Let’s finally discuss what happened with Jamie Lee Curtis.

jamie

Okay, so yeah. Looks like I went on one of those little disappearing spells I’m prone to do with this blog from time to time. Other than a brief snippet of joy this morning announcing that RUN LIKE HELL has finally been released(!), it’s been three and half months of silence from me since Halloween. Well, I usually have some kind of Halloween hangover, but this is ridiculous. Let’s just say, the reason for the disappearance this time can be chalked up to a combo of both good news and bad news. For some that have been following what’s going on, you definitely know the bad news… Let me finally talk about this elephant in the room since so many people have been asking me about it these past few months.

Yes, Jamie Lee Curtis, my actress, my fellow executive producer, my horror muse, an amazing woman, and someone who became a friend, has exited my ABC Family horror TV show The Final Girls, to topline a pretty similar competing FOX horror TV show called, Scream Queens.

So in just over a year, we went from this….

http://deadline.com/2013/09/abc-family-preps-horror-drama-jamie-lee-curtis-attached-to-star-steve-miner-to-helm-589579/

To this…

http://deadline.com/2014/12/emma-roberts-jamie-lee-curtis-cast-scream-queens-series-ryan-murphy-fox-1201315464/

Yep, I lost her to Ryan Murphy of American Horror Story and Glee fame. He’s definitely more powerful than little old me. He is absolutely the Goliath to my David. What can you do? Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is TV. TV moves fast. A show that was supposedly “fast tracked” but had been sitting on the shelf for a year seems like it wasn’t happening anyway. But au contraire. The Final Girls was not sitting on the shelf at all. There were many behind the scenes machinations going on, just not publicly. We were still very much alive at ABC Family (and still are actually, at least as of the time of this posting.) So how could this happen?

Well, if you’re looking for specifics, I’m sorry. You won’t get them here. No gossip. No inside scoop. I still work in this business. I respect all parties. I’m not stupid. This is a public forum. And sometimes (well, most of the time) public forums are not the place to air specifics or grievances. But I will say this…

I can not blame Jamie.

There were so many pieces to this puzzle, it would take far too much bandwidth to download it all, but just know, I can’t blame her. After this happened, she called me and we had a very open and honest conversation about how this all came to be. And you know what? I understood her. If there’s one thing I want people to take away from this it’s that Jamie is not a villain here. She’s still very much a class act. Yes, there were a lot of circumstances that led to this that I wasn’t a fan of, but I can’t blame her. I still love and respect Jamie, and can’t wait to see her back in horror where she belongs (even if it isn’t on my show.)

And yes, we WILL work together again in the future. I’ll make sure of it.

But look, not blaming Jamie still doesn’t diminish the fact that this was NOT an easy situation for me… to say the least. This was my horror heaven situation. To take it back to the beginning, I met Jamie through a friend of mine Steve Miner (a horror idol of mine, not to mention my other executive producer on the show) very early on in the process. She said that for so many years she had shied away from her horror roots, but after a magical experience at a horror convention, she realized that horror was what she’d be remembered for after all. Soon after, she read my pilot for The Final Girls and told me that this was the perfect thing that spurred her to “return to horror in the right way.” It was a pivotal moment for me. A validation of years of hard work in the horror biz, told to me by the goddess of horror herself.

Soon after that, Jamie, Steve, and I pitched the project all around town, driving around in the same car, spending every second together, in 48 of the best hours of this horror nerd’s life. There were so many anecdotes. I’d regret if I didn’t at least give you a little peek down memory lane. It was so much fun. I think it’s cathartic for me to look back.

I remember this little tidbit. Jamie lives relatively close to me, so every morning I’d drive to her house and hang a bit before the driver came to pick us up for the pitches (yes, we were driven by Jamie’s driver, how cool, right??) I’ll still never forget sitting in her kitchen the first day when she sat down and showed me a book of baby penguins. She told me that these cute and fuzzy penguins were exactly like the Final Girls of our show, pure and innocent… BEFORE their lives were torn apart by the murdering madmen that turned them into something else. It was awesome. She was so into it. So into the project. It was such a surreal moment that totally spoke to me, and I remember even bringing it up in one of the pitches.

I’ll never forget when I got to meet her husband Chris Guest. An absolute IDOL of mine. I even dressed up as Nigel Tufnel for Halloween that year and texted Jamie a picture of it. She said that she thought it was funny, but that he wouldn’t find it funny at all. It was such a bizarre and meta moment that I still have a hard time believing it.

Here’s the picture…

IMG_9239

I remember our crazy pitch at HBO and Cinemax where I pitched to 9 (or was it 10?) people across the world’s largest conference table. Plus, I had to freakin’ follow Amy Poehler, who was pitching a different show right before me.

