Lepus And Terrestrial Updates


ImageI know, I know. I spend a lot of time on here talking about Lepus. Cut me some slack. This is the first time I have officially directed something. It’s like when someone has a baby. Even if the baby is a hideous chud they still want to share pictures on Facebook all the time. Now, I’m not calling Lepus hideous. I’m simply stating that, for all intents and purposes, this is my baby and I want to share it with the world. Is that so wrong? I’m proud of what I created. 

Image

Last night Brian and I met with David Sabal for a few mintues before he was a guest on The Gorram Nerd Hour. During that time he filled us in on what was happening with distribution. It’s been decided that we are going to be distributed by Worldwide MultiMedia. The other five distributors that were looking to pick us up wanted to wait too long to release the DVD. Worldwide can have it out by June (more details on the exact release date as they come in). They will also have copies available before hand for us to autograph and sell at Phoenix Comicon in May. If you’re gonna be there then come get your copy. You won’t be disappointed…well, I can vouch for Lepus at least, not the other shorts in the Scream Machine DVD. Maybe I should “You hopefully won’t be disappointed as I haven’t seen the other shorts”. Anyway, we will also be selling copies through our Facebook page.

Image

Last night we did a little foley work on the project and then talked about our next short film, Terrestrial, that we will hopefully be shooting next month. We just have to wait and see when our lead actor is available. He is going to be busy shooting a movie through part of February. Our second largest role, the character of Travis, has a similar issue with the actor. We wanted to shoot a certain week in February and he will be out of town. These are the people we absolutely want for the short and we will wait if that is what it takes. We loved these actors and really want to see what they do with the roles. You can hear the official casting announcements on The Gorram Nerd Hour later tonight when it goes up. Otherwise you can wait a week for us to post it on our Facebook page and Twitter.

#HoldYourBreath – Asylum’s Big Movie


Image

 

I have never tried to hide the fact that I think Asylum movies are bad. I’m guessing they would say the same thing. They have to know it. Why else would they make Mockbusters like Transmorphers and Titanic 2? But one thing Asylum has never done was release a movie in theaters. Netflix and Redbox have been their bread and butter. That all changed with #HoldYourBreath. I assume the hashtag was an attempt to get the movie trending on Twitter because it has nothing to do with the movie at all. In fact, nobody is carrying a cellphone let alone a laptop for the whole movie. 

The film begins with a flashback to a deranged killer about to be put to death by way of the electric chair. The onlookers, including the very cool Devanny Pinn as a surviving victim with the scars to prove it, witness the final horrible act of this brutal killer as he kills the warden before they get him strapped in and electrocuted. 

Cut to present day – a group of stereotypical kids are travelling up to a campsite in their SUV when they are about to pass a cemetery. Katrina Bowden (30 Rock, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil) pleads for everyone to hold their breath as they pass. She finally convinces them all to do so. The problem is the stoner coughs and drops his pipe between the driver’s legs and they nearly crash. 

Because the stoner didn’t hold his breath he becomes possessed by the killer we saw electrocuted at the beginning of the movie. He stays behind as the rest of the pretty people go check out the spooky abandoned mental hospital. A couple of the people go off and have sex while others just explore. Eventually they make it to their campsite and all hell breaks loose. The spirit of the killer can hop from body to body and nobody is safe. 

I will say this about the movie. They tried to do something original with it. Granted, it was still weak but enjoyable. The girls in the movie were all really good. I’m not saying that because it was a low budget horror film and girls tend to be hot and naked. There was plenty of that but that’s not my compliment. When I say they were good it’s because this type of movie is only as successful as the female actors. The whole movie depends on it. Bowden and Erin Marie Hogan were both really good in the movie. At times the script got silly but they tried very hard to sell the idea at all times. I appreciate that. 

Overall, this was the best quality film Asylum has made. It was still weak and could have used a good script re-write before going in front of the camera (an electric chair at a mental hospital, really?) but they did well with what they had. I can appreciate it. This movie is not high art. It never pretended to be. But it’s not exploitation cinema either. Sure there’s boobs and violence but it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to push boundaries. 

