William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside, Wer) has just signed on for more supernatural shenanigans according to Deadline. Per the site, the next project on Bell's plate will be The Inhabitant. Read on for the details.
The flick is said to be in the vein of The Conjuring. Lakeshore Entertainment’s Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Vertigo’s Roy Lee, Matt Berenson (A Place Beyond The Pines), Jim Wedaa, and Adam Stone are producing from a script by Stacey Menear.
Yeah, that ain't much to go on but...
For more information go here!
During a recent AMA chat with Guillermo del Toro on Reddit, the prolific director offered an update on the long talked about Hellboy III. The long and short of it? It's not good. Read on for details.
"The idea for [Hellboy III] was to have Hellboy finally come to terms with the fact that his destiny, his inevitable destiny, is to become the beast of the Apocalypse and having him and Liz face... that part of his nature, and he has to do it, in order to be able to ironically vanquish the foe that he has to face in the 3rd film."
"He has to become the beast of the Apocalypse to be able to defend humanity, but at the same time he becomes a much darker being. It's a very interesting ending to the series, but I don't think it will happen."
"We have gone through basically every studio and asked for financing, and they are not interested. Creatively, I would love to make it. Creatively. But it [has] proven almost impossible to finance. Not from MY side, but from the studio side. If I was a multimillionaire, I would finance it myself, but I spend all my money on rubber monsters."
From cult horror film to breakthrough TV series, “From Dusk Till Dawn” will add "terrifying maze" to its credits when Robert Rodriguez’s acclaimed supernatural show debuts as a menacing new Halloween Horror Nights experience.
The "From Dusk Till Dawn" maze will be open at both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort beginning Friday, September 19th.
This all-new maze, inspired by the critically acclaimed television series on El Rey Network, will thrust guests into the deviant world of “From Dusk Till Dawn,” where they will encounter sordid mythological creatures known as “Culebras,” serpent-like vampires who have tormented the earth for centuries.
Residing within the elusive and sinister nightclub “The Twister,” located just over the Mexican Border and above cursed ancient ruins, the “Culebras” prove to be a band of immoral and depraved beasts with a deadly agenda. As guests navigate the maze and venture deep within the bowels of “The Twister,” they will find themselves face-to-face with a cast of perverse characters, including exotic dancer Santanico Pandemonium, a mysterious and irresistible “Culebras” femme fatale and Queen Vampire.
Based on the film of the same name, "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” is a supernatural crime saga centered around bank robber Seth Gecko and his violent, unpredictable brother, Richard "Richie" Gecko, who are wanted by the FBI after a bank heist leaves several people dead. While on the run to Mexico, Seth and Richie encounter former pastor Jacob Fuller and his family, whom they take hostage. Using the family RV to cross the Border, chaos ensues when the group members detour to a club populated by vampires and are forced to fight until dawn in order to get out alive. The series deepens the tone of the film, From Dusk Till Dawn, upon which it is based, adding new characters and backstories that expand the Mesoamerican mythology behind the creatures inside the club.
“Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights event is the ideal platform to [allow] fans of From Dusk Till Dawn to literally experience the terror of stepping into the show,” said Robert Rodriguez. “It has been an incredible opportunity to work closely with the Creative teams at both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort to bring this maze to life with such detail and authenticity. This maze will capture the visceral excitement and thrills of the series, and I can’t wait to experience it myself.”
A versatile and award-winning filmmaker, Robert Rodriguez is renowned for directing a variety of successful and groundbreaking film sagas, including such cult horror classics as Planet Terror, Machete, Grindhouse, and From Dusk Till Dawn, upon which El Rey Network’s hit television show “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” is based. Rodriguez is also the Founder & Chairman of El Rey Network, a 24-hour, general entertainment English-language cable channel which debuted in the U.S. in December 2013.
“Robert Rodriguez’s genius in pushing the boundaries of the horror genre is a perfect pairing for Halloween Horror Nights as we continue to intensify our event with the most credible horror voices within the entertainment industry,” said John Murdy, Creative Director for Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of Halloween Horror Nights. “This radical new maze will give fans of ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ an unprecedented opportunity to experience the show’s Mesoamerican mythology and will come to life with the same attention to detail and production value that Robert’s work is known for.”
“Robert Rodriguez’s vision of ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ has translated so well into a maze experience,” said Michael Aiello, Director of Entertainment - Creative Development, Universal Orlando Resort. “We will feature the over-the-top gore that the show does so well, and our guests will come face-to-face with Robert’s unique and wickedly cool take on the vampire mythos that is completely authentic to the show. From the nightclub interiors to the inner sanctum of its tombs, these bloodthirsty beasts will be everywhere and have a thirst that can’t be quenched.”
Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights events have a more than 20-year history of creating incredibly entertaining, horrifying Halloween experiences that are consistently rated the nation’s best. The events on each coast feature highly-themed, disturbingly real, haunted mazes based on everything from films to nightmares – and streets filled with hundreds of specially trained “scareactors.” In addition to the “From Dusk Till Dawn” maze, other announced mazes include “The Walking Dead: The End of the Line.”
To learn more about the “From Dusk Till Dawn” maze, check out the two videos below; one is the announcement, and the other features the "From Dusk Till Dawn" cast. More info on Halloween Horror Nights is available at Halloween Horror Nights.com. Updates from Creative Director John Murdy can be found on Twitter, as he reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information.
Dread Central's own Serena Whitney co-scripted the feature film adaptation of Michael Prescott's novel Kane, entitled Mark of Kane, and on tap for you today is the first piece of poster art for the upcoming flick. Dig it, and expect more real soon!
From the Press Release
Ahead of the Fantasia Frontieres Co-Production Market, a new teaser poster has just been released for Mark of Kane, the feature film adaption of New York Times bestselling author Michael Prescott’s horror novel Kane (originally published as Douglas Borton). <?i>
The poster is by prolific designer Omar Hauksson (The Raid 1 & 2, Proxy, Stage Fright, Resolution).
Mark of Kane is one of the ‘Off-Frontieres’ Selections at Fantasia Film Festival’s upcoming Frontieres International Co-Production Market. The adaption is co-scripted by Serena Whitney (writer at Dread Central) and Justin McConnell (The Collapsed, Skull World). Whitney and McConnell also co-produce along with Canadian-producer Avi Federgreen (Still Mine, One Week, High Life). The team is rounded out by two highly respected genre directors, who currently serve as consulting producers: Adam Mason (Blood River, The Devil’s Chair, Broken) and George Mihalka (My Bloody Valentine, 24 Hour Rental). A director has yet to be named.
Kane is a force of nature. Walking out of the desert into the dying town of Tuskett, which only 23 people still call home, he has only one purpose: to kill every resident. Relentless, stealthy, and without mercy, Kane won’t stop until every last man, woman, and child is nothing but a memory. Soon the surviving townspeople must band together to fight this seemingly unstoppable evil or die trying. Brutal, action-packed, and most importantly, character-driven, Mark of Kane is a thrilling story of survival at any cost.
In his review of Septic Man here on Dread Central, Brad McHargue touted it as being "a divisive yet damned intriguing film," which personally has me itching to check out the latest from Jesse Thomas Cook.
If you feel the same way, you won't have to wait long, as a DVD, VOD and limited theatrical release has just been announced. Read on!
From the Press Release
Starz Digital Media is set to release the award-winning horror film Septic Man this summer. The film will be available On Demand and for digital download August 12 and will have a limited theatrical run on August 15. The DVD will be available August 19.
From the creators of Monster Brawl, Exit Humanity, and 2014’s Hellmouth and Ejecta, Septic Man dazzled audiences at the 2013 Fantastic Fest where its star Jason David Brown (Exit Humanity) won “Best Actor” in a horror feature. The film also garnered a prize at Toronto After Dark 2013.
Septic Man follows Jack, a sewage worker who is determined to uncover the cause of the town's water contamination crisis. During his investigation, he becomes trapped underground in a septic tank and undergoes a hideous transformation. He must team up with a docile Giant and confront a murdering madman in order to escape. Hailed as a “stunning” (Little Red Umbrella), “funny” (TwitchFilm), and “visceral story that will leave you shaken and desperate for a shower” (Rue Morgue Magazine), Septic Man is an odyssey into the darkest depths of gross-out horror.
Septic Man was directed by Jesse Thomas Cook (Monster Brawl) and written by Tony Burgess (PontyPool). It co-stars Molly Dunsworth (Bunker 6, Hobo with a Shotgun) and Robert Maillet (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones).
A couple months back we got our hands on some leaked images from the inside of Jurassic World's brochure and today a whole lot more of them have come our way, giving us a complete look at all the park has to offer.
This is a true treat for all you Jurassic Park fans out there, so be sure to pay close attention.
Check out the innards of the brochure below, courtesy of Twitter user @JurassicP2K15. In addition to attractions, the guide even lists off all the dinosaurs that inhabit the park, which gives us a good idea of what we can expect to see in the film!
