Working very hard to make Tribe of the Dead a reality. It is a huge undertaking and so far I’ve been the only one who has been able to work on it. I am trying to find some production assistants to help with the ton of pre-production work that needs to be done. I am dying to get back behind the camera so I am going to try and get back to some other projects that have been on the back burner since I’ve had to be constantly available to tend to my mother who is battling lung cancer. There are two shorts that I really want to shoot. As well as a Tribe of the Dead teaser. I also need to get back together with Mike Smith from CEG to film more footage for a possible reality show we are putting together. I have also recently revisited one of my first screenplays, Grey Man. It is feature length and could be done on a small budget. I am currently working on a re-write for Grey Man to make it more cost effective and quite honestly make it better. I wrote the original draft about 10 years ago and I have grown considerably as a writer since then. Grey Man is the type of script I wouldn’t have tried to make before because I wasn’t ready as a film maker for the subject matter the script covers. I think I am ready now…only one way to find out…right?
This weekend marks the return of my favorite show…Dexter. It will be a welcome distraction to what is currently going on in my life. I have stayed away from teasers, previews, and anything else that may give away what this season will entail. I usually read spoilers, teasers, anything I can’t get my hands on but this year I stayed away and it is making the anticipation that much greater. I can not wait for Sunday.
Been very busy lately. Not just taking care of my mother which is an every day occurrence but trying to make headway on Tribe of the Dead. A lot of the work is basically making phone calls but you would be surprised how hard it is to find time to make a phone call. I am trying to get my presentation together for investors and I’ve hit several brick walls with that. I need a couple of storyboards drawn but I haven’t been able to find an artist willing to help out…it’s a paid job and still haven’t found someone. If any one is interested in this job please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are excited to announce that Sorrow Hill and For Love of Zombies will be playing at the Maverick Theater in Mankato, MN during Halloween week. I will be talking to Russel Glen the owner of the theater chain this week to find out the exact details so I will announce them when I find out. We are excited for this opportunity. It’s only going to help spread he word about Little Red Wagon Films and our projects.
Thousands of people listen to our podcast and read this blog and I truly appreciate all the support. If you would like to be involved with Little Red Wagon Films shoot me an email. We are always looking for like minded passionate people to join our team. Independent film making is a collaborative effort…so come join us for the ride of your life.
Check out the latest Random Ass Podcast as Teddy and I interview star of the indie horror sensation Deadheads, Natalie Victoria Natalie was a great interview and Teddy and I had a lot of fun with her. Click the player below to check out this fantastic interview.
It looks like we will be able to squeeze a podcast in tonight around me taking care of my mother. Teddy and I are also going to do the first of a few DVD commentaries for FLoZ. I hope to do one with the entire cast which could prove to be difficult. I may do one by myself…we’ll see.
We hope to have a couple of big announcements on tonight’s podcast. We do have a great guest lined up, Greg Lamberson, click his name to check out his website. We look forward to talking to him about all of his projects, present and past.
I am also looking forward to the Horror Club meeting tomorrow night. I will get to see some old friends and hopefully make some new ones. And…I will be able to pick up my comic books.
It’s been an exhausting month. With everything that is going on in my personal life it’s been very hard to schedule things because of the unpredictable nature of when I will be needed by mother. She continues to fight the good fight but lung cancer is a menacing evil. Her spirits are high and she is determined to fight so I am going to do all that I can to help her win this fight. I appreciate all the prayers and well wishes I have received. It truly means a lot to me and my mom.
We are trying to record another Random Ass Podcast this Wednesday. Teddy is basically on call and whenever I get a few free moments when my mother doesn’t need me we will be recording. If time allows we will be doing a DVD commentary for FLoZ. I hope to be announcing a release date soon and premiere information. Teddy and I also hope to be able to make a big announcement concerning FLoZ tomorrow night so make sure to tune in. We have one guest lined up and we are working on a second. Author, screenwriter, director, producer, film festival promoter Greg Lamberson will be joining us for part of the podcast to talk about his upcoming book Personal Demons, his latest film Slime City Massacre, as well as the upcoming horror film festival Buffalo Screams which takes place at the end of October. Teddy and I can’t wait to pick his brain. The second guest is yet to confirm but as soon as we know you will know.
