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New York Comic Con

NYCC: John Wick: Chapter Two takes place four days after the original

Oct 11 // Nick Valdez
If you were somehow worried the sequel wouldn't have the same amount of love as the original, there's no need to worry. One thing the panel highlighted was how much care was going into Chapter Two. Before the panel proper we were treated to a behind the scenes video showing off the film's stunt work (and a couple of the set pieces). Things I could skim from the video were another prominent car fight, and a bit more of that lobby and alleyway shootouts in the trailer. But the important fact is that each of these stunts is very real. Director Chad Stehelski emphasized the practicality of the effects and that each actor was put through the ringer in order for the film's action to feel as real as possible. Common even mentioned how this film is the most intense action he's been a part of (and after a look at his fight with Reeves, that's definitely an understatement). But the better part of the panel went into a good amount of juicy story details.  The best part of the first John Wick was the Continental Hotel, and it's making a return in the sequel. Ian McShane also noted how there's an Italian version of it and fighting through it leads to Wick killing "about 80 Italians." The specificity of the statement was a bit weird, but whatever it's all good. Keanu Reeves detailed the plot as such: When Wick first left the assassin world, he made a deal with someone in order to hide his existence completely (using the specific "blood oath" phrase). And as such, when returned to action he broke that oath and now someone is out to "cash in" on that deal. Not only does he have to deal with someone chasing him down, Reeves also teased a new mysterious organization called The High Table which may or may not be connected to the Continental. And the kicker? The sequel takes place just four days after the original film. John Wick gets no rest.  Other things of note are the new setting and new dog. The sequel is headed to Italy for stylish killing action, and director Stehelski couldn't confirm whether or not this new dog was going to be safe. It's a high point of contention for some people in the first one, but although he couldn't confirm whether or not the new dog was going to be safe he did say we'd like it. So, I'm sure this new doggo will be just fine. Maybe cutely falling asleep through everything or something.  That's all from Lionsgate's Power Rangers/John Wick: Chapter Two panel! The film releases next February and it's going to be a hell of a wait. 
John Wick 2 photo
More guns, more hotel, more...Italians?
Lionsgate had a weird, disjointed panel at New York Comic Con. With two properties that couldn't be more disparate.there wasn't a proper amount of hype or negativity. Thankfully after Power Rangers' lackluster showing, John W...

NYCC: Power Rangers might be both fun and boring

Oct 11 // Nick Valdez
First thing's first, we did get a few key bits of info that my fan brain was able to parse out. One thing the cast seemed to emphasize at the panel was the fact they had to do a lot of stunt work themselves, which is great (and what I wanted all along). RJ Cyler (Billy) had a pretty fun anecdote about how he learned how to do an "axe kick" from his stuntman. So this at least confirms that we'll be seeing them fight outside of suits, but if the trailer is anything to go by, these fights are most likely mixes of martial arts and superpowers. As for the Zords, we still didn't get a look at them as it seemed that the teaser trailer was really all that was ready to show off for now. It's a little lame but I get not wanting to release it all early.  My biggest concern going forward, however, is how well this cast will work together. At the panel they were telling stories of how much they bonded as a group, but their behavior told a different story. They seemed stiff around each other with no natural chemistry. In fact, the only ones happy to be there were the previously mentioned RJ Cyler and Becky G (Trini), who not only color coordinated their outfits but also are the only experienced actors in the teenage cast. It didn't help matters when the host clearly didn't understand what was going on, so there was no push for more stories of their time on set together. The last bit of new info is both director Dean Isrealite and Elizabeth Banks mentioned Goldar and the Putty Patrol. Not a hard confirmation, but it's good to know these characters will be back in some regard.  But since they thought the teaser was good enough to show twice, I might as well breakdown some things here. As I mentioned in that post, I'm a little torn. After spending some time away from it and the fan bubble, I've come to realize a few things. I'm not sure what I expected, but I totally forgot Lionsgate is the reason Young Adult books made so much money. The Hunger Games, Twilight, they all play a part here. While the opening logos promise a rainbow colored adventure (even spilling out into the first shot of the trailer with Jason and his red car,  and yellow, pink and blue bikes), the rest of the film gives way to the same grim color palette the rest of the Young Adult films have. But in a weird way, this totally works when stuff like the power coins are highlighted. While the overly dark lighting might get tiresome, maybe the colors will pop more. Sort of a silver lining situation. But that's pretty much where the positives end. I'm thinking this reboot, an origin story as the trailer confirms, is going to be both fun and boring. As evidenced by the Breakfast Club like setup (where a bunch of latchkey kids come together in detention, including a red ranger wearing a house arrest anklet), these kids are meeting other for the first time before bonding over becoming superheroes. While I don't like their Spider-Man esque powers (complete with the Tobey Macguire "look I have abs now" scene), I get it. Power Rangers has always been about regular people who get caught up in irregularity, and it's been done in the series proper, but this direction only works when the characters are defined well. If you remember, it took the original show sixteen episodes of team building before it could tell an actual story ("Green With Evil"). I'm also guessing that's why we've seen so little of the Ranger action as of yet. Which is a shame since that's what is going to separate the movie from all the other boring teen films.  The most grim prediction I can make regarding this tease is that we're only going to get about 15-20 minutes of them in the actual suits. At least the panel confirmed that the suits are physical (with CG enhancements, most likely), but I'm sure most of this origin is going to be spent getting to know these kids since the film doesn't have the luxury of getting 22 mins of air time every weekend. At least it looks like they'll free Rita when they nab the power coins. Since there's an image of her trapped in some kind of rock, I'm assuming it's the same the rock Billy blows up in the trailer. It'd be neat to connect Rita directly to the Rangers that way.  Overall, I am a bit disappointed with the way the NYCC panel went down. Once I took off my fan hat, and put on my critical one however, I did ease up. But not by much. As always, I remain highly skeptical. I don't like some of the changes to the story, but I do like some of the changes it brings (the fact Rita can say "kill" instead of "destroy" is a huger deal than we're making out of it). And it seems the trailer is doing a lot to grab non-fans of the series, which is always a huge plus. I just don't want to watch a series of movies I dislike, so I hope these can be good. Then again, since this could have been much worse I'll take what I can get.  Oh yeah, don't expect the Green Ranger anytime soon. 
Power Rangers NYCC photo
Goldar and the Puttys are a comin'
There was only one panel I was looking forward to during New York Comic this year, and it's been a long wait for it. On Saturday, Lionsgate held a dual panel featuring both Power Rangers and John Wick: Chapter Two. Suffice to...

