• Two new “LET ME IN” clips

    Originally posted on 2010-09-15 18:02:50 by Samuel Zimmerman

    Overture has released a couple of new clips from Matt Reeves’ quite good LET ME IN (his English language remake of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN). Have a look at them below! 

    Here’s the official synopsis: “Chloë Grace Moretz (Hit Girl from KICK-ASS) stars as Abby, a mysterious 12-year-old girl, who moves next door to Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee, THE ROAD). Owen is a social outcast who is viciously bullied at school and in his loneliness, forms a profound bond with his new neighbor. Owen can’t help noticing that Abby is like no one he has ever met before.  As a string of grisly murders occupy the town, Owen has to confront the reality that this seemingly innocent girl is really a savage vampire.

    “LET ME IN, a haunting and provocative thriller written and directed by filmmaker Matt Reeves (CLOVERFIELD) and produced by legendary British horror brand Hammer Films, is based on the best-selling Swedish novel LAT DEN RAT KOMMA (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN) by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and the highly-acclaimed film of the same name.”

    LET ME IN releases October 1. For more on the film, you can read our review right here and pick up Fango #297 (on sale this month) for our exclusive interview with Reeves. 

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  • Daniel Stamm to direct “REINCARNATE”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-15 17:53:56 by Allan Dart

    THE LAST EXORCISM helmer is going behind the camera for the next film in M. Night Shyamalan’s Night Chronicles series.

    According to Deadline, Stamm will direct the film, which was scripted by Paul Grellong and BURIED’s Chris Sparling. The announcement is timely, considering that DEVIL (the first movie from Night Chronicles) is coming out this weekend. REINCARNATE involves a jury haunted by supernatural forces that hold the key to the murder case they’re deliberating. Production is set to begin in 2011. See LAST EXORCISM article in Fango #296.

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  • Raving Mad Masercola: How far is too far? When disturbing violence becomes exploitive

    Originally posted on 2010-09-15 15:45:06 by Nick Masercola

    Holy shit.

    Those were the two words I uttered upon reaching the end credits of A SERBIAN FILM. Actually, that’s a lie. I looked at the screen stone-faced for several moments, barely able to comprehend what I just watched, like I just got cracked upside the head with a sledgehammer and my brains were still rolling around my head. Effective? Yes. Disturbing? Without a doubt. It’s climbed into the infinitesimally small category of movies that truly were hard for me to sit through, with one scene in particular nearly causing me to turn the movie off.

    I won’t describe the scene in question—that’s what a Google search is for—but anyone who has seen the film will probably stand behind saying it’s the most depraved sexual act imaginable. It’s absolutely repulsive and sickening, and I honestly couldn’t believe it went as far as it did. In fact, this scene in particular is what got the gears turning with two questions: What are the movies that’ve truly left an impact on me due to their violence, and how far is too far in the depiction of atrocious acts in cinema?

    To date, there are only two films that’ve shocked and disturbed me the same way: LUCKY and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. For the first half of LUCKY I was having a ball, laughing at the jokes and intrigued at the philosophical rambling of Millard Mudd…and then comes a near 7 minute scene of him tying a girl to a post, strangling her until she passes out, reviving her, and then strangling her again. As for THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, I caught it on a whim at the NYC Horror Film Festival and was completely blindsided by how hard of a film it was to sit through (then again, the sadistic torture of a teenage girl by small children isn’t exactly light material). And now comes A SERBIAN FILM, the latest movie to make me struggle to finish it. 

    The thing is, I’ve been debating—at great lengths—to figure out what makes these films so disturbing, and whether or not any of them go too far in their depiction of violence and debauchery. Now while I would never claim to have as much experience and knowledge as most of the writers on this staff, I have seen my fair share of exploitation and generally f***ed up films, though none have really left an impression. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST? Outside of the turtle scene, I yawned my way through it. FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD? I found it hilariously bad. MEN BEHIND THE SUN? Definitely messed up, but I still stomached it pretty well. In fact, the only really “hardcore” exploitation films I haven’t seen are the AUGUST UNDERGROUND series (just because I don’t care to), and THE DEVIL’S EXPERIMENT (same reason). However disgusting the films I’ve seen, they’ve never really left an impression on me the way these special three have. 

