WHO IS ELLEN RIPLEY?
PLUS WOMEN IN HORROR: RUTANYA ALDA FILMS: I SCREAM ON THE BEACH INTERVIEW: DESOLATIONS DIRECTOR SCREAMING CORNER: SID HAIG TRIBUTE HORROR ART: ZOMBIE SUNSET PROJECT HORROR COSPLAY: RI CARE / JINXKITTIE AND LOTS MORE
TRIBUTE TO SID HAIG
1939 - 2019
CLOWNS IN HORROR
IN TRIBUTE TO SID HAIG
If you are a fan of all things gruesome and gory then you are in for a truly ‘bloody’ treat as The Digital Dead Issue 16 has arrived. With exciting horror stories, world class interviews and spot on reviews, it promises to satisfy even the hungriest of horror appetites. We dedicate this issue to the legend Sid Haig.There are few in the industry that become an icon simply as themselves AND as a character that they have portrayed and Sid Haig (Sidney Eddie Mosesian) is one of those people. Most recognize him as Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s Firefly Clan trilogy (House Of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects And 3 From Hell). He died on September 21st, 2019 at the age of 80. In this issue we have interviews with Women in Horror, Rutanya Alda and Scream Queen, Lynn Lowry. Understanding another woman in horror,Who is Ellen Riley.
And for those with a much more upmarket palette, there are regular features on dark arts, novels and music. With in-depth interviews from some of the world’s leading macabre writers. So, if you want to know what’s going to be big in the dark world of film, book or gameplay allow The Digital Dead to take you on this terrifying journey and let’s keep indie horror alive... or should that be dead!!! Thank you for supporting The Digital Dead Magazine.
Jason Wright EDITOR IN CHIEF
Genoveva Rossi pays tribute to one of her interviews with the legend Sid Haig. So whether your horror tastes are in the extreme, classic, indie or mainstream, our wide range of everything horror will have something to quench the thirst of even the blood thirstiest fan.
06 FEATURED ARTICLES
EDITOR IN CHIEF Jason Wright
06. WHO IS ELLEN RIPLEY 44. TRIBUTE TO SID HAIG 64. DESOLATION DIRECTORS INTERVIEW
ART DIRECTOR Jason Wright ASSOCIATE EDITOR Kirsty Richardson WRITING TALENT Kirsty Richardson Clare Nixon Michael Dedman Jones SJ Lykana Genoveva Rossi Dani Thompson Baron Craze Gary Andrew Hindley Ellen Vass Sanderson Jim Morazzini Ashley Lister James Pemberton Joe X Young Tabatha Wood Sam Kurd Lesley Ann Craig Draheim S. J. Carter PHOTOGRAPHY Various
WOMEN IN HORROR 86. RUTANYA ALDA
SPECIAL THANKS TO CRYPT TV SUPPORTING THANKS TO Fantastic Horror Film Festival Shriekfest Film Festival Ginger Nuts of Horror Voices from the Balcony Popcorn Horror Zombie Rising Magazine
DEADLY FILM REVIEWS 19. READY FOR MY CLOSE UP 20. I SCREAM ON THE BEACH 38. PET SEMATARY 56. A SERIAL KILLERS GUIDE 60. CLOWN 68. DESOLATION
GENOVEVA ROSSI SCREAMING CORNER 24. TRIBUTE: INTERVIEW WITH SID HAIG
HORROR ART 72. ZOMBIE SUNSET GALLERY
SCREAM QUEEN 12. LYNN LOWRY
DANI DISSECTS 30. CLOWNS IN HORROR
30 DEADLY BUSINESS 48. SERIAL KILLER INTERVIEWS
MISSING DEAD ARTICLES 78. MAN MADE MONSTERS 96. UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES PT. 3
Contact the magazine via the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thedigitaldeadmagazine The Digital Dead is a Silent Studios publication. All photography Â© in the magazine is held by the individual photographers concerned. All rights reserved. You may not copy, reproduce, distribute, publish, modify, plagiarise, transmit or exploit any of the materials in this publication.
WHO IS ELLEN RIPLEY? by Tabatha Wood
I was 15 when I first watched Aliens, and 22 by the time I saw Alien. Yes, I watched them out of chronological order. Despite being part of the same franchise, I consider both movies to be exceptionally different, albeit underpinned by one amazing, badass character - Ellen Ripley. According to Xenopedia, Ellen Louise Ripley was born on 7th January 2092 and began her career as a warrant officer with Weyland-Yutani commercial freight operations. During her assignment on USCSS Nostromo, she first encountered hostile Xenomorphs on planet LV-426, commonly known as the Archeron. Later, promoted to Lieutenant First Class and attached to the Colonial Marines as a civilian advisor, she encountered yet more Xenomorphs, while revisiting LV-426 on the USS Sulaco, cumulating with Ripley blowing the Alien Queen out of the Sulaco’s airlock. Ripley is not a soldier and she is not trained in combat, but she is determined, tough and amazingly resilient. Alien is a slow-burn sci-fi horror story which doesn’t fully kick into action until 45 minutes has passed. (Director, Ridley Scott himself, joked that nothing actually happens in this time.) It has been described as a haunted-house movie, except the old house is a creepy spaceship. You would even be forgiven for assuming Ripley is a mere supporting character after Tom Skerritt’s Captain Dallas. Yet it is Ripley who faces up to the Xenomorph, devises an explosive survival plan, rescues herself, her cat Jonesy, and escapes. She floats away in hyper-sleep, hoping to be rescued from deep space.
Set 20 years later, is the action-packed horror/ sci-fi blockbuster Aliens, it is clear Ripley is now suffering from some serious PTSD and anxiety, and has no wish to revisit the alien threat. It is her recurring nightmares and concern for the people of Hadley’s Hope (a colony now living on LV-426) that sparks something powerful inside her; a burning need to do the right thing and also to confront her fears.
about that moment where Hicks shows Ripley how to use a pulse rifle.
The first time I watched Aliens was with two friends in their den. Our respective parents had no idea. I remember being totally blown away, and not just because of the impressive action sequences. I’m out and proud as queer these days, but at 15 I wasn’t fully sure. I just knew Ripley was one of my very first girl crushes, and I longed to have someone like her in my life.
Screw ‘When Harry Met Sally’, I wanted a love story like Ripley and Hicks.
On a superficial level, I was immediately struck by her physical appearance. Sigourney Weaver is a striking woman, but not stereotypically “pretty.” Her beauty comes from her energy and her attitude, and the way she carries herself. In Aliens she is make-up free, wearing typically masculine attire and sporting a rather unfortunate haircut. Yet rough, tough, macho marine, Corporal Hicks, falls for her pretty much instantly. Forget about any other romantic movie you’ve ever seen, and think
Ripley: What’s this? Hicks: That’s the grenade launcher. I don’t think you want to mess with that. Ripley:You started this. Show me everything. I can handle myself. Hicks: [chuckles] Yeah, I noticed.
As an impressionable teen who also wasn’t traditionally pretty, that affected me in a million positive ways. It’s not about how you look, it’s about who you are, that is what will attract people to you. Ripley really emphasised that. Stuck in space with a bunch of hard-ass marines, she doesn’t try to lean into any particular angle other than her own. She doesn’t butch herself up to fit in, but she equally doesn’t try to emphasise her femininity so that those big, strong boys will do everything for her. She exudes complete and utter confidence in herself and her abilities. And she is fabulous.
Ripley sparked a love for kick-ass females, and I will probably always look to her as a timeless and indisputable feminist icon. I remember watching her in both movies and thinking how bloody brilliant it was that she gave no apologies to anyone for any part of her. She would not back down and she would never give up, she simply rolled up her sleeves and got on with the damn job. It would be hard to talk about Ripley without mentioning the theme of The Mother. In Alien, MU-TH-UR 6000 known as MOTHER is the AI mainframe in the Nostromo, and as well as auto-piloting the ship, was responsible for monitoring the crew. A poor guardian, however, MOTHER also ensured the survival of the deadly Xenomorph specimen taken from LV-426. Ultimately, MOTHER is destroyed by Ripley, along with the Nostromo. In Aliens it is Ripley herself who takes the maternal role. Tormented by the loss of her real daughter while in hyper-sleep, she is quick to adopt and protect orphan, Newt. While the Alien Queen attempts to colonise the planet with her own, deplorable offspring, the movie culminates in the ultimate face-off between two strong and determined females, fighting both for themselves and for their children. But Ripley is a mother to everyone, not merely to Newt, as she guides and advises the marines. She sees and anticipates what needs to be done, and her concern for the Hadleyâ€™s Hope colony overrides all her fears. She is the epitome of a strong matriarch; leading and protecting her community. She respects those who deserve her respect, but has no time for those who disrespect her. She accepts everyone based on their merits and their behaviours, but she also understands that people can change when given the right guidance and support. Except Burke. Sod that guy. Right?
Or maybe not. In one of the most famous deleted scenes from Aliens, apparently cut because of a continuity error, we see Burke’s original demise. While searching for Newt inside the Hive, Ripley finds Burke, cocooned to the wall with a Chestburster inside him. He begs Ripley for help. She gives him a hand grenade and moves on. Behind her, Burke apologises for everything he has done. Ripley is a total badass, but she is also kind and fair. She is still a human being filled with surprising amounts of empathy. Even towards a jerk who would have happily killed her, and Newt, for money. Ripley has no comparable military training to that of the marines. She does not have any obvious special skills or abilities, and she accepts leadership begrudgingly. But she survives due to her determination, her willingness to meet the problem head on, and to take control of her own narrative. She will not allow anyone to control her - not a Xenomorph, not a manipulative male, nor a corporate company. She walks her own damn path, yet she doesn’t need to walk all over others to do so. She’s learned that if she wants to survive she needs to help herself, but that doesn’t make her selfish or immune to others’ needs, in fact it makes her more empathetic. It equally doesn’t mean she’s not scared. Of course she is scared, but she’s also incredibly brave. Above all, she is undoubtedly and assuredly a badass.
Tabatha Wood lives in Wellington, New Zealand and writes weird, dark fiction and uplifting poetry. A former English teacher and library manager, Tabatha’s first published books were non-fiction guides aimed at people working in education. She now teaches from home while writing in her spare time. Her debut collection, “Dark Winds Over Wellington: Chilling Tales of the Weird & the Strange” was released in March 2019. Since then, she has been published in two “Things In The Well” anthologies, plus Midnight Echo and Breach magazines. Tabatha is currently working as the lead editor in a team of twelve for upcoming charity anthology from Things In The Well, “Black Dogs, Black Tales,” which aims to raise money and awareness for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. You can read stories and articles, and keep up to date with her upcoming projects at https://tabathawood.com
Review by Tabatha Wood
lynn lowry Interview by SJ Lykana Lynn Lowry, horror movie goddess and queen of scream. Welcome to The Digital Dead Magazine. You have had an absolutely amazing career so far, did you always want to act? Yes, I pretty much wanted to act since I was about five years old. I used to sort of try to entertain the neighbourhood kids and was in my first church play where I played a sheep or something. I always loved, you know, getting up in front of people, giving reports. I just always felt comfortable doing that. So, I wanted to do it pretty much all of my life. That is wonderful, did you just have confidence from a young age? Well, I wasnâ€™t really confident when I was young. I was really shy and pretty insecure. But the thing was, when I got to act or get up in front of people to do anything, I was really confident and that was one of the reasons I liked doing it so much. If I had somebody elseâ€™s words to use then I was really confident in doing that.
