SOV Flashback Classics – Suicide 2

Welcome back to another SOV Flashback Classic update and another entry from the history of Independent B Movie’s video vault! We are on the fourth film in the history of this Dayton, Ohio shot-on-video company and marked the end of Fairmont Productions and the start of Independent B Movie and all its sub branches that include Acid X, Dark Soul Productions and Jive Turkey. And the film that is the topic today is the first sequel we ever made and one that for years was considered our most watched film as it always played at parties and gatherings and was considered our peak film for quite a while. I am talking about Suicide 2, the hit sequel to our first film Teen Suicide! I am very much looking forward to looking back on Suicide 2 as this film is the one that the likes of co-founder of Independent B Movie Brandon Womeldorff always looked at as the best film in the company’s long history of shot on video films only rivaled by 2002’s “Razor” in his eyes, and really was the film that kicked off years of films to follow as it was the bar that was set for them to reach. So if you are ready, let’s go back to 1999 when Matt returned to get his revenge on those who tormented him and forcing him to attempt to take his own life!

In 1999 after making the films Teen Suicide, Twisted Batman, Cask of Amontillado and The Things They Carried, I graduated High School and so ended my time at Fairmont and I also thought maybe could have ended our movie making days as a group of friends because we had always used the school’s cameras and editing systems to pull off them all besides Twisted Batman. While I was out of school, the rest of the guys Matt Hoffman, Brandon Womeldorff, Dan Salter, Dave Wean, Rion Neeley and Linda Webb were all still students starting their senior year, and we all stayed close friends as while they were at school, I was working a job at the grocery store Krogers as a bagger. And the thing that was killing me was the fact I knew that they could and would make more films that year and maybe if I was lucky I would be asked to act in them, and then the idea happened. One day while eating lunch at fast food restaurant Wendy’s Brandon pitched the idea of making a sequel to Teen Suicide and calling it Suicide 2…and during this talk many ideas were thrown around from it following another kid from the school who was being picked on by the same group of bullies, the idea of a unknown masked killer stalking the bullies was very briefly discussed and also the idea of having Matt survive the suicide attempt and going for revenge was chatted. And after everyone saying their ideas and which ones they liked, it was decided that Matt had to return as he needed his time to shine and fight back. Plus this time it was not going to be a silent film and would be more of an Action Horror flick with lots of supernatural elements.

The film was cast first before the script was even written and of course Matt Hoffman was back as Matt, Brandon Womeldorff once more played The Car Thief Bully with Scott Harman back as Bully 3 with a name change to Karate Killer Bully, and I was Bully 2 this time around called The Silent Predator! Dave Wean was the Crazy Man Bully, Dan Salter was Skate Boarder Bully with Rion Neeley being Roof Man Bully, who rounded out film’s baddies. We also added to the cast was Linda Webb as the Girlfriend and Jacquelyn Maxwell as a streetwalker. And once the names were in place, Brandon got hard at work on doing the script and also took ideas that both Hoffman and I added as I wanted to add a dark satanic element to the bullies and Hoffman picked the ways he would get revenge on the bullies. After only a week, the script was done and Suicide 2 was ready to film! And the film was shot on a Super-VHS camera for those wondering.

We started filming and tried to stay in order of the script as the film was made in the middle of the school year for them, and graduation was just around the corner so as we filmed it, Brandon was editing away on the Avid Editing Machine and I was asked to also run camera for many scenes as well as produce it, as I had a job at the time and could pay for some of the small amount of supplies. The first day of filming took place on a sunny day just after a night filled of thunderstorms, and we headed back to State Farm Park and the “Suicide Hill” location only after stopping at K-Mart once more and picking up some ketchup to use as blood. The first day of filming used a very small crew as it was Hoffman, Brandon, Dave and myself and with me getting the honor of squirting the “blood” on Hoffman’s head started the production of Suicide 2 and set the mood and tone of this second film. The production of this film took a few months as it had the biggest cast we ever worked with and they were lucky that they were able to film during the school day so Brandon and Hoffman were able to film with the likes of Dan Salter, Linda Webb and Scott Harman during the day, and in the evening and weekends I would join the film team again as well as play the part of the Silent Predator who was now the leader of the bullies as well was a Satanist who was using dark arts to help gain “powers” for myself as well as my bully crew, and man I had a blast playing this character as he was mean and just scummy and took joy in tormenting Matt who was just trying to live his re-given life and figure out a way to get revenge.

The film during production had many fight scenes and they are some of the worst we have ever filmed, but at the time we thought they looked great…but they were so bad with us looking super stiff and awkward doing fake style moves on each other…but of course because none of us were trained, accidents did happen as on one scene I gave Hoffman a running clothesline while he was sitting on a swing, and well I hit him a little too hard! On many of the Dave Wean and Hoffman fight scenes, things got a little rough and poor Hoffman was on the bad end of a move. In one scene Hoffman is getting beat up by Rion, Dave and myself and by accident I kicked him in the gut and knocked the wind out of him. We also thought that we could pull off many stunts and like with the fighting we were wrong and people ended up getting hurt like in one scene Rion Neeley was hit by a car by Hoffman and the car hit him a little harder then it should have and when he fell to the ground he screwed up his back. Another amazing thing about making this film is that we filmed part of it after the Columbine High School Massacre as were able to pull off fake guns in the schools parking lot as well as show fake bullying in their hallways. Plus the satanic elements of my character were based on my high school time at Fairmont and was a way to make fun of the label that school workers placed on me. Plus we also played with lighting in this film that was a first for us, and Brandon during editing found his love for the use of slow motion to draw out the drama and action of the movies he worked on in the future.

The final shots of the film took place in Hills & Dales Park in Kettering and then Waynesville, Ohio and it was Matt’s showdown revenge with The Silent Predator, and was filmed very late at night with the first part being shot at a shelter at the park with car headlights and a red light used to build the eerie feel, and the Silent Predator even spits out blood like a vampire (it was food coloring and it tasted gross) and after the final fight, we packed up and headed towards Waynesville and at the side of the road we filmed a scene of The Silent Predator with candles and chants bringing back the Car Thief from the dead…it was silly and was cut from the film in the end. Once done Brandon worked super hard to polish the film up and make it look just right and placed music throughout that was mostly just 90’s Techno and Alternative Rock tracks, and once he was done, we had a massive gathering at Linda Webb’s apartment that was complete with pizza, pops, chips and other drinks and we watched the film as a group and we all had a blast laughing and goofing on each others performances. And from then on at many house parties and gatherings Brandon would bust out Suicide 2, and I cannot even count how many times I have seen the film, and for the longest time it was considered the top of the line for our filmmaking group…but that would change a few years later. When Independent B Movie was finally created and we started selling our films Suicide 2 was released on VHS and sold pretty well and made its rounds also doing some small screenings at Conventions, and even played a handful of times on a local Public Access station. Later it would be paired with Teen Suicide on DVD and was our first DVD release that even included commentary and extras and was put together by a young filmmaker Henrique Couto.

Suicide 2 was the main film that kicked off our want to keep making movies as a group as we had a blast making it. I mean sure, at times Matt Hoffman and Brandon Womeldorff would get into drag out verbal fights and would be at odds with each other for days while filming it still was something that just felt very special that we all created together. Even now in 2021 when watching this film it holds a special place in my heart. So I want to say that for these I.B.M films I will write about its plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for Independent B Movie/Bloodline Video films. So if you are ready, let’s take a look at Matt’s second round of fighting for his life against bullies, and also his quest to find death.

