Inspiring Scares (Day 11): Damian Morter (Writer & Director of THE ESCHATRILOGY)

Are you ready for a brand new Inspiring Scares? Today’s write up comes from horror filmmaker Damian Morter, the writer and director of “The Eschatrilogy” which is currently doing the festival rounds in the UK and US.

“I have been a film fanatic since my father bought me home an Orion release VHS of “The Terminator” I was 5 years old. We watched it together, me perched on his lap. The film terrified me, I had no clue who this giant man was in real life, to me…he was that unstoppable killing machine. It was the fear that excited me, the not knowing what was coming next. My father would bring home all the latest horror films, even waking me up and letting me come down to watch one with him (to my mother’s horror some years later), Carpenter’s Halloween and The Thing were also two of my favourites as was The Wicker Man, again sat with my father, the feeling of protection as the terror played out before my very eyes kept me firmly locked in my seat. My imagination stated running wild as I was introduced to this frightening world outside of the disney channel and Knight Rider, it was now Sky Movies and Nightbreed! I used to imagine my own monsters, make sketches and paintings, I used to design posters and vhs covers for my imaginary movies, penciling every detail even down to the BBFC 18 certificate logo on the bottom right hand side of the box! I was so obsessed with movies and the escape into all these different frightening and fantastical worlds, I used to walk 3 miles to a local VHS store, just to look at the boxes and read the synopsis of every movie in there, the more frightening the cover, the more enticing it became, a trait Ive heard is common from late 70’s early 80’s born filmmakers, and man were those cases cool! Ive been inspired by too many movies to mention, of all genres, budget and cultures and I like to think there is a little piece of everyone of them now in my own work…”

To check out Damian’s work:

Inspiring Scares (Day 10): James Cullen Bressack (Director of HATE CRIME): “Hostel”

Hope everyone is having a horror filled October, we here at Slasher Studios sure are as we bring you yet another Inspiring Scares tale from another independent horror filmmaker. James Cullen Breeack, director of the controversial HATE CRIME, discusses the film that shaped him into his gory goodness.

“While I know Eli Roth is a newer name to the genre, I believe he totally re-defined horror with HOSTEL. No longer was an audience scared by pop-out thrills yet instead they were forced to see horrible things and just sit there and watch them. We knew what was going to happen and we just kept watching. It instilled a sense of dread into the audience rather then a cheap thrill. We dreaded the inevitable. Hostel was gruesome and beautiful and yet still had a fun campy flare. A realistic throwback to the ULTRAGORE 80’s without being cheesy. It even had a cameo from god-head Miikie himself! (“you will spend all your money in there.”) I think Hostel really proved that we can be made sick all over again. The gore was the release, everything up to it was the buildup because you knew it was going to happen. Brilliant film. I wear my elite hunting tattoo proudly (which I actually have tattooed on my chest). RECOMMENDED TO ANY HORROR FAN OF THE EXTREME.”

Check out the trailer for James Cullen Bressack’s newest film HATE CRIME:

Inspiring Scares (Day 9): Manny Serrano (Director of BLOOD SLAUGHTER MASSACRE): “Creepshow”

We are back with a brand new Inspiring Scares installment here at Slasher Studios. This time we are taking a look at the film that inspired Manny Serrano to become a horror director. Manny shares his experience with the king of all anthology horror films..”Creepshow.”

“Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I give you to, Creepshow.

Every day, I’d get home from school and put on a movie. Either I would rent some ultra-violent sleaze-fest from Tonys’ Video down the block (Tony, who would let me rent 555, but thought Rocky Horror was inappropriate because of the “gay scenes.” …go figure), or I would slip in the Videodisc of one of three movies; Creepshow, Altered States, and Halloween 3. All Videodiscs I still have, mind you! They are hanging with pride on the wall in the bedroom. Altered States being that mind blowing trip that fuelled my curiosity in consciousness and entheogens, which is a story for another time. As for Halloween 3.. I don’t care. String me up, set me a blaze, fire up torches and the pick-axes.. get the dogs on me. I don’t care what you say. Halloween 3 was my favorite of the series, and still is.

Moving onto the subject at hand, Creepshow. George Romero and Stephen King; Definitely two of the greatest names in the horror genre, and we have them together, in one perfectly wrapped packaging. We’d see them again together for The Dark Half, which was another excellent and under-appreciated flick. For those who haven’t seen it, let me create a blurb.

