Friday, February 26, 2010

SHOCK FESTIVAL DVD Interview with Richard Griffin

Interview by Joshua T. Gravel

filmmaker Richard Griffin

Since exploding onto the genre scene in 2004 with the critically acclaimed socio-political-zombie satire, FEEDING THE MASSES, Richard Griffin has gone on to complete nine more features (eight from the horror genre). Richard takes a moment to discuss his cinematic career, and his contribution to Shock Festival, DARK NIGHT OF THE DEMON HOUSE.

Dark Night of the Demon House

Richard, tell us about your background in film or the arts in general?
I started making short films on Super8 when I was very young, and then after awhile I began working at a local television station in Rhode Island. We did a little bit of everything.... from commercials, to PSAs, to shooting concerts and other events. As much as it was a video sausage factory, it taught me a great deal about virtually every aspect of production.

After leaving the television studio in the mid 2000s, I started Scorpio Film Releasing with my partner Ted Marr in 2004. Since then I have directed over nine features.

Nun Of That

Beyond the Dunwich Horror

What brought you to this project and what drew your attention to DARK NIGHT OF THE DEMON HOUSE?
I was very fortunate to have Stephen Romano create the posters for two of our features -- BEYOND THE DUNWICH HORROR and NUN OF THAT. When it came time for the SHOCK FESTIVAL DVD, Stephen asked me if I would be interested in directing one of the faux trailers. Originally he asked me to make a specific trailer, an homage to the Luigi Cozzi STAR WARS rip-off, STAR CRASH, but I was right in the middle of shooting a feature and didn't feel like I would have the energy to devote to an epic sci-fi trailer, so I picked something a little more low-key.... and that was DARK NIGHT OF THE DEMONHOUSE.

Dark Night of the Demon House

Your trailer truly captured the seventies feel complete with period roto-scoping effects, were there any particular films or trailers which influenced your trailer?
Before shooting the trailer I watched a hell of a lot of Independent-International Pictures, especially NURSE SHERRI, for a general look and feel. I also viewed a bunch of EXORCIST rip-offs like BEYOND THE DOOR and ABBY. It was the most entertaining "research" I've ever done for a project!

"Nurse Sherri" (1978) Theatrical Poster
Independent-International Pictures’ NURSE SHERRI

Can you tell us a little about the actors you worked with?
I rounded up a number of actors who were involved in NUN OF THAT at the time. Sarah Nicklin, who's been in every film I've made since SPLATTER DISCO, Michael Reed, who I know would have no problem having sex scenes with Sarah.... since they are now husband and wife! Also in the cast are Brandon Luis Aponte and his uncle Alex Aponte, (You can never have too many Apontes in your movie.), the beautiful Alexandra Cipolla, the regal Nolan Kerr, and to add to the movie's cool factor, David Lavallee, Jr., who is a brilliant up-and-coming actor and fight choreographer.

Who worked on the technical end of the production, specifically cinematography, music, and special effects?
Seeing it was very small production, we kept the crew very light. I directed, shot and edited it. Ted produced and ran sound, a brilliant FX artist named Alan August handled the blood, and finally my regular composer Daniel Hildreth composed and performed the score.

Dark Night of the Demon House

Are there any current or future projects you would like people to know about?
We currently wrapped shooting a sci-fi horror film set in 1957 called ATOMIC BRAIN INVASION, which I'm very proud of. In 2010 I'll be directing a dark comedy called BIRD TALK, as well as another feature that is currently untitled - but I promise it'll be our most shocking film yet!

You can keep track of Richard’s cinematic output by “friending” him on Facebook as well as visiting


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jamie Gillis passes away at 66

By Michael Raso

I was shocked when I heard that Jamie Gillis passed away yesterday at 66 years old. According to numerous on-line reports, Gillis was battling cancer in the last year.

Jamie Gillis "Pleasure Palace" (1979)
Jamie Gillis in Carter Stevens’ PLEASURE PALACE (1979)

Seeing Jamie Gillis (on film) is a daily occurrence at the studio, where I archive and program DVD releases for my labels Retro-Seduction Cinema and After Hours Cinema. Three of my personal and on-going projects – the restoration of Eduardo Cemano, Joe Sarno and Carter Stevens’ film libraries – all include Jamie Gillis in one way, shape or form.

