Friday, July 31, 2009

A Question For You, plus Fright Night and Horrorfest News

I just wanted to pause for a moment and ask a question... but before I do, I'd just like to stop and explain what Dead Harvey is and what we're really trying to accomplish here. This site is dedicated to the indie horror filmmaker and fan and our mission is twofold. First and foremost, we want to be a resource for the indie horror filmmaker and, secondly, we'd like to do our part to grow this little sub-genre. Lofty goals, I know. We're currently exploring options for a few projects that slide into and compliment those goals, but the site hasn't changed much. So, here's my question and, hopefully, you'll answer. What would you like to see out of the site? We're very interested, so... you talk, we'll listen. Please throw a few comments in there...

I have a couple things that I wanted to mention, but before I do, I just wanted to remind you that you can follow us on Twitter here, join our Facebook group here and I guess I shouldn't forget about Myspace, which you can find here. You get a few extra random, stupid thoughts and content through them. Anyhow...

Fright Night Film Festival - Aug 14 - 16: If you didn't know, one of our favorite fests of the year is the Fright Night Film Festival. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that we've talked with the festival director, Ken Daniels, twice. If you want to hear about the whole indie horror festival scene and what goes on there, you should definitely read those two interviews. You'll find the first one here and the second one here.

If you've read them already or just don't care, I'll just tell you about their latest announcement... and it's that Danny Lloyd, Danny Torrance from "The Shining", will be making his very first convention appearance at Fright Night Film Fest to help benefit Make-A-Wish. He'll be attending the fest and signing autographs on Saturday, August 15th, beginning at 11:30 am. 25% of EVERY autograph goes to Make-A-Wish. Get those Posters, DVD's, and anything else you can think of to get autographed.

After Dark Film Horrorfest 4 announcements: We've recently been added to the press list for After Dark Films, which I find to be pretty cool. All that really means is that they send us press releases and emails when they have something to promote, but I'm a big fan of what After Dark is doing and I'm happy to pass on what they're up to. I recently received a couple of press releases from them: The first one is on "Dread", the Anthony DiBlasi written and directed film, based on Clive Barker's short story from "Book of Blood". It'll be the second film out of the "Book of Blood" franchise, the first being "Midnight Meat Train". The second press release is on "The Graves", which is written and directed by Brian Pulido, who's a well known comic book writer and the creator of such titles as "Lady Death" and "Evil Ernie". Both films have now been picked up for After Dark's Horrorfest 4 and that's why I got the press releases.

So, I was going to write up something on both films, but I thought this may be more interesting... although I'm not sure if it's allowed, I guess I'll find out soon enough. I'm going to put up the press releases on and give you the links to download or read them and here you go: press release for Dread and for press release for The Graves. Not only will the news interest you, but I thought you may be interested to see how a good press release is put together... as it's a good skill to have. Once your film is done, you should be putting together something like this and putting it out there for anyone who cares.

That's all I've got for this week, don't forget to get your drink on over the next few days and we'll see you next week! Oh yeah... and don't forget to add some comments about what you'd like to see out of the site!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Interview With Andrea Ricca, Writer/Director of "The Guardian"

If film was a family and Hollywood was the big daddy, I'd like to say that micro-cinema is the social outcast, metal-loving, half-midget cousin that lives way out in the 'burbs and plays video games all day, but... that would assume that Hollywood knows that micro-cinema exists and acknowledges that it's spawn of its own family, which it doesn't. The result of that is, if you're looking to make a career in filmmaking, making micro-cinema film is the equivalent of wanting to be a top-tier chef, but just getting a job at Wally Burger and thinking, "well, I'll work my way up". I'm not discouraging making micro-cinema films by any means, I mean, what would I do without them? What I'm saying is, if you're looking to make a career in filmmaking and you're currently making micro-cinema films, there's a few things that you need to be doing. First up, you need to be making stand-out films; second, you should always be networking and talking with anyone who will listen; and third, holding an industry job or getting an industry skill won't kill you. My point (and weak segue) is that there's one skill set that's in high demand right now that can help you across a lot of these facets and that's a knowledge of computer generated visual effects.

I was just reading about Alex Alvarez, the founder of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood. Each year, over 90% of Gnomon grads found jobs within 90 days, which, as they say in the article, makes it as close as you can get in Hollywood to a sure thing. In fact, working in or having knowledge of computer generated visual effects is a hot, hot commodity in Hollywood and can open lots of doors. That's why I was particularly excited to talk with Andrea Ricca, a filmmaker from Italy, about his short film, "The Guardian". It's not blood-soaked, there's no nudity and it's basically G-rated, but it's entertaining, it's well put together and it's a great showcase for his CG skills. If you're interested in CG, you'll probably want to give it a read, as he does get into how he put it together, about the software he uses, as well as some links to behind the scenes stuff.

Read through the interview, as there's also a link to the film itself, which is only 4 mins, and he offers up some great insight on the CG world.

Tell us a bit about yourself, what are your influences and what got you into film?

I’m 35 years old, I live near Salerno (Italy) and I have a degree in Sociology. When I was 16 I began to work as a designer of didactic and social comics. Then I specialized in 3D graphic and collaborated with several firms, among them the Giffoni Film Festival. For Giffoni I did some 3D cartoons and spots. Here you can see one spot for a nutritional campaign:

Recently I worked in several rules in local TV as director and cameraman and editing. At present I’m working for some advertising agencies to realize interactive DVD. Since many years I began to realize short movies for passion. But before “The Guardian” it was essai movies.

Here you can see some example: sample 1, sample 2

I was inspired by Conan Doyle as regards literature and the gunreachables Spielberg, Lucas, Zemeckis, De Palma, Oliver Stone, Ridley Scott. They have the ability to mix classic style and innovation to create ex-novo some imagery “topos”. I discovered Ray Harryhausen when I was a child and saw “The mysterious island” on Tv, and there began my interest for special effects. Among his films I prefer “Jason and the Argonauts”, “Clash of the Titans” and “Sinbad” because they materialize the fantasy monsters in a realistic style .His talent consist not only in the animation but also in his wonderful composition of special effects and real scenes.

I decided to make “The Guardian” and “Ufo Race” to put together my love for adventure movies, for short movies and my experience in 3D graphic. In the latest century literature has given to cinema the task to create the mass imagery and I would like to give the audience the mix of adrenalin and astonishment that an adventure-fantasy film can give us.

Film school: Yes or No?

I take part in some cinema stages, among which the stage of the Italian director Giovanni Veronesi, the stage of an important Italian film school: “Nuova università del cinema” and some other experiences. But not schools.

Tell us a bit about your short film, "The Guardian"

That is a zero budget adventure short movie shot in Salerno, Italy, in the autumn 2008, near the ancient “Arechicastlel (VII d.C.) The work involved one director (Andrea Ricca), one actor (Michele Di Mauro), one assistant director (Antonella D’Andria), one minidv cam, one pc and the software 3ds max. Writing, shooting and editing are made by myself with an help of my girlfriend Antonella D'Andria for the real shooting. For the 3D I made all by myself.

What was the budget for the film, how long was the shoot and what did you shoot on?

