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  • Exclusive pics, comments: “BUNYAN”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 18:21:16 by

     

    A lot of big guys with axes have stalked through horror movies over the years, but the biggest yet may be the titular menace in BUNYAN, a Kinetic Filmworks production directed by filmmaker/FX artist Gary Jones. He gave us a bit of info on the movie, and producer Jeff Miller supplied us with a couple of exclusive pics.

    BUNYAN, which recently wrapped its main shoot in the Los Angeles area, is a horrific takeoff on the legend of Paul Bunyan, who in this scenario is a malevolent, 15-foot-tall human monster that terrorizes a boot camp for first-time offenders in Minnesota. Scripted by Jones, Miller and Jason Ancona, it stars Joe Estevez, Thomas Downey from Jones’ JOLLY ROGER: MASSACRE AT CUTTER’S COVE, Tim Lovelace from Jones’ MOSQUITO, Amber Connor, Jesse Kove, Kristina Kopf (first photo), Cliff Williams, Victoria Ramos, Jill Evyn (taking a stunt fall in the second photo) and Ryan Hooks. More cast will be added for additional filming to take place this fall. The FX were created by Robert Kurtzman’s Creature Corps, with additional contributions by Acme Effects, DEADGIRL’s Jim Ojala and Michael Kallio.

    “I’m really excited about BUNYAN,” Jones tells Fango, “and I must say I have the good fortune to be working with this really talented and cool, cool cast and crew. A lot of my films have been giant-creature features, and I’ve kind of been labeled as the MOSQUITO and SPIDERS and CROCODILE 2 guy. BUNYAN is my first giant humanoid monster movie, and of course—I must quote my old buddy Ron Asheton here—‘He’s big, man, really big!’ Bunyan does a lot of killing and causes plenty of destruction along the way, but is a monster you still have just a little bit of sympathy for—like King Kong.

    “We are using every old and new special effects technique to bring BUNYAN to life,” he continues. “There are going to be some big surprises for the audience, so stay tuned, horror fans! You won’t be sorry.” You can see more pics and find more info at Kinetic’s official website.

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  • Fango Flashback: “COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 17:50:04 by Tony Timpone

    I’m a sucker for seeing vintage frights on the big screen, and if you’re a New Yorker, it has been a cinematic feast in the Big Apple these last few weeks. The Film Forum recently concluded its 3-D fest and then directly segued into a gimmick-laden William Castle salute (ending this Monday), while Lincoln Center has a bunch of cool screenings coming, starting with Ridley Scott’s ALIEN on Monday (see item here). Meanwhile, over at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s repertory house, the ongoing Bela Lugosi’s Dead, Vampires Live Forever festival (see item here) will be running till September 30. That’s where I caught 1970’s COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE on the big screen for the first time last week, and dug every grindhouse minute of it.

    Just like today’s modern vampire craze with TWILIGHT and TRUE BLOOD, ’70s audiences had no shortage of bloodsuckers, with DARK SHADOWS and THE NIGHT STALKER staking out the boob tube and Christopher Lee’s Dracula putting a bite on drive-ins. Legend has it that COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE—about a cultured Romanian blood-drainer who settles in modern-day LA—started out as a softcore movie before star Robert Quarry convinced the producers to take a legit approach to the material. Smart move. Reportedly shot for a meager $64,000 (with Quarry only earning $1,200 for his lead role!), the film became a hit after American International Pictures acquired it for release in 1970. Plotwise, writer/director Bob Kelljan closely follows the template set by Tod Browning’s 1931 DRACULA, with the aristocratic Yorga settling into his new mansion while preying on two romantic couples. A blood doctor (Roger Perry), suspecting a supernatural menace afoot, matches wits with Yorga—not unlike the verbal dueling of Bela Lugosi and Edward Van Sloan in DRACULA. And there’s also a mute henchman named Brudah (Edward Walsh) serving as the Renfield substitute, and a climax where the good guys sneak into the villain’s lair to put a stop to the bloodshed.

    The unflappable Quarry sets COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE (originally lensed as THE LOVES OF COUNT IORGA, the onscreen title on the BAM print) apart from other typical fanged fare from the period. The guy exudes a commanding screen presence, has a great air about him, but can also launch into Lee-style animal ferocity when his back gets pushed up against the wall. The California-born, classically trained actor wisely plays the role straight and sans accent, and seems to relish his verbal sparring with Perry and company, with the Count almost too proud to hide his true nature. This vampire, alas, also has a romantic streak, and keeps a harem of turned lasses in his basement. Both COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE and, even more, its year-later sequel THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA emphasize the vampire’s equal needs for love and blood, angles further explored in 1992’s BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (also playing BAM) and THE TWILIGHT SAGA, to name a few. Oh, the eternal loneliness… The film’s best shock scene finds the bitten (and smitten) Erica (Judy Lang) discovered gorily feasting on an eviscerated cat by her startled friends.

