Blessings And Curses – Lepus At Phoenix Comicon


Last night we premiered Lepus at Phoenix Comicon. We were able to show it twice. The first time was as part of Death By VHS, the anthology DVD it is a part of. The second time was a little later that night at a cast and crew panel we arranged.

The reception was great. People really seemed to get it. They laughed in all the right spots. I’d say they cried but we didn’t make a movie for people to cry. So if they did I wasn’t aware of it nor would I appreciate it. We had a few people in the audience actually catch some of the more subtle religious refrences and everyone loved watching Brian as a creepy Easter Bunny. His first appearence just walking got a laugh.

I feel really happy that everyone liked it. And it is a blessing that we have distribution. But that’s also the curse. Because of distribution we are automatically disqualified from submitting to several film festivals. That makes me sad. I would love to send it out all over the place and see what kind of response we get.

I guess we’ll have to wait until we do Terrestrial for that. Watch for the panel we did to be posted on YouTube in the coming days or weeks or whenever it goes up. Also, listen to The Gorram Nerd Hour on Wednesday for more details.
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We Need A New Iconic Horror Villain!


ImageGrowing up in the 1980’s was awesome. We had great movies genre movies coming out constantly like The Thing and Aliens. But one thing that really made genre movies so special in the 80’s was the glut of iconic horror villains we had to fear. From the 1970’s on through the hayday of the 80’s we had the likes of Leatherface, Freddy, Jason, Michael, Chucky, Pinhead and so many more. To a lesser extent you can include the Predator and the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise. These were characters we rooted for, feared and hated all at once. They were wiping out the sinners. They were sparing the pure while making them strong. This was something I still feel that churches should get behind. 

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In most horror films from the 80’s you had a bunch of immoral types likes druggies, drinkers, fornicators and just all around undesirables, Then you had the heroine of the film – a girl filled with chastity and virtue. Who lived and who died? It’s pretty simple, really. The chaste girl always won out in the end. Why? Because she was pure of heart, mind and soul. This should be something the church recognizes and backs. They should want these films made and should show them in Sunday school. After all, most churches try to instill fear into their children to keep them on the straight and narrow. Catholics, I’m talking to you!

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But I got away from my original point. We don’t have iconic villains being created anymore. At best we get inferior remakes of A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween. But where are the new guys? Ghostface Killer from Scream? He doesn’t quite fit the bill but he’s close. Jigsaw from Saw? He’s been dead since the third movie. But he’s also a little closer in theme. He did go after sinners, people not living life to their full potential and attempted to purify them. What about the invisible demon from Paranormal Activity? Nope. Although there is the family connection there as there was with so many horror films in the 80’s. Death in Final Destination? Again we never see him. And I always felt they should refer to him as Rube for the elaborate Rube Goldberg style traps we see in each kill. 

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The closest thing we have to 70’s and 80’s style icon is Victor Crawley from Hatchet. He’s one bad mammajamma. But, sadly, the Hatchet films barely get a theatrical release. It’s as if Hollywood doesn’t think we want a new crop of evil baddies…unless they’re remake versions of the originals.

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But here’s my question – is it Hollywood or is it us? What do we want to see? More of the same watered down PG-13 ghost stories, torture porn, or do we want a return to old school horror? I vote for old school. I hope I’m not the only one. I also hope it’s not because I was raised on them.   

That’s all I have to say on the subject until Wednesday when the next edition of The Gorram Nerd Hour hits. You can follow me on Twitter here, here and here. Or find us on Facebook.

G.I. Joe Retaliation Review


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Nearly a year ago I had the opportunity to see a test screening of G.I. Joe: Retaliation. I have been sitting on my feelings about the movie since then. I have let slip a few times here and there on The Gorram Nerd Hour that I hated it. So why did I watch it again? For the same reason I watched the other movies I’ve seen at test screenings again, to see what they changed. It’s always interesting what the studios take away from the comment cards they ask you to fill out at the end of a test screening. On my card I filled it with stuff like “Why was this movie greenlit?” and “What was the point?” Did I change my opinions after the reshoots? Or were the “fixes” they made just as bad?