This was right after the HBO pitch, and right before MTV… I’m such a giddy fool.

IMG_8149

I remember having some time to kill between pitches so we went shopping for Chris, or we stopped at coffee shops where I watched countless people come talk to Jamie, or we’d drive around to weird locations and take Instagram photos.

This was Steve and I looking like badasses, sitting in one of the clothing stores while Jamie was shopping for Chris (she took the pic.)

IMG_8142

All in all, it was just so much fun, I can’t even begin to tell you every tidbit. Just know, for me, it was a week I’ll never forget. The aforementioned horror nerd’s dream. But finally, the part I’ll never forget the MOST, was driving home exhausted from that first day of pitches, hearing that we already got our first offer.

Alas, we set it up at ABC Family. And we were off and running.

But as we all know… this business is full of surprise potholes. It’s no secret there was a massive regime change at ABC Family, which to no one’s fault, just kept adding delays to the project. There was this… There was that… Blah, blah, blah. You know how it goes.

And after all this, it happened. We lost Jamie. Ryan Murphy is a smart guy. He knew her value, and he got what he wanted. But I only ask one thing of Mr. Murphy and his fellow producers of Scream Queens…

Please don’t claim that it was your original idea to bring Jamie back to the horror fold. Don’t claim credit for her horror resurrection. Just know that she was already cuddled up in her horror resurrection quite warmly with us when you pulled her away. No ill will. Business is business. I guess all this little fledging wants is a little bit of credit in helping Jamie decide to come back to the horror fold after saying for countless years that she wouldn’t.

Now, I said earlier there was bad news AND good news. The good news is, as I mentioned earlier, The Final Girls is still alive (again, as of this posting.) Everyone seems in very good spirits about it, and ready to rock. Time will ultimately tell, but however it turns out, it’s been one hell of a ride already. As for other good news, I just worked with Ivan Reitman’s company Montecito on a project. I’m pitching two separate new TV shows within the next month. My graphic novel is FINALLY coming out in print. And (gasp) lastly, but not least, I may be directing my first feature by year’s end. But shh, that one’s a secret so pretend like I didn’t say anything.

Thanks for bearing with me on this long-winded discussion. But so many people have been asking me about it, I figured it was finally time to open up about it.

Be good to each other folks. And I promise I’ll update sooner next time. Maybe.

 


RUN LIKE HELL IS OFFICIALLY RELEASED!

RLHCov1

IT’S OUT.

For reals.

For really reals.

I know what you’re thinking, no… this is just a mirage. I’ve read all the stories… (to refresh your memory, here are a few easy links.)

The Long and Torrid History of Run Like Hell – Part 1
The Long and Torrid History of Run Like Hell – Part 2
The Long and Torrid History of Run Like Hell – Part 3
The Long and Torrid History of Run Like Hell – Part 4

No, this journey can’t actually have an ending, can it? Run Like Hell couldn’t possibly be physically printed and released… could it? …COULD IT???

Yes.

It can. And it is.

RUN LIKE HELL IS OUT TO THE WORLD BABY!

Buy it!
Read it!
Review it!

Help spread the word!!!!

Here is the OFFICIAL RUN LIKE HELL PAGE.

You can go to your local comic book store, various online retailers, or you can even buy it right here on this very site! Here’s a wonderful little link for you to do just that.

PURCHASE RUN LIKE HELL HERE.

Phew… Yep, that’s one hell of an exhale.

Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

*THUD*

(Jeff has passed out from exhaustion)

 


10/31/14 – 2014 OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #31 – Trick ‘r Treat.

Trick 'r Treat

In years past, I’ve always picked one of my all time scary favorites for the Halloween selection. In 2010, I picked Martyrs (the most disturbing movie ever made.) In 2011, I picked John Carpenter’s Halloween (um, duh.) In 2012, I picked Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (still one of the best hooks ever.) In 2013, I picked Rosemary’s Baby (more haunting with every view.) And now in 2014, I am picking something a little different. I’m venturing less into the purely scary universe, and a bit more into the horrifically comedic territory. What’s funny is that of all those movies I just mentioned, Trick ‘r Treat is probably the most “Halloween-y” of all of them. I will be honest and say right up front, no, it doesn’t share the same on par status as those other films. But to me, Trick ‘r Treat is by far the most entertaining, flat out Halloween nostalgic movie out there. If you’re a real fan of the holiday, you will absolutely love this movie. Everything you’ve ever enjoyed or remembered about Halloween, especially if you grew up in a small town, is in this film. But what makes Trick ‘r Treat different from most horror flicks that showcase this holiday, is that this movie isn’t setting out to disturb, or truly frighten, it’s mainly here to have fun. That’s the key word – FUN. Exactly how Halloween felt as a kid, Trick ‘r Treat is flat out playful and fun. That playfulness is apparent even in its structure, which is completely open. It tells multiple stories much like a horror anthology, but instead of multiple short films one after another, rather they all intersect and play out in pieces throughout the film. Think of it as a horror version of Pulp Fiction. I’d really like to not ruin anything if you haven’t seen it, so I’m not going to explain any of the stories. That’s for you to discover. But essentially they include their own versions of urban legends, known traditions, serial killers, and mythical beasts. Each one is unique, interesting, and has a killer twist. Plus, you get a little evil burlap sack boy named Sam. Man, I love him. Many of you may remember that this film was delayed for years with no explanation from the studio (rumor was it was so original that they just simply didn’t know what to do with it.) And that was a real shame. But after all these years, it really doesn’t matter, because Trick ‘r Treat has since achieved cult-like status, and thankfully, Trick ‘r Treat 2 is on its way soon. Very pumped for that. Hey, if you love this holiday as much as I do, do yourself a favor and watch a movie that has just as much reverence for all things Halloween. Turn off the lights, light a pumpkin, and just have a ball with it. But whatever you do… don’t blow out that candle until its over. Bwahaha.

Happy Halloween fellow freaks. Thanks for following my picks this year. It’s been a great 2014.


10/30/14 – 2014 OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #30 – The Canal.

The Canal

If you’ve been paying any attention to the festival rounds or the independent horror circles, you’ve definitely heard of today’s pick, hailing from Ireland. The Canal is one of those movies that has been the subject of a lot of horror talk in 2014. And I’m here to say that it’s for good reason. After you see this film, it sticks with you. You will think about it. You will want to talk about it. It just unnerves you in a way that most films try for and never attain. The Canal earns a lot of love from me because it doesn’t fall into the “jump scare” school of lazy horror. Its methodical slower pace earns all its scares, by building an atmosphere of dread, a chilling mystery, and truly slick directing and editing. There are glimmers of other films in here for sure – The Ring, The Grudge, Sinister, to name a few. But overall, The Canal is uniquely its own. It’s actually a simple premise. A husband discovers his wife is having an affair, and that same night he sees her with her lover, she is found dead. While the police suspects him as the killer, he begins to suspect a ghostly presence is to blame. In one of the more interesting twists in the story, the husband, who is a film archivist, comes in contact with an old reel from 1902 that shows a brutal killing in his same house. He’s convinced it’s the same man that killed his wife, and he sets himself on the mystery of proving a ghost is the murderer. Much like a movie I wrote about a few weeks ago, Lovely Molly, there is a nice ambiguity to much of the film where you truly question our main character’s decomposing psyche and mental state. Whenever the audience takes the same journey as the fragmented soul, it’s usually going to be a fun ride. Especially when you’re in the hands of a really great director. And that’s where a lot of the kudos should be given. The writer and director, Ivan Kavanagh, knows what he’s doing here. Even small nuances like the jump cuts during scenes help add to a feeling of uneasiness. It’s slick, stylish, and shot with masterful eye for detail. And let me just tell you, the slower pace builds to one of the most disturbing climaxes I’ve seen in a while. There are a few scenes in the end that will stick with you like glue, long after the credits. Trust me, if you’re looking for something smart and scary, skip the cheaper jump scare stuff, and check out The Canal. You won’t be sorry.


10/29/14 – 2014 OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #29 – Saw.

Saw

Yep, Saw. Deal with it. In honor of its 10th anniversary today, and thus it being rereleased in theaters, I had to put Saw on this list. I know a lot of people can’t stand this movie because of its uber-violence. Hell, it even helped usher in a legion of copycat “torture porn” films, which mostly all sucked. But to dismiss Saw is a complete mistake. There’s a reason why Saw spawned so many sequels. There’s a reason why every single Saw movie made a shitload of money each Halloween. There’s a reason why Saw stuck in our collective brains when so many other horror films came and went. Saw is a clever, unique, and twisted little movie. This was James Wan’s debut as a director, a horror genius I’ve already talked at length about because of The Conjuring, Dead Silence, and Insidious. Here with Saw, he comes out of the gate with a film that packs a serious punch, has a ridiculously intriguing hook, and some fantastic twists (not to mention a jaw-dropping ending). I had tickets to the premiere of this at Sundance back in January of 2004. What’s that you say? Sundance? Yep, shocker, ladies and gentleman, but Saw was a Sundance movie. You forget that before all the studio love, this was a small indie horror flick made on a tight budget. As most of you know, the fantastic hook of this movie is that the serial killer here doesn’t outwardly kill anyone, but rather forces them to take place in sadistic games that gives them a chance to survive if they solve the riddle correctly. Aptly named Jigsaw, this killer creates these punishing games with a moral sensibility. Each victim has made a bad life choice, and he’s trying to teach them a lesson. This is wonderfully exposed in the character of Amanda, the sole survivor of one of his “games”, and *SPOILER ALERT*, someone who plays a much larger role in the upcoming sequels. It has a fantastic opening of two men waking up in a room, chained to the pipes, and a dead body between them. Why are they there? Who is each man? Who is the dead man in the middle? Oh man, such a great way to open a film. And of course there’s the lines, “He doesn’t want us to saw through our chains. He wants us to saw through our legs.” Those lines in the ad campaign sent this film through the roof. Yes, it’s brutal. Yes, it’s hardcore. But yes, it’s also clever and worthy of all the love. On its 10th anniversary, if you haven’t seen it, finally bend, and give it a view. Just know you might be watching certain parts through your fingers.


10/28/14 – 2014 OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #28 – The House on Sorority Row.

House on sorority row

Here’s another gem from the 80’s. Sorry, I just can’t help myself; I effing love this decade. And once again, The House on Sorority Row is pitch-perfect 80’s. Like most of these wonderful slashers, this flick once again features a bevy of lovely ladies being stalked by a mysterious killer, taking them out in interesting ways. It even takes place in a sorority house, much like Black Christmas (which I wrote about just a few weeks ago.) The setup is a tried and true horror trope – a prank gone wrong, and death ensues. Here, the girls of Theta Pi accidentally kill their mean and surly house mother during a botched prank, but then instead of contacting the police, they try to hide her body instead. Yeah, that never works. And of course their house throws a big party that same night. Yep, wouldn’t you know it, during the party her body seems to disappear and now someone armed with the house mother’s trademark pointed cane is revenge killing them all. But who is it? Is the house mother still alive? Is it someone who saw them kill her? Is it a partygoer? Is it one of their own sorority? It’s just good times. And man, just when you thought you’d seen enough pointed cane deaths, you’ll get more. Even a good eyeball one. Gotta love the pointed cane, it’s actually a clever trademark weapon. But it doesn’t stop there, there’s quite a bit of interesting kill scenes in this movie. But what made this movie stand out a bit to me is the finale. The final 15 minutes or so, where you figure out what’s going on, and why, is so twisted, and just so… 80’s! I don’t want to ruin anything for you, but there are some hallucinogenic drugs involved, and well, let’s just say after this, you won’t look at a Jack in the Box the same way ever again. I just loved it so much. Anyway, The House of Sorority Row doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but dammit if it isn’t a fine, top notch, entertaining wheel, crafted completely from delightfully wonderful 80’s materials. Dig in to this one.


10/27/14 – 2014 OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #27 – Alien3.

Alien3

I’m here to give this long underrated sci-fi horror sequel some love. Before Seven, The Game, Fight Club, or his latest hit Gone Girl, David Fincher’s debut feature was this dark and dirty beast of a flick. Like much of his work, this movie is desolate, dreary, and did I say dark? Well it is. Super dark. Now, it’s a bit difficult for me to talk in any way negative about any Alien films because they are my all time favorite film franchise, but I will at least mention some of this movie’s criticism. I understand the anger at the reboot of this story. *minor spoiler from a movie that came out in 1992* But to start a film off with killing everyone that fought so heroically to survive at the end of Aliens is a difficult pill to swallow. Hicks is dead. Newt is dead. Bishop is in pieces. Only Ripley survived. And well, even she’s… changed. I understand it’s a bit slower with more drama. And the ending left some people… upset. But screw all that. Here’s the deal. That’s what’s wonderful about this franchise. Each and every film has a different feel, vibe, tone, and scope. They are truly their directors’ films. And here, David Fincher wanted to make a dark prison movie with a runaway beast at the core of it. That didn’t sit well with a lot of people, especially after the more action-focused Aliens. But if you can accept the slower, more methodical tone of this prison drama/horror hybrid, it can be a really pleasure to experience. The fact that Ripley crash landed on a prison plant, only inhabited by men, and criminals at that, is just as foreboding as the beast that lurking in the shadows. I found this overall setting of dread insanely cool and interesting. Many things about this film are unique in the Alien universe. Even the alien itself, since it burst out of a dog this time instead of a human, looks and maneuvers differently. It’s stealthier, sleeker, and faster. Some of the most creative camerawork of this film comes when you’re supposedly looking from the POV of the Alien itself during a chase, and it runs along the sides of the walls and even on the ceiling. It’s clever and really cool. The acting is amazing, I mean, Sigourney… she’s perfect. But special kudos should also go to the two Charles — Charles Dance (from Game of Thrones), and Charles S. Dutton. They, along with all the other prisoners are perfect in this film. Look, most of you have already seen this movie and have your own opinion about it, but I’m here to say give it another chance. Look at it through the David Fincher lens and you’ll see it in a whole new light.


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