Sunday, September 27, 2020

Here Comes Something Wicked DocuFest 2021!


Submissions for our 2021 Something Wicked DocuFest is now Open!  We want to see all your non-fiction films whether they be political, social, environmental, character, and personal short and feature films.  We want this to be a film festival dedicated to the non-fiction film arts and to showcase films from around the world.  During the February 6-7, 2021 event part of the festival will be online while there will be a live component as well!  Other the course of the two days audiences from everywhere will be able to view all the films and then on Sunday we will be screening the best of the festival as chosen by our staff (at a location still to be determined due to COVID-19 safety procedures) followed by a Live Awards Ceremony!

Like our 2020 Something Wicked Film Festival Online Festival Event we will have Filmmaker Interviews, Panel Discussions, and Live Chat opportunities for all the filmmakers from all over the world!  We want this to be a very immersive experience for everyone!  This will be a great opportunity to network with other filmmakers and express your opinions and ideas about your own film as well as others!  For more info about this event please visit us on Film Freeway - https://filmfreeway.com/SomethingWickedDocuFest of on our Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/somethingwickeddocufest and updates for all Something Wicked Events can be found on www.somethingwickedfilmfestival.com

 

Something Wicked Brings Something NEW!


In 2021 Something Wicked Film Festival & Events will be bringing out a plethora of new and exciting things first of which is our first of two companion film festivals – Something Wicked DocuFest!  This February 6-7 we will be having a two-day event supporting everything in the non-fiction filmmakers.  We have always wanted to support our non-fiction filmmakers and now we will be able to.  This film festival will showcase political, social, environmental, character, and personal short and feature films.  If you love non-fiction films like we do then this is the film festival for you done in Something Wicked style!  For more info on this event and to submit your films visit us on Film Freeway - https://filmfreeway.com/SomethingWickedDocuFest

 


Next up is our all-new Something Wicked FanFest coming next December 11-12, 2021!  This two-day event focuses on fan-films, westerns, musicals, and post-apocalyptic films!  We already screen some of these at our Main Event but here we get the chance to focus on the fan-films and other sub genres that usually go overlooked.  This is an event we have been planning for several years now and we are proud to finally be able to bring this event to audiences as only Something Wicked can!  We don’t start taking submissions until the end of 2020 but that just means you have plenty of time to dust off those old fan-films or to finally make the fan-film you’ve always wanted to as there are no age limitations on submissions.  For more info on this event visit our Film Freeway page here - https://filmfreeway.com/SomethingWickedFanFest

 

Last up is our regular Main Event – Something Wicked Film Festival 2021 which will be August 13-15, 2021 which means we will be celebrating Friday the 13th in style to continue bringing you the best in animation, fantasy, sci-fi, experimental, fan-film, horror, and fantasy films traveling the festival circuit!  We will have all the things you’ve come to love from Something Wicked Events with a few added bonuses as well!  Submissions open in November like usual and you can discover more about the event at Film Freeway - https://filmfreeway.com/somethingwickedfilmfestival

 


These are the three festival events we have lined up for 2021 to help us celebrate everything indie film and indie filmmakers!  We hope you’ll continue to follow up and don’t forget that we have lots of other amazing things in store coming from Something Wicked Events so make sure to continue checking out our Website – www.somethingwickedfilmfestival.com and all our social media pages!  We will continue to update the blog as things happen!

 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Congrats 2020 AWARD WINNERS!


We want to thank everyone who participated in this year’s Something Wicked Film Festival 2020 Online Festival Event!  It was a weekend of amazing short and feature films in addition to the live Panel Discussions, Filmmaker Interviews and Live Chat through Discord!  We had a lot of fun and my team and I hope you did too.


If you are not already aware, SWFF gives out awards in two categories – our Main Award category and our secondary category Festival Director Awards.  The difference between the two is that our Main Awards winners are chosen by our Festival Judge Philip Wray and his Jury Members (whom are made up of film critics and film professionals).  Our Festival Director Awards are chosen between my staff and myself and are usually the more outlandish categories (i.e. Scream Queen of the Year, Bad Ass of the Year, Goriest Film, etc.) and are revealed on Friday whereas the Main Awards are announced on Sunday.

