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High Society Review

Feb 14, 2017   //   by admin   //   Featured Posts, News  //  No Comments

new-year-new-you-bundle-f

High Society Review

Those fine folks over at Fetch Publicity challenged me to expand my horizons and get outside of my comfort zone in the New Year and for a die hard horror fan there surely is no more terrifying genre than the musical.

But I was intrigued, maybe I was missing out on something. And as my mantra is to try anything once (except incest and morris dancing) I took the plunge.

Fetch obliged by sending me 5 DVDS, a mix of classic and modern musicals.

So armed with a bowl of popcorn and a poorly seven year old, we continue into the heart of darkness of our musical adventure…

Cue music:

Trailer

Synopsis

C.K. Dexter-Haven, a successful popular jazz musician, lives in a mansion near his ex-wife’s Tracy Lord’s family estate. She is on the verge of marrying a man blander and safer than Dex, who tries to win Tracy’s heart again. Mike Connor, an undercover tabloid reporter, also falls for Tracy while covering the nuptials for Spy magazine. Tracy must choose between the three men as she discovers that “safe” can mean “deadly dull” when it comes to husbands and life.

Review

IMG_0335After last week’s pleasant introduction to the classic musical, I was thrilled to sit down and watch another musical, this time featuring Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Louis Armstrong, all people that even a musical neophyte such as myself had heard of. So everything should have gone swimmingly, right? Well…

My main problem with the film was that I couldn’t emotionally invest with the trials and tribulations of the white American upper classes and the twisted relationship games they play.

Grace Kelly is an amazing actress, as shown in her work with Hitchcock (Rear Window, Dial M for Murder). But in High Society she is given little to work with, her character’s flitting between the three male leads feels arbitrary at best, or at worst, simply dictated by the necessities of the plot.

Frank Sinatra plays Frank Sinatra playing a tabloid reporter, and Bing Crosby is… well, Bing Crosby. Louis Armstrong steals the show whenever he’s on screen, which unfortunately is not enough.

The film is effectively a remake of The Philadelphia Story, starring Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart. But unfortunately there’s no way our cast (or any cast for that matter) could compete with the calibre of talent in the original. At — minutes, the film feels like a leaden retread which screeches to a halt for the ill-fitting musical numbers.

IMG_0331Following on from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers I thought I’d become a full convert to the musical genre, but maybe High Society has shaken my faith already. Looks like I need tight choreography and bold art design to accompany the singing in my musicals. Let’s see what happens next week when I tackle musical classic Singin’ in the Rain, starring Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly.

Come join me, we’re safer in numbers…

 

 

 

 

 

You can pick up all the films here:

http://amzn.to/2j3p8aH

Artbiz with David Moody

Feb 10, 2017   //   by admin   //   artbiz, News  //  No Comments

dm

Artbiz explores that middle ground between “art” and “business”. How genuinely creative people manage (or do not manage) to carve out a living doing what they love. How they juggle dayjobs, families, real life, relationships, paying bills and doing their craft/art. 

This one’s a biggy. I first heard of David Moody when picking up the paperback of Hater in a Waterstones bookshop in Cardiff. I knew nothing about the book or the author, but the blood-splattered cover and blurb pulled me in. Jump ahead years later and mutual friend Wayne Simmons, recommends my first film Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection to David. David gets in contact to say how much he enjoyed the film and asks if he can interview me over on his site. I was blown away. Firstly the sick mind behind the Hater and Autumn series had heard of me. Secondly he actually liked my film. If you want to read my rambling answers to David’s questions, they’re over here. I’m a big fan of David’s work, do yourself a favour and check out his Autumn series. Its the sort of long form epic that The Walking Dead wishes it could be. Also David’s put together some great science fiction as well, check out Straight to You and Trust.

Many thanks to David for his frank, honest, insightful answers.

Q1 First can you introduce yourself? Who are you? Do you have dependents? Do you have a mortgage? Are you the sole income earner?

I’m David Moody, author of a number of horror and science-fiction novels. I’m married with a lot of kids (three of which still live at home, though one’s currently at university). I do have a mortgage. It is far too big. I’m not the sole income earner, but I do pay all the household bills.

Q2 What do you do creatively? How long have you been doing it?

I’ve been writing for twenty years (which feels more like twenty minutes). After a spectacularly unsuccessful first novel with a traditional publisher, I began independently publishing in 2001 – way before Kindle and iBooks and Print on Demand etc. I hit it big with a book called AUTUMN which I originally gave away for free. It spawned a series of sequels (which I charged for) and a notoriously bad movie starring Dexter Fletcher and the late David Carradine. I wrote a book called HATER in 2006, which was optioned for film by Guillermo del Toro. The movie adaptation is still rumbling slowly forwards… I launched my own publishing company in 2005 – Infected Books – which I’m still managing today. Sometimes that feels like a full-time job on its own.

16357956_10154114401661746_808925598_oQ3 If you have one, what’s your day job? How long have had you that?