Jamie Gillis and Tina Russell (directed by Eduardo Cemano)
Jamie Gillis (with Tina Russell) in a rare behind the scenes shot (being directed by Eduardo Cemano in MADAME ZENOBIA 1973)

Abigail Lesley is Back in Town" (1975)
Jamie Gillis and Rebecca Brooke from Joe Sarno's ABIGAIL LESLEY IS BACK IN TOWN (1975)

I last saw Jamie Gillis in December 2008 at a dinner film historian Michael Bowen & I threw (for Joe Sarno) at Zarela’s restaurant in NYC. It was cold and snowy. Carter Stevens drove in all the way from the Poconos just to attend.

Zarela's NYC December 16, 2008
Lack of focus is made up for by Lots of Laughter!
Pictured: Peggy Sarno, Michael Bowen and Jamie Gillis
Zarela's Resaurant, New York City - December 16, 2008

Zarela's NYC December 16, 2008
The Three Amigos!
Pictured: Carter Stevens, Joe Sarno and Jamie Gillis
Zarela's Resaurant, New York City - December 16, 2008

It has been and continues to be a real joy restoring the lost films of the great men mentioned above. Much more work to do and so, so sad that Jamie had to leave us so early in the celebration of the re-releases of so many films that he brought his talent to.

Porn legend Jamie Gillis dead at 66 by Greg B / Cinesploitation

Jamie Gillis passes away / AVN

Jamie Gillis titles


Friday, February 12, 2010

SHOCK FESTIVAL DVD Interview with Victor Bonacore

Interview by Joshua T. Gravel

Indie filmmaker Victor Bonacore, director of the faux trailer "THEY MADE ME!" talks about his influences, his cast, crew and how it all began with a Chainsaw Kiss.

Filmmaker Victor Bonacore

What inspired you to pursue a career in film?
I have always been into the arts, especially film. My two older sisters raised me on PINK FLAMINGOS, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW & THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS, so I believe that had somewhat of an impact on me. After I got my first camcorder I re-enacted scenes from famous movies, and then I started writing. I went to school for film, and made some shorts there, but it wasn’t until I moved out to New Jersey and into a house with fellow filmmakers Joey Smack & Ruby Larocca that I really found my place. I bought a 16mm camera; we put our minds together and started creating all the time, and formed CHAINSAW KISS. We started making films together in the summer of 08. First we did a weird music video for Long Island folk artist Johnnie Lee Jordan called THE WIGLY. Then we did a film about child molestation and organized religion that played some great festivals like Fantasia in Montreal & The Coney Island Film Festival called ICE CREAM SUNDAY. Our next project was a movie about a girl who will do anything to get the weird one that she wants, which was actually the directorial debut for Ruby Larocca, titled BELATED BY VALENTINES LOVER. Then we did a film called DOG SHIT written & directed by underground speed-core musician ScreamerClauz about a utopian society where people wear paper plates as masks. Next came the trailer for the SHOCK FESTIVAL project, and we had a blast doing that. We are currently shooting a new film called BLOOD WINGS: A SATANIC FANTASY and it’s going to be our first feature film together. We are all very excited about it. After that we’re going to produce a new short, written and directed by Joey Smack! So we are constantly working, constantly going broke, but committed to making our name in the underground art scene.

Filmmaker Victor Bonacore - Shock Festival "They Made Me"

What brought you to this project and what drew your attention to choose the specific trailer you made?
I have a good friend that works for ALTERNATIVE CINEMA, and I thought this would be a great project to be associated with so I asked if CHAINSAW KISS could be a part of it, and they said yes! So we went home, flipped through the book for a couple of days and I fell in love with THEY MADE ME! I love girl gang films, and I just love gang films in general so I thought it would be great fun doing one. I went to Ruby right away and asked if she would play the lead in the trailer, and of course she said yes! I took all the taglines and anything else associated with that title in the book, and then wrote out a rough script for it. Joe & I reviewed it again, made some changes and we were ready to shoot. Our friend Brandon was living with us at the time and is a very talented DP, so I asked him to shoot it, and that is one of the reasons, the trailer looks so good!

