B. Harrison Smith talks about working with horror legends in his new film “Death House”

Photo by KGE

Harrison Smith is the writer and director of the new horror film “Death House”, which is being called the Expendables of the horror genre! This film is jam packed with dozens of icons including Kane Hodder, Dee Wallace, Tony Todd, Bill Moseley and many more! B. Harrison took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about the film and what we can expect for the future!

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you first got involved with “Death House”?
B. Harrison Smith: All of that can be found here. It’s my personal blog called Cynema. It has four articles called “The Road To Death House” series which answers everything you need to know.

MG: How much did Gunner Hansen complete before his passing?
BHS: Gunnar did the original script. That’s covered in the “Road to Death House” series on my blog. The script that’s shot is 90% mine. I kept his concept of the Five Evils and the issue of good and evil’s dependency on each other. However Gunnar’s original script was about a team of filmmakers going into an abandoned asylum where they were killed off. So it’s pretty different. He gave the script his blessing before he died. He was happy with what I did. He was such a good person.

MG: What was it like to work with so many horror legends?
BHS: Educational. They know so much. They’ve seen so much and how the industry has evolved and changed for the better and worse. I loved the fact that I grew up watching them in theaters and late night cable and video and now I work with them. That’s the best thing.

MG: Were there any talent that you reach out to that turned you down or that you weren’t able to get for this film?
BHS: Sure and it was due to scheduling. When the money finally moved it didn’t jive with everyone’s schedule. Robert Englund was in the middle of three projects and flying to Scotland. Bruce Campbell was smack dab in the middle of the Evil Dead tv show but they were really nice about it and supportive. What can you do? The project had been on and off again for years. They had to work. Hopefully the next one we will get them!

MG: What was one of the coolest moments you had on set during production?
BHS: There were a few but one that comes to mind was watching the interaction between Kane, Bill, Michael. They’ve known each other so long. They’re icons and they fuck with each other like high school kids. They did this three stooges “hello, hello, hello” bit and it was classic.

I also got to eat lunch with Sid Haig who just told me so much about the industry over the last 50 years. He’s a wealth of information and stories and I was so privileged to have him share them with me.

MG: On the flip side, what was the hardest part of the production?
BHS: Having a low budget and 24 day shoot schedule. I think most indie filmmakers will cite money and time as the biggest issues. There were no divas. No “creative differences.” The people part and crew part was easy. Time and money…they’re the hurdles.

MG: According to IMDB I see there is a prequel in the cards, “Dawn of 5 Evils”, is this next for you? Give us a tease on what we can expect?
BHS: Producer Rick Finkelstein wants it and I’ll oblige. It’s a prequel and that title will change. That’s just a working title for now but It will examine the backgrounds of the Five Evils and their origins.

MG: What is your wishlist cast for the next film in the franchise?
BHS: Ah hell, if I do that and leave anyone off then I piss off potential cast. I hope everyone for the sequel returns and I look forward to new faces as well.

MG: Fun question, if you could remake/reboot one horror film, what would it be?
BHS: I’m not against remakes when they’re warranted. There have been some great ones: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” ‘78, “The Blob”, “Night of the Living Dead”. So if I had my choice, I’d love to get a crack at remaking “Let’s Scare Jessica To Death.” I love the original but I think there were things limited by budget and time. The original sits on my DVD shelf and it scared me since a kid.

MG: Favorite childhood horror film that inspired you to your current role today and why?
BHS: I always say the original “Jaws” is the movie that made me want to make movies. But I’m not sure I classify Jaws as a horror film. But that’s the one. I was 8 when I saw it in 1975 in theaters and I told my mom afterward that I want to make movies when I grew up. I wish she’d lived to see that happen.

Horror legend Dee Wallace talks about the new film “Death House”

Photo by Joe Bryant

Dee Wallace is a name that needs little introduction. She is a legend in the business and is known best for her roles on films like “The Hills Have Eyes”, “The Howling”, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and “Cujo”. This year Dee is co-starring in the new film, “Death House” among over a dozen of other horror icons. She took out some time to chat with Media Mikes (again) to discuss the film and her role!

Mike Gencarelli: This project was born from the late Gunnar Hansen. How did you get involved and did you have any involvement with him before he passed?
Dee Wallace: I knew Gunnar. He was with my agent and also we saw each other on the circuit. I got involved because he and my agent developed the original concept together. Gunnar was a dear, sweet,  kind, talented man. He is missed.

MG: As a scream queen yourself, this film is jam packed with horror legends, but you have alot of screen time with Cortney Palm, who I feel is really breaking out in the business, tell us about working with her?
DW: I loved working with Cortney. She is very professional. I love her intensity.

MG: There has to be fun behind-the-scenes stories from working with this cast? Anything come to mind quick from the production?
DW: We alternated between freezing and feeling sorry for those who were more naked than we were!

MG: Tell us what drew you in about your character, Dr. Eileen Fletcher, and did you give her any cool unmentioned backstory to get into character?
DW: I loved her because I don’t get to play many characters like her…hard and unfeeling. Interestingly, that was a real challenge for me. I am used to playing with a full heart. I don’t know if you picked it up, but Barbara and I had a whole lesbian vibe going on.

