Thursday, June 11, 2020

An Overlook Hour with Jordan Downey (The Head Hunter) and Intervision's Newest Title

This week the Overlook Hour excitedly welcomes Jordan Downey to the show to talk about his cinematic achievements within independent horror. The latest of these achievements being the amazingly lived in world of The Head Hunter.

What the movie lacks in dialogue it more than makes up for with visual story telling by lead actor Christopher Rygh, and set design that looks like it must have been obsessively assembled and cost an exorbitant amount of the budget, especially since it's entirely practical. 

A medieval warrior's gruesome collection of severed heads is missing only one - the monster
that killed his daughter years ago.

Turns out talent and vision take you much further than an endless budget ever could, as most of the props and set dressings came from The Spirit Shop, and you'd NEVER know from looking at them. 

Jordan talks about the themes explored and choices made within The Head Hunter, so check out episode 197 to hear more. And if you'd like to know even more about the production, check out episode 174 of Shock Waves.

But before we get the The Head Hunter...

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Overlook Hour with Richard Perry (Base, A Night in the Woods)

This week the overlook hour was joined by Richard Perry, a filmmaker whose career started in the trenches. No joke - actual trenches, as a wartime videographer. Richard has a long list of interesting films because of this. But he also has several POV titles in the mix as well. 

A Night in the Woods (2011) has been among the Overlook collection for years now, and we’ve recommended it to several fans of found footage horror. It’s a good looking movie that Richard suspects was a little too close to The Blair Witch Project, which caused critics to trash it, and if that's true, it's a really weak way to dismiss a solid movie with some cool reveals. Also Richard was not aware that his film was in the dragged girl on the cover club.

Base (2017) was the actual impetus for tracking Richard down, because it terrified us in a way we were not prepared for...

Base follows the exploits of two friends who have a passion for base jumping and film many of their jumps. This movie also has reveals I won't go into, but rest assured that there is much more to this story. It was filmed on a handful of GoPros, so you get an inescapable first hand view of the nearly 20 jumps they recorded. If you have any kind of issues with heights you will definitely be confronting those! I highly recommend checking this one out. 


After these assignments, you'll be ready for episode 196 of the Overlook Hour!


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Former Engineer for The Overlook Hour Podcast Directs YouTube Video

Former engineer for "The Overlook Hour Podcast" Nilo dropped a video on YouTube this week. THE FIGHT was Written/Directed/Edited by Nilo himself so, of course, I had to share it.

If you actually watch this video all the way through (it's short) I need you to leave a comment on this post telling us what you think or comment on the YouTube video saying we sent you. Considering that many won't actually even read this far I'm not expecting much... Prove me wrong!

-Lord Battle

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Digging Up The Dirt with KillDozer and Claudia Rodriguez (Wrought Ink)

Throughout my life, my monsterkid travels with the adventure club have had a checklist of film locations, cryptozoology sighting locations, and dark historical places of significance. I of course felt right at home in New Orleans where you could barely walk a block without experiencing the incredible sights and sounds of a city with all the beauty, monsters, art and dark history one could handle. It was on the last night of my trip that I began to panic realizing that I had not yet been able to purchase any Rougarou merchandise. I already had my VooDoo, vampire, and ghost souvenirs but nothing from the famed Rougarou! The city seemed to have turned its back on the beloved monster and I had given up hope until stumbling into an incredible outdoor market during my last night. It was there that I found the amazing art of Claudia Rodriguez and her company Wrought Ink., who not only fully embrace all the folklore and dark history of the area but present it in the most incredible way on their apparel. I not only had the chance to purchase the Wrought Ink. Rougarou but the Honey Island Swamp Monster shirt as well. Obviously my little monsterkid heart was full of joy and I knew then that I had to dig up the dirt and spread the good word about Wrought Ink. (who you can order from online by the way).  

KillDozer: Where did the inspiration come from to start Wrought Ink?

Claudia Rodriguez: I have been drawing since I was 7 and after years of recreating images, I wanted to inspire the creativity and imagination of others with new original artwork. Most of the stories I have chosen have been told traditionally through word of mouth and have little illustration to help tell the story. 

