31 July 2011

A Tribute to Melanie Goodwin

I didn't know Melanie Goodwin, I didn't know her family or friends and quite frankly I don't know that our paths ever would have crossed. But after spending time with her family yesterday, I now know that she was a beautiful spirit full of life and good will and that she made an impact on everyone she came in contact with. She had family and friends that loved her and a boyfriend that wanted to be with her forever. She was 19 and attending UNT majoring in communications and she had her whole life ahead of her.

When we're children our parents tell us not to talk to strangers or not to get in the car with people we don't know. We're raised to think twice about every decision we make and even when we do everything right, sometimes it's still not enough to protect us from the evil that lurks behind every corner. I've always said that there is nothing more horrifying than that which lies within a human being. In fact, people who commit unspeakable crimes against another person really can't even be classified as human beings... they're monsters plain and simple. Because of a monster, no one will ever know what Melanie could've and probably would've been. She was taken way before her time but that isn't stopping her family and friends from doing great things in her honor. Through them, she will live on forever and that is the greatest thing that could've come from such a tragedy. They're giving her the legacy she never had a chance to make for herself.

They conduct their events the way she would've wanted... by making it fun. Before each event, they say a prayer and release balloons, pink ones because it was her favorite color. They embrace all who attend and make them feel like family. If you didn't know Melanie before, you will certainly know her after. Aristotle said "What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies." For that reason and that reason alone, Melanie's memory and soul will live on and on. As we were leaving Peggy, Melanie's mom, approached us and hugged us and thanked us for being there. My friend's teenage daughter was with us and Peggy said to her, (I'd love to quote her but I can't remember her exact words) - Be careful. Melanie did everything right that night. She parked near the door, in a well lit area and still was taken from us. Just be careful. - It was a touching experience that I'll not soon forget. The strength that this family has is inspiring and I look forward to attending future events.

Please visit www.melaniegoodwin.org and read her story. Donate if you can or if you can't, at least help spread the word about Melanie and what her family is doing to help others in her name. It's a great cause and I've never met a more grateful bunch of people.

24 July 2011

Zombie Drugs 2011 - REVIEW

Over the past month or so I've done several posts on a new film from Alex Ballar called Zombie Drugs. After reading up on it and watching the trailers, my interest was peaked so I contacted Alex and requested an interview which he and Beau Nelson graciously did... TWICE. This however, is a different kind of post because I was fortunate enough to be one of the few that screened Zombie Drugs at it's world premiere at the Action on Film Festival last night. So technically this will be the first review done for it :) Yay me!!

Zombie Drugs centers around Vinny (Wolfgang Weber) and Sebastian (Beau Nelson) two burnouts going nowhere... nowhere but in search of the perfect high that is. They're fed up with the less than satisfying drugs they're getting from their dealer (Bobby Burkey) and decide to go into business for themselves. With some help from Sebastian's jealous girlfriend Kara (Susan Graham) and Melissa (Natalie Irby) who funds their little adventure, they strike a deal with the mob to supply them with a start up batch. When temptation gets the better of them and they decide to "test" their batch they find it's nothing but placebo. Panicked, pissed and indebted to the mob Sebastian comes up with a plan to make their own batch and include a secret ingredient that will make it one of the greatest highs EVER! Too bad their secret ingredient is turning everyone into zombies.

One of the best things about this film was its cast. From the main characters to characters who spent less than five minutes on screen, they all gave 100%. Nelson gives what I can only assume is the performance of his career. Given that his character is a dead beat drug addict desperately searching for his next fix, you'd think he would come off as despicable but Nelson brings such energy to the role that he becomes more endearing than anything else. He is consistently funny throughout and the onscreen chemistry he has with his co-stars brings a refreshing vibe to the entire film. Weber does an amazing job bringing Vinny to life. The internal struggle his character deals with throughout the film seems genuine and at times heart warming and he plays it to a tee. Graham is hilarious as Sebastian's jealous girlfriend and I found myself laughing out loud at the interaction between the two of them on several occasions. Irby brings a certain charm to the film and really seems to be the most grounded drug addict of them all. Yes, I know how that sounds. I loved the transformation her character goes though from beginning to end. Ballar plays Vinny's brother who died from an overdose of heroine. He's basically the moral compass of the film, popping in at the most inopportune times to be Vinny's voice of reason.

