Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 is OVER. FINALLY!!!

2010 is OVER. FINALLY.

Movie-wise, I made small bits of progress on EATER, BLOOD CREEK WOODSMAN, TWISTED FATES and TRULY DREADFUL TALES, but still none of them are completed. Started writing a handful of different scripts...but none of them are done. Managed to squeeze in a couple of small custom video projects for folks as well.

Really enjoyed putting a horror short together for Steve Sessions' DEAD INK anthology. After a bunch of casting and scheduling troubles, it ended up being a quick, hectic shoot in June, but thanks to Sophia, Floyd, Sabrina and Rob for coming through to help make a great little scary short.

Finished opening and ending credit sequences for John Bowker's EVIL RISING, as well as several pick-up shots and a behind-the-scenes featurette. John is nearing the finish line on post-production, so hope to see that in 2011.

Sub Rosa re-released Bloodsucking Redneck Vampires via MVD Entertainment with a new title: INBRED REDNACK VAMPIRES, but the DVD was missing several extras (including director commentary track) that were still listed on the sleeve! FUCK! Still, it's nice to have some version of it available for people again.

All sorts of expensive car work this year, appliances dying, relatives all getting older and in poorer health, pay & benefits reductions at work, deaths of friends, had a bunch of colds, etc. Whine, whine, whine. Sorry, I'm just in a bad mood.

On the bright side, a local bar held a screening of BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES as a part of it's grand opening in May and that was fun. I also managed to be part of a tiny group that pulled off a huge 2-school High School Reunion this summer and also had a good time at the Crypticon Seattle horror convention in June. Bit the bullet and took the family to DisneyWorld this summer. Also reconnected with a long-lost friend from my childhood in New Jersey this fall. So not all bad, I guess.

So, here comes 2011 and I pretty much have the same resolutions as in recent years: finish movie projects, eat better and exercise more, work smarter, pay down debt, blah, blah, blah.

We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Netflix 2010

So it's the end of 2010 and a lot of websites, magazine and TV shows are featuring all kinds of lists - best movies of the year, worst movies of the year, etc.

Whatever.

I went through my list of Netflix rentals for 2010 and made some rambling statements. Here they are for your enjoyment.

Best Worst Movie
was very entertaining and having worked behind vendor tables at comic book shows and seen how various horror cons work, I could really feel for those guys when they went to some cons and no one cared about them. After that, I checked out Troll 2, which some people I know couldn't believe I had not seen. Well now I have. Wow. It's everything they said it would be. And more. And yes, it's one of those that you just have to watch to understand.

The Forbidden World and Galaxy of Terror DVDs were spectacular. Not only because I love these sci-fi/horror sleazefests, but the extras were crazy extensive!

Love love love love Fringe.

Loved Anvil: The Story of Anvil.

Moon was great. Reminded me of Silent Running.

Bog was a "regional," that being usually a one-off, small-budget production made by people with big hearts and often no talent. Those movies where a guy got some money together, shot with local townsfolk in places like bars, private homes and the woods, often with a cheap monster costume and cheeseball effects. Plots are rather ridiculous and acting is usually wooden, save for one or two mega-overactors (often the ones with lots of 'theatrical' stage experience). These regionals also spotlight the local architecture, unique land formations or cultural events. Most of the ones I dig are from the 70s so you also have the fashion, haircuts, cars and decor of the time. Invasion of the Blood Farmers, Giant Spider Invasion and The Alien Factor all fall into this category. Bog was relly bad.

Cthulhu was such an odd movie. Shot here in the northwest, it's a modern riff on Lovecraft's Shadow over Innsmouth with a gay man returning to the small town he grew up in to find a local church involved in unearthly worship. It's dark and a little slow and not very gorey or scary. It's unsettling. Some of it's cool. Some of it is dull. Tori Spelling is in it and does fine in a small role. The northwest locations are exploited well. I listened to the commentary and that helped with some of the murkier plot issues and I learned a lot about a typically troubled low-budget production. I also read several interviews with the write and director, which shed even more light onto things. Seems like they were trying to utilize an often-used theme of Lovecraft's, that of someone who had gone to the big city or university returning to a small someplace they once knew, only to find it similar on the surface, but dark and changed just beneath the surface. They really wanted to tell the story of a man who grew up in a small town, hiding and ashamed of his sexuality, who went to the big city where he could live the lifestyle he wanted to and then had to return home as a changed person and face what he had initially tried to escape. But shoehorning that together with a Lovecraftian tale just didn't seem to gel for me.

