Archive for indie film

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!!!

Days of Future Past…. Remembering the long cold Winter

Posted in Cast, Crew, Director's Log, Production with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

It seems like yesterday in some ways, while at other times it seems like years ago that we were on set filming House of Forbidden Secrets.  We crammed so many hours into those long weekends…. cast and crew gave their all in the insane temperatures to make this film a reality.  It was the best of times,  and sometimes it was the most frustrating of times… but mostly, it was an amazing experience.  For me, after the quadruple bypass, being on set again was a vindication.  Not sure everyone quite understood it…. but this was like being alive again for me – standing there on set, I felt like I was back home.  In my element.  With great friends surrounding me, and awesome talent all working toward the goal of creating something new….

Creation by its very nature is to create something from nothing. That is to bring into existence something not seen and not previously experienced. Where nothing existed before something is created. Whether we realize it or not we routinely create something from nothing. However most are unaware they do it let alone how they do it.  But we were not only aware, we were pouring our hearts and souls into it.  This was a labor of love for me – a dream come true – and even now, with the insane amount of hours I have in this project, including the super long hours editing, it still feels fresh and vital and alive.

Before we all came together and stepped onto that set, there was the script I wrote – coming from ideas and thoughts and images in my head.  I had started it in 2011.  We even began to shoot some scenes of the film – test shots – to try out some new lighting techniques and ideas I had, and to check sound and video on some new gear.  The resulting scene was pretty darn good for a few hours of shooting.  At that point the script had been started, but rested mostly in my head and on a few scraps of paper where I had started an outline of events and ideas.  IN the hospital, I honestly thought I was going to die.  That I would never make it out of there.  I had two surgeries.  Laying in that place for over a month wears you down.  You try and stay positive.  I had my awesome friends bring my computer and I started writing again on the script.  Revising and throwing away things.  Many of my original ideas had been in other movies by this point – great minds thinking alike I suppose.  SO those parts were trashed.  Soon I had finished another draft.

When I got out of that hospital finally, it to0ok me a while to get my life back on track.  Having a tragedy like this befall you without planning is really devastating to your life.  Everything was on hold.  The whole world felt like the Twilight Zone.  I had so much to do – and in the middle of this, there were some business shake ups going on at the radio station and our studio.  SO all of that had to be dealt with.  And then I got back to working on what would become the final draft of the script.  This was phase one of creation….

Phase two began when I started putting together a crew and some gear and actually talking to locations.  I met Bryan David through a mutual friend and he agreed to Executive Produce the film as he had wanted to learn more and gain more credit himself in the film industry.  Once we had a budget in place, we started getting casting together, holding two auditions to find just the right people.  During this time, some of my industry friends heard about the film and asked to be involved.  We had Lew Temple on Nightwatch and Lew asked where hi part was – I thought he was just joking as Lew and I had become friends over the last few years.  But Lew was serious, he wanted a part and I had the perfect one for him.  George Hardy was a dear friend, and after loving him in Troll 2, I knew he had to be part – and Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer were heroes to me – icons of the best in cinema – the Drive In era!!!!  Stars of the infamous ILSA films!!!  I asked them to be involved, and thanks to our friendship, they agreed.  I had one major part left and I had written in with one guy in mind – Allan Keyser.  Allan had played Brad in the NIGHT OF THE CREEPS…. And I basically had imagined what had become of Brad – where did he end up?  So this is where he ended up – of course if he hadn’t become a zombie whose head splits open and leeches burst out…LOL.  Allan and I have also become friends – I admire him and think the world of him – and he said YES!!!!  The rest of the cast was rounded out by amazing local Kansas City area actors, some whom I knew and some who were new to me.  No one could ask for a better cast!  I have written much about them here – so I won’t retread – but they blew my mind every day we shot.

So with everything in place, we began phase three – gathering last minute gear, scheduling and then finally starting the shoot.  Actual production time! But even as we worked our butts off all night every weekend from dark until the Sun came up…  It was still nothing more than a concept. But every minute we worked on it brought it to life, pouring energy from ourselves into it…. creating new energy from seemingly out of nothingness.  We have created ways to explain it and use it but we cannot hold energy in our hands. It is something well beyond our range to fully understand. Yet we are energy manifested and energy animates our life. We are energy beings who can create new energy and new creations. 

“A Great Relationship Happens When People Who Truly Understand Each Other and Love Each Other for Who They Are Come Together and Create Something Stronger Than Any of Them Could Ever Create on Their Own.”

We set a goal to make a film that will entertain people, that will give back a little of what we have all received from movies all our lives.  When I had a crappy day, or when my parents split up, or when my friend died at age 9 – movies helped to make things better – if only for 90 minutes or 2 hours at a time… movies changed my life, maybe even saved my life…. my film is richer thanks to my film heroes – the Universal Monsters, the Hammer years, Chris Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, Lon Cahney Jr, Boris Karloss, Bela Lugosi, the Creature when he rose from that Black Lagoon.  All my childhood friends.  And as I grew up with my superheroes and monsters, I learned of the others – Lucio Fulci, Joe Dante, John Landis, HG Lewis, Dario Argento, Jess Franco, Roger Corman, The Shaw Brothers, Japanese Samurai Cinema, Mario and Lamberto Bava, Joe D’Amato, Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas, Jack Hill, Rudy Ray Moore, Pam Grier, Russ Meyer, Jackie Chan, Stallone, Seagal, Eastwood – the greats – movies like Phantasm, Humanoids From The Deep and Slithis filled my Friday nights and Saturday afternoons.  My first crushes were Linda Blair, Sybil Danning and Dyanne Thorne!!!  And I know for me – making movies is my way of trying to give back – just a little….

More to come – Thank you for reading and we’ll catch up again soon – back to editing!

Todd Sheets

Director / Writer / Producer

Editing Hell continues in the House of Forbidden Secrets

Posted in Director's Log, Production with tags , , , , , , on June 26, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

It has honestly never taken me as long to edit a film – usually I shot for 4-8 weeks, and it takes 6-8 weeks to edit, and then I do final mix that takes a few days…. but this is my big comeback film… it has a talented cast, a wonderful story and some genuine original ideas – I want to make sure I do it right.  It is beginning to take it’s toll on my life a bit, but I am very proud of the film and of all the people who worked so hard to make my vsion become a reality.  We pulled together and created something truly special from out of the air – hehe.  It was hard work, cold nights, long hours, and longer hours in editing – the sound design has been tougher than I thought.  ON set we had a few tech issues with sound that took me forever to isolate and fix – and it about made me crazy – but I am getting SO darn close now – it has taken me a while to update the blog here, but I’ll be back more often now…. updating everyone on screenings and releases and such.  Soon everyone will be able to see my baby – cannot wait!

Todd Sheets