“VHS Massacre Too” Now on TUBI for free!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is tubi_masterwave_72dpi_2.jpg

For those who have been waiting to see VHS Massacre Too documentary sequel about the last stand of the American Exploitation film, it has just premiered on TUBI and I’m very proud of this. The film performed very well in the festival circuit (Winning 23 awards). Then VHS2 moved onto Blu-ray, premiered on “Troma Now” but TUBI is the first wide release for the film in the streaming space and I could not be happier. Filmmaking is a strange discipline because it take years to plan, shoot, edit and release a feature length film and so the pay-off can often be many years after the film was shot. It takes a very specific kind of nerd that can follow through over years for the hope a larger things on the horizon. It’s always a gamble but I believe it’s worth it in the end. It’s our job as filmmakers to try to be brave enough to make the films and put them out. Thanks for reading and watching!


Horror Film and Screenplay updates.

We’ve had some film festival wins lately. Grand Falls Killings is now a winner of the Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay at Diamond Bell and Best Screenplay at the Tamizhagan Film Festival. This is great news. So far I’ve entered about 18 film festivals and I think I may try to get to 20-30 festival entries total. I tried to look for festivals that are acclaimed but also I looked for smaller contests that I may actually have a shot at competing in. After years of trying to get into the top ten with no success, I got a little frustrated with throwing my money away but this time I did enter a few big ones like Toronto Independent Film Festival, Austin Revolution, Tokyo Horror so on.

In addition Exorcism of Fleete Marish recently won it’s 6th award at the Cine Paris Film Festival for Best Horror Film. I’m starting to get excited for the digital release of the film, May16th through MVD Entertainment! On a personal level I’m trying to stay creative and keep going with my art. These film festivals feel like a way that I can still be part of the film industry while working full-time and having a family. I think at some point I may be able to schedule an interview for my new documentary project. For me it’s just good to have a creative outlet. I’ve been working a new documentary concept called The Myth of the Independent Film exploring the idea of what the public thinks is independently created cinema. Expensive art house movies versus direct-to-video films (the latter in many cases made by regular folks). Thanks for reading, more news to come!

Grand Falls Killings Script wins Jury Prize!

I have a few things going on. I started entering screenplay contests with my new horror, thriller Grand Falls Killings. It picked up a special jury price as the Diamond Bell International Film Festival. This was really wonderful news. I know it can be difficult to win prizes in the screenplay circuit. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer per-say, more of a director/editor. So it was nice to be recognized in this way. I have a few industry folks giving the script a read but I’m planning to publish the script with some images down the road perhaps after the festival run.

In other news the Exorcism of Fleete Marish has a release date of May 16th through MVD Group Entertainment. They just finished tweaking the master for Quality Control so we should be good to go. I am really pleased with the way this film came out so I’m hoping people with really dig it. More news to come and thanks for reading!

“Grand Falls Killings” horror script hits the festivals

The Grand Falls Killings is a thriller, horror screenplay that I am (as of today) entering in the festival circuit. The plot is as follows: After a series of tragedies a man is forced to live in an old food truck. In traveling the countryside to explore the mystery of his birth he is forced down a dark path that leaves him no way out. This is a departure for me because typically if I am writing a script, it’s to actually make the film. With this script for me it made sense to try to shop this around a bit, send some copies to industry folks and enter some contests to see if anything sticks. This would be a larger project. I can’t imagine being able to make this film for under 500K and frankly that’s kind of a bad gamble for an investor unless you had a big star. A pipe dream of mine would be to have Peter Dinklage, Nick Cage or even Macon Blair from Blue Ruin to play the main character of Reggie. In any case, it’s important to dream big and to not let those dreams die. That being said I don’t plan to sit around and do nothing creatively. I’m starting a new documentary entitled The Myth of the Independent Film, which should be very interesting. Those who follow me know I try to be transparent about what festivals and contests I enter. (See below). I’d like to enter at least 50 if I can swing it. It “ups” the odds of winning something. Thanks for reading more news to come!

British Horror Film Festival, Tokyo Horror Film Festival, WideScreen Film & Music Video Festival, Sea of Art, Red Flight Pictures Screenplay Awards, Be Afraid Horror Fest, Diamond Bell Int., Helsinki Awards Film Festival,

“VHS Massacre Too” hits streaming on Troma Now!

Some cool news! My documentary sequel about the last stand of the American exploitation film VHS Massacre Too featuring Joe Bob Briggs, Debbie Rochon, Lloyd Kaufman and James Rolfe is now finally streaming of Troma’s popular service Troma Now! Aside from streaming for a few weeks on Shudder’s Mid May Massacre the films has been only available in film festivals and on Blu-ray so this is a real treat for me. In addition I’ve been kicking around some new ideas for a project and did a quick chat about it on my podcast. More news to come!

Judging the Telly’s, turning a year older and releasing a horror flick!