Around 1984 you appeared to withdraw from movie making for a decade. What did you do during this period? I actually didn’t stop really pursuing film acting until 1995. For ten years, between 1995 and 2005 I didn’t really do a whole lot. I mean I always did theatre work. In the 80’s I moved to California. When I got to California the writers were on strike, the directors were on strike and it was really difficult to get an agent, to get work and get started in California. But I did do “Cat People” in the 80’s, and I did a couple of TV movies of the week and I did a soap opera so I did keep that going, but I was always involved in theatre and doing that so I never stopped acting. I just got burned out around 1995 and the thing is, I didn’t know that I had a big fan base in horror. So I didn’t know to pursue independent horror films. I was just thinking, oh I need to be in the mainstream and I need to do stuff like that and, you know, it was very difficult to get into that level of acting. So I didn’t realise I had all this big horror cult following until about 2004 and that’s when I started up again. The horror community are amazing. They are so committed and supportive. It’s only because of them that I’m working now, just because of all of them. So, I love them. You starred in David Cronenberg’s “Shivers” (1975) and George A. Romero’s “The Crazies” (1973). How do you feel about working with two legendary film makers? The thing is, you see, at the time I worked with them, they weren’t really big names. I was in David’s first movie that he ever wrote and made, so he was just a beginning director at that time. But “Shivers” was definitely a landmark film. It was the very first body horror movie ever to be made and so that influenced “The Thing” and “Alien” and all of those movies, you know, where things come out of people’s bodies. So he was phenomenal in getting that whole movement started and just a really, really nice person. I enjoyed working with him and he was very professional. He was fun, and it was just great experience and it was a pretty easy shoot. George Romero; he had done “Night of the Living Dead” at that point and a couple of other things, but he wasn’t what he is now. George was absolutely one of the nicest gentlemen I have ever met or worked with. Just so sincere and so helpful. He was just wonderful, I just adored George and I was so lucky and fortunate to get to work with him at such an early age, and in his early career as well. Both of those were phenomenal experiences.
I suppose we don’t know, in a few decades, some of the people we talk to now who have just made their first independent film, may become legendary? I had no idea that David Cronenberg would become so famous and everything. I remember the first time I saw the original “The Crazies”, I was very, very young and stayed up to watch it on TV with my mum. When I was an adult, I recognised you right away making a cameo in the remake. What do you think about the reboot / remake trend? It was very sweet of them to pay a homage. I thought the remake of “The Crazies” was actually good. I thought it was entertaining and a fun watch. But I don’t think, honestly, in 45 years anyone is going to remember it. But I do believe in 45 years people are still going to be watching the original because it’s just different. Back in the 70’s everybody’s mind-set was different. You wanted to make something that you were passionate about and that you believed in and that you wanted to last. You wanted people to see it. But the remake of “The Crazies” for most people was just a job to do. There wasn’t any passion, or magic, or anything like that. People were just there to do their job, and they did a good job but it’s just not the same as the original. I find that with all the remakes, although I haven’t seen “Rabid” yet and I understand that is quite good so I’m looking forward to seeing that. Is that the Soska sisters’ movie, “Rabid”? Yes, a-ha. I like them a lot. They wanted me to be in it but they shot most of everything in Canada and so I couldn’t do it, but I do think that they played the last scene of “Shivers” at some point in the film and they also had my picture up in the doctor’s bedroom. So they really sort of paid homage to me a little bit which was great. They are very sweet. I have my fingers crossed that I’ll get to work with them in the future.
In 2016 you starred in “Terror Tales” by Jimmy Lee Combs. I’ve had the pleasure of screening a couple of his pieces in the past, and I’ve always found his work to have a very unique flare to it. Can you tell us a little about your role in “Terror Tales”? I was in the first segment which is called “By Proxy”. I play a woman who has Munchausen syndrome by proxy. It’s somebody who does really horrible things to their child to get attention drawn to themselves. So she was not a very nice person, but a very bad thing happens to her at the very end of it which I won’t tell you so that the fans might watch it and see. But she definitely gets her comeuppance in the end for what she does. It was a great shoot, I think we filmed that segment for four days and Jimmy was wonderful. He’s funny, and clever and it was great, I had a great time with him. I stayed with him and his wife in their house, that’s actually where we shot as well. I would love to work with Jimmy again. He’s talked to me about a feature he is trying to get the money for and I hope that happens because he’s a wonderful person. We are huge Sid Haig fans here at “The Digital Dead” and were all deeply saddened by the news of his passing. In 2018 you co-starred with Sid Haig and Scout Taylor Compton in “Cynthia”. Could you tell us about your role and if you got to spend time with Sid? I didn’t actually have any scenes with Sid. I’m dead, he finds my body, I’m in a body bag. I can hear him talking but I’m in the body bag so I didn’t actually get to have a scene with him. But I knew him quite well, I’d done several shows with him and had drinks with him. What a lovely, lovely man. I got to sit next to him at one convention and so we got to know each other a bit. He was such a fan favourite. He never raised his prices and just always spent time with everyone. He was really quite lovely. I really enjoyed working on the film. I had a scene with Taylor and that was a lot of fun and I loved the directors. There were two directors and they were wonderful to work with. It was a fun role, you know, she was kind of ditzy and a broad, she had a lot of fun and I had a lot of fun doing it. I would love to work with those directors again as well. I’m always trying to get out there and get more work.
I’ve recently watched “Ready For My Close Up”. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was such a fun film. You got to change your look a lot for that role. Was it a fun film to work on? Yeah, it was a lot of fun. We shot the whole thing in two days so it was pretty tiring to make all those changes and have all those different characters. But Michael Haberfelner who wrote it, he’s a wonderful writer. I’ve actually done four short films that he wrote and he has wrote all four of them with me in mind. But actually the idea for “Ready For My Close Up” was my idea which I gave to him, and then he wrote it. But I gave him the idea of a B-Movie star who didn’t like delivery boys and he just came up with this wonderful script. I had just a blast doing it and seeing the characters come to life once I was there. Because when you’re at home and you’re working on the characters, you don’t really know. I didn’t even think about doing the Asian character with an Asian accent until the day before it was shot and then it just occurred to me that it wasn’t a very good Asian accent, but that was the whole point, that she wasn’t a very good actress. So, to play a bad actress, but I don’t want people to say that I was a bad actress but my character was definitely a bad actress. I had just so much fun doing it. I loved working in the UK. Stuart Morris, he produced it and Jason Rhee directed it. It was the second film I’d done with them, we had done one called “Ripper Tour” before that which was also quite successful and got a lot of good reviews. But this was one of my absolute favourite things to do of my whole career. I just loved it. Do you have a favourite role from your career? I think my favourite film from my entire career is “Model Hunger”. I really loved doing that film because I have worked on Tennessee Williams characters since I was like 16 years old and I was really a pro at doing these hysterical, schizophrenic, crazy southern women. So when this role came up, I talked to Debbie Rochon who directed it and I told her I would like to do her as a southern character and she loved that idea. So I was able to take all these years of experience of playing that type of character and then just add on top of it that she was a serial killer and a cannibal. She was a charming southern belle and she is very funny but she’s really horrible. I loved it. It was such a great, freeing experience to absolutely play someone that was that mad. Just the madness of the character, it just came out of me and it was an extraordinary experience for me and I loved my performance in it. I won several awards for it and so I’m very proud of it. There were definitely some problems with the film. The sound was not very good, it took Debbie (Rochon) two or three years before she was really able to get the film to where it could be distributed and brought out because there were so many problems with it, but overall I really like it and I love my performance. It’s my favourite performance ever. I need to watch this movie, it sounds fascinating! You have to see it, but don’t eat while you’re watching it. It’s really bloody.
I’m actually going to make a note of that, do not eat while watching this movie. Yeah, it’s bloody. And I’m not going to tell you what I do, but I do this one thing that I have never ever seen anyone else in any film ever do. I almost sort of turned the film down because I didn’t want to do it, this thing, but I knew it would push the envelope to the furthest extent that you could imagine. So I did it. But it’s pretty shocking when you see it. So definitely watch that and let me know what you think of it. With a career spanning almost 6 decades, you must be very wise to the ways of the industry. Have you any words of wisdom for any of our readers trying to carve out a career in the horror industry? My advice to anyone that wants to be an actor is to take acting lessons and especially get involved in the theatre, because I think the reason that I have lasted this long is because I studied many years and I did lots and lots of theatre work and really honed my craft and really became an artist at what I do. I have so much versatility because of all of that training that I had. I would definitely recommend to anyone that they should take acting classes and get involved in the theatre and then really treat it like it’s a business. Just really network and try to get yourself out there and do whatever you can do. Student films, extra parts, anything to get yourself started and going. Sometimes it’s easier to get yourself a commercial agent, if you have a commercial look, sometimes it’s easier to get a commercial agent to work with you, and then after that you can get a theatrical agent to work with you. If you could choose any part in any movie or production throughout history, what would be your dream role? I have two. I would choose Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With The Wind” and I would choose the Meryl Streep role in “Sophie’s Choice” (Sophie). Those are the two roles that I would choose. At the age I am at now, if I had to pick a theatre play that I would love to do, it would be “A Long Day’s Journey Into Night” by Eugene O’Neill, I would love to do that. February was Women In Horror Month. Being a female horror icon, how do you feel about the Women In Horror movement? I think it’s great, I had so many people contacting me during February. I don’t do very many interviews anymore, just because I don’t like to really talk about myself all the time. And also I feel it’s important to kind of save up and then do an interview that you think is really good. The reason I’m doing this interview is because you reviewed the film (“Ready For My Close Up”) so there was a purpose to doing the interview. But there are so many wonderful women in horror. I love Caroline Williams, I love Camille Keaton, Debbie Rochon. All of those women, they are just great and I think that we deserve to get that kind of attention. It’s great, I totally support it. I am proud to be a woman in horror. You have been a very busy lady with so many projects in post-production. Can you tell us about any of them yet? Well the one that I just finished in Chicago, I’m very excited about. I play a woman who has Parkinson’s, advanced Parkinson’s and dementia and she is not very nice. She is driving her son mad. I mean, she is just driving him insane to the point where he actually thinks that he is turning into a rat. It is very unique, this is the film that the director with autism, Richard, wrote and it is a very unique, very unusual film and it was an extraordinary experience. I think that honestly, I think that it is going to be a huge cult classic because it’s just so different. So I have that coming out.
