Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The two Walking Distance trailers are making their rounds, and response has been phenomenal. Glad I went through with the dual trailer idea - people seem to be digging it/them.

My favorite quote so far:

Man, I've seen both Walking Distance trailers now, and I feel like I'm putting together a puzzle without the border... and I love that." - Matthew Orsman

Here are a few more online mentions:

Arrow in the Head
did a story on the Black trailer.

Our friends at did a piece on the Red one (and reposted the Black).

Dread Central ran a piece linking to the Red trailer as a companion piece to their earlier Black trailer exclusive.

Icons of Fright reposted a link to the Dread Central story.

Horror Yearbook also did the same for us.

Totally bitchin', as the Regman would say. I'm extremely pumped that everyone is so excited to see Adrienne, Reggie, and Debbie go after it (which they do, with gusto).

Quick answers to a few repeat questions that I've recieved:

Q: I thought there were supposed to be zombies in Walking Distance?
A: The first few drafts I wrote in the late 90's had zombies. Actually, it was envisioned as a zombie movie. Then we had a couple of really good zombie movies come out, re-igniting interest in the sub-genre. THEN we had a shit-ton of bad ones come out. I got pretty sick of zombies/infected/the walking dead, so I began an overhaul around the time we started Closet Space. And here we are, sans zombies, and all the better for it, I think.

Q: Wow, it looks like a REAL movie.
A: I hired a great DP by the name of Philip Roy.
Check out his other projects. Hopefully I can continue to "borrow" him from the other Phillip :). We agreed early on to step outside of the accepted "context" of horror movie cinematography. Additionally, my goal is to keep raising the bar as far as production value - steadily climbing as we go along. That seems obvious, but a lot of folks are content with spinning their tires (or "waiting for funding").

Q: How'd you get all those people in your movie?
A: Have you ever read Faust?

Seriously, everyone pretty much responded to the script. Which was kind of a shock to me, because I figured it was too esoteric, personal, and dark. Apparently they all like projects that are esoteric, personal, and dark. Who knew?

Q: Where'd you get the CG for the liquidy trailer stuff?
A: If by "CG", you mean "Carport Gestated", then you'd be right. Dwayne, Chris, Melanie, and I did it using an aquarium and some basic science I picked up when I was almost an engineer. I also shot it overcranked on the HVX200 at 720p to make it look even cooler.
If you want more details, you can email me about it.

Q: Why "Red" and "Black"?
A: Have you looked at the poster?

Q: Why do two trailers?
A: 'Cause there's a lot going on. I preferred to do two shorter trailers that give you some info/background, rather than one overstuffed one, or one with just a bunch of flashy shit and no story beats at all. There are other reasons as well, but the depth of the story is the main reason.

I almost did a trailer as Mel House, head of the House Travel Agency, enticing you to come take a trip to the community featured in the movie. Then I realized that I
had heard that one before.

Q: Why no "Made In Texas" tag at the end?
A: Lots of reasons. Some personal, some professional, some probably irrational. But that's how I roll.

Q: What's the movie about, really?
A: Anger, family, racism, something evil, arson, sexual deviancy, emotional stuntedness, betrayal, revenge, selfishness, pseudo-science, sickness.

Among other things.

Q: What's next?
A: Fangoria Chicago. Another trailer ("White") in Spring 2009.

A: Mom?

Walking Distance trailers are up and running.

BOTH trail​ers are now live:

​The BLACK trailer is right here on Dread Central.

The RED trailer is right here on!

Make sure you watch​ both,​ as they are total​ly diffe​rent.​ Each accom​panyi​ng story​ and pictu​res are diffe​rent as well.​

Many thank​s to Dread​ Centr​al and Fango​ria for the love!​

On a side note, these trailers are causing some really...uh..."strange" things to happen. I guess they're not all that strange, but still. "Funny" might be a better word (in the Funny Games sense, of course). Maybe I'll get into it later. For now, back to editing the movie proper.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December '08 is looking to be a fitting epilogue to a pretty bitchin' year.