    Symptomatic of its budget, not a whole lot happens in COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE. There’s a lot of talk between the protagonists, plus a long travelogue scene with two of our heroes wandering the sunny streets of Los Angeles (fun for nostalgia/time-capsule reasons, though). Yorga’s eventual demise comes a little too abruptly, and the film’s surprise ending probably worked much better 40 years ago than it does today.

    Director Kelljan went on to co-write and direct YORGA’s better-budgeted sequel and SCREAM, BLACULA SCREAM, as well as tons of ’70s TV action shows like CHARLIE’S ANGELS and STARSKY & HUTCH. Actor Michael Murphy, whose love-van-driving character suffers Yorga’s violent wrath, carved himself a nice Hollywood career after this exploitation debut, appearing in such diverse films as Woody Allen’s MANHATTAN, Tim Burton’s BATMAN RETURNS and Wes Craven’s SHOCKER. Quarry, alas, never emerged as the ’70s successor to Vincent Price, which AIP unsuccessfully groomed him for. Audience tastes changed, and by 1973, tuxedo-wearing monsters were just not as scary anymore when compared to devil-possessed 13-year-old girls.

    Watch for a Fango Flashback on THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA next week, and check out the classic Quarry (who died in 2009) interview in Fango #64.

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  • Enter the “GARDEN OF HEDON” with “CLOWNS” director

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 17:09:47 by

    Indie filmmaker Kevin Kangas, the man behind the FEAR OF CLOWNS movies, is moving forward with GARDEN OF HEDON, a freaky fright feature for which he’s raising the last part of his budget on-line. He gave Fango a few details about the project, as well as info on how you can be involved.

    GARDEN OF EDEN opens with a man waking up in a room next to the body of a dead woman, with no memory of how he got there or even any clue where he is. Trying to find help, he instead finds himself in the middle of a bizarre party rife with sex, drugs—and more murders. “GARDEN is an experimental little movie that’s going to be a cross between the good 10 minutes of EYES WIDE SHUT—the mansion masquerade—and a supernatural element,” Kangas tells us. “It’s sort of like a giallo mixed with the fantastique—but it will have some great gore and a new ‘monster’ that I guarantee everyone’s gonna love.”

    Like a growing a number of filmmakers recently, Kangas is seeking to amass a portion of his budget through crowd-source financing, offering a number of incentives (including credit) in exchange for the cash. You can see the details here. “Since the whole thing is an experiment—we’ll even be playing a PG-13 version of the entire movie in pieces on-line for free for a limited time shortly after the premiere—we thought we’d try this new crowd-funding way to get a little extra money to up the gore even more,” says Kangas, who plans to begin shooting GARDEN in November. You can see the movie’s teaser below and find out more about Kangas’ films at his official website.

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  • Horror Nights/Zombie film competition finalists on-line

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 16:46:06 by Allan Dart

    Nearly 200 entries were submitted to this year’s Scary Film Competition sponsored by Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, which gave moviemakers the chance to have their scariest shorts judged by a panel led by HALLOWEEN director/horror rocker Rob Zombie. Today it was announced that the entries have been whittled down to 10 finalists that have been posted on-line for public voting. Find out the details after the jump.

    You can check out the shorts and select your favorite at Halloween Horror Nights’ official website from September 3-17. Only one vote per person may be cast. The winning filmmaker will be rewarded with a premiere showing on Chiller, a posting on Syfy.com, a $1,000 cash prize and a trip for two to the opening night of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.

    Prospective filmmakers were invited to submit films of 90 seconds to three minutes in length; the judging criteria included storytelling skill, originality and the degree of a “good scare.” The winner will be announced on September 17, and in addition to the prizes and broadcast, its creator will be honored in front of celebrities, studio executives and media at the Eyegore Awards ceremony, which will kick off the Halloween Horror Nights event. Click here to read more on Halloween Horror Nights and see a promo clip.

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  • Adam Green ready to go with “KILLER PIZZA”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 16:28:32 by Trevor Parker

    Fango recently spoke at length with writer/director Adam Green (pictured) about his upcoming HATCHET II, for a two-part magazine interview that begins in issue #297 (on sale this month). In the course of our chat, he also discussed his next project, an adaptation of Greg Taylor’s YA horror novel KILLER PIZZA.

