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First Look at The Purge: Anarchy

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The film is not out until 2nd of July but Universal and Blumhouse Productions have already released the first teaser trailer for the upcoming sequel The Purge: Anarchy. Director James DeMonaco is returning to helm the film and set to star in the movie are Frank Grillo (End of Watch), Michael K. Williams (Robocop) and Carmen Ejogo (Alex Cross).

For those who haven’t seen the first movie, The Purge is set in a future America that has been wrecked by the economic crisis. As  a means of control and catharsis the American Government sanctioned an annual twelve-hour period of time called The Purge in which any and all criminal activity is legal. During the commencement of The Purge the police can’t be called, hospitals suspend help and murder is legal.

In The Purge: Anarchy the action has moved from the suburbs to the city and will feature a whole host of characters pitting struggling families, homeless people and gangsters against each other in a desperate fight for survival.

In the latest trailer Zach Gilford (The Last Stand) and Kiele Sanchez (A Perfect Getaway) find themselves vulnerable when their car breaks down on their way home in time to barricade themselves in their homes for the commencement of the annual purge. From the look of things it isn’t long before the pair find themselves hunted by those who actively hunt during the event.

The Purge: Anarchy will be in UK cinemas on 2nd July.

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InterviewsKiller Chords

Chords in Conversation: Writer/Director Blair Erickson Talks Banshee Chapter

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maxresdefaultJust as it gets harder to surprise audiences with new plot twists in thrillers, making sure we all jump out of our seats in a horror film also becomes more of a challenge with time. A film that certainly managed to overcome this problem was Banshee Chapter, rightfully earning the coveted Total Film ‘Scariest Movie Award’ at last year’s Film4 FrightFest. Produced by Zachary Quinto under Before the Door Pictures and loosely based on the H.P. Lovecraft short story ‘From Beyond’, Banshee Chapter is the feature debut of director Blair Erickson.

To celebrate the release of a film we said created an “overpowering sense of dread that never gives up momentum” we spoke to Blair all about his first foray as a feature film director, effective scare tactics and where he expects to take things from here.

This is your debut as both director and writer. Prior to this film you were creative Director for Omnicom’s high-tech interactive agency Millions of Us. When did the jump into the film business come? Was it something you’d always inspired to do or did you get a friendly push from people around you? I also understand you wrote and directed an online alternate reality live-action thriller based on the Terminator films and created a 3-D virtual world for the new Sony Playstation Home. Is this line of work where you see yourself in 10 years time or, given the success of Banshee Chapter, are you more inclined to jumping over to focus solely on film projects?

I think Millions of Us was a very cutting edge interactive agency and it let us play in a lot of new breakthrough spaces that most people never get to touch. We were making unusual and wild projects under the auspice of “brand engagement” but really it ended up being “how do we create something that nobody has ever seen using this technology.”

So we had stuff like building out an entire WWE storyline in the online community Gaia where we made it seem like the wrestlers were getting in a huge fight on the forum and forcing the users to take sides. We built out a lot of virtual world spaces in places like Playstation Home and Second Life. And then from there it wasn’t long before we were writing and filming live action web episodes for Fox‘s “Terminator” series and Dreamworks‘ film Monsters vs. Aliens.

At some point it kind of struck me, “why not try building your own story from scratch and see what you can do with that.” And as I’m writing it out I think I was still heavily influenced by the transmedia work which meant building a story full of secrets and questions. The best alternate reality works always blurred the line between “is this real or fiction” linking between real websites and completely fictional ones. It seemed intriguing to try that with a real film, where the audience would be provoked to ask questions and try to determine just how far down the rabbit hole the real conspiracy and real evidence lead.

So Banshee Chapter is said to be based on real documents, actual test subject testimony, and uncovered secrets about covert programmes run by the CIA. Firstly, how did you find out about MKULTRA and secondly, how on earth do you go about finding out what went on. I imagine you added a lot of detail to create this story and add all the elements of terror but how much of it is actually rooted in truth?

Most of my research came from just reading and watching documentaries about the project. It struck me how much incredible evidence there was supporting the truth but nobody in America was willing to bring down the hammer on the perpetrators of this horrible project.

Banshee Chapter in its pure form is a classic haunted house film, where the “house” is American society and the things going boo are our own cultural and conspiracy boogeymen we’ve tried to keep secret. It’s like this unstoppable entity that just kind of lurks inside our government, growing stronger and more dangerous till one day you hear that the NSA is spying on the entire population and nobody is in the position to stop them. Our story is of course fictional, but a whole lot of it was based on real stories I read and trying to weave them all together.

What’s fictional?

