Thursday, January 28, 2010

SHOCK FESTIVAL DVD Interview with Michael Gingold

Interview by Joshua T. Gravel


Could you give the Alternative Cinema audience some background information on your career in film or the arts in general?
I've been the managing editor of FANGORIA magazine for nearly 20 years and a contributor to for nearly 10, and during that time I've written a number of horror screenplays. Four of them have been produced (Leeches, Ring of Darkness, Shadow: Dead Riot, Halloween Night), two of them to my satisfaction (I'll leave it to readers to figure out which ones those were). Even as I’ve enjoyed working on the horror journalism side of the industry all these years, I've never lost the ambition to direct that I first nurtured at New York University's film school. I directed a Super-8 feature many years back that remains uncompleted due to technical issues, and when the opportunity to contribute to SHOCK FESTIVAL came up, it struck me as a perfect starting point to getting back behind the camera.


What brought you to this project, and the GIRLKILLER trailer in particular?
I've been a fan of Stephen Romano's SHOCK FESTIVAL book ever since I came across a promotional display for it at a FANGORIA Weekend of Horrors convention in Austin, TX, and was briefly fooled into thinking the THAT FUCKING CAT poster was the one-sheet for an actual long-lost movie. I wound up doing a bunch of coverage on the book for Fango, and when Paige Davis told me about the DVD project, I got equally excited. I've always loved B-horror and exploitation trailers, and really enjoyed the faux coming attractions produced for GRINDHOUSE. I asked Paige if I could contribute one to SHOCK FESTIVAL, and was thrilled when she brought me onto the project.

SHOCK FESTIVAL - "Girl Killer" Directed by Michael Gingold

The next step was going through the book and picking out a title to work with that hadn't already been claimed by one of the other trailer-makers. Since I'd be dealing with a micro budget, anything involving monsters, aliens or heavy-duty action was out; I didn't want cheap FX etc. to be a source of humor here! GIRLKILLER seemed to be a perfect choice: just a psychopathic young woman killing other young women. The fact that there were only a few lines of description of the alleged film in the book's text meant that I'd have a lot of freedom to come up with my own images, though I did make sure to incorporate those elements that were mentioned, like the psychopathic neighbor with a hammer fetish and the key image on the poster itself.

As for the structure, my initial inspiration was the trailer for EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, one of my all-time favorites. I wanted to do a similar preview that's all fast-cut images with no dialogue, just music; I rationalized that since this was supposed to be an American trailer for an Australian feature, the U.S. distributor didn't want potential audiences hearing any funny accents, but the real reason was that I wouldn't have to worry about ADR or other postproduction sound in the short time I had. I tried to throw in a couple of other clues that this was an Aussie film: If you look very closely during the kitchen strangling scene, you'll see a jar of Vegemite on the table, and in her concluding cast-rundown shot, "Briana Miller" is sitting in the passenger seat of a car, which is on the left side instead of the right (for which I simply flipped the image).

SHOCK FESTIVAL - "Girl Killer" Directed by Michael Gingold

Can you tell us about the casting of Ian MCculloch?
I also wanted to throw in a few homages to Italian horror cinema, since Steve's GIRLKILLER director "Darby Silver" is an in-joke on Dario Argento—"argento" is "silver" in Italian. One of those is the opening shot, an echo of the classic SUSPIRIA trailer. And when I found out my friend Mike Baronas was bringing several actors from classic Italian horror films to a Chiller convention, I had the crazy idea of heading over there and, with Mike's help, trying to snag a few shots of one of them to slip into the trailer. My DP/composer Scooter McCrae is a huge fan of those movies, and agreed to join me on the mission.

