"DYNASTY OF DARKNESS"
by Chris Chaos and Baron Craze
The following article was adapted from "THE BLOODY RISE OF AXIS VIDEO" concerning the films "Dynasty of Darkness" and "Dynasty of Darkness: Apocalyptic End"
After we completed filming for our “BREAKNECK WRESTLING” project we were looking for our next project, we took inventory of our likes and decided upon doing music videos for bands. So we put out the word and did a few videos and wondered what to do with all the music videos once we had them filmed and edited. At that point, we then wanted to do a loose documentary on some of the bands that we were working with…..Enter “DYNASTY OF DARKNESS”, a collection of music videos from local and international bands that we filmed videos for. So we started contacting bands and informing them of what we were doing and some could care less and others were very welcoming to the idea. Myke Hideous of The Empire Hideous was one of the greatest help and found us Shadow Reichenstein and Bella Morte for our project. So Myke set up a show at the CBGBs of several bands and we filmed the whole set for our project. When we filmed the CBGBs set we didn’t know what we were getting into. We rented a van and booked the seats for all those going. Driving up to NYC was always a hassle and had a hell of a time finding parking. When we finally found a parking spot it was a miracle, so we unpacked and head over to the club to start our night of filming. (Side note) A few weeks later we got a $400 ticket in the mail and we had to pay it since it would have cost us more money to take off from work and spend the day in court fighting the ticket. Although the van was parked clearly far enough from the yellow line and the fire hydrant there was nothing that we could do, we spent just about all day and night at the club setting up and filming. I enjoyed (sarcasm implied) the whole show up on a speaker getting a wide shot of the concert, needless to say I was rattled and deaf by the time the show was over.
We found a great band named Sapphic Ode based out of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and worked out a deal to film a scripted video for them. We filmed that all in one day at the legendary Harwain Theater in Mount Ephraim, New Jersey and everything went very smoothly, despite it being an all-day event. We filmed several scripted scenes for the video which featured members of the band, an actor and the fetish dancers/models Cyndie Myst and Dani
Nemesis. We did many takes of the individual members of the band for the live portions of the video. It was extremely hot in the theater and in one of the scenes that required the guitarist to have a black trash bag over his head he almost passed out. It was a great experience working with all involved and it was also the 1st time we worked with Cyndie and Dani. The lead singer of Sapphic Ode, Julie, was also a model for Wicked Talent and that is how she secured Cyndie and Dani for the video. We filmed so much footage for this scripted video we actually could produce a making of video to go along with it. In between filming the scripted video for Sapphic Ode we also filmed them a few times live to mix into the final video edit. This video called She God was also the last time the theater was used before it was torn down and turned into a Walgreens drug store.
In the storage room of The Harwain we found old film reels of porn dating back to the 60’s and 70’s, I wish that I could have rescued them. This shoot garnished a lot of attention since Charles Cudd of the band Dead Emotion drove all the way down from NYC to meet and talk about doing a scripted video for them.
An interesting story unfolded at one of their shows up in NY that we were filming, before we were in touch with the band KITTIE, they were playing on the same bill as Sapphic Ode. When they came on I just decided to film their show and then seek permission later, but halfway through the set my camera people and myself were swarmed by security to confiscate our footage. It was very loud, we were in NY and in no position to argue so we gave up the
footage. Then later on when we did work with Kittie they stated that they remembered this incident and apologized.
Also during the filming of Dynasty of Darkness we met up with Charles from the band Dead Emotion based out of NY and he has become an ally with our projects ever since. We discussed doing a scripted video for his fetish song called BYTCH. The video was scripted it out and we set the date and all showed up at a Moose Lodge in the middle of Bumblefuck, New Jersey to film it. We started somewhat early and it continued into the wee hours of the
morning. It was fetish themed so our model friends Cyndie Myst and Dani Nemesis were on hand once again. The alcohol was flowing and everyone got silly. There were so many scenes filmed it was really hard to decide which ones would make it when we went to edit the video.
Charles actually had another shoot set up to add even more footage to this great video. We filmed this part at the house I was living in at the time. Charles had some more fetish models involved for this shoot and the legendary Carpetboy appeared in this one. We will eventually also edit a making of video for this song too. The outtakes were hysterical.