Erzulie was inspired by the culture I'm surrounded by. I went to what I thought was a Voodoo pub crawl at Rosalie’s Allie, but it actually turned out to be an authentic voodoo ritual. I was born and raised in New Orleans and didn’t know what Voodoo actually looked like until then. That’s because most people know the “Hollywood” voodoo and not authentic voodoo. Some shops have even adopted this “Hollywood” voodoo for the sake of sales. Wrought Ink aims to share the authentic side of New Orleans and preserve its culture.

I was also inspired after I went to visit the Lafayette Cemetery and saw long lines of tourists taking photos. I thought to myself, why are all of these tourists hanging out in a cemetery instead of enjoying all of the other entertainment New Orleans has to offer. People have a fascination with the strange and dark culture that we have, mostly because it is unique, but also because it appeals to their own dark side.

KD: How did you begin the process of bringing the dream of Wrought Ink to life? 

CR: I was a manager for a jewelry designer and had learned inventory management, marketing, and sales. I felt that I had the skills necessary to run my own business. Once I had the idea for Wrought Ink, I approached a good friend and fellow designer to join me as a partner. We both put up $600 each to purchase starting supplies and equipment. He left the company before it opened, but wished me the best of luck and allowed me to keep the investment. My starting equipment was horrible and printing was a nightmare, but I have since developed technique and upgraded my equipment.

KD: Being a monsterkid, I couldn't help looking everywhere for legit Rougarou books, shirts, hats etc. etc. but found nothing until coming across your booth at an outdoor art market. Why do you think New Orleans chooses not to embrace its monster folklore as much as it embraces VooDoo?

CR: Voodoo has a lot more history and depth as a religion, whereas stories like the Rougarou were normally told by parents to their children. It was a simple story “be good or the rougarou will come for you.” For a long time the Rougarou story was told through word of mouth. There are even multiple spelling variations because of that. However, the Rougarou has grown in popularity. There is a roller coaster in Ohio called the “Rougarou,” there is a Rougarou festival in Houma, the TV show Supernatural features the Rougarou. There are also many sports teams and Athletes that have adopted the name.

KD: Besides the Rougarou what other folklore have your created art work and apparel for?

CR: My most recent drawing is of The Axeman of New Orleans. I love the mystery of it and the significance of Jazz in the story.

The Axeman is a notorious character of New Orleans. It was recently 100 years since he wrote his letter in March 1919. In this letter, he said that he would go on another killing spree on a specific date, but would spare anyone playing jazz music.

KD: Have you always been aware of the creatures and mythology you include in your art? If not how did you come to find out about it?

CR: I have not always been aware. But I am a huge fan of fantasy and creatures, and I am knowledgeable on New Orleans culture. When I was coming up with Wrought Ink’s concept, I knew I wanted stories that I would have to research, not those that everybody knows. So I found these stories after persistent digging. After a while, people started sharing stories and making suggestions to me.

KD: Have you ever entertained the idea of doing sculptures or full size paintings of The Wrought Ink pieces?

CR: There is a balance between being the jack of all trades or the master of one. I have skills with traditional art, graphic design, sculpture, special effects makeup, animation etc. I did sell prints and long sleeved shirts at one time because they were requested at the market, but they didn’t sell well and I end up being stuck with the inventory for a long time. 

I did however, collaborate with a movie Welcome Home Rougarou. I created their Rougarou monsters hands. They came out quite scary! Keep an eye out for the film. It is still in production.

KD: I've noticed you do a lot of photo shoots to promote the clothing of Wrought Ink. How do these come together? Do you do the photography as well? 

CR: I used to organize my own photo shoots, but time management became difficult for me. I have learned to trust photographers and models with my creative vision and branding. It also feels good to collaborate with other creatives and see what they come up with.

KD: Where can we go to follow Wrought Ink and place orders?

CR: We're on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy

KD: How long does it take you to create a design? Do you already have the idea in your mind when you begin creating a new piece?

