Monday, February 28, 2011

The Host (2006)

The pollution in the Han River gives birth to Korea's greatest terror: a giant amphibian monster that is the host to a deadly disease! When the monster strikes the Wonhyogyo riverbank and captures a young girl, it is up to her family to band together and come to her rescue. While it appears to be a monster movie on the surface, THE HOST is a touching family drama at heart that is filled with plenty of fun characters and light humor. The Park family is by no means perfect, but they must each put their differences aside in order to save their courageous daughter Hyun-Seo. Director Bong Joon-Ho takes a far different approach to the monster movie and opens with an incredible attack sequence that is beautifully shot and choreographed, revealing the monster to the audience very early on. From here, the beast becomes a background player that is simply a catalyst for the family's struggle. Also unlike most traditional Japanese monster movies, the slimy creature is rendered entirely by computer, but its sleek design and interactions with the surrounding environments give it a life of its own. Bong infuses the plot with a strong sense of satire and biting social commentary as well, but in a way that is both relevant and entertaining at the same time. THE HOST is one of the stronger Korean exports in recent years, and a worthy addition to the giant monster genre!

Rating: 8/10.

If you liked THE HOST, check out:
ALLIGATOR, GOJIRA, GAMERA THE BRAVE.

Read The Full Post HERE!

House of Frankenstein (1944)

Dracula! The Wolfman! Frankenstein's Monster! The Universal Monsters come together at last in 1944's HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN! An insane scientist following in the footsteps of Dr. Henry Frankenstein escapes from prison with his hunchbacked assistant, but the two run into trouble posing as a pair of carnival operators when they bring Count Dracula back to life from one of their sideshow attractions. Dracula helps to rid the pair of the burgomaster that had imprisoned them, but the vampire is destroyed during a daring escape. Dr. Niemann and Daniel then seek refuge in the ruins of the Castle Frankenstein, where they discover the bodies of Frankenstein's Monster and The Wolfman frozen in the caves below! Once revived, Niemann convinces Lawrence Talbot to help him find Frankenstein's records so that he can lift the curse off of the werewolf's head while searching for a new body for his misshapen friend. Before he is able to do so, the monsters break loose and bring the angry villagers back down upon them, and Niemann's plans are cast to ruin!

This convoluted tale takes a number of unexpected twists and turns as it tries to bring Universal's three greatest monsters back to life within a single framework. Director Erle Kenton manages to do so with some success, while also maintaining the continuities of each of the individual series. On top of the big action sequences and excellent make-up effects, HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN benefits the most from a number of strong performances from each of its many villains. Boris Karloff returns to the series that made him a star in the devilish role as the mad Dr. Gustav Niemann, and he is joined by Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot and both John Carradine and Glenn Strange in their first appearances as Count Dracula and the undying Monster! J. Carroll Naish is also excellent as Niemann's assistant Daniel. HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN travels through a variety of beautiful Gothic sets that draw from THE WOLFMAN, FREAKS, and the original FRANKENSTEIN. The only disappointment is that the baddies never get to face off in a giant monster melee, but with plenty of action, drama, and suspense, HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN proves to be a huge crowd pleaser!

Rating: 7/10.
Entertainment: 8/10.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: Tribeca Expands Slate in 2011

TRIBECA FILM SETS EXPANSION OF SLATE IN 2011
MORE THAN DOUBLING ANNUAL OUTPUT TO 26 FILMS
AND ANNOUNCING U.S. DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS TO NINE NEW TITLES

***
Newly Acquired Films Starring Zach Braff, Vincent Gallo and Zoe Kravitz
and Featuring Filmmakers Including Jerzy Skolimowski, Vincent D’Onofrio and Peter Mullan
***
Slate to Premiere On Multiple Platforms, Including National Video-on-Demand
and Theatres Across the Country, Supported by Founding Partner American Express


NEW YORK, NY – February 28, 2011 – Tribeca Enterprises today announced that Tribeca Film will expand to commercially release 26 films over the next year, more than double the number of titles released in 2010. The comprehensive distribution label for independent film also announced that it acquired U.S. rights to nine new titles to be released across multiple platforms. The curated selection of films includes many genres and features stars including Zach Braff, Vincent Gallo and Zoe Kravitz and filmmakers such as Peter Mullan, Jerzy Skolimowski and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Following its launch in March 2010, Tribeca Film has grown to a year-round, full-service distribution label that delivers quality independent films to audiences through innovative strategies bolstered by its partnership with American Express. Tribeca Film’s significant expansion is highlighted by Tribeca’s continued relationship with Comcast, one of the nation’s leading providers of entertainment and supporter of independent film.

Tribeca Film plans to release the following titles theatrically, on video-on-demand and via other platforms throughout the coming year:

· Beware the Gonzo. From director and writer Brian Gobuloff (writer of The Basketball Diaries) comes a teen-angst comedy about an underground newspaper aiming to give voice to high school misfits. The film stars Zoe Kravitz, Ezra Miller, Jesse McCartney, Amy Sedaris, Campbell Scott, and James Urbaniak.

· The Bleeding House. Written and directed by comic book writer and first time filmmaker Philip Gelatt, this taut horror thriller is an original take on the home invasion genre about a family with a haunted past visited by a sweet-talking Texan killer who has come for retribution.

· Brother’s Justice. This Hollywood satire marks Dax Shepard’s directorial debut and is co-directed by David Palmer. The film follows Shepard as he makes the rash decision to abandon comedy in pursuit of his true dream: to become an internationally-renowned martial arts star. Winner of the audience award at the Austin Film Festival and an official selection of the Hollywood Film Festival, it features performances by Tom Arnold, Bradley Cooper, David Koechner, Michael Rosenbaum and Nate Tuck.

· Don’t Go in the Woods. Vincent D’Onofrio makes his feature-length directorial debut with this uproarious rock ‘n' roll horror musical about the fate of a young band seeking a quiet place to write songs in the wrong neck of the woods. The film has screened at the Woodstock Film Festival, the Sarasota Film Festival and the Savannah Film Festival.

· Grave Encounters. Directed and written by first time filmmakers the Vicious Brothers, this cinéma-vérité style supernatural thriller follows a ghost-hunting reality television show host and crew as they shoot an episode inside an abandoned psychiatric hospital, where unexplained phenomena have been reported for years. All in the name of good television, they voluntarily lock themselves inside the building for the night and begin a paranormal investigation, capturing everything on camera. They quickly realize that the building is more than just haunted - it is alive - and it has no intention of ever letting them leave.

· The High Cost of Living. Director Deborah Chow’s dark romantic drama about intertwined fates centers on the burgeoning relationship between an unlikely pair. Nathalie (Isabelle Blais) is expecting her first child, and Henry (Zach Braff) is on his way to his next drug deal. Their paths fatefully collide one night in an event that will irrevocably change their lives. The film was an official selection of the Toronto Film Festival.

· NEDS. Peter Mullan's third feature as a writer and director, after Orphans and The Magdalene Sisters, is a violent 1970s coming-of-age drama set in a gritty section of Glasgow. NEDS won Best Film at the San Sebastian Film Festival and was chosen Best Film at the 2011 London Evening Standard Awards.

· Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston. No one represented the 1970s quite like legendary designer Halston. In this stylish documentary, director Whitney Sudler-Smith takes a fabulous fun-and-fact-filled journey through Halston’s life and times. Interviews with friends and witnesses (including Liza Minnelli, Diane Von Furstenberg, André Leon Talley, Anjelica Huston, Bob Colacello and Billy Joel, among others) round out this glittering evocation of the man who defined the decadent era.


Tribeca Film will release the following on VOD and other platforms:

· Essential Killing. A gripping adventure thriller directed by acclaimed Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski. A captured Taliban fighter (Vincent Gallo) is interrogated, tortured and then moved to an unnamed snowy detention camp in Europe. Following an accident involving his transport convoy, he becomes an escaped convict on a continent he does not know. Essential Killing world premiered In Competition at the Venice International Film Festival, and won the Special Jury Prize and Best Actor for Vincent Gallo's performance.