I wrote full-time for just under seven years, but went back to work in 2014. As pretentious as it sounds, I found it increasingly difficult to create to pay the bills. Additionally, my books are predominantly concerned with people, and how they deal with extreme, usually apocalyptic, situations. In my home-office-bound isolation, I realized I’d lost touch with the rest of the world so I went back to mix with people again and be inspired! Bizarrely, as I live on the outskirts of Birmingham, I’m a Charging and Enforcement Policy Manager for Highways England.

Q4 What are the benefits of your day job?

A reliable, steady income which covers most of the bills and takes the pressure off financially. Since returning to work, although the time I’ve had to write has dropped dramatically, the quality and volume of my writing has actually increased. Also people. My colleagues provide much inspiration. Interestingly, in a weird example of life imitating art, when I wrote HATER back in 2006, I put the main character in the worst possible job I could imagine, working for a council’s parking fines processing department. To all intents and purposes, that’s what I’ve ended up doing!

Q5 What are the drawbacks of the day job?

I have absolutely no spare time. The writing job is increasingly demanding. I finish one job and start the other, then crash into bed around midnight.

Q6 Your art/craft is it a hobby/ a side gig/ your dream job/ your full time job?

I think I’ve already covered this. It’s my main source of income, and both my dream and nightmare job. I think I’d like to balance things out a little: write more, go out to work less. There’s also a massive amount of administration involved in running a business, albeit a very small one. It’s a further drain on the time I have to create.

16358715_10154114402386746_220017671_nQ7 How much of what you do creatively is dictated by commercial consideration?

That’s quite hard to answer. Although pretty much everything I do comes from a creative perspective, much of the time it’s also a commercial decision because I have publishers paying me advances to write. I’d love the freedom to be able to write whatever I liked, whenever I wanted to. At the moment it’s a balancing act. I tripped myself up a few years back by spending far too long writing a (still unpublished) novel to the detriment of other, more commercially viable projects.

Q8 Have you turned down commissions? If so, why?

I have. Usually it’s because of a lack of time, but also because I don’t think it’s appropriate to automatically say yes to everything. If it doesn’t fit with my plans, I usually don’t do it. I’ve found that I can’t write to order. I have to be excited by the story to want to tell it. I wish I could write romance or fantasy, because it sells by the bucket-load whereas my nihilistic, miserablist dystopian novels don’t!

Q9 Do you have a long term plan? A series of short term plans? Plans, never heard of them?!

I do, but they change continually. Maybe not a plan… more a tenuously strung together series of ideas which might or might not happen at some point in the future.

moodyleicesterQ10 What do you think of your “industry”?

Publishing is constantly changing, and has been doing so at pace for the last fifteen years or so. The marketplace is now wide open (to an extent) as a result of the rise of self-publishing, but that also means the competition has increased dramatically. It’s harder than ever to get noticed. Additionally, traditional publishers are dealing with a smaller market share, and that means it’s harder to get signed by a mainstream press. I still think it’s important to do so. If nothing else, they tend to give you a foothold in bricks and mortar bookstores which you generally can’t get as an indie.

Q11 Is there anyone out there that you aspire to be like? Why?

The late James Herbert, who taught me more about writing and the business of writing in the couple of hours I spent in his company, than I’ve learnt from twenty plus years in the business. And because he sold nearly sixty million books!

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Review

Feb 7, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments

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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Review

Those fine folks over at Fetch Publicity challenged me to expand my horizons and get outside of my comfort zone in the New Year and for a die hard horror fan there surely is no more terrifying genre than the musical.

But I was intrigued, maybe I was missing out on something. And as my mantra is to try anything once (except incest and morris dancing) I took the plunge.

Fetch obliged by sending me 5 DVDS, a mix of classic and modern musicals.

So armed with a bowl of popcorn and a poorly seven year old, we set off on this musical adventure…

Cue music:

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Trailer

Synopsis

In 1850 Oregon, when a backwoodsman brings a wife home to his farm, his six brothers decide that they want to get married too. (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer).

Review

I decided to start my journey into the musical genre chronologically which led me to start with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but to be honest it probably was the best of the bunch to gently ease a horror fan into. The synopsis above hints at what could have quite easily turned into a Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel, as leather-clad backwoodsman Adam strolls into town looking to buy a bride while singing a catch little ditty called “Bless your Beautiful Hide”…

Images of Adam skinning his bride leap unbidden into my head. Bizarrely he manages to find a woman, Milly, interested in taking him up on the offer to live in the middle of nowhere and look after him and his 6 brothers.

seven-brides-for-seven-brothersOf course the introduction of a woman into this masculine mix leads the rest of the brothers into yearning for their own female companionship and faster than you can say Wrong Turn, they’re trekking into town to kidnap six brides of their own. Literally, kidnap them against their wills.