A few movies that I'm associated with in some capacity are hitting the streets.
Electric Purgatory, the documentary on Black Rock that I DP'ed a few years ago is now available on Pick it up, and see where all those whigger White bands that you love ganked their moves from.

While I'm on the subject, if you want to be schooled in person, you should check out the
Fishbone show next week (the 8th) at the Meridian. Fishbone is the greatest live band on the planet. For real.

Anyway, as I was saying...Marcus Koch's 100 Tears hits DVD on Tuesday the 9th. You can find it at
Amazon, at Best Buy, and on Netflix. Check that one out, too.

Gerald Nott's The Flesh Keeper is
out now via CreateSpace, and you can visit that link to get your own copy. I was the Unit Production Manager, made a cameo as "Angry Black Bean Farmer" in the AWESOME FLASHBACK SEQUENCE (TM), and nearly had to earn the title of "Official Bull Murderer Via Shotgun". I also killed a snake or two.

Gerry/John/Clint/etc...I hope the movie has a commentary track to explain all that anecdotal yammering I just did.

Also coming out soon is The Lawless, which you can
find on Amazon right here
, and on Netflix over here. The Upstart connection begins with the film's lead, Denton Blane Everett, who is also one of the leads in Walking Distance. Distance's Eryn Brooke also stars in the film....Eryn was our A.D. as well as the actress portraying "Tracie" in WD...and I definitely would have had a harder time on set without her - as an A.D. she kicks major ass. And you'll notice James LaMarr is a producer on The Lawless as well. It seems like just yesterday that I met James at the Closet Space casting call....

In addition, a good deal of the behind the scenes crew on The Lawless worked for us on Walking Distance. In addition to James and Eryn, there's our amazing D.P. Philip Roy, and sound guru David Frost. I'm not sure if our Assistant Camera Zach, or 2nd A.D. Natalie worked on Lawless, but I think they may have. Director Philip Guzman also gave us some much needed assistance on the first day of WD shooting. At any rate, these guys take/took the idea of an "indie film crew" to the next level - pretty much negating the "indie" tag. They are all bad asses, and it totally shifted the whole paradigm for me. If you want to get a sense of what Walking Distance is going to look/feel like, then check out Lawless. And add more blood and melty stuff.

As for my own movie(s) - I think Closet Space just got into another festival, and I'm an hour and a half into the first pass edit of Walking Distance (which leaves half an hour or so to go). I'm very excited about how WD is shaping up so far, and once again I have to effusively thank the cast and crew that made it possible. That's definitely a big reason why 2008 ruled for me. Can't wait to get that first trailer out there. I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but it's coming, man.

I'm also considering the possibility of having a birthday shindig in the Upstart Warehouse this year. My birthday (the 27th) falls on a Saturday, so I kind of feel obligated to do something besides eat a lot of broiled flesh at either the Taste of Texas or Fogo De Chao. Although I'll be doing that as well, I assure you. At any rate, I may put something relatively low-key together for that night, so consider yourselves warned. I've got the space, so why not? It might be kind of cold, but I don't think it would be too bad. Maybe we can cook up a little Acoustic Alchemy, or project a movie on one of the walls or something. I'll know for sure within the next week or so. There's some heavy stuff coming up next year on all fronts, so perhaps I should try to enjoy life a little while I still have time to breathe.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Today, Dread Central put up a few pictures from our recent 2nd Unit FX shoot for the infamous "Doll Scene" in Walking Distance. Before anyone asks, no, the movie is not about killer dolls. They are but a tiny part of the twisted tapestry. The scene is definitely the moment in the script where the train crests the lift hill, though.

Thanks go out to everyone that showed up for the doll scene shoot...the footage looks totally out there. I'm excited to cut it together.

ZombieFriends also was cool enough to set up a Walking Distance profile for us over there, and also to put together a couple of video interview clips with Reggie Bannister (which you can check out at the Dread Central link above, or you can view them right here).