    Green just began scripting the film—when he has found time between festival and promotional duties for his slasher sequel. “KILLER PIZZA is a dream project,” he says. “Now, I get called in for these bigger studio movies all the time, and that has always been a question for people, like, ‘Why do you keep making these smaller movies, why haven’t you done anything big yet?’ On the big ones, you really get put through such hell, and there hasn’t been anything I’ve believed in enough to go through all that. I’m very, very lucky that I have my own production company [ArieScope Pictures] and I can make my own movies. You know, I’m the son of a gym teacher from Boston, Massachusetts. My family was dirt poor and I had nothing, and now I have my own company and make my own movies?

    “And they aren’t these big tentpole releases, they’re my movies and they’re how I want them to be,” he continues. “So when I get a call for the remake of… [Pause] I better watch what I say here, so let’s say I get a call for the remake of HATCHET, and they’re like, ‘But we don’t want Victor Crowley to be in it!’ That’s what you’re up against with these remakes. Yeah, I could do a $30-million movie with $50 million in ad support that’s going to open huge, but is it worth it to spend two years of my life going through so much shit when I can just go off and make FROZEN? Now I’m at a point in my life where money doesn’t dictate my choices, and I can do what my heart wants to do. Very few people get to live like that, so the idea of a big studio movie hasn’t been worth it.”

    Green got involved with KILLER PIZZA when GREMLINS’ Chris Columbus, who’s producing the film through his 1492 Pictures, sent him a copy of Taylor’s book, in which a teenager takes a summer job at the title eatery, which proves to be a front for a monster-fighting organization. “Chris and 1492 are producing [Green’s romantic comedy] GOD ONLY KNOWS, so for a couple of years now I’ve had a very good friendship with them. On everything I’ve done, they’ve been supportive and very much behind me. So with KILLER PIZZA, I was actually on my way to Pixar, because Pixar wanted to do a screening of FROZEN for their staff…”

    Wait a minute—Pixar, the company behind so many all-ages blockbusters, wanted to see Green’s intense and graphic cold-survival thriller? “Yeah; to date, it’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me. I was at Sundance, and at the end of a FROZEN screening, all these people were coming up and handing me their business cards, and one guy said, ‘We’d love to have you come out to the company, show your movie and then talk about your character development and your dialogue. I really believe our employees could benefit.’ I looked at the card and it was f**king Pixar! I said, ‘Are you serious?’ and he was like, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll fly you in for the day.’ It was like every kid’s dream; I got to see animatics for CARS 2, the new short that’s playing with TOY STORY 3, everything. Then they showed FROZEN for their whole campus and I did a two-hour Q&A. The whole time I was just laughing and saying, ‘You guys are the greatest storytellers in the world, why the f**k do you care what I think?’

    “Anyway, it was on the flight back from San Francisco that I read KILLER PIZZA,” he continues, “and I thought it had all the heart of a GOONIES or a MONSTER SQUAD, like the Amblin movies I grew up loving. And Chris, between GREMLINS and GOONIES, he’s the guy for that stuff, and the fact that he wants to do something like that again on a big-studio level, and he picked me, it’s the most flattering thing. I mean, if I could talk about this with my 10-year-old self, I never would have believed it. So I went in and gave Chris my take on the book, which was very different from what was on the page. I took the basic story and changed everything to make it more cinematic, and they went for it.

    “So, we made the deal, I’m writing it and at this point it looks like I’ll be directing it—but only when I’m actually on set will I be able to say for sure. I’ve seen so many things just go away for the weirdest reasons. You just never know. But KILLER PIZZA is the one I’ve been holding out for, and I know I’m the right guy for it. And I’ve got the right support, because I’m making it with people who are my friends and who believe in me, and who are going to defend my vision. It’s by far the most exciting thing in my life right now—besides getting married, of course! And when people ask about a HATCHET III, I feel like I want to do this kind of stuff right now. If I can get to a point where I can do a KILLER PIZZA or a Disney movie, and in between I can get to do something I really love like HATCHET III, I’d like to do it that way. It has been very confusing for my agents and lawyers… That’s the other weird thing that happens when you become successful; all of a sudden you have people, which I think is hilarious. You go to these meetings, see everybody sitting there and think, ‘What the f**k do you even do?’ [laughs].”

    Check out the teaser trailer for HATCHET II, which opens October 1, here.

