Eduardo Sánchez talks about his kick-ass Bigfoot film “Exists”

Eduardo Sánchez is best known for co-directing and writing the found footage horror flick “The Blair Witch Project”. Since then he has given the horror genre some great films like “Altered” and “Lovely Molly” and even crossed over into TV with the BBC America series “Intruders”. His latest film is a real labor of love and easily his best film to date called “Exists”. It is a Bigfoot creature feature like no other. Eduardo took out some time to chat with Media Mikes again about his kick-ass Bigfoot film and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: What made you want to do a film about Bigfoot?
Eduardo Sánchez: I grew up in the 70’s and Bigfoot was my “Avengers”. It was my monster growing up. It scared the crap out of me but at the same time it also fascinated me. I mean, this creature lives in the woods? Daniel (Myrick) and I were inspired by the Patterson–Gimlin film, “The Legend of Boggy Creek” and the TV series “In Search Of” and without those there wouldn’t have been “The Blair Witch Project”. I have wanted to make a Bigfoot movie for a long time. The movie “Harry and the Henderson” made Bigfoot a punchline, even though I laughed myself. There is still this part of me that wants to show this kick-ass Bigfoot that is scary and fucks shit up and not in a cartoon way. It doesn’t have super human strength, it is just a strong big ass animal. This is the like the third Bigfoot project that we have tried to get off the ground and we finally got it financed. I have been looking for THIS version of Bigfoot since I was a kid. It is a guy in the suit but he is cool, fast, strong and smart. It is my sort of my love letter to Sasquatch. I owe that whole culture so much and I really wanted to do right by it.

MG: I love that you kick off the action and suspense right from the start of the film with no bullshit!
ES: Thanks dude! I mean, we all know who the main character of the movie is. You can’t delay man. You can’t. That is how I felt. I wanted to see it just as bad as the audience did. I wanted to get to the creature fast and get right into the good stuff.

MG: Tell us about how you created your Bigfoot, which looks fantastic?
ES: I had an idea that I could bring a really cool Bigfoot to life. Most importantly, I thought I could do it without the use of CGI. Not that I am against CGI but Bigfoot needs to real man. I basically just went balls to the wall to try and create something that has never been seen before or at least in a long time. I knew we would need to have a kick-ass creature. We first got WETA, the guys who did “The Lord of the Rings”. We had a connection to them through our producer, Mark Ordesky. They came in and did some design work for us. When it came time to build the suit, we called our friends at Spectral Motion. They have done a bunch of films with us and we are like family. They finished up the design and built this crazy suit. Let me tell you man, at the end of the movie we get close to this character and it really holds up. So we were all excited.

MG: Brian Steele is a man who knows how to become a monster; how did he get involved?
ES: Spectral Motion are the ones that pitched me on having the right person in the suit. They brought up Brian Steele. It’s funny because Brian actually played the role of Harry in the “Harry and the Hendersons” TV series. So he was just perfect man and it really worked out. When the suit was done, we went to LA and were going to see it on Brian for the first time. So we shot this little test movie and once we saw it man…it just blew us away man. A couple of times during shooting, we would all look at easy other and just say that we couldn’t believe that we were making a Bigfoot film. We had to pinch ourselves to make sure it was real.

MG: Tell us about the use of GoPro cameras in the film?
ES: You can’t really do a found footage film these days without the use of GoPros since they are so ubiquitous. Everyone has got them today. If they are out in the woods and shooting them these guys doing all this crazy shit then we figured we would have to use GoPros. We haven’t worked with them before this and it was before the new ones came out, so we were using the Hero2 model. It definitely had some limitations but we are very happy with the way it turned out. There is a lot times where it is supposed to be a GoPro also and we are shooting with a 5D or something like that. I just love that you can run and hide and that camera is just shooting non-stop. I love that.

MG: How did you shoot the house tumble scene?
ES: I can’t really discuss the budget, but we didn’t really have a lot of money. Obviously the Bigfoot suit was where most of our money went. But our effects guys were just great. They shot all the outside stuff and it going over the cliff. Then the inside stuff, we literally took the same trailer and put it on a gimbal, between two stands, put some silly stunt people in there [laughs] and just shook it up man, like a clothes dryer! You are always nervous asking stuntmen to do certain things but they really had a lot of fun with this and nobody got hurt, which is good. While they were spinning, we just put a bunch of cameras in there and then we just cut it together with a bunch of different angles. I think it came out really well.

