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  • Honorees announced: Halloween Horror Nights 2010 Eyegore Awards

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 19:24:07 by Allan Dart

    The opening night of Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights is this Friday, and today the recipients of this year’s Eyegore Awards were announced. Find out who they are after the jump.

    The honorees include HOSTEL and CABIN FEVER director Eli Roth, PIRANHA 3D co-star Christopher Lloyd, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS’ Sid Haig and SAW 3D actresses Betsy Russell and Gina Holden. THE LOST BOYS’ Corey Feldman returns as host of the 2010 ceremony; presenters will include HALLOWEEN’s Rob and Sheri Moon Zombie, original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE director Tobe Hooper, TRUE BLOOD vampire Mariana Klaveno (pictured) and the SAW series’ Costas Mandylor.

    The Eyegore Awards will serve as the opening-night event at Halloween Horror Nights, which begins its 17-night run on Friday, September 24. Excerpts from the ceremony will be shown on the event’s website. Previous Eyegore Award recipients have included Alice Cooper, Patricia Arquette, Janet Leigh, Roger Corman, Jennifer Tilly, Joss Whedon, Rob and Sheri Moon Zombie, Karen Black, Clive Barker, Tobin Bell, Rick Baker, Julie Benz, Shawnee Smith, Tobe Hooper, Bill Moseley and Feldman.

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  • Living Dead Dolls: The Day of the Dead series

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 18:52:12 by Allan Dart

    With Halloween just around the corner, Mezco’s latest set of Living Dead Dolls pays tribute to the Mexican holiday The Day of the Dead a.k.a. El Día de los Muertos.

    The Living Dead Dolls Series 20: Day of the Dead—Crimson and Black Limited Edition Variant Set and LDD Retro Halloween Set 2010 Full Set of 3 Bundle include a total of eight dolls. The former features five figures with Day of the Dead skull designs and exclusive crimson-and-black costumes, depicting traditional imagery with a Living Dead Dolls twist. Each doll comes in a signature coffin package with death certificate. Also included in this bundle are three retro Halloween-themed box sets that come with an old school-styled plastic mask, exclusive 10-inch doll and a coordinating T-shirt (XL only). The trio consists of three of the most popular Halloween Living Dead Dolls: Calavera—The Skull, Pumpkin—The Jack O’ Lantern and Gabriella—The Ghoul. (Miniature pumpkin pails not included)

    The limited set will ship in mid-October. For more information visit the official site.

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  • “TICKED-OFF TRANNIES” DVDetails revealed

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 18:32:09 by

    We first broke the news here that TICKED-OFF TRANNIES WITH KNIVES, Israel Luna’s satirical gorefest that inflamed passions at the Tribeca Film Festival, was picked up for U.S. release by Breaking Glass Pictures. Now we’ve got the scoop on the DVDetails, and the cover art has been released as well.

    The movie, in which a gang of thugs brutalize a group of transgendered friends who later set out for deadly revenge against them, will play New York and Los Angeles theatrical dates in October ahead of the DVD release November 9. The disc will include the following special features:

    • Audio commentary by writer/director Luna and actors Willam Belli and Krystal Summers

    • Behind-the-scenes featurette

    • “Nacho & Chuey Show”

    • The Missing Reel: Chapter 4—“The Red Pen”

    • Bloopers

    The cover art seen here is tentative and may be changed slightly for the final release. See Breaking Glass’ official website here, and keep your eyes on Fangoria.com for future coverage of TICKED-OFF TRANNIES.

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  • Oscilloscope Laboratories nabs Evil Santa flick “RARE EXPORTS”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 18:24:52 by FANGORIA Staff

    Following in the footsteps of warped holiday treats like SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT and BAD SANTA, New York’s Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired all North American rights to Jalmari Helander’s RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE, hot off the movie’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Finnish film has been described as a “re-imagining of the most classic of all childhood fantasies,” and “a darkly comic gem destined for cult status,” per the press announcement.

    RARE EXPORTS’ official synopsis reads: “On the eve of Christmas in northern Finland, an archeological dig unearths Santa Claus. This particular Santa, however, isn’t the one you want coming to town. When most of the town’s children go missing, Pietari and his father, a local hunter named Rauno, come into possession of the mythological being. Rauno’s clan of hunters attempts to cash in on the opportunity by selling Santa back to the misguided leader of the multinational corporation sponsoring the dig. What ensues is nothing short of a wildly humorous nightmare—a fantastically bizarre polemic on modern day morality.”