    Why is that? Well number one, most of them were trying too hard. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if I can feel something desperately trying to shock me, it won’t. It reeks of a bad filmmaker trying furiously to get a rise out of his audience. It’s the movie equivalent of an overly macho guy incessantly trying to brag and show everyone else up in order to prove something to himself—a pathetic display if there ever was one.

    But that’s only half of it. The other issue at hand when I take a look at what has truly disturbed me is that most of these films I listed are just focused on the gore, which I’m highly desensitized to. You can throw as many entrails as you want at me, but I won’t even bat an eye—it doesn’t upset me anymore. 

    What upsets me is suffering. 

    For example, FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD is an incredibly graphic film, the entire movie being a killer’s slow dismemberment of teenage girl. Why didn’t it affect me? Well, besides the fact that the killer wears a ridiculous samurai outfit (not the most frightening attire), the girl is asleep during the whole ordeal. So yes, he cuts her apart graphically, but as far as I can tell, she doesn’t feel any pain. The same with most of these films—the emphasis in on the effects, not on the people. 

    For LUCKY, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and A SERBIAN FILM, the emphasis is on the suffering. A woman tied to a post screaming and crying, strangled and revived, strangled and revived. The slow and horrible mutilation of a teenage girl. The…well, let’s just say A SERBIAN FILM’S infamous scene inflicts pain on the most innocent of victims. 

    So if this is what shocks me, where do I say enough is enough? How much is too much suffering? When does necessary, sadistic, plot-progressing violence veer into lurid and pointless exploitation? The line is different for everyone (and I would certainly like to hear where it lies for other genre fans), but regarding A SERBIAN FILM, it occurs toward the end of the movie. While the scene that occurs midway is indeed ghastly, it is, I feel, a necessary shock for the audience, violently throwing the film into its unimaginable last act. Where I think it goes overboard is in the very last minutes, where (MINOR SPOILER) someone is skull-f***ed to death. Why does this step over the line for me? Well, without giving anything away, the character who does the skull-raping could’ve just as easily have killed their enemy with there bare hands, if not easier. Instead, they decide to ram their erection through the face of another character. It’s ridiculous, doesn’t make sense given the situation, it’s uncalled for, and it was an obvious attempt at trying to shock for shock’s sake. 

    In fact, I think that’s where my true instincts lie in this debate. If the violence is necessary in advancing the plot, no matter how stomach-churning it may be, I’ll allow it. But the moment I feel a movie is trying to shock me just for the sake of it, I tune out. Great suffering is acceptable in film if it has a purpose, not when it’s for some director’s masturbatory thrill of just seeing how much it takes to get their audience to vomit into a toilet. 

    At least, that’s what I believe. What about you?

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  • “RESIDENT EVIL”: Conversations from the “AFTERLIFE” Part 12: Paul Jones, makeup FX artist, pt. 2

    Originally posted on 2010-09-15 15:21:40 by Tony Timpone

    Last December, the producers of RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE granted FANGORIA exclusive access to the Toronto set of the fourth chapter in their action/horror franchise, derived from the best-selling Capcom video games. Fangoria.com has been presenting a series of one-on-one interviews with the movie’s cast and crew since July, which finally concludes today with the movie now in theaters from Screen Gems. Today we finish our talk with British-born (now Toronto-based) FX artist Paul Jones (see previous part here).

    FANGORIA: Talk about the uniqueness of some of your AFTERLIFE creations.

    PAUL JONES: Well, Paul did the first RESIDENT EVIL, so for him it’s his return to the throne, and I know there are a lot of the elements of the third movie and fifth game that he liked. So without giving too much away, it was a case of, “This works, but let’s make it even better.” So with the dogs, for example, he was really pushing the dogs to be so much better than the last one, which essentially happens on every movie; you get to the next and want it to be better than the last. These dogs, not only are they more visceral and more elaborate, they also mutate. The dogs themselves aren’t the dogs you’ve seen previously. There are whole new elements to the dogs, which will really freak people out.

    FANG: What could you say about the Majini, the zombies with the mandibles?

    JONES: One of the effects that the T-virus has had on these zombies was to create an internal parasitic mandible that comes out from within the zombies, allowing them to kind of hook on to their victims. So it’s a cross between an octopus and a shark’s mouth all mixed together. Again, it’s an element from the game that Paul was really impressed by. And my job was to create it three dimensionally and make it work as a reference prop within the movie and work hand in hand with Dennis Berardi so we’d have a hybrid effect. I’d create a physical working, camera-ready mandible that thankfully didn’t have to move. And Dennis will create a three dimensional CGI version using my mandible as a reference and doesn’t have to come up with something from scratch.

