Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just a bunch of quick news flashes:

I'm associate producing Stacy Davidson's new project, Sweatshop. Script by Ted "Gaygun".
Fangoria did a story on that a couple days ago. Shooting begins in October.

I'll probably also be helping out on
Desdemona, a project produced by Closet Space's James LaMarr. They start shooting in a couple of weeks as well.

The schedule for
SiliCon is up (for the most part). Northern California folks - I expect to see you at the "Images of People Of Color" panel with your hardball questions in hand. I just know someone out there wants to ask me what a nubian is.

Walking Distance is coming together. The new job leaves me little time to write, but I think I'm about to put a bow on it and get ready to shoot in January or so.

Speaking of January, that's when the
Austin Fangoria show is. Marcus (100 Tears) Koch, Joe (Fearmakers) Davison, Elmar (100 Tears) Berger, Stacy, and myself are all on a "Southern Horror" panel. It should be pretty crazy. I have a feeling that I'll have to spend most of the time keeping Stacy from humping Robert Rodriguez' leg.

...and last and sort of least...
Witchcraft 13 finally got a release date. To say that I have mixed feelings is a massive understatement...but will be pretty cool to have a distributed title out with my name on it. Fortunately, Closet Space will be out there soon as well. More on that as it develops.

For anyone wondering where my usual movie rants are...I actually haven't been to the theater in a while (see above sentence about the new job murdering my schedule). Don't worry - they'll be back, so you'll all have something to either cheer on or piss and moan about very soon. Actually, the only movie I've watched lately was Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark a couple nights ago. It was on
Chiller, what can I say?

And, in closing...the new Foo Fighters album fairly well rocks. I don't think these guys are capable of sucking.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


To everyone in the PLUS CAPACITY CROWD that came out - I can't thank everyone enough for showing up. Big thanks go out to the Studio Movie Grill in Copperfield as well for letting us do the entire shindig. I just found out that at least 30 people were turned away after they filled the place. Of course, I'm bummed that not everyone got to see it, but fuck, dude...they TURNED PEOPLE AWAY. How fucking cool is that? Guess that means that we'll have to do another screening in the future.

The night was awesome, to say the thanks for helping put the exclamation point on this year-long tentacle journey. I'm glad everyone enjoyed the movie and had a good time. People responded exactly how and when they were supposed to...I heard a couple of people even got the shit scared out of them.

The actors that hadn't seen the movie were all super-excited afterwards, which is a good thing. I recieved tons of compliments from them and the "moviegoing public", most of which seemed sincere and heartfelt. Again, the most entertaining one was:
"Wow...this was actually REALLY good!"

What the hell...did you guys expect for it to suck? But seriously...I can't blame people that say things like that, because indie horror has kind of shot itself in the foot that way. I'm glad everyone last night felt like CLOSET SPACE was the exception to the rule of taking the "path most traveled".

And of course, it was super-rad to have my good friend and musical hero Jonah Matranga in the audience. We showed the video for "Not About A Girl Or A Place" and people loved it. I think Jonah was a little nervous about being on the big screen. It was kind of cute.

Plans are afoot for more CLOSET SPACE screenings at festivals and such, so keep an eye out for more info on that. Same goes for DVD distribution, etc. Keep watching. Exciting things are happening.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Here are some shots from the video shoot for Jonah:

As you can went pretty well. Lots of blood and gore. There's even more to check out here courtesy of Jeremy Hart.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm sitting in Newark Airport right now typing this up (for later upload) because I've basically got nothing better to do since my departing flight got delayed. Again. It's a fitting coda to the final pre-movie premiere convention trip, which has been among the best and worst of them all for various reasons. Rather than go through all the positive and then all the negative stuff in segregated list fashion, I'll run it all down for you in sequential order to preserve the rollercoaster like effect these things tend to have on me.

So, I get everything prepared, pack up, get my usual greasy spoon breakfast at Frank's Grill, and then head to the airport on Thursday morning. My flight was scheduled for a 9:15 AM departure. I get to the airport and my spider-sense starts tingling. There are massive gluts of obviously flustered people. Jason Stewart leaves me a voicemail saying that his flight from the OC has been outright canceled, and he can't fly out until Friday afternoon. Kristi calls me and tells me HER flight out is delayed. Then I notice the news, and apparently the entire East Coast is being attacked by Galactus or something. Crazy weather is screwing up the flight schedule and basically stranded people en route to the Right Coast for about 24 hours. What does this mean for me? Nothing at first, as it seems that my flight is still running on time. I paid full price for my ticket, so those bumped standby passengers can eat a bag of dicks, I think to myself. No way are they going to give my seat away. Then I see a crane sidle up to the rudder of the plane we were supposed to be boarding. The maintenance man aboard that crane started to do some pretty major mechanical stuff to the inner working of this plane's ass. Then the departure time starts what will be a steady rhythmic slide...later....later...still later....updates every 15 minutes....still later...more mechanical difficulties...the maintenance man pulls out a roll of duct tape (not kidding)'s about 11:00 at this point...then they try to find another plane for us, because the previous one is unfixable (even with duct tape)...more time passes....they finally get a plane, board us, and we're in the air about 12:30 PM or so. Then we end up circling for an hour and a half in a holding pattern because the weather is too bad to land in Newark. Then we get diverted to Philly, because Newark is not accepting flights. We sit on the runway in Philly for about 2 hours, then take off and head to Newark, finally. I landed and got my rental car at about 10:30 PM. I was supposed to arrive in Newark at about 2 PM. Then I saw the huge gaggle of people that got screwed much worse than me, and it didn't really seem like that big of a deal in the long run. I slept or listened to the iPod during most of it anyway. I think Wilco's Summerteeth is my new favorite in-flight soundtrack.