    Oscilloscope chief Adam Yauch said: “This is really a unique film, the filmmaking exceptional, Jalmari’s sense of timing, perfect. I’m tempted to say it’s like the Coen brothers meets THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS, but RARE EXPORTS is so original in its feel and approach that I’ll refrain from such comparisons and simply say: gas up your snowmobiles, load your shotguns and smoke ’em if you got ’em—‘cause we intend to uncage this sucker in theaters for the holidays.”

    Yes, Oscilloscope plans on a December release for RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE, and the movie makes its U.S. premiere at Austin’s Fantastic Fest this coming weekend.

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  • UK filmmakers hit the “PANIC BUTTON”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 18:06:02 by

    British writer/director Frazer Lee, creator of the Doug Bradley-starring short films RED LINE and ON EDGE, has now ventured into feature territory with his script for the currently lensing PANIC BUTTON. The first stills were released today, and you can see them below the jump.

    Directed by Chris Crow, who also helmed the upcoming survival shocker DEVIL’S BRIDGE, PANIC BUTTON stars Scarlett Alice Johnson, Michael Jibson, Jack Gordon, Elen Rhys and Joshua Richards. The story follows four young people who win a free trip to New York City from a social networking site—a vacation that requires them to take part in a new on-line game while flying to the Big Apple. Once they’re in the air, however, they are forced to play deadly games by an unseen captor, with no way to escape.

    If you’d like to join the leads on screen in PANIC BUTTON, you have a chance thanks to a video contest the filmmakers are holding. A sequence in the film will demonstrate how people of all ages and ethnicities connect and communicate on-line, and you’re invited to submit webcam videos of yourself at your home, office, wherever. Written consent is required; for more details, plus video and other images, click over to PANIC BUTTON’s official website. You can also find out about the movie at Facebook here.

    Other members of the PANIC BUTTON crew include producer John Shackleton and co-producer David Shillitoe (who also came up with the story), cinematographer Simon Poulter and editor Mark Talbot-Butler. Meanwhile, the new Lee-scripted short chiller SIMONE (directed by Jason “Joops” Fragale, about a young woman who wakes up after a night of partying and discovers the frightening truth about what happened), is currently available on unrated DVD with 85 minutes of extras here.

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  • Illustrating “FLICK”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 17:37:29 by Max Weinstein

    With zombie noir film fest fave FLICK steadily approaching its October 26 DVD release (see previous item here) from Peace Arch Entertainment, Fango had a few words—and some exclusive storyboards and illustrated panels from the film—with the man responsible for the film’s distinctive visual style, graphic artist and illustrator Alex Tomlinson. First seizing the attention of writer/director David Howard through his illustrative work featured in FORTEAN TIMES, the filmmakers asked Tomlinson to put together a series of designs, which evolved from some simple supplementary material to help pitch the project, to a full-fledged, self-contained comic book universe telling the story of Johnny “Flick” Taylor, the awkwardly shy introvert with a penchant for rockabilly and murder in 1960s Britain.

    On the spawning of the film’s visceral pulp comic style, Tomlinson recalls, “From my first meeting with David and [producer] Rik Hall, it was obvious we were all on the same wavelength from day one. When we met to discuss the comic book pages and transitions, we both said TALES FROM THE CRYPT at exactly the same time.”

    Tomlinson also notes that upon studying films like CREEPSHOW 2 extensively, his challenge remained how to produce his work in a similar way—for a fraction of the budget. While that influence remains surely prominent, the illustrator is quick to point out his own sensibility. “TALES FROM THE CRYPT was always in the back of my mind,” he says, “but I was very conscious of the need to make the comics look distinctly British. The whole idea of the protagonist being a ‘Teddy Boy’ in a rubbish little British car, rather than say a cool greaser in a chromed coupe was very idiosyncratically British and gave the whole concept a more endearing slightly cozier feel from the outset.”

    The birth of the storyboards used in FLICK began with director Howard’s own assembled tape of film clips that best demonstrated his inspiration. “I remember that he was very interested in the over-saturated color scheme of THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES, after having previously made a documentary about its star Ray Milland,” Tomlinson reveals. “The compilation included a scene from Brian De Palma’s RAISING CAIN to illustrate a particular framing technique. There was also a graveyard scene from ‘SALEM’S LOT used to demonstrate the kind of atmosphere he wanted to recreate in our own graveyard scenes.”

