MARVELOUS MANDY – a movie review

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MARVELOUS MANDY
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5323092/

Watch the trailer here.

Marvelous Mandy –
You Can’t Unlove Her!

marvelous-mandy-dvdI first met Director Chase Dudley on a SECRETS AND SINS film set in Louisville, KY where I was playing one of the party guests.  Although Chase was not directing that set (SECRETS AND SINS),  I became interested in a 2017 project he was doing called PAYDAY and noticed that he was also in the process of releasing MARVELOUS MANDY.  Once the MANDY trailer came out, I knew I had to watch it.

MARVELOUS MANDY is a story about a single father – Harvey Fowler (Jonathan Stottmann) and his quest to find love with a deranged psychopath claiming to be Mandy Simpkins (Paula Marcenaro Solinger), author of the Marvelous Mandy children’s book series.

Harvey has self-esteem issues from being a single dad and a failing stand-up comic, and is desperately seeking a mommy for his daughter Clementine (Kenna Hardin). Clementine is having problems in school but finds solace in the Marvelous Mandy stories.  She asks Daddy to find a Marvelous Mandy book for her. Hoping to cheer her up, he looks for the books everywhere but is having trouble finding them because they are out of print.  This eventually leads him to a bookstore where he surprisingly discovers the series author works there.

Excited that a customer is interested in the Mandy books, a bizarre chemistry begins to form between Mandy and Harvey.  Unfortunately, since Harvey is so desperate, he initially overlooks that Mandy might just be too good to be true.  As Mandy’s life begins to come apart, Harvey begins to realize that he might be in over his head…and that he could be in a situation that is impossible to escape.

MARVELOUS MANDY is a low-budget horror film that had solid directing and great writing behind it, and Paula Marcenaro Solinger’s portrayal of Mandy is spot on and eerily disturbing.  This is an intelligent horror flick.  Keep in mind that the lower budget means that some of the camera work and lighting might not be ‘Hollywood standards’, but it is still a movie you will want to watch. MARVELOUS MANDY keeps you glued to the end to see just who will make it.

Pick up a copy of MARVELOUS MANDY from Legless Corpse Films.  You will be supporting indie horror while rewarding yourself with a very interesting and entertaining movie to watch.

Highly recommended. – GARY LEE VINCENT

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Lee Vincent to appear at MAD MONSTER convention in Charlotte, NC, March 25-26, 2016

I will be attending the MAD MONSTER PARTY in Charlotte for the Friday and Saturday portion of the event.  For this special event, I will be with John Russo and  George A. Romero, creators of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD!

John and George will both have panels and photo ops at the show.  We will also have a small number of AUTOGRAPHED SCRIPTS from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, including a hardbound 50th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION.  The autographed scripts are limited numbered copies of the 1967 shooting script and contain handwritten notes.  They are official and signed by both George A. Romero and John Russo.  This special edition comes with an autographed copy of John Russo’s novel, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and a copy of the tribute anthology RISE OF THE DEAD, autographed by John Russo and myself (Gary Lee Vincent).

We will also have a very limited number of MY UNCLE JOHN IS A ZOMBIE T-Shirts and posters.  This film is our upcoming zombie movie slated to be released later this year. More details on the film are available here.

If you are in the Charlotte, NC, area be sure to check out MAD MONSTER.  It is going to be an excellent time!  For complete details and the full guest list, please visit:

http://madmonster.com/events/charlotte2016/index.php

Location:

SHERATON CHARLOTTE HOTEL
555 SOUTH MCDOWELL STREET
CHARLOTTE, NC  28204

 


STUCK ON NEAL (aka BENT OVER NEAL) – a movie review

Stuck On Neal Poster 2

STUCK ON NEAL
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5509522

I was first introduced to the work of Faustus McGreeves and Aaron Gum via their production of the horror film ENDOR. Being genuinely impressed with the quality and talent coming from this Omaha-based team, I was interested in seeing other films that the team may have produced.

