Archive for Horror

More screenings! More awesome reactions and more adventures!

Posted in Director's Log, Production with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2015 by forbiddensecretsmovie

Greetings!  Had an amazing time in Orlando FL at the Spooky Empire Mayhem show.  Had a pretty damned good turnout for the film.  I was surprised!  There was a VIP party, a Q&A with the cast of American Horror Story: Freakshow and even a Haunted House tour going on at the same exact time and we still brought in a good crowd.  Really excited that I finally met my old friend Scott Gabbey in person.  Scott does Ultra Violent magazine and we have been friends for ages!  Also met Stephen Biro from Unearthed Films and the awesome effects master Marcus Koch.  The staff at the Spooky Empire show really made us feel welcome and treated us like royalty.  Truly a good group of people.  One of the highlights for me was also meeting Mike, the owner of Grindhouse Video.  They are gonna be our official South Florida connection!!!  Antwoine had a smile a mile wide as he signed autographs.  Hooked up with Damon Pro, Jason Fetters (my old school friend) and got to finally meet Alberto Giovannelli!  Made some great contacts and looks like we may be doing more business in Florida soon.

Drop in and catch us in Decatur!!!

Drop in and catch us in Decatur!!!

Coming up next is June 12-13 the Dead In Decatur Filmfest, followed by the great Double Feature at the Drive In June 17 at the Skyline Drive In – Shelbyville, IN –  An awesome double feature with Circus of the Dead! Part of the Indie SINsations series of films! All proceeds go to support the historic Skyline Drive In Theater! Drop in and have some fun and you’ll be helping keep this awesome theater alive!!!!!!!

DRIVE-IN-DOUBLE-1I am so happy with the love and support we continue to receive from Horror fans all over the world!  It has been a wild ride.  Screenings are slowing down a bit now, getting the extras finished and everything ready for the upcoming DVD/BluRay releases.  Really looking forward to that!!!

On a side note, I had mentioned a while back in this blog that there were a few rough spots in the Post Production process, and I am STILL working on the sound mix.  Many people who have seen it in a theater never notice any issues, but I am a perfectionist.  When we took it to a third party for the sound mix / Dolby 5.1 processing, it was scary as hell and even though the place where we took the film does great work and really worked hard, I have never been happy with the mix.  When we went from a Dolby Stereo to the 5.1… it just lost something.  Many of my old favorites when they put them on BluRay I notice similar issues with the new 5.1 mixes – I usually listen to the Stereo tracks.  Unless you have a proper 5.1 decoder, I feel the sound is a bit thin and “trebly” and that it takes some of the meat from the mix.  So for months I have regretted allowing any third party to touch the film.  I always said I would never allow it, and I caved in… not really by choice… I was kind of pushed into it.  And I regret it.  So I have been spending day and night remastering the sound the best I can without going WAY back to the original tracks – that was about 2 years ago and several versions of the film.  If I have to, I will do that, but so far it looks like I am going to be able to use these newer tracks and I will be able to fix them with the tools I have here.  Just goes to show that even now the film is not complete the way I heard it in my head, so I want to make sure to do the best I can to bring that version of the sound, to the DVD/BluRay.  Most theaters have the good 5.1 encoders so it plays fine…. but many home systems do not.  So I think this version is a MUST.  I want to make sure that everyone loves this film when it gets the home video release.  The documentary is finished and it is actually as long as the feature!!!!  I was surprised!!! For me, this has been a real adventure and through the ups and downs, the good and bad, the stress and anxiety and the great times, this has been my call to the world that I AM STILL ALIVE!!!!!!!!  And the Documentary really shows that.  Andrew did a great job capturing that side of things.  At first I was unsure about it, I am just seriously a NO EGO type of person… I hate it.  No delusions, no ego, no BS.  But as I saw the documentary come together, I bent a little… I realized it is an important story to tell, and my near death experience and rebirth from that was a major part of the story.  All of the extras will have impact and they will bring the viewer along on the adventure.  Also, for the BluRay, I want to include the full first uncut raw version of the film… a bit rough around the edges, it is the first draft edit, with pretty much every scene in the film.  Fans of the flick will be able to watch all of the deleted scenes in their proper place in the film, and see the changes we made.  There may even be a special commentary that I will do for that version to explain things.  We will see….

Our growing list of Film Festivals!!!

