|| CURRENT NEWS
Happy New Year! As we have for the past couple of years, we here at the Phantom Lake Almanac would like to use this opportunity to take a look back at the significant events of 2009, the year that was...
Just five days after dissolving his distribution agreement with the now defunct Shadow Creek Studios (and only five days into the month of January), principal photography for the most recently released Mihmiverse film, "Terror from Beneath the Earth," wrapped up. The shoot was a long and arduous one, comprising almost 26 hours of footage, and came complete with delays, prop malfunctions, deteriorating papier-mâché sets, 200+ pound desks being shoved down staircases, gallstones and one adorable, impatient child actor with better line recall than any other actor in the cast.
In February, the release date was announced just three weeks before the film itself was completed. Shortly thereafter, writer/director Christopher R. Mihm began the task of authoring the DVD and creating the poster and case art. Advance tickets to the May premiere went on sale in March, with poster art and a full trailer quickly following.
In April, things were generally quiet as we geared up for that big day in May when the "Terror from Beneath the Earth" would be unleashed upon the world! And when it came on that fateful, warm Wednesday night, the fans came out in droves and the event was a roaring success. DVDs flew off the merchandise table, much cake was consumed, and many a fan left with a photo next to actor Michael Kaiser dressed up in the full creature costume from the film.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, things were seriously ramping up for the next film: "Destination: Outer Space!" Still in active production as of the writing of this newsletter, the movie is gearing up to be a real barn-burning, massive-in-scale outer space epic the likes of which no one has EVER experienced! June saw the beginning of principal photography, with the rest of the year being consumed by all things "Destination: Outer Space," all the time! From filming to building sets and creating costumes to designing props and editing, the film has taken over the lives of everyone involved. Luckily, it'll all be worth it within a few short months!
With "Destination: Outer Space" dominating the Mihmiverse for the second half of the year, another significant event occurred in September. "Terror from Beneath the Earth" screened at the eighth annual ShockerFest International Film Festival in Modesto, California and pulled in a "Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Feature" award! Though he wasn't there to accept it in person, writer/director Christopher R. Mihm was still ecstatic about winning the award! Lastly, the Phantom Lake Alamanc itself received a visual overhaul in December.
Finally, with the new year upon us, we look toward the future -- and that future is in OUTER SPACE! Over the coming months we promise to have some big news regarding the new film AND perhaps some details about what might be coming after! Until then, as always, stay tuned...
|| CLASSIC MOVIE OF THE MONTH
|The Angry Red Planet (1960)
Directed by Ib Melchior.
Starring Gerald Mohr and Naura Hayden.
Following the dazzling and "frightening" adventures of the crew of "Rocket M-1," Earth's first spacecraft to Mars, "The Angry Red Planet" is a perfect example of late 1950s/early 1960s science fiction. With nary a Zil or Liak tribeswoman in sight, the four-person crew find themselves tussling with oversized carnivorous plants, a gigantic Martian "rat-spider-bat" creature, inhospitable environs, and a one-eyed blob of sea dwelling alien goo hell-bent on devouring everything in its path! The film is heavy on questionably AWESOME special effects and contains some of the least convincing matte paintings ever seen in a movie. BUT, that's part of its great charm! "The Angry Red Planet" heartily represents the "space is a dangerous place to be" style of sci-fi films that sadly aren't made anymore. The story is presented completely in flashback and it's very obvious from the outset that not every crewmember survives the adventure, so there's an effective sense of forboding that permeates everything. The movie was made in color but all the scenes that take place on the surface of Mars are bathed in a strange oversaturated and slightly solarized reddish pink (a process dubbed "Cinemagic"). The effect is shocking at first but ultimately, it's a very cool though not quite original (1950's "Rocketship X-M" tried something similar), touch. The story is exactly what you'd expect, with the cast giving solid B-level performances. All in all, this ranks as one of my all-time favorite movies of the "drive-in" era. If you haven't already seen it, see it as soon as you can!
Christopher R. Mihm
|| MEET THE ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS!
Welcome to the Meet the Associate Producers section of the newsletter! Since so many fans and supporters have contributed and become associate producers, we wanted to take time to highlight some of these wonderful people! Thus, every month between now and the release of "Destination: Outer Space," we will randomly choose and interview one of them.
This month we interview Mitch Gonzales, who is not only an associate producer of "Destination: Outer Space," but was able to contribute his artistic, set-building and acting skills to the production as well!
Introduce yourself to the Mihmiverse!
Hello fellow Mihmiverse enthusiasts. I'm Mitch Gonzales. I've been a movie fan for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area of California during the 70's and 80's watching a local horror show called "Creature Features." The late Bob Wilkins and John Stanley hosted many great, and not so great, sci-fi and horror B-movies every Saturday night. A few of the favorites I discovered during my formative years include "Night of the Living Dead," "Horror of Party Beach," "X - The Unknown," "Equinox" and "Island of Terror." As you can see, a steady diet of B-movies have more than prepared me for the Mihmiverse! My two sons, Elliot and Nick, are also fans of the Mihmiverse movies and have joined me as associate producers on "Destination: Outer Space."
When and how did you discover the films of Christopher R. Mihm?
I had the pleasure of meeting writer/director Christopher R. Mihm and Mike Mason (Dr. Frasier in "It Came From Another World!") at Crypticon 2007 in Minneapolis. After striking up a conversation with the two gentlemen, I was very pleased to discover that they offered a cool, family friendly option to the usual slasher flicks found at horror cons. Not that there's anything wrong with slasher flicks, they're just not my favorite. After a short conversation with Christopher and Mike, and also because I am a huge B-movie fan, it was a no-brainer. I snapped up a copy of "The Monster of Phantom Lake" and "It Came from Another World!" As they say, the rest is history! I became an instant fan after watching and re-watching both movies.
Which of the four released films is your favorite and why?
Wow, that's a tough question. My favorite of the four movies really fluctuates depending on my mood. I have to say, the one I've watched the most and I seem to re-visit often is "Cave Women on Mars." It just clicks with me. The 50's style space exploration tone of "Cave Women on Mars" was really captured. It's an instant classic in my book! That being said, I can't wait to declare "Destination: Outer Space" as my new favorite.
You recently became an associate producer of the next Mihmiverse film. Why?
Where else do you get a chance to support real, homegrown talent and be part of a movie making venture? Upon seeing the associate producer offer, I decided that my sons and I had to support the movie. Since then, I've reaped the rewards of making many new friends by being part of this production. I thought it was a stroke of genius for Chris to offer the opportunity to be an associate producer on "Destination: Outer Space." The associate producer offer was right up there with other "gimmicks" offered by independent producers during the 60's and 70's. The Mihmiverse movies are really hand made by a group of people paying homage to old, almost forgotten, but well loved movies. Movies with a lot of heart. In addition to being an associate producer, I've had the great fortune to be involved in a greater capacity on "Destination: Outer Space." I'd like to thank both Christopher Mihm and Josh Craig (Captain Jackson) for the invitation and opportunity to be part of the Mihmiverse. Last May, I attended the premiere of "Terror from Beneath the Earth" as a fan. Six months later, I get to be a part of "Destination: Outer Space." How cool is that?
Interested in becoming an associate producer? For a miniscule monetary investment, all associate producers will have their name listed in the end credits of next year's "Destination: Outer Space," receive a pair of collector's ticket packages to the premiere, five copies of the film on DVD and a framed certificate with their name and title -- perfect for your own "wall of fame!"
Visit the merchandise page at SaintEuphoria.com, the online home of the films of Christopher R. Mihm, for more information. Who knows? Maybe next month we'll be interviewing YOU!
|| CALENDAR OF EVENTS
|Now through January 24|
Mike Cook (Gustav/Dr. Edwards) appears as "Tom" in "Rudy's Holidaze Reunion" at the Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre.
Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre, 3919 Crescent Avenue, Eau Claire, WI
|January 4 - 10:00am|
Sid Korpi (Eh'Donish Woman) will be promoting her new book, "Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss," on Minneapolis/St. Paul NBC affiliate KARE 11's "Showcase Minnesota."
She will also be appearing at numerous book signing events around town. To see where she'll be next, go to goodgriefpetloss.com and check the appearances page for updates!
|January 9 - 10:30pm|
"Camp Kill" starring Rachel Grubb (Amy/Hagra) screens at the Andover Cinema.
Andover Cinema, 1836 Bunker Lake Boulevard, Andover, MN
|January 15 & 29 and February 19 & 20|
Shannon McDonough (Julie Ann Saint Marie) dances and sings for Ovation: A Tribute to the Music of Prince at various venues across Minnesota.
Check out the group's website at: ovationmusicgroup.com for specific locations, times and ticket information.
|February 18-22, 25-28|
Deanne McDonald (Elizabeth) appears as Mrs. Fischer in Tom Stoppard's "On The Razzle" at Minnesota State University Mankato.
Admission is $14.50 for individuals, $13.00 for senior citizens, youths 16 and under, and groups of 15 or more and $10.00 for current Minnesota State students.
For more location and ticket information, visit MSUTheater.com.
Sid Korpi (Eh'donish Woman) will be playing Gertrude in Steve Martin's "The Underpants" through Chameleon Theatre Circle at the Black Box Theatre in the Burnsville Performing Arts Center.
Burnsville Performing Arts Center, 12600 Nicollet Avenue, Burnsville, MN
|| ONLINE NOW
|Check out Justen Overlander's (Jonathan/Sheriff Elliott) last minute holiday gift suggestion on YouTube. And, as always, keep up to date with his Industry commentary at mn2la.blogspot.com.|
|| DID YOU KNOW?
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