The Sky Has Fallen (2009) on IMDb


Top 10 Zombie Films

I'm using the term "zombie" here a little loosely, but these are some of my favorites:

1. Night of the Living Dead: you can't beat the original. Yes, it's black and white. There isn't a damn thing wrong with that. A classic. I love it. You love it. Even your mom loves it. I don't care how "old" it is (kids these days). It works, and Romero deserves respect even if his latest works aren't quite up to par.

2. Day of the Dead: notice a trend here? Yes, I love Romero, but I'm a bit weird in the sense I'm not a Dawn of the Dead super fan. Bub, though, I can't go without. Savini does great FX in this one too.

3. Cemetery Man: who knew the '90s could produce such amazing horror? Well, it can. This and Demon Knight are proof enough.

4. Evil Dead: again I don't know if it's a zombie film or not but it's awesome so it goes here. I probably prefer Army of Darkness out of all of them (Ash front and center), but let's not be silly; they all rock. Bruce Campbell is a living legend.

5. Fido: insanely clever and smart.

6. 28 Weeks Later: of course, I like 28 Days Later too (Brendan Gleeson!) but I prefer the sequel for its intensity.

7. Pontypool: really surprised and blown away by this little gem. I love how it leaves a lot to the viewer's imagination as well, but it's such a wonderfully unique take on the zombie subgenre.

8. Dead Alive aka Braindead: doesn't get crazier and gorier than this. Good ole Peter Jackson.

9. [Rec]: it is found footage, which I abhor these days, but regardless, it's still good.

10. Re-Animator: Stuart Gordon is one of my favorites, and of course, Jeffrey Combs.

There are actually tons and tons of zombie films that are really good (The Serpent and the Rainbow!). People like to trash them especially now when there are so many and The Walking Dead is so popular on TV, but it's a fantastic subgenre with endless potential. Just when you think it has worn out its welcome, you get something amazing like Pontypool or Cemetery Man that remind you anything is possible. Hell, Zombieland was phenomenal (that cameo!).

CGI vs Practical

I don't hate CGI. I just hate CG blood, but I think CGI is extremely overused now, and practical is better in horror. I'm always going to do practical. I grew up on Aliens, Predator, and John Carpenter's The Thing so those are the kind of effects I love. Plus, I watched Movie Magic all the time as a kid. It didn't get any better than that (ok, ok aside from MonsterVision with Joe Bob Briggs). Even some ridiculous movie like Carnosaur would be amazing on that show, seeing how they brought those blood-thirsty dinosaurs to life.

I understand some types of films like superheroes and space operas need CGI, but I just love practical. I want to make real monsters, mutated dinosaurs, etc. Rob Bottin, Stan Winston, and Tom Savini are some of my biggest influences besides James Cameron, David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, etc. Anyone can recognize the talent of these masters.

I just want to help however I can in keeping practical FX alive. Whether that is backing other projects with practical effects (Harbinger Down, Gehenna, etc.) or making my own films with them, I think it's an undervalued art form that we need to keep going, and I'm happy as hell it's starting to make a comeback (Frankenstein's Army!).

Ways to Save Money on Festivals

If you're applying to festivals, here is a link that will save you a lot of cash: Exclusive Deals. Not to mention, you should probably check out their 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee curated by MovieMaker Magazine. I disagree with some of their choices but it depends on the kind of film you made. If it isn't completely obvious, I prefer for submitting to festivals. It's a lot easier and cheaper than any others. It's so crazy how much the internet has changed the whole process. Used to be you had to buy envelopes, print out labels, go to the Post Office, etc. Now, it's insanely easy although that also means you'll spend a ton without even realizing it so keep track of your costs (always essential on a budget). I'd suggest researching the festivals you're considering especially looking at their previous official selections, because if they say they accept horror but they never showed any horror films, you're wasting your money.

Sick of Found Footage

Of course, there are some good found-footage movies. I like Cloverfield, The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity (the first one, not the 200th sequel), etc. But they are few and far between with most of them being absolutely awful. This type of film has become a pathetic excuse for terrible picture quality, tons of shaky cam, missing all the action, nothing happening for most of the movie except maybe the last few minutes, never getting a good look at the monsters or FX, etc. I especially hate how they're always trying to justify why they keep recording.

I'm never making a found footage movie. I can't stand them, and there are way too many now. Netflix is flooded with them. Enough with the found footage already.

What's Next

A ton of practical FX monster movies. I'm just saving up money now and working on the scripts, creature designs, sculpting, etc. Plus, I'm doing a little sci-fi film like Primer.

I'm also helping produce a lot of films like Night of the Living Deb with Ray Wise.