Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dr Gangrene's Heebie Jeebies Horror Short Film Festival

Have you shot a horror short lately?  Have an idea for a horror short and you think you can finish it by August 22nd?  Well, why not enter it in Dr. Gangrene's Heebie Jeebies Horror Short Film Fest?  If you're interested, check out this press release that we found in our inbox!  

Dr. Gangrene and Culture Cringe Give You The Heebee Jeebees.

Horror Short Film Contest Set To Invade Bucket City

Murfreesboro, TN (07.24.2012) Nashville horror host Dr. Gangrene is teaming with Culture Cringe for the First Annual Heebie Jeebies Horror Short Film Festival. The one night event will showcase horror short films made locally in the middle Tennessee area as well as around the globe.

Dr. Gangrene said of the festival, “I'm excited to partner with Culture Cringe for the Heebie Jeebies film festival. They've been doing some exciting events in Murfreesboro, and their energy and enthusiasm will help make this an exciting event!”

Films will be screened September 29th 2012 at 3 Brothers Deli and Brewhouse located in the heart of Murfreesboro Tennesee, followed by an Award Scaremony honoring the best of the festival. Awards will be given for Best Director, Actor, Actress, Funniest Short, Scariest Short, Best Music Video, a best young film maker award and the Grand Prize of the festival will presented with the coveted Cringie Statue. Winners will also be included on a dvd release from Shackle Island Studios and Culture Cringe and aired on THE CW on Dr. Gangrene Presents television program.

Alongside Dr. Gangrene the festival is being curated by Benjamin Kaboom of Culture Cringe and film maker Cameron McCasland. McCasland said of the films being selected to screen, “I think everyone involved with Heebie Jeebies likes the idea of No Budget Lo-Fi film making. People just picking up a camera and shooting something that scares them, inspires them, makes them laugh, whatever. We want something different. It doesn’t have to be slick to make a good movie. I honestly just love the idea of friends running around in back yards and city streets making monster movies for the hell of it. Thats the stuff I want to see! ”

Films must be 22 minutes in length or less, horror themed,  and meet TV decency standards. The contest is open to U.S. and Canadian citizens. Submissions must be received by August 22, 2012 A full list of rules can be found at

Culture Cringe is a label specializing in LO-FI media releases of indie musical artists and films on cassette tape, vhs, and a handcrafted self published zine. Culture Cringe podcast all things strange from Bucket City, Murfreesboro TN,  Culture Cringe continues to put on shows and events in offbeat places with a focus on keeping things local and weird. For more information check out

Larry Underwood is an award winning writer and television producer. Outside of his role of Dr. Gangrene , he writes a regular column for Scary Monsters Magazine and daily musings in his Tales From The Lab Blog at

Cameron McCasland is an Emmy nominated film maker from Edgewood Texas who has called Nashville home since 2001. His work has been seen on MTV, CMT, The CW, and film festivals around the globe. His upcoming feature film “The Lashman” is due out later this year.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Undertakers - Kickstarter Project

If you're looking to finance a film or a project and you don't know about Kickstarter, you need to get your head in the game.  By no means does putting together an awesome Kickstarter campaign mean you're going to be successful, but we're in a world where financing doesn't come easy and it's definitely worth a shot.  Not only that, there's lots of success stories coming out the Kickstarter world these days, but, to get there, they all need help getting attention.  So, I'd like to bring your attention to an awesome looking Kickstarter project called "The Undertakers".  We spoke with Kevin Head about the project and, you know what to do - support indie film, go over to their Kickstarter page and donate a few bucks!

Tell us about your project, what’s it all about?

There are certain places throughout the world that possess supernatural properties, where the dead inexplicably rise from the grave to hunt human flesh. Charged with defending this dangerous secret are a group of highly skilled agents in a private organization referred to as "The Undertakers". Their mission: to identify, segregate, and stand vigil in these dangerous areas preventing the possibility of a catastrophic outbreak.

The Undertakers will be set in a highly stylised world with dark-gothic elements. Our character and zombie designs are created with a Burtonesque feel, giving the film a touch of similarity to classics like Cemetery Man and Underworld.

But the emphasis is on story. The web series centers around the sacrifices these brave men and women make in order to protect the world each and every day, in total secrecy.

Oh, and let's not forget to mention the kickass zombie killing scenes in which our characters prefer the traditional weapons of old, so that they might kill silently and swiftly.

If you don’t mind us asking, what was the budget and how are you going to secure financing?

At the moment, we are producing a series of web shorts that will lead up to the storyline of the feature film. We have decided to take the unconventional approach of crowd funding ( for raising the budget for these shorts for multiple reasons. It allows us to connect with fans of the genre directly, and give once-in-a-lifetime type rewards for their participation in raising the funds. Those who participate can receive cool items like an "I heart zombies" T-shirt, replica LARP swords and signed posters. They can also receive exciting rewards like Skyping with Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), Producer credits and even a chance to appear as a zombie in the series.

