Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Amityville Horror : The Untold Story of Daniel Lutz

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For as long as I can remember, i've been absolutely fascinated by the murder spree and subsequent alleged ghost haunting that has become known the world over as The Amityville Horror, which probably has equal parts to do with the fact that i'm a morbidly curious person and the fact that i've lived my whole life less than an hour away from the house where the murders actually took place - I finally visited the house around this time last year, which I documented in this post. While the Amityville case has been the subject of two books, 9 movies and several documentaries, there is a story that has yet to be told. Until now.

Over the years, many people have debated whether the family that moved into the house after the DeFeo murders, the Lutz's, concocted a ghost story for the purpose of fame and fortune or if they truly experienced paranormal activity in their home. With the deaths of both Mr. and Mrs. Lutz in the past several years, it seemed we would never know the truth. But now, one of the Lutz children, Daniel, is finally coming forward to tell his story of the 28 days he spent in the house on 112 Ocean Avenue, a story that will be told in a documentary film set to hit the festival circuit next year titled My Amityville Horror - teaser trailer below.



Will Daniel's story put an end to the haunted house rumors, confirm his parents stories or simply add to the mystery surrounding the infamous Long Island home? Only time will tell and I for one cannot wait to check this one out.

To keep up to date with this project, you can follow the official website, the Facebook page and/or the production diary blog.

Freaky Celebrity Ghost Stories : David Carradine

A couple months back I discovered what has become my new favorite television channel, pretty much the only channel I even watch these days : BIO. It's got some of the best programming on TV today, with one of my favorite shows being Celebrity Ghost Stories, an hour long program that gives celebrities a chance to tell ... their ghost stories - go figure! It airs primarily on Saturday nights, which unfortunately means I don't always get to check it out due to the fact that Saturday is usually my night to have a few friends over and drink way too much. In any event, the other night I went searching on YouTube in an effort to get my CGS fix and I stumbled upon a video of an episode David Carradine shot for the show, four months before being found dead in a Thai hotel room. I'd rather you just watch the episode than me try and tell you how creepy it is, but keep in mind that Carradine was found dead in the closet of his room ...



Carradine is clearly freaked out telling this story and though it's a stretch, you really can't help but think all this is way too coinicidental. Though the video does end on a positive note with the alleged spirit of David's ex-wife being happy with her new marriage, there are those rumors that suggest Carradine was with a hooker on the night of his death, which would probably re-anger the once vengeful ex-hubby. I don't really know what i'm even trying to suggest, but the fact remains that the circumstances surrounding his death were very usual and no conclusive decision has ever been reached as to whether he was killed or if he simply died during a failed attempt at a masturbation fetish. Could there be a third paranormal cause for his death?

Who the hell knows, but this is some freaky shit, is it not?!

Hatchet 2 On Demand ... Tommorow!!

Exactly two months after Hatchet 2 was released uncut and then promptly pulled from theatres before most people even got the chance to see it, a press release last night informed us that the flick will be getting a second chance on Time Warner and Comcast's On Demand platforms tommorow, December 1st, with a DVD/Blu-ray release not too far behind (still waiting on the impending announcement for that one). And yes, it will be totally UNCUT and UNCENSORED, as it was in the theatre. Whadya think of that, Victor Crowley?

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I know dude, it's pretty exciting.

If you didn't get to see Hatchet 2 in theatres back in October, you finally have your chance. Don't miss out on it again!

Click here for my review of Hatchet 2 or save some time and just simply read this brief summation : It's fucking awesome, even gorier and funnier than the first, and you absolutely need to see it as soon as humanely possible.

Monday, November 29, 2010

"I'm still fighting for what I want out of my life" - An Exclusive Interview With Filmmaker Adam Barnick

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Adam Barnick is a name you may not be familiar with and the handsome face above is one you may not recognize, though i'd bet you've already seen some of his work on DVD, read some of his writing on big time genre sites like Icons of Fright, or at the very least heard his name shouted out in Adam Green's mega hit YouTube video, Jack Chop. And if I was a bettin' man, i'd say you're gonna be a lot more familiar with the name Adam Barnick real soon. From his comprehensive and award winning behind the scenes contributions for some of the best genre films in recent years to his own creative endeavours, Adam Barnick is a star on the rise in the filmmaking community, a force to be reckoned with inside and outside of the horror genre. In this very in depth interview conducted back and forth through Facebook, I sit down for a one on one chat with Adam, a man i'm proud to call a friend, in what turned out to be a fascinating and highly personal look inside the mind of an artist on the verge of mainstream success.


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- You burst onto the scene in 2005 with a 9 minute short film titled Mainstream, which ended up on Fangoria's Blood Drive 2 DVD, a compilation of the best horror shorts from around the country, and which also had you named as "one of the top genre filmmakers to watch" for that year. As exciting as this must've been, did a lot of pressure come along with such positive reception so early in your career?

It did, but it was more personal pressure on myself vs. external career pressure. It’s not like a fleet of agents showed up badgering me, though it did open some doors a crack. Mainstream’s a small, strange 16mm film that I was lucky enough to have touch (and drill through) a few nerves and get people thinking and discussing it, which is all I could have asked for from it. Just getting it made and finished after wishing I could for 7 years was a big deal. The fact that it’s on DVD and Netflix, has a stack of thoughtful, detailed reviews; and that people still contact me about it- that’s icing on the cake. Though it’s been great to really get to know and work with people in the genre community who are getting things done since Mainstream came out; none of that would have happened like it did if the film hadn’t gotten its distribution and done well.

At the time it came out, I’d tried to get the money to shoot it for 7 years, even during school I wanted to make it and couldn’t. And we ended up making it for 1/5 of the budget I’d hoped for. But I didn’t really get my own creativity back then, and really didn’t understand it until last year, if you can believe that. I spent far too much time in life ‘waiting for inspiration’ and not realizing that you can generate your own, and that putting the time in will help generate more ideas, etc. So when Mainstream came out I had some other material, but not the hopeful stack of scripts and a great reel you should hopefully have on hand if you’re fortunate to have some success and people in the industry want to see something else right away. So while I try not to fret about being “behind” on my original goals, I at least now know I’m the one who controls its progress, at least in terms of personal production.

There’s always a bit of “What if nobody gets it? What if the next project bombs? Will people think ___ is a fluke?” that comes up. You can’t always turn that voice off in your head, but you can ignore it. Those periods of concern over reception of creative work are brief. I find I don’t worry about that at all now if I keep doing the work each day - it’s when you’re inert or put things off that you suddenly have time to worry. But I think, yes, when Mainstream came out I did let its sudden positive response paralyze me a bit... but to be fair, the scripts I were working on then just weren’t ready to go, nor were there budgets to pull them off. And there were a few opportunities that came up and fell apart due to other producers’ plans, money not materializing etc. Everything’s built on sand. But I was definitely still concerned about doing something of a much higher quality- and I’d rather take the time to be completely in love with an idea, and truly know its story and have refined it to the best of my ability, than to just slap anything out to keep my name on the internet.

At the same time, I know then I was na├»ve about how things work, and briefly lost sight of that fact that filmmaking is not a sprint. Mainstream was a good belt-notch, but it’s still a notch on the belt and not like one successful step is going to propel you to the top. I had to step back a bit and eat some humble pie and remind myself it’s all on me, good things are brewing, and nobody owes me a damn thing. So I’ve been working in the background developing new work and strengthening my skills (and working on other’s films) and slowly but surely generating new material. That’s the short answer. Ha!



**You can watch Mainstream and the rest of Fango Blood Drive 2 for only $2.99 on Amazon**


- In the years between Mainstream and now, you've had the opportunity to work on some of the best genre films in recent history, contributing comprehensive behind the scenes special features to both the Grace and Frozen DVD's. How did your career as a documentarian come about?