Our growing list of Film Festivals!!!

That’s all for this one…. we’ll catch up again soon…. and until then, hope to meet you at one of the screenings!!!!

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Screenings! Festivals! Theaters! House of Forbidden Secrets keeps growing!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by forbiddensecretsmovie

It has been ages since I have written… been so busy working on other projects and touring around with House of Forbidden Secrets!!! First up is the amazing event at the Tampa Pitcher Show…. no, that’s not a typo…. Wayne and Cindy Valenti opened this theater and were one of the first to have the drinks, dinner and a movie theme much like Alamo Drafthouse. Tampa Picture Show already was beginning the digital upgrade process, with the understanding that the equipment will have to be returned if they didn’t have the money to pay it off. So we decided to do a fundraiser in Tampa, FL to help them!!!! The night was a major success!  I was quite surprised to find so many fans in attendance, having me sign older DVD releases, old magazine articles and new HOUSE flyers and posters.  The highlight was being reunited with my childhood friend Jason Fetters who I had not seen in 20 years, and meeting Joel D Wynkoop!  Joel is an actor who I have admired since the first time I watched Tim Ritter’s classic Truth Or Dare:  A Critical Madness.  And the fact that both of them loved the film so much truly makes this heart proud!  The night went incredible and we raised some funds for the theater – helping them was my goal…. supporting indie theaters that show Horror films is incredibly important.

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Got back to the Midwest for a special screening of House of Forbidden Secrets with my older film “Violent New Breed” at the Screenland Theater.  Again, a great time was had by all.  It was  a partial reunion as well when The Stodden family, Shane Hatfield, Luke Alvarez and Jenni Geigel attended.  Pat, Becky and the Stodden family were cast regulars through the early “classic” years of films and seeing them again was just amazing!  I have missed them.  Big Dave and Big J, both former Descension members were also there, along with some cast and crew members who missed out on the sold out screening at Alamo Drafthouse.  The night was a huge success, and Violent New Breed still has the power to shock people.  We had a few members of the audience leave and tell the theater owner how offended they were, but they loved HOUSE.  Guess I’m a bit mellower these days!  The best part was seeing how much fun everyone had when Rudy Ray Moore in his only true Horror film was on screen… he truly does shine in Violent New Breed.

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Next weekend, House of Forbidden Secrets goes international for the South African premiere!  Part of the popular “X-FEST,” the event is sure to be a success, with special thanks going to the Film Festival organizer Paul Blom for giving us support and believing in the film!  Wish I could be there in person, but that one is a bit too far for me right now.

 

April 26th, 2014 is the date for another great screening of House OF Forbidden Secrets as we invade Pittsburgh, PA!  Again, it is a fundraiser for the incredible Hollywood Theater.  The theater is also an indie, trying to secure digital projection, but keeping the old 35mm stuff as well!  They recently showed An American Werewolf In London, The Thing and many other Horror classics.  It is my firm opinion that anything I can do to help keep these theaters open and alive… I am there 100% – and this theater is a PERFECT fit for the film…. many people who frequent the theater are part of Horror Realm, and other area Horror clubs – after all it is in the Land of the Undead – the Zombie Capital of America… Pittsburgh.

 

Reviews of the film so far are all positive, people are absolutely LOVING the film.  Old fans of my work are being blown away and put into shock… it is not what they expect at all… like Brandon Bennett said “I just wanted to say how proud I am of Todd, the cast, and crew. Can not wait for you all to see it. It’s everything you love about Todd’s old films, with the maturity and knowledge he’s learned over the years.”  Brandon was one of the people who started the online Todd Sheets Fan Club while I was in the Hospital around the time of my heart surgery… His word means a lot to me… If he loves it, that says a lot!  I’ll post some reviews soon, and I’ll also do better in keeping things updated, I promise… I’ll also be sure to let everyone know when new screenings are announced and let you know how each event goes.  Thank you so much as well for your support and love of indie Horror!

Kansas City Alamo Drafthouse Invasion was a SUCCESS!!!!

