The Horror Honeys: 6/6/6 with Joe Sherlock

6/6/6 with Joe Sherlock

A Guest Honey #IndieManCrush 6/6/6 by Tonjia Atomic

For the last twenty years Joe Sherlock has been making and distributing his own movies the indie way. I jumped at the chance to ask him 6/6/6 questions and here are his answers!

1. How did you get started making your own films?

I was fascinated as a kid by horror movies on TV, seeing Star Wars in the theater blew my mind, I messed around with my Dad's super-8 camera and eventually moved on to using giant VHS cameras to make music videos, skits and mini-movie type of stuff. I always count my first 'real' thing as DIMENSION OF BLOOD, a short horror feature I started in 1995. Within a few years, I was making my own movies, acting as DP and many other roles in my friend John's features, as well as making segments for anthologies by other indie folks around the country. And here I am, all these years later. I clearly can't stop myself. pretty much covers that stuff I've worked on.

2. Tell us about the Dr. Squid zine.

When I got out of college I was asked to be a part of a partnership of friends opening a comic book and game store. I had drawn my own comic books when I was a kid and was editorial cartoonist for both my high school and college papers. Owning a comic book shop, it seemed the logical thing to start publishing my own small-press comic! I drew many issues of "Windows" (named because of the panels of a comic being like looking through a window frame into the story) and sold it at the shop. 

Dr. Squid actually started as a one-off drawing on the cover of Windows #12 - it was a mutated mad scientist with a couple of bikini-clad girls in his cave lab, but the joke was the disclaimer: "Any story based on his issue's cover illustration would be too shocking for human minds to comprehend, therefore, none is included here." I eventually did a one-shot zine called Dr. Squid's Smorgasbord of Terror, which was all movie reviews. It was fun and people dug it, so I decided to try some more and ended up doing 12 more issues. Originally it was b-movie reviews plus interviews with comic book artists like Evan Dorkin, Mike Allred, Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett. Then I started interviewing indie filmmakers like Ted Bohus (Deadly Spawn), Don Dohler (The Alien Factor) and Fred Olen Ray (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers) and even blues singer Candye Kane and scream queen Brinke Stevens. Towards the end of doing those, I had started making my own movies, so included a few production diary type things. The zine stopped really because I had gotten so into making movies! You can see a gallery of covers HERE 

3. You're a big Kiss fan. How did that begin and do you have a collection?

KISS was exploding in the mid-70s when I was in elementary school in New Jersey. I do recall that you could sign up to bring in records and play them at lunch in the cafeteria and my friend Steve had signed up and he had a 45 single of Dr. Love that we played. I bugged my mom to buy me KISS ALIVE II and she did. Thanks, mom! I spent hours listening to that double album, looking at the booklet that was included. They were awesome - rock and roll music, crazy characters, a monster-looking guy, breathing fire, explosions, etc. As they themselves have said for a long time: a spectacle. I've been a fan ever since, through all their incarnations, ups and downs.

My girlfriend took me to my first KISS concert. I married her. 

When I was on my way to my first job interview after graduating college, I was blasting KISS' song "I" in my car to keep my confidence up. I got the job.

My son's first KISS concert was in utero. He's seen them 3 more times since. 

I haven't consciously set out to have a KISS collection, but I do have a ton of stuff - lots of it birthday and Christmas gifts. Albums, posters, action figures, lunchbox, books, pez dispensers, tree ornaments, etc.

My son and I met Paul Stanley at a book signing at Powell's Books last year. It was brief, but very cool.

4. Tell us the story of Odd Noggins and its various incarnations. 

The original Odd Noggins was an experiment I started in 1997 or '98. I wanted to create a project where people around the country could shoot scenes themselves, using scripts, storyboards and props I would send them, then send the footage to me to be combined with stuff I would shoot here. I also wanted to make something intentionally weird, with a sense of deja vu thanks to repeating lines and situations. I codenamed the script LYNCHWOOD because it was my combination of David Lynch and Ed Wood. I made arrangements with a bunch of people and several flaked out on me. In the end, I got stuff from four people on VHS, VHS-C and Hi8 tapes. Some of it looked great. Some of it looked awful. I was editing on an analog deck-to deck system so really didn't have much in the way of improving picture quality or anything. My friend Mike Hegg did an effect for me right at the end and I finally got a batch of VHS tapes out for sale in 2000.