To find out more visit our kickstarter website:

We are working to fund two separate groups of web shorts. The first has a budget of $28,000 and the second will be produced if we reach the goal of $55,000.

As of right now, what are your goals for the film and what kinds of things are you doing to make sure you reach your goals?

We are producing these web shorts for a couple of reasons. First, we want to give fans a taste of what the world of The Undertakers feels like. We have been producing artwork, short stories and screenplays for a couple of years now and have a growing fan base that has sprung from our exposure on MySpace and Facebook. This is mainly for them.

But, it also allows us to have something to show as we go looking for funding from production companies and investors for the eventual feature film The Undertakers: Road's End.

What about film festivals? Are you going to enter your film? If you have, how did it do? Tell us about your feelings around the indie film fest circuit.

As of now we have no plans to enter the shorts into any festivals. It is mainly for use on our website and will be distributed on dvd to those participating in the kickstarter campaign. Hopefully, these little gems will become a little part of our success story, and coveted by those who have them.

Where can people find out more about the film and/or get their hands on a copy?

You can find out more about The Undertakers by visiting our Kickstarter page:, by "liking" us on Facebook to follow our progress:, or by visiting our official website:

You can only receive a DVD by making a small pledge on our Kickstarter page.

What about you? Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into indie horror.

I've been a fan of the genre since watching the late-night double-feature of Night of the Living Dead and The Children at age 8 on Detroit television. I obtained a degree in Television Production at Ferris State University and became a post-production specialist, trained in editing, animating and camera.

About six years ago, I decided to follow my heart and pursue a career as a writer/director in feature film. My writing has garnered recent recognition, as I have been covered by William Morris Endeavor on the recommendation of Darren Lynn Bousman (Director of several films in the Saw franchise), hired by Zeitgeist Productions to pen a horror film now in development, and cultivated several invaluable relationships with recognizable actors with the desire to work on several of my projects. I have several other projects in the works, but this is the one closest to my heart.

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

Indie horror is in a very interesting place right now. With the collapse of our economy a few years back, production companies were forced to adapt. The result for Indie writers, producers and directors were fewer options and sales. The amazing thing for me is how filmmakers always seem to find a way. From the ashes of our economic despair comes a new platform like, which allows fans to decide what gets made and what doesn't.

It's a frustrating, yet exciting time for those of us working our asses off trying to get our films made.

Adapt or abandon your dreams.

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

There are a few other things in the works at the moment. As we adapt, learn and get efficient at what we are doing, others look to use that knowledge which has led me to the producing side. I'm planning to be associated with a few other web projects in the near future.

We are also gearing up to fund another film I have in preproduction entitled "Black Storm", which centers around a small community plagued by a group of malevolent entities trapped inside a massive dust storm.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Horror Festival: Horror-on-Sea Film Festival

If I'm going to be telling everyone how important the film festivals and screenwriting competitions are, I should probably start updating our listings of them.  It could be a while until I get through all of that, but until then... here's a new one you should check out.  Best part about this one?  It's free to enter.  Also,  really like the idea of a faux trailer competition.  Here's what festival director, Paul Cotgrove, had to say: 

Next January sees the start of a brand new Horror Film Festival based in the seaside resort of Southend-on-Sea, Essex. England. The Horror-on-Sea Film Festival will be screening a mix of Horror Films from the UK and the rest of the world. We are now accepting feature length submissions on DVD until the 30th September and admission is free. There is also a faux trailer competition. Please go to or email for further details.

Be sure to check it out!

Monday, July 9, 2012

"The Meat Puppet" - Filming in New Jersey right now!

New project filming in New Jersey right now, check it out.  Always good to keep up on what's going on out there.  How about you?  Are you filming something?  Want to promote your project?  Let us know!

Monday June 25, 2012 NY, NY Horror / Thriller

"THE MEAT PUPPET" (1. meat puppet; (noun) person(s) that have no will of their own; somebody that lets others control them. Another name for a human being, especially one who doesn't think for him/herself, has no soul and is therefore controlled by others).

"Currently filming in New Jersey is this year’s new bone chilling horror/thriller “The Meat Puppet”. From the mind of Award Winning Actor Keith Collins, along with Silver Phoenix Entertainment, Valenti Vision Films and the pen of NY Emmy Award Winning writer Joseph Pepitone and Billy Pepitone (“Stuck in the Middle”) comes a sadistic thrill fest, full of twists and turns, that is sure to give movie goers the fright of their lives.

A vain, successful playboy tortures and kills beautiful girls and uses them to make the perfect meal for his lavish dinner parties. Body parts, blood, torture, cannibalism and NO escape are a few ways to describe this clever new terrifying and psychologically damaging creep show.
“The Meat Puppet” tells the story of Andrew “Drew” Shelton who has it all – looks, money, women and an insatiable taste for human flesh. His vanity is only surpassed by his obsession with finding the perfect tasting meal and it has fueled his appetite for killing, preparing and cooking beautiful women. He throws lavish dinner parties and serves his guests his latest victim and one unlucky guest becomes the main course of his next get together. When a no-nonsense detective starts putting the pieces together, it leads to a game of cat and mouse that only increases the stakes. But is Drew the soul-less, cold-blooded killer that he appears to be? Or is he just the Meat Puppet for a more sadistic mind?