So, I arrive at the hotel, and I'm all by my lonesome for the rest of Thursday evening and part of Friday. I take part in a Indie Horror Filmmakers panel on Friday morning/early afternoon, and it went very well - the Closet Space trailer got an awesome response, and sowed the seeds for people approaching me about it all weekend. Marcus Koch was also up there with me promoting 100 Tears. That trailer went over like gangbusters as well. I also got to see a bunch of other trailers from some really talented guys like Alan Rowe Kelly, Bart Mastronardi, Joshua Nelson, and Stolis Hadjicharalambous. I can't wait to see each and every one of these flicks, and it was an honor to sit on the panel alongside these guys. Here are some photos from that.

From left to right: Alan, Joshua, Bart, Stolis, Marcus and myself. This is beyond awesome to me, since I've been coming to these Fango conventions since I was a kid.

Me saying something stoically brilliant. Or probably just cursing a lot.

They sent us to the back to do autographs. Autographs?!?

Marcus and I signing away. People actually were into it. Weird.

So yeah, the panel was awesome. Lots and lots and LOTS of people approached me over the weekend and complimented me on the movie, the trailer, and the stuff I said during the panel (even the cursing). Several of them were like "bro, I can tell you are going to do great things in horror just by seeing that trailer." I even had other filmmakers at the con mention the fact that there was huge buzz about Closet Space going around in the horror community. Of course, that's one of the most awesome things a burgeoning horror filmmaker can hear, so I thank them all and hopefully I won't let you down.

Friday night I got to hang with the extended 100 Tears/Barricade/Alan Rowe Kelly family and some Fangoria folks which was really nice. We all had a lot of fun eating steak and talking shit. I wish we could do that every weekend.
Saturday was more of the same - Melanie and Jason Stewart showed up, as well as Jason "The Unquiet Void" Wallach (whom we had never met up until then). He fit right in to the dysfunctional family, and we had a blast, busy though it was. Jason Stewart also sat in on a Fearmakers panel with Joe Davison, Debbie Rochon, and Manoush, which was pretty cool. Of course, he managed to plug Closet Space as well.

I also had a chance to talk a lot with David Stagnari and Chris Garetano from Horror Business, which was really really cool. David was someone who I really responded to upon seeing Horror Business, and Chris is equally cool to talk with. I look forward to whatever both of these guys have up their sleeves.

The most surreal moment had to be when Harry "ki ki ma ma" Manfredini came up to me and complimented me on Closet Space, and my panel appearances at Fango and Texas Frightmare Weekend. I mean, this guy FUCKING SCORED FRIDAY THE 13TH for Christ's sakes. I'm still kind of wigged out by that one.

Dinner again with the gang on Saturday night, then back to the hotel for the drunken debauchery/starfucking/empty conversation with your too-drunk friends that takes place every Saturday night at every one of these shows. This is where I check out, pretty much, 'cause it ain't my thing. I even tend to avoid the VIP parties because they seem like kind of a joke to me for all those reasons I just mentioned. Plus, I'm usually tired from actually, you know...WORKING during the day at these shows. It's draining. Even when we did go into the VIP party, I ended up talking to David Stagnari for most of the evening...which is what I was doing in the lobby BEFORE I went into the party. Melanie and I actually ended up hanging out with Michael Gingold for a while and just bullshitting, which was great. Jason and I did the same on Friday night with Mike, and I look forward to more horror bullshit sessions in the future with him. He's a really cool guy, and not just because he's the managing editor of Fangoria.

So, Sunday comes, I make the drive through the Lincoln and Midtown tunnels to take Melanie to LaGuardia, come back to the con for a bit to see the exclusive footage for The Third Mother (not that impressed, sorry, although Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni is an awesome person), and then say my goodbyes and pack up and leave. And here I am now, burned out but satisfied. I'm glad this is the last show for a while, because part of this whole convention thing really wears me down. And it ain't cheap, either.

Now I just have to start pre-production for Jonah's video shoot, which we start on the 18th or so. No rest for the wicked.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Don't mistake my silence for inactvity. Strap in, 'cause here we go.

FIRST - if you go out and scoop up the new issue of
ENVY Magazine tomorrow (either the Houston or the Dallas version - it has Amaury Nolasco on the cover), you'll notice a TEXAS HORROR blurb on the cover.

Open it up to page 48 (in the Houston one, at least) and you'll see my bloody, axe-wielding mug staring back at you. They gave me an entire page to talk about CLOSET SPACE, horror, and indie filmmaking. Check it out if you can.
For those that can't grab one, I'll be scanning in the article tomorrow.

