August 28, 2011

"THE DEAD HOUR" SECOND SEASON Announcement




The legendary web series "THE DEAD HOUR" Second Second now in production.  It will be premiering soon.  Amazing webseries.  If you haven't checked out the first season then you don't know what horror really is...  


"The Dead Hour" is an indie horror anthology series filmed in Omaha, Nebraska. The show centers around a mysterious and sexy radio DJ who brings her audience dark and twisted tales each night. The first season launched last fall and webisodes can be seen exclusively at www.thedeadhour.com. Season 2 is currently in production and will feature nine new episodes that will premiere this October also exclusively on the site.

More news, updates and behind the scenes features can be found on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/magnumpictures.

Daniel Iske
Director/Executive Producer
The Dead Hour

FINAL DESTINATION 5 - REVIEW


FINAL DESTINATION 5 in 3D  Starring Tony Todd, Emma Bell, Nicholas D'Agosto

A young man named Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto) has a premonition that he and his co-workers will die in  a suspension collapsing bridge on their way to a trip - in the premonition Sam sees the most disturbed, horrific deaths ready to happen.  Sam wakes up from his premonition and alerts the bus driver about the collapsing bridge ahead.  Before you know it, Sam and eight of his co-workers escape the invisible death.
The film turns into a slice, dice, splatter, chop, ooze, grisly, blood and gore fiasco of fun and death.  And the gimmick here is 3D where you get to enjoy all the grisly deaths right in your face.  Sam and his co-workers start to run away from death in the most satirical way.  Tony Todd makes a special appearance delivering his deathly one liners.  The film goes more in-depth into each of the characters unlike the last three Final Destination films in which you don't care about the characters, you are just dying to see how they going to die - but in this installment we are more installed into the characters lives.  Final Destination 5 most classic sequence is the collapsing suspension bridge - a must see.

By the end of the film we really don't care who survives or not, we are just having a good ole time watching a blood and gore ride in 3D.  We all know there is going to be a part 6 around the corner.  The Final Destination franchise is twenty times better than the SAW and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise.

THREE STARS - A Hellish Joy Ride of blood and gore...

August 14, 2011

TICKED OFF TRANNIES WITH KNIVES - Review

Is been three months since I wrote a review or did an interview here at eyepus.  Sorry folks for being a ghost for three months.  My sincere apologies.  This month I will begin with a dvd film review of TICKED-OFF TRANNIES WITH KNIVES.

TICKED-OFF TRANNIES WITH KNIVES  Starring Krystal Summers, Kelexis Davenport, William Belli, Jenna Skyy, Tom Zembrod, Erica Andrews.  Written and Directed by Israel Luna.

What started as good ole campy dialogue between transgendered girls (looking a bit like drag queens) in a dressing room ready to perform at a cabaret show and thirty minutes of thrilling, edge on your seat little scary action turns into dumb camp, trashy, stupidity spoof, tired mess.

The storyline: In short summary - Two transgirls (I hate using the word trannies) take a ride out of town to meet some guys for some little action.  The guys turn out to be transphobic, bully-killer motherfuckers, especially the leader named Boner (Tom Zembrod, giving some fine chilling performance).  The girls get trapped inside some warehouse in the middle of nowhere, where they get served brutally by the guys.  The survivors of the brutal attack start to seek vengeance in a smart, but yet stupid way.


Some fine performances from the cast and good direction.  Great costumes and wardrobe designs.  The storyline was a perfect concept "Transgirls VS Transphobic Men Revenge", but Mr. Luna decided to make it into a spoof.  If this film was not a spoof and more of a serious film, it could've been an instant cult classic along with Lloyd Kaufman "Mother's Day", "Ms. 45" and "I Spit On Your Grave".

Was it necessary for this film shot in video to have that grindhouse look? The grindhouse effect style for this film: splices, derailed sounds, bad in purposely jump cuts, etc., - TIRED.  There was no need for it.  Low-budget Filmmakers nowadays are using the whole grindhouse gimmick effect to cover up their film flubs, bad lighting, bad cinematography mistakes.  If the film had more splatter and gore fiasco it could've been delivered as a homage to the video nasties of the 80's but not the grindhouse look.

Filmmaker Israel Luna aint no John Waters, Tarantino, or Rodriguez.  But I must say Mr. Luna delivered a great concept for what could've been a great serious film, but he took his concept into a shady film spoof mock and made court jesters of the transgender girls for the heterosexual community across the nation, who still believe in their own little minds that the transgender community is a freak show.  Israel Luna redo this film again with a real serious tone.

ONE STAR FOR THIS MISERABLE, TRANSGENDERPHOBIC FILM.

May 15, 2011

IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH FILMMAKER M. ASLI DUKAN


I Want to give a million thanks to Filmmaker M. ASLI DUKAN for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview for us.  Asli Dukan is a Director, Producer and Editor,, she has shot and directed some wonderful and amazing short sci-fi films such as ORISHAS, 73, M.O.M.M., the upcoming 2012 documentary INVISIBLE UNIVERSE - a documentary on the history of blackness in sci-fi and horror books and films. And busy in pre-production on her horror, eerie anthology film SKIN FOLK.





EYEPUS: CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF? 

ASLI DUKAN: My name is M. Asli Dukan. I am a producer, director and editor currently residing in New York City where I have lived since 1998. I am originally from Newark, New Jersey but have lived in most of the cities in the northeast parts of New Jersey (part of the tri-state area) - Newark, Irvington, East Orange, Jersey City, etc. My family is actually from New York, so its like I came home really. 