Paul Solet, who I met doing press and promotion of Fango’s Blood Drive II DVD (he co-directed the horror comedy MEANS TO AN END), had asked soon after that disc’s release if I would work on his pitch-film for GRACE, his short film distillation of his feature-length script. He didn’t have a specific thing he wanted me to do but wanted me on board in some capacity, when he suggested shooting a behind-the-scenes doc they could put on the pitch DVD they’d use to try to raise funding for the feature. I’d only ever done one vaguely similar thing in college just as a lark; but I figured between the years I’d spent doing detailed interviews with people (for Entertainment Insiders and Icons of Fright) and my work on various sets, I’d have a better grasp on what to talk to people about. Plus I’d been reading and doing coverage on Paul’s scripts probably since we met, which was not only helping my own writing but letting me in on the nuts and bolts of the story of GRACE.

So I spent 4-5 days in LA doing interviews and shooting whatever B-roll I could; I’d always been a fan of making-of's, often they tend to be similar but every once in a while you find an intelligent, well-shot gem. I kind of stumbled my way through that one for Paul, I put together one that was more of a 4 minute EPK and another that was 30 minutes, which really ended up being more of a memento for the crew than something we wanted to widely distribute. I cringe if I see them now, but they did what Paul hoped they would do!

Shooting that one really helped me figure out what I wanted to see in a BTS documentary though, so additional ones I ended up doing for Chris Garetano’s short film COTTONMOUTH, and an on-set featurette for Stevan Mena’s BEREAVEMENT, ended up improving bit by bit. But it was really the feature-length of GRACE where I got to really start to do, within budget/equipment limitations, what I’d set out to do with these. Shoot them much more cinematically, and really give them the smarts and energy and personality I wanted to see in DVD extras. Really get into the process and have the viewer really “be there”, and have the entertainment value match the educational value.

It was a fight to get me on the set of GRACE (the feature), i’m told because of Canadian tax laws and limiting the Americans involved etc. But I have to give it to Paul, Adam Green, and Rhonda Baker (Canadian producer of Grace), who really warmed to the idea of having me there. I ended up covering the last week of the shoot.

Of the six featurettes on the GRACE DVD/Blu-Ray, five are mine (the sixth, GRACE AT SUNDANCE, was done by the fantastic Jake Hamilton, who co-directed MEANS TO AN END).. I wanted to pack that disc so full it would split. I knew GRACE was a groundbreaking project so we really wanted that disc to be a masterclass on that film. We had few funds or resources, and a ton of technical trouble in post.. but I couldn’t let that gig falter after all we’d been through. So not only did it turn into a great-selling, great-reviewed DVD after its festival run and its theatrical, I really got to experience that film from the ground up, which was one of my greatest film experiences. And a week after I’d handed those documentaries in, Green saw the final cuts, flipped for them, and asked if I was available to come on board FROZEN.




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- You say that the documentaries you made for the original Grace short "did what Paul hoped they would do". Care to elaborate a bit?

Interestingly enough, after doing the docs for the Grace short, I brought the making-of DVD with me to the Tribeca Film Festival where I was doing press (for Entertainment Insiders), In case I bumped into any of the Fangoria staff. That night we unexpectedly got tickets to the world premiere of Hatchet. We filmed the first ‘Dee Snider story’ from Green ever told (later confiscated by security who didn’t understand the meaning of “press”), and had a fucking blast. I think I wrote the first rave review of the film!

Anyway I did meet Green briefly at that screening, but also bumped into the Fango guys- and gave Tony Timpone (Fangoria editor) a copy of the making-of for Grace; soon after, he asked Paul to premiere Grace as a featured attraction at their next LA Weekend of Horrors. Green was there promoting Hatchet, and that was the first of 3 times he had encounters with the Grace short over the coming year- one of which was again with myself, that Fall; the Icons of Fright guys and I were hanging with Green and Grace came up, and all of a sudden we’re all pulling out our copies of the DVD with the making-of's on there. I believe Rob G (from Icons) set something up where Paul and Green could meet- and there’s obviously a lot more to what led to the film getting made; but it was really cool to have even a tiny hand in getting Grace to the right people. And that led to doing the DVDs for Grace as well as Frozen.




- Watching your documentary featurettes, it's clear that the focus is largely on the filmmaking process with a conscious effort to educate both the budding filmmakers who watch the DVD's and also, i'd imagine, yourself. What have you learned about filmmaking from working on Paul and Adam's sets?

Without distracting anyone, I always try to get deep into the action when doing these docs; I want to hear the director and crew working with the actors, I want to know what equipment they’re using, everything. I want to spend more time shooting in meetings, actually. I can’t stand extras or EPKs which are just the director going “action! Cut!” and then there’s a montage of crew running around, the crane goes up, and then you see a few talking heads kissing each other’s asses. Nobody learns anything from that. Nobody’s entertained by that after you see it more than one or two times. So I really want to get into the mix and do real documentaries on filmmaking. Let the marketing department do the puff pieces, you know? Which they did- I gave them all my interview footage so they could pull whatever they wanted. And I do throw in a few questions that everyone asks into the interviews, just so the marketing departments get what they need. But then I get right back into the in-depth discussions of craft I want to hear.

One advantage of shooting and editing my own footage is really getting to know it. So I’ve had the ability to study it over and over, and really get to know the conversations between the director and the DP, the actors etc. So while Paul and Adam are different, it’s been great to see their approaches. I’ve been on many other sets, but those were two of the best; learned a lot about how they do basic things like gently guiding actors and then let them make choices and find their moments, vs. micromanaging them- definitely learned a lot about how carrying yourself properly and treating people right will get things accomplished.. and the advantage of writing and conducting their interviews is I got to literally pick their brains after the shoots for hours! Green’s uncut FROZEN interview is two hours and 40 minutes long; which is a testament to how patient and giving he is, haha!

I know I’ve unconsciously absorbed a lot of other things from watching them work; you can’t help that- all you can do is hope to learn from good people. On FROZEN in particular, it was great to see all of Green’s family of crew together, which is one reason I spent so much time with the crew, and the department heads on the Frozen DVD. They deserve more exposure, but the through-line theme of those docs really became how important your team is. It’s like Green says on the disc, that shoot could have and should have been a total nightmare, given the scenario, and it wasn’t. Those guys at ArieScope can do anything. And they’re all really that nice! I didn’t have to be selective or dishonest with the edits to make those films look like “good sets to work on”, they were.




- Armed with the things you've learned on those sets, you're now set to return back to the project that essentially led to all of these opportunities, Mainstream, by turning it into a full length feature. Did you ever intend on one day making it a feature while you were shooting the short and what's the current status of that project?

The original film was a short film and nothing more at the time; though the themes and topics it explores are ones that have always haunted me, in life and in storytelling. It wasn’t originally a pitch-film, it was just a vision I had that I had to get on film in SOME kind of form or I’d have gone mad. Even in its no-budget form. I knew what it meant, how it could be interpreted, and that some viewers would interpret it as all symbols/metaphor while others would think it was meant to be a more literal sci-fi story that was a bit abstract. People back then and up to now have always asked if there was more to be mined there. And while I had VERY vague notions as what could be done with a feature-idea, it wasn’t until last year as I started figuring out how to jumpstart my creativity that I started to hit on a feature-length treatment of the short. Started with an image, then a stronger idea, then other ideas kept surfacing as I kept digging and putting the time in. I knew I was probably on to something when I passed 200 pages of notes and ideas.

Current status is still “active development”, really. I can say it’s not a 90 minute version of the experimental-film short; it’s a story. With enough layers and strangeness that people who loved the short would enjoy but while being a bit more accessible to audience looking for a layered and intelligent narrative. I don’t want to say too much about details yet, but in a way it’s about the woman you see in the short film’s finale. I need projects that ‘give you the biggest boner’ as Del Toro puts it, and this is one of the ones that has me the most turned-on to work on.