 

Below are our Winners for both award Categories!  We congratulate all filmmakers and look forward to what they have in store for us in the future:

 

MAIN AWARD WINNERS:

Best Animation/Puppetry Arts Short Film-

Blue & Malone: Impossible Cases (Producers Emilio Lujan, Gerardo Alvarez, Pablo de la Chica, Manuel Carbajo Martin, & Nathalie Martinez)

 

Best Experimental Short Film-

Colonna (Producers Petra K. Wagner & Jorg Wagner)

 

Best Fan-Film-

Willa (Producer Barbara Szeman)

 

Best Fantasy Short Film-

The Fever (Producers Luisa Bellido, Alberto Sarmiento, & Isabel Castro)

 

Best Horror Short Film- 

Make A Wish (Producers Diane Foster, Edward Hong, & Josephine Chang)

 

Best Sci-Fi Short Film-

The Uncanny Valley (Producers Ian Vatcher & Ian Vardy)

 

Best Female Actor in a Short Film-

Babs George (Power)

 

Best Female Actor in a Feature Film- 

Hanna Oldenburg (Mareld)

 

Best Male Actor in a Short Film- 

José Lozano (Polter)

 

Best Male Actor in a Feature Film- 

Markus Fetter (Reel Me- The Film Musical)

Best Direction of a Short Film-  

Polter (Directed by Alvaro Vicario)

 

Best Direction of a Feature- 

Reel Me- The Film Musical (Directed by Peter Lund)

 

Best Feature- 

Reel Me- The Film Musical (Producers Peter Lund & Thomas Zaufke)

 

 

FESTIVAL DIRECTOR AWARD WINNERS:

BEST HORROR FILM – “MAKE A WISH”

BEST ANIMATION FILM – “DIVISION SERIES”

BEST FANTASY FILM – “POWER”

BEST SCI-FI FILM – “THE UNCANNY VALLEY”

BEST FAN FILM FILM – “WILLA”

BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM – “COLONNA”

BEST FEATURE FILM – MARELD

 

BEST DIRECTION OF A FILM:

                SHORT FILM – “CURSED GRANNY” Directed by Suso Imbernon & Juanjo Moscardo

                FEATURE FILM– REEL ME – THE FILM MUSICAL Directed by Peter Lund

 

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A FILM:

                SHORT FILM – Josephine Chang, “MAKE A WISH”

                FEATURE FILM – Linda Hartmann, REEL ME - THE FILM MUSICAL

 

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A FILM:

                SHORT FILM – Kevin Saunders, “KUNG PAO CORPSE”

                FEATURE FILM– Markus Fetter, REEL ME - THE FILM MUSICAL

 

GORIEST FILM:

                SHORT FILM – “NEFARIOUS”

                FEATURE FILM – BIGFOOT’S BRIDE

 

SCARIEST FILM:

                SHORT FILM – “SÉANCE”

                FEATURE FILM – MARELD

 

BEST MAKEUP FX IN A FILM:

                SHORT FILM – “THE GREAT PARODY”

                FEATURE FILM – CAMP WEDDING

 

BEST VISUAL FX IN A FILM:

                SHORT FILM – [TIE] “EQUALS” and “CIRCLE OF STONE”

                FEATURE FILM – UNDER CONTROLL

 

MOST BELIEVABLE FILM:

                SHORT FILM – “MAKE A WISH”

                FEATURE FILM – MARELD

 

MOST INNOVATIVE ANIMATION IN A FILM:

                “BLUE & MALONE: IMPOSSIBLE CASES”

 

MOST MEMORABLE VILLAIN:

                SHORT FILM – Greg Lee “The Adventurer”, “LOST TREASURE OF THE VALLEY”

                FEATURE FILM – Roger Connors “Mr. Perry – The Killer”, TEACHER SHORTAGE

 

SCREAM QUEEN OF THE YEAR AWARD:

                SHORT FILM – Olivia Day “Casey”, FEED ME DEATH

                FEATURE FILM – Kelley Gates “Mia” CAMP WEDDING

 

BAD ASS OF THE YEAR AWARD:

                SHORT FILM – Morttando Malone & Big Blue Cat, “BLUE & MALONE: IMPOSSIBLE CASES”

                FEATURE FILM – Morgan McGuire, CAMP WEDDING

Thursday, August 6, 2020

FANTASY Films at SWFF 2020 Online Festival Event!

So, this year we have one of our largest and most diverse selection of fantasy films and these are just the ones we decided to screen.  Usually, fantasy films have been the genre that we’ve screened the fewest number of films (next to experimental) and I also attributed that to filmmakers thinking that you need a large budget to tell a good fantasy film but this year’s crop is very diverse and different then anything we’ve seen in a long time.

