VHS Massacre Doc is off to be mixed and scored!

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The feature length documentary VHS Massacre has been officially handed off to musician and audio technician Timothy Kulig. He is going to create some great music for the doc and really tie the whole film together. Beyond some minor color correction, grain reduction and possible some minor B-role adjustments the picture is for the most part locked. The running time is just under 78 minutes. I’m proud of what we’ve done. It will probably be a good six months before the film is completely finished but we are making progress.

Recently I stared taking two classes at the same time through CUNY to finish off another degree. It is kicking my ass, but I’m not giving up. I’m stubborn like that. I’m loosing a bit of sleep over it. I can direct a feature film in 9 days for under 6 grand and get it distributed but make me take two college level classes at the same time and that’s when I’m truly challenged. Wish me luck for I shall need it. I have a new project in the works involving a film anthology. It would be a feature film involving three short films, think Creep Show or Tales from the Crypt. It’s gonna be great! More details down the road!

Cheers,

-Tom

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New York Cine Presents: Scenes from Mark of the Beast to celebrate it’s digital release!

This is a shameless plug by Tom Seymour but this video is kind of fun as well. Tom of New York Cine Radio along with Jon Gorman (Bikini Bloodbath 1-3) directed the feature film Mark of the Beast based upon the famous horror story by Rudyard Kipling. For those who have never seen the film, this five minute video includes some of the cooler shots and sequences. The film was inspired by Hammer films and also older Italian horror films that concentrated on longer takes that maintained movement throughout. We had a blast making the film and as far as other influences we’ve always thought the film had more in common with Creature from the Black Lagoon rather than a modern horror film. For the first time it has been released in HD online, currently on YouTube for only $1.99! The film stars Debbie Rochon (Return to Nuk ‘Em High, Toxic Avenger IV) Dick Boland (London Betty) Ellen Muth (Dead Like Me, Hannibal) Margaret Rose Champagne (Inside Amy Schumer) Phil Hall, Matt Ford and Sheri Lynn (Bikini Bloodbath 1-3) and Marc Bovino. Music by Glen Gabriel. Winner at the Houston International Film Festival and Maverick Movie Awards! It should also eventually be on Google Play, Amazon on Demand, Popcorn Flix and other venues next month. Mark of the Beast was also released on DVD available at Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and other places online. Check the scenes out here!

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This is the year for VHS Massacre

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I now have a 79 minute cut of the VHS Massacre documentary that I directed with filmmaker Ken Powell. This is my 9th feature film but my first feature length documentary. It has been challenging to say the least. It takes time, rounds changes and feed back to wrap my head around what exactly needs to be altered in the film. In a documentary you can tell 1,000 different stories, it’s unlike narrative where you have a exact script and for the most part you can follow it as a guideline in the edit of the film. The part that I like about making a documentary is that you can shoot it in little pieces. You can book an interview on the weekend and shoot b-role the next. For the most part it’s not a ton of setup and it’s something you can chip away at versus shooting a narrative which requires a good sized cast and crew and typically consecutive shooting days. So I watched the cut the other night and I only see one short 20 second segment that I’d like to trim but beyond that I think it’s pretty solid. So far I’ve shown it to about a dozen people over the last year, trying to get feedback, see what coincides with other people’s feelings and making changes based upon that. It’s tough some people will want to see more strange VHS footage, some will want to see less and so I tend to take notes seriously when at least a few people feel the same way. Yesterday I sent the rough-cut to six people I know, who have never seen the film. I asked them for feedback. So these six new people range from film professors, writers, industry editors, filmmakers and so on. So far one of those people has seen it and given it the thumbs up. Let’s hope the trend continues.

At one time the cut was 96 minutes long. The notes I had gotten on that version were pretty in depth and they were not exactly glowing. I believe in the next few weeks I’ll have a picture lock. I will then send out the audio to be mixed and the score to be composed by Timothy Kulig who is known for his great ambient music and his awesome score for the original Bikini Bloodbath film. I believe he can inject some energy and some soul into this project.

