Category Archives: Indie News

James Tucker and Kelsey Zukowski Terrify Us In “Within These Walls”

By Michael Goth

During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s three low budget horror films redefined the horror genre. The films were George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left (1972) and Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

Craven’s film was and remains to this day the most unsettling of the three, which is probably why it didn’t take in nearly as much at the box office as Hooper’s and Romero’s. It’s my guess that until MGM released Last House on video during the summer of 2000 that more people had probably heard about the film then had actually seen it. And that MGM release, like an 80’s release of the film that was banned as a “video nasty”, featured many of the film’s more graphic scenes edited down. It wasn’t until 2003 that MGM put out an uncut version of the film on DVD.

The Last House on the Left starts out rather comical and lightweight before an almost unbearable horror and sense of dread takes over. Even in the early scenes there is a certain intensity and feeling of doom just beneath the surface of the humor.

While recently watching the teaser trailer for a new film currently In production called Within These Walls, I was reminded of my very first time seeing Craven’s classic but unquestionably disturbing classic.

Within These Walls is a psychological horror film written by Kelsey Zukowski and James Tucker, with Tucker directing. The story is about a young woman (Zukowski), who has recently lost her mother. She decides to stay in the house that her mother had lived in. However, the house is home to more than just memories. There is a lurking evil possessing the house that will pray on all of the young woman’s weaknesses and will bring her to the edge of madness like Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

Kelsey Zukowski has stated to being an admirer of Wes Craven, which may account for why the scenes in the teaser trailer for Within These Walls feels so much like early Craven such as Last House and 1977’s The Hills Have Eyes. Also, director Tucker seems to have a documentary film like style which Craven also brought to his first two films.

Another trait that the team of Zukowski and Tucker share with Craven is the desire to take an audience on a psychological trip that will test their endurance. When Craven made The Last House on the Left there were cases of grown men crying while watching the film as it presented an intensity and realism in its portrayal of violence that no one had ever seen before.

In an era when many horror movies rely too much on CGI effects and bloodletting to get a reaction from an audience, Within These Walls represents a return to old style movie making when horror was a way to address cultural and psychological issues. James Tucker and Kelsey Zukowski are using horror today very much the way Wes Craven did in the 1970’s.

Then and Now: Jennifer Jason Leigh

Then and Now: An in depth look at the career of actress Jennifer Jason Leigh.

By Michael Goth

Jennifer Jason Leigh is the greatest actress of her generation. 31 years ago at the age of 20 the estranged daughter of actor Vic Morrow warmed herself into the hearts of moviegoers as the sympathetic Stacy Hamilton in the Amy Heckerling directed Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

Jennifer is known for picking roles that she finds interesting and will contribute to her growth as an actress, even if the film has little box office potential. Infact, the Ron Howard film Backdraft in 1991 is the only high grossing movie that Jennifer has ever been it. Even Fast Times was only a marginal hit that didn’t truly find its audience until it was run on cable and released on video.

Jennifer Leigh Morrow was born on February 5, 1962 in Hollywood, California to actor Vic Morrow and screenwriter Barbara Turner. She has an older sister, Carrie Morrow, and a half-sister, Mina Badie, from her mother’s marriage to television director Reza Badiyi. Jennifer is Jewish of Russian descent on her father’s side.

Jennifer’s parents were divorced when she was only two years old. Something that she never forgave her father for. Father and daughter were still not on speaking terms in July of 1982 when Vic Morrow was killed along with two young children during the filming of the John Landis segment of Twilight Zone-The Movie, when a helicopter crashed on the set. So that people would not associate her with Morrow, as a teenager Jennifer changed her professional middle name to Jason after actor Jason Robards, a family friend.

Jennifer studied under Lee Strasburg, the father of method acting, when she was 14 as well as attending Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Center in New York City. Guest starring roles on such shows as The Waltons and Baretta soon followed as well as a role in the 1981 slasher movie Eyes of a Stranger.
First time screenwriter and former Rolling Stone contributing writer Cameron Crowe went undercover as a high school senior to see how real teenagers acted and what issues they faced. The result was the bestselling novel Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which was bought by Hollywood before it was even published, by producer Art Linson (The Untouchables, Heat, Fight Club), who hired Crowe to write the screenplay and newcomer Amy Heckerling to direct.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High remains one of the most realistic high school movies ever produced. In the film Jennifer’s character, Stacy Hamilton, is continuously pressured into having sex by her best friend Linda, played by Phoebe Cates, and ends up pregnant and has to have an abortion. If the hysterical banter between Sean Penn as surfer dude Jeff Spicoli and Ray Walston as history teacher Mr. Hand is the comical highlights of the movie, then the heart of the film is Jennifer’s Stacy Hamilton. One misconception of teen pregnancy is that only bad girls get pregnant but Stacy is a good girl, though one who should listen less to Linda and more to her own heart.

