Someone's in the house. He's watching. He's creeping round, only you can't see him. He's watching you from the walls. He's right behind you now. Looking over your shoulder. He wants the remote control. He's a bad boy. He wants to watch bad movies. Bad bad Ronald...

Friday, March 21, 2014

BadRonald Talks to Roxsy Tyler and Mr. Potent About Apocalypse Kiss

I Just Want Some Extra Time and Your...


Apocalypse Kiss!

If you're looking for a primer on how to make your own low-budget movie (and do it right!), then go check out the bad asses over at Potent Media. Check out the list of projects, and then peruse the names on the cast lists. Pretty impressive for a production team whose film's budgets wouldn't even foot the Starfucks coffee bill from The Walking Dead.

Carmela aka Roxsy Tyler

Potent founder Christian Jude Grillo (aka Mr. Potent) impressed us with his shocking and titillating feature Deer Crossing (check it out at Netflix and RedBox), and certainly got a few panties all bunched up with its "controversial" content. And now he's back, along with his wife and business partner Carmela Hayslett -- also known as the familiar BadRonald favorite Roxy Tyler -- to deliver a steamy SciFi laser thriller Apocalypse Kiss.
Christian lights it up

Christian and Carmela were good enough to sit down and take some questions about their new film, and also chat about the state of indie film, in general. Enjoy...

BadRonald:  Apocalypse Kiss looks to be leaning a lot more towards Science Fiction. What inspired you to step away from the horror/thriller stuff?

Carmela Hayslett: Christian writes films that are meant to be dramas, really. He never means for them to be pegged as "horror" movies but his tone is quite horrific from a reality stand point. I would actually be really curious if he wrote something that was meant to be a horror movie. I'm glad he went the Sci-fi route with this one though. I know it's a genre he's most passionate about.

Mr.Potent: After doing Deer Crossing and Booley I felt the desire to challenge myself as a film maker. I'm not the type of person who finds a niche and stays in it. That would completely bore the hell out of me. I have always loved Dark Science fiction. Alien, Event Horizon, Dark City, Time Bandits, etc... Doing a film of this nature at the budgets we work with creates an enormous challenge. How do you create a whole world with a set design budget less then $2K. It is this challenge that drives me as a film maker and an artist. I am a true believer in the school of thought that imagination out-ways budget 10 to 1. I think Apocalypse Kiss will prove that.

All Star Cast

Give us a quick little storyline of the movie.

Carmela: Government security agent Jerry Hipple has been unsuccessfully tracking the city's most infamous criminal The Red Harvest Killer. When two nomadic lovers, Katia and Gladys enter the city the death count rises and are being credited as Red Harvest killings. Obsessive compulsive Adrian, the actual Red Harvest Killer becomes furious that the sexy serial killing duo are grabbing media attention under his alias. Not only does Adrian attempt to reclaim his rightful reputation but he also decides to cleverly aid his detective counterpart through the case. All the while, killers and victims alike are unaware the world is about to reach an abrupt catastrophic ending.

  
The trailer has a very Doctor Who feel to it -- staying in budget with more intimate sets. But also has a Blade Runner feel with the action. How did you guys come up with the set designs?

No. The pumpkin mask doesn't come in 'til here
Carmela: I really wish I could take some credit for those set designs. They looked spectacular! Christian and a lot of the crew (even some of the actors) worked tirelessly actually building and creating the world of Apocalypse Kiss. I was really impressed when I stepped onto the sets and even more impressed when I saw what they actually look like in the movie.


Mr. Potent: Carmela, My daughter Katie and I are all huge fans of Doctor Who. But there are three major influences in the set design and the entire backdrop of Apocalypse Kiss. Hardware: A low budget Sci-Fi from Director Richard Stanley. This film is fucking amazing and is truly my biggest influence on Apocalypse Kiss. From the lighting to the pre-apocalyptic environment to the dark satire to the style of production.
I loved the esthetics of Blade Runner, (The big world feel) and the old school Noir detective story within it. I wanted to do this even though we had hardly any money. The sets for Katia and Gladys are what I consider trashy New York life 1975.

 
It's about to get hot in here
You guys have a knack for attracting some genre idols -- Tom Atkins, Michael Berryman, Pinhead! That has to be a testament to the potency of Potent Pictures. How tough was it to score these cast members?

Mr. Potent:  The most difficult part is getting passed the agent. If the agent feels it's worth while offer, then you can start the dance from there.


 
You have used the social crowd-funding sources to an extent. But you get your financing through the traditional avenues, correct?

Carmela and Tammy Sizzle
Mr. Potent:  We do have a loyal investment team who have been with us since day one. They believe in us. New investors get on the train every time we shoot. But we do really a little on the generosity of the contributors who donate to us. As far as the big timers using crowd funding... more power to them. If you can get funded to make your films by multiple donations you eliminate so many stress factors. You don't have to worry about the movie making money, no one has a contract to sue you with and you don't have to pay it back. I would totally fund an entire film with it if I had the celebrity leverage to do so.

Carmela: I dress up as Roxsy Tyler and ask for money.
 
What are your thoughts on the millionaire filmmakers who have been flocking to the crowd funding sites, and taking the share of the pie from the filmmakers who don't have the other avenues -- or bank accounts -- of these 1%-er filmmakers?

Carmela: I'd like to know how they raised money before they became millionaire filmmakers and why aren't they doing that now? Part of me thinks it shows the same passion the underdogs have for making their films. Another part of me thinks very differently. Those filmmakers are capitalizing on their past success while real independent filmmakers are on there trying to make their success. People like us have to do it the hard way. We always had to do it the hard way. If these millionaire filmmakers wanted to keep making movies why didn't they think about that when they were making money? Christian tells me all the time that if he ever gets rich... he's making more movies with that money. Screw any chances of having a mansion someday he just wants to make more movies.

Mr. Potent:   As far as the big timers using crowd funding... more power to them. If you can get funded to make your films by multiple donations you eliminate so many stress factors. You don't have to worry about the movie making money, no one has a contract to sue you with and you don't have to pay it back. I would totally fund an entire film with it if I had the celebrity leverage to do so.

Okay, I know I left my coffee around here, somewhere
 
Carmela, I enjoyed what you did with the supporting role in Deer Crossing. What inspired you to take a lead on this new film? And Christian -- what are your thoughts on her stepping up?

Carmela: When we were filming Deer Crossing I told Chris I aspire one day to play a lesbian or a serial killer. Before I knew it he pooped out this awesome script featuring me as a serial-killing lesbian. The next step was being ready for it. I was ready for it before he even started casting.