While searching for bands to include on the D.O.D. DVD, we came across an industrial band called Suture Seven, a very talented group of 3 guys from the Harrisburg, PA area. I believe we met them through our "at the time friend" and club promoter J.R. at a local club in Philly. Their musical style is part Ministry, part Nine Inch Nails and part all of their own. The 1st time we saw them live it was some sort of Hero/Villain costume theme and they all dressed up
like the thugs from the old Batman show. After the show I contacted them and told them what we were doing with D.O.D. and they really wanted to be a part of it. So we made plans to meet them at the next show and we filmed their whole set. It was too hectic to try and get interviews after the show so we set a date to meet them at their studio. We met up with them and conducted the interviews and they are truly a great bunch of guys. After the interviews they
gave us a private concert in which we also filmed. They supplied us Rumple Minze and pizza but I had an empty stomach and too many shots before the pizza arrived. I ate one slice of pizza and it did not agree with me so I excused myself to the outside and threw up. It has been an ongoing joke between the lead singer and myself ever since.
Later that night S7 was to play a show, in which we were also to film, with a band called Carfax Abbey. Afterwards we met up at a local diner and just goofed off in celebration of a good show. Soon after they did a cover of Ministry’s Stigmata that was to be included on a cover CD.
After that night, we all became good friends and came out to several of their shows to film even more. One night in the winter they had a Christmas party and we drove up there to hang out and enjoy the holidays. It stormed that night so they offered for us to stay the night.
Eventually came the time when they went through a line up change, they kept the original members but then moved the singer to drummers, added a new male singer, added a female bassist and a female keyboardist. With this new line up they did change the sound a bit and then released a new album. Shortly after they did sadly break up and moved on to other bands or higher education.
Carfax Abbey was the next band that we had our sights set on for including on D.O.D. We 1st spotted them at a Suture Seven concert and they were amazing. We were kind of put off because a few people stated they had a real ego problem, but once we met the guys we realized that was NOT true, they are all down to earth and really cool guys. The members were open to our project and anxious to get started. We secured permission to come out and film and captured the performance on camera. Several other filming dates were set up also since we wanted all the footage that we could get and we also enjoyed seeing the band live. A date was set up to meet them at the guitarist's house so that we could film some interviews for our project. We prepared a bunch of questions and all went very smoothly. A few months later the guitarist and his girlfriend got married and we were invited, they had a very interesting creepy
theme along with a graveyard wedding cake, very awesome.
We attending quite a few of Carfax Abbey’s performances but one of the most memorable had to have been the one at Pirate’s Den (in Gloucester City before it burned down) where all the other bands were in the death metal genre and the guitarist kept making fun of one band since their lyrics did sound like Cookie Monster shouting “I want cookies!”
Bella Morte was a band that Keith liked and we met them at a show through Myke Hideous. Bella Morte is very talented and has a huge following so of course they were perfect for our project. We filmed them quite a few times over the years and all over New Jersey and New York. The most memorable show we did with them was at the very 1st Monster Mania event in Cherry Hill, NJ. The set up and atmosphere was just insane and it was a wonderful
experience to be a part of this memorable show and event.
Of course we could not discuss the bands associated with Dynasty of Darkness without mentioning the legendary Myke Hideous of The Empire Hideous. He was hosting an event up in New York at the CBGBs one night and wished for us to film it for our Dynasty of Darkness project. He had quite a large number of bands lined up and we filmed the whole event and included The Empire Hideous, The Torn Paperdolls, Five Star Dive from that event. That was a long day, the ride up to NYC, the task of trying to find parking (which ended up in us getting a ticket) and my long perch seated up on a speaker for about 8 hours to get the wide shot of all the bands. But a legendary show took place that night and we made it a part of D.O.D.
A few weeks later we met up with Myke at his house to conduct the interviews for the film. He took us on a tour of his very interesting house, I liked his “used” coffin. It was a treat hearing of all his experiences with previous bands such as The Misfits, Spy 99 and The Bronx Casket Company. We brought some beer and asked Myke if he minded if we had a few, and he stated “as long as you do not mind me indulging”, whatever that meant....
