Titus Paar talks creating an animatronic bear in “Fear of the Woods”

Titus Paar is the director of the new upcoming survival horror film “Fear of the Woods”s starring Vernon Wells (“Commando”, “The Road Warrior”). The film just released it’s trailer to the world and has been taking over the internet since doing so.

Here is the official synopsis for the film is “Alaska 1993, A snowstorm has trapped the small mountain town. Now it’s up to a group of rebellious teenagers to save their town that don’t believe in monsters.’

The film boasts a fully animatronic bear with no CGI and looks absolutely killer (see the trailer below). Media Mikes had a chance to ask Titus a few questions about the film and also his work with Steven Seagal.

What made you want to make a killer bear movie with “Fear of the Woods”?

When I was around 6 years old I saw the anime Silver Fang for the first time, it blew me away and that bear was the coolest monster I had ever seen (And still is)As I started making movies around 15 the dream began of one day making a live action movie called Fear of the Woods and capture the essence of the Bear in Silver Fang but with a new story.And now here we are, 30 years older making that kids dream come true.  

Tell us about the decision to use an animatronic bear and no CGI for the film?

My style of directing is to mix something old and familiar with something new that I made up. I just make movie I want to see but doesn’t exist, from a fan of film standpoint.This is a retro creature movie and I wanted to pay tribute to the guys that did it all in camera.And once I found out that we had an amazing creature work shop in Sweden called fixas.se it was nothing to think twice about.With movies like Jaws, you see its fake but you don´t care because it was there for real, that shark existed and moved like that and ate the actors. Same with our movie, we had that animatronic bear in arctic temperatures, with the maker of the creature, inside the bear operating him from inside so he could walk and run, while another guy controlled the head, mouth, eyes, smoke machine. So much fun and man but so much hard work.

I have a feeling this was a difficult shoot; Can you tell us a little about the production? 

This film truly was a struggle to make in every way. The sun went up at 9 and pitch-black at 3 so we didn’t have lunch breaks or any break really. There was two meter snow so you couldn’t walk without falling and sinking down to you belly and you know I got 74 year old Hollywood star Vernon Wells coming in. And he is supposed to be running in this with a 20 kilo coat on him, being chased by an animatronic bear in tracking shots and VFX setups… So yeah everything was hard. It´s just hard being outside in that kind of cold and we where shooting up on a mountain.But the team is used to work in these conditions and my DP Marcus Möller is one of the beat nature DPs there is so he was a big life savior. Big Camera rig, running with snow shoes all days because the director wanted to have long sweeping takes 🙂 But hey it was worth it, it looks amazing.

Insane shoot for sure. Think we all lost a bit of weight falling around in that snow, digging out the snowmobile while battling the clock. I hate filming in studios, this was a true adventure and it shows in the film. Below is the location and the film is by Marcis Möller:

Tell us about the tagline “Jaws meets Strangers Things and Silver Fang”? 

Its not the tagline but I want my influences to show. This is a combination of these things mashed together in my imagination where I just take stuff that makes my blood pump and the only read thread is me liking it really. Jaws, Jurassic park and yeah the way Spielberg makes creature movies, where the film around the creature is so interesting that the film works even if you take out the creature. Stranger Things for the homage to a time period, we are in the 90s in my movie. But it’s our version of the 90s like Stranger Things is using the 80s but making it their own universe. Silver fang is the horror in snow and the idea to bring Akakabouto to life.

How did you get “Mad Max 2″/”Commando” star Vernon Wells to appear in the film? 

Vernon and I have been friends for like 10 years. Tried to make a few movies before but movies fall apart all the time, it’s a miracle when they get made.Managed to make one together before, he has a fun part in my crazy Seagal movie Perfect Weapon. Love the guy. Grew up watching him in Mad Max and wanted to look like him (I still sport the Wez mohawke) He is a great actor and I mean he is movie history, I hope he gets to make bigger films again after this, he’ll win some awards for this role, some of his best work ever. 

I read he also did all of his own stunts at the age of 74? 

