When I was a pre-teen, my mother and I looked like we were exactly the same age. Other high schoolers would avoid us in movie theaters, sitting rows away, muttering to their friends that they wanted to watch the movie in peace. Their idea of fun wasn’t witnessing two kids holding hands and making out the entire time, fer christ’s sake! My mom, of course, ate this assumption up. I, quite understandably, was revolted. I would beg her to set the record straight. “Tell them we’re not boyfriend and girlfriend, mom,” I’d whisper as loudly as I could. But she would smile softly to herself and say, “Oh, I couldn’t possibly do that, Brian. It’s really not a big deal. Let them think what they want.”
Years later, this type of closer than close genetics goes the extra (psychotic) mile in Brian Dorton’s truly fun looking horror-thriller Truly, Madly. Here, a widow seems to take an especially violent approach to her child’s burgeoning homosexuality.
With a Blu-ray release scheduled for 2021, all eager fans of LGBTQIA influenced genre films can keep up-to-date with this project’s bloodily familial progress at: https://www.facebook.com/trulymadly2019.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
Angry Mule Productions is back at it again. Thankfully! This groovy group of Chicago based independent filmmakers is revisiting the world of their truly fun independent horror Killer Piñata, a great return to the goofy strain of low budget ‘80s horror, with a follow-up, Killer Piñata 2: More of Them.
Nicely, working that throwback vibe succinctly, Danny Hassel from the A Nightmare on Elm Street series fame will be joining the madness this time around. Even more importantly, the sexuality of Eliza, the film’s original lead, will be more fully explored in this venture. She will even have a kick-ass girlfriend to help her deal with the film’s horrific, candy spewing onslaught.
To get involved and make sure that this inclusive, comedic offering sees the light of day, be sure to visit the Kickstarter campaign at:
The divine Deanna Dunagan may go down in history as having created one of the creepiest and most emotionally present villainesses with her take on Nana in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2015 return to form, The Visit. But, she has also given the horror universe another powerful female player with her recent appearance on the third season of FX’s The Strain. Here, playing Ancharia, a powerful medieval tutor and savior to (series regular) Quinlan, Dunagan provided the episode with its heartfelt core and made us long to see more of her in this masterfully created universe.
Now, Dunagan promises to provide even more strength of will in her recurring role as Mother Bernadette on Fox’s The Exorcist. This reimagining of the classic film and William Peter Blatty novel stars Academy Award winning actress Geena Davis and makes its debut on Friday, September 23rd, 2016. Dunagan’s first appearance will be on the 4th episode with more “visits” to follow in forthcoming installments.
While many terror fans have been focusing on the forest dwelling scares of Blair Witchof late, true connoisseurs of cheesy ‘80s grue have been, eagerly, keeping their eyes on Stay Out of the Woods, the indie horror sequel to the cult classic slasher, Don’t Go in the Woods…Alone.
Working closely with James Bryan, the director of the original, writer-director Henry Frias Leon promises lots of zaniness and gore in this what if/parody.
If only…I had known about that paternal lycanthrope curse. Those full moons in my thirties might have been a lot easier.
Likewise, writer-director-editor Zach Lorkiewicz explores some mysterious traits and hidden personalities, but within high school culture, with his latest, colorful short I Love Lucy. Here, beautiful Lucy (an ethereal Danielle Lauder) is nervously looking forward to her prom date, and all that may follow, with the cherub cute Rex (a spot-on, charming Jacob Kogan). Encouraged by her friends and a couple of ominously over interested school officials, Lucy’s preparations for her special night may be bit more bloody and freakishly revealing than anyone could possibly anticipate, though.
Combining the sunny world of teen comedies with science fiction and horror overtones, Lorkiewicz creates a fuzzily unique universe here. Aided immeasurably by Tracy Rosenblum’s special effects work and the sonic backgrounds created by Alison Ho and Catherine Yang, I Love Lucy is truly an intriguing and artistically superior work. Its ending may be open to interpretation, but anyone who has experienced the cold hard truth that everyone around them is virtually unknowable with find much to chew over here.
You can watch the short, in full, at:
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
Forgetting who you are sounds like a good idea when its time to pay that latest cable bill or when your sister catches you sleeping with her favorite Vampirella Doll.
But losing yourself can have dangerously delightful implications. Director Chloe Finch seems poised to take on all of those with her upcoming film The Diary of Jane Doe. Featuring a talented and attractive cast, this is one independent horror feature that you’ll definitely want to keep your eye on.
I’ve forgotten the name of an undead trick or two after an adventurous night on the town. Unlucky Peyton, the title character in Spencer Parson’s incisively graphic short film Bite Radius, one up’s me, though. His evening debauchery results in a dead body in the bathtub.
Thankfully (or not), Peyton’s friend Nicole has a twisted idea of how to deal with Kelsey, the unfortunate lass who breathed her last behind the shower curtains of her career girl apartment. This involves a machete, a hand saw, fire and lots and lots of blood flying around. Naturally, this all ends a bit badly for everyone involved.