EYEPUS: HOW DID YOUR PASSION FOR HORROR/SCI-FI FILMS GOT STARTED?

ASLI DUKAN: In hindsight, I believe my passion was evident to me and my family by the time I was seven years old. My aunt was taking my cousin and me to see a movie in New York City and she gave me the choice of film. Amongst the movies to pick from were, Superman II (Richard Lester, 1980) and The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980). I chose TESB because I hadn't seen Star Wars yet (or at least I don't think I did - I have to ask my mother) and I was really pschyed at that young age to get into the whole space fantasy thing. It seemed to me very chaotic and very heroic at the same time with the creatures and the space ships and the light sabers and the mystical FORCE… I really wanted to be a part of the world the characters were living in, even at seven years old, I wanted to be a part of that whole fantastical experience. Then, a few years later I saw Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979) on VHS tape and I knew I was right about my preferences. I dreamed about Alien every night probably for the next ten years, up into college before I officially started making films in a film program with film cameras. Alien for me was the epitome of everything that I loved - a ship in deep space, merciless combatants with their own philosophy on life, an unassuming hero forced into the role, a woman as the hero, a bomb, an escape, using your brain and brawn to get out of a jam…

EYEPUS: DID YOU GO TO FILM SCHOOL OR WAS IT SELF TAUGHT FILMMAKING?

ASLI DUKAN: Yes, I went to two film schools actually. Undergrad and grad school. I guess you can say I kind of had my heart set on what I wanted to do. I began undergrad in Jersey on 16 mm film cameras like the Bolex H-16, CP-16, Arri S and BL, the Eclair NPR, the Aaton LTR and later the Arris SRII. I learned to edit on film on Steenbeck flatbeds and mixed down my film audio on Multi-Track Magnetics mixers, the whole complicated bit. There was also a video class or two to take at the time, one was a requirement, but we were still in the age of film is greater than video - real filmmakers don't shoot on video, so I took the one required class and went back to shooting and editing on film. By the time I got to grad school, though, there was no film editing on flatbeds, only Avid on desktops so I my philosophy changed and eventually expanded to shooting on video, all as a matter of fact. However, I must add even with two film degrees, there was quite a bit of self-learning because my education came during the transition from analog to digital technologies. I have spent many a night reading about digital formats, resolutions, compression rates, color spaces, bit rates, etc…

EYEPUS:  WHICH HORROR/GORE FILMS INSPIRED YOU TO MAKE FILMS?

ASLI DUKAN: As I mentioned Alien was the epitome of great filmmaking to me from an early age. There are other films that have inspired me though, Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978), The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980), Dawn of the Dead (1978), The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973), Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977) - as I look at this list I am making from off the top of my head, it's evident they are all from a certain period in film history, essentially the 1970's. There is something that just feels cinematic about the films that came out of this period for me - the storytelling, the performances by the actors, even the grain and the contrast of the film stock makes sense to me. Of course it could also be that I was of a very influential age when I saw these films too. Who knows. Also I just noticed I don't really discriminate between the types of themes within the genre - I like zombie films, possession films, witchcraft films, psycho-slasher films, etc. There is another film that really inspired me when I was young, a vampire film called Ganja & Hess (Bill Gunn, 1973). It's a genre film that attempts and in my opinion succeeds at postulating an alternative origin for vampirism, in this case via a fictional African culture called Myrthia. The film's director also attempted to direct a film that just didn't delve into addiction as a matter of blood lust, but also the addictions that affect humans on a daily basis, addictions to certain social classes and material possessions, addictions to religious beliefs, addictions to sex, etc. It is really a beautiful film, unfortunately battered and bruised by various producers and distributors over the years - after a standing ovation at it's debut at the Cannes Film Festival on France - it fell into obscurity. Fortunately, a "director's cut" came out in 2007 and it is purportedly the closest to the director's vision that has been seen thus far, but even in its most wrecked state - one can still get a sense of originality and poeticism from it. On another note, the lead characters are played by Marlene Clark (Putney Swope, 1969; Beware! The Blob, 1972; The Beast Must Die, 1974) and Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead, 1968; Beat Street, 1984; Vampires, 1986). The film really is legendary.

Dario Argento is another filmmaker I admire, because of his commitment to the mythology and art of horror. His Three Mothers trilogy, Suspiria, 1977; Inferno, 1980 and his later Mother of Tears, 2007, was a great example of an artists research into history, religion, the occult and other arts over a thirty year period to get to a point where he could tell a sort of thematically unified storyline about three Witch Sisters, and although each film was different from each other, I really did appreciate that intellectual approach to the films. Argento's influence on the Giallo genre (crime mysteries with a mixture of horror and psychological twists) is legendary. Indeed he, along with Mario Bava and Umberto Lenzi were some of the earliest practitioners in the sub-genre. His influence was masterly felt in his first feature, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, 1970 which had a great twist at the end. Lastly, Argento's use of color and music is highly effective and really helps to overpower the audience, especially in places where his films are weaker, like in the scripts and the acting. 

I also appreciate filmmakers like Richard Stanley (Hardware, 1990 and Dust Devil, 1992) whose resume is not extensive but whose vision is original and Guillermo Del Toro (The Devil's Backbone, 2001 and Pan's Labyrinth, 2006) who is the current master of fantastical, horrific worlds. And how can I leave without saying a few words about producer, Val Lewton, who during the 1940's produced some of the most influential and iconic horror films of all time for RKO. Cat People, 1942, I Walked With A Zombie, 1943 and Bedlam, 1946 are shining examples of how to set up stories, characters and locales to tell effective stories of psychological terror on low budgets. 



