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Film Reviews: House of Ghosts (2012) – By Duane L. Martin
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2012 @ 12:18:46 Mountain Daylight Time by Duane


An eccentric couple, Leigh (Sid Korpi) and Isaac (Mark Scanlan), give a dinner party for some friends, and they’ve hired some entertainment for the evening as well, but when a severe snow storm sets in and traps them all in the house overnight, it’s uncertain as to whether or not whether their entertainment will show up at all. Fortunately for the rest of the film, he does.

The entertainment for the evening is a medium (J. Andrew Wilkins), who brings along a device that’s supposed to open a portal between our world and the land of the dead. The guests all gather around as the machine lights up and its parts spin around inside, but when it’s all over…nothing happened. The medium tells them that he’s opened the door to the other side, now it’s up to them to walk through it. Everyone is underwhelmed to say the least, and Isaac gets his money back after threatening him with legal action for fraud, but once the medium’s gone, things start getting a little creepy. Suddenly, Isaac has a horrible headache and needs to go lay down. Then the other guests start having creepy, ghostly encounters, and people start turning up dead. Will anyone survive this ghostly evening? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

I had to really limit myself in the description of the film so as to not give away any of the good stuff, but that’s essentially what the film is about. So how was it? Well…

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the films of Christopher R. Mihm, he makes retro style, black and white b-movies. House of Ghosts is his latest film, and it’s a new genre for him. His previous films have revolved around mutants or outer space themes, and this one takes us into the William Castle style of ghost film.

Following in that style, Christopher himself introduces the film, much like William Castle would, and talks about a fear shield that’s given to people in the theater. William Castle was a master of theater gimmicks, and this totally pays homage to the days of the theater gimmick, which is awesome.

Now we get to the film, and immediately you’ll notice several things. First, he knows how to make his films look like classic films. Everything from the set design and props to the costumes all give his films a very classic look, and this one looks absolutely wonderful. Something else you’ll notice is the great selection of music that he uses in his films. He uses various selections of music from the period, so it not only adds to the whole vibe of the film, it also makes it a more fun and enjoyable experience.

Something else that’s a lot of fun in this film are the references to various things in his previous films. They’re done in a way where it doesn’t really matter if you get the references or not, but it’s more fun if you do.

The real fun in this film though comes from the encounters with the ghosts. There’s a skeleton in a dress and a wig (one of the guest’s dead mother). Another guest sees her dead son’s ghost, only…he’s changed into something she doesn’t recognize. Yet another guest is attacked by spiders (really fun and goofy looking fake spiders). Then there’s the Angel of Death. This is far and away the most creepy and impressive looking thing I’ve seen in any of Mihm’s films, and it’s used in such a way as to maximize the creep factor.

This film, like other of Christopher’s films, include both an English and an Esperanto dialogue track, as well as subtitles in both languages. I have no idea who speaks Esperanto, but hey, if there’s someone out there who does…there ya go. In any case, I’ve never made it any secret that I think that every movie should include optional subtitles, and all of Christopher’s films do, which is awesome. What makes it even more awesome, is that they’re more than just your normal run of the mill subtitles. He really has fun with them, including adding in little descptive things like “Star Trek close-up” and various sound effect noises and reaction descriptions that are both funny and entertaining. If you watch the film without subtitles, you’re really missing a fun aspect of the experience.

From a production standpoint, Mihm’s films started out great and just keep getting better and better. There are people out there who make retro films, but they’re usually just a one off. For Christopher Mihm, that’s his thing. It’s all he does, and when you watch one of his films, you can really see the love and appreciation he has for those great old classics from the 50’s, and he has a whole lot of fun with the genre in his own films. This particular film is perfectly paced, filled with great camera shots, makes use of some cool editing and effects, and is lit perfectly. I mention the lighting, because in a film of this nature, especially in black and white, it’s easy to end up with scenes that are too dark. The whole film is lit exactly as it needs to be, and makes really great use of shadow in a very expert way in various scenes.

