Let’s finally discuss what happened with my show and 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…

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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.

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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.

 

10/25/13 – OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #25 – House (1986)

House

You’ve heard me say it before, but I’ll say it a million times. In my humble opinion, there was no better time for inventive, crazy horror flicks than the 80’s. Yes, I grew up during that time, so I may be a bit biased, but if you compare what they were doing then to now, they win. Hands down. They were just doing crazy things that no would dare do today. And I’m not talking about independent cinema, I’m talking studio flicks! Another example in that bizarre, insane and flat out fun-as-hell category is the absolutely fantastic movie, House. This is yet another little gem directed by Steve Miner, my current partner on my show (SO excited he’s directing my pilot!) House is about an author who moves back into his aunt’s old (haunted) house in order to finish his novel about his past Vietnam experiences, only to have the house basically start to do battle with him. With House there are so many badass things to love, I’ll just start the list. First, you need to know that it’s a zany horror comedy. House is more Evil Dead 2 than it is Evil Dead. You horror freaks will know what that means. Basically, most of the horror is played for laughs instead of dread. But saying that, there still are some undeniably great scare moments. And next, let’s talk the effects. How awesome are these PRACTICAL creature designs!? No CGI here. All handcrafted beasties, with even some Ray Harryhausen stop motion for good measure. You want a flying netherworld bat creature with a human skeleton head… that also knows how to deftly wield a shotgun? House has got it. Hahaha, oh man, I love this movie. It’s just so insane. Plus, in addition to the other crazy demon creatures, including an awesome 3rd act baddie I won’t ruin, you’ve also got some pesky pestering possessed tools, more bathroom cabinet mirror gags than any movie ever, and even has the original Billy Bass (you’ll know what I mean.) Plus, it’s a showcase of awesome 80’s actors from 80’s TV shows. You’ve got William Katt (Greatest American Hero), Richard Moll (Night Court), and even George Wendt (Cheers). Trust me. If you love horror comedies; if you love bizarre creature designs; if you love inventive originality; and mostly, if you love the 80’s; you will absolutely love this movie.

10/2/13 – 2013 OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #2 – Friday the 13th: Part 2

Friday13thpart2

Some of you may be surprised that I’ve never put a single Friday the 13th movie on these lists until now.  And now that I have, why did I skip right over the first entry, and go right with Part 2?  Well, let me put it into perspective.  The Friday the 13th series to me is like a world unto itself.  Each entry is so much different than the previous, always having a new twist or gimmick to set it apart.  Plus, with so many of the films out there, I feel like I could write a dissertation on this series alone.  It’s been such a large subject for me to tackle, that I’ve just stayed away from choosing any at all.  It’s kind of strange hallowed ground for me.  Not that they’re fantastic movies, mind you.  No, in fact, some of them are downright dreadful.  But regardless their quality, I ALWAYS enjoy them.  There’s a certain playfulness to the films, as strange as that may sound.  But now that I’ve decided to break my Friday the 13th “seal”, I might as well start with one of my favorites.  Part 2 is a downright fantastic sequel.  More counselors.  More victims.  More gore.  Even folks in wheelchairs aren’t safe here (although, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre started that one.)  Plus, this is the first film where JASON is the killer (spoiler alert, ha right.)  And it’s my favorite version of Jason too — Baghead Jason!  Nope, no hockey mask here.  That doesn’t come in until Part 3.  Lastly, I should note that it just happens to be directed by one of my idols, as well as my partner on my upcoming TV show, Steve Miner.  The guy knows how to do suspense right. Enjoy it.

My Big News – An Explanation & Initial Internet Roundup.

H4

So by now most of you have probably seen my big news.  I created, wrote, and sold a horror TV show called The Final Girls to ABC Family.  The phenomenal Jamie Lee Curtis is starring.  The incredible Steve Miner is directing.  And all three of us…  yes internet, all three of us, are executive producers on the project.

I sincerely apologize for teasing it for so long.  I’ve been DYING to announce this since we set it up at the end of May.  But until contracts were signed and everything was good to go, well, you know Hollywood.  It’s a good thing not announce anything until the time is right.  And finally, the time is right.

At some point in the future when I have some time (yeah, right!) I’ll relay the entire fun story of how this came to be.  Because that is truly an amazing story in itself.  How I ventured into TV in the first place.  How Steve came on board.  How Jamie came on board.  Driving around in a towncar with Jamie and Steve, pitching to 10 networks in 2 days.  A whirlwind of insanity, and a fanboy’s dream, all taking place at once.  But those are stories for another day.

For now, here’s a small sampling of how the internet reacted to the initial news.  I find it funny that some of the articles don’t even mention me, even though I created the entire thing.  Ha.  I’m especially looking at YOU, Fangoria!!!  I’ve been an obsessed reader since birth!  But I digress…  Anyway, enjoy.

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

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/jamie-lee-curtis-abc-family-show-the-final-girls_n_3944609.html

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/abc-family-jamie-lee-curtis-630869

http://io9.com/jamie-lee-curtis-is-building-a-tv-team-of-horror-movie-1342691323

http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/2013/09/jamie-lee-curtis-star-abc-family-horror-drama

http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/09/17/jamie-lee-curtis-steve-miner-abc-family-the-final-girls/

http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3254700/tv-jamie-lee-curtis-steve-miner-reunite-for-the-final-girls/

http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/70524/shocker-week-jamie-lee-curtis-heading-abc-family-new-horror-project

http://www.hitfix.com/news/jamie-lee-curtis-returning-to-horror-with-new-tv-series-the-final-girls

http://jezebel.com/scary-good-a-jamie-lee-curtis-helmed-horror-series-in-1338895360

http://screencrush.com/jamie-lee-curtis-final-girls-abc-family/

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/tvnews.php?id=109116

http://www.themarysue.com/final-girls-jamie-lee-curtis/

http://www.avclub.com/articles/jamie-lee-curtis-to-star-in-nonyogurtrelatedhorror,103063/

http://www.fangoria.com/new/jaime-lee-curtis-steve-miner-abc-family-final-girls-halloween/

Lastly, I will end with this… I could NOT be more excited to be working with ABC Family.  They are an absolutely amazing network, and anyone that has worked with them before will tell you that they are a perfect place to be.  Now, I know a lot of the early comments on these here interwebs have been focused on, “How can you do a horror TV show on ABC Family?”  Well, let me say this.  I never set out to do a super hardcore, gorefest in the first place.  I set out to do a fun, scarefest horror series that true horror fans (like myself) would love.  Dark, depressing, and twisted shows already exist.  The gorefests already exist.  The “push the envelope” shows already exist.  You know how I know?  I watch them all!!!  The Walking Dead.  American Horror Story.  The Following.  Bates Motel.  They’re all outstanding series’.  But the dark and twisted has already stamped their ground on TV.  It’s time for a FUN horror series.  The Final Girls is far more SCREAM than SAW.  It’s funny when it’s funny.  And it’s scary as hell when it’s scary.  Guys, I’m one of the biggest horror fanatics in the world.  I’ve been so since birth.  You’re going to have to trust me on this one.  We’ll do the genre right.

And yes, saying this… don’t think The Final Girls is going to be completely “soft” either.  The opening scene does involve a nailgun.  So, no worries.  We’ve got you covered.