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Purtee, Ron (The Social Media Massacre)

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The making of genre films (or even shorts) has long been something every fan dreamt of. For years it was something many filmmakers aspired to, but the technology was out of reach due to its exorbitant expense and inherent unavailability. Now, with high definition video cameras available at Best Buy and an open-door policy at online sites like YouTube, that dream isn’t so far off. Case in point: Ron Purtee.

A longtime contributor to YouTube, he not so long ago made up his mind to go out and make a film which he planned to put up for people to enjoy. That film, Becoming Undead, got a lot of traffic and proved he had something of value to say to an obviously eager audience. Time went on and more projects were considered. Recently, Ron released The Social Media Massacre and even more people have taken notice. Part of a proposed trilogy of short films, Massacre tells the story of a young man who lives isolated and lonely and his search for someone he can share his life – and love – with.

Dread Central spoke with Ron and we talked a bit about him, his filmmaking, and his new film, The Social Media Massacre.

Dread Central: Tell me a little about yourself and Becoming Undead Films.

Ron Purtee: I was born and raised in Wisconsin and from a very early age I was into films. Every aspect of them has really enthralled me. Becoming Undead Films is Tom Jensen and myself. After we originally shot BECOMING UNDEAD and it became as popular as it did, we decided to pay homage to the short that really made us realize “Hey, people like our crap.”

DC: Were you a product of film school or was it just a matter of you picking up a camera and going for it?

RP: I wanted to go to film school, but for one reason or another it just never happened. Then I saw a lot of indie filmmakers who were making the films they wanted to and never went to film school and it really cemented home the “learn by doing” mantra which is what we do on every shoot.

DC: You are active on YouTube… how much did that contribute to the making of your films?

RP: It helped to get the word out about them, but I don’t think that YouTube really had much to do with any of the films until THE SOCIAL MEDIA MASSACRE. At that point something just clicked in my head and made me realize that I could use this for something more than making fun of whatever heiress is in the news. Although I still get the urge to do that some times.

DC: What are I Walked With The Dead and Becoming Undead ?

RP: I WALKED WITH THE DEAD was supposed to be a documentary on zombies in pop culture. [laughs]. We shot it with every intention of asking folks questions at a zombie walk, but we forgot there would be a LOT of alcohol involved that night. So I took the footage that Tom shot that night and just made a fun little nod to the silent film era with the undead. I guess we were just lucky to get those people “attacking” the construction equipment. BECOMING UNDEAD was the first short that we shot in my Dad’s garage. I had originally written the script to have a voice over, like what’s going on in the character’s head as he’s turning into a zombie, but due to some problems on set, the original narrative just didn’t hold up. So I put music under it and it became what it is. There are things I’d love to go back and change but overall I’m really happy with it.

Ron Purtee Talks The Social Media Massacre

DC: What was the film’s budget?

RP: The budget for THE SOCIAL MEDIA MASSACRE was basically whatever it cost me to get to Charlie’s apartment. At this point if I had an actual budget for a film I’d flip out and try to do a crane shot for a shot as simple as someone knocking on a door.

DC: What was the shooting schedule?

RP: We shot this in an afternoon. I remember the joke during shooting was “We gotta get done for THE WALKING DEAD!” I try to only shoot what we need and especially on this film I was operating the camera so when I saw what I wanted, that was that. It was onto the next set up. I like to shoot fast and begin editing right away. I hate letting footage just sit.

DC: Tell me about your cast and casting process

RP: I’ve known Charlie for a long time now. I used to be involved in the music scene in the area and that’s where I met him. He’s still singing in a band and when we shot BECOMING UNDEAD I just knew that he had to play the lead because we both have this huge love of zombies it just really made sense. The more I hung out with him, I realized that he was perfect for THE SOCIAL MEDIA MASSACRE. So there wasn’t really a casting process as much as it was me sending him a text message and him agreeing to do it, but I don’t think I could have made this film with anyone else playing Sam. Sasha is actually Charlie’s real life girlfriend. We had talked to someone else initially to play the role of Angie but things came up and we didn’t really have anyone until the week before shooting. Sasha has been a real cheerleader for the film which I really appreciate.

DC: What was it about “social media” that drew your interest?

RP: It kind of stems back to a couple conversations I had with my friend Brian about how everyone seems to put everything out in the open now. No one has any kind of a private thought because everything is on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Relationships end on people’s Facebook wall and that really drew me in when I was actually writing the script. I’m not saying that I’m better than anyone else in that regard because I have had my share of drama in my life thanks to Facebook and what not. It just seems that no one is really all that immune to it and that really was always in the back of my head.

