Friday, July 3

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #39 - House on Haunted Hill

In this week's episode of the Fantastic Films of Vincent Price Doc Gangrene takes a look at the 1959 William Castle film, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL. Vincent Price plays Frederick Loren, an eccentric millionaire who invites five strangers to spend the night in a creepy mansion - but there's a catch. The place is haunted... and the spirits are restless...



About this series:
Dr. Gangrene, Physician of Fright and Award-winning Nashville-based TV Horror Host (aka writer/film historian Larry Underwood) explores the films of the merchant of menace, Vincent Price, in chronological order from first to last, approaching them from a scholarly perspective, offering commentary, review and criticism.


Thursday, June 25

VINCENT PRICE LONDON LEGACY TOUR 2015

VINCENT PRICE LONDON LEGACY TOUR 2015
 NOVEMBER 4-6, 2015

This coming November, a celebration of the life and career of horror movie icon Vincent Price will take place in London, England, hosted by the late actor’s daughter Victoria Price and award-winning film blogger and Price expert, Peter Fuller.



Tickets are on sale now. For full details go to:
http://vincentpricelegacy.uk

Events include:
    •    Theatre of Blood at Kensal Green Cemetery | Film Location Tour
    •    Cry of the Banshee at Grim’s Dyke | Lunch & Tour
    •    The Last Man on Earth with Animat | Performance & Film
    •    Vincent Price: Master of Menace, Lover of Life | Talk & Film Screening
    •    A Treasury of Great Recipes at Harrods | UK Book Launch, Tour & Breakfast
    •    Witchfinder General | Film Location Tour

WITCHFINDER GENERAL FILM LOCATION TOUR
Full-day tour of the film locations used in 1968's Witchfinder General, visiting the medieval town of Lavenham in Suffolk and magnificent 16th-century Kentwell Hall, where you'll discover the terrifying real-life story of Matthew Hopkins.

HE'S THE MASTER CHEF WITH A TASTE FOR TERROR
Celebrate the UK launch of the 50th anniversary edition of the ghoulish gourmet's A Treasury of Great Recipes with a breakfast tour of Harrods Foods Halls.

MASTER OF MENACE, LOVER OF LIFE
Horror movie icon, fine arts expert, gourmet cook and urbane lecturer… and devoted dad. Victoria Price pays tribute to her father at a suitably scary London location.

GRIM'S DYKE - LONDON HAUNT OF THE KINGS OF HORROR
Return to the London film location where Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee filmed some of their most memorable horror film classics!


It promises to be a fantastic time, so make plans now! And remember to visit http://vincentpricelegacy.uk for full details and to purchase tickets.

Friday, June 19

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #38 - The Fly

What's the buzz you've been hearing about? Why episode #38 of The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price, of course, featuring a look at the 1958 scifi classic, THE FLY!




Price plays Francoise Delambre, brother to scientist Andre who experiments with teleportation, inadvertently gaining a passenger on his trip - an ordinary housefly -  resulting in a hideous accident that mixes his genes with the fly's...

About this series:
Dr. Gangrene, Physician of Fright and Award-winning Nashville-based TV Horror Host (aka writer/film historian Larry Underwood) explores the films of the merchant of menace, Vincent Price, in chronological order from first to last, approaching them from a scholarly perspective, offering commentary, review and criticism.

Music: "Backed Vibes", "Hot Swing"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Opening Credits Artwork: Used by permission from Mark Maddox, http://www.maddoxplanet.com/

All film clips © respective studios and used purely for academic purposes and Fair Use under Copyright Act 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107

Tuesday, June 16

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #37 - The Story of Mankind

In this episode your host Dr. Gangrene takes a look at the 1957 Warner Brothers film, THE STORY OF MANKIND, featuring Vincent Price as The Devil and Ronald Coleman as the Spirit of Mankind, debating the merits of mankind's existence before a tribunal in the heavens, lead by the High Judge (Cedrick Hardwicke). A quirky film full of stock footage and recycled clips from previous films, Price's performance as the devil is nevertheless entertaining.



Based on a novel of the same name by Hendrick Van Loon, the main selling point for this film is the incredible number of stars in it. Take a look at the Press book, and you'll see lots of familiar faces, including everyone from Dennis Hopper to the Marx Brothers.









About this series:
Dr. Gangrene, Physician of Fright and Award-winning Nashville-based TV Horror Host (aka writer/film historian Larry Underwood) explores the films of the merchant of menace, Vincent Price, in chronological order from first to last, approaching them from a scholarly perspective, offering commentary, review and criticism.