Suicide 2
Starring – Matt Hoffman & Linda Webb     Directed by Brandon Womelforff
1999     Not Rated     54min     Independent B Movie     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Matt awakens in the field with blood all over the side of his head five days after he put a gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. He is confused and stumbles away from the scene. We then join the Car Thief as he picks up the Kung-Fu bully from school, he is still driving Matt’s car and the pair discuss the return of Matt after the suicide attempt and that they will make Matt pay for not dying. Once back at school Kung-Fu Bully has a run in with Matt and leaves him once more beaten up. The next day Matt is beat up by the High School Security Guard and the next day he is beat up by The Silent Predator and the Crazy Bully! Day after day Matt finds himself the victim of beat downs at the hands of all his tormenters including a new ones called the Roof Man Bully and Skateboard Bully as they all beat him up by themselves or in a groups. Matt’s girlfriend is cheating on him with the Car Thief Bully and even a Prostitute degrades him when he goes looking for love. Day after Day Matt is made fun of and bullied…and he snaps and this time suicide is not his first answer as revenge is on his mind! One by one Matt hunts down his tormentors armed with his gun, car and bare hands and makes them pay by dealing out death. In the end he has a showdown with the Silent Predator and after shooting him all his bullies are dead! Matt then returns home and makes a bomb and straps it to his chest and blows himself up…ending his torment as well as the lives of his bullies.

Thoughts: Watching Suicide 2 after all these years was very cool as so many great memories came back to me about filming this “epic” shot on video backyard film as it was a blast to be once more being creative with my friends from school. Plus I think the making of this film made us all even better friends as we all got to hang out all the time and not only film, but also plan more films as well as other creative outlets even forming a band and well as going on ghost hunts together. The film allowed many of us to also give our ideas and develop our own characters with poor Matt Hoffman being he one who ended up having to be the one who had to be the butt of all the on screen jokes and butt kicking’s. But I must say that Hoffman is the one who got to pick the way we killed off each of the characters that made his characters life miserable and I think he enjoyed that as he got to really build the films action climax. One thing that was also lots of fun was just traveling around town at all hours of the day and night armed with our trusty school borrowed camera setting up shots and situations. This was also the first time in a shot on video film that I used food coloring as blood, and learned that putting a bunch in your mouth to spit out does not look good when you do it way too fast. While this was the fifth film in the history of what would become Independent B Movie it was one that was a blast to make and was our biggest and boldest made for the time as we pushed the limits of what we could get away with while many of the creators and actors were in school. Is it my favorite film we made…not at all…but it is one that I say helped push us all into making the movies that followed that got us some attention in the world of backyard shot on video films.

Grade: B-

Suicide 2 was to also be the start of a series of Suicide films that would have starred Hoffman as the undying anti-hero Matt as he would face off with not only the bullies but later would have fought Asylum workers, demons and even The Devil himself, but this franchise was just not meant to be even though it started production many times and went through many of scripts over the years with Brandon, Hoffman, Wean and myself all have written a treatment at some point. But who knows, while I doubt if a third movie is ever made, I would not rule out Suicide 3 from one of the many scripts being made into a Blood Scream Comic one-shot issue. And also for those interested the character Matt from Teen Suicide and Suicide 2 does make a comic book appearance in the first issue of the Sparkle Comic anthology comic called “Weird Sci-Fi Tales” with the story and art being done by Bruce O’ Hughes. And a “technical” third film was made in 2003 that also acted as a remake called Teen Suicide and was directed by Henrique Couto and featured a female lead being bullied. Well I hope you enjoyed this look back at this SOV classic from not only my past but that of Independent B Movie, the little indie company that could and did. For our next update we are walking away from the shot on video world and entering the world of Puppet Master as we will be taking a look at the Deadly 10 Comic based on puppet Blade for a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! So until next time read an indie comic or three, watch a SOV film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a Full Moon Entertainment Comic good time.

SOV Flashbacks Classics – Twisted Batman Theater

In 1998 coming off the short film Teen Suicide, another project was in the works that was being created by my brother Bryan called Twisted Batman Theater and this was so much different then Teen Suicide as this film did not have any live action actors, it was done completely with action figures with only two voice actors. But I am getting ahead of myself here so let’s take a look at the making of Twisted Batman Theater, the second film ever made in the world of Independent B Movie’s long and winding history!

In 1998 my brother Bryan was attending Sinclair Community Collage in Dayton, Ohio. He was taking a class about the works of William Shakespeare, and for one of his class projects he decided to do a video that would combine the Shakespeare stories Romeo & Juliet as well as Macbeth with DC Comic book characters Batman and Robin, more specifically the 1966 TV versions of the cape crusaders…and he decided to do the film using action figures and make it stop motion! So he spent a couple of weeks writing the script and taking elements from the plays and added in cheesy jokes filled with pop culture references as well as cameos from many super villains and actors. Before the script was done, he contacted our grandparents on my dad’s side and borrowed their VHS camcorder as it had some great built in effects and was perfect for what he needed. He also started digging through our old action figures using his Kenner Superpowers Batman and borrowing my Superpowers of Robin, The Joker and Penguin, my Catwoman figure from Kenner’s Batman Returns toyline not to mention my Toy Biz DC Superhero Figures of The Riddler and Mr. Freeze as well as many other figures from both of our old collections. And once the script was written, he asked me to run camera for him as well as voice a few of the characters and he created the production company Brass Bros, and with that, a second film was in my future.

My brother spent time building sets out of cardboard, construction paper, and we messed with the camera to make sure the angle and zoom was just right to pull off the effect of the figures moving, and of course like all good brothers we argued about many of the technical aspects as at the time of filming Twisted Batman I was also working with the Fairmont Production crew on a few ideas and we were talking about doing a sequel to Teen Suicide and was asked to help my fellow students on some class projects, that I was not fully involved in, but was happy to help on. And of course, this made me think I knew it all about making shot on video films…and of course I didn’t and this production helped me learn that as well as that when its’ someone else’s vision and film, you do what they ask to make it come alive for them. It’s not about me, it’s about them. My brother set up his “sets” in the basement and used the kitchen table we had down there as his base, and once the script was locked and figures selected to play the parts he needed, the true production started. It was a very time consuming production as it had to be done just right as the camera was not only for filming but was also his editing machine so I had to be on and fast moving on that record button. I remember that we did do some test filming, but I honestly do not remember what we shot or used to make sure that the stop motion movements would also be good for the film. Also to keep some figures in place my brother came up with the idea of using poster putty on the bottom of the figures’ feet.

It took several weeks to film it, and I had to film it between school and running around with my friends. What helped make the shoot smoother was that he needed it filmed in order so we started with the credits and with the lights off and a flashlight in hand we filmed the cast near printer paper that looked like brick walls while the classic Batman TV show theme played. It was a really cool opening credits and a great idea by Bryan. We next filmed Batman and Robin investigating the suicides of Romeo and Juliet, and they of course are bumbling around with cheesy dialogue as most of the characters around them were talking from lines from the Shakespeare writings, and best of all Bryan was also voicing the characters and even playing music cues from a boombox and all the while I had to man the record button to get it all just perfect. And even in the middle of this segment, we had to switch backgrounds to make gag that was tied into the 1997 film Titanic! After the case of Romeo and Juliet was “solved” Batman and Robin along with the Gotham Police head to investigate the murder of King Duncan and have to question Macbeth about it only to have run ins with Super Villains and even sinister witches. And after filming a shocking and cliffhanger ending, the principal photography was done and it was a wrap! And once done my brother took the footage and hooked up two VCR’s and editing started. It was a grueling process that took him a while to get just right, but finally the film was done, Bryan had me and my parents watch it as the test group, and it was lots of fun and even while stressful to make, as I have said we had lots of clashes that even had me quitting and coming back several times…the film was something I am proud of being a part of. Oh and on a very cool note, the end credits were written on paper and done INXS style from the music video for Mediate.