We met up with Myke on several different dates to film other bands, like Shadow Reichenstein, that he suggested to us for use in our film. Also one night we were having a party at our house and invited Myke and crew to come, now that was an adventure. I know a few of us drank too much and the party was a blur. One of Myke's band mates was the 1st to duck out, he retreated back to his car and passed out. I think I was next, I went outside to the corner of
the house and puked.
Introducing The Torn Paper Dolls. Prior to filming the event at the CBGBs up in NYC with Myke Hideous I saw that The Torn Paper Dolls were also on the bill so I contacted them ahead of time to make sure we could include them in our project, they agreed and the rest is history. T.P.D. is a much different band than anything that we have ever filmed but we didn’t mind since we did want a spread of different styles on the DVD.
We filmed with T.P.D. a few times and it was a joy each time, we had Nikki Jaine and Sky over a few times to film interviews and what not. One of the most memorable moments with Nikki was when she came over to provide an interview and we almost killed her. She drove over from Philly and after the interviews we were all just bullshitting around and we were taking funny photos posing with a mannequin we had named Stan. She started feeling queasy and
had an allergic reaction to the paint or something on Stan, so we had to drive her home after that.
Moxley. The next band we started to work with for the Dynasty of Darkness project was a hardcore outfit out of Philly named Moxley. We told them of what we were doing and they wished to be on the DVD. We followed the band and filmed several of their shows to edited down to be placed in the project. It was a slow process since we were working with so many different people, bands and personality’s. Then I started getting emails from members of Moxley attempting to rush us for the edits. I explained to them the process and that it would take some time to get the videos complete but they were not listening and continued to try and rush their segment. So apparently that left a bad taste in both parties mouths due to this, but despite this the video came out great and made it onto Dynasty of Darkness: Apocalyptic End.
BARON CRAZE: "Nevertheless, Axis regain our footing, with a live show at the Trocadero Theatre, for the local band Moxley, on July 15th, and allowed Chris, Ben and myself to showcase our talents, a 3-camera shoot, if I am not mistaken this event was my first time at the Troc. Chris had Ben and I take turns on the main camera filming lesser-known bands that went on before the main show of Moxley. It turned out later that the person with no video camera
experience actually did a fine job – and why not, I can shock folks often. The gig paid us $300, not bad for a one-show performance, however at the time a missed opportunity, nobody contacted or talked to the bands that played there that night, (of which one was called Decomposed) to try to get more monies and more exposure. The video and performance were solid, and Axis Video and myself were proud that we did a good job and able to return to the
forefront. Moxley redefine what the standard crap-fest of metal had become, very water downed, and help us to by showing that we were not the standard production house." Baron Craze.
Resurrection was a band that came a little later in production and proved to be a valuable resource. Cherby, a member in the band, also promoted in several clubs in the area that catered to metal and rock bands. So we expanded the scope once we took on their project and Cherby led us to another band that appeared on the DVD, The Fall of Man.
BARON CRAZE: "From the starting gate, Axis Video turned our attention back to the bands of the local scene, starting with a band called Resurrection (no relation to the band from Florida, which was using the name at the same time). At the last known time they changed their name to American Messiah, they hired us for their shows at the Cherrywood Rock Club, in NJ. We filmed their entire set, and highlighted the track “New Disease” and this lead us to
do their next gig, still at a low-end amount, but it allowed us to have another return to the prize.
February 9th marked our biggest event came from, Resurrection and this time at the Trocadero Theatre. This would mark, my first time, with no experience under my belt to do photography, I use a simple PowerShot Canon Camera A570IS and was pulling off fabulous photos, that need the briefest correction with a Photo Program, and unable to afford Photoshop I purchased Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 both helped tremendously. The bassist, Cherby,
instructed us to be ready for a show-stopping event, and something that the Troc did not approved thereof, simply dousing himself in fake blood, which I captured with a perfect darkened stage and three spotlights behind. I was asked by others, who saw the photo, wished to know such things as what was the F-Stop (I had no what the hell they said) and what studio did I used, I said it is a live shot, with a simple camera. Here I learn the important rule, you
got the camera, and you have the right and permission to film, take your shot, and forget about the crowd. I took some of that lesson to heart and change the other part, to give the fans respect, and work around them, any event has asses in the masses, no need to become another one of them.
