Blu-ray Review “Dan Curtis’ Dracula”

Actors: Jack Palance
Directors: Dan Curtis
Rated: Unrated
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Run Time: 98 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

The 70’s was a great time for horror films. The role of Dracula though in my mind, at least, belonged to Christopher Lee though. Got to give it to Jack Palance for a decent job but I couldn’t really get fully on board. Of course Bela Lugosi is the best, but Palance isn’t even in the same category. The film is still worth checking out due to sci-fi/horror master Richard Matheson (“I Am Legend”) writing and the involvement of the legendary Dan Curtis (“Dark Shadows”).

Official Premise: Academy Award winner Jack Palance stars in this terrifying adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire legend written for the screen by sci-fi/horror master Richard Matheson and produced by the legendary Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows). Palance is Count Dracula, whose centuries-old existence is threatened after he attacks the lovely Lucy Westenra (Fiona Lewis) and her fiancé (Simon Ward, The Tudors) calls in famed vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Nigel Davenport) to investigate.

The real draw for this release is definitely the restoration job that underwent here. The film has been transferred and restored in 2K High Definition from the original 35mm camera negative for its Blu-Ray debut. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 also works quite well with creating the mood and atmosphere. The special features though aren’t that spectacular. There are some cast/crew interviews, a trailer and also an alternate ending included.

 

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Dan Fogler talks about his new film “Don Peyote”

Dan Fogler is a man of many trade. The guy is an actor, director, artist and even won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”. He has been in films like “Balls of Fury”, “Faboys” and also voiced the character Zeng in “Kung Fu Panda”. Dan’s latest film is quite personal to him and helped him achieve a personal journey. It is called “Don Peyote” and he not only starred in it but also wrote, produced and directed it. If you get the name it is definitely quite the trip but really gives Dan a chance to show off his very impressive acting chops. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about the film and the long road to hitting theaters on May 16th.

Mike Gencarelli: What the hell were you on when you came up with this crazy film, “Don Peyote”?
Dan Fogler: I am saying there is probably a strong foundation of THC in there. Then you have to add in on other aspects of hallucinogens along the way in a very Alice in Wonderland-esque fashion [laughs]. I have heard from some people that while watching the movie they get a buzz off it since it is such a trip. The film is sort of like my homage to “The Wizard of Oz”, where it goes black and white to color. Our character goes from a everyday Joe to a complete nut case and he sees this lush and colorful world.

MG: Tell us about the road to getting this film released on VOD now and in theaters on May 16th
DF: I started this film back in 2011 and I just wanted to make a movie about the energy that I was feeling at the time. A lot of people were going through it wondering what would happen at the end of 2012 with the Mayan Calendar. I was also about to get married and was stressing out a little about what the future would bring. So I wanted to document that and I decided to create this character Warren Allman, who was essentially like the “every man”. In the film he finds his purpose, which is to find what is coming at the end of 2012. He goes to the several steps of fearing it, then trying to prepare for it and just embracing it. I have always been fascinated about the guy standing on the side of the street with “The end is near” sign. How the hell did he get like that? [laughs]. Did it just appear like that? Or just drop out of a space ship? [laughs]. So Warren goes under this entire transformation throughout the film.

MG: Tell us about all the hats you wore for this film including directing, writing, producing and acting?
DF: Yeah, well a lot of it came out of necessity. I wanted to together a nice juicy role that I could get into it. A lot of it was just something that I was going through that I really wanted to document. I wanted to go through a journey and answer some questions about myself and I did that through this movie.

MG: How did you end up co-directing with Michael Canzoniero?
DF: I love him. He is a buddy of mine. The movie was just made with friends and with asking a lot of favors. We didn’t have a lot of money. When I made my first movie “Hysterical Psycho”, I thought that it was like going to camp. It was such a great experience of casting my friends and working with them. So I just did the same thing but on a slightly larger scale with “Don Peyote”.

MG: This role is quite dramatic as well as funny, tell us about ow you approached that aspect?
DF: I wanted to show off other sides of my acting. That was probably the catalyst for starting this film. I have also always been interest in that prophet journey and what would it be like to be a modern prophet. Plus at time, the energy globally was so phonetic. It seemed like the dial was turned up and I wanted to capture that in the movie. You have stuff like Occupy Wall Street happening and there were riots happening everywhere. It felt like people were just waiting for something to happen. I feel that post-2012, we are starting to get more of a positive vibe coming in here and that really was the message of the movie. Everything comes in waves. Things can be rough and hard but then around the corner you find happiness.

