Blu-ray Review “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Actors: Zachary Quinto, James Cromwell, Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe, Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy
Directors: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Bradley Buecker, Craig Zisk, David Semel, Jeremy Podeswa
Number of discs: 3
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Run Time: 572 minutes

Season: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

After the first season of “American Horror Story”, it became one of my favorite shows on television. I was blown away with what they did after the first season and was dying to see what they had planned next. “American Horror Story: Asylum” started off decent but lost focus very quickly. The various plots ranged from focusing on the madness of the asylum to aliens, serial killers and even Nazi’s. Quite frankly it was a little too much.  The first season focused on ghosts and it worked so well and even the third season is just focusing on witches. I think they wanted to deliver a bigger show and it got lost in its ambition.

Official Premise: Step inside a madhouse of horror and experience the chilling new incarnation of TV’s most daringly provocative series. The sins of the past haunt the present at the notorious Briarcliff home for the criminally insane, ruled with an iron fist by Sister Jude. Forbidden desire and terrifying evil lurk around every corner…from alien abduction to demonic possession to a skin-wearing psychopath known as Bloody Face.

Despite the season being amazing or not, the show does pack a stellar cast including Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, James Cromwell, Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe, Sarah Paulson and Frances Conroy.  Ensemble is really want this group of actors really are. They all come together and makes this show working watching just for them.  I still have a lot of faith in this show since I think they are going to bounce back with the third season. I just felt that they tried to focus on too many themes that this season didn’t get a chance to deliver one solid story, instead a few decent but not amazing ones.

In terms of the release itself, like the first season, Fox delivered an impressive release, even though I would have loved to see an Ultraviolet digital copy included. This is becoming a trend now with TV shows that are being released on Blu-ray and I think that Fox should get on that bandwagon as well. The 1080p transfers are sharp and work very well with the creepy off-centered look for this season.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 comes together as well and packs a nice punch.

In terms of special features, like the season I was left wanting much more. There are a few brief deleted scenes spread out over disc two and three. There is a short interview featuring an orderly talking about Bloody case called “The Orderly”. “What Is American Horror Story: Asylum?” is a 20-minute behind-the-scene look on the season with interviews. “Welcome to Briarcliff Manor” dives into what it took to make the asylum. Lastly “The Creatures” talks about the season’s make-up and prosthetics effects.

Naomi Grossman talks about her role of Pepper in “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Naomi Grossman played the role of Pepper in “American Horror Story: Asylum”.  She completely transformed for her role in the show.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Naomi about her role in “American Horror Story: Asylum” and her highlight from the show.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your audition for the role of Pepper in “American Horror Story: Asylum”?
Naomi Grossman: They didn’t let on as to who or what the character was… I just knew she was petite, given that I was one of the few non-little people in the waiting room (and well, I’m only 5′). There were two parts to the audition. First was an improv. They gave us a ball, and asked us to persuade the casting director to play with us, like a child. Now, in retrospect, we know that was early Pepper. Then, we did one of Jessica Lange’s monologues from Season One. Which obviously showcased the later, evolved Pepper. But none of this made sense to us at the time. I mean, why read scenes that had already been shot, much less by the star herself? But now we know they just wanted to see if we had range.

MG: Take us through your transformation to become Pepper?
NG: I went in for a good seven or so preliminary makeup-meetings. First, before I was even cast, they took a bunch of pictures of me, which they manipulated to see how I would look as the character. That, and of course Schlitzie from the 1930’s, were their models. Then they made casts of my head and hands– I had to sit very still while they poured silicone over me, which hardened and would later be cut out to make my various prosthetic pieces. There was a specialist brought in to punch in the hair for the eyebrows and arms, and another to create the teeth. I met with an optometrist to fit me for contact lenses. Once all these pieces were in place, they put them together in an initial makeup test. At first, they covered my hair with a bald cap. It looked fine for my money, but these guys are consummate professionals. They (and the camera) see things we non-makeup folks can’t. So it was decided that they would shave my head– which made their job each morning much easier. Not that they had an easy job! Every day they applied the various prosthetic pieces one-by-one with adhesive, then painted them with an airbrush. Then I’d go to hair to get my pony curled, and to my trailer to get into wardrobe. But this was just my physical transformation– becoming Pepper as an actress was a whole other process.

MG: At what point did you find out what the role entailed in terms of the look?
NG: The day I was cast. I went in for my initial makeup meeting and they showed me the pictures of me that they’d manipulated. They told me I would look like this “Freaks” character named Schlitzie, who from that point forward, I watched non-stop.

MG: What research, if any, did you do to get into character psyche?
NG: Obviously, watching “Freaks” was pivotal. I read a lot about microcephaly. I’d practice, emulating Schlitzie’s movements and expressions alone in my apartment. I worked with a coach, with whom I shaped a bit of a back story. Because even though Pepper didn’t say much at first, she needed to be a full character, with a past and dreams and needs like any other. And of course, I wanted to be sensitive since this is a real condition… I was deathly afraid of hate-mail. Especially given my comedy background where we’re encouraged to make fun. But this was obviously not the place.

MG: How was it working with the musical number in the episode “Name Game”?
NG: That was a blast. I was truly in my element. I remember the AD over a microphone saying, “Everyone can go bigger except Pepper.” There were a ton of us packed in that common room, dancing seemingly nonstop, while “The Name Game” played on a loop. We shot top to bottom, the entire song at a time. There was minimal blocking for the principles, and cameras on cranes swirling around. I remember worrying how (with my one working eyeball) I’d navigate through all those dancing extras, without bumping into a big, expensive, moving camera or worse yet, Jessica Lange. I danced up a sweat in that sweater and fat suit, so the makeup people were constantly running out to poke and fan me between takes. Needless to say, I was sore the next day– I hadn’t spent the day crouched over like that since Pepper went pee!

MG: Are you shocked with the fans reaction to your character?
NG: Of course. There’s just no way to anticipate these things. You don’t take a little co-star or guest-star part expecting to be tattooed on people’s limbs! Or made into street art, promoting you as President! I knew it was a cool character, but the cast was star-studded– who’s going to pay attention to me when there’s Chloe Sevigny and Marc Consuelos and Adam Levine? For all I knew I was just one of many pinheads. It wasn’t until my first day on set that I was able to look around and see that I was, in fact, the craziest one in the asylum.

MG: Looking back on the season, do you have a highlight?
NG: All of it. From the moment I was cast, to the season’s end– it was one big highlight. Having zero expectations. Then suddenly, becoming my own internet meme, and taking over Tumblr. Driving by the “Pepper for President” posters around town. Seeing my face tattooed on a fan’s leg and chiseled into pint glasses. Making front page of the “Huff Po,” and “Best of 2012” by Entertainment Weekly. Watching my IMDb star meter shoot from 93K to 3K, then 3K to 300, settling somewhere between Catherine Zeta Jones and J-Lo. Stepping onto the red carpet and feeling those cameras flash. Hearing a fan shout, “We love you, pinhead” from the audience at Paly Fest. Getting my very own chair. Being affiliated with such a high-profile show, nominated for 17 Emmys! Working so intimately with powerhouses like Jessica Lange and James Cromwell. Having such a fun, over-the-top character to play… then watching her evolve, basically getting two roles in one, as well as the chance to really use my acting chops. Singing and dancing and delivering babies and monologues. Never having to do my hair again. From the superficial to the profound, it was all a highlight.

