Here We Are Again


It’s been an awfully long time since I used this blog. It’s not because I was deliberately neglecting it. There have been many reasons. First of which was all the things I have been doing. Back in November I embarked on directing my second short film, Terrestrial, starring Bill Oberst Jr. and a few faces from Lepus. The shoot was quite an ordeal. I had such a bad migraine on day one that I began vomiting that morning. The next few days were smooth. Since we shot it there have been some stumbling blocks. The editor’s mom fell ill causing the first pause in completion. Then we started shooting an ill conceived improv web series and put Terrestrial on the back burner yet again. I stepped away from the series after two very stressful shoots. By that time I had accepted the position of Film Festival Coordinator for Phoenix Comicon and it consumed a lot of my time. In what little downtime I had between work and an con duties I was the subject of a short documentary about fathers and sons. It was a very cathartic thing for my father and me. All the while I have been working on writing scripts for a sitcom based loosely on my family and a horror film about demons. The latter is going to be a big collaborative effort between myself and some old and new friends. I’m very excited about it.

So let’s get to talking about each thing individually. First Terrestrial. I have talked about the movie briefly on here before. Bill was fantastic. The rest of the cast was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys to make this with. Everyone was awesome. Bill’s performance was at times childlike, murderous and evil, funny and creepy. It’s got sides of his talent rarely seen on screen. We will be getting back to finishing this up very soon. I’m excited to get people to see it. As for the rest of the cast what can I say? Willman Vergara Jr. was someone I wanted to work with on Lepus but couldn’t find a good spot for. I’m so glad we found a place for him on this one. Randy Robinson and RJ Markham, who were both in Lepus, came back for more twisted fun and did a wonderful job. Everyone was very well prepared and kept us moving ahead of schedule. They were on point with their characters and delightfully funny.

As for the next bit. It’s a sore subject and I really don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or offend when I speak of it. It was a web series about ghost hunting called Specter Quest. The reason I say it was ill conceived is because we all seemed to have different ideas of what it should be and how to get there we didn’t stick to the plan I laid out. They have decided to continue on without me. And I wish them the best of luck with it.

Phoenix Comicon was a great experience this year. It was my first year as Film Festival Coordinator and it couldn’t have gone better if I actually knew what I was doing. The film selections were better than ever this year. We even had the chance to screen a little seen movie called Moontrap from the 80’s starring Bruce Campbell and Walter Koenig. Campbell was kind enough to come up to the film festival unannounced and do a little introduction to the film, much to the delight of the audience…and the staff. We had some standout movies and shorts this year. Jessica Cameron sent me her directorial debut, Truth Or Dare, to screen at the con. It’s a shame she and the cast and crew couldn’t be there. We had something happen I had never seen with my own eyes before. Two grown men came out of the screening room looking weak and pale. Both nearly threw up at what they had seen. It was incredible. I met some very talented and great people this year working at the con. I have been volunteering for years but this is the first time having this level of responsibility. I can’t wait for next year.

I was anxious to work on another movie. I have wanted to experience what it’s like to work on a documentary so I responded to an ad. I met the director for dinner. We got to talking and he wanted to make something about fathers and sons and estrangement. My father and I have had some serious ups and downs over the years. There were years at a time I refused to talk to him. Other times he was so messed up on drugs he was stealing my belongings and selling them for drug money. He even tried to convince a Mexican former boxer that I was calling him “spick” and “wetback” behind his back just to get this boxer to beat me up. My dad has been sober for more than four years now and was recently married to a great woman. I was his best man. We’ve worked out most of our issues. I asked my dad if he’d be a part of this documentary and he immediately agreed. In fact, he almost started crying before I could even tell him fully what it was all about. He hasn’t seen it yet but I am very proud of it. It was not my project. It belongs to a new friend. I am excited to continue it on. He wants to stretch it into a feature at some point and add in new subjects.

Finally, without giving too much away, I want to talk about a new movie I’m working on right now. We have a title. We have the story. We all just need to sit down and put it into proper screenplay format. I will say this – it’s about demons. It’s technically an anthology film but more in the vein of Pulp Fiction or The Signal. Each story carries over characters from previous shorts and they are all connected into one large story. I will only be directing one or two parts. The others are being done by some other new friends, one I met through Phoenix Comicon. He had a great eye when it came to making something visually striking with very little. The short I want him to do may actually be a silent film with a healthy dose of violence, kidnapping and maybe a little sex. Each story deals with a different kind of demon. We have stories ranging from half demon babies to a man everyone believes to be schizophrenic to a crossroads demon story. We’re really looking forward to our first script meeting in a few short days.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll be back soon. I kinda promise.

