Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Done to Death: Madison County

So the trailer to MADISON COUNTY made its official debut online yesterday first at one of my favorite horror sites.. Bloody-Disgusting and then around the world. In case you missed it:

Compare that to the PROMO TRAILER we shot to secure the financing to make Madison County that was shot in 4 hours for less than $100.. and I'm pretty proud of what we have!

The promo trailer got us a lot of buzz. It was picked up by several websites that I've talked about in my first blog and it really gave us the media push that we needed to get a solid fan base. The Official trailer opened up to mostly positive reviews.. but a couple of people online said some things that I wanted to address in this blog.

Now, I'm not one to sit and sulk over bad comments. I have a very thick skin when it comes to my art. Why? Because it's just that-- ART. There is not right or wrong in art. There is only "yes" or "no". Do you like this movie? Yes, or, No? Some of the worst films in the world have made TONS of money at the Box Office. But just because I say they're the worst.. does that make it so? No.

So I learned very early on to take criticism on my films. One thing I'm not good at, and my producers can attest to this, is that I do have trouble with criticism during the process of making a film. I'm an artist.. and until my art is complete, I don't want it to be judged. So during the writing process, the filming process, and even the post-production process I have trouble taking certain critiques because I want people to see MY version of what I see before they criticize it and say it's not good. But filmmaking is a collaborative process, so most of the time-- I'm all ears. 

A lot of the greatest moments in Madison County have come from suggestions from my producers, or someone else involved in the process. Ace had a lot of suggestions when it came to the cast, and their wardrobe, and the choices they made in the script-- a lot of those made it into the film. Daniel had a lot of suggestions on the script and the visuals.. a lot of those made it into the film. But whatever the case with suggestions, I'm the director and my name goes on the movie as "responsible". So any criticism comes toward me. And I want that responsibility. 

So.. when we finally released the trailer, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I couldn't sleep. We were FINALLY able to show the world what we had been working so hard on for so long. I was so thankful to have people from all over the world messaging me and asking me when they would get a glimpse of Madison. A film I had been thinking about since I was a kid.. it was a great feeling!

The first thing I did was checked Bloody-Disgusting and a few comments were already rolling in.. and then some more.. and then some more.. I began checking my Facebook and saw more comments coming in. They were all really positive! In fact, I'm extremely happy with the way people have been responding to the trailer. But one theme kept popping up.. "We've seen this before". 

Have you seen a killer wearing a severed pig on his face? Yeah, sure. Motel Hell. Saw. Leatherface (Human Skin-- similar enough). Nothing new. Have you seen a group of kids in the woods? Yeah.. you have. Friday the 13th. Wrong Turn. Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The list is endless. 

I didn't pitch this film as "the most original slasher film ever made" when I tried to get it made. In fact, slasher films themselves have been done to death. But that's exactly why I wanted to make Madison County. I LOVE Slasher films. Love them. And I want to see them live on. When's the last time we saw Jason? Leatherface? Freddy? Jason's latest romp in the woods was lackluster (depending on your taste) and a sequel, as of right now, is nowhere in sight. Leatherface is supposedly being brought back to life by Twisted Pictures (in 3D-- judge that as you wish), and Freddy-- well, I'd liked to pretend the last Nightmare on Elm Street doesn't exist.

I LOVE Horror movies. All kinds of horror. But we can keep remaking our favorites over and over and over. When HATCHET came out, I didn't get pissed and say-- another slasher?! A campy one?! I embraced it. Had I seen a killer in the swamp before? Yes. Wearing overalls? Yes. Killing kids in HORRIBLE ways? Yes. But it was someone NEW! A new face to look at! A new name.. a breath of fresh air!

I want to make movies.. original movies.. but movies are nothing more than stories and stories have been around since the beginning of time. We're just re-telling them in different ways. I'm not going to get into the history books.. but scary stories existed way before movies. Vampires. Werewolves. Murderers. They were all there. Even the original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT was technically a "re-telling" of The Virgin Spring.. which was an adaptation of a 13th century Swedish ballad!

What can you expect from Madison County? Well.. a lot of things. And that's what this blog is about. We made a movie for less than $75,000 and we did it WELL. The movie looks like a major motion picture straight out of a Hollywood studio. The acting is great. The cinematography is amazing and gritty. The sound and music are spectacular. And the story is pretty unique for the most part. I'm not going to spoil anything.. but I promise you, this is not your typical kids-in-the-woods-having-sex-and-getting-murdered type of film. There isn't a kill every 5 minutes. In fact.. the tone/vibe is much more of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It's slower. It tells a story. It has characters. You get to know these people.. 

I wanted to tell a very classic story and take it back to the roots. The same way Ti West did with House of the Devil. I wanted to make a movie that I would like to see. Is there a place for big tits and tons of over the top gore? Yeah.. but not in Madison County. This is a raw, gritty, very real type of film. And it's done exceptionally well. We very easily could have made your typical straight to DVD type of film with a title like "Bacon Beast" or "Serial Sausage Killer".. but we didn't. This is a theatrical film. We're pushing for a THEATRICAL RELEASE. The characters in this film have a voice, and a purpose, and just when you think they're cliched.. they're not. 

I'm glad to see that even people who are saying Madison County looks "cliched".. are still interested in giving it a chance. I can't thank you enough.. and that's all I ask. GIVE IT A CHANCE! GO SEE IT! These are the types of films people need to be supporting so we don't get more remakes and horrible films at the box office! There's a reason the original Nightmare on Elm Street was made for $1.4 Mill and spawned a franchise that we all love.. PASSION. The people making these remakes are working professionals. They're not suffering for their art. They're not striving for perfection. They're getting paid regardless of how the film performs. That is not the case with us.

If you want to see Madison County in a movie theater near you.. PLEASE, PLEASE, spread the word! Send out e-mails to your friends and family. Post the trailer/poster/website on your facebook page. If we make noise.. people will hear us. And I promise you that we will do EVERYTHING in our power to get it as close to you as possible. Little films like us have nothing going for us except for passion, people, and product. And when the world sees that we have it too-- great things can happen!

Thanks for all the great comments, e-mails, messages, etc! Please-- feel free to contact me and let me know your thoughts! I promise, I read everything and I never get tired of hearing it!




  1. Awesome post friend. Couldn't have been said better!

  2. Let me just reiterate how much I love the above picture.

  3. Great blog. All of the people who said "we've seen this before" will have a nice surprise in store for them when they see the movie. However, I gotta be honest, "Bacon Beast" would have been an great title.

  4. Wonderful post, Eric. I think people just arent looking deep enough into the HEART of this movie. Being someone who worked on the film, seeing what was put into spawns a different reaction to someone who just sees it as "another slasher". I KNOW the passion you have for not only this film, but filmmaking in general, and it's going to take you places. Keep on doing what you do, Eric! Much love and respect!

    - Nolyn

  5. Terrific blog entry and a timely issue.
    No matter what you do, no matter where you go, people will be cynical, some will be down right hateful. Trust me...I get it all the time. Learn from some, in one ear and out the other with others.
    To get a real feel for what I'm saying, just read comments on Yahoo when it comes to a devastating news story, like the family taken hostage by the Somalian pirates. Some people will be empathetic to the suffering, others will wish they will kill the kids....crazy as that sounds, this is what these "anonymous" people are saying.
    So, you made your have a lot of fans...a lot of people will see it. Even if it is great, some people will hate it...look at Avatar.
    Be proud of your hard at it and follow your dream!
    Love the line in the "Dark Knight"..."there are some people who just want to see the world burn"....very true.

  6. Hi Eric,
    I found a trailer for your movie on I watched it and did some "googling" on the movie title and found your blog. I think the movie looks awesome, I love slasher movies and I am very interested in seeing this movie. When is the planned release date? Is it going to be a nationwide release?

  7. I like orginality as much as the next guy, but sometimes it's more in the WAY things are told that make me happiest. My Grandpa used to tell or read stories I knew by heart. I didn't stand up and yell "cliched and boring!!", I listened over-and-over because I love the way he told stories. Sometimes it's just in the way it's done.

    Good luck, I think this looks great.

  8. is madison county out of arkansas?

  9. Yes, there's actually a Madison County in Arkansas. Named after James Madison... it's part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area. This movie was filmed closer to Russellville though if I'm not mistaken, which is actually in Pope County.

    Look up Ronald Gene Simmons if you want a real-life horror story from that area.

  10. Rebecca- No release date set just yet. But it's coming! We're going to try and get the film as far and wide as we can. But it's all up to the people! So please help us spread the word!

    Cracker- We shot in and around Madison County, Arkansas mainly because I have family in the area and I'm originally from Russellville.

  11. Ah, I see. I wasn't sure if you guys had filmed mostly in Pope or Madison County. Cool. I remember hearing you were filming somewhere around Russellville but I'm way over in Pulaski Co.

  12. beautifully said, i completely agree. the cry for "originality" is hollow and directionless. enjoy stories based on how they are told and the ideas present. we're more than a hundred yearts into this movie thing, and movies, like life are and have always been about three things: survive, fuck, and actually, i think that's it. i will blind buy this movie based on what i have just read.