Posts tagged “indie


Lisa Ovies and Simon from Puppet Killer

Lisa Ovies and Simon from Puppet KillerLisa Ovies, director, producer, actress, and writer (as well as many other hats worn on movie sets) took the time to answer all my questions I threw at her about her upcoming film PUPPET KILLER, as well as a bit about (more…)



PK1In the tradition of movies and franchises centered around murderous rampaging dolls and puppets, I bring you: PUPPET KILLER. This film “centers around a group of high school students (more…)




PLAY WITH DOLLS: HAVOC is the third film in this slasher series, developed by director Rene Perez (THE DEAD AND THE DAMNED) and the production house of Von Metz Entertainment. The third film find’s (more…)


Ed Gein File

Ed Gein FileChicago’s very own indie filmmaker John Borowski is the first and last name in true crime research and an authority on all things having to do with (more…)

REVIEW: GILA! (2012)


GILA 1GILA! (2012) is a TV Movie that is a remake of 1959’s THE GIANT GILA MONSTER. The story takes place in what appears to be the 1950’s, the primary indicators being the classic cars and style of dress all the characters are in. The lead actor’s sister in the film has Polio and many of the characters are straight out of the Happy Days cast. As in THE GIANT GILA MONSTER, GILA! takes place in a small rural town who is plagued by a humongous Gila Monster which has (more…)



I was at Cinema Wasteland this year, having returned after a 4 or 5 year hiatus of not affording to travel so far for a convention even though its only around a 7 hours drive away. While there indie filmmaker and head of Jabb Films Jason Hoover told his buddy, who was sitting at the table pushing the POST MORTEM, AMERICA 2021  film, to give me a copy to review for the site. A little bit reluctantly, I feel, I gave in to pressure and threw a copy my way. After being told by Jason that he rarely gives out free copies of films to anyone (I don’t recall if he was the director, producer, etc of the film) but I was getting one. The copy I received was (more…)


murder university

Upon grabbing a movie from the large pile of movies that I have to review for the website, one movie’s cover art caught my eye. It had on its cover a very veiny, bluish hand gripping a large, bloody axe. In the hallway crouched down, almost whimpering with fright is actress Samantha Acamora with the film’s tag line: “The tuition isn’t all that will kill you.” The title of the movie, in red and white lettering: MURDER UNIVERSITY. The film’s cover (more…)



PTSD is, obvious to me but maybe not to everyone else, the acronym for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a very real severe anxiety disorder resulting from a traumatic life event. Most people that hear about this disorder generally associate it with war veterans who have had a difficult time adjusting their integration back into society. I personally know a few ex-soldiers who experienced extremely stressful and traumatic experiences while serving in the Gulf War and have never been the same since. It happens to more people than (more…)

VIDEO: Jan Broberg’s Guide To Thespians, Sociopaths & Scream Queens!

Maniac mondo

In a short video I feel is worth mentioning, Director/Actor Michael Lee Stever (SATURDAY NIGHTMARES: THE ULTIMATE HORROR EXPO OF ALL TIME!, RESURRECTING CARRIE) is at it again making short mini-docs on some smaller names in film and garnering some unique footage and angles to some horror-themed topics of interest. Granted, as of this post, I still have not seen the MANIAC (2012) remake starring Elijah Wood, Nora Amezeder, and Jan Broberg but am more intrigued to (more…)



Director Joshua D. Bruce giving the FIST!


Last week I had a chance to talk with independent film director Joshua D. Bruce. A New Jersey native, Joshua has gotten into indie filmmaking probably quite a bit earlier than most other filmmakers have, primarily due to his love of (more…)


michael wade johnson

michael wade johnsonJust got sent a trailer for this new indie horror flick entitled OVULATION, directed by Michael Wade Johnson. One may notice I DRINK YOUR BLOOD’s Lynn Lowry in it, as well as Chicago’s very own Colleen Miller. It is an indie horror flick and it doesn’t look to have a very big budget, but it may have some gnarly scenes in it. The scene with the hot iron to the vagina may have some gruesome potential. Check it (more…)




This week’s episode was a lot of fun, as each and every episode is! I talk to some of the coolest people on the planet because each and everyone I talk with is into movies and music. Show Download Link at bottom of the post

This week, I had the chance to talk with (more…)



The legendary Tom Atkins

Young filmmaker Kyle Kuchta has finished the trailer for his upcoming documentary on horror conventions entitled FANTASM. Now the arduous task of editing all the footage from the six conventions he traveled to has begun. Check out the trailer (more…)



sacrificeAs busy (or lazy) as I am, when I do get a chance just to sit down and geek out over some comic books, I generally gravitate towards the indie books, as they tend to have more violence, sex, nudity, and gore in them. I do enjoy the clean-cut fighting and antics of bigger publishing giants like DC or Marvel, but indies (although Dark Horse is one of the bigger indies, if one even considers them an indie anymore) always has delivered satisfaction (in my eyes) with GOON, the STAR WARS series, ALIENS, PREDATOR, and THE STRAIN (to name just a few I have read in the past and present).

