Interview with Sean Cunningham (Friday the 13th Director)

In October I was honored to be part of the San Pedro International Film Festival, where I got to walk and work the red carpet, see some amazing new Indie films, support those filmmakers, and celebrate the industry. One of the two weekends was October 13th to the 15th, which meant we were in attendance for Friday The 13th. This Friday became the horror night, which was the perfect opportunity to show the original Friday the 13th film.

What was even more serendipitous was the fact that Sean Cunningham was in attendance that evening too as a special guest. Mr Cunningham is quite an interesting artists and a pleasure to talk to. I think I learned more in those few hours than I have in a long time about movies, filmmaking, and the industry as a whole. He was also gracious enough to grant me an interview and sit down in front of a camera for a change.

One of the things we talked about was his new project, The Nurse With the Purple Hair, a Social Good film that shows what hospice care is and what it can be. It’s the story of Michelle Lasota who makes the switch from surgical nurse to hospice nurse after the death of her father.

Sean met Michelle at Fan Expo in Toronto, CA, and was captivated by her stories about her hospice work. As filmmakers often do, he turned his interest into a project.

To date, the film has been viewed by focus groups from Vitas Healthcare, Skirball, and Kaiser Permanente. This has been their reactions:

– A catalyst to break through American culture’s denial of death.
– A great tool to bring awareness to what hospice is really about.
– Takes the mystery and fear out of hospice and dying.
– I feel brave, inspired, and honored to start a conversation that matters.
– A true look at a caring hospice nurse and the wonderful qualities of hospice care.

Here is out interview from SPIFFest:

Here is the trailer for The Nurse with the Purple Hair, you can learn more here:

Let Me Introduce You to the Horror film “Sacrament”

With Halloween coming up, I thought this was the perfect time to bring you the thrilling indie film, “Sacrament.”  This film has a story that will scare you and another story behind it that should interest you.  As with all films, the people behind it really make all the difference.  This is not your typical horror/thriller.  There are a few impressive elements to it and I was thrilled to be able to interview the producer, Shawn Ewert and one of the actors, Troy Ford. I will let them explain all about “Sacrament” but to begin, here is the official press release for the film:

Writer/director Shawn Ewert, CEO of Right Left Turn Productions and Underwater Safeword (, is currently in production on the upcoming independent horror feature film “SACRAMENT”. The project is shooting in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex and Waco and features the talents of genre icons Marilyn Burns and Ed Guinn (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) as well as many up-and-coming and established talents from the region.

“SACRAMENT” follows a group of seven friends who embark on a road trip to the South Texas beach for booze, bud and bonding but are derailed by an approaching tropical storm. They find themselves seeking refuge in the quaint, conservative Texas town of Middle Spring, which is in the process of hosting a huge barbecue and tent revival. Charismatic preacher Isaac Renneker, his enterprising young son Brahm, and his devout congregation are determined to cleanse the world of sin while delivering the Good Lord’s message to their flock, and before long the kids realize that there might be more to the town’s famous barbecue than just a good spice rub.

The film is also one that will undoubtedly push many fans out of their comfort zones; one of the main focuses is on the two main characters, Lee and Blake, and their same-sex relationship. Identifying as gay himself, Ewert has been an activist and supporter of the GLBT scene for most of his adult life and most recently has helped organize charity film festivals through the Fears for Queers Film Festival, held annually in Dallas at the Texas Theater. Ewert wants to further the development of gay horror cinema as a force to be reckoned with; the film calls into question hot-button topics like religion, homophobia, relationship dynamics, and survival instinct while retaining a very human approach to the characters on both sides of the murder weapon. “The thing is, it’s not something you see very often,” said Ewert in an interview with The Rainbow Hub, “There are a few horror films that have had gay leads and those films for the most part have been really kind of ignored by horror fans and what we’re trying to do is get something out there.”

“I think that that’s something the audiences are going to be a little bit surprised about because usually if you have gay characters in a film, they end up being the punch-line for a joke, which sends a negative message about stereotypes,” said Amanda Rebholz (Possum Walk, Closure), producer and co-writer who also plays the character of Lorri Ames in the film. “Shawn was very specific when he was writing this; he intended for Lee and Blake to be a strong couple who just happen to be gay. Their sexuality is not a gimmick in the film, it’s simply another facet of who they are.”

Utilizing the talents of independent horror veterans Justin Powers (Pot Zombies, Pot Zombies 2, Devotion, Rockin’ Reverend) and FX artists Hobbes LeCompte (Devotion) and Matthew Ash (Possum Walk, Imago, Christmas with the Dead, Moderngrumble), Ewert has established a team of dedicated and innovative artists to help bring his vision to life.

Horror genre veteran Marilyn Burns (Sally, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) will be featured portraying the role of Beulah Standifer in a pivotal scene, while Ed Guinn, who played the truck driver who came to her rescue in the original film, will play her husband Luke. It will be the first time the two have been reunited onscreen since the 1974 original film was shot. Burns has done promotional appearances for Sacrament already, including an appearance at the 2013 Texas Frightmare Weekend horror convention in Irving, Texas.