These ventures led us to do more videos of bands at the Troc, and accomplish a small goal of doing the first three months of this new year of music videos, with many bands, for example Fall of Man “Disconnect”. The year was off to an exciting start, the black cloud overhead finally past, and we all needed that to happen." Baron Craze.
Living With Demons. L.W.D. is a talented music producer and member of various bands that provided us with quite a few pieces of music for some of our various projects. In between the various bands and segments on D.O.D. you will hear LWD’s music. He came up with us on the CBGBs shoot and assisted us tremendously, also he was out with us on a very memorable interview with the Jersey Devil Hunters for our documentary "THE SEARCH FOR THE
JERSEY DEVIL". The Search for the Jersey Devil
The day finally came when we wrapped filming for Dynasty of Darkness and it was time to edit this beast of a project. First we had to decide which bands to include and which ones to cut and we planned out a release party with a club in Philly along with a secured a solid date. We had a few weeks to get the DVD edited then off to the DVD duplication plant to have it replicated in time for the release party. We were about ½ way through editing up the Sapphic Ode She God video when something happened and the hard drive of the edit deck crashed, when the deck rebooted all the edits were missing so we had to start all over again from scratch. This really set us back and we had to have the edits done pronto. The start of our insane time lines and deadline meeting beast modes.
Long story short we finished editing up the DVD, all looked good and the release party was only days away. So we mailed off the master disc to the plant to have the DVD pressed. I received the phone call from the plant that they received it and the DVD shipments should be back to us on Friday..FRIDAY??!?! That was the day of the release party! We ordered 1000 discs but they could only get us 30 in time for the release party. Luckily all worked out
perfectly and we had the DVDs on hand to present at the release party. Many of the people that worked on and appeared in the project did show up for the release and it was considered a success. It was magical to see all of our hard work appearing up on the big screen. The only thing issue was that the club was having several events going on alongside the release of the DVD that they could not play the film in its entirety. The Dynasty of Darkness DVD
was completed and released in 2003. After its release many people were asking for a part 2. So we drafted up the blue prints for that and got to working on it right away.
A funny side note to this story is that this was when we still had the Bang Bus up and running, we parked in the parking garage that was across from the club that was hosting the party. In all of the excitement we locked the keys in the van as we were planning to make our grand entrance. But luckily the attendants were apt at lock picking.
After a warm reception, a follow up to Dynasty of Darkness was planned and entitled “Dynasty of Darkness: Apocalyptic End” and this had bigger and more infamous bands slated to appear but this beast would be a long time coming and wouldn’t be released until 2010. In #2 we met with Dave Brockie from Gwar and filmed him twice over the course of a weekend. We met up with him at a show in PA and filmed this incredibly long set. He was beyond drunk and
tried to kidnap us and make us part of his Slave Pit. I was game, but reality slapped me in the face and I couldn’t go on tour with him. I must say that was the most drunken weekend that I have ever witnessed! My hard shell camera case was actually floating on the bar floor from all the spilled alcohol. On the day of Dave’s last show he partook in way too many Jager shots and could barely stand up. At one point he pissed off his drummer and he left for a bit then Dave played the drums, with his bass. Dave also has a hankering for wearing kilts since he hates pants, and I must say I saw way too much cuttlefish that night. For Dynasty of Darkness 2 we edited up “Damn that Money” but hope in the coming months we can edit up other live videos from Dave’s set. (Rest in Peace Dave!)
Several stories are associated with the day we went to film for Dave Brockie. First it was a day when the members of Axis Video's schedules were all conflicted, Keith told me we were filming one of 2 of Dave's shows, either in Philly or West Chester. He then decided that it would be the 2nd day in West Chester and I had prior obligations and was up all night. Then Keith called and informed me that the film dates now included BOTH days. So Keith and the rest of the filming crew met me at my house to make the journey into Philly to film the 1st nights show. It was beyond crowded. We were waiting on D.B.X. (The Dave Brockie Experience) to take stage so we talked with the band members as they were unloading their tour van, the famed Sea Slut. We got some interviews and odd talk in with Dave before he excused himself to go get ready for the show.