Mr. Potent:  This role was Carmela's idea from day one. (Like she said) after Deer Crossing she told me that she would love to play a lesbian serial killer. Of course I took major interest in this idea. (We had just watched GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and ) I love Noomi Rapice!  Carmela, like Noomi, is a petite little porcelain faced girl who can exploit a sinister presence. I knew she had it in her. I modeled her character Katia after this idea. It's actually what set off the complete exploitative side of the film.


The Stuff Hits the Fan

 What were the good and not so good aspects of having your spouse direct/act for you?

Carmela: I probably drive Christian crazy when we work together because we're both artistic and any two artists will bump heads. The fact that we're married doesn't really register when we're on set or while we're doing post-production work. He doesn't treat me any different than he does the other actors. It's all business. I like having someone that I can collaborate with and be creative with all the time.

Mr. Potent:   Good side... I shot some hot scenes of my wife dominating Tammy. Bad side... I had to say "cut".
 
Bring the Troma
  The role you take on, Carmela (from what I see in the trailer), looks to be pretty heavy. How excited or nervous were you, and how'd you prepare for the challenge?

Carmela: I was more excited than I was nervous about it. I took six months to prepare for my role as Katia. I didn't take on any other projects at the time because I was so committed to Apocalypse Kiss. I took acting lessons, Tammy and I rehearsed well before the movie even went into production... there was just so much I did to prepare for the role. I would ask my friends who are actors to meet with me and critique my reads... I learned sign language. I had a coach who taught me how to sign the lines I had in the script but I went well beyond the script and started trying to learn ASL full-time. I also learned a lot about deaf culture to the point where Christian had to make some revisions to the script. I even went as far as putting ear plugs in my ears while we were filming. I really couldn't hear anything. That way I would react accordingly and have no choice but to read people's lips.


Getting the Mood Right
 
The role also looks (old man term alert!) racy. Was there any hesitation from either of you? Or is it another day on the set?

Carmela: I never did anything like this before so I was nervous but I never once hesitated. I'm glad I did it and I would do it again. I think the experience helped me really grow as an actress.



Tammy Jean looks to do an impressive job. Where did you find her, and how was it working with her?

Carmela: Tammy Jean was an absolute joy to work with. She took the role seriously but she was also very fun to be around. I never worked this close with another woman before. I was a little worried about it because of some of the things we had to do together in this film. After a couple of times of meeting and rehearsing with Tammy my nervousness was gone. She's just so easy to work with.

Mr. Potent:   We have known Tammy for a couple years. She is related to one of my good friends Christopher McMullin who is also an actor in the film.

 
Who would be your dream catch, to play a role in one of your films?

Mr. Potent:   I have always wanted to work with Paul Rubens.
 
Carmela: I want to work with Michael Keaton in the worse way. Come on, he was Batman! That would be a nice full-circle sort of thing for me.


The Power Couple. Like Bill and Hillary... Only Better

 You've had some negative reaction to the nudity and gore in Deer Crossing (from the a-hole RedBox crowd, right?). I don't see your films as gratuitous, but more along the exploitation line. To me there's a difference. There's a commentary that goes with exploitation that is left out of the more gratuitous films, even if it's not fully realized. It's all in what the story has to tell -- and your films have some good character development going. What are both of your thoughts on sex/nudity and gore in film, and how do you see it in your own work?

Carmela: I actually wrote a Redbox review saying that Deer Crossing didn't have enough sex and violence (true story). I mean, it really didn't. Christian never intended for it to either. People were more bothered by what they thought they saw. By my standards as a horror fan the film was actually very tame. The fact that it got such a reaction despite showing so little is a real statement. Christian disgusted thousands of people with not his visuals but with his writing. That's a great compliment to his abilities for story-telling. I don't have sex and nudity in anything I write... at least not yet. As far as sex/nudity/gore in general-- it is what it is. Gore is fun to look at and sex/nudity is a part of nature. You can pretend you're not naked under your clothes and that you don't have sex but it's more than likely not true. Why shouldn't that stuff be in movies?

Mr. Potent:    I feel most accomplished when someone either loves or hates my movie. I never want a mediocre reaction. Luke warm sucks. I guess by now it's very obvious that I am a Writer/Director who wreaks of exploitation. I want people to feel something... get something... from my films. I want a reaction. I feel most comfortable when my audience is uncomfortable. Gore... sex... who the hell cares. You can do both and make them boring. I had the biggest backlash on REDBOX for the "Extreme sexual content" in Deer Crossing. There is only one short scene with nudity in it. The scenes that piss everyone off the most... show nothing. It's all up to the viewer's imagination.


Apocalypse Kiss is looking to be really awesome. How soon can we expect to see this.

Mr. Potent: Coming April 8, on DVD and streaming sites across the Internet.


 

What's next for the Potent Gang?
Check out the IndieGoGo campaign for Sugar Skull Girls!


 
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Check out the red band trailer (NSFW), and look for the DVD release, coming soon!!!

 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BadRonald Celebrates Women in Horror Month -- Haunted Anna!

Women Girls in Horror Month Celebrates

HAUNTED ANNA: Awesome Teenage Ghost Buster!


Capture from: Girl Possessed by Ghost - Haunted Anna #20
While we’re celebrating Women in Horror Month, let’s not forget the girls of horror. As a fan of horror, and a great supporter of women behind the cameras, I’ve been in awe of the major talents that have burst onto the horror scene. The Soska Twins had a huge indie horror hit with American Mary, and are now directing the hotly anticipated See No Evil 2. Female directors made a big splash at Sundance this year, capturing major awards, including Best Director, won by Ava Duvernay. This win notes the first time a Black woman has won for best directing. Also creating buzz was Ana Lily Amirpour, who directed A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the first “Iranian vampire western.”

I’d always heard those stories of filmmakers, like Spielberg or Robert Rodriguez, who started making movies in their backyards, as little kids. It’s a nice change to learn that Amirpour had been making movies since she was 12 years old, her first being a horror flick she filmed during a sleepover.

I’ve shared some interviews with girl filmmakers on this blog before, including Emily Hagins, the now 21 year old director, who has made four feature length films (yes, feature length!) since she was 12 years old. Also, I’ve featured a couple chats with PaigeMcKenzie, better known as Sunshine Girl, from the popular YouTube show, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl. McKenzie has been very active in developing her own show, plus a couple movies featuring her Sunshine character, and a stash of other programs which she hosts on her very own YouTube channel, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl Network.


And this is where we found another in the blossoming crop of girl filmmakers – Anna Bishop, otherwise known as Haunted Anna (she’s also known as AJ Bishop, a singer – but more on that later). Haunted Anna is another of the teenage video bloggers, like Sunshine Girl, who have discovered their inner-Scooby Doo, after finding strange goings on in their homes. Anna is the youngest of the teen ghost hunters featured on THOSGN, starting her show when she was just 13 (however, she had been making films, like Ana Lily Amirpour, since she was younger).

