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Robert Leeshock Smokes Up the Star Leaf

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 11:00

Any fan of ‘90s science-fiction knows who Robert Leeshock is… he was Liam Kincaid on the sci-fi/drama “Earth: The Final Conflict.” Created by Gene Roddenberry of “Star Trek” fame, the series ran from 1997 to 2002 and told of aliens called Taelons that have become a part of Earth culture and are called Companions, but there’s a resistance movement of people skeptical of the Taelons’ intent toward humans. It was a blast of a show, and you can’t help but wonder whether there’s any movement on resurrecting the series in some form – maybe a big screen venture?

Meantime, Leeshock makes a return to the science-fiction genre in an alien invasion movie with a difference. The very scary and quite topical Star Leaf tells of a group of hikers that find a secret grove of extra-terrestrial marijuana and must fight for their lives when they anger the other-worldly forces protecting the plants. Leeshock only has a small role in the movie (see if you can spot him) but produced the film.

We had a chance to speak to the amiable actor and producer about Star Leaf.

Dread Central: Firstly, I don’t think there’s a science-fiction fan alive that isn’t fond of “Earth: The Final Conflict.” Can you just briefly talk about what that time in your life was like?

Robert Leeshock: Well, it was pretty awesomely transformative to say the least…. sort of like having the notion of a dream which ultimately becomes a reality. Becoming an actor was the beginning of the journey, and the icing on the cake was to have it realized in the context of an iconic sci-fi movement led by the renowned Gene Roddenberry. I worked with some really great people who treated me really well, including the Roddenberry family itself, Rod and the late Majel.

DC: Why don’t you think the show lasted as long as it could’ve? Maybe it was too ahead of its our time, or was just there too much other science-fiction TV to choose from at the time?

RL: As much as I enjoyed my time on the show, it seems that the mythology of the show changed once they hired me and continued to change throughout the span of the five years it was on the air. I am grateful for my time on the show. It was a really good project in its first season, and the guy who created the original role, Kevin Kilner, did a really fine job. I really enjoyed seasons one through four. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to see the fifth and final season. I am hoping that it turned out well, but as I heard from people associated with the final season, it kind of morphed into something totally different than what was intended at the outset.

DC: Do you keep in touch with anyone from the show?

RL: Yes, I do. Von Flores, Anita LaSelva, and Leni Parker are still great pals. I even heard from Richard Chevolleau a while back. I’d love to get back to Toronto… I made some great friends up there, cast and crew alike!

DC: With “Battlestar Galactica” and “Babylon 5″ headed for the big screen, do you think there’s a chance “Earth: The Final Conflict” might be resurrected for the multiplex one day?

RL: Unfortunately, I am not sure who would command that vision. I am working with a writer/business partner right now who could probably handle the demands it would take. If we’re successful with our latest endeavor, Star Leaf, then maybe our production company could take the helm.

DC: How much different would you consider Star Leaf to “Earth: The Final Conflict?”

RL: Whereas in “E: TFC,” we dealt with inter-dimensional travel in the physical realm, Star Leaf deals with it in the psychic realm. The aliens in Star Leaf are probably a distant cousin of Zo’or, looking to prey upon the weakness in humanity. Again, Star Leaf aliens don’t have much in common with Da’an’s agenda.

However, the idea of free will plays a vital role in the deterministic aspect of both shows. Responsibility, as a gateway to freedom, underscores both narratives.

DC: Why did you decide to get into producing?

RL: This idea is just so provocative considering the debate going on in the US regarding a plant that has been reviled for so many years. It’s got such therapeutic effects in so many cases; yet, the economics behind the plant has been politicized for so long that it has become a galvanizing platform for a large number of ideas and the laws that govern them, including the corporate dominance of agriculture on many levels. And… it’s a fun film as well! Aliens and weed are just ripe for some creative freedom from a filmmaking point of view. The minute you introduce a hallucinogenic idea into a film, the fun begins!

DC: You’re in the film briefly, but did you consider taking on a starring role at any stage?