    Rendering the storyboard images by building scale models of the sets populated with virtual 3-D actors, props and scenery—then arranging them according to realistic lighting and shadows—each storyboarded shot was rendered using camera setups that mirrored that of real world cinematography, inevitably presenting the world Johnny inhabits as a live action reflection of Tomlinson’s conceptual art that manifests itself as a work in the vein of a missing Frank Miller graphic novel. To fans of the film quick to make such stylistic comparisons, though, the artist admits jokingly, “I didn’t see SIN CITY until some time after I’d completed the storyboards. So any similarities you may detect are either flashes of RAIN MAN-like genius on my part, or more likely just coincidence.”

    Equally as potent in the film’s sense of aesthetic character is the role of music. After all, as FLICK’s anti-heroic mythology goes, Johnny’s gore-filled rampages can only be ignited by the nostalgia that the local rockabilly radio station provides. “David explained very early on that he wanted to show that Johnny’s POV was still stuck in the late ’50s or early ’60s, it was always referred to as ‘his ‘60s vision,’ so whenever we saw the world through his eyes, it was as if he was seeing everything and everyone as it was back in the ’60s,” Tomlinson explains. “David again used THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES as an example of how to show two different POV in the same shot. So I was very conscious about making all the shots from Johnny’s point of view very jarring and distinct from the rest of the film and echoing that in the comic pages. There was a lot of obscure rockabilly stuff and quite a few ‘novelty’ horror songs on the CD, and I also felt the need to supplement this soundtrack with a lot of my own Cramps collection from time to time.”

    Tomlinson’s own humble roots would have him recognize much of the nature of his artistry, which certainly translates to a bold and unabashedly bloodied degree in FLICK’s more striking horror scenes. “My default setting is gore,” he says, “and the first test storyboards I produced were pretty full on. When the project first started, we weren’t sure how gory the final film would be. There was debate whether a film about a character with a flick knife would get a sensible certification [age rating] or if the then current climate of scare stories in the media about ‘Knife Crime’ would mean we would have to tone everything down.”

    Fango’s first leaking of a select few of these images would be among some of the displeasing original works that ultimately didn’t jibe with the ratings board. “I showed Johnny disemboweling a night watchman, whose intestines fall out and begin to cook on top of a three bar electric heater under the desk,” Tomlinson says. “Johnny then sticks his flick-knife up the man’s nostril and whisks his brain into a mush before slapping the top of his head like a soap dispenser and using the resultant goo to slick back his hair into a quiff. Not surprisingly this didn’t make it into the final shooting script; it became clear that a 15 certificate would be the best level to pitch the film.”

    But where we may not have gotten a taste of the undead grooming tutorial those clips intended, those with a knack for the off-center will still be able to get their darkly comic fix from FLICK. “I’m very proud that the tidal wave of blood which precedes Bev being ejected onto the pavement like a newborn is all still intact,” Tomlinson notes.

    Jumping off of FLICK as a hopeful showcase of his sensibilities, Tomlinson points out the eclectic span of his continued projects. “The thing I like about my job is the constant variety of the work,” he says. “Each commission is so different. When the entire planet was celebrating the dawn of the new millennium with fireworks parties and exciting Y2K sex, I was in the middle of a two month project, working 18 hour days, to produce hundreds of construction drawings and 3-D renders for a Lego instruction book.” Tomlinson then adds, “If somebody commissions me to do more horror genre stuff, then that’s what I’ll do, and I’ll probably have a lot of fun doing it.” Contrary to FLICK’s Brit-based pastiche, Tomlinson’s new horror collaboration—again with Howard and Hall—“is about as all-American as you can get,” the artist hints. The developing project, entitled THE SCRATCH ROOM (see art below), will see his first stab at a werewolf movie. You can find out more about Tomlinson here and read his illustration blog here.

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  • Illustrating “FLICK”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 17:35:33 by

    With zombie noir film fest fave FLICK steadily approaching its October 26 DVD release (see previous item here) from Peace Arch Entertainment, Fango had a few words—and some exclusive storyboards and illustrated panels from the film—with the man responsible for the film’s distinctive visual style, graphic artist and illustrator Alex Tomlinson. First seizing the attention of writer/director David Howard through his illustrative work featured in FORTEAN TIMES, the filmmakers asked Tomlinson to put together a series of designs, which evolved from some simple supplementary material to help pitch the project, to a full-fledged, self-contained comic book universe telling the story of Johnny “Flick” Taylor, the awkwardly shy introvert with a penchant for rockabilly and murder in 1960s Britain.

