OCULAR, NEW TRAILER

OCULAR, NEW TRAILER

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One of my favourite genre shorts just came out with a great new trailer! Ocular is super awesome and will make you feel things no movie ever has! Check it out then head on over to Amazon to purchase or rent the short horror film
that is so hard to watch it should be a dare!

Click here to read my interview with the genuinely talented David Brudie.

El.

OCULAR

OCULAR

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Art is a really hard concept to define. At its simplest, it’s a man-made product that invokes reaction from its viewers. But, what if the emotions the art raises are ones people do not tend to want to feel? Ocular is a strange film, the soundtrack is ear-piercing and difficult to listen to. Visually, the images on the screen are horrible to watch. This is a short that makes people queezy, look away in terror, scream, shutter and, often gag. This film is art!

ocualr34Without the use of excessive blood and guts, director David Brudie created a short film that very few people have been able to watch in one sitting. Being a huge supporter of Ocular, I helped distribute the film at Shock Stock 2014 (a position I asked for by begging Brudie to enter the short and attending the festival as a representative). Arriving late I ran to the screening room and watched the audience take in what they could. It was awesome. Most would keep their heads down while their eyes peered up at the screen. Others were screaming with loving-disgust. Co-creator of Shock Stock, Jake W. Grimbro, loved the film and was quoted as saying “It’s putrid.. Definitely earns the title of short shocks… This film epitomizes what our convention and festival is all about… Intensity, Originality, and Horror in all it’s forms… HANDS DOWN THE SS (Shock Stock) 2014 FAVOURITE SHORT SHOCK!” From my own feelings, the reaction of the viewers combined with selling out every DVD, I totally agree with Grimbro.

11016657_1010742538940804_543206305_n When asked about how the reception Ocular has received, David Brudie responded genially, I feel that it is a love/hate sort of film… The people who like it are very adamant about it and supportive, but there are also others that see nothing redeeming about it… Ocular has been called a lot of things; “Satanic”, “Incoherent” and “Demented”, all spring to mind… However, there are people who look past the obvious shock value and see that there is more in it than meets the eye… I have already had a few people question me about what I was trying to get across in the film, basically they wanted to know (from my point of view) what the film meant… I have no problem explaining certain motivations for Ocular but I also point out that it is something each viewer must interpret for themselves… I think that the people who ‘get it’ see the film in a whole different way, but sadly there are many that ONLY see the repulsiveness in it… That’s kind of a shame, but I knew that it was likely as I was going into this project… Ocular is hard for certain people to watch for a few good reasons, the most prominent one’s are the disgusting acts that the film deals with and the horrorific tone that the movie has… I wanted to grab the viewer right away and keep their attention… On the surface Ocular comes across as a series of unrelated gross acts, and some people like to show their friends and watch the reactions they get… Kind of like a dare or perhaps initiation into the twisted and disturbing nature of the film… I call it being ‘Ocularized’ and I’m cool with whatever reasons people are interested in Ocular, but I’m just saying that if you look deeper there are other things going on…While discussing what the audience was taking from Ocular, Brudie quipped That really depends on what the audience brings with them before watching the film… Everyone will get a different feeling or impression from Ocular and will likely come away with something individual… However, if (at the very least) I give the viewer a unique and perhaps thought provoking experience for 15 minutes, and they walk away wondering what the fuck they just saw, then I’ll feel like I accomplished something…”  Brudie seems to have accepted all opinions on the film, which is a rare trade for a director, be it a new one in the field.

Why am I not getting in to the plot? Why not discuss the actors? Because it is irrelevant. The film is like a sculpture without a solid form, not every one is going to have the same experience seeing it. The plot, it’s what you think it is, no opinions is wrong. I find those who say they hate Ocular seem to hate the intense emotional and often physical affect the movie has, not the film itself. These are also the same people who don’t seem to be able to sit through a viewing. And, it is fucking hard to do. I will admit it, I put my hands over my eyes, turned down the volume and gagged when I popped my Ocular cherry.

People in the genre are raving about Ocular. It is fresh, artsy and mega-repulsive. After watching Ocular, Chris Alexander, editor of  Fangoria, supplied the following quote An eerie, abstract collection of strange, haunting images held together by an unnerving and unyielding sound design.”

