If you’ve been a reader of this site for awhile, then there are at least three things you know about me: 1) I love horror 2) I’m a pretty big and pretty dedicated fan of Jeremiah Kipp’s work and 3) I am a fan of Edgar Allan Poe. At least, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my love of Poe before (my memory is just the worst…). I started reading dear old Poe when I was 8 (not sure why my parents allowed that but hey, it gave me my first foray into horror lit and into the horror genre itself!) and “The Cask of Amontillado” was always my favorite. Something about being walled up for eternity just totally creeped me out (that 8 year old imagination probably came into wicked play there…). My friend, Jeremiah, has taken one of Poe’s short stories “Berenice” and turned into an deliciously creepy short film. It’s his little piece of the upcoming horror anthology Creepers, debuting on Blu-ray and VOD on October 7.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, as I was (and thank goodness I didn’t read this one as a child, is all I gotta say), there once was a boy named Edward who had a lovely cousin named Berenice (names updated for our modern audience) who came to live with him and his parents. Edward (Thomas Mendolia) is a bit awkward and obsessive compulsive. He has to turn lamps on a certain number of times and tinkers with small mechanical parts at his desk, alone in his room. Social he is not. Then along comes Berenice (Cheryl Koski) who is everything Edward is not – sociable, graceful, roaming carelessly through life. Except there’s a catch. Isn’t there always? Berenice is ill, dreadfully ill, with a mysterious malaise that we, at best, know causes seizures. And then there’s Edward’s mother (Susan Adriensen), who while being a bit of a stiff actress, manages to be absolutely terrifying. I’ve no idea if she’s in love with her son or just extremely overprotective and overpowering but I would not cross that woman. Edward’s father (Bob Socci) is rather unassuming, although he too comes off as a bit stiff. Edward is eventually told that he must be the one to take care of Berenice as she worsens, which he seems to be fine with as he’s seemingly…charmed by her, shall we say? And from there, I’ll let you either watch the film or go hunt down the story because what happens next is at times gruesome and then creepy.
Is the film good? You betcha. Thomas and Cheryl both embody their characters in such a way that it’s almost painful to watch – which in this particular story is a good thing. I’m far from being squeamish but there were a couple of scenes here that made me squirm just a bit (although it has been a rather long time since I’ve watched anything other than a tv show binge on Netflix…maybe that’s why…). And the ending? It’s not even the ending actually; it’s just the last final shot that got me. *shudders* Pure cinematic horror goodness right there.
If you love Poe, if you’ve liked my reviews of Jeremiah’s other works, if you just like short horror films done well and if you like horror anthologies (cause I hear the other parts are pretty kickawesome as well!), then check out “Berenice” and Creepers on October 7th!
So I got word of this very cool sounding project happening in KY right now and was able to snag one of the main guys (producer, co-writer and co-director), P.j., and convince him to do an interview with me. And by “convince”, I totes mean I tied him up in the basement till he answered my questions. TOTES. So here it is, all the scoop on the upcoming horror anthology (yay for horror anthologies! I have a soft spot in my heart for them), Volumes of Blood.
ML: Volumes of Blood is an Unscripted Film School (UFS) project. Can you explain what exactly the Unscripted Film School is, what it does and how long it’s been around?
P.j.: The Unscripted Film School program is something I co-created with Jim Blanton at the Daviess County Public Library. It’s an opportunity for interested locals to come participate in a hands on filmmaking session with local and regional talent. They have a chance to see what it takes and the various facets associated with making an indie film from special FX to cinematography to acting and directing. We tried it out on a smaller scale in January 2015 and premiered both short films at the Unscripted 3 film series to a lot of praise. Lucky, the Audience Award winning short, has gone on to get some great reviews and screen across the country in film festivals. Because of its success we decided to ramp up the program and do something wholly different and more expansive.
ML: This will be the second film for UFS. The first was a short called Lucky by Todd Martin. But this will be the first full length feature (although an anthology)? How is the process different from making a short to making a feature film?
P.j.: With the first film school program, the basic idea was like the 48 Hour Film Fest, only you’re shooting a short in 7.5 hours instead. Lucky gave us a chance to see the true potential of the program and Jim asked me to come up with some ideas on how to really expand the program. Rather than shoot one or two shorts, we’re now shooting 5 over the course of 4 months and instead of it being a competition, 5 different directors are working on what will be become a single project created from 5 different perspectives.
ML: The screenplay for Volumes of Blood is written by yourself, Todd Martin and Nathan Thomas Milliner. How did the idea come about? Was it something you purposely set out to do or was it a lucky accident?
