“Reality” – A New Web Series from Ready Freddy Films

realityposterReality television.  It’s everywhere nowadays.  “The Bachelor,” “Millionaire Matchmaker,” “Sister Wives,” just to name a few, have taken over the airwaves and given us some unforgettable (and often unbearable) moments that make even this horror lover cringe.  Every season there’s a new gimmick, a new dating craze and of course a new babe (or stud) that’s looking to find their soulmate and live happily ever after.  And in Ready Freddy Films‘ new web series/reality TV show “Reality,” we are shown this familiar premise with a terrifying spin.  One man, eight girls, one elimination each episode.  But I’m not talking about red roses or tiki torches, because in this show elimination means brutal death, and the winner gets to spend the rest of her days with Rusty Polar, the psychopathic killer who’s searching for his soulmate…

A horror reality TV show is so refreshing, and the execution by this cast and crew, led by creator and leading man Dustin Puehler, is nearly flawless.  This really feels like a poppy reality TV show, but even better than that, it feels like a slimy, freaky torture flick.  We get glimpses into the lives and pasts of these characters in the ways only a bubbly reality show could do, and I honestly feel invested to find out who wins it all.  And just like any reality television show, it’s full of humor (albeit DARK), raw human emotion and plenty of backstabbing surprises…

We had a chance to chat with Puehler about the series, his “bachelor” Rusty Polar, as well as some other fun stuff!  Check it out, horror lovers!

LAHorror:  Do you think that there’s any HORROR in today’s actual reality TV??

Dustin Puehler:  Definitely. The way you have major networks manipulating image and reinforcing stereotypes, while making tons of money, can be quite horrific to see how they paint someone to create entertainment, especially when it is the “girls chasing the guy” format.  They drink people up and just wait for them to do something that they can turn into drama or better yet humiliating.

LAHorror:  Reality TV shows, in particular dating shows, have a “bachelor” type character that runs the show. Tell us about Rusty Polar.  How is it playing this character who does some pretty nasty things to these women?

DP:  Exhausting. I wanted to emulate the process of reality TV, so I would set up these scenes and we would do 6-7 minutes at a time.  Making it as brutal as possible and absolutely no sarcastic satire. It was through the edit that I wanted to force myself to find those moments and get into that state of mind to exploit this images with reality show editing techniques.

LAHorror:  How did you pitch this project to your actresses? It’s horror, no doubt, but there’s a lot of VERY dark humor.  Tiffany (Tiffany Gollinger) is really good, by the way. I’m rooting for her to win the competition.

DP:  I was very lucky to have such an amazing cast!  They all went for it pretty easily and understood the vision of the piece.  I won’t say who wins, but I’m very proud of the way the show wraps up!

LAHorror:  How much of the show is scripted?  It feels really natural.

DP:  As the writer too, almost all my lines are scripted. The settings, the camera work, and the structure was all laid out. There was a line thrown to the girls for narrative purposes here and there, but they are all reactionary to my lines. They did a great job embodying their characters through improvising!

LAHorror:  How would you compare “Reality” to some of Ready Freddy Films’ other horror projects?

DP:  Most of my horror ideas (“Spots,” “Caleb,” “Cutie“) are very slow, brooding, and character based to get any message across, where “Reality” really needs weird tonal shifts to play up the satire thats intended. It was interesting to craft scenes where we would create moment to laugh with, but then follow it up with a dark horror element, then remind you of what you are watching to break the laughter.  It is an interesting balancing board.

The remaining five episodes of “Reality” will be premiering throughout August, so pick your favorite contestant and enjoy the ride!

Be sure to “like” Ready Freddy Films on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!  You can also learn more about their original projects at their official website.

LA Horror Presents: James Cullen Bressack

If you’re a lover of indie horror, then you should already know the name of our next featured horror artist.  His films have a knack for shocking audiences, turning stomachs and transforming the people and places that should always feel safe into your worst nightmares.  Director / writer / producer James Cullen Bressack is leading a new wave of brutality in indie horror that is rarely matched.  If you haven’t seen his work, then what the hell are you reading this for – go get one of his movies, goddamn it!

Bressack broke into the scene with “My Pure Joy,” a nasty little flick that he directed at the tender age of 18 years old, and his films have only gotten more intense and grisly.  In 2013, Bressack had a breakout year with three feature length horror films, including “Hate Crime,” which details the tragic events of a really twisted home invasion, “To Jennifer,” a super dark horror comedy with a shocking climax and “13/13/13,” an ultra gory interpretation of a modern apocalypse.  And while each one of his films has an engaging story and nasty murders, the thing that really stands out with Bressack’s work is the passion for the genre that oozes off the screen…which can be seen by the quality of his films all around.