EYEPUS: WHAT WAS YOUR LAST HORROR/GORE FILM YOU SAW?

ASLI DUKAN: INSIDIOUS by James Wan, 2010. It kind felt like Paranormal Activity 2, but all in all I liked it, especially its switching paces three times. The last part was my favorite because it was like watching Poltergeist but from Carol-Ann's point of view. 

EYEPUS: ANY FAVORITE HORROR AND SCI-FI WRITERS YOU ADMIRED?

ASLI DUKAN: Current list. It could change tomorrow. Octavia E. Butler (Wildseed, Mind of My Mind, Clay's Ark, Fledgling), Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring, Skin Folk anthology), Kim Stanley Robinson (The Mars Trilogy), Anne Rice (The Vampire novels - mostly when I was younger) and Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash).

EYEPUS: CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTION COMPANY MIZANMEDIA?

ASLI DUKAN: I founded Mizan Media Productions (MMP) in 2000 with three other people to specifically make speculative fiction films (horror, fantasy, science fiction). Along the way the staff has been reduced to me and a bunch of freelancers and we also produce music videos, promos, documentaries and performances for artists, bands and organizations.





EYEPUS: YOU RECENTLY SHOT A SHORT FILM TITLED M.O.M.M. CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THIS FILM?


ASLI DUKAN: M.O.M.M. is a short SF film influenced and based on the the first scene from the book Mind of My Mind by Octavia E. Butler. Initiated as an homage to the late writer - who died in 2006, it's kind of a re-telling of the scene from the point of view of a character who was very minor to the story but very important to the plot of the book.


EYEPUS: WHAT WAS THE BUDGET FOR M.O.M.M.?

ASLI DUKAN: The actual money I had to put up for the film was probably one thousand dollars, because I have a lot of resources like equipment and favors I could pull in from crew and actors to get it done. 


EYEPUS: WHICH CAMERAS DID YOU USED FOR M.O.M.M.?

ASLI DUKAN: We used the Panasonic HV-200 with the Letus 35mm adapter. 

EYEPUS: HOW MANY DAYS DID IT TAKE TO MAKE M.O.M.M.?

ASLI DUKAN: We shot a total of two days. One for the original shoot and a second day for re-shoots and pick ups. 

EYEPUS:  ANY HARDSHIPS IN THE MAKING OF M.O.M.M.?

ASLI DUKAN: There's always some hardships. I could have originally used two days for shooting, then maybe I wouldn't have had to come back for missed shots, for example and would have a more consistent look throughout. We shot the re-shoots/pick ups maybe 3 months after the original shoot in the same interior location, but by this time the sunlight and its color were different, so there was alot of color correction that had to be done to match the looks in the film. Also post-production took longer than I expected because of technical problems for people who were working with me on VFX and sound design. But these kind of delays are always the case in making low budget, independent films, and you really have to prepare for them, have back up plans, and back up plans for your back ups and forge ahead and get it done.  

EYEPUS:  YOU ARE ABOUT TO MAKE A BIG INDIE HORROR FILM ANTHOLOGY TITLED SKIN FOLK, WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR THIS HORROR ANTHOLOGY CAME FROM?

ASLI DUKAN: Skin Folk is based on three different short stories from an anthology horror book by Nalo Hopkinson. I really love her work, especially this collection of mostly, short sci-fi and horror stories based on Afro-Caribbean mythology. I picked three stories - one about soucouyants (vampires), another on gangers (ghosts) and another on zombies. I've re-written the stories to take place in a post-Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans. I liked the stories because I thought they would be familiar to popular horror audiences but were different enough to bring some originality to the table. 

EYEPUS:  WHEN DO YOU THINK PRODUCTION WILL BEGIN FOR SKIN FOLK?

ASLI DUKAN: I am planning on beginning production at the end of 2011, but it is totally dependent on raising the budget for the film. 

EYEPUS: ANY STRUGGLES SO FAR IN THE FUNDRAISING AND PRE-PRODUCTION OF SKIN FOLK?

ASLI DUKAN: I've decided to try the crowd-sourcing approach to get initial monies to get into pre-production. It has been hit or miss so far. It's like we (me and another director) are new filmmakers on the feature length film block trying to grow an audience and raise money from them at the same time. And there are hundreds of other projects doing the same thing. So I am constantly on the look out for press to promote our project to more and more people and to convince them that our project is exciting and new and fresh and worth investing into. Fundraising is whole other world, whether for filmmakers or for other types of businesses. For me, it is very hard to wear so many hats at the beginning (creative producer/fundraising producer), so I have also been on the look out for other producers to bring on-board with this project. I have found some help in the form of a consulting producer, but what really need is a full time, Producer, with a capital P. 



EYEPUS: ARE YOU PRODUCING SKIN FOLK BY YOURSELF?

ASLI DUKAN: So far, yes, but hopefully not for long.

EYEPUS: IS SKIN FOLK GOING TO BE A BLOOD AND GORE FEST?

ASLI DUKAN: Skin Folk will have some blood and guts but actually has more psychological horror in it. For example, one of the stories is a zombie story and actually a throwback to the original zombie movies like White Zombie, 1932 and the aforementioned, I Walked With a Zombie, 1943, but with a twist, because we experience the zombiism from the zombie's point of view. 

EYEPUS:  WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON HORROR REMAKES/DO YOU BELIEVE GREAT HORROR/SCI-FI FILMS SHOULD BE REDONE?