I just had “Necropolis Region” which Chris Alexander directed. That came out a couple of months ago and I think he’s re-working it right now to get a better cut of it. It was part of the films you could actually watch as they were filming it on Facebook. So that was pretty amazing to be filming and to be filming our filming. I am shooting a film next month in Los Angeles with Dustin Ferguson. It’s a zombie film so that should be fun. Have you attended any cons recently or do you plan on appearing at any soon? I am actually going next month to “Dead By Con” in Edmonton. I believe that is on March 13th 14th and 15th. Then I believe I’m doing a special guest appearance in Buffalo in May and then in August, I’m doing “Tampa Bay Screams”. Then in October I’m doing “Chiller” in New Jersey. I’m also doing one in Iowa in October I think it’s called “Halloweenapalooza”. Those are the ones I have scheduled this year. As a Belfast girl I have to ask: I saw on your Instagram that you visited Belfast, Northern Ireland not too long ago. I was born and raised in Belfast. Did you enjoy your visit? I did. Actually I had two friends there. They came and got me in Dublin, they drove there and drove me back to Belfast and they just took me around and showed me The Giant’s Causeway and the castles. It was just great. It was actually in November though and so they kept telling me how gloomy it was there and how it was so much more beautiful there in the summer but God, it was beautiful. It was just what I thought Ireland would look like even though it was raining and cloudy but it was just so green and so beautiful and breathtaking. It was really just a wonderful trip, I really enjoyed it a lot. The people are so sweet and there’s an innocence about them. When we were up some mountain, and we stopped and were looking at the view, this person stopped in his car and was having this long conversation with my friend George. Afterwards I said, “Oh, who was that George?” And he said “Oh, I have no idea.” I just thought, oh my gosh, a complete stranger just stops and has a half hour conversation with you, that just does not happen in the states. It was really, really lovely and I got to have a Guinness and do all the American touristy things. Imagine for a moment that the zombie apocalypse is upon us. I don’t know, maybe a bunch of teenagers decided to skinny dip in a toxic lake or something. If you could pick just one co-star from your entire career to be your survival partner, who would you choose and why? It would have to be somebody who really knew how to survive. I’m trying to think of who I would choose. It’s tough. Well, I think I would choose Bill Moseley. I think Bill would know how to do things. He seems to be very equipped to take care of stuff like that. So I would pick him. Lynn Lowry, it has been an absolute honour and complete fan girl moment to be able to interview you. Thank you for taking the time to talk to The Digital Dead, is there anything else you would like to add? I think you’ve covered everything. I’m very flattered that you watched my film and that you wanted to interview me. I hope that the fans keep on watching and that I get to have another couple of decades of work before I no longer can.
Interview by SJ Lykana
READY FOR MY CLOSE UP - FILM REVIEW “Ready For My Close Up” is a comedy horror short film directed by Jason Read and produced by Stuart Morriss, with Chuck Harding and Linda Marlowe as executive producers. With the screenplay written by Michael Haberfelner, “Ready For My Close Up” stars horror legend Lynn Lowry as Megs Topplethwaite. Lowry also came up with the concept for the short. Charlotte Mounter stars as Nurse Becca with co-stars including; Dawn Perllman, Michael Haberfelner, George Sweeney and Gary Shail. Filmed in London, England, Lowry stars as Megs Topplethwaite, a once B-movie actress who now resides alone needing care from in-home nurses. An ordinary day for Nurse Rose turns disastrous when she meets Nurse Becca. But the horror does not stop there. When Becca enters the home of Megs Topplethwaite with a devious plan, the real life horrors soon become apparent. Megs Topplethwaite is a lady with many skeletons in her closet, some rather fresh. She has a passionate dislike for delivery boys but endeavours to put on an electrifying performance for each and every one of them. Some more than others. Lynn Lowry shows a diverse range of acting, bringing comedy to the screen with fun changes of costumes and looks. Her witty lines delivered directly to the audience add an extra cult appeal to the short film. Topplethwaite’s home is full to the brim of horror movie memorabilia, including a Jason Voorhees mask, a signed H2 (Halloween) poster and a signed Dawn of the Dead poster, which is a nice touch as leading lady Lynn Lowry starred in George A. Romero’s “The Crazies”. The “Dr Who” Dalek and Cyberman are also a great touch. It feels like you are watching a well produced television show as opposed to an independent short. Maisie Palmer did a magnificent job as the onset make-up artist, as did Kate Boulby as the film’s hair stylist, creating multiple and hugely varied styles for Lynn Lowry. Jason Read achieved a polished and professional look as both cinematographer and editor of the half hour long film. Tomo Davies and Tim Newton delivered excellent sound quality as the film’s sound technicians. I’ve seen many films fall prey to bad lighting. This is most definitely not the case with “Ready For My Close Up”. The set is well lit with an overall professional look. With countless horror Easter eggs scattered throughout the movie, great twists and the perfection that is Lynn Lowry, “Ready For My Close Up” is a fun and entertaining must see gem.
Dead Score: 8.0/10.0 Review by SJ Lykana
I SCREAM ON THE BEACH Review by Sam Kurd
I Scream On the Beach! is a slasher parody written and directed by Alexander Churchyard and Michael Holiday, with a story by Max Davenport. In the quiet coastal village of Mellow Beach, barmaid Emily (Hannah Paterson) mourns the loss of her father one year ago at Halloween. Though her mother reckons he just abandoned them, Hannah knows the truth: he was murdered. And now, with a gas-masked killer roaming the town, she’s going to find out why. The film has a unique style in that it’s been downgraded to look like a VHS tape from the 80s. This is achieved perfectly, a retro-style grain added and even tracking lines creeping up the screen at one point. That latter bit gave me a lovely warm feeling as I’m old enough to remember mashing the buttons trying to get those damned lines to disappear. Lovely. There’s also a couple of entertaining trailers, for actual films rather than spoofs, no less (apart from Attack of the Ghost Alligator, more’s the pity) and an ad for that perennial favourite drink brand ‘Beer’. The video nasty stylings don’t end there. The sound is initially pretty muddy, though thankfully that clears up quickly because the film-makers realise that in 2020 we have the technology to actually hear our films clearly and have got used to it. The dubbing is also intentionally off at times, and while this gets annoying at times it does help sell the illusion. It also plays punchline sometimes,where voices clearly don’t match actors’ expressions, or when two characters kiss with an extremely fake ‘mwah’ sound played over the top. The soundtrack is also gorgeous, with Coeur’s score coming across all Goblin.
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The jokes are quite funny, and a lot of the humour is derived from the chatting and chemistry between the actors. Dani Thompson is especially fun in her role as a bitchy wannabe actress, and Rosie Kingston and Ross Howard especially shine as Emily’s best friend Claudine and her boyfriend Bants. The acting is never especially subtle, ranging from hammy to ropey, but that’s part of the charm and the parody. Sadly Hannah Paterson’s performance is too weak to really draw us in and make us feel for the character, though she is endearing in the role. She is at least better than Leigh Trifari as Detective Kinkaid, who feels like she’s been dropped in from a different film and tends to deliver lines as if reading from cue cards. The cast of surrounding weirdos are all great fun, though, especially the spooky nun and her talk of The Beasts. There’s even a great cheesy cameo from Troma’s Uncle Lloydie himself, Lloyd Kaufmann, as a ghost who just about stops short of wearing a sheet and rattling some chains. Delicious. Strangely, apart from the jokes and the film’s stylistic aping of films-gone-by, a large part of the events of the film are played relatively straight. For a lot of the runtime I wondered when we’d get to some good solid slashing in this slasher parody. I found myself thinking of the teenagers from The League of Gentlemen and their disdain for films that don’t have enough killings. ‘This needs more killings,’ I thought – shortly before they began in earnest, with a gruesome decapitation and a glorious head-squishing being the best bloody centrepieces. After spending a little too long setting up its central mystery, the film finally hit its stride and becomes the great video nasty romp it promised.
And then... look, I’m not going to spoil it for you, but there’s a massive twist and a revelation at the climax that sends the film spinning from fun spoof to absolutely silly nonsense. It’s a huge tonal shift, that would have worked a lot better if there’d been more of this kind of silliness throughout. If they’d underplayed the mystery aspect and ramped up the nonsense, then this would have felt like a natural progression. As it is, it just baffles and confuses and leaves the film ending on a bit of a sour note. That said, it’s still a fun watch, and extremely well-accomplished in the way it harkens back to the days of VHS and cruder, less polished films. Younger viewers will likely be entirely put off, but it’s not a film for them; it’s for folks who pushed those big black cassettes into the video-player’s slot and cursed the last person to rent the film because they hadn’t rewound it.
It looks like Churchyard and Holiday are making The Decorator, a film thatâ€™s mentioned often and even shown within this film, so hereâ€™s hoping that they bring the visual flair and work on polishing some of the rougher edges so they go from strength to strength.
Dead Score: 7 out of 10
Review by Sam Kurd
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TRIBUTE TO SID HAIG genoveva rossiâ€™s Screaming corner
interviews the legend sig haig I was truly honoured to be a guest with Sid Haig at Monsters and Robots in New Jersey, Scare-a-con in New York State, Scare-a-con in New England, and at Mad Monster Party in South Carolina. In South Carolina it was an epic treat to see him marry some horror fans dressed up as Captain Spaulding. Oh yeah, in addition to being an actor he was an ordained minister. Genoveva: Great meeting with the great Sid Haig today. We are both in Death House, which is a film developed by Gunnar Hansen of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Were you friends with Gunnar Hansen? Haig: Yes we were friends and had known each other at least ten years. He was a good guy. I am excited about it actually. Genoveva: Everyone that is anyone in horror seems to be in it: you, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Dee Wallace, Barbara Crampton, Adrienne Barbeau, Bill Oberst Jr,... the list goes on and on. I am honoured to have a cameo. Haig: And Vernon Wells. Yes everyone is in Death House. Genoveva: So Sid, I think everyone would be curious to know what your first acting role was and when? Haig: When I was about 12 years old I played the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. Genoveva: Very cute. Haig: Thatâ€™s how I am. I just do things. I see something and I do it.
Genoveva: A fascinating part of your film career is your work in black exploitation films, especially working with Pam Grier. Haig: That’s not work. Haha. We did six films together. The director found her working as a secretary and came up to her. He actually talked her into becoming an actress. Genoveva: Amazing. Here you are; an actor since childhood and Pam Grier had to be convinced to go into acting, and then you ended up in six films together. It’s interesting how everyone gets into acting for different reasons. Haig: I actually got into acting as a kid because I was growing so fast I had no coordination, so I couldn’t do sports so I got involved in the theatre! Then my parents wanted me to take dance classes. I know ballet, tap, jazz, and more stuff. I have danced in a number of films. Genoveva: Tell me a bit about how you came to meet Rob Zombie and got cast in House of 1000 Corpses? Haig: Rob Zombie was a big fan of Jason of Star Command, a TV series that aired 1978-1981 and I scared him in the show. Rob said to himself if I ever make a movie I am putting that guy in it and when he was casting his film he reached out and offered me a role. Genoveva: What was it like working with Rob Zombie? Haig: He was great; really laid back and lets you do what you want, gets out of the way, and lets you do your job. Genoveva: He puts a lot of trust in his actors. Haig: And that’s how a director should work. You cast the right people and then let them do their job.