Posted in Cast, Crew, Director's Log with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

We had our big red carpet Kansas City premiere at the Alamo Drafthouse on Dec 6th… I was as nervous as a person could be, but it went better than I ever dreamed.  First of all, the event SOLD OUT!!!  I was blown away – but more than that, the Alamo Drafthouse really bent over backwards to make this event special for everyone.  Zack and Erica from Atomic Cotton were on hand to celebrate with some T-Shirts and huge smiles, George Hardy flew in from Alabama and the whole cast and crew pretty much joined us for an incredible night!  The Kansas City audience has not always been kind to me in the past, since I am from this town they tend to be pretty hard on their own.  Admittedly my early movies were pretty damned awful, and many of them I have disowned over the years… but a kid has to start someplace.  I was still in my teens when some of those films were done.  Still, to see the reaction from the audience was pretty darn astounding!  It really seems as if everyone loved the film!  Most who I spoke with after the event said it exceeded their expectations. A  huge weight was lifted from my shoulders!!!  For me, the cast and crew who worked so hard loving the film is the best gift I could ask for.  This film may have been my brainchild, and it may have my name on it in many areas, but without the cast and crew, it would not be anything but an idea and a script.  They helped me bring it to life.  Each person put their stamp on this film, their hearts and souls, their passion and hard work.

Alamo Drafthouse Kansas City Red Carpet Event

Alamo Drafthouse Kansas City Red Carpet Event

As I stood at the back of the theater and watched the crowd and the film with Johnnie Reed, my good friend and gaffer on the film, I could not keep the smile from my face.  Everyone jumped at the right spots, laughed in the right places and seemed to really get into the film.  George Hardy told me that the film pulled him in and he felt like he was truly part of the group experiencing the horrors as they unfolded onscreen.  He said that he forgot it was a film he was actually IN as a star, and just fell in love with the story, getting shocked by the twists and turns and just really enjoying the ride.  It blew me away.  George Hardy is such a great guy and someone I truly looked up to and enjoyed in not only Troll 2, but Best Worst Movie as well.  Adding that to the comments I got from Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer in Las Vegas when we won 6 awards at the PollyGrind Film Festival and I truly am on cloud 9 when it comes to the reactions the film is getting.  This film is a true homage to the films I grew up loving as a kid, only with a modern spin.  Inspired by Italian Horror like Lucio Fulci, Ricardo Freda, Dario Argento, Joe D’Amato and American directors like John Carpenter and HG Lewis… It won’t win the 2013 Academy Award… and it was never meant to.  I get bored by most so called “Oscar-worthy” films… with a few exceptions of course!  If they gave out Oscars for heard work, passion and love – and a damned good ride at the movies, we’d win!  This film is part of my heart and soul.  It is exactly what I wanted it to be, a fun movie – it’s heart dripping with Drive In Theater / Grindhouse ambiance and it is 100% authentic.  No BS.  No trends.  No fakes.  This one is for real – A modern day Grindhouse style Horror film made by fans FOR fans, made by people who truly LOVE the genre.  No ego either – I detest ego… we have all been victim to it at one time or another… what you read here is never about ego – but I will say this:  It is about being VERY proud of this film and everyone involved.

Alamo Drafthouse - House of Forbidden Secrets

Alamo Drafthouse Seating Chart! Sold Out, even had to bring in chairs in the back!  Thanks to everyone for a great event!

The cast Q&A went pretty well, considering it was cut short due to the incredible amount of people we had on the red carpet.  Pics were taken by Anna Perry, our gifted company photographer… and she did an outstanding job, but there were so many people who wanted to get pics with our amazing cast and crew that it went a bit longer than expected.  Of course, no complaints at all, but I was hoping for some more time for audience questions and such.  The Q&A was hosted by my buddy Tim Sweeten for his awesome TV show Drive In Movie Maniacs – and he did a fantastic job, he also interviewed the cast and crew on the red carpet for his show and for the documentary about the film and my return to Horror…LOL.

Just an incredible night for us all.  Thanks to Ryan and Chance, to Anna and Tim and to the whole cast and crew of House of Forbidden Secrets.  It was an honor and a perfect night for all!  Thanks to every single person who came and watched the film as well!  I was at the door saying Thank You to every person I could as they left the theater after the event and all I saw were smiles and I got a ton of hugs, handshakes and happy reviews.  Thank you for giving a damn about our little film and for selling it out.  Alamo was proud!!!

REMEMBER THE ALAMO!!!!!! Here we come Kansas City!!!!!!

