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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Alien Vengeance in the Underground

I spoke with director Jason Liquori about his underground film Alien Vengeace (2010). Really, this is a whole movement in cinema happening in the underground that so much of the international cinema world has no idea about. So, I wanted to share this with everyone.


ME: Hey, Jason. Can you speak to us about your latest film Alien Vengeance?


JASON: The "Alien Vengeance" movies were actually both scripts "I whipped up"
for a trip I was making to CA. The first feature was written on a
location we were told we would be able to use for free, but that fell
through, so I scrambled to write a sequel, which would use some of the
same props, since I had them with me, that could be shot at a friend's
house. About half way through that script I realized I'd never have
anything worthwhile done in the time frame we had left, so I decided to
shoot them both when I got back to FL. I did. Nearly back to back with
some shorts based on the creature shot in between. In less than a
year's time we've shot 4 shorts and two features involving the vicious
alien and have a few more of each planned. Shooting them here
required some rewriting since the locations were obviously different and
the cast had to change, which was good and bad. I got to work with a
lot of new people. Tons of schedule conflicts plagued both movies,
largely because of weather on the first and illness on the second, but
each one was shot in around 5 or 6 days with budgets that wouldn't buy a
cheap used car. Maybe tires and some rims. All of this was done
on the back of completing "Stopped Dead", which was a much larger
endeavor with about 10x the budget (still small by most standards at
under $10K). My previous 3 movies, "Stopped Dead", "Indiscretions" and
"Savaged" were all more serious projects and required a different style
of directing than the Drive-In style stuff I had been making, so the
"Alien Vengeance" movies were a way to have fun with rubber monsters


ME: So cool! Im fascinated by your 'just do it' attitude. Can you tell us about some of the difficulties of this kind of raw shooting? Or any stories you might have while filming?


JASON: Weather is always an obstacle to filmmaking, but especially indie
filmmaking when you've got very few days to fall back on if it rains.
"Stopped Dead" was one of those movies. When it rained we'd shoot the
indoor shots as much as possible, but most of the movie takes place in
an RV or outdoors, so there wasn't a lot of interior shots that could
cover the rain. This being FL it can pour for 20 minutes and then just
stop, so one of the days we just waited it out, but then the ground was
wet. We only had so much daylight and I ddin't want to wait for the
ground to dry out too, so we decided to shoot one of the opening
sequences. You'll notice as the RV pulls up to Bob and Margaret's
house, the sprinkler's are on. That made for a cool, deep shot, with
something going on in the foreground, but it was mostly to cover the
fact that the ground was wet. "Alien Vengeace" on the other hand
was shot almost ENTIRELY outside. So the days we got rain on that
one...and we got 6, had be called off like a baseball game. We wound up
having to re-cast as new projects came up, but in the end we got a good
young cast together and the people I didn't get to work with are trying
to schedule an AV short with me.


ME: Im totally in awe by this kind of filmmaking. I mean, how do you get the films out to the world? And can you explain why you hold this passion for this kind of filmmaking? I think this is a very American genre but I could be wrong. 


JASON: For the "Alien Vengeance" movies, anyone under 35 probably needs to do
some "required viewing" to get the humor in them. It's not so much
jokes as the whole style the movies are shot in. "Laserblast" is a
great example of the Drive-In sci-fi I loved as a kid (and I never went
to a Drive-in as a kid, bt they ran these things on TV Saturday
mornings). You didn't need a huge "Star Wars" like budget to have a fun
monster and some groovy, if not convincing, F/X. The only CG in "Alien
Vengeance" could have been with practical F/X if we had shot on film.
The whole movie should seem like it was shot as if special F/X stopped
developing after 1981. For "ALien Vengeance II: Rogue Element"
(still in post), people should look to the "old dark house" types of
movies that were popular all the way from the late 30's to the early
70's. We're not dealing with a ghost, or a masked murderer, but an
alien. Aside from that the movies are pretty similar. A group of
people, trapped ina house, with a killer amongst them and they're not
sure who or what it is. It's much different from the first, and yet
connected to it in so many more ways than the monster. I won't tell you
which characters come back, because then you'll know who surivives the
first movie.


ME: Well, you have been crazy busy this year so I imagine you have a lot of things planned for the next year/s?


JASON: I've already got a basic structure for "Alien Vengeance III: The
Invasion" mapped out in my head and some of the F/X and creatures are
being made now, but I'll need outside funding to go ahead with that one.
I want a whole 15 days to shoot. I also just finished shooting
"Alien Vengeance: The Other Me" in Los Angeles with the Mighty Michelle
Tomlinson. She and the other cast members out there did an amazing job
and now I just have to cut it all together. The Premiere of the first
feature has been distracting me. Her short sort of links the movies to a
web series based on the characters that I'd like to produce during
2011. Looking for one good sponsor for that right now. As for
things outside of "Alien Vengeance", I'm sort of in a sci-fi phase right
now. Working on scripts for two more sci-fi movies. One is sort of a
teen fantasy type of "quest" sci-fi movie where a young girl and her
annoying little brother find themselves as the only two people who can
help save the world. The other is a character driven time travel piece.
Well, it has more to do with time than travel. I just finished the
short treatment on that one and I'm in love with it.

Anyway, thanks so much for letting me ramble on. Any questions people have they can check our websites:


ME: Jason, feel free to ramble on anytime about film! That's why we're all here! :-) It's been super educating! Thank you! And please keep us posted with your latest works! You're an example to all indie filmmakers worldwide! Thanks, Jason!


Interview by Vanessa McMahon, July 20, 2010

photo: Debbie Rochon in Alien Vengeance.

Alien Vengeance in the Underground
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