Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Canned Hunt

In 2006, a locally produced film called The 8th Plague was about to start a week long run at a single screen theater in Virginia. When I saw the trailer for the film, I was jealous and I was angry. Jealous because the quality was so far ahead of the work I had been doing and angry that I was moving out of state and wouldn't get a chance to work with the people who made it. But I always remembered the film and the names of the people involved. One of those people was John Michael Whalen, whose work on The 8th Plague earned him the best cinematography award at the Chicago Horror Film Festival. Since then, our paths have crossed and I now count him as friend, collaborator, and peer. All you have to do is talk with John for 5 minutes and you become acutely aware of one thing. The size of his love for film is enormous. His latest project is entitled Canned Hunt. Below is a synopsis.

Anton Doyle was a promising boxer in his day, who, at one point, had a great family and bright future. That was before gambling and drinking took over his life. Now, 35 years later, Anton stays on the same street corner drinking and panhandling. Most people who pass him don’t recognize him when they do make the effort to look at him, which is exactly why three white collar workers approach him with an offer. In exchange for letting them hit Anton once in the face to feel what it’s like to punch someone, they will gladly hand him a bottle of his favorite whiskey.  Desperate for another drink, Anton finally gives in and the situation spirals out of control. Anton is left in a bloody heap to die. The three who beat him have very little fear of prosecution, as they can’t imagine anyone spending too much time finding out who assaulted a homeless man. 
What they don’t know is that everyday Anton is given food by a young, up and coming boxer named Marshall who enjoys listening to his advice and stories from when he was a contender. When Marshall hears about what happened, he begins to track down those who wronged his friend and mentor.  

People who make movies tend to lead with their hearts and often get hurt because of it. Stabbed in the back. Maligned. But the most frustrating thing a filmmaker encounters is apathy. Canned Hunt deserves an audience. It needs fans and supporters. Please click the link below, watch the teaser trailer, and consider donating to the production if you are able.


Like the Torasu Productions Facebook page for updates on Canned Hunt

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


One time Chris Kiros called me a cunt. And he meant it. That can happen when you make films with your friends. And if you're lucky, you get to make one together every few years. I don't live around here anymore, but I still come back to work with the people I started making movies with. Chris's new comedy "The Maladjusted" is something  he told me about late at night years ago at one of the bars we would be emulating  when we made the film.

"The Maladjusted" premieres Thursday July 11 at the Bethesda Row Cinema. If you've ever wanted to make a film, are fortunate enough to get to make films, or have grown cynical about the whole process, come out on Thursday. Hopefully all the filmmakers, actors, friends, and family who have made this possible will be there with us to celebrate.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


In 2006, I produced a 38 minute b&w film titled How Did You Lose Your Soul Sweetheart. The script called for a motel room and on a sweltering May day, we filmed a particularly tense scene inside the Travelers Motel on Richmond Highway. 5 years later, I returned to the exact same motel room to shoot a scene for the upcoming horror film Veil. Hopefully, when Veil is completed, we'll be able to screen it at festivals around the country and make it available to people around the world. People worked hard on it and they deserve for their work to be seen. Sweetheart, however, never got that chance. Myself and the other producers went our separate ways and it was orphaned after its sole theatrical screening in June 2007. It was painfully typical of most zero budget DV indie films. Pretentious, derivative, overly talkative, confusing, and shot almost exclusively in disorienting closeups.  But after watching it again for the first time in years, I could see good things in all the clutter. A shot mimicked in a project years later. A strong performance. A clever editing decision. A scene stolen out in the streets. Despite all its flaws, I'm proud of it because I learned a lot from making this imperfect film. We're putting How Did You Lose Your Soul Sweetheart online for people to watch for free because people worked hard on it and they deserve for it to be seen.

Below is the link and the embedded video is at the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Over the summer, I worked in the hated position of assistant director on the raunchy sex comedy The Maladjusted. When the actresses (including Troma scream queen Tiffany Shepis) played a round of Mary, Fuck, Kill, they voted to kill me. Regardless, it was a great shoot and the movie is going to be hilarious. I viewed a cut last month and it has amazing potential. The producers have started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise finishing funds to complete the film. They're trying to raise $10,000 to pay for festival costs, color correction, music licensing fees, and the audio mix. They're offering some great perks for donating such as autographed copies of the DVD and script, the BMW used in the film, and artwork by Salvador Dali. Skip buying that 8 ball this week and give them a few bucks.


Some very heavy movies this month (Philadelphia, Dancer in the Dark, Into the Abyss, Salvador) as well as a slew of ultra low budget films from the likes of Mike Watne, Gary Ugarek, Chris Seaver, and  Francis Abbey.

4.1 Salvador
4.2 Let It Ride
4.3 Wright Street
4.4 Super 8
4.5 House II: The Second Story
4.6 Lunopolis
4.7 The True Story of Wrestlemania Vol. 1
4.8 The People vs. George Lucas
4.9 Into the Abyss
4.10 JFK
4.11 Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam
4.12 6 Nonsmokers
4.13 Quest for the Egg Salad
4.14 One False Move
4.15 Infinities Lock
4.16 The Fury
4.17 Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
4.18 The Cabin in the Woods
4.19 Bram Stoker's Dracula
4.20 Philadelphia
4.21 Observe and Report
4.22 Deadlands 2
4.23 Factotum
4.24 Some Came Running
4.25 C.H.U.D.
4.26 The Rum Diary
4.27 The Ides of March
4.28 Dancer in the Dark

4.29 Living in Oblivion
3.30 The Woman

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Boxing Day

4 years ago, I helped produce a $2000 feature film. A comedy called Boxing Day that was written & directed by Francis Abbey, a film school graduate I had met a few years prior. Since its completion, I've watched it at the American Film Institute theater in DC amongst hundreds of howling people and in the most depressing, ill equipped, makeshift film festival screening rooms. It won awards at festivals and received glowing reviews, but I never felt like it reached its potential. Today, Francis has decided to release the full movie online for free on YouTube so hopefully it will reach people who haven't had the chance to see it yet. We screened it just last week and it still makes me laugh.

Friday, March 30, 2012


This is what I watched in March a well as the complete first (and only) season of IFC's Film School and Season 6 of Lost. Mostly docs about wrestling as well as some women in prison movies.

3.1 Chasing Ghosts
3.2 The Hollywood Complex
3.3 Shut Up Little Man
3.4 Cave of Forgotten Dreams
3.5 Middle Men
3.6 The Thin Blue Line
3.7 The Reinactors/Small Town Gay Bar
3.8 Women In Cages
3.9 Caged Heat
3.10 Inferno
3.11 Primal Fear
3.12 The Cat O' Nine Tails
3.13 Flock of Dodos
3.14 Darkon
3.15 Demoniacs
3.16 The Backyard
3.17 Selling God
3.18 The Rise and Fall of WCW
3.19 Beyond the Mat
3.20 Half Nelson
3.21 The Bad Lieutenant
3.22 The Exorcist/Game Change
3.23 Film Geek
3.24 This Film Is Not Yet Rated
3.25 Thirst
3.26 Videodrome
3.27 Made/Swingers/The Happening
3.28 Revenge of the Electric Car
3.29 Misery/Sarah Palin: You Betcha
3.30 Project Nim
3.31 Popatopolis