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$15,922 pledged of $75,000 goal
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$15,922 pledged of $75,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

 

So cute, they're to DIE for...
So cute, they're to DIE for...

PORTAL POPPERZ is a 1980s-style creature feature in the spirit of films like Gremlins, that expertly balanced their laughs with screams.

An augmented reality game called Portal Popperz has become a cultural phenomenon, and it seems like everyone has their eyes glued to their smartphones trying to catch the digital creatures. But when a motley crew of misfits discover the Popperz are spawning in the real world, it's up to our unlikely heroes to halt their path of destruction.

Directed by special effects artist and toy designer, Jerry Macaluso, Portal Popperz will focus on traditional practical effects, puppets and good old-fashioned rubber monster suits. 

Images of the first Test Puppet for 'Chomperz'
Images of the first Test Puppet for 'Chomperz'

 

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Concept Art for 'Chomperz'
Concept Art for 'Chomperz'

As a teenager in the 1980s, the video store was my cathedral. I'd wander up and down the aisles, trying to choose between the amazing painted box art of the VHS slipcases, imagining the experience awaiting me when I brought it home. Today I can appreciate what a great time that was to be a teenager, a golden age for things like cartoons and action figures, but most especially for creature features.

But what is a 'Creature Feature?' 

The 'creature' part is obvious, but for me it was the expert blend of comedy that made them distinct from more traditional horror films.

Movies like,  Return of the Living Dead. Night of the Creeps. Evil Dead. An American Werewolf in London and Gremlins all had awesomely cool creatures in them, but more importantly, they threaded the needle between legitimately funny and legitimately frightening.  And THAT is the kind of movie we want to make!

Above are some of my favorite 'Creature Features' from the 1980's that have just as many laughs as scares (Clockwise: Return of the Living Dead, House, Critters, Gremlins)
Above are some of my favorite 'Creature Features' from the 1980's that have just as many laughs as scares (Clockwise: Return of the Living Dead, House, Critters, Gremlins)

 

 

            Check out the above video to see Jerry Macaluso's Fx Reel !

Monsters are my passion.

I have been working in the film industry since I was 17, creating hundreds of creatures and prosthetics on projects like Toxic Avenger 2, Darkman, Wishmaster 2, Power Rangers, Halloweentown and Weird Science.

I am very thankful to have been working during the Golden Age of practical creature effects, before CGI took over. It was a time when creatures were sculpted in clay, molded in plaster and cast in rubber, not rendered on a hard drive, and it made me appreciate how amazing the tangibility of a real puppet on screen can be.

Practical effects is an art form — one that can take years to master — and with the benefit of my 15 years experience building practical effects,, it’s my pledge to do this film the way it would have been made in the ‘80s, using as little CGI as possible.

In fact, I designed, sculpted and painted 'Chomperz', the Popper you see in the video up top. Using Chomperz as a template, Roy Knyrim, Jake Corrick and our amazing team of artists will bring many more poppers to life.

Now, thats not to say we will not use any CGI. We will need digital fx to remove the rods and rigs required to operate the puppets and we may use CGI to make the Popperz eye effects (though we are currently experimenting with ways to do this live on-camera using miniature OLED screens.) But there will be NO digital creatures in this film.

A select few images of practical special effects work I supervised/created during my 15 year career (clockwise from top left: The Devil's Tomb, Weird Science, Wishmaster 2, Toxic Avenger 2, Mirror Mirror)
A select few images of practical special effects work I supervised/created during my 15 year career (clockwise from top left: The Devil's Tomb, Weird Science, Wishmaster 2, Toxic Avenger 2, Mirror Mirror)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The genesis of Portal Popperz began this past summer, during the Pokemon GO phenomenon. 

As I saw these massive crowds catching virtual Rattatas, Zubats and Meowths, I couldn't help but wonder...what if these creatures came to life, and weren't very happy about constantly being captured?

It was an idea that refused to go away. No matter how much work I had to do, it kept fighting it’s way back to the surface, demanding my attention. And that’s when I realized it was the perfect concept for the kind of creature feature I’d been waiting for someone to make. So rather than suppress the thought until it faded away, I surrendered to it.

You see, if there is one thing my experience has taught me, it’s that the best ideas are the ones you can’t seem to shake, and I could not wait to call up some of my film industry friends and say “Let's do this thing! Let's make the '80s-style horror comedy we’ve always wanted to see ourselves!”

And after they said “What the hell, Jerry, it’s 4:30 in the morning!” they all agreed.