When it was time we made our way inside the club and sat with the band members and had a few drinks and dispensed relationship advice upon one of the band members that had his eye on a female in the club. Then came the time for DBX to meet their fans and sign autographs, chaos. So we had to assist in setting that up and maintaining order.
DBX finally took the stage and all went well. After the show we went backstage to interview him and he expressed his opinions on many topics and where we learned how much he really hates pants and why he had the kilt on. Needless to say, the Cuddlefish made its appearance in the interview and made its way onto Dynasty of Darkness: Apocalyptic End immortalized forever.
The 2nd night we filmed the performance in West Chester, PA and we didn't have a GPS for this trip and were relying on Mapquest directions. Fun...so here there are 5 guys in a car and lost in West Chester, so we stopped to ask for directions and it seemed like everyone in town were bikers, so we made Stormtrooper (one of our camera people) ask these bikers where Gay Street was. Haha. (Yes, the club was on a street named Gay Street)
We finally made it to the club and met up with Dave and crew and he was excited that he found new victims for the Slave Pit. This show was beyond messed up but a good one! Dave got beyond drunk with beer and Jager Bombs which proved to be highly entertaining. At one point during the show Dave was so drunk that the drummer left the stage for a few minutes in anger as Dave played the drum set with his guitar. His kilt had many “wardrobe malfunctions”
and I am so glad I was not on the camera that was trained on Dave as he paraded around the stage naked. Poor Keith, haha. At another point in the show Dave lost his contact lens, so he enlisted the crowd in assistance to help find it. Amazingly the contact was found and he used our cameras to help put it back in. The bar was flooded with spilled alcohol and my hard shell camera case was actually floating in the spilt drinks.
During the show we ran into some people that we thought were members of CKY but they denied it, but of course later on while we were outside talking with Dave they introduced themselves as CKY. We have footage of this somewhere with Ryan Dunn (RIP) puking outside the bar.
The other big band that we filmed for Dynasty of Darkness 2 was KITTIE, and that was very fun hanging out with them for the night and filming their set. I contacted their management and informed them of our project and to see if we could set up a session to interview the band. They said yes, we could meet with the members of Kittie in their tour bus prior to the show. So we got there and saw Jenn (from when she was with the band) and she told us that we
would be actually filming in the venue and filming the whole show, even better!!! We interviewed them backstage at the TROC in Philly for about 2 hours and then hung out with them and bullshitted before they went on. Then we filmed their entire set. The show got over really late and I had to be into work early. So I went into work the next morning, did a few things really quick, then built a wall of boxes in my office and passed out for 2 hours before the phone woke
The big scripted video for this DVD was BILE’s “In League” video, we filmed their live set at the TROC in Philly, and then on a separate date filmed the scripted material for the video, this was one of the most fun and smoothest shoots we have ever done. In this video you can see some scene favorites: Gary from Carfax Abbey, fetish models Cyndie Myst, Dani Nemesis, Amber Star, Ru and Rebecca from Carfax Abbey fame. The video was set in a creepy old house
in the middle of nowhere NJ and set the theme and tone of the dark video. Out of all of the music videos that I have done over the years I feel this one is my proudest moment.
One thing that I remember from the live shoot of Bile was when we met up with the band, some other camera person was filming for KMFDM and kept stating he was a filmmaker and that he and ONLY he was filming KMFDM. OK dude.
BARON CRAZE: "This year would be an up and down year for Axis Video, had us embarking on making a video in honor of Bile, while Axis Video, with Chris filming a portion of the film, of them playing live, years before we thought of making an organized music video to show others what we were capable. Cyndie and her model friends drove down from northern New Jersey and New York for the film. We planned out the shoot, came to line in the song, “stick in it
where it really hurts” I informed Chris I have special item for this, and we got Gary of Carfax Abbey to star in the video. The next week over, I brought the special item (2 versions of it) to steel long spikes, and it floored Chris, who has stuff like this, I replied just one of many things in my chamber office… Makes you wonder what else I like and have in this office… many twisted items children… Nevertheless the shoot, has a professional feel, organized, pre-planned, everyone involved understood we were in control of the set and the production, smoothly ran it, and finished well ahead of schedule." Baron Craze.
