Dusty’s Best of 2014

You’ve handled my worst, so you’re now getting my best.

Before I get to the list, here are some that just barely missed the cut (or maybe they didn’t, but I wanted to talk about them.)


Honestly, the only reason this one didn’t make the list is because I’m not sure if it qualifies as horror.  It has been a bit overhyped, and I don’t think it’s as good as all the breathless overanalyzing tends to make it sound.  But it’s a solid movie, and I had a lot of fun watching it.  The cast is terrific, the story – riddled with logistical holes as it is – is a lot of fun, and they do a great job with the video game type plot of moving car-to-car, finding a new obstacle in each one.  Try to ignore the hype and watch this for what it is: a fun and unique sci-fi movie.
My original review.


Pacific Rim has ruined me a little, because all I could think was, “Why not just build giant robots and punch Godzilla in the face with their rocket-propelled fists?”  But I got over that before I went into the movie.  I just wanted something fun.  Instead, all I got was a movie following the uncharismatic kid from Kick-Ass as he travels the world as the only bomb expert left, somehow staying in Godzilla’s direct path the whole time.  I also saw two great performers – Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen – get completely washed out of the movie (an early exit and relegated to crying duty, respectively).  There were some good scenes and the last half hour made me walk out excited, but it wasn’t nearly as good as I was hoping.
My original review.

Cheap Thrills

Cheap Thrills
The hype train was all geared up for this one.  I lowered my expectations before I went in.  I’m glad I did, because, even with those lowered expectations, I didn’t enjoy it that much.  Sky high expectations would have led to me hating it.  The cast is terrific (Ethan Embry, David Koechner, Sara Paxton and Pat Healy) and there were some good dark comedy moments, but the story was extremely predictable, made even worse by the feeling that they were trying to deliver a huge emotional gut punch at the end.  (I could see the end coming from a mile away.)  There were also a few scenes that really drove the drama forward by actions that made no sense (I realize it’s a weird statement to make about a movie like this, given all the out-of-character things that happened, but I stand by that statement and am more than happy to discuss it).  It wasn’t a bad movie.  I thought it was decent.  But the overhype really hurt it.  If you don’t expect anything mind-blowing, you should have a good time with this.

Life After Beth

Life After Beth
I didn’t expect much out of this.  Just a fun zombie movie with a good cast.  That’s exactly what I got.  It looked at the zombie genre from a slightly different angle, and I enjoyed it.
My original review.

I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein
I know, I know.  Keep in mind that I’m a fan of the Underworld series, the first 3 Resident Evil movies and the first 2 Mummy movies.  I’m a sucker for a fun action/horror movie is my point.  This movie is way more complicated than it has any reason to be, but it was a lot of fun to watch.

Enough of this nonsense.  To the top 10!

Under the Skin

10. Under the Skin
All I knew going into this movie was, “Scarlett Johansson artsy Species,” which is really just word soup.  But that’s pretty much what this was.  There’s not a lot of dialogue, and there’s a lot of Scarlett driving around Scotland in a white van, talking to strangers.  There’s seduction and nudity, but none of it is alluring.  This movie definitely isn’t for everyone, and it’s not for every mood, but I really liked this a lot.  It has a hypnotic quality to it.  Once it clicked for me, I was glued to the screen.
My original review.

Sacrament, The

9. The Sacrament
Those of you who know me know that I have never liked Ti West.  I’ve never liked a single movie of his.  In fact, my favorite Ti West moment is when he gets shot in the head with an arrow in You’re Next.  But this was something different.  The first 30 minutes were pretty slow, and I started to tune out a little.  I knew where the story was going, anyway: it’s basically a retelling of the events of Jonestown.  But then it started to pick up a bit.  Even though I knew where it was going, it was still able to draw me in.  The paranoia and insanity increased incrementally.  By the time it got to the Kool Aid (or, more accurately, Flavor Aid) scene, I was all-in.  There are some images in this film that I’ll never be able to get out of my brain.  There were some extremely chilling moments.  I didn’t love the whole thing, and I had some logistical issues like, “How did they get the footage off that specific camera?”, but that’s just being nit-picky.  I liked this a lot more than I thought I was going to.
My original review.


8. Sacrament
Not to be confused with the last movie.  This one was directed by Shawn Ewert, and it follows a group of friends as they take a trip to Texas and find themselves in a town surrounded by religious fanatics and the sweet, sweet smell of meat.  This could have easily turned into a predictable slasher, but the religious angle helped to add another layer to the film, as did the fact that these characters felt like actual people.  Ewert made me care about the characters and what happened to them.  There were a couple scenes I wasn’t crazy about, but, again, that’s just being nit-picky.
This is also notable for being one of the final performances of the great Marilyn Burns.  She doesn’t have a huge role, but she’s fantastic when she’s on the screen.


