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    Q&A: Director Blair Erickson on Government Experiment-inspired, “BANSHEE CHAPTER”

    After the nearly decade reign of the “torture porn” era, with yearly SAW entries and the deserved reign of the New French Extremity movement, there’s no surprise in the horror community welcoming suspense-driven genre films with open arms. While high tension, low-gore films like THE PURGE, THE CONJURING and INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 bringing in the highest profits the genre has seen in years, the atmospheric output of filmmakers such as Jim Mickle, Ti West and Ben Wheatley have brought independent horror to an almost classical style of slow burn storytelling. And yet, somewhere in the middle lies BANSHEE CHAPTER, an intense and psychological horror tale that’s spawned from history itself, citing the MK-Ultra experiments of the 50s and 60s as its source of inspiration.

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    Q&A: “SHIVER” Director Julian Richards

    What can be said about serial killers on screen that hasn’t been said before? The subgenre has become a difficult one to break ground in nowadays, and rather than focus on motivation, many directors have turned to gimmicks, often at the expense of the audience patience and interest. But sometimes, the challenge has inspired ambitious directors to prove this well isn’t dried up just yet, and one such filmmaker is SHIVER’s Julian Richards.

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    Q&A: “MACABRE” Writer/Director Timo Tjahjanto

    The word “rediscovery” is not new to the horror genre, as once a great fright filmmaker enters the cultural awareness, it’s only appropriate that fans dig deeper into their filmography. Sometimes, you find the early work of modern-day master-class auteurs; other times, you discover promising missteps with flashes of greatness interspersed throughout. And occasionally, you come across the origins of a specific perspective, revealing underlying themes, distinctive visuals or simply a penchant for bloody madness.

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    [Blood in the Snow '13] Anthony D.P. Mann talks “THE GHOSTKEEPERS”

    Even in the world of independent horror cinema, actor/filmmaker Anthony D.P. Mann is unique. As a youngster, while his peers were dining on slashers and gore fests, he was seeking out classic horror adaptations from British television. While other filmmakers gravitate towards larger productions, he’s stayed and worked out of the university town of Kingston, Ontario, utilizing the local structures and making sumptuous looking period pieces on a micro-budget.

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    [Night Visions '13] AJ Annila talks “WE ARE WHAT WE ARE” Prequel, “NUMBER 13″ & More

    As we recently noted in our report on Helsinki’s Night Visions Festival (see our report here and their list of prizewinners here), genre film production is ramping up in Finland in recent years. One of the directors leading the charge is Anti-Jussi Annila (AJ Annila) whose JADE WARRIOR (2006) – a Wuxia-infused take on Finland’s Kalevala epic – and gruesome, pitch-black period horror SAUNA (2008) established him as a filmmaker with a grand-scale, visionary approach to the genre.

    Aside from prepping a spring shoot for the WE ARE WHAT WE ARE prequel WHAT WE WERE, Annila is at the AFM this week pitching his admitted “dream project” NUMBER 13 (formerly called HUMAN) and is also in development on a third Scandinavian crime thriller, DON’T COME AFTER ME. Here FANGO talks to Annila about what the immediate future has in store for fans of Nordic horror.

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    “CONTRACTED”: Sex = Death, A Q&A with Director Eric England

    In writer/director Eric England’s disturbing CONTRACTED, STD not only stands for Sexual Transmitted Disease but also Something Totally Deadly. In the IFCMidnight release, which makes its East Coast premiere November 17 at the New York City Horror Film Festival at Tribeca Cinemas (54 Varick Street), Samantha (Najarra Townsend) has a drunken one-night stand with a guy she meets at a party and soon begins suffering from a horribly disfiguring illness. Director England, who previously helmed the indie fave MADISONCOUNTY and a segment in Chiller’s CHILLING VISIONS: FIVE SENSES OF FEAR, gave Fango the scoop on his squirm-inducing shocker.

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    Q&A: Michael S. Rodriguez on Short “NIGHT OF THE SEA MONKEY”

    Remember those funky Sea Monkey ads wedged in the back of the comic books you ran your grubby digits over as a kid? The goofy full-pagers usually boasted bold come-ons geared towards less-savvy lads, pushing them to beg their dads for the scratch to order what was meant to be an “instant pet”; just add water and watch ‘em grow!

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    Five Reasons Helsinki’s Night Visions Needs to be on Your Festival Calendar

    Helsinki is probably best known to cult film fans for the Kaurismäki brothers, or perhaps from the final (and best) segment of Jim Jarmusch’s 1991 anthology NIGHT ON EARTH. Indeed, Finnish cult films are few and far between, although a recent surge in the form of AJ Annila’s SAUNA (2008), Jalmari Helander’s RARE EXPORTS (2010) and Timo Vuorensola’s IRON SKY (2012)[i] has provided the impetus for more genre film production in the region—for fans seeking older examples, check out the original classic THE WHITE REINDEER (1952), Olli Soinio’s MOONLIGHT SONATA (1988), and a double bill of Auli Mantila with THE COLLECTOR (1997) and THE GEOGRAPHY OF FEAR (2000). Central to this burgeoning film scene is Helsinki’s Night Visions Festival, founded in 1997 originally as a single all-night event, but since expanded to four days in October with a mirroring event in the spring. For many festival vets, this marathon is the backbone of the event—it’s where the bulk of the retro titles feature in the lineup—but all screenings are well-attended, if not playing to sold-out houses.

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