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Exclusive: P.J. Starks Talks About His Upcoming Projects

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In addition to creating the successful Volumes of Blood series, P.J. Starks is currently serving as producer on no fewer than five separate upcoming horror films. He took some time out of his extremely busy schedule to grant us the following interview about his upcoming projects.

DC: Can you give us a brief overview of the films you’re producing?

PJS: Butcher the Bakers is a horror comedy that recently premiered about a Death that has been fired from his job and goes rogue so a couple of idiot humans are hired to track him down and stop him. It’s like The Frighteners meets Bill and Ted, very funny and very cool. Tyler and his crew did a tremendous job. Richard Stringham’s Close Calls is a telephonic terror throwback that will keep audiences glued to the screen. It’s got some psychological thriller mixed together with old school horror, I think fans of the genre will really get a kick out of this film.

Deimosimine is a demonic head trip and recently had some setbacks, but production is underway again and all the reshoot are near completion. It’s from Chad Armstrong who also runs the distribution company LC Films. Keep your eyes peeled for this one later on in the year.

The final two films are both anthologies, the first being 10/31 a Halloween themed mix of monsters, killers and mayhem from Rocky Gray. All the screen shots from dallies look fantastic and I’ve seen a few edited scenes. I think this one will definitely become a holiday favorite and hopefully fans will want to rewatch it every time October rolls around.

Lastly is the creature feature Cryptids that is still in production. For anyone who’s a fan of 80’s monster movies are gonna love this film. It’s an all practical effects thrill ride. It touches on the more obscure monster legends and brings some of them to life like never before, I’m a monster movie junkie so I’m really excited about this on and the monsters look badass.

DC: So in addition to directing, you’re now serving as producer on no fewer than five upcoming feature length horror films. That’s pretty impressive. How did this come about?

PJS: After the Volumes of Blood franchise took off, especially after Horror Stories, it opened up so many doors and opportunities to network and reach out to other filmmakers. I worked with both Rocky Gray and Justin M. Seaman on VOBHS, so my transition over to producing 10/31 and Cryptids was a pretty fluid one. They’re both extremely talented and I was excited to come onto the projects and help in both a creative capacity and a marketing capacity.

PR and Marketing is something that I’ve come to excel at and, in some cases, is also the most time consuming and difficult process of working on indie film. Most filmmakers have no clue where to start when it comes to promoting their projects, that’s where I come into the picture. Especially with Butcher the Bakers, Tyler has such a strong and hilarious film on his hands. It deserved a wider audience. By happenstance I was contacted by the lead, Ryan M. Ziegler, and after talking with him and Tyler we share a similar mind set and passion for the genre. Helping these guys out was a no brainer.

Now both VOBHS and BTB are screening back to back at the MayDay Film Fest on May 20th. I love collaboration and meeting these filmmakers, helping with their projects and talking about what’s next has been really exciting.

DC: The films you’re working on are so varied and unique when compared to one another, was this a conscience decision?

PJS: In some ways yes and in others no. Obviously I ask a lot of questions and want to learn all I can about the project to make sure that I won’t be producing a porno, however, it’s not just about the film itself, but the people behind the camera. All the filmmakers I’ve been working with thus far are so in love with the genre and have such a thirst for making something cool and unique.

I’m a lifelong fan of horror and most all of the sub-genres that come with it. I’ve found that fans make the best filmmakers. They make the films that truly coalesce with audiences. So those are the filmmakers I want to work with. These are the auteurs I want to help. It’s not about money or ego, it’s about the fervor for creativity. If I can connect with the filmmaker, then connecting with their vision is an easy process. I’ve managed to build some real friendships along the path of producing and I’ll continue to do so as long as the opportunities present themselves.

DC: How do you find the process of producing compared to directing?

PJS: Producing is a lot like directing, there’s just more overall responsibility. Where a director must allow his cast to be creative, producers equally have to do this for the directors. Everyone has a different style, but I realize that I’m not the only inventive entity on the production and I have to allow others to be creative. There are limits of course, you can’t let everyone get their way all of the time. Producing is a lot of planning, compromise and in some cases saying “no”. Producing is having to shoulder a lot of the stress to keep the production on track, even if that means booting or replacing cast or crew from the film. It’s the director’s job to have a vision based on the script and bring that to fruition, it’s my job to make sure the entire production gets to that finish line.

I’ve said a million times that producing anthologies are logistical nightmares, but it’s also the most rewarding. There’s so many things that have to happen from the first day of pre-production to the last day of post and keeping that boat afloat is what we do.

DC: Can you say anything about Volumes of Blood III?

PJS: I could say it’s going to be bigger and better, but that’s what you’re expecting me to say. I’m really excited about the third and final film. To clarify that, it’s going to be the final film in the current story lines of Volumes of Blood. However, we’ve created a universe of characters that will live beyond the trilogy. We have some spin offs planned that will continue certain characters and killers.

