• Unrated trailer for “HATCHET II”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-16 14:43:51 by Allan Dart

    The sequel is hitting theaters unrated October 1 at select AMC theaters. Take a look at this clip of Victor Crowley’s sanguinary slaughters after the jump.

    IGN landed the trailer. Here’s the synopsis for the film:

    “Adam Green’s HATCHET II picks up at the exact moment that 2006’s HATCHET ends, wherein the quiet but hot-tempered Marybeth (Danielle Harris) is in a small boat in the Louisiana swamps, screaming for her life as she tries to free herself from the clutches of the deformed, swamp-dwelling killer Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). Crowley has murdered Marybeth’s family and other fellow vacationers who had come together on a tourist excursion in the swamplands outside of New Orleans. 

    Marybeth escapes from Crowley and manages to make it back to civilization, where she once again encounters voodoo shop proprietor Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd), who had helped to arrange Marybeth and company’s earlier, ill-fated tour of the area. To help Marybeth and also serve his own secret agenda, Reverend Zombie recruits a hardened pack of hunters to head back into the swamp to seek revenge on Victor Crowley.”

    {jcomments on}

    Read more »
  • “INSIDIOUS” (TIFF Film Review)

    Originally posted on 2010-09-16 05:28:26 by Chris Alexander

    As a lifelong horror-film enthusiast, I am forever chasing the dragon for the almighty fright. As you age and the divides between fantasy and reality become sadly concrete, it’s very difficult to totally suspend your disbelief and immerse yourself in the supernatural, to have films about “things” from the ether affect you. But oh, how you want them to.

    Having just exited a Toronto International Film Festival screening of director/editor James Wan’s latest straight-up genre film, INSIDIOUS, feeling weak in the knees yet exhilarated, I’m overjoyed to report that Wan, once again working from a script by SAW partner Leigh Whannell, did it. He got me. He brought me back to that sweet, shuddery dark place I cowered in as a kid, where anything was possible, when I believed in the monster in the freaking closet or under the bed and when I was afraid to fall asleep, because I might get trapped in one of those abstract recurring nightmares that jolted me awake in the dead of night with tears in my eyes and my heart pounding in my tiny chest. The ones that, when the day came, made me glad of it—and I would then go and draw the “things” I saw in my sleep, tell people about them and try to find others who had similar experiences.

    Which is why I’m now sitting in a café, clacking away at my laptop and feverishly trying to belch out a review of the film. I want horror fans to know that there is a picture out there that genuinely cares about craft, that desires to give you those old-fashioned spectral scares, to shake your spine and terrify you, but still ensure that—when the lights come up—you walk out inspired, not battered down by the terror on screen. INSIDIOUS is that film, a work of pure Gothic imagination and wonky dread. It’s like entering one of those rickety carnival haunted-house rides that whip you around, that trot out the “things” that scream bells in your ears and reveal some new dark horror around every whiplash-inducing turn…

    OK, I’ll slow down. The plot.

    Real-deal actors Rose Byrne from 28 WEEKS LATER and HARD CANDY’s Patrick Wilson—it always helps to have good actors anchoring a phantasmagoria like this—star as a lovely middle-class couple who move their three children into a beautiful old detached Victorian home to start a new life. As mom vainly attempts to work on her music compositions while minding her infant daughter, her middle child has an accident in the attic and falls into a mysterious coma. Months pass, and not a single medical professional can determine why this darling little boy refuses to wake up. And yet slowly, surely, “things” start to appear. Ghosts. Monsters. Bumps and screams in the night. Harsh whispers on the baby monitor. Bloody handprints on the bedsheets. Driven past the point of comfort by these unexplained phenomena, the family moves house—only to discover that the “things” have followed them…