The two short are shot with zero budget. About 25 euro for "The Guardian" and less for "UFO RACE" : )

For "The Guardian" I worked four days for real shots and six months for the 3D part. For "Ufo Race" I worked also four days for real shots and three months for 3D part. I've decided a time limit for this work and in consequence a standard for the quality.

The short had a lot of CG effects and they were very effective. What did you use to create the effects and how long did the post production take?

I used the software 3D Studio Max for the 3D, Premiere for the editing, and a MiniDV cam for the real scene. Here a photogallery about the backstages of the shorts:

Talk about shooting footage, knowing that you're adding CG effects after, especially as you were dealing with a low budget... what were some of the hurdles there?

The more difficulties came from the fact that we shoot in “guerrilla style” on the way without permission. For the 3D the trouble is that I made all by myself and that delays too much the work times.

Why did you set out to make a short, effects driven film? Has it opened any doors or furthered your career?

Still now I received a lot of good reviews from the magazines, online or paper.
Actually the CGI bring a lot of attention on it. For short movies we have very few financial helps. The bureaucracy is very difficult. I made in this days a cultural association with some friends for acceded to some funds. But I don't hope much! I hope in private producers.

Where can people watch "The Guardian"?

I published my shorts on You Tube, but I’m submitting them to some Festivals, because the web allows you to have a greater and more rapid feedback from the audience. Besides it can be an international audience. At last in Italy there are a not many Festivals interested in no essai movies.

Check out "The Guardian" here.
Also, check out another one his short films, "UFO Race", here.

What's next for you? Are there any more projects in the works?
My next idea regards a sort of fantastic and ironic story about little monsters like Gremlins, Critter etc. Another idea is about a volcano eruption, but now, before starting something, I’m waiting for some new inputs, like to got some collaborators for the effects.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Look At The New Horror Coming Out This Week, Including some Award Winning Films

Well, Brad went to Comicon, but I didn't... even though I felt like I did. Jesus, if you even mildly use any social networking tools, you were just inundated with news from Comicon all weekend. From Comicon's perspective, it's a real testament to how well things like Twitter and Facebook can work... I mean, I felt like I was there and now I'm thinking of heading down next year. Talk about being kept top of mind. Anyhow, most people didn't notice, but a horror film WAS released in the theaters and... it didn't do so hot. "Orphan" came in fourth, grossing just under $13Million, getting pummelled by the Jerry Bruckheimer Gerbil movie, "G-Force"; "Harry Potter" (which is in its second week) and "The Ugly Truth", the romantic comedy with Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. For what it's worth, though... the reviews on "Orphan" were alright - in your face, "G-Force"!.

Anyhow, to what's important - this week's horror DVD releases. There's actually not a lot of new releases, but there's some pretty fucking cool rereleases. I dug up some of the trailers for these old films and you can see them, plus the other trailers, on our Youtube page, which can be found here. Otherwise, as usual, click on the titles to be taken to their Amazon page, where you can read more about them and even buy them, if you so desire.

"Acolytes" is an award winning Australian horror that looks down-right awesome and I really love the premise, so I hope I do it justice when I explain it. It's directed by Jon Hewitt, written by Shayne Armstrong, Shane Krause, with additional writing by the director. It got second place in the Horror Jury Prize at The Austin Fantastic Fest and took home three awards from the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. The plot revolves around James and Mark, who are constantly being bullied and finally decide to stop being the victim and kill their nemesis... that's when they stumble upon a serial killer who, they figure, will do the killing for them. You have to check out the trailer or read about it, really... it looks great.

"Pop Skull" is another award winning film... directed by Adam Wingard and written by E.L. Katz, Lane Hughes and Wingard. It won the jury award at the Boston Underground Film Festival and the grand jury prize at the Indianapolis International Film Festival. It's about the lonely and disjointed life of Daniel, a young Alabama pill addict, as his efforts to cope with the trials of his day-to-day life collide with the increasing influence of murderous and displaced spirits that inhabit his home.

Sergio Bizzio's "Animalada" didn't win any awards, but it was nominated for best film at the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema. However, once you hear the plot, it may just jump to the top of your 'to see' list. It's about a guy who falls in love with Fanny, a sheep from his family's vacation ranch, and then starts killing and grinding people up and feeding them to his new 'partner'. Say no more, it's in the queue!

Shock-O-Rama is releasing the "Slime City Grindhouse Collection", which has all three films from cult director Greg Lamberson, plus a new rock-n-roll zombie icon "mini-movie" called "Johnny Gruesome", that stars Misty Mundae. The three films are "Slime City", "Undying Love" and "Naked Fear", if you weren't aware.

Troma's really been pushing this "Combat Shock (2-Disc Uncut 25th Anniversary Edition)" lately and, maybe, with good reason. It originally came out in 1985 and it's basically the balls-out, Troma version of "Taxi Driver". I had totally forgotten about this film until I saw all the press on it and, if I remember correctly, it's pretty good. So, they won the battle with me, I'm definitely going to check it out again. We've got the trailer on our Youtube page, take a look.

Other than those films, there's a pile of notable rereleases, including: The Roman Polanski directed Repulsion- Criterion Collection from 1965, starring Catherine Deneuve - his first english speaking film; The 10th Victim from 1965, starring Ursula Andress; Torso from 1973 - a shocking movie, for it's time; The Howl from 1970 and, lastly; Neither the Sea Nor the Sand from 1974.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Comcast & Time Warner, Amazon & Zappos, Cats & Dogs... all living together.

I'm not sure if you follow what the cable companies and major distributors get up to, business-wise, but there were a couple of big announcements over the last week or so. One was that Comcast is teaming up with Time Warner to beef up its "TV Anywhere Model" and the other was that Amazon bought up Zappos. I just wanted to take a quick look at both deals and give some thoughts on what they may, or may not, mean to indie film.

I know that a lot of people hate Comcast, but I really like what they're doing here. Here's a link to the press release on the Comcast / Time Warner deal, by the way. The cool thing is it means that Comcast is admitting that there's this thing called the Internet, that a lot of people are using this Internet thing to watch content and that Comcast now wants to be in that space. The other thing that's cool about it is the fact that it's really a new take on the whole online TV viewing experience. I mean, up until now, the most popular online sites for viewing content were free (Hulu, Fancast, YouTube...) Now, they're adding it as part of their package and I'm assuming that they'd offer it up as it's own thing down the road. In any case, I think it's good for makers of indie content, as we all know there's more room for success in online distribution. Further, if this model works, maybe they'll have exclusive online channels that distribute indie and alternative content... who knows? What I do know is that we should like experiments like this... especially if they work.

