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House of Tortured Souls sits down with Ms. Langanja Estranja

House of Tortured Souls sits down with Ms. Langanja Estranja

I got to sit down with the amazing, talented and beautiful Ms. Laganja Estranja! We talk about everything So sit back relax, light up your favorite recreational treat, grab those heels, pause that horror movie and let’s break down what’s on Laganja’s mind! 

  • HOTS:I’m Jai Alexis here for House of Tortured Souls here with Laganja Estranja!
  • LE:YASSS GAWD!
  • HOTS:So, I saw the show and it was really good. It was so fun. It felt very natural for you. I know you wanted to do this last year, but for whatever reason it didn’t go through. It was heart breaking we didn’t see it, but we finally have! How did it feel going on stage as FrankenFurter?
  • LE:Thank you! Last year was the anniversary, but the rights weren’t available. It felt really nerve racking. I’ll be honest as a drag queen I’m very rarely nervous. As a drag queen I’m so used to that you know, I lip sync, death drop, say a couple catch phrases and hit it! Tonight, was a big night for me I had to remember lines, act and sing. It was very natural it’s what I grew up doing. I felt honored to showcase my talents in other ways.
  • HOTS:I know you did Ru Paul drag race, So you can think you can dance to Rocky Horror picture show. Do you think you’ll find yourself venturing into acting?
  • LE:Absolutely I think the best queens. Not so much drag queens but queens in general they’re all about reinvention. I’m actually going through a big re-invention myself. I was recently in Miami this year I was in a dance residency where I was director, choreography, set designer, costume designer. I did it all. It was a spiritual journey for me. It made me realize I have so many gifts. I was able to be multifaced and to show different skills I gained all these years in this world.
  • HOTS:You come a long way in the years in your career from the beginning to now and as stated you were on, So you can think can dance? Was this your idea, or did your fans or friends encourage you to go forward for an audition?
  • LE:It was a little from column A and column B. I tweeted out to my supporters who I call my “Buds” I asked them, “do you think I should go in as a boy or in drag?” They were extremely supportive and said I should audition in drag. I think normally I wouldn’t have gone in drag, but I’m so glad I did, my story was one of the first which was seen especially on FOX. To represent my community in a different light that show is really all about your talent. Not to say that Drag race isn’t about talent but it’s a tv show there’s drama there’s a certain way thing work where SYTYCD you have 30 seconds to show your talent with what you bring in that solo. It was going back to my roots. I plan on returning next year I have a strong feeling I’ll make it to the live show. I made it to top 33 this year which was a big deal for me something I wanted my whole life I grown up watching it since season 1. I definitely want to go back next year make top 20, top 10 and I want to win. My plan is going back to the studio take some time off to focus on my technique which is where I was failing if you will working from Nov to Feb working on my technique and in Feb I’m going to go kill that audition!
  • HOTS:I heard your latest song “LOOK AT ME” from your newest album “Exhibit A” what I love is with the music, the outfits your message on expressing your love for Cannabis where you state numerous facts that it’s proven to be a medical drug that helps so many as well as drug arrests for very minor items involving cannabis can you tell us what we expect to hear from the album?
  • LE:Yes, so my next single which is called Smoke Break will be coming out this Nov. I’m very vulnerable and open on this album where I express the separation from Jay to Laganja about my life with the difficulties that come with. There’re some fun tracks on it as well. As an artist it was important to focus on a message. Like “Look at me” I focused on the racial injustice that people go through more specifically through marijuana and the jail system and I feel because I’m a white man making rap music dealing with things that come from an African American culture it’s very important I use my platform thanks to Ru Paul drag race I can give a message to people. I represent a lot more than just death drops and tongue pops. It’s my duty as an entertainer and as an artist to be an activist.
  • HOTS:Are you finding more fans from cannabis, drag or dance?
  • LE:Most of my fans have been Drag race, with that being said my work in the lgbtq community to the cannabis community separate from drag and dance. I have accumulated a group of wonderful weirdos and beautiful people I love so much it’s growing and changing every day as I am rebranding moving into dance, acting where I’m adyrongus not necessarily Laganja with the wig and without a beard where people are used to seeing my horizons are broadening and that’s my goal.
  • HOTS:In the past you considered yourself being Non-binary. Do you still feel that way?
  • LE:I do. Absolutely. I present male, but I feel female. So that’s why Non-Binary works for me it’s about being one or the other but a beautiful blend of both. For Rocky horror I chose to keep my beard. Usually Frankenfurter doesn’t have a beard.
  • HOTS:I thought it worked. A lot of performers when playing Dr. Frankenfurter go for his look where as you brought your own look to it.
  • LE:It’s important for me to bring something new to the table. I was inspired by Tim Curry I did several moves he’s known to do. I brought my own flair the dance elements to it. My voice isn’t as low so theirs softer moments. As an artist we have this opportunity to take a character like Frankenfurter and make it into our own.
  • HOTS:Do you feel yourself doing more horror after this performance?
  • LE:Yes, I love horror it’s my favorite genre! I love Halloween, haunted houses, I’m a big horror fan! I would love to continue more in the genre. It’s a lot of fun with horror there’s a message behind it too for me it’ll be a natural transition. I would love to bring horror to my dance. In college I was known around campus to have these dark dances being inspired by Macbeth, Vampires, Witches. Horror has always had a big influence on me. I was a vampire for seven years as a kid for Halloween!
  • HOTS:Would you try to be Non-Binary in the role of a horror movie or just be male for a horror movie?
  • LE:Well I would be whatever the role and money called for! I would love to see horror continue to expand in the lgbtq scene the non-binary scene there’s plenty of gay horror movies. I would love to see more of that I think the generation is ready for it.
  • HOTS:For your love of Horror and drag. Do you see yourself being a judge for Draugla?
  • LE:I would LOVE to be a judge on Dragula! I feel like a shoe in for it! I wanted to be on season 2 but it was a conflict of interest since I’m best friends with Biqtch Pudding and they didn’t want it to be unfair, but I’m hoping to get a seat on season 3!
  • HOTS:I’ve seen you perform a few times already where Rey Lopez (Rey Lopez Entertainment) brings you for either a small headlining event or a bigger event bringing down the show with an amazing performances from his showgirls to you . Do you enjoy your times here regardless the event in San Antonio whether it’s a small or big event?
  • LE:I love San Antonio! You guys have the best queso in the world! For me San Antonio reminds me of being a child coming here for choir competions this was one of the big hubs we would come to. I always have a place for San Antonio in my heart. I would say I have enjoyed playing Dr. Frankenfurter this role than my club roles. I’m looking to push myself and challenge myself.
  • HOTS:Well thank you so much for giving me your time and patience for this interview!
  • LE:Of course, my pleasure!




Posted by Jai Alexis in Categories, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED ARTISTS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Exclusive Interview with Lex Ortega

Exclusive Interview with Lex Ortega

I’m a huge fan of the film Atroz by Lex Ortega. In my opinion it’s one of the best extreme horror films made in the last 10 years… maybe ever. It’s unrelenting and brutal beyond imagining.  I’m incredibly excited to have this opportunity to talk with Lex Ortega about it and his future plans to make films.

  • HoTS:  Before making Atroz you were the mastermind behind Mexico Barbaro what made you decide to make Mexico’s first horror anthology movie? How was it received?
  • Lex: Actually I was on the metro and I was thinking what shortfilm should I do next? Then I realized there were a lot of directors thinking the same thing, trying to get their films on festivals, paying fees, trying to finance themselves their production, etc. So I got the idea to unite efforts and make an anthology, in this case we could get distribution, promotion for us as directors, in overall a better projection than a single shorfilm, and maybe have an economic retribution for our job. It had a great reception from the audience all over the world, we got distribution around 8 counties and Netflix America (all continent), and we were in around 50 festivals all over the world.
  • HoTSAtroz was insanely brutal, in the opening it says 98% of the 27,500 murders per year in Mexico go unsolved. Did you make the film as a social commentary, meant to shed light on the level of violence there or did you just want to make an extreme film? Personally, I respect both.
  • Lex: It started weird, at the beginning I just wanted to shoot a torture sequence with no credits and release it on the internet as a supposed “Snuff film”, then I realized a lot of talent was getting involved, as well as my savings that I was going to invest on it so I decided to make it an actual shortfilm (the first video tape you see on the feature), after it was done, I was getting censorship and lots of comments on how brutal this short was. THAT WAS A PUMP OF GAS FOR ME! and I said, I want to scream louder about these topics, then making the documentary investigation to create the profile of the main character (Goyo) I got into these hard numbers you mention, and I turned the story into a social critique to the institutions, from our first social contract that we have as individuals such as family, to the state, and politics that are supposed to be there to protect us as a society.
  • HoTS:  Is your movie an accurate portrayal of violence in Mexico?
  • Lex: In certain ways yes, we don’t have a specific record on serial killers like the US, and in my personal opinion that is because a lot of murders that happen in Mexico are attributed to the Narco, and there is no investigation about it.
  • HoTS: I imagine Atroz might be bad for tourism, how did the Mexican people receive it?
  • Lex: I don’t make tourism promotions, I do horror films so I really don’t mind. When must people watch Atroz they’re shocked, and that makes me happy for 2 reasons, the first one is that for me cinema has to make you feel something, it doesn’t matter the genre, if not, it means it is not working. And second and most important is seeing people freaking out watching violence tells me that we haven’t normalized violence yet, by the time we watch graphic violence and we feel nothing it means that we don’t have empathy for each other, then we will be rotten as a society.
  • HoTS: As a Canadian I was excited to learn you came here to go to a very prestigious school in Montreal. What made you decide to attend the Trebas Institute? How did you like your stay here?
  • Lex: Oh man Canada is very important for me, it means a lot in my life. I was living in beatiful Montreal studying Sound Engineering, How I got there? It was weird, I was studying the second semester of Civil Engineering at UNAM (the biggest university in Latin America) in 1999 it went on strike for over a year and a half, so obviously I couldn’t keep studying there, my dad told me I had to start over in a new university because it seemed like the strike was going to take forever, so I told my old man that I was going to start over but this time I wanted to study what my real passion is, and he goes: Ok, so where and what are you studying? I told him Sound Engineering, but that career didn’t exist in Mexico at that time so I started looking for schools around the world and a good friend of mine went on vacation to Canada from coast to coast and I asked him what was the city he liked the most and he said Montreal, so I applied to Trebas in Montreal and I got it.
  • HoTS: Atroz is presented by extreme horror legend and director of Cannibal Holocaust Ruggero Deodato, how did you manage to score such an amazing endorsement?
  • Lex: I meet Ruggero back in 2004 in Bogota, Colombia, me and the producer Abigail Bonilla were presenting Mexico Barbaro in a fest called Zinema Zombie Fest and Ruggero was also a guest from the festival.  We were promoting the crowd funding at that time so Ruggero helped fund it, but further than the economic help he gave us I wanted him to endorse the film.  We asked him if we could use his name on the promotional advertisement for the movie, at that time he was like: Ok, but I would like to see what it is about. When we finished the film we sent it over and he loved it and he said yes to our request and became an associate producer of the film.
  • HoTS: Do you have future plans to make more extreme movies?
  • Lex: Of course hermano!!!, personally I don’t want to do the same thing over and over, I am not interested to make things other than horror.
    The horror genre is huge and I would love to dig deeper into it, to other topics and subgenres, but I definitely like to tell stories in a violent way, where antagonists are not just bad, I want them to be real sons of bitches.
  • HoTS: What are some of the movies and directors that inspired you to get into film?
  • Lex: If I had to pick a top 3 I would say, Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Cannibal Holocaust.
  • HoTS: It’s my understanding that you are also a talented musician, what can you tell fans about your band?
  • Lex: I don’t know if I’m talented but I really love music, it’s very important in my life and career, that’s what made me start in the industry. It was music that made me decide to study Sound Engineering, then after working on a studio making sound design for films, that made me decide to grab a camera and shoot my first short film called “Devourment”.  I didn’t know how to direct a film at that time, all I knew was that my premise was: How do zombies hear us?, what if a human screams, sirens and helicopters are so loud and annoying for them, that they just want it to stop and attack to get it done?I started a band called “The Massacre Must Begin” with a couple of friends back in 2009 (Our album is on Atroz’s bluray that Unearthed Film released in the US), then we  broke up, some of them became parents, I guess our interests changed.Now, this week you will be able to hear my new band’s album on Spotify, Apple Music, Itunes and all the streaming platforms. We are called Belibette and we’re relasing our first LP calle 72 Huries, it’s a strong-in your face technical Grindcore. So go and listen to it!
  • Thank you very much for answering all my questions, I enjoyed your answers very much and look forward to watching the next disturbing film you make. I’d also like to thank John Roisland for setting up this interview and being our go between and just an all around good guy. Thank you both for the opportunity.
Posted by Candace Stone in BRUTAL REALITY, Categories, EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Up Close and Personal with Stephen Biro

Up Close and Personal with Stephen Biro

In the world of horror there are many sub-genres ranging from the creature feature to the slasher. The hottest new trend on the rise caters to those who lust for gore and the extreme. The rise of extreme horror movies increases everyday with some attributes seeking to push the boundaries of sanity. House of Tortured Souls has the good fortune to sit down and chat with the man who has taken extreme horror by the reigns and made it his bitch, Mr. Stephen Biro! Join Candace Stone and John Roisland as we get the skinny from the godfather of extreme horror

