Thursday, February 25, 2010

B-Side Closes It's Doors - A Tribute To B-Side

When you're an indie filmmaker, just a struggling artist trying to get noticed and make your way in the industry, you tend to see the entertainment world from that perspective. You against all those gatekeepers. However, you need to remember that some of those gatekeepers are struggling, too. In fact, the whole industry is filled with people are struggling. From small studios, to distributors, to festivals and everything in between. The truth is, the power and influence in this industry is held by so few, while the overwhelming majority of people in the industry are longing to move up that industry ladder. With that, I'd like to mourn the passing of indie film distributor, B-Side, who just announced that they'll be shutting their doors on March 1st.

B-Side was founded in 2005 and just had their best year ever, in 2009. That's why it was such a surprise to see them close their doors. They were an indie distribution company, based on leveraging the audiences and the festivals. They powered a lot of the festivals websites and connected audiences and gathered feedback on films. They had over 220 film festival partners, including Sundance, AFI and Fantastic Fest. Their platform created direct connections to audiences and used on-demand technology. They were a full service distribution company and they even provided research and marketing services to filmmakers and other distributors. I watched them closely and, personally, thought that their model could represent a bright future for indie film. So, what happened?

Here's some snippets from their release on the webpage... "On behalf of the entire B-Side team, I (Chris Hyams - B-Side Founder & CEO) am sad to announce that after 5 years in business B-Side is closing its doors on March 1." "In the face of the lingering economic crisis and ongoing upheaval in the film business, our investors decided to stop funding the company. Under extreme time pressure, we were unable to secure alternate financing, and are left with no choice other than to shut down." "I am sad to have reached the end of this chapter, but am incredibly proud of what we've achieved. I am confident that our efforts will have a lasting impact on this business. I am also confident that the B-Side team will bring their expectations to new ventures that will pick up where B-Side is leaving off."

What's the lesson here? Well, I'd like to talk with Chris Hyams and see what he has to say, but... I'd say the lesson is, this is a tough business. It's a tough business to turn a profit in and it's a tough business to try something new in. Also, when you're dealing with smaller, indie companies, you need to remember that they're in the same boat as you. There's a fight going on here and it's not filmmakers versus distributors... it's the indie world versus the studio world and everyone in the indie world, from the filmmakers to the festivals to the distributors, need to help and support each other. Otherwise, we'll be seeing more companies like B-Side close their doors.

It's definitely sad to see them go and if you'd like to check out the B-Side site and read the full release, you can click HERE.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shutter Island wins the box office and a look at the upcoming week in horror DVD's.

As much as I heart James Cameron and talking about the huge success of "Avatar", I'm glad it no longer tops the box office every week... I was running out of things to say. This week, "Shutter Island" tops the box office with a gross of over $40Million, which gives both Scorsese and DiCaprio their best box office opening yet. The interesting story here is that the film was originally scheduled for release on October 2nd, 2009 and it was pushed back for a variety of alleged reasons... from Paramount not having the financing at the time to market a big awards pic to DiCaprio's unavailability to promote the film internationally. In the end, it worked out for them. The film has received generally positive reviews, but, having said that, very few people have the balls to give a negative review to Scorcese. I haven't seen it, but it is Scorcese and it's a noir suspense/horror. Seems like a perfect storm for me. Next week, more horror... the remake of "The Crazies" comes out. Now, let's look at the horror that's coming out on DVD this week and, as usual, you can check out the trailers on our Youtube Page by clicking HERE and/or you can click on the titles, where you'll be taken to their Amazon page, where you can read more about them and/or buy them.

Sometimes, I have no f'ing clue what's going through people's minds. How in God's name did "The Box" get green lit as a $30Million feature? It's based on the short story "Button, Button" by Richard Matheson from 1970 and was later adapted into an episode of "The Twilight Zone" and I think that's as far as this premise should have gone. The film is about a couple who receive a box from a mysterious man who offers them one million dollars if they press the button sealed within the dome on the top. If they do press it, someone they don't know will die. The film received mixed reviews and didn't really do that well. Apparently, they do keep the film intriguing and it's paced well, but the whole idea just seems so implausible, that I don't think it could carry a two hour film...

Personally, I think that "Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant" was completely mishandled. I haven't seen it, but right off the bat, I dismissed it. I saw the title, the cast, saw that it was PG-13 and that was it. Done... but here's the thing, they didn't market it properly. You see, I believe that horror geared towards a younger audience is a huge, growing and under served market. Done well, you're looking at "Harry Potter" or "Twilight". Done poorly, you're looking at "The Haunted Mansion" or, well... this. I didn't know that this film is actually an adaptation of the first three books of the series "The Saga of Darren Shan", which is a popular series geared towards young adults. The premise is great, too. It's about a teenager that's pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night. I think John C Reilly was a bit miscast here, as his presence would lead you to believe that you're getting "Talladega Nights" or "Step Brothers" type humor, which you're not. He's also a big presence, possibly overshadowing the lead. Also, the title doesn't do it justice... it sounds corny. Originally, I wasn't going to pay any attention to it, but now I actually want to check this out.

They're rereleasing "The Caretaker", an indie film that we covered quite some time ago. It's a great little flick and you can read our original post on it here.

"Sorority Row" is a remake of the 1983 slasher classic called "The House on Sorority Row". The film is from Summit Entertainment, who are proving that, lately, they're not too great at producing successful films that aren't called "Twilight". It's got a decent cast, including Carrie Fischer and Bruce's daughter, Rumer Willis, and it supplies everything that you'd want from a slasher flick, from hot girls, to suspense and gore. I haven't seen it, but obviously someone liked it, as they're in works on a sequel.

The Original "Blood For The Muse" came out almost a decade ago, but they're rereleasing it as "Blood For The Muse: The Omega Edition". The film is a great micro-budget horror from Terry West, shot in black & white. It's based on the cult comic about a guy who's driven to blood-soaked extremes for his Dark Muse. He believes that tragedy brought her to him and he becomes a serial killer, preying on call girls. Will his new girlfriend stop his gory rampage or will she become his last victim? You'll have to watch "Blood For The Muse" to find out...

If you're into schlock, they're rereleasing a pile of it. There's "Horror of the Blood Monsters"; "Mikels' Bloodbath Collection: Mark of the Astro-Zombies (2002) / Dimension In Fear (1998) / Female Slaves Revenge (1997) / Cauldron: Baptism of Blood (2004) (4-DVD)"; "Brides of Blood" and "The Alcove".

