Monday, June 30, 2008

July 1, 2008 - New horror on DVD today... attack of the puppets!

There's only 6 horror films coming out this week, but it's not about quantity. This week it's about quality... and by that, I mean quality puppets. Absolutely loving the whole "Puppet Master" series, "Child's Play" and even "Dollman", there's always been a soft spot in my heart for killer puppets. This week, there's two killer puppet films out... and that alone makes this a good week for horror.

From the genius mind behind the "Leprechaun" series, comes "Triloquist"... about a killer ventriliquist doll... I think, anyhow. The original poster is a big puppet holding a bloody knife, so they certainly insinuate that it's about a killer puppet. Regardless, the plot is about a down and out ventriloquist with a creepy looking dummy (see poster), who kills herself via drug overdose as her two young children watch. It was written and directed by Mark Jones, who wrote all the "Leprechaun" movies, as well as directed "Rumpelstiltskin". It's distributed through Dimension Extreme... and, although the plot description doesn't mention killer puppets, it must have killer puppets.

"Puppet Show"comes from Monsters of Extinction, which I think is a props, make up and special effects house. It's only 65 minutes long and I can't find out that much about it, but... it's got nudity, gore, creative kills and a live action puppet. So, I'm positive that there's a killer puppet in this one. Further, check out the plot: "Ringmaster Rick rose to success with his children s show, Circus Town, by making a deal with a demon to bring his marionette, Charlie Chowderhead, to life! As tends to happen when people make a deal with an evil specter, Rick mysteriously turns up dead. The doll gets passed down to his granddaughter, Casey, who has no idea the doll is alive, let alone a killer." Killer puppet! Sold!

I don't usually cover collections, as they're usually rereleases or just an attempt to clear out some old DVD's from the warehouse, but I'm going to mention "The Zombie Apocalypse Collection" because it features "Scream Farm", which comes from friend of Dead Harvey, Jim O'Rear. Here's a link to a post we did on "Scream Farm" a few months ago... the other films in the set are "In The Event of a Zombie Attack", "Ghouls Gone Wild", "White Zombie" and "Brains w/ The Living Dead Girlz". To be honest, I haven't heard of those other films, so they may be previously unreleased. Either way, with over 4hrs of the undead in this collection, you can't go wrong.

"Dead and Gone" comes from first time director Yossi Sasson and it was written by Harry Shannon, who's a first time writer. It comes from Lionsgate and it's got Kyle Gass from Tenacious D, Zack Ward from Titus (who seems to be popping up in a lot of low-budget horrors lately), Chris Bruno from Dead Zone and scream queen Felissa Rose in it. The plot summary is a little long winded, so I'll try to summarize it... Guy takes comatose wife to a cabin where a man murdered his whole family, the guy turns into a bit of a freak and he starts to imagine that his wife is up and moving around, as well as being rude and taunting him, so he decides to kill her... and then, she won't die.

"Summer of the Massacre" is a British film from first time director Bryn Hammond, who also produced and wrote the script. It looks as though it was based on a novel, even though it's supposedly based on true events. So...? Is it real or not? It's about four teenagers who take a shortcut across the countryside on their way home from college. They arrive in an obscure town named Blackwood where they are terrorized by notorious serial killer, Hammerhead, who hunts humans and devours flesh... his favored tool of death is, of course, a large hammer.

"Unborn Sins" comes from Grey Ghost Film and was previously released with the "Tomb of Terrors" 50-Pack of films. It was written, directed and produced by Elliott Eddie... and I have to say, the plot seems very "Basket Case"-esque, which is awesome, of course. It's about a soon-to-not-be-pregnant woman who becomes the target of an assassin more terrifying than she could ever imagine... the very child she aborts! A demonic spell gives flesh and blood to a twisted, murderous version on the child she once carried. Basket not included...

Horror Film Fest Updates... Zompire & TIFF: Midnight Madness

I used to call this Film Fest Friday, but I'm just going to call it Film Fest Updates from now on... mainly due to the fact that I never post it on Fridays anymore. So, here's a few updates from the world of Horror Film Festivals. One of them is one of the biggest horror festivals of the year, the other is a little more 'niche'.

Zompire: The Undead Film Festival - We just missed Zompire, as it was in May. However, they've already announced their 2009 dates, May 15, 16 & 17. It takes place in Portland, Oregon in The Hollywood Theatre and it's run by the same guy, Andrew Miguore, who does the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. It's dedicated to all things undead, namely zombies and vampires... thus Zompire. They highlight various filmmakers creative attempts to show the undead in new and unexpected ways. All film entries must be submitted online using Here's a link to the submissions page on their site.

Toronto International Film Festival: Midnight Madness - This festival is actually coming up here pretty soon, it's Sept 4-13. Generally, it begins the Thursday night after Labour Day, which is the first Monday in September in Canada. It lasts for 10 days and hundreds of films are screened. It's a launch pad for lots of Oscar-type films and that's why it has notoriety. However, they do have the Midnight Madness program, which "highlights the weird and the wonderful, including thrillers, chillers and rockumentaries from directors who prefer to work in genres not usually seen in a festival context." They're not showing the full film list until July 23, but you should be able to go here after then... Last years Midnight Madness had "Diary of the Dead", "Mother of Tears" and "Stuck", to name a few...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Distributing your indie-horror film part II

We were talking about distributors a while ago... actually, almost 2 months ago now. I had promised that I'd keep doing a post every week until we had all of them in here and, well... this is the second post. So, sorry, too much other cool stuff going on, excuse me all to hell. Anyhow, further to what I was saying last time... I definitely feel that your first move after finishing your film is to push the festivals as hard as you can, that way you hope the distributors approach you, and with a few awards, you'll get a better deal. However, if that's not an option, you can contact them and send them screeners. Now, if a distributor is interested in your film, always read the fine print on a contract, weigh your options and think about any decision you make. I would also like to mention that if anyone wants to share any stories about dealing with distributors, good or bad, please send me an email. Really, we're a community here and we need to look out for each other. There's a lot of sharks out there and they prey on indie filmmakers, especially the ones that dress like seals. With that, let's look at five more distributors...

TLA releasing - From their site: "Launched in 2001 by TLA Entertainment Group in Philadelphia, TLA Releasing is dedicated to broadening the choices available to film lovers by specializing in quality independent, international and gay/lesbian-themed films by distributing them in theaters and on home video." I will say this about TLA, they do have a horror category that they call "Danger After Dark" and they are actively looking for new aquisitions. Recently, they've released such titles as "Meatball Machine", "Hell's Ground" and "Storm".

Tempe Entertainment - From their site: "TEMPE VIDEO was first spawned as a mail-order distributor in the summer of 1991 as an offshoot of producer/director J.R. Bookwalter's The Suburban Tempe Company (later Tempe Entertainment). Their first release, BASIC HOW-TO HALLOWEEN MAKEUPS VOLUME ONE, paved the way for many more VHS releases to come and spawned an offshoot label, Video Outlaw, in 1994. Tempe Video took a hiatus in 1996 during a move to Los Angeles, California but was resurrected for the digital age as Tempe DVD in 2001." So, these guys specialize in low-budget horror, but are trying to branch out. If you want to submit your film for consideration, go to their FAQ page, the instructions are all there. Recently, they've released such titles as "Bonejacks Splatter Platters", "Teenape Goes to Camp" and "The Bonesetter".