This year we have two films from Spain and they are very similar in tone and execution despite being directed by different individuals.  “The Fever”, directed by Jose Maria Flores Miranda, about a guy in a doctor’s office who slows falls in love with his fantastical dream.  Joan Martin Gimenez’ “The Electric Chair” mixes the fantastic dreams of a man who hears the story of an American who survives being electric twice and decides that it would be a great trick to put on in front of his town.  Both films deal with the internal dreams and fantasies of the characters in visually stunning ways which are also entertaining and emotional.

Dream fantasies play a huge role in director Keren Marciano’s “Distinguished Feelings” [France] and they are some of the most visually striking of all the films being screened.  Luke Stanley’s “The Return of Warren Murphy” [Australia] is the story of a man wrongfully killed and given the opportunity to get vengeance!


In “Power” [United States] director Chris Foito brings to audiences the story of a woman tries to reconnect with her son through missed calls, memories, and other means. 

Our last three films are more directly fantasy films in terms of story and execution!  Up first is director James Atkins with his film “The Witch Hunters Are Coming” [United Kingdom], a reality show styled film about witch hunters hunting witches in the modern world but done in the same comedic reverence as What We Do In the Shadows.  “Lost Treasure of the Valley” [United States] is a modern-day treasure hunt that feels like an adventure film all crafted by the talented director Robert Husted.

Our final fantasy selection is director Mark Andrews’ “Circle of Stone” [United States] which has some amazing fight choreography and visual effects all in the service of the story of some cops who discover a woman whose been missing for years and the other worldly warriors who will do anything to capture her.

 

As you can see, there is a variety of fantasy films that make up the official selections for the 2020 Something Wicked Film Festival Online Festival Event.  I hope you will join us this August 7-9 when you can sit back and enjoy an entire weekend of genre films from the safety and comfort of your own home.  For more info visit us at www.somethingwickedfilmfestival.com and to buy tickets you can go to Film Freeway (https://filmfreeway.com/somethingwickedfilmfestival/tickets) or Ticket Leap (https://something-wicked-film-festival.ticketleap.com/something-wicked-film-festival/).


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

FEATURES Screening This Year!

This year’s crop of feature films crosses every genre and there should be a film for everyone or all the films for everyone!  One of the first features I’d like to talk about is for the hardcore horror fan and the fan of bigfoot films which is director Erick Wofford’s BIGFOOT’S BRIDE [USA] which is a balls to the wall frenetic and fun throwback film that does something new with the bigfoot film. Its aesthetic is pure ‘90s VHS trash cinema so if you’re a fan of Troma films then this is the perfect film for you.



From there we have several films that bring their stories into the modern age!  First up is director Troy Escamilla’s latest film TEACHER SHORTAGE [USA].  A couple years ago we screened his last film STIRRING (now renamed MRS. CLAUS) and we are excited to bring audiences his latest film which delves into the world and politics of public schools while making a slasher film!  No teacher is safe in this film and neither is acclaimed actress Brinke Stevens who returns to give Escamilla’s film some true horror film clout once again (she also starred in his film STIRRING).  Next up is the possession film CAMP WEDDING [USA] from director Greg Emetaz which mixes weddings and summer camp in its homage to both Friday the 13th and Night of the Living Dead!?! It is both funny and suspenseful while using modern technology and our over reliance on cell phones and being connected to tell a new type of horror film that will make you fear modern technology.


Next up is the fantasy film UNDER CONTROLL [India] from director Eric Hordes which is a new type of movie about trolls and a fantasy film that’s both equal parts exciting and funny.  The performances really stand out and are what makes the film work especially in its more comedic moments.

This leads to our other fantasy feature REEL ME – THE FILM MUSICAL [Germany] from director Peter Lund which is a musical romance comedy in which the six internal personalities of the main character battle each other in a coming of age film that also speaks on sexuality and sexual preference.  Lund makes it all work in this film that has some amazing dance sequences and performances by the cast.  It’s like a live action version of Pixar/Disney’s INSIDE OUT, only way better as a live action film.



This year we are screening our first experimental feature with director Priyanka Das’ UNDER THE JAZZ. CIRCULATION. FORMATION [USA].  This is a film that’s better to watch and devise your own interpretation as that is part of the enjoyment of this film which seeks to reach an emotional response with the audience through the characters who strive to find a connection between each other.