John Wick 2 photo
"Yeah, I'm thinking I'm back!"
John Wick was one of the biggest surprises of 2014. What looked like a B movie starring Keanu Reeves turned out to be one of the most confident and competent action films of the last few years. Flixist as a whole has been loo...

Power Rangers photo
After 10,000 years...
So it's a bit earlier than planned and it's definitely taken the wind out of my sails in more ways than one. But here's the first Power Rangers reboot trailer. I'm not sure what to think. At first watch, it's pretty generic b...

NYCC: War of the Planet of the Apes is going to be dark

Oct 06 // Matthew Razak
At the event Reeves, Serkis and the series' producer Dylan Clark talked a bit about the making of the new film (and the previous two) while showing off the first teaser and a seven minute, unfinished clip. The basic theme for the night though was that War is really big in every way possible. First it's a war so it's a much bigger film than the previous two in terms of scope, but more importantly for Reeves and Serkis it's bigger in emotional power.  "“It has been the most psychologically intense and physically challenging part of this arc," Serkis said. That's probably because Serkis' character, Caesar, is going to go through some tough stuff this time around. The movie picks up two years after the last film and Caesar is steadily becoming more and more jaded thanks to the war with the humans and his guilt over not being able to stop it from starting. The filmmakers likened him to a much more vengeful Dirty Harry -- a but more action and violent oriented.  In the clip we saw he and a few other apes from the past films come upon a house where they encounter a man. Caesar shoots the man after he attempts to pull a gun on them, but then finds out that he was simply a father trying to defend his daughter. Unlike in the previous films Casesar's empathy is fading as he goes on a suicidal quest to kill off Woody Harrelson's character.  It was actually really interesting seeing the unfinished product as animation moved in and out of the shots and the actors, in their dots and motion capture suit, popped in. A major focus of the event was applauding the performance of the mocap actors, especially Serkis. The mention of academy award nominations was once again brought up, but the reality of that happening is pretty slim still... even if it should.  Finally, we saw a teaser for the film. Oddly, after all three men spoke most of the event about how the movie was more emotional and about the apes not the humans the first teaser trailer was focused on the action and the humans. We saw a group of soldiers hunting in a cave before being taken out by Caesar and some other apes. Then a monologue  by Harrelson's character played over the rest of the film as apes and humans clashed. The end result is a trailer that plays up the action and battle and not the humanity. Hopefully the film itself is more like the event and less like the trailer. 
Planet of the Apes photo
Also there will be war
The Planet of the Apes franchise took an interesting turn when Dawn of the Planet of the Apes came out: it got really good. Like, really, really good. Director Matt Reeves somehow turned a stale franchise into an emotion...

NYCC 2016 photo
Cons bring all the nerds to the yard
Like every other year before, New York Comic Con is underway and Flixist is there to check it out for you. We're doing a little better this year since we already have a bigger crew, and we've got some cool stuff lined up for ...

Power Rangers photo
Power Rangers

Check out these new, goofy Power Rangers movie posters

Coming to NYCC!
Sep 21
// Nick Valdez
Power Rangers may be hitting theaters in a little over six months, but I feel like I've been waiting for it forever. Make fun all you want, but it's a big deal for me and a lot of  folks my age.  Along with the...

Interview: Bruce Campbell (Ash vs. Evil Dead)