7. Tusk
I just watched this last week.  I’m still trying to make up my mind on it, so it has a chance to climb up the ladder or fall down, depending on where I settle.  For now, #7 seems about right.  I thought I had a decent idea of what this movie would be: crazy old man turns mustachioed Justin Long into a walrus.  I figured it would be really gory.  Something like Human Centipede or Hostel or something.  But it really wasn’t.  They didn’t show much of the transformation at all.  That’s good, because just looking at the walrus suit was disturbing enough.  There were a number of scenes in here that made me laugh entirely too hard.  It was a really well done dark comedy/horror.  I loved it.  I could have done without Johnny Depp’s character, and the podcast segment at the end reminded me of how much I dislike Kevin Smith, but those are small complaints.  I thought I would hate this movie, and I was completely blown away by how much I loved it.


6. Oculus
I kind of lumped this into “mirror horror” (which I believe only includes Mirrors and Mirrors 2), so I wasn’t expecting much.  I came away loving this movie.  There were some great performances here (Karen Gillan and Katee Sackhoff were the standouts, but everyone was terrific.  Even the children were great, and I’m normally not a big fan of child actors), the story was good, and there were some really creepy moments.  I love how the film played with the perception of reality.  This is a great movie to put on when you’re by yourself in a dark house.
My original review.


5. The Canal
A great, claustrophobic movie about a man who discovers his wife has been murdered.  The use of old murder footage was really creepy.  This combined elements of The Amityville Horror and Sinister, but still had its own style to it.  I knew next to nothing about this movie going in, and I think I was better off for it.  Just watch this movie.
My original review.


4. WolfCop
Some glorious maniac submitted a review for this, and I don’t know if I can describe it any better than he/she did.  Take Hobo With a Shotgun and, instead of the hobo (sorry Rutger Hauer) and throw an alcoholic werewolf cop into the mix.  Bam.  WolfCop.


3. Horns
I read the book and, while I liked it, I didn’t love it like I thought I would.  Still, I was very much looking forward to this movie.  After Daniel Radcliffe’s work on The Woman in Black, I was excited to see what he would do here.  He was fantastic, and the movie was dynamite.  They nailed the dark-comedy-turns-just-plain-dark mood of the book.  A number of moments had me laughing really hard.  Beyond the humor, the story was handled great.  I loved that, behind all the insanity, was a simple love story/murder mystery.  There were times I was so involved in the story that I almost forgot Ig had horns on his head.  The cast was great, and the story was handled wonderfully.  It was everything I hoped it would be.
My original review.

Dead Snow 2

2. Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
My love for the first Dead Snow is well-known, so it should come as no surprise that the sequel ranked so high on my list.  With the success of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Tommy Wirkola was given a lot more money to work with than he did with Dead Snow.  And he put that money to good use.  Everything was bigger.  More zombies.  More blood.  More intestines.  More insanity.  This movie is a ton of fun.
My original review.


1. The Babadook
How could it be anything else in this spot?  It’s rare that a movie exceeds its considerable hype (for me, anyway), but this movie managed to do that.  The first 30 minutes or so were a bit dicey (screeching children have a way of doing that), but I totally understand why they had to do that.  Then it settled in, and I couldn’t look away.  I was completely drawn in by the story.  By the imagery.  By the relationship between mother and son.  By everything.  It’s a fantastically creepy movie.  Find a dark, quiet night, open a door you can see from your viewing area, and put this on.  Don’t look at your phone.  Don’t carry on long conversations.  Just sit down and drink this in.  You won’t be disappointed.
My original review.  (I may or may not talk about the Pinky & The Brain Christmas Special.)

An Interview With Marilyn Burns


I am still gobsmacked that I had the honour of speaking with Ms. Marilyn Burns. Yes, Marilyn Burns of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame.  I can only speak for myself when I say that Sally Hardesty in TCM was my first Final Girl. Shawn Ewert, director of the upcoming film Sacrament was genreous enough to set this interview up and it was just a joy. I hope you find Marilyn to be as lovely and down to earth as I did. You can see Marilyn Burns in Sacrament, premiering June 7,2014 at The Texas Theatre in Dallas, Tx .

I don’t remember the last time I was as nervous as I was dialing up Ms. Marilyn Burns. She immediately put me at ease by saying, “Oh Lisa! Yes, yes, yes!”

L.F. How did you meet Shawn Ewert?

M.B. “Ya know, I probably met him at different conventions in the past. Different shows, maybe Texas Frightmare and stuff and he just called me up and asked me to do his film. I knew of his work because he’s a wonderful director and so I was real excited to be able to work with him.”

L.F. Didn’t he write this part for you?
M.B. “Oh Lisa, I don’t know.”

L.F.  That’s what I heard.
M.B. “Well, then he did. I’m very flattered and delighted to be in his picture. Yeah, he had me in mind when he wrote it; he thought it would be a cool touch to it, ya know?”

