Welcome. My name is Mike Syxx, and Iíd like to take you on a journey into the sticky realm of independent horror filmmaking! Weíre not talking about Hatchet, but the other indie flicks that donít always show up as shelf filler at your local video store. So, whatís good out there? What is worth finding? What should you spend money on or pay attention to? Iím here to help.
No studio? No budget? No problem!
Thereís nothing that screams indie more than a movie shot on a handheld camcorder, and that is what Hack Movies (official site) offers all who are brave enough to throw down a couple bucks for a DVD. Taking a page from Troma, setting it on fire and possibly fornicating with it, Hack Movies delivers filth, gore and sexuality on a level that would seem obscene to most normal people; perfect for us horror lovers? Yes!
My first encounter with Hack Movies’ own brand of nasty came from the brilliantly named Colonel Kill Motherfuckers. The tale of an undead psycho army soldier, his incestuous mother and a group of RPG loving nerds may not sound like a winner on paper, but director Kevin Strange has a way of making everything work. One moment the audience is faced with an entertaining banter about salad tossing and troll ninja dicks, the next people are being killed with concrete filled giant lollypops. The randomness of the dialog, jokes and insane violence packs a lot of punch for a feature made for $600.
Colonel Kill Motherfuckers is available for $9.99 and isnít short of special features; the several commentary tracks and behind the scenes features put many mainstream DVD releases to shame.
Director Glen Coburnís 1984 B Movie semi-satire known as Bloodsuckers From Outer Space (official site) is not a title that rings many bells with horror fans. Iíve mentioned the title to a number of horror hounds and the reaction nine times out of ten is a ‘huh?’ Sad, really. We canít really be blamed for this ignorance. Hell, I grew up in a video store and never saw it, but that all changed this year.
From the blackness of space, a collective extraterrestrial species has started to invade the bodies of rural Texas folk. These poor possessed souls now seek out blood and world domination! Can the invasion be thwarted by a nitrous huffing photographer or will the army step in a solve the problem the usual way Ö with nukes?
Without big name distribution, Glen took it upon himself to put Bloodsuckers on DVD, and I am thankful because Bloodsuckers really shows us how a somewhat serious low-budget film should be made. Not every actor had talent, but the film kept moving with funny lines and weirdness that cannot be compared with from titles you see at Blockbuster (Ulli Lommel movies, anyone?) these days. Glen managed to create an enjoyable and humorous romp packed with plenty of blood and breaking of the 4th wall.
The $19.95 DVD features video mastered from a fresh 35mm print and a thirty minute reunion featurette.
I’d like to close each Syxx Pixx with a look at what independent films are in the works. For quite some time now I have been following the progress of Kiven Head’s comic book styled The Undertakers: Roadës End (official site). If you are thinking this could just be another one of those Zombies Gone Wild kind of undead movies, you will be in for a bit of a surprise when you find out where the Undertakers team wants this thing to go:
There are certain places throughout the world that possess supernatural properties… places where paranormal experiences or other unexplained phenomena are believed to occur. Among them is the back road town of Road’s End, which features one of the country’s oldest and most closely guarded cemeteries.
Charged with protecting the secrets of the Road’s End Cemetery is a private organization referred to as “The Undertakers”. For centuries this organization has covertly protected the population of the world from the jaws of flesh eating zombies.
Until today this has been a successful operation, but when the agent stationed at Road’s End Cemetery goes down the fate of the world is left in the hands of two social misfits who must risk everything to keep the cemetery contained.ì
Production has not started yet, but the crew have started casting familiar names like Texas Chainsaw‘s Edwin Neal, J. Larose from Saw III & Repo!, and ‘Battlestar Galactica’ alum Richard Hatch. The real snag is money. The cast believe in the script and the determination is there from the director, but funds can be a bitch to come by, especially in todayís economy.
The ambitious project will not fit into the low-budget spectrum of filmmaking and I doubt Kiven would settle for less than what he has envisioned. Thatís why the filmmaker opened up a raffle. Those who enter not only help fund the film, they are also entered into a drawing to be a zombie when the cameras finally role. Now, according to Kiven, these winners wonít be in distant shots. No, the lucky picks get a front seat in the action! Did I mention that travel will be provided, too? Not too shabby for just $25.
Thanks for reading the first Syxx Pixx, please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions or film titles you think need some attention right here!