Your Video Store Shelf
Interviews with filmmakers of all sorts
YVSS - IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
July 07, 2007 01:01 PM PDTThe Your Video Store Shelf Podcast has been relocated and this page will be deleted soon. DVD Reviews, New Releases, and Podcasts at Your Video Store Shelf.com YVSS #38 - J.R. Bookwalter (BAD MOVIE POLICE)
June 01, 2007 05:11 PM PDT
J.R. Bookwalter’s IMDb.
J.R. Bookwalter has been around the world of low budget cinema for close to twenty years now. He made his first film, the Romero-influenced The Dead Next Door in 1988 with funding that partially came from EVIL DEAD director Sam Raimi. That film is still seen by many as the best film Bookwalter directed. Unfortunately for Bookwalter, The Dead Next Door would not hit shelves until after his second film did; Robot Ninja. With a title like that, how can you go wrong? According to Bookwalter, making that movie, and several others similar to it, for incredibly low budgets in small amounts of time was a surefire way to not only go wrong, but be on the run from what his friends termed the Bad Movie Police. That is the inspiration for the latest release from Tempe DVD, which is the company that Bookwalter has owned and operated for many years. Five of his earlier films, which he made for David DeCoteau’s Cinema Home Video, are included on the set. That set is, by the way, out in stores now.
J.R. joined me yesterday to record this forty minute show, during which we discussed many elements of his career. Topics include how he came up with the concept for the Bad Movie Police series, working with David DeCoteau, making movies like Zombie Cop for $2500, putting together artwork for movies before they are made, making six movies over seven months, making tight deadlines, the joy of making fun of his movies, the process of making The Dead Next Door over a four year period, making films with John Russo, starting his own company, the most ridiculous way a movie of his was promoted, how he got introduced to Charlie Band, how Tempe became Full Moon’s production entity, how William Shatner’s Groom Lake almost bankrupted Full Moon (a tremendous story I had never heard), Charlie Band’s lavishness, the low points in his career that actually made money (Killjoy 2 in particular), the law of diminishing returns, and what he wants Tempe to become.YVSS #37 - Michael Shoel (President - Ariztical Entertainment)
May 26, 2007 04:33 PM PDT
Homophobes may not want to listen to the latest edition of the Your Video Store Shelf Podcast. My love for wacky video releases does not stop at those that keep the bare penis out of sight. When I watch Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds in a few days I may choose to avert my eyes for a few brief moments, but during all other moments I will be giving it my full attention.
Joining us on the show today is the man behind Eating Out 2. He’s not just a producer though. Michael J. Shoel is the President / CEO of Ariztical Entertainment, a long-running company that now distributes over 20 gay-themed movies a year. He’s been in the distribution business since the video boom of the mid-80s, and a few years ago a mid-life crisis led to him taking a chance and fronting the money for the sexy, campy, gay comedy Eating Out. It was such a success for the company that we are now just a few days away from the DVD release of Eating Out 2, which should be available in many Blockbusters and Hollywood Videos come Tuesday the 29th.
Topics include bringing straight sexuality and gay sexuality together, cunnilingus, fellatio, building a library, getting gay-themed films into Blockbuster, the conservative world we live in, getting started with Phoenix Distributors and Donna Michelle Productions, distributing films like Cannibal Campout, forming Ariztical Entertainment, the state of gay cinema in the mid-90s, picking up movies that will appeal to more than just gay audiences, getting the word out about his films, how he gets around uptight buyers, other peoples’ confusion about his sexuality, getting into producing, Rebekah Kochan’s difficult breasts, Eating Out 2’s openly gay star ("American Idol" contestant Jim Verraros), people enjoying simulated sex too much, Dana Plato’s Different Strokes: Jack & Jill & Jill, the dangers of picnic baskets, and how GLAAD may have come to his rescue.YVSS #36 - Johnny Kalangis (THE MAD)
May 21, 2007 09:35 PM PDT
Out today on video from Genius Entertainment is Johnny Kalangis’ The Mad, a zombie comedy starring a ’throwback 80s guy’ Billy Zane as a father forced to battle what are essentially zombies at a truck stop after some tainted meat triggers a deadly epidemic. This is the third feature film from Kalangis, although it’s the first where he’s actually crossing into the b-territory that we all love. The film has been garnering some real buzz lately, including quite a few positive reviews, so you should definitely both listen to this show and rent/buy the movie.