    FANG: I wonder if BLADE II’s similar-looking Reaper creatures inspired the game designers.

    JONES: I think so. I know Paul had a worry about that, he didn’t want to make it look like BLADE II as great as that movie was, and we’d have to be totally separate. It will look different enough because there was a different style immediately. And it’s not something that drew comparison at first. Even when you see them coming out of the person’s mouth, BLADE II doesn’t jump right to mind, so we’re pretty safe. We’ll come up with something that will be as striking as the BLADE II stuff.

    FANG: What were the challenges of shooting your FX in 3-D?

    JONES: I haven’t worked in 3-D at all. It’s definitely a new technology for everybody, and I know there are a lot of complications that 3-D brings on. The main thing is if you’re working in the virtual world, with CGI, everything has to be rendered twice. With prosthetics, it’s not so much of a problem. It’s been more of a novelty for me because I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I’ve seen many, many monitors on many different movies, but everything I’ve seen has been two-dimensional. I’ve only seen three dimensional in my workshop, so to go on set, look at the monitor and see a sculpture I’ve done in 3-D, it’s pretty damn cool.

    FANG: What about the movie’s hi-def component?

    JONES: HD is definitely something to contend with especially when you’re doing certain types of makeups. Luckily, there are a lot of layers Paul has added to our zombies, layers of dirt and depth and slime that have helped us organically to create the look we wanted, which tends to work very well in HD. HD has been developing and all the materials we’re using have been developing along with it, so a lot of the application techniques and translucent materials we’re using were created with HD in mind and are very HD friendly.

    FANG: What are some of the techniques that have gone into this army of the dead?

    JONES: As far as techniques go, there’s a little bit of everything. I don’t think you can ever do away with foam latex as a material, it’s so user friendly, so cost effective, and when it’s used in the right context, it’s still as perfect as it needs to be. Obviously it doesn’t work for every makeup. There are certain lighting conditions and certain design issues that foam latex will always run into a hurdle, so we’ve had to switch to certain types of silicones and urethanes to achieve a certain kind of look. But we’ve pretty much used everything on this: silicone, gelatin, transfer appliances, foam latex. The job dictates the material you use.

    FANG: What’s a transfer appliance?

    JONES: Transfer appliance is something [PASSION OF THE CHRIST’s] Christien Tinsley developed and it’s thickened Pros-Aid [an adhesive] made into a mold that’s a self-sticking prosthetic. And it has become the industry standard, everybody uses it and it’s the most user-friendly technique that has ever been created.

    FANG: How many zombies did you wind up designing for AFTERLIFE?

    JONES: There are three different kinds of burrowing zombies. We had the regular LA zombies. We ended up churning out 25 different faces, plus another 50 or 60 multiple appliances that we could mix and match because we had multiple days where we had crowd scenes, so not only were we having prosthetics, but we were having some body painting. We also had background masses. Every zombie movie needs a background mass because when you have 150-200-300 people, the back 50 you’re not really going to see that much, they’re just kind of filling the frame, so you’re able to cut corners a little bit. All the close-up guys are custom built appliances; we were able to go A, B, C and D zombies. The Axe Man was a big undertaking. We also had a whole new set of prosthetics for the water zombies that we had to design with the underwater element in mind.

    FANG: So you had to use materials that wouldn’t soak up the water like a sponge…

    JONES: But still keep it within the same aesthetic look for the movie. You couldn’t make it look totally different from the other zombies, because the T-virus is responsible for everything. Everything has to look like it’s from the same genetic strain.

    FANG: So what’s the deal with Wesker (Shawn Roberts)?

    JONES: We threatened Shawn with a lot of makeup on this. He was supposed to be quite extensively covered in makeup through the movie, but because his look is so good, Paul was going, “Nah, let’s keep it just Shawn.” He’s one of the heads of the Umbrella Corporation, but he’s been infected himself by the T-virus so he’s been genetically modified. He’s basically indestructible. This happens to him halfway through the movie. He gets completely trashed in this helicopter crash, and the next time you see him he’s healed, he’s perfect again. And then Milla blows a big chunk of his head away.

    FANG: Canadian actor Kim Coates [SKINWALKERS, SILENT HILL, SONS OF ANARCHY] also gets ugly.