There is no HorizonJournal and there’s no Anne Roland journalist in real life.

What’s real?

There really was a program injecting unsuspecting Americans with experimental chemicals to try and hollow out their insides and create a puppet person to use as a weapon. There were many government research projects into the nature of hallucinogens where the scientists involved began to wonder if the chemical wasn’t connecting subjects to alternate dimensions. There was a patient in the MKULTRA program who was given many of these chemicals and went on to become a famous counter culture writer and unleash one of the program’s chemicals (LSD) on America, which triggered the counter culture movement. There really are unidentified numbers stations broadcasting on short wave bands. All of that stuff is real.

Oh and one other really obscure influence on the story was Philip Kramer, the bass guitarist for the acid rock band Iron Butterfly. After his stint as a musician he got a degree in aerospace engineering and claimed he had come up with some kind of faster-than-light communications formula. He vanished after driving into LAX and was not found for years till they discovered his skeletonized corpse in a van at the bottom of a canyon 4 years later.

Zachary Quinto_Banshee Chapter_BannerHow did Zachary Quinto and his production company, Before The Door Pictures, get involved as producers for the film? I know you went to the same University, Carnegie Mellon. After Margin Call and All is Lost they recently produced a found-footage romantic comedy called Breakup at a Wedding. Did their recent venture in the found-footage genre lead them to your film?

They just dug the script pretty much. We all knew each other from college and I think Carnegie Mellon folks have a certain geeky trust about the strange things we get interested in. Corey Moosa at Before the Door is kind of their main horror guy and he shared it with Neal and Zach and they dug it. I think they liked what we were trying to do, use horror as an intellectual vehicle to explore some of the weirder creepier aspects of our society and culture.

The found footage part was less interesting to us. It was a tool in the toolbox for playing with the archival parts of the story, basically anything that wasn’t happening in the main timeline, and pushing the audience into an immersion that you don’t usually get with flashbacks.

I understand that Zachary was away shooting most of the time but how much input did he and his colleagues, Neal Dodson and Corey Moosa bring to the table in terms of the script, shoot and finished product? Zachary has commented that you were very open to ideas in the post-production and editing process.

Yeah filmmaking is very much a collaborative process and for a lot of the post production we’d all discuss which parts of the movie we wanted to emphasize, what story lines we had to punch up, and when in the film we needed to ratchet up the intensity.

There were some plot lines that I think were interesting earlier on that we had to edit out for time and that comes from having a team like that, and my other two producers, Stephanie Riggs and Christian Arnold-Beutel to bounce edits and ideas off of. When you’re making a movie this weird and crazy, it certainly helps to have other smart brains to tell you when you’re getting it right and when you’ve gone too far.

I must say that the film certainly has some of the tensest, scariest moments I have seen in recent years. This is certainly a difficult challenge to pull off, particularly as this is your debut feature? How did you get your head around creating such a tense atmosphere and these jump-out-of-your-skin moments? Are there any particular films that you took ideas from to make them as effective as possible?

For me it’s just about imaging a scene in a movie that would make me feel as absolutely scared to watch as I could ever conceive and then trying to write it so the audience feels that same deep primal dread. My influences were everything from Adrian Lyne, Hideo Nakata, to David Lynch. I like the stuff that’s so deeply weird and creepy it makes you feel like it shouldn’t exist.

As we are well into the digital era what made you go for the more dated VHS look to the film? Would you say it plays a vital role in setting an eerier atmosphere?

BC10I knew that if the flashback and archival footage had a crisp clean modern look it would take the eeriness away and make it feel like just another film. Part of what hits us when we watch a film is realism or lack of. In the case of horror, when you really want to immerse people in fear, you have to pull away that psychological wall that lets them tell themselves “It’s only a movie.”

With this film, having all those sequences in Chamber 5 come through in black and white u-matic video tape helps remind audiences “this is not really just fiction, there really was something terrible that was done to people just like me in secret rooms by our own government.”

There is a clear trend for many directors to jump on the found footage horror bandwagon. It tends to be the case that these either come out perfectly such as VHS2 or REC or terribly bad with nothing in between. Obviously choosing to tackle a found footage film meant you were really going to need to pull out all the stops. Were you not concerned about this fact when you decided to take on this project, especially as it was your debut?

For me, it just felt like the appropriate tone for the story. For instance, there was actually originally a 12 minute test that my cinematographer Jeremy Obertone and I did where we shot an opening scene for the film with gorgeous lighting and a really beautiful film look. Guess what?

