back when. We became good friends and started working together on these films. Phil knew Debbie and put me in touch with her. Phil actually has a great role in Bikini Bloodbath Carwash as Professor Ship Wreck. I tried to Cast Debbie Rochon in The Land of College Prophets. That’s a film I did a few years back. She was going to act in the film but had that crazy accident on one of her other horror film sets before the Land of College Prophets shoot. A real machete was on the set and someone chopped her hand up. So she couldn’t act in The Land of College Prophets for obvious reasons. When the Bikini Bloodbath films came around a few years later and she read the script. She was all for it. She’s a great a comedian as well as dramatic actress. I think this may have been a fun role for her at the time.

The bulk of your actors are young, good looking girls who spend most of the time half naked... or naked. Talk about the process of casting your films.

We audition actors and actresses. They’re standard auditions but if we like there performance we basically tell them there about three or four nude scenes, pretty standard topless changing scenes just like in 80’s horror films. We tell them the scenes are important to sell the film and are they’re fine with it. I think the title of the film scares away the shy types. There’s never any nudity in the auditions. Shooting the scenes is awkward as hell. I like boobs probably even more then the next guy but you still have to get the setup done. We basically set up the camera, do two takes and we’re out. It’s not as cool as it seems to shoot these scenes. As a director you’re dealing with a million problems and ultimately you just want to get the shots done, so you know you’ve make a sellable film.

Talk about directing style, such as how do you direct a scene like a locker room scene filled with bikini clad girls versus, say, a more dramatic or serious scene.

Well I’ve done dramatic scenes, never in Bikini Bloodbath but I’ve done them. In dramatic scenes I tend to like a lot of slow zooms or dollys. Film Snobs look down on zooms but I love a nice super slow zoom. It’s about using the angles to capture people’s posture, there faces. If you have a good actor, you just try to put the camera in the best place to see it all, sometimes seeing the back of the head means more then seeing the front. Or seeing a trembling hand instead of a trembling face. When shooting boobs in a shower room you point the camera at the boobs and shoot boobs. We just feel lucky we’re shooting boobs because I like boobs, they’re good. We also have like an hour to shoot in the locker room so the coverage was very limited.

"Bikini Bloodbath Car Wash" is the follow up to "Bikini Bloodbath"... what did you learn from the making of the first one that influenced you in the making of the second one?

In the first one we thought we could not possibly make a feature in 9 days so we’d shoot like madmen, and do anything we could to reduce shots and get through the setups. Part 2 we realized it’s very possible and we were able to get better angles and more coverage. We also realized we need to get higher end practical horror effects. We hired Leigh Radziwon to do the practical horror effects for part 2. She’s great.

Tell us about some of the hurdles you overcame to get these films done. Any advice you can pass on to other indie filmmakers who might be just setting out to make a film?

People no-show a lot of indie sets, make sure you have someone you can call if people don’t show up on the set. You also need to be calm and think on the fly. Large problems may happen and you might have to juggle the schedule a bit to make things work or in many cases change your script. There were a lot of very big hurtles on the "Bikini Bloodbath Carwash" set. It was a ton of problem solving. We needed to shoot all hot tub scenes but it was pouring rain and there were no make-up days. My brother Bruce Seymour and friend David James Sheehan went out and bought a huge carport and put it together over the hot tub. We shot all the wide shots using that but the audio was terrible because of the rain. So we went inside and put up a black backdrop, pulled a few camera tricks with the iris and the lens length to blur the background and show the close-ups. It turned out well. You can´t tell the close-ups were shot inside. That is one of maybe ten stories like that just on "Bikini Bloodbath Carwash."

Tell us about the process of finding distribution. What was the process like for you guys and what insight could you pass on to other filmmakers who are looking for distribution?

My Brother Started Brightly Entertainment. The Bikini Bloodbath Films are distributed through Brightly. The only way we’d go with another company is if Lions Gate or Sony offered us a deal. The indie scene is hurting, some people think its dying because indie fim has lost the ability to turn a profit or even break even. I think you need to form your own company and do it yourself. That’s the best chance of recouping your money. Anything else is a huge gamble. It may pay off. If you're just looking for exposure it might be a great idea to go with a medium sized distributor but if you’re looking to sustain a filmmaking career where you continue to make film. You might want to try to do it yourself.

Where can people find out more about the "Bikini Bloodbath" series or, better yet, buy copies?

For those of you who are considering buying Bikini Bloodbath Carwash. The proceeds will go to the fourth installment of Bikini Bloodbath. Entitled Bikini Bloodbath Ghost Town.

Bloodbathpictures.com

Buy it off Amazon

Now, let's talk about the indie horror genre. Where do you feel it is now and where do you see it going?

There sure is a lot of indie horror. I feel like horror is the last strong hold of indie film. When it goes, we’re all in trouble. I personally love bad horror films as much as I like good ones. I say the more the merrier. Of course the market is oversaturated and can’t possibly support it all. We’ll all have to just do horror because we love it, not because we want to make a living at it.

What’s next for you? Do you have any projects in the works?

Well, Bikini Bloodbath Christmas will be out next Christmas. It has Rachael Robbins, Debbie Rochon, Monique Dupree and Lloyd Kaufman in it. I think it will be very silly and weird. We’re doing a horror film called Blood River and also an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Mark of the Beast. If anyone wants to invest, drop me a line! After that we will do Bikini Bloodbath Ghost Town. I just finished a new film that's running in festivals right now called London Betty. It’s been getting some really good press lately. It stars Nicole Lewis, Daniel Von Bargen and is narrated by Clint Howard. If anyone wants to find out more go to Londonbetty.com.

Thanks so much Ted for taking the time to talk with me. Also thanks to the readers for supporting Indie horror films especially when times are so tough. You rock!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Making of a Tromadance Winner, by Frankie Frain Part IV

That's right folks, the time is finally here. You've been waiting almost a month to tie it all together and this is your chance. It's the last and final part of the Frankie Frain article, "The Making of a Tromadance Winner". Now, I want to make sure that you're all up to date on this, so if you missed parts I, II or III, here's links: part 1, part 2, part 3. And if you're too lazy to click on all that, don't worry. I'll post a link to the article in its entirety at some point over the next few days.

Anyhow, as this is the end of the article, I'd like to give a huge thanks to Frankie for writing it. Honestly, it's a great article with a lot of good advice... especially if you're just starting out. Now, do him a favor and go buy "I Need To Lose Ten Pounds" and/or "A-Bo The Humonkey". Click on either of those links to go to their respected homepages.

So, now... for your reading pleasure, here we are, the last few paragraphs of the article. Right in the heart of his advice to all new, up-and-coming filmmakers...

For the guys out there – get a girlfriend.

Because then you won’t give a fuck about making your shitty little movie.

