Monday, December 20, 2010

Vampire of the Week #4: The Serbian Vampire Pumpkin (Alex Van Helsing)



Share/Bookmark

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nature Chick: Humans are still decent

Nature Chick: Humans are still decent: "I saw a news reel on Yahoo News this morning about a homeless man who returned $3,300 and a lost backpack from a light rail car in Tempe, Ar..."

Share/Bookmark

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Another douchey contest to rip off screenwriters

I didn't say it. Reading between the lines of Script Mag's review of the new Amazon Studios contest. I would NOT submit my material to it.

Share/Bookmark

Mel's Hollywood Feminist of the Day is Ryan Gosling!

An excellent media quote from actor Ryan Gosling defending women in Melissa Silverstein's brilliant WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD blog. Thank you for being our hero, Ryan!!!

Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New review of The Commune from Horrorphilia

We'll be doing a podcast with them soon, too!

Review link.

Share/Bookmark

Black Swan

I absolutely adored this movie. I felt enthralled, even breathless in some scenes.

Director Darren Aronofsky brilliantly blends several genres to keep the audience as on their toes as the athletes we are observing. The surprise of not knowing which genre will be drawn from next, as well as the wonderful details of everyday ballet life add up to an unbearable tension. It is a huge achievement that in cinematic world where audiences are conditioned to see bigger and bigger torture scenes, Aronofsky can make an entire theatre audibly gasp and hide their eyes at real-life dancer wounds like a split toenail and a long hangnail.

Why these scares work is because of the wonderful sound design, creative and flawless CGI, and expert stalking camera work that thrusts us into the lead character's pointe shoes. Aronofsky forces empathy with techniques I haven't seen since Silence of the Lambs made us see through Clarice's eyes. The scene on the subway where the dirty old man comes on to Portman's character is reason enough for every man who wants to understand a woman to see this film.

Portman gives the best performance of her career, and lives up to the promise we all saw in LEON. Her baggage of growing up onscreen to be a competent, passionless performer is integrated seamlessly into this role and the theme of the movie: the masochism of being a female performer in a misogyinistic world.

The result is a sublime, frightening fairy tale that accurately captures the dog eat dog ballet world, what it's like to be a modern female artist constrained within misogynistic institutions like the acting and ballet world, and the transcendent freedom that artists feel only onstage as they lose themselves in the shamanism of channeling The Role of Their Lifetime.

Why we pay to watch them jump into the abyss for our voyeuristic pleasure is a whole other movie.

Give it a chance, go along for the ride, and AVOID THE TRAILER.

Share/Bookmark

A great horror night in San Diego!

Brought to you by our good friend Miguel Rodriguez, founder of Horrible Imaginings Film Festival and the man behind Monster Island Podcast!


Share/Bookmark

Catherine Hardwicke's next genre film

Little Red Riding Hood. March 2011. Looks like another genre bender with a potentially empowering female lead. Fingers crossed.

Share/Bookmark

Monday, November 15, 2010

Night of the Hell Hamsters

Another brilliant short you can watch free online. Funny, but definitely horror from a gifted filmmaker.

Share/Bookmark

You're a pretty good short filmmaker...

...when you can generate suspense using teddy bears as your thespians. Kudos to DAY OF THE TED. Yes, it's free online! And quite funny.

Share/Bookmark

Friday, November 12, 2010

Watch Terry Gilliam's latest

Even the masters are moving to online shorts sponsored by corporations. The wave of the future.

I feel both pain at the corporate tag, and pleasure that another filmmaker is getting paid to work in these perilous times. Get used to it.

The Legend of Hallowdega
by Terry Gilliam
An Amp Energy Juice Film

Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Our last LA screening of THE COMMUNE!

*****We've NEVER DONE THIS!!!!

Buy a ticket to our last LA screening and get a FREEEEE autographed DVD of THE COMMUNE!

They're signed by me and wrapped in plastic...one less holiday gift for you to buy!

The Valley Film Festival
THIS FRIDAY, November 12th
7:30 pm

The Commune- Promo for The Valley Film Festival from The Commune Movie on Vimeo.


Share/Bookmark

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Massively thrilled to be planning for Women in Horror Month!!!

Because February is right around the corner, it's time for female genre filmmakers and the men who love them to go from a whisper to a scream. WE EXIST!!!!

