Archive for smucky productions

Watch Smucky’s Latest Film, BACCHUS

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2016 by smuckyproductions

Smucky Productions has released its latest short film, BACCHUS!

A goofy, grotesque homage to Eurohorror classics; three friends succumb to fear and frenzy in the woods as they fall under the spell of Bacchus.

Watch the full film here:

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more wacky, macabre cinema!

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SMUCKY REEMERGES: Summer/Fall 2016 from the Grave

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2016 by smuckyproductions

It has been a wild summer for Smucky – a lot of keeping my head down, digging deep, and creating content. A difficult summer, but an exciting one as well, leading into an ecstatic fall season.

This summer, I started officially working at the Stanley Film Festival and Film Center. My job requires knowledge and love of horror films – a dream (nightmare!) that I never expected to come true so soon in my (after)life. Keep your eyes peeled for updates on this as well – we’re moving forward fast.

With a new job and a new location (from New York City to Estes Park, CO), I had little time to update this blog. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. I have a number of novels and short stories in the works, some revised and some just coming to existence. I also completed a new short film – an homage to 70s Eurohorror called BACCHUS, which is awaiting verdicts from several festivals. At an undetermined point I will be able to upload it to this page.

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I also began writing a column for Daily Dead called Forbidden Tomes, an extension of my column on this site. Each article, published twice a month, focuses on a little-known or classic author and examines their work from a specific angle. So far, pieces on Clive Barker and Shirley Jackson are available (click the author’s name to see them!). Pieces on Algernon Blackwood, Angela Carter and others are soon to come.

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October is insane for Smucky. I will be attending both Sitges International Film Festival and Brooklyn Horror Fest, right in a row. Should I live through the excitement and madness, I will be writing reviews on this page. The lineups for both are amazing. With buzz coming from TIFF and Fantastic Fest, I have chosen a schedule that promises to blow my mind. Updates to come.

With things sliding into place as they are, I hope to return to this blog and continue publishing reviews, poems and stories. This ghoul’s life has become infinitely more ghoulish – and I mean that in the best possible way.

Keep those feelers out for more updates, and new content coming for Halloween!

 

Films That Haunt Me: THE IRON ROSE

Posted in Films That Haunt Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2016 by smuckyproductions

For some years now I’ve been a fan of Eurohorror, but I always stayed away Jean Rollins – though I saw his name pop up around every corner – because of his reputation. Thankfully, having gone through most of the horror canon already, I had no other option but to try him out. And I am ashamed to have waited so long. At his best, Rollins is a Gothic master – and we have a fine example of this in THE IRON ROSE.

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The plot is so simple, it surprises me that it hasn’t been done a hundred times: a couple gets lost in a cemetery after having sex in one of the crypts. It could have been a Tales from the Crypt episode, or a good zombie movie – but Rollins takes a more interesting approach. Certainly, it starts out like a good ol’ B movie… until the psychological effects kick in.

The cinematography trapped my attention from the beginning. Rollins finds the most fascinating locations and the camera knows how to showcase them. Whether it be the beach, an abandoned train yard, or the cemetery itself, each image is enthralling. This is good, because most of the film crawls along at a snail’s pace. One of my favorite attributes of Eurohorror is its patience. This will be an instant turn-off for many viewers, but for those who can withstand it, the slowness becomes hypnotic. With a gorgeous (and seldom-used) score to back up his images, Rollins creates a delicious Gothic atmosphere.

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It is the atmosphere that allows for the psychological fear to come through. Unlike most films of its kind, “The Iron Rose” features fairly decent acting and dialogue, and no violence. Good thing, too, because the two characters carry almost the entire film. You might expect zombies or ghouls to come into play at some point – but Rollins opts for a more truly Gothic story. The only supernatural element is the graveyard itself, which goes on forever like a labyrinth. Everything else come from the characters.

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Once the plot kicked in and I realized there would be no traditional horrific elements, I was pleasantly surprised to still find myself afraid. It is the mental degeneration of these characters that is so unsettling. Rollins pulls this off without subtlety, but the effect is strong. His images emphasize the morbid trap that these people have fallen into. They are innocent for the most part, and yet they are dealt a disturbing punishment. It plays out like a realistic nightmare – who isn’t afraid of being lost in such an awful place? And the ending, while not as climactic as some might like, is genius to me – and haunts me still.

