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

First Cut of VHS Massacre

Well I finished a cut of the VHS Massacre doc with all the elements in place but by no means is it a fine cut. It is however complete enough to start showing it around to some industry folks. With enough cult film icons to kill a horse I hope someone gives a good shit.

It is the time of the year where I can take time off from work. I really only put out a film only once every few years so it is nice on this vacation to have something to show around and catch up with old friends. I shall take my lumps, take notes, and try to enjoy the time off. It has been a challenging year to say the least but really isn’t every year? If you disagree, well aren’t you fucking lucky. In any case I’m just glad to be attempting the grand American dream of being somebody. Hopefully the 93 minute doc is well received but I’m prepared to re-tool the hell out of it.

-TES

 

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VHS Massacre progress and our interview with Mel Johnson Jr. from Total Recall

I’ve been hammering away at the rough-cut of the feature length documentary VHS Massacre. I had a full rough-cut done a few months back but slowly I’ve been going through and trying to get it color corrected and also drop a lot of the B-role into After Effects to make the thing actually watchable. This is my 9th feature and I’ve done mini-docs and news cutting but this is the kind of project that I can’t show in in rough-cut phase. It’s just too ugly that way and people won’t be able to get passed their first impressions. To be able to show this to my usually “test audience” (a group made up of film professionals and friends) I have to get it looking good and sounding good. There’s just no other way. This is a lot of work and I suppose I’m used to it but man it’s kicking my ass. I wanted to have a cut done so when I go on vacation in mid August I can show it around to people. We shall see. So far it has been rewarding and the doc features cast members from many of my favorite Cult films like Toxic Avenger, The Room, Troll 2, Birdemic, Samurai Cop, Monster Vision (TV SHOW), Psychos in Love, She Kills and several others. In the end I don’t really know what will come of this doc but like all other projects, it never keeps me from finishing them and releasing them with vigor.
We’ve already got some interest from foreign distributors so who knows, it may do well. In closing I shall treat you to an image of an elderly man doing aerobic exercise, a still from the VHS Massacre film.

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Also check out the awesome interview Ken, Dave and I did over at New York Cine Radio with Mel Johnson Jr. of Total Recall and Star Trek DS9 fame. Mel Johnson Jr. was one of the best interviews we have ever done at New York Cine Radio. Well all grew up with the film Total Recall and the character Benny has some of the most quotable lines in that film “I have five kids to feed.” Mel is a celebrated Broadway actor and it is so rare in this business to meet someone so down to earth and friendly. In any case it meant a lot to all of us to hear his stories. I hope you dig it to.

Mel Johnson, Jr

Tom’s Youtube Video Game Experiment

Can you make an experience on youtube feel like a video game? I don’t know but I did try an experiment. Using several annotations and links to other videos I tried to create a video game within Youtube it’s self. I put the backgrounds and characters together in Photoshop and used Premiere and After Effects to make the “animations” if you want t call them that. This may have been done before I’m not sure. I only know of the “You are in a dark room video” which is awesome but it does make me wonder if someone tries hard enough, could they make a game just using youtube? No programming, no computer languages, no flash? Well I’m not sure but this was fun to try in any case. Navigate King Arthur through the dangerous pathways to get to the Red Knight! Make sure your annotation are turned on or the game won’t work. Mobile users may have to use a desktop version on your browser. Enjoy.

 

“Return to Nuke ‘Em High is one of the best films of the year!” -New York Cine Radio

“Return to Nuke ‘Em High is one of the best films of the year!” -New York Cine Radio

Listen here!

 

 

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