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  • “MACHETE” (Film Review)

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 15:48:13 by

    I try not to let the circumstances under which I see movies affect my reviews of them, but I must say that having viewed Robert Rodriguez’s MACHETE in a screening room, it’s hard not to imagine that catching it in a packed house of enthusiastic fans would have enhanced the experience. Feel free to add a half-skull to the rating below if you plan to see it at a crowded late-night theatrical showing this weekend, perhaps enhanced by a Corona or tequila or two.

    On the other hand, it is entirely possible to judge a movie on it own merits sans a riled-up audience; I believe I even let out a whoop or two in that screening room during MACHETE’s knockout opening sequence. It introduces us to Mexican lawman Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) as he infiltrates a drug den in a rundown rural town to rescue a kidnapping victim (a hot, naked kidnapping victim, of course). The result is a lengthy bout of imaginative, enthusiastically staged bloodshed that delivers on the promise of the MACHETE trailer that co-director (with Ethan Maniquis) and co-scripter (with his brother Alvaro) Rodriguez created for GRINDHOUSE. But what follows demonstrates that it’s a lot tougher to keep up that low-rent energy for the length of a feature than it is in the short form.

    Machete winds up almost, but not quite, killed by drug lord Torrez (Steven Seagal, who can’t act in Spanish either), who does dispatch our hero’s wife and child. Three years later, Machete is scrounging for day-labor work in Rodriguez’s home base of Austin, TX, where he’s observed by immigration agent Sartana (Jessica Alba) shortly before he’s approached by Booth (Jeff Fahey), who learns his rates for lawn care, house work and septic before offering him significantly more cash to carry out a hit. The target is Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), who’s running for re-election on a platform of zero tolerance for immigrants (among other things, he advocates for the construction of an electrified fence along the border). McLaughlin also likes to deal with the situation a little more directly by going on human hunts with nasty good-ol’-boy militia leader Von (Don Johnson).

    It soon turns out that Booth isn’t exactly a man of his word, Torrez winds up involved in the action again…and that’s an awful lot of villains to cram into one exploitation script. (Not to mention at least two significant secondary baddies: a sniper played by a welcome Shea Whigham from SPLINTER, and a killer-for-hire with his own infomercial and 1-800 number, portrayed by the equally welcome Tom Savini.) Along the way, Machete hooks up with Sartana and starts converting her to his side, and also gets involved with Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), an underground revolutionary leader who operates out of a taco truck. What we have here, to quote Joe Bob Briggs, is a little too much plot getting in the way of the story, and what should have been a lean and mean under-90-minute actionfest gets distended to 105 via a lot of narrative huggermugger and speechifying about the plight of undocumented Mexicans—as if the audience won’t be on Machete’s side right from the start.

    That’s due to the authority and been-through-it-all tough-guy attitude Trejo brings to the role; it’s great to see him take a feature-film lead after decades of supporting parts, and a shame when the overstuffed supporting ensemble sometimes crowds him offscreen, at one point for what feels like most of a reel. It would be hard to find someone more convincing as a man of action, and MACHETE sparks to life when he takes out the gangs of thugs sent to do him in. A hospital scene, in particular, ends with him making his getaway via a hilariously sick visual joke. Also amusing is the way Machete winds up coupling with every woman he meets, James Bond-style—though the actual sex is largely kept offscreen. The one major exception is his swimming-pool threesome with Booth’s wife and daughter; the latter is played (except in that pool scene, where it appears a body double takes over) by Lindsay Lohan, who under her current atoning circumstances might now be regretting taking the part of a promiscuous, oft-drunk party girl.

    Making the strongest impressions among the supporting cast are Fahey (if anyone’s gonna get a Tarantino-style career boost from this film, it’s him), Michelle Rodriguez and Cheech Marin, who appears late in the game as Machete’s priest brother, who’s got a few secrets hidden in the back of his church. Electra and Elise Avellan, GRINDHOUSE’s Crazy Babysitter Twins, also turn up as sexy nurses, and everybody winds up converging for a big climactic shootout. After the solid action that has preceded it, though, this setpiece is a bit of a letdown; it’s more chaotic than exciting, and Machete’s final dustup with Torrez ends with a whimper instead of a bang. MACHETE needed a sharper blade in the editing room, and while it delivers the trashy, gory goods better than something like THE EXPENDABLES, it winds up being a little less than the sum of those parts—and yet another case of a movie that doesn’t quite live up to the promise of its trailer.

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  • Unrated trailer for “HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN” blasts on-line

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 14:29:51 by Allan Dart

    Rutger Hauer does some baby talk, heads roll and there’s abundant homeless homicide on display in the funny and graphic (kiddies beware!) preview of Jason Eisener’s HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. See it after the jump!