The last of our main features is director Ove Valeskog’s MARELD [Sweden] which takes the cast and crew to an island to film their latest horror film but they encounter some shady soldiers on the island which then make filming very tense and dangerous.  The film is amazing as it mixes the filmed footage, behind the scenes footage, and what happens on the island seamlessly into a suspenseful thriller in which you don’t know what is going to happen next especially when the cast and crew start having their own problems with one another.


In addition to these films we are also celebrating the 15 year anniversary of director Ron McLellen’s HELL’S END [USA] a sci-fi/horror/WWII film in which a soldier from the future goes back to the past to stop the Nazi’s from experimenting on POW soldiers in the attempt to create the perfect biological weapon!  There is also HOUSE OF SECRETS (2015) [USA] which is celebrating its 5-year anniversary which follows five women who make one mistake that may cost them a lifetime.  This thriller is written/produced/directed by yours truly!


I hope you decide to join us this August 7-9 for Something Wicked Film Festival’s Online Festival Event which is the only place where you will be able to watch all of these films from the comfort and safety of your own home.  For more info visit us at www.somethingwickedfilmfestival.com and to buy tickets you can go to Film Freeway (https://filmfreeway.com/somethingwickedfilmfestival/tickets) or Ticket Leap (https://something-wicked-film-festival.ticketleap.com/something-wicked-film-festival/).


Thursday, July 23, 2020

What ANIMATION FILMS are Screening This Year!


This year’s “Official selection” of animated and puppetry arts films hails from all over the world!  We love to see what filmmakers are producing in terms of animation from different countries in different styles and especially in terms of stories.

Unfortunately, there is only one puppetry arts film screening this year and its director Sean Price’s “Sam” [United States] but it tells a story with puppets in the same universe as live humans and is a very heartfelt tale.

In terms of animation styles each of the films being screened this year is unique and bold and none more so than director Farnoosh Abedi’s “Malakout” [Islamic Republic of Iran] which is a dark and gothic tale that borders on being a horror fable.  From Spain comes director Abraham Lopez with his “Blue & Malone: Impossible Cases” whose style is realistic and will have you thinking of something that Pixar or Disney had come up with.  Also from Spain is Jose Luis Quiros & Paco Saez with their “Madrid 2120” a film that belongs to the tradition of Heavy Metal magazine (or the films).


Wenkai Duan presents his “Tacit Blue” [China] which follows the explosive tradition of anime with its heavy use of science fiction and crime story that is sure to entertain.  Ho Kwon Kim’s film “Division Series” [Republic of Korea] is a political allegory that will keep you laughing while also having you questions the leaders of the free world and how delicate relationships between them truly are.

The final animated film that we are screening is the Monty Python-ish “The Legend of ChickFish” [Canada] from director Giles Sander which will leave you on the floor laughing in its complete absurdity.

We hope that this selection of animated and puppetry arts films will entertain and engage audiences and that audiences get a larger understanding of the types of films being produced by filmmakers all over the world.

For more info about Something Wicked Film Festival and this year’s Online Festival Event visit our website at www.somethingwickedfilmfestival.com and tickets can be purchased through Film Freeway (https://filmfreeway.com/somethingwickedfilmfestival/tickets) and Ticket Leap (https://something-wicked-film-festival.ticketleap.com/something-wicked-film-festival/).

Friday, July 17, 2020

FAN FILMS Invade SWFF 2020!


Some of my favorite stories from independent filmmakers have been from when someone has used pre-existing property and characters and crafted a story that the original filmmakers would/could never have attempted.  These “Fan Films” have been around since the earliest films ever made.  Someone could make the case that Nosferatu (1922) is the first Fan Film!  With this, I am a little ashamed that even though we have screened fan films at previous events, we have never had an actual category for this genre.  We have fixed that for this year as Fan Films are now one of our official genre selections and I am happy to announce some of this year’s selections!

But first, I’d like to take a few moments to acknowledge why we need Fan Films and why it is so important for filmmakers to continue making these films (or if you’ve never thought about doing one, you might think about it now).  The very first film I ever worked on with Southlan-Films (the owner of which is our 2020 Lifetime Achievement award recipient Ron McLellen) is “Night of the Hungry Dead”  which took the traditions of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) and flipped them on their head.  It is the story of a serial killer whose victims come back to life and surround him in his house with a group of people who burst in on him needing haven.  The plot pretty much follows that of the Romero film except with the added story elements of the serial killer.  I played three different zombies in the film!  It was such a fun and exhilarating film to make with a group of actors and crew familiar with the Romero film.   They got the comedy and the subtext of the film.  The film was successful on the festival circuit where McLellen even made a special 3-D version!