Indican Pictures - From their site: "Indican Pictures was opened to better serve the public by filling the void left by the studio acquisitions of Miramax, New Line, Good Machine, October, etc. We are a distributor of quality independent films with an American flair. Our objective from the start has been to establish a reputation as a "quality" company. We have achieved that goal and now look to take our commitment of very high quality products into the home video market. The Indican brand stands for a "quality and trusted" label." Looking through their site, nothing on their site says that they're actively looking for new films, but you can always contact them and give it a go. Recently, they've released such titles as "Black Wine", "Dead in the Water" and "Pariah". To be honest, they don't do a ton of horror, but maybe your film fits with what they're doing.

Anthem Pictures - From their website: "Anthem continues to grow as one of the leading independent film and DVD distribution companies. With over 100 films and television shows, Anthem is the little company that functions like a "micro" studio. With over 6 1/2 years in the marketplace and production industry, Anthem's recognition and brand have grown into a well known name worldwide." One thing that I love is that they have four options to get their titles; DVD, VOD, Burn-On-Demand and Mobile. However, for the life of me, I can't figure out how those options work... Maybe they're new and if so, cool. If I just can't figure it out, please email me and tell me how it works. Either way, with options like that, they could be ones to watch. Recently, they've released such titles as "Dead Moon Rising", "Sex Machine" and "Bloodshed". If you go to the "contacts" page, you can get the email addresses of everyone, so... shoot an email their way and get your film over there.

Dimension Extreme - From their website: "DIMENSION EXTREME is home to the most intense, edgy and provocative programming that will continually push the envelope. Horror films, thrillers, sci-fi adventures, and bawdy, outrageous comedies are a few of the genres that will drive DIMENSION EXTREME." The are, of course, owned by The Weinstein Company and generally just pick up festival movies or big foreign films for North American release, so... I wouldn't go soliciting them, but they're worth mentioning because they come out with a lot of good films and they've really pushed the genre forward. Recently, they've released such titles as "Inside", "Diary of the Dead" and "Teeth".

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gay Zombie, Mr. Video and other horror shorts.... and why you should be making films like them.

We've received a pile of horror shorts for review lately (which we love, thanks!) and the bulk of them are absolutely amazing. As the industry progresses, I think we're going to see a bigger demand for short films in the near future, as there's a lot they have going for them. First off, from the filmmaker's perspective, shorts take less time to make, they're easier to put together and they're also easier to get into festivals and, therefore, win awards and build up your resume. Now, from the viewers perspective, our rotted MTV/Youtube minds can only process so much and we all have A.D.D. So, the short film is easily consumed and doesn't waste much of that valuable time. Further to all that, there are more and more ways to distribute your short film now, especially if all you're looking for is an audience and some recognition. So, if I've convinced you to go out and make a horror short and you want to know what to do now, let's take a look at what Alex Masterson did with "Mr. Video".

Alex Masterson's local video store was closing down due to having to compete with DVD piracy and internet downloading, so he decided to do something about it... well, in a round about way. It motivated him to go out and make the award winning horror short, "Mr. Video", which screened at 15 festivals and won Best Short Film at HauntCon Film Fest, 2nd Place at the 2007 Silver Screams Film Festival and received an Honorable Mention at the 2008 Indie Short Film Festival... It was shot on a Sony 300 XDCAM over a five-day-night shoot and was done on a micro-budget. I spoke with Masterson about the film, asking him why, with the cost of making indie movies so low, he set out to make a short instead of a feature, to which he replied that he "intentionally wanted to make a fifteen minute short film as a prelude to one day directing a feature film, which is roughly six or seven more fifteen minute segments... (and that) to go out and shoot a feature without making at least a few shorts first is kind of stupid, not to mention disrespectful to the art of directing." As for how the film turned out? It's violent without being gory, an artistic decision that Masterson opted for. It's well acted, having found his actors through a combination of auditioning, recommendations and actors he's worked with before and, lastly, having seen it, I can tell you it's a sharp, well put together film that's entertaining, has a point, makes it and delivers on all fronts. The film will be included in an upcoming AAAAAH! Indie Horror Hits DVD (A company that we've covered many times, which splits profits with filmmakers) and Masterson has just finished shooting a short two minute horror film which he wrote and directed, called "Log 159". He's also recently finished writing a low-budget British feature film script, which he hopes to direct in the next couple of years...

Having seen lots of shorts, I can say that some are stand alone films, some are more like trailers and some are used as teasers to gain interest in developing that particular idea into a feature. However, festivals will take all of them, depending on the festival, I guess. Either way, I'm going to slowly get through reviewing and talking about all the shorts we've seen over the next few weeks, but I'm going to start with these next three. Brad reviewed them, so take it away Brad...

"Gay Zombie", written and directed by Michael Simon: Talk about a title that will grab your attention... This is a short flick about a zombie who 'comes out' and struggles to fit in with the human world while he pursues real love. 'Gay Zombie' is a lighthearted, humorous movie which features a clever opening where a shrink tells the main zombie that he must learn how to deal with the fact that he's gay. 'Gay Zombie' has impressively been the official selection of over 60 festivals worldwide. For more info, check out

"Lily", written and directed by Daniel Boneville: Man, is this flick f'ed up. But in a really artistic way. The screener contains the following quote from Oliver Stone, 'In a boldly surreal film, Daniel Boneville confidently directs the actors, the camera, and the story, while showing his potential as a fine, young director.' Agreed. It definitely will stick around in your mind for awhile after you watch it. However, I must admit that I had no idea what was going on after the first five minutes, which leads me to add the following disclaimer: Dead Harvey recommends not to do hard drugs and watch this flick, for reasons not necessary to explain. For more info, you can check out Boneville's website at:

"Creepers", written and directed by Nick Thiel: 'Creepers' is a spin on what I call the 'two people, one room' movie. In other words, a movie where most of the flick revolves around a few central characters and a few simple locations, which is actually a very good way to make a low-budget movie. In, 'Creepers' the s hits the fan and the end of the world begins. Zombies run around slaying everyone in sight, as a man and woman hole up in an apartment and try and wait things out... all the while, they become paranoid and don't know who to trust. For more info, check out the, 'Creepers' myspace site at:

Like I said, there's more to get through and I'll posting something on them soon...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Linkapalooza - June 24, 2008 - Disney's giving its movies away, Clive Barker can't get his movie out there... and other news.

There continues to be some newsworthy things going on out there in the world of entertainment. So much so, that I'm saving a few articles for next week...

Watch Disney Movies Free Online Series Of Ad Supported Films on the Web - from WebTVWire: Remember how I mentioned a little while ago that I always keep a bit of an eye on what Sony's up to because they're a 'game changer'? Well, Disney is another company that I watch closely and would also consider to be a 'game changer'. Way back in the day, when studios were worried about this new invention called 'television', Disney embraced it and created it's TV program, which made it the first studio to show its recent films on television. The studios later fought VHS and Disney, once again, embraced it... finding new audiences for its older films. When studios were thinking box office, Disney was thinking branding and licensing. Long and short, they've always been ahead of the game. So, when everyone's bitching about online distribution, guess who the first studio to releases its movies for free online is? That's right, Disney...

Dark Knight Director Shuns Digital Effects for the Real Thing - from Big long article/interview with Chris Nolan, director of the upcoming "The Dark Knight", and how he opted for real stunts as opposed to CGI effects. If you're as stoked about "The Dark Knight" as I am, it's a good read. Also, I gotta say, ever since I saw those shitty CGI vampires in "I Am Legend", I've adopted a very anti-computer generated effects stance... so, you go Chris. Dead Harvey's got your back, buddy.