Also look for the extra special bonus - a photo of CLOSET SPACE star Melanie Donihoo pops up in the Shooting Range feature on page 68.

Extra extra special bonus - Melanie and I got married at the Aurora Picture Show...which is featured on page 46.
So go out and grab one if you can. Support ENVY's continuing support of local filmmakers and musicians.

NEXT - I did a cross-channel cable ad to help promote the CLOSET SPACE screening. It should start airing in the greater Houston area in a couple of weeks. Here it is:

Closet Space Premiere :30 TV Spot

Add to My Profile More Videos

It was pretty hard to condense the CLOSET SPACE experience into 20 seconds (I left the final 10 for the didactic voiceover and info screen). The task was made easier due to the fact that I couldn't really show anything too talky, graphic, or suggestive, so I ended up going with a lot of shots that I hadn't really used for trailers up to this point. Hopefully that will get some other folks interested in seeing the flick.

THIRD - speaking of seeing the flick, most of the first wave of screeners went out earlier this week. Soon I will discover whether or not I should have stayed in Aerospace Engineering. At any rate, the CLOSET SPACE gang will be at
Texas Frightmare Weekend and the New Jersey Fangoria later this month. Stop by and say hello - we'll have posters and t-shirts to pawn off on you as well.

FOURTH - I think I'm joining another band. More info on that as it develops, but signs point to yes.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mark your calendars...

CLOSET SPACE will be making it's Houston premiere on Thursday, August 23 at the Studio Movie Grill.

Show starts at 9:00 PM.

Admission is FREE!

Come out and enjoy the tentacles. The movie is UNRATED at this point, so there's gore and disturbing material aplenty. Don't bring the kids.

Studio Movie Grill
8580 Hwy. 6 North (Hwy 6 and West Rd.)
Houston, TX 77095

I'm still submitting to genre festivals, and should start hearing back from most of them by mid-June. Hopefully we'll be able to do a CLOSET SPACE horror fest run in the fall. That would be pretty sweet.

Right now I'm working on the surround mix of the movie, and planning for the Texas Frightmare Weekend show as well as the New Jersy Fangoria (which we'll probably be driving to again...shudder). At least there's nothing going on in July - so far, that is. Sometime during that month I might fly out to SoCal again to work with Jason on Closet Space 2 and 3...and maybe a musical (!). No, it's not a musical set in the Closet Space universe - although that's an idea. Dancing tentacles.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Just got back home a few minutes ago from another whirlwind convention adventure. We saw a lot of old friends and made some new ones (as is usually the case with these things), and generated more heat for the movie. Highlights include hanging out with the Moomooch Clothing guys, the Quick and the Undead/Flesh Keeper gang, and meeting Molly and Wil from Horror Yearbook in person. I actually gave Molly and Wil a couple of actual props from (gasp) Witchcraft 13 as thanks for the awesome interview they did with me. And they both got the pleasure of meeting Tim "Will Spanner" Wrobel in the flesh, along with James LaMarr and Melanie, who were also at our table. It was fun hanging out with everyone, and I look forward to Texas Frightmare, NJ Fango, and SiliCon in the fall.

We actually made a TON of business contacts this time around, and I look forward to following up on those. People are really itching to see the movie, which is good. I watched the current cut with Jason and James, and they both seemed to like it. I, of course, noticed some things that need tweaking, so I'll be taking the 3-day weekend to do the work on that stuff.

We got our official Closet Space posters and t-shirts in just in time for the convention, so if you want a piece of the action, let me know. T-shirts (S, M, L, XL, 2XL) are $15 and posters (23" x 36") are $10. You all know what the posters look like, but you can check out the shirt design below:

Thanks go out to the Moomooch guys for kicking ass with the shirts. Email now before they run out (we got rid of a lot at the convention).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I've been away for far too long. Mainly finishing up CLOSET SPACE, so at least it's for a good cause. There are a couple of new interviews up with me. I talk about everything from my racial background to that f*%king witch movie to NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5 to the Muppet Show to CLOSET SPACE (of course).

The first one is over at Racks and Razors. Thanks to Brad for doing it (and also doing the interviews with James LaMarr and Melanie Donihoo that you will also find on the site). We bonded over our love for alternative country.

The next one is over at They actually call it their "best interview ever". I'll let you be the judge of that, Constant Reader, but it sure was a hell of a lot of fun. And Melanie even makes a cameo appearance.

And for anyone attending the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in Burbank this weekend, look for the CLOSET SPACE table. We should have actors signing pictures, posters, and t-shirts. Stop by and say hello.

In movie news, Jason Wallach aka The Unquiet Void got his copy of the final picture locked cut today. He says that it's much darker than the previous cut he saw, and now he's got new twisted plans for the soundtrack. Mission accomplished. Once I get to Cali, I think Jason Stewart, James LaMarr, and I are going to check out the current version of the movie. I watched it with Melanie on Saturday night, and she was freaked out...even though she's in the damn movie. I guess that's a good thing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Maybe I'm jumping the gun here, but I'm already posting cast and crew calls for Closet Space 2 and 3. Actually, with what I have planned for both of them, the more time we have to prepare, the better. So, if you're interested, here's the info:

Upstart Filmworks will begin production on two feature length follow-ups to the soon-to-be-completed CLOSET SPACE in the fall of 2007. The plan is to shoot both sequels back to back (possibly concurrently), and as such, a lot of pre-production planning will be required. With this in mind, Upstart Filmworks is beginning the casting and crewing process so that we have the summer months to prepare.

