Thursday, May 29, 2008

Good Karma and the Joys of Moose Jaw

Last month I was up in Canada where a movie I was producing (GRACE) was shooting. When I first got word that we would be shooting in Canada I was really excited as my stops for HATCHET in Montreal and Toronto were some of my best memories of my "Blood and Belt Sanders World Tour '07". But then they told me that we would be shooting in Regina (pronounced like "vagina"). Though my first reaction was to correct the person telling me this ("don't you mean...Regeena?") unfortunately for me and the few thousand people who live is in fact pronounced like "vagina". So after numerous jokes with my friends about me shooting in 'Regina' I was on my way. I woke up early, got my bags all packed and even fully shaved my face for the first time in years. (I figured I'd try the clean shaven look, not to mention the fact that I was hoping with a fresh start- I would be able to make the whole shoot without having to shave once.) So with my face full of open cuts and painful slices... I kissed Rileah goodbye, gave the cats a solid patting, and left.

Now, I can't leave the house without bad shit happening to me. As many of you may remember reading in my various blogs about flying... it never goes like it should. Whether it's a little girl smacking me in the face repeatedly with her doll, a Hassidic Jewish boy vomiting profusely into clear ziplock freezer bags in the seat next to me, or hearing groans and having hand lotion shot all over my arm from the seat in front of me... me and flying just don't mix. But this time- the bad badness found me before I even got on the fucking plane. In fact- I wasn't even fully off of my front step.

It's important to note that I live in a nice section of Hollywood in a residential area by the entrance to a popular canyon/dog park. In almost 8 years of living in this area I have never once been hassled by a homeless person or been made to feel nervous by anything happening in the local vicinity. So you can only imagine the horror on my face when a man who looked like a cross between a USA For Africa commercial and Zelda from PET SEMETERY came charging up to me at full speed screaming "HELP ME, GOD!"

At this point in the story I would like to take the time to acknowledge my brave limo driver who not only dropped my luggage but actually did his Ben Johnson 40 yard dash back into the limo to hide and lock the doors. Thanks, man. I had it covered.

I look at this poor distraught man and thought "what the fuck do I do?" I assumed that by the way he was running and screaming that there must be something far worse coming behind him. Perhaps a robber? A serial killer? A team of rabid Nazi squirrels? No... it was way worse.

"Hello, Sir." He said through panted breathes. "My name is ______ and I am a homosexual man living with full blown AIDS." Instantly my heart went from fear to absolute agony for this poor man. He looked like a skeleton, he was sweating profusely, and his eyes were wide with terror. I asked him what he was running from and what was wrong. "As you can see..." and he turned around ... "I am bleeding profusely from the rectum and I need to get a prescription filled at Rite Aid immediately." Down the back of his pants- fresh blood had collected.


"Please, Sir- I need help! I'm going to die!"

So I asked him- "What do you need?" He held out a doctor's prescription for some pretty pricey medical suppositories. "I need enough money to cover this prescription. I live with my grandmother and she has left town and didn't leave me any money. I can't even get into the house."

Thankfully when I travel, I keep a lot of cash on me. So I took out my wallet and handed him what he needed. His desperation turned to relief and in his joy, he then grabbed me in a bear hug, jumped up and down, and yelled "thank you, oh God, thank you!" He pressed his face against mine, tears in his eyes.

Now, before I completely ruin this touching moment, let me just cut back in time about 25 minutes and remind you of the open cuts ALL OVER MY FACE AND NECK. Now I know the chances of getting any sort of disease through sweat/cuts/contact are pretty much slim to none... but that doesn't mean that I want to risk it. To be completely honest, I'm a fairly stand-off guy when it comes to physical affection from strangers. I don't like people I don't know touching me, hugging me, or kissing me. It's one thing when a female fan wants to hug me at an appearance, kiss me on the cheek, or pose for a picture with their arms around me... not a problem. But I'm not a huge fan of sweaty dudes dry humping me, whether it be at a horror convention or on the street in front of my house... let alone distraught, sweaty AIDS victims with blood all over themselves. For those that have met me at appearances or conventions, you'll notice that I even leave the bottle of anti-bacterial lotion right out there on the signing table. It's not because I think you're dirty... it's because if I have to shake a few hundred hands a day, fly on planes for long stretches, and stay in random hotels every night. I just don't want to get sick or pass it on to every fan who comes up for an autograph. It's just the sanitary thing to do.