If things work out though, people will get a taste of it before the feature, as I’ve got a short script now called OUTSIDE THE BOX that is a stand-alone story, but it’s a scene from/a short-form take on the feature. Kind of like the “Grace” pitch film: bigger budget, ambition, etc. It could just be its own short story but deals with more elements the feature will. NOT a remake of the previous short. All I’m gonna say for now is it involves high school and out-of-body experiences.

So the short-term goal would be to direct that short and finish the script next year, and use both shorts and the script to get the feature going. I’m developing other features as well, have been for some time..in and out of horror...but I’m taking the work more seriously now and finally back on track. I'll still be working on docs, music videos, etc. as well but this is the main goal.




- Sitting back and waiting for creative inspiration to arrive on your doorstep is something I am personally guilty of, as you mentioned you used to be before you learned to generate your own inspiration. Can you tell me a little bit about how you personally go about doing that?

Granted it doesn’t always work and there are days where I’m either ‘dry’ or ‘flooded.’ Some days are a fucking disaster and some days I feel on top of the world- but either way, I feel pretty decent knowing I put the time in that day. I’ve discovered that I feel like lethargic, soul-dying dogshit if I don’t. If I do, I stop sweating the small stuff.

You just need to really be disciplined and stay in your damn chair, and work. If/when you get those little bits of original inspiration, don’t let them go to waste. Jump on them. Break them. Keep digging at them and more ideas will surface. I find that after a half hour of being frustrated and scribbling things can happen. Going back over old notes to see if they’ll spark new ideas...often that helps it kick in. 50 percent of the time I’m listening to music, or ambient sound design which may or may not be related to the project I’m working on. Music inspires me way more than other movies do, though sometimes watching films that are in a similar zone can help or are trying to NOT do what they did. Even two hours a day working can be pretty productive if that’s all you’ve got the time for.

Lately on Mainstream, now that I know what the key themes are and what the characters want, it’s not been easier, but it’s like the ideas are running through the proper coffee filter and I’m distilling what I need to. I’m not dealing with 20 random structureless ideas daily; what I’m getting is closer to what I want in my coffee, so to speak. (But I’m making notes for other scripts as well.)

Sometimes just sitting down and writing something, anything for a while-can kickstart it for me. Research helps with ideas too. But keep in mind this isn’t generating tons of random new story ideas, it’s building on little nuggets of inspiration that tend to occasionally bubble up. I’m not back at full ‘idea machine’ strength yet..but it does feel like it’s slowly getting stronger.

Also often I’ve had ideas I was thinking had potential, but it would take a WHILE before I was suddenly excited about it. I think now, looking back, of course there’s some crap ideas..but I had others I just walked away from too quick.

I’ve talked to Paul a lot about this and it’s helped to get some more experienced perspective..but even someone who’s got his talent will go through hell if he doesn’t put the time in. Silly as it seems, it helped to remember just because someone can make it seem effortless, doesn’t mean it’s not a grueling task for them. Fulfilling, but tough as hell.

You have to find what works for you and trust that the process will bear fruit if you keep at it. Funny enough, much of the complicated editing I did on the Grace and Frozen docs helped me understand writing. You’re taking ideas and scenes and clarifying them, distilling their points, the emotions, and refining and structuring and ‘rewriting’ them so they’re clear, lean, and not bloated or redundant. And if you keep digging for solutions, they show up if you’ve done the footwork.

It’s often frustrating- but I got to the point where ‘not working’ hurt worse. I gotta trust that inspiration will come FROM the work and not always before it. That’s how it seems to be working for me so far.






- You were recently inspired by the desire to answer an age old question we've all been asked and have asked ourselves. Tell us a little bit about 'What Is Scary?'.

What Is Scary? is an experimental documentary, in which I set up a voicemail and invited people to call in and answer that not-exactly-simple question as they saw fit. I have been taking the answers and stringing them into this visual collage/journey, a film composed of primarily still images (though many move, and some we will travel through) with the answers I’ve been given threaded through them. It will have layers of ambient sound design running through it as well. I picture it as something that would be on the wall in an audiovisual art gallery with a pair of headphones next to it, and you slip them on and go into this world for a while.

Thinking back now, I remember reading an issue of Fangoria back as a kid, I think it was covering making Evil Dead II...and the FX guy was happy that Sam Raimi was specific about what he wanted. Because this effects artist often dealt with clueless producers who would be staring at him when he was sculpting and saying things like “make it scarier!” And his response was ‘what does THAT mean?’ Think about that and then you’ll get more of an idea of what I wanted to explore.

That wasn’t the genesis of the idea though. After Mainstream I was dying to do many things, all of which weren’t HUGE, but were things where I couldn’t even afford basic necessities to pull them off. So “how can I make a film with really nothing?” was my starting point. A friend and filmmaker I know named Steve Balderson (check him at dikenga.com) was at that point the year prior, and he devised a similar, stripped-down idea where he asked people, including me, to call him and answer: ‘What is sexy’? And he turned it into a film called Phone Sex, which is fucking brilliant. A lightbulb went off and I asked if he’d mind if I ran with the voicemail idea but asking MY question, and he was excited! I sought out a lot of the calls three years ago, actually. Got caught up in a lot of other work, but now I’m back on it.

So it was something I could basically do on my own, though the images are a mix of licensed photos, artwork, some pics of mine, but a lot of the specialty pictures are done and will be done by Paula Burr of Killer Eye Photography. A lot of the teaser is her work. Some images will literally correspond to what you’re hearing, some will be symbolic, some ironic, some you’ll have to dig at just why I chose them. The presentation of the images I think will be slightly more polished than the teaser lets on, but I always intended it to be a smaller, done-for-nothing project.

We spend so much time in life concerned with our fears, whether we’re horror fans or not. And as genre-favoring creatives, this is the kind of question that we tend to start with when developing our horror ideas. But I wanted to really look into it, and have a dialogue with people, in a sense, and see what they had to say. Not simply catalogue their fears, or hear ‘what scares you’... as you’ll see in the teaser, some people are really getting into in-depth, intelligent analysis of what “scary” is. I’ve gotten answers that are fascinating, funny, sad, surreal. You could argue at the base level, we’re all afraid of the same things; (and it’s interesting to see where people agree or differ in the answers I have) but the subdivisions of ‘scary’ are wildly interesting. As much as I want to entertain people, I also want them to think. I’m insanely excited about this idea. I anticipate sometime next year it will be complete.




- If somebody else had come up with the idea for this project and you decided to call in and participate, what would your answer to the "What Is Scary?" question be?

Everyone asks me that. And my answer's ALWAYS changing. Since it's something I'm obsessing on now given the stories I'm working on, I'll say conformity. This desperate attempt for everyone to look, feel, think and act like as many other people as possible. The 9 to 5, don't rock the boat, keep up with the Joneses, "I'm powerless" mentality where the immediate answer to every problem is a prescription bottle and 'freak' is a bad word. It's a very good word in my book. Weird is a good one too. I like weird.

People who give up easily and make too many excuses...that's scary. I can't say I'm above anyone else, or that I'm never fearful, because I fight this kind of thing all the time.. but I'm still fighting for what I want out of my life.




- And what you want out of your life is primarily what? To be a horror filmmaker for the rest of your days on this planet?

I didn't just mean regarding an artistic career, I mean in all aspects of my life. I'll keep some of those things close to the vest so I can remain mysterious. :) Obviously continuing (or starting, depending on which we're talking about) to direct features, music videos, docs, and whatever obsesses me, for a living is a stripped-down synopsis of my creative goals..but I'm actually like 50% horror. The rest v(projects/ideas developing, as well as my interests) are in lots of other genres.. I'm not just the horror guy, but it's not something I'm just dipping my toes in because it's "easier" to get a career going. Not a stepping stone. Dark and weird is a cozy blanket I bet I will keep reaching for even if I take breaks.



- Tell us about some of these projects you've got in store for the future, the ones we haven't yet touched too much on.