Our team comprises experienced producers, writers, designers and creature fx artists, and we knew we could get it started without a lot of money since we would be doing all the initial work ourselves (plus calling in some favors.)

And, sure, between the movie and our regular jobs, we would be working 15+ hour days, 7 days week, but, as the title says: train keeps a' rollin' all night long !

We realized the technical requirements of movie-making wouldn't be the challenge.   The real challenge before us is...

...how do we pay for it ?

I understand how ambitious this project might seem for the relatively small amount we are asking for, but we save a lot of money by not paying ourselves, and we already own much of the equipment a production like this would need. Plus no one knows how to stretch a dollar better than an fx artist. (For example, I built the original Alpha 5 from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers with a few hundred bucks)

That said, we also know the difference between creative problem solving and handicapping yourself, and we have estimated that relying on our personal savings alone to finance the film is not going to work.  We just don't have enough to achieve the results we feel this film deserves.

So, we are reaching out to the Kickstarter community to help us make this love letter to the Creature Features of the 1980s a reality.

Our $75,000 goal will pay for the additional time, equipment and crew we need for the shoot, as well as the entirety of post-production, from sound to score to editing and VFX.

To paraphrase David Byrne of The Talking Heads, 'You may ask yourself, what if you exceed your goal?', and that's a dang good question. 

If we are fortunate enough to exceed our target, we’ve got a list of stretch goals like more elaborate puppets (Anyone want to see a Bat-Popper?) and kill scenes to help make the film even better. The more we can raise, the more insane the project will get.

We hope that you are as excited to see this film as we are to be making it, and sincerely appreciate every dollar.

Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram, Share this project with your friends on social media, and pledge whatever you can.

Use of Pledges
Use of Pledges

                   Okay, okay...here is what you have been waiting for !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cousin Sean, Steve Forde, Aaron Hubrich, Conceptopolis, Brynn Metheney, Kevin Deal, Bryon Webster, Glenn Takakjian, Sandy Collora, Eric Mayse, Arielle Brachfeld, Roger Nall, Max Shepard, Adam Beesley, Tara Spadaro, Brett Horn, Todd Masters, John Pinkerton, Carolyn Hatcher, Mike Su, Justin McMillan, Hector Arce and the filmmakers that have inspired me since childhood - Joe Dante, Steven Spielberg, Sam Raimi, John Carpenter, Chiodo Brothers, James Cummins, Mark Williams, Chris Walas, Rob Bottin, Steve Johnson and Greg Cannom

 

 

Risks and challenges

PORTAL POPPERZ is not without ambition, but much of the concern can be alleviated by the fact that we're experienced filmmaker and, well... we are already deep into it. The ship left the dock months ago, and we are so far along we can't see the shore even if we wanted to swim back. The film will be completed, there is simply no other option.

But in terms of fulfilling rewards, my company, PCS Collectibles (popcultureshocktoys.com) , has been making high-end statues and toys based on video game, movie, TV and comic book properties for over a decade now. That existing infrastructure is a tremendous advantage most campaigns don't have the luxury of. Getting Rewards made is as simple as a phone call to our factory, and our printer is an email away, 24/7.

Rest assured that if you put your faith in us, we will not let you down.

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  1. Make a pledge without a reward

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Portal Popperz Stickerz & Thanks !

    Instantly add value to any object on which these are placed!

    Trying to get rid of an old refrigerator? Put a Portal Popperz Sticker on it and watch that Craigslist ad go viral.

    In addition to the sticker sheet, you will get a huge Thank You on the Portal Popperz website and Facebook page as well as in the credits of the film !

    (Shipping for this reward is free in the Continental USA)

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Adopt-A-Popper

    Remember that time you adopted a puppy ?

    Well this is just like that time, except instead of a puppy, it’s a bloodthirsty alien from another dimension. So you got that goin’ for ya.

    And with this $10 donation, you will receive an Official A-Poption Certificate, signed by Director Jerry Macaluso, which you can proudly display for the world to see!

    Note: Does NOT include an actual Popper. (That comes with a minimum $60 donation.)

    Also Includes: Portal Popperz Stickerz and Film Credit Thank You from the $5 level!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Portal Popperz Digital Download Package

    No, your eyes are not deceiving you.

    $15 gets you everything from the $10 level PLUS a downloadable copy of the film that you can keep. Forever. The whole entire film.

    People seeing it in the theater will pay more than that for stale popcorn.

    AND you also get a .PDF of the Screenplay, which is like a movie, but in word form.