BadRonald: How did you come upon the idea/concept for the Haunted Anna videos?  Were they inspired by anything in your life?

Anna: My idea for the Haunted Anna series came from my love of a good mystery, and psychological thrillers. I have been doing short horror videos for years, but never a series with clues and surprises and unexpected twists.  This was an opportunity to expand on something I already loved to do.



Your videos are shown on the Haunting of Sunshine Girl’s YouTube channel.  How did you guys hook up?

I replied to a request from The Haunted Sunshine Network for a story idea and sent a sample of my work. Then I talked out the premise with the Director Nick Hagen and Sunshine and her mom and we agreed on the direction and storyline. 


Capture from: Girl Pulled Off Bed by Ghost - Anna Haunting #13

Are you a spooky movie fan?

I am a HUGE horror movie fan - but not slasher horror – (I like) psychological thrillers.  I love old classics from Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window).  I am a big fan of The Shining. Great example of a thriller with very interesting characters (Jack Nicholson is brilliant) and the anticipation of what might happen just leaves you exhausted! So many moments in that movie: 'REDRUM' and 'Here's Johnny' and the sound of 'Danny' on his big wheel riding through the lodge on and off the carpet...chilling.  I also really love The Bad Seed, The Others, The Conjuring, The Exorcist, and I just watched Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense.  I watched it twice in a row actually.  What a clever movie - the ending shocked me. 



Speaking of The Bad Seed, I see that you did a stage production of The Bad Seed, playing the lead character.  Absolutely one of my all time favorite movies! How was that experience?

Who's the wickedest of them all?
I had never seen The Bad Seed, so before I auditioned for it I watched the original 1956 movie.  What a twisted story!  The main character, young Rhoda Penmark, is a psychopath.  She is very smart and very cold and calculating and manipulative and deliciously evil.  She is willing to kill for what she wants.  And, she has absolutely no remorse.  The movie was nominated for 4 academy awards, it is truly a classic must see.  I was THRILLED to play this role. This role was the highlight of my theater roles to date. I even dyed my hair platinum blond and cut bangs for this role.  I was really into it.  Interestingly, the staged play is VERY different from the movie at the end.  It's even darker and more sinister.  Apparently the filmmakers had to follow the motion picture association 'Hayes Code' that censored movies from 1930-1968, and the staged play ending was not approved.  You must read the play to see the full impact of The Bad Seed!! I don't want to give away the ending!
The Bad Seed




From what I’ve seen, on your music videos, and from your tweets and posts, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that you’re a pretty nice, sweet person – right?  How did you manage to get in the head of Rhoda?  She’s such a terrible little girl!

The role of Rhoda Penmark WAS totally out of character for me...but I love being an actress! So this was a great and rewarding challenge for me.  I did a lot of research on psychopaths before the production to prepare.  I learned that psychopathy is a disorder people are born with, and it is often hereditary. They are bold and fearless risk-seekers and they do not understand social norms. With this knowledge I was able to slip into Rhoda's head before the show, and shake her off afterwards.  You don't want to take any of that behavior home from the theater.  I must say my mom accused me of some Rhoda-like behavior during the run of the show.  I might have been trying out some of her manipulative tactics.  But that's the thing with
Capture from: Ghost Doll Spotted in Basement - Haunted Anna #15
performing.  To be convincing you have to fall into your character completely and then let her go. Otherwise you would be a bit unbalanced!



Was it difficult to play bad?

Playing a bad character is really quite fun!!



Now, you’re also an accomplished singer, as well as an actor.  Is there a preference between the two?

That's a tough question.  I love both singing and acting.  I think that's why I started in musical theater.  I know some people are not fans of musical theater and don't like characters breaking into song.  Some theater folks don't consider musicals 'real' theater.  But I like a great musical and a great dramatic performance and a great concert.  It's all entertaining.  And, I think really great singers are also great performers.  You have to believe the lyrics, and that takes a good performance as well as a good song.  So I think I would say I can't decide what I prefer!!


Looking for Ghosts


In the Haunted Anna videos – I enjoy the contrast between your videos and Sunshine’s.  Paige has a very quirky personality and the supporting characters all give her storylines a very Scooby Doo like quality. Sunshine’s storyline starts off as a personal vlog, and then snowballs into some pretty high adventure! Your videos, on the other hand, are pretty much just you (with your mom sometimes making an appearance), and your persona is this “real” girl who is looking for an explanation to the weirdness that is going on around her.  Buuut, things are starting to evolve into some real creepy creepiness. Like black eyed weird creepiness.  What’s it all leading up to? (no spoilers, of course!) Thanks - I was hoping for a real 'girl next door' feeling to the Haunted Anna videos.  Yes things were getting really creepy with Antonina and the mystery of her death...and now… what's next?  I'm not sure.  You will have to stay tuned!!!
Capture from: Ghost Dolls and Orbs; My Dog Sniffs Out a Ghost - Haunted Anna #17

Some of your posts and tweets have mentioned, or hashtagged, things like “girl power”, or have had a teen-centric theme.  You have also done a video on bullying.  Are you driven to put out a positive image for kids and teens?

I am very focused on the impact I might have with young girls and other teens.  I have observed some terrible Middle School bullying and it is really ugly. My video for “This Too Shall Pass” addresses the issue of bullying.  My message is that girls need to support other girls, and you should stay positive and optimistic.  If I have any impact on my peers I want it to be positive and empowering.  I am not a fan of overtly sexy teens and sexy “selfies” and trying to use shock and skin and drug references for attention.



I’ve discussed this same topic with Paige and her mom, as well, about
how today’s teens are portrayed in television and music.  There seems to be an expectation of teen and tweens, in the entertainment industry, that tends to portray them as more mature.  Do you see this? How do you work or deal with these expectations in your career?

Capture from: Ghost in Attic - Anna Haunting #4
It's funny because when you perform a lot, especially with adults, you have to be a bit more mature.  And the entertainment industry definitely makes young girls look really mature.  I'm not a fan of this.  I don't like how rushed everyone is to get through their teens and be more 'mature.'  I want to enjoy being a teen!



It seems as if most TV shows/movies aimed at the younger crowd are about crushing on guys, or “mean girls”, or fashionistas, and even more adult themes.  It’s rare to find a show, like, for instance Bunheads, that seems to portray kids who deal with more typical teen problems. So, it’s good to see portrayals of teens – like with you and Sunshine -- who deal with other things, on their programs, besides the typical love and angst we see everywhere else.  Is this something you considered ahead?  Or just the way you are?

