A Karyus Character

John Karyus is an eclectic character actor and Jack of Any Trade on an indie film set. We met at the B-Movie Film Festival in Syracuse, NY in 2000. He overheard a conversation and asked if he could chime in. Below he reflects of this, but it’s a moment I’ll never forget. He asked if I had any copies left of my film. I opened my book bag and offered him a VHS of MY CREPITUS. John inquired what they cost, I stared at him dazingly. He urged me to ‘get used to it’ and shoved a $20 bill in my hand in exchange for my film. John shook my hand and shared a personal anecdote of thriving to survive as an artist. Believing in ones skills. He was the first to buy one of my films. Then he asked how he could reach out to me, so that we could correspond. He did write back after watching my film. Over the next six years, we kept in touch. Then as he was nearing a crossroads and about to make the dive toward his cinematic dreams and move to LA. He said I was on his bucket list of artists he wanted to work with before he made the move. John drove straight from the set of TROMA’S POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD. He arrived directly on set of …AND THEN I HELPED. We were shooting a massive blood bath and he jumped right in and helped puppeteer the faux victim. Once we broke, we had a chance to catch up and he eagerly popped open the trunk of his car to show the prop ass from the Troma film. He had played a gravedigger who gets his ass reamed literally…

 

We shared many a laugh and filmed a plenty… Below is John’s own personal reflection:

John Karyus on set of Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.

“Hot on the tail of announcing that the nearly 6 years in the making PIGSTER (formerly FEAST OF FEAR) is finally available, another long dormant project has surfaced. This one dates all the way back to 2002…the long anticipated OPENING THE MIND from Michael Todd Schneider.

I first met Michael in 2000 or 2001 at a genre themed film festival. I am not sure if he sensed I was of a similar mindset or what, but he came up to me saying his film was too disturbing to play at this festival. He then opened a backpack full of VHS tapes, somewhat covertly like a drug deal was going down. The movie was MY CREPITUS and the cover was himself in homemade but very creepy demon makeup. Of course I bought one of these bad boys. $15 I think.

Over the next couple of years I kept in touch with him online. I was doing movies and he was doing movies. He was starting to get known in the weirdest corners of the underground for some of his movies and music projects. We traded tapes back and forth. At some point, he offered me a role in his avant garde epic OPENING THE MIND, which he had been working on for a couple years at that point. He showed me a trailer for it, which I couldn’t make heads or tails of. It was all weird eyeballs and screaming. But I liked it. A lot. I said yes immediately. I didn’t know what this movie was ABOUT (still don’t!) but I did know it would be INTERESTING.

A couple of years went by before we would shoot it. In the summer of 2006, I drove from Buffalo to Pittsburgh and shot not only my bizarre scene in OPENING THE MIND, but a brief cameo in another movie he was making at the time ( called …AND THEN I HELPED) as well as an impromptu short film. 3 films in one weekend, not bad!

And then a week later I packed my car and moved to LA. And gradually fell out of touch with Michael. I worried here and there about OTM, and it didn’t help that it seemed to disappear from IMDB. But then, just a few days ago…I saw him posting that pre-order was available on this film that had become an urban legend. It existed!

I read a blog on his webpage that went into some detail about how hard the project was to resurrect. The tapes were impossible to play on any deck or camera he had. A whirlwind of other issues. And other films to make. But somehow, some way, after 17 years, he carved this beast. I still don’t know what to say about it, but not quite knowing what it is is the joy of it. I can guarantee it is very, very far out there.

OPENING THE MIND is available for pre-order on his website, in two collector’s edition versions. One that’s $40 with all sorts of extras like documentaries….and one that I think is just the movie for $25. Also, listed right underneath, is …AND THEN I HELPED also for $25. These are pricey I know, but keep in mind they are very independent releases….as well as collectable packaging and such that all those collector types seem to love!

I haven’t seen either of these yet. But I can say both are pretty extreme and force you to leave your sanity at the door. I know I did!” – John Karyus, 11.6.2019

A Requiem For the magGots

Requiem live!

Below is the first of the magGot Clan to chime in on the Opening the Mind journey. Without this crucial crossroads it may have forever been left in limbo. Creepies n’ Crawlies here is the master behind the aural assault Requiem, David Graham:

 

“In 2002 my good friend Michael Todd Schneider started writing a film entitled “Opening the Mind”. Since then, Michael has made many features and short films that I have worked on to varying degrees, however he shot and filmed the majority of “Opening the Mind” before we ever met. The 80 (!) tapes that held the footage were thought to be unplayable. Michael tested many cameras and decks, but nothing would work. I don’t remember exactly when he told me about this debacle, but when I heard, I told him he should try my camera. He didn’t even know I had one of these cameras. I bought one a long time ago thinking I would use it all the time, but it barely got used. This would end up being my biggest contribution to this film, because my camera magically played all of the tapes, and Michael was now able to painstakingly capture all of the footage and start editing the movie.

This film is the end of an era and not only “Opens the Mind” but opens the door to the next chapter of his career.

17 years later the slate has been wiped clean!!!

The trailer features spoken word from the one and only Bryan Lewis Saunders and has cameos from major key magGot players and supporters from over the years. Time to get weird.“ – David Graham, November 5, 2019

David on left, magGot on the right. Bryan Lewis Saunders dead center.

The world works in mysterious ways. We knew of one another. Ran amongst the same peeps. But weren’t meant to connect till it was meant to be. Never lose sight. Never forget the crossroads that lead to what makes the story of our life. Of our work. Our art. Whatever legacy that may be. It is ours. Thank you my friend!…

 

 

 

 

 

Double Bill of Tricks and Treats

The time is now! Opening the Mind is available for pre-order in the magGot Store: OPEN YOUR FUCKING MIND!!! HERE!

It just doesn’t get more exciting then finally closing the final two chapters of your life’s work thus far… on a single day. On Halloween night…

The Profane Exhibit has at various times, felt like a cursed production. What exploded in 2011, quickly became a journey of near fatal car crashes, and cities burning ablaze. The adventure we pursued behind the scenes, matches what is seen on screen.

One of a kind, Profane is an international extreme horror anthology film. Works created by abounding talent from across the globe.

Some thought it didn’t exist… Most thought it would never see the light of day.

On this day, we have been gifted by Unearthed Films with the official announcement that it is coming. In a big way.

A Devil’s Treat

On the eve of this very Devil’s Night, here’s a deadly little treat. The cover art reveal of Opening the Mind by magGot regular Nicholas Mears. He’s created the most cover art for this era of films. Nicholas is a multitalented creature of many mediums. A large background in special makeup fx. Underground filmmaking. Two dimensional and three dimensional animations. Painting and sculpting. You name it. Nick has made it, in his own strangely splatastic language.

The hours are nearing for all the tricks n’ treats…

Max to the Max

Some of the greatest moments during each stage of production were shared with Max Almeida.

His involvement with this era of work was incredibly prolific. To touch the surface he is a great idea man. Also his writing is top notch. We co-wrote …And Then I Helped with Nikki McIntyre. He fleshed out the skeleton that grew into the tree the film became. But it was a firm foundation we built upon.

The two of us also wrote an unseen script for a film called Good Times of 86’. Easily one of the most equal and rewarding of collaborations. It was originally a work for hire. But the production company we were penning for opted to make a Bigfoot film and not a slasher film (because they were now the hip thing). Upon learning this we stripped the slasher element and discovered a really unique tale. No longer a work for hire, we found something beyond monetary worth … an original script. We wouldn’t have created hadn’t the opportunity been offered to us. Yin and yang in full suit. One I hope will see the light beyond the page one day.

He never hesitated to jump in front or behind the camera. The very definition of unhindered enthusiasm and a reliable  blood mate. Great and crazy Afro hair and an eye for composition by nature, few achieve over a life time of dedication to the craft.

Having a background in special makeup fx we even enjoyed some bloody times on others sets throwing the grue. A highlight was on one of Alan Rowe Kelly’s grizzly tales A Far Cry From Home. Along with Nikki McIntyre and Benzy we got to dismember many with a gleeful grin. Knowing we all had one another’s backs and enjoyed every hurtle.

One of the all time best memories on any set was one that was shared with Max and company for Opening the Mind. It was pure anarchy and freedom of being in the moment. That group we shared filming with was in complete harmony and unhindered of the mundane. For me, that sequence is the core of the film. Beneath the chaos it holds a key to a larger picture of something beyond specificities of which words cannot achieve. Only possible with the right pieces of a larger whole being in place.

Today is Max’s birthday. Whatever he has in store, I hope he will continue to open his mind. Push further. Explore new ground. He’s one of the good ones. You meet few and are lucky to find yourself in their company for what time allows. The memories we shared on and off set are the stuff of legends.

 

Family Business…

Opening the Mind is heaping with family business. Some whom are still in my life, some whom have moved on and some who are no longer walking the soil we take for granted. Many in your art life you hold higher then some family. Many spend a lifetime seeking their film family. Some are actually legit family and support any crazy ideas you may have.

When I was 22 I cast my own Mum. That film was the first to open doors, win true and legit awards. Producers were after her when we were at the festival circuit. Voices published in the likes of Fangoria and Rue Morgue magazines asked how I cast Ellen Burstyn. The reality is my Mum’s name is actually Pamela Anderson.

To this day, I’ve only had enough guts to pester my Mum three times to step in front of the camera. Opening the Mind is her second ever performance and the final to be completed. Clearly our next film will be Oscar worthy and starring my very own Mum. But until then, we can celebrate the moments we’ve shared both on set and much more on the real life set. Reality. Often for artists like myself, those lines blur. But rest assured I do know that my Mum is Pamela Anderson and not Ellen Burstyn…

The Countdown Begins

The final in house magGot Film is upon us.  Spanning seventeen years and several other films, productions and near death experiences. Opening the Mind is nearly upon us. Pre-sales on the first slew of limited editions will launch on Halloween.

It was a massive moment of closure. Spending an evening with Eric James. A true ritual. We feasted, reflected and dove into a private screening of the final chapter. A surreal celebration of all that is our lives work thus far. Stay tuned as more will be revealed in the coming hours.

MISEry

Getting ready to kick into 2019.  Tune into the tenth annual Christmas Special!

 

Grinding the clock on all ends to close the final chapter of in house films.  A new year is upon us and it will very much begin a new chapter for the magGot Clan.  Stay tuned as we will be dialing in to a regular dose of updates, tales and tidbits here…

Give the Glad Hand…

ERIC JAMES.

“THE MOST BANKABLE STAR.”

Few have pushed me as hard as Eric James.  As much as he inspired me, he knew how to nudge me further toward my potential.  This was especially key in my formative years.  Eric has always supported every decision, for better or worse.  I have worked on more films with him then anyone.  We last juggled acting and special makeup FX duties on Slew Hampshire  as well as in the haunted house production Terror Town.  Thus the latter half of my career has been in serious withdrawal of Mr. James enthusiastic charm and skill.

 

The past eight years have not been the kindest to Mr. James.  Yet, he has remained humble and done his best to continue marching onward.  I’ve always wished for a means to thank him for all he’s done for me.  Though he is not one to accept rewards…

I had been editing Opening the Mind  in secret for three years.  Earlier this Summer, I strategized a surprise screening with his lovely fiancee Mo.  A film that spans 15 years and could finally come to a close.  Thanks to technology pulling full circle.

 

In 2005, we collaborated on my first two work for hire films back to back.  Return in Red  and The Wickeds.  It allowed me the chance to abandon my 9-5 to complete our little film Opening the Mind.  I had 9 months saved up and my focus was finishing up that movie full time.  Well, my naive enthusiasm on the set of The Wickeds, left me with a broken hand.

As much as I tried, it was impossible to edit with my other hand.  Soon after my cameras broke, followed by my editor itself.  Thus began a long journey to find an end for that film.

On set of Opening the Mind.Opportunity’s continued to fall in front of us.  Before we started anew, we wrapped principle photography in 2006.  But it would be a lifetime before technology would be on my side so I could capture the 80 tapes of footage for our little film.

So here we were, all these years later.  Reflecting on what we had started so long ago.  We discuss a finale in present day, giving us the opportunity to film together once again.  To allow the passage of time benefit the final film…

Then…  BOOM.

Eric and Mo are hit head on in a car accident.  As life often dishes out the irony, Eric’s dominant hand is rendered useless.  Ultimately, needing surgery.  Leaving him without work the remainder of the year and well into 2018.

He has burned through his life savings.  Thus, I am doing my best to finally return a heavy handed thank you to one of the best I’ve ever had the privilege.

Eric’s film Chromebaby  is available in the magGot store along with other festive treats.  These and an open call for donations, will go straight to Eric.  The medical expenses have piled up.  He is available to act, so if you are in need of ‘the most bankable star’  he is on the ready for hire.  Drop a message HERE to get in touch with Eric.

We are using this terrible situation as an opportunity.  As reality pushes you away from your very love, what often seems a massive pothole in the road of life.  Can also be an opportunity to rekindle passions as well as friendships.

It had been far too long since I shared the process of creative creation with Eric James.  Getting to shoot this years 9th annual magGot Christmas Special  was a gift all to itself.  Reminding me just how magical film can be.

I am pulling finances together to shoot with Eric on various other productions.  Feel free to contact me directly regarding these as well as any of the available releases.  I figure as many different ways as we can pull resources together, it’ll help Eric and Mo out immensely.  You can donate directly to Eric in the magGot Store HERE.

The annual magGot X-MAX box is up for pre-sale.  Just one of many opportunities for Eric and us magGot’s to play.

Let’s make 2018 a year to remember…  Thank you!