At this point I tried to explain the gender politics of nineteenth century frontier towns, seen through the filter of 50’s Hollywood, to my poorly seven-year old daughter. Things got complicated. But finally convinced her that kidnapping is not an acceptable way to start a relationship no matter your socio-economic status. Parenting Level Unlocked!

Thankfully (?) for the audience the unwilling brides all start to suffer from Stockholm Syndrome and they fall in love with the Hills Have Eyes clan. And then before the viewer starts to overthink things the film ends with everyone accepting the new status quo. Its never really explained what happened to the parents of the seven boys, but I think its safe to assume the brothers ate them both one harsh winter.

Now if you read the above and assumed that I didn’t enjoy the film, you’d be dead wrong. I’ve gotta admit I loved it. The plot is ridiculous of course, but the cast manage to keep things entertaining. The seven brothers, all with dyed ginger hair, manage to bring real identity to their roles, so that you can distinguish between each of them.

Costume and art design is incredibly well done. The first 30 minutes all the colours are earth tones, but once Milly begins to make her presence felt, the world becomes all dazzling Technicolor primary colours.

The choreography is genuinely breath-taking, there are several stand out dance numbers, in particular the barn-raising sequence is electrifying for its displays of agility. As a genre fan, I enjoyed these in the same way I’d appreciate an intricate Jackie Chan action set piece.

And dammit if the songs aren’t damn catchy…

No one was more surprised than me about how much I enjoyed Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I’d definitely recommend it as a good entry point to the genre.

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Join me next week as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong team up for High Society.

You can pick up all the films here:

http://amzn.to/2j3p8aH

Where the Serial Killers are…

Jan 25, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments

I Am Not A Serial Killer – Review

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noun,

- a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience;

- someone who behaves in a dangerous or violent way towards other people and does not feel guilty about such behavior.

Billy O’Brien’s festival favourite hits DVD and Blu Ray soon, courtesy of UK distributor Bull Dog films, and those fine folks at Fetch Publicity were kind enough to send me a copy.

Trailer:

Synopsis:

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous and he knows it. He is 16 and works at the family mortuary. John is obsessed with serial killers but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake and the safety of those around him he lives by rigid rules to keep himself “good” and “normal”. When somebody starts murdering people in John’s town, he has to investigate and risk letting his own dark side out in order to stop the killer. As the icy winter tightens its grip on the community a deadly supernatural game of cat and mouse ensues…

Review:

Having missed the film at its 2016 Abertoir Horror Festival screening, I was ecstatic to finally catch up with Billy O’Brien’s feature. However, I was also nervous that the festival hype had unfortunately raised my expectations unreasonably high. However I had been a fan of director O’Brien’s previous features: Isolation and Scintila. Evidence that O’Brien was amassing an impressive body of genre work.

Effectively a two hander between Where the Wild Things Are’s Max Records and Christopher Lloyd, the strength of the film lies in the two actors’ performances, and the duality of their characters. The film is primarily an exploration of what it means to be a monster.

Max Records

The film takes its time in telling its tale, slowly unfurling its story, allowing the audience to spend time with its characters. Max Records achieves the almost impossible, generating audience sympathy for a character who apparently cannot experience emotions. Having delivered an unhinged performance at a young age in Where the Wild Things Are, Max continues to develop as an actor to follow with his performance in this film. His relationship with Christopher Lloyd’s character functions as the centrepiece of the film.

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Christopher Lloyd’s performance is a revelation in this film. I would already classify myself as a fan of Mr Lloyd’s work, but I was unprepared for his work in this film, delivering a mix of pathos and unease in what might be a career best.

Shot in glorious 16mm, the film evokes American indie horrors of the 60s, such as Let’s Scare Jessica to Death and Romero’s Martin, right down to its glorious title card and end credits.

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This is an easy recommendation for genre fans who want the boundaries of their favourite sub-genres tested and broken. Looking forward to see what Mr O’Brien comes up with next.

Like this? Try this:

Artbiz with Tommy Creep

Jan 20, 2017   //   by admin   //   artbiz, News  //  No Comments

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Artbiz explores that middle ground between “art” and “business”. How genuinely creative people manage (or do not manage) to carve out a living doing what they love. How they juggle dayjobs, families, real life, relationships, paying bills and doing their craft/art.

Tommy Creep is a creative entrepeneur who does it all, runs a cassette label, makes music, organises horror conventions, designs posters and flyers. He is a one-man tour de force. He was kind enough to find the time to answer the artbiz questions!

Q1 First can you introduce yourself? Who are you? Do you have dependents? Do you have a mortgage? Are you the sole income earner?

Tommy Creep. I share a small 2 bed flat that I rent. No children, just a hamster named Mary Shelley.

Q2 What do you do creatively? How long have you been doing it?

Music, performing as Tommy Creep/with my band Lupen Tooth also putting on Bristol Horror Con and other smaller events. Been doing pretty much the same thing for about ten years.