Previously announced titles from Tribeca Film include the following, which will be released in theatres in multiple markets, as well as via VOD and other platforms:

· The Bang Bang Club. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Steven Silver makes his feature directorial debut with this electrifying tale of a young band of war photographers who documented the last days of apartheid in South Africa. Based on a true story, the film stars Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman and Taylor Kitsch and premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.

· Janie Jones. Directed by David M. Rosenthal, Janie Jones is a charming rock ‘n’ roll road trip drama about a father and daughter finding their way to each other. The film stars Abigail Breslin, Alessandro Nivola, Elisabeth Shue and Brittany Snow and premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.

· Last Night. Director Massy Tadjedin makes her directorial debut with a carefully crafted romantic drama about two couples confronting temptation and the limits of fidelity over the course of one night. Starring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet, the film was an official selection at the Toronto, Venice and Rome Film Festivals.


Fourteen more titles will be added to the Tribeca Film slate in the coming months.

“With the rapidly evolving landscape, Tribeca Film provides strategic opportunities and plans to customize campaigns using new platforms for distribution,” said Tribeca co-founder Jane Rosenthal. “We see real opportunities for filmmakers and audiences.”

Upon its initial launch, Tribeca Film delivered an inaugural slate of 12 titles nationwide through a network of multi-platform distribution partnerships, beginning with an initial release via cable and telco video-on-demand and satellite pay-per-view in Spring 2010. The films were also distributed digitally via Amazon.com, the Apple iTunes Store, Netflix Streaming and Vudu, with select titles airing on Showtime. The independent label also released 11 of the films in limited theatrical engagements and partnered with New Video to launch the Tribeca Film home video label. The continued expansion of Tribeca Film attests to Tribeca Enterprises’ goal of redefining traditional models of independent film distribution and release patterns and, in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Festival and other of its media holdings, creating new opportunities and discovering new audiences for filmmakers.

“Tribeca Film had a terrific launch in 2010, releasing an exciting selection of quality independent films,” said Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer at Tribeca. “In 2011, we look forward to continuing to respond to the contemporary challenges of distribution today and are especially excited to be on the cutting edge working to develop new scenarios. We value our relationships with our distribution partners, the unique role played by American Express, and the talented filmmakers we have the pleasure of working with.”

American Express is an important and unique element of Tribeca Film. American Express has reinforced its commitment to providing independent filmmakers with new platforms to deliver compelling stories to audiences, and Cardmembers, everywhere. In its second year, Tribeca Film will continue to leverage the unique marketing force of American Express to create customized release patterns that are filmmaker-friendly and provide audiences with access to films they otherwise might not have the opportunity to see.

About Tribeca Film

Tribeca Film is a comprehensive distribution label dedicated to acquiring and marketing independent films across multiple platforms, including theatrical, video-on-demand, digital, home video and television. It is an initiative from Tribeca Enterprises designed to provide new platforms for how film can be experienced, while supporting filmmakers and introducing audiences to films they might not otherwise see. American Express continues its support of Tribeca and the independent film community by serving as the Founding Partner of Tribeca Film.

About Tribeca Enterprises

Tribeca Enterprises is a diversified global media company based in New York City. Established in 2003 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, the company currently operates a network of branded entertainment businesses including the Tribeca Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival International, Tribeca Cinemas, and the newly announced distribution initiative, Tribeca Film. The Company's mission is to provide artists with unique platforms to expand the audience for their works and to broaden the access point for consumers to experience independent film and media. Jonathan Tisch, through Walnut Hill Media, is a minority investor in Tribeca Enterprises and is a member of the Board of Directors. Read The Full Post HERE!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Short: Risen (2010)

Henry seems like a nice enough guy when Jenn picks him up at the local bar, but after waking up from a drugged sleep strapped to a table in his basement, she realizes that she has just taken a ride from a sadistic serial killer! Unfortunately for Henry, the news report surrounding a recent rash of murders was only the first sign of the dead returning to life... The cannibal corpse creeping out of his basement will be the next! Director Gregory Kurczynski builds a slow and steady suspense as Henry lures his victim in with his timid charm. Things quickly shift as Henry reveals the dark pathos that has driven him to kill. All the while, hints of the oncoming zombie apocalypse can be heard in the background through various television broadcasts that foreshadow Jenn's return for revenge. Al Mauro reaches deep into the character's troubled mind, although his erratic performance can be a bit overbearing at times. RISEN's short run-time can be misleading, since the gripping opening act could easily have been built into a full-length feature. The format is perfectly suited for this intense little thriller in order to keep the audience on edge while creating a complete story arch in just under 23m.

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked RISEN, check out:
LIVING DOLL, DEADGIRL, ZOMBIE FARM.

RISEN Trailer from Gregory G. Kurczynski on Vimeo.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: The Lashman

Red Headed Revolution Pictures Unleash
“The Lashman”

A Cameron McCasland Film

NASHVILLE, TN - February 24, 2011 - Red Headed Revolution Pictures has debuted the teaser trailer for “The Lashman” from filmmaker Cameron McCasland. The teaser trailer coincides with the first poster image and website launch of Lashmanmovie.com

The Lashman is a tale of Terror. Five friends set out for a weekend camping excursion to find that their camp fire tales have turned into their worst nightmares.

The Lashman features a bevy of fresh faces. including Stacey Dixon (Monster Cruise, Old Habits Die Hard) , Shawn C. Phillips (Assault of the Sasquatch, Banshee, TV’s Look) , Jeremy Jones (Decision, TV’s Dreadful Hallowgreen Special) David Vaughan (Crazy Girl), and Kaylee Williams(The Many Monsters of Sarah Roth, Zombie Babies).

The movie was filmed on location in Western Kentucky in the Summer of 2010 and is written, produced, and directed by Cameron McCasland marking his debut as a feature film director, after a number of music video and television directing work.

Also joining the terror stricken ensemble are Lee Vervoort (Gun Town, Last Kind Words), Todd Bush (Country Strong, TV’s Tough Trade) Terry Gragg (Nickel Children, Outlaw Country) Tim Emery (Gun Town), Bob King (Daultry Calhoun, Make Out With Violence) David Chattam (21 Grams, The Last Castle) and Larry Underwood (TV’s Dr. Gangrene’s Creature Feature)

The Lashman will be hitting the film festival circuit later this year. For more information on The Lashman, and to see the trailer and poster check out www.LashmanMovie.com

Follow The Lashman on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lashmanfilm

Join The Lashman on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lashmanmovie

About Cameron McCasland:

Cameron McCasland is an Emmy nominated filmmaker, and winner of the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for his work on the Go Green With Dr. Gangrene series. The Texas born director lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and 2 daughters. In 2010 McCasland directed the made for television movie “The Dreadful HallowGreen Special” which aired across the United States and is currently nominated for best short film at the Rondo Awards. McCasland has won wave reviews for his short films and music videos including Best Music Video at the 2008 Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson MS, The Silver Remi Award at the 2008 Worldfest International Film Festival in Houston, TX, and Best Music Video honors at the 2008 Fearless Film Festival in Fort Worth, TX for his work on Fashionabel – A Music Video For Quiet Company. Read The Full Post HERE!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Press Release: Four More Cities Announced for 'Evil Bong 3D!'

Full Moon Entertainment needs YOUR help once again
to help promote the upcoming release of
EVIL BONG 3D
in your local towns!


LOS ANGELES, CA - February 26th, 2011 - Full Moon has announced four more cities across the country that will be receiving a theatrical release of their new feature EVIL BONG 3D in April, 2011! This will be the first theatrical release Full Moon has seen in over a decade, and they want to be sure to have fans lining up around the block, so they have begun an outreach to the fans to help hit the streets and promote the film's release.

From Ry:

'We need people to help distribute fliers, put up posters around the city, spread the word online, tweet it, create your own facebook event and invite everyone you know! The personal touch matters. And we need your personal touch! Please contact me at ry@fullmoonfeatures.com so I can organize you all. Please include your email address, phone number, and MOST importantly, your mailing address and full name.