I am going to give this 3 out 5 thanks to strong performances from Bowden and Hogan and a director that didn’t make me cringe as I watched the technical aspects of the movie.

Why I Like JJ Abrams For Star Wars


When Star Trek ended it’s long run of spin-off series after something like 19 years the movie franchise had already gone down in flames. People were saying it was the end of Trek. Rick Berman, the man who took over for Gene Roddenberry, had simply refused to break too far from the formula he felt still worked after all these years. The problem was the formula was making it increasingly more difficult to ever begin watching Star Trek without starting from the beginning. 

Many years of non-stop television series, ten movies over twenty five years, and constant complaints…even from the most die hard fans meant we may have seen the end of Star Trek. Thankfully Paramount wasn’t ready to accept it. They wanted a way to make Trek accessible to the masses. So they said, “To hell with the fan’s Prime Directive. We’re gonna shake things up.” And shake them up they did. After creating the best Mission Impossible up to that point Paramount was highly impressed with JJ Abrams and wanted to extend their working relationship with the man. Soon after they announced he would be taking the reigns of one of the most beloved franchises in the history of media. 

Let me say something here – I hate remakes/reboots/prequels or whatever other name they spend more time coming up with than the actual scripts of the remakes/reboots/prequels Hollywood makes. For some reason, though, after seeing Star Trek in 2009 I was completely satisfied. It was sort of a remake/reboot/prequel/sequel all rolled into one. And it worked. Abrams was not really a fan of Star Trek but two of his good friends and frequent collaborators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci were. He tasked them with the near impossible – make a script that marries all of Trek together and changes everything to make it fresh and new. Abrams used his love for Star Wars by creating some great fights and seriously cool space battles, something more epic than we had seen in any of the previous Trek films. 

Star Trek Into Darkness is coming this Summer. I have seen the 9 minutes of footage they played in front of the Imax version of The Hobbit and let me say I was seriously impressed. Some say it’s a betrayal of Trek franchise for Abrams to leave it. I don’t see it that way. He has a proven history of laying the groundwork for other people to expand on the worlds he creates. With Alias he took a backseat after a couple years and allowed others to continue it on. With Lost he allowed Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse to make it into the show that became event television for six years. Fringe was left in the hands of others as well. He continued to stay on as executive producer for all of them but nurtured others into taking these shows and moving them in exciting new directions. Even after Mission Impossible III he stayed on as producer, hired a couple of writers he’d worked with in the past and entrusted the directing duties to Brad Bird. He took the fourth film and made the best one in the history of the franchise. So when it comes to Trek I have faith that Abrams will find the right person to replace him and take the franchise to new heights. 

As far as Star Wars is concerned I am very excited. Abrams has a very fertile imagination, a great eye for dynamic shots, and the ability to pace a story very well. The problem with George Lucas was that he felt bored. It was like he felt obligated to make the prequel trilogy but didn’t really want to. So he loaded it with boring stuff about trade embargoes and the inner workings of the Imperial Senate. It was like the odd numbered Star Trek films and how they were slow, boring movies with little action.

Between hiring Michael Arndt as the writer, bringing in Lawrence Kasdan to consult on the script, and hiring Abrams as director I feel like this new Star Wars film could be the best on since Empire Strikes Back.

Now, let the casting rumors begin. 

Voices From The Grave – A New Anthology Movie Coming Soon


I know I have spent a lot of time talking on here about Lepus. In the past I have mentioned that Walter Reuther, the man behind Scream Machine, gave us our first break by including Lepus as part of his anthology DVD. He asked me today if I would be would mention another project he’s been a part of. Written and directed by Laurence Holloway and Richard Stoudt Voices From The Grave is another anthology with three stories. Gary Brandner, author of the novel The Howling, inspired these men to turn his short story entitled Invitation into one of the three pieces in the anthology. The name Gary Brandner is not as well known as it should be. The man deserves to be better known. Maybe this film will remind people of his work and you will go seek out his books. 