Vincent D'Onofrio, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, BD Wong, Andy Buckley, Idris Elba, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, and Nick Robinson star.
Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) penned the script with Derek Connolly and directs. Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Pat Crowley produce Jurassic World. In theaters June 12, 2015, this is a new sci-fi terror adventure set 22 years after the horrific events of the original Jurassic Park.
More as it comes.
We're less than two weeks away from the start of this year's San Diego Comic-Con, which officially kicks off July 24th. If you're like us, you've been excitedly wondering what the fine folks over at Scream Factory will be bringing to the event, and we've got all the info for you here!
In a press release sent out today, Shout Factory revealed their full lineup for this year's SDCC with the Scream Factory offerings of course being of interest to us here on Dread. First up is a Friday night panel that takes you inside the company, exposing the inner workings of the genre powerhouse.
"An Inside Look at Shout! Factory, Shout! Kids and Scream Factory" takes place on Friday, July 25, at 7pm in Room 23ABC. Join Brian Ward (DVD Producer), Melissa Boag (VP, Kids & Family) and Jeff Nelson (Sr. Marketing Director) as they make special announcements and unveil exclusive sneak peeks of upcoming Blu-ray/DVD collector’s editions and new movies coming to theaters this fall.
Available exclusively at the event at the Shout/Scream booth (#4248), will be a limited edition blood red Scream Factory t-shirt as well as a button pack, both of which you can check out below (they're a bit blurry, but you'll get the idea). The company will also be selling copies of several upcoming Blu-ray releases before they hit stores, including Ginger Snaps, Phantom of the Paradise, Motel Hell, and Without Warning.
Hot on the heels of the one-sheet premiere for director Carter Smith's follow-up to his 2008 release The Ruins, entitled Jamie Marks Is Dead, we now have the film's trailer courtesy of Gravitas Ventures, who will open it on VOD and in limited theaters August 29th.
The film stars Liv Tyler, Judy Greer, Noah Silver, Cameron Monaghan, Madisen Beaty, and Morgan Saylor.
Adam McCormick had just turned fifteen when the body was found in the woods. It is the beginning of an autumn that will change his life forever.
Jamie Marks was a boy a lot like Adam, a boy no one paid much attention to—a boy almost no one would truly miss. And for the first time, Adam feels he has a purpose. Now, more than ever, Jamie needs a friend. But the longer Adam holds on to Jamie’s ghost, the longer he keeps his friend tethered to a world where he no longer belongs... and the weaker Adam’s own ties to the living become.
Now, to find his way back, Adam must learn for himself what it truly means to be alive.
On tap right now is a slew of new eye candy for the latest comedic slasher flick to come our way, Jersey Shore Massacre. Some of the images are a bit spoilery, but something tells us you're not gonna care either way! Badaboom!
Paul Tarnopol directs. Danielle Dallacco, Angelica Boccella, Giovanni Roselli, Chris Lazzaro, Nicole Rutigliano, and Christina Scaglione star. Jenni Farley (Jwoww, "The Jersey Shore") executive produces.
When Teresa and the girls leave their suburban New Jersey salon for a weekend of sun and sin down the shore, they are blindsided by a bizarre twist of events that catapult them from the sands of Seaside Heights to a secluded house deep in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Frightened by stories of the legendary Jersey Devil, the local population of Pineys, and a giant dim-witted neighbor, the girls eagerly return to Seaside Heights, where they hook-up with five fist-pumping delinquents who incessantly disrespect all with their reprehensible behavior.
As day turns to night, the group converges at a Seaside bar where they are soon ejected for inciting a dance-floor brawl. With nowhere else to go, the group retreats to the house in the Pine Barrens for a night of carnal delights. Blinded by their selfish pursuits, they remain unaware that their long outstanding debt to humanity is about to be settled - with their lives. One by one, the body count soars as retribution is exacted at the hands of a mentally-deranged killer with much more than just an axe to grind.
We told you back in April that Alexandre Aja's Horns (review) is getting an October 31st release in the UK, and now we have the first one-sheet to go along with the good news. Check it out courtesy of Empire.
Directed by Aja (High Tension, Mirrors, Piranha 3D, The Hills Have Eyes) from Keith Bunin’s script, Horns stars Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Juno Temple, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, and James Remar.
Horns, a supernatural thriller driven by fantasy, mystery, and romance, follows Ig Perrish (Radcliffe), the number one suspect for the violent rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin (Temple). Hungover from a night of hard drinking, Ig awakens one morning to find horns starting to grow from his own head and soon realizes their power drives people to confess their sins and give in to their most selfish and unspeakable impulses – an effective tool in his quest to discover the true circumstances of his late girlfriend’s tragedy and for exacting revenge on her killer.