    AND you get an .MP3 of Portal Popperz' main theme, so when you are humming it in the elevator and strangers tap you on the shoulder and are like "Say, what's the name of that catchy tune?" you'll be like "It's the main score to that hep new cultural phenomenon everyone is talking about..."

    AND you get the... Wait, hold up. This can't be right. The Production Diary too? So $15 for *all* of this?

    $15 and you'll be a virtual set presence, without even having to fill out an application. Doesn't seem fair to the people on set that actually had to apply for their jobs, but I guess that's their problem.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Portal Popperz Trading Cards: Set of 10

    Get to know the Portal Popperz the American way, with Collectible Trading Cards!

    Have you seen what a Pikachu Illustrator Card sells for ? $54,970.00 , no joke.

    Lets make Portal Popperz the next big thing then YOU can finance your kid’s education with a Chomperz card !

    No need to collect them all, though, as for the low price of $25, you will receive the complete set of all 10!

    All that, plus the Digital Download and everything else in the $15 level!

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Portal Popperz DVD Package

    Seriously, it's time to get a Blu-Ray player.

    Fortunately for you, a copy of the film on antiquated technology is part of this package!

    You see, while our crew is busy making the film Portal Popperz, another crew is going to be filming them making it. And we are including that for you as part of this package! You will laugh, you will cry, you will see a Popper die…

    But that's not all!

    In addition to all of that, Portal Popperz will also join the ranks of American Graffiti, Saturday Night Fever, A Hard Day's Night, Superfly and Purple Rain as a movie with Music! Not only music, but an incredible score by up and coming superstar, Ego Plum.

    You get all that, plus everything included in the $25 level!

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Portal Popperz Blu-Ray Package

    Exactly the same as the DVD Package, with a $5 technology tax!

    Plus everything included in the $25 level!

    In 1997, British journalist Nigel Reynolds was sent by the Daily Telegraph to meet an unknown author hoping to publicize her debut novel.

    After a cup of coffee and some brief pleasantries, she handed him one of the few she had left, having donated most to libraries around the UK.

    Upon going their separate ways, Reynolds returned to his office with his gift, briefly flipped through it's pages and, as the Brits say, "binned it."

    The name on the cover, called "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," was Joanne Rowling. It is valued at $55,000 today.

    Don't be like Nigel. For just $45, receive a Blu-Ray copy from the original PORTAL POPPERZ pressing, and then hold onto it for the rest of your life.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Portal Popperz One-Sheet Poster A

    We say $50 gets you this reward, but in all honesty, it's going to cost you a lot more than that.

    You can't just stick a poster like this on a wall with push pins or fun-tak. This poster deserves a frame. A custom one, too, maybe with a nice mat, not some off-the-rack IKEA jobby with weird letters like a "Bæsj" or whatever.

    Then when you hang it, the rest of the room is going to suffer in comparison. It just will.

    So maybe you will need some new furniture, but it is also quite possible that you are just going to have to move.

    Fortunately, when the realtor asks you what kind of place you are looking for, you can hold this up and say "the kind worthy of my Portal Popperz Poster."

    This 11 x 17" Poster Package also includes the complete $15 Digital Download Package as well!

    (Poster will be shipped folded - for shipping in a poster tube there will be an additional shipping charge)

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    Portal Popperz One-Sheet Poster B

    Another poster option to choose from. For your Beach House.

    Also a 11 x 17" Poster, also includes the complete $15 Digital Download Package!

    (Poster will be shipped folded - for shipping in a poster tube there will be an additional shipping charge)

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Portal Poppez T-Shirt

    Hey, Sexy.

    Yes, you. Why don't you come over here, so I can get to know you better?

    I saw you standing there, and even from across the room I could instantly tell by that Portal Popperz T-Shirt that you were the kind of person I want to have relations with. I have been looking for a person like you my whole life, and now that I have found you, I will never let you go.

    That is what will happen to you if you wear a Portal Popperz T-Shirt in public.

    Available in Sizes Small (S), Medium (M), Large (L) and Extra Large (XL).

    Also includes the complete $15 Digital Download Package!

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Chomperz Mini-Figure

    PCS Collectibles, creators of fine limited edition statues and toys from the properties you love, will be producing a Limited Edition inaugural run of hand-painted 6" figurines , based on Chomperz, one of the Popperz from the film!

    And for $60, you will receive one and know all is right in the world.