With me you get what you see.  I am a typical normal teen girl.  Unless I am playing a role on stage I try to stay true to myself and my beliefs...it's OK to giggle with girlfriends and paint your nails and play with your little sister.  It's a waste of time to get wrapped up in what's in or out or who is in or out or trying to be someone you are not.

Follow @AnnaJaneBishop on Twitter


From what I’ve seen in your work, you focus on the positive.  Do you, or would you, consider yourself being a role model for other girls and teens?

I would like to think that I would be a good role model for other girls.  I am not perfect, I have ups and downs but try to stay positive, and I am really focused on school (education is #1), family and friends.  It's a good way to be!



You spoke about the other horror shorts you've done.  Are those available to view anywhere?

No, my horror shorts are done with friends, edited at home and not online.  I just do them for fun...but maybe I should start posting them...there are some really great ones!  



What's your process for your show?  Do you come up with an arc for a "season" or develop the storyline with each segment?
My process was a general idea of the storyline for the 'season,' then focusing on each episode moving the story forward...with a little scare in there, or a mystery, or clue, or an unexpected twist.  Sometimes I had an idea for the episode, and sometimes it was a little more impromptu and my mom and I would brainstorm, check out the spaces and angles, and then just film.  Very spontaneous, to keep it fresh and “real.” 
Listen in at ReverbNation

So, tell me more about your singing career?

I started singing, really singing, when I was 8 in a professional musical theater production of The Wizard of Oz.  I caught the performing bug and just kept on going: musical theater, dramatic theater, film work, training in acting, singing (opera/classical, choral and musical theater) and dancing (tap, ballet, contemporary and jazz). Last year I decided to branch out into pop music starting with some cover songs and then doing an original with a local singer songwriter, Brent Rogers (&Kelli Caldwell).  I put up a YouTube channel, a Facebook Page and got on a music site (ReverbNation) and just let it all go out there.  Just recently, Kevin DeClue, an LA based multi-platinum producer, found me. He has teamed up with HollyWood Records, Capital Entertainment, Arista Records etc. I have started to work with him, and I am learning so much! We are working on an original EP (5 songs) to be released in February. Our first song is AMAZING.  It's really exciting!


What music or musicians have you been influenced by?  And who, if dreams ever do come true, would you wanna duet with?


Check out AJ BIshop on YouTube
I like so many musicians, but the common thread is great vocals, melodies and lyrics.  I like older bands like The Beatles.  I love Elton John and really love older jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald.  But I also listen to more current musicians like Norah Jones (love her sound and style), Wilco (90s),The Decemberists (love them-they are from Portland!!), Kimbra (she is so talented), Ellie Goulding (great layered vocals and lyrics) and Lorde (great lyrics and creative unique sound). I also like classic rock.  My dad plays guitar and we are always singing and listening to classic artists like: Neil Young, The Allman Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Cash, Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, etc.   I am not a fan of overly manipulated music, or dance club music.  You know with the recording software anyone can 'sing' these days.  I like authentic voices, and authentic sounds. My new favorite song right now is Indina Menzel singing Let It Go from the movie Frozen!  So my tastes run wide:)!!! This is a total GIRL POWER song too!!


Ella! Elton! Ellie! Johnny Cash -- yes!  Where’d you develop such an eclectic range of music taste?

I am lucky to be surrounded by music. My dad plays guitar (electric, acoustic and banjo) all the time.  He's very into classic rock so we listen to a lot of vocally driven 70s rock. Love Johnny Cash - now that's 50s and 60s - classic songs, and great heart in his music.  I love the At Folsom Prison Album. What passion and grit and raw emotion you hear in that album. Our theme song on the drive to school is Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird' - haha!!  Thanks dad!!  And my mom brings in musical theater (which she loves, as do I) and the more soft rock melody centered artists from her past like Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel (I actually really like him - his voice and the PIANO - no making fun of him!), James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkle, Phil Collins and Norah Jones to name a few. We are often sitting in the car at the curb finishing listening to a song with my mom whi is singing all the lyrics.  And then we talk about why a certain phrase was so meaningful.  Yesterday we were talking about 'they're sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it's better than drinking alone.' - Billy Joel, Piano Man.  Now
Go LIKE her on FaceBook
obviously I don't drink, but we were talking about how people need other people and they come together (in this case in a bar) to listen to music and 'forget about life for awhile.'  Music can have a huge impact on people.  And I love all the cool images.  True story, last Christmas, at Christmas eve dinner, my dad and I sang a couple songs for the family (we have a huge family) and my 85 year old Grandfather with advanced Parkinsons Disease, who had barely been tracking all night, sat up and started belting out an old irish tune.  The family was stunned.  The music brought him out of his dark place and helped him join in the festivities.  I have never felt so happy.  Now whenever we visit I try to sing to him...anything I'm working on...classical, musical theater, whatever. 
 

That’s an amazing story!  How about in acting?  Who are your influences/idols?  And what actors or directors would you give your left pinky to work with?

In the acting world I am in awe of talented stage actors.  They don't get multiple takes...they are the best performers...in my opinion and they study their craft. Meryl Streep probably stands out as the BEST actress ever.  I also love Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lawrence (she can play so many roles well!). And I'm a new fan of Kristen Bell aka Veronica Mars (she studied musical theater and performed on Broadway BEFORE moving into film!).



I enjoyed your retweet of the Rookie article Kids Won't Listen: "Why I’m sick of articles about teenage girls written by grown-up men."  I had a good chuckle at the title, seeing that I'm a "grown man." But, the article is great, and it makes lots of good points. As a father of two young daughters, I've become very analytical of how young woman and girls are portrayed in entertainment. But, I'm also acutely aware that it's not the GIRLS in the business who need to be analyzed and criticized --It's the producers and creators.  Where the limitations lie, in the portrayals of girls, is in the creative.  I love discovering projects and productions where girls are encouraged to be positive, about themselves, and about the world around them.  I respect that Nick and Mercedes and Paige are doing their best in finding talent like you, to push better images of girls. 
Yes - that was a great article in RookieMag (it's a super Mag for teens)...and SO true.  When I first talked to Mercedes and Paige we talked about 'adorkable.'  And that was what clicked because that's me too.  Sunshine has this adorkable, carefree persona, and I too wanted to really be myself in the Haunted Anna series...curious, open minded, eager and positive.  I never dressed up or put on makeup to film, I did it all in one take and I was open and honest.  Not everyone loved what I did every episode.  It's hard not to be hurt by the YouTube comments (I stopped reading them) - of course it's 'fake' its a web series people!!  Everything on television is 'fake' and you don't see people analyzing every minute and every glance and every word of their scripts!  But I was proud of my work and my creativity and of staying true to myself.  That's the way I am, that's the way I dress, that's the way I talk, and so you get what you see with me. I hope I have helped to portray a better or more real image of a young teen girl!
Capture from: Giggling Heard on Camera - Anna Haunting #11