    JONES: We did our nice little makeup on Kim; he has cheek appliances that hollow out his face a little bit. He escapes the prison and ends up on Wesker’s ship and becomes his bitch. Wesker drains his life force a little bit, so he looks awful. So Kim was like, “Great…another prosthetic makeup,” but he’s awesome. He is the man.

    FANG: What was the greatest number of zombies you had going at once?

    JONES: The biggest day I was involved in was 178. That was a crazy day because I’ve done crowd scenes before like 20-30 characters, but once you get over 50, your mind starts scrambling. You really have to depend on the excellent prosthetics team I have here in Toronto. Sean Sansom is my on set supervisor, and he’s done a fabulous job. Either I’m on set and he’s back at the shop building stuff, or he’s on set and I’m back at the shop. You really can’t do a movie this size without a having a great team to work with.

    FANG: How many people are on your team?

    JONES: I had up to 19 people working in my workshop crew, and we’ve had up to 25 on set doing zombies and application, hair people, prosthetics people and straight makeup people. It’s been an army creating an army of the undead.

    FANG: You got some gore gags going on too?

    JONES: Yeah, there’s a few gore gags, but it hasn’t been too bad. We’ve only gone though 20 gallons of blood on this so far, so it’s actually been a pretty blood free movie with only 20 gallons.

    FANG: There was talk that AFTERLIFE was going to be a reboot of the series and lead to a whole new trilogy.

    JONES: That is definitely Paul’s intention, he’s left the door wide open, and the end of this movie is basically the beginning of the next one, it’s more of the same so I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with. Whether or not he comes back here, I don’t know.

    FANG: So this looks like the biggest film of your career so far.

    JONES: SILENT HILL probably had the most exposure, but compared to this, it’s just so nice to work on a movie that people are actually going to see. I did SOLOMON KANE last year and the year before that was 100 FEET and neither movie has been seen much, and then OUTLANDER, I worked on that, and that didn’t come out for a year and a half. So RESIDENT EVIL is guaranteed an audience, it’s guaranteed distribution and it’s guaranteed a trailer on TV, so that’s great. In the workload alone, this is the biggest movie I’ve done in terms of the amount of stuff I have to build.

    FANG: Would you call RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE your dream project?

    JONES: Absolutely. Zombies have always been close to my heart because the first movie I ever owned on Betamax when I was 14 was Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD. So zombies have always been up there for me.

    Check out FANGORIA #296, now on sale, featuring an all-different AFTERLIFE set-visit cover story.

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  • Sony gets “INSIDIOUS”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-15 15:05:37 by Samuel Zimmerman

    Just after its premiere screening as part of Toronto’s Midnight Madness, James Wan’s INSIDIOUS has been picked up for North American distribution. Hit the jump for more details.

    Deadline is reporting Sony is closing a deal on the distro rights for the SAW director’s latest supernatural chiller and will apparently receive an 800-screen release. You can see the first clip from the film here.

    INSIDIOUS stars 28 WEEKS LATER’s Rose Byrne and HARD CANDY’s Patrick Wilson and revolves around proud parents who take possession of an old house. When an accident results in one of their sons falling into a coma, the tragedy doesn’t stop as they must confront vengeful spirits from another realm.

    Initial word on the film is quite good, so lets hope Wan has an old fashioned creep-fest on his hands.

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  • Forward this “CHAIN LETTER” teaser trailer

    Originally posted on 2010-09-15 14:49:22 by Allan Dart

    Check out the new preview for co-writer-director Deon Taylor’s CHAIN LETTER, which New Films Cinema releases on October 1.

    Shock Till You Drop got the trailer, which you can watch below. In the film, a group of friends receives ominous email chain letters warning them that, if they break the chain, then they will lose their life at the hands of the “Chain Man.”

    CHAIN LETTER stars THE TWILIGHT SAGA’s Nikki Reed, THE THING’s Keith David, HALLOWEEN’s Brad Dourif, SAW 3D’s Betsy Russell, BOOGEYMAN 2’s Matthew Cohen and ALL ABOUT EVIL’s Noah Segan.

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  • Magnet “CHAWZ” down on Korean pig pic

    Originally posted on 2010-09-14 21:29:45 by

    Magnolia Pictures’ genre division Magnet Releasing has picked up a Korean animal-amok flick, and apparently given it a slight title change.

