The blasphemous, tabbo, science minded film podcast you all know and love as “Double Feature” may be on it’s last episode of all time.
We created a Kickstarter to save it.
As you might imagine, fans of a free internet podcast aren’t the ideal candidates for pledge drive. That’s ok though; they’ve actually pitched in a ton of money! The thing is, those resources alone are not enough. If this Kickstarter makes it, it’s going to be because of my friends. So if you’re reading this…help me out!
If we can’t fund this Kickstarter, it’s over for us. Yikes. I explain a bit on the page:
When this show began, there was only one goal – to put out a show every single week, even if we didn’t quite know what we were doing. We figured we’d learn. It was content creation through brute force. We started planning for the show almost half a year before even publishing an episode. It seemed like an easy goal at the time. We were self employed, barely twenty years old, and lived maybe a mile apart. We saw each other every day and we never stopped scheming.
Over the years, an afternoon of slasher films went from a recurring activity to something that required strategic planning. Time went from our most abundant resource to our most scarce. We eventually started mapping out the show like a war game. Every year, our real world responsibilities made planning more difficult. In recent years it’s been a near impossible task. The show’s been hard, but we’re thankful for it. We stopped having time to hang out. Working on the show together became the excuse to stay in one another’s lives.
Jobs and responsibilities are what usually end podcasts, and we were determined not to let that bury ours. We found a place to record at the Edgewater Beach Hotel, and it started to look like things were going to be alright. Not a month later, work unexpectedly pulled us to opposite sides of the country. We started scrambling for shows anywhere we could fit them. We were deciding next week’s movies just minutes before we hit record, it became impossible to plan. When we began, time was our most abundant resource…now it’s the one thing we’re without.
With less than a week left, I really don’t know what’s going to happen to the show. It’s such an important part of my life, but it’s become really hard to do. We’re so fucking close now. I really hope we can make it through.
Double Feature takes up a lot of time. Michael and I always plan these other projects, but we just don’t have time to complete them before Double Feature starts kicking our ass again. We move the work around (year planning, mixing, research, etc) in a such a way that we have little vacations for ourselves a few times a year, and it allows us to work on a few extra things…but revising the website always seemed to get pushed back. With my mini vacation once again coming to an end, it seemed like now or never.
This new site is crazy awesome. The design is a much cleaner, Helvetica driven sort of look (despite the single mass use of Arial – ease up, font nerds!) It uses our year end artwork for both the background and main header, which is neat and modern looking. There’s a bunch of new features, and the backend now allows us to expand in a way that’s stupid easy. Easier expansion means a lot less of “wouldn’t this be cool? If only it wasn’t such a pain in the ass to actually roll out.” A few of those things have gone up already.
We noticed the most accessed page on the site (besides the main page) was the A-Z list of films. People who are seeing the site for the first time want to know what we’ve covered. I used to have to update the list manually, which not only took a lot of time but always seemed to get pushed back and ensured it was never really up to date. Now the list gets updated automatically whenever a new show goes up.
With the revision comes a database of artwork for each individual movie (a bit more on that in a second) so it seemed like an obvious choice to build a gallery of every movie we’ve ever covered. This way people can browse our shows like you’d browse DVDs at a store. Similar to the A-Z film page, you can look at that gallery and click any cover to immediately go to that episode’s page.
This database also gives us the ability to post a count down to the next show in the upper right hand corner of every page. This way it’s easy to figure out what we’re doing next week so you can watch the movies in advance. It also clears up a little confusion about what “Wednesdays at midnight” means, since that’s technically Thursday morning.
New Entry Example: Lost Highway + Psycho
The show entries template has been updated too. Each entry now features the chapter times so you can skip between the different movies covered in the episode. It also has details for the movies themselves!
There’s more obvious links to IMDB and Wikipedia, and buttons to purchase the movies on Amazon or iTunes. My favorite thing about the new site, however, is that there’s now high resolution cover art for every single movie we’ve done. I removed all the text from each cover and conformed them all to 1500x1000px. It helps make the Double Feature site a more legitimate resource to find useful things (which is part of the overall goal looking forward).
There’s also release date, director, writer, actors, a synopsis…all of this goes into a database as well, so now you can click a director’s name and see every movie of theirs we’ve done on the show. If we’ve only covered a single movie of theirs, the site doesn’t bother showing the link – that way you don’t go through a bunch of clicks just to find out you’re already looking at their only episode. We’ve given each of these director’s their own page with a brief description of what the director is all about. It’s a great place to go if you’re not familiar with their work.