Posted in Director's Log, Production with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

After our award winning turn at the PollyGrind Film Festival, we came back to Kansas and had a screening at the awesome Boulevard Drive In Theater.  It went great and everyone truly seemed to enjoy the film.  It does me good to watch it with an audience who “gets it.”  After that screening I went back to the editing studio and made a few minor tweaks I had been wanting to make.  Things I had on my final tweak list.  Each time I would finish an edit, I would go back and watch the film a few times, making notes about things I needed to adjust to get as close as possible to my vision.  As I went along, the lists would get shorter and shorter.  My final tweak list was based on what kind of emotion or reaction I wanted from both myself and an audience while we watched the film together.  There weren’t many things, so I got it done pretty fast.

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Now things are really rolling, with another awesome screening scheduled for DEC 6th, 2013 at 7 PM at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kansas City.  I truly want this event to be a success so we can also do a similar screening in Austin, TX.  If we show them that people will come and see the film, and the buzz gets big enough, they will certainly let us unleash the movie in Texas!  Chase and Ryan have been great and very supportive about the film.  They gave us a prime slot on a busy day, proving they believe in the movie.  We will be showing a couple of special surprises before the actual film, a couple of short subjects, and then it’s on to the HOUSE OF FORBIDDEN SECRETS.  There will be a Q&A with the cast, including George Hardy and Allan Kayser – autographed prizes will be given away and much more!  This is going to be a great time for sure!  The film is finally ready to live on it’s own – everything is done except I am STILL waiting for visual effects from this company that Bryan David has hired – they had an OCT 1st deadline and here it is NOV 1st and still nothing.  It is ridiculous and very unprofessional.  Guess I have nothing better to do but wait for the effects.  I don’t want or need to do a final render or anything.  LOL.  Other than that setback, and a few loose ends that are causing me some undue stress, all is great.  The buzz is starting to build again.  It seems like it took so long to get the edit done, people were moving one…. not losing hope, but getting into other projects and such.  Most big budget films and many low budget ones may take a year or two, sometimes even three to see release… so in that regard, I think we are not too far off of target.

ImageI have to say that in so many ways, this has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.  Sure, there were things that really didn’t need to happen – some stressful politics going on and some ridiculous arguments, things that threw a dark cloud over things at times – but now, being at this point and looking back, those few dark spots are washed over by the good things.  I really want to say how the main cast, the “up and coming” stars of tomorrow – Nicole, Brad, Millie, Paxton and of course Antwoine (but he and I go back 18 years of working together) – all brought these characters to life that lived inside my head for so damned long.  You all exceeded my expectations and really deserve the recognition here.  It is your passion that really jumps at people and brings them into the film.  It is you whom the audience has to identify with in order to make our story real, and you do that.  And our supporting team of genre icons, the great support from our extras and cameos in the brothel… everyone brought their “A Game” and I really appreciate it!!!

We formed a family together to make this movie happen – to make my words on paper jump to life… but the adventure is just beginning – now we gotta get it into theaters and on video and TV so the world can join us in celebrating this movie!  Anyone who can help us get the word out – street team stuff, online promotion, anything you can do to help – please contact us through our official website at http://www.HouseOfForbiddenSecrets.com – you can also contact and join us on Facebook and take 2 minutes and give us a “LIKE” at http://www.facebook.com/houseofforbiddensecrets.  We all worked so hard and spent so much of our lives on this – I know for me – almost every single day for a year I have been working on it – please help us by giving a few minutes to the film!  Thank you!

The Long and Winding Road – That leads to SUCCESS!

Posted in Director's Log, Production with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

Finally finished all of my editing on the film around August 2nd.  Then I had to begin looking around for a third party to help us on our final Dolby 5.1 sound mix.  After some false starts and dead ends, I decided to go with my old friends at Chapman Recording.  I have known Chuck for years and I trust him and his company to treat my baby the way I would treat it…. Got Evan the files right before I left town last week for some film related business in Florida.  I got back Saturday morning, did the always awesome Crypticon Horror Convention all weekend and then got together today with Evan and he showed me what he had so far…. blew my mind.  It its really coming along.  Seems like an eternity in some ways, but also seems like it was only yesterday that I was just starting the editing process.

The Crypticon was a major success for Chazz and the gang as well as for Extreme Entertainment.  Every year it seems we get more solid connections, plus we were able to hang with old friend like Lew Temple and Allan Kayser who starred in House of Forbidden Secrets, but also with some old friends like BIll Moseley, Sid Haig, Doug Jones and others,  We had a blast and I look forward to next year!!!  A big thanks goes out to the whole Extreme core crew who really stepped up and held things together while I was in Florida.