It was nowhere near as scary as just watching the same story play out on raw, grimy video. I think we could’ve made the same movie and it wouldn’t have terrified people nearly as much as the kind of mixed media, old film/found footage video/cinema verite style it employed.

Found footage technique is like country music and rap. Most people only remember the stuff that annoys them, but when it works in the hands of someone like Jay Z or Johnny Cash, it’s like no other style.

You provide some great comic relief with Ted Levine’s character, Blackburn. Was it always your intention to include some comedy between the scares and what made Levine the perfect man for this job?

BC08He was perfect because he could bring everything we needed for the character without having to be walked through it. There was almost a perfect Blackburn performance from the moment the cameras started rolling. He instantly got the fine line he had to walk between creepy and comedy to make that character bring such a wonderful strange energy to the story. Too far in either direction and it probably would’ve faltered. Levine is exactly the actor you want when you need to really push the limits of possible with a strange story like this.

And where are you hoping to go from here? Are you going to stick to horror films or are you looking to venture out and try something totally different in the near future?

The next film I’m directing, In Memory, which we’re currently in the process of putting together, is very, very, very different from this one in many ways.

It opens in Pittsburgh in the fall of 1996, when Jessica King, a passionate, creative college student, and her introspective companion, Daniel became more than close friends. As their lifelong friendship began blossoming into something deeper, Jess was brutally murdered. Daniel’s life was shattered. Almost two decades past, late one snowbound winter night, when he’s in his late thirties, Jess shows up again at Daniel’s home, appearing the same as she did the night she died. Together they will confront the hard truths of tragedy, unfinished lives, and how their journey together will end: as a love story or a horror story.

My incredibly talented friend and co-writer Shawn Depasquale helped immensely with the story and during the course of it we really pushed ourselves into some deep emotional places to reach a kind of truth that would resonate past the usual movie narrative bullshit. It’s a very emotional character driven story about tragedy and what it means to truly love another person. But there are still some terrifying moments in the tale and I think there are still scenes where the audience will be gripping their seat anxiously. But how the story ends though, I think will shock people, in a really good way.

Ultimately though, when it works, and I am supremely confident that this story will, the film will have reached a place that I’ve never seen a film reach before.

I can’t wait to share it with audiences.

We’d like to thank Blair for taking time to answer our questions and, having seen the film various times myself, we can’t recommend enough that you grab your copy of Banshee Chapter which is now available to order on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1fjtp2G and iTunes: http://bit.ly/KgxSVh.

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Chords in Conversation: Sadie Katz Talks House of Bad

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Recently actress Sadie Katz (Meaning of Violence & Chavez Cage of Glory) sat down with us to talk about horror film House of Bad. This film caused quite a stir last year in the horror community with its tale of three sisters and a suitcase full of stolen heroin hiding out in an old, and potentially haunted, family home impressed viewers both because of the tense atmosphere it created, and due to the impressive central three characters.

Here’s what Sadie had to say:

Jim Towns (Director) talked to us about how it was a really tight shoot on the set of House of Bad, did that timeframe pose any particular challenges for you, or was it quite easy to manage?

You know it’s really crazy, with big films you get to do sixty takes and when you do something like this you get three takes tops. And it’s very stressful, but in some ways it’s also cool because you’re riding this emotional momentum; you’re doing one scene where you’re playing a game and then Jim goes ‘OK Sadie can you give me tears? We’ve got like a minute’. It’s OK for the first few days and then one day we shot like a 17 hour day… Emotionally you just get really fucked up by it though, you do. You’re giving everything so it’s crazy, and you become this kind of raw, emotional basket case – which is really great to work from when you have a tight shoot.

How has your theatre work helped here? Does that demand for concentrated acting and for getting a take right on the first try on stage help you through this kind of situation?

Not every choice I made was perfect in the film but that’s kind of what it becomes when you have one try. There just isn’t time to do multiple takes of every scene when you have ten to twelve pages to do a day. So it’s just really intense like theatre.

I think of performing to the crew, if you can get the crew to like what you’re doing then it’s a really good feeling – if the crew are like ‘damn that was good’. When you’re shooting ten pages a day you only really have time to deal with the crew. Actors don’t get extra takes, they don’t get to forget their words, they just have to go.

Did you have to try and memorise all your lines before the shoot then, or were you always trying to memorise them the day before? How did you prepare for a day’s shoot?

I did try to have everything off book like a play. I mean we didn’t know the order, Jim Towns is super prepared but it’s weird when you shoot out of order. I’m sure that in editing they would probably tell you that I had to replace words and things.