So Bryan then took the film to show his class at Sinclair, and it went over very well with his fellow classmates and his teacher really liking it and of course he got a good grade for it, showing that all his hard work was worth it. The crazy thing was that Sinclair even asked Bryan if they could show the film on TV Screens in their newly designed media building for other students to see, and as far as we know, they played it for a few years. Once the film was done, Bryan donated it to the growing Independent B Movie film library and it became apart of the Indie SOV history for us. Bryan after making the film toyed with the idea of making a sequel as the original film ended on a cliffhanger and he figured it would be fun to mix Batman with a few more Shakespeare stories, but sadly it never went past just talking about it that went on for a few years after. The film would make its way to VHS and sold pretty well at conventions for Independent B Movie, but was done in limited amounts as the same thing could be said for the DVD that was very limited in release. Bryan would go on to make a short film called “Nightmare” in 2001 and that year also started a film called “The Kenny Rogers Project” that had stuff filmed but never finished…but more about those on a future update. On another side note, some time around 2006 my friend Joe Grunenwald and I were developing a spin off movie of Twisted Batman that would have been based around Superman and would have had him doing 12 Labors like Hercules in order to save his friends from such super villains as Lex Luther, Brainiac, Doomsday and King Shark, but sadly this film did not make it too far into creative as both of us were short on time. So while Twisted Batman at this point is not available on home media, you can catch it from time to time on the show “Moraine Playhouse Theater” with host The Creeper has hosted it and it plays on Dayton Public Access stations DATV and MVCC and online station The Monster Channel, and for some years many moons back DATV did play the film on air un-hosted.

So I am sure you toy collectors out there reading this are wondering what toys were used in this film and because I am not cruel, I will do my best to let you know! From Kenner’s “Star Wars: Power Of The Force” line he used Lando Calrissian as Lt. Bando the head of Gotham Police. Also used from Star Wars were Stormtroopers as Gotham Cops, Luke Skywalker was Romeo, Grand Moff Tarkin & Luke Skywalker played Romeo and Juliet’s Dad’s. Dengar played the Friar, Jedi Ghost Of Obi-Wan Kenobi played the Ghost of Macbeth, and from Kenner Return Of The Jedi series Princess Leia played Juliet with The Emperor playing King Duncan. From “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” figures from Matchbox, Pee-Wee played a Gotham Cop and from Kenner’s “Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves” line, Robin Hood played Macbeth. From Toy Biz line for “Hercules And The Legendary Journeys” he had Xena Warrior Princess play Lady Macbeth, Hercules played a dead guard and Iolaus played a cutthroat assassin. From the McFarlane Toys, KISS played the Witches from Macbeth. From the Toy Biz series “Spider-Man” he had Kraven The Hunter be another dead body for Macbeth’s segment. And he used the following Batman baddies from the following toylines: from Kenner’s “Batman The Animated Series” he used Bane, Kenner’s “Batman Returns” he used Catwoman, Kenner’s “Super Powers Collection” The Joker and Penguin, and from Toy Biz he used Mr. Freeze and The Riddler from “DC Super Heroes”. He also used a generic plastic boat that was bought from K-Mart to use for one small gag. So as you can see, many action figures made up the cast of this film!

In my long time in the world of shot-on-video filmmaking Twisted Batman theater has remained the only stop motion film I have ever made, and while I have said above Joe and I were working on a Superman idea and even at one point I had an epic Flash Gordon one in mind that would have had Flash Gordon mix with Star Wars, Star Trek, Wizard Of Oz, Saga Of Crystar, Buck Rogers, Battle Star Galactica and King Kong, they just never came to life. So I want to say that for these I.B.M films I will write about the plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for Independent B Movie/Bloodline Video films. Now it’s with great honor that I bring to you the 1998 short film masterpiece Twisted Batman Theater!

Twisted Batman Theater
Starring – Bryan Brassfield & Matt Brassfield     Directed by Bryan Brassfield
1998     Not Rated     38min     Independent B Movie     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Detective Bando and the Gotham Police Force are at the site of a suicide of a young couple Romeo and Juliet, and they call in famed duo Batman and Robin to help solve the crime as it appears to be a suicide but Batman has his doubts as The Riddler and Bane are on the scene and he thinks they murdered the youths! And once the Friar shows up and alerts Bando that the youngsters killed themselves over their love, he is shot by The Riddler, and Batman and Robin take him and Bane down…but Batman also thinks he is still right and that The Riddler is the one who killed them. Bando gets a call that King Duncan has been murdered, and the Cops and Dynamic Duo rush to the castle to investigate the crime. While there, they meet Macbeth and Lady Macbeth who are acting strange and things get out of hand when The Joker is shown to be the Court Jester and the rock band Kiss are Witches who helped set the stage for why the King had to be killed! As Bando rushes Lady Macbeth to safety, she turns out to be Catwoman and knocks him out, as Batman and Robin are captured by The Joker who is joined by Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Penguin and Kiss and are strapped to the big book of Shakespeare and when a gag trap goes off they will be crushed! And this is how this shot on video film ends.

Thoughts: This film is a true flashback of my early days of shot-on-video movies as it really was the first and only time I ever got to work on a stop motion film and is the only shot on video film that I worked directly with my brother on that was finished. When watching what Bryan and myself were able to pull off with a consumer VHS Camera and some old action figures is pretty great as while their movements are crude, they nonetheless are pulled off and it does make the toys feel like they are actors and not toys. Also I must say that Bryan did a great job of showcasing the stories of Shakespeare and while keeping true to the stories for the most part was also able to add a very cheesy 60’s Batman humor to them and have Batman being a goof and Robin and Bando being the true detectives doing the work to solve the crimes. The film’s backgrounds and “sets” are cheap looking yet charming and are clearly homemade but it really does add to the film’s charm. Over all this film is very dated in spots with dated jokes and lines, but it does do a great job of bring goofy laughs to viewers…not to even mention the classic music that he used was lots of fun and helped bring scenes to life, even if he had to rush and hit play on a boombox to make the cues happen. Also watching this made me laugh when I heard my voice doing Paul Stanley of Kiss as well as the laughs for Pee-Wee and The Joker…terrible! Also re-watching this made me remember how fun and stressful this film was to make and also made me really look back and think, man Bryan should have done a Twisted Batman 2 as I think he would have made it bigger, better and funnier!

Grade: B

While Twisted Batman Theater was going strong and wowing the people of Sinclair, at Fairmont High School two other films were being worked on by the Junior Media Class, and one would go on to be an adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe story “Cask Of Amontialldo,” that by many of our original crew is considered one of the best films in our early productions and the other is a bit of a forgotten memory! You see many of my classmates were in other classes together and because most of Fairmont faculty hated me, I was only in a small amount of classes with them and spent most of my days in Media Class being a DJ and editing clips as well had many Study Halls. But for one of their classes, they all had they had to make short films and break into two groups to do so…and because my media teacher seen that deep inside my Metalhead Monster Kid attitude mind, there was an extremely creative person, he talked to that teacher and I was placed in a group to lend a helping hand. I was placed in the group alongside Matt Hoffman and Sarah McMurchy among others and I helped on a production that was based on a war story “Sweetheart Of The Song Tra Bong” that was written by Tim O’Brien, and I even played a dead body in the film killed in action and the worst part of it all is that the film is considered a “lost” film from us, but I am working on some leads to find a copy of the film and when I do, I will do a small update here on Rotten Ink about it. But while that one is gone, Cask Of Amontillado lives on so let’s talk briefly about this film from the early days of Independent B Movie.