RL: I couldn’t find a role suited for me. I mean, Richard Cranor ‘kills’ the part of Ranger Dave. I had to be the best ‘supporting actor’ I could be. After all, if you’re not supporting something, you’re probably contributing to its destruction. Look for me in the sequel!

DC: Have any media outlets been scared to touch the film based on its inclusion of drugs? Any interesting run-ins with those who preferred not to carry it?

RL: Singapore passed. But I think they ‘string you up by the thumbs’ in some places for drugs. So, let’s keep it out of the [hands of] young children and any place that thinks it may insult their cultural ethos… okay? We may have to get rid of the plant on the DVD cover for some marketing. But as of right now we’re targeting our ideal demographic, who seem to be chuckling once they hear about the idea. The funny thing is that the film is fun, trippy, and actually leaves you with a positive message. Someone today referred to it as REEFER GLADNESS!! Go figure…

DC: Any plans for a Star Leaf 2?

RL: Yes, we’ll be taking on the GMOs!!!

DC: Where can we see the movie?

RL: We’re in Australia and set there for an August or September release date. Right now we’re only available in the US on our Star Leaf website. Once September rolls around, we’ll be available on VOD and ideally in a few theaters in states where the marijuana laws are, of course, more liberal.

Written and directed by Richard Cranor, Star Leaf stars Julian Gavilanes, Tyler Trerise, Shelby Truax, Russell Hodgkinson, and Richard Cranor.

Synopsis:
A group of friends set off to find a secret forest of marijuana hidden deep in the Olympic Mountains. Legend has it the plants are of extra-terrestrial origin, and two ex-Marines among the group hope it will cure their PTSD born from hard combat in Afghanistan.

They soon find themselves in the fight of their lives when one of them steals the Star Leaf, accidentally opening up the trio to attack by alien entities who use demons, both interpersonal and real, to unleash hell upon them all.

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Categories: Horror News

The Horrors of AutoCorrect to Premiere on Eli Roth’s Crypt TV May 31

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 10:30

We’ve been talking about Crypt TV, the new digital genre studio co-founded by Hostel and Cabin Fever director Eli Roth, a lot lately; and word of yet another short film that will be premiering on the platform has landed in our inbox.  Crypt TV will exclusively premiere Alex DiVincenzo’s The Horrors of AutoCorrect for free on Sunday, May 31st.

You can learn more, see a few stills, and watch the trailer below.

Nick Principe (Laid to Rest) and Jaquelyn Fabian star in the 6-minute horror/comedy short. It marks the directorial debut of Alex DiVincenzo, who also penned the script and produced for Grimbridge Productions. The Horrors of AutoCorrect’s online premiere follows a successful run through the film festival circuit. DiVincenzo is currently working on his next short, a ’50s throwback titled Trouser Snake.

In The Horrors of AutoCorrect, Jenny’s quiet evening at home watching a scary movie is interrupted by a stalker who can’t quite master the art of text messaging. The result is a “sidesplitting, clever commentary on contemporary communication” (All Things Horror) that pays homage to such genre favorites as Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2.

“I couldn’t be more excited for people to see The Horrors of AutoCorrect,” comments DiVincenzo. “It’s truly an honor to release it through Crypt TV. Not only do I have the utmost respect for Eli Roth, but the platform provides an exciting outlet for original content.”

To be notified when the full short is released on May 31st, be sure to “like” Crypt TV and Grimbridge Productions on Facebook.

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Categories: Horror News

L.A. Slasher (2015)

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 10:00

Starring Brooke Hogan, Misha Barton, Dave Bautista, Elizabeth Morris, Andy Dick, Danny Trejo, Elizabeth Morris, Drake Bell, Barbara Nedeljakova, Carlee Baker, Eric Roberts, Abigail Wright

Directed by Martin Owen

Colorful pop art meets the gritty stab-n-slab genre in the new tongue-in-cheek indie horror film L.A. Slasher, written and directed by Martin Owen. Filmed entirely on location in its namesake, the flick is a biting satire on our shallow, celebrity-worshiping, social media-engulfed existence. Folks who are famous for being famous (or just wanting to be famous) are the easy targets of a vigilante who uses the screen-handle LA_Slasher.