CR: It takes me forever to create a new design. Sometimes I will start a design and then start another design and finish that one before I get back to it. With the Axeman I tried to force a design to work for a long time and then I started over and liked a sketch that came naturally to me. Designing for t-shirts is different than designing for paper and it is a challenge to hide all of the aspects of the stories in the design. For the Rougarou, people like how it looks like a logo. It takes me about a year to finish a design and I don’t work on it in one sitting.

KD: What do you enjoy most about this preservation of New Orleans dark folklore?

CR: These stories are almost like an inside story or an underground community. People either recognize the stories from childhood or are happy to find something different. I would make more money if I drew seafood, Mardi Gras masks, trumpets, etc. But the designs wouldn’t be as memorable or impactful due to the amount of artwork that already exists for mainstream New Orleans content. My customers usually appreciate the historical and/or the taboo aspect of it. There has always been a curiosity and appreciation for monsters and fantasy. Some people have told me that they don’t know where they could wear a design like the Honey Island Swamp Monster, which portrays a bleeding boar, but others have been so excited that they put the shirt on immediately.

KD: How do people usually react to your work? What do you hope people will get out of seeing and wearing Wrought Ink merchandise?

CR: Here is a good example of how people react: 

One time this guy came up to my table and said that he wanted to buy 3 shirts for his sons. His wife came up and got visibly upset screaming “No, no, no that’s too scary!” He came back later and lingered around the table, and his wife came back again. She shows him off and told me “next thing you know he will want to buy them a silver bullet.” People have also told me that they couldn’t buy a shirt because they are Catholic. However, I don’t mind those negative reactions as much as I mind indifference. I knew when I created my shirt line that they would not appeal to everyone. The reason I chose t-shirts was because I felt that they would be more successful in sharing the stories. Essentially turning the wearer into a storyteller. I want people to wonder what the stories are about and maybe strike a conversation with its wearer.

KD: What does the future hold for Wrought Ink?  Being a nerd I would love to see a comic book!

CR: I do want to create a small coffee table book where I could sell the stories as a collection. However, the financial investment of creating a book is too great a risk for me right now. I had the idea for a pop-up book, similar to the Babadook pop-up book. In the future, I would like to connect more with other Louisiana folklore experts, stores, and events. Maybe more collaborations.

KD: Okay, time for a few fun/silly questions - if one of your works of art was to be made into a block buster film which piece would it be and who would star in the film?

CR: Jacques St. Germain. That story has so many facts and witnesses that I believe most of it to be true. St. Germain is quite an interesting and complex story and I will never get the opportunity to sit down and tell all of it. It would really require a film. I would like to see Keanu Reeves carry himself with the elegance and sophistication of an old vampire.

KD: What is your favorite folklore monster and why? Seems like an obvious question, but still fun.

CR: I recently learned about Kappa turtles. They are really funny looking demon turtles that carry a bowl of water on their head. If it spills they die.

KD: If a Mardi Gras parade was themed after the dark history and folklore of New Orleans what would it be called and who would be its king?

CR: Swamp Dread - the King would be Lord Chaz. He’s one of the oldest tour guides here and he either seriously commits to pretending to be a vampire or he is one. If you haven’t taken his tour, I highly recommend it.


Check out more Wrought Ink art and apparel at their Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Listener Sam Reviews: Violence Voyager, An Uncompromising Journey of Body Horror and Child-Violence

Violence Voyager is a film that commits entirely to a single sadistic vision, and sticks to it throughout. Two children, Bobby and Akkun, leave to spend time with a friend, and on their way encounter a run-down amusement park named Violence Voyager. The gist of the park is a game where they spray squirt guns at cutouts of aliens that reportedly spit a highly caustic liquid at their victims. Before long, Bobby and Akkun realize that there are real creatures inhabiting Violence Voyager, and any and everything is threatened by their corrosive emissions.

The story beyond isn’t necessarily deep, but it’s adventurous, almost reminiscent a children’s television show, or perhaps a short arc of Dragon Ball. For children, however, Violence Voyager is not. The film commits itself to depicting constant, unflinching violence towards children. In this, it pulls no punches, and the depictions are extreme. 