If you're into Blu-ray, you can now get the awesome "Dead Snow", the original George Romero classic "The Crazies", the new version of "Sorority Row", a personal favorite "Ichi the Killer" and Troma's latest classic, "Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead".

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dead Harvey Nation, I ask you... what do YOU think the future of indie horror distribution will look like?

I'd like to throw something out there to Dead Harvey Nation.

Indie and micro-budget film, especially indie horror, has been much talked about over the last year or so. Most of that talk is thanks to the success of "Paranormal Activity", but that success came in the middle of the worst financial crisis that our generation has ever seen and at a time when all the studios were struggling for revenue. I do think that the big boys are at a point right now where they're willing to look at the indie and micro-budget business model, Paramount's promise to open a micro-budget division is a prime example, but I still don't think they really get it. The problem, as I see it, is that when it comes to low-budget films, the distributors and studios are trying to cram a square peg into a round hole. The problem is, what does that square hole look like... and are they using lube?

The round hole is what Hollywood's been doing forever... sexual innuendo understood and on purpose. You see, to simplify... you make or acquire a film, you market it and then release it into the wild. Aim for theatrical first, then DVD. After that, see if you can't get some revenue from TV or cable or whatever and, after that, it's part of the library. Own content, manage its distribution, try to make as much money as you can at every turn, screw as many people as you can along the way. So, when they deal with indie content, they pick up the rights and throw it into their grinder, which usually means that they barely market it and just throw it out there on DVD. Is that wrong? If it is, why would they think it is? With their existing distribution channels, they can usually turn an easy profit on that, especially since they screwed the desperate filmmaker out of his rights and they paid next to nothing for the content. My point is, I think that a new distribution and monetization system needs to be set up for indie content. Sure, they're turning a profit, but they could be making so much more and they could really create a win-win situation for everybody. Long and short, we need to create that square hole.

Problem is, what's that square hole look like? If we look at the average consumer of indie and micro-budget horror, we can make a few easy assumptions. One - they're horror fans. That means that they probably watch old, new, high-budget and low-budget horror movies, they probably read horror websites and they probably pick up Fangoria or Rue Morgue. Two - they probably spend quite a bit of time online. When you're into a specific niche like indie horror, the web is the best place to find out about new things going on. They probably listen to specific podcasts, read specific blogs and watch online video. Those are the easy assumptions, now let's make some more difficult ones. Three - I'm betting that indie horror fans are more likely to play video games than your average Joe. There just seems to be a connection there. Four - they're probably aware of, follow or have been to horror festivals. Five - they're probably more apt to buy merchandise based on the films that they watch. What horror fan doesn't have a few genre posters, t-shirts or action figures? I could go on and get more in-depth, but let's leave it at that. Now that we have a basic idea of who the indie horror fan is, how do they consume their media?

Knowing all that, if I were given the opportunity to be involved in the distribution and monetization of indie horror content, to start... I would be heavily involved with the indie festivals - support them, sponsor them, attend them, sell at them. Eat them up, make the festivals your cornerstone. I would also have a huge online presence where fans could watch shorts, read about the films and filmmakers and interact with indie horror content. I would try to get deals with PS3 and XBox to distribute content. I would strike deals with and get involved with the fan mags. I would constantly leverage the films against each other and sell related merchandise. After I've thrown the film through that entire process and monetized it as best I could, then and ONLY then, would I throw it out there on DVD through traditional distribution channels.

So, here's my question... and, please, think outside the box. Aside from DVD, how would you consume your indie horror? What distribution channels are out there that we haven't thought about? Long and short, what do YOU think? Am I crazy to think that there's a new distribution model out there?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Interview with Gregory Caiafa, the writer and director of "Intruder"

I don't know if you've noticed or not, but we've changed things up a bit. Not much, really, just a slight change of focus. Way back when, when we first started out, we mainly discussed the industry from a macro perspective and were basically writing like a bunch of indie horror fan-boys - not very focused. Then, as we are aspiring and practicing filmmakers and screenwriters ourselves, we decided to focus more on the filmmakers and the indie horror filmmaking process - getting more focused. Now, we've decided that we really should be more like the "resource" that we claim to be. We should be for the indie horror filmmaker and we should ask the questions that you would ask and pass on the news that you want to know. We want to gather the information that you need to get an indie horror film from concept to completion as successfully as possible - a resource for indie filmmakers. So, you may have noticed that slight change in focus in our blog posts, as well as in the questions we ask in our interviews. We want to talk to indie festival directors, to distributors and to those who've made quality films that were successfully taken to market. "Intruder", from Gregory Caiafa, is one of those quality films and he gives us exactly the type of answers we're looking for.

"Intruder" is a slasher film and, for the most part, it follows the classic slasher film rules. Having said that, there are a few things he does that makes his film stand out... most importantly, the film has great characters and it's written extremely well. From the perspective of a fan, the film delivers everything that a slasher film should - a confined space, a psychotic killer, gore and hot girls. From the perspective of a filmmaker, Caiafa delivers a slick looking film that's a great example of what a low-budget slasher film can be. He takes time to develop the characters and the story, while hitting all the marks that the film needs to. We had the pleasure of discussing the film with him and he offers up a great interview, which is right in line with what we're looking for with our renewed focus...

Tell us about your film, “Intruder” and if you don’t mind us asking, what was the budget and how did you secure the financing?

“Intruder” was a “plan b” movie. I had written a tremendous script for a retro-slasher that would have required way more money than the paltry sum I had at the time, so I quickly wrote “Intruder” to exploit the momentum I had created for myself. The budget was in the extremely low five-figures, and was secured through various sources.

One of my favorite aspects of your film was the character of Lila Red. You did a great job of building her character over the course of the film. Did you have her in mind first or the premise in mind first? Maybe you can talk a bit about the writing process.

Lila Red was the spine of the movie. My intention was to create a dark portrait of a disturbed character wrapped in the shell of a slasher film. I’m most pleased with how that aspect landed. Often, the story itself fails to live up to its protagonist, but people tend to find it compelling nonetheless. It’s unconventional for this type of picture, and many fans may be annoyed by it, but it was a conscious choice I made to separate “Intruder” from the plethora of horror flicks released each year.

I also really liked the killer. Very simple, which, for me, made him seem more real. Talk about creating the killer.

