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Artist of the Month – December 2017: Tony Blake

Artist of the Month – December 2017: Tony Blake

I found December’s AotM because of my love for The Walking Dead once again. 🙂

And even though this was one of the most horrible occurrences on my favorite show, Steven was impressed!

One of the reasons Tony Blake’s art stands out is the fact he uses color pencils! You guys should know by now I love different. 😉

Here is his brief bio:

Tony is from Great Yarmouth in the UK. He is a full-time freelance artist and is currently studying for a degree in art. He is 41 years old. Married with three children.

Our Q&A:

House of Tortured Souls: How long have you been into horror art?
Tony Blake: Always loved horror art from a young age. First ever character I drew was Freddy from a t-shirt my dad brought me.

HoTS: Did you have a teacher or go to art school??
TB: I’m self taught.

HoTS: Who is your favorite monster?
TB: Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).

HoTS: Do you have booths at conventions or any art galleries?
TB: I do comic cons across the UK and my art was featured in the Z-Nation exhibit at the Spokane Museum of Art.

HoTS: How old were you when you started drawing?
TB: Probably about 5. Once I went to school. It was all I could do as I had problems with reading and writing, I’m dyslexic.


HoTS: What is your favorite method, pencil, charcoal, the blood of innocents?
TB: I use Prismacolor and Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils for the last two years love them.

HoTS: Do you have a fan page? Twitter? Instagram?
TB: Yes!

antblakeart
@TonyBlake76
@tonyblakeart

HoTS: Do you do commissions?
TB: Yes always doing what the customers want.

HoTS: Are you working on something now?
TB: Currently drawing Bill Murray as Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters.

HoTS: What advice would you give anyone interested in starting this career?
TB: Best advice I can give is practice, practice, never give up and always try new styles, and if that doesn’t work sell your soul to the devil.

Throughout the month of December, Tony is selling original pieces $80! :-O #Floored!!


Posted by Tammie Parker in ART AND VENDORS, FEATURED ARTIST, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: The Blair Witch Legacy Creator Jason Hawkins

INTERVIEW: The Blair Witch Legacy Creator Jason Hawkins

This is a fan-made film and will not be available for purchase or digital viewing.
I had an opportunity to discuss some elements of The Blair Witch Legacy with Jason Hawkins. Hawkins also has aspirations to make his own Friday the 13th fan film and says he has it “if people got behind it…….I already worked out how it would go”. As The Blair Witch Legacy is a fan made film, Hawkins and his crew cannot gain financially from its release. However, as you see in my candid interview with Hawkins, he has plans for the film.

House of Tortured Souls: The Blair Witch Legacy is a ‘fan film’, are you a fan of the Blair Witch franchise (this would include all 3 films currently released) and/or the Blair Witch folklore?
Jason Hawkins: I am a fan of the Blair Witch films. I saw the first one in theatres when, like a lot of people, I wasn’t sure if what I was watching was legit or not. I suspected not, but the film was so well put together, and the marketing campaign so well thought out, that I was able to suspend disbelief enough to get caught up in the story and really enjoy it. As a child, I had seen a lot of the docu-films like The Legend of Boggy Creek and such, so I think I was ready for a film like this. I’ve revisited The Blair Witch Project multiple times over the years and find that it still holds up well. The second film Book Of Shadows my hopes were high. I think I’m one of the few people who thought the film was decent. It’s not excellent, and there’s a lot going on that misses the point, but I thought (when I was watching it as a stand-alone style film) that it holds up in a video store rental kinda way. The third film…I was curious. More than I was excited. I think the reaction to the second film really hurt the release of the new one. I didn’t enjoy the third film in the way I hoped I would. To me, they erred in making it a ‘Hollywood Movie’ filled with the same type of things horror fans complain about on a regular basis. The premise was solid, the idea was there, but the execution was not. I felt it was ‘Oh look, pretty teens go into the woods….oh look the cliché black best friend character…oh look” it was filled with things that took me out of the realism. There was never any doubt that we were watching a ‘Hollywood Film’ from the beginning. It was missing that ‘what if’ factor of the original film. It should have come off as a raw Indie. I think that’s the major differences between the original and the follow-up films. We love the original because of what it is- the underdog's story. The filmmakers were not Hollywood cookie-cutter characters. They looked, acted, felt like real people - because they were. In our film, we wanted to get back to basics, back to a film that feels like it could have been shot with regular people on consumer level equipment – because it was. We embraced that and worked to make it feel exactly like what it is …. a found footage film.

HoTS: Being a fan of the film, how did you produce the budget for the film? Was there an Indiegogo campaign? Investors?
JH: We actually worked with a pretty small budget, even by Indie standards. Being a fan film, we knew we couldn’t profit off of it, and we’ve done our best to be very respectful of the intellectual properties, which would have made going to an investor difficult. With limited options, we decided to make this film directly out of our own pockets and funded all aspects of it ourselves. There was talk of an Indiegogo, but we felt with the right people and the right approach we could pull this off ourselves. The money hunt, particularly for indie artists, is a constant struggle. It’s very, very difficult to get films made, even when you have a solid track record and I didn’t want to wait 5 years…… 10 ….maybe never making this film. I’ve seen too many filmmakers with great ideas wither on the vine and never get their made because they don’t have the budget. We worked with what we had, took advantage of our skills and decided to make the film with a budget we had.

HoTS: Where did you find your 3 lead actors – Samantha Marie Cook, Cody Epling, and Jason Reynolds- and what was it like working with them?
JH: We originally posted the project under a code name The March Project intending to cast and shoot in spring. Record rainfall flooded a lot of our locations and caused some conditions that we decided might be hazardous, so we delayed. We had begun the audition process by accepting video auditions. From those we culled the list down to the top 2-3 we wanted to see them in person for each character. We bought these actors in and really put them through their paces. They still didn’t know what they were auditioning for, what the film was about or anything. We narrowed down our choices and invited the actors to join the film, finally telling them what it was and what our goals were. Sam was our first choice and Cody had actually auditioned for a different character but came on as the character we see in the film. (In fact, most of the characters you see in the film had auditioned, didn’t get the role they were after but were offered a chance to come back and be in the film and its supporting character). Jason I had known for a while, having worked with him on a few other projects and training MMA with him. He’s a friend and I wanted somebody who was comfortable in the deep woods and also they were familiar with the way I work. Working with them was hell on earth – I’m kidding of course. We had multiple meetings before film dates, to get everybody comfortable around each other and to work on building the sense of camaraderie that you hopefully see and feel in the film. The characters came together well, and once the weather cleared we moved to shoot. The first few days didn’t go as smooth as we wanted, but it was a great bonding experience and we decided to start over, scrapping the first few days of footage. The trials and tribulations of filming a project like this brought them together in a stronger way, and when we started again, they were on point. It’s hard to believe now that none of them had ever met before we started casting, they seem like old friends.

HoTS: You shot on location in both Oregon and Maryland, was the Burkittsville location welcoming of another Blair Witch film?
JH: Soooooo…..we didn’t actually go to Maryland. We wanted to sell the illusion that we did, much as they sold the illusion of the ‘Black Hills’ in the original. We went to the airport, whole bit, but never actually went to Maryland. I had scouted locations for a few months and done my best to match them up with some of the towns woods in Maryland. We put that in the credits just for fun, and to see if anybody would know the difference. Is that a spoiler? I’m not sure, but it’s a factual statement that the people of Burkittsville have come out with negative responses to the Blair Witch films- in our movie when Sam says “I know, it’s all on the Thrillist website”, she’s telling the truth. The Thrillist website does cover the negative reactions of the people of Burkittsville about The Blair Witch Project. A lot of what we did was very meta –we heavily mixed in fact and fiction. In fact, sometimes you’d hear statements on set such as “wait, is this real real or film real?” and sometimes the answer was simply yes, yes it is.

HoTS: What other film projects can I observe your work in?
JH: I like to stay busy and am almost always working on something, or developing the next project. Over the years I’ve done multiple feature films, including All American Bully with Adrienne King (from the original Friday the 13th), 15:Inside The Mind of a Serial Killer (which is getting re-released soon), and The Devil Knows His Own with Eileen Dietz (from The Exorcist and many more), as well as several short films. Like a lot of indie artists, we’ve had ups and downs with distribution. My films can be found on Redbox, iTunes, Amazon, Walmart and many outlets around the world. Many would call that success, and I suppose it is, but getting distributors to actually pay you for your work is another story entirely. In fact, that’s an entire article unto itself…

HoTS: What is the plan for The Blair Witch Legacy? Will you be submitting it to festivals?
JH: This is actually a pretty complex question. We knew going into this that we couldn’t profit off of someone else’s intellectual property. We are not the copyright holders, and our film is able to exist through the grace of Lionsgate. They have allowed people to play with the Blair Witch universe in the past – these are dozens of fan shorts, fake documentaries, etc, much the same as fans have been allowed to play in other rich, layered, universes such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and so on. So, knowing that, we made the film by fans, for fans. We have submitted to multiple festivals and conventions, where we’ll be showing exhibition screeners of our film. Currently, there are close to a dozen that will be showing it or trying to work it into their schedule. However, I try to make sure every move I make in regards to film and my career is with a reason. I like to say “No move without purpose” and try to make sure every move is to advance and with purpose. I didn’t just make a fan film. I made a fan film in a popular universe to draw more attention to what we do, and send up a flare in the direction of Lionsgate- “hey look at us. We love the franchise. There is hope for it. Let US make the next one.” How cool would it be to get their attention and have them look at our project? I’ve already worked out most of the details for a sequel, and I really believe the franchise can be given new life and reach new audiences worldwide. And I want to be the one to do it. No move without purpose.

Keep up to date on screenings and festivals showing The Blair Witch Legacy, through their Facebook page and watch for future projects from Jason Hawkins.
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in INTERVIEWS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Death House (2018) Director Harrison Smith

INTERVIEW: Death House (2018) Director Harrison Smith

“The Only Way Out… Is Down”

I had the great privilege of interviewing the superb director Harrison Smith on his newest film Death House. Before I get into that, let me tell you a little bit about the film.

Death House poster.There is a Fed-Max subterranean government prison that holds humanities worst criminals known as the Death House. It serves as a medical, psychological, and parapsychological research center aimed at eradicating evil. Two federal agents are granted a tour of the center. While on the tour, the unthinkable happens. There is a power outage that releases all of the prisoners, and the agents must fight their way through all of the horror and violence to try to survive. They soon discover that they are being herded down to the lowest depths of the facility. In those depths are a group of supernatural evil beings known as The Five Evils and they may be the agents’ only chance at salvation.

Cody Longo in Death House.

Cody Longo in Death House.

The movie sounds and looks amazing but before I go on I just wanted to say that the media and many articles have labeled the movie, “The Horror Movie genre of The Expendables“. I have to disagree with that. If it were The Expendables we would have a movie with Freddy vs Jason vs Michael vs et. al. Which, to some, may sound interesting but it would lack any substance. The stars in this movie are so much more than their individual roles that they have portrayed, they are true actors who excel at their craft. Let me tell you some of them:

  • Adrienne Barbeau: Escape From N.Y., Creepshow, Swamp Thing, The Fog
  • Kane Hodder: Jason Voorhees in some of the Friday the 13th films and Victor Crowley from The Hatchet films
  • Dee Wallace: The Howling, Cujo, The Frighteners
  • Michael Berryman: The Hills Have Eyes, The Devils Rejects
  • Barbara Crampton: Re-Animator, From Beyond, You’re Next
  • Sid Haig: The Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses, Kill Bill
  • Tony Todd: Candyman, Hatchet, Final Destination
  • Bill Moseley: The Devils Rejects, Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Vernon Wells: The Road Warrior, Weird Science
  • Lindsay Hartley: Nightmare Nurse
  • Cody Longo: Piranha 3D, Nashville
  • Cortney Palm: The Dark Tapes
  • Felissa Rose: Sleepaway Camp
  • Vincent Ward: The Walking Dead

Whew, that is a LOT of talent in one film!

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA.

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA. The place had a built-in horror film setting, full of dark history and eerie vibes. It really acts as a functioning character in the film.

IMDb provided a great quote:

This is a solid horror piece, dark, nasty and gore-soaked; not satire or tongue in cheek.

And like Harrison told me, he was writing in a local bar when the ad for Jurassic World came on and it hit him that this movie was “Assault on Precinct 13 meets Jurassic World without the dinosaurs”. So… great actors along with an exciting script and skilled direction. Then throw in stupefying makeup and effects by the Roy Knyrim (Sinister 2) and SOTA FX, and a soundtrack by John Avarese that sets the perfect ambiance. We will finally get what we paid for at the box office!

Death House - Cody Longo and Dee Wallace on set at Holmesburg Prison.

Death House – Cody Longo and Dee Wallace on set at Holmesburg Prison.

Cortney Palm in Death House.

Cortney Palm in Death House.

House of Tortured Souls: My first question for Harrison was why the horror genre?
Harrison Smith: My first film, The Fields, was based on what really happened to me when I lived and grew up with my grandparents on their farm. The farm came under attack for a short period of time by an unseen presence. We never understood what caused it and we never understood what ended it, so I had personal experience. But also my grandmother and I used to watch horror movies and the old horror TV show Dr. Shock who hosted Saturday morning shows like Scream-In, Horror Theater, and Mad Theater. The movies were captivating. I loved finding out there was a sequel to Frankenstein and that he didn’t die in the burning windmill. There were more like Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man that continued on the story of Lon Chaney. Like when they killed Lon Chaney in the original Wolfman I was like, “Why? He was a nice man, he didn’t want to be The Wolf Man“. I loved it. They were like Saturday morning soap operas. I loved them as a kid, but that time is gone. That is why I like Tom Holland’s Fright Night. I was watching in the summer of ’85 and knew it was a Valentine to an era that was quickly fading and disappearing. At that time, the threat was coming from cable television and the home video revolution, so Peter Vincent was this aging icon of an era long gone trying to stay relevant. Tom Holland got it, and Fright Night works on many levels. So horror movies, for me, were a real escape from the actually really scary shit that happened to me.

Kane Hodder in Death House. Set piece by PCND/fx.

Kane Hodder in Death House. Set piece by PCND/fx.

HoTS: Then I asked him about the abundance of horror movies and shows seem to be throwing back to the ’80s. Movies like It Follows and The House of the Devil and shows like Stranger Things all reflect that age in horror, and Death House has many actors from that era. Why do you think it is a niche we all still enjoy?

Dee Wallace in Death House.

Dee Wallace in Death House.

HS: Director and actor Eli Roth said that the have-sex-and-die concept behind many of the ’80s slasher films was not as relevant today because millennials look at it and don’t get it. There was a study reported by the L.A. Times in an article by Melissa Batchelor Warnke saying that the millennial generation is the least sexually active, so that concept does not translate well. But at the time when Friday the 13th came around, it was a perfect storm of both liberal and conservative values. We had a very conservative administration with Reagan and yet, at the same time, we were known as the party generation. It was a weird flux of things coming together. So Friday the 13th had fun and parties with lots of boobs and tons of gore but with a moral lesson. See what happens when you fuck in the woods? Jason was like a walking STD. So the ’80s made us nostalgic for the ’50s, and now we look back to the ’80s. We are nostalgic for when we grew up. That is why, when making Death House, we always remembered that we were handling peoples memories and that is very important. The new generation gets to fall in love with it like we did. And with regards to the actors in Death House, they were all smart enough to choose great directors and projects that were just starting out, and their careers flourished from those collaborations so they are all still relevant today.

Death House - Kane Hodder arriving on set.

Kane Hodder arriving on the Death House set pictured with Harrison (dressed as an extra for the ward scene). The guy over his shoulder is producer Rick Finkelstein.

HoTS: I did some research on Holmesburg Prison, where you decided to film the movie. Some extremely monstrous things went on there. Any ghosts try to break into acting for the film?

HS: No, I did not experience anything myself. There were a few reports of the cameras acting wonky, but it was really cold there which probably contributed to that. The place itself was perfect for the mood though. There is a great book called Acres of Skin: Human Experiments At Holmesberg Prison 1998 by Allen Hornblum that tells all about the medical experiments and tortures that went on inside the prison. It really lent itself to what we were shooting. I remember when they gave us a tour and brought us into the warden’s office where he had his throat slit. Nothing paranormal happened but everyone was in tune with what had happened there. Dee Wallace said that it was sometimes overwhelming knowing that you were walking by cells where so much abject misery and torture had taken place. It is a building built on misery.

Harrison also wanted to make sure and give a shout out to the administration and the City of Philadelphia and especially the Philadelphia Police Department, who were more than gracious and just all-around wonderful people.

