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 11 has arrived. With exciting horror stories, world class interviews and spot on reviews, it promises to satisfy even the hungriest of horror appetites. In this issue we have excited even ourselves with some great interviews, from such horror aficionados as our Scream Queen Gabrielle Stone, and interviews with Melissa Mira and Geoff Klein. Plus, we interview our woman in horror for this issue: “Jessica Felica”. Genoveva Rossi has coverage from the UK’s Birmingham Horror Con. Walker Stalker London Con Photo Gallery is also covered in this issue. 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.
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 EDITOR IN CHIEF
06 EDITOR IN CHIEF
06 IT Film Review 86 Me and My Mates vs Zombies 30 Melissa Mira and Geoff Klein Interview
Jason Wright ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Kirsty Richardson LEAD WRITER
Clare Nixon WRITING TALENT
Kirsty Richardson Jenna Storrar Michael Dedman Jones SJ Lykana Genoveva Rossi David Sellicks Simon Taylor Vicky Gadeke Baron Craze Damien Colletti Gary Andrew Hindley Austin Wood James Pemberton Ashley Lister Leigh Walker PHOTOGRAPHY
Jason Wright Richard Foreman Jamie Denny
WOMEN IN HORROR
52 52 Jessica Felica
SPECIAL THANKS TO
DEADLY FILM REVIEWS
SUPPORTING THANKS TO
Walker Stalker Con Popcorn Horror Zombie Rising Magazine Weird Tales Magazine Sanitarium Magazine
72 State of Emergency 80 Deadly Virtues
MORBID EVENTS AND FESTIVALS 46 Birmingham Horror Con 68 Wal;ker Stalker Convention London
Gore Games 38 Dead Rising 4
46 HORROR HISTORY 92 Zombie Evolution: Part 3 98 Horror 101
SCREAM QUEEN 60 Gabrielle Stone
Blast from the Past 16 Zombies From Ireland
92 Contact the magazine via the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thedigitaldeadmagazine The Digital Dead is a Silent Studios publication. All photography ÂŠ 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.
IT (Dir- Andy Muschietti, USA, 2017) Starring- Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton It’s ironic that the central, terrifying killer clown of Pennywise comes round every 27 years to terrorise and feed on the souls of the children of Derry, Maine, is somehow mirrored by how the last adaptation of Stephen King’s novel was 27 years ago, in the form of a TV mini series. Whilst the TV adaptation suffered from obvious censorship regulations of the television network, and some slightly hammy acting from the adult characters of the cast, it still had a brilliant central performance from Tim Curry as Pennywise, the shape shifting entity who takes the form of the jovial circus clown to prey on children. The new version, which is also known as IT: CHAPTER ONE, has already gone through a couple of other directors, including TRUE DETECTIVE, season one, director Cary Fukunaga, and has now landed at the feet of MAMA director Andy Muschietti. So how does he fare in transferring King’s epic, if somewhat bloated (the original novel is over 1000 pages) tome to a new audience? The film opens with a brilliant sequence where young Georgie Denbrough goes outside in the pouring rain to test out the boat his older brother, Bill (Lieberher), has constructed for him. The boat floats down a drain where Georgie encounters a clown, Pennywise (Skarsgard). Rather than be scared by the sinister figure, he is instead conversing with it in child like innocent wonder, only to then be viciously attacked and dragged into the storm drain by the circus performer gone wrong. We then cut to the following summer of 1989 and Bill and his friends, who belong in the losers club which they nickname, are ready for the upcoming season, to try and avoid the towns sociopathic bully (Hamilton) and at the same time try and search for Bill’s younger brother, who he still believes is alive. It’s only when they realise that all of them have been having the same unusual visions of terrifying attacks involving Pennywise that they start to figure out that the demonic clown has been in the town of Derry for a long time and could be behind the spate of missing children that seem to plague the area every 27 years.
Admittedly the first thing that will pop into your head from watching IT is the relocation of the period of this first part of the story, moving from King’s 50’s setting in the book and in the mini series to 80’s, with references to New Kids On The Block, LETHAL WEAPON 2 and BATMAN and other nostalgia that puts into mind the recent success of the Duffer Brother’s brilliant Netflix series STRANGER THINGS. A fact made more relevant as one of the members of the loser club is played by Finn Wolfhard, a star from that same series. Overall it’s this young cast that handle the roles superbly and bring about engaging characters for the audience to root for, as they experience the first signs of growing up in a town where as well as the sadistic entity of Pennywise they also have to deal with the uselessness and often abusive tell tale signs of their grown up parents. A particular example is Beverley (Marsh), the only female member of the group who has had dubious gossip spread about her around town, but in reality is clearly suffering from abuse by her leering father. Even the school bully is prone to having a relationship forged on subjugation, handed to him by his abusive father, who is the town sheriff, exemplified in one particular scene where he humiliates him in front of his fellow bullies. IT portrays a world in which the children are flawed, not by their own actions but rather from their parents, in some cases in the worst way possible and it’s only with them being together that they somehow show maturity and strength that the grown ups, who remain largely in brief supporting roles, will never have. The star of the show is Skarsgard in the role as Pennywise with a performance that is his own, creating a terrifying entity that preys on the characters fears and is malevolent in his menace of them and in utilising and exploiting their flaws.
Whilst the performances are strong the film does seem to let itself down a bit in the number of choreographed jump scares that happen throughout. It’s telling that the first few jump scares are well done but then you soon start to notice the pattern emerging of when you know the required shock you out of your seat moment comes. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with the use of classic horror jump moments, which is pretty standard in the current mainstream genre frame of mind, this does tend to become tiresome after a while and in the long run will lessen the longevity of the film in years to come. The film does have a few moments that expertly generate a sense of shock and unease that doesn’t need the residual boo-scare moment. Such as hypochondriac Eddie’s (Grazer) encounter with a leper made all the more creepier and disturbing as it’s set in broad daylight. Also the gangs initial viewing of a group of slides on a projector that goes out of control, when a family photo of Bill’s slowly unravels to reveal Pennywise’s gleaming evil smile instead of his mothers face is an expertly handled moment that works surprisingly well.
Overall Muschietti is a confident enough director and handles the proceedings of the film with expert skill, managing to balance moments of terror with moments of levity. His portrayal of the group of kids brings out some great performances from his young cast and also especially from Skarsgard. Whilst it is rather long on the running time (stretching at 135 mins) IT somehow regains enough pace to keep things on a roll throughout, and admittedly despite the few flaws the film still has enough quality in its setting and characters to remain an engaging genre work. One that seems to be a merge of 80â€™s nostalgia which is certainly popular at the moment, and with the films of that period such as GOONIES, STAND BY ME (another King adaptation), along with the recent retro fest STRANGER THINGS, which might go to explaining how well it has done at the box office.
Article by James Pemberton
IT: Chapter Two 27 years later, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back. Coming... 6th September 2019 according to IMDB
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!
Quick Review by Jenna Storrar
Zombies From Ireland Interview by SJ Lykana Hi Ryan, and welcome to The Digital Dead Magazine.
A lot of the cast would say, “This script sounds like it was made for me!”. I would then say, “Because it is, I have been stalking you Ryan, you directed the movie. Could you introduce us to online since you applied for the role haha”. Then we would your cast and crew? usually meet for the first time on set which was Sunday, run The cast is made up of people from the internet that were through the scene then: Action! up for some filming and having a good time. As there was no budget, the deal was that all cast members got a lift to Zombies From Ireland! Being a zombie fanatic from Ireland, the set and back, a packed lunch (consisted of ham and that title caught my eye. Can you give us a bit of a rundown of cheese sarnies, chewy sweets, energy drinks, chocolates, the plot? crisps and loads of tea and coffee). Then we would take The government have been testing anti-swine flu drugs on some cool photos of them and they were sent to them criminals that are serving life in an Irish jail for horrendous usually a few hours after filming so they could have them crimes. However, the experiment goes wrong and the inmates for their social media / portfolios. are to be shipped to a secret lab in London immediately for We have the stunning Sian Davies as our lead actress, who further tests and experiments. However, on the voyage over the is now a famous tattoo model by the way! We had inmates turn and attack the boat. The zombies are then washed teachers, opticians, boat captains, wrestlers and even a up on the picture perfect isle of Anglesey where they ravage couple of big brother contestants thrown in the mix. The everything in sight and head for the mainland! The only way off casting was made online via the Facebook page and people the island is over the iconic Menai Bridge where all the zombies would go for the roles that suited them. Then the scripts, are headed. Will they cross the bridge and infest mainland UK and dialogue were send back and forth using or will they be stopped in time? Facebook and I would tailor make the scripts to their personality during our back and forth conversations and Where did you film Zombies From Ireland? using their existing online persona. The film was mainly shot on Anglesey, however we also filmed in London, out on the Irish sea and various parts around the UK. The lab scene was shot near Manchester as one of our cast members, the optician, could get us a lab for the day so we filmed there. We also filmed at a morgue in Llanberis, a wrestling scene in Denbigh and at a tank school in Usk, South Page 16 Wales.
I can imagine that independent film making combined with local filming and low budgets can present challenges. Did you experience any difficulties during the production of Zombies From Ireland? There are a few funny stories. Like the time I was caught filming in a bush on the isle of Llanddwyn where you need a permit to film. The wardens told me they knew what I was doing and they thought it was a cool idea but they couldn’t allow it. So I asked if they would like to be in the film in return for the right to film on the island as I had many shots and scenes planned and being banned from the island would have put the film in jeopardy! Luckily they liked the idea and I quickly wrote them into the scene and filmed them driving in their van arriving at the scene where a zombie had just been. Everyone was happy and I was allowed to film the rest of the scenes in the coming months. Also I really wanted a zombies vs wrestlers scene in the film just because...how ace would that be! Anyway I knew a contact from a wrestling promotion who I had previously done some in-ring announcing and live commentary for so I asked if I could borrow some wrestlers, and a ring...and a venue. I was told that I could have everything I wanted as long as I filmed it during a live show which made sense as everything is already there, even a crowd! So we did it, we told the crowd what was going to happen on the night, and when the zombies burst into the venue they were all going to run out screaming for their lives! It took a lot of planning and nerves but we nailed it and I really love that scene now, zombies vs wrestlers shot in Denbigh town hall in front of a live audience! We also managed to get publicity through TV. A welsh TV company caught wind of what we were doing and came along to document the scene which gave the wrestling promotion and our film extra publicity so everyone was happy. Personally being from Northern Ireland which never features in movies, I love seeing movies set close to home. That local touch gives familiarity which to me makes it all that more thought provoking and scary. Was there a reason behind Zombies From Ireland being set in Wales? In Wales we have a horrid nuclear power station which is built on the furthest point on Anglesey on a cliff right by the sea! For years there have been rumours that the government in London placed it at the furthest point possible away from London so if anything went wrong with it, a leak or terrorism etc then most of Anglesey, Wales would be contaminated, but London being so far away would be safe. This is what got me thinking about what if the government were to carry out dangerous experiments like the anti-swine flu vaccine in the film, where would they carry them out? Ireland I thought! The furthest point away, over the sea which would be safe if anything went wrong and people got infected. So I thought of the title ‘Zombies From Ireland’ as my imagination soared. And it would be just like the government to test the drugs on humans, or prisoners I thought who are already condemned to life in prison. Then as the boat/ferry (true) comes from Ireland to the port of Holyhead, Anglesey everyday carrying passengers, a few times per day I thought it would make perfect sense if the boat carrying the infected inmates were to crash on Anglesey next to the ferry port to add some realism to the film, as it could actually happen!
