Interview

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…

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: 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
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
HoTS LIVE : MITCHELL ALTIERI

HoTS LIVE : MITCHELL ALTIERI

By John Roisland/Allen Alberson

Hello, boys and girls, and welcome to yet another great addition of House of Tortured Souls Live with special guest Mitchell Altieri! That's right. On this exciting pre-recorded episode, John and Allen welcome special guest writer-director Mitchell Altieri. Mitchell fills everyone in as he discusses the new upcoming horror comedy The Night Watchmen, starring Ken Arnold, Dan Deluca and Kevin Jiggetts that is holding its big screen premier next Thursday, 11/17/16. He also talks about his past movies such as The Hamiltons and The Violent Kind . Along with all this, Mitchell Altieri also talks with us about the pros and cons of independent vs high-end Hollywood production films.
Mitchell Altieri on House of Tortured Souls Live
On this week's episode of House of Tortured Souls LIve, John and Allen also discuss the upcoming remake of legendary horror film An American Werewolf in London as Max Landis, son of the original director, is now behind the camera. Your horror-fic hosts give mention on our artist of the month Corey Newman as well as welcome our newest member to the staff of House of Tortured Souls, Laura James who will be bringing us true horror in American history.
House of Tortured Souls Live also takes a moment congratulate the winners of our first annual Scary Story Contest. We also touch base on House of tortured Souls own Rocky Gray with his upcoming horror anthology film 10/31/16, as well as give you a sneak peek at our upcoming guests on House of Tortured Souls Live.
So give a listen and as always,
Keep It Evil...
Posted by John Roisland in PODCAST, 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
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: 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: 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
INTERVIEW: Alex Wer – The Man Who Carves Awesomeness

INTERVIEW: Alex Wer – The Man Who Carves Awesomeness

Alex Wer:
The Man Who Carves Awesomeness

By Machete Von Kill

The Pumpkin Geek carves awesomeness

Since 2009, Alex Wer, aka The Pumpkin Geek, has been carving far more complex jack-o-lanterns than then average carver. Then again, Wer is far from average. After carving a pumpkin for his wife's office open house, Alex discovered he could make money with his pumpkin art.

He's carved pumpkins for celebrities like Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, American Horror Story), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager, Dracula 2000) and Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Prom Night). Wer has carved everything from logos to an impressive battle scene between an Imperial Star Destroyer and X-Wing Starfighters. He's been hired by Netflix for a social media campaign, by Legacy Entertainment for a few movie premiers, and, most recently, Wizard World Comic Con.

The Pumpkin Geek carves awesomeness Friday the 13th

I recently got the chance to interview The Pumpkin Geek. Having been a fan since seeing a Joe Mantegna pumpkin posted on the actor's Twitter account a few years back, I was stoked to be able to speak to the 2014 Geekie Award winner. The following is that interview:

House of Tortured Souls: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me! I know you started doing conventions 7 years ago, but when did you discover you had so much talent carving pumpkins?

Pumpkin Geek: I always enjoyed carving pumpkins & simply started getting more intricate over the years. Wanted to be the cool neighbor on the block! My wife asked me to carve her company logo for an Open House in October, so I decided to try carving on "craft" pumpkins sold at Michael's. They last forever so I thought the office could use it each year. It was a simple design, but everyone was impressed & I got 35 orders that night, all by accident!

 

HoTS: Were you taught/trained by anyone or was it a series of trial and error?

PG: I was really into Comic Books as a kid and spent hours drawing & tracing Spider-Man...that's pretty much the extent of my training. Simply came from a love from superheroes.

 

HoTS: How long did it take you to start getting exposure and making money with them?

PG: Well, the first night at the Open House, obviously. But, as I improved over the next year, I decided to try selling my work at a Star Trek Convention in Vegas. I was pretty nervous I wouldn't sell anything, but realized, my main goal was to get exposure for what I did. Surprising, I did really well at the convention, and had several Trek actors, including Zachary Quinto, come to my booth to check out what I did. Some of the celebs actually ordered carves & starting posting about me...Talk about geeking out!

HoTS: Did you set out with the goal of making a profit or was it just a bonus that came along with the hobby?

PG: Originally, it was just for fun, but after doing my first convention, I realized that people were really into my work. Since I do everything custom orders, people were really able to celebrate their ultimate fandom at Halloween.

