Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Explanation and An Interview With the Makers of "The Shadows"

I know, I know... it's been a week since I've posted anything. And without explanation. Well, I foolishly thought that while I have new responsibilities at work, my family was coming to town and Christmas was around the corner, I would still be able to keep up on all my Dead Harvey chores. I was wrong. To quote Arnie, "Dead wrong". So, I'm going to be taking a break, which will make life a whole lot easier, and this will be my last Dead Harvey post until January 3rd. If I have any readers left by then, I hope you'll come back to a reinvigorated Dead Harvey, as I'm hoping to get some time to catch up on some indie horror and readjust my life to fit in everything that I want to fit in.

So... before I take off on my holiday, I want to leave you with a great interview. We had the opportunity to check out "The Shadows", a small budget indie horror and speak with the guys behind it. Now, "The Shadows" isn't your typical no-budget horror. Usually, no-budget horror films hang their hat on gore, nudity or a particular sub-genre, like zombies, vampires or whatever. "The Shadows" was different. "The Shadows" was far more cerebral than almost anything you'd expect from the low-no budget realm. It didn't bank on gore, it didn't bank on nudity and, as far as I could tell, there weren't any zombie outbreaks. There were, however, quite a few decent effects, including some very creepy characters, but that's not what grabbed me about the film. What grabbed me was how well it was put together, how the story was crafted and how they managed to keep my attention to the end... without nudity, gore or zombies. The film is along the lines of "The Sixth Sense" or "The Others" and it should stand out in the low-no indie horror world as something that's unique, different and very well crafted.

Enjoy the interview and have a great holidays!

So, tell us about “The Shadows”, what’s it all about?

Really it's about facing your demons. And a person’s will to live. The plot revolves around five friends who are marooned on an abandoned island with a lighthouse. And although they seem to be close friends with no secrets from each other, their suppressed conflicts and longings, boil to the surface. Ghostly shadow figures threaten to steal away their souls so they must put aside their conflicts and band together to defend themselves against the relentless demonic specters.
It’s also completely dubbed in Spanish and I am really glad that I was able to include a commentary on the film. The script has so many layers and subtleties, so the more you watch it, the more depth you discover. And the commentary helps you see those things. It's very much a ghost story.

The film is definitely a horror, but it’s far different than most indie horror’s that we see, as it’s not really gory and/or excessively violent. Talk about where the idea came from and why you wanted to make it.

Gratuitous violence and gore really aren’t the foundation for a good film. For us a solid, creative story and engaging characters is. Without a good story everything else is pointless. And you have to have characters worth caring about. So we created characters who had real depth with hopes and fears and flaws. It keeps the audience more connected, invested in their individual struggles and on the edge of their seat as each twist reveals that things are more complicated than you thought.

The lighthouse was a key element from the beginning. They have this stigma of eeriness, mystery and something supernatural about them. So we gave it meaning in the story physically and figuratively. We liked the idea of it becoming a character in the story, hiding it's own secrets, being wounded and under attack. It’s a great metaphor. We are all like a lighthouse with both a light and dark side.

If you don’t mind us asking, what was the budget for the film and how did you secure financing?

We sought funding for a long time. Eventually my sister (Dianna Collett) and I (we make up Victory of the People Productions) decided that we were going to have to fund our first major film ourselves. So we spent our life savings to create a film we loved and to propel a production company we believed in.

The only way to make a high-quality film on a low budget is through lots of planning and preparation. The set started construction seven months before shooting. Script re-writes and revisions took place for a year to refine it and intensify the story. Rehearsals began months ahead and most of the cast was completely off-book before shooting began. It was necessary to keep the intensity of each scene. It was like a thrilling play that became a film. I think often film-makers are in such a rush to shoot the film they skip important rehearsal time and it shows in the acting quality. So the emotion in our film is very real. There were nights after shooting that we genuinely had the creeps. It’s awesome.

The film keeps the audience hanging and has a cool twist at the end. Talk about making sure that the twist was effective and did that come in the writing or did it come while shooting?

