FANGORIA Presents: “SIN REAPER,” Big Creeper
One of the most important aspects about the current releases under the FANGORIA Presents banner (see here for details; to find Fango’s Comcast collection on your VOD channel, search this way: Movies > Movie Collections > Fangoria) is the variety of all the films chosen. Whether it’s a bloody family outing in AXED, eeriness in Eastern Europe in ENTITY or pandemic pandemonium in GERM Z, FANGORIA Presents aims to give fright fans a different experience in terror with each selection. However, Fango has something special for gorehounds with Sebastian Bartolitius’s SIN REAPER, in which nightmares of a dark monastery and an enigmatic killer come to life for Samantha, a young woman with a mysterious past.
Starring Helen Mutch, Hazuki Kato and genre legend Lance Henriksen, SIN REAPER plays like an atmospheric slasher with an inherent European twist, hinting at a larger mythology at play. Co-writer and executive co-producer Nico Sentner states that the film was intended that way. “When we were meeting for the first time to decide what the story was going to be like, we also thought, ‘What can we have that we have only here in Europe?’” recalls Sentner, who shared scripting chores with Matthias Haag and Manuel Johnen on the film. “We wanted something that the audience outside of Europe does not have in that way, and that was old castles and monasteries. And we have a lot of them! It was having access to that fantastic convent, which is a really creepy location, made it a natural fit then to move into the direction of giving the killer a background connected to the creepy place.”
Shot on location in an especially spooky Johanniterburg near the town of Kühndorf in Thuringia, Germany, SIN REAPER holds an eclectic international cast, many of whom had been attached to Sentner’s project even before it became a reality. “For the casting of SIN REAPER, the goal was to have the best new talent from all over the world which we could get for the project,” he says. “Back in the day, in 2005, I was attending a film festival in Los Angeles with my first horror short, entitled DARK LEGACY. At that festival, I met a very promising young British actress named Helen Mutch. And back in 2005, I gave her a promise that if I’m ever going to produce a big horror movie, I would cast her. And then six, seven years later, I was able to do so.”
Sentner, who also acts in SIN REAPER, notes that the film’s development actually began at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. “In 2008, I was at Cannes, and I was promoting a science-fiction film of mine called TAIKETSU and meeting with another German producer named Matthias Haag,” he says. “He was my production partner on SIN REAPER. We were sitting at the beach, discussing what kind of movies we’d like to see and do, and we wanted to create an iconic killer. The last iconic killer, at least that we recognized, was Ghostface from SCREAM. Most of the killers that came afterward were just not as original from our point of view, maybe except for the killer from HATCHET. So the concept behind SIN REAPER was to give the audience a new, iconic killer more in the spirit of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, somebody like that. This was the moment SIN REAPER was born.”
However, SIN REAPER is a slasher unlike those pumped out by Hollywood every so often, as Sentner took care to not only balance the body count and the tension, but also focused on the motivation of the masked maniac. “We didn’t want to have a killer being a killer because he likes to kill or because he is crazy or follow the explanations used all the time in every single horror movie. We actually wanted to give the killer a background so as a character, at least in his point of view, it’s understandable to do what he does.
“On a slasher movie like this, from a fan’s perspective, you expect a certain body count,” Sentner continues. “But the idea was to build up tension, let the killer be discovered through the eyes of Samantha and to reveal all of the secrets. But then once it’s revealed to the audience and to the character that there is a killer, there’s a decent body count, too. But basically, it’s a horror movie, so we tried to make it a horror movie and stay within the rules of a horror movie to give the audience what they expect, but on the other hand, to create something new and fresh with a new iconic killer, something they haven’t seen before.”
If you’re still not sold on SIN REAPER just yet, don’t fret, as Fango fan favorite Henriksen shows up throughout as Samantha’s psychiatrist, Dr. Hoffman. As an appearance from Bishop Weyland himself always adds gravitas to any horror picture, Sentner notes that the casting of Henriksen was a dream come true. “We always wanted some legendary genre actor for Dr. Hoffman in SIN REAPER, and Matthias Haag, our director Sebastian and of course myself grew up watching Lance’s work. I’m from East Germany, and I grew up behind the Iron Curtain, so until the reunification happened, I never saw an American genre movie. The first American genre movie I saw was ALIENS, and since that time, my love belongs to Lance Henriksen when it comes to acting.”
Currently awaiting the debut of his latest production ARENA OF THE STREET FIGHTER, Sentner concludes that SIN REAPER was a total labor of love, and that fact is obvious. Despite its limited budget, SIN REAPER goes a long way with an eerie setting and sudden bursts of bloody violence. The movie boasts an impressive visual panache with religious-themed imagery and props, including the villain’s signature slay tool. SIN REAPER is currently available for rental at Blockbuster, hits VOD on May 7 and you can buy the movie on July 23. Watch for future SIN REAPER articles right here!