The film benefits from some really great writing. Ballar pulls out all the stops with this script. He's written some very witty and very funny dialogue. It's well paced and has some of the most well developed characters I've seen in a long time. The film itself has great picture quality and doesn't suffer at all from the shoddy sound that has become notorious in most Indie films. Watching it you'd never guess that it was shot in only 10 days or that it's the first full length feature Ballar has directed. He's quickly carving a name for himself using his blood, sweat and tears and personally, I'll make it a point to watch whatever he puts out next. Details, details, details... it's all about the details and it's clear that a lot of attention went into piecing this little gem together. Evan Goldman delivers a great score that lends a lot to the film. It's not over powering in any way and as any composer would tell you, that means they've done their job well. Goldman also did most of the post production sound. The Asphalt provided some great music to the soundtrack that I wouldn't mind adding to my CD collection. I may just have to look them up on iTunes.

One of the things I like most about this film is that it never takes itself too seriously, especially considering the subject matter. It has some genuinely funny moments that come off with ease. As always, there will be haters. I'm sure someone will say they're glorifying drug addiction and blah, blah, blah but it will be those people that didn't take the time to sit and watch it all the way through. I was entertained the whole way through and it wasn't until the end that I realized I'd hardly taken any notes. And I'm a note taker! I tend to bust out 2-3 full pages of notes on a film. Now, dear readers, don't go into this film expecting to see oodles and gobs of blood and gore because you wont find it. In fact, don't go into it looking for horror at all. It's NOT a horror film. Yes, I know it's called Zombie Drugs but the title more references what drugs can do to someone over time. BUT, if you're interested in seeing a solid, well built comedy then this is one for you. It will definitely have you rolling.

21 July 2011

TRAILER - Paranormal Activity 3

Paramount Pictures has revealed the trailer for Paranormal Activity 3. They've also brought in the CATFISH team of Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. Jason Blum and the original creator Oren Peli are back producing and so is Christopher B. Landon, who served as a writer on last year’s hit sequel.

20 July 2011

INTERVIEW - Alex Ballar and Beau Nelson on Zombie Drugs

The tagline says it all: "Nothing kills a buzz like a zombie attack!" If that doesn't get you interested, nothing will. There's been a lot of buzz (no pun intended) about Zombie Drugs. It even picked up several nominations at the Action on Film Festival.

Synopsis: Vinny and Sebastian, two burnouts, going nowhere in small town suburbia and still riding the high of their high-school days, start a business doing the only thing they have ever excelled at...drugs. With the help of a jealous girlfriend and a rich goth chick, Vinny and Sebastian take on the mob, angry, geeky, frat-boys, and zombies in the search of the perfect high.

I was over excited when Alex Ballar and Beau Nelson agreed to have a little chat about their upcoming zombie flick. Much to my dismay, interview day rolled around and I was terribly sick. I did the interview from home (mistake) where my country internet dropped the call about 5 times. They were very understanding about the issue and we pushed passed it. The next day I started to transcribe it and to my horror, found that not even a "Hello" recorded. Aaaaaaaaah! Being the great sports that they are, Alex and Beau agreed to another interview so here we are... I hope you enjoy and if you get the opportunity, definitely check out Zombie Drugs!

TC: How did you get your start in acting?
AB: It was an accident. I was in college to be a physical therapist and needed a humanities credit; I “thought” acting would be the easiest class of the bunch. LOL
BN: I, in a way, fell into it as well. I hated drama class in high school and dreaded having to go. Although, as I got older, I found myself stuck creatively and needed a way to release it. From that very first audition (which was horrendous), I knew this was something I really enjoyed and wanted to do.

TC: Have you always been into horror films?
AB: Not really. I have done a bunch of plays in New York; mostly dramatic originals off-off Broadway. I have always loved horror movies though. Horror, action and martial art movies were probably all I watched as a kid.
BN: I have. The suspense and anticipation has always intrigued me. Even from back in the day with Nightmare on Elm St. The film still scares me, but oddly enough that’s the part I love.

