Michael Stephenson

Drinking Games

This is a slow week for DVDs. Seriously, it is. When one of the biggest releases is the incestuously Presidential Hyde Park on Hudson (and who wants to watch that clunker, drunk or not), there’s not many options. Even the big movies opening this week are thin. Who wants to drink with Remember the Titans or Glory Road to get in the spirit for 42? Finally, I wouldn’t saddle anyone with another reason to watch one of the Scary Movie movies. In my desperation to find a relevant title for a drinking game this week, it dawned on me that we have never published one for the deliciously awful Troll 2. So, relevant or not, that became my focus because we could all use a little more Troll 2 in our lives, any day of the year. Cheers!


The American Scream Trailer

For tons of film geeks, Halloween is the best time of the year. We get to layer our movie weight under comfy sweaters, the squares suddenly show interest in makeup and demons and all sort of other strange stuff, and we can gorge on all of the cheesy horror movies we want without anyone thinking it’s weird. The new documentary from Best Worst Movie director Michael Stephenson follows subjects who feel much the same way about our calendar’s most Karo syrup-obsessed holiday. The American Scream is about three ordinary families who all share the same obsession: they take decorating their houses for Halloween way too seriously. If you’ve seen Best Worst Movie, you probably know what to expect here. The American Scream makes a group of weirdos its focus, and manages to milk their weirdness for some laughs, but it also clearly has a deep affection for them, so things never feel mean or exploitative, and you might even get some insight into the human condition. When he took it in at Fantastic Fest recently, our own Luke Mullen called the movie, “another captivating window into a world of passionate fans.”



If you’re the kind of person who builds air cannons and small motors for bowls of spaghetti around Halloween, Michael Stephenson might want to have a word with you. The director of Best Worst Movie is setting his sights on the boldest homemade haunted house fanatics to create a new documentary for NBCUniversal. The project is casting right now, and you can submit yourself or friends or family. Or enemies if you’re so inclined. If you’re not that kind of person, the good news is that you can still kick back and enjoy what sounds like a fun documentary by a proven team. Magic Stone will be producing, and they’ve brought on the Alamo Drafthouse’s Zack Carlson as a writer/producer. In short, this sounds awesome. People who try to make strangers pee themselves in terror should be celebrated, and it’s high time a filmmaker did so. The project is still untitled, but their website name, Homemade House of Horrors sounds pretty solid. Now if they can just get George Hardy to host it, things would be perfect.



Consider originality celebrated for the day. Michael Stephenson, director of Best Worst Movie, has got his next project underway, and it’s a dark comedy called Destroy that features a vampire hunter set loose in a world where he’s taking down innocent elderly men. Well, not completely innocent. Old men have seen some things, ya know? Luckily, our human-staking hero has an assistant to help him out. Fans of the Alamo Drafthouse will be interested to know that the script was written by lead programmer Zack Carlson alongside Bryan Connolly, but the concept is enough to get me excited. It’s comedic and horrible and new, and it sounds like Don Quixote transplanted onto the world of Universal monsters. Plus, it comes at the perfect time to act as an antidote to the vampire outbreak we’ve seen in theaters. Check out the concept art by Johnny Sampson here:


Junkfood Cinema

Welcome to another hearty serving of Junkfood Cinema: it’s why the terrorists hate us. Our resident junkfood expert is busy chomping on Double Downs and Twizzlers in between medically-mandated cubes of celery in a hospital in Austin as he recently suffered an excitement-induced seizure from all the hooplah surrounding Fantastic Fest which, ironically and tragically enough, means that Mr. Salisbury has been mandated by his doctor to stay at least 100 feet away from Fantastic Fest at all times. Mr. Salisbury is currently on suicide watch, and friends and family are keeping him company around the clock, making sure he doesn’t decide to pull the plug and order Bill Miller BBQ. So clearly FSR’s resident vegetarian/skinny jeans aficionado/pinko/walking cliché/guy-who-weighs-less-than-150 is the obvious choice to fill in for the ailing Mr. Salisbury until he gets back on his feet. And do so I proudly will, for as the ever-inspiring mantra in FSR headquarters goes, “when one of our men is down…find somebody else to temporarily take his place.” So this week, in a special FDA-unapproved edition of Junkfood Cinema, I’ll be giving some kickass insight into that exponentially popular piece of anti-vegetarian propaganda known as Troll 2 (1990), the film that inspired M. Night Shyamalan to see if he could possibly do any worse (spoiler: he could).

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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