But seriously, every successful project I’ve been a part of (including my own, obviously) has had a really cool, down to Earth, sociable, hard working and sturdy as a rock girlfriend attached to the director and piece, playing every role she can. I wish I could put my finger on exactly what this does for a production, but obviously a project’s success is based on the help and charity of those who love you, and who better than someone like this? Plus, an all-guy party scares location owners and actresses and everyone, especially if your film contains nudity or sexual situations involving females.

So get a chick to at least be there.

Keep shooting days short.

I have good friends who shoot very long days for successive weeks, and they’ve had complete success. But if your script contains the kind of locations, effects, and shot for shot scope that mine stupidly have, it’s the quantity of locations that will dictate your shooting schedule. So I could have, for instance, a very difficult location that’s only featured onscreen for a minute or so – but regardless, that becomes an entire shooting day, unless you can somehow group locations together (i.e., the all-male bath house buffet is coincidentally a block away from the hermaphrodites-only YMCA that appears later in the film, and both feature the same characters). But because my total shooting time tends to be several months (most people can only commit to weekend shoots since, unless you’re a rich bastard with nothing but rich bastard friends, everyone has jobs or class), I don’t like to tax everyone with dreadfully long shooting days. And there’s another upside to this – you don’t have to spend money on that most wasteful and pointless of commodities even the poorest of filmmakers seem to insist on providing: fuckin’ food. Do full stomachs appear on screen? No. Do they make people happier and turn in better performances? Debatable, but even if true, we low-budget fucks could only afford 4-for-3 medium pizza deals anyway, and pizza makes everyone just wanna hang out or go home and take a crap.

Short days – they’re easier to schedule, get people to commit to, and book locations for. It shouldn’t be too tall an order to keep the day short. I mean, you are shooting on DV aren’t you?

Don’t get snobby about aesthetics.

That’s probably pretty obvious, but I just want to remind you that good actors and a good script are the most important parts of your films, and they can and should be 100% free. But obtaining good aesthetics (and I don’t mean good camera work or competent lighting, a good DP should be able to capture these elements for free as well) is the quickest way to spend unnecessary money. Buying complex lighting kits, unnecessarily large-res camera, or god forbid, shooting on fuckin’ film.

Save yourself money. Focus on what really matters.

Don’t get caught up in “professionalism.”

I think this sorta sums up a lot of what I’ve been saying – only concern yourself with what’s actually going to appear on screen. Too many young filmmakers are too concerned about their perception as professional filmmakers. You know what dude? Do whatever it takes to make the movie. Don’t bring unnecessary equipment to look badass (you scoff, but I’ve seen it), don’t have precious, private moments doing bullshit exercises with the cast while alienating your bearded and autistic crew (you scoff, but I’ve seen it), and for the love of Christ, leave the walkie-talkies at home – you all have cell phones. I’ve just seen too much emphasis put on what “looks right” or how the pros do it and it makes me nauseous.

But I’m probably preaching to the choir – I’m talking to people who make movies with titles like Control-Alt-Die and Terror Dactyl. The only thing stopping you from making your movie right now is a couple of phone calls to some friends saying you shoot on Saturday the 19th. You’ve probably heard this advice more than anything else – just make the movie. Don’t worry about if it’s going to suck – it’s your first movie, it probably will anyway. And who knows? Maybe you can fix the suckiness in post by cutting most of it out (that’s what I did). Just get it out of your system.

Be too stupid to know that it’s impossible.

- Frankie Frain

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Horror out on DVD this week... get ready to bowl till you bleed!

Well, it's the start of another work week and, as much as that sucks ass, there's some good shit to look forward to when it comes to horror this week. I'm definitely most stoked for "Gutterballs", from Ryan Nicholson, but there's a lot of other shit that needs to be checked out. So, as usual, if you'd like to buy any of these, just click on the title and you can get them off Amazon. Also, you can head over to our Youtube page and check out all the trailers.

My pick of the week is "Gutterballs", which is from Vancouver-based, Plotdigger Films, a production company specializing in indie horror. You may remember their first film, which debuted in 2005, called "Live Feed". I really dug it, especially because the exteriors of the theater were shot across the street from me. It was also an ultra-gory torture porn fest and the last entry into that genre that I really enjoyed... "Gutterballs" is their follow up. Heading over to their site, it looks like they're busy, too. They've got a couple more films in the works in "Star Vehicle" and "Hanger". What really kicks ass about these guys is that they're blatant horror fans, throwing out homages everywhere... look at the main poster for "Gutterballs" over there, it's a straight-up rip-off of the slasher classic, "Maniac", and the phone number to the bowling alley in the film is 976-3845 (976-EVIL). It's written and directed by Ryan Nicholson, who's also the creative director / marketing operations over at Plotdigger, and it's about a brutally sadistic "Accused"-style rape that leads to a series of bizarre and gory murders during a midnight disco bowl-a-rama at a popular bowling alley.

I'm not sure if "Sharks in Venice" was a Sci-Fi orginal, but it sure fits the mold. It was directed by Danny Lerner, who's more of a low-budget action/sci-fi/horror producer-type guy. He was behind films like "Alien Hunter", "Octopus 2: River of Fear" and "Operation Delta Force". He's also got a soft spot for shark films, having directed this, "Raging Sharks" and "Shark Zone". Did I mention that this stars Stephen Baldwin? Anyhow, what I find interesting about this is that it's yet another low-budget film that was shot in Bulgaria. They've been filming so much low-budget shit there now that they're now calling it 'Bullywood'. They must be giving huge tax breaks and incentives because there's more coming... including the upcoming "Rambo V".

For all of you that anxiously wait for Thai superhero movies, wait no longer! "Mercury Man", from Bhandit Thongdee (originally called "Ma noot Ihek lai" in it's native Thailand) is finally available. I don't know much about it, but it looks like it's a violent, effects driven film... and couple that with the fact that it's about a Thai Superhero, I'm in...

"Clay" is from Ron Bonk and it won three Bonehead Awards from the Bare Bones International Film Festival. Bonk's produced a LOT of indie horror, including "Razorteeth", "Bloodsucking Redneck Vampires" and "Last House on Hell Street". His last directorial effort was "Strawberry Estates", which is much talked about in the horror world, as it, well... wasn't given stellar reviews by everyone. In fact, there were a few people who called it one of the worst horrors ever. Personally, I would never say anything so negative, but I will say that "Clay" looks alright. It's about Clay, who's a killer. He's a killer because his Dad raised him on evil stories, lies, bitterness, abuse and fear. Now, he walks the streets, picking victims by fate, and his past and present will converge into one violent and brutal climax.