Beyond that, in finding out more about the production, they had at least one cool looking fish-man costume created and went to far as the have helicopter shots of fish-men coming up out of the surf and then they barely used any of the footage! Many have said that a lot of Lovecraft wasn't really about monsters per se, but about mood and suspense...a looming sense of dread. A lot of movies that use Lovecraft as a basis or inspiration have showcased big slimy monsters and some say that isn't necessarily true to the author. Well, I dig big slimy monsters, so that's what I was hoping for here and I think we got too little of them. As I said, it was an odd movie.

Liked the squid-head manhole cover, though.

I still dig The Outsiders.

And Toy Story 3 was great, and made me tear up.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sickened Now Available

I shot the opening sequence for this Phil Herman movie and the majority of the music in the flick is by me. You can order it here: http://wavemovies.com/other_producers/falcon/index.php



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

Sadly, not busy with movie stuff. Crazy busy at work - lots of working late and bringing work home. Sucks. And lots of family commitments lately. Still hope to eek out some more progress on movie projects by year's end. This blog used to be a place to post all my incremental progress and keep myself motivated. Mmmmmmm...not so much anymore. But maybe...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Almost Halloween

Almost Halloween...which means the end of the year is screaming towards me. Time to take stock of where I'm at on projects and see what I can finish up by Dec. 31.

Blood Creek Woodsman - closing in on having all the pick-ups shot. Got stuff finished up at the Markum Inn a couple of weeks ago.

Twisted Fates - Narrator/Wraparound is pretty much edited. Have just a couple of insert shots to shoot and drop in. Found a long-missing tape, which was good, but lots of bad sound that needed to be fixed, which was bad, but was able to run it through filters and through Garageband and got it to where I am happy with it, which is good. Working on sound and music now. Composed a title theme in Garageband a few weeks ago. Will need to adjust one of the segments to jive with the introduction, but shouldn't be too much trouble.

Deadly Premonitions - Need to double check last master from Mike and finish DVD sleeve design.

Still have some fixing to do on Eater, the fun sci-fi/short I did with my son and his friends.

Truly Dreadful Tales - Waiting for footage of 'Crazed' segment from filmmaker in Ohio. Still need to finish music for 'Beetlemaniac' segment. Writing final segment.

And of course Secret Projects #1-99 are all still in various stages of development.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Don Leifert, 1950-2010



I've written about my love of The Alien Factor and Don Dohler in the past. I just found out that one of Don's frequent actors, Don Leifert, passed away this weekend.

Don Leifert had a William Shatner-esque delivery that I always felt matched the characters he was playing.

I first saw him as Ben Zachary in The Alien Factor. He also had roles in Dohler's Nightbeast and Galaxy Invader and the title role in Fiend. Dohler's 2004 sci-fi movie Crawler is still in post for CGI effects with the Timewarp Films folks and Leifert apparently had a role in it playing a character named...Zachary. Can't wait to check it out.

Until this spring, Leifert was a theater teacher at Towson High School in Towson, Maryland. Judging from the comments on the Don Leifert Appreciation Group Facebook page, his students loved him.

R.I.P.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Twisted Fates Title Theme



I was going for a 1970s made-for-tv horror movie kind of vibe. Listened to Salem's Lot and Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries themes a bunch and then came up with this.


Monday, September 27, 2010

15 Years of F&C Productions

Way back in the fall of 1995, while sitting behind the counter at Hero Hero, a comic shop I co-owned with some high school buddies, I began scribbling notes and drawing sketches for an X-Files-ish b-horror movie. I had some cool special effects shots in mind and started linking them together with a storyline of government conspiracies, men in black and things from another dimension. I remember hashing through the project with Tom Shaffer at that counter and a few weeks later, I grabbed my giant VHS camcorder, threw Tom into a lab coat and began making the short feature DIMENSION OF BLOOD.

Thus was the birth of F&C Productions and my plunge into the world of shot-on-video movies.

I had been self-publishing a comic book and just started publishing a zine called Dr. Squid which featured b-movie reviews among other things. I had subscribed to Draculina Magazine, which advertised many no-budget, homemade horror tapes in the back, so I was aware of a growing subculture of selling and trading these VHS movies. I had made some sci-fi and horror shorts with friends John Bowker and Rob Merickel years earlier, and this looked like fun.

My dad helped me edit DIMENSION OF BLOOD on a 3/4-inch U-Matic editing system, a dinosaur in the editing world already at that time, but ya gotta work with what you've got. I had some VHS copies made and we had a little screening and it was fun.