    Variety reports that the company grabbed North American rights to CHAW, which will be known for that release as CHAWZ. Directed by Shin Jeong-won, CHAWZ is a mix of horror and satiric comedy about a huge, rampaging boar that terrorizes a small village, prompting assorted odd characters to set out to hunt it down. Magnolia (which previously released THE HOST, another Korean monster film with touches of humor, in the U.S.) has yet to announce a release for CHAWZ, or whether it will receive theatrical play or go straight to DVD/Blu-ray. You can see our review of the movie here.

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  • FANGORIA Flashback: “THE BRIDES OF DRACULA” (1960)

    Originally posted on 2010-09-14 21:13:52 by Tony Timpone

    I recall vividly when, as a preteen home on a Saturday night, I first saw Hammer’s THE BRIDES OF DRACULA on TV in the early ’70s. The movie was being broadcast on NYC/WPIX’s legendary Chiller Theatre. After the movie’s slambang finale (shamelessly ripped off in SUNDOWN: THE VAMPIRE IN RETREAT), I ran out on my front porch, sweaty and out of breath from BRIDES’ action-packed climax, hoping to share my excitement with anyone. At that same moment, the younger kid next door, John Deconza, dashed out on his stoop, also eager to share his experience in having seen one of the finest films from Hammer’s horror factory heyday. Having not watched THE BRIDES OF DRACULA since that fateful night 40 odd years ago, I looked forward to rediscovering this Gothic gem on the big screen, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s repertory house provided just that opportunity when they unspooled the film (in a gorgeous 35mm print) last weekend as part of their ongoing Bela Lugosi’s Dead, Vampires Live Forever festival (see item here), which will be running till September 30.

    Originally conceived as a direct sequel to the international blockbuster HORROR OF DRACULA, BRIDES went into production at Hammer without the Count or former star Christopher Lee. Instead, there’s Baron Meinster (David Peel), a sort of vampire playboy, living the secluded life in his family’s hilltop Transylvanian castle. Meinster remains the prisoner of his aristocratic mother (Martita Hunt), who feeds the stray villager or passerby to her chained-at-the-ankle son. When a visiting teacher (Yvonne Monlaur) falls under the man’s spell, she releases the Baron and all hell breaks loose. Lucky for the locals, Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing, of course) shows up to save the day, and before long, the rising ranks of the undead are kept in check by stake, crucifix and holy water. The movie ends with the aforementioned socko finish (SPOILER ALERT), with not only Van Helsing saving his own neck, literally, with a red-hot branding iron after being bitten, but coming up with a most dramatic and epic method of vanquishing Meinster by turning the blades of a windmill into a giant cross. BRIDES manages to top HORROR’s rousing wrap-up from two year ago, again under the able direction of busy studio helmer Terence Fisher. 

    In the past I’ve scoffed when people like Lee describe Hammer’s horror pictures as “fairy tales.” But in the case of BRIDES OF DRACULA, the movie does play like the grimmest of the Brothers Grimm: the bizarre mother/son relationship, the storybook village, the young lasses lead to their deaths, the ironic ending, etc. The movie is also one of the best looking of all the period Hammers, thanks to exceptional work by both production designer Bernard Robinson (the Meinsters’ chateau resembling a Victorian museum) and director of photography Jack Asher, whose Technicolor “colors” pop off the screen in vivid fashion. Then there’s the cast: the stalwart and determined Cushing, who’d take a 12 year hiatus from playing Van Helsing after this; the sexy but naïve French lass Monlaur; the classy Hunt, as the misguided vampire enabler; Freda Jackson as the Meinsters’ crazy servant, playing a cross between Renfield and Frau Blücher; and Peel as the Dracula substitute, equating himself just fine as the handsome and conniving bloodsucker. Just a few years after BRIDES’ release, the fortysomething Peel reportedly abandoned acting to sell real estate! 

    Story-wise, THE BRIDES OF DRACULA, of course, seems quaint when compared to today’s bloodfests, so it must be viewed in context of the era in which Hammer made it. You will also question some of the screenplay’s logic and inconsistencies. As the film’s title implies, initial scripter Jimmy Sangster (CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, HORROR OF DRACULA, THE MUMMY, etc.) penned BRIDES for Dracula, then Peter Bryan and Edward Percy likely stepped in rewrite it to remove Dracula! Also, the Baron has the ability to turn into a bat; however, previously, we watched him chained in his room, imploring to be released. Did he forget his powers? And why don’t the victimized villagers just storm the castle (the torch-bearing Universal townspeople wouldn’t stand for this!) and knock out the two old ladies and their prisoner? Anyway, these are just minor quibbles, as THE BRIDES OF DRACULA still stands fangs above the rest and remains one of Hammer’s best.