Horror Fans Angered After Learning Lionsgate's 'Midnight Meat Train' Is Now A DVD-Express - from Defamer: This whole story just won't go away... So, a quick recap on what's going on with "Midnight Meat Train": A major theatrical release turns into DVD release. Title is changed to "Midnight Train" from "Midnight Meat Train", is going to be given its theatrical release again. "Meat" returns to title, theatrical release becomes limited theatrical run... 'Barkerites' angered, demand wide release. So, what's next? Personally, I don't care. Here's what f'ing pisses me off - the film is done and I want to see it, period. So, if you're an indie horror filmmaker and you think the whole distribution side of the business sucks ass, what do you think Clive Barker and Ryuhei Kitamura think? Unbelievable...

Netflix boxes sell out - from Mercury News: I talk a lot about bridging the gap between the internet and your TV and how no one seems to be able to put a decent product forward... well, maybe Netflix has done it. First off, the price is right - $100 is cheap enough to where people will give it a go and it's simple and marketable. They're tapping an existing market, their own customers, and it, technically, is a win/win situation. Netflix doesn't have to pay for postage, packaging and things like that and the movies are available instantaneously for consumers. Now, here's the test... how many NEW subscribers will they get AND will they be able to tap into other content. That's what you need to watch for... if either of those things start to happen, we may have a winner on our hands here... and if we have a winner, we have a new way to distribute indie films.

Monday, June 23, 2008

June 23, 2008 - New Horror out on DVD - Fear the Gingerdead Man and the Passion of the Crust

Well, I'm back from my whirlwind tour of Southern California and I'm back, sitting here at Dead Harvey headquarters. I guess it's good to be back... kind of. I had a great time, met up with Dead Harvey collaborator, Brad Paulson, plus a whole slew of other indie horror guys and we all drank a lot of beer. I'll be writing posts about our exlpoits over the next few days... or maybe weeks. I don't know, I'm backlogged. Anyhow, I'm going to get back in the swing of things with this weeks new horror releases... and I'd like to give more attention to it all, but this post is going to be quick, as I'm exhausted, still hung over and I need my couch... bad.

The orginal "Gingerdead Man", which is loosely, kind of, sort of a bit of a classic, starred Gary Busey and was written and directed by Charles Band, who was the guy who created Full Moon Pictures and was behind all the "Puppet Master" films. New this week is "Gingerdead Man 2", which does not star Gary Busey and was not directed by Charles Band. However, it's got a great title... and hilarious cover art. "Crust" is directed by Silvia St. Croix, who has no other credits to her name and it stars Michelle Bauer, a former porn star and bondage model. So, I'm expecting good things. Anyhow, "Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust" is about a "horrifying yet delicious and chewy Gingerdead Man" that goes nuts on the set of a low-budget movie set.

Not know exactly how much they can party, Dead Harvey would still, officially, like to welcome Pakistan to the party. "Hell's Ground", which was originally called "Zibahkhana", is Pakistan's first ever horror film and, apparently, it's not that bad. In fact, it won best gore at the Austin Fantastic Fest and it's getting decent reviews. It's about a group of teens whose van runs out of gas... then zombies and a "decapitated head-toting screaming banshee-like hitch-hiker" begin to terrorize them... and you'd think that would be enough, but no... there also a "mysterious figure dressed in a blood-drenched burqa, sporting a medieval weapon dripping in gore". Right now, I'm stamping this a 'must see'.

"An Erotic Werewolf in London" stars softcore porn star Misty Mundae, who you may remember from "Lord of the G-Strings" and "Play-Mate of the Apes" and it was directed by notorious low-budget horror filmmaker William (Bill) Hellfire, director of such classics as "Bikini Girls on Dinosaur Planet" and "Duck! The Carbine High Massacre"... Mundae and Hellfire are no strangers and have worked on many a project together. "Erotic Werewolf" is about a female werewolf whose metamorphosis into sexual predator is triggered by arousal and, ultimately, orgasm.

"Desert of Blood" comes from Don Henry and stars an 'international cast', including Swedish cover-model and Playboy Cyber-girl Annika Svedman, #1 chart-topping Spanish pop star Naim Thomas and Albanian action phenom Mike Dusi... all of whom I've never heard of before typing their names in this post. It's about a hapless treasure hunter who digs up more then he expects.

"The Tattooist" comes out of New Zealand from Director Peter Burger, whose directed mostly TV prior to this and it stars Jason Behr, who you would know from "Roswell", "Dragon Wars" and lots of other low-budget horrors. It's about "a tattooist (who) unwittingly unleashes a forcible deadly spirit through an ancient Samoan tattoo tool. Now marked for death he will need to uncover the source of the evil in order to save his new love and recover his own soul."

"The Wig", which was orginally called "Gabal" and came out of Korea, I believe... has some damn wicked cover art. It's from director Shin-yeon Won and it's about a cursed wig.

"Raising Jeffrey Dahmer" is directed by Rich Ambler, it's being released by Lionsgate and the title's a bit misleading. Actually, it's not misleading at all. It's based on the true story of Dahmer, the events within the family behind and leading up to his capture.

"Demons Among Us" comes from Troma... it's about Joe and his talking axe, who go after the devil and a bunch of demons. It's from Stuart Simpson, who wrote, produced, shot, directed and edited it.

"The Eye 3" is the third installment of the original series from the Pang Brothers.

"Curse of the Weeping Woman: J-ok'el" won best impact of music in a feature film from the Park City Film Music Festival, for what that's worth... and it was written and directed by Benjamin Williams and it's about J-ok'el, the weeping woman who drowned her own babies centuries ago... her spirit's returned to claim more children.

"Frankenstein the Rapist" is another film from Bill Zebub, who sames to make a film every 2 months... he's the guy who brought you such films as "The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made: The Re-Make" and "Assmonster".

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Different breeds – filmmakers, get to know your composer

As mentioned in my last post, I'm down in L.A. right now and won't be posting much during this week. However, thankfully, there's guys like Tony Longworth. If you remember, Tony's an indie music composer who works on a lot of indie films and most of them for little or no pay. So, we've got another post from him, this one about understanding and getting to know your composer... A lot of filmmakers don't know much about the whole music side, let alone get to know their composer and this will shed a little light on that side of the indie filmmaking process. Much like Tony's last post, I think what he's talking about here is equally pertinent to indie filmmakers and, as usual, if you have a questions about composing, music or anything at all, really, shoot me an email and I'll get it answered...

When you're dealing with music, indie filmmakers should spend a little time getting to know their composer to get the best out of them. In my time I have become aware of 3 different types of indie composer.

- Firstly, there’s the composer who writes music full time, who doesn’t have any other job to support themselves.

- Then there’s the composer who writes music in their spare time, who holds down another job to fund themselves.

- And lastly there is the rarest of breeds, the composer who has enough money to compose whenever they want. They don’t have to hold down any other job & they have all the time in the world to write music.

Now, I’m painting this picture in black & white and I know there are grey areas between these 3 types of composer, but if I covered every single type of configuration, this would be a very long & boring article indeed. For the point I’m making, I think these 3 different types should cover the majority of indie composers out there.

In my time I’ve never actually met the 3rd type of composer. I do believe they exist, people have told me there’s rich indie composers out there who just want to write for low budget movies. I have met many of the other 2 types of composer though.