MG: Since Ryan Murphy is good with returning actors, any word about season three?
NG: No word. But even at the height of the Peppermania, I never knew if or when I’d be back. We pinheads are used to being clueless!

Lily Rabe reflects on her devilish role in "American Horror Story: Asylum"

Lily Rabe is known best for her role in FX’s series “American Horror Story”. In the first season she played the character Nora Montgomery and in the second she played the devil-possessed nun, Sister Mary Eunice. As the show approaches the end of its second season, Lily took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about her character and her fate at the end of the season.

Mike Gencarelli: What did you find the most difficult part of your role this season?
Lily Rabe: Well, you know, I think some of the murders having sort of in those moments where she was just absolutely sort of in her completely taken over by the devil and throwing these actors around and slitting their throats and stabbing them ruthlessly and all of that sort of, you know I’ve been the victim a lot, so I’ve often played the person who’s getting raped or murdered or abused. And so to actually be raping and murdering and abusing people is a whole different kind of challenge and one that it was very difficult at times and sometimes I would sort of go home from work and just kind of stare at the wall for a couple of hours. But I can’t complain, because easily if whatever kind of knocks you out working is the kind of work that I want to be doing because it’s always those challenges that are the most exciting and the things I hope to get to keep doing in my work.

MG: How did you approach your role because I feel that the combination of comedy and horror and I’m wondering if the director somehow guided you on how to play the devil in your character?
LR: Yes, you know the truth is the way that I approached it really was to figure out before we started shooting the most important thing to me was to really figure out who Sister Mary Eunice was and not really worry about the possession or the devil because to me so much of what a possession is is specific to the person. So that to play the sort of dark side or underbelly of someone or their sort of shadow taking over it’s really about knowing who that person is before that event has taken place of this dark thing sort of taking over. So it was more about figuring out who she really was through and through.

MG: There are many different storylines this season, was there any one that was your favorite?
LR: You know my storyline with Jessica (Lange) was perhaps the most powerful to me because I think it’s sort of the most tragic in a way because it’s actually the one that involved the most love, even though there was a sort of, even though Jessica’s Jude is very cruel to Eunice in the beginning. I always believed that that cruelty was coming out of a place of love and a place of sort of seeing Mary Eunice as seeing her potential and knowing that she wasn’t living it. And so in a way that that whole where we started and where we ended up, that to me is probably the one that was the most sort of powerful; but I have to say all of, you know, my relationship with James and with everyone, everyone I got to sort of work with. I even had a great side plot with Spivey. Mark Conseulos is so amazing and it was such an abundance of amazing actors that you get a chance to work with while you’re doing the show.

MG: Was there anything this season that really has surprised you or threw you for a loop when you saw the episode completed for the first time?
LR: Well, there are certain points of things that are going to happen to you; but there was a lot of mystery and a lot of sort of you have to be constantly taking a tremendous leap of faith and just sort of staying present in the moment of whatever the scene is, because you don’t know exactly you know where that turn is going to end up or what the next episode is going to bring. You know you have these sort of landmark things that you know about, but within the sort of nuance of the storylines. There was a certain amount of mystery. I didn’t watch the show while it was airing because it was too hard to be shooting episode three or I mean the episode seven and watching episode three or however it worked out. My brain was getting really scrambled, but I had to wait till the season had wrapped because there is in the same way that the audience is being surprised, you know we were definitely getting our handful of surprises, too, that’s for sure.

MG: What was it like at the Asylum itself can almost be looked at as a character on the show. What was the atmosphere like on set to work in an environment like that?
LR: Right, I know it is a dark world to live in, but I think the thing that made it so, still so kind of wonderful and a place that I was excited to drive to work every morning and that was because of the people and the crew. It was a very close group of actors and the writers are very, it’s an amazing group of writers. I think Ryan has a way of when he’s at the helm he’s one of those people who just creates a great work environment. I think it’s so much about that person. The leader really has to set the tone for something and make everyone feel safe and he does that in such an incredible way and so everyone, although we were maybe working crazy hours and shooting crazy things, it was always a really nice place to go to work. And for me you know it was the first time I’d ever been, I’ve never done a show as a regular before and it reminded me a bit of doing a play in the sense that you go to the theatre every day and you have your dressing room. And you have the crew and the actors and so I loved that feeling of actually kind of having this family every day that was sort of new for me and very special.

MG: Was there anything that you guys did to break up the tension in between a scene that would be particularly intense?
LR: Oh well, I mean you know Sara Paulson is one of my best friends and has been for years. We already have a bit of laughing problem together, so I would say that that happened a lot. There was often a lot of that and Zach was learning the banjo and I was learning the guitar, so there were also little musical breaks, although he’s much better at the banjo than I am at the guitar at this point.

MG: Did you ever have times that it was hard to deal with the character because of the psychological heaviness of the role?
LR: Yes, but it sort of came with the territory in the sense that I think if you’re going to be; I feel that with all the great jobs or all the really, really great parts, you’re usually going to sort of dark and scary or painful places and that’s just part of it. Although it could be difficult in some way, it sort of comes with, it’s part of the job description I feel, so it’s nothing I would ever sort of want to say was a negative, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel great. It’s sort of to me it’s still part of the job description of getting to play a wonderful role and having to go through things like that. So I’m always very grateful for that even if it means I’m going to go have to kind of collapse in my bed for a little while or whatever or whatever it means.

MG: How far in advance did you know what your character’s fate was going to be? Did you kind of have an idea about that from the beginning?
LR: I had some sense, yes, I knew that she probably wouldn’t have a very happy ending, so I did have a sense and then sort of as we went along the specifics of how that was all going to happen became clearer as we went along.

MG: That scene almost seemed like kind of a relief for your character. Can you reflect?
LR: Yes, I think the death scene, the way Ryan and I really talked about it it’s really sort of an assisted suicide. Her situation really wasn’t survivable in the sense that even if they had done some sort of exorcism or something at that point, we sort of felt that whatever might be left of that girl was so damaged and destroyed and that death sort of became her only way out. Yes, playing that through once the possession happened that was such a wonderful challenge and a sort of dance really to live between with both the lightness and the darkness existing at the same time in that battle and then that losing battle really.

MG: Do you think you will be back for the third season?
LR: I have no idea. I can’t say a word. I’m so sorry. I know it’s such a boring interview sometimes with us at American Horror Story, so that I just can’t say a word. I would certainly love to be back that’s for sure. It’s such a great job.


