Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Interview with Jenn Friend


I recently had the opportunity to watch Bobbie and Clyde VS Dracula. To me the one shining thing in that film was Jenn Friend's portrayal of the innocent Annabelle. She agreed to respond to my inane questions so, here they are for you faithful readers.
She even included pictures! How cool is that?

First, what got you into this crazy business?

 I started out as a Theatre major in college, acting in stage plays and
working on tech crews. I only started working in film over the past few
years (unless you count the space movies my sister and I made on home
video as kids). My husband Timothy Friend and I made a short film that was released with a Shock-o-rama feature, and then went on to make our
own feature film, 'Cadaverella'. 'Bonnie & Clyde vs. Dracula' was by
far the biggest project to date, and we always learn new lessons to
apply to the next project.

 I see on your website that there are a number of documentaries. How do
you go from those to something like Bonnie and Clyde VS Dracula?

The documentaries are part of my arrangement with Timothy - I help him
produce a narrative film, and he helps me to film and edit a documentary
film. I worked as a teacher and principal in middle schools for a number
of years, and am now an associate professor in educational leadership at
the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I see documentary film as an
excellent medium for sharing stories from schools with other educators, in
addition to a wider audience.



I noticed a lot of people with the last name Friend in this production.
I assume you are all related?

Yes - Timothy Friend's brother, Russell Friend, played Dracula and I
co-produced and played Annabel, and Alex Friend is our son. He was a
Production Assistant, his band Mr. Fish did the music that you hear on the
trailer and in the ending credits, and he was the 'Moonshine Kid' in BCvD
who recognized Jake and ended up on the ground. He got so many bug bites
on his ankles that day of shooting - poor kiddo.

With Bonnie and Clyde vs Dracula, which I think I will refer to as BCD
from now on, you went with two well known genre actors; Tiffany Shepis
and Trent Haaga, but then Dracula is a first time actor. Why not get
another semi famous genre actor for the three of them to bounce off one another
and add to the clout of the film?

Timothy and I had been longtime fans of Tiffany and Trent, so that casting
worked out like a dream. When it came to the other parts, Timothy often
writes with a particular actor in mind - such as T. Max Graham for Jake,
and a Chicago theatre actor friend, F. Martin Glynn for Henry. Russell was
Dracula - he shaved his head and went on a starvation diet, and gave such
a fine performance.

Tifany Shepis' portrayal of Bonnie was wonderful and demented. Trent is
known for going over the top ion his roles and this was one of those
where that would have worked, yet he comes across pretty subdued. Any reason
for this?

Trent said his acting was something like 90% googly eyes and made me
laugh. He's really an excellent actor, and I think this part was one where
he wasn't asked to go over the top so that subtleties of Clyde's
relationship with Bonnie came across. He loves this woman and would do
anything for her, even though she is a psycho killer.

Your role as Annabel seems to draw attention to itself for every moment
you are on screen. In a film of nothing but evil, your wide eyed
innocent portrayal of Annabel manages to restrain itself from being over the top,
yet makes sure you know she's there. What did you do to prepare for
this?

My inspiration for Annabel was partly Harpo Marx, and also my
three-year-old niece, Emma. They both had that wide eyed innocence, but
there's also some mischief happening all the time. In a film where every
other character is pretty evil, I think Annabel appeals to the audience
and they start hoping she'll find a way out of this story and into a
happier place.

While the CGI blood worked pretty well in the scene when Bonnie
slaughtered the two hillbillys, the bullet shots did not. The scene
where Clyde unloads two clips into that guy at the bar should have been
drenched in blood. Any reason for no squibs or at least a bloody aftermath when
the guy hits the ground?

Man, I feel the same way. We were so very low budget, our amazing
cinematographer, Todd Norris, doubled as our visual effects guy for
post-production and there were things like motion tracking that should
have happened during production that just weren't there for him to work
with. We didn't have the budget for squibs - we wanted to maintain safety
on the set by only hiring someone really qualified and it was out of our
price range. Maybe in the anniversary edition we'll be able to use
advanced technologies to give Horace the bloody aftermath he deserves for
whatever it was he did to Clyde in prison.

