Auld Lang Syne

“Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot, and auld (old) lang syne?” Ahhh…. the long familiar song associated with this time of year.

Auld Lang Syne: “For (the sake of) old times.”

‘Tis the end of another year, my friends. 2016 is coming to a close as 2017 approaches. Did you all have a wonderful Christmas? I sure did. I was extremely grateful to spend a relaxing holiday at home with my family. We carried on the annual Christmas Eve tradition of driving around looking at the local Christmas decorations and lights as we sipped on our milkshakes. Then, once we arrived home we watched the classic film, A Christmas Story starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, along with Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon who played his parents and Ian Petrella who played his pesky little brother, Randy. My family and I have seen the movie countless times, but every time we watch it, it still cracks us up.

And then on Christmas day, we stayed home opening our gifts as we sat by the fireplace. It was definitely a wonderful time!

Tomorrow is the first day of the new year and I’m certainly ready for it. Are you? I’ve got some exciting projects that I’ll be working on and I promise to keep you all posted with the updates as time progresses. I’m really looking forward to this next year! What does 2017 have in store for you? I’d love to hear about it! What are some of your holiday traditions and what exciting plans have you got for the upcoming year?

As we celebrate this festive holiday season, always be safe and enjoy. Life is for remembering, not regretting!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!

~ Love & Light, Sheila

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

 

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Happy Halloween!!!

I know it’s a day early, but I just wanted to take a very special moment to wish you all a Happy Halloween! As I’ve said before, this is my absolute fave time of year. The temperatures become cooler, warm Autumn smells fill the air and holiday baked goodies tend to be at their yummiest!

Carving pumpkins has always been a huge tradition with my family. The creativity involved just adds to the excitement. And then… there’s the baking of the pumpkin seeds! Right before putting them in the oven, I like to add some sea salt to give them a little extra bit of deliciousness. Oh, and did I mention that as we carved pumpkins yesterday, we baked nearly three dozen peanut butter cookies. Yes, we did and I would love to share them with you! 🙂

There’s also the marathon of fave horror movies to make this haunted holiday all the scarier. Earlier in the week I recorded Masque of the Red Death (a short story by Edgar Allan Poe) starring the late, great Vincent Price. A true classic in my opinion, another fave. Since my childhood, I’ve always loved the works of Poe and his creative ingenious as he brought out an eerie darkness that has resonated amongst his fans.

With so many different fun things going on this time of year, I decided to explore the stores to see what I could find to add to this season’s decorations. A couple of weeks ago I went shopping and found an adorable, yet simple, witch’s hat. (An image of this sweet addition is even included at the end of this post.)

When I got to the register, the cashier asked, “Are you gonna be a witch for Halloween?” I casually laughed and answered, “I already am one.”

She jokingly replied, “I thought you were kidding.” I grinned while shaking my head and told her, “Actually, I’m Wiccan.”

Then, we had a brief conversation about spirituality. The young lady was very cool and extremely open-minded.

The encounter made me giggle because of its innocence, which made me want to share it with you. As I always say, “Be Original. Be True. Be YOU!” 😉 )O(

 

Alright, everyone, I’ve shared with you a few of mine and my family’s Halloween traditions, would love to hear what are some of your favorite things that you like to do? Don’t be shy, this is an open-minded site where everyone is welcome to share!

 

Blessed Samhain! )O(

Love & Light,                                                                                                                         Sheila

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

 

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Pumpkins my son and I carved yesterday. 🙂

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Interview with film director, Michael G. Kehoe

Today I’m welcoming back director, Michael G. Kehoe to discuss his new horror film, AliceThank you, Michael for stopping by!

 

 

Tell everyone a little about yourself.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up going to a Catholic school. My mother was a theater director in the local parish. One of the first films that caught my attention when I was very young was a film by an Australian director Nicolas Roeg titled “Walkabout”. Roeg was a Cinematographer on such films like “Fahrehheit 451”, Second Unit on “Lawrence of Arabia” just to name a few. So his attention to detail as far as composition and light was something that caught my attention for some reason.
My family moved to Ithaca and while I attended high school I became interested in drama and started acting. I wanted to direct so I approached the school and a sports booster club to produce the play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. I produced it, directed it and played the leading role of R. P. McMurphy. The play was a success for the sports booster club and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was then approached by my high school English teacher to apply to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. I then waited for word, and was finally accepted.
After completing my studies there I left for California and took a job as a bartender. There is a longer story, but it would end up being a book!