Another highlight of Jennifer’s early work was the cult horror film The Hitcher. In The Hitcher Jennifer plays alongside C. Thomas Howell and Rutger Hauer. Her character is Nash, a young woman working in a roadside Texas diner who becomes involved in a deadly psychological mind game between Howell and Hauer. Nash is also victim of a terrible death compliment of the deliciously evil Hauer.

In 1990, Jennifer received great critical recognition for playing troubled prostitutes in Miami Blues and The Last Exit to Brooklyn. She received the New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for Miami Blues and the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for Last Exit. The late great Chicago Tribune critic Roger Ebert named The Last Exit Out Of Brooklyn as one of the best movies of 1990 and praised Jennifer for her performance.

In the early 90’s, Jennifer flirted with mainstream Hollywood success beginning in 1991 in the Ron Howard directed firefighter action-thriller Backdraft where teen pregnancy is that only bad girls get pregnant but Stacy is a good girl, though one who should listen less to Linda and more to her own heart.
Another highlight of Jennifer’s early work was the cult horror film The Hitcher. In The Hitcher Jennifer plays alongside C. Thomas Howell and Rutger Hauer. Her character is Nash, a young woman working in a roadside Texas diner who becomes involved in a deadly psychological mind game between Howell and Hauer. Nash is also victim of a terrible death compliment of the deliciously evil Hauer.

In 1990, Jennifer received great critical recognition for playing troubled prostitutes in Miami Blues and The Last Exit to Brooklyn. She received the New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for Miami Blues and the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for Last Exit. The late great Chicago Tribune critic Roger Ebert named The Last Exit Out Of Brooklyn as one of the best movies of 1990 and praised Jennifer for her performance.

In the early 90’s, Jennifer flirted with mainstream Hollywood success beginning in 1991 in the Ron Howard directed firefighter action-thriller Backdraft where she played William Baldwin’s girlfriend. Backdraft is a fine movie but Jennifer’s part is quite small and really doesn’t give her much to.
Jennifer was given a much meatier role later in the year in Rush. Rush features what may quite possibly be Jennifer’s finest performance as Kristen Cates, a narcotics officer who is assigned to work alongside Jason Patric. The agents falls in love but soon become victims of the very drugs they are trying to get off the street. Rush is an intense and provocative thriller that unfortunately didn’t find an audience.

In 1992, Jennifer was given the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain for her very effective performance as a mentally ill woman in Single White Female who moves in with Bridget Fonda. Jennifer’s character seems normal, almost shy at first, but soon her psychotic behavior begins to surface as she begins to become jealous of the relationship between Fonda and her boyfriend (Steven Weber). Though not a huge hit, Single White Female did respectable business at the box office and remains one of Jennifer’s best performances. Jennifer was also nominated for the Chicago Film Critic’s Association Award for Best Actress.

Jennifer teamed up with Kathy Bates in director Taylor Hackford’s 1995 film adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling novel Delores Claiborne. Jennifer plays a young woman addicted to pills with a history of childhood sexual abuse, who returns to her hometown when her mother, Delores Claiborne (Kathy Bates), is accused of murder. The film is one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel and all involved give great performances. Still the movie failed at the box office. Delores Claiborne was also Jennifer’s last attempt to break into the Hollywood mainstream.

Georgia, also released in 1995, was a small low budget film produced and starring Jennifer. The screenplay was written by Jennifer’s mother, Barbara Turner, and like Delores Claiborne touched on the theme of family estrangement. Jennifer plays a rebellious and drug addicted singer named Sadie Flood, who has spent the last couple of years unsuccessfully trying to make it in Las Angeles Sadie returns to her hometown and conservative sister, Georgia, a successful country singer played by Mare Winningham. Jennifer dropped to 90 pounds to play Sadie and also received some of the best reviews of her career.
Jennifer spent the remainder of the 1990’s appearing in small independent films stating that she was uncomfortable with the Hollywood limelight, and preferred to make small personal films with characters that audiences could care about instead of big budget Hollywood productions.