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  • “SATAN HATES” Coney Island

    Originally posted on 2010-09-14 21:02:13 by Samuel Zimmerman

    SATAN HATES YOU, writer/director James Felix McKenney’s bloody and subversive riff on ‘60s and ‘70s religious cinema, is screening in Brooklyn Saturday, September 25, as part of the 10th annual Coney Island Film Festival. Hit the jump for details!

    With a packed cast of horror notables including Angus Scrimm, Debbie Rochon, Reggie Bannister, Michael Berryman and Larry Fessenden, “SATAN HATES YOU,” reads the offifial synopsis, “is a graphic, over-the-top horror movie inspired by classics of 1960s and ’70s Christian cinema. In the film, we follow Marc (Don Wood of AUTOMATONS), a homicidal maniac driven by demons buried deep within his soul, and Wendy (Christine Spencer), a young girl who lives life fast and hard without a second’s thought to the consequences. Their separate paths will eventually cross, but will it be on the road to salvation or the highway to hell?”

    SATAN HATES YOU screens at the Coney Island Museum (1208 Surf Avenue) at 5 p.m. on the 25th. You can grab tickets here, and find out more about the Coney Island Film Festival, which is also presenting the Adrienne Barbeau-starring short ALICE JACOBS IS DEAD and a honorary showing of Darren Aronofsky’s harrowing REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (lensed in grungy Coney Island), at its official site.

    Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix produced SATAN HATES YOU, which will also be playing the Telluride Horror Show in Colorado this October (15-17). For details on that, head here and to read all about the making of SATAN HATES YOU, pick up Fango #296 for Debbie’s wild first-hand account. 

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  • “HEREAFTER” trailer online

    Originally posted on 2010-09-14 20:32:09 by Samuel Zimmerman

    HEREAFTER, Clint Eastwood’s supernatural drama and NYFF selection, now has a trailer. Hit the jump to check it out!

    Per the official Warner Bros. press release: “HEREAFTER tells the story of three people who are haunted by mortality in different ways. Matt Damon stars as George, a blue-collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. On the other side of the world, Marie (Cécile de France of HIGH TENSION), a French journalist, has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when Marcus (Frankie/George McLaren), a London schoolboy, loses the person closest to him, he desperately needs answers. Each on a path in search of the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what they believe might—or must—exist in the hereafter.”

    I think many may have perked their ears up a bit too much when they heard Eastwood was tackling the supernatural as this trailer doesn’t exactly look horror or thriller related but much more in keeping with the tone of the actor/director’s recent slew of dramatic output… but with ghosts. 

    HEREAFTER opens October 22. 


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  • The Newborn Dead: The “Tell-Tale” Part

    Originally posted on 2010-09-14 19:26:28 by Marla Newborn

    Many little girls fantasize about being an actress—the glamour and high life of the stage and screen. I was one of those little girls. The first movie that captured my heart was THE SOUND OF MUSIC, and as a result I wanted to be Julie Andrews. Just watching her wasn’t enough for me; I ran around my house singing all the songs, playing her part both before and after she fell in love with Captain Von Trapp. For me, the best part was when she was a nun: I put a towel on my head and paraded in and out of all the rooms of our home as if I too were the spirited Maria. So, who would have thought that all these years later, VINDICATION director Bart Mastronardi would make my dream come true and ask me to be an extra in his horror short THE TELL-TALE HEART?

    Imagine the thrill when I got that e-mail! No, I didn’t put a towel on my head and parade around what is now just an apartment. Nor did I walk around with a dagger imagining myself in the lead role, making the big kill. But I admit I did start to fantasize about going to drama school, changing careers, being discovered and… Just then ,either the phone rang or my boss called me in, or something else happened to spoil my private moment of glory in the spotlight!

    As the big day neared, my excitement turned to nervousness which turned to fear which was just masking shyness, which was all a cover for not being in control, of course. Luckily for me, the star of the short, the glamorous and renowned Debbie Rochon (COLOUR FROM THE DARK, SLIME CITY MASSACRE, etc.) was my houseguest and protector, so I felt just a bit better following her into the New York subway system from Manhattan to Queens on that hot August morning. Our destination was a vacant grade school—vacant because it was summer, and vacant because it was a Saturday. The school was to be an insane asylum. Having not asked any questions prior to that morning, I didn’t know beforehand but soon found out I was to be one of the inmates. Did Julie Andrews start out this way?