The foundation of the story really sets up those twists at the end. We knew keeping the audience in suspense was key. And it’s not an easy thing to pull off. But that really started in the writing. It was well captured by Sabrina's direction and the music for the film absolutely sealed the deal. But even with all that, the editor has to know how to show it. We worked hundreds of hours in post-production to get it exactly right. The audience reactions we’ve experienced have been very gratifying.

You used quite a few CG effects, which was very impressive for an indie film. How did you do the effects and what was your favorite?

Yeah, in an earlier version there wasn't much. But the question arose, "Now how can we make it more scary?" We wanted to make the shadows more mysterious and supernatural. It turned into a major project. Since we ran out of funding, I had to learn some of the art of CGI myself. I'm a on-hands producer. I'd rather pay someone to do it if I can, but knowing how it's done makes me a better producer. I also built the set. It helps me to understand all aspects of film-making.

The ending sequence, building up to Nadia's light burst moment, is so powerful. You become panicked for them. It took many adjustments before we got there in post-production but doing it right is more important that just getting it done. I think as a hard-to-please film-maker, if you can watch the final cut of the film and even you feel the drama, the suspense and the fear, then it’s something you are proud to show off.

The sinking ship in the beginning sequence is probably my favorite effect. Though people have to pay attention during the opening credits to notice it. Detail is important.

What are your goals for “The Shadows”? Is it to get a festival run? Are you looking to just get distribution? Are you looking to turn a big profit? What would be your benchmark for success?

We are submitting to festivals but our primary focus is distribution. We're delighted to be working with Midnight Releasing with a release date of January 4th, 2011. They've already secured a deal with a mainstream video store retailer.
We have realistic expectations. Our goal is to get our production company rolling, gather a following and become a profitable business. We've shown that we are committed enough to put our money where our mouth is. We produced a high-quality film on a low budget which is the best way to make a profit. So I think success would be achieving a satisfied audience following and investors willing to help us move to the next level.

Where can people find out more about “The Shadows” and/or get their hands on a copy?

Our IMDB page has clips and review links and where to purchase the film.
Our facebook page has lots of updates and pictures.
Our website has it's own original front-end graphics with details, clips and more about the film.
And our production company website has more information about our slate of film. People can also friend our production company on facebook.

Now, tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into indie horror and film?

I think acting and film-making chose me more than I chose it. I was unexpectedly cast in a play when I was a teenager and I loved it. I got more involved in all aspects of stage and by 19, I was directing. By 21 I was building sets and producing. I think fundamentally I love story-telling in all aspects of it. In theater, I have held every crew position imaginable. I chose a more profitable profession for life, but after 25 roles and 40 productions, I decided that rejecting it was rejecting who I really am. There is a motto I really try to live by, "If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it." As a film actor, I wasn't getting the opportunities I should. So I had to start creating those opportunities. And we saw that other talented people were being passed by as well.

Our production company name came from our last name, Collett. It’s derived in French meaning, "Victory of the People." That kind of became the spirit of what we are doing. There are a lot of people who are tired of the big studios putting out the same rhetoric every year; producing yet another sequels or re-do of stories that have been exhausted. They practically fear originality and creativity. We seek to provide what movie-goers long for with a focus on high-quality production value. So we work with investors who are sick of being ripped off. We work with exceptionally talented crew members and actors who are tired of being passed-over and treated like dirt by a studio system that values “who you know” over dedication and skill. So for the audience and for those making the film, it is kind of a revolution, a victory of the people.

Film school: yes or no?

I learn better by doing. I’ve working in most every aspect of film-making and I think that makes a better producer and informed actor. As an actor I go by Alan Collett. As a producer I go by Paul. It helps my alter-egos know what they are doing.

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

Indie Horror films always have an advantage over the studios. They can tell the stories the studios can’t. But I think the Indie horror scene today is swamped. Audiences are so leery of being scammed with a crappy film because there are so many. And just because there is a name actor in it, doesn’t mean it’s going to be any good. It reminds me of a Louie B Mayer quote, "Anyone can make a movie son, but it doesn’t mean they should." The quality of the production, the acting and especially the story being told is what audiences care about. Screenwriters are so unappreciated today but you can really tell the difference between what a director slapped together and what an experienced writer created.