 

Video Interviews From Rapture Horror Expo


It only took a week for my friends to get the video interviews posted from Rapture Horror Expo. Not only are there 9 video interviews with the likes of Betsy Rue and Jake Busey, there is also video of our podcast featuring the funny and talented Bill Oberst Jr. as well. The Gorram Nerd Hour is quickly making a name for itself in the world of podcasts.

Also, tune in tomorrow to hear Brian forget everything he wanted to talk about, me sing part of the theme song to “My Secret Identity”, as well as make fun of Jaime Ruiz for his Ewok hat. That one will be posted tomorrow.

And next week we have a special treat for Star Wars fans. My friend Dave Attaberry will stopping in to argue with me about episodes 1-3. You can find it all at http://facebook.com/TheGorramNerdHour or http://gorramnerdhour.blogspot.com, audio and video.

My Thoughts On Rapture Horror Expo


This weekend was a long one. But it was great. The Expo hit a few snags along the way. KB, the director of the Expo, put the whole thing together in record time. Normally when putting together a convention of any sort you want to have roughly nine months. This affords you time to get all your ducks in a row. You can schedule guests, make sure the panels are secured, and you have to get the word out. From what I understand they put this all together in under four months. That is amazing.

Sadly, this means there are going to be parts that are going to be a little disorganized. Even working at Phoenix Comicon where people never stop organizing and prepping all year long there seems to be snags and disorganization every year. It’s unavoidable. The important thing is to keep your head up and power through to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for your guests. And Rapture accomplished that.

There was another uphill battle they had to fight. I will not name names but I will say that there were people out there spreading fear about coming to the Expo, claiming it may be cancelled. It was all over Facebook. Some folks that I talked to said that they were going to buy the full event pass for $35 and didn’t because of what they read. This cut the profits of the Expo down considerably. It’s a shame this talk got started because the people who came to the Expo really seemed to enjoy it.

There were events at the convention center that ran through the evening including the screening of The Black Dahlia Haunting. There was also a lot to do at Monsterland in downtown Mesa. I was lucky enough to see the band First Jason perform a few tracks before having to leave on Friday. I was too tired, unfortunately, to see the burlesque show performed last night.

As far as guests I have to say that the highlights for me were Bill Oberst Jr., Jake Busey, Jessica Cameron and Devanny Pinn. They were all so nice. I was able to talk for a few minutes to Betsy Rue, star of My Bloody Valentine. You will want to see that interview. I was not about to ask any of these women about their nude scenes but she brought it up and talked in detail about her scenes in My Bloody Valentine. She was really open and fun about it. Brooke Lewis was a great deal of fun to talk to. Her work as an actress is fascinating but she doesn’t want to limit herself. She has also become a motivational speaker and a life coach. She talked to me about that for a while. Everyone was so nice and willing to talk. There was a wonderfully open atmosphere on the floor that was given off by all of the guests.

I want to make sure I give a quick thank you to everyone that helped put this together – KB, you were awesome. Thank you for the opportunity. Kara, without you we would have been lost. Thank you. Chadington, what you did for Rob Edwards was amazing. You rock. Thank you. Bill Oberst Jr., you gave us our best show yet. We love you and will watch even the most terrible movies if you’re in them. Thank you. Jake Busey, you gave me a great 15 minutes and you were just plain cool. Thank you. Devanny Pinn, keep doing what you do. Making movies on the cheap and making them look pretty is a hard thing to do but you’re doing it. And I love your enthusiasm. Thank you. Jessica Cameron, you gave us not one but two interviews now. You are so sweet and we really want to see Shadow. We love your work. Keep it coming. Thank you. Ari Lehman, from acting to music to your love of the craft you’re just an all around cool guy. And thanks for the bumper. Brooke Lewis, even if you never act again what you’re doing is amazing. We love you for it. Thank you. Tommy Piech, watching you work crafting a zombie was amazing. You have something for sure. I can’t wait to see where you go from here. Thank you. I know I have probably left people out and I’m sorry. My brain is fried right now from the weekend. But I have to thank a couple more people. Tony and David, if it hadn’t been for you this would not have gone as smoothly. Plus we got free sandwiches at Denny’s. Thank you both. This leaves Brian. I’m not gonna sing Wind Beneath My Wings but we make a damn good team. I had a lot of fun this weekend. I don’t know that I would have wanted to do this if it hadn’t been for you.