Friday, June 12

Christopher Lee, HORROR Star?

I had a facebook friend clue me in to following video. 
Listen to the first few sentences from TCM host Ben Mankiewicz ..




Now I don't know what criteria he is using to define a horror movie, but it sure isn't the same one I would use. He claims Christopher Lee only made 15 horror movies in his close to 300 total films. I made just a quick sweep through his IMDB page, and came up with the list below. Even throwing out such horror/comedies as Gremlins 2 and Dark Shadows, as you'll see, there are way more than 15 horror films below, and I'm sure I probably missed a few as I was going through it pretty quickly.

Your thoughts?

CORRIDORS OF BLOOD
HORROR OF DRACULA
CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN
THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH
THE MUMMY
TWO FACES OF DR JEKYLL
THE CITY OF THE DEAD
SCREAM OF FEAR 

ALIAS JOHN PRESTON
 HORROR CASTLE
THE WHIP AND THE BODY
CRYPT OF THE VAMPIRE
CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD
THE GORGON
DR TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORROR
THE SKULL
DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS
ISLAND OF THE BURNING DAMNED
BLOOD FIEND
PSYCHO CIRCUS
THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR SADISM
THE DEVIL RIDES OUT
DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE
CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTER
THE OBLONG BOX
SCARS OF DRACULA
THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD
I, MONSTER
DRACULA AD 1972
HORROR EXPRESS
DARK PLACES
THE CREEPING FLESH
SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA
WICKER MAN
RAW MEAT
TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER
DRACULA AND SON
THE KEEPER
MEATCLEAVER MASSACRE
TALES OF THE HAUNTED
HOUSE OF LONG SHADOWS
HOWLING II
MASK OF MURDER
TALE OF THE MUMMY
BURKE AND HARE
THE WICKER TREE

THE RESIDENT

Thursday, June 11

Off Script with Indy Director Henrique Couto

 "Money is just a problem to be solved, filmmaking is all about problem solving. If you only have 200 bucks, then make a 200 dollar movie" - Henrique Couto


Greetings Henrique! Welcome to the lab here - great speaking with you again!

So happy to be here sir!



You and I first met years ago when you were hosting a television show as "Dr. Freak," the world's youngest horror host, at an all-night movie marathon being held in Dayton, hosted by A. Ghastlee Ghoul. Tell me about that experience, making a show at such a young age.

Cult theater was absolutely a labor of love, I was just 12 years old when I started shooting episodes, I was learning a lot about how to make videos and cobbling together a crew. Between finding crew, trial and error, and needing my mother to shuttle me around to get things done it was really quite the undertaking.


What lessons do you think you learned doing that show that carried over to Indy film making?

The biggest lesson to be learned there was how to schedule a shoot, call up all your crew and get started first thing in the morning. For a pre-teen that’s a pretty impressive thing, to be so motivated. But I made some mistakes, huge mistakes, luckily most of those are lost in the cable access ether for no one to find.


 

So how long after the horror host show did you make your first film, or was there an overlap?

My first short films were a few years after I started doing cable access TV shows, along side the Cult Theater show I also dabbled in a variety show and a talk show. All of these were great training grounds along with having filmmaker Andrew Copp as a mentor during that time. I had managed to purchase my own video equipment at 15 so from there I spent less and less time on TV shows and more and more time learning how to make movies.

What is the main difference in the two ventures?

In those days TV shows had a lot less permanence to them, they weren’t likely to be kept by the audience unless they taped them off of television. It was easy to spit a show out and not look back. When I was making short films I had to factor in that people would own copies of them. It made me want to try to up my quality to really give people value as best I was capable.

Who were your inspirations, creatively speaking, as both a horror host and a film maker (I am sure Barry Hobart, aka Dr. Creep, played a big part, as well as Bob Hinton, A. Ghastlee Ghoul)?

Barry and Bob were huge parts of my creative beginnings, they inspired as well as encouraged me to work hard and keep creating. By far my biggest influence as a young man was Andrew Copp, he had a huge hand in guiding me through technical and artistic elements of video and film production.



Your first movie was HEADCHEESE. Tell me about that. You wrote, directed, shot, edited - even starred in it. Was that out of necessity?

I think that was my first movie that was over 60 minutes long, but it was most certainly a backyard zero-budget affair. I did as many jobs as I could on it because I was the only one with the time to dedicate, so I would pull whatever weight had to be pulled to get the film done. Some call it tireless work ethic, I call it insanity. I gathered a group of my friends together for 4 days during spring break and we just filmed every single day. No script, some fake blood, and a lot of energy. That’s how we made that flick.