Oct 30 // Hubert Vigilla
Bruce, could you put this in perspective for us: a couple years back there was a very pleasant surprise when we see your character at the end the Evil Dead remake. What sort of happened between that and the series? Did you already know that the show was percolating? Bruce Campbell: No, this happened fast. This happened really fast. Shockingly fast for this industry. These things are usually developed for years. We did a remake because people would not shut up about it, and we wanted to give them something. Sam didn't want to direct the remake himself but he thought, "Let me handpick a guy, Fede Alvarez, and let him have a shot at it." We think he did a great job, and it made a lot of money around the world, which at least convinced us that people are out there, the fans are still out there somewhere, but they want Sam and they want Ash. So, we're going to give it to them. We're tired of fighting it. But, the economics of making another movie... We could get enough money to make a remake directed by a first-time director, but we couldn't get enough money to make another one directed by Sam Raimi. I mean, as famous a director as Sam has become, he needs money. Sam thinks big, really big. So TV made sense. Rob Tapert had worked with Starz on Spartacus. I worked in television for years on Burn Notice. So we were TV guys. I feel like I'm a TV guy as much as a feature guy, so I couldn't wait for this. We pitched it to Sam, we went over to try and bend his ear. How was it working in unrestricted TV land? Bruce Campbell: Fantastic! It's where you need to be. You know, we don't have to do an alternate take to say something. "Gosh! Golly! Darn it! Put that over there!" None of that bulls**t. You can just talk like an adult, Ash can talk like he needs to talk. I like it a lot. The first two Evil Dead movies were unrated; only Army of Darkness had a rating because it was made for a studio and we had to have a rating. This is how people need to see it. I can't wait. Has Ash changed— Bruce Campbell: This is glorious violence, by the way. This is like, when our blood goes, it's celebratory. [laughs] Bruce Campbell: You know what I mean? This is not going to be dreary violence. This is going to be, if it's possible, fun violence. This is not going to warp your life. We take the horror seriously, but there's other things to like. We want to keep Ash the trash-talking hero, so there's going to be plenty of that. Over the years you and Sam talked about how you enjoy the Marx Brothers, classic comedy, things like that— Bruce Campbell: Yeah. The Stooges. Are you more free with the show to do more of that? Bruce Campbell: We can do whatever we want. I mean, the coolest thing ever is to be able to show up on a set and to know that you have no restrictions. You have an idea, you shoot it. If it works, you keep it, knowing that if it doesn't work you get rid of it. You know what I mean? So it's a great way to work as an actor or anybody in the arts. You want to function in an environment that's creative. And you'd be surprised how many environments you get into that are not really that creative, where someone is very controlling ,or a writer doesn't want you to change anything, or a director treats you like his little pawn and he wants to put you here and he wants to put you there, or certain DP/camera guys want to shoot things in a certain way. I'm like, "F**k you, let's make this show!" You know what I mean? Creatively, that's what I'm all about. I'll go to the ends of— I'll go to New Zealand to do that. Was there a lot of ad-libbing? Bruce Campbell: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Bruce Campbell: And the kids—I call them "the kids," Ray and Dana—they're getting on board. Not like it's a competition, but there will be things that occur to their character to say. A lot of times a writer won't do what I call "a button." You know, like button up a scene. Sometimes there are things that just make sense. Do you have any favorite ad libs you remember but didn't necessarily make it? Bruce Campbell: Umm, no, they just keep coming. So that's the beauty of TV—there's plenty of it. One of the great things about Ash in this is that he's sort of acknowledging that he's a little bit longer in the tooth. Bruce Campbell: Yeah, he's over the hill. Yeah, I love it! Got to put on a man-girdle and pop his dentures in. I mean, that's hilarious. Sam was talking about putting a box of Depends in the trunk. [laughs] Bruce Campbell: And you just see the box. You don't really talk about it. Or Ash says, "Pull over." "Why?" "I gotta get something." "What?" "Don't worry about it, just pull over." You know, and he throws the Depends in the back, and he doesn't have to say anything. I think that's awesome! Why not? Why do our heroes have to be so perfect? What a bore. Jesus Christ! What was it like getting back into this demanding of a role again. Bruce Campbell: Hard. Hard and painful. I usually have a good time on film sets, and the Evil Dead movies never are really a good time. That's okay, because I find the, very creatively satisfying, but none of them are comfortable or fun. You've covered with blood and s**t 12 hours a day. It gets old fast. Wearing stunt rigs, and you can't breathe, and every time you scratch your head you pull the hair out of you arms because of the dried blood. And you get ants all over you because you're wet and sticky and sweet with the fake blood. You attract rodents, that type of thing. [laughs] You've worked with Lucy Lawless in the past. Bruce Campbell: 20 years ago Were you guys searching for a project together? Bruce Campbell: Well, the second we knew we were going to shoot in New Zealand, I'm like, "We've got to get Lucy as part of this deal. ASAP." And so we're trying to make the show worth her time now. So upcoming season, she's going to get busy, and we like that, because she's such an ass kicker. Ash needs some more ass-kicking help, and why not get f**king Lucy Lawless? [editor's note: In retrospect, I wonder if this was some early indication that Ash vs Evil Dead was going to be renewed for a second season.] [laughs] We asked Sam before if he'd taken it a little bit easier on you now than he has in the past. And when I asked him, there was a slightly sadistic glow to his eyes. Bruce Campbell: Oh sure! It would suggest probably not. Bruce Campbell: But thank goodness he's getting older so he doesn't have as much punch anymore. He doesn't have the right hook that he used to have. Now he has people do it for him. No, Sam's always the blood deliverer. If someone's getting the blood in the face, he's the one doing it. Of the Three Stooges, Moe was always the guy who threw the pies. He just had the touch. He was like, "Get out of the way," to the prop guys and he would take the pie. BAM! He would hit it dead on every time. Sam's got that touch. [turns to me and gestures as if repeatedly throwing a cup of fake blood in my face] Because you can't get into the frame. It's a very delicate line, literally. So he knows where the edge of that frame is, and his cup is right there. He never goes in, it's perfect—he hits you every time. Because you don't want to redo that. You got to practice it to get it once. So is Ash your favorite character that you've played? Bruce Campbell: I'd say so. Especially now. I'd say it's been cemented now, because he's much more of a full-blown character. And if we can do this for a couple of years, then we can really kick some Ash, and really bring that character full throttle. And I can't wait. You do a TV show and you're going to have to throw that son of a bitch into all kinds of scenarios that you never had to before. You have to tell a lot of story for the show, so we'll see what happens to our hero. I'm looking forward to it. I hope ridiculous things happen. This is going to sound like a really goofy question, for which I apologize profusely, but do you reconcile the Ash we see at the end of the Evil Dead films with the one we see in the TV series, or is it a clean break between film and television? Bruce Campbell: Same guy, he just didn't do s**t for 25 years. [laughs] Bruce Campbell: Same guy! What has Ash been up to? Bruce Campbell: Nothing! [laughs] Bruce Campbell: Drinking at bowling alleys at closing time, lying to women about how he lost his right hand. [laughs] That's what he's doing—he's doing nothing. People love to ask, "Oh, what kind of character development?" We don't have any! [laughs] Bruce Campbell: He's the same guy. Now, you'll see him develop over the course of the show. He has to become a hero. When we find him, he is not a hero. He thinks he's a hero, but he is so lost. He's lost his edge, he's lost everything.
Interview: Bruce Campbell photo
Hail to the king, baby
Bruce Campbell didn't just enter the room—he swaggered. As he made his way to the first roundtable interview, he nodded to the various tables and press. "I will get to you all eventually," he said with equal parts mock-...

Interview: Sam Raimi and Craig DiGregorio (Ash vs. Evil Dead)

