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A “Desperate” Steven Seagal Missed Out on Starring in ‘Predator 2’

Steven Seagal

In a recent exclusive interview with me for Scream Magazine, Director Stephen Hopkins delved into all manner of anecdotes regarding 1990’s return of the Jautja, Predator 2 which turned 30 in November.

Despite not getting the greatest of receptions when it first came out, audiences both old and new have since come to appreciate the drastic change in tack that co-writers Jim and John Thomas went for once Hopkins was tapped to helm the project – so much so that it’s now considered a cult classic.

Whatever your opinion of the film, you really can’t fault it for being the perfect slice of mindless, mean-spirited sci-fi action it was always intended to be. Case in point: during the interview, Hopkins shared all kinds of anecdotes that no one had heard of in the three decades that have passed since then. Particular brow-raisers include a bizarre meeting with Steven Seagal who was “desperate” for the role that eventually went to Danny Glover and a break down of how the original script had intended to include Arnold Schwarzenegger teaming up with the police to take the Predator down in the streets of Los Angeles.

You can enjoy all of the above plus an assortment of other “candy” in the video below…



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Reviews

FrightFest 2019 Review: Daniel Isn’t Real

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Daniel Isn’t Real follows a troubled student called Luke (Miles Robbins) who looks to his childhood imaginary friend Daniel (Patrick Schwarzenegger) for support when his family life starts to hit the rocks.

Director Adam Egypt Mortimer has said that this is the film he wanted to make before 2015’s Some Kind of Hate and used his debut to help get Daniel Isn’t Real off the ground. In short, it was worth the wait. Daniel Isn’t Real is a strikingly creative piece of film-making and one that will linger long after the credits roll.

The film begins with Luke as a child, innocently playing games with Daniel and talking to him as a means of escaping his reality. It becomes clear that Daniel has been conjured out of Luke’s sadness and isolation. His mother suffers from mental health problems and his father seems to be at his wit’s end about what to do. Daniel becomes a welcome distraction for Luke, someone he can use to take his mind off what’s happening around him. However, when Daniel forces Luke to do something dark and dangerous, his mum decides it’s time to lock Daniel away for good.

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As the film progresses and time moves ahead to when Luke is a teenager, it is soon questioned whether Daniel is simply an innocent imaginary friend or something else entirely. Daniel becomes the devil on Luke’s shoulder, egging him to do think he’d usually not have the confidence to do; talking to smart and confident girls like Sasha Lane’s Cassie, for example.

Lane continues to solidify herself as a strong, young actor after her breakout performance in American Honey. She brings a complex character to Daniel Isn’t Real and is far more than a romantic interest. She represents an alternative way of life for young people, showing that choosing to live creatively and independently can be just as fulfilling as following an educational route. She becomes the devil on Luke’s should that he should be listening to; encouraging him to live more freely,  but without the danger associated with his invisible friend.

Much of the film’s intensity is thanks to the cast’s performances. As Daniel, Schwarzenegger is brilliant. He perfectly treads the line between charm and chilling, portraying a character that is easy to admire, but nonetheless terrifying. He is Luke’s dark side (May the force be with you! I wonder if that’s a purposeful joke in Daniel Isn’t Real…) and although, their opposing personalities seem a tad cliché and reminiscent of Tobey Maguire’s character change in Spider-Man 3, it can’t be denied that Schwarzenegger was born to play a role like this.

Daniel Isn't Real1Robbins is also excellently cast as the tortured Luke and he really gets the chance to get his teeth into this script. As Luke begins to question his own sanity, wondering if he has similar cerebral problems like his mum, it’s easy to empathise with his character. He figuratively and literally begins to fight his own demons as he realises that Daniel’s intentions are far more sinister than he could ever have imagined.

Like the films Hellraiser and Baskin, Daniel Isn’t Real is awash with a gorgeous, scary visuals and sharp editing that’ll give you nightmares on their own. While Daniel further infects Luke’s mind, increasingly more nightmarish visuals haunt the screen; Mortimer creates a world that wears its darkness brightly and isn’t afraid to go the extra mile to ensure his audience leave the film on-edge. The film is awash with dark imagery that may have come straight from hell itself and it is used to reinforce just how terrifying Daniel’s hold on Luke is.

Daniel Isn’t Real is an excellent achievement in horror-drama, using the fantastic to heighten a very real and grounded commentary on mental health and schizophrenia. It’s a haunting film, both thematically and visually, succeeding as an intelligent work of art, but also as a pure and simple horror film.

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Reviews

FrightFest 2018 Review – Upgrade

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Upgrade PosterGrey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) has to adapt to an exciting and terrifying new way of life when he is fused with a computer chip called Stem. The chip is planted in his brain and in one simple command it can control the entirety of Grey’s body, giving him the strength and power to do almost anything he wants.

From director Leigh Whannel, Upgrade is what you get when you let one of the creators of Saw and Death Sentence combine the two to create a dazzling fusion of futuristic, violent revenge. It’s equally as sophisticated as it is gloriously gory, showcasing a visual display that seems impossible on its measly $5 million budget. You’ll feel every punch and love every second, eager to see Grey put a grisly end to those who have wronged him. From its to its hypnotic and pulsing soundtrack to its unbelievable moments of exquisitely choreographed combat, Upgrade is an action-horror treat that you’ll want to watch immediately after you’ve seen it.

Grey is a self-proclaimed hater of technology, criticising self-driven cars and expressing a hatred of intelligent computers. Thus, he is the perfect man to be fused with the smallest, smartest computer of them all. He becomes a symbol for the clash of humanity and technology, where only one can win. The film is a warning for society’s future and what could happen if technology gets out of control. Sure, the potential of being a badass ninja (sort of) is the ultimate cool and almost worth the fall of life as we know it, but in Upgrade there is an important and familiar, underlying reminder that creating something bigger than yourself and playing god, will have dangerous repercussions.

Upgrade oozes a contagious confidence as it grips you by the throat, straps you in and takes you for a ride that you’ll never want to get off of. There are plenty of surprises and even if you’ve seen the trailers, you’ll be pleased to learn that there’s a lot more to this story than the marketing suggests. What ensues is a complete blast, a perfect combination of sci-fi horror and well-timed humour. The first scenes where Grey realises his new abilities are bone-crunching for his victims and a joy for us. Marshall-Green brilliantly and hilariously conveys a man who is confused and terrified, shocked and excited about his new life and the possibilities it has opened up.

Upgrade is one of the best films of the year and it would be criminal to miss it. It’s stylish as hell and an example of a film that can wear its inspirations on its sleeve and still succeed as an excellent addition to an overflowing genre.

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