Sunday, March 25, 2012

Update: The Rise of the Animals Has Risen

In reference to the new revenge-of-nature film Rise of the Animals (introduced to you here on Brainspasm in February), we've learned that an official release date of May 1st has been announced. On that day, the film will be available on DVD via Brain Damage Films. Below is the final highly amusing DVD art.

Just remember:

Bambi doesn't want a f#*king salad!

 Source: via Avery Guerra.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rugaru: A Cajun Monstrosity

Wendigo? Loup-Garou? Wolf-headed man? Rugaru? Whatever, it's a swamp monster and that's always a good thing, right? Check out this early rough teaser (which was a test run and is not reflective of the final product, we're told).

Rugaru (US-2012; dir. Tony Severio) is a new in-production horror film that features a monster, a voodoo curse and lots of doomed people. It's about to go into full production but just the trailer is looking good, so this is another independent feature we can be hopeful about.

Voodoo is unleashed in a small backwoods bayou town in the form of a large hairy beast which comes face to face with an unlikely hero with his own curse. A thug from the bayou releases horror in the deep backwoods after soliciting the services of a nefarious voodoo witch for protection - giving rise to a terrifying creature of Cajun folklore. After a convict disappears, parole officer Claude Bruneaux investigates -- only to discover the curse plaguing the tiny swamp community. An unlikely hero with his own demons, he races to unlock the mystery which has summoned the beast. With nothing to lose, Bruneaux struggles between his own trial of finding peace within...and getting out alive beyond what waits for him in the murky bayou.
 Final Official Trailer:

Behind the Scenes Images:


  • Randall Oliver - Lead, Plays Claude Bruneaux
  • Joe Estevez - Mitch.  The wicked sheriff.
  • Amye Gousset - Lana.  Claude's Wife
  • Chrisopher Severio - Blake.  A bad guy that teams with Claude
  • Krystal Tomlin - Malida.  The Voodoo expert.
  • Robert Douthat - Ian Causey.  The nemesis in the film other than the Rugaru!
  • Brittany Merrett - The Voodoo Witch
  • Chris Ranney
  • Blain Sanchez
  • Chesney Mitchell - Suzanne.  Claude's daughter who becomes tangled in the web!
  • Chad Graham
  • Jerry Lopez
  • Michael Bienvenu
  • Carlos Young
  • Teresa Alvarez
  • Renesha Tobias
  • Chip Mefford
  • Brock Hoffpauir
  • Latasha Williams
  • Tony Severio
  • Natalie Sharp
  • Michael Arnona
  • Kelly Robin
  • Suzanne Severio
  • Ronnie Hooks
  • Joey Mcrae
  • Mark Rayner
  • Michael Patrick Rogers
  • Tony Severio - Writer/Director
  • Chip Mefford - Assistant Director
  • John Wee - Director of Photography
  • Rhonda Aguillard - Producer
  • Brandon Scott Murphree - Special Makeup Effects/Creature Creator
  • Sound - Jonathan G. Berguno
Source: Tony Severio via Avery Guerra.
Further InformationOfficial website (lots of pics); Facebook page.

Getting Out Alive: New Independent Horror Film

An Exclusive Interview with Director Clay DuMaw

What with assorted cryptozoological monsters and an endless supply of psychopathic lunatics, the US backwoods is a place well worth avoiding. Go there and you may not get out alive.

Get Out Alive is a new independent film that takes the standard cryptid horror ethos a few steps further into darkness -- bringing into play not only the dark of the unknown that lurks all around us but the darkness that exists within humanity as well. Written and directed by Clay DuMaw, Get Out Alive begins with the stranding of a pair of innocents -- a brother and sister -- at a sinister truck-stop, and proceeds to drag them through hell. Take a look at the rather lengthy trailer, which incorporates a long sequence from the film.