Here's a link to the open letter that the CEO of Zappos put out, where he announces the sale of Zappos to Amazon. I know what you're thinking, why the F do I care about Zappos, an online clothing retailer? Well, quite frankly, I don't. I've never bought anything off Zappos. However, I've bought lots of shit off Amazon. It's interesting because Amazon has a wicked long-term view of who they are and who they're going to become and they're a key player in the indie-film world, as they sell a LOT of indie film. In fact, they may sell more indie DVD's than anyone and that's not to mention that they own a LOT of the sites that you use, such as imdb, withoutabox and createspace... so, I found the Zappos deal interesting because of what it means for Amazon... and that's a bigger footprint. I know it sounds counter intuitive and strange to root for a big corporate company like Amazon to take over a big online clothing retailer, when we're little indie filmmakers, but sometimes what's good for the goose is good for the gander and I think this is one of those cases. What if you're a Zappos shopper that's never used Amazon? What if you're a Zappos shopper that's never used Amazon and likes indie film? Amazon is widening their reach with this, which means that, technically, there's more potential buyers for the indie film that you're selling on Amazon, right? That's what we all want, isn't it? More reach, more potential buyers and a bigger audience. Am I wrong?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Interview With Ken Daniels, Festival Director of the upcoming Fright Night Film Fest

I'm not sure if you've been paying attention, but the film industry is in quite a bit of trouble. To quote Hudson from "Aliens", "We're Fucked". They're fighting a fragmented audience, they're fighting new technology and they're fighting piracy. Basically, there's a growing amount of content, a lot of which is free, and everyone's trying to reach a shrinking audience... Really, what the film industry is going through is a lot like what the music industry went through not too long ago. Here's the silver lining... or, what I like to call "the worm at the bottom of the bottle". The music industry has changed course and is figuring out how to make money again. How are they doing it? Well, live performances, merchandise sales and licensing are the big ones. If the film industry is fighting a similar battle, what can they learn?

For starters, we need to think like a band - think beyond one incarnation. Meaning, we need to create an idea, a character or a storyline that lives beyond one film, we need to think like a franchise. That way, you're building an audience, as opposed to looking for a new one with each film. Not only that, as you build, you become more marketable and you can leverage what you have with each new project. That's where merchandising and licensing will become options. The other thing that I think is going to become more and more important is the film festivals. They're the film world's equivalent to concerts. People may not buy your DVD for $5, but they'd probably pay $5 to see it in the theater with 100 other people. Think about that. Not only that, it's a place where you can sell that merchandise and a place where you can build that audience. From the viewers perspective, it's like a party and a place to network, find out about new films and meet their favorite filmmakers. Festivals really are win/win situations for everybody in the genre.

However, some people are talking about how there's too many film festivals. Well, I have news for you. There's not enough. It's a growing market and there's going to be increasing demand for them. I don't see why each and every town doesn't have at least one festival for every genre. I don't see why there's not various travelling festivals that go on tour, hitting numerous towns. I think that the festivals are going to be increasingly important for the fans, for the filmmakers and for the genre itself. You, as a filmmaker, need to know more about them... and that's why we here at Dead Harvey continue our quest for information... to pass on to you. Here, we talk to Ken Daniels, festival director of the Fright Night Film Fest, one of the top fests for indie horror. I hope we can bring you more interviews like this and I also hope you can take something away from this.

And if you want to read the first interview we did with him, click here.

We talked with you a while ago about last years festival, so we’ll try not to be too redundant. However, just to refresh our readers memories, tell us a bit about the Fright Night Film Fest.

We are the 3rd Largest Genre Film Festival in the Country. The largest in Mid America. This year more MUSIC, TATTOO'S, PARTIES, INDUSTRY SEMINARS FOR FILMMAKERS are just some of the new things to look forward to. We are on our 5th year and getting better every year.

So, how’s the last year treated you and Fright Night? What have you been up to?

We've been searching for ways to improve the festival beyond what others shows are doing. We've have several elements that all shows have but we've changed and added more of other elements all the while making it intimate enough to make friends year in and year out.

Have there been any changes in the festival since last year?

We've added more tattoo artist's. You'll see the addition of much more music. More parties. We've enhanced it with more industry seminars then before.

You’re screening a few films this year that Dead Harvey readers should be familiar with, such as “The Ugly File”, “Livestock” and “Shadows Light”. What are some of the other highlights from the selections this year?

There are quite a few great movies this year. Tell all your readers to be on the lookout for these great films, "Thirsty" is one great little short starring Michael Bailey Smith and Tiffany Shepis.

Fright Night has become one of the key festivals for true indie horror. Talk a bit about where indie horror is now and tell us where you think it’s heading.

Wow this is a loaded question. I'll tell you what I really think. I've got two really different sides to this issue and unfortunately the side that doesn't have the good news is the side that is really in the right. First of all I love, and I mean love meeting filmmakers at all levels of experience and desire. The great thing about living today is you can buy all the equipment you need for 10,000 dollars to make a good little movie. That's also the bad news. With everyone out there making a movie there are a lot of really bad movies out there. I see so many of them that it's frustrating because I know that talented filmmakers exist. The really bad news is that there's only a limited amount of venues to showcase your films. Sorry folks. That's the truth. Marketing and business rule the creative world unfortunately. Look at what's going on with really big celebs today. Some of these are really BIG CELEBRITIES. With the sheer volume of movies being put out many of these movies never make it to cable. They go straight to video. It's not just because they aren't good. Some of the films I've seen are really good. It's just that some knucklehead in charge of distribution to theatres thinks that the movie won't have an audience. Every studio whether it's independent or not of even the big studios is trying to recoup their money. They don't like taking any kind of risk. They try to find the most marketable movie possible. Let's say Transformers 2 for example. They spend 200 million to make a movie like this to bring in 500 million. One of the reasons I heard from someone in the industry is it's easier to focus everything on one movie then produce 20 movies at 10 million. They told me that by the time you market, do the prints and get everything done you won't be able to make as much money. It's crazy but true. The glut of horror movies coming down the way is pretty evident. The good thing about being in this moment in history is also the bad thing. Every JOE SCHMO thinks they can make and movie and they send them to film festival's or try to sell them online. Sorry people. My belief is for another few years anyway is that online isn't the way to go. The only thing people are downloading online is information products and PORN!!

Personally, I feel that the horror festival circuit is the backbone of the whole scene and they’re integral on various levels. Aside from fans attending and filmmakers submitting, what can indie horror fans do to support indie horror?

One of the greatest things that can happen is if filmmakers would learn to market better and for the fan's to buy their movies and not download them for free. I think that independents shouldn't charge 20 dollars or even 10 dollars for their movies. How about 2 for 10 dollars. The fan's overall aren't rich. The fan's must keep going to the film festival's and conventions. The very next John Carpenter could be at Fright Night this year.

Fright Night accepts a lot of horror films with low budgets, which is fantastic. What elements do you think make a GOOD indie horror and what elements do you think make a SUCCESSFUL indie horror? Is there a difference?

A good horror film does'nt really have to have a great story. From a fan's point of view and horror fan's are the coolest as well as some of the most intelligent people I've met can tell you that sometimes the best elements are the execution of everthing in a professional way. We would all rather see a great short film rather then a crappy long feature length indie that couldn't sustain itself for very long. A successful indie horror movie has to have all the elements. Look at Gregg Bishop's "The Other Side" made for $15,000. Or "The Blair Witch Project" actually produced by a fellow Kentuckian Gregg Hale. You have to have several things:

1. A Unique Idea
2. Good Audio
3. Good Acting
4. Good Lighting
5. Good Camera's.

Notice I didn't say story or screenplay. I love a great screenplay but let's face it some of the most marketable movies and successful movies had zero story.

What can getting a film accepted to the festival mean for a filmmaker?

Major Distribution. We've had over 7 films get distribution after our show. Several well know studios picked up several movies. Secret buyer's come to the shows and pick movies they are interested in and ask us after the show.

When and where is this year’s festival and how can people find out more about it?