CLOSET SPACE has already been courted by several distributors, festivals, and media outlets, and we expect to ride this wave of interest and positive press with CS2 and 3.CLOSET SPACE 2 and 3 will continue with the tone set in the original - very dark, Lovecraftian, creepy, gruesome, and at times fantastically gory.

CAST: Looking for all types 20-50, with emphasis on fit, military types. Martial arts, dance, firearm handling, and stunt experience are plusses.

CREW: Seeking EXPERIENCED crew for most positions.Cast and crew will be paid.

Please submit headshot/resume to:

Upstart Filmworks
4321-A Tulsa Rd.
Houston TX 77092.

There you have it. Please pay close attention to the part where it says EXPERIENCED. I'm getting too old to provide OJT on the set anymore. Also...if you're lazy, unfocused, or just a plain old pussy...don't even bother. It's already going to be a rough two to three months without me carrying you on my back.

In current Closet Space news, I'm actually shooting even more stuff this weekend...although for the most part, the shots have been long-languishing inserts that I never really got around to getting. I kinda wanted to get the movie in some sort of finished form prior to doing any of these pick-ups, and now I've got that, so I can shoot the last few niggling things.

While we're at it, of course, I can't resist adding a few things here and there, so I'll be doing that as well. Once again, we are doing new FX insert shots that I just came up with a few days ago - to add a little more "horror" to the proceedings. I'm like the indie horror George Lucas over here. Maybe I'll make Nancy shoot first.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Today I restarted up my MMA training. I'm trying to ease back into it, starting with the Thai boxing first to get my stamina back, and then gradually stepping up to the Jiu-Jitsu again. It felt great..due to some other factors (the diet I'm on, and generally working out more), I actually didn't throw up or pass out. The guy that runs the gym is Saul Soliz, trainer of Tito Ortiz and Ricco Rodriguez (he was also on Season 3 of "The Ultimate Fighter" as the boxing coach). He's also a pretty good friend of mine...but man...he's a serious hardass when it comes to the training. Which is exactly what I need right now, and also the reason that I would never go anywhere else to train. I was pretty proud of the fact that he only said "Mel, that looked like shit" once tonight, especially since that was my first time in the place in a couple years.

I feel like I'm gradually getting back on the life has been pretty crazy ever since that witch movie and the wedding, up through Closet Space and Flesh Keeper, so I haven't really been able to take care of myself and keep on the training. Like I said, tonight I realized that I hadn't been in the
boxing gym to train in roughly 2 and a half years. Hell, the last time I was there was to shoot a death scene for that fucking witch movie. Couple that with the inherently crappy diet that comes along with working on a bunch of movies around the clock, and BAM...I found myself in the worst shape I had ever been in my life. Blood pressure was up, asthma was kicking my it was time to make a change.

I also started a diet a couple weeks back, and so far I've lost about 30 pounds and closed my belt up two loops. This weekend I'm also planning on restarting the yoga thing that I got into before the movies cropped up.

Now, the trick is to keep myself on a regimented workout schedule and diet when we prepare for Closet Space 2 and 3 in the fall/winter. Since I plan on putting Melanie through the Saul Soliz Training Program From Hell for the movies, I guess it won't be too hard. Plus, with all the pent-up movie related frustration from the last couple years, I could stand to hit stuff for a long time coming.

Speaking of movie...segue segue...Closet Space was officially FedEx'ed to the
composer today so that he can get started. Getting close now. I can see the light.

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, we are doing a
Houston-area screening of Barricade in a couple of weeks. Make sure you come out and support if you can. The turnout at this screening will directly affect our ability to do future screenings at the Studio Movie Grill.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Here's the link to the aforementioned podcast.

Melanie's interview comes up about 1 hour into it, and I pop up at about 1 hour 8 minutes in (right before Roddy Piper). But we highly suggest you listen to the whole thing - they also rap with Tony Todd, James Duval, and Ryan Nicholson, among others.

Be warned, we and others drop the F-bomb and dirty innuendo quite a bit. This is NOT WORK SAFE.

Thanks to the mofo's at
The Pickled Embryo for doing it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Back tracking to Wednesday, the Necrophobia premiere finally went down. It was fun, albeit kinda rowdy and uncomfortable at times (and not in a good way...people need to learn to respect the fact that they aren't the only ones watching the movie. Assholes). Anyway, the whole thing was kinda ruined for me because, due to technical difficulties, the new Closet Space trailer didn't play prior to the show. It sucked even more that people asked about it afterward....people that were actually looking forward to seeing it. Well, it didn't suck that they wanted to see it, but you know what I mean. Anyway, it kind of set me up in a sour mood for the rest of the week - probably because I worked a sleepless night to cut it, but more likely because I deliberately cut the new trailer with a lot of dialogue at the beginning so that I could listen to my audio engineering work in a large room to see how it sounded. So, for those of you that might think the new trailer is long-ish, there's an actual reason for it...but fuck you anyway for not having an attention span. If you want to see a music video, go watch MTV. Wait, they don't play music videos anymore...