  • 1. HoTS: First, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, we’re all huge fans of yours and Unearthed films. We know you’re a busy guy and appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions. This past weekend was your birthday or “The day of the Biro” an event fans were really excited to partake in. How did you spend your special day?
  • Biro: Well… I actually checked a menu design for a future film, packaged orders and worked. Didn’t go out, no parties or cake. Now… I think the only thing I really missed was NOT getting a birthday blowjob. I miss those, but alas… being single does that.
  • 2. HoTS: The American Guinea Pig series is a huge success and fans are thirsty for more, is there a possibility of an Alien themed installment? It would be difficult to make a good alien on a budget, but it would be a damn shame to miss an opportunity to make a film with an extreme alien anal probing scene (that we can only hope it will have).
  • Biro: Were in talks… with a director/fx man you all know and love. The trick would be the alien design. We couldn’t half ass it… but we’re trying to figure some things out. Also figuring a Frankenstein sort of laboratory sort of thing I was pitched recently as well. It all takes time. Can’t tell you who would be involved as well cause it is another director/fx person we all know and love. Lot of love for our fx people cause if we’re going to try to outdo or match Bouquet of Guts and Gore and the rest in AGP… that’s some serious special effects.
  • 3. HoTS:  Extreme gore films are becoming more and more popular, each director is going to try and out extreme the competition but where do you personally draw the line when it comes to gore?
  • Biro: Me personally? My films, I don’t want rape, pee, poo, semen, ejaculate, vomit or really sexuel violence. I mean, I could do a massive sexuel violence film. I’ve always wanted to do the orgy scene from a little ole comic book called Faust. The satanic orgy scene in issue 10 would be outrageous… would need porn actresses and actors in it to pull it off. But that’s in the stuff I want to make. Now when other filmmakers do it…. they can go wherever they want, unless it like glorifies rape. I won’t touch that stuff. It all depends really. We have released our share of films I would never make. But then again, I have turned down films with a lot of poo. LOL
  • 4. HoTS: You’ve mentioned your Christian faith before, how does it affect the movies you choose to release? Does it prevent you from taking on certain types of films or are there certain types you just won’t touch?
  • Biro: Not much at all… I’m forgiven of my sins.  I won’t do real death videos because they are out there by the dozens. Profiting off of the misery of others is evil. I don’t even like the true crime stuff cause someone is making money off the death of innocents. We did release Cannibal but that was someone who volunteered to be eaten. Texas Chainsaw is loosely based on Ed Gein but it wasn’t using his name to sell it. I’ve seen plenty of movies based on serial killers… but I think it’s a hack sort of thing to be honest. Make money off the deaths of others… not my style. Now, back before I found my faith I did sell real death videos… so I am guilty on that account. I can understand when you’re young, interested in death and want to watch it, study it and know what death can be like cause we are ALL going to die but… not my style anymore.
  • 5. HoTS: Do you get negative feedback from others in the Christian church? How do you handle that?
  • Biro: I haven’t been to church in a long time… I’ve tried some churches, went to one were they were speaking in tongues and that just pissed me off actually. Went to a Catholic church once and listened to the priest bitch for 20 minutes at the congregation for not giving them 10% of their money so they can make this mega church even bigger, so that pissed me off as well. As you can tell, some churches piss me off. They’re usually corrupted in some sort of way. I’d like to find a cool church… I’ve read the Holy Bible 3 and a half times… should probably read it a bit more but I have a hard time finding a KJV that is actually a real KJV version. So many are not, sort of crazy. I had one, gave it to my Mom and she gave it to someone else. hopefully, it found a good home
  • .6. HoTS: Can we expect to see more out of print Chinese films in the future? What’s the biggest challenge in releasing them?
  • Biro: We hope so… hardest part is getting your hands on a print of any film. They didn’t bother to store them correctly so a lot of mold and they usually just threw them out after the theatrical run in China, and everyone is about the 2k or 4k scans.
  • 7. HoTS: You’re also an accomplished author having written several books; do you have any plans to write more? Check out Hellucination: A Memoir here
  • Biro: If I ever get the time. Moving into producing films takes a lot of time as well as Unearthed Films swallowing up a lot of time. I do enjoy screenwriting, not as heavy as writing a novel so that’s what I have been doing lately.
  • 8. HoTS: Every director will face their share of negative feedback, you have been praised for how well you handle it. You share all reviews good and bad which is commendable, but how does it affect you personally?
  • Biro: Sometimes, it’s like… you stupid mother fucker. I enjoy them though. Some people just can’t wrap their mind around making an indie film and they all think a film should be so polished and expensive, it shines so bright but sometimes, you can only polish a turd so much and it still stinks. But then again, everyone’s a critic these days. Some people know what we do, others don’t and if someone shits all over us… they usually didn’t buy the film. The worst reviews are usually people who stole the film. IMDB is full of them. IF you go out of your way to buy an Unearthed Film… you know what you’re in store for and you’re going to enjoy it.
  • 9. HoTS: A lot of young hopefuls come to you looking for advice and you tell them not to get into film, why is that? Was it a difficult road for you?
  • Biro: Mmmm, because it is a total shitty business. I’m going to sound like a total dick here BUT… it’s better to know what you’re getting into than going in all bright eyed and bushy tailed just to get eaten alive. People rip you off, all the time. People lose their ass all the time. Look at it this way. 95% of all films lose their ass, can’t even make their budgets back and I am talking ALL films worldwide. Even the studios lose their asses.. Now… lets just say, you went to film school. Spent 70 grand in tuition and now, know how to make a film. Say you pull it off. You made a real good film. Now what? Now you got to step into the film festival trap. 40 bucks, 60 bucks and even up to 100 bucks just to submit and hope they pick it up. You and about 200 other filmmakers, or 300, 400… 1000 others. Did you know there is over 8500 film festivals in the world right now? Did you market the film? Did you know what you were doing? Marketing and promotion is another side of the battle. What? You made a free Facebook page… now the distribution trap. Do you know anything about contract negotiations? Do you know anything about IFTA? Arbitration? IFTA Arbitration? Assignment for the benefit of creditors? Do you even know what Force Majeure is? Royalty payments? Marketing cap? Return reserve? Well, you’re going to sign a contract with all of this in it so you better know it. What about international sales to other territories? Do you have reps you can trust? Can you even find a rep and sign a contract that your not going to get screwed over? Well, all of the above I mentioned in that contract you’re going to sign to a company in the US will be for sure, in the contracts, if you ever get a chance for international sales to other countries. Do you know how to negotiate a deal? Know what’s fair? Know what is too expensive? Do you know that the industry is flooded and it is very hard to get noticed. Do you know which companies rip people off? I do… I know all of this and a ton more and they don’t teach this in school and not even in film school. These are the pitfalls of the business and it’s filled with sharks, piranha’s, gators and vultures. I’m not going to get into torrents and piracy. It’s called show business… it’s a business. If you don’t know the business side of it… then why am I going to tell anyone to get into it.I’ve been in the horror business for over 20 years total. Getting traction now. I have a distribution company, I know how to do my own international sales. I even know what to do when I am getting fucked. I got screwed out 1.4 million dollars our 3rd year of business and my partner has been in it for 40 years… and we still got screwed. I’ve sued other companies and had people try to rip me off with screenplays. I’m in the middle of suing a company right now for another filmmaker as we speak. It’s been a very difficult road but it’s a difficult road for everyone that is going to last in this business. I got horror stories man… make the hair stand on end. Now you can say… I am doom and gloom and you’re fucking right. But… I am being honest here… wouldn’t you want to know the pitfalls and truth of what you’re getting into rather than me saying, “Go for it man! Your going to make millions!” Or would you rather hear a veteran of the industry say, “You’re going to get fucked, watch your ass and this is what you look out for.”
  • 10. HoTS: During your recent Live Facebook video you mentioned a podcast, when and where can fans expect to hear it? Who will you be doing it with?
  • Biro: I’m working with Brad Slaton of the Picking Brains Podcast that is now defunct but still available to hear past episodes. He’s a great interviewer and sort of crazy like me. Well, exactly as crazy as me… but not really since he has been podcasting for a lot longer than me It will be just us, chatting away, talking about everything really. You would figure it would be horror based and it will be, a bit but it will be more of a crazy sort of thing. I don’t think anyone will actually be ready for it. It’s a bit more entertainment but devious, fucked up that’s going to offend a lot of people. Well, normal people. Were going to see where it goes… It’s called… Stephen and Brad… The Podcast. Should be crazy interesting to say the least… it’s happening very soon, sooner than you think
  • HoTS: Thank you again Stephen, for this awesome interview. we appreciate your honesty and candor and enjoyed your answers immensely. Best wishes to you and everyone at the Unearthed family.
Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, EXCLUSIVE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Life of Agony 9/30/18 Baltimore Soundstage

Life of Agony 9/30/18 Baltimore Soundstage

For Nearly 30 fuckin years……damn, I have been a fan of Brooklyn based hardcore band Life of Agony. When I heard they were coming to my town, and then found out it was on a Friday night…OH WE ARE GOIN!I spent many of my younger years, listening to , and going to as many shows that i could when ever the band came around, well its a few years later and I sure as hell didn’t want to miss it!

The show originally was slated for Friday September 13th, the same night we were supposed to get hit with a hurricane. Just my damn luck! Luckily the tour rescheduled for the 30th…a Sunday….SUNDAY, REALLY?!?! Fuck it, I’m still there!Baltimore Soundstage here we come!

The night started off being fortunate enough to have been able to schedule a video inter with bands bass player, Alan Robert, who talked with us about being on the road, meanings behind many of the lyrics, his artwork and him doing laundry! We spoke and hung out for close to 30 minutes. My wife Steff and I had such a great time talking with him, very hospitable, genuine good person! I must also admit, having been such a huge fan of the band, i was actually a bit shaky when he first entered the room with us.

As the show got under way, local Baltimore Hardcore band End It All kicked things with a short, but very powerful set! These guys are doing a few shows in the west coast soon so show support and get your ass to see them, they are so worth it!

Next on stage, and pretty much arriving and jumping on stage due to car issues, Silvertomb. Many of you were or like me still are fans of the once great goth rock band Type O Negative. Silvertomb is comprised of guitarist from Type O Negative Kenny Hickey and drummer Johnny Kelly as well as Joseph James from Agnostic Front. I knew of the band, but sadly hadn’t actually heard their work yet. I’m here to tell ya, after the somewhat short set, I am a fan! Kenny fronts Silvertomb so perfectly, and the band is just tight as hell!! Great emotionally strong sound and lyrics with a very strong stage presence made for a very memorable show. It was also great to see the guys playing again since TYPE O Negative was such a huge part of my life.

Then the time came for the moment we were all waiting for. Now mind you, this is now on a Sunday, the crowd about 1/3 its capacity , so that was kind of upsetting, but they were true fans and were just glad to see the band! The band came on stage and everyone went nuts, even the band. The band kick it right in to high gear from the get go. Playing such a perfect mix of old school, and all thru the years. We were up front for a while then slowly made our way back so we could just relax and take in the show it self.

The energy pouring out on stage is incredible! Many bands after this many years of playing just start slowing down. Not the case with Life of Agony! They were all over the stage, and totally giving love to the fans, and further most, to each other. You can easily see that after so many years together they are so much more than just a band, they are family and that made the show even that much more enjoyable! But still, when they played River Runs Red, the place still goes nuts!!

 

This was the last show of this leg of the tour, everyone was going home, then they were off to conquer Europe . So that made it kind of a special show. What really made it though, was when Silvertomb came out on stage while during ‘s. Life of Agony set with a birthday cake with lit candles and all to sing Happy Birthday to Alan. The entire crowd  joined in as we all wished Alan a Happy Birthday!

 

 

All and all do i wish there had been a larger crowd, only for the band’s sake. As far as I was concerned it was perfect, a more intimate show if you will, and the guys are just as good now if not even better live than they once were! They killed it!!!

Be sure to take a minute, actually 15, and check out the great video interview that Alan Robert did with us prior to the show! Thanks again Alan!!!

www.lifeofagony.com

 

John and Steff w/ Alan Robert of Life Of Agony

 

Keep It Evil

 

Posted by John Roisland in Categories, EVENT REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS, MUSIC REVIEWS, 1 comment
Interview with the director of Visceral Felipe Eluti

Interview with the director of Visceral Felipe Eluti

If you haven’t already watched Visceral by Felipe Eluti (check out the trailer : https://youtu.be/NsfmqIu8IGA”>HERE) and if you’re a fan of extreme horror I recommend watching it immediately. It’s been a fan favorite in the underground community for a while now. Made in Chile it’s about a boxer who loses the big fight. After the loss and what would appear to be brain damage from multiple concussions he’s unable to cope and loses his grip on reality. He goes into a downward spiral and begins murdering and torturing using many creative bondage scenarios. The main character is played by Eluti himself and today I’m going to ask him a few questions about the film, and his upcoming film called Shadowplay.

  • HoTS: First of all thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me I’m a big fan of your work. My first question is how did you come up with the idea for the film?
  • Felipe: The idea for Visceral was born thanks to many horror movies and real life psychopaths in general. I felt that a really extreme film was missing, a film that was not afraid to tell such a dark story.
  • HoTS: How did you find it playing a serial killer? It was a really brutal character how did it affect you?
  • Felipe: That’s a very personal question… you always have to know how to distinguish from the role one is playing with the person one is. When one acts, one can inquire into the darkness of the mind, but it’s only to play the character not in my normal life.
  • HoTS: there is a really graphic genital mutilation scene in Visceral that happens to your character is that hard for you to watch?
  • Felipe: I think the character deserved the punishment and the idea that the character never wins is exciting
  • HoTS: There was a lot to do with boxing in the film are you a boxer or just a fan of the sport?
  • Felipe: I practiced boxing only for the role, but personally I don’t enjoy the sport or participate in it. I’m a vegetarian  and a pacifist.
  • HoTS: There was a lot of bondage and rope in the film were you going for a BDSM theme?
  • Felipe: When my friends (Thomas Smith and Cristobal Rivera) and I looked at the film aesthetically and the script we came to the conclusion we needed it to add more perversion. We added it in and it worked.
  • HoTS: I understand you’re working on a new film called Shadowplay, what can you tell us about it?
  • Felipe: It’s different from Visceral, it’s much less violent. It’s more personal and focuses on a couple relationships. However there is still an element of terror, cosmic horror and Lovecraft style.
  • HoTS: How did you get into filmmaking?
  • Felipe: I studied film, it’s my profession. Since I was little I loved movies, music, and comics. When I had to choose a career I decided I wanted to make films.
  • HoTS: How are your films received at home in Chile vs North America?
  • Felipe: Visceral is better known outside of Chile, here I’ve been unable to show it many times because of its level of brutality. I am like Sugar Man, better known in other countries than in my native land.
  • HoTS: How did you get involved with Stephen Biro and Unearthed Films?
  • Felipe: Stephen contacted me after my film went through many festivals and realized that it was definitely for Unearthed.
  • HoTS: Finally just for fun what are your top 10 favorite movies?
  • Felipe: This is difficult since there is always more than 10, but here we go… Haze by Shinya Tsukamoto, Nekromantik  by Jorg Buttgereit, Blue Velvet by David Lynch, A Clockwork Orange by Kubrick, Phase IV by Saul Bass, The Dead Zone by Cronenberg, A Zed and Two Noughts by Greenway, Akira by Otomo, They Live by Carpenter, The Dawn of the Dead by George Romero, Phenomena by Argento, City of the Living Dead by Fulci and I’m already over ten.
  • HoTS: Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions. I really look forward to seeing your new film Shadowplay and wish you the best on all your future projects.
  • Felipe: Thank you very much for your interest in my films, I send greetings to all my fans and lovers of extreme cinema.
Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, EDITORIALS, EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Writer/Director/Actor Joe Meredith

INTERVIEW: Writer/Director/Actor Joe Meredith

Joe Meredith's Teratomorph - Coming Soon / Fair use doctrine.After watching the short film South Mill District by Joe Meredith, I said to myself, “Holy shit! That was awesome and why aren’t more people talking about this guy?” If I was capable of and ever wanted to make a film, this is what I would aspire to make. Luckily for me, Joe is a super nice guy and was willing to chat with me about the making of his first film and his upcoming sequel Teratomorph.

House of Tortured Souls: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview with me and discuss your films. Where did you get the idea for South Mill District? It’s a huge and detailed plot. Was it something you had been formulating for years?
Joe Meredith: It’s actually a continuation of a narrative world I developed as a kid and into my teen years. All of the things like the “alien war” that the character Drennan talks about in the movie actually exist in a shoebox I have under my bed that has comics and sketches and short stories and things I did over a period of years. Recently, I noticed that elements from those stories have been creeping back into my drawings and newer writings, so when I got the nerve up to make a movie, I decided to make it a return to that old saga, which is why the movie is probably really confusing to a lot of people because it has this detailed backstory that nobody really knows but me.