14218249_10154087266888401_342900805_nQ3 If you have one, what’s your day job? How long have had you that?

I work on the exams team at a music college. About a year.

Q4 What are the benefits of your day job?

Stability also it’s compatible with the rest of my projects as it sort of relates to the same industry.

Q5 What are the drawbacks of the day job?

45 hours a week working for someone else.

Q6 Your art/craft is it a hobby/ a side gig/ your dream job/ your full time job?

Essential creative fulfillment, the dream is to only have to work part time for someone else.

14218469_10154087266883401_1230635566_nQ7 How much of what you do creatively is dictated by commercial consideration?

Almost none of the original vision, then just try to do it in a way that makes sense financially.

Q8 Have you turned down commissions? If so, why?

Have started to limit the amount of graphics/art that I do for free.

Q9 Do you have a long term plan? A series of short term plans? Plans, never heard of them?!

Sustain the day job to continue to fund my art/projects.

Q10 What do you think of your “industry”?

DIY is best! Trying to exist outside of the industry is best whilst understanding how it works for when being part of it is unavoidable.

Q11 Is there anyone out there that you aspire to be like? Why?

Rob Zombie, Elivra – business-savvy horror icons!

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Andy Erupted

Jan 19, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments

Hello all,

Permit me a bit of nostalgia, I was doing a bit of spring-cleaning on my laptop when I came across a file called “NOTLDR Interview template”, opening it up I found the first interview I ever gave with a man who has since become a very supportive friend, Mr Andy Stewart, formerly of the now-defunct (and sorely missed) horror site Andy Erupts. Andy is now an extremely talented director himself; so, with his permission, I’m running this interview from 2011 as a time capsule.

JPAB

(All stills by Victoria Rodway)

James Plumb – Writer/Director – Night of The Living Dead: Resurrection

Tell us about your background and what brought you to films?

Since I can remember I’ve been obsessed with films and filmmaking. My mum swears that when I was about 18 months old “Jaws” was on TV, my parents were watching it and I was sat there in my bouncy chair laughing and saying “Big Fish” every time he ate someone.

Jump forward 5 and a half years, and Dad brings home a videocamera from work. For some mad reason he lets me have a go and I start making these short simple horror anthologies with my friends, my sister and her friends. On every short I tried a new trick, a new gag, I figured out how the pros do it and see if there’s a cheap way of recreating it at home. I kept plugging away for the next ten years using this ancient Panasonic videocamera, I also learnt the basics of cinematic storytelling by seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Best way to learn filmmaking: make stuff, make mistakes and figure out where you went wrong.

Presumably you are a genre fan so, why Night of The Living Dead? What drove you to choose this as your debut project?

I’m a massive horror fan, always have been. Something about horror and sci-fi allows people to explore human/social/psychological issues without being preachy. A Kitchen Sink drama will tell you what’s wrong and who’s to blame. A (good) horror film, because it mostly deals in impossible, hypothetical situations can only raise questions about these issues.

As for NOTLD, the project chose me. Andrew Jones, the producer, got in contact after seeing the trailer for a short I was working on “Final Girl” -

-          Shameless plug here: http://www.virginmediashorts.co.uk/film/1647/final-girl

-and asked if I wanted to work with him on a zombie film. And to be honest, I hesitated. I love zombie films. Love them. But there are so many bad ones out there, I didn’t want to add another bad one to the sub-genre. With any project I take on, I need a “hook” something about the project that’s new that will keep me interested and keep it fresh for me. And for the life of me I couldn’t think of one for a zombie flick.

But Andrew and I had nearly worked together on another feature, and I didn’t want to turn him down cold without chatting to him first. So I told him I’m interested, and then he tells me he wants to remake Night of the Living Dead.

And I reread that e-mail five or six times because Night of the Living Dead, for me, is pretty much a perfect film. It birthed modern horror films. So now I’m wondering how I can break it to Andrew that:

a)      I don’t want to do a zombie film and

b)      I don’t want my first feature to be a remake.

So I start to write a response, and then rewrite it, then it becomes a list of reasons why I can’t do it. Then it mutates into a list of things I hate about modern zombie movies and modern horror remakes.

Eventually this e-mail becomes a statement of intent. So I decide to meet with Andrew, give him this list and then expect him to find another director to work with. Except, he listens to me carefully, smiles and says “Fine.” And at that meeting we bashed out the story beats for Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection.

JMJP

In your own words, can you describe NOTLDR?

NOTLDR is a horror film, pure and simple. So many zombie and horror films nowadays are action films with horror genre set dressing. You’ve got an action hero(ine), with two guns blazing, despatching the undead. I love those films, but they aren’t horror films.

With NOTLDR, I wanted to go back and make a film that scared people, that upset people, that HORRIFIED people. I wanted characters that you’d care about, that reacted realistically to the horrific events going on around them, so that the audience would get upset when bad things started to happen to them.

Can you offer us some thoughts on the cast and crew of NOTLDR?