Anyway, so then I had to prepare for Fear Fest this past weekend. Dwayne and I drove up on Friday to set up our table, and after a little bit of craziness and disorganization we got things figured out and got our spot. Friday night started out slow, but the Closet Space trailer was working its magic. First of all, we were right across from a "Smokeless Tobacco" booth manned by young, cowboy types. Nice guys, but not really horror fans (their words). Still, they could not take their eyes off of the trailer, even after about the 100th time it played. And, each time when the gory stuff would kick in (especially Evan's neck-bubbling), they would all cringe, gasp, or look away, only to quickly look back. One of the dudes said that I fucked him up for life. Mission accomplished. Okay, so I've got Joe Public...what about the horror fans?

Friday night was actually pretty damn productive for us in that regard. Several people stopped to watch the trailer and were visibly blown away. I like to sit back and watch their faces as things happen on screen...I can usually tell exactly what part they have just seen even if I can't hear the soundtrack. Most everyone had the desired reactions...a few of them even shaking their heads in disgust and walking away...which is ALSO a desired reaction. We had a couple of Ain't It Cool News guys watching the trailer and loving it, as well as fellow filmmakers, but my favorite quote came from a 20-something female horror fan. After standing transfixed for both trailers (I had the 2nd and 3rd cut playing on a loop), she turned to me and said:

"I want to see this movie. RIGHT NOW."

That was awesome, and made everything worth it for me. I high-fived her and gave her my assurance that we'd screen it in Dallas sometime soon after it's done. Then after that, Joe (Wrong Turn 2) Lynch talked us into attending the screening of The Funhouse. That was pretty fun, even though guest of honor Tobe Hooper had cancelled. The fact that Lynch, Ryan (Abominable) Schifrin, Adam (Hatchet) Green, and John (Feast) Gulager were there pretty much made up for it. I don't even necessarily like all of these guys movies (haven't even seen some of them yet), but the solidarity and support is awesome, and everyone seemed to be having a blast.

Here's the table (with Melanie):

The good vibes continued throughout the weekend, and many more people were turned on to the tentacley madness that is Closet Space. I got lots of positive comments on the acting, cinematography, music, and subject matter...lots of "I'm glad it's not a slasher film", "It looks awesomely disturbing", and "Thank god you did lots of practical FX". Melanie and I also lucked into doing a couple of podcast radio interviews with the guys from Pop Syndicate:

The interviews were extremely fun, and they want to have us back around when the movie actually is released, so we look forward to it.

Saturday and Sunday, Melanie signed and posed for a bunch of photos....I signed a few autographs, we raffled off another signed CS poster, and lots and lots of people asked me about
100 Tears, which is also awesome. People apparently love them some killer clowns. Next show, we'll have a trailer for that one as well.

At the convention I met quite a few people who don't seem to be drinking the same cinematic Kool-Aid that both horror fans and the general public seem to be imbibing lately (well, for a long while in some cases). It was refreshing to talk to folks that thought 300 was just "eh...", that were worried/depressed about Rob Zombie's Halloween, that see Grindhouse as not necessarily a watershed cinema moment, but a fun experiment for a specific niche audience, and that weren't really fans of Italian horror. Yeah, I said it. I hate Italian horror movies (with the notable exceptions of Bird With The Crystal Plumage and Deep Red). So fucking sue me. If anyone replies to this with that "look at the colors and mood in Suspiria" bullshit, I will personally come to your house and put a steel-toed Dr. Marten in your crotch. know, that's what's beautiful about the best films of the horror genre. You have lots of disparate viewpoints and tastes, with (hopefully) no one trying to parrot or rip off anyone else. Anyway, it was fun to rant and argue with people who knew their shit. I'm back at home doing the movie edit thing again, and laying plans for a few different things to come in the few months, so stay tuned. Closet Space goes off to the composer very soon (like today or tomorrow), so that process will be started shortly.

Back to the edit...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Just returned from this year's SXSW trip with Jonah Matranga. Once again it was a whirlwind of craziness, stressful situations, bad parking jobs, running around, and douchebags. Lots and lots of douchebags. SXSW is but a shadow of it's former self. Soon it will be entirely comprised of industry vultures and yes-men.

With that all said, Jonah's shows went pretty well - mainly because they were a bit outside the "mainstream" SXSW program - while still being in the thick of the activity downtown. I also greatly enjoyed the sets of Jonah's tourmates
Frank Turner and Joshua English, and they were nice guys to boot (actually, Frank would be a "lad", or "chap", I guess...).

Anyway, Jonah and I spent most of the time on the road discussing and listening to his new album (due out this summer), and we talked quite a bit about the related plans that have been brewing for a while.