The killer was a gimmick character. Killer Clowns tend to sell well on the retail market, so I stuck one in there. I don’t particularly enjoy that detail – though there are parts I like a great deal. The character itself was meant to exemplify the randomness of violence. It’s as disruptive and unfathomable as the afflictions that haunt the main character. He’s the external force of evil in a film where the real enemy is within. I have also found attempts at a back-story for the killer to be fairly pointless in other slasher flicks, so I didn’t bother with one. At the end of the day, the slasher archetype – with very few exceptions – is like a shark: a mindless, brutal force of nature.

You also did a great job in casting. It was well acted and well directed. Talk about casting and your directing style.

I placed an ad in Backstage East and conducted my readings out of a Knights of Columbus in Brooklyn. We read a couple of hundred people before settling on the dozen or so that populate the film. I’m mostly satisfied with my choices, though there is a key role that I feel was miscast. It was the kind of situation where I didn’t have a strong handle on a character and wound up casting someone who was terrible for a part, before replacing them with someone who was only kinda wrong for it.

Intruder represented a crude type of film school for me. My background at the time was in theory, and I felt the only way to get a handle on the craft was to dive right in. I feel I did more wrong than right directorially. Given my druthers I would have rehearsed the actors extensively and been a little more concerned with the feel of a scene as opposed to simply conveying information. My subsequent directing work has been far stronger as a result of the lessons learned throughout “Intruder”.

You had some great gore in the film, too. Which was your favorite effect and how was it done?

Special Effects-wise, my fave is probably the “eye gouge”. Overall, I put more of an emphasis on impact and aftermath than insertion. I think a cerebral approach often works because it forces the audience to fill in the blanks mentally, and it also demands more of you editorially, as you have to make the effect work in the cut. I concede that may be a tough sell for a generation weaned on the excesses of “Hostel” and the whole torture genre.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are your influences and what got you in to film?

My influences are pretty much everything made in the 1970’s. Lol. I’m drawn more to character-driven material. I couldn’t list all my favorite films on a single webpage! The Godfather Part II, The Godfather, Taxi Driver, M., The Exorcist; the list goes on and on and on…

Film school: yes or no?

I have a BA in Film Theory, and wouldn’t rule anything out in the future education-wise.

When you set out to make “Intruder”, what was the goal? Was it to make money, were you trying to open doors, get into festivals… and did you accomplish what you set out to do?

My professional objective with “Intruder” was pretty straightforward: create a low-budget slasher for the home video market that would get me a grip on the first rung of the film business ladder. To that extent I have succeeded. And I had no conceit coming in as far as criticism or the quality of the film goes. Rip it apart! As long as it gets its day in court, and as long as it isn’t personal. It’s important to note that, regardless of the relative strength or weakness of a piece, if you have some capacity as an artist the right people will recognize it. This helps you get that elusive grip on that slippery rung.

I’m pleased that many seem to enjoy the film, however I’m more encouraged when fellow filmmakers and fans who may dislike the movie take the time to give me kudos for what I did right. It’s part of the birthing process. You come out, make a bunch of bad movies, and then make a brilliant one that gets you famous (fingers crossed… tightly!).

Maybe you could talk a bit about your decision to make a slasher film and what you did to make yours stand out.

I made a slasher because it’s a niche market that never seems to go away. There have been dry spells here and there, but for the most part, the slasher flick has been a staple of the horror genre since the mid-1970’s. My thinking was that the film would enjoy a slightly longer shelf life if I made it in that milieu. On the downside, a niche market is just that: a small sample of the entire fan base. Your appeal is limited. And the audience can often be unforgiving. Many slasher fans have a ridiculously specific idea about what such a film should be and will excoriate anything that deviates from that paradigm. I went on Netflix and Adam Green’s “Hatchet” – arguably the best slasher film of the post-modern era – has an average of only 2.8 stars out of five. I mean seriously!

Talk about the process of finding distribution. If you could pass on one piece of advice to other indie filmmakers on distribution, what would that be?

As far as distribution is concerned, I sent out an extremely rough draft of the film to a bunch of companies, and got a few offers. More importantly though, I got feedback, which enabled me to make a few adjustments/ reshoots before resubmitting it to various sales agents and DVD companies. Most distributors are broke and it’s highly unlikely you’ll get anything resembling an advance, so what you’re looking for is someone with a track record of making profits from similar work. If they book and promote it well the film could turn over some green.

Honestly, though, my advice to other filmmakers would be to self-distribute. I’m extremely pleased that “Intruder” got into most major online retailers and rental services, however if you’re a newbie with no pedigree, even the “pay-to-play” companies are going to drag their asses when it comes to promoting and booking your film. At the end of the process you’re typically exhausted and just want to get it out there, but you’re going to wind up doing most of the leg work anyway, so you might as well hold onto a bigger piece of the wholesale pie. A credible producer advised me to self-distribute in the very beginning and I regret not heeding his words.

Talk about the indie horror scene, where do you think it is now and where do you see it going?

The indie horror scene is a quirky beast. It’s always a crapshoot. Films are cheaper to make now as technology has democratized the art form. But consequently the market is so glutted that it’s virtually impossible to make any kind of real money out of the gate. Financial considerations are paramount, as money equals momentum in the film biz. But the demand for films is down overall since the internet killed the video star. People are watching youtube and checking out films through pirate sites (shame!). As a result, the current generation has been primed for both short attention spans and free entertainment. Not good for the indie filmmaker. Not good at all. As far as artistic issues go, well, there will always be an audience for a truly scary film, and scary films can be made for any amount of money. “Paranormal Activity” made more than any one of the “Saw” films, and the movie’s budget was about half of what a typical Saw trap costs to pull off. Granted, that’s an anomaly, but it still demonstrates that fine work can be done with meager resources. If you add up all those factors, I think that as young filmmakers make more and more films and hone their craft vocationally, we’ll experience a new vogue of truly frightening independent horror movies in the years to come. It may be a vogue driven more by passion than profit; but that’s fine. If need be, I’d be perfectly happy selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, provided I could still make a movie a year and get it seen by other people.

Where can people find out more about “Intruder” or get their hands on a copy?

“Intruder” can be purchased through,, most Bakers and Taylor online retailers, and many Mom-n-Pop shops as well. It can also be rented through netflix. Here's a LINK to its Amazon page.

What’s next for you? A sequel? The film IS left open for one…

I don’t think I’ll be making a sequel. I wrote a treatment for one, and assembled a small production to make it happen. However, that was intended more as a device to keep the first film fresh. I was almost a year out from locking picture without a distributor and figured a packaged duo of films would sell better at the film markets. That plan got indefinitely postponed when I settled on the companies that put the film out on DVD and VOD.