L.F. Are you able to speak about your role in Sacrament?
M.B. “Well, I don’t know. How much do you know about it? I don’t know how much I can say, ya know? I know that in most movies of this nature, they do want things on the hush hush because that’s part of the fun and surprise when it comes out.”

L.F. Well, we should probably keep it that way; I dont want to ruin anything.
M.B. “No, thats the thing; I wouldn’t watnt to either. I will say this.  He’s a wonderful director and I had a great time shooting with him and he had the most fabulous cast and most fabulous crew. You couldn’t get better. They were so professional. They did everything in tip top fashion.  Everything was planned out to the T.”

L.F. So, this was a really nice experience for you.
M.B. “Oh definitley. One of my best experiences yet, to date.”

L.F. Really?
M.B. “I really enjoyed it; we had a lot of fun on the set.”

L.F. You were there with Mr. Guinn, correct?
M.B. “Yes.”



L.F. Have you stayed friends since the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film?
M.B. “Yes, because now they’re having all of these reunions at conventions. We’ve been on several and, I think, this year were going to Corpus Christi and Austin; we’ve got several coming up where we’re all going to be together.”

L.F. It seems the main cast, from the original movie, you keep popping up in films with one another.
M.B. “Yeah, if we can.  It’s really fun to work with each other.  Now, it’s like, can you believe this.?!  Especially when John and Gunnar and I were in Louisiana, shooting Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D; we were having lunch and we looked at each other and said, can you believe this? here we are, back again, all in the movie. So, it made it really fun on the set. There’s a lot of reminiscing and the conventions are fun too because they’re like reunions.”


L.F. When you did TCM3D, was it surreal to see yourself at the beginning of the movie from the origianl film?
M.B. “No, I knew that was going to be there. I was surprised how much they used of it. I didn’t think they were going to use that much of the clip. I thought, my goodness. (laughs) I had forgotten about that.”

L.F. As a fan, it was really excting for me to have the movie start that way.
M.B. “Well, I mean, of course I thought it was exciting. I was glad they wrapped them up together like that. I didnt expect it.”

M.B. “What did you think of that one?” (movie)
L.F. I thought it was fun!
M.B. “You did?”

L.F. Yeah, it was tons of fun with the 3D.

M.B. “Yeah, that made it neat, too. We all had a very good time there. That was great because I got to be with Gunnar and John. Like I said, I had done some things with Ed at different reunions. Recently, we were in Germany together last year. Who would think I would be going to Germany this many years later?”


L.F. Yeah, is it unbelieable to you that this movie is still as popular as it is?
M.B. “I’m amazed people still talk about it. It’s a blessing. Who would have ever thought?”

L.F. So, you had no idea when you were filming that this would be a hit?
M.B. “I just wanted it to get released in theatres. That’s what I prayed for. So many movies are made and, then, they never make it. Finally, it got picked up and it just kept going. I guess its still going today, or I wouldnt be doing so many conventions.””

L.F. You have fun doing the conventions? Does it ever feel like work?

M.B. “Are you kidding?” (laughing) How could you go to one of those conventions, get money for autographs and smile all day and not have a good time?”
L.F. Well, I’ve come across a few people who look less than excited about it, so, i just had to ask.

M.B. “Why wouldn’t they have fun?!” (laughing)

L.F. I dont know, I asked myself the same question. (There is much laughter at this point.)
M.B. :If we hear someone griping about something, we all get together and go, is he out of his mind? What’s his problem? Why is he here anyway, then? If this is a job to you, don’t come. That’s not what the deal is. It’s an hounour.”

L.F. Aw, thats nice,
M.B. “Well, it is. People like something you did? You should be proud and grateful that they care. That’s just a give. Don’t you agree with me on that?”

L.F. Absolutley. It’s an honour for us (the fans) when we get to meet somebody.
M.B. “It works both ways. I’ve met terrific people. Every time is very exciting. A lot of times, I have my brother pick me up from the airport. He says, I like picking Marilyn up from the airport because she’s so happy when she gets back.  I can’t ever remember one that I felt disappointed or upset or it felt like work. Gosh, I’m just grateful as hell that I get to go.”


L.F. So, going way, way back, your first role was in a Robert Altman film?
M.B. “That was just a teeny, tiny little part. I ran down and managed to get a role as an extra and then ended up working on the movie in a different capacity. I then auditioned for Sidney Lumet for Lovin’ Molly;  it had Blythe Danner, Beau Bridges and Anthony Perkins. He gave me the part and I was going to be one of the four leads; I was so excited. Then, a couple of weeks later, he called me and said, Marilyn, I’m so sorry, but in order for me to get Beau and Blythe, I have to cast this girl named Susan Sarandon. So, he gave me a role as an extra and I was a stand in for both Blythe and Susan; theyre both 5’7″ and I’m 5’3″so, I had to stand on an apple cart.”