Since there is so much being produced these days, audiences need a way of knowing what’s actually worth watching. Every time an audience feels cheated, they blame the entire Indie Horror market for it. They need someone they know to tell them what’s good. They need distributors and film companies they can trust to provide quality films. We hope to build that kind of audience that can trust our content.

Are there any other projects in the works?

We are fortunate to be acquainted with a lot of talented people. We have the filming rights to nine more scripts in three genres. We treat our crew and cast like family so when we are gearing up for our next project, they are asking to be on-board even though they usually have to turn down higher paying projects to do so. (Eventually we will be the higher paying project.)

"Truth" is our next feature film which is in post-production about a terrorist cell that kidnaps three Americans and threatens to expose a secret that will shatter America's soul. Our third film is a black comedy, “Technicolor Llama”, which is currently seeking additional funding. We also have other horrors like “Spectacles” and “Ghost Town” and “Hotel Obscuridad” in development. All of which have a supernatural flavor to it. With the right investors, we’ll have a regular slate of films coming out each year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Box Office and the New Horror Out on DVD

Well, it was a very uninspiring weekend at the box office... so, sorry if I didn't jump on reporting on it right away. The top spot went to "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and the number two spot went to "The Tourist", both were new this last weekend and both drastically underperformed. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" fell to fourth, but has brought in over $250Million to date. Not too shabby. There were a couple of notable limited releases, including "Black Swan" and "127 Hours". Both are getting a lot of buzz, especially "Black Swan", which graced the cover of Fangoria this month, if you can believe it. I think it's opening wide this Friday, so you should go check it out, if you get the chance. As for new releases on DVD this week, there are a few good films coming out. As usual, you can go to our Youtube Page to see the trailers and you can click on the title to be taken to the films Amazon Page, where you can read more about it and/or buy it.

I was pretty sure that the whole torture porn film craze was done after "Captivity" bombed, but they still seem to be pumping them out. "Slave" looks slick, has great production value, a bunch of good looking girls and appears to be well put together... I'm just not sure if the concept is going to fly, but I haven't seen it. A couple is on vacation in Spain and the girl is taken and becomes the trophy of a psycho named the White Arab... the guy does everything he can to find her. I don't know, it doesn't sound terribly original to me, but whatever. It probably has lots of T&A, maybe some decent violence, who knows?

As much as I'm not really a big fan of the Killjoy the demonic killer clown character itself, I'm a huge fan of Charles Band and his brand of horror-humor. So, with that, I'm proud to announce the release of "Killjoy 3". If you didn't know, Killjoy is actually played by Trent Haaga, who is a Troma Vet and writer of "Deadgirl", "Citizen Toxie" and "Raving Maniacs", among others... I like Trent Haaga... I just don't like the Killjoy character. Sorry to anyone who like it. Anyhow, word is that this is the best of the "Killjoy" trilogy. So, if you haven't check in on these films yet, you might as well start here.

Last up is a micro-cinema film out of the UK called "Tuck Bushman and the Legend of Piddledown Dale". What I like about this micro film is that it obviously doesn't try to take itself too seriously. The wigs, make-up and acting are all over-the-top and the plot is insane. Out of work TV presenter/creature hunter, Tuck Bushman, signs up to collect the reward offered by the mayor of Piddledown Dale, as there's some sort of demon creature on the loose. He gets more than he bargains for when he discovers that there's more brewing in the village than tea and some old wounds. As it's micro-cinema and this is Dead Harvey, we have to endorse it... Can't wait to check it out.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Interview with Brett Pierce, writter/director of "Dead Heads"

I have some thoughts as to where the indie horror scene is heading... I mean, I always have thoughts, but recently something is becoming evidently clear.

Over the last five to ten years, the cost of producing an indie film has plummeted. You can now make a good looking film for $5K - $10K. Seriously. I'm not suggesting it as a budget, but I'm saying it can be done. I know a few people who've shot on cameras like the Canon Mark V, in 24 fp and the footage looks astounding. You don't know what the Canon Mark V is? It's an affordable consumer DSLR. Editing programs are a dime a dozen and CG effects are easily learned. There are, however, some hurdles. Good actors are hard to come by, you'll need a good DP, a good sound guy, etc. Having said that, none of that stuff needs to cost you serious money. The monetary boundaries are all but gone. The boundaries that exist now involve skill.