We are at the CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL NEXT TO THE AIRPORT in Louisville Kentucky. You can find out more about it at

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Horror Out On DVD This Week...

I'm not going to lie, it's not the best week in new horror releases. In fact, it was a little tough to come up with what I would consider to be 'the big release of the week'... but there is new horror out, so if you're if you're plum out of shit to watch this week and you don't want to go see the new Harry Potter film again, don't fret. You should be able to find something here. Having said that, looking forward... I think next week will be a bit better. Anyhow, feel free to click on the titles to go to their Amazon page, where you can read more about them and/or buy them. Also, head over to our Youtube page to check out the trailers.

I guess that "Messengers 2: The Scarecrow" is the big release of the week, but I'm loathe to say that... as, well, that's just embarassing. I don't want to take anything away from it, but it sucks when the biggest horror release of the week is a straight to DVD release that was filmed in Bulgaria. So, yes, this is the prequel to the Sam Raimi produced, Pang Brothers directed film "The Messengers", which came out in 2007. This one is directed by Martin Barnewitz and the plot revolves around John Rollins, the simple North Dakotan farmer from the first film, who struggles to save his farm and keep his family together. So, he puts a mysterious scarecrow in his field, which comes to life and starts killing everyone who gets in its way. On a postive note, the scarecrow does help save the farm and change the farmers luck.

Bare with me on the names here, they're Finish and all sound the same (only one actually repeats), but... written by Tero Molin and Teemu Molin, directed by Tommi Lepola and Tero Molin, "Skeleton Crew" comes out of Finland and it's one of those horror films about horror films, that references horror films. Basically, a skeleton crew goes into a mental institution to shoot a horror film about the events that took place there, but when they uncover something from the basement... things go awry. Judging from the trailer, it looks like "Saw" meets "Haunted Hill" with lots of references to mainstream horror films. Looks kinda gory, could be good.

Personally, I think Ted Bundy has had enough films done about him, but... if you're aching for more, here's another. Originally called "Bundy: A Legacy of Evil", then "Bundy: An American Icon", the film is now being released as just "Bundy". I like the fact that both Kane Hodder and David DeLuise made it into the film, which is very cool. However, I'm not too cool with the fact that it looks like they're trying to do a bit of an "American Psycho" with the way Bundy's portrayed. There's only one Patrick Bateman and he's fictional... and he's Batman. They drive it home with the tagline, "Charmer. Liar. Serial Killer". I could be wrong with that assumption, but the trailer sure sets it up that way.

I couldn't find the trailer for the indie horror "Skare" on Youtube, which comes out of Britain, directed by Michael J Murphy. However, if you really want to see it, you can go to Sarcophilous Films Releasing's site to check it out, find that here. I believe the film is basically about a lady named Martha Tennant, who serves food to the Skare Valley Country Club during the day and harbors escaped prisoners at night... nudity, gore, low-budget - our kind of film.

"Hollywood Kills", written by Nicholas Brandt and Regan Wynne, directed by Sven Pape, is a torture porn type movie with a Hollywood twist. It's about an insane, reclusive director/producer that terrorizes people who come to Hollywood by twisting their dreams into fiendish torture in his own private "studio". Jesus, isn't Hollywood hell enough?

Last new release of the week is "Ghost Month", written and directed by Danny Draven. It's about a housekeeper that's drawn into a terrifying world of vengeful apparitions... restless spirits come back to mix with the mortals, looking for people to take their places in hell.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Festival, A Website and The End of the Week

It's been a busy summer and things have been piling up. My blinking reminders and my inbox are both in the triple digits now and, embarrassingly, I've got emails that I haven't responded to that date back to April. I don't bring it up because I think you care or anything, I bring it up because I just spent two hours trying to clean this shit up and I feel that someone needs to know. Since you now know, I might as well tell you that I feel like I didn't dent shit. It's still a mess. Anyhow, I was going to power through it for a while longer, but as I was going through the emails, I came across a couple of things that I wanted to pass on; the first is a festival and the second is a website.

So, first up, there's the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival, which is presented by the Phoenix Film Foundation and takes place October 15 - 18. It's a big genre festival in the Southwest and it draws over 4,000 attendees yearly. They're all about new films, new scripts and emerging talent... they highlight screenplays and films that are anything from slasher flicks to art house horror and the top five scripts are actually sent off to industry 'green-lighters' for consideration. It's really a great festival to look into, if you even just look into the site itself. They're sponsored up the ass, they have lots of stuff going on and they have detailed descriptions of all the films that screened. If you look at last year, they screened a lot of the best indies of the year. So, take a look at what they're screening, it'll be a pretty good indicator of where indie horror is going over the next year or so. That's actually something that I do quite regularily and so should you... go to festival sites, see what's screening, see what they're in to and compare your ideas to what you see. (a) You may get some ideas, (b) you may realize your idea has been done or (c), you may realize your idea sucks.

Next up is a new website that was brought to my attention that's for artists, musicians, fashion designers and filmmakers. It's called Basically, it's a social networking site for artists, but you can display and show your films, sell your work and you can even stream live personal broadcasts. So, it could mean a couple bucks for you and a great way to network with the artsy types. I haven't had much of a chance to check it out, but I'll be signing up and taking a look around. No reason you shouldn't either.

That's all I've got for this week... now, I've got a few hours of real work to get through, then my watch says it's beer-thirty.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Interview With Drew Barnhardt, writer and director of "Murder Loves Killers Too"

There's a lot of people out there who hate the fact that the cost for film equipment and editing software has dropped so much... What they really hate is that the market is getting saturated with micro-cinema films due to the fact that almost anyone can afford to go out and make a film now. I guess the argument is that only certain filmmakers should be allowed to make films, which would raise the overall quality of the films that do get produced. We've always argued, on the other hand, that... sure, you do get a lot of crap out there, but you also get some kick-ass films that would never have seen the light of day had the cost of making a film been higher. It's like the million monkeys thing - if you let a million monkeys type on a million typewriters, one of them is going to write the next great novel... if only by accident. If you hire smart chimps, like the ones they sent to space in "Space Chimps", you may only need a few hundred thousand... but that's not my point. My point is YES, you get a lot of crap, but you also get a lot of good films that otherwise wouldn't have been made. The problem now rests on how to sift through everything to find those quality films, but that's an issue that I don't need to get into here.

"Murder Loves Killers Too" is one of those quality films that managed to see the light of day, but may not have if the cost of making a film had been higher. Drew Barnhardt, the writer and director, scraped together enough money to get the film made and, now, the indie horror scene is a slightly better place because of it. "Murder Loves Killers Too" is, simply, a quality micro-budget film. It updates the 70's/80's slasher film, while staying true to the genre and is entertaining from beginning to end. It's an extremely well crafted film and it delivers everything that it should, from blood to booze to boobs. Further, in this case, due to its quality and a well executed plan, they were picked up and distributed internationally by Well Go USA. The film is a testament as to why the falling cost of making a film is a good thing and it's definitely worth checking out. Drew offered up a great interview, where we got into all of this and more...