Extended Trailer:

While driving home from their summer vacation, siblings Paul and Marilyn find themselves stranded at a desolate truck-stop when their car breaks down along the back roads of upstate New York. Before long, they discover a strange creature in a cage behind the local auto shop, to which the shop's mechanic, along with his assistant, plan on feeding them. In their attempt to escape, Paul and Marilyn fall prey to a pair of homicidal locals bent on preserving the secret of their bloodthirsty pet monster.

 On set: David Fichtenmayer and Tyler Sutton

The Brainspasm's news-gathering crypto-hunter, Avery Guerra, tracked down director DuMaw (pictured below, with camera) to get the inside story of Get Out Alive!

According to DuMaw, the film began as something rather different:
It [originated as] a thirty-page screenplay about several people trapped in a motel during an alien invasion. A lot of changes were made since then. The sci-fi idea was dropped in favor of monsters, murderers, bear traps, and of course, a chainsaw.
I'm a big fan of horror films from the late '70s and early '80s, so I tried to incorporate as many influences from that era as I could. Get Out Alive is like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, mixed with Friday the 13th, with a dash of Basket Case and Tremors, sprinkled with some modern influences like Jeepers Creepers. The funny thing about this movie is that we couldn't afford to make our original version of the script because the monster was in almost every scene. So instead, I re-wrote it as a sequel, which takes place after the monster has been captured and the guy who spent his whole life chasing this thing has gone mad and is now the bad guy. Who knows, maybe someday I'll film the original version of the script and make it a prequel!

Stylistically, DuMaw had a distinct vision for what he wanted to achieve:
A number of techniques were implemented in this film in order to amplify the intensity of certain scenes. Most sequences were shot from several extra angles, setting a faster pace when necessary and allowing greater editing options. Action scenes were shot in twenty-four frames-per-second (cinema frame rate), contrasting the look and feel of the rest of the film, which was shot in the standard thirty frames-per-second. And because of the project’s tight schedule, I was forced to shoot many scenes in a handheld style which ultimately complemented the film’s esthetic. 
I also wanted to differentiate the look of the film from the ones typically shown in theaters. To accomplish this, high definition cameras were used without the aid of 35mm lenses or depth-of-field adapters, resulting in a deeper image with a greater focal range. This gave the film an appearance similar to footage shown on the news. There’s something beautiful about video, a sort of gritty realism that you just can’t get with 35mm film.

DuMaw remembers two moments in his life very clearly, moments critical to getting where he is today:
When I was about seven years old, my parents took me to see Jurassic Park, and it sparked an obsession with dinosaurs. I was convinced that I wanted to be a paleontologist just like the character of Dr Grant in the film. However, the more movies I saw, the more I changed my mind on what I wanted to be when I grew up. Then one day when I was twelve or thirteen, I realized that I was basing all my career choices around my obsession with movies. So I thought, "I could pretend to be all of these things, if I just became a movie director!" As years went by, I went down a path that a lot of teenagers who weren't popular in high school went down: I joined a rock band, played the drums and thought I was going to be a rock star. Eventually I decided I wasn't exactly living the dream, so I quit the band to study art in college. It was after I finished my first semester that I was struck by an epiphany: "What the hell am I doing?" I was living in a crappy apartment with a bunch of sketchy roommates, working a job that I hated with a passion, and I was going to school in pursuit of something that definitely wasn't going to give me a career. My life sucked! That realization dawned on me while I was straightening a rack of tee-shirts at my job. A few seconds later, I went to my boss and told him that I was leaving and that I wasn't coming back. I went straight from work to my apartment, packed up all my things and moved out. I was so happy that I didn't even realize I was driving 88mph on an interstate highway and got pulled over for speeding. It was somewhere between when I started driving and when I got pulled over that I thought to myself, "I've already got this screenplay that I've been working on. This is the perfect time. I should just go for it!" Other than the ticket, it was a pretty awesome day.
Like many filmmakers working with fantastical subjects, DuMaw gained initial inspiration from the Big Box-office Names in the field:
When I was younger, I used to look up to a lot of mainstream filmmakers like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, M. Night Shyamalan, etc... Then one day when I was looking through a bargain bin full of DVDs with my dad, I found a copy of Night of the Living Dead. All I can say is that George A. Romero changed my life. A few years later, when I watched a "making of" video on Dawn of the Dead, I figured out that there was actually a community of independent filmmakers out there who scraped together money to make their own movies. I loved Dawn of the Dead so much that my first tattoo was the zombie-head logo from the poster. Eventually I became more and more interested in independent filmmakers, who were like the "underdogs" of the movie industry. Right now I'm really into filmmakers like Gareth Edwards, Steven Soderbergh and Adam Green. Those guys are doing the films that they want to make, and I really respect that.
Don't ask me what my favourite films are or I'll give you a list longer than you'll ever be willing to read. It's always my goal to watch at least two movies every day that I haven't seen before. I guess instead of my favorite films, it’d be easier to tell you what I've been watching lately. I just saw a film called Chop, which was an independent horror/comedy. I think that combination of genres is really great. I finally got around to seeing 50/50 and The Lookout. I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a very underrated actor with a lot of potential. I also just watched We Bought a Zoo, which I thought was an extremely well-constructed film. I mean you can tell that my tastes in movies are kind of scattered, but I just love really great stories, and I'm not picky about it. I think that if I watch a movie and I got some form of amusement out of it, then that film did its job.
From left:  David Fichtenmayer, Clay DuMaw and Jesse Maner

