HALO 8 Entertainment

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HALO-8 Entertainment is a transmedia entertainment company specializing in cinema, documentaries, genre graphic novels, midnight movies, music-driven lifestyle videos, and animation.[1][2] Its most popular releases include arthouse films Pop Skull and Threat; animated series Godkiller and Xombie; lifestyle-DVD franchise Fitness For Indie Rockers; and documentaries Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, Your Mommy Kills Animals, N.Y.H.C., and Ctrl+Alt+Compete.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

In 2012, Comics Beat called HALO-8 "one of the few companies we've seen that has an overall feel for whatever they're calling transmedia these days." [15]

Formed in 2005 by filmmaker Matt Pizzolo and producer Brian Giberson as a film production/marketing/distribution studio, the company has grown to include a comic book/graphic novel publishing division, two DVD Premiere shingles (indie-lifestyle sublabel DiY-Fest Video and cult/exploitation sublabel UnitShifter Films), and fashion/branded-apparel division H8LA. HALO-8's film catalog is split roughly 50/50 between in-house productions and third-party acquisitions, although the upcoming slate is primarily focused on in-house transmedia productions.

HALO-8 made a name for itself as an innovative and risk-taking company by developing unique, tech-driven production and distribution strategies such as designing the "illustrated film" format (a cinematic style of limited animation that merges sequential art with 3D CGI, motion graphics and dramatic voice performances in the style of a radio play) and developing the non-linear film format "EtherFilms" (which adds hypertext and multi-platform transmedia functionality to film), and by championing controversial films such as animal-rights documentary Your Mommy Kills Animals. The later film drew the ire of the Center for Consumer Freedom, who waged a legal campaign to block its release.[14][16][17][18][19][20][21]

Recent deals and partnerships[edit]

Halo-8 comics[edit]

In June 2008, HALO-8 debuted a new comic book publishing arm at Wizard World Chicago with two flagship series: Godkiller (written by Matt Pizzolo, illustrated by then-newcomer Anna Muckcracker) and How I Lost My Virginity - by Alexandra Jones (written by Matt Pizzolo, penciled and colored by Andrea Blanco, inked by Ale Alvarez).[22]

The following February at Wondercon, Halo-8 unveiled its "illustrated film" format that fuses comic books with cinema and explained Godkiller would be released simultaneously as a print comic book and as episodic illustrated films on shortform DVDs.

In April 2010 at C2E2 in Chicago, Halo-8 premiered the collected Godkiller illustrated film and announced several new comic book series: The Long Knives (a giallo-style revenge adventure written by Pizzolo, illustrated by newcomer Ana Ludeshka), Loaded Bible 2 (continuing the acclaimed Jesus vs vampires series by Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash)), Medusa: Year One (a re-invention of the mythic character as a misunderstood heroine), Godkiller 2 (reuniting Pizzolo and Muckcracker), and Black Sky (a Band of Brothers vs Cthulhu series by Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night)).

First annual Halloween multi-filmmaker showcase DVD[edit]

In October 2008, HALO-8 debuted a unique, multi-filmmaker showcase project called Slumber Party Slaughterhouse: The Game, a horror DVD game where each death scene is directed by a different HALO-8 filmmaker and stars actors and actresses from various HALO-8 films. Participating filmmakers included Matt Pizzolo, Doug Sakmann, Joanna Angel, Ramzi Abed, and Kurly Tlapoyawa. Participating actors and actresses included Tiffany Shepis, Masuimi Max, Joanna Angel, Melissa Bacelar, and Katie Nisa. The project premiered at the Halo-8: Films That Kill Halloween festival in Hollywood, where live hosts Joanna Angel, Matt Pizzolo, and Daisy Sparks MC'd the event that mixed pub-trivia style gaming with Rocky Horror-style audience participation.[23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31]

Partnership with Epic Level Entertainment for Xombie[edit]

In November 2008, HALO-8 announced the acquisition of the Xombie web-series produced by James Farr and Epic Level Entertainment's Cindi Rice and John Frank Rosenblum. The March 31, 2009 release date of the Xombie: Dead on Arrival collected series DVD marked HALO-8's entry into distribution of animated films, which was followed by anime-style adaptations of the comic book series currently published under HALO-8's publishing arm.[32]

Illustrated films[edit]

Pizzolo and Giberson began developing what they termed "illustrated films" in late 2007, citing influences Liquid Television, the MTV cartoon adaptation of The Maxx, the Berserk anime series, Chris Marker's La jetée, the motion comic Broken Saints, and the experimental cinema of Ralph Bakshi. Since Pizzolo started out as a playwright he was interested in using voice performances to drive the pace and action, while composing the visuals from sequential art illustrations in an experimental cinema style utilizing only subtle pans and zooms. Giberson, an Emmy-winning TV producer, pushed Pizzolo to integrate more elaborate animation. The two developed a style that mixed simple limited-animation puppetry with moments of fully animated 3D-CGI. Pizzolo (a longtime comic book fan who previously worked at St. Mark's Comix and Village Comics in NY) decided the sequential art should be composed as a comic book because it was the ideal workflow for creating sequential art. Pizzolo has made clear that this was all theoretical and they might never have executed on the illustrated film style if he had not discovered Anna Muckcracker and recruited her to illustrate the first project, Godkiller.[33]

