• Joe Manco - Filmmaker

The Torturer is here and he's coming for you...

Dear Torture Enthusiast


With the contributions you all had given we were able to take care of cast and crew. Keep everyone motivated and healthy. We were able to dedicate the time to make this movie as fantastic as financially possible. And finally, we were able to hire two of the most unbelievable talents in Texas, Paul T. Taylor and Lawrence Varnado.

We originally started on this bizarre fixation with the Pyramid-Gallery. We met the curator at Texas Frightmare weekend in 2015 and from there a partnership was made. As our bond grew, we started working with an acquainting company called Configuration Boxes Dot Com.

After making five commercials promoting these novelty Lament Configurations inspired by Clive Barker and his works, I received a DM tweet from horror author and Clive Barker enthusiast, Shadow Writer Paul Kane. He is the one responsible for the book Sherlock Holmes and the Servants from Hell, a novel about Sherlock and Watson taking on a mysterious case that begins on the familiar Ludovico Street. Over the course of the story they eventually have a horrifying run in with a Hell Priest by the name of Bile and his cenobites. It truly is a fun read. We strongly recommend it.

But back to the story at hand. Paul Kane had hit me up and asked if I would be interested in checking out one of his scripts that he had been shopping around to be produced. So, I quickly agreed to read it even though at the time the LSF team had already told ourselves we would stop saying ‘Yes’ to everything. And before we knew it, we started our first IndieGoGo campaign with Hellraiser: Judgment actor, Paul T. Taylor. I knew the man lived somewhere in the DFW Metroplex and I knew he was booked like crazy. The thespian actor was easier going to speak with that I imagined he would be. When he agreed to be in the project, I was ecstatic!

We then set out to raise $10k to get us through principal photography and post production. But sadly, we only gained $706 in faith from 30 people. And believe us, we are very grateful for those donations. It helped us kick off our production. We got storyboards made and had our lead actor in place and that was all we could really hope for at the time. At the start of 2019 a few investors stepped forward and helped us with our funding. And if there was one thing, I learned from being a Troma addict over the years it was to put the money on the screen. We hired our SFX artist and gave him a small budget of about $2k and boy oh boy did he kill it. Matthew Ash was truly a gift from Leviathan. Though him we met now regular LSF team member Wendy Rager. They both helped our key artist, Tori Yeager, through the shit on this production.

But who was going to shoot the movie? We were not really going to shoot the movie on a Canon T3i…. were we? Well, it was clearly becoming something of an issue and I was trying to kill myself over it if I had to go though this alone. I probably would have to be honest. But I think my wife, Catalina Querida, saw that I needed a sling shot of inspiration. So she took a shot in the dark and contacted Lloyd Kaufman. And you know the irony of it all? When I made the face to face meeting with Lloyd at UNT, I got those master class tickets from the original camera operator choice. He and I were going to go and sit in. Get to know each other and I was hoping him and I could work out a deal on the picture. But sadly, he had a last-minute obligation to attend and if I remember correctly he had to catch a flight out. So he gave me the tickets and I invited my friend who lived nearby to the class. A fellow film maker by the name of Jason Terry. Great guy, I want to get him on set more often by the way.

So, there we are, Lloyd and his amazing wife, Pat, walk in and the class begins. Fun and games, jokes and stories. We watch the BTS documentary about the making of Poultrygiest called Poultry in Motion. And I couldn’t be happier. We buy our DVDs, get them signed and head out the door. Then I stop…. My wife contacted him on Twitter about being in town and possibly being in our fake trailer for Texas Frightmare Weekend. So, I quickly turn around and tell Jason that I need to do something really quick.

When I get back to the line of people, I see that Pat is just hanging out by herself keeping an eye on all the merchandise they had brought for their mini Texas tour. She is such a sweetheart and wants to hear everyone’s stories. She and Lloyd are true national treasures. They really want to see people be successful and make art. Before I knew it I was making plans to pick Lloyd and Pat up from their hotel the next morning so we can go do a shoot someplace. Jason and I head out and I now have a last-minute shoot I was not prepared for. But this is ok. I got this. If making the finish line five years in a row and consistently losing the same 48hr film race has thought me anything… much like Troma, it doesn’t matter what you make. No one will still like you and if they do watch your shitty short film they will forget it and you will once again have nothing to lose.

So, it’s 1 A.M. and I have an unorganized mess of equipment I need to prep, a script I need to write and a crew I need to accumulate. I find a location, Wit’s End, in Deep Ellum (a music community on the out skirts of down town Dallas), and a few friends who have free time the next day and I quickly marinate on a script idea with the elements I have been given. All this while driving from Denton to Arlington.