In addition to playing a lot of film festivals and being successful online the film started a lifelong friendship between many of the people involved where some of the cast & crew returned to work with McLellen on future Fan Films.  McLellen and co-writer Dave R. Watkins pretty much were fine tuning the script as we filmed but having the added bonus of having a plot ready made for them, the script went very easy (and there were many funny suggestions from the cast & crew).    The film has a built in audience (which is why so many people have seen it) and even though there are some shortcomings, it is still a highly entertaining film as we weren’t trying to make high art but a film that the fans would enjoy (faults and all!).

The success of the film eventually led to McLellen tackling Fan Films based on his most cherished characters and franchises such as Halloween (he made the Fan Films Return of the Sandman and Revenge of the Sandman, separate stories from each other), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (he made TCM: New Blood), and for Friday the 13th (he made The Man in the Lake, for which I have a “Story by” credit).  I worked on all these films and with the exception of McLellen playing Leatherface, we had actors clambering to be in these films especially those who wanted to play Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees.  We had some amazing makeup artists on board to help with the over the top gore and kill scenes and all the while the entire cast and crew had great fun making films that they could tell people they died in.  It is always cooler to say you died by the hands of Michael of Jason rather than by some unknown slasher or serial killer.

Fan Films can be pretty much made of anything.  Some of the most popular that I’ve seen have been from Star Wars and Star Trek (in which some filmmakers put some major money into) but there are tons of horror fan films based on not only the characters previously mentioned but the likes of Hellraiser, Child’s Play (my very first short film was inspired by this franchise), Hatchet, and many more.  A growing trend over the last decade have been superhero fan films, which we have a couple screening this year!  Also of note are those Fan Films based on literature such as Stephen King’s “Dollar Babies” (you’ll have to look this one up if you’ve never heard it) and I’ve even seen some Harry Potter ones as well! 

As filmgoers we have all been disappointed by a sequel to one of our favorite films and Fan Films have given filmmakers a means to tell more stories about the characters they love and to share them with a bigger audience.  These films are put together not because of any monetary means (as you cannot sale or make any money off a Fan Film) but simply because of the love of it and the need to continue telling stories.  Actors are given the opportunity to play characters they would probably never get the chance to (I for one played a Security Guard who gets his head twisted backwards by Michael Myers in Return of the Sandman).  I mean, one of my favorite Fan Films is “Godzilla Vs Bambi” (a really short animation) and “Droids” (a Star Wars version of COPS).

Getting into the Fan Films we are screening this year I will first mention our two Star Wars inspired films which is the Toy Story meets Star Wars film “Droid Story” from filmmaker Alexa Sheehan which shows the journey of one droid who ventures out into the real world for the first time.  It is a cute film that will appeal to a young audience.  If you want something more mature look no further than Joshua van ‘t Hoff’s “The Path of the Greys” which has some amazing visual effects and cinematography especially in terms of the fight at the end.  This is a film that will not disappoint Star Wars fans!

A huge number of this year’s submissions were from the superhero genre of which we are screening three.  We are screening Rob Ayling’s “Living in Crime Alley” which is a Batman Fan Film that is less about Batman and more about Crime Alley which has been a fixture in the comic books and films.  Batman does make an appearance but Ayling focuses more on character which elevates the film.  Next up are two films from director Chris R. Notarile with his shorts “Domino” and “Typhoid Mary” which feature characters from the Marvel comic universe.  Notarile may be one of the most prolific Fan Film filmmakers I have ever came across as he has made short films and trailers of virtually every possible franchise and these are just two of his filmography.  The great thing about his films is that he has crafted universes with his franchises in which he continues stories from one character to the next while also uses the same actors to create continuity! 

Our final selection in the Fan Film category is the Stephen King based film “Willa” from director Corey Mayne.  I will not give anything way with this film based on a short story by King.  For those that do not know, King himself has encouraged amateur and young filmmakers to craft short films based on his work through his “Dollar Babies” program (so please look this up if you haven’t already) and therefore its well known that there are tons of King Fan Films out there.