Cask Of Amontillado was the second film made at that time and was done by the second group and was of course based on the classic 1846 short story written by Edgar Allen Poe. The film was directed by Rion Neeley, and the group cast Dave Wean as the drunken wine lover Fortunato and Dan Salter played the revenge driven Montressor with Brandon Womeldorff on camera as well as editor, graphics and co-producer. The rest of the crew was made up of Josh Razauskas, Linda Webb and Kelly Ramage, and they filmed many scenes at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Carnival as well as Woodland Cemetery (that they snuck into at night) both places in, of course, Dayton, Ohio! The climatic end of Fortunato being bricked up was done in the basement of Rion’s home and pulled off with a handful of bricks and some cardboard boxes, and the effect looked great for a bunch of High School Media students. The film of course got the group a high grade in the class and the short film would be watched for years at gatherings and parties. I sadly was not involved at all with the making of this film besides releasing it on home media and allowing Horror Hosts to host it on their shows. The short film that was a Fairmont Production had a run on VHS and sold okay for Independent B Movie. It also was released as an extra feature for the DVD release of the 2002 Brandon Wolmeldorff film Razor. It also got the T-Shirt treatment when Independent B Movie decided to celebrate some of the films with shirts. This short film for me also proved that when Brandon Womelforff teamed with Dan Salter, Dave Wean and Rion Neeley, a team like that could not be beat in the world of shot on video films, oh and the film was shot on Super-VHS.

So just like before, for this I.B.M short film I will write about the plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for Independent B Movie/Bloodline Video films. Now it’s with great honor that I bring to you the 1998 short film Cask Of Amontillado!

Cask Of Amontillado
Starring – Dan Salter & Dave Wean       Directed by Rion Neeley
1998     Not Rated     14min     Independent B Movie     VHS     Full Frame

Movie: A carnival is going on and Fortunato is drunk on wine and is stumbling around when he runs into Montressor, a man who unknown to the drunken fool has a taste for revenge in his heart as he feels that Fortunato has disrespected him and his family name. Montressor tricks the drunken fool to follow him with the promise of tasting some wine that he is thinking about buying and the pair leave the carnival and start the journey to the wine cellar. Fortunato follows Montressor across a cemetery and finally they arrive at the wine cellar that is empty and Montressor chains his “friend” to the wall and then bricks him up leaving him to die…before blowing out the candle and ending the feud forever.

Thoughts: Edgar Allan Poe is a master of gothic style horror stories and it was a great choice for Rion Neeley and his crew to pick to do as I know that Rion along with Dave, Dan and Brandon all loved the work of Poe and this was one of his short stories that they could easily pull off with the no budget they had. Rion was also super smart to ask Brandon to step in and be the cameraman as Brandon always had a great eye for shots as well as using his surroundings and even slow motion to build up the tension. The fact that they were able to get night shots at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio also in my opinion built up the foreboding gloomy fate of Fortunato. I also like how they were able to get Wright Patt Air Force Base Carnival to allow them to film as it added that mood of a festival and why Fortunato was so drunk when he meets his “friend” Montressor. They also did a great job casting as Dan Salter pulls off the moody and broody Montressor who has only revenge on his mind and Dave Wean did a great drunk Fortunato. While sadly I did not get to work on this film and only got to see the finished short film, it is a great little student shot on video film that pulls off an entertaining watch.

Grade: B+

1998 was a great year for Independent B Movie as not only was it the year of Teen Suicide but also Twisted Batman Theater, The Cask Of Amontillado and the The Things They Carried (the only lost finished film in our history) and this was only the start of our long legacy in the world of backyard cinema. When we next take a look at a film from I.B.M’s past, it will be Suicide 2 and good news for you readers that update will be coming later in 2021 so make sure to keep your eyes open for that! Our next update will bring us to our Christmas Eve update and will take us to the jungle to meet the Lord Of The Jungle the man named Tarzan! So until next time, read an indie comic or three, watch an indie film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update wait listen “Aaaaah-ah-ah-ah-aaaah-ah-ah-ah”!

SOV Flashback Classics – Teen Suicide

Way back in 1998 I was a senior at Kettering Fairmont High School, a place that I both loved and hated as my fellow students were great, but much of the facility disliked me as I was labeled a Satanist, a trouble maker, and a scumbag metalhead. They threatened to call the police on me  and they had no issues giving me detention, suspending me, kicking me out of classes, trying to expel me and even calling my parents and telling them that they should make me drop out of school! It’s crazy to think that in the late 90’s I was judged by the teachers and such based on the way I dressed as I wore horror movie shirts, 80’s hair bands and comic & TV characters. Plus I was always poorly judged on my artwork of monsters and demons and my writings of spooky stores about killers….they labeled me a threat to others and that’s how the Satanist label was branded on me, because of one terrible art teacher I had in the 9th grade. But because their small minded judgments I would be pulled from classes even if I was getting passing grades and forced into study halls or other classes that they could tuck me away in, and because of this I was placed in Media Class my senior year and that was the best thing for me, even though when they first placed me in the class they had two security guards and a principal escorted me in and sit me away from everyone. Great first impression, am I right? But because of this move I got to learn how to use Super VHS cameras, shoot live school broadcasts, learned how to deck to deck edit, learned Photoshop, how to edit on Avid and how to become a Radio DJ and even had my own shows one being called “Matt And Matt” that was me and Matt Hoffman, a guy that because of this class I became life long friends with. And that was one of the best things about them putting me in this class, I got to meet so many amazing people and friends like Brandon Womeldorff, Dave Wean, Linda Webb, Rion Neeley, Sarah McMurchy, Abigail Keyton, Scott Hunter and many more, all of whom are great people. And because of this class, the shot-on-video, no-budget backyard filmmaking bug that sparkled a creative part of my brain I did not have a means to let out and sparked the birth of Fairmont Productions that would later become Independent B Movie.

Over the years we shot goofy little skits, self-portraits and us just being goofs in the hallways, but it was because of Sociology Class that some of us got to make our first short film about subject that faced teens. This was called “Teen Suicide,” and it became a school cult classic and was a big part of our grade. Many of the Media Students were placed together in this class, and naturally we stuck together as Matt Hoffman, Brandon Womeldorff and myself became a group and took in Scott Harmon and a dude named Chris, and we started to brain storm the idea of what Teen Suicide the short film would be about. After many different ideas we landed on the idea that bullying can lead to youth suicide and we stuck with that idea. Because we were in media class, we also had a pass to leave school grounds to film it and that was a major help as we could take the bullying out of just the hallways and into our character’s normal day-to-day life as well. The “script” was really just ideas that all of us minus Chris came up with. We cast Hoffman as the young man being bullied as sadly he was bullied a lot in school, and Brandon, Scott, Chris and myself all played people that bullied him (I was “Bully 2″), aka we were the real scumbags. When it came down to who was going to direct plus edit the film we all landed on Brandon as he was the best editor of the class and it seemed right that he should also get the directing credit. When it came to camera work, all of us did our part behind the super bulky and heavy Super VHS Camera, and I was slated to also pick some of the music to be used along with Brandon…and of course my selections were W.A.S.P., Motley Crue and Pantera!

