Tag Archive | "b-movies"

Unsung Heroes of Hollywood: The Films of Brett Piper

Unsung Heroes of Hollywood: The Films of Brett Piper

Each month I’m going to take a look at an actor, actress, or filmmaker that I grew up loving and has informed my own career (if calling what I do in the industry qualifies as such) in writing or performing. Films are supposed to be fun, entertaining ventures that allow an escape from the day-to-day happenings of our lives. Why not celebrate the uncelebrated, folks. Join me on my quest as I gush over those who have inspired me to put words on a website that will ultimately never equate what it means to be honored by their peers at an official award show or film festival.

My first introduction to the films of Brett Piper was through a producer by the name of Steven E. Williams. At the age of 15, I spent well over a decade fantasizing about one day making movies. The internet, still relatively new to middle America, was a portal into a world I naively thought I was ready for. After months of sleuthing websites still in their infancy for scripts, how-to guides, and a plethora of other “inside baseball” style film pages, I stumbled upon a website for Kinetic Image Ltd. On the page there was a small list of services offered to filmmakers and a number. This may sound a little dramatic and maybe I’m full of shit, but as I picked up the phone to dial little did I know my life would change.

The voice on the other end of the phone was deep, gruff and masked in a southern drawl. After explaining that I was an aspiring filmmaker and wanted to know if Kinetic Image might be interested in reading my latest script (Holy hell, I’m cringing at the thought!!) the phone was silent for a beat. Then laughter. Steve introduced himself to me and explained that though his company did offer services as a Production Company, he wasn’t looking to fund anyone’s project. After another beat he asked how old I was. “Fifteen!?” He sounded equally amused and impressed. He laughed again and offered to read my script and gave me his mailing address to send it off.

What followed was around two hours of conversation with this kind stranger that taught me a lot about film production. We discussed old films (I know he was testing me and my knowledge) and found we had a lot in common. He told me that he had recently produced a couple of projects with his friend Brett and that I should seek them out. When he found out that I was a huge fan of The Toxic Avenger and Troma Films in general he asked if I’d ever seen “A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell.” I hadn’t. But with a name like that…sign me up! I went on to speak with Steve every few months until his death in 2009. He always had such great advice for me and was careful to share notes on my scripts that were gentle enough to not hurt my young feelings, but constructive enough to help me grow as a writer. One call he casually mentioned, “I told Brett about you. Told him you wanna be a writer.” Maybe he was trying to build up my confidence. I don’t know. I remember fanboying that one of my favorite directors had heard of me. A few years before Steve passed he had moved to Louisiana. “You need to move down here,” he’d say. “Hollywood is moving all their production down here because of the tax breaks. If you want to work on films, Shreveport is the future, Jeremy.” He wasn’t wrong. Steve passed away just months prior to my being hired for my first job in Hollywood. I think he would have been proud. I miss my friend and early mentor.

Brett Piper hard at work.

So about “A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell…” As I said before, it was my first introduction. The dvd was part of the initial wave of Troma dvds to be packed to the gills with interviews, commentary, retrospectives, etc. I remember watching the film and being blown away by the use of stop motion animation. After watching the interviews with Brett and his co-producer/star Alex Pirnie I was in awe of how they managed to make the film. Brett was the first DIY filmmaker I’d ever been exposed to. From the writing to the stop motion to camera op to costume design to the set building, Piper does it all. I remember him saying he’d worked construction, driven beer trucks, but making movies is the hardest job he had ever done. To say I was inspired would be an understatement. At 15, I learned the most valuable lesson in filmmaking: you can do it all on your own if you have to! One of the lower points in Nymphoid for me was watching Alex and Brett talk down on the film. I remember being sad. I loved this movie, why are you saying this about your own film. Well, 16 years later and a few productions under my belt (though none of them something I’ve written myself (However, ‘Experiment 77’ is rumored to go into production this fall)) I get it. Filmmakers watching their own projects are the hardest audiences to please. They see the hardship where we see the entertainment.

An instant classic!

Next up would be a film I’d find in my local video store, “Psyclops”. Released in 2002, Piper’s finger is placed firmly on the pulse of the zeitgeist with this outing. Featuring a slew of young, talented newcomers, and returning Piper favorites, the film manages to meld comedy and horror firmly together with fantastic nods to genre favorites while maintaining a fresh, hip and inventive perspective on the tapehead niche. Piper’s cast is solid from top to bottom and would introduce us to an actor that would partner with the filmmaker on several future projects. Rob Monkiewicz is as charismatic as he is striking and would continue to play the hero for Piper. If I were casting a movie right now and needed the wholesome every-man that looked like he could punch 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger in the face and live to tell the tale, I’m casting Rob Monkiewicz.