"Dark Dreamers" is one of those things that really just for horror fanatics... or film historians or something. It's a four disc set from award winning author Stanley Wiater and it features interviews with the world's greatest horror/fantasy writers, artists, actors and filmmakers in close-up, insightful conversations. All the interviews were put together for a TV series called "Dark Dreamers", but I've never seen it or heard of it, so... if you missed the whole series, like I did, and you're into horror history, this could be a cool set to check out.

Now, here's an interesting film... "Vampyres" is a documentary from Laurent Courau about the 15,000 REAL Vampyres that are living in the U.S. No shit. It's a real documentary, go over to our Youtube page and check out the trailer. It's about a journalist who discovers the underworld of the clans of Vampyres in New York, who then spends two years with them and brings back unique evidence on film. Cool idea... piqued my interest, anyhow.

"Final Remains", which was originally called "Mortuary", is written and directed by Shawn Hazelaar and it's about three college students and a local drop out who break into a mortuary that happens to be home to a serial killer. Didn't Tobe Hooper have a film come out in 2005 called "Mortuary"? I guess that's why they changed the title... Anyhow, Hazelaar served as writer, director, cinematographer, producer and editor on the film.

"The Sirens/Murderer" are two low-budget indie horror shorts, grouped together and being sold through Passion River. The tagline is "indie movie masters Festival of Horrors Filmed in Blood Vision". "The Sirens" is from Stephen Zimmer, who was the guy behind "Shadows Light" (and we talked with him about that not too long ago...) and "Murderer" is about a serial killer, confined to a cell for the rest of his life, who tries to kill himself. It's from Vincent Bingham, I think...

Also out this week is "42nd Street Forever Vol. 4", which is a pile of trailers for old and new indie horror films. Pretty cool, actually. Also, there's the 20th Anniversary Edition of "Redneck Zombies
", the indie horror classic.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Film Fest Updates: Chicago Horror Fest, Shriekfest and Slamdance

Here we are on Friday morning and we're a mere work day away from cocktail hour. I gotta say, I've earned every beverage that I'm going to consume tonight, as it's been a long f'ing week. Also, it's been a long while since we've taken a look at what's going on in festival world, so I'm going to go through my inbox, pick out a few things and regurgitate some info for you... Also, I feel I should announce that I'm going to make a concerted effort to attend more festivals this year, as they're really the backbone of the whole scene and we really should be more supportive. Well, maybe I feel guilty and I should be more supportive. Whatever, let's go to some festivals. They're good excuses to get drunk and watch horror movies.

The Chicago Horror Fest, which has become an institution in Chicago, now has its call for entries open and their early bird deadline is Jan. 31st. I guess that's not much time, but if you've got a finished film that you were going to take to the festivals anyhow, it's a good opportunity to save a few bucks. If you're not done yet, don't worry. You've got lots of time to get your film in. I think this festival is their 10th or 11th year and it's on the September 26th - 28th weekend this year, so you've also got time to plan your trip. For more information on the Chicago Horror Fest, you can go to their site: ChicagoHorrorFest.com

Shriekfest, one of our favorite festivals of the year, also has their call for entries open, even though I'm not sure if they've set a date for next year. Either way, it's always around early October. They recently announced their winners from 2008 and there's some notable names in there, mainly because I see a few friends and films that Dead Harvey covered over the last year... anyhow, here's a list of all the winners from the 2008 Shriekfest:

Best Horror Feature Film: "Bane"
directed by James Eaves

Best Thriller Feature Film: "Alien Raiders"
directed by Ben Rock

Best Short Film: "Kirksdale"
directed by Ryan Spindell

Best Super Short Film: "Eel Girl"
directed by Paul Campion

Best Horror Feature Screenplay: "The Great American Nightmare"
written by Tom Manning

Best SciFi Feature Screenplay: "Scavengers"
written by Diana Kemp-Jones

Best Fantasy Feature Screenplay: "The Hercynian Ocrhid"
written by Melisa Ford

Best Short Screenplay: "Making the List"
written by Jesse Kyle Reisman

The Pretty/Scary Award**: "Side Effect"
directed by Liz Adams

Best Acting Performance: Rhoda Jordan in "Rule of Three"

Audience Choice Award: "The Open Door"
directed by Doc Duhame

Best Under 18 Film: "The Perfect Victim"
directed by Eric Badger

Best Under 18 Screenplay: "Big Kids Play Manslaughter"
written by Kelsey Bollig

Lastly, Slamdance is on right now... I think it's on right now. Did it just end? I don't know. Fuck, I need that drink now... Anyhow, here's a list of this year’s selection of horror, sci-fi, fantasy and thriller films that are screening there... or just screened there. Once again, some familiar names in there, which is cool. By the way, I'm hoping to have an interview coming up soon with the guys behind "The Ante".

The Ante
Max Perrier (Director), Danek S. Kaus, James Chancellor & Simon Perrier (Writers)
West Coast Premiere, Black Comedy/Thriller, 2006, CANADA, 82 minutes: An innocent man becomes the killer everyone wants him to be when he gambles with his freedom in order to save it.

Conjurer
Clint Hutchison (Director), David Yarbrough & Clint Hutchison (Writers)
Utah Premiere, Thriller, 2008, USA, 88 minutes. Cast: Andrew Bowen, Maxine Bahns, John Schneider: A grieving young couple relocates to a rural farm, and encounters disturbing occurrences surrounding an old cabin with a dark history.

ELA, In Love At First Byte
Fernando Sarmiento, Director/Producer; Alejandro Sarmiento and J.F. Mackeprang, Writers / North American Premiere / 2008 / Argentina / 11 Minutes: In an action packed adventure of epic proportions, we follow the final adventure of E.L.A. Young Warrior Princess, forced to finally face her darkest nemesis and save Earth from total destruction.

Graphic Sexual Horror
Barbara Bell & Anna Lorentzon (Directors/Writers)
World Premiere, 2009, USA, 85 minutes: A look behind the terrifying façade of insex.com, the most notorious of the ‘violent porn’ websites, while exploring the dark mind of its artistic creator and asking hard questions about personal responsibility.

Horsefingers 3: Starfucker
Kirsten Kearse, Writer/Director
Utah Premiere / 2008 / USA / 13 Minutes: A questionable tale of animal attraction.

I Don’t Sleep I Dream
J.P. Chan, Writer/Director
World Premiere / 2008 / USA / 15 Minutes: A woman refuses a ride to a dangerous looking hitchhiker, but soon finds herself in need of help after causing a horrific accident.

It Shines and Shakes and Laughs
Matthew Wade, Writer/Director
2008 / USA / 7 Minutes: An experimental piece wherein a young man searches a desolate landscape in an attempt to make himself whole.

Kanizsa Hill
Evelyn Lee, Writer/Director
North American Premiere / 2008 / USA / 8 Minutes: A forgetful body desperately searches for his head as the two find themselves lost in an oasis of illusions.