I learned that ENDOR was the team’s second feature film.  Their first was an ultra-low budget romantic comedy called STUCK ON NEAL.  Genuinely interested in seeing what could possibly be made on pretty much talent alone, I requested a screener of the film, as it is only now being toured in the Midwest as I write this.

So, let’s get to the review…

**WARNING–THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS**

STUCK ON NEAL is a story about friendship at its core and how sometimes we love our friends in a way that surprises us, especially if we lose them suddenly.  No, this is not a story about a friend dying but about going through a midlife crisis and rethinking one’s identity and place in life.

The film centers around Rob (played by Faustus McGreeves) and Neal (played by Darrick Silkman), two old pals (not really ‘old’, but thirty-something friends) who knew each other for years.  We learn that Rob is married to Neal’s sister Lisa (played by Chelsea Wagoner) and that Neal is a lonely single guy stuck in a rut.  Neal and Lisa also recently lost their father to cancer, making things hard for both of them.

One of Rob and Neal’s annual rituals is to go camping.  This is their 17th year doing the trip.  During this outing, Neal reveals that he wonders if he might be gay because of how much trouble he has meeting the right woman.  Rob tries to reassure him that he isn’t but Neal presses Rob to ‘experiment’ and try kissing a guy.  Since the two are out in the woods, Rob agrees to Neal’s experiment and the two kiss.

Neal realizes that was probably a bad idea, but this leaves his buddy Rob confused.

Another thing developed during the camping trip was that Neal wanted to see if Rob could ‘hook him up’ with Lisa’s best friend Ariel (played by Andrea Erickson) to give dating another try.  Rob agrees and that is that.

Neal and Ariel quickly hit it off, and as a consequence, Rob begins to see less and less of his friend.  This affects Rob and has collateral impact on other areas of Rob’s life, like his marriage, his kids and his social routines.

The acting dynamic between Rob and Neal (McGreeves and Silkman) is really good.  Equally acted is how Neal and Ariel (Erikson) work on camera with each other as a boyfriend/girlfriend growing in love and how McGreeves and Lisa (Wagner) reflect their emotions as a married couple dealing with issues.  In other words, strong acting and believable drama.

Rob must go on with his life, but some emotions are destructive, which in turn creates true challenges with the people who love him, and ultimately causes real and serious issues with Neal, but you will have to watch the film to understand how this plays out.

I started this review by classifying the film as a romantic comedy, but it is equal parts drama and great story telling at its core.  I am pleasantly surprised that STUCK ON NEAL took this type of subject matter (friendship love versus real love versus unexamined life issues)  and presented it tastefully and with dignity.  This is a very well made film and considering the very low cost to make, I am genuinely and pleasantly surprised with how well it delivered.  It is well written, well shot and well acted.

If you are a fan of solid stories, independent film and are looking for something a little bit off the beaten path, this film won’t let you down.

Highly recommended. – GARY LEE VINCENT

(Reviewer’s note: the film’s original title was BENT OVER NEAL, but was updated during editing to remove more explicit scenes and appeal to a broader viewing audience. The film I screened was the softer STUCK ON NEAL edition of the film.)


ENDOR is intense! My movie review.

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It has been a while since I posted a review on my blog, but every now and then something comes along to jar me out of my slumber and get to writing. Today, I would like to talk about ENDOR, the 2016 feature film by AG Productions / SkullDuggery Theater Films. Directed by Aaron Gum and Faustus McGreeves.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4171892/

I first learned about ENDOR from a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. I always appreciate and support the independent arts, and after reading the project profile, felt deep down that this was a project that needed to happen. In the interest of full disclosure, I sponsored the campaign as an Associate Producer but note that my review is unbiased; if it was bad, I would tell you.  However, ENDOR did not disappoint!

I had the pleasure of working two days on set helping with a night scene at the “Poor House” and being featured as a church member during the opening and closing sequences.