When you can’t memorise something it’s either because it’s Shakespeare or because it’s a poorly written script. And you know House of Bad makes sense – the characters don’t do weird transitions or leaps. I get nervous about the tiny little scenes, with the one or two lines. Sometimes those are harder to remember than those you are carrying… I think it’s more pressure. I think that if I screw up this scene people are going to say ‘what an idiot she is’, but if I have a ton of dialogue then I think people are on my side. I get freaked out when I’m shooting because I want it to be so perfect. I think about it when I get home etc. I think it’s easier to memorise scenes like love scenes, they are easy; it’s very back and forth.

Yeah I suppose it helps having someone else to go off. You can work with them rather than handling a long stretch of dialogue on your own.

Yeah we didn’t really rehearse, you don’t end up rehearsing low budget movies because everybody is just busy you know? But what you do is carry your pages of the script and hide them underneath cushions and things, so the second they say cut you’re looking at your lines again whilst they’re setting up the lights etc. But the trick is knowing your lines well enough that when you say them they just flow out of your mouth and don’t feel like lines anymore. I’m lucky because all three of us are theatre trained. I had to be the stripper with a heart of gold, which is a lot more fun to play, Cheryl had to play coming off heroin so the whole shoot she had to be down and Heather was doing all of this crazy stuff, so I got to have a lot more fun I think.

Sadie Katz Shower

Did you find it difficult to act as sisters with the other two when you’re an only child? One of the strongest things about the film is that you all really do feel like sisters.

Yeah, well I’m glad that it felt like that. I felt like that. I read a book on birth order as Sirah is the middle child, which is really important as I think that motivates everything she does in this script. You know, when we had the table read I was really nervous, and I mean you’re nervous as a girl in LA anyway because the others are so beautiful and sometimes very competitive. But right away when we did our table reading I felt exactly how I was supposed to feel. I think what we did without telling one another was we immediately started relating to each other as the characters and it stayed like that throughout. It was a really fun experience, I don’t have sisters but my Mum comes from a family of twelve so I know what that looked like, and reading that book really helped a lot.

Do you think that Jim’s ability to write three dimensional women is something which particularly drew you to the role?

Yeah, you know I just got off another film called Meaning of Violence which was eighteen hour days for six days in a row. I love Greg (Director of Meaning of Violence) but I was just so tired and didn’t think I could do another indie film, and then I got this script from Jim Towns. You definitely work harder with indie films than you do on a film with a bigger budget but I wanted this so bad. And you know in low budget indie filmmaking you don’t get scripts that are like that, you just don’t. I actually auditioned for Teig, but in retrospect the way I would have played it wouldn’t have sustained it…

Were there any elements of Heather’s role that you would like to explore in the future?

I would love to play crazy, I think that it’s fun to play that when it’s contained and settled. I don’t normally get to play crazy that’s totally contained, but I have a lot of energy and I think that that would be fun to explore.
I just did a pilot for a cop show Streets of LA with Jaime Gomez and I got to play a cop, a detective, and that’s really cool because you’re given all this power and authority. As an actress when you’re crying all the time and vulnerable it really does filter into your life, so it’s cool to play a character that is fucking in charge and confident! So I think that’s something I would like to explore.

Aren’t you also playing a detective in Jim Town’s 13 girls?

Yeah we are still working on the funding but it’s such a brilliant script. It’s different from House of Bad in that it’s more demonic. It’s about a woman who just comes back to the police force after her partner, who’s also her lover, dies, and the first case she gets is these thirteen girls who commit suicide. That’s my wish for 2014 – that we get the funding. We did a couple of readings of it and I felt like my whole persona changed because of that.

Well when I talked about it with Jim he seemed really enthusiastic about it as well so fingers crossed it will actually get off the ground. You’ve written Scorned haven’t you? Could you tell us a little bit about it?

I’m really excited for it; I think it’s got to be one of the sexiest movies coming out. It stars AnnaLynne McCord, Billy Zane and Viva Bianca. Anchor Bay is distributing it and it comes out on Valentine’s Day. It’s about a girl actually called Sadie who’s boyfriend cheats on her with her best friend and she ends up luring them to a beach house and tortures them. Does very naughty things with them…
The whole thing is actually… I had a boyfriend cheat on me and it was the weirdest feeling for me, I was so enraged. When my writing partner and I started talking about it I said… ‘I feel that I could kill them’. That feeling I could understand it, you know? I mean I’ve never even hit anyone but I knew that feeling and then we just started talking about it. We thought we could do a Misery of sorts for young people. Misery meets Saw. I wanted women to see it and secretly understand, she’s crazy but you know…

Well best of luck with it, I hope it goes well!

Me too!

Do you find that acting informs your writing? Does your experience help shape it, or are they very separate?

