Monday, February 6, 2017

Burning Down the House

Don't Kill Grandpa Until We Strangle the Babysitter (2016), curiosity that it is, is a bizarre short horror film by director Kelly Hughes, that has been picked up by Troma Enterprises and founder Lloyd Kaufman for streaming from their new Troma Now horror streaming service.

JZ Murdock as Grandma's Ghost
Located at, Troma Now is an Amazon Prime type of monthly subscription video streaming service. Troma Entertainment, Inc. are the producers as they like to say, of "disrupting entertainment"; of B- cult classics like the cult favorite, the Toxic Avenger series of films. In case you don't now Troma...
released 1986
Troma Entertainment is an American independent film production and distribution company founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz in 1974. The company produces low-budget independent movies that play on 1950s horror with elements of farce. Wikipedia

By the way, my own LGN Productions efforts have been continuing to work on the Mea Culpa film. It's an expansion of my original story also contained in, Anthology of Evil and expanded in Death of heaven as a section titled, Vaughan's Theorem. It is to be a ten minute horror short but it's gotten so complex we're first going to shoot a shorter three minute film from our new Garage Tales series. First up, The Rapping, a kind of homage to Edgar Allen Poe. On all that, more to come....

So, about the Grandpa film. Just how did this happen?

If you want to know how the film happened, it just kind of did. In a previous blog I discuss one of Kelly's other films, The Mephisto Box and touch on the Grandpa shoot:

"It's fun that we got to shoot some at my house and around my property in a couple of films now. The first being Kelly's recent short, Don't Kill Grandpa Until We Strangle The Babysitter. In the teaser you can see me as Grandma's ghost while my son pours gas on the fire behind me. Good times."

If you would like to know how I came to know Kelly and his film came to be on this new streaming service, Troma Now....

Back in 2016 I was contacted on Stage32, a site for filmmakers, artists, actors, talent and crew and so on. It was director, Kelly Hughes (the John Waters of Pacific Northwest Horror, as one magazine labeled him). We had both been producers on public access cable television back in the 1990s so he thought he'd reach out and connect. I'm glad he did.

Kelly produced Heart Attack Theatre! for years. Weekly he was producing a half hour horror film and playing it on public access TV in the Greater Seattle area. It was the wild west of cable television back then. Many of his films from then are available as DVDs and as you're seeing, beginning to be available for streaming.

Kelly and I planned to get together at the upcoming Seattle Crypticon horror convention and had a great time. It was my third con, as I'd been to ZomBcon and ZomBcon II.

ZomBcon II was held at SeaTac Hilton where Crypticon was being held so I felt pretty familiar in being there. We had a great time all that day and evening along with actor Jason Hughes (no relation). We stayed in touch,

Kelly now has a new media center, Velvet Underground, in Port Orchard, WA. The next town over from me. Pretty handy. He recently had an established director Steven Boe, teaching a class on film production and there are supposed to be more. I had some things reinforced I already knew and I learned some important things I hadn't even known about.

One day Kelly called to ask if I wanted to be involved in his next short project. He wanted to get back to filmmaking. I did too. So he came over to my house in Suquamish, WA where I had been living for over fifteen years on a couple of pastoral acres in the back woods of Suquamish. I've since sold that house and now live in Bremerton, WA.

Kelly ended up shooting Don't Kill Grandpa Until We Strangle the Babysitter (2016) there. That led to his shooting another film there, The Mephisto Box (2016). A film he has since expanded into a web series. It has some interesting characters as well as the actors in it.

Like Alison Arngrim who played Nellie Oleson  on Little House on the Prairie. I was in a scene with her that was also shot at my house. We even put her up at our house for the night. She was funny, smart and professional and very easy to work with.

During all that as filmmakers tend to do, Kelly submitted Grandpa to regional film festivals. It got the front page mention on the 2016 Portland Film Festival's page on 18 Things to Do and See in Portland Oct. 14-16.

Kelly had been involved with the filmmakers of Grindspoloitation for some time now. So when II came around, he had some new footage to share and they were happy to include it. It's a film that has gotten a lot of mileage out of it for something through to be just a practice run for a bigger project.

So Kelly got Grandpa into Grindsploitation 2: The Lost Reels. Lloyd Kauffman, founder of Troma had given the intro in that first Grindsploitation film and he also shows up in this sequel. One thing led to another and he had this new streaming service starting up so it was an obvious fit.

And there is the connection.

Oh, you're wondering what the Burning Down the House is all about in the title?

I'll just let you check out the trailer for the Grandpa film. That's Kelly behind the camera and me in Grandma's ghost costume. My son handling pyrotechnics. Behind me, as the character, Satan. Very close behind me.

I think it will all be quite apparent.

Cheers! See you at the next viewing.


  1. JZ, it was an adventure filming on your property. Like the early "Wild West" days of Hollywood. --Kelly Hughes

  2. Thanks Kelly! I had so much fun (I think we all did) and I learned a lot of things from you. Thanks for that. I look forward to more of our collaborations in the future. Cheers!