Saturday, September 10, 2011


Well, it's barely out of the goop (my term for what used to be the soup they develop movie prints in, back in the good old days when prints of movies weren't digitally manufactured) and ROSEWOOD LANE has already been scheduled to make its World Premiere at the biggest horror festival on the West Coast, Screamfest LA.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, or will be in the area next month (October) think about coming and seeing my first film in over seven years. And my first genre picture in over ten!

The festival itself takes place at the Chinese 6 at Hollywood and Highland -- same address I am told is home for the Oscars every year -- and no, that does not mean I am inferring ROSEWOOD LANE is Oscar bait.

It's just good scary fun.

Tickets went on sale yesterday at the Screamfest LA website, and not knowing how big the theater we will be in, I can't say how long tickets will be available, but here is the link if you are so inclined:

I do know that most of the cast (their schedules permitting) and myself, will be attending. I will introduce the film personally just before the lights go down, and after the film screens, will be part of a Q and A with the cast.

Should be a blast! Am I nervous? Of course I am, readers and lurkers.

This is the first time ROSEWOOD LANE will be shared with the world. That's always a gulper in my book. You wonder how it will play, what you did right and what you could have done better. It's your baby and the world is about to judge it.


Lots of other news happening too, though you know me and my superstitions -- I don't like to talk about any of them in any detail, until they become more of a reality.

But I can tell you I signed my deal to write and direct my brand spanking new horror franchise THE RATTLEMAN, something I am incredibly happy with and excited about.

And I have every intention of shooting it in Greenville, Mississippi where I just returned from a wonderful week long location scout.

It was my first trip to the deep South and I have to say, the people were warm (but not as warm as the weather) and terrific, and the area is ample with wonderful architecture, forests, swamps, rivers, lakes, lonely highways, haunted houses and houses that are just handsome and not haunted -- basically all kinds of atmospheric and cinematic places for filmmakers, and especially a filmmaker like me, to tell their stories.

Look at this magnificent old place on the bank of Lake Washington in Greenville, Mississippi. Any screenwriter worth his salt would take one look at this place ....

And start writing!

The landscapes and weather also reminded me somewhat of my adventure in central Florida back in 2000 where we shot the first JEEPERS film.

And not to intentionally dangle the carrot again, I will say that not only is Mississippi a perfect looking Jeepers land, but there are interesting new developments regarding the possible financing of JEEPERS CREEPERS III: Cathedral.

More on that, as it develops.

I feel like a newscaster or something when I have to tie off a story with that kind of line. Anyway, life is beautiful chaos right now.

And if you have the means, and are in the area, come on down to Hollywood and Highland October 15th and see ROSEWOOD LANE with me at Screamfest.

And if you do happen to see me that night? Even if I don't know you? Introduce yourself. My blog has only 34 followers but has received well over 64,000 views since I started it way back when. So I know there are at least a few lurkers out there, reading my long-winded babbling.

Be well everyone and happy all,

Until I can blog again,


Tuesday, June 28, 2011



That's s me breaking the surface of the water and coming up for air.

Since I was asked to take down the photos that were in my previous blog entry -- as I assumed I eventually would be, I am only using pictures in this blog from ROSEWOOD that have either already been released on other blogs and websites (including the ROSEWOOD LANE website) along with some personal pictures of my own taken on the set.

I will dispense with my usual apologies for being away from this blog for so long. Feast or famine with me, I guess. I am writing this to you now because ROSEWOOD LANE was locked this past weekend.

What does locked mean? Basically that the film has been edited -- and those shots, now put end to end, all those takes edited together to create the story -- those edits -- are locked.

They won't be changed again, and will become the finished film. The edit is broken into reels. Usually five or six. And those reels are locked. As in no more editing changes should be made.

I say should because sometimes changes are made after a picture is locked, but usually, locked means locked. Locked means editing has stopped and now digital FX, sound design and mixing, the shots all color-timed by the director of photography, and the creation of an original musical score (up till now the film has had a "temp score" pieced together from bits of other film scores) begins.

Daniel Ross got the wonderfully evil part of paperboy Derek Barber, and brought to it more menace and just downright creepy and scarifying stuff than I could have ever put into the script.

The locked picture can now go into the final homestretch of becoming a finished picture.

We have about six weeks to get all this finished. That may seem like a long time -- to do what needs to be done on a feature film, it's not. In fact, it's no time at all.