Pizzolo told Horror News:[34]

There are lots of reasons [Godkiller was made as an illustrated film], but I think the most important one was really being inspired by Anna Muckcracker's gorgeous artwork. Brian Giberson (my partner at Halo-8) and I had been experimenting with the illustrated film format for a while, but we might still have gone with traditional animation for Godkiller since it's really risky to experiment with a crazy story and a new filmmaking format at the same time. But once I saw Anna's art I knew that no traditional form of animation could do justice to the grimy, textured, surreal aesthetic she created. It was really an artistic choice, because from a business point of view it's just so risky.[35]

Pizzolo has also clarified that the term "illustrated film" was not intended to be a snipe at motion comics, saying he was aware of Broken Saints and has always cited it as an influence but feels motion comics are only one element of the evolving illustrated film style, which is intended to be a constantly evolving multimedia format whose elements are determined by the story rather than the workflow.. He even told Bloody Disgusting that upcoming ill-films may integrate heavily textured live action and be composed for 3D viewing. Pizzolo also says he is a fan of the Watchmen Motion Comic, but that it hadn't been released yet when he, Giberson, and Muckcracker were producing Godkiller. Pizzolo points out that the contemporary motion comics wave is largely influenced by the Watchmen Motion Comic, so motion comics and illustrated films developed simultaneously but separately from one another. He told Bloody Disgusting, "Godkiller was just a slower production than Watchmen because we had to create 200 pages of art and story from the ground up first, rather than starting with one of the greatest comic books ever made as source material. Plus we had a dozen voice performers instead of just one."[36]

Wired asked Pizzolo to explain the differences between motion comics and illustrated films:

In illustrated films, we drive the pace of the storytelling with the dramatic voice performances and the sound design, so that allows us to showcase the illustrations in a way where you can really take a moment to absorb the art in the same way you can when reading a comic book ... Motion comics are closer to a form of limited animation that uses comics as source material. Illustrated films are closer to the experimental cinema of Ralph Bakshi's work, Chris Marker's La jetée or animation like Liquid Television.[37]

Pizzolo gave Bloody Disgusting additional thoughts on differences between motion comics and illustrated films:

The simple answer is illustrated-films are an attempt to merge comic book sequential art with cinematic storytelling, whereas motion comics seem more intent on re-purposing comic books into cartoons. And I don't mean to sound like a dick because I think motion comics are cool, these are just different. On first glance, they look very similar ... and people might say 'it's moving comics on a screen, that's motion comics' to which I say 'just because Seinfeld is moving people captured on 35mm film doesn't make it the same thing as Full Metal Jacket.' On one level you could see motion comics and illustrated films as siblings like comics books vs graphics novels or TV shows vs feature films, but there are deeper distinctions. Basically, we're filmmakers so we're bringing a cinematic sensibility to this... We animate motion in the frame, but the need for motion is different in film ... it's not like Michael Madsen bounces around the frame in Reservoir Dogs the way Wakko does in Animaniacs.[38]

Pizzolo finally simplified the difference for Comics Alliance:

The difference between an illustrated film and a motion comic is kind of the difference between a movie that was shot in 3D versus a movie that was shot in 2D but got a 3D post-conversion. We're not repurposing an existing comic book here, we're building something unique from scratch.[39]

According to Fangoria, "Lance Henriksen, Bill Moseley and Tiffany Shepis are the genre stalwarts lending their vocal talents to the project; also on board in that capacity are underground cinema queen Lydia Lunch and singers Justin Pierre (of Motion City Soundtrack) and Davey Havok (of A.F.I.)."[40] Pizzolo and producer Brian Giberson unveiled a preview clip of the Godkiller illustrated film during the "Comic Books & Indie Movies" panel at Wondercon in San Francisco on February 28, 2009.[41][42][43][44][45]

According to Shock Till You Drop, "Danielle Harris (known for her turns in the Halloween franchise), Katie Nisa (Threat), and Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica) have joined previously announced cast members Lance Henriksen, Bill Moseley, Tiffany Shepis, Justin Pierre (singer of Motion City Soundtrack), Lydia Lunch (Richard Kern's 'Hardcore Collection'), and Davey Havok (A.F.I.) in the cast of the 'illustrated film' adaptation Godkiller, written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Matt Pizzolo (Threat) based on the comic book he created with illustrator Anna Muckcracker."[46]

Pizzolo, Giberson and actresses Danielle Harris and Tiffany Shepis presented two exclusive preview clips of the Godkiller illustrated film at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors in Los Angeles on April 18, 2009.[47][48][49][50][51][52][52][53][54][55][56][57]

The illustrated film was initially slated for a unique release model of limited-edition, bi-monthly episodic DVDs starting September 29, 2009, followed by a theatrical run of the full feature in January 2010 and a DVD/Blu-ray release of the full feature in March 2010.