You know what, I think my acting informs my life so I sometimes make choices that are interesting to me in real life and I think that informs the writing. In Scorned in particular most of the great stuff we wrote was written whilst just smoking, drinking and saying mean things to each other! Saying things like what if she decides to sizzle out his eyeballs?! We just sort of danced around the living room with ideas, constantly trying to one up each other.

I have one final question which I asked Jim as well, do you have any advice for our readers who are interested in jobs in the industry?

Oh yeah, don’t do it! If you really enjoy your life and wanted to be a normal person – run. But if that’s literally the only thing you care about… you don’t mind being broke and having your heart broken over and over, and if it’s your first love then I think you should just audition. Go to a junior college for cheap acting classes and take a class. I say to people if you’re coming to LA to act then you should self submit, forget getting an agent etc and just get out there and audition. But it takes like a good, they say 5-10 years… just do something else!

Thank you! That’s all the questions we have, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Thank you so much!

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Vertical Entertainment Snaps Up Psychological Thriller Mindscape

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Vertical Entertainment, the distribution company launched in 2012 by Richard Goldberg and Mitch Budin, has snatched up all North American rights to the hotly anticipated psychological-thriller Mindscape.

Mindscape features Sherlock and Welcome To The Punch’s Mark Strong as a man with the ability to enter peoples’ memories who takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled sixteen-year-old girl played by Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story) to determine whether she is a actualy a sociopath or a victim of trauma.

Due to be screened at the Berlin International Film Festival this year, Mindscape is the feature debut of director Jorge Dorado. He has previously worked as assistant director on Spanish films such as Almodovar’s Talk To Her and Del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone and has garnered much acclaim for his shorts including La Guerra. With such a track record we’re sure to be in for a nice surprise and the trailer below more than promises that.


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FeaturesKiller Chords

Frightfest Glasgow Preview: The Sacrament

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Between Thursday 27th February and Sunday 2nd March, Film4 FrightFest takes over the Glasgow Film Festival for its ninth year, offering a world of “gritty serial killers, stark staring horror, comic book thrills and spills, favourite maniacs, sci-fi delirium, doc shock and mind-bending mystery.” As we move closer to the festival we have selected a few titles from this year’s line-up that we can’t wait to watch. This week’s choice is The Sacrament.

The Sacrament is directed by Ti West and stars Amy Seimetz, Joe Swanson and AJ Bowen. The film was given its world premiere at the 2013 Venice Film Festival and has since received mixed reviews from audiences and critics alike.

A mockumentary that is loosely based on real life events, The Sacrament follows Patrick (Kentucker Audley), a fashion photographer who goes to visit his sister who has been living at Eden Parish, the commune she’s been living at since she left her drug rehabilitation program. Along with his two co-workers Sam (AJ Bowen) and Jake (Joe Swanberg), Patrick is met by his sister and begins to interview Eden Parish’s residents only to later discover that there is something sinister going on behind the scenes of the commune.

Known for his slow-burner style of storytelling, Ti West is no stranger to horror and with such films as The House of the Devil and The Inkeepers, West has become one of the most hot commodities within the genre today. Ti West will be attending the festival and will be interviewed on stage by Frightfest’s very own Allen Jones in a special event taking place on Thursday 27th February.

Here are a few of the comments made about the film:

“This slow-burning investigation of unseemly goings-on at a rural Christian commune is frightening in any genre language.” – Variety

“It is a unique and startling tale that will haunt you for days after you’ve finished it, and boy does it whet your appetite for more from Mr West.” – HorrorTalk

“Might very well be West’s finest work to date.” – Bloody Disgusting

The Sacrament will be given its Scottish Premiere on Friday 28th February at 21:15 in the GFT.

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Anarchy Reins in The Purge 2

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On 2nd of July, Universal and Blumhouse Productions‘ upcoming sequel to last years The Purge will be released in cinemas across the UK. Director James DeMonaco is returning to direct the film and set to star in the movie are Zach Gilford (The Last Stand), Frank Grillo (End of Watch), Michael K. Williams (Robocop), Carmen Ejogo (Alex Cross) and Kiele Sanchez (Lost).

For those who haven’t seen the first movie, The Purge is set in a future America that has been wrecked by the economic crisis. As  a means of control and catharsis the American Government sanctioned an annual twelve-hour period of time called The Purge in which any and all criminal activity is legal. During the commencement of The Purge the police can’t be called, hospitals suspend help and murder is legal.

The first movie had the star power of Ethan Hawke (Sinister) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and offered a fascinating concept. However, it was criticised for not showing the wider brutal nature of the annual purge in favour of following the story of one family.