I had long considered doing a remake of it - mostly due to the poor video quality of some of the segments. In the fall of 2013, I was scheduled to shoot a short and knew I'd have everyone on location and all my equipment set up for what would amount to only a few hours of shooting. I was trying to figure out what else I could shoot to make everyone's efforts worth while and decided to shoot a segment of the new Odd Noggins. Since the original had several isolated segments for people to shoot themselves, I figured I would simply shoot a new Odd Noggins bit every once in a while when I had extra time during another shoot. However, after I got home and looked at the footage, I was totally inspired and within a few months, I had reshot the entire thing! 

The great thing about this new version is I shot the whole thing, so it all looks consistent. Plus I got to work with my gang of regulars and several new people, and I also added in a new story thread that actually improves the movie plot-wise but at the same time adds to the weirdness. It's a really fun watch with the right crowd. The premiere screening was a blast! You can check out the trailer and pics HERE

5.  You've worked on several collaborative projects. What are your experiences with that process?

I've been lucky enough to have been the DP on all of John Bowker's directed projects including Evilmaker and Abominiation. John and I have been friends since high school and usually get on the same wavelength and have developed a great shorthand when working together. A few years ago John approached me with the idea to direct from a script he had written, and then turned into BLOOD CREEK WOODSMAN. I did a very light pass on the script, and John was on set for about half the shooting. 

I worked with Mike Hegg quite collaboratively on BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES. We co-wrote it, co-produced it, did casting, location scouting and planning all together. I shot it and directed, but Mike was there co-directing and doing sound. Mike edited and I sat in with him a lot of that time. I have to say it was a different experience working together from the get-go and on nearly every step of the process. There was a lot of give and take, push and pull. We got a fun comedy out of it! 

6. What's your favorite part of indie filmmaking?

It's a cop out to say that I like all of it at different times - the writing, the shooting, the editing, scoring, even designing DVD sleeves, premiere posters, etc. But it's the truth!

What I will say is this: one of my favorite things said about me was that I made movies because no one told me I couldn't. And it is that sort of DIY thing that allows me to make movies with my own personal style. I was in a few garage bands and we wrote our own songs. I made my own comics. I made my own zines. I make my own movies, with help from cool people, of course.

- Name 6 indie directors that you admire or have inspired you. 

Don Dohler - Don made low-budget sci-fi and horror movies in Baltimore with his circle of friends. Seeing Don's movie The Alien Factor on TV is what really made me say, "Hey! I can do that!" I loved the homemade charm of them, and was lucky enough to interview and correspond with Don before he passed away in 2006.

John Carpenter - Love his stuff. He does things his own way, his collaborations with DP Dean Cundey are fantastic. Writes, directs, scores. A John Carpenter movie feels like a John Carpenter movie.  

Fred Olen Ray - I dig a lot of Fred's low-budget horror and sci-fi stuff; his tenacity and sheer will in spite of lack of money and time to get a movie made are inspiring. Fred ran a bulletin board for many years on his Retromedia site and it was a fantastic place where guys like Fred, Jim Wynorski and Dave DeCouteau would chat with no-budget video guys like me!

Don Coscarelli - Phantasm is my favorite horror movie. Don also does things his own way, they have a certain feel and vibe. He makes unique movies and is a really nice guy.

David Cronenberg - Love Scanners, Rabid and his other early horror movies. Again - a feel and a vibe. Unique. He has a vision for his movie and makes it happen.

Stuart Gordon - Love Re-Animator, From Beyond, Space Truckers, Dagon and others. Visceral stuff. Cool stuff. And another nice guy.

Name 6 things about an upcoming (or recent) project. 
  • Gorilla Suit
  • Pudding
  • Blood
  • Clown Wig
  • Aliens
  • Bellydancer

Tonjia Atomic is a frequent Guest Honey contributor and is a filmmaker, musician, and freelance writer. You can find out more about her at or connect at Twitter!