MG: I like the idea that “Death House” is like “The Expendables” of the horror genre! Do you think that this will be expanded into more films?
Well, since I died, it’s doubtful I will return! But my daughter, Gabrielle Stone, is slated for the next one so yes!, I definitely want there to be more!

MG: From working in the genre over the years with “E.T.”, “The Howling” and “Cujo”,
how do you feel the genre has changed over the years?
DW: I think people get confused between horror and slasher. A good horror film develops characters, takes time to build, and usually has some kind of message about the human situation.

MG: Tell us what you are currently working on now and what’s upcoming?
DW: I have a great Christmas horror film on Netflix called “Red Christmas”, my series, “Just Add Magic”, is showing on Amazon Prime, and I am currently shooting a wonderful film called “Every Other Holiday”. I also am slated to film in March but cannot disclose any info yet!

Cortney Palm talks about working with horror icons in “Death House”

Cortney Palm has been making her mark in Hollywood and securing her role as a scream queen with roles in films like “Silent Night” (2012), “Zombeavers” and “The Dark Tapes”. She also co-starred in the film “Sushi Girl” alongside Mark Hamill in 2012. Recently she is starring in the film “Death House” alongside about a dozen of horror icons including Kane Hodder, Tony Todd and Dee Wallace. Cortney took out some time to chat with Media Mikes (again) to discuss the film and her love for the genre.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the film “Death House”?
CP: I had received message from director Harrison Smith via Twitter saying that some things had developed and he was interested in sending me a script. The script was “Death House”, and after I read it I thought I HAD to be a part of it. My managers got involved and literally a few days later I flew out to Pennsylvania to film.

MG: You are no stranger to ensemble casts after working on films like “Sushi Girl”, but tell us what was it like working with so many horror icons?
CP: Each actor brought something unique to set. An embodiment of their work and who they are as people. It’s always a joy to work with actors who have had long careers because you can learn so much from them. Kane (Hodder) and I did some improv that added depth to our characters and Barbara (Crampton) was so great in that we would work the scene before we filmed, which helped a lot.

MG: What drew you to your character Agent Toria Boon?
CP: I love her character arc. She clearly has a distinct past and simultaneously a past that is unfamiliar to her. Was it a part of a scientific test? Or something she’s trying to bury? But throughout the film she begins to unravel and question reality and her mission. I’ve always been drawn to strong female characters and agent Toria Boon is a badass, so that helps.

MG: Give us a fun behind-the-scenes story from the production?
CP: There was this one room in the prison, it was the freezer room, that we had to film in. It felt like bad juju. the camera crew had burned incense and wore crystals, but for some reason that room really took a toll on a few of us actors. Was it supernatural play? Bad energy? Or something that wanted to drain us. Whatever it was, it was a very difficult room to film in.

MG: I can see “Death House” being a great franchise, what horror icon would you like to see on board for future films if they happened?
CP: Honestly, Jamie Lee Curtis or Sigourney Weaver.

MG: How does it feel to be earning the status of scream queen in the horror genre?
CP: Am I? *Blushes* Horror films are so much fun to make. They take a lot of work, more than what people think. Buy they’re some of my favorite movies to work on, so I appreciate the fans who like to watch my work!

MG: Do you have any other projects upcoming that you would like to shout out to?
CP: “Hooker Assassin”
“Your Own Road”
“Sunflower”
“Dead Ant”

James Furlong and I also are co-producing an action/drama called “Savvy Strong”, where I play an ex-marine out for vengeance. We having a production team on board and are looking to secure more financing.

Horror Icon Bill Moseley And Metal Legend Philip H. Anselmo Unite To Release Songs Of Darkness And Despair Via Housecore Next Month.

BILL & PHIL: Horror Icon Bill Moseley And Metal Legend Philip H. Anselmo Unite To Release Songs Of Darkness And Despair Via Housecore Next Month.

Horror icon Bill Moseley – most notable as Chop Top in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and Otis in Rob Zombie’s House Of 1000 Corpses and Devil’s Rejects – recently joined forces with extreme music legend Philp H. Anselmo (Down, Pantera, Superjoint, Scour, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Arson Anthem etc.) for a very special collaborative release entitled Songs Of Darkness And Despair.

Set for official unveiling on January 20th 2017 via Anselmo’s own Housecore Records, the five-track offering was produced and performed by Anselmo and Stephen “The Big Fella” Berrigan (Down, SYK, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Eyehategod, haarp, Classhole, etc.), and mastered by Scott Hull of Visceral Sound. Songs Of Darkness And Despair includes guest appearances by Kevin Bond (Superjoint) on guitar, Squizzy Squires (King Parrot) on bass and guitar, and José “Blue” Gonzalez (Superjoint, Warbeast, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals) on percussion.