So yeah... I sorta freaked out and politely pushed the man away. And of course... he took great offense.

"Sir, it's not like you can get AIDS from me hugging you!"

"No, that's not it!" I explained. "It's just that I'm not a big fan of strangers touching me- I'm weird like that. Just not a real affectionate guy. I didn't mean any offense!" But in my head I'm thinking: YOUR SWEAT IS NOW ALL OVER MY FACE, ARMS, AND NECK! DON'T YOU SEE THE HALF DOZEN OPEN WOUNDS ON MY SKIN YOU ASSHOLE!?

I apologized up and down and told him he didn't need to thank me. Just to take the money and go take care of himself and that I wished him luck.

He ran off down the street, holding the back of his pants, yelling: "You're a good man, Sir! Good karma is going to come to you!"

I got in the limo.

"Everything alright out there?" Said my brave driver.

"Thanks for fucking nothing, douchebag." I said.

He saw the vast amounts of sweat all over me. "Would you like... a towel?"


And I was off on my way to the airport.



So I fly into Calgary where I am supposed to transfer to another flight into Regina. I wait through a 2 hour layover- desperately just wanting to get to my destination and shower/change my clothes. But when I finally go to board the plane, I am stopped by the attendant.

"Sorry sir, this flight is actually overbooked now and you won't have a seat on it. We'll get you out tomorrow morning at 7am, if that's OK with you."


I politely asked: "But... I really need to get there tonight. Why don't I have a seat?"

She responded: "Well this is just how we operate on Air Canada. Most flights are overbooked."


I hung my head. I mean, what was I to expect? An easy, relaxing travel experience? Of course not. I got ready to find a hotel or to just suck it up and sit in the airport all night long.

But then...

"Sir... you can take my seat. I don't need to fly out tonight. I can wait until tomorrow." An old man stepped forward and INSISTED that I take his seat on the plane!

Karma had come to find me!!!!

I arrived in Regina where I was met by one of the local Producers. I was excited beyond belief to get to the hotel and take a shower. But apparently, I had forgotten that they didn't put me in a hotel for this show... they had rented me my own house. Sure, that sounds awesome- but only until the Producer said goodnight and left me there... alone.

That's when I discovered that this house had a basement. Now, I have very few rules in life, but one of them is FUCK BASEMENTS. Nothing "good" has ever happened in a basement. In fact, more often than not, basements are a breeding ground for evil and sin. I don't like them. Some people can appreciate a good basement- I am not one of them.

So I showered and went right to bed. Everything was going great until about 15 minutes later when I could hear the floor boards creaking throughout the house. I wrote about this in a previous blog- but I was pretty much convinced that the souls of dead children were climbing out of the evil basement and looking for me. After all- the only houses that get RENTED are houses that no one wants to live in because of "what happened" there... in the BASEMENT! I know some of you are thinking "but don't you make horror movies? " YES. And that's precisely why I am so good at scaring the living shit out of myself when left alone. Some day I'll tell you about the deformed old man who stands over my bed at night- or the time that my dead eight-year-old self jumped on me in the middle of the night... but this blog is already obscenely long and we still have to cover Moose Jaw.

The next morning I got up, having slept a total of 15 minutes and having lost my voice from screaming out "DAMN YOU TO HELL DEAD KIDS, YOU'LL NEVER GET ME!" all night long. I showed up for the production tech scout with black circles under my eyes and AIDS all over my face.

From that point on, the shoot was pretty much status quo. But then the production rolled into Moose Jaw.

Moose Jaw is sort of like a college town... with no college in it. The local crew that we worked with and the folks that we interacted with on a professional level were all great people. But on one of the nights off, we made the mistake of going out to celebrate some of the crew member's birthdays.