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Lizzie Brocheré reflects on her role in "American Horror Story: Asylum"

Lizzie Brocheré is currently playing the role of Grace in FX’s hit show “American Horror Story: Asylum”. She is known for her work in France with about 40 foreign films and TV roles under her belt. As the show approaches the end of the second season, Lizzie took out some time to chat with Media Mikes to chat about her character and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you first get involved in the show?
Lizzie Brocheré: Weirdly, I self-typed from France. I had no idea that I could get the part because it was supposed to be an American part. I did the audition anyway because I never felt safe and my managers here sometimes get mad because I never send anything in, and because also the process of the audition was so much fun. I watched the first season of American Horror Story and have been a big fan, and the audition for the part of “Grace;” it was two scenes. One was a scene taken out of Girl Interrupted, “Lisa’s” character. It was very, very out there. It was very provocative, a very strong character and very …. So that was fun, it was like, wow, what is that character that they’re auditioning for? The other scene was a scene from …, which was a masturbation scene, very provocative as well. I was like; I don’t know where they’re going with that character, but she’s wild. So I did the audition with my friend, and didn’t really believe in it, and then two weeks later I was in L.A. meeting Ryan Murphy … for five minutes and they were talking to me about the part … and that was it. It was amazing. and I didn’t even have a driver’s license.

MG: How do I get into my character to play Grace?
LB: There’s so many different ways, but I think what I worked on the most was that back story you heard, because when we started shooting, we already had the first four scripts, so I had the back story of Grace in the fourth episode. I think that since she was based on this American character, Lizzie Borden, I read a lot about Lizzie Borden. I discovered a source book with her inquest testimony; I loved reading it out loud. I thought she was so smart and strangely fascinating, that character. I don’t know if it helped my acting, but it was necessary for me to know a bit more of that character who was a very important American figure. I had no clue who she was, in fact, …for example. I did a lot of—this is going to sound weird, but I did a lot of stretching, yoga and dancing, almost ballet. I felt, you know, how she’s always–you want her to be moving in a very smooth maybe, and she’s very sexy, so you want her to be moving in a smoother way than I do. So that was a little job, and Grace, I don’t know she’s somewhere in me–apart from that big back story and all that; her sarcasm, her way of seeing life and that little liveliness she has. You know, how she always says amazing lines when you feel like she’s young little Tibetan monk. It wasn’t that hard to tap into her, apart from the killing of my dad and all of that.

MG: Can you tell us a little bit about shooting the murder scenes?
LB: That was so fun. We wanted to–I mean the whole crew was so happy to change my look, and they were really excited about doing some kind of flashbacks and knowing a little bit more about Grace. So everything, costumes and hair, for example, I don’t have the same haircut at all. They really wanted to show Grace as she was before the asylum, and everyone was really excited about that. The actual murder scenes, there was a lot of blood, a lot of different axes. I think we had six different axes that are still in the props office, and they’re all on the walls. You have one that’s a rubber axe, and then you have another one that’s a real axe, and you should never mix up with the other one. Then you have another one that’s a half cut axe, so that you can pretend that it’s in the body. You only have a part of it sticking out of the body. I mean we have so many different axes; it was funny. Then you have, for example, when I kill my step-mom, we have these effects guys that were behind the body of my step-mom … blood on the face each time that I hit her. There were so many people in that closet but it was fun.

MG: How you ever been spooked on the set?
LB: I did get the creeps. Yes, because the story was so dark and all these flashbacks that we shot. For example, when I hide in the closet, and it’s a fake flashback, but still, we did it for real, and I hide in the closet, and I dove back and I go back and I think that I’m saved and then there’s this foot with blood dripping on my shoulder right next to me. So realistic, so realistic. It was crazy. I couldn’t open the closets after that for a week at my place.

MG: How do you shake a show like this at the end of each day?
LB: I have very different ways–the crew, for example, is so much fun–I mean they’re totally disconnected from the cast. Joke with the crew when you get out of set, for an example, that helped me so much. Otherwise, in my day-to-day basis, it would be I guess, a bit of yoga. I go biking, read, watch shows, I go to music concerts. I’ve taken a lot of road trips since I’ve been here. I’ve been to The Joshua Tree. I’ve been camping on the Channel Islands. Each time that I have two or three days off, I’m off somewhere in California.

MG: The asylum itself feels like a character on the show, so how much does that environment help you get into a scene?
LB: It makes the scene. There’s no question about where you are. I remember one of the first days on the set when …–the first scene was something in the solitary, and I’d be visiting in the solitary cells. When you’re in that hallway with all the solitary cell doors; Ooh. You have no question of where you are. It’s such a particular asylum. It’s such a designed asylum. It’s such an interesting–I don’t know you can feel the whole weight of the metaphor that it represents, you know.

MG: What’s coming up for Grace in the upcoming episodes?
LB: What can I tease? So much is happening to “Grace,” poor “Grace.” I don’t really know. My character joins a storyline that I cherish a lot, which is the alien storyline, and that is something that I’ve been really looking forward to. I’m so happy about that because, first of all, when you move to the United States for work, which is what I just did, you have a visa where they call you an alien with extraordinary ability, but still that’s what I am right now. It’s strange, to be like right, in the administration system, you have a label which is a visa 01, which is for aliens with extraordinary ability; good Lord. So ever since I got a foot in the U.S. administration and moving to the U.S., I’ve been like, oh aliens; interesting. Aliens are immigrants. That’s interesting, what is an alien? So when I got the script everything kind of made sense in a way. This idea of foreigners–so I love being close to that storyline because I felt so much myself like an alien.


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Dylan McDermott talks about his dark return in “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Connecticut born, Dylan McDermott was encouraged by his playwright step-mother to pursue acting as a career. He began his career on stage, doing both Regional Theater and Broadway, and made his film debut in the Vietnam War film “Hamburger Hill.” His first major role was that of Jackson Latcherie, husband to the doomed Shelby in “Steel Magnolias.” In 1993 he got his first major role, that of Clint Eastwood’s partner in the Secret Service themed film “In the Line of Fire.” Starring roles in films such as “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Home for the Holidays” and “Wonderland” followed. In 1997 he began a long run on the Emmy Award winning series “The Practice,” winning a Golden Globe for his work on the show as well as an Emmy nomination. He also headlined series like “Big Shots” and “Dark Blue” and now, after appearing last year, he re-appears on the critically acclaimed “American Horror Story: Asylum.” While preparing for a new story arc on the show McDermott took the time to speak with Media Mikes about his work on the show, what scares him and the difference between appearing in a remake or a sequel.

Mike Smith: What is the strangest thing that has happened to you on set, or personally, from doing this show.
Dylan McDermott: Well, I mean if you watched all the episodes, you know that I’ve had to do some strange things clearly, but that was part of the ride when I talked to Ryan [creator Ryan Murphy] about this show. Obviously the cry baiting and walking around naked, and now I’m playing a serial killer, is all in terms of doing American Horror Story, this is what comes with the dinner. So you just have to be up for it.