I just finished viewing Halloween for what has to be at least the 200th time in my life and it is still as exhilarating as it was the first time I crept out of my room when was 11 years old to watch it when everyone else had gone to bed. This past weekend the genius behind the film, John Carpenter, appeared at Monster Mania in Hunt Valley, MD which isn’t that far from but I was unable to attend because of personal reasons. I am a little bummed that I couldn’t get there to meet the person who inspired me and many other horror writers/directors.
Halloween is perfect from start to finish. It was the first film to make use of steadi-cam technology POV and Carpenter used it brilliantly in the opening sequence when Michael’s sister became his first victim. That first scene always gets me. Creepy, suspenseful, and violent. The only thing I ever wondered about was the time line. I’m not pointing out any kind of continuity error I just always found it amusing that Judith Myers boyfriend was upstairs with her for a little over 2 minutes film time. That means in that 2 minute span they walked upstairs, undressed, had sex, got dressed again and then he left. With a half hearted promise to call her the next day. Call me crazy but I don’t think Judith’s boyfriend was much of a partner if you get my meaning. Carpenter’s use of music, which he composed himself, was nothing short of brilliant. The music added to the film’s creepiness and built the tension and suspense throughout.
The characters are well developed and just aren’t there to be victim fodder for Michael. That is where so many slasher films come up short, poor character development. From the countless sequels, remakes, and rip offs the one thing that each of those films fail to do is give us characters we care about. The first Scream film comes close, besides that the others fail miserably.
What makes this movie the best slasher film however is the iconic slasher himself Michael Myers. There are so many things to love about the legend of Michael Myers. The creepy, white, emotionless mask. The steady, unrelenting way he pursues his victims. The fact we really don’t know what made a young Michael Myers kill his sister that faithful Halloween night. That is where the remake missed the mark in my opinion. I respect Rob Zombie’s film, on a whole it’s a good movie. I just didn’t like how he felt like he had to explain the legend of Michael Myers. It fell flat to me, he made him a cookie cutter, run of the mill serial killer. It’s scarier to not know what made someone act in such a violent, homicidal manner. Having Michael come from an abusive, dysfunctional home and giving Michael the common pre-cursors of what makes one a serial killer just made him ordinary and not an unstoppable force of nature.
Donald Pleasence was masterful as Dr. Loomis. The way he describes a 6 year old Michael Myers really sets up the Myers legend in a succinct, simple way that is far more effective than the remakes explanation.
I could wax poetic about this film for hours. So much to love and not a thing to hate. Last October I had the opportunity to see this film on the big screen for the first time and it was unreal, it was like I was watching it for the first time…I think I know how these people felt.
One can only aspire to make a movie as brilliant as Halloween. Until next time the evil is gone.
Straw Dogs opens tonight nationwide and I am curious to see how it fares in the box office. A lot of hardcore horror fans have shown their general dislike of remakes and vociferously rip them on blogs, entertainment sites, and horror sites. Straw Dogs has had a strong marketing campaign and boasts a pretty strong cast. I will be going to this film as soon as my schedule allows. I have been looking forward to seeing this film even though it is a remake and most remakes pale in comparison to the original. I am a fan of James Marsden but he has big shoes to fill playing the same role as one of the all time greats Dustin Hoffman. The latest rash of remakes and re-imaginings have left a lot to be desired. Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, were huge disappointments. I have heard several people compare Straw Dogs to The Strangers, I truly hope these films are nothing a like because I really did not like The Strangers at all.