In the sequel which has been titled The Purge: Anarchy it appears that the team behind the upcoming film have listened to fans and have decided to set the story in a city rather than in surburbia and is rumoured to follow not just one family but a whole host of characters pitting struggling families, homeless people and gangsters against each other and those who actively hunt during The Purge.

The Purge: Anarchy will be in UK cinemas on 2nd July and a new teaser trailer will be arriving very soon.

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Home is Where the Horror is for DiCaprio and Blumhouse

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Leading actor and star Leonardo DiCaprio has decided to put his production company’s name, Appian Way Productions to Jason Blum’s new horror titled Home.

Appian Way has already lent itself to some outstanding projects including Scorese’s latest, The World of Wall Street, Out of the Furnace and Red Riding Hood only adding success to Blumhouse productions. Even though most of their projects have been low-budget and independent, Blum and his production company have certainly made a name for themselves over the last couple of years.

You may recognise their logo from such films as the recent Insidious, the influential Paranormal Activity and the home invasion that was The Purge. Now with a name such as Leo’s (not to mention the cash), plus Universal distributing this new project, Blumhouse productions must be feeling pretty happy with themselves right now.

No official news as of yet, but what has been revealed is that it’s keeping close to the companies horror roots about a man who suspects the mansion he inherited from his parents is haunted. Certainly sounds Conjuring/Insidious style creepy so there are sure to be some jumps in there!

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Frightfest Glasgow Preview: Almost Human

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Between Thursday 27th February and Sunday 2nd March, Film4 FrightFest takes over the Glasgow Film Festival for its ninth year, offering a world of “gritty serial killers, stark staring horror, comic book thrills and spills, favourite maniacs, sci-fi delirium, doc shock and mind-bending mystery.” As we move closer to the festival we have selected our favourite films from this year’s line-up that we can’t wait to watch. This week we’re want to tell you all about Almost Human.

In 2011, Joe Begos and his collaborative partner Josh Ethier made a short film about a werewolf attack called Bad Moon Rising. They took the short to Frightfest in the same year and received so much praise that it inspired them to make a feature. So, after two years of writing, planning and shooting Almost Human was born and was given its world premiere as part of the Midnight Madness section of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Pitched as a mix between Fire in the Sky and the Terminator, Almost Human tells the story of Mark Fisher (played by Josh Ethier) who is taken in a flash of blue light leaving his best friend Seth (Graham Skipper) and his girlfriend Jen (Vanessa Leigh) behind to pick up the pieces. So two years later, when Mark mysteriously returns, he leaves a string of murders in his wake and it’s up to Seth to stop him.

We were lucky enough to watch the film as it was the secret film for Celluloid Screams horror festival in Sheffield last October and we can tell you for certain that, as his feature debut, Begos does a fantastic job with Almost Human. Directing and handling the cinematography, he has crafted a horror sci-fi hybrid that operates as one part invasion thriller and one part slasher movie. Echoing such films as The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the film is a love letter to ’80s horror and is rich with low-budget effects that are fun to watch and add to the overall enjoyment of the film.

The film will be given its Scottish Premiere on Saturday 1st March at 21:00 at the GFT in Glasgow.

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Be sure to check out the first five minutes of the films over at Fear the Crypt.
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Chords in Conversation: Dan Palmer talks STALLED

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Stuck in a toilet cubicle whilst tying to stay alive during a zombie invasion? Yep – you got it. This is the latest horror comedy from team Dan Palmer and Christian James entitled STALLED.

After being flushed with praise from the critics and wiping the floor clean at last year’s FrightFest, STALLED is another indie Brit success story. Following a maintenance technician called out to fix something in the ladies bathroom, people suddenly take to eating each other with the best way to keep safe being locked behind the toilet door.

The Chords had the pleasure of talking to the writer and star of STALLED, Dan Palmer and here is what he shouted to us from behind the cubicle door.

So firstly tell us a bit about yourself Dan and how you got into acting/scriptwriting?

I went to a,sort of, film school in Bournemouth in southern England. It was one of the most respected in the country so I felt pretty lucky to get in. That honour slowly dissipated over the months as the course revealed itself to be a bit all over the place. One guy turned up for the first month and came in for the last and recieved the same qualifications as the hardest working student there! Due to my frustations with the curriculum I started making my own stuff. I was one of the few people there that didn’t want to direct so, as a writer/performer, I was like a kid in a candy store when it came to finding folks to shoot my terrible scripts. I soon migrated towards Christian James, who ultimately directed STALLED. We were the two youngest students there by quite a margin ..we also had similar tastes in film and a similiar disinterest in hard work.