There were times when I questioned whether something was even there. I wondered if we even had a film or project worth making but I feel now that the questions that the film raises about the decline of physical media, property rights on internet content, net neutrality and reasoning for why financially, independent film is struggling make it more than entertainment. We also managed to get some of the coolest cult film icons in the business.

Joe Bob Briggs (Monster Vision)
Greg Sestero (The Room)
Deborah Reed (Troll2)
Mark Frazer (Samurai Cop)
Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore (Birdemic)
Lloyd Kaufman (Film Legend)
Nick Prueher (Found Footage Film Festival)
Debbie Rochon (Film Legend)
James Nguyen (Director of Birdemic)
Juliette Danielle (Lisa from The Room)
Ron Bonk (Owner of SRS Video)
Carmine Capobiano (Psychos in Love, Galactic Gigolo)
Jason West (Vultra entertainment)
Phil Hall (Writer/Film Critic)
Jon Gorman (director of Bikini Bloodbath 1-3)
Josh Schafer (VHS Lunchmeat Magazine)
Professor James Richardson (New Media Technology Expert)
Bruce Seymour (Owner of the Fun Stuff Video Store Chain)

MARK OF THE BEAST DIGITAL RELEASE, THE STARS OF THE ROOM, VHS MASSACRE

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Jon Gorman and I were given the opportunity by our distributors at MVD Entertainment to do a digital release for our feature horror film Mark of the Beast.I was able to work on the color grading, and do a little re-cutting for the HD master of the film. So we will be having a Director’s cut of Mark of the Beat available on Amazon on Demand, Google Play and probably paid YouTube. I’m very happy about this mostly because people will finally be able to see the movie at the resolution and quality that was intended. The film has added grain and noise and pretty dynamic color grading going on so that when we created a standard DVD master it really did kill the quality of the visuals and the audio. The film is meant to look like and old horror film from the 70’s, think of a cruder looking Giallo film. When I get more details on the release date I do some more promotion.

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Dave Leute, James Richardson and I also got to interview Robyn Paris (Michelle) and Juliette Danielle (Lisa) from The Room Movie on The New York Cine Radio Show. They had some really cool stories to tell and it was a lot of fun. With James Franco producing The Disaster Artist based about The Room Movie, it was really interesting to get their reactions. Our podcast chugs along currently ranked #3 in the TV/Section of Podbean out of literally thousands of other shows. We’ve had our ups and downs and some shows are better than other but so far we have been sure and steady and it’s still fun to create.

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I’m waiting to get notes back from three fellow filmmakers to hopefully do a final pass on the VHS Massacre, from there I’ll hand the doc off to Tim Kulig to do some audio design and the score. Things go.

Updates on VHS Massacre

I have an 84 minute cut of the feature length documentary VHS Massacre: Cult films and the rise and fall of physical media. It’s is a film that I directed with Ken Powell of New York Cine Radio. Last month I had a 95 minute version. It has temp score and no sound design but I think I’m on the right track. After taking feed back from various filmmakers, friends and film critics perhaps about a dozen people I feel I had a reasonable idea what needed to be changed. I added in a scene in and cut out about 11 minutes off the running time. So the film is I hope, “getting there”. When I showed pieces of it to some of my student they seemed to be fascinated, it is my hope that, that continues to be the case. I feel good about it in the sense that however the doc is perceived, it is what it is. What I mean is that the doc is about a cult movie podcast that explores the rise an fall of physical media. We are by no means at all the first VHS doc, there are probably half a dozen that I know about.

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I didn’t watch them intentionally because I felt that if I did, that I would probably just give up making mine and fall into a depression. From what I understand many of those doc feature mostly on VHS where as we go through the history of Home Movies from Super 8 to streaming. So it’s my hope that this will be something fresh to offer up to the public. It has been a challenging but fulfilling process to make this doc, if the response is even halfway decent I can see trying to make another one down the line. Below is a list of folks featured in the documentary. We have all stars from cult films such as Toxic Avenger,The Room,Birdemic, Troll2,Bikini Bloodbath,Samurai Cop and the show Monster Vision. Hopefully it will be some good fun to watch. My greatest hope is that the film will go big and be seen everywhere but at the very least in doing a feature length documentary (unlike the other 8 narrative films I’ve directed) I hope that it brings me to a different place in my career. I was very thankful to win this year (with co-director Jon Gorman) at the 47th annual Houston International Film Festival for my last feature film Mark of the Beast. It was the first time we directed a dramatic horror film so trying something new can be a good thing. Only time will tell with The VHS Massacre.