I questioned Brudie about what directors he found inspirational hoping to futher understand where he was coming from with Ocular, “There are three director’s (and three films) that greatly influenced Ocular… First off is David Lynch and his film “Eraserhead”… I think much of Ocular‘s nightmarish and haunting qualities can be attributed to Lynch’s film… Secondly, is “Begotten” by E. Elias Merhige, which not only inspired the cinematography and post production filters and effects in my film, but also the significant religious overtones… Like Begotten, Ocular speaks mostly through its silent and cerebral imagery… Lastly, I have to give recognition to John Waters and his film “Pink Flamingos” for destroying any inhibition I may have had in filming some of this unsavory material…”  His response didn’t yield any concrete information in relation to the explosive style Ocular exuberates, but, I accept that. Brudie is a complicated man, thus it makes sense his artwork would be the same.

I highly recommend Ocular to any horror fan. Would I recommend it to my Aunt who relishes thrillers on the Women’s Network? No, she would beat me silly. This is a very intense experience one should be prepared for. Do you think you could make it through the entire film in one sitting?I’ve seen grown men walk out regurgitating.

ocualr3As for what Brudie is working on now… “At the moment I am working on a collaborative effort with a facebook (secret) group called HORROR GEEKS…
We are trying to get a Horror anthology going, featuring the short films of various members of the group… They will all be linked together by a wrap around story… I am very much looking forward to this project because I am a huge fan of horror anthologies and in my opinion there just isn’t enough of them being made anymore… Some of my favorites are “Tales From The Crypt”, “Asylum”, “Dr. Terror House of Horrors” and of course the more recent “Creepshow”, by George A. Romero… My plan is to make this film reminiscent of those great one’s of the past…
When I’m not filming you will usually find me writing and I’m happy to say that I just released a new book last December called “Dribs n Drabs“… It is a series of short stories and poems that deal with a variety of scary and disturbing things… I’ve recieved some really great reviews (which are available at the Amazon order page) and am thankful that people enjoy my work…
By the way, one more thing I’d like to mention, is that OCULAR is finally going to see a public release!!
It will be available shortly on Amazon’s ‘ ‘Instant Video’ site… I’m very excited, and hope you take the time to check it out… I’d love to hear YOUR opinion, so drop me a message on my IMDb page or at the Official Ocular facebook site…

LINKS:
OCUALR – AMAZON
OCUALR  – IMDB
OCULAR – FACEBOOK
DRIBS N’ DRABS – AMAZON

Ocular is a great short to shock people and I am putting out a dare. Would love to know what horror fans out there are able to sit through and entire viewing of the movie. It’s the kind of flick that people make videos of themselves watching. Please let me know if you are able to watch it  and, if you make a video of yourself watching Ocular  please post it here as a comment. If you can do it, you’re probably one sick mother-fucker.

Should also comment on Dribs N’ Drabs, I have read a short story from it and I thought it was a smooth ride. Great read.

El.

TAGLINE, TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

TAGLINE, TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

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The Living Corpse has been  “Kicking Ass and Eating Brains” for 3 years. iZombie has been  “Kicking Ass and Taking Brains” for a month.

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This is not a question of whether or not the tagline Kicking Ass and Eating/Taking Brains was stolen by upcoming comic book turned serial iZombie from the masterminds behind The Living Corpse comic book and film The Amazing Adventures of The Living Corpse (Buz Hasson/Ken Haeser), it is a question of what are they (iZombie) going to do about it.

548606_390766454344801_1600408869_nOne could chalk it up to flattery, however, it’s not. It is very sad when creators from the same genre are stealing from one another. If anyone knows, it should be fellow comic book artist/writers. It isn’t an easy job and getting attention for your comic books, no matter how excellent it may be, is a chance in a million. This is a career of passion, and to see this kind of thievery is sickening to fans of both The Living Corpse and iZombie.  To out right plagiarize a fellow artists is really just a douche-bag move. The entire industry is based on creativity. Actions like this says little for the show iZombie and what to expect from it.

