Archive for Lew Temple

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!!!

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Unleashed At Last!!!!

Posted in Director's Log with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

Finally getting to the end of the production road.  We actually have screened the film twice now, once at the amazing PollyGrind Film Festival in Las Vegas, NV and also at the Boulevard Drive In Theater in Kansas City, KS.  I was blown away by the reception at both events, and Dyanne Thorne and I both won awards in Vegas!!!!  She won for her amazing acting talent and I won for my directing / producing!!!  It was unreal!  There are still a couple of small visual effects shots that we are waiting on from a company that executive producer Bryan David has working… he gave them an OCT 1st deadline, so I truly have no idea what is taking so long, but after that, the film will be 100% complete.  Of course, this film can survive just fine without them, but they will enhance one or two spots that are already awesome.

Chad Freeman, yours truly, Dyanne Thorne, Antwoine Steele, Howard Maurer

Chad Freeman, yours truly, Dyanne Thorne, Antwoine Steele, Howard Maurer

I really have to say that Chad Freeman, the man who created PollyGrind, held an amazing event.  We were really pleased how all the film creators in attendance really treated each other with so much respect and gave each other true support!!!  It was a dream come true!

Speaking of a dream coming true…. this film, as you know, allowed me to work with many actors and actresses I absolutely love… starting with Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer.  Dyanne is such an icon of the film world, and very loved by everyone.  And the dream of working with her is now a reality for me, but also, she and Howard have become like family to me.  An Aunt and Uncle I never knew I had…. we shared so much on this film, and we have truly become family.  I love them dearly…. and I respect them so much.  Antwoine Steele, who plays the male lead in the film, Jacob Hunt was there and it truly was a shining moment for him.  It did me so much good to watch his face light up.  Antwoine has worked hard over the years to end up where he is now – we have been brothers for 18 years… making numerous films together… but this one was special.  For him as well as for me.  And he delivered.  Every member of this cast and crew delivered.  And it shows.  SO much passion and heart and soul went into this film… it truly has a life of it’s own.

And seeing it with an audience is the best…. I truly wanted this film to have meaning, to have a solid story and some cool twists and turns.  This film was not made for the MTV generation of 2 second edits and shaky camera crap.  This film was made in honor of the classics that I love.  The Italian Horror of the 70s and 80s… the films of Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Joe D’Amato, Mario and Lamberto Bava, Luigi Cozzi, Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato… and so many more.  The music reflects this fact with Fabio Frizzi being involved, creating an amazing musical soundscape for the film.  This is not for people with a short attention span… it requires an audience to meet these characters, become invested in them, and take this journey WITH them.  Chad said it best when he described the film as “Super Ambitious” with many twists and turns – it begins as one type of genre film and ends up being 4 at once.  And that is one of the strengths – the film has real characters.  Not just cardboard targets for a slasher.  It has a storyline that is refreshing, original and complex…. if you want flashy, shakycam fluff with no lasting value… better move along.  One other comment that really makes me feel great is that the more times you see it, the more little things you learn… the more you see and the more the details emerge.  Plus, there are a ton of genre “in-jokes” in the film that you may not catch the first time… but you’ll start seeing them as you watch it again.

The music again, continues to amaze me…. so many people have come to me after the screenings and raved about the music from Fabio Frizzi, with assistance from our favorite Japanese Horror composer Toshiyuki Hiraoka.  They have truly created masterworks here… some of the best of their careers thus far.  Our soundtrack will be released in November via BEAT Records in Rome.  It will be all over Europe and Asia, and soon in America, but you can still buy it as an import and I’ll post that info when I get it.

A civilization is as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamt by artists.  Keep your heart open to dreams. For as long as there’s a dream, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, there is joy in living.  Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.  Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall at last unveil.  My dreams have come true, for the most part, on this film…. along with dreams comes the danger of nightmares, and I have had a few of those creep in as well… but I fought to push through the shadows and the dark times… and now the dream is a reality that I am able to share with everyone on earth.

Until next time….

Todd Sheets

Director / writer / producer / editor – and tired bastard.

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

28 hours in 2 days and still rolling!

Posted in Director's Log with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

OK, this was the big one. And I was nervous. Have to admit it. Our last major big principal day of filming. We have a couple of days for pick up shots and things we missed, but this was the big one. This was the weekend we had to get through about 15 pages of script. We had Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer from the popular Ilsa series of films…. we had Lew Temple who is a true icon and an amazing character actor – most people know Lew as Axel on Walking Dead. We had about 40 or 50 extras, and we had our regular cast of incredible actors. Plus, we had a ton of effects to do. A n entire “Slaughter in a brothel” scene. I was seriously afraid it could not be done. But the thing sis: We friggin did it! We beat the odds, tore ourselves up and got it done! The crew pulled together like never before – the cast worked twice as hard and everyone was in high spirits. As always, I stressed a positive set, and for the most part, it worked. Negative people just got booted…hehe. I will write more about it later – I am still so tired that I am not sure who I am at the moment…. but I will elaborate soon, I promise.

Time for sleep –
Todd

Haunting the halls of Shadowview Manor – week 2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

Second weekend of shooting is done and it was even better than the first. We have done some pretty amazing stuff so far. 17 scenes have been completed!!! Much of the very hard dialogue was during these scenes, and the cast pulled it off without a hitch!!! The dedication of the cast and crew truly made this task easier. Thanks to everyone for pulling together and becoming a family so quickly! We are creating something really special and it just keeps getting better every time we shoot as people learn more about each other.

One thing we did for sure on weekend 2 was we truly worked overtime on the atmosphere. The lighting, use of fog and shadows was impressive. We also have truly mastered not only the use of our steadicam, but our dollies. Wayne and I built another dolly this week in between shooting days and it truly is an awesome way to do shots. It will also be great when we move filming to the BEAST haunted house here in Kansas City next weekend. We can be setting up a dolly shot on another set WHILE using our first dolly for shooting. Sure does make things move faster when you get everyone on the same page and have enough gear to make it work.

The footage looks even better than before and I can;t wait to start editing the whole movie. I edited scene 3 together last week, just to see how it flows, and it sure seems to work almost perfectly. This one will really blow some people away. I promise.

Until next time, keep it bloody!

Todd Sheets
Director