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

Well, I’ve been a movie-freak for as long as I can remember. I grew up making sequels to, and knock-offs of, my favorite flicks when I was a kid with my little (or rather, giant) video camera. My influences are pretty much all over the map. From the big head honchos like Hitchcock, Kubrick, Bunuel, and Peckinpah, to the awesome and amazing films of the Cannon Group, (especially the Death Wish series). Which, I guess, is how I wound up making a slasher movie that opens with Barry Lyndon narration. I also love Brian De Palma, Tobe Hooper, Paul Verhoeven, John Carpenter, Blake Edwards, gialli, The Wraith. And Danny Steinmann.

As far as getting into indie horror, that was just a natural. If I had grown up watching and loving romantic melodramas and, all these years later, someone told me I could make a movie in their vacation house, maybe I would’ve made “A Summer Place.” But I didn’t, and I wouldn’t. So, instead, my first thought was “A vacation house? Fucking Great! Lets do us a slasher movie!”

Film school: yes or no?

Maybe. I know it’s a cliché response, but it’s true; film school is all about the friends you make while you’re there. The folks you join together with not only out of a shared passion for film, but also out of a shared passion for pissing off all the tight wads. Thornton Melon-style.

The credit list on MLKT speaks to that. My partner in crime, Chris McKinley (producer/editor on MLKT) and I met in the dorms in our first year at school. MLKT co-producer Guy Clark was my roommate, and MLKT cinematographer Kevin Graves is also a film school chum. We were all committed to doing our own thing (for better or worse) and I guess we clicked because of it.

Tell us about your film, “Murder Loves Killers Too”

MLKT is my modest stab at playing with the conventions of the slasher genre. An absurdist slasher, I suppose. The slasher formula is so simple and familiar to horror fans that you have a lot of room to be playful and riff; to be more outrageous, mix it up, spike the punch sorta speak. So the thought was to do a take on a simple slasher, but filtered through this somewhat warped perspective; smear my sense of humor all over it.

But, first and foremost, we wanted to make a fun flick to watch. It seems like a lot of the recent big budget horror flicks have forgotten that, once upon a time, these movies were supposed to be fun. I wanted MLKT to be a good time at the movies.

How did the project come to be? Tell us about where the idea came from and where you got the financing.

Chris McKinley, my Radar Dog Productions partner, and I had been trying to set up a different film with a larger budget for, what turned into, years. We finally hit a frustration point where we felt we had to make something, even if it was just with the change in our pockets and lots of careful planning.

Around the time of said frustration point, a friend offered to let us use his cabin in Big Bear Lake, California. Chris and I went up to the cabin, checked it out, and decided to go for it. Very quickly I wrote a script that was specifically tailored to the location, the resources we already had available to us, and nothing more. Chris got very creative with planning and scheduling, until we felt like we could pull it off just with what we had. There were lots of absurd obstacles, but we never stopped, because we knew that if we did, we probably would have never started again.

I know it’s right on the back of the box, but you really did a great job of updating the ‘old-school, golden-era slasher’ film. Talk about how you recreated and updated that look and feel.

Apart from some of the obvious visual nods and hat-tips to slasher classics, I honestly wasn’t trying to recreate a 70’s or 80’s look and feel. I was just doing my thing. So I suppose the digested influences of my generation were coming through that way. I prefer long shots to the fast flash cut editing that seems popular these days. I prefer pretty colors to the grimy dark look that seems currently fashionable. And I prefer melodic and funky music to the drone-factory sound that seems to be in lots of horror flicks nowadays. So, maybe that’s why the look and feel seems “retro,” or whatever. The “story” of MLKT, on the other hand, is admittedly a throwback to the ultra-simplistic set-ups of the early slashers. The ones before they started to become overly complicated with needless plot elements that only distracted from the business at hand. In that regard, I guess MLKT is definitely a throwback to a simpler time in slasher history.

The acting stood out for me, especially Allen Andrews as “Big Stevie”. Talk about the casting process and how you prepared your actors.

We didn’t know any of the actors before hand. We met them all through a series of auditions in which we saw many local Los Angeles actors. The first thing, to me, was to cast distinctively different types in each part. In so many low-budget horror flicks, where you’re watching actors who you’re not familiar with, it can be hard to tell the characters apart: “Wait, was that the guy who got killed earlier?” or “Hold on, is she the sister?” So, it’s important to cast visually: different looks, different personalities, different hair colors, and so on. And then, of course, make sure you dress them each in different color palettes.

So, once we put together a group of distinct personalities, I’d spend an afternoon or two with each of them, or in pairs, talking about the movie, getting their ideas, basically just trying to get them comfortable with each other and with me. I didn’t want anybody to over-think anything. “Keep it simple and play it straight,” was where I was coming from for the most part. Luckily for me, I had folks like Christine Haeberman, Allen Andrews, Kat Szumski, and Mary Legault who took this little horror movie seriously and gave it their all.

Did you screen it at any festivals? If so, where did it screen and how did it do? Tell us your thought on the horror festival circuit.

MLKT first screened at Fantasporto in Porto, Portugal. It had a good response. Not overwhelming. Merely whelming. But I met some good and very helpful folks at the fest. From there it went to the Night of Horror fest in Sydney, Australia, where we picked up a nice award. It hasn’t screened at any US fests yet. I would like to see how it plays with an American audience.

We started out submitting to festivals as a tool to get on the map and, ultimately, to help sell it. But as you, and other indie filmmakers are well aware, those submission fees can really mount up (especially when you’re getting more “we regret to inform you’s” than “yesses”). I actually had a great time on the horror fest circuit a few years back with my short “Herbie!” I met a lot of great people, other indie filmmakers, and even a couple of my heroes. And, from what I’ve seen, the horror fests have grown tremendously since then. There are no more enthusiastic and genre-smart audiences to enjoy a horror flick with than those on the horror fest circuit.

Talk about Well Go USA and how they picked up your film. Anything you can pass on to other filmmakers about the process of getting a film distributed?

Our plan, once the movie was made, was to send trailers, artwork, and images out to genre websites, send screeners out to festivals, just to get on the horror scene’s radar, and to, hopefully, help find a sales rep who could take it to film markets and sell it off territory by territory.

And, much to Chris and my complete surprise, that’s exactly how it went down. Chris cut an attention-grabbing trailer. And we commissioned badass Shock Festival artist/author Stephen Romano to do the artwork. I was a big fan of his stuff and thought his style would perfectly set up the movie, and his posters ended up getting a lot of attention on horror sites. The movie made it into a couple festivals, received some enthusiastic reviews, and we were contacted by sales reps. The rest played out from there.

MLKT and Well Go USA found each other at the American Film Market, and we were thrilled. We knew, in this market, getting a North American DVD was far from a certainty and, with the cost a company incurs with a DVD release, it was probably a real long shot for such a small movie as ours. Now I hope it does well for all parties involved.

Talk about the indie horror scene and indie horror filmmaking. Where do you feel it’s at now and where do you see it going?

From what I can tell there are as many, or more, talented folks than ever working in indie horror. But the opportunities for distribution are fewer. It seems as though, in this market, companies are less likely to pick up movies and turn a profit with them. So it’s becoming tougher for the no-budget affairs that don’t flaunt name faces or slicked up production values to get picked up and released. But I’ve only done one movie so I’m not the best person to ask. I don’t know what I don’t know. I do know that it’s tough going out there now.