ASLI DUKAN:  I am categorically against re-makes because some of the my favorite films have been re-made and are the worst pieces waste ever produced by human beings. (Psycho 1998; Godzilla, 1998; Planet of the Apes, 2001; Body Snatchers, 1993; Invasion, 2007; The Omega Man, 1971; and I Am Legend, 2007).

EYEPUS: AFTER SKIN FOLK - ANY OTHER PROJECTS IN THE HORIZON?

ASLI DUKAN: I have many ideas and several scripts waiting for more attention - a vampire film, a futuristic dystopian drama/actioner, an urban ghost story, an urban zombie story, an animated alien space opera, etc. 

EYEPUS:  ANY INSPIRING WORDS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER ASPIRING FILMMAKERS OUT THERE WHO ARE WORKING IN MICROSCOPIC BUDGETS?

ASLI DUKAN: Study the craft and business of filmmaking; read the biographies/autobiographies of other filmmakers (and other artists), read fiction - alot of it, watch alot of movies (all genres), seek out other art forms (painting, sculpture, dance, opera, theatre, costume, make up, etc.), listen to different types of music, talk to different people and most importantly, daydream, plan and never be afraid to ask for help (but be ready to give up something in return that you can live with) and still get the film done.  

PLEASE VISIT M. ASLI DUKAN WEBSITES



May 8, 2011

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY FROM EYEPUS


HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY FROM EYEPUS

April 25, 2011

THE SWEET HAND OF THE WHITE ROSE - SHORT FILM REVIEW


The Sweet Hand of the White Rose begins with looooong credits, looooong takes of a lounge, its patrons and finally we are introduce to Mark (Carlos Bahos). Mark is having some issues with his girlfriend (Leocricia Saban).  Mark is on the road, his cell phone rings, he picks it up, and suddenly he skids off the road - ends up SLAMMED... Seconds before, a young, innocent little girl (Natasha Machuca) leaves the park, on her bike, with a sweet smile, she rides her bike up the road... From here on the film begins with some religious, heavenly, inter-faith sweet but eerie story... Is Mark dead? 
                                         
Filmmaker David Melide (The Puzzle) short film The Sweet Hand of the White Rose is an interesting short film just for its amazing cinematography. The story begins and it goes nowhere.  The distracting voice overs were annoying as hell, it took me away from the little bit of suspense I was feeling for the film.  When Mark's voice over begins while he is driving – I’m here sitting down watching this thinking is this a 'black comedy'. The cinematography full of great shots, but too many long scene takes dragged the film a bit. For example the film begins with a singer singing, camera is focus on her for a good minute or two, later after two minutes is when the camera POV on Mark.  This is not a feature film where we can have all those long takes (Legendary filmmaker Michael Haneke could get away with this) but not in short films - short films is about lets get to point and the story - no need for long credits (this is not a Michael Bay production with long credits) and no long takes. 
                                       
THE SWEET HAND OF THE WHITE ROSE gets TWO STARS out of FOUR STARS.

April 22, 2011

ASLI DUKAN FILMMAKER - FUNDRASING FOR UPCOMING HORROR FILM


SKIN FOLK: The skin hides the horrors inside us all…

In the tradition of anthology horror films like Twilight Zone: The Movie, Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside and Tales from the Hood come three tales that will have you crawling in your own skin!

"Years after Hurricane Katrina brought death and destruction to New Orleans, a similar but angrier storm, unleashes a “revengeful spirit”, a woman abused and discarded to the bottom of the sea eons earlier. She emerges from the murky waters of the Gulf Coast, soaking in a ruined dress and veil of seaweed. Her eyes are dark and cavernous. Her mouth shaped in the form of an eternal soundless scream. She passes through the streets of New Orleans, unseen by most, to bring us three cautionary tales of those who tread the waters of the wicked. These are their stories…"
Each story in the Skin Folk anthology will be directed by a different director and will tell three tales - the first of wanton pride, the second of stifled love and the last of obsessive greed.

I am reaching out to let you know about our new film, Skin Folk. Currently, in development, it is a feature length, anthology horror film based on the stories of the award winning writer, Nalo Hopkinson. We are fundraising through our fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas and the crowdsourcing website, IndieGoGo to raise development funds to move into pre-production and eventually production. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our project by clicking the link below! You can receive limited edition Skin Folk posters, tee-shirts and DVDs in exchange for your donation! If you can not make a financial donation, please help us spread the word about this project by forwarding this email!

From the producer, M. Asli Dukan:
"You may ask yourself why I am interested in telling stories through the genres of "Speculative Fiction/SF"? My answer? Because the genres of SF (fantasy, horror, science fiction, etc.) gives the creator an opportunity to tell fantastic/larger than life stories about real issues. For example, horror films often speak to the fear of human mortality/death, the fear of the unknown via the revealing of hidden pasts and identities. In the case of Skin Folk, we are exploring the idea of hiding who you really are behind who you pose to be. It is not out to have the highest body count or the most gore, but to touch you at the core of your psychological foundation and you will find that it has, like in some of the best horror films, a morality tale clinging to each story."