Genoveva: Tell our readers a bit about what it was like working on House of 1000 Corpses? And playing Captain Spaulding? Haig: I met Karen Black at the premiere. Unfortunately, we had no scenes together and shot on different days. The clown character has become the role I am most known for. People think it was my first role, but it was probably my 100th. Now all these years later I go to conventions and see people dressed up as Captain Spaulding; with t-shirts, hats, and even tattoos. It’s amazing. There must be 100,000 people with Captain Spaulding tattoos. I go to Spain... they’re there, Germany... they’re there; all over the world. Genoveva: What was being on set like? Haig; Well the companion disk for House of 1000 Corpses is called 30 Days in Hell because for 30 days we worked in 103 degree heat. I developed an appreciation for women that waxed. With all the dried blood on my chest and body I was ripping out my body hair every time I took off my shirt. My nipples were hard and painful. It took 45 minutes to brush the crap off my teeth. Genoveva: What was it like working with Ginger Lynn? I was on her radio show once, about a year ago, and I have to admit you came up when we were discussing our experiences doing sex scenes in films. Haig: Again, that’s not work. I have the most pre-eminent porn stars of the 1980s riding me like it was the Kentucky Derby. I remember telling Rob Zombie that I have to wear my underwear for this because if I go skin to skin with her it’s going to be a whole different type of movie. Haha. I told Rob I wanted to do something in my sex scene that would piss off every woman watching; leave my socks on during sex. Sex is kind of ridiculous if you think about it. You help another person undress and when it’s over you dress yourself.
Genoveva: That’s a good point Sid. Everyone’s on their good side until they’ve gotten what they wanted. Haha. Looking back at your long career and everything you’ve done what is the one thing you’d want to be the most remembered for? Haig: Wow! (pause) Spider Baby. When I was a kid I would wake up Saturday morning and watch Lon Chaney Jr. as the wolf-man, then all of a sudden there I am working with him. For the first couple days I couldn’t even speak. He loosened me up and became my mentor actually. He taught me a lot and gave me some good advice I appreciated at the time. I was a huge fan of Universal Studio Monster Movies and would rush out to see them when they came out. That is my best moment in film and what I’d like to be remembered for. Yours in Screams, Genoveva Rossi Twitter: sidhaig1963 Instagram: sidhaigsays IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0354085/ Twitter: GenovevaRossi1 Instagram: Genoveva_Rossi IMDb: http://www.imdb.me/genovevarossi
FREDDY KRUEGER COSPLAYED BY RI CARE INSTAGRAM @RI_CARE
Coulrophobia - Fear of Clowns. A strange but common phobia; to be afraid of entertainers that wear funny clothes, have painted faces and make people laugh by performing silly tricks and behaving in a silly manner. Coulrophobia had been known to cause severe terror, strong senses of panic and in some cases intense nausea in sufferers. Phobias usually though are often deep rooted psychological responses tied to traumatic events in someone’s past but there can’t be that many people who have experienced real life traumas involving clowns, can there? From jokers to jesters, harlequins to mimes, fools have been around for centuries, so why are so many people afraid of clowns? Is it down to the sense of unease that comes from not being able to read the expressions behind their make up? Is it because of their unpredictability? Or is it due to how they’ve been portrayed in popular culture? I’ve been to Halloween Scream Parks and watched full grown men scream like girls when chased by clowns, this entertains me somewhat. How can a character that is meant to bring laughter, often come across so sinister?
Well, personally I quite like clowns but then I’m a weirdo and I like things that are creepy (apart from spiders), but saying that I’ve had my moments; my mum actually used to collect china clowns when I was little and let me play with them, but then, at the age of 5, my parents took me to the travelling circus which was in town and a clown came over to shake my hand and that was it, I screamed the place down. My first horror movie experience and actually the film that I credit with instilling my love of horror was also clown based. It was the Summer of 1990, I was in Canada with my cousins in the basement of my Uncle’s house which he’d converted into a TV den for them and IT was on TV. None of us were old enough to watch it, yet we were all hooked, terrified but hooked! Tim Curry as Pennywise; those teeth, that drain, I actually to this day hate walking past those open drains, everything about it was terrifying. I don’t think I slept without the light on for the rest of that trip. IT might not be quite as scary when I watch it now but I can still remember how it made me feel all those years ago and my cousins all still love the film to this day.
Top 5 Clown Horror Movies IT - In 1960, seven preteen outcasts fight an evil demon that poses as Pennywise, The Dancing Clown. Thirty years later, they reunite to stop the demon once more when it returns to their home town. The original not the remake, although Bill Skarsgard does a good portrayal of the clown, Tim Curry is a tough act to live up to and even though the costume and make up is more elaborate in the remake I just don’t think he’s as scary. With both original and remake, the first part is terrifying although it does get a little silly in the second part. The Funhouse - Four teenage friends spend the night in a carnival funhouse and are stalked by a slasher killer in a Frankenstein mask. One of the original video nasties, made in the early 80’s but with oozing 70’s style. I love everything about this; the carnival setting, the 70’s costume and the simple slasher recipe.
The Houses October Built - A group of friends are stalked by a group of disturbed individuals while on a road trip looking for the ultimate haunted house attraction. Found footage from the makers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious, what’s not to love? Stitches - After a clown is killed in a party mishap, he comes back from the dead to seek revenge on the people responsible. I first saw this horror/comedy cross genre at Frightfest, it’s not necessarily going to have you hiding behind your popcorn so if it’s an all out horror you’re looking for then this isn’t it, but if you love a horror comedy then this is one to watch. Clownface - A deranged serial killer known as Clownface terrorises the residents of a small town. Ok, so Clownface isn’t actually released yet, but I have a small cameo so keep an eye out for its release and apparently I’ll be back for the sequel... I shouldn’t really say I’ll be back when talking about a horror movie should I? I mean, this could spell disaster and as I write this Mercury is in retrograde and I’ve already managed a trip to A&E and a parking ticket in the past 48 hours, saying ‘I’ll be back’ might just have sealed my fate, eek! I’m going to sign off with some clown wisdom... Don’t blame a clown for acting like a clown, ask yourself why you keep going to the circus. Until next time.
Miss Pennywise Cosplayed by
JinxKittie Cosplay Page 34
PET SEMATARY 30th ANNIVERSARY By LESLEY ANN I have loved this film since I first watched it as a child. It was one of those films that really stuck with me after viewing. It terrified me when I was younger. There is still one scene (Gage cutting Jud’s achilles tendon) that I can’t watch as it really freaks me out. I was shocked, well really I shouldn’t be, when I realised that Pet Sematary is now thirty years old. It really doesn’t seem like that long ago I was expecting my dearly departed pets to return from the ground and haunt me. I have to say, it looks wonderful. The work gone into making the imagery and detail pop is obvious. It’s very clear, very bright and, thankfully, none of the effects have been ‘modernised’ (I hate that). There are some new features including an interview with director, Mary Lambert, and a look at the original film from the perspective of the new cast and crew of 2019’s Pet Sematary. I thoroughly enjoyed re-watching Pet Sematary. It had been a while since I had seen it last and, thankfully, it has not lost any of its charm. It’s a tragic film, the Creed family are torn apart after the devastating loss of their son, Gage (Miko Hughes). When the family cat was killed in the road, family friend and neighbour, Jud (Fred Gwynne), introduces Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) to an ancient Micmac burial ground, up on land past the pet cemetery. Jud, with a tragic case of well-meaning poor judgment, instructs Louis to bury the cat, Church, here while reciting the story about his pet dog coming back to life after being buried there. He explains that Church might be different, but it will mean that Ellie (Blaze Berdahl) won’t have to suffer the grief of losing her beloved pet. Church is subsequently resurrected and then returns to the Creed household a changed cat.
Filled with grief when Gage is horrifically hit and killed by a truck after wandering into the road, Louis digs his son’s body up and re-buries him at the Micmac site. Jud attempted to stop him by telling Louis about local boy Timmy Bateman who was killed and buried there, and how Timmy came back as some sort of zombie. Louis, distraught with the loss of Gage refuses to listen. Gage, of course, returns changed, just like Church and Timmy Bateman. He then proceeds to ‘play with’ and murder Jud, followed his mother Rachel (Denise Crosby). Louis, after realising that Gage has returned (and that he has taken a scalpel), rushes over to Jud’s house only to find him, and his wife, dead. He battles with the evil Gage, killing him, and then burning Jud’s house down. Louis, blinded by grief and madness following all this tragedy, takes Rachel’s body to the burial site and buries her. Telling himself that it will be ok this time. Rachel returns, and (off camera) kills Louis. The 2019 re-imagining is obviously well timed for release on the 30th anniversary. I welcomed the features on the Blu-ray that shared a glimpse of the 2019 film and I was pleased see the new guys showing so much love and respect for the original. I am always worried with remakes, re-imaginings and such that they are trying to completely leave the original behind. I often feel like there is a lack of respect, as it were, and that they feel they can do a much better job (it’s often a tragedy of cinema). But this is all about the 1989 version, and what a wonderful film it is. I know it’s not to everyone’s taste, it may be a bit lacking in scares, or be a little cheesy for some. But for me, it’s a wonderful film. It’s a window into eighties horror, with all the props and the gory make up as well as the idealistic family with the perfect house in the country (well close). It isn’t even that long ago really, 30 years; I was a mere 7 when this was released. It has aged really well, it doesn’t have that feel to it, you know what I mean, the feeling that you are watching an old historical documentary. Some shows and programmes from even just the seventies seem ancient, like a view into the history books.
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I was particularly impressed with the look of Victor Pascow (Brad Greenquist). I felt that the work they have put into this Blu-ray really worked especially well for making the make up of the deceased Victor look especially grotesque. I felt that this is the best that it has looked. They have done an amazing job cleaning the film up and enhancing the colour and effects. If you have never seen the original, then there is no more perfect a time. This Blu-ray release is £8.00 on Amazon, it’s a bargain. It’s packed with new features, as well as the original commentary with Mary Lambert. The film itself has never looked better in my opinion, and of course, it’s all about the Pet Sematary at the moment with the recent release of the 2019 re-imagining. Get yourself a copy, sit down with some snacks and revisit an eighties classic. You won’t be disappointed.