From preppie journalist to Satanic serial killer, Bill Moseley’s taken a long and unusual road to cult stardom, firmly cementing his place in the annals of horror history along the way. Having released his Spider Mountain record, and collaborated with Buckethead on their Cornbugs project, Moseley expands his musical endeavors by teaming up with Anselmo. BILL & PHIL‘s Songs Of Darkness And Despair is a brilliant trip that will give everyone a thrill.
Comments Anselmo: “Working with Mr. Moseley was an awesome experience! Bill brought the lyrics and Stephen [Berrigan] and I just improvised directly on the spot, and squeezed out six tunes in three days. All the songs have a different vibe because I wanted the music to represent Bill’s lyrical vision(s), and we needed to, because Bill does indeed have a unique, visual element within his choice of words and phrasing. I love Bill Moseley, and can’t wait to work on the next one! Be cool and enjoy this one!”
BILL & PHIL‘s Songs Of Darkness And Despair preorder bundles (including limited edition air fresheners and face masks) are available at The Housecore Store RIGHT HERE.
 
Songs Of Darkness And Despair Track Listing:
1. Dirty Eye
2. Corpus Crispy
3. Catastrophic
4. Widder Woman
5. Tonight’s The Night We Die
6. Bad Donu

Film Review “The Witch”


Directed by:
Robert Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hr 33 mins
A24
Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s the 1630’s in Puritan New England, and we’ve just watched a family leave the safe confines of their settlement to go out on their own. It’s unsettling. It’s unsafe. And it’s just the beginning.

The Witch, Robert Eggers’s first feature film premiered to much acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and after having seen the film, it’s no surprise. Eggers has managed to create a fresh film in an often-described, stale genre. We follow Thomasin, a teenage girl masterfully played by Anya Taylor-Joy, as her family leaves the community under the threat of church banishment to settle on their own in a remote patch of land. That just happens to be next to an imposingly dark, tall forest. When the family infant is stolen right from under Thomasin’s nose in the most terrifying game of peekaboo that you’ll ever see, we watch as a family based on faith and loyalty unravels. Possession, accusations, suspicions, and paranoia mount as things continue to go from bad to worse for the family. Oh, and did I mention there’s a witch in the woods?

Eggers got his start doing production design and that background influence is strong in the film. The color work is deliberate. Just as the lives of the characters are bleak and their faith restrictive, so too is the landscape Eggers has placed them in. It’s gray, dull, and repetitive; so much so that when we do encounter the witch, we are almost relieved, as she comes with color in her scenes. What at first feels like a breath of fresh air in the barren landscape soon encircles us with a feeling of dread. These vibrant colors do not belong in this world. This type of unease is helped along by the superbly discordant score, which both pulls us in and jars us away throughout the film. The actors do an expert job playing a family on the verge of destruction, walking that fine line between rationality and unsteadiness. The camera work keeps you on the edge of your seat- never have I been so terrified of a goat before.

Watching The Witch is a study in psychological stress. It’s slow-paced and deliberate, and it leaves you with the feeling that you’ve seen something that you weren’t supposed to. The fact that the film is largely based off of historically real accounts of events of that time period only adds to this overwhelming feeling of unrest. This is not the film to see if you are looking for a “jumpy” horror film, but if you are looking for something that will get under your skin and will still have you thinking about it days later, The Witch is for you.

The Witch opens on Friday February 19th

 

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Wes Craven, A True Master of Horror, Dies at 76

Wes Craven, the creator of both the “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Scream” film series, passed away today at his home after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76.

After briefly teaching English at Westminster College, he decided to pursue a career in the film industry, beginning as a sound editor in New York City. He also began working in a film warehouse along-side a former filmmaker turned musician named Harry Chapin. Chapin had been approached by a dentist-friend of the warehouse owner who had $50,000 to invest in a horror film. Chapin, who had earned an Oscar-nomination for his 1968 documentary, “Champions,” was no longer interested in filmmaking so he recommended his co-worker, Wes, for the job. The film became 1972’s “Last House on the Left,” which was the first of many horror films written and directed by Craven. Craven also worked in the early world of pornography, mostly writing and editing films. It is rumored that, under the pseudonym “Abe Snake,” he directed the X-rated film called “The Firecracker Woman,” in which a young Craven also has a small role (clothed).

In 1977 he wrote and directed the brutal “The Hills Have Eyes,” following that up with “Deadly Blessing,” “Swamp Thing” and “The Hills Have Eyes Part II.” In 1984 he wrote and directed a film that would change horror movies forever, “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” I was just getting into the theatre business when the film opened and I often filled in at the Town Theatre in Baltimore, which had the honor of being the theatre with the highest grosses during “Elm Street’s’ run. He finished the 80’s out by directing several episodes of “The Twilight Zone” television show and the films “The Serpent and the Rainbow” and “Shocker.”

He began the 90’s with “The People Under the Stairs” then turned to horror/comedy by directing Eddie Murphy in “Vampire in Brooklyn.” In 1996 he hit the horror jackpot again with the film “Scream.” A tongue in cheek look at the various tropes of horror films, the film went on to gross over $100 million and spawn three sequels. Proving he could do more than horror, he directed Meryl Streep to an Oscar nomination in the film “Music of the Heart.” He was currently serving as an Executive Producer on the upcoming “Scream” television show.

