Night Terrors, our first release as a company, started out as a short film -- the first part of our anthology titled Massacre on 34th St. After spending 2.5 years on When I Die under a different production company name, the thought of diving right back into a feature wasn't exactly on our radar. But the response from Massacre was incredibly positive and truth be told -- we just had so much damn fun making it that it became obvious what we should do.
At the time, anthology flicks were not as common as they would soon become. That seems to be the reoccurring theme for Weird on Top Pictures as we are always one step ahead but a dollar behind. Here's what we mean. Not only were we trying to bring back horror anthologies BUT -- we were also one of the first to start playing with VHS aesthetic and overlay. Hence, the original tagline "The return of VHS horror".
... but there's a reason the tagline has been changed for the VHS release and promotional artwork.
Due to our limited resources, the film took nearly 3 years from the first shot to its release on DVD. In that time, the first V/H/S flick was released and stole our thunder. Ultimately, that probably didn't matter much as we were still nobodies but it definitely didn't help us when it came time to release the movie.
Another bit of trivia that is often lost on our reviewers is that the movie was put in the can for less than $5,000 -- probably closer to 4k but who's counting? The amount of locations, actors, effects, etc. that we were able to get away with on that budget is extraordinary and it's a continuous motivator moving forward on future projects. We learned from our mistakes and it's time to move upward and onward.
Distribution(tips for indie filmmakers)
Filmmakers always ask us how we found a distribution deal and the answer is actually pretty simple -- we worked our asses off to make something of quality with the resources that we had. We're no longer in the golden era of video store releases and beautiful VHS covers and the competition continues to grow as the amount of money continues to shrink. So work your ass off and pay attention to the details. From audio to outfits, it all matters.
In fact, we were incredibly lucky to have cared for those aspects of Night Terrors because there are just as many unmarketable qualities to the film that we hadn't considered. We just made what we wanted and didn't worry at all about profanity, nudity or gore. As much fun as that was, some of it turned off some viewers and definitely distributors.
But we're resilient hustlers so here's what we did (the real tip you're all waiting for) -- set your sights on distributors that have released films comparable to yours. It wouldn't make sense for us to send a low budget with no names to the same distributor that released Piranha 3D, right? We LITERALLY went to our DVD shelves and looked for movies that we thought ours was close to in tone, quality and genre and then contacted their acquisitions departments. That's it. And the rest, as they say, is history...
Night Terrors was not our opus -- but we knew that going in. Truth be told, we are surprised that we were able to find distribution, get into festivals and magazines, have decent reviews and feedback with a movie that was so haphazardly thrown together. So we are moving forward with more knowledge, skills and balls than we had when we started out -- we hope you'll continue to follow, support and join us as we keep doing the only thing we know how to do -- MAKE MOVIES.