The first bar we went to was a kareoke bar. We sat down, ordered a few Canadian beers and sat back to enjoy the show. It was only then that we realized that the cast of singers all had some sort of disability. In fact, it was as if a special needs field trip had gotten lost and taken these people to a kareoke bar for the night. Singer after singer got up there with some sort of serious legitimate mental handicap or other personal issue. It was just... odd. Awesome for these singers that they were out and living it up- but just not what you typically see in a bar setting.

"Hey you!" I heard an old man speaking loudly. I assumed he couldn't be talking to me, I mean, I don't even know any old men in Moose Jaw.

"You there. In the Metallica shirt." Yep. He was definitely talking to me.

"You want to step outside and fight?" I looked back at him. he was 70.

I smiled, looked at my watched, and smiled again. "Nah. That's OK, thank you."

He looked at the rest of the crew sitting around me. "What about them? Anybody here want to fight?"

"Nah, man. They're good. But thank you." I said.

And he left. He wondered over to another table. And eventually... yes. He found another guy who obliged him outside in a fight. It was sorta sweet... in that Moose Jaw sorta way.

Before I could get invited to any more fights or watch any more of my favorite Celine Dion songs get raped on stage... my group and I left and went to a different bar.

This one was way classier and had much more happening. Like the knife fight on the street in front of the entrance. We made our way past that unscathed, but inside it was all of the worst nights of college drinking rolled into one bar. There was not a person in there that wasn't HAMMERED beyond HAMMERED. And I'm not talking about loud, obnoxious drunks or crying girls saying "am I fat?!" over and over again. I mean- fall down, piss drunk, 'where the fuck did my teeth go' sort of wasted. As we'd say in Boston: "These dudes were fahkin' COCKED, kid!" Within the next 20 minutes we saw FOUR other fights break out.

One of them was between a dude and himself.

He lost.

Cory (one of my producing partners at ArieScope) decided that he was going to stay behind and crash with one of the camera crew guys as (being from Montana) I think he actually felt a touch of home in that bar. He handed me the keys and told me to just drive back to Regina without him.

I said my goodbyes and got me the fuck out of there. I'd like to say that the night's weirdness was over- but it wasn't. I had to drive an hour back to Regina with two Serbian girls that our DP had picked up at church (??!?). Lovely women and quite funny- but once they learned that I had been with my girlfriend for several years they were outraged that I hadn't asked her to marry me yet. So I got chastised the whole way home and schooled on Serbian ways.


I dropped off Team Serbia and finally found my creepy house with the evil basement. I had to piss so bad I could taste it, so I ran up the steps to the door.

Only then did I realize that Cory had only given me the car keys. There were no HOUSE KEYS on the key ring anymore. So I called him. And called him. And called him. It was 4am and he wasn't answering. So I pissed on the front lawn (take that Dead Kids!) and I went to find a hotel. I would have slept in the car- but it was -7 out and that just wasn't going to work.

$150 later, I was in a bed in a hotel room, shutting off the light and going to sleep. (How the fuck any hotel in Regina gets off charging a dude $150 for a room in a Comfort Inn at 5am on a Sunday morning- I don't know. But this guy did.) It was only then that I noticed the text from Cory. "DUDE. HOUSE KEYS ARE IN THE DOOR POCKET."

Fuck you, Cory.

I leave you all now with a collection of set web greetings that we did for a few of the horror websites while we were shooting. Enjoy and I hope that everyone's summers are off to a great start. Lots of news is coming soon but for now, I'm off to write a new movie for D.C. Comics/Warner Brothers about a certain Super Hero that lives in the sea. More on that in a few...

Scream bloody gore-

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Hey everyone,

I'll be writing in soon with an all new blog about the production of GRACE and my colorful experiences living and working up in Regina and Moose Jaw, Canada...but in the meantime, I wanted to share a preview clip from the upcoming documentary THE PSYCHO LEGACY, an in-depth look into the films of the PSYCHO franchise featuring exclusive interviews with cast, crew, and other genre notables- like me!

My friends Rob G. and John Torrani from ICONS OF FRIGHT have been working on this documentary for the past year or so and they just previewed a special 12 minute clip at last month's Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in Los Angeles. Apparently it got a great response from the crowd (I wouldn't know...I was in Moose Jaw) and now you can all see what the fuss was about.