The filming took us all over the hallways of the school and we also used the houses of Hoffman and myself. We shot behind Mavericks Cards and Comics in Kettering as well as State Farm Park in Kettering for the film’s tragic ending. My big bullying scene took place behind Mavericks near a weird manmade concrete creek that had me trying to push Hoffman into the water as he hung on for dear life to a pole that was near by. The whole time I had a David Lee Roth type smile on my face with a flannel around my waist and rocking a Whitesnake T-Shirt. The scene went really well and Hoffman looked nervous and slightly scared in the scene, as he really did not want to go into the water…like the scene was planned out. So a few days later we went back to the creek to film him going into the water to maybe slice into the scene and he did so but wore swimming trunks and the add on scene was terrible and was never used and footage lost, so sadly him going into the water will never see the light of day. The film’s ending scene was our big day of production, and if memory serves me right, the only people on set that day was Hoffman, Brandon and myself. The climax had Hoffman shoot himself and fall backwards down a hill in State Farm Park, and I can remember Hoffman was nervous as the stunt was dangerous but after some coaching from Brandon and I, he did it and it looked pretty dang cool for the time. The “blood” we used for the end shot of Matt after he shot himself was ketchup that we bought from K-Mart that was right down the road from the park. Once done with filming that took about 2 weeks to complete, Brandon took the footage and worked his editing magic on the Avid Editing system and it was official Teen Suicide, our first film under the Fairmont Productions banner, was complete!

The day the film was to play in class, our group had to have two people go up and speak to the class about suicide and the film Teen Suicide and after the movie they would have to do a Q&A. After talking it over, it only made sense if Brandon and Hoffman went up as one was the director and the other the main star of the film. The pre-screening talk went well and Brandon and Hoffman gave facts and such about the topic and then it was showtime and man did the film go over well as our fellow students seemed to be drawn in by the film’s subject and the song by Pantera that was Suicide Death Note Part 1 got comments about being well used from them as well. But after the film was over and the Q&A started, things got a little awkward and sad as Hoffman dropped a bombshell on everyone and admitted he had tried to kill himself in the past and ran from the classroom after admitting it. Everyone was shocked and Brandon did his best to wrap up the presentation. The teacher then let me and Brandon go and find Hoffman and talk with him. I am glad she allowed us to do this, as it was something I think that was weighing on Hoffman for a long time and you could tell he felt really good after talking to his friends about it. When it came to it getting a grade, we all got an A for it and the film was considered a staple for watching among our friends at parties and get togethers, and remains one of the films that lived on with the crew of Independent B Movie with a sequel and a remake (but they are for another update). It has shown at Horror Conventions like Scary Camp and even played at local now sadly gone theater Paige Manor. While Teen Suicide was surpassed in quality and fanfare by other films we made over the years, it’s one that holds a special place in my heart and I am glad it lives on via DVD and screenings. One other interesting thing I should note about Teen Suicide is that for the most part it is a silent film with just music playing over the scenes from bands like Bush and The Offspring, but during the film climax Matt has the only bit of dialogue in the film as he reads his suicide note left behind for his parents.

I want to also say once we started up as a full indie production company Teen Suicide was released on VHS and later as a double feature with the second film in the series. The film sold just ok on VHS and did better on DVD and was reviewed on many websites and even in print magazines. The cover for the VHS release was done by Brandon and the DVD release cover was done by my brother Bryan and both for the time were well done and I really dig the cover for the DVD as I think it’s eye catching for a very cheaply made film series. Oh and for those wondering, Henrique Couto and his Freak Productions is who made the DVD for us way back when. It’s shocking that a film called Teen Suicide being sold at Horror Conventions in the early 2000’s didn’t sell like hot cakes. The film would also go on and get a limited long sleeve t-shirt released that was designed by students at Fairmont High School that had a white figure with a bullet hole in its head with the words Teen Suicide on him…yep, this was made around 2003/2004 and the teacher let a student make that for us…awesome and how the times changed from when I was a student. The shirts sold really well and sadly over the years I no longer have mine but my pal Josh Weinberg still has his and sent a pic of it so that I can share. So as you can see, Teen Suicide made its very tiny mark on SOV cinema here in the Dayton, Ohio area.

This was so much fun remembering back on the production of Teen Suicide and made me feel like I should go back to my roots so during the Stay At Home 2020 Order here in Ohio, Juliet and I decided to revisit one of the filming locations from the film, the site that was where my first scene ever was filmed in any SOV film…and that was behind Christopher’s Restaurant in Kettering Ohio was the opening to the creek that my character Bully 2 tried to push Matt into the water…and man the area like every thing has changed as the plants and weeds have grown taller and the concrete has became way more beaten up. While we barely visited the spot, it was very cool to take a moment and see it again. Take a look at the picture below as I took it on the day we visited that was May 7, 2020.

So let’s now take a look at Teen Suicide the film and characters that made up this universe, and what it was that drove the Matt character into wanting to end his life. So I want to say that for these I.B.M films I will write about the plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for Independent B Movie/Bloodline Video films. Now it’s with great honor that I bring to you the 1998 short film masterpiece Teen Suicide.

Teen Suicide
Starring – Matt Hoffman & Scott Harman     Directed by Brandon Womeldorff
1998     Not Rated     11min     Independent B Movie     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: The film takes place in the life of a high school student named Matt and follows him through a week of being bullied by his peers. Day 1 has Matt trying to get his locker open when Bully 1 walks by and shoves him hard into the metal lockers. Day 2 Matt is at school again this time Bully 1 shoves Matt’s face into a sink getting it all wet, and Matt is clearly getting more tired of the constant bullying. Day 3 that damn Bully 1 is at it again and this time in the hall way knocks Matt down making him drop all his books all over the hallway. Day 4 has Matt is outside of School driving to a creek to walk around only to run into Bully 2 who tries to shove Matt into the water, ruining his chance to find some peace with nature. Day 5 while driving around he is carjacked by a bully Car Thief, after walking home the Thief follows him home and fake apologizes in order to get into Matt’s house where he steals his CDs and Car again! Day 6 after losing his car and music Matt decides to visit a park and while looking at flowers Bully 3 appears and beats Matt down and leaves him in a field and Bully 3 jumps into Matt’s car still being driven around by the Car Thief Bully. Day 7 poor Matt has had enough of his torment and writes a suicide note that he reads aloud, he then grabs a hand gun and walks across a bridge and goes atop a hill and kneels and puts the gun into his mouth and pulls the trigger and falls down the hill, with the end shot being Matt with blood on his head and the camera fades out.

Thoughts: Watching this film over 20 years after we made it brought back a wave of nostalgia and makes me miss making these old shot on video films with my friends, as this is the film that really started it all for us. Plus to think I was only 17 years old when we made this film…crazy. The film’s plot is very simple as it just takes a week in the life of a kid who is being bullied and beaten up by his fellow classmates who all seem to just not like him for some reason, and finally on this final week of life all the bad stuff he has gone through piles up and with no help from his parents nor the school he does what he thinks he has to do to end the pain and that’s take his own life. The film is an odd mix of drama, action and even a touch of humor with the end of the film being very downbeat and got the impact we wanted from our fellow classmates. Plus I am a mark for Silent Films and this being a mostly silent film has always made me happy, as our group would not make another silent film until 2002 when we did the Horror Comedy Short “Last Man On Earth”. The “fight” scenes are so cheesy with Bully 3 played by Scott Harmon beating up Matt being one of the worst fight scenes any of us at Independent B Movie has ever been involved with or even shot in our company. I mean it’s super bad, and because it’s so bad, it is fun to laugh at. The true shinning star of this film was Matt Hoffman who plays Matt as he did a great job of allowing his fellow actors to knock him around and even put his heart into the suicide note in the film the he wrote himself, because of this role as well Hoffman would go on to be casted in lead roles in many of our films and would also go on to be a director and script writer. This also was the major jumping off point for Brandon Womeldorff as his editing skills for this time and for his first film edited are solid, and he also showed that he understood how to direct his goofy friends in a serious subject film. The downside is because of being edited on an Avid system and its age, the film is a little bleached out and the whites tend to take over some shots.