I was invited back to judge the Telly Awards this year. This is my 5th year doing it and I enjoy it quite a bit. Interestingly enough last year I was able to judge the Webby Awards and it was an honor but I think the Telly Awards is a better fit for me. I turned 46 a few days ago and I’m slowly realizing that in my heart I am a film and television guy and I’d rather judge a film, documentary or news rather than a website campaign or Tiktok promo. I have found that in the Telly Awards, there are far more videos made for local and small markets. So along with PBS and NBC/Universal you’ll see independent production companies submitting commercials or documentaries that they’ve made. So if I’m going to judge a commercial let’s say, it’s far more interesting if it was made for a small market and a specific location.

The flame of the independent filmmaking spirit still burns in my soul. Sometimes it feels like the world has forgotten about the micro-budget feature film in the U.S., drowned out by sponsored social media and streaming conglomerates but still many of us are still going. This year I’m going to explore what makes a film “independent” and try to stay motivated and push forward. Tim Kulig and I are doing one final film festival push for our project Exorcism of Fleete Marish before it’s digital release on May 16th by MVD Group! The way I see it, you have to invent and create things to be excited about. It’s not always very easy but it keeps you looking forward to something. Stay creative and thanks for reading!

“Exorcism of Fleete Marish” to be released by MVD Group!

As the new year begins. It’s time to plan the release of the Exorcism of Fleete Marish, a horror feature that has been touring the festival circuit of the last sixth months or so. The film has picked up five wins and over a dozen official selections. For example wins at Horror Bowl, Swedish Film Awards, Independent Horror Movie Awards, nominations at Horror Island as well. Also Composer/Producer Tim Kulig managed to pick up two wins for the original score.

I had to do some thinking about how to release this film. Should I create physical media, should I self-distribute or find a distributor? In regard to filmmaking, having a distributor is very similar to having a book publisher. Do you need one to have success? No, but for some of us, there is a division between the professional realm and the hobbyist and some of us have fought hard to keep the progress we’ve made in our career. Troma Entertainment has been very important to me over the last decade, I now have three documentaries (VHS Massacre docs) and one TV Show (Monster Kill) distributed through them. Troma is known for low-budget horror and so some people look down upon it.

Some people are just never going to get it but working with Troma for the last decade has been an honor. Hanging out with Lloyd and the Last Drive-in gang has been a lot of fun. In the Independent filmmaking game, pioneers like Roger Corman and Lloyd Corman are really most know for “discovering” talented filmmakers. James Gunn (the new head of DC) and other folks like Matt Stone Tray Parker and Eli Roth all started at Troma. Roger Corman on the other-hand gave people like Jack Nicholson, Ron Howard, Coppola and Scorsese, their first breaks. In the future if I create another documentary or film that’s on brand for Troma I will go with them for sure but MVD Group for Exorcism seem to make sense. Who is MVD Group you ask? They are an independent film/music distributor. I’ve been working with them for about 15 years and they’ve put out several of my titles on digital and physical media as well. The good thing is that they do a revenue split with you so even if you are not making much money, it’s at least transparent. I find them to be very trustworthy and they are one of the largest remaining independent film distributor in the US. There is no firm date for a release but it may be mid-2023. Thanks for reading, more news to come!

“Grand Falls Killings” Script is Finished and submitted for copyright.

Images by Midjourney

So in a strange twist of fate I’ve been under the weather the entire winter break. I had a chance to push through and finish a screenplay entitled Grand Falls Killings. It’s a rough-draft but still, it’s finished and I was able to submit it for copyright. I think the elevator pitch is something like the Station Agent meets, Badlands, perhaps with a dash of Blue Ruin. I don’t want to say too much about the plot. The next step would be to give it to a handful of writer friends for feedback. From there I was going to do a re-write and then create a movie bible with illustrations. I would then in theory send the movie bible to a handful of industry connections I have. To what end, I don’t really know. I guess, just to get it out there. I may enter some screenplay contests.

I can’t imagine being able to produce and direct this myself. I think the movie is slightly too big to do it with no real budget. A $100,000 version I think would be rushed and things are so expensive these days. Also at 45, I’m not sure how I feel about doing the lighting and camera operating. With films I directed like Exorcism of Fleete Marish, we had very long days, sometimes 12 hours. The pressure is intense and you can never spend anytime to tweet the shots. In addition the Grand Falls screenplay is about 93 pages currently. I’ve directed films that length Everything Moves Alone for instance but that film was designed to have long takes and we were in our early twenties with plenty of energy. So it has been a tricky situation for Independent filmmakers.

If you go over 100 grand, let’s say you spend 500K, it will be very difficult to get your money back. Many theaters are not interest in micro-budget films, typically a small distributor will not have a marketing budget for theatrical and the streaming scene is falling apart financially along with the tech industry in general. Perhaps I could sell it? Friends of mine have sold screenplays to major studios but that has taken years . The important thing we can do as artists is to finish work and get it out to the public. The hard lesson I’ve learned over the years is that most art will not resonate but some will and often it’s not what you’d consider your best work. It’s a strange thing we do but for me, if I’m not creating things, life seems very limited and repetitious. Thanks for reading, more news to come! Keep creating!

Approaching rough-draft of script & other updates

So I’m about 84 pages into a new script that I have been working on. It should be about 100 pages upon competition. It’s a thriller of sorts or a dramatic-horror film perhaps. It’s been a lot of fun to work on. I should be able to finish in a few weeks. There was a french Truffaut film I saw many years called 400 blows (1959). It was one of the last films to screen at the Pioneer Theater in the East village when it closed years ago. I used to screen my films at that theater (Everything moves Alone 2002, Land of College Prophets 2005). With 400 Blows you can read into that film what you like but I always thought it was about how it takes 400 bad things to twist a person into something tragic. It’s an idea that I think fits what I’m trying to do with my script though mine is more about the working class in the U.S.

My elevator pitch for the script is that it’s the Station Agent meets Badlands. That’s about all I want to say for now. The truth is I don’t really know what I’m going to do with the script. I’m generating some images to go along with the script on the Mid-Journey A.I. discord site. I think I can create a “Movie Bible”, a PDF with the script and the images. Maybe I can make just a few of them to hand around. In addition I can enter screenwriting contests on filmfreeway.com. I’m not sure I am up to do fundraising or directing this myself. I suppose it might be possible a few years from now if I can apply for sabbatical at my work and try to make the film. Otherwise I wouldn’t mind if it was independently produced without me having to make it myself. Typically I only write a script knowing that I will be making them. So to me this feels like a new step in my career, at least I hope it is.

In other news. I think it’s time to look into a digital release for the Exorcism of Fleete Marish, a horror feature that I completed this year. It’s a “newish” film. It uses new footage, old footage and a new score by Tim Kulig to create a new film. The film did well in the festival circuit. Marish won at the Horror Bowl, Swedish Film Awards and the Independent Horror film Awards as well. In addition it received several other nomination and 12 official selections! So I believe I will be able to release the film with MVD Group and get it on some streaming platforms. In the new year my mission will be to release that film and make plans for my new script. More news to come and thanks for reading.

Working on a New Script with Art Work Included.

(Image generated through Mid-journey A. I.)

Slowly am I am chipping away at a new script. It’s a dramatic thriller and I believe it’s going well. Without going into the plot it will have some dark elements towards the end of the film. In addition to the script I’ve been using this A.I. software to generate some images to go along with the film. The truth is I don’t exactly know what I’m going to do with all of it. At this point directing a narrative film is probably out of the question. It would take an enormous amount of pre-production and production to pull it off. I got burned out on directing narrative features about a decade ago with Mark of the Beast. At the time, it was years of effort and the film didn’t seem to move my career along. There were a few things like getting a two page article in Fangoria Magazine. This was significant at the time because it was one of the more important horror magazines but the film lost money and that’s pretty sad considering it had a budget under $9,000. Years later I would be the show-runner for a streaming series. Monster Kill was created for the Troma Now streaming service in 2016-2017 and featured Margaret Rose Champagne (Amy Schumer Show) and Lloyd Kaufman! It didn’t seem to gain a following and it was an enormous effort to wrangle of the creatives involved to make the series. We raised some money on Indiegogo, about 2-3 grand. You could say it’s a victory to create a 6 episode series for 3K and I do think it is funny and entertaining but it didn’t catch on.

(Image generated through Mid-journey A. I.)

I got to a point where I just didn’t want to spend or raise money like that anymore. My friend Jon and my brother Bruce had raised money for several films over the years. Only a few films broke even, most lost money and as the physical media market shrank it just didn’t make much sense to keep going like that. That is when I started making the VHS Massacre documentaries (Scored and co-produced by Tim Kulig). I talk about these a lot but they were two feature length documentaries about the video store era and how media consolidation has hurt the indie and exploitation film industry. A crowning achievement is the first film is streaming on NBC/Universal’s Peacock TV and the second has won twenty-three film festival awards. Not bad for a $500 budget documentary. After I put the second VHS Massacre out I got burned out on documentary as well. What could I do at this point? I wasn’t sure so I did a re-cut (or reimagining) of a film I still had the raw footage to and then eventually started tinkering with writing.

So back to my script. When I finish the script and images, I think at the least I’ll try to make a movie bible. It would essentially be a glorified PDF, the script on one side and the images on the other. Though I’m not sure what I would do with it. Maybe try to sell the whole package and design. I wouldn’t mind it being produced one day but I’m not sure I want to create the film myself. Typically I write scripts knowing that I will produce and direct them. I’m not sure if I have the ambition for that anymore. There were films like Everything Moves Alone and London Betty. Feature films that I poured my heart into and people barely noticed. That was years ago and people seem to be more cynical than ever about low-budget features. On a separate note I stopped acting about 15 years ago, I just didn’t need the attention or to prove myself like that anymore, then I stopped directing narrative material 5 years ago with the Monster Kill Series on Troma. In a way I think it’s good to try new things and move on to things that have the potential to be exciting. Sometimes that is very difficult to know what that is. I will always be creative, I just need to find new ways to keep things fresh.

(Image generated through Mid-journey A. I.)