I am very happy with the selections we have this year and look forward to having even more for next year’s event!  I want to encourage filmmakers and storytellers to continue making Fan Films and if you have never made one, to test it out.  As I end this article, I will say that it has been almost ten years since I last worked on a Fan Film and I hope to get mine finished this year for next year’s event!  I have got a Stephen King’s “It” trilogy of short films I am working on and I am looking forward to showing audiences my take on the iconic characters!

Make sure to pick up your Tickets now through Film Freeway (https://filmfreeway.com/somethingwickedfilmfestival/tickets) or Ticket Leap (https://something-wicked-film-festival.ticketleap.com/something-wicked-film-festival/)!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

2020 Special Screenings!


As 2020 marks the 5th Anniversary of Something Wicked Film Festival (www.somethingwickedfilmfestival.com), we wanted to do something special for our audience since this year’s event will be completely an Online Festival event.  One of the things we will be offering is the 5th Year Anniversary of Festival Director Kevin L. Powers’ feature film House of Secrets (2015) which screened at the very first SWFF event!  Powers will be offering an intro to the film among other great material to celebrate the occasion.

Next up is the 15 Year Anniversary of HELL’S END from our 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Ron McLellen!  He returns to our event after having opened the very first year of our event with his All Hallows Eve: The Lord of the Harvest: Director’s Cut!  Hell’s End is the filmmaker’s little seen sci-fi/horror/WWII feature.  More special announcements to be announced for this film later!  In addition to this special screening, SWFF will hosting special screenings of several of McLellen’s celebrated horror fan films to celebrate our new Fan Film category for our event.  We will definitely be screening the festival favorite “Revenge of the Sandman” based off the popular Michael Myers franchise, but we are also looking into screening some of his other fan films as well, so, we look forward to announcing more news on that soon.

Although we will not be doing any GA Spotlight Screenings this year (as part of the great thing about these screenings is for audiences to meet the filmmaker), we hope that what we do offer will get filmmakers and audiences just as excited!

We will still have our Panel Discussions (all Live throughout the weekend) and the added bonus of live filmmaker interviews!  This will be an amazing weekend come this August 7-9th!  We hope you will join us!  Tickets for the event can be purchased through Film Freeway (https://filmfreeway.com/somethingwickedfilmfestival/tickets) and/or Ticket Source (https://something-wicked-film-festival.ticketleap.com/something-wicked-film-festival/).

#somethingwickedff #somethingwickedfilmfestival

Monday, July 13, 2020

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – RON McLELLEN


When giving a Lifetime Achievement Award to any filmmaker we have to look at the career of an individual in regards to their effect on their community, the industry, and their career as a whole.  Sometimes the individual is still working in the industry while other times they have retired or in some cases have died.  In the case of this year’s recipient of the award we had to first look for an individual in Georgia whom we believe has had an impact on their community and then in regards to their career.

In the case of our 2020 recipient – Ron McLellen, he has a long history in the horror genre, which just so happened to be his chosen genre.  During his early military career McLellen did his film studies from abroad while serving his country.  Once out or the military he started a career that almost immediately went straight to features.  Many of his early shorts (of all genres) are now lost, but he would first make his splash on the independent scene with the feature film THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (2002).  This film utilized a huge cast of Georgia based talent in his homage to his favorite horror films Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a diverse group of kids are giving the opportunity to win a lot of money if they could survive the night at a camp ground while being hunted down by a family of hillbillies dressed in clown outfits.  The film was plagued with problems as he lost half his original cast during early filming and had to re-shoot most of the film.  This actually worked in his favor as he used footage from the first attempt of filming as flashbacks in the final film as no footage was left on the cutting room floor.  The film is most notable now for being the debut film for actress AnnaLynne McCord (of Nip/Tuck and the reboot of 90210) but it is with his enduring collaboration with Georgia filmmakers Dave R. Watkins and Brent Brooks that would really help cement his relationships with Georgia filmmakers. 

McLellen would spend the next two years before his next feature collaborating with Watkins and Brooks on the competition short film “Night of the Hungry Dead” (2004), part of a competition that paid homage to zombie films and George A. Romero, and as an actor in Watkins’ debut feature STRAGGLERS (2004), which McLellen also co-produced.  With this, McLellen’s career was off and running!