Once we got there, it quickly became clear that Ian McCulloch had to be our man; he still looked very much like he did in the '70s, which is when GIRLKILLER was supposedly produced. Once Mike had made the introductions, it also became clear that McCulloch was still a true professional who would expect nothing less from us. Fortunately, my friend and FX artist Brian Spears and his pal Eugene Driscoll said we could shoot in their hotel room, which 1) was on ground level, meaning we could get shots of McCulloch entering from outside through the curtains and 2) had colored inlaid tile around the bathroom mirror that gave a perfect '70s look. We prelit the bedroom and the bathroom before McCulloch got off the convention floor, and recruited Ruby LaRocca, an actress I'm friendly with, to play a sexy girl opposite him in one shot.

What I didn't know was that Ruby is also a big fan of Italian horror and its actors, and I somehow neglected to mention her co-star when I pitched the scene to her; she was quite startled when she came to the room and saw who she'd be appearing with! The shoot went great, though; I had brought a trench coat for my actor to wear to appear like a '70s detective, and we had a bottle of J&B (actually filled with chardonnay, at McCulloch's request) for that Italian-genre veneer, and we got all our shots in about 45 minutes. Scooter and I still can't believe we pulled it off.

SHOCK FESTIVAL - "Girl Killer" Directed by Michael Gingold

Can you tell us a little about the other actors you worked with?
Since no one would have any dialogue, I didn't really need to hold auditions, but went with people I knew who had the right look. Alia Lorae is a singer who specializes in dark music and lyrics, and was thus an easy choice for my anti-heroine. I've worked with Mike Lane a few times on our friend Glen Baisley's movies, and knew he'd have fun with the part of crazed filmmaker/actor Silver. Christine Spencer is an actress from a few films by James Felix McKenney and Larry Fessenden among others, and graciously agreed to appear in my little project. Audrey Quaranta and Logan DeSisto are both writers for Fango who had expressed an interest in appearing in a horror film, and were quite enthusiastic when I offered them roles as victims. Logan also helped out behind the scenes and, among other things, introduced me to Jessica Meirs, a figure model who had no problem doing the nudity required for the trailer's shower scene.

Who worked on the technical end of the production, specifically cinematography, music, and special effects?
As I mentioned, Scooter, whom I've known forever, did my cinematography and music and was invaluable in both capacities. We know each other so well that we were able to blaze through our shoot, capturing everything in two days, plus a few hours on another night and the McCulloch convention shoot. In several cases, rather than set up lights for interiors, Scooter suggested just using the natural light coming in through the windows, which wound up looking great and really adds to '70s look. Where the music was concerned, no one knows Italian horror scores better than Scooter, and he did great work using samples of '70s-appropriate instruments.


I've also known makeup FX artist Brian Spears for quite some time; he's contributed to numerous East Coast independent genre films (including SHADOW: DEAD RIOT, which I wrote), and came in to sling the blood for me, doing a great and messy job. Two filmmakers he's worked for are Glen, another longtime friend who served as my editor and brought years of experience in that capacity, and Brian Weaver, who provided the key location. Brian lives in part of a big house owned by his uncle, veteran Fango writer Tom Weaver, and the first time I set foot in there, I knew it was a horror-film location waiting to happen. The bedroom and living room have a black-and-red color scheme, the kitchen is all done in green and orange and it also has the ladder behind the walls and the tool room seen in key shots. Ninety percent of the trailer interiors were shot all in the one house, yet it looks like we used multiple locations.


Are there any current or future projects you would like people to know about?
I'm working on a couple of feature scripts right now, and after the GIRLKILLER project went so well, I'm anxious to get another feature going. But I'd rather not discuss any details until I'm closer to having something to actually show.

Michael Gingold’s GIRLKILLER trailer is part of Stephen Romano Presents Shock Festival, available February 9th from Camp Motion Picture’s exploitation / horror label, Bloody Earth Films.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Shock Festival “Tribute Trailers” Screening NYC Anthology Film Archives

NYC, New York
January 25, 2010

The contemporary “Tribute Trailers” program of the upcoming Stephen Romano Presents Shock Festival DVD, a 3-Disc video and audio celebration of the Grindhouse era featuring classic and contemporary homage content, will screen at 10:00 pm Saturday, January 30 at The Anthology Film Archives, located at 32 Second Avenue in NYC.