    On the spawning of the film’s visceral pulp comic style, Tomlinson recalls, “From my first meeting with David and [producer] Rik Hall, it was obvious we were all on the same wavelength from day one. When we met to discuss the comic book pages and transitions, we both said TALES FROM THE CRYPT at exactly the same time.”

     

     

    Tomlinson also notes that upon studying films like CREEPSHOW 2 extensively, his challenge remained how to produce his work in a similar way—for a fraction of the budget. While that influence remains surely prominent, the illustrator is quick to point out his own sensibility. “TALES FROM THE CRYPT was always in the back of my mind,” he says, “but I was very conscious of the need to make the comics look distinctly British. The whole idea of the protagonist being a ‘Teddy Boy’ in a rubbish little British car, rather than say a cool greaser in a chromed coupe was very idiosyncratically British and gave the whole concept a more endearing slightly cozier feel from the outset.”

     

     

    The birth of the storyboards used in FLICK began with director Howard’s own assembled tape of film clips that best demonstrated his inspiration. “I remember that he was very interested in the over-saturated color scheme of THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES, after having previously made a documentary about its star Ray Milland,” Tomlinson reveals. “The compilation included a scene from Brian De Palma’s RAISING CAIN to illustrate a particular framing technique. There was also a graveyard scene from ‘SALEM’S LOT used to demonstrate the kind of atmosphere he wanted to recreate in our own graveyard scenes.”

     

    Rendering the storyboard images by building scale models of the sets populated with virtual 3-D actors, props and scenery—then arranging them according to realistic lighting and shadows—each storyboarded shot was rendered using camera setups that mirrored that of real world cinematography, inevitably presenting the world Johnny inhabits as a live action reflection of Tomlinson’s conceptual art that manifests itself as a work in the vein of a missing Frank Miller graphic novel. To fans of the film quick to make such stylistic comparisons, though, the artist admits jokingly, “I didn’t see SIN CITY until some time after I’d completed the storyboards. So any similarities you may detect are either flashes of RAIN MAN-like genius on my part, or more likely just coincidence.”

     

    Equally as potent in the film’s sense of aesthetic character is the role of music. After all, as FLICK’s anti-heroic mythology goes, Johnny’s gore-filled rampages can only be ignited by the nostalgia that the local rockabilly radio station provides. “David explained very early on that he wanted to show that Johnny’s POV was still stuck in the late ’50s or early ’60s, it was always referred to as ‘his ‘60s vision,’ so whenever we saw the world through his eyes, it was as if he was seeing everything and everyone as it was back in the ’60s,” Tomlinson explains. “David again used THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES as an example of how to show two different POV in the same shot. So I was very conscious about making all the shots from Johnny’s point of view very jarring and distinct from the rest of the film and echoing that in the comic pages. There was a lot of obscure rockabilly stuff and quite a few ‘novelty’ horror songs on the CD, and I also felt the need to supplement this soundtrack with a lot of my own Cramps collection from time to time.”

     

    Tomlinson’s own humble roots would have him recognize much of the nature of his artistry, which certainly translates to a bold and unabashedly bloodied degree in FLICK’s more striking horror scenes. “My default setting is gore,” he says, “and the first test storyboards I produced were pretty full on. When the project first started, we weren’t sure how gory the final film would be. There was debate whether a film about a character with a flick knife would get a sensible certification [age rating] or if the then current climate of scare stories in the media about ‘Knife Crime’ would mean we would have to tone everything down.”

     

    Fango’s first leaking of a select few of these images would be among some of the displeasing original works that ultimately didn’t jibe with the ratings board. “I showed Johnny disemboweling a night watchman, whose intestines fall out and begin to cook on top of a three bar electric heater under the desk,” Tomlinson says. “Johnny then sticks his flick-knife up the man’s nostril and whisks his brain into a mush before slapping the top of his head like a soap dispenser and using the resultant goo to slick back his hair into a quiff. Not surprisingly this didn’t make it into the final shooting script; it became clear that a 15 certificate would be the best level to pitch the film.”

     

    But where we may not have gotten a taste of the undead grooming tutorial those clips intended, those with a knack for the off-center will still be able to get their darkly comic fix from FLICK. “I’m very proud that the tidal wave of blood which precedes Bev being ejected onto the pavement like a newborn is all still intact,” Tomlinson notes.

