Friday, October 31, 2014

Rodney Redbottom: Cast and Crew Screening

Cast/Crew Screening Poster
Hey folks! My new flick Rodney Redbottom is "in the can" as they say and we are having our cast/crew screening on December 6th 2014 at the Two Roads Theater in Studio City! It's been a huge undertaking and I'd like to thank every single person who supported the flick.

We'll have a trailer up in the coming weeks, but until then, I thought I'd take a second and offer you a chance to come and see the flick early! If you'd like to attend the only public screening that'll take place until our (hopeful) run in the festival market, we're going to give away 2 pairs of tickets to this invite only screening.

Not only that, but we're going to screen some MST3K shorts and two of my favorite movies of all time, Evil Dead 2 and Every Which Way But Loose!!! (subject to change).

How to you get them? Simply be among the first to email us at RodneyRedbottom@Gmail.com and ask! That damn simple!!!! Hell, we'll even give you a limited 11X17 poster of the film!

Be sure to watch here in the coming weeks as I'll be doing a series of articles on the behind the scenes decisions that went into making our little flick.

Stay sick Knif's!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Re-cutting The Evil Dead Franchise Into One Movie

It is a gross misunderstanding that Evil Dead 2 is a remake of The Evil Dead. It is in fact, a sequel. Now, yes, it does somewhat rewrite the events of the first movie. In the initial six minutes the viewer is given a Reader’s Digest summary of what had happened in the previous film. For the sake of time-length, the other characters from the first movie have been removed during this section, which is the source of this never ending confusion. However, if you were to remove that section of ED2, the two movies would line up quite nicely. And that got me thinking... what if you were to combine all three movies into one epic-movie.

AoD: Theatrical
First, a bit of background. One of my first memories is walking into the VHS rental shop in town with my mother and seeing the gigantic cardboard display for Army Of Darkness. A ripped Bruce Campbell with a woman at his leg, chainsaw as a hand with the tagline “Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas.” I mean, what a fucking fantastic piece of imagery (one that now hangs on my living room wall). Unfortunately though I did not watch this movie as a kid, as my mother was a bit self-serving with her precious VHS rentals. As she didn't have any interest in the film, she would tell me that it was far too adult for me, and instead would rent whatever even more horror/suspense film she wished.



AoD: Boomstick
Edition
Eventually I did watch the movies at a friend’s house in high-school and have been hooked ever since. So much so that I immediately went out and bought the entire collection on DVD. Unfortunately for me, I decided to look at DVD reviews of the series and come to find out, there were more than a handful of releases and each of them had differing bonus content. Well, some of them were too expensive so I gave up looking for them in stores (The Boomstick Edition for one), but I did discover that my neighboring Blockbuster had the best version of the original movie... one that was selling for $50 on Ebay. So, to save it from some cretin scratching a precious artifact, I did what any teenage fanboy would: I rented it and swapped the disc out with my own. Even though I have bought the movies at least a half-dozen times since then (thanks you quadruple-dipping assfaces at Anchor Bay ;-) that is still a version that I own and hold sacred, Blockbuster sticker on the DVD and all.

It is with this great passion that I have always wanted to see the franchise not just back to back (which I have too many times), but fully, without break in one continuing movie. How long would it run? Would the intentional comedy/horror aspects of Evil Dead 2 line up with the unintentional comedy of the original? And can you go from the tone of The Evil Dead to Army Of Darkness within one full sitting? Well it was these questions that I set out to find answers to.

Sources:

I took 1080p Bluray rips of each of the movies to work with (and yes, I used the dreaded 16X9 "black-box" version of the first movie to make the experience feel more solidified). That’s "The Evil Dead", "Evil Dead 2", "Army of Darkness", and "Army of Darkness: Directors Cut". After I scanned these movies a few times, it became apparent to me that simply starting off with Evil Dead was going to be too big of a jump to eventually end up within Army of Darkness… the tones are just too dissimilar. It was for this reason that I also dug up cut-scenes from the Evil Dead games: "Hail To The King", "Fistful of Boomstick", and "Regeneration".


Hail to the King, Fistful of Boomstick,
& Regeneration.
Side note: Hail To The King has horrible gameplay, but the story is worth checking out as Ash revisits the cabin years after AoD’s end. Fistful of Boomstick is a genius game that is a direct sequel to HTTK and the gameplay is great. Regeneration is a reimaging of the franchise where Ash didn’t get sucked into the vortex at the end of ED2. All three games feature brilliant performances by Bruce Campbell and are well-worth checking out.

Ingesting:

I then took all of the sources and brought them into Premiere. Although I am trying to use Avid exclusively these days, Premiere is the most convenient thing in the world and will transcode the footage in the background allowing you to get started right away. When doing a project of mixed formats of source footage, it is the only way to go. I knew when I started that I wanted this to be Ash’s tale, and the video games had some excellent voice-over that would allow me to do exactly that, but if you were to watch cut-scenes from a video game, it would take you directly out of the movie experience.

Editing:

That’s why I had to adopt the ending of the theatrical cut of Army of Darkness. This allowed me to use the footage of him in the S-Mart talking to Ted Raimi, use some videogame audio, and spin that as if we joined him as we had just began to regale the story to him. Unfortunately this also committed me to ending the movie back at the S-Mart, which although is a far inferior ending when compared to AoD-Directors cut, it was necessary.

Major Edit 1: Intro

video

I took the opening lines from the game HTTK, and then cut in a few more lines from FoB, from there I EQ‘d the two readings to make them feel a bit more similar. We open up to the S-Mart, establish the conversation, and get into the two main plot-points that drive the entire franchise: A girl and the book.

Both ED2 and AoD have a short synopsis of what the Necronomicon is, but I chose to use AoD’s as the budget was higher and it’s more visually interesting. As he speaks of his love, I chose to show Linda from ED2 because we will soon see a different actress playing her in ED, and I wanted the audience to be able to associate her as the same character. I leave her on screen for a romantic moment, but I don’t allow her to speak or really act. This keeps her in the audiences mind as an archetype, but not a character.

We then cut into establishing footage of the car driving toward the cabin in ED2. No characters are seen in this, but the production value of the car overhead is much better than anything in the original. As we see it, we then cut into dialogue from The Evil Dead. Now we’re into the meat of the first movie.
Here is a link to a downloadable Mp4 version of the edit

Major Edit 2: Listening to the tapes

video
To branch the first two films, I wanted to use a bit of footage from the second movie cut into the first. So as they sit down to listen to the tapes, I chose to take scenes from ED2. These not only look much better, but allow the viewer to leave the cabin and see the actual discovery of the Necronomicon. This additionally sets up the characters of Annie and Ed from the sequel, thus softening the blow of watching two separate movies as one.

However, I didn’t just want to remove an entire chunk from ED and substitute in the sequel, you still needed to feel as if you were in the moment with the original characters. To accomplish this, I cut in character reactions from the group, but I also cut in the section where they turn off the tape after the girls get freaked out as it builds tension. After the tapes played, we of course needed to be back into the original movie, which requires the tree coming through the glass. Now we’re off and running again until the end of the first movie.
Here is a link to a downloadable Mp4 version of the edit

Major Edit 3: Joining Evil Dead & Evil Dead 2

video
This is where we join Evil Dead to Evil Dead 2. Now there are a few points where this is possible, but in one way or another they always seem to screw up continuity (and not just because Ash ages years between movies). That’s why I chose the lesser of the Evils (pun intended) and placed the cut after he throws the last bit of dirt on the camera lens in the original, then we open up to the sequel as he puts the cross in the ground.

This however leaves Linda with a head, and when she emerges from her grave later she is decapitated. While this is unfortunate, it is better than having Linda switch actresses, and then switch back again, which was my other option. Also, when she pops back out of her grave later, it has bit more of a comedic element with the dancing that distracts the viewer from even noticing. Bam! Back into the rest of the movie we go.
Here is a link to a downloadable Mp4 version of the edit

Major Edit 4: Joining Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness

video
This one is a no brainer. At the end of ED2 we get to see him spat out into the mid-evil ages, but it doesn’t line up with AoD so out it goes. Both movies however display white flashes while he is about to exit the the portal, so that was my edit point. Now we've landed in the Directors cut of Army of Darkness.
Here is a link to a downloadable Mp4 version of the edit

Major Edit 5: Joining Army of Darkness: Directors Cut and Army of Darkness

video
At this point, I unfortunately have to have Ash wind up back at the S-Mart, which as I said earlier, is the lesser of the two endings. But, for our purposes, it does tie the entire trilogy up into one nice bow. Now the Theatrical cut ends with him riding off into the sunset and then it cuts directly back into the S-Mart. However, you get a little bit more with the Directors Cut as it shows him being sealed off in a cave, getting comfortable, then taking the sleeping-liquid (yes, I kept him ingesting one extra drop). I even let my cut run up until the emergence of him from that cave, and THEN we cut back into the S-Mart for the traditional ending.

As for the credits, at this point I could have joined all of the previous credits together and subbed in new music, but as that was not part of the experience I cared about, I simply left in the traditional Theatrical AoD credits.
Here is a link to a downloadable Mp4 version of the edit

Conclusion:

So is this a stronger movie now that we have eliminated the differing backstories? Yes and no. Yes, if you were to sit down and watch them back to back this version would make WAY more sense to you. But at the time they were made there were many years in between each of them. At that point you get a bit more artistic license to retell the previous story a bit differently. Honestly, maybe it’s just me explaining away several versions of stories that quite don’t line up, but THAT is how I’ve always viewed these movies: I feel these are Ash's stories, and since he is such a bad person, this is just a tale he keeps exaggerating and each time he tells again, he embellishes more of the story.

This sort of takes that away, and in my opinion, tells more of a story about a man who has had horrible things done to him. As a result, you watch him slowly disconnect with reality. He starts out honorable at first, then slowly twists to where he finds the Deadite interaction funny in ED2, then ultimately get’s so full of himself that he considers himself the savior of the world at the end.

In the end, I personally prefer the theatrical version of the movies, but it must be said, this is a new and different way to experience them and it runs 3 hours and 55 minutes.

This video is NOT meant to compete with purchasable version, so I encoded it a a very low bitrate for download from my website. If you'd like the full-res 720p version, contact me and we can arrange a trade.
Note: This is a h265 encode, so make sure you're using the latest version of VLC to watch this.
http://anticurrent.com/EvilDead/EvilDead-UltimateCut-h265.mkv

UPDATE:
Complete Evil Dead
Epic Edit Cover
Several people have emailed me and asked to purchase a copy of the movie. Let me stress that it is NOT for sale, but I'd love to get it to you. However in doing so, I cannot condone the filmmakers of these not getting paid.

So here's what I'll do. Anyone that wants the full 720p copy simply do the following:
1: Email me (address can be found easily on my website) a photo of you holding all three movies (any version).
2: I'll send you my physical address, you send me a USB (the file size is 13.3GB) with a self-addressed stamped envelope to send it back.
3: Within 24 hours of receipt I will send the USB back to you.

UPDATE: 5/19/15:
After numerous complaints, the downloadable version of this has been fixed. In order to make an easily downloadable file out of the four hour movie and have it watchable, I utilized the new h265 encoding format and it comes in around 500mb. In order to play it, make sure you have the latest version of VLC. The link can be found above.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

My New Writing Gig!

I was lucky enough to come into my mid-teenage years with the dawning of the internet. Before this, I spent the ages of 13-15 living in a small-town in Ohio tracking down any punk album I could get my hands on by any means necessary. I borrowed old VHS bootlegs from my friends older brothers, I dubbed my friends’ fathers pressing of Never Mind The Bullocks and recorded it onto a cassette tape, I even recorded a local channel which broadcast old Much music episodes for the rare moment when a Bad Religion or Rollins Band video would be shown. Then, when I was 16 my aunt and uncle bought me a computer and a year’s subscription to dial-up internet and my life forever changed.

Still have my VHS/Cassettes 
Suddenly bands I had only heard of in legend like UK Subs, Dead Kennedys, and Black Flag were just mouse-clicks away. Yahoo offered me countless images of punk clothing and I began to recreate the styles that I found there. Shortly I was on Kazaa and SoulSeek searching out bands that I had heard OF for years, but never actually heard. In short, the entire world that I had fought so incredibly hard to obtain knowledge of suddenly opened up to me.

So was Punk Rock more special when I had to seek it out at length, or did the internet finally give me the availability of the knowledge I always desired?  Did the scene benefit more from only including the people that had to aggressively seek it out, or is it better in this day and age that Punk Rock websites exist and offer an instant and nearly unlimited library of Punk Rock knowledge and culture? I tend to side with the latter, but regardless of anyone’s opinion, one thing cannot be denied: It ultimately doesn't matter, because either way, here we stand.

This is why I for one choose to embrace technology rather than just be yet another aging asshole bitching about the glory days and that is why I've chosen to write a series of articles for the Punk Rock news-site DyingScene.com

DyingScene.com Profile
I’ll be starting off with a series of How-To/DIY projects, the first of which is how to make your own Punk Rock vest that should be published very soon. After that I’m planning on tackling how to make your own stencils, leather-jacket, band-promotion, and so-on. Occasionally, to ensure monotony doesn't set in, I’ll break these up with a series of interviews/reviews and just plain news from the scene that I've been a part of all these many, many years (goddamn I’m getting old).

But don’t worry dear reader, I’ll still be publishing regularly here (or as regularly as I ever have). So if you’re one of the Pour-Souls reading this you can still expect my bitching and moaning to published here on a regular basis. Seeing as how Rodney Redbottom is now complete, I’ll be writing a bi-weekly post here about the making of it to offer my insight on how to make a short movie for nearly no budget. Hint: have talented, loyal friends.

So until then, keep a watch on my profile at DyingScene.com, watch out for Rodney Redbottom hitting film festivals this Spring, stay tuned here for more drunken gibberish from me, and oh yeah…. I’m writing a book, but that won’t be out ANYTIME soon.