It’s clear that a lot of work has gone into this movie. You had a Facebook post showing four cameras being used to film the final scene. For an independent movie, that’s quite epic. How long have you been working on Zombies From Ireland? Thank you! There has been a massive, humongous effort made on this film. It totally took over 3 years of my life. As I am the only cameraman and I shot the whole movie on my trusty handy cam, shooting one scene up to four times so I could have different angles that would make it look like we had more than one camera. However for the final scene where over 100 zombies tried to cross the Menai Bridge I knew I needed it to look epic and one camera wouldn’t work. A local TV company offered to help as they needed some cool programming to up their game, so it was beneficial for them to get involved with the film as it was gaining a lot of press and attention. They kindly offered me cameras and an operator. So the planning began and I made several visits to the bridge at 3-4am when the scene was going to be shot. I organized the event on Facebook and on a Sunday morning at 3am everyone met at a car park in Waitrose which was a short walk from the bridge. The only thing was that it was opposite the local police station so we had to try and be quiet as we had not obtained permission to close the bridge. I was on the bridge, an additional camera was on the other side of the bridge, a camera behind me and then a camera was set up about a mile away from a viewing platform so I could get the long shot of the bridge! It worked and apart from a few rogue photographers who turned up using flash photography forcing us to do the crossing twice as they ruined the first shot, it all went really well and I think we have one of the best closing scenes in zombie film history. I am really proud of that.
I read during my research for this interview that you made the movie with a budget of £30. That cannot be right, is it? Obviously petrol money and cash to make the lunches etc., wasn’t considered, but £30 is the amount the make-up artist wanted for the latex, blood etc., so that is the only outgoing, the rest we begged and borrowed! Oh, I also spent £8 on a balaclava as that was one item no-one wanted to admit to owning so I had to buy that from an army and navy shop. To my absolute delight, the world has gone zombie mad. The genre is so popular. Have you always been a zombie fan? I have always loved zombie films and dreamt of making one someday. Can’t believe I actually did it! I particularly love 80’s horror though. The lighting, music, the gore, just something really cosy yet scary about it all. I particularly hate most modern horror films, they are lacking in guts and balls which Zombies From Ireland has plenty of! I’m a huge Romero fan. He was most definitely my brain eating zom-father. Has anyone in the industry been a major influence on your work? Totally agree! Romero was the gore-father. The fact that he filmed ‘Night of the Living Dead’ on weekends with a small budget using non-actors resonated with me and made me think that I could maybe do it. And using a similar formula I planned with shoots happening every Sunday. He created the blue print enabling filmmakers like myself to have a go and think ‘why not’. Yes we didn’t have a budget etc., but the formula is a sound one and it can be done if you use your brain and passion, which I did. I’ve watched the trailer for Zombies From Ireland, quite a few times. It’s impressive. What I noticed most were the zombies. They look intestine munching good. It looks like you opted for make up over CGI. Can you describe how you created onscreen zombies? I hate CGI, especially CGI zombies! We had offers to use computers as the film and the publicity grew but I really wanted it to be authentic looking. After all zombies were humans and in some cases you can’t tell the difference, only in a particular light or by the way they walk and that is the beauty of the whole thing I believe. For example if Freddy was coming at you it would be unmistakable, he would have his striped jumper, dirty hat and razors for fingers so you could run for it. However, a zombie could easily be mistaken for a drunk that has been in a fight or a really old person stumbling towards you so the terror is real and the lines between reality and fantasy are somewhat blurred which is what the essence to a good zombie film is, in my opinion. However you put a CGI jaw hanging down with the rib cage showing and all kinds of computer trickery then I think it stops being a zombie movie and steps into horror fantasy which I think is missing the point.
Our make-up artist Anwen Peters used old school skills like latex and gallons of fake blood to create the effect I was after. The intestines you talk of in the trailer were created by our lead Sian Davies. She used old tights drenched in blood, and bingo, there you have it, really gruesome looking intestines with no CGI! Then we used blue led lights that we got from the shop Poundland with candles to create the perfect ambience to film the intestine munching zombie in low light. We filmed the scene at an old abandoned bomb factory where we shot deep into the tunnels. The eerie sounds you hear are real rain drops and echoes that linger all around the bomb factory which were recorded on my camera. For the final bridge scene we asked everyone to turn up in their own zombie costumes and make-up, as no way would we be able to transform 100 people into zombies in a car park opposite a police station without attracting attention. We had a car boot open with gallons of fake blood and essential zombie ‘touch up’ make-up, which we nicknamed the ‘blood truck’. So half an hour before we shot we had a queue of zombies for the ‘blood truck’ getting their last minute touch ups and blood poured on them! As for the main zombies in the film that you recognise from previous scenes I had to make sure that the make-up was the same and continuity was vital so we had a friend who had a cottage near the bridge and here is where the zombies that required continuity were made up a couple of hours before all the other 100 zombies arrived at the car park. Timing was essential in this scene and several practice runs were made by myself to ensure I could do it all in the time we had before the morning traffic hit the bridge and then we would have a new set of problems. Thank God it all went to plan. I could have used CGI and saved all the hassle but that would have been fake and I wanted this to feel real, as real as possible. The scene and the film needed it. Back in July you got to talk to the BBC about Zombies From Ireland. That was an amazing achievement and must have been great publicity. How did you get the attention of the BBC? The BBC have been great. They gave us publicity at the beginning which helped with getting people on board. They thought it was a great idea and have been supportive throughout. When Romero passed they phoned me up as they already knew that I was a massive fan of his as we were using the same formula in a sense. Even though I was pleased to do the interview and honoured that they picked me to talk about the great man out of everyone I felt really sad that Romero had left us and I think you could hear it in my voice. Your main actress, the beautiful Sian Davis, has graced the covers of many magazines including Coffin Cuties and numerous tattoo publications. Tell us a bit about Sian and how you came to work with her. Sian Davies or Siân as she is known in the tattoo world answered my casting call for a lead actress with plenty of attitude but also with a vulnerable side. I knew straight away that she was perfect for the role and she bought with her an intensity and beauty that I have yet to see in any other leading lady in any other film. At the end of a particular hard scene to film where she has to peel off her own face in the car mirror, she put her all into that scene and nailed what I wanted which was a young pretty girl horrified as she starts to turn into a zombie and she is literally losing her looks in the car mirror as she peels off her own skin. The tears were real and in the car journey home the mood was sombre and quiet, but with an underlying satisfaction that we had just created something great.
The movie has a pretty awesome soundtrack. You wrote quite a few songs used in the movie. Did you write the music specially for Zombies From Ireland? I am a songwriter so it was really important to me to use real musicians and real sound effects and not rely on the effects library of the dreaded computer. All the incidental music was written by Duncan Black, a friend of mine who I knew had a crazy imagination and could translate it into music which is the hard bit! We had several late night Facebook ramblings where I would message him some ideas I had then he would go and record then he would send me the music and we would go back and forth until it was right. I also put out a casting call if you will for musicians who wish to have their music featured on the film. The response was insane and picking the right bands/music that complement the scenes and film was a hard task, one that I thoroughly enjoyed. We have a soundcloud/zombiesfromireland where some of the music from the film and the incidental music is featured. Not all is uploaded yet but it’s pretty epic. Some of my own songs feature on the film too and that is like a dream come true, yes a dream that I formulated, but still a dream nonetheless. I had already written the songs before I wrote the film and I swear you would think that they were written especially for it like it was meant to be. I always feel life is better with a soundtrack, I take my tunes everywhere. In the event of a real life zombie apocalypse, what would your survival soundtrack be? It would have to be Eastbound and down by Jerry Reed. Just listen to these lyrics, put the song on loud and imagine an apocalypse. “East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’, We’re gonna do what they say can’t be done. We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there”.......Perfect. I’ve seen a lot of the production and behind the scenes photos for the movie and I noticed a tank? Can you reveal anything about a tank being in the movie and how does one go about getting a tank for their movie? It was a series of weird events really. I had Marcus Akin from Big Brother 9 coming over to mine from London as he had answered a casting call on Facebook. However I didn’t have a role written as such. It was cool that he was a mad zombie fan and one of his dreams was to be in a zombie film. I said, “Sure Marcus we would love to have you in the film, why don’t you come over to Wales, stay in my house and we’ll come up with something cool.” I swear at the same time I had a message from Tank School in Usk, South Wales from one of the owners stating that they had heard of the film and due to a cancellation there were tanks available for one day only if we could get there and film it all in one day. Sure enough it was the next day and as Marcus arrived at mine in the evening I thought let’s get an early night then head to Usk in the morning to film some tanks without a script or story. I wrote the script in the car on the way down (6 hour journey) and decided that Marcus would be great as a tank instructor who was having an annoying day topped off with a zombie encounter (which we filmed back in North Wales the next day!)
We had use of the actual tank used in the TV ‘Snickers’ advert with Mr T which was cool and the scenes we shot at the tank school, even though they were loosely written are some of my favourite in the film. Even though we drove down, filmed and drove back in one day it was an experience that I will never forget, one of those “how on earth did that just happen?” moments. What would your ideal zombie survival vehicle be? Why a tank of course with Mr T at the helm with loads of Snickers piled high inside so we never go hungry! If you could choose any character from any zombie movie or TV show to be your zombie apocalypse survival buddy, who would you choose? “Time to nut up or shut up.” Tallahassee from Zombieland of course. With his Twinkies, MR T’s Snickers and our never say die attitude I’m pretty sure we would never go hungry and we would survive..... and kick ass! When can we hope to see the full movie, Zombies From Ireland? The film was available on YouTube for a short while and proved to be insanely popular. After receiving over 15,000 hits really fast I took it down and showed it around selected venues. We had a red carpet premiere and three sold out screenings. I would love to get distribution for the film or put it online on a pay per play basis so if anyone wishes to get involved then get in touch. Otherwise I will keep it in my DVD player and watch it myself every now and then and chuckle to myself. “Haha, I actually did it! I made a film.”
Interview by SJ Lykana
Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 1
Dogged (2017) Review By Ashley Lister Director: Richard Rowntree Writers: Matthew Davies (screenplay) Christina Rowntree (based on a short story by) and Richard Rowntree. Starring: Debra Leigh-Taylor, Sam Saunders, Toby Wynne-Davies and Tony Manders. When Sam returns home to the tidal island where he grew up to attend a funeral, he soon discovers that the seedy underbelly of this small community harbours more than just a few secrets. Dogged begins by introducing us to Sam (Sam Saunders: Reversible Lines, #Selfie and Absent Friends). Sam is returning from university to the family home on Farthing Island, the tidal island where he grew up. Sam has been summoned home to attend the funeral of Megan Lancaster (Abigail Rylance-Sneddon). Straight away, Sam begins to suspect that something about Megan’s death is being concealed. There are several reasons for his suspicions. First, and most important, the villagers all look as though they have recently relocated from The League of Gentlemen’s Royston Vasey. They study unfamiliar faces with untrusting curiosity and there’s something in the way they regard Sam that makes it clear there is a ‘them’ and ‘us’ mentality on Farthing Island.