The Black Dahlia Haunting Review


I spent the entire weekend at The Rapture Horror Expo in Mesa, Arizona. It was a great experience. I got in with a press pass and was able to record our podcast, The Gorram Nerd Hour with Brian Smith, as well as get several interviews for you all to see soon. The should be up later in the week. You can find them at http://facebook.com/TheGorramNerdHour or http://gorramnerdhour.blogspot.com. A few of the girls from The Black Dahlia Haunting were there. I had a chance to sit down with Devanny Pinn and talk about the film which had its Southwestern premiere last night.

Before I get into the bulk of the review I would like to say that this movie was made over the course of three weeks for $1000 roughly. The cut I saw still had a temp music score and the sound mix was not done. There is still work to he done on this film.

The story for The Black Dahlia Haunting is as follows – a young woman named Holly, abused by her father had run away at an early age. She had a young half brother who doesn’t know her. The brother had just murdered how parents and was locked in a mental institution awaiting trial. Holly comes to see him. As the movie begins to unfold we find that her brother is blind and drawing beautiful detailed pictures of Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia. At the same time Holly is having very vivid dreams of being tortured. That’s when the haunting begins.

The movie was obviously low budget. Some of the performances were great. I really warmed up to Devanny Pinn as she began to play the possessed version of Holly. She really took to the role and had a lot of fun with it. Noah Dahl who played her brother was amazing. He is a 14 year old genius in real life who seems able to do anything he sets his mind to. The weakest performance in the film was Britt Griffith. He seemed very stiff at the start of the film, very unsure of himself. He was never an actor before this. He was known for Ghost Hunters on SyFy. Even he wasn’t bad as the movie progressed. He really seemed to take to the role about midway through the production. I see potential in him even if he isn’t quite there yet.

The cast is rounded out by the lovely Jessica Cameron and Sarah Nicklin. They both came in for brief roles in the film. Alexis Iocono came in to play Elizabeth Short and was very good, especially her flashback scenes in 1947. But the person who stole the show is Monster Man Cleve Hall. I don’t want to give away what he does in the film but he was fantastic in it.

I am grading on a curve for this film as I was given a lot of background about it before doing this review. But I did enjoy it and I really loved talking to the actresses from the production. They were so kind and beautiful and very full of enthusiasm for the project. The reason I say I am grading on a curve is because if this movie had cost $1 million and came out this way I would be more critical. I still do want ti say a few things I noticed and didn’t like. First, there was an overabundance of establishing shots. Holly says she’s leaving for Los Angeles and then we see the Hollywood sign, then an airplane, then Holly in the plane, the a shot of a plane landing, then shots of Los Angeles traffic, then some buildings before Holly goes into a hotel. And this happened a few times. It almost seemed like they were padding their running time a bit. Some of the camera shots were repeated too many times. And every time there was a flashback to 1947 there was a title card that said “1947”. Once would have been enough.

Overall it was a nice take on a true crime that remains unsolved to this day. There was some really great ideas I think they almost succeeded on and would have with the proper budget. I’m going to give it 2 1/2 out of 5 stars. I see what they wanted from this movie and they succeeded more than they failed. And they wouldn’t have failed had it not been for the budget issues.

The movie has yet to gain a distributor but is playing the festival circuit right now. If you have a chance to see it I would tell you to go in with the mindset that this was a labor of love and made almost for free.

A Quick Update From Rapture Horror Expo


Things have been going well at Rapture Horror Expo this weekend. They could have been a little better. Unfortunately they ran into some snags and a few guests dropped out at the last minute prompting a rumor the show was being cancelled and so attendance was a bit low.

They still had a lot for people to do, though. Brian and I worked like crazy to provide you, the readers and listeners of the podcast, with some great stuff. First off we recorded yesterday morning with special guest Bill Oberst Jr. who told us up front we didn’t have to hold back when reviewing Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies on the show. He stayed and talked with us for the first half of the show. After that we talked with guys producing an upcoming web series called The Dead Inside. Then Randy Robinson who will be playing the coroner in Lepus popped in to say hello. Not only did we record audio for the podcast but also video. The audio will be up tomorrow. The video portion will be up later in the week.

Besides the podcast we also went around and talked to some very nice people in the horror community. Brooke Lewis, actress/motivational speaker/life coach was nice enough to talk to me for a while. I had a chance to interview Betsy Rue from Halloween 2, True Blood and My Bloody Valentine. She talked about being naked so much in Valentine without any prompting from me. Jessica Cameron, whom we spoke with in episode 3 of the podcast, was nice enough to a video interview with me. Ari Lehman, the very first Jason from the original Friday The 13th, talked to me about his experiences as well as his band called First Jason. I also got to see his band perform at Monsterland in Downtown Mesa.

