Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The 'Zombie Girl Diary' kills at The Eerie Horrorfest

The cast of the upcoming movie "Zombie Girl Diary" made a special guest appearance at the Erie Horror Film Festival this last weekend. This exciting new movie in the zombie horror genre will chew up the screen early next year. It was my pleasure to find out more about this upcoming movie from the film's Writer/Director and Special Effects Director Michael Pine and the films stars Vanessa Rae Bent and Jim Krut.

When is “The Zombie Girl Diary” coming out?
Mike: Hopefully the beginning of 2013.

Briefly describe the movie’s synopsis.
Mike: It’s the survival of a little girl and her mother trying to survive a Zombie Apocalypse, and meeting some others along the way. Trying to survive any way they can.

What was the inspiration of the movie?
Mike: The concept is the point of view of a little girl and what she has to go through. Which I have never seen done in film before.

The Zombie Girl herself, Mikayla Wagaman
Is there a lot of Family interaction; is it kind of a family drama?
(Mike and Vanessa both laugh and knowingly look at each other. There is obviously more than your usual family interaction in the movie!)
Mike: ah…yes…very much!
Jim: There are two twists in that family business though, not to let the cat out of the bag, but there are definitely going to be some twists.

Are there any zombie movies that gave you inspiration?
Mike: No not really, we sort of went our own little way.

Have you made any movies before this one?
Mike: No, no. this is the first one. I am by trade a special effects artist, so I have worked on a few other films like “Lovely Molly”, “South Mountain” and “Dead Love”.

And Vanessa, what movies have you done before?
Vanessa: I worked on "Jebediah" and "Garden of Hedon", but this one has stood out to me because Mike had such a comfortable feeling on set and let the actors have such creative freedom and that is something really, really special. When you get in that situation everybody just seemed to bond and help each other. I was sad to see it end, even though the end is the beginning in film making, but I was sad to see it end just because of the experience of it.

Vanessa Rae Bent and Mike Pine
So you really became a family?
Mike: Yes, definitely!

Who else is in the cast?
Mikayla Wagaman, Tim Cassidy, Hillary Styer,  Jimmyo Burrill and Eliza Jayne.

Why a Zombie movie?
Mike: Zombies have been my favorite genre from Jim’s Dawn of the Dead to night of the Living Dead. The Romero films and the independent films that are out there that are really good.

Was there any difficult special effects in the film?
Mike: Well usually there are always problems because not everything goes as planned every time. We had some issues but all in all for a film I could not ask for anything better because we got so much on first takes. I could not ask for a better group of people to work with.

Legendary Zombie actor Jim Krut 
And Vanessa how was it acting in a Zombie film?
Vanessa: Oh, I got to the point that I was the character. The intensity filming this was amazing. And as an actress that is kind of why you do this you get to step out of yourself and  become someone else and in this I for sure definitely became someone else.

Did it give you nightmares?
Vanessa: YES! YES! And I have been told that I have a really good scream so…
Mike: Ear piercing! Very ear piercing!
Vanessa: And I have to say that Jim to be mentored and to work with somebody of his caliber was an honor, truly.
Jim: that is very kind of you Vanessa, thank you.

What was the most challenging scene for you as an actress in the movie?
Vanessa: You will know it when you see it, that is all I am going to say! There is chaos and madness and you will know. And it was just awesome and scary at the same time, I have to admit that sometimes I was scared to death. You will have to guess when I am acting and when I am really scared out of my mind.

Was there any improvisation?
Vanessa: Yes and that is what was really wonderful about Mike because he allowed us to have that creative choice and that was a wonderful freeing thing as an actress, to be able to make your character come to life.
Vanessa Rae Bent autographs a poster for a fan as fellow
"Zombie Girl Diary" actress Eliza Jayne looks on
Mike: I think that personally, a script is just a guideline. Your actors are the ones that make your vision come true and if you push them to what the script actually says then they don’t feel comfortable doing it then you are not going to get the best performance out of them and I think allowing them to be able to take it in their own way but still being able to follow the guidelines of where it is going you get so much better work out of the actors.
Jim: that was great working with Mike in that way say to whether a character can go this way or that way  because it was an open book still. And we would say do you think a character would go this way or that way and he would say what do you think? And there was a lot of freedom to add and to interpret the role. And on larger sets on non independent films you don’t necessarily have that. So that is one of the beauties of independent films. When you work with someone who has a vision but they are large enough to let that vision fill in its own gaps. And so it was a pleasure to work on this film and as Mike said there were some great people to work with.

