Kevin Lindenmuth recently appeared on the B Movie talk show, Front Row
Kevin Lindenmuth recently appeared on the B Movie talk show, FRONT ROW, hosted by Richard Scrivani. Previous guests include John Zacherly, Debbie Rochon, For more info on the show go to www.scrabo.com.
THE MAKING OF MONSTERMAN Article by Tim Ritter
It was another cruel summer. June 2000, to be exact. I was considering taking a little break from making movies when out of the blue I got a call from filmmaker Kevin J. Lindenmuth. He was putting together a follow-up trilogy to his Alien Agenda series and wanted to know if I'd be interested in contributing a new thirty-minute segment to the project. Naturally, the idea was appealing because we had such a fun time making the Ransom short back in 1996. (Not to mention, it generated a decent chunk of change.) I was also itching to jump into the world of digital moviemaking, seeing that it was the current rage.
Kevin immediately sent me the wraparound story for the Alien Conspiracy movie that would be the last entry in the trilogy, called Beyond The Lost World. Basically, the Grays and the Morphs are still struggling for world control, and they are still using humans in their attempts to locate time-travel devices that can send them back into the past to change the outcome of the future. Each segment would have to deal with this theme, and I read director John (The Evilmaker- excellent movie!) Bowker's piece (written by Stephen C. Seward and Kevin) and really enjoyed the direction the project was taking.
All through the month of July, I struggled to come up with an idea that would fit into Kevin's concept. I was living in Kentucky and had access to a lot of wilderness locations and decided to write the story around those: a waterfall, some steep cliffs (I'd been having visions of a body tumbling from those cliffs for quite some time), a cave, uncharted woods, and an old cabin. My first idea was to do something in the documentary-style of Cops, following two DEA Agents in their search for a marijuana patch in the woods. (Kentucky is one of the biggest U.S. suppliers of wacky tobacco.) Inevitably, they would get caught up in the alien battle and the hunt for the time travel device.
This story didn't seem to work for me, no matter how I wrote it. By early August, I was overdosing on some new heavy metal music, including the latest from Alice Cooper and Vanize (Udo Dirkschneider's talented brother). I found myself recalling some recent controversy that Marilyn Manson had gotten into, and coupled with the music, I began to see visions...a white pasty-faced metal singer allegedly causing a teenager to take her own life...a distraught father who kills the rock star for revenge...police chasing him through the woods...and the evil metal maniac coming back to haunt the father!
I didn't know how this fit in with The Alien Conspiracy, but I immediately began to write the story down. Soon I was adding some other ideas, including some "booby trap" obstacles that the main character would have to overcome.
Kevin loved the story and made a few adjustments, adding a couple of key scenes (including a great bit where the main character gets stuck in a "time loop"). We also took my new backstory and integrated it as flashbacks so it wouldn't interfere with the timeframe that was set up for the alien mythology. Since Kevin was using some of the same actors in the new trilogy that had previously appeared in The Alien Agenda, I asked him if I could use Joel (Creep) Wynkoop in the lead role for the new segment. Kevin loved the idea and so did I, for it had been nearly three years since Joel and I had collaborated on a movie with a conventional narrative.
Eventually we decided to make the lead character Cope Ransom again, making this a direct follow-up to our first short. Joel had played the Escape From New York-inspired antihero so well the first time around that we figured audiences would enjoy it again. The idea that kept things cohesive was that the aliens put memory implants into Ransom's mind to get him to perform various dangerous assignments for them. Last time he was burdened by the memory of a deceased wife, this time it was a daughter that killed herself.
By September 1, I had the script ready to shoot. It went like this: fugitive Cope Ransom is walking through a small Kentucky town (inspired by the novel First Blood, which is set in Madison, Kentucky, just minutes away from where we shot the opening scenes of this movie!) and chased by police. Through flashbacks, we learn why he is on the run: he murdered the dark metal superstar known as Monsterman and is on the run.
A hybrid alien catches up with Ransom while he's hiding and makes him an offer: retrieve a time travel device for them and he can be reunited with his daughter. Ransom reluctantly agrees to this and must follow a map to a secret cave, where the device is hidden. Of course, that journey is not an easy one. In addition to the posse of police officers that Ransom must outrun, there are several alien booby traps he must conquer, including one that involves the return of Monsterman, whom he thought he had killed...