HoTS: I loved the use of lighting in the film and the camera work was so crisp. Did you go to film school?
JM: I never went to film school. I used to make short movies with friends growing up. As a kid, I always had a camera, and no matter how ridiculous the movie ideas were, I was always serious about it. The lighting in South Mill District was all about separating it from a realistic look and making it more like a comic book or cartoon, where the colors in the lighting provided the atmosphere.

HoTS: The FX and gore were also really fun. I especially liked the scene where Cidney Meredith pukes up her intestines. Was it weird “killing” your wife on camera even though you knew it was fake?
JM: I owe it to her for encouraging me to step back into filmmaking after many years of not wanting to do it. She was a trooper about some of the gross things she had to endure, and if I had a director’s cut released, you would see that she went even more savage than throwing up intestines. It was all a process of getting the scene right, so I never felt a moral dilemma from her death sequence. There were probably some moments of anxiety for her, but with me, she was always safe doing whatever scene needed to be done. The more realistic gore FX like the intestines and the heads that the spiders crawl on were all created by James Bell, whose own movies were a huge influence for me to make movies again.

HoTS: The creatures and spiders were the best part of this film by far. Did you make them all yourself? I also loved the stop-motion technique used but have heard it’s a long and slow process. How did you find it?
JM: I made all of the stop-motion puppets myself, and then James Bell created the human gore FX. The alien creature suit used at the end of the movie was made by Toby Johansen. As a kid, I did stop motion videos with action figures. It was much easier to do it with a video camera than the way I did with South Mill District, which was with photographs. The stop-motion could’ve been better, and technically, I didn’t do it the “right” way, but I think it worked for what was needed. The spiders were definitely supposed to be a focal point for South Mill District, and then its sequel is more about the mutations caused by the infectious venom of the spiders.

HoTS: You’re a fantastic artist, and fans of Phil Stevens will recognize your work on the covers of his films. Do you sell your work or have any plans to in the future?
JM: Thank you. I knew Phil as an artist-illustrator himself before I even knew he was a filmmaker, and we started out gushing over each other’s illustrations, so when he wanted me to do art for his movies, I was really enthusiastic to do it. I don’t sell art usually, but I will at some point soon.

HoTS: I actually learned about South Mill District after seeing posts about its sequel Teratomorph. There has been a lot of hype in the Indie community about it. What can you tell us about it?
JM: Teratomorph is a sequel, but it can also stand alone. It takes place in a more rural area outside of the South Mill District and shows an evolution of the alien virus caused by the spiders. It stars my 8-year-old son Elijah, who plays as a vagrant kid who is infected by the virus, and its effects are unique in comparison to what was seen in South Mill District. It has some creatures that I hope are going to be really cool for people who are fans of creature movies.

HoTS: what’s the hardest part of being an Indie film director for you? Why did you choose to go into such a difficult field?
JM: Mostly just working from nothing is the hardest part, but then again that’s not so fair to say because I have friends and talented people who are all willing to contribute to my projects in any way they can. And that’s something I’m very grateful for. I love creating things. I don’t think I’ve chosen filmmaking as the ultimate means of making things. It’s just a cool outlet I have to work with.

HoTS: Do you have any plans in the future to make feature-length films? Or will you continue to make more shorts?
JM: Yeah, I think I’ll do a feature at some point, especially if I have an idea that I can’t resist turning in to a feature film. And I know I’ll also continue short films as long as I think maybe it’s something other people haven’t seen before.

Art by Joe Meredith / Image: Joe MeredithHoTS: You have such a unique style. What films and directors have inspired you?
JM: I’d have to say among my picks for greatest movies of all time are John Carpenter’s The Thing and James Cameron’s Aliens. Cronenberg’s The Fly is also up there in the greats for me. Video games like Resident Evil also fuel ideas for me. James Bell is an outstanding filmmaker in the Indie realm, and his movies are something I hold in high esteem because the vision he presents is something truly individual. And any other movies that explore surreal ideas are a plus for me. That’s actually a hard question because I could go on and on about all the movies and directors that have blown my mind.

HoTS: Where can people buy your films and when can we expect to see Teratomorph?
JM: Teratomorph will be done soon. I think it could be available by the year’s end if not early in 2019. South Mill District is gonna be available again soon, and Teratomorph will also be available in the same place which is at http://joemeredithart.storenvy.com.

HoTS: Thank you again for agreeing to do this interview! I really enjoyed your answers and look forward to what I expect will be great things from you.

Posted by Candace Stone in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Poison Rouge – Director, American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

INTERVIEW: Poison Rouge – Director, American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

After recently watching American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice, I was so impressed with it that I reached out to the director Poison Rouge. I was surprised and delighted to learn that Sacrifice was her debut film and even more delighted when she consented to an interview. Actor and director Poison Rouge is quite the talent, and if you haven’t watched American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice already, I highly recommend you do so.

Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.

House of Tortured Souls: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I’m very excited to connect with a talented woman who also loves extreme horror. Did you always want to be a director/actor?
Poison Rouge: No, thank you for your time and for supporting Indie films. Actually, I don’t yet know who I am or what I want to be in life, I just want to live it day by day. The fatal meeting with Domiziano (Christopharo) changed a lot of things for me, around me, and inside me. We first met at a tattoo shop where he was working. He did a tattoo for me, and we became friends and have been ever since. Now I see something — and someone — in myself that I didn’t see before. He suggested that I act in his sideshow first, then in his first feature film House of Flesh Mannequins (2009).
House of Flesh Mannequins (2009) / Fair use doctrine.
HoTS: What was your inspiration for this film?
PR: The story was already written. It was originally conceived as a horror comedy that Domiziano wanted to direct as the first chapter in his Trilogy of Death. The lead role was created for a woman, but the actress abandoned the project two weeks before starting. Domiziano asked me to take her place, and later he decided to give the direction of the movie to me so he could follow the second production (Torment). I turned the character into a male and removed the comedic tone to obtain something darker.

HoTS: Why did you choose to start with such an extreme film?
PR: Life decided for me, and I always accept the gifts that life gives me daily.

HoTS: I noticed a lot of well-researched references to the Goddess Ishtar. Why did you choose her or what is her significance to you?
PR: I love the fact that she is the goddess of sex, life, and destruction. The heart of motherhood in some ways. She’s a strong female figure that really describes the power of a woman outside stereotypes.

Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.

HoTS: What films and directors are your favorites and influenced your style?
PR: My favorite movies are any ones that involve Sly Stallone; I just love him! Especially Rocky.
In horror, my favorites are all the classics — Carpenter, Polanski, and Friedkin, etc.
I don’t think I really have a style yet. It’s impossible after only one feature, but I have a vision. My passion for art and painting is very visible in Sacrifice.

HoTS: I loved the gore and the practical FX in this one. I heard a rumor that the penis mutilation scene is partially real. Is that true? Please explain!
PR: Haha! You should watch the extras on the DVD to know more about it. I won’t say another word!
The FX are great and very realistic. Domiziano (aka Athanasius Pernath) is a master.

Interview: Poison Rouge with Domiziano Christopharo / Fair use doctrine.

HoTS: It’s really cool that your first film was picked up by Unearthed and is part of the American Guinea Pig series. Was it made specifically to be part four of AGP or was that something that happened after the fact?
PR: It was already in the works by Domiziano to be the first in his Trilogy of Death. He was planning for it to be the first Italian extreme horror saga. The references in the first film Sacrifice are from He Never Dies, the third installment in the Japanese Guinea Pig saga. Stephen Biro noticed us from the start and followed us every step of the way. He found the final result worthy of his American Guinea Pig series, and the rest is history!

HoTS: On a personal note it’s my understanding that you’re quite an accomplished bodybuilder and boxer. How did you get involved in it?
PR: Because I love Rocky and Stallone! He was my inspiration in filmmaking and made me want to act. It was only a natural next step to start fighting for real, too.
Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.
HoTS: I’d like to thank you, Poison, and Domiziano Christopharo again for agreeing to chat with me. You’re both talented artists and lovely people. I look forward to seeing your next film. After this incredible debut, I’m eager to see what you will do next.

Buy American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice at Unearthed Films

Check out the trailer for American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice.

Posted by Candace Stone in FEATURED ARTISTS, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

INTERVIEW: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

House of Tortured Souls’ very own Jonathan Patrick Hughes is making another movie called Hallowed Be Thy Name, and I am the lucky one to interview him about it. I’m a big fan of his short film (S)AINT NICK. A dirty Christmas movie about a greasy stepdad who gets his up and comings. The film was picked up by Troma for a horror anthology entitled 12 Slays of Christmas, and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.
House of Tortured Souls: First of all let me say thanks for the opportunity to chat with you about your new film, as you know I loved (S)AINT NICK. Will this new film also be a short or feature length? And will it be a Christmas film again?
Jonathan Patrick Hughes: Hallowed Be Thy Name is a short film, but nothing like (S)AINT NICK. It’s a complete 180, this is more like if David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock made a Twilight Zone episode. This one takes place on Halloween.
HoTS: What inspired you to make this new movie?
JPH: I was inspired by David Lynch mostly and that meant I had to leave my comfort zone and try something different than just cutting people up into pieces. I always enjoyed psychological thrillers, much like Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, Lost Highway, and Cape Fear.
HoTS: You mentioned that Rob Zombie was a huge influence on your style on (S)AINT NICK How will this one be different or similar?
JPH: Rob Zombie was the only reason why I wanted to make (S)AINT NICK. I’m a huge fan of his work, except Halloween 2 (Sorry, Rob)
This is a very different type of film, it’s not vulgar or difficult to watch, it’s more about getting inside an audiences head and having them watch the film over and over again, to really think about what is really going on, especially the ending.Answer2.
HoTS: It’s my understanding that you had the chance to work with Zane Hershberger. What was that like?
JPH: Zane Hershberger is someone I see myself working with over and over again. He is by far, the most fun I’ve had making a film with. He’s easy going, funny and his vision is balls to the wall insane. He just loves doing what he does and when people see the finished product, they’ll understand what I mean. He just made everything look better than what I imagined in my head and I can’t wait to work with him again.
HoTS: I personally am excited to see you step out of your comfort zone and try your hand at a psychological film this time. Don’t get me wrong I love a good hack and slash, but it takes real talent to get inside someone’s head and terrify them psychologically. The fact that you’re willing to try new things and be versatile is why I believe you’ll go far as a filmmaker.
When making a good thriller having a good cast is key and the acting can make or break the film. What can you tell me about the cast in this one?
JPH: The cast in this film really outdone themselves! Tyler Manko plays Sam Hayne, a detective who has been searching for his wife and child since they disappeared on Halloween, six years ago.
Alexis Polce-von Schwedler plays Octavia Burke, a woman whom Sam believes is responsible for the disappearances.
These two together REALLY knock it out of the park. The chemistry, the emotions, as well as the trickery that goes on throughout the film. It just boggled my mind to see them out of character and whenever I called action, seeing them within seconds get into their character. Tyler and Alexis really outdid themselves and I’m highly proud to see what they pulled off during the filming.
Sable Griedel, who was in The Barn, and 10/31 is also one to look out for. She was amazing and very professional. Sable plays Olivia Hayne, Sam’s wife. Her appearance is both shocking and well received. Sable was a real joy to work with.
Leeana Hergenreder, (S)AINT NICK, has a special appearance as Octavia’s co-worker. I’ll never make a film without Leeana. She already knows what I’m looking for and what I need from her. There is very little direction with her because we are so in sync while making a film. It’s crazy.
Patrick Honan, who portrayed a voice over as Dr. Hoffman in (S)AINT NICK, plays Detective Barnes. I can’t say too much about his character, but what I can say is that Patrick is a great person to work with. He’s new to acting, but still delivers his lines like a true detective.
Last, but not least Rosie plays Sam’s Daughter, Chloe Hayne, and this was her first time in front of cameras, but she’s done theatre work. Rosie was phenomenal, very understanding at what I was looking for and really nailed her part. She’s adorable, and she is definitely someone that I’d love to work with in the future. It’s so hard to find young talent these days, but she outdid herself and really helped the film with her part.
HoTS: I know your last film was picked up by Troma will this one be also and when can we expect to see it?
JPH: As a matter of fact, Hallowed Be Thy Name has been picked up by Dustin Ferguson as part of the second season for Tales From The Grave and will be released as a webisode and then on DVD from Screamtime Films. From what I understand, they are going to show [one] episode per week starting in September. I’ll make sure it’s announced as soon as I know everything.
HoTS: Finally, is there anything you would like to add or think fans should know?
JPH: I think people are going to be puzzled and confused, at first. This is def something that should be viewed more than once before giving it an actual thumbs up or thumbs down. It’s very psychological and one of those WTF? type of films. I already know people will feel as if the film doesn’t make much sense. Haha, that’s when you need to watch it again until it does make sense.
Thank you again, Jonathan, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me for a few moment. I’ve really enjoyed this and look forward to seeing your new film.
Posted by Candace Stone in HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
An Introduction to Sam Hel and the World Of Cat 4 Collective

An Introduction to Sam Hel and the World Of Cat 4 Collective

Sam Hel is a filmmaker whose current release An Ultraviolent Colour is available through Cat 4 Collective. His collaborations with Adrian Baez on films such as Summerland and The Devil In Me to create the “Suicide Trilogy” have been gaining notoriety within the Indie short film scene, and Sam agreed to speak with the House of Tortured Souls on the evolution of his films.

House of Tortured Souls: The recent release of An Ultraviolent Colour is quite phenomenal. How did you pick such an amazingly well-rounded lead actress to showcase your script and directing style so brilliantly?
Sam Hel: Thank you. In Los Angeles, it is very difficult to find models and actors to be a part of a movie that contains graphic material. It was actually supposed to be more graphic as Emily has a history of sexual abuse in the story. I was told to tone it down or we would never find someone here. Which was almost the reality.
A. Baez and I looked high and low for actors models and even friends to be Emily. A. Baez was the one who had priorly talked with Mercedes, and she was 100 percent on board with the idea and came to Hollywood to shoot it.
I just gave her the background information and where Emily is at in her life. Mercedes took the character and went with what she felt would be the closest. She even went on with rants and dialogue while shooting that I still don’t know if they are made up or she really experienced in her life.
HoTS: An Ultraviolent Colour is part of the “Suicide Trilogy”, can you describe to viewers how the film’s flow together?
SH: The common ground we both agree on is that each story very much takes place in a warped version of the mind. Every character has a problem mentally that led them down that road, and there was no one to help them in their time of need. In Entrails and Amour, the love of her life left and she was alone. In The Devil In Me, she was alone lived a secluded life and idolized someone who praised death. An Ultraviolent Colour tackles abuse with no outside help and an enabler supporting her wishes.
HoTS: Summerland and The Devil In Me are very involved films about character exploration. Where do you find your influences with such subjects?
SH: I try to find a lot of documentaries or videos about unique people. I also like to read about strange situations and stories. Once I have an idea, I usually do weird things to continue writing mainly sleep deprivation. I keep a notebook next to me. That is when the what-the-fuck ideas come in. Either visually or within the dialogue. It’s also good that I’m close with my partner and he does not sleep either.
HoTS: Recently you announced work beginning on I Cut Your Flesh. What can you tell us about this production?
SH: I am into documentaries. I am also into visually fucked up things. I enjoy interesting people. I struck up a friendship with a lovely girl who has a fascination with being cut pierced and playing with blood. If people continue purchasing our movies we will begin working on a series of these real pain documentaries.
The movie is truly in the same vein as shockumentaries and documentaries on oddities. I wanted to make controversial documentaries and shockumentaries like Traces of Death junk films, Japanese extreme fetishes, or death documentaries. That seems somewhat impossible at the moment. This is the closest in extremity I can get at the moment. Plus it is funny to make my cameraman shoot it as he cannot stand the sight of real death or blood.
HoTS: Is there anything you’d like film fans to know about yourself, your work, or Cat 4 Collective?
SH: As long as there are people wanting to view our movies and supports us by purchasing our products we will continue moving forward. I will always continue photographing or shooting but I like to share my work. Sadly it costs to create and it costs a lot in Los Angeles. We have a lot of extreme and unusual ideas that I feel have not been explored in a while.
Our websites are www.cat4collective.com and www.samhel.com.