 

HoTS: How many pumpkins would you say you carve in an average October? Do you carve them year round or only in the fall?

PG: Between June and October, I carve about 175 or so, depending on my schedule. I do carve year round, but much less "off season".

 

HoTS: How many would you guess you have carved over your lifetime?

The Pumpkin Geek carves awesomeness Freddy

PG: I would say over 1,000 in the last six plus years, for sure. Never gets old doing it...too much fun!

 

HoTS: Any favorites? Any that you'd really love to carve but haven't been asked yet?

PG: Spider-Man, because he was a childhood hero & Heath Ledger's Joker (which is on my business card), because his performance was so amazing. But there are many others. Anything new, that introduces me into a new fandom that I hadn't discovered yet. The villains & horror carves are always fun, because they really stand out at Halloween.

 

HoTS: Do you get a little star struck with some of your more famous clients? Any favorite or stories you'd like to share?

PG: I have been VERY fortunate in meeting many celebrities because of what I do. I wouldn't say I am star struck, but I am VERY humbled that they want to meet ME. Jeri Ryan & Ming-Na Wen have been the 2 kindest, and coolest, celebrities to me over the years. They post about my work, use their carves as avatars on Twitter, and have even requested meeting me.

 

HoTS: Any celebrities you'd really like to carve for?
PG: So many! I'm hoping to be the "carver to the stars" eventually!

 

HoTS: How much do you love Halloween? Would you say it is your favorite holiday?

PG: Halloween is certainly a favorite because of what I do. Mostly because I get to make a lot of people happy with my work. I guess I'm the Orange Santa in October. Although, I do love Christmas probably a bit more.

 

HoTS: Do you still carve pumpkins for your own Halloween decorations or do you skip that now?

PG: I try to carve a few for the family each year but have been getting too busy the past few years. I need to make time.
The Pumpkin Geek carves awesomeness Pinhead

 

HoTS: Favorite conventions you've been to? What's your favorite part of the convention scene?

PG: Well, my favorite would have to be Wizard World Comic Con. I did their con last year in Portland and ended up getting HIRED by them to be their National Sales Manager! They loved the fact that I had been doing cons for several years, and I had a background in sales, so got hire that weekend. Not only did I have a great con selling my carves, back came back with a job where I get to find vendors & artists to do Comic Cons now.

 

HoTS: What are you working on now?

PG: I was hired by Rancho Obi-Wan (the largest Star Wars museum in the country), to do a large number of carves for their Gallaween event this year & they are actually having me as a guest of honor! Also, ESPN hired me to do the Sunday Night Countdown crew & World Series. Other than that, custom orders, including a few weddings and proposals!

 

HoTS: Where can people stay in touch with you, follow your work and commission you for custom jobs?

PG: I'm always on Twitter or can be reached via email at alex@thepumpkingeek.com.

 

HoTS: Anything you'd like to say to your fans?

PG: I really appreciate everyone that has admired my work over the years. I have a LOT of supporters on social media that have always cheered me on, encourage me, and been so excited with my success. It's very flattering to know that people really enjoy what I do.

 

HoTS: And finally, since I ask everyone this and you are no exception, Freddy or Jason? Who's the bigger horror badass?

PG: Freddy. Aside from being a badass, he's got a great sense of humor.

 

Thanks again, Alex, for taking the time to speak to me! Happy carving and happy Halloween!

Posted by Machete Von Kill in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Brian Papandrea

INTERVIEW: Brian Papandrea

By Amy Lynes

Brian Papandrea headshot
It's no big secret that I am a huge fan and supporter of Indie horror. It's also no secret that I have been backing the Indie sensation Fangboner since it's inception. I recently had the pleasure of meeting the lead actor of Fangboner (and Silver Bullet Pictures film Chubbies), Brian Papandrea. And he is one hell of a guy. I jumped at the opportunity to ask for an interview. He is just too talented (and hilarious) to let the opportunity slip by.

If you haven't seen any of his films, I urge you to do so. He is a damn good actor and really complements all the films I've seen him in. He pretty much makes the film. Check them out. If you like comedy in the same vein of many Troma films, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.

Ladies and Gentlemen, without further adieu, I give you Brian Papandrea...

House of Tortured Souls: First off Brian, I wanna say thanks for granting me (and House of Tortured Souls) your first interview.