The next step is to make another film. I have a script that’s ready to be lensed and anticipate getting the ball rolling now that “Intruder” has been put to bed. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Weekend Box Office, The Upcoming Week in Horror and our usual banter...

It was Valentine's Day yesterday and, well, fittingly, "Valentine's Day" ruled the box office. Really, it's about as far from 'our type' of film as you can get, but there are some interesting things to note about it. First up, how many of you checked out the trailer or one-sheet and thought, "what the fuck... how did they get so many major actors in that piece of shit?" Not only that, how did they keep the budget to under $50Million? Well, as for keeping the budget down, most worked on a discount and other took back-end deals. Why? Because they could shoot their scenes in just a few days and were able to head off to other projects without skipping a beat. Goes to show, keep things as simple and easy as possible for an actor and they'll compromise. Reviews sucked on it, but it did win the weekend. Speaking of badly reviewed films, "Wolfman" was a let down. Turns out that all the bad buzz was too much for it to handle and it came in third place, grossing just North of $30Million... not that great for a film that cost around $150Million to make. What IS interesting is to note that it ranks second all-time, just behind "The Twilight Saga: New Moon", for opening weekend grosses for werewolf movies. Then again, let's be honest, werewolves just don't sell that great. Third, fourth and fifth are the "Underworld" films. Then, in order, it's "Wolf", "Cursed", "An American Werewolf in Paris", "Teen Wolf", "Silver Bullet", "An American Werewolf in London", "Wolfen", "Teen Wolf Too", "The Company of Wolves", "Blood and Chocolate", "Bad Moon", "Skinwalkers", "Ginger Snaps II: Unleased" and, last on the list, at 19th, "Ginger Snaps". So, is it that there's just not a lot of good werewolf movies? Do people not like werewolf movies? Or do they just not make enough werewolf movies? Interesting topic... I'll ponder that. While I do that, let's get to the week in horror on DVD. As usual, you can head over to our Youtube Page by clicking HERE and see all the trailers. Also, you can click on the titles and be taken to their page on Amazon, where you can read more and/or buy them.

"She's Crushed" is an indie film, from Patrick Johnson, that screened at The ShockerFest International Film Festival and The Spooky Movie Film Festival. It's a "Fatal Attraction" type film, where Tara, Ray's one night stand, decides that she wants to keep Ray... and she's an f'ing psychopath. Done well, there's always a market for these films. Why? Because the characters and predicaments are very real... and horror that revolves around real and possible scenarios really are that much scarier. Trailer looks great, I can't wait to check this one out.

"Red Hook" revolves around college freshman Jenny Traylor, as she joins her Welcome Week scavenger hunt at her new college in New York. However, as she and her friends decipher the cryptic text message clues on their cell phones, it becomes terrifyingly clear that the stakes in this game are life and death. I haven't seen this, but let's just say the premise isn't blowing up my skirt. I think an easy change, like... her and her broke friends sign up to get paid to do an experiment at their college and it turns ugly... may have been better. Have you seen "The Killing Room"? There's a lot that can be done with that whole concept - definitely not exhausted. Anyhow, I won't pass judgement here, as I haven't seen it.

It looks like "13Teen" was originally called "For Sale by Owner"... however, there's ANOTHER horror film with that same name, one that stars Kris Kristofferson and Tom Skerrit. This is about a serial killer, who carves the number 13 into his victim's chests and is approaching the town of Emeryville. This, obviously, has the locals a little nervous. Sarah, one of those locals, MAY have just put herself into harms way after she may have let the killer into her house. The story here for filmmakers is to really, really, really think about your title. It's so much more important than you think. I couldn't find SHIT on this movie. "13Teen" doesn't search easy and there's a bigger budget film with the same name as "For Sale by Owner". You gotta be unique.

Speaking of unique titles, "Quiet Nights of Blood and Pain" is a micro-budget horror from Andrew Copp and it's about an vet from the war in Iraq who just can't stop killing. He's trained in the torture and killing of prisoners and even though he's back on US soil, he just can't stop doing his job. It's a tough subject to tackle on a micro-budget, but the trailer looks pretty damned good. Much like "She's Crushed", the premise is plausible, which can make it very effective, if done right.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic Fever... It's Where My Brain's At

I feel like it's been a while since I actually discussed indie horror. Well, I guess both my previous posts this week were on horror. I guess my brain is somewhere else, but it's with good reason. You see, you may or may not know, but Team Dead Harvey is split between L.A. and Vancouver. The Vancouver contingent being myself... the L.A. contingent being everyone else. Now, there's a pretty big event going on up here right now and it's got this whole city buzzing (in fact, they halted almost all the film and TV productions that are going on) and I'm going to be taking it all in... I'm sure you've heard of it, it's a little thing called the Winter Olympics. I actually had the opportunity to go to the final dress rehearsal for the opening ceremonies a couple days ago. The $50Million production will be broadcast to something like 2Billion people tonight, 6PM PST, if you're interested. While I sat there, in awe of the magnitude of the production, I was thinking about how video and multi-media has become so integrated into every form of entertainment. This show is really a spectacle, you should watch it tonight. It's all interconnected, really. Film has moved from simple moving pictures to three dimensional digital video with THX sound. Live performances have evolved from being actors projecting from a stage to actors interacting with digital video, three dimensional effects and Lord knows what... and regardless of the platform, they all try to do the same thing - entertain the audience. It's insane to see how all the media worlds converge now. In any case, I'll be thinking of that when I go to all these pavilions and houses, too. Apparently, I'll be privy to interactive, immersed digital technology at the Korea House, Imax footage of Russian sports at the Russia House, in-window augmented reality displays from Yahoo and the list goes on... I can't wait to check it all out. Anyhow, that's where I'm at right now. However, I did want to mention a couple things that I found in my inbox. You know, to keep with the actual theme of the site.

You want to see what I think the future of indie film will be like? Look no further than Babelgum's Shooting People. It's the largest network of indie filmmakers, boasting over 30,000, and they've just launched a curated channel featured on their online, iPhone and Android mobile application platforms. They also run an online film competition, showcase various films and help crew up indie shoots. Check out the Shooting People site by clicking HERE.

The other thing that I wanted to mention was Bill Zebub's new documentary, "Death Metal: Are We Watching You Die?". Bill Zebub is a legend in indie horror and it's no secret that he flips his time between indie horror and films on metal. God bless Bill Zebub. Anyhow, the street date for the doc is February 23, but some places are allowing for a pre-order. In this 2-Hour doc, you'll get to see legendary death metal bands such as Marduk, Mayhem and Cradle of Filth. Click HERE to see a clip on Youtube.

