Emily Eden Productions Presents: “Rvth: Genesis” – A New Horror Web Series Coming Soon!

Horror is such a diverse genre, with so many different elements that can make new projects feel fresh.  There’s a million things that have terrorized horror audiences over the years, but maybe the most overlooked is the terror of one’s self, the internal demons that we all deal with that sometimes grow to unimaginable monsters.  In Brialynn Massie‘s new horror web series, “Rvth,” we see just how real our inner demons can become.

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LAHorror.com recently teamed up with Emily Eden Productions, Chris PardalDominic Pattin to create this new epic horror web series, the first season entitled “Rvth: Genesis.”  The series was co-written, directed and produced by Brialynn Massie, who also plays the title character.  The first trailer for this series recently dropped and we couldn’t be more excited – this is definitely a show that will rock you to your very core.

Follow Ruth who, after a failed suicide attempt, must find her way out of Hell to save her younger brother, Eli, and the rest of her loved ones from a government induced Apocalypse. 


This show stars Massie, Chris Kato, Jennifer Clarke, Paulette Lamori, Bobbie Lee Jr., and this very writer, Hunter Johnson, among others.  The show features beautiful cinematography from Jeff Guzman, Adrian Sierkowski and Evan Schultz.  It was edited and scored by Massie.

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There’s a lot of different elements going on in this show, which was one of the main reasons we loved this script.  Filled with incredible character arcs, relationships, carnage and conspiracy, “Rvth: Genesis” will prove to be an epic that will leave the audience wanting more.  Most notable, creator Bria Lynn Massie finished this season through self financing and incredible tenacity, aligning a cast and crew of over 30 people to help make her vision come to life.  An incredible example of a hard working indie filmmaker putting her vision out there and rallying fellow artists to the cause.

And as stated before, “Rvth: Genesis” deals with many complex issues that not only horror fans, but human beings alike, will be able to relate to.  Family turmoil, broken hearts, lost friendships and suicide are just some of the major issues addressed in this series, which is also loaded with scares and gore of biblical proportions.  And while exploring complex human drama in horror creates great fiction, we’d like you to remember that if you’re experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, there is always help out there, and nobody is hopeless.  You are not alone.  Please call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255, or visit  www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

You will love this web series, which is set to debut on October 25th, leading to the first season finale on Halloween.  Get ready for “Rvth: Genesis,” it will possess you…

We’ll be sharing this series once it’s released, but until then be sure to “like” “Rvth: Genesis” on Facebook, and subscribe to the Youtube channel.

LA Horror Review: “Pernicious”

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While James Cullen Bressack continues filming his latest project, “Bethany,” LAHorror.com had the pleasure of viewing “Pernicious,” Bressack’s ultra violent ghost film that’s making the rounds now in the horror circuit. Fans of Bressack’s films will no doubt be in for a shocking surprise, as this is not only one of his most brutal and violent films (though probably not as rough as “Hate Crime,” which has been banned in the UK), but also his biggest film in terms of scope. “Pernicious” is a horror genre blending blood bath that will keep you guessing until the very end…

It was supposed to be an adventure of a lifetime as three young girls spend the summer in Thailand. But their adventure quickly becomes a nightmare when the trio unleashes the spirit of a murdered child with only one thing on her mind – revenge.

“Pernicious” works on a variety of levels and manages to differentiate itself from other films with similar set ups. We’ve seen young American’s overseas get brutalized before, but torture is far from the only thing “Pernicious” has to offer. Instead we get a rather clever ghost story, with elements of the torture porn nasties of the early 2000s, as well as something completely new and freaky…the gold little girl statue. All of this is cast over the beautiful landscape of Thailand, which adds to the mystery and isolation that this film offers. It’s hard to pinpoint the scariest aspect of “Pernicious,” but let me just say that the golden statue is freaky as hell. You’ll understand when you watch it. I love when horror films master several subgenres in one picture, and “Pernicious” does just that.

eyeballAnother thing that “Pernicious” masters is the gore. Can we talk about the gore? Toenails, eyeballs, throat slashes and oh so much more. “Pernicious” brings it. In fact, it’s a golden blood bath. If you’re a gore hound that likes it to look legit, then look no further. Watch “Pernicious.”

