Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

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House of Monsters (update)

July 9, 2015


Well, it’s official: Check out the trailer for Dawn Brown‘s coming stop-motion animated webseries House of Monsters! It looks pretty damn great IMO and – Great Scott! – if you recognize the speaker’s voice, it belongs to Christopher Lloyd, who recently joined the cast as Dr. Gaulstone.

Having successfully run a Kickstarter campaign that was funded roughly a year ago, it’s now merely days until it goes live and I am really thrilled about it, not only as a backer but a fan of the genre. July 28th marks the official launch date and you can pre-order it for a mere $3,98.

So, check it out, hop on over and give the series a like on Facebook and read the interview I conducted with Dawn roughly a year ago here.

EDIT: Check out Dread Central‘s nice write-up here.

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Into the Red

April 15, 2015

Check it out: I just received word that UK filmmaker Geoffrey Taylor‘s short documentary Into the Red can be streamed online on YouTube and Vimeo.

A fascinating look into the Redhead Days that takes place annually in Breda, The Netherlands, Geoffrey sets out to dig a little deeper into this phenomenon – as well as make some new friends.

A cool document about something I honestly had no idea existed (I’m brown haired), the documentary is short and to the point and gives a nice look into this unique gathering.

Check it out, spread the word, and if you’re a ginger you might wanna visit the Breda festival on their Facebook page as it has a whopping 90,000+ followers. My track Ginger (heard in the documentary) is available here.

Into the Red – A short film about the largest Ginger gathering in the world from Geoffrey Taylor: Wide Eyed on Vimeo.

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Post Mortem

April 14, 2015

I think most horror fans are familiar with horror director, producer and writer Mick Garris. Creator of the Masters of Horror TV series, he’s penned The Fly II and Critters 2 as well as directed The Stand and Sleepwalkers – both based on Stephen King‘s novels – just to name a few of the titles on his résumé.

His great interview series Post Mortem – originally created for the now-defunct FEAR NET – are now available on YouTube. I love these! With a very laid back style, he interviews fellow horror creators such as Roger Corman, Wes Craven and Rob Zombie. The interviews have a great conversational flow that offers some nice insights into the artist behind the famous (or infamous) name – I can’t say I knew all too much about Frank Darabont – and the only complaint I have is that some of these feel a bit short. But hey, leave them wanting more!

The series is available on his official YouTube channel as well as MickGarrisInterviews.com. Check them out and give him a like on Facebook here.

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Ginger

December 19, 2014

So, I was recently – or make that yesterday – contacted by UK-based director Geoffrey Taylor who expressed interest in using my old track Ginger for his upcoming documentary about red-haired people and the Redhead Days festival in Breda, Holland.

Geoff’s previous effort Close looks damn great, and having been the official selection of the Encounters Film Festival and the London Film Festival to name just a few, I am more than happy to see this old song being used in his work. I am very excited by this turn of events and can’t wait to see the finished results!

Originally recorded in a quickie demo session back in 2011 – I did drums, bass, guitars, the whole lot! – the track had a quickie 24-bit yesterday evening and will be available via Spotify, iTunes etc. very soon. In the meantime check it out on SoundCloud.

EDIT: If you’ve got Spotify you can give the track a spin here.

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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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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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Censorshit (update)

April 2, 2014

Skärmavbild 2014-04-02 kl. 17.54.29

As indie DVD label Arrow Films & Video just posted it on their Facebook I figured I’d share it on my blog as well, hoping my readers based in the UK will take action.

Following an open letter by Moviemail‘s film critic and historian James Oliver on April 1st, there’s an online petition that in short asks Maria Miller – secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – to amend the planned changes to the 1984 Video Recording Act.

Dear Minister

The forthcoming changes to the Video Recordings Act will harm UK small businesses and compromise a thriving industry that is admired around the world.

This is unintentional and can be avoided by refining your “Draft Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014″. These draft Regulations will make publishing comprehensive DVD packages – editions that dissuade people from turning to pirated copies – financially unviable.

In the light of these unintended consequences, please revisit the draft Regulations.

Now, even though things probably won’t turn out quite as dramatic as I wrote in my previous post on the subject, the new BBFC guidelines will hit the indie DVD labels pretty hard and affect us genre fans. In essence, the new law means that not only do you need to classify the main feature of your DVD/Blu-ray release, but every interview, documentary, featurette that comes with it as well – running up quite a tab if you’re planning a drool-inducing überfan edition, as the BBFC charges a flat fee for their (mandatory) service.