The Pond
Sonja Phillips, Writer/Director
2008 / UK / 16 Minutes: For Maisie, the pond is a place to escape her troubled home life and explore her strengthening allure to the boys; it is the place where she holds all the power over them. What she doesn’t know is that it also holds a deep dark secret.

That's that, have a great weekend and we'll see you next week!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An introduction to Doug Hutchison's "Vampire Killers"

One of the best perks, for me, of doing this site is people bringing their projects to our attention. First off, we're more than happy to promote any new project you're working on. If you've got something that you'd like to promote, get in touch with us, we're more than happy to write about it and, hey, more than happy to give our thoughts, if you care. Secondly, I heart checking out new projects... especially when they're doing something new and cool with it. That's precisely the case with "Vampire Killers", from Doug Hutchison, which is being distributed online and through Youtube. Also, it has hot chicks, vampires and hot chick vampires in it, of which I'm a fan of all three. I'll break out what they're doing here for you, but I'm hoping to talk with the guys behind it and give you a bit more later...

ABOUT VAMPIRE KILLERS: Armed with a skeleton crew of guerrilla film soldiers, Hutchison has created an engaging, gritty web series based on his intense vampire mythology. VAMPIRE KILLERS involves a ruthless cabal of alluring female vampires and the relentless stalkers who want to take their empire down. The midnight streets of Los Angeles are the location for this epic struggle between the righteous and the undead. VAMPIRE KILLERS features a stunning cast of 13 sexy blood-obsessed night dwellers fighting to stay "alive" at all costs. The streets of Los Angeles just got a lot less safe. Check out Hutchison's vampire epic and study up on the vampire lore that surrounds their world -- it may be your only hope for survival! You have been warned. WWW.VAMPIREKILLERS.TV is online...

And here, embedded, is VAMPIRE KILLERS, EPISODE 1:




Now, having said all that, don't go over to their Youtube page to watch the next episode, because they banned episode 2. Here's the press release that followed...

YOUTUBE CENSORS STRIKE AGAIN

Actor Doug Hutchison [THE GREEN MILE, PUNISHER:WAR ZONE,LOST] thought YouTube would be the ideal platform to share his new internet-based webseries, VAMPIRE KILLERS.

With this year's insatiable appetite for vampires [ie. HBO's TRUE BLOOD and the upcoming TWILIGHT], Hutchison's gritty sexy dark series features a coven of 13 alluring blood-sucking vixens and the four vampire killers dedicated to hunting
them down ... by any means necessary.

The question was: How to reach out to Worldwide fans?

The obvious answer: YouTube!

So Hutchison posted episode #1 of VAMPIRE KILLERS and -after a glowing reception -- followed with episode #2 ... which YouTube swiftly yanked claiming it had violated their strict "Terms and Conditions" by featuring "Graphic Material" [a scene in which a kidnapped young woman is ravaged by a vampire in a motel bathroom]apparently "unsuitable" for YouTube's global audience.

Would-be viewers are now re-directed to Hutchison's site[WWW.VAMPIREKILLERS.TV] where they can watch the series uncensored.

Fans of VAMPIRE KILLERS are filling forums with their outrage over what they're deeming: "A digital gestapo".

Hutchison is disappointed episode #2 cannot be shared with the YouTube community, but is hoping the scandal may work in his favor. "My VAMPIRE KILLERS website has experienced a significant spike in foot traffic since the ban, so I'm encouraged", Hutchison said, "but still ... without YouTube, our base is greatly compromised".

So far, subsequent episodes of VAMPIRE KILLERS have not met with YouTube's clamp down.

I watched everything that they have available and I have to say, it's a wicked idea and definitely worth checking out. So, here's some links for you.

To check out the show, go to their home page: VampireKillers.tv.
For their Youtube page, go to: YouTube.com/VampireKillersTV

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Interview with Bill Zebub, director of "Assmonster", "The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made" and much, much more...

Usually I have some sort of lead in... or something witty to say before I get to an interview, but this one is different. This is an interview with Bill Zebub.

So, why is this one different? Well, Bill Zebub is the self proclaimed King of the "B" movies, he has a wicked list of films under his belt to prove it and we, at Dead Harvey, are big, big fans... After all, this is the guy who brought you "The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made", the award winning "Assmonster", the metal documentary "Black Metal: The Norwegian Legacy", not to mention such classic titles as "Rape is a Circle" and "Jesus Christ: Serial Rapist". Now, I'm not sure if you figured it out from the titles, but he's not afraid to offend. Further to that, he's not afraid to keep making films.

Zebub has been at this for a while and he's really, really good at what he does. In fact, some would say he's the best at what he does. If you're in the indie scene and want to stay or succeed in that arena, he's a guy to look up to. Mainly because he HAS been at this for so long, he does enjoy it AND he's not going anywhere. So, if you're looking to learn, he's a guy to listen to. If you're looking for offensive material, his films are the ones to watch. It's a long interview, but if you're a Zebub fan or want to be a Zebub fan, you'll really like this interview. It's entertaining and a great read.

Also, before I get to the interview, if you scroll to the very bottom, I've posted some links to some of his films on Amazon...


First off, tell us a bit about yourself. What are your influences and what brought you into this whole world of indie filmmaking?

When I was a freshman in high school I discovered that one of my classmates had an 8mm camera, but that guy never let me film anything. He had absolutely no interest in filming, and refused to let me make films, no matter what kind of bribery I concocted. It seemed like a total waste - sort of like when I see someone with a healthy hairline walk around with a shaved head. Going forward a bit, my parents bought me a video camera when I was 18. it had no zoom, which was actually a good thing, but I didn't realize that it was a good thing until later. The reason it was a good thing was because film-snobs hate zoom-ins - they insist that a camera be dollied forward. Maybe their neurosis should be saved for a later discussion, ha ha. Getting back to the camera, I went to malls and interviewed people, telling them that this was for a college TV station. The questions would start out normal and then degrade into the utterly preposterous. When I gathereed 2 hours of material, which was enough to fill up a VHS tape, I made copies for all the people who were involved. One night I ran into some derelicts I knew from my high school days. They were bored and looking for fun. I had fake beards in my car, and we decided to go all over town as the "Oak Ridge Boys" and filmed it sort of hidden-camera style. We were spectacles, and what made it funny was not so much what we did, but how the crowds reacted to our antics. For the next coupls of years, we made Jackass-type public stuints, but bear in mind that we did this years before Jackass was on TV. As I started amassing a following, I decided to film skits instead of stunts. For the sake of brevity, I'll just speed ahead to the day a scream queen, Darian Caine, befriended me and offered to act in one of my skits. After filming her, she urged me to make a feature length movie. She told me that she would let me sell the movie at her booth at the Chiller Theatre horror convention. Until that point, I had pretty much just filmed out of pure love for filming. It hadn't been something that I actually studied. If I made a skit that bombed, it was just 5 minutes lost. If I made a full length movie that sucked, it would just be too much wasted time. So I went to a book store and bought a book about screenwriting, written by Syd Field. I wrote the movie "Metalheads" as an exercize. Then I shot it as an exercise - a practice movie before I would work on a real one, ha ha. But it got picked up by a distributor! That was in 2001. I have recently re-shot that movie as "Metalheads: The Good, the Bad, and the Evil."