Though DuMaw has made a few shorts before this, Get Out Alive is his first feature and he found the experience "stressful, annoying, lonesome, exhausting, scary, exciting, fun, and just all around amazing."
It was everything that I hoped it would be, and I can’t wait to do it again!  During production there were plenty of hardships, just like any other film, yet somehow everything fell into place. I’ve always been the type of person who learns something by trying it, and making Get Out Alive has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life.
Currently finishing up a rough cut of the film, which means he's about to undertake "the 100+ FX shots that need CGI work done to them", he remains undaunted. "The CGI work isn't a very difficult thing for me to do by myself," he commented. "So it should only take a couple of months. Meanwhile, I have a guy scoring the music for the film. After that, all I'll have left to do is redub a few lines, do the Foley recordings and then mix the sound. We hope to have the film done and entered in festivals by late spring / early summer."

Get Out Alive stars David Fichtenmayer, Rhiannon Roberts, David Iannotti, Tyler Sutton, Jesse Maner and Jay Storey, and is written, directed produced and edited by Clay DuMaw, with Tyler Sutton as Assistant Director, and Lighting and Sound by Jesse Maner. Produced by Clay Pigeon Studios and filmed in Cathage, NY, the film had a budget of an estimated $10,000, most of which came from Clay himself -- though an appeal for additional funding on Kickstarter saw $1,443 pledged toward a $500 goal.

Source: Chris Brock and Clay DuMaw via Avery Guerra; Press release.
For more information: Official website; Facebook page; Clay DuMaw's website; video updates; Kickstarter page.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Ape Always Gets the Girl... Sorry, Baseball Bat!

A Brainspasm Exclusive

There was always something strangely attractive about those silly 1940s/1950s B-film horror flicks that feature apes that go on a rampage, their human "occupant" not really hidden by cheap ape-suits that must have seen a lot of action over the years, as they seemed to get increasingly tatty as time went by. Must have been all those blondes they ran around with. Mind you, the fake ape suits work well in comedies of the kind made by The Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello: "Quit monkeying around, Lou!" Hard to take seriously really.

Probably Joel Potrykus, director of Coyote, isn't making that sort of film.

Sob Noisse Movies brings us the upcoming feature film Ape, written and directed by Potrykus. It's his first feature. Once again, Potrykus teams up with Joshua Burge, the star of their super-8 werewolf short “Coyote.” As he did in that film, Burge plays a man with problems, but this time he fights back.