MG: What was your biggest challenge on this film?
ES: It really was figuring out the creature like where the creature looked good and where it didn’t work out and then just trying to keep that sensibility throughout and not letting it get out of control. A lot of times you get a really good effect and the movie just shows it to death. But if you are going to do a Bigfoot movie man…you got to show the fucking monster. You can’t cheat the audience. This was one of my main goals…to show this creature. But we focuses on how to do this right and not let the audience get tired of seeing this creature. I never forgot that this was a guy in a suit and we shoot it with that in mind. People were just having so much fun though and we really have a great team. This film was a labor of love for a lot of people.

MG: What do you have in the cards next?
ES: Absolutely man! I have been getting into some TV recently. I just did the show on BBC America called “Intruders”. I directed the first four episodes of that and I loved it. It was such a great experience. Gregg (Hale) and I are actually trying to get a TV show of our own going. We are close. I think we have the right idea from the reactions we have been getting. It is just a matter of getting everything pitched to the right people. Then we also have like five features right now that are currently in various stage of development. We are about to get a green light on one of them very shortly. So 2015 seems like it is shaping up to be a very busy year, which is great.


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Film Review “Kick-Ass 2”

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Jim Carrey
Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 43 mins

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

When we last saw Kick Ass (the character, not the film) he was sending a missile through the body of crime boss Frank D’Amico, much to the chagrin of D’Amico’s son, Chris. As the new film begins we find that Chris, once a self-made super hero himself known as the Red Mist, has decided to use his inherited wealth to become the baddest villain of all time. To complete his turnaround he gives himself a new name. I can’t tell you that name on a family web site but let’s just say that it begins with the word Mother!

Sometimes funny and extremely violent, “Kick Ass 2” is a by the book sequel that continues the concept of regular citizens becoming heroes. Wanting to form a “Justice League”/”Avengers” style group, Dave Lizewski (Taylor-Johnson) takes to the Internet to find some like minded allies. Among them are a husband/wife team (Steven Mackintosh and Monica Dolan) who call themselves Remembering Tommy after their missing son, a sexy 20 something woman (Lindy Booth) who calls herself Night Bitch and a former Mafia hit man, recently born again, with the moniker Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey). Missing from the group is Mindy Macready, better known as Hit Girl (Moretz), who promised her late father, and her new guardian (Morris Chestnut) that she would not fight crime any longer. That being said, she will soon find out that crime is nothing compared to high school.

Even though the film is full of the same ideas that made “Kick Ass” so entertaining, it is that sameness that dulls the sequel. Without real powers these “heroes” take major ass kickings and the repeated sight of black eyes and broken bones becomes repetitive. Carrey brings some life to his character but when you remember his recent, very vocal objection to screen violence, it makes it hard to watch the carnage he dishes out. The language is equally as salty as the first film but, where it was almost, dare I say, “cute” to hear little 10 year old Moretz curse like a sailor here it seems forced, as if the writer kept looking for the next word that would shock the audience when heard. Moretz gives the best performance of the film, dealing not with the bad people of the street but the bitchy girls that walk the halls of her high school, which actually is the plot of her next film, the remake of “Carrie.”

The action scenes, especially one with Mindy on top of a speeding van, are well choreographed and fun to watch. Too bad the entire film doesn’t come with that same recommendation.

Jason Christopher talks about slasher "Nobody Gets Out Alive" and upcoming "Monsters Within"

Jason Christopher is the writer/director of the 70/80’s slasher inspired “Nobody Gets Out Alive”. The film is in-your-face and will leave hardcore horror fans very happy. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jason to chat about the film and what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: You handled everything from editing to producer to writer and directing “Nobody Gets Out Alive”, tell us about the origin of this project?
Jason Christopher: The flick came about with my producer and I making a small no budget movie. We made this movie where we were the only crew and hired three actors and had a solid story. With no budget the movie didn’t turn out how we really wanted it to but we screened it sold out in 45 min and turned away 200 people. That’s when my producer was like, “lets get a real budget and make a real movie, what other scripts you got?” I wrote “NGOA” when I was 17 years old. Always wanted to write a slasher flick paying homage to the flicks I loved. It wasn’t until my Dad passed away randomly that I actually sat down and wrote it. I had a lot of hate and anger wrapped in my head from the incident so it motivated me to make the Hunter Isth character. We got 36k bucks and made the movie.