L.F. So, did you always love horror or did you just happen to end up in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
M.B. “Well, I was on the Texas Film Commission; I helped start that in 1971 and, so, I was familiar with all of the things that were coming in and out of Texas. I met Tobe (Hooper, writer and director of TCM) and Kim (Henkel; writer on TCM) on the set of Lovin’ Molly. I had seen them in Austin and recognized them as filmmakers. They come on the set and they want to watch Lumet shoot. Then, they help themselves when the food comes out. The producer, Stephen Friedman, who had just finished The Last Picture Show, he came over and says, who are you guys? Do you work on this? When they told him no, they weren’t working, Stephen says, Give me back the chicken!”

“So, because I was on the Film Commission and worked with the head of the commission, that’s when I saw that Tobe and Kim were working on this movie (TCM) together. Warren Skerrit, the head of the Film Commission,  is actually the one that came up with the title. They had titles like Scum of the Earth and Headcheese. I think the first title was Headcheese, then it was Scum of the Earth. I thought, I don’t really want to be in something called Scum of the Earth, but what the hell, its’ a movie. To get a lead in a movie, it was aweome ya know? I said something to Warren;  I said, these guys need another title. Warren was a pretty artistic guy and he came up with the most perfect title, ya know? Such an attention getting title. There werent that many chainsaw massacres back then and then you add Texas to it; people are curious about Texas. Back in 74, that title was just catchy. It helped make the movie.”


L.F. Do you ever wonder what might have happened with Sally?
M.B. “Yeah, well, I’ve written about 5 or 6 endings for poor Sally and we kept thinking of doing it and I know Tobe, Kim and I worked on it for a while. We had a plausible reason for what happened to her.

L.F. Did you go directly from TCM to Eaten Alive?
M.B. “No, I did Helter Skelter before that.”


L.F. Were you, at all, concerned about taking a role in Helter Skelter?
M.B. “Um, yeah. Because number one, it was too early. It was too soon after the murders and everybody in L.A. resented us doing that. Second, because they told every actress that auditioned, you’re going to have to shave your head. I thought, well, I dont want to shave my head, but I’m new in Los Angeles , I have a new agent and  I can’t say, Gosh, I’m Miss Picky and I don’t want to do that. That would have been terrible and it would have been insulting to the director and casting director. Then, I thought, oh, Marilyn, how stupid of you. You’re not going to get cast; they probably already got it hand picked or have package deals. So, I did say to the director, I really dont want to shave my head; is there anything we can do diferent?  He said, well why don’t you read for Linda Kasabian? After I read it, I thought, oh, this is the best part ever. I remember going home and crying my eyes out, thinking I had done terrible. That same afternoon, the phone rings and its my agent saying I got the part.”


“I’m grateful I was in it and grateful it came out and it was received as well as it did. And Steve Railsback  was a hit! You couldn’t get a better Manson. I had a ball and met the best people; it was a real good experpience. Of course, then you had to worry about when it came out. There were some gripes and I remember when we shot for the La Bianca house, we were on their block and we were in a house two doors down (from the origianl La Bianca house) and the people thought we were so disrespectful. They turned their music up really loud, thinking they would screw us up, but we were shooting without sound that night. It just put us in more of the mood of Manson. It was too perfect.”

L.F. Was that a little bit creepy, though?
M.B. “Of course it was creepy, but ya know, the movie was creepy, the character was creepy, so it just helped the actors. Everything was wrong; let’s face it, that was really wrong, everything that happened.”

L.F. Did you meet Ms. Kasabian?
M.B. “Oh gosh, no. I know some people met the people they were portraying, but not me. She’s in the witness protection program somehwere. She’s the only one that was at both murders and because she was a rat, she gets off. She is the only one of the whole gang who managed to be in the car twice. I had to really work on Kasabian to figure her out and make it believable.”


L.F. When you played Sally (TCM) and Faye (Eaten Aive), was that hard for you? Were you tied to that bed in Eaten Alive forever? That’s what it felt like.
M.B. “Yeah, Texas Chainsaw,  I did a lot of physical stuff and it wasn’t hard. I just wanted to give them a 10; the best I could do. The only thing I could do was give Tobe a 10 and he could bring me down if he needed to, but he never did. A couple of times on Chainsaw, when I ran into the bbq place, I ran into the camera, the camera man…..you know, I didn’t want to look like one of those stupid girls who is running in one clip and then the next time you see her, she’s casually going into somewhere…oh, help me…..
He would tell me, Marilyn, slow down; hit your mark and don’t hit the camera man.”

In Eaten Alive, that had it’s issues. Yeah, I think they did have me tied up there forever and gagged. Some of the actors were way too into their parts and I had to remind them that we’re acting.(starts laughing) That’s probably why it looks so damn real!
L.F. Yeah, it looks awful.
M.B. “Yeah, it was pretty uncomfortable.”