When I first saw the movie the only positive thing I took away from it was that Snake Eyes was awesome. I love Ray Park and he gave the movie his all despite how bad it was. Sort of like what he did for Star Wars: Episode I. With the reshoots we got a little more Duke, played by Channing Tatum. In the original version Duke was dead as fast as it takes the average person to blink. Of course, by the time the movie started I was praying for toothpicks to keep my eyes open because my eyes just wanted to close to avoid having to take in anymore of that horrible movie. The Duke scenes were designed as a passing of the torch to Road Block, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Although the movie worked better watching Tatum and Johnson play off each other. The moment Tatum was out of the movie the fun left with it…until Bruce Willis entered the movie. Sadly, this fact has not changed. Sure, they added a couple more scenes with Tatum and Johnson together but teasing the audience with a fun movie for a few more minutes only serves to enrage them more overall. 

Duke still dies…oops, sorry. I meant to warn people of spoilers. Oh well, too late. After his death the movie falls into a boring lull for a good 40 minutes until Willis enters. Cobra Commander, Zartan and Firefly couldn’t bring the fun. Adrianne Padalecki (sic) couldn’t save it by looking hot as Lady Jaye. Nothing worked. Not even the coolness of Jonathan Pryce and Walton Goggins. This still has not changed from the previous version. There were random tweaks done to the movie but none so substantial that it made it worth watching. 

In all fairness I will say this. The few changes that were made to the movie made the film a bit more enjoyable. In fact, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I liked this one almost as much as first. That’s still not a compliment. At least the first had a bit more of an emotional aspect to it. Plus it tried harder. This was just lazy screenwriting. I don’t blame the director or the actors. They did what they could. But when you polish a turd all it does is make the cloth dirty.

A quick note to the writers – Zombieland was fun. Was it a fluke? Or did you just sell out? If Deadpool ever gets made I’ve now become scared about what you’re gonna do with it. Are you going to be the next Ehren Kruger? 

I’m done. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. 

For the original version of the movie I give it 1/2 * out of 5. For the reshot and delayed version I give it 1 and 1/2 *’s out of *****. 

I’m sure Brian and I will be discussing this on the next episode of The Gorram Nerd Hour so make sure you tune in for it.

More Podcasting Is More Better


Hello everyone,

 

Sorry it’s been a few days since I posted anything. It’s been a busy time. I have been working like crazy. As some may or may not know I’m a cab driver and you can hear a story about that on the latest episode of The Gorram Nerd Hour. Besides working I have been trying to find time to sleep. That hasn’t been happening so instead I’m just throwing myself head first into more podcasts. Besides The Gorram Nerd Hour I have been doing a limited series under the Gorram banner called Holodeck Malfunction with my good friend Isaac Hulke. It’s a show about Star Trek if you couldn’t guess that from the title. 

In each episode of Holodeck Malfunction we pick a series or movie and talk about it for an hour, sometimes two topics. It just depends. We have recorded eight episodes so far and just started putting them up. So, you will be able to hear me twice a week on the Gorram page. You can also hear me and some free music on a new show I’ve started with my friend Ryan Ford. It’s called From The Underground and it will focus on indie bands of all genres. You can read more about it by following the hyperlink above. 

Lastly, I want to talk about the Abnormal Entertainment crew as a whole. These folks are awesome. I love each and every one of them…even Taylor Made from Bank On Action. He may not realize it since I do nothing but make fun of him all the time but I do appreciate him. David Hayes, one of the hosts of Cinema Head Cheese has a new book out. Follow the link on the other pages I’ve already hyperlinked and you’ll find it. It’s called American Guiginol. 

Thanks to everyone at Abnormal Entertainment. I’ve had a blast working with you all and can’t wait to see nearly everyone in one place for Phoenix Comicon.