In 2001, Jennifer co-wrote and co-directed (with Alan Cumming) The Anniversary Party about a troubled couple (Jennifer and Cumming) who have recently gotten back together and are throwing a party to celebrate their 6th wedding anniversary. Jennifer plays Sally, an aging actress who is currently starring in a film. However, the director (John C. Reilly) believes that Sally’s heart is no longer in her acting. Along with Reilly, who appeared with Jennifer in Delores Claiborne and Georgia, the cast was made up of friends of both Jennifer’s and Alan Cumming’s including Jennifer Beals, Kevin Kline, Phoebe Cates, Parker Posey, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jennifer’s step-sister Mina Badie . Almost the entire cast appeared with Jennifer in previous films. The Anniversary Party is a wonderful and moving film that ranks among the best Jennifer had ever made.

Jennifer Jason Leigh continues to work in small independent films and on stage as characters she cares about and hopes that the audience will as well. At age 51, Jennifer continues to deliver heartfelt performances in roles that are diverse and challenging.

Trapped “Within These Walls” with James Tucker and Kelsey Zukowski!

Of all the monsters, creatures, Demons, serial killers, Zombies, and Vampires etc. Nothing has ever been quit so terrifying as spirits, in my opinion. Why is that you might ask? Well why not? Most of us easily forget that death is the final path all must take. And once that step is taken it’s done, there’s no going back… But the thought that one could come back is both thrilling and terrifying. Could you imagine all the killers, rapists, psychos, and maniacs continuing their work from beyond the grave? Worst yet, how do you stop, let alone hurt something that isn’t even alive?

Now try to imagine being a prisoner in your own home being tormented and repeatedly assaulted by such a force… The thought alone sends chills down my spine. Scream Queen and Writer Kelsey Zukowski (What They Say, Words Like Knives) and Director James Tucker (Aunt Rose, Skinned Alive) join forces to terrify use with WITHIN THESE WALLS. A gripping horror about a young woman trapped within her own home and tormented by unknown forces she is only beginning to understand.

Official Synopsis: A prisoner in her own home, a captive in her own body. Assaulted and trapped with no one to hear her cries for help…and knowing no one will believe her if they do.

This is the terrifying reality Alaina finds herself in when she moves in to the house her mother died in. At first she thinks it’s this loss that is haunting her, but she is soon shown it is something far more malicious and unrelenting. The spirit taunts her as it invades her body, mind, and soul, completely trapping her. Alaina fights for answers on what really happened to her mother if she has any hopes of survival. She must find a way to endure this monster which lives and breathes to rob her of her sanity as it demands a savage hold on her.

Within These Walls comes from the team of Kelsey Zukowski (What They Say, Words Like Knives) and James Tucker (Aunt Rose, Skinned Alive). They set out to dive deeper into a minimalist (practical effects and very little, if any, CGI) but compelling ghost/haunted house story that is far grittier and intense than you typically get from the sub-genre. Zukowski and Tucker were both eager to tackle this taboo and unnerving subject matter, making the circumstances of the main character (played by Zukowski) even more difficult to endure.

Zukowski comments on the collaboration process of the film thus far with filmmaker, James Tucker, “We immediately clicked on this project. We’re totally on the same page of what we want to create artistically through the film and to bring out within the vast capabilities of horror. Even better, we work off one another’s ideas to come up with something that neither one of us would have been able to realize on our own; a true collaborative project, which can be rare to come by. This is only the beginning for the film and world of Within These Walls as well as our future working relationship.”

Everything in the film is centered around a total entrapment through isolation and fear and one’s control being viciously ripped away in nearly every way. Some of these ways are hard to even wrap your mind around, but she is reminded how real and horrible they are, making it impossible to deny the torment that is escalating. Through this haunting, Alaina, the main character, is pushed as we explore the limits of what the human mind and body can endure. It takes place almost entirely in the single location of a haunted house. The only escape seems to be the surreal dream world that is often even more terrifying than the grim reality our character now lives in– thanks to an unknown malicious and demanding force, which slowly suffocates our protagonist.

“I was first interested in the project simply by the subject matter. I’m very drawn to intense horror, taking brutality and struggle and coupling it with rich story and powerful themes, making my main characters go through complete hell and examining how that changes them. The theory of struggle actually showing power as it means you’re still fighting is a major theme in the film and seems to allow Alaina to keep pushing forward in this hopeless battle that is demanding her defeat. There are some very disturbing elements in Within These Walls that push it that much further that I think will really stick with people.” says Zukowski.