The immediate next thing I'm doing are music videos for Rivulets, which is the name musician Nathan Amundson records under. One of my favorite artists, since 2002! He's working on his fourth full length album currently, but funny enough the first video we're doing is a song from his first album.

I reached out to him when his 3rd album was going to come out just to basically thank him for his music. I don't want to try to reduce his music to a soundbite but I can say, especially his early albums- they "sound" the closest to what a lot of my photography and films look like. It's not frightening, but it's haunting and touching. I'm not sure how to articulate it..but I've deeply connected with his work.. and he was down with the idea of doing music videos. His label at the time wasn't looking to do them but we're doing at least two of them anyway. I'm about to nail down shooting dates, but we'll probably get some inserts and second unit-type shots in December, and the rest of the shoot in January. We're tipping our hat to a classic German horror film in a brief sequence.

This first vid for Rivulets is more of an art-mood piece than a razzle-dazzle dance-filled video. Just started official prep though I've been working on it in my head for far too long. And I've started talking to a few other bands about videos as well. I think the days of tons of huge music vid projects/budgets are over, sadly.. but in a way they feel like the last avenue of commercial filmmaking meeting experimental filmmaking.

As for other BTS projects, I've been asked to do a few but the projects are waiting on start dates, so you'll hear it's happening when I hear it's happening. But even as a 'day job' I'd like to keep pushing that medium and make it its own art form; I'm not sure how to put that without it sounding pretentious. Haha! But yes I'd like to work on raising the bar on more DVD content.

There's another half dozen scripts that are percolating, I think only one of them is horror though. Not much to say on them yet other than my brain is busy. And there's potentially several other projects in the distance; one I couldn't believe when I got the call about it as a possibility- but nothing's real till it's real, so I will keep working and pushing and growing and doing everything I can to make things happen.




- Well you've certaintly done a lot of cool things in the last several years, with a lot more exciting projects lying ahead. Can you leave us off with a little anecdote about the proudest single moment in your career thus far?

Thank you for calling it a career. (ha!) Hmm.. I don’t know if I have one personal ‘proud’ moment- I’m happy I figured out how to get back on track and much has changed in the past 4 years.. But now that I’m thinking, I’ve got one for you. It might sound soap opera-ish to anyone outside the family, but I don’t care.

My family’s always been supportive of what I’m striving for, my Grandfather in particular had been following the goings-on the past few years and had a soft spot for the fact that I was an aspiring/perspiring filmmaker.

Back in January of this year I had to bail on what would have been my second consecutive trip to Sundance to gain some ground editing the FROZEN documentaries. But my former boss at Entertainment Insiders, Jonathan Hickman, was there again; and ended up interviewing Adam Green once more (they met at Hatchet at Tribeca when I was there) on the red carpet.

Anyway the backstory is that my grandfather’s health had, after 90(!) years, taken a turn for the worse. Normally, no matter what, he’d be the guy with perspective on a situation and always came out with a solution and a smile- this guy lived through the Depression, was THIS CLOSE to being at Pearl Harbor, served in the Navy through all of WWII, etc. After that, I think anything else is easy to face. Tough as nails but nicest guy in the world. But his body was finally catching up with his age and it was, rightly, starting to make him frustrated and miserable. Exact opposite of his usual demeanor.

My mother brought him all the recent clippings she’d kept, reviews that I was getting for Mainstream and the Grace docs, and he knew I was working on FROZEN and other stuff. Soon after that, Jonathan put up his red carpet video interviews online and there’s one where he’s rapping with Green, and they got on the subject of me and the work I was doing...and Green couldn’t have been more complimentary. Amazingly kind words. Said he couldn’t wait to see what I’d be doing for Frozen,etc. And my mother found the link and let my grandfather watch it. She told me she came back to see him an hour later and he was kind of overcome with emotion, saying how proud he was of me, etc. And it kept him in a great, lighter mood for like the next week!

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A week or so after that, he passed away. I’m glad we were able to ‘lift him out’ of his situation, even briefly.



To keep up to date with the goings on in Adam Barnick's life and career, head over to his official website. As more news breaks on his upcoming projects, you'll be sure to hear about it all right here on Freddy In Space!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The 10 Horror News Stories From The Past Week You Need To Know About : 11/22 - 11/28

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1) Hate to start this week's news recap off on a bad note but as most of you know by now, Hammer beauty Ingrid Pitt passed away earlier in the week, just two days after her 73rd birthday. Rising from a World War 2 concentration camp to a worldwide sex symbol, uber scream queen and even accomplished author, I don't think anyone can argue that Pitt got the most out of her years on this earth and will be missed greatly by horror fans the world over.


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2) An official announcement was finally made about a project i've been excited about for a few weeks now, my buddy Adam Barnick's documentary 'What Is Scary?', which sets out to answer that very complex question. A lot more information about that project early next week here on Freddy In Space when I post my in depth and very personal interview with Mr. Barnick!


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3) The horror community has been abuzz about the upcoming Thing prequel the past couple weeks, after it was announced that the film was pushed off Universal's 2011 release schedule. Last week we learned that this was done to give time for re-shoots that will give the film more character development and this week an official release date of October 14th of next year was announced. This is one push back that I think we can all dig, as there's no better time for theatrical horror than October. I just wonder how it'll do going up against a juggernaut like Paranormal Activity 3 and I can only hope that it doesn't get lost in the mix.


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4) Dead Hooker In a Trunk's Soska Sisters revealed that December 11th will see the unveiling of the trailer for their next film, American Mary. You can keep up date on everything Soska's over on their website and on the official American Mary Facebook page. I will of course post up the trailer when it hits.


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5) Dario Argento's latest flick, Giallo, was released last month, which was a minor miracle if you know the behind the scenes drama behind it. Adrien Brody was apparently not given all the money he was promised for his double role in the movie and he had tried to prevent the film from being released because of this. This week a federal judge blocked the makers of the film from using Brody's likeness in it, which means it can no longer be distributed, marketed or sold in the United States. Bummer, because I personally feel it's Argento's best film in years.




6) The Red Band trailer was released for one of my most anticipated movies of the year, Rare Exports : A Christmas Tale, which can be seen above. This looks like its got potential to be one of the best Christmas horror flicks of all time and I hope to see it on the big screen next weekend in New York City.


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7) Proving that sometimes even the stars of bad movies know that they're bad, Mark Wahlberg courageously owned up to the fact that The Happening is pretty lame, calling it a "bad movie" and going on to say, "Fucking trees, man. The plants. Fuck it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook!" You've just earned huge respect points from me, Marky Mark.


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8) It appears as if Columbia Pictures is looking to recapture the lightning in a bottle of Zombieland by having another big name star appear in an epic cameo in the upcoming sequel, which will re-team Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg. They are apparently "searching for someone iconic, along the lines of Harrison Ford or Anthony Hopkins". Who do you think should cameo in Zombieland 2?


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9) The famed 'spider pit sequence' from 1933's King Kong has become the thing of legend over the decades, a scene that was shot, never used because it was apparently too scary and then thought to be destroyed. Rumors had been swirling over the years that the footage still existed somewhere and it appeared that an original print of Kong, spider pit scene in tact, had been unearthed by a projectionist in the UK earlier this week, who found it hidden behind a partition wall. Unfortunately, hearts broke around the world later in the week when it was proven that the print was a later one and thus, does not actually include the long lost sequence. The search continues ...




10) Though nothing at all is known about the project, the utterly creepy video above surfaced this week, created by District 9's Neill Blomkamp. I don't know about you, but my ticket has already been mentally purchased based off this clip alone!


Leave a comment below with your thoughts on any or all of this week's news stories!

ThanksGiveaway Weekend Part 3 : The Devil Wears Prada's 'Zombie EP'!

Today Freddy In Space's own Jesse Bartel stops by to tell you about the recently released 'Zombie EP' by one of his favorite bands, The Devil Wears Prada. Afterwards, we present you with the opportunity to win a copy of your own!