In the 1950’s there were the EC Comics which told multiple tales of murder and mystery within 30 or 40 odd pages; Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, Haunt of Fear, etc. Creepshow is Romero and King’s tribute to these comics. The film, beginning sometime around Halloween, begins with the great Tom Atkins reprimanding his son, Billy, after catching him with a Creepshow comic book. The comic, filled with horror crap… Things coming out of crates and eating people, dead people coming back to life, and people turning into weeds for christ’s sake. So, he took care of it, and that’s why god made fathers. Daddy dearest throws the comic in the trash, and Billy is treated to a visit by the Creeper outside his window. The Creeper then looks to us, and brings us into the comic, showing us the tales that Billy had found so much delight in. These stories feature exactly what Papa Atkins had described, and then some.

The cast of characters found inside are nothing short of true scumbags. Leslie Nielsen buries Ted Danson up to his neck in sand during high-tide. Stephen King himself is the dimwitted hick that gets wayyy too close to a meteor. Hal Holbrook decides it’s time to feed his bitch of a wife, Adrienne Barbeau to some centuries old creature. E.G. Marshall is tormented by a few million roaches, and Ed Harris is shown exactly what happens to you when you dance as atrociously as he does. We eventually go back to young Billy and Dad of the Year, for a vengeance one can only dream of.
Creepshow was a whole new world for me. It opened so many doors to my young, impressionable mind…

I watched this film as much as was humanly possible, and it actually scared me each and every time. I had one of those basement staircases with the open stairs, and I tore ass up those stairs every time my mother turned off the light behind her that Nathan Grantham’s cake-enraged hand was going to shoot through those steps and grab my ankles. We had a large black box in our basement as well, it had a big gold lock on it, and no there were not blankets and bed sheets in it like my mother always said. It was the Crate monster, and that fucker was just waiting for me to reach in. Roaches looked at me funny, I never liked the beach, and I’ll be damned if I went near that spider plant my dad had in the living room. I still do not eat crab and/or lobster because he might want revenge for all his relatives that were stuffed and eaten.

The Chinese grocery store on the way home from school had a small rotating rack for comic books. On that rack were the (what I now know were reprints) Tales From The Crypt comic books. I would read a few pages before the guy kicked me out “Buy or leave! This no playtime!” So, I would then head home, and watch the movie. I would wish one day that I could have my own Voodoo Doll… I found a book when I was young called The Great American Folklore. It was filled with folk tales told by American Natives, along with detailed descriptions of their ceremonies, and even a section on curses and spells. Hell yeah I tried to make the Voodoo doll that was described in it. I checked my own dads’ drawer to see if he had any of those “sex books” young Billy mentioned. I wanted a bedroom just like Billy’s, and I’d even mumble to myself in that creepy creature voice he had when my dad punished me.

My early years were spent watching Creepshow countless times during the day. Then when it was bed time, Monsters, Tales From The Darkside, Twilight Zone, Freddys’ Nightmares, Amazing Stories, Tales From The Crypt.. You know what TV was like back then. It all fed into the Creepshow style of stories that I loved. If you want to split hairs, you could say Twilight Zone, or even Alfred Hitchcock Presents started it, but the comics came first, so sit on that and twirl.

Later in life in Junior High, every time we had music class, I tried to play the piano theme music. No one ever knew what the hell I was trying to do, but I tried anyway! I always pictured College to be this gigantic building, filled with unending halls, with janitors in jumpsuits creeping around every corner. Apartments in Manhattan were just big white holding cells with glass walls and keypads. And I never understood why Wilma came home and poured herself a big glass of milk.

But, that’s what I took from the movie. It created a world that I was constantly a part of, in my head. As I grew up, it stayed deep within me. When I got bored in school, I would space-out and play Creepshow in my head. In my first semester of High School, the universe gave me exactly what I needed; only I wasn’t aware of it yet. My English class that semester was given in this big room, with curtains in the back. When I first walked in, I didn’t realize what it really was. There was a big windowed wall in front of us, which we couldn’t see too well because of the giant lights they had positioned over them; but there were 3 big cameras in the room with us, pushed off to the side in the corner. One day, I asked Hersh what was up with them, and he showed me what was behind the window.

