Monday, December 13, 2010

Lights! Camera! Brandon!

This month filmmaker, and my good friend Brandon Bennett are trading places. I am the guest blogger on Indie Film Revue and I have turned the tables on Brandon, and subjected him to a Mini-view. Here are some interesting questions I had for Brandon and his incredible answers!!!

A Mini-View w/ Brandon S. Bennett

1. I know you enjoyed your time working on Steve Balderson's film Stuck, and I think it was a great movie. Is there a project that you would like to see Mr. Balderson shoot or an idea, book or character you want to work on with him.

Steve is such a talented director, and an amazing person all around. I think the thing I love about his films is that each one has its own feel. Even though they are all so different, there is just something about them that when watching you go “This is a Balderson film”. He talked to me before about how he would love to do a classic themed horror film, very much in the style of the Hammer Films. I know that he also has a sweet spot for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. So I guess I would love to see him peruse something along those lines. Perhaps a mix of The House on Haunted Hill, The Changeling, The Legend of Hell House, and The Innocents. Each of those films have ‘that something’ about them that you never forget, which is what makes Steve’s films stand out.

2. In an industry full of remakes and re-imaginings, what remake would you be unable to turn doing, if it was offered to you, or name a remake you would love to do. (Feel free to cast it too)

There are a couple films that I would love to see remade, if staying true to the source material.

The first would be Something Wicked This Way Comes, directed by Jack Clayton (The Innocents, The Great Gatsby) which Ray Bradbury adapted from his own book. The film still holds up quite well, but I would love to see Steve Balderson’s touch on the carnival scenes after watching his film Firecracker.

Second would be the 1976 film Burnt Offerings directed by Dan Curtis, based on the book of the same name by Robert Marasco. Curtis is well known for directing, writing, and being executive producer on the series Dark Shadows (the original, the movies, and the reboot) and directed both of the Trilogy of Terror Films. After seeing Nicole Kidman in The Others, I think she would be perfect in Karen Blacks role in a remake. The beautiful and talented Bette Davis played Aunt Elizabeth, and I think casting Karen Black as that character would be a great tribute to the original.

Lastly, I have always wanted to see an updated version of the 1973 film Don’t Look in the Basement, also known as The Forgotten or Death Ward #13. It was directed by S.F. Brownrigg who also directed Scum of the Earth, Keep My Grave Open, and Don’t Open the Door. All of these films had a certain dirty, gritty, and bleak feeling to them. There was always a certain bit of nail biting and sweaty palms when watching them. Luckily, this is a remake that will be seeing the light of day. Directors Alan Rowe Kelly and Anthony G. Sumner have decided to put their own twist on this story. These are two people that I feel understand the atmosphere in the original. I know my friends Marv Blauvelt and Jeff Dylan Graham are attached to this project along with Debbie Rochon, Deneen Melody, Carl Burrows, and Caroline Williams. This seems like a cast of people who fit a kind of grindhouse feel. It’s a film that I have had a small obsession with since I was young. There is a jealousy in me for everyone working on this. (laughs)

3. As a fan of all kinds of horror films what scares the shit out of you, in real life?

I have two very distinct fears. Strange, but distinct.

The first one is ladybugs. Weird huh? It all stems from when I was a teenager. My family had moved into a new home, I had a basement bedroom, and we had only been living there a few days. I woke in the middle of the night feeling my face itch, I reached over to turn on my touch lamp and found my face was covered in the little bastards! Not just my face, but they were crawling in and out of my mouth as well. It was traumatizing.

It’s funny you mentioned this, because the day you sent these questions I was faced with my second fear: NUTCRACKERS. Holy shit do they terrify me! I was riding in the car with my girlfriend the other day and we made a turn at a stoplight, when to my right there were two four foot tall nutcrackers on each side of a set of stairs. I believe the conversation that followed went something like this, “What the fuck! Oh my god! Are you kidding me? That’s just not even cool! Why would someone do something like that?” About that time my girlfriend, Melissa, tried apologizing saying she didn’t mean to drive by them on purpose. “No. It’s not your fault. What the hell are those people thinking?! That’s fucking terrifying! I don’t even know why the hell they scare me so much but they do! I think it’s those big fucking teeth. I mean come on! What other reason do they need them but to bite your damn nuts off! Look at them! They’re huge! What’s not to be terrified of?” I know I rambled on for at least 10 minutes. Of course my lack of sleep did not help the severity of the problem. Poor Melissa was just about crying she was laughing so hard. So, yeh. Fuck nutcrackers!