Not for things as complicated as digital FX and music composition, and the looping of the film (ADR or Automatic Dialog Replacement) and all those hundreds of FX tracks, creating sound FX, adding footsteps, bird chirps, dog barks, (there are a lot of those in ROSEWOOD) every little sound you hear, all that has to come together, orchestrated by a very talented sound designer, more often times called a sound mixer, to make a movie sound like a movie sounds.

These are the next soldiers, the last line if you will on the battlefield, before the film marches forth into the more brutal battlefield of general release. (And that's if you are lucky enough to get a big screen or theatrical release.)

I am finding myself all over the web these days, with the publicity push for ROSEWOOD. I have done more than a few interviews talking about the film, but I am hoping that people will really take notice and take an interest when the film is actually ready and will be released.

That's when we need people to notice, get curious and go see the story that takes place on ROSEWOOD LANE.

Of course every interview always ends with the same question: where the H-E double-toothpicks is JEEPERS CREEPERS III: CATHEDRAL?!

Oh if I only knew. Especially in the wake of The Creeper's latest bit of notoriety that I must confess filled me with pride:

A poll taken on WorstPreview, showed that after four thousand of their readers were asked, The Creeper ranked the number four scariest movie monster of all time.

For a fan of horror-movie monsters like me, who never dreamed he'd have have his own? That put an almost permanent smile on my face.


The gorgeous Rose McGowan as Sonny Blake, trying to convince her new pet cat "Monster" to use the house's old cat door.

One of the great joys of shooting ROSEWOOD LANE is of course, working with actors. And with ROSEWOOD I can't say enough how pleased I am with actor Daniel Ross Owens, and some of the delightful choices he made while playing the monster of the piece.

When I say he brought more things to my "paperboy from hell" than I could have thought up in the script, I am not exaggerating. In fact, this is one of the great perks of working with someone who has great instincts (I have been very lucky in this regard, especially when it comes to young actors playing my young protagonists.

Some of these great talents include Justin Long, Scott Mecholowicz, Sam Rockwell, Jason Behr and Sean Patrick Flanery to name a few, because they are willing to try things, make the part and the movie better.

Daniel Ross Owens in a lighter moment during the shooting of the film's strange finale.


I get asked this a lot -- as if I can have any real objectivity about it. It's like someone asking you, "so your kid -- do you love him?"

The journey from script to screen for ROSEWOOD LANE is one that spans more than 20 years.

As I have explained in previous blogs, it is strange and also wonderful to see a story I fashioned more than two decades ago, suddenly get the big screen treatment.

Also, I am such a different filmmaker than I was twenty years ago, so it was also interesting to see how much of the script still spoke to me and how much I wanted to change, since my own sensibilities have changed over the years.

How did all this old and new come together? What kind of thrill ride was created? Only you dear reader (and lurkers) can be the judge of that. And each of you will decide on your own how we did.

RAY WISE returns to Poho County, (or a neighboring county at least) this time as Police Detective John Briggs in ROSEWOOD LANE.

The casting of Ray as the detective in the film gave me the chance to cast another of my favorite actors of all time: TOM TARANTINI of POWDER, THE NATURE OF THE BEAST, PEACEFUL WARRIOR and JEEPERS I and II.

TOM TARANTINI is Ray Wise's partner Mike Sabatino in ROSEWOOD LANE. Tom and I have been friends since we met some time ago in the East Bay, before I made the big move to Hollywood land.

You might want to rethink all those knotholes in that fence in your backyard, after you see ROSEWOOD LANE. You never know what they might be used for if your paperboy is the mysterious and much feared Derek Barber.

There is a website for the film slowly starting up if you are curious: here is the link:

Jeepers Creepers fans will hopefully find themselves treated to something quite different but equally chilling when they learn what is terrorizing the homes on ROSEWOOD LANE.


I get asked that a lot, especially now with a little buzz about ROSEWOOD going around. People are always shocked to find out just how little the filmmaker has to do with deciding his finished film's fate. "I don't know," I always answer, "I hope so, but there's no way of telling."

While the scares are good and the cast terrific -- and the idea of taking something as iconic and all-American as the neighborhood paperboy and turning him into an unexpected nightmare is quite strong and original -- who knows the fate of my or any film in this terrible industry economy where dollars are suddenly the rarest commodity: after a good script, of course.

Why do you find a great little flick in the video store or online that you can't figure out why it never made it to theaters? Because the cost of the movie is one thing. To sell a movie to the world is another. And something much more expensive than the movie.