Then there’s the not-very-convincing-story about how Megan died: she went to help an injured deer and fell off a cliff. This story is relayed by Farthing Island’s resident priest, Father David J Jones (Toby Wynne-Davies: Blackline and Escape from Cannibal Farm). Admittedly Sam adds to the creepiness in this scene by making googly eyes at his love interest Rachel (Aiysha Jebali: Locked In, Start Again and Call of Babylon), which seems a touch inappropriate during a eulogy. And, without wishing to slip into the territory of spoilers, there’s a sinister island cult and their nefarious way of dealing with outsiders and recalcitrant locals. Admittedly, about halfway through the film I was echoing Sam’s exclamation when he asked Sparrow (Nadia Lamin: Viewpoint, Meadow Lane and Human), “Excuse me, but what the fuck is going on?” However, by the end of the film, the story had reached a satisfactory resolution.
Dogged works on a level of paranoia and suspicion that has invariably played out so well in many British horror films, such as The Village of the Damned (1960), The Wicker Man (1973), and even the hilarious Pegg/Frost vehicle Hot Fuzz (2007). Perhaps it’s because none of us trust unfamiliar villages and their residents and their insular little local ways. On another level, it’s possible to see Dogged as a parable for the division in the UK caused by Brexit. There are factions of little islanders, all of them adamant that they know what’s best for the community, with so many of them convinced that outsiders are a diabolical influence, and none of them willing to compromise on a satisfactory resolution.
There are some genuinely creepy scenes within Dogged as main characters explore the eerie local scenery. The overall story is well-played and the effect of the animal-head masks used by the local cultists is wholly disconcerting. The use of colour cleverly conveys an intensity of emotion and the story has some vicious twists and turns. Father David J Jones steals every scene in which he appears with a criminally charismatic performance. This is definitely one to watch, but not if youâ€™re planning a holiday trip to any quiet, isolated village. Article by Ashley Lister
Melissa Mira and Geoff Klein Interview by Damien Colletti
Bio: Geoff Klein and Melissa Mira are a couple of talented filmmakers. Geoff wrote and directed the film Bikini Girls on Ice and his second film Pinup Dolls on Ice is currently hitting the festival circuit as we speak and with much success. The film has been screened all over the world and has multiple wins and nominations under its belt already. Melissa stars in Pinup Dolls on Ice as well as co-directed and co-produced the film with Geoff. 1. Melissa how did you two meet? Was it film related? Melissa: Good question! Geoff and I met about twelve years ago when we were both working in retail – exciting stuff! Geoff was the stock boy in a boutique downtown Montreal and I got hired as a sales girl. We were both coming out of relationships, so we didn’t hit it off romantically right away, but we got along right off the bat and we became close friends. We went to the movies together quite often (one of the first movies we ever saw together was Once Upon a Time in Mexico) and we would hang out at his apartment and watch whatever he had on VHS. Geoff has always been involved in “movie making”, whether he was working as a Director of Photography on his friends’ shoots or shooting his own short films. One day he asked me to be in this video clip he’d been hired to shoot. I said “yes” and I hated every part of it. He made me dance. I don’t dance. He did buy me a scarf as a costume, which I still have to this day and it is my favorite thing in the entire world. Then life happened and we went our separate ways. During that time, Geoff shot Bikini Girls on Ice and I went back to school where I studied to become a legal assistant – a job I still hold to this day! Then, after a few years and through the wonders of Facebook, I found his brother and through him we were able to reunite, and we have been inseparable ever since. 2. Geoff how did you first get involved in filmmaking and was “Bikini Girls on Ice” your first film? Geoff: I got interested in filmmaking when I was in high school. I made a few pretentious short student films, and thought I was God’s gift to filmmaking. Then I applied to Film Production at Concordia University in Montreal, and didn’t get in. I was like “WTF?!”. So I pulled up my sleeves and started working on as many independent productions as possible in any kind of capacity, just to gain experience. I remember my first gig; I was a camera assistant and I followed the DoP around with a pen and paper and took notes the entire time. This notepad basically served as my filmmaking bible for any of my future films. I went on to co-produce and DoP Michael Penning’s micro-budget horror film called “The Legend of Sorrow Creek”, which has recently been renamed “The Cabin at Sorrow Creek” for its UK release. That was a great experience for me because it allowed me to see all of the trials and tribulations of making a feature length horror film. Considering what we had to make the film, or lack thereof, I’m really proud of what Michael and I were able to accomplish.
3. Geoff how did you come up with the idea for the “On Ice” films and can we expect a third film in the series? Geoff: “Bikini Girls on Ice” was my directorial debut, but it started out as a joke amongst me and my hockey buddies. After a game in the summer of 2007, while having a few beers, one of my teammates starts on about his ultimate sexual fantasy! He tells a story of how he would love to rent a hotel room, pay for an escort, put her in a bathtub full of ice and leave her there until she froze to death, so that he could then fuck her back to life! The locker room erupted in laughter while I sat there thinking, “Man, that would make a great premise for a film!” And “Bikini Girls on Ice” was born! I knew that I had wanted to make a slasher film, and this idea just seemed to fit perfectly into what I wanted to do. And of course, there will be a third film in the series; still many unanswered questions revolving around our killer Moe. We have a few really nice surprises up our sleeves for the next installment and we can’t wait to put it into action! 4. Geoff you wrote “Bikini Girls on Ice”. What made you hand over the writing duties for your second film “Pinup Dolls on Ice” to Michael Penning? Geoff: If anyone has seen “Bikini Girls on Ice”, they’ll notice more holes in the script than in a block of Swiss cheese! As I mentioned, the film started out as a joke, with no money, so to save on budget, I wrote the script even though I’m not a writer. If I had known at the time that “Bikini Girls on Ice” would end up on Netflix and distributed in several territories around the world, then I would have certainly hired a writer! That’s why when we started making “Pinup Dolls on Ice”, Melissa and I were very conscious of the fact that the film would get seen and be critiqued on the same level as any other big budget horror film. So we hired Michael Penning, with whom I have worked with on several occasions, and who is a very dear friend of mine. Michael has written award winning scripts and is now diving into the world of novels. Things are going really well for him and I couldn’t be happier! We told Michael that we wanted a very simple script with all of the elements of a classic slasher film, and that’s what he delivered, a no-holds barred romp of sex, violence and mayhem!
5. What can viewers expect to be different and the same in “Pinup Dolls on Ice” compared to the first film in the series “Bikini Girls on Ice”? Geoff: “Pinup Dolls on Ice” is a relentless beast whereas “Bikini Girls on Ice” is a cute little kitten. The difference in the two films is very noticeable, right from the opening scene. With “Bikini Girls on Ice”, most critics lamented the fact that with such an enticing title, we didn’t necessarily deliver the goods when it came to T&A, violence and gore. So the opening scene of “Pinup Dolls on Ice” is a big middle finger, and maybe even homage, to all of the reviewers that ripped “Bikini Girls on Ice” a new asshole! But in all honesty, these reviews really helped shape “Pinup Dolls on Ice”, and without them, we wouldn’t have the film we have today. In fact, when Michael was writing the script, we printed up every bad review of “Bikini Girls on Ice” and gave them to him. We wanted him to see exactly what the horror community wanted out of an “On Ice” film. So for that we’re grateful! 6. Melissa, how was it co-directing and acting in “Pinup Dolls of Ice”? Was this the first time you’ve directed or acted in a film? Melissa: Yes, absolutely! This was my first experience directing and acting. I’ve done a few modeling gigs here and there and I’ve been in two video clips (not including Geoff’s!), but besides that, I had no experience whatsoever. Geoff and I learned how to co-direct while on set and it didn’t take long to figure out that Geoff’s strength was everything technical and making sure that the crew stuck to the “story” we both wanted technically, whereas I was focusing on the actors, make-up, set design and pretty much managing the entire thing. However, everything was still very much a team effort and we consulted each other; Geoff had as much say in my departments as I had in his. We wore a lot of hats making this film and it was all so worth it! As for the acting, I never aspired to be an actress, and I still don’t! I much prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it. I took on the role of Malone because our budget didn’t allow us to hire another actress. I remember telling Geoff that I was going to play the part and he told me that I had to audition. I told him to take a hike and that there was no way I was going to audition. I got the role on the spot! With “Pinup Dolls on Ice” doing the festival circuit, I get offers to audition for roles in upcoming indie films and I always turn them down… I’m not an actress and I wouldn’t make it pass the audition! I have no idea how to prepare for an audition and I don’t even know if I could remember lines that I didn’t come up with! So, in order to save everybody’s time I just don’t bother and I leave it to the professionals! Geoff’s camera is the only camera I would really feel comfortable being in front of and I am more than content with that decision.
7. Geoff, how did you first meet Suzi Lorraine and decide to cast her in your films? Geoff: I had never actually met Suzi when I cast her in “Bikini Girls on Ice”. She happened to be friends with a guy that I know, so I decided to reach out to her and see if she would be interested in playing the opening kill of the film. Luckily for us, she accepted! We had such an enjoyable time shooting with her that we had to find her a bigger role in “Pinup Dolls on Ice”, and that’s exactly what we did. She plays the campground manager, Joy, who is friends with one of the Pinups. This time around she was on set for a solid two weeks and she didn’t disappoint. She was once again fabulous to work with! 8. How did you handle the rest of the casting for both “Bikini Girls on Ice” and “Pinup Dolls on Ice” including the main role of Moe? Geoff: The casting for “Bikini Girls on Ice” was done through a casting agency here in Montreal. I remember showing up to the first day of auditions, and there was this well groomed man sitting in the lobby, sipping a coffee, while reading a newspaper. He looked like a University professor. I made a little small talk with him and then walked into the audition room. Two minutes later, our first audition walks in for the role of Moe, and it’s this clean shaven, sophisticated gentleman that I just spoke with in the lobby. I was like “Um, ok… let’s see what you got”. So he lets his hair down, throws it in front of his face and starts grunting and convulsing like a mad beast! I was like “That’s Moe!”. So believe it or not, the first audition of my first film, was William Jarand, who is now the iconic Moe! When it came to “Pinup Dolls on Ice”, we did a lot of the casting through online casting sites and Craigslist. We got independent actors from all across Canada and I really think that the fresh, enthusiastic energy that they bring to the screen really helps move the film along at a torrid pace! And the beauty of working with first time actors, is that they’re so fucking eager to do anything just to get the scene right! Their unwavering faith and dedication to the project made our lives so much easier! We love working with first-time actors! 9. Melissa, I saw you won “Best FX of 2013” on the website www.Horrorsociety.com. That’s a great accomplishment and you must have done some intense looking blood, gore, and make-up FX in the film. Can you share some of what you did or your favorite creation? Melissa: I actually have no experience in SFX make-up! I took a basic make-up class years ago because I wanted to work at a make-up counter back in my retail days, but besides that, I owe it all to the amazing people on YouTube and my gut feeling. I was so happy when I found out I had won “Best FX of 2013” because I wasn’t even aware that I was nominated! On top of it, I didn’t even push for it and I didn’t saturate Facebook with a desperate campaign asking people to vote for me and people voted for me because they wanted to! Which is an even bigger honor than the actual winning part. I have to share the win with my cousin Gabriela Munoz who helped me during the re-shoots to “re-kill” most of the cast and with Ashley Nelson, the original make-up girl in “Bikini Girls on Ice”, who gave me a one-hour SFX make-up crash course in her bedroom! As for the intensity of the make-up, I like to stay as far away from everything that looks campy. If I don’t think it could happen in real life, I don’t even bother. If you watch Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, you’ll notice that there isn’t an ounce of campy stupidity or “in your face” ridiculous gore; everything is atmospheric. The overall panic and horror aspect in the film is created through the music, yells and awesome sound design, making the special effects make-up secondary and not the driving element of the scenes. That is very much the direction Geoff and I want to take when approaching our films, and I believe that the fact that all these people voted for “Pinup Dolls on Ice” speaks volume. We are definitely going in the right direction!
