Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Hitmen" Unofficial Soundtrack

My new novel HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder is now available in print, Kindle, and other ebook formats! And, as is my way, I'm posting here for you my completely unofficial soundtrack. The soundtrack works a little differently this time. Usually my soundtracks are songs that I listened to while writing, but in the case of Hitmen, these are actually the songs that appeared on the soundtracks for the original home movies. In the original movies, there was a ton of music--I could make a single soundtrack for every entry. So this is more of a compilation--a Greatest Hits, as it were--of the series. Listening through this track listing brings back a lot of good (and chaotic) memories of filming the original movies. I know it won't have the same nostalgia for you, but I think this is a good cross-section of the emotional mood of the piece.

Also, unlike my other soundtracks, this doesn't have page and scene listing. Rather, I've broken it up into the different sections of the book--again, to establish a general mood of each of the four installments. I hope you enjoy!




I. The Saint
   1. "Don't Fear the Reaper" - The Mutton Birds (cover)
   2. "Here Comes the Bogeyman" - Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra
II. The Seeker
   3. "Christmas Time Pretty Baby" - Brian Setzer Orchestra
   4. "Pistol Packin' Mama" - Al Dexter
   5. "Innocent Moon" - Akira Yamaoka (from Silent Hill 3)
   6. "Unexplained" - Meat Puppets
III. The Serpent
   7. "Still Need Your Love" - Reno
   8. "Nadine" - Frank Black and the Catholics
   9. "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" - Elefant
 10. "Blood" - The Pierces
 11. "Betrayal" - Danny Elfman (from Mission Impossible)
 12. "Tainted Love" - Soft Cell
IV. The Sleuth
 13. "Padmé's Ruminations" - John Williams (from Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith)
 14. "The Shape Stalks" - John Carpenter (from Halloween)
 15. "Kroenen's Lied" - Marco Beltrami (from Hellboy)
 16. "Hallelujah" - Rufus Wainwright
 17. "Live Again" - Better Than Ezra

Monday, June 23, 2014

Available Now--"HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder"!

It's been a whirlwind couple months. Not only is my first-ever SyFy Channel creature feature "Snakehead Swamp" set to debut on June 28 at 9/8c (you can watch the trailer right sh'yere), but today brings the exciting announcement that my latest horror novel HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder is ready for your money!

As I talked about in this previous post, Hitmen began as a series of homemade movies I shot with my friends over the course of about a decade. They were a lot of fun and great memories. Despite the...hrm...cheap nature of those backyard masterpieces, I always felt there was a real story and real characters at the heart of it. So I've dusted off the old scripts, reworked them with an unlimited budget in mind, and set out to create something that, I hope, you'll find really special.

The book is available in print and also for Kindle and other ebook formats. Check out an excerpt right here. Read on below about the book and, as always, stay tuned to this blog as, in the coming weeks, I'll be posting my completely unofficial soundtrack listing for the book, as well as short tie-in fiction--for free, yo!


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Willowbrook: A town rotted by corruption and vice. For years, the feared Boss Marcon controlled the rackets and legitimate commerce, alike. But the stakes are raised when a mysterious figure--a giant of a man with a gruesome blue skull for a face--starts leaving mangled bodies all over town. The creature is silent and unstoppable, a hulking monstrosity surviving gunshot wounds and able to tear a man limb from limb. This monster is targeting Marcon's criminal empire, obliterating hardened hitmen with ease. Is it a rival assassin...or something worse?

Part crime drama, part brutal monster action, HITMEN is a collection of four-interconnected novellas, spotlighting those in the monster's path: Eli, the guilt-ridden killer who's had a spiritual awakening; Flynn, a young boy seeking to understand the mysteries of the supernatural; Marcie, the young heiress to Boss Marcon's empire; and Vinnie Caponi, an urban mythologist who has hunted the Blue Skull for years. Each character has a role to play in the mystery, their paths finally intersecting, leading them to their fate--facing the towering killer, once and for all.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"HITMEN"--An Excerpt

Hey, all. Here's an excerpt from my upcoming horror/crime novel HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder. The book will be here before you know it!