Here’s the official press release for Voices From The Grave – 

From master horror writer Gary Brandner, author of ‘The Howling’, and filmmakers Richard Stoudt and Laurence Holloway comes a relentlessly harrowing film experience. A trio of horrors that will make your flesh creep and your heart palpitate. 

Image

Deadly spirits, vengeful and maliciously spiteful give fuel to these tales of supernatural terrors. 
‘Invitation’, based on a short story by Gary Brandner, tells the tale of loser Len Krager, who attends a party he’ll never forget! A vengeful spirit exacts revenge in the tale ‘All Hallows’ Eve’! An exercise in suspense and atmosphere. Robert Mundy doesn’t celebrate Halloween since the accidental death of his brother on Halloween night. But this Halloween night, vengeance will rise and seek retribution. Ghostly road hazards endanger a used car owner in the turbo-charged yarn ‘Repossessed’, a spine tingling ‘vehicle’ for absolute fright. Jeff purchases a killer car for a killer deal….unfortunately, the car really is a killer!

Image

A true exercise in style and terror, ‘Voices from The Grave’ will thrill and chill even the most jaded horror fan!

Image

 

And don’t forget that the official Voices From The Grave teaser trailer is finally here. A new full legnth horror anthology featuring Gary Brandner’s (Howling author) Short story “Invitation”!

Trailer:
 
Also check us on IMDB.
Check us out on Facebook.
 
Well folks, there it is. I have to say that I am curious about this one. I grew up a huge Joe Dante fan. From the original Piranha and The Howling to even his current work on Masters Of Horror. As a boy I looked for the book The Howling was based on because I needed to read it after seeing the movie. For many years I had it wedged in between my Stephen King and Clive Barker collections. That’s how highly I thought of Gary Brandner.  
 

Ten Worst Genre Movies Of 2012


The new episode of The Gorram Nerd Hour goes up soon. In it we talk about my list of the ten worst genre movies of 2012. You can listen to it but I thought I would write out what I have to say about it here. Well, let’s get to it.

Image

10) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – It was over stylized and underwhelming. It may have looked pretty but style over substance does not make a good movie. As a Director of Photography Caleb Deschanel made it look beautiful and seemed to be at the top of his game. There were some cool moments but overall the movie was slow and tedious.

Image

9) The Bourne Legacy – Some may argue this wasn’t a genre film but I contend that it is. They really played up the science fiction angle with this one. It still didn’t work. Jeremy Renner was great but that didn’t make up for the terrible story and horrible ending that makes you want to storm Universal Studio and demand your money back.

Image

8) Men In Black 3 – Sure it was fun watching Josh Brolin do a Tommy Lee Jones impression. That didn’t save this movie. I love the screenwriter, Etan Cohen, but even he couldn’t save this movie. It doesn’t help that they started shooting before he was finished with the script and even had to shut down production briefly to let him write more stuff for them to shoot. When there’s so much money on the line you’d think Sony would have been a little more careful with their investment.

Image

7) Dark Shadows – Remember when people liked Tim Burton movies? It was before he made Planet Of The Apes. Who doesn’t love his early work? It was fun, weird, full of magic. As Brian put it on the show – “I think Burton and Depp make movies together just to blow each other”. It was a terrible movie. People need to change and grow, not make the same crap over and over.

Image

6) Wrath Of The Titans – Nobody asked for it. Nobody wanted it. Liam Neeson proved that he will do anything if the money’s there. It’s a terrible movie. As I wrote in the show notes for The Gorram Nerd Hour – “What’s next, Hollywood? Are you gonna hire the director to ruin Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and turn them into aliens?…Oh, you did? Shit!”

Image

5) Total Recall – The best thing about this movie was that it reminded me how much I loved the Verhoeven/Shwarzenegger movie from 1990. They kept swearing up and down it wasn’t a remake but a closer adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story. Everything about it was a remake! They just took Mars out and replaced it with the center of the Earth. Not even the hotness of Kate Beckinsale could save this movie.