Enjoy- and keep an eye out for news of the documentary's release in the coming months.

Scream bloody gore-

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It’s a girl! Dead kids and bad lasagna...

It's a girl!
No, no, no- don't get excited.  Rileah and I didn't have a baby and there is not one on the way.  (Um...if there's something I don't know, Rileah...please don't leave it as a comment on here, OK?  Just like...tell me when I get home?)

As it was announced in The Hollywood Reporter today, my company ARIESCOPE PICTURES will be producing the new horror film GRACE for first time writer/director Paul Solet.  Without giving away too much, the movie is about a woman (played by CABIN FEVER's Jordan Ladd) who's baby tragically dies in the womb.  When she decides to carry it to term anyway, the baby is actually born alive...and seriously disturbing creepiness ensues.  You guys are gonna LOVE this one.  And for all of the women out there who have given birth to dead babies and had them come back to life...this one's for you.

Before I go any further with this blog- I do want to invite you all to check out Paul Solet's MySpace page, located in my Top Friends.  Give him an "add" and start watching and supporting as this extremely talented guy becomes a rising star.

Inevitably, I am going to get slammed with messages from hundreds of aspiring filmmakers asking me "why him and not me?" or thinking that I am the one who can get their project made.  It would take hours to try and explain exactly how the process works and unfortunatey, hours are not something that I have.  Not to mention the fact that I am by no means a 'film school' or Oz's man behind the curtain who can explain how it all works. But here's what I can tell you about this particular story:

I was at the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors 2006 while appearing to promote HATCHET.  (We had just finished shooting it.)  While I was there, a very close friend of mine (Spooky Dan) mentioned to me that he was heading in to the panel hall to see a short film called GRACE which he had done some visual FX for.  Though I wanted to go in with him, I was very busy talking to horror fans and figured I could see it another time.  Then I noticed more friends making their way in to the panel hall, including Eli Roth who was specifically only there to see GRACE and then get back to work.  Turns out Eli was a childhood friend of Solet's and was kind enough to advise and inspire him through the making of the short film.  But then I saw a guy walking around with a dead baby in his arms, also heading into the panel hall.  It didn't take long to figure out that it was the director.  I was in.  What could ten minutes hurt, right?  Needless to say, I loved it.  I walked away thinking, "That kid's on his way! Awesome."

Cut to 3 months later, at another horror convention of far less stature.  It was their first convention and sadly- the turnout was very, very low as there was no awareness.  My director of Photography Will Barratt, Hatchet's composer Andy Garfield, star Joleigh Fioreavanti and I were bored at our autographing table.  Actually, that's a lie.  We were all staring at Laura Ortiz (from the HILLS HAVE EYES remake) and trying to figure out what a cute 12 year old girl was doing at a horror convention.  She seemed to look just right for a comedy that I am directing soon, so I went up to find out what her deal is.  When I got back to the HATCHET table...Will asked me if I had seen the weird guy with the dead baby passing out fliers for his short film.  In less than a minute I had him convinced to go check out GRACE.  He did.  He loved it. Cut ahead one month later to yet ANOTHER horror convention- this time on the East Coast.  I was talking to my friends from ICONS OF FRIGHT and one of them was mentioning how he had done some make-up FX work on a cool short film.  "What short film?"  I asked.  "It was called GRACE."  I mentioned how much I enjoyed it and within seconds- they had handed me a DVD of the short and the director's contact info.  They couldn't say enough about the feature length version screenplay and insisted that I check it out as I would love it. I watched it yet again, but this time there was a special "making of" where I could really watch Solet work and see who the guy really was.  As I base all of my decisions with my own projects- I only work with people that I want to hang out and be friends with.  And this dude fit the bill.  So I caved and I asked Solet to send me his screenplay. 

I'm not going to lie, I had someone else at ArieScope (Jason, who covers everything first) read the script.  He loved it and his coverage was glowing.  Finally, I read it.  And well- a year and a half we are just 4 days away from principal photography.  ArieScope brought the project to our friends at Anchor Bay.  They got behind it and brought on Leomax Pictures as co-financeers...and together we are all giving birth to baby GRACE.