A 200 million dollar movie that you will see this summer also had another 100 million spent on it to get trailers on the TV every fifteen minutes. It's called a media buy. And every film needs one if you are going to go see it in a theater.
Don't let the psycho paperboy on your block trade out his bike and his morning newspapers for the crossbow you didn't know you still had in your garage.

Your movie is brilliant and only cost a million dollars? Fantastic. Now you have to go find someone who is willing to put ten million MORE into advertising that film.

It was hard before, to find P and A money (Prints and Advertising) for your flick. If MGM hadn't paid to put Jeepers Creepers ads on television, you might never have seen it in a theater.

If Disney hadn't put POWDER ads on MTV and on all the major networks, you might never have discovered that film until one day on a dusty video shelf or late night on HBO.

Each of those films cost around ten mil to make and at least that much to publicize.


I also have some very late breaking news about my next film, -- or should I say my next horror adventure, for I am about to kick off my first monster movie extravaganza since JEEPERS CREEPERS darkened movies screens back in 2001.

What you will know him as, is THE RATTLEMAN, and he will have a comic book incarnation as well as a movie identity -- starting with the first in a series of films that I hope will scare the living daylights out of you.

If ROSEWOOD LANE is a great example of how I was thinking about scaring people when I first came to Hollywood, THE RATTLEMAN is about how I play the scare game now, with the benefit of having made the Jeepers series and seen so many brilliant contributions to the genre by my horror brothers and sisters throughout the last decade and into the new millenium.

Though I am rather superstitious about announcing things before the ink is dry on the paper, THE RATTLEMAN may be starring Ray Wise and a few other talented veterans of my previous films.

Including the multi-talented Doug Jones as the title role -- or should I say, the title nightmare in THE RATTLEMAN. Only time will tell, as negotiations begin with my friend Doug -- and many others of my Jeepers family, to bring my next horror odyssey.
I am planning on at least five Rattleman films before the new decade is over, and I am making them specifically for me, and all the horror fans, from all over the world, who I have heard from who tell me they enjoy they way I tell a tale.

A piece of concept art compositing different images to create a single visual idea of what THE RATTLEMAN is about.

As I have said before, these are images that are amalgams of images collected from all over as I write my first draft of any script. Writing to art, like writing to music focuses me on the story, the characters, the set pieces or whatever I am trying to get down on paper.

None of the images I composite are being used commercially or for profit, just for my own private and personal writing process, so I feel free to use whatever terrific images I find (even ones from other films) as long as they feed my excitement about the script I am creating.

But I digress. More facts about THE RATTLEMAN as they become actual facts.

Be well everyone. And thanks for taking the time to write me. I know I am slow at answering sometimes, but it is great to hear from you and to be reminded that the blog does in fact reach a few folks out there in the world.


Friday, April 8, 2011


Who said shooting a movie is like going to war? Anyone who has ever shot a movie -- that's who!

Quite an adventure this one.

My brilliant partner and cinematographer Don Fauntleroy may have pulled off a minor miracle getting ROSEWOOD LANE shot in the small time we had and the small budget to boot.

Myself and Don Fauntleroy (right) check out a shot on location for ROSEWOOD LANE, in Alta Dena, California. That's Ian our focus puller replaying the shot.

If this was getting back to work? Throwing the door open and getting out on a movie set again? Slamming back into the director's chair for the first time in six years? Then ROSEWOOD LANE was truly a trial by fire.

The good news? The toughest shoots often make the best films.

And what a great cast we had to make that film. Headliner ROSE McGOWAN, supported by the brilliant LAUREN VELEZ (Dexter), the awesome RAY WISE (Jeepers II and Reaper), the terrific TOM TARANTINI (Jeepers I and II and Powder), the fantastic SONNY MARINELLI, the absolutely delectable LESLEY-ANNE DOWN, the very funny STEVE TOM (Funny or Die) and several terrific character actor turns, RANCE HOWARD, BILL FAGGERBAKE, LIN SHAYE and JUDSON MILLS, just to name a few.

ROSEWOOD LANE is what I would call another of my hybrids: this one, a drama that quickly darkens into a chilling and unnerving little suburban nightmare, that suddenly has you jumping out of your seat and holding on tight to the person next to you.

Of course every good terror tale needs its monster -- and the twist here is that the monster is something so typically innocent: the local paperboy.