Despite the harrowing depictions of violence, there’s an odd levity that might make things even more disturbing. Characters remain relatively happy-go-lucky and determined, even as awful things happen to them and those around them. It provides a constant reminder that the characters are children.

Violence Voyager treads down a number of different paths of body horror. There’s plenty of gore. Skin is melted, eyeballs pop out, blood pours, everything you’d expect from something of this ilk. But, there’s other, more Cronenbergian body horror. In addition to the physical elements, there are transformative elements. Characters morph into grotesque mockeries of humanity and emit various bodily fluids to sickening ends.

To amplify the sickening content, Ujicha employs an animation-like technique that he calls Gekimation. The unusual style combines puppeteered paper cutouts with real fluids to give the animation a visceral (and dare-I-say venereal) quality. The artwork in Violence Voyager is amazing. The backdrops are vibrant and detailed, and the characters are highly detailed and shown in dozens (if not hundreds) of different poses. 

Another unique aspect of the Ujicha’s Gekimation is the depth of field provided by having multiple layers and cutouts. Unlike traditional animation, there’s a genuine sense of cinematography in Violence Voyager, including camera movement, zooms, racking focus, and a depth of field that’s played with in interesting ways.

The style will unavoidably draw comparisons to Junji Ito, Katsuhiro Otomo, and perhaps Shintaro Kago. While these are all impressive and well-earned comparisons, Ujicha’s style is entirely his own. The use of liquids is particularly disgusting. Blood, vomit, water, and caustics drip and pool on the art, and move with fluidity unlike any of the films other imagery. 

To the best of my knowledge, Ujicha is the only person making films of this style, which makes him a filmmaker to keep an eye on. His prior film, The Burning Buddha Man uses the same style, and is worth seeking out (for rent on iTunes) if you want more. Otherwise, Violence Voyager is currently free on Amazon Prime, and is worth a watch, if you can stomach it.

Watch Violence Voyager on Amazon Prime

-Listener Sam

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Huntress Reviews: Clickbait (Awesome Theatre)

Awesome Theatre relentlessly teases me with the well-crafted POV and faux documentary multimedia they incorporate into their shows. Ever since our first visit to one of their productions at PianoFight, Lord Battle and I have been trying to talk them into making a found footage movie and submit it to UFF. Granted, our first show was the first ever found footage horror anthology play, but every visit that followed continued the trend. And their latest production, Clickbait, was no different.

So let me back up. Earlier this month, I and two other Overlook creatures attended the opening night of Clickbait, which had immediately caught my attention when Awesome Theatre revealed their 2020 lineup late last year. Not only did it register on my growing “possibly POV” radar for its name and mock YouTube icon, but it also had a great pitch: “Two internet celebrities spend the night in an abandoned cabin. You won’t believe what happens next.” SOLD.

There’s really no guessing which direction a story with that kind of setup could go (one of the beautiful things about indie productions), and I don’t want to rob anyone of trying to piece the puzzle together as they watch the show, but I still want to tease the hell out of what I can! 

Although unrelated, Clickbait was borne of a segment in Holy Shit That was Scary - I believe it was “Academic Findings” - which features two women in an isolated cabin and was also written by Tonya Narvaez, who is responsible for writing Clickbait in close collaboration with director Claire Rice (Let's Kill Jessica). I will say that the cabin setting in Clickbait was on par, if not a step better than HSTWS. And the super dim lighting made me appropriately uneasy, claustrophobic even. 

The tiny taxidermy deer heads felt like a whimsical pairing with the painting on the other wall, which was, well… ominous.

The show starts out with a compilation of videos from the internet celebrities who will be accepting the challenge of spending the night in an abandoned cabin, their perky mannerisms, and some of their past challenges. A quick read between the lines confirms that one of the duo takes the lead in decision making, while the other is either a reluctant or involuntary participant. Eyebrows are raised…

This show has a necessarily bare bones cast made up of BryBry and Beckah (the talent), Owen (the producer), and Sam (a newly hired camera operator), and it really allows you to get to know what each of them is like on and, more importantly, off camera. And while it's hard not to jump to conclusions about these characters solely based on first impressions, it's even harder to watch their true nature play out. Especially with the unflinching performances of the actors.