MG: Out of all those tasks which was the most challenging for you?
JC: I consider myself a director and editor. I like writing but I’m not a good writer, I’ll admit. I have more of a vision with my eye through a camera than I do with my hands on a laptop writing. I do the fun side of producing, putting things together. My producer does the money and business side of things. That’s just not my thing. But with writing it’s a draft of your story, directing you’re seeing the story come to life and another draft, and editing is the final draft to me.

MG: The film is a nice homage to 70/80’s slasher pics, tell about your inspiration?
JC: I was born in ’87 so I didn’t get to witness first hand of all the best slasher flicks. But I watched them all when I could. “The Prowler”, “Black Christmas” (74), “Friday The 13th Part 3”, “Halloween 2″(82). Those are my favorites and I think they show in the flick.

MG: The gore in the film is solid and doesn’t cut away; I commend you for not being afraid to offend!
JC: My Dad always told me to make something controversial. I did a lot in “NGOA” by trying to be unique with the kills. There’s a lot more I wanted to show but I didn’t. Was thinking of how a distributor would feel because I definitely didn’t want the movie to sit on a shelf and never get picked up. After seeing “A Serbian Film” I was like, “damn this dude really didn’t care”. Love that flick for that reason.

MG: Do you recall what was the film’s final body count?
I think there’s a total of eight on screen. In earlier drafts there were a bunch more but I took them out due to not having money in the budget. *Spoiler* Originally the two convenience store victims weren’t supposed to be in but after a few cuts of the movie we decided to go back and put them in.

MG: How did Clint Howard get involved with the film?
JC: My producer set that one up. We had enough money to get a small cameo in the flick. We were tossing around names and I randomly said, “Clint Howard!” He took it and ran with it and set the whole thing up. Clint was great, he’s such a smart-cool dude.

MG: What do you have line-up next?
JC: This script I wrote titled, “Monsters Within”. I really can’t say much, don’t even know if I’m allowed to announce the movie title but whatever. It’s what I’m definitely working on getting off the ground. Money is always a bitch and we’re definitely aiming way high for the budget. Got a great name for the lead attached and I’m so excited for this movie. It’s everywhere – sci-fi, horror, slasher, mystery. It’s pretty cool.

Book Review “Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie”

Authors: Mark Millar, John Romita Jr, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: February 23, 2010

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The movie “Kick-Ass” is easily one of the best comic book adaptions in the last few years. It is an originally idea with the recent remake Hollywood craze. The film is based on the bestselling comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
The book plays like a giant comic book and really gives great details into the characters and the making of the film. It is very colorful and is a real page turner. My only major complaint is that is not hardcover, this would have made an awesome coffee table book.

The book starts with a great introduction from its creator Mark Millar.  It is split into three main parts: “The Beginning”, “The Movie” and The Future”.  “The Beginning” focuses on the film’s fast track from the comic page to the theater screen.  “The Movie” focuses on each of the character from the film individually including Dave Lizewksi, Marty & Todd, Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl, Big Daddy, Marcus, Frank D’Amico and Red Mist.  Also included in this section is focus on the production, the origin of Big Daddy & Hit Girl, and the films big ‘kick-ass’ finale.  The content in the book is so detailed and jam-packed that you almost need to go back and re-read it multiple times to make sure that you get everything.  Also there are so many pictures I found myself flipped through the book just to scroll through the art work.  Of course “The Future” section, talks about the second film as well as the follow comic to “Kick-Ass”.  I know the comic already was released following the book but I have a feeling we will be holding our breaths for a long time for a second film…(insert sad face).

“Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie” goes into major details of this comic book superhero phenomenon went from the page to huge Hollywood movie.  The book showcases Mark Millar’s early comic book script pages.  Amazing artwork from John Romita Jr. are included throughout the book and even new pages drawn especially for the movie.  There are also a bunch of exclusive contributions from the cast and crew and that is what makes this book definitely than the normal making of/art book.  This feels really hands on and personal from the cast/crew.  Lastly there are also hundreds of movie photos, sketches, storyboards and pieces of production art.  If you are fan of this series it is a MUST to piece of this book.  If you no familiar, it is a great introduction to “Kick-Ass” and is guaranteed to turn you into an instant fan.