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

HoTS: My next question for Harrison was, as a director, what directors influence his work?

HS: Growing up, John Carpenter: Halloween, The Thing, They Live and Tommy Lee Wallace: IT, Halloween III, Fright Night II were major influences on me because they were accessible to me. I used to read Fangoria Magazine all the time and got a subscription to it. I used to read and devour the interviews and not just because of the pictures and oh! there making a sequel to Halloween and I want to see the blood and gore. They did an interview with John Carpenter and he talked about how he made movies and about finding a good crew and sticking with them. And I noticed for the first decade of John’s career he used a lot of the same people in front and behind the camera and that really made an impact on me because Carpenter was very much the founder of the guerilla film movement — that you get a camera, you go out there, and you shoot. That’s what you do, and that really inspired me as a filmmaker. I had a Super 8 silent Kodak camera, and I was learning. I was learning from those interviews in Fangoria and got a really strong base of knowledge. So if you look at my catalog of work so far, you will see many of the same faces. And if you read the credits, you will see a lot of the same names return time and time again. I bring them back because it is like putting the band back together, so to speak, which works for me because it becomes like production shorthand. I would also say Tom Holland of Fright Night and Psycho II fame was another influence because Psycho II made a big impact on me because of the script. I think it is one of the greatest sequels ever made and is very underrated. I wanted to hate it, but 30 minutes into the film I just fell in love with it. When it was over I walked out, called my family to let them know I would be late and went in to see it again. My film Camp Dread is a tip of the hat to Tom Holland. It was more like Psycho II than Friday the 13th.

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

HoTS: What is the theme for Death House?

HS: The whole pretext of Death House is evil is evil and good is good, but do they need each other? Because when you try to eradicate evil you are, at most, canceling out good as well. There is no need for good if there’s no need for evil. Bill Mosely has a great line in the film, “True evil is nothingness”. That is true hell. If we were to remove the Holocaust from history we would need a litmus test. Dee Wallace’s and Barbara Crampton’s characters think what they are doing is good. Look at the Nazis during the Holocaust. They didn’t think what they were doing was evil. Dee is like Nurse Ratched. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest as a social horror film was a snake pit. Louise Fletcher played it so well because there are real nurses like that. That is the banality of evil. How a modicum of power gives rise to abuse of said power. Are The Five Evils in Death House really evil compared to Dee’s character or Nurse Ratched? They aren’t Cenobites they are regular people like you run into in everyday life. How many times in your own life might you have come into contact with real killers? The Five Evils are normal looking people.

Death House - The Five Evils

Death House – The Five Evils: Vincent Ward, Vernon Wells, Bill Moseley, Lindsay Hartley, Michael Berryman.

The original script for Death House was penned by the incredible Gunnar Hansen, who is best known for playing the mentally-impaired cannibal Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Gunnar left us on November 7th, 2015, from pancreatic cancer. His agent, Michael Eisenstadt, brought producers Rick Finkelstein and Steven Chase of Entertainment Factory to the screening of Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard to meet Harrison. Another writer had taken a stab at rewriting the script, but it turned into Texas Chainsaw meets Friday the 13th meets Saw, but that was not what Gunnar wanted. He did not want torture porn but a high concept horror film. Gunnar liked what Harrison did with it, so Harrison finished writing and then directed it. The actors were all there for their friend Gunnar and with Harrison collaborating with Gunnar before his death, I like to think of this as a love letter to an amazing man and actor that we lost too soon.

Gunnar Hansen, 4 March 4, 1947 – 7 November 2015

I was extremely honored to speak with Harrison Smith and pick his brain. To read more on Death House, I have included some links that come straight from the horse’s mouth. Harrison Smith’s Road To Death House articles.

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

Sean Whalen and Felissa Rose on the Death House set in LA.

Sean Whalen and Felissa Rose on the Death House set in LA.

I cannot even begin to express how excited I am to see this film. It has already won the audience choice award along with best feature film from the Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO). MPAA said it was gritty, claustrophobic and a hell of a lot of fun. Harrison said it is like a roller coaster ride through a funhouse, and Kane Hodder said it was his favorite film he has worked on. So horror fans get ready for the ride of your life!

I have also included a link to a petition if you want Death House to come to a Regal Cinema near you. It is going to major theaters but I would like to see it in all of them.

So, from myself and the family at House of Tortured Souls, thank you again to the great Harrison Smith and everyone involved with Death House! And just remember readers… “Hell isn’t a word…it’s a sentence.”

Death House - Harrison, Yan Birch and Lauren Compton after filming in LA.

Harrison, Yan Birch, and Lauren Compton after filming Death House in LA.

Posted by Horrormadam in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, PARANORMAL, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The Houses October Built on HoTS LIVE!!!

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The Houses October Built on HoTS LIVE!!!

The Houses October Built and the recent follow up release, The Houses October Built 2, are two of my favorite films! Let's face it. With the abundance of horror films being made either through Hollywood budgets or Indie fan-funded projects, there's a shit ton of mediocre to bad horror being produced. Since October is the month for horror and scares and with Halloween just around the corner, the options for viewing are endless. During this season I try to stick with Halloween-themed films.
In 2014, I first viewed The Houses October Built. It instantly became part of my personal top five horror films! And, in keeping in with my Halloween-themed films, it's about a group of friends who travel from haunt to haunt in search of the extreme. Now, I ask you: what can be more Halloween than haunts?
Then 2017 came, and the crew released the follow-up, The Houses October Built 2. This sequel answered questions that had left audiences pondering in the closing frames of the original, kept the viewer's Halloween spirit engaged, and ended with an entirely new set of holy-shit-what-the-fuck questions.
After viewing The Houses October Built and launching House of Tortured Souls, I had been trying to get in touch with any or all staff for a written interview. However, once I tracked down the right people through social media, there were always scheduling conflicts. Time went on, and I had resigned myself to the fact that it wasn't going to happen. Still, I proudly supported the films and helped out the best I could on social media by sharing their posts.
It was this past Thursday, October 19, 2017, at approximately 2:30 pm EST when I figured what the hell and sent an email to them in hopes of setting up an interview sometime within the next few years. With part 2 only having been out for a few weeks, I knew they would be busy, but I also figured why not give it a shot? Within an hour, I got a response asking if I was available that day. Long story short, within two hours, both writers/directors/stars of both The Houses October Built parts 1 and 2, Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews, were staring me in the face live through a House of Tortured Souls LIVE video podcast.
We had a great chat, and it was a thrill to have met them and an honor to have them on the show. The guys discuss the origins of the film, working together, haunts, and even dabble in what may be next! So join me as I bring you my afternoon with Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews of The Houses October Built!
Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Rick Styczynski of 13x Studios

INTERVIEW: Rick Styczynski of 13x Studios

Rick Styczynski of 13X Studios Talks Camp Blood Celebration 10/13/17

"His name was Jason. And today is his birthday."
-Pamela Voorhees
Jason Voorhees has been a household name since the 1980s. From the moment he emerged from the lake and made Camp Crystal Lake his home, he has terrified us, and endeared himself into the hearts of every horror fan on the planet. We all know his signature hockey mask and weapon of choice: the machete. No matter your favorite film of the franchise, whether you prefer "walking Jason" or "running Jason", Jason on land, Jason in space, or Jason in New York City, it is guaranteed that this slasher will live on as a legend.
One of the greatest parts of his fandom is the unique, one of a kind art created by the people who know and love Jason best. Rick Styczynski is no exception. His company, 13X Studios, creates specialty one of a kind hockey masks celebrating our favorite force of nature. Whether the theme is sports, horror, music, and yes even serial killers, Rick can create just about any mask that you can think of. The sky is the limit.
For most of us Jason fanatics, Friday the 13th is just as a big a holiday as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Rick feels the same way. And with the help of Gods and Monsters, a fantastic shop filled with collectibles/comics/toys and even a bar, we will all be celebrating Friday the 13th Camp Blood Celebration in Orlando Florida! The event will have it all! Fan films, cosplay, trivia and celebrities. It will not only be a place to wish Jason a "Happy Birthday", but proceeds from the event will benefit both 13 Hearts and Give Kids The World charities.
13X Studios has teamed up with Matt Allen and me, owners of Freakshow Designs and Sideshow Sauces, to create a brand new hot sauce that will be making its debut at Camp Blood this October! We're calling it Hodder Than Hell. The greatest news is that Kane Hodder himself has personally given his permission to use his name on this heavenly concoction of scorpion pepper and pineapple. We are extremely thrilled and grateful to Kane for his support on the newest addition to our hot sauce collection.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Rick to find out about all of the incredible things that made his business flourish, and what we can all expect from the Friday the 13th event!
House of Tortured Souls: It's very obvious you're a "Jason Guy". Tell us how that fandom began and how it influenced you to start 13X Studios.
Rick Styczynski: After Halloween this past season, I put a few pictures of me cosplaying Jason on Instagram and someone contacted me about buying an outfit and guess a lightbulb went off.....13X Studios was born. I started messing around with masks and just went with it. It started with Jason and Friday the 13th but that also lead me into Pop Culture Custom hockey masks. In 10 months as a new business, I have sold over 1000 masks, sold out at 3 conventions, and have my masks in retail stores Gods & Monsters in Orlando, Florida, and Halloween Megastore across the US. The coolest thing that has happened is that my Silent Bob mask was noticed by Kevin Smith, and I got an exclusive deal at Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. This is only the beginning of 13X Studios.
HoTS: What is your hottest seller?
RS: My biggest sellers are all the Jason and Friday the 13th masks. Because of the affordable price and great quality/detail, they hands down sell the most. Outside of the Jason world, My best sellers of pop culture are: Joker, Deadpool, Freddy, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, and Punisher. I love making new styles as it changes everything up for me as a artist. One day I'll do Jason. Next day I'll do pop culture.
HoTS: Everyone is looking forward to the Camp Blood Celebration at Gods & Monsters. What can the attendees expect from the event?
RS: One day I went to visit Todd at Gods & Monsters and told him I wanted to do a Friday the 13th event. It took a pitch of 8 seconds for him to be part of it. I wanted to bring a celebration to the event where all of us horror fans can come together. I really have been just going with the flow and have been adding fun stuff daily. We will be having artists/vendors, contests, cosplay meet up, movie screenings, Friday the 13th themed bar and menu... Again, I'm just going with it. The buzz on this event is huge!! We just added Jeremy Palko from The Walking Dead for pictures and autographs. You don't want to miss this event. For more info just search: Friday the 13th Camp Blood Celebration on Facebook.
HoTS: You've recently partnered up with Matt Allen at Sideshow Sauces for your name to be on a Jason themed label. How were you inspired to reach out and how did you feel after hearing that Kane Hodderr himself gave his personal thumbs up to distribute the sauce using his name Hodder Than Hell?
RS: Back at Spooky Empire in April, I was across from Matt with Freakshow Designs. I know he has a sister company with Sideshow sauces. As my mind is always creating ideas, I came up with a cool hot sauce idea with Jason and 13X Studios on a label. I brought the idea to him and he said that Kane Hodder could be involved. So from there it just took off to bring you Hodder Than Hell sauce. Having your name and Kane Hodder's name on the same product is so cool. Kane Hodder is the biggest name in horror. He changed the game. And seeing how he is with fans is why you love this guy even more. I have known Kane for almost 16 years. As I said above, he changed the game. And very happy to be involved with Matt and Angie from Freakshow Designs. This is just the beginning. I'm sure we will come together many more times in future.
HoTS: What are your plans, future state, for 13X Studios?
RS: As I grow my business, I will start looking for more things to add. We just started a podcast called Spitting Blood. Our second episode already got 11,000 views, so I'm on the right track. Next episode will be Sept 6 at 9pm. Jeremy Palko from The Walking Dead will be a guest. We do a Facebook Live Podcast (you can add me Rick Styczynski). For my masks, my goal is to get into many more retail stores. What's cool is that most think this is more of a Halloween business. Actually it's a year round business with all the conventions. I wake up every day and smile knowing that this is my job now. I have no idea where this will bring me in life, But I will give my all no matter what. You can check my online store at www.13xstudios.com and my Etsy store.
13x Studios - Hodder Than Hell / Photo: Sideshow SaucesKane's Hodder Than Hell sauce, as well as many other handcrafted flavors can be found on Sideshowsauces.com. And as always, skull lamps, baby groots and other fun items can be found on our site Skulllamps.com. As Rick stated above, you can find his masks on www.13xstudios.com, and be sure to find him on Facebook and enjoy the Spitting Blood podcast! Stay tuned for my coverage of Friday the 13th Camp Blood: The Aftermath. For now, stay freaky! Much love from your Lamp Lady and I'll see you soon!
Posted by Angie Calabrese in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Dakota Bailey

INTERVIEW: Dakota Bailey

Dakota Bailey is well known within the independent cinema circles for his gritty and often all too realistic take, on true identities of people within the chaotic worlds that he envisions. Drawing from the modern day epitome of drug sub-culture and with a penchant for horror since his childhood, Bailey has been building a following through his films and his name is steadily on the rise with R. A. Productions.
Since 2015 Bailey has progressed from short films into creating lengthier features. First we were introduced in 2016 to My Master Satan: 3 Tales of Drug Fueled Violence, a drug laden romp through three interlocking short tales of the macabre.
Then (also in 2016) Bailey released American Scumbags, a nastier tale told from varied angles, which is a more fluid film regarding some uncertain elements and their spiral into madness.
Now we sit on the edge awaiting Bailey's release of his long anticipated third film The Acid Sorcerer. In anticipation of his latest film creation, Dakota Bailey answered some questions for The House of Tortured Souls ahead of the official release in August this year.
House of Tortured Souls: As a fan of the horror genre, what are your influences and favourite horror films, icons and filmmakers?
Dakota Baley: I am influenced by everything from silent horror film like Noseferatu, The Golem, Haxan, and Faust, to classic films like The Exorcist, underground extreme films and SOV films like Black Devil Doll From Hell. As for my favorite filmmakers I would have to say Sam Raimi, Jose Monica Marins (Coffin Joe), Marian Dora, Jorg Buttgerit, Lucio Fulci, Chester Novell Turner, David Lynch, Mario Bava and many more. For horror icons, my favorites would be Reagan from The Exorcist or Michael Myers from Halloween.
HoTS: What inspired you to create My Master Satan, American Scumbags, and The Acid Sorcerer?
DB: The idea behind My Master Satan was to make an anti-film. Meaning, that I just wanted to make a film that was extremely unusual and had absolutely no mainstream appeal whatsoever. I purposefully degraded the footage and filmed it on VHS but at the same time I kind of wanted My Master Satan to be kind of like an evil heavy metal Cheech and Chong type film. After My Master Satan came out, I developed the characters for American Scumbags. My intentions were to make an epic sleaze/trash/crime film. I just drew inspiration from real life people I used to know or people I had seen on the streets. I think American Scumbags is an important film because not only does it show my growth as a filmmaker but the film also has some really good characters in it such as Billy and Wheelin' Deals. For The Acid Sorcerer I basically wanted to make an extremely dark, depressing and hateful film that was about a set of characters embracing their inner darkness. I wanted to make a film that was similar to David Lynch's Eraserhead but at the same time I wanted to make a film that was highly original and I think we accomplished that. The Acid Sorcerer is a very strong film in my opinion.
HoTS: It's clear to see your evolution as a filmmaker, how do you feel about your films new and old?
DB: I think the evolution of myself as a filmmaker is fascinating. Every time I work on a new film I sit down and watch all my older shorts such as Satan's Coming for You or My Master Satan and I study them and I still enjoy those films and the immature degenerate feel of them. But I think it's kind of strange that I made those films and went on to make a film like The Acid Sorcerer. With each film I kind of feel like we change our style and that our films may deal with similar subject matter but each film is its own entity and each film has its own style.
HoTS: What's next on the horizon? Anymore films? Will we see familiar faces?
DB: We are currently working on a film called The Life of an American Scumbag that is a sequel to American Scumbags. It will be out before the end of this year and it is being shot in color as opposed to black and white like our other films. And then I plan on making a sequel to The Acid Sorcerer. I can't say too much about it because I am still coming up ideas and new characters, but it is definitely going to be an extremely dark film. As a matter of fact, I think it will be darker than the first Acid Sorcerer. As for more familiar faces ― yes, you will continue to see all the main actors such as Darien Fawkes, Nick Benning and myself, but with each film we introduce a few new actors or actresses, so it's not always the exact same people in all of our films.
HoTS: Who has been your favourite character to create (in any of your films)? And why?
DB: I love all the character in my films but if I had to pick only a couple I'd have to say Smoke and Leach from The Acid Sorcerer. I play the main character Smoke who is a serial killer/drug addict with multiple personality disorder and he has his other half called Leach that is his darker and philosophical side that compels him to murder. It was a strange process to film scenes involving Smoke and Leach. Darien Fawkes (who plays Leach and Crawdad in The Acid Sorcerer) had this black hood he'd wear that concealed his face. He would recite the lines and monologues that I had wrote for Leach in his normal voice and I would then take the footage we did and slow it down making his voice deep and droning sounding. It was actually powerful to see the footage transform. Another character I really like in The Acid Sorcerer is Eyevin, a sadistic drug dealer played by my friend Brian Knapp. Eyevin is a drug dealer that enjoys toying with drug addicts and enjoys watching snuff films that he commissions. Brian did an excellent job portraying him and he really captured the essence of the Eyevin character and what I wanted to bring to the screen. What I enjoy most about Eyevin is that almost in every scene of him he is always doing or saying something hateful or in bad taste. As far as characters from other films I would definitely have to say that Billy from American Scumbags is one of the best characters I've created so far. Darien Fawkes really captured the essence of the character and brought exactly what I wanted to the screen, but I can't leave out Alister and Bubba from My Master Satan. I just really like how they are kind of like an evil heavy metal version of Cheech and Chong. I just really enjoy the degenerate and immature feel of the characters.
HoTS: What can fans expect from The Acid Sorcerer?
DB: They can expect something a little different, but like I mentioned previously with each film we kind of change our style and we continue to grow and get better. I think that if fans enjoyed our previous films then they will definitely enjoy The Acid Sorcerer ― I consider it our best film yet.
HoTS: Musically you always seem to have something fresh for the scores of your films, any favourites?
DB: Music in my films is extremely important and finding the right music is imperative to my films. Whenever we start working on a new film, the first thing that comes to my mind is the soundtrack. The Acid Sorcerer features a soundtrack by Ramesses ― the film has three songs off of their album Possessed by the Rise of Magik. The soundtrack is very powerful and gives The Acid Sorcerer a dark and almost spiritual feel. As far as what film soundtrack is my favorite, I would definitely have to say Ramesses. I am a fan of theirs and it was an honor to get to use their music in our film. However, I also enjoyed the sound track for My Master Satan that came from my friend Daren Peterson and his band Luciferian Insectus. I think in particular that 'Ode to Darkness' at the end of My Master Satan was very powerful.
HoTS: What has been the highlight of your film career so far?
DB: I would have to say our films getting played at festivals like Cinema Wasteland; Shock Stock is a highlight, but also getting to use three songs off of Ramesses' Possessed by the Rise of Magik album. Another highlight is that with each film we get new fans and more recognition.
HoTS: We all have to start somewhere - childhood, schools, relationships, etc - who is Dakota Bailey?
DB: I am from Denver, Colorado; I developed an interest in films at an early age and eventually started making films with a battered camcorder and eventually I progressed into what I am. I consider myself a film fan making the kind of films that I want to see, but at the same time I do consider myself an artist and I consider each film a serious artistic endeavor.
HoTS: Anyone you want to thank for making you who you are today?
DB: Yes, my mom and dad for all the support and for letting me do whatever I wanted to while I was growing up and for letting me pursue my interests whether it be films or music.
Dakota Bailey currently has three features available for pre order (The Acid Sorcerer) or purchase (My Master Satan and American Scumbags).
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in INTERVIEWS, 2 comments
INTERVIEW: Mitch Hyman