Announcing 4 more theatres:

Wednesday April 20th, 2011 ONLY

Inwood Theatre
5458 West Lovers Lane at Inwood
Dallas, TX 75209
------
Friday April 22, 2011

Plaza Theatre
1049 Ponce De Leon Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
--------
Saturday April 23, 2011

The Orpheum Theatre
216 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
--------
Saturday April 30, 2011

The Hollywood Theatre
4122 NE Sandy Boulevard
Portland, OR 97212
----
We've already announced the first 2 cities and still seeking help there as well:
-----
Saturday, April 9, 2011

PORTAGE THEATRE
4050N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL
-------
Saturday, April 16th, 2011

MADCAP THEATRES
730 South Mill Avenue
Tempe, AZ

More cities will be announced soon!

Charles Band has been updating you on all the crazy stuff happening here at Full Moon. We need your help to make our first theatrical venture EVIL BONG 3D a big success. This initial limited theatrical run will be in 10 cities. With each show, we're hoping to build a success story so we can open in more theaters across the country!

Ry
Full Moon Features Read The Full Post HERE!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hatchet 2 (2010)

Victor Crowley lives! ...If only to disappoint Horror fans around the world once more. HATCHET may not have been the instant classic that everyone had hoped for, but Adam Green's endless love for his own film spread like an infectious disease and lead to the uprising known as the Hatchet Army. Whether they were willfully blinded by the gore or secretly praying for a superior sequel, Crowley's minions amassed into a huge movement online, and their undying devotion helped earn HATCHET 2 a limited theatrical release in its fully uncut form. Although Green does show some minor improvements this second time around, he apparently hasn't learned from his previous mistakes.

After a narrow escape, Marybeth returns to Reverend Zombie's House of Voodoo back on Bourbon Street in the hopes that he will help her to retrieve the bodies of her dead father and brother before destroying Crowley once and for all. Zombie rallies the local hunters and trappers to set off into the swamps, but he has his own sinister intentions at heart...

HALLOWEEN sweetheart Danielle Harris takes over for Tamara Feldman in the lead, but her character was better off dead given her laughable accent and ridiculous overacting. Tony Todd is barely able to hold the film afloat while the impatient viewer eagerly awaits the gory payoff. Unfortunately, the pacing in HATCHET 2 is somehow ever worse than before. The unnecessary expansion on Victor Crowley's backstory only draws out the distance between kills. Thankfully, the film does pack in more incredibly gruesome deaths, like the first double-bisection via chainsaw and the return of the power-sander, but the plot is such a bore that it hardly seems worth the anticipation. Despite putting two strong efforts in between the HATCHET films with SPIRAL and FROZEN, Adam Green's writing and direction have hardly benefited from his growing experience, which makes this sequel that much more upsetting.

Genre fans that are expecting another mindless romp through the bloody bayou will get what they paid for (eventually), but without the gore, HATCHET 2 is just another forgettable Slasher sequel.

Rating: 6/10.
Gore: 7/10.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Hatchet (2006)

HATCHET is the best Slasher film to come out in the last thirty years -- at least according to creator Adam Green. There is no mistaking his love and enthusiasm for the genre, but HATCHET fails to live up to its own hype. Deep within the swamps of the Louisiana bayou, a tour boat filled with passengers crashes near the home of the legendary Victor Crowley, a deformed boy that was killed years ago but who continues to haunt the swamplands. Unfortunately for this group of teens, Victor Crowley lives, and he has an ax to grind with anyone who crosses into his domain!

Green clearly understands the classic conventions of the Slasher film, and better yet, he understands what most Slasher fans want: a ton of gore and even more gratuitous nudity. The problem is that HATCHET only delivers on these two superficial levels, and fails to bring a unique story, interesting characters, or even a steady pace. It starts strong enough with two incredibly violent deaths, but the plot plods on with only mild hints at humor and no kills. Finally, when the teens approach Crowley's house in the woods, things pick up dramatically (at least in the gore department). One character is hacked in half before his wife has her head ripped apart from her jaw in a gush of blood! From there, limbs fly, faces are sanded off, and heads are crushed before Crowley can finally be stopped... Or so it seems...

If the gruesome displays had only been spread out more evenly throughout the film, HATCHET may have at least been a more entertaining watch, but it takes far too long to get into the action with too little payoff. Minor things like the horribly artificial lighting also distract from the events on screen, although Joel Moore and Deon Richmond do their best to keep the audience involved. Kane Hodder also returns with another menacing villain as Victor Crowley, but what Green fails to realize is that there is just no marketability in a big misshapen monster. Without a hockey mask or a red and green sweater to sell come Halloween, Crowley just becomes another faceless killer trailing behind Cropsey and Madman Marz.

Considering this was only his first film, most Horror fans will be willing to forgive many of the film's weaknesses based on Green's inexperience, but HATCHET is a guilty pleasure at best.

Rating: 6/10.
Entertainment: 7/10.
Gore: 8/10.

If you liked HATCHET, check out:
LAID TO REST, THE HAZING, THE CONVENT.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

The townspeople have had enough! With the burgomaster's approval, the Castle Frankenstein is finally destroyed for good, but the explosions free The Monster from the sulfur pits below! Ygor has also miraculously survived, and the two escape to the small town of Vasaria, which is home to Dr. Henry Frankenstein's second son Ludwig. Using a treatment of his own design, the younger Frankenstein hopes to replace The Monster's defective brain with a healthy one, but Ygor seems to have other plans! GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN revisits similar themes to the previous production, with Sir Cedric Hardwicke assuming the role of Ludwig Frankenstein this time around. Unfortunately, The Monster not only receives less screen time, but he is reduced even further into a lumbering oaf. Boris Karloff is greatly missed, and Lon Chaney Jr.'s zombified performance lacks personality. It is Bela Lugosi who comes through once again with another playful performance as the conspiring Ygor. GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN would be one of the first films to show the downward decline of the Universal monster movies, but series crossovers would give The Monster a few more jolts of energy.

Rating: 7/10.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Zombie Farm (2009)

After her thoughtful piece on domestic violence is rejected by the studio, an independent filmmaker sets out to expose a fraudulent faith healer, but instead, the two find themselves surrounded by the undead when a rival santera gives abuse victims a horrifying answer to their problems. Ricardo Islas follows in the grand tradition of George Romero in using the zombie film as a platform for a more profound social issues. Islas instills a heavy Latino influence, while examining the debilitating effects of domestic abuse and the loss of Mexican-American culture through Americanization. Guilty parties in either of the above offenses become undead slaves who are completely rid of their heritage and soul. Although the social agenda can be heavy-handed at times, its bold approach is a welcomed change to the tired zombie picture. ZOMBIE FARM only produces mild scares and very little blood, which will appeal more to fans of films like ZOMBIE HONEYMOON or ATTACK OF THE VEGAN ZOMBIES rather than the gore crowd.

Rating: 6/10.

If you liked ZOMBIE FARM, check out:
ATTACK OF THE VEGAN ZOMBIES, MACHETE, THE LAST EXORCISM.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Nightbreed (1990)

Clive Barker, the Master of the Macabre, brings the magical world of Midian to life in NIGHTBREED, adapted from his own fantasy novella Cabal. The conflicted Boone must escape to the mythical city of monsters after being framed for murder, but he is followed by the insidious Doctor Decker, who plans to destroy Midian and its inhabitants: the NIGHTBREED! Barker creates an enormous scale that is too far-reaching to be contained within the short runtime of the film. The director has made no secret of the fact that his work was butchered on the cutting room floor by shortsighted studio execs, with many of its missing pieces lost forever. This might explain why NIGHTBREED's narrative feels somewhat incomplete and disjointed at times, but even in its broken form, it is clear that Barker has unleashed his own unique world of gods and monsters that exists before and long after the events captured in the film.

The Tribes of the Moon come to life in all shapes and sizes; some fierce, some disgusting, and some that are beautiful but terrifying. Like the twisted creations in HELLRAISER, the monsters of Midian spring directly from the mind of Barker, himself, showing off more of his horrifying designs as brought to life by a gifted team of creature effects artists. NIGHTBREED also features a monumental score to match its grand scale. The art direction in both the Gothic graveyard above and the labyrinthine crypts below expand the sets into the incredible subterranean city that houses the action.