Notes From The Underground – Some Podcast Updates


I’ve been busy lately. Not only am I prepping my next short film that will be shooting next month after a few delays but I’ve also been doing a lot of stuff in the world of podcasts. I recently talked to a co-worker who happens to be a music promoter here in Arizona. I’ve been wanting to do a music podcast for a while now. It’s something that’s been sorely missing from the Abnormal Entertainment lineup. Well, we found a way to do it. Big thanks to Ryan Ford for helping us get it done. 

The first episode was recorded about a week ago and had been turned in to the big guy at Abnormal. We’ll keep you posted for the date it’s released. The other podcast news is that one of the shows I’ve been sitting on for a while is finally going to see the light of day. My fellow nerd Isaac Hulke and I have secretly been recording a limited series of Star Trek podcasts. The first episode is all about Star Trek: The Original Series. That has also been handed in. You may be hearing a lot from me in the coming weeks. 

If you have a band and you want us to showcase your work on From The Underground send me an email and a sample MP3 and we will see what we can do. If you’re local to Arizona we would love to set something up at our studio for a live acoustic set as well.

American Courtesans


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Over the past weekend at The Bloody Hero International Film Festival I had the opportunity to see some films that weren’t part of what I had to watch on the jury. American Courtesans was the first one I sat down to watch on Friday. It’s a documentary about the sex industry from insiders in the trade. It was something Kristen DiAngelo, the film’s star, writer and producer, felt very passionately about. She wanted to show what the mainstream media sensationalize with honesty, good or bad. She wanted to interview men and women and let them just talk without fear.

When I first sat down to watch the film I got the distinct impression this was a movie made to sensationalize the sex trade and push for it’s legalization. In fact, that impression stuck with for a while during the film. It really wasn’t until a day later as I reflected on the film that I came to the realization that it wasn’t a propaganda film about legalizing prostitution. It was just a simply a film where these people in the business could open up and share their feelings about the business they’d chosen for themselves, good or bad. 

The film shows women in the industry from all walks of life. One woman who was a real estate agent in Florida and chose this life after the market collapsed and she could no longer support herself in the trade she had originally chosen. Another woman ended up in the life after her husband had introduced her to it. One woman did it in order to support her son. The son was also interviewed. It was an incredibly moving moment watching this man talk about his love for his mother and the sacrifices she made in order to raise him. 

Whether you agree with the lifestyle or not doesn’t matter when watching this film. It’s all about getting caught up in watching these women telling their stories, many of which are heartbreaking. It is definitely worth seeing. It is a more honest look at women in this trade than anything else I have ever seen. 

This movie is a sold 4 out of 5 stars. The women are at times funny, sad and always engaging. 

For more on this film you can see my interview with Kristen DiAngelo soon on YouTube and hear the audio interview later today on my podcast – The Gorram Nerd Hour.

The Bloody Hero International Film Festival


Hello out there. I’m coming to you live from The Bloody Hero International Film Festival. It started this morning. I have to say that I’m already exhausted. That’s not the fault of the fest. That’s my fault for working until 5am then coming here just 5 hours later.

Being on the jury I have already seen many of the movies showing over the weekend. Bit I didn’t see them all. I just sat through a documentary called American Courtesans about sex workers in the United States. I will hopefully be interviewing the woman behind the documentary for The Gorram Nerd Hour this weekend as she made a special trip to Phoenix just to be here. She seems like a fascinating woman.

Several of the movies have multiple screenings this weekend. If you’re in the area we would love for you to come and support the fest in its first year. There are some great movies being shown and we are very happy with the winners in each category.

I will be reporting back later this weekend with a recap. Tonight there is an industry mixer for all the local talent, guests and filmmakers that made the time come. I’m sure we will really he enjoying our time here for the rest of the weekend. And I can’t wait to unleash our little surprise of what’s to come for our podcast this weekend. We have something really crazy planned. If you can’t see it live make sure you check out the podcast on Wednesday.

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. 

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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.