The program, comprised of 13 contemporary trailers plus one “mini-movie”, showcases the talents of several up-and-coming independent directors. Shot on location in such diverse cities as Austin, Los Angeles, NYC and Buenos Aires, these short content ‘faux trailers’ were inspired by the fictional horror and exploitation films described in Stephen Romano’s acclaimed 2008 novel, Shock Festival.

Stephen Romano's SHOCK FESTIVAL

Co-producer Paige Kay Davis will be on hand to introduce the screening and conduct a post-screening introduction to attending content contributors. A limited number of seats will be available to the press and public. Details will appear on Alternative Cinema’s various social networking sites ( FaceBook, MySpace ) a few days prior to the event.

Stephen Romano's SHOCK FESTIVAL

The 3-Disc collection, Stephen Romano Presents Shock Festival, is available on DVD February 9, 2010 from Alternative Cinema.

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SHOCK FESTIVAL DVD Interview with Dave Hartman

Interview by Joshua T. Gravel

Part one of the SHOCK FESTIVAL DVD primer, preparing you for the experience!

Over the next five weeks we get down and dirty with the creative forces behind the Shock Festival tribute trailers.

The Shock Festival 3 Disc set (2 DVD + 1 CD) is available February 9th, 2010 at
Alternative Cinema and other DVD shops.


Meet Director & Illustrator David Hartman, who’s created some of the sickest and strangest illustrations and storyboards for ROB ZOMBIE, BUBBA HO-TEP, TENACIOUS D, and SPIDERMAN the animated series, to name a few. David shares with us his love for all things horror and how to have fun with your kids and firearms!

David Hartman

Could you give the Alternative Cinema audience some background information on your career in film and the arts in general?

Well, my main profession is as a director in television animation. Directing shows like GODZILLA, STARSHIP TROOPERS, JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES, WINNIE the POOH and tons of others. I also have done work with Don Coscarelli (PHANTASM) including visual fx for the film BUBBA HO-TEP and storyboards and design work for his MASTERS of HORROR episode on Showtime as well as a few independent projects. I also do tons of horror illustration. A lot of work for Rob Zombie including a couple music videos. Lots of comic book work and illustrations for various publishers. Basically I dabble in tons of stuff but my true passion is in horror.

David Hartman Art

I understand that you have made a couple of music videos for Rob Zombie, how did you get into making music videos?

Rob saw my art somewhere and got in contact with me about doing some illustration work. I did a bunch of illustrations for his re-release of HELLBILLY DELUXE. I sent Rob some of my cartoon work and he liked what I was doing with CODENAME: EMBRYO (a web series I started but only did 2 episodes). He had a new album coming out and asked if I would do a video for "AMERICAN WITCH". We had a lot of fun working on that and then did "LORDS of SALEM". I have some artwork in his forthcoming album "HELLBILLY DELUXE 2".

Video above:
This is the amazing American Witch video that can be seen on Rob Zombies tour screens. The animation is by famed Zombie artist Dave Hartman!

What got you into animation and particularly could you tell us about your work on the GODZILLA and the LENORE animated series?

I had an internship in high school working for a local animation studio in Ohio. I decided then that I wasn't really into animation and didn't like having to draw frame after frame of the same thing. A friend who moved to Los Angeles told me about a gig he had storyboarding for Sony Pictures Television and he basically got my foot in the door. From there I saw this other world to animation that included storyboarding, design work and directing while the frame by frame drawings were done by another studio. I always wanted to direct and was happily surprised by this work system that was never discussed in my internship. Form there I worked my way up storyboarding on various shows and then got my first directing gig on GODZILLA. Really from then on I have been directing action shows for animation. LENORE was a fun project. It was a series of web cartoons I did with Roman Dirge while at Sony Pictures. Roman brought the project there; we met, and became friends right away. I had a lot of fun while working on those. We were pretty much left alone and didn't have to go through huge approvals to get story ideas realized.