What are your thoughts looking back on it 12 years later?

I think the movie showed a lot of promise, it showed a lot of talent starting to be cultivated, but at the end of the day it was a 16 year olds movie that literally took place mostly in the backyard. I am proud of it because I remember how much fun it was realizing I had found something I loved so deeply.



So your next project was an anthology, FACES OF SCHLOCK, in 2005. Was the decision to work with other directors for individual segments born out of the experience of Headcheese? Or perhaps a  way just to get the project finished quicker?

Faces of Schlock was about wanting to make a feature length project quickly and cheaply with filmmakers I had become great friends with. We loved being packaged together and worked tirelessly to bring it together. We loved it so much, we did it a few more times in fact! That first one had Andrew Shearer and Chris LaMartina on it, after that we brought on Justin Channell and really went over the top.




Talk about the pros and cons of working with other directors.

The pros are without a doubt getting together varied voices. Each person and their team brought a totally different voice to the project which made it much more interesting. The con of course is just keeping everything on track, so much can happen in people’s lives myself included. Any one of us having a major life issue could halt production.




Your next films were SATAN'S HOUSE OF YOGA, and FACES OF SCHLOCK 2, both also made in 2005. Then you took a break until 2011. Why the long break between projects?

Satan’s House of Yoga was actually never completed, but I can’t get that IMDb page taken down. That was the only film I never quite managed to pull together. Faces of Schlock 2 was actually followed by my first full blown soley directed feature film Marty Jenkins and the Vampire Bitches.

After Marty Jenkins I got a job for a film studio call Alternative Cinema and moved across the country, from there I spent a few years learning the business and trying to get new films off the ground. In 2008 I produced a reboot of Faces of Schlock with the original directors that was more high quality and marketable. Then in 2009 I began production on Bleeding Through, which got stuck in Post-production hell until nearly 2011.

The reason for this break is very simple, I fell into a serious crippling depression. I had no job, no money and had completely lost my desire to do anything that made me happy. I spent months on the couch feeling sorry for myself, feeling like a failure, and trying to pull myself back up. Which I did, and I haven’t stopped since.




Your next project was a short film called COMPLETELY DEFECTIVE, 2011. This was your first film working off someone else's script. How was it working with another writer's material?

Completely Defective was a short film I did with Faces of Schlock alum Andrew Shearer, it was a fun experience and Andrew was on set with me so it was very easy to get the film up to both of our visions. He and I have very similar attitudes on story and humor so it was a perfect fit.

 

This was also your first HD film, shot widescreen. I assume you upgraded your gear during the break between films?

Actually Bleeding Through was my first film shot in HD, but it came out on home video later than this short was released. That being said, I actually shot Completely Defective on the equipment I bought to make Depression: The Movie. I saved every dime I could, got a job, finished Bleeding Through, premiered it, and started to realize people wanted to see what I had to say. After I rolled camera on Depression: The Movie, I never stopped.


BLEEDING THROUGH deals with the subject of suicide, a tough subject. The following year Andy Copp committed suicide, and I know it was a huge blow to the Dayton movie scene. Talk more about Andy Copp if you would. I met him at that Dayton movie marathon when I first met you. Extremely talented guy, don't know if anyone knew how troubled he was.

Andy was my best friend. He was my main male role model growing up, he was my mentor, and frequent collaborator later on. When I came back to Dayton Ohio Andy got me a job with him working at an access station, I saw him every day for 2 years, then one day he was gone. It was the most heartbreaking moment of my entire life, I saw him the day before he died. Everyone that knew Andy knew he had struggles with bi-polar disorder, but he had kept secret just how bad thing had gotten when he finally decided to take his own life. For all of his problems he was generally a funny and light hearted person, very very giving and sweet. I miss Andy every single day, I never knew that you could actually miss someone every single day until Andy died. Nothing has ever been the same for me or the many many people who he touched with his work and his good nature.


Your next film was DEPRESSION, also in 2012. You wrote both BLEEDING THROUGH and DEPRESSION - what do you feel led you to explore such dark subject matter at that point in your life?

When I wrote Bleeding Through in 2008 I didn’t realize how depressed I was, I wouldn’t figure that out until years later. I had done a horror-comedy before that and I wanted to explore something darker and more experimental. I made a movie about a woman who ruined her life via crippling anxiety and depression, and after it was shot I started ruining my life with crippling anxiety and depression.