TC: How did you two meet and what brought about the making of Zombie Drugs?
AB: I met Beau on the set of a webseries. I immediately saw he had the chops to play the lead role of Sebastian in Zombie Drugs; which requires lots of inhibition. It was one of those strange moments that I heard about; it just felt like it was meant to be. A few months later when both of our schedules cleared up we sat down to a coffee meeting and I pitched him the idea. He had never produced before but was up for the challenge.

TC: Beau, can you tell me what drew you to this role?
BN: As I previously alluded to, the creative release is what I’m in this for; the ability to be something or someone else, if even for a short period of time. Pulling off a druggie is a huge stretch from my actual personality, being in the “white collar” world. And, with comedy being my strongest ability at this stage in my career, it was a no-brainer for me to jump on the opportunity to showcase my abilities.

TC: Alex I assume that taking on multiple roles as far as being an actor/director is difficult. Can you tell us a little about that challenge?
AB: It's very difficult; especially on a small budget. We shot Zombie drugs in about 10 days with a lot of unseasoned actors, so I didn't have the luxury of watching my performance on a monitor between takes often or giving myself or the other actors multiple takes. I also had to trust a lot of people; such as my DP: Chia-Yu Chen, 1st AD/Producer: Alexander Berezovsky and of course, Beau Nelson to tell me if something I was doing was way off, as well as be open minded to all creative ideas; the movie truly was a team effort.

TC: Most people will see the title of your film and automatically assume it's a horror/comedy but amidst all the zombies and comedy, I know Zombie Drugs goes a little deeper than that. Can you elaborate on that a little further?
AB: Yeah, to me, the film is about Vinny's (Wolfgang Weber) journey off of drugs and into rehab. I wanted to explore what happens the day someone begins the journey to rehab and really quits. How they subconsciously begin to reject the world they exist in and what they may have to give up in the process socially, emotionally, etc to be successful. I also didn't want the movie to be a drag so I did my best to show the fun and crazy side of these guys too.

TC: How do you keep that balance between horror and comedy without over-mixing the two?
AB: I didn't focus on that. I just focused on the situations and let the horror or comedy come out of that. Not saying I can't go in a direction, but I feel whenever I try to be purposely funny or scary in or with a script I usually fail. I also had to let the actors bring their own things to the table and do my best to nurture it. For example Brian Smith, who plays one of our lead gangsters is just a naturally gifted funny person. Beau Nelson is fearless; he'll do anything for the sake of comedy or the story. People just laugh when they see them on screen. I've also noticed that people laugh or get scared at stuff I had no intention of being either or, so a lot of it is about perception. As long as they have some time of positive reaction, I feel lucky.

TC: I'm sure it goes without saying that you guys were excited about the nominations at the Action on Film Festival.... What's the coolest thing that's happened since that was announced?
AB: We have been contacted by a lot of distributors throughout the world since then. For us, we feel extremely honored and thankful for that. After a year-and-a-half of hard work, you want to be appreciated.

TC: Zombies seem to be all the rage right now. How would you compare Zombie Drugs to others of this genre?
AB: Well Zombie Drugs isn't a full on Zombie flick. Though the film does have some zombies, “zombie” is used more metaphorically in the film, in regards to being a drug addict and where the lifestyle could take someone that goes too far with it.

TC: When and where will Zombie Drugs be available to the public?
AB: We are currently in talks for a limited theatrical release. Hopefully, we can lock all the distribution stuff down within the next month or two.

TC: There's been much discussion on what a zombie actually is. Take for instance, the zombies in 28 Days Later who have never actually died vs. the zombies in Dawn of the Dead who were reanimated. What's your take on the "making of a zombie"?
AB: “Zombie”, as its defined, is really the inability to control one’s actions, thoughts or behaviors. Often times we’ve seen zombies become zombies because of being bitten, etc. In our case, it’s drugs. When we grew up, we thought of Vampires as evil men who have no emotion and can’t be in the sun. We’ve seen them evolve into creatures who can love, go in the sunlight and attend school. I really expect zombies to take on multiple different forms in the near future.