P.j.: I knew I wanted there to be 5 short films. I already had been sitting on some ideas so I wrote the first three scripts, but I knew that I didn’t want to be the only writer for the anthology. I love to collaborate. Todd is a great writer and I contacted him to see if he wanted to come back for another stint with the Unscripted Film School 2. He accepted and the only stipulation I gave him was that one of the two stories he wrote had to be titled “Encyclopedia Satanica” because it’s such a badass title. I didn’t have a story, just a name. Todd got back to me with a couple scripts and I really dug what he wrote. Nathan has been a friend of mine for a while now and I asked him to come onto the project as a director. He chose “Encyclopedia” as his script and then did a pass on it. He added in a lot of cool literary elements and things that took the overall story to another level. Because of that he earned a writers credit as well.
ML: The logline reads “Five tales of dread interwoven when a sociology student gathers several of his friends at the local library to help him create a new urban legend with deadly consequences”, which honestly intrigues me because it reminds me of: 1) the movie Urban Legend; 2) the amazing episode of Buffy -“Conversations with Dead People” and 3) the V/H/S films oh, and 4) one of my all-time favorites Trick’r’Treat. Was Volumes of Blood inspired by any of these (probably not the Buffy episode, eh)? And if not what WAS the inspiration?
P.j.: It’s been pretty incredible the various different films that have come to light since I started this. I’m huge on writing homages to other films because for one I’m a big old school horror fan, and two I think that writing nuances into your stories are these great little moments for fans to grasp hold of a long the ride. I’ve wanted to do an anthology for a few years now and it just seemed like the right time. There are several inspirations and nods in Volumes of Blood that range from Friday the 13th and Insidious to more forgotten horror fare like After Midnight and He Knows You’re Alone. I’ve always been a fan of October and Halloween so several stories revolve around that time of year so I guess you can say that Trick ‘R Treat had some influence as well.
ML: Can you tell us what will be involved with these five tales? For example, will one be a ghost story and another full of zombies? Or is this a less supernatural film?
P.j.: I don’t want to give too much away but being a child of 80’s horror I can tell you that the film runs the horror sub-genre gamut. There will be ghosts, monsters, masked killers and possessed books so there’s a little something for every horror fan out there.
ML: Who is starring in your film? Have you hired only locals or did you expand your search?
P.j.: I expanded my search, but did cast a lot of actors that I had worked with before like Todd Reynolds (Hallows Eve: Slaughter on Second Street) and Louisa Torres (Lucky). This go around I reached out to several actors I’ve either wanted to work with for a while or worked with on others projects like Jason Crowe (The Hospital), Roni Jonah (The Zombie Movie), Jim O’Rear (The Hospital), Kevin Roach (Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh), Kristine Farley (Bloody Hooker Bang Bang) and a whole slew of others. I’m really excited about the cast.
ML: Tell us a bit about the filming process. You’re filming one Saturday a month till it’s finished, correct? Has that streamlined the filming process? Do you think it would have been easier to shoot it over 5 consecutive days? Why draw it out?
P.j.: Because of the way the film school program is structured we need to have time between each film to give the community a chance to sign up to participate on each film. We’re allowing ten each, fifty in all once the project has completed shooting in November. This has streamlined things because it allows us a chance to regroup before the shoots since everyone is working with a different director each time and experiencing a completely different vision from the last. Plus, everyone on board this project is volunteering their time and it just makes sense to shoot it this way to make sure everyone is available to do their job. I myself had a full time job and a family so shooting 5 consecutive days is just not in the cards for me and I wouldn’t expect it to be for anyone else. Drawing out the process also gives me a chance to sit down and start editing the shorts to try and have one finished before the next begins. That way when the final night of production comes the movie will be nearly completed.
ML: When will Volumes of Blood be released and where will people be able to view and purchase it?
P.j.: I’m huge into gimmicks so the film will have an Owensboro, Kentucky premiere on Friday, March 13, 2015 at the Owensboro Convention Center. It will be hosted by 97X and The Boiler Room, who will also host an exclusive after party. The event itself will be a charity event where all proceeds will be donated to New Beginnings Sexual Assault Services. After that it’ll hopefully be coming to a film festival near you and the DVD release will be before December of next year.
ML: You funded this project via Kickstarter. Was that your first experience with crowd sourcing? Would you recommend it for up and coming directors? What advice would you give them on how to go about using this resource?
P.j.: This was the first time I ever truly begged for money, yes. Outside from family that is. Crowd funding is a weird and stressful thing. If it all works out in the end then the journey was well worth all the sweat and tears, but I can’t imagine spending sixty days struggling to reach our goal and not walking away with something because it wasn’t fulfilled. I mean potato salad got funded for like eighty gazillion dollars and we made our budget because of the support of nearly a hundred individuals and the skin of our teeth no less. It was an amazing feeling when we reached the goal and ultimately the project was 107% funded. I would recommend giving it a try, but prepare to work really hard to get what you want and don’t be afraid to get annoying.