As far as the future of indie horror, it ain’t going nowhere. Most of the great breakthrough horror films of the last forty years were all independent and lower-budget. I’m not even sure if a breakthrough horror flick can come from anywhere else but the independent scene, where filmmakers who have nothing to lose can push the boundaries.

Where can people find out more about “Murder Loves Killers Too” or, better yet, buy a copy?

You can buy it through Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble and so on. You can find the links to all of the above, one stop shopping style, here…

Also, you can find it for rent on Netflix and the other rental places. And for international readers, MLKT came out in France last month (called “Meurtres”) and it should be coming out in other territories in the months to come.

What’s next for you? Any more projects in the works?

Absolutely. I’m real excited about the latest thing I’ve written. Chris and I will be putting our guns behind it. I shouldn’t say too much or we’ll look awfully silly if five or so years go by without getting it off the ground and then we come out with Murder Loves Killers Too 2. And then two sequels later it’s “What do Killers Love Murder For?” And three sequels after that we’re back with “What the Killers Who Love Murder Ate.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Future of Indie Horror and How To Survive The Singularity

Okay, I have no idea on how we're going to survive the singularity, but I DO have some ideas on the future of indie horror... which should entertain us until the robots do take over in a few years. I mean, not only is it one of the most asked questions of us... it's also one of the questions we ask the most, "What is the future of indie horror?" We're unwavering in our belief - there's a big, bright shiny future for it. However, a lot of people think that the economics just aren't there. It's a big debate and only time will tell the answer, but keeping that in mind, I'm going to make a couple of not-so-bold statements...

1. The idea of full-motion as a format, whether it be animation, video or film, isn't going anywhere.

2. People aren't going to stop telling stories.

I think we can all agree on those two statements, right? So, what can we take away from that? Well, I think it's safe to say that, in one form or another, you will always see stories in a full-motion format... at least for the foreseeable future. All the other factors may change, though, like: how we watch it, where we watch it, what format it's in, how it's displayed, etc. But I do think it's safe to say that there will always be stories to be told... and film/video will always be a medium used to tell them. How it's distributed? Different story.

Really, if you think about it, at the root, we really just want to be storytellers and, right now, we're just using film as the medium to tell it. So, as the industry is being shaken to its knees and we wait to see what rises from the ashes, we need to keep telling our stories, in a full-motion format, one way or the other... which brings me to this article. The article goes through three different stories being told using three different formats, all of which use the web as their distribution format. Are they financially successful? Do they have big audiences? I don't know, but they're telling stories in innovative ways and innovating is something that we should all be doing... until the robots kill us all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Horror Out On DVD This Week, including OC Babes and the Slasher of Zombietown

So, the biggest news from the weekend was that "Bruno" was a bit of a flop... well, not a flop, it still hauled in approx $30Million, but it had the steepest Friday to Saturday drop on record. Meaning, it took in $14.4Million on Friday to just $8.8Million on Saturday. That's a 39% drop. Reason being? Probably the so-called 'Twitter Effect', which means that the film was judged instantly, everyone posted, tweeted, facebooked and myspaced about how it wasn't as good as "Borat" and, thus, a major drop off - the next day. Moral of the story? Social and new media is making you accountable. Be good... or people will know and they'll know fast - instantly, actually.

Let's look at what's coming out this week, horror-wise. As usual, you can click on the title and go to the films Amazon page, where you can read more and/or buy them. Plus, you can go to our Youtube page and see the trailers...

So, the biggest budget release of the week is definitely "The Haunting in Connecticut", which is coming out as both an Unrated Special Edition and in a Single-Disc Edition. It was written by Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe... and I think Metcalfe's biggest claim to fame may be for writing "Revenge of the Nerds", but he also wrote "Kalifornia", "Killer: A Journal of Murder" and... "Revenge of the Nerds" the TV Show, "Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation" and "Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love", which is a classic. The other writer, Adam Simon, was the guy behind "Carnosaur" and "Brain Dead", having written and directed them both, as well as some other projects. The film was directed by Peter Cornwell, who won a pile of awards for his short animated film, "Ward 13", in 2003, but "The Haunting in Connecticut" would definitely be his biggest project. The film did alright at the box office, although it was fairly poorly received. It was released by Lionsgate and is based on the 'true events' around the Snedeker family's encounters with the paranormal in Southington, Connecticut.

"Horsemen" or "The Horsemen", as the cool kids are calling it, is another Platinum Dunes horror from Michael Bay and crew. What's funny is, the reviews are alright on this film and the reviews were brutal on Platinum Dunes other film that came out around the same time, "The Unborn" ("The Unborn" WAS brutal, by the way), and this film has some serious talent in it, such as Dennis Quaid, Peter Stormare and Zhang Ziyi... yet, "The Unborn" got the wide release and this got a limited release. Strange. Anyhow, "Horseman" is about a bitter detective, played by Dennis Quaid, who is investigating a series of murders of rare violence when he discovers a terrifying link between himself and the suspects in a chain of murders that seem to be based on the Biblical prophecies concerning the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse... who are drawing nearer. On leather steeds they ride... they've come to take your life. On through the dead of night, with the four horsemen ride... or choose your fate and die! Can't resist a Metallica reference.

Rounding out the new releases of the week, you'll also be getting the indie horror "OC Babes and The Slasher of Zombietown", written and directed by Creep Creepersin... but I'm pretty sure that's a pseudonym. It looks like "OC Babes and The Slasher of Zombietown" is his first film, but he's on a massive tear right now... this came out in 2008, then in 2009 he put together "Peeping Blog", "Creep Creepersin's Creepshow", "Creep Creepersin's Frankenstein", "Caged Lesbos A-Go-Go", "He", "Vaginal Holocaust" and a few others... if you want to know how he does it, apparently this whole film was shot in 8 hours. Having said that, the trailer looks pretty good and if micro-cinema horror is your thing (and we hope it is), it looks like this film will deliver. The film is about a group of OC stereotypes, who are trapped in a bar due to a zombie outbreak... and they happened to be trapped in there with a slasher. The trailer's not on Youtube, but you can find it here, on Myspace.

There's a couple of notable Blu-ray releases, if you're into them: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer [Blu-ray] and A Haunting: Twilight of Evil [Blu-ray]

And if you like T-Shirts with your movies, you can order the Night of the Living Dead DVDTee, which comes in Size L and Size XL.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Interview With Barry Delehanty, Director of "Lawson: White Heat"

If you're into podcasts or listening to National Public Radio, you may know about KCRW's "The Business". If you don't know about it, you should check it out... Great resource for what's going on in the industry. Here's a link to their homepage. Anyhow, I was just listening to their most recent show, called: "Which Way, Studios?", and it got me thinking about the indie horror scene. To sum up what they said on the show - adult movies are dead, the star driven film is dead and big concept, family movies like "Transformers" and "Harry Potter" are in... Long and short: The audience is changing and as the studios are publicly traded companies that need to make money with each film, they need to adjust their strategy... which will involve taking less risks and making less films... and the sky is falling. Really, there's lots of factors, but their new strategy is quite simple: spend less than you make.

