VHS Massacre Too & MacLeod Updates

Amazing news! VHS Massacre Too is now an Official Selection at the Chicago Horror Film Festival. Screenings begin September 17th! This official selection really means a lot to me personally. This is a top horror film festival and one of the longest running in the nation. For much of my career I just couldn’t seem to crack top horror film festivals. I’m proud to have made some progress here.

In addition my documentary “MacLeod” is now an official selection of New Haven Documentary Film Festival at Yale University! This year they will add some online screening that starts August 10th! A few years back Ken, Carmine and I got to speak at Yale University in the Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium. We were screening the first VHS Massacre Documentary. In hind site, it was a pretty big deal for all of us and although Carmine is no longer with us, I know that wherever he is now, that he is having a blast!

Yale University, Whitney Humanities Center, NH Docs. VHS Massacre Q &A with Carmine, Tom Ken and Gorman Bechard!

MacLeod and VHS Massacre Too with Q &A Video!

A few things have happened since the last update. My short doc MacLeod picked up awards from the Cannes World Film Festival, WorldFest Houston and the 42nd Annual Telly Awards. MacLeod is also now an official selection of the Jecheon International Music&Film Festival giving us ten official selections and three wins. It’s a good start!

A few Saturday’s back we had a screening of VHS Massacre Too at Film Noir Cinema in Brooklyn. It’s a cool Independent film venue. They were still at half capacity but it was a great turnout! It has a little video store in the front! Video here! Filmmaker Dwayne Steeler also recorded the Q & A here! Befriend him on Instagram! I should having a piece coming up in the next Exploitation Nation and also on Tongal! Stay tunes for more updates on the summer Bluray release of VHS Massacre Too!

MacLeod and VHS Massacre Too updates.

My short documentary MacLeod is now an official selection of the Cannes World Film Festival. The film is about the king of royalty free music Kevin MacLeod. I wasn’t sure how the film would resonate but it seems to be performing well so far in the film festival circuit. It’s also scheduled to played at the oldest documentary film festival in Canada Northwest Fest in early May.

VHS Massacre Too will screen and have a Q&A with Joe Bob Briggs, Debbie Rochon and Lloyd Kaufman at the Shudder Network’s  Mid May Massacre  4pm Eastern on Saturday, May 15. Also VHS Massacre Too will screen at Saturday June 4th at 7pm at the Film Noir Cinema in Brooklyn! This is exciting news! To some degree it shows that VHS Massacre Too is resonating with the horror the convention communities. I’m happy about this. I still remember renting out my first booth at the Fangoria convention over twenty years ago to promote my film Thrill Kill Jack. A terrible film that we made on VHS. There I met Lloyd Kaufman, Clint Howard and John Russo. My parents bought me a book on filmmaking when I was younger, it was John Russo’s Making Movies, so I was exciting to meet him. I was barely out of my teens so I really didn’t know what to say and the meeting didn’t go as well as I had hoped but his book was thorough and I learned a great deal. Night of the Living Dead, Dawn and Day became very important to me as a filmmaker. Coincidentally I would go onto work with Lloyd and Clint literally over a decade later. Also I grew up watching Joe Bob Briggs as well so it was a treat to be able to interview him for my films so many years later.

I don’t know what this all means to me now. I’m happy that anyone is watching my films but I supposed all of my childhood dreams are for the most part gone. After directing eight narrative feature films that really didn’t go anywhere, I really can’t see making another one. VHS Massacre Too is my second feature length documentary and my 10th feature as director. It could be that I make another doc but I don’t really need to right now. I don’t really aspire to be famous either. I think the last few years have been sobering. Family and friends are really what’s important. I have a compulsion to make films and I’m sure that I’ll be working on something in no time but it’s really more of a hobby at this point, I’m just thankful to have Troma to distribute my films. I really like being a part of a company that has started the career so many famous directors! I did my time at the major networks and studios and it’s no fun so I think I’m going to stick with Troma.