Oct 29 // Hubert Vigilla
What's the motivating factor for returning to territory that's so early in your career, Sam? [gesturing to DiGregorio] And why did you drag this guy along? Craig DiGregorio: [to Sam Raimi] Why'd you drag me into this? [laughs] Sam Raimi: [gesturing to DiGregorio] This guy! Craig was the best man for the job, and he still continues to be, and he's learned the main voice of the character. He's a good leader for the writers, it turns out. I mean, the time you hire a showrunner you don't know if they are the best man for the job, but he turned out to be. You've got to have so many skills of leadership for the team, recognition of all these egos of the writers and dealing with them, good communication skills with the studio and production that's happening elsewhere, and being able to juggle the budgets and the timecrunch that's coming down on you. And then having to take the script and re-write it overnight. Too many talents and skills to ask for in one person, and that's why we settled with [Craig]. Craig DiGregorio: I haven't thought of those. [laughs] Sam Raimi: [laughs] As far as the first question, Sam, what made you return to this character from very early in your career? Sam Raimi: Five words: The fans... [long pause] [laughs] Sam Raimi: The fans... [long pause, counts on his fingers] The. [laughs] Sam Raimi: So, umm, they've been demanding this. I didn't want to return to it for many years. I wanted to go on and make Spider-Man movies, other characters, other stories, and I've already made three of them. I love Bruce, but I just didn't know if there was more to do. But they really wanted it, and so we listened to them. It's never happened to me before like that. I think that's— I just didn't know we made movies based on the audience's desire to see them. It's very rare for me. Like nobody asked me to make another Spider-Man picture, nobody asked me to make another Darkman picture, or a Simple Plan sequel, or whatever I did. Just this one. So it was really me finally listening to them, and that's it. That's the only motivation. Did the series break down from an Evil Dead 4 movie that you had in the works? Sam Raimi: Yes. For many years my brother Ivan and I were writing an Evil Dead 4 movie. Different versions of it, some great ideas. And we just realized that no one would really want to distribute an Evil Dead 4 movie. It would be really big and it'd another fake-spectacular, but it would be too expensive. It would never really make much money. Then Rob [Tapert] said, "Oh, the economics might work out for TV." And that's how it started. How does the mindset change going from a film to a television show? Are you freed up? Do you feel like there aren't any restrictions for you? Sam Raimi: There's no restrictions from Starz. They really want us to make something as wild and crazy as we'd like. They want the flavor of whatever Evil Dead was brought to the small screen in a big way. They've only been really supportive and we don't really have restrictions. There are the budget and time constrictions of TV. I can't set up those— I only directed the pilot, but as a team, we can't take the time to set up all these really cool camera shots to suggest the supernatural in abstract or artistic ways. Craig DiGregorio: You have to pick your spots. Sam Raimi: Yeah, you have to pick your spots to direct. And instead we focused on the character of Ash, which I think the audience really likes anyways. What was the decision to shoot in New Zealand versus shooting in the States? Sam Raimi: [to DiGregorio] What do you think? Craig DiGregorio: There are a couple of things. I mean, I think your money goes a really long way there, so you can really get a big show for whatever your budget is. Also, the crew we have down there is amazing, and they can turnover horror and action and give us more of those cool camera shots just in the time that we have. And also Sam's longtime producing partner, Rob Tapert, lives down there and has an infrastructure built-in already, and he's very comfortable getting the scripts and feeding it into his machine. I think that's also part of it. So, you know, practical, financial, and also creative. Building on that, how beneficial was it to have that great core of makeup effects artists already there for you? And what was it like working with them to create this sort of world? Sam Raimi: It was great having a team of makeup effects artists that have worked with Rob and have proven to be able to deliver on a TV schedule. The demands that it encompasses—they survived it and excelled. So Rob already had a great relationship with this team and it made things wonderful. Wonderful. There were already 30 people on employ when we began, from another project. It was great. They were up and running. Is this a show that's going to be accessible if you've never seen the properties before? People who've never seen the movies, can they come in and know what's going on? Craig DiGregorio: I mean, I've never seen the movies and I like it. [laughs] Sam Raimi: It continues for the Evil Dead fans. And we hope that they'll be good with it. We really pray that they really will, it's made for them. But we've also taken steps to introduce new audience members to characters in the pilot. Craig DiGregorio: I've talked to people who've seen the first episode—fans versus people who've never seen Evil Dead before—and I think it's equally liked, because it's such a fun, weird universe to put yourself into, and I think people just like that. It's different from a lot of things on television. So I think even new viewers who haven't seen the movies enjoy being put in an interesting place. We're helping catch people up or let them know what the world is at the same time. And I have seen the movies. [laughs] In terms of doing a series as opposed to doing a film. In films, you could basically kill off a lot of lead characters that people have really started to really get a rapport with, whereas if you do that with a series it creates a problem that you're replenishing your cast every couple of weeks. Sam Raimi: Well, I think that's absolutely right, and we feel that we've got to kill some characters so the threat of the Evil Dead is real. There's going to have to be some suffering and missing of characters in this equation. Craig DiGregorio: Yeah, so I don't think it's a complete replenishment, but for the danger to be real, you have to let [some characters be killed]. Especially people close to Ash always end up dying. Sam Raimi: Yeah. It's harder in TV, I agree. What was Bruce's reaction when you came to him and said, "Hey, guess what? We're going to have you play the same action character you played 30 years ago?" Sam Raimi: Well, it wasn't really a surprise. People would always ask Bruce about it. "When are you coming back [to the Evil Dead franchise]." And he'd say, "I don't know when I'm coming back. Sam keep dragging out his Spider-Man movies and..." So it's always been in the air. And I would tell Bruce and Rob that I'm writing with my brother. And ummm still writing with my brother. And then at some convention for Spider-Man a fan said, "When are you doing another Evil Dead movie?" I said, "Okay, I'm writing it this summer with my brother." [editor's note: it was actually an Oz the Great and Powerful press conference. You can read our old report about it here.] And so Bruce saw that, so he wasn't really surprised. The information that came out told him what was coming. Craig DiGregorio: But as far as how Bruce reacted, he started working out. Getting in shape. Sam Raimi: Yes, you're right! Craig DiGregorio: He really did! [laughs] Going from Burn Notice to— Craig DiGregorio: He just looks like an action hero now. [looks over to Bruce Campbell at another table.] Look at that guy! He looks really good! Early on in the writers' room, there's some jokes in the script about Ash being really overweight and looking rough, and Bruce came into the writers' room and said, "F**k you guys! I'm gonna make you eat your words!" And he went and, well, he looks damn good. Started putting himself together. [turns to Raimi] I feel like we kind of turned his life around. [laughs] The amount of misery you're able to inflict on Bruce—have you sort of curtailed that in recent years because you don't want him to break a hip or something? Or has it gotten worse? Sam Raimi: We got to inflict a little pain on him in the pilot, and a little bit all through the series so far. And I'm kind of waiting to hear whenever the last show is, you know, depending how many seasons we go. God help Bruce for those last three episodes, because I'm taking all that's left out of him! [laughs] Craig DiGregorio: [to Raimi] Is this how you kill your friend? [laughs] Sam Raimi: I'll make him wish he was dead! [laughs]
Interview: Sam Raimi photo
The director and showrunner talk Ash
It's been nearly 40 years since Sam Raimi directed Within the Woods, the $1,600 horror short that would become The Evil Dead. Decades later, Raimi has returned to the series that kickstarted and defined his career, directing ...

