Lights. Cameras. Action. Guts. Gore: Locally-filmed, horror flick hits PhilaMOCA

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When Eric Bresler — CEO and curator of the Eraserhood’s Philadelphia Museum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA) and the man behind the Philadelphia Psychotronic Film Society — tells you a local director is a bloody mess-of-a-heavy metal, horror movie master and Claymation artist, believe him.

“Bruce’s been a PhilaMOCA regular and a member of our in-house film club since its inception back in 2016,” says Bresler of fright-film/metalhead auteur Bruce Longo. “PhilaMOCA has showcased independent, underground cinema including many shot-on-video horror nasties, but none have showcased a soundtrack of local metal musicians, which is a great hook for those of us who like horror movies and take pride in the local music scene. I’ve always said that metal crowds are the friendliest, tidiest crowds, so I’m happy to host them. I may, however, need one of Bruce’s vomit bags to get through the film.”

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Bresler is talking about Longo’s locally-lensed, acid-drenched, gore-metal fest, ‘Blood Sick Psychosis’ at PhilaMOCA on March 14. The barf bags the director will have on hand are there lest audience members hurl over the horrors on screen.

Longo spent his Covid time-off shooting and releasing Claymation music videos and commercials (his VHS Mixtape of Claymations can be found at Video Arena), before writing the script for ‘Blood Sick Psychosis’. Once penned, Longo began filming with his trusty JVC VHS-C camcorder (“for that gritty lo-fi 90s vintage look”) at his friends/cast members homes and basements in South Jersey and South Philly.

For scenes involving indie-horror legend David ‘The Rock’ Nelson (famed for 2005’s ‘The Demon Monster from Outer Space’), Longo and his crew drove through a blizzard to shoot with him in a Des Plaines’ IL basement. The only thing Longo is more dedicated to than a vintage look to his cinema is gory authenticity.

“I watch many horror movies but the ones influencing me the most aren’t always necessarily the best ones, but seeing widely distributed movies made by people with no budget, no professional crew, and no studio backing,” states Longo. “Friends getting together with a couple thousand bucks, filming in their backyard or guerrilla style on location.”

Thematically, ‘Blood Sick Psychosis’ takes cues from ‘real life’ vampire murderers Richard Chase and Roderick Ferrell in its telling. Longo spent $5,000 (“incredibly low for a movie, even for trash films”) and learned, on his own, to create the goriest FX, watching YouTube videos and Stan Winston’s online tutorials.

“I practiced most of the effects on my girlfriend before shooting so we were prepared,” says the director. “She’s an artist and was able to help get the right skin colors for the latex we used and designed the baby brains and fake dog poop, while I figured out how to turn garden sprayers and bike tire pumps in to blood spurting machines.  We made a great team so I also made her play one of the leads in the movie. She was great as playing the damaged awkward girl and she was willing to work for hoagies.”

As for Longo’s love of raging metal – as ‘Blood Sick Psychosis’ features music and acting cameos from Philly bands such as Morgul Blade, Sorrow Night, The Bailey Hounds, DevilMaster – the director acknowledges the link between heavy metal and horror.

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“There’s a big crossover in their fan bases,” says the director. As for ‘Blood Sick Psychosis’ lead actor, Philadelphia heavy metal’s best friend Josh Christensen, Longo penned a special part.

“I wrote the lead role with Josh in mind. He always gets cast in these weird quirky roles but I wanted to be the one to give him a demented character to play. Plus, Josh did write a very “Charlie” inspired song for the movie that he sings to a corpse.”

Even Francis Kano from DevilMaster, Cape of Bats, Savage Mystic and Spiter (“true vampiric metal punk”) got a part in ‘Blood Sick Psychosis’, insisting that he perform on camera while on acid.

“And who am I to say no to method acting?” says the director. “The rest of the cast I imagined as being all band members. I figure if you can play live to metal punks in West Philly, then you can perform in front of a camera.”

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