INTERVIEW: Mitch Hyman

My Interview With Satan!

Attention Hulu subscribers!
Bubba the Redneck Werewolf is now available to enjoy! In case anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the lovable hairy beast Bubba, I am here to enlighten you. He started out as a glimmer in the eye of Actor/Comedian/Writer and all around funny man Mr. Mitch Hyman. Back in the 90s Bubba was a very popular comic. In 2014, Cracker County was under attack by The Devil himself, and it was up to Dog Catcher Bubba Blanche to defeat the enemy, save the town, and win the heart of his love Bobby Jo. But, not before he made a deal with said devil and became Bubba, The Redneck Werewolf in the hit film now available on Hulu!
Bubba the Redneck Werewolf poster / Fair use doctrine.
The popularity of the film has been on the rise since its premier, and with over 11 million viewers on Hulu, ol’ Bubba has reached celebrity status! He even has his own souvenir caps (Mohawkcrew.com), hot sauce, (Sideshowsauces.com), and coffee (Coffeeshopofhorrors.com)! Another character that has made a pretty big name for himself is the Devil, played by Hyman. Since then, there have been many requests to see the fallen angel in his glory. This included an appearance in full make up at December’s Spooky Empire event at the Orange County Convention Center.
In May of 2017, Satan struck out solo on his very own YouTube show, Coffee Time With Satan! This is the epitome of irreverence and shock, and NOT for the faint of heart. Angie, your “Lamp Lady”, had the rare opportunity to discuss the show with Satan in his lair.
House of Tortured Souls: What was your inspiration for Bubba the Redneck Werewolf comics back in the day?
Mitch Hyman: Well, it all started on a week - long binge in Bangkok…Seriously, that did happen, but back to Bubba. I loved werewolves as a kid, and Halloween was my chance to be one. So, when I owned a bar many years ago, I wanted to go to my own party as a werewolf. Now, I knew some make up techniques, so, some latex and rubber mask grease made the face. The hair was tough. So, I put on a trucker hat, and then decided that Lon Chaney, Jr.’s wolfman had clothes, cause no one needs a naked lycan running around as we all learned in American Werewolf. At the time, overalls and flannel shirts were popular and so…Voilà! One cigar-chomping, booze-carrying redneck werewolf was born!
HoTS: Tell us about Satan. How did this lovable character come to life on screen?
MH: There is a horror con in Florida called Spooky Empire, and I have been part of it since the first year it was open, now about 11 years. Great show run by awesome folks. A real family feel too. I was a guest writer and another writer I knew, Kevin Ransom, wanted to do an Apocalypse panel and asked if I could do Satan as part of it around 2006. I first just got some horns from my buddy, make-up artist Michael Davy, who was Dick Smith’s personal protégé, and walked in with a briefcase and said I was the prosecuting attorney for humankind. Later, as the years went on, Mike put me in the red make-up and so there it was! Later, when the film was being put together, the writer I hired to do the low budget script, as my original idea would have cost at least a million to produce and I needed someone to do schlock as I just wasn’t that kind of writer was deathly afraid of my Satan character (and Satan in general), had seen the shows. My comic origin is much different, but I figured comics and movies always are. So, I wrote most of my own dialogue and ad-libbed the rest and wrote most of my scenes to my taste, like the devil montage and the final battle with Bubba. I had to as I was the guy who started this whole insanity fest. I love being him as I get away with the craziest stuff when I am in the red paint, and who would not want an alter ego so heinous and hilarious? People love the character and walk up to me now on the street and offer their souls to me. I turn them down, of course. Well, unless they want to throw in a beer too. LOL!
HoTS: The film has been getting a lot of hits on Hulu, and Bubba is even going to Cannes, you must be proud!
MH: Yep! So proud! We are now global, and for an Indie film of the budget I was able to work with, this is huge. I only had $25,000 to work with and some behind the scenes shenanigans from a few contractors I trusted took me to $19,000. But I have been running a comic for 21 years on very little and have been a stage tech, recording studio owner and performer for years, and knew the biz and how to make it work. Plus, I had so many good friends in the business who pitched in to help and just my actors, make-up, and longtime friends came in to see this dream come true as I said it would be good for all Indie film folks and [would] prove my theories I taught when a college scripting and writing instructor. It was up to me to lead by example. I was floored when Bubba made it to the most popular on Hulu. Thanks to MVD and Gravitas distribution! Also, One Eyed Jack distribution in Europe. After we were shown at Sitges Spain at the world’s biggest film fantasy fest as a featured guest item, the audience knew a winner when they saw one. Cracking the European market with a redneck American werewolf who was all about acceptance made me so damn proud! Then, to be vended at Cannes? Formidable!
HoTS: What do you think has made this film so popular?
MH: It’s just goofy fun like the comics have been all these years. Bubba is all about the little guy getting his chance to prove himself. We all know a Bubba in our lives or are one. We try and do the right thing, and it seems like the world never gives us a break. Friends turn on you, bosses are never seeing your potential, other people don’t see us as good mates or friends because they are all about appearances or all about dollar signs. But a true underdog, no pun, always fights for what is right and sacrifices his wants and needs to do the right thing. Sometimes, giving up your wants to help another can actually take you to the place in life or your heart that will get you even further because you gave of yourself. I wanted Bubba in the film to be like my comic version in one important respect…To be the quiet hero we all need in our lives. To be the person who at 4am will show up if the aliens have your cows, the zombies are in the house, a bully or scumbag is harming you or yours, or you just need someone to be there when all others ran off ‘cause you don’t have much. As long as you are a good person, Bubba will see this and show up. Plus, a few beers won’t hurt either. Just sayin’. LOL!
HoTS: Let's talk about your new YouTube show, Coffee Time With Satan. Episode one is out there, with episode two on the editing floor. How did the idea come about?
MH: The character became so popular that people would just walk up to me at shows and on the street and tell me their problems and wants. I figured that Satan was easier to talk to about your troubles as he was probably to them the cause or someone who understood angst. Fallen Angel and so on. But I played him very snarky and like a used car salesman up to no good, and people felt at ease as they do with comedians. We get life in a way most don’t. We make fun of fear and those who instill it in us. You laugh at pain and bigotry and inhumanity and make it easier to take the steam out of that crap. Make fun of ourselves, too. Plus, we’re brave and crazy at the same time to societal rules. We’re like the kid in the fairy tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes; we tell you the straight truth of living. [That’s] why royalty always had the court jester to keep them humble. So, I wanted to do a talk and variety show that was like the stuff I saw in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Laugh In, SNL classic, National Lampoon and so on. Pryor, Carlin, Brooks… All my heroes. Since we now live in times like those, I thought we needed to go back and learn from history, not repeat it! I was also a freelance writer for CRACKED magazine and fires Donald Trump way back in 04. I think I am still on the enemies list. LOL! Now, I have an amazing ensemble cast of crazies who are brilliant and fearless. So, the show is not PC and meant to shock and amuse those with the courage to look within themselves and grow stronger and resilient to face a world on the brink and laugh at the all the damn “emperors” out there.
HoTS: What can your viewers expect from the show?
MH: Just this…Fun! It’s a great way to unwind and think a bit. We may be goofy, but we are being very intellectual. The show is a group effort and we all write bits and so on for it. A community for sure. But the ladies rule and rock this show! Myrtle, Momma Mary, Lilith, and now others coming on board. And this is girl power to me. I know how tough and strong women have to be in a misogynistic and prejudiced world and I turn them loose! I simply sit back, react, and applaud it all. I instigate lot of it. I want people to have a voice who are always told to shut up. A smart man knows that smarter women can multi task and get shit done!
HoTS: What was the inspiration for the characters that appear on Coffee Time?
MH: I have all these wonderful friends who are educated and have been doing either stand-up or other things that put them in the public eye, for one. The others are just those people at parties or at work who have the whole place laughing or are courageous to stand up for themselves. So, I just figured out ways to give them personas for the screen that celebrate who they are in real life. The ultimate cosplay as it were. I am a producer and we look and polish talent till they take off on their own like my crew has. Like being Den Mother and Father to a crazed troop of merry makers.
HoTS: How was Coffee Time cast?
MH: Again, by looking around my life and seeing those who have talent and want to try a risky idea. Brave souls, all! That’s show biz! And they are truly sweet people in real life.
HoTS: How did you decide who would be on your hellish team?
MH: I needed those who could put on costumes and make-up and become these personalities I needed for the show. Like I did for the casting of the Bubba movie. I spent months looking around my group of friends and seeing others at cons and shows who stepped out and could handle being in front of a camera. A lot of people think this is easy. Well, sorry, it’s not. Try it some time. Go to a store and just start being funny, REALLY funny, not just silly or stupid, to the crowd at the supermarket who are stuck behind the 80 year old with an expired coupon, or the twenty something who can’t get their apply pay to work, or the guy who is hitting on the check-out person and who doesn’t give a shit that you’re late for work or your kid is throwing up in the shopping cart ‘cause you have no one to watch them and you had to get their medicine, or you just pulled double and just want to get home before you pass the hell out. You help them to endure and they are happy you showed up, and then you, my friend, have just made the world a better place. Or at least the checkout line and may have prevented someone from going postal later. We all need a laugh and to be part of something. I was in a supermarket shooting once and after the police got the bastards, I walked around trying to calm and make folks smile ‘til the all clear was called and we could go. True story.
HoTS: What are your hopes, future state, for Coffee Time With Satan and Bubba?
MH: Well, to not get deported, even though I was born in the USA, or lynched mostly for either. LOL! Actually, I want to see Coffee Time evolve into an interview show for the first half as I talk to celebrities about their more decadent and evil side, you know, what we really all enjoy about living and doing something more than make money and ego. and then turn the ladies loose as a round table of REAL women, not a bunch of over privileged millionaire celebs who might have been from humble beginnings but have lost touch with the real day to day life. I have stood during production and heard them talk about clothes, movies, men, women motherhood, family and so on and was fascinated at how right and down to Earth they saw things. This show could teach men how to really understand women and others in the world around us. As for Bubba? I am scripting the second movie now and am going to be proposing it soon in California as having a studio or Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix on board would be a ticket for this one to go theatrical and even though we did great in DVD, VOD, streaming, and so on, and I am grateful as hell, I want to go further. I am wanting it to be filmed in Florida like the last one and I know that the LA crowd can be worked with and we Indies need to respect them not be adversarial. Hell, like anyone needs anymore enemies in life? LOL! Cooperation is key!
My state is diverse in culture and location. Plus as we proved to the world after the PULSE shooting, we get along and when family is needed we all are. Florida Man is a pain in my ass as most are transplants from elsewhere who just don’t get into our lifestyle. I was part of the film and TV scene here in the 1990s and it was greedy politicians and the fear from LA and NYC that we could be a threat that took it away. I am watching Atlanta closely and I got a vibe that it is just another Hollywood East that could implode or be used up fast as they are not as experienced as we down here. We down here have been there and done that. Our current governor does not like the entertainment biz from cutting state incentives. BUT! We are the makers of lifetime dreams come true. We have talent, techs, and support to not just take you into a fantasy world for two hours. We can take you to stories and places that you’ll tell your grandkids about. Plus, I and some others in film down here have gone county to county and city to city and found that being truly Florida friendly, as what we true locals call it, can do much! So sunshine is in our hearts and our handshake. I made Bubba happen because of just that. But, ya gotta be sincere, responsible and play fair, cause that phony smile and BS goes just so far if you are not a true believer.
If you’d love to see Satan and all his pals do their worst, check out Coffee Time With Satan, now on YouTube!
Posted by Angie Calabrese in HORROR COMEDIES, INTERVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, SATANIC/DEMONIC, WEREWOLVES, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE: A Few Minutes With Robert Mukes (Video Interview)

EXCLUSIVE: A Few Minutes With Robert Mukes (Video Interview)

So a few weeks ago I ran into Robert Mukes. Actually , if I had literally ran into Robert Mukers, I doubt I would have have got up off the floor yet... The man is a mountain! I had contacted Robert previously and had arranged an interview with him as he was a guest at the Baltimore tattoo convention a few weeks back. Since Robert was gracious enough to accept and grant me some time for the interview, I made sure I got there early.
Fair use doctrine.
Robert Mukes at the 2017 Baltimore Tattoo Arts Convention
Robert Mukes, aside from being a towering giant of a man (he stands 6'10”), is, by far, one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is very friendly, accommodating, professional, and just a great person over all. I do apologize for the back ground noise as the convention hall itself was made entirely of concrete, so everything echoed. A lot.
Regardless of the sound quality, I hope you enjoy this quick interview with Robert Mukes as much as I enjoyed interviewing him. If you're a convention goer, Robert often frequents them as a guest, so be sure to stop by and say hello. And when you do, be sure to tell him that John from House of Tortured Souls sends his best! Thank you, again, Robert!
Keep it Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
MUSIC REVIEW: Wolfman Chuck and the Spookalele of Doom – Another Confession (2017)

MUSIC REVIEW: Wolfman Chuck and the Spookalele of Doom – Another Confession (2017)