    To reveal more would be to kill the midsection hiccup that turns INSIDIOUS from an elegant, serious-minded, creepy-as-all-hell ghost story into a very strange, eccentric POLTERGEIST-by-way-of-Roman-Polanski supernatural drama, and then into a full-blown Mario Bava soaked spookshow freak-out. Wan has sculpted an immaculate, imaginative and completely unpretentious genre work that delivers the goods in an offbeat, unique way—but of course, that’s to be expected. SAW was familiar yet original, an amalgam of classic pulp and contemporary tech. Same with the underrated DEAD SILENCE and the even more underrated vigilante epic DEATH SENTENCE. With INSIDIOUS, I can now proudly proclaim James Wan to be a major master of horror. An old-world craftsman who lets sound and music (right from the opening credits, we’re not only watching the film but listening to it) propel his prowling camerawork and meticulously timed jump scares. The man seems to love what he does, and that passion for the macabre drifted through the theater like the relentless dry-ice mist that smothers the film’s last reel.

    Sure, there are a few narrative glitches and a couple of stumbles of silly dialogue, but Leigh Whannell’s script is otherwise sound. And with a visual and aural palette this rich and a tone this terrifying, as a horror fan (many of whom are, let’s face it, more than a bit jaded), you must allow yourself to overlook those trivial flaws.

    I’ll leave you with this: there was a moment in INSIDIOUS where—I swear to God—my blood chilled. I felt it. I breathed in deep and my damn blood turned cold. And I honestly cannot remember when this has ever happened to me.

    {jcomments on}

    Read more »
  • “THE WARD” (TIFF Film Review)

    Originally posted on 2010-09-16 05:22:49 by Adam Nayman

    The best evidence that THE WARD (which premiered this week at the Toronto International Film Festival) was directed by John Carpenter is that his name is above the title. It’s certainly not on the screen; working from a maladroit script by Sean and Michael Rasmussen, Carpenter—who hasn’t made a feature since 2001’s deliriously silly genre mashup GHOSTS OF MARS—directs like a journeyman rather than an auteur.

    It just doesn’t seem like his heart is in this haunted-asylum story, which stars Amber Heard as a disturbed young woman admitted into a psychiatric hospital after burning down a stranger’s home for no apparent reason. No prizes for guessing that the motives for this supremely photogenic act of arson will be unraveled over the film’s duration.

    The clichés just keep on coming: Heard’s new digs are staffed by nasty nurses (of both genders) and presided over by an obviously sleazy head psychiatrist (Jared Harris); the other inmates comprise a cross-section of troubled-girl types (Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer is the most ostentatiously bugged-out); and, as in virtually every horror movie produced since 2000, there’s a long-haired, wraith-like female apparition that spends her time popping into frame like Andy Samberg in an SNL Digital Short (except that her appearances aren’t funny on purpose).

    I’m not trying to be nasty to Carpenter, whose relegation to the Hollywood margins around the mid-’80s was undeserved, and who has the talent to pull off memorable horror on a relative shoestring (see 1994’s Lovecraftian pastiche IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS, with its great Sam Neill performance and handful of sharp, honest scares). The problem with THE WARD is not so much its lack of style as the fact that the director doesn’t seem to have much interest in the material: not in the plight of his female characters, whose ensemble interactions are strained even as their individual personalities are admirably vivid; not in the institutional environment, which feels borrowed from any number of snake-pit dramas; and certainly not in what ends up being the movie’s theme/organizing gimmick, which I will not spoil here but which really could have used a hambone like Donald Pleasance to explicate with the right level of campy conviction. (The reveal, when it comes, is one of the worst-handled aspects of the film).

    There are surely worse horror movies coming out these days than THE WARD—but considering the context of its creation, I can’t think of one that’s more disappointing.

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • “BEST WORST MOVIE” DVD/digital release details

    Originally posted on 2010-09-16 04:35:47 by

    After a successful tour of numerous festivals and theatrical bookings over the past two years, BEST WORST MOVIE is coming home. Michael Paul Stephenson’s documentary about the creation of TROLL 2 will be available on DVD and other digital platforms November 16.

