Making its debut this coming weekend at the Rock and Shock show in Worcester MA is the convention documentary FANTASM. The film takes an in depth and behind the scenes look at conventions and the people and celebrities that attend them. As any of us who attend conventions with any regularity can attest, there is nothing quite like the vibe of hanging out with a bunch of like minded horror geeks for an entire weekend and FANTASM attempts to bring a little of that experience home via DVD.
Holding the premiere at Rock and Shock isn’t an accident according to director Kyle Kuchta “Rock and Shock was the first convention I went to as a kid, and those experiences were the inspiration behind Fantasm. To be able to premiere the film there is an absolute honor.”
While showing what a great time a convention can be we are also treated to insight of some celebrities in attendance. The likes of Tom Atkins, Heather Langenkamp and Lloyd Kaufman share their views on conventions and those that attend. While certainly not the first documentary to attempt to capture the convention experience, early word is that this one is a notch above the rest. If you’re heading to Rock and Shock this weekend make it a priority to get in on this one. For the rest of us, I’m sure there is a DVD/Blu-ray announcement in our future.
Director Kyle Kuchta is excited to reveal the official theatrical poster for his forthcoming horror convention documentary, Fantasm. The film explores the bonds formed by the close-knit community of fans who attend horror conventions.
In addition to a variety of devoted genre fans, Fantasm features insight from several popular horror actors and filmmakers, including Tom Atkins (Escape from New York), Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger), Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2) and more.
After being shot at six different conventions throughout the country, Fantasm is currently in post-production. “The film is being submitted to festivals and conventions,” Kuchta elaborates. “We’re really excited to be releasing it in the fall when the convention season and the horror community are thriving full-force.”
For more information on Fantasm, visit the documentary on Facebook and Twitter.
What?! WHAT?! News has come down the line from It’s On The Grid that JOHN Friggin’ TRAVOLTA has joined the cast of the TOXIC AVENGER REMAKE. HOT TUB TIME MACHINE director Steve Pink is working on the TOXIE remake, co-writing it with Daniel C. Mitchell for TROMA. Charlie Corwin, Akiva Goldsman, Richard Saperstein, Lloyd Kaufman, and Michael Herz all produce. Right now this is a semi-rumor but more on the fact side than the rumor side so what can we expect with John Travolta in the cast? Could Melvin the Mop Boy be a grown up janitor? I can see it… What do you think? Keep your eyes peeled here, boils ‘n ghouls as we’ll have more information as it develops…
This is the story of Melvin, the Tromaville Health Club mop boy, who inadvertently and naively trusts the hedonistic, contemptuous and vain health club members, to the point of accidentally ending up in a vat of toxic waste. The devastating results then have a transmogrification effect, his alter ego is released, and the Toxic Avenger is born, to deadly and comical results. The local mop boy is now the local Superhero, the saviour of corruption, a man the ladies swoon over, and a nightmare for thuggish bullies and indifference. It’s Troma classic with good make-up effects and stunts.
Before talking a bit about NO SLEEP, NO SURRENDER, I should probably give you a little rundown about the film it’s about, FATHER’S DAY.
The urban legend known as ‘The Father’s Day Killer’ began some years after the demise of serial rapist/murderer Chris Fuchman. Since the 1970’s, the use of contraceptives has tripled in North America alone and a generation of fathers fell asleep with the covers pulled tight, buttocks clenched. The story has become a fire-side cautionary tale on camping trips, often used by fathers to warn their sons of the dangers of unplanned pregnancy. That deep fear of penetration, violation, and eventual death waned as the murder and rape of fathers continued to decline all over the world. Unfortunately, those numbers didn’t remain low, and it would seem that the legend is not yet complete…
Ahab, a man obsessed with exacting a brutal, violent revenge on the man who murdered his dad joins John, an eager priest, and Twink, a hot-headed street hustler on an epic quest to find and defeat the mythical monster known as Chris Fuchman, aka THE FATHER’S DAY KILLER!
Now, it turns out that the production of FATHER’S DAY was a troubled one, and post-production was plagued with even more difficulties.
The title of Astron-6’s making-of FATHER’S DAY doc is inspired by a death-march like motto, NO SLEEP, NO SURRENDER, and the teaser shows us some of the hilarious and insane conditions the cast and crew had to endure while making a $10, 000 feature look like a million dollars. This will prove to be something to watch for all indie filmmakers out there. You can expect to see the blood, sweat and tears that were poured into the movie, but perhaps the most interesting aspect of this documentary is that it is being released by the film collective independently, and will not be appearing on the FATHER’S DAY set from Troma.
