Danzig launches Cinepocalypse with sold-out show

Glenn Danzig

Glenn Danzig

The legendary artist
packed the house
with devoted fans
for the
world premiere
of his first film

Cinepocalypse made nightmares come true at the Music Box Theatre last night. Putting Glenn Danzig into a room full of fans who came for the world premiere of his directorial debut, Verotika, it launched this year’s program on a well-earned dark note.

Verotika is the cinematic extension of the stories published by Danzig’s comic book company, Verotik. Or at least, that’s the common wisdom. Other than containing a soundtrack with a lot of new Danzig music, the film’s details have remained “shrouded in secrecy” since production began, according to Cinepocalypse.


But that really didn’t matter to opening night attendees of the festival that has been “terrorizing audiences since 2017.”

They began showing up long before the 8 p.m. start time, and when Danzig walked onstage to introduce Verotika, the place burst into applause.

“You came to see a movie no one has seen yet,” he proclaimed. “I wanted to wait until somebody let me do what I want to do.”

Danzig is the legendary pioneer of horror punk, a genre that combines loud, dark, and aggressive music with blood, skulls, and b-movie imagery. He refined the style while selling millions of albums the singer for The Misfits and Danzig, bands that he founded over a four-decade career.

There is no such thing as a casual Danzig fan. Most of them know that he graduated from the New York Institute of Photography, and he expanded on this fact to describe the unique production process behind Verotika.

“My background is film … so I shoot in f-stops, which nobody does any more,” he said “They all shoot raw and they hand it off to the post house and say, ‘make it look good.'”

He continued to explain that Verotika is “really true to the comics” of Verotik, and reassured the crowd that it is far from a typical blockbuster along the way.

“The basis of this movie is a throwback to some of my favorite movies like Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath and RIP Karen Black’s Trilogy of Terror,” he said. “There’s not a lot of nonsensical people talking nonsense for ten minutes on end and nothing happens … there’s no superheroes … it’s all just crazy like reality-based fantasy monsters, demons, serial killers, you name it … I’m not interested in doing the next Academy Award piece of sh—t.”

The audience appeared to expect nothing less. Wearing an abundance of black and touting a variety of pagan accessories, they revealed as much while telling Reel Chicago about their personal inspirations for attending.


DOUGLAS MCKAY, JAMES CULLEN BRESSACK, AND JOSH GOLDBLUMJames Cullen Bressack, the LA-based producer of Verotika, describes the movie as “some crazy f—d-up sh—t.” On making the film, he says that, “the most enjoyable thing was seeing Glenn bring the comic book series that he created to life.” Regarding the premiere, he adds, “Cinepocalypse is one of the best genre festivals in the country and we’re excited to be involved and we’re going to bang the doors down and we’re really excited to see what the audience thinks.” | Douglas McKay, another Angeleno, has been Glenn Danzig’s tour manager “for about 19 years now.” He has also collected all of Danzig’s comic books, which he describes as, “f—g insane.” When asked about the film, he said, “It’s gonna be new, fresh for everybody … the blood, the guts, the gore … it’s everything a horror movie is supposed to be, so when he got this project off the ground, I was really excited and then when he asked me to be part of it and come to these kick-ass f—g festivals like Cinepocalypse I jumped at the opportunity to do it and here we are. People are about to see some really f—d up sh—t.”

Carrie, a DJ and hair stylist from the northside, is a lifelong Danzig fan who describes his music as “kind of satanic, but very tongue in cheek.” She believes that suspense and drama rather than gore are what make a movie scary. | Gayle, a graphic designer from Chicago, got into Danzig after hearing his self-titled release in high school and met him when she was fifteen years old. She says that a worthwhile scary is one that can “get to me psychologically.”

Travis, a hair stylist from California who moved to Chicago five years ago, got tickets to the Verotika premiere as a surprise from his wife. A “big Danzig fan,” he hopes that the film will be “gory, with lots of nudity.” He gets scared by movies that are “unnerving” and “just psychologically creepy.” | “I think that people that go kind of insane and insanity is more realistic … the most terrifying thing.”

Ryan Dickerson from Ravenswood and Anna Christiansen from Humboldt Park both work at the same Chicago building products company. | Ryan’s been “infatuated with Glenn Danzig since I was twelve years old.” But by the time he got to see the Misfits for the first time, Danzig had left the band. “Since then I’d always dreamed I’d see him in person someday,” he says. “Now we get to see him with the debut of his movie. It’s amazing.” | Anna was a “teenaged punk kid” who always thought she was too late to see Danzig in person. “As soon as I heard they were doing a movie,” she says, “I was, like, we’re going!” She’s not necessarily scared by ghosts and exorcisms, but does get spooked by “weird humanity.”

John, a print shop employee from Chicago, and Bill, a sheet metal worker from Orland Park are “here for the Danzig movie” because, of course, “Danzig made it.”

Send your film updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.