Monique Stines and Sybelle Silverphoenix Shock Festival "They Made Me"

Explain why you would want to make a trailer for a film the book refers to as “the most poorly made all girl exploitation effort of its day?”
Because that’s awesome! There is true art in bad cinema and to have my name associated with that is a blessing from Satan!

Can you tell us a little about the actors you worked with?
Well, what can I say about RUBY LAROCCA? She is the greatest actress of all time. And I really mean that. If you ever get lucky enough to work with her, you will know what I mean, she does whatever you ask of her, and more, she’s a great fucking talent, friend and roommate.

Ruby Larocca Shock Festival "They Made Me"

Shock Festival DVD
pictured: Ruby LaRocca, Shock Festival producer Paige Kay Davis, Victor Bonacore

The other girls were great too! I had never worked with Jamie Mayhem before and was really excited to. She is great and is a pleasure on set. She is also in the upcoming BLOOD WINGS as well! Sybelle Silverphoenix was great too, I met her at Comic-Con where she was promoting a new film she was in directed by Underground Legend BillZebub. I contacted her and she was down! Monique Stines I have known for a while and have worked with before, too. She will do it all and with a smile on her face. Then we had Mike Mistake who was more than happy to get brutally murdered by a group of beautiful toughies. Chi Orengo gladly got thrown around in the dirt and rolled on glass for the film. Then I needed a girl to get raped by a knife, so I called up my girlfriend who had never been in a film before and said “would you be cool getting raped by a knife today?” She was down!

Then I put a call in to the incredible New Jersey actor ALAN ROWE KELLY, a pleasure to be around and great honor to work with. I knew he would bring the mother character to life. Really a great cast, where everyone went the extra mile and everyone kicked ass, and I know that is reflected on screen.

Shock Festival "They Made Me"
pictured: Alan Rowe Kelly

Who worked on the technical end of the production, specifically cinematography, music, and special effects?
Brandon Wunder was the director of photography. He’s got a great eye and his stuff is great; it was easy to work with him. The song we used was from the band the UBANGIS! A really tight, rock n’ roll band! ScreamerClauz edited the trailer, did the sound mix and all the visual effects for the film!

Shock Festival "They Made Me"

Victor Bonacore, Linnea Quigley, John Link on set "Blood Wings"
on the set of “Blood Wings.” Pictured: Victor Bonacore, Linnea Quigley, Johnny Link

Are there any current or future projects you would like people to know about?
Yes, there’s DOG SHIT, which I mentioned earlier, and our newest project BLOOD WINGS, which we are currently still shooting. We just got off our biggest weekend of shooting, 3 days straight. LINNEA QUIGLEY is in this film as the housemother of a satanic cult (we just finished shooting all her scenes). This movie is going to be insane! It’s a story Ruby and I came up with together, and we are all producing together while I take the directional reigns. This will be our first feature so we are very, very excited about it! Keep an eye out for it next spring!

Keep up with CHAINSAW KISS at their myspace page

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

SHOCK FESTIVAL DVD Interview with Chris LaMartina

Interview by Joshua T. Gravel

Baltimore filmmaker Chris Lamartina, director of the zombie-trailer-homage TOOL SHED OF THE LIVING DEAD and faux TV spot GHOST OF THE RAVEN, talks Shock Festival, Edgar Allen Poe and his latest filmmaking project.

Filmmaker Chris LaMartina

When did you first become involved in the horror genre?
I got serious about filmmaking when I was around 18 or so. During my first year at college, I started doing a segment each break for an anthology that would become DEAD TEENAGERS. It was crummy-looking movie shot on consumer gear for about $300, but it got a distribution deal and gave me hope that I could continue making films for a wider audience. Shortly after completing DEAD TEENAGERS, I met up with an old friend, Jimmy George, and we began working together. We somehow managed to raise a little bit of money to make our first film together and have continued to churn them out since then. So far, we've produced 3 features together, BOOK OF LORE, GRAVE MISTAKES (these two are coming out as a double feature through Camp Motion Pictures in May 2010), and the recently wrapped PRESIDENT’S DAY.