Film School: Yes or No?

No, but I wish I had gone to one. You have to bear in mind that I filmed stuff purely for the joy of it. I also got signed as I was preparing to study the how-to of film-making. I sort of reverse-engineered movies...the way I learned to make movies was by studying why something I shot would fail. There were no books about cinematography available. Looking back, I could have gone to my college book store and snooping out books from the film section. Part of me thinks that it is a good thing that I never learned proper film-making in the early days because it might have interfered with my development of style. Sure, I would have made the movie look better, et cetera, but they wouldn't have been as crazy. Skipping ahead, I hungrily devoured every book about cinematography that came out. For some reason these titles became quite numerous for a while at chains like Barnes and Noble. As I studied, it occured to me that even with the vast amount of new knowledge that I was gaining, film-making is something that you have to learn by DOING it, not just reading about it. So my past methods of learning the craft by examing why a shot failed was something that I never discarded. I wish I had gone to film school for the technical aspects, but the fact that I never watched movies the way film students watch movies also means that I have never become influenced by anyone.

Where do you get the inspiration and/or ideas for your films? Both Assmonster and Worst Horror Movie Ever Made are both similar, yet different. Talk about the writing and pre-production stages.

When I get an idea for a movie, it is usually when I am extremely bored. My mind wanders. If you were to sit me down and tell me to write something on cue, it wouldn't be the same. My ideas have to be born out of escape, usually while I am doing a repetive task. The idea for "The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made" came while I was cleaning up the set for "The Crucifier." I was replaying a conversation in my mind. John form Media Blasters was telling me that if he acquired any of my titles he would change the packaging so that it would look professional. When I told him that it was deceptive to make an ultra indie movie look like Hollywood, he talked about Seduction Cinema making bad movies but being able to get them into Best Buy because of the packaging. Nice conversation, aye? So I was thinking about packaging as I was cleaning the basement, I wondered what would make a person pick up a DVD when there are so many titles on the shelf. I asked my friend Rocco, who later starred in Assmonster, if he would be drawn to a movie called "The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made"and he replied that not only would he pick it up, he would buy it without question. I wrote, shot, and edited that movie in 6 weeks in January 2006. Do not buy that movie. It was a mistake to release it. It sold out in one week, and I had to put a stop to any more copies being made. I could have made a lot of money but I didn't want to piss off so many people. As an apology I re-shot the movie last year - that's the version that you have. If anyone out there has a 2006 version, just mail it to me and I will replace it with the 2008 version, no questions asked. But to answer your questions about ideas, they usually come to me out of the blue.

How do you go about financing your films and what kind of budget do you have for each film?

In the early days the budgets usually just were for scream queens. Now I pay for a lot more. I don't have massive explosions, and I use "existing locations" - which means that I do not have sets built for me in a studio. That cuts down on costs MASSIVELY. The "Worst Horror Movie Ever Made" had a lot of money thrown in for effects. At the time of the remake, I became acquainted with Smooth On, a company that produces silicone. Until I learned about silicone, I had thought that foam rubber was the be-all end-all of prosthetic effects. It seemed like a real pain-in-the-ass, with many points of failure. Smooth On had representatives at the Chiller Theatre horror convention, and they showed me what I can do with the stuff. They even gave me samples. Imagine a company giving me $300 of merchanise just to try out. They also gave me an instructional DVD. Why am I telling you this? Because I think that you will enjoy the way I view things, ha ha. I experimented with the silicone and had amazing results. But I knew that I had to refine my skills before I make my own gore for horror movies. It then occured to me that I can learn to use silicone and have all my experiments end up in "The Worst Horror Movie" because the results didn't have to be ultra-amazing, ha ha, so I killed two birds with one stone. I bought $2,000 worth of silicone! Well, if I did the same things today I would have spent maybe only $600. But it was worth every penny, haha. Anyway, I do occasionally get mad when I hear ignorant comments from people who should know better. What I mean is, I had a screening party for Metalheads, and before the movie was shown, a douche bag who called himself a producer introduced himslef to me and asked if I would be interested in a zombie movie he was going to work on in 2009. I told him that we would talk after the screening because I wanted to be a good host to the people who came to support my movie. During the first 5 minutes, he came up to me and asked, "What was the budget for this? $8?" I turned to him and asked, "You said you were a producer, and you would ask a stupid question like that? Even if I shot the entire movie at a picnic table in a park, do you think that the 35 cast members worked for free, ate no food, incurred no travel expenses, or any other overhead?" The funny thing is that when I did actually talk to him about his movie plans, I found out that he never produced anything in his life, and that he was still trying to find a way to finance his movie, and the reason why he wanted to talk to be was so that I could help him get ideas for getting the money for his project. I told him, "You're asking the wrong guy. I only spend $8 on my movies."

What do you shoot on and how long does the average shoot take?

Currently I shoot on a Panasonic DV-100, which uses mini-DV tapes. If all goes well, I plan to get the Sony EX1, which is HD and sells for about $7,500 with all the lenses and cute accessories. As for duration of a shoot, it depends on the shoot. Lesser characters, or shoots that just use on location for one scene can be done in 1-5 hours. When I shot "Breaking Her Will" we shot from morning til night. The characters had to look mentally drained, so I kept the most jarring scenes for the later parts of the day. The added exhaustions really added to the performance. When I am making a serious movie I try to milk the day for all that it is worth. Most trained actors and actresses prefer to shoot longer hours because that means that we take fewer days.

Obviously, you’re not afraid to offend people. In fact, in Worst Horror Movie Ever Made, it’s as if you’re trying to offend everyone possible. In the world of micro-cinema, do you think this works to your advantage?