L.F. Was Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4 the first time you did a cameo?

M.B. “Yes, Kim had wrote me a real good part, but they werent S.A.G. ,so, I couldn’t be in it unless someone dubbed my lines. So, I just played someone on a gurney as Anonymous. I thought it was just going to be in the background; it was going to be our private joke.”



L.F. Did he write that part for you in Butcher Boys?
M.B. “Oh! I don’t know. I think so. He definitley had me in mind.”
L.F. I felt really bad for you when they took your dog.
M.B. “Oh, that was terrible! Dang it I haven’t even seen that.  Is it good?”

L.F. Yeah, it’s fun and crazy in a really great way.
M.B. “I’ve got to see that! You did your research, girlfriend!”

L.F. Well, I’ve had a great time working with Shawn Ewert.
M.B. “Oh yeah, he’s remarkable, isn’t he?  You know what? It was my birthday on Wednesday and when I came home from dinner, there was this box of flowers. I thought, who is this from?  It was from Shawn and I was never more amazed.

L.F. Avery Pfeiffer and Troy Ford ( the two leads in Sacrament) both spoke very highly of working with you. They said that you were so wonderful and so easy to talk to and really helpful.
M.B. “That’s lovely. I’m glad to hear it. I certainly enjoyed the whole experience.”

L.F. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. It really was an honour.

M.B. “Oh Lisa, it was great talking with you.”


Henry Pao Answers Eleven Questions With Lisa


Henry is a delightful young man who’s positivity and humor is contagious. I really had such an enjoyable time speaking on the phone with him. You can see Henry in the upcoming film Sacrament.

1.How long have you been acting?

I started acting when I moved to Dallas to study acting at the K.D. Conservatory of Film and Dramatic Arts. This is my first role. Period. I got it within two weeks of moving here.

2.How did you get into acting, then?

I never really talked about it, so no one was encouraging it. I had always wanted to perform and I said to myself, “why not?”.

3.Awesome! How did this role come to you?

I saw a posting for it on the bulletin board at school. At school, they encourage us to try out for roles because auditioning is a process that you need to experience and get used to. I went to the audition and left just knowing I didn’t get the role, but someone came running after me and asked me to come back in and read again. After that second reading, they requested that I do a video audition. I felt like I had something to prove if they kept giving me chances. I got the part I wanted!


4.Tell me about your character, Alex Corbin.

Alex is the friend that almost everyone has and no one wants to deal with. He’s full of himself, cocky and thinks he can get away with anything. His friends are just thinking, “when will you shut up?” Because I have a bit of a feminine flair to me, I had to try to mask it and be more masculine.


5.What is your favorite moment from filming Sacrament?

The crew,in general, was just great. We did everything together and interacting with Sandra and her boyfriend…they were very encouraging. There was an overall feeling of, this is fun and games, but this is your job, too.


6.What did you think was the hardest day on set?

It was hard because everyone else had more experience than me. I loved it and I dedicated myself to it, but I would get nervous and I couldn’t help taking some things personally. Troy(Ford) has a certain energy; he is a very strong presence. So, Troy is channeling Shawn and we have intense moments and I would be worrying  that I would forget my lines.

7.Would you like to branch out into other areas of filmmaking?

I currently want to focus on acting. When I feel more like I have done enough and know enough, I would like to help other actors. I like helping people find more within their characters.

8.Any other projects that you’re working on?

I have been working on short films and I’m trying to work more on stage. Working on stage helps me grow because you have to think quick on your feet; you can’t shoot again.

9.What do you hope people take away from Sacrament?

Regardless of religion, you have the right to love everyone you want. This isn’t a joke; the gay character is usually the comic relief or they get killed off first. A gay couple being portrayed as more than just being flamboyant is different and it’s important. You are free too love whoever you want.

10. What other genres would you like to explore?

I would love to do something Sci-Fi related, more on the mystic side. I’ve always been a Charmed fan and I would love to play a witch. An elemental witch, who’s powers consist of elements of the earth. I would love to explore everything but, I don’t always like going to a dark place; I feel like I’m rotting inside.

11. Anything else you would like to add?

I want to thank Shawn so much for giving me the opportunity to learn. Everyone gave me hope that I can do this and I’m doing it for the right reason. Everyone was there for each other.  Working with Shawn was great; he was very flexible with all of us and told us to “go ahead, do your thing.”

You can follow Henry on Twitter @BigHaiLoBoy


Justin Powers Answers 9 Questions With Lisa


Yeah, normally, it’s 11 questions that I torture people with, but as you’re about to find out, Justin is simply far too busy to stop and answer a bunch of questions. Justin is a guy with a lot going on, including his cinematography work on Sacrament and we are super happy that we had the opportunity to speak with him.

Your resume has quite a varied list of talents; which one did you come to first? (i.e.) acting, directing writing.

I’m definitely not an actor but, a couple times I’ve been on a set where they needed someone to act and I did it…I’m not proud of it but I did it!    But for real…for me, every aspect of filmmaking came to me at the same time….because at the beginning I had no experience….no training or schooling…just trying.


2. In Pot Zombies, you are credited as a writer, actor,  director, producer and editor. Please tell us a little about this film.

It was my very first movie…I thought of it while driving and smoking a joint….then my brother and I got a camera and an editing program and started trying to make a movie.  I started volunteering on other local low budget movies to try to learn stuff and got a couple of actors from those films and stuck with it for a couple years, trying to get Pot Zombies done, doing pretty much everything myself. I learned a lot from that and consider Pot Zombies, kinda, my film school.


3. Pot Zombies is not the only film where you have worn multiple hats; what other projects have you taken on a large amount of responsibility?

I also shot a couple of other peoples features. A really cool arty type horror flick called DEVOTION that just recently premiered at the Twisted Tails Film Fest here in Dallas http://vimeo.com/64896942

I also shot a comedy feature called ROCKIN REVEREND http://vimeo.com/49721094.  It’s a great movie about an agnostic drunk actor that starts his own rock n roll church and starts doing blow….his tagline is DON’T BE A DOUCHE….theres a lesson there for lots of people!  Seriously though, its a great movie and is available via  streaming on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Rockin-Reverend-Scot-Michael-Walker/dp/B00E3E76BU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1398995840&sr=8-2&keywords=rockin+reverend


4. Do you think the fact that you had helmed so many titles on past films, was helpful when it came to Sacrament? It seems as though a few people on Sacrament took on quite a few jobs.

Yes, it was a very small crew so everyone has to do a few roles to get it done.  Every bit of everyones’ experience in film was helpful on Sacrament.  There were crew people of all levels working on Sacrament…..some people had very little experience on a film set and some had a lot….it took everyone working together as a team to bring it all together


5.Had you worked with Shawn before? If not, how did you find out about the film?         Yes, I have known Shawn for years and I helped some on his first short film JACKS BAD DAY….and he’s helped out on other projects that I have worked on also.   Shawn brought me onto SACRAMENT from, probably, pretty close to the beginning of it…..I shot and edited the first teaser for SACRAMENT that we made a couple of years ago when Shawn was first raising money for the movie. I’ve been friends with Shawn for several years, though I have no idea where I met him…i just kinda knew him all of a sudden.


6. Which area of filmmaking do you prefer?  

I  just love filmmaking. I just spent 3 weeks on location as key grip on DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT 2.  I’ve been home for a week and it is killing me.  Of course I love directing and creating my own projects, but I just as much enjoy working on other projects and learning.  Every movie I work on, in any capacity, I learn and grow as a filmmaker in general.

7. What projects are you currently working on? Is anything coming out soon that you would like people to know about?  

  Right now I am working on a documentary about the history of Dallas punk rock; it’s called EVERYTHING IS A-OK .  We’ve been shooting interviews for it all of last year.  It’s been a really fun project and i’m very excited to see it come together!   Everything is A-OK: A Dallas, TX Punk Documentary Promo 2

Also, my last film POT ZOMBIES 2: more pot, less plot is being released on July 22nd!    on dvd and streaming on amazon and other streaming on demand sites.    www.demonicchronic.com


8.What are you most proud of thus far in your career?  

Well, one pretty cool thing is, I was a camera op for a collaborative film about the occupy movement; they have filmmakers from all over the world shooting locally and they sent hard drives all around the country to collect the footage.  They only used a few seconds of my footage but, that movie premiered at SUNDANCE!  That’s really cool. It’s a really cool documentary.  It’s not propaganda or anything like that; its a documentary just about what was happening.  http://www.99percentfilm.com/


9. What is one thing that you would like to accomplish this year? It can be absolutely anything.

I’m looking forward to completing my documentary and if I’m lucky…shooting another feature film I am trying to get off the ground.


If You Want Blood, You Got It! – An Interview with Matt Ash, Special Effects Coordinator of Sacrament.

“I’m already a couple of drinks ahead of ya” Matt Ash, special effects artist for horror movie Sacrament (premiering June 7th in Dallas, Texas at the famous Texas Theater) tells me in his deep southern drawl as he lights up a cigarette. Matt has worked on various movies for his specialty of creature effects as well as his special effects for gore. Vaccinated into the special effects field with a pair of plastic vampire fangs at an early age, Matt was replicating Hollywood monster makeup while other kids were wearing Ben Cooper masks for Halloween.

Within the first five minutes I could tell that Matt and I would click. A hard worker who wants nothing more than to give his passion to his work while he shares the credit with his fellow artists, doesn’t tolerate bullshit when it comes to being lazy, and pulls no punches when asked about breaking into the special effects business. Covered in classic monster sleeved tattoos, this guy could’ve been the long lost brother I’ve been looking for.

I open a Shiner Bock beer as the sun sets on a Friday night in Mesquite, Texas when Matt and I get the chance to talk about the business of blood, monsters, and Sacrament.


R.R. How long have you been doing special effects for movies?

M.A. Professionally for about six years. I’ve always enjoyed it as a kid and all the dumber shit as far as horror films go with B-Movies and even bigger pictures. I’ve always been into monster and effects, more so monsters. Unfortunately I do a lot of gore, which isn’t my favorite thing to do but it pays some of the bills, right? (Laughs)

R.R. Right! (Laughs)

M.A. But my favorite thing is monsters and stuff like that.

R.R. Where did you learn to do special effects?

M.A. A lot of it came from my love of it and books as a kid. Reading books about it. Today they have T.V. show about it. When I was young there was no YouTube, it was all just books. So you learned everything from books. As a kid I didn’t know people that were into it like I was so it was just me learning it by myself. As I got older I met a few people here and there that were into it and showed me things about special effects. The guy that I worked for a lot of the times, if I’m not doing any films on my own, I work for Oddtopsy Effects, where I’ve learned a lot from Marcus Koch, which is basically everything I know in the last six or so years. It’s like you have to be a chemist to be a special effects guy!

R.R. Chemist and magician as well!

M.A.  Yeah! Yeah!

R.R. Who are some of your influences?

M.A. As a kid I really looked up to Stan Winston, probably one of my biggest.  As I got older there was Stan and then there was his crew, but people like Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, these cats that now own the biggest shops in Hollywood. Rick Baker, there is just so many of them. But then there is Stan but there is also their crew that their names aren’t as known, but they had just as much if not more to do with the actual effect. So those are my influences, mainly Stanley since the monsters like the Predator and Alien are iconic. To this day they still hold up. Pumpkinhead, the Monster Squad, oh man, I can go on and on about the Monster Squad!

R.R. I think we grew up in the same generation man!

M.A. (Laughs) Yeah, I think so!

R.R. When you said “monsters”, that movie was what popped up in my mind.

M.A. Great one!

R.R. Compare the use of CGI in movies today as opposed to a time when film was more dependent on special effects.

M.A.  You know, if the marriage is nice and the CG doesn’t ruin the practical effect, and it helps it, I’m all for about it. Totally, 100%. It is just a matter of over doing it with the visual effects when you don’t have to. Visual effects are fading away a little bit, but they are still going strong but I think there is going to be a resurgence of practical effects because of the techniques and the advancements. All the things have changed.  People are always finding better ways to making silicon or foam rubber, or gelatin appliances. They are always getting better and better and better.

R.R. Without giving too much away, tell us a little about some of the effects you created for Sacrament.

M.A. There were several gags in there that I am actually quite proud of, and they’re nasty ones! They are good ones. The fans will like them. There are severed heads and disembowelments, some being torn away, and guts and shit. I tried to hit…well, there’s not everything, but there’s a good amount, you know what I mean? There’s a variety of effects in there, one in particular is probably going to make a few people cringe. I made my fellow effects artist cringe with this one effect, so I’m actually quite proud of it. I’ve had other people that have been doing it longer than me look at some of the stuff that I’ve done for Sacrament and if I can get them to “eww and oww” then it makes me happy. There’s a lot of good stuff in there. I think that anyone that is into horror will appreciate it.

R.R. Well I think you just sold Sacrament for all the readers!

M.A. (Laughs)

R.R. Shawn (Ewert, director of Sacrament) is going to owe you a little more money now! Was there a particular effect in Sacrament that really pushed your abilities?

M.A. Uhh…There’s one, yeah. There’s one that I could have gone a couple of ways about it but dealing with this and it is an independent film we’re dealing with budget, you know what I mean? And maybe, well, I…look, some people say I went a little overboard with the blood on it but, I think that the fans are going to disagree with that! (Laughs)

R.R. (Laughs)

M.A. It’s a broken limb let’s put it that way.

R.R. Is there really such a thing as too much blood?

M.A. I…don’t think so!Matt

R.R. I mean you got raining blood in the Evil Dead, you got Drag Me to Hell where the chick soaks her boss with a bloody nose.

M.A. Well you know, how about The Shining? That is the ultimate! The Shining or the Amityville Horror, you know when the walls start bleeding? You know, when you say “More blood”, that’s what I’m thinking! (Laughs)  Remember that hallway in The Shining?

R.R. The walls in Amityville was one of my favorite effects ever! When I ran a haunted house attraction I once tried to recreate that effect. It was such a pain in the ass because someone would push somebody else and someone would bitch that they stained their shirt. But that effect is still one of my most favorite ones today!

M.A. That would be totally cool in a haunted house. I’m a big pussy, I’ll make stuff, but I won’t walk through a haunted house! (Laughs)

R.R. What!?! (Laughs)

M.A. Man I’m chicken shit when it comes to haunted houses. But I forget where, but I read that; how they did that effect for Amityville, how they rigged that and all. There have been other films where the walls bleed. But that’s more blood definitely. There can never be such a thing.

R.R. Looking at your IMDB profile you have done the special effects on quite the number of movies, mainly horror, though it is not the only genre that used special effects. Do you feel drawn to the horror genre more?

M.A. Oh yeah man! I’ve been warped since I was a fucking kid! I’ve always liked monster movies. Some of the earliest films I remember seeing were Friday the 13th or Hell Night, Swamp Thing, and those kinds of movies. Godzilla. I think Godzilla was actually my first. Godzilla or Abbot and Costello meet the Wolfman, along those lines. I’m a big fan of the Universal and Hammer films.

R.R. Matt you are good people, dude! I like you!

M.A. Oh I try to be. I think that most people that know me will tell you that. I’ll take a fucking beating but I’ll come back. I don’t let anybody down with my effects; that’s for sure! Even though it is a matter of a few seconds on screen, I still try to put all those little details, like punching all those little hairs into a mask or whatnot. Whether it is a severed head, or a severed arm, or if a head is being cut off I always try to give it that extra little something. It probably won’t be picked up because it will be covered in more blood! (Laughs)

R.R. (Laughs)

M.A. But if will definitely will be there!

R.R. Do you find yourself watching movies differently now and analyzing the special effects? Has the job ruined you for movies?

M.A. I did that, I did that as a fucking kid! I’ve always known what it was and always wanted to do it and tried to copy how they did it. I’ve always been critical, but then again, some of the cheesiest, dumbest fucking effects I love. And depending on what kind of film it was and if they are taking themselves too seriously.

R.R. Is there one particular special effect in a movie that you would say is your favorite?

M.A. I’ll tell you some of my favorite monsters, because those are my favorite special effects.

R.R. Sure. Shoot.

M.A. I would say that Pumpkinhead is in there. Of course the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The Wolfman, and the Predator. There probably won’t be any bigger Predator fan then me. I’ve got a pretty big hard-on for the Predator’s concept design. It’s awesome. There is just too many to say but I would probably put Pumpkinhead, the Predator, Alien, the Creature, all of those are in my top 10.

R.R. I like it. I was hoping you would say “Jeepers Creepers” because I’ve been trying to put together that costume for years.

M.A. Well I like it but I’m not so… Jeepers Creepers came out and I wasn’t impressed. Now, I’m not an elitist by far, I’m not totally old school or nothing, but I liked the first one and the second I thought was pretty cheesy. I do like the creature design though. I thought that was pretty unique.

R.R. I could never really tell if I like the costume design, the creature design, or if I just really like that fucking truck!

M.A. Well the marriage of the two was pretty fucking cool and it was exactly what it was called…creepy. The hat and the trench coat and all that, pretty fucking creepy! I did like the fact that they put wings on him and he had claws that came up. That was really fucking gnarly.

R.R. That still was a bad ass Chevy truck too!

M.A. Yeah. I think I met that cat that played the Creeper, I can’t remember his name at the moment but he is a real sweet guy. [Editor’s note- The Creeper was played by Jonathan Breck]

R.R. If someone wanted to get into special effects what advice would you give them?

M.A. (Laughs) You gotta fuckin’ love it is the only thing that I can really say! You got to fucking love it! You’ve got to love hard work. It’s one thing to sit there and watch it, but you have to do it. You can buy your way in but you won’t get any respect and I’ve seen that happen too. There are people who have busted their ass and have talent…you know what, that is a whole other question and we won’t get into it! (Laughs)

R.R. You can if you want to!

M.A. I can say that my answer for that is that you have to love it because it is not all fun and games. Not all the time. It is a lot of stress. A lot of full on stress. But I do it because I love it. Any artist knows that. It is your passion it is what drives you; it is what makes you who you are. Not because it is fucking cool because nowadays with all the shows and whatnot it is all about ratings and not talent. That’s just my personal opinion on that. (Laughs)

R.R. No I understand and I want brutal honesty, because I’m honest and if it sucks, then it sucks!

M.A. I’m the same way. So am I. All I can say is if there is a will, there is a way and it is all a matter of how bad do you want something.

R.R. Well the mic is all yours Matt. Is there anything else that you want to say about special effects or Sacrament?

M.A. Yeah, about Sacrament. I wasn’t in there doing it all by myself. I actually had some help from my friends like my buddy Burt (Bailey), and Hobbes (Lecompte), and my friend Elizabeth (Schieffer) came in one day and helped me out. There were a couple of other people that helped me out and that I couldn’t have done it without them. I had days that I had to have help and those guys were there for me. So it wasn’t all me doing that film. They all did me right.


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