MS: As a show that not only really stretches your acting abilities but part of your personal fear factor is there any one fear that you would like to try to conquer by doing this show?
DM: Well, I think if you had any fears , you’d better not have them walking into this show because all your personal things are public. So I think that you really have to be not too shy to do a show like this, let me just put it that way.

MS: Can you tell us a little bit about your character and where you hope he ends up at the end of the season.
DM: Well, he’s obviously a troubled man, so where I hope he goes and where he goes are two different places But I think he’s got a sole purpose in life and really that is, he feels so scorned by his mother. Everything is about his mother. The reason he’s doing all these horrible things is because he was rejected so harshly by his mother, obviously aborted. His father was a serial killer. His mother aborted him and he still lives. So his whole trajectory in life is really about her.

MS: Can you give us a breakdown as to how you got involved in this show again? Were you looking to come back and what happened? Did Ryan give you a call and say, listen, I’ve got this sick, twisted character that I want you to play?
DM: Yes, we talked in the summer and he said he was looking for something for me to come back. I wanted to come back and we weren’t sure in what capacity. Then the day the show aired, he called me and said he wanted me to come back as the son of ‘Bloody Face,’ the modern day ‘Bloody Face.’ He just told me; I hadn’t read any of the script, so I knew nothing about it. It was sort of a blind call. When he told me the story of it, I was just like flabbergasted. I mean, I couldn’t get—because it was just so horrendous how this guy would survive and what he would become and who he was. I was just fascinated by him. It was so different from, obviously, ‘Ben Harmon,’ to come back to this same show with a different character. I just thought it was a great way to make television completely different from anything you see on television, because when do you get to play different characters on the same show.?

MS: Without giving too much away, can you tell us how many more episodes you’re going to be appearing in?
DM: I will be, I believe, in the next three out of four.

MS: I realize it’s early yet, but could you see yourself coming back for the third series, if Ryan came up with another big idea for you?
DM: Yes, I mean I love this show. I just think it’s just really—if I wasn’t on the show, I’d be watching it; so I’m a fan of this show as much as an actor on the show. So whatever—like I said before, I really trust Ryan and he has a great instinct with me. If he asks me to come back on, of course.

MS: Do you have a favorite type of horror story?
DM: I do like the Polanski stuff more than anything else. I mean, “Rosemary’s Baby” is still one of my favorite movies of all time. The idea of her being impregnated with the devil and all that stuff is just like so frightening and being in New York at The Dakota, it’s so scary. I’m going to work on a movie, actually, in February, called “Mercy from Jason” and there is a similar theme to “Rosemary’s Baby” in the movie. So somewhere I am attracted to that in a strange way, so that does scare me; the sort of demon baby, more than anything else. Like we had in the first season of American Horror.

MS: Since you like psychological thrillers a lot…the whole demon baby aspect, would you ever consider doing a remake of “Rosemary’s Baby?”
DM: No, because that’s a great movie. I don’t think you can—it’s like remaking “Psycho.” You can’t. Some movies you just can’t remake and that certainly is one of them. Some things should be just left alone—maybe the sequel to “Rosemary’s Baby,” but not the remake.

Mark Consuelos talks about role in “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Mark Consuelos guest starred this season on the hit FX series “American Horror Story: Asylum”, where he plays the role of ‘Spivey,’ an inmate at Briarcliff who we first seen during a rough encounter with another character. Mark’s character recently reappeared during the episode titled “The Origins of Monstrosity”. Media Mikes had the chance to talk recently with Mark about his appearance on the show.

Adam Lawton:  Can you tell us how you got involved in this part?
Mark Consuelos: Yes. I am friends with Ryan Murphy and he wanted to talk about this particular project. We had dinner one night and he explained the role and how ‘Spivey’ was going to look. We really got into the physical characteristics of ‘Spivey’ and he did warn me that he’s going to be a super dark kind of character, extremely demented, and for me I said, you understand that’s exactly why I would want to play ‘Spivey.’

AL: Were you allowed to give your own input in developing the character yourself, or did they have a certain agenda for you to work the character?
MC: I think that with most good scripts and good shows they expect the actor to bring some of their ideas and some of the things, the back story of the character, or just certain aspects, they expect the actor to do some of that stuff, and I think it’s always a good collaboration between the actor, the writer and the director to try stuff out during the process. I think what was really great is that people were open to certain things and they would let you know if that was something they wanted you to do more, cut that in half, do more of that, we need you to do this, but I feel like on any really good show everybody comes with their own stuff and you want to try as much as you can. I would say that the character was really clear in some of the things that he’d been doing and some of these actions, so it makes it easier for the actor. With this character there wasn’t really a lot of gray area here. They wrote him very specifically, which I really appreciated.  But just because they are very specific about those things, it doesn’t mean that it limits you. Actually, it makes those possibilities and some of your choices even greater.

AL: Would you say that you’re more of a fan of that type of direction, or do you like to sometimes havea little bit more defining in a role?
MC: No, I love the collaboration. I think every actor would probably say that it’s always a collaboration and if you ask directors they expect the actors to bring something. They don’t want to be thinking for everybody.  I think I enjoy this kind of – again, I think it was a hybrid of both.  There was a lot of collaboration but it was also very, very specific with an extremely specific views, especially from Ryan, on certain things that I thought were really good.  You have to have a specific view and you have to be pretty precise about that.  I think as an actor it’s always great to have a little bit of both

AL: What was the make-up process like for this role?
MC: It took anywhere from two and a half to three and a half hours, depending on what’s going on.  Whenever they say it’s going to take that long I’m like, yes, right, there’s no way, what’s so
hard about that.  But these guys are definitely artists.  They’re amazing at what they do. Just
getting it on and then once they get the stuff on the prosthetics, the way they go about touching
them up and painting them and adjusting them, like I said they’re really artists.

AL: With the show being so dark how do you protect yourself from taking that character and the tension of the storytelling home with you every night?
As dark as you think the stuff that you’re doing as an actor on that show is, once you watch it you’re like, oh, man, it could have been a lot darker, having seen some of the other things that people were doing.  And so I don’t know, I saw it as such a great opportunity that I literally had so much fun doing it and there was excitement about doing it, and I didn’t have that much trouble separating myself from what was going on, on set.

AL: It was just announced that the show is being picked up for a third season. Would you be interested in being on the show again for next season?
MC: Absolutely! It’s been so fun just to be part of it, the whole buzz around the show is exciting, and then when it actually starts airing people absolutely love it. I got extreme street credibility from my high school aged son, he’s like, “Dad, the fact that you’re in “American Horror Story” is absolutely cool.” I was like, “I’m not sure if it’s appropriate for you.” And he was like, “Dad, come on, I’m a New York City kid in high school”.

Jessica Lange chats about her role in “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Jessica Lange played the role of Constance in “American Horror Story” last year and ended up winning both a Emmy and a Golden Globe for her role in the show. In “American Horror Story: Asylum”, Lange is back and is playing the role of Sister Jude, with an even darker past. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jessica Lange about the role in the show and her feelings on this season.