Depression: The Movie was my comeback film, after Bleeding Through had gotten great reviews and national distribution I realized that if I got up off the couch and believed in myself I could accomplish amazing things. I spent every dime I had in the world and made Depression. It was a humorous look at sad elements of life. I had so much I wanted to get off my chest when I did it, I think it’s possible my best work simply because I was working so much sickness out of myself at the time.

Depression: The Movie was life voodoo, depression had harmed me so much over the years I changed what the word meant. Not when I heard “depression” I don’t just think of misery, I think of a movie that I couldn’t be more proud of.





Your next film was a return to the slasher genre, BABYSITTER MASSACRE, 2013. I was looking at the message boards on IMDB and the headline for the first post says, "Excellent Movie." The next one says, "Terrible Movie." Any time you put a work of art into the world, it's tough, as you are exposing yourself as a creative individual. How do you feel about critics, fans, and criticisms of your work, both positive and negative?

Babysitter Massacre was me getting back into the game, ready to make films and get them out into the market. Babysitter Massacre was the last independent feature to be on the shelves of Blockbuster before they closed, so I think I did something right. Alternative Cinema financed and distributed the film shortly after releasing Bleeding Through. It was my first film that started me on the path to really being a film professional.

Critics are tough, they can be wonderful and supportive and completely make you feel like you have done everything right in your life. They can also take everything you love about your work away and make you feel like you don’t ever deserve to flip burgers. No matter how long I do this job every single negative review breaks my heart a little, but I can handle it because that’s the job. I just prefer when they are constructive rather than destructive. Luckily the fans have been amazing, they love the work and are so kind and generous with their support.





Talk about your next film, A BULLDOG FOR CHRISTMAS. I haven't seen this one, but am intrigued. Tell me about that one, and how was the reception for your first non-horror feature?

I did Bulldog immediately following Babysitter Massacre with the same cast and crew but boy was it a world apart.

This wasn’t my first non-horror feature, Depression: The Movie was, but it was my first family friendly film and I was worried no one would want it. The response was HUGE on it, it was my first film shot entirely on professional industry standard cameras and lenses and it sold HUGE. It went to Wal-Mart, Family Video and even played Sony Movie Network in the United Kingdom!

I wanted to make a marketable Christmas movie that satisfied my desire for sentimental drama and broad comedy, so I wrote a script that was full of heartfelt family dynamics and a talking dog. It was the first film I made after Andy Copp had died and it is completely tinged with it. The theme of Bulldog is loss, it is about a family who misses their grandfather and how some of them cannot function properly without him. You wouldn’t expect so much depth for a talking dog movie, but that’s what I did and I am so proud of that film.


You are now working full-time as a film maker, supporting yourself solely through your work. How difficult was that leap to make, and how does that feel?

Being a filmmaker for a living was incredibly scary, it isn’t a very stable job but it is what I love to do the most in the world. I was fired from a job I hated in cable access television suddenly and kind of pushed into it and I am so glad it happened. I haven’t looked back and my first year had ups and downs but it is going great.


All of your newer projects have bigger budgets. Do you use crowd funding to raise those, or have you found investors? What are your thoughts on crowd funding, and what advice do you have for other filmmakers on raising money for features?

I crowd fund about one feature film per year, and I always make it something special, like a heartfelt comedy or an intense offbeat drama. Something that isn’t easy to market but that I want to make solely for the love of filmmaking. It’s been incredibly humbling to see people support my work so tirelessly. Most of my other features are financed by investors or studios, but sometimes I pull out my check book and put my money where my mouth is.

If you want to raise money to make a movie you are getting too far ahead of yourself. You need to make a movie to prove yourself before anyone should be expected to shell out their hard earned money. Money is just a problem to be solved, filmmaking is all about problem solving. If you only have 200 bucks, then make a 200 dollar movie. Get out there, start working and get yourself noticed. Never let anything stop you.




What's your favorite part of the film process? Writing? Shooting? Editing?

My favorite part is by far shooting/directing. I don’t hate writing or editing, but I truly love producing and directing. I love being on set and the speedy spontaneous creativity that we get to experience. If I could be on set every single day, I would totally go for it.



Your most recent two films are both Westerns, JESSE JAMES: LAWMAN and CALAMITY JANE'S REVENGE. I'm a huge Western fan, and really glad to see the genre receiving something of a renaissance lately. What were some of the challenges of shooting a period piece?

I didn’t direct Jesse James: Lawman, but I was a director of photography on a it.