He would next tackle his homage to John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) with his first Halloween themed film JACK O’LANTERN (2004), which allowed him to continue collaborating with Watkins, David Chillan, Joel Hunter, and Greg Thompson, who all worked with his in his previous films but armed with an actual budget he was able to bring in a full and diverse cast and crew on his biggest production yet!  This film found a group of friends chased down by a monster of vengeance after they accidentally kill someone and try to cover it up.  This has a lot of Halloween and Pumpkinhead (1988) in it and even a little of Final Destination (2000) in the way of all the deaths seemingly to have been caused by accidents.  This film would eventual play in several film festivals before getting picked up by Lionsgate Home Entertainment as one of their (many) Halloween releases that year.  This was also the first of McLellen’s three picture collaboration with Hayes Productions.

No time was wasted as McLellen went straight ahead with his second film for Hayes Production and one of the most ambitious in his career which is the time traveling WWII horror & sci-fi film HELL’S END (2005)!  This saw a soldier from the future go back in time to WWII to stop a crazy Nazi scientist from experimenting on soldiers in a POW camp to genetically create a monster that could help the Nazis win the war.  This required the production to convert a Boys Scout camp into a POW camp in Northern Georgia for the two weeks of filming.  The most amazing thing about this film is that this was McLellen’s first large scale production having to cast almost fifty people to play the Nazis and the POW soldiers (not to mention the over 60 extras required for the large crowd scenes and the final escape at the end of the film).  Along with the amazing cast which includes Tom Thon, Rob Elwood, Michael H. Cole, Scott Hodges, Vince Pisani, Brian Avenet-Bradley, Chris Burns, Dave R. Watkins and Jennifer Osburg (as the only female of the all-male cast), among many more!  McLellen was also the costume designer and put together authentic Nazi, British, American, and other nationalities of the POW soldiers including some amazing futuristic costumes.  Unlike McLellen’s previous films this one would more rely on characters and WWII action than on any horror tropes which made selling the final film to a distributor problematic.  This didn’t stop McLellen from pushing the film to film festivals and then embarking on his third film for Hayes Productions – CREATURES OF THE NIGHT.

Unfortunately, CREATURES OF THE NIGHT had problems from beginning to end and this film was never completed despite having an amazing cast and crew.  The film would have been McLellen’s second film to take place during WWII but heading the advice of his sales agent, this film would have had lots more monsters with its vampires verses werewolves verses Nazis!  A regiment of Nazi soldiers in Romania take residence in a castle where the family within are all werewolves who have their own race war with the local gypsies, who happen to be vampires!  About 80% of the film was complete before being shut down temporary to work only the final special fx.  With an entire cast and crew made up of Georgia talent, McLellen reused props and elements from his previous film and enhanced them for this film including the fact that the film was shot on location at an actual castle in Georgia that would masquerade as Romania!  Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, this film would never resume filming and never be completed.  McLellen’s collaboration with Hayes Production would now be at an end.

This would not stop McLellen as elements of COTN would find their way in McLellen’s  “Der Soldat” (2006), a film completely in German, and “The Spider & The Fly” (2007), which shows a glimpse of the battle between the Germans and the Gypsy vampires.  Also, while COTN was first put on hold, McLellen would craft his homage to one of his favorite films Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).  This film would be BAD LAND (2007) which would marry his love of the killer back woods family with voodoo and mad scientist culture with a group of college students during pledge week who are dropped off in the middle of nowhere and must fend for themselves.  Unbeknownst to them, they’ve been dropped off on private property of a back woods family who wll kill to keep their family secrets safe from outsiders.  This is probably the fasted McLellen ever shot a film as it was filmed almost all during the day on weekends and some nights over the course of about a month.  He shot this film while waiting to get back into production on COTN and wanted to finish this film before moving back to that film.  Not wanting to use the same cast as was in COTN, this would be one of his biggest films casting wise as it would be his first collaboration with actors he’d never worked with before.  This was his first film with actors West Cummings, Jennifer Cudnick, Beth Keener, Justin Geer, Greer Howard and many more.  His regular collaborators Cesar Aguirre, Scott Hodges, Michael H. Cole, Ondie Daniel, and Roland Force would be a few of his regular repertoire to return in this film.  Unfortunately for this film, despite being a fun and fast slasher film, Bad Land comes off as part of a trend on back woods killer films of this time.  The film enjoyed a lot of success on the festival circuit!