10. Congratulations on all the success “Pinup Dolls on Ice” has had so far at film festivals including the multiple nominations and awards it has received. When can fans expect to be able to see the film or purchase it on DVD? Geoff: We just recently signed with Translucent Entertainment to represent “Pinup Dolls on Ice” internationally. So they’re hard at work getting the film ready for buyers. But like anything else in filmmaking land, it takes time… we could land a distribution deal tomorrow, or it could take a few months. But we completely self-financed the film, so there’s no rush to pay any investors or producers back. So when a sale happens, it happens, but we’re in no rush. 11. What do you both love most about horror films? Geoff: I love the fact that there are no boundaries in horror. From characters, to camera angles, to lighting to make-up and even to editing. You can pretty much do what your heart desires. One of the things that really gets us going is when we come up with really cool set pieces for films… these are the things that we talk about when sitting around eating dinner: “Oh man, I can’t wait to shoot that scene!” It really gets our blood pumping! Melissa: I still don’t know what attracts me to horror films! Is it that I love living vicariously through the killer? Is it that I love watching people die horrible deaths? I don’t know and I don’t want to know; the answer might scare me! I just go with the flow! The challenge of coming-up with new inventive ways to do things is what I love. With slasher films being the most “paint by number” horror genre, it really becomes a challenge. Although our goal isn’t to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to slashers, we are very happy to hear that people think we are doing so. At the end of the day, Geoff and I don’t try to fit in the mold of how things should be done or how it should look. Our films will turn out to be exactly what we set out to do.
12. What can we expect from you both in the future? Geoff: We definitely have another “On Ice” installment coming-up and after that we’re going to focus on a different genre of horror. Probably something more atmospheric and slow paced, like a haunting or possession film. Our slasher films are honestly like action films, so it’ll be nice to do something a little different, where it’s maybe more character driven, rather than “5 girls in a secluded location and bad shit happens”. Melissa: I love “5 girls in a secluded location and bad shit happens”! I’ll never get tired of that! It’s so simple and if done well, so effective. But like Geoff said, after the next “On Ice” installment, we will need to take a step back and do something different. I think we’ll need it at that point and we are eager to get our hands on something different. We have a few ideas lying around, but nothing set in stone yet… we are putting all our energy on promoting “Pinup Dolls on Ice” and coming up with the next chapter in the series! You guys are in for some good surprises! 13. Thank you both for taking the time to do this interview and I wish you both continued success with your careers! I truly have a feeling you are both on the verge of becoming big players and household names in the horror genre! Geoff and Melissa: Well that’s really nice of you to say, Damien! Thanks for taking the time to write up these questions, it’s been a fucking blast! Keep in touch! For more information on Geoff Klein, Melissa Mira, and their films check out these links! Pinup Dolls on Ice on IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt2235876 Pinup Dolls on Ice Trailer: www.youtube.com/ watch?v=38iNk6Amocw Geoff Klein facebook: www.facebook.com/geoff.klein.18 Melissa Mira facebook: www.facebook.com/melissa.mira.35 BGOI Films youtube: www.youtube.com/BGOIFilms BGOI Films facebook page: www.facebook.com/bgoifilms
Interview by Damien Colletti
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Review BY LEIGH WALKER - XBOXSECTOR.COM
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this game or franchise, the Dead Rising series of games are an open world survival horror, beat ‘em up video game, which in my personal opinion has slowly shifted into a more humorous tone with each instalment. This isn’t exactly a massive issue, but it makes one of the games biggest aspects less of a threat… the zombies. Due to the latter instalments of the franchise taking more of a humorous tone, the game becomes less about tactically managing weapons and scouring the map for items that are vital for your survival and more about slaughtering everything that dares to cross your path. The survival horror style game becomes more of an action adventure game in which a horde of zombies become far less threatening and, more often than not, incredibly easy to quickly dispose of. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I dislike this because it’s the exact opposite… I love it! But at the same time, I do miss the older titles more challenging approaches to how things were handled. Also, before we get started I will be discussing main plot points of this game so I advise that if you do not wish for the game’s story to be spoiled that you play this prior to reading my review. A year after the zombie outbreak in Los Perdidos, California, Frank West, a former photojournalist now working as a college professor, is approached by one of his students, Vicky “Vick” Chu, who convinces him to help her investigate a military compound, situated on the outskirts of Willamette, Colorado – the site of the first zombie outbreak. Once inside, they discover that the place is being used for zombie research, but are discovered and forced to flee, with Frank labelled a fugitive after he is falsely accused by the government.
A few months later, near Christmas, Frank is found by Brad Park, an agent of the ZDC, who convinces him to help investigate a new zombie outbreak that started in Willamette during the Black Friday sales, in exchange for the means to clear his name and having exclusive rights to the story, revealing that Vick has already left to investigate the matter herself. Dead Rising 4 – Plot Summary [Wikipedia] Dead Rising 4’s story and set-up are quite simple, yet satisfying. You find yourself returning back to the setting of the first instalment of the franchise… the one and only Willamette, but this time it’s not just the shopping mall! This title features a much more open locale than players first encounter with the Willamette area, giving you much more space to wreak havoc and explore to your heart’s content. Although it’s a familiar locale, Dead Rising 4 takes a different approach with its story; rather than having a countdown timer from the get go, or even in the build up, the games final moments, we’re more or less given as much time as we need to play through the game. Meaning prioritising tasks based on how much time we had left, is no longer really relative, which I personally find good and bad for the following reasons… Good Factors Without Countdown Timer More time to explore the map. Time to collect all collectables without multiple playthroughs. Level grinding is easy and without pressure. Bad Factors Without Countdown Timer Lacking the challenge that the timer previously imposed. The game becomes very relaxed and less intense. Less drive for multiple playthroughs. These are just a few factors that can have a big impact on how players will feel when they play through this title. Newcomers won’t really notice or care about this change, but hardcore fans will definitely notice it.
In all honestly I think one of the biggest changes to Dead Rising 4 was the removal of the timer from the original story mode, it made the games focus shift from tactically handling story missions and side quests to just rampaging through everything without a care in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love a slaughter-fest game when it’s done well and Dead Rising 4 certainly delivers on that, but the game really did lose some of the challenge and the charm the previous titles brought to the table. Without this aspect of the campaign, the game becomes more of a leisurely stroll in which you have plenty of time to handle all of the game’s tasks that are presented to you, to be fair this isn’t a massive issue but I’d have liked it to stick to its roots and offer this style of game mode as a reward for finishing the game or even the default for the game’s easy mode. If it’s offered to the players down the line as some sort of on-disc DLC then I’d be quite disappointed. Another change, which I found to be a bit disappointing was how the psychopaths were handled. Normally I’d always find myself excited and eager to tackle the next psychopath, mostly due to the interesting cutscenes, introductions, and character interaction and dialogue prior to and after their respective fights. This time around it seems like this type of setup was totally scrapped and less love and care were put into crafting the psychopaths and their respective stories, no cutscenes and poor introductions with lacklustre fights that ended quicker than I had hoped for. Dead Rising 4’s psychopaths felt like fighting just another enemy and I really found this took all of the enjoyment out of fighting them. If we were to look back to Dead Rising, for example, the psychopath battle with Adam MacIntyre (AKA, Adam The Clown) is one that still sticks in my mind to this day, the introduction and the battle itself were executed perfectly and this type of love and care is definitely lacking in Dead Rising 4… but I digress.
A variety of regular vehicles and craft vehicles make a return in this game and they are well needed to make quick work of covering the map when you are trying to get to your next objective in a hurry… but in saying that it’s pretty much the only time I felt that I needed to utilise them. If I wasn’t walking from A to B disposing of everything in my sight with my trusty custom weapons, I was suited and booted up in the games new feature and item the “Exo Suit”. To be fair, I didn’t use this that often unless it was a requirement or had been quite some time since I last used one. Even though the suit basically makes you unstoppable from the moment you put it on, it has a time limit of only 2 minutes and sometimes you might find yourself in a pickle if it runs out and you are left with no weapons in the middle of a horde of zombies, so you are best to come prepared for this happening just in case. Don’t feel that the suit is strong enough for you? Well the suit itself can be powered up with combo items that are unique to it and offer some pretty interesting combo moves, so it does make it more appealing to throw it on when you want to go about on a mass undead killing spree, but bare in mind you cannot use any vehicles when this is equipped and if you accidentally try and use one it will automatically dispose of your trusted Exo Suit and leave you feeling quite upset and bare. But that’s enough about the Exo Suit! Let’s move on. As I previously stated, Dead Rising 4’s story is a simple one, so I will refrain from covering my thoughts on the entirety of it and focus on the climax of the game’s story. The ending of Dead Rising 4 was intense, action packed and it kept me on the edge of my seat eagerly waiting for more. Albeit exciting, the events that this section were building up to were very predictable and I think this took away quite a bit of the suspense and made it more a case of waiting for the inevitable to happen… but this is where the massive twist lies. At the very end of the game, Frank West sacrifices himself in order to save his friends, although it’s a courageous act and it’s meant to show how Frank has developed as a character throughout it just felt odd and quite unsatisfying to watch. I think this was due to this instalment properly bringing him back into the spotlight, so I personally felt that it seemed quite an odd move to once again throw him right back out of it at the end of the game. The ending makes you believe that Frank is truly gone, but there have been rumours circulating that there is a DLC coming titled “Frank Rising” that may give us the answers to the somewhat abrupt end of Frank West.
Dead Rising 4: Frank Rising: In this DLC, Frank West is freshly infected and needs to find a cure before he becomes a zombie and is lost forever. While searching for a cure, Frank discovers that everything is not the same as it was; zombies are getting smarter, people cannot be trusted and paramilitary forces are plotting to wipe out Willamette. Frank has a limited time before he reverts to the full zombie state and the city is wiped out. Frank will have to get to the truth first… or die trying. The “Real” Ending – Game Revolution Although the premise of this “Real Ending” DLC sounds great, personally, I feel that hiding the true ending behind DLC is very anti-consumer and more often than not leaves a bitter taste in the fans mouth. I’ve run into this issue a few times and although I do end up purchasing these “Real Endings” I still feel very cheated in doing so, but alas, I’m a sucker for finding out what really happens myself rather than succumbing to watching it through videos online. But this topic is a whole other story! And I will revisit this and do an update once the “Real Ending” is out!