I’m still writing up a lot of these descriptions and working on some new features. We have a new contact page on the site if you’d like to leave any feedback about the changes.
UPDATE: There’s an hour long podcast episode about Music Box Massacre 5 on Double Feature.
Just now recovering from Music Box Massacre 5. Overall the movies were great this year – although the actual “lineup” was a terrible idea. The moral of the crowd was really down and I talked to a lot of people who were having an over all bad time. I’ll get to the fiasco that is“Rusty Nails” in a second, but let me explain myself on the lineup. Here was the order:
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Isle of the Dead
(Trailer) Hobo with a Shotgun
Bucket of Blood
The Black Cat
(Short) The Alphabet
Dark Night of the Scarecrow
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
While each film stood on it’s own merits, the pairing and the order in which they were arranged was mostly a failure. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was an odd way to start (as well as an odd inclusion, not nearly as well thought out as last year’s Old Dark House). Sticking The Black Cat (essentially a Masters of Horror TV episode) in as the third Stuart Gordon pick was a bad move, even though I love Stuart Gordon. The worst choice of the whole thing was Dark Night of the Scarecrow – I felt so bad for the creator, who showed up for a Q&A. You stick his film right after Pontypool? And up against other the other big-guns? It was the wrong format to show an ’81 made-for-TV movie anyways, but putting it that late at night was just incompetent.
None of that actually maters compared to what actually ruined the evening for a lot of people – they had this guy who calls himself Rusty Nails introducing each movie. I don’t even know where to start on him. He likes to think of himself as a Chicago film personality. You’ll see him around film events in the city. He’s kind of an egotistical douche bag, but he’s fairly easily ignored. Well, usually anyways. Not last night.
This guy would go on an on through the credits of each film about how people shouldn’t talk, twitter, use their cellphone, whatever. I mean, I get a reminder every few films or whatever, but this was literally before every film. The worst part was that he would actually talk OVER THE BEGINNING CREDITS of the film to tell people this. I would have almost enjoyed the irony it wasn’t actually detracting from the experience. You could tell the crowd was annoyed, I was almost worried about a riot breaking out. Half way through the massacre, people were starting to heckle him. They’d yell “I paid to get in here!” or “Thanks mom!”
I’ve grown to expect really bad jokes, a complete lack of real enthusiasm, and these embarrassing costumes. I know that when he “interviews” someone, it feels like watching an awkward middle school presentation…but I can usually ignore that. I mean, I feel embarrassed for the guests (who’s time is totally wasted…you should have seen how Art Hindle reacted to his questions!) How awesome the Music Box is generally outweighs everything this guy does to ruin the experience every year.
This year was just too much. It was just way too obnoxious. What was especially sad is to see that NO ONE was bidding on the charity stuff because the overall moral of the crowd was so low. I mean, you could feel how much everyone hated this guy! With each movie, more and more people around me were mumbling “jesus, enough already” under their breath. Had they gotten someone the crowd actually liked (and not someone who talked through the important dialogue at the end credits of Ponypool or someone who invited audience members to scream shrill heavy metal noises into the mic) the Music Box would have raised a lot more money.
Anyways, that kind of turned into a rant. It was good to see everyone who came out…but if that guy’s around next year, I won’t be there and therefore I don’t see Double Feature hyping the event again. Music Box Massacre 5 will be our last Music Box episode.
We had a very last minute interview with David Stieve from Behind the Mask on Double Feature. It’s for our primer on slasher films, Black Christmas + Behind the Mask. David was a lot of fun to talk to – he knew his stuff, he had some great stories, and he wasn’t afraid to go on the offensive. I’ve always been a fan of cruel dark humor, and David wasn’t on our show five seconds before he started making fun of us. Well, me, more specially.
Listen to the Interview with David Stieve.
If you never watched a slasher film (or don’t get why people like them) I think this episode is a great place to start. We also have a reoccurring slasher feature called Killapalooza where we talk about a particular series (Freddy, Jason, etc) so you can figure out what those are all about too. These films may appear cheap and simple on the surface, but there are strong elements of mythology and cannon that make them really satisfying. It’s like a good graphic novel or serialized TV drama. Most of them have a strong feministic bent to them as well, which I’m a huge fan of.
In an effort to get search engines promoting our show for us, I’ve redesigned the Double Feature Website!