It would be several years before McLellen would again tackle a feature film due to the fallout of his collaboration with the Hayes Production company.  In 2011, McLellen’s next feature AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE (2011) would be a return to his roots in paying homage to holiday horror films!  Taking inspiration of Christmas stories, McLellen crafts an anthology of Christmas themed horror stories!  This would be one of his true collaborations with his repertoire of past cast and crew!  Returning to help him craft this film is Watkins, Force, Peg Thon, and many more!  This film was partially filmed on location of many of his previous films which is the property of Roland Force (who also manages to cameo or star in most all McLellen’s films).  If you look closely, you’ll recognize many of the same locations appear in most of McLellen’s films but this film is also filmed on location in many different locations to give the anthology a bigger and more expansive look.  This is probably his biggest list of different locations yet! 

A year later McLellen would set his sights on his biggest and most expansive and ambitious film ALL HALLOWS EVIL: LORD OF THE HARVEST (2012).  This film paid homage to TRICK ‘R TREAT (2007), as the film is an anthology film that follows a lot of different characters and stories that interconnect culminating in a third act that brings everything together.  The story follows a misunderstood student who summons an Evil Force and lets lose all manner of demons and monsters on Halloween!  There are ghosts, werewolves, witches, and all other manner of ghouls and goblins that plague the small town cursed on this Halloween night.  The director’s cut runs almost 3 hours but there is a shorter festival cut of the film as well.  This is McLellen’s most successful festival film as both versions played numerous festivals for years despite the film never having found an official distributor.

Although ALL HALLOWS EVIL would currently be his last feature as director the time in between features would mark a new era for McLellen as he decided to make several films for horror fans with his fan films “Return of the Sandman” [Halloween, 2009], “Revenge of the Sandman” [Halloween, 2012], “The Man in the Lake” [Friday the 13th], and “TCM: New Blood” [Texas Chain Saw Massacre, 2013] among a lot of various other shorts.  It’s also important to note that in addition to his early shorts before MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, there are a lot of “lost” films which includes his sci-fi/horror film “From Above” and his first anthology feature THE SAYER. 

This doesn’t even include all the other films and projects he did outside his own career which includes starring in Watkins’ comedy web series “The Lumber Baron of Jasper County” and feature film RETURN OF THE JACKALOPE (2006).  He also helped in the areas of editing, producing, and cinematography with such films as HOUSE OF SECRETS (2015), “Primal” (2013), “The Vail” (2009), THE SYSTEM (2016), TEARS OF BANKERS (2012), just to name a few.  McLellen has used working with other films as a means to work on all other genres when not working on his own horror films.

During all these years McLellen also managed to run his own film festival Fright Fest Film Festival in in 2003 which then became the Cine-Macabre Film Festival in 2004 (due to some naming rights issues with Six Flags Over Georgia’s similarly named Halloween event).  McLellen’s film festival originated in Gainesville where he makes his home and where many of his films were shot.
Over the last several years McLellen has turned towards his second passion which is music!  Having scored the music for all his films as well as other film-makes’ productions, McLellen’s love of music led him to collaborating with several different bands which continues to this day as he finds a new outlet to indulge his creative and artistic tendencies. 

Throughout McLellen’s career, he has managed to influence and effect not only the creative arts in various cities but have also had tremendous support from those same cities such as Gainesville (the place he calls home and was influential with his film festival as well as productions such as Bad Land and Jack O’Lantern), Rome (on All Hallows Evil, Tears of Bankers, The System) and many more.  He’s managed to cultivate a huge repertoire of cast and crew that repeatedly returned on various films.  Even though he has not directed a film in several years his influence can still be felt within the indie film industry where his films continue to be available through various streaming and online services.

 For this reason, SWFF is presenting McLellen with our 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award!  In honor of this occasion we will be screening the 15 Year Anniversary of his film HELL’S END and his final fan film “Revenge of the Sandman.”  We hope that you join us this August 7-9 for our Online Festival Event!  Tickets on sale now through Film Freeway (https://filmfreeway.com/somethingwickedfilmfestival/tickets) and Ticket Leap (https://something-wicked-film-festival.ticketleap.com/something-wicked-film-festival/) and for more info about SWFF visit us at www.somethingwickedfilmfestival.com

*Not all of McLellen’s films are mentioned in this article and there are even more lost to time but you can find more info on his through Facebook and You Tube!

Here Comes Something Wicked DocuFest 2021!

Submissions for our 2021 Something Wicked DocuFest is now Open!  We want to see all your non-fiction films whether they be political, social...