Blu-ray Review “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon”

Starring: Shep Gordon
Director: Mike Myers
Rated: R (Restricted)
elease Date: October 7, 2014
Run Time: 85 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 0 out of 5 stars

“Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” is a documentary about the king of the entertainment industry. It is marks the directorial debut of Mike Myers. That’s right the same Mike Myers from “Austin Powers” series and “Wayne’s World” series. I have to admit, I wasn’t familiar with Shep Gordon but this guy knows EVERYONE in the business. He has been Alice Coopers manager for over 40 years and has worked with everyone from Pink Floyd (for like 9 days) to Groucho Marx to Jimi Hendrix to Emeril Lagasse. In terms of documentary, this one really interested me and was definitely worth checking out if you are in the world involved in the business.

Official Premise: In his directorial debut, Mike Myers (Austin Powers, Wayne’s World) steps behind the camera to document the remarkable career of friend and Hollywood insider—Shep Gordon. He isn’t a household name, but Gordon became a beacon in the entertainment industry after a chance run-in with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin launched his career in 1968. Since then, he has managed an endless list of talent, including Alice Cooper, Blondie, Luther Vandross, and Raquel Welch. His management of Emeril Lagasse was the driving force behind the “Celebrity Chef,” concept that turned the culinary arts into the multi-billion dollar industry it is today. Capitalist, protector, hedonist, pioneer, showman, shaman…Shep, or SUPERMENSCH, is beloved by the countless stars he’s encountered. Now, Gordon’s fascinating story is told by those who know him best, his pals including Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Anne Murray, Willie Nelson, and more.

“Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” is not special at all when it comes to its Blu-ray presentation. The 1080p transfer is good but also barely decent at certain points. Since some of the content is taken from old sourced. It is not very polished but to be honest it still works since it is a documentary and I didn’t expect “Avatar”. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is a bit neglected since there isn’t much on the track besides the dialogue. There isn’t much music in the film either than the typical documentary music. In more disappointing there are zero special features on this Blu-ray. I would have loved to see a commentary track and some deleted or extended interviews included.

Stuart Gordon talks about turning hit play “Nevermore” into a film with Jeffrey Combs

Stuart Gordon has directed and be behind some of my favorite horror films to date including “Re-Animator”. He teamed up with “Re-Animator” star Jeffrey Combs in 2009 for a stage play called “Nevermore”, which focused on a night with Edgar Allen Poe. The show was only suppose to run for a month but ended up become a huge hit and held over many times and even toured. Gordon and Combs are now trying to get the play turned into a feature film…with the help of YOU! They have started a Kickstarter campaign, which will end on November 1st, 2013. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Stuart about this campaign and about what we can expect.

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Mike Gencarelli: “Nevermore” opened for a one month run in California in 2009, which ended up being extended four times. What made you decide now to make a feature film version of this stage play?
Stuart Gordon: Jeffrey Combs’ performance as Poe has been called “A landmark performance” by the LA Times, and we have toured the show to great acclaim throughout the US bringing it to audiences from Los Angeles to Poe’s gravesite in Baltimore to New York’s Lincoln Center. Filming it will allow it to reach an even larger audience.

MG: Tell us your decision to turn to crowd funding with Kickstarter for this project?
SG: Kickstarter seems the ideal way to fund this project as historical films can be a hard sell at the studios. Even Spielberg had a difficult time finding financing for LINCOLN.

MG: The stage play worked so well since it was Combs captivating the audience solo; how do you plan to expand the scope of the play?
SG: We will be able to show the characters that are referred to in the play beginning with Poe’s shocked fiance’ Sarah Helen Whitman, as well as his doomed young first wife and actress mother. We will also be able to dramatize THE TELL-TALE HEART, THE RAVEN and many of his other poems.

MG: What fascinates you most about Edgar Allan Poe that you want to tell this story?
SG: Poe’s life is even more tragic and disturbing than his macabre stories. NEVERMORE gives us the opportunity to bring this troubled genius to life, warts and all.

MG: As hard as it is to say, in the case you don’t meet your pledge of $375,000 is there a plan B?
SG: There really is no plan B, which is why it is so important that we reach our goal. And with the help of our friends, old and new, we will.

MG: Besides as an incentive on the Kickstarter, do you play to do a wide release of the stage play on DVD?
SG: We have no plans to release the stage play on DVD.

MG: After the film is funded, what is the timeline to get the film to the fans?
SG: We plan on shooting the film next summer with a release in early 2015.