This rock and roll infused dark fantasy explores why bad things happen to good people and what the loss of true love can do to a man. The widely acclaimed book was on the New York Times bestseller list for six weeks and has become an international bestseller as well.
Another flick playing at this year's Fantasia Film Festival is Michael and Peter Spierig's (Undead, Daybreakers) latest film, Predestination. Check out some new eye candy and more right here!
The Spierig brothers wrote the original screenplay, which chronicles the life of a temporal government agent sent on an intricate series of time-travel journeys designed to stop future killers.
The directing duo produce with Brisbane-based Patrick McDonald of Wolfhound Pictures and Tim McGahan of Blacklab Entertainment. The film stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, and Noah Taylor.
"Predestination is based on the classic Robert A. Heinlein short story 'All You Zombies.' No, it's not a zombie flick, but it's one of our favorite short stories and is unlike anything you've ever read before," said the Spierig brothers previously. "The short is on many sci-fi lists as one of the greatest short stories of all time and the mother of all time paradox tales. Heinlein is considered one of the great science fiction masters alongside Phillip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke."
Predestination chronicles the life of a Temporal Agent sent on an intricate series of time-travel journeys designed to ensure the continuation of his law enforcement career for all eternity. Now, on his final assignment, the Agent must recruit his younger self while pursuing the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.
We're just a few hours away from the premiere of "Under the Dome" Episode 2.03, "Force Majeure," and to help you fill the time, CBS has released a pair of new videos: "Meet the Town Barber" and "Creating Chester's Mill."
The first vid introduces us to town barber Lyle Chumley, played by Dwight Yoakam, and in the second Location Manager Brooke Barnhill gives us an inside look at how she creates Chester's Mill by carefully selecting locations in and around Wilmington, NC.
"Under the Dome" stars Mike Vogel (Barbie), Colin Ford (Joe), Alexander Koch (Junior), Rachelle Lefevre (Julia), Dean Norris (Big Jim), and Mackenzie Lintz (Norrie). Season 2's newcomers include Brett Cullen, Sherry Stringfield, Eddie Cahill, Grace Victoria Cox, Dwight Yoakam, Karla Crome, and Dwayne Boyd.
Related Story: Visit our "Under the Dome" Archive
"Under the Dome" Episode 2.03 - "Force Majeure" (airs 7/14/14; 10-11 PM)
When tensions in Chester's Mill continue to rise as resources dwindle, Big Jim holds a census in order to forecast how long the town can continue to exist under the dire conditions. Meanwhile, a rainstorm brings much-needed water until it changes to acid rain, threatening the lives of everyone it touches. Also, Rebecca (Crome) and Lyle butt heads over the reasons for the dome's existence.
Playing as part of this year's Fantasia Film Festival is the new film from Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Livid, Inside), entitled Among the Living, or Aux Yeux Des Vivants for you purists out there; and right now we have the French poster and a pair of fresh stills.
Chloe Coulloud, Lannick Gautry, Francis Renaud, and Beatrice Dalle star in the flick, which has been described as a hybrid of Stand By Me and Stephen King's IT.
Youngsters Victor, Dan, and Tom skip school to wander around an abandoned movie set. They stumble upon an horrific vision: a woman in chains is dragged through the field by a man wearing a clown mask. The masked man catches a glimpse of the boys, who scramble to run away. But, before they can escape, they see something which has been hidden for years, something they were not meant to see.
Terrified of having been seen by the masked man, the boys try to alert the police. Unfortunately, their past record of unruly behavior discredits them, and the police do not follow up on their tipoff. That night someone breaks into their homes, seeking to eliminate them... One after another... They are going to meet Klarence...
It feels like we've been talking about Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani's (Amer) new film, The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, forever now. Thankfully U.S. audiences will finally get to see it for themselves as Strand Releasing announced today an August 29th release date!
The Giallo throwback stars Klaus Tange, Jean-Michel Vovk, Sylvia Camarda, and Sam Louwyck and centers on the surreal drama that follows a husband who plunges into a nightmare world while searching for his missing wife.
Look for more on The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears (review) soon!
From directing duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (Amer), comes this homage to the masters of classic Italian Giallo horror. Dan returns home to find his wife is missing. With no signs of struggle or break-in and with no help from the police, Dan's search for answers leads him down a psychosexual rabbit hole. THE STRANGE COLOR OF YOUR BODY'S TEARS is a bloody and taut fantasia of suspense that leaves the viewer entranced in this highly original erotic thriller.