 

 

Your latest horror film is titled, Alice. Prior to it becoming a feature film, it was the short film called Hush which received more than 30 phenomenal awards. Share with us Hush’s success and how it became Alice.

I had been developing an idea that would take place in one location with female leads. I happen to have 4 sisters, they’re independent and their personalities are very strong. I have a great relationship with all of them. My mother, was a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock, and she was a very positive inspiration for me to pursue a career as a filmmaker. All of this is what lit the fuse of inspiration. I began writing a screenplay and did not have a title. The screenplay was written quickly and I knew that every screenplay I write will have a follow up journey of a rewrite and another rewrite and another and a polish and a touch up, this is the life of a writer! Within the untitled screenplay I pulled a scene that although was less than 5 minutes long, it had somewhat of a three act structure. I then decided to take that scene and shoot it as a short film. The scene itself is the catalyst of the third act in the feature script.

I had several ideas on how I wanted to shoot the film and then contacted cinematographer and long time friend John Connor. We met and discussed the approach to the film for several months. We created story boards, developed movement of the shots and composition. John suggested we shoot the film with anamorphic lenses and that was the scope I wanted for the film giving it a grand look. We then discussed lighting. Lighting for this genre is extremely important and the right lighting can give the film a style that remains in peoples minds after they’ve left the theater. I must give credit to John Connor for the style and the lighting. At first he was reluctant when I said I did not want to use any lights at all. We looked at dozens of films that inspired us over the years and John came up with an idea that created the style of the film. It has his mark on it. I then brought on a talented editor Michael Trent. Michael and I had a friendship already through our sons, he loves filmmaking as much as I do and I felt as if we were old friends when we began discussing the short film HUSH. Michael talked about the science of the horror genre. I loved those discussions we had over coffee. Each and every moment was touched upon and I knew Michael Trent was the right choice. I not only consider him a friend, but he is my editor!

We shot the short film in one day, less than 11 hours. We came prepared and the cast and crew were spot on! At the time, I fooled around with different titles such as “Dark Rain”, “The Night It Came” and several others. Then, a friend of mine read the short script and in the script there was dialogue that the baby sitter had: “Hush, I’m coming”. So, we decided to use “HUSH”. The short film went on to win 34 awards, including a Wes Craven award. The buzz for the short was extremely rewarding and it gave us faith to continue with the feature.

I then received a call from producer Malek Akkad (producer of the HALLOWEEN franchise), he had screened the short film and read the script. We met, solidified a deal and went over the ideas for the story. Malek is a passionate producer with attention to story. He and I worked diligently on the script and spent hours going over the approach of the cast. We both agreed to avoid the cliche’ of nudity and blood and worked the relationships out that would be relatable to the female audience. We moved on and scheduled the film to shoot with an 18 day schedule that ended out being shorter than that. Believe me, if I had more time we would have used it! But we accomplished what we set out to do and I am very proud of this film.

 

 

What makes Alice the “must see” film for all horror fans?

I think the element of “what’s behind the door?” is always something that horror fans love. I learned quickly that horror fans are loyal and sharp. You can’t cheat a horror fan, if you do, you’ll never hear the end of it. The genre itself has many flavors, there’s ghosts, vampires, monsters, killers, demons and the list goes on. Each of these flavors has a following that is dedicated to the history, the tone and the style. I hope we can give the fans a ride that will open the doors to a sequel! I think they’ll enjoy this as the fans enjoyed the short film. We want to scare the crap out of the audience!

 

 

What are some things people are saying about this exciting film so far?

During post, the technicians have stated that “ALICE” is creepy with great jump scares. They’ve said “you took us on one path and then jolted us to another”. No one on the outside has even seen the film, not the crew, not the cast. Only the small circle that pulled this all together. The word has been very positive.

 

 

Is there a teaser trailer available?

We’re working on a trailer right now. In fact, we will be announcing a contest on social network very soon!

 

 

When will Alice be released for all to see?

At the present time “ALICE” is due to be released in February.

 

 

Where can horror fans find updates about Alice?

Right now people should log on to Facebook and “Like” the “ALICE The Movie” page: https://www.facebook.com/alicemovie2017/?fref=ts
There will be updates and information being released. Be sure to keep an eye out for the big event we will be announcing.
People can follow me on social network: Instagram; @mikehoe11 Twitter: @MikeyKehoe https://twitter.com/MikeyKehoe

 

 

I want to thank you Sheila Renee Parker for your support and your dedication to the paranormal. Your voice should be heard all across the country. I hope you will continue to support the films I make in the future! I would also like to thank the people you inspired to follow me. I hope I can bring the film to a theater near you!