First off, I had to give the album a listen with an ear toward song placement for Closet Space. There are actually two cues in the movie where actual "pop" songs need to go. The first cue had to be pretty loud and uptempo...and lo and behold there was a song on the album that fit the bill perfectly. Not only sonically, but lyrically as well - the theme of the song actually hints at one of the through-lines that propels the movie. I can't really discuss it in too much detail without ruining some of the surprises I guess, but to drop something of a hint (and another bit of weirdness)...the song also is a remarkably accurate description of my feelings on the debacle surrounding the
last movie that I directed, and all of the bullshit I had to deal with as a result. It's actually eerily on the mark as far as that stuff goes (albeit a little less violent and angry that yours truly tended to get). Anyway, it made choosing the song painfully obvious. Look/listen for it when the movie and album come out.

The second song is more incidental (issuing from a radio in the background of a scene), but we actually turned that into a big deal as well. Earlier this year, Jonah expressed interest in doing a video for one of the songs from the new album. A horror video. A gory horror video. With zombies. I figured we'd kill two birds with one stone and make it a semi-official Closet Space video in the tradition of "Dream Warriors". So...later this spring, we are going to be shooting a super-gory zombie video for one of indie rock's most favored sons, and Closet Space's Melanie Donihoo (and maybe even some others) will be playing pretty important roles. Can you say "DVD Extra"? The most interesting and challenging part of the whole deal will be the incongruity of the whole thing - the song is not your standard zombie killing soundtrack. It's kinda airy, midtempo, and pretty upbeat. I'm sure some people will be put off by the juxtaposition. Personally, that makes me want to do it even more.

So yeah, Closet Space haunts my days even when I'm at a huge music festival with one of my favorite artists.

Friday, March 09, 2007

I am nearing completion of Closet Space (except for the scoring part - it's going out for that very soon). Actually, I guess I should say that I'm nearing completion on all the stuff I personally have to do to the movie - in addition to the score, I'm still waiting on a few FX shots, both digital and practical. That stuff can be dropped in pretty simply, though.

Over the last week or so (pretty much right before and right after the Chicago Fango show) I proceeded to get each of the lead actors in for their ADR work. For those that don't know...ADR stands for "automated dialogue replacement" or "additional dialogue recording" (whichever you prefer) and it involves the actors coming in to re-dub or loop lines for various reasons. Cleaner audio, better delivery, even adding lines that weren't there the first time around.

Anyway, that process naturally requires the talent to pretty much see the movie in it's near-final form. I have reservations about that for various reasons...not the least of which is that most people cannot extrapolate what a "finished" movie is going to look like from any stage other than the actual finished version - even those "in the know". I had some pretty bad experience with this on my last project, which turned me off the idea even more. Plus, I hate the whole "another set of eyes" theory...but more on that later.

Anyway, the stuff had to be done, regardless of my personal feelings in the matter. And oddly enough, most everyone seemed to be excited about the way the movie was turning out. A few were super-stoked at the sight of some of the more...intense sequences, which was awesome. Others were a bit put off or taken aback by things...a few times I could tell that the actor/actress in the hot seat was actually disgusted by the images on the screen. I heard "I'm not going to be able to bring my parents/grandparents/family/minister to see this" quite a lot over the last few weeks.

Well...that's fucking awesome, and here's why.

When I decided to make Closet Space, I wanted to make a REAL horror movie...something like I saw back when I was a kid. I wanted it to push buttons, to disturb, and to maybe even make some people question my sanity. That's what a real horror movie should do. All the soulless crap that's been passing for horror lately is sterile and nutless, mainly because the filmmakers want the broadest audience possible (which of course means more money). God forbid they ostracize the 14-year old giggly girls out there who are just waiting to plunk their (conservative) parents hard-earned dough down to see the latest TV heartthrob making his debut in a "supernatural thriller in the vein of PSYCHO or THE EXORCIST". They don't even call them horror movies anymore, yet they name drop horror movies left and right in the promotional push!

In my eyes, horror is supposed to be disturbing. It is not meant to be easily palatable. That defeats the purpose.
With that said, I can assure you that Closet Space is pretty disturbing in parts. You may even have to avert your eyes or leave the theatre. That's fine. If people do that, then we have done our jobs. In addition to that...there's no "comedic relief" in the form of "wacky stoners" or "sexed-up teenagers". We do have an African-American in the cast, but guess what - he doesn't talk jive or wear a bunch of bling. He actually has some of the most intelligent lines in the movie. And sure, there's some sexual innuendo and nudity in the movie...but not at all what you might think. Trust me.

If any of that puts you off of seeing Closet Space, then I'm sorry...but it's probably for the best. I never intended this to be a movie for everyone, and hopefully that turns out to be a good thing. You'll understand when you see it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

So...we're back from the Chicago Fangoria show in one piece. Things went really really well (for once) and interest in the movie and our efficacy in getting the word out really surpassed my expectations. Definitely a fruitful trip with many highlights...but the best part was being able to hang with my fellow indie-horror brethren from Barricade, 100 Tears, and Necrophobia. We should all collaborate on an independent, low-budget Grind House/4 Rooms-type project. The Grind Shack. Yeah. I like that.