As of this writing the Blu-ray/DVD release has been pushed back to July/August. This alone reveals that there is a fracture in the relationship with Astron-6 and producer/distributor Troma Entertainment, but in the teaser we’re given a slice of some of the experiences that soured the relationship that the full doc will likely expand on. Accusations of broken promises and bad faith contracts are at the heart of it, but the trailer shows us other pitfalls like the charge that Troma was selling bootlegs of the movie at screenings that ended up on The Pirate Bay within a day.
Sounds like a wild ride. I can’t wait to check out the doc NO SLEEP, NO SURRENDER, and keep your eyes peeled here, boils and ghouls, for an upcoming review of the film FATHER’S DAY.
This Friday, JUNE 15th, 2012, starting at 7:00 pm EST (but I’d suggest getting there around 6:30pm) at the MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN for a measly $10, the original MOTHER’S DAY, directed by Charles Kaufman will be playing on the big screen. And, as an added bonus, there will be a special introduction and post screening Q&A with LLOYD KAUFMAN, founder of Troma Entertainment, and Josh Schafer, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Lunchmeat VHS Magazine.
Written, produced and directed on a budget of only $115,000 by Charles Kaufman, the brother of Lloyd Kaufman, co-founder of Troma Entertainment INC, horror film Mother’s Day follows three girlfriends as they reunite for their annual camping trip. The young friends’ vacation turns into their worst nightmare when they are kidnapped by two demented punk/hillbilly brothers. Led by their insane mother, the brothers drag the young women through deranged scenarios conceived by the sadistic matriarch.
Showcasing new possibilities for breakthrough genre filmmaking, Mother’s Day was an early example of a filmmaker’s creation taking on a new life within the video market. The opportunities introduced by video distribution went on to influence generations of filmmakers.
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE! I’ll be attending, boils ‘n ghouls, representing Backwoods Horror. See ya there!
Anchor Bay Entertainment is due to release Charles Kaufman’s original MOTHER’S DAY on Blu-ray for the first time ever on September 4th, 2012. The film was originally released by Troma in 1980, and directed by Charles Kaufman and written by Kaufman and Warren Leight.
The MOTHER’S DAY Blu-ray release will feature a brand new HD transfer and never-before-seen special features including commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, and a new featurette created by genre fan and CABIN FEVER, and HOSTEL director Eli Roth.
MOTHER’S DAY follows three young women abducted by homicidal momma’s boys Ike and Addley, while camping. Ike and Addley are goaded by their “Mother” into violent and graphic acts of torture against the three women. While doing everything to stay alive, the three women muster the courage escape, and serve their maniacal abductors some old-fashioned justice.
Jeff Burr, that’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Famous (or infamous) in the horror world for such films as LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III (a sequel I actually enjoyed), STEPFATHER II: MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY, PUMPKINHEAD II: BLOODWINGS, NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, among others, he is now directing the indy horror film RESURRECTION.
While we currently have very little information about the film, we do have a bit of a synopsis, casting information, and a weird, completely uninformative teaser trailer. So far, what we know is: a college student on his way home for Easter stumbles upon a small midwestern town being severely affected by a psychosis that is the result of experiments in genetically modified crops. The film will star Steve Christopher (Wilson), Jim O’Rear (Dr. Neilson), Shay Baker (Dan), Kayla Gill (Crystal), and Ervin Ross (Mike) among others, and feature a guest starring appearance by Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman.
Featuring: Kevin S. Tenney, Uwe Boll, Tiffany Shepis, Lloyd Kaufman, Harry Manfredini, Dean Bertram, Michael Felsher, David Gooslin, Clayton Hill, Sharon Hill, Andre’ Gower, Elske McCain, Kane Hodder, Betsy Palmer, PJ Soles, John Landis, Gary Klar, Jay Reel, Tony Moran, etc.
Ok boils ‘n ghouls, before I get into the review, a little horror-talk-radio history lesson. Back in the cold December of 2005, two Eastern Kentucky natives decided, not knowing many local fiends for horror, to produce an online horror talk radio show. Now, in 2010, the DeadPit show (found online at www.DeadPit.com and on iTunes) has thousands of listeners worldwide. Nearly every week has a new celebrity guest from Horror Greats such as George A. Romero and John Carpenter, to people like James Bryan (director of Don’t Go In The Woods…Alone!) and many others. DeadPit has become something of an internet phenomenon, changing the world of horror and warranting a documentary!