On a personal note, I’d like to mention that it was Wes Craven, who I had the good fortune to meet, that inspired me to write a screenplay about the life of one of my personal heroes, Harry Chapin. “If you ever sell it I’ll direct it,” he told me. Sadly, he’ll never have the chance.

Mr. Craven is survived by his third wife, Iya, and his children, Jonathan and Jessica. Jessica’s step-father is Tom Chapin, Harry’s brother.

Blu-ray Review “Tales From the Crypt / Vault of Horror: Double Feature”

Starring: Joan Collins, Dawn Addams, Peter Cushing, Tom Baker, Roy Dotrice, Michael Craig
Directors: Freddie Francis, Roy Ward Baker
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Shout! Factory
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2014
Run Time: 175 minutes

Films: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

“Tales From the Crypt” comics are one of the main reasons, I got into horror films when I was a kid. This 1972 adaption from the comics directed by Freddie Francis (The Creeping Flesh) was a great collection of horror films on film. It boasted a great cast including Joan Collins (Empire Of The Ants), Peter Cushing (Horror Of Dracula), Patrick Magee (A Clockwork Orange) and Sir Ralph Richardson (Rollerball). I remember the first time I saw this film by accident honestly since I thought it was a release from the HBO series and I am so glad that I did. Still holds up today for sure!

“Tales From The Crypt” Official Premise: When five unwary travelers with dark hearts stumble into a series of catacombs, they find themselves in a cavern with no way out. But the horror’s only just begun as a mysterious figure appears to reveal to each person the shocking events that will lead to their well-deserved, untimely (and unavoidable) demise. Tales From The Crypt is the original, gets-right-under-your-skin creepfest!

“Vault Of Horror” is a solid follow-up to “Tales From The Crypt” and is real draw in this release because it is available uncut for the first time on home video! It also packs a solid cast including Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Denholm Elliott (Raiders Of The Lost Ark), Curt Jurgens (The Mephisto Waltz) and Michael Craig (Mysterious Island). Like “Creepshow 2” was the “Creepshow”, it doesn’t top the first but this is a another great collection of classic horror stories, even though a little more cookie cutter.

“Vault Of Horror” Official Premise: Five unsuspecting hotel guests step into an elevator, which leads them into an underground vault. Trapped with no way out, each guest shares a gruesome tale of an encounter with death. But as the stories unfold, the men begin to suspect that their presence in the vault is no coincidence, and that the only way out…is death.

Scream Factory is behind this double feature release and it is a must for any horror fan that loves anthology films. Two great 70’s British horror films for the price of one. The 1080p transfers on both films are good. They are not outstanding but for the age of these films, the fact that they haven’t been fully restored, they look good. Same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio Mono tracks, which work well with the films scores. There are no special features included either but if you consider “Vault of Horror” as a bonus film, they are in good shape.

STARZ Reteams Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert for a New TV Series Based on Their Classic Horror Film “The Evil Dead”

STARZ RAISES THE DEAD

NETWORK RETEAMS SAM RAIMI, BRUCE CAMPBELL AND ROB TAPERT FOR A NEW TV SERIES BASED ON THEIR CLASSIC HORROR FILM THE EVIL DEAD

RAIMI TO DIRECT FIRST EPISODE OF NEW SERIES, “ASH VS. EVIL DEAD”

BRUCE CAMPBELL TO STAR AS TITLE CHARACTER, ASH

 Beverly Hills, Calif. – November 10, 2014 – Starz announced today the greenlight of the network’s next original series, the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror film franchise The Evil Dead. The project reteams the original filmmakers, director Sam Raimi, with longtime producing partner Rob Tapert and star Bruce Campbell.

The STARZ Original series officially titled “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” will be 10 half-hour episodes.  Bruce Campbell will be reprising his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead.  When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal.  Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.

“Starz first worked with Sam and Rob on ‘Spartacus,’ and we are thrilled to be back in business with them,” said Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director of Starz.  “With Sam writing and directing and Bruce Campbell returning to the screen, we are certain the show will give Evil Dead fans around the world the fix they’ve been craving.”

Evil Dead has always been a blast. Bruce, Rob, and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to tell the next chapter in Ash’s lame, but heroic saga.  With his chainsaw arm and his ‘boomstick,’ Ash is back to kick some monster butt. And brother, this time there’s a truckload of it,” said Sam Raimi.

“I’m really excited to bring this series to the Evil Dead fans worldwide – it’s going to be everything they have been clamoring for: serious deadite ass-kicking and plenty of outrageous humor,” said Bruce Campbell.

“STARZ has always been a great creative partner and we are excited to be working with them on this project,” said Robert Tapert.

Raimi will direct the first episode.  “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” was written by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi (Darkman, Army of Darkness, Drag Me to Hell) and Tom Spezialy (“Chuck,” “Reaper,” “Desperate Housewives”).  Sam Raimi will also serve as executive producer, along with Rob Tapert (Evil Dead, “Spartacus,” Xena: Warrior Princess”) and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, “Burn Notice”).  Ivan Raimi will Co-Executive Produce and Aaron Lam (“Spartacus”) will serve as producer.