The actors in his films buy into this passion, as there is never a poor performance in a genre that is often hard to do right.  The cinematography is always intense, be it shot on a traditional camera or even an iPhone (i.e. “To Jennifer”),  and to be a set decorator or make-up artist in a Bressack film would be a designer’s horror dream, as this is someone who not only understands what works in this genre, but someone who takes those concepts and amps them up 100%.  If you’re a fan of the extreme, brutal and super freaky horror, then you can’t do wrong with any Bressack film.

eyeballBressack’s next film, “Pernicious” is already creating a lot of buzz and seemingly for good reason. The spirit of a murdered child is unleashed with one thing on her mind: revenge.  And if the publicity stills from the movie are any indication (see right), this movie will be no joke. I’m in.

We had a chance to catch up with Bressack to talk about his films, horror in general and what has influenced this madman!  Check out our interview…enjoy horror lovers!

LAHorror:  What is your earliest “horror” memory?  In real life or in art?  Where did it all begin?

James Cullen Bressack:  It was for sure obsessing over the VHS cover art for “Hellraiser” that really helped my love for horror.  Pinhead looked so fuckin’ cool.  I would look at that cover every day and draw pictures of it at the age of four.  That and watching the TV show “Are You Afraid of the Dark.”

LAHorror:  What really scares you?

JCB:  Midgets… Little people… Political correctness.

LAHorror:  The trio of horror that you were behind in 2013 (“Hate Crime,” “To Jennifer” & “13/13/13”) all had excellent acting, Jody Barton in particular.  As a director, how do you engage with your actors to get these intense and memorable performances?

JCB:  I love working with Jody.  I am a strong believer that film is a collaborative medium.  It is a living breathing thing.  When working with actors on their character, it’s not just about my ideas, but theirs as well.  I like to ground things in reality.

Let’s say we were making a movie and you were the actor and you played the killer in the film.  The important thing is to humanize the character so the audience connects to them and don’t understand why.  That’s why “Psycho” was so brilliant.  We start to feel for Norman.  A killer is a human; they have wants, needs, emotions.  And every action is done for a reason.  We would dissect everything about the character, past what is written on the page and imagine them as a blank canvas.  Then we would both throw our ideas about the character at the canvas and whatever stuck for both of us would paint the picture of who this person is.  Always important to tap into what the character’s thought process is and what their moment before is.  They are so loaded with intent, darkness and meat that they are unbelievably interesting to dig into.  I would have you keep a journal as if you were that person.  And would probably want to spend a week or two before shooting going through the script together over and over again and observing your natural behaviors.

As a director, it’s important to play therapist with the actor as well and have them open up to you about real things from their own life in order to tie them into the actual character.  I would have to develop a mutual trust and understand your triggers…Needless to say I’m obsessive about character work with my actors.  I make them work hard.

LAHorror:  What’s your “dream” project? Any topics that you’d really like to explore?

JCB:  I want to make a movie like “Goodfellas.”  NUFF said.

LAHorror:  How do you approach violence in the writing and production of your films?

JCB:  I have fun with it!  I have a very strong stomach, so I spend time trying to gross myself out.  If I chuckle while doing it, I know the audience will squirm.

LAHorror:  A film like “Hate Crime” has some really strong social messages and also some pretty extreme violence.  Are you ever worried that a film like this could be misinterpreted in a negative way?  In the 21st century, are you someone who believes that life imitates art, or that art imitates life?

JCB:  I don’t control how people interpret things; some people always see things as negatives.  Like “Catcher in the Rye” for instance–in no way should that book have caused what it did.  But that’s just crazy people.  There are some in this world.  They attach crazy to anything.  But life doesn’t imitate art.  If it did then answer this, more comedies come out per year then any other movie and I don’t see people getting any funnier, why is that?

LAHorror:  Tell us something about “Pernicious”!!! What are you most excited for audiences to see??

JCB:  “Pernicious” is going to blow you the fuck away!  I’m not joking here.  It makes all my other films look bad.  Haha.  I guarantee you will have an amazing time with it.  Can’t wait to drop a trailer.

LAHorror:  Lastly, and maybe most importantly, who is going to win the Superbowl next year?

JCB:  My penis?