Wolfman Chuck and the Spookalele of Doom / Fair use doctrine.
Another Confession / Company: Ukulele Horror Records
  1. 1. Dance With The Devil
  2. 2. Wolfman Chuck
  3. 3. They Pray, My Prey
  4. 4. When You Die
  5. 5. Another Confession
  6. 6. Gore To The Whore
  7. 7. Rotten Pumpkins
  8. 8. Lucille
  9. 9. Ballad Of Ronnie
  10. 10. Yup, It's Rape Again!!!
Promoter, host and musician are just some of the words used to describe the Massachusetts based Wolfman Chuck. Whether leading his band of Brimstone Boys or working solo, this genre staple has made a career out of crafting music based around his morbid sense of humor. Chuck has previously unleashed two full length albums and a slew of split EPs on his label Ukulele Horror Records. With the Brimstone Boys, Chuck focuses his sound on a heavy punk and metal feel, but with the “spookalele” he tends to stick closer to love songs filtered out through his twisted mind. Chuck spent most of 2016 working to unleash The Brimstone Boys, his full band project, with Dave Sage and Zack Zombie, to the world but managed to find time to write and record his best effort to date. Titled Another Confession, Wolfman Chuck and the Spookalele of Doom bring 10 haunting, dark tracks to the table in an album that entertains from start to finish.
The disc opens with “Dance With The Devil” a track that helps set the album’s overall darker tone. In a conversation regarding the writing process, Wolfman Chuck explained that this album would contain more personal tracks than in previous recordings and, from the start, there’s a noticeable difference. Continuing with the theme established on the previous song, Chuck segues into “Wolfman Chuck”. With a nod to the Brimstone Boys and boastful lyrics about his preference of women, alive or dead, Chuck portrays himself as a repulsive and diabolical deviant through a hauntingly mellow track ripe with his standard gore and violence.
Track three, “They Pray, My Prey” sticks out as a song that expresses Chuck’s ability to add depth and layers to music consisting only of a man, his beard, and his ukulele. A uniquely haunting and distant opening riff leads into a mid-tempo track about the sinister woodsman toying with his victims in lyrics like, “You can cry all you want, but you’re mine.” Track four is the most outright hostile track on the disc as the Wolfman barks lyrics like, “what you see is what you get, I’m not a fake motherfucker like you” and “I’ll be there when you die. No angels gonna cry." "When You Die" is a comfortable norm for longtime fans of Chuck, poppy, friendly riffs with aggressive punk vocals. Tracks like this prove the Wolfman can be a well versed artist while maintaining loyalty to what got him immediately recognized. The macabre mountain man is a master at his craft, successfully fusing the stark contrasts of violent lyrics over the top of a happy and upbeat ukulele. The album’s title track, “Another Confession” is the standout of the bunch. Packed with emotion and a long build up to an incredible chorus, this is the best Chuck has sounded all around in vocals, playing, and writing. On my one hundredth play through, I still get goosebumps as he segues into the songs hook “What was wrong with you is now right with me and your dead and buried.” If you know nothing of his extensive musical history, this track is a perfect starting point and the highlight of an album full of incredible songs. It's not uncommon to see fans of the genre bypass acoustic acts as nothing more then an artist doing less than others, but those with that elitist mentality generally miss the creative genius of artists like Chuck. The album’s title track alone would be perfect for showing what acoustic solo artists have to offer.
With “Another Confession” being as powerful and moving as it is, I would’ve been satisfied if the record ended there. Fortunately, the second half of the album is as equally enticing as the first. Track six, “Gore To The Whore”, shows Chuck flexing the romantic muscle he’s know for with a song of death, blood, and guts crooned sweetly over a track fit for any make-out point rendezvous. If I haven’t brought attention to it before, it’s important to note how well Chuck wrote these songs and fit them together to keep a mood flowing from track to track without breaking its hold. The next song, “Rotten Pumpkins”, features Brimstone Boys bassist Dave Sage lending a backing vocal track. While the majority of the disc is a more honest form of horror expressed in a way Chuck pulls off convincingly, "Rotten Pumpkins" is a return to a more fun form of horror. The track was originally released in 2016 as a single recorded with the Brimstone Boys and is, as the majority of the album, one of the strongest songs penned by the bearded butcher. Without breaking the streak, the album continues on to another recognizable track, “Lucille”. Yes, a track written about the blood drinking bat swung into the skulls of his victims by Negan in Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead comic books and the AMC TV series of the same name. A fitting topic for a man destined to offend everyone to some extent, Chuck portrays the violence of the show in a spoiler-ridden track too good to skip. Just like “Rotten Pumpkins”, “Lucille” can be heard with The Brimstone Boys backing, but to garner the true essence and malice of the song, the version from this album is more fitting.
“Ballad Of Ronnie” is the ninth entry on the disc and another showcasing Wolfman’s ability to write a catchy hook. Most notable about this track is the almost western feel injected into the playing - a fresh turn if you found yourself of the minority needing a change of pace. Chuck croons about Ronnie, a street walking transgender meeting her demise at the hands of a violent John. The song strums along as Chuck delivers lyrics in the form of a tall-tale fit for the most macabre. Chuck has remained adamant that his music is written because he enjoys it and it's not penned for snowflakes, and "Ballad of Ronnie" is a strong example of just how little he cares about offending listeners. The disc closes with the song “Yup, It’s Rape Again”. Premise, title, and delivery of this track display what Chuck is most noted for bringing to the scene. He garners the ability to spew out violent offensive lyrics with no difficulty over riffs that, in the hands of anyone less sinister, would be coated in happy and uplifting words. As a finale, this song wraps up Another Confession in a neat bow. Complete with memorable hook and all, Another Confession ends on a strong note.
Clocking in at just short of 30 minutes and available with full color art for only $5 from the label’s Big Cartel page, the disc is worth the time and money spent. Described by Chuck as being “less campy but still fucked”, Another Confession is a audible splatter-fest that assaults the senses and calms the nerves. Aggressive, offensive, and fun as hell, Wolfman Chuck has been an artist I’ve enjoyed watching evolve. If you’re a fan of home grown and unique acoustic horror, this album is a must. This is entirely my take on the music this album has to offer. I wanted to briefly touch base with Chuck to see what his thought process was going into this and what he foresees himself doing next.
House of Tortured Souls: To start off, could you describe your music in general and what you would like your listeners to get from hearing you?
Wolfman Chuck: I play a ukulele. My play style sometimes sounds punk, rock & roll and a little traditional uke sound, this is all I've been told in feedback. I really don't know how to describe it... I just play what I feel. As for what I would like my listerners to get from my music... well, nothing. I make music as a release. If someone like it then... OK, right on, glad they dig it... if not, I don't really care. I make music for me. It's my therapy.
HoTS: I bring up The Brimstone Boys, could you describe that band? How does it differ from your work with the spookalele?
WC: With the Brimstone Boys I don't play my spookalele at all. I am the front man, throwing blood and tossing body parts and fetus's while singing my spookalele tunes as a well as originals to the band. Wolfman and the Brimstone Boys is another release but this time I share the stage with friends of like mind.
HoTS: As a solo artist and with a backing band, you've perfected the art of taboo themes. Have you ever worried that your content would scare away potential fans?
WC: I don't do what I do for fans, no, nope.
HoTS: I honestly hope it stays that way. Moving onto your new album, the record in total has a different vibe. The same content and the same old Wolfman. Could you explain the different approach, if any, you took in crafting this disc?
WC: Writing this album I was in a dark place for a while. I feel it tells with the lyrics and tone. I have also been listening more to some folkish bands lately. I'm sure that influence shows through as well. I feel it has more of a serious feel and is less campy, yet I still have my dark humor.
HoTS: Of the 10 songs on this album each one seems to show you writing at the top of your game. Do you have a favorite song from this record or at least one that you feel would be the most widely accepted by your fans?
WC: Nope, can't say that I do.
HoTS: We talked before about the use of different ukuleles on this record, can you explain how that benefited this disc?
WC: I have many ukuleles and they all have their different tone and personality. When I use a certain one to write a song it is created with that ukulele. Feel, tone and soul. So to use a different ukulele for a song that was written on another... you just lose the songs essence.
HoTS: Is that a technique you've used on your other albums?
WC: Yes. My other two albums, I use the one uke I wrote the songs with. It's just this time I used more then one uke.
HoTS: Do you have plans for what you're going to do next?
WC: I have been tossing the thought around about maybe forming a full band again. This time with me fronting ON the ukulele... Wolfman and the Hounds of Hell... we will see.
HoTS: And in conclusion, Chuck you've written an incredible record, easily one of my favorite releases. You've got plans for the future, anything else you'd like to say to the readers?
WC: Glad you dig it, and I would like to conclude with telling the readers to get out there to the local clubs and support local music. Don't just go to shows with national acts. So many good bands to be discovered. Get out there!!! Also check out Ukulele Horror Records, my label. It supports lots of great local acts.
If you found the foul-mouthed, ukulele-wielding mountain man to be entertaining, then be sure to follow him on Facebook and pick up a copy of his latest CD Another Confession at the Ukulele Horror Records web store.
Posted by Dom Calzola in INTERVIEWS, MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Up and Coming Horror Author: James Dermond

INTERVIEW: Up and Coming Horror Author: James Dermond

I came across this author while networking on twitter. He gave me the link to his book on Amazon. I peeped in and was quickly lost in his wording! James has the magical ability to snap you up and throw you right into the scene! You truly feel like you are right there! At some points you will even feel like that what is happening in the book at that moment is in fact happening to you!
James Dermond is originally from the Detroit suburbs but has lived in Colorado for over 10 years. He has never been married and has no children.
House of Tortured Souls: Tell us about Doorways to the Unseen.
James Dermond: Doorways to the Unseen: 6 Tales of Terror and Suspense is a collection of six short horror stories. The Doorways to the Unseen short story collection published before Halloween last year is the first volume in what will be an annual series. Doorways to the Unseen Volume 2 (six new short stories) will be published in September 2017, again right before Halloween. An audio book of Volume 1 will be released before Volume 2 is made available as an ebook and paperback.
HoTS: Where can someone purchase the book?
JD: Doorways to the Unseen is available as an ebook and paperback on Amazon and also on Barnes & Noble Nook. An ebook only is available on Kobo and Smashwords as well.
HoTS: Have you written anything prior?
JD: No, Doorways to the Unseen is my first book. I have four more books for release this year: the 2nd volume of Doorways to the Unseen as well as three books in a trilogy. The audio book of Doorways to the Unseen Volume 1 is the fifth product my publishing company is releasing in 2017.
HoTS: Who inspired (or coached) you to write?
JD: A number of famous horror authors, such as H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Clark Ashton Smith, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and William Hope Hodgson. I have never had a writing coach or taken a creative writing class.
HoTS: When did you fall in love with horror?
JD: When I was growing up in Detroit back in the 1980s, I would religiously watch the Creature Double Feature on local Channel TV 20 every Saturday afternoon. I must have seen nearly every low budget or obscure horror movie from the 1970s over the years I was in grade school and high school. I also read some classic horror stories in the grade school library such as H.P. Lovecraft, "The Outsider" and "The Dunwich Horror".

HoTS: Who is your favorite monster?
JD: Probably something from H.P. Lovecraft: Yog-Sothoth?
HoTS: Do you have a fan page or special Twitter account?
JD: Yes.
HoTS: Anything in the making?
JD: A trilogy about witches! The three part story is my re-imagining of the Salem Witch Trials from the 1600s.
HoTS: What do you do when you are not frightening your readers?
JD: I run another business and also teach classes online, so I am very busy. The self-publishing company is my third endeavor.
HoTS: Do you have any advice for those interested in writing horror?
JD: Write EVERY day.
You guys be on the look out for the first book of the witch trilogy, The Hanged Witch, coming some time in early summer. 🙂
Posted by Tammie Parker in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Mike Lombardo

INTERVIEW: Mike Lombardo

By Dixielord

 

Last week I has the pleasure of talking to Mike Lombardo, writer and director of the upcoming post apocalyptic holiday movie I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday. It was a really fun talk more conversation than interview, and I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

House of Tortured Souls: Reel Splatter is known mostly for horror comedies, I have seen The Stall, but White Doomsday, seems to be a more serious film.

Mike Lombardo: Yes, it is a serious film. There's no comedy, well there's a few light moments, but it's not comedic at any point. We don’t play it for laughs ever.

 

HoTS: I was thinking it was completely humorous till I was just watching the trailer again and I caught the, “No food. No hope. Noel”. I don’t know how I missed that before.

ML: (laughs) It’s a little bit of grim humor in the trailer.

 

HoTS: It looks like it’s going to be a dark, grim movie.

ML: Yeah, I think that’s a pretty safe assumption. It’s pretty grim. Nihilistic is a good word for it.

 

HoTS: Nihilistic is a big word but I like that.

ML: (laughs)

 

HoTS: I see you have repeated the gas mask motif from Suburban Nightmare and The Stall.

ML: I have it tattooed on me as a matter of fact.

Poster art from I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday by Director Mike Lombardo

Poster art from I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday by director Mike Lombardo

 

HoTS: The gas mask is an unnerving, spooky look, where did that come from?

ML: The gas mask character that's all over the website, that's our logo, that's Dr. Chud. That was my character many years ago. Basically I've always been obsessed with gas masks and what they represent. It's very dehumanizing when you put a gas mask on someone. It almost instantly makes people uneasy. It speaks to paranoia, and I was just always obsessed with gas masks.

I found that actual mask, the reel splatter mascot at a flea market from a Viet Nam vet who owned a stall there. So I bought that and I had this character, trench coat, gas mask and a cardboard sign that said “The End is Near” and I started doing that in real life. Just wandering around town with that, just to fuck with people and see what would happen.

It's weird there’s never been a real mythology behind the character. We always talked about it, about different things he could be, but we never really did anything with it. He just started popping up in short stories, he's like an omen, he's always there, somewhere. Eventually as we moved into actual film stuff, making shorts, I picked that as the logo. Because I never considered Reel Splatter entirely horror, but it's also not entirely comedy . It's this weird, nasty surreal thing, and when people see the gas mask, their first reaction is “What the fuck?” and that’s exactly how I want them to react. I want them to say, “This is weird” and weird is the best way I can describe what I generally do.

Even the gas mask Santa, that was something I came up with in high school, so that's going way back. When I was in high school I had a project for graphics class, I forget exactly what it was supposed to be, I think it was some kind of instructional video or picture set. Which it turned into apocalyptic Christmas for some reason with me, because I had a real obsession with Santa Claus too. So I had this image of Santa in a gas mask that I plastered everywhere, and it just stayed with me for many, many years. Eventually the events surrounding this movie happened and it just worked. It was actually a short story I wrote in 2012, then the movie and it was a no brainer, we have to use that mask.

 

HoTS: It really caught my eye, it was kind of a “Holy Fuck” moment.

ML: (laughs) That's exactly what I was going for. Haha.

 

HoTS: That scene. I kept telling people this is going to be one fucked up movie.

ML: Well a lot of people think that character, that Santa is a slasher movie villain, but White Doomsday is not a slasher movie. So I'm curious what people think that character is associated with and is completely off base from what is really going on. I'm going to remain mum on the circumstances of those scenes, but it's not a slasher movie. So eliminate that from your minds. I'm not a fan of slasher movies.

 

HoTS: That's one of the things I have been pondering in my mind, and I wont ask you to divulge any secrets, but what is that Santa? Is it the mom dressing up to go out and kidnap babies.

ML: (Laughs)

 

HoTS: Or is it the actual Santa? I don't know, and I want to know so bad, but I don’t want anyone to tell me.

ML: Hopefully you won't be disappointed. A lot of people have been asking me what that is, because when Fangoria ran a story about our poster, that photograph, they plastered that all over the article. Everybody has been reposting that and asking what the fuck is this, and I'm just smiling to myself and it's like, “Just wait, you'll see”. (laughs)

 

HoTS: Do you think the slasher film is so ingrained in pop culture now, that when ever people see a mask, they automatically assume it's a slasher film?

ML: Absolutely, and when I was cutting the trailer, the producers were very hesitant, like, “Yeah, I don’t know if you want to use that, you're giving away too much, and people will get the wrong impression of the film”. I thought about it long and hard. I wanted the trailer to be as representative of this film as humanly possible. We had one version of the trailer that made it look like an apocalyptic action movie, and that's not this movie at all. I really thought it was important to show people that image, just to show, this isn’t a standard thing. I mean, I've been billing this to people as Miracle on 34th Street meets The Road, and I really don't know a better way to describe it than that. It's a slow burn, it's a depressing character piece. I feel it's more of a dark drama than a horror movie, but that's just me personally because I wrote the story. But I know people are going to think it's a slasher flick.