The school had just put $500,000 into building a full TV Production studio to offer Video Production as a class. Complete with three TV cameras, full sound and video board, video editing station, live monitoring, and a separate room for live computer effects. Only problem was, they hadn’t created an A/V class program for it yet. He explained how he’d been messing with some of the stuff on his off-periods, and really wanted to somehow introduce it to his classes. By the next year, I was cutting half of my days of classes to sit in the studio with him, learning the sound and video board during his classes. He eventually started incorporating it into his classes, showing the kids how to make music videos, and short stage style productions, with me and another student running the boards (we’d developed a trust relationship with Hersh, and he didn’t want the other students breaking anything). I then took a drama class in sophomore year, and combined the two fields of knowledge.

All the while, I had already joined the Art and Photography club, which had also just been put together during my freshman year. Skipping forward a few years, our band never really went anywhere, and we ended up writing more ideas for music videos than we did songs. When I was about 9, I made my first “movie” with some friends. It was about a big furry creature from outer space that killed the neighborhood kids. We worked out how we were going to do certain things; the creature would grab someone, pull them off camera and they’d scream, then the camera would turn back and they’d be dead. It was complete with paper plate UFO’s hanging from strings and all. My buddy Patricks’ father was our cameraman, and he just kinda sat there pointing the camera at us, as we acted like morons in front of it. When someone didn’t say the line right, or turned left instead of right, I became frustrated, and I assume that made it no fun anymore. A director from the very beginning I guess…

So, while the subject always interested me, the thought of being a filmmaker never really crossed my mind seriously until I was about 20 years old. I had just been through a heavy breakup, and I started a story which I wanted to be a novel, but never completed. The whole story was so visual though, it may as well have been a script. I started writing different script ideas, mostly short stories which I wanted to eventually be compilations, or even a TV series. But I always had trouble finding the connecting storyline; which brings me back to Creepshow.

2 years ago, I got married, and we couldn’t do a traditional wedding. So, with my wife’s influence, we were married in an indoor Carnival. What did I bring to the table? Creepshow. Literally. All of the table centerpieces were handmade props by Mike Scardillo of Scars FX and Myself, all resembling pieces of Creepshow. Among many others (12 pieces in total,) we had a creature in a crate with glowing red eyes, bug spray and roaches, a glowing bucket with a broken meteor, a garbage can with the comic inside, and I even got to finally make a 12 inch tall Voodoo Doll. We had TV screens in the lounge area, which were playing all of our short films, and a projector in the main room, screening Creepshow. The invitations invited people to see “The Creepshow At The Carnival!” And, I designed the RSVP cards to be back-of-the-comic mail-in order forms for X Ray Specs, and every guest received a pair of upon arrival. I have a Creepshow Creeper tattoo on my left arm, and a Crypt Keeper on the right to match.

Horror movies are scary, and fun; that’s why people like them. Creepshow embodies that spirit. It is everything I ever wanted in a movie. I have always loved being scared by movies. As much as it made me go up the stairs faster, turn on the lights before entering the bathroom, double check behind me when walking down the alley beside the house… There’s still something fun about it. I love how my mind goes off the wall when I don’t know what’s going to happen next. The creature could be right there beside you, in that box that’s been in your basement for your whole life, but you’ve never had any reason to open it. And that’s what I’ve always wanted to do with my movies. I want them to be fun and scary.

There is that part of me that wants to do the truly horrifying and grotesque. The films that make you want to take a shower afterwards because you feel dirty and sickened watching it (ever see Nekromantik or Cannibal Holocaust?). But that, like Altered States on entheogens, is a story for another time. I hope you enjoyed this long-winded narrative, and if you’ve made it this far, then you probably know exactly what I’m talking about, and you just wish I’d shut the hell up already.

My name is Manny Serrano, I am the co-founder (along with my wife Lindsay) of Mass Grave Pictures. We have produced a number of short films on our own, and worked with a few different indie crews here in NYC on their own projects. Over the past few years, we have become a part of the camera and FX crew on the TV Series Zombie Hunters: City Of The Dead produced by Patrick Devaney of Devarez Films.

We are currently producing our first feature film, Blood Slaughter Massacre, which I am the Director and Co-Writer of. Blood Slaughter Massacre is our personal tribute to 80’s slasher films, done in old-school horror movie style. In 2006, we created the first in a series of Faux-Trailers for Blood Slaughter Massacre. We submitted the first three as an “experimental short film” in the After having put so much time and effort into these trailers, we decided to drop the trailer gimmick, mash up the stories of the first three trailers, and create a feature from it; equal parts of Slumber Party Massacre, Pieces, 10 to Midnight and My Bloody Valentine. You can see all of our short films, as well as the original BSM Faux-Trailers at our website,”

Inspiring Scares (Day 8): Sean Henderson (Director of MOSELEY)

Yesterday we featured Brian C. Tyler, the writer of the upcoming horror flick MOSELEY, now we are back with the director of the film, Sean Henderson, to discuss his inspirations in the horror genre. If you haven’t done it yet make sure to like the official MOSELEY facebook page for more the latest news on the film.