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The Devil Wears Prada released the Zombie EP after recording in the summer of 2010 between tours. It consists of 5 songs which describe a zombie apocalypse in a semi-narrative form. Completely topping their last efforts in terms of instrumental and lyrical arrangements, they have succeeded in creating a masterpiece. I have a fondness for this band and I know a lot of metal-genre enthusiasts write them off as a hipster group. This may have been true a few years ago bit ever since their 2009 release of 'With the Roots Above and the Branches Below', they have developed their own style and found authenticity.

The album starts off with the sound of an approaching storm with a string section accompanying it. This in itself helps define TDWP, they are able to blend harmony with cacophony and make it sound so very powerful. The instruments then kick in with a blast metal beat and singer Mike Hranica’s growling screams. After that, the album beautifully goes by in a flash, too soon if you ask me but it would leave too much room for error if it were longer. The lyrics themselves are great, detailing a survivor’s journey through the wasteland. Though it is not vividly painted for us who this person is, we can a sense about what is going on in the narrators head. There is not a bright light at the end of this tunnel for the listener; you will not find a happy ending. The track “Revive” focuses on the fall of science as being a solution. The song states:

“Science has become a child’s game.
There is no solution to bring away this plague.
No remedies have been discovered.
The cure is a shotgun; the cure is whatever blunt instrument one can salvage.
Whomever finds themselves too proper will be the first to perish.”


All the other tracks run with a theme as well, “Anatomy” talks about the disease itself and what it does to the individual. “Outnumbered” deals with grouping together and finding some sort of sanctuary, so on and so forth. Though they proclaim to be religious, you will not find any real sentiments about god here, which is fine no matter how you look at it. Everywhere in the album there are a number of interesting sounds other than the instruments. Throughout you will hear guns cocking, shooting, glass breaking, people screaming, zombies moaning, and chainsaws. YES! The opening of the second track “Anatomy” has a chainsaw before the music kick in. A FUCKING CHIANSAW! Need I say more?



Musically they are at the top of their game; every track is solid and riffy. There is a lot of nice clear guitar work that you can actually hear, not all muddy like some of the newer bands sound. Hranica sounds pretty much the same, growling voice that fluctuates between low and high screams. Jeremy DePoyster, who plays guitar and does clean vocals, sounds dramatically less whiny on this record. Which was a big problem I had with their earlier works because he sounded a bit too “scene” to me. Every track shines but I do have a problem with the last track entitled “Survivor.” Not that it’s a bad track; the lyrics are great and focus on the character in cornfield thinking about all he/she lost. The instrumentals don’t have that punch that you see in the previous tracks, it doesn’t really grab your attention but I can overlook that. The lyrics speak volumes to loss and change.

“I will never see through this nightmare.
I will never know sunlight again.
I will never see through this nightmare.
I will never taste her lips again.”


With those closing words there is the sound of children laughing faintly in the background as we assume the character is looking out from the farmhouse. I really wish I could post every lyric but I have already taken up a lot of space. This album is a more introspective journey much like The Walking Dead and we know that there is never a good ending to a real zombie apocalypse. The bottom line is if you like metal or TDWP, then pick this up. If you didn’t like them early on, this album will probably change your mind. All in all, it’s an awesome metal album and you need not miss this.

Happy Stabbings

-Jesse

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To enter to win, leave a comment below with your e-mail address and a brief little snippit on why you want this CD. Giveaway is open to EVERYONE and deadline for entries is next Sunday, December 5th. Good luck to all and thank you Jesse for this write up and giveaway!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Grotesque : The Only 80 Seconds You Need To See

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At a mall in my area there's this dude who runs a kiosk selling mostly foreign martial arts titles, along with some crazy Japanese gore flicks. Several months back I asked him what the most fucked up movie in his possession was. Digging into the bottom drawer of his kiosk stand, he pulled out Grotesque, a movie he claimed was so brutal that he didn't even want to display it with the rest of his movies. He went on to say that it'd be a long while before i'd be able to eat again after watching it.

Sold.

I immediately snatched Grotesque up and popped it into my DVD player that night ... only to discover that it's a totally worthless and plotless Hostel ripoff. It's just some crazy Japanese guy torturing a man and woman in his basement and believe me, it's far from being disturbing or even moderately convincingly real. In any event, I just realized the DVD just hit the states this past Tuesday, so I just wanted to make this post to let you guys know that you really don't need to bother with this one. I honestly don't have any idea how it got banned in the UK or how it has developed a reputation as the next great genre shocker. Quite frankly, i'm dissapointed to see that Japanese filmmakers have resorted to ripping off American horror films, rather than coming up with their own sick shit like they've done so often in the past. Come on guys, you can do better than this.

That being said, there is one scene from the final moments of the film that I just have to share with you. Not only is it utterly ridiculous and awesome, but it also totally breaks the tone of the film, a film thats whole aim seemed to be to come off like a realistically disturbing snuff film of sorts. I uploaded this must see 80 seconds for your enjoyment. Watch it and then use your Netflix rental on something else.



If you're in the mood for some serious blood, guts and violence, use that rental on a competent film with a plot and a point, such as Inside, High Tension or the film it tries so hard to be, Hostel. Grotesque gives a bad name to the genre and is further proof that pointless violence and torture do not a good horror movie make.

The Garbage Pail Gang Gets a Little Silly!

A couple months back there was a very shortlived craze among kids called Silly Bandz, colorful and sometimes even scented rubber band bracelets in the shape of pretty much anything and everything one could imagine - everything from cute little seahorses to big purple dicks. As a journalist within the horror community, I felt it was my duty to seek out, buy and report on every horror themed Silly Band out there in the world, a duty which I feel I admirably fulfilled ; see this post & this post. (In other words, my 24 year old ass got sucked into these things like many a child before me and simply couldn't resist the allure of wearing Frankenstein and Sasquatch shaped rubber bands on my wrists). The majority of my Bandz now either broken and tossed in the garbage or hanging around various door handles around my home, I was pretty certain that I was completely over the craze and that I had finally grown up, ready to move past this fad and onto the next one. And then the Garbage Pail Kids just had to come along and lure me back the other night ...

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Featuring 24 "disgusting collectible bands" per package, the Garbage Pail Gang 'Collect-A-Bands' come in the following 8 shapes :


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baby bottle, garbage can, baby & blast


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toilet, toilet paper, splat & poop


Ok so truth be told, now that the initial excitement has worn off, i'm still over these things and these are pretty lame aside from the snazzy packaging, but with the big return of the original Garbage Pail Kids cards earlier this year and now these, it seems as if the Gang is back together and better than ever, which is something we can all be excited about. Besides, at least I turned this wasted 5 bucks into a blog post ...

ThanksGiveaway Weekend Part 2 : A Double Dose of Zombie Liquorice!

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Part 2 of the ThanksGiveaway Weekend celebration here on Freddy In Space brings another t-shirt giveaway, this time from my good friends over at Zombie Liquorice. All you've gotta do to enter is take a look at the two gruesomely awesome designs below, choose the one you want the most and then leave me a comment with your e-mail address and the name of the shirt you want in the event that you win. How's that for simplicity?!


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'COLD DEAD HANDS' - SIZE MEDIUM


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'MASTERS OF GORE' - SIZE LARGE


Deadline for entries is next Saturday, December 4th. Best of luck to all and be sure to check out Zombie Liquorice for more kickass t-shirt designs, all of which make great Christmas gifts for the twisted horror fans in your life!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide : DWN Productions Latex Masks (Epic Black Friday Sale!)

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For the mask collector ...

Launched in 2005 by a graduate from Tom Savini's makeup FX school, DWN Productions specializes in high quality latex masks both movie inspired and original. All masks are made as they are ordered and can be filled with foam, affixed with acrylic eyes or turned into busts for an added price. As part of their second annual 'Half Black Friday Sale', DWN is currently offering a blowout sale of half off all latex masks priced at $100 or more. In addition, any one latex mask purchased at any price will earn you half off a second mask. This sale runs through Sunday only and then goes away for good.