When pressed for a comment, Buz Hasson had this to day I don’t think it’s a coincidence after seeing how far it’s left the original source material from the comic“.  He is right. It would be hard to prove this a coincidence as the phrase isn’t one used by anyone I know in their daily-weekly-monthly vocabulary. At the root of this is basic thievery. Ken Haeser had this to add “I’m not surprised. When was the last time Hollywood had an original idea?

What will happen, if anything? Who knows, but this fan will not be watching iZombie. There are far better programs and films that do not steal as they see fit.

El.

RIGOR MORTIS/GEUNG SI

RIGOR MORTIS/GEUNG SI 2013

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Rigor Mortis blew my mind. Hands down Takashi Shimizu‘s best work to date. An extremely well thought out film. Many character plots that unravel into a set of circumstances that makes perfect sense in a realm where near anything seems possible. Complicated as all hell but, easy to follow.

22298746_Still_Rigor%20Mortis_7I’m not going to bother trying to find a flaw in the cinematography, it was fucking beautiful to watch. The ghosts were typical of Takashi Shimizu‘s earlier work (pick any Ju-on) but had something special that set them apart. While on film, the spirits and those possessed had a veiny, liquid like aura that didn’t seem evil but, like the twins themselves, a product of their demise. There is one scene where it feels like Shimizu is giving homage to Stephen King’s “The Shining”. There are no other parallels between the films than one shot. Or, perhaps I am looking too deep.

People, ghosts, vampires, oh my! The actors has mountains to climb with the script and in having faith in Shimizu every one, every thing, it all worked like a key in a finicky lock. Anthony Chan, Kara HuiSiu-Ho Chin and, Chun-Man Ko totally deserve all the praise that has come their way since the release of Rigor Mortis.

I love a good mystery and a film that you can tell has been cared for. Rigor Mortis has earned a spot on my Top Ten Films list. It is perfect in nearly every way.

El.