ENDOR is Faustus McGreeves modern adaption of the “Witch of Endor” story from the First Book of Samuel (Chapter 28) in the Holy Bible. The biblical account describes how Saul disobeyed God’s explicit instructions and ultimately was destroyed.

In the movie, “Endor” is the Church of Endor, a God-fearing, Bible-thumping church who firmly believes in the fire and brimstone God of judgment of the Old Testament. We are given a glimpse of one of their services during the start of the film, where the congregation is angry over those not in attendance—the heretics who would rather live in sin and hang out at the local bar than live righteously and go to church. During a feverish sermon by the Reverend of Endor (played by Doug Rothgeb), one of the church members – Owen Matthews (played by Darrick Silkman) – abruptly stands and leaves the service.  We later learn that he was possessed by a spirit of vengeance and that God will use him to exact judgment on all sinners in his path.

Once Owen’s possession is established, the movie follows a young couple – Keira (played by Julia Farrel) and Russ (played by Dustin Smith) – who are on a road trip in Nebraska to visit Russ’ family. The story of their young love is well written and acted.  A good portion of screen time is given to allow the viewer to feel for these characters and even though ENDOR eventually becomes a blood-bath slasher flick that does not let the horror genre down, this character development is a welcome addition to payoff for the viewer.

We learn that Keira used to be a believer in God, but due to a series of personal tragedies, has become an atheist and no longer believes. We don’t completely know if Russ believes or does not, but the fact that he doesn’t get killed right away lends to the possibility that he is redeemable.

During a run of bad luck (as is often the case in horror films), the couple find themselves almost out of gas. After stopping by a closed station, they are forced to look for gas at one of the nearby farms.  While Russ is looking around the barn for a gas can, Keira witnesses the farmer getting killed by Owen in the pasture.

Owen sees Keira and the chase is on!

What could be considered a slow start is quickly remedied from this point forward. We are led on a very elaborate cat and mouse chase that lasts from the afternoon and throughout the night.  Nearly everyone in Owen’s path is killed with the exception of a small few, who may be deduced to be believers based on their behavior and dialogue.

While we eventually realize that God’s chosen target of retribution is Keira, Owen seems to toy with her and Russ, all the while killing off all of the sinners he encounters in a most brutal way. He uses a lot of farm implements to create a blood bath that will have critics talking about the special effects work of Wetworks for years to come.

ENDOR is intense! It does not disappoint.  To prevent spoiling some of the more gratifying scenes in the film, I will not disclose how the film ends or the surprises the couple encounter while hitting the local bar seeking refuge, but I will say… do not miss ENDOR if you are a fan of horror!

I give ENDOR two enthusiastic thumbs up!  FIVE STARS all the way!
GARY LEE VINCENT

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Gary Lee Vincent to appear at the West Virginia Book Festival October 23-24, 2015

I am pleased to announce that I will be sharing the BURNING BULB PUBLISHING booth with fellow author Rich Bottles, Jr. at this year’s WEST VIRGINIA BOOK FESTIVAL on Friday, October 23 and Saturday October 24 at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, WV.

Stop by my booth, where I will be signing copies of my latest releases: BELLY TIMBER and ATTACK OF THE MELONHEADS, along with all four books in the DARKENED WV VAMPIRE SERIES:  DARKENED HILLS, DARKENED HOLLOWS, DARKENED WATERS and DARKENED SOULS.

Rich will be signing copies of LUMBERJACKED, HELLHOLE WEST VIRGINIA, THE MANACLED and BY.

Both of us will be signing our latest zombie anthology RISE OF THE DEAD.  Plus, come out and learn about my latest movie project: MY UNCLE JOHN IS A ZOMBIE!, starring me (Gary Lee Vincent) and legendary horror writer JOHN RUSSO.

Festival information:  http://www.wvbookfestival.org/


New tour stop added MOTOR CITY NIGHTMARES (Detroit – April 25-27, 2014)

This just in… I will be joining John Russo and George Kosanna at the Motor City Nightmares Horror Expo and Film Festival at the Novi Sheraton (Detroit area) Friday April 25 – Sunday, April 27, 2014).