Fill us in on how you become involved with Stephen Romano Presents Shock Festival DVD?
My girlfriend gave me Stephen’s 2008 book, SHOCK FESTIVAL, as a Christmas gift last year and it quickly became one of my favorite possessions. I loved the artwork, the articles, but most importantly... the mythology. Stephen’s grasp of what makes the culture of exploitation film so great is strong and few have done it as well as the book did.

I picked my two trailers for different reasons. I chose GHOST OF THE RAVEN because I'm located in Baltimore and my apartment is literally five minutes from Poe's gravesite, so I figured I had to. I felt a need to represent my hometown and I've always felt an affinity for Poe. He's popped up in my life many times and in many places: I was recently contacted by the Baltimore Museum of Art to produce a piece inspired by his work for their upcoming exhibit, and Poe was a subplot of a romantic comedy script I wrote last year that won third place at the Baltimore Screenwriting Competition.

Ghost Of The Raven

TOOL SHED OF THE LIVING DEAD seemed to be the most open-ended and easily one of the most silly, niche titles in the book. I knew I could gather some friends in a weekend and get some great footage. I also knew about an abandoned graveyard where we could shoot a few shots and incorporated them into the trailer.

TOOL SHED OF THE DEAD is one of the films with the least coverage in the book, was this a limitation on the project or was it freeing?
It was definitely freeing. I didn't want to take away from Stephen's vision of these films, so when producing both, I tried to keep his vision in mind. Since TOOL SHED is very limited in coverage, I tried to think about what films it would be like...

Toolshed Of The Living Dead

The TOOL SHED trailer is definitely I DRINK YOUR BLOOD in tone, but if it were a feature, I imagined it like GARDEN OF THE DEAD or even an early Andy Milligan film... that's the type of film stock/damage I was going for... that scratchy faded-red (because of poor storage) look that many of Milligan's features have. As a former projectionist, I was trying to achieve what color damage would traditionally occur to the prints in the color correcting process.

Grave Mistakes

Can you tell us a little about the actors you worked with?
For my two trailers, all the actors were friends. For my features, we've had auditions and managed to work with some really great folks. For my latest project, PRESIDENT’S DAY, I got to work with a group of great actors such as George Stover (John Waters’ Female Trouble and Desperate Living, Don Dohler's films), Ruby Larocca (star of Seduction Cinema films), and Shawn Phillips (from Youtube’s Don and Murph Show).

Ghost of the Raven

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

I wrote, directed, and edited both trailers. I scored the music for TOOL SHED, but Mars from Dead House Music did the music for GHOST as per Stephen's request. I'm glad I could use it, since it's perfect for the trailer.

I did some of the special effects, but my friend Randi Williams did most of the zombie makeup.

Toolshed Of The Living Dead

I understand that a couple of your films will be released this year; can you give us some additional information?
BOOK OF LORE and GRAVE MISTAKES will be released as a double feature from Camp Motion Pictures on May 18, 2010.

BOOK OF LORE is an atmospheric horror flick about a small town that is plagued with a surprising number of bizarre local legends that start to "come true". It won Best Horror Feature at the 2007 Shockerfest International Film Festival.

GRAVE MISTAKES is a campy throwback to 1980s horror anthologies like CREEPSHOW and TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE. It follows a grave robber who tries selling stolen jewelry to an old antiques dealer, but instead of trading goods, they trade stories of ghosts, zombies, vampires, and other supernatural entities.

The double feature disc should be jam-packed with extra features, commentaries, making-of featurettes and tons of great stuff for fans of low-budget horror.

Ektachrome Monster

Are there any current or future projects you would like people to know about?
I'm currently editing PRESIDENT’S DAY, our latest film. It's a gory social satire about a maniac in an Abe Lincoln outfit who is killing all the candidates for a high school student council election. I'm pitching it as a cross between ELECTION and SLEEPAWAY CAMP PART 2. So far, it looks like it will be a lot of fun.