The beautiful Vanessa Rae Bent
Where are you in the film making stage right now with the movie?
Mike: We are still editing, and we still have more audio to do. We are hoping to have all that done by the end of the year. Hopefully by in the end by 2013 we will have it out there. So hopefully by next year we will be back here in Erie to see it on the big screen.

With all the Zombie Apocalypse talk going around on the Internet and everywhere, what would you do in a Zombie Apocalypse? Is there a special weapon that you would use or a special place that you would go?
Vanessa: I would try to keep my heart, as long as I possibly could. And just go out that way. I would probably just try to use the core of who I am. In a positive way, I know it would be an emotional tug of war.
Mike: I don’t know. I guess in that situation it is life or death so you do whatever you can to make it as long as you can. You are either gonna be turned or you are gonna live. So you have to fight to live and that is what I am going to do.
Mike Pine onset
Jim: It was interesting, I was at a screening last week and we had 5 authors who had written stories about Zombies. And they all talked about the preparations you need to make. And one of them said, do you have your preparations made? And the author said ‘Oh yeah I have all my stuff at home.’ And they said what if you were here in this hotel and the Zombie Apocalypse began? What would you do now? Which is kind of an interesting perspective, the author said ‘well my ready bag is in my truck with all my other gear and weapons.’ So you can prepare but if you are not where your preparations are, you will miss the boat.

It was great to meet Mike and Vanessa in person and talk to Jim on a conference line. (Jim was busy at another engagement that weekend) The cast was very open and personable and their vision for film makes 'Zombie Girl Diary' a highly anticipated film for 2013.

Coming up soon is another "Zombie Girl Diary" interview with actress and model Eliza Jayne.

For more news on 'Zombie Girl Diary' go to their Facebook Page and give it a look and like!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Makeup Artist "Monster" Mark Kosobucki at the Eerie Horrorfest

This is the second in a series that will focus on the talent and celebrities that will appear at this year’s Erie Horror Film Festival. The Eerie Horrorfest will take place from October 11th to the 14th at the historic Warner Theater in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania.

“Monster” Mark Kosobucki is a talented local Erie artist. Those who know the contemporary Erie arts and entertainment milieu know Mark’s artistic talent well. Not only has his artwork highlighted many local bands and adorned some covers of popular local news publications, he is also a talented motion picture special effects artist ( and sculptor. In addition to his hectic schedule in the arts, Mark has been giving seminars on how to do practical motion picture special effects at the Erie Horror Film Festival for the last couple of years. I caught up with Mark at his home studio last week.
"Monster" Mark's Loft Lair

How did you get the name Monster Mark?
It sort of happened in High School, because I was really getting into movies and all that and someone came up with that. I thought if it is easier for them to remember that rather than Kosobucki then it’s good.

Just a small portion of Mark's movie collection
How did you get into art?
I had been drawing since I was a kid and I really loved watching movies. I would watch them over and over again. One in particular was “Dick Tracy” the Warren Beatty. It was an all star cast, and the make up was perfect! All those characters, they brought them to life. I always tell people when they bring up comic book movies, that was really the best one, ever. I started with pen and ink and eventually went into photography. I always loved special effects in movies. And everyone always has that pipe dream that they would really love to do that. And before I went into High School they started the Savini program. And I was like ‘I really wanna do that!’ so, when I graduated it was new and they were not accredited yet, so I waited after I attended Edinboro University and so here we are.

What was the first medium that you started working in?
Just pencil, pen and ink. Just working on little doodles and stuff. I used to get sketch books for Christmas and stuff.

The entire attic of Mark’s house has been converted into a monster makeup and art studio, along with an extensive collection of movies from the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genre. He has a few recent zombie face molds sitting next to his couch and television. Mark explains:
Mark's current project: a Zombie head
I try to keep my work confined to up here because if it would tend to be cluttered downstairs if I take up the living room and everything. I just watch movies and plug away at stuff. These are two of ones I am going to have at the Horrorfest this year. This is a new guy, I actually had him molded and sculpted for over a year, it took me forever to clean out the mold. I really wanted to have a real cool zombie, I had one of him made for a movie premiere I went to in August and I sold him within like 10 minutes, so it was great. 

What is your favorite medium right now? Besides special effects, but what else are you currently working on?
 I love sculpting, I love sculpting monster heads it is something from nothing, you know? That is kind of really cool to me but I definitely get more work in graphic design, illustrating and stuff like that. I have always loved the artwork that would tag along with movies. It is almost unheard of now, but in the 70s and 80s not having a hand drawn illustration for your movie was almost unheard of. And I always loved the hand drawn artwork as opposed to photos and stuff.