The original Evil Dead film followed Ash and his friends who travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release demons intent on possessing the living.  The film became an international success and is critically lauded to this day as one of the best horror movies of all time.  It also spawned a media franchise, including two sequels, as well as video games and comic books and a recent reboot that grossed $97 million worldwide.

“Ash Vs. Evil Dead” project was packaged by CAA and Craig Jacobson at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller.  Marta Fernandez will serve as the executive in charge at STARZ.

The series will air on STARZ in 2015.

Starz will retain all domestic and international multiplatform rights including television, home entertainment, and digital.

Kevin Greutert talks about directing and editing horror film “Jessabelle”

Kevin Greutert is the director of the films “Saw VI”, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter” as well on editor on the entire “Saw” franchise. His latest film is called “Jessabelle” and is a ghost story set in Louisiana. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Kevin about the film and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: How was it going from directing “Saw 3D” to a film like “Jessabelle”?
Kevin Greutert: I was very eager to step away from the “Saw” franchise. I loved doing those movies but I wanted to get on with something different and really work with characters that are more developed and have more dramatic texture going on. When this script crossed my desk, I was super excited. It felt like a real breath of fresh air. We made it for a lot less money and a lot less time than most of the “Saw” movies. So in that regard, there was some different challenges as well. There are times when you what to put a camera or lights somewhere but it just isn’t possible. But It was absolutely worth it since the story is so good and the actors and crew were such a pleasure to work with. They made it so easy.

MG: Did you enjoy working in a more slow burn type of horror?
KG: The “Saw” movies were so energy fueled. I love making movies that are as physically engaging as possible. You say slow burn but I hope it isn’t too slow [laughs]. I have been told that this movie has a really amazing pace to it. It is not a movie that is throwing stuff at the screen the entire time. I think the most fun scenes in the film are the really quiet scenes that rely on the tiniest sound to trigger a scare or you see a shadow move in the background. To get to play with that kind of aspect instead of arms getting chopped off felt great and it felt really great on the set. There were no sets for this film, it was all shot in an isolated plantation. You can hear the night birds and there were alligators everywhere. So it was great to do a quiet ghost story.

MG: Like with the “Saw” franchise, you also edited “Jessabelle”; tell us about that aspect?
KG: It is interesting, I enjoy editing a lot but there are challenges to doing both. Directing a film is like climbing Mount Everest. It is really hard and takes all of your resources. By the time you finish, you really just want to go to the Caribbean and spent a month decompressing. By editing the film myself as well, I am climbing Everest and once I reach base camp, I have to turn around and do it again. It is that hard. There is no time to waste and you need to get right back into it. If there is any problem with the footage, it is on you. If I am editing someone else’s film and if something didn’t come out right or they failed to shoot a scene or get a shot, I can say “Man, those guys screwed up” [laughs]. That being said, I still felt pretty good when we got this film in the can. There were no reshoots needed or anything. So the hardest part of editing this film was actually all the stuff that I had to leave on the cutting room floor. Sarah Snook does every take different and they were all great. I am only person in the world who will see how these scenes could have been. These are tough decisions to see something so good and not be able to use it because something else was slightly more appropriate. That is a challenge but it is still very exciting as a filmmaker.

MG: That tub scene is quite effective; tell us about shooting that?
KG: Yeah, the bathtub scene was a tough one. Basically, we had to figure out how to create the sensation that the tub was filling up with swampy, oily, disgusting water. We had to find a place to shoot it. We were in this abandoned three story mansion. The only room we could do it was on the second floor, so in the dining room underneath, we had to build a giant 4×4 super structure to keep the tub from failing through the floor. It was probably our biggest shoot day. We had to have condor cranes at the windows with different lights and rain effects. We had a hot filled with water ready to make sure the girls didn’t freeze to death. Then on the very last day of shooting I had wanted to get a few more shots in the bath tub, so we had to set it all back up again. I thank the crew because it was a tough thing to do.

MG: Did you ever feel limited by the PG-13 rating?
KG: I always wanted this movie to actually be PG-13. When you put an R rating on a horror movie, people have expectations that this movie is going to deliver gore and blood etc. This is a very scary movie but not scary because of violence. It is scary due to its psychological situations. With that said, when we did submit the film to the MPAA, we did get back an R rating several times and we had to make a few adjustments. But for most people, if you would see both versions side by you probably wouldn’t be able to notice anything major missing.

MG: I liked the locations which created a lot of atmosphere in the film; tell us about where it was shot?
KG: From the day that I first read the script to the day that we started shooting, it was not a long time. First order of business was to cast it and simultaneously with that was to find a place to shoot it. Originally we drove all over Louisiana trying to find the right place. We would up in North Carolina and thought it looked more like Louisiana than Louisiana [laughs]. We originally found a great house and shortly after we were told that this guy James Wan was using it for a film called “The Conjuring” [laughs]. James is good friend of mine though and we found another place and ended up working in the same town at the same time as them. In the plantation we found, no one has ever made a movie there before and no one had lived there for decades. The last inhabitant was an old schizophrenic man. The walls were completely covered with strange drawings. It felt like a true haunted house. When you see the film it looks like a very derelict building but we cleaned it up a lot [laughs]. It was really a great place. When they go through the swamps, it was all the real thing. We had alligators following us around. It was wonderful.