Dan Lauria talks up TBS’ “Sullivan & Son” & reflects on “The Wonder Years”

Dan Lauria is best known for playing the father, Jack, on “The Wonder Years”.  He is also a stage play veteran, which is how he got involved with the new show on TBS called “Sullivan & Son”, which is executive produced by Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsley.  Dan is playing the lead role of Jack Sullivan on the show.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dan about the show and what we can expect from the first season.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the show “Sullivan & Son”?
Dan Lauria: Last year, I was doing “Lombardi” on Broadway.  Vince Vaugh and Peter Billingsly came to see the show. They are the producers of “Sullivan & Son”. So they actually offered me another role but I didn’t think I was right for it. He respected that but then called back two days later and asked me to play Sullivan for twice the money. My agent actually said “Yes” before calling me and said “If you don’t take it I’ll kill ya!” [laughs].

MG: So Dan tell me the truth were you only interested “Sullivan & Son” to play a character named Jack again?
DL: [laughs] Yeah another father named Jack. Unlike “The Wonder Years”, this father laughs all the time. Thank God, because I can’t keep a straight face with these guys on the show. There is no way to keep it serious on this show. You can walk it with tears in your eyes saying your dog just got run over and there will be 10 minutes of dead dog jokes till you are laughing.

MG: Give us a little background on Jack Sullivan?
DL: The whole show is based on Steve Bryne’s humor. He is half Irish and half Korean. So Jodi Long and I play his parents. I am like the lovable guy, definitely not like “The Wonder Years”. Jodi, well she is the bar Nazi [laughs]. Jodi is so unlike the character she is playing. She’ll come up with the most clueless lines and Steve will just burst out laughing. You want that in a show. You want everyone loose.

MG: After being on “The Wonder Years” for many years, how it returning to a starring role on TV again?
DL: This is a much easier job than “The Wonder Years”. This is four cameras and live in front of an audience. The schedule is pretty much the same every week. Unlike “The Wonder Years”, it was not only long hours but whenever you saw a close up of me or Alley Mills talking to the kids…they weren’t there. They were at school. We were talking to X’s on a chair. So this job, I feel like I am robbing the bank. I feel like I feel asleep next to a slot machine.

MG: Having such a theater background, you must love that it is shot in from of a live audience?
DL: For me it much easier especially since I am stage veteran. I have done a lot of plays and I love a live audience. For me the best audience is the first day we block it for the cameras. They crew guys have been around for a long time and when you can make them laugh, you know you got something. I am trying to be neutral about it and trying to have that actors attitude of never want to get too high or too low. But boy, the way the crew has been reacting, it is hard for me not to have high expectations.

MG: Why do you think will draw viewers into this new comedy?
DL: Our showrunner is Rob Long, who was with “Cheers” forever. Our show is “Cheers” meets “Archie Bunker’s Place”. We are more blue collar. I think we are going to connect with audiences because everyone has a bar like this in their neighborhood. It is the old corner bar that is going through the change since it was all Irish and now mixed. We got Brian Doyle-Murray, who is great as the old bigot. Then we have Christine Ebersole, who is a two-time Tony award winner. They we have they young stand-up’s like Roy Wood, Ahmed Ahmed and Owen Benjamin. They are just terrifc. Christine plays Owen’s mom. In one episode, they try and do a mother-son lounge act. They do all these sexy songs and it is the most perverted show I’ve ever seen [laughs]. It is absolutely hysterical.

Anthrax’s Dan Spitz talks about new band Red Lamb with Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine

Dan Spitz is best known as one of the founding member of the thrash metal group Anthrax. Together with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Dan has put together a new band called Red Lamb. The band is set to release a new video in the coming months and Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with Dan about the project and the premise behind it.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your new band Red Lamb?
Dan Spitz: Red Lamb is the first thing I have ever done full bore outside of Anthrax. I am charging forward with this project the same way I did with Anthrax. We are trying to break new ground as there is a purpose behind this band. Because of that purpose the music its self took a long time to create and get its sound. This music is different from my past but still reminiscent of me. This was a fresh start for me. This is a collaborative effort between me and Dave Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. He came in one day to hear what I was doing and really took hold of it. This is I think the first thing he has ever done outside of Megadeth. He really wanted to be a band member more than a co-producer or co-lyricist. Dave known’s my family so he has sort of a personal stake in this material. He knows the purpose of the band.