Anyway, yeah, it was very successsful, and I'm looking forward to Fear Fest in a couple of weeks, followed by Fangoria Burbank in May, and then Texas Frightmare in the summer. The Closet Space express keeps trucking along.

As for the movie edit status - most of the ADR work is done (only 2 actors remain, and one of them is my wife), and I'm also getting into the home stretch with color correction and FX shot placement. A rough cut will be going out to our composer very very soon - so hopefully we'll have a finished version by the time the Burbank show rolls around. Definitely for Texas Frightmare though.

Meanwhile, Jason and I are steadily hashing out Closet Space 2 and 3. My current plan is to go into production on these later this year (late fall/winter), and as usual, I'll be doing another crew jettison/replacement sweep. One of these days, I'm sure I'll be able to secure a group of people that can work together effectively without personal baggage getting in the way, but that day has yet to arrive. So, if you have movie experience, and you're interested on working on a crazy back-to-back horror film shoot in Texas near the holidays, feel free to drop me a line. Dipshits, drama queens, reprobates, backseat directors, and lazy asses need not apply.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Man, I am getting worse and worse with updating this. Mainly because I'm a good deal of the way through post on Closet Space. We've started the ADR process, and I am enginieering the existing audio as well. It was tedious at first, but I'm kind of in the groove now. This is my first real serious attempt at audio engineering, even after years of being in bands and doing movie stuff. It sounds good so far, though. On a related note, I highly recommend the noise reduction preset in Adobe Audition 2.0 - it's been a huge help.

Edit edit edit...and then Wednesday we head off to the Chicago installment of the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors. A huge gaggle of us are going, so it should be fun. Closet Space, Necrophobia, 100 Tears, and Barricade will all have a presence there. I'm sure I'll freeze my Texas-bred ass off, just like last year. Maybe this time I won't lose my voice.

Big updates are coming as far as the Closet Space soundtrack/score, and premiere date, so look for those soon. We're shooting for a premiere in the Spring...probably April sometime.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hey everyone. First off, I have to say that last night's HFO Industry Mixer was a success. Thanks to Stacy Davidson and Mike James for putting it on. Several people came up to me and either said that they were scared, that they might not be able to sit through the movie based on the new trailer, etc. That makes me feel like I've done my job. I look forward to future Filmmaker First Mondays at Fitz.

I've included the new trailer and interview footage on the CLOSET SPACE MySpace page so everyone can take a peek behind the tentacled curtain. Jason Stewart and I talk about the project in general, and I included some of the Oddtopsy FX interview footage again...because really, who can get tired of those guys?

Anyway, before the video stuff, I just wanted to refresh everyone's memories on our little incestuous horror-movie web. Here are our current partners in crime, some or all of which will be alongside us at the upcoming
Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in Chicago:

NECROPHOBIA is our lighting director/digital FX supervisor Stacy Davidson's horrific magnum opus. CLOSET SPACE's Morgan McCarthy is also one of the stars, and yours truly makes a cameo death appearance. It premieres in Houston in March. Keep your eyes peeled for this one. I've seen the movie, and it rocks.

BARRICADE is a little movie you may have heard about. Our friends Ted G., Timo Rose, Raine Brown, and Joe Zaso are all responsible/accountable for this sick little flick. I've also seen this one, and it tickled my long-dormant gag reflex. Good stuff.

One of our aforementioned FX gurus, Marcus Koch, is currently in Florida directing a nasty little picture called
100 TEARS.
Ted from BARRICADE and myself are helping them produce it. It features the biggest fucking cleaver I've ever seen.

Fellow Houston filmmaker Josh Vargas is almost finished shooting
SWAY, which features all manner of stuff to turn your stomach, revolt you, or just plain piss you off. SWAY also stars CLOSET SPACE's Melanie Donihoo.

Jason Beam is a bad-ass artist who did the BARRICADE artwork, the CLOSET SPACE poster, and a whole slew of other dark/fantasy things that you should check out at his website. I hear Christy Hemme is going to be at his table in Chicago, so you'll probably want to make a point to stop by.

The Unquiet Void provided us with some super creepy ambience and music for the new trailer. It really fits the mood that I'm aiming for with the movie, and I'm sure that the music had no small part in unsettling our audience last night.

Okay, enough rambling. There's more exciting CLOSET SPACE news on the horizon concerning our score, our screening plans, and our sequel(s!), but all in good time. Until then, enjoy the new videos!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

This just in:

The first ever Houston Filmmaker's Organization Mixer is taking place next Monday, February 5, from 5-8 PM at Fitzgerald's.

More details can be found here.

Come by and check it out - I'll be sitting on a panel with some of my Closet Space brethren to field questions and such. Admission is FREE.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I know, I know...most times these days I totally disown this movie and most everyone involved with it (for lots of reasons - all of them quite valid...chalk it up to "creative differences", to recycle a hollow phrase that was once pseudo-used against me), but Wil Keiper of Horror Yearbook just wrote up a pretty positive review of Witchcraft 13: Blood Of The Chosen.

This means even more when one realizes that Wil is probably the biggest Witchcraft series fan on the face of the earth. He even threw in a "Witchcraft Guide" of sorts.