“What I like most about this script and our collaboration, is that we were both truly interested in this type of character driven horror.” “We both wanted to and were willing to look closely at how some people deal with this extreme physical and psychological violence.” “Unfortunately, in the news these days, real life stories of captivity and prolonged torment continue to appear, it’s just not the stuff of fiction” says Tucker. “These personal struggles are many times glossed over, but we wanted our main character to have the chance to truly tell her story and include all the uncomfortable details.”

Within These Walls is currently raising funds on Indiegogo, where the teaser trailer can be seen. The film is moving forward with a prospective shoot date to begin around late August or early September in Pasadena, California. Zukowski will be starring in the character-based film, as she struggles to uncover the truth and her inner strength among the suffering she has to endure or find a way to beat. Cory Graham and director, James Tucker will also have featured roles in the film. The rest of supporting roles are currently being cast.

Teaser Trailer
Indiegogo Link:

Bublenutz Productions Presents: Welcome To Dreadville!

The indie genre has always proven to be a true enervator of film, and going places mainstream often cannot. The indie underground manages to capture a side of film that the mainstream industry is unable to capture, sometimes because it’s “Taboo,” or pushing the limits of what’s acceptable for viewers, all while doing this on a limited, and sometimes ultra-low budget. Bublenutz Productions, a Chicago based company, and writer/director Jason Patfield brings forth the indie series WELCOME TO DREADVILLE. An award winning series unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Produced on a ultra-Low budget that showcases crime, drugs, and abuse in the streets of Dreadville Illinois. Some from within the indie underground have compared the series to “Tales from the Darkside meets Twilight Zone” with the episodes ranging from the horror genre to thriller, to a touch of comedy.

The show is a compilation of “surreal stories from the dark suburban streets of Dreadville Illinois where gangs, organized crime, murderers and drugs dealers are above the law.”

The episodes are standalone segments with its own unique story to tell and with its own setting, each episode runs roughly at 30 to 45 minutes a piece. Currently the series has released 8 episode all available right now for purchase on DVD or Streaming vie

Directed By: Jason Patfield
Written By: Jason Patfield and Jay Kranson.
Starring: Kevin Bliss, Kelli Clevenger, Tom Fernandez, Jack Guasta, Tom Lodewyck, Jason Patfield.
Plot: A missing person, a detective on the case, and a killer on the loose. When does the torture stop? When you’re dead.

Directed By: Jason Patfield
Written By: Jason Patfield
Starring: John Bienasz, Matt Boisacy, Alex Gonzalez, Jack Guasta, Tom Lodewyck, Ivy Patfield, Jason Patfield, Dillion Sanchez.
Plot: As The Sydicated Mafia pump’s the newest, highly addictive drug Jak into the small town of Dreadvile, Eric Chasta realize he has one more problem to deal with. This includes dealing with his ex-girlfriend Jenny Walker, Dodging his arch rival Carmen Aurello and worst feeding his addictive habits. Will Eric’s future depend on his decisions or has his future already been written?

Directed By: Jason Patfield
Written By: Jason Patfield
Starring: John Bienasz, Lauren Bienasz, Anthony Brawner, Colleen Elizabeth Miller and Jason Patfield.
Plot: Sam is left mentally ill and handicap after a tragic accident occurs involving her young daughter Rei. This misfortune leads to troubles adjusting to her new life style but when a Social Worker arrives to help her face her demons, strange apparitions start to appear. Sam suddenly realizes she has more then just her disabilities to conquer.

Directed By: Michael Schmid, John Bienasz and Jason Patfield.
Written By: Jason Patfield
Starring: Bryant Dailey, Tom Fernandez, Chad Foor, Steven H. Hansen, Will Jones, Laura Locascio, Colleen Elizabeth Miller, Talli Nemo, Darren Smith, Scott Treinen, Anthony Whitaker and Ruan Woolfolk.
Plot: As the Syndicated Mafia seeks to gain control, the local gang and drug lords have one option, either join or die. Meanwhile Hez Wolfen, last of the drug lords and his psychic side kick Locash stand tall as they watch their enemies crumble around them. While making a trip to visit her dear grandpa, poor little unsuspecting Red Ruben stumbles upon Hez’s territory. The big bad Wolfen watches from afar as she moves into his grasp.

Directed By: John Bienasz, Jason Patfield and Alex Gonzalez.
Written By: Jason Patfield
Starring: Reggie Baker, Anthony Brawner, Kelli Clevenger, Chad Foor, Elliott Fredland, Steven H. Hansen, Colleen Elizabeth Miller, Charles Ramsey, Mandy Hambel Ramsey and Erik Uppling.
Plot: When Geo Francisco, a cannibalistic killer escapes from the Tin Park mental institution the town of Dreadville is on edge and to make things worse Dreadville has lost power leaving the town in utter darkness. As Daisy Clark waits alone for her husband to get home she begins to hear noises and when she approximates that danger is near, she become frantic. Is the killer in her presence? Or is the dark of night just playing tricks on her?