I fall into what is probably the most common, I compose part time & hold down another job the rest of the time. This was a decision I made when I first got into music. Realising that I might never make any money from what I liked doing, I understood that I had to get a job to support my music. I wasn’t being negative about my music, I was just being realistic.

There are pros & cons that come with each type & I think filmmakers should be aware of these & understand where the composer is coming from.

A person composing full time has all the time in the world to write music. If you ask them for a certain piece of music, they’ll probably be able to churn it out in a day or so. The downside to this is that they possibly can’t afford to upgrade their equipment on a regular basis. This wouldn’t be a problem in a lot of cases as these type of composers will have spent a lot of time learning & tweaking their hardware & software to do almost anything but there might be times when their system just isn’t up to delivering what the filmmaker wants.

A person who composes part time has limited time to write music. If you ask them for a certain piece of music, they would probably take a lot longer to deliver it. That’s not to say that they wouldn’t be prepared to pull a few 24 hour shifts to get the music finished (myself included) but this approach tends to catch up with the composer eventually & they’ll end up sleeping in their spare time instead of writing music. The upside to this type of composer is that most of them upgrade their studio on a regular basis so you can be guaranteed that they’ll be able to write most things that the filmmaker dreams up.

The rarest composer, the one with all the money & all the time in the world, is in the best position, but whether you find one of these is another question. The other thing to bear in mind is that I guess they could be really picky over what project they work on; I mean they’re in a position where they can pick & chose what movie to go with.

I am happy being the type of composer I am, it works well for me & my lifestyle. I now have a family to support which I just couldn’t do if I wasn’t holding down a job – I’d be out on the streets by now or even worse, living with the in-laws !!

So filmmakers, get to know your composer. Find out a little about their background, their working patterns. Give them a little more time if needed. Give them a little more encouragement if they’re struggling. Get an understanding of who they are & what they are capable of at an early stage.

We’re all in this together so we need to help each other out as much as we can so we can achieve that one goal of creating a good movie.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

film fest friday, way late... Horror Screenplay Contest & Edinburgh International Film Festival

I should've posted something earlier this week, but better late than never. To come clean, I'm actually on vacation this week, so it's going to be a slow one as far as posts are concerned. I'm down in L.A., meeting up with a few people, so hopefully I've got some cool stuff to post about over the next few weeks. Anyhow, this was a film festival post from a few days ago that I forgot to put up...

I've received a few emails about this, so I figured I'd post it up for everyone. Now, being honest, I have no clue of what this is really about and going through the site doesn't really help. There's tons of links to sponsors, contests, a store, an opportunity to mentor, scripts for sale... So, I don't really get what they're trying to accomplish with. After a bit of thought, they may just be a landing site that's getting click through dollars from all the 'sponsors', I don't know. Either way, here's the email that was sent to me AND it's kinda worth looking through the site, I don't know...


Final Submission Deadline Approaching
Entry Deadline: July 15, 2008
Enter now if you dare!
Presented by - The #1 choice for screenplay contests!
OVER $5,000.00 in cash and prizes!
Entry Fee: $35.00
Limited to 500 entries!

Also, for our UK readers, the Edinburgh International Film Festival is coming up on June 18-29. They sent me an update on their Night Moves section and it's worth just seeing what's playing there... here's what they sent me:

The EIFF’s Night Moves are for those who like their cinema experiences dark, risky or just plain scary. Stay up past your bedtime with our wild and wicked late-night selection.

The Night Moves selection is:
Cadaver (23 & 27 June)
International premiere of the hot new South Korean horror – catch it first here.

Just Another Love Story (20 & 22 June)
A brilliantly bizarre, visceral noir thriller from Denmark.

Mum and Dad (21 & 25 June)
Dysfunctional doesn't come close - this genuinely shocking, darkly witty Brit horror pushes all the boundaries.

Shiver (25& 28 June)
Terrifying and tender by turns, this nocturnal thriller offsets the rebel cool of Donnie Darko with some heart-stopping shocks.

TimeCrimes (19 & 21 June)
What if you found evidence of a crime…which you yourself were about to commit?
This fiendishly clever Spanish time travel thriller – set for an English language remake–follows middle-aged Hector into a nightmare.

Trail of the Screaming Forehead (24 & 26 June) Can anyone stop the alien foreheads as they rampage through Longhead Bay, sucking the souls of the innocent and turning them into zombies?

Like these? Try this…

If you like the above you may also be interested in Blood Car and Fear(s) Of The Dark. Both these films can be purchased at the concession rate of £6.40 each.

Blood Car (19 June)- Under The Radar
The tale of a vegan who inadvertently invents a carnivorous vehicle, this movie roars straight from the heart of the underground to pull into EIFF. Sex,violence,laughs,shocks - this has it all in tasteless abundance. Blood Car is one of several films in our new section Under the Radar, which celebrates the true spirit of ‘cult’ film.

Fear(s) of the Dark (20 &27 June)- Animation An interplanetary cast of bogeymen haunt this scary, stylish animation portmanteau. The comic book legend Charles Burns lends his inimitable gifts to this sweetly creepy set of black-and-white graphicworks.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the Filmhouse, or by phone on 0131 623 8030.

That's it for now, I hope to report back in soon...

Monday, June 16, 2008

June 16, 2008 - New horror DVD's coming out this week...

It's actually a very slow week in horror... the only real new release is "Alive or Dead", although "The Sitter" is hitting DVD shelves for the first time, I think. I didn't like the cover art for either of those films, so I'm going with the old-school "The Dead Pit" cover, which is being rereleased today... and that's right, when the dead start walking, you'd better start running!

"Alive or Dead" is being released by Lionsgate and it was written, produced, directed, shot and edited by Stephen Goetsch. Looking through Goetsch's credits, it looks like he's spent the bulk of his career as an editor, although he did make "Bleeding Iowa" back in 1999. I haven't seen the movie and I'm having a hell of time finding out any information about it other than that it's about a girl who gets trapped inside a violent killer's mobile torture chamber - a yellow bus - and she becomes the sole pupil in his twisted special needs class. Actually, sounds pretty good...

"The Sitter" is actually "While the Children Sleep", which is from Russell Mulcahy, who isn't really a household name, even though I think he should be. For me, the highlight of his filmography has to be "Highlander", it's a classic... no question. He also went on to do "Highlander II: The Quickening", "Resident Evil: Extinction" and a few other films of note. However, that's not the most interesting thing on his resume. He's made tons of music videos and what was his first? The Buggles - "Video Killed the Radio Star", which also happens to be the first music video that MTV ever aired. Crazy, huh? I thought it was. Oh, by the way, "The Sitter" is about a nanny that goes a little bonkers... you know, by killing people.

Since it's a slow week in horror, let's mention the rerelease of "The Dead Pit". Is "The Dead Pit" a classic? I don't know, I remember absolutely loving it... almost 15 years ago. To be honest, it's one of those films that I saw, once, forever ago and I can't recall much about it, except for the basic plot of the earthquake that releases the undead, who were buried in the basement of an insane asylum. It was originally released in 1989 and it was co-written and directed by Brett Leonard, who also made "The Lawnmower Man", "Virtuosity" and, more recently, "Man-Thing" and "Feed". It was the first film that he wrote and directed and because I've been looking into it, I'm going to make a point of going back and watching it again.