MG: Speaking of the fans, at the time of this question there are over 400 backers; why do you think the horror fans are so loyal to the genre?
SG: There are no fans more loyal than horror fans. God bless them! The more you scare them, the more they love you.

Sam J. Jones reflects on “Flash Gordon”, “Ted” and plans for “Ted 2”

Sam J. Jones is best known for the lead role in the 1980 cult classic “Flash Gordon”. Sam recently appeared in the the Seth MacFarlane directed live-action film “Ted”, as himself and stole the show. Sam took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about his work on “Flash Gordon”, “Ted”, plans for “Ted 2 and his work in the security business.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect on the fandom that surrounds “Flash Gordon” over 30 years since its release?
Sam J. Jones: It has been wonderful and is such a blessing. We filmed it in 1979, so that is 34 years ago and was released in Christmas of 1980. We are talking about three different generations here. It is amazing. It has had a good run and it has opened a lot of doors for me. I have traveled all over the world. It has even continued in the film “Ted”.

MG: Queen’s score in the film is so iconic, how do you feel that it works in the film?
SJ: It really complemented the film well. Queen was huge, obviously but it also opened up doors for them as well at the time. Combine their amazing soundtrack with the great visuals and you have a winner. All that creativity came together and produced this unforgettable visual experience.

MG: How often are you approached with people screaming “FLASH!! AAA-AAAHHH!!” and how do you respond?
SJ: Well, I get real close to them…then I head butt them [laughs]. No, it is fun it really is. Sometimes people walk by me on the street and don’t even say anything just scream and continue walking. They don’t even wait for a reaction. That sort of thing happens a lot.

MG: I wanted to ask about about you being originally signed up for seven “Gordon” sequels. Is that true?
SJ: I think it was a couple sequels at the time, yeah! Like anything else they decided not to pursue it. It has been optioned a couple of different times over the years with various development deals for a sequel, so hopefully that will happen soon. I would love to be apart of it again.

MG: Also can you talk about how your voice being dubbed over in the film?
SJ: We filmed the entire project in London, England and one week in Scotland. After filming you always have to go back and do ADR to fix the vocals. So I didn’t head back, I was working on other projects at the time. So they went ahead and got another actor to try and match my voice. It is what it is. I am sure next time I would rather find a way to get back there and do it myself.

MG: Tell us about how your role in “Ted” came about?
SJ: It is pretty simple, Seth MacFarlane called me and said that when he was eight years old he saw “Flash Gordon” and it changed his life. He knew then that he wanted to be a creative guy in the business and that was his inspiration. So he called and said he had this script called “Ted” and if I would be interested and I said “Of course”. At first, he wanted me to play myself but it turned out to be a parody of myself.

MG: What was it like getting back into those tights again after all those years?
SJ: It was fun. It was great working with the cast with Mark Walhberg, Mila Kunis and Patrick Warburton. Actually Patrick and I used to be in acting classes together, so it was good to see him again. It was Seth’s first time directing live-action and he did a fantastic job. He was always very prepared each day.

MG: Going from film business to security business, tell us about your current work?
SJ: It has been natural transition for me. I was a marine before I was an actor, so the background was there before I was in the movie business. So I got married and started having our five children and things slowed down a bit since there is a lot of downtime in the film business. So I wanted to fill that void, so I talked to my wife and decided to do that I was already trained in. I went and took some additional specialized training, actually the same as the Secret Service and the State Department. I started working the Los Angeles area, then I worked in Katrina and excelled in security operations. From there I got an invitation to move to San Diego to help run the Cross-Border Security Operations into Mexico. So that is what I have been doing for the past eight years now. I love it because when a film project comes up, I am able to drop everything and do the film. So it works out.

MG: “Ted 2” is planned for release Passover 2015, any word of a return for you?
SJ: Yeah, of course. Seth already asked me to do it. He mentioned that they will be filming in the Spring of 2014. So I can’t wait for that!

Orgy’s Jay Gordon talks about new single “Grime of the Century”

Jay Gordon is the lead singer of the band Orgy. The group recently released a new single titled “Grime of the Century” and is set to embark on a western U.S. tour.  Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Jay recently about the band and its new release.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the bands new single “Grime of the Century”?
Jay Gordon: I chose this song because it was the one the band pulled together the quickest. Everything for the song just came right together. There is so much going on in our other songs that we felt this one was the simplest of the group. Releasing this song seemed like less of a gamble. I wanted to mainly get people familiar with the bands new line up through this song.

AL: Are there any plans to shoot a video for the song?
JG: Yes! We actually just finished it. I don’t know when it will exactly be released but it will be coming out soon. The video is going to be very interesting and cool. I think it is different for an Orgy video.