Taking all of the fateful coincidences out of the picture- what Paul did right is that he had a feature screenplay that he believed in.  Rather than blindly submitting it around (because he thought it was great and he wanted to make it) and getting passed on, he started to put a package together and he EARNED each step along the way.  He had a compelling short film that was essentially his first act condensed into 4 minutes.  It was a short that left you wanting to see more.  The short was accepted to DOZENS of film festivals, won awards, garnered critical acclaim, and eventually- the eye of people who were in a position to try and help make it happen.  He did all of the conventions and he did the festival circuit...wandering around with a dead baby in his arms passing out fliers and asking folks politey to give his film a watch.  So when you ask "how did he do it"...that's the VERY short story of how he spent the past 4 years trying to get his film made.  And as everyone who reads these blogs knows- nothing impresses me more than artists who have CLASS and the drive to do it themselves rather than waiting for a hand-out or wasting time bitching about how the system is "unfair" and Hollywood only makes crap.  While I am glad to have been able to use what clout I may have to help get the film taken seriously and financed- it is Paul Solet who did the hard work and who is the one who is going to make an amazing movie.  Because if he doesn't...Victor Crowley will cut his head off.  No pressure.

Before you write to me asking for advice, I recommend a book called THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO PRODUCERS, DIRECTORS, AND SCREENWRTER'S AGENTS by Skip Press.  It is fairly dated now, but it is the first book I ever found that truly details the ins and outs of submitting your material the appropriate way- both legally and professionally.  Hell, it even lists some real contact info at the end of it.  So before you say "that's bullshit that no one will read my stuff" up on WHY they won't.  Then figure out your way around it. 

Anyway- three cheers for Paul Solet- another little guy who made it happen and who deserves everything he has coming his way.  You should see what a pro he is and how much his crew already adores him.  I wish there was a word stronger than "proud", because that's what I am.  And I'm honored to be a part of it. So, all of that being I am in Regina, Canada (which is pronounced like "Vagina" and makes me giggle.)  Though the people are wonderful- the food is...not so much.  Last night I got some lasagna and it was simply noodles, tomato sauce, and melted slices of Kraft American cheese on top.  Thank God for peanut butter and jelly and Cocoa Pebbles.  I'm sure I'll be full of observations about Canada and the towns of Moose Jaw and Regina by the time I leave...but for now let me just tell you about the house I am living in up here...

I am staying in an older house by myself.  It's a terrific house and I'm very happy to be here.  However, I watch way too many horror movies and it's finally hit the point of scaring me.  (Thanks a lot, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.)  My first night here, I shut off the lights and then started hearing creaking and banging in the house.  Now, during the daytime it would easily be dismissed as the house settling or the heat turning on.  But at night, alone?  It could be nothing else but the ghosts of dead children who were murdered in the basement coming up the stairs to get me.  I mean, after all...what am I, stupid?  Do you not think I realize that a beautiful house like this does not get "rented out" unless people are afraid to live in it because of "what happened"?  Sorry folks, but I'm smarter than that and there was no way I was going to let "them" get me.  Those silly Reginians tried setting me up as a sacrifice to the ghosts of the dead children!  Not this time, buddy! 

So I sat up in bed and yelled out "I know you are out there dead children! And I'll have you know that not only am I not scared of you- but that the power of Christ compels you!"  (I've seen enough horror movies to know how to stop this sort of shit.)  And that's how I spent my entire night.  Not sleeping- but shouting insults at the evil out-of-body entities that were trying to snatch my soul in my sleep.  "That's!  In the closet!  I can see you!  You're not sneaking up on anyone, Pal!"  Stupid dead kids and their spooky antics. I was tired the next day having not slept a wink.  But I am alive.  Goddamnit, I am alive.  And those creepy dead fuckers haven't gotten me yet. I think I have it under control- but if someone could please summon TAPS...I could use their services up here in Regina.  (Heh-heh..."Regina"!)

There's many more Canadian experiences to share and TONS of news on upcoming projects coming real, real soon.  So check back often.  And in the meantime- I'm off to research about the Indian burial ground underneath my house.  There were Indians in Regina, right?  Weren't they the "Brave Regina's"?  (Haha!)

Love to you all-