Entertainment Weekly scored an early look at AMC's "The Walking Dead" in the form of Norman Reedus' character, Daryl Dixon, in a whole lot of trouble! Look for more goodies as the show makes its way to the San Diego Comic-Con.
Speaking of which... The cast and producers of AMC’s record-breaking hit series “The Walking Dead” will participate in a panel at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, CA, during which they will discuss what fans can expect in the highly anticipated fifth season, which debuts in October.
“The Walking Dead” panelists include: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Chad Coleman, Michael Cudlitz, executive producer and showrunner Scott Gimple, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer Robert Kirkman, executive producer and special effects make-up supervisor Greg Nicotero, and executive producer David Alpert. The panel will be moderated by “Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick.
The panel runs from from 12:20-1:20 pm on Friday, July 25, in Hall H, with an autograph session following from 1:50-2:50 pm in Booth #4237.
To stay up-to-the-minute on all things walker related, follow @WalkingDead_AMC on Twitter and visit "The Walking Dead" on Facebook. For more be sure to hit up the official "The Walking Dead" page on AMC.com.
Few times in my life have I ever come across something that genuinely startled me. The work of horror artist Melissa Patterson has done just that. Read on for a look at her creations that are so frighteningly real they have to be seen to be believed.
"I make them by buying a blank vinyl kit and painting it with GHSP, in water thin layers, and baking the doll parts in the oven between layers to set the paint," Patterson tells us of the creation process.
"I use different brushes and tools to make detailed efx like capillaries, veins, skin mottling, etc. I use glass eyes in them. Sometimes I paint the hair, and sometimes I micro root each individual strand. I also give them real lashes if it's age appropriate. It's a list of processes, really, but the look on people's face when I tell them I put babies in the oven is priceless!"
Patterson continues, "They always seem to take on a 'life' of their own. Each one I make is one of a kind, guaranteed. I usually charge $350.00 for a custom baby. I know that's a lot, but these guys aren't cheaply made in any way, and it takes 2 to 3 weeks to make each one. I don't do it for the money; I do it because it makes somebody happy and I like seeing what I can come up with next."
If you really want to freak someone out, she add, "I can also make ones that breathe and have a heartbeat!"
Check out Melissa's vampire baby, Vittoria, below. We've also included a quick look at her zombie clown (sorry, coulrophobics) prototype. For a closer look at Patterson's tamer, yet incredibly realistic work, you can visit her Pitter Patterson Nursery Facebook page and follow her on Twitter @joyoffourgirls.
Gregory Lamberson has unveiled the covers for his next two novels from Medallion Press, The Frenzy Wolves and Human Monsters. Both are the final chapters of their respective franchises, The Frenzy Cycle and The Jake Helman Files.
The Frenzy Wolves, which will be published in October, is the third book in author/filmmaker Lamberson's The Frenzy Cycle werewolf trilogy, in which a New York police captain navigates conflict among opposing factions of werewolves and werewolf hunters in the age of terrorism.
With the aid of his elite squad of super cops, NYPD Captain Tony Mace has defeated the werewolf slayers known as the Brotherhood of Torquemada. But now a new enemy has risen to persecute the peaceful Wolves, and Tony’s loyalty to Gabriel Domini, leader of the pack, places him at odds with his department.
Gabriel’s brother, Raphael, objects to Gabriel’s efforts to integrate the Wolves into human society and seeks to start a war against mankind. When Rodrigo Gomez, the Full Moon Killer, escapes from prison, his quest for vengeance draws Tony into a battle for supremacy among the Wolves which could lead to a far greater war for both species.
Human Monsters, due out in March 2015, is the sixth and last book in the award-winning occult detective series The Jake Helman Files, which began with Personal Demons back in 2009.
"It's bittersweet to finish each series," says Lamberson. "The Frenzy books are based on a screenplay I wrote in 1986 called The Greenwich Village Monster, and I created Jake Helman in a screenplay called The Forever Man that same year, so these characters have been with me a long time. I have more stories to tell about Jake, but for now this is the end of his literary adventures."
Lamberson, who is currently adapting his zombie novella Carnage Road into a screenplay for actor Craig Sheffer, is also developing The Jake Helman Files as a possible TV series with David Tripet, who worked on such films as Leprechaun, Wishmaster, and Return of the Living Dead III as a development executive.
"Now that I've written six novels, the template exists for an edgy cable TV series," Lamberson says. "These books have all the sex, violence, and supernatural characters to make a great serialized show."