For more information or to become a supporter of our project, please click the links below:


                          M. Asli Dukan, Producer/Writer/Director
                                 SKIN FOLK - the feature film


April 20, 2011

SCREAM 4 - REVIEW


 STARRING NEVE CAMPBELL COURTNEY COX DAVID ARQUETTE EMMA ROBERTS RORY CAULKIN, HAYDEN PANETTIERE

KILLER FEMMES ON THE LOOSE ANYONE? The film within the film beginning of SCREAM 4 - give us a bit of a hint who is the new serial killer Ghostface at Woodsboro hood.  I also mentioned or should I say predicted on February 4 here at Eyepus who was one of the serial killers (spoiler alert ahead) none other than Rory Caulkin.  The other killer I wont tell you who it is...

Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is back at her old hometown Woodsboro to promote her self-help book Out of the Darkness.  And before you know it bodies start piling up nearby and she is a suspect.  And everybody else is a suspect.  Sydney stays over at her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonald) and Cousin Jill (Emma Roberts).  Everybody gets turned out by the serial killer Ghostface.  No one is safe.  The cat and mouse chase begins trying to figure out who is behind the Ghostface costume.  Dewey (David Arquette) now as the new Sheriff in town and Gale Wethers (Courtney Cox) now both married are in hand to capture the new face behind the Ghostface costume.  The film becomes a turn of twists and turns, bloody as hell, new creative stabbing ways, dark neighborhoods, cops getting stabbed in the head on the sidewalk, teens gutted, and a fast Ghostface always on the go.  
For a Fourth Installment SCREAM 4 delivered a cute, scary fun ride.  But honestly, no more sequels for this franchise. Enough is enough. How many times are we going to see Sydney Prescott get shot, stabbed, sliced, beat, gouged, dragged, served, chopped and still live through all the madness? Enough. She is not ASH from the EVIL DEAD series...  Rumors has it there maybe another installment in the works - Hell No!.  Maybe in the next SCREAM installment Sydney Prescott is all TERMINATOR Type, all pumped, diesel, leather jacket with chainsaw and shotgun in hand ready to get the next Ghostface.

I must say this was a good comeback for the legendary Wes Craven after his last horrible, tacky, trash film MY SOUL TO TAKE.  Craven really mastermind a wonderful and colorful direction with this installment.  Kevin Williamson delivered some good sequences and liners in the script... The film made close to 19 million over the weekend at the box office - the lowest from all the SCREAM films.  Lets just pray no more SCREAM installments.  Let this legendary franchise go to sleep in classic mode.  No more remakes and no more sequels.   

I give SCREAM 4 - THREE STARS - a good little fun ride. 

March 18, 2011

Filmmaker M Azli Dukan Upcoming Horror Film SKIN FOLK Teaser Trailer



This is the teaser trailer upcoming horror film SKIN FOLK from filmmaker M Azli Dukan - a feature length anthology horror film based on the work of award winning writer, Nalo Hopkinson.

March 1, 2011

INTERVIEW WITH FILMMAKER DANIEL ISKE

EYEPUS is proud to interview Filmmaker DANIEL ISKE the creator of the classic, spine tingling horror webseries THE DEAD HOUR and THE WRETCHED.  I just saw the last webisode CANNIBAL GIRLS from the webseries THE DEAD HOUR and it just left me jaw opened with great storyline, cinematography, great acting, and just overall greatness - THE DEAD HOUR is a classic must see.  I will be reviewing THE DEAD HOUR in the next blog.  So lets begin our talk with filmmaker Daniel Iske.


EYEPUS: CAN YOU TELL US A SMALL BIO ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WORKS?

DANIEL ISKE:  I started making low budget indie films right out of high school and have racked up a handful of feature films over the last twelve years.

EYEPUS: HOW DID YOU GOT INTO FILMMAKING?

DANIEL ISKE:  I was just kind of drawn to it. My grandfather had a clunky VHS camera back in the late 80s and ended up giving it to me when I was able to handle it. I grew up in the country so there wasn't much to do, so my brother and I just started making little films for fun. Usually just goofy stuff, or action films.

EYEPUS:  DID YOU ATTENDED FILM SCHOOL?

DANIEL ISKE:  Yes. I earned a degree in Film from the University of Nebraska. I was one of the first students to go through their program. We were editing in storage closets back then and fighting over little equipment they had. Now the program is booming and they have received a bunch of grants and have all sorts of fun toys. I'm jealous.

EYEPUS: HOW DID YOUR PRODUCTION COMPANY MAGNUM PICTURES EVOLVED?

DANIEL ISKE:  When I graduated college in 2004, I took out a loan and bought a camera and some equipment and started to freelance video production. I started to get more clients and started my own business in Omaha doing corporate video, fundraising videos for charities, weddings and local commercials. Once I was able to pay the bills, I could turn my attention to my creative work. But I wanted to keep that separate so I created Magnum Motion Pictures.

EYEPUS:  WILL YOU EVER TURN ANY OF THE DEAD HOUR WEB EPISODES INTO A FEATURE LENGTH FILM?

DANIEL ISKE:  Yes, actually. And soon. In addition to filming a second season this year. We will be filming our first The Dead Hour movie. We're keeping the details under wraps for now, but we'll be looking at doing a festival run in 2012.

EYEPUS: WHAT WAS YOUR ROUGH ESTIMATE BUDGET FOR MAKING THE DEAD HOUR WEBSERIES?

 DANIEL ISKE:  Not much. Almost all our budget went to food and props. We use a small van load of equipment from my business and that's about it.

EYEPUS:  YOUR ALL TIME FAVORITE HORROR FILMS OF ALL TIME?

 DANIEL ISKE:  May, The Thing, Scream, Evil Dead, Dawn of The Dead (either version), Cabin Fever, Zombieland, The Exorcist, Jaws, The Ring, Rear Window, Homicidal, Near Dark.