It looks as if a lot of theaters have dropped Creature before it could have a second weekend run. In a way I thought Creature may have had a chance to do a little better this weekend because of all the articles that came out after it’s debut blasting it’s horrific box office performance. Sometimes that can help garner enough curiosity and interest in a movie…I think in the end the theaters made the right choice. A lot of people were down on this film to begin with and it’s Rotten Tomato score is 6% so in the end people will stay away from bad film. I went on record stating I had fun with the film it was a welcome distraction from what I am dealing with now.
I am anxious for the upcoming week that’s when I will hear whether or not For Love of Zombies has made it into two of the festivals we entered. Toronto After Dark and The Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival. I am hopeful, I am truly proud of For Love of Zombies. Some of the best times I have spent behind camera was during the filming of FLoZ. A fun and talented cast and crew made it an amazing experience. As soon as I know anything I will be posting here and on our Facebook page. If we do get selected I hope I will be able to attend. It may be hard to leave my mothers side to attend. I pray her health is on the upswing by then.
This past month has been hard…the hardest of my life. A little over a month ago my mom’s health rapidly deteriorated to the point that I had to take her to emergency room due to her trouble breathing. It was then we found out she had a tumor on her lung. After several tests it has been determined she has stage 3 lung cancer, the cancer is also in her chest lymph nodes and the most recent test showed possible cancer in her bones. Since the hospital released her two weeks ago I haven’t left her side and it’s painful to watch her fade away. She can’t do anything for herself, she is for lack of a better term bed ridden. I do all I can to make her comfortable and I try to keep everything positive. To say it’s been hard is an understatement. I have been very fortunate to have help from girlfriend Sarah. She has been there with me since I’ve brought mom home. She’s only left my side to work and to sleep. I always appreciated Sarah before but seeing how she’s been with my mom has made me love her more than I already did. She is truly a gift and I am so lucky to have her in my life.
Spending endless hours with my mom I have had a lot of time alone with my thoughts. She sleeps a lot. So I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and life evaluation…and I have not liked everything I’ve seen. I’ve made a lot of mistakes some very regrettable. I recently had a friend of mine just walk out of my life and I’ve been wondering why. I asked him and he gave me some very general reasons, nothing really specific so I’ve really begun taking a hard look at myself and have realized there are some things that need to change. I could give a blanket apology to all those who have felt wronged by me but that would come off as insincere. I know those I have wronged and I am making it my mission to try and right as many of those wrongs that I can. I’ve been very petty many times in my life. I am by nature an unforgiving person and when I feel like I’ve been wronged I can be very vindictive. Not anymore. I am going to work hard to mend those fences that need mending. Life is too precious and too short to harbor hate and ill will.
I’ve also realized life is too short not to pursue your dreams. I’ve made it abundantly clear in this blog what my dreams are and I am going to pursue them with a vigor and ferocity that won’t allow me to fail.
It’s been a while since I did a blog dedicated to you, my readers. Granted there are only about 7 of you out there and only a few of those email me…but let me say this much…they sure are a vocal few. I will start off with a positive one, well not really positive they actually ask a legit question, the others not so nice. Now I copy and paste the emails, I do not change the authors words, the only editing I do is if they are overly profane since some former students and my daughter read the blog.
Have you ever written a novel?
Well Tanya, the short answer is yes. The long answer is I have but it isn’t very good. I have many projects swimming around in my head and ones that I am actually working on. One I am actively working on is a long fiction version of Tribe of the Dead which I hope is also my next feature film.
So, not so bad. Now the not so nice ones…
I read your blog, listen to your podcasts, and follow you on Twitter and Facebook…whens the payoff? Sorrow Hill sucked. For the love of zombies looks OK but it isn’t released so who knows. You’ve been claiming for nearly a year that is it done. You say you haven’t released it because you are trying to get it into festivals. What festivals? You never really say. Is for the love of zombies such a huge, steaming pile of s**t that you are ashamed of it?