Here director Parsons, best known for 2013’s truly enjoyable (and highly recommended) Saturday Morning Mystery (AKA Saturday Morning Massacre) completely catches how this Age of Kardashian effects certain twenty-something’s with either Peyton’s numbed self indulgence or Nicole’s media thrill seeking. It is fine work that shows he is capable of many colors as a director not just the fun throwback vibe of SMM.
He is complemented, fully, by his go for broke cast. One of Chicago’s most inventive and enthusiastic stage performers, Trevor Dawkins brings a charming otherness that draws audiences to Peyton despite his misdeeds. Sophie Traub, meanwhile, supplies an infectious energy that tempers Nicole’s ingratiating madness with a childlike mystique.
Nicely, in a genre that exploits the female form above all else, almost the entire cast here, with Dawkins and Traub leading the charge, revels in the naked abandon of their aggressively careless characters, bringing this piece a gritty reality and honest equilibrium all at once.
Bite Radius is showing this weekend at the Maryland Film Fest
Are you having an Up All Night with Rhonda Shear flashback? Well, you should be! One of the famed and original queens of scream, the eternally divine Deborah Dutch (Sorority Girls and the Creature from Hell, Hard to Die, Vice Academy series), has been working on her dream project The Hollywood Warrioress (with a variety of behind-the-scenes contributors) for over the past year.
While the film, a combination of super heroine vengeance, horror and action, has shot most of its footage in (and around) LA, the East Coast and Midwest have, also, been used as locations. In fact, one very chilly March day in 2014, I gathered with Chicago director and terror entrepreneur Chad Hawks to shoot a newsroom sequence for the film.
Was I excited? Sure! But, in a special case of behind-the-scenes madness, I almost didn’t make it to the studio where we shot. Like most creative types, I have a primary job that serves as my (ahem!) financial oasis. So, while I was finishing up my shift for the day, Chad set up the space. Needless to say, after I left work, I was totally unable to find a cab to get me to the location. As I set about to call one, my phone, naturally, died due to the (suddenly excessive) Midwest wind chill. Frantic, I ran back to my place of employment, plugged the phone in and tried to summon a cab from there. I couldn’t get through to a single cab company! I got in contact with Chad and we, quickly, decided that I’d take a nearby bus to a certain street where he would pick me up. He urged me to keep my phone on, as well, just in case he decided to come fetch me in route. It turns out we only had the filming space for a certain amount of time.
I schlepped onto the bus with my backpack and (by now drooping) garment bag…where my phone promptly died again. Defeated, I turned it off, completely. Then, after, excitedly, getting off at the wrong stop and promptly hopping back onto the bus again, I flicked on my phone and discovered it had powered up again. At that very second, it rang. It was Chad. He was in his car, directly behind us. Flustered and unkempt, I hopped off that dusty yellow chariot at the next stop and got into Chad’s black sedan. After offering profuse apologies, we rushed onward.
At the spot, I discovered, once again, what a consummate professional and total trouper Chad is. Not only was the green screen we were going to film against ready to go, but he also had to help me make costume choices and style my recently cut hair into something I was (at least vaguely) happy with. He then allowed me to pound through the very florid, very fun dialogue a couple of times as a warm-up and then we set to filming. We worked through the material in a variety of tempos and Chad added a few, interesting visual flourishes. After checking to make sure the different takes all had sound, we then broke the set down and headed out for a much needed dinner celebration.
Now, would I have liked it much better, on the day itself, if everything had gone a bit more smoothly? Sure. But, as a writer type, I sure do love having a good story to tell and, with a year’s distance, I now can say I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
You can get a sneak peek at some of our efforts at:
Reminiscent of such slow burning 70s pictures as John Hancock’s dreamy Let’s Scare Jessica to Death and (even) the Shirley MacLaine supernatural opus The Possession of Joel Delaney, writer-director Tonjia Atomic’s (55 minute) Claudia Qui is an intriguing, music laden adventure.
After discovering an ancient photo among her personal work files, photographer Claudia (a fine Barbara Burgio) soon begins to exhibit weird behavior. These occurrences are mild, at first, but soon begin to take over her life. As her concerned boyfriend (a very natural Don Ayers) fights to hold onto her, Claudia seems ready to dive, completely, into the characteristics of the mysterious persona that has been haunting her.
Filled with Josh Phenicie’s simple yet beautiful cinematography and some fine editing (including Derrick Carey’s opening and closing title sequences), Atomic allows us to amble through Claudia’s dreams (done with nice black and white photography) and somnambulant waking states. This, ultimately, creates an ending that surprises and compels viewers.
Imbued with an intimate knowledge of the arts scene and a meticulous background score of fine tunes, Claudia Qui is not a film for those who enthuse for the quick kill, but for those who like to dive into the psychological crevices of the very impressionable mind.