So you not only star in STALLED but wrote the script as well. How did you initially come up with the whole idea?

There are a number of different things that led me to the idea but one of them, and I recently told this story for the first time at The Prince Charles Cinema Q&A, was back when I was a kid doing work experience for the local newspaper. I simply couldn’t find the toilets and left it so long it seemed silly to ask anyone. So, I opted to run down to the local Wimpy (ask your grandad, kids). One afternoon I was sat on the loo, doing what comes naturally ..or doesn’t if you had been eating at Wimpy, when the door started rattling. Someone wanted in! Being English I politely coughed, but the rattling persisted. Eventually it stopped so I thought I was safe, then after a moment the door was wrenched open and the lock flew from it’s fixing!

A fifteen year old me was standing there with my pants down with an old man just staring at me! I made a hasty exit. Needless to say that has always stayed with me and an element of that is in the script. My thinking was, aside from the zombie threat, if we tap into the universal awkwardness and fear of using a public restroom it might just work.

Well it certainly worked for FrightFest didn’t it? That must have been quite a boost for your team considering the response the film got.

Ryan-Reynolds-confusedYeah, that was pretty crazy. Just being accepted and having our UK Premiere at Leicester Square would have been good enough, but the fact that we were given a third screening due to high demand and that we were hailed as one of the best films of the festival was nuts. Our film had one of the lowest budgets too. I mean, RIPD screened the same day and absolutely tanked – STALLED‘s entire budget wouldn’t have paid for Ryan Reynolds’ hairspray expenses.

Off the bat – what would be the first thing you would do in a Zombie Apocalypse?

Look for Emma Stone.

The world seemed to go vampire mad over the last year and now it’s flesh-eating zombies that are taking over. Was it your intention to play on the viewer’s new found fascination with these creatures?

Never. Trying to get a low-budget movie off the ground takes so long it makes no sense to chase trends as by the time the public see it that fad is normally long gone. I have always wanted to make a zombie film since seeing Day of the Dead as a twelve year old so the current popularity was neither a driving factor nor a deterrent.

PS: I have a vampire script.

Even though this is about zombies it is at the end of the day a horror comedy. Care to share with us what the funniest scene was that you filmed?

It was a fifteen day shoot with no budget in a toilet cubicle built inside a freezing cold barn in the middle of November …in which I am in every scene. Nothing funny to report!

How would you say your film stands above the countless other horror comedy films out there? Say Sean of the Dead or Severance for example?

I think STALLED is its own beast. People understandably think that the film will be all poo jokes when they hear the concept or watch the trailer, but once they see it they seem to be quite surprised by what the team have come up with. This may sound insane but the film probably has more in common with Her than Shaun of the Dead.

Anything already on the cards for your next project?

Well, I have a number of projects ready to go but frustratingly nothing is moving at the moment. With the great response we have had with STALLED I would have hoped we would already be in the midst of a juicy new adventure. Alas, not. But fingers crossed and all that.

1615097_10153749311555398_1614317957_nAnd finally, can you let everyone know where they can grab a copy of STALLED?

Gladly! STALLED will be available in the UK on both BluRay and DVD from February 17th. You’ll be able to grab a copy from ASDA or you can pre-order at Amazon etcetera.

In the States it is already available on iTunes and VOD and the DVD hits there March 4th. There are lots of special features so it’s well worth checking out if you are into the movie-making process, zombies ..or toilets.

Firstly we would like to thank Dan for taking the time to talking to us and what great answers he gave too. I’ll be sure to warn Emma Stone he may be coming for her should a zombie outbreak unfold! Grab your copy of this zombie infested flick from here and sit back and enjoy. For now though we’ll leave you with a trailer you can watch on your phone when you go for a quick toilet break. Just don’t drop it down the pan…


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American Mary’s Tristan Risk is Love Sick

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Not too long ago we covered Todd E Freeman’s M is for Marriage, an entry to the 26th director competition to win a place in the ABCS of Death 2 which also served as a concept piece for his upcoming film Love Sick. Today there has been further developments as Freeman has announced that the American Mary scene-stealer Tristan Risk has been cast as the female lead in the upcoming feature for Polluted Pictures.

“I saw her mind blowing performance in American Mary and thought immediately that I wanted to work with her on Love Sick,” says Writer / Director Todd Freeman.  “While talking with her about the script and the character of Rebecca, it became even more obvious that it was a perfect marriage of actor to material.  I saw the character of Rebecca on the (Skype) screen for the first time and, quite honestly, it was electric.  I can’t wait for people to see her dissolve into this role.  It’s a goopy mess of a movie and Tristan is front and center for the entire run time.  Genre fans have a lot to look forward to.”