“It’s hard for me to single out a horror movie that made me want to become a filmmaker. I could go on talking about when I watched “Dawn of the Dead” with Brian C. Tyler for the first time in 8th grade or the time my dad showed me “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” when I was seven. However, I can tell you that one director who really sticks out to me is John Carpenter. Growing up as a kid my mom would let me stay up late to watch horror movies with her when my dad went to work the third shift at the hospital. I ended up watching “The Fog”, “The Thing”, “Halloween” and I know these are not horror movies but I also watched “Escape from New York” and “Escape From L.A.”

Watching all these horror movies, I fell in love with the stories, visual effects and the music scores. From watching all those movies, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Growing up, Brian C. Tyler and I would write outlines or scripts from ideas like “High School Sucks” (a horror-comedy about two kids who accidently kill their friend’s girlfriend), “The Inheritance” (a murder-mystery about a girl throwing a party in a house she inherited), and last but not least there’s “Moseley” (which is currently in pre-production, it’s about five young adults making a documentary about a serial killer named Ryan Moseley who brutally murdered his family). If I hadn’t seen those movies growing up I would probably end up having some dead-end 9-5 job instead of chasing my dreams to become a filmmaker.”

Inspiring Scares (Day 7): Brian C. Tyler (Writer of MOSELEY)

After an amazing time at Oshkosh Horror Film Festival in which we received a warm reaction to both TEDDY as well as BLOOD BROTHERS, we are back featuring a brand new horror writer Brian C. Tyler who will be filming his horror flick MOSELEY later this month. Check out his inspiration below and make sure to like the official MOSELEY facebook page for more the latest news on the film.

“For me, the movie that started my love for horror and the movie that inspired me to actually make horror films of my own are two very different things. Like many horror fiends born in the late 80’s or 90’s, SCREAM is what drew me into horror, and then HALLOWEEN is what made me truly fall in love. However, it was CARRIE that ended up making the biggest impact on me as a kid, forcing me to realize just how powerful horror films can really be. You see, when I was watching CARRIE for the first time I had no idea what to expect, I was only used to slasher films where there’s a masked killer stalking a group of teens, and the nice and most innocent of the teens would battle the killer and live in the end.

In CARRIE, there is no formula. We are simply introduced to this tragic character and forced to get to know her, watch her suffer, see her become happy for the very first time in her life and then from there that’s when it truly becomes horrifying. As a kid I didn’t like where the film went, but I could not get it out of my mind. It brought out emotions in me that no other film had at the time. As much as I thought I hated it, I always went back to it until I finally realized I was in love. I was so busy feeling such strong emotions for the title character and being disappointed that she didn’t get her happy ending that I wasn’t paying attention to how great the film truly was.

SCREAM taught me that there was a formula, HALLOWEEN showed me where that formula came from and CARRIE taught me how fun it is to work without a formula. It shows you just how powerful the filmmaker really is when you can make someone feel for a character so much. And that is exactly why I want to make movies… to make people feel something. To introduce characters you care about so much that it distracts you from thinking about the ‘formula’. My first film, MOSELEY, is going to start shooting in October and I intend to do many more after that. I don’t know if I’ll be quite as successful as I’d like to be, but I will die trying and I will love every minute of it.”

Inspiring Scares (Day 6): Anthony Edward Curry (Writer/Director of MOVIE NIGHT)

We are back featuring another filmmaker here at Slasher Studios with a tale from the youngest filmmaker featured this month. At only 15, writer/director Anthony Curry has known for a while he has wanted to make horror movies and not just any kind of horror movies. A special kind of horror movie… Read on to find out Anthony’s inspirations for his latest film “Movie Night.”

