About The Film

Dead Weight is an independent film produced in central Wisconsin throughout the course of 2011, and released in March 2012. It tells the story of Charlie Russell, traveling the wilderness in the wake of an apocalyptic viral outbreak, in search of his girlfriend, Samantha. As his journey brings him closer to his destination of Wausau, WI, he must face physical exhaustion, malicious survivors, and perhaps most menacing, his own emotional burdens. With his newfound traveling companions Charlie must attempt to find attempt to break his obsessions with the past. He must learn to let it go.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


As we enter the final weeks of 2012, we thought we'd end it with a sale! All Dead Weight merch is on sale until December 31st, so don't delay and head over to the Head Trauma Productions store to snag some deals!

Note: This is easily the shortest blog post we've ever done. Hooray!!! I think?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Where have the past two months gone?! Feels like we've just been blasting updates and announcements lately, and it's been forever since we did an actual recap of what's gone down. Well, all that is about to change. Hold onto your butts, because we're going for a ride! Actually, no ride is in the agenda, rather just a bunch of words and some pictures, but you get the idea.

Carrying an Other kind of Dead Weight at HorrorHound.
Let's start in the beginning of September. Adam and I headed to the state known as HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis. Okay, I know, that's not even a state. Give me a break here, I'm trying to make this entertaining. Anywho, we met up with actor Aaron Christensen and producer Dan Kiggins, and tons of other friends as well, to not only promote, but to screen the film Friday night (as part of Elvira's Horror Hunt). Well over eighty unknown faces packed into the screening room, and believe it or not, Adam actually watched it all! I say that because, well, let's face it, we've seen Dead Weight quite a few times now, and we're just a tad familiar with it. The last time I've watched the film in it's entirety is when we recorded the commentary back in January or February, and I'm pretty sure it's the same for Adam. However, the extreme positivity of the weekend, the glorious HD projection, and this incredibly massive thunderstorm made that a very special screening. 

Stangaar has a new buddy, the Best Editing award.
I've been attending cons for over eight years now, and that was easily one of, if not, the most memorable. Aside from introducing a whole bunch of new people to DW and seeing some of my favorite people, we made some fabulous new friends (not to single anyone out, but I'm looking at you, Alyssa and Kyle), sat down for a few interviews, and bonded ridiculously well with some of the other filmmakers who were screening. We were in some terrific company, so many great films made by some fantastic human beings. Some, such as Danny DelPurgatorio (Other) and our Wisconsin horror brethren, Steve Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield (Teddy), we already knew and were pleased as hell to share the screen with. We quickly formed lasting relationships with two others. Jerry Pyle was there representing his disturbing short, Burn, and from across the big pond was my new favorite Frenchman, Lucas Masson, there for stateside support of Baby-Sitting. To better understand, let's just say that we were inseparable all weekend. Toss in Jill Sixx, hulahoops, oodles of pizza, a podcast or two, and even more laughs (as well as TONS of other great moments I'm not listing to save space and time), and you have a truly unforgettable weekend. Oh, not to mention that we won Best Editing during Elvira's Horror Hunt. Yay!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Last weekend, we were lucky enough to screen in three different film festivals around the country (Freak Show Horror FF in Orlando, New Orleans Horror FF, and the Landlocked FF in Iowa City). We even were nominated for two awards at the NOHFF: Best Feature and Best Actor. This weekend is no different as we have another three fests, all being much closer to home.

Things start this Friday, Nov. 2 at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival. Adam and I will both be attending, and fielding a Q&A after. Screening starts at 7pm with five short films screening before Dead Weight.

On Saturday, Nov. 3, the Drunken Zombie Film Festival in Peoria, IL will be screening Dead Weight at 2pm. Sadly, we will not be in attendance for this one, but our great friends, Steve and Kevin of Slasher Studios, will be there for their riot of a short, Teddy (screening on Friday at 10:30pm), so they'll be representing Wisconsin horror for all of us filmmakers.