As I was looking through press releases and news, the description of this (more…)


mark of the beast

mark of the beastRudyard Kipling’s MARK OF THE BEAST is, of course, an indie horror film based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling of the same name, and upon reading it after viewing directors’ Johnathan Gorman and Thomas Edward film (both directors’ of the BIKINI BLOODBATH Trilogy fame) , I feel their story is a pretty direct and accurate modernization of Kipling’s story that does it justice and keeps to the story almost exactly. One can find Kipling’s short story online for free if they care to read it to compare this indie horror film with the original story, as watching the  Blood Bath Pictures release helped clarify the story as it is told in a contemporary manner and style all its own.

The film starts out with (more…)


dropping evil

dropping evilThe low-budget indie horror flick DROPPING EVIL, directed, shot, co-produced, and co-edited by Adam Protextor and written by Louis Doerge, had all the ingredients for a typical slasher film whose setting was the dreaded woods and entailed a small group of teens getting away for the weekend. I thought to myself—how mundane! I have seen this before and it definitely works out better if there is some budget and familiar names attached to the project. Is this indie horror film going to fall victim to all the typical mistakes and missteps that so many other indie horror films fall to? (more…)


funeral home five finger death

As a writer and fan of film (horror and cult movies in particular), I decided to get involved in making some trailers and work on some short horror films. As much fun as it is watching horror and other genre films, I want to experience working on them and seeing how much hard work and dedication goes in to them. I feel creating a horror film and trailer will give me some experience (more…)



COLLECTIVETHE COLLECTIVE is a collection of short films in the horror genre that all center around one predetermined theme created by JABB PICTURES, a small and independent horror production company. The short films are 10 minutes in duration, all center around its theme, ‘The Meat Eater’, and each filmmaker got to decide what (more…)

SHU-IZMZ RADIO: Director RYAN OLIVER Interviewed


SHU-IZMZ RADIO had a chance to visit independent film director and Chicago-native RYAN OLIVER on the near-west side of Chicago to visit him at the Rot Shop to talk about his latest short film, AIR CONDITIONS, and a bit about his involvement on the upcoming Indie horror film CHICAGO ROT.

Download the interview below (more…)


leaf blower massacre

leaf blower massacreAnthony Cooney, the director of the independent horror short LEAF BLOWER MASSACRE (trailer seen HERE), took some time out of his day to come to the SHU-IZMZ compound to get interviewed by yours truly, Shu. Not only did we talk about his upcoming films’ release and screenings at various film festivals in and around Chicago, but we also (more…)



This film just tossed onto my radar today by a friend and filmmaker from Chicago. I had no idea this film was out there and judging by the trailer, it looks to be pretty badass! Shot on location in Chicago, I am all the more stoked to see this film upon its completion. Here are a couple of screenshots from the trailer, followed by the trailer itself.



There looks to be some blood and gore in the film. I also noticed a shot filmed outside the Debonaire Social Club on Milwaukee in Wicker Park (if I am not mistaken). I love watching films shot in Chicago.

Here is the trailer for CHICAGO ROT, directed by Dorian Weinzimmer and written by Brant McCrea and Dorian Weinzimmer. CHICAGO ROT is a Dakini Production in association with Painted Face. It stars Brant McCrea, Shira Barber, Dave Cartwright, David James Figeroa, and Jo Jo Baby.


ac 2

ac 2Chicago filmmaker Ryan Oliver is not new to the filmmaking industry, having worked in the Chicago ‘Off-Loop’ theater scene as an actor and director for 10 years, then moved to Los Angeles and worked as a screenwriter and F/X specialist, before moving back to Chicago in 2007. Around this time was when I met Oliver, having gone along with a friend and filmmaker to the set of a film Oliver was directing that, to this date, still has not seen the light of day on DVD or any other kind of format for viewing. I got to do some stunt driving in that project, my only credit for that particular “skill” to this date.

After Oliver returned back to the beloved city of Chicago, starting up his own production company Deathblow Productions (notably recognized by the double-mirrored elephants as the graphic logo), and completed his first short film, AIR CONDITIONS which he directed, wrote, and produced.

Just last month, Ryan Oliver had his film’s premiere at Terror in the Aisles 13, hosted by Movieside. Having gotten to the event lake because I was outside smoking a fat cigar, I missed the first 15 or 20 minutes (of the short films’ total 34 minutes running time), but the very little that I saw really impressed me. I knew that I had to contact Oliver and inquire about getting a screener of the film to review.

In fact, I was more fortunate than I thought I would be because Oliver had a copy of the film on Blu-ray and let me borrow it so I could watch it in high def at home at my leisure. Having watched the 34 minute short film 6 times already, I feel it is time to write about it and inform SHU-IZMZ readers’ about AIR CONDITIONS.


AIR CONDITIONS stars John Fenner Mays, an air conditioner maintenance man, who goes on a maintenance call to Chicago’s industrial side of town on a routine A/C repair call. Once he gets there, he is met by the building manager, played by Leo Resudek, Jr. (who happens to show a striking resemblance to a Chicago music host personality in the punk and alternative music scene: Jerry Bryant (JBTV)) who takes the service man to the A/C unit on top of the tall building’s roof.

Is that Jerry Bryant?

Once there, the repairman steps in some black, sticky ooze absentmindedly, and is stuck. This stuff appears to be stronger than the strongest glue or epoxy and he is not going anywhere. After many futile attempts to get free (he makes his second mistake by touching the dark ooze that was also located on the top of the unit while grabbing it for balance), he has come to the reality that he is totally and completely fucked.

The film is shot beautifully, the credit going to cinematographer Alejandro Garcia, and a seemingly simple and straight-forward plot had me thinking,

“Where the hell is this short going? What direction will it take now?”

I had thought the building manager was going to turn out to be some crazy maniac and come back with some butcher knives and carve the dude up later that night but instead he comes back with a tuba (I believe that is what brass instrument it was) and begins playing loud, blasting, notes that show zero skill or musical talent. Without ruining the whole film, I just have to say that what came next I did not see coming. I will say this though, there is a very cool amount of special effects, both practical and digital, and I was extremely impressed.

The film has an indie feel to it, a twinge of Lovecraftian charm, but possesses top-notch digital effects, pacing, and shot selection. The framed shots were beautiful looking, mostly because the top of the building they shot upon had a very wide and clear view of the city of Chicago and the shots capitalized on it. They used the panoramic shots of the city to its full potential and scope, using time-lapsed photography effectively to speed up the the film from the day shots to the night shots. AIR CONDITIONS is a technical marvel that many independent short film projects rarely possess. Great detail was shown to have been put into every shot, angle, and frame.


The special effects *spoiler* used on the creature in the film (hopefully this is not too much of a spoiler) looks top-notch and homage to the Alien films looks to be an inspiration for the creature’s mouth as a very similar gel-like saliva is seen dripping from the large jaws of the beast, much like the way in which the creatures in ALIEN did right before their outstretched teeth extended all the way to tear apart their prey. The effect in the ALIEN films looks great and it looks great in AIR CONDITIONS as well. Special effects artist Doug Goins gets the credit for this and the visual effects were created by Daniel Cervantes, as there is just not only practical effects used in the film.

Actor John Fender Mays

Service man is in quite the pickle

At the film’s premiere last month, Ryan introduced the film and stated that it was three years in the making and the amount of work and detail put into post-production is very evident. A great deal of care looked to be put into the film itself, as hues and tones of the lighting and colors look to be flawless, a real beauty when viewed. Not only does the film look gorgeous, especially its use of long, wide shots and angles maximizing the scope of the clear, blue skies (Oliver filmed on a perfect, sunny, clear day) but the slow-burn speed of the film has an added depth to it due to an effective soundtrack and some flawless sound production courtesy of Gregor Mortis.

I guess my only complaint would be that the short horror film was that, a SHORT horror film, and not a feature length horror film. Mr. Oliver has a fine team of professionals assembled for the movie and this film buff hopes to see more work along these lines of quality and caliber in the future. I look forward to more films coming from Ryan Oliver and Deathblow Productions.


dead weight

dead weightReviewing a zombie/post-apocalyptic/infected-outbreak type of film has always been about characters in a film fighting to survive against insurmountable odds, whatever they may be. Adam Bartlett and John Pata’s independent film DEAD WEIGHT is a story focusing on one man, Charlie Russell (Joe Belknap), who during an apocalyptic viral outbreak (told to viewers via a television news broadcast that our lead actor turned on at the insistence of his girlfriend Samantha) is separated from his girlfriend Samantha (Mary Lindberg) and is now part of a group of survivors simply struggling to survive and reunite with her.

The film has some (more…)



TAPEA friend of mine, also a fellow film buff and writer for various websites and publications, recently made a short film and asked me to watch it and maybe write a review of it. I told him I would be delighted to. I love watching friends’ of mine switch spots from sitting on the couch and watching other peoples’ art and projects to getting behind the camera and creating some art of their own. Well, in some cases it is art and in other cases it is pieces of total crap. In fact, my friend Jason Coffman told me just prior to sending me the link to his film that (more…)