EYEPUS: WHICH HORROR FILMMAKERS INSPIRED YOU?

 DANIEL ISKE:  Alfred Hitchcock, William Castle, Sam Raimi, Lucky McKee, Darren Arnofosky

EYEPUS:  DO YOU HAVE ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS IN THE WORKS?

DANIEL ISKE:  Just The Dead Hour - Season 2 and the feature film should take up another year at least.

EYEPUS:  ANY ADVICE FOR UPCOMING INDIE/MICROBUDGET HORROR FILMMAKERS TRYING TO STRUGGLE TO MAKE A FILM?

DANIEL ISKE:  Network. Meet people who can make your job easier. Find someone who has a cool location to film at. Meet a musician who could do audio or music for you. Visit the local theater scene and find some interested actors. Basically surround yourself with as talented people as you can find.



February 15, 2011

FILMMAKER/ACTOR ALAN ROWE KELLY INTERVIEW

EYEPUS Exclusive in-depth interview with the amazing, stunning, multi-talented, authentic, fierce, Filmmaker/Actor ALAN ROWE KELLY (GALLERY OF FEAR, DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT, THE BLOOD SHED, I'LL BURY YOU TOMORROW).  Alan Rowe Kelly took the time of his busy schedule to do this interview.  I want to give a million thank yous for Alan Rowe Kelly taking part for this interview... So lets begin...

EYEPUS: HOW DID YOUR LOVE FOR HORROR FILMS GOT STARTED?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  I had always dreamed of being in front of the camera since I was a very young kid ogling over Saturday afternoon Creature Features and late night Chiller Theater on television.  My love of horror started when I was about 4 years old, watching THE OUTER LIMITS and THE MILLION DOLLAR MOVIE on my parents old B&W television set (Yeah, yeah! You do the math!).

I can recall my first horror movies being ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS and THE WIZARD OF OZ.  I was hooked after that.  I remember being on vacation in Long Beach Island, NJ when I was a little tot and my dad took my older brother and I to the Colony Theatre to see DINOSAURUS! I was so excited when the tyrannosaurus attacked a bus full of people and it became quite graphic - for 1964, that is! But my brother got upset and we had to leave! I was extremely miffed by that! In retrospect, what I loved about DINOSAURUS! is it was made in 1960, yet still playing in theaters 4 years later. A film is lucky to get 2 full weeks in a cinema nowadays!

EYEPUS: DID YOU GO TO FILM SCHOOL OR WAS IT SELF TAUGHT FILMMAKING?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  Self taught all the way baby! 20 years as a make up/hair stylist on photo, film and commercial sets have been my schooling. I've seen it all, from great shoots, to horror stories where folks have go ballistic during productions. I would sit back, absorb it all and think, "OK, I would never do that", or, "Oh! I really like his/her approach to the cast & crew," etc. By the time I was ready to make my first film I was able to pull together all those pros and cons to form my own easy system for making movies.  I hate getting over complicated with things like to keep it what I call 'simple stupid'.

EYEPUS:  WHICH HORROR/GORE FILMS INSPIRED YOU TO MAKE HORROR FILMS?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  I loved all the 70's Grindhouse fare I used to see at the drive-in as a teenager. DAWN OF THE DEAD, MANSION OF THE DOOMED, PRIVATE PARTS, EVIL DEAD, THE FUNHOUSE, SUSPIRIA, DEAD AND BURIED, ZOMBIEÉThe list is endless. I just love them all.

But those great monster /sci-fi movies of the 1950's such as INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, NOT OF THIS EARTH, THE BLOB!, MONSTER OF PIEDRAS BLANCAS, TARANTULA, THIS ISLAND EARTH, BEGINNING OF THE END, ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS - these were my all time favorites, and still are!

EYEPUS:  WHO ARE YOUR ALL TIME FAVORITE HORROR FILMMAKERS?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  John Llewellyn Moxey, Curtis Harrington, Roger Corman, Val Lewton, Mario Bava & William Castle. And I never miss a Hitchcock film, no matter how many times IÕve seen it. Something new always appears.

EYEPUS:  DO YOU PREFER HORROR OR GORE?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  I love them both and even more so when they meld together in the same film.

EYEPUS:  WHAT WAS YOUR LAST HORROR/GORE FILM YOU SAW?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  I just watched FEAST again and loved it even more the second time around. Great pacing! And I'm presently in my Euro- Zombie phase with BURIAL GROUND, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD and HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD. These are real guilty pleasure for me!

EYEPUS:  ANY FAVORITE HORROR WRITERS YOU ADMIRED?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  Vincent Churchill (The Dead Shall Inherit The Earth, The Butcher Bride), Owen Keehnan (Doorway Unto Darkness) and Robert McCammon (Swan Song) have been my favorite writers. I find them very inspiring because their stories always read like a film. I can see it and am always transported to another place with their originality, intriguing plots, and great character development.


EYEPUS: CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE FILM COMPANIES SOUTHPAWS PICTURES AND TINY CORE PICTURES?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  SouthPaw Pictures is my production company based in NJ. I started it when I made THE BLOOD SHED. Tiny Core Pictures is Anthony G. SumnerÕs production company based out of the Chicago area. It's wonderful collaborating with someone who is so talented, smart and understands all the ins and outs of low budget filmmaking. So far we have combined our talents on two projects, Anthony's latest release SLICES OF LIFE, and my upcoming horror anthology GALLERY OF FEAR. Anthony is an inspiration and a real pleasure to work with.