Closing out the weekend will be our screening at the Madison Horror Film Festival, on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 5:40pm. I feel like this fest is nothing but a reunion of friends, and I am more than okay with that. At 5:50pm on Saturday is found., which screened with us at Elvira's Horror Hunt in September. It'll be great to see writer/director Scott Schirmer once again. Closing out the day is a double feature of filthy proportions, with Cory Udler's IDS Rising and Derrick Carey (Dead Weight colorist) will be representing Oshkosh's very own, Swamphead. Looking at Sunday, Slasher Studios' Teddy will be hitting the screen at 1:05pm, and Other screens immediately before us at 5:25pm. Don't be fooled, I only listed a portion of the films to be shown over the two-day fest, so do check out the link above for all the other great titles.

On a final note, we are beyond thrilled to be nominated for four different categories at the Madison Horror Film Festival: Best Feature, Best Director, Best Writer, and Best Cinematography. Many of the other nominees are friends I listed above, so I know regardless of who wins, it's going to be an excellent time. Congrats to all the films we are screening with this weekend!

Monday, October 22, 2012


UW Oshkosh Film Society presents a special and free screening of Dead Weight tomorrow night. Adam and I will be present to talk about the film afterwords. More info can be found here!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


The fabulous folks at the Landlocked Film Festival interviewed Adam and I, in preparation for our screening on Saturday, October 27th. Probably to no surprise, we managed to talk about Kurt Russell yet again. Check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


It's somewhat surreal with the amount of festivals we are screening in over the course of the next month and a half. We really couldn't be any more happy or proud. Some combination of cast and crew will be a most of these, we'd love to see you there!

The links will shoot you directly over to each fests site for additional info. For the info that is TBA, we'll update the dates and times when we receive them.

Friday, September 28th @ 8pm

Saturday, September 29th @ 7pm

Friday, October 26th @ 9pm

October 27th @ 2pm

October 27th @ 8pm (Bijou Theater)
Landlocked Film Festival - Iowa City, IA

November 2nd @ 7:30pm

November 3rd @2pm
Drunken Zombie Film Festival - Peoria, IL

November 4th @ 5:40pm

Friday, November 9th @ 7pm

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I've been to HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis quite a few times now. In 2007, my good friend, Drew, and I attended the first HHWI. It was at that very con where I began talking with a (hunk of a) man by the name of Aaron "AC" Christensen. In the following weeks, AC and I reunited at Flashback Weekend in Chicago, where I was promoting my first film, Better Off Undead. After that, there was no stopping us, the bromance was set in stone. Little did I know, that first brief and nerdy conversation with AC at HHWI would not only establish a relationship with an incredibly close and dear friend, but four years later, AC would don a beard and a hard-nosed facade to play the role of Thomas in Dead Weight.

It was on the convention floor and during late-night lobby shenanigans at a few HHWs that producer Dan Kiggins and I continued to bond over our love of horror, comics, and punk rock.

Backtrack one and a half years ago to the last HHWI, March 2011 to be exact. AC, Dan, and I were there together, just a mere few weeks before production began on Dead Weight. AC's beard was underway, Dan and I kept breaking down the script and talking logistics, and I anxiously, albeit slightly nervous, began planting the seed in the brains of my peers about this film we were about to start.

Lastly, and by no means least, it was at last year's HHWI that Nancy Cremer, who I had plenty of communications with over emails, and I met for the first time in person. Shortly after, Nancy came into the Dead Weight family as one of our executive producers.

To summarize, HHWI has played quite a role, even if indirectly, in bringing Dead Weight to the screen. Perhaps it goes without saying, but on a personal note, I am beyond thrilled to return to HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis next week (September 7-9) with Adam, AC, and Dan, on behalf of the Dead Weight family, and so many other friends I only see once or twice a year, to screen the film on Friday night.

Indianapolis, I hope you are ready to feel the weight, because I am more than ready for you to.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


You just never know where Dead Weight will pop up...

Oshkosh's very own, Haunted Heads, just released a video for the opening track on their self-titled record, "36 Sharpened Saws." Fun facts time!

1. Their song, "No Sleep", can be heard playing in the background of the scene where Charlie, Samantha, and Alex have dinner.
2. Eric Van Thiel, guitarist/singer, played Samantha's co-worker, Doug.
3. EVT wears a nifty shirt in the video.

