THE YEAR IN REVIEW

As we have for the last couple of years, we here at the Phantom Lake Alamanac use the first newsletter of the year to recap the significant events of the previous. This year will be no exception!

January 2010 found writer/director Christopher R. Mihm and actor/producer Josh Craig still in the throes of filming "Destination: Outer Space." Principal photography of the film began in June of 2009 and would continue until the end of February 2010. To date, "Destination: Outer Space" holds the record for the longest production time of any Mihmiverse film.

In February, the premiere date for "Destination: Outer Space" was set for May 25th, which was, appropriately and coincidentally, the 33rd anniversary of the release of "Star Wars." This date was chosen randomly but the synchronicity did not go unnoticed! February also saw "Terror from Beneath the Earth" nominated for a Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award" (Sadly, it didn't win.) and a "Cave Women on Mars" fundraiser screening / "Destination: Outer Space" trailer release party at Tillie's Bean.

March saw the completion and finalization of "Destination: Outer Space," wide release of the film's trailer, big reveal of its poster (designed for the first time by TheDarkCloak), and the beginning of advance ticket sales for the premiere.

The "Destination: Outer Space" DVD was completed in April and the first exclusive Mihmiverse collectibles, a pair of handmade Oculon action figures, went on sale. They proceeded to sell out within two weeks! The special advance ticket gift was announced (a framed, signed piece of Captain Jackson's rocket) and "Destination: Outer Space" posters and DVDs went on sale and pre-sale, respectively.

"Destination: Outer Space" premiered in May to a raucous packed house and set the record for the best attended Mihmiverse premiere to date. Four days later, the film held its drive-in premiere at the Hi-Way 18 Outdoor Theatre in Jefferson, Wisconsin, playing as the third film in a triple-feature alongside the animated hits "Shrek Forever After" and "How to Train Your Dragon."

In June, the next (and currently in development) Mihmiverse film, "Attack of the Moon Zombies" was announced. Shortly thereafter, casting began with most of the main cast in place by the end of the month. Also, the second set of exclusive collectibles went on sale: handmade magnets by creature designer Mitch Gonzales.

July was an "up-and-down" month with the announcement of the Mihmiverse's appearance at the awesome Blue Moon Dine-in Theater at the Minnesota State Fair ("Up" ...and thanks to Sid Korpi and Anthony Kaczor for making this a reality) AND, sadly, "Cave Women on Mars" costumer Brittany Hughes' surprise melanoma diagnosis (definitely "down").

In August, A.D.A.M. the robot and the films of Christopher R. Mihm appeared at the Blue Moon (Did you try their amazing and addicting Korean tacos!?) and pre-production of "Attack of the Moon Zombies" ramped up with a cast read through. The month also saw the announcement of a trio of very cool October screenings: The Mihmiverse triple-feature at the Stardust Drive-in Movie Theater (now the Stardust TWIN Drive-in Theater), a pair of screenings at the Jack-o-Lantern Jaunt in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, and the Super Mihmiverse Marathon in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Principal photography of "Attack of the Moon Zombies" began in September. Soon after, the first pair of images from the new film were released -- to much positive attention. A great article about the Mihmiverse's appearance at the Minnesota State Fair also appeared in September. If you missed it, click here to read it.

October was chock-full of the aforementioned screenings. All were well attended and great fun for everyone involved. The third exclusive collectible set: the Monsters of the Mihmiverse plush dolls, handmade by artist Brenda Fulmer, were announced and went on sale -- and sold well! Also, and most important in the grand scheme of the universe: On October 30th, actor/production-assistant/monster-costume-maker/script-girl/inspiration Elizabeth Kaiser (known to most as Alice Johnson in "Terror from Beneath the Earth") reached the magical "five-year mark without reoccurrence." Elizabeth was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (primary bone cancer) in 2004 and received her last bag of chemotherapy on October 30th, 2005. By reaching the five year mark, she is considered "cured" in the cancer world!

Production of "Attack of the Moon Zombies" continued vigorously through November and the fourth exclusive (and even more rare) collectible was announced: a completely different set of plush monsters of the Mihmiverse, this time created by Angel McFarlin of Saint Angel Productions.

Finally, December was mostly quiet. Aside from principal photography of "Attack of the Moon Zombies" passing the half-way point, the only noteworthy reoccurrences were a respiratory virus ripping through the cast and crew of the latest film and a freak December rainstorm in Minnesota that led to an inch of water standing in the corner of the film's moonbase set! Luckily, with the help of an oscillating fan and a thorough mopping, writer/director Christopher R. Mihm was able to salvage the set and everything in it, allowing the production to continue on schedule.