EYEPUS:  YOU DIRECTED AND ALSO ACTED IN 3 OF YOUR FILMS THE BLOOD SHED, A FAR CRY FROM HOME/GALLERY OF FEAR AND ILL BURY YOU TOMORROW - HOW HARD IS IT TO DIRECT AND ACT AT THE SAME TIME?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  Since I started out directing and acting in my own films it doesn't seem so difficult. You're already multi-tasking on a set, so the added pressure of an acting role doesn't seem so daunting to me. I also have had the smarts to have a talented AD and cinematographer on board who are also directors. So if I'm missing something on a take, they tell me right away, "bring it up, bring it down, start again try something different".  And I listen because I want the best shots possible and acting in a good horror film is crucial. If an audience thinks you're a fake or simply mailing in a performance, you just killed your film. Unlike a play where you get to experiment and reinterpret on a nightly basis to a live audience, film is a final locked performance that cannot be changed or corrected once it's complete. So you have no choice but to bring your best game to set everyday.  

EYEPUS:  LAST I KNOW YOU ARE WRITING AND CO-DIRECTING DONT LOOK IN THE BASEMENT WITH ANTHONY G. SUMMER ALSO AS CO-DIRECTOR

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  Oddly enough, Director Anthony Sumner and actor Jerry Murdock approached me at the same time in 2007 and said, "you have to remake this film. It will be your crossover movie that could eventually grant you some higher budgets in the future".  I always loved this Grindhouse classic by S.F. Brownrigg and started watching it again. It hit me dead on and I thought, "Yeah, we can do this" and we would give it a new life without compromising the original, as do so many 'studio' remakes today.

Anthony and I decided to co-produce/direct it together through our companies SouthPaw Pictures and TinyCore Pictures. I rewrote the script, updated it, added new characters and came out with a very decent storyline.  We were set to shoot in 2008, but the recession killed us - as it did everyone - and our backers backed out. It was frustrating, but who could blame them? It was happening to many filmmakers at the same time. Now we have the time to build more interest and begin pre-production while assembling the most amazing cast that includes Jerry Murdock, Zo‘ Daelman Chlanda, Debbie Rochon, Caroline Williams, Jeff Dylan Graham, Raine Brown, Katherine O'Sullivan, Susan Adriensen, Douglas Rowan, Terry M. West, Carl Burrows, myself, and the lovely Deneen Melody.

The film deserves a new life and I truly believe we have the right combination of talent to give it its worth. The proof will be in the finished product, so let's wait and see then. We have so many projects in production and pre production right now that we actually have to wait and see when will be the proper time, this year or next, to make this film a 'reality'.

EYEPUS:  HOW CLOSE IS THE LOOK OF YOUR NEW FILM DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT WILL BE TO THE ORIGINAL DRIVE-IN CLASSIC?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  Probably not close at all - I mean, the purpose to a remake is to bring new life to a film and still give it an original feel. Why do a silly frame-by-frame remake when you can watch the real thing? We've added new characters and new plot twists, but we're still remaining true to the original's storyline.

EYEPUS:  HOW HARD IS TO REMAKE A HORROR FILM?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  Filmmaking is hard work period. And it is just as hard to do a remake as it is an original piece. I think remaking a film is a bit riskier because there are high expectations from fans of the original.  You have the raised antennas from fans and folks who will voice an immediate opinion on how bad the film will be before you even roll a single frame. That always adds pressure for you to deliver even more. My intent for remaking DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT, aside from my love of the film, is simply to deliver a new life to an already terrifying storyline and gather more audience exposure. We'll just have to see how it turns out once it's finished.

EYEPUS:  ARE THERE ANY OTHER DREAM HORROR FILMS THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO REMAKE?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  FROGS! would be totally fun to redo. I love those Nature/Ecology run amuck films! I love Ted Post's THE BABY with Ruth Roman,  John Llewellyn Moxey's HORROR HOTEL, Lewis Allen's 1944 classic THE UNINVITED with Ray Milland and Cyril Frankel's THE WITCHES (aka THE DEVIL'S OWN) with Joan Fontaine.  But I would really love to take a crack at David Miller's 1952 SUDDEN FEAR with Joan Crawford. Great suspense thriller!
EYEPUS:  AS A FILMMAKER - WHICH FILM/VIDEO CAMERAS DO YOU USE TO MAKE YOUR FILMS?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  We have pretty much run the gamut in the past 12 years. My first film was shot on Beta SP back in 1999 and then had to have the entire piece reformatted and film-looked which was extremely costly at $12,000.00 and still not very effective because it was still in it's infancy.  And at the time it was the only available resource before Final Cut Pro was born and you could finally do all your own color corrections and cinematic FX.

Then for the next few films we moved to the Panasonic DVX 100 A & B cameras and the picture was always gorgeous. And under the technical expertise and artistry of my cinematographer Bart Mastronardi, we were able to achieve a cinematic look and feel comparable to HD. Now we're working with the Canon 7D in HD.  The picture quality is even more expansive and gives you unlimited range to play and adjust for the film's needs in post. But I am a firm believer that despite whatever camera you are using it all comes down to the proficiency and knowledge of your cameraman.  You could have the best camera in the world and still come out with a poor looking film if your cinematographer doesn't completely understand how work with the equipment. You should test everything before you start shooting.