Trevor Newandyke is a struggling small-time comedian. Not only does he bomb on stage, but he bombs in everyday life. To him, it’s the little things that matter most. He’s fed up with the threats from the cable company, 7-11 raising the price of the Slurpee, and all the jerks who think they can push him around. All he wants is a break, and for someone to get him. Not everyone, just someone.
But instead of taking a breath and getting himself together or taking his anger to the stage, he turns to the loud din of his headphones and the crackling glow of fire to ease his mind. He’s not only a lousy comic, but a pyromaniac, as well. After a typical night disappointing the crowd he finds that one of his jokes begins to come to life. A fruit salesman posing as the Devil strikes a bargain with Trevor. A golden apple for a joke.
He treasures the apple, seeing it as a sign or a magical object. But after some troubling news he tells the audience that it’s likely just an apple and meaningless. He decides to just eat it. It’s good, too. Makes Trevor feel something. The next day he finally reaches his boiling point during the clamor of his neighbors fighting.
But instead of hiding behind a match or homemade flame thrower, he instead turns to the baseball bat. He not only hits hard against those in his way, but he finds his voice on stage as well. He tells it like it is. No fluff. From here, Trevor lets go. He’s mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. Of course, deals with the Devil don’t ever turn out well.
Ape hits independent theaters in the summer of 2012 in the US, with a DVD release in October. 

Source: Joel Potrykus via Avery Guerra. Written by Robert Hood.

New: Thoughtful Dead

Thoughtful Dead.... Zombies who always send you a card on your birthday? Who always wash the dishes after dinner? Who let you watch to the end of the movie before they eat your eyeballs? Who let you pee before sending you off into the afterlife (where, of course, there are no toilets)?

Well, not quite.

Thoughtful Dead: The Good and Evil Dead (directed by Ira Cooper) is a short, 10 minute zombie noir film about a zombie, aptly named Brains, who unlike his fellow undead, has retained his ability to think.

"The walking dead do not think," Cooper explained. "They are vermin, an infestation, an annoyance. Brains is possibly the only of his kind who can think. Unable to relate to his undead comrades or speak to people, who see him as a detestable subhuman, he is trapped within his own thoughts, his own internal conversations and a landscape of towering piles of books."


Okay, a thinking zombie? Not quite like a sparkling vampire, but what's the point? Cooper sees the concept of cognizant zombie to have significant metaphorical applicablility.
The idea of a thinking zombie comes from a very true place. Without getting into specifics, there are a plethora problems all around our globe now that fully cognitive and aware human beings are causing or letting happen. Brains, the thinking zombie, hates his own kind for their destructive nature, and yet that is just it -- it's simply their nature to do so. They don't think about killing, they don't pre-conceive destruction, they have not a single forethought. Brains holds up human beings on a plateau and yet when it comes to evil deeds that Brains detests about his own kind, humans are the only one's who can think and are therefore accountable for their actions. So you might say this is a film about the responsibility we have to our world and to others, to be able to think and act on our thoughts. In Brains' universe, zombies are a minority -- slow, thoughtless and easily spotted. The analogy there is obvious and yet it still happens in the smallest ways, where our perception of a group of individuals is jam-packed with pre-conceived notions based on folklore and stereotypes. 
Cooper describes his approach as noir, by which I assume he means shadowy and dark. When we asked, we found it was not only the typical noir film's basic aesthetic he was referring to but also the classic embattled Chandler hero.
Why noir? Well, Brains is stuck in his own head, quite literally, and what better classic gimmick than the ol' loner detective running narrative. Using that convention, I am able to have him converse with himself, as well as speak in a heightened era type of speech, lending itself to his outcast persona. Brains is not the reinvention of the wheel, no, there have been many Brains before. This is just a stylistic tweak on the archetypal tortured soul, in that this victim of circumstance has no soul.
I admit I'm intrigued.

