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raymac Written by raymac
May. 29, 2013 | 8:06 AM

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Enter To Win A Pair of Tickets to The L.A. Premiere of AMERICAN MARY

AMERICAN MARY is the brilliantly outrageous new horror film from the filmmmaking sister team of Jen and Sylvia Soska featuring a finely constrained performance by Katharine Isabelle as a medical student slowly descending into madness and featuring some of the most eye-popping “how the f*ck did they do that” special make-up effects that you are likely to see. Last October, AMERICAN MARY rocked Screamfest picking up 5 awards including Best Picture, Best Director (Soska Sisters), Best Actress (Katharine Isabelle), Best Make-Up (Masters FX) and Best Cnematography (Brian Pearson). Now, Filmradar gives you a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Los Angeles premiere this Friday, May 31st at the TCL Chinese 6.

American Mary
Medical student, Mary Mason, is growing increasingly broke and disenchanted by medical school and the surgeons she once admired. The allure of easy money and notoriety sends her into the messy world of underground surgery and body modification.


Directors Jen and Sylvia Soska and
Star Katharine Isabelle
will be in attendance for a Q&A after the film.

Friday, May 31st
TCL Chinese 6
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA

To enter, send an email to:

Please include your full name and phone number.

AMERICAN MARY will be playing in Los Angeles
at the TCL Chinese 6
from Friday, May 31st to Thursday, June 6th
Purchase Tickets Online

AMERICAN MARY is currently available on VOD and iTunes

On DVD and Blu-ray on June 18th

Tired of endless horror remakes?
Support Quality Independent Horror!



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raymac Written by raymac
May. 28, 2013 | 7:34 PM

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Screamfest announces first look deal with Chiller TV for screenplay winner & deadline extension

Hey screenwriters, this is a great opportunity. Due to this new deal, Screamfest has extended the submission deadline until June 15th. Click here for more information on screenplay submissions,

May 24, 2013 – Los Angeles- The 13th annual Screamfest Horror Film Festival & Screenplay Competition announces a first look deal with Chiller, a division of NBCuniversal for the winner of this year’s contest. “We are very excited to offer this great opportunity to this year’s winning screenplay.” founder/festival director Rachel Belofsky said. Chiller’s senior director or programming, Shane O’Brien, said, “Chiller has always valued the dramatic weight that well-crafted screenplays contribute to the horror genre. We’re thrilled to offer the opportunity to work with and nurture talented up-and-coming screenwriters.”

Screamfest Horror Film Festival takes place Oct. 8th – 17th, 2013 in Los Angeles. The winning screenplay will be announced on October 17th on the closing night of the festival.

About Screamfest:
Screamfest Horror Film Festival was founded in 2001 to give up-and-coming filmmakers and writers a venue to showcase their work. Screamfest provides a great opportunity for them to have their work discovered just as Oren Peli, director and producer of Paranormal Activity, was discovered through his Paranormal Activity entry.

About Chiller TV:
Chiller is the only cable channel devoted to delivering viewers round-the-clock scares.  Chiller’s eclectic slate of adrenaline-fueled, soul-stirring entertainment includes a broad offering of original movies and specials, genre films, documentary and reality shows (Fear Factor) and some of the most thought-provoking and suspenseful series ever on television (Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tales from the Darkside, Outer Limits).  Chiller is currently available in over 42 million homes.  To learn more, visit:

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raymac Written by raymac
Jan. 10, 2013 | 5:53 AM

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Debbie Rochon to be honored with Ingrid Pitt Award,

Ingrid Pitt

The very first Ingrid Pitt Memorial Award represents a tip of the hat to a horror star- and its recipient is Debbie Rochon.  Much like Pitt in the 1970’s with films “Countess Dracula” and “The Vampire Lovers,” the award acknowledges a person that has supported the horror genre and embraced it overcoming many obstacles, breaking barriers and being a leader in its industry.