John will be signing copies of his newest novel DEALEY PLAZA and I will be there with limited copies of my DARKENED series, including this year’s new release DARKENED SOULS.

Hope to see you there!

Event Website: http://www.motorcitynightmares.com/home

Motor City Nightmares 2014


JOHN RUSSO and GARY VINCENT to attend Steel City Con

April 11-13, 2014 Monroeville, PA

April 11-13, 2014
Monroeville, PA

Legendary horror writer JOHN RUSSO (co-creator of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) and GARY LEE VINCENT (creator of DARKENED – THE WV VAMPIRE SERIES) will be appearing together at the STEEL CITY CON on April 11-13, 2014 at the Monroeville Convention Center in Pittsburgh (Monroeville), PA.

Stop by and say, “Hello,” and be sure to pick up a copy of John’s newest thriller DEALEY PLAZA and get it AUTOGRAPHED!

The Steel City Con is one of PA’s largest pop culture expos, featuring over 750 booths, awesome celebrity guests, toys, comics, and so much more.

Other guests this year include Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy), Jonathan Freaks (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Cindy Williams (Laverne & Shirley), Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Travis Love (The Walking Dead), Nicholas Brendon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Dermot Crowley (Star Wars), Femi Taylor (Star Wars), Parker Stevenson (Baywatch), Mackenzie Lintz (The Hunger Games and Under the Dome), and many more!

For complete details visit the event’s website at http://www.steelcitycon.com.


Dealey Plaza Review

Dealey Plaza by John Russo☆☆☆☆☆ A definitive masterpiece… arguably Mr. Russo’s best work yet!

John Russo is a living legend in the horror genre, with his penning of the screenplay NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD with George Romero and novel by the same name. He has a written over twenty books, several screenplays, and is an accomplished actor and director. Though many attribute him as being the father of the zombie genre which we all have come to know and love, DEALEY PLAZA is a departure from Mr. Russo’s standard modus operandi.

In DEALEY PLAZA, you won’t find any brain eating zombies or undead ghouls coming for you in the shadows, but what you will find is a piece of cleverly crafted historical fiction that has its roots interwoven in true historical facts/events that defined the later part of the twentieth century.

DEALEY PLAZA is centered on a group of young adults who must grow up during some of the most turbulent times in recent history. It is a story that begins in the year following the John F. Kennedy assassination, in which some college friends and army buddies – all conspiracy buffs – decide to go to Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas and film a documentary about the JFK event during a college break.  After the filming concludes, there are still a few days left of the break before the crew has to head home.  With this extra time, two of the friends decide to go to Mexico to party and the other members of the group decide to go to Mississippi to attend a civil rights rally that is happening around the same time.

The group that went to Mississippi is ambushed because part of the party is black and we get a firsthand glimpse at what it was like to be black and live in the 60’s in the south, during a time that segregation still existed and animosities were high. Two blacks and two whites were killed, and a young mother named Lori McCoy barely survives with her small child. The woman and child escape by hiding in the back seat of the car while the ambush takes place and then making a getaway as the attackers are preoccupied with the others.

This event triggers a chain reaction that starts a ‘cat and mouse’-type thriller where Lori is pursued by the radicals at different points in her life when they find out where she lives. One of the friends who went to Mexico – Frank Williams – begins a career in law enforcement and becomes an FBI agent who dedicates his life to hunting down the killers and protecting his friends.

DEALEY PLAZA is a coming of age story and one of the most intensely violent books I have ever read.  That being said, I think that every person should read it just to ground themselves on what hate really is and the effects of hate crime and violence on those whose lives it touches. It also provides the reader with a unique psychological insight into guns and violence, and the consequences of radicalism.