One of the greatest pleasures of the shoot was creating this dark new character. He turned out well, so well that I want to keep him underwraps for a moment. But I will say he is played by a great young actor named DANIEL ROSS.

Well dear readers (and lurkers) that's all I can say and do right now. I am now at the end of my first week of editing with the amazing Ed Marx. It promises to be at least sixteen weeks of intense post production and I have to get back to it, even as we speak.

Consider this the shortest and most concise blog of mine to date. More when I can actually think, and breathe and put a sentence or two together.

But I will say that THE RATTLEMAN is already starting to rattle, good friends.

And that is more great news for terror town. More news on this and other stories, when I return.



Saturday, February 12, 2011

2011 Starts with LIGHTS CAMERA, ACTION

I ask first as always, forgiveness for being away from this blog for so long. And I am afraid that after this entry -- it may be a long time again, before I have time to sit down and share my crazy world with you.

But for the very best of reasons: I am going back to work. The recession hit Hollywood hard -- and it has been the better part of three years since I have had an actual movie gig. Five years since I have had a gig where once again I get to set in my director's chair.

To say heading back to that chair is a good feeling would be quite the understatement.

As some of you may have read on the Internet -- yes somethings there are actually true -- I signed a deal to write and direct ROSEWOOD LANE. That is so great and on so many levels.

One, it is the first time I have visited the realm of classic horror and suspense since 2003 when JEEPERS CREEPERS II rolled cameras on the Creeper's second big screen adventure.

Two, ROSEWOOD LANE is one of my scripts I always regretted not being able to put up on the screen. There are lots of scripts in the life of a screenwriter that simply will never see the flicker of a movie screen or a packed house of moviegoers as the lights start to go down.

For every script that made it to the screen, seven to date: CLOWNHOUSE, NATURE OF THE BEAST, POWDER, RITES OF PASSAGE, JEEPERS CREEPERS, JEEPERS CREEPERS II and PEACEFUL WARRIOR -- for everyone one of those there are three others, that just never got their big break.

ROSEWOOD LANE was one of those scripts. One of those ideas, that when the writing was done -- felt so unique and so creepy and such a frightening rollercoaster ride for me (and for an audience) that I really felt bad when after a few interested financing scenarios either fell through or failed to fully materialize -- ROSEWOOD LANE was put on the back burner.

And then eventually taken off the stove all together and put up on a dusty old shelf.


The script for ROSEWOOD LANE, or course has a story itself, and it is the story of me first coming to Los Angeles, more than fifteen years ago.

With nothing but the clothes on my back, my best buddy in the world, and a U-HAUL trailer filled with everything I owned -- I towed an old, rust red Datsun that had duct- tape and plastic for a back window -- down Interstate 5 from the San Francisco Bay Area -- up the grape vine, through the San Fernando Valley and into our new adventure in Los Angeles.

I won't kid you -- I was terrified of Los Angeles. Just before I made the big trek, the streets were in flames and filled with fires, riots and chaos. We heard it all on the radio and TV up in the east bay.

The Rodney King verdict had turned Los Angeles into what up in Northern California --sounded like some kind of apocalyptic fireball. Where brother turned on brother and no one was safe.

I had never lived in a big city before. I had taken a few reckless solo treks to San Francisco when I was a teen, with an ancient car with four bald tires -- but in general I was a small town boy and the big city scared me.

I had grown up in Martinez California. A tiny little place with a tiny little bay. It was my little kingdom. Though to me of course, it seemed vast. One of the greatest baseball players in the world came from Martinez -- Joe DiMaggio. A man who had even married Marilyn Monroe -- however briefly. He was our tiny town's big claim to fame.

(That's Joe on the left and Marilyn on the right)

As a little dreamer in a tiny town -- a kid who fell in love with the movies before he fell in love with anything else -- the big city was only something you saw movies about, and nothing but violent, scary places with lots of crime and strange people.

That's right. They were full of strange people. Yes, I was quite the little Republican back then. Remember, you're talking to someone who was raised in a family where the kids weren't allowed to have Beatles albums in the house, because boys with long hair were fags.


When Francis Coppola chooses you -- a young and complete unknown who had made a backyard video for 200 dollars -- to write and direct a feature film for his new production company? And then when it's finished, likes it enough to get it into Sundance, making it the first horror film ever to play there?

When all that happens? ... your life changes a little.