September 2000 saw us lining up all the props and formulating the four-day shooting schedule. I scouted locations as Joel locked in his plane ticket. I found the pasty white mask that was the essence of Monsterman in a well-known discount chain. It was hideously perfect, kind of a cross between Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and KISS. Jamie Nichols created the intense mock-up CD covers for Monsterman's wicked band called Cryptoworm and my wife and I made a phony web site for the band that plays into the story (I'm a big fan of those metal websites!). Todd Pontsler assisted in organizing the shoot and donated some props for our use.
We cast most of the movie with family and friends, being that we were on a very limited budget. Ron Bonk, the director of Strawberry Estates, agreed to shoot a cameo as a news reporter and Richard Proctor played the dreaded Monsterman.
I quickly familiarized myself with the digital video market and rented the Sony TRV-320 to capture the madness. September and the first part of October flew by as we did camera tests, secured final props from Brimstone Media Productions, LLC, and prepped the project.
Filming was on us as unexpectedly as a 747 plummeting from the sky. Batteries were charged. Still film was loaded. Tapes were tested. A seemingly endless array of extension cords, lights, video equipment, and props (including skulls, skeletons, rayguns, alien creatures, alien devices, costumes, worms, and special makeup effects) were loaded into boxes for the trip into the deep wilderness. We would have to hand-carry all this stuff into our remote locations.
On Friday, October 13, 2000, Joel and I were reunited to film Monsterman: Protector Of Terror. The adrenaline was surging as we prepared for the shoot by trying to get a few hours of sleep (and watching a few choice horror classics!).
At 5.A.M. the next day, we were on the road and filming in the small town of Irvine, Kentucky. All went smooth and the locals were glad to see us. A few passerbys wondered why the longhaired vagrant dude with the dirty trenchcoat was being videotaped instead of being rousted out of town and our handmade stunt dummy (visible in the back seat of a car) was noted to resemble somebody who had tried too much local moonshine!
Up into the mountains we went, where propsman Gordon Ritter had dressed a Blazer up as a police vehicle. We spent the next four hours capturing an opening scene where cops recognize Ransom and give him chase. We ran into thick woods right off a country road for a seemingly endless succession of times.
I felt like I had fallen into a Blair Witch nightmare that first day! Most of the script was action, and all I remember doing is running after Joel with the camera. We made our own trails, blazing through uncharted woods, getting scraped up by the brambles. Down into the valley we went, sliding over mossy rocks into a stream, throwing the (moonshine) dummy off the top of a driprock as fast as we could. This was a one-take shot!
The running continued as the posse of actors chased Joel uphill and we found our legs straining and muscles cramping as we hauled back up the endless slopes! After a quick break for cooked out hot dogs, we were at it again. Ransom sneaked up on an alien creature with his trusty ray gun. My head was spinning because everything was being filmed out of order and it was hard to keep the continuity of the story intact.
More running and jumping and shooting culminated in the last scene of the day, where Ransom falls into a big pit and must do hand-to-hand combat with tough cop Richard Proctor. Another classic Wynkoop fight scene was lensed as we strained to get good coverage amidst the hectic schedule. Time for another foot chase up the mountain. This time Joel collapsed about halfway up and we were forced to take a brief intermission to catch our breath. I was determined to keep the tape rolling!
Insert shots of Richard jumping off the edge of a cliff was next, and I tried the stunt before him to make sure it was safe. Launching myself off the cleft that dropped a good seven feet straight down, I crumpled to the ground and rolled to safety, although I jarred about every bone in my body! Richard was a trouper and lasted two takes for this, narrowly avoiding a rocky section to our left the final time.
After a fast dinner, we headed for the cave as the sun went down. Quickly lighting the area (we had to put about twenty 100-foot extension cords together to reach an outlet), we prepared to shoot Ransom's search for the time travel device. All of the sudden we were bombarded by some very real bats and huge white spiders (resembling mini face-huggers from Alien) that infested the dark domain inside! This slowed us down considerably and we had to use extreme caution for obvious reasons. I did a lot of the interior cave scenes using the excellent night vision function that digital cameras have. That way we didn't disturb the cave's inhabitants too much.
After a couple of hours of sleep, we found ourselves up and at it again and we rocketed off into another seventeen-hour day, running up and down into the valley once more. I have vivid recollections of just sprinting through the woods while trying to hold the camera steady! We then shot the main dialogue scene inside an old cabin that was in the process of being restored. We ran into major lighting problems in there, for there was no way to run extension cords that far in the boonies and the gas lanterns we had brought to illuminate the interior interfered with the audio. Improvising and adapting, we waited for the sun to peek through the wall slats of the structure and I set the camera's iris accordingly. We had to shoot fast so the light remained the same during the scene.
