Friday, February 23, 2007


Hey all,

Sorry it's been a few weeks since the last blog, which was quite a doozy huh? Pretty passionate review, and I hope people get out and see EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL...for fans of horror and non deadite fanatics alike, it's worth every bloody penny. But enough copy on that...

Yeah yeah so Im slacking with the rest of my New York trip and the top 10 flicks...sollie challies. Work's and other outside endeavors are just sucking up all my time, but I promise to give the blog some, right now!

Im writing this to you at 36,000 feet, on my way to my first Fango convention in Chicago, and Im giddy with excitement.

We're premiering the first teaser for the film, and while I've agreed to disagree with the direction they took with it, I think the fans are gonna eat it up when we premiere it on Sunday. Yes, there will be blood (sorry Darren). Luckily there will be more trailers and other cool viral media to come on the movie, so stay tuned on that front, and I'm guessing this teaser will be online shortly, hope it gets you a excited about the flick! But going to the Fango con (not my first appearance on it's stage-I was part of an ensemble for the TERROR FIRMER panel, which was fun) is like a dream fulfillment. I've been going to these conventions, lovingly dubbed "THE WEEKEND OF HORRORS" for almost 20 years, since I was a little kid, and since I always wanted to be involved in the horror scene, it was always a day dream to be "that" guy on stage, proudly talking about their film. Now it's 17 years since I first saw Sam Raimi get the crowd into a lather talking about DARKMAN at the first New York Weekend of Horrors and I'm doing the same thing, and it's a surreal treat. Im actually more excited to just mix it up with other horror fans, since my panel with Tony Timpone from Fango doesnt go down till Sunday afternoon. Till then I plan on dong penty of table browsing, searching for this years "must have" bootleg and other cool horror stuff, and geeking out with the rest of the crowd. If you see me, say hi...this is gonna be a fucking awesome weekend. I'll give you a full wrap up when the dust has settled.

On Tuesday this week I got to watch the "Pan 'n Scan" version of the movie and at first I was dreading it; I always wanted to shoot the film in Cinemascope (2:35:1 aspect ratio) but the execs said that it had to be 1:85:1 due to contractual obligations (and that the head of the department hates seeing black bars on his Plasma). "Pan & Scan" is basically when they zoom the picture in and reframe the compositon to hopefuly preserve the feel of the original film, but many times it's hard to watch because something is left out of view, whether it be an actor, a part of the action or otherwise. This part of the process is many times the last thing a director or cinematographer thinks of, but its a necessary evil since most people watching TV these days thinks they are getting LESS image when they letterbox the frame.

Watch any classic film shot widescreen and notice how they either slide the frame over or just cut between one shot which totally compormises the rhythim of what the filmmakers intended. So, I found myself dreading the day Id have to see the version where my compositions are compromised by some non-creative operator who assumes he or she knows what the proper frame is suposed to be.However, I REALLY like how it looked and seeing it with fresh eyes of sorts, it was fun to experience the film somewhat new. Some scenes that didn't work for me before had a new vitality and life being closer to the actors, closing in the walls around them as the "family" hunts them down, and shots I thought were going to be butchered actually had a new visual resonance to them. It did reaffirm to me after seeing the first teaser that I'm really proud of the film, especially being my first, and there's some scenes that I'm so fucking excited to see with an audience (hopefully, if we make some festivals and public screenings happen...cross your fingers). After seeing the film again in a slightly different way, it gave me some hope that I'm not just so used to my film, that I can actually enjoy it just as a fan of the genre and there were many moments where I still jumped or giggled at the blood spill. Regardless, I'm so close to the work that I don't know really what works or doesnt anymore, since good horror is based on NOT knowing too much or seeing all the hands before they are dealt. I know every move, so it's hard to be objective,,,which is why personally,I feel that if you want to save a few surprises for when you see the movie, you might want to avert your eyes when the Teaser is released...but that's just me.

If you're a splatter fan who just wants to be doused in bile and grue, you're gonna be in for a treat, cause this clip is dripping with the red stuff. But again, stay tuned for even sweeter videos that are on the way...