4. Besides film making, you are also really into music, but the two go hand and hand a name your top 5 Movie Soundtracks/Scores

This is a really great question. Tough, but great.

5. Judgement Night (1993)
4. Spawn: The Album (1997)
3. The Crow: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1994)
2. Lost Highway (1997)
1. SLC Punk: Original Soundtrack (1999)

A couple other notable soundtracks are:
The Soundtrack to Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond by Fabio Frizzi is just nightmarish.
And also, Mike Patton’s side project Fantamos’ 2000 release Delirium Cordia. This album is like listening to a horror film. The first time I heard it I was alone in my car driving from where I was living in Evansville, IN to my parents place in Petersburg. It was about midnight and pitch black outside. The album is 1 hour and 14 minutes long. I slept with the lights on that night!

5.You have a blowup doll, a copy of Purple Rain, a hammer and a bottle of whiskey...what are your plans for the night?

Hmmm.. Let’s see. I’ll be downing the whiskey like it’s Kool Aid, beating the blowup doll in its orifices with the hammer, while watching Purple Rain.

Check out more about Brandon, more Mini-views and my guest blogspot @

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Goodbye NaNoWriMo, it's the December to Deliver!

It’s finally December a lot has happened over the month of November. As you might have guessed…I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo. I was busy on the road and working on other projects. It just wasn’t in the cards this year and I’m 99% sure I won’t even sign up for next year. Some people sign up for NaNo as a tool to motivate themselves to write. I don’t need that. I’m sure I wrote well over 50,000 words during the month of November.

During November I had a couple book signings, one in St. Louis, Missouri and the other in Bloomington, Indiana. Both had small, but attentive crowds. I’d personally rather have a small crowd of good people than a big crowd of people who don’t really care to be there. Of course the main goal is to get a large crowd of loyal fans that really want to be there, but as time goes on and I continue to get my work and my name out there, good things will happen.

Something I think that will help me achieve my goals is signing a new deal with an agent. I know I’ve always said I don’t need an agent to do the foot and mouth work I can do myself, but I have spread myself very thin and was given a very interesting offer at the same time. After turning down two agents, one has found me (thanks impart by the recommendation of two good friends) and it was too good of an offer to pass up.

A bad/good thing about the whole deal is that my book, Between The Lines, I was going to attempt to self publish in Febuary, won’t be out until it finds a publisher or the year contract runs out.

One of the many reasons I agreed to work with an agent is because it will allow me more time to work on my many film projects. My friend Brandon Bennett and I have recently worked on a bit for James Hawley’s film Jesus of Nebula. Brandon and I have also joined forces to create a production company called Well Hung Pictures. I have finished to first script we plan to shoot, which is an adaptation of Ernest Hemmingway’s A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. The next project we are already putting together is a mockumentary about the cult following of Scooby Doo, called Where are You? Both films should be out by the end of 2011.

I will also be working with Brandon Bennett and James Hawley in some capacity on a film project called Tales from the Tomb of Terror. So far everything I’ve heard about this project sounds awesome. I’ll have more details on this soon.

In other film related news. Darkrider Studios have optioned my story Contravention, from Eclectic Collection, for a short film that will be a part of a 10 production company horror anthology DVD. I have been asked to write the first draft of the script and I should have that finished and out to them by the end of this week. I hope to have more details on this project as it develops.

I was also lucky enough to get to hang out with some of my film making friends and meet a few new ones, this past November at The Dark Carnival Film Festival. It was great to see the monsters from Atomic Age Cinema, the good people of Clockwerk Picture, Muscle Wolf Productions, and Darkrider Studios. It was also cool to see my friend Tiffany Shepis, as well as new friends Deneen Melody, Jessica Cameron and the amazing Patrick Rea.

It was a great time and I saw some really awesome movies like: El Mostro Del Mar, Get off My Porch, Do Not Disturb, Now That You’re Dead, Slices of Life, Roses, House of Hope, Hypochondriac, Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer and more. I can’t wait for next year!!!

I think that is enough of an update for now. I need to get back to work on the scripts, a couple more short stories I have in my head and work on edits for Foreign Objects.

Check back often. This guy is busy and I’ll have more stuff to post very, very soon!!!

- Travis