“Hello, my name is Anthony Edward Curry and I’m a 15 year old Director, Writer, Actor, DP, Movie lover, Horror expert, Special FX dude, and all around crazy filmmaker from New Jersey. I’ve been making films ever since I could pick up a camera. I started out wanting to be an actor and have acted on stage since I was very young. It gradually grew into me always having a role/cameo in the movies I directed. I am currently shooting my feature film Movie Night which should be premiering around December. I also had a role in a film and helped with some blood effects Directed by Mike O’Mahony Sloppy the Psychotic which was my first feature film that I acted in and being release by Chemical Burn Entertainment which will be available for purchase sometime next year. Along with Movie Night which I directed, wrote, starred in, did the special fx, and pretty much everything for that matter. I am a producer on 2 films Perseveration which is coming October 2013 directed by Adam Sotelo and Bikini Girls vs. The Surf Wolf directed by Kevin Orosz which is a part of an anthology film which I have a short film in Jigger and Kidds Popcorn Bag of Terror and the title of my short film in the anthology is Bucket ‘O’ Blood.

I also have a lot of feature film scripts that I’ve written and waiting for the money to make them (So if anybody has any money donations are appreciated) ahaha. Along with all those projects I have been asked to have a starring role in Johnny Dickies new flick City Of The Dream Demons. I have a very strange but funny character and I’m looking forward to shooting it. Many other acting/projects coming up that I can’t really mention at the moment but they will be good! As of right now I’m really trying to finish up Movie Night and set up a late 2012 premiere. There are many things I want to do after I finish Movie Night. I have about 4 feature films set up to direct/write directly after Movie Night. So I’m very excited for those. Getting some big names involved.

There are many horror movies that inspired me to be a horror filmmaker. The one that comes to mind first is the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I remember my dad rented it on vhs when I was younger. I was 6 or 7 at the time so of course my mom wasn’t going to let me watch it. So I snuck out of my bed and watched it behind the coach and loved every minute of it. After that I was hooked. I watched the original Halloween and that just blew my mind. When I got older I loved going into the horror section at the local DVD/VHS rental store and picking out the most gruesome disgusting looking covers I could find. I couldn’t get of horror movies! I never was scared by them either which was weird. Also started going to horror conventions and talking to the people that were actually on set and that were in them made me love it even more. Started reading books on filmmaking and special fx which I picked up at conventions. I really enjoyed Lloyd Kaufmans “Make Your Own Damn Movie”. Which got me into Troma like Toxic Avenger flicks and Poultrygeist. Started buying DVDS with special features on them with the making of and behind the scenes featurettes which made me understand what it took to make a movie. Sometimes it can be a blast and sometimes it can be a pain in the ass. But I will never stop making movies. I really gotta thank my dad who got me into all of this and who is an Actor/Producer in all my flicks. I will never stop telling stories!”

Check out Anthony’s work:

A teaser trailer for Anthony’s newest film “Movie Night”:

Inspiring Scares (Day 5): Chris Moore (Director of PERVERSION): “House of Wax”/”Night of the Living Dead”

As we start our slasher filled weekend, we have a brand new inspiring horror tale from another independent horror filmmaker. Chris Moore, writer and director of PERVERSION, shares the films that molded him into the horror filmmaker he is today. Are you ready for a blast from the past because both of these films are sure to bring back memories for just about any horror fan.

“I was always really scared of horror movies as a kid. All I had to do was walk into a Party City around Halloween and look at the tall, cardboard standees of Freddy Krueger or walk into the horror section of a video store (remember those?) and take a look at a few of the boxes to have nightmares for weeks.

Perhaps the most influential horror films that I saw growing up would have to be House of Wax and Night of the Living Dead. I’m fairly certain that they were some of the first ones I saw. I can remember the whole thing as if it were yesterday. It was a Sunday morning and my Dad saw that House of Wax was playing on A&E. I don’t know why he brought me in the room and I don’t know why I stayed, but I did. I was transfixed.

House of Wax tells the story of a brilliant, disfigured wax sculptor (played by the always reliable Vincent Price) who begins murdering people and encasing their bodies in wax. Macabre stuff, right?

I was so proud of myself for making it through the whole movie. I think my Dad was proud of me, too. I started looking for horror movies in the weekly TV guide that came with the Sunday paper.

Later on, my Dad thought I could handle George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead. We rented it and I was doing okay until the part where the little girl murders her mother with the garden tool. Yikes! I ran out of the room screaming and refused to go back in until he turned it off. That day, I learned a very valuable lesson – just because a film is not rated, old, or in black and white doesn’t mean it can’t scare the hell out of you.