AL: Can you elaborate more on the purpose behind the band?
DS: Around the world we have a problem with Autism. Previous generations saw Autism however it wasn’t in every neighborhood. It’s now infiltrating everywhere. My wife and I have identical twin boys who are both Autistic. There is a song on the album titled “Puzzle Box” which will be are next release that we just finished a video for. I hope to change the world through music by bringing awareness around the world that this is a serious problem. We aren’t asking for people to send us money to give to a certain charity. We want to just bring awareness around the world. The CDC just released a statistic that 1 in 56 boys born with have autism. That is crazy! What will we do when everyone grows up and can’t function in a normal job? We pull no punches and I am living this hear every day with my kids. That’s what Red Lamb is here to do. Once the machine roles we will be doing something on a permanent basis.

AL: What will be the actual premise of the video?
DS: The “Puzzle Box” video is really going to be like a mini movie. Our singer Donny is a video producer so I was kind of blessed to have him in the band. He was able to take my idea and show what we live each day as a family. We are going to show to the world what it is like to live with Autism. My family are all in this video. We also filmed at the Autism Speaks walk. We filmed all kinds of important people and things that will be included in the video. I am not here preaching but everyone needs to just wake up. If you look on Facebook people are writing in about how they are affected by Autism. It’s a really moving video. There are people in the movie and sports industry that have been standing up for Autism for years but there has never been anyone in music that has done anything. People often wonder why it has taken me so long after leaving Anthrax to do something new. Now people will get to see what goes on in my house on a regular basis. Every 30 seconds there is a crisis going on. To write and record is very difficult. Eventually I had to leave and live at Dave’s studio to be able to finish work on this project. Things are that hard where I had to completely remove myself. It’s time everyone see’s what’s going on.

AL: What can you tell us about your work on the film “Goat”?
DS: That film has some really cool people in it. Ice-T is the film and it’s funny because he used to be a huge Anthrax fan. A friend of mine is making this film and it is now completed. The song “One Shell in the Chamber” which will appear on the Red Lamb album made it into thefilm. We started writing stuff and decided that parts of that song fit really well. There is some other stuff in the can for other movies my friend has made also. The High School I went to produced quite a few people who have gone on to do things that have really changed the world. We were either friends or we played against them in battle of the bands contests. We all hung out. The guy who did this film is one of those people. Some of the other people I hung out with now put on some of the biggest shows on Broadway. I have had beers with some pretty cool people. (Laughs)

AL: What other stuff do you have going on right now?
DS: At this point I do plan on doing a bunch of things. Red Lamb is taking up most of my time right now. Once this video is done and out then the object is to go out and play. It will be time. We started a little while ago putting things together so I can get back on the stage. I have been away for awhile so it will be great to get back to where I belong. I took some time off from music to clear my head and during that time I realized what I was here to do. I’m back doing it and I don’t plan to stop. I also am currently working of some stuff with Chris Vrenna from Marilyn Manson which is turning out really cool.

 

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Interview with Dan Byrd

Dan Byrd plays Travis Cobb in the television series “Cougar Town”. Dan has also appeared in a variety other television series and films. Media Mikes had a chance recently to talk with Dan about the series as well as his role in the film “Norman”.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us the current status of Cougar Town?
Dan Byrd: As far as I know the show will start airing in March. We still don’t have an exact date yet as a lot depends on a new show the network is going to start airing. If that show ends up being a success our show will start in March however if that show doesn’t do well we will probably start airing around early February.

AL: Can you give us some hints as to what we can expect this coming season?
DB: There’s a lot going on this season. I think it’s going to be our funniest season so far. Jules and Grayson are going to be sort of venturing into the land of being together and getting married. Travis is back at school while the story line between him and Laurie continues to grow. The thing with our show is that every episode is an entity unto its self. A lot of the story threads that were started in season 2 will continue on into the new season. Each episode is really its own adventure.

AL: How is it working with such a great cast?
DB: It’s great! It has been a huge learning experience. I have been working since I was young but I feel like I have learned more being on this set than I have on any other set. I have especially learned a lot about television and how shows are run. The cast is really awesome and it’s great to be surrounded by such talented people.

