Friday, May 18, 2007

New gee-whiz-bang news!

Okay, so some of you may not have seen this on Amy's blog yet. For those of you sub-rock dwellers:


Happy Cloud Pictures is proud to announce their next production:
Splatter Movie: The Director's Cut.

An independent production company sets up at a haunted attraction to shoot both a horror movie and the simultaneous making-of documentary, unaware that the set is being stalked by a killer masquerading as one of their own performers. As filming progresses, the line between what's real and what's fiction begins to blur—and then vanishes entirely! Splatter Movie: The Director's Cut takes a time-honored storyline and gives it a Happy Cloud Pictures twist, resulting in a veritable tesseract of a film. The end result will be as much a deconstruction of the slasher subgenre as it will be a new entry in horror history.

To complete this elaborate project, Happy Cloud Pictures is teaming up with the Hundred Acres Manor, Pittsburgh's only 100% volunteer based tri-themed haunt benefiting Homeless Children's Education Fund and Animal Friends. This immense attraction will virtually be a character itself in the film, providing a wonderfully-macabre landscape for the characters to play.

With a script from Mike Watt (The Resurrection Game, Dead Men Walking), Splatter Movie: The Director's Cut will star and be directed by Happy Cloud Pictures co-founder Amy Lynn Best (Abattoir, Severe Injuries) and will co-star legendary special effects artist and actor Tom Sullivan (The Evil Dead)! Also joining the cast are Elske McCain (Poultrygeist) and Best's Abattoir cast-mates Sofiya Mina Smirnova, Rachelle Williams (Jess Franco's Take Away Spirit), Alyssa Herron, Nic Pesante, Stacy Bartlebaugh-Gmys Jeff Waltrowski (Project Valkyrie) and Don Bumgarner.

Keep checking back at or for updates and news about this exciting project.

Now then, this is something we're extremely excited about. The project was inspired by a short film Amy shot with Devi Snively and Jane Rose back in March called, I kid you not, I Spit on Eli Roth (read all about it in Sirens of Cinema #7 - on sale now!). The shoot was set at the aforementioned Hundred Acres Manor - which is about a mile long of twisting, turning corridors and spooky rooms (not to mention an enormous maze that had us all lost for about twenty minutes when we visited with Mike and Carolyn and Anders Erikson and Melinda Kreuger at Halloween).

While shooting the short, I knew I wanted to shoot something of our own there. The place was begging for something bizarre and sinister and violent, but... what? A slasher movie seemed obvious - too obvious. Plus, we already did a slasher movie, albeit a comedy (i.e. Severe Injuries for those not paying attention). But the idea kept gnawing at me every time I'd head toward the upstairs make-up room, inevitably turn the wrong way and slam my shin into a coffin hidden in a room where we hadn't located the lights yet.

Multiple times over the weekend, I creeped myself out. I always found Haunted Houses to be cheesy fun, where you laugh when the high school volunteers leap out at you, their over-sized masks covering their eyes. Being in this enormous haunt pre-season, and having a lousy sense of direction, I couldn't shake the feeling of being watched, the distant sense of panic of getting lost (which stems from a tragic Boy Scout woods retreat), etc. So, okay, I knew the story was going to be a slasher movie. But how the hell do you make an original slasher movie? If the recent Hollywood offerings were any indication, you apparently can't. This latter theory is also backed up by the slew of indie fare I've suffered through recently (not everything - don't scream at me - you guys know who did the good stuff).

So the movie-within-a-movie idea came to me - also not terribly original, but I thought I could figure out a unique twist to the entire thing. Both Amy and I have been answering a lot of interview questions lately regarding what makes a horror movie, etc. So if I took the opportunity to actually explore the genre while recreating it at the same time, we just might have something here worth making.

I realized around page 10 that this script was going to be a royal bitch to write. The disjointed nature of the thing dictated that its structure was going to be difficult to find. At the same time, I knew I wanted to incorporate real documentary and interview footage into the narrative, which made things even slipperier to beat into shape. All in all, Splatter Movie was the hardest script I've ever written, and took me the longest ever for a first draft. I was literally averaging about three pages a day. Not to brag, but I usually write MUCH faster than that.

But the resulting draft really felt satisfying once completed. I really do feel like we have something here. It is, if nothing else, very weird. Everyone we've shown it to really likes it. Fred Obermiller, our executive producer, told me he thinks that it's my best work to date, so now I have THAT to live up to. Thanks, Fred. People are coming out of the wood work, too, to help out. Not the least of which Ted Sobek, one of the owners of the Hundred Acres Manor, but also Erik Molinaris at the Douglas School(aka The Savini School) and his team of intrepid and starving students, as well as Mark Marsen and Scott Tyson at Specter Studios, who are donating some props for us to use. So thanks all around to all of these fine folks!

So, we'll see. We have to finalize our production insurance, since we'll be shooting on property not owned by us. Usually, our homeowner's insurance covers us for damage and injury, but there's only so far we can take the idea of "mobile business", so we want to have the policy in place before we shoot to make sure everyone will be safe and protected. But once that's ready, we're set to go. And, as usual, we'll keep everyone posted as things progress.

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