AL: Are there plans for a full-length release? and how does working on an album now compare to when the band first hit it big?
JG: Yes, a full length album is in the works. There is a lot less money now to make records with than when we started. Bands aren’t getting record deals like they did back in the 90’s however the process in which we work is the still the same.

AL: Are you doing any production on the new Orgy material? And has being involved with producing changed your approach to songwriting in any way?
JG: We are all capable of doing that type of work. Everyone in the band has their hands in the production aspect of things. As far as writing goes these days I think I am much faster at it now. I am however very picky. I don’t like to just jump on the first thing that comes to mind. I may be at first but when I take a second to slow down and look at everything sometimes my opinion changes.

AL: How do you go about balancing your work as a producer and as a singer?
JG: You just have to find/make time to do both. I wish there was a more glamorous answer but that’s the most direct. I wear a lot of hats.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands current lineup?
JG: I have known this group of guys for a long time. Carlton Bost and Ashburn Miller come from the band Deadsy. Jamie Miller came from the band Snot. Those guys are all really talented and were people I had wanted to play with for a long time. Nic Speck was a guy I met along the way and just ended up asking him to come down one day and he did.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour?
JG: We will be doing a quick tour of the west side of the United States during the fall and possibly after the New Year we will be heading over to Europe for some shows there as well. We are thinking about a lot of different things and are open to suggestion. I just want to get out there and do it again.

AL: Besides your work with Orgy what other projects are you working on right now?
JG: I am currently working on some songs for the band Escape the Fate. I did some really cool dub step tracks and programming for a few of there songs. I also am producing a song with the band and another guy named Future.

Zachary Gordon talks about playing Greg in series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”

Zachary Gordon is known best for playing Greg Heffley in series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”. He is returning this summer in the third film in the series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Zachary about the series and what we can expect from this film.

Mike Gencarelli:  What do you enjoy most about playing the Greg Heffley character?
Zachary Gordon: It’s somewhat of a challenge to go back to Vancouver every year but at the same time it almost gets easier as we are just a big wimpy family. I kind of fell right in to character from the start. Playing Greg is so much fun. I get to become this whole new character. When we are shooting in Vancouver we all get to hang out and do things together.

MG: How does the latest film compare to the previous two?
ZG: The first two films were based during the school year. What’s unique about “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” is that it takes place during summer vacation. Greg’s idea of a perfect summer vacation is sleeping in and playing videos games. His Mom’s idea is quite different. Greg is kind of forced to spend time with his Dad and things just backfire. Greg’s tries a number of different ways to impress everyone but nothing seems to work out.

MG: Was there any difficulty trying to blend the two books, “The Last Straw” and “Dog Days”, that make up this film into one?
ZG: Playing Greg is always somewhat the same. A lot really depends on the mood of the scene. What I find so interesting about the two books being combined is you get some of the school year and some of the summer. I thinkthat is really great. I especially like that they involved summer vacation as this hasn’t been shown before. I am really happy with the way the film is turning out.

MG: Do you have any fun stories from during filming?
ZG: I have a lot! There was one where we were filming in a pool with a bunch of people. I was a little nervous about what people could be doing in the pool because they had been in there for awhile. Everyone started joking about it and my Mom and Peyton List’s Mom decided to mold a bunch of tootsie rolls together and put it in the pool. Peyton planted the evidence in the bottom of the pool and then went over and told one of the producers. They told Peyton not to tell me as they thought I would freak out. They had to get some people to try and get it out. We were all laughing and then Peyton jumped in the pool and picked up the fake poop. Eventually people found out that it was fake. That was a great prank.

MG: Do you have a favorite book in the series?
ZG: The first one to me is personally the best. I love all the books but the first one really starts everything off. That’s where the rollercoaster begins.

MG: What do you like most about working in the voice over field?
ZG: I am actually working on a voice over project right now titled “The Boxcar Children”. What I love about animation is that it is so different from live action. You can roll out of bed and go to work. You have to voice over acharacter without anyone seeing your emotions. I like that challenge. When working on voiceovers you are watching something through a glass window. Both voiceover and live action are so unique.

MG: Are you going to be reprising your role in the new “Santa Paws”?
ZG: In the first film I play Puppy Paws which is Santa Paws’ son. In the new film I voice the younger Santa Paws. The dogs are adorable and I am glad I got to voice over them.

MG: What are you currently working on?
ZG: I am working on “The Boxcar Children” which is based off the book series. It’s a great family film that everyone can relate to. Also before I broke my leg I finished work on a film called “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”. This character is much different than my role in the Wimpy Kid films  as I play sort of a bully. It was fun working on a totally different character.

Interview with Darren Gordon Smith

Darren Gordon Smith is a composer who is most known for his “Repo! The Genetic Opera”. The film started as a Ten-Minute Opera that Darren created with Terrance Zdunich and since then it has become a cult phenomenon spawning a huge fan base and weekly midnight screenings. MovieMikes has the opportunity to talk to Darren about the process of bringing “Repo” from the beginning to its present cult form.

Click here to purchase “Repo! The Genetic Opera”

Mike Gencarelli: Darren, You Co-Created “Repo! The Genetic Opera”, how did you come up with the story? What inspired it?
Darren Smith: The idea was based on a friend of mine, who had a dental practice and he was getting all of his equipment repossessed. I started thinking it was sort of absurd, like people were going to sitting in the dentist office in the middle of a procedure and they just come and take their equipment. I started then thinking about what if you had bought body organs on credit. The health care system got so bad that you couldn’t even buy a heart unless you made payments on it. That was the genesis of the idea. At the time Terrance Zdunich, my partner, and I were doing Ten-Minute Opera performing all over LA. He had an idea about a grave robber and his idea was taking back into the 19th century. I said we should combine this with my idea and make it set in 2056. We made a Ten-Minute Opera called “Necromerchant’s Debt”. We would do this mini rock opera performed by the both of us and it turned out that it was the one that people loved the best. We decided to make it into a full scale show. From that “Repo” was born.

Mike Gencarelli: What was your process for coming up the music for the film?
Darren Smith: That is a great question, I do have a background in classical music and compositions and a music degree from NYU. Having said that I definitely play a lot of different kinds of music. The Ten-Minute Operas we did ranged from 18th century harpsichord music to Nine Inch Nails to Led Zepplin. We did whatever. When it came to “Repo”, we loved the idea of the obscurity of the main guys and the over the top nature of the Italian opera. So when we were writing “Repo” that is when I started doing more research in opera. I focused on trying to use the right light composition and how to structure an opera both musically and story-wise.

Mike Gencarelli: How was it like working which such an amazing cast?
Darren Smith: We had THE best cast ever for the movie. That really helped us to expand our music. When you are you are writing for someone like Sarah Brightman, you can expand the music because since she can sing almost anything. Darren Bousman deserves a lot of credit as the director. Darren, Terrance and myself had a hand in every aspect of the production, from the visual, costuming, props, and music. It was a really great experience.

MG: “Repo” was the first feature film you wrote, how did you find the process of bringing the music to the big screen?
We did the Ten-Minute Opera first, then in 2002 we did a full scale opera on stage. We had experience doing the whole process on stage. Then we did it off-broadway at the Wings Theatre in NYC in 2005. When we got the go ahead green light from Lionsgate for the film, on the one hand it wasn’t a huge leap and the other hand it was. When I say that it is because Terrance and I have always envision “Repo” would be a film. We wanted to have total control over the visual element and things you just can’t do when you are doing stage with 99 seats. Unlike a lot of films, we work-shopped the music and the story over the course of almost ten years. We had a good feeling of what was going to work with the audience and what was not.

MG: How do you affected by the responses the film has got so far, some are comparing it to Rocky Horror Picture Show?
DS: Yeah, certainly. We are humbled by that since “Rocky Horror” is brilliant. We are on the shoulders of giants. It is gratifying, honestly over the years we have developed a cult following. I knew that “Repo” was going to find its audience and will be kind of “Rocky Horror” phenomena. I didn’t think it would happen as quickly as it has. We had this $8.5 million dollar budget but Lionsgate only gave us $200,000 dollars for publicity, which is almost nothing. The film was almost buried from the start. I thought it would be like “Rocky Horror” where it would be years before we even make profit. We beat that already plus more. It is amazing that we have these 45 or more groups in the world who Shadowcast and act out the whole film. These groups know every nuance to the music and the story. Here we are less than a year and a half since the film was released. On a daily basis, I get emails and at least ten new people on Facebook every day asking me questions about the film.

MG: Would you ever consider bringing back it to the stage with all its new popularity?
DS: Yeah great question, absolutely! We would like to do it on a large scale and kind of leaving the options open. I actually want to do this as a permanent stage show in Las Vegas. It will be like Cirque De Solei meets Blue Man Group meets Deep Throat [laughs]. Just really push the envelope for what you can see in Vegas. I would also want to be able to tour with some live musicians from the soundtrack and have me perform with them along with some cast members and do a road tour.

MG: What other projects do you have in the works?
DS: First, we are working on sequel idea for “Repo” and we think we are definitely planning another movie. I am already working on the story and music with Terrance. The other things is I do have another rock opera that I have been writing. Without going into too much detail it is like the film “It’s a Wonderful Life” but in reverse. Rather than the protagonist realizing if they weren’t born things would be worse off. It is reverse and due to a series of bad decisions, it tells how the world would have been a better place without them being born. That is what I am working on right now.

Click here to purchase “Repo! The Genetic Opera”


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Interview with Herschell Gordon Lewis

“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Friday The 13th”, and “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, owe much of their existence to the undisputed Godfather of Gore – Herschell Gordon Lewis. In 1963 Lewis, with his monumental splatter movie “Blood Feast”, single handedly changed the face of horror cinema forever. As well as virtually inventing the gore generation, Lewis also produced a number of “exploitation” movies, as well as sampling the full gamut of exploitation subjects ranging from wife-swapping and ESP to rock ‘n’ roll and LSD. H.G. Lewis created the gore classics such as “Two Thousand Maniacs!”, “The Gore Gore Girls”, “Color Me Blood Red” and “The Wizard of Gore”.  Movie Mikes had the opportunity to talks with H.G. and ask him a few questions about his phenomenal career and what is in store for the future.

Click here to purchase Herschell’s movies

Mike Gencarelli: How do you feel about being called the “Godfather of Gore” and having created the “splatter film”?
H.G. Lewis: While I don’t want it on my tombstone, I certainly cannot object to being named the Godfather of Gore. It gives me a position few independent and under financed film-makers can ever enjoy.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you come up with the idea for the film “Blood Feast”?
H.G. Lewis: Watching a typical major company crime-film on television, I realized that the studio was afraid of depicting nasty reality. This, to me, was a logical opening, especially since in a movie emphasizing gory effects the need for heavy production and “star” value didn’t exist.

Mike Gencarelli: Out of “The Blood Trilogy”, consisting of “Blood Feast”, “Two Thousand Maniacs!” and “Color Me Blood Red” Which is your favorite and why?
H.G. Lewis: “Two Thousand Maniacs!” is to this day my personal favorite. It’s as close to a hand-made personal film as I’ve ever made … including the title music and my own voice on the title music. All these years later, “Two Thousand Maniacs!” still plays well.

MG: How was it returning to directing with the sequel to your classic film “Blood Feast” after 30 years?
HGL: Exhilarating. I worked far less than I had worked when I was both director and cinematographer, and I had no decisions in the casting or crew selection. On the negative side, exclusion from major decision-making is what ultimately led to “The Uh-Oh Show.”

MG: What was the hardest production that you have been involved with?
HGL: From a creative point of view, the hardest was “Color Me Blood Red.” From a production point of view, I’d choose the children’s film “Jimmy, the Boy Wonder.”

MG: “Two Thousand Maniacs!” was remade into the successful “2001 Maniacs” in 2005 and its sequel “2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams” out this summer, how do you feel that your films are living on and being re-imagined?
HGL: Each director puts his personal stamp on a film. I’m in no position to comment positively or negatively on either of those films other than to recognize that Tim Sullivan is a clever director.

MG: How do you feel about the 2007 remake to “The Wizard of Gore”?
HGL: My comments about “2001 Maniacs” also apply to Jeremy Kasden, director of the “Wizard of Gore” remake. I’d have been more slavish to the original in both cases … but so what? The remakes are their films.

MG: Your film “Monster a-Go-Go” has been infamous since its release, it was featured in “Mystery Science Theater 3000. You do you feel about its continued interest?
HGL: Let’s clarify: I didn’t make “Monster-a-Go-Go.” I bought the unfinished negative and built a sardonic campaign around the footage that existed, augmented by just enough “stuff” to finish it. The continued interest confounds me.

MG: Tell me about “7 Deadly Sins: Inside the Ecomm Cult”, what was it the film about?
HGL: This is a strange one. The folks producing this project – whom I hadn’t known before – negotiated a deal with me to appear on-camera, reading pre-written lines. We shot my sequence in about half an hour, in a field next to the building in which I live. I was the only actor for that scene and had no notion that a campaign would be built around my strange appearance. I have to salute the ingenuity of the filmmakers.

MG: Any upcoming projects? Any plans to return to directing?
HGL: I assume you know we’re just completing the editing and background music for “The Uh-Oh Show,” which I’m counting on to be a hit. And if I can put together a production group, I may make “Mr. Bruce and the Gore Machine.”

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