President's Day (The Movie)

You can keep up with Chris and PRESIDENT’S DAY on his myspace page,

On FaceBook!/PresidentsDay

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Monday, February 8, 2010

SHOCK FESTIVAL DVD Interview with Dave Neabore

Interview by Joshua T. Gravel

Musician and filmmaker Dave Neabore raps about his love of horror, his music career, and how his two passions led him to Stephen Romano Presents Shock Festival and DEAD BUGS ON THE CARPET.

Shock Festival - Dave Neabore

Could you give the Alternative Cinema audience some background information on your career in film or the arts in general?
I've been a musician since I was very young, and had a successful career for over 20 years now with the bands DOG EAT DOG and MUCKY PUP. My interest in film dates back to the mid-70s when I was exposed to JAWS, CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, and INVASION Of THE BODY SNATCHERS among others as a young kid. My parents forbade me to EVER see LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT after they walked out on it in the theater, and of course it then became my holy grail as an adolescent. I got a super 8 camera in high school, but the film processing was too expensive, and I gave it up when I recorded my first album and went on tour of Europe at 18 years old. In the late 90's I got back into it and made my first real short film with a $20,000 budget. It was called REEL FEAR and had a few screenings on the east coast including the first New York City Horror Film Festival. Since then I have continued to make short films while touring and recording.

I see that you have done some music for films and even for the Lucio Fulci documentary PAURA, when did you begin to incorporate your love of horror into your music career?
I have a very extensive horror soundtrack collection. I guess the most influential soundtrack to me is from CREEPSHOW. When I saw this opening night in 1982, the experience blew me away, and the music was a huge part of that. I always wanted to do a soundtrack, which is the reason I started making short films in the first place. In 2001, my good friend and high school buddy Michael J. Hein, had just directed his first feature, a zombie movie called BIOHAZARDOUS, and offered me the chance to do the music as well as provide 2 songs. A couple of years ago when Mike Baronas was working on the PAURA DVD, he liked my music from the FULCI Symphony Of Fear album, and asked me to provide music for his movie. For me it was an honor and an amazing experience. There is a limited CD soundtrack available, so it's out there for the fans to hear. I am so busy touring with my rock band that I'm not really out there pimping myself as much as I should to get more soundtrack work. I basically just wait for the phone to ring, so to speak, and take the jobs as they come.

Dave Neabore recording the PAURA soundtrack

What brought you to this project and what drew your attention to choose the specific trailer you made?
I first met Stephen Romano after we both worked on the 1999 CD, FOR LUCIO FULCI: A Symphony Of Fear. I always thought he was an incredible musician and artist, so I have followed his work since that project. After I sent him the soundtrack to the PAURA DVD, he responded with a very positive email about my music. A short time later he sent me a demo proof of the SHOCK FESTIVAL book. As soon as I saw this book, I freaked out and proclaimed it a work of genius to anyone who would listen. I wrote Stephen, basically begging him to be a part of any future incarnations of the book, and also included a list of my favorite posters. Stephen wrote me back and gave me the go ahead for DEAD BUGS ON THE CARPET, which was my first choice on the list. The poster just screamed giallo/slasher, my favorite sub-genre, so I knew this would be the perfect trailer for me.

Shock Festival - Dead Bugs on the Carpet

Were there advantages or limitations to choosing a film that is barely mentioned in the book?
I read the corresponding chapter over and over and tried to remain faithful to what was written in the book. There we definitely some challenges going in, but my goal was just to please Stephen. If he was happy, then my job was done. My limitations were really budgetary. I had no money and no crew, so I really had to do everything myself.

Can you tell us a little about the actors you worked with?
I like to use my close friends in my short films. I know that they will be there for me, show up when I need them, and give me all they got. For DEAD BUGS ON THE CARPET I used the same cast as my previous short, JASON HURTS, which appears as an extra on the FRIDAY THE 13th documentary, HIS NAME WAS JASON. Justin Pawelec played the black gloved killer and also provided important locations, props, and extras. My long time friend Greg Merkle, who previously played Jason, took on the role of a victim this time, and did a fantastic job. Kim Berlin, who usually works behind the scenes, also makes a special appearance. Finally, Lou Strippoli, a very talented stand up comedian, did the voice-over. Since my trailer has no on-screen dialogue, I didn't have to worry about bad sound or acting, which really helped the process.

