Headlining today's Horror Highlights is an exclusive Q&A with The VelociPaster writer/director Brendan Steere, who gives us some insights into his dino-centric horror comedy ahead of its release on August 13th. We also have a teaser trailer and festival screening details for the short film Cole & Colette (written by Harker Jones), as well as information on the world premiere screening of Hilton Ariel Ruiz's Zombie with a Shotgun.

Q&A with THE VELOCIPASTOR Writer/Director Brendan Steere: "Brendan Steere, the genius behind cult sensation The Velocipastor, gives us the 411 on the upcoming DVD release of the film!

Was it the success of other, funny-but-frightening genre movies of late responsible for Velocipastor?

Well, the idea started back in 2011, so back then I was more inspired by things like Grindhouse and Machete. Afterwards, it kind of evolved into just a pastiche/love letter to all the “so bad it’s good” movies that I loved watching with my parents when growing up. I wanted it to be an MST3K movie where the riffing was done for the guys. In all honesty, I had intended VP to skew more horror than it ended up being - it’s much more akin to something like a Black Dynamite than a Slither.

Seems this subgenre of horror flick has almost replaced the slightly anachronistic spoof film – wouldn’t you say?

Yeah, I’d say so. I think audiences have more of a taste for a sort of post-modern take on someone straight-up making fun of it. You see things like that pop up even in the Marvel and Disney movies - Moana spends a craaaazy amount of screentime deconstructing and poking fun at the ‘Disney princess’ archetype and storyline while still recognizably being a Disney Princess movie. I think that horror has started slanting towards the same approach more and more.

What’s the secret to one of these films working as well as they do, though?

It sounds lame and a little bit of a dodge, but I genuinely think the answer is to “come from a place of love and celebration, not cynicism”. I feel like a lot of the other films in our subcategory of kind of sending up bad movies come from a place of “Yeah, but fuck this stupid movie, right??” and I wanted to come from a place of “No no no, I genuinely love things like Miami Connection”. I think the audience can sense that kind of good will, and it gives them more permission to celebrate and engage with the fun.

There’s some terrifically funny moments. What’s the secret to writing a good gag?

Making yourself or your co-writer laugh while writing. I’m someone that reads dialogue aloud to myself a lot when I’m writing, so I can hear how it sounds when a real human says it as opposed to it just being words on a page, and that helps a lot. Sometimes I would just pitch an idea to a girlfriend or buddy, and judge their reaction. Also being open to it changing on set if it’s not working: some things can tick all those criteria off, but still fall totally flat in the scene or moment, and you have to be willing to hear suggestions to make it work or to just totally cutting it. There were a few jokes in the script of VP that I just cut out on set because they just broke the flow of the scene or came across meaner/dumber/more crass/less funny than I had intended when I wrote them.

What about scares? What’s the secret to a good scare?

Misdirection of the audience’s eye, primarily through framing and sound design. There are very few scares in VelociPastor, but the basic storytelling tenants that make a good joke also make a good scare - it’s the juxtaposition of the unexpected. In comedy it’s in an absurd way, in horror it’s in a threatening one. I think that’s why horror and comedy go so well together in movies - they have a lot of the same technical building blocks. 

Why a dino-priest? (okay, why not…)

Because the world needed more joy. And also because it was genuinely an idea that just wouldn’t leave my head. I had made a pretty dark horror movie as my first feature (called Animosity), and when I was thinking of a follow-up, my imagination just wouldn’t leave VelociPastor alone. I had all these other dark, disturbing horror scripts that were quite good, but I kept getting distracted by VP. Eventually I just followed my instincts and went with it.

Can you tell us about the DVD? What can we expect it on extras-wise?

There’s a commentary and a gag reel in there for sure. The commentary is very whispery on my end, because I recorded it when it was like 3am in Berlin, but it’s got a ton of great gems and behind the scenes snippets. Beyond that, I know there’s a few filmed Q&A sessions in there too, but I think we can all agree that the greatest gift is to be able to watch the film again and again with friends and family. I don’t even know how many times I’ve seen it by now, but somehow it still manages to make me consistently laugh, and I consider that a victory.

The Velocipastor hits DVD and Digital August 13 on such platforms as iTunes, Comcast, Spectrum, Dish, Vudu, Amazon, Fandango and Sling. A Blu-ray release will follow September 17."

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Cole & Colette Trailer & Poster: “Cole & Colette,” a short thriller that won the 2018 Get It Made Short-Form Screenplay Competition, has been accepted into two more film festivals: Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Fest in Portland, Oregon, and the Threadbare Mitten Film Festival in Lansing, Michigan.

Produced and directed by Matthew J. Boda and his Absurd Hero Productions and written by Harker Jones, the film concerns a woman (Becca Buckalew) who is home alone at night and fears someone trying to break in.

HorrorFuel.com said of the film, “Writer Harker Jones along with director Matt Boda actually manage to bring something new to that beloved horror biz trope: the stranger in the house. … ‘Cole & Colette’ packs a lot of suspense in its brief runtime … not to mention some great twists and turns.”

Jones, who just sold his second thriller short, was surprised and delighted to win the Get It Made contest, especially because “Cole & Colette” was the first short he’d written. And instead of winning cash or a few meetings around Hollywood, the script went directly into production.

“It’s far more valuable to have a completed product than to take a couple of meetings with people who may never get back to you, let alone produce your project,” Jones says. “And I learned so much about production and pre- and post-production. Being involved in the entire process was an education. That’s equal to the prize of having a produced project.”

“Cole & Colette” will screen in Oregon Scream Week on Friday, August 9, at the 5th Avenue Cinema in Portland, and in the Threadbare Mitten Film Fest on Saturday, September 7, at the Robin Theatre in Lansing.

The short previously screened at the Filmstrip International Film Festival in Bucharest and the We Make Movies International Film Festival in Hollywood.

To learn more about the Get It Made contest, go to: https://www.absurdheroproductions.com/get-it-made

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Zombie with a Shotgun World Premiere: "Don't miss the launch of the #SupportIndieFilm Initiative Screening Series and Networking!

Join us on September 10th from 7:30-9:30 at the Federal Bar Noho for indie film networking and then come out to the Laemmle Noho for the WORLD Theatrical Release of the Indie Horror Film, Zombie With a Shotgun

This is a ONE NIGHT ONLY EVENT!

This film does have blood, guts and nudity and should be considered RATED R.

Get up close and personal with the director and some of the cast at a LIMITED Dinner w/the Director, Hilton Ariel Ruiz, Producer Diana Prince and Cast members, Kyle D Hester and Jeremy Fultz, TBA, Grab a VIP Pass and get first seating and some LIMITED EDITION SWAG, or just come out for the movie and Q and A

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/zombie-with-a-shotgun-world-premiere-tickets-65282739431"

Derek Anderson
About the Author - Derek Anderson

Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.