And we did kind of a retro style artwork for the poster. I wanted to do like an 80s horror paperback cover. Mark Schoenbach of Sadist Art Designs did that for us, he's the guy that did our The Stall poster as well. Those two things combined, people are definitely going to think it's a slasher film. You know what? Let them think that, hopefully when they watch the movie, they wont be disappointed that there's a story in there and not just a guy in a rubber mask hacking up teenagers.

 

HoTS: I see how people can make that leap from the poster, but to me, watching the trailer, I know you say The Road, but to me it reminds me of the last ten minutes or so of The Mist.

Spoiler

I know a lot of people hated that ending, but to me it was perfect.

ML: Yeah, I think that was a great ending. I'm a big fan of the bleak stuff.

 

HoTS: Me, too, but I have to be in a good mood to watch those films.

ML: (laughs) That's understandable.

Mike Lombardo is dreaming of a White Doomsday

Noel and Merry Doomsday from Mike Lombardo
Photo courtesy off Mike Lombardo

 

HoTS: When I come in from a hard night's work and need to chill, I turn on Family Guy. But if I'm in the right mood, I go for the bleak, depressing, dark films like A Serbian Film and Martyrs.

ML: Two of my favorite films of the last ten years, and they're absolutely beautifully made. What I like about those two movies they are incredibly dark, and ugly movies, but they never get to the level of exploitation. Even A Serbian Film, they show you just enough, and then they move on, they never revel in it. There's this really disturbing imagery, but it never becomes undisciplined.

 

HoTS: It's an extremely powerful film.

ML: Absolutely.

 

HoTS: I remember sitting in silence after watching both of those films.

ML: (laughs) I was just about to say that.

 

HoTS: What did I just see, what did I experience. Especially with Martyrs, that ending was perfect.

Spoiler

ML: For me, I think Martyrs is a harder film to watch. I know a lot of people think A Serbian Film is the more shocking of the two. The thing with A Serbian Film, you are introduced to these characters, a genuinely loving family, genuinely good people, that happen to be put into a terrible circumstance. There's light hearted moments, and there’s a build up, and then everything just plummets to hell. Martyrs starts down here (gestures with his hand as if a low level) and it just goes, it's never not horrible, there's not a single moment of that movie where you're smiling. It's just terrible all the time.

 

HoTS: The one time, when you start to smile, then Boom!

ML: Yeah, there’s that family scene for like two minutes, then Boom, home invasion. And I'm sitting there watching, and what really struck me about Martyrs, I was sitting there watching with my roommates and when the movie turned, when they finished Lucy’s story, I remember looking at my roommate and saying, “I have no fucking idea where this movie is going”, and there's another hour left. I have zero idea what's gonna happen and that hasn't happened in a decade. Then they just come out of nowhere and sucker punch you in the stomach. Here's a girl getting punched in the face for ten minutes. Enjoy.

 

HoTS: That was so brutal because it was so real.

ML: I'm getting chills just thinking about it. That movie just wrecked me.

 

HoTS: I kept waiting for the Hollywood moment, for her to grab her chain and choke out her captor, waiting for her to somehow escape, and it didn't happen. I finished the movie and said, “I loved this, but I'll never watch it again”.

ML: That’s the way I felt about it and A Serbian Film, and I've watched both a dozen time since. I remember after watching Martyrs, I had to go for a walk, I just had to get outside, that movie was so rough, and A Serbian Film was, too, but with A Serbian Film at least it had character arcs and a more cinematic approach to it. It definitely wasn't a Hollywood movie but it was a little more standard, a little easier to swallow, but the bleakness of Martyrs. I don't know if I've ever seen that topped. The only other films that have affected me like that were Sâlo and Cannibal Holocaust. Just raw, unflinching brutality, and ugliness, and they were all influences on me when I was doing White Doomsday. I'd like to think we don't pull any punches. We go for the sad whenever possible.

 

HoTS: At the risk of sounding like a very sick individual, I hope you don't pull any punches, I'm looking for a very dark, bleak, hopeless film.

ML: It's all those things, we had a little bit of a test screening of the rough cut at Scares That Care, to some of the people who were involved in the movie. The first ten minutes we were all talking, getting settled in, joking a little bit, by fifteen minutes in everyone had stopped talking, by twenty minutes I noticed there was dead silence, then someone said, “Someone make a joke, please”.

 

HoTS: Oh, you had them then, sounds promising.

ML: The back story of the movie is a very personal film. I wrote the story, in 2012 my mother was diagnosed with kidney failure, she was in the hospital in critical condition for about nine months. She has recovered since then, but she had interstitial nephritis, which caused her kidneys to only function at like three percent. They did not think that she was going to make it, and I was the go between for the hospital and my family, who were all in different states at the time. Everyone was calling me for updates all the time, and I basically had to try and downplay how bad things were. I didn't want to break down in front of my mom, and my family, so I was taking the brunt of it, and passing along the bad news. To say sane I started writing the story, which essentially boils down to watching a someone you care about fading away and you being powerless to do anything about it. So the hopelessness came from that, the story is dedicated to my mom and the movie is too. The character of the mother was influenced by my mom, and a lot of what you see is these characters, trying to shield the little boy from the reality of the situation. So no, it's not a happy movie.

 

HoTS: I like to think that movies like this, allow me to get the darkness out, helps me stay sane. I don’t know if that’s true for other fans and filmmakers of depressing, disturbing films. People do ask me all the time how can you watch films like this, and especially when I watched A Serbian Film and The Human Centipede, which I didn't find disturbing at all.

ML: No, not at all. Actually I didn't like the first one when I first saw it, because I had heard so much about it and I was thinking “this isn't the movie I heard it was going to be”. Watching it since, I realize it's a very, very good movie. It's almost a body horror movie more than anything else. It's more about domination and slavery, I don’t want to say psychological, because it is pretty visceral, but it's not a gross out, exploitation movie at all. The disturbing part of that movie was this man, breaking three people down into dogs basically. That's what bothered me about it.

Then the second one, was what everyone expected the first one to be. I'm very one the fence about the second one. I love the concept of it, that some one had seen the original one and then tried to reenact it. The movie is basically a giant “Fuck you” to censorship and the media claiming that people are going to mimic movies, which I think is absolute horseshit. I heard the premise and I thought, “Wow, this is going to be really intelligent”, because I didn't know if Tom Six was a really smart guy, kind of doing something nasty, or if he was just a sleaze king. Then I watched that movie and, ahhhh he's kind of just a sleaze king. Which there's nothing wrong with that, but I think he had a great opportunity to make a powerful commentary on horror films, and censorship of art, and he kind of botched it. I haven't seen the third one, but I heard the third one was miserable.

 

HoTS: It solidifies him as a sleaze king. There are some incredibly funny moments, but it is just so offensive, so gross. It's basically every derogatory word and insult you can call another human being is used. Every racial, sexist insult is thrown out over and over.

Okay, to move away from the doom and gloom a bit, let's talk about The Stall. For some reason I had the idea that was a zombie film, but I saw it earlier, and it's not.

ML: Oh no.

 

HoTS: I didn't want to bring it up in case zombies pop up in White Doomsday, but I'm so tired of zombies.

ML: No, no, that's another thing - I know some people are going to think it’s a zombie film and it's not.

 

HoTS: I just think the zombie story has been told. Let's find a new story to tell.

ML: Exactly.

 

HoTS: I did like Maggie with Arnold, but other than that.

ML: I didn’t see that but actually heard a lot of good things about that.

 

HoTS: It was pretty good. It was more of a story of the relationship between a father and a dying child than a traditional zombie movie.

ML: See, that's something that I would definitely enjoy, being that I love dying children obviously.

 

HoTS: (laughs)

ML: I think zombie films work best when the zombies are window dressing, a background to a different story. That's how I enjoy them anyway. I would definitely watch that.

 

HoTS: Back to The Stall. For some reason, I had the idea this was the story of a guy trapped in a bathroom stall during the zombie apocalypse, but it's not.

ML: The thing with that movie, we were working on The Stall about 2-3 years though various technical difficulties, shooting on weekends. We had to re-shoot a lot because the effects weren't working with the tentacles. But we were just kind of doing our thing, you know, making this Lovecraft movie, which was also very personal, about my job. That was like a dry run for something more serious. It's funny, the poster and the premise make people think it's going to be this big serious, gross out, B-movie and it's not, at least I hope people don't take it that way. It's about half and half.

 

HoTS: Honestly I was expecting turds. I'm glad there were no turds.

ML: Exactly. That was the big joke for me. We were presenting this movie as though it's going to be like a Troma movie, and it's not at all. It's pretty much straight Lovecraftian. It has a bleakness I was feeling at the time. Working in food service for fifteen years, trying to be a filmmaker on the side, it kind of takes its toll on you. Dying at work is my biggest fear, like one day I will realize I wasted my life doing something that I don't enjoy, while trying to support my passion on the side. The idea that I’m terrified to leave my comfort zone - which equates to a two by two bathroom stall in the movie - because there’s some horrible thing out there, that I'm not aware of yet, some awful external force. That when I get out there, I'll realize that my dreams are not good enough, and that I wont make it. That's what the whole bit is about. Or it's just about a guy trapped in a bathroom with a bunch of tentacles, and that's pretty cool too. However you want to watch it, that's fine.

 

HoTS: It was the most Lovecraftian references crammed into twelve minutes I have ever seen. You even worked in Erich Zann which is still my favorite Lovecraft short story.

ML: We had more on the radio broadcast but it gets cut out. That was one of my favorite, I'm trying to remember the others, I know there was DJ Brown Jenkins and Erich Zann. That was a lot of fun. I'm a huge Lovecraft geek, obviously.

So, I was working on this movie for two years, we release it, and our poster art was originally a restroom sign, with tentacles coming out of the side. That was our first poster, we had that for about a year. Then we did the alternate poster that's on the DD, of the guy kind of shrinking away from the tentacles, that looks like a big 70s or 80s VHS cover. So we had all that stuff out for awhile, and then the movie comes out. It's getting watched, stories posted all over the place, and then I start getting calls, about four months later to go on Netflix and look up The Stall. And I look, and there’s a movie with the same fucking poster as us, but it's zombie hands. It's the same premise, and I was like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” (laughs) I was so annoyed. Then I watched it, and if it was a good movie, I'd be totally cool with it, but it's an awful movie.

 

HoTS: I think that was what confused me. When I met you I asked you if The Stall was on Netflix because I remembered seeing it.

ML: I got that from a lot of people. Which really aggravated me, not saying they stole it, because people do come up with the same ideas all the time but it really grinded my gears because they had the same poster art. Their other poster was the restroom sign with zombie arms coming in from the side, so basically both their posters were damn near identical to ours, and it's essentially the same premise. But whereas I recognize that that movie has about thirteen minutes in it, they stretched it for an hour and a half (laughs). So it became very tiresome very quickly. Although I am a big fan of their first movie, Freak Out. It's about a guy who escapes a mental asylum and a bunch of horror fans find him. He not a violent criminal but they try and train him to be a slasher killer. It's low budget, but it's very funny. It's very low budget, but it's a fun, dumb movie, they were trying to make a Troma style B movie, and it's got some very entertaining moments in it. But The Stall, I was not so much a fan of. Maybe I’m biased, I don’t know.

 

HoTS: That does explain my confusion because when I watched it earlier I knew I had seen that cover before, but I don't think I ever watched the zombie version of The Stall. Because like I said, I really don’t watch new zombie films unless I'm bored out of my head and there’s nothing else that catches my interest.

ML: Yeah, and it sucks because I grew up with Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. When I was a kid, I wore out my VHS copy of Dawn of the Dead. I used to rent it every week and watch the head explosion scene from the beginning, over and over again. I was obsessed with zombies and there was nothing else out there other than the Italian stuff, a spat of movies in the 80s and the Romero trilogy, there wasn't really any other zombie stuff that was too exciting. Then back in what, 2003 when Brian Keene published The Rising, the Dawn of the Deadremake came out and things kind of blew up again for zombies. I was like, this is the best time to be alive, there is zombie stuff everywhere. Then after about a year of that, it's, “Okay, I'm done”. That was ten years ago and it's still going (laughs).

 

HoTS: It is still going, There are three themes, that if I am cruising Amazon Prime or Netflix, that I just scoot right past it: that's zombies, found footage, or four friends going anywhere. I just pass.

ML: Yep, yeah. (laughs) Actually I just watched the Cabin Fever remake, speaking of four friends going somewhere. It's like, “Why do I do this to myself”? Horrid, horrid stuff.

 

HoTS: Like me. I will shit talk a movie, know it's going to be bad, and still end up seeing it.

ML: Oh, absolutely.

 

HoTS: I saw The Omen remake in the theater.

ML: I was there opening night.

 

HoTS: I saw The Omen remake in the theater while running a fever and fell asleep. I tell people I love the movie because it's the best sleep I got all week.

ML: I had to go to the ER right after seeing that. I found out I had two hernias.. I was in the theater and ran to the bathroom vomiting profusely. Everyone said I had the antichrist growing inside me. So that was my experience with The Omen - as if the movie wasn't bad enough.

 

HoTS: I think it just made everyone sick.

ML: (laughs) It really did. The devil was definitely in that film because no one seeing it had a good time.

 

HoTS: So where are you going now with White Doomsday? Festival circuit?

ML: Yes. Currently we are in post-production. We are starting to work on visual effects now, sound design, um color grading, and then I'm hoping to have the movie finished by Christmas. It would be great to have it out by Christmas. The thing is, it doesn't mean it will play by Christmas, because we are at the mercy of the film festival schedules. You submit a film to the festivals four months in advance, and you don’t know if you get accepted for two to three months. So we have to figure out which festival we would like to premiere at, and what the submission deadlines are, and all that kind of stuff. But I would love to have it out for Christmas. Then the film festival circuit, and try to find a distributor, and see what happens. If we can find a company to put it out, then the DVD will hopefully be widely available. If not we will access our options, maybe press our own DVDs like we did with The Stall and Suburban Holocaust, then hit the circuit, the festival and convention circuit on foot and bring the film to you. So we'll see.

 

HoTS: I will be looking for it.

ML: Thank you.

 

HoTS: Hopefully on physical media.

ML: Physical media is a big thing for me. We will probably do a VOD release down the road, but I hate not having a physical disc. I'm a collector. I am a huge, huge collector and I love extra features. I refuse to go out and buy a disc that has no extra features on it. This movie was a year and a half in the making, and I'm going to have so much behind the scenes it's obnoxious. So many crazy stories about how we made this movie with just paper clips and chewing gum, you know. So I'm hoping to get a nice supplemental package out there that VOD doesn't have.

 

HoTS: There's very little worse than opening up a DVD and special features are scene selection.

ML: Yeah. Or theatrical trailer. It's like, “Oh wow, that’s great”.

 

HoTS: I just watched the movie; now I can watch the trailer.

ML: Thanks, this is phenomenal. Interactive menus, that's my favorite, and subtitles for the hearing impaired.

 

HoTS: I love VOD because of the convenience, but I hate it because of the inconvenience, if that makes sense. It's so easy, but I’m at the mercy of whatever Netflix or Amazon allows me to watch.

ML: Absolutely, and from a filmmakers standpoint there are a lot of pitfalls. People think, “Oh, there’s no overhead”, because you don’t have to make discs. But they find ways to gouge you with putting it out there and you are also opening yourself up to a huge amount of piracy very easily. This is my first feature so I'm very leery of all that, but I guess I will find out soon enough.

 

HoTS: Piracy yeah. I think it's so easy from a fan’s stand point to say, “This is a big Hollywood director. They aren’t losing any money”, but I have seen Indie directors, who are having thousands if not tens of thousands of downloads, but they aren't actually selling shit.

ML: I was talking to a friend about effects, and he was giving me the run down for distribution on his first feature. They did a Kickstarter campaign and sent out early DVDs to the Kickstarter backers. He said by the time the film was released, the day it actually premiered on DVD and VOD, there were over 700 websites that had it for download already. He said ,“Well, we lost our shirts on that one”. It's so easy to justify, you just click on that link and you’re like, “I'm not really stealing”, but when you’re a filmmaker at this level, you are literally counting every download, counting single sales... I'm not trying to make a movie so I can get a solid gold pool, I want to be able to make another film. I fund this stuff with the money I make at the pizza shop. It's very difficult when people are pirating stuff.

 

HoTS: And people are getting so open about it.

ML: I just the other day saw someone ask where he can get the Alien series for free, and I said, “Well, you can buy them, and you should support the artist that made them”. I know the 6.99 it costs at Wal-Mart to get them is too great but...