When CLOWNHOUSE was taken and shown around Los Angeles to select buyers and studios, one agency in particular came knocking. The Gersh Agency, one of the oldest and respected agencies on both coasts (they used to rep Humphrey Bogart someone told me) signed me as a client.

They had shepherded the careers of horror luminaries like George Romero and John Carpenter, and they told me on the phone (in a conversation better left described at another time -- or maybe in a film) they saw me as someone to shape as the next big horror filmmaker.

I was just learning to be a happy young man, emerging from a very confusing traumatic and troubled time in my young life. I was back home in the Bay Area, with a feature film under my belt because one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema, hand picked me to make a feature film for him.
(Cheezo, the head killer clown (not from outer space) who terrorize three boys in an empty house)

And thanks to that feature film I now had a real honest-to-God Hollywood agency representing me down in Tinsel Town. And then it happened: I got a phone call from them, saying that Universal wanted to fly me down to Los Angeles, based on the strength of seeing CLOWNHOUSE, for a meeting to possibly become the director of a very popular horror franchise that was ready for it's third installment.

I flew down to Los Angeles and I don't think my heart ever made it back down from my throat all day. From the screening they arranged for me of Chucky II which had not yet hit theaters, to the meeting at Hanna-Barbera (one of the undisclosed producers of the Chucky series)

After I got over my initial fear and generally just being flabbergasted that I was even on the lot of the studio that had made JAWS and Hitchcock's THE BIRDS -- after I got over the sense that I wasn't in some filmmakers dream fantasy -- I found myself flooded with ideas for Chucky III, spitballing them with the producers and seeing the smiles on their faces.

If that wasn't enough -- walking into Hanna-Barbera, and children of the 60's and 70s will understand this -- walking into the place that had filled my childhood and teens with THE FLINSTONES, and THE HERCULOIDS and SPACE GHOST and of course the amazing and never equalled JONNY QUEST, that probably inspired me to become a filmmaker in the first place. To walk into that place -- and be introduced to Joe Barbera.
(The Jonny Quest cast from it's original 1964 run. Any American kid from the 60s or 70s who is making movies today, and making exciting or scary ones, I will wager saw these wonderfully drawn, brilliantly scary and incredibly scored cartoons.)

I still get tears in my eyes thinking about shaking hands with Joe Barbera -- in his office full of Hanna-Barbera stuffed characters, and talking to him about how much I loved Jonny Quest. I think I probably had more heart palpitations that day than I had ever felt in my life.

When I didn't get the film, when Chucky III went to another, more veteran director, with none of the scenarios I had suggested, when the job went to someone they felt better suited to the material (more about that in another blog) I came home with the idea that my Hollywood dream was dead.

Ironically, before my plane even touched down back in San Francisco -- before I even had the news that I wasn't going to be directing the film -- it was all over the news that Universal Studios had caught fire. And that the King Kong attraction and some other buildings had gone up in flames shortly after I left.
It was ironic, because my career had gone up in flames at the same time and at the same place. (My buddies used to joke to me about how I set Universal Studios on fire when I didn't get the directing gig)

Then came the call from my agency: "They loved you, but that's how it goes. And if you're up there and have to be flown down for any meeting -- its not going to work for us."

The Dhali Lama had that right. Not getting Chucky was what forced a frightened and heartbroken small town boy -- who had just been through the darkest and most devastating part of his life, to decide to call his agent's bluff and make the big move down to where movies got made.


I couldn't afford to be afraid of the big city anymore. I had to do this thing. And boy was I shaking when I got there. U-HAUL trailer and all.

It didn't help that within an hour of pulling the U-HAUL trailer into Hollywood and stopping for dinner at a Thai restaurant -- that we saw from our table -- the parking lot fill with cop cars, flashlights and and then cops and guns as they put a man face down on the pavement and at gun point, hand-cuffed him.

As I sat watching this from my table, my coconut soup getting cold, I knew that I could never survive living here. (Ironically, over fifteen years later as I sit here writing this -- I never saw another violent act again in all my time living here in Los Angeles)

Within a week, we got an apartment, got jobs (as phone operators at 1-800-DENTIST in a very artist friendly company, that has spawned a great deal of writers, directors and actors over the years.

My station was adjoining the station of a tall kid with a great English accent who turned out to be Patrick Stewart's son. Another talented actress who worked there went onto be a regular in the cast of THE OFFICE.

But having moved down to Los Angeles and mustering courage to "take the Hollywood bull by the horns" it felt like I got the other end of the bull when I got a chilly reception when I walked into the offices of my agency to announce I had bravely journeyed to Los Angeles and was ready to work.