Interview: Lucy Lawless and Jill Marie Jones (Ash vs. Evil Dead)

Oct 28 // Hubert Vigilla
Could you tell us a little bit about the characters you're playing in Ash vs Evil Dead? Lucy Lawless: [to Jones, with a twang] Well, Thelma? Jill Marie Jones: [to Lawless, with a twang] Well, Louise? Both: We're Thelma and Louise. Lucy Lawless: She's my gal-pal and we're gunning down that moron and his loser buddies. [laughs] Jill Marie Jones: What I love so much about [my character] Amanda Fisher— She is a Michigan State Trooper, she's a badass, she knows her way around a gun, she doesn't like the word “no.” She's one of the good guys, and she really does fight for good. And she meets this mystery over here [gestures to Lawless]— Lucy Lawless: I'm an enigma! My character [Ruby], her father was Professor Knowby, who was the original holder of the Necronomicon in the movies. Her whole family got destroyed by Ash and his deadite plague. So now that he's released it again, she's absolutely going to put him in the ground, because he's responsible for all the ill in her life. She's very fixated on Ash, and not in a sexy way. [laughs] Lucy Lawless: [looks at Jones] She's a little bit fixated with her in a sexy way. Who could not be? [laughs] Were you both fans of the series before coming onto the project? Lucy Lawless: I saw the first Evil Dead when I was 16 or 17. My first boyfriend and I stomped out after the tree rape. We were going, "The people who made this movie are sick, misogynistic, 'unprintable'!” And 12 years later I was married to one of them. [editor's note: Lawless is married to producer Rob Tapert.] [laughs] Lucy Lawless: From Mount Albert, New Zealand—bottom of the world. Who would've thunk it? And here we are. The series is more like the second two Evil Dead films, because tree rape ain't funny. We're not reprising that. Jill Marie Jones: Also, what I love so much about Ash vs Evil Dead; I call it "Evil Dead for Dummies." Lucy Lawless: [laughs] Jill Marie Jones: The first episode, if you've never seen the films, I feel like new fans will be able to— Lucy Lawless: [snaps fingers] Jump in. Jill Marie Jones: You get it real quick. They do it so well. And I know the die hard fans, they did 'em really well. Lucy Lawless: Yeah, did 'em really proud. Jill Marie Jones: Really proud. So I think people will really love it. Lucy, you've plays so many strong, badass women. Is Ruby going to get in there and kick some ass? Lucy Lawless: [sarcastic] She's so weak in this show. Jill Marie Jones: [sarcastic] Vulnerable. Lucy Lawless: She's so— Both: Needy! [laughs] Jill Marie Jones: [sarcastic] Ruby's always asking Amanda, "Please, help me through life?" [laughs] Lucy Lawless: [meekly] "I just don't know which way to go." No, Ruby's a crazy bitch! Jill Marie Jones: Yeah, she's strong. Lucy Lawless: She's tough, and a little obsessive. Jill Marie Jones: And thank god, by the way. Thank god. Lucy Lawless: All the women are tough in this show. Jill Marie Jones: The three female leads of this show all kick ass. They're not waiting for the man to come and save them because they can all handle things themselves. It's really refreshing, you know. So your characters are teamed up together? Jill Marie Jones: Well, something happens, and then something else happens, and then something else happens, and then I meet Ruby. [laughs] Building on that, what physical demands were on both of you for this show? Obviously in the past with Evil Dead, you can tell it's a really physically demanding story. So what are the things you've had to do or overcome? Jill Marie Jones: I came home with bruises. We really went all the way in with all the characters. We committed. And also we have an amazing stunt department. There was a gym in New Zealand. It was right on set, and we'd go in there and punch heavy bags. Lucy Lawless: I didn't know there was a gym! Jill Marie Jones: Are you kidding me? You could go in and shoot guns— Lucy Lawless: Nobody tells me anything! [laughs] Jill Marie Jones: So there was a full-on gym. I didn't know until I got to New Zealand, but someone said to me, "Oh yeah, you have MMA training tomorrow." I was like, "Excuse me? MMA? Oh, that's— I've seen one— Oh, that's scary, but okay." But it was awesome. We had a great stunt department, but it was still physical. Lucy Lawless: We do have a world-class stunt department, who go back a ways to Hercules and Xena... [editor's note: at this point Bruce Campbell at a neighboring table interview says something that catches Lawless' attention or vice versa. Campbell turns to Lawless and Jones and there's a pause.] [to Campbell, in an old Bronx mother voice] You'll be all right, honey! You keep talking! Bruce Campbell: Hey! Lucy Lawless: [still in accent] You keep talking! [laughs] Lucy Lawless: Uhh... Yeah. Jill Marie Jones: We've got a great stunt department. [laughs] Lucy Lawless: I've got to say, it was painful to me. I don't do as much action today as I used to, but it's painful. [laughs] I'm like at the chiropractor for two weeks after doing some really lame stunt, like something that I used to do before breakfast, and now you do one and it's just murder. But the show is funny. Because it's a half hour, you don't waste a minute. It's really punchy. I think it really does do the fans proud and their expectations are going to be met. That's quite bold talk but we're really proud of what we've done. Jill Marie Jones: Absolutely. Lucy Lawless: And nobody's in more pain than Bruce, by the way. He's really put through it. Jill Marie Jones: He really is! Also, I felt like a 13-year-old boy, honestly. Because I'm shooting guns— I'm from Texas and you'd think I have like 10 guns in my purse, but I don't. I'd never held a gun before, I'd never shot a real gun before. Lucy Lawless: Oh my god! You were amazing with a gun! Jill Marie Jones: I felt like a 13-year-old boy! I was living. Lucy Lawless: The power of it, yeah. Jill Marie Jones: I was getting the power of it. The bruises that I would get from banging up to something. I was like, "Yeah, baby! I worked hard today!" It was awesome. Lucy Lawless: I was sick of being bruised. [laughs] Lucy, you mentioned earlier in this conversation the possible misfortune of being married to a certain producer. One would think this would get you off easy in terms of what you're asked to do on set. Lucy Lawless: I know. [sighs] But the past several shows you've done you've proven otherwise. Does that sort of continue into Ash vs Evil Dead as well? Lucy Lawless: Rob [Tapert] will write the character and whatever's best for the show. Sometimes it goes against me; what's best for the show, sometimes you do things that are extremely distasteful to you, but you know that it's right. And what I respect about Rob so much is that telling the stories comes first. He's not going to make things softer or better for me. We're of the same mind in that way, and I would not like him better if he made my life cushier. Were there any scripts that you looked at at the time and just shook your head? Lucy Lawless: Oh, all the time! [laughs] Lucy Lawless: Not on this, not on this! Because it's comedy. Jill Marie Jones: Well Ruby was brunette at first, and she was like, "Hell no" to that. "That's where I put my foot down!" [laughs] Lucy Lawless: "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wha?" We didn't know what the character was in the beginning. Thing is— Jill Marie Jones: She's kind of a mystery. [laughs] Lucy Lawless: [laughs] The "mystery" thing. That's because we didn't know what the hell the character was. I came late to it, they do a slow burn because you've got to establish the world of Ash and his family before you bring in the shark—you know, I'm Jaws, I'm a shadow, I'm a [audio unclear], I'm a bloody music cue—before you see her teeth come out. So bit of a slow burn on Ruby, but it's necessary because you have to establish something to lose before you can fear for Ash and the loss of his family. Could you say what you brought to your characters that maybe wasn't in the script? Jill Marie Jones: Well, for me, one of the things I was attracted to in Amanda: my mother was a federal investigator for like 40 years. She just retired last February. So there's a lot of my mom I see in Amanda. Just the strength and the fearlessness. I think in a lot of ways I was pulling from that to bring her forward. Lucy Lawless: And she's effortlessly cool on screen. Jill Marie Jones: Oh, effortlessly cool. Lucy Lawless: And in real life.
Interview: Lucy Lawless photo
The cop and the enigma with an agenda
As Lucy Lawless and Jill Marie Jones approach the table, Lawless smiles and says, "Hello, darlings," in a half-disarming and half-joking way. Jones looks at the assembled journalists then back at Lawless. "I feel like we're s...