SNAKE WITH A HUMAN TAIL

SNAKE WITH A HUMAN TAIL – 2014

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There is a lot to talk about when it comes to Snake With A Human Tail.
For one the poster art is amazing. So often fans are let down by DVD cover and poster art. As of late, it seems as though our plight has been heard. This is no exception. Be sure I will be looking in to getting a copy for my collection, hopefully signed.
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Be prepared, Snake With A Human Tail  is one of those films that is upsetting on a natural, human, this could really happen, level. To sum it up, the film is Psycho meets Pink Flamingos, directed by a young Quentin Tarantino. It’s a thrill ride.
For most of us sane and rational people out there, corrupt religious authorities are angering and terrifying, Snake With A Human Tail feels the same way. Meet Father Fulci (Marv Blauvelt). As a survivor of sexual assault, he did not break the cycle of abuse, instead he mastered his seductions while working at Church. Presently dating a transgendered woman he finds himself becoming obsessed with his new girlfriend, Karma (Sheri Davis) and her talent for not feeling physical pain. The viewer learns quickly what type of horror this film is. There is no candy coating for the faint of heart in Snake With A Human Tail, it is not written or directed to protect its audience from the crudeness of its reality. 
10715681_10205067019345230_730894242_nKarma was my favourite character. She is a woman with baggage. By carrying the baggage with her through life, she became stronger and more determined to seek out resolution for her past.  During her earlier years as a young boy, she was abused by a Father in the Church she attended. The abuse changed her destiny. The desire for revenge continued until present day, when she was finally able to release her glorious blood-thirsty retribution. The conclusion (no spoilers here) is why I feel Snake With A Human Tail will redefine revenge-horror 
MV5BMjAxMjQ5ODY4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTEwOTE4MjE@._V1_SY317_CR20,0,214,317_AL_Snake With A Human Tail is a well done flick. Billy Blair (Dr.Bloom) understood how to express a false sense of caring for Father Fulci, whilst still keeping in line with the limitations of his job as a Therapist. However, it seems too many actors are not taking into consideration what the their character would typically look like. Blair fits in this category. As your audience, we want to see different sides of you, how you can take on a whole new persona.  It bothers me, what can I say? It’s my main complaint about Blair as he appeared like he just finished playing a set with Eric Clapton and not what I know as common aesthetics for a Psychiatrist. My advice, shave the goatee. Once that baby blanket is gone he will be able to express his characters on their own merits.  By doing so, Blair‘s acting abilities are going to appear stronger which is a great thing as I said, he nearly nailed it on ever level but, his appearance worked against him.  That’s still awesome.  Plus, hair grows back.
10723394_10205067031905544_665202698_nIf Karma was key to Snake With A Human TailSheri Davis was the lock. From her mannerisms, to her speech, to her loyalty to the role, Davis was able to emote what a woman in Karma’s drugged up lifestyle might behave like.  I asked Davis what her first thoughts were when she was introduced to the character Karma. Her response was that of a true actor.  “There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted the portray the role of Karma. I literally said to myself, “I finally get this incredible opportunity that I’ve longed for.”I desired a role where I could show my diversity as an actress. I wanted to break the typecast of the roles I had played. I literally pictured the transformation of Charlize Theron in “Monster” when I envisioned the physical transformation that I wanted to make from the “pretty brunette Southern actress” to something much different. I had been longing for this role. I felt so much empathy for what Karma had experienced and become because of Father Fulci’ s actions and I wanted Karma to be real to the audience. I wanted people to feel, see, and hear who Karma was and who she had to become to survive Father Fulci ‘ s abuse. I am very grateful to Spencer Gray for giving me the opportunity to not only play the role of Karma, but the creative freedom to change many things about my physical appearance and trusting me to truly bring him/her to life the way I also envisioned. I am also very thankful to Spencer for allowing me to also Co – produce and help cast as well10717970_10205067905247377_1593681382_n
Then, I had to ask the obvious question. Do you feel this film shines a positive light on the Transgendered community or, are you preparing yourself for backlash?  Her answer was level-headed “I felt the minute that I first read the script that I would get a lot of backlash from numerous people and groups. I also knew that there would be people who would probably judge me or even change the way they look at me because of this role. Bottom line, I don’t feel that this movie is about a “transgender.” “Snake With A Human Tail” is about an innocent HUMAN BEING who as a child was sexually molested by a deranged priest. The innocence of Henry ‘O’Brien was stolen by Father Fulci and as Karma tells her prostitute friend Kennedy (Melina Lyon), “Karma Blake rose from his ashes!” This film is storytelling at its best! It’s a in your face kind of film which some will find offensive. If that happens then that means that we all did a great job because it became REAL for the audience. This is the raw sad side of life that does exist. It shows us that evil is real and you never know just who may be wearing the mask of pure evil
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 Marv Blauvelt portrayal of Father Fulci  came across a little stiff for me. It felt like the things he was doing on camera were uncomfortable for him and it showed on-screen. His work in Slices of Life was great. He is not a bad actor. However, there were times in the film when the opportunity to give Father Fucli a little humanity cause feelings of sympathy for the monster, those times were not utilized. It was an unnatural performance.  The plus side, there are worse things in life than not appearing at ease in the shoes of a child molester.
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 Clean lines and clear shots make for a good contrast between the psychoticism that transpires on-screen.  Spencer Gray knew how to direct Snake With A Human Tail in the perfect way to draw in his audience and make them feel a part of the action, as uncomfortable as that action often is. The diner scene was well done. In sequence with Davis‘ emotional ups and downs the camera angle was constantly changing and there was the introduction of a number of nameless characters, and overload of information, some that didn’t matter, some that were important to the plot. Davis and Gray worked as a team to invoke feelings of unease and interest. One thing that could have been employed into the film would be the use of a hand-held camera during Karma’s scenes. This would aid in conveying the dizzy feeling in being high and can naturally cause viewers to become anxious and unsettled. Gray should be proud of his efforts with Snake With A Human Tail, it is a disturbing way to spend 31 minutes of your life. 10719075_10205070736358153_2079140637_n I asked Gray if  Snake With A Human Tail, had a social message behind the story while writing it, and if so, what he felt that message was? “I wanted this film to be the real deal. To inhale America’s sins and spit them out, like Henry Miller’s “The Air-Conditioned Nightmare.” I wanted the raw, real side show for anybody interested in breaking through the POLLYANNAISH facade that is America. I feel so fortunate to have found so much talent that wanted to do the same and pulled it off beautifully. I believe Marv Blauvelt, Sheri Davis, Billy Blair, Jeremy Mitchell, and Anthony Gutierrez are just the beginning of what I feel will be a trend of BOLD new savage art. If you don’t like something in our film, write a nasty email and send it to yourself. It all came from you and the society each one of you helped create.” After watching A Snake With A Human Tail a minimum of four times, it’s really grown on me.  Would love to see this made it to a feature or even a series as there could be many secrets held in the past that could be answered through flashbacks from the point of view of Father Fulci during therapy and Karma whilst under narcotics. Did I like it? Yes.  Do I see room for improvements? Yes. But, what indie film doesn’t have set backs due to funding, time constraints and, other common issues that come with independent filmmaking. A Snake With A Human Tail will probably do quite well in the festival circuit and I imagine will be known as one of writer/director Spencer Gray‘s better early works. I will be recommending this to any true hard-core horror fans.