    We arrived at the school, and it appeared as if we were all present and accounted for. Everyone seemed to know everyone else. This only made me all the more shy. Should have taken those acting lessons, I cursed under my breath. I stayed close to Rochon’s heels like a lost puppy, but soon enough people were saying hello. I made a mental note: remember names, remember names. Gee, I was so hard on myself. If I had only known that by the end, I would know everyone and it would be so much fun, I would not have given myself a near heart attack so early on.

    OK, I did know some of the people there. THE BLOOD SHED’s Alan Rowe Kelly was busy as a beaver, seemingly doing everything. We hugged and he said, “Here dear, go put this on—the sooner the better.” I saw he had handed me a pair of pajamas, the type one would have purchased at Woolworth’s in the 1960s, with cute little bootie-type socks to go with them. Once again I followed Rochon, along with new friend Becca Dorstek, into the only “girls’ room” I had ever seen filled with urinals. Apparently we were in an all-boys school. Becca and I changed into the same loony-bin PJs, but Rochon’s were more the type you’d buy at K-Mart—way more upscale, but of course, she was the star. Let life inside the mental institution begin.

    Once dressed, we all took turns having our hair and makeup done by Kelly, and when it was not our turn for that bit of glamour, we had to draw pictures to decorate the windows of our asylum—just like we would during playtime in a real 1960s asylum. And they had to be crazy loony sicko pictures drawn with Crayola crayons on construction paper. I drew lots of stick figures and houses and suns. Other people drew cats with their heads cut off, faces of the devil and words such as “I hate Mommy and I love Daddy”—cool stuff like that.

    Right about then, some of us went outside for what would be the first of many cigarette breaks. People were laughing about some of the antics that had gone down during the previous shoot days. Suddenly, everyone stopped talking and began screaming toward the parking lot that “the heat” was coming, that “the heat” had arrived. I thought to myself, Hey, it’s pretty hot out already, so what the hell are they talking about? when actor Jerry Murdock (a regular in Mastronardi and Kelly’s movies) arrived and gave us all a hug. I was hip enough to catch onto the “inside” line that Murdock brings “the heat” with him. Must be some sort of acting thing. See? If I had gone to drama school, maybe I would have brought “the heat”! Did Julie Andrews have “the heat” or is it something unique to Murdock?

    It was my turn for hair and makeup. Kelly decided to give me an up-do, one of those real 1950s looks. David Marancik, who was playing a character named Fritz who was so loony he had to wear a straightjacket, cackled like a true madman as Kelly teased my hair vertical in preparation to create such beauty. Marancik’s laugh is infectious, so I began to laugh and finally feel at ease. Finally.

    Now I was ready to meet the others. Little did I know I was in such amazing company. We were a small but meaty cast led by the aforementioned Rochon, who has more horror credits to her name than I can list; Lesleh Donaldson (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, FUNERAL HOME), Desiree Gould (DARK CHAMBER, SLEEPAWAY CAMP) and Murdock were also among the day’s big names. However, the extras were no slouches: Michael Buscemi, James Gitlin, Dorstek, Harry Dugan, Marancik and I played our certifiable lunatic roles with pride.

    The crew was a whole other story. As a writer, I have covered this very special group of underground filmmakers before. I hesitate at this juncture to use the word “underground” any longer, because their work just gets better and better with each new project. What makes these guys so special is that they wear so many hats—and all for one another. As I already mentioned, THE TELL TALE HEART was Mastronardi’s baby, and he was directing. The talented Dominick Savilli was director of photography, while filmmaker and Fango scribe Jeremiah Kipp served as assistant director. Actor/director Kelly did just about everything from acting to producing to wardrobe to hair and makeup to craft services and was the all-around wrangler for the shoot. Sound was handled by Steven Munoz, and the production assistant was Alex Gavin. The school cafeteria could not possibly have held any more talent, or it would literally have burst!

    Finally, I was ready for my close-up. And it was quite a close-up. Mastronardi is a very kind, patient and talented director. He sat very close to me and told me exactly what I was to do. I was as comfortable as I was ever going to be, and feeling like Maria in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, I was ready. I did what I was told, something extra came out of me and everyone clapped. I burned with elation and shame—mostly elation.