Directed By: Jason Patfield and J.D. Scruggs.
Written By: Jason Patfield, J.D. Scruggs and Kevin Kruzel.
Starring: Steven Rohlf, Bryant Dailey, Sharon Dalla Costa, Claudia Di Biccari, Tom Fernandez, Alex Gonzalez, Barb Boisacy, Melissa Boisacy, Robert Boisacy, Ivy Patfiel, Jason Patfield and Charles Ramsey.
Plot: Josh has a gambling problem and is about to lose his apartment but worst of all he owes the Syndicated Mafia money. When his lifelong friend Rhett shows up at his door with his own problems both devise a plan to get out of town, can they escape the town of Dreadville or has their luck run out.

Directed By: Jose Carlos Gomez.
Written By: Jose Carlos Gomez and Jason Patfield.
Starring: North Roberts, Jason Patfield, Carla Westlund, Artemio Gonzalez, Anthony Brawner, Laura Locascio, Elizabeth Antonucci, Derrick Ballantine, John Bienasz, Jennifer D’Adamo, Laura Francesconi, Elliott Fredland, David M. Gomez, DC McAuliffe and Frank Anthony Meo.
Plot: Blood is thicker than syrup.

Directed By: Jason Patfield, J.D. Scruggs and Tony Wash.
Written By: Jason Patfield and Johnny 5.
Starring: James Barbee, Will Cummings III, Raquel Garcia, Kendyl Lynch, Timon Morales and Steven James Price.
Plot: Timon and James decide to visit their old catholic school before its demolished but when a familiar face shows up, it instantly brings back haunting memories.

The WELCOME TO DREADVILLE series is available now by Bublenutz Productions on where the series can be purchased on DVD or streamed via amazon streaming.

Big News For Indie In The Windy City!

Hey folks, it’s The Critic’s Word Editor in Chief, Clifford Kiyabu (aka The Master) here with some really big news for you coming at us right from the heart of the indie scene. Our good friends over at Filming ‘Round Midtown have a fully loaded show for you tonight filled with all the things you care about in the indie scene and more!

Some of the things you’ll be expecting in tonight’s brand new episode will feature a very special announcement from rising filmmaker, director of The Social Media Massacre, Ron Purtee on an upcoming project of his. Also discussing their April Sunday Movie Screening event featuring Casey Miller’s short film: “Montgomery”, as well as talk of Ron Fitzgerald’s ‘Dark Realm’ project funding effort. Casting calls, and a special segment with Joe Mistretta of Four Finger Effects showing how to make professional ‘scar’ makeup, and Horror Society news and updates and so much more.


Watch live streaming video from egentv at


And if that wasn’t enough awesome to put you in an indie coma then get this; they’ll also be giving away a one weekend pass, good for two, to the 2012 Indie Horror Film fest this weekend! Pretty sweet huh? Well, the only way to learn how to win it is by tuning in tonight at 8pm CST on

And if you’re in the Chicago area then you’re welcomed to drop by and watch the show live in person at 810 N Clark St, Chicago IL.

Also, while you’re at it make sure to ‘Like’ them at:

The Social Media Massacre Filmmaker Plans Big Announcement!

Last year, indie horror fans were treated to the release of “The Social Media Massacre” a web-series brought to us by rising indie filmmaker Ron Purtee and his production company, They Call Me Ron Productions. His series saw the talents of many well established actors and actresses and some rising stars which include the likes of; Tina Renee Grace, Nikki Farce, Heather Dorff, Brandon Nichols, Kelsey Zukowski, and Amber Rose Rodriguez.

The main focus of the series is to show “the darker side of social media,” with every episode standing uniquely on its own, telling a story of unspeakable horrors and praying on your deepest darkest fears deep inside the World Wide Web!