This was the early days of the internet for me, but soon I had a website up and was networking with other homemade moviemakers around the globe. There were 'microcinema' bulletin boards and amateur movie review sites were popping up all over the place.

My old friend John Bowker came over for a visit and once he saw DIMENSION OF BLOOD, he said he had to be involved in my next production.

I soon made another short feature called MONSTER IN THE GARAGE, a horror comedy starring John and Rob. Again, I made some paper mache monsters, some props, mixed up some fake blood, cast a bunch of friends, and made a movie. I put the two movies on a double feature tape and ended up selling some through Draculina Magazine.



Next up I became the videographer for John's fantasy feature, DREAMWALKERS for his own "Pipedreams Entertainment." It was a herculean project, shot on long weekends for a year or so. I played a role, made some props, etc. We used three Hi-8 cameras over the course of the shoot and most everyone we knew ended up in a role. John and I edited that together on the 3/4" system, which by this time my dad had given me.



Things accelerated over the next several years, with John and I both writing and directing projects, and me shooting them. John ended up getting his own editing set-up and through the internet, we got involved in shooting not just our own features, but anthology segments for other microcinema folks.

My stuff was mostly horror/sci-fi with a comedic bent: TRAILER PARK DOUBLE-WIDE TRILOGY OF TERROR, VAMPIRISA'S VELVET VAULT OF HORROR, WE NEED EARTH WOMEN, CRIMSON HEATHER and LUST OF THE VAMPIRE HOOKERS. During the same time, John got some financing and flew in an actress from L.A., for a straight horror feature, THE EVILMAKER. Others that followed included ABOMINATION: EVILMAKER 2, THE SEEKERS and HOUSEBOUND, all straight horror. We were both involved in anthologies like the ALIEN CONSPIRACY series, WEREWOLF TALES and TWISTED ILLUSIONS 2.



John's THE EVILMAKER was picked up by a regional distributor, who unfortunately went bankrupt. ABOMINATION: EVILMAKER 2 was picked up by Brain Damage Films and showed up in Hollywood Video stores across the country! Both HOUSEBOUND and THE SEEKERS were picked up and put out on DVD as well.



I tried my hand at something different in the early 2000s, making a sexy crime thriller called UNDERBELLY. Then John made the move to Hollywood. In the spring of 2003, I hired Ron Ford to direct a segment for TWISTED FATES, a horror anthology I'd written. Later in 2003, Mike Hegg and I were contracted to co-write a crazy comedy called BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES. We both produced, I directed, Mike edited and we again cast all sorts of friends and contacts. It was a huge cast, a huge project, shot mainly in a remote location 3 hours from me on long weekends in the last summer and fall. The next summer, we had a big premiere and a weeklong run at a Portland, Oregon theater/bar. It came out on DVD from a New-York-based distributor in September of 2004 and by summer of 2007 it was sold out. It was available on Netflix and it's high gross-out factor earned it both praise and thrashings across the internet.



In 2005, I started shooting a mystery thriller I'd written called DEADLY PREMONITIONS with an actor from Alabama named Tom Stedham who flew out to be star in this new feature. Shooting for it continued off and on over the next several years. I was also shooting more for TWISTED FATES, including one segment directed by Robert J. Olin, and contracting out to other filmmakers to shoot from my scripts for a monster-themed anthology called TRULY DREADFUL TALES. I even sold a horror script I'd written to another producer.



John moved back to Oregon in 2007 and we got right into a new project, a sci-fi zombie flick called PLATOON OF THE DEAD. Tom Stedham came out again and we also brought actress Ariauna Albright up from L.A. I was my first time shooting in HD and it was a huge project. At the end of 2007 Tempe Video put out a double feature DVD set of The EVILMAKER & ABOMINATION: EVILMAKER 2.



Both John and I began screening and premiering our movies at a theater/pub in Salem, Oregon called Northern Lights. Not only have the events been fun, but we've sold the place out, Troma's Lloyd Kaufman stopped by, and we even cast for a project from the audience!

In early 2009, I shot and played a role in EVIL RISING, another John-written & directed horror flick. Tempe Video released PLATOON OF THE DEAD in June of that year, and insanely enough, John and embarked on yet another horror feature later that summer. I shot & directed one of the most ambitious projects I've done yet, BLOOD CREEK WOODSMAN, written by John.



In the spring of 2010, I wrote & directed a short for Steve Sessions' tattoo-themed horror anthology DEAD INK, and that summer BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES was re-released on DVD with a new title from the distributor: INBRED REDNECK VAMPIRES.