Oh my, you’ve just cued me to gush, so apologies for the hyperbole…

BUT I consider myself so lucky to have had such a talented, enthusiastic and knowledgeable cast and crew. All department heads on this film are horror fans, which meant that we were all trying to raise the bar for low budget horror films. It also meant we were able to communicate to each other in a verbal horror shorthand. i.e. “More Carpenter, less Raimi”

I’ve got to single some people out, firstly my producer Andrew Jones. On a zero budget horror film, the producer’s role can be considered the shit job. But Andrew got stuck in and got his hands dirty. He’s also incredibly shrewd, and I mean this as a huge compliment when I say he could be the next Harvey Weinstein, Roger Corman and Lloyd Kaufman rolled into one!

Andrew also let me handpick the rest of the crew, so I was able to bring back my co-conspirator James Morrissey. Since making shorts, music videos and miscellanea in South Wales, I’ve involved Jim in every project. When I first went round to his house I saw he had the full catalogue of John Carpenter Films proudly displayed on his mantelpiece, I knew I had to work with the guy. Jim served as DoP and is currently co-editing the flick with me.

I first met Rachael Southcott, when I put out a request on Facebook for a make-up artist for my “Final Girl” short film and she replied within 30 seconds (no lie). What makes Rachael great is that she’s got an artist’s eye, she knows how to use negative space to create a striking design. Let me elaborate, whereas some make-up artists will cover a whole face/body with make-up and gore, Rachael appreciates that sometimes its best to leave certain areas unmarked to make the gore more shocking. Rachael was also able to bring back Laura Clarke from “Final Girl” as make-up assistant. The two of them are a hell of a team.

Another “Final Girl” alum, Vicki Rodway served as 1st AD, and she beat the rest of us into shape. She was a hard taskmaster, but she kept us all in check and actually got us ahead of schedule for the majority of the shoot. And somehow during the shoot she managed to take some beautiful stills as well.

Paul Brookes was a new addition to the Mad Science Films Team, but had worked as sound guy on Andrew’s last film. Paul was great and very patient with us when I kept on asking for all these bizarre angles, which meant we had to play “Hide the Paul” in a number of shots to keep the boom mic hidden.

David Morgan is a longtime friend and another guy who I’ve worked with on almost everything in the past ten years. Dave ended up primarily becoming a Gaffer on this shoot, and his level-headedness and no-nonsense attitude helped us keep on schedule. He also showed amazing dedication by proposing to his girlfriend in Italy and then hopping straight back on a plane to work on the film. I understand they are still together.

Finally, our Runner, Adam Phillips. Adam regaled us with useless facts in between shots and served as our “shemp”, body doubling and appearing as a variety of background characters. A fun drinking game would be “Spot the Adam” although you’d probably end up wasted twenty minutes in!

Cast-wise, they were all total pros. We were lucky enough to cast Sule Rimi as Ben. Sule is a funny and charming guy, but when you point a camera at him he looks like a movie star. If Sule doesn’t become a leading British actor, there is something very broken in the British Film industry.

Rose Granger is another person I’ve been lucky enough to work with on almost every project since moving to South Wales, so it was great to cast her in my first feature. She is such a hard working, dedicated actress a director’s dream.

Mandy

I worked with Mel Stevens on “Final Girl” and noticed during that shoot that she understood how to work with the camera and was very focussed in her performance. So of course I dragged her back for NOTLDR.

Ok, I’ll cut it short there, the rest of the cast and crew will kill me, but I’m guessing I’m running way over the word count anyway!

Remakes/reboots/reimaginings are frequently subject to strong criticism from fans of the original. How do you think NOTLDR will be received by those who hold the original in such high regard?

Ha! They’ll hate it!

Okay, seriously, lets tackle the remakes issue.

I get it. We’ve been burned a number of times. I was at Abertoir last year (Wales only Horror Film Fest!) bitching and moaning about the “I Spit on Your Grave” remake and my former lecturer, and all round great guy, Mikel Koven pointed out that four of my favourite films were remakes.

1)      John Carpenter’s The Thing

2)      David Cronenberg’s The Fly

3)      Phillip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers

4)      Brian De Palma’s Scarface

And I realised that my issue wasn’t with remakes, it was with bad, bland, big budget remakes. What all the modern remakes have done wrong, in my opinion, is they’ve kept the characters, the settings, the plot points from the original but forgot what made the concept so great to begin with. The majority of modern remakes are studio flicks developed by committee, without a strong, singular vision. The films listed above pretty much just kept the core concept and then did their own thing.

So with NOTLDR, I’ve kept the concept and a number of the themes that made the original so powerful and then taken the film in a different direction. Sorry for being vague, I just don’t want to spoil the film by giving away too much!

Recently, The Human Centipede 2 has been heavily cut in order to pass certification by the BBFC, what are your thoughts on censorship?

As a recent father, I’m okay with classification as a guide for parents.