The tragic mismarketing of the film should be considered a sin, considering the tremendous success NIGHTBREED has found from supportive fans in the decades since its initial release. Clive Barker's underrated fantasy horror picture might even have surpassed HELLRAISER in becoming the director's most accomplished work if he had only been given the right to complete his epic vision.

Rating: 8/10.
Entertainment: 9/10.

If you liked NIGHTBREED, check out:
NEON MANIACS, RAWHEAD REX, THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: Full Moon Needs YOUR Help!!

Independent Horror House Full Moon Features
NEEDS YOUR HELP
in promoting the upcoming release of EVIL BONG 3D in YOUR hometown!


LOS ANGELES, CA - February 23, 2011 - Charles Band has been updating the Full Moon fans on all the crazy stuff happening here at the company. We need your help to make our first theatrical venture EVIL BONG 3D a big success. This initial limited theatrical run will be in 10 cities. With each show, we're hoping to build a success story so we can open in more theaters across the country! We're announcing the first 2 cities right now AND asking you to help spread the word in:

1. Chicago, IL
Saturday, April 9, 2011

PORTAGE THEATRE
4050N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL

2. Tempe, AZ
Saturday, April 16th, 2011

MADCAP THEATRES
730 South Mill Avenue
Tempe, AZ

More cities will be announced soon!

We need people to help distribute fliers, put up posters around the city, spread the word online, tweet it, create your own Facebook event and invite everyone you know! The personal touch matters. And we need your personal touch! Please contact me at ry@fullmoonfeatures.com so I can organize you all. Please include your email address, phone number, and MOST importantly, your mailing address and full name.

Ry
Full Moon Features Read The Full Post HERE!

UK Press Release: 'Dead Hooker in a Trunk' DVD Release Info!!

Bounty Films is set to release The Soska Sisters'
DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK
Available on DVD in the UK May 23rd

VANCOUVER, BC - February 23, 2011 - Bounty Films announces the much-anticipated UK release of the Indie hit DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK! From writer/directors Jen and Sylvia Soska:

'It is an extreme pleasure to let you know that 'Dead Hooker in a Trunk' will be released May 23rd in the UK - courtesy of Bounty Films! Thank you for all your support that has gotten us to this point. None of this would have been possible without you. More news to follow - soon there will be hookers (dead) for everyone!

The DVD will have extra features including a behind the scenes making of mini-documentary, deleted scenes, our interview with Carlos Gallardo on independent filmmaking, technically commentary with CJ Wallis, and director's commentary with the twins. CJ is designing all of the artwork for the DVD, so it's coming with a lot of thoughtfulness and respect to the fans that got us to this point. It's going to be a really rad package, it's going to give people a feeling of how all this insanity became the spectacle on the screen that it did.

Bounty Films has been incredibly supportive of our work. The first festival that DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK ever played at was the Ghouls On Film Festival in the UK last February. It feels appropriate that that is the first region set to release the film. We have more regions and distributors in negotiations, so we will be releasing that news as soon as we have everything finalized.' Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: Palisades Picks Up 'Some Days Are Better Than Others'

PALISADES TARTAN PICKS UP
MOMA’S NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS SELECTION

‘SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS’

Film stars renowned Indie musicians, including co-star of IFC’s PORTLANDIA


LOS ANGELES, CA – February 22, 2011 – Palisades Tartan announced today that they have secured distribution rights for SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS, Matt McCormick’s debut feature, which stars Indie rock talents James Mercer from the Shins and Carrie Brownstein, vocalist/guitarist for Wild Flag and the now defunct Portland, Oregon based band Sleater-Kinney. Brownstein can also be seen on PORTLANDIA, the new IFC Original short-based comedy series created, written by and starring Brownstein and Fred Armisen from Saturday Night Live.

The agreement provides for distribution of the film in North America as well as UK and associated territories, the largest worldwide film markets.

Recently selected to play New Directors/New Films, the prestigious film series organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS has also played the AFI festival in Los Angeles, The Portland Film Festival and SXSW. It will open theatrically in the United States March 25th at the Hollywood Theater in Portland, before opening wider across the country.

“Matt McCormick is a very talented young director and he has assembled a fantastic cast of Indie musicians in his debut feature,” stated Palisades Tartan CEO Soumya Sriraman. “We have always taken pride in our ability to introduce the world to innovative and exciting artists and look forward to releasing this film in multiple territories.”

SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS is McCormick’s poetic, character-driven debut feature-length film that asks why the good times slip by so fast while the difficult times seem so sticky.

“You will not see a film with more indie rock cred” writes the Seattle Stranger.

The film explores ideas of abundance, emptiness, human connection and abandonment while observing an interweaving web of awkward characters who maintain hope by inventing their own forms of communication and self-fulfillment. It’s a sad valentine to the forgotten discards of a throwaway society, and a story about knowing when to hold on, and when to let go.

Based in Portland, Oregon, McCormick is an artist and award winning filmmaker whose work crosses mediums and defies genre distinctions. He has had three short films screen at the Sundance Film Festival and has had work exhibited at Art Basel, The Moscow Biennial, and the Museum of Modern Art. His film THE SUBCONSCIOUS ART OF GRAFFITI REMOVAL was named in ‘Top 10 film lists of 2002’ in both Art Forum Magazine and the Village Voice.

McCormick is also the founder and former director of the PDX Film Festival, Portland’s premiere event for experimental, documentary, and otherwise obscure contemporary cinema. In addition to film, he is also actively involved in the music industry. He is the founder of Peripheral Produce, an internationally recognized video distribution label specializing in short experimental work and has worked and collaborated with many artists and musicians including The Shins, Miranda July, Sleater-Kinney, YACHT, Broken Bells, Al Burian, Eluvium, and Calvin Johnson. He has also recorded an album of music and soundtrack work titled Very Stereo that was released by Marriage Records.

ABOUT PALISADES TARTAN

Palisades Tartan has emerged as one of the premier distributors of independent and arthouse cinema in the US and UK and has been on the forefront of consumer trends. Straddling both continents, their film line-up boasts an impressive repertoire in the UK including the Ingmar Bergman library, Wong Kar Wai’s 2046 and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. Apart from many favorites such as Michael Winterbottom’s 9 SONGS and Carlos Reygadas’s SILENT LIGHT, the library is anchored by Park Chan-wook’s Cannes jury prize winner, OLDBOY, the film that famously introduced the Western World to the Asia Extreme brand.

Tartan Films was originally founded in 1984 in the UK and is credited with bringing Asian Extreme film to the West as well as some of the most compelling art house films of the last quarter century. In May 2008, Palisades Pictures acquired Tartan Films US library assets and two months later, acquired a majority of Tartan Films UK’s film library assets. The new company Palisades Tartan has operations both nationally and internationally.

Palisades Tartan will continue to expand an already distinctive and provocative slate of films by focusing on quality film acquisitions, thus significantly increasing the size of their overall library in both territories. Palisades Pictures and its parent company Palisades Media Corp is a prestigious financier of print & advertising for the independent film market. Together with its affiliate, Palisades Media Asset Fund, Palisades has securitized and financed more than 550 films. www.PalisadesTartan.com Read The Full Post HERE!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Three of Horror's greatest names come together for the first time in SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, featuring Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff in his final performance as The Monster. Henry Frankenstein's heir returns to reclaim his heritage, but he is scorned by the villagers that fear he should continue in his father's devilish pursuits. After discovering the crooked Ygor living beneath the castle's laboratory, Baron Wolf von Frankenstein learns that his father's creation has survived destruction, and he sets out to revive The Monster in order to correct his father's grievous mistakes and finally clear the family name! While Basil Rathbone puts in another admirable performance as the titular character, it is Bela Lugosi who steals the show once more as the scheming Ygor. Karloff is given little room to excel, considering The Monster has very limited screen time and has lost the ability to speak. The film is quite aware of itself, and uses The Monster's notoriety to set up some of the poignant humor. Lionel Atwell's quirky performance as the armless Inspector Krogh also provides some laughs as he pesters the younger Frankenstein at every turn. Unfortunately, Wyllis Cooper's script lacks many of the complexities that were found in the previous two films, but director Rowland Lee does manage to bring back many of the brilliant Expressionist set pieces that adorned both FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE. Although the role of The Monster has been greatly reduced in SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, the stronger themes of family obligation and morality make this a fitting entry in the series.