Were you worried that by using actual historical characters as the stars
of your film that changing their actual fate, you might cause some
dissent with your viewers? Or, were you approaching it like Tarantino did with
Hitler in Inglorious Basterds?

When Timothy wrote the screenplay, he intentionally begins with the couple
in the car that the audience might think are Bonnie & Clyde. When they get
shot in the farmhouse by the real Bonnie & Clyde, he's signaling the
audience to forget their past exposure to the historical characters and to
go along for the ride.

What's next for you personally as an actor and your production company?

We have a screenplay for a western-horror feature film titled 'Fierce'
that is in pre-production. I am producing and Timothy has written a part
for me to play. Big Atom Productions is currently in production on a
documentary film that focuses on entrepreneurial people with unusual jobs.
We spent yesterday filming magician Keith Leff - he ate fire for us and
shared his magic lair with our crew. All cool things.



I would like to thank Mrs. Friend for answering all the questions I asked and for the pics. Be sure to check out Bonnie and Clyde Vs. Dracula for no other reason than Jennifer Friend as Annabelle.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

NEW DVDs

Who doesn't love DVDs??

Check out the new column at our sister site Penguin Comics

And, alright here is a picture of a pretty girl.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BONNIE AND CLYDE VS DRACULA

When the good folks at Indican Pictures told me they had a film for me I said, sure. They send a variety of stuff and you never know what to expect. When the title was Bonnie and Clyde VS Dracula. I was intrigued. When it also announced that Trent Haaga and Tiffany Shepis were the leads, I was hooked.
The basic premise is there is this doctor named Loveless who keeps his sister Annabelle prisoner to do his bidding. Loveless has a condition that is hinted at, but never fully explained and he thinks that transfusions of Dracula's blood will cure him. He is restoring Dracula in his house.
Meanwhile Bonnie and Clyde are just starting out and on the road after a bank job gone sour. They meet up in a place in the middle of nowhere with Clyde's friend Henry. Seems he has a plan to knock off a moonshier and his big city customers at the same time.
It's a good plan, but one of their own get shot in the middle of it all and Bonnie goes to Loveless because he's a doctor.
Dracula explains to the vain Bonnie how he can let her keep her looks forever.
Then Clyde comes looking for his woman.

There are things I truly like about this movie. Tiffany Shepis gives one of her best performances. There are times when she exudes a madness that will send shivers down your spine. Trent Haaga is a fine Clyde to Tiffany's Bonnie, but there's a problem.
See, Trent Haaga plays full blown crazy better than a lot of people. In this film he comes across as ,well, subdued. Not a good idea.
Also, if you're going to put two B movie icons like Haaga and Shepis in the film, why not someone more well known as Dracula. I can't bring anyone to mind immediately, but anyone with a name would have worked better than the person we got. It reminded me of those Hammer flicks where Christopher Lee's part was nothing more than a glorified walk on.
And the middle of the film just drags. Unforgivable.
The true shining light in this film is Jennifer Friend. She plays Loveless sister Annabelle. She is innocent, funny and knows what she wants out of life...to be as far away from her evil brother as possible. As soon as she can figure out how to get that shock collar off her neck.


In the end, they needed to spend money on blood squibs. When Clyde empties two clips into a guy's chest there should be blood. Lots of it. Not a drop.
And do something about that half hour in the middle. These are exciting characters. They should do exciting things.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

DEVOLVED (2010)