Grade: B+

The short film Teen Suicide and Fairmont Productions are two very important creative elements in my life and helped truly lead me down the path of picking up a camera and filming ideas that popped into my mind and lead to many amazing films, shows and skits that I have made over the years. It’s really crazy to think that all of this happened for me by chance as if not for being treated poorly by the school system and placed in the Media class, none of this would have been in my life. I would have never made Teen Suicide as a class project and I would have never met the creative minds and lifelong friends like Matt Hoffman and Brandon Wolmeldorff who both helped birth Independent B Movie along with me as well as Dave Wean, Josh Weinberg and Patrick Neeley. So when writing this update looking back at the short film Teen Suicide, I feel very nostalgic for it and all the creative hard work that little rag tag group of high school students put into it. Below I wanted to share the original VHS tape of this cult classic SOV film and one day soon I hope that Teen Suicide and Suicide 2 will see the light of day again in some home media.

I would like to tell you readers that this is not the last of the films of Independent B Movie that I will be breaking down here on Rotten Ink as sometime in the very near future we will also be talking about the second film I was apart of called “Twisted Batman Theater” as well as a Fairmount Production I helped on called “Cask Of Amontillado”, so make sure to keep your eyes and ears open for that update! And guess what, that Twisted Batman update is next!! So until next update read an indie comic or three, watch a SOV film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a fun time with Batman and Robin in the world of stop motion shot on video films!

SOV Flashbacks Classics – SNIX Series

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! For this update in our countdown to Halloween 2020, I decided to do something a little different and not cover a comic series or even a horror host. Instead, I’ll be covering a shot-on-video horror movie series from the 90’s that was made by James Rolfe, who is better known as The Angry Video Game Nerd!

This series was something James made with friends that ended up growing into something that is very slowly gaining its own cult following and could also be sparking a new generation of indie filmmakers into wanting to make their own films.

James Rolfe started out much like myself as he was a fan of classic old monster movies and enjoyed very much being creative and would do projects with friends or even solo to get it done. When I was a kid, I made my own comic books like Benny The Squirrel, Robo-Raccoon and Miss Freedom, to name a few. At the same time, armed with my tape recorder, I would do my own radio music and dramas as well as comedy skits, mostly about paranormal themes. But one of my biggest outlets for my creative mind was writing short stories, as I would spend so much of my time putting pen to paper and creating characters and the worlds they lived in.

And when I discovered movie making back in 1998, I was hooked on the creative outlet as the films “Teen Suicide” and a short time later “Suicide 2” and “Twisted Batman” were projects my family, friends and I created together and would lead to me making “Werewolf Of Ohio” and “Werewolf Of Ohio 2: 10 Years Before” that would spawn “The Wolf Hunter”, “One Second Too Late”, “Nightmare” and so on over the years! When thinking about Halloween time, I think of backyard shot horror movies that I grew up watching on TV and VHS, like “Trail Of The Werewolf” and “Frankenstein Stalks,” and that’s why I think it’s the perfect time of the year for me to cover the Snix film series and take the Snix Pack Challenge!

For each film, I will write about the plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a report card grade on the classic A-F scale. Now keep in mind, it would not be fair to grade SOV films like you would a big budget Hollywood Movie or even a bigger budget indie feature, that’s why ,much like I do for fan films, I will be grading these on their own scale — a scale of true to life backyard cinema, the true shot on video warriors of the camcorder days. I chose to start my SOV film reviews and topics with the SNIX films because to me it’s clear that James Rolfe had and has a love for making these movies like filmmakers Chris Seaver, Henrique Couto, Matt Hoffman and Dustin Austen, all of whom in my opinion are the godfathers of backyard films for my generation. So if you are ready, let’s see what this James Rolfe horror comedy short series has in store for us this Halloween season.

SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe & Philip Smith     Directed by James Rolfe
1993     Not Rated     12min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Letterbox

Movie: SNIX was killed 3,000 years ago. The evil ghosts he controls are held behind a door, and a young girl sets the spirits free by accident! Two friends Jim and Philip are in the house, and the evil ghosts are targeting Philip as they want him to put on the mask of SNIX so he can live again. The ghosts torment him all around the house to put the mask on…and he does! SNIX has now taken over Philip, and armed with a sword, he starts to stalk Jim all around the house! Jim is able to get the sword and comes up with a plan to take off the mask and try to save Philip, but he must take on the Ghosts who want to protect SNIX. After beating a ghost, he gets a delivery of a special box that takes away all the ghosts by using fear on them. Jim then comes face to mask with SNIX, and he uses the box once more that frees a creepy old man who brings down SNIX. The mask is burned to keep try and stop him once and for all. In the end, Jim cannot help himself and looks in the box himself and passes out from fright.

Thoughts: The first film in the SNIX series is a little rough to get through as it was clearly made by James when he was around 12 years old, and he cast himself and his friend in the lead roles and neither at the time were skilled actors. But to be fair, that cheesy acting is part of the charm of shot-on-video backyard films. The plot is simple: a young girl unleashes ghosts in a house by opening a closet door. The ghosts use their haunting powers along with the mask of SNIX to get one of the two young boys in the house to wear it, and when he does, he becomes SNIX and it’s up to the other to stop the evil again. SNIX spends most of the film as just the mask and demanding to be put on. Once he becomes whole again, he is defeated by the creepy old man (that is really just art pages from a kid’s book done with voice over) pretty quickly and his cursed masked is burnt up. SNIX is not a major threat nor are his ghost minions that are running wild through the house. Jim is our hero and armed with a sword and a magical box that just so happened to be delivered as he runs around his house kicking supernatural butt! Some of the fun parts of this film are when you can clearly see parents in the background and they are just going about their normal day as James and his friends are running around with a plastic sword and a mask made from construction paper. The film is bloodless, as to be expected from a film made by a 12 year old with a zero dollar budget, and of course the plot is not great but shows lots of creativity from James as the essential elements of a spooky story are there. Like everyone’s early films, it just sometimes gets jumbled. This is a good start for the series as it’s clear that it will only go up from here. One other thing about this first film is that it goes from Letterbox to Full Frame from scene to scene!

Grade: C-

SNIX: The Return
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk     Directed by James Rolfe
1996     Not Rated     21min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Three years later, Jim is at his house telling his friend about the mask of SNIX and how Philip put the mask on and was brought down by the old man’s box of fear. SNIX’s mask has returned and is now trying to get Jim to put it on as he wants to be reborn again! Jim tries his best to get his friend to see the mask, but every time the friend looks, it disappears. When Jim is finally able to pick it up, he makes the mistake of putting it on and goes after his friend who tries to fight for his life….but the mask jumps to the friend as he wants his revenge on Jim for defeating him three years ago and chases him around the neighborhood. Jim uses a small stick to beat down SNIX and escapes, but once inside his locked basement the ghosts show back up as does the creepy old man who informs him that he cannot defeat SNIX alone and that they are related and together they can bring down SNIX with the Box of Fear and luck. He once more captures the ghosts and uses the sword on the mask and removes it from his friend, throwing the mask out the window. Then they bury it for good measure, this time hoping SNIX will stay dead.

