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Good night, Len. Thanks for the Laughter

I’m at a loss for words tonight.

The last few days I’ve been thinking about Len Cella. I haven’t chatted with him in a long while. I friended him on Facebook many years ago, and he played a role in my movie, The Last Temptation of Fluffy.

Len filmed all his scenes himself, with no pay. He was an absolute perfectionist, doing take after take after take of the most inane, innocuous lines.

And he was screamingly funny.

If you’ve never heard of Len, let me back you up and bring you up to speed. He’s the creator of the Moron Movies, some of the funniest shorts ever committed to film. Long before the internet, his stuff was featured on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Real People. Have a look for yourself just how funny he was.

Len passed away a week ago on Christmas Eve. He was out walking near his house and was struck by a car.

He was 80 years old.

I’m really sorry i didn’t get another chance to chat with him, and to thank him for the inspiration. If you’ve seen my World’s Shortest Horror Films or World’s Shortest Noir Films or the old Adam and Eve film series, that’s 1000% Len’s influence. Short, simple, funny.

RIP to a true original.

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My Favorite Horror (Or, This Explains a Lot)

If you want to know how a writer’s mind formed, all you need to do is look at their influences.

While I was never a monster kid as a kid, I’ve become a form of one as an adult. But my taste has a definite theme. I’m a comedy guy first, so my favorites in the world of horror, with a few exceptions, tend towards the funny. Some intentional, some night.

I’m not going to list a bunch of titles. We’re gonna keep this simple. I’ll give you my favorite franchises, TV series, and my favorite one offs. Perhaps it’ll inspire you to check out – or avoid – something in particular.

Favorite Horror Franchises

Happy Death Day – I told Rob Mello at the Lexington Scarefest this was my favorite horror franchise. He called me a liar. But it’s the absolute truth. I could watch these movies over and over, and I have.

The Babysitter (Netflix) – I adore these movies. Samara Weaving is terrific, and the father-son dynamic between Cole and the always-shirtless-for-no-reason Max delights me to no end. And hey, that IS Jenna Ortega in the sequel. I may or may not own a blu-ray bootleg.

Scream – One, Four, and Six are my favorites, but I pretty much love them all… well, except Five.

Blair Witch – Nothing got me into true horror more than the original. I like the surprise sequel from a few years ago. I even liked Book of Shadows.

The William Castle Movies – I adore William Castle, so I’m lumping all his works into one franchise. I loved the gimmicks he used to promote the movies town to town. House on Haunted Hill is my absolute favorite of the bunch. The remake was total crap, but I will say the remake of 13 Ghosts had a real flair.

Evil Dead – It took me a while to watch that reboot, but I didn’t regret it. It was great. So was Evil Dead Lives. But the original 3, including Army of Darkness, cannot be touched.

TV Series

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I hopped on the bandwagon in season 2 and never looked back. I studied every angle of this series, could name the entire writing staff at one time. Hush, Lover’s Walk, Band Candy, Earshot, Restless, and I Only Have Eyes For You are episodes I’ve watched dozens of times.

Wednesday – I’m a huge Addams Family fan in every form, and I’ve watched beginning to end numerous times. I may or may not own a DVD bootleg of this one too.

Twin Peaks – Not directly horror, but it’ll give you sleepless nights. Especially that shot of Bob coming over the couch. Trust me. It’s scarier than it sounds.

One Offs

Ready or Not – Brutal and funny. The more grisly stories in the Dead Park books owe a lot to this one.

The Hunt – Saw this alone in the theater right before the Covid lockdown. I hate politics, but this was soooooo fun.

Overtime – A small indie produced in Louisville starring wrestler Al Snow and a bunch of friends of fine. A tale of hitmen, family strife, and alien zombies. It’s gory, bonkers, and incredibly funny. “HOW DO YOU HATE CAKE??”

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes – One of the few horror flicks I’d watch beginning to end as a child. There’s not a lousy scene in the movie. It’s outrageously funny.

Plan 9 from Outer Space – As funny today as the day Ed Wood first screened it.

It Came from Hollywood – Not a horror movie, but a comedic look a b-movies hosted by Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Cheech and Chong, and John Candy. A perfect gateway to the world of monsters, gorillas, aliens, troubled youth, and the man, Ed Wood himself. Just watch out for that section on musicals. Some seriously disturbing and outdated stuff highlighted there!

They Live! – Or John Carpenter presents Roddy Piper vs. Aliens. Maybe the greatest paranoia film ever.

Cabin in the Woods – This film was a gateway into watching more horror when it came out.