Share/Bookmark

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October Herror Fest: Directress #11

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a feature by another director who doesn't exist:

Hope Perello

Hope began her brief career as a producer of 80s horror films CATACOMBS and PUPPETMASTER: THE LEGACY and as the assistant director on NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET: PART 4. In 1991 she directed the straight to DVD sequel HOWLING 6, and infused it with gothic style and a feminist sensibility. Good luck finding any info on Hope on the web...and it's almost as tough to find her horror movie HOWLING 6, which by many accounts is the best sequel in the series.

Though she appears to have disappeared more thoroughly than any other invisible directress featured in Herror Fest, I can attest Hope did once exist: I auditioned for her in the 90s.



Wikipedia entry
Joe Bob Brigg's review of HOWLING 6

Rental Suggestions: Howling 6

Share/Bookmark

October Herror Fest: Directress #10

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a feature by another director who doesn't exist:

Doris Wishman

Exploitation director/producer/writer/actress Doris Wishman had a prolific career from the 60s to the 80s directing thirty feature films, often under male aliases. Her career began in nudies with titles like KEYHOLES ARE FOR PEEPING, and ended with the horror film A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER in 1983 after much of the movie's footage had been destroyed. Her Ed Woodian style included non-synch dialogue, crazy jazz music, and odd-looking bad actors.

Whether or not her work was feminist, there's no doubt Doris's occupation as a B Movie directress was. She managed to create some offbeat, creative genre work from a woman's point of view (penis transplant, anyone?). At ninety years old she staged a comeback with the comedy DILDO HEAVEN, released the year of her death.

"After I die I will be making movies in hell!" - Doris Wishman

Rental Suggestions: A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER
Article: Interesting Motherfuckers



Share/Bookmark

Monday, October 11, 2010

October Herror Fest: Directress #9

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a feature by another director who doesn't exist:

Maya Deren

No one has had a more profound effect on filmmaking and filmmakers with a smaller body of work than this Mother of the Avant Garde. Sometimes credited with revolutionizing Mise en Scene, at the least everyone agrees that the legendary rabble rousing intellectual/artist/actress/theorist/voodoo priestess is still worthy of dissection and study in film school for her crucial work on Symbolist film poetry, self expression and her invention of "Creative Geography".

Professional deconstructionist guru Robert McKee has the most right-on evaluation I've ever read of the meaning of MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON. In his famous GENRE MASTERPIECE class, he breaks it down shot by shot to prove his thesis that Maya Deren was expressing every woman's fear that a female artist who marries will los her identity and bring death to her creativity...Ironically, she shot the film with her first husband Alexander Hammid in 1943 and didn't officially finish it until a decade later with her third husband (a much younger composer named Teiji Ito who added the striking and haunting score).





MESHES is a gorgeously lyrical and primal fear-stoking short film that bats away the male gaze, and has influenced everyone from Jaques Torneau to David Lynch to, well...me. Watching MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON in film school at 18 was life-changing. When we went to shoot Jenny's nightmare sequences in THE COMMUNE I pulled stills from MESHES.

Further suggestions:
Read: ESSENTIAL DEREN: COLLECTED WRITINGS ON FILM
Maya Deren, Pioneer of the American Avant Garde Movement
Watch:
AT LAND Shot in 1944, AL is another dream-like classic about the fight to keep one's personal identity. Unmissable for the crazy-ass goggles and big foot scene. Just watch it.
Rent: DIVINE HORSEMEN: THE LIVING GODS OF HAITI
Documentary IN THE MIRROR OF MAYA DEREN

And if you live in NYC you JUST missed the sixth month MOMA exhibit on Deren. Argh!

Share/Bookmark

October Herror Fest: Directress #8

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a feature by another director who doesn't exist:

Marion Kerr

Already a working actress/producer/writer, Marion Kerr added feature film director to her resume this year with her debut film GOLDEN EARRINGS. The intimate thriller made its world premier at my alma mater DANCES WITH FILM FESTIVAL (don't they have good taste?) and played last weekend at my friend and sometimes producing partner Jed Hammel's brand new festival FILMSHIFT in Boston.

GOLDEN EARRINGS also played Big Bear Lake International Festival, and won Best Horror Feature at IndieFest!

Where it DIDN'T play was at Shriekfest, Screamfest, Fantasticfest, Toronto After Dark, and all the other genre festivals that continue to assert there aren't great horror movies by female writers/directors.

But their loss is our gain. You can watch GOLDEN EARRINGS right now on my distributor's site INDIEFLIX.com for $4.95. Or you can buy the DVD through their site for $14.99...it comes with lots of goodies!





And my good friend and indie film supporter Nic Baisley at FILM SNOBBERY has a great video interview with Marion here.