Sam Hel’s latest film An Ultraviolent Colour focuses on one person Emily. Emily has been abused all her life and that is the only way she knows love. She decides to make a movie as a love letter to the world.

Emily’s spiral into self-abuse is evident on screen, as she slowly begins a detrimental slide into self-harm. She begins by letting us watch her line the bathroom with plastic sheeting in anticipation of what is to come.

We see the anguish in her face and understand though she is numb to so much, pain is merely a pleasure for her. This is conveyed so wonderfully raw and vulnerable by Mercedes, the young actress playing the damaged, fragile and tormented character of Emily.

She is tormented and sadly seeing no way free. The film climaxes in a sea of musical screaming and thrashing music.

The score, having been a secondary character throughout the film, reflects Emily’s torment with moments of quite manic and others more ethereal melodies. Featuring music by STALAGGH and SADWRIST, An Ultraviolent Colour features a score that is impacting on the viewer.

Sam Hel creates angular shots of his beautifully tragic lead actress, that encourages us to not only continue to watch on horrified but also feel emotional towards her plight. Sam Hel’s prowess as a filmmaker is cemented with this gutsy effort, and I will watch on developments on future films such as I CUT YOUR FLESH.

Interview: Sam Hel

Mercedes as Emily

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Interview with Domiziano Cristopharo

Interview with Domiziano Cristopharo

Domiziano Cristopharo has been wowing audiences in his native Italy for years. So it’s a true pleasure that he is now taking the US by storm. Thanks to the 2018 release of the Director’s Cut Blu-ray of his 2012 film Red Krokodil, Domiziano reached a whole new audience. Red Krokodil chronicles the downward spiral of drug addiction and proves that Domiziano is no stranger to body horror.

Domiziano Cristopharo

His penchant for the grotesque is showcased in his work, and he doesn’t hold back, which is a real treat for those of us that prefer the more extreme end of the horror genre. As a fan who prefers foreign horror, I was honored to speak with Domiziano recently, and to find out what it is that fuels the man behind the lens, and to get a sneak peek at what he has in store for us.

Domiziano Cristopharo

House of Tortured Souls: I read that you’re often compared to Dario Argento and that you’re the first Italian director to revive the erotic/horror genre. How does it feel to be described that way?
Domiziano Cristopharo: Actually, I was recently even described – by a very kind critic – also like a “mix between the Fulci’s trilogy of hell and contemporary American horror” (and this is a comparison that really makes me feel proud to exist)… but I don’t know, I don’t see resemblances in my works, and I would love to be closer/similar just for a 10% to a master like Fulci or Bava.
HoTS: You made your first film, House of Flesh Mannequins, in 2009. What did you do before you got into film, and what inspired you to do it?
DC: I work in tv, stage and film industry by age of 14. My principal job till 20 was acting then I started professionally to realize fx make up, and write screenplays. My intention was to sell the script but was rejected for years in Italy ’cause the contents. So I tried to send it in USA and I was lucky: empire films produced it and gave me the direction of the movie too.
HoTS: Do you feel there is a difference between Italian horror filmmaking and American horror filmmaking?
DC: More than a difference, I see an abyss. I started in 2008 and I did more than 25 films ’till now (including collective projects and productions). In 2011 after my third film I quit work with Italy and Italians. This helped me to become more productive and find a really active market and a field where I get the chance to grow up as a person and as an artist. In Italy I had just two small distributions in those years, DVD of my films are still available only by import. No support at all and useless to mention the hate and rage that fill this field… Favorite sport of other directors and horror fan here is to create a shitstorm round people who have even a small success. Bad, bad, bad.

Domiziano Cristopharo

HoTS: A lot of your work can be described as extreme horror. What is it that attracts you to that part of the genre?
DC: I always loved to explore excesses, I think is useless to offer to an audience – especially as indie – something that already exists. But my concept of extreme is not related in blood, I don’t even use much of it in my films. Extreme is a feeling, is to dare, to show something forbidden, something not socially accepted, not only murders but evil thoughts, nasty actions, uncomfortable secrets. This is also what makes my lead roles so intense and in same time scares actors so much that I hardly find people to hire.
HoTS: You recently helped produced Sacrifice, one of the latest installments to the American Guinea Pig series. What are your thoughts on the rumors that viewers walked out of early screenings of the film due to content?
DC: Aren’t rumors at all. In France, during the “Sadique-master” (a festival dedicated to extreme movies) three people fainted and one puked. In Italy during the “optical theater festival”, a girl fainted and we needed more than 1 hour for reanimate her… Was scary. I’m very proud of SACRIFICE, is the first part of an extreme trilogy (second part is TORMENT by Adam Ford and XPIATION, just concluded, by me) may be the first extreme Italian series by decades. Biro caught the potential of those films and he wanted it so badly in the AGP saga.
HoTS: Poison Rouge was an actress in your first film, and she also directed Sacrifice. What made you want to collaborate with her again?
DC: She acted with me on stage first, we had a sideshow called BLOODY CABARET; then she played in many films: from the debut in FLESH MANNEQUINS to HYDE’S SECRET NIGHTMARE and PHANTASMAGORIA. She also always helped me on set as assistant director.
SACRIFICE was in my thoughts written for a female role, but I had troubles with the actress…
So I asked Poison to replace her, and then finally I gave to her the direction of the movie.
HoTS: What’s your favorite scary movie?
DC: Dunno, I have many… I love classics… and for sure Carpenter, Fulci, Bava, Cronenberg… But also Polanski, Jodorowski, Lynch
Posted by Alan Smithee in EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE: Review of Ritual by JXV & Interview with Rikk R’Treat

EXCLUSIVE: Review of Ritual by JXV & Interview with Rikk R’Treat

JXV Ritual Album Art, courtesy of JXV

I’m no stranger to the world of underground metal, punk and hardcore. When I listened to and reviewed the last JXV record (formerly known as Jason X Voorhees) record Horror Edge, I was excited by that album. You can view that review here: Jason X Voorhees: Horror Edge.

With the sophomore and, sad to say, final album for JXV, I was not only excited to hear it, but Rikk reached out during the recording process. I was honored to be able to throw out opinions and just hear what was going on during the production of the album.

This new record Ritual has really got me thinking that there is hope for the underground music world after all. There are some better-known acts out there touring and playing festivals, which is fine and ultra cool, but we can’t forget that some festivals are specific to particular areas. Those of us whom cannot get to them have to rely on the underground local scene to get us by. JXV, hailing from San Diego, California, is far from local for me, but for their area and for music lovers in general, they’re worth seeking out. This is a hardcore band that has 98 members…okay, six members, but they really complement each other perfectly with each vocal style betwixt the two vocalists as well as having two guitarists, bass, and drums. Each person compliments the other perfectly. Ritual, truly shows how they take from each other and throw it in the recipe for a perfect blend of every influence.

The album opens up with a title track “Ritual”, with a super ominous and creepy tone that sets the pace for the whole record, even some keys up in this to give that overall ultra horror sound. Track number two we get into “Trick x Treat”, which the band recently released as a single accompanied by a music video (see below). This song definitely is a perfect way to introduce everyone to what they’re getting into. This track alone gives us metal, hardcore, and horror punk. Literally, everything you need for a good song, right here. I’ve been telling everyone I come across; “This song, “Trick x Treat”, is the perfect song”. So if you’re going to get into this band, this song is out right now and the video below will give you the taste of perfection. Slide from this into “False Patriots”. My damn god this track also. I don’t know how to get into this except, if you’re a metal fan and like to slam hard, this is the shit right here.

The following track is “Devil’s Night”, a gang-style Hardcore/Horror Punk number with a lot of spooky to it but also gives us some upbeat vibe. The track features vxDEDxv, a fellow straight edge rapper. I think this track will make you all very happy as well. Then we have “Bath Salt Zombies”. I’m not sucking dick here because JXV and myself are in this horror edge game. I am actually truly passionate about this album. We all know, even if we are homies, I’ll tell you if it isn’t good, but this song is probably my favorite on this whole album. Punk as fuck and fast break your neck thrashin’ shit, another track featuring a straight edge rapper SE Frank. The last three songs are pretty awesome, too. “Living Dead” is pure PUNK ROCK with two minutes of circle pit action. “From the Plague We Come to an End” — solid black metal meshed with beatdown hardcore like goddamn..what are they doing? The mix of genres is insane yet put in these songs with perfection. Finally, the last track, “Noose”, is a great way to end the album. JXV gives us the hardcore breakdown for most of the song and signs off beautifully.

I know I said it four million times, but this record is solid from start to finish — heavy, fast, and diverse with the different genres that are portrayed in each song. I strongly believe if you’re more a fan of any metal, punk, or hardcore, this album will please you and may spawn some interest in whatever isn’t your main listening pleasure. Each member really shined through on this album, and the influence is there in each song.

Unfortunately, JXV has decided to call it quits after this record, life gets in the way of art sometimes, and unfortunately, that is the case here. I’ll say this though: this band has not only been great colleagues in the horror, straight edge and music areas of life for myself and many others. They have been great friends as well. We all share the same passions for music and life, and I’m honored that I’ve had the chance to befriend this group and hear their music — music that has PROVEN it’s not just, “Hey we’re a hardcore band”. No, this is a band that has taken every inch of what they love and placed it into this record and has shown that the underground still has acts out there that need to be heard. In true DIY fashion, this band has set out to prove something even if they didn’t know they were doing it. I wish them all the best of luck on future endeavors and I know if they each put the type of heart and soul that this record has then whatever they do it’ll be just as amazing.

RITUAL Will be released July 6, 2018, SO BE READY TO GET THIS ALBUM! YOU WILL NEED THIS IN YOUR COLLECTION! Please check out JXV on bandcamp as well as Optimist/Pessimist Records all of which can be found at the end of the interview with Rikk R’ Treat, drummer of JXV.

JXV Ritual Band Photo : Courtesy of JXV

House of Tortured Souls: When you guys started JXV what was the intent, or sound that you were going for with the band?
Rikk: When I originally came up with the idea for JXV, I had just discovered The Jasons, and although I enjoy them, at the moment I wanted to find something heavier in the horror scene. I also watched Freddy vs Jason that night and realized that JASONxVOORHEES would be a rad heavy straight edge band name…sometime after that I began writing our first song “Immortality Rates”. Oddly enough, at the time I wanted the band to sound like early Aiden, My Chemical Romance, and Atreyu — horror punk based but a bit more aggressive. Obviously, that didn’t exactly happen. After Drink Blood Not Booze came out, Callen, Devon, and I began looking for committed band members. Once Lalo joined/ we wrote the music for lyrics I had written for a song called “HxC” (“Human Centipede”) and then began to work on other songs off of our album Horror Edge. We had troubles with our original bassist but eventually got Jacob on bass, who has been involved in the band since before we released Horror Edge. After over a year of playing as a five-piece, we added out second guitarist, Yako, who helped us get to where we are now sonically. As a six-piece, we have been able to add more “beef” to our old songs and push ourselves to write heavier songs for the new record.
HoTS: Horror Edge was a great album. Did you find it hard trying to market the music and style within the horror punk scene?
Rikk: Thank you. I think overall JXV has been hard to market. Horror punks don’t always get the heavy vocals, and hardcore or metalcore kids don’t understand the horror part. Unfortunately, I’ve often heard about how incoherent we are, but I never understood that because to us it all makes sense together. Sure, surf and death metal don’t mix often, but why not experiment?
HoTS: Your influences are vast across the board. Does the rest of the band share these common influences?
Rikk: As you can hear in our music, our influences vary quite a bit. I think we all overlap in certain places but not in other spots. If you knew our specific influences you’d be able to tell which songs were written by whom on Ritual.
HoTS: This album Ritual is produced perfectly. How long did it take to record this album?
Rikk: We began recording drums in November and finished all mixing and mastering in early June. So quite a while. This was mainly because we hadn’t finished writing all tracks when we started recording, and we all had very different schedules to work around to get into the studio.
HoTS: Was there any clashing of ideas when writing/recording the record?
Rikk: I wouldn’t say there were major clashes while writing, however, it has been more difficult for us to write music off the cuff as a “jam”. A good portion of our music has usually been written and structured before we meet to hash it out with instruments. The songs that were more free-form usually took the longest but, regardless, still came out great.
HoTS: The collaborations with fellow straight edge rappers. How did this come to pass and did you feel this was a bold move within the genre of horror/hardcore?
Rikk: A number of us have always loved nu-metal bands like Linkin Park and Korn. A lot of us also really love hip-hop. I have a lot of respect and love for my edge brothers SE Frank and vxDEDxv, who have both been big supporters of JXV. I had been in talks with them about working on something together, so all it took was finding the right songs they could fit on. As far as the particular genre, I rarely hear rap involved in horror, but traditional hardcore and hip-hop seem to flow together often so it just made sense to us.
HoTS: The song “Trick x Treat” is the single you chose to release. Why is that?
Rikk: “Trick x Treat” was the second song written for this record. I was very inspired by it to draw some artwork, so it was in part because I put a lot of work into the cover art. Once the whole record was written, it ended up being the track that mixed both the heaviness that half the album has with the campy horror that the other half has. So it’s a good representation of the full record.
HoTS: How did you guys find the balance when writing? By this I mean, each track is blended perfectly with punk, hardcore, metal, even rap/hip-hop.
Rikk: We didn’t really think much about the balance of sounds; we just wrote and structured what made sense to us. One may likely argue that none of the album is balanced at all, but to each his own, right?
HoTS: What spawned the idea to call it quits after this final show in July?
Rikk: As mentioned earlier, it is hard to match schedules in a six-person band. For some of us, it also just seemed like time to shift focus on other things. It’s been great working together with my bandmates, and I love them all, but we have to be sensitive to the needs of each member – even if that means we aren’t going to be playing anymore.
HoTS: What’s on the plate for each of you after the finale?
Rikk: Most of us have projects in the works. Once they are finalized or official we’ll share more! From what I know Yako, Devon, and Jake are each hoping to start heavy bands, respectively. Lalo has plans to start an indie project and I will be continuing to play in The Writhers for the rest of the year. As of right now, Callen does not have any musical plans, but when he does we will be supportive of his goals.
HoTS: Anything you want to share with the readers? Words of wisdom?
Rikk: In the immortal words of Bill and Ted, “Be excellent to each other.” We in JXV have always appreciated all and any support we have been given and will continue to be grateful well after we’re done. Also please be on the lookout for our album Ritual to be released in July!
HoTS: Even as homies within the scene of edge, horror, hardcore. Being a musician myself we together have made our music with a heavier tone and yet still pimped hard to a scene that doesn’t really have a lot of bands that dare try D/C tuning or metal vocals, so sharing all this with you all and being hardgore/horror edge brothers has been a true honor. I want to say thank you for everything you have done with Optimist/Pessimist records, and for sharing JXV with the world. Believe it or not, you guys’ music has inspired me to just keep doing what I do, and I’m positive once people hear Ritual they’re going to want more, and if you’re not playing out. They’ll have to make their own music, so the inspiration is definitely there and going to spawn a new generation of horror music.
Rikk: Thanks, man, I really appreciate everything you’ve done for us. You have been a huge help and your support has been a motivation to keep going. I don’t mind if people don’t go out and spawn new horror music – however, I do really hope people will listen to the album and try to understand our vision.