A group of seniors are in Mexico and headed out to sea for a whale watching expedition. Unfortunately, the jocks have decided to turn it into a booze cruise with their fearless leader, The Rog. Yeah, the boat blows up leaving the two opposite groups stranded on an island. The jocks take over, but soon a coup takes place throwing The Rog out of power.
For now.
When I first got this flick I recognized the young lady on the cover. See, my kids are big fans of Nickelodeon so, in turn, I end up watching a lot of Nickelodeon. Lindsey Shaw is in a series called Ned's DeClassified. It's a fun show. Yeah, seeing Ms. Shaw on the cover in a bikini had me yelling,
"Moze, Noooooooooo!" The added fun of hearing her foul mouth added to the thrill.
But, we must remember these are but actors and it really shouldn't cloud our judgement on the films that they make.
Having said that, I have one question;
Why didn't this get a theatrical release.
This is a funny film. They play it straight so all the incredible ludicrous behavior is funnier. The young cast does a good job of showing children that have grown up together since they were five, but torn into two factions by their attitudes and behavior throughout their lives.
DEVOLVED also explores the concept of what happens when you peak at 18. When high school will be the best years of your life and force you to try and keep that glory alive through the rest of your existence. It makes living on a desert island seem like a pretty good idea, doesn't it?
But, the message is never preachy and the satire has a wicked bite.
Once again, why didn't this appear in a regular theatrical release?
No idea, but it's a shame.
With that I would have to encourage you to seek out DEVOLVED and watch what might be one of the most original flicks I have seen in a very long time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

REVIEWS OF MOVIES I HAVEN'T SEEN

I have been doing these off and on for well over 25 years. More off than on lately so I decided to flex these particular writing muscles once again. This time we will be looking at the top ten at the box office.

RANGO - Good for Gore Verbinski in making an animated film he wanted to. Having Johnny Depp onboard will help the first couple of weeks, but this one really isn't for the kiddies from what I have seen.  Probably one of two flicks I will bother to see on this list.

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU - This looks dumb. The kind of dumb that even the magnificence of Terence Stamp can't save. Pretty sure this one is a pass forever. Not gonna bother.

BEASTLY - There are so many reasons not to watch this new take on Beauty and the Beast, but Neil Patrick Harris is in it! Does that mean I'll watch it. Maybe, when it's a free flick on cable on demand. Maybe.

HALL PASS - This is the flick where the women folk let their men have a free pass to go out and have sex with other women. They're all married, right? Yeah, I think a comedy that glorifies infidelity doesn't really speak to me.

GNOMEO AND JULIET - Yard gnomes doing Shakespeare? Hmmm, I'm gonna say pass. Now if you can get a bunch of ceramic pigs to do HAMlet (Get it? I made a funny!) Then you might have something there.

UNKNOWN - I had to go look this one up. It's the one with Liam Neeson it it. I like Liam Neeson when he's kicking ass and taking names. This looks like it might be one of those flicks. I wish he would do a new Darkman movie. It could be Darkman twenty years later and be called Legacy OF Darkman. I would so watch that. This one? Nope.

JUST GO WITH IT - I like Adam Sandler movies. Most of the time. Click sucked. Still haven't watched Grown Ups and the one with Seth Rogen was kind of lame. This one has that real hot curvy chick from the trailer for this movie. She's pretty. I'd watch her part of the movie. Jennifer Aniston annoys me.

THE KING'S SPEECH - This is the second movie in the list I would watch. What can I say? I'm a sucker for Geoffery Rush.

I AM NUMBER FOUR - Looks like a steaming pile of number two. I actually wrote this entire column so I could make that joke.

JUSTIN BIEBER MOVIE - This blogger refuses to make any comment on this flick. Not gonna do it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

LBP FANS RISE TO THE CAUSE!!!

LBP Mega fans. I have serious news for all of you. Ron Bonk of SRS Cinema has greenlit a sequel to TERROR AT BLOOD FART LAKE. Chris needs some cash to get the ball rolling. We are looking at only a measly thousand dollars to get it made. If each of you sent a buck to Seaver at swanky_c@yahoo.com via paypal then that would take care of it. Hell if 100 of you sent 10 bucks that would take care of it. And Seaver always gives credit to those that help with the fundage. I challenge the peeps that forced Lloyd Kaufman to release Teenape vs The Nazi Monster Apocalypse to rally again!



A little reminder of the excellent first chapter in the Blood Fart Lake Saga!



THE END OF LBP: THE FINAL CHAPTER

All the problems with the computers in The Waltz Compound have been rectified. Here, as promised, is the Q&A from the event.
Enjoy!


Untitled from Douglas Waltz on Vimeo.

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