Share/Bookmark

October Herror Fest: Directress #7

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a feature by another director who doesn't exist:

Aya Tanimura

You supporters are really digging the directors who have work available to see online, so here is Aya's 2010 short U-2074. Shot for $1500 in four days, U-2074 is a creepy installment for our October Herror Fest month. The dialogue was all a requirement of the Philip;s Parallel Line contest, but look at those Canon 5D visuals and the wonderful tension Aya creates! Her photography background is evident.

Aya's resume includes directing a documentary feature for Bill and Melinda Gates and being a top 5 contender in a different contest (Peter Jackson's YOUR BIG BREAK; follow the link to see that short). I'm sure we'll be hearing more from Aya soon...and hopefully in our favorite genre.

Also of note is U-2074 female Director of Photography Polly Morgan. Hollywood hires even less woman cinematographers than it does directors (I believe the percentage is around 3%)...so check out her beautiful portfolio here.


A big shout out to first-time horror screenwriter Julia Camara, whom I met five years ago in UCLA screenwriting. Julia wrote and directed the award winning short comedy NEVER ODD OR EVEN.

She also wrote a sci-fi feature film AREA Q which stars Isaiah Washington. I discovered U-2074 yesterday at LADY FILMMAKERS film festival because Julia's SCREAM MACHINE was there (A short her husband Tim Aldridge directed from her script). A Tabloid Witch award-winning short, SCREAM MACHINE is just beginning its festival run and is not available online yet.






You can read Julia Camara's fictional story JAIL BIRD online at Freight Train Magazine.


Share/Bookmark

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Great Articles over at Film School Rejects


Looks like these are over a year old, but still relevant and terrific. Always happy to see a site normally centered on men discuss these topics:

10 Films You Didn't Know Were Directed By Women

Turned On, Tuned In Femme Filmmakers includes links to other articles including Salon.com on the stats of film schools graduating as many women as men nowadays, yet studios only employing them for 4% of their movies a year. There is also a great list of 124 movies directed by women.

And this wonderful comment on a catty Forbes piece evaluating actressess' ROI that brilliantly includes a close up of each lady's chest along with her deterimined economic worth. Actresses Worth Their Weight in Cash.

Kudos to journalists Bethany Perryman and Cole Abaius for the articles, and FILM SCHOOL REJECTS for publishing them.

Share/Bookmark

It's hard for a rapper BITCH, too...

The FAR EAST MOVEMENT is the first ever Asian American group to break into the Billboard Top 100, but surprise surprise it's their female guest vocalist who didn't get announced on their recent awesome performance on The George Lopez show. It never fails to amaze me how race always trumps gender, and how sexist people who've fought for race rights can still be without even noticing.

I can't get enough of this song LIKE A G6, but it's Dev who makes it. Lopez will remember her the next time she stars on his show because she's going to blow up big...

Share/Bookmark

Saturday, October 09, 2010

If you're here cuz you're a BITCH...

Welcome! Good to meet lovers of horror and women!

I feel so happy and grateful to be featured in lovely Hannah Neurotica's BITCH magazine piece on lady horror directors. And check out my good friends The Soska Sisters for their awesome blogpost about BITCH and Hannah!

Share/Bookmark

October Herror Fest: Directress #6

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a feature by another director who doesn't exist:

Elizabeth Schieffer

Schieffer has pulled off a coup that is all too rare for female directors of any genre...she has won a studio-sponsored short film contest. Universal Studios (who should know a thing or two about horror) has awarded her short JASPER its top honors for Halloween Horror Night. And the prize package also gets her short seen on the not overly friendly to female filmmakers SyFy.com and Chiller TV. Three birds with one ricocheting stone!

Actually, don't get too excited about ladies taking over Hollywood just yet...the Hollywood judges picked the top ten and then online voters picked Elizabeth as the deserving winner (Viva the democratization of filmmaking and filmmgoing!).


Unlike all the seasons of PROJECT GREENLIGHT and those other horrible industry contests that were milquetoast showcases for interchangeable frat boys, we get to enjoy Ms. Schieffer's challenging and inspiring short online right now...and we better get to cheer her on to at least a few Hollywood meetings. Perhaps if the suits actually watch Beth's smart, funny, stereotype-bending work they'll know not to judge a dame by her gender.

The Dallas Observer's coverage of the win.
The official press release from Universal.