I get home burst into the bed room and get right to work. Catalina can’t believe what she is hearing and no sleep is had. Nothing but preproduction and wondering what hell have I gotten myself into. But it’s ok… no one is going to watch this and Lloyd will forget about my existence…. Right?

The next morning, we wake up with a script ready to go, and a completely prepped vehicle. We b-line it to Denton, collect the treasures and head as fast as we can to Deep Ellum. We need to get Lloyd’s shots done as soon as possible. Get him to his next hotel room at the Belmont all before he makes his meeting with Fangoria Magazine in Irving. We had a nice talk and listened to his opinions on filmmakers and got some insight on how I should just keep moving forward. It was a lot. But they were only in the care with us for about fifteen minutes before we started talking with them about Hellraiser. Yes, I know… it’s a problem.

We get to Deep Ellum AND THERE IS A FUCKING ART SHOW GOING ON! Ahhhh! Noise and traffic galore. I see Lloyd and Pat watching me get my grounding and we pop this fake trailer off. I get them back to the new hotel and the oceans of life have calmed down once again. In the end the project that we birthed was named, Murderballs.

We screened it at Texas Frightmare weekend, had a stupid number of laughs and then Jorg came and said ‘Hi’ to me. He loved Murderballs so much that he wanted to be on our next project. It was Frightmare weekend. It was Sunday after the fake trailer showcase. I was hungover A.F.

We exchanged information, then Jorg showed up with his equipment. I had found my Director of Photography… two weeks before principal photography was supposed to begin. If it wasn’t for Catalina contacting Lloyd, or for Anthony Gutierrez giving me those tickets, for Jason Terry, Janie Slash, Joe and Suzo Blackwood, Matt Adkins of Wit’s End… we would have never made Murderballs. And then we would not have been able to make the Torturer as amazing and as beautiful visually as it is now. The butterfly effect that has happened with LSF over the years is insane. So insane we got to shoot on a RED Warrior in 6k. Turns out we also hate a lot of the same people in town. So that made the shoot way more fun!

Wait… 6k?! How the fuck are we going to edit this project?! What the hell did I get us into now?! I’m never going to finish this project. That is… until we ran our second campaign and our investor worked on getting us a new machine. Our second campaign raised $2200!!! From there we were able to pay back most of our financial commitments and move forward.

Over the past year working on post production and picking up other film gigs we have strived to make this the best project we have ever released. Thank you to Michael Boodagh & Ian Eshelman for the sound mix and master along with the sound design. Paragraph Taylor of ManifestiV, thank you for the haunting score. Mark Beal, thank you for the VFX work on the spider. That was something that was terrifying us. Thank you to everyone involved with the picture. Thank you to every single IndieGoGo backer. Thank you Diamond Jim’s for allowing us to hold a fund raiser for the picture. Thank you everyone. Seriously. Thank you. Most the people who donated are fellow filmmakers who understand the trials and tribulations one must go through to get anything made. Let alone something you are truly passionate about. Please watch this movie all the way to the end credits. We list off everyone who helped us. Thank you CliveBarkerPodcast and Corpsepaint Show for giving us a plat form. Thank you Pyramid-Gallery and ConfigurationBoxes. Thank you O.G. Cenobites and Troma alumni. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This is a download link to the movie you all helped us make. We are bestowing you with two digital copies of the movie. The first is in 6k. And if you are not able to play that with your machine or burn it to DVD or Blue-Ray we are giving you a 1080p version. I personally prefer the 6k, lol obviously. We are also throwing in the poster key art from Hellraiser enthusiast, Anthony Galatis. And a song from the sound track by Paragraph Taylor.

Please share this movie that you helped us make with your friends and your family. If they care to watch this kind of stuff. Please burn copies on dvd or blue-ray and give it all around. Just please don’t upload it to YouTube. But here it is. This is it. The definitive version of the Torturer starring Paul T. Taylor and Lawrence Varnado. We hope you are proud of this picture. We have never been so excited. And one more thing, I know we originally said that we would give this to everyone after the festival run. But we figured you guys had been waiting so long… what the hell? Let’s throw it out there.

Respectfully yours

Joe Manco & Catalina Querida

Super Duper Awesome first review for the movie!!!

Hypnotically sexy yet terrifying score to the film

Download Link to the 1080p & 6k digital copy of the movie

OOF!!!! You must have been a contributor or part of cast and crew.


Watch the trailer for our new movie "THE TORTURER"

Accepting donations to our IndieGoGo for our newest and craziest project, "WAGES OF SIN"

Enjoy our latest micro short series "THE HELLBOUND LAMENTS"

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