Thank you,
Michael G. Kehoe

 

 

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Interview with Marty Schiff

Today I’m welcoming actor and producer, Marty Schiff. Thank you, Marty for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well… I don’t really know where to start. I’ve had a pretty interesting life… much of it is public knowledge. I have been focused on a career in entertainment since I was 10 years old. I started doing regional theater when I was 14. Sometimes working on three shows at a time, acting, building sets and rehearsing was common for me. By the time I was 20 I had already done two dozen shows in some capacity. Some things that are not as public are: I was a volunteer fireman for many years. I learned to drive a stick on a 1956 American La France fire truck. I have two wonderful children, both who have interests in production. My daughter works as a Production Manager for PBS and my son is finishing up college. I’ve survived some pretty serious health issues…. and you’d never know it. As the song says…”ain’t found a way to kill me yet”.

 

 

What was the initial spark that inspired you to go into the film industry?

I think, and believe, it was in my DNA. I was a TV junkie at a very early age. I can still tell you what was on the air on Saturday mornings in Pittsburgh during the early 60s. It started with a test pattern. My family was also very into going to movies. I was never a noisy child in a dark theater. My grandmother would take me to the Warner Theater on Fifth Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh nearly every Saturday. Drive-ins were big for my parents and siblings.

When I was 12 my father gave me a Kodak Brownie 8 mm movie camera. I shot hundreds of hours of film… most lost in the Northridge Earthquake in 1994. But it was my joy at a very early age. Again, without any formal training I knew how to set up shots, light, direct and edit short films. I was always daydreaming about shooting something and never paid attention much in school. My imagination was… and still is… off the hook. My goal was always to get to Hollywood… and did just that after getting my theater degree at the age of 23.

There is a very real possibility that a past life connected me to Hollywood. When I moved there in 1979 it felt extremely comfortable… not many people say that about Los Angeles… and I knew my way around without maps. I have a particular fondness for The Hollywood Cemetery and used to take my daughter there for “Picnics with the Demilles”… next to Cecil and Agnes DeMille’s burial plot.

 

 

Some of your earlier work include great titles such as Dawn of the Dead and Creepshow. What are some of the other films that you’ve worked on?

I think the one film I’m remembered most for is CREEPSHOW but my favorite film to work on, also a Romero work, was KNIGHTRIDER. It’s a non horror film but still great. Some lesser known are CHILDERN OF THE LIVIND DEAD and PARTY ANIMAL. I also worked on BLANKMAN, CAN YOU FEEL ME DANCING, THE ASSASINATION FILE and others.

As an actor my career was very heavy in television. Most people don’t realize how many times they’ve seen me in commercials and shows from the 80s and 90s. I’m very proud of OUT OF CONTROL which was Nickelodeon’s very first show they produced for themselves. Until then they had been buying shows produced for other networks. We started it all. OUT OF CONTROL starred Dave Coulier who would go on to do FULL HOUSE. OUT OF CONTROL had an ensemble cast that I loved. It was still the most fun I ever had going to work. A close second was the two seasons I spent on DALLAS. I did many shows and still get residual checks for 12 cents when one of those shows runs somewhere in the world.

 

 

What’s your favorite role you’ve ever played and why?

In film it was probably Trashman 1 in CREEPSHOW. It was so much fun making most of that performance up. Of course working with George Romero is always a treat and acting alongside my on screen partner Tom Savini is always a blast. We’ve been partners on screen 5 times. (DAWN OF THE DEAD, KNIGHTRIDERS, CREEPSHOW, EFFECTS, CHILDREN OF THE LIVING DEAD)

On TV it was HERN from OUT OF CONTROL. We had a lot of creative freedom with that show and my fellow cast members, directors and producers were just awesome to work with. An actor’s dream come true. If you search the show on Youtube there are many episodes there.

 

 

You have your very own production company called, SCHIFF MEDIA. Tell us about that.

Schiff Media was one of the first all digital production companies in the Pittsburgh region. It was started by my brother Bill and I with four XL1s and Final Cut Pro 2… we were early adapters. We did lots of commercials, a documentary or two and some special projects. We had a studio set up in the back of Schiff Printing Company and it was a lot of fun. I would move on to other projects and a new company called Jeffrey Martin Global Media. JMGM is more of a distribution company but we still do production from time to time. Recently, we produced a pilot for TV called THE ODDS… focusing on gambling.

 

 

What’s next for Marty Schiff?

I have some shows I’d like to get off the ground. A few game shows, some magazine shows and a film or two. I’m teaching directing for the Cinema Department at Point Park University, where I graduated from way back in the 20th century. I have some interests in non production businesses and I might even slow down a bit… no… that’s a lie… I’m happy working… I will sleep when I’m dead.

 

 

How can fans follow you and your updates about current and upcoming projects?

Fans can find me on Facebook and if they are professionals on LinkedIn. If they are interested in the film program at Point Park I’m always available to discuss that.

 

 

Words of advice for those who’d like to follow in your footsteps?

It’s not easy… but so worth it… and obviously not impossible. The key to success isn’t so much talent as perseverance, practice, commitment and believing in you. And … most importantly… be passionate about it.. live it… breathe it… love it. Never give up, make interesting and smart choices and be brilliant.

 

 

 

Marty Schiff

A Ghostly Perspective

This next post was inspired by a film that I’ve recently watched titled, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia. The film is based on a true story and here is its description: “A historic Southern home’s new residents come face to face with a malevolent force.”

While watching, that was when it dawned on me that I was already familiar with the people portrayed in the film. I had seen them on other paranormal shows talking about their story and discussing the daughter’s ability of clairvoyance and communicating with the dead.

After I finished watching the film, it got me to thinking about ghosts and why some of them seem to be so malevolent. Perhaps their spirit isn’t actually malevolent at all. Maybe they just seem that way because they are trying to convey a message to the living. And after countless failed attempts of communication with the living, the ghosts become enraged because they have something to say but have no way of reaching the other side.

I know it may sound crazy, even far-fetched, but it made me think. So, by the time these ghosts finally find someone with whom they are able to communicate, they’re ready to unleash all their built-up emotions. And with the rush of feeling (and the fact that they’re dead) it’s easy to understand why the living can get so terrified by a paranormal encounter.

It makes total sense to me. Put yourself in their position. One day you’re walking down the street and all is well, then unfortunately something tragically out of the blue happens and you’re no longer part of the living. You’re now on the other side. You’re terrified, freaking out and you have no one to turn to. You try so hard to communicate with the living, but nothing – nadda. You try and try until one day your persistence finally becomes successful when you’re able to communicate with someone. But by this time, when you’re able to speak to a clairvoyant or whomever, you’ve got all this rush of excitement and that’s what scares the living because it becomes too overwhelming for them to handle.

Now this isn’t me in any way, shape or form, discarding all malevolent entities as non-malevolent. Extreme caution should always be utilized when investigating the paranormal because there are evil creatures/beings on the other side. So, be careful!

But the film did make me think and I wanted to share……

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

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Suicide Forest

Sounds like such a frightening place doesn’t it? Suicide Forest, full of despair and darkness. It’s located at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan and is also known as Aokigahara. This fourteen square mile forest is so thick with trees and other natural formations that it makes it difficult to hear anything that doesn’t belong there.

If anyone wants to visit the Sea of Trees, be forewarned for it harbors an egregious reputation. It’s reported to have an association with demons and more than fifty suicides took place among the woods in 2010. Sadly, this forest is one of the top three most popular locations worldwide for suicide. Up until around 1988, nearly thirty reported suicides occurred yearly. These lost lives have not gone unnoticed. Because of their tragedies, a warning sign has been erected at the beginning of the trail pleading that anyone contemplating suicide to please consider their loved ones and to contact a suicide prevention hotline.

Why the dark history? It’s believed that an old Japanese custom referred to as ubasute was practiced there until the 1800s and that the victims of this tragic era are to blame for the hauntings. Ubasute refers to an act where an elderly relative would be taken to an isolated location and left there to perish, be it by starvation, exposure to the elements, dehydration, etc….. all for the sake of euthanasia.

This weekend a feature film has been released titled, The Forest starring Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney. Here’s the cinematic trailer…

 

 

 

Suicide is nothing to take lightly and should be treated as an extremely serious matter. The following is contact information for suicide prevention.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (website)          1-800-273-TALK (8255)

 

 

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Below is a photo of the warning sign pleading that anyone contemplating suicide to please consider their loved ones and to contact a suicide prevention hotline.