Check out the LAHorror.com reviews of “To Jennifer” and “Hate Crime.”  Stay up to date with James Cullen Bressack’s new film “Pernicious” on Facebook!  You can also follow Bressack on Twitter.  Be sure to rent or buy a copy of your favorite Bressack film on Amazon!

 

LA Horror Presents: Sarah Hartmann

Horror comes in all shapes and sizes, and what’s scary is scary. Our next horror artists work is bizarre, nasty and HORRIFYING. Her name is Sarah Hartmann, and drawings like this remind me of just how demented this world can be, and the power of imagination.  I love “R” rated horror, where nothing is off limits, and that seems to be the spirit in these gruesome and thought provoking images.  If you’re a casual horror viewer that fears the ultra violent, then this will be good for you…ENJOY horror lovers!

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Well, was it good for you too?

Want to see more of Sarah’s work?  Drop her a line here:  sarahhartmann@sbcglobal.net

The Rhythm is Gonna Get You………

We had to share this – this is a pretty good spoof on the classic song “The Rhythm is Gonna Get You” by Gloria Estefan.  Don’t know it??  Check it here.  But for all of you gore hounds that love and adore and cherish and appreciate the amazing music by Gloria Estefan as much as we do here at LAHorror.com, you’ll certainly enjoy this:

That rhythm got you didn’t it??

Check out more from Grumpy Panda at their official website.

LA Horror Review: “Teddy”

Who doesn’t enjoy a quick slasher flick?  Call me sadistic, but nothing cheers me up more than cramming a whole bunch of death in a real short amount of time – something that Slasher Studios‘ short film, “Teddy,” has no problem doing at all.

The set up is classic: a group of friends having a party weekend when things start to go horribly wrong.  Not only do they accidentally run over an old man on their way to the woods, but they then find themselves being stalked by the old man’s demented stuffed bear wielding son, Teddy.  Needless to say, things don’t work out too well for these fun loving teens.

What makes “Teddy” so enjoyable is its rapid fire pace.  An 11-minute run time is really not a lot, yet “Teddy” manages to establish motive for the title killer, introduce our victims, give us a blood splattering car crash, slam about 20 beers, show a pretty raunchy sex scene, as well as multiple murders that even Jason himself would be proud of.  Let me just say this without giving away too much:  nobody’s ass is safe in this movie.  Don’t believe me?  Well see for yourself…

Well, was it too scary to…bear?  What I love about this piece is our killer.  Much like the horror classics we know and love, Teddy is mysterious and could probably use a feature or two to really get to the bottom of his troubles.  I mean, who is this guy and what’s with his demented bear?  It’s eerie and unsettling, and while the mystery makes the story stronger, my morbid curiosity would love to learn more.  While it works as a short, it easily has all the pieces to grow into a much larger project.

That being said, mad props goes to filmmakers Kevin Sommerfield and Steve Goltz.  Slashers are always great fun and it’s always exciting to see new disturbing characters and deaths thrown into the world of horror.  Who knows, a couple years down the road maybe we’ll get to see some more of Teddy, but until then?  Well, bust open a PBR and keep partying…

Please be sure to check out “Teddy” on Facebook, as well as SlasherStudios.com on Facebook.  Also follow SlasherStudios.com on Twitter.

LA Horror Presents: “Summer of the Zombies”

Well, summer is nearing its end, sadly, and pretty soon the weather will be getting colder.  It’s a damn shame, too because who doesn’t enjoy sitting out in the sun, cracking open an ice-cold beer and taking a whopping bite of a delicious, juicy flame grilled cheeseburger?  Well, maybe we’ll skip the burger this time, because if “Summer of the Zombies,” the new short film from Owlet Pictures, teaches us anything, it’s that meat really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…even if you’re a flesh eating zombie.

Writer/Directors Ashleigh Nichols and Eddie Beasley have certainly taken a classic horror genre and given it a new twist in their 10 minute tale, taking the oft flesh eating villains we all know and love and making them much more appealing to a progressive crowd.  You see, our protagonist in this tale (a zombie, naturally), has a hard time buying into the fact that she’s supposed to eat flesh like the rest of her fellow corpses.  Catch my drift?  Vegetarian Zombies.

“We were literally drinking with friends and we were just talking…I think we said the combo of words vegetarian and zombie, and we just knew instantly that we needed to go home and write it, like, immediately.  And shoot it immediately and get it out there.  It was literally just the wine talking,” Nichols said laughing.

“It’s been received really well; we’ve managed to play at different horror film festivals and we’ve also played at some comedy festivals.  It’s mixed audiences, everyone seems to enjoy it,” Beasley said.