Dead Score: 10.0/10.0
Review by Lesley Ann
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SILENT STUDIOS PRODUCTIONS RELEASE OFFICIAL RED BAND 2020 TRAILER FOR their new film “TORTURE” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzebcHIW6K0&t=12s A film crew is on location – finalising their investigation of the site of a major kidnapping ring. During the filming of the news story, something starts to go horribly wrong. The news has no idea what is about to hit it.
more details to come on this film soon #torturefilm
TRIBUTE TO SID HAIG
“I think I’m gonna get me some tutti fucking fruity!”: A Retrospective of Sid Haig
Review By Michael Dedman Jones
There are few in the industry that become an icon simply as themselves AND as a character that they have portrayed and Sid Haig (Sidney Eddie Mosesian) is one of those people. While most recognize him as Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s Firefly Clan trilogy (House Of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects And Three From Hell), Sid had quite a career in the genre starting with Jack Hill’s Blood Bath (1966) and from there went on to star in such genre films like; Spider Baby (1967), Thx 1138 (1971), Beware! The Blob (1972), Galaxy Of Terror (1981), The Aftermath (1982), House Of The Dead 2 (2005), Night Of The Living Dead 3d (2006), A Dead Calling (2006), The Haunted Casino (2007), Halloween (2007), Brotherhood Of Blood (2007), The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto (2009), Dark Moon Rising (2009), Creature (2011), Mimesis (2011), The Inflicted (2012), The Lords Of Salem (2012), The Sacred (2012), Hatchet Iii (2013), Devil In My Ride (2013), The Penny Dreadful Picture Show (2013), Zombex (2013), Death House (2017), Suicide For Beginners (2018), Cynthia (2018) as well as the upcoming Hanukkah (2020)…
It should not be forgotten that Sid was also a great television actor as well, having been on shows like The Untouchables (1962), The Lucy Show (1965), Batman (1966), Star Trek: The Original Series (1967), The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1967), The Flying Nun (1968), Gunsmoke (1969), Get Smart (1967, 69, 70), Mission Impossible (1966-70), Mannix (1970), Shaft (1974), Police Story (1974-77), Charlie’s Angels (1978), Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (1980-81), The Dukes Of Hazzard (1982) T.J. Hooker (1982), Fantasy Island (1983), The A-Team (1983), The Fall Guy (1981-85), MacGyver (1985-86), Sledge Hammer! (1987) and Werewolf (1988) to name just a few. It should also be noted that his career also had a following in the early Blaxploitation films like Black Mama White Mama (1973), Coffy (1973), Foxy Brown (1974) And Savage Sisters (1974)… There is not much more that can be said about Sid as a person and actor that has not been said by writers much greater than I, but I can say that there was always something about how he portrayed his characters. While many will simply remember him for his role of Captain Spaulding, Sid’s career spanned numerous genres and mediums that led to a rich history of entertainment that can never be forgotten. Whether you loved him in plays, television or film there is something for everyone to see how bright his star still shines and how he still inspires people today. One of the greatest regrets of my career is never having the opportunity to interview Sid in person. I can only begin to imagine the stories he could tell. Sid, you will be missed and your memory will forever live on in the minds of your friends, family and fans. Thank you for all of the years of entertainment…
INTERVIEW: STATEN COUSINS ROE AND ACTRESS, POPPY ROE KEY US IN ON A SERIAL KILLER’S GUIDE TO LIFE by Craig Draheim Described as “Sightseers meets Thelma and Louise” (Deborah Haywood, Pin Cushion), A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life is written and directed by Staten Cousins Roe (This Way Out) and produced by Forward Motion Pictures – a multi award-winning production company run by husband and wife team Staten Cousins Roe and Poppy Roe, who have just been longlisted as ‘Breakthrough Producers’ for the 2019 BIFAs. A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life follows Lou Farnt (Katie Brayben): a 30-something, self-help addict who wants nothing more than to escape her overly controlling mother and the dead-end seaside town where she grew up. So when strange and strikingly confident new life coach Val (Poppy Roe) suddenly arrives on the scene and invites her on a road trip of alternative therapies, Lou finds the perfect opportunity to leave, and the perfect person to become. Unfortunately for Lou, Val’s a serial killer. A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life is guaranteed to satisfy the self-help generation, and the modern human’s blood lust. HOW’D THE SUCCESS OF YOUR SHORT FILM (THIS WAY OUT) LEAD INTO A SERIAL KILLER’S GUIDE TO LIFE? STATEN COUSINS ROE: “I think they’re (This Way Out and A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life) very connected. When we made This Way Out it was very similar to the process where we crowd-funded the money and shot it in our flat with a crack team of people made up of friends and recommendations. Katie (Brayben) and Poppy had been friends since drama school and done theatre together as well.” POPPY ROE: “Staten, got the initial idea for the short because we (Katie and them) were having a cup of tea together and discussing the idea of euthanasia not being very funny.” STATEN: “And we thought, ‘there’s a hit comedy right there.’ But underneath the hood of that is a satirical element towards the target-driven society that we’re in with a jet-black, dark comedy edge. That went out into the world and we were very lucky to do 30-some festivals and it received a lovely reception, which led to a number of meetings with sizable film companies. But after I came out of one of them, I had this gut-reaction of wanting to do our first feature film the same way.”
POPPY: “He [Staten] phoned me up because he went to one of these meetings that went really great and he just went, ‘let’s just do this ourselves and we can make it now instead of a few years’ time.’ And I reacted positively to it, which little did we know was absolutely mental. We ended up adding another producer with Giles (Giles Alderson) and called up all the same people involved with This Way Out down to the extras sitting in the waiting room. We went on to make the Kickstarter and decided if we raised the money and it received a good response then we’d make the film. That takes us to when we started to shoot.” STATEN: “In terms of the story I found self-help in the academic proportions for which its consumed particularly the western world. It’s another system that was ripe to be poked in the same jet-black comedy, but perhaps a bit more violent and fun way.”
WHAT WAS THE SELF-HELP RESEARCH THAT WENT INTO FORMING THIS STORY AND PERFORMANCES? STATEN: “I did a lot of reading and watching of documentaries that go underneath the veneer of prolific self-help procurers. It was this interesting thing where you start to find a level of quackery. It wasn’t necessarily the actions that these people were told to do like nature therapy but rather the agendas of the individuals peddling these ‘quick fixes.’” POPPY: “We had a lot of fun looking into all of these programs, and some of them were too big and extreme to believe but you can’t write this stuff, like rebirthing therapy. The stories you read about the people that have done these things and the accidents that have happened as well, it’s incredibly rich and gets quite cult-like. For Val, I looked up webinars and the charisma of these leaders and some of them came off more disturbing than serial killers. Just the kind of huge belief and unwavering self confidence that they had when looked at from a certain angle could be creepy. Though I looked at decisive serial killer movies like Christian Bale (American Psycho) or Jack Nicholson (The Shining), I didn’t feel that Val was a serial killer. She just really believed in her method and ambition, and people kept getting in the way that she didn’t believe in so she had to remove them.”
WHEN DEALING WITH THE SUBJECT MATTER AND BLACK COMEDY, HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO KEEP HEART INTO THE STORY? POPPY: “Well it’s actually a road trip movie and a buddy movie. The heart of it is between these two women and one’s helping another one that’s very much lost in life and needs rescuing. While there’s the self-help world and the satire, the core of it is these two oddball characters.” STATEN: “I think there’s that feeling that we’d all like a Val in our lives to take us by the hand and lead us. People recognize that in Lou and Val and coming across people with their agendas that want to take.” WHILE THERE IS SOME AMBIGUITY IN THE FILM, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WISH TO LEAVE WITH THE AUDIENCE? STATEN: “I like the idea of the audience owning the story themselves at the end and it reflects on who they are. Are you a Lou or a Val? Who do they want to be, in a way? Being structured like a self-help book it’s the antithesis of self-help. The one you watch in order to undo the messy strands you get from consuming this quackery, peddled by people asking for you to give them your money. Listen to the voice inside of you.” POPPY: “For me, it’s nice to see someone who needs help and having someone that has no qualms about telling people off. It’s a refreshing thing to see and play, because we don’t always get to do that in normal life.” WHAT’S THE FUTURE FOR YOUR FORWARD MOTION PICTURES PRODUCTION COMPANY? STATEN: “We’re currently writing our next project together which is a supernatural horror story.” Thanks to Staten and Poppy for participating in this interview, as they were incredibly personable and their passion for the project bled through. Unfortunately, some hilarious on-set stories and quips between the two were unable to make it in but if given the chance I’d do an extensive chat with them again in a heartbeat. ASerialKillersGuidetoLife.com ForwardMotionPictures.co.uk Arrow Video’s Facebook Page Forward Motion’s Facebook Page Or follow on them Twitter at: @FMPictures, @AKillersGuide, and @ArrowFilmsVideo or by using the #aserialkillersguidetolife hashtag
Interview by Craig Draheim
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FILM REVIEW: A SERIAL KILLER’S GUIDE TO LIFE A LOST-IN-LIFE SELF-HELP ADDICT UNWITTINGLY FINDS HERSELF ON A KILLING SPREE WITH HER UNHINGED NEW LIFE COACH Directed by: Staten Cousins Roe Written by: Staten Cousins Roe Starring: Katie Brayben, Poppy Roe, Ben Lloyd-Hughes Have you felt lost in your life, found it hard to manage, to cope with? Have you turned to self-help programs with the hope they’ll make life easier? Let’s say a life coach promises to unlock your full potential, and all that’s required is a road trip with a slight body count, would you take it? That’s Staten Cousins Roe’s ‘A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life’. The story follows Lou (Katie Brayben), a “self-help addict” who is aimless and desperate to take control of her own life. At a seminar, she meets Val (Poppy Roe), a life coach determined to become the greatest self-help guru that ever lived. Val invites Lou to join her on a retreat where they’ll participate in other self-help programs before she unveils her own steps to success. Lou learns that Val’s methods involve the murder of other self-help gurus and their followers, leading to a “jet-black comedy” of self-discovery. I should admit that while I try to go into everything without expectations, the promotional references to Ben Wheatley’s ‘Sightseers’ and Alice Lowe’s ‘Prevenge’ (both with serial killing premises) challenged me in that I’m a fan of both films. Rest assured ‘A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life’ does not disappoint either. The movie offers great comedic moments in its satirizing of the self-help industry, but what sets it apart from the plethora of serial killer content lately, is its heart. While the commentary on the gurus and their exploitation of people is blatant, the movie puts a lot of care into the “victims” of these programs: People, like so many of us, trying to navigate through a chaotic world and looking for guidance along the way.