Despite that minor setback, my Dad and I would stay up late and watch just about anything USA, TNT, or TBS had to offer. I remember seeing Nightmare on Elm Street 2 & 5, Friday the 13th 7 & 8, The Fly (both versions), and all kinds of other gems.

Strangely enough, once I started watching horror films, all those terrifying nightmares that had plagued me for so long slowly but surely went away. Now, hopefully, it’s my turn to give little nuggets like myself some nightmares!”

Check out the two trailers before for Chris Moore’s Horror film PERVERSION:

Inspiring Scares (Day 4): Cory J. Udler (Director of IDS RISING): “The Incredibly Strange Film Show”

We are back with a brand new filmmaker with a brand new inspiring horror tale. Today’s filmmaker is Cory J. Udler director of the upcoming IDS RISING which is set to have its world premiere this weekend at the Oshkosh Horror Film Festival. Taking a break from the usual horror film, Cory takes a look at the television show that inspired his wonderfully sick and twisted mind.

“Being 36 and having grown up during the now romanticized “VHS boom”, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to horror and exploitation films from every facet of the genre.

I grew up in Altoona, Wisconsin, a small town, back then maybe 5,000 people. It was right next to Eau Claire, a town of over 50,000 that had all of the benefits of a large city without losing the community feel. Now, remember, in the 80’s and early 90’s every single building with lights had VHS rentals. Gas stations, liquor stores, laundromats. And each one of them got their selection from different distributors.
Even the Kwik Trip a block from my house had VHS movies. Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and Return to Horror High were the two they had that I rented at least once a month.

In order to rent movies from the stores you needed a valid ID. I was 10. No valid ID. My mom had the store put me on file saying it was ok for me to rent movies. Remember, this was back in the days when kids would ride bikes with no helmets and car seats went in the garage when you turned 2. It was a little more dangerous, and obviously, more free and exciting.

In Eau Claire we had a virtual smorgasbord of video rental stores. Video Eye Video had all of the Faces of Death movies, Mondo Cane and a fantastic collection of Coliseum Home Video releases. These were the old WWF wrestling titles. Bloopers, Bleeps and Bodyslams was a personal favorite, featuring the wedding of Butcher Vachon which, if you have never seen, you need to YouTube right now. Video Vistas had Deranged, Rana Legend of Shadow Lake and more Full Moon/Wizard/Empire movies than you could stand. On Laserdisc. We didn’t have a Laserdisc, just the old VHS. Duke’s grocery store had Paul Naschy titles and the Jean Rollin classic (ahem…”classic”) Zombie Lake.

We had a Best Buy move into town and it was there I discovered the movies of HG Lewis and Ted V Mikels. Now, keep in mind, when you’re 10, 11, 12 years old you just love the sensational titles and the over the top cover artwork. 9 times out of 10, the movies never could deliver what the box art promised. But that was ok. It was all about the overall experience. Seeing that big box VHS, the anticipation and expectation of what you were about to encounter when that tape went into the player. I devoured The Corpse Grinders, The Wizard of Gore, The Astro Zombies, 2,000 Maniacs and any other blood-soaked title I could find. Back to my original point, you rented the movies but had little care for the men (and women) who actually dreamt up the movie. Those who made that twisted idea a reality. This is where my inspiration to make films came in.

I guess you could say I was a little spoiled as a kid. We had cable. It was a massive slide switching cable box with tangled masses of wires hooked up to our living room television set. For the life of me, I cannot remember the channel. I want to say it was Discovery or The Learning Channel. Anyway, I was 11 years old and one day found myself watching a program called “The Incredibly Strange Film Show” hosted by Jonathan Ross. The show was basically a one hour documentary on bizarre filmmakers and their movies. John Waters, Doris Wishman, Ed Wood, HG Lewis, Ted V Mikels, El Santo, Sam Raimi, and the list goes on.

Remember, I had been watching Ted V Mikels and HG Lewis and Ed Wood movies for years before discovering the show. But it was the episode with Ted V Mikels that really struck a chord with me. The show started in the desert, with an accordion playing “Roll Out The Barrel” over Ross’s introduction. The camera pans to reveal a stocky, well built older man with perfect graying hair, a handlebar mustache and a massive boar’s tusk around his neck. This was Ted V Mikels, and yes, it was him playing the accordion. Throughout the show Ted was featured with a ventriloquist dummy, in his home which was stocked with “Castle Ladies” (worth a Google, kids) and in front of the camera talking about his unwavering love of making movies.