I know absolutely nothing about the "Tokyo Shock Horror Pack Triple Feature (Japanese Hell, Cursed and Samurai Chicks)", but I do know that Tokyo Shock came out with "Machine Girl" and it's f'ing awesome. Actually, they usually come out with quite violent films... aside from "Machine Girl", they also released a personal favorite, "Ichi the Killer" from Takashi Miike.

Wow, this "Undead Horrors (5-Pack)" comes with "Zombie Cop" in it, cool... never heard of the other films included. Also, if you click on it, I love how the title says 5-pack, but when you get down to the product description it's called a 4-disc set with a bonus feature. Really? Wow, I wasn't going to pick it up, but since there's a bonus feature...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"The Chair" - Another Case Study in Making Indie Horror Films

So, I'm really excited about this latest entry into our 'case studies' in indie-horror and I'm going to try something a little different this time because of it... What we usually do is ask a bunch of questions, then go through the responses and put together the post, basically cutting and pasting from the answers. Now, that usually leads to two things... (1) We end up having to cut out some cool information and (2) it takes us forever to get through each interview and get the post up. Now, we're fairly backlogged on screeners and interviews right now and this interview with Brett Sullivan, director of the Lionsgate released "The Chair", posed a bit of a problem... the problem was, he gave an awesome interview. It's filled with information that any filmmaker, up-and-comer or veteran, would find useful, entertaining and informative. So, I'm going to make the entire interview available, uncut, as a pdf. You can find it here. Below, you will find a brief synoposis, but you should really read the whole interview... by the way, if you would prefer me to continue doing all the case studies this way, let me know in the comments section.

Film: The Chair
Written By: Michael Capellupo
Directed By: Brett Sullivan
Released By: Lionsgate

About: "The Chair" was released on DVD by Lionsgate on May 27th, 2008 after running the festival circuit. It won best feature at Shriekfest, two awards from the Canadian Filmmakers Festival and it just won another one at the Winnipeg International Film Festival. Essentially, it's a ghost story revolving around the character Danielle, who unleashes the soul of a vicious child killer.

Getting it made: It was shot on digital with a small MiniDV camera and they cut corners wherever they could to keep the budget down, including shooting the bulk of the film in the directors old house, using practical effects vs. CG effects, etc. The final product is very professional and I'd love to know the budget, but Brett didn't divulge that information...

The effects: This is yet another reason that the film is a must-see... not only did they manage to use no CG effects, the practical effects that they did use are extremely effective. Point of interest here and hopefully it doesn't get buried here, but... If you want to see how to build tension, be creepy and scare the hell out of people on a low-budget, Brett Sullivan shows you the way in this film.

Distributing the film: He elaborates more in the full interview, but, like I said, the film ran the festival circuit and is now available everywhere through Lionsgate.

I was intentionally brief and I really encourage you to read the full interview. Once again, you can click here to read the full article. You can purchase a copy of the film through Amazon here, you can go to The Chair's website here and you can find out more about Brett Sullivan and Panic Pictures here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Well, this is actually a bit of double whammey. Dead Harvey's Brad Paulson interviews 'Cult Movie' writer/director, Jonathan Ritter AND, if you're interested, Ritter will be hosting a free screening of 'Cult Movie' this Thursday, June 12, at the Studio Stage, 520 N. Western. Los Angeles, Ca 90027 and you, yes YOU, are invited. Further details are included in the flyer that's at the bottom of this post. No, the double whammey isn't that there's free beer, although there is free beer. The double whammey is that Dead Harvey's own Brad Paulson will be screening his film, "Resevoir Drunks", right before "Cult Movie", so come on down and join the party! Now, on to Brad...

Ritter's film, 'Cult Movie', is a mockumentary about a reporter and his cameraman that get granted an exclusive interview inside a cult. On the surface lurks the promise of salvation and a place for kids to party like they're frat boy rocks stars, but underneath it all lurks a far more menacing agenda.

I sat down to interview Jonathan Ritter over awesome greasy pizza at Little Tony's in North Hollywood. His can do attitude shined forth with each question. It was apparent that Ritter has encountered his fair share of challenges, but clearly has the end game in sight at all times. My thanks to Ritter for the interview and for lending his own original and darkly comic twist to the genre.

clip 1 - Casting
clip 2 - Getting Lloyd Kaufman
clip 3 - Pre-production
clip 4 - Locations
clip 5 - Locations pt. 2
clip 6 - The pros of being in a band
clip 7 - Directing approach
clip 8 - What changed from the script
clip 9 - Music and movies

For more information on Ritter, you can check out his two Myspace pages: and

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Linkapalooza - June 10, 2008 - Sony's going to mix things up, another specialty division goes down and "The Happening" sucks...

It seems like it's been a few weeks since I read an article that I felt compelled to discuss, then all of a sudden I came across piles of them... so many, that I'm stock piling some for next week...

Sony To Bring YouTube To HDTV Sets at 'Broadcasting & Cable' - Well, we're really in the infancy on this whole "bringing the internet to the TV" battle and there's already been a few shots fired (AppleTV, the new Netflix Box, etc) and now this. Remember how everyone was getting their panties in a bunch over the whole Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD vs. DVD thing? Well, forget it... this will be the next big fight and I think it's going to start before Blu-Ray even really catches on. This 'Bravia Internet Video Link' isn't getting a lot of press or anything, but that could be because it only works on the Sony Bravia, I don't know ...but I do know this, Sony, as a company, is a game changer. They've been involved in, and are at the forefront, of every industry changing piece of technology since the Walkman... from Betamax to CD's to DVD's and if they're working on this, this is the next thing. In this regard, they're always an interesting company to watch. Anyhow, this whole shake-up could take years, but the whole concept of easily linking your TV directly to the internet is coming and when it does, the film business is going to be a different business.

Films With Limited Release Find a Home on the Web at The New York Times - This is really cool and a really good sign for indie-filmmakers. Tribeca Film Institute in New York is teaming up with to create a marketplace for old, hard to find and limited release films called Reframe. The thing that makes this a really good sign for indie-filmmakers is that it monetizes the old films, as opposed to just letting them be seen. Think Amazon vs. Youtube. This may actually be a project to watch, as figuring out how to monetize specialty content through new distribution methods has been the big issue surrounding where 'things are going'. Once they figure out how to make money on films like this, the same model could be applied to low-budget indie-horror... and if the same model can be applied to low-budget horror, cha-ching... that means money for you.

Specialty biz feels jitters at - The bad news continues for specialty divisions of studios, as Paramount Vantage gets sucked into its parent company, Paramount. This article actually does a good job of describing the issue and problem, plus explains why Focus, Miramax, Sony Classics and Fox probably won't suffer the same fate, but whatever, bring it on. Widen that gap between the indie's and the studio's... there's a revolution coming and if you're reading this, chances are you're on the right side.

Ratings: 'Swingtown' vs. 'Fear Itself' at - well, as expected, "Fear Itself" did not tear it up on NBC last Thursday. There's a couple problems, one being that it premiered at the same time as game one of the NBA Finals and, well... it's the summer and most people aren't watching TV. I'd say they're outdoors, but I think we just drink more in the summer, I know I do. In any case, I expect that you'll see it air on NBC for another 3, maybe 4 episodes and then it'll be moved over to NBC's sister station, The Sci-Fi Channel (both are owned by NBC Universal). As for my review... "The Sacrifice" really wasn't great, I'm sorry. It seemed a bit labored, but all in all, I guess it could've been worse. It was written by Mick Harris and directed by Breck Eisner, both of whom I would not consider to be 'horror all-stars'. I think NBC is missing the boat on this and that a series like this COULD work on network TV, but they're going about it the wrong way. I could go on as to what I feel the right way is, as I do have theories on how this could work, but I don't want to... maybe I'll save those thoughts for a future post.