If I wanted to make lots of money then I would be making differerent movies. There are many indie directors who are making movies that seem to be demos for Hollywood. They do not use their freedom - instead, they just copy what they think will get them big. I revel in my freedom. I can't give you the beautiful movies that only the lush budgets of Hollywood can provide. But I can give you everthing that makes Hollywood shudder. I love pushing buttons. I did this ever since I was a kid. I don't think that I do it out of malice, although Freud said that jokes are an expression of aggression. I would rather interpret my button-pushing as being a true window into a person. If I personally watch something I do not like, I just simply stop watching it. But there are certain people who love being publicly outraged. If you think that "The Worst Horror Movie" was offensive, it will look like Disney compared to "Spooked" which is about four friends who are white supremacists. One of them dies and comes back black, and the other three have to tolerate him. I play that black guy. Yes, I have been told that I would get killed if I make that movie, but I have had black people come up to my booth at horror conventions to have me autograph "Spooked." 100% of the protests against me are by white people. It's ridiculous. I think that it has to do with conformity, and maybe their drama in public is just to get a pat on the back from other conformists. Conformity is actually essential to a population. When a group of people act as one cohesive unit, they become more poweful and success comes easier to that group. Those people will not enjoy any of my movies. They are great for our population, but not good to have as partners in stimulating conversation. They can't break from their programming. Maybe the real reason why they get so mad is because I force them to think, and these are people who need to have very easy answers to questions. My movies make you ASK questions. My movies do not give easy answers.

Nudity is a staple… not only that, it’s excessive nudity and there appears to be no lack of girls. How do you go about getting that many girls to get naked in your films? Not only that, how do you convince them to get in such compromising situations?

One of the things about "The Worst Horror Movie" that was so funny to me was the abundant nudity and the over-the-top things that some girls did when naked. I never talk people into doing things. I just present the script, and those who like what they read continue on to do the movie. Some people read the script and it doesn't resonate with them, but it's respectful. There was a girl who wanted to do one of the crazy scenes, but she is going to inherit a lot of money, and she believes that if she accepted one of the strange roles then her grandmother would disown her and she would not get the inheritance. I know it sounds silly, but it really happened. So I actually wrote a special part for her where she keeps her clothes on and doesn't do anything outlandish. Maybe when she gains her fortune she will come back and do the crazy stuff, ha ha. Anyway, the main point I am trying to make is that there are enough people out there who are amused by my ideas and who want to try those crazy roles. I don't ever have to do anything to convince actresses. They either like what they read or they don't.

Not only do you get naked girls, you got George Fisher from Cannibal Corpse to appear in Assmonster. How’d you get him?

I have many friends in the music scene because of my magazine "The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds" and because of my radio show, which currently is on 91.1 Fm Sunday nights from midnight-3am. If you are not in the NY area you can still hear an archive, or a live stream at www.wfmu.org - I am on the air as Professor Dum Dum, and I pretend to be a German scientist. But getting back to George, he is a really good guy and if he lived closer he would surely have a role as a main character. In my upcoming movie "Rap Sucks" there will be quite a lot of cameos from bands like Finntroll, Amon Amarth, and Turisas, among others. Rumor has it that Mayhem members may participate.

Talk about your writing/directing style… what are you like on set?

I wipe out a lot. I know that sounds strange, but if you were ever on set with me you would think that you are in a Three Stooges skit. In "The Worst Horror" I shot all the girls in the card scene on the same day. You can ask any of them how amazed they were by the amount of times I fell on my face, broke lights with my forehead, and otherwise wiped out so badly that you would think that I am a stuntman. When you see my upcoming re-make of "Dirtbags" I actually had the camera turned on while I fell off a bed and broke down a door. I don't know how I have not had my neck broken. Part of me thinks that I wipe out because there is always a beautiful woman present, but after studying cognition I have a more sutable answer. When I am directing, I am keeping mental track of dozens of things. I am not only directing, I am also the cinematographer, so not only do I need to make sure that the lines are correct and delivered correctly, I also need to make sure that the actors are in their proper positions. I have to keep track of any noise that would screw up the recording and make the editing unbearable.. Some psychologists look at attention similarly to computer processing power. If you are on a computer and you have a lot of programs running at the same time, each program suffers a loss in performance. I think that because I have so much to handle, my coordination suffers. In fact, sometimes I can't even string a sentence together, ha ha. I guess that you can sum up my directing as "very funny to witness."

Tell us about some of the hurdles you overcome to get your films done. Any advice you can pass on to other indie filmmakers who might be just setting out to make a film.

I think that the best advice is to just use what you have. The bigest hurdle for most people is that they have grandiose thinking. I made my first movie with a consumer camcorder. I didn't buy a real camera until my 7th flick, and even then it took me two years to buy a boom microphone. When I was making skits and jackass stunts, I edited VCR-to-VCR. What I am trying to point out is that I was never sitting down just wishing to start something. I was ALWAYS shooting, even when I had total crap for equipment. Even if no one else ever saw what I shot, the fact remains that I was PRACTICING my craft and getting better each time I shot something. If you wait until you get a budget, or if you wait until you get a better camera, then you can just wait for pigs to fly. If you don't have a camera, ask a friend to borrow one. Whether you edit with a computer or with two VCR's. the basic principles are the same. Now stop making excuses. It's in you or it's not.

Do you enter film festivals? If so, how do your films do? Talk about the festival circuit… is it something that every indie horror filmmaker should consider doing?

This is yet another accidental success. I heard about the Fantasia Film festival after I made "Assmonster." When I looked at their site I realized that I was too late to submit a movie. But I sent them Assmonster anyway, with a brief note letting them know that I will submit a movie eventually, and the Assmonster movie was just to let them know the kind of stuff that I do. A couple of weeks later I got a call from Mitch, and he told me that the movie was going to play! Doh! And because of that screening, a writer from Film Threat told the Hollywood Film Festival that the movie is highly recommended, and THEY played it too. Then various horror conventions started playing it too. And this is just from me saying "hello" ha ha. I haven't submitted anything since then to any other horror conventions, although I do remember that Fantasia people considered "The Worst Horror" to be something that would get them and me some bad press because of the abundant offensive material. I already have distribution for every movie that I make, so I don't need to be in a film festival. I am not really sure what a film fest can do for a director, but I did enjoy getting my movie to these events.

Tell us about the process of finding distribution. How do your films do and what insight could you pass on to other filmmakers who are looking for distribution?

I don't know if I can advise about finding distribution because I got contacted by a distributor, not the other way around. And they acquired a movie that was really just my practice movie, ha ha. over the years i actually have tested out some other companies, but I only gave them movies that I considered to be stinkers. I have made over 30 movies, so you can guess that not all of them were good. You have to understand that I don't just TALK about making a movie. When I get an idea, I immediately blast it out into a movie. Maybe that is not a good thing, but I am a man of action. So I signed over some of these movies to other companies, and I am glad that I discovered how bad those companies are because I will NEVER give them a good title. I would have been totally ripped off. As it stands, yes, I was ripped off, but those movies were dead to me anyway. If you find out that the Bill Zebub movie you are getting is distributed by MUSIC VIDEO DISTRIBUTORS, then you can feel good about buying it because that company has always been honorable. Everyone else I've come across is a rip off in some way.

Where can people find out more about you and your films and, better yet, buy copies?