Have a great weekend and make sure you check out the Opening Ceremonies tonight!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Interview with Jeremiah Kipp, writer/director of "Contact"

Over the last few years, say... the last ten years, there's been a massive explosion of feature length, micro-budget films. The Dead Harvey crew were definitely caught up in the act, too, which resulted in such classics as "The Van", "The Blood Stained Bride", "Evil Ever After" and a few others. The idea that you could pick up a camera at Best Buy, edit on your home computer and pump out a film that's broadcast quality, ready to be distributed and to do it for next to nothing, got every indie filmmaker in the act. The result? A lot of films got made and a lot of filmmakers didn't make a lot of money. That boom did spawn this very site and a lot of great relationships, but very few big success stories. Now, as audiences and media consumption habits change, I think we're starting to see people get away from the micro-budget feature and concentrate on short form film... and I think it's a good decision.

Really, when you're an indie filmmaker and you've just made a film, what's your goal? First and foremost, find an audience. Then, you get into awards, accolades and using that film to make another film. Make something, then leverage that to make something else. Right? Short film is cheaper, easier and takes less time. Not only that, there's WAY more opportunities to get your film out there. Most festivals have a short form competitions, they're easy to get people to watch and, most importantly, there's the web. Trust me when I say, if you can upload a video and get millions of views, the right people will notice. Now, short form films go by a different set of rules. They're a different animal, all together. Lucky for you, there's lots of example out there to check out, including "Contact" from Jeremiah Kipp.

"Contact" is a festival short and a very good one at that. It's shot in glorious black and white and has next to no dialogue. Very tough to pull off for a short, near impossible for a feature... however, it's pulled off perfectly here and it instantly drags the viewer into the characters and the story. The film is both ambiguous and precise and is really a great example of how well short form can work, especially when using techniques that are rarely utilized. Not only do we talk with Jeremiah about "Contact", we offer up a link, so you can check it out for yourself...

First off, tell us a bit about your film, “Contact”

We follow the adventures of a young woman who scores an underground drug with her lover—and anyone who takes hallucinogens can tell you that while the entire world can transform into a strange and beautiful place, it can also careen down dark corners; the ground can fall out from under you. It all depends on the individual. What starts out as a sensual adventure for this woman starts to corrode, and her mind starts to go over the edge, leading into a wild night of gore, psychedelic madness and body horror…

If you don’t mind us asking, what was the budget and where did you secure the financing from?

The budget was miniscule—I believe it came to around $600. Most of the films I’ve worked on, including my own, have more money. But I am fortunate to be part of the east coast independent film community, where one good turn deserves another and we roll up our sleeves to help one another out. “Contact” had fantastic producers in Alan Rowe Kelly (director of “I’ll Bury You Tomorrow” and “The Blood Shed”), who was heavily involved in casting, location scouting and managing the set, and Bart Mastronardi (director of “Vindication”), who took great care of the crew and helped keep things running smooth. Their contributions eased the financial pressure of making “Contact”, but more important they were the backbone of this production. I can’t speak enough about the value of strong producers, especially on an ultra low budget picture.

What struck me most about the film was how you had next to no dialogue. I found that it almost forces you into the emotions and horror felt by the characters. Interesting choice… talk about making that decision

I’m not opposed to dialogue in films, but it can become a crutch. Some movies feel like they should be radio plays. My director of photography Dominick Sivilli and I want to make movies, returning to the idea of film as a visual medium. The plot, characters and dialogue were pared down to the essential and we told the story through the visuals. When you start that art of reduction, it puts the spectator into a state of anticipation; you find yourself drawn into the underlying tension of the movie because you are literally watching events unfold, and if it is constructed dramatically, you wonder what will happen next.

We see a middle aged couple setting a table, and yet there is a mood in the room as if a bomb will be dropped. They set a third plate, and we come to believe they are expecting someone, and then we cut to a young man and woman running through an abandoned, burned out building. These are pictures—the audience will interpret them and start making associations between these two sets of characters, wondering how they are connected. If we spelled out the situation with expository dialogue, you might not be suspended in this sense of wonder. What is happening here, why, and how will it all unfold? Why do I feel so tense, and will there be a release of that tension? These are cinematic questions—and how we see those actions gradually build is the essence of visual storytelling.

What did you shoot on and talk about the decision to shoot in black and white

Black and white is beautiful, don’t you think? It pulls us out of naturalistic reality, the way we perceive the world, and into something closer to our dreams. Our camera was the Panasonic HPX, but more important was the cinematographer Dominick Sivilli, who was a very close collaborator throughout the shoot. It was the best kind of creative exchange, where one couldn’t tell where my ideas ended and his began. It was great to be working with someone similarly passionate about the visual possibilities, using widescreen and timing out shots to maximize the best possible light and pushing the high contrast look, using the slow creeping dolly to maximize a sense of dread.

I really liked the fact that part of the story was sort of undefined… and I’m talking about the opening and closing. You don’t really establish who those people are or what’s going on with them, although you do get a pretty good idea. Was that ambiguity on purpose?

When you make a film as spare as “Contact”, the audience tends to project their own feelings onto the screen, their own associations. But I don’t feel like that works when the filmmaker tries to build from ideas that are abstract or ambiguous. It has to be very concrete and specific for the actors, so they know exactly what they want, who they are, where they came from—we were very exact in what we wanted these scenes to be about. The audience feels that electric charge; but they are free to make their own interpretations, which may be different than my own. Once you finish a film and screen it for people, the movie no longer belongs to you—it belongs to them.

Okay, tell us a bit about yourself. What are your influences and what got you into indie horror?

I grew up in the rural woodlands of Rhode Island on an isolated road, which may have had some contribution—I would often find myself playing alone in our dense yard, and something about the silence among the pine trees opened up possibilities in the imagination. I wound up assembling my friends and making zombie movies in the backyard and westerns around burnt out construction sites. The movies I remember best as a child were horror films, ranging from the Universal monster movies to the 1970s and 80s classics by Romero, Carpenter, Cronenberg, David Lynch. Indie horror seems like the place nowadays for cutting edge genre films, and there are some fantastic directors out there right now that I find hugely inspiring. Lately, I’ve been less interested in drawing inspiration from other movies, and more from responding to the immediacy of what is happening on the set, or from life.