DC: Did you ever worry that the inclusion of the word “massacre” might tip off your audience to your film’s theme (and conclusion)?

RP: I knew after I came up with the name that it gave away what the film was ultimately about, so I tried to rely on the journey to the “massacre”. I think a lot of people see the word “massacre” and they think that they are in for a blood bath. I remember seeing TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and thinking that I should wear a poncho because I’m going to be doused in buckets of blood and it just wasn’t the case. It was more of a mind fuck than anything, and that’s kind of what I tried to do with this film.

DC: What are your release plans for THE SOCIAL MEDIA MASSACRE?

RP: Right now we are going to try to get it into some festivals, but mainly push it on the internet. I think it’s one of those films that really has a home online because of the subject matter.

DC: What’s next for you and Becoming Undead Films?

RP: I’m currently working on the script for the follow up short to THE SOCIAL MEDIA MASSACRE. There were some talks about adapting it as a feature but I think in that case too much of the character’s mystique would be given away and “Sam” would lose his luster. We are making a trilogy of films for the character of Sam lovingly called “The Bloody Knuckle Trilogy” and the final part of that should be out by the end of the year. Then we compile everything for a DVD in time for Christmas. That’s what’s on the docket at least. Life sometimes has a nasty habit of getting involved in my plans.

For more hit up the official Becoming Undead website.

Carnell

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Alien: Covenant’s Carmen Ejogo Joins True Detective Season 3

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“From the dusty mesa her looming shadow grows…”

The first season of HBO’s “True Detective” was one of the best seasons ever put on a TV screen. Hands down. The second season was another story altogether. While not a complete waste of time (Colin Farrell owed) the season was basically merely ‘meh’.

But what about “True Detective” season 3?

Well, a few months back it was announced that the third season had been greenlit by HBO, with creator Nic Pizzolatto returning to pen the series and director Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room) taking the helm of the episodes.

Today we have news that Carmen Ejogo – who you may recognize Ejogo from such recent fright flicks as It Comes at Night, Alien: Covenant, and The Purge: Anarchy – will be joining the previously announced Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for Season 3.

Ejogo will play the female lead, Amelia Reardon, who THR describes as “an Arkansas schoolteacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980.”

Nice Pizzolatto will serve as showrunner and direct alongside Jeremy Saulnier. Executive producers include Pizzolatto, Saulnier, Scott Stephens and season one stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as well as original director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Richard Brown are also credited as exec producers.

Synopsis:

A macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.

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Danielle Harris Tried to Get Jamie Lloyd into New Halloween Movie

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One of the top films all of us are looking forward to the most here at Dread Central is Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel/reboot thing to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

The new Halloween (2018) film is written by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green and is all set to be directed by Green this year. Recently we learned that original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis was going to be returning to the new film.

Not only that, but Curtis’ classic character Laurie Strode would have a daughter… played by Judy Greer. But what about Danielle Harris?

After all, Harris was the star of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Curse of Michael Myers. Let alone, she had a starring role in both Rob Zombie’s remake and it’s sequel. So how about the new film?

Turns out Harris tried to get her character Jamie Llyod (aka the daughter of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode) from Halloween 4 and 5 into the new film… but she was turned down by Blumhouse and the new creative team. That sucks.

Harris was pretty bummed about the whole deal and took to Facebook recently to clear the air. You can check out quotes from her video, along with the video itself, below.

After that make sure to hit us up and let us know how much you would have liked to see Harris return to Halloween in the comments below or on social media!

“What I am bummed about is… [Laurie] has a daughter,” Harris says. “I was okay with it when she had a son… but they’re saying it’s the last one and… she has a daughter. And it’s not Jamie. It’s just kind of a bummer, I guess. I think somebody had said, it wouldn’t have hurt the movie to have Jamie reunited with [Laurie]. But that didn’t happen.”

“We did put in a call, thought it’d be kinda cool even just to have a little flashback…” She continues. “They were not interested. So. I tried.”

Blumhouse’s Halloween hits theaters October 19, 2018.

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Posted by Danielle Harris on Monday, November 6, 2017

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Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review

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Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

Directed by Charles Martin Smith


I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

Now let’s get to it.

First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

Rockstar lighting for days.

Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

  • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5
3.5

Summary

Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

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User Rating 3.14 (7 votes)
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