No matter where you are, support your local scene and check out the video!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


We can hardly believe the time has come to make this official announcement. This is, without a doubt, one of the most humbling pieces of news the Dead Weight family has been honored with receiving. We could not be more proud of our work together, and this achievement.

Dead Weight has been selected to screen at the Milwaukee Film Festival.

Many have been asking for a Milwaukee screening, here it is. This screening will sell out. Tons of Dead Weight cast & crew members will be there. It's going to be a once in a lifetime evening for us and, we hope, all who share it with us. Please, do whatever you can to attend. Stay tuned to Milwaukee Film for updates and schedule. We've spent months traveling around the US to take DW everywhere we can. In September, we bring it back home.

Official announcement can be found here.

September 29th. 7pm. Oriental Theater. Be there.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Jim and Bernie of The Walking Dead News Feed pulled Adam and I aside at Chicago Comic Con this past weekend to let us talk a little about Dead Weight, something we love to do.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Chicago Comic Con is just a day away! Holy smokes, and they even extended Thursday to be a full day instead of a preview night. Adam, John, Joe and crew member (The Great) Lance Ford will be representing the Dead Weight family all weekend in Artist Alley, booth #3217. We'll be located smack dab in the middle of Brian Defferding of Deftoons Comics and the fantastic Jim Boyle, who was our table neighbor from Philly Comic Con.

Don't be a stranger. Stop by the awesome section of Artist Alley (that's where we'll be) and say hi. We love high fives!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


At this very moment co-writer/co-director John Pata and lead actor Joe Belknap are at Days Of The Dead in Indianapolis, IN, where we have a vendor table to promote Dead Weight. Since poor ol’ me can’t make it to as many of these events as I’d like to I decided I should get around to something both John and I have been terribly neglectful of.

At the end of March we held the public premiere of Dead Weight at the Time Community Theater in downtown Oshkosh. We must apologize for the lack of a formal post recapping that unbelievable weekend. And when I say unbelievable, I mean it in the truest, most sincere terms. Those screenings were—without a doubt—two of the best evenings of our lives. After two and a half years of work, worry, and stress, we were finally able to show you what we were so proud of.

Thank you. If you were there, if you interviewed us leading up to the film, or if you reviewed it afterwards, then we are deeply grateful to you for your support. Even if you weren’t able to make it to the screenings, but still supported us on our journey, thank you. The premiere was an unbelievable release of energy that had been building up for two and a half years. A day we sometimes thought would never actually come. During production we almost reached this point where we stopped even just thinking about the premiere, because the road ahead and the work to do was so terribly daunting. Thoughts of completion would only result in awful anxiety attacks.

The entire weekend back in March could be summarized as simply overwhelming. There was too much to fully take in and absorb. I wish I could’ve recorded every conversation I had that night, every handshake or hug that took place, so I could relive it all the way it was. Thankfully we had Mary Manchester, our still photographer, along on Friday night taking photos of cast and crew, and our friend Dave Wasinger on Saturday to do the same. If I’ve been able to just once overcome my awful memory and chisel a single permanent lesson into my brain, it’s that I will inevitably forget the magical moments of a special occasion. I should do anything possible to make sure there is documentation to call back upon. There have been more than a few crap days made better by revisiting those premiere weekend photos.

Beyond my own emotional reaction to the weekend, it was also a huge success for everyone involved. We sold out both Friday and Saturday screenings, 408 seats each night. That is huge, and we are still in disbelief that it went so well. That is the first time in 15 or 20 years that a film has sold out the old Theater in downtown Oshkosh. We could not have been happier to see everyone there to support what is truly a Wisconsin grown independent film.

Although the premiere marked the end of one enormous step in the process, and saw the Dead Weight family finally able to share their work, it also marks the beginning of a new phase. Promotion. As I mentioned, John and Joe are at one convention this weekend. We’ve also taken part in the Philly Comic Con, Fright Night Film Fest in Louisville, KY, and Art All Night Film Festival in Trenton, NJ. We have some other conventions and film fests to announce in the very near future, please stay tuned for updates on those.