TC: What about future projects? What do we have to look forward to from you guys?
AB: We’re currently talking with investors for a psychological crime thriller: Redress (which you can find here). It's a cross between Se7en meets Frailty. We're being approached by producers and production companies that want to partner at the moment too, so we’re just trying to stay open minded and consider all projects. I expect we’ll begin to start on something new within the next six months or so.

TC: I'm crazy excited for you guys and I wish you all the luck in the world on this journey and hope to see you soon! Thank you so much for taking the time, not once but TWICE to talk to me. I really appreciate it!
AB & BN: You're very welcome! Thank you for all your support. We really appreciate it!

16 July 2011

Gunnar Hansen Joins Cast of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D

Bloody Disgusting released the news this morning that Gunnar Hansen - best known as Leatherface in Tobe Hooper's original 1974 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - has landed some sort of role in Lionsgate's latest incarnation.

BD said this on their original post:
"While we're being told he is NOT recurring his role as the chainsaw wielding slasher, we hear he does have some sort of potential "cameo." The only thing confirmed is that he'll be in the movie."

In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, arriving in theaters October 5, 2012, Tania Raymonde will play Nikki, a small-town girl with an attitude who is the best friend of Heather (Alexandra Daddario), who travels to small-town Texas to collect her inheritance, which includes her deranged cousin Leatherface. Bill Moseley also stars.

Source: Bloody Disgusting

15 July 2011

After Dark Films Partners with SEGA at SDCC



After Dark Films Brings in Action Packed Talent and Partners With SEGA’s Rise of Nightmares™ at This Years SDCC

Los Angeles, CA (July 15, 2011) — In celebration of After Dark Films 5th year at San Diego Comic-Con, ADF is pleased to announce several promotions and signings in anticipation for the high volume turnout of its loyal fans. Visitors of the After Dark Films booth, #4035, will have the opportunity to treat themselves to:

Signings from Major Cast Members of Our Upcoming Films
James Frain (Tron: LEGACY, TV: True Blood) of Transit:
Thursday, July 21 @ 2 PM
Roger Cross (X2, The Chronicles of Riddick, TV: 24) of Re-Kill:
Friday, July 22 @ 2 PM
Cung Le (Pandorum, MME Worldwide) of Dragon Eyes:
Saturday, July 23 @ 2 PM

There are openings for interviews with talent, and to schedule we ask press to email sfinder@afterdarkfilms.com

SEGA will be showcasing Rise of Nightmares™ debut gameplay trailers and distributing promotional materials in preparation for the game's September 6, 2011 release date.Rise of Nightmares on Kinect™ for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft features over-the-top horror themes, buckets of blood, and copious amounts of gore. Players will immerse themselves in a unique videogame that allows them to perform a variety of intuitive motions in order to guide their character through one night of terror. Along the way players will be able to use weapons such as: chainsaws, scythes, and brass knuckles to decimate the undead - sure to be one of the most talked about horror games to date. http://www.sega.com/riseofnightmares

After Dark Films' upcoming Action film titles will be announced and exclusive never before seen trailers will be shown at the After Dark booth #4035. After Dark Films has teamed up with Silver Pictures and Joel Silver himself, the top name in action films worldwide, to launch a new cutting edge brand of 5 action films with the next generation of Action stars (including Wes Chatham, Sean Faris, Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, James Frain, Cung Lee) and cameos from some of the classic stars of the genre (Jim Caveizel, John Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Neal McDonough). 4 of the 5 films are in post production now and will hit theatres next year.

After Dark Films is also pleased to announce the launch of their ‘Dragon Eyes’ Facebook page, dedicated specifically to the upcoming action packed film. Go to http://www.facebook.com/dragoneyesthemovie to follow the latest developments.

Win an iPad 2 Contest

Click ‘Like’ on our Facebook page and enter to win! After Dark Films will give one lucky winner an iPad 2.

Promotional Item Giveaways

ADF will be handing out thousands of FREE promotional items, including zombie masks, temporary tattoos, DVDs & many other prizes each day.

* *

About After Dark Films:

After Dark Films, an Independent motion picture studio, was formed in 2006 by director/filmmaker Courtney Solomon and Hong Kong based real estate magnate Allan
Zeman. After Dark Films’ first motion picture film release was An American Haunting
(2006) starring Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland. Co-founder and CEO Courtney Solomon wrote, produced, and directed this film under the newly formed After Dark Films banner.