Looks like we will be moving forward soon on a new feature, Dreaming Purple Neon – so it is very important to make sure that “House” is finished to the best of our ability – film festivals are knocking on our door and I am very excited about the film finally being unleashed this Fall.  Our first film festival looks like it may be in Las Vegas – we have been accepted to the PollyGrind Film Fest and it should be a blast!  With Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer being so close to Vegas, my hope is to bring them to the fest for a Q&A before or after the screening.

Stay tuned, I’ll be posting more updates soon – as well as a “Look Back” retrospective on the entire shoot… I am so excited that this creation is about to fly into the world!

Todd Sheets

Director/Producer

The never ending Blog post from beyond time and space…

Posted in Cast, Crew, Director's Log, Production with tags , , , , on April 13, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

Or welcome to my awesome personal Hell! Locked away in an editing room on HOTH.

Sorry it has been a while since my last post. As I have said here, I really wanted more people to be involved in the online blog so it could act as a online diary of sorts for the film. People are so busy it has been tough to get many participants. It was a good idea at least. I have been working on the edit for House of Forbidden Secrets night and day for a few weeks now and the rough cut edit is done. One word: Incredible! Even without the final effects and music mix, it is just entertaining as hell. They say if a film plays this well with no final mixes, it is going to blow away audiences when it is finally finished! No music yet, as we are still working with Fabio Frizzi, Italian Maestro who worked with so many amazing directors including Maestro Fulci – and with the pride of the Horror underground Toshiyuki Hiraoka.  There will be an official soundtrack by BEAT Records from Italy, executive produced by BD Productions, that will see release worldwide with both Mastro Frizzi AND Toshi’s music included!  But as I was writing, the rough cut is finished. I then took a break from editing for a few days to film and edit our new short film “The Request.” It is part of the Horror Anthology “HI-8” and I was blessed by the producers Brad Sykes and Tim Ritter, both amazing Horror icons in their own right, to be asked to be part of the project. Of course I jumped at this opportunity as it really shows brotherhood and support among those of us in the Horror underground. Just finished the full edit on that film and it’s around 10 or 11 minutes long. Came out great and there are many connections to House of Forbidden Secrets in it, including Shadowview Manor itself! And of course Brad Westmar, Nicole Santorella and Antwoine Steel all were in it. Same crew as well. It was a pretty great experience. Now back to work on the fantastic “House of Forbidden Secrets” – doing my final edits, tightening it up and making the “polish” edit complete!!!!

The weekend we shot the short was also a busy weekend for my radio show NIGHTWATCH. The crew of the show were at Planet Comicon as Nightwatch is a sponsor each year for Chris Jackson and he once again put on a great show. But it was also in a bigger new venue and we had a lot of work to do for the con. Got to meet and connect with Adam Baldwin too!!!! We hit it off pretty good and we have some plans to do a few things together so watch for that! In addition to that we released our first two official teasers for “House of Forbidden Secrets.” It’s about a minute long and I decided to do it in the old “Grindhouse” style of film trailers. I am not jumping on any trend here. I truly love that genre. It’s pretty much the same as Drive In Movies, only it was indoors. I used to call the old Empire Theater the “indoor Drive In” when I was a kid… only when I got older did I truly learn about 42nd Street and the Grindhouses that peppered this country in every city in the 60’s 70s and 80’s. Thanks to 42nd Street Pete for that info… I was a regular Grindhouse patron and never knew it! So I do embrace the genre, the style and the world. And this film is truly, in it’s dark heart, a Grindhouse style film. The cast includes such Drive In Icons as Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer, George Hardy, Allan Kayser, Ari Lehman, Lloyd Kaufman and Lew Temple, who is a star of more modern Drive In fare. The way the film was written was in direct homage to the films I grew up loving from such directors as Lucio Fulci, David DeCoteau, Fred Olen Ray, Jim Wynorski, Roger Corman, Dario Argento, a bit of HG Lewis and Troma. This is meant to be a fun and entertaining film, not one that is pretentious, “arthouse” and highbrow. Those movies are boring! So in regards to all of that, I wanted the first teaser to reflect that underground connection. To show where my heart and alliances are. I think it works perfectly. I was so happy! I was on cloud 9! I was having a huge party in my heart! We also have a 2nd version of the teaser that was cut for a more “General Audience” tone, supervised by Executive Producer Bryan David – you can find both of them below.