Now you’re probably wondering why this is being brought up as news, if it was originally reported on last year? Well, there’s good reason: Ron (the man) Paurtee, has gone on record saying that he will be making a very big announcement once a TSMM Facebook page reaches its goal of 250 Likes. I spoke to Ron recently and this is what he had to say:

“Clifford Kiyabu I enjoyed watching this little installment of TSMM… Is it too soon to call it a classic? 😉

Ron Purtee: No because I have an announcement to make. Only thing is, I need to get the fan page to 250 likes first. So close, yet so far! haha”

So with that being said, the Fan Page is already at 235 Likes (last checked), and with only 15 more likes to go, Mr. Purtee will have no other choice but to spill the beans to the eager fans soon. So head on over to Facebook and Like The Social Media Massacre fan page by clicking HERE. And if you haven’t seen the talked about series yet, then scroll on down to watch the Webisodes:





Extra Tidbit: It’s still way too early to speculate what the haps on this announcement could be, but it would be interesting to see where Purtee goes with it.

FatHead Films Co-owner Announces Formation of New Film Company

FatHead Films co-owner Justin R. Romine has announced the formation of a new film company, Sweet Berry Wine Productions. Romine, the director of the controversial independent films What They Say (Best Actress Heather Dorff, 2011 Chicago Horror Film Festival) and Afraid of Sunrise (Best Actor nominee Andy Schatner, 2011 Chicago Horror Film Festival), said he started Sweet Berry Wine Productions in order to separate grittier upcoming projects from those at FatHead, which is in pre-production for the children’s chiller Trapped.

Asserting he will remain equally involved with FatHead Films, Romine explained: “Sweet Berry Wine Productions was created so I could delve into the darker, more adult and horror-oriented materials. This will give us a platform to showcase those films, whereas with FatHead Films, we can focus on the education and acting prowess of the children we work with on a regular basis.”

Sweet Berry Wine Productions is in pre-production for its first films under the new banner, including What in the Sam Hill, written by and starring Willy Adkins (Spook Show Entertainment), and featuring Michael Schmid (4Lizard Productions) and Romine. Also in pre-production is soon-to-be cult classic Zombie Clowns, written by Romine and Adkins, and The Good Life, where Romine will be teaming up with former UNLV classmates Dustin Martin (Plainfield Entertainment) and Jason Tillmon. These three films are only the first of many, Romine promised.

Sweet Berry Wine Productions is also happy to announce that they will be involved in FatHead T.V., a horror sketch-comedy show that will be playing regularly on local cable. Romine says film is not Sweet Berry Wine’s only interest, however. “The studio is open to all facets of media and art. Having met, befriended, and worked with so many people opens up a huge avenue for us to discover all kinds of mixed media.” Romine says that the company will also offer instruction in screenwriting, acting, directing, filmmaking, producing, and editing, among other things. Romine instructs college classes in film, literature, and screenwriting. Private instruction is also available.

Sweet Berry Wine is: Justin R. Romine
President, C.E.O. and Principal Producer in Charge of Production IMDB

Michael Schmid
Co-President, Head Editor, and Principal Producer in Charge of Post Production IMDB

Find Sweet Berry Wine Productions on Facebook

Extra Tidbit: Justin R. Romine and horror legend Tony Todd (Candyman, Final Destination films) have worked together in Joe Hollow’s ‘Disciples’ (shown in the photo above) a film Justin also co-produced.

‘Hand of Glory’ Director Responds to Threat of Picketing Premiere

Jan. 25, 2012 – Stuart Wahlin, writer and director of upcoming thriller Hand of Glory, responded today to what he described as a “veiled threat from anonymous cowards” who allegedly plan to picket the film’s March premiere at the Indie Horror Film Fest in Chicago.

Wahlin said he received the message from an individual via Facebook, an online social-networking community. The message expressed concern regarding the content of the upcoming film, which centers on an alcoholic prostitute.

“When we learned your movie is to include a child-rape scene, we found that particularly troublesome,” the message indicated. “That eclipses the already-questionable glorification of alcohol abuse, degradation of women, violence, murder and immoral spiritual themes.”

The message signature claimed to be from a group calling itself the “Coalition for Decency and Ethics in Film,”or CDEF, but when Wahlin tried to reply to the individual’s message, he found the account had been deleted.

Calling the tactic cowardly, Wahlin noted the sender also suggested the group would “crash the party…to send a clear message that this type of irresponsible trash has no place in cinema.”

Wahlin, however, feels the anonymous sender is overreacting.

“I can count on one hand the number of people on my crew who’ve seen the film, so I know it hasn’t been leaked,” Wahlin stated. “Without having seen it, these [CDEF] people simply don’t know what they’re all in a huff about. This guy’s distorted summary of what we believe to be an excellent film is unfortunate, because I’m willing to bet it’ll be one of the tamer pictures at the festival.”

Wahlin said he hasn’t had an opportunity to discuss this development with promoters yet, but that he’d understand if asked to withdraw from the festival.