Interview: Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo (Ash vs. Evil Dead)

Oct 27 // Hubert Vigilla
Can you guys tell us about your characters since you're newcomers to the Evil Dead franchise. Ray Santiago: I play Pablo Simon Bolivar, who is this idealistic guy who came from Honduras and ended up meeting Ash at the Value Stop. He is the heart of the unit and the eyes of the audience. Pablo is Ash's main homie, and he was warned about evil lurking in the world by his family, and he didn't believe it. He comes face to face with it and believes that Ash is the man to save the world from evil. He's Ash's biggest cheerleader and sees beyond all of his flaws and believes in him. Through idolizing Ash, he realizes that he doesn't want to be like Ash, but he wants to be his own man and he wants to be his own hero. And I'll turn it over to Dana, because her character comes along for the ride because she sort of gets dragged into this whole situation by me. Dana DeLorenzo: That is true. Kelly is best friends with Pablo and, like Ray said, gets dragged into this fight against evil. But she is a real badass in the making. She's tough, she tells you like it is, she's not afraid to speak her mind. And she's really smart. She's quick on her feet. She can turn anything into a weapon if she needs to. Even though she's a little hesitant—or a lot hesitant—to join the fight at first, she eventually gets her own reasons to fight the deadites and becomes the common sense of the group, which is great for Ash. I think Kelly and Ash are a lot more similar than either would care to admit, and for that reason they push each other's buttons but they have each other's backs, which is really cool. I think it's very much a big brother, younger sister relationship, and something Kelly and Pablo are big sister and little brother. So these are her boys; this is her new family that she has found, and ultimately Kelly find her purpose in fighting evil. A reason to get out of bed every day. Ray Santiago: I don't think I've ever looked at my sister the way Pablo looks at Kelly. [laughs] Dana DeLorenzo: [laughs] No, I'm saying from Kelly's point of view. I know. Ray Santiago: But I'm just saying Pablo looks at Kelly with a different set of eyes. I don't think I've ever looked at my sister that way. But, I just want to say, the show is ultimately about a group of people who are trying to escape who they're really meant to be, and they are running from the demons that they have to fight and the demons that they have inside. And once they come into contact with them and overcome them they become this super-strong monster-fighting squad. So somehow these three dysfunctional people come together and they become a unit that is responsible for saving the world from evil. How did you prepare yourselves for physically demanding roles? And also being covered in blood and gore the entire time? Dana DeLorenzo: Oh, we would just throw everything on each other when we were prepping. It was just like, "Oh, I've got some maple syrup. Here!" Ray Santiago: I— I— Dana DeLorenzo: He went and ran in the woods in his underwear. [laughs] Ray Santiago: Yeah. I worked out a lot. Dana DeLorenzo: He did! Can I just commend his commitment to the gym? He looks very— Ray Santiago: I would wake up... Dana DeLorenzo: Kelly has noticed! Kelly is like, "Maybe Pablo's—" Ray Santiago: I had to keep it up! It's like, "Dammit! She's not looking at me the way I want her look at me!" Dana DeLorenzo: Meanwhile, I'm eating every dessert everyday. Ray Santiago: They have a lot of meat pies and a lot of biscuits in New Zealand. Dana DeLorenzo: It was amazing. And their desserts. Oh god! Everything there was so good. Well, and also, I was actually terrified a lot of the time filming Ash vs Evil Dead. I didn't think I was going to because it's make believe, but seeing the actors coming and playing the deadites—seeing them normal, like we are today, and seeing them in hair and makeup four hours or five hours with this incredible special effects team—[laughs] and then they'd just be walking around the lunch room. I couldn't eat! I couldn't look at them! It was that terrifying a place. And they didn't even have the contacts in. So I would get an extra dessert and go to my trailer and have my comfort food. It was honestly very terrifying. And weird things happened. I still think that the set was possessed. Things would just fall over at the strangest times. The noises when we were filming in the stage. The roof would be banging like there were a million, I don't know— Ray Santiago: Deer? Dana DeLorenzo: Yeah! Deer up there. Ray Santiago: They were birds. Dana DeLorenzo: There's birds! Yeah. Are the birds doing Chicago right now on Broadway? [laughs] Dana DeLorenzo: But no. It's just the wind, it's just the birds. I'm telling you, weird stuff happened. We summoned evil for sure during this. Ray Santiago: The fact we were able to leave Los Angeles and create our own bubble in New Zealand. Dana DeLorenzo: Incredible. Ray Santiago: With Bruce and Lucy and Jill Marie Jones—who cooked for me on many occasions, and just made lovely chicken soup. Dana DeLorenzo: Jill Marie Jones. Ahh. [sighs] Ray Santiago: It was possible to create this family unit outside of our normal habitat. It really helped. I just want to give props to the New Zealand crew. Dana DeLorenzo: Yeah, Kiwis! Ray Santiago: The Kiwiss were amazing, and Auckland took really good care of us. We're excited to hopefully be going back. Dana DeLorenzo: Yes, hopefully. Ray Santiago: Like you guys are not going to be disappointed in what we've done. It's kind of groundbreaking because Sam created this genre of cult classic horror-comedy, and we're bringing it to television in a single-camera, half-hour format. And I don't think there's anything like that right now on television. You've got all these other horror shows, but ours isn't taking itself too seriously. You can pop some popcorn and it's quick, you're gonna love it. Dana DeLorenzo: It's like walking into a comedy club, but inside the scariest haunted house you've ever been in. It's jam-packed in thirty minutes. There's action, but then there's also some good drama. Honestly, it's entertaining. I'm really excited. What was your exposure to the Evil Dead films before going into the show? Dana DeLorenzo: I just watched them five minutes ago. [laughs] Dana DeLorenzo: He just showed me really quick. Ray Santiago: Yeah, I was showing her [on my phone]. Dana DeLorenzo: We just did a montage. Ray Santiago: I had watched the second one, which is my favorite. And after I found out we were doing this, obviously I watched all of them. And I would watch them— A couple times I would come home and I would watch them before I went to bed. OH! And speaking of being scared and possessed, I had a bat that we were training with. Dana DeLorenzo: [laughs] Ray Santiago: I was training with a baseball bat for something on the set, and I brought the bat back to my place. [Sam Raimi] signed the bat, and I was so excited. In my apartment in new Zealand I started hearing this noise every night and I couldn't figure out what it was. And I actually got really scared that my place was haunted. So I'd sleep with this bat next to my bed. But it was just— Dana DeLorenzo: It was me hiding in the closet. Ray Santiago: It was just the pipes from the restaurant underneath [my place]. [laughs] [laughs] Dana DeLorenzo: I'd go over and we'd run lines and Ray would be like, "Do you hear that?" We'd get really quiet and I wouldn't hear it. I'd start talking and he go, "No! There it is again!" [laughs] Dana DeLorenzo: So we were— Ray Santiago: We were on edge, basically. Dana DeLorenzo: Yeah, we were on edge. Ray Santiago: Because we were a little traumatized from all the situations we— We were put in a blender of scary and gross situations. Dana DeLorenzo: And crazy. I mean, I couldn't even watch the first Evil Dead by myself in the daytime. I had to have people come over. I thought, I'm an adult. Am I really going to be scared? Still holds up, terrifies me. I still have nightmares about it. I'm getting clammy hands talking about it. [laughs] Following up on that question, if you guys have seen the films, you know most of the characters don't really last for too long. Dana DeLorenzo: Right. So do you guys sort of read ahead in the scripts just to see if your names keep coming up? Dana DeLorenzo: You know, they only gave us the scripts like two days before we would shoot it. So, ummm. [turning to Ray] What were you going to say? Ray Santiago: I was going to say that I had a system going. I'm from the South Bronx. Dana DeLorenzo: This one! Ray Santiago: She called me "New York" all the time. Dana DeLorenzo: He is so New York. We could not get the scripts until we were two days away from shooting, and maybe doing a table reading. Meanwhile, Ray was like, "This is what's going to happen." I was like, "How do you know this?!" Ray Santiago: "I can't tell you! I have my ways! I know what's happening! We're good!" Look, I think that you're right. It is something to be scared about because the people that Ash care about ultimately end up dying. Dana DeLorenzo: It keeps it exciting. Ray Santiago: I'm just going to say this: Even if you die on Evil Dead, you can come back and taunt Ash for the rest of his life. So I honestly think that's what this show's about: staying alive. So you have to see what happens. Dana DeLorenzo: And the fact that anything can happen. I think that's what gives this show an edge. You never know who can go, and you never know who's real, or who's a deadite in disguise.
Ash v Evil Dead Interview photo
Meet Ash's two sidekicks
Bruce Campbell has flown solo in each of the Evil Dead movies, which ran our hero Ash through the wringer as well as gallons of blood. Ash vs Evil Dead changes that up. Older and wearing a girdle, Ash can't kill the deadites ...