    Also includes everything from the $15 Digital Download Package!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Portal Popperz DVD+ Package

    Identical to the $40 DVD Package, but with your choice of Portal Popperz Poster A or B, OR a Portal Popperz T-Shirt, in any size you want, from Small to Extra Large!

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Portal Popperz Blu-Ray+ Package

    Identical to the $45 Blu-Ray Package, but with your choice of Portal Popperz Poster A or B, OR a Portal Popperz T-Shirt, in any size you want, from Small to Extra Large!

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    Portal Popperz Blu-Ray w- Bite Package

    Exactly the same as the $45 Blu-Ray Package, but with the Chomperz Figurine to watch it with!

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    Pledge $115 or more About $115

    Portal Popperz Signed Blu-Ray Package

    Ever see an item signed by George Lucas? His signature looks like he holds the pen in his teeth.

    We're not saying Portal Popperz is a better film than Stars Wars — although we haven't finished it yet, so we're not NOT saying that either... — but we can promise that Director Jerry Macaluso's signature will be legible on your Portal Popperz Blu-Ray.

    Because he loves you more than George Lucas does.

    Need more proof? Okay, how about we include everything from the $45 Blu-Ray Package, AND the T-Shirt, AND your choice of either Poster A or B as well.

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    Pledge $155 or more About $155

    Portal Popperz Bitchin' Blu-Ray Package

    Identical to the $115 Signed Blu-Ray Package, but with the addition of the bitchin' Chomperz resin figure!

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    Pledge $185 or more About $185

    Portal Popperz Blu-Ray Bliss Package

    Here is where things really get crazy…

    A Blu-Ray signed by Portal Popperz Director Jerry Macaluso, and..

    the Portal Popperz T-Shirt, and...

    Portal Popperz Poster A, and...

    Portal Popperz Poster B, and...

    the ultra-limited Chomperz resin figure and…

    everything from the $45 level !

    Blissy!

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    Pledge $475 or more About $475

    Portal Popperz Premiere Party Package

    You and a friend will walk the blood-red carpet at the exclusive Portal Popperz World Premiere in Los Angeles, California with the cast, crew and fellow $475 donors!

    Afterwards you'll join us as we party like the Shop Boyz at the official Portal Popperz Post-show bash!

    It will be the evening your entire life has been leading towards!

    AND it includes the complete $185 Blu-Ray Bliss Package!

    AND... it's just really fun to say. "Portal Popperz Premiere Party Package!"

    Travel not included

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    Associate Producer Credit

    Ever wonder what an Associate Producer does? How they earn that credit you see pop up when the movie starts?

    Well, you wont find out this way. But you will still get the credit !

    It's that simple. Become a Portal Popperz Associate Producer and see your name in the film. Not just on your copy, but everyone's, so you can impress your friends.

    Also includes the $475 Portal Popperz Premiere Party Package!

    Travel not included

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    Get Killed in the Film

    Yes, you read that correctly. For only $2500 you can live your dream and be violently murdered in an 80s style Creature Feature!

    No eating ramen for breakfast in a dingy Reseda studio. No bussing tables while you wait for a callback on that STD commercial, or running sides with that greasy-looking dude in your acting workshop.

    Just pay $2500 and skip directly to the head of the Hollywood line like the star you are, and experience a bloody, horrific, violent death by Popper.

    Also includes the $475 Portal Popperz Premiere Party Package!

    Travel not included

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    Portal Popperz Corporate Sponsorship

    Look, we all know the cost of a bus ticket to Los Angeles is your mortal soul. We don't pretend to be saints here.

    So for $5,500, we will Pimp ourselves out to your company and its amazing product(s)

    If it's a Shop Tool, a Popper will be killed with that Shop Tool! If it's a Car, the Hero will drive the sh!t out of that Car! If it's a Podcast, maybe we'll hear your dulcet tones in the background! If you represent a Super PAC, we will support your ideological agenda! Down with TPP! Or up with it!

    $5,500 and you don't even need to buy us dinner after.

    Also includes the $475 Portal Popperz Premiere Party Package!

    Travel not included

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    Portal Popperz Executive Producer Credit

    Executive Producers are the Top Bananas on the set. That’s YOU Mr. Banana. For just $7,500 you will get a single card credit at the beginning of the film, and unlimited on-set access during our shoot. You will also get invites to the Film Festivals we attend.

    It also means that if the film wins the Academy Award for Best Picture, you get to stand on stage and thank your Mom in front of millions of people. (Note: only if there's time)

    Also includes the $475 Portal Popperz Premiere Party Package!

    Travel not included

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