“There are a lot of great films screening that weekend, and I don’t want to be the reason someone’s big day is ruined if these people show up with megaphones and picket signs,” he concluded.

Extra Tidbit: I can’t help but wonder if this group will actually show up or not during the festival.

Words Like Knives!

The most dreadful thing about a rumor is that it’s like a feather in the wind; once it gets momentum there’s no telling where or how far it will go, but the worst part about the existence of a rumor about you is the long term repercussions that comes with the territory. The more time passes by, the more the rumor becomes fact, and once that happens, it becomes truth. Words Like Knives is an up and coming psychological horror written, produced and starring Kelsey Zukowski (What They Say and Echo Lake) the WLK is a compelling short that deals with real world issues such as rumors and how dangerous they can be to someone’s life, and how far it can spiral a person down to the edge of sanity.

Synopsis: Emma has a loving family, caring boyfriend, and loyal best friend. One rumor might rip this all away from her though. She fights to hold on to her old life as one mean-spirited rumor becomes so real she can’t find the light through the encompassing darkness. Emma tries to run from it, but it becomes so real and takes on a life of its own. She finds herself powerless to it and unable to distinguish rumor from reality. What if she can’t escape it and hold on to her dwindling sanity?

Words Like Knives is a short dark drama written and starring Kelsey Zukowski and directed by Travis Legge. It also features Jeff Scaduto, Valerie Meachum, Myke Wilson, Melissa Revels, and Aley Kreinz. Shooting is scheduled for April 2012 in Rockford, IL.

Legge and Zukowski first worked together in March of 2011 on a Grindhouse trailer entitled, Monster Mash, which also starred Revels and Kitsie Duncan. Legge was a producer on the dark short, What They Say, which Zukowski wrote and acted in. The film was nominated for Best Short at The Chicago Horror Film Festival in September of 2011.

Legge has worked with the entire primary cast before, being well aware of their abilities and how they work best. Valerie Meachum appeared in Legge’s twisted Christmas short, Holiday Carvings, as well as Legge’s first feature film, Raymond Did It. Myke Wilson directed one of Travis’ scripts, Event Invitation, which wrapped filming in October of 2011. Legge worked with Melissa Revels both in Monster Mash and Windershins along with a number of projects they have in the works.

“Words Like Knives deals with very disturbing material, but that’s part of the point. I like tackling uncomfortable material. I find it far more interesting. It’s a delicate balance between seeming exploitative and meaningfully bringing out the darker side of humanity. I’m thrilled with the team that has signed on for the project. Everyone involved really believes in what the film is trying to accomplish and will be a part in bringing this disquieting vision to life”
Said Zukowski while discussion the upcoming project.

Although, it tackles very taboo material it also deals with the universal themes of a rumor spinning out of control and how damaging idle gossip can be. It simply takes this to a more severe level and examines the possibility of the horrors that can be locked deep inside any one of us when pushed far enough.

Words Like Knives Teaser Trailer

You can show your support to Words Like Knives by going to their official IndieGoGo Page and show your support by donating to the project or by helping spread the word.

To learn more about this developing project and stay up to date visit the official Words Like Knives Facebook Page and click “Like.”

Also stay up to date on twitter by following the official Words Like Knives Twitter Page.

Side Tidbit: Words Like Knives (2012) will be the second film consecutively that Kelsey has written and starred in with a three word title, the first being What They Say (2011).

Casting Call for New Indie Horror “The Hazed”

One of the worst things about joining a fraternity or sorority is the hazing that comes with the territory of pledging. Yeah it’s commonly known that hazing is highly unethical then alone illegal in today’s age, but just because something is deemed wrong doesn’t mean it stopped. But what if some took hazing to a whole new level of humiliation? What if some elevated it to a whole new level of horrors? From the creators of Echo Lake and Sick Flick Productions comes “The Hazed” a psychological thriller that explores the unforgiving and vindictive nature of sorority life. Once you’re in you’re in for life, and the only way to leave this sorority is through death!

The Hazed is set to begin filmming summer 2012 in the Chicago area. The film is written and produced and will also star Jonathan Moody and Kelsey Zukowski. The Hazed will also be Kelsey Zukowski’s directorial debut! Currently they doing a full casting call for both male and female actors and of various age brackets that range from age groups of 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. scroll down to read the synopsis and to get a full detail of the roles up for casting. And when you’re done be sure to drop by the official Hazed Facebook Page and click “Like” to keep up to date on all things regarding the project.