Despite the name and potential for nihilism the movie is surprisingly tranquil and sublime, formatted like a self-help program, featuring very little violence on screen. Though one could believe the lack of “shown” violence is due to budgetary restrictions, it feels purposeful. We are seeing the series of events unfold through Lou’s eyes, which of course concedes some unstable narration within the story. As she is unaware or blissfully ignorant of Val’s methods for a good chunk of the story, allowing for great gags, this provides solid reasoning behind the lack of violence. ‘A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life’ reaffirms what crowdfunding can accomplish when the people involved have a unique artistic vision and are passionate. It’s one of those projects that no matter what the budget could’ve been, it’d have the same result. Its success can’t go without mentioning leads, Katie Brayben and Poppy Roe. Their talent and chemistry make them compelling and relatable to the audience, which can sometimes get lost in films like these. As an American viewer I know ultimately, with its British black comedy, mumblecore aesthetic, and subject matter, ‘A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life’ will probably fall into a “niche” category. Audiences looking for a comedy may not find enough jokes and people looking for a serial killer flick will want more thrills. For me, it’s right up my alley, marking an impressive end of one decade and the start of a new. Like ‘Sightseers’ and ‘Prevenge’ this has made it on my list of movies I’ll be championing for some time. So, check it out. Come for the jokes, kills, or whatever you want, but stay for the experience. ‘A Serial Killer’s Guide To Life’ will be available on AppleTV, Amazon Prime Video and all other UK, US and Canadian digital platforms from 13th January 2020. Staten has also stated that the iTunes version will come with a behind the scene featurette that should have more content. For upcoming news on ‘A Serial Killer’s Guide To Life’, Staten and Poppy, their company (Forward Motion Pictures), or Arrow Films, check out: ASerialKillersGuidetoLife.com ForwardMotionPictures.co.uk Arrow Video’s Facebook Page Forward Motion’s Facebook Page Or follow on them Twitter at: @FMPictures, @AKillersGuide, and @ArrowFilmsVideo or by using the #aserialkillersguidetolife hashtag
Review by Craig Draheim
Dead Score: 10.0/10.0
Poster Credit to Shane Douberly
With the second IT film coming out and killer clowns, in general, being popular you know The Asylum, (Flight 666, Triassic World), was going to get in on the action. And they have with Clown, (no relation the 2014 film), a film that wastes a good premise and setup due to lacklustre execution. Back in 1994 a small circus, it’s more of a carnival really, sets up in a small desert town. For reasons that are never made very clear the townspeople grab their guns and kill off the circus folk. All except for one little boy. 25 years later a group of college kids on their way to a music festival make a pit stop in the desert. Davy (Taylor Watson Seupel) wanders off to get some pictures for his Instagram channel. He finds the carnival’s funhouse instead. He also finds out that that little boy is still there, and all grown up. Meet our villain, Thoth The Clown (Dave Klec). The rest of the crew slowly straggle along looking for him. They find the town and then the funhouse. Hearing sounds from inside they go in looking for Davy. Big mistake as Thoth has turned its features into lethal traps. It’s his house and that’s his idea of fun. With the deserted attraction setting, as well as some creepy dolls it brings to mind Tourist Trap. There are elements of The Funhouse and Killer Klowns From Outer Space as well. Add in a large cast of potential victims and Clown had some real potential.
Sadly Clown lets most of that potential trickle away. The characters are all one-dimensional clichés, Gordy (Sam Lazarus), the fat kid who whines a lot. Austin (Adam Elshar), the muscular one who fights back, etc. The girls seem to be there just to look cute and scream a lot. It takes far too long for the killings to start and when they do, they’re fairly lacklustre for the most part. There is one scene with killer dolls that’s quite effective. Especially since it’s not clear just how he’s controlling them, which made me think of Tourist Trap and is telekinetically controlled mannequins. There are also a few huge plot holes that hurt Clown. After being abandoned for 25 years the town looks very well cared for, right up to the fresh police tape on building doors. And where does the electricity come from? Has Thoth used the quarter-century to make his own solar panels? But I suppose logic is a bit much to ask from writer/director Eric Forsberg. His previous collaborations with The Asylum include Snakes On A Train, Ghost Shark, and Arachnoquake. A dull, by the numbers disappointment, Clown is available on streaming services. You can look for details on The Asylum’s website and Facebook page.
Dead Score: 4.0/10.0 Review by Jim Morazzini
Fancy having a zombie portrait done and be published in the magazine. Well contact Jason Wright Photography and become a zombie tomorrow.
Interview: David Moscow, Director of Desolation (2017)
Interview By: Jim Morazzini
We were lucky enough to get the chance to ask David Moscow a few questions about his directorial debut, Desolation, and his career. Iâ€™d like to thank David for, not only, a fast reply but some insightful answers about not just the movie but the state of the country as well. 1. Could you give us a little background about yourself and how you got into acting? My first taste was in school plays in 5th and 6th grade. My best friend and I were the leads in a mystery. I think I was hooked from the audienceâ€™s first laugh. That same year, my mom saw an open casting call in the local paper for Five Corners, a Jodie Foster film set in the Bronx (where I lived). I was a pretty rambunctious kid and my mom was trying anything at that point to keep me occupied. I did well enough on the audition that they passed my name to an agent at J . Michael Bloom, which was a good agency for children back then. I remember going into the office to meet everyone. They handed me a scene from a movie that was playing around that time for me to read. It was a scene from Stand By Me.
2. It must have been a huge shock going from doing a couple of episodes of Kate & Allie to auditioning for Robert De Niro and working with Tom Hanks. Can you tell us a little about how that felt? I don’t know if it ever dawned on me what was going on. This was before TMZ and the 24-hour celeb news cycle. I hadn’t really watched many movies and was only allowed to watch 1 hour of TV a week. So we were not a very media savvy fam. I don’t even think I knew who Tom Hanks was when I got the part. It all just seemed like fun. The first time I really got struck was when I went to do some ADR wild lines for BIG after production had ended. The producer and same crew were shooting Working Girl in the city at the time, so my mom took me to that set. They recorded me saying some lines and then asked if I wanted to meet Harrison Ford. I didn’t put the name with the face until I walked upstairs and saw Han Solo. At which point I bugged out and almost lost my mind. One of the few times I’ve been speechless in my life. 3. When and why did you decide to make the move behind the camera by becoming a producer? I was involved with a theatre company in NY with my friends Tom Everrett Scott and Mike Kelly, among others. My dad called me up and said that his business partner’s kid (who I knew from riding the school bus as a kid) had written about 20 minutes of a musical in college and they were looking for help putting it up. This sounded like a recipe for disaster - where I would end up ruining my dad’s friendship but, against my better instincts, I agreed. The recent grad came down with his friends and put on a little show for me. About 10 minutes in I said, “Lock the doors, this thing is amazing!” I workshopped it for a year, helped develop it into 90 minutes and found the financing for it. The play was “In The Heights,” and the kid was Lin-Manuel Miranda. I realized that after 30 years of acting where I had to wait for phone calls, as a producer I was now able to make the phone calls. It was an extremely liberating feeling to be able to create work without running the agent/manager/ audition gauntlet. Having been used to my situation from the age of 11, I never thought it could be different. Of course, somehow or other, things changed and I never received any credits for my work on “In the Heights,” but you’ll have to talk to Lin-Manuel about that. In the event, it wasn’t until 2008 that I was listed as an executive producer or producer.
4. Your first film as a producer was The End Of America, a political documentary which you were an executive producer of. Were you afraid such a polarizing genre might hurt your career? I am not famous enough for it to hurt. But even if it might have I think, as citizens of America and this world, it is our duty to stand up and fight for our beliefs. I continue to look for ways to use my connections and knowledge this way. While waiting for the post-production to finish on Desolation, I helped producing and directing some Bernie Sanders digital campaign ads. I am as fulfilled by that work as by the commercial stuff. We are certainly in a much worse position now but I will say the cat is out of the bag. The Republicans are going to have a hard time walking back these racist, anti-immigrant, sexist, homophobic beliefs that have been a puss-filled wound for years in their party, but that Trump has ripped the scab off. As the marches proved, folks are not gonna sit still for this. This doesn’t represent the America most of us want. 5. You’ve made your directorial debut with the horror/thriller Desolation. Your first film as an actual producer was Hellbenders and you’ve appeared in genre films like Dead Air and Vacancy 2. Are you a fan of the genre, and if so what are some of your favorite films in it? I am a fan of good films. All genres. But I do believe that horror or thriller is a great genre to flex one’s muscles as a director. It’s a lot about creating mood and tension and emotion when most of that is not on the page, but in between the lines. I love Jaws, Alien, Terminator, Silence Of The Lambs, and old Polanski, Hitchcock. And a lot of the new stuff is great. Scary as shit. Anything by James Wan. 6. In general, what are some of your overall favorite films? Chinatown. Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind. Children Of Men. When Harry Met Sally. Wedding Crashers. Seth Rogen Comedies. 7. How did you get involved with Desolation and what attracted you to it? My good friend Matt McCarty wrote the script years ago. He had been hitting the pavement in Hollywood for a while and was pretty disgusted with the biz at that point. I just thought it was great. With a real twist that made sense. But he refused to sell it to me. It kept getting optioned but not made over the next 5 years. Then after the rights finally came back to him I said - I might not be able to make it for 10 million dollars but I’ll make it this year. So he said okay. Three years later we are coming out. So it took a little longer than I said. 8. What were some of your influences in making Desolation? I watched The Tenant, Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, The Conjuring... a bunch. I wanted it to have a classic feel at the top and then slowly break down into a more modern tale. So we started on a dolly and then moved to sticks and then finally went handheld. The progression ending in chaos.
9. Was Desolation meant as a kind of comment on Hollywood and show business? This town is a wonderful place to be. As a New Yorker, it’s hard to ever say that I am an Angeleno but there is more creativity going on here than just about anywhere. Most every actor, singer, writer, and musician lives and work in LA. (Watch, all my New York friends are gonna kill me) Ten years ago it was different but I think NYC just got a little expensive. My hole-in-the-wall theater company is now million dollar Chelsea lofts. Also, the weather is ridiculous. But on the flip side, there is a desperation and a strange caste system that exists here. And this sometimes twists people - which is what Desolation explores. Whether you are on the top or the bottom, the industry pulls, and unless you are really strong it can hurt you. What shocks me about the downfall of many of the Hollywood titans recently is how out in the open it all was. The “casting couch” has been an inside (and outside) secret for as long as I’ve been acting. It was all just business as usual. Secondly, I also think it speaks to us, Americans, as the audience for this type of “content”. Enjoying watching people be hurt is huge business and what’s going on in this film isn’t far off from what’s happening on cable/the web right now. 10. Now that you’ve done all three, which do you prefer; acting, producing or directing? I like ‘em all, and each keeps me creative and flexible for the others. All three are constant problem solving. Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions, David. Good luck with Desolation and all of your future projects. Parade Deck Films will open Desolation theatrically in NYC + LA January 26th with nationwide dates to follow.
