Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Night of the Living Dead (1 of 2)

Oh, damn. Finally we get down to kickin' some zombie butt. Night was my favorite horror flick as a kid, yet somehow I sensed what the original was lacking--bland, robotic acting and half-ass make-up. Luckily, I had both!

After some more chillingly authentic screaming from Julie, I get killed within seconds of this one starting--and if that's not a good sign, I don't know what is. Moments later, action-hero Joe is on the case, and it's his brainstorm that a flimsy card table leaned against a window will protect the house from invader zombies. What's really weird is that it works.

Do not--not! not!--miss Part 2 of this, which has a battle royale zombie fight scene that will haunt your dreams for the rest of your natural life. Your unnatural life, too, maybe.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ALA Video Interview with DK

Yes, it's an interview with me just after my reading at the 2009 ALA conference. It's short, thank god.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Twilight Zone

The good news: a trip to my grandparents' farm meant I could make a movie that wasn't set in my living room! The bad news: no actors. Thus the stage was set for my surreal triple-performance as a bratty kid, the kid's grandpa, and Rod Serling.

The plot is deliciously stupid: two siblings dare each other to perform increasingly dangerous feats until a climb up the side of a silo ends in tragedy courtesy of a gun-happy grandpa. The teen falls to his death (with an impressively wet smack! noise), whereupon the barely perturbed grandpa utters the most disinterested eulogy in history.

Two recollections: 1) I remember trying really hard to make the dares look difficult, but walking across hay bales? Climbing up a five-foot rock pile? These things are not difficult. 2) About half-way through the taping, Julie and I were abandoned to finish it ourselves, which meant that one of us had to be behind the camera at all times. The trippy result--no character could be in the same shot as another character--approaches a level of weirdness that's almost avant-garde.

Practically my favorite Danman Production, perhaps second only to The Blob. Watch it!

Labels: ,

Friday, July 17, 2009


Talk about unnecessary! This fake commercial is a sequel to the fake commercial we made about the Duck Phone. I'd recommend watching "Duck Phone" first, but I can't really recommend watching any of these.

You have to give me some points for originality, though. There are a lot of things a kid filmmaker could do with a house full of hunting paraphernalia, but pretending a wooden duck decoy was a camcorder is pretty out there. It's actually kind of surreal, if you think about it. Screw it, I'm a genius.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dan's Brew

I have no memory of making this. Apparently it's a commercial for an awful-tasting beer called Dan's Brew: "The beer for when you think you've got it bad."

Yet there's something about this video that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Maybe it's those backyard corn stalks, or the dusk-hour lighting, or the total lack of self-consciousness, but for me it just captures that feeling of a summer night in Iowa when there wasn't anything better to do than make a 42-second commercial about fake beer.

Sorry to get all sepia-toned on you.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jinsu Knives

To decompress after the epic that was Misery, Joe and I shot this Jinsu knives parody. Of course it involves machetes and fake blood, but the main thing this has going for it is that it's really short. Sure, there are a couple cute touches (the flourish with which I caress the "Jinsu Peeler"; the band-aid on my finger after I hack into it), but let's just how or that the... sorry, I just got bored and forgot what I was writing.

So let's take this opportunity to bask in that kick-ass basement mural! As the basement was my room, I would've preferred a cooler image-- the Death Star, maybe, or those dancing girls from "In Living Color"--but the 'rents went with the meditative autumn scene. There's also a Spuds MacKenzie doll sitting on top of the TV. You know, for all you Spuds MacKenzie fanatics out there. Yeah, that's the best I can do today.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Boing. Boing? Boing!

Yes, Francis Ford Iowa hit the internet jackpot today when it showed up on the blog of the gods, Boing Boing. If you're reading this, that's probably why.

Thanks to Cory Doctorow for the shout-out. Cory's the author of an amazing speculative fiction book called Little Brother that is both creepy and inspiring. It's also one of the best books about technology that I've ever read. Go right now to a place where books are sold or rented and buy it or rent it.

Now back to the mind-bending terror.

Misery (part 2)

If you only watch one-half of one teen version of Misery this year, make this the half you watch! There's so many choice cuts here, I'm gonna need to bust out the bullet points:

* The opening action scene marks my pioneering of the hold-the-boombox-up-to-the-camera method of making a movie soundtrack. Sadly, my genius goes unrecognized to this day.

* My dorky performance as the good-ol'-boy sheriff has two highlights. First, at the end of the "I don't reckon he's dead" scene, you can hear me skid my tires off the driveway. (I was just learning to drive.) Second, I get shot. Finally!

* While it's cute that Paul gets his foot sawed off with a butter knife in our version, where's the gore!? I was probably afraid to get my parents' room all bloody. If I had a nickel for every time I said that.

* If only the real Misery ended with Paul screaming "Die! Die! Die!" before dispatching the psycho with a punch. Yes, a single, manly punch.

Overall, though, Misery is much more comprehensible than what came before it (or after it). Why? The only thing I can think of is the absence of Joe. Sorry, Joe.

[See bits of the original script here!]

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, July 6, 2009

Misery (part 1)

Here it is! Stephen King's Misery as performed by hapless high-school teens! This was the first of our "real" movies (you can tell by the astonishing letterbox effect) and in some ways it's the best. Shad plays the captured novelist Paul Sheldon; Jenny plays the psychotic Annie Wilkes. Even at an early age, Shad's improv acting instincts were flawless; when he falls from the bed onto his hideously broken legs, he says, "Oh, that smarts."

But, if I do say so myself, the show is stolen by the moronic phone conversations of Paul's curiously laconic agent and the local redneck sheriff, played by yours truly. In probably the lousiest performance of my career (and that's saying a lot), I wear a fishing cap (our closest approximation to a sheriff's hat) and adopt an unbelievably irritating country accent. Someone should've used this footage to blackmail me. Too late, suckas.

Bonus points for cameos by an Apple IIe, more fake cigarettes, and that damn bottle of vodka again.

(Part 2 has all the good stuff--action music, death scenes, dream sequences--so stay tuned.)

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Duck Phone

This won't make a lick of sense unless you remember those Sports Illustrated "football phone" ads that blanketed the airwaves in the 80's. Actually, even then it won't make much sense.

Here's what you need to know: In Iowa, I was surrounded by hunters (I thought everyone ate venison three times a week until I was, oh, 18), and so they became the butt of many jokes in my movies. In this commercial for the fantastically titled fake magazine Iowa's Most Bloody Deer and Disgusting Fish, I play something around 22 different "country hick" characters, which is pretty ridiculous considering that I myself was a country hick nonpareil. Watch until the very end for my delicate portrayal of the "I'm glad I called" guy. Emmy Award, please.

Labels: ,