I do not sell my own movies unless I am at a horror convention. It's out of respect for the people who carry my products. This way they will never fear that I will undercut them. And it is also because I am a movie maker, not a mail order person. you can find the latest news at billzebub.com. I think the easiest way to find a movie is just to Google it, but there are some stores that carry my titles (Ted's note: scroll down, we have some links to Amazon). Almost all of my titles are available at bestbuy.com, but if you want to get it at the store you will have to tell a clerk to order it for you from the site and you can pick it up at the store and they will NOT charge you shipping.

Talk about the indie horror genre. Where do you feel it is now and where do you see it going?

I feel funny talking about it because I mostly make comedies. Isn't it strange that I sell comedies at horror conventions? But I did notice that I hadn't shot a serious horror movie in a while. That is why I made "Breaking Her Will." I have a few more really intense sex-horrors coming out in the next few months. But I am a lone wolf. I am not part of a scene. I don't know about the horror genre. From what I have seen, it seems to be composed of people with very diverse tastes, so no matter who you are, someone out there will like your movies, or share your interests. I don't know where it is going because I don't look at things that way. I just live and do things out of personal will, not because of pressures or trends. But I have to say that I have purchased some movies about serial killers and am absolutely furious that they were completely sanitized of any kind of serial killer behavior. I bought those movies to see depictions of what Bundy and others DID TO VICTIMS, not to see dinnertime conversations. If I ever shot a movie about Ted Bundy, it would be graphic beyond all predictions. Of course, there is a limit to what bigger productions companies can show, but to take out all of the gore and depravity? I can't criticize the movie makers because I know how much work goes into making any kind of movie, but as a viewer I was sorely disappointed. When I made "Breaking her Will" it was a kind of opposite to those serial killer movies, in that I tried to make every moment as uncomfortable as possible. I hope I succeeded.

What’s next for you? Do you have any projects in the works?

I shot "Dirtbags" but I don't know if I am going to release that next. I have some horror titles still being juggled around. I am also doing a new master of "Rape is a Circle." When I shot that movie a few years ago, I made a lot of technical mistakes. I had only meant to shoot the movie as an experiment, and as such, I wanted it to look gritty and shot with a shakly documentary-style camera. To make it more gritty, I used existent lighting, which was a bad mistake. When movies look gritty, even lighting that looks bad has actually been set up that way. So my white balance was always off. The new version will have color correction, of course, but I will also use shots that were not used in the first movie. What i mean by that is that every single shot that you see in any of my movies has been shot at least twice. I shoot on digital tape so even if the performance is great there could be a gliche or digital artifact on the tape. So if you have seen the first version and liked it, you will probably drool over the new version because of the look and because of the new footage. I think that version will be out by April. I may call it "The Reaving of Isabelle" instead of listing it as a "Director's Cut." Maybe I should list it as the "Director's Improvement."

Ass Monster: The Making of a Horror Movie

The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made: The Re-Make

Metalheads: The Good, The Bad, The EVIL

Black Metal: The Norwegian Legacy

Jesus Christ Serial Rapist

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Making of a Tromadance Winner, by Frankie Frain Part III

I can only assume that you've been anxiously waiting for part III of the Frankie Frain article, "The Making of a Tromadance Winner", but if you weren't aware of the article... here's a link to part I and here's a link to part II. Now, today, you get the much anticipated part III. Actually, this is where the shit gets good and you'll get to hear about some lessons learned. There's only one more, final part coming next week, so stay tuned for that. Otherwise, I'd like to mention that Frankie's pimped up his site a bit, so go on over to INeedToLoseTenPounds.com and check it out. While you're doing that, you might as well head over to AboTheHumonkey.com and check out the site for his other film. Anyhow, here's part III...

...two years later, shooting sparsely on weekends, getting in trouble with the law and the local school system for the manner of our shoots, and almost losing our main actor half way through shooting (he got bored, decided the effort was pointless, and quit. Who was able to convince him to come back? Jon Hunt. As if the guy wasn’t already useful enough) we finished the film. It was a moment I had fantasized about for nearly five full years, and if I can be just slightly romantic for a moment, it was as relieving and incredible feeling as taking the world’s largest shit. The film’s final quality was almost less important than its mere completion. That crazy script with the locations and special effects had actually gotten shot by a group of teenagers, with few compromises and virtually no cash. How? There’s a big answer and a little answer.

Little answer: Again – we were too stupid to realize it was impossible. So we just did it.

Big answer: Let’s go into some methods and techniques we used and implemented to pull this off.

Know when to be honest and know when to lie.

This is important. I’ll give an example.

“So how long will you be shooting at my all-male bath house and buffet, and how many people will be here?” asks the location owner.

“We should be about 2 to 3 hours, and it will only be a cast and crew of about 7,” you reply truthfully.

“What’s this for?”

“The local high school video yearbook. It’s just a wholesome, fun little scene we’re shooting,” you lie through your fucking teeth. You don’t need to tell him the scene is about group masturbation and seafood.

Obviously you have to be honest about the way you’ll be exploiting their location, because he/she will be there keeping a steady eye on you. But if you start shooting the clean stuff first, or run boring rehearsals, they’ll eventually leave you alone and get back to alphabetizing the lubricants in the stock room. But if you describe any plot or characters or details that are just irrelevant to them, they may realize you’re the depraved ingrate you really are and call the whole thing off. I was once so close to having someone’s personal mansion as a location, but I gave too much of our vulgar plot away and she declined. So be smooth, very polite and articulate, and seem like no hassle to them at all. Remember, they have no incentive to let you do this other than personal kindness (or if your location scout is hot…but I was always the one doing it so that never worked well for me). And with that, never bullshit the owner with “your location will be featured in a real live movie!” because they just don’t give a shit.

Oh, and get your location release signed when you show up for shooting, before you even begin. That’s key.

Carry the burden. It is YOUR movie.

So none of this, “Come on guys, you committed to this! The film belongs to all of us!” because they’re not buying it, especially if it’s your first film. On my second feature, people knew I was going to finish the piece, but on Ten Pounds, for all they knew, I could get bored any day and just have a pile of useless, half-shot footage. For the most part, the only reason anyone would show up to your shoots (crew or cast) would be because it sounds cool or because they’re your friends and just want to be nice. So don’t be a dick to them!

Here was a common film school scenario I saw far too often: aspiring director recruits his/her cast and crew while totally playing hard-ass producer, making them come back for follow-up interviews and what not, and then when shooting time begins, all he/she wants to do is be the director. They don’t want to be the diplomat or the caterer or producer or anything but the guy or gal who plans out the shots. Well guess what douchebag – regardless of what capacity your crew has committed to, you’re making a no-budget independent film, so that means YOU take on EVERYTHING. The more you can allow these volunteers to just focus on that one little thing you need them for (like, gee, I don’t know, portraying your film’s characters, or golly willickers, holding the god damn boom mic), the happier they’ll be to return to each subsequent shoot. Don’t “hire” a “producer.” YOU are the producer.