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Kayla Perkins Answers 3 Irrelevant Questions

Kayla Perkins

I’ve known Kayla Perkins since my earliest days as a filmmaker. The actress and model started her career at the age of twelve when she appeared on The Simple Life with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie on the E channel. Kayla, who would be crowned Junior Miss Kentucky in 2003, fell in love with TV and film thanks to her experience on The Simple Life, and she’s become a fan favorite on the independent film circuit. Her credits include The Dark Room, A Promise To Alexis, The Killbillies, The Girl, the TV show Nashville, and many more, including a short I produced, The Last Temptation of Fluffy. She is busier than ever today working on projects like The Art Of Killing; Monster On: The Art Of The Craft; The Baton Rouge Serial Killer: Derrick Todd Lee; 12 Till Dawn; Midas Cove; Murder, Murder, Kill, Kill; and The Anniversary.

Kayla dabbles in books as well. We collaborated on a novel, Kayla Perkins is Dead, and she’s writing a wonderful children’s book with her son Kayden. The book is called I’m Kayden and I Have JIA, and it was written by mother and son to help children like Kayden who are dealing with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

Whew, that’s a mouthful.

But, that’s not important right now.

This week, I asked Kayla to answer the 3 Irrelevant Questions. So here we go!

What is your favorite guilty pleasure movie? 

I love all kinds of movies. But one movie that I love and have watched literally over 32 times is called My Fault with Nicole Wallace and Gabriel Guevara. It is based on the book by Mercedes Ron. My Fault is such a great story, and the chemistry that these two actors have is amazing! They did an amazing job. I love romance movies.

If you could spend a day with full access to any animal, what animal would it be? 

There are so many animals that I would love to spend the day with, but if I had to choose, I would pick a tiger. Tigers are the largest cat species. I love cats. I have two named Cinammon and Tabby. They are just like kids. They are super fast. I love that they go after what they want. I think everyone of us should go after what we want in life.

If you could hop in a fast car or private jet and go anywhere in the world for a favorite food, where would you go, and what would you eat? 

This is such a hard question. I love all kinds of food and snacks, but I’m not a big sweets person. If I had to pick one item, though it would be Superman ice cream. Growing up, going on vacation and doing photoshoots for pageants, I would eat Superman ice cream. Everytime I see it on vacation, it brings back memories.

You can learn more about Kayla Perkins and find her social media links at

Movies and books featuring Kayla Perkins

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How to Get Rid of Pesky Telemarketers of the Future

Cindy Maples in The Telemarketer.

One of my favorite short stories is called The Telemarketer. Inspired by those hard-working men and women in call centers throughout the world, the story envisions what telemarketing will be like in the future. Instead of using a telephone, why not use a teleporter? Why not beam directly into someone’s house and show, rather than tell, what you’re selling?

Think of the potential for sales!

Think of the potential for trouble!

The wonderful, beautiful, and incredibly talented Cindy Maples fell in love with this story. She championed the production of a short film that made the rounds in a few independent film tests. Thus, one of my favorite short stories became one of my favorite short films.

Ladies and gentlemen, The Telemarketer, starring Cindy Maples.

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Roy Gonzales Answers 3 Irrelevant Questions

Hellbenders by Roy Gonzales and S W Salzman

Roy Gonzales and I met through our mutual friend, actress Ally Labar. Roy is a writer who has been writing for over 40 years, counting high school. His first big break was working with the company Prodigy Six in New York. He wrote the script for their film THE CROOKED MIND that came in 9th place in the Manhattan Film Fest. Prodigy Six also published two graphic novels based on his script SHADOW OF DARKNESS. Roy is currently working with Polarbear Film on a package of scripts. He’s working on the sequel to the up coming horror film, HOUSE OF DOLLS, and he published the novel HELLBENDERS based on his original screenplay of the same name co-written by best selling author Shawn W. Salzman. He’s looking for a producer to turn HELLBENDERS into a film.

House of Dolls

But that’s not important right now.

Roy is the second person on the hot seat, answering the 3 irrelevant questions.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure movie, and what defense do you have for it? 

I have a few that I go back to and watch. Blade Runner (1981) Apocalypse Now (1979), and the one that always gets a moan that they can’t believe I like it is Heaven’s Gate. (1980) Heaven’s Gate is an epic western that reminds me of The Godfather with its story and violence. When it was released, the critics destroyed it, saying it cost to much and it was too long. But, I think it was cuz, the director didn’t allow any press on the set when he was filming and to get revenge on him. They gave the film horrible reviews. I mean, now Heaven’s Gate is seen as a classic.

Screenwriter Roy Gonzales.

If you had a full day of access to any animal, what would it be? 

My neighbors dog Kopi. Named after the wrestler. Kopi is the best dog I have ever known. She is so cute and chill. I love her like she was my own.

If you were hungry and could fly or drive anywhere right now for the perfect snack or meal, where would you go? 

I would take a fast car to Bell Gardens, and to the Pioneer Chicken there. It’s the best chicken in Los Angeles. That is where I would go.

Buy HELLBENDERS the novel now on Amazon. Give this man some money for that trek to Pioneer Chicken!

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The World’s Shortest Noir Films

I’ve got a new video series up on YouTube. Following up on the Covid-inspired World’s Shortest Horror Films, it’s The World’s Shortest Noir Films.

The series features the talents of George Robert Bailey, Cory Burdette, Sonny Burnette, Christina Cannon, Scene Nick, and Roni Jonah as well as the music of Jon Driver.

The playlist is linked below. Five videos have been released so far with four more on the way. Enjoy!

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Coming in 2023

Three new fiction books are in the works for 2023, with one ready to launch.

Dead Park Records will be book three in the Dead Park series. Unlike the first two volumes, this is not a short story collection but a full novella about one of the many businesses located in Dead Park Plaza. An aspiring musician receives the offer of a lifetime when an artist repped by Dead Park Records comes to town for a concert. He will get the recording contract of his dreams, no questions asked, no audition required. There’s just one catch: he must murder a woman he’s never met in cold blood.

Not far behind will be Dead Park Estates, the inevitable third story collection in the series that dives into evil residing in the premiere subdivision built in Dead Park. Murder, mayhem, monsters, cryptids, new mysteries, and a surprising crossover with another Dead Park novel (anyone read Die Alan Die?) reside within the pages of Dead Park, book four.

There’s also a sequel to my romantic thriller Girl Most Likely to Kill You on the way. Currently titled Girl Most Likely to Get You Killed, the new story begins with a woman named Andrea looking for a new life having the wrong person’s belongings delivered to her new home. It turns out the ugly clothes and furniture belong to an international assassin, and as soon as they get delivered, a host of rivals seeking revenge show up, thinking Andrea is their long-sought target.

Finally, I have a new short film project that will be released in January. Back in 2020 my son and I collaborated on The World’s Shortest Horror Films, a series that depicted people in horror movie situations acting with… extreme self-control and common sense and thus avoiding terror. The new series, The World’s Shortest Noir Films, takes the same approach with the world of gumshoes, thugs, nogoodnicks, secret Nazis, and femme fatales. It stars some of my favorite past collaborators including Sonny Burnette, George Robert Bailey, Cory Burdette, the lovely Christina Cannon, and the always delightful Roni Jonah.

Thanks to everyone who has made this first official year of Dead Park Books a hit. Happy New Year, and Happy Reading in 2023!

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Scary Movies I Made With My Kid

During the 2020 Summer of Covid, my son Sam and I started a weekly tradition. We’d go out every Saturday morning to have breakfast and play tennis. We still have breakfast every Saturday, but in deference to our being artsy types and not athletes, we no longer play tennis. The rackets are still in my car should we ever get the urge, but it’s been a good while. And it’s winter now, so…

Sorry, I digress.

One morning over a round of badly played tennis, we started spitballing ideas for short horror films. Not the kind you normally see at film fest, mind you, but the kind you’d see if people on horror films had something called Common Sense. You know. Common Sense  tells you not to open doors that say, “Keep out.” Common Sense says, “Don’t hunt vampires during the day.” Common Sense says, “Run out the front door, not upstairs where there’s no escape.”

We had six or seven ideas by the time we left the courts that day. In the coming weeks, we ended up with fifteen. I started reaching out to actors on Facebook, asking folks to film themselves and send us footage. (Covid, remember?) We cut them together on my trusty ol’ MacBook, the one with iMovie HD because I still to this day refuse to learn the newer versions. (It’s just easier, okay?) And we released them one at a time on YouTube.

The World’s Shortest Horror Films is a fifteen part series featuring the talents of many old friends and new. I made a lot of short films in my day, but few make me prouder. I mean, I made them with my kid. We wrote them. We cut them together. We even appear in one. Well, I appear in it; you can hear his voice. (Spoiler alert, I am not opening that door!)

Sam and I went our separate ways creatively after Covid. I’m back to writing, and he’s in a killer school of rock band called Abstract Agenda. He plays keyboard, bass, guitar, and saxophone. As a matter of fact, I was in quarantine with Covid the day he brought home a saxophone for the first time in July. He went from the usual beginner squeaks and squawks to accurately playing the opening solo from “Careless Whisper” in less than two hours. Kinda makes you sick!

Maybe one day we’ll collaborate on another short. Until then, I’m proud of the one series we assembled together.

You can watch the whole series, all 15 short films, in the video below. It’s only an eight minute commitment, so give it a whirl, will you?