Juliette Danielle Herself
Lloyd Kaufman Himself
Greg Sestero Himself
Alan Bagh Himself
Debbie Rochon Herself
James Nguyen Himself
Whitney Moore Herself
Deborah Reed Herself
John Bloom Himself
Eric Swain (archive footage)
Mark Frazer Himself
Troy Bernier (archive footage)
Chris Ferry Himself
Carmine Capobianco Himself
Ron Bonk Himself
Nick Prueher Himself
Thomas Edward Seymour Himself
Phil Hall Himself
Jason West Himself
Jonathan Gorman

TO EDIT OR NOT TO EDIT!

This is a very strange time of the year. I love the fall, the changing leaves, horror films on TV, haunted houses and all that good stuff. I’m taking another class to finish off another degree, although at this pace it will take about a decade to finish. I’m continuing to chip away at the VHS Massacre documentary I’m editing, everything is in place but it’s running about 94 minutes and I really want it to be a bit shorter. Also after receiving some great notes last month I’m actually going to try the experiment of re-ordering the entire documentary. As of right now it jumps around from era to era. For instance the origin of Independent film starts about an hour into the doc, that would be put at the beginning of the doc if re-ordered. It’s kind of a massive undertaking and lately I feel like I just don’t have the drive. Of course that usually only lasts a day or two. The podcast I co-host New York Cine Radio keeps roaring along, some of the numbers have been a bit erratic but we remain in the top ten on podbean in the TV/Film section out of thousands of other podcasts, so we’re doing ok. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do next for a feature film. I have a very rough finished script but I’ not sure if it’s what I want to do next. Sometimes when I’m editing and I’m stressed out trying to deal with contracts, waivers and material releases I really begin to question why I do this at all. I suppose it’s a grand distraction that keeps me preoccupied. I wonder if I’m going to keep wanting to do this stuff when I’m older because it’s hard right now. It must be nice to have a large crew on a film set, or a person that handles all the paperwork. In any case, things move along. If you haven’t seen a tiny taste of the rough-cut of the film. There is a two minute clip below which has already been changed in the doc since I posted this last week..ugh will it ever stop? Someone once said that films are never finished, they are abandoned.

 

Sneak Peek at two minutes of VHS MASSACRE!

It’s been an interesting month. Ken Powell, Dave Leute and I shot an additional scene for the VHS Massacre documentary I’m working on in order to have the film make more sense. So the scene is in place now. I just need to start digging into the notes that my filmmaker friends gave me and see which ones make sense for the film. This week I posted a two minute segment on the VHS Massacre, just a tiny taste of what the film is about.  On my podcast New York Cine Radio we had some cool guests lately including the Internet King of Independent film music himself Kevin MacLeod, who has over 1,600 film credits and over 2,000,000 Youtube videos that have used his music. Check out his stuff at Incompetech.com.

We also had Mark Frazer from the cult favorite Samurai Cop on the show. It looks like their Kick-starter campaign for Samurai Cop 2 is going very well with just about 7 grand left to raise. Our numbers have taken a dip lately I think it has something to do with the Stitcher Radio numbers not cycling through to our host Podbean but what can you do? Some things are just out of my control. I’m taking another class about writing for digital media so hopefully I can learn a thing or two and get my writing up to par. I work at a college during the day and it can be very challenging. Someone stole my ipad from work.  It was expensive and that makes it very frustrating because money is tight. Lately I’ve been noticing that time flies by very quickly which is good in general because it’s easy to see the progress in things, of course it is a little disturbing because our time on this earth is limited. I’ve noticed this more the older I get. As always I worry about not making progress in my film career and when my podcast numbers dip is disconcerting. In any case, onward and upward! I hope to have a cut finished to give to the sound designer/composer Tim Kulig by the end of the month. We shall see.

-TES