HG Lewis is unashamed in letting people know he made movies for money. Bottom line. Ted V Mikels, in this profile, stood out to me as a man who just loved to tell stories and make movies. One legendary story centers around his film “The Doll Squad”, and how the incredible Tura Satana brought Aaron Spelling to the premiere of the film. A few years later a carbon copy of Ted’s movie premiered on tv. It was called “Charlie’s Angels”. In this profile Ted was asked why he never sued. His response? “I can come up with new ideas all day.”

It was then and there that I knew one day I would make a “weird movie”. For one reason and one reason only. Because that’s what I wanted to do. I have made 4 feature films in 4 years. Each of them taking me over a year from inception to completion. My last movie, “Mediatrix”, was 17 months. And we shot the film in 5 days. Not one film I have ever done has made me any money. I’m lucky in the fact that I do make enough to pay for the printing of the DVDs and that I have barely enough to make the next movie. But I am living that dream. That dream of making that “weird movie”. I’ve made 4 and I’m optimistic that I’ll get to make numbers 5, 6, 7 and 8. And I owe it all to Ted V Mikels and The Incredibly Strange Film Show. It was that program that showed me these movies were made by real people, with real passion, who do this for one reason and one reason only. Because they have to. It’s an obsession. A burning desire to make films and tell stories.

As a side note, many years ago I was surfing around on the web and I did a search on Ted V Mikels. To my surprise, not only did he have a website, but he was still making movies. I sent an e mail to the contact address on the website, not thinking I would ever hear a response. Not only did I hear a response, but that e mail would turn into a wonderful friendship and working relationship with Ted. I have written 2 films for Ted and am working on a 3rd. If you would have told a 12 year old me that I would have written an Astro Zombies movie for Ted V Mikels, I would have called you insane. But that’s exactly what happened.

Some people want to be rich from making films. Some want respect. Some want fame. I just want people to look at my career the same way they look at Ted’s. I want people to look at me and say, “that guy did things his way”, just the way Ted V Mikels did. A boy can dream….”

Check out the trailer for Cory’s latest film, IDS RISING:

Inspiring Scares (Day 3): Anthony T Tran (Director of OBLIQUITY: IMAGERY OF THE UNKNOWN): FINAL DESTINATION

Slasher Studios is back with a brand new Inspiring Scares tale from another independent filmmaker. Today’s filmmaker is Anthony T Tran, director of the upcoming “Obliquity: Imagery of the Unknown”, as he shares the horror franchise (as well as a few other great horror movies) that molded him into the filmmaker he is today.

“Being introduced to horror at a later age (I saw my first one at the age of 12 as I snuck onto the Starz channel and watched the remake of “Psycho”) there are tons of horror films that I could say intrigue and influence me. There isn’t just one, but I will make mention of the different movies that may have influenced my set-ups and intricacy in our upcoming feature “Obliquity: Imagery of the Unknown”, which is looking to release in the near future.

After watching “Psycho” (remake), I told my junior high friend about it and she recommended me to watch an inventive new thriller called “Final Destination”. I went to the movie rental store with my mom and saw it on the shelf. The cover looked slick with a skull in the foreground, lightning striking, and the main characters looking at you like “you wanna know what’s going on? Rent me.” And so I did and that became an instant favorite of mine. What I enjoyed most about the movie was that it was unpredictable, you didn’t know if they were going to die or how they were going to die, the police were blaming the protagonist while the movie was shot very dark and stylistic. The fact that you are meant to follow a path is also something that may intrigue one to enjoy the series and relate it to every day life, not just in its main theme, which is death.

When a sequel came out, I was mostly happy, even though it was shot more comical and in daylight, but it added a refreshing twist to it. The sequels after have failed tremendously to live up to the originality of the earlier entries, even with 5 having a mediocre build-up. I find it highly disappointing for them to ruin such a unique franchise and make it only about gore while lacking a good story. In the seventh grade, I began to write an entire fan-fiction being inspired by the set-up, the story, and the possibility of changing your own fate. One day, I would like to make my own Final Destination that would tie in all the loose ends or at least get close to it as possible. This series also inspired me to write my first full script, which I hope to create when I can get investors and funding.

Other movies that inspire me include “Cube 2: Hypercube” for its inventive idea of being trapped in a mathematical structure that can alter space and time; the “Scream” series, 1 and 2 being the ones that stand out the most for their suspense, scenery, and guess-the-killer endings, and a couple of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies, mostly 1, 3, and 4. “Mindhunters”, “Flatliners”, “Memento” and “The Jacket” are also enjoyable to me.