Film school: Yes or No?

It depends on the filmmaker. I’ve seen great movies by directors who learned entirely by process of being on a great number of sets and gaining practical experience, while others such as myself needed the opportunities film schools present. I went to NYU, which was all about having you take to the streets with your camera and making as many films as possible. You learn just as much working with other directors and crews as you do making your own films, and one should never stop the learning process. I also think on every film, you should do at least one thing that scares you; take at least one major risk.

You were the 1st AD on “I Sell The Dead”, which was a great film. Talk about splitting time between bigger budget films like that and doing indie shorts. What do you learn from bigger budget films that you take over to the short films and vice versa?

Working on “I Sell the Dead” was a banner experience for me, since the production company Glass Eye Pix is an independent production company run by an innovative filmmaker Larry Fessenden. I’ve worked on a few pictures for them, and each time it yielded great rewards. But it has little to do with budget. While “I Sell the Dead” might be considered a bigger budget film, since it had massive sets including a twenty foot guillotine in the middle of a town square, hundreds of extras in period costumes, name actors like Dominic Monaghan and Ron Perlman, and even a scene set on a boat at sea, once all of the money was spent on these lavish trappings, we still had to struggle, just like any other movie, to get all of our shots done before the sun went down, to meet the rigorous demands of our tight production schedule. Fessenden, as executive producer, emerged from the low budget world, so he is brilliant at finding ways to cut economic corners while maintaining the production value of the movie. He gave director Glenn McQuaid a golden opportunity with “I Sell the Dead”. Watching Larry at work, his passion and integrity, his standards of excellence and his support for the crew was he greater lesson from that picture.

When you set out to make “Contact”, what was your goal? Was it to get accolades at festivals? Was it to open doors? Was it financial? And did you accomplish those goals?

Our goal was to make the best damn picture we could. If you go into making a movie thinking about how the festivals and critics are waiting to greet you and hug you, you’re entering the project for the wrong reasons. Once the movie is completed, we can use it as a calling card to generate more work for ourselves, submit to film festivals and critics, and give interviews such as this one are a way to get the word out. But the festival and press experience also yields rewards, because the film is reflected back at you, giving insights into the movie that you might not have recognized while you were making it. We feel incredibly proud of “Contact” and want people to see it.

If you could only give one piece of advice to a budding filmmaker, what would that be?

There is so much to learn about making movies, from keeping up with the latest technology to figuring out how to use the camera and speak with actors. Experience is a great teacher—so be humble when you begin, and absorb the knowledge of the actors and crew you have assembled. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, because you will learn from them. Stop talking about the movies you are going to make; we want to see deeds, not words. Spend a little time every morning writing your script; once that’s done figure out a way to make your film, even if you have to steal a camera.

Did you enter the film into any festivals and, if so, how did it do? Talk about the festival scene, is it something that every filmmaker should get involved with?

“Contact” was specifically made for the annual Sinister Six horror film festival, which was run every Halloween in downtown New York. It felt great watching the strong response from audiences. That encouraged us to start the process of circulating the movie among critics and along the festival circuit. We have received some interest, acceptance and enthusiasm already—though let’s wait for the festivals to announce their programming for 2010. As for festivals, it is a useful way to get the product out there, but the fees add up, so have a clear strategy about what fests might be the right fit for your little movie.

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

There are filmmakers whose work I enjoy, and there are others that I feel are hacks. It has always been that way, and I see no reason for it to not continue in the same fashion. We live in the digital age, which has made it a lot easier for people to pick up cameras and make movies—and it remains very easy to see the difference between someone with genuine passion and a story to tell versus someone who wants their ego stroked. I will say that the east coast independent horror community is enormously supportive. Many of us know each other and take an interest in each other’s work.

I think Graham Reznick (“I Can See You”), James Felix McKenney (“Automatons”), Ti West (“The Roost”) and Jim Mickle (“Mulberry Street”) all have something to say, and it’s been great to see them garnering the support of Larry Fessenden, who seems to have moved on from indie horror into bigger budget pictures. I wish Dante Tomaselli (“Satan’s Playground”), Douglas Buck (“Prologue”) up in Canada and west coast director Jim Van Bebber (“The Manson Family”) had an easier time getting their next picture off the ground, but it all comes down to dollars. I really want to see some of the films by Anthony Sumner out in Chicago. But yeah, this is a representative handful of the independent filmmakers who inspire me.

Where can people find out more about “Contact” and/or check it out?

We posted the film online at the IndieRoar Short Film Competition ( because it seems the Internet is a great way to get the word out to a mass audience, and enables the film to be seen and generate an immediate response, which has been positive and wonderfully diverse.

The film can be seen by clicking HERE

What’s next for you?

It’s imprudent to predict the future; I’ve had projects in gestation periods for years and then had surprises like “Contact”—where we only knew a month before our shooting dates what we were doing. Right now, I’m planning a segment in an anthology created by Bart Mastronardi based on the work of an American Gothic writer, as well as another anthology segment from a creature feature for executive producer Marv Blauvelt. I also have a feature length monster movie I would love to get off the ground, and it would be fantastic to work once again with my team from “Contact” as soon as possible. Let’s see what the future brings.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Weekend Box Office, "Wolfman" and the week in horror DVD's

A Superbowl-sized hangover that could make the biggest lush in New Orleans cringe kept me from writing my post yesterday, so here we are today... and I feel much better, thanks for asking. So, what happened at the box office? Well, not much... except for the fact that a rom-com dethroned Avatar's reign. I guess the theaters were filled with people that weren't watching the Superbowl? So, "Dear John" takes the top spot and, really, it's not a huge shocker, if you think about it. I mean, this was the eighth weekend of release for "Avatar", it wasn't going to sit at the top spot forever and it's not like it did bad... it came in second. Speaking of bad, "From Paris With Love" underwhelmed and could mark the end for Travolta. Then again, it's been a slippery slope for him, the end could've been a while ago. When was the last time he made a film that mattered? Other than that, the only thing of note is that "Sherlock Homes" broke $200Million Domestic over the weekend. It's really a good film and it hasn't gotten much press about it, due to "Avatar". Anyhow, "Wolfman" comes out this Friday and I'm interested to see how it does, for a few reasons. I'm guessing that they won't mess with the story too much... I mean, it's a remake of the 1941 classic and I've heard they're really sticking with that plot. It's got a great cast, Del Toro is perfect. However, how will audiences react? Vampires are sexy. Well, Hollywood's made them sexy these days. Taylor Lautner's depiction of Jacob Black in "Twilight", specifically in "Twilight: New Moon", has made werewolves kinda sexy, too. Now, that sex appeal is what attracts the female audience, as well as a younger audience. So, can Del Toro add a bit of sex appeal or are we going straight for the horror crowd? The film IS rated R for bloody horror violence and gore... so, it looks like they're going for the straight horror crowd and, if that's the case, will it deliver? So, let's get to the week in horror DVD releases. As usual, you can see all the trailers by clicking HERE to go to our Youtube Page and you can click on the films title and be taken to its Amazon page, where you can read more and/or buy it.