The other beast of a scripted video that appeared on this project was Dead Emotion’s “Nothing to Die For”. An interesting and haunting video, shot I believe on 3 or so separate dates and locations. The Grim Reaper (who was portrayed by Baron Craze) and grave yard shots were filmed in New York and the rest in New Jersey. I remember when we arrived at the location for the NYC scene, we were walking up the hill leading to the park and I have never seen that many condoms and needles piled up in my life. We stayed up in Queens, New York the night before at Charles’ house so we could wake up early to start filming. It might have been about 8am and Charles and Marina wanted Baron to get into his Grim Reaper outfit, we decided to wait until we actually started to film since it was very hot and humid outside. Luckily we did wait since we didn’t even leave to go to the location until the afternoon. When we did start filming the Grim Reaper scene, Baron had to take a break since it was hot out and he had on this heavy black costume. This video featured Miranda St Croix and (Just) Sean as the main cast and several other people in supporting roles. The dead ghost ballerina scene was very haunting and we filmed it on an outdoor stage in Haddon Heights, New Jersey.
BARON CRAZE: "Dead Emotion returned for a second video, called “Nothing To Die For” a song by Charles and Steve Rotella, it gave us, a slightly more professional experience, Chris and I took the train up to Penn Station, with Chris experiencing the ride with a brief shock. The train slowed to a crawl, to allow the high-speed train to zoom by, it was just then Chris looked at the window, wow what a shocker for him. We arranged for Charles to not only pick
us up but also give us a return ride home. However, as Charles drove us back to his place, we went over a bridge but not on the main portion of it, rather a very tight access road on the bridge, at a fair rate of speed. NOT FUCKING FUN! Chris was closest to the railing overlooking the river. This video had filming done in NJ – in Haddon Heights Park at the Dell and then in New York at both a cemetery and wooded private area, up a seriously steep hill. This excursion, had me venturing into more than just set design or filming but experiencing more editing and even acting, as I was the Grim Reaper, with Miranda St. Croix who later would star in our short for The Shock Trailer. This marked another zany experience with Dead Emotion, earlier in the year we joined them in New York to film them at (then named) The Bat Cave, a gothic club, where after filming, I chilled on one of the upper floors, drinking vodka, and
Chris came up to find nothing, only to tell me later that I vanished into the darkness. This was not the first time I heard of me vanishing into the darkness, and far from the last time – that is another story for another time. However, it was time for the bands interviews, and least this marked the true Baron reckless manners, encouraging various band members to get wild with their significant others or ‘new’ friends, and let’s just say my boot was involved with my
shoving the hindquarters thereby a face somewhere. Did I mention this was all in front of a security camera? No – well we finished and bugged out, and slipped back into the crowd by the time security arrived on the scene." Baron Craze.
In 2009 “DYNASTY OF DARKNESS: APOCALYPTIC END” was finally released with much anticipation. Amazon and several other distributors picked it up with no problems. This was probably our most elaborate release due to how many people were involved in the making of it. This sequel featured the bands: Kittie, Bile, Dave Brockie from Gwar, Dead Emotion, The Fall of Man, Resurrection, Carfax Abbey, Suture Seven and Poor Child’s Promise among many
Other bands that appeared on D.O.D. 2 were The Fall of Man, Poor Child’s Promise, Carfax Abbey, Suture Seven, Dead Emotion and Moxley along with many little skits, interviews and shorts appearing, but you will have to get the DVD to see these gems.
To purchase DVDs or Digital Downloads:
Dynasty of Darkness DVD
Dynasty of Darkness: Apocalyptic End
Dynasty of Darkness digital download
Dynasty of Darkness: Apocalyptic End digital download
(Chris Chaos is a long time resident of South Jersey who once again resides in and writes from Gloucester City, New Jersey. He is a filmmaker, a business owner, writer, urban explorer and investigator of the odd and weird, a proud parent, happily taken and a connoisseur of hot wings. Chris can be reached at AxisVideo@aol.com)