 

HoTS: And you can do a VOD rental for under 3 bucks, I know I just shit talked VOD, but there’s really no good reason to pirate movies. I know you maybe cant afford to watch every movie you want to, but I can't afford a Lamborghini. I feel your pain. I can't get a gold plated pool. That’s life, and it's not an excuse to steal, but it's just so easy and there are realistically zero consequences.

ML: Nope, they aren't knocking down anyone’s door for piracy. I think also people take for granted the ability to get everything instantly. In the old days when you had to go to a video store and scour around for hours to find that movie, it had more value for you. It meant something because you had to hunt for it. Even in Napstar days, it took three days to download a MP3 of a song. That was a fucking accomplishment. You had to really want that song, or that jpeg of Jenny McCarthy. You really needed it or it just wasn't worth it.

And this goes beyond piracy to film appreciation in general. People will just go online and do a search of ten most disturbing films of all time and do a mass download in, like ten minutes, and finish watching them and it's, “Yeah, whatever”. It's disposable to them because they didn't have to really work, hunt, or research it. It doesn't mean anything to them. It's like junk food, and that's a shame, because you really aren't experiencing those films. Because those articles, those lists, they aren't giving you any historical context, they aren't telling you why these films are important. I feel like it's the best time for being a film fan, and it's the worst time, for those reasons. It's never been more accessible, but it's so disposable to everyone. It’s a real shame.

 

HoTS: To me, part of the magic was always digging through those dusty shelves looking for that gem.

ML: Exactly, just looking at that crazy cover and knowing that cover or that poster was lying to me but damn if I don't want it.

 

 

I want to thank Mike Lombardo for allowing us the time to chat with him. We will keep our eyes on I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday.

Posted by Allen Alberson in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
ONE-ON-ONE WITH BRIAN K. WILLIAMS

ONE-ON-ONE WITH BRIAN K. WILLIAMS

By John Roisland

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One of the fastest growing names in the horror industry, Brian K. Williams, and his partner in crime, director Scott Schirmer who together are Bandit Motion Pictures who have brought us Harvest Lake, and now the eagerly anticipated Plank Face. In addition to gearing up for the launch of the trailer for Plank Face, Brian has an extremely hectic schedule of film festivals and conventions, but he was gracious enough to sit down with House of Tortured Souls: and (figuratively) spill his guts to us for a few moments!

 

House of Tortured Souls: Brian K. Williams, first thank you for your to talk with House of Tortured Souls. We are honored to have you with us. We also want to say congrats for all the success and acclaim you guys are getting from Harvest Lake, I know I for am a huge fan of the film. How has this impacted Bandit Motion Pictures?

Brian K. Williams: It's really just started for us. Harvest Lake was our first release, and we are hoping to be able to just keep putting out quality films that people can enjoy, growing the fan base with each one. We are trying to keep the momentum going and to continue to learn and improve with each film.

 

HoTS: Okay, the new release that everyone is very anxiously awaiting is Plank Face, which is directed by Scott Schirmer. Fill us in, story line, cast, etc.

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BKW: Plank Face has recently just went live with our indiegogo pre-order campaign, and I'm excited to say we hit our modest goal of $5,000 in less then fifteen hours. This will allow us to be able to pay some hard working people who worked on the film and get the merchandise needed for our perks manufactured, but that's just the beginning. We hope to raise enough to be able to continue making films, so we will be announcing the first of our stretch goals very soon. The cast is a great mix of new and familiar faces, playing an exciting bunch of characters that I can't wait for everyone to get a peak at.

 

HoTS: I hate using the term remake, but if you could ...re-envision any film to redo, what would it be?

BKW: I'm really not sure, because I've never wanted to remake anything. I used to say if I ever won the lottery I would make The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy film, but that was back before it got made. I would entertain a remake for sure, I just don't know of anything in particular that calls to me. Remakes don't really bother me at all, and I've never understood the beef fans have with them. There are quite a few I actually like, but if you don't like them, then just don't watch them. The original is always there. That doesn't change. It shouldn't change your views or fandom of the original. Now, If they burned the original negatives, destroyed all copies, and erased the memories from your mind upon release of a remake, that would be different, but they don't.

 

HoTS: Of your work so far, what stands out the most? What are you most proud of?

BKW: I'm proud most recently of my work on Harvest Lake. I decided to take a break from directing to focus my time and energy on cinematography and editing. I have won multiple cinematography awards and editing awards in just a few short months of Harvest Lake being on the festival circuit, and that makes me really proud. I feel like I specifically set forth a plan, followed it, and achieved what I wanted to achieve, and that makes me proud

 

HoTS: Through your venture in filmmaking, who do you look up to? Who inspired you?

BKW: Seeing the movie Found was very inspirational to me. I had always been a lover of film, and I had been doing model photography for several years, but didn't think I could actually make a film living in the middle of Indiana. Seeing that Found was made by people right down the road with equipment that I could afford was a life changing event. I am very lucky to be able to work along side Scott every day now. Since then, I am inspired every day by so many people. There are some great people out there who are producing great work, and seeing it just inspires me to try and get better with what I do with every new film.

 

HoTS: Looking to the future, what can we expect to see from Brian K. Williams?

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BKW: More movies! Bandit Motion Pictures is now a full time gig for Scott and me, and we hope to produce two to three feature films per year. Harvest Lake was first this year, we will be releasing Plank Face in just a couple months, and in September we hope to be in production of our third feature of the year, which is a script I am writing and plan on directing as well.

 

HoTS: Your all time favorite horror film?

BKW: That is a hard fought battle that is always raging on inside my head, but it generally comes down to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Andrzej Zulawski's Possession. Today I will say The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

HoTS: Brian K. Williams, again, thank you and we wish you and Bandit Motion Pictures all the best. Any closing words for your fans?

 

BKW: Without our fans, we are nothing. We are doing our best to put out quality material that people can be excited to see, that will make them think but also allow them to slip away into another world and have a good time. Following us on social media, buying our products, telling your friends - all of these things will help us to be able to continue making films.

 

House of Tortured Souls reminds you that the Plank Face indiegogo campaign is ongoing, so there's still time to show your support and pre-order your copy.

Keep It Evil...indiegogo pre-order campaign

Posted by John Roisland in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Brandon D. Henry

INTERVIEW: Brandon D. Henry

A Few Minutes With Brandon D. Henry

By Tammie Parker

Brandon D. Henry - Midnight Forever: Zombies 2

Once again, I stumble upon another creep (not that kind!) on Facebook: Brandon D. Henry. As I investigated him, I found out that he had quite a few spooky thoughts and macabre stories roaming around his gourd. In fact, Henry had already penned and published a few books and was working on his next.

My first Brandon Henry book was Midnight Forever: Zombies, which I purchased from Amazon. Definitely my kind of book, Midnight Forever combined short stories, poetry, and tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse. The combination of prose, poetry, and practical tips was a refreshing change from the usual zombie fare. After that, I purchased Midnight Forever: A Light at the End of the World, a book of short scary stories about everything from zombies to bullies to a plague of rats. Eventually I purchased all of his books, and Brandon and I have remained in contact via Facebook messenger. Just recently he hired me on as his editor (poor, unfortunate fellow), a job that came at the perfect time because I had just joined the staff at House of Tortured Souls!

Brandon D. Henry - Midnight Forever: Zombies

Recently, Brandon graciously agreed to sit down for a one-on-one question and answer session, so without further ado...

House of Tortured Souls: How long does it take to complete a book on average?

Brandon Henry: Zombies took about 3 months, from writing the rules to the stories. The books of short scary stories take up to two to three years or more. I've been writing material for years, some of which has been published and some still await publication.

 

HoTS: What are your personal favorite books?

Brandon Henry:Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz and The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King.

 

HoTS: Share three interesting facts about yourself.

BH: I love artwork, I enjoy dubstep, and I used to drink absinthe.

 

HoTS:How can people help support your work?

BH: Buy books - you can find my latest book on Amazon, share links on social media, and join and share The Midnight Graveyard forever Facebook group to stay updated.

 

HoTS:What prompted you to become an author?

BH: I read a book in junior high (AKA middle school) that was very simply written, so simply that I decided I could write something better. I wrote three stories in one night. By my standards now, they were terrible, but I did find out that I enjoyed writing.

Come check him out on Facebook. If you pay him proper, he won't bite... unless you want him to.

Posted by Tammie Parker in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Jeff Golden

INTERVIEW: Jeff Golden

By John Roisland

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Jeff Golden is a bass player who got the opportunity to play bass for doom metal band CROWBAR and then had it stripped away by a text message. In this exclusive one-on-one with Jeff, he gives us the low-down on what really happened.

 

House of Tortured Souls:We are talking to Jeff Golden, bass player extraordinaire and dear friend of mine who has some big news that he has offered to open up with to us here at House of Tortured Souls.com in an exclusive interview. Jeff, we are honored to have you, and we appreciate your time!

Jeff Golden: Awesome, thanks!

 

HoTS: Jeff, you have been all around the world, you have traveled , you have gone from wanting to play, to being on stage, on some of the biggest venues I've ever seen. I've tried keeping up and following some of your posts and pix online. Tried keeping up on your touring. And my friend, I've got to tell you, since this is the first time we have actually spoken one on one, for some time now,...that I'm proud as hell of you! With all that's happened in this last week with you and CROWBAR, we really appreciate you taking the the time to talk with us! So how the hell are you man?

JG: First, I'm really good! And I'd like to say “hi”. It has been a while since we've talked, and I'm sorry about that! And I want to say “thank you for all your support over the years”. I'm actually doing really good!

 

HoTS: Jeff, you really made it. You had a goal to play with one of your all time favorite bands CROWBAR and made that happen.

JG: Yep.

 

HoTS: When we first met it was, I think, five years ago...give or take?

JG: Ahhhh, yeah, actually 2010. LOL

 

HoTS: We actually ran into each other in the mall of all places. I was in search of CLUTCH stickers. We started talking about music and soon found out that your favorite bands were CLUTCH, TYPE O >NEGATIVE, and, of course, CROWBAR.

JG: Right!

 

HoTS: Lo and behold, as time went on, CROWBAR needed a new bass player and, as luck would have it, you auditioned. You packed up your car and went from southwest Florida up to New Orleans, I believe it was twice, if I'm correct, to try out.

JG: Yeah, i went once for the try out and i just ended up staying there for about a month. Then I came home and eventually headed back to Nola, to start practicing with my new band CROWBAR.

 

HoTS: So, long story short, you made the cut. (LAUGHING) It was amazing, honestly.

JG: Thanks!

 

HoTS: Knowing you personally, it was an overwhelming event to grasp. Thinking to myself, 'My god, I know him, personally!' was not only really cool, but also was an amazing feeling. It was kind of hard to wrap my fingers around it when you told me that you got the gig because at first I was like, “Yeah, sure, whatever you say, Jeff!”

Now you've toured everywhere - American tours, European tours - and it seemed non-stop for the better part of about what, two years?

JG: Yep, it was about 2 1/2 years, a total of 14 tours.

 

HoTS: Now, in that time, you, obviously, were the new guy in the band. I'm sure things were kind of hard getting acquainted with new people, your band - your new family. You were living with these people now on a daily basis and especially when you were on tour.

JG: Yeah, we hit it off pretty good in the beginning and, we just stayed on the road for three to four weeks at a time and then, eh, came our current situation. As of tomorrow or this weekend,I'll be making an announcement about the new band I'll be joining up with. Not going to say who other than they are an awesome band and guys whom I've become good friends with over the last few years.

 

HoTS: That's awesome. There was never any doubt in my mind that you would bounce back.

JG: Yeah, and only took an hour from the text messages saying that I had been fired!! HAHA!

 

HoTS: Yeah, well, you know, that's the thing. When you told me that you were fired via TEXT MESSAGE, I lost complete respect for CROWBAR, I'm sorry. Metal fans out there, I don't care whether you love CROWBAR or hate CROWBAR, that's bullshit!

JG: Well, yeah, that's the thing. Some fans were messaging me that they were torn and didn't know what to do, and I was telling them just keep listening to the band. Some are friends with CROWBAR, and that's cool. Everything worked out for a reason that it was supposed to. I don't want anyone choosing sides because things didn't work out the way we planned, and I'm okay with not being in that band.

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HoTS: I've got to ask, was there any point on the road, or even at home, that maybe you started feeling like something or some things just aren't right? I guess what I'm getting at is did this come as a complete surprise?

JG: Yeah, for sure. It wasn't a surprise at all! I actually knew it was going to happen, and I actually knew that's what that phone call was about. There was a phone call first, then we said it was all going to be worked out, and then I get a text message five minutes later saying I was fired. So, no, it wasn't a surprise at all. I heard rumors about three months ago that the original guy was back, and when I brought it up they (CROWBAR) said it was just a rumor and it wouldn't happen and they definitely wouldn't do that to me. But, yeah, I could tell something was up, and it was said in one of the comments that it was told to me, but it was never told to me. I found out through Facebook.

 

HoTS: So...do you mind me picking at the wound? Do you mind me asking what their given reason was?

JG: Ah, they gave me a few reasons, none that really were enough to - that I would think - to be let go, and I'll just leave it at that. I was told a few reasons. I'm still friends with one of the guys in the band. He and I always got along and will keep that friendship going. You know, it's like Kirk (Windstein) said on his post, “A band is like being in a relationship. Sometimes it doesn't workout. It's like sometimes business is business, and friendship is friendship”. I just think the way it was handled was poor. I mean only one of the guys and I remain friends, and that's just the way it is for now. Maybe later everything will be cool, but for now it's... I'm just going to focus on my new music thing. And they've got Todd, so it's going to workout for everyone in the long run.

 

HoTS: Obviously, in a business aspect, you have to let go of things, and you have to have replacements to keep moving forward yourself.

JG: Right!

 

HoTS: Now, with that being said, were you a little bit surprised or shocked that what seems to be minutes after you receive that text there is already somebody who's taking promotional pictures with them. Your replacement in the band already?

JG: No, i wasn't shocked at all about it. I knew exactly how it was going to go down, and I knew exactly who it was going to get the spot.

 

HoTS: Jeff, you're a stronger man and a better man than I could probably ever be. I'm sure you probably wanted to swing a baseball bat at a couple windows or doors and, for all I know, maybe you did. I know that I would have wanted to.

JG: Nah, there was actually... I was okay with it because its going to put me and my family in a better spot once I get this going and get us back and settled in Florida. It just ...it pissed me off the way it was handled with the situation about being let go. Because I was expecting it, but if it had been handled a bit better, then I wouldn't have been pissed off at all.

 

HoTS: Okay, I can see that point. I'm totally cool with that. You're definitely showing the upper hand in the sense of maturity because you're accepting and handling this a lot better and more maturely than how they dealt it to you.

JG: Yeah, even though it was their call to let me go, it was time for us to both go different ways. I'm not saying that because I'm not going to say “I quit” or “you can't fire me because i quit”. (LAUGHING) It was just they came right out and said I was fired.

 

HoTS: So, moving forward, you're obviously moving forward musically and, as you very well know, it's a small world out there and you will most likely run into these guys somewhere on the road.

JG: Yeah, I'm sure I will. Festivals, shows, who knows? We could even end up on the same tour!

 

HoTS: Exactly, and with that being said, any hard feelings? Would you be able to shake hands, have a beer with them, or would it be bad?

JG: Nah, I'd be up to say “hi” to everybody. Before I head to Florida, I'm going to be meeting up with the guitar player. He and I were roommates, and I lived on his couch for about five months when we decided to get a bigger place. So he and I split a two bedroom place until my wife moved over here. I just moved out from there this past November. You can't just really throw away friendship because of other people's decisions.

 

HoTS: Thrilled to hear you say that! Now, speaking of your lovely bride... Congratulations! To those readers who didn't know, Jeff is not only now a husband but also a stepfather to a beautiful little girl. On behalf of myself personally and speaking for House of Tortured Souls.com, we want to congratulate you guys!

JG: Well thank you, all!

 

HoTS: We wish you all the best in all of your future ventures, and I've got to say this... Dammit, why couldn't this have happened like three months from now - AFTER I get to CROWBAR play here in Baltimore this August?!

JG: (LAUGHING) Yeah, I've had a few people tell me that! I will definitely be coming through with the new band because there's already two tours that have both been confirmed. They will be announced when management gives the go ahead, I guess, which should be very soon!

 

HoTS: Jeff, anytime you want to make any new or future announcements, or even just talk about HORROR, you know the right place to come to.

JG: OH YEAH!

 

HoTS: Jeff, I'm thrilled to hear you're doing well. You sound great, and I guess one way to look at this when all is said and done is that you actually got to live YOUR dream of being bass player for CROWBAR!