This will not be the end of the UK indie labels, but most likely the days of their beefy DVD editions of horror, cult classics and other films outside the mainstream that fans all over the world enjoy. If you’re a citizen of the UK, and actually give a damn about the smaller independent efforts in your country, please do sign the petition. All it takes is your full name, email and post code. Sign it here and please spread the information on your blog, Facebook etc. Cheers!

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Censorshit

March 22, 2014

Well, as both a fan of horror and a believer in the independent D.I.Y. spirit, nothing makes me cringe more than when the hysterics starts to holler “think of the children” ’cause by now I am fully aware it’ll always come back and bite the adults as well as the independents right in the ass. Nothing makes this more clear than the announcement of BBFC‘s coming new guidelines in the UK. Reading all about it in Moviemail‘s great article BBFC changes: A major threat to indie DVD labels? it had me going “oh great, it’s the 1980s all over again.”

Earlier this year there was an outrage in the international horror community when the British Board of Film Classification announced a new ratings system as well as them monitoring material that used to be exempt from classification – a “well-meaning” government legislation ’cause, you know, think of the children. The reason for said act apparently being reality shows like The X Factor and artists like Lady Gaga and Rihanna. A sane person would of course say things like “if you don’t like the show – change the channel” or “don’t buy products by artists whose message/image/behavior you don’t approve of” or something really outrageous like “try parenting, you idiot!”, but we seem to live in an age when no one wants to take responsibility for anything and politicians couldn’t be happier to appease to that mentality.

So what’s the big deal? Well, here’s the bite-yer-ass part: As an unexpected result of these new regulations, any video material needs to be classified – documentaries used to be exempt – especially if it might be considered unsuitable for children. At a cost, of course, meaning that if you were planning to release, say, a behemoth anniversary edition of Tobe Hooper‘s Texas Chain Saw Massacre you need to classify not only the feature but the trailers, TV-spots, any interview that includes clips from the feature etc. etc. – in short, running up a pretty hefty bill while trying to make us nerds salivate. This won’t be a problem for the majors – and this is the part where I’m really struggling not to believe the tin foil hat crowd – but it will strike a huge blow to the indies that are already in a tight spot financially.

This happened back in the 1980s as well when the Video Nasty hysteria hit the British Isles circa 1984 (oh, what a fitting year!) For a short while starting around 1979 and up to the mid-80s, cult classics like Lucio Fulci‘s Zombie Flesh-Eaters (released by VIPCO, natch!), Tobe Hooper’s 1974 chainsaw opus (that was banned from cinemas until 1999!) and Ruggero Deodato‘s Cannibal Holocaust etc. were readily available in UK video stores – completely uncensored – since the BBFC only had authority to classify theatrical releases. Long story short a lot of conservatives like MP Graham Bright and socialite Mary Whitehouse (who proudly announced on television that she, in fact, hadn’t seen any of these videos and didn’t need to in order to know they were harmful to children – never mind the fact they never were intended for children to being with) drummed up public outrage, newspapers like The Daily Mail and The Sunday Times added to the hysteria and soon The Video Recordings Act of 1984 was rushed through the House of Commons and came into effect in 1985.

The reason there is a lot of odd conspiracy theories regarding this sudden reaction seems to be Palace Pictures and their 1983 video release of Sam Raimi‘s 1981 Evil Dead. Run by young mavericks Stephen Woolley and Nik Powell, Palace focused on distributing not only horror and cult classics, but international art films as well (emulating Roger Corman‘s New World Pictures). Stephen himself has stated in interviews that the video release was the hit of the year, selling an estimated 50,000 copies at a sell-through of £40-£50, netting the “upstarts” a whopping £2-£2,5 million (approx. $3,2-$4,1 million) – earning them, as well as the VHS format, industry attention that in the end might’ve been what changed the market forever.

You see, as ludicrous as it may sound today, the majors’ attitude when it came to VHS was in essence that it was a joke. I wish I remember the gentleman’s name ’cause he is the film industry’s equivalent of Dick Rowe – Decca Records‘ A&R man who forever earned his place in music history as the man who passed on The Beatles, telling Brian Epstein “Guitar groups are on their way out” – but he saw the video rental market as less than secondary and that the majors couldn’t be bothered with it. “People don’t wanna experience movies at home” was the (paraphrased) decree. With this move the majors opened up the market for the independents – as people did wanna watch movies at home and stores needed tons of product to supply them with – creating a golden opportunity for anyone with a bit of cash and enough chutzpah to go for it. Unless I’m completely misinformed one UK video label was in fact started up by an ex-plumber.