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But what’s good gore without good victims (and killers)? Our trio of leads, Alex (Ciara Hanna), Julie (Emily O’Brien) and Rachel (Jackie Moore) all do a great job keeping this film engaging and entertaining. Humor when humors needed, creepy when things get creepy. There are times when their Americanisms play a bit hard, but in all honesty it’s believable. We’ve all got friends like these girls. O’Brien in particular steals the show in a couple of scenes, one of them involving a very large knife and another involving a creepy witch doctor.

Bressack no doubt has hit a new high in his filmmaking career with “Pernicious,” and if this is any indication as to what’s to come then horror filmmakers should start to get really excited. Bressack directs “Pernicious” extremely effectively, his real talent shines when things get rough for these characters.  The sequences involving the golden statue were especially effective. Bressack also litters clues to the films final secrets throughout, which makes a repeat viewing especially enjoyable. If Bressack isn’t on your radar already, get with the program and catch up on his work. Starting with “Pernicious” isn’t a bad idea at all.

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I really enjoyed this film, and if you’re a sicko like me then chances are you will too. So keep your eyes peeled for this one…you don’t want to miss this golden opportunity for terror!

Read our pre “Pernicious” interview with James Cullen Bressack here. You can also read the LAHorror.com reviews of his films “Hate Crime” & “To Jennifer” here. Follow Bressack on Twitter for all the latest on his work.

Coming Soon from Grit Film Works: “Restoration” & “Bethany”

Greetings, horror lovers!  It’s my pleasure to share the news that a new production company, Grit Film Works, is now in production on two micro-budget horror films that are going to haunt your face off!  The films, entitled “Restoration” & “Bethany,” are being produced by Grit Film Works’ James Cullen Bressack & Zack Ward.

On a side note, I am an Associate Producer on these projects along with Jarrett Furst, Christian Ackerman & Line Producer John Mehrer.  I can tell you first hand that these films are going to shock, horrify and satisfy your lust for blood and horror!    The Hollywood Reporter just dropped the news in a new exclusive, check it out below!

Two Microbudget Horror Films First on Slate From New Production Company

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“Grit Film Works is off to a terrifyingly fast start.

The production company, owned by filmmakers James Cullen Bressack and Zack Ward, is in the middle of back-to-back shoots for two horror films.

Bethany stars Stefanie Estes as Claire, a woman who moves back into her childhood home with her husband. The abusive, traumatic memories of her mother return to haunt her — as her husband becomes busier with work, she finds herself in a fog of memories — as a small figure tries to reach out to her.

Bressack is directing the film, which also stars Ward, Shannen DohertyFelissa RoseBrodus ClayPeter JasonJohn MurrayOlivia StiefelAnna Harr and Ellen Gerstell.

The second film, Restoration centers on a young doctor who moves to a new town with her husband while she completes her residency. Things seem to be going well, as she and her husband, a contractor, renovate their home, and meet a fun couple next door. Things take a dark turn when they discovery a diary buried within the walls of their house, and a terrifying spirit is awakened.

Restoration stars Emily O’Brien, Ward, Adrian Gaeta and Sarah Ann Schultz. Ward also is directing the film

Ward and Bressack co-wrote both scripts. Restoration is currently shooting, while Bethany is set to begin filming later this month.”

Keep up with “Restoration” and “Bethany” right here at LAHorror.com!  Also be sure to follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates.  We will be sharing exclusive photos, videos and interviews as the films continue!

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!

 

VHS SPOTLIGHT: “Spookies”

Alex Ray is back with our second VHS Spotlight, shining the light on some VHS only horror movies that need to find their way onto DVD!  If you’ve got a copy of one of these then take good care of it…now let’s all adjust our tracking…

VHS SPOTLIGHT: SPOOKIES

1985 * 85 minutes * Sony * Directed by Eugenie Joseph, Thomas Doran, Brendan Faulkner

spookies_coverFirst, a little business: this is available on DVD in the UK. But I’m not counting that. If it ain’t on good ol’ region one in the US of A, it’s fair game for this column. I shouldn’t have to figure out the pound-to-dollar conversion rate just to get my DVD fix. (Tangent: I was totally willing to do so for the awesome Jake West documentary, “Video Nasties,” which is only available on PAL digital video disc–and so worth it.)

Now, on to our show…

The terms “visually stunning” and “special effects extravaganza” don’t carry much weight anymore, but they both apply to “Spookies.” Kind of like “Return of the Alien’s Deadly Spawn” or “Bad Taste,” it’s got a heaping helping of indie charm, along with FX work that puts the big boys to shame–at least as far as quantity goes. Even if the creatures and gore aren’t always on par with KNB or Savini, this is still one of the most ambitious ’80s horror flicks I’ve seen. It’s got a menagerie of monsters to rival “Cabin in the Woods,” and they don’t just pop up late in the flick–it’s a non-stop barrage of cool critters and creepy setpieces.

Let’s play Horror Mad Libs: some ______ get lost and end up at ______ , where they’re attacked by ______ . In this case, the blanks are filled by random New Yorkers, an old mansion, and a cross between Grandpa Munster and The Tall Man. The setup is pretty standard, but once we get past the pleasantries, things start moving along at a good clip. Our characters are picked off by a wide variety of monstrosities (my favorite of which would definitely be the fart monsters, or, as the box describes them: “lust-crazed muck men”) under the command of Old Man Greasepaint, who needs some souls to bring back his dead wife. Of course, things don’t quite go according to plan.

The narrative might not be the strongest (it’s basically the cinematic equivalent of walking through a funhouse), but it’s still a heckuva ride. That is, if you’re feeling nostalgic for ’80s cheese. This is by no means a forgotten masterpiece–just a fun movie with a lot of heart and a few nods to the horrors that came before (“Evil Dead” being the most obvious). If you’re looking for something that lies somewhere on the spectrum between “The Dead Next Door” and “Waxwork,” it fits the bill.

spookies1An R1 DVD would be nice, especially if the original Richard Corben poster/box art is used. The UK disc kinda makes it look like something more along the lines of “Demons” or “Night of the Demons” or the aforementioned “Evil Dead”–which it is not (it also refers to the cast as “teenagers,” which they are definitely not). “Spookies” is an entirely different beast (several different beasts, actually), and worth a look–whether you wanna shell out a few pounds for a disc from across the pond, or considerably more in US currency for the VHS. Either way, it’ll make you remember why you fell in love with this stuff in the first place.

2 1/2 out of 4 stars

VHS Spotlight is written by LAHorror.com contributor Alex Ray.

LA Horror Review: “An American Ghost Story”

Curiosity can be a dangerous thing.  It’s the cause of many problems for people in horror films and something that can ultimately become deadly.  How often do we see someone investigate a strange noise, pursue a forbidden curse or, in the case of “An American Ghost Story,” the new film from 2 Man Production, knowingly invite themselves into the home of a malevolent spirit?

Paul Anderson (Stephen Twardokus) is an aspiring writer who’s trying to get it together.  You see, Paul has never finished anything he’s set out to do, and with his new idea he’s more determined than ever.  Unfortunately for him and his girlfriend, Stella (Liesel Kopp), his new idea involves moving into the home of a recently murdered family and trying to communicate with its restless spirits.  Before long, both Paul and Stella realize that they are not alone and certainly not welcome…

The set up for “Revenant” is simple, but the execution is fantastic.  What filmmakers Derek Cole (director, producer), Stephen Twardokus (producer, writer, actor) and Jon Gale (producer, actor) have done is create a bare bones story that still manages to scare the piss out of you with a “less is more” mentality.  Wait, I take that back— “less is more” may not be an accurate way to describe this movie, because it is FULL of legitimate scares.  From your classic jumps to your slow, sinister sequences, “An American Ghost Story” keeps you on edge from the very first scene until the last.  It’s tense as hell and doesn’t let up.

What works about this film is its overall creativity in the things seen on screen.  As a filmmaker myself, I was perplexed as to how these guys pulled off some of these sequences.  There are no CGI ghosts in this movie, and the practical effects are ridiculous and always frightening.  From the spirit rising out of the bed sheets to an entire kitchen erupting in rage, the ingenuity behind the camera is this film’s most impressive feat.

Paul Anderson (Twardokus) has a naïve curiosity with the spirits in his house…

Yet, all of the horror elements in “Revenant” are amplified by Cole’s stellar direction.  His choices to make slow zooms, subtle camera movements and some clever editing always keep you in anticipation.  Every scene has the ability to give you frights and, trust me, most of them do.  Cole is clearly well-versed in the art of suspense, and fans of classic ghost stories such as “The Haunting” or “Poltergeist” would certainly enjoy “An American Ghost Story.”

While this film is exceptional in terms of the talent behind the camera, without good performances all may be for not.  Luckily for “An American Ghost Story,” it’s cast, though small, all pull their weight and add to the overall success of the film.  In particular, our leading man Twardokus plays the over-curious writer believably, and you can clearly see the shift in him when he realizes that he’s in far over his head in this house.  Liesel Kopp as Stella is the most relatable of the characters, given the fact that she is the rational of the two and is far more afraid of these spirits than her boyfriend.  Kopp really shines when things get rough.  Her panic and fear are felt through the screen.

“An American Ghost Story” is damn scary, and that’s no joke.  My advice to you if you get the opportunity to watch it:  give this movie the respect it deserves.  That means phone off, lights off, popcorn and a beer.

For more information about “An American Ghost Story,” please visit the films official website.  You can also check out “An American Ghost Story” on Facebook and Twitter.  Actress Liesel Kopp was LAHorror.com‘s first featured artist.  You can view her story here.

LA Horror Presents: Carnival Pictures

Alexander G. Seyum has been a horror fan for life.  He remembers fondly his days as a child watching Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on VHS…over and over and over again.  After all, it was the first horror movie he ever saw and one that has stuck with him ever since.  But as Seyum grew older, he fell into the real world trap, putting his ambitions and dreams of filmmaking aside for a more practical profession.  And after five years of working in construction, he experienced a sort-of blessing in disguise.

“I was basically laid off for about a year and a half and then at that time I was saying, ‘Well, what do I really want to do with myself?  Am I really gonna, you know, stick to construction for the rest of my life or am I really gonna make a change and do film?’” Seyum told LAHorror.com.  And after his brother talked to him about the LA Film School in Hollywood, Seyum took the step and enrolled.  It was then that Carnival Pictures was created.

His first film he made was “Darkmoon,” a campy yet sinister werewolf flick.  “I was inspired by ‘An American Werewolf in London’ and ‘Sliver Bullet’…I used that old school 80s type of filmmaking when I did that short film.  That was the first one I ever wrote produced and directed.  I ended up being one of the top winners in the California Film Awards in 2010,” Seyum said.  “I wanted to create my first movie monster.”

In Seyum’s next film, the monster was less of flesh and blood and more in spirit.  “A Midnightmare” was his thesis film at the LA Film School and ended up being a finalist in The Directors Circle Festival of Shorts in 2011.

And while he has found success in directing horror, he knows it’s always wise to keep his options open.  “My first genre is horror.  Always will be horror.  But I can also do comedy; I can also do drama.”

Seyum is also a talented poet with a self-published book.  And while his poetry is not strictly horror, it does involve dark themes and struggles of good versus evil.  His poetry was also notably featured in the Midnight Black International Festival of Darkness in 2011.

Seyum and his production company, Carnival Pictures, are currently developing an urban crime-drama coming soon.  You can also check out Seyum’s latest piece, “El Cartel” here.