Let’s get started with a little bit of background for the readers. Tell me how long have you been acting and how you got your start?

Brian Papandrea: Well I suppose that depends on if you count high school plays, which was very bad acting! Like, Troll 2 bad but without any of the charm! (Laughing) And if we count that as acting then I might as well throw in skits I made with some friends and my dad's VHS camcorder years before. In that case, let's say twenty years! Yeah, that'll make me kind of sound legit, somehow.

HoTS: When did you know that you wanted to be in the industry? Was it something you figured out early on?

BP: I don't know if I've ever thought I've wanted to be in an "industry" or anything like that. I just always knew that I've wanted to perform and make movies from a very young age. I do remember one moment that I knew I wanted to pursue comedy, which was the summer of '94 and I was flipping through channels and came across this sketch show on MTV called The State. And I don't know if you're familiar with that (although if you're not YOU SHOULD BE!!) but it blew me the fuck away because it was like Saturday Night Live on whip-its!

HoTS: I am definitely familiar with it (laughing) I loved it! Tell me a little bit about how you honed your craft. Have you trained professionally?

BP: Yes, I have and I have a bachelor's degree in Theatre Performance which means I can work at any restaurant of my liking (laughs) but while I was doing that I also took classes at The Second City which gave me so much more confidence both on stage and off. It even helped with writing scripts because if I'm completely out of ideas and staring at a blank computer screen, I'll just have the characters improvise dialogue and see what happens. Seventy percent of Chubbies was written that way and we left it in cause it just happened to work!

And not knocking my training in college because I did get a lot out of it in terms of becoming a character, and understanding their thoughts and motivations and blah blah woof woof...that's really boring, tedious shit but it was very necessary that I use on every film I've worked on.

And yes, I'm aware that I play a guy named Dick in a movie called Fangboner where I have to drink blood from people's crotches to stay alive!

HoTS: I know you’ve done a few Silver Bullet Pictures films, and now Fangboner with Nathan Rumler. Is there anything else I don’t know of? What was your first role ever?

BP: The first movie I ever worked on was called The Stevie Wondershow, which actually had somewhat of a budget and was filmed in Iowa in the early summer of 2008. It was a very dry, dark comedy that was just an incredible experience. It traveled to a few festivals but never landed any distribution, unfortunately. After that I auditioned at an improv theatre and was a resident cast member there for about four years, which was awesome and consumed most of my time. And not just with improv, but I was also apart of several written shows that I am very proud of.

HoTS: All of your work in film that I have seen has all been comedic. Do you have any aspirations to take on something a little more serious in nature?

BP: Actually, months before we were going to start shooting Fangboner, I was cast in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. I've done some serious shows in college but this one I was going to play the role of Demetrius, who (along with his brother) rapes Titus' daughter then cuts off her tongue and hands. So...that was going to be something a little different for me. Of course, this show got cancelled two weeks before opening due to other actors dropping out or some shit. I don't remember. But if I can't do Shakespeare, Rumler is a good enough replacement!!

HoTS: What film was the most fun for you to be a part of? Any funny on set stories you can share?

BP: I'm having a hard time with this question...

The first half of filming the bowling ally scenes in Chubbies was an absolute nightmare! There was a blizzard going on every time we went up to shoot, we had cheap-ass lights, some effects weren't going right...nobody was having fun at all. When summer hit and we had the space scenes left to shoot, then it became fun. It was a pain in the ass shooting four scenes as one character in costume talking to an empty space, and then getting in make up for another character for four more scenes, but that was a fucking blast! I don't know if you have Chubbies or not but the BTS/outtakes on the dvd show a lot of the good time that went into making it. There's also a pretty good BTS/outtake reel on the Fangboner dvd as well.

chubbies snerd

HoTS: I have scene all the extras on both movies and you're right. It's pretty funny. So what's your background in horror? Are you a longtime horror fan and if so what was it that started you on the horror trail?

BP: I've been a fan as long as I can remember! I have an older sister who was a teenager in the 80's so she introduced me to the likes of Freddy and Chucky.