Dig on some of my favorite creations of theirs below, masks inspired by flicks like Trick 'r Treat and Halloween 3!

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Head over to DWN Productions to take advantage of this limited offer and do some serious on the cheap Christmas shopping for the mask collector in your life!

A Black Friday Buying Guide For Folks Like You & Me!

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Today is the biggest shopping day of the year, an annual commercial holiday that sees millions of shoppers worldwide camping out for hours in the rain and trampling one another to death, all in an effort to save a few bucks on some shit they don't need. Ahh, ya just gotta love the holidays. But what if you don't want to risk life and limb to score a deal today? And what if no stores in your area even carry the kinda shit you'd wanna buy? Can you still capitalize on the price slashing madness that is Black Friday, from the comfort of your very own computer chair?

Mhmm.

I've compiled a link list of some great sales going on at some of my favorite haunts on the web, in an effort to help you guys, my fellow horror fans, score the best deals possible today. Just be sure to act fast, as these prices won't stay slashed for much longer!

AMAZON - The sitewide sale extends to a selection of 148 horror titles on both DVD & Blu-ray, with sales including True Blood Season 1 for $12, Drag Me To Hell for $3.99 and The Strangers on Blu-ray for $8.49. Click the link to check out all the titles on sale.

FRIGHT RAGS - Until midnight tonight, EVERYTHING on the Fright Rags website is 25% off, including all shirts, posters and stickers.

HOUSE OF MYSTERIOUS SECRETS - All US and Canadian orders placed before midnight will receive free shipping.

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LONDON 1888 - The limited edition screenprinted poster you see above has been cut back to a mere $20, in what is being referred to as a Black Friday The 13th sale. If you want this one, snatch it up quick because there aren't many left.

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SIDESHOW COLLECTIBLES - It's not too incredible of a deal, but this stylized PredAlien 8" vinyl figure is 10% off for the next couple days, which cuts nearly ten dollars off its $80 price tag. Again, not anything crazy, but if you've been wanting this thing, now's the time to strike.

SOURPUSS CLOTHING - Save 20% off your order when you use the coupon code SUPPORTINDY at checkout, which will last through this Sunday.

VCI ENTERTAINMENT - Use the coupon code HOLIDAY2010 and save a whopping 60% off VCI's entire DVD catalogue, which includes Blood and Black Lace and the recently released Dark Night of the Scarecrow. Click for all titles.

ZOMBIE LIQUORICE - 15% off any item with the coupon code BLACKNESS.

If you know of any other horror related sales out there that i'm not privy to, leave a comment and let us all know about 'em!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

ThanksGiveaway Weekend Part 1 : Cryptic Cotton's Deadgirl T-Shirt!

This Thanksgiving, one of the main things i'm thankful for is you guys, all of you out there who continue to come here on a daily basis and listen to me rant and rave about all the things I hold near and dear to my heart. This blog has been such an incredible outlet for me the past couple years and I honestly don't think I could ever go back to life without it and all the awesome people i've met through it. So thank you from the bottom of my heart and I wish you all a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving.

As a way to show my thanks to all you loyal readers out there, i've concocted a plan to give you guys some cool free shit over the course of the long holiday weekend, a plan that has been in the works for the past couple weeks of giveaway gathering and a plan that will be put into effect right about ... NOW!

For the first giveaway of the weekend, i've got one of Cryptic Cotton's new Deadgirl t-shirts up for grabs, as seen below modeled by the beautiful star of Deadgirl and friend of Freddy In Space, Ms. Jenny Spain!

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Deadgirl is one of my favorite horror movies in recent years and thus, I am honored to be giving away this officially licensed t-shirt today. Here's a little info about Cryptic Cotton followed by all the details you need to know in order to put your name in the running!

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Cryptic Cotton

Fairly new to the horror inspired t-shirt scene, Cryptic Cotton sets themselves apart from the pack by focusing mainly on true crime apparel, with clever shirts depicting the likes of serial killers such as Ed Gein, John Wayne Gacy and Albert Fish. The shirts are certaintly not for everyone, but Cryptic Cotton delights in being a company exclusively for those of us sick fucks with a morbid and twisted sense of humor who get a kick out of wearing a shirt with Albert Fish's face on it that says "Albert's Fish & Chips - Eat Kids Free!". Much like myself, the folks behind the company are, naturally, hardcore fans of Deadgirl, taking it upon themselves to create and share with the world the one and only shirt out there that pays tribute to the disturbing flick. And that brings us about up to speed ...

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Up for grabs I have one size XL Deadgirl t-shirt, packaged in Cryptic Cotton's trademark faux meat packaging, nutritional facts card and all. Here's all you've gotta do to enter!

- Earlier this year I had the pleasure of interviewing Jenny Spain. Find the interview and then drop me an e-mail at MORTIS45@AOL.COM with the subject "DEADGIRL GIVEAWAY" and the name of one of the allegedly haunted places Jenny has investigated, an answer that can be found within that interview. Deadline for entries is next Thursday, December 2nd.

Good luck and again, thank you and happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An Exclusive 'Teenage Wasteland' Deal For My UK Readers!

I was contacted the other day by the marketing executive behind Teenage Wasteland : Slasher Movie Uncut, a new 200 plus page book exploring the history of the slasher flick. Unfortunately the book is at the moment not shipping over here to the states, but i've been given a pretty exciting exclusive discount code for you UK readers out there, which i'll get to in a second. First, a little bit about the book ...

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Teenage Wasteland: The Slasher Movie Uncut lifts the lid on the glory days of the slasher, perhaps the most reviled but also commercially successful of all horror's subgenres. Taking its cue from the Parisian theatre of the Grand Guignol, German krimis, Alfred Hitchcock, grindhouse movies, and the gory Italian giallo thrillers of the 1970s, among others, slashers brought a new high in cinematic violence and suspense to mainstream cinema.

Following the development of the slasher, from its beginnings through the "Golden Age" (1978-1984), and the recent resurgence of the slasher as seen in such movies as Wes Craven's 1996 success Scream, Teenage Wasteland also looks at the political, cultural and social influences on the slasher, and its own effect on other film genres and culture generally.

Packed with in-depth reviews of the best (and worst) slashers, and illustrated by the distinctive and often graphic colour poster artwork from around the world, this book is unlike any other published on this subject.


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Again, this is only for my UK readers, but if you enter the code 'freddy' at checkout, you will receive 20% off the £15.99 price tag as well as receive FREE shipping and handling. This offer is good until January 31st of next year.

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BOOK!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Release Review - 2010 : Moby Dick

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OUT TODAY ON DVD

A modern adaptation of the classic novel of the captain of a high tech submarine and his obsessive quest to destroy the enormous prehistoric whale that maimed him.

Super sized CGI sea monsters doing battle with washed up quasi-stars has become a sub-genre all its own these days, with the SyFy network and production company The Asylum being the main purveyors of this type of over the top B-movie fare ; the former adding such entries to the mix as the Eric Roberts starring Sharktopus and the latter making a name for themselves with their recent releases of the instant cult classics Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and Mega Piranha. If you've seen one of these types of flicks, you've pretty much seen 'em all, but nevertheless i've found that they can make for a hell of a fun hour and a half time killer - if you're in the proper mood, that is.

Last night, as I sat down to watch The Asylum's latest, their own CGI filled adaptation of Herman Melville's classic story with the name that still, at 24, makes me giggle everytime I hear it, I must've been in the proper mindset because I had a lot of fun watching mega whale tear some shit up, Rocky Horror's Barry Bostwick hot on his tail every step of the way.

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Like I said above ; if you've seen one of these types of movies you've seen 'em all and thus, if you've read my review of one of them, you've pretty much read my review of all of them - so i'll keep this short and sweet. Like Mega Shark and Mega Piranha before it, 2010 : Moby Dick has a few hilariously awesome moments of massive CGI whale carnage, which you have to sit through a lot of downtime in order to get to. For me, these few moments are almost always worth the wait and are far too awesome and far too over the top cheesy to not love, even if you could save yourself a whole heck of a lot of time by just watching the trailer and calling it a night - but what fun is that? The boring filler is unfortunately par for the course in mega monster movies and it's something i've come to accept.

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Now one major thing this one has that sets it apart from the pack is the afformentioned Barry Bostwick, who totally steals the show right out from under even the titular beast and makes all the downtime as tolerable as possible. Taking his role as Captain Ahab perhaps a little too seriously, Bostwick channels Sam Loomis as a demented one legged one liner spouting man on the hunt to put an end to the legendary Moby Dick, for his own personal revenge perhaps even moreso than the desire to save the lives of others. Delivering incredible lines such as "i'd strike the sun if it insulted me!" with such convinction that you truly believe he thinks he's about to earn an Oscar nomination, and affixing a wooden cemetery cross to his stump of a leg towards the end of the film, Bostwick is a mad powerhouse the whole way through, elevating the film to a higher and much more enjoyable level than it would've been at had a less committed actor been in his shoes. In these kinds of movies you really need to have something entertaining to fill the downtime between monster attacks, and Bostwick bridges that gap admirably.

These movies certaintly aren't for everyone but i'm pretty sure you know by now if they're your cup of tea, so you already know whether or not to seek this particular one out. If you're in the mood for some cheesy and campy CGI sea monster mayhem, grab a bunch of beer, invite some friends over and toss 2010 : Moby Dick into your DVD player. Thanks to a few epic scenes and more Barry Bostwick badassery than any one man can handle on his own, I can pretty much guarantee you'll have a blast.

I now sit back and not so patiently wait for the next mega monster screener to arrive in my mailbox, wherein I will immediately tear it open and pop it into my PS3. Will it be the Steve Urkel star vehicle Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus? I can only hope!

Steve Urkel Battles Mega Sized Sea Beasts!!

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I don't how this slipped under my radar, but The Asylum's next foray into giant sea creatures on the loose, Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus, stars none other than Steve Urkel himself, Jaleel White! The movie itself has been on my radar for sometime but for whatever reason this casting news never managed to reach me, until I checked out the trailer for the flick on the just released 2010 : Moby Dick DVD - review of that film coming later today. 90's kids, get a serious kick out of the trailer below!



Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus hits DVD December 21st, just in time for Christmas. Pre-order your copy today!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Fascinating & Freaky Follow Up With Long Island's Paranormal Adventurers!

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Two years ago, around Halloween, my local library held a ghost hunting seminar put on by The Paranormal Adventurers, Joseph Flammer and Diane Hill - an event I documented in this post. This seminar has become a yearly tradition at the library around this time of the year, with the latest one taking place just last week. In any event, Joseph ended up reading my blog post after the seminar two years ago and remembered me in the audience last year, which was pretty cool and has led to us striking up a bit of a friendship. Fast forward one year ...

In a very bizarre and fateful turn of events, Jen, myself and a friend of ours ended up bumping into Joe and Diane one night last October (mere days after this second annual seminar), when we decided to do a little ghost hunting of our own at a nearby haunted cemetery called Potter's Field, a location I learned about through their seminars - I also documented that highly memorable night in this post. At Potter's Field, Jen managed to capture some pretty interesting photos, one of which Joe e-mailed us about later on asking for permission to use it in their upcoming book - more on that in a minute. This night has always stuck out in my mind for the past year, due to the sheer coincidence of being at that location at the exact same time on the exact same night as Joe and Diane. Though as more information about that cemetery comes to light, i'm starting to seriously wonder if this was all mere coincidence ...

Jumping forward to this years seminar, held this past Thursday night, which I missed out on attending due to my brothers graduation from the court officer academy upstate. We got home too late to attend, which I was pretty bummed about. Deciding to drown my sorrows in a horrifically unhealthy cheeseburger with a pretzel bun, Jen and I went out to Friendly's late that night. It was while I was sitting there feasting on this delicious mess that I overheard a very familiar voice directly behind us - it was the distinct voice of Joseph Flammer. I didn't want to bother him and Diane while they were eating but I knew I had to say something. Luckily, as I turned around to make sure it was indeed Joe, he recognized me and Jen and I went over for a little chat. Remember that book they were writing that they wanted to use Jen's photo in? Turns out the book came out a month or so ago and not only did they use Jen's picture, but they also dedicated a whole two page spread to that fateful night at Potter's Field one year prior. It's a fascinating story that sends chills up my spine everytime I think of it while at the same time putting a big smile on my face thanks to the serious shoutout Joe was awesome enough to give me.

Below you will find this story as it appears in their new book, titled Long Island's Most Haunted Cemeteries. Serving as a great companion piece to my blog about that night, Joe's account sheds some light on some very eerie things that I was not privy to at the time.

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On a pleasant night a few weeks later a chance meeting at Potter's Field with ghost hunting enthusiasts John Squires, Jennifer Carroll, and their friend Stefan would reveal a second sighting of ghostly activity at the same general place in the graveyard where John Snow had snapped a white ecto-mist emerging from a grave.

On this night Diane and I were being filmed by a crew from Phoenix, Arizona that had attended our lecture at Queens Central Library in Jamaica that afternoon. We had been doing interviews with the crew inside the darkened graveyard when a car pulled up to the guardrail, and out emerged the three young curiosity seekers. We initially thought they were police and a conversation ensued. They explained they were not really ghost hunters, but were interested in finding out more about Potter's Field.

Ironically, only a week earlier, John and Jennifer had attended a lecture Diane and I gave at the Hampton Bays Public Library. Stirred by our discussion, photos and video of Potter's Field, the couple now wanted to see for themselves what it was like in the cemetery at night.

I took a break from the rest of my group after we concluded filming and walked to the opposite end of the cemetery to engage the three visitors from Hampton Bays in a discussion about the pararnomal. I knew if there was anybody who might have a point of view about the history of this graveyard and the paranormal it would probably be John Squires ; he is a brazen writer with a lively weblog, "Freddy In Space" (www.freddyinspace.com), in which Diane and I were victims of entertaining light sarcasm after John saw us speak at the local library in 2008. Moreover, I knew John was a descendant of an impressive Long Island bloodline, the Squires of Hampton Bays, of which Diane and I had knowledge through our research of historic Long Island events.

Historians say Ellis Squires founded the hamlet of Good Ground, the earlier name for Hampton Bays, after single-handedly sailing and rowing a clumsy whaleboat from Maine to Southampton with his wife and their nine children aboard. Then he maneuvered the boat to an interior area of Long Island known as Red Creek. The Squires were the first white family to settle the place known today as Hampton Bays.

Additionally, John Squires is related to Captain William H. Squires, who bravely died after the Louis V. Place schooner shipwrecked off Fire Island in a horrific snow storm in February 1895. It's said that the captain's frozen body fell overboard into the icy sea and drifted thirty miles east against the current to his hometown of Good Ground so he could be buried with the rest of his family in Good Ground Cemetery. One legend says the captain's body was found only yards away from his home.

The Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville exhibits a photo of the Louis V. Place shipwreck on a prominent wall. On a nearby written display it raises the question as to whether or not an image people said they had seen in the rigging of the doomed ship was the ghost of Captain Squires, for the likeness was uncanny, some said. A photograph from the time captured the image of the face - and it is this photograph that is displayed on the museum's wall. Diane and I published an article about this mysterious event in Dan's Papers, a magazine in the Hamptons, in 2008.