Rating: 8/10.

Read The Full Post HERE!

13 Frightened Girls! (1963)

13 FRIGHTENED GIRLS! might as well have just been called '13 GIRLS WHO REALLY AREN'T THAT FRIGHTENED AND JUST GET INTO A LOT OF MISCHIEF!' The film is about a group of diplomats' daughters that return home from their elite boarding school for summer vacation, only to find out that their fathers have been caught up in an international incident involving espionage! Candy decides to take it upon herself to aid her father by doing some spying of her own, and she sets out collect information on her friends' families as the elusive 'Kitten.' William Castle's playful tale is mostly reserved for young girls who wished for a James Bond character of their own. Candy is a resourceful and clever girl that uses her feminine wiles to extract international secrets. She is played by an overly-enthusiastic Kathy Dunn in her only big screen debut. Murray Hamilton is far more recognizable as family friend Wally Sanders, for whom Candy shows an undying affection. 13 FRIGHTENED GIRLS! is, at the very least, a family-friendly spy film with light comedy and suspense.

Rating: 6/10.

If you liked 13 FRIGHTENED GIRLS, check out:
13 GHOSTS, HOMICIDAL, STRAIGHT-JACKET.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: Full Moon Launches EvilBong3D.com!

Read The Full Post HERE!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Doctor Mordrid (1992)

DOCTOR MORDRID follows a powerful wizard who must face off against his arch nemesis, the evil Kabal, whose heart is set on the destruction of Earth! After losing the rights on a licensed film adaptation of Marvel Comic's Doctor Strange, Full Moon creator Charles Band made a few quick rewrites to bring this superhero picture to life. Although many of the special effects would be considered quite cheesy and hackneyed by today's standards, given the time and budget in which they were made, DOCTOR MORDRID proves to be a wildly ambitious attempt at creating an epic fantasy adventure filled with magic and monsters. Jeffrey Combs plays the title role of Anton Mordrid, but he sucks the fun out of the character with a spiritless performance. The X-Files' Brian Thompson, on the other hand, takes his character's hammy overacting to an outrageous level of supervillainy that is perfectly fitting for the production. The final confrontation between the two sorcerers features lightning bolts, lasers, and even a pair of re-animated dinosaur fossils that are brought to life using more of David Allen's incredible stop-motion effects. DOCTOR MORDRID may be Full Moon's most technically-accomplished film, and it is a surprising little gem that superhero fans are sure to enjoy!

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked DOCTOR MORDRID, check out:
THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE, TROLL, FAUST: LOVE OF THE DAMNED.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The Monster demands a mate! After surviving the wreckage at the windmill, Frankenstein's Monster takes refuge from the angry villagers at the home of a blind hermit. The two strike up a loving friendship, and the kindly old hermit teaches The Monster how to speak and act civilly. Meanwhile, Doctor Henry Frankenstein has also survived his fall. During his recovery, he is visited by the eccentric Doctor Pretorius, who has also developed a means for creating life on his own. Pretorius manipulates Dr. Frankenstein into aiding him in his experiments, and the two set out to create a female companion for the hulking Monster. Now, The Monster returns to claim his bride at the scorn of his creator!

James Whales improves on perfection in 1935's BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, the followup to his Gothic masterpiece FRANKENSTEIN. With BRIDE, Whales brings back the same stunning set pieces and chilling atmospherics, but adds to them a number of multi-layered themes and a strict balance of horror and comedy that surpasses the original in its intelligence of design and strength of character.

Horror legend Boris Karloff returns to the role of The Monster, but this time, he is allowed a more sympathetic performance given his newfound ability to speak. Here, we find that The Monster is no monster at all, but a lonesome and weary creature that only longs for companionship. Karloff brings a warmth to the character that was missing from before as he sits and laughs while sharing a smoke with the old hermit. This transformation falls far closer to Shelley's original intent in the novel.

The Monster is joined by his mate as Dr. Pretorius unveils "The Bride of Frankenstein!" Elsa Lanchester would forever be immortalized on film for what is really only two-minutes of screen time as The Bride. Unlike the hulking Monster, The Bride is delicate and fragile, but Lanchester's twitchy performance makes her just as unnerving and memorable. Unfortunately for The Monster, his bride is none-too-keen on their arranged marriage, as she screams in fright at his mangled appearance.

The gift of life proves to be no gift at all, as The Monster recounts to Dr. Pretorius in their first encounter: "[Frankenstein] Made me from dead. I love dead... hate living." Whales, through Shelley, demonstrates that man has no right to play god, and that doing so can only lead to ruin. Where the broken Henry Frankenstein realized this after his failures in FRANKENSTEIN, his successor, Dr. Pretorius, blindly steps into "a new world of gods and monsters" with reckless abandon. In the climactic finale, The Monster punishes those that cross nature, destroying Pretorius, his bride, and himself as he exclaims "We belong dead!"

Colin Clive is far more reserved in his reprisal of Dr. Henry Frankenstein, which is entirely appropriate to the material. His new counterpart, the conniving Dr. Pretorius, is played perfectly by an outlandish Ernest Thesiger, who assumes the role of the mad doctor. Thesiger's selection for the role along with his queer portrayal of the character ties into the homosexual undertones that are inherent throughout the plot. James Whales made no attempt to hide his own sexuality, and his bold incorporation of homosexuality as an underlying theme is groundbreaking in the very least.

To touch on this is to touch on just one of the many complex themes that run throughout the film, but BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN cannot fully be discussed in anything short of a thesis of its own. What James Whales has accomplished in this film outstretches far beyond the genre, and serves as a defining historic landmark in film.

Rating: 10/10.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Head of the Family (1996)

Two cheating lovers attempt to blackmail a family of freaks into kidnapping and killing the one man that stands between them, but Myron, the misshapen "head" of the family, has other sinister plans for each of them! HEAD OF THE FAMILY epitomizes the term "B-Movie," and is a shining example of what Full Moon Features are capable of in their prime. The over-the-top performances play into true camp despite the utter ridiculousness of the plot. Full Moon creator Charles Band employs impressive make-up designs and forced perspective shots in order to give Myron a look that is larger-than-life. He also taps his brother and frequent composer, Richard Band, into providing another playful score to heighten the silly tone. J.W. Perra's cynical behavior and snide remarks make him perfect for the role of Myron as he creates one of the most memorable characters in the Full Moon lineup. Band also slips in a nod to the Val Lewton classic BEDLAM by having Myron's lobotomized captives re-enact the final moments from the life of Joan of Arc in the fiery climax. HEAD OF THE FAMILY packs in all of the zany comedy, excessive nudity, and randomness that Full Moon is known for, even if it is just simple, mindless entertainment in the end.

Rating: 6/10.
Entertainment: 7/10.

If you liked HEAD OF THE FAMILY, check out:
HIDEOUS!, THE CREEPS, HOUSE.

Read The Full Post HERE!

ILHM Interviews Bit Player Sonny Carl Davis!

There is only one of them in every monster movie: The first to be eaten! These poor souls of cinema only last long enough for a giant rabid chinchilla or scaly space-slug to run them down or rip them apart. Sonny Carl Davis is no stranger to the part, having been a bit player in the Horror, Western, Sci-Fi, and B-Movie genres for now over thirty years! Fans will recognize Sonny in everything from THE WHOLE SHOOTIN' MATCH to FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, but he is perhaps most recognizable for his repeated roles working under Empire and Full Moon Features producer Charles Band. Sonny spent some time with us this weekend discussing his career and upcoming one-man show that will be touring the country entitled "1st2Beaten":

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ILHM: Sonny, thanks for taking the time to stop by the site! Why don't you start by giving us a little history lesson on the Sons of Uranium Savage?