We’ve also seen a flood of incredible reviews come through from websites and magazines worldwide. The feedback has been incredible, beyond anything we had hoped for. If you haven’t read some of the reviews, please check out a few of the links below. Just beware of spoilers if you have not seen the film yet.

We think you’ll enjoy some photos from the weekend, whether or not you were with us for the premiere. The happiness felt by so many members of the Dead Weight family should be apparent below. We hope you enjoy them, because you can be certain we enjoyed every moment they captured.

Thank you, endlessly and most sincerely. Thank you for helping us see this production through to completion. We’re just getting started.

Click the "read more" link below in order to view a bunch of fun photos.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


We are quite honored to take part in the first annual Art All Night Film Festival this weekend in Trenton, NJ. The AANFF is a 24-hour marathon of films from the New Jersey area and elsewhere. Dead Weight will be screening Saturday, June 16 at 10:15pm.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


We are pleased to announce that Dead Weight has been selected to screen at Fright Night Film Fest in Louisville! The film fest is partnered with an awesome convention, which we also have a table at. If you weren't planning it already, you should definitely consider joining us in Louisville on June 29-July 1. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012


In case you missed the premiere weekend of Dead Weight, have no fear. We are bringing the film back to the Time Community Theater in Downtown Oshkosh!

Just like last time, doors open at 7pm, screening at 8pm. Tickets available at the door, five dollars each. Members of the cast and crew will be on hand. No one under 17 will be admitted without parental consent.

If you're on the facebook, be sure to RSVP to the event page. Tell your friends and see you soon!

Time Community Theater
445 N. Main St.
Oshkosh, WI 54901

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Here's a quick rundown on where Dead Weight will be headed over the course of the next month or so. There will be plenty more announced so stay tuned.

May 5th - Free Comic Book Day
We'll be promoting the film alongside a bunch of local and super talented artists. Plus, you can get free comic books! Runs all day from 11am-9pm!
House of Heroes
407 N. Main St.
Oshkosh, WI 54901

May 19th - The Heart of Darkness
Another instance where we'll be surrounded by incredibly talented local artists as we promote the film
from. The Heart of Darkness is a dark art collective of six artists from Wisconsin unveiling their first
annual show.
Ravens Nightclub
215 E. College Ave.
Appleton, WI 54911

May 31 - June 3 - Philadelphia Comic Con
We'll be in Artist Alley, come find us!!!

June 9th - Screening at the Time Community Theater in Oshkosh
Doors at 7pm, screening at 8pm. Tickets available at the door, five dollars each. Members of the cast and crew will be on hand. No one under 17 will be admitted without parental consent.

June 10th - Screening at the Broom Street Theater in Madison
Starts at 7pm, is free, and has limited sitting so get there early.

June 29 - July 1 - Fright Night Horror Weekend Louisville, KY

July 6 - 8 - Days of the Dead Indianapolis, IN

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Thanks to Matthew at the Advance-Titan for taking the time to chat with us and write up this article.



On Tuesday we sat down with Charles from the Northwestern to chat about Dead Weight. Great time chatting. Thanks, Charles!

Here's the write up:


This morning, at 9:24 AM CDT, we received an email notifying us that the Dead Weight two-disc DVD release has shipped from the manufacturer. Not only does this mean we WILL in fact have DVDs for sale at the premiere screenings this weekend, but we have also begun accepting pre-orders online!

Orders are scheduled to ship out from Head Trauma Productions HQ on or around Friday, April 6th. If you are planning to attend the premiere then please do NOT purchase a copy of the DVD online as online pre-orders can NOT be picked up at the premiere screenings this weekend. They can only be shipped!

Currently we are only offering US shipping, but we will be ironing out International shipping next week after we get our heads back on straight. The Fog will be thick this weekend, the weight will be immense.