Review: Desolation (2017) December 28, 2017. Jim Morazzini, David Moscow, Desolation, Gravitas Ventures, Hollywood, Indie Films, Indie Horror, Parade Deck films, Raymond J Barry A young woman swept off her feet by a rich and handsome suitor. Whisked off to his lavish home far from her own, she is suddenly left alone to deal with frightening events. A staple plot since the days of the original Gothic novels. In his directorial debut, Desolation, actor David Moscow (Big, Newsies) takes this cliché and gives it a wicked twist. Katie (Dominik García-Lorido, Wild Card) works at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. When Hollywood star, Jay (Brock Kelly, Pitch Perfect) stays there she catches his eye and he brings her back to Los Angeles with him. Things go well until he’s called off to film on location. Left alone, Katie soon has to deal with a break-in and some very hostile cops. She begs Jay to send money or come home, but he does neither. When her hometown paper arrives complete with her obituary, it becomes clear there are evil forces at work. I have to give major propos to Desolation, as it set me up perfectly. The apartment building has a dark history, Jay’s apartment doesn’t have a number, his neighbor is a priest, Father Bill (Raymond J. Barry Sudden Death, Day Of Reckoning), etc. I was expecting a traditional ghost story, but this goes in a completely different direction leading to a last half-hour that had me on the edge of my seat. Writers, Craig Walendziak and Matthew McCarty have a talent for misdirecting the audience without resorting to implausible twists. The film manages to keep its own logic even while disguising where it’s going; a refreshing thing in a genre filled with unlikely twists. A film that will keep you guessing until the end, = is one of the stronger contenders to get the new year off to a good start for the genre. will have a theatrical release in New York City and Los Angeles Jan 26th via Parade Deck Films with more dates to follow. Gravitas Ventures will bring it to VOD April 28th for those not lucky enough to have it play in their city.
Review by Jim Morazzini
Dead Score: 10.0/10.0
Our NEW feature Horror Art will showcase some galleries from artists within the Silent Studios Productions group and others that show a flare for horror. This gallery is dedicated to the Zombie Sunset project. These photos were shot and edited by photographer and artist Jason Wright. Silent Studios Productions has a small team of people always doing more and more horror work so if you have any suggestions for future shoots or wish to get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE HORROR ART COMING IN THE NEXT ISSUE Page 75
MAN MADE MONSTERS: NOT JUST FOR KIDS Review By: Joe X Young
My earliest experience of Aurora model kits was when I was a small boy in the 1960s/70s. I first encountered them whilst flicking through a comic book, which particular comic has long since escaped my memory except that it was an American superhero one which ran a great many exotic advertisements for strange and fantastic things such as life-sized 7’ tall Frankenstein Monsters (which were 2-D cardboard cut-outs.), real working x-ray specs (which didn’t actually work), and a muscular depiction of Charles Atlas stating that I too could have a body like his. As things turned out, later in life I didn’t get the life-sized Frankenstein or the x-ray specs, neither did I get the Charles Atlas body, but something I did get was a Frankenstein’s Monster Aurora model kit which I must have had when I was around nine years old. In Birmingham, England back in the early 1970s these things were few and far between and for a basic gruesome little monster kid such as me it was fantastic. I did the best building/paint job that my little hands could handle. Sadly I don’t still have the kit, or even a picture of it, but the memory stayed with me. A few years later and that model kit was lost in a house move (so sad) but then one day I saw what was to become a fixation of mine for decades - ‘The Forgotten Prisoner of Castle Mare’. As the name suggests the figure is that of a skeleton dressed in rags, chained to a wall. Gloriously creepy and it totally ticked all of my boxes, so I just had to have it! However, that would mean going out and earning the money to buy it and justifying the purchase to my dad who had a totally different opinion of what I should be doing, and so he banned me from having it.
Decades rolled by and with it I grew to a mock adulthood, the child in me being something of a forgotten prisoner myself, kicking and screaming to be allowed to play, but the world is an angry and nasty place which promotes growing up as the right thing to do and so I tried hard to conform (It didn’t stick). Recently, with five decades under my belt the child in me grew stronger, and one of those rare right place, right time opportunities enabled me to see a bunch of tatty, already built Aurora Model Kits going for a rather decent price. I procrastinated, part of me believing that these are childish things, and another part of me knowing that as they were already painted and assembled they would require a lot of restoration. The child in me said “I can do it!” And I agreed with him, so I bought them. If I had only known the direction it would take me in I wouldn’t have... I wouldn’t have... oh, who am I kidding! I would have done it anyway! One of my many beliefs is that adults should be able to play, we go through lots in our lives and as such, we should allow ourselves to do things which put us back in touch with a sense of fun we had as children, no matter what form that takes. I’ve always loved monsters, and I love to repair and restore things, so for me all of this is a no-brainer. A very brief Aurora history lesson: Way back in the 1950s and 1960s the Aurora model company was successfully turning out polystyrene model kits of the more conventional subject matters of military aircraft, vehicles, Viking warships and costumed people of the world, as well as the first truly popular figure kits they produced which were Knights in Armour. It was purely by chance that Aurora’s advertising and ideas man, Bill Silverstein, saw a bunch of kids outside a cinema which was showing a Frankenstein and Dracula double bill. He had the idea to produce ‘Universal Monsters Model Kits’, but every time he presented the idea in meetings it was shot down in flames, until eventually the company went for it and the first Aurora Frankenstein’s Monster model kit was created. It was an instant success to the point where supply could not keep up with demand, the machines working day and night to produce the models.
Below is my recently bought ‘restoration project’ Frankenstein’s Monster, and what I did with it. The Kit Modelling community is all-encompassing, there are of course the purists who would prefer the Aurora kits, if not still mint condition in boxes then certainly built in accordance with the instructions and painted with Testor’s Enamels. The majority of the community has a different perspective in which anything goes, it is open to the individual to customise the model as they see fit as the hobby is really all about enjoying what you do, which I believe is the way it should be. On the Frankenstein’s monster I modified the arm and hand positions, used actual metal for his head staples and inserted a metal bar through his neck for the electrodes, all of which were well received by the modelling community. I re-carved the original face for a little more of a Karloff vibe, which is something I wouldn’t necessarily have to do because there are ‘after-market’ heads available from very talented sculptors, I just prefer to do it myself. The ruler is there to indicate the rough scale of the figures this one being 25cm, which is around 10 inches. That was the first Aurora I tackled, after which I decided to do the Hunchback of Notre Dame, which entailed stripping away enamel paint, remoulding his face and hair with plastic putty and giving him a brighter paint job. As you can see, the Hunchback is around 17cm, just around 7 inches. Alongside Frankenstein and The Hunchback Aurora produced kits of the following monsters: The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Dr Jekyll as Mr Hyde. Dracula. Godzilla. King Kong. The Forgotten Prisoner of Castle Mare. The Mummy. The Witch. The Wolfman. The Bride of Frankenstein. The Phantom of the Opera. They were the original 13, however two of those listed; the Forgotten Prisoner and The Witch were not derived from any horror film but were original creations of Aurora.
Part 2 of MAN
MADE MONSTERS coming in the next issue.
Zombie Chunks is an amazing series of short stories, where no two story lines are alike. With each author having such different ideas on what makes for an interesting horror story there is something for everyone within this book. Some would say a must read for any zombie fanatic. With 13 stories inside for you to ‘feast’ your eyes on you will be hard pushed to put this down until you have managed to read every one. We start with a trip to Atlantis…yes I said Atlantis, but there is a reason it disappeared all those years ago. You will just have to read this one to find out for yourself. With such an interesting start to these zombie shorts what could be next! Each author not only has his or her own ideas on storylines, but they also use differing writing styles. This is just one of the many reasons to get yourself a copy of this book. Not all of our stories will send you hiding under the covers behind the sofa, some in fact will have you laughing aloud! With such varied stories, this truly is a book that will sit well on anyone’s bookshelf. Happy reading!
Dead Score: 9.0/10.0
Quick Review by Jenna Storrar
Zombie Rising Magazine is a US based, digital only, monthly magazine for zombie lovers everywhere. We have your latest updates and interviews on movies, books and zombie events around the world. We will have free poster downloads, zombie swag giveaways, zombie fashion and make-up tutorials, Fan Fiction and much, much more. A truly global magazine and each issue is only $3.99 Get your copy today by following the link: https://www.facebook.com/ZombieRisingMagazine https://www.twitter.com/ZombieRisingMag
INTERVIEW – ACTING IN HORROR: A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE SPOTLIGHT: RUTANYA ALDA by Ellen Vass Sanderson
Hello, Rutanya! We’re honoured to have you here as our Women in Horror. 1. How long have you been acting, both in general and specifically within the horror genre? I’ve been acting since 1969 in film and I did my first horror movie in 1979, When A Stranger Calls. 2. Have there been certain life events that led you to an acting career in horror, as opposed to in other genres? No, ha, it’s not that I chose to be a horror actress, it’s just that the opportunity to audition came up and I got the parts. 3. What is your favorite/least favorite sub-genre to work in? No opinion. The quality of life on set is about the people you’re with, not the sub-genre you’re in. A good script is a good script.
4. Could you share some of the positives and negatives about acting in the horror genre with us? If you’re working with really good directors, good crew, and wonderful actors, then of course that makes it something really special. However, a lot of people that make these movies don’t know what they’re doing. I don’t want to put down indie films or low-budget films – I’ve been in wonderful ones with talented professionals, like Brian De Palma in his two early films Greetings and Hi, Mom! which were made on a shoestring. But just because you have an idea and financing doesn’t mean you know how to make a movie. Bad directors, amateurish crews, unprofessional casts wear you out, there’s a lot of screaming (and not just in character), and I’ve found there to be a shocking lack of safety (I was injured on the set of a film I don’t want to plug in any way). But once you’re on set it’s too late to learn, at least that time around. And you don’t necessarily know what you’re walking into as an actor until you’re there standing in the shit. 5. Which horror films, or projects, have been your favourites to work on and why? Working with Damiano Damiani and the cast of Amityville Ii: The Posession was a really positive experience; he was really smart, had strong points of view, and encouraged actors to share and synthesize their points of view with him. George Romero was another wonderful director to work with – I did his The Dark Half. He was gentle, kind, low-key, didn’t scream, talked to the actors, worked scenes out in detail before shooting, maintained calm, orderly sets, and did very professional stunt work. It was a joy to work with Timothy Hutton, my partner in The Dark Half, as well. 6. What are some of your observations, thoughts, and/or experiences when it comes to female vs. male nudity in horror films? Rarely is nudity necessary or effective in a “horror” film – I think it belongs more in the earthiness of drama, or even the body humor of comedy. Unless there’s a graphic injury, moldering corpses, squeamish torture, or some bizarre body-animal-demon-thing transformation, the human body isn’t very scary, though situations it’s exposed in can be I suppose, and even then there are all sorts of ways to shoot or just imply nudity more effectively or ineffectively than others. From what I know, in horror nudity is usually totally gratuitous, exploiting people, men and women, but mostly women, to sell a bad script. But all genres can be guilty of that, to be fair.