While we talked, Jennifer Carroll casually photographed the graveyard, stopping from time to time in the dark to discuss her personal beliefs and experiences, or to raise a point. As she photographed the graves, it became increasingly apparent to me, like a kettle that was starting to whistle, that the mists of the cemetery were becoming evermore awakened and Jennifer was nonchalantly capturing their forms in her photographs. No one from my group had gotten any mists that night, despite our expensive infrared technology and other impressive recording equipment - but Jennifer was getting them!


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Jennifer captured one photograph in particular, exhibited at the beginning of "A Prelude to A Haunting" at the start of this book, of what surely looks like a ghostly body emerging out of the ground and walking across the graveyard towards her. This photograph was shot in the same spot where John Snow caught a mist also rising out of a grave.

As this was taking place, I dared not tell John Squires what I knew and that he didn't know at the time - a man who might have been a relative, James Squires, was buried in the part of Potter's Field where he was standing. James Squires died at age sixty-four in 1893. His grave marker is 732 - the area where Jennifer caught the image of the man. The question that arises for me is : Were all the coincidences that brought John Squires to the graveyard that night intended to lead him to James Squires' grave?


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That's some pretty freaky stuff, eh? I can't help but wonder the same thing Joe's been wondering since that night and our second chance encounter at Friendly's the other night seems to be further proof that all of these events have happened for a reason. Had I not met up with Joe and Diane at Friendly's, I wouldn't have even known the book was out nor would I have any idea of the family history that graveyard holds. The fact that both of us ended up eating dinner at the restaurant at the same exact time, them coming from their seminar and me coming from my brother's graduation, seems far too coincidental to dismiss as mere happenstance, as does the meeting at Potter's Field one year ago. As the Twilight Zone theme plays in my head, I can only wonder ...

I sincerely thank both Joe and Diane not only for including our story and photograph, but for the Freddy In Space shoutout as well. You guys are awesome and I hope to do some ghost hunting with you in the near future.

For anyone interested in the paranormal, I strongly recommend you pick up Long Island's Most Haunted Cemeteries. It's a beautiful book, full of incredible pictures and anecdotes, and though it's obviously going to be a bit more interesting to Long Islander's, it's a fascinating read for ghost enthusiasts everywhere.

They're Undead & They're Saving Christmas!

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Zombies have gotten a pretty bad reputation over the years and nobody is to blame for this reputation but themselves. Be it feasting on the flesh of innocent humans or turning various different worlds into hellish war zones, zombies have pretty much exclusively done bad shit over the course of their existence. Well this Christmas they're looking to change all that and they're hoping one massive act of good will help humanity forget all the bad they've done, at least for a brief period of time. This year, the undead are saving Christmas.

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Lyle Perez-Tinics, creator of Undead In The Head, a site specializing in reviews of zombie themed books, has partenered this year with a slew of talented authors and artists to bring his brainchild to life ; a zombified take on the holidays in the form of an anthology book. Appropriately titled The Undead That Saved Christmas, the 288 page book is absolutely chock full of short stories, poems, carols and comics, all tying together the seemingly polar opposite worlds of zombies and Christmas - for my money, a match made in horror heaven.

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So we've got the undead part and we've got the Christmas part, but where does the whole 'saving' thing come into play, you may be asking yourself? ALL net proceeds from the sale of the anthology book will go directly to the Hugs Foster Family Agency, a charity organization that will use the money to buy Christmas gifts for children in need. All sales made between now and the end of this week will be used to buy gifts this year, while any sales made after that date will be used next Christmas. So if you want to make a difference this year, please consider picking up a copy this week and supporting the cause. For just $14.99 you will not only help bring Christmas into the lives of children who otherwise wouldn't experience the joy that comes along with the holiday but you also get a highly entertaining book packed with tales the likes of Living Dead Babes In Toyland, Rudolph The Undead Reindeer, GingerBrains, The Legend of Zombie Claus and Snow Day of the Dead. It's truly a win-win for all.

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CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BOOK TODAY

I've personally been delving into my copy for the last couple nights and i've been enjoying the hell out of all of the creative tales of Christmas carnage. With almost 30 tales in all, it's looking like i'm gonna be entertained on a nightly basis right up until the big day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The 10 Horror News Stories From The Past Week You Need To Know About : 11/15-11/21

It's Sunday night once more and that means two things to folks like you and I ; The Walking Dead on AMC and Freddy In Space's recap of the 10 most interesting/important horror news stories from the past week! Lets get right into it!

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1) Speaking of the increasingly awesome The Walking Dead, AMC announced last week that the show was officially picked up for a second season and now this week has revealed when we can expect that second season to air. As you may have feared, we're gonna have to wait until October of 2011 for new episodes, so enjoy these last few while they're here. I'm fully confident that the wait will be more than worth it.

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2) On February 8th of next year, Anchor Bay will be giving us a double dose of brutal high definition rape, with the release of not only the original I Spit on Your Grave on Blu-ray but this years remake as well. Being that i'm a big fan of the original and have yet to get the chance to see the remake, i'll likely be picking up both of these on that Tuesday.



3) In the most exciting news of the week to me, Eli Roth and his production company have decided to turn the awesome fan made faux trailer from a few weeks back, Clown, into a real feature length film. The two dudes behind that fake trailer attached Roth's name to it, which drew his attention and led to this incredible opportunity for them. Let this be a lesson to all you filmmakers out there ; if you have a great idea for a movie but don't have the resources to actually film the whole thing, condense the idea into a spiffy little fake trailer and hope for the best. It's really becoming the cheapest and most effective way for young filmmakers to show what they're capable of and to present their ideas to the world.

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4) After Paranormal Activity 2 scared up massive profits last month, it was pretty much a no brainer that yet another sequel would soon follow. It looks like the third installment of the quickly budding franchise will be hitting theatres October of next year. As effective and well done as I felt the second one was, i'm just not sure how much longer they can milk this one, though I excitedly await the attempt.



5) Teen Wolf is being adapted for the small screen by MTV, in the form of a television series, the trailer of which was released this week and can be viewed above. No details yet on when it will air, though it looks like it'll reek of post-Twilight lameness.

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6) Earlier this week Sony launched an exciting new venture called 'Face of the Fan', designed to virtually find a young actress to play a major role alongside a returning Kate Beckinsale in Underworld 4. Hopefuls are encouraged to download script pages from the Face of the Fan website and then film and submit videos of themselves acting out the lines, which will be viewed by company executives who will select one lucky girl to get her big break in Hollywood. Pretty damn cool if ya ask me, and I fully intend on convincing Jen to give it a shot, if only for the hope that I will see her in that skin tight black outfit Beckinsale made famous.

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7) A group of eight year old chidren who went to a Massachusetts theatre to see Megamind were accidently shown the opening of Saw 3D, in what ended up making for the most hilarious news story of the week. I can only wonder if this were a legit mistake or the work of a wannabe Tyler Durden ...

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8) If there's any film in the last decade that should never be touched by an American filmmaker, or anyone for that matter, it's Martyrs. But this is Hollywood and it's that very film that is up next on the remake chopping board, with Last Exorcism's Daniel Stamm just announced to be helming the project. As if this weren't bad enough, the producer of the film is a producer of the Twilight films, and he apparently wants Kristen Stewart in the lead role. I only wish today were April 1st ...

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9) Warner Bros. is all set to return to Crystal Lake for another Friday The 13th sequel, without the involvement of Platinum Dunes, the company behind the recent franchise reboot. I'm all for it under one condition, a condition that Warner Bros. would be foolish not to meet ; give the project to Adam Green. Green has stated in the past that if he were asked, he'd be totally game for it, so lets make this shit happen!!

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10) Rue Morgue Magazine has just become the first horror magazine to go digital, with the mag now available for viewing on the computer, iPhone, iTouch and iPad. For $6.99 an issue or $49.99 for the whole year, readers can not only access the magazine more conveniently than ever before but can also check it out a full week before it hits newsstands. Looks like one of the best horror magazines out there has just gotten even better!

Leave a comment below with your thoughts on any or all of these news stories!