Mike Gencarelli: I think in the first season the scares were certainly slightly more supernatural and this one it’s more real, serial killers, and far more bloody.  What effect do you think that has on the audience for “American Horror Story: Asylum”?
Jessica Lange: I think it’s darker.  I think the whole story is darker this time.  It deals, I think, on a much darker psychological level.  You’ve got human experiments.   I think in some way last season was a ghost story, and this season it really is the darker parts of the human psyche that Ryan is exploring.  I think the affect is that it’s hard to watch, I hear that from people a lot.  “I can’t watch it, it’s too horrifying,” or whatever.  I don’t know, I think you have to strike a balance.  I think this season became darker than anybody anticipated, just because of the subject areas that they laid out in the beginning, I mean, the thing with the ex-Nazi SS doctor and human experiments, and the serial killer based on this character Ed Gein.  Yes, the warehousing of human beings in these institutions, madness, I mean, yes, there’s a lot of subjects that they’re covering, the Catholic Church, that lend themselves to great horror stories.

MG: Can you reflect on the difference between your characters from the first season, Constance very much seemed to be the puppet master, but in the second season Jude is fast becoming our very complex hero as the season develops.  How different are Jude’s intentions to Constance’s, and what did you really want to bring to Jude that you may not have been able to do with Constance?
JL: I think “puppet master” is a very good description of Constance.  The thing that I found, kind of the spine of the character of Constance, was that this was a woman who had basically lost everything and had nothing left to lose and also was extremely, what can I say, unafraid, so she just manipulated her way and put herself in situations that probably other people would not have.  With Jude she has a lot to lose because she’s holding on to something that she feels has saved her life and redeemed her, and then when it all becomes clear that everything was false, from the idea that she did not run over and kill this child, which is what sent her on this whole path, trying to find some kind of life, some redemption, some spiritual life, that when she discovers everything is false from the beginning, there’s a descent into madness that is completely different and for me much more interesting to play. I thought Constance was a wonderful character, she was kind of a throwback to the ’40s, kind of tough dame, sweet talking but with a real edge, she did not suffer fools, nothing went past her, she had a way of moving through everything and getting what she wanted.  This woman is much more vulnerable and I think in some way tragic.  She’s destroyed her life.  She’s an addict.  She’s an alcoholic.  She’s had bad luck with men, a lot of bad men in her life.  And she’s come to the end of the road with the hopes that this church, that this man, the Monsignor, is going to save her, that she’ll become something else, that she’ll make her life worth living.  And of course that all comes down, crashing, and she’s left absolutely alone, completely and totally alone, and those are two things I love playing because you also find them in Williams’ characters, the thing of aloneness, the idea of being completely alone in the world and couple that with madness, and it’s a really potent combination to play.

MG: Do you want more challenges in your “American Horror Story” tenure? Is there ever times you feel it goes to far?
JL: Well, there are times when I’ve said, “I think this is too much,” but that’s not been too often because they tend to write for me less action and I don’t know, maybe more kind of psychological.  But that’s been better.  I wouldn’t really know how to do a lot of the really intense action scenes, so I have a few of those but not many.  I think there was a leap of faith on my part just thinking, well, if I’m going to do this I’m going to do this.  And I think as an actor you have to have trust, you have to believe that somebody is taking care of you or watching your back, because with a part like this especially and where we’re going with it, I can’t pull any punches, I can’t do it halfway, especially when you’re dealing with madness and this descent into madness, and I really felt like, okay, I’m going to embrace this 100% and hopefully somebody will look out for me and not let me completely humiliate myself. Yes, it’s combined. I’ve never worked this way before where it’s so fluid between the creators, the writers, and me.  Usually you get a script and it’s there and it’s start to finish, and this kind of evolves and morphs as we go along.  I do have more input, but then there are of course limitations within the structure of the whole story and the trajectory of where it’s going.  But it’s been interesting.  It’s been an interesting challenge.

MG: Since you have a background in photography, have you ever collaborated with the DP or ask questions or have an opinion about the visual layout of the show?
JL: Well, I’m very curious about the way it looks, yes.  I always watch cinematographers on the set because in some way I think having spent 30 years making movies, maybe it’s 35 now, I think I’ve been informed in my photography by filmmakers, by the cinematographer, so that I’m drawn always, when I take a photograph what prompts me to lift my camera and click the shutter usually has a great deal to do with setting, with lighting, with the choreography, the grouping. So I think that, in fact I’m just looking now at the wall, I’ve got all these little 8x10s of Day of the Dead, I was there in Oaxaca just a month ago, and yes, it has a very cinematic feel to it.  And I think because I’ve been doing movies as long as I have, that one lends itself to the other.  I understand, and I’m very curious, about how you light specifically for dramatic emphasis.  And I think Michael Goy in this series that we’re doing is a master at that.  He really does an amazing job lighting this show.  Yes, it’s amazing to watch him do it and to create the emotions.  And through the ambience, through the lighting, right away you have an instantaneous emotional reaction before the scene even plays out.

MG: Which actor have you enjoyed working with most this season?
JL: One of my favorite actors that I worked with in these episodes last year and this year is Frances Conroy.  There’s just something in her, I don’t know there’s something, when we’re on screen together something happens.  I think one of my favorite scenes that I’ve played this year is the scene from, I guess it was Episode 7 in the diner when she’s come for me as the Angel of Death, and I don’t know, there’s almost a connection that you can’t really describe.  But certain actors I think just find something when they’re working together, and that’s how I felt in these scenes with Frannie.  But every actor that I’ve worked with on this, I mean, James, Sarah, and Lily and Ian, it’s just a pleasure to work with them.  And even actors who come in for just a day’s work have been amazing and have really brought something and make your work better.

MG: Tell us about your plans to return for a third season?
JL: Well, we haven’t really talked about it too much, and all that stuff is still under discussion.  I think I will try it again, depending on what the story is and who the character is and all of that, so we’ll see what happens. I’m just exhausted from this whole experience.  And this season, it seems like it’s gone on forever and I really don’t have a thought about next season yet.  There’s a lot of stuff that will come up, but as of now I hate to say I haven’t given it any thought whatsoever.

Zachary Quinto talks about his big reveal in “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Zachary Quinto is known best for playing the roles of Sylar in the fan-favorite series “Heroes” and also Spock from the “Star Trek” franchise reboot. He plays the role of Dr. Oliver Thredson in the FX hit series “American Horror Story: Asylum”. In a recent episode of the show it was revealed that Ounito’s character is in fact the serial killer known as “Bloody Face.” Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Zachary recently about the role and how it has differed from that of his role in season one of the show.