Thoughts: The second film in the SNIX series plays up the comedy and has the mask playing mind games against Jim before taking over his new friend and trying to kill Jim. This time around, Jim is a little older and a tad wiser, and armed with his Box Of Fear, he once more captures the ghosts and uses the sword to bring down the evil of SNIX. Jim is a hero much like Ash from the Evil Dead series as he doesn’t want to be the hero of the day and thus far seems to fall backwards into defeating the evil mask and his ghost minions. Jim also seems at to be bad luck for anyone that he is friends with as two times now his friends get possessed by SNIX and they are lost to evil. They also add a new plot twist as The Old Man with the Box of Fear is related to Jim and in fact is the one who claims to have brought the evil SNIX down those thousands of years ago. SNIX in this one is just the mask for large parts of the movie demanding to be put on and then jumps from Jim to his friend with the goal being to kill Jim! In the host body, SNIX wanders around and tries his best to frighten and scare Jim at every turn. The ghosts are around, but as fast as they show up, they disappear as that weird old man and his box return to help. This sequel does have some blood in it as Jim is cut by his friend with a knife to the arm, showing that the budget must have been a tiny bit higher than zero. It’s also clear that this film is half spoof and half remake of the original film, and from what James has said, he even used the original paper mask for this one. SNIX: The Return is a fun silly watch and even though the picture quality on the DVD-R I have is not great, it was still fun to see how James was growing as a filmmaker and how the legend of SNIX was growing. And keep in mind James made this film when he was only 15 years old, so I have to give him props for pulling it off as it’s hard to make a solid horror comedy.

Grade: C-

SNIX: Again
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk     Directed by James Rolfe
1997     Not Rated     22min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: In 1693, SNIX was a powerful warlock who stole souls and was defeated by a master swordsman who left his body on an island to rot. But SNIX went after the swordsman and caused him to commit suicide in order to save his own soul. That swordsman was Xins, the Old Man with the box of fear, and he is also a spirit that is always in a fight with the evil of SNIX. Jim now understands the true nature of SNIX and the goodness of Xins, and now three months after he buried the mask, he and his friend go back and dig up the SNIX mask and take it back to Jim’s home. Once more the mask tries to force its way onto Jim’s head but fails as Jim places it into his fireplace and before he sets it ablaze, a creep headless body appears and saves it, knocking Jim out in the process. Jim calls his friend over and when he arrives, he is chased around the house by SNIX who is holding a plunger as a weapon. The young man fights for his life against the possessed Jim who was forced to wear the SNIX mask. In the end, the young man leads SNIX into the woods and is able to help Jim get the mask off, and this time around they flush the mask down the toilet….ending his rampage for now.

Thoughts: The third film in the shot-on-video cult classic series brings the true history of SNIX to light and highlights that three thousand years ago he was indeed a true force of evil and something to be truly feared and then goes into the fact that SNIX is back again only three months after we last saw him! This time around Jim understands the true evil nature of SNIX and is coming to grips that the Creepy Old Man named Xins, the keeper of the Box Of Fear, is one of his past relatives, but he still makes a dumb move when he digs up the mask with the idea to burn it again, only to find himself possessed by it and on a rampage to get his friend! The friend is the true hero of this story as he out smarts the possessed Jim and is able to get the mask off him, and together they flush the sucker. SNIX is now shown to also have a headless body wandering around who for some reason has a sock for a hand. It makes you wonder what will happen when, in a future sequel, the two will come back together. This sequel is clearly scripted, as James has stated. and this helps give the film a little structure and takes away some of the more odd moments the other films had. The downside to this sequel is that Jim’s motivation does not make sense at times, and while I can forgive it, I still have to point it out, as this is something that so many shot-on-video film heroes do…mine included. The film is bloodless and once more plays up some humor, much of which has a Scooby-Doo feel to it. This film has a cool animated opening, and I really do like that they dive deep into SNIX’s back story as up to this point it was kind of lost in the shuffle of the series as he had no real backstory. When this one was made, James was 16 years old showing that being creative really was in his blood. While not an amazing SOV film, it is a quick fun entertaining one that adds a little more legacy to SNIX and his cult character status.

Grade: C+

The Rotten Corpse Of SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk     Directed by James Rolfe
1998     Not Rated     21min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Three days after being flushed down the toilet, SNIXS returns. His headless corpse is still wandering around preparing for something big and that’s to bring the mask back. Now SNIX is whole and looking for revenge! Jim is once again on the run as SNIX goes after his friend with murder on his mind. Jim goes to the Temple of Xins and chats with Xins and learns that the Box Of Fear has been stolen and that Jim is the chosen one to kill SNIX and is given a special sword to do so. All the while, SNIX chases Jim’s friend all around town and before he can kill him, Jim shows up with his new sword and has an epic sword fight with SNIX that leaves the warlock decapitated and his rotten body thrown from a window. Jim takes the mask, and this time places it on train tracks where its run over!

Thoughts: The fourth film is the SNIX series is lots of fun and has the evil warlock monster SNIX becoming whole and targeting Jim and his pal who have defeated him movie after movie! In this film Jim finally gets that he is in fact the only person that can bring SNIX dow, and he now has no fear of the evil warlock and uses his gifted sword to bring the monster down. That’s the one thing about the Jim character at this point, he really has grown from being a scared kid to a sword-swinging hero who is more annoyed that the evil mask keeps returning. His friend in this movie also gets a name, Brian, and this time around he is a major target of SNIX who seems to get enjoyment chasing him all around town with the goal being to catch him and choke the life out of him! Xins himself makes an appearance in the film and is no longer just pictures from a book, but is a costume that glows, and he sadly loses his Box Of Fear (that is used to bring the mask back from the toilet) and passes down his very own sword to Jim that was used to kill SNIX some three thousand years ago. I like the outfit for Xins way more than the pictures as the character now comes off more ghostly. Our ever-returning villain SNIX becomes whole in this film and is filled with mischief and rage as he once more targets Jim and Brian. This time around he even uses a sword with the goal to chop up Jim. But as always, he is defeated, and this time around his mask is run over by a train that shreds it into pieces. I like SNIX’s look in this film as he has a real video game island bad guy look to him. The film has a little blood that is used in the sword fight between Jim and SNIX, and James Rolfe said that at the time this was the longest film for him to make as it took 10 months due to actor schedules. The Rotten Corpse Of SNIX is a great cheesy shot-on-video film that really does capture the fun nature of backyard filmmaking and is one that I think fans of this micro genre of horror should check out. It’s the best in the series this far. I should note that James was 17 when he made this entry in the long running series.

Grade: B+

The Possessed Mask Of SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe      Directed by James Rolfe
1998     Not Rated     13min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame 

Movie: Only three hours after destroying the SNIX mask again, Jim returns home to find the mask of SNIX in his fridge wanting to be put on! He tapes the fridge shut, but the mask once more follows him around the house asking to be put on as Jim is quickly losing his cool and is getting mad as he wants to be done with this evil curse once and for all. The SNIX Mask tricks his way on to his head for a moment, but a quick fall from a chair knocks it loose and Jim this time throws it outside and looks at the mask via the basement window, that is until the mask returns inside again only to be washed in the washing machine. Xins appears and tells Jim that he needs to really stop SNIX once and for all and that the Box Of Fear is still in Jim’s bathroom. He warns him the scariest thing in the world is still in the box. Jim then comes face to mask with the mask of SNIX, and this time after a quick chase and lots of beating the heck out of the mask, Jim thinks he ends the terror burning him up in the fireplace. But as the mask burns, SNIX warns him that he does not need the mask; all he really needs is something to possess!