Directed by Joe Valenti (“Echelon 8”). Produced by Keith Collins. Produced & Executive Produced by Blaze Kelly Coyle and Joe Valenti. Written by Joseph & Billy Pepitone. With a well-rounded cast including many special appearances and STARRING: Gregg Valentino (TLC’s “The Man Whose Arms Exploded”), Billy Sample (“Former NY Yankee”), Brandon Ruckdashel (“Co-ed Confidential”), Geri Reischl (“Gunsmoke”,“The Brady Bunch Variety Hour” aka Fake Jan), Jason Prager (“Beauty and the Geek”), Billy Garcia (“Survivor”), Gary Garver (“formerly from the Howard Stern Show”), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (“Guns N Roses”), Erick Chopin (Winner of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”), Keith Collins (“Stuck in the Middle”, “BIdentity Crisis”), Jamie Reed-Kovac (Fury – “American Gladiators”), April Hunter (“WCW”, ”TNA”), Doug Bollinger (“Waltzing Anna”, “Mail Order Bride”),Theresa Galeani (“Cross the Line”, “I am Legend”), John Fields (“A-List DJ Unique”), Anastasia Smith (“NY Majesty Lingerie Football League”) and Faith Stanek (“Star Trek Phase 2 Web Series”).

The Meat Puppet

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Why You Should Bother with Screenwriter Contests and Film Festivals

Yup, it's been a while since we last posted anything...  but, I'm ready to get things back on track.  What can I say?  I want to get in touch with more horror screenwriters, filmmakers and festival folks.  I want to give more indie horror projects promotion and help get stuff out there.  I have to keep posting because we have to elevate this little sub-genre!

Anyhow, over the last, I don't know, year or so...  I've decided to make a serious effort to take this whole thing to another level and that's really why I haven't had time to post anything.  We've been working on launching a new website (more on that in the coming weeks), I've submitted some of my scripts to some screenwriting competitions and I've been trying to help produce some films.  The attempt to produce films has really taken a lot of time, but I'll tell you what... it's a huge learning experience.  One thing I've learned, and that I'd like to pass on to you, is that the film festivals and screenwriting contest are more important than you think.  Here's why...

There's a million ways to produce a film, but let's simplify this a bit - on one side, you have the equity financing model and on the other side, you have the debt financing model.  Equity financing means you have the equity - long and short, you've got the money and you're funding it yourself.  If that's your model, have at it.  You can write, direct and produce your project any way you'd like.  Debt financing, on the other hand, means that someone is willing to pay for the final product and you then get someone to lend you money against that promise to pay, so you can go and produce your film.  Most indie films are, at least in part, financed this way.  Yes, there's lots in between and that's a very simplistic view, but I'm making a point here, okay?  Now, how much this person is willing to pay for this unmade project depends on how you've packaged it up.  There's three major components: talent, script and director.  The big thing is talent... who are the actors?  If you're a friend of Brad Pitt's and he's willing to attach himself, boom... you're good to go.  Don't worry about the script.  However, most of us need to convince talent to come on board and we need to convince people that this is a good project.  So, that leaves the writer and director.  I'm going to concentrate on the writer here, as I feel the script is the true foundation of any project, but this is just as pertinent to the director.

You need a good script, where do you get it?  A script by a produced and/or working screenwriter is one thing, they have proven that they can write material that works.  I'm not talking about your micro-budget film that you produced and financed yourself, either.  I'm talking about a script from a working Hollywood screenwriter.  Get a script from one of them, you've got a good base.  However, getting a script from a well known or produced writer can be tough, especially if you're an unproven producer, so you might have to go a little further down the trough... or you might want to use your own material.  If that's the case, you need something that makes that script stand out, something that says, "this is worth taking a chance on".  So, what separates you from the rest of the pile of unproduced and non-working screenwriters?  See where I'm going with this, yet?  It's awards and accolades.  Where do you get those?  From winning film festivals and screenwriting competitions.  I've read bio's on writers that say things like, "quarter finalist in such and such" or "top 20% in this and that"...  and that makes the bio on the writer far more compelling than, "I think I'm a pretty good writer", which is what you're saying if you're unproduced, unpaid and haven't won any awards.  Don't kid yourself, most people won't read the script.  They'll read your bio, the logline and, if you're lucky, your outline.  You want to separate yourself from the pack?  These awards and accolades make a big difference.

So, do yourself a favor, enter the festivals and competitions.  Even if you're just producing and financing your own film - it helps sell it once it's done.  Also, on the writing side, if there's an option to get coverage, take it.  It costs you a bit extra, but you can learn where you can improve and you can learn what these guys want.  Then, you'll know what you need to do when you enter the next festival to get some accolades.  Once you have accolades, you're on your way to being a produced and working writer and/or director.

What do you think?  Got a different opinion?  Let me know!