Adam Lawton: How has playing this seasons character differed from other characters you played?
Zachary Quinto: I think any time an actor revisits territory that they’ve been in before, it can be a source of trepidation, as it was for me. But part of the reason that I loved what the opportunity stood for was that I got to know, going in what/who my character was going to be and I got to really build something. With “Heroes” that character was built before I was ever attached to it. There were eight episodes of anticipation that were built before you met “Gabriel Gray” I had no participation in that. So for me, it was really exciting to get to go in having all the information, and actually be part of the process of creating a character. That, to me, was a difference. This role/character is self-contained and it was an immersion that I’m not going to be repeating or carrying on for an extended period of time. It was something I got to go do and contribute and benefit and grow and learn, and then be on to other creative pursuits and that, I think that is an environment in which I thrive. So I was really excited about all those elements.

AL: Were there meetings where you actually talked about the direction of your character?
ZQ: Yes, I had a few conversations with Ryan and Brad before we started. Ryan and I had a couple of connections about what he was thinking and I had some questions and had a chance to contribute to what I would like to see. But once they got going, it’s like their engines just drive them and all of us forward in such surprising and unexpected ways, so the vast majority of that comes from them and actually bring it to life. That’s how I see it.

AL: How do you prepare mentally to play this dark, demented kind of role, and do you enjoy it, or find it more of a challenge?
ZQ: It depends on the scene. There are different levels of preparation for different scenes in different kinds of work. So I have a combination of things that I do. I usually just find some solitude and some quiet in a little corner of the set where there’s not a lot of traffic and not a lot of people around and do what it is that I need to do. I listen to music a lot, if I need to get into a particular emotional space, I use that and just other sort of stretching, just breathing, taking time to mostly be quiet and find that kind of stillness. I think that’s important. I love playing characters that go to extreme places and I love to explore different kinds of psychological landscapes, so it is ultimately a kind of fun, but it’s also complicated and colored by the depth of the nastiness of it at certain times as well. That can be a challenging part.

AL: Did your friendship with Sarah Paulson have any effect on how you reacted in the scenes with her?
ZQ: I have a respect for Sarah as an actress, but it’s a rare and unique opportunity to show up to work with a really good friend. Oftentimes, friendships are formed on set and through these kinds of experiences. It’s even a richer experience when you already have that foundation of friendship. So there’s an implicit trust and sensitivity to each other and our needs and our instincts and our individual process. It’s really a remarkable gift in a lot of ways. We also are able to have more fun, I think, and laugh at a situation a little bit more. There’s less awkwardness to cut through. I think it strengthens the connection that the characters share, whether it’s friendship or torture or hostage, whatever it may be. I love going to work anyway, no matter whom I’m working with, but in particular with Sarah, I think she’s doing such wonderful work on the show that I also just love watching her character and the journey that she’s taking. She’s gone to so many extreme and challenging emotional places, and done it so beautifully and dynamically. I just think her work is so incredible, so it’s been a joy for me, really, this whole experience.

AL: We have seen “Bloody Face” in a few present day scenes. Will we find out whether present day “Bloody Face” is also “Thredson”?
ZQ: Wouldn’t that be cool? Yes, you’ll find all that out. It was pretty freaky and cool. I mean it’s really driving to a point. The storytelling structure of “American Horror Story: Asylum” I think is really going to pay off in a really big way. So I think all of the questions that people have, and that the episodes that are airing right now are generating, will definitely be answered. That’s my instinct, at least, having read up through almost the end now.

Mark Margolis talks about his role in “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Mark Margolis talks about his role in “American Horror Story: Asylum” playing the role of Sam Goodman. He appeared as a Nazi hunter introduce in the episode “I Am Anne Frank, Part 2”.  Mark is also known for his role of Tito in “Breaking Bad”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Mark about his role on the show.

Adam Lawton: How did working on this set of “American Horror Story” compare to maybe the work you did on “Breaking Bad” or one of the other series that you’ve been involved with?
Mark Margolis: Well, they took the bell away from me.
AL: Ding, ding.
MM: I had to actually speak, so that was tough. They soon discovered that the guy is better with a bell, but it was too late because they had already employed me. I mean, Breaking Bad is a whole other thing. It’s in a whole other locale, in New Mexico, which is a whole other feeling and this was a strange 1964 kind of shabby motel room. It was just a whole other–it was something about working in American Horror Story; everything was very brown and gray, which is the complete opposite of New Mexico, even though my character in New Mexico was sometimes in a grim nursing home; whatever. It was completely different. It was a whole other kind of man with a whole other demeanor, a whole other world, and had come from a whole other world etc., etc.

AL: Do you find the character of Tio being–obviously it had to be a little bit more of a challenge without speaking much compared to the Sam Goodman character?
MM: Not really because all of it is–in both cases, it’s just like in life, we’re responding to what’s coming at us. Even though Tio can’t speak, his mind works well, and he’s responding to what’s coming at him. In this case, my character was able to speak and respond. There is an equivalence in that area of acting, I guess I would say.

AL: What was it about maybe portraying a Nazi hunter, what lured you to the role of “Sam Goodman”?
MM: Nazi hunters are kind of fascinating characters. I was actually–about a year and a half ago, I was up for a film with Sean Penn, the part of a Nazi hunter, and it was a marvelous character. I think the film is coming out in a couple of months called This Must Be the Place. The part eventually went to Judd Hirsch, but I was really hot to do it. Those are fascinating characters. I’ve read over the years–I’ve read a great deal about Simon Wiesenthal, who is probably the world’s most famous Nazi hunter. I think he’s the one that located Eichman in Argentina, or he’s located others. They’re fascinating people with a certain kind of a mission of devoting their lives to catching these people who are aging and dying–I think that world is almost disappearing at this point. If there’s anybody left, they’re in their 90s. When I heard that it was a Nazi hunter, I was quite excited about that.

AL: What is the reason why people really enjoy “American Horror Story”? Maybe it’s the format, or maybe it’s just something inside of us that we just love to be subjected to this kind of visual trauma?
MM: Well, it’s got wonderful actors on it, the principles. The regulars on the show are quite incredible. I mean Jessica Lange is amazing. Cromwell is amazing. There’s a whole group of them that are quite terrific; the regulars. I’ve never seen a show like that. I worked in all of Darren Aronofsky’s films. On some level I find a lot of the way that they cut from one thing to another to an eyeball. They’re always going to eyeballs. It’s very reminiscent of what Aronofsky did in his first film Pi where there were these very quick cuts. You know; you’d see a needle, an arm, and then an eyeball expand. They seem to have–I mean I don’t know, they seemed to have gotten some inspiration from the way that Aronofsky’s films cut from one thing to another. That also used in other films of his, but I don’t know, I’m sure there are other people that have possibly done what Aronofsky did, and that kind of movement is pretty exciting I think in a way as opposed to things that go on for five minutes and nothing much changes. It’s kind of exciting. It’s a jump from one thing to another thing to another thing; it’s like pop, pop, pop.

Chloë Sevigny talks about co-starring in FX’s “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Chloë Sevigny is known best for her iconic roles in films like “Boys Don’t Cry” and TV show’s like “Big Love”. In FX’s “American Horror Story: Asylum” Chloë plays the role of “Shelley,” one of the inmates at Briarcliff Manor committed because of nymphomania. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Chloë about the show and what we can expect this season.

