Monday, December 20, 2010

Good Reviews? What, are you kidding?

Apparently not! Here are some juicy quotes from reviews posted on Amazon:

"You won't find a better film about a mob-robbing, alien-battling, surfer-loving, cuckold-beheading, tapdancing, drunken lake monster than the Creature from Lake Michigan. Your kids will imitate Lars, Warrior from Beyond the Stars, and slap their heads like Singleglam. Plus the commentary track is as interesting as the film, detailing the curse of the Creature, as everything that could go wrong, did."


"If you love cheesy teen films from the late '80s, this recently surfaced film from Lake Michigan is the way to go!! The red rim glasses on the main heroine are worth the price of admission alone!"


"We laughed ourselves silly. Then the person I watched this with walked off with it to show other people. I ordered a dozen more copies..."

If the Creature from Lake Michigan were Sally Field, it could say, "You like me! You really like me!"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DVD's Rolling Out, Missing Cast Continues Missing

Well, the headline pretty much says it all, but here's me explaining it anyway. I've been shipping lots of DVD's since they came in--nearly a hundred have been shipped already--mostly to cast, crew, friends and reviewers. While I'm very pleased to have located a large number of cast and crew members, I'm still sad that I haven't been able to get in touch with four of the movie's stars! So, if you happen to know or know the whereabouts of Emile Levisetti, Donna Shreve, Joe Quinn or Elizabeth Cahill, please let me know! I've got DVD's waiting to send to them! Thanks.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The DVD's of The Creature from Lake Michigan have finally arrived. That means...dare I say it? The Creature is...DONE! After 21 years, it's finished with only two days to spare until the anniversary of the completion of principle photography!

WOW. That's a load off.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Fateful Day

So, today was the day! I took The Creature from Lake Michigan over to a duplication house (Super Digital) to have DVD's burned from my master!

If I mark the anniversary of the film as the day we began shooting, then it only took 21 years and 9 days to finish. If I mark the anniversary of the film from the day we wrapped principle photography, then I finished it more than a month shy of 21 years. Either way, it was kind of a while and it felt very strange to finally hand the film over to someone else.

I've got to say that I'm a little nervous. This was really a film where anything that could go wrong did go wrong, so I'm kind of holding my breath to see what might go wrong with the duplication process. I checked every aspect of the DVD master that I could check to make sure it was perfect and ready for duplication. Here's hoping I didn't miss anything.

Worries aside, the completed DVD features the film and a series of extras, including:
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Photo Gallery
A Commentary Track

I really don't have any idea who might listen to a commentary track, but I figured that the film took so long to put together, I probably shouldn't let it out without some kind of comment on what happened.

In other news, I've located more of the cast of the film! I found Greg, who played the director. Russell, the actor who plays the cop, found me and turned me on to the location of Gabriel, the actor who plays mobster thug #1. Then, I finally located the name of mobster thug #2, which I've been missing for 21 years. Actually, I had some help from two of my ex-business partners in Nocturnal Pictures--Jennifer Hofmann and Michael Browne, who were both instrumental in figuring out that Keith played mobster thug #2.

Of course, I'm still trying to locate a huge group of people. My leads on Emile Levisetti, the lead, have dried up. I'm unable to find anything substantial on Donna Shreve, the female lead, and I haven't got the faintest clue what happened to Ellie Cahill, who played the starlet Bambi Twinkle. At least with Donna, I can find some credits on IMDB and prove that she really did exist. But Ellie has vanished without a trace, as if she was never there.

Oh well. I have between 14 and 18 business days until the DVD's come back from the dupe house, so maybe I'll still find them!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chapters, Paperwork and Missing Persons

Last night I created still images to be the chapter markers for the DVD. It was a little tedious to do, but one of the last remaining steps in getting the DVD finished. Now all I have left to do is finish the commentary track, author the final DVD and then burn the thing for the duplication guys.

Wow, I guess that's still quite a bit. A few more days, but getting closer.

I was going through some boxes of Creature stuff in the basement and came across a bunch of miscellaneous notes. It's fun to read back through all this stuff and see what I was thinking at the time.

There were two notes that were particularly fun. One was a journal entry from the one-year-anniversary of the start of shooting and the other was our first report to the film's investors, in which we noted that the film was more than a year behind schedule and had gone over budget by... $10.64

I'll post some excerpts tomorrow.