Yeah that man doesn’t complain. I asked him if I was going to bring in a stunt double and MZ stunts was ready to bring in a guy (I mean I did a Seagal film and Seagal has a stunt double for walking and he is 12 years younger than Vernon) He just looked at me and said. I’ll be alright as long as I can use my wheelchair… What do you think? I´m a fucking 80s action star I do all my own stunts. Well what can I say, he did almost kill Arnold (Schwarzenegger) and Mel (Gibson)…

Now that the trailer has been tearing up the internet; when can horror fans expect the release of this film? 

We are still in post on the film but we will do some festivals first. Want to win some awards for this and we will. So when the world opens up there are a lot of horror festivals around Halloween that will showcase it. But we also want to compete in mainstream festivals with this one, it has something fresh and people really dig it. Makes me so happy. You never know when you make these little more out-there movies if anyone else but you will like them.So it makes you very happy when they do. I have seen both sides, I won so many awards and gotten 5 star reviews many times but also been bashed like hell online and in reviews. So it’s nice to be praised for sure.

Your previous film “The Perfect Weapon”, starring Steven Seagal, was recently #1 on Netflix; what was it like working with Seagal? 

Seagal is a hard man to work with. But I knew that walking in to make that movie so I was prepared for it.It was fun doing a 80-90s B-action tribute with him, Vernon Wells and Richard Tyson from Kindergarten Cop. It was never clear in the marketing like I wanted that the movie is an ironic tribute to the B-action genre, so it was bashed for being too B. But that was the point to make the ultimate B movie. It did very well financially, was released worldwide by SONY even went theatrical in Japan and Dubai.The film brought me to Hollywood so I´m grateful to Seagal for taking a chance on me, but I would not do another Seagal movie. Working with much better and bigger talent now on my upcoming movies, you´ll see soon.I´ll say this doe, I like that Seagal is just like you expect him to be, he is larger than life, it’s not an act he puts on, I get bored easily but I was never bored hanging around with Seagal. I got so many good Seagal stories but I only tell them to people that buy me a drink.

Hey thank you Media Mikes for caring about my little crazy movie, means the world to me and the team that made it.Hope you get to see it in a festival or a platform later this year. Looking forward to hear your thoughts.

CD Review: The Bombpops “Fear of Missing Out”

“Fear of Missing Out”
The Bombpops
Fat Wreck Chords
Tracks: 12

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

San Diego punkers The Bombpops are set to explode with their first full-length album titled “Fear of Missing Out”. Released via Fat Wreck Chords the 12 track album is the follow up to the bands 2015 self released EP titled “Can of Worms” and hits with a sound and energy that harkens back to punks resurge in the 90’s.

Fat Wreck Chords has a long and fabled history as one of the independent leaders of punk rock music so whenever I get a chance to check out a new release from them I jump at the chance. Right from the albums opening track “Capable of Lies” to the closing notes of “All in a Day’s Lurk” the album is two parts nostalgia and two parts new as the 4 piece band consisting of Poli van Dam, Jen Razavi, Josh Lewis and Neil Wayne provide listeners with 90’s styled pop-punk fueled with modern day angst. Tracks like “CA in July”, “Watch Me Fold” and “Sweet for Sorrow” are definitely worth noting as they provide a perfect example of my previous statement.

If you were ever into bands like Dance Hall Crashers or Save Ferris then you definitely owe it to yourself to check out The Bombpops and their latest release “Fear of Missing Out”. Not only does the band/album provide a new take on a familiar sound each track’s catchiness is through the roof making it an album you can throw on repeat and listen to multiple times.