Are you a skilled filmmaker, a skilled writer, a skilled director? Did you get skilled actors and a skilled crew? Truth of the matter is, in the indie world, the men are being seperated from the boys. There are top-notch films coming out of the indie world and they are going to tank the amateur hour stuff. Good thing? You bet. It's time that the indie world starts pumping out quality films because, soon enough, the rest of the industry is going to take notice. Brett Pierce's "Dead Heads" is a great example of a quality film that's coming out of the indie world. Watch the trailer and check out the production quality, the acting, the effects and the originality of the story. I don't know what the budget actually is, but they did it on their own. Everything about the film looks awesome and I can't wait to check it out. We had the chance to discuss "Dead Heads" with Brett and he offers up a great interview...

So, tell us about “DeadHeads”, what’s it all about?

DEADHEADS is about two zombie pals, Mike and Brent, who embark on a cross country road trip in search of Mike's long lost girlfriend. As they adventure their way across the midwest they are pursued by a group of zombie killin' bounty hunters. It's a zombie/buddy/adventure/horror/comedy with a little romance for good measure.

Okay, first off… self aware, rationalizing zombies? Is that a first?

It's not. Some other films have done some great stuff with self aware zombies. What I think is original about DEADHEADS is that it's an adventure movie as much as it's a zombie movie. My brother and I really wanted to make Mike and Brent hilarious but endearing characters. We wanted to John Hughes-up our zombies. I've seen some great self aware zombie films but I feel these are the first zombies I'd want to hang out with.

The film looks to be remarkably unique – I can honestly say that I’ve never heard of, let alone seen, a zombie-buddy road trip film. Where did the idea come from and talk about developing the idea into a film

Drew and I were living in LA working as interns and PA's and barely scraping by. We had a few scripts we we're blindly shopping around but we were nobody's, nobody cared. We realized that even if we were lucky enough to sell one of these we'd never get to direct it. So we started writing DEADHEADS which was something we could produce independently. Drew and I had grown up on the set of EVIL DEAD. Our father was the photographic FX artist for the original one. What we took from watching Dad, Sam and the guys is that horror and comedy works and that we don't need a big name attached to get people to watch. Everybody likes to laugh and everybody likes something a little creepy or scary. We had made a "no money" feature just out of high school that we co-directed with 3 other friends. It had a few talking zombies in it and that was our favorite part of that film. So we scribbled down "talking zombies" and that's how it really got started. All the other elements of the story we're inspired by our love of 80's adventure flicks like THE GOONIES, BACK TO THE FUTURE and STAND BY ME. We knew we had one shot at this and we just kept writing and rewriting out of fear of failure. Everyday we'd write, argue, and just grill each other about every scene. "Is this funny? Is this exciting? Are the characters working?"

If you don’t mind us asking, what was the budget for the film and how did you secure financing?

Umm....Less than Avatar? We just asked anybody and everybody. It was a 2 year process. We put together investor info packs and a pitch and took hundreds of meetings and pieced it together.

Where are you at with the film now and what’s next for the film?

We actually just finished post production. It's done, wrapped. We actually still can't believe it. It's been about 5 years of our lives.

What are your goals for “Dead Heads”? Is it to get a festival run? Are you looking to just get distribution? Are you looking for a theatrical release? What would be your benchmark for success?

We're currently submitting for fests and meeting with distributors with the intent of getting a theatrical release. The benchmark for success for us is when somebody approaches us after seeing the flick and they just wants to meet our buddies Mike McKiddy and Ross Kidder (Mike and Brent in DEADHEADS). They're so excited to meet them and they just see them as the characters in the movie. It reaffirms us why we want to make movies. I just hope we get to do it again.

Where can people find out more about “Dead Heads” and is there a trailer that people can check out?

Best place to keep up on the movie is Facebook and Twitter. We're updating constantly. We also have a trailer posted. Here ya go!




Now, tell us a bit about yourselves. How did you get in to indie horror and film?