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Interview with writer and director, Michael G. Kehoe

Today I’m welcoming back producer, writer and film director, Michael G. Kehoe. Thank you, Michael for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, I’m a filmmaker, born in Brooklyn, New York. Went to a catholic school and at an early age film was something i became very interested in. My family moved to Ithaca, New York when I was thirteen years of age. While in high school, although I was active in sports, I signed up for the drama department and began playing leads in the school plays. This is where it all started. And if I tell you any more then there would be no reason for me to write a biography of my journey!

 

 

Your chilling short film Hush has received 32 awards! A major congratulations is in order! Please share with everyone Hush’s success….

HUSH has received an incredible amount of attention. I for one never realized that this film would do as well as it has done. I felt that we had something special, but the fever from it has been infectious. I never thought that I would be writing let alone directing “horror films”, and mind you, I am not drawn to blood and guts at all. I’ve always been interested in the “what’s behind the door” types of films. The edgy feeling you get when you walk through your house when the lights have gone out and you hear a noise that should not be in the other room, because no one sleeps in there! This is what gets me going.

 

 

Hush has been seen throughout many film festivals. Were these events only nationally or were they internationally as well?

HUSH has been all over the world! Korea, Spain, England, South America, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Japan, and all over the United States. We’ve done very well abroad as well as the states.

 

 

In your previous interview, you shared with us some of the exciting feedback Hush had been receiving. Since your 32 awards accomplishment, what else have people been saying about your frightfully fascinating film?

 
The audience has been great and very supportive of HUSH. I have found that the horror fans are extremely loyal and have such a passion for certain types of horror. The horror genre is like Ben and Jerry’s 31 flavors of ice cream. There are Vampires, Zombies, Ghosts, Killers, Monsters, Possessions, Evil Spirits, and the list goes on and on. I tend to lean toward the hauntings, be it ghosts or what you think is a ghost. I enjoy taking the audience on a ride and making them think they are traveling in one direction, then divert them in such a shocking way that they are now on a completely different direction! Listening to the audience shriek and scream from the shock of the moment, not a bloody disgusting moment but a moment when they have no clue that something was going to happen. Catching them off guard is the key.

 

 

And here is an exciting treat for those who weren’t able to attend the festivals…. Hush has now been released on YouTube! Michael, care to share the link so that no one will miss out?

Yes, everyone can see it on YouTube and write a review as well. Please pass it on to family and friends. We’re hoping for this link to go viral that will help with the next step!
Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/nfKoFNGU_7E

 

 

It’s certainly no secret that Hush was created from the script of the feature film that will go into production under another title. Yet, it’s understandable why details can’t be released about this upcoming project. Where can people read about future updates?

Much of the information I will be releasing will start out from my Twitter site and will also be posted on my FaceBook page and Instagram. There are some BIG announcements coming about the feature film and we will be including some of the fans to actually be on set as guests. So, people can follow me on Twitter @MikeyKehoe

 

 

What’s next for Hush and what’s next for Michael G. Kehoe?

We begin principal photography in early 2016, which is just around the corner. My Director of Photography, John T Connor and I have been working on the story boards and John has the film in his head already. We work quite well together and move quickly due to our Siamese Twin connection! My editor, Michael Trent is on board as well. Michael is very talented and knows the story inside and out. When Michael sits down to edit he and I are on the same page so I don’t have to be over his shoulder. What you will see will be Michael’s cut. I am very fortunate to have both John Connor and Michael Trent on my team. For me the next film in development is a Sci Fi thriller on location in Iceland. The script is completed and there is quite a buzz about it. In fact, I have already been to Iceland to scout the movie for locations and I am very excited about this picture. Iceland is a wonderful location, unlike anything I have ever seen. People think that the entire country is covered in snow and ice, how wrong they are. It’s spectacular and our film takes full advantage of the secrets Iceland holds! I look forward to sharing more with the fans of HUSH who I hope will become fans of mine. Thank you for this opportunity to share the thoughts and journey. There is more to come!

 

 

Michael G. Kehoe with the head of a Spanish Film Fest.

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Michael G. Kehoe at the Zed Dead Film fest.

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*** Hush review by Sheila Renee Parker ***

Hush is a respected adaptation of supernatural events that delve deep into the human psyche. The film’s production is tastefully done and is void of any unnecessary vulgarity and unwanted nudity. The performances are well executed and believable, all the more reason to send chills directly to the bone. With its terrifying atmosphere and shockingly dark storyline, it easily leaves the viewer wanting more. Fortunately for us movie goers, this phenomenal short film has been created from the script of the feature film that will go into production under another title. Certainly exciting news!

Hush recieves a definite 5 stars from me! ~ Sheila Renee Parker