My directorial debut starring Michael Pare which the L.A. TIMES called “remarkably ambitious” and “a concise genre piece that doubles as a heavily metaphorical character sketch”, had previously been released on DVD and VOD in the United States, and was also sold in various countries around the world.
Since The Shelter’s domestic release, we’ve done all that we could in terms of the classic route of finding distribution internationally. And although we did have some success (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden South East Asia, Canada) we’ve come to the conclusion that the best move to make at this final stage is to end on this different avenue.
I’m happy that everybody will finally be able to watch this unique, odd and very personal film. And for me, this marks the end of my 4 years journey with this picture. So there’s something to celebrate and be proud of right there! Thanks to all who have supported me and the film over the years!
It has been a very rewarding experience, one that changed who I am and that re-sparked and enriched by spirituality. I’m a better man and filmmaker for it and will bring all of that into my next film HERETIC. Peace and God bless! John
“Can almost be labeled as a faith-based thriller. But with the subjects of infidelity, alcoholism, suicide coupled with open sex scenes, violence, and touches of horror, this unusual mix with its strength in faith delivers a taboo of sorts to a non-secular audience. ” – The Movie Guys
With Christmas upon us, and this being most likely my last The Shelter related piece on this Blog (locking some outstanding territories aside, the adventure is pretty much done), I figured this was an ideal time to address the Christianity inspired elements of the picture.
Much of the self-loathing, anger and selfishness that I had in my 20’s tagged with my Catholic upbringing and my rocky relationship with it back then went into the writing of The Shelter. That is why it is such a personal film for me. Although I have since conquered those demons and I am now in a place of peace, I re-visited that time frame to pen the film.
Now the movie was marketed to the horror crowd for the most part upon its release, with good reasons. It’s a bleak ride and the genre elements are there, and yes, many have gotten something out of it no matter their beliefs (except for the random person who felt preached to – you do a film about demons, all good, you explore the flip side – you’re preaching – go figure).
But I do think that people of Faith should see it too, even those who don’t normally like genre films (it’s now free on Amazon Prime) hence the main reason that I am writing this blog entry. Granted the movie is rough in places and it’s definitely not a “family movie” (don’t show the kids), but I think if you’re Christian, you should give it a try as its themes and its message should resonate with you. To give you an idea The Shelter is akin to Book of Job from the Old Testament. That was one parallel that I was going for (you can learn more background on the ins and outs of the film via the Audio Commentary on the DVD).
In closing, I’ve recently come the realization that The Shelter was basically my “message in a bottle” to the world. My intent was to move, stimulate and make the viewer think and I was so blessed to have Michael Pare in the lead to help me convey that. To be honest, the most rewarding reaction that came out of making the film has been the people that reached out to me after seeing it in person or online to let me know how it moved them or urged them to look at themselves, look at their Faith or at their past mistakes. It touched me that the film touched others. All I needed.
Here are some quotes from some of The Shelter reviews that tapped into the Christianity laced meat of the film. Click the links to read the reviews! And if you do wind up seeing it because of this Blog entry, I truly hope that it stirs you one way or another. And if you hate it, that is okay too. Merry Christmas!
“Like Book of Job from the bible, Thomas is tested through supernatural signs that lead him to an emotional place in his heart he’s learnt to hide from. It’s an uncomfortable watch as real become unreal, but because it’s what Thomas desires he goes with the flow. And then the faucet of all that he wanted is turned off. ” – Britflick
“The Shelter swirls Christianity and Silent Hill-levels of guilt to torment its protagonist, and Fallon’s strong visual style combines with a very strong turn from Pare to good effect.” – Sci Fi Now
“The neon lights become the power of Christ and his need to beg forgiveness jostles with memories that aren’t allowed to fade.” – Starbust Magazine
“The film’s religious undertones remain apparent but they never feel overly preachy and, surprisingly and cleverly, draw out whatever spirituality we believe in, making Fallon’s intentions feel relevant to us in our own particular way.” – Scream Horror Mag
“There are a lot of religious references, as well as dreamy sequences bathed in light, where we are not quite sure whether to believe what we are seeing, or if it is merely a product of Thomas’ mind.” – Movieramblings
“The beauty of Fallon’s cinematic Lament Configuration is that through extensive use of religious iconography and flashbacks that offer suggestions as to how Thomas found himself in this predicament, there are multiple conclusions that the viewer may come to, and with Fallon wisely refusing to offer his own explanation of the film’s meaning it enables the viewer to take their own unique experience with them.” – This is Horror
“Filled to the rafters with religious iconography; statues of Jesus Christ, copies of the Bible and crucifixes of ever schism, are littered everywhere you care to look. The talismans represent Thomas’ need forgiveness, but he’s a stubborn man.” – The Hollywood News
“Blending elements of spirituality, horror and redemption within the faith based storytelling, you see a very complete film in THE SHELTER.” – Tom Holland Terror Time.