    New Video will be releasing the movie under its Docurama Films banner, allowing more bad-movie fans to view Stephenson’s chronicle of his experiences as the child star of Claudio Fragasso’s notorious non-sequel. Via interviews with Fragasso and most of TROLL 2’s cast (most notably star/dentist George Hardy), and footage of the movie’s nationwide revival screenings nearly two decades after its video debut, he focuses on how a movie he once regarded as an embarrassment turned into a cult favorite. The disc will include the following extras:

    • Over an hour of deleted scenes and interviews

    • Fan contributions, including music videos and mashup trailers

    • Filmmaker Q&A with Creative Screenwriting magazine

    • A “provocative message” from TROLL 2’s Goblin Queen, Deborah Reed

    Retail price is $19.95. TROLL 2 itself will not be included, but it is being given its solo DVD and Blu-ray debuts by MGM/Fox Home Entertainment October 5. See our review of BEST WORST MOVIE here and Stephenson’s early comments about the DVD supplements here. You can find BEST WORST MOVIE’s official website here and Facebook page here.

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • Werner Herzog Raises “MY SON”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-15 21:14:08 by Chris Alexander

    German art-house sensation Werner Herzog has long been linked to the horror genre, and not just because of his brilliant, moving and eerie 1979 remake of the landmark vampire film NOSFERATU. Rather, like Roman Polanski and David Lynch, Herzog’s work almost always veers into the darker recesses of the human mind, detailing with natural, beautiful observational aesthetics the conflicts between people and themselves and, perhaps even more profoundly, with the apathy of nature itself.

    Think of the grandiose descent into obsession in AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD or the equally glorious downward spiral of FITZCARRALDO, both starring the late Klaus Kinski, who over the span of five pictures graced Herzog’s films as the ultimate madman. Or even the recent Nicolas Cage melodrama BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS, which sees the actor channeling Kinski as his title character flamboyantly loses a battle with substance addiction.

    But back on the Lynch tip: Herzog’s latest release is the psychological horror film MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE, co-executive-produced by Lynch and out this week on DVD from First Look (see our review here). A typically weird, hypnotic and music-fueled mood piece (loosely based on a true story), it stars BUG’s Michael Shannon as a young man who’s addicted to his mother (Lynch regular Grace Zabriskie) and becoming increasingly unhinged. The cast is rounded out by such oddball thesps as Brad Dourif, Udo Kier, Willem Dafoe and Chloe Sevigny, but make no mistake…this is clearly the world of Werner Herzog, and it’s his unique rhythms that make the film so fascinating. Fango caught up with the iconic (and very funny) artist to discuss this strange and beautiful piece of dark work.

    FANGORIA: The fact that two of the most influential contemporary surrealists have made a film together is truly cause for celebration. Can you tell us a bit about how this unholy union came to pass?

    WERNER HERZOG: It’s not as much of a collaboration as fans might expect, as far as working on a screenplay or co-directing is concerned. David and I know and love and respect each other’s work, and have for a long time. We have always had loose discussions about working together. One day I was at his place and we were discussing these big Hollywood films with exploding budgets, and I said we should make films with great stories and the best of actors, but with contained budgets. That we should go back to our roots. Lynch asked if I had a project in mind and I said yes, a dormant one that I had written 12 years earlier. He was so enthusiastic about it, and we both had a feeling we should go ahead.

    But he never showed up on the set, and only saw footage when he finally saw the finished film. He was some sort of—how should I say this?—a positive stumbling block for me. He brought the project to life by sheer enthusiasm.

    FANG: So were you consciously tipping your hat to Lynch in the film?

    HERZOG: Yes, absolutely, in a few ways. The presence of Grace is my homage to David, but let’s face it—she’s a great actress, and perfect for this part.