“Trick x Treat” video:

Posted by Schock in INTERVIEWS, MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, VIDEOS, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE: 4/20 Massacre – Interview with Vanessa Rose Parker, 3 of 3

EXCLUSIVE: 4/20 Massacre – Interview with Vanessa Rose Parker, 3 of 3

Well, we held it as long as we could, but it’s time to exhale and enjoy as we finish up our 4/20 MASSACRE exclusive with an interview with Vanessa Rose Parker.
House of Tortured Souls: What was your first impression of the 4/20 MASSACRE script?
Vanessa Rose Parker: Honestly, I have been working on this project in so many forms that I don’t remember my initial thoughts about it. I remember that I got really excited by the prospect of an all-female main cast. I wanted to make sure that we were treating each character with respect and humanity. We spent a lot of time crafting backstories for each character that would give each actor something unique to work with and give each character a moment to shine.
Jamie Bernadette and Vanessa Rose Parker in 4/20 Massacre (2018)

Jamie Bernadette and Vanessa Rose Parker in 4/20 Massacre (2018)

HoTS: Are you a fan of the genre?
VRP: Yes! I am a horror fan. I absolutely love being scared. And there are certain things that will get me every time… demons and scary ghosts, specifically. I don’t know if it is my lapsed Christian upbringing, but the supernatural world scares the shit out of me! Now there are certain sectors of the genre that aren’t my favorite, like torture porn. But even with that, I think there are exceptions that prove all horror sub genres can be done well.
HoTS: I heard you did your own stunts. What was that like?
VRP: Stunts were a little intimidating. But I worked with our amazing stunt coordinator, James Gregory, and he really took care of me. He patiently took me through everything step by step and always made me feel very safe on set. My biggest stunt involved running in the forest, being shot through the leg with an arrow, and falling to the ground. When it came to actually shooting it, my husband/director, Dylan Reynolds, didn’t seem satisfied with my performance. He made me do so many takes of it! Eventually, he seemed to give up and want to move on. Then during the editing process, Dylan came out and apologized for being hard on me that day…. he used the first take!
HoTS: What would you say was the most difficult or challenging aspect of this shoot?
VRP: The most challenging aspect of this project was the budget and time restraint. We only had ten days to shoot. Seriously, I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to take all ten off of work because I didn’t have enough vacation time. But the gods of indie movies shown down upon us and everything worked out. So many wonderful and talented people were willing to work with us and added their hearts to our project. I think it really shows.
HoTS: Would you mind recounting one memorable behind the scenes story?
VRP: After long days of shooting, the cast and crew would get together in the cabins’ common room, drink, and play games. One night we split into two teams and played Encore, a singing word challenge game. It was so evenly matched and got so competitive that the game went on into the wee hours, but we were too stubborn to quit. At about 2 am, when we had a 6 am call, we finally called it a tie. Marissa Pistone (plays Michelle) and I were the heads of each team and we were practically crying to stop, but neither of us would back down. Marissa is a beast. Consider yourselves warned!
Justine Wachsberger, Jamie Bernadette, Vanessa Rose Parker, Marissa Pistone, and Stacey Danger in 4/20 Massacre (2018)

Justine Wachsberger, Jamie Bernadette, Vanessa Rose Parker, Marissa Pistone, and Stacey Danger in 4/20 Massacre (2018)

HoTS: What are you working on currently?
VRP: Currently, we are focused on getting this movie out into the world! But then after a little Caribbean vacation, we are going to regroup and see what we’d like to tackle next.
So there you have it, Souls. The final 4/20 MASSACRE exclusive. I’d like to thank Vanessa Rose Parker for her time. Don’t forget to check out my review as well as my interview with 4/20 MASSACRE writer/director Dylan Reynolds.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in EXCLUSIVE, HORROR COMEDIES, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE: Interview with 4/20 Massacre Writer/Director Dylan Reynolds, 2 of 3

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with 4/20 Massacre Writer/Director Dylan Reynolds, 2 of 3

Smoke ’em if you got ’em because it’s time for the interview with 4/20 MASSACRE writer/director Dylan Reynolds.
House of Tortured Souls: What I really admire about 4/20 MASSACRE is that it has a lot more depth than one might expect, were you afraid of alienating fans expecting just a mindless slasher?
Dylan Reynolds: Yeah- that’s always been a bit of a concern. In many ways the movie is a “Trojan Horse” and we sneak in elements of an indie drama within the framework of a campy slasher flick. I wanted to do that because I knew it would be something “a little different” and therefore it might be more memorable. On the other hand — the audience we’ll probably attract may not be into those elements — and the audience who might actually appreciate what we did wouldn’t necessarily watch a movie called 4/20 MASSACRE.
HoTS: I read in an interview where you had some nice Easter eggs for die-hard slasher fans?
DR: Yeah- there’s a number sprinkled throughout- including some shots/sequences that mirror The Burning and Friday the 13th Part 2. Jamie Bernadette’s character is named Jess — who is the Final Girl in Black Christmas. There’s a line where they say they are going to “Higgin’s Creek”— which is a nod to the location in Friday the 13th Part 3 [“Higgin’s Haven”]… plus a number of others — I tried not to be too blatant.
HoTS: Would you say this is homage to holiday horror, 4/20 being a holiday of sorts?
DR: Most definitely — this was my contribution to the long and proud tradition of “holiday slashers” lol.
HoTS: Let me ask about your process as a director for a moment. How open are you to suggestions from cast/crew and do you allow actors to improvise lines?
DR: I try to give a general framework/ blocking and allow the actor’s the freedom to “play”. The best thing I figure I can do is create the atmosphere for creative people to do their thing. I encourage what I like to call “improvisation between the lines” — meaning, of course, there’s written dialogue but I like to allow takes to go on a little longer or give them a little head — I think this gives the scenes a more natural flow and feel. I also try to encourage actor’s to “give me some options” so I can cherry pick the moments in the edit.
DR: I of course have a shot list — some storyboards- an outline etc. but often you have to be flexible on a low budget film. I think the old adage is that you spend months making a plan only to get to set and have to throw it all out the window. Therefore a production is ultimately a collaborative effort with the crew. I try to communicate what I envision and we all collectively try to accomplish the goal — which is to tell a story and get all the shots we need to tell said story.
James Gregory in 420 Massacre (2018)

James Gregory in 4/20 MASSACRE (2018)

HoTS: How hands-on are you as a director, for example do you give them much guidance or do you allow them to find the character themselves?
DR: For this film- after we secured our cast I met with each of the actor’s individually to discuss the character… a general discussion of what I was thinking- what ideas or questions they had etc. Then like I said- I just tried to allow them the freedom to be creative and bring the character to life.
HoTS: What was the most difficult or challenging aspect of this production?
DR: It was a low budget film shot in 10 days out in the middle of nowhere… so about all the stress, you can imagine with no budget — no time — and the all-around lack of resources would create. But those negatives were countered with a lot of positive… namely it was a bunch of adults who went camping and “played make-believe” during the day and drank and shared some laughs at night.
HoTS: The stuntman coordinator James Gregory actually taught the actors to do their own stunts is that correct?
DR: Yeah, and James also played the killer (The Shape) and designed the costume. We did a “stunt rehearsal day” where we brought in all the actors to go over their individual “falls” and/or “taking punches” and what the game plan was for the scenes involving their “stunts”. Jamie Bernadette had the most work because she had some extended fight sequences during the film.
HoTS: Was it fun directing a stunt-heavy feature such as this?
DR: For sure- there’s a lot to plan out and it’s ridiculous how much coverage you end up having to get just to cut an “action” scene together. And truth be told we weren’t doing anything super complicated in 4/20 MASSACRE — and even then it got pretty involved. Therefore the experience did give me a stronger appreciation of directors who can direct action well… it’s probably the most “director reliant” form of filmmaking.
HoTS: What would you say was the weirdest or most surreal moment during this shoot?
DR: Hmmm… I can’t think of any one “surreal moment” really. I guess there were times after a long day of shooting when I was walking around decompressing and/or thinking about the next day’s schedule and I would have a “moment of clarity” and realize how awesome the whole experience was. We were all out here making a movie, and I was fulfilling my dream. I can’t think of anything much cooler than that.
HoTS: Any scenes that didn’t make the final cut? If so, I’d love to hear about them.
DR: I don’t think any full scenes got axed actually. For the most part. the cuts came “within the scenes”… usually because I wrote too much dialogue that needed to be trimmed back or “tightened”.
HoTS: Do you plan on hitting any of the conventions this year and if so feel free to plug them?
DR: I don’t have any plans for a “horror convention tour”! That may change… I was thinking of going to Monsterpalooza in April and try to hand out some postcards… maybe bring some 4/20 MASSACRE DVDs along with me.
HoTS: Can you at all hint or talk about a follow up to 4/20? Also, what are you working on at the moment?
DR: I have ideas for a 4/20 MASSACRE Part 2. I have a general plan to do a different slasher sub-genre with each installment. Part 1 was a “backwoods slasher”, and with Part 2, I wanted to make a Gialloesque “slasher mystery”. Hopefully, this film will do okay and I can make some money back and “flip it” to make another one… we’ll see.
And that’s the word on 4/20 MASSACRE from writer/director Dylan Reynolds. Don’t forget to check out my review, and stay tuned for the final part of my 4/20 MASSACRE article triolgy.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW – HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Phil Stevens

INTERVIEW – HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Phil Stevens

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) posterI recently had the pleasure of seeing Flowers by Phil Stevens. It was such an amazing and beautiful film that I decided to reach out to the director and tell him how much I enjoyed it. To my surprise, Phil Stevens turned out to be one of the nicest, coolest, down to earth guys. I was delighted to learn of his plans to make a sequel to Flowers, simply called Flowers 02. He also graciously agreed to do this interview and give us an exclusive look at his new project.

Phil Stevens Interview

House of Tortured Souls: First off, let me just say that I’m a huge fan of Flowers and really excited to talk to you about your latest project. What type of film can we expect? Do you think it will be more extreme or more artistic than the last?
Phil Stevens: Extreme is too broad a category, I mean of course yes it will be extreme but it’s more of a survival horror where everyone is being attacked by something. I actually didn’t think I was making an extreme film when I made Flowers. I thought the complete opposite. When Flowers came out, I thought people were going to be like, “Here’s this guy with his artsy movie called Flowers“. It turned out to be this surreal horror that people seemed to really enjoy. The last word I ever expected to read describing my film was “beautiful”, but it seems to come up in every single review about the movie.
PS: In Flowers, the house itself was the enemy almost. But in Flowers 02, not only is it the house, but there are entities in all the rooms –sometimes more than one. It’s all leading to this grand finale involving the killer and all his misdeeds. We’ll get a backstory and more of a look at his life. There will be new rooms with new themes and sort of a past, present, and future look at the killer. My favorite movie of all time is Day of the Dead, and I always wanted to make a zombie film, but I wanted to do it in my own way. Finally, in this we get to do that, and it’s so fun.

HoTS: That all sounds awesome! Why did you choose Indie and underground filmmaking rather than mainstream?
PS: I spent most of my life drawing and painting. I started drawing my own comics, and then I discovered the Beta-max camera and started making films for myself. Drawing is my first love, I don’t want a career in filmmaking; I see it as a hobby, a really expensive hobby. I’m a fan of Indie films myself and knew that it was only natural that I would go that route. I think that everyone who makes movies would like to think that one day they’ll go to Hollywood and make a big epic movie with a budget. That’s the real dream having a budget.

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) title card

HoTS: I understand that for an Indie director, getting funding is always an issue. You’ve started a crowdfunding campaign, correct? Maybe you could tell our readers a bit about that and how they can contribute.
PS: Crowdfunding is a big deal because you’re giving us the means to make a movie that we otherwise would not be able to make. It’s been tougher to get funding in the last few years because either fans don’t know about it or they’ve been screwed over in the past by other directors.
PS: My job is making and selling art. I’m actually on disability from an accident that happened when I was 10. I fell out of a tree, and now I have soft neurological brain damage so I can’t have a regular 9-5 job. I spend a lot of time drawing and painting and doing commissions. I grew up with severe agoraphobia, crowds give me severe anxiety, which is another reason making movies is so important to me because it gives me a chance to work in a group environment while doing something I love.
PS: Here is the link to the Flowers 02 crowdfunding campaign. Even a 5$ contribution will get you some really cool exclusive swag!
HoTS: So how does one get a piece of your artwork?
PS: My Facebook page Manomatul Art or my website Insomnia Collectibles, and I’m also on deviant art.
HoTS: All of the actors/actresses in Flowers were amazing. Will we see any familiar faces in the sequel?
PS: Yes! You actually will see some returning Flowers in a subplot of Flowers 02. Absolutely. You’re going to see some of them, but I can’t reveal who yet.
HoTS: It’s my understanding you used your home in the first film… what was that like?
PS: Using my own home to make Flowers was a blessing and an absolute nightmare. We scouted a lot of warehouses, and they were all in really bad neighborhoods. We just didn’t feel safe having our equipment there. We decided the next best thing and the safest thing was our house. I hated it, there was so much debris and equipment everywhere. My wife (Colette Kenny Mckenna) and I lived an entire summer in that. I actually spent my 30th birthday inside the dining room set, it was surreal. Some of my friends I hadn’t seen in a while would come over and a say, “This is absolutely insane. What are you doing?” My wife and I both ended up with really bad respiratory infections from the room with all the gouged out drywall. We were constantly breathing it in for three months, and we got really sick.