     

    Jumping off of FLICK as a hopeful showcase of his sensibilities, Tomlinson points out the eclectic span of his continued projects. “The thing I like about my job is the constant variety of the work,” he says. “Each commission is so different. When the entire planet was celebrating the dawn of the new millennium with fireworks parties and exciting Y2K sex, I was in the middle of a two month project, working 18 hour days, to produce hundreds of construction drawings and 3-D renders for a Lego instruction book.” Tomlinson then adds, “If somebody commissions me to do more horror genre stuff, then that’s what I’ll do, and I’ll probably have a lot of fun doing it.” Contrary to FLICK’s Brit-based pastiche, Tomlinson’s new horror collaboration—again with Howard and Hall—“is about as all-American as you can get,” the artist hints. The developing project, entitled THE SCRATCH ROOM (see art below), will see his first stab at a werewolf movie. You can find out more about Tomlinson here http://alex-tomlinson.com/ and read his illustration blog here http://alextheillustrator.blogspot.com/

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  • “SANTA SANGRE” to make U.S. DVD/Blu-ray debut; art and details

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 17:14:24 by

    One of the most-desired titles by Stateside disc collectors has long been Alejandro Jodorowsky’s shocking and fascinating 1989 feature SANTA SANGRE. Now, Fango has received word that the acclaimed hallucinatory fantasy-chiller will make its American DVD/Blu-ray debut early next year.

    Severin Films will release the discs January 25, 2011, derived from a restored print of the uncut European version. There will also be more than five hours of extras on the two-DVD set and Blu-ray, accompanying the saga of a young man, once a circus performer with his family, who escapes from an asylum and helps his armless mother get murderous revenge. While final details have yet to be confirmed, the supplements currently slated include:

    • Audio commentary by Jodorowsky

    • Deleted scenes

    • Multiple documentaries

    • New on-camera interviews with the majority of the film’s cast and crew

    • Domestic and international trailers

    • Coverage of Jodorowsky’s forthcoming NYC appearances

    The latter includes the director’s first-ever American retrospective, titled “Blood Into Gold: The Cinematic Alchemy of Alejandro Jodorowsky,” which takes place this Thursday, September 23-Friday, October 8 at New York City’s Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle). Jodorowsky, whose classic films also include EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, will be in attendance to conduct a rare master class on his films and philosophy; go here for more details.

    “SANTA SANGRE is a landmark acquisition for us,” says Severin co-founder and CEO David Gregory. “Jodorowsky is one of the few true visionaries of cinema, and the opportunity to bring his modern masterpiece back to America is a genuine honor. Our restoration of the film, combined with an unprecedented collection of bonus features, will now introduce this brilliant film to a whole new audience.” Look for final details on the SANTA SANGRE disc contents shortly.

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  • A “PRIMAL” preview

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 17:04:57 by Allan Dart

    One of the films playing at Fantastic Fest, PRIMAL will be available this Wednesday, September 22, via IFC Midnight. Check out the trailer after the break.

    Shock Till You Drop posted the preview for the Australian film written and directed by Josh Reed. The story concerns a group of friends on a trip to the Outback, where one becomes infected after skinnydipping in a waterhole and reverts to a predatory state—with her condition soon spreading to the others. 

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  • “DEVIL” and the Details

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 16:39:29 by Trevor Parker

    John Erick Dowdle and his brother Drew are laughing in unison at FANGORIA. This is happening not out of disrespect (“We’re big fans,” the brothers say. “We have the QUARANTINE cover framed in our office!”) but because your correspondent has just asked about the possibility of the duo switching gears at some point and shooting a romantic comedy. The Dowdles previously won notice for the harrowing Handycam realism of THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES, then translated the ferocious Spanish zombie film [REC] into QUARANTINE for English-speaking audiences. Now they have DEVIL in theaters, based on a story by executive producer M. Night Shyamalan.

    After the hilarity subsides, John, the livelier of the pair and the director on their films, says, “I wouldn’t put it past us to do a romantic comedy one day. THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES…well, it’s not a comedy, but it was a romance in its own twisted way. But, yeah, if we did do a romantic comedy, it’d be wrong.”

    Drew Dowdle, the more reserved sibling, executive producer on all their films and co-writer of QUARANTINE and POUGHKEEPSIE, adds dryly, “A romantic comedy where everybody dies.” “Really, we just love horror,” John continues. “We love thrillers. It’s what we grew up with, and it’s what we gravitate toward in our private time to watch. Something that a lot of people don’t get is that you’re allowed a much broader and deeper level of artistry in horror. You can do the craziest stuff, and it’s totally accepted by the audience—when really, how many different shots are there in a romantic comedy? A two-shot, single, single, dolly along as they walk…it’s all so boring. Horror gives you the chance to experiment with bizarre and twisted things that are totally acceptable within the genre, and we love the freedom it allows us.”

    “As different as our films have been,” Drew continues, “one common thread we’ve tried to maintain has been to make them experiential for the audience. In POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES, we wanted to put people in the camera of a serial killer. With QUARANTINE, the experience there was obvious, and DEVIL was shot in a very subjective way as well. We tried to put the viewer inside an elevator with these five characters. The ‘experience’ movie is something the horror/thriller genre really lends itself to, and allows you freedoms you don’t really get in other genres.”

    DEVIL, in which five strangers—one of whom is actually Satan, there to claim the rest—are trapped in that elevator, became the subject of much on-line discussion when Shyamalan’s proprietary portion of the title was suddenly removed. Gossip had it that the critical horsewhipping endured by Shyamalan’s THE LAST AIRBENDER, and jeers in theaters when the filmmaker’s name appeared in the trailer, were the culprits. Drew Dowdle and Shyamalan himself want to clear the air: “That was a snafu,” Drew says. “It was always going to be called DEVIL. When Universal announced its 2011 slate of films, when we were originally going to come out in February 2011, they listed the title as THE NIGHT CHRONICLES: DEVIL. The studio was in the process of changing the name back to DEVIL, and people picked that up and ran with it as if Universal was taking Night’s name off the movie, and that’s clearly not the case. Night’s name is still very prominent.”

    “They wanted to make THE NIGHT CHRONICLES part of the title, but I felt that was not the way to go,” says Shyamalan, who plans to make two other films—including REINCARNATE, directed by THE LAST EXORCISM’s Daniel Stamm—under the banner in the same writer/producer capacity. “These should be individual movies. DEVIL and any further installments won’t have related characters or plotlines.”

    Shyamalan, who calls the Dowdles “really sweet human beings,” then takes the opportunity to explain what prompted him to hand off his DEVIL idea and how much he enjoyed working in a supportive creative role. “DEVIL was [originally] for me to direct, 100 percent,” he reveals. “I had my little black journal that I wrote all my notes in, I had my ideas for casting and how I was going to shoot it. I was seriously thinking about doing it, but it was just a timing thing. I had multiple ideas, and decided to go with one of the others, and kept saying to myself, ‘Oh, I’ll do [DEVIL] next time.’ But life went on, and I ended up with a few of these ideas left over. I still wanted to tell the stories somehow, so I said, ‘Let’s get some great filmmakers to do them.’

    “Also, it came from a yearning to be a part of a community,” he continues. “Because I live in Philadelphia, and most industry people are in Los Angeles or New York, I sometimes feel very isolated. You miss the fraternity of making movies. Up until now, my process of has been a quiet one: I’ll quietly write something and then go off and make it. On set, it’s fantastic because I have so many people to bounce ideas off of and share the process with, but a lot of it is very lonely and singular. I always dreamed of teaming up with someone and just making movies for the fun of it. This was a way I could be part of a community of people who I could learn from, share ideas and who would challenge me. So it became, ‘I can make these ideas now, and they don’t have to die in my drawer.’ And the Dowdles have become real friends; they come over to my house now, and we just hang out!”

    Shyamalan then mentions that he’s “itching to get back to something dark and edgy” following his recent dalliances into family-targeted territory, and Fango asks about his upcoming secret project, which Bruce Willis and Bradley Cooper are reportedly set to star in—would this be a return to terrifying form, something that will appeal to Fango readers? Shyamalan chuckles and answers, “Definitely!”

    Getting back to the Dowdles, the conversation turns to the expanding QUARANTINE universe. The sequel QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL, set in an airport and unrelated to [REC] 2, recently wrapped shooting for Sony (see our first report here), and it appears there’s still some juice left in the first-person-fright subgenre. Are the Dowdles, who weren’t involved with QUARANTINE 2, tempted to return to the world of handheld horror? “We’re very happy with the work we did [on QUARANTINE]; it was such a fun film,” John says. “We love the property, but I feel like we’ve said what we have to say on that. I can’t see us revisiting it. We’d rather keep moving in a forward trajectory. From a filmmaking standpoint, we’ve done a lot of the POV type of stuff. That was enjoyable, and we learned a lot about blocking [laughs], but now we’re enjoying more of an old-school, traditional Hollywood approach, kind of a Hitchcockian style of filmmaking.”