    That was it for me, but at this point I could not bear to leave. I was having the time of my life. Plus, the principal characters were about to have their scenes shot. I got the chance to watch Rochon, Donaldson, Gould and Murdock in action. And all the while, I could not take my eyes off of Mastronardi and his solid, masterful sense of providing direction. I admit, I was in awe.

    I did have to pull myself away eventually, and good thing too, since Rochon told me they shot until 3 a.m.! The experience reinforced the cliché we all know: Watching a movie is a whole lot easier than making a movie. But there would have been no convincing me of that at age 5 when I put that towel on my head, wanting to be Maria in THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Appropriately, Mastronardi rushed over to me as I was leaving and gifted me with a vintage music box, an official prop from a movie shoot. As I took the car service home, I opened the box and noticed it had a wind-up, and I was able to hear the sounds of music after all.

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  • “HATCHET II” Theaters announced & tickets on sale!

    Originally posted on 2010-09-14 17:42:18 by Samuel Zimmerman

    By now, it’s pretty well known Dark Sky is taking an exciting approach to bringing horror fans the much-anticipated sequel to HATCHET. Together with AMC, the slasher follow-up is rolling out across the country completely unrated and uncut, and now the full listing of participating theaters has been announced. Hit the jump to find out where you’ll be able to see Victor Crowley strike again!

    AMC made the announcement—to pick up tickets, you can head to their site right here. Otherwise, check out all the cities below, and pick up Fango #297 for part one of our exclusive in-depth interview with writer/director Adam Green!

    Universal City, CA – CityWalk Stadium 19

    Orange, CA – Block 30

    Ontario, CA – Ontario Mills 30

    Burbank, CA – Burbank Town Center 8

    Norwalk, CA – Norwalk 20

    Covina, CA – Covina 30

    San Diego, CA – Palm Promenade 24

    Emeryville, CA – Bay Street 16

    Plainville, CT – Plainville 20

    Orange Park, FL – Orange Park 24

    Jacksonville, FL – Regency Square 24

    Aventura, FL – Aventura 24

    Miami, FL – Sunset Place 24

    Tallahassee, FL – Tallahassee 20

    Tampa, FL – Veterans Expressway 24

    Brandon, FL – Regency 20

    Lake Buena Vista, FL – Pleasure Island 24

    Orlando, FL – Universal Cineplex 20

    Kennesaw, GA – Barrett Commons 24

    Morrow, GA – Southlake Pavilion 24

    Crestwood, IL – Crestwood 18

    Chicago, IL – Pipers Alley 4

    Newport, KY – Newport on the Levee 20

    Harahan, LA – Elmwood Palace 20

    Harvey, LA – Westbank Palace 16

    Boston, MA – Boston Common 19

    Danvers, MA – Liberty Tree Mall 20

    Methuen, MA – Methuen 20

    Owings Mills, MD – Owings Mills 17

    Livonia, MI – Livonia 20

    Southfield, MI – Southfield 20 (Star)

    Auburn Hills, MI – Great Lakes 25 (Star)

    Creve Coeur, MO – West Olive 16

    Charlotte, NC – Carolina Pavilion 22

    Concord, NC – Concord Mills 24

    New York, NY – Empire 25

    New York, NY – 34th Street 14

    New York, NY – MJ Harlem 9

    New York, NY – 84th Street 6

    New York, NY – Village 7

    West Nyack, NY – Palisades Center 21

    New Brunswick, NJ – New Brunswick 18

    Elizabeth, NJ – Jersey Gardens 20

    Cherry Hill, NJ – Cherry Hill 24

    Hamilton, NJ – Hamilton 24

    Columbus, OH – Easton 30 with IMAX

    Columbus, OH – Lennox 24

    Toronto, ON – Yonge & Dundas 24

    Homestead, PA – Waterfront 22

    Montreal, QB – Forum 22

    Dallas, TX – Grand 24

    Mesquite, TX – Mesquite 30

    Houston, TX – Studio 30

    Houston, TX – Gulf Pointe 30

    Alexandria, VA – Hoffman Center 22

    Woodbridge, VA – Potomac Mills 18

    Lynnwood, WA – Alderwood Mall 16

    Seattle, WA – Uptown 3

    Wauwatosa, WI – Mayfair 18

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