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El

BABYSITTER MASSACRE: INTERVIEW/REVIEW

BABYSITTER MASSACRE 2013

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Seven years ago on Halloween a young girl disappeared, now seven years later young women are being kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. The only link between them all is that they belonged to the same babysitter club as the missing girl. Who could be doing this and can they be stopped?

DSC_1114 copyHenrique Couto (the man in the middle), a individual and Renaissance Man if I have ever met one has birthed something I could never have seen coming.  His recent release Babysitter Massacre is a violent and suspenseful blood-fest.  This film is what a good massacre flick should be.  When questioned about why he chose the massacre theme this time Couto replied Since I was very young I loved the “Massacre” films like Slumber Party Massacre, Sorority Massacre, etc. I had always wanted to create something along those lines. I had also been seeing a lot of slasher movies come and go that weren’t trying to be scary, they weren’t trying to be suspenseful, they were just basically being referential. I didn’t seek out to make a big homage to other films like it, I sought to make a flick that could sit on the shelf next to them.

DSC_1080 copyThe storyline follows the reemergence of a masked man who captured and killed a local teen (who with her friends formed a babysitters club) from Ray Falls, Ohio seven years prior to present date.  It’s now Halloween night, Bianca (Marylee Osborne) believes the killer is back to pursue the remaining members of the  babysitter’s club, and she is right! Between shots of torture, boobies and photos sent to a cell we learn the killer is back for blood and lives are in jeopardy. Underneath the gore is separate and blonder storyline where Arlene (Tara Clark) and her friends  – well, you’ll have to watch to see…

Because I felt the characters were very strong and that the casting of say, Osborne playing Bianca was really well chosen I asked Couto how he came up with the characters and if he wrote for specific actors/actresses, and responded thusly, “I try to come up with a few characters that I can connect with, they need to have something about them that is very human. I usually aim for a flaw, something that makes them less than perfect that can allow you to identify with them. I often pull from loved ones for characteristics to make it believable then I just try to hammer out why they would do the things I need them to do to benefit the story.When able to write for a specific actor it helps speed things up a lot, the key to getting the writing going is having a strong visualization going. Even if you don’t get the people you were originally writing for it will work out just fine.”

BSM2The FX in Babysitter Massacre are well done and admittedly I cringed during the first shot of torture in this movie.  The effects seemed well thought out and came across with just the right amount of realism. The gore was not hidden either, in the editing room Couto took his time allowing for the majourity of painful shots to last long enough for the viewer to actually see, where many films give quick glimpses to imply suffering but not actually give the effort to pull through with it.  Pyrotechnics were also employed in the Babysitter Massacre which was unexpected, I totally loved it.

I want to point out how well done the background music was.  Every song fit like a puzzle to what was happening on-screen.  For me, when the melody is off the entire film is off.  Coutoes to Couto for getting that done right. Sadly, and possibly vainly, the only real thing that kept bothering me throughout the film was the ill-fitting brassières. It bothered me and looked uncomfortable.  Always measure and never trust what people say are their measurements!!! 🙂

As for where Babysitter Massacre can be bought, Couto says, “Babysitter Massacre is being distributed by Alternative Cinema, we don’t have a date but before the end of the year it will be everywhere you buy DVDs online and on many many video on demand platforms.”

Babysitter Massacre is a film I will come back to many times.  Fully enjoyable for all the horror senses!  Click here to view the official trailer: Official Babysitter Massacre Trailer. Don’t forget to Like Babysitter Massacre on Facebook: Babysitter Massacre.