Check it out here.

Thanks again to Wil and!

Saturday, January 20, 2007


The first pass/assembly edit of Closet Space is done. 98 minutes and 44 seconds, without end credits. Tomorrow begins pass 2, which will entail color-correction, and some sound engineering.

I've also been added to the list of guests that are going to be at Texas Frightmare Weekend in June. My understanding is that all of us "Texas Frightmakers" will be sitting on a panel detailing the ins and outs of crafting scares on a budget. Should be lots of fun.

More news soon, and more regularly, I swear. I've just had my head so in this edit it's unreal. I guess that's good, right? I mean...besides the killer screen-stare headaches.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I'm back at work after another whirlwhind weekend of promotion for Closet Space. From Wednesday, January 3rd up until about 2 hours ago, I was in California for the San Jose installment of the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors.

Last Wednesday, I arrived at LAX, got my rental van, and drove out to Orange County to meet Closet Space screenwriter Jason Stewart. He had procured a "west coast door" that we were using as a prop for the table, so we had to put feet on it and make sure that it would fit in the vehicle. That went much more quickly than I thought it would. Building and rebuilding sets for the past 6 months probably helped hone my construction skills a little bit. That evening we just chilled and prepared for the trip up to the convention.

On Thursday, Jason and I hit the road to San Jose. 5 hours and one In N Out stop later, we found ourselves at the Doubletree (a very nice hotel to have the convention in, I might add...they even gave us warm chocolate chip cookies on check in). We set up our basic table stuff pretty quickly, finding ourselves next to the crazy guys from Moomooch Clothing Co. ...fortunately, they quickly became our homeboys. Thursday evening was uneventful, save for some horror icon spottings in the hotel (Doug Bradley, Sid Haig, Ken Foree). Basically more chilling and preparation.

Friday started off slowly, of course, but we had a few people come by the table, check out the trailer and making-of, and generally show interest. Jason and I also got in the habit of talking up the movie over the course of that day, so it was a nice break-in period before the historically "big" day, Saturday. The highlight definitely had to be the popping of my Fangoria Panel cherry thanks to my work with the cast and crew of The Flesh Keeper. The writer/director, star, producer, and myself talked up the flick and showed some of which featured me cameo-ing as a black bean farmer. Inside joke. Anyway...the Flesh Keeper guys were also there to promote the recent release of The Quick and The Undead, so it was nice to hang out with them a little bit again.

Friday night involved a lot of running around on my part...I had to pick up Tim "Professor Polanco" Wrobel from the San Jose Amtrak station (he was coming up from LA), and Melanie "Nancy" Donihoo from the Oakland. The flights were cheaper, what can I say? Overall, it wasn't that bad of a "running around" session, but I did discover that apparently people do not eat in San Jose. Seriously...I had to drive around for half an hour before I even found a Carl's Jr. Where the hell do the people that work at eBay eat lunch? Anyway...there's Friday for you.

Saturday was our big push day. Number one - it's usually the busiest day of the convention. Number two - we had two actors there signing 8 x 10's for FREE. Everybody likes free stuff, right? It took a while to "grease the wheels"...most people are (rightfully) wary of something for nothing, but overall It was a smashing success. Both Melanie and Tim gave out dozens of pics and autographs. Lots of people stopped to chat about the movie. All seemed excited and eager to check out Closet Space when it's finished. We even lined up some interviews and possible screenings. All around a great step forward for Texas indie horror. As far as extra curricular activities go, I got a pic with Doug Bradley, Tim got one with Adrienne Barbeau, Jason hob-nobbed with Jeffrey Combs, and our 2nd unit FX artist Kristi Boul hung out with EVERYONE, apparently.

One weird thing about Saturday was getting called out regarding my last movie. Someone there had seen a screener of it, and had pretty good things to say about the flick, especially in reference to what we did with what we had, resource wise. That actually was kind of nice to hear, after the shit-storm that I went through because of it.

The wife and I took the opportunity to break away Saturday evening and head up to San Francisco for dinner. We ate at the same restaraunt in Fisherman's Wharf that we had dinner at right before I proposed to her - the place is called Cioppino's. That was pretty neat...this time I could actually eat my meal without being weird and nervous. After that, we dropped in on my friend Jonah, who lives in SF. It was nice to visit with him and share convention stories...and we also discussed the first video for his new album, which I'll be directing and co-producing. Trust me, it's going to be pretty insane. In a good way.

We returned to SJ early enough to find most everyone hanging out at the bar, Pinhead included. After a final few bad jokes and innuendo, we crashed and got ready for the long day of travel ahead.

Sunday morning I took Melanie back to the Oakland airport, came back to SJ, picked up Tim and Jason, and then we headed back to the LA/Orange County area. We had a fun (yet intermittent) talk/brainstorming session about several projects-in-the-works. Here's hoping they all reach fruition so that Tim can ride my coattails to success.

We have big plans for the Chicago Fango, Texas Fear Fest, Burbank Fango, and Texas Frightmare Weekend, so you'll be seeing a lot of Closet Space in the near future. Here's to hoping that the positive buzz keeps building.