Sunday, August 3, 2008

Something Old, Something New...

I am a HUGE fan of tradition. Thus the title of today's blog. And boy, do I have something neato from BOTH categories!

No, this is not ComicCon junk. I'm still playing catch up there. No, the first item, from the "something old" department, involves a special golden treasure discovered by my girlfriend Sharon at the Half Price Books that we ritualistically frequent every Sunday (like Church! Yay!).

If you know me, you know I love trolls. And goblins. But especially goblins falsely marketed as trolls in order to capitalize on the marginal success of their namesake's 80's sorta-hit film. I, of course, am referring to the greatness of the "best worst film" of all time, TROLL 2.

And, the treasure you ask? Well, feast your eyes...

(I had yet another image, a wider one, with the troll head perfectly framed over Sharon's shoulders. It formed an all too creepy image where you have the monster head on top of her really hot body, the resulting effect of which completely slapped any potential erections out of existence into at least the next decade. I had to remove it.)

Make no mistake. I am speciafically posting these photos to gloat. I am officially better than you and your entire family now. Bask in the greatness... autographed, no less, by the original film's composer, Richard Band (Charles' brother).

Here's a butt shot, where you can actually see proof that the holy sequel is included on Side B.

***Updated*** Apparently, in my zeal to prove my own personal greatness, I failed to notice that the big Roman numeral II on the record's back was a reference to Side 2, not additional tracks from Troll 2. Still a cool treasure, though. Oh well. Easy come, easy go. At least, this is the progenitor without which the greatness of the TRUE "T2" (F-U James Cameron!) could never have come into being. Dubious praise, but of historical significance nonetheless.

Okay, enough torture. Now for the "something new." In doing research for my new feature film, I was turned on to a bizarre artist from the late 1800's. Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel.

An amazing biological artist who discovered and catalogued hundreds of new life forms in his time, many extremely tiny and from the depths of the ocean floor.

The plates from his book, Kunstformen der Natur, have become the basis for much of the alien concept art design for my upcoming film. Many thanks to Nick Derington for introducing me to this amazing man's work. Here are a few of my favorite plates...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Me and Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) during his press conference promoting ZOMBIE STRIPPERS.

So, I went to San Diego last week to cover Comic Con for a documentary on fandom I'm co-producing. With the help of co-sponsor Envy Magazine, we had all-access press passes and multiple interviews lined up. A few additional highlights:

I got to attend the press breakfast for MIRRORS, starring Keifer Sutherland and the very pretty Amy Smart (above). Good pic of her, insanely bad one of me. Yikes!

The amazing wonder duo of Josh Olsen (Writer, A History of Violence) and Dan Waters (Writer, Heathers, Batman Returns). These guys are a class act. They were at the Anchor Bay booth, and provided me with one of the funniest interviews I had all weekend. I am insanely jealous of Josh, by the way. He's worked with TWO of my idols already. First David Cronenberg, and now Harlan Ellison (on an episode of Masters of Sci Fi).

Josh came to dinner with myself and the Anchor Bay sales folks. He's a very patient man. I tried very hard (unsuccessfully) to not nerd out in front of him. I ran my mouth like no tomorrow, but he was gracious about it.

Other amazing interviews include: 

Kim Deitch (A very kind and gracious man. One of my very favorites. See earlier post about him).
Jeffrey Brown
James Kochalka
Bernie Wrightson
The Cast of Pineapple Express
Ted Raimi
Ken Foree
Steve Coogan
and others...

I know I haven't actually posted any interviews as such yet. Too much to sift through. It's coming, though. Honest.

I have so much more stuff. I just wanted to get something up right away.

More to come.

Monday, March 3, 2008


In my growing admiration of all things Armes-related, I was recently awarded a great present from my great pal Michael Coleman. Michael actually inducted me into the secret society of Armes enthusiasts back in '97. Oh, what a naive little rube I was back then. Barely able to cmprehend the myriad mysteries of the man, the legend, the ENIGMA that is Jay J Armes, "the world's #1 private eye and real life six million dollar man!"

See previous blog entry for more info...if you deem yourself worthy.

This book, this document of a life un-documentable. The biography as dictated to one Frederick Nolan aka 'The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth.' I've barely cracked the spine on it. Taken but a trembling step into the cold depths of chapter one. Already, the mind reels. Already, my world is reshaped.

I shall return shortly with my full book report.

Until then, an image of recent inductee, David Lowery--allowed, for but a moment, to taste of the golden chalice.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Citizen Kane of 'Nature-Run-Amok' Films

The movie ('Night of the Lepus', aka 'Year of the Angry Rabbit') that made me want to make movies? Not quite, but I will say that this film (and yes, it is a 'film' in that Cahiers du Cinema sort of way) has probably been one of the greatest influences on me (alongside that other, more infantile regressive, fear fest 'Prophecy') as a burgeoning filmmaker. And that's not saying much for me. **This blog is quickly devolving into my Animal Rampage Page** Really, when it comes down to it, what else truly matters?

I wrote a pre-thesis film based on this in my final year of film school. I wish I was joking about that. I really do. Because of that, I discovered (pre-youtube, pre-obsessive blogs) a small but devoted cult of NOTL fans. I discovered private fan fiction written to advance certain plotlines and characters not fully reconciled in the original work of art.