ML: What’s next for UFS and Verite? :)
P.j.: Right now we’re reviewing submissions for Unscripted 4 that will start in January 2015 and go every Saturday until the last weekend in February. As far as Verite Cinema is concerned, I honestly can’t see anything beyond Volumes of Blood right now… except Volumes of Blood 2 of course.
A huge thanks to P.j. for sitting down to do this interview (as if he really had a choice, hehe. No, but seriously. I am sorry about the basement thing). If you want to become a fan of Volumes of Blood, like me, give ’em a “like” over on Facebook or follow them on Twitter for all the latest news!
Written and directed by Greg Francis, Poker Night promises to mix the detective and horror genres in a whole new way with a large cast of recognizable names including Ron Perlman, Giancarlo Esposito, and Beau Mirchoff. Francis’s other work is dedicated to the detective and horror genres in various tangential projects, but we’ve seemingly got a lot to expect from his newest venture into a hybrid of the two.
We’re all familiar with poker scenes in movies. In the good ol’ Wild West, they indefinitely ended in guns blazing and death faces with the iconic tongue-out-of-the-mouth, ultra-cheesy look. But how do you handle a poker game in which the stakes turn out to be life and death? In the case of Poker Night, the protagonist is caught up in a life-or-death situation while matching wits with a sadistic killer who’s bent on ruining the protagonist’s new occupation to settle an old score with one of the protagonist’s colleagues.
In the film, leading man Beau Mirchoff as Stan Jeter has just signed on with Indiana’s Warsaw Police. As a rite of passage into the role, Jeter joins a poker game with the highest-ranking cops around and hears about the ups and downs of their careers.
Once the game is over, things do not go well for Jeter. He gets abducted by a psychopath, who locks Jeter in a basement. Escaping proves not to be his first priority, though. It turns out that he finds his girlfriend Amy there. Using the tips he received from poker night, Jeter finds himself tasked with not only saving himself but saving Amy and taking in—or taking out—the serial killer in one fell swoop. Hard first day on the job!
Poker is a popular catalyst in films that follow the trend of a life-or-death gamble. Perhaps we can attribute this trope to the woes of gambling addiction and those Wild West killing sprees linked to the extreme stakes placed on any given game.
However, poker is hardly the only gambling-related game that stars in the movies, and bets come in all sizes. 21 featured counting cards in blackjack, The Gambler (based on a Dostoevsky novel) is really just about a guy who gambles in all games possible, and Vegas Vacation is loaded with more fallout from bets and vested interest.
Poker Night has an interesting take on those topics, in its weaving knowledge and understanding on a darker level into the inner workings of the game. It will be interesting to see if we can match card hands and physical moves by Mirchoff and the killer in the film. For example, will they play per the basics of Texas Hold’em? Or will they throw caution to the wind, so to speak, and take on something like Omaha?
It’s likely they’ll go the way of Texas Hold’em, if not only for its popularity but also for its action. Betfair’s poker site highlights the latter quality by noting here that Hold’em is “one of the simplest, most action-packed and prestigious of all the poker variants.” It’s also described as being one of the “best poker experiences available,” which leads me to believe it could make for some great cinema. Either way, it should please both horror and poker fans alike.
There is no secure distribution for the film just yet, so don’t expect to see it on the silver screen just yet. Yet, there seems to be hope with names like Mirchoff, Perlman, and Esposito attached. To that end, you can be sure that even if the film hits as a B-crime flick, the movie will surely be worth your time.
This is a guest post by Ron Johnson, a freelance movie writer with a special place in his heart for old Westerns along with the work of Mel Brooks. As you can probably guess, Blazing Saddles is his favorite film of all time.
You all know how I love my horror movies and as I got sent this the other day and think it sounds like it’s going to be hella fun, I thought I’d share!
“SURVIVAL IS NOT AN OPTION” IN THE NEW FEMALE-DRIVEN
HORROR FILM ‘SAVE YOURSELF’ SHOOTING THIS SUMMER
Scream Queen Jessica Cameron Set to Star in Ryan M. Andrews’ Latest Horror Film
Following the success of his recent features, SICK, a festival favorite and Black Eve, currently available on DVD, award-winning director Ryan M. Andrews is set to direct his originally scripted Save Yourself this summer. Scream Queen Jessica Cameron will be starring in as well as producing this sexy horror flick along with Producer Emma Sutherland. Overseeing the project are executive producers Pino Halili and Allen Ormerod from multi-award winning studio
Post City Sound Inc.