Oh... and this just in, as expected, "The Happening" sucks - Film Review: The Happening at

Monday, June 9, 2008

June 9, 2008 - New horror DVD's coming out this week... including "The Signal", do you have the crazy?

What do you know? It's another great week in horror... and it's mostly indie films. The first film I'm covering is definitely one of the best indie films of the year, so without further ado...

Okay, "The Signal" isn't just one of the best indie-horror's of the year, it's also one of the years biggest indie-horror success stories. Either way you cut it, it's an f'ing good movie, but when you realize that its budget was only $50,000, you'll think it's downright awesome. It was made by three coloborating directors; David Bruckner (this is, pretty much, his directorial debut), Dan Bush (this is definitely his feature length directorial debut and he's now working on the upcoming "FightFuckPray") and Jacob Gentry (whose only other feature length directorial effort is "Last Goodbye"). The film is broken up into three parts, or three transmissions, where a strange signal being transmitted turns people crazy... and they go violent crazy. The three parts are distinctly different, the first part being almost a thriller, the second one is more horror-comedy and the last revolving around a love story. No question, it's a must see.

"Otis" comes from Tony Krantz and is the fourth 'Raw Feed' film from Warner Home Video. Now, check this out... Tony Krantz was the head of television packaging at CAA for 15 years and has been nominated for 4 primetime emmys, winning once and is credited as being the executive producer on such big-time tv shows as: 24, Felicity and The PJ's. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, he up and directed the first film for 'Raw Feed', called "Sublime" and now he's come out with "Otis". He's currently working on various projects, including a sequel to "Rest Stop", "Rest Stop: Don't Look Back" and something called "Inhuman". The guy must really dig horror... It may be his pull from working at CAA, but for a direct-to-DVD film, "Otis" has a lot of decent actors, including: Daniel Stern, Kevin Pollak and Jere Burns, among others. It's about a a guy who captures women, locks them up, calls them all "Kim", then when they don't put out on 'prom night'... he does some bad shit.

"Funny Games", which has received very mixed reviews, also comes out tomorrow. By that, I mean just that. Todd Gilchrist called it "unrelenting and brilliant" and Joshua Rothkopf called it "a sour project that defines anti-imaginative". By no means is it an indie film, either... it had a budget of $15Million and it feels like it could've been made for a whole lot less. Distributed by Warner Independent, it premiered at the London Film Festival, while it's US premiere was at Sundance and it finally hit the theaters on March 14th, 2008. ...and get this, it's actually a remake by the exact same writer and director of the first one, which came out in 1997 AND it's a shot-for-shot remake. I don't really know what to say about that...

You can't go a week without a sci-fi original and this week's is "Organizm", but was originally called "Living Hell" when it first aired. It was directed by Richard Jefferies, who's made a bit of a career as a writer, having penned "Cold Creek Manor" and "Man of the House", among others. However, he's only directed one other feature and that's "Blood Tide", which came out in 1982. So, it's been a while since he's helmed anything. "Organizm" is about a mild-mannered teacher and a hazmat specialist who have to figure out how to stop an unstoppable creature, a secret Cold War military project who feeds on light and energy and moves with exponential speed, before it destroys everything in its path.

"Salvation" comes from J.A. Steel, who wrote it, directed it, acted in it, produced it, edited it, did stunts in it and was also the sword choreographer. It won't be a surprise, then, when I tell you that she was one of the first women in 1998 to train in the martial art of Muay Thai in Thailand. So, you could probably say this was a work of passion for her. The story has to do with a centuries old battle between the powers of heaven and the forces of hell colliding in a final, modern showdown... where girls swordfight.

"Black Wine" comes from writer/director Ryan Rossell, who also acts in the film. It's an indie-horror that screened at a few festivals, including the Hollywood Film Festival. Rossell wrote the script with intent to sell it, but when he gave it to his friend, Anson Scoville, to read, they decided to go out and make it instead. Scoville ended up producing it with Rossell directing and it had its premiere in 2005. "Black Wine" is about young love gone wrong... Something horrible happens before Trever, a third year law student, has a chance to propose to his longtime girlfriend, which propels them down a dark and twisted path, pitting them against each other and driving them to the point of no return. Wow, that is just vague enough for me to have to check it out...

I also quickly wanted to comment on these "Double Takes" that are coming out now, where they're packaging the original with the remake. This week they have "The Amityville Horror (1979) / The Amityville Horror (2005) (Double Take)" and "The Omen (1976) / The Omen (2006) (Double Take)". Pretty cool idea...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Film Fest Friday - Fantasia and some other updates...

You know, we're loyal guys over here at Dead Harvey and we're always trying to help out. If we've covered a film or talked to a filmmaker, we tend to follow them to see what they're up to, check in once in a while and do what we can to support them. So, we checked in with Jason Noto, the guy behind "Butcher's Hill", to see how it was going. If you remember, they had shot a kick-ass short film that was to be entered in festivals and he planned to use that short to get financing for a feature, based on that short. Here's a link to our original post where you can read about it, check out the trailer and everything. It just screened at the Dead by Dawn festival to a packed theater and it's recently been picked up to be screened at the upcoming Fantasia festival, as well... so, this is actually going to work out as a great segue because I was planning on talking about Fantasia this week, anyhow. In any case, good work Jason and we look forward to seeing the feature...

Fantasia started in 1996 by screening Asian films and anime and they promptly expanded into genre films from around the world and, since then, have grown into one of North America's largest genre festivals, featuring many North American premeires. It's also a place where films may screen in pre-final-cut condition, just to be there, find distributors or build buzz. Unfortunately, they're no longer accepting submissions for the 2008 festival, but it's a great festival for networking and, well, just seeing some cool shit. It takes place July 3 - 21 this year and you can find more information on what it's all about at their website.

Also, I've got some new festivals to add to the listings and a few updates:

We've got the new dates for Shockerfest, which is entering its 4th year. It's going to be held October 3-5, 2008 at the Galaxy 12 Theatre in Riverbank, CA. They are currently accepting submissions in three genres: Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy and will take mini-shorts, shorts and features. Here's a link to the entry form on their site.

Not sure how this one snuck past us, but we just found out about Thriller! Chiller!, which takes place October 23rd - 26th at the Wealthy Street Theatre in Grand Rapids, MI. They are currently accepting submission, you can register through Withoutabox here. They give out awards such as: best feature, best short, best fx, best one-liner, best student film, best "thrill" and best "chill".

Lastly, because it's in the comment section, I'm going to add Sci-Fi-London, which will be taking place in April of 2009. Sorry, I just missed the last one... this is more exclusively sci-fi than it is horror, if you couldn't tell from it's name. However, sci-fi and horror are pretty closely linked, so we'll give it it's due. The festival started primarily because there wasn't anywhere for low-budget, interesting or foreign science fiction films. Its purpose is to show films that you're not likely to see in the UK at all, or that are going to be difficult to get hold of. They're not accepting submissions now, you've gotta wait until October...

