Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Gwombi Clan re-invade Red Hatchet

A few weeks ago I blogged about VALLEY OF GWOMBI drawing some interest but not being able to say anything about it. While that's still the case for the most part, I can say that I've had to totally neglect DREDD MANOR for the last week because I've been creating a promotional trailer for GWOMBI. Going back and looking at the GWOMBI films again after almost a year has really made me look at it in a new light. I can't really say any more at this point, but keep your fingers crossed for the GWOMBIS!

In other news, I was recently invited by Producer/Writer/ Personality/Boyfriend Extraordinnaire Gary Green to put together an animated opening sequence for his and his partner Steve Elliot's rowdy and risque talk-show, FOR THE BOYS. Of course I was thrilled to be offered such an assignment, and couldn't wait to start trying to interpret my two dear friends into clay. They're not finished yet, but they wouldn't shut up about wanting to have their picture taken (especially mini-Gary!) so I took a couple pics of them this afternoon. Here they are in real life, followed by their mini-sized counterparts. Aren't they cute?

Monday, May 15, 2006

I've totally given up on Dario Argento

As you may have guessed by the choices of material I tend to pursue, I'm a big fan of horror films. So, naturally, I gravitate to those filmmakers who are regarded as masters of the genre. However, after years of trying to comprehend his popularity, I have finally come to one inescapable conclusion about Italian horror director, DARIO ARGENTO: the man is a talentless, incompetent hack.

I just finished watching PHENOMENA, in which a VERY young Jennifer Connolly plays an American girl sent to a European boarding school where a serial killer is brutally murdering her fellow students. I don't know if you get your tuition refunded when you make a discovery like this on your VERY FIRST NIGHT at school (Headmistress's first line to Jennifer after she arrives: "You! Get in bed! NOW!"), but I think a class-action suit would probably be warranted. Luckily for Jen, she possesses the very special talent of being able to communicate with insects telepathically, a discovery made by Donald Pleasance (always a welcome face in any horror outing tho sadly underused here)as a wheelchair-bound entomologist whose nursemaid and caretaker is--I kid you not--a chimpanzee.

I have enjoyed moments in all of Argento's films, and therein lies the truth of his skill as a filmmaker: he has MOMENTS of greatness, and they are few and far between. I remember watching the opening fifteen minutes of SUSPIRIA and almost wetting my pants, only to find out that that was it. Film after film of his I've watched, or tried to--INFERNO, OPERA, TENEBRE--only to catch these glimpses of brilliance surrounded by amateurish cinematography, atrocious scripting, and complete LACK of directorial capability whatsoever. Where is the brilliant film, marred only by a fleeting moment of badness? In the canon of Argento's work: nowhere.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh on the man because I've given him so many chances to impress me and he's failed to do so in any way, shape or form. Or, perhaps it's because I've just spent two hours watching a film whose climax involves Jennifer Connolly being rescued from a psychotic killer by a chimp wielding a straight razor.

Ultimately, I'm happy to have made this revelation so that I can avoid wasting another moment of my life on the putrid dreck that IS the cinema of Dario Argento. I'm done with him, and nothing will lure me back...not even the chance of seeing Oscar-winner Jennifer Connolly in a swimming pool full of rotting, maggot-ridden corpses:

Sunday, May 14, 2006

DREDD MANOR takes shape...

The last couple of days have been pretty busy. Most of the cast of DREDD MANOR Episode 1 are ready to go, and the set pieces are starting to take up all available space in my apartment. Today's picture is a screen cap from another test, showing my protagonist against one of the set pieces.

Friday, May 12, 2006

THE VINES "Anysound" video

Man, some people just don't know when to stop raising the bar for the rest of us! Check out this awesome new video for "Anysound" by The Vines, animated by T. Reid Norton and some of his insanely talented cohorts:

Thursday, May 11, 2006

DREDD MANOR Teaser Trailer is Done!

I did a test with one of my puppets yesterday and liked it so I crafted a 30-second teaser trailer out of it. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Welcome to DREDD MANOR

I've been cooped up in the puppet factory for a couple days, churning out some characters for a new animation project tentatively titled DREDD MANOR. It's going to be a gothic horror melodrama played out as a series of short installments...sort of like the old DARK SHADOWS television show, only less boring. The story will include all manner of ghosts and ghouls you'd expect to find in such a story, and hopefully a few new surprises as well. Check back often for more pics of this exciting project as it develops!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

New blood

Been working on some new puppets today for a film idea that's been brewing for awhile. Most of them don't look like much yet, but the furry fellow above seemed near enough to completion to share, as did the charming damsel below:
More to come in the days ahead...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Wraith of Cobble Hill

One of the things I love about Hollywood is that you can be reading about someone in a magazine one day and having lunch with them the next. In this case, the magazine was Animation Week which contained an article about someone called Adam Parrish King whose stop-motion film, THE WRAITH OF COBBLE HILL, had captured a Jury Prize for Short Filmmaking at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Lunch was held the following day (actually a couple of weeks later) at Cafe 101 on Franklin.

Adam, like myself, grew up in surburban TN during the style-challenged '70s, and we were both deeply affected by the Rankin-Bass Holiday Specials such as RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. I traded him a copy of FROM BEYOND for a copy of WRAITH and boy, am I now a fan of this film! This hauntingly beautiful story, which is actually three stories interlaced, is destined to become an indie-animated classic, and I'm just so damn glad it's gotten the attention it deserves. With the win at Sundance, and another Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival, THE WRAITH OF COBBLE HILL has the street cred that will give it that kind of longevity. ADAM KING!! YOU WILL WIN AN OSCAR SOMEDAY IF YOU KEEP THIS UP!!

VALLEY OF GWOMBI hits the 'Tube

YouTube that is. You can now check out the film that got Red Hatchet rolling by clicking on the screen below!
Thanks to my good friend Behn Fannin for compressing it down to a manageable size for me, and to Gary for teaching me everything I know about HTML...and making me put that knowledge to use!