I honestly think that Gersh (who I am still with today) never thought they'd see me walk through their doors -- calling their bluff and mine -- when I moved to LA and started taking my career as a filmmaker, seriously.

I don't know what I was expecting -- but I suddenly realized (are you listening young readers) that I was going to have to make this happen myself, before I was going to get much support from anyone else.

And so I started writing. When I wasn't working at 1-800-DENTIST, I was in our little apartment firing away on an old Kaypro computer. I was furiously writing these little million dollar thrillers -- and with CLOWNHOUSE under my arm, as proof that I could direct what I write -- I hoped one of these scripts would hit, and that I would be directing again.

There were two scripts I had finished. Two tight little thrillers: one called HATCHET MAN and one called THE NATURE OF THE BEAST.

I looked up production companies in industry directories -- wrote down the names of vice presidents in charge of production -- and printed my low budget thrillers, stuffed them into envelopes and hand delivered them (posing as a delivery boy) to any name I could find that had produced tiny but effective thrillers.

Did this work? Well, sort of. Home from my day job after just a couple of months, I found a message on my machine from a woman who said call me about your script HATCHET MAN.

When I did, I found her name was Claudia Lewis -- and to this day I will never forget her or what she said, "This is my last day here at this company, and I just pulled your script out of a trash can."

"And I read it. And I wanted to know if I could I show the script to a young director named Baz Lurhman for him to direct?"

Baz's terrific flick STRICTLY BALLROOM had his career taking off. The call was both incredible and heartbreaking at the same time. Someone liked my script -- and they were asking if someone else could direct it.

I couldn't refuse. Even though I hated the idea of someone else -- even someone as talented as Baz, taking my baby and making it their own.

(The hugely talented Australian wonderkind Baz Lurhman)

But then fate took another step -- Baz didn't think it was for him and Claudia apologized and for a moment all was lost. Then she said she could refer me to someone else she knew, a producer, who thought might be a good fit for the script.

The man was John Tarnoff. Who had partnered with a man named Dan Grodnik. I left 1-800-DENTIST to direct the film for them. The script had only one major change: the financiers didn't like the title HATCHET MAN.

They wanted something more intriguing. My other million dollar thriller was a scary suburban nightmare about a psychotic paperboy. The script I called THE NATURE OF THE BEAST. A title I had always loved.

We took the title from my paperboy script and my first Hollywood film, made for New Line Home Video, and starring Lance Henriksen and Eric Roberts was now called THE NATURE OF THE BEAST.

It became New Line Home Video's biggest money-maker of the year. And my career was on it's way. Fun Fact: Nature of the Beast was released on video the same day POWDER was released to theaters.

And my little paperboy script -- my suburban nightmare that would have made John Carpenter and Alfred Hitchcock both proud -- was left behind on a shelf with several other scripts I had written that year -- in the hopes of impressing my agency and getting me into a director's chair.


Fast on the heels of THE NATURE OF THE BEAST, another script I had just finished -- a truly unique idea that had been percolating somewhere in the back of my brain for years -- POWDER, was suddenly funded by the best company at Disney, CARAVAN, originally headed by Roger Birnbaum and Joe Roth, and now just Roger since Joe had stepped up to run Disney.

(One of the best times of my life was spent in Houston Texas creating one of my favorite films)

After POWDER hit enormously big, my paperboy thriller -- which had been renamed ROSEWOOD LANE since it's original title was stolen -- remained on that shelf and even when I did remember it -- and would ask my agents about getting it set up ...

They all agreed there really wasn't a place in my "career arc" that POWDER has set in motion -- to go back and make this dark little story about a radio talk show host and her deadly cat-and-mouse war with the local psychotic paperboy.

I was agreeing with them on some level: POWDER was a film I was getting mail about from people all over the world. (I still do) In fact, more than fifteen years after it hit screens, POWDER will make it's Sy-Fy Channel debut this March 20th. Finally recognized as a work of science-fiction and not just drama -- I am absolutely thrilled about it.

But I digress, back in 1995, after POWDER, anything dark felt like slumming.

It's very easy for an artist to get validated for one work -- and if that validation is important enough (and most of us -- moviemakers or not -- are looking for some kind of validation: to know that we are loved, or valued, or respected ) that validation was so important to me, that I sought out more and more of it.

POWDER was a movie of light.