DEALEY PLAZA is, I believe, a definitive literary masterpiece. Much as Charles Dickens defined the pulse of what it was like living in the time of the French Revolution with his book, A TALE OF TWO CITIES, Mr. Russo skillfully captures the turbulence of America in the years following the Kennedy assassination.  DEALEY PLAZA teaches history in such an entertaining way, that a scholar (student) might get a better education reading this book than some of the American history textbooks that are out there… at least it wouldn’t be as boring.

Although Mr. Russo will undoubtedly always be known for fathering zombie fiction with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DEALEY PLAZA is arguably Mr. Russo’s best work yet. This one will make you think – and remember when – the world changed starting around what happened at Dealey Plaza.

Watch the trailer:

 


An Open Letter To Music Fans

Many folks who know me now, mainly think of me from the various books I have created.  However, I have been in the arts and entertainment business since 1992, as far back as high school.

Before writing, I was first and foremost a musician, with my latest CD being Somewhere Down The Road released in 2009. This was a project that cost close to $5,000.00 to produce and has a featured music video that we shot near Boston.  The music video was for The Man Behind The Mask, a song from the album.  BTW, if you haven’t seen it yet, here it is for your enjoyment:

In my lifetime, I have professionally released three full length albums and have written a couple hundred songs. With such a catalogue, why did I stop doing music?

Frankly, I just couldn’t make any money at it. As the years grew and the sales dwindled, I switched my time to writing stories and still work on creative projects mainly as enjoyment than earning a living.

I was at a hardware store the other day when I ran into someone working there that I knew from high school.  The conversation went something like this:

“Hi Gary, I haven’t seen you in a while. Are you still doing music?”

“Well, my last CD was Somewhere Down The Road, it was a few  years back. Have you listened to it?”

“No, but that’s awesome,” she replied. “You need to give me one next time you come up here.”

I really didn’t give the conversation much thought, but can honestly say that I haven’t brought her any free CDs yet either.  When I was doing my taxes the other day, I saw that the total royalties I received from ALL of my music last year was around $30.00… mostly from individual streaming downloads.

These two things have been scratching at my conscience and today, I saw that National Disk wrote the following open letter to musicians which they encourage to share, so I am posting it below to let people realize that if you like an artist – be it musician, author, painter, you name it – please support them by buying their creation(s). Do not expect them to give it to you for free, even if you can get it for free.  These people need to earn a living too and they work very hard to produce these creative works.

So…  here is the open letter for your perusal.

An Open Letter to Music Fans – Enjoy the Music, but Remember the Artist

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Music has changed more in the last 10 years than in any other time in history. More specifically, how you listen to music has changed. A wave of great new listening experiences has flooded the market, starting with CDs in the 90s, iPods in 2001, iTunes in 2004, and mobile phones that stored and played music shortly thereafter. These new formats allowed fans to listen to music everywhere they went, and we all spent a lot of time and money building our music libraries.

Now, we have progressed to streaming music. In the past few years, we’ve seen a surge in streaming services: Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Google Play, iTunes Radio, Deezer, SoundCloud, Grooveshark, and so on. The list keeps growing.

Streaming Was Made For Fans

For many fans, music is uplifting, and it evokes emotions in ways nothing else can. Just like the smell of cinnamon rolls baking still reminds me of Grandma’s kitchen, certain songs take me back to relive some great memories. I know others feel the same way. Music can also be exciting and fun; many fans eagerly anticipate the next musical discovery that blows them away, whether it’s from a musician they already know or from someone entirely new.

As a fan, streaming music is incredible. You can choose from an unlimited library of music and gain exposure to new artists that you would not have found otherwise. Streaming allows you to play music on almost all of your devices—from mobile phones to smart TVs—with just one account. Streaming music also lets you to listen to a huge variety of music without ever purchasing anything, as long as you don’t mind hearing a few commercials. If commercials bore you, then pay as little as $3.00 per month to listen commercial free.

Surely somebody brilliant came up with this idea. It’s an experience designed entirely for fans, and it’s almost impossible for you to say no. I get it, really.

