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Must vent about today’s “Practically the Worst Day in Our Dogs’ [Westies Oliver, Blanche, Keely and Ambrose] History.”

We had our friend, Mitch Gonzales (the Christopher R. Mihm B-movie mask-maker guy), over to watch a Hammer Suspense film from the ’50s with us called “The Snorkel.” Terrible name, REALLY good movie.

Anyway, moments before Mitch arrived, Oliver got into some frozen foods my husband Anthony had put out on the porch so we could finally defrost our basement freezer. The naughty mutt stole a frozen 1/3-pound boneless pork filet. Pork is way too rich for dogs in general in that kind of quantity, and especially for his delicate digestion. We struggled, chase, cajoled, bribed and basically did everything we could to get that thing away from him for nearly an hour. I even offered him other kibble, a chicken wing, a walk and even a ride in the car, but he wouldn’t come out from under a shrub for anything—and that little sucker is FAST on his getaways.

Well, he finally finished devouring his pig dinner and came back in the house, only to start uncontrollably shivering, whining and finally howling for several minutes on end (he’s the only Westie I’ve EVER heard howl like that in my life). All of this was because his tummy was hurting. It was rather heart-breaking, but the doofus dog did it to himself. We put him out again and hoped he’d barf it all up.

Eventually, he must have because I later saw Ambrose eagerly eating something in the snow. Hot lunch, on ice!

All the while this is happening, I’m apologizing to Mitch for the awfulness of it all.

Then, we all sat down to a light lunch, and as we began the movie, Blanche proceeded to steal Anthony’s ham sandwich and start eating it on the couch. Luckily, Mitch alerted me in time to have me put most of it back together.

When Oliver came back in, the tummy-ache-based howling started up again, so Anthony put on a loop leash to guide out the dog again, and Mitch got to see the insane snarling and snapping Oliver is known for when he resisted being led. Score another point for good dog behavior around company. At least now Mitch knows I was never exaggerating when I said Oliver’s behavior could be downright dangerous when he loses it.

THEN, about halfway through the movie, Keely jumped up on the couch with me and Mitch and I smelled something I “hoped” was just her typical fart. But, no such luck. She had apparently had the runs outside and was toting a bunch of smeary pooh, as well as a rock-hard poop-hole plug, both of which I worked on for 15 minutes and used fully half a roll of toilet paper to thoroughly remove from her butt. Anthony got to scrub a spot of stinkiness off the sofa, too.

I’m sure Mitch was having the time of his life with this kind of Martha Stewart-esque hospitality! I was mortified to say the least. Fortunately, he loves dogs and understood. He’s even made plans to come back sometime and watch a few more such flicks. Glutton for punishment.

So how the heck was your day, honey?

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Get ’em while you can, folks! Seriously, the buzz on this marvelously cheesy, funny/scary, B&W 1950s-drive-in-style creature feature by writer/director Christopher R. Mihm is over the moon, so to speak! The Heights Theater, where the premiere will be held on May 25, is not huge and I really think it’ll sell out fast! To co-opt a phrase used by my PetPAC colleague pet photographer Patrick Nau, “Don’t say ‘I wish I had.’ Say ‘I’m glad I did.'”

An added bonus is you’ll get to see my goofy ’50s hair as Administrator Ripley! I’m open to ridicule. 🙂

This event is a red-carpet affair—just like in Hollywood!—and everyone is encouraged to put their glad rags on. Assuming this will be following in the footsteps of Mihm’s five other movie debuts, you’ll meet the director and all the stars, hear a wonderful Wulitzer organ played, watch 1950s newsreels, eat cake and meet the Zombies created by Mitch Gonzales.

To order your advance tickets, click here.

Read about Christopher R. Mihm, the man and his movies in this May/June issue of SciFi magazine due out in April (It’s the official magazine of the SyFy channel) and in an upcoming Mpls/St. Paul magazine!

The following is an article about the movie in which I and my hubby have cameo appearances—and one line apiece—and for which our dear, departed dog Mortimer was given an associate producer’s credit! Note: some corrections to my quote are 1) I am NOT yet 50!; b) my stalagmite is just over 3 feet tall, NOT man-sized, unless we’re talking midgets/little people, AND I said it was from “Terror from Beneath the Earth” NOT “Cave Women on Mars”; and c) Mihm’s movies are “wonderfully cheesy ’50s drive-in movie homages,” not merely “silly”! I hate being misquoted. She left out the part where I called Mihm “The Roger Corman of Minneapolis,” too, but otherwise, I thought Ms. Ford did a nice job on the piece. Please join us for the premiere on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 7 p.m. at the historic Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, Minnesota! For more info and to order tickets, go to <www.sainteuphoria.com>.

Also of note, Mr. Mihm is the creator of the wonderful “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss” website! Contact him at <chris@asterisksoftware.com>.

—Sid

An Arden Hills filmmaker’s fans pitch in to

help finance and produce his latest movie.

Marlin Levison, Star Tribune Christopher Mihm displayed some of the props used in his new movie “Destination: Outer Space.” At left is the head of Oculon while the robot at right is named ADAM. The movie will be shown at drive-ins and sci-fi conventions. That’s an asteroid at top left.

‘Destination: Outer Space’
ALYSSA FORD Special to the Star Tribune April 21, 2010

B-moviemaker Christopher Mihm of Arden Hills knew he had a fan base for his black-and-white creature features with their bug-eyed lake monsters, alien-possessed meteorites and matriarchal colonies on Mars.

He’s accustomed to getting fan e-mails from people all over the country, and he’s been able to finance his moviemaking hobby in part through the sale of patches, posters and DVDs of his four previous films: “The Monster of Phantom Lake” (2006), “It Came From Another World” (2007), “Cave Women on Mars” (2008) and “Terror from Beneath the Earth” (2009).

He’s even gotten to the point where he’s pleased (but not surprised) to see fans dress up for his premieres — in ball gowns or their own googly monster eyes made of pingpong balls.

But Mihm says he wasn’t prepared for what happened last year when his fan base pitched in to save his latest film, “Destination: Outer Space.”

It all started when one of Mihm’s financial backers had to back out due to recessionary troubles. “It was a job thing,” said Mihm, with a shrug. “It happens.”

But that left “Destination: Outer Space” in a lurch. “I was kind of racking my brain,” says Mihm, “and I kind of concluded that if I couldn’t figure out a way to raise a little money, I’d have to postpone shooting until I could save some up myself.”

But then Mihm, a 33-year-old freelance computer programmer in his grown-up life, put a notice on his website, www.sainteuphoria.com, asking for $50 donations to the project in exchange for future DVDs, tickets to the premiere on May 25 and “associate producer” credits in the film.

“I knew I’d get maybe four people to do it and that would be it,” Mihm says.

To his great surprise, 50 people signed up to be associate producers for “Destination: Outer Space,” giving this black-and-white B-movie an even bigger budget than it was going to have in the first place.

“I was stunned and pretty touched, too,” says Mihm.

Some fans also offered to help produce the film, donating their time to build sets and engineer monsters. One volunteer was Mitch Gonzales, 45, of Maple Grove, who discovered Mihm’s films while surfing online in 2007.

For “Destination: Outer Space,” Gonzales — a project manager for an injection-molding company by day and a B-movie fan by night — built a starfish-inspired monster out of chicken wire and foam latex with a giant bulbous eyeball for a head. He also created a pair of wiggly antennae for an extra, and was even allowed to make a cameo appearance in the film wearing a tall, made-up forehead. “I was thrilled to be allowed to play in the Mihm sandbox, so to speak,” says the father of two.

Fan Rylan Bachman, 31, of Cambridge, Minn., spent long hours hunting for iron-ore rocks along a railroad bed for an asteroid scene in “Destination: Outer Space.”

“I wanted to find some great rocks with nice pits and crevices,” Bachman says.

Mike Obrecht, 34, of Omaha, made a 14-hour round trip to Arden Hills to help build some sets for the film and play a capitalist alien named B’Kee in a crowded bar scene.

Mihm, 33, says that all of his films have relied heavily on family members and even neighborhood kids from around Arden Hills, but “Destination: Outer Space” is the first one created by the “Mihmiverse” — the name he has given to his small but rabid fan base.

As a result, he says, this production has quadruple the number of sets and costumes of any of his previous movies.

“It’s my B-movie version of ‘Star Wars,’ ” Mihm says.

The reason for all this fan mania is simple, says Sid Korpi, 50, of south Minneapolis, who is such an aficionado of Mihm films that she keeps a man-sized stalagmite in her basement — a souvenir from the set of “Cave Women on Mars.”

“It’s all about Chris,” says Korpi. “When you’re around him, you can’t help but want to get involved in these silly movies. He’s made monsters of all of us.”

Alyssa Ford is a Minneapolis freelance writer.

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