SCD: The Savages started in the 70's in Austin. I rejoined them when I moved back from L.A. a couple of years ago. They've been call "the band too dumb to die. We do comedy and music. Some of our big hits are "Idi Amin is my yardman", "I wanna get laid" and "Thank Heaven for little girls".

ILHM: How did you first get involved in filmmaking?

SCD: Eagle Pennell was writing a story for a local rag. I'd heard he had made a film so when we met I told him I was interested in acting. A girlfriend had suggested I go to some classes with her. About a month later Eagle cast me in a short called "A Hell of a note". Then we did " The Whole Shootin' Match. After the "success" of that I moved to L.A. '78.

ILHM: After THE WHOLE SHOOTIN' MATCH, you worked on several other projects with the late Lou Perryman and Eagle Pennell. What were your experiences like working with these two fellow Texans?

SCD: Well, there's a saying down here: "You can always tell a Texan but you can't tell him much." We did some good films together. We developed a shorthand between the three of us plus Doris Hargrave. After a while, like family members, we started butting heads over crap that, looking back of course, seem so silly

ILHM: For years, you have starred in everything from Horror to Comedy and Westerns. Do you prefer working in any one genre, or do you like them each equally?

SCD: I love them all because I love to act. I love the process. I love humor, horses and getting "offed" in new and horrific ways.

ILHM: Did you ever get starstruck working alongside actors and actresses like Farrah Fawcett, Sean Penn, Jason Robards, Robert Duvall, and others?

SCD: Farrah was uh...Farrah. She was so sweet and beautiful and so wanted to be taken seriously and it showed. On "Roadie" I got to be around Art Carney who was the nicest legend, along with Willie Nelson. But the biggest was sitting in the makeup trailer with Roy Orbison (also on Roadie") He had his shades off and I made him laugh. The coolest! I still get all wet when I think of that.

ILHM: When did you first get involved with B-movie great Charles Band and Empire Pictures?

SCD: My old friend Ted Nicolaou was doing "Terrorvision". He cast me and we all went to Italy to shoot it. A great time was had by all.
ILHM: Approximately how many times have B-movies fans seen you killed on-screen, and what was your favorite method of execution?

SCD: The list keeps growing. Charlie and I figured 4 or 5 with just his films. Willie Nelson hanging me was kinda classic as an old Western fan like me. But, getting rolled up into a doobie by the Poontang tribe is good work if you can get it.

ILHM: Out of each of your many performances, which would you say were your favorite and least favorite experiences?

SCD: They're the same. The role of Cowboy in "Last Night at the Alamo" I could actually watch myself and not spew and the film is good. The production was a bitch for several reasons but thanks to the producer/writer Kim Henkel (The Tx. Chainsaw Masacre) we got through it. You should check it out.

ILHM: Most recently, you have been reprising the role of "Rabbit" in Charlie Band's far-out sequel EVIL BONG 3: WRATH OF BONG, which is currently filming in 3-D. How does this sequel compare to the two previous films, and are there any differences when working in 3-D?

SCD: Rabbit lives! I'm going to talk Charlie into the next one:"THE WRATH OF RABBIT" We created Rabbit in Trancers 2. He got killed in that one but who cares? The dudes rule and it's a blast. I can't wait to see the 3D. It takes a little more time. I prefer to work in 4D.

ILHM: Will Rabbit be running into much of the same trouble as he had with the Poontang Tribe in the previous film?

SCD: Let's just say Rabbit smiles a lot.

ILHM: We were thrilled to find out that you will actually be putting on a live one-man show entitled "First to be Eaten... Rantings of a Bit Player." Can you give us a sneak peek about what fans can expect to see?

SCD: It's somewhat a bio, with clips and anecdotes and a few words of wisdom. Such as: When Willie asks if you want to burn one? Say yes, the buzz lasts a lifetime.

ILHM: Where and when will we be able to see "First to be Eaten?"

SCD: I'm taking it on the road this Spring/Summer. I'll keep you updated.

ILHM: Do you prefer performing on stage or on the movie set?

SCD: Movie sets make me feel I'm in the center of something bigger. Stage makes me feel I'm in the middle of something small but yet just as important. If that makes any sense and I love them both.

ILHM: With so many films already in the can, what are your plans for the future?

SCD: I'd like to be a motivational speaker but so far I haven't gotten around to it. Or maybe get into online rabbits - "Rabbit's Rabbits",

ILHM: Will we see a film directed by Sonny Carl Davis?

SCD: I'm "soon" to be directing "Texas Sweet" here in Austin. A love story set in the fields.

ILHM: Where is the best place for fans to catch up with you and find out about your upcoming projects?

SCD: Right now I guess FACEBOOK but we're developing a website for 1st2Beaten.

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Pictures of Sonny in action are available from our exclusive set visit to EVIL BONG 3-D, and Sonny welcomes all fans to visit him on Facebook as well! Whether you are a fan of the Western, or love seeing TV repairmen eaten by giant trash monsters, you are sure to have seen this good ol' boy from Texas somewhere along the road, so be sure to check out any of his films that you may have missed and look for 1st2Beaten during its upcoming run across the US!

Another special thanks to Sonny for taking the time to complete this interview, and for making it his own personal crusade to be eaten first.

Interview By: Carl Manes. Read The Full Post HERE!

Friday, February 18, 2011

ILHM Interviews A Foundling Director Carly Lyn

Few films are daring enough to completely defy convention in order to create something that is wholly unique and out of this world. Such is the case with A FOUNDLING, a Horror Sci-Fi Western featuring two Chinese sisters who set out across the barren desert on their journey home, only to find an abandoned alien child in the wreckage of a derelict spacecraft. Director and BleedFest award-winner Carly Lyn has stopped by to discuss the film in I Like Horror Movies' most recent interview:

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ILHM: It's a pleasure having you Carly! Where did the idea for A FOUNDLING first originate from?

CL: First, thanks for the interview, Carl, and cool site! A FOUNDLING started with just an image in my head – two Asian girls on a horse riding across the vast desert. From there it evolved in the way that all my stories do – you ask yourself “who are these characters?” and “what do they want?” and “what obstacles are going to stand in their way?” and then, “what is the strangest thing that could possibly happen?” Somewhere along the way, the characters just start talking and all I do is transcribe. Once their backgrounds are in place, a good story just writes itself.

ILHM: Did you originally intend for the film to be such a genre-bending experience?

CL: I don’t really think about genre when I write. For instance, people have been asking me lately “What are you writing now?” and I have to think a long time about the right answer to that. When you are in the process of writing something, it’s really hard to figure out your one-line pitch. Right now, the best response I can give is “I’m writing a robot story”. So, the next question usually is, “You write sci-fi?” Well, no. I never really set out to be a sci-fi writer, but my last movie and my current book are “sci-fi” I suppose since one has an alien in it and the other has robots in it. But I feel like I am no more a sci-fi writer than Kurt Vonnegut is a sci-fi writer (not that I am anywhere near his realm of amazingness), but Kurt Vonnegut has been categorized as a sci-fi writer even though his stories are more about characters and society and humanism and socialism and all that cool stuff. The sci-fi stuff is more symbolic of bigger ideas.

ILHM: A FOUNDLING is quite unique in that it features two strong Chinese female protagonists that are placed in a Western setting. What were your character choices based on?

CL: I originally wrote the role of Virginia for my friend who is a really interesting actress because she’s so innocent and young-looking. But she couldn’t do it because her parents made her go to law school.

I wrote Mattie with Nora Jesse in mind but, poor Nora, I made her audition like 3 times anyway because I wanted to make sure the chemistry was right with her and whoever would play Virginia. I met Nora at an audition for another project. Nora wasn’t right for that particular part, but she was totally amazing and after seeing her audition I vowed to put her in something. She definitely has star-quality.

Lastly, I was lucky enough to have my husband find Cindy Chiu who was a perfect fit for Virginia’s sweetness. There were three actresses that could have made perfect Virginias but Cindy and Nora ended up having the best chemistry.

ILHM: What does the alien child represent to each of the girls individually?