And why not?  The film is plenty gory, oddly heartwarming and full of laugh out loud moments.  Not to mention an ending that would make George Romero giddy with delight.  And in that same breath, the film is overflowing with social commentary from the very first shot to the closing credit song.  This, however, was not an intentional choice by the filmmakers.

“I don’t think we ever really tried to come up with any kind of serious message that people could take away from it.  We came up an idea we wanted to have fun with,” Beasley said.  “Neither one of us are full vegetarians or anything,” added Nichols.

Well, I guess I don’t feel too bad eating my burger anymore…

Nichols and Beasley are currently in production on a comedic web series entitled “Mall Joggers.”  Nichols also produced the underground hit “The Last Lovecraft:  Relic of Cthulu.”  Be sure to follow Owlet Pictures on Twitter.

LA Horror Presents: “How the Sky Will Melt”

Matthew Wade was one of our first featured horror artists on LAHorror.com, and his films are truly an experience.  His style is unique and the stories he tells are full of mystery, thought provoking imagery and haunting sounds.  We shared several of his short films in our interview with Wade, but he’s back with a project that will be his biggest one yet.

“How the Sky Will Melt” follows a girl returning home from a tour after one of her band mates passes away and her struggle to cope with the loss of her friend.  However, after making a strange discovery, things begin to change…

“She finds this box that has all of these little glass vials in it that are filled with different colors of liquid, and when they’re messed with or broken or played with, it kind of alters the state of everything around them,” Wade told LAHorror.com.  Sounds far out, right?  If you’ve seen Wade’s work, then you know it’s not going to be a cake walk for these characters and that many things aren’t going to be as they may seem.  Wade also recently released a promotional short for the film, which can be seen below.

“[It’s] very ambiguous because that’s kinda the style we’re going with the movie,” Wade said.  And in case you were wondering about those waning sounds and the raw feel, it’s a personal choice and one that’s rarely seen in the digital age.

“All of the noise and the background music and stuff [were] done on the analog sound equipment that we wanted to use because that was part of our deal with the movie.  We’re gonna make it on film and we’re gonna do all the sound track stuff on eights, and we’re gonna do all of the music, like the scoring, on old analog equipment,” Wade said.  Refreshing, isn’t it?

The film is in the last legs of its Kickstarter in order to raise money for film, transportation and loads of in-camera effects and creature design.  You can meet Wade himself on their Kickstarter page, get a glimpse at some concept art, as well as other work that has led to this.  And if you haven’t read our first piece on Wade, click the link at the top of this story because his films are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

For more on this project and Wade’s other works, please visit his official website.

LA Horror Presents: C.J. Duke

It seems like so long ago, but there was a time when video stores were abundant and horror had its own isle in the store.  Remember browsing through the boxes, scoping out the monsters and slasher pictures and renting the movie with the most terrifying image?  Well, we certainly do, and LAHorror.com’s featured writer and artist, C.J. Duke, does as well.

“The earliest I was really exposed to horror was just seeing the art in videos.  Back when it was actual art, not Photoshop,” Duke told LAHorror.com.  Yes, actual drawings and paintings.  And it shows in his work.  Duke uses his skill to create images and cover art for horror projects and films.  He illustrates with care, using colored pencils and grabbing his inspiration from a variety of horror genres.  “I just think back to the old video store really, looking back at the images that inspired me as a kid, seeing how they’d lay things out and how they were presented.”

One of his commissioned works draws on the 70s and early 80s exploitation flicks.  “That was actually for an independent magazine called ‘Dirty Boogie.’  You are looking at the cover for the last issue…[The publisher] mentioned ‘Last House on the Left’ and ‘Hills Have Eyes,’” Duke explained.

However, doing commissioned work is only part of the process.  Duke often creates pieces to promote his own projects as well as the projects of others.  A friend of his made an independent horror film entitled “Winter Lights,” and as a gift Duke created the VHS artwork (and the media box itself)- it certainly looks like something you’d see at a Blockbuster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Duke isn’t just an artist.  As an active horror writer himself, Duke already has poster art up for scripts he’s shopping around and developing.  “The Cauldron,” Duke’s “someday script…” film, is in the vein of fantasy horror and the images themselves have a certain amount of intrigue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duke’s current feature project, “Pop N’ Crisp,” is an 80s style horror comedy written by Duke.  He shot a teaser scene from the film and is currently seeking the means to film the entire project.  “It’s basically an amalgamation of every single 80s ad campaign come back to kill us,” Duke said.  Check out some of the promo art here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gotta love that 80s vibe – I have the sneaking suspicion that things don’t work out well for these two guys.  And when it comes to future projects from C.J. Duke?  “Horror.  Absolutely horror.  I jump between horror comedy or serious horror fantasy or straight slasher, but it’s always horror,” he said.  Our kinda guy.

You can check out more of C.J. Dukes work at his art page here.

LA Horror Presents: “The Baby”

Happy Sunday!

Thought we’d start the week right by sharing a nasty little horror flick by Joe Sanchez, called “The Baby.” It’s a quick one but it’s full of emotion and creeps.  And besides, what better way is there to start your Sunday morning by watching a horror flick??  Enjoy horror lovers, we’ll be bringing new stuff all week!

 

The baby!  The baby!!

LA Horror Presents: Edward Payson and “The Cohasset Snuff Film”

No film is scarier than the things that can happen in real life.  It seems that every day, somewhere in the world, horror movies become reality and we’re reminded just how fragile life can be.  After all, art imitates life and life imitates art – true horror fans know this.  But filmmaker and documentarian, Edward Payson, allegedly stumbled upon something that may be too frightening to pass up.  While Payson’s first documentary, “Unsigned,” dove into the life of several bands trying to make it big in Los Angeles, his second documentary, “The Cohasset Snuff Film,” is much more controversial and nasty.

In 2009, a 17-year-old boy named Colin Mason allegedly murdered three of his classmates in a small town in Massachusetts.  Mason, an amateur filmmaker himself, videotaped each murder and broadcast them onto the internet for his own sick pleasure.  While nearly all of the footage has been destroyed and the murders covered up, Payson and fellow documentarian, Kevin McCarthy, went on a search for the tapes and claim to have found them.  While LAHorror.com hasn’t been able to personally verify the footage’s authenticity, Payson and McCarthy plan on proving it to the world in their new movie, “The Cohasset Snuff Film.”

“[Mason] plans and videotapes the murders of three classmates.  He blogs about it and it really makes you kind of see inside his head—as a serial killer—and what he’s thinking and why he does what he does…why serial killers do what they do,” Payson told LAHorror.com of the footage.  And while the footage itself has eluded us, we did stumble on a video blog entry of Jacyln Mccoy, one of the victim’s friends reacting to the murders.

What Payson has done is interview the people who supposedly were there, get professional opinions on the murders and simply show the public exactly what was going on in the mind of this madman.  This film could be an important piece of an already mysterious puzzle, and while the film does include the Colin Mason murder tapes, don’t expect “Blair Witch” type handicam.  “This will…make you throw up.  It’s not shaky cam all the time or anything like that,” Payson said. And from what we’ve seen, every gory detail is caught.

The High School Killer, Colin Mason

“The killer in the movie actually explains how everyday normal people become psychopaths and how it’s so easy when people say, ‘How could that happen here?’  And he explains, ‘This is how it happens here.  Everybody in high school…has this mentality that if you’re not in my click, then you don’t exist to me,” Payson said of Mason’s motives and thought-process.  And truer words have never been spoken.  While there will undoubtedly be efforts to ban or debunk the film’s release, the filmmakers still intend on getting a limited theatrical run come Halloween.  (We’ll tell you how you can help that happen in a future story on LAHorror.com).

Now, whether or not you agree or disagree with Payson sharing this footage, he’s more than just a documentarian.  Payson also has several other horror projects in the works that are worth a look.  His action/horror/thriller, “Fury:  The Tales of Ronan Pierce,” is currently in post-production and certainly sounds badass. Payson describes it as “really fast cars, really fast girls and lots of blood and gore.”  Throw Kane Hodder and R.A. Mihailoff in the mix too?  Yeah, sign me up bro.

Payson is also in production for his new web series, “Edward Pason’s Sunday Night Slaughters,” a 12-episode horror series that promises a little bit for everyone.  “There’s werewolves, there’s cannibals, there’s demonic possession, there’s crazy Christians…each one’s completely different with a different cast of people,” Payson said.  The series plans on utilizing a variety of different make-up artists, several DPs and guest directors.  If you have a love for the disgusting as much as we do, help this project take off by checking out the link above and hearing from Edward Payson himself.  Check it out horror lovers!

Be sure to check out “The Cohasset Snuff Film,” “Fury:  The Tales of Ronan Pierce” and “Edward Payson’s Sunday Night Slaughters” on Facebook.