Of course this is not the only teaser/trailer I plan on releasing. I have always had the plan to maybe do 4 trailers, maybe 5, for theatrical and TV ads and such, and each one would have it’s own “look” and feel. There would be no real watered down or dumbed down version though. I know that some audiences just will not understand this film, and I am OK with that. You cannot please everyone they say – and I feel that this is true. But I truly want to please myself, the cast and crew and fans of these types of movies. My goal as the director and producer is to first and foremost match, to the best of my ability within my resources, what was in my head while writing the film. I had the whole film done in my mind. Every shot, every edit, the music, the look and the characters – all in my head – I had seen this film already in there. It had screened nonstop in the Drive In of my mind. The hard part is to work hard on set to try and match what was in there. Most of the time I was able to make it happen. Sometimes a location’s logistics may have changed it a little, or maybe an actor who was helping me bring a character to life had an idea or two. I was fine with that and welcome it, as long as it doesn’t go too far and change the character or who I wanted them to be.  After all I had been through this year, it really was important for me to not waste another minute of my life doing things I don’t want to do, or working on anything I do not 100% believe in.  So you know for sure that I believe in this film 100%!  Our whole cast and crew are exactly the same!  We have all poured our 100% into this project!!!

As I mentioned earlier, this film was already done and screened in my head. I sat down to my computer with a blank screen and when I was done, something new was brought into this world. It was my job as director and producer to now sit down and try and put together a team of talented people to bring the words to life. It took me almost a year after the hospital and all that went down, things finally fell into place! My friend Lew Temple, an amazing actor and super nice human being, introduced me to a guy he knew named Bryan David. Bryan was a Green Engineer who was also involved in entertainment and he had done a short film called The Price and was really looking to get into Executive Production more. I met with Bryan about the radio show and some other business and told him about my film. We hit it off and decided to move forward with the project. I am eternally grateful and thankful to Bryan David and his company BD Productions for stepping in and helping to make the film a reality, moving into production very quickly. VERY quickly.  I had already contacted A/V Concepts, my old investors / Executive Producers and they were interested in the project as well. I was finishing the final draft of the script at the time and Vinnie was out of town on business for 6 weeks, so we had not made a final agreement. BD Productions came in, based on the treatment and story outline and we made our first agreement.  I am truly excited and pleased with the results!  This film kicks ass!  This has been a wild and crazy ride!  I had decided to get back into what I loved the most after the heart attack and I really missed making movies. My early films were troubled, but even then, as a kid, I loved it. And I had gotten pretty good at it right when I stopped. I had learned much and I was winning some awards at film festivals and such.  Now it was time to take those parts of me back – laying there with the thought that I was never going to leave that hospital…. I knew then and there that if I was able to leave that place, I would bring back those parts of me that I had given up – parts of me that I missed very much.

The thing that really strikes me about the film is that from how it starts, there is no way a person could predict where it is going to end. It’s a wild ride, and one I am so proud of. And I love this ride! I love it with every bit of my heart and soul. Thanks to every single person who helped me bring those words real life. Before we all got together, this film never existed. We truly brought new life into the world together. Truly. It stands as proof that people can share a vision and a passion and create something from nothing in this world. All I want is to be 100% true and honest to myself and the people who worked so hard to make it – and to every single person who will watch the film. They will know it is all real, all honest and all from the heart.  Friendships were formed, family created and a brotherhood was forged.  I just cannot wait to bring this baby to the world!

Sincerely,
Todd Sheets
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
House of Forbidden Secrets

To Hell and Back Again – the final weeks of actual production

Posted in Director's Log with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