CL: Now for the Freudian stuff. If Virginia is the superego – the character who wants to do right and make the right, logical choices – then Mattie is more like the Ego. Mattie is a bit more impulsive, emotional, and a little bit selfish. But they are brought together by the Id - which is represented by the baby-like alien.

For Mattie – the alien represents a way of correcting the wrong that was done by her own mother. In the alien baby, she sees a creature that is motherless and helpless. Mattie feels abandoned by her own mother and feels compelled to take care of this baby because she identifies with the feeling of being alone in the world.

For Virginia – the alien is initially a danger and a distraction from her main goal which is: getting home safely. But we can tell that Virginia has empathy for all creatures - whether it be her sick horse or the alien baby. It becomes a struggle for Virginia because the alien continues to make mistakes that jeopardize their safe arrival home, but she needs to realize that she and Mattie have also made mistakes that have put their safety in danger. In the end, the main theme of the whole story is: “Compassion”.

ILHM: The story seems to draws from Native American legend as well. What can you tell us about some of the lore that is incorporated into the film?

CL: I got a lot of ideas from my Chemehuevi friend who read the first draft of the script and gave me a lot of books and research on Chemehuevi culture, language, and mythology. There’s so much to talk about there. They are an amazing culture that is totally in touch with the possibility of extraterrestrial life and also paranormal phenomenon. Their ideas about the cosmos, death, supernatural phenomenon and even rainbows and other amazing cultural details play a huge role in the story. I was also lucky enough to talk with Margaret Press who did research on Chemehuevi language and recorded the pronunciation of some words so the actors could get them right.

ILHM: Cindy Chiu and Nora Jesse share a genuine bond on camera. Did they have much time to spend together prior to production?

CL: They were kind enough to put up with my ridiculous auditions. Really, the audition process was also like this rehearsal process. I think we had three or more callbacks where we mixed and matched different actors in different scenes until there was the right “fit”. There were a few weeks of rehearsals as well. Also, the Hell that was shooting a low budget feature film in the desert is enough to make anyone bond, I’m sure.

ILHM: Who did you find to play the role of Yayu?

CL: Sara Smalls is an amazing actress who is about 4 ft tall and I found her thanks to Craigslist. After auditioning several little people for the part, she was the only one who had the vulnerability that was so needed for the role of the little alien, Yayu.

ILHM: Was it difficult for her to work through the make-up and wardrobe in the heat?

CL: Poor girl. Yes. It was Hell. She is the MVP of the film for wearing all that makeup and wardrobe in 115 degree heat. She couldn’t even drink or eat anything, really. I tried as much as possible to design a costume that could be quickly applied and removed. The main thing that made it somewhat easier was the black hood – by having the hood on her head, the make up artist only really needed to worry about gluing the eyes and mouth of the mask to her face. The edge of the hood could cover the part of the mask that went around her hairline and chin. This helped to save some time and allow the costume to be easier to remove. With our tight schedule and miserable heat, a bald-cap application and head prosthesis would have probably ruined the shoot.

ILHM: What were the filming conditions like out in the open desert?

CL: Hell. Hell. Hell. I would never do it again on a low budget. The weather was 115 degrees one day and freezing cold the next day and then rains and 90 mile per hour winds. If you are the type of person who wants everyone who works with you to hate you, shoot a low budget film in the desert.

ILHM: A FOUNDLING also features gorgeous cinematography and a beautiful soundtrack. Who did you find to shoot and score the film?

CL: My good friend David C. Smith has been shooting my films since Grad School 2002. When I first started grad school, I went on Mandy.com and interviewed a bunch of cinematographers. A DP is really like a co-director because they play such a huge role in how the film will look. Not only is it important for a DP to have talent, but they also have to be someone that you can get along with. Hands down, David is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and he is extremely patient with me and the crew. So while I was in Grad School, David shot 4 short films for me and A FOUNDLING was our 1st feature-length.

The music was composed by Pierpaolo Tiano who is an Italian composer that our Post Production Supervisor – Brian Golub – introduced me to. When Brian first joined the film, he gave me some CD’s and music files. Instantly Pier’s music made me think “this is what I want”. It’s sweeping and cinematic and emotional. He is also the coolest guy you will ever meet.

ILHM: What was your greatest experience working on the film?

CL: Either Audio Post Production or Color Timing. Hands down – the funnest time I had was listening to Pier’s score. That’s when you start to realize “This is a real movie!” Sound Mixing was done at Engine Room Studios in Hollywood, and that was also really fun – listening to all the foley, ADR, and sound effects come together. Lastly, the Digital Intermediate and Color Timing was done at Lit Post in Hollywood. I don’t know what those guys do, but it seems like they can just push a button and instantly the film looks awesome. Color, Sound, and Cinematography are really what make the difference between a student film and a “real” film.

ILHM: Who are your greatest inspirations as a filmmaker?

CL: I like a lot of people, so I’m just going to make a list: Todd Solandz, Terrance Malick, Cameron Crowe, Chris Nolan, Phillip Noyce, Todd Haynes, George Clooney, M. Night, David Gordon Green, Stephen Spielberg, Wes Anderson, Wong Kar Wai, the Cohen Brothers, and Hayoa Miyazaki. If anything, I think my work might be closest to Hayoa Miyazaki. In some ways, A FOUNDLING is kind of like a live-action Miyazaki film with its themes of compassion and connection with nature. I wish I was anywhere near as fantastic as him.

ILHM: A FOUNDLING debuted at Dances with Films, and is one of the first feature-length films to win the Inanna Award at the BleedFest Film Festival. What was it like screening the film in front of a live audience?

CL: It’s a huge learning experience. When you live with the film for 2+ years, you really have no idea how the audience is going to react. So when you see or hear people crying or sniffling during the emotional parts its really rewarding. The horse poop scene seems to be hit or miss. People either laugh or they don’t get it. I guess there are two types of people in the word – people who laugh at horse poop and people who don’t.

ILHM: Have you secured distribution for the film, and when will readers be able to see the film on DVD and Video on Demand?

CL: I’ve been approached by a few distributors and am weighing my options. Whatever happens, it will be released on DVD by the end of the year.

ILHM: What do you have planned as your next project?

CL: I’m writing a novel. It’s the robot story I was talking about. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel with a lot of action and violence and romance and revenge and pretty much totally awesome. It’s going to be super-epic and long like “The Stand”. It’s a hundred-million times better than anything I’ve ever done. That’s how awesome it is.

I’m also painting and illustrating. It’s really satisfying to spend time working on either a novel or a painting because I feel like I have complete creative control and can work on it for a long time and make it “perfect” before anyone gets to see it.

Lastly, I’m shooting footage for an eventual documentary about the movement to end puppy mills. Animal rescue is my number one passion and that takes up most of my time. I have been rescuing dogs from the animal shelter and finding them homes. Horse rescue is another passion of mine, and I hope to train or foster rescue horses in the not too distant future.

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A FOUNDLING has been touring the country in various film festivals, but it should be available shortly on DVD and On Demand. In the mean time, please be sure to check out the A FOUNDLING website and Facebook page for additional information regarding upcoming screenings and releases:

A FOUNDLING Official Website

A FOUNDLING Facebook Page

We would also like to send out another big thank you to Carly Lyn for taking the time to provide such thoughtful responses to each of our questions this evening.

Interview By: Carl Manes.
Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: $50K Tribeca Student Prize Winner Announced

TRIBECA FILM INSTITUTE AND THE ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION
ANNOUNCE FIRST-EVER RECIPIENT OF
$50K STUDENT GRAND JURY PRIZE FOR SCREENWRITING

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Robert Cohen of New York University to Receive Financial Support, Supervision
and Guidance from the Tribeca Film Institute as the Inaugural Winner
of Sloan’s Best of Best Prize for Science-Themed Screenplay
Sloan has Awarded over $3 Million in Direct Grants to Film Students Since 1997

NEW YORK, NY – February 17, 2011 – The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced the recipient of the inaugural Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Student Grand Jury Prize for Screenwriting. The “best-of-the-best” screenplay was selected from the winning scripts at six leading film schools participating in Sloan’s decade-long National Film Program.