Check out this video: Walking Distance (BTS) Reggie Bannister


Check out this video: Reggie Bannister Talks Mel House


Like the article says, I hope to have a trailer soon. We're still shooting 2nd Unit FX stuff through early next week, but I'm a good deal through the rough cut of the movie.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Lagniappe of the Dead

It's been awhile, and I've been primarily blogging on my MySpace page, but I'm going to try and keep this one updated as well.

Well, we’ve returned from our 3rd-anniversary-commemorating Louisiana ghost tour without getting sucked over to "the other side". It was a blast. Check out the "Anniversary Ghost Tour" album in my pictures section for photo accompaniment to the following rundown. It should entertain you while you either decide to laud the democratic process, or contemplate a move to Canada (or Australia, depending on your party I.D.. Actually, Australia has compulsory voting, which is kind of cool. At any rate...) First up, we stayed a night at the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana (about an hour north of Baton Rouge). The Myrtles is semi-notorious for being one of the most haunted places in America. We arrived after nightfall, and the place definitely gave off a hell of a creepy vibe...even with quite a few people milling about the grounds (all the rooms were booked, and workers were busy renovating the on-site restaurant). After we ate dinner at a surprisingly good pizza joint in the Louisiana sticks, we made our way around the property in the dark, hoping to find some crack in the veil of reality. Well, I was hoping. I think Melanie was more "dreading". She was pretty freaked out (but in a fun, "amusement park" way). A few other folks were trudging around with flashlights in the dark (including a couple of drunkies). Melanie and I noticed the distinct aroma of strong cigar smoke near our room. After some pretty thorough investigation, we discovered that no one we could see was smoking. Strange. 

The night was...interesting. Melanie claims she was poked, prodded, and pushed all night, and her covers were constantly being tugged. I couldn't sleep because my bearlike frame was a bit much for the bed (and my terrified wife curled up in the small of my back). I fell into fitful bits of sleep I think, and the things I saw/experienced were during those periods. Unreliable...but very intriguing. Anyway, my alarm on my phone goes off at 7 AM, and Melanie exclaims "THANK GOD!". We get up, stroll around in the daylight, and head to the completely delicious (and all-inclusive) home-cooked breakfast in the Myrtles Gift Shop. After ingesting some of the best biscuits I have ever had in my life, and talking to a few of the other guests (who saw nothing...but most of whom are regulars), we took the guided tour of the main house. The place is beautiful, but has a very distinct vibe that's a bit off putting. And we learned that apparently the cigar smoke thing is one of the manifestations of the spirit of William Winter, who was murdered in the house. Sweet. 

After the tour, we headed down to New Orleans to take in some of the Halloween craziness down there. We got there a bit early, so we had lunch at Mandina's (mmmm, Turtle Soup and Po-Boys), and drove around a bit. We stumbled upon the still-thrashed 9th Ward, which was interesting. We then headed to the Garden District and walked around for a bit, seeing a bunch of bad ass houses, including Anne Rice's old place. We also discovered a sweet (pun intended) dessert bar called Sucre that I just HAD to get gelato at. After finally checking in to our luxury hotel in the French Quarter (right between Bourbon and Royal Street) we commenced to walking around the Vieux Carre by starting down Bourbon Street a.k.a. The Dirtiest Place on Earth. I loved every minute of it. Of course, once you get off of Bourbon, the rest of the Quarter is beautifully awesome, and with the combination of the Garden District, very Walking Distance-y. It definitely gave me inspiration that I'm going go put in the new script, and I'm most definitely going to try and shoot that script on location there. Anyway, we walked around a bit as the Halloween craziness began to wind up, ate dinner, then headed out to start our Haunted History Tour, which was a LOT cooler than I thought it would be. I guess I had primed myself for Anne Rice-y Metrosexual Vampire Cheesiness (TM). Instead, we had a blast...seeing Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop (where he pushed a few guys into the forge for skimming off the top), the Provincial and Andrew Jackson hotels (both haunted as hell, apparently), and then the icing on the cake for me was seeing the LaLaurie Mansion. The place radiates evil. It's back on the market, and if I had the money (3.5 million at the moment), I'd totally buy it. Hell, no one else will, apparently. Wish we had photos of that place, but they were kind of sketchy about taking pictures there because of the current owner's celebrity status: it's Nicolas Cage. 