My hunt for actors and crew members continues. There are a couple of folks who are proving devilishly difficult to find. I wouldn't mind so much except that there are a few tantalizing clues to their locations scattered about the vast Internet, but all of them seem to be dead ends. Maybe I will start printing their pictures on milk cartons.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day Is Now Night!

Last night, I fixed the final remaining "day for night" shots from the opening sequence of the Creature, and it only took 21 years.

See, back in October of 1989, we had to shoot a scene where gangsters drag a guy out onto a pier to give him a pair of "cement overshoes". Of course, this kind of work is best done at night, but we didn't have a lighting package scheduled for the shoot and we only had a skeleton crew that day, so we decided to do it "day for night" by putting a filter on the lens that was supposed to make the blue sky look dark. A production team with a real budget and shooting schedule would have shot test footage to make sure the effect worked, but...
Because we were shooting film, we didn't realize until days later (when the film came back from the lab) that the effect hadn't worked at all, so it just looked like the gangsters were doing their dirty work in broad daylight. We had no idea how to fix the problem and didn't have any money for a re-shoot, so we just added fixing the scene to our growing list of "deal with it later" issues, where it stayed until last night.

Jim Barrett, the engineer at Downstream Digital where I did the film transfer, was able to fix a bunch of the other shots four years ago, but there were a handful that still looked like daylight--mostly close-ups of the lead actor from the sequence Bob Hartley, who played Patrick. Anyway, last night I made mattes for the shots and darkened them appropriately. Now it looks like it was supposed to. Finally!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Extras! Extras! Read all about em!

I was up until three in the morning working on the DVD extras and doing some film cleaning last night. Well, I was trying to do some film cleaning, but it wasn't working. I've tried two different automated film cleaning programs and neither one seems to do it very well. Both ignore hairs on the film and seem to ignore the biggest and most obvious flecks of dirt from the negative transfer. Oh well, back to the drawing board on that front.

I did make a lot of progress on the DVD extras last night! I restored two deleted scenes and cut together extended versions of two other scenes. I'm debating just stopping there with the deleted/extended scene thing, because I suspect that no one but me will really care or likely even watch them. There are two other deleted scenes I'm thinking about restoring though. Does that make me a junkie? A glutton for punishment? An obsessed idiot? Probably all of those.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Evil Beach Commissioner Found!

I just exchanged emails with Tony Castillo, the very talented actor who played the evil beach commissioner in The Creature From Lake Michigan! In the 21 years since The Creature was shot, Tony has made a career out of acting and has appeared in numerous films, televsions shows and stage productions. Go to our links page to connect with his website and see his impressive list of credits, or check him out on IMDB!

Way to go, Tony!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Found Some More!

That's right! I've found a bunch more people who acted in or crewed on the movie. Thank you, Facebook. So far this week, I've located the gentleman who played Christian Spavins, the Producer-- the lovely lady who played the Channel 17 News Anchorwoman and possibly the guy who played the evil beach commissioner.

Adding up all the credited people, I get 51 actors and 51 crew members. 102. Wow. There are still a lot to find.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Busily Locating People!

So, that's what I'm doing now. I'm busily trying to locate people who worked on or acted in The Creature From Lake Michigan. It's July 16th of 2010, and as I'm getting close to getting the film mastered to DVD, I'm eager to find everyone so that I can get them copies!

So far, I have contacted the guy who played Patrick, the guy who played Orville, the guy who played Herman, the woman who played Wendy and the guy who played Wombat. Not Mr. Wombat, just plain Wombat. That only leaves several hundred actors to find.

As far as crew goes, there are a bunch of folks I knew where to find, but a great many more I don't know where to find, or have recently rediscovered. Over the past two weeks, I have gotten in touch with the director and the cinematographer, but I also recently found the continuity person and one of the grips.

I'm thinking of putting up a list and checking people off as I find them, but I'm not sure everyone associated with the production would like to be re-associated with the production.

Oh well, I'll get it worked out somehow.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

After 21 Years, Almost Done!

The Creature from Lake Michigan started production 21 years ago. Today, it is almost finished.

The film itself is all done, now I just have to get it burned to DVD and then find everyone who acted in it, worked on it and invested in it so that I can let them know it's finally done and get them a copy!

More news about The Creature soon! If you worked on the film, please post something here so that I can find you and get you your copy!