If you think there's no original ideas left or if you're wondering what a festival film looks like, look no further than Travis Betz's "Lo". It's about a guy named Justin and how his life changes forever when April, a bizarre and curiously naive woman, is mysteriously kidnapped by demons. Facing singing demons, talking hands, dancing bartenders and human sized rats, Justin's love is put to the ultimate test. I read about this film a while ago and have been anxious to check it out, I'll definitely report back. I love the originality and concept.

"9 Lives of Mara" is another festival film. It won at "Fright Night" and the "HP Lovecraft Film Festival" and it was an official selection at various others. It's about an amorous intruder, a witch, that's hellbent on becoming a young twelve year old's stepmother... which leads that twelve year old an inextricable path towards insanity and murder. Once again, I haven't seen it, but it did really well at the festivals and director Balaji K. Kumar got a lot of praise for his work. If you're gunning for the festivals, this and "Lo" should be on your 'must watch' list this week.

I'm not going to lie, I read about Flavor Flav's "Nite Tales", from Deon Taylor, but I didn't check it out. It was my understanding that it was a "Tales From The Crypt" type deal, hosted by Flavor Flav. Anyhow, Flavor Flav's "Nite Tales" is presenting "Dead Tone", which could be a bad omen... Once again, Taylor was a co-director here, so I guess they're just extending the Flavor Flav horror brand? I don't know, it seems like a bit of a stretch. If you can fill me in, please leave a post in the comments. The film is about prank calls gone bad and it's supposedly based on true stories.

After reading the title "Butchered" and checking out the premise, I thought to myself, "well, this is a bit tired, come on guys..." Typical slasher title and a typical slasher plot - a group of teens charter a boat to an isolated island where there's a convicted serial killer on the loose. HOWEVER, I watched the trailer and completely changed my mind and now I'm going to have to check this out. It looks really well done and quite gruesome. I just wish they reconsidered the title... maybe there's some plot twists in there, too. I'll report back on this one, as well.

For the horror history buffs, check out "Stephen Romano Presents Shock Festival", which is a 3 disc collection that includes over 7 hours of grindhouse audio and video footage. It's a collection of hundreds of previews, tv commercials and radio spots for the sleaziest, sexiest and most off-the-wall films ever made.

I can't say I know much about the Spanish TV show, "Gabriel", but it's supposedly a poignant love story of reincarnation, revenge, and redemption set against today's neo-Gothic underworld of vampirism and the occult. It was the winner of six Suncoast Emmy Awards and it's a 4 DVD set of the complete first season.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Economist Interviews Sony Pictures CEO, Michael Lynton, And What We Think About It

If you don't read it or check out their site every once in a while, I'm sure you're still aware of magazine called The Economist. I don't subscribe to it or anything, but I do peruse the site and download a podcast or two, every now and then. If you're interested in what The Economist is all about, it's a weekly news magazine that's done out of London. It's almost more like a newspaper, but it's got a glossy front, so I call that a magazine. They claim that it's "not a chronicle of economics". No, not even... The say they aim "to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress". Well, I'm not sure what that all means or if it's actually a complete sentence, but it hasn't kept me away from the content they produce. Now, what I really like about them is that every once in a while, they come up with something that ties all my worlds together. This interview with Michael Lynton, the current Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment is one such thing. It's about 15 minutes long and I've embedded it below, it's a great interview. Grab a coffee, sit back, and give it a watch. I have some thoughts on what he says below...

One of the most interesting things about this interview is how he looks at "Paranormal Activity" and low-budget films as 'phenomenon' and not a business model. I have to say, I both agree and disagree. Most certainly, "Paranormal Activity" was a phenomenon, and so was "Blair Witch", but there is a common thread between the two - they're low-budget horror. I guess studios can't see it, or maybe I'm just stupid, but I think horror lends itself so well to low-budget filmmaking, that an extremely well done low-budget horror film will always have the ability to break into the mainstream. Not only that, there's SO many low-budget horror films out there that are good, and COULD make a profit (but won't break through to the mainstream or move the needle for a company like Sony Pictures) that a small, niche company could consistently turn a profit by churning them out and then properly marketing and distributing them. That, my indie friends, IS a business model. It's just one that Sony wouldn't be interested in.

The other interesting point he makes is about piracy... There's obviously a dark side to piracy. More so, it's mostly a dark side, but there IS a good side that studios don't see. On one level, torrent sites are no different than a DVR. I download TV shows that I miss all the time. Hell, I'll download an entire season of something to get caught up. I don't see that as bad... why? Because people do that all the time, legally, with their DVR's and all I'm doing is getting caught up, so I can watch your programming at its regular time - and then you can show me your ads. It's called time-shifting and it's a problem that the networks and studios are going to have to deal with. I've also argued MANY times that the torrent sites and file sharing is GREAT for indie film. No one wants to distribute your film? Don't know how to get it out there and drum up interest? Well, put it out there for free. If it's good, people will spread the word, interest will build, then you'll be able to get screenings, distributors will come knocking and, all of a sudden, your film's a success. "Ink", which just came out, is a classic example of how that can work. Is it good for the studios? No, they have nothing to gain from it. Good for the indies? Absolutely...

Whatever side of the argument you're on, in the end, it's just always good to be up to date and understand how the studio system works. We all love our indie film and we're more than happy to toil away it, but... if the studio's came knocking, you know you'd answer the door. So, you better understand what makes them tick...