A Dead fun instalment to the franchise Overall I feel that Dead Rising 4 is an excellent instalment to the franchise albeit lacking some of the previous games staple features that made them so good in the first place. It’s well worth picking up, for both hardcore fans and newcomers alike, even though some of the long term fans may be put off by some of the changes made to this instalment. Dead Rising 4 isn’t exactly a game that I think you will find yourself becoming heavily invested in the story and the grand scheme of things that are going on around you, but in saying that I don’t think that would dampen your overall enjoyment of the game. Dead Rising 4 isn’t a game that takes itself seriously and I don’t think it expects you to either, and I think that’s one of its quirks that makes it so charming. If you’re looking for a game that will keep you invested with fun innovative gameplay, humorous dialogue and thousands of enemies to dispose of in some of the whackiest ways possible, then Dead Rising 4 is a title you should most definitely look into picking up.
Review BY LEIGH WALKER - XBOXSECTOR.COM
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BIRMINGHAM HORROR CONVENTION UK
Last Halloween weekend I spent my time in merry old England. This horror queen had the honor and the privilege of being an official guest at Birmingham Horror Con in the United Kingdom. Being invited to this event made my Halloween extra special. Once I got off the plane at Heathrow I had the honor of meeting “Scream Queen” Mark Patton of Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 and his British horror fan pal Barnaby Marriot. It was awesome to finally meet John Dugan of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Duane Whittaker of Pulp Fiction. The first night in the United Kingdom, Mark Patton, Barnaby Marriot and I checked out the beautiful neighborhood near our hotel (Malmaison). We spent quite a bit of time at Harvey Nichols, which is a lovely store with an elegant restaurant. Later I spent some time discussing love, and horror at the hotel bar with John Dugan and Duane Whitaker.
We got to bed early and woke up bright and early for the first day of Birmingham Horror Con. When we all arrived, there was a long line of horror fans waiting to get into the stadium. Excitement was in the air. “Special guests for the day included The Walking Dead’s Jeremy Palko and Ann Mahoney - who also took part in an extra special panel appearance talking about their time on the show, behind the scenes snippets and answering fan questions. Texas Chainsaw Massacre stars John Dugan, Terri McMinn and Andrew Bryniarski, Nightmare on Elm Street heroine Kim Myers and Mark Patton as well as Tuesday Knight, scream queen Genoveva Rossi, Pulp Fiction’s Duane Whitaker, Poltergeist’s Oliver Robbins, Ripper Street’s Mark Dexter, Child’s Play actor Alex Vincent and renowned horror artist Graham Humphreys.” (Express and Star Nov 1, 2017)
It was amazing to screen my directorial debut, Attack of the Killer Chickens, to a packed room of British horror fans. I wrote, directed, produced and acted in this horror short film, which has actually won 5 awards at film festivals including; Best Spoof, Best Comedy, Best Short Film, Best Actress: Genoveva Rossi and Best Supporting Actress: Pamela Martin. Thankfully the audience loved it. I had great fun judging the costume competition with a guy dressed up like Frankenfurter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was really tough to decide which costumes were the best because they were all actually quite impressive. In the end, Predator and a black Raven won for the adults while for the kids we had an evil nun win. It was a very busy weekend and the convention staff were so helpful and organized. The stadium was filled with horror fans wanting to buy autographs, photo-ops, DVDs, and collectables. I strongly recommend Birmingham Horror Con to any lover of all things horror wanting to check out a convention in England.
Being a guest with so many amazing people in the horror genre was truly an honor. I often feel like horror is this big giant crazy family of actors. Or maybe we are like a group of circus performers travelling the world together from convention to convention. After a while we all know and work with each other. We all become pals and there is a lot of love. I think of these talented people as family. Birmingham Horror Con was well organized, great staff, and volunteers. The Fans were great! -John Dugan It was a lot of fun. . .It was like being in another country or something. -Duane Whitaker After traveling the world doing shows I can safely say I have seen it all from Xalapa, Mx to Parisâ€Śyou find the people, friends and fans are always nice. I thought Birmingham was a perfect event for both fans and actors. It was intimate, but still large enough to give you that buzz; money was moving around so you know vendors, actors, fans and promoter was doing wellâ€Śthat is what you want with everyone a winner. Birmingham is becoming known. I had a blast. -Mark Patton The horror fans in England were so sweet, polite and appreciative of all of us horror actors. We all felt so comfortable, safe, and welcome during the time at the con. This trip was especially exciting because not only am I a horror actress with over 90 film credits, but I also have been writing for two United Kingdom based publications for the last few years: The Digital Dead and Ukhorrorscene.com. Itâ€™s always amazing as an actress in horror to see the loyalty and devotion of the fans. There is truly no other genre that cultivates such a loyal following for the films and the actors. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to finally meet some of the genre fans on the other side of the pond. Cheers! Yours in Screams, Genoveva Rossi
Fancy having a zombie portrait done and be published in the magazine. Well contact Jason Wright Photography and become a zombie tomorrow.
Horror’s Scream Queens and Rising Talent: Six Questions for Jessica Felice “Jessica graduated with a BA in Theatre, from UMBC and demonstrates her passion and love for the craft on every project she’s involved in. She’s earned herself two best actress awards for her performance in “Soulmate” as Katie Stephan’s at two film festivals. Although she’s done many horror & thrillers in film, shorts, and television, she’s not limited to one single genre. Jessica loves the “Anti-Hero” archetype, and strong intelligently written women. She’s played roles in television series such as “Copycat Killers”, “I Was Possessed”, and “Southern Fried Homicide”, as well as lead roles in feature films such as “Soulmate”, “The American Werewolf Project”, “Vampires”, and supporting roles in films such as”7th Day” and “The Untelling”, and in Short films: “The Price” as Elizabeth, “Blood Loss” as Mina, “Laid to Rest” as Jessie which won “Best Short Horror Film” at The Winter Fest Film Awards. Jessica will be seen as Katherine in the gothic Horror Feature “The Haunted”, and as Ruby Blackwood/Lilith in “The Possessed”. She was featured in the online series “Tales of Horror” as the snarky Demoness Host Lilith Death. She also is a professional Voice-over artist in work ranging from Animation, Video Games, Industrials and Commercial work.
Jessica has also done some professional theatre including several touring shows, summer stock, dinner theatre and local professional shows and staged readings which put her degree to good use. In addition to being a professional actress this sexy ginger is also a model focusing on glamour, promotional and themed shoots featuring her as a cosplay character. (She’s been seen as Vampirella, Wonder Woman, Morticia, and did an Homage to Freddy Kruger). She can be seen in several magazines including Poisonous Pinups (where she won a Cosplay Contest as Vampirella), Scream Queens Magazine, Couture Magazine, SQ Horror Magazine as well as a variety of other Interviews and professional photography pages on the web. Jessica has taken the horror community by storm and we will continue to look forward to watching this Scream Queens work. Future projects include several features she’s very excited to be part of, a short film and a music video and and has other projects coming up which she can’t wait to be revealed.” 1. HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE INDUSTRY? I’ve been acting since I was a little girl, and was at summer camp. It was there that I decided that this was what I wanted to do. I got involved in productions at my elementary school, and then began taking professional acting classes in middle school all through high school. During those times I also did a lot of community theatre. Then I went to college, where I graduated with a BA in Theatre. At which time I did several professional children’s theatre tours, dinner theatre, Summer stock, VO and other stage work, as well as extra work on commercials and film. To help hone my craft I also worked in the stage magic field, touring the country and doing a run in Las Vegas. What really changed my pursuit of theatre to film was a class I took called “acting for the camera” that class really changed my life. After which I began working on several national TV show spots, independent short and feature films, videos, promotional, hosting and VO work. My love and respect for performance and the subtleties of the camera have only increased since then. I try to put 100% of my heart into every project I am involved with. To me it’s not just another paycheck, but a chance to collaborate, learn, and make something special.
2. WHAT SCREAM QUEEN/WOMAN IN HORROR INSPIRED YOU MOST? As far as women in horror, I think I’d say Eva Green’s work in Penny Dreadful. I’m a big fan of supernatural based thrillers that highlight strong actresses and women. She is one of them, and probably one of my biggest influences on my own work. 3. WHAT HORROR FILM HOOKED YOU ON THE GENRE AND WHY? I’d say the film the Exorcist hooked me on the genre, as the premise was so frightening to think about. When I was a kid I also remember renting the Lost Boys and was hooked. I’m a fan of vampire films and I think that was the first one that grabbed me and I was mesmerized. There was a mystery and mystique about those characters combined with amazing effects and music. Another I saw as a kid was Interview with a Vampire so it had the same impact. I was intrigued and wanted to know more, which was altogether terrifying and enticing at the same time. I love those fantasy elements so much.
4. WHEN YOU ARE PRESENTED WITH A SCRIPT, MOVIE CONCEPT, MODEL SHOOT OR ARTICLE IDEA, WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT DRAW YOU TO CERTAIN PROJECTS AND AWAY FROM OTHERS? When I’m presented with a script or ideas for a project I really look for deep-rooted multi-dimensional characters that are sometimes broken, flawed, etc. and evolve throughout the story line. High concept scripts combined with great character arcs are the way to this girl’s heart. I can’t just look at a script and say, “Yeah it’s pretty good, I could play that character.” I need to look at a script and know that I need to be a part of telling that story. That is what I really look for, a compulsion to not stop until this characters story is told. I want to experience roles that will create an impact on someone after they’ve seen it. If I feel that, I believe others will too. I honestly tend to stay away from two dimensional type projects that are gratuitous in nature, or do things strictly for shock value and not for the benefit of a good story. Many times I have seen a great concept ruined by bad dialogue or lack of character development. If it is simply a cool idea and nothing else I tend to stay away from it. 5. THE EVOLUTION OF WOMEN IN THE GENRE CONTINUES TO CHANGE, ALMOST DAILY, SO WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED AND WHAT DO YOU SEE COMING FOR THE CURRENT AND FUTURE WOMEN OF HORROR? I think the future is bringing a long awaited equality for women in the film industry in general. I’m being presented with more and more scripts where the woman is not just there to scream or be eye candy, but instead provides real character substance to the plot of the film. The echo of Hollywood equality seems to be crossing genres and challenging actresses more and more. Like anything else it needs to be handled with integrity, not just hiring a person because they are a man or woman, but because they truly are the best actor for the role. Ridley Scott was so far ahead of his time when he did this type of casting with Alien. I can only hope more directors and writers use this formula in the future.