But as an adult, I think it should be up to me to decide what I can or cannot watch.

Simple as that.

What is next for you?

Being locked away in the editing room, working on NOTLDR. We started putting together a very rough edit during the shoot, and I’m really happy with what we’ve got.

After NOTLDR, I hope to work with Andrew again on another top secret project, which I really can’t speak about just yet.

Before NOTLDR I was partway through working on a “Final Girl” feature film, which I was hoping to crowdfund. So I’ll dust off the Indiegogo.com account and get to work on that.

Also I’ve got a giant-monster/comedy spec script doing the rounds with production companies. It’d be great to get that film off the ground, it’s quite a departure from NOTLDR.

So, the original NOTLD sees the principal cast holing up in a house in the country… realistically, if some sort of zombie apocalypse were to happen, where would you head and why?

If zombie movies have taught me anything, it’s that even the survivors have a pretty bleak existence after the end of the film. So I’d throw myself willingly to the zombie horde, doesn’t look like a bad life!

 

A New Year, A New You (and me)

Jan 18, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments

 

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The fine guys and gals at Fetch Publicity invited me to join in their promotion for “A New Year, A New You”, which is all about bloggers and film fans getting outside their comfort zone and watching films they wouldn’t normally see.

So as a lifelong horror fan, I thought I couldn’t get further outside my comfort zone than volunteering to watch a bunch of musicals. Prior to this the only musicals I’ve watched and enjoyed have been:

So Fetch have sent me the following mix of classic and new musicals to watch, none of which I’ve seen:

So dear reader won’t you join me on this terrifying adventure into the dark soul of this musical genre???

You can pick up the films here:

 http://amzn.to/2j3p8aH

But there’ll also be a tweet linking to this blog post, retweet it and Fetch will choose one of you to send you the films to: @madsciencefilms

 Take my hand, there’s nothing to be afraid of…

  Do you hear something? It sounds like singing…

   (Hold me.)

 

Artbiz with Rob Ho

Dec 1, 2016   //   by admin   //   artbiz, News  //  No Comments

rh

Artbiz explores that middle ground between “art” and “business”. How genuinely creative people manage (or do not manage) to carve out a living doing what they love. How they juggle dayjobs, families, real life, relationships, paying bills and doing their craft/art.

Chances are you will have seen Rob Ho getting beaten up by Hollywood Celebrities.

As an action performer in such big budget fare as Doctor Strange, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Kick Ass 2 and the upcoming Ready Player One, Rob has worked on a number of professional shoots. But Rob has also worked on his own material too, including Landlord: Time to Pay the Rent as writer/producer/star.

Thanks to Rob for chatting with Artbiz.

Q1 First can you introduce yourself? Who are you? Do you have dependents? Do you have a mortgage? Are you the sole income earner?

My name is Rob Ho and I have no dependents, save for an elderly mother who I visit regularly, and keep a watchful eye on. I am 43 years old and in a relationship. Two older sisters.

Q2 What do you do creatively? How long have you been doing it?

I work as an Action Performer: first in Independent Movies since 2007; and Mainstream from 2011 to date.

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Q3 If you have one, what’s your day job? How long have had you that?

I am a Landlord to Student Tenants and it is a family business; although I did practice for six years as a Solicitor.

Q4 What are the benefits of your day job?

Apart from the obvious of paying the bills, it allows me the flexibility to work in film, if the opportunity presents itself.

Q5 What are the drawbacks of the day job?

I think universities should re-introduce a ‘life skills’ course that’ll include (though not exhaustive), “operating a boiler…..understand how and why we heat and ventilate a flat….correctly identifying meters….etc”. I often get bemused when a generation of tenants, for example, don’t know how to set up a service provider account ‘per se’ on the telephone.

Sometimes, parents have an unrealistic expectation for their child as well. Trying to ‘keep it real’, so to speak.

I am pretty much ‘on call’ 24/7, and I have been known to head to flats in the middle of the night when tenants have reported concerns of an Intruder. It does take its toll sometimes, as I find trying to switch on and off the Fight/ Flight Syndrome draining. I also see the distress on my tenants’ when they fear something and I sometimes feel as if I’m their Surrogate Uncle.

14218504_10153932844706608_1399117492_nQ6 Your art/craft is it a hobby/ a side gig/ your dream job/ your full time job?

Out of choice, it is a secondary occupation for now.

Q7 How much of what you do creatively is dictated by commercial consideration?

Not so dictated by commercial consideration, but rathermore the quality of the production.

Q8 Have you turned down commissions? If so, why?

Yes, purely owing to a potential overlap between productions. I stayed with one and politely turned down the other to avoid the stress of trying to work out how to work on both at the same time.

Q9 Do you have a long term plan? A series of short term plans? Plans, never heard of them?!

I have set myself a yearly goal of trying to work on one reputable film production a year, be it for a day, number of days or more. That is all it takes for me to be content.