And for your viewing enjoyment, below is the entire three minute award-winning short JASPER...directed, produced, and special fx-ed by Elizabeth Schieffer:



Share/Bookmark

October Herror Fest Directress #5

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a feature by another director who doesn't exist:

Barbara Stepansky

A student Emmy winner for her brilliant short thesis film THE TROJAN COW, Stepansky is a writer/director/producer with a film masters from both AFI and USC. She cut her teeth on Christopher Nolan's no budget first feature FOLLOWING, and has come to the horror world via her skill at building suspense scenes. Barbara's seven figure feature directorial debut HURT is a for hire project that drips with atmosphere and pathos, and makes her one of a handful of women currently hired to helm horror projects over the million dollar mark.


While waiting for funding for her next for hire feature HYSTERIA, Stepansky made the no budget ghost story FUGUE, an intimate interstices of drama/thriller/horror mores that was so personal it was shot in her own home. FUGUE is currently on the festival circuit; you can check for upcoming screenings here. And expect one of them to be soon at my very own BLEEDFEST in Los Angeles, where I'll also be showcasing her amazingly taut retro thriller ROAD RAGE (Full disclosure: I'm a producer on RR...I can't help it if I have mothereffing talented friends).

"I have a hard time categorizing women in horror vs women in the film industry because I don’t really see that women directors in general get the proper recognition. The numbers of theatrically released films made by women hasn’t really risen throughout the years, and there’s only a handful of female directors tackling action or horror movies on a larger scale. Even though women have started to run studios and huge productions, this didn’t necessarily translate into hiring more women directors. I find the numbers out there quite discouraging but that definitely won’t keep me from continuing making movies." -Barbara Stepansky

Here is a recent interview with Barbara conducted by stalwart indie supporters Rogue Magazine.
Heidi Martinuzzi's FanGirltastic site has a new review of Fugue.

Rental Suggestion: HURT









Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

October Herror Fest: Directress #4

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a feature by another director who doesn't exist:

Stephanie Rothman

Considered the first lady of Exploitation Flicks of the 60s and 70s, Rothman was a writer/producer and director on classic B movie features like TERMINAL ISLAND, BEYOND ATLANTIS, THE VELVET VAMPIRE, and BLOOD BATH. A retrospective of her work in Vienna in 2005 credits her as “one of the most headstrong and interesting women of American cinema of the 1960s and 70s.”


Stephanie Rothman was the first female to be given a Directors Guild of America fellowship, and credits boss Roger Corman as the only mentor she ever had. She is also a feminist an academic, and a thoughtful public speaker.

"I was never happy making exploitation films. I did it because it was the only way I could work. With all the options that exist today, if I were beginning my career as a filmmaker, I would not choose to make exploitation films."
Here is a fascinating Interview With Stepahanie conducted by legendary media theorist Henry Jenkins.

Rental Suggestion: THE VELVET VAMPIRE



Share/Bookmark

October Herror Fest: Directress #3

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a feature by another director who doesn't exist:

Jackie Kong

Writer/director/producer of 80s exploitation/horror features THE BEING, NIGHT PATROL, and BLOOD DINER.

"I try never to insult my audience. That's my number one goal. I try to treat my audience as though they're very smart and will know my next move unless I'm clever enough to surprise them."- Jackie Kong

Rental Suggestion: BLOOD DINER

Here is a clip from BLOOD DINER:


Thank you to Hart Fisher, the mastermind behind TV show AMERICAN HORRORS for the suggestion of Jackie Kong! Readers, keep those suggestions coming to me...

Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Our screenings this Fall/Winter

UPCOMING SCREENINGS OF "THE COMMUNE"

Bram Stoker Film Festival (Whitby, England)
October 14th-17th http://www.bramstokerfilmfestival.com/

Dark Imaginings (San Diego, CA)
November 6th http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=152092514816271&ref=mf

Valley Film Festival (Sherman Oaks, CA)
November 12th http://www.valleyfilmfest.com

SCREENINGS OF "DISTRAUGHT" and "CONSUMED"

Dark Imaginings (San Diego, CA)
November 6th http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=152092514816271&ref=mf

24 Hour Horror Festival (Rochester, NY)
October 30th https://www.thelittle.org/filmfest.php

All Things Horror (Boston, MA)
December TBA

SCREENINGS OF "SCREAM QUEEN"
Carnival of Darkness (Los Angeles)
October 28th http://carnivalofdarkness.net/

24 Hour Horror Festival (Rochester, NY)
October 30th https://www.thelittle.org/filmfest.php

Texas Blood Bath Film Festival (Dallas, Texas)
November 13th, 14th http://www.texasbloodbath.com/

All Things Horror (Boston, MA)
December TBA

My IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2383130/

Share/Bookmark

October Herror Fest: Directress #2

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a feature by another director who doesn't exist:

Rachel Talalay

Writer/Director of the funny and gross FREDDY'S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE.