You have a couple options for ordering. You can order the regular edition two-disc DVD, or Tony Moore artwork edition. They have the same content, the only difference is one has Tony Moore's unbelievable artwork printed on a slipcase that goes over the DVD case. On top of that you can order your choice of DVD alongside a Dead Weight shirt (women's sizes available), and your choice of poster, at a discounted price. Oh yes, did we mention we got new posters with the art from the DVD cover? We didn't? Consider yourselves informed, friends!

We are exploding with energy. Life couldn't be more surreal right now. Many thanks to all of the folks who interviewed us this week for helping to keep that flow of energy constant and intense.

Here are some photos of things you should buy. You can buy them online here: http://headtraumaproductions.bigcartel.com/

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The fine folks at WLUK Fox 11 Green Bay were kind enough to have us on for their morning show, interviewing with Pete Petoniak. We had a blast this morning, and it's nice to have a good reason to wake up at 6:30am and get a start on the day!

Check out the video and online article here:


Many thanks to the crew at WLUK for having us on! Much appreciated!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


John and Adam sat down with Dean from Oshkosh Today to talk a bit about the premiere on the 30th/31st and about our venue, the non-profit Time Community Theater.

Check out our episode online or catch Oshkosh Today on CATV2! Connie and the team at Oshkosh Community Media Services have been incredibly supportive of many projects we've worked on. We can't thank them enough for their dedication to a mission of making Oshkosh a greater community for everyone. A mission that is very much in line with our own, and one of our primary motivations for seeing this film through to the end.


DEAD WEIGHT has been selected to screen at the Chicago Fear Fest on April 13, 2012! We are most excited, and hope to see many of you there!

Find out more about the Chicago Fear Fest, including lineup, at http://chicagofearfest.com/

Monday, March 12, 2012


Adam here. Just want to take a moment to keep you posted on things on our end. We've been working furiously to get everything finished up for the DVD release of Dead Weight so we can have discs to sell at the public premiere the end of this month. As of Sunday evening the only remaining puzzle piece was the second disc. All artwork, and disc one master, have already been sent off for duplication. John and Adam reviewed the components for disc 2, John has been working overnight to make minor changes and author the dvd, and we're shipping it off Monday evening at 6pm via next day air to the manufacturer.

As soon as we both get a little sleep we will be setting up pre-orders for the double DVD release. Folks may be wondering, what exactly will be included in this package and why the hell has it taken so much work to get it finished? Good question. Now here's a good answer…

Disc 1: 
Feature Film (runtime, 89 minutes)
Actor and Director Commentaries (three commentary tracks, all run throughout the entire film)
Outtakes (runtime, 12 minutes)
Photo Gallery (160 images personally selected by the filmmakers)
English, Spanish, and French subtitles.
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer

Disc 2: 
685 Miles To Wausau: The Making of Dead Weight (runtime, 105 minutes)
Stories From Production (runtime, 45 minutes)
Extended Scenes (three scenes, roughly 12 minutes of cut footage)
"Why'd You Jump Out of the God Damn Bushes?!" featurette (runtime, 4 minutes)
WTDT 19 News Broadcast (runtime, 6 minutes)

There you have it, that's what has taken us so long. As you can see we have packed the DVD release FULL of bonus features. Stories Form Production & 685 Miles To Wausau both feature numerous interviews with cast and crew, alongside some other juicy goodies we cut in, just for the fans that want to know everything. This includes tons of behind the scenes camera footage and images of early Dead Weight plot and writing notes.

You will not be disappointed, dearest friends. Worth your hard earned and hard saved pennies, most assuredly.

Pre-orders are coming by the end of the week and will be posted at http://headtraumaproductions.bigcartel.com/ . We're hoping to include a poster + tshirt package option as well. If you're lucky we just might have a new shirt/poster design in that package, too!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Something we've kept a little quiet, is that we've had an incredible artist lined up to create the variant DVD art. That artist is the Sausage King of Comics himself, Tony Moore. You might be thinking, "Hey, I know that name!" As you should, friends. His art has graced the pages of The Walking Dead, Fear Agent, Battle Pope, Ghost Rider, The Punisher and Venom (to name a few).