AL: What can you tell us about your film “Norman”?
DB: That film was made prior to me starting work on “Cougar Town”. The film is about a kid who perpetuates a lie to deal with events that are happening in his life. Because of this lie he is put on a pedestal and looked at completely different. The film deals with how my character Norman deals with this new found attention. There is also a love story intertwined with everything as well. Norman is really trying to balance all the good and bad that are happening to him at the same time.

AL: What are the release plans for the film?
DB: We released the film in 5 different markets a month or so ago. There are still screenings happening as well as the film being sent to SAG voters. I am not sure what will happen next release wise but, I think you will start to see the film out early next year.

AL: With the year wrapping up do you have any favorite films from 2011?
DB: I just saw “The Artist” which I thought was phenomenal! That’s definitely the best film I have seen all year. The concept is really great and I think the actors in that film should and will get nominated for an Oscar. Other than that I really haven’t seen much in the way of Oscar contending type movies. Shooting keeps me quite busy. There are still a bunch of films though that I want to check out.

AL: Do you have any other projects planned for the upcoming year?
DB: I don’t really know at this point. We will probably be done shooting “Cougar Town” around late January or early February. After that we are going to have a pretty substantial hiatus. This is going to be the first year that I really go out and try to pursue other things. I have been sort of lax in our previous hiatuses because it was the first time that I didn’t have to immediately jump back on the audition grind.

AL: If you had your choice are you looking to do something comedy based or do you want to work in a different genre?
DB: I have been doing sitcoms for some time so it would be nice to flex a different muscle. The only real criteria I have is that I try to find roles that will turn out well. The genre that I am working in is kind of secondary to the quality of the project. The role has to be something that I think will benefit me in the long run.

Interview with Christopher Moynihan & Dan Fogler

Christopher Moynihan & Dan Fogler are the stars of ABC’s new comedy “Man Up!”, playing the roles of Craig and Kenny (respectively).  Christopher is also the creator and writer on the show.  Dan Fogler is known best for his roles in films like “Balls of Fury” and “Fanboys”.  The show is one of the funniest shows on TV right now easily.  It airs on ABC on Tuesday nights and their second episode is “Star Wars” themed so check it out.  Media Mikes had the chance to chat with Christopher (again) and Dan about the show and what we can expect from their characters.

Mike Gencarelli: You have have been filming for a while now, would you say that you are comfortable with your characters?
Dan Fogler: I think it is growing. Each episode it gets more hysterical and we get more into our skin. As you can tell from the pilot right of the bat it looks like we have been going this for a while. Everyone was really cohesive.  The chemistry from day one was great and we are just having a great time. I think that is going to come through when you watch the show definitely.

MG: You both have love troubles in the pilot, are we going to see any new love interests from your characters?
DF: Yeah!
Chris Moynihan: It is a good question Mike, actually we are going to be seeing quite a few new love interest for me and Dan.  We actually have a new girl for both of us for each episode.  At one point we are dating the girls who work the money and food windows at the local drive-in.  I am dating the first girl and we call her money because she takes out money [laughs].
DF: I date the second girl.  We call her food because she give me my food [laughs].
CM: So every week we have a different set of girls we are going after.
DF: It is like “Three’s Company” in here man.
CM: But…it is like Two’s Company with two more women…like four.
DF: And it all CHRISSIE! [laughs]

MG: Every show has its challenges, what are some of yours for this show?
CM: The truth is from a creative stand point, the only challenge is making something that you like and I think we have done that.  Actually the big challenge is getting people to watch it and getting the network to give it an honest shot.  I think the pilot tracked well, people watched it and hopefully more people will tune it each week.  Hopefully the network will give us a little time while to get our legs.  I have no doubt that we could be a show that people will really dig.
DF: My concerns are that I am hairy like a werewolf. I am really concerned about continuity day to day.  There is a lot of shaving going on.  I think that is going to get weird on my skin after a while.

MG: Dan, what drew you to work on this show?
DF: My wife. She forced me.  No, I loved the show.  I read the script and I thought it was hysterical.  I have been doing a lot of film and I thought it was time for me to break into TV.  I think I picked a winner with this show. I am really excited.  It is my first TV venture and it is really hysterical.  They are really letting me play and I love coming to work.