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Well, it's another Dead Harvey exclusive. Brad goes out and continues his boozing ways... this time, hanging out with indie filmmaker Tom Madigan, the writer/director of "Dead Doornails". A side note here - I have to say, Brad's idea of recording these interviews and posting them as audio clips could be the best idea he's ever come up with... actually, I'm almost sure of it. This is the second one that we've done, there's more to come and they'll all be archived in our "Case Studies in Indie Horror" section along with the written case studies. Seriously, if you're thinking about making an indie film, are making an indie film or are involved in filmmaking in any regard, there's so much you can take away from these. Anyhow, check it out...

Tom Madigan is all about independent filmmaking. The top of his business card reads, "Great Movies, No Hollywood Bullshit". Likewise, the bottom proclaims, "Lowest Budget Feature Ever to Receive Distribution".

Madigan's most recent feature, "Dead Doornails" is about a hitman that goes searching for missing mob money. Thrown into the mix is a seedy underworld and an aging prostitute who embraces her occupation. It's a very entertaining flick with effective violence and riddled with dark comedy that had me laughing my ass off.

During my recent interview with Madigan, he did not hold back on his tales from the filmmaking trenches as he delved into the heart of what nobody sees when they watch a movie: the pains in the ass the filmmaker has to endure to get it done. Among my favorites were the stories of how Madigan almost went homeless while making, "Dead Doornails" and how a homeless man interrupted his guerilla-style, guns drawn shoot in a back alley by asking technical advice about filmmaking.

clip 1 - Background
clip 2 - Ohio vs. LA
clip 3 - Why a Thriller-Comedy
clip 4 - Inspired by...
clip 5 - How long were you in LA before you made a movie?
clip 6 - Equipment
clip 7 - Film school, yes or no?
clip 8 - The guerilla factor
clip 9 - Writing style
clip 10 - Influences
clip 11 - Just make it...
clip 12 - Rodriguez is right
clip 13 - Location horror story
clip 14 - Obstacles
clip 15 - Editing your own movie
clip 16 - Shooting on weekends
clip 17 - Cutting for F/X
clip 18 - Getting actors to stick to the script
clip 19 - How to approach nudity
clip 20 - Offending God
clip 21 - Distribution
clip 22 - Liscensing

My thanks to Madigan for the no-holds-barred interview. Be sure to check out the MadiganFilms webpage to find out more about his films and drop by his Myspace page, as well. I have a feeling this is only the beginning of the great things we'll be seeing from this filmmaker in the future.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The committed composer always gets more work

Here's another post from our friend in the UK, Tony Longworth. He's an independent music composer and he's worked on tons of different low-budget horror films and, a lot of the time, for no real monetary gain. If you have any questions on music for your film or anything to do with that whole side of the filmmaking process, send me an email. I'll pass it on to Tony, who will be more than happy to answer. This post is about cutting it as a indie film composer and what he has to say is not only equally relevant to indie-filmmakers, but for almost anyone who is getting into the 'independent arts'...

So, you want to be a composer for independent movies? You think you've got a good ear for music and you’re a big movie geek? That’s all good, but have you got the commitment for working on an independent project?

You think you have? Well, consider these following points:

- You probably won’t get paid for anything you do, now or in the future. Although the filmmaker might offer you a share of the profits, the movie itself might never get any form of distribution & will eventually disappear without making any money whatsoever.

- The movie might never even get screened anywhere, so no one will ever hear your wonderful soundtrack. After getting turned down by several film festivals, the filmmaker could very well give up on this project & move onto something new. Hell, the movie might even fold part way through before it’s even complete.

- You might end up with more work than you can cope with. You’re not getting any money up front & the filmmaker is making all these ridiculous demands from you for the soundtrack – they want an orchestra, they want a choir, they want bloody everything !!

- You might find that the project goes on for months, even years with the possibility of the director popping up from time to time to ask you to either write something new or tweak an existing song that you might have written ages ago & completely forgotten about. In fact, you can’t even remember where that particular track is on your hard disk.

So, do you still want to be a composer for independent movies? Are you still reading this? Haven’t I put you off?

Now, don’t think I’m being negative here, I’m just being totally honest & realistic. All of the above happens to me on a fairly regular basis. Being an independent movie composer has many downsides but going into a project with all the above points in mind will help you a lot. Just remember, you’re not in it for the money; you’re in it for the music & the music alone.

Go into each project with a positive mind. If the filmmaker asks for the impossible, give it your best shot. Make sure you store everything on your hard disk in a logical order so you can find things in the future. Always remember to backup your data.

There are a lot of risks involved with composing for these types of movies, but what's the worst that can happen? You put a lot of your spare time into doing something you really like doing which never sees the light of day? Big deal.

Just think, you’ve spent a lot of time doing something you enjoy & you’ve gained a whole lot of experience doing it & you wrote some amazing music. If the movie hits some film festivals or gets a distribution deal, then treat that as a big bonus. If nothing happens to the movie at all, just be thankful for the enjoyment & the experience, plus you’ll be building up a library of music which can be customised for other projects.

What I’m saying here is: don’t get your hopes up, but at the same time you’ve got to be 100% committed to the project & see it through to its natural (or unnatural) end – if you can’t give that type of commitment, then you’re in the wrong game. That’s the bottom line, if you don’t like it, then don’t do it.

So, by giving this type of commitment you will become known as a reliable composer who can be trusted with anything that’s thrown at you. You’re guaranteed to get more repeat work, as well as new work simply from word of mouth.

It’s worked for me so there’s no reason it won’t work for you as well.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Horror Vault and what to do with that short horror film...

I usually do the Linkapalooza at this point, but I gotta say... there's not much going on that interests me. Like... Platinum Dunes has been hired by Universal and Hasbro to make a movie based on Ouija. (Michael Bay conjures "Ouija" movie - Hollywood Reporter) Seriously, I can't even bring myself to comment on that. So, instead, I've decided to talk about short horror films...

So, I'm wondering about this "Fear Itself" 'horror anthology' that NBC is going to start airing on Thursday, June 5th. (1) Just how gory/scary/violent are you going to get on network TV? (2) Why did you put the premiere on against game 1 of the NBA finals? (3) Why did you play it safe with the guest directors? I mean, I kinda get having John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), but Breck Eisner? (Sahara). Don't get me wrong, I'll check it out, but... let's just say I'm not smelling what they're stepping in here. However, that's not to say that I have anything against horror films that are less than feature length... in fact, I think there may be a big market for them soon.

We were sent a pile of horror shorts (we're almost through all of them) and I have to say, they kick ass... first off, I'm way more tolerable of any negative aspects when I know the film is only 15 minutes long. Secondly, there's just something about the fact you don't need to commit 90 minutes to watching them. You got a few minutes? Plop a short film in. There's no question that due to the short formats on Youtube and other broadband video sites, young and future audiences will be accustomed to, and will consume media in short formats. Now, I think there's two genres that are very effective in short format. One, obvioulsy, is comedy, which has exploded all over the place and the other is horror, which is in its infancy. Comedy can be anything from two idiots lighting themselves on fire, posted on Youtube, to Will Farrell's "The Landlord", but horror is slightly different... It doesn't really lend itself to just being thrown out there. So, currently, the problem lays in the fact that, outside of entering festivals, there's not much that an indie-horror, short filmmaker can do... but that could be changing, as there's a few groups out there that are coming out with DVD's that are collections of horror shorts. Here's three examples that are slightly different from each other, but could either give you an option or an idea... "Aaaaah!! Indie Horror Hits" actually takes submissions from indie-filmmakers, then puts out compilations and shares the profits, "New York City Horror Film Festival" puts out a DVD with all the horror shorts from the festival on it and, finally, "The Horror Vault" is a group of filmmakers that went out and made their own anthology.

