I first came across Danny Draven's name as I was searching through Amazon's filmmaking section. I was specifically looking for books on horror filmmaking and one book in particular really stood out. The Filmmaker's Book of the Dead was not simply a memoir or how to book about filmmaking. It was a beautifully photographed and illustrated horror filmmaker's Bible. Filled with tons of practical information and interviews from top horror filmmakers, I really do consider this book to be one of the more valueable items in my filmmaking catalog. And, between you and me, I'm not much of a reader, so the pictures make me happy.
Wanting to know more, I got in touch with Danny and found him to be extraordinarily generous with his time. He was very happy to talk about filmmaking with me and I think it comes out in this episode. Anyone interested in becoming a horror filmmaker should really take the time to listen to this Episode as we cover a ton of information that will be helpful for all Indie Filmmakers.
We continue our October Shockathon with filmmaker Eric England, screenwriter and director of the film Contracted.
A few months ago, as I was scanning through Netflix, I cam across the poster for The Taking of Deborah Logan. The image had always stuck out to me, but for one reason or another I hadn't seen the film. I finally clicked the icon and started watching, and was really glad I did. Co-Writer and Director Adam Robitel's first feature film grabs you and pulls you in from the first scene. A documentary crew is starting production on a woman who they believe has alzheimers. As they study Mrs. Logan, they realize that the truth is much darker.
Here's more about Deborah Logan from wikipedia:
The Taking of Deborah Logan is a 2014 American horror film and the feature film directorial debut of Adam Robitel, written by Robitel and co-writer Gavin Heffernan. The film stars Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, andMichelle Ang. Set in Virginia, it tells the story of a documentary crew making a film about Alzheimer's patients who uncover something sinister while documenting a woman who suffers from the disease. The film was produced by Jeff Rice and Bryan Singer and was released on October 21, 2014.
Mia, Gavin, and Luis are a documentary team set to create a documentary about Deborah, an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Deborah is reluctant to be filmed, but agrees to the project after her daughter Sarah reminds her that they need the money to keep the house from being repossessed. While filming, Sarah and Deborah talk about earlier years when Deborah worked as a switchboard operator for her own answering service business to make ends meet.
Deborah is shown to exhibit increasingly bizarre actions that her personal physician, Dr. Nazir, states are normal for someone with an aggressive form of Alzheimer's. However, cameraman Luis begins to notice that several of Deborah's actions defy normal explanations and expresses concern that something supernatural is occurring. Things grow more tense after Luis and Gavin record audio of Deborah speaking in French while sitting at her old switchboard, talking about sacrifices and snakes. They also notice that the line for 337 continually rings and discover that the line belonged to local physician Henry Desjardins, who disappeared after a series of cannibalistic ritualized murders of four young girls. This information is too much for Gavin and he quits. Deborah's behavior becomes so extreme that she is hospitalized for her own safety.
Mia and the others discover that Desjardins was supposedly trying to re-create an ancient demonic ritual that would make him immortal but required the deaths of five girls that recently had their first period. They question whether Deborah is possessed by Desjardins; a similar case in Africa where a mother was possessed by her dead son was only freed when a witch doctor burned the son's corpse. At the hospital, Harris visits Deborah, who begs Harris to kill her. He tries to comply with her wishes, but is unsuccessful due to the entity within Deborah preventing it. Sarah, Mia, and Luis discover that Deborah had unsuccessfully tried to abduct Cara, a young cancer patient in whom she had previously shown interest. Sarah learns that years ago, Deborah had learned that Desjardins planned to use Sarah for his fifth victim and had murdered the doctor before he could accomplish this, and buried his body in the yard. The group eventually finds the body and tries to burn it, but is unsuccessful.
Deborah succeeds in abducting Cara and taking her to the location where Desjardins had killed all of his previous victims. Sarah and Mia find Deborah just as she's trying to eat Cara's head in a snake-like manner. They manage to burn Desjardins' corpse. The film then cuts to news footage of reporters stating that Deborah was deemed unfit to stand trial for the crimes she committed during her abduction of Cara. An additional news story shows that Cara has overcome her cancer and is celebrating her birthday. As the reporter begins to wrap up the story, Cara turns to the camera and gives a creepy smile, hinting that Desjardins' ritual was completed and that he is now in control of her body.
One day, while working at a video production company, Ryan Bellgardt and his friend decided it was time. Time to make a feature film. The started putting together a story and put together the funding and shot "Army of Frankensteins."
Shooting the film prooved difficult. While most no budget features typically take about 15 to 30 days to shoot, the shooting of their film took around 8 months. But, as they were filming Ryan and Co. started promoting their film on facebook. Quickly they had around 10,000 fans. Popular horror blogs started contacting them and before they knew it they were being contacted by sales agents.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Army of Frankensteins has a blue-ray in stores across the country. The first time filmmakers are now looking forward to producing their second film. In this episode of the Indie Film Academy Podcast, we will focus on the process of making AOF and why the film had the right combination to strike a distribution deal.