14249037_10153938017886608_1679617657_nQ10 What do you think of your “industry”?

There is room for Everyone .

Q11 Is there anyone out there that you aspire to be like? Why?

Just to strive to be a better person than I was yesterday…..

LANDLORD – Time to Pay the Rent from Robert Ho on Vimeo.

 

Artbiz with Arron Gumbrell

Nov 24, 2016   //   by admin   //   artbiz, News  //  No Comments

ag

Artbiz explores that middle ground between “art” and “business”. How genuinely creative people manage (or do not manage) to carve out a living doing what they love. How they juggle dayjobs, families, real life, relationships, paying bills and doing their craft/art.

Arron Gumbrell is a young filmmaker I discovered through the wilds of early Facebook. His talent is only matched by his enthusiasm. When coming up with Artbiz, I was also keen to talk with people only just starting out in their artistic careers. Many thanks to Arron for his honesty and openness.

Check out his IMDB page here.

 Q1 First can you introduce yourself? Who are you? Do you have dependents? Do you have a mortgage? Are you the sole income earner?

I’m Arron Gumbrell. A self confessed struggling artist (cliché I’m fully aware of) filmmaker who also has the extra struggle of having verbal dyspraxia to contend with. One of the few up sides is a good and creative imagination. At 28 years old, I still live at home with my ever supportive parents so thankfully I still have a roof over my head even when I’m struggling financially.

Q2 What do you do creatively? How long have you been doing it?

Creatively I focus on writing, editing, producing, filming and taking photos. I have tried my hand at directing and being a Director Of Photography but found there are far better people at that than myself so I focus on what I am good at. I’ve been doing the filmmaking side of things since secondary school, where as photography I only got into a few good years after college having hating it back then.

14218567_10157320659525366_1014271956_nQ3 If you have one, what’s your day job? How long have had you that?

Q4 What are the benefits of your day job?

Q5 What are the drawbacks of the day job?

When I’m not doing film work or photography I do a bi-montly magazine delivery job which brings in a bit of regular paid income. It also means I get out and about in some form of a workout so I’m not in front of a computer screen. I have tried to find part time work but as of now not had much luck finding or keeping employment for various reasons. So being self-employed, getting paid work, doing what I do is my only real income which at best is hit and miss as to when that may happen. One thing that has often been joked about is that creative people ending up stacking shelfs or cleaning pots and pans. The latter being something I have done in the past.

Q6 Your art/craft is it a hobby/ a side gig/ your dream job/ your full time job?

My film work and photograph is a mix of my job and hobby. Obviously if you are good at something then you of course want to make money from it. Like The Joker said “If you are good at something never do it for free”. But at times it’s good for one’s soul to remember what you are good at is also your hobby. At times I like to get out with my camera on my own and take photos for no other reason than I can.

14218111_10157320657220366_314652795_nQ7 How much of what you do creatively is dictated by commercial consideration?

My work is a mix of a financial driven one with jobs offered to me by clients and doing my own thing to further my own career in a path I want it to go in, working on the projects I want to make. The two work in balance as one funds the other. As I mentioned, its nice to make money from something you are passionate about but isn’t the be all and end all, it just makes for a nice bonus. I don’t try to make my own projects because I see a gap in the market. I don’t do it for the pride or glory. I do it because its something I love. Because its something that gives me some kind of purpose. I make projects I want to make and hopefully just hopefully others will want to see it too.

Q8 Have you turned down commissions? If so, why?

I try to take on as much paid work as I can. If I feel I didn’t have the right skill to do the job to the right standard I wouldn’t want to take the job as I wouldn’t feel right taking money from a client if the final project may not be right because I didn’t have the right skill or knowledge. I’m very happy to suggest someone else for a certain job because it helps creates a friendly face to a otherwise at times cut-throat industry.

I have often taken on low paid work because I need the money. In a way you are underselling yourself but at the same time you have to take what you can get. The trick is to not let people take advantage of you. Some people will. It seems to be a common problem with any kind of creative work. Some people want something for nothing or they use the line “It will be good exposure” which doesn’t put food on the table. In other industries or lines of work it’s never brought up, so why is it so different for creative people.

Q9 Do you have a long term plan? A series of short term plans? Plans, never heard of them?!

I’m not great at making plans. Obviously producing a film, making plans is an important part but in my own life I don’t have a great plan. My only real plan is to try and make as many films as I can to a high quality. I’m honest when say I have wasted a lot of time. Allowing projects to take too long or not getting the chance to seem them through to the end. My plan at the moment is to change that. “Life Is Not A Waiting Room”, which was a name of a album by Senses Fail, is the best advise I can give to myself and to anyone else who is struggling in life, be it a personal or creative one.

14159190_10157320686000366_1228713434_nQ10 What do you think of your “industry”?