We'll we grew up amid EVIL DEAD and that put the bug in us to make movies. In high school and into college Drew and I made shorts, mock trailers for movies we wanted to make, and "no money" features we'd shoot on weekends with friends for fun. We made dramas, comedies, horror shorts, sci-fi and etc. Making the horror and comedy stuff was the most fun. You get to make fake blood, throw cow innards at your actor buddies, and you just get to play. It's a blast! After that we headed to LA with big dreams and quickly realized that Hollywood was not going to make our movie for us. We we're going to have to go do it on our own and prove we could do it.

Film school: yes or no?

I'm in the middle on film school. I think it really works for some people. I think the best thing you can get out of it is the people you meet who share the same dream as you. The flipside for me is that it's really expensive. You wrack up a lot of debt that you could instead wrack up on an indie flick you make. I didn't go to film school. I feel my film school was back home in Michigan when I got to work with all my buddies making those "no money" features and shorts. I learned so much doing that. But that's just me.

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

It's exploding. I can't believe how amazing some things are starting to look. The jump in quality of cinematography and special effects is astounding. They've been saying for years that the tech was coming for anyone to make a movie. It's here. But cameras and computers don't equal good storytelling. We just have no excuses anymore about not having the ability to achieve quality post production.

Are there any other projects in the works?

We have a adventure/comedy script called DORKS & DICE written we would love to do. It's a reality meets fantasy epic with heroic nerds at the center. We love nerds. We've actually plotted it as a trilogy. Dreaming big here. We also have a good and nasty werewolf script called NEVER CRY WOLF. Straight horror. We want to make werewolves scary again. The other one we're currently working on is a horror/comedy based around Halloween tentatively titled "ALL HALLOW'S EVE" but that will name will probably change. Our priority is getting DEADHEADS out there though. Our cast and crew killed themselves making this movie and we love it to death. We can't wait to get it up there on the screen.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Weekend at the Box Office AND the new horror out on DVD

I can't even come up with anything to say about the box office, we're right in the apres-Thanksgiving, en route to Christmas period where everything is family oriented. "Tangled" pulled in over $20Million, jettisoning it past "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1". The next "Chronicles of Narnia" film comes out this Friday, along with the romantic thriller "The Tourist", starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. The near future doesn't look that bright, either. I've heard it's going to suck, but some of you may be interested in "Tron Legacy", which comes out on the 17th. After that... no joke, you're going to have to wait until February for a genre film. Films that are getting buzz, and may be worth checking out, include "The Fighter" and "Black Swan". "The Green Hornet" comes out January 14th - I'm luke warm on it, I don't know. It's enough to make you just sit at home and watch DVD's, but it's been a while since there's been a really exciting week. There are a couple good, new indie horror's to check out, though.

As usual, you can go to our Youtube Page and check out all the trailers and you can click on the titles to be taken to the films page on Amazon where you can read more and/or buy it.

Okay, everyone went absolutely batshit over "Inception" and, I don't know what to tell you... it didn't blow up my skirt. Christopher Nolan is awesome, the effects were unreal and the concept was pretty f'ing cool. HOWEVER, after that, I thought it was fairly basic and run-of-the-mill. For me, it was one of those films that, had no one told me anything, I would've loved it. But, because everyone said it was so awesome, I was let down. That and it had gaping plot holes and outright didn't make sense at times.

Okay, so the title sounds like an Asylum film and the cover art looks ridiculously low-budget, but... the trailer for "Hunter Prey" actually looks alright. It's from Sandy Collora, who made "Batman: Dead End" and the quality is fantastic, the cinematography looks unreal and it looks to be a cool throwback to 70's and 80's sci-fi. I'm not sure how the film came about, but I'm definitely interested in checking it out. Looking around, he put together some wicked posters... like the one above. I have no clue why the went with the cover art that they did. I'm going to have to look deeper into this film.

I'm not sure why "Fistful of Brains" is being released now... they either decided to rerelease it themselves with new cover art OR they sold it to a distributor and they changed up the cover art and rereleased it. I'm hoping, for Christine Parker's sake, that they got it picked up. Not only have I seen "Fistful of Brains", we interviewed writer/director Christine Parker about it around a year ago. You can find a link to our interview here.