And because I was very sensitive to how I was now being perceived within the industry and to filmmgoers, (especially sensitive given my very fragile circumstances) it felt like I could never go back and do anything dark again.

Even though I loved horror and suspense and thrillers and had since I was ten or eleven years old. I was "the Powder guy" now -- and I had to keep writing and making films that were about light and not about dark.

I really was like a dog chasing a bone -- and now years later, I see that what makes me happiest as a filmmaker, and as a person -- is balance.

I love making a good, straight-from-my-heart film like POWDER or PEACEFUL WARRIOR.

But after a tale of light, it feels good to go and tell a good, scary story that's dark. A campfire story -- like the Jeepers films or THE NATURE OF THE BEAST is meant to be.

An Italian interviewer called my horror films "dark fables" and said that in Italy, my darker films are perceived that way. And that is exactly what they are. Call them fables, call them "campfire stories", but it feels good to try and spin a good yarn and see how many goose pimples I can raise. Or jumps, jolts and "I'm so scared I really wish I could hold on tight to the person next to me" moments I can create in a darkened theater.

ROSEWOOD LANE is that kind of story.

The climate in Hollywood changed with the financial collapse, three years ago. The bottom fell out of the movie industry. Money dried up everywhere. Money that was usually around to finance indie films and indie visions.

Now only the bigger studios had money to make movies -- and even they had to go with their hats in their hands and beg, for the first time in along time, to get their movie slates funded.

Even Steven Spielberg had to go in search for funds for Dreamworks if you remember. And when that man has to seek out funding -- because it's not banging on his door asking for him? You know times are bad.

The industry's financial tailspin has been three years long now -- and the modest budget is the norm. Even the studios have cut their yearly movie output in half or more. And what was once the salary of a major star -- is now the budget of the entire movie.

And while it is good to have that kind of financial sanity return to the land of dreams (Orson Welles called film "ribbons of dreams") it also devastated the large portion of us, who were not Steven Spielberg, and whose liviehoods in the movie world, depended on access to independent financing.

Armies of good and talented people lost their houses, their jobs and their means to feed their families -- and I was one of those casualties. I lost my home of a decade, and watched others around me suffer even greater losses.

We all know there are many casualties from the economic collapse, and Hollywood like many industries was hit and very hard.

But nothing is all good or all bad -- ironically, in this downturn, when modest movie budgets are back in vogue, so are the smaller stories that can be told with less money. ROSEWOOD LANE was the perfect script for this.

And when I dusted it off as my talented friend and director/cinematographer Don Fauntleroy suggested --the only thing it seemed to really need -- was to be updated.

Remember, I wrote this script when I first came to town. And reading it again, it was still a pretty great thriller -- but the script had no cell phones or home computers.

That really surprised me. The amazing changes that have happened to our lives in the last fifteen years. But the script was still solid, still strong -- and I was reminded how much I still would love to put it on screen.

With the advent of digital filmmaking, we are starting to see more and more remarkable works like WINTER'S BONE done for "next to nothing". Micro-budgets is the term de jour.

Nothing new to me really. Most filmmakers start in the realm of micro-budgets. I was paying for my films with the money I made from my paper route as a teen. Francis Coppola gave me what could be called a micro-budget out of his own pocket to shoot CLOWNHOUSE. We had just eighteen days to shoot it and around 200,000 dollars.

ROSEWOOD LANE by the way has a budget that is considerably larger, and my point is, that the modest film production that is the norm now -- in many ways has opened the door for the next two films I am about to make.


I don't want to repeat what's already been stated in the trades and in the Fango interview I did just this week, but I will give you a brief take on ROSEWOOD the story and the movie that is now starting preproduction.

Radio Talk Show Therapist Sonny Blake (Rose McGowan) moves back to her childhood home when her alcoholic father dies. But upon arrival in the old neighborhood, Sonny discovers her neighbors are terrified of the local paperboy.

She thinks this is ludicrous -- until she encounters the boy herself and learns the hard way, that he is a cunning, and terrifying sociopath. One who may have killed her father and others.

When the boy starts to call Sonny's radio program, an unnerving game of cat-and-mouse begins -- a game where Sonny starts to doubt her own sanity and wonder if this boy is in fact something darker and more powerful, than makes sense in the world we know.

When their game escalates, Sonny suddenly finds herself in a terrifying all out war -- one that forces her to redefine her ideas of good and evil, and has her fighting to stay alive.