Have a great weekend, see you next week!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One Way To Make Sure Your Film Sucks

Screenwriting's been on my mind lately and it's not just because I'm right in the middle of writing a couple of things right now. Well, I'm waiting for feedback on one, right in the middle of writing another, but I digress... Screenwriting's been on my mind because I think that a lot of indie filmmakers don't actually give screenwriting the time it duly requires. If you're writing something to enter into a screenwriting contest or you're planning on trying to sell a script on spec, you better have written something that stands out. Right off the bat, what's the concept? Is it a new twist on an old topic? Is it new all together? Is it interesting? Will people care? Then, wrap a story around the concept... Are the characters interesting? Do they have motivation? What's the goal? What's driving them to that goal? You have to keep asking yourself these questions through every step and every stage. If it fails on any of them, rework it and fix it. If you can't rework it or fix it. Sorry, throw it out and start from scratch. Why? Because if you don't, it'll get thrown out anyhow. You won't win that contest. Your spec script won't sell. Now, you're nodding your head, thinking... yeah, I get it. I'm a screenwriter, I do all that. What's your point? Well, my point isn't necessarily for you. I'm talking to you indie filmmakers that write a script with intent to shoot it yourself. A lot of you guys tend to worry more about the filmmaking process than the screenwriting process and guess what happens when you negate that whole rigorous screenwriting process? Your films sucks.

I'm not going to tell you what makes a good story, how to write a script that will sell or what elements need to be in your screenplay. If I knew the answers to any of those questions, I'd have won a few contests, sold a few screenplays and I'd be drunk, writing this post from the patio of my home in the hills. I'm not there yet, but when I am... I'll be sure to go back and edit this post. Now, what I am telling you is that you need to go through the proper screenwriting process, even if you're making a micro-budget indie in your backyard for pocket change. I've seen way too many indie films where the killer is a cardboard cutout from a thousand other indie films or the characters are dull and lack any originality, there's no twists or turns, there's no sense of why things are even happening or it's just a rehash of some other film. Look, I understand that filmmaking itself is a bitch. Personally, I find it WAY more arduous than the writing process. That's goes without mentioning having to come up with make-up, effects, props and sets... then there's the editing process, which, for the record, I actually really enjoy. My point is, they're all difficult. They all take time. However, all that hard work in post and on set will be lost if you just fluff over your script. You need to write a good script. Otherwise, regardless of how talented you are in the actual filmmaking process, your film is going to blow. So, please, please, please... for the sake of indie horror, really drag yourself over the coals when it comes to the screenwriting process. You need to have that foundation if your film is going to do anything.

Now, the best part about the world we live in today is that information is everywhere. Bless this internet thing... That's not to take away from books, I have lots of books on screenwriting and there's a few that I would definitely recommend: "The Screenwriter's Workbook" by Syd Field and "Screenwriting: The Art, Craft, and Business of Film and Television Writing" by Richard Walter both come to mind as 'must reads'. I just dug up "How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make" by Denny Martin Flinn and, I've gotta say, it's pretty good. However, that's not my point. My point is, even if you don't want to buy books, there's lots of websites and podcasts that you can listen to that are free. My favorite website is "The Business of Show Institute", sign up for their newsletter and you'll get lots of free advice and all that. Also, even though it hasn't been updated in over a year, there's a podcast called "Sam and Jim Go To Hollywood" and there's lots of good stuff in there.

I know there's lots of information out there and I'm always looking for new sites, books, podcasts, etc... so, if you know of any on the art of screenwriting, please post a comment. Now, gotta get back to writing...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Upcoming Horror Releases, The Box Office and the Week in DVD's

At this point, let's just look past "Avatar". It's the same old story at the box office again, as "Avatar" won the weekend... for the seventh weekend in a row. Looking forward, I'm trying to think what will knock it out of first place... Nothing next weekend, "Dear John" and "From Paris with Love"? Really, Lionsgate and John Travolta? Really? The next Scorcese / DiCaprio project comes out on Feb 19th, "Shutter Island", which could be a contender. I'm excited for "The Crazies" on Feb 26th, but that's not going to be a blockbuster. The next monster hit may be "Alice In Wonderland", from Disney, starring Johnny Depp. Long and short, "Avatar" is just going to keep ringing it up for a few weeks, anyhow. Horror's well represented over the next few weeks, as well. "Frozen", from "Hatchet" director, Adam Green, gets a limited release next week; "The Wolfman" finally comes out the week after that and then "The Crazies", the remake of the George Romero classic, comes out on Feb 26th. So, that's what's up at the box office. As for what's coming out on DVD this week, let's take a look. As usual, you can go to our Youtube Page and check out all the trailers and/or you can click on the titles and be taken to their Amazon page, where you can read more about them and/or buy them...

"Zombieland" comes out on Blu-ray and DVD this week and, I'll just say it... I liked it. I'm not the only one, either - it won awards. It won the critics choice for best comedy at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and the audience award at Sitges. It's horror/comedy at it's best and Woody is classic. From a filmmaking perspective, it's funny to note that the project was originally pitched as a TV series and the film is actually just the first three episodes, reworked. The brains behind "Zombieland" are Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and they broke into Hollywood by coming up with the idea for, and creating, "The Joe Schmo Show". "Zombieland" is their first feature and now they're tapped to do "Earth vs. Moon", "Zombieland 2" and the untitled G.I. Joe Sequel. Great success story...

I'm not going to lie to you, I don't know much about the short-lived TV series, "She-Wolf of London", but you can now get the whole series on DVD. It was distributed in first-run syndication in the US from October 1990 to April of 1991. The first 14 episodes were filmed in England and the second season, which was filmed in L.A., only lasted 6 episodes. Never seen it, don't know anything about it.

In anticipation of the updated Wolf Man, Universal is rereleasing the 1941 version, "The Wolf Man (Special Edition)", which is a classic... with Lon Chaney Jr, Bela Lugosi and the whole crew. It's one of those films that you should just see for the sake of seeing. The big thing of note is that this is the film that introduced the idea of werewolves being vulnerable to silver. Who knew, huh?

Alright you Debbie Rochon fans, get your box of Kleenex and hand lotion ready, as "The Good Sisters" is finally coming out. Hey, that's not to take away from Debbie, we love her. She's a great actress, has done a lot to push indie horror forward and she's one of the top scream queens in the biz. Always, always, always support Debbie Rochon. Bless her heart...

Last one up this week is "Sensored", directed by Ryan Todd and written by Kevin Haskin. It's about a children's book illustrator who inhabits a twilight world of shifting reality and illusion, where cruelty and rampant evil do battle with his better instincts and sanity is a question of perception. Nice rhyme... question of perception. I like that. Best part about this film? That evil children's book illustrator is played by Robert Picardo, the guy who played Richard Woolsey in "Stargate" and, of course, The Doctor in "Star Trek: Voyager".

That's it for this week. If you've seen any of these flicks, feel free to post comments on them!