"300 Killers" looks to be a very ambitious micro-cinema film. I don't want to call it a horror, but it definitely has horror elements. It's more like a gory, sci-fi action film or something. Anyhow, it's about a near future where drugs and crime have risen 500% and people are forced to take back the streets from the bloodthirsty drug cult. The killers look awesome, the action looks great. I'd love to check this out and talk with the filmmakers... I may have to look into this further, too. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Interview with Mark Bessenger, writer/director of "Bite Marks"

If you're wondering why I didn't post anything about new horror DVD's on Tuesday, it's because... amazingly... only 1 new horror DVD came out - "Voodoo Cowboys" - and it's currently out of stock. "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" also came out, but I don't really need and/or want to talk about it. "Voodoo Cowboys" is a micro-cinema horror and it looks great - has Debbie Rochon in it, lots of zombie killing by backwoods hicks, what else do you need? However, instead of me talking about it, you should just go to The Dark Roast Releasing site, where you can read all about it AND check out the trailer. Why do the work when they can do it for me?

Now that I've got that out of the way, let's get to the main event - our interview with Mark Bessenger. We had the chance to talk with him about his upcoming film, "Bite Marks". Now, I haven't seen it, as they're currently in post-production, but I have seen the trailer and I'm really looking foward to checking it out. Production value is high, the acting looks superb and Bessenger seems to mesh together a lot of different ideas while keeping genre fans happy. It's a great interview, so make sure you give it a read!

So, tell us about “Bite Marks”, what’s it all about?

BITE MARKS is a horror-comedy about a truck driver named Brewster whose brother has disappeared and must take over his cross-country delivery of a load of coffins to a funeral home. Along the way, to help stay awake, he picks up a pair of gay hitchhikers who are having relationship problems. He immediately dislikes Cary, but is uneasy that he finds himself attracted to David. When their GPS misleads them into a junkyard and the truck breaks down, nightfall reveals that the coffins contain vampires. Hungry ones! Now, the mismatched trio must barricade themselves in the cab of the truck and try to survive the bloodsuckers--and each other--until dawn.

Now, you’ve mixed two genres together that usually don’t get mixed together ‘gay indie’ and ‘horror-comedy’. When you came up with the idea, what came first? The gay angle or the horror angle? Where did the whole idea come from?

My cousin Jennifer (who was hired as unit production manager) married a man whose family owned a scrapyard. The idea of setting a horror movie there tantalized me, and the thought of defending yourself from monsters in that location grew into the story that I wrote. Originally, the hitchhikers would be a straight couple, boyfriend and girlfriend. When we started our company, Blakk Flamingo Pictures, the executive producer asked me to pitch him two ideas. He liked them both, but wanted our first film to have some gay characters in it. I could do it for BITE MARKS, but not the other movie, so we went with BITE. Boyfriend/girlfriend Jack and Angie became Cary and Vogel, and that was that.

You managed to secure horror veteran Stephen Geoffreys, from “Fright Night”, “976-EVIL” and “Sick Girl”, for a role in the film. How did that come about?

I was discussing with a friend whether or not having a "name" in low budget films like you saw in the 80's straight-to-video releases was still relevant. My friend thought it couldn't hurt, and we began speculating on who would do something like this. Several names were tossed out, but then I remembered that I had seen Stephen Geoffreys in SICK GIRL mere days before and realized that he would be the perfect actor for our "name". I found him on MySpace, he asked to read the script, and then he was in! I was elated! His films, especially FRIGHT NIGHT, are truly favorites of mine.

If you don’t mind us asking, what was the budget for the film and how did you secure financing?

I can only say that it was under $250,000 (waaaay under), and we had to apply for the Screen Actors Guild's Low-Budget Independent Film Agreement to get a couple of SAG actors on board, and that is the budget limit to be able to do that. As to the financing, a friend of mine who owns a very successful bar put up the funds after reading the script.

What state are you at with the project right now and talk a bit about getting to this stage.