The casting process is ongoing and shooting locales and start dates are still unknown, but my terrific cast already includes RAY WISE, Dexter's LAUREN VELEZ, LIN SHAYE (King Pin, Something About Mary) TOM TARANTINI (Powder, Jeepers I and II) and the lovely and talented LESLEY-ANNE DOWN.

My treasured and cherished JEEPERS CREEPERS film family will also be on board: my great editor of over a decade ED MARX, my magnificent cinematographer and now producing partner DON FAUNTLEROY (he and I are producing ROSEWOOD LANE) and the film will enjoy another haunting score by my brilliant and longtime friend, composer BENNETT SALVAY.

The search for the paperboy, the trickiest piece of casting, has just started.


Rosewood Lane takes place in the ficticious town of Stillwater. But Stillwater isn't as far away from Poho County as you might think. I have added two new surrounding cities to Poho County in my make believe universe.

Stillwater where ROSEWOOD LANE will take place -- a small town across a large bridge and a thriving city - reminescent of my growing up in Northern California, just outside San Francisco.

The other place or town I am adding -- is Hanford. A small seaside town in the adjoining Hanford County which butts up against the borders of Poho County.
(This is a very detailed map I had to create to get an overview of Poho and surrounding counties. It helped facilitate the writing of several new scripts but was originally conceived as a blueprint for a novel I was writing called TALES FROM THE BLUE FISH).

The Blue Fish is a seaside restaurant in Pelican Bay and ... well, just suffice to say that the novel is only a few chapters long at the moment, and has been for a year or so now, and the various plots, the various tales that come from The Blue Fish, mainly about the family who owns and operates it,.

The tales are meant to be many and varied. -The first tale titled LITTLE BASTARDS, is a thriller about a boy who goes on a dark and dangerous quest for a box of buried money -- in order to save the life of his older brother who is doing time in prison for murder.

When toiling in the world of prose, it often occurs to me how easy it would be to tell this tale as a screenplay instead of a novel.

Elsewhere on the map of Poho County: The small seaside town of Hanford -- is about to become the setting of a film very special to me, and I hope of special interest to all my JEEPERS CREEPERS fans.

As you know if you've followed this blog -any of the two years it has been running, then you know of the endless struggle to get the third Jeepers film before cameras. The third installment of the tale has been written for four years now.

Even now, in 2011, seven years after JEEPERS II, hit theaters, we are still somehow sitting around, watching and waiting for a financial entity that would facilitate creating this third film.

A third film that is the second sequel to what internet polls from horror websites -- clearly site as the most requested horror sequels today. The fact that someone can't do the math and find us our budget -- is one of the great Hollywood mysteries I guess.

A terrific piece of fan art someone sent me of a poster for JC3. I like the hopeful date of 2009 on it!

And though I am almost embarrassed to type this -- to even say this to you, once again: am I told Zoetrope (for the umpteenth time in three years now) that Zoetrope is close to cutting a deal with financiers, that might get Jeepers III rolling in September.

Let's just tuck that one away and forget about it for now - less its real this time and we jinx it.

I decided to create a new horror franchise. One that I owned and operated and would never be encumbered by too many cooks in the soup, too many bankers in the mix -- and budgets that were too large to raise in this strangled economy.

If you have read my interview on Fango, then the cat is already out of the bag, and you know the film I am talking about is THE RATTLEMAN. A brand spanking new horror tale that takes place in a sleepy seaside town.

(Quiet, sleepy and mist covered -- there won't be anything sleepy about this seaside town once THE RATTLEMAN shows up)

THE RATTLEMAN will begin filming early summer in a state yet to be determined -- and I can tell you this: I have never been more excited about a horror story.

Rather than blather about it: I will share at the end of this blog, the early one sheet for it that describes it as much as I would like it described at this point.

I need to say to you all, that as I move into shooting ROSEWOOD LANE and then prepping and shooting THE RATTLEMAN -- it may be a while before I can blog again.

If it is, I wish all the luck and love in the world, to all of you, in the pursuit of your own dreams and happiness.

And I will try and find a way to update those of you who are interested, on the process of both these terrific thrillers: ROSEWOOD LANE and THE RATTLEMAN.

And who knows? Maybe there will even be good news about JEEPERS THREEPERS -- when there is more to tell and I can stop and take a breath.

My best to all of my blog readers both subscribers and lurkers. What the heck -- even the haters! Hope everyone is happy and well and surviving the best they can in these tough, tough times.



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