Shock Festival - Dave Neabore

Who worked on the technical end of the production, specifically cinematography, music, and special effects?
I directed, shot, edited, scored, and did the makeup effects. Basically, I was a one man crew. It can be frustrating trying to do everything while communicating with the actors. There are times where I lose my cool, but eventually I get what I want, and we laugh about it over a beer at the end of the night. This is how I've shot my last 3 short films, and even though I take on the whole burden, I know that I am getting what I want.

Shock Festival - Dead Bugs on the Carpet

Are there any current or future projects you would like people to know about?
I've now made a string of short films over the past 10 years, and feel that I am ready to make a feature length film now. I know how long the process will take, so I am really looking for the right script or idea before diving in. I have a few scripts that have been sent my way, but I am still keeping my options open. I'd like to be involved in the writing to some degree, but wouldn't mind directing someone else's material. I've been very lucky to have constantly gotten new opportunities throughout my life, and one project always leads to another. Maybe someone reading this will be the link to my next one.....

DAVE can be reached via e-mail at

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Monday, February 1, 2010


Report and Photos by Michael Raso

Anticipation and excitement filled the lobby of the Anthology Film Archives Theater in New York City this past Saturday, January 30th as filmmakers braved the single-digit weather and gathered to celebrate the upcoming release of Stephen Romano’s Shock Festival DVD.

SHOCK FESTIVAL - "Tribute Trailer" screening NYC

SHOCK FESTIVAL - "Tribute Trailer" screening NYC

Screening was the Tribute Trailers segment of the 3-disc release, comprised of 13 contemporary trailers plus one “mini-movie”. Showcasing the talents of several up-and-coming independent directors and 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.


“The inspiration for the Shock Festival DVD was Stephen Romano’s 2008 book of the same name. The best way to describe it is a “parallel universe” of grindhouse cinema – fictional directors, stars, poster art and a variety of cinematic ephemera – interwoven with real horror and exploitation films from the ‘70s. It’s visually stunning. In producing the DVD, we strove to mix the best (and best-worst) of original grindhouse content with contemporary faux trailers inspired by the fictional films from Stephen’s book,” said Paige Davis, who co-produced the DVD and directed the faux trailer “Devil Sister”. She went on to say, “tonight is both a celebration of the upcoming release, and a “thank you” to the directors, cast and crew who brought these fictional films to life in trailer form.”

SHOCK FESTIVAL - "Tribute Trailer" screening NYC

In attendance were Dave Neabore (“Dead Bugs on the Carpet”), Michael Gingold (“Girl Killer”), Chris LaMartina (“Tool shed of the Living Dead,” “Ghost of the Raven”), Victor Bonacore and Chainsaw Kiss (“They Made Me”), Richard Griffin (“Dark Night of the Demon House”), Paige Davis (“Devil Sister”), as well as crew, cast and friends of the production.

SHOCK FESTIVAL - "Tribute Trailer" screening NYC

Stephen Romano Presents Shock Festival DVD is available February 9th, 2010 from Alternative Cinema / Shock-O-Rama Cinema. For additional information on the DVD and interviews with the directors, visit

Additional photos can be seen here:

Hear all about SHOCK FESTIVAL (along with an interview with Shock Fest creator Stephen Romano) on this month's ALTERNATIVE CINEMA PODCAST.

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AC Podcast for February 2010...Best Show Ever!

Episode 11 - February 1, 2010

Join Michael Raso and John Fedele for the BEST AC PODCAST EVER! It’s February and that means it’s time for the national release of the long-anticipated DVD of Stephen Romano’s Shock Festival. Stephen joins the show to discuss the show and the genesis of the ultimate grindhouse DVD experience. Also, Henrique Couto and his shocking Miley Cyrus ukulele song, Chris LaMartina’s 80’s-style slasher flick “President’s Day,” B-Movie news and more, more more!


For download, RSS feed or iTunes link go here:

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