MG: Tell us about the transition with the character Grant joining your group?
CM: It was tricky thing from a writing stand point.  This is a guy who is sleeping with Kenny’s ex-wife. It was hard bringing him into the group without a little bump. What we did was we had it that Craig and Will really like Grant. He is a good guy.  He is going to be part of the family because Bridgette is going be part of the family because she is the God parent to Will’s kids. That was out way in.  In the second episode, we all sit down to watch “Star Wars” because Grant never has seen it. We figure since he has never seen it, he will watch it and love it and him and Kenny will have something in common. Of course it all goes array.  Our job as writers is to make him part of the group and make it feel organic and natural.  By the third or fourth episode, it is the four of us together and you don’t even question whether Grant should be there.

MG: The promos that you guys have done have been killer, any more plans for those?
CM: We are going to be doing as much as we can.  If you do on YouTube, we have been shooting some fun behind the scenes stuff like Teri Polo naked.  Really if you go on YouTube you can see it. We are trying to get people to watch by lying to them [laughs].  We are going to try to shoot at least one a week and keep posting them and trying to make it go viral.

MG: Any cool guest stars coming up that you want to tell us about?
CM: The big one is Billy Dee Williams.
DF: Yeah, we had Lando come on.  It was awesome. I worked with on “Fanboys”.  We have this sweet scene with him and I together and my God he is one manly space scallywag [laughs] if I have ever seen one.  Working with him was like being on cloud city [laughs].
CM: And Billy does some great dialogue from “Empire Strikes Back”
DF: Yes, there is a lot of “Star Wars” love. So if you are fan…tune it in.

Interview with TRON’s Dan Shor

Dan Shor is known best for his role of Ram in 1982’s “Tron”.  He reprises his user role of Roy Kleinberg  in “TRON: The Next Day”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dan about his role in the film and also what he has been up to since.

Mike Gencarelli: What did you originally think about “TRON” when you signed on to play Ram?
Dan Shor: When I first signed on to play RAM I was thrilled. It was a comic book fans fantasy come true. I finally had the opportunity to put on a Halloween super hero costume and live out that pretend reality.

MG: Tell us about what you recall about the costume?
DS: The costume itself was like wearing skin tight pajamas to work everyday. I can remember walking down Mickey Mouse street across from Donald Duck lane on the Disney lot, in my skintight body suit thinking ‘nothing could be better than this’….

MG: Any fun stories from the set and/or working with Jeff Bridges?
DS: Jeff Bridges is exactly as you would think him to be. He was funny, friendly, intensely obsessed with video game play, and like all of us on the set, completely committed to the act of creativity. The acting process often creates quick and intense relationships that parallel the relationships that exist within the film. Though I haven’t seen Jeff in 15 years? We have spoken on the phone and our relationship is exactly as it was while we were making the film. As a side note: when Bruce and I worked on Legacy last year, it was as if not one day had passed, and (except for the expanded waistlines) we saw each other exactly as the best friends we were in the film.

MG: How did you get involved to play Roy Kleinberg in the “TRON: The Next Day”?
DS: I got to do Roy Kleinberg in Tron The Next Day when the creators of the Blue Ray edition (42 Entertainment) contacted my ShodaVision website. Though I still have an actors agent, and never officially left the business, I had been living outside of the country for many years and perception was that I had disappeared through some sort of time space wormhole.Having been one of the original members of the TRON world, and being quite aware of the reality that programs can easily be recreated after being de-rezzed, I was pretty pissed off that the creators of Legacy seemed to have no interest in my existence. That made me even happier when the 42 Entertainment people took the time and effort to find me. They, with the people charged to create a possible Tron 3, decided to follow the original fan’s desires and bring RAM back into the fold.

MG: Any word about if they are going to be going forward with another “TRON” film?
DS: I still don’t know if Tron 3 is going forward. And I do not even know that I will be involved if they do. Of course I would like it if it were so….but I am, sadly, all to knowledgeable about how Hollywood works, and am fully aware that I simply may or may not be involved based on any number of criteria.

MG: Tell us about working on “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” as Billy the Kid?
DS: Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure is going ahead with another sequel and , once again, without me. I only have fond memories of the experience of making the film and wish all involved all best luck and love…..wish William the Man were involved, but whatthefuck?

MG: What are you currently working on?
DS: I am currently working with my production company; ShodaVision, producing and directing internet corporate web streams for North Eastern Electricity Company’s energy savings programs. ShodaVision has created short and long form documentaries, music videos, both narrative and reality television series, and television commercials for International markets.