The “Industry” is a funny one. You got the major players then you got the more independent and indie players. A lot of people want to break into the major industry because that where the real money is. I know the chances, I will never break into the big time and I’m okay with that. Someone in the industry once said to me she was impressed with my attitude to just get stuff made as in the industry it isn’t that simple, often till there is a budget nothing really gets done. Filmmaking is a much more easier, approachable thing to do than it would have been a few years ago. You can buy good enough equipment to shoot on without it costing an arm and leg. Meeting right-minded people with the right skills via networking to work with. Getting the final bit of art out there to be seen is easier than ever with social media. I’m happy making my art on the level I am at. I just hope it’s enough to one day move out on my own.

Q11 Is there anyone out there that you aspire to be like? Why?

When it comes to doing my art I don’t try to be like other filmmakers. I may take inspiration from things they have done or advice they have given but I don’t try to model myself on them but rather learn from them. If you can’t take advice or learn from advice then you will struggle to get far. Funny enough outside of filmmaking I can’t take advice or use my own advice I give to others. You need a backbone at times. It took me awhile to take criticism. Hell I’m my own worst critic at times. The best advice I read was from Quentin Tarantino “If you want to make a movie, make it. Don’t wait for a grant, don’t wait for the perfect circumstances, just make it.”

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Artbiz with Teresa Jenellen

Nov 4, 2016   //   by admin   //   artbiz, News  //  No Comments

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Artbiz explores that middle ground between “art” and “business”. How genuinely creative people manage (or do not manage) to carve out a living doing what they love. How they juggle dayjobs, families, real life, relationships, paying bills and doing their craft/art.

I was lucky enough to meet Teresa on a low budget horror film shoot, where we were both extras, sorry, supporting artists. Over the course of two very long nights, we chatted about art and trying to make a living doing it too. It also turned out that we had a lot of mutual friends thanks to the Aberystwyth connection. So after the shoot, I checked out her site and was blown away by her artwork. Many thanks to Teresa for taking the time to speak to Artbiz.

Q1 First can you introduce yourself? Who are you? Do you have dependents? Do you have a mortgage? Are you the sole income earner?

Teresa Jenellen, I’m a freelance artist, I have two children, two dogs, three cats, a lot of vet bills and a mortgage. But thankfully I also have a lovely husband so the bills are shared.

Q2 What do you do creatively? How long have you been doing it?

I’m a painter, illustrator and ceramicist. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but only full time since April this year.

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Q3 If you have one, what’s your day job? How long have had you that?

I quit my proper day job as an admin assistant in April (after 7 years at a desk), but I have pretty regular hours at a pottery so I guess that is my day job now, sort of. I mainly make dragons there.

Q4 What are the benefits of your day job?

Regular income of course!

Q5 What are the drawbacks of the day job?

That it takes too much time, and stress and brain cells…it’s pretty difficult to come home and feel creative when you’re burnt out and have a raging headache from sitting in front of a computer all day. And I wasn’t able to switch off from it, because the day job was never finished in the day and quite often became a night job too as I carried on answering emails in the evening. Obviously I’m referring to the old admin job here, the pottery which is (sort of) my day job isn’t like that…I make dragons….and come home and do all the things I’ve been planning on doing while I was making dragons.

Q6 Your art/craft is it a hobby/ a side gig/ your dream job/ your full time job?

I have no complaints, I’m living the dream. (Luckily my idea of happiness doesn’t involve financial wealth)

Q7 How much of what you do creatively is dictated by commercial consideration?

I’m very fortunate that I have balance in that respect, I do the pottery commercial stuff, I do a bit of illustration fulfilling brief stuff, then I do my own whatever is in my head stuff. Its better like that, I get restless, I need a bit of everything to keep me focussed.

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Q8 Have you turned down commissions? If so, why?

Yes I have. If the commission isn’t something I want to be associated with, or the client is particularly difficult and the work is clearly going to end up taking a ridiculous amount of time which I cant fit in to my schedule I’ve learnt to say no thank you.

Q9 Do you have a long term plan? A series of short term plans? Plans, never heard of them?!

Nope, no plans. I used to make plans but life happened and shit happened. I’m just grateful for every day that I have a lovely family and breath in my body.

Q10 What do you think of your “industry”?

Love it, love it, love it.

Q11 Is there anyone out there that you aspire to be like? Why?

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Brian Froud, of course, because he has spent his entire life in Faerieland, and of course we have him to thank for The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth – All hail Brian Froud!!! And Alan Lee, I was obsessed with his paintings when I was growing up, I actually teared up reading his ‘The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook’ I got so emotional looking at his sketches. My dad used to buy me their books when I was little because he loved their work too so I have some first editions, but they are well worn and well loved. To me Brian Froud and Alan Lee are shining examples of artists who have spent their lives painting what they loved and that is inspirational.

My favourite contemporary artist is David Stoupakis, he’s amazing, I’m a teeny bit obsessed. what he can do with oil paint is just..wow… and he had dreadlocks…

 

 

 

 

 

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