That all changed with the Video Recordings Act that brought down a lot of these smaller operations as they just couldn’t afford the fees that came with the now-mandatory classifications. The market “cleared up” and in its wake the majors and corporate video chains moved in. Conspiracy or not, that was the effect. Parallelling that some thirty years later, the new BBFC classifications fee is flat, meaning that both Universal and a UK indie label like Arrow Video – known for their amazing editions of both horror, cult and independent films that’s just crammed with bonus material – pays the same amount for having their releases cleared with the British censor. Even though the law goes into effect in May 2014, and we’ve yet to see how it will affect independent horror releases, Nucleus FilmsMarc Morris already stated that their 3-disc DVD box release of Jake West‘s 2010 documentary Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide will not be reissued as just reclassifying it would cost them somewhere between £6,000-£7,000 (approx. $9,800-$11,500) – making it too expensive to release and impossible to sell due to needing an unrealistically inflated price in order to recoup the costs. I urge you to get it now as it is mandatory viewing for any horror fan.

To sum it all up the new classification system is moot at best unless the UK government is planning to revert its whole country back to a pre-internet age where information wasn’t readily available at the click of a button. In Kirby Dick‘s 2006 documentary This Movie is Not Yet Rated, director John Waters says something along the lines of how futile censoring movies at all these days is since most teenagers in their curiosity have gone online to look up more outrageous violent and sexual content than their parents would like to believe or admit – or do they really think they’re doing their homework for that many hours a day? – and with physical formats in all honesty being a thing of the past that mostly us old farts cling to, I kinda draw the conclusion that it’ll only affect 1) those of legal age while 2) adding another nail in the coffin of the already-narrowing independent market of an already-narrowing, “assorted” content – but maybe that’s what these conservatives have been wanting for these past thirty years. Think of the children? Babysitter society.

More on the subject:
Ban the Sadist Videos Pt. 1 (top) and Pt. 2 here.
Draft Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014 here.
The BBFC online fee calculator here.
Video nasty (wiki) here.
Blue Underground‘s Discovering Evil Dead here.
Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide trailer here.
Pre-1984 uncensored UK VHS videos have a cult following and are popular among certain collectors. Called “pre-certs” they sometimes fetch impressive sums on eBay UK. Find ’em here.

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“Either that or its counterpart…”

March 20, 2014
"...and somebody's responsible!"

“…and somebody’s responsible!”

Can your heart stand the shocking facts about grave-robbers from outer space? Well, if you promise they’ll be narrated by Criswell I sure can, baby! Check out my all-new Plan 9 From Outer Space t-shirt that I got via Lunchmeat Magazine! ‘Tis gorgeous and I’ll probably wear it out in no time (like I always do with my faves!)

This baby set my back a measly five dollars (plus postage), so if you’re a fan of Ed Wood and wanna support some indy media that focuses on all things VHS I suggest you check ’em out on Storenvy here, their official site at www.lunchmeatvhs.com and on Facebook here.

While on the subject of the 1959 cult classic (that’s actually in the public domain so you can get it via Archive.org for free!):

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Ghoul School

January 15, 2014
copyright Sellergren Design 2014!

copyright Sellergren Design 2014!

Ever done anything by sheer accident? I for one truly believe in serendipity, and if you’ve even read the slightest bit of C.G. Jung you know what I’m talking about, but sometimes it even surprises a true believer. Nothing wrong with a good work ethic or brainstorming, but letting your subconscious take control usually creates more interesting results. It only takes time and patience.

Anyway, sitting down to do something as mundane as just creating a profile pic for my Facebook page – my digital camera works fine but some French jerk rummaged my bag and stole the USB cable while I was on tour I can’t upload any photos – I kinda came up with this concept. The initial sketch turned out pretty good so I figured I’d just go for it. Check out my Lucio Fulci tribute Matul High School Class of 1979.

Available via my Society 6 here and please do join me at www.facebook.com/SellergrenDesign for more imagery. While on the subject of tributes to Zombi 2 aka Zombie Flesh-Eaters:

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