I really had an awesome childhood because when my uncle would watch us, he would take us to the video store (back when there were not one but three video stores in one plaza!!!) and he would let us rent whatever we wanted! I have so many video store memories in the horror section that I could write chapters about it. Sometimes I would just stare at all the boxes and just be in awe of everything. Especially the vhs box for The Dead Pit because every time I had to push the button to make his face glow up, and I never rented it because I was probably too scared at the time. However, a couple years ago I got it from netflix (RIP Video Express) and turned it off after fifteen or twenty minutes because it wasn't the movie at all that I imagined it was as a little six year old fucking around with a movie box. And I didn't want to ruin the magic. I don't know if that really answered your question. But for real, I could talk about horror movies all day. And Van Damme movies too!

HoTS: Who are some of the people in the industry that you look up to?

BP: Anyone who is passionate in their art. People that are humble and not a pretentious asshole (which there are plenty in the scene). I guess I'm giving vague answers... John Waters is someone that I have looked up to for a long time. Rumler and I got to see him do his X-Mas spoken word show live a couple years back.

We didn't pay the extra $100 for a bullshit meet and greet so he and I polished off a few beers at a bar next store. Then went towards the back of the building and John fucking Waters was leaving the venue. Now I've heard he is kind of a dick at meet and greets, but he was very gracious enough to stop, sign our dvds and take an individual picture with him, all while it being a snowy, 12 degree night and his taxi is waiting for him to go to the airport. I love stuff like that happening! As opposed to Tony Todd who will charge $20 for an autograph but be on his goddamn phone the entire time when meeting him. I digress, but seriously fuck Tony Todd, he sucks!

HoTS: Does acting pay the bills or do you have an “Average Joe” job that does that for you?

BP: I'm a server at a restaurant. I make very good money and they're flexible with my schedule for shooting and going to conventions. (Laughs) I tried the office job. I lasted four days.

HoTS: So what else is in the works for you? Anything new coming up soon?

BP: We have two or three projects in the early stages right now. There's going to be a winter movie that we'll start filming early December that may just be my directing debut. Then Nate (Rumler) and I are going to collaborate on a movie in the spring where I play Jesus, who gets kicked out of Heaven for being gay and is stuck on Earth. There's a lot more to it, but I'm not sure if I can give any more details out. I also have a script for a Chubbies sequel, but I'm not sure if that will get made any time soon because it's going to need a pretty decent sized budget that we have yet to work on. All in due time, though.

I'd also like to get back on stage for something, but at this rate, I have no fucking time!!

HoTS: Any future screenings planned for Fangboner? I know you had a vendor table at Motor City Nightmares back in September. How did that go for you? Were you well received?

BP: We did ok at MCN this year, however there wasn't that big of a turn out due to the fact that HorrorHound was the same weekend. We're just very excited to have a screening at our favorite convention recently, CINEMA WASTELAND! The screening went very well, it was standing room only!

We always have the greatest time at Wasteland, whether we have a screening or not, it's just a non-stop adventure and some of the coolest people you could ever be around!

As far as other screenings or conventions, we definitely want to get a table for HorrorHound in March, also Monster Mania and possibly Texas Frightmare but we'll see. Just enjoying the positive feedback we've gotten so far from it.

HoTS: I am hoping to be able to get to Monster Mania as well. Maybe I'll see you there! Alright, lastly, the premiere for the film was back in September on the 25th. How did that go? Unfortunately I was unable to attend…

BP: It was perfect! And I sorta got engaged! I proposed to my girlfriend of 3 years (Sadie Tate) who is also in Fangboner, on stage right before the movie played. Aside from that, people really dug Fangboner, which seemed like a Disney movie compared to the movie we screened before ours: James Bell's TANTRUM. And if you or your readers have seen Tantrum, you'll know what I mean.

sadie proposal

HoTS: That's awesome news man, congrats! Sadie is a sweet gal! I wish you the best of luck.

BP: Thanks! And thank you for the interview and all your incredible support thus far, Amy! It was great meeting you in person a few weeks back and hope to run into you again soon!

HoTS: I'm sure we will see each other around, Brian. Maybe even at Monster Mania! Thanks again for taking the time out to talk with me for The House of Tortured Souls. We wish you tons of success!

So there you have it, readers! I don't know about you but I for one am definitely looking forward to this future project where Mr. Papandrea plays a gay Jesus. I'm sure he will rock that role! And we will be sure to keep you up to date on the developments of said project, so stay tuned!

Posted by Amy Mead in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments