Posts tagged “Lloyd Kaufman

TEASER TRAILER: SURVIVAL OF THE FILM FREAKS

SOTFF (700)

SOTFF (700)Awhile back (very long while back) I had director Kyle Kuchta on the SHU-IZMZ RADIO Podcast to talk about an upcoming film documentary he was making (more…)


TRAILER: ADJUST YOUR TRACKING (2013)

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adjust your tracking Through my years as a kid, I quickly found out one thing about myself—I love films, especially horror/cult films, and I love collecting things. ANYTHING. When I was a wee young lad, I collected matchbox cars, models, and baseball cards. Then I got into music and accumulated a large audio cassette tape, vinyl, and (later on) cds. When I was old enough to rent movies, I found no greater joy than walking into a locally-owned video store and picking out a movie (usually one that my God-fearing parents would not approve of and make me choose again) that was highly inappropriate for one my age who had responsible parents. After a few more tries, I would finally pick one that they approved of or felt was not quite as naughty, violent, or bloody as the one picked prior. My love for video cassette box art, whether it be over-sized clam shells or the larger cardboard boxes, or even the standard slim-fit sleeves—I was addicted to wanting my bedroom to look just like a video store: its walls lined with shelves and hundreds of cool films at my disposal.

Fast-forward (pun intended) to 2013. I have since added books, toys, magazines, cds, laser discs, posters, knives, custom-figurines, and anything else one might think to collect to this quasi-hording lifestyle and collecting way of life. I happen to have several hundred (probably far more than that) VHS tapes piled on shelves and in boxes throughout the house. At first, I started buying them because I didn’t own them on DVD (now Blu-ray) and I wanted to be able to watch the movie whenever I wanted to and say that I owned it. Then I kept the tapes around because it brought back memories of my youth while watching the less than perfect, sometimes grainy, copy of the film and in some cases, was a different version of the film. Over the past few or more years, collecting VHS tapes is now cool (maybe even trendy?) and I found that while working in a record store that sells all sorts of electronic media people still were buying VHS tapes and still owned VCRs. It only seemed natural that one would make a documentary on the “modern day VHS culture” and its VHS collectors.

The documentary, entitled ADJUST YOUR TRACKING (2013), runs approximately 84 minutes long and was directed, written, and produced by Dan M. Kinem (VHShitfest co-creator) and Levi Peretic (also part of VHShitfest and nicknamed Dabeedo). The doc stars some very familiar faces to those who are either part of the horror community or huge fans of horror films in general. Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, longtime editor of Fangoria Magazine (and its website Fangoria.com) for almost 18 years until 2010–Anthony Timpone, Chicago’s very own artist, metalhead, and all-around super cool dude and VHS collector Matt “Putrid” Carr, Alamo Drafthouse’s programmer Zack Carlson, nasty gore film director Fred Vogel (AUGUST UNDERGROUND trilogy), director/producer Keith J. Crocker (THE BLOODY APE, BLITZKRIEG: ESCAPE FROM STALAG 69), and a slew of VHS collectors, video store owners, filmmakers, and distributors. Knowing the guys from VHShitfest made the film, the movie is completely legit.

Check out the trailer:

 

If you liked the trailer and want to be kept abreast of screenings, events, and other cool shit (like a contest to win box of cut scenes from the film) like the movie’s page on FacebookHERE. Also definitely check out VHShitfest.com!


INDIE HORROR TRAILER: Outtake Reel


REVIEW: OUTTAKE REEL (2012)

In 2008, Scott Feinblatt created a solid, little indie feature with the film Summer People, a tale about four young adults using ritual magic to summon a spirit, was shot on a shoe-string budget but showed great promise for Feinblatt and his skills at telling a story and directing a believable film reflecting that. Lets fast-forward to the future now, several years later, to Feinblatt’s latest film, co-directed with Jeffry Chaffin (Assault of the Evil Meteor), in which Feinblatt writes a very solid story that was both interesting and entertaining about some indie filmmakers that are trying to make a horror film but with a strange turn of events becomes a real-life horror tragedy.

The film, Outtake Reel, a Backyard Films Presents and Dervish Pictures production, stars both directors, Chaffin and Feinblatt, whom surprisingly gave very realistic and convincing performances, entertaining this viewer every step of the way. The film-within-in-a-film kept things interesting with very realistic banter going back and forth between the director of the film Tom Grayson (Scott Feinblatt), the snooping videographer Danny Wilson (Jeffry Chaffin) whom by some means which viewers are not completely privy to finds out the location of the filming through an individual involved with the production, and the beautiful female lead in the film, Ashley Swan, played by Ava Santana (whose birthright name is Kathryn Elizabeth Knighten but goes by her Cuban grandmother’s name). There are also some very brief cameos by Scream Queen Tiffany Shepis (Nightmare Man) playing Sarah Donovan and Lloyd Kaufman (formed Troma Studios) playing a very unconvincing detective in a (thankfully) fairly brief role. I always am amazed that indie filmmakers love to include cameos by more well-known directors and actors in their films. I don’t know if they do it just to lure viewers to the film because it gives the production more street cred because their film can have their names plastered on the film’s box art or because they believe the recognizable names draw potential horror fans quicker to the films (which it does in some instances), but I just feel it cheapens and hurts the film (especially if it is already a very solid movie). I believe Lloyd Kaufman may do it to gain a large amount of free advertisement for Troma Films, as well as having his name associated with another independent director or production company further proving his case that he truly is a major mover and supporter of independent filmmaking.

Getting back to Outtake Reel, Feinblatt and Chaffin played their characters very well, as well as directing “candid” scenes between Ashely Swan, as she auditioned for her role as the lead female in the film, as well as her conflicting and moody outbursts she exhibits towards director Grayson and the rest of the crew. She really played a strong and manipulative bitch, consistently annoying the crew and Grayson with always agreeing to do a scene the way the director wants it done and then changing her mind at the last second. One can tell Grayson is not used to having such hardships with one actress while making a film and slowly becomes more and more disillusioned as the creative process becomes far less creative and far more laborious.

The film keeps the plot moving along and entertaining by using documentarian Danny Wilson for some comic relief, as well as catching much of the footage that occurs behind the scenes, slowly adding to the anger and annoyance that Grayson is feeling as everything in the film is slowly falling apart. A major bomb is dropped on Grayson when prima donna Swan unloads a landmine on Grayson and tells him she is not comfortable with doing some implied nudity. It really comes as a shock to everyone, me included, because during her audition tape she told the crew a story about how her and another actress did a scene in which both were completely nude except for some stringy fabric serving as spiderwebs for a film sequence. I really felt that with her good looks and figure that she was going to be exposed much more during the real film (as well as the fictitious film-within-a-film), but as most readers know I am always hoping for more exposure during films than there usually is!

As I watched this film, although thoroughly entertained by script and characters’ interactions, I was a bit worried that there was not really going to be any elements of horror within the film except for the bits here and there with the faux-horror film. At last, the true nature of the film was exposed in the final twenty-five minutes or so. Viewers did have an idea that a murder or murders had occurred with the archive police and criminal court case-type editing that broke up scenes and camera shots. The whole film was shot as if one was watching court evidence tapes at a criminal court case hearing. Then add to this the amateur, hand-held style camera footage by Danny Wilson, and it makes for an always evolving style of camera shots and edits, keeping viewers interested and focused on the events that are playing out during the film. At times, I thought one would be confused as to whether the footage was for the film the outside viewer was watching or the footage of the film that was being made within the film, but Feinblatt and Chaffin did a wonderful job of not confusing viewers as to what footage they were watching on the screen.

For fans of terror, suspense, and gore- you may be disappointed. The film does not have gore and lots of blood within, but it does have elements of a darker nature as events unfold-those events which I dare not spoil for the virgin viewer. I will say that for those who like to see some breasts exposed by a beautiful actress such as Ava Santana (Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay), the film does not disappoint. I had thought we would only be teased by the earlier foreshadowing Santana gave us about her tale of running around naked for one director and then not removing any articles of clothing during Grayson’s film, but Feinblatt and Chaffin do not fail to disappoint.