So what are some of your current projects now in the medium of pen and ink artwork?
Some of Mark's posters for local bands
I just finished a poster for The Crooked I last night, they are doing a tribute to Black Sabbath on the 27th. It is called ‘Electric Funeral’ and they are one of my all time favorite bands and when they came up to me and said they were doing this I was like wow, I know all the lyrics to their songs. I did a poster for that it is 24X36 , I had a friend who commissioned me a print for the movie “Them” the giant ants. I’m working now with the Erie Reader, that is free around town. I did a cover for them called the “Weight of War” about PSD and I asked if I could do a Halloween cover too and I did that. The Halloween cover is going to be so cool, it has Glenn Strange as the Frankenstein’s Monster. The PSD article is a good story, it makes you think. I am happy they let me be the voice for that as far as art goes.

Now at this Horrorfest you are in a movie as well as doing the special effects.
"Skull Forest" (2012)
I am in a movie called ‘Skull Forest’ I was the Key effects artist on it. My friend Len Kabasinski made it, and I have shown it to my family and friends and they say it is his best yet. I am really proud of it, I think everyone did a good job on it and I think it will go over very well. Hopefully he will get a really good distribution deal from it. It was filmed in Erie, a lot of it was filmed in Fairview. One of the guys in the movie James Howells, his family had a fairly large amount of land and we used the woods out there. The Plot is kind of like “The Most Dangerous Game”, these four girls go into the woods to have a weekend away, and they end up being caught in an organized hunting ring where they put in bids like a lottery and if you are selected you get to go into the woods and hunt somebody.

Were the effects challenging?
What scared me the most, because I had never done it before was the scalping. There is a Native American character in the movie, when she takes the life of one of the girls she scalps her. I always remember the movie “Maniac” when it comes to that because that movie had the best version of that effect. I don’t know who Savini had working with him but they had some really good effects for removing the scalps of these women in this movie and it always stuck with me. But it was challenging and I had a plan for it and it worked pretty good. And I think it looks good on screen, when they did the premiere for it, it was all cast and crew and everything and that was the one effect and when it appeared on screen there was somebody down front that actually screamed out because it actually grossed them out heavily. It was very vindicating, because you are like, “they are buying it!”

Is there any other work that you are involved in lately?
Mark and his "6 Degrees of Hell" poster at the movie's premiere
I have been working with a producer that I met at Horrorfest last year, his name is Harrison Smith. I believe he produced the movie “The Fields” with Cloris Leachman and Tera Reed. He was down there and just finished filming the movie “6 Degrees of Hell” with Corry Feldman, and he met me through Josh Emmerich who did the ‘Basket Case’ comic and Herrison like my artwork and gave me the job to do the graphic novel of Six Degree’s of Hell’s opening sequence, which is quite a story it has a beginning, middle and end of course where the girl dies. I got to allude to what Cory Feldman does in the movie as a paranormal investigator and in addition to that he gave me the task to do the official poster for that movie. We got to meet Corey Feldman, the premier was in the Pocono’s it was red carpet and the media was there. All the VIPS got a copy of my poster and it was up on a billboard. It was pretty cool. He has a new movie in post called “Dead TV” and I did some poster work for it, I don’t know the plot yet, but I heard that he wants me to do the movie poster for that as well. Eric Roberts is in it, and last I knew Daniel Harris I don’t know if the cast has changed or not.

What are your future goals?
I did the poster for the event for band Calabrese and they liked it so much they made it the cover for their album. I had listened to the band since I was in school and it totally surreal for me; they have a huge backdrop of my art. It is crazy. I would love to do art for a living and not have to worry about a paycheck so much. I would like to turn this house into a studio, a fully functional mass media studio that has graphic design and special effects and video production. I would like to offer that to the community. I have one friend named Richard who is going into the Savini program and asked me to mentor him for his senior project and I hope that we can work together on these movies. Because right now it is ok to do these smaller independent movies, but it would be nice to give someone these mold making jobs while I sculpt other things. I would like to bring on a few friends and pull resources and get something functional in this creepy old house by the cemetery. It really fits in with the community.

To look at more of Mark’s work or to contact him to do professional work visit his website at
Tickets for the Eerie Horrorfest and a list of other celebrities appearing there this year  can be found at their website . A daily pass will also be available for purchase at the door during the event. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Slenderman Book

This Halloween season give a gift that will send shivers up their spine, "Slenderman:From Fiction to Fact"!

The book has been consistently in the top of the charts on Amazon's Folklore and Mythology listing since August and positive comments have been rolling in! Order yours today to get it by Halloween!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pastor Swope on the Creedence and Bishop Radio Show

Tonight October 1st it will be my pleasure to be on "The Creedence and Bishop Show" go the the link to listen live at 8:30pm EST, or come back later to hear the archive.