The first thing you’ll notice is that you feel personally cheated by the term “redesigned”. In fact, you probably just feel like I’m flat out lying to you. I mean, look at it! It’s practically the same thing, right? The important differences are subtle. Before I get to those, here’s the new surface features:
That’s cute and everything, but here’s the real power: The entire site is now hosted on Blogger (the same place this project blog is hosted). The old site was something I made from scratch. It used php to pull information out of a WordPress database and throw it up on the site. The code was messy and confused search engines. The new website is actually a blogger theme, designed to look just like the old site. It took a lot of work, but it now manages the feat of being on Blogger while looking like a real website (and not a typical shitty blog). Why move to Blogger? Under the surface, the blog infrastructure helps accomplish something amazing.
The basic function of the new site is to use search engine optimization as a promotional tool. Google will now evangelize our podcast in the same way they would for…say…a marketing blog. For example – someone searches for The Attic Expeditions, and that episode’s page on our website pops right up. Given that we covered over 125 films on the show last year, this will give search engines that many movies to say “Were you interested in film x? Check out this show!” to. I think this is where the future of advertising is. No bullshit legwork for us. We make a show, search engines helps people find it. It’s not only easier, but it brings in more traffic than we ever could the old way. Hundreds of hours of handing out flyers is now accomplished in a fraction of a second. Literally.
The latest Double Feature episode, Hard Rock Zombies + Loose Change, is the first to feature a guest co-host rather than an interview. This time we talked to Rebecca Watson, pictured here in the Skepchick nude pin-up calendar. You can listen to the show at the Double Feature website
It’s strange, of all the people we talked to on the show I was the most nervous to talk to Rebecca. Her show (along with others like Skeptically) provided the original inspiration to start podcasting in the first place. Now our tiny little show was featuring one of the most successful hosts out there, and something about that freaked me out. It tuned out to be a fantastic time though. I think it’s one of the best shows we’ve done. It’s entertaining, the sound quality is way better than any of our usual guests, and we tore Loose Change apart.
I’ve been getting emails from people who just found Double Feature and are really into it. That’s always great to hear. On the surface it’s a simple movie podcast, but I’ve always tried to inject more important things into it. The documentaries are the most obvious examples, but even just in analysis of two given films.
Because Michael and I are both atheists and skeptics, everything we do has that kind of bent to some degree. For me it’s the need to call out all the nonsense in a film. Michael on the other hand…look at his film selections. For a show with so many horror films, you’ll notice that the supernatural ones are really absent. Instead, movies like Hatchet, Hostel – even most of the slasher films – they’re are about the human element. They’re about building a scare upon something unlikely but plausible in real life. I think in that way the show not only promotes skepticism but kind of celebrates what’s real.
The other part of the feedback is that everyone wants to hear Rebecca on the show again. We’re going to finish out this year/season/52 shows and see about the next 52, so you’ll have to wait and see.
Lately Double Features has been having directors come on the show to talk about their films (and all sorts of other stuff, apparently!)
Interview with Joel David Moore
Spiral + Bad Santa
Interview with Jeremy Kasten
Joy Ride + The Attic Expeditions
Interview with Mike Wilson
The Thing + Michaem Moore Hates America
We’re returning to our regular format for a while, but we’ll be having more guests on soon. You can see a list of all our interviews at the link.
I’ll be getting up early tomorrow (10/25) to attend Music Box Massacre IV at noon. 24 hours of back-to-back horror films! This will be the most films I’ve ever seen in one sitting, beating out the first Killapalloza by three movies. Here’s the schedule:
12:00pm The Haunted House
12:30pm Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
01:45pm The Old Dark House
03:15pm Eyes Without A Face
05:00pm May (with director Lucky McKee in person)
07:30pm Midnight Meat Train (with Clive Barker in person)
10:15pm Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (with director Joseph Zito in person)
12:30pm Dead Alive
02:15am Phantom of the Paradise
04:00am Black Sabbath
07:45am Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer
Unfortunately we aren’t going to be able to cover it on Double Feature because of some weird scheduling stuff. Maybe we’ll record it and save it for this time next year? You’ll be getting your regularly scheduled show (The People vs Larry Flint + Jesus Camp) Thursday at 12:01am.
Should be a great time. Seems like the usual theatre rules will be pretty loose, and it’s the Chicago premiere of Midnight Meat Train! Also free energy drinks. Can you tell I’m excited? If you’re going, be sure to say hi.
While this episode includes the usual discussion of two films (and really good ones this week!), we also talked about the opening music you hear every episode.
Included in this show:
A bit about the intro, Michael’s own double feature, and three sentence dream theory. We also cover japanese horror, zombie films (totally unrelated), and strong female leads. I mean, with these two movies, how could you not cover strong female leads? Download the Show: The Descent + Feast
It’s cool to hear this and remember that night. It was a lot of fun.