After a few months of waiting, and zero luck in my country bumpkin mom and pop video store, Steve sent me a dubbed copy of “They Bite” via snail mail and I lost my shit. I consider “They Bite” to be one of Piper’s absolute best films and thought the wardrobe may seem a little dated now, it holds up as a solid watch. The film features one of the greatest dream sequences/faux film trailers ever crafted for cinema. Centering on a small porno crew making their latest hump flick, the crew encounter a big problem. No, Ron Jeremy happens to keep his pants on, folks. Sea creatures make their way to shore and are looking to mate with humans. Speaking of Ron Jeremy, this is his best performance outside of an adult film. Somehow, Piper is able to channel his tendency to wink at the camera and harness a believable performance, achieving what very few filmmakers have been able to do with the Hedgehog. If you’ve never experienced the joy that is “They Bite,” seek it out at once. A perfect party flick, throw it on and enjoy with your closest friends.

‘Muckman’ is an unstoppable force.

Around 2003, Piper found himself teamed up with Michael Raso of Alternative Cinema and found himself making a handful of Misty Mundae vehicles. “Screaming Dead,” “Bite Me,” “Shock-O-Rama,” and “Bacterium” to be exact. All fun films that deliver in the SFX and Breasts department. In 2009 Piper released another fun, instant classic (in my opinion) in “Muckman.” This creature feature show Brett Piper is still great at keeping with the Pop Culture trends and finds the film focusing on a Reality TV star trying to return to cable television. But let’s be honest, the girls are beautiful and the Special Effects are the real star here. The Muckman design is insanely good, folks.

Piper has a helluva vision and his creature features never disappoint. From the casual fan to the most hardcore Ray Harryhausen devotee, all should be impressed by this talented filmmaker that can literally do every job on a film set. I once told Steve that I was going to write a film for him to produce and Brett to direct. I don’t know if that will ever be an item checked off the bucket list, but stranger things have happened in this business. So Brett, if you’ve somehow stumbled upon this article….thank you for inspiring me to continue to pursue a career in the arts with your DIY attitude. And a huge thank you to our mutual friend Steven E. Williams. Without your guidance, I may still be making cold calls to production houses off the internet.

Become a fan of Brett Piper via Facebook! Check out his full body of work on IMDB.

Jeremy Morrison – Staff Writer
Co-creator/host of the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, film reviewer, screenwriter, Jeremy has more than eight years experience in television and film production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. J-Mo lives by one motto: #wecantallbezacksnyder
Twitter: @acidpopcult
IG: @almostgothim

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Blu-ray Review: Arrow Video Unleashes Larry Cohen’s Cult Classic ‘The Stuff’

Blu-ray Review: Arrow Video Unleashes Larry Cohen’s Cult Classic ‘The Stuff’

'The Stuff'

‘The Stuff’

This week, The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles is back with a look at Arrow US’s recent release of Larry Cohen’s “The Stuff” release. A quick synopsis of the film before we dive in:

Are you eating it… or is it eating you? The Stuff is the new dessert taking the supermarket shelves by storm. It’s delicious, low in calories and – better still – doesn’t stain the family carpet… What’s not to like?! Well, for a start it has a life of its own, and we’re not talking friendly live bacteria.. Young Jason seems to be the only one who doesn’t love The Stuff – in fact he won’t go anywhere near it, after having seen the pudding crawling around the fridge one night. What’s more, everyone who eats ‘The Stuff’ has started acting really weird… Now, teaming up with wise-cracking industrial saboteur “Mo”. Jason must put a stop to ‘The Stuff’ and the organization behind it or face a gooey, gloopy demise. Coming courtesy of horror auteur Larry Cohen, The Stuff is a titillating treat for the taste-buds which blends elements of films such as ‘Street Trash’ with the straight-up B-movie flavor of ‘The Blob.’ So grab a spoon and dig on into ‘The Stuff’ – the taste that delivers… much more than you bargained for!

the-stuff-3

REVIEW: ‘The Stuff,’ written and directed by “horror master” Larry Cohen, is a 1985 film that sounds ridiculous on paper. A film involving a killer dairy treat sounds like a story that, if released today, would find itself lumped in with the worst of the worst Syfy releases. However, beneath the surface, ‘The Stuff’ has both heart and a message. A message that rang true in 1985 and is still prominent in today’s society.

We open on a couple of railroad workers rummaging through the snow. One sees a marsh mellow fluff type substance oozing from the ground. Naturally, he tastes it and basically describes it as one of the best treats he’s ever had. Flash forward and the Stuff is being marketed to the general public. There seems to be a Stuff commercial on at every break, a Stuff stand on every street, and a pint of the Stuff in every aisle at the super market. The treat is being sold as an ice cream like substance that contains no calories and makes you feel terrific. The Stuff has begun to take over the lives of the people in this small town. It’s up to Jason, a young boy who witnessed the Stuff moving in his fridge, David “Mo”, a former FBI agent hell bent on destroying the company, and Nicole, a former advertising manager brought to the light by David, to save us from THE STUFF!

the-stuff-1

Unfortunately, I had never seen ‘The Stuff’ so I was going into the Arrow release blind. Honestly, the movie still holds up very well. On the surface the movie seems like ridiculous B-movie fun about a killer yogurt. Looking further we see a horror-comedy with heart. The film itself contains social commentary on commercialism and society’s need/addiction to particular products.