We are thrilled to have his talent represent Dead Weight (for the limited edition slipcase), so feast your eyeballs on this!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


We are forever indebted to our friend, and Dead Weight actor, Adam Loper for putting together the fancy new Dead Weight website! Head on over there and check it out. He's done a great job and we are quite happy with it! Head on over there, I think we posted some never before seen photos from production...



Please share this and help spread the word.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I'm taking a few moments away from editing to talk a little bit about why Dead Weight is being released as a two-disc set. Aside from the wide array of special features, such as three commentaries, outtakes, a photo gallery displaying hundreds of Mary Manchester's gorgeous photos, extended scenes and much, much more, we will also have an extremely in-depth making of. This making of, titled 685 Miles To Wausau, will occupy the majority of the second disc. 685 Miles will take you through the entire process of making Dead Weight; from story origin, writing the script, location scouting, casting, production and all the way through post-production, and every other aspect associated with the film. We sat down with not just the cast, but also the crew, to hear the experience of making Dead Weight through their voices.

Did we forget to mention that 685 Miles is going to be three to four hours long?

See, now you understand why we need to release this as a two-disc set. The reason I say three to four hours is because I am still editing it, and will be until the last minute (our deadline to send out the DVD masters is fast approaching). Three to four hours, is that even necessary?! In our eyes, yes. It's important for us to let everyone know what this journey has been like. Not just for Adam and myself, either. There's a reason we sat down with the many members of the cast and crew, because this film is as much theirs at it is ours. Dead Weight began as an idea between two people, and as we near the official release, has blossomed into a project that took the involvement of many to bring to life. We owe it to all those who sacrificed time, talent, effort, sweat, blood, and sleep (just to name a few), and got behind this project from day one, to let their voices be heard.

As you are (hopefully) aware of, Adam and I wanted to make Dead Weight as much of an inclusive project as we possibly could. We've opened up ourselves and the film so you could follow us every step of the way. 685 Miles will now take that to a whole other level. For many of us involved, Dead Weight changed our lives. Sadly, unless you were on set, you will never fully grasp this notion. However, we hope that you'll get a better understanding of it from the 17+ hours of interviews, 5+ hours of behind the scenes footage, and photos… All coming together in a three to four hour making of.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


My mother emailed me asking if she could submit her own little story about how she was introduced to Dead Weight. She knew very little going into the script, as John and I generally had an agreement that we wouldn't be talking with anyone about the story. So here is my mother, Lora, and her own personal account of her first encounter with Dead Weight, formatted in her own little script style with very little editing on my behalf... and all extreme motherly biases untouched.

Lora may say she hates zombies, but she didn't have a problem dressing up for the Zombie Walk

My Dead Weight Beginnings

Setting: Early February 2011

              Lora's cell phone rings, she checks the ID, it's Adam,
she answers....... They exchange the usual greeting.
             Adam continues..... (continued after the break)

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Many thanks to Duke Behnke over at the Post Crescent for interviewing us and doing this write up. Much appreciated! Duke has a good understanding of what the main heart and focus of Dead Weight is. The people, the energy, and the Wisconsin-based centric production. We're glad he chose to focus on those aspects when writing the article.


Thursday, February 9, 2012


The time has come, dear friends, to finally release Dead Weight to the world. This is a day that sometimes seemed would never arrive, but here we find ourselves. Not much else in life could bring us greater joy than to finally share this film with you.

For date, ticket info, and the rest of the formal press release information, including details on the DVD release that will be available at the premiere, hit the "read more" link below the trailer to view the entire blog post. We can't wait to see you there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Hey, look at that... we did it again! Two entire months without a blog update. We are terribly sorry for the lack of effort we've put forth keeping you, our treasured fans and followers, in the loop. Please forgive us for this transgression.

The amount of work we have put in over the last two months can hardly be measured by any reasonable scale. I wish we could put into reference all of the feelings John and I have experienced recently, it's nearly an impossible task. But you can bet your ass that I'm going to try anyway! So, without further ramblings of the caffeine-induced variety, I present you with the shoddily constructed and relatively inaccurate Dead Weight progress report, 2012 edition! Tons of words, photos, and maybe some videos after the break...