Some of Tom’s old films remastered.



So for those who might listen to our New York Cine Radio podcast this is something we’ve been talking about for a few weeks. I’ve been working on re-mastering one of my first 16mm feature length film Everything Moves Alone, that technically came out in 2001 and screened in New York for a few weeks. The film as I recall was shot in 1999 and then later we did some pick-up in 2000. I had to re-watch EMA after some years and now that I’m in my late 30’s I can see these films with a bit more distance, I was twenty when I was shooting the film (and twenty three when I was shooting other film Land of College Prophets which I’ll talk about in a bit).

Everything Moves Alone to me now looks like my friends Mike Aransky, Phil Guerette, Tim Kulig and I were just trying to figure out adult life and I think that’s pretty much what the film is, wrapped up into a Dramedy that was debatably effective. Though it would go on to make the top ten Indie film of the year on film Threat and we won “Auteur of the Year” at Bare Bones International Film festival. The New York Post called it “Earnest film-making against all odds.” and I think that’s something I’ll always be proud of.

It was a $9,000, ninety minute feature film which was difficult to pull off at that time. We didn’t even have a deck to capture the footage, so we elected to have the post house dump our raw footage in High-8 tape to edit and capture from a camcorder. This I’m sure seems like a strange solution but you have to understand, even if we could have had it dumped to Beta SP, we would have to rent a deck to capture the footage but the computer had a handful of 9 gig SCSI drives. We had to capture in batches, edit the first reel, delete the raw footage, capture the second batch, delete the raw and so on. We spent a year cutting the film, three of us, Mike, Phil and I.


My brother Bruce built us a P.C. and we were able to cut the film in an early version of Adobe Premiere. Hard Drives were very expensive back then and actually would only capture the takes we were using not the whole tape. So the budget was spend on film stock, development and transfer and then building a computer. We laid the film to tape on Beta SP, at first we made VHS copies of the film, I still have a few laying around I think. We couldn’t make a DVD copy because at the time the post houses were making very expensive Glass Master DVDs and it would have cost thousands of dollars. But as a few years went by we were finally able to make a DVD copy from the Beta Master and after everything that happened with the film, when it came time to remaster the film, an old DVD was what I was working with. Now I had made a copy of a copy of the Beta Master on DVD-Pro tape at the CBS News station i used to work at. I got a quote to have it digitized and it was pretty high and so I decided to have a go and working with the DVD master made directly from the Beta. I tried noise reduction filters in After Effects and then some color correction and up-scaling but the film just looked trashed.

I spoke with Ken Powell (Co-director of VHS Massacre and Co-host of New York Cine Radio) H tried an Adobe After Effects plug in called Neat Video and it was actually able to remove a lot of grain, I was then also able to sharpen the visuals just a bit but to be honest, because we could never spend a ton of money of the transfer the color quality wasn’t that great and at times the colors would bleed. We decided to actually re-master it black and white. This allowed us to boost the contrast a bit and make the overall viewing experience more consistent. So what we have is pretty decent looking HD Master of the film and to me the Black and White is in the spirit of Clerks, or the short film version of Bottle Rocket.


Next I worked on the Land of College Prophets which actually won 8 independent film awards (B-movie FF,Bare Bones, EOFFTV) and was distributed in 9 different countries of the years. I was able to find the original AVI master of the film. We had shot the movie on the Panasonic DVX100 and for those who know the first year it came out, there as actually no “Squeeze mode” true widescreen ability. So we ended up shooting in a letterbox format. so if you think about it, It’s 720×480- square with the letterbox within it. So if you dropped it into an HD timeline it was look like a tiny rectangle in the middle of a larger one. The point is, there’s not a lot of resolution there. I was able to upscale it to HD, tweak the white and black levels, color and saturation and tweak a few edits on the film. Noise reduction or neat video didn’t seem to have much effect but still we have the nicest looking version of Land of College Prophets (or Fountain of Death they called it in Russia). When the film was released in Movie Galley and Hollywood Video, they released in as full screen, so they actually blew up and cropped into the film even more! It’s actually never been released in it’s wide screen format. So for the first time, the films are available for rental on VHX for just a dollar or two bucks own them both in HD Right here!

Troma’s VHS Massacre to Premiere at Miami Sci-Fi Film Fest on Jan. 15th!

Location Details and ticket info here!

The World Premiere of VHS Massacre will be next weekend at the Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival featured in the Megadocs showcase on Jan, 15h at 3pm!

Also I finally have gotten the VHS Massacre documentary trailer in a place where I think it works pretty well. It took some doing and who is to say if it’s 100 percent finished. I seem to have to redo things constantly. Maybe that’s why I like editing, I think I’m a person who doesn’t always get it right on the first try. It’s a good feeling knowing that Troma will put the film out. I’ve been watching there films since I was a kid!


VHS MASSACRE DOC TO BE RELEASED BY TROMA STUDIOS! Or How we sold a film, acted in Return to Nuke’ Em High Volume 2 and were featured in a Sci-fi Channel pilot in the span of an hour and a half.