Adam Lawton: What drew you to the project “American Horror Story: Asylum”?
Chloë Sevigny: I guess it was having watched the first season and just being a fan of the show. I just thought it was so rich, the production design and costumes and how much detail went into it and I just thought it was wildly entertaining. I was hoping the second season would be as much so. I didn’t get to read any scripts prior to signing on, so I was kind of going in on blind faith hoping that it would be what I wanted it to be and it’s proven so.

AL: Were you able to work with Ryan [Murphy] with your character and develop Shelley” along, or was everything kind of fed to you week by week?
CS: Yes, it was more week to week. I mean I think that’s mostly how television works. It’s a real writer’s medium and it’s not so much collaborative. It’s not like a film, so it’s pretty much all on the page. There were some bits where I asked Ryan for more lines, so that seemed to beef it up here and there and they tried to do that for me. That was probably the extent of it.

AL: What is it working with James Cromwell? I don’t know what he’s doing to you, but it’s really scary.
CS: Oh, it gets much scarier. He was good. I mean I was a huge fan of his. I actually saw him in a café right before we started shooting and I went up to him introduced myself and he just like, “I’m so looking forward to chopping off your legs.” Yes, he was great. I mean you know he was really into rehearsing the scenes before and really exploring it to its fullest, so that was kind of nice. Sometimes people just go in and just hit their marks and he really wanted to work everything out before. He was really … in that regard.

AL: Can give us some insight into preparation you do with James Cromwell, who’s “Dr. Arden,” and if you discuss the scene ahead of time. These are not just typical scenes. There’s a lot of almost physical abuse, and if you can give us some insight into your conversations with these actors to prepare?
CS: Well, yes, there’s always a stunt guy on set also, and you go through all the motions. You kind of block out the physical bits, the throwing and the pulling and tugging and if it gets too rough, because sometimes an actor can lose himself in a scene and so I always remind them I’m supposed to sell it. Whoever is getting the brunt of it is supposed to do all the acting, do all the selling of the violence and whatnot, so there’s a lot of—especially in the scene in the office with Tim and I, there was a lot of—I think we blocked that scene for like three hours, far longer than it took us to shoot it even just getting all the action down. I mean it’s quite scary because James was so big and he was wielding this big kind of paperweight at me. He was getting really close and it was pretty frightening actually doing that scene. I was really exhausted at the end of that day, and it was quite scary while we were in it. His arms are so long I was so afraid he was actually going to knock me out.

AL: Could just talk about the challenge of acting with no legs?
CS: Well, the prosthetic pieces that they put on made it impossible to straighten my legs, so I had to keep my legs bent all day and I had to be wheeled around in a wheelchair and I was feeling quite helpless. It was a strange feeling to have to need assistance to do lots of different things. And that was probably the most challenging part, feeling kind of helpless in that way.

AL: Can you give your take on Shelley’s character. She’s obviously billed as a nympho, but then there’s that question of whether she truly is addicted to it, or she just likes it more than other people. What’s your take on that?
CS: I don’t know if people truly are addicted to that. There’s so much talk about it as of late. I think that she was a little wild and her husband had it within his power to commit her and I think kind of once she’s in there, she kind of goes with it to come to who she is and how she identifies herself. So I think that she probably yes really likes sex. All the reaction, I don’t know if she’s quite a real nymphomaniac.

AL: You’re playing a very specific character here, an inmate in a sanitarium and then for your next role you’re playing a driven detective, and that seems like a more grounded part. I’m wondering how you shift as an actor from one role to another? Do you have to shake off Shelley before you play Catherine in “Those Who Kill”, or you find moving between roles to be an easy transition?
CS: I find it pretty easy. I’ve already wrapped “American Horror Story” a couple of months ago. I think they might have me come back for something else. I’m not sure, so I’ll have plenty of time and then of course delving into the scripts and research and … with playing “Catherine” they’ll probably be some training involved also, so just trying to immerse yourself in whatever you’re doing at the time. While we were shooting “American Horror Story”, I was also shooting “Portlandia”, so I was going from one set to the next, and I’d never really done that before. And “Portlandia” was so new for me because it’s all improvisation and trying to be funny and all that, so it was quite difficult when you’re shooting two at the same time. But I think having basically … is a better way to go.

Chris Olen Ray talks about directing films like “Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus” and working with The Asylum

Chris Olen Ray is known best for his work with The Asylum on films like “Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus”, 2-Headed Shark Attack and the recent “Shark Week”.  Chris took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about his work on these films and his love for the genre.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you became involved working with The Asylum?
Chris Olen Ray: Basically a couple of years ago I was trying to get back into the film industry and the only people to give me a job was The Asylum. I did a lot of line producing for them and the rest is history dude [laughs].

MG: Tell us about how you got involved directing “Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus”?
COR: “Mega Shark” was really cool. I heard about it when I was producing “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid”. I had down two other similar films, “Reptisaurus” and “Megaconda” and they thought it was good enough to give me a show on “Mega Shark”.

MG: Where you happy with the final cut of “Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus”?
COR: Once I edited the film, they really didn’t do much to it. I have done though some after this film, which just have been chopped to shreds [laughs].

MG: Going from a directing a Mega Shark to a 2-Headed Shark, tell us about your experience on “2-Headed Shark Attack”?
COR: “2-Headed Shark Attack” was really fun. We shot it in the Florida Keys with a great cast, Brooke Hogan, Carmen Electra and Charlie O’Connell. The problem with this film was that we were trying to do a combination of CGI with the puppets. Initially in concepts the puppets were really cool but for some those damn teeth would stay in the sharks mouth [laughs]. There was quite a lot of CGI outflow, so to bring in the puppet it helped down a bit. It also gives the actor something else to work with.

MG: You are also directing “Shark Week”, tell us about that film?
COR: That film was very hard to make. Everything that you think could go work, went wrong. I was happy and surprised we were even able to get a movie out of it. I can’t talk about what
happened but whatever you see if better than we thought we had. The concept behind this movie was such a great concept for it to turn out the way it did. I am just hoping people enjoy it.

MG: What do you enjoy most about the creature feature genre?
COR: “Shark Week” was a little more serious tone but with “2-Headed Shark” and “Mega Shark” were a lot more fun. For “Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus”, your coming in on an already popular film and just want to keep it going well.

MG: What would you say has been your most challenging project to date?
COR: “Shark Week” honestly has been the hardest for me. In the 30 years I’ve been in Los Angeles and even talking with my old man, it just so wild. It really has to be my worst experience ever for me.

MG: What do you have planned next?
COR: Recently I’ve being doing these episodes for a project called “Silicon Assassins, which stars Richard Hatch. I also got a new film I am producing for The Asylum as well and just trying to stay busy.