6. WHAT ARE THE NEXT COUPLE OF PROJECTS YOU ARE WORKING ON? Currently outside of moving forward on several projects that I am under an NDA on so I can’t discuss them just yet. I’ll be doing a film called “The Thing That Keeps You”, a psychological thriller, directed by Preston Walden with Domain Pictures where I will be playing the role of Caroline Davies, a woman who has dealt with bad dreams since her husband’s passing and hasn’t left her house in a year. Teams of sleep experts are brought in to try and help her sleep disorder. What they find is far more then any of them were prepared for. Another project I have been cast in that is currently looking for funding through an indiegogo campaign, is a Sci Fi film called “Hero Smythe” directed by Richard Thrift. I will be playing Kelly, Hero’s mistress/ love interest. I have a short film that I have been cast in called “The Board” which lends itself to the classic ghost stories of the late 1800’s style, which will be shooting this spring. I have several features being released in late 2018 and I’m continuing to read scripts that are being sent to me as I look for the next project that really calls to me. If anyone would like to keep up with what I’m doing they are welcome to check out my website at www.actressjessicafelice.com IMDB Page - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4923004/ Official Website - http://actressjessicafelice.com/ Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/actressjessicafelice/ Twitter Page - https://twitter.com/kittendtv?lang=en
scream queen GABRIELLE STONE Q. Thank you for taking the time, we are honoured to be able to interview you. Gabrielle: Thank you for having me. Q. Having a mum who working in the horror industry, what was it like growing up? Gabrielle: It was pretty normal for me, actually. My parents were both in the industry and they made sure that I had a pretty normal childhood other than the fact that I was on set a lot with them. If one of them was working then the other one wouldn’t work, and if anybody was on a shoot for more than a week then we would go visit so I got to travel a lot and grow up on some pretty awesome sets. Q. Why did you decide to also work on horror films? Did your mum pave that direction for you, and if so what support and advice did she provide? Gabrielle: I don’t think she ever encouraged me to necessarily do horror films. The horror films that I’ve done have just been because they were presented to me and I really liked the scripts and the character spoke to me. My mum’s always supported me, no matter what I wanted to do, whether that was going into the industry or doing something different, but she’s always been supportive.
Q. Considering you were born in 1988, do you have any memories of your mum working on The Frighteners and if so how was that experience as a child? Gabrielle: I do. I was actually six years old when my mum shot The Frighteners and that was one of the times that we went and saw her. We went to New Zealand where they were filming and I was on set with her and Peter Jackson and I remember distinctly that she called me over on set and told me to wipe the fake blood off of her hands so I would know that it wasn’t real and that mummy wasn’t really bleeding. Q. What is your favourite horror movie? Gabrielle: That’s a tough one! I remember The Strangers really unsettled me, like I remember having a stomach ache after I saw that film. The Scream franchise when I was younger definitely, definitely had an impact on me. Q. Who inspired you to join the horror community? Gabrielle: Definitely my mum. I also think a lot of directors; Tom Holland who did Fright Night, Child’s Play directed my new film called Rock, Paper, Dead which comes out later this year, so it was awesome to work with such a horror icon such as himself. I’m friends with a lot of people in the horror community. Amanda Wyss who was in the short film that I directed is amazing. A bunch of people, we all kind of just inspire each other, it’s great.
Q. Do you have any movies you’re currently working on? Gabrielle: Yeah, I have three films that are coming out this year. The first is Rock, Paper, Dead that I previously mentioned. The second is a romantic comedy called Swell, that’s directed by Justin Lee and stars myself and Summer Spiro and it’s a festival drama about two friends on a road trip and it’s an amazingly beautiful film. The third is a romantic comedy that I play a stripper in and it stars Chris Klein and Thora Birch and it’s like a full on throw back to 90’s rom-com so it’s a lot of fun. Q. So, you are in the movie Death House, alongside some iconic horror stars such as; your mum (Dee Wallace), Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Tony Todd and Michael Berryman… how was it working alongside those iconic people? Gabrielle: So in Death House, the only person that I worked opposite of was Tony Todd. In the film my character is introduced to get set up for the second one, but it was awesome working with Tony Todd. The director, Harrison, I also worked with before on Zombie Killers and its always awesome being on set with him. It was great and I think horror fans are really, really going to love it. Q. Have you ever wanted to work with Rob Zombie at all since being in the horror industry? Gabrielle: Yeah, I would love to work with Rob. I’ve met him a couple of times, my mum is friends with him, from the Halloween series and The Lords of Salem. He’s a seriously nice man and I think he’s super talented so I would love to work with him on something in the future, for sure.
Q. Sid Haig has been in a bunch of movies. The first one I saw him in was The Devil’s Rejects and he scared the crap out of me. I’m sure he is a lovely guy in person but with all the make up on he is very scary in camera. Gabrielle: Yeah, Sid’s a super nice guy. We see him at a bunch of the horror conventions that we all do and obviously he was in Death House too. He’s very sweet, like a big teddy bear, but yes with all the make-up and in that specific role he is, for sure, terrifying. Q. Michael Berryman was in The Hills Have Eyes, with your mum is that right? Gabrielle: Yeah, Michael Berryman was in the original 1977 The Hills Have Eyes with my mum. So they did that film together a long, long time ago. Q. You’re in a short film called It Happened Again Last Night, can you tell our readers a little about it? Gabrielle: Yeah, it’s a short film that I co-wrote, co-directed, produced and starred in. It’s a film about domestic violence and has some LBGT theming as well. We’ve screened at three festivals so far and we’ve won four awards. We’ve won two Best Shorts, at the North Hollywood Cinefest and the Beverly Hills Film Festival and I was also awarded the Best Actress award at a film festival in Beverly Hills. It’s been a whirlwind for this little short film. Q. Can you tell what Zombie Killers: Elephants Graveyard is about? Gabrielle: Zombie Killers is a post-apocalyptic movie about a town that is trying to survive and I play the big kids girlfriend in it and it’s kind of about if we’re going to live the town and try to continue to live or if we’re just going to give up and die. It’s on demand and it’s available on VOD platforms and it’s a fun zombie film for sure.
Q. Have you seen the movie Shaun of the Dead? Gabrielle: Yes, I have. Q. I have heard that Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are doing another horror comedy soon, what do you think about that? Gabrielle: Oh that wouldnâ€™t surprise me and would be something I would check out for sure. Q. Please tell our readers where they can find you. Gabrielle: Iâ€™m on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @GabrielleStone Thank you for your time.
Interview by Austin Wood
Silent Studios Productions were again at Walker Stalker London this year and did not dissapoint with their variety of horror at the event. The scare maze was inside the pillar hall for the second time so making it very dark and spooky for the public presented its own challenges. I think they succeeded though, creating roofâ€™s and darkened corridors with the usual jump scares, including a guy with a chainsaw. Plus, in the main arena they had a green screen photographic booth where you could get your walker kill pose on. Next to the photo booth was a complete team of professional sfx make-up artists making some of the lucky public into the walking dead. We have selected some photos from their event photographer to give you an idea of what the event was like but we and Silent Studios Productions will be there in 2019. If you are interested in joining with the magazine or Silent Studios Productions at the event in 2019 then get in touch either via the website, facebook or email.
For more information about Silent Studios Productions please visit their website. www.silent-studios.co.uk and facebook page www.facebook.com/silentstudiosproductions
Photography by Jamie Denny
State of Emergency Article by Baron Craze Director Turner Clay (Disaster L.A. (2014) also a zombie flick), brings a new twist into a highly evolving zombie sub-genre as a new generation of filmmakers of indie films try to navigate the genres traditions, rules, and legions of fans, for these creatures while focusing attention on the survivors. State of Emergency tries to centralize interaction of strangers each with personal secrets, fears and issues, screenwriter Turner focused his ambition on the character Jim, played by Jay Hayden (Spring Break Massacre (2008)) bringing together an emotional film, filled with social aspects rather than just aimlessly frenzied zombies, which works best for an indie movie.
Jim’s world becomes shattered in mere minutes of the zombie apocalypse, with no friends, he and his fiancee Emile (McKenna Jones) try to escape the zone, but with bewilderment and insane driving, an accident turns deadly, eliminating Jim’s support structure, and here the audience focuses on this lone survivor. Although, through luck and skill, he advances himself to join with another group of survivors the storyline truly develops into character vehicle rather than just a horror movie of action aspects. The introduction of the larger appears on screen as expected, as the location takes over a warehouse, with vastness of darkness, and few private offices upstairs, with a one door in and out policy. Jim’s uneasiness of making friends, comes to a head, when meeting his new survivors, Scott and Julie, a couple (Scott Lilly and Kathryn Todd Norman respectively), and an incredibly well played loner, Alex (Tori White), who holds her own deep seeded secrets, though clearly exposed with a bit of foreshadowing all involving a candy bar. Scott convincingly holds the position of wing-man to Jim, and yet still gullible to flight of fancy moments, each that bring the zombies in closer to feeding time. As for who survives, abandoning their secrets and facing the onslaught, well that requires you viewing the flick.
Although, other zombie movies have glanced and peered into the human nature only recently has that showed the true selfishness of mental anguish of rampaging problems such as Diary of the Dead (2007), The Walking Dead (series), Dead Weight (2012) and most notable Z Nation (series). Each of the these films among others start pulling back the layers, and exposing the more vicious nature, that far outreaches that of even the wild-west days of pioneers fending for themselves, for even then some justice and laws existed. However, in a zombie world all morality and kindness vanishes, replaced by anarchy and one’s mind feeding off itself, with carnivorous desires always justified. Although, one trait still remains the same, for any survivor seeking safety and security, which is firmly found in any zombie movie. The zombies herein, are a cross between all three noted generations, first from 1968’s George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead where the creatures moved in a horde, yet shambled along, for dying eliminates the need to hurry. Then the second, the infected humans contaminated by an unknown chemical (a virus), breeding zombies, into hybrids, complete with speed, painless immunity, quickened rabies and terrorizing screams. Notably found in Dawn of the Dead (2004) and 28 Days Later (2002). The latest incarnation, comes from the independent filmmakers, who wish to place their own personal design on this sub-genre of horror films, with a smarter, higher level-thinking zombie. However, this newer concept briefly hinted in Dawn of the Dead (1978) with undead drawn to the mall, for unknown reasons, later expanded in Land of the Dead. One must not overlook Return of the Living Dead (1985), with zombies talking and planning organized attacks and getting their meals delivered to them. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1705134/
Baron’s Rating: 5/10
Mordeo | Scary Short Horror Film
The Terror Season 1
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
Deadly Virtues: Love. Honour. Obey By Ashley Lister Deadly Virtues: Love. Honour. Obey. (2014) Directed by: Ate de Jong Written by: Mark Rogers Starring: Edward Akrout, Matt Barber and Megan Maczko “A stranger breaks into the house of a couple, ties up the husband and, having a whole weekend at his hand, plays a slow game with the woman, a game of threats, fear, obedience – and intimacy.” People often complain about excesses of sex and violence in the horror genre but, in truth, it’s rare that these two elements are successfully brought together on screen. Films like Zombie Strippers (2008), Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1998) and Nightmare Sisters (1988), whilst attempting to blend those genres that titillate and terrify, usually end up producing a concoction that doesn’t excite on any level.
And, I must admit, during the first few moments of Deadly Virtues: Love. Honor. Obey., I did worry that the filmed sex was going to prove as disappointing as the experience usually is in real life. In the first moments of the film we discover it’s a Friday evening and we are following a mysterious figure entering a suburban home. Clearly he has no right to be there, as is suggested by his furtive manner, his penchant for sniffing the shoes that he finds in the house, and the fact that the owners are oblivious to him. We know the owners are oblivious because, although they’re off-screen, they’re engaged in the sort of noisy sex that would make most neighbours believe the couple were watching one of the Saw movies. Or strangling an unwanted piglet. The unseen man grunts and wheezes like an asthmatic bulldog humping a reluctant chew toy. When the intruder bursts in on the scene the tension of this movie really kicks in and we, the audience, begin a rollercoaster ride of genuine horror. The cast in this film do an excellent job. We first meet Tom (Matt Barber: Downton Abbey, Dracula and Being Human) whilst he’s behind his wife, banging away at her with a level of mechanised ferocity that seems to indicate more industry than intimacy. Tom is taken out of the equation early on in this film, but his presence remains as a focal point for some particularly pleasing torture and abuse. At the same point when we meet Tom, we’re also given our first glimpse of Alison (Megan Maczko: Me and Orson Welles, A Hologram for the King and The In-Between). If Tom looks like he’s an overenthusiastic participant in the intimacy, Alison looks like she’d rather be grouting the kitchen. As the story progresses we learn there are lots of things Alison would rather be doing than Tom, but I won’t give away any spoilers here.