JG: Oh, most definitely! Being with CROWBAR and Kirk was a great opportunity. I played in front of 85,000 people for a show. It was cool, but it's time to move on and focus on the new band. A lot of people are messaging me saying they're sorry, and I just tell them, “Don't be sorry because there're bigger things ahead, and they're going to happen soon!

 

HoTS: Jeff, again, we thank you for your time and wish you and you and your family all the best in your new future!

JG: Thank you, I appreciate it. I would like to thank you and my fans for the outpouring of support, from fans in my home town to all over the world. I've had people messaging me and making sure things were cool, and, of course, I want to thank them. Like I told them, though, announcements are coming soon. Things are good on my end, and I can't wait to hit the road again!

 

Keep it Evil.

Posted by John Roisland in EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 12 comments
INTERVIEW: William Tokarsky

INTERVIEW: William Tokarsky

The Creepy and the Spooky:
William Tokarsky

By Tammie Parker

William Tokarsky 0

It's no secret that I'm a stalker of things and people who go 'bump in the night'. I stumbled upon William Tokarsky while digging into another actor's business! When Mr. Tokarsky accepted my friend request he posted the creepiest YouTube of his work imaginable. And I thanked him. Since we became friends, he keeps popping up on my television. My boyfriend's favorite show is Homicide Hunters, and one fine day as I'm cleaning the house POOF there he was. Then again on Swamp Murder, and AGAIN on The Carbonaro Effect!

I asked him for a little bio and short Q&A and he politely obliged.

 

House of Tortured Souls: When did you fall in love with horror?

William Tokarsky: I was a fan since I was a child. The Blob was my first.

 

HoTS: What draws you to the genre?
WT: I'm drawn to the genre now because the camera likes me there, and my limited following likes me there.

 

HoTS: Who do you admire?
WT: Ed Wood is who I admire.

 

HoTS: Can you give a short bio?
WT: I myself am a limited talent hack, an accidental actor who gets booked on a look. I fell into character actor roles after I became an old man, and now I am obsessed with it. My cult following is for my role as the Killer in Too Many Cooks (2014), and I lucked up on getting my first SAG contract role in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013). My expanding role on Adult Swim's Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell has been the only TV show to let me recur, now filming season three. I play Creepy Uncle Bill. My whole acting career can be summed as just being lucky. How else can you explain my success?

Meet the Too Many Cooks Killer, William Tokarsky, in the short video below.

Or get to know William better in this half hour interview with SuperKamiGuru9000.

 

HoTS: What are you currently working on?

WT: I just finished a feature horror movie called Penance Lane, and I will be filming season three of Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell later this month.

 

So there you have it. William fits nicely into the creep or spooky role, and I admire him for that.

William Tokarsky 02

Posted by Tammie Parker in HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, 2 comments

Interview: Lou Avilleira: The Mind Behind FATHER EVIL

By John Roisland

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Many of you have come to him as Father Evil, the lone evil priest who wanders the conventions in search of sinners. Now we take a few moments to meet the man behind the character , Lou Avilleria.

For years now, people have been going to movie and comic conventions and dressing up as their favorite character. Many of the cosplay (as its called) artists, often enjoy many different characters. That wasn't the case for Lou, he found and created Father Evil, and the world has quickly come to know his name!

I first met Lou online, and we quickly became good friends. I think it was a little over a year later that I then met Father Evil in person at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. It was a thrill! What a showman! I look forward to see both Lou and Father Evil soon at upcoming events, ...but I must be honest, of all the celebrities that may be in attendance,...Lou is actually more exciting to meet.

Lou is a loving husband and very proud father. He hails from the Garden State of New Jersey, where he balances his family life, and the life he created as Father Evil. Doing many guest appearances in local events, Lou has also be seen doing the tri-state area conventions. Well he has spread those evil wings and has been seen in conventions as far as Texas and most recently Atlanta, GA.

 

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Lou took a few minutes to give me a short interview to catch us up.

 

House of Tortured Souls: First, Lou, thank you so much for taking the time out of what must a very hectic schedule you are growing into to spend a few moments with House of Tortured Souls.

LA: You're most welcome!

 

HoTS: At what point did you realize that you wanted to join in the cosplay world?

LA: It was around 2010. I went to Chiller Theater with a character I made up over 20 years ago through one of my sketches. It was supposed to be a one time thing...a "goof" but as soon as I showed up, people lost their shit and wanted pics. What really floored me was when a featured guest and Italian director (his name escapes me) flipped his shit and wanted pics as well. He actually excused himself from his fans to take pics of me. I figured if I got his attention I may have something here... and the rest is history. (Mind you it was just a $20 costume from Party City when I first appeared.)

 

HoTS: Upon creating what the world is quickly knowing as Father Evil, how long has it taken you to get to the point of his outfit, look at it, and say "Now, its perfect!"?

LA: Two years. To where I was like okay, this is authentic... But I'm never or will never be done "evolving". It will never be "perfect" in my eyes.

 

HoTS: What other, if any, other cosplay characters had you tried before deciding on Father Evil ?

LA: Never tried any other...I was going to do a vampire, but by that time people we're too engrossed with Father Evil. I even mentioned about cosplaying another character, but one guy said, "No dude, you can't be anything else. You are Father Evil & Father Evil is you."

 

HoTS: Father Evil has become what it seems to be an almost over night sensation. I know you've worked hard, put in lots of hours, and done numerous events to support his character. Did you ever think that he would have gotten such a huge following?

LA: No… nowhere near to what he is now, not at least this fast. I mean I knew that, hey, I got something here but never believed it would be this big, this fast. Never.

 

HoTS: From autographs, to fan photos, to celebrity photos - at their request, what is the one thing that a fan has done that has just put you over the top, to where you can't really believe it just happened?

LA: When a fan got a tattoo of Father Evil. I was like, “I don't even have a movie or comic, yet. Did this really just happen?” I was BLOWN away to be at that status.

 

HoTS: On the same note of dealing with fans, at the end of the day, when you're out of costume, do you ever just sit and think, "Is this really happening to me?"

LA: Yes, every other day.

 

HoTS: I've seen people swarm to Father Evil, I've seen them run scared from you, with your outfit being that of an evil priest. My question is have you ever encountered any, let's say, religious fanatics scolding you or, on the flip side, any individuals, from, let's say, the dark church approach you?

LA: No… nothing negative, nasty stares but nothing verbal. Maybe they're too scared. Who knows? I have met three Baptist pastors, and all wanted a pic. One said I was "grotesquely beautiful ".

 

HoTS: So I hear there is really big news in the work for Father Evil. Care to fill us in?

LA: Graphic novel. That's all I'm going to say... for now.

 

HoTS: Lou, you are a hard working man. You have a gorgeous family. How do you balance time between Lou and Father Evil?

LA: When I'm on vacation, Father Evil stays home. When I'm not doing something in the convention scene or hosting, I'm just a dad who loves to play with his kid.

 

HoTS: In closing, Lou, thank you so much for your time. We all wish you the absolute best with Father Evil and hope to see you soon. Is there anything you like to say to the readers of House of Tortured Souls?

LA: If you have an idea for something, do it. No matter how crazy it may sound, do it. I read a quote by Henry Rollins that really spoke to me and basically it speaks for itself here it goes… "There is no such thing as downtime, spare time, or part time all you have is lifetime. GO !!!"

Keep It Evil.

Posted by John Roisland in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Michael Ferguson

INTERVIEW: Michael Ferguson

Michael Ferguson

“The more we work the more I see that
anything is possible.”

Michael Ferguson, from Huffman Texas, and his wife started a film company together in 2012. Starting with weddings and commercials, they eventually found themselves focusing on film, their first attempt being “Apocalypse,” a zombie short that just recently finished production. Notably, their project was filmed solely within one grueling 24 hour period in the frigid Atlanta cold. Also, for those keeping track, pre-production was only two weeks, and they shot that day with only 50 crew members, a horde scene of only 150 volunteer extras, and a budget of just over one grand.

After seeing the cast and crew in action, I was determined to learn more about what they were trying to accomplish, and once I thawed out, I reached out to him and asked a bit more about the project he graciously allowed me to star in. Here are a few questions I threw his way, and check out these exclusive behind the scene photos from that day.

 

House of Tortured Souls: What is Apocalypse about? Why did you decide to make this film?

Zombie Michael Furgeson interview

Michael Furgeson: Apocalypse is for the cast and crew themselves. I wanted to make Apocalypse so I could create opportunities for people to live their dreams, whether behind or in front of the camera. That those who've always wanted to work on a production team, or be in a film could finally live that out. So when Apocalypse came to me I saw that this is that chance. I want to show people that dreams are obtainable.

 

HoTS: What was your main motivation for creating this film? What was the lesson you learned during this production, and how would you apply this to your next project?

MF: My main motivator for the film was seeing how much people believe in this idea. Once I shared the vision for the Apocalypse story, people were willing to drop everything they were doing to be a part of it. My best lesson from Apocalypse was to choose motivation over talent, because those who are willing to learn beat those who are not willing to at all. Pretty much that I want driven people on my team.

Also a lesson learned was that I can't fail. Failure doesn't exist, there are only temporary setbacks, and in hindsight those setbacks are so small I can't even remember them. Just keep moving forward and don't stop.

 

HoTS: I saw that you shot the entire film in one day on one location, which is incredibly notable because a lot of filmmakers don't attempt something that complicated. What was your greatest take-away from making it, and if you had to do it again what would you have done differently?

MF: I knew wanting to shoot the film in one day would be a big challenge, and it was the biggest challenge of the entire production. I also knew that any filmmaker in their right mind wouldn't attempt this, especially with such a short time to plan it. I didn't get all the shots, but with my team we almost shot the entire film in less than twenty-four hours. My greatest takeaway from this was that bigger or more isn't always better. For this shoot we had fifty people on crew, and it was great having everybody there and they did such a great job, but the more ears you have to tell the longer it takes to relay the message.

 

HoTS: What makes Apocalypse different from the other indie zombie films out there today and what inspired you to create this? What would you like your film's audience to get out of the film? If you could give people one sentence that would drive them to see it, what would it be?

MF: What makes this story different is that the "zombies" aren't actually zombies. They're people who are infected with a virus that the protagonists believe may possibly be reversible. They're willing to risk their lives to save those who can potentially "kill/infect" them. The inspiration for this story came to me while my friends I were praying. We were just saying bye and a quick prayer and as they spoke all the scenes for this film flashed before my eyes. I felt like I would be doing an injustice not making this film and showing it to the world. My message to the audience would be that it's never too late and there's always hope. Even in the most desperate situation. My one sentence to my audience would be this: You'll never see it coming.

 

HoTS: Lastly, how can people get involved in the final stages of this project or at the beginning of the next?

MF: A lot of the people from this production are friends I've made throughout life and/or on set acting, but if people would like to get in contact with Apocalypse whether for crew or cast they can contact us at MFApocalypse@gmail.com

Michael Ferguson’s Apocalypse will be released sometime soon on streaming media.

Posted by Jason Thompson in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW:  John Campbell – The Creature Feature

INTERVIEW: John Campbell – The Creature Feature

By Machete Von Kill
The Creature Feature John Campbell. Photo Credit: Kimm Buchmann

The Creature Feature John Campbell. Photo Credit: Kimm Buchmann

John Campbell, professional wrestler, Imperial Wrestling Entertainment owner, YouTube show host, horror fan, and all around crazy (in the fun way, not the restraining order, fear for your life way) guy, recently took some time out of his hectic schedule to sit down and tell me what he's up to. It's up to me to make you care. LOL!

I met this very interesting dude several years ago at an independent wrestling show, for a company I also ended up working for. My relationship with said company didn't last, but my friendship/fanship with John has continued. I've had the privilege to watch him develop and grow in the ring and out of the ring. We've gone on multi-state wrestling road trips, hung out with big names in the wrestling business, and we've shared some pretty intense moments on paranormal investigations. He continues to blow my mind with his massive horror knowledge, in ring and mic skill, determination in all areas of life, and the fact that no matter how big his hype gets, he's the same down to earth guy that he was when I met him years ago.

 

House of Tortured Souls: Okay, so first pretend we aren't friends in the real world and tell me about your wrestling career. When you started, highlights and so on.

John Campbell: Okay, that's fine. You know me, I'm not very formal. (laughs) My career. Well, where do I begin with that? Well I started in the summer of 2006. I always wanted to be a pro wrestler, ever since I was a little kid. One day I just decided to go for it. So I went out, found a wrestling school, and started training. That's how I started, now as far as things after that, well I've had plenty of ups and downs. I'll focus more on the ups. I have been fortunate to wrestle for some of the best independent promotions in the Midwest. I've been in the ring with legends like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Road Dogg Jesse James, and Al Snow. I've also learned from many veterans, and now I try to help as many of the young guys as I can, like other people in my position helped me when I first started.

 

HoTS: I remember back in the Myspace days, you had a link for a horror movie that you were in. I just don't recall the specifics. Can you tell me about that?

JC: Yes. There was a local guy who liked to film horror movies. They weren't masterpieces or anything, but they were fun to watch. Anyway, the guy saw some of my wrestling stuff through a mutual friend and thought that I would be a good fit for one of the roles. I auditioned and beat out a few other candidates. The shoot was only a couple of days, and it was mostly sitting around while the make up artist applied the necessary gore, but it was a lot of fun and turned out not too shabby. It was called Haunted where myself and my on screen girlfriend go to a haunted house and I end up dying. It's a fun cheesefest. (*Note: I looked high and low for the video, but was unable to find it. If you happen to, please post a link in the comments)

 

HoTS: Would you do it again? Is acting something you'd like to get into? You already do a certain amount every time you walk out from behind the curtain.

JC: Yes, I'd love to do more acting. That would be a ton of fun.

 

HoTS: A modern day Rowdy Roddy Piper? (laughs)

JC: Maybe, although nobody could ever fill those shoes!

 

HoTS: No doubt. besides, your own shoes are pretty rad in their own right. What was the first horror movie you ever saw?

JC: I could actually use a new pair of shoes! As far as the first horror movie I remember seeing, it was either Frankenstein, or The Bride of Frankenstein. I was really young, but I remember my toddler brain thinking the monster was really cool looking!

 

HoTS: Ah the classics! I love those. Good times. Did it scare you at all or were just totally into the coolness of the monster?

JC: I don't think I was old enough to really comprehend that it was a horror movie. I was really young, I know it didn't scare me though. In fact, for a long time after I would watch the The Munsters thinking it was the same thing. I grew up with that family more than my own!

 

HoTS: Has there ever been one that has scared you? One that still scares you?

JC: I was probably way too young to be watching The Exorcist. That scared me as a youngster. As far as movies that scare me today, there aren't really many. I'll admit that lump scares get me once in awhile while I'm in the theater though!

 

HoTS: The theater is a totally different atmosphere to watch horror movies in than your living room though right? I mean you kind of feed off of, and are influenced by everyone else's energy/fear. Not to mention the sound system. (laughs) The volume alone has made me jump more than a few times.

JC: Definitely! It's 90% loud noise, which makes for an awesome theater experience, but a lousy watch later on DVD if that's all the movie relies on.

 

HoTS: Very true. Do you have a favorite horror movie or franchise? What about a least favorite?

JC: I'd say my favorite franchise would be the Friday the 13th series. Jason is my bro! As far as least favorite, does the Scary Movie series count? The only one of those I liked was the one with Leslie Nielsen, because you know... Leslie Nielsen.

 

HoTS: Which Friday the 13th is your favorite? And which Jason is your favorite?

JC: I can't pick just one. I enjoy the first four the best, just because you can watch them back to back continuously and keep pretty good continuity.

 

HoTS: What about actor behind the mask, do you have a preference to who is playing Jason?

JC: It's weird, my favorite Jason is Kane Hodder, but he isn't in my favorite movies of the series, if that makes any sense. Kane is good though. He plays Jason as a more brooding figure. Jason became a "zombie" in part six, but the actor in part six still played him as any other actor would. When Kane took over in part 7, he played him how he should. Slower, brooding, more methodical. Perfect for undead Jason.

 

HoTS: And he's my boyfriend. He just doesn't know it. LOL. Kane is amazing. The way he, as Jason, looks at a victim before he kills them is enough to make you terrified. Have you watched much of Kane's work outside of the Friday the 13th movies?

JC: Yes I have. I enjoyed Hatchet very much. I'm a slasher fan.

 

HoTS: Any other sub-genres that you like?

JC: Depends on my mood really, but I dig a lot of cheesy 80s slashers and zombie films the most.

 

HoTS: Any favorites from the new generation of horror?