The DVD of this film includes several special features, including a blooper reel, the trailer, “The Real House of Ghosts” featurette, an alternate ending, which will be particuarly funny if you’ve seen his previous films and get the reference, a photo gallery, previews, and a film introduction by horror host, Dr. Ivan Cryptosis. It also includes a behind the scenes commentary with Christopher Mihm, Mitch Gonzales and Cherie “Rhuby” Gallanti, and a separate director’s commentary with Christopher Mihm.

I’ve come to expect great films from Christopher R. Mihm, and I absolutely loved this one. I highly recommend picking yourself up a copy, and while you’re at it, get yourself copies of his previous films as well. Classic b-movie fans will probably get the most enjoyment from them, but they can be enjoyed by anyone who wants to just kick back, relax and have a great time with a film.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page here, and while you’re there, check out his other films as well. You won’t be sorry.


Thursday, June 07, 2012 @ 12:18:46 Mountain Daylight Time Film Review

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Re: House of Ghosts!
At last! Today is the release date of House of Ghosts, the latest independent film by Chris Mihm. As many of you know, Chris has been producing these movies, which are loving homages to the B-Movies of the 50s, for several years and has been quite successful at it. He routinely racks up awards and the movies are frequently shown at film festivals, conventions and drive-ins all over the country and the world. He is an inspiration to all us independent creators out here in Internet-land.

This latest movie is a bit different from its predecessors, which all focused on the monster or sci-fi genres. This one is an homage to William Castle, master of the cinematic gimmick. My copy has been pre-ordered for a while, so I hope to have it by the long weekend. I’ll post a detailed review here as soon as I watch it.

____________________________________________________

Well, this thread sure got a lot of attention.

Okay, I have now seen House Of Ghosts and it has exceeded my expectations. Which is pretty amazing, because I had very high expectations. At this point, I’ve gotten used to them exceeding my expectations, but even when I allow for that, they still exceed my expectations.

This one, as I said, is an homage to the works of William Castle, and it is a labor of love for all concerned. Mihm does not produce parodies (like, for example, Larry Blamire [whose movies I love]), but fond pastiches of the old B-Movies that we remember from the Drive-Ins and Creature Double Features of our youth. Our younger youth. Whatever. His films are done for pocket money, but look like they cost the mortgage and are far more entertaining than studio efforts that cost hundreds of millions. They are like homemade cookies. They’re just better than store bought.

And the main reason this movie, like all the others, is so great– even beyond the lovingly recreated ambiance of 50s low-budget cinema– is that Mihm respects his characters. You’ll watch and smile at the nostalgia and the stylized storytelling, you’ll even be creeped out from time to time– and then, out of nowhere, you’ll be blindsided by moments of genuine sentiment, such as when you realize why one character is drinking herself to death or when you see how much another character cares for her pet. And there’s one relationship in the film that, in the context of a 50s horror movie, is just wonderful.

All of Mihm’s movies take place in the same universe and this one has a surprisingly strong tie to his first movie. And they are all made with the same integrity and respect for characters, and I recommend that you get them all. I strongly believe in supporting independent creators and nobody I’ve met to date deserves that support more than Chris Mihm.

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Please stop by my Gallery and YouTube Page for a visit. And read Trunkards!

Friends of the Mihmiverse,

you are cordially invited to attend the

Open House of Ghosts

Whether you’ve been on screen, behind the scenes, or in the audience, please join us on-site for an open house party on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, from 5–9 p.m. at the historic South Minneapolis Victorian home where Christopher R. Mihm’s latest major motion picture, “House of Ghosts,” was filmed.

What’s in it for you?

• Meet and greet the director himself, as well as cast members from this and many of his earlier movies at this unprecedented Mihmiverse mini-reunion.

• Shop for Mihmorabilia—and get it all autographed.

• Pre-order your “House of Ghosts” DVDs and/or reserve your collectible tickets for its May 23, 2012, premiere event at the Heights Theatre.

• Bring along friends or family members who’d like to check out the perks of becoming an associate producer.

• Hors d’oeuvres, soft drinks and desserts will be served.

• “Audition” for a chance to win a walk-on role in an upcoming Mihm film! (Re-enact a scene from a previous Mihm movie with one of the stars or take the “Improbable Dialogue Memorization Challenge.”) Wearing 1950s-style clothing is a plus.