Track Listing:
1.) Capable of Lies
2.) CA in July
3.) Be Sweet
4.) Sweet for Sorrow
5.) Jerk
6.) FOMO
7.) I Can’t
8.) Watch Me Fold
9.) Forever Since
10.) Brake Lights
11.) Marry. Fuck. Kill
12.) All in a Day’s Lurk

Blu-ray Review “Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season”

Actors: Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam Carey
Number of discs: 5
Rated: Not Rated
Studio: ANCHOR BAY
Release Date: December 13, 2016
Run Time: 648 minutes

Season: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Man I tried, I tried! I really hated the first season of “Fear the Walking Dead”. It just felt so unnecessary and I did not like anyone from the cast at all as characters and actors. I said I wasn’t going to watch the second season of this show at all…but I gave in. The second season is a little bit better mostly because it expands from the original 6 episode order but I still found myself cursing the cast and just not enjoying the series at all. If you are obsessed with all things “The Walking Dead”, I am sure you will enjoy but I will pass on this series.

Official Premise: Last season, ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ explored a blended family who watched a burning, dead city as they traversed a devastated Los Angeles. In Season 2, the group aboard the Abigail is unaware of the true breadth and depth of the apocalypse that surrounds them; they assume there is still a chance that some city, state, or nation might be unaffected some place that the Infection has not reached. But as Operation Cobalt goes into full effect, the military bombs the Southland to cleanse it of the Infected, driving the Dead toward the sea. As Madison, Travis, Daniel, and their grieving families head for ports unknown, they will discover that the water may be no safer than land.

“Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season” Blu-ray comes with a Digital HD of the season as well. The special features are decent and worth visiting IF and only if you like the show. There are a bunch of audio commentaries included with cast/crew. watched through the commercials included are the “Flight 462” webisodes. There is the Q&A with Cast and Creative Team from Paley Fest LA 2016. Lastly there are two featurettes going behind-the-scenes “Inside Fear the Walking Dead” and “The Making of Fear the Walking Dead”. Some decent content there but this show still doesn’t do it for me.

Concert Review: “IMatter Fest and The Gate Presents” Phinehas, My Heart to Fear, Alive in the Dark, Praxia, Take Two

“IMatter Fest and The Gate Presents”
Phinehas, My Heart to Fear, Alive in the Dark, Praxia, Take Two
Date: Saturday, August 24th 2013
Venue: The Gate, Horseheads, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Red Chord Records artist Phinehas brought their 2013 summer tour to The Gate located in the upstate NY town of Horseheads, NY on August 24th. The group who hails from Los Angeles is currently out on tour in support of their newest EP release titled “The Bridge Between”. Though the crowd on hand was of the smaller size all the bands who performed that evening gave their all in an effort to put on a great performance.

Take Two would hit the stage first and though the group experienced a few technical difficulties not of their own doing the local 5 piece punk/rock band forged through like professionals and did what all good openers do by priming the crowd for what was to come later in the night. Praxia another local band from the area would follow with their own unique style of metal core which definitely kicked things up a notch. Advent recording artists Alive in the Dark were up next and started off their set as though they were shot out of a cannon. The band certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves especially drummer Michael Guevarez who donned a creepy yet entertaining unicorn mask for a portion of the set.

Next up were Solid State Records artist My Heart to Fear. The band hails from Williamsport, PA an area probably best known for its baseball history however over the last few years have become a breeding ground for up and coming metal-core acts. Vocalist Trevor Pool worked the crowd in between songs which helped keep the excitement going and even though the bands tour van broke down between shows none of the members let that affect their performance which garnered a great response from the crowd.

Closing out the night were tour headliners Phinehas who put on a stellar performance from start to finish.
Each of the bands four members really put everything they had into the extended set which whipped the crowd in to several good sized circle pits. Guitarist Jason Combs and bassist Bryce Kelley made great use of the stage as they bounced and spun back and forth while delivering the bands crushing material. Drummer Lee Humerian was a show in his self dazzling the crowd with a bevy of stick twirling tricks while vocalist Sean McCulloch put the icing on the cake with his shredding vocals and commandeering stage presence.

I really have to give it to the people who handle The Gate. Not only do they provide a safe and fun environment to play and listen to music but they seem to be the only ones in the area that are doing anything for music fans and performers. Without their dedication to the art of music younger bands and listeners would have little to no chance to perform or experience some of the great music that is out there. Definitely keep up the good work!