Thoughts: We are five movies into the SNIX series, and this time around it’s just a showdown between Jim and the mask of SNIX who really wants to be put on and restart his reign of stealing souls. But it’s clear by this fifth film that Jim has really had enough of SNIX and wants to figure out how to stop its curse once and for all, and does what he can to ignore the mask while thinking about what he can do to kill it or at least get it to leave him alone. The ghost of Xins is hanging out in Jim’s basement. He also seems like he wants the curse of SNIX to end and tells Jim that he is the key to stop him. I like how they say all the ghosts are taken care of as they got flushed down the toilet to get the mask back and then Xins captured them all again. One odd thing is they call The Box Of Fear the Box Of Horror in this sequel. The Mask of SNIX also comes off like he just wants to be such a pain in the ass to Jim and is taking pleasure annoying him throughout his life. I also think that when he is set on fire, he knows that this will not end him, and in fact I think this allows his evil spirit to travel beyond just the mask…just a vibe I was getting. The pacing of this film is super fast and is clearly just a sequel that is used to help build up to the final film in the series. This one has zero blood and showcases what James at age 17 could pull off just by himself with some assistance from his family. While not as good as the previous film in the series, this one is a good chapter to build up the world of SNIX and shows that he is angry and wants his revenge on Xins’ bloodline and the world.

Grade: B-

The Banishing Of Evil Spirit Of SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk          Directed by James Rolfe
1998     Not Rated     14min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Widescreen

Movie: Only three minutes after being set on fire, SNIX is back again and Jim makes a quick phone call to Brian to get over to his house. He calls his pal Joe as well to come over to help bring down SNIX…you see Jim is calling in all his pals to help in this fight! But sadly as his friends rush to get to him, the evil spirit of SNIX starts to possess Jim who now becomes the one and only SNIX! Joe is being targeted as SNIX’s next victim as Brian runs home swearing to never visit Jim again.. With the voice of Xins guiding him, Joe gets the Box of Fear and uses it against the evil warlock to knock him away and then beats the possessed Jim with a gold club till he is out cold. As Joe sits on the couch tired from the battle, the spirit of SNIX enters the TV and threatens the world that he cannot be stopped! While SNIX is in the TV, the spirit of Xins appears and uses all his energy to take him and SNIX to the spirit world, ending the evil Warlock’s reign of terror. Jim wakes up, and he and Joe look into the Box Of Fear and find it to be empty as whatever terrible thing that was inside was flushed down the toilet by the body of SNIX when he used the ghosts inside the box to get the mask. In the end Jim walks down the road knowing that he and his friends stopped the evil right there in New Jersey and that the rest of the world will never know about the horrors that could have been unleashed on them all.

Thoughts: The sixth and final film in the SNIX series is a clear love letter to the character that James created when he was only 12 years old and was a way to tie all the movies together as well as finally bring it all to an end. This time around SNIX enters the body of Jim and turns him into SNIX himself. He wants to kill Joe who is a friend of Jim’s and sadly was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But as always, the power of good brings down evil as Xins’ ghost comes to the aid of the young men and rids the world of SNIX once and for all. In this movie Jim knows that SNIX will return in three minutes and does what he thinks is right and that’s bring in his friends to help, and then for most of the movie he himself becomes the snarling evil SNIX! That’s right, think Ash from Evil Dead II when he is possessed and that’s what happens to Jim until he is beaten down with a golf club and has his soul saved by Xins. Throughout this series Jim has faced the evil of SNIX six times and has been a hero and a victim as well has grown into the savior the world didn’t even know it needed. Philip, Brian and Joe are the friends who sadly get caught up in all this madness just because they are friends with Jim and each has changed in some ways with Philip getting the worst of it as once he is possessed, he disappears never to be seen again! Brian has battled, been chased and almost killed by SNIX, and by the end of the series it’s made clear that I think he is done hanging out with Jim ever again. And Joe is just a poor young man who got sucked into the madness after he saw Jim throw the body of SNIX out the window in the fourth movie, and he has to become a hero himself. The ghost of Xins is the story’s real main hero as over three thousand years ago he took SNIX for the first time, and in this final film he is the one that takes him away again. I have to stress I like the glow in the dark/black light costume better then the art from the book version of Xins. SNIX goes from just a haunted mask to possessing people to even finding his old rotten body and wanting to come back to rule the land so badly. The only thing in his way is kids that ruin his plans, resurrection after resurrection! And while he is a soul eating, master of ghosts, he still is a very playful and goofy villain who talks like a cartoon bad guy and even does weird little dances. When he takes his mask off, I love the fact he looks like a stranger version of B-Actor Tor Johnson, fun stuff. While the final film in the SNIX series is not prefect, it still was a great fitting ending to a film series that meant something to James and his friends when they made it.

Grade: B

The SNIX film series is a great look at the beginning days of James Rolfe and his Cinemassacre Productions and is a great tool for inspiring filmmakers to watch as each film shows how James grew as a filmmaker, from his camera angels to his scripts. And now he is one of the best YouTube celebrities going. It’s also a great time capsule of the golden days of home camcorders as well as New Jersey from the eyes of young kids during the 90’s. Plus each of these movies have vintage intros to them done by James that give you a little more insight to each film and the motivation of its creation. I love hearing how he used two VCR’s to edit the films as that was the same way my brother edited his first film, Twisted Batman. Plus hearing that he also used in-camera cuts to edit parts of the film reminds me of some of my early days making backyard films. As of this update, it’s been about 22 years since the final SNIX movie was made, and while I am sure James and his crew will never make another, I for one would love to see him make one last film in the series and use all the knowledge and resources he has now to make one last epic SNIX flick…I mean come on, James could play Jim again and imagine roles for Mike Matei, Justin Silverman, Kieran and Tony from Hack The Movies as they all run away from the evil SNIX…just saying, you know you all would watch it. Honestly, it would also be lots of fun to do a SNIX comic book mini series at Blood Scream Comics as the character should live on and entertain the masses again. Over all while the SNIX films are not prefect, I will say that they are entertaining and show that all creative minds started somewhere.

I hope you enjoyed this update about this shot-on-video movie series as I had lots of fun working on it. I have been thinking about covering more movies here on Rotten Ink, and I am looking at covering films from the following genres: martial arts, sword and sandal, fantasy, westerns, indie horror, Mexican horror as well as, of course, more shot-on-video. And don’t forget, I will still be also looking at fan-made horror films. Plus, I will also be taking a look at talk shows that I grew up watching when I was a kid as seen on my Talk Back update that was about Morton Downey Jr. talking about slasher films that will be joining the ranks of Made For TV Movies and Specials! And I will always have a place for horror hosts as they are some of my most favorite updates to write for my blog. And do not get worried as comic book reviews are still my bread and butter, and they are and will always be the main focus of Rotten Ink as they are what sparked the blog and have kept me writing this long!

So as you can see, lots of great write-ups are coming your way in the next few years, and I truly hope you enjoy reading these updates as much as I enjoy writing them. For our next update, we are walking away from the world of SOV Films and will be heading to The Colony, a nice resort in the middle of the woods and tonight it’s supposed to be a full moon….so you know that the werewolves will be Howling! That’s right, we will be taking a look at the 1981 film The Howling and the Space Goat comic mini series based around it. So until next time, read an indie comic or three, watch a shot-on-video flick or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. See you next update for some quality time with Marsha Quist.