JC: I liked Hatchet. I also saw a movie not too long ago called the The Taking of Deborah Logan that was really good, as well.

 

HoTS: I haven't seen that one yet. I will have to check it out. How do you feel about the found footage movies? Personally, I can't stand them, but they seem to be pretty popular.

JC: The Taking of Deborah Logan is a mockumentary/found footage film. I think when they're done right, they can be really good. As long as the camera doesn't look seizure-like and you can tell what's going on. I just saw The Visit and that was shot documentary style. I really enjoyed it. Not scary really, but just the right amount of atmosphere to make it good.

 

HoTS: How do you feel about reboots? Sacrilege, crap, or is it a movie by movie basis sort of thing?

JC: I don't like it, but if it can do the original movie justice or continue the story of the series, I don't see them necessarily being a bad thing. The only problem is that so far they've all been terrible.

 

HoTS: Is there one that in your opinion has been the worst reboot?

JC: Rob Zombie's Halloween II was pretty rotten. I also hated the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street remakes.

 

HoTS: I have to agree with you on those. Though I still refuse to watch the Nightmare remake.

JC: Stay as far away from it as you can!

 

HoTS: Are there any that you would actually like to see rebooted?

JC: I'd like to see another legit sequel to The Re-Animator.

 

HoTS: Oooh!! That's actually a really good idea! How do you feel about the “vs” movies. There is some talk of doing another Freddy vs Jason, Freddy vs Jason vs Ash, etc.

JC: I think it's cool to see characters from different franchises together in the same movie. I'm all for it, if they have a competent director, who's well versed with the characters and the stories. Ronnie Yu, who directed Freddy Vs Jason wasn't a fan of either series, so that's why that movie fell flat in my opinion.

 

HoTS: It had the potential to be great. I think you nailed it though, the director needs to get it. With the similarities between pro wrestling and stunt work in movies, do you find yourself to be more of a fan of stuntmen rather than the leading man type of actor?

JC: You definitely have to have both. Without a charismatic character, you have no story to get into. It goes hand in hand in my opinion.

 

HoTS: Agreed. Tell me about your new gimmick.

JC: My new gimmick is me turned up to 100. Pro wrestling meets Punk Rock meets horror movie character. It's a lot of fun.

The Creature Feature in action. Don't try this at home, kids!

The Creature Feature in action. Don't try this at home, kids! Photo Credit: Kimm Buchmann

 

HoTS: The Creature Feature, right?

JC: Yes ma'am

 

HoTS: And how long have you been wrestling as that persona?

JC: I've been doing The Creature Feature persona since the beginning portion of this year. The fans have really taken to it.

 

HoTS: Now are you working as a heel or a face or does it really depend on the company you are working for?

JC: Face actually. Think of Cactus Jack when he was a face. Crazy as hell, but a fan favorite

 

HoTS: Yes! One of my personal faves. Now you've recently started doing a podcast, right? Can you tell me about that?

JC: I actually haven't been doing a podcast. I did a few years ago, but that's been defunct for awhile. I have started a YouTube show though. The Creature's Features. It's a throwback to the old horror host shows with pro wrestling thrown into the mix. I'm hoping to do it as a regular thing.

 

HoTS: Nice! That's cooler than a podcast anyway. How many episodes have you posted? Are you showing old movies too?

JC: The first episode debuted over Memorial Day weekend. Due to copyrights we can only show flicks in the public domain. There's a lot of great movies that have slipped through the cracks trough, and I believe they deserve to be highlighted.

 

HoTS: Glad to see you are respecting copyrights though. So many don't. They usually end up being sued, but still a little respect and research, you can avoid the mess and being labeled as a thief. Bravo.
JC: Absolutely. That and I wouldn't want my channel to get shut down. No thank you.

 

HoTS: Truth! What else are is in the works for John Campbell?
JC: More episodes of The Creature's Features, more wrestling, and only God, Satan, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster knows what else! I just wanna keep entertaining people with what I do.

 

HoTS: Okay, here's your just for fun question, cast your dream horror movie. Who's in it, where would you film it, and what's the storyline?

JC: Hmm. Maybe not a movie, but a series. I'd like to see Ash Williams, Tommy Jarvis, and Herbert West go on Scooby Doo type mysteries, all the while running into different villains from different franchises (Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, etc).

 

HoTS: I'd watch that. Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me. Where can people reading this article check out IWE and your other projects?

JC: Thank you! We're on YouTube, numerous cable channels around the country, ROKU via the Indie Wrestling Channel and Facebook. We film our live shows in the MAC TV Studios in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Posted by Machete Von Kill in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments

INTERVIEW: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

Jonathan Patrick Hughes Chats About His Upcoming Film (S)AINT NICK and Starting Out in Today's Horror Industry

By Nicole Robinson

There is always a new crop of filmmakers, writers, actors, directors, and more working hard to become the next big thing in horror. As films like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween start to be termed classic horror, a new generation of horror movies is emerging from Generation X.

Jonathan Patrick Hughes

Jonathan Patrick Hughes

It is not often we are given the unique opportunity to explore the mind of one these up and coming directors, but we have been given this chance to meet Jonathan Patrick Hughes. Upcoming screamfest (S)aint Nick is the fifth film from Hughes, and we sat down with him to discuss his new flick and why he stands out.

 

House of Tortured Souls: John, tell us about yourself…

Jonathan Patrick Hughes: Hello Horror Fiends.

My name is Jonathan Patrick Hughes and I just finished shooting my fifth short film entitled (S)aint Nick. I was born in Philadelphia, PA, on Aug. 7, 1979. My mother, Patricia Cullen, was a registered nurse and my father was a Philadelphia police officer. I got my first taste of horror when I was roughly 3-years-old and noticed my dad was watching Friday The 13th Part 2. I remember being highly afraid of the man in the potato sack stalking a woman with a pitchfork. When I was 4-years-old, my mother brought home a VHS copy of Michael Jackson's Thriller. The tape not only had the short film / music video but also the making of it. I found myself mesmerized by how it was made and realized (at the tender age of four!) that I wanted to do the very same thing.

When I was five, I started using my mother's video camera and recording everything in sight. As time went on, I became obsessed with the idea of making movies and hoped that one day that would happen. My two best childhood friends, Rob Montgomery and Alexis Polce, and I always had ideas for films. They were never captured on camera, but at least our minds were boiling with ideas. When I was 15, I started working at local video stores. Even if I wasn't making movies, I still found ways to be involved with them somehow. After many years of working at video stores and cinemas, I realized I wasn't getting any younger and began to think that I would never make movies, and that it was just a broken dream like most of us have. That all changed when I found out I was going to be a father.

In 2010 my fiancé at the time became pregnant with my son, and we moved our life to Pittsburgh. It took almost three years to adapt to a new area and new responsibilities. When I found out that Pittsburgh had a film school program, I researched for days and called many times before I decided to enroll. The scary part was thinking, 'I'm going to go to school. I'm going graduate, and I'm still not going be making movies'. I was accepted into the program with open arms in May of 2013. However, I was unable to start until October. That's when it hit me that I should make my first movie before school just to see what I can do before school as well as after. I wanted to test out my own progression, to see if this is something I truly can do. I was fortunate enough to raise close to $1,400 to make my first movie by using Kickstarter. That is how Apartment 1109 came about. The film was released on DVD on New Year's Eve of 2013.

At school I learned how to write, produce, edit, and (of course) direct films. I paid more attention to the writing/directing parts since that's what I wanted to do the most. The Factory Digital Film Program at Douglas Education Center, which is located in Monessen, PA, was one the most memorable experiences I have ever had. I was taught by filmmakers, not teachers. These professionals take their students through a boot camp crash course on how to make a movie and how hard it is to make a movie. My film father, Robert Tinnell, with whom I still keep in contact, is the director of the program, and I'll never forget him. I drove him nuts, but I never missed a single class. The program is something I recommend to anyone who wants to make movies, but I will say this: if you're gonna go to film school, you better have a passion and you better breathe this shit because you won't make it otherwise. One thing I noticed while attending the school is that the instructors care way too much about their students and will do whatever they have to to break them. Like I said, it's boot camp for film because we make movies and were taught how to survive the struggle and the stress as well as problem solving. At the end, a film is made and the victory is celebrated. I have been out of film school for almost a year and have worked on a few short films and music videos. I also directed a trailer for Alyssa and Rebecca Johnson and just recently finished shooting my newest horror film (S)aint Nick.

 

HoTS: Why do you want to work in the film industry and as a director?

JPH: There is nothing else for me to do. I feel that making movies is fun, creative, and a way to communicate with an audience. Writing and directing is the passion. I have a vision, and I want to express it through motion pictures.

 

HoTS: Why horror? And what do you feel is special about your work that you would like your audience to see?

JPH: Horror films have a special language, like French or Spanish. Only a few people in crowded room will understand what they are experiencing. Horror films have always spoken to me differently than any other genre. I do admire all genres but, for me, horror is where the heart is.

 

HoTS: Can you name two people who inspire you and tell us why?

JPH: John Carpenter and Marilyn Manson.

Two genius artists who have very dark yet colorful visions. John Carpenter can make any genre of film while Manson can entertain anyone with his over the top stage performances. When I listen to a Marilyn Manson record, it's almost as if I'm listening to a film he directed.

 

HoTS: What is your favorite horror movie and why?

JPH: John Carpenter's Halloween.

It is genius - a 90 minute film that captures every kind of feeling and emotion and that isn't afraid to be what it is. A classic film with a classic story, a classic theme, and a classic icon.

 

HoTS: What upcoming projects can we expect from you?

JPH: I'm in talks to direct three music videos for bands Kill the Stigmatic, White Trash Stars, and Post Mortal Possession. I'm also in talks to write and direct two sixty second horror films for 60 Seconds to Die 2. I'm currently writing my feature film that will be dedicated to my son Liam. It's a kids movie entitled Bedbugs. It's a nod to some of my childhood favorites like The Goonies meets Ghostbusters, Gremlins, and Little Monsters. I want to show my son how awesome it was growing up in the 80s. I hope he has the same experience that I had when I viewed these films that were so much fun and filled with both adventure and excitement.

 

HoTS: What was it like filming the soon-to-be-released (S)aint Nick?

JPH: Being on the set of (S)aint Nick was a bag of mixed treats. Some days were smooth, while others felt like a bumpy road leading to Hell. Everyone was under stress, and everyone was at each other's throats just trying to make this film. Some people even left set and dropped off because of the content as well as the vision I was trying to get across to an audience. In the end we were able to finish shooting the film, and now we're waiting on a locked edit so we can go forward with music and sound. I'd also like to add it was my first time directing a 9-year-old, and that was a little rough, but in the end he did a great job and I'm happy with his performance as Bill.

 

HoTS: What is one thing that got you through the rough times?

The disgusting man known as Horace Jones, played by the ever so funny and loveable John Seese, made the rough days better with his clever one liners and over the top acting skills. I salute you, John Seese, not just because you’re a friend or an actor, but because your presence can light up the darkest hour. And I'm proud of you as well as your magnificent performance. Last, but not least, to my number one cinematic sister: I absolutely adore you as well as your acting skills. Just know that I could never make a movie without you and will never. We been in this together since day one in August of 2013. Since then we both have grown, and we will continue to grow. You're my number one scream queen, and I love you!

 

HoTS: Where did the idea for the movie come from?

JPH: Death metal and hardcore sexxx. Hahahaha.

The idea first entered my mind right after we finished shooting Apartment 1109. I knew I wanted to attack the Christmas holiday and turn it into a disturbing tale that is sure to leave a foul taste in your mouth.

Christmas has always been a holiday I never really agreed with. After I learned the truth about Santa Claus, the magic went out of the window. Many years after, I started believing that this certain holiday is an uneven one. They feed us the same Christmas carol year after year, talking about how great the time of year is and how everyone is happy. Just because you drive down a street with 30 houses covered in 500 chasing lights does not mean the people behind those closed doors are happy. I thought it would be a good idea to take an audience inside a house where it's not about candy canes, smiles, and mistletoe. It's about two siblings who are now living with their stepfather who is a verbally abusive alcoholic and all around disgusting human being who will make you want to shower every time he appears on screen. Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year at this house. I'm hoping that when people see this they will understand where I'm coming from.

 

HoTS: When is it going to be released?

JPH: Release date TBA. We're working out a deal with a production company as we speak. However, I will self-distribute a DVD with all 5 of my films including Apartment 1109, A Gamble With Death, Empty, All Hallows' Eve: Chapter 1 – The 11th Hour (which is still in post-production after a full year) and, of course, (S)aint Nick.

 

HoTS: What was your favorite experience while filming the movie?

JPH: My favorite experience would have to be either when I actually vomited on set during a very disgusting moment - I didn't expect that to happen. It's gross and I was thinking about cutting it out but everyone begged for it to stay in. It's in the film. The other experience would have to be directing the bloody goodness. This is the most disgusting film I have ever written and directed. It was kind of cool to see body parts being detached from the human body.

 

HoTS: Anything else you would like to share with us?

JPH: Everyone has a dream. Stop dreaming and start living. You have one life, so fucking live it. Making movies is like having sex: when you're done, you feel great, stress free, and relieved, and within minutes you're ready to go back and do it all over again.

I like to add that I'm really thankful for my cast and crew. They really helped so much making this nightmare a reality and I couldn't be happier with the job well done.

Jonathan Patrick Hughes taking a break.

Jonathan Patrick Hughes taking a break.

Posted by Nicole Robinson in INTERVIEWS, 1 comment
3RD ANNUAL WOMEN IN HORROR ON THE HORROR HAPPENS RADIO SHOW

3RD ANNUAL WOMEN IN HORROR ON THE HORROR HAPPENS RADIO SHOW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 13, 2016

THE 3RD ANNUAL “WOMEN IN HORROR” GUEST CONVERSATION SERIES ON “THE HORROR HAPPENS RADIO SHOW” RETURNS WITH MORE THAN 25 NEW NAMES FROM THE DIFFERENT DARK CORNERS OF HORROR!

The Bunker in Blairstown, NJ – Continuing into its fifth year of horror radio with quality and smart weekly Rondo Nominated programming, The Horror Happens Radio Show hosted by Jay Kay and The Ghost celebrates WOMEN in HORROR MONTH! Heard streaming on four different stations weekly, the program welcomes more than 25 new women of horror including filmmakers, actresses, writers, makeup/FX, journalists, promoters, artists and more. The conversational series will run for 6 Tuesdays straight (January 26th, February 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and March 1st), each of the episodes will be live on HGRNJ.org starting around 4:00 PM EST.

The previous two radio celebrations of Women in Horror, have brought many first time guests to the show and nearly 60 women in horror to the critically acclaimed radio program now nearing its 150th show, close to 1000 guest conversations and over 700 first time guest in just 46 months.

“We are proud to celebrate the achievements and the horror created by women all year long but it means so much to be included in this celebration via live and uncensored conversations. We really get into detail with those who do the meat the work by focusing on all aspects of women within horror, I mean all…” – Host Jay Kay

The last two years of Women in Horror, have brought such worldwide names and talent deep in the bunker including WIH Founder Hannah Forman, Actresses Barbara Crampton, Adrianne King, Heather Drew, Allison Egan, Caroline Williams, Cerina Vincent plus more / Filmmakers Jen & Sylvia Soska, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Jen Lynch, Izzy Lee, Patricia Chica plus more / FX and Makeup Artists Michele Mulkey, Juli Hapney, Lindsey Serrano / Writers, Educators and Journalists Monica Benson, Lisa von Biela,  Christine Bucci-Caprilozzi, Aviva Briefel plus more / Promoters LC Macabre, Denise Gossett, Andrea Amanda, Jennifer Cooper to name only a portion of the lineup.

“Horror Happens Productions as a Brand, encompasses many aspects of horror culture, media and conversation not found anywhere else. When you have a powerful and evolving movement like Women in Horror, you see that impact it makes and the empowerment it releases to the many out there no matter the fan you are. That love and art is found not only during Women in Horror Month but all year long whether the live conversations on Horror Happens Radio, the film showcase or Horror Happens Productions found at Horrorhappens.com.” – Award winning Film maker Patricia Chica

This year lineup will be nothing short of smart, versatile, talented and focusing on original visions in all of horror’s dark corners. The official Women in Horror guests and schedule announcement will be on Monday, January 18th starting at 8 AM EST on the show’s Facebook page Facebook.com/horrorhappensrs, Twitter @HORRORHAPPENSRS and on the main website page at HORRORHAPPENS.COM. Thank you for supporting and LISTEN LIVE IF YOU DARE!

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