Shooting a western had lots of challenges including horses, costumes, props, makeup, and weather. Weather was the worst by far, shooting mostly exteriors gave lots of chances for us to get rained on and we did a few times. The biggest problem with a period piece was hiding power lines, modern roads, and airplanes in the sky. But you just go out there and shoot and do the best you can on the limited funds and schedule you have.



You always screen your films in a local theater for cast and crew when they're finished for their WORLD PREMIERE. That must be a great experience, watching your work projected on the big screen with an appreciative crowd.

Nothing will ever beat showing your work to an excited crowd, hearing them laugh or scream where you want them to. That is how you really get the chance to feel like a successful director.


Do you enjoy the marketing side of the business, promoting the films and going to conventions?

I have always enjoyed marketing my work, I love the movies I make and I love connecting them with the people who would enjoy them. I think all of my success could be attributed to my promotion and marketing efforts which I have always taken into my own hands.






Finally, what are some projects you have lined up or would like to pursue in the future?

I am shooting a romantic comedy called Making Out in about a month, I can’t wait! It’s a story I have had bouncing around my head for several years and I just love hitting new genres. I have two other films lined up but I just can’t talk about them quite yet.


Thanks for spending some time here in the haunted lab, Henrique. Watch our for the vampire bats on the way out, they haven't been fed lately.

Damn bats always get in my hair.

Showoff! To find out more about Henrique look him up on Facebook or find him on YouTube 
Thanks again, Henrique.




Farewell Christopher Lee

 

It was announced today that the last of the old guard, Sir Christopher Lee, passed away this past Sunday, June 7, 2015. And so passes a true Hollywood legend and horror icon, best remembered for the score of films he appeared in for HAMMER STUDIOS, including CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and HORROR OF DRACULA. It is too difficult to pick just one favorite from among the close to 300 he appeared in, but a few are HORROR HOTEL (aka CITY OF THE DEAD), THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, and THE WICKER MAN.

Here's to Christopher Lee, a true legend of the silver screen.





Thursday, June 4

Artist William C. Cope



One of the best things about Wonderfest is reconnecting with old friends - AND making new ones. And that's just what happened during the Rondo Award celebration, when I met William C. Cope in person. William won BEST FAN ARTIST in this year's Rondos, and introduced himself while we were posing for a group photo. We were already Facebook friends, but it turns out he also lives in Murfreesboro TN, just down the road an hour or so from me. We discussed staying in touch and working together on projects in the future, as well as what Drive-ins are in the area (Murfreesboro is about to get a brand new one soon)



Today William surprised me by sending this AWESOME portrait of Dr. Gangrene. It was a complete surprise, and I was floored. Very honored to say the least! You are one talented fella, William - the Rondo couldn't have gone to a more worthy candidate!

Be sure to check out his Facebook page and see his amazing work for yourself - and give it a "like" while you're at it, cause his stuff rocks! Thanks again William!








Wednesday, June 3

Long Live the Indies!

I read the SALON article yesterday titled America’s next Wal-Mart: The indie film industry by Beanie Barnes and honestly, I don’t think I could have disagreed more. In it she proposes that too many Indy films are causing a glut to the system and there should actually be fewer Indy films made, for the good of the whole.



Read the article for yourself if you haven’t here:
http://www.salon.com/2014/02/22/americas_next_wal_mart_the_indie_film_industry/

But here’s the thing – Beanie is an industry professional. This entire rant smacks of desperation. Industry insiders are scared to death that the playing field is being leveled more day by day. Initially it was the studio system that kept the infidels at bay, then the scarcity of professional equipment, and finally, the cost of creating a feature was just too inhibitive. The haves were in control and the have-nots couldn't play in their field.

But you know what? Each and every one of those barriers has collapsed – equipment is now affordable for the common person, alternative channels are open for distributing work, and crowdfunding has made anyone capable of raising funds. Studios are worried, and this article is a prime example of elitist mentality. They are losing CONTROL, and that is what this article is really about.

Beanie tries peppering the article with scare tactics and comparisons to the evils of Reagonomics and Wal-Mart. It’s actually laughable, because the agenda on display is so transparent.

Power to the people. Artists will create, and this genie is already out of the bottle. People like Beanie can whine and complain all they like, doesn’t change the fact that thousands of amazing films, documentaries, and shorts are produced yearly by people well outside the studio system, with no thought other than creating an artistic vision and ENTERTAINING viewers.

And you know what – that’s a beautiful thing.

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