The final member of the cast is the sinister intruder, Aaron (Edward Akrout: The Hollow Crown, The Borgias and Mr Selfridge). Aaron is a man of mystery, a master of shibaru and an extremely focused (if uninvited and unwanted) houseguest. From the first moment when he has Alison alone, when he says, “You belong to me now,” he comes across as a dangerous and unpredictable threat. Perhaps he’s best summed up in the exchange where Alison sobs at him, “Why are you doing this to us?” Aaron laughs confidently and simply responds, “Why not?” From beginning to end this is a film that pushes boundaries and explores the very real horror of assault and sexual violence, as well as the vast difference between sex and intimacy. The acting is superb. Mark Rogers’s script is strong and credible and Ate de Jong’s direction is flawless. For narrative tension, for an unsettling sense of realism and for a disquieting sense of menace, this is a film that will genuinely make you squirm in your seat.
Review By Ashley Lister
ME and My Mates Zombies
An Interview with Director Declan Shrubb
Declan Shrubb is the writer and director behind the hilarious zom-com-romp Me and My Mates vs the Zombie Apocalypse which stars the amazing talents of Jim Jefferies, Greg Fleet and Alex Williamson. 1. You do a lot of work in the comedy genre (M.I.P.S.T., Risk, Me and My Mates vs the Zombie Apocalypse, etc). What’s your fascination with humour? I’m just a big comedy nerd. Huge fan of sketches, stand up, improv, sitcoms and comedy films. The first DVD boxset I bought, when I was 13 and got my first job delivering junkmail, was ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT season 1! That’s why getting to work with world-class comedians like Jim Jefferies and Greg Fleet – guys I’ve been a fan of for years – was such an incredible experience for me! Getting to riff jokes with them and see them perform my lines is something I’ll never forget.
2. Given that you’re trying to simultaneously amuse and shock audiences in Me and My Mates vs the Zombie Apocalypse, how difficult was it to create a comedy horror? Getting the tone right is really hard. We decided early on that this was a comedy film first and a zombie film second, so we really focused on character over plot, knowing that the comedy would come from the interactions and responses to the situations that we put our characters through. I always knew that the movie would have basically no “scares” or true horror moments, and that was the concept from the beginning: how do blue-collar funny Aussie blokes react to being in a situation as horrific as a zombie apocalypse. The answer we came up with was that they sit around, talk shit, drink beer, play cricket and try to forget about their impending doom. 3. Aside from being a writer and director, you’re also a musician. How much influence do your musical tastes have on your film-making? I think it gives me a heightened sense of pace and rhythm, particularly with editing and joke timing. I wrote all the music to the film with my best friend (and band-mate) Morgan Quinn, and we got to use music in totally different ways to the way we do with our band Pleased to Jive You. Suddenly we’re writing pieces to help tension, or undercurrent emotional beats, or even to help jokes hit. It was really fun writing music which is different to our usual funk-rock-pop-hip-hop hybrid stuff. 4. You had some highly respected comedians and comedy actors in the cast of Me and My Mates vs the Zombie Apocalypse. What’s it like working with such a broad array of successful comedic talent? I really enjoyed it and would love to work with more comedians. They’re interesting people, because they spend most of their time analysing the world and communicating its odd intricacies, so they’re very introspective but they also tell the most hilarious and gripping stories. Because they come from a live performance background, they’re all great at understanding audiences, they have comedic timing down and they really get what you’re going for with a joke straight away. They can also really act their asses off. I was surprised at how well they could all learn lines and add new bits as soon as I’d suggest them. But it makes sense when you know their history: Greg Fleet studied at NIDA, Australia’s premiere acting school. Jim Jefferies just came off starring in his own TV show LEGIT. And Alex Williamson has really perfected his comedic acting through making hundreds of great, short little YouTube, Facebook and Instagram videos.
5. What makes a great film for you? What qualities do you look for in a movie? Which films would you cite as the ones that, for you, are outstanding classics? I really do like a bit of everything, but I primarily love seeing stuff I haven’t seen before. I love twists on conventions and flipping tropes on their head. And I also love filmmakers who take chances and even though they’re rich and successful and could easily keep making the same film over and over, or take paychecks doing studio films they don’t care about, they keep taking risks and generating their own work. I really admire people like Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, James Wan and Kevin Smith. I’m sure their influences bled through me on the making of ME AND MY MATES VS THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. 6. You’ve worked as a writer, producer, director, editor, composer, cameraman, to name just a few of the roles you’ve taken. How has the broad scope of knowledge you’ve gained from these different roles impacted on the way you approach film-making? I think that it stems from the necessity of making your own stuff when you first get into film. As a kid, when you get a camera and a bunch of friends together, you don’t really think about the specific jobs, you just get out there and come up with ideas, shoot them, edit them, put music underneath. After a while, you realise that each one of these is a specific job you can specialise in. On smaller projects, I’ll do a lot more of the jobs myself, but on a big project like this, I love working with people who I know are better than me at each job. I know Morgan’s a musical and production genius, so I liked to give him the music responsibility while I sit next to him and help come up with ideas, grabbing a guitar if I needed to. Same as editing, I normally edit my own stuff, but I worked with an editor for the first time and it meant that I could focus on production while he logged all the footage and started assembling scenes, then after production I sat next to him and we cut the movie together for months. If I hadn’t edited my own things before, I wouldn’t have developed my taste of rhythm or pace and it also meant that I could jump on the avid and move frames to help illustrate my vision.
7. What do audiences want? It really depends on the genre. I’ve learned a lot from ME AND MY MATES, especially about audience expectation. They want the promise of the premise. If you give them a genre film, you better show respect to the other great works of that genre, and give them what they expect. If it’s a zombie film, they want gore and creative kills. If you make a zombie film and don’t blow up some zombie heads, audiences will turn on you! If it’s a comedy, there has to be consistent laughs. It’s been very interesting to see the amount of horror blogs and reviewers that have watched the movie, because there just isn’t that same kind of fan out there for generic comedy films. We’ve been seen by many people who would never care about a low budget Aussie comedy, but because there’s zombies involved, fans are suddenly interested. If we ever did a sequel, I would work hard to satisfy the audiences expectations. 8. What’s the next project we can expect to see from you? I’ve got some half hour comedy scripts I’d love to make and I’m developing a couple of new features at the moment, neither of which are comedies. One’s a suburban horror, in the same vein as THE BABADOOK. The other is an indie-sci-fi-thriller that I’m really excited to crack. Here’s the basic pitch: In a world where aging is cured and people can be regenerated from a baby, a tenacious man must traverse a dark societal underbelly with his 6 year old son-father to find his long-lost sister who could now be any age from 7-40. I’m also working on a new record with Pleased to Jive You and a collection of original radio sitcoms that I’ve been writing, directing and performing in. They’re these little 10 minute comedy anthology episodes that we’re probably going to put out on Soundcloud and iTunes for free. We’re still figuring it all out, but it will be under the name “Quippurb” and we’ll have the first five episodes out before the end of the year. Thanks so much for the questions, it’s been great talking to you. •
Huge Thanks to Declan for his time and for some amazing behind the scenes photos!
Article by Ashley Lister
Part 3 of Zombie Evolution By Baron Craze In 2005, the Godfather of the Living Dead, George A. Romero returned with Land of the Dead and gave an interesting look to a post zombie world, which emphasized the society structure of the haves versus have-nots. Meanwhile, present the zombie race has to becoming more independent, a suggested leader, rudimentary communication, usage of items which hinted to form a locked in mentality. He then released Diary of the Dead (2007) where the storyline had film students caught in the beginning of the rising dead, while filming a zombie flick, then lastly Survival of the Dead (2009) with survivors fighting and hoping for a cure to save their undead relatives. These movies truly serve as the best comparison to what he did 20-years ago, with reference to a gritty, selfish world, losing lives, family and hope, as to then where show desolate world, yet a glimmer of hope. Recalling that hope in Dawn and Day of the Dead, flying off to someplace for peace and safety, whether up into the clouds or a desert island paradise beach, none of it exists in the turmoil life now faced in his movies. The memories of simple lives, now turned upside down and inside out, ravaged by zombies, destroyed in apocalyptic manners, which some best describe as the horrors of world. The modern day zombie films of today exist in full throttle mode for the fans to enjoy, and while they still promote the goriest scenes, and scariest moments, comedy surprisingly enters into the fray more often. Although most of the films either originate from an original concept or borrow from the past with a little variation, many come from video games (Resident Evil series) and comic books (The Walking Dead TV series). While the concept of presenting voodoo spells to rise up the dead factor less into the mix, likely due to the changing behaviors and rational understanding of foreign religions, there now presents a scarier design in the form of viruses. In either case the past repeats in the modern era, only evolving into more horrendous spine tingling creations, and yet sometimes, more often than not, theyâ€™re quite silly thanks to the over usage of CGI and excessive poor acting. One thing is certain each generation continues to change the infection and adapts the zombie concept to fit their interactions into society.
In horror, zombies behave more like a creeping plague or a disease than singularly terrifying monsters like Dracula or the Wolfman. Zombies have no individual identity, but rather get their power from membership in a group. Killing one is an easier feat, but an army of the gut-munching eaters always proves highly dangerous. Modern day undead creatures survive on one principal: the need to feed, and are usually created by either a virus or an experiment, though sometimes a little occult tale enters into the fray just to add some diversion to the topic. The subgenre of zombies, like all subgenres in the horror genre never clearly disappear, the films might reduce themselves greatly, but they always come back from the dead after reinventing or resurrecting in some manner. This mainly occur thanks to the low budget films scattering the store shelves of video store with VHS tapes and then later DVDs. It wasn’t until 2000s that independent filmmakers really helped bring back the zombies. Each subgenre in horror contains rules, the slasher ones made famous by Scream (1996), and the same goes with the zombie movies. A bite, or scratch and sex with dead, and you’ll be a zombie; zombies are not cannibals; and killing zombies equals a head shot. Now variations exist more often in this realm, for example with cutting the infected limb off to stop the infection. Many of the films found began to return to the past and adapting the stories to fit the current trends in society, one where isolationism through technology started as a normal experience. Now the movies of before, use many social dynamics as the impact for the society undercurrent in the film, however today’s base them from terrorism to unheard viruses and vaccines, and distrusting authorities, governments, and outsiders. The reasoning actually benefits as society becomes more intelligent, not believing as much in superstitions, shifting the tone to paranoia delusions, and what-ifs. In addition, more movies and books use of the phrase ‘zombie apocalypse’, generating a greater impact, and yet subtle flashbacks to religion, more directly revelations, which some purists consider the other side of the same coin of superstitions. I spoke to a long time horror fan Ben, a veteran of WWII – pacific battles, (what is horror genre meaning to you) “I grew up when Universal dominated, their gothic stories, found in books, since then horror transcends reimage by a newer of crop of recruits, some learn from the past and improve while others are destined to repeat the failures. But today’s lacks the conviction to take the film to max point, it lies back, watered down, accepting what is given rather expecting more. (What he thought of the zombies) I saw a few once, and Hollywood has nothing on them [in japan after the bombs dropped], first one was a melted person and another gaunt, unhinged jaw, a skeleton hand reaching out…” (Ben fades out eyes grew distant.)” Upon hearing this reembrace of a real life memory one can honestly say that zombie apocalypse films have nothing on history itself.