After Freddy, Rachel directed GHOST IN THE MACHINE and TANK GIRL. Now she works in TV and has directed episodes of THE DEAD ZONE, WITHOUT A TRACE, and MASTERPIECE THEATRE. She also has writing and producing credits on many of these projects.

"The other day I was discussing with my man whether it was a mistake to go the humorous, tongue-in-cheek route with Freddy. I wondered if we should have gone full-on horror. He reminded me that at the time it was the right decision. We were burned out on ideas, on scripts, and horror was predictable. We were looking for something to make it different."
- Rachel Talalay

Here's a terrific interview with Rachel.

Rental Suggestion: FREDDY'S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE



Thank you to Hart Fisher, the mastermind behind TV show AMERICAN HORRORS for the suggestion of Rachel Talalay!

Share/Bookmark

October Herror Fest: Directress #1

It's October, which of course means there are no women who make horror films. So here's a fabulous, scary two minute short by a director/producer who doesn't exist:

Marichelle Daywalt

Marichelle Daywalt worked for years in the studio system on feature films classics like FIGHT CLUB and CAST AWAY. After a decade of watching and producing her husband Drew Daywalt's successful horror movies seen through outlets like Fewdio and the Daywalt Feat Factory's Youtube channel, she listened to his encouragement and gave horror writing/directing a shot. The tyro's result is the Viscera-winning short you can see in full here on Youtube:

MOCKINGBIRD short film

Drop Marichelle some encouragement on Facebook; she's got another horror short ready to shoot.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/axwoundradio "Radio Interview With Marichelle "AxWound Radio #3: Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter"

Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My latest movie reviews

My newest movie reviews are up on Netflix (where I'm still reviewer #6 out of millions!). DEADLINE, SIMON SAYS, ADVENTURELAND, METHOD, HAUNTING IN CONNETICUT. You don't have to be a member to check out my thoughts.

Share/Bookmark

Hot Rod

I'm not usually one for cars...it seems foolish to me as most could be the budget of my next movie, and I'd much rather make a movie than impress people with my transportation. But this fuschia Dodge Charger is pretty sweet. I like my cars with a lil personality.



Share/Bookmark

Friday, February 26, 2010

One of the many reasons I heart Maude Michaud

From her FATALLY YOURS interview for February's WOMEN IN HORROR RECOGNITION MONTH:

"A lot of people also see horror as a misogynist genre because of its representation of women, which I think is a shame because I can think of other genres that are way more demeaning! Romantic comedies for example! (laughs) If we stop and think about it, defeating a psycho killer is way more empowering than finding the perfect pair of shoes or the perfect boyfriend, no?"

Oui!

And she namechecks yours truly and my upcoming anthology I HATE LA. It's a good read; check it out.

Share/Bookmark

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Deep Thoughts with Lis Fies

Sometimes I think I wouldn't mind an abusive controlling lover if he would do things like you know, dye my gray hair, insert my tampons, do my taxes.

Share/Bookmark

Celebrating All The Women Nominated for Academy Awards

Celebrating All The Women Nominated for Academy Awards

Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blerg! Even the dogs are divas...

You know how some actors have famously tanked shoots by getting haircuts or plastic surgery in the middle of shooting and ruining the continuity?

Well you'd think when you only have two stars and a five minute short you wouldn't have that problem. Especially when one of those actors is four-legged and utterly dependent on you for food, shelter, and said haircuts.

Try to suspend your disbelief when adorable Hero's do morphs from shot to shot...depending on the week, he's either teddy bear coiffed or Shaft afroed. You can overlook that, right?

Balls. Guess I ruined my own movie.

Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Women in Horror Recognition Month



My sister Brenda Fies and I have been working hard the last two months on our shorts; DISTRAUGHT and CONSUMED. They will both World Premier in two locations February 27th: Texas at the PRETTY SCARY BLOOD BATH Festival, Atlanta at the WOMEN IN HORROR FILM FESTIVAL.

Our LA debut will be in April at the VISCERA FILM FESTIVAL.


GHOULS ON FILM in the UK will be showing THE COMMUNE trailer, and we have upcoming screenings of THE COMMUNE in Washington April 10th, in Tahoe and in Ohio this spring.
Feeling so happy and accomplished! Too much fun :) Thanks for all the support!

Share/Bookmark