The film tells the story of a couple whom, after much thought, have decided to part ways. However, after their separation they realise how hard it is to disconnect from one another as the pain of their lies and betryal begin to manifest physically within both of them and to the others they have become involved with.

Risk says, “After watching the proof of concept piece [M is for Marriage] and reading the feature script, I became really excited.  I love a good slasher horror but Love Sick is different:  It has the ability to haunt you well after you’ve seen it.  It leaves you questioning your own relationships, makes you wonder how well you know those closest to you, and what horrors lay just beneath the surface.”

We here at Cinema Chords are not only excited about this news but we strongly recommend that you check out Freeman’s short M is for Marriage and see what the world of Love Sick has to offer you.

The film is currently still in development and will move toward production in late spring.


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Exquisite Fear in Kreuger: A Walk Through Elm Street

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The excellent Blinky Productions are back with the third installment of their Nightmare on Elms Street fan films.

I urge you not to be put off by fact that these are fan films as this entry throws some well yearned for light on the background of the Springwood Slasher before he became the Dream Demon.

Filmmaker Chris R. Notarile‘s third entry in the saga, entitled Kreuger: A Walk Through Elm Street has been edited in a particular fashion to reflect his fragmented way of thinking, exploring his “hunger” as he eyes his prey – the children of Springwood. Whilst the acting is a touch on the mahogany side the short more than makes up for this by brilliantly capturing the feeling of being back in the original nightmare, something that the eerie, almost pitch perfect soundtrack more than ameliorates.

If you missed me harping on about how good the previous two entries were well you are in for a treat as we have included all three for you below. Is it just me or are we in need of an all new Nightmare feature film which does away entirely with the supernatural in favour of portraying how much of a monster Kreuger was before the parents condemned him to their children’s nightmares?




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2014 Glasgow FrightFest Line-up Announced

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FrightFestGlasgow2014-posterHorror heads north between Thursday 27th February to Sunday 2nd March when Film4 FrightFest takes over the Glasgow Film Festival for its ninth year offering a world of “gritty serial killers, stark staring horror, comic book thrills and spills, favourite maniacs, sci-fi delirium, doc shock and mind-bending mystery.”

The festival line up last year included such titles like The Lords of Salem, The Bay, ABCs of Death and the excellent vampire flick Byzantium. So what will this year bring? Well the organisers have finally released the full line-up for this year’s festival and we’re here to tell you a little bit about what is going to be on offer.

2014 Film4 FrightFest Glasgow will launch on Thursday 27th February with a special presentation hosted by FrightFest’s Alan Jones who will be talking to Director Ti West about his film The Sacrament which will take in GFT Screen 2.

Further festival highlights will include the world premier of Video Nasties: Draconian Days and The Scribbler, the UK premier of Proxy and Wolf Creek 2, and the festival will also see the Scottish Premiere of Savaged, Almost Human and The Sacrament.

Guests this year will include Ti West (The Sacrament), Director Jake West and Producer Marc Morris (Video Nasties: Draconian Days), Director John Suits (The Scribbler), Director Jordan Barker (Torment) and Director Zack Parker (Proxy) so you can be guaranteed that there will be plenty of Q&As and exclusives on offer.

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Here is the full schedule:

Thursday 27th Feb – GFT, Screen 2

21:00 In Conversation with Ti West (special event)

Friday 28th Feb – GFT, Screen 1

13:00 Savaged (Scottish Premiere)
15:40 Proxy (UK Premiere)
18:45 Wolf Creek 2 (UK Premiere)
21:15 The Sacrament (Scottish Premiere)
23:30 Afflicted (UK Premiere)

Sat 1st March – GFT, Screen 1

11:00 Video Nasties: Draconian Days (World Premier)
13:30 The Scribbler (World Premiere)
16:00 Torment (European Premiere)
18:30 Mindscape (UK Premier)
21:00 Almost Human (Scottish Premier)
23:15 Killers (UK Premier)

Sun 2nd March – Cineworld, Renfrew St, Screen 7 (repeat screenings)

12:00 Video Nasties: Draconian Days
14:00 Almost Human
16:00 Wolf Creek 2
18:30 The Sacrament
21:00 Killers

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So with eleven films playing over three days across two venues its certain that this years festival will be lots of fun for genre enthusiasts. We’ll be there to capture every blood soaked minute but if you want to get your ticket you can do so by calling +44 (0)141 332 6535 or you can buy online when tickets go on sale Friday 24th January.


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