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While I am sure that most of Rollins’ work will not reach these heights for me, I am thrilled to have unlocked a new corridor of Gothic cinema for myself. The emphasis on image and mood, pertaining to psychological chills, is an art that I hope will not be lost. If patience is one of your virtues, indulge in this moody piece of the grotesque – you might get lost, too.

Through the Cracks (3): Filming CHAOS THEORY

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2016 by smuckyproductions

Production: the ultimate dream, and worst nightmare, of any filmmaker. It is the shortest phase in the process by far, and also the one in which everything can go wrong. It is the period of two weeks, or five months, when you must execute the story that you have crafted for years. Terrifying and wonderful at once.

Now that the film has been released, I find it timely to reflect on its creation, and our own unique production phase.

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DP Kimberly Greenwell with actors Kat Solko and Rachelle Wood.

Our shoot for CHAOS THEORY was not typical. On a shoe-string budget it was impossible to secure crew members and actors. We had to rely on favors asked and time given for free. These constraints could easily have ruined the process and killed the project before it gained life. But the artistic community is full of generosity and love. I was lucky enough to find a cast and crew who dedicated their time through simple love of the project.

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The graveyard with Madison Petri, Dixon White, Jason Maxwell and Gregg Painter.

We filmed for 12 days in total. Our locations were centered around Littleton, the suburb of Denver where I grew up. In the process of shooting we revisited the graveyard in which I filmed my first project (age 9), my elementary school playground, and my grandparents’ house; an unsettling but special pastiche of old memories. Because of my familiarity with those locations, I was better able to frame and block scenes in ways that picked out unusual details. (Tip #1 – choose locations that you know, and know you can get.)

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DP Kimberly Greenwell frames Julia Berensen and Jason Maxwell.

Those 12 days were certainly arduous. Most of the time it was our skeleton crew and Kat, acting out scenes that only featured her. The performance was exhausting for Kat, not only because of the emotional heights she reached, but also due to the 90-degree weather that plagued us on our exterior sets. Her professionalism still astounds me – in addition to rocking the performance, she knew the character better than I did. That kind of collaboration, as far as I understand, is rare on any sized set. The same goes for the rest of the cast and crew – once we set the scene and framed the camera, they would bring their own life and intensity. It allowed me to wear different hats without worry that I missed something. (Tip #2 – pick actors who are good for the role, but also good to work with. They will make or break you.)

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Director Ben Larned and actor Kat Solko.

Without going into too much detail, I will say that the shooting process was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Engaging in that collaboration gave me so much hope for the future. And because of that, I say to young filmmakers like myself – don’t wait for a budget. Write a script that needs no money, pick a few friends, and go make something. Waiting will destroy a creative spirit. Don’t let yourself stagnate.

Now you know the process – how about seeing the finished product? CLICK HERE to watch CHAOS THEORY now.

CHAOS THEORY: Official Release

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2016 by smuckyproductions

The time has come… CHAOS THEORY is unleashed upon the world!

Smucky’s first feature film follows the tradition of surreal psychological horror. It follows a young woman who, in the wake of her best friend’s suicide, must combat violent premonitions as she wonders… what really killed her friend?

WATCH THE FULL FILM HERE:

After viewing, connect with us on:
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Share your opinion with the hashtag #SUBMITTOTHECHAOS

CHAOS THEORY: ONE DAY

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2016 by smuckyproductions

Only ONE DAY LEFT until CHAOS THEORY premieres! Smucky can’t contain his excitement.

SUBMIT TO THE CHAOS and JOIN OUR FACEBOOK EVENT to prepare for the release.

CHAOS THEORY: 2 DAYS Until Release

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2016 by smuckyproductions

The signs are all around us… Only 2 days until April 14th, the official release date for Smucky’s first feature CHAOS THEORY!

JOIN THE FACEBOOK EVENT and prepare to Submit to the Chaos.