Synopsis: When Kate tries to pledge a sorority, she learns that a mistake from years ago is still haunting her. The sorority sisters are completely unforgiving, deciding to have their fun with Kate by torturing her and the other girls to no ends. Kate is determined not to let her win. She has her friends, Tyler and Hailey by her side to help her stay strong. The deeper Kate gets in though the more she realizes that these are not your typical hazing pranks. There is something much darker that lies within these girls, setting up a brutal cycle of jealousy, revenge, and a very twisted perception of reality.

The Hazed Character Breakdown

Kate: Female (18-25). Independent, determined, and spunky. Kate has always been an outsider, but isn’t going to let that get in the way of what she wants. She made a mistake years ago that Melissa isn’t willing to let her forget. Kate refuses to be a weak person though and is ready to take everything she throws her way. Role requires nudity, limited or implied is negotiable.

Melissa: Female (18-25). The head sorority sister. She loves being in charge and is used to everything going her way, blaming her problems on others when they do arise. She’s unforgiving and has a very dark nature, far beyond the bitchy façade that lies on the outside. Role requires nudity, limited or implied is negotiable.

Courtney: Female (18-25). One of Melissa’s best friend’s, runs the sorority house under her. She sticks by Melissa no matter how merciless the hazing becomes.

Kelly: Female (18-25). Melissa and Courtney’s other best friend. She is loyal to her sisters and is determined to get vengeance on Kate for Melissa’s sake.

Jenna: Female (18-25). The only reasonable sorority sister. She isn’t out to humiliate and torment the pledges and isn’t interested in getting revenge on Kate. She goes along with it to an extent, but she wants to just get through this year more than anything. She’s far more concerned with school and her long distance boyfriend who she hopes to be with when she goes to graduate school next year.

Brittany: Female (18-25). As she gets deeper in to the sorority and sees the consequence of Melissa’s jealousy her enthusiasm for the sorority quickly falls. She has a lot to deal with, but refuses to let Melissa and the other sisters run all over her. Limited clothing is required.

Lexy: Female (18-25). Almost connected at the hip to Anna. Both of the girls put all of their energy and hopes in to getting in to the sorority. They have more shallow reasons than the other girls. No matter how twisted things get the price is never too high to get what they want. Limited clothing is required.

Anna: Female (18-25). Lexy’s best friend. It quickly becomes them against the other girls. They intend to do whatever they can to get in to the sorority even when things turn morbid. It’s shocking to them at first, but they put their better judgment aside when their own desires blind them. Limited clothing is required.

Brad: Male (18-25). Head of one of the school’s fraternity’s. He treats woman horribly, especially his girlfriend, Melissa. He has been cheating on her for years and really has no qualms or guilt about it. He comes from a wealthy family in the same social circle as Melissa’s; part of the reason their parents want them to be together. Nudity is required.

Chase: Male (18-25). Sexist and objectifies woman. He’s Brad’s best friend and one of the brothers, but cannot stand Melissa. He’s a good friend to him regardless. Chase is one of the only people to really reject Melissa and show his interest elsewhere.

Chris: Male (18-25). School football star and one of Chase and Brad’s brothers. He’s crude and violent towards others.

Jennifer: Female (22-35) Jack’s wife. She loves her husband, but is going through a very hard time in her life. She hasn’t really been happy in a long time and acts on this unhappiness. She desperately wants to put that all behind them and learn to be happy with Jack again.

Jack: Male (25-40) Jennifer’s husband. She’s broken his heart and he can never be the same again. We begin to see him breaking before us, unable to hold on any longer.

Bryan: Male (20-30) Jenna’s long distance boyfriend. He is very caring and sincere, doing everything he can to try to be there for her. He tries to keep her rational and focused amongst all of the mayhem that ensues in the house.

Dr. Lucas: Male or Female (Min. age 25, but could preferably middle aged). The psychiatrist who tries to piece everything together in the aftermath. (S)he is desperate to reach his/her patient so they can accept what they’ve done and have hope for recovery so nothing like this ever happens again.

Lauren: Female (20-30). Kate’s Resident Advisor. Once she realizes Kate is going through something serious she steps in.

Delivery Man: Male. (Min. age 20, but preferably middle aged) Once he’s in the house he lets his curiosity and imagination get the best of him. He never would have expected what lies within this house.

Waitress: (Min. 18, but can be any age). Waitress at a steak/seafood restaurant that serves Hailey and Tyler.

Please email the character or characters you are interested in auditioning for to they are accepting video auditions for desired roles. Filming is set for summer 2012.