It’s been a few weeks since I have written, but things have been crazy hectic! We had a major weather related issue, and it really hit the production hard. We had one final series of scenes to film, 3 of them to be exact. And they were a big deal because not only do they help in moving the story forward, but they had a very special guest star in then… Lloyd Kaufman!!! Lloyd is a huge inspiration for many of us involve din House of Forbidden Secrets. He is the main man at Troma Films, an actor in many genre titles and even Rocky, and most importantly, he has produced or directed many of our favorite movies, like Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke Em High and Terror Firmer! Lloyd was set to come in on FEB 24, 25 and 26…. But we got his with a crazy snowstorm, not once, but twice. Causing us to get over 22 inches of snow here. While Lloyd was in town, we had set up an awesome deal with the Alamo Drafthouse to do a huge screening with a Q and A and Lloyd would be signing autographs and posing for pics with his fans. Advance tickets had been sold. Not only did we have to move filming, we also had to move the Alamo Drafthouse event. The AD staff is incredible really – very helpful and open to working through issues like this. Thankfully!!! So everything ha dto be moved to March 4. 5 and 6. The day Lloyd was set to come, it snowed again… and his flight was delayed until almost 4 AM!!!!! We picked him up at our airport, while there I noticed a mural on the wall about Kansas City and how much help Tom Pendfergast had given the city…. My how history has changed! More on that later! Lloyd was in good spirits but very tired, so we got him to his hotel – the Drury Suites near the airport.

The Drury was a whole new adventure! The girl behind the counter when we went earlier to ensure his room was ready told us we could not check him in early because she was running her reports and her computer was busy. It was a shock to me, because I always thought that this kind of thing was done at end of shift…. So here we were, back with Lloyd this time. It took us an hour to check in. Pretty simple reason – employess error. My credit card was charged 3 times until finally it began to decline her. She swore she had not charged a thing, and I reminded her the card swiped fine 3 times and now was saying declined, meaning all my funds were gone. So she took Lloyd’s credit card. I gave Lloyd cash for the room and he in turn charged it since they wanted a credit card. She double charged Lloyd. This was becoming the most expensive room ever in Kansas City. Of course, Lloyd didn’t know he was double charged until a few days after the shoot. We got it all resolved finally. Damned mess!

So Lloyd finally got upstairs around 5:15 AM and went to bed. He was cracking jokes right up until we said goodnight and we made fun of the situation a bit. The next day was an early start as we had to be on set by 12:30 PM to ensure we could shoot all we needed in time to rush down to the Alamo Drafthouse… with Lloyd arriving so late, we had to move things around and shoot on the same day as the Alamo event. Tim Mclaws took his daughter Aria out of school for us and even helped get us a new location at his in-laws house. It ended up being perfect! Lloyd, being the professional he is, was stunning in his part and these 3 small scenes burst to life in a way that I can’t even describe. It was surreal and amazing to be standing in that kitchen with one of my idols… and directing him to boot! After the shoot, Lloyd gave me some great words of encouragement and some much needed praise for my style as a director and off we went to the Alamo Drafthouse… we were behind by 15 minutes.

Traffic was actually in our favor as we hit downtown… usually a terrible experience and a traffic jam from hell, our side was going AGAINST that traffic and we made it downtown in record time. We got inside, introduced Lloyd to ur Drafthouse friends and they got his table all set for him and we actually got everything set up and ready right on time. People started arriving. I was worried that since we had to move it, some people who had tickets could not make it. We did end up losing a few to the date change, maybe 20 people…. Not too terrible. We ended up selling out almost ¾ of the large theater on a Tuesday night. Troma Tuesday we called it! Of course this also meant we had to cancel our radio shows we normally produce for the night, including my own show Nightwatch. Sideshow Radio had a guest that had to be moved and it was all quite a mess. And Movies Hate You, a show that is on before Sideshow Radio was really messed up due to technology failing and communication not getting through, resulting in the guys thinking they were still going to be live, yet I was at the Drafthouse with Lloyd and not in studio to produce. This resulted in my apologizing from me, and about a 20 minute phone call trying to patch it up…  I had to explain that there was a huge investment riding on this event and that we had no choice, we didn’t choose the new dates, and the snow had forced us into this situation.  Keep in mind that I feel Sideshow and Movies Hate You were fully justified in being upset at the situation… the snow and everything had caused issues with their shows, thus letting down THEIR fans.  All around, it was not a perfect situation – but Lloyd and the event went perfect and everyone seems happy in the end.