Dressed all in white to show his desire for a return to more innocent times, the Slasher nonetheless gets stained with the very thing he hates: the need to be noticed. He sends out status updates and short Vine-like videos showing the grisly fates of his most contemptible captives – The Socialite, The Reality Star, The Teen Mom, The Stripper, The Scream Queen, The Actress, The Pop Star, etc.

Pretty soon, the Slasher has hundreds of thousands of followers and several news teams assigned to his sinister saga. When one of the more tenacious reporters (played by Abigail Wright) gets a little too close, she too falls prey to the Slasher’s spell. (Another reporter, a snarky, fast-talking gossip-monger played by William Nicol, is actually the most entertaining character in the whole movie!)

Barely bloody, L.A. Slasher is more about the satire than the slayings. With an all B-star cast — Brooke Hogan, Misha Barton, Dave Bautista, Elizabeth Morris, Andy Dick, Danny Trejo, Elizabeth Morris, Drake Bell, Barbara Nedeljakova, Carlee Baker, and Eric Roberts to name a few – it’s just a fun romp through the City of (not-so-angelic) Angels. Cleverly crafted, with scads of cool cyber-visuals and a snappy 80s homage soundtrack, L.A. Slasher is never boring, in spite of its somewhat drawn-out climax.

My only complaint about the film, and it’s minor, is that I didn’t feel the Slasher needed a voice at all. His motives were clear enough through his actions. At least the V.O. could have been different; Dick’s diction is tad whiny and is at odds with the calm, cool, and collected “Smooth Criminal” demeanor of the Slasher.

The visuals are what clinch L.A. Slasher for me – it’s shot like a new wave MTV music video but is juxtaposed with ultra-modern, cutting edge graphics and techniques. It’s exploitation with edge.

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Categories: Horror News

Get Wet with an Exclusive UK Killer Mermaids Clip

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 05:00

Serbian director Milan Todorovic’s Killer Mermaids, aka Nymph (review), aka Killer Mermaid (see another review here) comes ashore on UK DVD this June 29; and to get ourselves adjusted to the water temperature ahead of time, we’ve nabbed an exclusive splashy clip for you to enjoy. Dive on in!

Killer Mermaids stars Kristina Klebe, Franco Nero, and Natalie Burn and is brought to UK DVD courtesy of Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment.

Synopsis:
Friends Kelly (Kristina Klebe, Halloween) and Lucy (Natalie Burn, The Expendables 3) travel into the depths of Montenegro to visit an old friend. While there, they decide to explore an abandoned military fortress located on a remote island. As the summer sun quickly sets, the dark mystery of the night envelops the girls as they realize they are not alone. There are secrets which must be protected and an evil darkness hidden beneath the island.

Awaking the mythical terror, dawn may never come for the two girls, who realize they may not leave the fortress alive…


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Categories: Horror News

UK’s First HorrorCon Scares Up Legendary Guests for 2015

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 04:00

While there’s no crippling shortage of horror-centric film festivals in the UK, genre fans there have historically been starved of a fright-filled convention scene. Thanks to savvy sisters Wendy and Gill Bell, that problem is to be no more as they kick off the first ever HorrorCon at Yorkshire’s Magna Science Adventure Centre this July 11-12.

Guests confirmed for attendance so far include good ol’ Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen; fan favourite Ken Foree; effects maestro Tom Savini; Hammer legends Caroline Munro and Martine Beswick; and authors David J. Howe, Sam Stone, Paul Kane, and Marie O’Regan. More guests are to be announced shortly.

Alongside rubbing shoulders with the aforementioned personalities, attendees have the chance to visit a number of special attractions including an expansive marketplace of over 50 horror-themed stalls, a scare attraction created by the folks at Evilution Events, lectures by the Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies, a cosplay competition, short film screenings, and more.