Susan Bishop, Anna's mom wanted to join in on this topic:                     
I think when we first looked at this project, Anna and I appreciated that Mercedes and Paige were looking for something real and age appropriate.  Anna was just 13, and a young 13 at that, and we wanted her to be herself.  She loves mystery and horror and psychological thrillers, so we took it from there...creating a mystery, finding clues, and moving the story forward.  We did not want to create a character 'Anna,' but a real version of Anna...just haunted.  This is very similar to 'Sunshine.'  She's a great role model.  A really nice genuine young woman, with a funny sense of humor, a bit goofy (which is cool), and no attitude.  Hard to find these days!!  It was super fun being a part of the Sunshine Network, and Anna really appreciates her ongoing connection with the Sunshine cast and crew.  They are great, hard working people. There may be continued collaboration in the future, so stay tuned!!


Is there anything, other than the Haunted Anna videos, that you will be appearing in?

Capture from: Ghost Doll and Orb - Anna Haunting #16
This year my focus is on my transition to High School activities and ACADEMICS, so I am not pursuing outside performing opportunities. I have spent the last 6 years going to rehearsals and performing and I have not been able to do normal teen stuff like sports, clubs, sleepovers, hanging out with my friends, etc.  That said, I am interested in doing my high school musical - Beauty and The Beast (I have never been in a school production!!).  And, I am trying to do some non-performing things.  I was on my HS Cross Country Team this fall.  Our team placed 2nd in the state, and I made Varsity - which was so much fun (I have never done a school team sport either).



What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen or experienced that wasn’t a ghost?

There's a haunted house up the street...I'm not kidding.  We film it all the time.  Odd stuff is going on there!  Maybe Haunted Anna will need to investigate!


Follow Anna at These Links 

Twitter@AnnaJaneBishop


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Peephole Review: BadRonald Takes a Punk Vacation

There's one aspect of 80s cinema that I always enjoyed (well, maybe not at first) -- theater majors playing bad guys, especially punk rock bad guys.  In Vinegar Syndrome's DVD/Blu ray combo release, I got my full dosage of punk rock thugs in all their theatrical glory.  There were swashbuckling sword play, maniacal laughter, Tonto impersonations... huzzah!


Punk Vacation (1987) is the snappy title of this rape/revenge chestnut, about a small town under attack by some gallivanting punk rock motorcycle gang.  After her father is murdered by the gang, his daughter decides she's going to take down the spiked haired nasties, with her own brand of brutal vengeance.

This direct to video shocker has lost some of the edge it probably had, now that we all know that punk rockers are all really people, just like you and me... but with flaming red and blue hair and beautiful theatrical make up on.  The action is fun and energetic, with a great sense that it was all choreographed by a dancer.  There are also some good bits of horror violence, to satiate the bloodhound in the crowds.  The topper is the over the top performances by the punkers.  Like I said, very theatrical, with high-emotions.  It gets good when the punks aim to exact revenge on the girl who is getting revenge on them, and the head punk chick tones herself down to look like the ex-cheerleader beauty who they now hold captive.  There are some killer lines and plenty of synth-punk melodies to bang your head to (composed by the team who would move on to score Snowboard Academy and Sexting in Suburbia). 

Pack up the cooler and head out for some acid bleached fun with the gang.  Punk Vacation is 80s fun on a disc.

Check out the bonus biker flick on the DVD disc, Nomad Riders (1984).  It's fairly laughable, but very fun.  Especially the scene where they, ummm... mess up(?) an old lady's living room.  Oh the horror!



Bonus extras in the combo pack include interviews with the stunt coordinator and producer.
Check out the link for other great Vinegar Syndrome releases.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Goodbye to My Horror Hero: James Herbert


Back in 1976, my cousin gave me the paperback novel that would change my life.  It was titled The Survivor.  On the cover was an illustration of a broken doll's head with glaring eyes.  The picture alone creeped me out.  I read the book in a matter of a few days (yeah, slow reader), and I was blown away.  I'd never read anything like it.  I was only 14 years old, but I'd already read a number of "grown up" novels.  I had skipped over the YA book scene (I didn't get into them until I was an adult), virtually jumping from chapter books to the novels that stuffed my Dad's upstairs bookshelf.  I would find a corner in the library, with a pile of books off the paperback racks, mostly TV or movie tie-ins, or anything with a cool cover. But Survivor was different.  Herbert's smooth speech and masterful storytelling spoke to me.  I was drawn in by how he, not only, told the story of the protagonist, but also made the victims of the ghastly killings come to life, with a full chapter dedicated to their (sometimes cruel, sometimes heartbreaking) backstory... and death.

I wasn't in to authors, yet -- except for Charles Dickens, of whom I was keenly aware.  But after I put down The Survivor, I noted the name of the author: James Herbert, and immediately sought out more of his books. Lucky for me,  I found one at my middle school library book sale.  A copy of The Rats, with the cover torn off.  I devoured that one right up.  Finding no Herbert books on the local library shelves, I took to the back pages of the paperback, where they had an order form for his other books at Signet.  I scraped up some of my snow shoveling money and sent off for a copy of The Fog.

Holy shit!  I was hooked.  The Survivor and The Rats were both eloquent and frightening, and they made me an instant fan of Herbert's.  But, The Fog...  truly disturbing and profound, and as creepy as anything I have ever read.  Hands down my favorite of all his books.

I became a regular at the mall bookstore, heading straight to the Horror section, looking for, and awaiting the next of his books.  The first "new" paperback I was treated to was Fluke, a definite change of pace from the mind bending horror of flesh eating rats, killer fog and torturous ghosts.  Fluke, instead, was a murder mystery involving a man who reincarnates in to a dog.  I was undaunted by the change.  This was Jame Herbert, afterall, so it's got to be good.  And it was.  Just as page turning as the previous books.

Every year after that, like clockwork, I was treated to another of Herbert's mind-whirling horror novels.  Some were mildly tedious (The Dark, Moon), others brilliant (the continuing Rat series), but all were welcomed.  And not only was I on the lookout for Herbert novels, I quickly became a fan of his (American) publisher, Signet.  When there wasn't a new Herbert paperback to chew on, I found that most of the other Signet horror novels would do to fill in the gaps.  Books like The Cats, New Blood, Rooftops, Phone Call, Savage Snow.  And authors like, David Lippencott, Nick Sharman, and Guy N. Smith.