“God’s not explicitly mentioned, but even a lapsed Catholic or staunch atheist will get the feeling going into the final act and after the credits roll that someone, not of this world, can and will put you out of your misery… if you’ve given up.” – Britflick
“The Shelter is Bad Lieutenant meets The Last Temptation of Christ” – Julien Dunand (Producer/We Blew It)
Hey all, I’m happy to report that my company Bruise Productions Inc. just re-optioned the screenplay for Eric Red’s No Man’s Ridge and we’re going back on the attack. It’s a brilliant script that does what so many have failed at doing: making Bigfoot scary again.
Of course Eric Red is the iconic writer/director behind horror classics such as THE HITCHER, BODY PARTS, BAD MOON and 100 FEET.
We also have Robert Kurtzman, co-founder of Award Winning Effects house KNB (From Dusk Till Dawn, Texas Chainsaw 3D) attached to execute the SFX. See the design of our Big Boy below.
No Man’s Ridge is about:
A helicopter soars over the forests in the remote Wyoming wilderness of No Man’s Ridge area. Inside are five heavily armed and formidable hunters all dressed in militarized camouflage fatigues and face paint. They have state of the art high-powered rifles, heavy caliber handguns, crossbows and hunting gear. The extreme hunters are there to bag a Bigfoot— the ultimate hunt for the ultimate trophy. The hunters wear hat cams with compact high-resolution HD cameras to record the hunt. They also have gun cams for their rifle barrels, bow cams and portable trail cameras to put on trees. In the far reaches of the wilds, the people are dropped from the hovering chopper by cable into deep forest, fifty miles from civilization. When the five hunters see an actual giant BIGFOOT walking through the woods a half-mile away, it seems like the creature doesn’t have a chance—but it’s the other way around.
I will be at the FRONTIERES MARKET, under my Bruise Productions banner from July 20 to July 24 trying to find the missing pieces for three of my upcoming film projects. To book a meeting with me, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scroll down for the 3 synopsis. Screenplay, mood boards and presentations (with first money and varied attachments listed) available upon requests.
Apocalypse Now by way of Vikings!
Synopsis: 1149. William and Roland, two Templars, are on their way back home after losing the second Crusade. Both men are dealing with the weight of the war and of having failed God quite differently. Roland is repentant, attempting to correct his wrongs via good deeds and kindness, while William justifies his harshness by claiming that every hardship is a test and part of “God’s will”. As if the increasing divide between the two men wasn’t enough, they also have to face a slew of deadly obstacles on their journey through a civil war torn England while being chased by a mysterious assassin with an agenda of his own. The sudden presence of Anna, a bewitching woman, on their path eventually brings the palpable tension to a boil.
John Wick meets La Femme Nikita!
Synopsis: At 16 years old, Eva was kidnapped, drugged and forced to sell herself by sex traffickers. 10 years later, after a life of all too frequent physical and psychological abuse, a now 26 years old Eva is addicted to drugs and is completely dead inside. That’s until an encounter with a “John” goes violently wrong and sends her to the brink of death. Eva eventually recovers and for the first time in 10 years, she is free of her captors and the substances that had such a hold her. Once back in the world, she only has one thing on her mind: vengeance against those who robbed her of her life. And with the help of a mysterious stranger, she goes about attaining her retribution in harsh and brutal ways.
The Babadook meets Stephen King’s Misery!
Synopsis: When an older man living alone in the woods saves the life of a young woman, they are forced to coexist but chaos ensues when the woman makes a terrifying discovery in the cellar behind the man’s cabin.
In the year 2000, urged by best bud and JoBlo.com head honcho Berge Garabedian, I started a dinky little site called Arrow in Head under his JoBlo.com dome, thinking that only me and my mom would read it. And here we are 17 years later and the site is still one of the top horror sites on the net, kicking that ass! Who knew?!
On that, I just wanted to give you all a heads up, that Arrow in the Head has teamed up with PUFF i.e. the Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival. We’ll be the go-to site for all of the updates on the Festival. Moreover, Managing Editor of AITH Eric Walkuski and myself (above) will be on hand in Philly to present the Opening Night film and receive the Legacy Award.
The Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival is currently slated to take place on September 28th to October 1st at the Proscenium Theater at the Drake. PUFF 2017 is still currently accepting short and feature submissions through Withoutabox, Film Freeway, and FFLife through their official site HERE; submissions will close on August 18, 2017.
I am happy to announce that I recently joined the Woodland Grey team as Producer. Solid and unique script, a talented director in Adam Reider (named as one of the top Montreal directors of 2017 by Cult Montreal) and two take no prisoners producers in Francesco Giannini and Christina Saliba.
We’re presently at the financing and casting stages (got some exciting names circling the project). More news as it comes in! Till then, check out the film’s FB page here.
After its theatrical, VOD and DVD release, my directorial debut THE SHELTER, starring Michael Paré (Eddie and the Cruisers, Streets of Fire) is now be available (in the USA) on RedBox TODAY (February 7, 2017)!
I gotta say it; I’m really happy that The Shelter is getting a wider reach in North America via Redbox, with the main reason being (and I know this is gonna sound f-ing pretentious) that I had “something to say” with the film in terms of the human condition. Again, the most rewarding aspect of having made this movie thus far has been the people who have contacted me to let me know how after watching it they entered a state of self-reflection…
In related news; the film will be shopped at the upcoming EFM (European Film Market) in Berlin starting February 9. For distribution queries or to set up a meeting at said market, E-MAIL Uncork’d Entertainment HERE!
I’ll speak for myself here; with its long takes/classical directing style and old school cinematography (by the great Ken Kelsch); ERIC RED’s 100 FEETstarring Famke Janssen, Ed Westwick, Bobby Cannavale and yours truly as Jimmy was always meant to be a big screen experience. Alas, the movie was finished when the film market collapsed and distribution as we knew it went tits up, hence it wound up straight to TV then DVD.
On that I am elated to report that Writer/Director and my compadre ERIC RED will be hosting a double bill 35MM screening of 100 FEET (and his classic BODY PARTS) at Alamo Drafthouse in Denver, Colorado on Thursday October 27th 2016 (GET THE INFO AND TICKETS HERE)! So many of you will get the opportunity to witness it on the big screen, the way it was meant to be seen in the first place.
I look back at 100 FEET with much fondness as it was a first for me on many levels.
1- I played against type (nervous/insecure tech dude)
2- Finally got to be in an Eric Red film, which was along term goal of mine.
3- I acted alongside two acting powerhouses (Janssen and Cannavale). My cherry got popped!
4- I had to deliver an “exposition laced” quasi monologue (I basically set up the rules of the movie) and make it sound “organic”. Never had to that before (or since). To this day I remember my lines 🙂
5- Learned so much watching Eric Red at work. I’m a better director today for it.
It was also on that set that I met Michael Pare (who wound up being the lead in my directorial debut The Shelter), visited Eastern Europe for the first time (the flick was shot in Budapest) and also learned the hard way that downing a Coca Cola is not the best thing to do right before acting in a scene (duh) being that one needs to be relaxed to act, Coke did not “relax” me…lol!
To celebrate the film’s big screen showing, I decided to dig up some obscure BEHIND THE SCENES shots from the film for y’all! Tap them below! 100 FEET goes full circle. I am happy!
Hey all! ESCAPE FROM THE DARK DIMENSIONS (a screenplay that I had the pleasure of working on as co-writer and a film I’m slated to act in – it’s in the same vein as BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA btw) is being shopped around at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Writer/Director David Cholewa (who’s prior feature DEAD SHADOWS was distributed in over 25 territories and screened at the Sitges Film Festival) and Producer Sidney Chiu will be on hand pushing the project. They are presently in the process of attaching name talent to the film. Check out the synopsis and one-sheet below! I had lots of fun with this one, it’s a crazy ride! Kill it boys!!
“When best friends Gabe and John meet up at a local bar to discuss plans for Gabe’s upcoming bachelor party, they never expected to get caught in a battle between good and evil. After running for their lives to escape the clutches of a psychotic vigilante cop named Largo, with a serious axe to grind, along with his furious henchmen, they seek refuge in a decrepit old community center where an unspeakable act has occurred. The brilliantly deranged mathematician and master of the kabbalah, Rabbi Sandoval, has perfected a formula to open a portal which will destroy creation itself. All the Rabbi needs is one more sacrifice to complete his evil scheme. Now, Gabe and John are forced to make common cause with Largo, and two of the building original inhabitants, an old blind man, Isaac, who is more than he seems, and his young daughter Tsofia , to fight their way up through the floors, each of which is protected by a supernatural guardian more terrifying than the last, and somehow prevent Sandoval from finishing the ritual and opening the seventh portal. Will they be able to stop the ultimate doom and make it back to the world they know? Or has time really run out?”
The fine folks at ICONS OF FRIGHT (thanks for the support guys, much appreciated) just took a look at THE SHELTER. You can read an excerpt below and check out the entire review HERE.
“THE SHELTER is most definitely the smart man’s horror film, putting more effort into giving its viewers a character study of a man, lost and broken and forced to face and overcome the past mistakes that caused his life to spiral out of control. It’s great to see Pare shine again, he really gives a powerful performance, one that is broken and jaded, yet damaged and full of pain in ways that we as a viewers seek to put together.”
And I was also interviewed by Punk Globe recently and didn’t plug it here yet.
Hence here is an excerpt!
“We had a fairly smooth shoot. But post-production proved to be very challenging. A lot of weird technical things kept happening, which slowed down the film’s progress considerably. It got to the point that we all started to think that we were messing with things that we’re not supposed to be messing with. I can almost write a book about the very strange things that happened around The Shelter; mostly during the writing and post-production stages.”
I have been hustling hard for this film (which I now affectionately call: “My Vietnam”) non stop for a bit now – on that, I am starting to see the light i.e. looks like the constant effort is starting to pay off. More news soon!