Pitt starred in over thirty films. She co-starred with Sir Christopher Lee in the cult original “The Wicker Man” (1973) and “The House that Dripped Blood” (1970). She also starred in Hammer’s “Countess Dracula” and, with Horror legend Peter Cushing, in Hammer’s “The Vampire Lovers.”  She passed away too soon in 2011.  The Ingrid Pitt Memorial Award is presented in conjunction with The Estate of Ingrid Pitt, filmmaker / producer Kevin Sean Michaels and event coordinator Stacy Pippi Hammon.

Currently, a long-form documentary film about Ingrid Pitt’s life and career is being produced by Michaels (“Vampira; The Movie,” “The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels”), which will be a combination of live action and animation with contributions from student animators and renowned professional animators all over world. It will be released in installments. The first installment was called, “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond The Forest,” animated by 10-year-old Perry S. Chen, with storyboards by two-time Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton. The short film qualified for an Academy Award nomination last year in its long-list.

Last October, a film festival in the Old Town Quarter of Hastings, England, UK in memory of Pitt was organized by Ingrid’s husband Tony Rudlin, and The Official Ingrid Pitt Fan Club. It was also the official launch of Ingrid’s novel “Dracula Who…?”, published by Avalard. A “Queen of Horror” was announced, Sarah Bones, who will be the ambassador and host for future events, including an event in the spring in New York. The Ingrid Pitt Memorial is in the series of such tributes.

“I spent five years with Ingrid herself discussing her life’s work and legacy. She was an actor’s actor.” said Michaels. “That meant the most to her. She always felt that her work in genre films was not highlighted enough. She wanted to be remembered as an artist. It’s all about taking risks and new ground. This award honors that memory and its spirit.”

“We are presenting to a horror star, as Ingrid was, to celebrate women in the horror movie genre, keep her memory in our hearts, and to aid further projects to come that have that same energy and positivity,” Michaels added.

Debbie Rochon

Rochon is a veteran actress that has appeared in a multitude of films including “Tromeo and Juliet” (1996), “Terror Firmer” (1999), “American Nightmare” (2002), “HP Lovecraft’s Colour from the Dark” (2009), “The Theatre Bizarre” (2011), “Sick Boy” (2012), and “Rudyard Kipling’s Mark of the Beast” (2012).  2013 will see the release of “Exhumed”, “Wrath of the Crows”, “Solid State”, “Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart”.

Rochon also co-hosted the Fangoria Radio Show from 2006 to 2010 with Dee Snider and Tony Timpone, covering horror news in a talk show setting.  Her writing credits include her current column in Fangoria Magazine, “Diary of the Deb”.  She is currently in post production on her feature directorial debut, “Model Hunger” starring Lynn Lowry, Tiffany Shepis and Carmine Capobianco.

“I think there is no doubt whatsoever that an award with such qualifications as the Ingrid Pitt Memorial Award represents should be established by honoring the woman whose name is associated with the very definition of the award’s purpose to a T.  Debbie Rochon is that woman”, said Hammon.

“They both experienced incomprehensible hardships during their childhoods and have a shared passion for their work, both acting in the horror genre and writing”, Hammon added.

“Being honored with such a prestigious accolade is a truly humbling experience. I have long admired and respected the contributions Ingrid Pitt has made to the genre and to be a recipient of an award attached to her name is the highest form of recognition for any woman in this field to achieve”, said Rochon.

The Ingrid Pitt Memorial Award will be presented on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at the Cella Art Gallery, 11135 Weddinton Street, Suite 112, North Hollywood, CA 91601.

The Cella Art Gallery is a contemporary fine art gallery centrally located in the NoHo Arts District that loves to support the independent art and horror communities.

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Jonathan Weichsel Written by Jonathan Weichsel
Jan. 3, 2013 | 5:50 PM

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My Top Indie Horror Films of 2012

By Jonathan Weichsel

I used to review a lot of horror film festivals, but lately I have been attending festivals as a screenwriter instead of a journalist, and haven’t been reviewing what I see. But, I have kept up the habit of watching as many of the films as I possibly can. What this means is that this year alone, I watched over fifty mostly unreleased horror films at various festivals, which kind of makes me an expert. What follows is my best of the fests for 2012.

1) The House with 100 Eyes

This subversive, unrestrained, skewed vision of reality peels away some of the most trite found footage genre trappings to give us a hilarious, creepy, over the top explosion of brutal violence.

Ed and Susan are a husband and wife team who produce snuff films from their home for commercial distribution. Ed wants to produce the biggest snuff film in history, featuring a triple kill, and all the bonus features and commentary you would expect from a standard issue DVD.

But, the triple kill is logistically bigger than what he and his wife have the resources to pull off, and things quickly start to go wrong in the most darkly comical ways imaginable. What follows are gory, comedic, anarchic set pieces and characters that develop in directions you will not foresee as Ed desperately tries to put his magnum opus back on track.

“The House With 100 Eyes” brilliantly holds a funhouse mirror up to the found footage genre, giving audiences something truly warped and twisted.

2) Children of Sorrow

This psychological horror film, directed by Jourdan McClure, features a stunning performance by Bill Oberst Jr. as Simon Leach, a brilliant sociopath and cult leader who lures a group of wayward young people to his compound and brainwashes them with religion. 

Oberst’s performance, at times subtle and nuanced, and at others frighteningly over the top, will leave you thinking long after the movie is done about how certain kinds of people are able to manipulate and control other kinds of people.

“Children of Sorrow” is an engrossing character study and a great star vehicle for Bill Oberst Jr. But it is also a great movie in it’s own right. This is the kind of film that pulls you in and makes your heart rate rise. Thought provoking, intense, and bone chilling, this is for anyone who likes dark, psychological horror.

3) President Wolfman
(New Orleans Horror Film Festival)

Out of all of the films here, this is the one that most divides audiences into loved it and hated it camps. I personally love this movie. “President Wolfman”, directed by Mike Davis, is a horror-comedy composed entirely of stock footage from over 120 old films, with voice over acting done in the style of What’s Up Tiger Lilly?

Creating a film this way is a daring experiment, but what makes “President Wolfman” work so well is the quality of writing and story telling. After a wolf bites The President of The United States, whose name already happens to be John Wolfman, he becomes a werewolf and kills off his political opponents in Congress, who want to pass a bill that would sell The United States to China, and rename our country Chimerica. But when President Wolfman turns human again, he feels guilty about killing his opponents, and searches for a cure to his lycanthropy.

The dialogue in “President Wolfman” sounds like it comes out of an old Zucker Brother’s comedy, and is full of puns and innuendos, and sometimes verges on the nonsensical. The stock footage is put together so that it flows naturally, and after awhile you forget that you are watching stock footage, and it just seems like you are watching a movie.

4) Nervo Craniano Zero
(New Orleans Horror Film Festival)

This Brazilian film, directed by Paulo Biscaia Filho, with influences ranging from 20th century European literature, to American horror, to the telenovela, is the strangest movie on this list.

A successful writer hires her ex boyfriend to invent a brain chip that will induce creativity. Naturally, instead of testing it out on her, they use a naïve farm girl who moved to the big city to be a singer as their test subject. The chip turns the farm girl into a creative genius, with only one side effect: she’s dead.

The thing that makes “Nervo Craniano Zero” stand out is its bold stylistic approach. Some quick examples: The film is shot with garish colors set against dark backgrounds, giving many of the scenes a neon-like quality. The acting is completely on the nose, like in a soap opera, even though the dialogue as written is subtle. Bubble gum pop music is played over a gory surgical operation.

But that just scratches the surface. “Nervo Craniano Zero” is full of stylistic adventures. It is also a fun, funny, intelligent movie.

5) Bunyan

Everything else on this list is totally highbrow, but “Bunyan”, directed by Gary Jones and written and produced by Jeff Miller, is just a fun little genre flick that knows what it’s trying to do.

A group of juvenile delinquents must go camping in the woods with a sadistic corrections officer as part of a last chance program. But after one of the delinquents angers Paul Bunyan by taking an item, he comes after the teens seeking vengeance.

There is a concept in screenwriting called delivering on the promise of the premise. What this means is if your movie sets something up, then the movie has to follow through and deliver. For example, what if you went to watch a movie called Jason Takes Manhattan, and then Jason spends almost the entire movie on a cruise ship? You’d be pretty pissed, right? I know I was. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was pissed because Jason Takes Manhattan fails to deliver on the promise of its premise.

I mention this concept because what makes “Bunyan” work is that it delivers on the promise of its premise completely. “Bunyan” gives you everything you could possibly want from a movie where Paul Bunyan is real, but is actually a maniac killer. “Bunyan” is a real fun ride. You rarely see this kind of genre film made today with so much care.


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Jonathan Weichsel Written by Jonathan Weichsel
Dec. 31, 2012 | 5:08 PM

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The Etheria Film Festival Presents: Mayans and Marvins

Mayans & Marvins

By Jonathan Weichsel

For years now the Viscera Film Festival has been showcasing cutting edge short horror films directed by women. Viscera has grown into a worldwide organization, and on December 21st, the last day of Earth according to the Mayan calendar, The Viscera Organization gave a taste of their newest project, The Etheria Film Festival, which showcases science fiction and fantasy shorts directed by women.

My favorite short, and just about everybody else’s as well, was Slashed, a science fiction themed comedy directed by Rebecca Thomson. Slashed deals with one of the most telling aspects of geek culture, slash fiction, but it is also a film about how the internet connects us all together. This hilarious little short had people rolling in the aisles.

Kaboomtown, directed by Jakqui Schuler, is an emotional and meditative film about aliens who put explosives in the hearts of every single person on earth. Every day, the people of earth must all fill out applications for another day of life. But the application takes six hours to fill out, which is half a waking day. Kaboomtown is a film about what it means to be alive in a world that takes everything from you.

Imminent Danger, directed by Alana McNair, is a totally weird romp about a woman whose job it is to watch the threat level buttons, who accidentally presses a button that raises the threat level to Imminent Danger, which is bad because Earth’s preparation will lead to the destruction of earth, and nobody will get to see her on the cover of some career magazine. Imminent Danger is lots of fun, and strange in the best possible way.

The Etheria film festival is taking submissions now through May 30th, 2013. The Viscera organization provides more support for filmmakers than any other festival I know of, and gives filmmakers the opportunity to have their work screened in Hollywood and all over the world. If you are a woman and have directed a science fiction or fantasy short, or you know a woman who has, go to www.etheriafilmfestival.comand submit today. Submissions are free.

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raymac Written by raymac
Nov. 1, 2012 | 9:44 AM

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Meet the cast and crew of THE COLLECTION this Saturday at the Long Beach Comic & Horror Convention

I saw THE COLLECTION during Screamfest and it is a fun, exciting and scary film that it a worthy successor to the SAW franchise. You can meet some of the cast and crew this weekend during the Long Beach Comic & Horror Convention. Then go see it when it comes out on November 30th.

The Collection

LD Entertainment presents an exclusive panel presentation from THE COLLECTION at Long Beach Comic & Horror Con. Join writer-director Marcus Dunstan (THE COLLECTOR, SAW IV, V, VI, VII, GOD OF WAR), writer Patrick Melton (THE COLLECTOR, SAW IV, V, VI, VII, GOD OF WAR), star Josh Stewart (THE COLLECTOR, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES), and star Emma Fitzpatrick (THE SOCIAL NETWORK) on Saturday, November 3rd at 3:00PM in Room 104A.

WHAT | Long Beach Comic & Horror Convention Panel Presentation from THE COLLECTION

WHO | Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton, Josh Stewart & Emma Fitzpatrick

WHEN | Saturday, November 3rd at 3:00PM

WHERE | Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd; Room 104A

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here

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raymac Written by raymac
Oct. 21, 2012 | 8:21 AM

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AMERICAN MARY cuts up Screamfest with 5 “Skullies” including Best Picture

Screamfest rocks it once again! The list of winners below and the great sense of community that develops during the festival underscores why it continues to be my favorite. If you have never been, you must go next year.”

Los Angeles, CA., October 22, 2012 – The 12th Annual Screamfest® Horror Film Festival ended its ten-day run with the winners of the famed “Skully” Award announced at the closing night party held at Trader Vic’s in the Downtown LA Live complex. The 10-pound prize, created in 2004 by Academy Award® -winning Special Effects wizard Stan Winston went to American Mary for Best Picture and twin sister team Jen & Sylvia Soska taking the Best Director honors.

All Skully-winning films will be shown Sunday at the LA Live Regal theater.


Below is a complete list of winners:

2012 Screamfest Film Awards

BEST PICTURE: American Mary

BEST DIRECTOR: Jen & Sylvia Soska - American Mary

BEST ACTRESS: Katharine Isabelle - American Mary

BEST ACTOR: Pierre-Francois Legendre - Fear of Water


BEST MUSICAL SCORE: Jamie Blanks - Crawlspace



BEST SHORT: Incident on Highway 73

BEST MAKEUP: MastersFX – American Mary

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Brian Pearson– American Mary

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: Justin Dix - Crawlspace

BEST SCREENPLAY: The Gaslamp Horror/ Jeremy D. Christensen

BEST EDITING: Marc Steinicke - On Air

Screamfest®, the preeminent horror festival in the country, and what the LA Weekly calls “the best place to get a jump on tomorrow’s cult hits” presents the festival in Los Angeles every October. Screamfest is sponsored by FearNet,, Moviola, Baseline, IndieDCP.

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Jonathan Weichsel Written by Jonathan Weichsel
Oct. 16, 2012 | 6:02 AM

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THE HOUSE WITH 100 EYES, a Shriekfest 2012 review

The House With 100 Eyes

2012 marks my fourth year in a row reviewing Shriekfest for Film Radar and before that Valley Scene Magazine. As usual, I watched all of the features and most of the shorts. This year was a little different than years past, because there was one film which towered high above the rest. Part of this is because the festival lineup was remarkably weak, but The House with 100 Eyes is a film that I am genuinely in love with, and writer-director-star Jim Roof is a filmmaker who I am genuinely excited about.

I want to watch horror that is smart. I love horror that presents a skewed vision of reality, that is macabre, subversive, and fun, that peals away the top layer of humdrum everyday life to show us the violence right beneath the surface, that is anarchic, unrestrained, and fearless, and that breaks the rules. And I know I am not alone. Nobody wants to watch horror that is safe.

Yet all too often I am presented with horror that is bland, superficial, innocuous, lazy, boring, and most hazardously, that has nothing to say. 

So, when I discover a horror movie that has just two or three elements that I love about horror, I get very excited. The House with 100 Eyes is the kind of horror movie that is only produced a couple of times a decade, if that. As I sat in the half empty theater, everything I have always loved about horror unspooled itself right before my eyes. The dialogue was dripping with sarcasm, and the situations the characters were placed in were overripe irony. From start to finish, there was a weird kind of humor that enhanced the creepiness of the film rather than detracting from it. The violence was over the top and truly shocking. I was where every film critic wants to be: in the presence of undiscovered greatness.

The first thing you will notice about The House with 100 eyes is that the acting is terrific. This is a film that features big, bold performances from the entire cast. Star Jim Roof commands each scene he is in while playing a character who is so unhinged that it is impossible to guess what he will do or say next, and Shannon Malone, playing his tragically naïve but equally insane wife, serves as the perfect foil, but even the performances from the actors playing bit parts, such as the three skid row junkies, are memorable and uncomfortably familiar.

The writing is equally sharp. The dark humor, witty dialogue, and truly sick jokes had me laughing so hard that by the end of the film my ribs hurt. The characters are complex and feel familiar even though they are as alien as they could possibly be. Each set piece is more over the top and outrageous than the next. The story works within the confines of its own skewed logic.

Now that you get the idea, it is time for me to admit something that I didn’t want to say upfront. The House with 100 Eyes is a found footage horror film. Please don’t stop reading. I hated found footage horror films before it was cool to hate them. Found footage, by definition, strives to show you only what’s on the surface, while horror needs to go deeper. The House with 100 Eyes is the Grand Guignol of found footage horror. The film brilliantly holds up a funhouse mirror to found footage horror, showing us a distorted, deformed, dark carnival version of something that has become way too familiar.

Ed and Susan are a husband and wife team who produce snuff films from their home for commercial distribution. Ed wants to produce the biggest snuff film in history, featuring a triple kill, and all the bonus features and commentary you would expect from a standard issue DVD.

But, the triple kill is logistically bigger than what he and his wife have the resources to pull off, and things quickly start to go wrong in the most darkly comical ways imaginable. What follows are gory, comedic, anarchic set pieces and characters that develop in directions you will not foresee as Ed desperately tries to put his magnum opus back on track.

Beyond that, I don’t want to give too much away about the plot. A film like this requires an element of surprise to work, and I don’t want to spoil a thing. The House with 100 Eyes is not for everybody. About ten people walked out in the first half an hour because the film was too gory for them. Those losers missed out on the premier of one of the greatest horror films of the century.

You can check out my review of last year’s Shriekfest right here:

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Jonathan Weichsel Written by Jonathan Weichsel
Aug. 12, 2012 | 3:30 PM

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HollyShorts Sci-Fi and VFX Program

By Jonathan Weichsel

The Hollyshorts Sci Fi and VFX program was an amazing block of films, featuring state of the art visual effects and truly heartfelt storytelling.  Every single one of the nine films in the program was a winner.  What follows are my top four favorites, in no particular order.


8.31, direct by Noah Harald, is a heartfelt exploration of life and love at the end of the world. The title refers to the amount of time it takes light from the sun to reach earth, 8.31 minutes. The film takes place during the last day before the sun goes out, and is about a woman who goes into labor, and her husband’s quest to get her to a hospital so she can give birth before the world ends.

8.31 features amazing visual effects depicting future technology and gadgets, as well as a world on the brink of destruction, but what makes the film work is its emotionally grounded story and its serious exploration of the value of life.  It is very rare for a short film to make you choke up, but you’d need a heart of stone to not be effected by this one. 8.31 hits you with an emotional punch. 

All I Think of is You:

All I Think of is You, directed by Shad Clark, is about a man who dies in a car crash and has a copy of his consciousness uploaded into the body of a deceased African American man who had donated his body to science.  The man returns to his wife and is able to convince her that he is who he says he is, but she rejects him anyway because he is just a copy, not the real thing.

All I Think of is You is a serious exploration of what defines who we are. Philosophical and human at the same time, it’s a film that makes you think and feel.


Most of the films in the Sci Fi program were serious, meditative and dark. Standing out in a good way was Liberator, directed by Aaron Pope, a camp superhero film doubling as a TV pilot.  Liberator features an amazing cast, headlined by Lou Ferrigno, Peta Wilson, Michael Dorn, Don “the dragon” Wilson, Ed Asner, and Tara Cardinal.

If Liberator becomes a TV show, and it should, it would bring a level of bubblegum pop fun to TV that hasn’t been seen since the days of ummm, not to be too obvious, but well, La Femme Nikita and The Incredible Hulk.

Liberator is a standard Super Hero on the run story, but it has a terrific cast that is obviously having a lot of fun with the material, and that kind of fun is infectious.  As far as the cast goes, my one wish is to see more of Tara Cardinal. She is one of the most exciting up and coming actresses working right now, she was the reason I checked out this program of films, and, damn it, I wanted more of her!

Liberator is a throwback to the 80’s and 90’s, and is like nothing else being made today for the big screen or the small, and that is a good thing. If Liberator becomes a TV show, it will be a hit because there is a real hunger right now for this kind of pop fun. 

THE END - Trailer from Ted Marcus on Vimeo.

The End:

The End, directed by Ted Marcus, is about a London teenager whose parents won’t let him out on a school night to see a girl. He drugs his parents and sneaks out, only to find himself in the middle of an apocalyptic giant monster attack.  The girl dies, and he must make his way back to his drugged parents. The End has a twist that makes you question the reality of what is going on, but at its core it is a film about rebellion and the guilt it causes. The monster effects are amazing, but The End also features heartfelt, authentic writing and the best performance of the sci fi program from the teenager who sneaks out of his home.  The End manages to be funny and poignant at the same time. 

The Hollyshorts Sci Fi and VFX program was a real winner. Hollyshorts features short films from Hollywood’s future leaders, and if this is the future of Hollywood Sci fi, then it is one I look forward to.


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raymac Written by raymac
Aug. 9, 2012 | 8:51 PM

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MAD MONSTER and Chinese 6 Theatres presents “A Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors” 25th Anniversary Screening at: the Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood, Monday August 13th, at 9:30 pm! Featuring Special Guests and prize giveaways from your fiends at London 1888, Retro Outlaw Studios, Days of the Dead LA, Monsterpalooza, Evil Puppets, WerePups,, Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and MORE! There will also be a costume contest. The theme? Dream Warriors, of course! The first 200 people to buy tickets will win a limited edition Christopher Ott event poster (pictured above), so don’t wait!

Purchase tickets here…

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raymac Written by raymac
Aug. 5, 2012 | 12:27 PM

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See The World Premiere of THE LIBERATOR at the 8th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival

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See the birth of a new superhero, this Saturday, August 11th at 6:30pm during the Sci-Fi/FX program at the 8th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival. FilmRadar readers can purchase tickets for only $8.00 when they enter “Radar12” (case-sensitive) during check-out.

Ed Migliocetti (Lou Ferrigno, The Incredible Hulk) has served his country. When the endless war began, he put aside his football career to sign up for the military. And when the powers-that-be drafted him into the Enhanced Abilities Initiative, he became known as The Liberator.  Teamed with a group of “supers” – Sidewinder (Don the Dragon), Gaia (Tara Cardinal) and Volt – Liberator represented the best of America.  Or so he thought.  He soon found himself doing the government’s dirty work – assassinations, regime change, infrastructure sabotage.  Through it all, Ed followed orders.  He was a good soldier.

But when a black op went horribly wrong, Ed was thrown under the bus – the fall guy.  In the blink of an eye, the Liberator literally went from hero to zero.  After serving a decade in federal prison, he emerged a pariah. In the eyes of the public, he was a traitor.  That, quite, frankly, he could take.  What he couldn’t take was his own daughter Sonya (Jessica Jade Andres) hating him.

Determined to set the record straight and win her back, Ed pens a tell-all book that draws the ire of his former chief, General Augustus Pollard (Michael Dorn, Star Trek: The Next Generation).  Pollard dispenses CIA spook Marla Criswell (Peta Wilson, La Femme Nikita) to investigate.  When they realize that Ed plans to blow the whistle after all these years, they have no choice but to take him out.  After Ed battles his way out of a US military contractor’s compound, President Whitlock (Ed Asner, Up) declares the Liberator Public Enemy Number One – and sends Ed’s old teammates (Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Tara Cardinal) to bring him down by any means necessary.  But this time, the Liberator is not going down without a fight.


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Jonathan Weichsel Written by Jonathan Weichsel
Jul. 19, 2012 | 4:26 PM

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2012 Viscera Film Festival Recap

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Viscera Festival Directors: Heidi Honeycutt, Shannon Lark, Stacy Pippi Hammon

By Jonathan Weichsel

2012 is my third year in a row reviewing The Viscera Film Festival, which showcases horror shorts directed by women, honoring the filmmakers and celebrating their achievements.

I review a lot of horror festivals, and Viscera is the best horror festival in Los Angeles, and possibly the world, not because women are better than men, although the argument can be made that they are, but because women filmmakers are ignored by other horror festivals, and Viscera has many overlooked gems to chose from when selecting their program. I wish that we lived in a world where Viscera wasn’t necessary, where women and men are judged equally, but we don’t live in a world like that, and Viscera proves this every year with an amazing selection of overlooked films. The Viscera Film Festival is beyond necessary. Viscera is a vital part of the independent horror community.

As is the tradition, Viscera opened the festival with trailers for feature films directed by women. The real standout trailer was Despite the Gods, directed by Penny Vozniak.

Despite the Gods is about a female filmmaker who travels to India in order to document a cultish ritual where women turn into snakes which turn into snake-women, but what really struck me about the trailer was the character of the filmmaker. Throughout the trailer she comes across as cynical, depressed, and not at all happy to be in India making this film. Even though she constantly and viscously berates those around her, she has a sense of humor about herself, and if she doesn’t exactly come across as likable, she definitely comes across as interesting. If Despite the Gods is a character study, which the trailer seems to imply, I am definitely in.

The trailers were all great, but the short films are the reason you come to the festival. This year the shorts ranged in style from comedic to atmospheric, and came from all over the world, from the United States, Hong Kong, France, Israel, and the UK. What follows are my personal favorites, in the order they were screened.

Sybling Rivalry, directed by Tara-Nicole Azarian, a thirteen year old, won the fresh-blood award for filmmakers under eighteen. If women have an interesting perspective when it comes to horror, teenage girls have an even more interesting perspective. Sybling Rivalry is about an overachieving teenage girl who is constantly overshadowed by her slacker brother. Her mother ignores her academic success, and instead heaps praise on her brother for winning the award for best class clown. Naturally, her only recourse is to kill her brother, cook him, and feed him to mom.

Sybling Rivalry is shot in the style of one of those Nickelodeon or Disney Chanel sitcoms, but it subverts the genre with a twisted sense of humor and clever use of gore. Directing a short film of any quality is a huge achievement for a thirteen year old, but Sybling Rivalry was one of the best films at the festival. Tara-Nicole Azarian is a filmmaker with a bright future ahead of her. 

Barbie Girls, directed by Vinciane Millereau, is a French language horror-comedy about a group of women who go to a house in the country to unwind. The girls ironically view themselves as Barbie dolls, and have nicknames for each other such as bad-luck Barbie and Suicide Barbie. The killing starts when Suicide Barbie reveals that she kills people for humorously petty reasons. Barbie Girls is a dark, ironic, and effective look at female friendship.

Jump, a British film directed by Louisa Fielden, is a very focused film that follows the setup-punch line formula that often works very well in ultra-shorts. There is no way to describe the plot of a film like this without giving away the ending, but if you are twisted like me and secretly smile at fat-person jokes, you will get a laugh out of this. 

Bloodtraffick is a woman-kicking-ass Hong Kong action film directed by Jen Thym. The film consists of an action sequence in which an angel who is also a proficient martial artist infiltrates a compound where her kind was slaughtered. Bloodtraffick is a stylish, professionally made film that looks like a slice out of something that Hollywood might produce.

Escape from Hellview is an amazing Israeli animated short by Hadas Brandes. A young boy steps through a door he draws on the wall of his bedroom and enters a fantasy world. But the carnival images soon become sinister and attack him. The animation was just stunning, and left the entire audience breath-taken. Hellview is a dark carnival ride of a film.

How to Rid Your Lover of a Negative Emotion Caused by You is an American film directed by Nadia Litz. The horror comedy is about a woman who cuts her boyfriend’s negative emotions out by knocking him out with chlorophyll and performing an operation where she removes black stones from his abdomen. The blood and guts had experienced gore-hounds cringing, and the humor and intelligence of the script kept everybody engaged.

The Dump, directed by Rebeckah McKendry of Fangoria fame, was just about everybody’s favorite film. This horror comedy is about two serial killers who have an awkward chance meeting while dumping their respective dead bodies in the woods. After some grandstanding, they develop a mutual respect, and have a very interesting and hilarious conversation about the art of being a serial killer. The Dump is a hilarious and ultimately touching look at the psyche of serial killers. 

Beyond the movies, the festival itself was lots of fun. There was a woman on stilts welcoming guests, and an Egyptian zombie ballerina doing some kind of non-ballet modern dance. Tara Cardinal handled red carpet announcements with class, and festival directors Shannon Lark, Heidi Honeycutt, and Stacy Pippi Hammon kept things light and breezy. Mary Lambert, director of the much beloved Pet Sematary and winner of the Inspiration Award, opened the screenings with a very, well, inspirational speech about horror and what the genre means to her. After she spoke we were treated to a teaser trailer of her next movie, The Dark Path Chronicles, an erotic vampire film. 

If you love horror, want to celebrate strong female directors, and want to check out some of the best films the indie horror community has to offer, Viscera is the festival to attend. The programming is always smart, and every film is a winner. Check out my review of last year’s festival here:

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