    “We’ve always thought of ourselves as self-generators,” Drew adds. “We’re really proud of QUARANTINE, and we’re big fans of the original [REC]. However, if we jumped straight from QUARANTINE into another remake, we’d run the risk of being known as ‘the remake guys.’ If we jumped into another POV-style movie, we’d risk being the POV guys. That was another big draw for us with DEVIL—not only that it was an original concept, but that we could get Tak Fujimoto [cinematographer of THE SIXTH SENSE and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, among many others] to shoot it. Night’s involvement was key in our ability to get Tak. So we were able to make something with a traditional narrative, and shot elegantly. We really expanded our style.”

    John adds that the visual aesthetic of ’70 horror films was a key influence on DEVIL. Despite undisputed classics from that era like THE EXORCIST or THE OMEN sharing DEVIL’s subject matter, however, there was another, less directly related choice that served as their main directorial template. “More than anything else, THE SHINING,” John says. “Huge influence. We think it’s perhaps the most perfect movie every made. It’s scary as hell, and it’s so weird, but you don’t even understand why it’s so weird. We hoped to evoke that kind of feel, that vibe. Kubrick used really wide lenses and framed everything smack dab in the center. Especially in the elevator, using wide lenses, every motion is accentuated. Someone comes one foot forward and it feels like they’ve moved three feet toward you. It adds drama to things.”

    When it comes to what’s next, the Dowdles have some bad news for fans of Jack Kilborn’s gore-wallowing 2009 novel AFRAID: While the brothers were announced earlier this year as preparing to helm a film adaptation, those plans are now stalled. John explains: “AFRAID was announced a bit prematurely. We were attached, and we brought it around town to see if there was interest in it, but that was before anything ‘official’ was happening.”

    Drew then hints that the duo’s refusal to compromise on the content defused the momentum. “We are big fans of the book,” he says. “It’s one of the best page-turners in the genre, but it’s extremely violent. The violence is inherent to the soul of that story, and we found that when we brought it around town… [pause] There is a version of that film that will be made, I believe, but it will be a bigger departure from the book than we wanted to do.”

    The brothers are instead working on a new project that they assure will keep both their fans and themselves happy. “We love original concepts and doing things from the ground up,” John says. “Our next project is called THE COUP, which we’re writing, directing, and producing. We’re getting back to our own thing.” The story concerns “a family who move to Cambodia for work, and a coup overthrows the government and starts killing foreigners. Not knowing the language, or the lay of the land, the family has to try and get out of the country. It’s a fast-paced action-horror-thriller combo. We’ll be shooting in Thailand, most likely—if they stop having real coups over there!”

    “We might end up in our own movie,” Drew warns, and this possibility seems to appeal to John’s sense of frugality: “Yeah, we could save on casting extras and just shoot the real thing!”

    The brothers are determined that THE COUP will continue a trend that has run throughout all their films thus far. “We realized that no one ever changes their clothes in any of our movies,” John says. “We’ve never had a second set of wardrobe.” Drew adds, “We have a history of doing films that all take place in one day, and THE COUP will have a 36-hour time frame. We like films with a sense of urgency.”

    For more with the Dowdles and Shyamalan on DEVIL, check out Fango #297, on sale now.

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  • “MAD RON’S” FX wizard reminisces

    Originally posted on 2010-09-20 14:58:30 by Nick Masercola

    Even the biggest and busiest in the business have humble beginnings, and few people know that as well as Jordu Schell. Now at the top of the FX world, working on movies like 300, AVATAR, and DAWN OF THE DEAD to name a few, Schell’s first gig was on the genre trailer compilation MAD RON’S PREVUES FROM HELL, first released on VHS in 1987 and finally available now on DVD from Virgil Films.

    One of the first of its kind, MAD RON’S gathered together 47 of the most grisly, outrageous exploitation previews one could hope to see (check out an interview with its creators in Fango #297, now on sale). In between all this celluloid slaughter are linking segments involving a crazed ventriloquist, his evil dummy and dozens of the undead—all of which Schell designed.

    “I got a call from [producer] Jim Murray,” Schell recalls, “and I was really excited to do some zombie stuff, because they’re one of my favorite monster types. I’m a huge fan of ’70s grindhouse cinema, so when I saw the trailers the guys had cut together—before we actually started work on the in-between stuff—I was very excited. I particularly like the trailer for BLOODEATERS, for some reason.”

    But once it came time to actually worry about the “in-between stuff,” the then 19-year-old Schell realized he’d need a little extra help creating the scores of grotesque ghouls required. “I didn’t have an extensive background in makeup as much as creature design,” he says, “so I called in a guy named Jay Kushwara to help. He lived in a neighboring township to Philadelphia, and he helped out with life-casting and designed and sculpted the zombie look for the black actor, and also did the eye-popping effect at the end. As far as designs, I was given total control. It was great!”