MG: What can you tell us about your next film, “Visions”?
KG: That film is also produced by Jason Blum. I am currently editing it. It is a wife that buys a winery to overcome a tragedy. Her husband is also trying to sustain an agricultural business during a drought and the wife is pregnant. She starts to experience some very mysterious hauntings in the house. I don’t want to say too much but it has one of the best third acts that I have ever seen. I read the script for the first time back in 2008 and called everyone to get this film made. It took a while but it is great and I can’t wait for it to be released.

 

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Rob Zombie talks about his Crowd-Funded Clown Horror Film “31”

Photo Credit: Rob Fenn

Grammy nominated musician, Rob Zombie has written and directed films like “House of 1000 Corpses”, “The Devil Rejects”, “Halloween (2007)”, “Halloween II (2009)” and “The Lords of Salem”. He is currently working on his next film “31”, which is a crown-funded project. The campaign currently ends on Halloween, so if you want to see Rob Zombie’s most brutal film get made head over to RZ-31.com and back it. Media Mikes had a chance to chat again with Rob to discuss the project, fear of clowns and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Last year, when we spoke you mentioned that “The Broad Street Bullies” would be your next film; what happened?
Rob Zombie: It just kept getting bogged down. “The Broad Street Bullies” is a true story, so unfortunately when you try and branch out and do something like that it is hard. I didn’t own the rights to it and I was working with other people. It is hard enough getting these movies made when you are in total control but when you get other people involved it just sort of drags on. So I worked on it for about two years and I felt like I could spend the next five years working on it and it still might not happen. I like making movies. I don’t like just having meetings and telephone calls. I may go back to it later but I might not since sometimes things just drag on forever. I don’t have forever, you know? I like to work and make movies.

MG: How was the idea for “31” born?
RZ: It came about in a very funny way. Last Halloween, I was in Pomona, CA working on this haunted house attraction I did called, “Great American Nightmare”. I was watching people running around being scared by people dressed as clowns with fake chainsaws and stuff. I saw the true terror on some people’s faces…even though they know it is fake, obviously since it is an amusement park. People just can’t stand clowns. So that was stuck in head. Then I was researching something online and I found out that Halloween was the number one day of the year when people go missing, according to the Missing Persons Bureau. I thought “Hmmmm…missing on Halloween?” Then I thought about the clowns and I ended up concocting this crazy idea about people being kidnapped and forced to battle murderous clowns, sort of like “The Most Dangerous Game” but with disgusting clowns. At the time, I was still working on “Broad Street Bullies” and getting bogged down, so I said to my manager that I was getting frustrated with this movie but I have this other ridiculous idea. I told him the idea and he said “I think I can sell that”. So it’s funny you work on something for years and then come up with this crazy idea off the top of your head and suddenly everyone is excited. That is literally how it happened.

MG: I grew up (and still am) scared of Pennywise from Stephen King’s “IT” but what do you think it about clowns that always scares people?
RZ: Clown makeup is weird and doesn’t hide everything. If you have a gross disgusting face, it almost extenuates it. It does hide your features though. If you just take white clown make up and smear it on your face, it really does make it hard to identify somebody. Think about Cesar Romero as the Joker, he was still so Cesar Romero but at the same time totally not. There is something so subtly disturbing about it. If they have a mask or a hood, they are totally covered but there is something so perverted about grease paint on someone’s face. The funny thing is that as children we are supposed to find these disgusting characters in grease paint adorable? Sorry but they are terrifying.

MG: With sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, what made you take your crowd-funding campaign to FanBacked?
RZ: Originally it wasn’t my idea to crowd-fund, my manager came to me with it. We had a few offers from Kickstarter and the others but FanBacked was brand new and they seemed the most enthusiastic. I liked the vibe of how they worked. It was also focused on entertainment and not all over the board. So we thought, let’s give them a shot and it has worked out great.

MG: What can we expect from this game in the film?
RZ: It is going to keep changing since we haven’t shot the movie yet. We start shooting in February. I love claustrophobic self-contained movies. I never make movies like that. I love films like “Dawn of the Dead”, even though in scope it is a big movie but I always loved when they get stuck in the mall. To me it was always so intense. I just love that idea. All my movies haven’t been self-contained but I have always wished that they were. So what can be more terrifying that being locked in this place and people just keep releasing a homicidal maniac to chase you constantly? There is nowhere to go. If you end up killing one of the guys, your only reward is that they release another one. It is like the coliseum, there is no way out. You literally have to kill every lion to survive. What can be worse than that? That was basically the idea. No rest for the wicked.

MG: Any cast in place yet for the film?
RZ: I have lots of people in mind but I haven’t cast anyone yet or spoken to anyone.