And who knows? If VOB3 does well then maybe there’ll be a fourth. My good friend and fellow producer Eric Huskisson and I couldn’t be more stoked about the involvement of Andy Palmer and Warner Davis at Petri Entertainment. To have the creative team behind The Funhouse Massacre on board is just really exciting. We’ve been talking with them a lot about the film and we have some kickass ideas on how to make the next film really stand out. The story I conceived is in line with the other films, but still holds its own so we aren’t rehashing anything. Fans can expect even more gore, a big body count, a story about werewolves and The Face will go on his biggest killing spree yet. No pun intended, but I’m dying to start production on this bad boy.

About P.J.’s upcoming projects:

Butcher the Bakers:
A grim reaper terrorizes a small town, killing and collecting souls for a purpose only he knows. Sam and Martin, slackers who work at the local bakery, are hired by a mysterious stranger to stop him from killing again. This leads them on a ridiculous journey full of blood, guts, monsters, and cookies!

Hometown Hero Productions is an independent film studio hell-bent on making delightfully weird films your mother will hate to love. Founded in 2015 by a naive group of small town fools, it has turned into a productive team of passionate and creative people. Butcher is third film from writer/director Tyler Amm (River City Panic, Grace’s Room) and executive produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood franchise.

Production company website

Close Calls
A new kind of psychedelic terror will soon be unleashed onto screens in Spring 2017…

“Close Calls” features a troubled teen girl (Morgan) who is forced to stay home and tend to her crazy grandma after being grounded by her father. But when daddy leaves for a dinner date, Morgan’s paranoia heightens as she starts receiving several disturbing phone calls while dealing with grandma. Between all the phone calls, the drugs she has taken, and surprise visits from some unexpected guests, Morgan now thinks everyone around her is out to kill her. And to make matters worse … she keeps forgetting to give grandma her meds.

This upcoming feature-length horror film from S & Drive Pictures was produced, written and directed by S & Drive’s founder, Richard Stringham, who started the independent production company in Sherwood, Arkansas. Vowing to make a retro horror piece that tipped its hat to heroes like Bava, Argento, Hooper, Craven, Kubrick, and Lynch … Stringham assembled a local team of Arkansans to force “Close Calls” into existence. He also joined forces with Volumes of Blood creator P.J. Starks, who signed on as Associate Producer for the project.

The film, which is currently in post-production and slated for an early 2017 release, will feature an original synth-driven score by Grammy Award winner Rocky Gray (formerly of Evanescence; soundtrack for The Barn), and special makeup effects by visual FX artist, Les Galusha (Contracted).

Utilizing synthwave music, practical effects, and sets constructed on a soundstage, Stringham has promised that “Close Calls” will not just be a retro throwback film, but a film that offers a refreshing take on old-fashioned visual storytelling.

You can read more about “Close Calls” on IMDb and follow the film and S & Drive Pictures through Facebook. S & Drive Pictures is presently putting together a trailer for the picture, but the official teaser is available to watch now on YouTube and Vimeo.

10/31/16
A Halloween treat bag of all the things that go bump in the night. From masked killers to scarecrows, witches and tricksters. There’s a scare for everyone in this anthology of horror and the macabre from the creators of The Barn and Volumes of Blood.

Red Letter Entertainment, Inc. brings you the directorial debut from Rocky Gray (composer of The Barn, Killing Floor 2), two time Grammy winning musician and former drummer for Evanescence. A new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S/ and Creepshow brings an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is Executive Produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood franchise.

Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/103116-1711483412405648/?fref=ts

You can also follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/10_31_16_movie

Cryptids
An anthology film about a paranormal radio show accepts calls from individuals who have encountered creatures from the unknown.

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Deimosimine

Cindy is a twenty-something girl who has had a rough life. She believes that her wealthy mother killed her father and got away with it. After years of running from this horrible past, she turned finally to heroin to cope with her painful memories.

In reality truly caring for her daughter but being emotionally unable to reach out to her child as she should, Cindy’s mother uses her obscene wealth to find a way to get her daughter the treatment she feels she needs; a radical, experimental treatment: DEIMOSIMINE; a drug that causes an addict to experience powerfully negative emotional reactions to the drugs they crave. Theoretically, the patient will not want to go back to those dark places that the reaction of the DEIMOSIMINE creates in their minds, and thus stop using.

An unforeseen factor, however, causes Cindy to have a different reaction to the drug than is anticipated, and the results are a bloody and horrific journey into misunderstood madness.

Believing she’s begun the road to recovery, Cindy will find herself enveloped in the subconscious horror that the drug creates in her psyche; a world of demons, evil, blood, and death. Despite her efforts and those of they who support her, she will find herself a slave to the drug, and the demented terrors of the world that it shows to her. The tragedy of a soul brought to such heinous destruction of the undeserving will be showcased as her perception brings bloody vengeance on the perceived threats to herself and society.

Official website

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