Today I will be getting a few more interviews. Devinny Pinn will be talking to me about The Black Dahlia Haunting which had it’s southwestern premiere at the Expo last night. I’m also going to try and talk to Erik Marie Hogan from Paranormal Entity and hopefully Brian Pulido.

All our video interviews will be up hopefully by the end of the week. Check them out at http://gorramnerdhour.blogspot.com and don’t forget to like our Facebook page http://facebook.com/TheGorramNerdHour

Project Updates And News


It’s getting closer and closer to the start of Lepus. I contacted everyone about sitting down next week to do a table read of the script together. I can’t wait to see everyone playing off each other in the same room…especially since many of them are already friends.

But before the table read we have the Rapture Horror Expo all weekend long. It’s the first chance Brian and I have had to record from anyone but a house. I can’t wait to get up in front of a crowd, do our podcast, and grow our listening audience. Plus, we have a great list of people stopping by our show to chat with us. Some I can mention, some I want to surprise you with. But either way it’s going to be a great time. We are bringing cameras too, so there will be video up on http://abnormalentertainment.blogspot.com within a few days after the show.

Brian expressed to me he is creaking out a little about doing the podcast live in front of a crowd. I don’t know why. He and I did three panels at Phoenix Comicon last May and the audience loved it. This time it will be recorded for posterity. We are even bringing Tony and David Sabal along with us. They host a show with Brian about all things comic book related called The Atomic Fallout Society. They’re hoping to score some interviews at the Expo with the comic people there, like Brian Pulido, creator of Lady Death and Evil Ernie.

Once the Expo is done it is back to work on the short film. It’s been nice to have a small reprieve from thinking about it non stop and focus on something else. I have been watching movies to prep for the Expo like Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies and Paranormal Entity. I know who most of the actors are that will be there but I wanted to refresh myself on their bodies of work before going. And some of the Lepus cast will be there so we will try and get them to sit down and talk to us a bit about their projects as well plug ours a little.

Here’s the line up of people we will be talking to (as far as I can tell you so far) – some of the cast and crew of The Fallen One, an upcoming grindhouse style film starring Jake The Snake Roberts and Fred Williamson, directed by Rick Vasquez and produced by Michael Rodriguez. We will also talk in more detail to Jessica Cameron and Dave Reda. I also got in touch with the star of one of the movies being showcased at the Expo and he has agreed to sit down with us for at least 5 minutes to discuss his projects. I can’t say who it is yet but we are excited about it.

Brian and I have been doing a lot of work to make The Gorram Nerd Hour a lot of fun to listen to and make sure you enjoy it. We would love to hear your feedback. Stop by http://gorramnerdhour.blogspot.com or http://facebook.com/TheGorramNerdHour and let is know what you think. Also, don’t forget to check out http://facebook.com/TheCristosSaga to find out what is happening with Lepus. Or go to http://facebook.com/RobotVampireProductions to read about everything we are doing.

The Gorram Nerd Hour Episode 3


We just finished recording our latest episode of The Gorram Nerd Hour. It was an episode of firsts. Brian and I both agreed on something. That was a first for the show. We also conducted a couple of phone interviews. As I mentioned previously The Rapture Horror Expo is coming up October 5-7th. We had the man behind the con, KB, talk to us via phone to tell us what we can expect from the first horror con of it’s kind at the Mesa Convention Center. Then we got on the phone with Dave Reda and the lovely Jessica Cameron and talked about their upcoming movie “Shadow”. It sounds like an awesome concept. I can’t wait to see it. They were both driving to a convention in Sacramento and we lost signal a couple times but we got through it. Jessica was telling us about a movie she will be promoting here called “The Black Dahlia Haunting” and Dave told us about his time as an extra on “So I Married An Axe Murderer”. They were very nice folks.

During the time we spoke with KB he told us that there will be a bunch of special guests coming. He mentioned Jake Busey and Tony Todd, which we already knew about. We found out that “My Bloody Valentine” star Betsy Rue will be there, the man who played Kincaid in “A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 and 4”, the star of “Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies”, director and comic book legend Brian Pulido, and a lot more. Visit their website for full details http://rapturehorrorexpo.com

Brian also ranted a bit about Superman Issue 0 that just came out and how they’re changing everything. We talked about the cinematic stink bomb that was C.H.U.D. and even managed to squeeze in time to talk about some potentially big news about the upcoming X-Men movie sequel/prequel. And we had a chance to plug our friend Ricardo Vasquez’s movie “The Fallen One” which shares a couple cast members with our upcoming short film “Lepus”. It was a good episode. You can find it Monday at http://gorramnerdhour.blogspot.com and http://facebook.com/TheGorramNerdHour.