Featuring: Samuel Barksdale, Caroline Boyll, Carly Van Liere, and Jorden Charley-Whatley

The show starts with the entire team arriving at the cabin that will be their home for the next 24 hours. They record spooky teaser videos about how they’re going to play flashlight tag and record their night… only to find out that their backup batteries had not been charged immediately after the camera stops rolling. At this point, nerves are already tense, and it's only the beginning of the night! 

I could tell you all about the varied relationship dynamics, shady secrets, and personal revelations, but it's just not the same as sitting in that audience and seeing it for yourself. This story stays compelling from the first taste of glimpse of YouTube content, all the way to its explosive conclusion. And you still have a couple of opportunities to see it unfold. 

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Feedback

A radio star experiences the worst night of his life when stalkers assault the radio station where he's working.

5 of 5 viewers "Liked" "Feedback" (2020, Spain/USA)
Creature reviews have been minimally altered in an attempt to maintain their voice:

Greyranger - "This movie is both unpleasant and ambiguous, so it's not going to be for everyone. But it ratchets up the tension steadily, the performances are uniformly strong (Eddie Marsan is great in the lead), and it artfully turns into something else... And then turns into yet something else. The twists will take you to a place you may not want to go (but as with Miike's Audition, it would be cruel to give anything away), and it will piss off some who expect all wrongs to be righted. But it's a truer picture of ourselves, the evil we do, and how we bear it." - 3.5 Stars

The Impostor - "Slow start for me, I would have probably tuned out/turned off if I'd watched alone. Feedback picks up its stride by the middle and keeps it going till the very end with plenty of mystery and twists. Kept me engaged and I'm glad I stuck it out. And I loved seeing Anthony Stewart Head from Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this! Overall solid watch. I don't think it's something I'd watch again but I'd recommend it." - 3 Stars

Huntress - "After a dense intro that almost lost me, Feedback evolved into a completely different movie. Set in a radio station and recording studio comprised of unique and colorful rooms, the story takes a second act turn and rapidly gets dark. I was very unprepared for the number of moral quandaries I found myself faced with. I definitely need to rewatch this one." - 3.5 Stars

Lord Battle - "The best part of Feedback is it teases being a movie you don't want to watch, then becomes something you can't look away from. Brilliant performances, beautiful design, and awesome script. Best Die-O-Drama I've seen in years!" - 4.5 Stars

Wandering Panda - *Spoiler*- "I love this film. It's slow paced but once it hit its strides it got very interesting. Feedback possesses surprisingly gory outbursts of violence. I can't help but listen to the last half of this film where everyone is interrogating everyone and it's hard to trust anybody. It's like rooting for the lesser of the two evils because everyone in this film is shitty. This film is a verbal battle of chess where all the players have an agenda and they're trying to trip and force each other into a corner. Feedback is well acted, has excellent sound design, and rewards insightful viewers with its story. All in all, Feedback is great and should be watched at least once. But it's definitely not for everyone." - 4 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

At this point of the Overlook's life, our reviewers trust us. Either that or they're just more adventurous that they have been in the past... or they don't mind sharing the pressure of movies selection and the resulting response of the viewers. Whatever the case, no one protested when Feedback started, aside from a bit of hemming and hawing during the heavy Brexit conversation up top. This was a screener given to us by the same distributor who had supplied our previous feature of the night, which probably wasn't making it onto any top ten lists but was still pretty fun to watch with friends. And starting the night with that feature might have actually worked in Feedback's favor.

Our first movie of the night was By Day's End, a half security camera half handheld camera in-world camera movie that (to me) felt not entirely fleshed out. I didn't realize that it had essentially disarmed the audience. So when Feedback got intense, we were all taken aback. While that didn't drastically change minds about the film, and Feedback didn't need any help to play well, it made our viewing experience a whole lot better because no one saw it coming.


The Overlook Theatre materialized in a Residence for a screening on 2/13/2019
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.