Speaking of the event, creator Wendy Bell states “I’ve loved horror since I was a kid. I was looking for a horror convention to attend in the UK, and I couldn’t find anything like this – only horror film festivals – so Gill and I decided to start our own! So it’s a first – a big American-style horror convention right here in Yorkshire. When you’re a real horror enthusiast, horror isn’t just for Halloween, and we’ve got something for every fan of the genre – we’ve been getting enquiries from excited people from all over the country.”

Tickets for the event cost £15 for a single day or £27 for the weekend. Early access tickets – which allow you to enter the arena an hour before the official opening time – are also available at £17 a day or £31 for the weekend.

Tickets can be purchased right now at the Eventbrite website, and you can get more info on the convention itself straight from the official HorrorCon website.

The post UK’s First HorrorCon Scares Up Legendary Guests for 2015 appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Kickstarter For Perception Proposes New Audio Horror Game From Previous Bioshock And Dead Space Devs

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 03:45

It seems like every other week there is a new Kickstarter horror game that throws out more promises than the team can hope to deliver, but when the people behind the project are former members of the Bioshock and Dead Space dev teams, you take notice. Such is the case for Perception, whose campaign looks like more concrete goals than glitz and glam fake promises. Plus, the trailer is badass.

 

Perception goes full Daredevil, requiring blind protagonist Cassie to explore her surroundings with echolocation. The page explains that a combination of tapping your cane and ambient sound will illuminate the room. Be careful though, as making noise also attracts “The Presence,” a ghost thing you have to hide from. Sounds like a stealth horror game plus, and it’s awesome to see a genre that many were frankly getting tired of have a new twist.

Beyond that, they state that the story will actually take place over many time periods. Collecting clues on the past with her smartphone will unravel the tales of the house’s previous inhabitants, with milestones transporting you back to previous iterations of the house. It’s a really cool concept, using a changing location to bring in level variety rather than new levels, and it will be interesting to see how the house evolves and even opens or closes itself off to you.

So a detective game mixed with a stealth horror game with a unique twist? Count me in! And if you aren’t already intrigued, just check out how beautiful it looks!

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Categories: Horror News

The Evil Within: The Executioner (Video Game)

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 00:11

Developed by Tango Gameworks

Available on PC (reviewed), PS4, and XBox One

Rated M for Mature

Do you remember the first time you watched The Phantom Menace? I was 10, and though too young to fully comprehend the monumental slip in quality, I knew by the gaunt faces of grown men and silence in the theater that something terrible had happened. The Evil Within: The Executioner is a fourth part to a franchise, a split from the main series, removes all of the soul of the original, and brings the series to new almost unfathomable lows. It is The Evil Within’s Phantom Menace.

I want to go back for a second and talk about the previous reviews I have done for The Evil Within. When the game came out, it was the first major horror release on the new consoles. Yes, Outlast existed, but that wasn’t a next gen game, don’t pretend. This was supposed to be the return of the scary game, and true horror classic that would be loved and respected long into the future. I was still relatively new to this whole “professional critic” thing at the time, and was afraid to give it a perfect score. I remember the emotion at the time, the desire to boot up again and unlock all the extra guns and tell the world about my sublime experience. In retrospect, I was a bit overzealous, swept up in the fervor and delight of a quality horror release. If I were to rate the game now, I would give it a 4, as it has since been pointed out that the game did indeed make no fucking sense.

As for the DLC, The Assignment and The Consequence both still stand up as phenomenal. The gameplay is different, and surmounts the Herculean task of making the plot make sense. It was a thundering entrance for John Johanas, who has proven himself to be someone to respect in the industry by standing shoulder to shoulder with the giant Shinji Mikami. The next time one of his games is on the horizon, I will stare into that sun and go blind with anticipation.