And now, with the new year upon us, we look forward to a great year of Mihmiverse excitement and action! "Attack of the Moon Zombies" is on track for a May release, screenings and appearances are already falling into place, and we're even hearing rumors of the world's first official Mihm-i-CON to take place this coming summer (fingers crossed)! With so much happening and coming up, we hope to see you all at some point this year -- and meet some new folks along the way! Happy new year!

 
   CLASSIC MOVIE OF THE MONTH

Eegah (1962)
Directed by Arch Hall, Sr..
Starring Arch Hall, Jr., Marilyn Manning and Richard Kiel.

"Eegah" is the kind of movie that's next to impossible to describe well enough to do justice to its wonderful awfulness. After a young, beautiful socialite nearly runs her car into a 7 foot tall caveman (seriously), she tries to convince her writer father and wannabe-Elvis-Presley boyfriend of the primitive creature's existence. The two are unconvinced until the next morning when she leads them back to the scene of the incident and they find a larger-than-average footprint -- which is apparently enough to convince her pseudo-adventurer father to charter a helicopter and have it drop him off, alone, in the middle of a remote mountain area to search of the beast. Not surprisingly, the prehistoric giant finds him first. When her father doesn't return, the socialite and her boyfriend load up the boyfriend's groovy dune buggy and set about to locate the lost man. Unfortunately, while the swingin' kids take an inexplicable sleep break, the caveman realizes they're there. The man-monster subsequently stalks them, kidnaps the woman, and takes her back to his lair. Once there, she finds her quite alive father and the very dead mummified remains of the caveman's ancestors. In an overlong segment of the film, the woman and her father learn the giant's name (Eegah) and try to find ways to distract him from wanting to mate with the sexy young woman -- even going so far as to convince Eegah to let her shave off his ancient caveman beard! Meanwhile, the girl's beau desperately searches for her knowing that with every passing moment, anything could happen! Everything about this film is terrible in all the right ways. The director cast himself to play the father and his real-life son to play the young a-rockin' lead. In fact, with the ample number of so-so musical interludes that have very little to do with the story, it's pretty clear the director included his son to give him a place to show off his musical "talents." The audio is almost entirely overdubbed and is so poorly synched that it often looks like the script was written AFTER the film was shot! The one bright spot (if you can call it that) is Richard Kiel as the title character. Best known as the character "Jaws" from a pair of 1970's James Bond films, the 7' 2" actor looks scarcely older than a teenager and is decked out in a cheesy, almost-Flintstones-esque costume complete with a large, bulbous, and very fake-looking club -- very much like the one baby Bamm-Bamm Rubble sported in "The Flintstones" cartoon! Young Richard Kiel also bears a certain resemblance to Mihmiverse monster-of-all-trades Michael Kaiser! Again, "Eegah" is a terrible, terrible movie in all the right ways. If you are a fan of movies considered "so bad they're good," this one might be the worst... or best!

— Christopher R. Mihm
 
   MEET THE ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS!

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 "Attack of the Moon Zombies," we will randomly choose and interview one of them.

This month we interview a married team of associate producers, Ann & Doug Keller!

Ann & Doug Keller
Introduce yourselves to the Mihmiverse!
We're a couple of B-movie fans who never tire of watching cheesy monster movies from the '50s & '60s. The first film we ever watched together was Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from Outer Space." We got engaged in Hollywood, got married on Halloween and have enjoyed watching monster movies together for over 20 years.

When and how did you discover the films of Christopher R. Mihm?
We stumbled across the premiere of "The Monster of Phantom Lake" at the Heights Theatre. It was the first movie we ever saw at the Heights and, definitely, the most memorable. We lost track of writer/director Christopher R. Mihm after that, until we heard about his Super Mihmiverse Marathon in Eau Claire, Wisconsin this past October. We attended and had a great time rediscovering "The Monster of Phantom Lake" and catching up on the other four films.

Which of the five released films is your favorite and why?
"The Monster of Phantom Lake" tops our list because it was our first exposure to Mr. Mihm's films. We were delighted to find a film that captured the humor and tone of our favorite B-movies of the past. After viewing all the films at the Super Mihmiverse Marathon, "The Monster of Phantom Lake" is still our favorite, though we came home with copies of "Cave Women on Mars" and "Destination: Outer Space" as well.

You recently became an associate producer of "Attack of the Moon Zombies." Why?
What better gift to give to a couple of B-movie fans, than associate producer status in a Mihm film?! It will be fun to see our names in the credits and know that, in a small way, we've contributed to the film. We enjoy Mr. Mihm's work and are happy to be able to contribute a little to further his creative output.
Interested in becoming an associate producer? For a miniscule monetary investment, all associate producers will get their name listed in the end credits of next year's "Attack of the Moon Zombies," a pair of collector's tickets to the premiere, five copies of the film on DVD, and a frame-able 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!

 
   COUNTDOWN TO MOON ZOMBIES!

This month, we continue the series of monthly videos that follow two Mihmiverse superfans (Bob Arndt and Rob "Rod" Wartick) as they journey from Appleton, Wisconsin, to the set of the next Christopher R. Mihm film, "Attack of the Moon Zombies," in Minnesota. In this segment, our two super fans have arrived at the set and they decide to approach writer/director Christopher R. Mihm with a few unexpected surprises, including the filming of a behind the scenes documentary. How will the filmmaker handle our two super fans? Will there be a Part 4? Enjoy a look at one of the sets of the new film along with seeing a few familiar Mihmiverse faces.


 
   CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Now through January 16

Mike Cook (Gustav/Dr. Edwards) appears as "Handy Andy" in "You Better Watch Out" at the Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre.

Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre, 3919 Crescent Avenue, Eau Claire, WI
Now through January 31

Mike Mason (Dr. Frasier/Lobo) will be one of the featured subjects in photographer Ellie Kingsbury's series on winter bike commuters. These photos will be on display at Angry Catfish Bicycles + Coffee in south Minneapolis. Additional work by other artists will also be on display.

Angry Catfish Bicycles + Coffee, 4208 28th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN
January 19

Deanne McDonald's (Elizabeth) thesis role (as the Muse) and final performance at Minnesota State University-Mankato is being remounted: The Department of Theatre & Dance has been asked to present a slightly shortened version of its latest Mainstage production, "The Odyssey," at the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Ames, Iowa.

Check out the festival website for location, time, and ticket information.
January 25-28

"The Convincer," a film starring Greg Kinnear, Lea Thompson and Alan Arkin... with Mike Cook (Gustav/Dr. Edwards) appearing in a small cameo role, opens at The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
January 28-29 - 8:00pm

Catherine Hansen (Yureena) will appear in the play "Searching for the Soul of Science" at The Black Forest Inn.

The Black Forest Inn, 1 East 26th Street, Minneapolis, MN
February 12

Shannon McDonough (Julie Ann Saint Marie) dances and sings for Ovation: A Tribute to the Music of Prince at Throwbacks in Woodbury, Minnesota.

Check out the group's website at: ovationmusicgroup.com for specific location, time and ticket information.
February 13 - 3:00pm

Sid Korpi (Administrator Ripley/Eh'donish Woman) will be participating in "Taste on the Lake," a fundraiser for the Carver-Scott Humane Society. The event will take place in a 4000 square foot heated tent on Prior Lake!

 
   ONLINE, ETC.

Sid Korpi (Eh'donish Woman/Administrator Ripley) has a whole host of interviews and appearances scheduled over the next couple months. Keep track of all her signings, appearances, and other promotional events for her book "Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss" by visiting the appearances page at her website: www.goodgriefpetloss.com.
"Turnipseed," a film starring Clarke Peters and Larry Gilyard, Jr. and featuring Mike Cook (Gustav/Dr. Edwards) will run on tpt2 TV in the Twin Cities on January 9th at 10:30pm... and on The MN Channel January 14th at 8:00pm, as well as January 15th at 2:00am, 8:00am and 2:00pm.
Add Kefty Home Gym to your Facebook friend list and see Justen Overlander (Jonathan/Sheriff Elliott) demonstrating exercises on this revolutionary new exercise machine. Then buy one. They really work!

 
   DID YOU KNOW?

"The Monster of Phantom Lake," "It Came From Another World!," "Cave Women on Mars," "Terror from Beneath the Earth," and "Destination: Outer Space" DVDs are now available at SaintEuphoria.com, the online home of the films of Christopher R. Mihm. In addition, "The Monster of Phantom Lake" Collector's Edition DVDs, exclusive movie posters, patches and other merchandise are now in stock. Everything is available in extremely limited quantities, so get yours today before they run out!


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