The late 70s and early 80s were really such a great time to be a horror reader.  This is when King ruled, and he did good by it.  But, I've always been a James Herbert fan.  He drew me in before I'd even heard of Stephen King -- and he soon became known as the British Stephen King -- but, my heart goes to Herbert... My pulsating, bloody, quivering, lusty heart.

Goodbye James. Thanks for the wonderful nightmares.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bad Ronald Peephole Review: Deer Crossing

There are a lot of movies that can be just dismissed as eh, didn't float my boat.  Which doesn't necessarily mean they're bad, just that they weren't that great, either. You know... kinda okay.  But, sometimes, within that neutral category, there's the occasional film that, although it wasn't so great itself, gives a hint that whomever made the movie just may be onto something greater. This is where I would place Deer Crossing, or rather its director Christian Grillo.

Grillo's got a pretty twisted sensibility.  Wicked, actually.  Deer Crossing is full of subversive behavior and nefarious characters. There's an eloquent speaking backwoods killer, a tormented father/husband who neglects his selfish past, an eye-patch wearing creep, and a naked lady chained to a railroad tie. There's incest, sodomy, drugs and rape. And what's impressive is that Grillo shows great restraint, keeping Deer Crossing from delving too deeply into these exploitative cliches, separating his film from the pack of other low budget indie horror.

There are some terrific action sequences, as well.  Grillo has an eye for good action pacing, getting plenty of fast moving coverage to keep the action scenes alive and running. Some of these sequences easily could stand up to Hollywood standards.

The downside is the slower parts of the story.  I love one take dialogue scenes.  They're great moments for the audience to be a fly on the wall, watching some real moments between characters. But, like a good photograph that fills the picture with negative space or peripheral information, a one take filmed scene needs to engage the audience with equal information, or non-information.  Unfortunately, some of the dialogue scenes in Deer Crossing demonstrated a need to edit, to throw out the uncomfortable actor's pauses, as much as some of the superfluous dialogue.

It also suffered some from too much going on. Christopher Mann (The Wire) does well, but his troubled detective character ultimately takes away from what should be the focus of the film -- Michael Chancelor (Warren Hemaway), the father, whose self indulgent ways lead to crippling guilt, after the kidnapping of his son and wife.  Both Mann and Hamaway play characters who deal with terrible losses, but their stories split the emotional cache of the audience.  The story of a father of a kidnapped boy seems, to me, to create more impact.

Speaking of Christopher Mann, you have to appreciate the casting in Deer Crossing.  Besides Mann, they brought in other notable names, like Ghost Buster Ernie Hudson as a frustrated police captain. And the big casting coup is nailing down Pinhead himself, Douglas Bradley as, of all things, the small town Sheriff!  It's an unexpected choice, but it works despite the unlikeliness.  The casting of the backwoods killer worked well, too. The intellectually sounding killer is an old thriller staple, and an overripe one at most times.  But, with K.J. Linhein as the Santa bearded redneck with a baritone voice, the role of the backwoods killer became uniquely memorable. Another seeming bit of odd casting was the role of the highly regarded child specialist, called in to work with the kidnapped boy.  By standard ways, you'd expect a person of such importance, as to be helicoptered in, to be this eloquent Harvard influenced stuffed suit.  What we get is Olivia Brice (played by Carmela Hayslett), an auburn-haired, tough talking girl, who isn't there to play nice.  Like with Linhein sounding more intellectual than hillbilly, Hayslett keeps (what seems to be) her strong Philly accent, sounding more street than high society.  It works, because it shakes off what we were expecting.

Overall, I really dig Christian Grillo's vision, and willingness to go there, more than I wholly appreciated this film.  He made some good directional choices, but I would like to have seen the film streamlined, rattling off at about 90 minutes of face paced thrills.  Regardless, see this movie.  It's subversive and twisted.  And, more importantly, you need to watch Grillo.  He's got danger in his mind.  If'n he keeps it up, he might become something of a Ketchum or a Laymon of the genre movies.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

BadRonald Peephole Review: Sunshine Girl Gets Real Creepy

Black Eyed Kids (aka BEKs) is an urban legend that's been going around for the past fifteen years, or so, with stories of encounters with children with pitch black eyes, no pupils or whites. As the legend goes, the encounters usually happen in a car, with the children asking the driver for a ride home. Other versions have the children knocking at doors, asking to be let in. All versions tell of a strange, overwhelming power that the BEKs seem to have, that weakens the willpower of the people who encounter them.

Sounds like the kinda kids you want to meet up with on a cold rainy night, right?

A caught on tape encounter with a BEK is at the open of Sunshine Girl and the Hunt for Black Eyed Kids. The viral video, featuring two young lovers in a parked car, appears to be a self-made sex video which goes horribly wrong. The young man (holding the camera) coaxes his date to take off her top, which she does, reluctantly. Nothing scary there. Until, at her window appears a young boy. It's late, and he's begging for a ride to his mom's house. He seems harmless, until they see his eyes, dark and creepy. As the couple tries to leave, the boy becomes frighteningly enraged, and starts pounding on the car.

Cut to Sunshine Girl, who sits in her room, addressing the camera, vlog style, explaining how someone sent her the video, and how the BEK legend is her absolute favorite, and how she's making a movie about them, and... Well, as Sunshine herself says, "Before I get ahead of myself..."

Sunshine Girl is the teenage YouTube sensation, who's been vlogging about her strange encounters with ghostly things around her home in suburban Washington. It's not as dark and sinister as it sounds, though some of her adventures have gotten pretty dark and sinister. Just as interesting as the paranormal encounters is her encounters with her Mom and her pop culture fanaticism. She's part Veronica Mars and part Scooby gang, wrapped up in a Ghost Hunter world.

And now she's jumping from the computer screen to the big screen, going on the hunt for these BEKs. But, first she has to get Mom's permission. As is typical in her webseries, Sunshine has to match wits with her Mom (played by Mercedes Rose). Like a teenager asking for the car for the night, Sunshine (who "reveals" her real name as Frances Jones) is surprised that her mom puts the kibosh on her plans to go meet the admittedly creepy guy who has been feeding her info on BEKs. It's these conversations that Sunshine has with her Mom and her friends that really make her program so unique.

Where most other paranomalists cable shows have bickering and forced drama between the cast members, Sunshine Girl feels more like an episode of Gilmore Girls or Seinfeld, weaving dialogue around and away from the subject matter, and then back again. This bit of flavoring is due greatly to Sunshine and Mom being an actual Mother/Daughter act.  But, also mostly due to Sunshine creator, and BEK director Nick Hagen.