See what I’m talking about. I will try to answer these thought provoking questions in a clear concise manner. When’s the payoff you ask? I wish I knew what you meant. Do you mean a good movie? Some sort of compensation for doing all the things you listed? Not sure what you mean by payoff…if you feel like you’re wasting your time there is an obvious answer…stop wasting your time. For Love of Zombies is completed and has been entered into several festivals. Still waiting to see which, if any we make it into. We entered Toronto After Dark which will announce their slate of films around Sept. 18th. I received an email from them stating they have received over 700 films and they are only taking 40. Odds are against us but I’m still hopeful because I am very proud of FLoZ. I feel it is some of my best work to date. Is it perfect? No…but it is awesome. And you will be able to see for yourself when we have a huge FLoZ premiere/DVD release. And about Sorrow Hill sucking…no comment. I will always be proud of what I accomplished with Sorrow Hill on such a limited budget but in hindsight I shouldn’t have tackled a feature as my first project and I should have had a hell of a lot more practice editing.
Can I get my money back for Sorrow Hill…I’d rather spend the 9.99 on hemmorid creme.
Sorry no refunds…sorry about your hemmorids…whatever they are.
You calim to be an award winning screenwriter but I watched Sorrow Hill and I’m wondenring how that’s possible? Was there only 1 other entry in that contest?
I am an award winning screenwriter. I’m not going to list my accolades but a google search of my name will yield that answer. Sorrow Hill was not an award winning screenplay, for one I never entered it in any contest I wrote it specifically for shooting. Hence the one location…trying to keep costs down. Sorrow Hill was a solid script but at the end of the day proved to be a little too ambitious for a first project.
So there you have it…the best of the emails I received. I receive a lot of emails most of them telling me I suck and that I will never accomplish anything but I took away my mom’s computer so hopefully those emails will stop. I hope I answered the questions to the emailers liking. I tried not to be defensive it’s hard not to be when you are attacked but I realize as a filmmaker when you put your stuff out there people are either going to love you or hate you. People who ate me are just a little more vocal…I think. Now that I think of it I get very little fan mail…hmmm…maybe when FLoZ is finally released as well as Truth or Dare and fates be willing Tribe of the Dead I will get a few more friendly emails. But in the mean time feel free to email me any time you like with questions, hate, or who knows maybe a little love.
I want to start off with a few of the things I did like about the film before I talk about what I didn’t like. I thought the acting was pretty good for a cast of unknowns. The cast was strong and didn’t find any of the sub-par acting that usually riddles a straight to DVD sequel. I like the premise, being stuck on a plane while all hell breaks loose is a frightening thought. Just a claustrophobic, helpless feeling of being trapped. The gore and make-up were done well. The gore wasn’t over the top, it was realistic which is what I like in a serious horror film.
Now on to what I didn’t enjoy. Being a film maker myself I get criticized a lot when I critique a film. I get emails asking me how I can pick apart another film makers work when I haven’t accomplished anything. I always answer when I critique a film I am just relaying what I didn’t like or what I thought didn’t work. I never belittle someones work and I never simply say a film sucks. I try to give an honest assessment because at the end of the day when someone watches my work that is what I want. Now, I did enjoy Quarantine 2, more than the first Quarantine. The films are similar in the aspect that there is a rabies outbreak in fact it happens during the same time frame as the original Quarantine. Both outbreaks are happening on the same night. Quarantine was shot POV documentary style. Quarantine 2 is shot in the straight forward narrative format we are accustomed to. In the end however I found this film to be nothing new. The characters were cookie cutter standard horror fare. Some existing not to further the plot but serve as victim fodder. That always bothers me, there is always time to give a character depth if the writer and director choose to do so. This movie relied on jump scares and never adequately built tension. With such a strong premise I anticipated more action on the plane before they made an emergency landing and brought the action to the terminal. The last thing that I found distracting was when they switched to first person perspective utilizing infra-red military goggles. It was cartoonish and did nothing to build the tension. Unlike REC and REC 2 which used the night vision brilliantly. The ending didn’t do anything for me either. However, I do recommend this film because it is better than most straight to DVD sequels. Perhaps I am being a little harsh because of my love for the REC movies but if you are going to imitate something that great you need to do better.