Bystander by Robert Cohen of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, has been selected for a new $50,000 annual grant created to recognize exceptional feature screenplays that dramatize science and technology themes and/or that portray scientists, engineers, or mathematicians in prominent character roles. Cohen will receive a $30,000 cash prize, an additional $20,000 to be used in direct support of the project, and year-round support from TFI, including mentorship and guidance from scientific and film industry professionals, networking opportunities, and industry exposure.

Bystander was selected by an awards committee comprised of Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman; Academy Award-winning screenwriter Eric Roth; Len Amato, President, HBO Films; Dr. Darcy Kelley, Columbia University; Dr. Dudley Herschbach, 1986 Nobel Laureate, Harvard University. Additional input came from the Sloan Foundation and its four partners in screenplay development: the Tribeca Film Institute, Film Independent, the Hamptons International Film Festival and Sundance Institute. Cohen’s screenplay was chosen from nominees that had earlier won Sloan prizes at the Foundation’s six affiliated film school programs: AFI Conservatory, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, New York University, University of California – Los Angeles, and University of Southern California.

Bystander is about the rape and murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 outside an apartment complex in Queens while 37 witnesses looked on. Though the attack lasted over 30 minutes, none of the witnesses called the police or intervened until she was already dead. In 1968, John Darley and Bibb Latané published a psychological study on the "Bystander Effect" explaining the inaction of the witnesses. It became one of the most conclusive and replicable effects in the field of psychology. Bystander is a fictional account of the aftermath of this attack, but the scientific research and theories it includes are historically and psychologically accurate.

The Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize was created to recognize the very best student screenplay in the nation that uses science and technology themes or characters to tell an engaging and entertaining story. Since 1997, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has given over $3 million dollars in direct grants to film students throughout the country, including $1.5 million in prize money to student screenwriters and more than $1.5 million to student directors and producers. Established as part of Sloan’s increasing commitment to support science and technology films through to commercial production, the Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize will boost development of the winning project, and introduce the work and its writer to the industry at large.

“The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has become an integral part of the Tribeca community through our annual TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, providing the crucial funding and year-round support that allows filmmakers to create and distribute their science and mathematics related films,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Chairman of the Board, TFI. “The new Sloan Student Grand Jury prize is the next step in our partnership, and we are grateful for Sloan’s continued support and the opportunity to continue to nurture and encourage student filmmaking.”

“We are delighted to establish this inaugural award honoring the year’s single most outstanding science screenplay from our film school partners. We see this as the next stage in our decade-plus commitment to influencing the next generation of filmmakers and expanding the types of stories and range of characters that can make for great films,” said Doron Weber, Vice President, Programs for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “With over 250 student film projects funded by Sloan, plus dozens more from our screenplay development partners, we have one of the richest pipelines of scripts anywhere—and I’ve read every one so I can attest to their remarkable quality. This year alone we have half a dozen projects that have been shot or are going into production and we hope that Robert Cohen’s Bystander, aided by TFI’s stellar experience and expertise—Tribeca has been an exceptional partner for Sloan—will soon join their ranks.”

The award will be presented at a reception in New York on March 3, 2011.

About the Tribeca Film Institute:

The Tribeca Film Institute is a 501(c)3 year round nonprofit arts organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001. TFI empowers filmmakers through grants and professional development, and is a resource and advocate for individual artists in the field. The Institute’s educational programming leverages an extensive film community network to help underserved New York City students learn filmmaking and gain the media skills necessary to be productive citizens and creative individuals in the 21st century. Administering a dozen major programs annually, TFI is a critical contributor to the fabric of filmmaking and aids in protecting the livelihood of filmmakers and media artists.

For more information and a list of all TFI programs visit http://www.tribecafilminstitute.org/

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The New York based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants in science, technology, and economic performance. Sloan’s program in public understanding of science and technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience.

Sloan’s film program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and accurate stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. In addition to Screenplay Development Programs, Sloan has supported such film projects as Future Weather, a coming of age story about a young woman who finds personal meaning in science, starring Lily Taylor and Amy Madigan (now in post-production), and Valley of Saints, which initially received an NYU First Feature Production Award and is one of the first films shot in Kashmir (and now in post-production).

The Foundation has sponsored screenwriting and film production workshops at Sundance, the Hamptons, Tribeca, and Film Independent, and honored feature films such as Obselidia, Agora and Another Earth. Sloan also partners with Ensemble Studio Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Club in support of new science plays such as Photograph 51, the story of Rosalind Franklin and her role in the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA. For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation please visit www.sloan.org.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vanilla Sky (2001)

David Aames is a vain and self-centered playboy whose life is changed forever by the beautiful and intelligent Sophia. His new romance is cut short by a scorned lover, who nearly destroys his life and permanently scars him in a horrible car accident. After recovering from a short coma and an ineffective facial reconstruction surgery, David's life is turned upside down when Sophia rejects him based on his new looks, but he awakens one morning to find himself in an ideal world where Sophia falls back in love with him and doctors are able to fix his disfigurement. Things aren't as perfect as they may have seemed, however, as David later describes to a police psychologist after being charged with the murder of Sophia.

VANILLA SKY might only be enjoyed by anyone who has never had the benefit of seeing the original OPEN YOUR EYES by Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar. The choices that were made in both the casting and script revisions in this American remake are simply abysmal. Cameron Crowe lays on a cheap sentimentalism through the film's sappy soundtrack and nostalgic homages to classic cultural influences, but these are only minor distractions compared to the shockingly bad performances by Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, and Jason Lee. It is as if each of these actors mistook the screenplay as a comedy of some sort given their outlandish efforts. Cruise is the film's greatest liability, since his erratic behavior reduces the brilliant character drama into a silly farce. Crowe presumes that his American audience will be far less perceptive than the world viewers that praised the original, so he drops blatant visual clues throughout the film that clearly delineate dreams from reality. In doing so, he eliminates the subtle effectiveness that Amenábar worked so hard to create in his cleverly-designed plot. The beautiful irony in all of this is that the viewer will hope to wake up from the same horrible nightmare that David has found himself in by the end of the movie. Amenábar couldn't have written that better, himself.

Rating: 6/10.

If you liked VANILLA SKY, check out:
INCEPTION, DARK CITY, MEMENTO.

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Frankenstein (1931)

Mary Shelley's Promethean tale follows the mad genius Dr. Henry Frankenstein as he attempts to create new life from dead tissue. His experiments are a success, but the being that rises from his slab is an abomination of science. Frankenstein is unable to contain his own creation, and the hulking brute is unleashed upon the unsuspecting village below.

Although it was not the first time Shelley's novel had been adapted for the screen, James Whales will always be remembered as the man who gave life to the one true FRANKENSTEIN. The 1931 version would set the standard for every Gothic Horror film to follow, with its incredible sets, creeping atmosphere, and impeccable performances. Colin Clive shows a ferocious energy and an irresponsible enthusiasm as he declares "It's alive!" as the egomaniacal Dr. Frankenstein. The iconic look of the creature would be attributed to the great Jack Pierce, who would go on to design other such notable villains as The Mummy and The Wolf Man.

But who is the mystery man behind the monster that is only identified by a question mark in the opening credits? Although Boris Karloff played in countless pictures prior to making FRANKENSTEIN, it would be this role that would jettison him into the limelight. Karloff would go on to star in dozens of Horror films in the decades to follow, but none of his performances (save for his reprisal of the character in BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN) would ever reach the same level of notoriety and critical acclaim. While his towering form combined with his menacing snarls made The Monster both fearsome and frightening, it is the tender moments like the death of Maria that best demonstrate Karloff's range and form as an actor. Few, if any, have even come close to creating such a terrifying and tragic character through their performance.

FRANKENSTEIN is the greatest of any of Universal's classic monster movies, and yet James Whales would somehow manage to outdo himself four years later in the film's stunning sequel.

Rating: 10/10.

If you liked FRANKENSTEIN, check out:
DRACULA, THE WOLF MAN, ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN.

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