After the release of An American Haunting, partners Solomon and Zeman formed a multiyear marketing and distribution deal for Horrorfest “8 Films To Die For®” between After Dark Films and Lionsgate Entertainment, with After Dark handling theatrical marketing & releases and Lionsgate handling the distribution of all ancillary forms of media (Home Video, Pay TV, Pay Per View). After Dark Films released Horrorfest 4 in theaters on January 29, 2010.

Building on the success of Horrorfest, After Dark released the first 8 originally produced horror films in January 2011 under the moniker After Dark Originals. Its second slate of 8 more originally produced films, After Dark Originals 2, is currently being shot and produced in Louisiana.

* *

About SEGA of America, Inc.:
SEGA® of America, Inc. is the American arm of Tokyo, Japan-based SEGA Corporation, a worldwide leader in interactive entertainment both inside and outside the home. The company develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment software products for a variety of hardware platforms including PC, wireless devices, and those manufactured by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. SEGA of America’s Web site is located at www.sega.com.

Publicity Contacts:
After Dark Films/Autonomous Films
Sara Finder
Vice President, Publicity and Promotions
Ph: 310-270-4260

SEGA of America, Inc.
David Bruno
Public Relations Manager
O: (415) 701-4123
C: (310) 279-7626

14 July 2011

Sneak Peek at Dark Feed

I was recently contacted by the Rasmussen brothers, Michael and Shawn, regarding their new film DARK FEED Which is currently in post production. They also recently penned http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000118/ THE WARD which had a limited theatrical release this past weekend. DARK FEED will be their directorial debut and as luck would have it, they've just added a dozen new stills to the film’s Facebook photo album.

Here’s the synopsis:

DARK FEED centers on a film crew shooting a low budget movie in an abandoned mental hospital with a shadowy past. The late nights and lack of sleep are taking a toll, and the longer this crew works, the more the leaky, wet building seems to be coming back to life, feeding off its new inhabitants. Something hiding in the hospital's walls is slowly seeping out and infecting their minds.

Readers can keep track of news and update and other goodies by becoming fans of the Facebook page or by following on Twitter

11 July 2011

The Timeslip 2011 (Short Film) - REVIEW

Here I go again, reviewing films that aren't horror... OMG! How terrible am I? Ah, I'm not that bad. I think opening your mind to different genres is good. Why limit yourself to just one thing all the time? You don't eat the same food all the time. You don't wear the same thing all the time. C'mon people, broaden your horizons! And start by watching The Timeslip!

Jonathan and Richard Chance have crafted quite the little Fantasy/Adventure short film. To me, it's a kind of modern day The Outer Limits. Even the description reads like it....

The further we are caught up in technology the further we fall from our roots; to hunt and gather. The very foundations of why we are at the top of the food chain. So the idea came about - how would modern man do in an environment out of his grasp? Thrust into another time - no technology, no help. Food and water is the simplest thing he could die without - but of course there's more than that to worry about!

A rather simple premise that they seem to pull together quite easily. There's enough suspense to keep you watching throughout and the acting (although not many words are spoken) is solid. You feel sorry for Richard as he literally plummets into another world and spends most of his time trying to figure out WTF is going on. They make good use of the 15:01 running time and the sound quality is pretty good for a micro-budget film.

Jonathan had this to say about making The Timeslip: "With The Timeslip we hope to show what we can accomplish with no budget as we do with all our films - the latest, I feel shows our style as original Filmmakers expressing consistency and maturity for innovation in the genre. We want to take the leap from short film (with a good idea) to feature film (with cascades of ideas) and a 'budget' realized worthy of a good script. Not a half-hearted lacking feature due to monetary constraints. We are used to working with very little and making it go far (we're true guerrilla and thrifty) the more 'in' the better we can make it based on the script."

They are also looking for producers/financiers to help make their next film a reality. Which could be a feature film script already nominated for 'Best Horror Screenplay' at the Action on Film festival in 2009. They welcome the public and the press to get in touch with them for a screener of their film and look forward to the premiere of The Timeslip at the Action on Film Festival in Late July 2011!

You can contact them via the website or twitter and be sure to check out the trailer below!!