As a package, the three are as close to an impeccable horror game as you can get without being named Resident Evil 4. And here is The Executioner, putting his swampy dick straight in my mouth and holding my nose until I choke on it. Make no mistake, this expansion is fucking bad. I will not be wishy-washy about this and give the whole “if you look at the positives” half assed apologetic review so that fans don’t blast me. I am the fucking fans for this game, I have put up with questions and explained the plot and created my own theories, and I have played Akumu mode. If you think this is just someone that doesn’t get the series giving a bad review, you should check your privilege, because clearly you are a galactic space emperor with no concept of how the common folk can appreciate things without buying the whole planet it was made on.

Oh The Executioner let me count the ways you fuck me. Well, right off the bat, you play through The Executioner as the character named “The Keeper”. Im sorry game, was the name “The Keeper” not good enough for you? Was the man with a dial safe for a head, a person sized meat tenderizer, sack of body parts, and barbed wire landmines not murdery enough for you? Did you have to hammer home that he also executed people? It makes sense in the respect that yes, you do execute people in the game, but you also executed people in the original game and the DLC. It wouldn’t have ruined my experience if the DLC was good, but luckily, it is just the first monumental nonsense oversight in a series of many.

If you were playing The Evil Within and thought “wow, this would be much better as a first-person melee brawler,” then please stop reading. I’m not sure how you made it this far into the article given your illiteracy and fear of loud colors, but go buy it, because this is the DLC for you. The Executioner manages to deprive the game of all tension by 1) putting you in the role of the keeper, an unkillable beast monster from the original game, and 2) putting the camera in first person and reducing the combat to unstoppable hammer smashes.

They don’t change any of the textures, mind you. The previous installments are in third person, which gives some leeway in texture detail since you never really see anything that clearly. You are free to develop the overall ambiance and grand environments because you never really look at things like chairs or handrails that closely. But oh man, does this look bad. You know when you are watching someone play a fake video game in a movie, where they clearly just took a bunch of assets from generic stock and threw them together without care of looking like an actual game? That is what this whole game looks like. I never realized how bad this game looked until I was forced to look at every enemy, every barrel, every wall and door knob in nauseating fuzzy closeup.

As for the story, the long expository sequences of the original are replaced with must-collect-to-proceed files and two text-on-still-frame cutscenes. That is the video game equivalent proposing at a monster truck rally: only impressing the most basic and a half-assed no thought plan that makes everyone else uncomfortable. You are given the information that your daughter is kidnapped, and only by fighting through a bunch of people can you save her. Ruvik comes in at some point because of name recognition, and it never fleshes out because they stopped caring.

But hey, you missed Condemned, right? We all miss beating homeless people to death with bricks! First-person hammer fights sound badass, right? When we think melee combat, we think visceral hits, parries, dodges, and executes. We expect variety and skill to play in, rather than sitting behind cover and popping out when they reload. In The Executioner, your only options are hit, running hit, grab, and execute. That is really it. You have 6 weapons you can cycle through (maybe 7, I haven’t unlocked the “secret” weapon yet), consisting of a hammer, molotov, dynamite, chainsaw, sword, and rocket launcher. Is there some big fundamental difference between the hammer, sword, and chainsaw? Well, the chainsaw and strangely sword use ammo, so unless you want to spend the game’s currency of coins to reload them, then the game becomes Bland Hammer Simulator 2015.

The entire 45 minutes chapter consists of walking between maybe 7 rooms from the original The Evil Within and fighting a boss in an arena from one of 5 more rooms. I didn’t go back and count, because it really doesn’t matter. It is bland, repetitive, and devoid of any creative direction. Every boss is a boss that you fought before in the main game. You hit your enemy with your hammer until they are staggered, then you either grab and throw or execute them. The executes look pretty cool, but at this point gruesome kills are hardly unique. Other than the perspective, there is nothing at all new here.

It is seriously a straight line from boss arena to boss arena. If that wasn’t enough, they don’t even trust me enough to remember how to kill the final boss from the main game. The final boss of the DLC is *SPOILER ALERT* yourself. If you didn’t remember that you killed him by crushing him in a spike trap, then you are in luck, because they show you again when you walk into the final boss room! *END SPOILER ALERT* Seriously, fuck that. The only joy I could have possibly gotten out of this DLC was figuring out the boss puzzles, and you couldn’t even give me that. The only other boss that could even remotely be considered as a puzzle is the one you kill with turrets, which was spoiled by the giant spear turrets everywhere.