No synopsis is available for Human Monsters yet, but we'll keep our eyes open for that along with more news on the possible TV show.
Wild Eye Releasing, a sponsor of the PollyGrind Film Festival since 2011, has launched a new distribution label, PollyGrind Presents, in conjunction with Chad Clinton Freeman's international showcase of films. The first title, Play Hooky, will be released later this year.
Full specs will be announced shortly, but Wild Eye and PollyGrind are packing the Play Hooky DVD with bonus features, including exclusive content such as a commentary and liner notes from Freeman as well as short films hand-picked from the festival.
Below we have a look at the film's artwork, trailer, and more info on the new label.
Wild Eye CEO Rob Hauschild called PollyGrind "a brilliant, head-on collision of arthouse and grindhouse movies," and added, "Wild Eye is dedicated to giving independents like Play Hooky a position in the mainstream through traditional distribution, and PollyGrind is ground zero for discovering true independent talent."
Winner of the Most Innovative Film award at PollyGrind in 2012, Play Hooky is the perfect film to christen the partnership with Wild Eye, says Freeman. "Play Hooky is the epitome of the pioneering spirit that inspired me to found PollyGrind. It's a great example of making something out of nothing, and I'm really excited to be helping to share this film with the world."
Five high school friends skip class in hopes of finding the perfect spot to party. They chose the wrong place. Against all warnings, they break into an abandoned mental hospital, notorious for reports of ghost sightings, satanic rituals, and demonic possessions. Now, armed only with a camera, they are trapped inside, haunted and hunted by something they cannot stop, reason with, or describe. The camera captures every last breath in the fight for their lives.
Forget Route 666. The Devil’s Mile is an even more evil stretch of road in this new horror thriller starring David Hayter and directed by Joseph O’Brien, with whom we recently had a chance to chat about the film.
Devil's Mile follows a trio of kidnappers who take an ill-advised detour (is there any other kind?) en route to deliver their hostages – a pair of teenage girls - to their mysterious employer. When one of the girls dies along the way, the trio’s slowly-boiling mistrust explodes into chaos.
But what they thought was their worst day ever is only beginning as they are engulfed by the hellish forces that haunt the road - a road they may never escape.
Dread Central: This is one of the few indie horror movies that really lives up to the promo material. I'm curious to know how much the story evolved from your initial idea to script to shooting and final edit. Did different aspects of the story come to the fore more as it progressed?
Joseph O'Brien: That's very nice of you to say; thank you. It's greatly appreciated. The basic spine of the story – a group of people become trapped on a road haunted by supernatural forces – was always there. Originally the characters were just regular folks on a road trip, but that felt mundane and done to death. I'd seen it before. You'd seen it before. And I was writing a moment where one of characters opens the trunk and thought, 'What if there were two girls tied up inside?' And it clicked. This isn't a horror movie; it's a crime thriller that evolves into a horror movie! They're two of my favorite genres, and the idea of combining them really appealed to me. It energized the story and opened up a lot of narrative possibilities. Once I started exploring the idea of a hybrid genre, it became very important to make sure that I didn't just swap one for another. The crime thriller had to inform the horror movie and the horror movie had to transform the crime thriller. Tonally they had to feel like a single story, not two stories bashed together.
The movie did change and develop in the making of it, all of it positively I think, but it was more in terms of the feel of the movie than the content. I had originally envisioned Devil’s Mile as more of a straight-up exploitation film, a bit more hyperbolic. It changed a bit once we were cast. The dramatic scenes played straighter and more intensely than I had expected – all credit due to the actors for taking the material as seriously as they did. But it also a got a bit funnier and a lot stranger.
I think the biggest tonal shift came when I dropped two scenes – partly for scheduling reasons, but also because the film was coming together and I realized they weren't essential. They were arguably the two most overtly stock “horror” scenes in the script, in the sense that they were there to be scary for their own sake, but they didn't push the story forward, and while I don't miss them narratively, it definitely tilted the balance. And then of course Chris Alexander created this fantastic, evocative score that unified all the elements into a single entity.
DC: When did David Hayter come on board? It's almost as though this part was written with him in mind.
DOB: We first talked to David while the script was being finalized. I had been a fan of his work for many years, and we had been recently introduced by a mutual friend. David had started out as an actor, but that career was kind of sidelined when he became a writer of Hollywood blockbusters, the poor guy. By complete coincidence, he was also childhood friends with my producing partner, Mark Opausky, and when we were thinking about actors who could play Toby, I suggested David. I knew he still had the acting bug, and I thought his intensity and personality could really lend something to the part – and I was right. Mark sent him the script and he responded very strongly to the character of Toby. He arrived on set with a very clear idea of what he wanted to do with the character, and he very much made Toby his own. On the page Toby was a slightly more thuggish character, and David brought a charm and humor and nuance to him that I really liked. It created an interesting contrast to his more violent moments and made them even more shocking, I think.