So here were are in late 2010, a decade and a half after the birth of F&C Productions. It's funny - the "F" and "C" originally stood for "Fast" and "Cheap." While every once in a while it seems like I'm able to do things fast or cheap, the fact is that the majority of the time projects take forever and there are always expenses you don't count on! As always, I've got more projects on my plate than I have time for, but I just keep on keepin' on.

These movies wouldn't be anything without the great friends and contacts I've made over the years. Some of the best non-actor actors I've met, amazing craftsmen in props & effects, people with connections I would have never thought of, folks who let us shoot in their homes and get things bloody, technical wizards and so many others are all part of the puzzle that makes these wild flicks come to life.

Finally I have to thank my family for supporting me in this crazy addiction for the last 15 years.

Here's to another 15 years? Who knows? You never know what the future might hold. But I know I have projects to get back to working on...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dead Ink Now Available!

DEAD INK, a tattoo-themed horror anthology starring Debbie D, Demona Bast, Isabelle Stephen and Luc Bernier is now available from Amazon. The main anthology is directed by Steve Sessions and Luc Bernier. Bonus shorts are included including one directed by me and starring Floyd Sumner and Sophia Maria.

Pick up the dvd here: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Ink-Debbie-D/dp/B0041OSW8S/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1283543758&sr=1-1



Friday, July 16, 2010

Dead Ink

I was very excited to be able to work on a segment for Steve Session's new tattoo-themed horror anthology, DEAD INK.


Floyd drew up his own sleeve of tattoos!


Rob colors the work I did on Floyd's other hand - a flaming eyeball with a tentacle coming out of the top!


Sabrina Larivee helped out moving lights, loading and unloading stuff, holding the boom and a zillion other things...and she plays a part, too!


Rob Merickel had a tough job...but somebody had to do it.


Floyd makes his best mean dude face...and I think it's pretty good.


Floyd Sumner, me, Sophia Maria and Rob Merickel

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blood Creek Woodsman Pick-Ups


Rob gets Adam all bloody for some pick-up shots. Thanks for the location, Floyd!


It's the happy couple!


Splattery foam latex guts!


Making bloody horror movies RAAAAAAWKS!!!!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dug a hole...

Dug a hole in my back yard last night. My son came home and asked me what I was doing and I told him I was going to shoot a scene where a girl is laying half in the hole, her lower section covered in grass and dirt and fake blood & guts on her belly, so she looks like she was cut in half. He said he thought I was digging a grave. I said I kind of was. Then he said that it was actually kind of cool. Indeed.

Also started on another paper mache prop - covered a halloween plastic skull with a plastic bag and paper mache'd over it. Step by step...

Late last night the girl who is going to get killed in a scene on Sunday said her boss had put her on the work schedule for Sunday and she had to work until 5, so she couldn't be there at 2:45. I suggested we could still do it, just shuffle a few things around, so now she will be there at 5:30. Hope it all goes well.

On it goes...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Eat at The Markum Inn!

Well look what I found!



Not only do they have great burgers and desserts, but I shot a huge amount of BLOOD CREEK WOODSMAN at Ward's restaurant and house, too. Ward plays a bartender in the movie, a role he also played in my movie UNDERBELLY that I shot there a few years back. He also helped scout a bunch of other locations for the movie and even lined up a sweet police car for us!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Time is Flying By!

Finished the opening and ending credit sequences for EVIL RISING a few weeks back as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette. Handed it all off to John for him to finish the video edit. He said he has a list of about 200 sound fixes to make, but hoping he wraps it all up soon.

Making plans to shoot the remaining scenes for BLOOD CREEK WOODSMAN over the next few weeks, then can hand off to John who will being editing after he's done with EVIL RISING.

Designed a sweet DVD sleeve for the PG13 version of IT HAUNTS. Waiting to hear back from a duplicator with a quote.

Finished the 'Welcome Sister' segment of TWISTED FATES - music and sound effects all done. Have done a little work on capturing and editing the narrator/wraparound footage.


BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES
had a screening Friday, May 7 at 8 p.m. to celebrate the grand opening of the new theater at the ƒ/stop Fitzgerald's Public House pub (and now theater!), 335 Grove St. NE Salem, Oregon 97301. The retitled movie (INBRED REDNECK VAMPIRES) is coming out June 29 - you can preorder it here: http://www.seeofsound.com/p.php?s=MVD5000D

I have a new page on the website for it at http://www.skullfaceastronaut.com/drsquid/irv/

Looking very forward to going to Crypticon in Seattle this year!

More news soon....

Monday, April 12, 2010

Down, but not out...

