Someone on Facebook the other day shared a post stating that the way the world is today, if a zombie apocalypse did happen, there would be people marching in the streets demanding civil rights for the zombies.
Somewhere around 1999, I discovered a book called Monsters from the Id by E. Michael Jones. An amazing deconstruction of the horror genre, Jones asserted that all of horror can be summed up in the scripture James 1:15. Jones saw horror as an outgrowth of the Enlightenment and the sexual liberation it produced, and he traced the origins of modern horror back to the lives of enlightened writers like Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker.
After catching the movie Hollow Man in a hotel room (and seeing it followed Jones’ theories to the letter!), I wrote a play that I turned into a screenplay simply called Monster, a story that played off Jones’ ideas and brought some of the Christian themes of horror more to the fore. A Christian filmmaker caught sight of it, loved it, and asked to develop it into a movie. I said yes.
A few months later, I received the revised screenplay. Sadly, all of the cool ideas I had for the film’s theme were cut in favor of the more “traditional” Christian movie tropes about spiritual warfare. I was very disappointed. So not long after this, I decided to try again. This time, I would keep it simple. The movie would be shorter – something I could film on no budget. And the themes I wanted to explore would not be cut because it would be my movie!
Fluffy, starring Jamie Bratcher and Randy D. Pease, was my first successful attempt at making a short film after several false starts. The movie was a hit at film festivals with its campiness, and it worked on all levels. You could enjoy it for the “deeper” themes, or you could just laugh and enjoy a really goofy send up of alien and horror flicks.
Fluffy was not intended to be a trilogy, but then, one day, I met Erica Goldsmith. After seeing the star of independent horror films Dead Moon Rising and Overtime sparring with fellow actor Denny Grinar on set for another short, I realized I had found the perfect person to bring Fluffy’s heroine Trish Angel back to the screen. Erica was a hardcore tough girl, and Fluffy Strikes Back (which owes a lot in production to Erica’s co-star, filmmaker Herschel Zahnd III) is still the best of the three.
Like many third films, The Last Temptation of Fluffy is overly long and in parts, a mess. With Herschel unavailable to reprise his role as Stone Brockman, we invented the convoluted “Drone” subplot, and the plot as a whole goes to some truly silly places. On the other hand, the film starred Len Cella, creator of the Moron Movies and one of my personal filmmaking heroes. Len was incredibly kind and gracious, filming his own scenes and not asking a penny. It was a treat working with him.
The last film in the series is the super short Liaison Avec Flufie. This film is best experienced rather than explained, so I won’t elaborate on what was (at the time) my farewell to the Fluffy series. The lovely Laura Ellis gives a remarkable performance, one of the best dramatic moments ever in my film (one of two… see George Robert Bailey in A Conscientious Objector of Mars), and the beauty of her tormented lover sets up the film’s big payoff.
It’s five days until Halloween. Time to once again say, “Have you met my friend Clive?”
Here’s the story about Clive. Several years ago, I decided to make films with puppets, partly for the fun, but partly because it would allow me to shoot video late at night instead of taking time away on the weekends from my family. I was on eBay looking for some old Puppet Productions style puppets when I saw Clive.
Clive was built by Sonny Vegas, who has made some amazing puppet creations. I didn’t put a bid on Clive because the price was out of my range that day, but the idea of making movies with a zombie puppet stuck with me.
I already had a few short film ideas involving zombies, and over the course of a month or so, I dreamed up about half a dozen. I talked to a few special effects guys about mocking up one of my puppets like Clive, but after going back to the auction link (which had ended) and seeing Clive had not sold, I contacted Sonny.
Sonny was awesome. He said yes, Clive was still available, and he gave me a price. A deal was struck, and the rest is history.
Episode 2 of the new sketch show featuring professional wrestler Marc Hauss is now online. This episode features my fellow IFN Evansville member, Alyssa Rhoads as Marc’s girlfriend – or are they still together?? You’ll have to see for yourself.
Years ago, I wrote a short story that re-told the tragic tale of the Big Bad Wolf in the style of film noir. This past summer, I decided to go back to that abandoned story and create a trilogy of noir-fairy tales. The result is the new ebook release The Big Bad Goodnight, available on Amazon and Smashwords.
This was a fun book release because I got to work with a number of old friends and new preparing for it. Actress, writer, and filmmaker Gia Signorelli illustrated the book and also co-produced the trailer you’ll see below. My long time friend and fellow collaborator Tyler Bradley also produced three more trailers that you can see on the book’s official page, inspired by the nursery rhymes in the book. Megan Broadus, who briefly toured with me in Righteous Insanity, edited the book, and Jon Driver, a multi-talented musician and former student of mine, contributed the smoky saxophone music to the trailers.
Last but not least, it was actress Meredith Keller who brought to life one of the book’s best characters. For one of the stories in the book, I asked myself, what if The Three Bears was re-told in the style of Cape Fear? See for yourself, then download the book for yourself!