The film stars: Troy Ford, Avery Pfeiffer,Brittany Badali, Cassandra Hierholzer, Wesley Kimenyi, Amanda Rebholz, Henry Pao, Marilyn Burns, Ed Guinn, Richard Houghton, Joshua Cole Simmons

Q: Where did the idea for Sacrament come from?
A:  Like most of my film ideas, it came from a dream. I woke up at about 3 in the morning, and furiously started writing it down before I forgot. I always try to record my dreams so that I can come back and look at them later. Sometimes the ideas are just stupid when looking at them a day or so later, but sometimes they are pretty damn cool.
Q:  Sacrament is a horror movie but there is an underlying message here.  Was that intentional?
A:  I don’t necessarily think that a film being horror negates it having a message. Personally, without a story or without a meaning behind the film I think there is always something lacking. Don’t get me wrong, I watch movies all the time that are entertaining and have no meaning. I just prefer films that can drag me into them and really make me care about what happens next. I tried to bring a few elements of that into Sacrament. There are a few hidden, and some not so hidden, messages through the film.
Q:  Indie projects are becoming more and more popular. What do you think attracts filmmakers and actors to these projects over big budget films? 
A:  I think people are disappointed with the things that Hollywood has been putting out lately. Remakes and sequels, and remakes of sequels. Take a chance on an original story. Indie film making has become far more accessible thanks to digital cameras. People still have to work hard to make a good film, but it is definitely allowing people that may not have ever had the chance to get their film out to the world.
Q:  Where will the film be shown and how do we find out more about it?
A:   As soon as we are finished editing, we will have a premiere in Dallas. After that, we will be hitting the festival circuit. There are already some fests that we are planning on submitting to here in the states, and in Europe.
Q:   There are some veteran horror movie actors in Sacrament. How did you get lucky enough to cast them?  How was it working with actors who are part of the Horror Genre History?
A:  I met Marilyn a few years ago at Texas Frightmare Weekend, it’s a horror convention in Dallas. She and I had stayed in touch over the years, and when I had the idea for Sacrament I basically wrote with her in mind. She read the script and loved it. Ed was very much the same situation. I met him a couple of years after Marilyn at TFW, and when I sent him the script he was excited to get to work on it. It’s the first time Marilyn and Ed have been onscreen together in 40 years. Both were amazing to work with, and I could not have asked them for more. I sat off on the side watching the monitors just giggling like a little kid. Very sweet folks, both of them.
Q:  Who are some of your influences when it comes to movies & acting?
A:  In the short time that I’ve been doing this, and even before I actually had the opportunity to act on film,Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been a consistent inspiration for me. He’s a great actor and has been a part of critically acclaimed films along with box office hits. Yet he still works on indie projects and seems very down to earth, despite the fame. He creates for love of doing it. To paraphrase something he said when I saw him at San Diego Comic Con 2012 “We make money to make more movies, not the other way around”
Q:  Indie projects are becoming more and more popular. What do you think attracts filmmakers and actors to these projects over big budget films?
A:  I think when you’re first starting off, like I am now, it’s easier to get in front of the people that you need to when it’s an indie film versus doing the same when it’s a larger budget studio production. People who maybe haven’t found an ‘in” yet can find a group of people with the equipment they need and come together to make something that they always wanted to make. I also think the amount of creative control that comes with being independent is very appealing.
Q:   There are some veteran horror movie actors in Sacrament. How did you get lucky enough to cast them?  How was it working with actors who are part of the Horror Genre History?
A:  Working with both Ed and Marilyn was surreal. They are two of the nicest people I’ve met doing this.I was fortunate enough to get to promote the film with Marilyn at Texas Frightmare Weekend 2013. Getting to hang out with her for a few days and hearing the stories she has from over the years about the films she worked on and the industry in general was awesome!

Here are IMDB links for some of the cast and crew, if you want to check them out further:

Shawn Ewert -

Justin Powers -

Marilyn Burns -

Matthew Ash -

`Saw’ Producer Unlocks the Secret of Horror

`Saw’ Producer Unlocks the Secret of Horror (via Bloomberg TV)

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) — Twisted Pictures and Evolution Entertainment Founder Mark Burg discusses the resurgence of the horror film genre with Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” (Source: Bloomberg) — Subscribe to Bloomberg on…

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‘Carrie’ retells cult horror tale in post-Newtown era

‘Carrie’ retells cult horror tale in post-Newtown era (via AFP)

Nearly 40 years after Brian De Palma’s cult horror movie “Carrie” shocked audiences, a new adaptation of Stephen King’s masterpiece tells the story in an America haunted by the Columbine and Newtown massacres. The modern version, released in the United…

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Western Horror Movie Filming in Oklahoma This Fall

Western Horror Movie Filming in Oklahoma This Fall (via SBWire)

The film is set in the old West, two career thieves set out to find a little something for an old friend in exchange for a place to lay low. Oklahoma City, OK — (SBWIRE) — 08/14/2013 — Who doesn’t like a good ghost story, right? Cameras rolling on…

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