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) writing on the wall

HoTS: Do you do your own practical fx?
PS: Yes, I used to more but with Flowers, it was an all hands on deck kind of thing and my wife and I did months of fx testing. We found some great local talent. My wife, Krystle Fitch, and Anastasia Blue did the fx and also acted in the movie.
HoTS: Do you have a dream location if money were no object?
PS: Actually yeah, I don’t know where that location is but I know what it looks like. The whole reason I wanted to make Flowers 02 was it’s supposed to fund my next film, Paradise, which is the serial killer’s hell kind of. I want it to involve a lot of ocean and beach sequences, stuff you don’t tend to see in an underground film. I’ve been working on it for three years, and it’s probably going to be my swan song film. The first film is purgatory, the next is hell, and the last one is paradise. That will be the last movie I do, and Flowers 02 is the way to get there.
HoTS: Do you have any directors who inspire you?
PS: I’m inspired by Shin’ya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man). I’m a huge, huge fan of Asian cinema in general, so Takashi Miike (Audition) obviously and Kim Ki-duk (The Isle). What inspires me about Kim Ki-duk is that he doesn’t use many words, and his main characters don’t talk but everyone around them always does. I love all things artistic, I loved Andrey Iskanovs’ Nails so much. I also like Akira Kurosawa, his movies are beautiful; the cinematography is incredible and his movies top movies that are made to this day. A lot of my inspiration comes from Asian cinema.
HoTS: I just want to take this opportunity again to thank you and say what a fun time I’ve had talking with you today. I wish you the best of luck with Flowers 02 and can’t wait to see it.
PS: Thank you. I had fun today, too!

Flowers 02 Crowdfunding on the Web

Check out the fundraiser video on contributing to Flowers 02. Then click the link below to donate!

Phil Stevens on the Web

Posted by Candace Stone in EXCLUSIVE, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
INTERVIEWS: Felissa Rose & Harrison Smith at Mad Monster Party

INTERVIEWS: Felissa Rose & Harrison Smith at Mad Monster Party

Crypt Keeper Clint here with the first of my two articles on Mad Monster Party (Carolinas), which as held February 16 – 18, 2018. I will keep this introduction brief, but I had the great fortune to interview two amazing individuals – Felissa Rose and Harrison Smith. Check out their interviews below and be sure to subscribe to House of Tortured Souls on YouTube.

Also, watch for my review of Mad Monster Party coming up in the next couple of days.

Crypt Keeper Clint Interviews Felissa Rose at Mad Monster Party (Carolinas)

We talk Sleepaway Camp (1983), No Solicitors (2015), Victor Crowley (2017), Family Possessions (2016), and much more.

Crypt Keeper Clint Interviews Writer/Director Harrison Smith at Mad Monster Party (Carolinas)

We talk life, the universe, Death House, and Gunnar Hansen.

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Death House (2018) New Release Date

Death House (2018) New Release Date

Hey, horror fans just got a heads up from Rick Finkelstein, CEO of Entertainment Factory LLC and producer of the highly anticipated Death House, that the release has been pushed back just a bit to further strengthen its debut. Hannover House Distributors has now rescheduled the release for March 2nd, 2018. They also plan to expand the reach of Death House to approximately 20 additional markets on March 9th and March 16th. Home video and digital releases are anticipated for July.

On March 2nd the lucky people that will get to enjoy Death House first will be Los Angeles and Van Nuys California, along with Stroudsburg Pennsylvania which is the birthplace of the amazing Director Harrison Smith. The next lucky people will be able to go on March 9th and they are located in New York, N.Y., Chicago, IL., Philadelphia, PA., Dallas-Ft. Worth TX., Washington D.C., Atlanta, GA., Tampa-St. Petersberg FL., Phoenix AZ., Miami-Ft. Lauderdale FL., Orlando-Daytona Beach FL., Sacramento CA., Charlotte, N.C., Kansas City KS./MO., Oklahoma City OK., Jacksonville FL., Memphis TN., and N.W. AK.

With a running time of 93 minutes, we will have a little over an hour and a half of gore-filled strong horror violence, naughty language and nudity with its “R” rating. We have waited this long, and I know from talking to the director Harrison Smith, it will be WELL worth the wait! So better start planning for your sojourn into the bowels of the Hell.

Posted by Alan Smithee in COMING SOON, EVENTS, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, PRESS RELEASES, 1 comment
INTERVIEW: Land of the Dead & The Hills Have Eyes star Robert Joy

INTERVIEW: Land of the Dead & The Hills Have Eyes star Robert Joy

Robert Joy is a name that might not be instantly familiar to cult/horror fans but he has over 100 film and TV credits and has been in such classics as George Romero’s Land of the Dead, The Hills Have Eyes (2006).

Robert Joy

Currently fans can see Joy as Polonius in an excellent production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet starring Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), Alan Cox, Madeleine Potter (Red Lights), Oyin Oladejo (Star Trek Discovery), Keith Baxter, Ryan Spahn, Kelsey Rainwater, Chris Genebach, Gregory Wooddell, Avery Glymph and directed by Michael Kahn at the Shakespeare Theatre Company DC. I saw it, and it was very impressive.
Joy has taken time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about his craft and the genre films he is beloved for as well as the play he is currently in and what he has in store film-wise.
House of Tortured Souls: You got your start on the stage, were you exposed to many theatre productions as a child?
Robert Joy: I didn’t have an opportunity to watch much theater. When I was older I saw a few things, I remember my mother took me to a musical of The King and I that was done really well. And when I was in my late teens, I worked at a canoeing summer camp for kids in Northern Ontario, and three of us from the staff went down to Stratford. We hitchhiked for adventure, and then after that summer, when I got back to St. Johns Newfoundland, I got involved with the amateur theatre scene which was really sophisticated. And I started doing Gilbert and Sullivan and Shakespeare and a wide range of other things.
HoTS: Your first huge break was starting out in the play The Diary of Anne Frank (1979) with heavy hitters like Eli Wallace. What was he like to work with?
RJ: That was an amazing experience I had admired his work on television and I had seen a movie of his called The Tiger Makes Out and it was Eli Wallace and his wife Anne Jackson. It (the film) was very funny but it was also very emotional; the comedy was mixed with heartbreak. And I was floored by their acting, and it was amazing years later I got to act with them in The Diary of Anne Frank. Its only because of him and his family that I’m in the United States at all, really, because he invited me down to New York when The Diary of Anne Frank came from Toronto to New York.

Robert Joy

HoTS: The film Ragtime was an early breakthrough role where you worked with the legendary Milos Forman (One Flew Over a Cuckoos Nest, Amadeus, People vs Larry Flynt) What was he like as a director?
RJ: He was an amazing guy, he’s not with us anymore is he?
HoTS: I believe so, yes.
RJ: He’s an amazing fellow; he’s very smart and very fun loving, so the atmosphere on this huge production, the logistics of which were daunting, the sense that it was all a big party was palpable (laughs). He had bought a puppy. I think it was a lab. The puppy was on the set the whole time, pooping and peeing (Both laugh). There was this atmosphere you were living in some very big-hearted fun-loving guys’ home (laughs) shooting this enormous movie. But yeah it was a lot of fun to work with Milos Forman. He wouldn’t hesitate to sort of indicate any way he could what he was looking for, and you had to be careful not to do exactly what he did because he would sort of act the scene for you. Like he’d say (in a Czech accent), “More eyes! More crrrazzy”. Stuff like that. It was almost like being directed by one of the Muppets and you had to take one he said and interrupt it into what you knew he wanted. He was a very wonderful and supportive director.
HoTS: It’s an incredible film with an incredible cast. What memories do you have of that shoot in regards to the cast?
RJ: James Cagney wasn’t in the best of health, and he couldn’t take airplanes. I can’t remember exactly why, but a friend of his came over on I think it was the Queen Mary from New York to London because he shot it in London. All my scenes are in London and Oxford that part of England. Donald O’ Conner, Pat O’ Brien, and Pat O’Brien’s wife, and what I remember most is how down to earth everybody was and friendly and approachable. It was very moving to see these old friends being old friends, and, you know, they were open-hearted about including a young actor like me. In the film, Pat O’Brien plays my lawyer, and I had admired him, his movie career was amazing. His wife, whose name I’m sorry I can’t recall (Eloise Taylor), she played my mother (laughs) in that movie. I couldn’t believe my luck.
HoTS: I watched an old interview with youon YouTube actually – it must have been mid-eighties – for TV, and you mentioned you turned down Amityville 2: The Posession on grounds of the violence. I’m guessing you’ve softened you’re stance since, with being in films such as The Hills Have Eyes and Land of the Dead?
RJ: Well that’s interesting I didn’t realize I had done that, I was in an Amityville film it was Amityville 3D.
HoTS: Yeah.
RJ: So had I turned down Amityville 2, I guess. I very rarely turn anything down so I might have had another job at the time. As an actor, especially early in your career, you can only really afford to be fussy about what you expect when you have income. It might have been I was disturbed by the excessive violence. I’m not a fan of really violent movies, and as you say The Hills Have Eyes was probably the most violent I’ve ever been in. I have mixed feelings about it, I think it’s very skillfully made and ultimately I think it makes a very interesting premise behind it and as a cautionary tale  about what happens when people are marginalized or when things go bad and human beings are so separate from each other that they almost mutate away from each other. It had that kind of parable element to it. I remember reading the script of The Hills Have Eyes, and when the father character is crucified on the flaming cross, I thought this was too much, but I did it. It was one of those things I did because my daughter was about to go to university, and I didn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing. But I’m proud of it. It wasn’t an easy part to play, and there were a lot of challenges in the making of it. I’m proud we all pulled together an made what turned out to be in its own way a high quality of example of that kind of movie. The director, Alexandre Aja, the principal director, would say, “It has to be brutal and uncompressing”. And that’s what it was.

Robert Joy

HoTS: You also have a great role in George Romero’s adaptation of The Dark Half. Had you read the book before filming?
RJ: No, I hadn’t read the book, but I feel like the opportunity to work with George Romero was one of the great opportunities in my life. The Dark Half has violence in it, but you have a mixture of Stephen King and George Romero, and the range of the material in it is wide and deep. And I was very happy to do it based on the screenplay, but, no, I did not read the novel.
HoTS: So safe to assume you were very familiar with his body of work?
RJ: Yeah. I was most familiar with Night of the Living Dead. It was one of those one-of-a-kind kinds of movies because at the time it hadn’t really spawned that much of a collection of movies by the time I did The Dark Half, at least not that I was aware of. It just seems like subsequently that zombie genre has exploded. But back then it was like he was a one of a kind artist and it was such an interesting role. Like that scene where I come in and basically come in and try to extort Tim Hutton’s character and it’s one of the most interesting scenes. The character on the surface is so playful but under the surface menacing, and the politics of the scene goes up and down. One person has the power, then you wonder maybe the other person has the power, and its really good screenplay writing. And, of course, it’s beautifully directed by George. And when I met George in Pittsburgh, I was struck by courtly he was; it made me think of this old-fashioned gentleman. And he was so welcoming. I didn’t feel like I was just being hired to be in a movie; I felt like I was being welcomed into a community. That’s very important in a profession that is very gypsy-like where often you’re just hired, and when the job is over you never see the people again, so it was very special to be a part of his team.
HoTS: The character of Fred is so wonderfully cocky. Is a role like that enjoyable because it seems like you’re having a ball playing him. Do you enjoy those types of roles?
RJ: Well, you know that was the first role of that kind I had ever played. The other thing based just on the audition I did, I guess I auditioned for him in New York, and I didn’t have the reputation for playing that kind of part. I was so appreciative of George for saying, “Oh yeah, he can do it”. Whereas a lot of other people try to keep you in a pigeonhole, so he’s an actor’s best friend.
HoTS: Was George a fan of rehearsing his actors?
RJ: Yes. It was very interesting. It started before rehearsal with George, and it happened again with Land of the Dead. It starts with the audition in a funny way. You start to get an idea what he’s after, and he’s very involved in the costume and makeup, the costumes, in particular. The costume becomes a kind of rehearsal even though you’re not doing the scene at all. But you get an impression of George’s input where every visual detail that you’re going to present to the camera goes through the filter of his vision. Take Land of the Dead for example. He thought that Charlie should have a cap – you know a wool watch cap they call them – and then when they put one on me, he said, “Ah, no, but it should have a hole in it. Here is where the hole should be” (laugh). So every visual detail had a significance – a storytelling significance, and then in the rehearsals he would have on the shooting day, I don’t think we had separate rehearsals like on other days, but he would rehearse on the day. And for the most part, what I appreciated was that he would respond to what the actors brought and support what the actors brought. Every now and then he would just have just one thing to say, a detail or one turning point in the scene, and he would give his one note that would be an enormous contribution. He wasn’t a control freak. He wasn’t a puppet master. He was wanting to know what you brought, and then he could help you take it a step further.
HoTS: So he gave you the freedom to find the character yourself?
RJ: You gotta remember that during the auditions he saw basically what he wanted, but then when he would see it on the shooting day, he could refine it, improve it, and enhance it. He was a real connoisseur of what the actors brought. He was one of those people who would be really encouraging. His contribution and his notes were in the middle of a kind of cheerleading capacity, like a great coach really.
HoTS: Speaking of Charlie from Land of the Dead you give the character of a real depth and pathos, I was wondering if you drew inspiration from anything specific?
RJ: Not really, no, but the character is written beautifully, and he has a backstory that was very easy to get behind. I mean it was painful, but the idea that to go through a trauma and then come out the other side with a loyalty to the person that saved you, I never had that kind of experience but it was easy to get behind it. It’s weird somebody asked… You saw Hamlet the other night, right?
HoTS: Yes.
RJ: So somebody asked the actor playing Hamlet, Michael Urie, how do you feel those feelings? He said, “Well, you know, it’s what we have to do as actors. I never killed a king or seen my father’s ghost or anything like that, but you have to imagine what it would be like”, and that’s how I feel about Charlie. He wrote a backstory and situation for Charlie that was so rich that it was so easy to get behind it. It’s what we do when we read a novel or see a movie. We, as an audience, as readers and viewers, we enter that situation. And as actors, it’s an extension of that same thing. We go there, and the material takes you there.
HoTS: You’ve done several make-up heavy movies. Do you feel like it informs your character similar to a costume?
RJ: Oh my god, yeah. Because the makeup alters your face, it’s even more significant than a costume. I remember when I’d be sitting in the chair for three or four hours with Chris Nelson who applied the prosthetics and painted them. What a genius. He’s an actor as well. He’s in Kill Bill. He plays The Groom in the wedding scene. While I was in that makeup chair watching it happen, it was incredible. It’s incredibly helpful to the actor’s imagination because you’re watching it [take shape] in the mirror. You are becoming something else, and it takes a lot of the burden off of the actor because the makeup is doing much of the work. I mean I certainly don’t have to ask my way into communicating Charlie’s history if half of his face is a burn scar. That trauma is there, and it’s enormously important. Same with The Hills Have Eyes. That mutation is present. There’s so much less effort required. It’s still a lot of work in the acting, but there is such a thing as bad effort as when a performance becomes effortful instead of natural, and what the makeup does is let the extraordinary be natural.
HoTS: How long did the makeup take on Land of the Dead, and can you walk us through the process?
RJ: It took about four hours. It was two large pieces on the right side of my face, and when they go on in a kind of an approximate pinkish flesh color. The application is very important and takes time. The first thing is you have to have your hair plastered back under a cap, but the painting is amazing. With the painting, he would paint red and blue first. Then cover it with the kind of skin tone and add layers of paint so that even though all you see is flesh color underneath, it is hints of veins and arteries and such. It took a long time.
Robert Joy and Tess Harper in Amityville 3D
HoTS: You are currently playing Polonius in the Shakespeare Theatre Company of DC’s amazing production. First of all, I saw you in this and thought you were incredible, as was the entire cast. What did you think of the modern re-imagining?
RJ: I am totally excited by this re-imagining because sometimes a modern re-imagining doesn’t fit a classic play but Michael Kahn has imagined this play. Not only does it fit, but it enhances the text. You know that scene where I enlist my daughter to spy on Hamlet. Classically that’s done where Polonius and the king are watching behind a curtain, but to have a listening device in the book she’s reading… I mean, Shakespeare put the book in the scene and somehow that book was going to be a clue I imagine. Because he doesn’t put props into his scenes very often, so 400 years ago that book would have been some kind of a clue to Hamlet that she is spying on him. But to have a listening device in it makes it relatable, and that is just one example. Some of in the play lends itself to this depiction of a surveillance state and authoritarian kind of East German State.
HoTS: Yes. I thought it was really interesting how they dealt with the politics which is rife in the play. Now you are, of course, no stranger to performing Shakespeare. In fact, I read you and Ruby, your daughter, acted in The Tempest together?
RJ: That’s right. That was really the highlight for both of us, I think. She had been auditioning in Canada and got the role of Miranda in The Tempest, and as they were talking to her after she was hired, they asked her about her last name and if, by chance, she was related to me because they knew me from CSI: New York. She said yeah he’s my dad, and they asked if it would be alright if we asked him to play Prospero. It was a miraculous turn of events because it turned out to be one of the most amazing things each of us ever did. And it’s so rich with implications for our current world as well. The weird thing is Ruby and I were just talking about it last night because she is working with a group of academics in Toronto. Even now they are doing this kind of symposium about The Tempest, and its implications on colonialism and immigration and the attitude having different cultures in the one place. Like Caliban, Ariel, and Prospero were like different species of humans. But it was a fascinating play and we had a great time doing it.
HoTS: Do you think you’ll ever do a film together?
RJ: We are always looking or possibilities. We keep imagining it will happen on stage maybe playing King Lear and she could play one of King Lear’s daughters or any combination where I get to play her dad again or just be in the same project. But you know, these things can happen, but they are hard to force. But we certainly both want to work with each other again.
HoTS: Great! Finally, I wanted to ask about your latest film, Crown and Anchor, and if you could tell us what it’s about and a bit about your character in it?
RJ: Yeah. I really like this film. You’re introduced to this a police officer in Toronto, and he has rage issues. He gets a call from his hometown that his mother has passed away, so he goes back to his hometown and you realize where all his rage issues come from. It’s a very complicated family with a father who’s in prison and a brother who is going down the wrong road and getting involved with drug dealers. My character is his uncle, the imprisoned brother’s father, who is trying to be a leader figure in the family but can’t quite manage it because he’s a drinker and has flaws of his own. It’s a fascinating character because on the one hand there are comedic elements. He’s a bit of a mischief maker and an eccentric character, but then it becomes clear he is really trying to save a very bad situation. It’s a complex and nuanced film, and I loved playing that part. I just got another part you might be interested to hear about. I don’t know if you know of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Gold Finch?
HoTS: Yes. This is filming now or in post-production?
RJ: Yes. It just started filming last week, and I am playing the part of Welty in that. Jeffery Wright plays the part of Hobie, a man who has an antique shop and antique restorer in Manhattan. I play his partner who goes through trauma at the beginning of the film. I don’t want to give too much away, but the part of Welty will involve a wound in makeup. I did the fitting, and when you were talking about prosthetic makeup, I thought about that because I had to do one of those life casts. It’s going to be a horrific head wound.
Asia Argento, Simon Baker, Joanne Boland, Robert Joy, Shawn Roberts, and Pedro Miguel Arce in Land of the Dead (2005)
I once again want to thank Mr. Joy for his time and sharing insights into his craft and touching on some of his amazing and varied body of work. Also a big thank you to the fine people at the Shakespeare Theatre Company DC.
If you are in the area its an incredible production with a brilliant cast and director. It runs now until March 6, 2018. Please visit the website below for more info.