About 2 minutes into this clip from Letterman, Cage talks about the LaLaurie Mansion: After the tour, we headed over to Cafe Du Monde for some truly awesome beignets. A nice, powdery end to an awesome trip.

 Anyway, now we're back in the "real world". Marcus has returned, and we're ramping up to shoot the last FX bits for WD over the next few weeks. It should be fun/nerve wracking.

And seriously, if anyone wants to go in on that LaLaurie thing, let me know. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fango Cover sneak peek and more Mulatto Balls

Found this on Ryan Rotten’s page - here’s the first look at the Fangoria issue that will feature the Southern-Fried Horror article:

It’s issue 273, and I believe it hits the stands on or around April 15th. Scoop it up if you can - I hear the coverage is awesome. They pretty much talk up all of our movies - from Closet Space to 100 Tears to Domain of the Damned to Flesh Keeper to Sweatshop and beyond. Check out that above-title blurb. We got a Clive Barker movie cover issue to boot. Awesome. Here’s the blurb from the
Fangoria website:

SOUTHLAND TERROR TALES A gang of up-and-coming frightmeisters unleash murder and monsters below the Mason-Dixon Line."

By the way, the "Mulatto Balls" in the title of this blog is purely a baiting tactic to get people to come look at the Fango cover. When I put "Mulatto Balls" in the title of my last Obama-centric blog, I got tons of page views from people who apparently are very intrigued by my "mixed bag".

Speaking of mixed bags, I’m in the process of becoming a S.A.G. signatory for the purpose of making Walking Distance a S.A.G. production. Hopefully, this won’t be another "it seemed like a good idea at the time" situation. There have been too many of those over the last few years. I guess I’ll have to play in that sandbox sooner or later, and now’s as good a time as any.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Back in black.  Sorry that I've been neglecting this blog.  The daily moratorium on MySpace that I experience during the week has pushed me back into the loving arms of Blogger.  So, realizing that others are probably in the same boat, what I'll try to do is continue to copy and post stuff in both places.

So, first off, thanks to all that came out to the MFAH screening of Electric Purgatory.  It was pretty much a sold-out house, and the audience seemed to really get behind the material.  The panel discussion afterwards was also quite interesting, although there was an unfortunate lack of Black Rockers at the table.  Hey guys...your DP is one.  Just sayin'.  Anyway, much love to Raymond Gayle for putting on a successful event. 

Also, I am officially a guest at Texas Fear Fest in March.  A Closet Space screening announcement will soon follow, along with some other cast and crew appearances.  It should be exciting, especially with most of my horror genre heroes running around the place as well.  I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Speaking of throwing up in my mouth, lately I've been trying to woo some horror "names" into taking part in Walking Distance.  For the most part, the talent I'd want actually seem to be into it.  Of course there's scheduling and pay scale and any number of other things to take into account now...but just opening a dialogue with these people is pretty damn exciting for me.  It re-awakens my dormant inner fanboy.  Anyway, I just have to wrap up the script in the next week or so and send it off.  I'm projecting a mid-April start on that.  We might as well adopt Marcus, our Tampa-based FX guy, since right after Distance we go into production on the Untitled Marcus Koch Project.

I finally finished reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.  It was good.  Damn good.  Actually, I think it's my second-favorite book ever.  (The #1 spot goes to Stephen King's It, and that probably won't ever change.  #'s 3-5 are also King books.  Surprise, surprise.).  Check it out if you haven't already.

And speaking of books, if (like me) you're into mid to late 90's hardcore/post-hardcore/emo (the good kind)/screamo, then make a point to check out Norman Brannon's new book, The Anti-Matter Anthology.  It's a compilation of some of the best interviews Norm did for his Anti-Matter zine back in the day.  This may sound only vaguely familiar to some of you, so let me help you out:  Norman Brannon used to be Norm Arenas, guitarist for Shelter, Texas Is The Reason, and New End Original.  To bring it full circle, Jonah Matranga was in New End with Norm.  So, here's to more cool people making stuff.