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Below are more questions and answers with writer, director Henrique Couto:

Watching the film, are there any parts you wish you could go back and change, or do you feel you conveyed yourself in a way that represents what you had in mind for this feature
– “Seeing them alive on the screen is an interesting experience, at that point you’ve spent so many hours writing, so many hours shooting, so many hours editing, and then so many hours fixing sound. It starts to feel like it is just a jumble of material, but when it all comes together and you are able to appreciate it that is a big pay off to making films.”

Are there things you would have liked to have in Babysitter Massacre that you just ended up unpractical and had to be cut? What is that like for the writer in you?
“There are always things you have to cut out on movies that are made for this cheap. One of the reasons I like to write for myself is that I can keep all of those things in mind and not have to disappoint myself a lot. So sure, there would be lots of things I’d love to have in the film, but I’d say out of the script I only cut one or two things due to budget and schedule.”

If you had to choose one role for your next film, would you rather write or direct?
“I would rather direct, writing is interesting and it lets your brain muscle really get a chance to flex, but directing is where I am most passionate. I love being on set, working with actors, getting the camera where I want it. I even love the thrill of staying on schedule.”

What are you working on now that Babysitter Massacre is finished?
– “I’m actually just a few weeks from rolling camera on my first foray into family comedy with A Bulldog for Christmas, which I hope people really get a kick out of. It has most of the cast and crew of Babysitter Massacre on board and I think it will give us all a chance to show we are diverse in our skill set.”

Thank you to Couto for taking the time to answer my questions and I will be looking for a sequel to Babysitter Massacre!

Geeker.

COOL AS HELL: INTERVIEW/REVIEW WITH JAMES BALSAMO

COOL AS HELL 2013

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Rich and Benny are having trouble with the ladies, until they befriend a demon named Az. It’s a non-stop party until a soul hungry beast leaps through an open portal from the underworld and starts terrorizing the town. It’s up to Az and the boys to send the creature back to the depths where it came from, and look good, while doing it in Cool As Hell.

coollickedBeginning with a great intro song by Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space and some quirky violence Cool As Hell; is cool as hell.  James Balsamo, with a strong will throws down the sword on this flick. …and I like it.  I now fully believe that any movie that has the line “…this is a sausage fest” within the first ten minutes is going to kick ass.

Taking a new avenue with Cool As Hell, Balsamo wrote the film as a story told to the audience from the perspective of Rich, a samurai sword wielding zombie slayer creatively acted out by Balsamo, who again in this feature took on every job he could producing,  writing, directing, acting and FX.
vlcsnap-2013-04-18-21h05m28s58Rich is comic book lovin’ – mama’s boy who strikes out with the ladies on a regular basis.  His live-in best friend Benny (Dan E. Danger,  killed his performance – that’s good) is the type of socially challenged and coy character you would expect to see passing through Clerks.  The two fit well playing off of one another and following along in their adventure against zombies, demons and a beast from hell is a bloody good time.

Balsamo takes the time in Cool As Hell to give the characters stronger personalities than I have seen in earlier films and it`s appreciated.  Rich and Benny come across as true friends and having a sense that the characters have known each other for years does well for the flick. By doing so it opens up the opportunity for the audience to build their own feelings towards them, thus caring if they live or die a horrible painful bloody death.
This is built up early on in the Strip club where the two characters are comfortable to carry on a conversation while basically ignoring the fact one of them is getting a lap dance. vlcsnap-2013-04-18-21h06m35s210 That’s bro-mance at it’s finest.  While on the subject of the club, I was admittedly surprised and delighted to see a range of women working and not the typical Rose McGowan/Sheri Moon body type. Unsure if this was actually thought through or if it just is what it is, but as a woman with curves I totally dug it, and the stripper in me felt represented.