Vinessa Shaw, Emilie de Ravin, and Robert Joy in The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

Posted by Mike Vaughn in INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
An Interview with Filmmaker Chase Dudley

An Interview with Filmmaker Chase Dudley

Recently it has been my pleasure to discuss the work of filmmaker Chase Dudley through the House of Tortured Souls pre-production press release for his latest project, Between the Living and the Dead.Photos By : Kim Greenidge
Readers will already be aware of some of the cast members such as Lisa Wilcox, Ashley Mary Nunes, John Dugan, and even Robert Allen Mukes.
Additional to the four principal cast, Dudley has also cast Bishop Stevens and Trevor Murdoch, infamous and impressively skilled wrestlers who had been a part of the WWE world since 1999. Stevens currently can also be seen in films such as Mom and Dad, Payday, and No Good Heroes.

Bishop Stevens - Interview with Chase Dudley

Trevor Murdoch - Interview with Chase Dudley

I took some time ahead of the filming schedule for Between the Living and the Dead, to speak with the director Chase Dudley.
House of Tortured Souls: Between your films Marvellous Mandy, Payday, and the upcoming production of Between the Living and the Dead, it’s clear that filmmaking is a passion for you. What inspired your desire to become a filmmaker?
Chase Dudley: Yes, my passion for filmmaking has always been very strong, ever since I was a kid. I think I always knew that I wanted to be in the movie business, but it was mostly at a young age that it revolved more around acting. My directing passion came later in life when I started actually making movies, it was to the point for me to find other people making movies. I started making movies for myself and I was always doing more of the directing and finding people. Being in movies, somebody always had to put everything together and it ended up being me doing these things and I just learned to love doing that more than acting. I love telling stories of all kinds, whether it is horror, drama, or action. I like doing a little bit of everything and I started really just making movies six years ago. So I have a lot of time to make up for. From my twenties, social media was so much less and it was really hard to find other people that were interested in the things that I was. Sometimes it really sucks and I feel like I’ve been born in the wrong decade, but it is a great time to be a filmmaker now.
HoTS: I find it inspiring that your business partner is also your amazing wife Samantha Dudley. What is it like working together at Cut 2 The Chase Productions and balancing that with your family commitments?
CD: Me working with my business partner and wife Samantha has been, honestly, the greatest treat in the world. People I’d dated in the past always never really fully accepted what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be. It came to the same ultimatums, a lot of times in relationships. It was either them or my dream. And of course, if I gave up my dream it’d be like a slow suicide ‘cos you know how it goes with a lot of relationships in the movie business. It was always so awkward and weird, ‘cos it’s hard for me to not think about movies at all. Thinking movies and being with someone who loves me and wants me to achieve my goals is very special.
HoTS: Between the Living and The Dead will feature two powerful women within horror — Lisa Wilcox and Ashley Mary Nunes — what was it like meeting with either of them ? And why did you choose them for their roles?
CD: Watching the A Nightmare on Elm Street films when I was a kid and seeing Lisa Wilcox, she was always my favorite character of the franchise, and I always thought she was quite badass. So growing up and then making movies, I hadn’t heard from her in a while and saw she was raising her kids and getting back into acting and she was really on my list to work with (‘cos she’s such a strong actress). Recently watching her get into all kinds of other great projects I felt I had to work with her. And Ashley Nunes I had met in 2015 at the Ripped Film Festival. I was screening my movie Retribution and she was in a film with her brother Todd, well her brother directed it, called All Through The House. She was such a professional person and a terrific actress and so down to earth. I knew that’s someone I wanted to work with, and we had been trying for a few years. Finally, I sent her the script (for Between the Living and the Dead) and she was so eager to be a part of it.
HoTS: How does it feel also to know you’ll get to work with the legendary John Dugan and genre star Robert Allen Mukes?
CD: I never in a million years thought I’d be working with Robert Allen Mukes or John Dugan. Growing up some of my favorite horror films were the House of 1000 Corpses and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, alongside A Nightmare on Elm Street. Those were some of the most memorable and inspiring horror films of all time. They’re all such down to earth people and the roles they’re gonna be playing in the film are so iconic and badass. The horror fans are really gonna love what we’re gonna do with this and it is such an honor to be directing them all.
HoTS: Not ignoring the rest of the cast who will be equally amazing on screen, and I notice some come from wrestling backgrounds, how did you select the right actors for each role?
CD: Firstly, Bishop Stevens and Trevor Murdoch are great additions to this project. As a director whenever I’m reading a script or in the process of creating, I already have in mind who I want to work with. It’s one of those things where I visually see people, that I feel fit the roles, and when creating a script I always hope they like it and most of the times they do. So its one of those things I guess, every director is different. Some directors love going to casting calls and posting for and having casting auditions. I like, personally, handpicking them before we start. It’s more exciting.
HoTS: Of course you frequently collaborate with writer Brett Slabchuck, including on Payday and Marvellous Mandy, what is your take on his writing style and what process do you use to create these films based on his scripts?
CD: Martin Scorsese once said ‘you have to find filmmakers who like you or who is you’. Most of the years I’ve been trying to get movies off the ground, I’ve always worked with people with a differing opinion. They didn’t get my style (so to say). My wife Samantha and my screenwriter Brett Slabchuck are some of those few special people I collaborate with, that truly get what I’m trying to do. When you have people like that, it makes filmmaking so much easier. Brett Slabchuck and I have been doing business for the last four years and this film will be our fourth creative process. We just seem to get more comfortable and understand each other.
HoTS: Between the Living and the Dead will be filming this year and is slated for a 2019 release. Any ideas if you’ll aim for a festival release? And perhaps cinematic??
CD: For Between the Living and the Dead, our goal is I’m really big on Netflix original films, but I am also looking for this film to be released theatrically. The following for Halloween and the way they filmed it seemed really really smart. They shot the movie and that year released it on Halloween of course. We were gonna try take six or seven months in pre-production and try to get and try and get the film out by the next Halloween. This type of film, I think, would do really well theatrically.
HoTS: Is there anything else you’d like film fans to know about Cut 2 The Chase Productions or your films?
CD: At Cut 2 The Chase Productions, we want to be versatile and we want to tell amazing stories. I plan on doing all kinds of different genres and all different kinds of films. We are also going to grow into music too, as my wife is a musician and once we get the movie off the ground we intend on going into the music genre too. That’s one thing I’d like everyone one to know about for Cut 2 The Chase Productions.
Interview with Chase Dudley

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Nick Younker – Interview With A Horror Author

Nick Younker – Interview With A Horror Author

Hello, horror fans! Horrormadam here to tell you about one of my favorite authors Nick Younker. His short stories and novellas run the gamut of themes from Native American curses, to sociopaths, vampires, unnatural chaos, and the Zombie Apocalypse. They are so intelligent and engaging and give you a complete story in a concise manner. I love them so much that after completing I am compelled to review on Amazon. Before we talk to Mr. Younker, I wanted to show you the synopsis for my favorite of his Don’t Bury Me:

Evan, an activist hell-bent on exposing corruption within the pharmaceutical industry, accepts an invitation to go on a daring mission to Croatia in search of an ancient corpse that fell victim to a 14th-century plague. The mission becomes a stunning success with the discovery of a femur bone, but it comes with a price when he takes it to Indiana University in Bloomington for independent research.

After it reanimates, the outbreak takes a supernatural turn and the government responds by quarantining five states in the Midwest. The terminal virus, also known as the Rip Tide, forces people to self-cannibalize near the end. Evan, who seems to be immune to the Rip Tide, travels up and down the deserted roads of Southern Indiana to help people die peacefully.

Aided by both FEMA and the CDC with a satellite phone and airdrops, Evan encounters a young girl who was abandoned by her parents. To make matters worse, a 14th Century witch appears to him as an apparition, taking the form of a dead Goth-Rock Star he admires to manipulate him into spreading her lethal spores. But Evan has other plans and he starts to break through her supernatural code, finding unique ways to keep the young girl alive.

If that doesn’t get you interested I don’t know what would!

House of Tortured Souls: When did you get the writing bug and what made you want to be a writer?

Nick Younker: I never got the “writing bug,” per say. But I did write some prose in college and found out that I had some skills inherent to people in the industry. Honestly, I only wanted to be a news writer when I was in college and that’s what I did after I finally got my BS. But the more time I spent in the television industry, the less I liked it. So soon after I started working for Turner in Atlanta, I also began doing small projects at home. Just a short story here or a screenplay there. Eventually, my flow began taking me in the direction of prose, which is a world apart from screenwriting, and I started producing stories one after the other. I did write a novel and a few novellas but found short stories to be the most fulfilling work. They contain less filler and I write in Grunge Narrative style, so that’s extremely attractive to me.

HoTS: Who were some of your early writing influences?

NY: I’m assuming you’re asking about novelists, but I have a long list of writers that have influenced me from different mediums. In the literary industry, novelists like Bukowski, Vonnegut (both used Grunge Narrative style), Ketchum, Blatty, Irving, Larsson and Algernon Blackwood were the most attractive scribes for me.

But my influences in movies and music include Alan Ball, the Coen Brothers, Cobain, Springsteen, Vedder, Cornell, Cantrell, Jett, Hetfield, Hendrix, Morrison and most importantly, Roky Erickson. The works of these fine names have exploded my ability to think critically, fourth dimensionally, and allowed me to pursue creative works that have far surpassed my expectations.

HoTS: Why the horror genre?

NY: Why not? I have frequently been asked that by my family and friends, who do not seem to share the same love of horror that I do but never miss an opportunity to download one of my works.

Horror entertains a reader the same way drama, literary fiction, romance, sci-fi, young adult (vomit), thrillers and human-interest stories do. I don’t think anyone sits down to read a book that they already know what happens at the summit. Everyone wants to be shocked, to see some originality. I would argue that horror is the premiere genre to achieve such goals. It is much broader and the freedom to shock a reader is virtually limitless.

HoTS: Who are some of your favorite authors and books?

NY: Well, I’m not a big fan of playing favorites, but The Willows by Algernon Blackwood did for me what The Blair Witch Project did for horror movie fans. I should also add that 1984 has been a big hit in my playbook. But my all-time favorite book(s) is the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).

HoTS: Have your influences changed as you’ve grown older?

NY: Not really. I rarely buy new books from mainstream authors, instead opting for indie writers who have a good following from people I know and trust. Even though I write primarily in horror, I like books that feature characters who struggle with poverty, especially poverty in the richest nation in the world. I suppose you could say that I identify with them, given my chosen “career.”

HoTS: What are some of your favorite horror movies?

NY: There’s a laundry list of those, but I will try to condense it. Let The Right One In, What We Do In The Shadows, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rawhead Rex, Return of the Living Dead, Zombieland, An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Candyman, Dawn of the Dead (1978), The Conjuring, Rosemary’s Baby, Demons, Demons 2, Spookies… oh shit, I got carried away.

HoTS: Tell us about some of your favorites that you have written?

NY: Out of all my stories, Don’t Bury Me is perhaps my best work to date. Although there is a special place in my heart for the others, that one really tugged at my heartstrings. I have a new one I’m working on right now that’s a passion project, titled The Birth of an American Vampire. It features a character who was turned by immaculate conception following the death of his mother and the extreme grief that left him vulnerable to the curse. He has no sire, just a victim of natural selection following a perfect storm of internal and external conflicts gone violently wrong.