MG: You have said that this will be your most brutal film; any fears of it being censored for its theatrical release?
RZ: Sometimes you have different goals with movies. The goals for “The Lords of Salem” was not to be violent, gory and brutal. The goal of it was to make a slow paced, psychedelic head trip. With “31”, I just wanted to make something that is just so dirty and nasty…that is the goal. Then after you worry about the ratings board, because you can’t predict that they are going to do. If you try and censor yourself in advance, they will find something else. I am just going to make it as fucked up as possible and we’ll figure out a way to get it passed the MPAA. The unrated version then will live on forever, so that is all that matters.

MG: We have three days to go before Halloween and the end of the campaign; what can you tell fans who are looking to back this project?
RZ: We can really use everyone’s help. Even if you can’t donate money, just getting word out is very helpful. Anything helps. People twittering about it on their own is just as helpful as somebody backing it with money. That was always the goal from the get-go. Horror movies have always been a very fan driven industry. When the corporate world gets involved, they always ruin it. I wanted this to be fan involved. So if you want to back this go to RZ-31.com and keep spread the word!

Enter to Win Horror Musical “Stage Fright” on Blu-ray [ENDED]

To celebrate the Blu-ray release of “Stage Fright”, Media Mikes is excited to giveaway one (1) copy of the Blu-ray to our readers. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite musical. This giveaway will remain open until July 18th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

The Stage Is Set For A Bloodbath In The Terrifying Thriller Featuring Minnie Driver And Meat Loaf, Arriving July 8 On Blu-ray™ and DVD From Magnolia Home Entertainment Under The Magnet Label

Starry-eyed teenager Camilla Swanson wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a Broadway diva, but she’s stuck working in the kitchen of a snobby performing arts camp. Determined to change her destiny, she sneaks in to audition for the summer showcase and lands a lead role in the play, but just as rehearsals begin, blood starts to spill, and Camilla soon finds herself terrified by the horror of musical theatre.

Win a Signed Script from Full Moon Streaming’s Horror Web Series “Trophy Heads” [ENDED]

Media Mikes is teaming up with Full Moon to giveaway a really RARE prize. For the first time, signed scripts of Trophy Heads (episodes 1 through 5) are available on FullMoonStreaming.com. There are only 90 signed scripts are available and will sell out quickly. We are lucky enough to be able to give one of these amazing items away to our fans.

The script includes the following autographs: Linnea Quigley – Jacqueline Lovell – Denice Duff – Brinke Stevens – Michelle Bauer – Darcy DeMoss – Adam Noble Roberts – Irena Murphy – Maria Olsen -David DeCoteau and Charles Band!

If you would like to enter for your chance to win this incredible prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with with which horror icon you would you like to have appear in future episodes of “Trophy Heads”, who knows they might actually appear! This giveaway will remain open until July 4th at Noon, Eastern Time.

With this contest, we will give you readers more chances to win. You can leave a comment below here like usual…but you can also leave us a message on our Facebook and Twitter with the #hashtag #FullMoonMM and #TrophyHeadsMM. So there are more ways for you to win for this giveaway! This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Episode 4 of Trophy Heads premieres on June 25th will premiere exclusively on FullMoonStreaming.com! If you haven’t started watching the series, now is the time to sign up, then tell your friends and family about FullMoonStreaming.com, because it’s FREE to try! There’s only a few hours left to subscribe for free, as the trial ends on June 25th.

Blu-ray Review “The Zombie Horror Picture Show”

Actors: Rob Zombie
Directors: Rob Zombie
Rated: Unrated
Studio: UMe
DVD Release Date: May 19, 2014
Run Time: 81 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“The Zombie Horror Picture Show” is the first concert film from musician/director Rob Zombie. The 81 minute feature-length concert film was recorded over two nights in Texas and captures Zombie’s elaborate, multi-media production of mind blowing effects, animatronics robots and pyrotechnics combined with Rob’s powerhouse band featuring John 5, Piggy D and Ginger Fish. The film is being released via UMe and is available in both DVD and Blu-ray formats.

Finally Rob Zombie has decided to capture not only his power live sound but his over the top visual presentation which fans all around the world have to come to expect and love. “Rob Zombie: The Zombie Horror Picture Show” is a bombastic assault on your senses as the bands takes you on a 81 minute musical journey with songs spanning Zombies 20+ year career. The overall look of the film may be a bit chaotic at times but fans of Rob’s work with White Zombie and his subsequent solo career know what to expect.

The sound of the film is top notch only adding to the appeal as songs like “Superbeast”, “Sick Bubblegum” and the semi acoustic “House of 1,000 Corpses” blast through the speakers with clarity while still retaining that live concert feel. My only complaint is that the special features portion of this release is almost non-existent. Included in this section you do get some pretty cool still photos courtesy of Rob Fenn however with this being Zombies first concert film it would have been cool to include some behind the scenes footage and/or band interviews to help make this the total package.