How we sold a film, acted in Return to Nuke’ Em High Volume 2 and were featured in a Sci-Fi Channel pilot in the span of an hour and a half.


Lloyd stands surrounded by various people from crossdressers to bombshells to punk rockers. Many folks don’t know Lloyd Kaufman is a genius…an actually genius. No, I mean his IQ is genius level. I happen to think he is a creative genius as well, perhaps more on the level of Sam Raimi then Stanley Kubrick but still that’s pretty amazing. Lloyd’s daughter calls out directions from behind the camera no doubt raised in the filmmaking family. She knows her stuff. A sort of B-movie version of the Coppola family no doubt. Keep in mind Troma Studios is the longest running Independent American Film Studio in history. This doesn’t mean that much to some but for me, staying independent for this long and keeping your doors open is a miracle. And I wanted to be a part of that in anyway possible and offer my film up to the Troma Gods that helped define my childhood.

Ken Powell and I arrive to Troma Studios to drop off VHS Massacre, our documentary about the cult film and the decline of physical media. This is my 9th feature film and I’ve sold films to places like Maverick Entertainment, York, MVD, SRS and other distribution companies. The bottom line is that I love Troma, I watched the Toxic Avenger when I was a kid then made my first Super 8 film, entitled The Nuclear Warrior, I think I was twelve. The Toxic Avenger was a film that was, as a friend said recently, “Way better than it needed to be.” A story a teenager that becomes super powerful, but becomes a monster in the process. Stan Lee even compared the plight of “Toxie” to Spiderman. He still had practical problems, all of the while fighting the corruption and pollution that created him in the first place.

I’m feeling like hell getting over this fever, sinus, cough, thing that seemed to be going around. We walk right into Troma Studios. We sit down for a minute and then wander into the office area. Josafat is this cool bearded guy with a cool accent that makes him sound a bit like Guillermo Del Toro. We start going over the contract and then John, a super nice, gigantic, red bearded Troma employee asks us if we want to be in a scene from Return to Nuke’ Em High Volume 2. To which we reply “Um yes, hell yeah.”

As we walk over to where they are set up, a small corner in an office area, Lloyd jokes, “I though they were supposed to be high school students. These guys look 80!” We of course laughed but then put on blazers as to look like teachers. “Oh that’s great he says, perfect.” We were told our part consists of running around in chaos screaming as a large creature with huge teeth attack a few high school students.

We do a few takes, Lloyd jokes that “there’s too many 40 years olds in the shot.” Which is pretty accurate I’m about to turn 39. But It felt great! Yes I’m essential an extra playing a frantic teacher running in circles, not all that different from my real life. It was the best!  Someone asked me “Is this your first Lloyd Kaufman film?” I thought to myself well Lloyd had been in three of my films Monster, Kill, Bikini Bloodbath 3 and VHS Massacre but then I realized. Holy crap, “No, I’VE never been in a film Directed by Lloyd! This is Awesome!”

Then this happened

We had been told they were shooting some documentary footage but Ken and I had no idea that the Sci-fi Channel was working on a pilot. So in between takes we’d talk to Lloyd about our contract and ended up signing on camera. “I hope you guys don’t want to make any money!” Lloyd kids. To which I reply “That’s why we came to Troma!”. In hindsight my response didn’t really make much sense. I was always a terrible improv guy.

We were just happy to be a part of Troma with giants like James Gun, Matt Stone Trey Park Eli Roth and dozens of others. I thanked Lloyd for letting me be a part of this. He said “Of course!” because in a single night in the span of a few hours, I sold a film, acted in a soon-to-be great film and was part of a Sci-fi channel Pilot. This really was a great night and I give thanks to Lloyd and the Troma gang one and all!

About VHS Massacre!

In 2012 Co-director Ken Powell and I started on an adventure of sorts. We wanted to make a documentary on the decline of physical media. I was gearing up to release my 8th feature film Mark of the Beast that I made with my friend Jon Gorman. We started out by exploring the remaining video stores around New York. Video Express, Kim’s Video and the last remaining Blockbuster Videos stores. Over the course of those two years they all went under but then we discovered there is a vibrant community of people who worship the physical format from Super 8 to VHS to Bluray, including folks from the Found Footage Film Festival, Josh Schafer creator of Lunch Meat Magazine or the guys at Vultra Video still creating new VHS film releases. What we though may have been a documentary that was a bit of a downer, turned into a wonderful realization that even if something falls out of the mainstream, the fans that remain are the most passionate.

VHS Massacre to screen in Australia!


In its eighth year Australia’s Dragon Dreaming Festival has officially selected our documentary VHS Massacre to screen at the event (the films international premiere). Just outside of Canberra, the popular arts festival has now added film screenings to its schedule. We still have yet to announce an American Film Festival Premiere but this it very exciting for those able to attend DDFF. For more info about the doc check out the trailer here.

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




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.


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 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!