    FANG: Speaking of great—and eccentric—actors, you put Udo Kier and Brad Dourif in the same film. Remarkable…

    HERZOG: Udo was perfect for the role and he’s a wonderful actor, and Brad has been in several of my films. Michael Shannon was barely known when I hired him—there was no Academy Award nomination [for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD] yet—but even then it was obvious that this man was one of the greatest actors in the world working today. But putting larger-than-life actors such as Dafoe, Dourif and Shannon together…you have to embed them with the right chemistry.

    FANG: The movie is filled with those trademark scenes of yours where characters stand still in frame while odd things happen around them. I’m thinking here of that oddly beautiful sequence involving Tomas Mendez’s gentle song “Cucurrucucu Paloma”—you always use music in such interesting ways.

    HERZOG: Well, let’s face it, Pedro Almodóvar used the song very beautifully as well in his film TALK TO HER. I stumbled across it first when I saw that film, but it had been in several other movies before that. In mine, I employed it to exemplify a kind of surrealism…the stillness of the characters, as the tiniest midget in the world stands on tallest tree stump. The characters stare at the camera but do not move. That’s a motif in the film, that time and purpose come to a standstill.

    FANG: You’re also known for your documentary work, and yet your narrative fictions always blur that line between reality and fantasy; ultimately, it’s hard to properly distinguish the two. Is there a defining difference between your docus and your features?

    HERZOG: Well, when you say “documentary”…I define it differently. Most of my documentaries are feature films in disguise. Because I really direct the documentaries, I invent things for effect. I have to be cautious when I say that, because I never mean to mislead, but rather to intensify and crystallize a deeper truth that underlies the facts.

    FANG: You’re being interviewed by FANGORIA for a reason, and that’s because MY SON, MY SON has been labeled by some as a horror film. Is this your take on the picture?

    HERZOG: I always wanted to make a horror film, but not one where you’re coming at the audience with a bloody ax. MY SON is a kind of horror film in that it’s subversive, and you can never really figure out why it’s scary. When Shannon places a basketball in a tree, it’s scary because you don’t know why he’s doing this; his mind and motives are unclear to us. I believe this film is my most careful and disciplined narration, and my followers recognize it as one of my very best films.

    FANG: There’s a slow burn to MY SON that makes it ideal for multiple viewings. Most of your work improves and gains strength the longer it ages, and I’m wondering if this longevity is something you have in mind when making your movies.

    HERZOG: No, you’re not allowed to. You’re just involved in day-to-day work, the scramble of making a film; you’re not into thinking about posterity. Let me say that I do have the feeling that no matter what the trends are, MY SON is independent of trends; I believe it will outlast many other films released at the same time.

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • “HATCHET II” clip: Tony Todd is rounding up a hunting party!

    Originally posted on 2010-09-15 21:09:00 by Allan Dart

    In a new sneak peek at the eagerly awaited sequel HATCHET II, Tony Todd’s character, Reverend Zombie, speaks to a group of locals about heading into the swamp to kill Victor Crowley. Click past the jump to give it a look!

    Movie Jungle posted the clip from HATCHET II, which opens October 1 and also stars Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Parry Shen (playing the twin brother of the character he essayed in the first film) and Tom Holland. Click here to see Dark Sky Films’ special AMC unrated and uncut release venues, and pick up Fango #297 (on sale this month) for part one of our exclusive in-depth interview with writer/director Adam Green.

    allowfullscreen=”true” src=”http://www.moviejungle.com/flashplayer/flowplayer.commercial-3.0.7.swf”>

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • “CRONOS” Criterion DVD/Blu release date, cover art & details!

    Originally posted on 2010-09-15 19:01:13 by Samuel Zimmerman

    The highly anticipated Criterion Collection release of Guillermo del Toro’s 1993 film CRONOS has finally got a date! Hit the jump to check out the cover art and all the details!

    The film will hit both DVD and Blu-Ray December 7.