So the lesson here – don’t throw it in their face that they committed to helping you. You’ll just make them regret it and they’ll never help you again.

But that said…

So how do you get make up designers and proper actors and people who aren’t just heavily bearded horror fans to help out every weekend? It goes against some of my philosophy, but you will have to find an incentive for them. Hopefully they just like your script! That’s the easiest way, and is going to be the most important factor any way you slice it. But the fact is, there’s a shitload of actors and designers who need resumé work, and guess what? They’d love a feature on their resumé. So see if you can find ways to include their work or talent in the movie a little more so their reel is that much larger – it will probably improve the film.

Next week, the final chapter... part IV.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dead Harvey TV/Lobsterface Screening

This will be a short post since I'm about to leave to do some drinking. I just wanted to remind all our readers that dead harvey is a site that represents the people. And that's why we're inviting you to our screening of dead harvey tv. The screening is free. It's not like those Hollywood movies that rip you off and charge you twelve bucks and make you watch garbage and twenty movies of shitty previews and fifteen minutes of pre-show non-entertainment.

With dead harvey, you get to be subjected to our garbage for free. Plus, there's going to be free beer. It's just our little way of giving back to the community. I guess, deep down underneath all the booze we're just really nice guys.

So come one, come all. Dead Harvey TV: Episode One will screen first, followed by Jonathan Ritter's, "The Lobsterface Chronicles" (it's a beauty, it's got a puppet in it). Further info is on the attached flyer. Hope to see you there!

Ted's note: Don't worry, we'll keep reminding you about this...

New Horror out on DVD this week, starting with Repo! The Genetic Opera.

The horror train keeps on rumbling down the tracks, as it is, yet again, another great week in horror. In fact, there's a couple of 'must sees' in here, including the first film, "Repo! The Genetic Opera". It's been talked about so much, it's WAY out there and let's give Darren Lynn Bousman a break and make this the cult classic that it deserves to be. There's more to this week than that, but you're going to have to read the rest of the post to hear more. Also, if you want to buy any of these, click on the title and buy them off Amazon, through us, and don't forget to head on over to our Youtube page and see all the trailers.

So, the wait is finally over, "Repo! The Genetic Opera" comes out on DVD and Blu Ray this week... Although the film has been completed for quite some time, this is really the first chance for the masses to check it out. It had an very limited theatrical run, starting on November 7th... and ending somewhere between the 8th and 9th. It opened on 7 screens total, split between the cities of Chicago, IL; Mobile, AL; Charlotte, NC; Kansas City, MO; Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and it brought in $3,250 per screen on its opening night. To support the release, Darren Lynn Bousman and the writers did a touring version of the film, where they would be on hand, talk before the film and then do an extensive Q&A session following the screening. Those were actually quite successful, were well received and they're going to do a few more of them. So, if they're coming to your town, it'll definitely be worth checking out. For more information on it, you can go to RepoRoadTour.com. Long and short, if you're a horror fan and don't know about Repo at this point, I'm shocked... it's a rock opera-musical from Darren Lynn Bousman about a guy who repossess organs when people can't pay for them. Bousman's one of the guys behind "Saw" and the film has a few notable actors in it, including: Bill Mosely, Paris Hilton and Paul Sorvino.

Speaking of Darren Lynn Bousman and the "Saw" franchise, "Saw V" also comes out this week and it, pretty much, just takes off from where the last one ended. I guess they write them now, knowing that they're doing another one next year and next year is no different, as they're already in production on "Saw VI". This one was directed by David Hackl, who was the production designer of Saws II, III and IV, and the second unit director on Saw III and IV.

"Boogeyman 3" is the third installment into the "Boogeyman" series, which started in 2005 with... "Boogeman". The original film was rated PG-13 and was produced by Sam Raimi's Ghosthouse Pictures, directed by Stephen T. Kay. "Boogeyman 2" went direct to DVD about a year ago and was directed by Jeff Betancourt. Now, "Boogeyman 3", directed by Gary Jones, comes out this week, straight to DVD.

"Amusement" was actually supposed to get a theatrical release and was slated to hit the theaters in January of 2008, but it got pushed back to April 25th, then to September 12th... then, once again, to December 26th. However, at that point, Warner Bros decided to fuck it all together and just release it direct to dvd this week. It continues the new rash of clown related horror films and was rated R for horror violence, terror and disturbing images. It's an anthology of seemingly unrelated stories tied together by a common thread from the past of three former schoolmates. It was directed by John Simpson and was written by Jake Wade Wall, who was the guy who wrote "When A Stranger Calls" and "The Hitcher". Getting pushed around that much, then eventually released straight to DVD never means anything good, but I'll give it a go and report back.

...and the sequel's continue. Well, in this case it's actually a prequel. "Vacancy 2: The First Cut" is the prequel to 2007's "Vacancy", which I really liked. If you didn't see it, it had Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale stopping at a seedy hotel where the low budget slasher film on TV wasn't fake, but was, in fact, filmed in the very room they're staying. "Vacancy 2: The First Cut" takes place years before the first film and, essentially, sets it all up. The motel owner already has a bunch of camera's set up to tape his guests sexual activities, which he sells... but sales are down. When a serial killer checks in and brutally rapes and kills a hooker, they subdue him, but quickly realize that turning him in would compromise their whole porn operation. So, what do they do? They decide to get into the snuff business. Makes sense to me...

"Cold Prey" is actually a Norweigian horror film, directed by Roar Uthaug. It came out in October of 2006 to great reviews and is being hailed as one of the best modern Norweigian horror movies ever made. The film, itself, was shot at the top of Jotunheimen and helicopters had to fly 20 tons of equipment to the top of the mountain, where temperatures were 25 below. The film took 2 years to shoot and another 9 months for special effects and post. However, it was all worth it, as the film grossed over $14Million in 2007, before it made it to North America. It was shown at Slamdance last year, along with the San Fran International Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival and various others, all to critical acclaim. It's won various awards and a lot of people are calling it the slasher flick of the year. So... if you're going to see one Norweigian horror film this year...

"War Metal Battle Master" is the infamous uncensored video from metal band Lair of the Minotaur. It includes the TV version, which was seen on MTV2 on Headbangers Ball, but it also contains behind the scenes footage and over 45 minutes of live footage that spans the bands career. If you're into metal, go check out the trailer on our Youtube page... it's filled with medieval gore, guts, nudity and general slaughter. If I was just at some party or something, I'd never even think to bring "War Metal Battle Master" up. However, knowing our readers, there's probably more than a few of you who are interested.