    Apparently, he wasn’t just assigned the undead, but the evil dummy Happy as well. “For Happy, I just sculpted a character that I thought was both funny and kind of disgusting at the same time,” Schell recalls. “Nick Pawlow [who plays his ventriloquist] loved it. Everyone was incredibly easy to work with.”

    While this first professional experience was a positive one, it was MAD RON’s release that Schell’s career began to take off. “I had my work seen by Screaming Mad George in LA,” he says. “I sent him pictures of my masks when I was about 20, and he called me, and that’s when things really got going. But I am glad to know that people enjoy PREVUES, and that it has amassed a cult following.”

    Since then, Schell has contributed to numerous features, but one experience stands out as his favorite. “I would have to say that GALAXY QUEST remains the best of the films I’ve worked on,” the artist says. “From the experience to the creative freedom to the final film, it was a great time.” Schell’s long résumé has encompassed both CGI and practical FX—so which does he enjoy doing more? “Well, it’s pretty clear that the best effects today employ a little of both techniques,” he replies. “CGI can do things real-time effects can’t, and there are undeniable qualities in real-time effects that digital just can’t capture—yet. But as the techniques of computer work become refined and more sophisticated, there definitely is a serious threat to real-time effects artists.”

    When it comes to what his personal future holds, however, Schell is keeping his cards close to his chest. “Well, as with so many things I work on, I cannot discuss the intricacies of what I’m up to,” he says. “Suffice to say, I am doing design work on a huge film that I am sure FANGORIA will be covering in the near future!”

    For more on the MAD RON’S PREVUES FROM HELL DVD, go here.

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  • Terror Tidbits (Fango #297) – “THE WALKING DEAD” Are Coming

    Originally posted on 2010-09-19 22:59:07 by Philip Nutman

    British actor Andrew Lincoln is about to get whacked upside the head with a shovel, and three-time Academy Award-nominated writer/director Frank Darabont is smiling.

    “Action!”

    Lincoln feigns taking a wicked blow to the noggin and drops out of camera range.

    “Cut!” Darabont shouts. “Let’s do it again.”

    Take two. Lincoln gives more of a neck jerk the second time around, and his director grins at the video monitor. “OK, a third take, then let’s move on.”

    Lincoln, who is likely to be unknown to Fango readers (unless you’re a secret romcom fan and know him from Richard Curtis’ Love Actually), rotates his head, stretches and waits for Darabont’s command. On cue, the actor jerks and drops onto the crash mat beside him. Satisfied, the director of the much-loved The Shawshank Redemption and other acclaimed Stephen King adaptations like THE GREEN MILE and THE MIST marshals the crew of THE WALKING DEAD to set up the next shot, then takes a break to talk to FANGORIA.

    It’s day 10 of a 14-day shoot for this pilot. “Time becomes its own redefined element when you’re filming. What day is this? Monday…boy,” Darabont sighs. “Normally, I’d schedule 16 days to shoot a pilot, but I lopped two days off my own schedule voluntarily to give relief to the other directors.”

    A six-part series for basic cable network AMC, home to the controversial BREAKING BAD and the hit MAD MEN, THE WALKING DEAD is based on the ongoing, New York Times Best Selling comic-book/graphic-novel series by Robert Kirkman (see page 23), published by Image Comics. Darabont is an executive producer and the writer/director of the pilot, which he is shooting in hot, humid Atlanta, Georgia. His partner in zombie armageddon is fellow exec producer Gale Anne Hurd, who has, of course, been delighting genre aficionados since 1984’s THE TERMINATOR, producing ALIENS, THE RELIC and numerous other Fango favorites. They are the dream team for an ambitious, boundary-pushing TV show such as this one. Add special makeup master Greg Nicotero and KNB EFX to the mix, and whichever way you cut the cards, THE WALKING DEAD has “bloody big hit” written all over it (accent on the blood; you’re going to be amazed at the gore on your flatscreen when the series premieres in late October).

    Darabont’s eyes rack focus for a few beats as he surveys how the next setup is progressing. After years of making big features and helming an episode of the adrenalin-fueled cop show THE SHIELD (season six’s “Chasing Ghosts”), he admits he now likes to work fast but very focused, stressing that speed doesn’t mean sacrificing quality.

    For the whole story, pick up FANGORIA #297, on sale this month. Go here for full issue details, and here to subscribe to the magazine!

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