As the story moves forward a slick green demon named Az (Billy Walsh,who no doubt had a lot of fun shooting the film also gave an energetic and stimulating performance) is introduced into the movie.  Walsh does a great job conveying the stylized demon even with the restrictions of the makeup and uber-fangs.  The look of Az says a lot about his personality and is well put together.
The girl of Rich’s dreams, Ashley (Lauren Adamkiewicz, super loveable in the role and seemed very much real) who is involved with his nemesis Sal (Frank Mullen, bitchin’ job as a total dick-wad) comes into his life and solves the puzzle of why Az is around leading to an epic fight of good vs. evil.

zombiiBalsamo‘s directing in Cool As Hell seemed to mature since I Spill Your Guts (Interview – Review here).  The cinematography, the pauses and voice-overs and the subtle look to the camera during one of many zesty sex scenes made for an enjoyable watch.  I love that a character in the flick is wearing a The Taint and another an I Spill Your Guts t-shirt, it was a nice nod.  Known for fitting in a number of cameos in his work, I felt Balsamo got it right this time really giving each actor/actress a full opportunity to express their skills in solid performances. Talking about solid performances Balsamo kills it in a quick riff on the guitar which was surprisingly good as I was unaware  he could jam.  While on the topic of melodies, one issue I had with I Spill Your Guts was the transition between scenes and the choice of tunes used, this was not an issue in Cool As Hell, everything blended and is well designed.

Balsamo is known for working in a number of cameos into his films.  In Cool As Hell he features Tom Savini, Andrew W. K., Frank Mullen, Tommy Dreamer, Scott Levy (Raven), Carmine Capobianco, David Naughton, Laurence R. Harvey, Caleb Emerson among a number of bands.  Everyone did a great job and it was really fun seeing who Rich was going to run into next.

Being the nice guy he is, Balsamo agreed to answer some question about Cool As Hell and the process of making the movie.

How do you find your directing and writing styles have changed throughout your films from Hack Job to Cool As Hell?

381132_189586651122397_1734729406_nWell, I would have to say things most things get better with practice and I have have been doing a lot of practicing in the sense of filming since my first feature Hack Job. I would say I have become more efficient on set. For example, I’m currently in production for my fourth feature film Mystery Meat. While filming a cameo with Debbie Rochon other day we filmed four scripted pages in 45 mins. Now to an average person that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but a film maker knows that is madness. Since Cool As Hell we have been doing double camera shoots and it cuts the time in half. More or less I’m still the same wacky director mentality as when I started. My end goal is to make an entertaining film, filled with gratuitous nudity and monsters. Only now, all that film waxing on and off has taught me to kick ass and take names on set.

What directors inspired and influenced you to create the stylish fast-paced directing you are becoming known for?

I like to say that as a film maker, I was created like Freddy Krueger, in the sense that I’m the bastard son of a hundred maniac film makers. It would be hard to only name a few, when so many of the film makers have inspired me to become the director I am today. If someone was holding a blow torch to my balls, and asked that same question I would have to say Lloyd Kaufman, Charles Band, Stuart Gordon, and Dennis Dugan.

Your films are synonymous for having cameos of iconic horror actors, musicians, etc. In Cool As Hell, who was the most exciting cameo for you to film? Can you share any stories about the many cameos in your films?

BackcoverTomI’ve worked with so many great people over the years. I’m really lucky to work with so many artists that I’m honestly a great fan of Tom Savini was the big cameo for me in Cool As Hell. He was my inspiration in make up and FX, So it was such a great honor to work with him.

All of your films have a strong connection with music – where does that meshing originate for you? How do you decide on what bands to feature in your genre movies?

Well, I’m not sure if a lot of people know this, but I’m a musician myself. In my first film Hack Job there is a scene where I’m singing and playing bass…that’s all me. I was in a bunch of bands for many years before I was making films. In fact, I got my start directing by doing music videos for a band that I played in. I plan on releasing a solo album by the end of the year. As far as the bands I use in my films, I just use the bands I actually listen to. It just kind of worked out that most of them happen to love horror films. Over the years my friendships have developed in the music industry and they actually wanted to work with me.