Documentary and Podcast Updates!

MacLeod, my latest short doc (about the king of Royalty Free Music Kevin MacLeod) has been getting into some film festivals lately. It will screen as part of the NorthwestFest International Film Festival in early May! Lift-Off Sessions, The Documentary Filmmaker Showcase and Impact DOCS. Next Month I should hear the results from The Webby Awards, World-Fest Houston and the Telly Awards. So April could be a big month potentially.

In regard to my newest feature length VHS Massacre Too (about film censorship and the American exploitation film), it is still technically competing in the film festival circuit. It’s not that I planned to tour the film for over a year, it’s just that because of COVID the festival dates keep getting delayed over and over, some film festivals have adapted, others have chosen to ride it out until things return to normal. The film could end up snagging a few more awards and selections, it has 20 wins so far. My film is one of two films that feature Blockbuster Video in Bend Oregon. The Last Blockbuster is the other film currently out on Netflix and although I haven’t seen it, I’ve been told it’s a cool flick! I do have to admit I’d love to have my film on Netflix but VHS Massacre Too actively calls out Netflix for turning it’s back in actual Independent film. Netflix in fact was built of the backs on low-budget filmmakers as Massacre Too discusses. That being said it’s nice to see that acquired LBB, I believe it was independently produced. We should celebrate when a film like that bucks the odds. So VHS Massacre Too should be out on Bluray in the summer so wish us luck! I’ll be sure to post updates on Twitter for any more virtual screenings that may arise!

We also recently completed our 400 podcast episode! VHS Massacre formerly New York Cine Radio was started in 2011/2012. Through various format changes and shows the podcast has continued to this day! The gang unites to discuss the 2009 vampire Steven Seagal flick Against the Dark! James Richardson, Ken Powell, Tom Seymour and David Leute.

M.F.A in Film Production Completed, now what?

It’s has been a few months since I graduated from Hunter College with my M.F.A in Film Production. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, man I can not believe I finished. It feels very much like finishing directing and releasing a feature-length film. You feel, exhausted and overwhelmed. There are so many little things that needed to be completed that it feels endless. It’s not the length of the film I’ve submitted, it’s the round after round of changes and it’s not the academic paper that went with it, it’s again, the round after round of changes. This is something I have had to do in my professional career but it started to wear on me and it was compounded by the epidemic. It’s like the mental version of overeating. When I look back on it I feel full, like “Yuck, I couldn’t eat another bite.”

I was pretty burned out towards the end. Keep in mind I’ve been in school for seven years, first to turn my A.S. degree in the a B.A. and then to pursue my M.F.A. I’m proud that I did it. As a matter of fact part of me doesn’t even understand how I had the drive to do it. I get nauseous just thinking of it. I think it’s because I didn’t know what was coming next, there was always a surprise, a fire to out and a project that was due. It was a humbling experience for sure. I was working on my tenth feature film during my time at Hunter but no one really seemed to care. I had to do directing exercises and video projects like everyone else. Even though I was a CBS News editor, a Lecturer and had worked on Emmy nominated shows when it came to a broadcast class, I still was treated like everyone else. If I wasn’t raising a child and working full-time during a pandemic I think this degree would have seemed much easier.

Without going too much into detail having an M.F.A. may have very little effect on my job in the Film & TV department at my college (and it deeply saddens me) but I now have the same level of education as my fellow lecturers and professors. Some things are just out of my hands at the moment but I am hopeful that things will change in that regard. In the end I went back to school to prove that I could. As you approach middle-age there seems to be less doors of opportunity open to you, this is not bad necessarily, it makes you choose more carefully which ones to pursue. I had an opportunity to go back to school so I took it and not everyone has that luxury. The M.F.A is a strange degree… graduate art school. I’m lucky to be so indulgent.