Track Listing:
1.) Teenage Nosferatu Pussy
2.) Superbeast
3.) Super Charger Heaven
4.) Living Dead Girl
5.) We’re An American Band
6.) More Human Than Human
7.) Sick Bubblegum
8.) Never Gonna Stop
9.) Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga
10.) Meet the Creeper
11.) Angry Red Planet
12.) Mars needs Women
13.) House of 1,000 Corpses
14.) Lords of Salem
15.) Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Super Town
16.) Thunder Kiss ‘65
17.) Dragula

Blu-ray Reviews “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep”, “Godzilla vs. Hedorah” & “Godzilla vs. Gigan”

Directors: Yoshimitsu Banno, Jun Fukuda
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Section 23
DVD Release Date: May 6, 2014
Run Time: 88 / 86 / 90 minutes

“Ebirah, Horror of the Deep”: 3 out of 5 stars
“Godzilla vs. Hedorah”: 3.5 out of 5 stars
“Godzilla vs. Gigan”: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

This year is no question, the year of Godzilla. With Warner Bros and Legendary’s reboot hitting theaters on May 16th, everyone is in Godzilla overload. Joining the craze, Kraken Releasing is jumping on the the kaiju (giant monster) love by bringing us the first U.S. Blu-ray release of three classic films featuring the world’s most famous giant reptile. The first is “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep” (1966), which was originally released in the U.S. in 1968 under the title “Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster”. Next we have “Godzilla vs. Hedorah” (1971), which was released theatrically in the U.S in 1972 as “Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster”. Lastly, we get “Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)”, which was was released theatrically in the U.S in 1977 as “Godzilla on Monster Island”.

“Ebirah, Horror of the Deep” was never really one of my favorite “Godzilla” films. It takes like a solid 45 minutes just to see the giant lizard. Besides the title character and our green friend, Mothra also pops in towards the end as well. For me this is a great one for the collection to be complete but I would much prefer to watch “Godzilla vs. Hedorah”. Even though this one only has one other monster besides Godzilla, Heodrah is quite badass . “Godzilla vs. Gigan” was always one of my favs growing up. When you have monsters like Godzilla, Gigan, King Ghidorah and Anguirus all together, shit is bound to get crazy.

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)” Official Premise: When Ryota’s brother Yata disappears at sea, the intrepid youth and his friends join forces with a slightly trustworthy bank robber, steal a boat and go after him! Of course, there’s the little problem that Yata may be lost on a mysterious island where the evil terrorist organization Red Bamboo has enslaved natives to make heavy water for nefarious purposes. And that means dealing with the island’s monstrous, 164 feet tall guardian Ebirah, as well as Red Bamboo’s arsenal of super advanced weaponry. On the plus side, help may be at hand in the form of a nubile island girl, two tiny fairies, their giant protector Mothra and the big G himself, the mighty Godzilla. Surviving the results of all that “assistance” may not be guaranteed, but Red Bamboo will never want to tangle with teenagers AND Godzilla at the same time again!

“Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)” Official Premise: Forget about acid rain and global warming! The worst ecological nightmare is actually Hedorah, which starts off small but quickly mutates into a giant flying monster capable of wiping out all life on whatever unfortunate planet it lands on! And since Hedorah grows by consuming the toxic gases and chemicals mankind has spilled into the air and water, in the early 1970s that means that its potential growth is unlimited! Fortunately for the human race, the Earth has an ultimate green defender who doesn’t need to sing protest songs or try to enact new laws to get things done. Because nobody, and nothing, can stop Godzilla when he decides to push an environmental issue, and while Hedorah may be the dirtiest opponent Godzilla has ever faced, his name is going to be mud by the time he’s been stomped into the whole Earth a few dozen times.

“Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972)” Official Premise: When alien invaders, plans for a children’s theme park and four giant monsters with six heads between them all collide, the result is the inevitable battle for the fate of the Earth. At least, that’s how it is for Godzilla, who teams up with his former spiky foe Anguirus for a tag team match against two of his greatest adversaries: the legendary three headed King Ghidorah and Gigan, the cyborg hench-monster for insidious insect aliens whose plot to wipe out all human life is cleverly disguised as plans for the construction of a new children’s theme park. Unfortunately for the bug’s diabolical designs, their secret monster control codes are accidentally discovered by comic book artist Gengo Kotaka, who broadcasts the master tape and brings Team Godzilla into play. It’s not going to be an easy fight, though, as the odds are four heads to two, and King Ghidorah’s one of Godzilla’s toughest opponents. With his cybernetic weaponry Gigan is equally ruthless, and his alien masters are as hard to kill as the cockroaches they resemble. Will Earth’s biggest defenders finally fall? Or will Godzilla, and insecticide, triumph over all?

When I watched these three films, I was really looking to be quite critical on the transfers but  both Kraken Releasing really hooked these films up with very solid 1080p transfers. The special effects by by Teruyoshi Nakano still look very sharp and the colors are also very vibrant. You can literally even seen the slight blood on Godzilla’s nose when he is getting beaten down, which I thought was amazing. In terms of audio, we get both the English dubbed and original Japanese versions with English subtitles. Of course, depending on your mood, the Japanese takes a serious approach and the English dubs are laughable but still enjoyable. Lastly in terms of special features, the only extra on each of these three Blu-rays are just an original Japanese trailer for each film.

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.