What brought you to the SHOCK FESTIVAL project and what drew your attention to the specific trailers you made?

I met Stephen Romano through Don Coscarelli while working on BUBBA HO-TEP. I had a horror movie I pitched to Don but had trouble getting the script going. Don introduced me to Stephen and the three of us worked on the ideas for the story while Stephen wrote this thing. It is really great and I hope to someday get it made. I'm sure Stephen would too.
So Stephen asked if I would help out doing some art for the posters in his book as well as direct a couple trailers. I absolutely love watching horror and exploitation trailers of the 70's and this was the perfect excuse I needed to make something similar.

Warpmonstert 1280x1024

DEAD BUGS ON THE CARPET looks like it could have fit right in with a giallo from the seventies while both EVOLVER and WARPMONSTER look like the type of creature features I would have seen on Saturday afternoon television in the early eighties, were there any specific trailers or films which influenced the look of the films or the pacing/editing of the trailers?

Dead Bugs On The Carpet 2 1280x1024

DEAD BUGS has an obvious early Argento feel to it for me. Of course this whole thing was shot in the matter of a couple hours in my family room and bathroom so it doesn't really convey the vibe completely but that’s what I was going for. EVOLVER is the one trailer I wanted to do the most. I saw the poster in the book and fell in love with the concept and the 70's "LEGEND of BOGGY CREEK" vibe it was surrounded in. It was also a good excuse to dress my daughter up as a feral child and give her a gun.

Can you tell us a little about the actors you worked with?

This is my usual gang of idiots. We all have been making short films together since the early 90's back in Ohio and then all eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue careers. Bryan Baugh is also a horror illustrator and usually always plays the killer. Mike Baker is my DeNiro. He always plays our straight man. Our wives love this stuff as well so it usually is just a fun way to hang out and make something rather than getting drunk and hating ourselves the next morning.

Who worked on the technical end of the production, specifically cinematography, music, and special effects?

That’s pretty much me. I do all the filming, editing, etc. Stephen Romano supplied me with the music with clips from old studio production cues and public domain stuff. This really added to the feel for me and worked out better than if I got someone to try and match the score.

Are there any current or future projects you would like people to know about?

You can always go to my website WWW.SIDESHOWMONKEY.COM to see my art, other short films and up to date info. I am currently directing a couple pilots for studios as well as art directing a pretty high-profile show to come out next year. Got some work coming out through Rob Zombie in the next year as well as a very cool series of shorts I have been directing for Don Coscarelli.

Thank you Dave for taking the time to answer our questions and you should all make sure to check out his above listed website to stay current with his many projects.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

ALTERNATIVE CINEMA PODCAST - Episode 10 / January 2010

Listen to feed by clicking the PLAY button here!

Ted Marr and Richard Griffin on the set of NUN OF THAT

Hosts Michael Raso, John Fedele and Duane Polcou ring in the New Year with an exclusive interview with producer Ted Marr and director Richard Griffin – the team behind the low-budget nunsploitation film “Nun of That!” Richard and Ted give insight into self-distribution and playing your movie theatrical in the digital age.

"Nun of That" comes to DVD (from Camp Motion Pictures) on January 12, 2010.
Order it here!


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Saturday, January 2, 2010


A 3-Disc Audio and Video Exploitation Extravaganza Featuring Over 7 Hours of the Most Rare and Unusual Exploitation Trailers, TV Ads and Radio Spots from the Age of GRINDHOUSE CINEMA!

Take a wild journey through the exploitation movie scenes of the 1970s and 1980s with this collection of hundreds of actual previews of coming attractions, television commercials and radio spots for the sleaziest, sexiest most off-the-wall films ever made - all digitally re-mastered from Original Film Elements.


Order the DVD

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