“…blood on the rise, it’s following me”—The Doors
A good parent nurtures and encourages its growing offspring. Success, confidence, and sharing tools to tackle future endeavors, are just a few tidbits of wisdom that we instill in our youth. Our local art (especially film) community is and should be no different. State film commissions are designed to aid, assist, and promote our local filmmakers as they strive to complete their vision successfully, no matter how far they are out of the Tinsel town zip code. In recent years, local film commissions have been competing for out of state productions to film in their locales enticing companies with beneficial tax incentives. Just look at the strides New Mexico has made to persuade crews to set up shop there to save money. I am one for making a dollar, but state film commissions– let’s not forget our homegrown talent right in our backyards just to capitalize on outsiders. With this being said, I proudly present to you Owensboro, KY’s (with ties to some talent from Indiana) own successful horror anthology, Volumes of Blood (2015).
The opening credits will make the viewer wonder what they just SAW. You have our attention. Let’s press on. A sociology student meets up with friends sharing scary stories at the local library on Halloween night to brainstorm in hopes of creating a terrifying new urban legend. Like all urban legends, fairy tales, and fables, there is always a deep grim message addressing the old formula of every action having a consequence…this time, the outcomes are dreadfully fatal. Enters the anthology: NOW.
Segment 1: “A Little Pick Me Up” – A hard working student cramming late at night conducting research, begins to fade due to exhaustion. A sleazy stranger arrives out of nowhere convincing her to try a new, intense energy drink, KA-POW with a devil label, to aid in warding off the Sandman. What will happen when she pops the top? Do you guys remember Jolt???
Segment 2: “Ghastly” – A mysterious woman returns a book on ghosts to a bored library attendant. His boredom fades quickly from his mundane duties, as the ghost book keeps appearing in tandem with haunting images & occurrences that rattle the young lad’s sensitive psyche. Damn that Deadly Dewey Decimal System!
Segment 3: “13 After Midnight” – Another damsel soon to be in distress, tries to crank out some coursework while being distracted by her immature, drunk, and extremely needy boyfriend. She promises to meet up with her annoying beau upon successful completion of her work. Next thing you know, time has elapsed, she wakes up out of a stupor like she has been Roofied, and is stalked amongst the books and card catalog by a freakish looking creature that is kind of reminiscent of the grass man Stephen King transformed to in “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” from Creepshow (1982). What kind of library is this?
Segment 4: “Encyclopedia Satanica”– Its Halloween night, and a sullen librarian attempts to catalogue a mysterious leatherback, “The Book of The Dead.” Living with torment and guilt over her ex-boyfriend’s death, she experiments with the book to conjuring up her former flame. He returns, in a creepy Crispin Glover off his meds kinda way, and is hungry for vengeance against her due to his earthly demise.
The final installment “That’s a Wrap!,” is actually a wraparound yarn of the students sharing stories, who we find out are actually actors in a movie being helmed by a tyrannical, stereotypical (and comical) director, P.J. Starks. The ending is a nice surprise with a perfect combo of comedy, horror, and gore.
Volumes Of Blood’s stories were directed (in the Four Rooms approach) by P.J. Starks of the recent sequel Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories (2016) and currently executive producer on former Evanescence drummer (’03-’07) Rocky Gray’s, upcoming 10/31/16 (2017). Jakob Bilinski of Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh (2014), Lee Vervoort of The Truck (2013) and AMC’s The Walking Dead, Nathan Thomas Milliner of The Confessions of Fred Krueger (2015), and John Kenneth Muir of Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009) directed the other fun tales in this entertaining anthology.
This ambitious film was penned by Starks, Milliner, and Todd Martin of Tales from the Grave, Volume 2: Happy Holidays (2005), and is the current, cinematic coup de force of Verite Cinemas. This fun flick was filmed entirely in Kentucky, produced by The Unscripted Film School Program at The Daviess County Public Library, and released in March of 2015, being lauded by the press to include the horror-mag benchmark, Fangoria. Volumes has had many successful screenings, to include the prestigious Montreal International Film Festival. Not bad for a 6K budget that was raised through a lucrative Kickstarter fundraiser and local sponsors. Ingenuity is indeed the key to success. Oh I forgot, actress Lynn Lowery of The Crazies (1973), Shivers (1975), and Cat People (1982), is the executive producer! Horror geeks are geeking out right now.
Volumes of Blood was masterfully shot, innovative with its limited location and funds, but in turn produces a cool flick grounded by solid acting, enjoyable stories, and top notch special effects makeup/brutal gore by up & comer, Lisa Duvall (Savini, Nicotero, & Baker would be proud). If you are a fan of the old horror anthology films of the 60s, 70s, & 80s, especially the gems released by Amicus, Volumes of Blood is sure to tickle your funny bone, twitch your death nerve, and restore your hope in a genre that has been growing soft. So Man up or WO MAN up, and give our indie filmmaker’s a shot, it is well worth it.
So, if this resourceful crew can do this much with such a miniscule budget, just think what they could do with proper support from local film commissions and the powers that be. A majority of films that are made from the minds in the “City of Dark Angels,” are utter garbage. Let them stay out there, utilize your homegrown talent. Wake up states! Your local filmmakers are wanting the chance to shine, reach out and do your job to support the local arts (leary local investors: FILM IS A TAX WRITE OFF). That includes you Kentucky. P.J. Starks, Lee Vervoort, and the growing stable of hungry talent are standing on your front porch. KY Film Commission, are you ready for them? KY Film Commission, are you even home?
Check out the Volumes of Blood Trailer
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Check out the trailer to the recently released successful sequel, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories by Blood Moon Pictures
- Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker, film/music historian, and can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rick.baldwin.568
- Rick is also president of The Winchester Clark County Film Society and can be found on https://www.facebook.com/WCCfilmsociety
- Twitter Rick Baldwin@rickbaldwin79 and email@example.com