Moving as fast as we could, we then shot the "time loop" scene that involved Ransom's perilous trek up the harshest landscape you could imagine. Think of what Daniel Boone might have seen when he was exploring forests for the first time. In the script, every time Ransom makes it to the top he finds himself at the bottom again and this took hours to film. We could barely make it up the steep incline and I found it nearly impossible to line shots up with a tripod...there was no footing to be found. We all took turns falling down, barely keeping the camera equipment from breaking in the process.
Another fast lunch and we were making the twenty-minute sprint into the valley, shooting scenes of Ransom chasing a Gray alien (yes, more RUNNING!) and the posse searching for the felon. We began to lose light and headed back up to the cave to hopefully finish the final confrontation between Ransom and Monsterman.
We lit it as best as we could and just slammed through fight scenes, night chases, and a sequence where Joel is tied to tree and doused with gasoline. The biggest risk in all the fight scenes was when the actors would have to fall on the ground, reacting to a punch. There was no way to see what was underneath the leaves in the limited light, and both Joel and Richard couldn't avoid getting bruised up pretty badly on the seemingly invisible tree roots and jagged rocks.
By midnight we had officially wrapped all the deep woods scenes and loaded up the vehicles with all of our stuff. We found ourselves sailing back into civilization under the cloak of darkness, feeling delirious and full of energy. As exhausted as we were, the feeling that we were creating something special drove us to keep going. We were an unstoppable storm, coming down like thunder in the night.
It was October 16 and we pressed on to get the rest of the shots we needed. Hitting the big city, we just showed up at various locations and began shooting guerrilla-style. That's the advantage with the new smaller digital video cameras: you are able to blend in at virtually any location, looking like a tourist with a camcorder (as long as you're not doing something too outrageous!). Joel was mistaken for someone attending a Star Trek convention at a hotel, but everything ran smoothly. We completed all of our insert shots and gore effects without incident.
The next day, we grabbed a few pickup shots and Joel jumped on a plane back to Florida. We had gotten everything we needed in just four hectic days. Over the next few weeks, I compiled the footage so Kevin would have an easier time editing it. Using digital video hadn't been that much different than the traditional video formats in the field, but I noted that the picture appeared more solid than formats like Hi-8 and there were no video dropouts detectable. Also, digital effects that were programmed into the camera were added to some of the raw footage and provided really cool (yet simplistic) enhancements for our story. I utilized the still picture and slow-motion functions for a few key scenes and even found another effect that was suitable for a "force field ripple" that Ransom encounters in the woods. All in all, I was really pleased with the way the format could be used in postproduction.
Searching the Internet for bands that might capture the sound of Monsterman's Cryptoworm, I came across the Swedish gothic-metal outfit Beseech and negotiated with them to utilize some tunes off of their latest release. This will undoubtedly add a new dimension to the story of Monsterman. Coincidentally, I might add that some of Beseech's music was already being featured in a separate episode of Alien Conspiracy and I wasn't even aware of that! Looks like they were destined to participate in this epic project from the very beginning. For the regular soundtrack score, I again tapped the talented resources of R.M. (Wicked Games) Hoopes and his Elevation II Studios outfit. He gave us permission to use cuts off of his latest CD release called The Adventure Project. We chose some sprawling, epic Jerry Goldsmith-style pieces that Hoopes had brilliantly composed. They seem to fit the project perfectly.
Monsterman was meant to be strictly fun entertainment, a brief escape from everyday reality. It's pretty light fare (sporting no big controversies or outrageous gore scenes) and at its heart is pure sci-fi/action (with a dose of heavy metal). I hope viewers have as much fun watching it as we did in making it. Look for a release sometime in 2001 from Brimstone Media Productions, LLC.
Brimstone has secured music for the new projects
Biography- Bob Mares has been writing and recording music since 1985. His passion and talent for writing original music has been evident since his early days fronting several 80's alternative rock bands. He has written and released several pop CD's including, the critically acclaimed "Generous Life." His love of Horror and Sci-fi movies started at an early age and naturally found it's way into his music. His passion now lies in creating the emotional backdrop for films of all genres, and to incorporate the loves of both film & music into his original music production company. GLACIERMUSIC.COM is paving the way to make great original scores & soundtracks more accessible to independent film makers through it's Internet medium. Following in the footsteps of film composers such as Danny Elfman and Stewart Copeland, Bob Mares is one of the new breed of composers challenging the status quo and bringing a new vision to the ever-changing world of film music. Contact: Glaciermusic@cs.com
Beseech biography 2000
Swedish band Beseech was founded in November of 1992 in their hometown Borås. Since then they have been deeply involved in the underground-scene. In 1994 they released one song the on Shiver records (Belgium) compilation CD "Sometimes Death Is Better". That compilation established recognition for Beseech in many countries, especially in the underground.
