Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pre-Release Screening Room: Pieces of Talent!

Pieces of Talent  (Shutter Blade Media, 2012)

Before the Camera:

Kristi Ray
Barbara Weetman
Jon Stafford
Nate Panning
Shaun O'Rourke
Taylor Kowalski
Donna Stamm
David Long

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Joe Stauffer

Produced by John Marchioni, Joe Stauffer, Eric Hollenbeck, and Dustin Lewis

Written by Joe Stauffer and Dustin Lewis

I was lucky enough to get invited to a cast and crew screening of a new horror movie shot here in Wilmington, NC. I'm acquainted with the filmmakers, and several of the cast members, so it was very cool to be allowed to join them for the screening. Thanks guys!

Charlotte (Ray) spends her days waitressing at a strip club, fighting with her horrible mother (Weetman), and dreaming of a better life. One night, she meets David Long when he gets his clocked cleaned by a bouncer outside her strip club. Taking pity on the bloodied man, she stops the beating, and by the next morning - after a trip to the beach, a shared coffee, a shared joint, and a lot of talking - Charlotte and David are friends. He's a filmmaker; she's a wannabe actress - it seems like a friendship made in heaven. David tells Charlotte he wants her to be in a film project he is working on. She's excited and willing to wait while he finishes the first part of the production before getting to her role.

But David Long is a filmmaker unlike any she's ever met - and people who meet up with him in the hopes of working on or being in his movie...well, they seem to...disappear. Unfortunately for Charlotte - she's just been cast in the lead of David's movie...and if he has his way, she just might end up another of his...pieces of talent...

Charlotte and David Long - friends to the end.

This film started out as a short entitled The David Long Story. I got to see it at the Shutter Blade Media HQ a couple of years ago when we were noodling over some writing I was working on for them. It was a very nicely done short - with good performances and a nice twist. That short was added as a special feature to the DVD release of the movie Butchered (2010) which Joe Stauffer had shot some footage for. While the project I was working on with them went into development hell, Shutter Blade Media moved ahead turning The David Long Story into a feature titled Pieces of Talent.

I thought the movie was terrific. When I heard they were expanding the short I wasn't sure what direction they were taking it in - and a couple of vlogs from David Long posted during the movie's production didn't seem to show the story moving out from the original short all that much - and I feared the feature was going to come off as a padded expansion of the short - just repetitive scenes of David Long pursuing his art with a new colleague each time.

But the feature's script is so much more than that. And they even worked in the original short - albeit a reshot version matching the feature's mise en scene with a different actor joining David Long's camera crew. The movie acutally starts off like a lot of indie dramas, with put upon people in crappy houses smoking a lot and arguing. But then Charlotte meets David Long, and after their rather sweet opening scene together - the horror comes. In fact, it moves in, sits in your favorite chair and snatches the remote out of your hand. I don't want to be spoiler-ish, so I'm not going to say much else about that - but there are horrific moments of violence - and top notch gore effects supplied by Tony Rosen. Kristi Ray and David Long lead a terrific cast - both are absolutely marvelous in their roles - and the other standouts include Weetman - toxic and nasty as the Mother from Hell; Jon Stafford as a TV producer who doesn't want to work with David but who is then...persuaded...and Shaun O'Rourke as the incredibly sleazy strip club owner Ricky.

Kudos to director Joe Stauffer - who has a real eye for cinematography - with terrifically composed shots full of visual delights throughout. But in addition - he also draws solid performances from his cast, and keeps the movie boiling on the front burner throughout once the movie gets up to speed.  He is matched and supported by a fine crew - who've all worked to bring together a very solid horror movie to the screen.

I had such a good time watching this with the crowd - it plays great with an audience. Now I'm itching for Pieces of Talent to be released. I think horror fans are going to embrace this movie... I know I did! See it as soon as you can!

Let's Get Out of Here ?

I'm not sure of the time code - but David Long can only bowl so long...

Eye Candy ?

Oh yes! She's a lovely young lady - whether rocking some fishnets at the strip club - or lounging around her room in a nightie t-shirt with her headphones on...

Welcome to the list, Kristi Ray!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Pieces of Talent is a terrific horror picture that
deserves a wide release ASAP - that's the David Long and short of it!"

I didn't even realize you'd come along to the screening, BM! Sneaky golden devil! Okay then - until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Craig: WOW! I love story idea of an evil filmmaker. Can SO relate. LOL. Must have been a blast at the screening...Is this on DVD?

    1. Luana - it isn't yet - they just locked the picture and sound and final edit - the screening Saturday night was the first time the cast and crew got to see the movie in its complete form. They begin the process of finding a distributor next.

  2. Craig, that image is insane in the membrane. Sounds like an amazing film. Girls in nightie t-shirts always work.

    1. Maurice - yeah, and that's right out of the movie! It was a corker flick! And yes, oh yes, girls in nightie T-shirts have been rocking my world for quite a while!

  3. This sounds really intriguing. I love the idea of an evil filmmaker. So appropriate as it were. ;) It seems like you had a a lot of fun with the filmmakers. How awesome to get in on the action behind the production.

    1. I want you and Maynard to see this so bad! I'll keep you posted on it!

  4. Interesting post about an awesome-looking, awesome-sounding movie. I hope I'll get the chance to see it sometime in the near future. Love the gory pic at the top, and yeah, Ms. Ray looks pretty hot :)

  5. I really want you to see this - and I'll tell you this too - Ms. Ray was at the screening - and she's every bit as fetching in real life too!

  6. You're an excellent writer and now I want to see this after reading your blog. Great work! And yes on Ms Ray, beautiful screen presence. And you say she's the same off camerea as well?

    1. Wow - thank you very much, Ichabod! Very kind of you to say! I only met her briefly at the screening - but she seemed very genuine and kind - and she certainly made my eyes happy!

  7. evil filmmakers. the spoiler free review is tapping into my sense. to see or not to see? That is the question lol...