Among the topics discussed are the pronunciation of Kalangis’ last name, getting the chance to work with Peace Arch Entertainment, rewriting the film’s script, box art woes, the intricacies of Billy Zane’s acting method, what he believes to be important in the creation of a horror movie, what Zane brought to the role, going shopping with him, acting in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, why actors don’t usually appear on the Your Video Store Shelf Podcast, details on the Canadian-theatrical release for his second film Love is Work in June, skewing reality in the world of his films, and more.
Enjoy the show.YVSS #35 - Art Camacho (HALF PAST DEAD 2)
May 18, 2007 12:33 PM PDT
Art Camacho's gritty story of redemption Half Past Dead 2, which stars professional wrestler Bill Goldberg and rapper Kurupt, hit stores last Tuesday. He joins us on this edition of the Your Video Store Shelf Podcast to talk about an assortment of topics.
Like so many guests on this show, Camacho's journey into the world of filmmaking was not a typical one. Camacho began to learn martial arts as a teenager as a way of defending himself against the gangs of South East Los Angeles. He continued training into his adult years. Like so many accomplished martial artists in 1990's Los Angeles, Camacho was eventually asked to get the crap kicked out of him on film. He quickly learned the tricks of the trade of stunt work, and his workload increased. Soon enough he found himself being asked by PM Entertainment to not just do stunts, but choreograph the fight scenes in many of their movies. He has choreographed well over a hundred action scenes since then, and it was thanks to his success in that field that he found his way into directing. Half Past Dead 2 is Camacho's 14th film, with his earlier efforts including Gary Daniels' Recoil, Gangland, Sci-Fighter, and Point Doom.
Topics include how he got attached to Half Past Dead 2, working with Andrew Stevens, the rhythm involved with fake fighting, his experience being PM Entertainment's fight choreographer, assembling almost a thousand extras in less than ten hours, the simple story of how he got into directing, his nervousness on his first day, his friendship with Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, bad kickboxing movies, blowing up cars, weak scripts, how long it takes him to appreciate his movies, how Andrew Dice Clay and Richard Grieco saved Point Doom, the eagerness of Angie Everhart, how great James Russo is, his very dangerous original plans for Confessions of a Pit Fighter, how he almost broke a gang truce, why we haven't seen that film, working with Flava Flav, getting his beat up in both Half Past Deads, and to close the show off, Art leaves me speechless.
Fine show people. Get to listening!YVSS #34 - Steve Latshaw
May 15, 2007 05:41 PM PDT
When Steve Latshaw moved out to Los Angeles in the mid-90s at the age of 35 it was at a time when the ultra low budget market was virtually dead. Being able to make a movie in twelve days for $50,000 is a talent that men like Steve have, but unfortunately for him, no one was interested. He was told by those close to him that if he didn't make it in the business within two years, it may be time to head back to Florida. Luckily for Steve, his friendships with men like Fred Olen Ray paid off, and as a result he was hired to write the low budget family flick Invisible Dad for Andrew Stevens' Royal Oaks Entertainment. Steve didn't realize it at the time, but that wacky little film would lead him down a path that saw him become one of Andrew Stevens' go-to-guys for low budget scripts. Invisible Dad was made in 1997, and ten years later he has twenty-six writing credits to his name.
The last time Steve was on the show, which you can check out in the podcast archives under show six, we covered his career directing low budget films like Jack-O and Vampire Trailer Park in Florida. This edition focuses on Steve's move to Los Angeles and his subsequent success in the low budget market. Topics discussed include a man named Hugh Janus, the kindness of Fred Olen Ray, reasons for rewrites, getting flack for his military movies, how long it takes him to write a script, tough collaborations, the budgets of his films, the dangers of agents, lots and lots of fantastic talk about stock footage, how Jim Wynorski made an action film without shooting action scenes, the absurdity of using footage from Terminator 2, a thank you to Renny Harlin, pseudonyms, the importance of reliability, and his upcoming films Xenophobia and Planet Raptor, the retitled sequel to Raptor Island.YVSS #33 - Brian Trenchard-Smith
May 12, 2007 04:51 PM PDT
"The whole reason genres exist is because people want to see certain cinematic forms over and over again, with new wrinkles, surprises, developments, bigger, better, etc. The western, the war movie, the spy thriller, the monster movie. They are the meat and potatoes of the broad cinema audience’s diet."
Brian Trenchard-Smith has been around the block in this industry. Getting his start in the business cutting trailers in the 1960s, Smith soon found his way into directing. His first feature, the Australian kung fu flic The Man From Hong Kong, was made in the mid-70s. Since then Smith has never stopped chasing his love. Now in Hawaii prepping his 37th film, the Valley of Gwangi-inspired Tyrannosaurus Azteca, Smith has no qualms about his position in the industry as a director of genre films. With many of his films he strives to both satirize and celebrate particular genres, and this is exactly what I love to see filmmakers do. He has an admirably upbeat attitude about his career, and this show is a testament to that.