The plotline for Save Yourself is as follows: En route to L.A., director Crystal Lacroix, along with by-the-numbers producer Dawn Summerville, neurotic writer Lizzy Miller, and star sisters Kim and Sasha Tobin, are riding high after a successful screening of their new horror film. But when Crystal goes missing at a rest stop, their mood suddenly changes. The others, splitting up to search for Crystal, spot an isolated farmhouse and enlist the help of its owners, quickly discovering that appearances are not always what they seem. Life imitates art as all five ladies find themselves pitted against a deranged couple hell-bent on using them for their mysterious research. Who will survive and what will be the fate of their ultimate discovery?
Having worked together in the past, Andrews and Cameron have discussed collaborating on a feature for years. Together they decided that Ryan’s script Save Yourself is the ideal choice. Award winning actor Ry Barrett (Neverlost, Desperate Souls, Antisocial) will join the cast as Save Yourself’s intense villain. This will be the first time Andrews, Cameron and Barret have collaborated since last year’s experimental short film Klymene.
Cameron’s latest film Truth or Dare has won more than two-dozen awards playing the festival circuit. She is also known for such films as the Roger Corman produced Camel Spiders, currently airing on the SyFy channel, and Steven C. Miller’s remake of Silent Night. Save Yourself marks Cameron’s 5th movie in under a year in which she is starring as well as producing.
Cameron was recently quoted as saying “This script is the sexiest and smartest female-driven horror flick that I have had the pleasure to read and I cannot wait to bring it to life with Ryan”. Talking about the female-driven story Andrews says, “I love Jean-Luc Godard’s quote ‘all you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.’ In the same way all you need for a horror is blood and a girl – and we’ve got five girls. It’s definitely going to be fun and sexy, but most importantly the women are not just one-dimensional. There is a lot of depth and development to their characters. And as a die-hard horror fan, I know just how important this is. It can’t just be another pretty face. There needs to be layers there for anyone to care when that face gets smashed.”
Filming begins later this year in Ontario, Canada. Expect more Save Yourself updates including full cast details coming soon! Please “Like” Save Yourself’s Facebook fan page and follow them on Twitter for more up-to-date information about this exciting new horror film!
Facebook.com/SaveYourselfMovie Twitter: @SaveYourselfMVE
Lone is singer Chelsea Wolfe’s first film, one that combines her music and the artistic expression of filmmaking to create a visually wild ride. Directed by Mark Pellington and based around Wolfe’s album “Pain is Beauty”, the film is a series of vignettes and images interlocked with five songs from the aforementioned album. The combination creates a dreamlike landscape littered with beauty and horror.
I won’t lie – I was wary at first as the viewer is essentially watching an hour long music video and I wasn’t entirely sure that was going to work. But unlike standard music videos, this one manages to tell a story without telling a story, leaving the interpretation entirely up to you. While it may not work for some, it worked for me. And what a story it is – encompassing love, beauty, pain, horror, death, life, destruction, nature and everything in between. A story created with viscerally stunning images that vary from filling one with longing to filling one with uneasiness and a story that includes a plethora of people. A particular repeating image that stuck out to me was people wearing animal masks – I feel like I’ve seen this a lot lately, mostly in the horror genre. I’m not sure if this was their way of introducing horror into the framework of the story here or not but it was really the only imagery that felt to me to be a bit of an overused trope.
Wolfe herself has a haunting voice and her songs are raw, only serving to amp up the imagery that we’re seeing. While the songs are the focus, there is a bit of dialogue, mostly repeated phrases such as “I’m not afraid to remember.” and “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” I’m not sure which five songs from the album were used, as I’m not familiar with Wolfe or her work outside of this film, but she’s definitely garnered a new fan by using this medium.
Pellington’s direction is, at times, brilliant. Besides all the emotions and elements he combines, he also combines his original imagery with what appears to be old home movies and stock footage of natural disasters. The overall affect is a film that will stick with you long after you’ve finished watching.
Some of you are familiar with P.j. Starks, some of you are not. But either way, he’s a pretty cool guy who does a lot of fairly cool stuff when it comes to movies. And he just released one of his films online, finally, for the entire world to see. I haven’t had a chance to watch this one yet but hope to soon. It’s only 19 minutes or so, so head on over and check it out!
Join us for the May issue of Rogue Cinema with exciting features like reviews of the below!
Well, I and a whole buncha other people had a shit load of fun today over at the first Shitfest Social! We gathered together to watch “The Secret Village” and did a live commentary as we watched. Super fun and a great time was had by all! Swing on by and check out the comments to see how great (or horrible) this movie really was! :)
Originally posted on Isaacs Picture Conclusions:
In just a few short hours, I’ll be live commenting on this movie in the comments section of this post. I had a handful of people say that they’d join me so hopefully they’ll show up!! If not – I guess it’ll just be me! If nothing else – I guess that means more beer and pickles for me!! I hope you tune in! This could be good fun!
UPDATE: The big event starts in 6 minutes!!! And LUKEhas promised to dance The Cooch!!!!
UPDATE: HERE WE GO!!