The Times West Virginian

May 14, 2009

Fairmont filmmaker part of ‘Faces of Schlock’ premiere in Morgantown

MORGANTOWN — The Warner Theatre in Morgantown will host the world premiere screening of “Faces of Schlock” at midnight Saturday. The film is a horror-comedy anthology, featuring four different short films from horror directors from four different states, including West Virginia filmmaker Justin Channell, Henrique Couto (Ohio), Chris LaMartina (Maryland) and Andrew Shearer (Georgia).

The same team of filmmakers had previously released a similar compilation of their early “backyard horror movies” under the name “Faces of Schlock.” However, as their skills progressed, the team decided to “revamp” the series to feature more commercially-viable and professionally-produced films, in hopes of finding a larger audience.

The film was completed in April 2009 and a trailer is now available at the film’s official web address,

A Fairmont native, Channell wrote, produced and directed the West Virginia International Film Festival winning student film “Raising the Stakes” at age 17. His follow-up film, “Die and Let Live,” was released on DVD in stores nationwide by Heretic Films in January 2008. His segment of the film is titled “Mike Wuz Here” and was shot on location at the screening venue, The Warner Theatre, where Channell is currently employed.

“Mike Wuz Here” is the story of a ghost that haunts a movie theatre, only to find tension after the hiring of a manager with strong prejudice toward ghosts. A tongue-in-cheek satire of racial intolerance in the workplace, “Mike Wuz Here” stars Joshua Lively, Zane Crosby and TJ Rogers, all of whom appeared in Channell’s previous films.

Also in the film is “Slay Ride” by Ohio director Henrique Couto, who also directed the film “Marty Jenkins and the Vampire B--ches,” which previously screened at the Mini-Cinema Film Festival in Fairmont. Couto’s segment is a Christmas-themed slasher film, where a rebellious teenage girl left behind by her family on Christmas Eve becomes surrounded by murder and mayhem. “Slay Ride” stars Ruby LaRocca, who has appeared in films such as “Shadow: Dead Riot” and “Lord of the G-Strings.”

The third segment, “One Foot in the Grave,” was directed by Baltimore filmmaker Chris LaMartina, who previously directed the feature films “Book of Lore” and “Grave Mistakes.”

Tickets will go on sale at 11 p.m. and cost 5 dollars. Directors Justin Channell, Henrique Couto and Chris LaMartina will all be in attendance. Several actors from the film will also be at the screening, including Joshua Lively, Zane Crosby and Izzie Harlow, who plays the part of Slutpira. A question-and-answer session with the cast and crew will take place following the film.