Being hands on you also took the role of Special Make up FX in Cool As Hell, how do you feel about the end result of the film? Who in the industry do you look up to as far as special effects go?

daninhalfI did a lot of FX on Cool As Hell, that I’m really proud of. There was a life casted severed zombie torso that laid on top of the actor, so they could twitch their real legs. There was the fake skull shell of the girl who gets her face punched through the back of her head, and my favorite, the Boo-Gar puppet. Oh and I almost forgot I had to consistently paint Billy Walsh green every time he was on screen…Except for that one scene where he plays a bull fighter. I had great time making the demon at the end. I feel like the film doesn’t do it justice. You don’t really get how tall it really is. I stand about 6 ft tall, and in the fight scene the beast is about three feet taller then me. Sadly it doesn’t look like a 9 ft creature, but it is! Here’s a Cool As Hell secret. We had the actor on stilts. I can’t take all the credit though, I have to thank Steve Siegelbaum from GutRot FX and Church Haley for an amazing job they did on the zombies. Also Tom Misfit did brilliant work on Az’s demon fangs. I’m a big geek when it comes to make up FX I’m probably one of the few people that stick around during the credits at the movies to see who did the make up. As far as idols, I’m really inspired by every effect I see. I think that you can take something away from every practical effect. If I had to name names though I would say Tom Savini, Rick Baker, and Dick Smith.

Az, the demon genie is a great character. How was the concept for his design chosen?

AzpizzaI guess most people reflect on their childhood idols for inspiration. I really wanted to make a character homage to Maurice from Little Monsters and Beetlejuice from the film of the same name. Except I wanted the character to be more raunchy. I think I managed to do that with the pot smoking, skirt lifting rabble rosier that is Az. That handsome green demon, even has a soft-core sex scene with a naked red demon. That was an interesting shoot. Red green demons dry humping each other, left their bodies yellow and Billy‘s balls blue.

Zombies, having recently become a staple in pop-culture are excellent monsters as each director/writer has control over the type of zombie they portray – how do you feel your zombies in Cool As Hell stood up against other films?

backcover zombie

Well the zombies aren’t really a major highlight in the film. They are more like bacon bits just thrown in there because I love zombies. So, when the gates of hell are left open, how could you not have zombies in there. I have an old school mentality, so I really didn’t want them to be the ninja fast running back flipping gymnast zombies of today. I wanted them to walk slow and look gruesome. Zombie films are a dime a dozen now a days. Today, a lot of the make up is just white grease paint and black circles around the eyes. I can’t say I didn’t make short films like that, back when I started, but I have come along way. I think our zombies looked damn good.

Watching Cool As Hell now, what fond memories of the making of the film do you have and do you have and is there a favourite scene from the film?

BoogarCool As Hell was a labor of love…a painful labor. It was the fastest I ever finished a feature film. Our entire shoot spanned three months from start to finish. The scene that really pulled it together for me was the Boo-Gar/super bong scene. I had to lay on the floor with my hand covered in slime to make the puppet work and it was a blast. It’s really hard to pick one scene. My crew and I traveled a lot to get some of the cameos we had in the film. We had some awesome adventures all along the way doing it. Right now what was done in “Hell” stays in “Hell”. However, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, one day I will write a book. Making independent films is a crazy journey, with some great stories.

Can you tell us a little about what you are working on next?

spacemeatAs I said earlier Acid Bath Productions is currently in production on our fourth feature film Mystery Meat here is the synopsis:Blake is struggling through his fiance’s perfect wedding plans. Not to mention his problems running a downward spiraling restaurant, that he shares with his brother Tony. When alien eggs from a meteor crash, end up in their latest food delivery, all hell breaks loose. Then, to make matters worse, the eggs hatch into devilish fast growing space varmints. One of the little monsters swallows Blake’s wedding ring. Now, Tony and Blake have to find the creature with the ingested ring, before Blake’s bridezilla to be, causes more damage then any space varmint could. The boys really bit off more then they could chew in this crazy horror/comedy titled Mystery Meat! The film is currently slated for a September release, and features cameos from Debbie Rochon, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Irwin Keyes, Johnny Legend, Frank Mullen, Carmine Capobianco, and Theodous Crane from AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. The film will be filled with the same nudity, humor, gore, and awesome soundtracks that our fans have come to know and love.

Cool As Hell Signing at Forbidden Planet:

Debbie Rochon Cool As Hell promo:

“TOKE! TOKE! TOKE! TOKE! TOKE!…”

With extras including a blooper reel, deleted scenes, Dream Beaver music video, trailers and promotions it’s a fully packed and well put together package.  This is definitely a flick you want to own and watch over and over.

Don’t forget to Like Cool As Hell and your favourite actors on IMDb by clicking here or on their names.

Geeker.