I’ve been a fan of DeadPit (a “Pitimaniac” if you will) since early 2007, finding myself with an iPod and nothing of note to put on it (except, well, Creedence and White Zombie…I will always love you guys…er…ahem), and, looking for something horrorific, happened upon the DeadPit show. Finally, two guys with even deeper southern accents than me (I’m from the boonies of NC) talkin’ about all things horror! I’ve come to think of Uncle Bill and The Creepy Kentuckian almost as friends, listening every week to their ideas and commentary on the genre.
INTO THE PIT takes a look at the people behind the Uncle Bill and Creepy Kentuckian talk show personalities, humanizing what had previously been only voices in my headphones (and in my car). Through interviews with parents and lifelong friends, we discover the early years of Aaron Frye (UB) and Wes Vance (CK). Childhood friends, they found themselves to be outcasts within a small town (Prestonsburg Kentucky, waaaay back in the hills) populated by those who found themselves interested in Hunting, Nascar, Church, Country Music, and Burt Reynolds flicks (not that there’s anything wrong with Burt Reynolds flicks), more than Horror Movies and Metal. Like me, and perhaps quite a few horror fans the world over, Wes and Aaron found themselves going to the local 1 or 2 screen theater and watching the latest big-screen horrors like the Friday the 13th flicks, and popping in at the neighborhood mom ‘n pop video store (I miss ’em), to rent the seemingly endless supply of horror on VHS. Aaron’s father, we learn, is also a horror fan, and raised him right with all the classics. I imagine them, like me, sitting in their rooms at night and reading the latest Fangoria (back when the mag was worth reading) and listening to some Iron Maiden.
We then move to present day and learn not only about how DeadPit came about, but also what the guys are doing when they’re not putting together the latest show. It’s interesting to note that people who aren’t horror fans are always so surprised to learn that horror fans (with SOME exceptions, of course) are some of the nicest, most down to earth, NORMAL people, and it’s no different with Aaron and Wes. These are normal guys, with normal jobs, who happen to be two of the world’s biggest horror fans.
It’s interesting to note that fans of the show, upon listening for the first time, are sometimes a little put-off by the heavy, HEAVY southern accents. These guys are from eastern Kentucky, after all, in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. In the documentary, a fan from Australia says that when he first listened to DeadPit, he imagined that Uncle Bill and The Creepy Kentuckian were two “rednecks” back in some shack in the hills watching old and new horror releases on some rickety old VHS player. They even got emails from places like England from fans stating, in awe, “People actually TALK like that?!” What these listeners, and everyone else, come to find is that these guys have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of horror, from the classics to the obscure, Uncle Bill and The Creepy Kentuckian can spout off a list of facts and trivia that’ll leave your head spinning. These guys have seen just about EVERYTHING and INTO THE PIT gives us a look inside what makes these guys tick.
Initially one would think INTO THE PIT would be a documentary limited to the DeadPit fans alone, but I’d say this is a documentary for HORROR fans as a whole. Uncle Bill and The Creepy Kentuckian are like us, horror fans, who took their love of the genre and did something about it, creating the world’s first (and best) internet horror talk radio show and, through it, living the horror fan dream. They’ve become horror icons themselves, being invited to various horror conventions and becoming known as experts in the genre. One of the best parts of the documentary is a glimpse inside what I call the “DeadPit Dungeon.” There are thousands upon thousands of old VHS tapes and DVD’s along with just about every sort of horror memorabilia out there. Original posters, 8×10’s, Jason Hockey masks, you name it, signed by all the horror greats. The documentary also showcases a list of who’s-who within the genre, all talking about DeadPit. There’s even a brief bit with Uwe Boll, perhaps the worst filmmaker of all time (yet people STILL give him money), responding to the verbal lashing UB and CK have given him over the years (the even, once, challenged him to a wrestling match). INTO THE PIT documents the lives of the new kings of horror fandom(with the passing of Forrest Ackerman, they’re the obvious heirs to the throne), humanizing the DeadPit personalities and showing us that horror fans rock the world over!
What I viewed was a screener, so there were a few sound-sync issues I’m sure will be cleaned up before release. Also, I can’t comment upon special features, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of extra footage show up, perhaps some more interviews with horror celebrities, a commentary with Kelly, Uncle Bill and The Creepy Kentuckian HAS to be on there, and who knows what other goodies are on the way. Keep it tuned to BackwoodsHorror.com for updates on when INTO THE PIT: THE SHOCKING TRUE STORY OF DEADPIT.COM will be available for purchase. I’ll be getting a copy, by Gawd, so should you!
4 skulls outta 5!
Check out the Trailer and Kick-ASS poster courtesy Into the Pit the Movie,L.L.C. & Rusty Robot Productions: