Archive for April, 2014

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Shadows of Prey

April 29, 2014

Man, is this a great day or what? I am having a major surge of energy today. After a roughly 30 minute walk in the morning sun and catching the solar eclipse seen in Australia online, I received the news that John Brito Films‘ proof of concept for the coming Shadows of Prey horror/sci-fi series has been made official.

Having already seen the twelve-second animation roughly two weeks ago, it still thrills me to no end seeing this initial concept. In so few words I’d say this is pretty damn great, the music and imagery works beautifully and I can’t wait to see the finished results.

Until then, check out John’s own words about the animation here, and since it’s his birthday, how about writing him some birthday wishes on his Facebook?

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Giallos Flame

April 26, 2014

I recently did a live interview with Beyond the Playlist (online in June!) and feel kinda lame as I completely forgot to plug this artist while I had the chance: Giallos Flame! The pseudonym for UK-based (?) multi-instrumentalist Ron Graham, this project is my personal fave when it comes to modern, horror OST-influenced music ’cause his works is second to none. Not only influenced by the Italian-produced exploitation fare of the 1970s and 80s, his works have the sound and feel down so cold that they easily could be mistaken for the real thing. Those lesser morally inclined could probably get away with putting his vinyl records in dusty, pre-worn sleeves and sell to the uninitiated on eBay for impressive sums and none of them would be the wiser.

giallosNow, Ron seems to be quite the reserved, private guy as he’s been active for more than a decade, but I’d be damned if I could find any additional information or interviews online – an interesting experience as it both frustrates you and reinvigorates your inner nerd (actually, giving it a raging hard-on would be a more proper phrase) as it has you clawing for those scraps of knowledge picked up here and there, furiously assembling them in order to complete the picture. It’s almost like a throwback to the pre-internet late 1980s when horror movies could be rare, uncensored edition usually meant “third generation copy” and information about said titles surfaced once every second year in fanzines that took 6 to 8 weeks to arrive in your mail box. If this is a thought-out marketing strategy I gotta hand it to whoever’s behind it for pulling off the intriguing-mystery-artist image in an age where everybody has an online presence, especially musicians that have a tendency to promote every fart, burp and chord produced during the day. All joking aside, like The Active Listener stated last year his obscurity is puzzling.

He’s done some movie work, composing musical scores for low-budget horrors such as Murder-Set-Pieces and Black Devil Doll, and his discography includes several albums and EPs – all on independent labels. Recently signing to Rotary Tower – both a record label and music library meaning you can license his works for media use – there are two new releases in the plans, Archivio Giallo volumes 1 and 2, collecting over two dozens of rare and unreleased tracks into one hour-long retro experience. Both can be streamed in full on SoundCloud (links below) and I also took the time to create a playlist on YouTube, culling together all the tracks I could find. Check him out!

Website: http://giallosflame.blogspot.com
Facebook:
 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Giallos-Flame/223057054378764
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/the-giallos-flame
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1700116/

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Blitzkrieg Hops

April 24, 2014

“Sugar doesn’t come close, We’re making it with maltose…” Well, as I just had an impromptu Skype chat with Nik and The Goat of Exploited Cinema – both brethren fans of The Ramones – I was hepped to the band’s 1995 Steel Reserve beer commercials (that might’ve coincided with Frank Kozik doing some artwork for said business).

Three tracks in total and it was pretty funny giving them a spin. Check ’em out, make sure to check out Exploited Cinema’s official site here and on Facebook and while on the subject of Los Hermanos Ramone and beer:

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R.I.P. Mike Atta!

April 22, 2014

Sad news for the punk rock community: Mike Atta, guitarist of proto-hardcore outfit The Middle Class, passed away this Easter after fighting a four-year battle with cancer.

Forming the band with his brothers Jeff and Bruce, the band was considered one of the first hardcore outfits in the US, at least on the West Coast as The Bad Brains were active in the Washington, D.C./New York area at the same time. Their Out of Vogue EP was released on Joke Records in 1978 and is considered a pioneering record – fetching some impressive sums on eBay.

The band reunited in 2010, and even though he was diagnosed with Stage IV kidney cancer in January that same year, Mike kept gigging with the band until the very end. Rest in peace.

More info at The Orange County Register and The OC Weekly.

photo courtesy the Orange County Register.

photo courtesy the Orange County Register.

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An Interview with Dawn Brown

April 14, 2014

(Following my interview with Tal Zimerman regarding his Why Horror? project, I decided to do an impromptu session with Dawn Brown for Swedish Gore Film Society.)

HoM01

Fans of Ray Harryhausen‘s work and Rankin/Bass‘ cult classic Mad Monster Party should definitely check out Dawn Brown‘s current Kickstarter project House of Monsters, that see classic screen monsters such as Dracula, The Mummy and The Wolfman revived in all their stop motion glory.

Having created (and directed) the 2012 short film of same name, Dawn, a Hollywood-based set decorator, is now looking to turn it into a web series. A Kansas native relocated to Los Angeles, she has worked with an impressive list of film makers that include Tim Burton, and she currently finished up The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, giving her time to focus on this project as well as answer a couple of questions I sent her way.

HoM04This is gonna sound weird coming from a horror fan – Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a personal fave – but House of Monsters really struck me as a nice throwback to the fun and naiveté of 1960s horror, and maybe even bringing back an “innocence” to the genre of sorts. What was the reasons for creating it?
Nothing weird about that – I’m a horror fan, too!  I love it all. Yes, House of Monsters is definitely a throwback to a simpler time. The Rankin/Bass classic Mad Monster Party is definitely an influence. Part of the reason for creating it may subconsciously be a reaction to a lot of the stuff that’s being produced these days. Corporate product that is so loud, so fast, so overproduced, so empty. I’m not going to name anything specifically, but I am going to go out on a limb and guess I’m not alone on this. So we made House of Monsters. It’s hand-made. It’s organic. It’s fun and simple, and hopefully something everyone can enjoy.

You’re definitely not alone. I personally haven’t been too impressed with the CGI effects that’s prevalent in the majority of movies these days. Not to take away anything from those programming said effects, but I miss the hands-on craft part of moviemaking. Like you said, it’s organic and, ultimately, human, I guess. Are you a Ray Harryhausen fan as well? What’s your fave film of his? Mine’s Jason & The Argonauts – love the skeleton army!
Mine is Clash of the Titans. Medusa scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid!

The 2012 short film received its share of awards. Was this the reason for deciding to create the web series or was it the growing grassroots support?
Both, definitely. We enjoyed connecting with people so much with the 2012 short, we absolutely want to build on that. We are launching a new studio, The Monster Shop, and this seems like a fantastic first project to get our name out there.

HoM02That’s awesome news! So will it focus on stop-motion animation or all kinds of features?
All kinds of features. We are artists, and our company is a creative services studio, offering everything from character designs, and set designs, pitch packages. All phases of creative development, including production.

So, is the plan to create multiple seasons or will this be limited to a certain number of webisodes?
That depends entirely on the fans. If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, we will make as many episodes as we can.

Great! What about a physical release? Any plans of having it released on DVD/Blu-Ray in the future?
Our plan is to distribute through Amazon.com. They offer instant video streaming, downloading or physical discs. It’s your choice! I’m really excited about that.

Sounds great. Technically speaking: I’m amazed by the sheer amount of time put in when it comes to creating stop motion animation. What’s the average amount of hours for creating say a five-minute segment?
We can shoot about a minute a week, so a five minute segment would take 5 weeks to shoot. Add 1 to 2 weeks for post production. If you don’t have sets or puppets ready to go, I would add a week of prep for each week you shoot. So the short answer is 12 weeks for a 5 minute segment – starting from scratch.

HoM05Wow! I thought I was a patient SOB, but you guys must be the Zen monks of the entertainment industry, ha ha ha. So will the episodes be posted monthly, bi-monthly or what? Considering the amount of work, what’s the schedule?
Ha! Yes, animation does require a zen-like commitment! Depending on how many episodes we will have, I want to shoot them all at once and release them all at once. This is the age of binge watching, after all! For example, we’d break down the scripts and shoot all the castle scenes at once, shoot all the village scenes at once, etc. This will allow us to release the episodes as quickly as possible.

Great! Yeah, this is the Netflix-era after all. Can you tell me a little bit about the crew you’ve assembled for this? Being in Hollywood I’m guessing you have quite a nice pool of talent to draw from.
Yes, I am lucky to have a very talented crew. Our core crew is very small. Warren Manser is the character designer. He is a concept artist in the film industry. Current credits include Man of Steel and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Dianne Chadwick sews beautiful tiny costumes. She is a graphic designer in the film industry. Current credits include Oblivion and The Lone Ranger. Jon Neill is a sculptor, his recent credits include master pumpkin carver on the television show, Halloween Wars. I have connections in every level of production and can expand our crew as needed to address whatever needs arise.

That’s great! I know directors like Roger Corman and Russ Meyer preferred to work with a skeleton crew but also heard major directors talking about the advantages of having a large crew where everyone is a specialist in a small field. What’s your personal preference when it comes to crews?
I work for the big studios as a concept artist and we have large crews and everyone is a specialist in their field. So in that respect, I love that. It’s job security. It pays the bills. As a filmmaker, I prefer a smaller, more flexible skeleton crew. I think the more people are personally involved, the more they care about it. And that magic definitely shows on the screen.

Agreed. Speaking of Hollywood: Has the project itself gotten some word of mouth going? I saw USA Today mentioning it this past week and Kickstarter stepped in to fund the project. That must’ve been a blast!
Yeahhoo!!

But has there been any interest by producers, studios etc? Are you planning to pitch this at a later stage?
Right now, I just want to get funded by Thursday and give you guys some really fun and cool monster shorts. My focus is not on the studios, but you guys, the audience.

Sounds great. Best of luck with the project!

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Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/houseofmonsters/house-of-monsters-the-stop-motion-web-series
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/houseofmonstersmovie

UPDATE: This campaign was successfully funded on April 17th.

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Amazon!

April 11, 2014

spacekitty

Here’s a quickie note for ya: Call Me Greenhorn‘s Space Kitty 2000 album is now available via Amazon.com. Eleven tracks in total mixing up a wide variety of influences in one retro-sounding mess – and it’s yours for merely $7.99. Check it out here and if you wanna give it a spin you can do so at Spotify, Deezer and Last.FM.

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“So, How’d You Spend Your Lunch Break?”

April 8, 2014

skeletor

I figured I’d share this: Been going through quite a nostalgic phase recently and roughly one month ago I decided I’d get myself a Skeletor tattoo. He was my fave character in Masters of the Universe and the first Mattel action figure I got – if memory serves me correct it was a X-Mas gift. What can I say? I was a pretty big fan of Darth Vader as well!

Anyway. This is roughly 2.75″ and took about 50 minutes from start to finish – giving me enough time to have a quick cup of coffee and a smoke afterwards. The image itself is actually based on Damaged GoodsMyaah! art print available via Society 6 in a variety of formats. Check it out here and does anyone remember the 1987 movie starring Dolph Lundgren?

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House of Monsters

April 6, 2014

Check it out: Here’s the latest Kickstarter project I decided to back, Dawn Brown‘s House of Monsters. Bringing back the stop motion fun of Ray Harryhausen and Mad Monster Party, Dawn – a Hollywood-based set decorator/concept artist – is planning an animated web series using the characters from her S/T 2012 short.

There’s a pretty cool buzz surrounding the project, with Kickstarter adding some funds – how’s that for an endorsement! – and USA Today recently plugged it in an article. The campaign is roughly 60% funded with less than two weeks left, so head on over and show your support! $50 gets you a pretty kick-ass t-shirt!

Kickstarter: www.kickstarter.com/projects/houseofmonsters/house-of-monsters-the-stop-motion-web-series
Website: www.houseofmonstermovie.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/houseofmonstersmovie
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/dawnbrown123
IMDB: www.imdb.com/name/nm0113384/

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2014 MoCCA Artsfest

April 4, 2014

Hey, readers in the US, especially on the East Coast: This weekend sees Jamie and Erika of Loud Comix attending the 2014 MoCCA Artsfest in New York, and if you’re in the area you should definitely come by and show some support for independent, underground comics.

I checked the official page, and tickets are $5/day, it’s located smack dab in Manhattan (there are directions on the web site) and guests of honor include iconic artist Robert Williams (!!!) among others. Check it out!

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Official Ramones Day!

April 4, 2014

Hey! Once again it’s 4/4 so Happy Official Ramones Day!

Sellergren Design - Art is the Enemy

Tag along! Tag along!

So, today’s April 4th – 4/4 – and I’m declaring it The Official Ramones Day! The “bruddahs” from Queens were truly masters of said beat, and a Google search confirmed that they actually didn’t have one. How disappointing is that? Jeez, are you even aware how many kids had their lives changed by that band? There’s a whole damn generation of musicians that owe their “careers” to what these guys pioneered as early as 1974, with myself being one.

Anyway, why bitch when you can be “proactive”? I’m going to spam post vids on my personal Facebook all day and maybe find the time to write a lil’ something about them here on this blog. Feel free to do the same. I mean, c’mon, we’ve got a pie day fer chrissakes! And as far as I know April 4th isn’t taken. Join the freak parade, honey!

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