    Here’s Criterion’s synopsis: “Guillermo del Toro made an auspicious, audacious feature debut with CRONOS, a highly unorthodox tale about the seductiveness of the idea of immortality. Kindly antiques dealer Jesús Gris (Federico Luppi of del Toro’s THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE) happens upon an ancient golden device in the shape of a scarab, and soon finds himself possessor and victim of its sinister, addictive powers, as well as the target of a mysterious, crude American named Angel (a delightfully deranged Ron Perlman of HELLBOY fame). Featuring marvelous special makeup effects and the unforgettably haunting imagery for which del Toro has become world-renowned, Cronos, is a visually rich and emotionally captivating dark fantasy.”

    Special features include:

    • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Guillermo del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, including optional audio with the film’s original Spanish-language voice-over introduction as well as DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition

    • Two audio commentaries, one featuring del Toro and the other producers Arthur H. Gorson and Bertha Navarro and coproducer Alejandro Springall

    • GEOMETRIA, an unreleased 1987 short horror film by del Toro, finished by the director in 2010, plus a new video interview with him

    • Welcome to Bleak House, a video tour by del Toro of his office, featuring his collectibles and personal work

    • New video interviews with del Toro, Navarro, and actor Ron Perlman

    • Video interview with actor Federico Luppi

    • Stills gallery

    • Trailer

    • New and improved English subtitle translation, approved by del Toro

    • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic/Fango scribe Maitland McDonagh and excerpts from del Toro’s notes for the film






    {jcomments on}



    Read more »
  • Exclusive “OPPONENT” Art

    Originally posted on 2010-09-15 18:17:29 by Tony Timpone

    Those busy B-movie meisters at Connecticut’s Synthetic Cinema International, makers of PREDATOR ISLAND, ASSAULT OF THE SASQUATCH (due October 19 on DVD) and WEREWOLF: THE DEVIL’S HOUND, are wrapping up postproduction on their latest effort, a comedic sci-fi horror flick called OPPONENT. Producer Andrew Gernhard shared with Fango the locally produced movie’s first poster art. See below the jump.

    Director Colin Theys, who previously helmed Synthetic’s BANSHEE!!!, gave Fango the skinny on OPPONENT’s wacky plot: “An alien ship crashes into a junkyard, and its hillbilly owners decide to offer a cash prize for exterminating their new pest,” he says. “OPPONENT is the story of who shows up and the insanity that ensues when they take on their extraterrestrial visitor and each other.”

    Regarding the status of the film, “OPPONENT has turned out better than any of us hoped,” Theys says. “It’s easily our best movie yet and a really wild ride. I can’t wait to get the finished product in front of an audience. We’ve been getting really positive feedback on the clips we’ve shown so far.”

    “We don’t have a trailer yet, because we are still burning away at the final edit of the film,” adds Gernhard. “So many effects for an indie production! We want to make sure the trailer, of course, gets OPPONENT’s best-of-the-best shots and sequences. However, the movie will have its first public screening during the Silk City Flick Fest in Connecticut, October 7-10. It’s not a premiere but an out-of-competition/preview screening of the movie. That night the audience will not be viewing the final-final version, but pretty darn close.” 

    Written by BANSHEE!!!’s John Doolan, OPPONENT stars THEY LIVE’s Roddy Piper (pictured) and Syfy movie regular Jeremy London (BA’AL, BASILISK: THE SERPENT KING, THE TERMINATORS, WOLVESBAYNE, etc.). Synthetic Cinema has it’s own YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/syntheticcinema), where the company’s “newest/latest” videos on the browser’s right side feature a bunch of ASSAULT OF THE SASQUATCH teaser spots recently shot for Syfy sister station Chiller. 

    {jcomments on}

    Read more »
  • 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. 

    {mov}FishHead_MED_Are you involved in some kind of cul{/mov}


    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • 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.

    {jcomments on}



    Read more »
  • 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?

    {jcomments on}

    Read more »
  • “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.

    {jcomments on}

    Read more »
Back to Top