Please RSVP to rsvp@sainteuphoria.com by Dec. 20 to get the address and directions to the house. For more information, contact Christopher R. Mihm at chris@sainteuphoria.com or Sid Korpi at sid@tworightfeetdance.com.

Filmmaker Christopher R. Mihm Raises Funds for New Film with Double Feature at New Hope Cinema Grill

Cave Women on Mars

Terror from Beneath the Earth
Terror from Beneath the Earth
PRLog (Press Release)Aug 10, 2011 – A fan-favored pair of Christopher R. Mihm’s 1950s-style B-movies, “Terror from Beneath the Earth” & “Cave Women on Mars,” will screen exclusively on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011, 7 p.m. at the New Hope Cinema Grill at 2749 Winnetka Ave. N., New Hope, MN 55427 (763) 417-0017. At this unique venue, viewers can enjoy both movies and an all-you-can-eat buffet of salad, pizza, and soda for just $15; a full bar also is available to adults.

Mihm’s latest release, the wildly popular “Attack of the Moon Zombies,” screened at the Cinema Grill to a sold-out crowd in July. Mihm’s intention is to attract new fans into the Mihmiverse with this showcasing of two more of his purposely campy, drive-in-style, B&W movies.

B-movie aficionados will have the chance to meet the director, some of the actors, and maybe even a monster or two, so bring along a camera. Audience members, as always, are encouraged to come dressed in their finest 1950s togs to fit in with the era. Contests and a silent auction will help to raise funds for Mihm’s upcoming independent film,House of Ghosts,” an homage to director William Castle (“House on Haunted Hill,” “The Tingler,” and others). Also offered will be special deals on becoming an associate producer of the new movie. Mihm-orabilia, including the full set of his six movies—“Monster of Phantom Lake,” “It Came from Another World,” and “Destination: Outer Space” completing the set—will also be available for sale on-site.

“Terror from Beneath the Earth”—Synopsis
After years of underground atomic testing, one of the animals living within the Wisawa caves (a system that stretches from Phantom Lake to the Deadlands) has undergone a radical and unimaginably horrible transformation! While exploring the caves, Dr. Vincent Edwards (Mike Cook) and colleague Rosemary Bennett (Stephanie Mihm) stumble across evidence in the disappearance of local children. After reporting the find to the local sheriff, Dr. Edwards and Rosemary are tapped to lead a rescue attempt. Along with the sheriff (Justen Overlander) and small-town farmer Stan Johnson, the children’s father, (Dan Sjerven), the rescue party quickly comes to the realization that if the caves don’t get them, whatever unseen terror lurking in the shadows just might!

“Cave Women on Mars”—Synopsis
It is the future: 1987. Humanity has finally left the confines of its home world. When the two-man crew of the MARS-1 spaceship lands on the surface of the red planet, they are astonished to find it strangely Earth-like. After deciding to split up and scout around, Lieutenant Elliott (Dan Sjerven) stumbles across an amazing discovery—primitive, matriarchal warrior women! He is promptly taken prisoner by the Martian beauties and led unwillingly across the alien landscape. While his commanding officer, Captain Jackson (Josh Craig), searches for his lost comrade, Lieutenant Elliott encounters unimaginable excitement in the form of fierce monsters, exotic vistas, strange magic and most unexpectedly… true love! An astounding adventure unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, “Cave Women on Mars” is not to be missed!
Can’t make this event? You can still enjoy all the Mihmiverse movies. Each DVD is available for sale for just $10 at http://www.sainteuphoria.com.

IMPORTANT! Purchasing advance tickets to this exclusive double feature—“Terror from Beneath the Earth” and “Cave Women on Mars”—is highly recommended, as there will be no guarantee of walk-in tickets being available. Purchase yours at www.sainteuphoria.com!

# # #

Christopher R. Mihm has devoted himself to re-creating the campy, cheesy goodness of old B&W B-movies featuring family-friendly monsters. Lowest-of-the-low-tech and high in fun, his movies are singularly entertaining in a non-CGI way.

Western Wisconsin Premiere of “Attack of the Moon Zombies

Produced and directed by Christopher R. Mihm, the film is a delightful, family-friendly tribute to the B-grade, black-and-white horror and sci-fi films of the 1950s. Doors at 7 p.m. Popcorn, pop and other concessions will be on sale, and after the film, you can buy some cool Mihmiverse swag, and hob-nob with writer/director Christopher R. Mihm and a cast member or two. You might even meet one of the zombies, so bring your camera. $7 adults, $5 kids 12 and under • chris@sainteuphoria.com

Time 7:30–9:30 p.m. Sun. Sep. 25

Location The Grand Little Theatre

102 West Grand Avenue Eau Claire, WI

(715) 832-7529 cvtg.org

Please listen in tomorrow, Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, at 4 p.m. Central time for host Nadia Giordana’s terrific blog talk radio show, “Interviews with Extraordinary Women.” In this interview, I’ll be attempting to explain my clearly eccentric approach to life, work and happiness. Call in with questions and join the fun, or give a listen to the show at a later time in its archived version. (I’ll post this soon on this blog’s Radio Interviews page.)

Nadia’s description of the show follows:

 

Nadia Giordana

 

Actress Sid Korpi on “Attack of the Moon Zombies” and Other Stuff

My guest today is the multitalented, Sid Korpi. We’ll be talking about all the interesting things she’s done in her life. Among them: English teacher, Journalist/freelance writer, Prize-winning novelist, co-author of a book on Reflexology, Jewelry designer, Actor/member of a comedy troupe, Game inventor, Aerobics/fitness instructor, Singer with an early jazz band/band, Halloween party mogul—Morticia Stewart’s Party Kits, Murder mystery dinner theater playwright/actor/host and more. We’ll find out which of those hats shes wearing most often these days, and where you can see her public performances.

Fun-loving Spirit Guides Put Their Seal of Approval on the B-Movie Project

As the latest, greatest Christopher R. Mihm movie production gets underway, for “Attack of the Moon Zombies,” there are already signs that this film has received a heavenly thumbs-up!

Last night, Sept. 7, 2010, my husband Anthony and I went to the director’s house to do a fitting for our costumes. Anthony has to wear a lab coat in one scene, and Chris was digging through a ginormous box of donated coats to find one that fit Anthony. He pulled out one that was buried in the middle of the pile and had Anthony try it on. It was a perfect fit.

I took one look at it, got goosebumps and literally screamed.

Embroidered above one breast pocket was the name “Jenny Pavlovic.

Ms. Pavlovic is the award-winning author of “8 State Hurricane Kate” and “Not Without My Dog Resource and Record Book,” and she and I are both going to be guests on Nadia Giordana’s Blog Talk Radio show on the 14th and sharing a booth at the Goldzilla fund-raiser for RAGOM (Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota) rescue organization on the 18th in Shoreview, Minn.! We met shortly after my book, “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss,” came out last fall at a fund-raiser for the Minnesota Pet Project and have been friends, allies, and colleagues ever since!

I knew she had a scientific/technical background by profession, but to see that her retired lab coat had found its way into that director’s basement and onto my hubby was too uncanny to pass off as mere coincidence. (We have a couple photos of the lab coat in question, but Chris has forbidden us to post them yet.)

But that wasn’t all that happened that night to give us signs that this movie is going to be phenomenal. Anthony and I had to hurry to the Rosedale JCPenney’s 15 minutes before it closed to buy some classic-looking men’s pajamas for Anthony’s second scene. When we were checking out, I burbled to the teen-aged cashier that these PJs would be in a 1950s-drive-in-style B-movie, and she wanted information about it.

She said she was genuinely interested because her grandfather had written a horror movie script in the late ’50s—a little thing called “Carnival of Souls“!!!!! A CLASSIC among B-movies!!! It’s one of the first ones I’d watched on my DVD collection of classic horror films and have read glowing things about it in film magazines and books!

I raced home and called Chris immediately. I knew he’d be familiar with the movie, and when I told him about it, he appropriately gasped and said, “Oh my God!”

I said, “I KNOW, right?”

He said, “Did you get her contact information?”

I said, “No, but I gave her yours. … Can you even stand how cool this is?!!!! First the lab coat with Jenny Pavlovic’s name on it and now ‘Carnival of Souls’!!”

I also reminded him: “It’s like that time (last June) I woke up in the morning and simply knew I had to go to Ricky’s Embers restaurant in Fridley (which is about 15 miles from my house; not exactly convenient) and when I sat down next to a pile of previously read newspapers to wait for my to-go order, I looked down and found your (Chris’s) face staring up at me!”

I had been trying to get a hold of the issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that had featured him and the Heights Theatre premiere of his movie “Destination: Outer Space,” but because it was specific to the northern suburbs and I live in South Minneapolis, I didn’t think I’d find it. I pitched such a spazzy fit over the sheer grooviness of this supernormal occurrence, I got permission from the waiter to steal this copy if I’d just take my food and leave!

I said, “You hire me for a project and it’s going to have a bunch of Spirit Guides supporting it.”

He said, “That’s certainly true!” or something affirmative to that effect. I am paraphrasing a teensy bit. Give me a break. I was and am über excited!

Now, if all this evidence of the magical, mystical sanctioning of this movie doesn’t convince you to become an associate producer and get screen credit for super cheap, I don’t know what will!

Among other great screening events, Saturday, Oct. 30, there will be a five-Mihm-movie marathon at the Grand Little Theater in Eau Claire, Wis. and he will be showing the first-ever sneak peek at a scene from “Attack of the Moon Zombies.” Come in costume and make a day trip of it if you can. Half of the proceeds will go directly to fund the production of the movie.

Hi,

I had the coolest thing happen today. I’ve been Googling almost daily to find the Strib’s follow-up piece about the premiere of “Destination: Outer Space” and never had any luck. This morning, I woke up with the sudden, seemingly random thought that I’d better use a coupon I have for Ricky’s Embers Restaurant in Fridley before it expires.

It’s a fair distance from home, so I don’t often go there, but I took the pooches for a walk in Columbia Park (Columbia Heights) to justify the drive. Anyway, after I ordered my burger to go, I sat in one of their waiting area chairs, which were covered with previously read newspapers. No sooner did I sit down but I looked to my left, and whose mug do you think was staring up at me? That’s right, the surprisingly photogenic Mr. Mihm!! I squealed with glee and had to tell the server why I was spazzing and fully intended to steal that copy of the paper.

See what happens when one is Divinely Inspired?

This was the movie premiere to end all movie premieres! You may recall, my hubby and I each had ONE LINE in it! —Sid
Christopher R. Mihm, photo by Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

250 attend premiere.

Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

Fans turned out at the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights last week for the world premiere of Christopher Mihm’s latest film foray, “Destination: Outer Space.” The movie follows in the sci-fi trail blazed by the Arden Hills filmmaker’s previous works: “The Monster of Phantom Lake” (2006); “It Came From Another World” (2007), “Cave Women on Mars” (2008) and “Terror from Beneath the Earth” (2009).

“Destination” involves a rocket that travels faster than the speed of light — no small feat. Also remarkable was how Mihm’s fans donated time and money when recession-related financial challenges put the movie up in the air (“Destination: Outer Space,” North Extra, April 21: www.startribune.com/local/north/91264509.html.)

Another metro-area showing is coming up at 7 p.m. June 25 at East Ridge High School, Woodbury. For more: www.sainteuphoria.com.

I just got the great news (belatedly thanks to my old Internet provider going kaput and my email address changing so they couldn’t reach me) that my book, Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss, has won an Independent Publishers Book Award (category: Pets)!

That’s along with the Reader Views 2010 Reviewers Choice Award (category: inspiration & spirituality) it had been awarded earlier this year. Yippee!!

Naturally, the awards presentation banquet in New York takes place on the same night as my “movie debut” (one line!!) in the premiere of Christopher R. Mihm’s Destination: Outer Space! (May 25, 7 p.m. at the Heights Theater, by the way—still a precious few tickets left).

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