EYEPUS:  FOR YOUR ACTING ROLES, DO YOU GET TO CHOOSE YOUR OWN WARDROBE DESIGNS AND HAIR/WIG STYLES?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  In most cases I usually insist on designing the look for the characters I play. And fortunately for me, my background is one of the main reasons why I am brought onto a film because I make sure I have a complete understanding of what the director is looking for.  So this puts me in a very good situation as an actor and gives me a great comfort level on camera knowing that my instincts are trusted and actually contribute to the storyline.

EYEPUS:  HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF GLAMOROUS WITH SUCH EPOCH OUTFITS, COSTUMES AND MAKEUP?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  Well, there has not been one film yet where I appear glamorous or even remotely attractive - lol! So the pressure is off and I can focus on acting and building a character instead of worrying about how I look...lol! It's like playing Halloween all year round. I stopped looking at how I appear on camera a long time ago. It's not important what I think. It's more important on what the viewer sees and accepts in your performance.

EYEPUS:  IS IT EXPENSIVE?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  Not really.  I just make sure there is a certain amount of wardrobe expense in the budget and I get extremely creative from there. I know a lot about costuming and styling from years spent in fashion design school and working with stylists on fashion shoots. So I'm always able to get access to certain items if I need them for a role or when dressing my actors for my own films. Wardrobe and costuming is vitally important in my book.

EYEPUS: IS IT HARD WORK PROMOTING YOUR FILM WORKS DOMESTICALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  Its simply part of making an independent film. Just because the film is finished and distributed doesn't mean the work stops there. You have to promote your film from its conception and well into its distribution. And you should never depend solely on your distributor to promote your film full time, they have other films to work on and once you've been released, they have to move onto their next upcoming release. So it is solely up to you to get the word out and even update your fans every few months as to the availability and whereabouts of your movies.  No one is going to blow your horn louder than you.  And there are certainly enough legit horror sites online to post articles, be interviewed, upload links, trailers, banners, etc. to keep you in the public eye. There is no excuse for lazy self-promotion when it is so easy to do  it yourself. A film has to grow and continuously be exposed to new audiences. Film is forever. It will be here long after you're not. 

EYEPUS:  HOW HARD IS THE USA MPAA SYSTEM COMPARE TO OTHER COUNTRIES WHO LET FILMMAKERS BE FREE (UNCENSORED WORKS) WITH THEIR FILM WORKS? 

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  It has never effected distribution for my films so I pay no attention to it. I make adult-themed horror that is always rated R or NC-17 if they were studio purchased or produced in the US. I make the same type of edgier, extreme horror I always looked for when I was a kid and I'll stick with it.  Seems to be my label.

EYEPUS:  WHAT IS YOUR BEST ADVICE TO OTHER HORROR FILMMAKERS WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH ZERO MONEY AND THEY WANT TO MAKE THEIR FIRST SHORT OR FEATURE FILM?

ALAN ROWE KELLY:  Most importantly- DO YOUR HOMEWORK. As a beginning filmmaker, you must learn every aspect of what is going on your set and know what everyone on that set is doing. Learn about the camera you or your cinematographer are using and what you can achieve visually from it. See how far you can push your equipment. Learn how to frame a shot and make it look interesting with lighting and the correct exposures. Sound is vitally important as well - you must make sure you LEARN about sound, proper recording and all it's settings. I can't tell you how many independent films I've seen that have been ruined by this lack of attention to a VERY important piece of filmmaking.  Horror films are totally dependent on SOUND and its deep connection with your audience.

Also, the people you bring on board to work with you are crucial.  Use all the right people who BELIEVE in you and your project. (And please don't bring on all your friends because they think it will be "cool". Trust me - after one day of shooting, they all discover that it is hard work, long days and far from a glamorous profession).  One bad apple in your crew can very quickly rot everyone's attitude and enthusiasm. So treat everyone with respect for helping you out and FEED them well. This is no time for Diva antics and a temperament. As a matter of fact, there is never any time for that.

There will be times when it is so daunting you'll ask yourself if its really worth it to continue. I'LL BURY YOU TOMORROW took me almost 3 years to complete.  I thought it would never get finished. But it did and the personal rewards of that accomplishment alone were amazing. You have to stick to your guns and not give up on it. You must see it through to the very end and complete it. Many of us work with miniscule budgets. So instead of thinking of this as a hindrance let that lack of funds set you free so your creativity and imagination can take over. If you are not creative, you will have a VERY boring and pointless film.

There will also be those people that tell you "you're crazy for doing it" "it's only a pipe dream", "quit while you're ahead", etc. But you have to pass all those negative people by and move on if you're to complete your dream. Because it is "your" dream. In the end it's ONLY about the film and will people like it? You can't make it a personal crusade where the film will only mean something to you, it has to reach out to a wider audience and captivate them.  (Also- watch really bad indie films made by lazy filmmakers who really don't care and you'll see all the creative and technical mistakes unravel in front of you before you make them yourself - It helps to avoid the same pitfalls.)

And last, but most importantly, leave yourself open to learn. Don't get stuck in the thought that you know all there is to know. You'll stifle your set and your film and that will show up on camera. I learned something new each time I walk onto a new set. It's a constant evolution if you're going to get any better as a filmmaker. Be open to the newness of each experience and you can accomplish anything.

VISIT ALAN ROWE KELLY WEBSITE WWW.ALANROWEKELLY.NET



February 4, 2011

SCREAM 4 TRAILER and STILLS

SCREAM 4 STILLS AND TRAILERS - Can't wait to see this film... Maybe the SCREAM 4 Ghostface killer is? Rory Culkin.  I'm just guessing...  A great cast, I'm happy Wes Craven and Kevin Willamson are back.