    Ain’t It Cool News nabbed the preview, which features Hauer as the “Hobo”—an angry, fed-up vagabond who turns vigilante and decides to bring justice to his city’s streets—with a shotgun, of course. (We previously reported on a first viewing of the trailer and interviewed the filmmakers here.) In another piece of cool news, the film’s official site had this blog post from Eisener:

    “On Friday, September 3, select Canadian theatres will be screening our HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN teaser trailer in front of Robert Rodriguez’s new film MACHETE. Seeing something you have created, blown up to 35mm film is something special for any filmmaker. The only other time this has happened for us was with the original HOBO trailer, which had the amazing opportunity to play with GRINDHOUSE in Canadian cinemas. That was a very exciting time for us, and I can’t wait to relive it this weekend.” We’ll be bringing you more on HOBO as it gets closer to its own release.

     

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  • First clip from “LET ME IN”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-02 21:58:16 by Samuel Zimmerman

    Earler today, a French poster for LET ME IN showed up online and now, the first clip from the film has hit. Hit the jump to find out why, as many tales have told us before, you should always check the back seat. 

    This is actually the first half of an extended clip shown at San Diego Comic-Con this year, and it’s a shame it cuts off where it does as the car wreck that ensues is nothing short of stunning, and really got my hopes up for this English-language remake. 

    Directed by Matt Reeves, LET ME IN hits everyhwere October 1. 

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  • Oren Peli to bring even more Verite to your television

    Originally posted on 2010-09-02 21:42:00 by Samuel Zimmerman

    PARANORMAL ACTIVITY wrier/director, Oren Peli is sticking to his guns- aside from his ucming Sci-Fi shaky-cam flick, AREA 51, he’s just inked a deal with ABC to bring the verite-styled thriller series, THE RIVER to homes everywhere. Hit the jump for the details!

    Deadline reports that, “according to one description- THE RIVIER follows the story of a famed adventuter/tv personality who goes missing and is presumed dead deep in the Amazon. His friends and crew go to look for him on their state-of-the-art research vessel.”

    Sounds a bit like CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST: THE SERIES.

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  • Get a sneak peek at Universal Orlando’s 2010 Halloween Horror Nights TV Commercial

    Originally posted on 2010-09-02 21:30:31 by Allan Dart

    Celebrating “20 Years of Fear,” Halloween Horror Nights XX is taking place once again at Universal Orlando Resort where, on select nights in September and October, Universal Studios’ Florida theme park is transformed into a nightmarish maze of all-new haunted houses, scare zones and live entertainment. Being released next week, this year’s commercial will give you a glimpse at the frightening festivities—and it was directed by DAYBREAKERS’ Peter and Michael Spierig.

    The official site has more info about Horror Nights as well as a promo for the commercials featuring the Spierig Brothers. The spot will debut September 6. Here are the dates for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort: September 24, 25 & 30; October 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 20-24, 27-31.

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  • New “DEVIL” sites, stills

    Originally posted on 2010-09-02 19:56:59 by Samuel Zimmerman

    With just over two weeks until its release, the Dowdle Bros’ DEVIL is starting to ramp up on marketing and promotion including some new stills and websites to bring you face to face with the dark lord. 

    First up is The Devil’s Meeting, a place to bone up on the folklore and mythology of the Devil, get linked to supernatural-tinged blogs and take part in “The Devil made me do it,’ where you can share some of your most dastardly of deeds and either be damned or forgiven by other users. 

    On What are you most Afraid Of?, you can choose between the lesser of two evils and share your answers with friends on social networking sites everywhere. 

    You can also keep up with the latest on the film by visiting its Twitter and YouTube channel to get news and check out clips and TV spots. 

    DEVIL opens everywhere September 17. See FANGORIA #297 (out later this month) for our preview of the film and keep an eye on FANGORIA.com for an exclusive interview with star Bokeem Woodbine. 

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  • New “MONSTERS” poster

    Originally posted on 2010-09-02 19:05:24 by Allan Dart

    Want to get a glimpse at the titular creatures seen in Gareth Edwards’ upcoming film? Take a look at this new one-sheet—and take a close look at the reflection in the right eye…

    MONSTERS involves a U.S. photojournalist who is taking his boss’ daughter through Mexico’s dangerous infected zone where extraterrestrial life forms landed six years ago. The film premieres on Video On Demand, iTunes, Xbox Live, Playstation Marketplace, Amazon and Vudu on September 24; it hits theaters on October 29. See the exclusive preview in FANGORIA #298, on sale next month.

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