When, as a boy, I watched THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD in a darkened theater, I knew my life had changed forever. At the Saturday matinee, Westerns were giving way to sci-fi monster movies and I was intrigued by their imaginative narratives. By the end of the 1950's I strived to see every fantasy film I could. Many were great but I embraced even the worst of them harboring the idea that maybe even I could make a film as good as that. Buying a used movie camera I started making my own monster movies in high school and continued to do so at Florida State. Graduating from 8mm to Super 8 to 16mm, each production became more elaborate though all were extremely low budget. In the mid-1970's after I had completed location filming on my sci-fi superhero film, ASTRON, STAR WARS was released and in one fell swoop rang the death knell on ultra low budget movies. I spent the next decades in publishing but my love for low budget imaginative films never waned.
In recent years I have returned to film making via digital video in an attempt to fulfill a life-long dream. CultRetro is a site through which I am able to release new digital video productions along side the old films of my youth. Here also are many of the old monster movies, action cliffhanger serials and black and white TV shows that inspired me to become a filmmaker. At an age when most slow down and retire, I am working harder than ever and loving every minute of it. Why? Because making movies is thrilling to me. It’s a natural extension to my long career in art. Frank Zappa defined art as “making something out of nothing… and selling it.” That’s what I’m doing here.
Nothing on CultRetro will be anything like STAR WARS and that’s the way I like it. It is our goal to release a new, original production here every two months. We at CultRetro are working very hard at making something out of nothing and having a ball while we’re at it. Hopefully you will find our efforts to be fun and entertaining.
Nightveil Media Producer / Director / Writer
THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD? Never saw it. Saturday matinees? Long dead before my time. I’m part of that Star Wars generation that grew up on the flash and spectacle of big budget special effects films. If you’re like me, or perhaps even younger, you may be wondering if these old movies have any relevance to you. Just dusty old nostalgia flicks for old guys, right? But Star Wars and Indiana Jones and their summer blockbuster offspring all come directly from these old classics. There’s a whole lot of Nyoka Gordon in the adventures of Dr. Jones, and Star Wars is quite simply the most expensive serial cliffhanger series ever made. I like watching this old stuff because it gives me a fresh perspective on the movies that I like today. And you may discover, as I have, that more than a few of the classics are just good movies in their own right.
I’m also a Star Trek fan, which I think is probably what draws me to Bill Black’s original features. I am absolutely fascinated by the ambition of the original TV series with Kirk and Spock… though that was before my time as well. At that time with that low budget and at that low level of effects technology, the Star Trek TV series played with some pretty big ideas and occasionally pulled off some pretty spectacular stuff. Sure it wasn’t ALL good, but there are some great MOMENTS in there that are unforgettable… moments that transcend the limitations of time and budget and technology. That’s what I see in what Bill is putting together here. Anyone can make a movie if they have a million dollar budget, but take a look at what Bill is doing for under a thousand dollars in 2009! Smarty Pants Entertainment may never be able to give you a great movie, but every now and then we hope to give you some pretty great MOMENTS and a laugh or two along the way.
Assistant Director / Writer / Visual Effects
Hey, everybody welcome to the site! I hope you enjoy these movies as much as I did performing in some of them. Bill Black is an incredible guy to work with. Not only is he talented and fun but he keeps an open mind and is always ready to take a risk and follow his dreams. He is truly an inspiration and one of the reasons why I am now in Los Angeles. Enjoy!”
Maria Paris Actress – Nightveil, The Blue Bulleteer and many others
I came along too late to truly be a child of the Saturday matinee. In fact I can only recall attending one, very near the end of the heyday of the experience. I was exposed to the creepy classics of another era via another tradition of American entertainment: The Horror Host.
When I was six, I was introduced to scary films through their airing on “Shock Theater” featuring the legendary Ernie Anderson as “Ghoulardi”. With his acerbic asides and flawless timing, Ghoulardi ushered me into the world of the B-to-Z grade horrors of the previous generation. With him, and with such hosts as Hoolihan and Big Chuck (And Lil’ John), Super Host, The Ghoul, Sir Graves Ghastly, Frank and Drac, and many others. I grew to love not just the respected classics, but also those – let’s say “inexpensive” films which were often more fun than fearful, and served up silly along with scary.
Slam-bang action serials came along with the monster movies. Each week, I eagerly settled in front of the TV for another chapter of Flash Gordon, feeling much the same excitement that kids of the fifties must have had in their theatre seats. (Except that Ghoulardi would appear and read along the teaser opening of the episode.)
Somehow, in our modern time, we seem to have lost our appreciation for the charm of a film driven mostly by imagination and heart. No producer seems willing to stand up and champion a style of innovation, inspiration, and resourcefulness. Most would rather solve problems by throwing money at them, usually resulting in a production less memorable than the “old clunker” films of the fifties and early sixties.
Pardon me, I should have said “No other producer.”
For into this creative void steps now Bill Black. Scorning big budgets and technical hurdles that could derail a lesser filmmaker, Bill brings back the boiling energy and commitment to just telling a fun story that was the hallmark of the movies he loved and still loves.
I have had the happy experience of acting in a few of Bill’s more recent works, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more if it had been a major studio release with all the trimmings. Thanks to Bill I have been able to appear in the kind of productions I always wanted to do as a child. Often just the way I wanted to do them!
Here at Cult Retro, you can shake free of the modern blinders that insist that only the glossy and slick have value. Join us in this effort to restore wide-eyed wonder to fantastic films and return to the energy and charm of an era not quite lost.
“Cult Retro, go-go-GO!”
Mike Acord Actor – Lon Madnight, The Cloak and many others