While these guys were flipping out, saying that this will kill the medium of film and we won't see adult dramas and quality films anymore, I was thinking about how these 'new' principles have been driving indie horror for a while now. Only difference is, indie horror doesn't use those principles by choice... it's by necessity. Indie horror, by and large, is made on shoestring budgets with limited resources because that's all we have. Now, here's the joke... A lot of the time, I'm more entertained by a film that's shot for $2,000 than a film that's shot for $20Million. Take a look at "Lawson: White Heat"... a film that I checked out a couple days ago, right after I watched Alex Proyas' "Knowing". Low-budget? Check. Cheesy effects? Check. Amateur actors? Check. Entertaining? Big f'ing check. Written by Barry Delehanty and directed by Barry and John Koziol, both of whom play small parts in the film, the film is a parody of late 80's, early 90's action films like "Lethal Weapon" or "Die Hard". I mean, you're not going to get swooping crane shots and ILM effects, but the film is hilarious, has some great action and decent, low-budget effects and, at the end of the day, I was actually more entertained by this film than the $50Million budgeted "Knowing". Now, that's something that the studios should take note of. How about concentrating more on making films that are actually entertaining and less time on counting those beans?

So, "Knowing" was a bit of a let down, but "Lawson: White Heat" is a great, indie action/comedy and we had the pleasure of discussing the film with co-director and writer, Barry Delehanty.

First off, tell us a bit about yourself. What are your influences and what got you into indie film?

I grew up and still live in Boston. Since I was 15 or so myself and a group of friends used to just turn on the camcorder and make atrocious slasher movies. They turned into complete jokes with some random masked killer or a styrofoam dick killing everybody in some comedic way.

As far as movie influences: Night of the Living Dead and the first two Halloweens were great when I was a kid. As you can see by the movie however, offensive, vulgar comedy is right up my alley.

Film school: yes or no?

Unfortunately I was stupid enough to sell my life away and went to school. If I could go back, I'd have dropped out after the second semester after learning the basics, saved some money and just got out there and learned by doing. I made a great friend and I guess mentor in my writing teacher, but otherwise I was surrounded by a bunch of pretentious ego maniacs who's parents bought their equipment and have done nothing to support their egos. Live and learn I suppose.

Tell us about your film, “Lawson: White Heat”

We did a short for the National Film Challenge and had a blast doing it. We took the concept of the supercop, terrible villains and even worse cops and wanted to make a feature out of it. In it's initial concept it was goin to be a bit more serious, but as with everything we do it quickly turned into a comedy.

What was the budget for the film and how long was the shoot?

I don't think people believe us when we say it cost around two thousand dollars. This was as low a budget as you can get, and it was a cumulative amount over the span of the shoot which was about two and a half years.

We had lots of location issues (specifically getting a place for the big warehouse showdown at the end), and not only that, we all have regular day time jobs that barely pay the bills. Basically when a weekend became available and worked with everyone schedule, we'd turn on the camera and get a scene done.

The characters were classic, led by my personal favorite, Chief Coffeestache. Talk about the casting process and getting actors ready for a project like this.

This is another thing that's good about doing the movie with friends. We had a pretty good idea that it'd take some time to finish. Instead of holding auditions and pretending we are some great production company, we knew we would be in front of the camera, and behind the camera. The rest of the cast was filled in by coworkers who were cool enough to help out, and hopefully had fun in the process. So pretty much everyone you see on screen aren't "real actors"

One thing that really sold the film for me, and something that most people wouldn’t notice, was the set design. A properly dressed set can really hide a low-budget. Was this a conscious decision?

Yeah absolutely. We had no money, so we'd literally scout areas and find scummy looking places to shoot. The parking garage for instance. We shot there for a few hours at night and didn't see one car. Find a place like that and you're golden.

We didn't have permits or anything like that either so it was a get there, shoot, and leave. If police or anybody showed up, a good excuse was that we were working on our senior project.

As far as inside the warehouse, which I think most of the set design took place, it was also a necessity. We couldn't get a place after all this wasted time, so we use a basement. The same 15x15 space over and over. We'd reset up the room over and over and make thing look different. Try to have different themes and looks, like the cocaine lab for instance. After it was shot, I did some color changes on certain rooms to help out with that as well.

Like you said, it was a good way to stand out, and not be a run of the mill three location indie movie about someones personal opinions on life. We just wanted to make a brainless, and hopefully entertaining movie.

Another thing that you did a good job on was the effects. There was some good blood, you did a great job on the gun effects. Talk about creating the effects and making them as believable as possible.

Initially, we didn't want any CG or compositing effects. How quickly did we change our minds when the thing we tried flopped like an old mans cock.

Eventually, we hit a nice compromise of mixing compositing with real blood effects when possible. Many thanks to for supplying indie bums with kick ass effects for cheap, and the majority for free. I recommend anybody looking to do an action movie, take a look at their site.

So everything as far as digital effects was done strictly in final cut, no after effects, and all composited. The magic of movie making was completely spoiled from me when I realized how easy it was to learn.

Is it going to screen at any festivals? Is the festival circuit something that you’re interested in?

We've submitted to a few and the rejections are starting to come in. I don't think there are many festivals that could fit in a movie like this. There are a select few that MIGHT, seeing as it's not your typical indie fare. Waiting to hear on some of the underground fests and the Toronto After Dark fest.

Realistically though, I think it's a waste of money as we are paying people to watch the movie and get a letter that say oh great job! But you lose. For all we know it's a 60 year old woman who watched and it doesn't appeal to her. Who knows.

How’s the distribution process going? What stage are you at now and what’s your goal?

We are putting the finishing touches on a few special features and the whole DVD packaging and stuff. We are just doing self distribution for now. From all the stories I hear, and even read on this site, we don't really care to have someone else fill their pockets from our hard work.

Secondly, we made the movie not even expecting to make money as much as we wanted people to see that you can make a half decent movie without a million bucks.

Where can people find out more about “Lawson: White Heat” or, better yet, buy a copy?

We have a site with some of the clips from YouTube. Bogus character bios and things like that. People will be able to order the DVD through there when it's ready -

There's a myspace but it's ghost town on there these days. Search facebook. It's all over as the Internet was our main way of getting it out there.

What’s next for you? Any more projects in the works?

For me, I'm trying to get a job. Outside of that, I'm doing a ton of writing. Working on a raunchy comedy with the guy that played Coffeestache.

As far as the collective group of us, we are getting ready to do an Internet sketch/late night parody show. Full of ridiculous shit and probably going to offend tons of people... If we're doing things right.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dead Harvey Gets Interviewed By Indie Movie Masters

This really is an interesting turn of events... Dead Harvey's Brad and, yours truly, Ted, were interviewed by Stephen Zimmer of Indie Movie Masters. We've talked with many people informally and a lot of industry people have asked our opinions on things, but never before have we actually been interviewed. What I found funny was the fact that when he sent me the questions, I was down in LA... then I was super busy up here and I just couldn't find time to finish up the interview. He emailed me a few times, asking when I'd be done and, finally, I finished them off. What I find funny about that is NOW I know what it's like to be on the other side of the interviewing table. Funny, but... probably extremely frustrating for Stephen. Sorry about that.

Anyhow, I'll tell you a bit about Indie Movie Masters. Really, they're a new collection of indie films organized into genre-specific series and they distribute them themselves through DVD and emerging new media, such as video on demand. They've got a couple titles out now, but they're looking to do a lot more. They're a series designed by indie filmmakers for indie filmmakers. Gotta love that. That's enough, but wait, there's more... they ALSO run a blog where they talk with people in the indie film world and pick their brains, so to speak... and that's where the interview with us comes in.