We've already encountered the "caught on tape" successes of Paranormal Activity, [REC], Cloverfield and the like. But Hagen's BEK isn't your typical a caught on tape movie.  Really, it's a hey kids, let's make a movie movie. His Sunshine webseries works because of the air of naturalism he'd created, that emulates the gazillion teen vlogs out there, where kids just spill their existence out in front of a camera. Short two/three minute episodes, where the cast members ad libbed the dialogue worked with great success, giving every appearance that it's an average everyday teen YouTube rambling.  To translate to the big screen, however, Hagen sets aside the Flipcam style shooting for a more polished Hi-Def look.  Cleverly, he does this by having Sunshine hire a professional camera crew to film her exploits. This little plot point allows the BEK movie to separate from the rest of the found footage pack.


The major draw of the Sunshine world is, of course, Sunshine herself.  Not only does the camera like her, but she has that undeniable "it" factor.  Her charms and talent have attracted nearly 22 thousand subscribers, and over 10 million views on her YouTube channel.  And as much credit as she deserves for the successes of the webseries, equel credit has to go to Hagen for his credible talent behind the camera. His real genius is making Sunshine's world appear to be so unusually normal. Never going going overboard, and keeping it all "real" (real enough to have scores of fans debating -- and fighting and cursing -- over whether Sunshine is a phoney or scam artist).

And now, with Sunshine expanding into the bigger, feature length motion picture world, Hagen has pulled off another major feat, in keeping Sunshine's world still just as grounded and real. He does this, as I mentioned earlier, by creating a let's make a movie scenario. Sunshine is still playing "herself." only this time as the subject of her own documentary. She moves about her same, familiar world, dealing with her Mom, and her Scooby gang sidekick Nolan, only this time, when she starts meddling in places she shouldn't. Hagen steps up the intensity, taking Sunshine's viewers into more frightening territories, and makes it all work, again, by not going overboard. Like the best of the creepers from the 70s era, the pace begins slowly -- enthusiastic, but unhurried -- keeping the audience in a happy place. He keeps the action placed in typically not-so-scary places, like a busy block in Downtown Portland, or a suburban neighborhood.  By the time Sunshine, Nolan, and their Shaggy new sidekick Andrew meet the creepy man with the inside knowledge of the BEKs, the usual Sunshiney world becomes unsettled. But not nearly as unsettling once they actually encounter the BEKs.

This is the fun part about Sunshine Girl and the Hunt for Black Eyed Kids -- it plays fun and bright, but then watch out -- you're in for some real frights!  There are some genuinely chilling moments in this film.  Hagen pulls off a terrific caught-on-tape chiller.  And Sunshine proves that she's ready for bigger adventures.

No doubt, after seeing Sunshine Girl and the Hunt for Black Eyed Kids, there will be that moment when you see some seemingly normal kid walking about in the dark, and you're gonna just be waiting for them to look up, so you can see their eyes.  But, by then, it's too late.

Go to the BEK site, and get the movie for just a few bucks.  Seriously!  Do it now!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bad Ronald sez What the French Toast!

Don't know if you've seen CouchCutter's “F*ck You” – An Open Letter To The Horror Community -- but it's worth a read.  Even though the article (written by David Anthony) is flawed and spins around on itself, it's worth the time for the fact that it's opened the discussion on supporting independent horror.

With a title like that, I read on with great anticipation.  What I found in this FU message reminded me of a failed tape mix I once made.  Several years ago, a couple friends of mine were swapping some good ol' Country & Western mixes, and I culled together 90 minutes of Honky Tonk'n classics and Bluegrass ditties and hillbilly hi-jinx.  For the cassette sleeve I designed a cover that bore the image of Johnny Cash righteously stabbing his middle finger up to the camera.  I just liked the image.  I'm a huge Cash fan, so it caught my eye.  Only problem was, one of my tape-mix friends called bullshit on me. Rightfully so, I had to admit.  You see, I didn't have any songs, really, that were outright angry or nasty.  Sure, there were some pissy drunks, musing abut their wandering ways and wanton women and broken tractors.  My latest garage sale stash of LPs were mostly the classic cowboy stuff, and there weren't no anger in 'em.  My clever design turned out to be fairly unclever and failed to deliver a kick-ass mix appropriate to the angry Cash title design.  My bad.

I had the same bullshit response to Anthony's rant as my friend had to my cassette cover.
A fuck you you shall get

Basically, what the article said was the "horror community" needs to start supporting indie horror movies.  That if "we" make films like the remakes of Evil Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween big successes, then why can't "we" make smaller films like Father's Day successful.  He blames the "horror community" for the fact that the filmmakers of small genre films like Dear God No! or Father's Day can't whip out films as easily as their Hollywood big wig counterparts. "There’s not enough money there for investors to get involved," writes Anthony. "And we are where the money comes from. We, as an audience, as a horror community are the *root* of the problem."  Not so much a "fuck you" as it is a tongue-lashing from dad.

He adds that "we" are responsible for the well being of the independent filmmaker, and that "we" should assure them a career, and that have failed them: "People have bills, cars, kids, mortgages, and all this other shit in-between that costs money. And as much as you appreciate their films, your appreciation is not paying their bills."  I guess "we've" been spanked.

I don't know, I was expecting something a lot more scathing and angry from a piece titled "F*ck You...". Something that would get my head nodding and fists a-clenching, like I was listening to a good vitriolic jam slam by The Who or Suicidal Tendencies or some shit like that.

My first major problem with the CouchCutter rant is the flagrant use of "we," as if the "horror community" is really such a unified or even defined thing. It's not so much the idea that all people who happen to share an interest are grouped together in a general category that bugs me.  Rather, it's the assumption that because they share a similar interest that they -- we -- all then are suppose to share the same opinions, or drives, or perceptions or bias.  Yes, we all like horror.  But none of us like all horror.  I prefer the smaller independent horror films from America. I really like foreign horror, from Great Britain, Argentina, France, Hong Kong -- even Canada (Soska Sisters, eh!).  However, I can't tell you the last time I went to a theater to see a horror film from a major studio.  But, that's me.  Some others -- Anthony includes himself in this bunch -- don't really dig the inde horror flicks.  "We" are never gonna agree on everything.  Some really dig big splashy horror, while others go the low key chills path.  Hey, agreeing on everything hasn't worked for the Democrats nor Republicans -- why would we assume it would work for horror fans?
You mean, there's more?

My other major disagreement is that the "horror community" is to blame for the failures, or lack of successes, of indie horror films.  First of all, the definition of success, in Anthony's article, is not clearly defined. The remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street is labeled a success because it tripled its $35 million budget, but Human Centipede is a failure because, even though it had lots of press, it made (by his numbers) only less than $3 million.  Comparatively, Nightmare is the one percenter, while HC is on welfare. I'm not sure of Anthony's idea of what makes a successful indie horror movie, but seeing that HC made that $3 mil (I'm thinking it's likely made much more on VOD alone, but I haven't been able to scare up those numbers) then it's doubled its less than $1.5 million budget AND generated a (terrible) sequel.  Seems the horror community did good by it, and made it a success.