I did a several months of pre-production and we shot in southern Indiana for 17 days with mostly Los Angeles talent and an Indiana crew. The film stars Windham Beacham of LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP and BACK SOON fame. Porn starlet Krystal Main plays our vampire girl. Most of the supporting actors were also local. It wasn't an easy shoot, but it wasn't as hard as most films I've been on. Filming was done on the Canon 5D Mark II, which looks like a still camera but shoots true HD and at 24p. The footage is amazing. The movie is funny, scary, sexy and gory, and it is currently nearing the end of post-production. The picture is almost locked. At the last minute, I decided upon an animated opening credits sequence a la NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, so that put us behind schedule. The film is also being scored, so we're waiting for that, as well.

What are your goals for “Bite Marks”? Is it to get a festival run? Are you looking to just get distribution? Are you looking to turn a big profit? What would be your benchmark for success?

I would love to see the film get a festival run. I think audiences will enjoy it. We want it to be distributed, of course, and though I suspect it will be strictly dvd and On Demand, the ultimate goal for me would be a theatrical release of some sort, no matter how small. That would make my day, night and another day.

Where can people find out more about “Bite Marks” and is there a trailer that people can check out?

People who are interested can find out more about the film at our website, blakkflamingopictures.com, where they can see photos and read blog entries by myself and the cast. The trailer is posted there, but they can also see it on YouTube by doing a search on "bite marks teaser trailer". They can also join our Facebook Fan Page by searching on "Bite Marks" the Movie".

Now, tell us a bit about yourselves. How did you get in to indie horror and film?

I've always been a horror fan ever since a young age. One day, when I was six, I came home from school and found my mother watching THE REVENGE OF THE CREATURE on the Channel 3 Afternoon Movie. I was hooked from then on. I collected books, records, posters, magazines, everything I could find on horror. I bought all the Aurora monster model kits (both regular AND glow-in-the-dark versions!) and when I got a Super 8mm projector for Christmas, I started buying the old Castle Films compilations of classic Universal monster movies. Once, when I was snooping in the hall closet, I found a case with my mother's old 8mm home movie camera in it and got her to buy me some film. I began shooting my own little movies, which were all horror or fantasy-related. In 1980, I dropped out of college and opened one of the first home video stores in the area, which I ran for a year, then decided to try my hand at being a filmmaker, so I sold the store, went back to school and got my bachelor's degree in Creative Writing and my master's in Film. I shot two indie features, but couldn't find distribution for either, so I came to Los Angeles and opened a video production company that makes industrials and training films. The opportunity to make features came along, and here I am!

Film school: yes or no?

I'm not sure if you're asking me if I went or if I recommend one to go, but in either case, the answer is "yes." I went to Columbia College Chicago for my master's specializing in screenwriting. Would I recommend it? I think so. You do get hands on experience with equipment and professionals helping you learn what to do, but the best thing is the contacts you will make. People who think like you and are willing to help you make your films. This can be invaluable. I met Mark Pavia, the director of THE NIGHT FLIER, there, and we've been best buds ever since.

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

Well, as exploitation films were incorporated into Hollywood moviemaking, so is the indie film scene. You have big studios making small pictures, so they are kind of drawing the same ideas that normally only indie filmmakers would/could do. Plus, now with HD camcorders and Final Cut Pro so affordable, you are seeing a glut of indie product. The problem is, most filmmakers are only interested in doing gross makeup effects or getting girls to show their boobs onscreen, not caring about the story. That's why whenever I see another indie zombie film on Netflix, I cringe, because I know it's going to be all about "How can we show zombies eating people in a new way?" and they can't figure it out and shoot anyway, and you get the same old thing, resulting in the indie horror film scene spinning its wheels in the same muddy hole. There are some filmmakers doing new and interesting stuff, but they're few and far between.

Are there any other projects in the works?

Yeah, I have two projects buzzing around the greenlighted starting line. One, the most likely to go next, is the other picture I pitched, a spin on the slasher genre, but more like PSYCHO than FRIDAY THE 13TH (which I both love). It's more terror and suspense than gross-out. The other is a gay romance set during WWII. Whichever one I do next, I know it will be a blast to do and hopefully, the audience will think so, too.