Image

4) The Devil Inside – I love exorcism movies. Always have. The problem with the bad ones is that they are so far of the mark that they are just laughable. This one passed laughable and just became unbearable. I reviewed it here. See what I thought then. I don’t want to waste any more words.

Image

3) Resident Evil: Retribution – You thought the last one was terrible? It’s a masterpiece of cinema compared to the turd burger. Paul WS Anderson wrote and directed again from ideas sent to him by Twitter fans (I guess he has fans. Who knew?), because that’s a wonderful idea. You ask the fans how to ruin your movie and take the blame off yourself.

Image

2) Silent Hill: Revelations – Nobody was begging for a sequel, especially not to a video game movie that most people dismissed the first time. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Resident Evil from making it to the theater five times now. Why should Silent Hill be any different, right? But instead of making it good let’s take the talented actors and give them nothing to do, take away all the cool stuff that worked in the first movie and Twilight the shit out of it by getting a couple of pretty high school kids to act all sad and conflicted. Way to go, Hollywood. You should have just turned this property over to Uwe Boll.

Image

1) Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance – Nobody liked the first movie. Nobody wanted Nicolas Cage to come back. Nobody thought the movie was a good idea. That’s why Sony said, “Here’s some money, guys who made Crank. Go make Ghost Rider piss fire.” This was a clear case of Sony wanting to screw Marvel. They knew that if they didn’t make another Ghost Rider the rights to the property would move to Disney. They couldn’t have that. The only other superhero they have is Spider-Man while Fox has all the mutants and Fantastic Four and Disney has the rest. Good idea or not Sony refused to let the rights go. Idris Elba should have known better. Nicolas Cage never knows better.

Well, that does it for my list of the worst ten of 2012. Let me know what you thought. Agree, disagree?

1st Round Of Auditions Are Done For Terrestrial


Another day of auditions completed. We found most of our core cast and they were amazing. The tone for this one is much different and darker than what we did with “Lepus” and the people auditioning just got it. How we’ve been so blessed with the people we’ve had the chance to work with is beyond me. We got really lucky with the “Lepus” cast and many of them came in for the audition tonight and proved they can go beyond playing the broad goofiness to playing darker comedy. 

If you would have asked me a year ago where we’d be right now I would not have expected this. Brian and I were sitting around wondering if our feature script for “Welcome To Deadsville” could even get sold. We didn’t have connections. We had no experience. So we wrote a couple of shorts for me to direct. “Lepus” was picked up for distribution before it was even shot and now we’re making “Terrestrial”. This will show a different style in writing for the both of us and directing for me. 

We had three people who worked on “Lepus” come in to audition for us tonight. Each one of them brought their own special magic to what we wrote. We also had some others whom we want to work with but couldn’t find a good fit for last time around come in. Then there were the new guys. All of them did wonderfully. They are going to make my job very hard. We had about eight people come out for three roles. We didn’t ask too many people as we didn’t want to feel as though we were rejecting very many. I think we found exactly what we need from certain people. I need to review the audition tapes before final decisions are made but I am very happy with everyone I think we may cast. 

Now we get down to real fun – finding locations, working out actor’s schedules, props and transportation. 

A Quick Terrestrial Update


Later tonight we will be holding an open casting call for our next short film entitled Terrestrial. We are really looking forward to it. Several of our actors for Lepus have asked to audition for us again. I guess they enjoyed their time working with us the last time around.

The story is about a man who has lost everything in his life – how wife and kids have left, he’s been fired from his job. He doesn’t even have any furniture left. This is all due to the belief that there is an alien living in his closet. He attends a support group for alien abductees and they laugh him out of the room. It is then that the alien in the closet begins to tell him to kill.

Everyone that has read the script says that it is unique and darkly funny. I just hope we can find the right people to do the script justice. We will find out tonight.

Thoughts Of Past And Future


Here we are, just a few short months after I started this blog, and we have one short film nearly ready to show, another starting next month and The Gorram Nerd Hour has recorded nearly 20 episodes. All of that in just a few short months. When I started this blog I was talking about the features Brian Smith and I have been writing. We got detoured…but for good reason. We needed something to showcase our talent. We were a little arrogant to think that two writers with no credits to their names could get someone to give them money to produce and direct a movie of their own. Now we’ll have two things to show.