* * *

Joey’s twisted ankle swelled. He spat out a curse, gripping his leg while hopping on his other. Sweat drenched his disheveled bangs and they dangled in his face, obscuring his vision. The late afternoon sun leveled its glare on him, casting everything in dazzling diamond sparkles, but he could not slow or falter.

He slipped against the alley wall, knocking over a trash can, but righted himself on the grimy brick, hobbling along. His chest hurt from panting so hard, but he forced himself to keep moving, to get away. Tossing a glance behind him, he was momentarily relieved to see that the thing was no longer following.

Maybe I got a shot at this.

Turning back to the alley mouth, he saw the highway traffic blitzing by up ahead. No way would anyone stop for him—not in his torn jacket with embroidered patches depicting topless biker babes riding atop anarchy symbols, and a prominent upraised middle finger with angel wings across his shoulders. Fatigue threatened to undo him, but he knew he could survive this encounter, if he could just get a ride. Trembling too-thin fingers reached underneath his denim coat to brush the handles of the dual Ruger Super Redhawk .44 Magnums he had tucked in shoulder holsters. He was ready to draw them, to make someone stop for him, when the dark shape stepped into his path seemingly from nowhere, blocking the sun’s warm rays, suffusing him in cold black.

“N-NO!” Joey screamed as a black-gloved hand—impossibly icy—palmed the left side of his face and slammed him against the brick wall. Joey grunted in surprise, spitting out a geyser of blood and a couple teeth. His whole body shaking with shock, he slipped to the wet pavement, sputtering. “Stop…” he pleaded.

One giant boot stepped over him as the shadow descended, reaching for him. The right side of his face was raw meat and he couldn’t see out of that eye anymore, but Joey wasn’t ready to die. Not today. Not by the hand of this thing. Weeping, he rolled onto his back and drew his revolvers. Roaring now, he fired at the looming shape, hurling expletives as fast as bullets.

The thing twitched under the lead assault and Joey laughed, triumphant. He scooped himself up and wobbled back towards the end of the alley, headed for the road again. I’m gonna make it…I’m gonna make it…

His vision was blurry with tears, sweat, and blood, but he could just make out the speeding shapes of traffic. “Pull over,” he mumbled, not nearly loud enough for anyone to oblige. “Please, let me in…”

Weakly he emerged out of the alley, waving his pistols. “Hey,” he said, dreamily, fearing he was slipping into unconsciousness. Upon seeing him, nearby drivers swerved out of his way, honking.

“Wait! Wait, you gotta stop…”

Horns blared, tires screeched, and motorists dodged him as he approached the highway shoulder. “Wait!” he wept after them. “Let me in!”

He watched in helpless dejection as, one by one, cars passed by, his only hope of salvation leaving him behind.

Then he heard the crunch.

Joey whirled around and saw the thing rising to a stand in the alley, no sign of injury. No sign of slowing down. “God, no…” he whimpered.

What horrified him the most was the thing’s face. As the creature stood tall, drawing its strength, its face—that terrible skull face—began to radiate a soft phosphorescent blue glow. Against the backdrop of the shadowed alley, that head almost seemed to float, detached, and Joey could see nothing now but the grinning blue death’s head staring back at him. Moving for him.

“No!” he held out his hands as though they would keep the monster at bay. The thing stalked for him, ready to leave the alley behind and join him any second. Joey stumbled back into traffic, still flapping his arms, begging, weeping. “Get back! Stay away from me! I didn’t do nuthin!” 
A thunderous horn roared in his ear and Joey glimpsed the eighteen-wheeler bearing down on him too late—

Copyright 2014 Greg Mitchell

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Trailer Debut for "Snakehead Swamp"!

Look what just popped up over at Dread Central? It's the trailer debut for my Syfy Original Movie, Snakehead Swamp, directed by Don FauntLeRoy, produced by the fine folks at Active Entertainment, and starring Ayla Kell, Antonio Fargas, and Terri Garber!

Dig on the trailer and be sure to watch the flick on Saturday, June 28 at 9/8c!

Monday, June 16, 2014

HITMEN: The Story Behind the Story


I'm pleased to announce that, in just a few days, my new horror novel HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder will be unleashed on the world. Similar to Rift Jump, Hitmen was sort of an experiment for me. It was an exercise in revisiting my past and dusting off an old concept that has been near and dear to me for a number of years. Today, I want to pull back the curtain a bit and share from the Foreword of the upcoming book to give you a glimpse into the story behind Hitmen.

The year was 1998. I was a couple years out of high school and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. My childhood love of the horror genre was newly rekindled and I decided I wanted to write monster movies. I was getting my feet wet in independent Christian films and was starting to put together the story that would eventually become the novels in The Coming Evil Trilogy.  

In a show of support of my new filmic aspirations, my parents bought me a video camera. I was thrilled and set out to draft my friends into my own amateur horror movies. I was still toying with the idea of merging horror and religion and set out to make an ‘80s style slasher flick with a twist. The original concept for Hitmen was simple: Jason Voorhees (of Friday the 13th fame) does great against half-naked camp counselors, but how would he fare against hardened hitmen with guns? I had a cheap plastic “blue skull” voice-changer mask that I bought on a lark at a Kay Bee Toys store some years prior and decided that would be the perfect frightening visage for my Jason-esque killer. 


Yeah, that's me playing "brooding hitman" Eli.

In the winter of ’98, I shot the first “HITMEN” movie on that little camera. I paid a small fee to go over to my friend, and Time Changer director, Rich Christiano’s house and cut it together onto a VHS tape. The movie was terrible—wonderfully so—but I was proud of that thing. I made a movie. My friends were supportive and didn’t complain too much when I called them at all hours of the day and night and gave them a simple “What are you doing?  Are you busy? Let’s go film.” 


They showed up on time, faithful to read over my rewrites and spout out my silly lines with zero practice or rehearsal. We finished the movie, had a popcorn night with our parents, and laughed at the fact that we’d made our very own movie. I’m sure everyone thought that it would end there. 

But, hey. This is me we’re talking about here. 

My little brother Jeff as wide-eyed Flynn Spanger back in 2000
Less than a year later, I had the idea for a sequel to my gruesome masterpiece. Once more, my friends (and now my little brother) simply got the call—“Let’s go film another one”. It didn’t end with that movie either, as I was now determined to create an epic home movie saga! Over the ensuing years, my loyal cast and crew followed me like a crazy-eyed Captain Ahab as I soldiered on through late nights and lunch hours and early Saturday mornings in search of a Moby Dick-sized vision. There was no pay. There was no distribution. There was no audience! Just the simple satisfaction that we were making something with our own two hands. 

In 2005, I finished editing “HITMEN IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER”. By that time, I’d made the transition to digital editing and DVD authoring, complete with trailers, outtakes, commentaries, and deleted scenes. I made a couple new friends along the way, and had even gotten married—and, yes, they were all eventually drafted into my massive ongoing storyline of “HITMEN”. In the films, I starred as guilt-ridden reformed hitman Eli, my brother Jeff portrayed precocious young ghost hunter Flynn, my wife Meghan became the sexy villainess Marcie, and my best friend Johnny pulled double-duty as lovable Vinnie Caponi: Urban Mythologist and our fearsome supernatural foe, the Blue Skull himself. 

Vinnie Caponi: Urban Mythologist

Man, it was a ride. Writing each new script at a feverish pace; throwing my camera, lights, and tripod in the back seat of my car on a whim to go pick up “one more shot”; sneaking out to the woods and having a hulking monster chase my wife screaming through the foliage; staying up at all hours of the night editing with Johnny, laughing and dreaming up even wilder scenarios for future installments—that was my twenties. They were some of the best times of my life. 

I never intended to show anyone outside our circle of friends our amateur movies. They are for us: a snapshot of a more innocent time. But, like the supernatural Blue Skull who slashed his way through our films, the “HITMEN” saga refused to stay buried for long. Fast forward to 2012. I’m right in the middle of publishing my magnum opus, The Coming Evil Trilogy, and I have this quirky idea to adapt some old stories I wrote in high school into a novel. That book eventually became Rift Jump, published in 2012 by Splashdown Darkwater. I had a lot of fun revisiting those old concepts and, as my mind is wont to do…I began to wonder: “What if I adapted those old ‘HITMEN’ movies?” They’d be greatly expanded on, of course, giving me the opportunity to do things we never had the budget to do in the original films. It could be bloodier, more action-packed—and way more ambitious, both in terms of character and story. A “Director’s Cut”, if you will. I was pretty excited, even as I laughed at myself for completely going off the deep end. That’s when I went to my former crew and cast mates and told them my idea of turning the four main Hitmen installments (we made a lot of spin-offs, you see) into a single “braided novel”. 

My wife Meghan and her cousin Drake as the conniving Marcie and Mr. Domingo

And the response was near-unanimous: “You’re going to do what?” We all had a good laugh and I didn’t really think I’d follow it through, to be honest. But, just for fun one night, I watched through those movies again, lost in bittersweet nostalgia and remembering all the funny and poignant behind-the-scenes stories. I began thinking about what I would do differently now if I had the budget and with my improved writing skills. I started writing the first part—now called “The Saint”—and surprised myself by how natural it felt. Cautiously optimistic, I adapted the second movie and then let my wife read what I had so far. She actually liked it. Hey, maybe I was on to something. 

The Blue Skull in all his black-and-white glory

I finished the book a couple months later and sought a publisher for over a year while working on other projects. No one was biting and, through it all, I kept thinking about putting the book out myself. It seemed only fitting. After all, all those movies we made, we made on our dime, with our own blood, sweat, and tears. I longed to experience that feeling of making something from scratch again. So that’s what I did. You’ll note that this book is published by Genre Experience: the same company that “produced” all those Hitmen movies back in the day. And, reminiscent of those bygone days of youth and excitement, I called up my pal, author/artist Bob Freeman at a moment’s notice and said, “Bob. I’m making a book. Can you do the cover?” Just like that, I’m fifteen years younger again, rushing off into the night to make monster movies with my best friends, making our own rules, entertaining ourselves. 

I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

And now, for the first time EVER outside of my living room, I am about to show you the actual trailer to the fourth (and final) chapter in the original Hitmen home movie saga, with voice over done by Zachary Malcolm, who also played Pastor Loomis in the movies. I've never shown anyone these, except for friends and family, but I think...yes, I think the world is finally ready.

Enjoy :p

video


 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New Novel Announcement--"HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder"!

The hits keep on coming! A brief recap, in case you missed it: I have my first creature feature, Snakehead Swamp, debuting on the Syfy Channel later this month, and just last week, my short story "Red Fog" was accepted in Emby Press' superhero monster hunter anthology The Good Fight.

Now, today, I bring you exciting (at least to me) news about my next horror novel and your first peek at the cover, beautifully rendered by artist, author, and spellweaver Bob Freeman. This story is near and dear to my heart and has been a labor of love for a very long time. The book is nearly ready to send to the printers and, closer to its release, I'll be bringing you the usual goodies: Short tie-in fiction, an unofficial soundtrack listing, and, of course, the behind-the-scenes commentary detailing the rather unique road to this novel's completion.

For now, I present to you HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Willowbrook: A town rotted by corruption and vice. For years, the feared Boss Marcon controlled the rackets and legitimate commerce, alike. But the stakes are raised when a mysterious figure--a giant of a man with a gruesome blue skull for a face--starts leaving mangled bodies all over town. The creature is silent and unstoppable, a hulking monstrosity surviving gunshot wounds and able to tear a man limb from limb. This monster is targeting Marcon's criminal empire, obliterating hardened hitmen with ease. Is it a rival assassin...or something worse?

Part crime drama, part brutal monster action, HITMEN is a collection of four-interconnected novellas, spotlighting those in the monster's path: Eli, the guilt-ridden killer who's had a spiritual awakening; Flynn, a young boy seeking to understand the mysteries of the supernatural; Marcie, the young heiress to Boss Marcon's empire; and Vinnie Caponi, an urban mythologist who has hunted the Blue Skull for years. Each character has a role to play in the mystery, their paths finally intersecting, leading them to their fate--facing the towering killer, once and for all.