Sound like everything is perfect in the world of music? For fans, it nearly is.

What The Changes Mean To Artists

Not everyone is benefitting, though. Streaming music, digital downloads, CDs—the music you listen to might be the same, but the delivery method is considerably different. That difference has affected how you listen and what you buy, which in turn has affected the musicians that create the music you love and their ability to make even a modest living. I can’t say this about all musicians, but the vast majority of independent musicians—I’m not talking about superstar performers or the kids still in high school, but about professional, independent musicians (like me) who rely on their creative work to make a living and support a family—struggle with this new model of compensation in the music industry.

iTunes began changing the monetary model for musicians in 2004. At that point, fans learned that you could purchase any song you wanted for $0.99. No need to pay $12 for an album. Yes, you’ve downloaded a lot of singles since then, and some albums, too. But because you no longer had to purchase the album for $12 to get the hit single, the value for an artists’ most popular work dropped more than 90%. The typical payment to an artist for a single download from iTunes is about $0.65. Since singles are in such apparent demand, if they’re going to be sold, they should sell at a premium. This would help musicians cover the production costs and still make a living. Sadly, that is not the case.

But things don’t stop there.

Streaming music has been around for a long time, but it was not really mainstream until four or five years ago. Now, it is everywhere, and it seems to be impacting download sales. In 2013, iTunes had its first ever decline in digital download sales of music, likely due to competition from streaming music. That trend will continue. What’s worse is that artists generally make much less from streamed music than they do downloaded singles.

Music is just as creative and demanding of talent as other forms of art, but admirers of sculptures or paintings don’t expect to take their favorite piece home with them without paying for it. That would be crazy. Yet musicians, who put just as much effort into their work, are often expected to give their creations away for free (or practically-free).

I know that you, as a fan, love streaming music. But for me, and for my fellow musicians, the picture is not as promising.

Here’s How You Can Help

If you think you’re powerless to change things, think again.

An artist who had 100,000 streams of his music in a year might make $300 to $400. I don’t know anyone who can live on just $400 for a year, which means that artist would have to find alternate forms of income, maybe giving up on music altogether. But… what would have happened if 50,000 of those people had downloaded a single, or 15,000 had downloaded an album from that same artist? His income would have been $35,000 to $65,000. Wow, what a difference! The income would have been even more if the artist sold CDs, but the price to fans would remain the same.

None of this would matter except that fans streaming music tend to download or purchase less of the music that they stream. Remember what I told you about iTunes sales in 2013? If you don’t buy my music online or at shows, the income I need to make a living is being cut to almost nothing. Streaming music does not pay the bills.

I can’t expect you to give up streaming music. The experience is too good. But you can help your favorite musicians by seeking them out online and purchasing their music. Buy their album. It may sound a little crazy to pay for something that you can get for free, but it’s not. You could also choose to purchase their merchandise online. Better yet, check out their event schedule, attend a show, and purchase their products in person.

If you truly enjoy music and want to keep those memories coming, you need to go above and beyond the norm of streaming. Support your favorite artist. Support music. Support me.


New Tour Dates Announced

I am pleased to announce the following tour stops/book signings for Spring and Summer 2014:

March 21-23, 2014 Sharronville Convention Center Cincinnati, OH

March 21-23, 2014
Sharronville Convention Center
Cincinnati, OH

May 10, 2014 John S. Knight Center Akron, OH

May 10, 2014
John S. Knight Center
Akron, OH

Bizarre A.C. II - Atlantic City Horror Con

Bizarre A.C. II – Atlantic City Horror Con
The Tropicana Casino and Resort
June 13 – 15, 2014

Days Of The Dead Wyndham Indianapolis West June 27 - 29, 2014

Days Of The Dead
Wyndham Indianapolis West
June 27 – 29, 2014

WV Pop Culture Con

WV Pop Culture Con
Mylan Park, Morgantown, WV
August 23 – 24, 2014