DC: How'd the rest of your cast come together? The female leads are particularly good, and they all mesh so well.
DOB: Maria Del Mar and I worked together on a miniseries I had written a number of years ago, and I had always wanted to do another project with her. When we were in the early stages of putting the movie together, she had mentioned – on Facebook of all places – that she was looking for something different to do. So I messaged her about Devil’s Mile – not really expecting her to respond – and to my surprise and delight she asked to see the script. She read it and committed a full year before we rolled cameras on the movie, for which I am eternally in her debt.
Casey Hudecki, what a discovery she turned out to be. I knew her a little bit through a group of actors and writers and creative people that we both hung out with. She was brimming with potential – a terrific stage actor, fight director, and stuntperson – but she had never been in a movie before. We screen tested her with Maria – they had immediate chemistry – and she just lit up the screen. After that we didn't even consider anyone else. It was Casey all the way. And Casey being Casey, she exceeded our very high expectations at every turn. She was there every day of the shoot, not just acting but also choreographing the fights and getting yanked through the air on a jerk harness. She kicks ass.
Samantha Wan and Amanda Joy Lim came to us through the audition process. Casting Suki and Kanako was the scariest and most challenging part of putting the movie together. They're smaller parts but they're pivotal to the story and they have unique very specific requirements; we looked at a lot of people and couldn't quite nail it down. Then Sam and Amy walked through the door, and it was like the characters had come to life in front of me. The first day makeup effects designer Allan Cooke came to set and saw them in costume, he walked over to me and said, 'They look exactly the way I pictured them when I read the script!'
Frank Moore and Craig Porritt, who play Mr. Arkadi and The Caretaker, respectively, also auditioned. In contrast to Amy and Sam, they were very different from the characters as I had envisioned them, but their interpretations were so much stronger and nuanced than what I had in mind, I literally couldn't see the characters the same way again.
DC: When it comes to adding CGI to the supernatural aspects of the film, would you describe how you decided how much to use, and how much is practical?
DOB: I'm an 80s guy; I love prosthetics and special makeup effects. I've got my well-worn copy of Grande Illusions signed by Tom Savini on my bookshelf. And I knew when we were making this that I wanted to have a real, physical monster. The Kanako demon is a full-body prosthetic, sculpted and built by Allan Cooke and worn by Shara Kim, that we photographed live on set. But I also needed her to have an unreal, unsettling quality, so I treated that footage with digital effects to take it out of the strictly physical realm and into something more ghost-like. So it's more of a computer-enhanced image than a computer-generated one. On balance I would say it's actually about 95% practical – what you see on screen in mostly real.
I love visual effects, both practical and digital, and every technique has its virtues and its drawbacks. But audiences – and particularly genre audiences – are so savvy about these things that they sometimes experience and appreciate the technique over the dramatic effect that technique is trying to convey. I know because I do it myself. So I definitely wanted to disguise the technique and do something unexpected, and like the story, I chose to deploy a hybrid approach that would blur the lines a bit. It's scarier that way, too, because you don't quite know precisely what you're seeing happen.
DC: Since you'd only directed one short (according to that pillar of accuracy, IMDb.com) before this feature, can you talk a little bit about some of the unexpected things that came up making a full-length film?
DOB: Well, I've worked in various capacities – credited and uncredited – in feature films for close to twenty years. I've been a production assistant and I've been a development executive and I've had jobs at all points in between, which turned out to be ideal preparation for directing because even if I haven't specifically done someone's job, I'm familiar enough with it to be able to effectively communicate with the person who is doing it. Just being able to do that gives you a much greater awareness of the set and a more granular control of delegation to the crew.
The one thing I still haven't figured out how to control is the weather. We shot on a tight budget and a tight schedule, and we got rained out of a location before we could finish a key scene in the movie – the moment where we first reveal the demon, which happened to be the only scene I had actually storyboarded. And when we got back together to pick it up – months later, in a completely different location – we got rained out again. The scene was fucking cursed, but there was no way we could do without it, and this was absolutely our last chance to get it. We wound up shooting this critical night exterior inside a parking garage with an eight-foot ceiling, which meant all my storyboards went out the window and I had to rethink the entire scene on the spot. It was a nightmare. It took every scrap of learning I had had up to that point, an incredibly dedicated crew, and a couple of very resourceful and clever producers to pull it together and make that scene happen.