One of the coolest things I'd been a part of lately was being a "Ghoul" in Mike Mendez's new secret project, which was awe-inspiring since as a fan of Mike's earlier films (THE REALKILLERS, THE CONVENT, GRAVEDANCERS, et al) watching him work was a great sight to see, witnessing the gears turning between set ups. Whats great about our "crew" is that we're constantly pushing each other to be creative, and willing collaborators/confidants in finding the focus of that creation. While we were shooting at a house in the Hills off of Coldwater, people were driving over the hill from whatever bar/house party they were attneding for the Super Bowl, and to bide the time a few of us, fully costumed and made up as "ghoulies" (I looked like a cross between a J Horror chick and Leatherface from TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEW GENERATION...that's me in the pic donkey punching Hello Kitty), would stumble and meander around the driveway like old-school zombies with no food in sight, moving in idle till the next whiff of fresh meat hits their undead sinuses. Needless to say, it was probably a sight to behold as stunned and drunken drivers slowed at the scene, which looks like the climax of THE BEYOND (yes, everything comes back to movies, sue me). Keep an eye out for the finished short, but I'll def post a link when it's online for your viewing pleasure. Kick ass Mendez!

300: Got lucky enough to see Zach Snyder's/Frank Miller's 300 2 weeks ago and many of it's beaufituflly rendered (literally) imaged are still infiltrating my head. Seeing ads and billboards out for it now only get me excited to see it again, that's how utterly steeped in badassedness 300 is.
If you're a fan of Miller's graphic novel, you'll love it.
If you like massive battles and plenty of bodies, this movie's for you.
Like bastions of well-oiled and scabbed spartan men glistening in the digital sun, evoking a He-Man action figure collection? Get you tickets now.
This movie is fucking killer, and if Gerard Butler, who plays the leader of the titular-numbered band of Spartan brothers who slice and dice through the Persian Army, isn't annointed "movie star" status after seeing his performance, then the world is just an unfair place.

What sucks is that his massive roars of glory over-used in all of the trailers ("This Is Sparta!!!!!!!!" amount of exclamation points will do him justice) are making people think that it's all screaming and yelling with this guy, but his performance is also quite subtle and thoughtfu, a leader taking his men tinto the River Styx with no fear, yet beams with a conscience of a man just trying to save his family and the land he loves from being destroyed. I think people are going to be pleasently surprised with him, and being a fan of his since DRACULA 2000(he's the ONLYa good thing in that), I was thrilled to see him at Lunch right before i saw the flick. He was with his agent at one table and I with my casting directors Nancy and Kelly at another, and as we walked out, I just told him how excited I was to see the movie. Instantly he whirled around, shakes my hand and with a charmingly subtle Scottish drawl, begins to probe me on what I did, and was thrilled to hear I knew his work and that I was a director too. The guy is a star and god damn if I wouldnt want to work with him...after 300, it might be a lot more difficult.

Overall, 300 is like the greatest video game cut scene you've ever seen, and that's not an insult. Hope you guys dig it.

Is everyone else LOVING the new Sarah Silverman show on Comedy Central? My buddy is in it, and being a fan of Rob Schrab since I saw his pilot for HEAT VISION & JACK (classic I tells ya) as well as having major hots on Sarah, I had to give it a shot.
It's fucking genius.
Silverman and Schrab know the convention of the modern sitcom and by injecting it with a healthy dose of Sarah's toxic humor and cynical worldview (Yes, I to hate when people say "Can I steal you for a moment?") and using her friends/co-stars to their highests potential, they have created my favorite new show. Sorry, but any program that has Posehn kung fu fighting Galafanakis to the tune of "You Are The Last Dragon" from the film has my attention every frikkin week. Tivo immediately and rest easy knowing SOMEONE out there is cornering the market in poop and queef jokes. Thank you Sarah.

One of my favorite rock bands is BOY HITS CAR. I first heard them upon leaving the Roseland Ballroom in New York after a mediocre Deftones show (sorry, but it was) where a guy from the Wind Up Records street team shoved a CD in my hand. Now this was before CD'S & DVD's were handed out like internet stock in 1999, so i was willing to take anything that wasnt just a flyer for Scores or the new CREED show coming up. The CD sampler was for this band that on the cover picture were just blurs or motion, giving the impression that their live show was a sight to behold, a powderkeg of intensity, while they professed their own brand of postivity-based hard rock/metal called "Lovecore" was instantly infectious. How can uyou deny a band who names a song "As the Cloud Fucked the Ocean"?