Since I was a boy I have loved movies. I would sit and watch an action movie like any little would. I loved Commando, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard. I also had an affection for every other type of film. I didn’t care. If someone made I wanted to see it. Science Fiction, Horror, Romantic Comedy, Sappy Melodrama, Musicals. I just loved movies. What I took away from all of that was that it was what I wanted to do. I wanted to make movies of my own. At first I thought I wanted to be an actor until I took a drama class in High School and my teacher had me direct something for the first time. That’s when my passion made itself crystal clear. I loved the behind the scenes aspect of things. 

I always enjoyed writing. It has been a passion of mine for as long as I remember. What I wrote was always weird. I would go off and write a sequel to Romeo & Juliet in iambic pentameter or a western about aliens hiding among the townsfolk and planning on destroying the town with radioactive lima beans. So when Brian and I sat down to write Lepus I suggested we write the whole thing in Klingon save for the killer’s one line which would be in German. 

Sometimes I need to be reigned in.

We decided not to go with Klingon. But we kept Brian’s line in German. There is not one good reason for it other than it made us laugh. Lepus is a comedy, after all. We started off goofy with our next short film and decided to go darker once we started writing. Terrestrial will be a different side of our writing. It’s tone is more serious while still being quirky. 

As I write this we are only a couple days away from the open casting call for Terrestrial. I couldn’t be more excited about who we have coming in to read. a couple of our Lepus cast members are coming in for it – Jai Yunae and Randy Robinson. I loved working with them on Lepus. I can’t wait to see what they bring to this audition. We also have some other really talented people we didn’t cast for Lepus coming in for another go. Wilman Vergara II was someone I was really impressed with and just couldn’t find a good place to put him last time. This time he’s coming in to read for the lead in Terrestrial and I think he’s got a great shot at it. Adam Boggs is another up and comer I really liked and he’s coming in to read for us again. I was impressed with both of them so much. I’m glad they want to come in and try for this one. 

We’re still not at a point where we’ve been able to pay anyone for their work. It’s all just copy and credit basically. I’m amazed by the talent that has been willing to work with us for nothing. Hopefully by the time we get started on the next two parts of Lepus we have a budget…something to pay these amazing people for their time. 

Back to Lepus for a moment – The rough cut I saw a while back is good. I was really happy with how it turned out. It was a very rough cut with no score, no effects, no foley. But it was great, great enough for Walter Reuther (aka Scarlet Fry) to tell me it was his favorite in the anthology horror DVD we will be included on. And he directed all the other shorts. 

David Sabal, our wonderful renaissance man (DP, producer, editor) just got the score back from the composer. I asked for something similar to a score from the 80’s scifi and horror movies I loved so much. I wanted something like an old John Carpenter score. From what I hear the composer delivered. Hopefully I will hear it in the next few days. 

Now on to The Gorram Nerd Hour. We have been having a lot of fun recording our show every week. Brian and I love working on it. We are talking about re-tooling the show a little. The first twenty or so weeks have been about finding out what works and what doesn’t. We’re gonna be trying a few new things in upcoming episodes that could prove to be a lot of fun. We are also going to be spending the weekend of February 8-10th at the Bloody Hero International Film Festival at the Phoenix Convention Center. We will be recording our podcast, conducting interviews and serving on the jury. This is a big deal for us. I know I’m really excited about it. We may have another fun surprise for our listeners that weekend too. This will be a part of the re-tool of the show. Let us know what you think.

One last thing before I wrap this up. We had a friend from our Abnormal Entertainment family in town last weekend. Camm Harston, co-host of Raise Your Spirits with Camm and Kevin. While he was here Brian and I both guested on their show. We had a lot of fun and everyone should go listen.

Here;s hoping 2013 proves even better for Robot Vampire Productions than 2012. We’re already off to a great start.