This year has been particularly busy in the work, home and family departments, so progress on movie stuff has been painfully slow. I have some deadlines (some put upon me, some self-imposed) coming at me, so will have some progress on stuff soon.

Need to finish up the opening and ending credit sequences for EVIL RISING by Monday. Also hope to have a slightly trimmed batch of behind-the-scenes footage for EVIL RISING ready as well (at the very least, I have the raw footage pulled together).

Did a new ZIPPY WAFFLEBUNS short with my son and his cousin a few weeks back and recently shot another with another friend of his. Need to shoot a couple of parts then put that together.

In the midst of writing a short for a horror anthology I was invited to be a part of. Have the story outlined and one person cast - need to finish the script, cast, shoot and edit. Only needs to be 15 minutes long, so plan to knock it out in a weekend. On top of mine, I'll be cameraman for another short in the same anthology, shoot still to be scheduled. Both have to be delivered in the next couple of months.

Also recently did one small freelance video project and another to do in the new few weeks, plus a video project for work.

Have a handful of BLOOD CREEK WOODSMAN scenes left to shoot, some with actors, some just inserts, establishing shots and effects close-ups.

Still need to finish the inserts, music and credits for EATER. Need to get the PG-13 version of IT HAUNTS duplicated, then continue work on getting TWISTED FATES finished up. Still need to get that very last master copy of DEADLY PREMONITIONS so I can check it and look into getting copies duplicated. Heard that 'Crazed,' the latest segment for TRULY DREADFUL TALES is almost done shooting. Hoping to get that footage soon so I can edit it and add music. Still need to finish music for the 'BeetleManiac' segment. Then there is that werewolf short, but it's way far down on the list right now. Maybe this summer....

Oh yeah and there's that high school class reunion I'm helping plan and time is flying by!!!

Here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Inbred Redneck Vampires


Bloodsucking Redneck Vampires has been sold out from the distributor for a few years now, but they are rereleasing it in June with a new title and artwork. Same movie and extras as the original release. You can preorder it now at http://www.seeofsound.com/p.php?s=MVD5000D

Thinking about planning a few screenings this summer since it will be available again...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cooking, Party Planners, Feng Shui, Magic and a Docusoap. Really? REALLY?!?!?!

A new cooking show is coming about a catering and event company who is hired by a demanding client to produce an extraordinary celebration or event. The owner and his team of party planners and chefs must dream up a theme and cuisine and tap the depths of their imagination and culinary talents! New show on Bravo!? Food Network? Travel Channel? Of course, not, silly goose! It's a new show from SyFy Channel!

In another new show, a Feng Shui master interweaves contemporary, practical solutions with ancient mystical philosophies to arrange personal homes, restaurants, stores, and even sports arenas. Fabulous new series on my wife's favorite channel HGTV? TLC? Nope. SyFy Channel, of course!!

How about a show about a magician who teams with thinkers and illusioneers, starts with doodles in a notebook, and creates breathtaking, mind-bending events for his clients. Disney Channel? Another new not-a-cartoon for Cartoon Network? Oh why bother, you already know it's a new show on SyFy Channel.

Since SyFy describes it's next new show as a "docusoap," I'm not even going to bother with it. Docusoap? Really? It is about a inventor and scientist, so I guess that might actually be relevant to the "science" part of "sci-fi." OH WAIT! Sci-Fi changed their name to SyFy, so that doesn't even work now!!!!

A game show about special-effects make-up artists might be cool and I guess might connect to science-fiction films at least, depending on what types of effects they are doing. Another 'Paranormal' show, a Big Brother type of show with folks in a biodome and an 'Untitled Artifact Search Series' round out the list of new shows.

And don't forget, SyFy is your home for.....wrestling.

Footnote: Yes, I know Sci-Fi changed to SyFy last year and declared their new genre as anything that was "imagination-based entertainment" not "science fiction," so it admittedly no longer requires any of it's programming to necessarily be science-fiction, which makes this rant pretty much null and void as far as the SyFy folks would be concerned. But I don't care. I still think it sucks that I watch way more science fiction on THISTV, AMC and even FX and SPIKE for Christ's sake than on SyFy.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sickened



Director Phil Herman sent me this sneak peek at the cover for his latest flick, Sickened. I shot a sequence for this thriller. Check out Phil's site for the movie at http://gonehell.angelfire.com

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

BeetleManiac Pix

Isabelle Stephen sent me a few pics from the BEETLEMANIAC segment that she and Luc Bernier shot up in Canada for my TRULY DREADFUL TALES horror anthology. She just sent me the footage so looking forward to seeing it!



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