Interview with TBRvideo’s Todd Redenius

We’ve had the pleasure of sharing many great short horror films on the site. Not long ago, we got the opportunity to share two terrific films from TBRvideo. Now we have the opportunity to introduce horror fans to the man behind these films, and the creator of TBRvideo Todd Redenius…

-PH: So before we get into TBRvideo and your films, tell us a little about yourself, and when you became a horror fan?

-Todd: I’ve been a horror fan from an early age. I was exposed to horror and sci-fi from my older brothers. I went to many drive-in movies and saw lots of grindhouse films and exploitation movies. We used to go to our local video store and always look at the VHS covers to find the coolest one; which ever one had the best cover or coolest art is what we would watch, so horror was usually what we ended up renting.

-PH: Was your love for horror what led to you becoming a filmmaker?

-Todd: Yes. Since I’m a fan of horror I wanted to make horror movies. I wanted to make the style of movies I saw as a kid. My mom helped me make my first horror movie. I was 10 or 12 yrs old, we had a super 8 camera and I put on a halloween mask and killed my mom with a knife. We used red lipstick for the blood, it was pretty bad and super funny. I hope to someday release this classic footage for everyone.

-PH: What was it like the first time you wrote and directed a film? Was it a horror film?

-Todd: My first movie “The Man Who Lived Twice” was a disaster but fun to make. My friends and co-workers helped me make it, pay for the camera gear and supplies. I had no experience and no idea how to make a movie, but I got it done which is the most important thing to me; always finish what you start. We showed it at a theatre to friends and family. My first film was not a horror film, it was more of a psychological, mess with your head film.

-PH: Do you like both writing and directing or would you prefer doing just one of those jobs?

-Todd: I like writing the best since there are no restrictions; just write down whats in your head, your imagination is always more powerful than what ends up on the screen. Directing can be fun, it really depends on the actors, crew, budget and your time frame. I’ve had good shoots and horrible shoots, it really comes down to the content and if the people you are working with like and believe in what they are doing.

-PH: For those who don’t know, tell them a little about TBRvideo? How did TBRvideo come to be?

-Todd: I started out with a couple other production companies, then I started TBRvideo. TBRvideo was made with the idea that we make movies the way we want to. If we want to make a cheap B movie, then lets do it. Or a slasher style, etc. I wanted to make sure TBRvideo is making movies that I would want to see. Since I’m a fan of horror, retro horror and classic B movies, that is the goal; keep the movies in that vein, fun and bloody.

-PH: What do you think the biggest difference is from when TBRvideo started to now?

-Todd: Quality is the biggest difference, our movies are better. We make a lot of movies, usually 3 a year, sometimes more depending on our finances and schedules. Being an independent company is not easy. Everyone who is involved in our productions works their asses off. We’re getting noticed now, which is the goal. Getting our product out there, to everyone who is into this style of filmmaking and content, is huge to us.

-PH: What are some of the challenges you face as a production company?

-Todd: Getting people to watch our movies or interact with us. We give away free shirts to show people we care about our fans and the horror community. Everyone can make movies now, it’s all over saturated. Videos and movies are everywhere, that’s the hardest part being your own entity, being different and original.

-PH: You recently got some of your films to air on Troma Now. How did that come to be?

-Todd: I sent Troma our movies and emailed them for years in the hopes of getting some feedback, sadly we never did. We’re fans of Troma and Lloyd Kaufman and I started following him on twitter. We started talking and that turned into us talking about him doing a cameo and getting distribution with Troma Now. His staff looked at some of our work and they picked four of our movies to stream on Troma Now. This is why we love Troma and Lloyd Kaufman. Troma is truly independent and supports independent artist.

-PH: Speaking of your films, lets talk about a couple of them. “Attack of the Handface People” has a “Night of the Living Dead” feel to it, but where did the idea for the handface people come from?

-Todd: When I was a kid in grade school we used to put our hands over our faces like in handface people and run around trying to knock each other over. That’s where I got the idea from. I wanted something original, funny and different looking. I also wanted the “Night of the Living Dead” feel to it since that is such a classic movie. So we shot it in black & white and used the cemetery as the location.

-PH: How much fun did the actors playing the handface people have during filming? Did you kind of let them do their own thing, or were you looking for them to act a specific way?

-Todd: We had 11 extras on “Attack of the Handface People”. I showed all the extras how I wanted them to look and move with their hands and body. They had fun, it was a long day for all of us but we got some great shots and it looks good in the movie.

-PH: “Cans of Evil” was the first film of yours I watched and really enjoyed. For those who haven’t seen it, what’s it about?

-Todd: “Cans of Evil” is about a can of beer on a mission to kill everyone it comes into contact with. It’s funny and bloody. For this project we wanted to make a horror movie that was way over the top, so we thought a can of beer that is alive and kills people would be perfect for everyone.

-PH: How difficult was it to get the cans to do what you needed them to do for the film? Was it awkward for the actors or you working with the cans?

-Todd: On all of our movies we use practical FX. For “Cans of Evil” we had to first buy a couple cases of beer and drink all of them months before shooting. We saved all the empty beer cans, then we cut them into shapes so they would open and close. We made different styles of mouths on the cans and had some small and big cans. We then had to figure out a way to make the cans move and open and close. We ended up making a small hole in the bottom of the cans and using fishing line. We attached the fishing line to the can with tape, then we could puppet the can with the string. Getting the cans to role and stop on cue was time consuming. The actors didn’t mind, we just had to shoot a lot of takes to get the perfect shot. We loved the scene where the cans fly in the air and attack the lead actress; we would just throw as many empty beer cans at her over and over again.

-PH: Those are two different style films. Do you have a style you like or is it more whatever story comes to mind?

-Todd: I’m open to many different styles of horror. The goal is to always have an element of horror in our movies. My favorite would be horror mixed with some dark humor. Not too much, but some comedy is good depending on the scenes and characters situation and motivation. Generally if people like the story and characters you should have something they will want to watch and hopefully share to the horror community.

-PH: Here’s your chance to promote anything we haven’t talked about. Let us know about your other films, what’s coming next, or where fans can find you?

-Todd: All of our movies are here: https://vimeo.com/tbrvideo. There you can watch our complete library from old to new. Next we are shooting “Experiment TC-9585”. This is a monster movie, thats right, it’s a guy in a complete monster suit; head-to-toe latex rubber. This should be a fun one for us to make. We love practical FX, so an old-school monster movie should be a winner. I always encourage people to contact TBRvideo. Feel free to ask us anything about making movies, we are horror fans just like you and really support the horror community. We love retro horror, classic monsters and making horror movies. You can find us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tbrvideo and Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/TBRvideo or just google TBRvideo.

Thank you Promote Horror for this opportunity and this great interview. It is very much appreciated, horror fans rule!

We would like to thank Todd for taking the time to answer our questions. Hopefully this interview gave you a good look at how he became a filmmaker, how TBRvideo came to be, and an introduction to some of his films. Please check out TBRvideo at the Vimeo link about to watch all of their awesome films, and support them on Patreon.

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