The mistake would be to compare apples and nectarines (again, I'm not positive what Anthony's stand is, so I'm generalizing).  Hollywood movies can make $100 million, but still be considered a loser, if'n it don't match their $150 million budget.  However, an indie can make $5 million and be crazy successful, because the budget was much much lower.  With that said, any horror movie that generates a box office of $10s of millions -- that movie moves beyond the support of the "horror community" and got loads of help from the mainstream audience.  Rob Zombie's Halloween remake doubled its $15 million budget on the opening weekend, and then took in another $50 million overall.  It would be nice to think that there were that many horror fans.  But truth be told, the majority of those ticket buyers were the general public.  Teens, most likely, who like thrills and action, whether they be in a comic chase, and spy roughhouse, or horror.  Sure, lots of horror fans were filling those seats, as well.  But I'd never go as far as to say that the "horror community" made that film a success.  I WOULD go as far as to say that the "horror community" made the original Halloween the continued, cult success that it is now.

The successful indie horror movie is not going to appear as the success stories we're all used to seeing: Saw, Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project. These flicks are phenomenons, the extraordinary... at least today they are. There was a time when independently produced films were distributed by major studios on a regular basis.  That's how we got Halloween, Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (and countless other indie horror gems).  These movies literally toured the Country, generating word of mouth, and building anticipation over months. Today's model of distribution is much different, with the majors relying heavily on open weekend box office.  They want instant results, so they're not going to snatch up many indie horror flicks, unless they're uniqueness can assure them a big weekend take.  Gauging the success of an indie produced and distributed horror flick by the Hollywood distribution model standard only sets us up for disappointment.  Why compare the two?  If a small budget film recoups its budget, and makes enough to pay the cast and crew properly, then it's a success.  Period.  There, we've put food on the table.

The last major problem I have with CouchCutter's FU is that a lot of blame goes on the filmmakers themselves.  If they want to make this their living, then, just like any other job they've ever held, performance matters.  Make a good film, that people want to see, and then make sure they see it.  Work!  The notion that the "community" just ought to support the filmmakers, because we're a "community" is bogus.  I'll do my share by seeking out and watching the movies I like or want, and avoiding the ones I don't think are worth my time.  But, I am in no way obligated to ensure that the indie horror filmmakers have shoes on their feet.  That's their bag.
Cripes! Will this lecture ever end?
Luckily, today filmmakers have new avenues to follow.  There's the festival route, which helps build that great word of mouth for films like Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Woman, V/H/S, The Innkeepers.  There's also Netflix and RedBox, and the likes, and Video on Demand.  There's Amazon, YouTube, Vimeo.  The market is now open, and ready for business!  Self distribution has become so much easier than back in the day, when the actual film had to be carted around city to city (anyone who complains about how hard it is to have to Twitter/FaceBook/Pintrest/blog/Flickr about their movie should read up on pioneers like William Castle or Roger Corman and the likes, to see how it's really done).  It takes work!  Even established celebs have to pound the cyberpavement -- look to Kevin Smith or Louis CK.  With every celeb who has a go of it, there are a thousand worthy non-celebs who're busting their asses too, trying to get their work seen.  Last year I checked off My Name is A by Anonymous as the Best Movie You Haven't Seen Yet of 2011.  Amazing film!  You still haven't seen it in 2012, though.  Luckily, due to director Shane Ryan's hard work, you'll get to see it soon on DVD and possibly VOD.  Also, check out what Nick Hagen is doing to get the movie he's made of his successful YouTube hit The Haunting of Sunshine GirlThe webseries has logged over 10 million views, and has over twenty thousand subscribers, but do you think he could just waltz into a distributors office and secure a deal?  Not so fast!  He's doing it the ol' fashioned way, by busting his knuckles and banging on laptop screens across the world, creating good buzz.  Will it work for him and Sunshine?  We'll see soon, when the film is self distributed online and on DVD on December 21.  


Look, I agree with Anthony on the idea that independent horror should be supported more (I'll ditto that credo for indie movies in general). Why not?  Most every Hollywood trend we've had comes straight from an indie movie: Blue Velvet, Apocalypse Now, Blair Witch Project, Star Wars, Pulp Fiction, Saw, Clerks, Paranormal Activity...  Films like these, made outside the major studio world, actually drove the major studios to rethink their model... and then proceed to embarrass themselves with countless copycat clunkers. I agree heartily that we support indie horror, because I love indie horror.  I love the rough amateurishness of backyard cinema, the testing of limits with caught on tape thrills, the quietness of a limited budget.  It all makes for good experimentation.  This is where the real success lies, in the experiments, the finding of new techniques.  The clever mind will figure out ways to reach beyond the limitations, and that's when the breakthroughs happen.  Only in indie filmmaking do you find such successes.

So, yes!  Support indie filmmaking -- especially indie horror.This is the one thing I can agree with CouchCutter on.  If there is such thing as a "horror community" then get off your asses and start taking horror seriously. 
Yay! It's over!!

And as far as the "Fuck You" to the "community" -- hell, I think they deserve it.  But not in ways CouchCutter described.  Cripes, there's loads more things to dump on them for. How about fans who personally attack filmmakers whom they don't like, as if it's their right to disregard them as a human, just because you didn't like their casting choices.  How about for slamming other fans of other movies you don't like?  So what, they like vampires that sparkle!  You like movies with no solid storyline -- big whoop!  How about those twerps who laughed their way through a Linda Blair head spin, during the re-release, but now copycat the stairway spider crawl on their own Windows Moviemaker masterpiece?  How about bully blogging?  How about lame ass petitions?  How's about we all just watch a horror movie that we like and shut our faces and eat some popcorn?
Wait... that wasn't nice.
And one last thing, let's differentiate between indie horror and amateur horror. Independent filmmakers like Ti West, or Adam Wingard, or Tom Six -- and even more low budget directors like James Bickert or the Soska Twins -- these guys are clearly serious about their craft.  You may not like all their stuff, but they're working hard to create and distribute. Then there's a load of others who bang out a movie that pretty much emulates every other movie that they like, and call themselves indie filmmakers.  Their stuff is poorly shot, badly written and self gratifying. These are the filmmakers who ruin it for the others.  They ruin it by abusing the term indie, to push their self absorbed rip-offs on the fans, and they make it harder for working filmmakers to get respect for their work.  Fuck you to them...

Support indie filmmaking.