HoTS: Are there any author’s quotes that keep you going?

NY: I wouldn’t say that the quotes keep me going, but there is one that I really admire from Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption:
“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” ~ Andy Dufresne as written by Stephen King.

HoTS: For young writers out there, what words do you have for them?

NY: Embrace poverty and love the poor because they’re going to be your brethren.

HoTS: Where do your ideas come from?

Nick Younker: Thick air… cause I find it hard to breathe or think, in thin air.

HoTS: When they make a film about your illustrious writing career, who do you think should play you?

Nick Younker: The late, great Chris Farley. I can’t say for certain, but I think he’d return from the grave for an opportunity like that.

HoTS: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

NY: Not really, but I would like to take this opportunity to address the rise of Grunge Narrative writing style. Writers like myself use it and I find it to be the best way to read any great short story. I wrote an article about the many different tenets of the style that you can read here.

If anyone wants to check out my works in the horror genre, you can visit my Amazon page.

You can catch up with him on Twitter (@NYounker) where he publishes over 20 smart-ass tweets and horror images every day. You can also connect with him on his website, FogstowJamison.com, where he publishes articles on news in the horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy industry.

Thanks for speaking with me, Jaye! You rock girl!

And I want to thank Nick Younker so much for answering my questions and giving us such great reading material! Nick, you are an inspiration to me and my writing!

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS, PARANORMAL, SCI-FI HORROR, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Cast and Crew of Dead Air (2018)

INTERVIEW: Cast and Crew of Dead Air (2018)

Dead Air (2018)

Gremlins on a Plane: More Fun Than Any Interviewer Should Be Allowed!

Dead Air (2018)

Hello guys, Horrormadam here to introduce you to a new film that I am really excited about called Dead Air that is still in post-production but will be released later this year. This film is something different and I had the great honor of learning about it from almost everyone involved! First, let’s tell you what it is about:
Set on a plane traveling to a final gig, Dead Air tells the story of Monster Kitten, an all-female punk rock band who end up on a flight with some nasty little creatures with all hell breaking loose at 30,000 feet.

Dead Air (2018)

Great name for a band and a great fresh premise! Let me introduce you to who will be answering my questions:
Geoff Harmer the Director (Overtime, Addict, Smile), Peter Hearn the Writer (Smile, Scrawl, Motto). Our Actresses Stacy Hart (Get Real, The Beach) as the drummer, Charlie Bond (Vendetta, Strippers vs Werewolves) as the singer, Johanna Stanton (Nightmare Box, Sinatra: All or Nothing at All) as the guitarist, and Kate Davies Speak (Horizon, Deadman Apocalypse) as the bassist. And our master puppeteers Andrew James Spooner (Muppets Most Wanted, Muppets Treasure Island), Tony Lymboura (Muppets Most Wanted, The Muppets Christmas Carol) and Nicola Buckmaster. And a special appearance by Dave (IMDb finds him to controversial to cover) as The Creature but he reminded me he is an actor, not a puppet.
Dead Air (2018)
House of Tortured Souls: Why are you guys fans of the horror genre?
Peter Hearn: I’m a fan of most genres, I like writing horror because I find it fun. I don’t take it too seriously even if others read my work and think it’s really dark. I think the other thing I like about the horror genre is the fans are a loyal bunch. Very supportive. Not saying fans of other film genres aren’t supportive, but I’ve never witnessed a more fan-friendly genre. I mean, look at the Internet and you find x amount of sites dedicated to horror. If you are lucky, you’ll find the odd website dedicated to a comedic film, or a drama or whatever, but not the same rabid fan base you get from the horror community. It always annoys me when people assume you are weird or macabre or sick if you like horror films or books or whatever it may be. I don’t buy into any of that.
Geoff Harmer: I’ve been a huge horror fan for years! I used to work in a video shop, we had all the video nasties behind the counter. I grew up watching stuff like Zombie Flesh Eaters, The Evil Dead, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I then got a subscription to magazines like Fangoria and Gorezone. I can still remember seeing The Thing on pirate video back in 1982 when I was 10 years old! Scared the shit out of me! Haven’t looked back since!
Dead Air (2018)

HoTS: What are some of your favorite horror movies?
Charlie Bond: Not a lot of people know this about me, but I’m actually a massive Hammer Horror fan. I love to pop on a gorgeous, sleepy old classic like the beautiful, ethereal Twins Of Evil or one of their many Draculas, curl up under a blanket and lose myself in that dreamy fantasy world of Hammer land. Despite being predominantly a Horror genre actress, I try to watch as much modern horror as I can, too. My top favorites from the last few years are really fun, gory romps – off the top of my head, American Mary, The Babysitter, and The Love Witch have been my favorites for the past few years. That said, I saw Dead Love recently, which stars the monstrously talented James Hamer-Morton, who plays our co-pilot in Dead Air. I was absolutely blown away by both performance and the incredibly complex and sweet story that director Chris Gallagher had created, within a VERY gory horror with absolutely insane SFX. Really worth a watch if you can find it!
Kate Davies Speak: I adore so many horrors but I have my favorites, I actually really love the movie Scream which is more of a homage and parody of several classic horrors but it was such a wonderful blend of teen drama, black humor and some wicked jump scares. The cast was amazing too and big influences for me in my dreams of being an actor. I also love John Carpenter and Stephen King movies; The Thing, Christine, Cujo… Also, some of my favorites slightly more modern horrors are The Descent the all-female cast in that were amazing, Sinister was terrifying (mostly the soundtrack) and recently I’ve enjoyed Hush and Creep (on Netflix).
Johanna Stanton: My two favorites are Don’t Look Now and Rosemary’s Baby.
Stacy Hart: I go for more psychological stuff like Silence Of The Lambs or Eden Lake.

Dead Air (2018)

HoTS: I have series celebrating women in film and women in horror so wondering why you went with an all-female punk band?
PH: We didn’t initially – it started off as a mix, but the more we looked at it, the more we reworked the script we realized they had to all be female. As soon as we hit that point in the process we knew we had made the right decision. There were always characters that were female from the word go, others that got rewritten or replaced over time to fit the band. I just really wanted a film that had female characters that weren’t side characters to a hulking male out to save the day. Those days are gone.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Why go to the 80s era for the puppets?
GH: It’s not really an 80s flick, but it does heavily influence the look and feel of the film. The puppets weren’t originally in the film to the extent that they are at the moment. They were originally only fleeting glimpses and glowing eyes in the darkness. But Pete twisted my arm with the idea of puppets… and the next thing I knew we were in Wimbledon chatting to these talented students about designing our creatures!
PH: There was no specific ‘this is an 80s movie’ woven into the script. When I first wrote the initial draft, the Creatures were just glowing eyes in a box and a conceit to get us from A – B, as we moved further down the road with it, I mentioned to Geoff that it would be cool if the creatures were actually Muppet-like puppets and he agreed. I had used a puppet in my previous film Scrawl and had always loved puppetry. I told him I knew some Henson puppeteers, well I knew of one as he had recently contacted me on twitter. That was Andrew James Spooner, although we wouldn’t properly speak to him for about a year after this point…not that we didn’t want to, we just felt we would never get someone of his caliber to join us.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Writer influences?
PH: For this project? I had a bunch of films in my head: – American Werewolf in London, Deathgasm, Critters, Dead Snow 2, Empire Records, Josie and the Pussycats. Throw a TV ep in with Twilight Zone’s Nightmare at 20000 feet and you have my initial influences. Others came later, but that’s where I started…
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Director influences?
GH: For me as the Director, Dead Air is heavily influenced by films like From Beyond and Vamp, at least from an aesthetic point of view. I love the look of those films and they reek of 80s horror! I wanted Dead Air to have that same look and feel.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Why did Mr. Spooner get into Puppetry and why Dead Air?
Andrew James Spooner: I got into Puppetry and voice work because I’m an introverted performer! I love acting but don’t like being seen on camera. So Puppetry and voice acting are perfect! I grew up in the 70s and was obsessed with Doctor Who, The Muppets and Star Wars. Specifically the puppets in The Muppet Show and the creatures and special effects in Doctor Who and Star Wars. Puppetry brings the worlds of performance and special effects together. In its essence, every shot of a puppet and creature on a TV show IS a special effect. We’re convincing you that this creature/character is alive and breathing.
Why Dead Air? It’s the kind of project that doesn’t come along that often. In an industry that’s so used to using CGI as the tool of choice for films like this, practical effects are seen less and less. So, it’s a chance to play with practical puppet creatures. It also harks back to Horror movies of the 80s, when practical effects were at their prime. Gremlins on a plane! Come on! Who WOULDN’T want to be involved in that!
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: I was so honored to have Dave included in this interview. He is such a legend in the industry. How did Dave like working with everyone?
Dave: “I hated working with all of them! They showed me NO respect on set whatsoever! In between takes, they shoved me in a box that (get this!) HAD NO AIR HOLES! I nearly suffocated in that f**king thing! The girls were fine to work with. But you know what it’s like if you aren’t ‘conventionally’ good looking, they tend to just nod at you and then get back to texting or twittering or whatever the f*ck it is they do. Inspiration? I guess I’d have to say that my biggest influence is Leo Sayer.” “Why are you laughing?”
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: How about Tony and Nicola?
Tony Lymboura: I don’t have an interesting quotable answer for the first part. As for the second part, …cos it looked like so much fun!
Nicola Buckmaster: I hadn’t thought about being a puppeteer at a young age, most likely as I thought they were real! I had a great imagination & believed in everything. I went to the theatre & Cinema a lot, loved sooty & sweep, Emu, the muppets & often saw old Punch & Judy in Covent Garden, so much that the puppeteer knew my name!
I trained as an actor & singer pretty much all my life, it wasn’t until I worked at a theme park that they asked if I would audition for the puppet show, I did, rehearsed for weeks & became a puppeteer! That was 12 years ago, I did 3 seasons there, absolutely loved it learned a lot & auditioned for more puppetry jobs after.
Puppetry has always been in my life. As a kid, I had some puppets & I would play with pens, household objects, give them characters, which I later learned is called object manipulation.
And Why Dead Air? Why not, it’s got everything I love: horror & puppets! And as Andrew said it’s gremlins on a plane (I love gremlins). For me too it was getting to work with like-minded people, learn a lot & work on a film with puppets. Meeting the Dave’s was great too, although one of the Daves tends to text when he’s had a few & I didn’t give him my number…
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Did you all like working with the puppet actors?
CB: One of the most interesting things about working with puppet actors, is how quickly they can pick up and drop their puppet persona – to the level where you yourself are struggling to keep up with them! One moment you’re chatting away to lovely Andrew James-Spooner with his hand up a fuzzy, toothy puppet and the next moment he’s gone and ‘Dave’ the grouchy, foul-mouthed little demon is in the room. By the end of the shoot, I’d developed close personal relationships with both and consider them both equally fabulous.
KDS: Working with the Dave puppets was a lot of fun for me, it was a first as well. I have worked using green screen and CGI in the past but often find that hard to ‘connect’ with, working with physical puppets was great, they were very cute too but don’t tell them I said that, they start swearing at you when you compliment them lol. Most of my interaction scenes with the puppets involved me smashing seven shades of s*** out of them with my bass guitar…
JS: Yes. The team was amazing. I’d worked with puppets before on the musical Casper the friendly Ghost years ago. So was used to acting alongside puppets.Basically, they are just another cast member. Although I was genuinely freaked out when they were biting my face….ugh..the sound of those teeth sends shivers down my spine.
SH: Working with the puppet team was awesome fun! I didn’t get quite as much chance to act opposite the creatures as a couple of the others; mainly I had furry balls flying at my face and hit them away. Make of that any double entendre you will.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: What inspired the monsters?
PH: The monsters (the little creatures) were inspired initially by Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and the Sumatran Rat Monkey from Braindead (Dead Alive) with real creatures thrown in for good measure. While Critters and Gremlins were benchmarks for the use of practical puppets, they were never influences on the actual design of the creatures.
We still have our ‘Dave’s’ living in my garage (a bit like Fonzie from Happy Days). They were up on our crowdfunding as potential perks but nobody wanted to give them a home. So they are sleeping on my couch, for now, eating leftovers, playing poker.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Saw the girls names were inspired by famous punk rockers. Got Nancy Spungen, Patty Smith, and Debbie Harry, but who is Eve? Possible Eva Destruction?
PH: They were and you are the first person to recognize that! The cast wanted their characters to have names, even if for this concept short they are just named on screen as the Singer, the Drummer etc (somewhere in the back of my mind, Two-Lane Blacktop was influencing this decision)
These will be the names in the feature, as there’s a broader canvas to play on.
Anyway, to circle back to your question, you got the 3 absolutely correct but Eve is actually Eve Libertine from the British punk band Crass from the late 70s.
Dead Air (2018)
HoTS: Are you fans of punk and if so what bands?
GH: I went with Punk more for the look than the music, to be honest… but I’m finding a love for the music!
PH: I love loads of different kinds of music. My brother was a massive influence on me growing up as he was into heavy metal and punk and all that stuff. Firstly playing in a band himself and then going to work for a major record retailer for 20 odd years. Punk bands that have always been there for me are ones like the Ramones, early Adam and the Ants, the Sex Pistols, the Misfits, the Runaways, the Clash etc. Mainly punk with a pop edge. Too many to mention.
SH: I do like punk. Being a 90s child, Nirvana was a first love of mine and I was into Green Day. I really like female-fronted stuff like Bikini Kill, and I adore The Distillers; Brody Dalle is a fucking goddess. Right now I’m enjoying some older stuff vicariously as my sons get into it. they have the Ramones and The Ruts on their playlists.
JS: I’m a fan of most styles of music. Having been signed to RCA in a pop group, then gigging around London in a rock band and also throwing a musical theater background in the mix. I’m basically a schizophrenic music fan.
KDS: I have an eclectic musical taste, I admit that I don’t listen to much rock but I would definitely be a fan of ‘Monster Kitten’ if they were a real group…
CB: I’ve definitely got eclectic music tastes. When I was in my teens, I was a little skater punk girl and was wild about quite poppy punk rock bands like Green Day, Less Than Jake, The Offspring, Alkaline Trio, Fenix TX, the Misfits etc. As I got older I actually became quite goth, got very into heavy metal, psychobilly and would jam to Cradle Of Filth, Nightwish, Kittie, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, etc. My favorite band of all time is the now-split The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – I followed them around for years in my teens!! I’m still a huge Punk Rock fan and have really been enjoying Spotify’s ‘Time Capsule’ feature of late – though it has thrown a few Britney tracks at me that I’ve enjoyed rediscovering, haha!
Dead Air (2018)
So horror fans I will keep you updated on this amazing new film and will let you know the moment it is released. Everyone involved in the making of this film is so lovely and generous and I will share more of their stories as we get closer to the release! So you heard it here first and start getting ready for what I think is going to be an amazing ride! I am just gonna sit here and start getting ready for a wicked game of Texas HoldEm with Dave and he better not welch this time!

Dead Air (2018)

Posted by Alan Smithee in COMING SOON, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED CONTENT, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, NEW RELEASES, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments