Monday, October 2, 2017

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: PENNY PINCHERS: THE KINGS OF NO-BUDGET HORROR (2017) from SRS Cinema - Oct. 2, 2017

PENNY PINCHERS Poster (2017)
Starring: Lloyd Kaufman, Todd Jason Cook, Johnny Dickie, Tim Ritter, Todd Sheets, Donald Farmer, Phil Herman, Christopher Seaver, Dustin Ferguson,
Cinematography: John P. Brennan
Editors: Dustin Ferguson & John P. Brennan
Producer: Dustin Ferguson
Director: Dustin Ferguson
Production: Company: Sinister Studios
Distributor: SRS Cinema 

Welcome back to my Halloween Horror Watch marathon! Today's review focuses on a very special and unique niche within the horror genre: Shot On Video, or more affectionately called SOV. These films crept onto the shelves of local mom & pop video stores all across the country and horror fans rented these in drones. Out of this came a rise in SOV movies, and these filmmakers made history with their works of art. Often overlooked for their contributions to the genre, PENNY PINCHERS: THE KINGS OF NO-BUDGET HORROR finally pays tribute to these renaissance individuals and low-budget independent filmmakers.

The film's official synopsis: An eye-opening Documentary detailing the trials and tribulations of No-Budget horror filmmaking, featuring some of the world’s leading Directors in the genre!

This was a very interesting documentary to watch as I found my reminiscing to those care-free days of going to my mom & pop video stores (American Video Center and Branham Video were my favorites) and watch these awesome low-budget horror movies on VHS. And what we have here is testimony from these individuals who entertained me all those years ago.

The documentary starts off with the elder statesman of the bunch: Lloyd Kaufman, co-founder and president of Troma Entertainment - this country's oldest independent film studio. Kaufman has directed a number of cult classics, such as the TOXIC AVENGER franchise, TROMEO & JULIET, TROMA'S WAR, POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD and his recent films RETURN TO NUKE' EM HIGH VOL. 1 &2. Kaufman gives his 40 plus years of experience on the perils of low-budget independent filmmaking, its benefits and how the evil international movie studio conglomerates have taken over and pushed the indies on the outskirts.

Others filmmakers contributing their cinematic stories include Todd Sheets, who's list of 45 films credits include 1991's SORORITY BABES IN THE DANCE-A-THON OF DEATH (which was the first film of his I rented back in the day), PREHISTORIC BIMBOS IN ARMAGEDDON CITY, GOBLIN and the ZOMBIE BLOODBATH franchise. Sheets talks about how he was held hostage by his cinematographer on his first film and almost hung up his camera. Tim Ritter started his career with the film DAY OF THE REAPER all the way back in 1984 on video. His most famous movies include KILLING SPREE (1987), WICKED GAMES (1994), and CREEP (1995). The youngest out of the bunch is Johnny Dickie, who started making films at 12 years old, then made is first feature length film at age 14. His films include SLAUGHTER TALES (2012), TRASHTASTIC (2013) and CITY OF THE DREAM DEMONS (2014). He talks about making his short films, distribution issues and his take on being an indie filmmaker. Others directors being interviewed in the film include Todd Jason Cook, Donald Farmer, Phil Herman and Christopher Seaver.

The documentary was directed by the talented Dustin Ferguson. The Dodge City, Kansas born filmmaker has a total of 44 credits to his name, directing such films as THE LEGACY OF BOGGY CREEK (2011), DIE SISTER DIE! with Scream Queen icon Brinke Stevens (2013), CHEERLEADER CAMP: TO THE DEATH (2014), CAMP BLOOD 4 & 5 (both 2016) and TALES FOR THE CAMPFIRE (2016) and the sequel TALES FOR THE CAMPFIRE 2 (2017) with legendary Scream Queen and my good friend Debra Lamb. He has owned and operated several film distribution and production companies such as RHR Home Video, Shock Sinema and 42nd Street Films. In the documentary, he explains what made him want to become a filmmaker, the trials and tribulations of low-budget movies and why he still continues to still do this.

PENNY PINCHERS: THE KINGS OF NO-BUDGET HORROR is a fascinating, informative and intimate examination of low-budget, independent filmmaking and the love and passion these artists bring to their craft and to the genre! A lot of blood, sweat and tears go into making these cinematic gems and the horror community as a whole should know these talented filmmakers and watch their films!! 5 out 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

PENNY PINCHERS: THE KINGS OF NO-BUDGET HORROR is currently available on both limited edition Blu-Ray and VHS. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit the SRS Cinema website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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