Although Feinblatt, Santana, and Chaffin are the leading characters throughout the film (although most of the film we only hear Chaffin as he is behind the camera for a large duration of the film), Nadia Altassan (playing Lennie Goodman) did a fine job as Grayson’s assistant during the film and also was easy on the eyes. Supporting actor William Morse did a decent job as the goofball actor Joe, whom gets the job as the lead actor in the film opposite Swan, but gets fired shortly thereafter due to constant shenanigans during the production. I also felt Feinblatt played off the role of uptight director who takes his craft way too serious and has a hard time handling people perfectly and that was due in part because at times his semi-whiny and nasally voice reminded me of David Schwimmer (TV’s Friends) at times, whom I loathe. I was kind of rooting for things to go wrong for Grayson the whole time I was watching the film. I also wanted Santana’s character, Swan, to get an attitude adjustment, but I guess that just shows one how well a performance Santana gave on screen.

Ava Santana taking direction from director Scott Feinblatt

I always say that a well-written script complemented with decent or above-average performances will always carry a film through to its end regardless if the budget is lacking and Outtake Reel is another fine example of this. I guess the only major critique I have of this film is the portion of it that takes a dip in the pool of the notorious “torture porn” genre. There is a portion of this film that I was hoping would be swift and short-lived. The scene was imperative to the plot of the film and was done rather tastefully, although lacking in the gore department which may disappoint the gorehounds out there, but did give a reason to expose the lovely Ava Santana’s breasts. I do wish, on a personal level, that unless done with elements of humor, scenes of torture drawn out in length were found less and less in horror films. I really don’t find the scenes useful in horror films and feel they tend to cheapen them and take away from stories, if the films’ that possess those segments even have one within them.

Upon watching the deleted scenes of Outtake Reel, I was very happy one particular scene was taken out in particular. I think it would have added a perverted element to the film that really did not need to be present throughout. I applaud the filmmakers for removing this scene. I am one that feels torture segments only should be used if they are an integral piece to the film and do not glamorize the act itself (Although the fact that I did enjoy both Hostel films and the first Saw film may show otherwise).

I said so with my review of Feinblatt’s Summer People that this director and writer had a great deal of talent for creating a film and crafting a story, most notably for characters’ interactions between each other on a pretty believable level. I look forward to the next project both directors’ are involved in, hopefully their budget increasing as each film gains more attention and exposure for the men and their craft in filmmaking. I recommend checking out Outtake Reel and not because the well-known Tiffany Shepis and Lloyd Kaufman make cameos in it, but because Chicago-born Scott Feinblatt and Columbia College, Chicago-graduate Jeffry Chaffin directed this film. I, again, look forward to more films made by both filmmakers.

Official Page

Outtake Reel Facebook Page


Nightbeasts to premiere at Independent Film Quarterly Film Festival

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Wes Sullivan, director, writer, and producer of the independent film Nightbeasts, starring Zach Galligan of Gremlins and Waxwork fame and a cameo by Lloyd Kaufman of Troma,  gave me this news update on his directorial debut. Wes Sullivan is well-known as an animator working on such well-known Disney animated films such as Aladdin, Tarzan, Pocahontas, and The Princess and the Frog but is now taking his talents to direct, write, and produce his first independent film in the genre of horror about a son and his father who go hunting in the woods and encounter a Sasquatch. I guess Sullivan got tired of working on children’s fair and decided to branch out to do something with a little more bite!

Nightbeasts Synopsis:

Charles Thomas (Zach Galligan) is a man desperately in need of a second act. Once upon a time, he had a successful lighting company that manufactured low voltage neon. Unfortunately, the company goes out of business, because of the inability of Charles’ business to compete in a new global marketplace. Bankruptcy follows and a drinking problem hounds Charles soon thereafter. More upsets occur when Charles loses his wife Patricia (Holly Wilson) due to the financial strains of the bankruptcy and the loss of the primary custody of Charles’ only son, Tim, is another devastating blow.

Now, Charles has been “clean” for several months and he has a great desire to reunite with his estranged son and to piece together the fragments of his life. Charles decides to take this suburban youth on a weekend hunting trip in the mountains, just like the trips his father used to take him on. Charles hopes that this will be a bonding experience and that the hike will repair some of the damage inflicted on their relationship due to the recent divorce. What neither Charles nor Tim realizes is that there are horrors of another kind waiting for them in the nearby woods.In the mountain community that Charles has decided to camp in, an ancient horror lurks! The legend of the Sasquatch surfaces from the darkness of the woods and both Charles and Tim must fight for their lives, or become victims to this horrific native curse.
-Source: IMDB

Nightbeasts has been selected to premiere the end of this month at the Independent Film Quarterly Film Festival at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, Ca.