My Thesis film entitled MacLeod is completed. It’s about the king of Royalty-free music Kevin MacLeod! I’m competing in about thirty film festivals. I really have to thank my wife Stephanie and also Tim Kulig for producing and believing in the film. I really wasn’t going to push this film but Tim made sure we did a full festival run. Also I have to thank Lloyd Kaufman and Thom Demicco from Troma Entertainment who distributed the film and entered us into a few festivals as well! This was a good feeling, to have people believe in you. Also my tenth feature film VHS Massacre Too winner to twenty film festival awards will be released through Troma hopefully this summer!

For anyone thinking of going back to school I think it could be a good idea if you can find a reasonable priced program. In state public colleges can have relatively affordable film programs for those who want to a former education in film production and hold a degree (Many media jobs are corporate these days and require a B.A.). That average CUNY undergraduate student typically graduates with less than 10K in student debt. I was surprised how much it helped my self esteem. For most of my career I’ve have had what most people would call impressive work experience working in various networks and studios but I never felt up to par with my education. I just needed that box checked to feel more well rounded, not only in my film career but my academic career. Not everyone needs that of course, but I did.

For those who are interested I appeared on the Chris & Chris Podcast to talk about the 2002 Don Coscarelli film Bubba Ho-Tep! Elvis Presley and “JFK” stay in a nursing home where nothing happens…until a wayward Egyptian mummy comes and sucks out the old people’s souls thru their a-holes. The two decide to fight back.

2002 Don Coscarelli film Bubba Ho-Tep! 

MacLeod Doc Finished and VHS Massacre Too updates!

Listen to the latest update on MacLeod on VHS Massacre Radio!

Kevin MacLeod Documentary

So I’ve been working on my M.F.A. for the last years at Hunter College in the Integrated Media Arts program with a documentary film concentration. It’s rigorous program 3-5 year program but I’m in the home stretch. I recently finished my thesis project, a 25 minute documentary about the King of Royalty Free music Kevin MacLeod. Given the circumstances of the world right now I think it came out well. It was able to get John Brennan from Shudder network’s The Last Drive-in to be a part of it as well as co-host Marcus Park from the Last Podcast on the Left. Troma President Lloyd Kaufman is also featured in the project.

Kevin MacLeod the focus of the film has created over 2,000 songs that anyone can use for free in their projects as long as they give him credit or pay a small one-time fee. His songs have been heard hundreds of billions of times but very few people know who he is. I’ve been using his stuff for years and for me it was important to try to bring attention to a person show has helped out a lot of independent filmmakers and content makers over the years.

So I have a few things left to do, pass my thesis defense in which I screen the film and have a discussion with my advisors and present a 20 page paper to go along with the film. I think I can be done with the paper in the next few weeks. So the question then become what to do with a short documentary. Well it just so happens that Troma is the perfect home for the short. They are the longest running independent film studio in the U.S. and it makes sense that they would have an interest in the subject matter. They might end up putting MacLeod on the VHS Massacre Too Blu-ray which is exciting!

So what’s happening with VHS Massacre Too? As of today we are finalists at the Lit International Horror Festival in North Yorkshire United Kingdom! The film has 20 film festival wins, about 27 official selections and about 10 nominations. We’re still waiting to hear from a few more festivals but it’s been an awesome trip so far and who knows what will happen moving forward! Their is no official release date for the Blu-ray yet but the film should come up in the first quarter of 2021.

VIDEO GALAXY.EP20: Chris and Chris discuss Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-g4gfk-f34c8a

This week Chris and Chris talk about the 1984 sci-fi flick The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai! Adventurer, brain surgeon, rock musician Buckaroo Banzai and his crime-fighting team, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop evil alien invaders from the eighth dimension who are planning to conquer Earth.


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VIDEO GALAXY EP19: Chris and Chris talk about the 1985 horror classic Fright Night!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9bjmh-f26b94

This week Chris and Chris talk about the 1985 Tom Holland vampire flick Fright Night! A teenager discovers that the newcomer in his neighborhood is a vampire, so he turns to an actor in a television horror show for help dealing with the undead.


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