The main link to the Indie Movie Masters blog can be found here, but the direct link to the interview with us can be found here. We don't mean to blow ourselves, but I think we give a pretty good interview... and, if you're interested in a little background on Dead Harvey and what makes Brad and I tick, you should give it a read!

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Horror Out on DVD This Week: With Deadly Jewish Ghosts

Well, here we are... another Monday, which means a couple things: Time to sober up a bit and it's time to see which new horror movies come out this week. Really, there's only a handful of horror movies, but sometimes that's enough. Unfortunately, the best part of "The Unborn", which is easily the biggest release of the week, is the fact that they kept exploiting Odette Yustman's 'features' for all the marketing material - see pic. In any case, there's definitely some interesting releases this week and, as usual, you can click on the titles and go to their Amazon page for more information and/or to buy them AND you can go to our Youtube Page and check out all the trailers.

"The Unborn" is, by far, the biggest release of the week and, really, it's not that great. It's exactly what you'd expect from a Platinum Dunes released, PG-13 Horror about a Jewish ghost. What's funny is, it's really the first Platinum Dunes released film that wasn't a remake and the reviews were absolutely awful and it didn't do that great in theaters... maybe they should stick with remakes? It's a shame that it is what it is, as it's written and directed by David Goyer, who's a massive talent. Goyer is a screenwriter, director and comic book writer. When he was first starting out, he wrote some classics, including "Death Warrant" and "Demonic Toys", but was also responsible for writing some all time classics, including: "Dark City", "Blade" and "The Dark Knight". As far as other things that he's directed, he also did "Blade Trinity" and "The Invisible", among a few others. What kinda cracks me up is that the film is about a dybbuk that looks to use the Odette's death as a gateway to the physical... don't know what a dybbuk is? Don't worry, neither did I. It comes from Jewish folklore and it's a malicious possessing spirit, believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person. Thus, a Jewish ghost. In any case, the film stars Odette Yustman as the lead, Casey Beldon, and also has Gary Oldman as the Rabbi Joseph Sendak.

"Dead Wood", out of the UK, won the B-Movie Award from the B-Movie Film Festival in 2007 and it's being released by Lionsgate today, so I'm assuming they picked it up after a bit of a festival run. Also, it could've been out in the UK for a while and its just now getting its North American release, who knows? I haven't seen it, but it looks great and the bar has been set high for UK based horror these days. It's written and directed by David Bryant, Sebastian Smith and Richard Stiles and it looks like they all shared duties when it came to getting the film done, as they all played roles as DP, editor and even in the sound department. It's about four city slickers that end up in the woods, haunted by a deadly force... one that will have them discover the true nature of fear.

"Night Stalker" was originally called "Angel of Death", which is a wicked name... but only because it makes me think of Slayer. "Angel of Death" was an online action webseries that starred Zoe Bell, Lucy Lawless and Ted Raimi and it originally premiered on March 2 as a 10 episode web series on It's now being released as a 90 minute film, subsequently called, "Night Stalker". It's about Zoe, a remorseless assassin, who starts to hallucinate and becomes haunted by her victims and then is driven to seek revenge on her employers, the mob bosses. Check out the trailer, it looks pretty f'ing good.

After that, you have the Japanese film, "One Missed Call Final", from Tokyo Shock, which is about kids forwarding deadly photo's in order to save their own lives... then there's the Blu-ray release of the 1977 classic, "The Deep [Blu-ray]" and, lastly, "Near Dark" gets a rerelease... which could be it's second or third rerelease? In any case, Platinum Dunes is 're-envisioning' it and you'll get an updated version in a couple years.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

To Quote Too $hort, "Get In Where You Fit In"

Well, it's a good Thursday morning when I can quote Too $hort in my post title... and, thankfully, his lyrics still ring true today. You see, I received an email not too long ago, which I'll highlight and share below, and it got me thinking. As an up-and-coming or fledgling writer/director/filmmaker, when you're starting out, you really need to just get in wherever you can fit in or, to officially quote Too $hort, "Get in where you fit in, bitch". I'm really not sure how HE meant it, but I mean you should do what you can, even if it's just slightly related to your goal. Sure, endgame may be a career making feature length motion pictures, but the path to get there is different for everyone and you never know what you're going to discover along that path. I really think that you shouldn't JUST be concentrating on writing or making features all the time, you should be diversifying, experimenting... do other things. You think I want to be a professional blogger??? You need to get out there, make shorts for festivals, make commercials for local companies, make music videos for bands that need them... if you're into writing, write a blog, submit articles to small horror magazines or look for opportunities like this one, Deathscribe, where you submit a 10 minute horror radio script.

You see, I had this conversation with one of the other Dead Harvey guys not too long ago. The question is, do you play small ball or are you trying to hit home runs every at bat? For those who don't know baseball, I'll clarify. Are you putting all your effort into one project and it's do or die OR are you diversifying into various little projects, building your resume and reel as you go? I think the idea here should be diversify yourself, do lots of stuff. Do everything. Say you have a few big ideas... well, how else can you get that idea out there? Maybe you write short stories based on it, maybe you do a web based project on it, maybe you write a comic about it. Anything to get it or your name out there... who knows how you'll get noticed? So, when an opportunity like Deathscribe comes around, think outside the box. 10 minute radio script? Well, I'm not into radio... well, what if you took your feature idea, based a 10 minute idea on it, then changed it into a radio script? Or, what if you just wrote something on spec for it, just for shits and giggles? Then, what if it won or was picked up? Well, now you have something to build on and maybe that'll get you noticed...

Long and $hort, when something like this pops up, you need to think outside the box and take advantage. Life will keep throwing you opportunities and it's up to you to take advantage of them.

DEATHSCRIBE 2009: The Second Annual International Festival of Radio Horror Plays is OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS!

WildClaw Theatre is proud to announce that we are accepting submissions for the second annual DEATHSCRIBE Horror Radio Play Festival. We are looking for 10 minute radio scripts that are genuinely scary, imaginative, chilling, intelligent, suspenseful, horrific or downright grotesque. We put no restrictions on contestants as to content or tone, but keep in mind that we are a Horror Theatre. We take our horror seriously, and so should you.

So, if you have a dandy little campfire tale to share - and you know you do - visit here for submission rules and regulations. Likewise, if you know someone who would like to toss their bloody hat in the ring, please feel free to forward this email along. Submission deadline is July 30th, 2009, so get crackin'!

Last year's DEATHSCRIBE (held Oct 6, 2008 at Chicago's historic Music Box Theatre) was an extraordinary evening of live performances of original short radio plays, written by horror enthusiasts and professionals from all around the globe. The thrill of watching skilled foley artists creating sound effects live, right in front of you, is truly like no other. With live musical accompaniment, special guest directors and a celebrity panel to judge the best in the fest, the night was magical and we're looking to do it again, bigger and better!

(To listen to the live recordings of DEATHSCRIBE 2008, go here and look in the upper right hand corner. Podcasts are also available on ITunes.)

Any questions? Email the DEATHSCRIBE DAEMON at

WILDCLAW THEATRE - Bringing Horror and the Supernatural to the Chicago Stage