The effects are exactly what you would expect coming out of the 80’s. That being said, these leave me feeling more uneasy than anything to come out of today’s theatre. The film itself is really fast paced and enters the absurd at times. One minute we are in creature feature territory as Jason is being harassed by his “infected” parents and the next a small army is overtaking a “Stuff” factory. This quick pace keeps the movie’s energy up and helps overlook the….er…….eccentric acting by specific individuals in the cast.

That being said, our main cast is spectacular. “Mo” Rutherford is a character that only Michael Moriarty can bring to life. The gorgeous Andrea Marcovicci gives plays a great leading lady as Nicole. I can’t forget Garrett Morris’s amazing performance as “Chocolate Chip” Charlie. The cast’s performance and mannerisms truly make this film memorable. The effects are fantastic and chilling at times. I would recommend that everyone watch this film once in their life. If anything it involves one of the most famous deaths in B-horror movie history!

the-stuff-2

Now let’s talk about the disc itself. As stated the transfer is gorgeous; this is the definitive way to watch this film. The special features themselves is where I found this disc to be lacking. You’ll notice that there is an hour long documentary titled “Can’t Get Enough of The Stuff: Making Larry Cohen’s Classic Creature Feature”. I was very excited to check this out but in the end it wasn’t very memorable. It was cool to learn about the different effects and such but it honestly felt like the participants began repeating themselves about halfway through. There was a noticeable lack of cast members. As a matter of fact, the only cast member included was Andrea Marcovicci. Now, don’t get me wrong, this was a nice little featurette but it had no business being as long as it was as it stopped being informative halfway through. Also included is Darren Bousman’s ‘Trailers from Hell’ commentary. He discusses how influential this movie was on his career. That’s about it when discussing disc content. Included with the set is Arrow’s signature reversible cover art and collector’s booklet featuring an exclusive writing on the film by Joel Harley.

In summary I would recommend this disc for anyone interested in checking out ‘The Stuff.’ There is no difference between this is the UK version released a couple of years ago. This is the best version of the film out and definitely the way to watch. Just don’t go in thinking you’re going to receive a plethora of new content. That being said definitely check out this disc! — Dylan Lyles, Horror Aficionado 

About the writer: The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles is an obsessive fan of both horror, comic books and professional wrestling. You may see him sharing his opinion on just about everything on the internet or maybe even working the MonsterMania Con on the east coast. You love him and he loves you! Follow him on Twitter at @TheDylanLyles.

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MACHETE KILLS: Check Out The Lady Gaga “Aura” Trailer

MACHETE KILLS: Check Out The Lady Gaga “Aura” Trailer

'Machete Kills'

‘Machete Kills’

Lady Gaga makes her acting debut in the upcoming movie MACHETE KILLS alongside an all-star cast featuring Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Carlos Estevez, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Demian Bichir, Alexa Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding, Jr., William Sadler, Marko Zaror and Mel Gibson.

Check out this new trailer for MACHETE KILLS featuring a sneak preview of Lady Gaga’s never-before-released song “Aura” — from her forthcoming album ARTPOP, available November 11.

To celebrate the song, MACHETE KILLS created a special lyric video featuring the entire “Aura” song that will launch Tuesday, October 8. Stay tuned to @MacheteKills for the launch of the lyric video.

Can’t get enough Machete?  Do not be ashamed. Few can.  Head over to the official MACHETE KILLS site and Facebook page for more action and the latest updates about the film.

MACHETE KILLS will be in theaters everywhere October 11th.

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MACHETE KILLS: New Red Band Trailer Features Babes, Blood And Badasses!

MACHETE KILLS: New Red Band Trailer Features Babes, Blood And Badasses!

'Machete Kills'

‘Machete Kills’

Babes, blood, and badasses…. The MACHETE KILLS red band trailer has it all!  Trust us when we say you are going to want to watch it more than once.  See why by checking it out on IGN now at this location or check it out below!

In MACHETE KILLS, Danny Trejo returns as ex-Federale agent MACHETE, who is recruited by the President of the United States for a mission which would be impossible for any mortal man – he must take down a madman revolutionary and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has hatched a plan to spread war and anarchy.

With an all-star cast including Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Mel Gibson, and Danny Trejo as the legendary Machete, MACHETE KILLS will be in theaters everywhere October 11th.

Can’t get enough Machete?  Do not be ashamed. Few can.  Head over to the official MACHETE KILLS site and Facebook page for more action and the latest updates about the film.

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MACHETE KILLS: A Murder’s Row of Characters Featured On The New Poster!

MACHETE KILLS: A Murder’s Row of Characters Featured On The New Poster!

Think you can handle Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Demian Bichir, Amber Heard, Mel Gibson, Carlos Estevez AND Lady Gaga all on the same poster?  Well, the gang’s all here. See for yourself by checking out the final poster for MACHETE KILLS.
In MACHETE KILLS, Danny Trejo returns as ex-Federale agent MACHETE, who is recruited by the President of the United States for a mission which would be impossible for any mortal man – he must take down a madman revolutionary and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has hatched a plan to spread war and anarchy.  MACHETE KILLS will be in theaters everywhere October 11th.
Can’t get enough Machete?  Do not be ashamed. Few can.  Head over to the official MACHETE KILLS site and Facebook page for more action and the latest updates about the film.
MacheteKillsPoster95FL

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