7. The term “Scream Queen” is one we often hear pertaining to women who act in horror. Do you have any thoughts on this? It’s a nice catchy term. Why not? There’s usually a scream in every horror film, right? Doesn’t bother me at all. 8. Which titles might we see on a personal list of your favorite films? East Of Eden Splendor In The Grass Wild River High Noon Cinema Paradiso Il Postino I Wrote A Letter To My Love East/West As It Is In Heaven The Lives Of Others Departures Hondo and the only film that ever scared me was Vincent Price’s House Of Wax.
9. Is there any advice you would offer to other women who are considering an acting career in horror? I don’t think actors want a genre-based career, maybe some do, but everyone I came up with and worked with just tried to get work as an actor, ideally good work, but more practically any work so you can scratch out a living. If you’re associated with certain films, that probably creates a wave with certain producers that you can ride for a while, but I don’t think you need to limit yourself. You’re limited enough by things well beyond your control. I don’t know if there’s a way to avoid type-casting. I think almost everyone is “typed” from the get-go, from the moment you walk into your first audition, maybe your first drama class. Just try to develop as much of yourself as possible so you can be known as a “character actor” as opposed to “that person who does that one character over and over.” Unless that’s working for you, then enjoy your success. 10. Are you currently working on any projects? I have one very well-reviewed book out right now about my experiences in film, The Mommie Dearest Diary: Carol Ann Tells All, which has a substantial section on my early life, entrance into film-making, and anecdotes from my career. I’m currently working on three others: An autobiographical one-woman show, a screenplay for young and old adults, and a biographical piece on a noted actress/teacher. More on those another time. Well I do hope you’ll come back to discuss your books with us. I certainly look forward to reading them! Again, sincerest thanks for being with us, Rutanya. Best wishes! ~ Ellen
Interview by Ellen Vass Sanderson
WRITTEN BY GARY ANDREW HINDLEY AND S. J. CARTER
Sequence Break (2017) Director and Writer: Graham Skipper Cast: Chase Williamson, Fabianne Therese, Lyle Kanouse, John Dinan, Audrey Wasilewski What do you get when you cross a reclusive video game fanatic, a cute gamer girl, and an arcade on its last leg? Sequence Break does just that and the answer is not at all what one would expect. What sounds like the recipe for a John Hughes flick with a horror twist spirals into something much more sinister. Chase Williamson stars as Oz, who has turned to gaming to cope with his anxiety and introversion. Games provide comfort and security in an otherwise terrifying world and he has managed to put his talents to practical use as a videogame technician. His peaceful, predictable world begins going all topsy turvy with the revelation that his boss Jerry (Kanouse) plans to close down the shop where they work. Revelations abound when, on the same day, a beautiful woman shows up sporting both a passion for gaming and an obvious interest in Oz. It’s right around this point that the Hughes feel dies away. Since this film is best viewed without spoilers, the plot details have been kept to a minimum. The payoff is most definitely worth the lack of info. Williamson is so endearing and relatable, especially to outcasts familiar with the struggles of finding a comfortable space in the world. Therese’s performance is absolutely mindblowing, pulling the audience in as the caring, concerned love interest, leaving them questioning her ultimate role (protagonist/damsel/victim), and occasionally scaring the shit out of them. Perhaps even this is revealing too much, but Sequence Break leaves the audience feeling like a pack of filthy voyeurs. As if we’ve stumbled upon someone’s acid fueled wet dream. No one is forcing us to watch. We can always shut it off, or look away. Leave the room, even. But we choose to stay, mouths agape. Our heads spinning with vertigo as we wonder just how far down the rabbit hole we’re about to go. So avoid the full online synopsis. Skip the little description that pops up on your screen and... Just. Press. Play. Written by S. J. Carter
Dagon 2001 Director: Stuart Gordon Producer: Brian Yuzna Writer: Dennis Paoli Based on short stories: The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft Cast: Ezra Godden, Francisco Rabal, Raquel Merono, Macarena Gomez, Brendan Price, Birgit Bofarull “We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean many columned Y’ha-nthlei, and in that lair of the deep ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.” With a quote like that as the opening to a film with director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna at the helm, viewers can expect some morbidly violent fare. Fans of H. P. Lovecraft may recognize the quote from his short story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, one of two that Dagon is based on. Also lending some inspiration is a story by the same name. Dagon begins when Paul (Godden) wakes up from a jarring mermaid nightmare on a boat he is vacationing on with his girlfriend Barbara (Merono). Joining them are their friends Vicki (Bofarull) and Howard (Price). Vicki is injured and trapped after an unexpected storm runs their boat aground on some rocks. Paul and Barbara take a lifeboat to the fishing village of Imboca for help while Howard stays behind. The situation becomes more dire as Vicki and Howard realize they aren’t alone and whatever is in the water with them isn’t friendly.
On shore, things seem immediately ominous. Paul and Barbara are forced to split up and Paul loses track of both her and their companions. He barely has time for a nightmare fueled nap before the not altogether human villagers start hunting him down. He manages to find temporary solace with Ezequiel (Rabal), the only villager that doesn’t seem to want to string him up. Through Ezequiel, Paul learns of Imboca’s monstrous past and his heartbreaking part in it, as well as the possible fate of his girlfriend. In Paul’s attempts to save the day, he encounters the beautiful Uxia, who seems intensely obsessed with him. The slithering savagery that ensues is downright traumatizing. It’s clear that Gordon and Yuzna put a lot of passion and attention to detail into Dagon which is not surprising as they had been attempting to get it off the ground since 1985. Opting to film in Spain definitely elevated the sense of dread. It feels like these people are really cut off from the rest of the world. The name Imboca basically translates to Innsmouth and is one of many loving nods to H. P. Lovecraft. There were definitely some smart casting choices. They all play off of each other wonderfully and both Rabal and Gomez are absolutely brilliant in their respective roles. Francisco Rabal rips at the heart as the pathetically hopeless Ezequiel. And Macarena Gomez is so shudder inducing as Uxia. She mesmerizes and entices the audience despite being so damn eerie. All of this and more make Dagon a chilling, hypnotic little gem. One can’t help but covet it. Holding it close and stroking it softly while falling into its depths. Over. And over. And over again. Written by S. J. Carter
Session 9 (2001) Director: Brad Anderson Writers: Brad Anderson and Stephen Gevedon Cast: David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas, Peter Mullan, Brendan Sexton III, Larry Fessenden At first glance, Session 9 seems innocuous enough. Any time a large medical building of any kind shows up on screen, the audience automatically knows what to expect. That all too familiar equation we can’t seem to get enough of, no matter how many times we see it. Abandoned asylum. A group of misguided, unsuspecting folks about to be haunted and hunted by whatever oogly boogly awaits within its walls. But viewers will find none of that here. Session takes an altogether different, unexpected approach. Most notably by trading in the usual youthful co-eds for a more mature, all male cast. Gordon (Mullan) and Phil (Caruso) head up an asbestos cleaning crew competing in a bidding war for a much needed job at an abandoned insane asylum. They win the job when, much to Phil’s chagrin, Gordon guarantees his crew will finish three to four weeks of work in just one. The building tensions between the crew along with Phil’s growing concern over Gordon’s increasingly strange behavior exacerbate an already stressful situation. Phil and Hank (Lucas) have a contemptuous personal history. Mike (Gevedon) is weirdly distant. And Jeff (Sexton), the youngest member and Gordon’s nephew, is a wild card the team can’t afford. Relationships begin to deteriorate as paranoia and suspicions grow. And then Mike finds a series of audio tapes.
What’s so refreshing about Session 9 is it’s willingness to focus on the human element first. Without the distraction of 20 somethings roaming about getting laid or getting dead (or both), we’re left an intimate character study of the blue collar male. It almost feels like a peek into a normally hidden world. And it’s just so honest. These five men are doing their best to hold it together while facing each other, as well as their own demons. Despite some of their more negative attributes, they’re still so relatable. At the every least, anyone who’s done blue collar work has either worked with or actually been one of these characters. The no nonsense supervisor, fed up with everyone’s shit, including his own. The owner trying to keep the peace while refusing to acknowledge how completely overwhelmed and close to breaking he is. The guy that never takes anything seriously and covers up his failures and disappointments by being an asshole. The educated guy everyone thinks should be doing something better with his life. And the greenhorn who’s a little immature but eager to prove himself. These people are real, which makes the possibility of a human cause to the strange goings on even more disconcerting. While there definitely seems to be a dark presence, it’s subtle. There are no decaying nurses skittering towards the camera, or ghostly inmates with rapidly shaking heads. There’s just five men. Five men who are all capable of doing bad things... under the right set of circumstances. Five men... and some voices on a tape. Written by S. J. Carter
Escape From Tomorrow 2013 Director: Randy Moore Writer: Randy Moore Cast: Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Jack Dalton, Danielle Safady, Annet Mahendru, Alison Lees-Taylor Disney. The most magical place on earth. A place full of joy and revelry. Fun for the whole family. And yet, one can’t help but wonder what secrets lie just beneath the surface? What really happens in the tunnels that run underneath the park? What kinds of monsters might be hiding behind some of those cheerful masks? How many people have gone in, but never come out? It’s almost impossible to ignore this particular brand of curiosity. The idea that a place as bright and cheerful as Disney could have such a sinister underbelly is intoxicating and one of the things that makes Escape From Tomorrow so damn appealing.
The film centers on Jim (Abramsohn) who gets fired over the phone on his family’s last day in Disney. Not wanting to spoil the fun, he keeps the news to himself and joins wife Emily (Schuber) and children Sara (Rodriguez) and Elliot (Dalton) for one final romp. Their vacation quickly takes a Lynchian turn for the worse when Jim encounters French teens, Isabelle (Mahendru) and Sophie (Safady), and proceeds to find flimsy excuses to stalk them through the park. In his travels he comes across a variety of creepy characters, including a disturbing man in a wheelchair and a mysterious woman who uses a bit of sparkle to get him in a “compromising position”. The film continues its dizzying descent into madness all the way up to its jarring, nauseating conclusion. Rather than viewers finding some kind of comfort in at least one or two characters, the entire cast lends itself to Escape’s unnerving claustrophobia. There is a sense that every one of the park’s otherworldly inhabitants are slowly closing in and not a single one is safe. Adding to the already crushing weight of this cleverly crafted dread is the fact that Jim might be the most dangerous monster of them all with his manipulative, predatory ways. There is a wicked satisfaction in taking a magnifying glass to the possible blemishes concealed behind Disney’s sparkle and smoke. Escape taps into that. The fact that it was shot at both Disney World and Disneyland without permission makes it all the more devilishly delicious. It’s every Disney themed Creepypasta thrown into a blender and served up on a hellish buffet. A twisted culinary work of art. Eat Up. Written by S. J. Carter
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