This flick really has a hold on me. Last year I wrote another feature script as a sort of love poem or sonnet to this majestic feature.

It's easy to say I'm being cute or ironic. If you didn't know me, that is. I truly and deeply love this film. My enthusiasm for this film, I believe, has made converts of other (possibly less inclined) viewers. I could name several other devotees off the top of my head, but I'm sure they'd appreciate having their anonymity kept intact.

You really need to see this if you haven't. It's truly a work of accidental art. The sort of thing where intention and result don't quite meet up, but somehow create a mutant fusion (like a reverse black hole---which would be a star, obviously) that shines on with its own unique light.

I'm not really sure what sort of crack filmmakers William Claxton and Don Holiday were smoking when they made this, but you've gotta take the time into context. It was the 70's. Ecology was on everybody's mind. There was that whole crying Indian, 'Keep America Beautiful' commercial. And a 'hit' novel by Russell Braddon, for source material. Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees. Especially when those trees are being deforested by GIANT RAMPAGING BUNNIES!

They took this film deadly serious. It even begins with a micro-doc about the impending rabbit-vs-man future war that WILL occur if we don't change our wicked ways. Hey, you really can't rule it out....can you?

Who knows what sort of heavy-handed bullshit today will become the next Lepus tomorrow. People in glass houses, you know.

Anyway, for the unindoctrinated, check out this clippy-poo and judge for yourself!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Just Had One Of Those Moments...

Ah, nostalgia! How you raise your horn-crested and bearded head right when I'm at the bottom of a darkened well, always to lift me up again! 
Man, so I was cruising the net for tail once again for the third time today, when I cam across an article (shameless plug, shameless plug) on the play I directed for Garland Civic Theater. It was an adaptation of Stevenson's Treasure Island by some guy named Caruso, and I directed it with an incredibly talented cast of teens and pre-teens. I had an amazing time, and simply thinking about it puts me in a fantastic mood.
Here's a link to the article. I really don't expect anyone to give a crap about this other than me. It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to post it to my non-existent subscriber base.
And now, the even more local version of the local paper, The Dallas Morning News.

By the way, our Jim is portrayed by Ceasar VanCleave, star of the upcoming feature film KIDDO! He, along with several other cast members (including Jayci VanCleave and Sonnet Phillips) will return for more shooting in February. Keep on rockin' in a free world!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Boulevard of Broken Dreams and the Magic of Kim Deitch

I've recently been totally smitten with the comics of Kim Deitch. I'm pretty late on the bandwagon here. No less than Time Magazine has been singing his praise. If you haven't heard of him, do yourself a favor and pick up one of his books off Amazon or one of your finer comics retailers. I recommend "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams," which showcases one of his finest creations, Waldo The Cat.
I found this rad little flash animation someone did, which really sums up the feeling you get from Kim's books. Not to mention the fact that it uses some of his drawings as source material.
  The Ship That Never Came In

Monday, January 21, 2008

Scariest Movie Ever!!!

Whoa, man. Just writing about this movie gives me the cold tinglies! I saw the trailer for this movie when I was like 4 years old! It was a very simple animation of the monster in embryonic form. The same image was used on the poster too. I'm still so scared of that monster drawing that I can't even post it here, cause then I'd have to look at it every time I update the page and my heart can't take the strain.

Anyway, the movie is John Frankenheimer's Prophecy: The Monster Movie (1977). They had to add "the monster movie" just in case you thought it was a musical comedy or an instructional video or something. Anway, so the trailer freaked me out so bad, I couldn't even watch the movie. Not even when it came out on Prevue (the pre-cursor to HBO, and the first premium cable channel my family got). And what blew most about Prevue is like they had the license to, I think, maybe five movies. I remember (in no particular order) "9 to 5," "The Elephant Man," "Coal Miner's Daughter," "Silver Streak," and this fucking abomination.

So, fast-forward fifteen years and my mom finally convinces me to watch the goddamn movie on TBS. So I gather my courage and sit down to face my fear, fully expecting to see the LIVING BREATHING incarnation of the terror-beast from the artist-rendition poster. What I got was what follows (at the bottom of this post)...

This is pretty much the funniest thing I've ever seen in a legit horror-film. Frankenheimer sure took himself seriously, which makes this all the more hilarious. I mean, above and beyond this, how can you take a movie seriously in which Armand Assante plays a Native American. And the titular Prophecy? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Apparently something to do with "when the paper mills dump the mercury used in the production process into the nearby lake, the little forest animals who drink from said lake will mutate into GIANT EVIL forest behemoths with an appetite for revenge!" Sounds like bible verse to me.

As a final note, I spent several years trying to track down that original theatrical trailer that freaked me out so much. I got excited when the dvd was announced, but alas no trailer was included. Youtube was no help either. I was about to give up all hope. I mean this is an important step in my ongoing twelve-step 'conquer your childhood fears' program. Suddenly, as all hope was lost and the darkness began to gather all around, my buddy Nick Derington presented me with a truly grand gift. An original 35mm print of the trailer he bought on ebay for like five bucks!

So, to all you others who have suffered from this truly terrifying trailer to a film that itself is quite laughable, I'm making a solemn vow to you now that I will transfer that fucker to video and post it HERE so we can all hold digital hands and get over our fears. In the meantime, laugh while you can at the best 30 seconds in film history!


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