With “Obliquity: Imagery of the Unknown” being inspired loosely by some of those ideas, you will find that college students staying awake for a grade and suppressing their emotions while in the ultimate test of their own truths is going to be an interesting and enjoyable watch. You will find this movie to be unique in its own sense due to collaborations with various artists in Greater Cincinnati, original music from people including New York, Louisiana, and of course, Ohio. Many different types of people that are involved have all contributed and joined forces to help each other get their work out there from various backgrounds – the way an indie/low budget/no budget filmmaker should be in order to find satisfaction in the art form.”

“One must collab. You cannot do everything yourself.”

-Anthony T Tran; Trippy Tran Films, LLC

Check out more information on Anthony Tran’s Films:

Inspiring Scares (Day 2): Axel Kohagen–RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD

Welcome to Day 2 of “Inspiring Scares” as Slasher Studios is back with a brand new horror filmmaker disccussing the horror film that inspired him to become a horror filmmaker. Axel Kohagen has written many reviews for Slasher Studios including Blood Games, Popatopolis, Vile. He also writes his own horror style blog which can be viewed at the link below. The horror writer is here to share his “Inspiring Scare”: Return of the Living Dead.

“When I watched Return of the Living Dead for the first time, I was a high schooler cleaning my room. The movie rumbled through my giant VCR and images of comic punks appeared on the bulky, small-screened television sitting on top of it. I’d never talked to anyone who liked the movie, so I didn’t regret sifting through mounds of floor trash while Trioxin-245 brought a cadaver to life. When the zombies thrust their skeletal heads from graves to the tune of .45 Grave’s “Party Time,” I was smirking along with the film.

Then, a half-zombie lady got strapped down on an embalming table. When she opened her mouth, I was done cleaning. Her hair still streaked with blood, the crone explained she ate brains to relieve the pain of being dead. I faced the television directly. Time stopped. Suddenly, being alone in my room felt very lonely.

I settled onto my bed to give the movie my full attention. The wacky pacing, bright colors, and campy acting wasn’t trying to entertain me anymore. Return of the Living Dead was mocking my own mortality, and everyone else’s. The movie was taking the joke too far, and it was enjoying every minute of it. It wasn’t laughing with me, it was laughing at me. By the time it was done, a character subjects himself to a brutal death to avoid zombification as tilted camera angles and a campy Roky Erickson song rob the act of dignity. A zombie boyfriend tries to sexualize the lust he feels for his girlfriend’s brains. A belated call for help, and brief moment of hope, ends in an explosion that wipes out all the characters we’ve grown to care for, and doesn’t even solve the problem. Pure futility.

Over the credits, Return of the Living Dead played highlights from the film I just watched, as if to take a handful of its own nihilism and rub it in. None of these people got out of the movie alive, yet I watched them stumble and bumble one more time. Finally, the movie ends with a question and answer creating by splicing two separate lines from the film.

“You mean the movie lied?
“It’s not a bad question, Burt.”

This last phrase echoes as the film clips stop and the credits continue rolling. Message received, Return of the Living Dead. We can’t trust the movies, but the dead are all coming for us. Whether they move slowly or quickly, want brains or organ meat, the dead are coming and the movies might be lying.

I didn’t expect the campy zombie horror-comedy in the giant Thorn EMI VHS box to make me so very aware of my own mortality, but it did. What if the rules of dying aren’t fair, and what things do get painful and terrifying when they lay you down in the ground? The movie was supposed to tell me a fun joke, and at some point in the middle it became clear life and death were the jokes, and everyone was going to be their own punch line. I didn’t believe in zombies for one moment of Return of the Living Dead, but I was still shaken when I stopped watching it.

Like any good victim of a practical joke, I have decided to do as Return of the Living Dead did. Lure them into the movie with the promise of genre hijinks with the zombies and slashers and vampires everyone wants to see. Give the audience exactly what they want. For a while. Then open up a little door in the back of the theater where the real fears lurk. The audience won’t notice until they’re already mixed in with the story and characters they’re already watching. When they do notice, it’s too late.

And then the masks come off, and the screaming starts. But I wouldn’t do that to you, of course. I’m just here for party time.”

To follow Axel on Twitter: MrHorrorPants
To check out Axel’s Blog: