Indie Spotlight

2013/07/07 18:26:34 +00:00 | Tamika Jones

We return with another edition of the Indie Spotlight, highlighting recent independent horror news sent our way. Today's feature includes news on an art exhibit dedicated to Guillermo del Toro, release details on supernatural thrillers The Cloth and The Church, and an interview with Standards of Living's Aaron Mento to discuss his horror feature shot entirely on an iPad 2:

New Trailer for Theatre of the Deranged II: "This is the second installment from Executive Producers James Cullen Bressack (My Pure Joy, Hate Crime, To Jennifer) and Jarret Cohen at Psykik Junky Pictures not only feature's Bressack's film "UNMIMELY DEMISE", and Dustin Mills (Puppet Monster Massacre, Zombie A-hole) Segment is entitled "PLATE FACE" also Shane Ryan (Amateur Porn Star Killer) segment entitled "TAG" Shawn Burkett (The Sleeping Soul) with his segment entitled "PANTY RAID" and Lastly Christopher Leto (The House Wife Slasher) with his segment called "MY AUNT IS COMING TO TOWN"   The entire anthology is hosted by Eric Hollerbach as his character Damien Shadows PI."

"Damien Shadows introduces you to 5 blood curdling horror films, all of which are actually enchanted and or cursed. Damien shows you how to ward off the spirits after each terrifying tale in this anthology. From demented sisters, to panty raids gone wrong, to killer mimes and bad periods, this film will take you on one wild ride!"


DVD Release Details for The Cloth: "Uncork’d Entertainment and VIVA Pictures proudly announce the multi-platform release of the much anticipated sci-fi thriller The Cloth starring Danny Trejo (Machete, Con Air) and Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight). Recently acquired at the Berlin International Film Festival, The Cloth was written and directed by Justin Price and executive produced by Ha-G Hardamon. The Cloth will be available July 2nd for rental and digital, and available for sale on DVD on August 6th.

Based on Justin Price's book of the same name, The Cloth is a taut and tense tale of intrigue, mystery and celestial influences surrounding the Catholic Church's darkly secret organization specifically formed to combat the alarming rise of demonic possessions across the country. The story follows a godless young man who is recruited in order to gird a new generation with the unique and necessary tools to eradicate the terrifying rise of evil. The Cloth co-stars Rachele Brooke Smith (Burlesque), Steven Brand (The Scorpion King) and Robert Miano (Donnie Brasco)."

For more information on The Cloth, please visit:


First Look at Artwork from Marada the She Wolf: "Titan Comics is pleased to announce the launch of Marada The-She Wolf by Chris Claremont (The Uncanny X-Men; Excalibur; Captain Britain; Fantastic Four; Gen 13, Sovereign 7) and John Bolton (Man-Bat; Shame: Pursuit; Books of Magic).

Descended of Caesar, and preceded by her legendary reputation as a warrior, Marada The-She Wolf follows Marada’s adventures across the Roman Empire. Together with her magical accomplice, Princess Arianrhod, they battle evil demons, wizards, witches and unearthly terror!

Collected together for the first time ever in one deluxe hardcover and featuring beautiful restored artwork by John Bolton and never-before-seen sketches and artwork! This is the ultimate vision of the ultimate fighting fantasy female!"

To learn more about Marada the She Wolf, visit:


First Details on The Church: "Editor Ed Marx has signed on to edit the Dom Frank written, directed and produced supernatural thriller “THE CHURCH”. The movie stars horror icon Bill Moseley(Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 & 3, The Devil’s Rejects), Lisa Wilcox(A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and 5), Ashley C. Williams(The Human Centipede), Keith Stallworth(Step Up 3D), Clint Howard(Halloween, Cinderella Man) and former WWE star Vito Lograsso.

“THE CHURCH” revolves around a church that is being targeted as the location for a new high-rise complex by a local developer played by rising star Matthew Nadu(Nobody Gets Out Alive). The pastor rebuffs the developer initially but finally gives in thanks to some clever and conniving tactics by his money hungry wife. Their expected windfall from the sale of the church is brought to a halt after supernatural members of the church object to the sale and ALL. HELL. BREAKS. LOOSE.

Director Dom Frank is currently seeking distribution for a late 2013 - early 2014 theatrical release."

For more information, visit:


Details and Photos from Guillermo Del Toro Inspired Art Exhibit: "Guillermo Del Toro is a true master of horror but his influence and scope go far beyond that genre into the realms of fantasy and sci-fi. His films combine original concepts with gorgeous art direction and always an emphasis on storytelling. It’s the passion he pours into each project that sets his films apart in the eyes of his many fans, and the quality of his work helps illustrate that he is just as big a fan of this stuff as we are. Guillermo Del Toro has continuously brought our imaginations to dark and wondrous places, so it is an honor to present this art exhibit as a tribute to his legacy: Into the Labyrinth and Mind of Guillermo Del Toro.

Curated by Chogrin (of Cartoon Network’s Regular Show), this exhibit is a true labor of love and focuses on three films that, in our opinion, encompass the totality of Del Toro’s vision as both a writer and director: Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, and Pan’s Labyrinth. Featuring only Latino / Spanish artists, this show is in response to the support which Guillermo has always given to artists and is a nod to his proud Mexican heritage. It is a thank you to Del Toro for the years of inspiration he has provided for all of us and with his new film, Pacific Rim, opening this month as well as the Criterion Collection BluRay release of The Devil’s Backbone, it looks like we have many years of inspiration to look forward to in the future.

The opening reception will take place on Saturday, July 6th from 8pm to Midnight. Admission is free as always and will feature the art of Chogrin, Robot Soda, German Orozco, Dienzo, Hellosobre, Kasey Tararuj, Pakoto, Jorsh Pena, Carlos Lerma, Glen Brogan, Walrus Felts, and Anita Mejia."

To learn more about this exhibit, or to purchase artwork, please visit:


Details on Horror Novel Kill Ratio: "A plague that kills its victims and resurrects them as flesh-eating ghouls has decimated the American population, forcing what's left of the government to take shelter underground in the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center in Virginia.

On the West Coast, CIA black ops agent Chad Halverson and a ragtag band of survivors decide to head to Washington, DC, to find out if anyone is still in charge, even though Halverson knows that someone in the upper echelons of the government is trying to drone him. Halverson suspects the assassin is a high-level CIA employee. Whoever he is, he has tried to drone Halverson before and will try again. Of that much Halverson is sure.

Meanwhile, in the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, President Cole must decide whether to start nuking his own country in order to save it from the virus that has a hundred percent kill ratio. Whether America survives or not, it will never be the same."

For more information on Kill Ratio, visit:


Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol: "Issue #1 of our brand new creator owned series Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol hits comic stores next Wednesday, July 10. Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol is a five-part time-travelling World War II pulp action extravaganza by Stuart Jennett!

When the Allies and Nazis develop time-diving technology that could see the course of the Second World War derailed by creatures from the Cretaceous period, only the Sarge and his band of misfit soldiers can save the future – by saving history!

Dinosaurs! Giant crocodiles! Time travel! Nazis! Albert Einstein with a machinegun! All that barely scratches the surface of this astounding, fully-painted pulp spectacular! Buckle up, ladies, it’s going to be a bumpy, cigar-chewin’ thrill-ride!"

To learn more or to purchase this comic, go to:


Premiere Details for Ave Maria: "The new Skip Shea short horror film “Ave Maria,” the sequel to his 2011 award-winning cult horror hit short film “Microcinema,” had its world premiere screening at Nick’s, 124 Milbury St., in Worcester on Tuesday, July 2, at 8 p.m. Spinning off from the story of the last famous castrato Alessandro Moreschi, who recorded the song of the same name in 1902, Shea takes horror fans into the haunted woods of New England to witness the twisted reenactment of an old Catholic tradition.

Written and directed by Shea and produced by Harvest Tide, “Ave Maria” stars Aurora Grabill and David Graziano, with Izzy Lee, Diana Porter and Jami Tennille and director of photography Nolan Yee. Shot on location in the Blackstone Valley, “Ave Maria” will also be featured in an upcoming documentary “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Wicked Bird Media, a first-ever exploration into the connection between New England and contemporary horror culture.

The “Ave Maria” premiere included a screening of “Microcinema,” which won Best Short Award at the Jersey Gore Film Festival, a Rondo Hatton honorable mention and scored on several best-of lists as a cult favorite with horror reviewers and fans alike. “Microcinema” is a revenge film that breaks tired formulas and Shea’s follow-up film “Ave Maria” takes revenge to another level. This film is adult in content."


Phantasmagoria Poster and Production Details: "Do you believe in ghosts?

The company M International has launched the production of a new horror feature film, "Phantasmagoria". 3 shocking tales of horror that will get you beyond fear. From the mind of the filmmaker Domiziano Cristopharo (House of Flesh Mannequins) and Mickael Abbate (Festival Director of "Samain du cinéma fantastique"), Phantasmagoria is a Franco-Italian co production. Tiziano Martella (Legio XIII and also Make-Up Artist from Zombie Massacre) also joined the team. The movie specifically aims at bringing revival to "hair-raising" movie genre by allowing the largest possible number of spectators to rediscover fear and other extreme feelings on screen (and beyond).

The film which is expected in theaters in both France and Italy for 2014."

To learn more about Phantasmagoria, go to:


Oshkosh Horror Film Festival Call for Submissions: "This year marks our fourth year at the Oshkosh Horror Film Festival, in Oshkosh, WI. What started as a twelve hour event focusing on Wisconsin made horror, has now evolved into a two-day fest showcasing independent horror from all over the world.

Submissions are open (until August 31st), DVD and online screeners are accepted, and any length [of film] is welcome, as are films from any place of origin. There truly aren't any requirements when it comes to submissions. There are NO submission fees, as well.

The objective of the OHFF is simple: Showcase independent horror. Both feature length and short films will be shown. The OHFF is a clear cut event to do nothing more than celebrate independent horror."

For more information, visit:


Q&A with Standards of Living Director Aaron Mento

by Jonathan James

Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and your previous filmmaking experience?

Aaron Mento: I’m an MFA Film Production graduate from Loyola Marymount University, which was a great college, because they pretty much let me write and direct whatever I wanted (horror, horror, horror). LMU has a strong Jesuit community, so I was initially worried that making horror films there would be a problem. To give you an idea, my first LMU short film was called FLUSH and it was about a guy who shit himself to death. That was a fun premiere! I’ll bet LMU never needed to pass out barf bags before. But most of the faculty was really cool and really supportive.

After LMU, I made the festival rounds with my horror thesis film ABSENT, and wrote and co-created the horror web-series TV FACE.

Why were you interested in filming a full feature on the iPad? Was this more of an experiment or did you feel that the iPad was the best way to put together this particular project?

Aaron Mento: I wrote some feature length horror screenplays, but they were (and still are) too big budget to pull off on my own. I didn’t have a lot of money, I really wanted to make a feature film, and I didn’t want to wait for funding. One day I’m looking at my iPad 2 and I’m like “Why can’t I make a movie on this?” The idea was totally nuts, which immediately appealed to me. The iPad 2 has a wide-angle aesthetic (a wide ass lens) and I wrote a new screenplay inspired by the tablet’s weird-looking, noisy, 720P image. The screenplay was Standards of Living.

Can you tell our readers about your horror influences and what inspired you to create Standards of Living?

Aaron Mento: I’m probably most influenced by the do-it-yourself nightmarish genius of Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm. I’ve probably watched that movie a thousand times (and I hope he makes a part V). I’m also a big fan of David Lynch and John Landis, and Standards of Living is probably best described as a mixture of those two.

I was inspired to create Standards of Living by The Twilight Zone, where many episodes took place in just a few locations. I would always refer back to these episodes when writing Standards of Living, as I only had two locations available for shooting.

Story-wise, I was always interested in the idea of a magician who could do real magic. A guy who makes things disappear, but they disappear for real. Where do these objects go? Finding out the answer was the backbone of Standards of Living.

What challenges did you encounter when using the iPad versus a standard video camera?

Aaron Mento: Well, the iPad 2 wasn’t created with filmmaking in mind. The camera has the dreaded auto-exposure, which means that the image gets brighter and darker based on the amount of light in the room. So I would follow an actor moving between two rooms in one continuous shot, and the image would suddenly spazz out if the lighting was different. I had to fight this a lot. Also, the microphone isn’t very good, so I brought on a production sound crew to capture sound with a boom mic and lavaliers. In post, I discovered that the iPad 2 also records at different frame rates based on the amount of light (!) and this sometimes made synching sound a bit of a challenge. Additionally, because the lens is so wide, I would have to get right up into an actor’s grill to get a good close up.

But it was all worth it, because I love the strangeness of seeing iPad 2 quality footage with good quality sound. Basically, this movie shouldn’t even exist, and that’s my proudest achievement.

Have you been happy with the reaction that Standards of Living has received?

Aaron Mento: So far, it’s been received warmly, which is a big surprise. I thought people would scoff at sitting through an iPad movie, but most of the feedback has been very positive. My biggest hope is that people will like the story and forget that they’re watching a movie shot on an iPad.

The movie is available for free online. Why did you decide to release it online over festival screenings and selling it on DVD?

Aaron Mento: Great question. The simple answer is that I wanted Standards of Living to officially be the FIRST feature film shot on an iPad, and I was worried about waiting and waiting to get accepted into festivals. Somebody else could have heard about my finished movie, rushed their own iPad movie into production, and then released their half-assed movie online first. I didn’t want to sell my movie on DVD, because asking for payment would limit the amount of people who could see Standards of Living. People can watch it online for free, and if they like it, then they can pay for my next movie. I thought that sounded fair.


We've included the full movie below. To learn more about Standards of Living, visit:

  • Tamika Jones
    About the Author - Tamika Jones

    Tamika hails from North Beach, Maryland, a tiny town inches from the Chesapeake Bay.She knew she wanted to be an actor after reciting a soliloquy by Sojourner Truth in front of her entire fifth grade class. Since then, she's appeared in over 20 film and television projects. In addition to acting, Tamika is the Indie Spotlight manager for Daily Dead, where she brings readers news on independent horror projects every weekend.

    The first horror film Tamika watched was Child's Play. Being eight years old at the time, she remembers being so scared when Chucky came to life that she projectile vomited. It's tough for her to choose only one movie as her favorite horror film, so she picked two: Nosferatu and The Stepford Wives (1975).