In 1995 Beseech released their third demo which led to a record deal with We Bite/Corrosion Records. Later that year they entered StudioMega to record "...from A Bleeding Heart" together with the producer Christian Silver of the band Sundown.
Unfortunately We Bite/Corrosion Records were unable to release the album of economical reasons. Therefore their publisher (Anders Mörén / Misty Music) helped them to terminate the deal, and started to search for another label. A short while later they received a few good offers and decided to sign with Metal Blade Records.
In April of 1998 the debut Beseech album "...from a bleeding heart" was released on Metal Blade worldwide. "To us it felt like fresh air to have the album released, but at the same time we also started to get different ideas on how Beseech was meant to be sound. In the end we realized that good music was difficult to create on with comprimise" says guitarist/vocalist Klas Bohlin. Therefore Klas, Robert Spånglund (lead gutiar), Mikael Andersson (keyboard) and Jörgen Sjöberg (vocals) decided to continue without the other members. A short while later Jonas Strömberg (drums) and Daniel Elofsson (bass) joined the band. With this new line-up Beseech became more like a hard working team with the same visions. After this change Beseech and Metal Blade decided to go separate ways.
"In our new songs we have started to use a lot of electronic sound effects to create a more gothic and electronic atmosphere. If you compare the new music with our first album "...from a bleeding heart" you will still be able to feel the same kind of melodies and romantic feelings in the music, but in a different and new way, says Robert. After spending some time negoating with labels, Beseech signed a worldwide deal with Pavement Music and have just finished the recordings for their next album titled "Black emotions" that will be released in May. Current line-up:
Jörgen Sjöberg - Male vocals
Jonas Strömberg - Drums
Klas Bohlin - Guitar/Vocals
Robert Spånglund - Leadguitar/Programming
Daniel Elofsson - Bass
Mikael Andersson - Keyboard
Lotta Höglin - Female vocals
DOOM does eight page spread on Brimstone Media Productions, LLC
12/2000: The German horror magazine DOOM recently did an eight page spread on Brimstone Media Productions, LLC
Lindenmuth to teach "How to make a movie for under $5,000" SEMINAR
Kevin Lindenmuth will be teaching seminars on "How to make a movie for under $5,000" at the SEMIINAR CENTER in NYC on Monday, Jan 29 6:30-9:00pm and Wed. March 21st 6:30-9:00pm. Go to www.seminarcenter.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BRIMSTONE ANNOUNCES PRODUCTION OF FIVE NEW GENRE MOVIES for 2001.
Brimstone has begun production on five new features, to be completed by the end of 2001. The first three are THE ALIEN CONSPIRACY movies, each 85 minutes in length. These three movies provide the conclusion to the story begun in the ALIEN AGENDA series.
Again, Brimstone Media Productions, LLC will be collaborating with many independent filmmakers from across the country.
EVIL ORIGIN: THE ALIEN CONSPIRACY with segments directed by Tim Thomson (NO RESISTANCE, CREATUREALM: DEMONS WAKE), Les Sekely (VAMPIRE TIME TRAVELLERS)and Kevin Lindenmuth, written by David Rains, Kevin Lindenmuth, Les Sekely.
TIME ENOUGH: THE ALIEN CONSPIRACY with segments directed by Ron Ford (WITCHCRAFT XI), Alexandre Michaud (URBAN FLESH) and Kevin Lindenmuth. Written by Ron Ford, Alexandre Michaud, Kevin Lindenmuth.
BEYOND THE LOST WORLD: THE ALIEN CONSPIRACY with segments by John Bowker, Tim Ritter and Kevin Lindenmuth. Written by Kevin Lindenmuth, John Bowker, Stephen C. Seward
Special effects by Tim Thomson & Brett Piper Music by Hollis C. Higgins
BLOOD OF THE WEREWOLF, an anthology of werewolf tales with segments directed by Bruce G. Hallenbeck, Brett Piper and Kevin Lindenmuth
TWISTED TALES 2, recently completed, will premiere at the Cinema Wasteland Convention in Ohio September 15th. Collaborators include Mick McCleery (TRACK 16), Santo Marotta and Kevin Lindenmuth.
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