Everyone enjoys reminiscing and recalling the moments of great and tragic events, whether it is historical, sport related or in this case entertaining, the current love interest in the subject of zombies likely to demise once again, and fade away to the dark side of the net. The zombie films enjoy an overwhelming abundance of popularity, their infection stretches through every facet of society, as briefly mentioned before book, comics, video games, television and of course movies, but carries over past that, into music and combining other genres. However, it transcends even further to White House correspondent dinners, the Center for Disease Control, though the Pentagon did run a scenario on it. Big name Manufactures enter into the mix, with one-offs of zombie prep vehicle such as Unimog or Sports mobile and even a Hyundai Zombie Survival Car, there is no way this can compare to the films or the horror fans of yesteryear as none of exist on this platform. When doomsday preppers have zombie prep weapons noted by Hornady, The Prepper Journal, Guns and Ammo and the countless sites involving zombie survival camps and mud runs, the entire marketing machine for the zombie films equally tapping into is fully unprecedented, for all previous generations. A side note, you know when a subgenre truly makes the impact crossing its own boundaries entering into the adult film industry, and they make a parody of your favorites become their versions. This only goes further to prove the point of the essence that zombies effecting into all forms of visual media. Some of the titles feature Porn of the Dead and Walking Dead, The: A Hardcore Parody, many others exist but one gets the meaning, one filmâ€™s title dating itself back the classic 1968 zombie film, does rhyme on words, let your mind go to the gutter for it. The zombie horror films will reinvent and combine with other genres to suit our constantly evolving population, as the culture associated with it grows continually. Some people argue horror films lack originality post 80s and however comparing todayâ€™s movie to the old classics, provides an interesting remembrance course, it is like, history destined to repeat itself. If one uses the subject of medicine, what happened years ago seems strange but acceptable to everyone, but new techniques and varying treatments always advance, first met with resistance from the elders. Yet, after some time, they all come to accept the new style and that the comparison works both ways in developing new terrorizing scares, jolts and alarming interest to the zombie world, and the hidden truths of the zombie virus. A bonus section: Although, many zombie films, created more in apocalypse and z-v manner after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, one film, often overlooked, is Bloodeaters (1980) (aka: Toxic Zombies) created by Charles Austin McCrann about a chemical aimed to destroy drug corps created zombies. While his movie lends no further input into the subject, the author through a fitting tribute to include him in this article. As he was the rights holder to the film, who died in the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center aside from being executive exterior, he was a film buff.
BY Gary Andrew Hindley Throughout the course of time, the horror genre has gone through many evolutions. We all speak of the basic knowledge and understanding of horror films, being ‘Horror 101’. But if we were to take a look at 101 films that have shaped the horror genre and its many sub genres as we know it? In order of release, we will attempt to answer that question… Here in part 1, we will look at what began our journey into the horror genre, with films covering the 1920’s and 1930’s Nosferatu - 1922 Director: F.W. Murnau Writers: Henrik Galeen (Screenplay), Bram Stoker (Based On The Novel: “Dracula”) Cast: Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Alexander Granach, Ruth Landshoff, Wolfgang Heinz Synopsis: The feared and mysterious Count Orlok summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to his castle in the mountains of Transylvania. Orlok is looking to buy a house near Hutter and his wife, Ellen. Upon Orlok revealing he is a vampire, Hutter tries to make good his escape the castle. Meanwhile Orlok’s servant, is making plans for his master to arrive at his new home.
Film Info: Nosferatu is from the era of silent film. It was filmed in 1921 and was eventually released in 1922. The film was an unauthorized adaptation of the legendary novel ‘Dracula’, written in 1897 by Bram Stoker, and various names were changed for the purpose of the fim. “Vampire” became “Nosferatu” and “Count Dracula” became “Count Orlok”. Phantom of The Opera - 1925 Directors: Rupert Julian Writer: Gaston Leroux (Screenplay and Novel) Cast: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Gibson Gowland Synopsis: A disfigured phantom haunts the Opera House in Paris. He is causing murder and mayhem in the hope that the woman that he loves may become a star. Film Info: The Phantom of the Opera is an American silent horror film released in 1925 and is an adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra. The film is famous for Lon Chaney’s make-up which he in fact did himself, and of his own design. His make-up did not feature in any promotional material until the film was released, so it had more of an effect on the audience.
Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde - 1931 Director: Rouben Mamoulian Writers: Samuel Hoffenstein (Screenplay), Percy Heath (Screenplay), Robert Louis Stevenson (Novel) Cast: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart Synopsis: Doctor Jekyll, is an upstanding member of society, in upper class Victorian London. An aspiring scientist, he wants to put to the test his hypothesis that within each human being, there is the ability to be good and be evil. Willingly, he becomes his first test subject and after drinking a potion, enables his dark side to run wild around the streets of London. His alter-ego calls himself Mr. Hyde. Film Info: The film is an adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The novel was released in 1886 by renowned writer Robert Louis Stevenson. March’s performance won him an Academy Award.
Frankenstein - 1931 Director: James Whale Writers: John L. Balderston, Mary Shelley (Novel) Cast: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff Synopsis: A scientist and his assistant dig up corpses. They plan to use the recently buried body parts to build the perfect man, and bring him to life using electricity. The only problem is that his assistant accidentally gives their creation, the brain of a crazed murderer. Film Info: A screen adaption of the immensely popular novel by the same name, it was equally as successful with audiences. The film gained so much success and notoriety, that Frankenstein became arguably the most iconic horror film in history.
Dracula - 1931 Director: Tod Browning Writer: Bram Stoker (Novel), Garrett Fort (Screenplay), Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston (Based On Play By) Cast: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan, Herbert Bunston, Frances Dade Synopsis: The mysterious Count Dracula hypnotises a British soldier into being a slave. The Count then travels to London and under the cover of the night, he starts hunting young women, sucking their blood and turning them into vampires. When he sets his sights on his next target, a vampire hunter is called upon to end Dracula’s lust for blood. Film Info: Dracula is one of the first films of its kind to be produced by Universal. The film itself is mostly based on the 1924 stage play by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, and loosely based on the novel by Bram Stoker. The screenwriter, at great length studied the silent film ‘Nosferatu’. There is a scene in Dracula that is identical to one in Nosferatu. Being that the scene is identical to that of its predecessor, it is written for the film and does not feature in Bram Stoker’s novel. Bela Lugosi’s performance is legendary, and made Dracula one of the most revered horror characters in history.
The Mummy – 1932 Director: Karl Freund Written By: John L. Balderston Cast: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron, Edward Van Sloan, Bramwell Fletcher, Noble Johnson, Kathryn Byro, Leonard Mudie, James Crane.
Freaks - 1932 Director: Tod Browning Writers: Clarence Aaron, Willis Goldbeck Cast: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates Synopsis: A trapeze artist of immense beauty earning a living in a circus, wants to get married to a wealthy, successful owner of a freak show. All seems to be going to plan until the owners deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance. Film Info: The original finished cut of the film was 90 minutes long. This was looked upon as being too shocking to be released. Many scenes had to be cut from the film, making it only 64 minutes long. The original film has been destroyed and no longer exists in any capacity. The characters were played by people who worked in carnivals as sideshow performers and had real deformities. Among the cast, were dwarf siblings that had no legs, and conjoined twin sisters.
Synopsis: Archaeologists discover the remains of a mummified prince from the times of Ancient Egypt. Along with the mummy, they find a written scroll. When the archaeologists read out the scroll, the mummy comes back to life and manages to escape. As years go by, he is searches Egypt for his lost love. Film Info: The Mummy, is once again produced by Universal Studios. The main inspiration behind the film, was from opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. Being an Egyptian horror film, the producers wanted to find a fictional novel to base the film around, like had done previously with Dracula and Frankenstein. With no written works available, the closest they could find was a short story written by Arthur Conan Doyle called ‘Rings of Thoth’. They also learn of another short story called Cagliostro. The story features a magician that is 3000 years old, and uses injections of nitrates to keep himself alive. The ideas from both of these stories were given to John L. Balderston to write the script. Balderston also featured in the writing of Frankenstein and Dracula. He once again cemented the character ‘The Mummy’, as legendary in all of cinematic history.
King Kong – 1933 Director: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack Writers: James Creelman (Screenplay), Ruth Rose (Screenplay), Edgar Wallace (Story) Cast: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher, Sam Hardy, Noble Johnson, Steve Clemente, James Flavin.
The Invisible Man – 1933 Director: James Whale Writers: R.C. Sherriff (Screenplay), H.G. Wells (Novel) Cast: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan, Henry Travers, Una O’Connor, Forrester Harvey, Dudley Digges, E. E. Clive Synopsis: A prosperous, highly intelligent scientist, comes across a way of being able to turn himself invisible. In doing this he turns himself into a psychotic murderer. Film Info: This was one first films of its kind to be produced by Universal Studios, and gave Claude Rains his first on screen appearance. The novel of the same name is adapted to film in such a fashion, that it has been described as ‘near perfect’. Although Claude Rains played ‘The Invisible Man’ in the film, he only appears on screen for a very short amount of time. This is because in the majority, he is wrapped in bandages and the only remnants of him, is his voice.
Bride of Frankenstein - 1935 Director: James Whale Writer: William Hurlbut Cast: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive Synopsis: Dr. Frankenstein, pushed on by a crazy scientist, builds his monster a mate. Film Info: Bride of Frankenstein is the first of many sequels to the original and now legendary Frankenstein released in 1931. The film is considered to be one of the many sequels in film history to be better than the original. The film has the same director as the original, and Frankenstein’s monster is once again played by Boris Karloff.
Synopsis: An actress and director travel to the foreign lands, to make a new film in the jungle. On their travels, they discover a mysterious island. On their arrival, the actress is captured and subsequently taken hostage by the island natives, who intend to use her as a sacrifice to an enormous ape, the ruler of their jungle, King Kong. The actress is rescued, Kong is captured and taken to New York to be put on display. It’s then that the real trouble begins. Film Info: King Kong is well known for its groundbreaking use of practical special effects, such as stop-motion animation, matte painting, rear projection and miniatures. The development and adaptation of these practical effects was long before the digital age. Many publications class King Kong as one the greatest horror film of all time and is ranked as the 20th greatest film of all time.
The Digital Dead Issue 10 is released with OVER 100 PAGES. In this issue we have excited even ourselves with some great interviews, from su...
Published on May 3, 2018
The Digital Dead Issue 10 is released with OVER 100 PAGES. In this issue we have excited even ourselves with some great interviews, from su...