H. Perry Horton talks about writing “Shark Week” & “2-Headed Shark Attack” with The Asylum

Perry Horton is the writer of two recent films from The Asylum, “Shark Week” & “2-Headed Shark Attack”.  Media Mikes had a chance with Perry about how he got started working with The Asylum and about his upcoming films.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got involved working with The Asylum?
H. Perry Horton: In August 2010 I started my blog, Committed, dedicated entirely to Asylum films – news and reviews, interviews and profiles et cetera, as well as my own personal pitches. Basically, it was a shameless ploy to get their attention, and somehow it worked; in January 2011 they added me to their pool of writers. Three months after that, I was working on A Haunting in Salem.

MG: What was your biggest challenge working on “2-Headed Shark Attack”?
HPH: The sheer number of characters. I inherited the concept and basic set-up from the very talented Edward DeRuiter (3 Musketeers), and in my head, a semester-at-sea couldn’t just be 8 or 10 characters, there had to be enough people to justify the program, so I added a bunch more. Too many, perhaps, for development across the board, but on the bright side, it does yield possibly the highest death count in all of shark cinema history, at 26, I think.

MG: You work with sharks again with “Shark Week” also from The Asylum, tell us about working on this project?
HPH: The Asylum came to me with the concept, a sort of Hunger Games for the shark set. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and instantly wanted to get my hands on it. As far as the process went, it was quick – very, veryquick – and as such sort of a blur in my memory. I just remember throwing myself into it, wanting to satisfy what I think of as the two sides of being a shark fan – wanting to marvel at the sheer evolutionary superiority of the creatures, the genetic adaptations and instincts that make them such exceptional predators, and wanting to see them rip shit up. There are a lot of different species in the film, and I wanted to highlight each’s nefarious advantages, give each a different perilous personality.

MG: You are quite the shark expert, what do you enjoy most about working within that genre?
HPH: I don’t know that I’d consider myself a shark expert – maybe a shark-movie aficionado – I’ve just always been simultaneously fascinated and terrified by them. When I was a kid, eight or nine, I was surf fishing with an older friend in North Carolina, back where I’m from, and he got a bite on his line, big one, and started trying to reel it in but it was giving him trouble. When he tugged hard on the line, a hammerhead breached the surface not ten feet off shore. My buddy dropped the pole right there and it disappeared into the waves. Since then, I’ve been hooked (pardon the awful pun). Sharks are the pinnacle of evolution, the absolute fulfillment of biology’s potential, they’re consumption machines, it’s all they do, and they are well-equipped for the task. I can’t think of a more primal creature on the planet. And then there’s the sea: I could be making this up, but we know more about our solar system than we do the sea. It covers 3/4th of the planet and contains such a wide variety of hazards they’re practically innumerable. You put those elements together – a singled-minded killing machine with zero natural predators and the most unexplored and hostile environment on Earth – you’re gonna come up a winner every time.

MG: Tell us about why you created Committed, a fanblog about The Asylum?
HPH: I’m a fan, first and foremost, I just love whatthey do. I’ve always been a B-movie guy, and for my money, they’re making the best ones out there. I started the blog because I couldn’t believe there wasn’t one already, and because I wanted people to share in my enthusiasm for Asylum films. For all the general crap people may sling just because of the type of films they make, how inexpensively or quickly they make them or who’s in them or whatever, there’s at least twice as much to love about every single one of their films, and I wanted to share those things. And also I really, really wanted to write for them.

MG: What is your all-time favorite film from The Asylum and why?
HPH: Anything that reads “Screenplay by H. Perry Horton.” Other than that, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus is the film that really ignited my love for The Asylum. But I come at the question from a couple different angles. As a fan, I dig the Mega Shark movies, the found-footage stuff like Alien Origin, certainly the sex comedies like Bikini Spring Break; while as a writer I’m drawn to stuff like Paul Bales’ Nazis at the Center of the Earth and Sherlock Holmes, Geoff Meed’s I Am Omega and 6 Guns, Jose Prendes’ Haunting of Whaley House and Jared Cohn’s Born Bad – I could go on for paragraphs – but basically stuff that I’ve been not only impressed by, but humbled. So I guess the short answer is, all of them?

MG: What do you have planned next?
HPH: “Shark Week” premieres on SyFy Saturday, August 4th at 9 p.m. then bows on DVD a few weeks later on the 28th. I have a disaster film that’s in production at the moment, water-based, and an iron or two in the fire beyond that. I’m a superstitious sort of writer in that I don’t like to discuss projects before they’re in production. I’m a big believer in jinxes.

Legendary Mockbuster Studio The Asylum Greenlights Third Installment in the “Mega Shark” Franchise

Mega vs. Metal

Monster vs. Machine

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark

Legendary Mockbuster Studio The Asylum Greenlights Third Installment

in the Mega Shark Franchise

LOS ANGELES, CA (March 23, 2012) – After fan-favorite Mega Shark battled a giant octopus and a ferocious “crocosaurus”, fans of the franchise have demanded more action from the enormous Mega Shark who can leap thousands of feet in the air and destroy half the Golden Gate Bridge. The Asylum, the motion picture production and distribution company behind films such as Syfy’s “Zombie Apocalypse” and “Battle of Los Angeles,” has met those demands by giving Mega Shark her most dangerous enemy yet, her mechanical  doppelgänger – Mecha Shark!

The Asylum has officially greenlit production on MEGA SHARK VS. MECHA SHARK, a much anticipated third installment in the “Mega Shark” franchise, following Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus in 2009 and Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus in 2010.  When Mega Shark returns in this all-new feature film, the government releases the top-secret Mecha Shark to defeat the franchise’s popular monster in a fierce battle that threatens the planet.

The fan response to the Mega Shark franchise has been rabid,” said The Asylum partner Paul Bales.  “In addition to a very persuasive online petition, we found that Mega Shark has taken on a life of her own. We’ve received photos of Mega Shark cakes, toys and games on a near-daily basis, and we thought it was high time she did battle with an iconic Mecha monster.”

Mega Shark’s success was evidenced early on when the studio released the “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus” trailer, garnering 2.5 million online views within the first week. “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus” and “Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus” both have had successful runs on the Syfy Network in the U.S. and have seen great success in the international market.

But one question remains – who will be Mega Shark’s next victim? The Asylum will begin casting later this year.

DVD Review “Asylum Seekers”

Directed by: Rania Ajami
Starring: Pepper Binkley, Bill Dawes and Judith Hawking
Crowned Heart Pictures/Kinetic Arts Production
Rated: N/A
Runtime: 104 min.

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5

“Asylum Seekers” a dark comedy written and directed by Rania Ajami is the story of six people who have decided they can no longer deal with daily life. In an effort to get a hold on reality the six people attempt to check themselves into a lushly appointed asylum. What the six people don’t know is that there is only one room for which they must compete against each other to gain access.

“Asylum Seekers” seems like a psychedelic experiment gone bad! It’s as if the director crammed everything odd or awkward into this 104 minute spectacle. The acting in my opinion was sub-par at best however it was quickly overshadowed by the oddness of the film. “Asylum Seekers” has an interesting storyline and is full of interesting characters. If you’re in the mood for something off the wall then this movie will do the trick!