DC: Who are some of your favorite independent horror filmmakers, and which movies of your peers inspire you the most?
DOB: The two biggest influences on Devil’s Mile were my two favorite directors, Mario Bava and John Carpenter. They're both thought of as horror filmmakers, but they actually have quite diverse filmographies. I definitely had Bava's Rabid Dogs (a.k.a. Kidnapped) in mind when I was writing the early scenes when everyone's in the car, and his use of vivid color to convey the supernatural in Kill Baby Kill and Black Sabbath consciously informed the palette of the night scenes. A lot of my love of Carpenter's Prince of Darkness bled through here, consciously and unconsciously. And PoD is itself Carpenter's tribute to one of my favorite writers, Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale (who is essentially the godfather of genre-smashing). When I was writing the script, my imaginary version of the cast was Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, and Kurt Russell, all circa 1981.
In terms of people making movies currently, I really dug Nicholas McCarthy's The Pact and Mike Flanagan's Absentia. Both of those guys took tiny budgets and made strong, character-driven, genuinely frightening movies that both satisfied the expectations of the genre while at the same time delivering something fresh – I haven't yet seen their respective followups, Home/At The Devil's Door and Oculus yet, but I'm really looking forward to them. And I loved the way Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard made You're Next funny without being self-congratulatory or self-referential, in a way that it enhanced the scares instead of undermining them, and that's really, really hard to get right. When I see guys that young and that talented knocking it out of the park like that, I don't if I'm so much 'inspired' as I am 'terrified that I'm late to the party,' but it certainly motivates me.
DC: What is your favorite "road horror" movie?
DOB: It's a great little subgenre, with some interesting films to show for it... one that speaks to me, obviously. John Dahl's Joy Ride is a personal favorite and quite underrated. Ditto Richard Franklin's Road Games. And The Hitcher, the original, is a genuinely nightmarish thriller with a mean streak a mile wide. But for me it all goes back to seeing Duel on TV as a kid (and many, many time subsequently). A script by Richard Matheson at the peak of his powers, directed by Steven Spielberg at his hungriest moment – an unbeatable combination. There's an elegant simplicity to that movie that I don't think has ever been matched. Just Dennis Weaver on an endless stretch of highway being chased by a giant truck, stripped-down, terrifying, and pure. Doesn't get better.
Look for the indie thriller Devil's Mile on August 12th on both DVD and VOD outlets!
Joining David Hayter and Casey Hudecki on this terrifying journey are Maria Del Mar ("24", Terminal City, Jekyll + Hyde) and Frank Moore (best known to genre fans for his lead role in David Cronenberg’s Rabid, opposite the late Marilyn Chambers) as crime lord Mr. Arkadi, whose machinations set the sinister events of Devil’s Mile in motion.
A gang of psychotic convicts take a dangerous and ill-advised detour after brutally kidnapping two young girls. As the captors speed away, events quickly turn out to be much more dangerous and gruesome than they had planned for. While driving down a long and dark stretch of deserted highway, the car becomes surrounded by mysterious sinister spirits, forcing the captors and young girls to work together in hopes of surviving the deadly evil force.
Remember the name Jack Icefloe Jackson. He's listed as the author of the new book Romance for Men: Pandora's Box, and he's one helluva character. Icefloe is a sex machine from the backwoods of Alaska and as unique as they come. One quick peek into Romance for Men will prove it!
Okay, we've got to be honest here: Romance for Men: Pandora's Box may not necessarily have been penned by the lead character, Icefloe. In actuality, and in a deliciously fun twist, Emmy-nominated writer Dean Lorey has to be given some credit for the book.
Lorey is best known as the writer of Friday the 13th Part 9: Jason Goes to Hell (he's also written for "Arrested Development" and came up with some other cult classics like Major Payne). And Lorey has hit a major home run with his new book.
Romance for Men: Pandora's Box has been hugely praised by horror icons like Kane Hodder, Tyler Mane, and Sean S. Cunningham as well as mainstream superstars like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robin Williams, and Denis Leary. It's outgoing, outrageous, and outright insane. Take a look at the official Jack Icefloe Jackson website to get an idea of what this off-the-wall book is all about.
And if you're like the ladies and just can't get enough Icefloe, 'like' Jack Icefloe Jackson on Facebook, follow Icefloe Jackson on Twitter (@icefloejackson) and check out Icefloe Jackson on Instagram.
You can also get a peek at the first few pages of Romance for Men: Pandora's Box on Amazon.com.