Let's take a closer look at "The Horror Vault" because I love the idea of a group of filmmakers getting together to make an anthology of short films. If you're an indie-horror filmmakers, what can you take away from this idea? Well, if you're just one guy and you don't have the resources to make a feature, why don't you group together with a few other, like-minded people and make something like this? Basically, there's more strength in numbers, which, in this case, means there's a better chance of distribution when you have more minutes of film. That's exactly what these guys did, and what they came up with is awesome... I love the concept, I love the product, it's a great idea.

Here's some more information on the short films that make up "The Horror Vault":

"When John Met Julia" is a modern twist on Romeo and Juliet, except everything goes a bit wrong...for poor John anyway. Written and directed by Kim Sønderholm

"Delusion" is a black/white 50ies style of horror drama, directed by Mark Machillo.

"Alone" is a story about being all alone in a sorority house on a dark night. Written and directed by Kenny Selko.

"Mental Distortion" is a story about Pete, waking on on his floor, about to do a gruesome find. Directed by Kim Sønderholm.

"Dead To The World" has english actor and director Russ Diaper take a stab at the Ted Bundy legend from a new perspective.

"Disconnected" directed by David Boone and Josh Card is a black and white little threat of the absurd - dark humor and crude and explicit torture mixed in one.

"Echoes" by Gabriel Dowrick, the australian addition about a man, waking up, tied to a bed in what seems to be a nursing home, knowing little of what is going on.

"The Demon" by Thomas Steen Soerensen is the story about a man chased by his own ghosts and desires, which is about to explode as he picks up a young pretty woman hitchhiking at the side of the road, coming seemingly from nowhere. Or is she?

Finally, "Retina" by JP Wenner, is a black and white and extremely absurd and nihilistic story about... well - you're the audience - you decide! :-)

You can get more info about the film, watch the trailer and find out more about the filmmakers on their site here and you can order the film off Amazon here. By the way, the Horror Vault 2 is already in the works and will be released on December 1, 2008.

Monday, June 2, 2008

June 2, 2008 - New horror out on DVD this week, which includes my favorite film of the year so far...

This is actually a great week for horror DVD releases. It would be average, well... maybe slightly above average, if it weren't for the release of "The Machine Girl", which is downright awesome, my favorite film of the year so far... So, as always, you can go to our Youtube page and see the trailers for all of these and/or click on them to buy them off Amazon.

Without question, "The Machine Girl", as far as I'm concerned, is the first "must see" film of 2008. Well, must see for horror/gore fans. It's getting comparisons to Robert Rodriguez's "Planet Terror", but that's only because it features a girl who loses a limb and has it replaced by a machine gun, but dammit... the similarities end there. Rodriguez and Tarantino have NOTHING on Noboru Iguchi's "The Machine Girl". It's over the top, it's bloody, it's gory, it crosses every line that there is to be crossed AND it does it all without taking itself seriously. Please, get this film, get some booze, invite friends over, get wasted and take in what is, by far, the most entertaining film I've seen in a long time.

"The Eye" is the latest American 'interpretation' of a hit Asian film and, as usual, they drag a few quality, foreign filmmakers through shit while making it... In this case, it's The Pang Brothers, as well as Xavier Palud and David Moreau. The Pang Brothers are the writer/directors of the original "The Eye", which spawned two sequels, a Hindi version and this U.S. version and they're credited as the screenwriters here. Xavier Palud and David Moreau are the French filmmakers who recently made the indie-horror, "Them (a.k.a. Ils)", and they were credited as the directors on this. The Pang Brothers, Xavier Palud and David Moreau are all quality filmmakers and should not be judged by this PG-13 rated studio effort. So, uh... yeah. Next.

Believe it or not, "Shark Swarm" was actually picked up by the Hallmark channel and had its premiere there before being released on DVD tomorrow. It goes to show, you never know how you're going to get distribution. One of the cool things about "Shark Swarm" is that one of the writers, David Rosiak, is a regular contributor to Dread Central and frequently shows up on their podcasts... so, if you happen to listen to their podcasts, you may be familiar with the trials and tribulations that he's had with it. It's got a decent cast, with Darryl Hannah (Splash), John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard), Armand Assante (Judge Dread) and F Murray Abraham (Last Action Hero) and it's about mutant sharks.

...and the quality, low-budget fare just keeps coming! "Stump the Band" is an award winning indie-horror, having screened at various festivals (some which I didn't know about and will have to look into), including: The Hollywood DV Film Festival, Micro-cinema Festival and The Hauntcon Film Festival, winning a few awards along the way. Written by Jojo Henrickson and Fletcher Rhoden and directed by Jojo Henrickson and William Holmes, "Stump the Band" is about four hot chicks in a punk rock band who, while on tour, get lost in the wilds of Wisconsin and run into a guy with a very serious foot fetish who likes to collect feet like baseball cards. The reviews are awesome and the trailer looks great...

"Clean" is being distributed by Brain Damage and it was written, directed, produced and cut by Canadian indie-filmmaker Alexandre Michaud. No stranger to indie-horror, Michaud was also responsible for "Urban Flesh", "Time Enough: The Alien Conspiracy", "GoreGoyles: First Cut", among others. "Clean" is filled with senseless violence and brutality and is about a serial killer on a path of self-destruction, who then gets invited to a private snuff party and decides it's time to finally take action and clean off a little bit of everything he hates... go check out the trailer. Looks like a bit of unchecked aggression being let loose here, huh?

"The Innocent" is an indie-horror from Stuart Brennan, who wrote, directed and produced the 80 minute, shot on miniDV horror. It's about four students who camp overnight at a derelict hotel who soon start hearing more than just the wind... I haven't actually seen the film yet, but in researching it, I came across Stuart Brennan's website. First off, it turns out that "The Innocent" was actually shot in 2003, so it's taken a while to get its North American release and Amazon and imdb are lying to me, but that's besides the point. The point is, you should check out his website, it's really well put together. Very simple, but it really does a great job of promoting himself, his films and what he's up to. Good work, there...

"The Evil Woods" comes from writer/director Aaron Harvey, who we, of course, like because of his last name. This is his first feature film and he's currently working on his second, which has the awesome title, "Catch .44". It's being released by Lionsgate, but I can't find out much more about it. There's a group of teenagers, a desolate area in the woods, they find out about a killer ghost called the "Beer Hunter" who kills ignorant, careless teenagers who litter beer cans. Then, cell phones don't work, surprise slashed tires and dusk is approaching quickly...

Classic no-budget horror writer, director, producer, actor, Bill Zebub is back with "Rape Is a Circle". What else can I say about the guy who brought you "Assmonster" and "The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made: The Re-Make" that hasn't already been said? Not much... "Rape is a Circle" has full frontal female nudity, closet homosexuals, deranged women, rape, mutilation and... a lot more stuff like that. It's about two girls who hitch a ride from a woman, only to get kidnapped and then endure humiliating perversions and excruciating pain. Further, their friendship warps as they are forced to perform sexual acts on each other for the twisted amusement of their captor. The film explores the cycle of cruelty involved in these sensless acts of violence, thus "Rape is a Circle".

Lastly, I don't watch "Dead Zone", but they're always filming in my neighborhood, so I feel, for that reason only, that I should mention that "Dead Zone: The Final Season" is out on DVD, too.