So from then on I was clamoring to do a music video for them, and after lobbying with one of the markting guys at Wind Up, got to submit a spec treatment for their song "Man Without Skin" which had a climax in Times Square with all of the NYPD moshing to the band's raucous performance. Cool huh? Obviously that video didnt get made-the actual video ended up sucking a scrote, oh well-but I was always a fan and had an itch to capture them well in a video. A few attmepts were made, one would have had me doing a low budget video for them but had to be scrapped with me getting WRONG TURN 2. Their new album THE PASSAGE has been out for a year and if you want a rock album to fist your senses, this is the one.

But I always kept in touch with Cregg, the wildfire singer who is one of the most charasmatic and "alive" people I ever met, and a few weeks back he called me asking if I could help him out a video together for promotional use in the European market. Having seen them live multiple times, I never felt that a performance video vividly captured their passion and energy from their live shows, where Cregg will make Yoga poses look totally RAWK and where he climbs to the top of the venue and dives off into the crowd, usually acompanied by a flip (did I mention he's a stuntman?). So admist all the other shit going on in my life right now, I also fit in a music video shoot for the night before Im off to huh? Well it was possibly the only window of pportunity I would have to do this with the band and I wasnt going to pass it up. So, with a few of my trusted DP friends in tow (including Bri as a shooter, shes amazing behind the camera), we headed off to the Roxy last night to shoot a "new" take on the performance video, and at first when we were there, it was 10 people short of being EMPTY. Not very condusive in showing the band's vibrant interaction with their fans, huh? I ran into the same problem with the Kataklysm video; there's a total of 40 people in that crowd, yet the way I shot and edited it, we made it look huge. But when the band finally came on stage, the venue turned ELECTRIC. All of a sudden, throes of people showed up and it ended up being one of the best perforances Ive seen of the band, and one of the most fun and exciting live shoots Ive ever done. At one point I got sucked into the mosh pit and pummeled...guess they didnt see the camera I was holding! Then since we had the band play the song, "Escape The World", twice, Cregg invited some of the crowd to come up on-stage, which made the final moments of the performance even more insane...I can't wait to start cutting this, but even more excited to see where my collaboration with "Spooky" Dan Walker, a good friend and amazing digital artist, takes the look of the video...

Check out the band on their official site or their myspace and of course when the video is done I'll post it up for your viewing pleasure.

I was lucky enough to see Adam Green's 3rd feature SPIRAL last weekend and I gotta admit, I was pretty blown away. Im a huge fan of HATCHET, which is another loving homage to 80's slasher like my film is my love letter to my favotite 80's splatter sequels (get ready to be sick of hearng me say that), and when I heard Adam was collaborating with HATCHET co-star Joel Moore on a more subtle psychological thriller, I wasn't sure how it was going to come out, if we're all being frank and honest here.

Let me say that SPIRAL, in tradition of such classics like Polanski's REPULSION & The Coen Bros.'s BARTON FINK, is a very effective and nuanced thriller that has moments that will stick to you like peanut butter at the roof of your mouth. Adam and his co-director/star Moore have made a great yet subtle film, an almost 180% shift from the over-the-top nature of HATCHET. If anyone doubts Adam as a director, they wont after SPIRAL. Adam seemed really proud of the film (it won "Daring Vision" a week earlier at the Santa Barbara Film Festival) but also a little nervous how our friend Dave and I, who were both invited to see the flick, would take it since we usually all gab away about horror flicks. But upon the devastating climax, Dave and I looked at each other and exhaled a "woo", sharing the opiion that the film is really strong and effective, with creative cinematogaphy by Will Barret and wonderful performances by Moore and Zachary Levi. I know I know...what's it about? Well, Im not telling. Go into this film knowing little to none, and you finish it both disturbed and rewarded.

As my laptop battery fades and the plane is prepping to land, I'll wrap up by saying how excited I am for Fango. This film has given me many opportunities to fulfill childhood fantasies and creative promises to myself, and now I get to do what I love to movies with anyone I can. Hope to see you there!



Blogger tim wasson said...

Hey Joe, this is tim from and from Saturday night at the Fangoria deal with the beers and Zack Ward and all. Just wanted to thank you again for the interview. Keep in touch man, and let me know when to look for Wrong Turn 2. I'm re-watching part 1 as I type this to prepare myself.

I couldn't find your email anywhere on the page, but mine is Take it easy.

9:23 AM  

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