There are bugs galore, including a terrible weapon swap system and questionable ability to go through doors, but bugs only detract from a good game. For a bad game, they are just expected. This DLC does not rise above crap in any aspect. You weren’t even trying, were you Tango? Someone in upper management asked what the game would look like in first person, an underling made this to illustrate that this was a bad idea, and big ol’ cartoony dollar signs popped out of the eyes of Bethesda executives when they realized they could sell this as DLC. It feels like a sloppy half life mod. The krypt from Mortal Kombat X was a more in depth adventure game than this, and with better textures. If you have the season pass, take an hour to play through it and unlock the extras. If you are wondering if you should spend five dollars on this, don’t

1.5/5

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Categories: Horror News

Tilda Swinton Next to Join Doctor Strange?

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 20:48

It’s been quite a while since we’ve heard anything about the upcoming Doctor Strange, but with filming set to begin in November in the UK, a bit more casting news has come our way.  According to THR, Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive, Snowpiercer) is on her way to the Marvel Universe.

The actress is in negotiations to join Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange, being directed by Scott Derrickson and produced by Kevin Feige.  If cast, she’ll portray the Ancient One, a Tibetan mystic and Strange’s mentor.  In the comics the character is male.

Doctor Strange is Marvel’s supernatural hero, a formerly cocky surgeon who loses the use of his hands and, during a last ditch attempt to heal himself, discovers magic.

The film’s scheduled release date is November 4, 2016.

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Categories: Horror News

Revenge Is Her Middle Name Seeks Justice This August

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 20:48

After what seems like ages, writer/director Anthony Matthews’ gritty thriller Revenge Is Her Middle Name is finally getting a proper release on home video. The fine, upstanding boys and girls at Unearthed Films will unleash the vengeance on DVD later this summer.

As a rabid, unapologetic fan of blood-soaked movies centered around vigilante justice, I’m definitely excited that Revenge is finally hitting DVD. According to IMDb, the film was completed back in 2011. Four years later, it’s apparently ready for mass consumption. Rejoice!

Those unfamiliar with Matthews’ outing should investigate the following synopsis.

Years of prostitution and drug abuse have wrecked Kat’s life. She has settled into a stagnant relationship with her junkie boyfriend, Dolph, and the only “decent” friend she has, Marilyn, also happens to be a high-class call girl. When Kat discovers that she is pregnant, she manipulates Dolph into taking part in a reckless heist that she hopes will score the money she needs to turn her life around. When things inevitably spiral out of control, she is confronted by a drug-dealing pimp known as Mutton Chop. Hellbent on vengeance, the sadistic pimp retaliates by ordering a brutal attack against Kat that will change her life forever.

In addition to the movie, Unearthed Films has packed a ton of nifty special features on the disc. Not only do you get extended and deleted scenes, you’ll also receive the short film that inspired Revenge Is Her Middle Name. Check out the flick when it hits DVD on August 25.


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Categories: Horror News

Stephen King’s It Still Afloat?

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 19:40

Apparently we shouldn’t be counting Pennywise the Clown out just yet as Bloody Disgusting is reporting that “a source from the inside is telling [them] that the project is heading back to Warner Bros. (it was shifted to New Line during budget cuts) and that It will now be filming in New York.

They go on to report that Warner Bros. is currently meeting with candidates and expects to sign a new director in the coming weeks.  The studio will move forward with the existing It scripts and New York locations for filming later this year. It will be two separate films, one tackling the protagonists as children and the second focusing on them as adults.

Related Story: Stephen King Responds to the Death of It Remake

Will Poulter was cast to play the villainous clown Pennywise by departing “True Detective” director Cary Fukunaga, and it’s unclear whether or not that casting stands. Stay tuned.

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Categories: Horror News