Lloyd Kaufman on set of House of Forbidden Secrets with director Todd Sheets

Lloyd Kaufman on set of House of Forbidden Secrets with director Todd Sheets

I also felt a bit upset… no one really knew what kind of hell we had all been through, so I didn’t feel upset toward the show hosts, I just felt like in some cases, I had been catching some hell from people in my life for doing this film. The movie had been going full steam since DEC 21st. We had two weeks off in there, so things realy didn’t get crazy for me until mid January. It had been about 10 weeks of crazy, and it was surprising how many people that I had been so helpful to, that I had helped and that I always, even while I was in the hospital last year after my heart attack, I always took care of their shows and their archives and things for the radio station. And yet now, when I truly needed some understanding, they were all so self absorbed and selfish. This was a major opportunity for me, and after that surgery I decided right then and there that if I lived through quadruple bypass that I was going to get back into making films. It is truly the only time I feel so alive and comfortable. And not only was a making a film again, I had a good budget and I was bringing major actors and actresses into Kansas City to help make this movie a success. Making a movie is not just something you can do for 4 hours and then go and do other stuff. It’s not like a part time job! You have to immerse yourself in it… you live, eat and breathe it! In addition to filming I was still doing my radio duties, handling my graphic clients for my day job and still finding time to be with my family once in a while!

The radio station has been growing in large increments for some time now, and so we had moved servers in December, I had talked with MochaHost about moving there, getting a better rate, a dedicated server and I told them everything – we talked in depth about my needs, the amount of traffic and how many shows we had. 2 weeks into shooting MochaHost shut us down, after taking over $600.00 from me, saying we had too much bandwidth and traffic for them. They had made a deal with me, they knew our numbers, yet they did this without even calling me. I had to find out from a show host. No e-mails, nothing. So right in the middle of film production the radio station website had to be moved. On top of that, half of my files that were on their server were deleted. Gone. I had to basically get ANOTHER server, rebuild our website and get us back online. Many archives were lost, so in addition I have been going back and doing my best to re-edit the old shows and get the archives put back together. With so many shows it is taking some time, but I am almost done with that finally and our Archive Vault is almost ready to upload again. During this time, I became so upset with some hosts that I basically fired them from the station or told them it was best to part ways. I pay for most of this station myself, out of pocket. I make sure the archives are right, I handle all the business. I have some help from Amanda producing, but I myself produce 50% of our content. Also for free. I refuse to allow someone to trash me or be an asshole to me on my dime. If they can’t support my dream after all I have been through, there’s the door. Now that all the major scenes have been filmed, and most of our pick up shots are done, I have been able to do some of that work as well. But of course, I also have been editing now.

I started editing the film about a week before Lloyd was set to arrive the first time. We have been in negotiations with a major Horror film composer that will be revealed soon – and he needed a rough cut to help him with the theme music… the final score for the film will be split between this amazing composer and our favorite long time soundtrack master Toshi. And this is in no way a reflection on Toshi… he does amazing atmospheric music, but we simply could not pass up the opportunity to also work with this composer from Italy…. And it will also help bring more attention to the film and to Toshi’s work as well. In addition, we have had several film festivals ask about the film and their deadlines are coming up too… and they require at least a rough cut to be done to enter the film – we can actually show the finished film in the fest, most of them are late Summer or Fall – but we have to get the film entered and paid for now. So I have a huge deadline on me and I refuse to compromise quality. It has to be the best it can be… and even though I am pushing hard, I still am taking the time to do it right… I am just not sleeping – LOL. Nothing will be sacrificed in film quality, but the same cannot be said of my life… I will make sacrifices to ensure the film is done right and on time. That is what making a movie is all about. Sacrifice, hard work and a very amazing end result.

I don’t want it to sound like I was being a complainer or a bitcher, I’m not. Just giving am account of the last few weeks and why it has taken me a while to get an update done. In the end, the public is pretty smart, but also a bit unforgiving. If the film has issues, they don’t care why. They don’t care if an actor was tired, or if a camera got broken, or an effect didn’t work right… they don’t care if there was a blizzard or a flood, if a location was flooded, if a light blew out… all they care about is if they were entertained… so it is my duty and my true responsibility to every cast and crew person to make sure this turns out the best I can possibly make it. And if some things must be sacrificed for a short amount of time, so be it. I learned a long time ago that film is timeless. Movies last forever… and even some of my old films that I have disowned and would like to see buried keep coming back to haunt me. Once this film is done and out there it will be forever. It will outlast all of us. And so it has been an honor to be able to bring my vision to life with the help of all of the talented people involved – you have brought my imagination to life! Thanks to every person who helped in any way – and thanks to every person who watches it and gets it and has as much fun as we did making it.

Todd Sheets

Director