Clearly though it's not all metaphysics. When asked about the production itself Cooper explained that it was being produced by Tape Mouth Films, and that "the cool effects" were variously done some post and some in camera. "All the scars, makeup effects, shot gun holes etc. were designs and put together by my brilliant makeup team," he added. "The flying blood from gun shots, pistols and a lot of the lighting compositions was done in post by me."

Cooper says of himself:
I started off as a little kid with a grandiose imagination who wanted to act. I took every acting class I could find in my city, went to theatre school in University, worked in local theatres here and around. I realised it was the creative forces behind the actors, the words that they say, the scenes that they were stuck in, that I wanted to be a part of.
[My earlier work] was a lot of absurdist comedy. That is what I liked creating in the theatre world, looking to writers like Alfred Jarry and Nickolai Gogol for inspiration. It was the same for my film-world inspirations. I was intrigued by the boundless, limitless ideas of auteurs like Buster Keaton, Luis Bunuel, Guillermo Del Toro and Orson Welles to name a few. I made shorts with my friend Angel under Fortunato Films for short film competitions, with titles like Time's A Dick, Bird Poo, Talk Block and The Immigrants. I also delved into the world of comedic horror, making films such as Ghoulfellas (Best Script), Green Streets and Raging Bieber for the Bloodshots 48 Film Festival.
I started to want to make films more obscure, more Mel Brooks, more off the wall. I wrote and shot a few veiled satires such as Anti Porn, a film about the over-sexualization of relationships and the responsibilities of "being in the moment." I've screened this film many times. It has a few fans and A LOT of polite people approaching me after watching it, saying they had no clue what was going on. I also completed a film dealing with our perception of homelessness, which is very swept under the rug topic in Vancouver. I'm also an avid cyclist, who is working on a film about positive globalization through shared experiences, couch surfing and travel. 
As you can probably tell, I like to write and find it hard to place a stopper at an appropriate point. I never wanted to make a career out of film. There are just too many nasty associations that come along with tainting my love of it as a career. I enjoy working with local filmmakers with no budgets, to evolve ideas as a collective and to make wonderful stories to entertain whoever is willing to watch. I make art so that the audience and artists can benefit and that's the whole concept behind self-financing and self-promoting my own films. I don't promise my crew a simple DVD copy for all their hard work or that I will try to get it into festivals. That simply isn't good enough. 
In this day and age, it is more possible than ever to find creative ways to get your film out there and self distribute. That is my goal with Thoughtful Dead: The Good and Evil Dead -- to get it seen by as many crazed zombie aficionados as possible. That is my inspiration to keep making films, the possibilities that the films in their very nature encapsulate the vibrant human spirit that every soul I work with exudes and puts into each project.

  • Director/Writer/Editor: Ira Cooper
  • DOP: Patrick Shannon
  • First AD: Amanda Wolski
  • Lead Makeup: Andylinn Stockman
  • Makeup: Cayley Giene
  • Makeup: Sapphire Kozak
  • Makeup: Nicole Pilon
  • Catering: Rachel Chiasson
  • Brains: Aslam Husain
  • Terry: Jeff Kaiser
  • Harold/Huckleberry: Teddy Kellogg
  • Maude: Katie Copeland
  • Coriander: Mishelle Cuttler
  • Katie: Barbara Kozicki
  • Finn: Eric Carbery
  • Amethyst Saunar: Intensia the Zombie
  • Bear Mackenzie: Draggie the Zombie
There are also a slew of extras and people who assisted me with this project as well:

  • Mireille Urumuri (Thanks for getting THAT location!!)
  • Victoria Angell and Ian Gustafson - Weapons
  • Julia Franco
  • Ian Torn
  • Kiel Skriver 
  • Juno Nguyen
  • Cory Jong
  • Bronwen Marsden
  • Katie Fournell
Source: Ira Cooper via Avery Guerra. Written by Robert Hood.  Cooper's website.