VHS Massacre Documentary Complete

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I just finished exporting the VHS Massacre Documentary. It’s running a lean 71 minutes and I think that’s the length it should be. I’ll start submitting to film festivals next week. I just had a discussion with my co-director Ken Powell about the film. We shot most of it from 2012-2014. Within these two years we documented the final death of the last corporate video store franchise, Blockbuster Video and the final death of one the last surviving famous Indie video stores Kim’s Video in the East Village of New York. We toured the empty rows in Blockbuster and we toured the busy aisles of Kim’s. Within these two years we saw physical sales of movies drop nearly 20 percent. You can make the case that the video store era has been over for quite sometime but the last lions died just recently. In all of this we found new appreciate for the beauty of the physical format. It’s artwork, the power of browsing through a store to find new films, the importance of “title discovery” and how in the digital space it is challenging as my brother Bruce Seymour says.

The doc is not a sad and somber goodbye, it is the realization that just because something isn’t extremely profitable, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have worth. People will collect, film prints, VHS, DVD’s just as they do old toys or bicycles. There is already a small resurgence in VHS distributors that hit a stride in 2012 if you can believe that. Because of great people like Debbie Rochon, Dave Leute and many others Ken and I got to meet some of our childhood hero’s like Joe Bob Briggs and Lloyd Kaufman. Because of my beautiful and tenacious girlfriend I got to include Greg Sestero (The Room), Deborah Reed (Troll 2), James Nguyen (Birdemic) and other folks in this doc.

I began to edit this thing about a year in a half ago before we even finished shooting and it evolved over time. If it’s one thing I learned about cutting a feature length doc is that when you start it, you think you have a choice of what it becomes and then you start to see that it will become what IT needs to be. I first started professionally editing at CBS news in 1998 and in that time from then to now I directed 9 feature films and cut 6 of them. The older I get sometimes I think I become less sure of what’s important in editing. I know how to cut something down, to cut out bad moments and I know what good moments are when I see them in context. So often you end up cutting out what you love for the greater good of the story and the pace.

“There are these legendary docs that change your life” as Ken says like American Movie, King of Kong or Journey to Planet X. We didn’t make that doc but it is my wish that we still did something great because in a way it is the summary of why I strive to be an Indie Filmmaker. I’ll keep you updated on festival entrees and thanks for listening!

Progress on the “Monster Kill Movie” Indiegogo campaign

 

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I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has donated to our Indiegogo campaign for the upcoming feature film Monster Kill. We are 5 days in and over 70 percent of the way there. If we go beyond the $2,000 we are trying to raise we’ll be able to hopefully hire a cool cult icon to host the project. For more info on the film specifically read below. It has been a while since I needed to raise money for a film. For instance the documentary VHS Massacre (coming out next year) Ken Powell and I completed for next to nothing. The idea of doing the film Monster Kill came from watching Roger Corman films. The idea of producing films like Roger sounded like a fun idea. Although I have produced all of my features this is a chance to see what other directors can do. I’m directing one of the segments for Monster Kill but the three shorts are being directed by some talented folks, Ken Powell, Girard Tecson and Orion Brown. So we shall see what happens. For those who haven’t seen the pitch video check it out. It’s B-movie camp at it’s dumbest.

Monster Kill is in the vein of “Tales from the Crypt “or George A. Romero’s “Creep Show”  where you have a host introducing three short films that make up one feature length film. The first film is called “Merminators from Space”. That’s right! They are half mermaid and half cyborg and they are from Space. The second film is Flying Snake Attack! For some reason snakes can fly and they begins to kill people. The third film is called, Groom of Bigfoot. Bigfoot is on the loose and she’s looking to claim her Groom! These films will be a lot of fun to make and hopefully watch.

Updates this month.

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Daniel Von Bargen

There has been so many depressing news stories lately from the death of Leonard Nimoy to Harrison Ford’s plane crash. Personally one of my favorite actors Danielle Von Bargen (Seinfeld, Super Troopers, Malcolm in the Middle,O’ Brother Where Art Thou) recently passed away. I was a huge fan of his and about seven years back I was able to hire him to act in one of my feature films London Betty. He was a kind and generous man. He let me ask him a million questions about what it was like to work with Robert Rodriquez in The Faculty or The Coen Brothers or what it was like on the set of Super Troopers. Everyone on the set was super excited to work with him and we all took pictures with him. After the film wrapped we all went out and he bought us all dinner. I’ll always be grateful to him and to Clint Howard also for being part of that film (Clint Narrated). It turned out that London Betty was DVB’s last film and they wrote about it in Variety this week. I’m very sad about it but he had been fighting illness for a while and so I believe he is at peace. So farewell and thank you Daniel Von Bargen. Variety Article

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy I never got to meet but Star Trek was such a huge part of my upbringing and I believe it helped to make millions of fans like me, kinder to everyone. As a code of ethics or a way to live your life Star Trek is as good as anything out there. For instance, “The needs of the many out way the needs of the few or the one.” Is something that Nimoy commonly said in Star Trek.

Mark of the Beast movie on Amazon on Demand

Well Mark of the Beast a film that I created back in 2012 and is finally available in HD on Amazon on Demand, Google Play, Youtube. It took a long time to happen but I’m glad I pushed that extra mile to make it happen. Speaking of morals, the Rudyard Kipling’s story that my film is based on is to me actually an anti-torture film so for all the films attempted scares, we aimed to make a tale or morality. Mark of the Beast in HD on Amazon on Demand!

VHS Massacre currently being scored.

Timothy Kulig, the composer for the new doc VHS Massacre (directed by Ken Powell and I) is banging away at the keys creating a fantastic score for what I believe is one of the only feature length documentary’s that deals with the decline of physical media and how it has effected Indie and cult films. We are both excited to see what new energy he will bring to the project. I’ve known Tim for over 20 years and it’s great to have him on board. A little look at a segment of VHS Massacre.

New York Cine Podcast

The podcast is going well with 25,000 listens this month. We were ranked the #3 TV/FILM podcast of 2014 on Podbean.com. Ken Powell my co-host has been taking the show to a new level with the addition of 4 cameras shoots on several of our segments. We started doing some video game reviews as well on the show. Here’s the newest one.

Going back to College

I’ve been hitting the books lately trying to finish off another college degree. I’m 38 and I don’t think of that as old but it’s been challenging to work full time, take two college courses, run a podcast and finish a feature film. So far it’s been going good. The work is hard and if I think about how long it will take to get the degree it becomes a bit overwhelming but it’s a “one step in front of the other” kind of a thing. In the next few months I’ll actually have an announcement about a new project. It’s going to be a very fun B-movie type of thing. Can’t wait to talk about it. Over the past month or so it seems like there has been some hard times but it reminds us all to treat each other better and to appreciate the time we have. To anyone who has ever read these ranting, thanks ya’ll!

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.