Due to overwhelming retail demand far beyond studio expectations, the first episodic DVD's street date was delayed a week until October 6, 2009, so enough DVDs could be manufactured to supply stores. Due to retail holiday conflicts, this delay rescheduled the entire release to: Episode 1 Oct 6 2009, Episode 2 Jan 26 2010, Episode 3 April 16, 2010 (with day & date theatrical release of full feature), Complete film on VOD May 25, 2010, and on DVD July 20, 2010.[58]

The complete 75-minute feature Godkiller: Walk Among Us premiered at the C2E2 comic con in Chicago on April 16, 2010, before playing theatrically in 10 cities. On May 25, 2010, it was distributed via cable VOD to 75 million homes.[59][60][61]

Growth of illustrated films division[edit]

Following the success of Godkiller, HALO-8 ramped up the illustrated film line by growing the slate of its comic book publishing division while also entering into partnerships with other comic book publishers and creators. HALO-8 announced deals to produce illustrated film adaptations of Loaded Bible and Xombie: Reanimated.[62][63]

Shortly after HALO-8 announced the Xombie: Reanimated illustrated film, it was announced DreamWorks SKG is developing a live-action Xombie: Reanimated film to be produced with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.[64]

During Halo-8's panel at WonderCon 2010, Pizzolo unveiled a first look at his giallo animation The Long Knives, which had recently begun production.[65] Two weeks later during Halo-8's panel at C2E2, Pizzolo confirmed his collaboration with Tim Seeley on Loaded Bible[66] and then unveiled two new projects in development: Medusa: Year One[67] and Ben Templesmith's Black Sky.[68][69]

In September 2010, MTV Splash Page announced that Pizzolo will direct an illustrated film adaptation of the popular comic book series Hack/Slash.[70]

In December 2010, a teaser-trailer was released for the illustrated film Black Sky, illustrated and created by Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Welcome To Hoxford, Choker) and directed by Pizzolo.[71]

Pizzolo is currently working with Muckcracker on the second part of the Godkiller trilogy, Godkiller: Tomorrow's Ashes (following 2010's Godkiller: Walk Among Us).


In November 2009, HALO-8 launched branded-apparel division H8LA, enlisting stylist Aubrie Davis (formerly of Hot Topic and H&M stores) to join the team as Creative Director. Davis began with a line of T-shirts based on Godkiller. Actors Bill Moseley, Danielle Harris, and Tiffany Shepis served double-duty on Godkiller, performing in the film and modeling the T-shirts for H8LA.[72][73]

Affiliated production companies[edit]









In development[edit]

External links[edit]


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  2. ^ Moore, Debi. "Halo-8 Launches H8LA Apparel Line". Dread Central. November 23, 2009.
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  4. ^ Simon, Leslie & Tim Kanan. "Yoga For Indie Rockers Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine." Alternative Press #228. July, 2007.
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  7. ^ MSNBC Marketwire. "'Your Mommy Kills Animal' DVD Hits Shelves Today... Maybe? Archived 2007-11-22 at the Wayback Machine." MSNBC. November 13, 2007.
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  41. ^ Staff Report. "Quartet voicing roles in 'Godkiller' film". Hollywood Reporter. February 24, 2009.
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  46. ^ Rotten, Ryan. "Halloween, Battlestar Vets Enter Godkiller". Shock Till You Drop. March 26, 2009.
  47. ^ Gingold, Michael. "HALLOWEEN star and more join GODKILLER". Fangoria. March 26, 2009.
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  50. ^ Morris, Clint. "Galactica's Cally in Comic Book Movie". Moviehole. March 26, 2009.
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  55. ^ Beiramar, Emmanuel. "Du beau monde pour Godkiller". Fantasy.fr. March 26, 2009.
  56. ^ Timpone, Tony. "IT’S ALIVE! First look at LA Fango con schedule". Fangoria. April 14, 2009.
  57. ^ Moore, Debi. "LA Weekend of Horrors: Choice Cuts". Dread Central. April 15, 2009.
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  59. ^ Newsarama. "TEMPLESMITH/ PIZZOLO: Black Sky, God Killer & More @ C2E2". Newsarama. April 19, 2010.
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  64. ^ News. "DreamWorks Walking With Xombie". Reuters. September 23, 2009.
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  66. ^ THEoDEAD. "EXCLUSIVE: Halo-8 Releases New info On 'Loaded Bible', Tim Seeley Talks Voice Casting! Archived 2010-04-30 at the Wayback Machine.". Bloody Disgusting. April 21, 2010.
  67. ^ Hess, Michael. "Medusa: Year One Exclusive Image Archived 2010-04-29 at the Wayback Machine.". UGO. April 20, 2010.
  68. ^ Parkin, JK. "C2E2 | Ben Templesmith working on 'illustrated film'". Comic Book Reources. April 20, 2010.
  69. ^ Khouri, Andy. "New 'Black Sky' Teaser Brings Ben Templesmith's Illustrations to Film Video Archived 2011-01-11 at the Wayback Machine.". Comics Alliance. December 2, 2010.
  70. ^ Marshall, Rick. "Hack/Slash To Get The Illustrated Film Treatment". MTV Splash Page. September 10, 2010.
  71. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
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