I began my interview with Brian under the assumption that the Hawaiian phone lines would present us with too much static to have more than a fifteen-minute interview. Thankfully Hawaii was calm on this Saturday morning, so Brian and I had the chance to talk for over 50 minutes. Among the topics discussed are the upcoming Tyrannosaurus Azteca, his love for genre films, the effect of low attention spans on movies, ’sandwich films,’ how he got started in the business, making The Man From Hong Kong, the story behind how he convinced Trimark to produce Leprechaun 4: In Space, pitching penis bursting, mandatory breast shots, his idea for Leprechaun 5 (definitely not In The Hood), his ’genre cocktail’ pet names for movies, the genre greatness of Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, making ’gay’ versions of his movies, and even some political talk.YVSS #32 - Richard W. Munchkin (City Lights / PM Entertainment)
May 10, 2007 01:51 AM PDT
Richard W. Munchkin has taught me a lot since I first talked to him in January of this year. During that time I was beginning my quest to learn all that I possibly could about City Lights and PM Entertainment, who brought the world over 100 wacky action movies between 1985 and 2000. The story of City Lights and PM is an incredibly interesting one that I have only just begun to write about. The majority of this podcast is focused on the City Lights days, during which Joe Merhi and Rick Pepin produced a plethora of bloody action films with miniscule budgets, short scripts, and shooting schedules that only went above a week because the company was able to lie their way into more time with the needed equipment.
City Lights made 8 or 9 films in its first year of existence, and Munch was an integral part of them all. He describes his role in the City Lights days as that of production manager / art department / wardrobe department / caterer. During those days he saw many spectacular stunts, gun shots, and low budget tricks that we talk about in detail. Eventually he was even given the chance to direct a film that, in my mind and no one else’s, is an absolute classic; Dance or Die. The awesome music from that movie opens up the show. From there he crafted himself a ten-year-long career in directing that resulted in films like Ring of Fire 1 & 2, Deadly Bet, and Fists of Iron. He has since moved onto a career in professional blackjack, and has even written a book, Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the World's Greatest Gamblers.YVSS #31 - David Sterling (BLOOD MASK)
May 06, 2007 07:09 PM PDT
Independent producers in the low budget realm are rare nowadays. Independent producers in the low budget realm with over fifty movies on their resume are even rarer. The man behind this incredible feat is my guest on this edition of the Your Video Store Shelf Podcast; David Sterling of Sterling Entertainment.
Upon graduating Columbia College in the mid-80s David Sterling had the goal of becoming an A&R man in the music industry. Filmmaking, however, caught his eye upon his move to Los Angeles in 1988. Soon enough he hooked up with other individuals interested in the independent filmmaking scene, such as Dennis Devine, Jay Woelfel, Steve Jarvis, and Jeff Bur to produce the horror anthology Things in the early 90s. Since then David has formed himself a niche that he is proud to fill, producing many notable genre flicks like Camp Blood, Unseen Evil, Alien 3000, Hell’s Highway, Death Factory, and the reason for this edition of the YVSS Podcast, Blood Mask: The Possession of Nicole Lameroux. This interview was only supposed to go about forty minutes, but like always when I’m interested in what a guest has to say, it wound up going an hour. This is a fine, fine hour though, so enjoy the show.
Blood Mask, which David made for the fine folks at Razor Digital Entertainment, is available to rent and buy now. Inspired by the 1961 Italian horror classic Black Sunday, Blood Mask follows six college students who are trapped in a haunted mansion. And what else happens to these trapped teens but death at the hands of an evil figure with an iron mask nailed to their face. It was directed by Dennis Devine (Curse of Pirate Death, Dead Gils), and stars low budget vets Ford Austin and Danielle De Luca.
Also on tap from David is Gothic Vampires From Hell, which will be out next Tuesday, May 15th. For more on David check out the Sterling Movie Factory website.YVSS #30 - Ulli Lommel (DIARY OF A CANNIBAL)
May 03, 2007 07:07 PM PDT
Ulli Lommel, director of the original BOOGEYMAN and more recently about 85 million horror films put out through Lionsgate, is here to talk about a little bit of everything in the world of Ulli Lommel.
Gregory Conley interviews figures in the direct-to-video industry about their upcoming films. For more check out www.yourvideostoreshelf.com
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