Interview: Makeup/Special Effects Designer Roger Murray (Ash vs. Evil Dead)

Oct 26 // Hubert Vigilla
Having worked on the Evil Dead remake, how does Ash vs Evil Dead compare in terms of the blood and gore and extent of the makeup effect? Oh man. It's a lot more intense, basically. I mean, there's a huge amount of special effects, blood, gore, dismemberment, beheadings. I think it's just a lot more fun of a ride. It's just a lot faster paced and crazy fun, really. When did the series come up after working on the film? Pretty quickly after? No, it wasn't. It sort of matured over quite a bit of time before we actually talked about that maybe we should do a series. It took a bit to build it, and I got pulled in about two months before they started pre-production. So there was quite a bit of a time gap between them. Moving to cable—to Starz—were there any limitations at all on what you could do as far as effect goes? We haven't had any limitations yet! They haven't set any limitations. I think most of it gets set up through the writing, and the writers have been fantastic about building certain effects as we go along. And also as the series evolves, they get an idea of what we're capable of and the amount of time [required]. That's been really great. So no, they haven't set any limitations yet, and I don't think they will! [laughs] Can you tell us about one of your favorite effects that you got to work on? Hmmm... It's a tricky one without giving too much away. I think just generally we've done a lot of character makeups, right? And those have all been really fun. Pretty much every deadite is its own character makeup. So we've got a tone for the whole show, but we've personalized every one. It's been quite good. And I think just generally making rigs. Going back to the old school rigs with dummy rigs, dismemberments, beheadings. We've made a few puppets! I can't say what's my favorite. It's like we had a lot of blood on our hands, let's just say that. How did the cast react to being constantly covered in blood? Well, they sort of got used to it. Though Bruce gets a lot of the blood, you know. The whole cast were amazing, really amazing, and really stepped up to it. Because, you know, it's a fast turnaround TV show, so it's on. I mean, we do a lot of effects in our turnaround episodically, so there was no downtime from blood. And they just got used to it. It was really good, yeah. Is there enough of a talent pool in New Zealand now that you can actually pull off this kind of show? There's been a lot of new productions down there. That's a really good question. Look, there's a huge gravitas with Evil Dead. I was working with two really good makeup artists—Jane O'Kane and Denise Coomb—down there who both share a credit in prosthetic design, because we basically allocated some of the tonal stuff to the on-set makeup artists, the designers. And that was really great. We've had a really good pool of effects makeup artists through the whole Lord of the Rings, and New Zealand ended up getting people from America, we drew people from Australia. Just the tone and the want for people to work on the show was enough to draw people to New Zealand. We're really lucky. We had some great technicians come down, great makeup artists, great technicians who worked a lot in the States. They love being in New Zealand. It's quite different down there, you know? So no, we were really lucky. It is one of those things where we're a small country so when a lot of different projects get going, it does get quite tight, but I think Evil Dead will always draw people in. The coolness factor of it? Yeah, I think it's the coolness factor, but I think it's also that we run our workshop so that makeup artists—the special effects makeup artists are usually technicians too—they'll get the ability to potentially sculpt some of the designs and do the technical side and do the makeups; so it's quite a holistic sort of way we run it. So for them they feel a little bit more connected to the show, and they really enjoy it. It's been great fun. And, you know, they come out of the workshop, get some blood on their hands, come back, wash their hands, go back out. It's been really good. When you read a gory set piece in the script, are you allowed to ratchet it up and make suggestions, or do you usually stick to what's there? Oh man! It's always getting ratcheted up, you know what I mean? The thing is trying to contain that so it actually works and is scary and not too over the top, you know what I mean? So it depends on the pace of the gag that we're doing. Some of the gags we'll do we'll go completely berzerk, mostly when Bruce is involved. [laughs] So in [Sam Raimi's] episode, it was like, "Let's really ratchet it up!" because he really loves seeing Bruce covered in blood. "But let's just ratchet it right up— Let's go craaaazy!" So we'd barge on set with kegs of blood and blood pumps, and we're pumping. That's really fun, but there are times when we want to build the pace of the show; we want it to be scary, a lot more potentially like the remake where there's a bit more of a sense of impending doom. We'll sort of tone it down a little bit. So there's a nice variation, yeah, yeah. It's worked really well, it's really fun. And... [laughs] You guys are gonna love it! It's crazy. It's a crazy half hour. It's one of those shows that I, personally, would love to go and see. Like when I get home from work, I just want to sit down and watch it. It's really fun. Could you talk a little bit about what's the aesthetic, the look, the tone of the— The tone, yeah. The tone. That's another great question. Of course, that's one of the things because the tone changes in the movies from the first Evil Dead to the second one to Army of Darkness. There's sort of an overriding feeling to it, but the actual makeup and the look of the makeup changes quite a bit. So what we've done is we've kind of gone back to look mostly at Evil Dead 2 and get the tone from there, and sort of lifted a little bit for the TV show. We always wanted to make Ash vs Evil Dead our own sort of thing. We didn't want to copy [previous movies] outright because I think [the movies] had their time and place then. So we're drawing on that, we're drawing on the palette and different hues of what they've used initially. And I love [Evil Dead 2]. I love that movie, it's great. So to be able to go over and deconstruct it, talk with Sam about where they sort of started and what the background was; just sort of change it and work with him and get a feeling of what the deadites were going to look like. It's just pushed a little bit, pushed a little bit toward the modern. How do you do Evil Dead 2-esque makeup effects when [back then] they were doing things with peanut butter? Now you've got fantastic technology and amazing materials. How do you dial it back? Well, that's the thing. We didn't want to dial it right back to then. We actually wanted to enhance it for the show. We've actually taken all the appliances we make—they're silicone appliances... There's more of a naturalism. That's probably the best way I can describe it. We didn't want it to look too theatrical, we wanted you to actually feel like the characters had gone through a transformation. There's definitely a harkening back to Evil Dead movies, but I think it's its own thing too. It's just a natural progression of makeup effects, generally. We're taking our own riff on it. How does it feel working in the industry now with the resurgence of practical effects? You're seeing a lot of films and TV shows going back to practical and going away from digital. I'm extremely happy about it. [laughs] My company, Main Reactor, is extremely happy about it. It really is a bit of a dream come true because, look, there was a point when we all thought that lots more things would be digital. We still work with a great visual effects company in New Zealand, Pacific Renaissance Pictures effects (PRPVFX). Our approach is we're not going to discard our visual effects, we're going to work together, and we're going to make effects that you don't know where the practical-effects and visual-effects sides begin and end. Marrying both of those together is hugely effective. Most of it's practical, but there's some tweaks with visual effects, things you can do easily now like wire removal and all those sort of things, enhancement of blood. It helps storytellers tell their story. We're making Evil Dead as a TV series in 2015. It's insane. I couldn't be happier. The producers are up for as many practical effects as possible, and it's just going to be a nice combination of tweaks so you're not sure how we did it. It's the veneer, you know? The polish on the— Yeah! Yeah, yeah yeah. And you'll see it. Most of the effects are practical. [laughs] Yeah, but I don't want to dismiss the fact that working with visual effects artist and working in that medium is a really fantastic way to go too. It's a great marriage. You probably run into this a lot in recent years where you'll be sitting at a production meeting and the visual effects guys say "We'll take that" or "We'll do that," and you're sort of left with the scraps. So now this seems like this is the opposite. Well, I think there's a mentality initially that's starting to change where visual effects supervisors and stuff would try to pick up lots of effects in pre-production meetings. But what we've found was that— [Let's take the show] Spartacus. I think Spartacus is a great example because when you start birthing a show, everyone starts trying to figure out what jigsaw piece they are and what's going to be best for the show. I definitely know that there's a big gravitas on Spartacus with the visual effects to actually do stuff as practically as possible because the turnaround on television is really fast. You know, the post-production side is really fast because it's matching where you are in the shooting schedule. They don't seem to be putting their hands up as much now saying "I'll take that." They're being a lot more clever about it. I think for [visual effects artists], it's great. If they can get something in-camera and we've got a plan from the start, we can come up with a great product. We're doing Evil Dead, so there's a lo-fi aspect to some things. If you're got dummies being chopped up with chainsaws, and you've got dismembered arms, or we've got some really lovely silicone bodies, you know, all that stuff. We don't have to hide that with visual effects, and the visual effects people don't have to clean it up. It just is what it is, and you're carried by the story and carried by the characters.
Interview: Roger Murray photo
On the look/feel of this new Evil Dead
Roger Murray's been working in props, makeup effects, and practical special effects for more than two decades. His credits include The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, 30 Days of Night, the 2013 Evil Dead remake, and Crouch...

Ash vs Evil Dead preview photo
Ash puts his hand to good use (NSFW)
Listen up, you primitive screwheads! Ash vs Evil Dead premieres this week, and you can now watch the first four minutes of the first episode online. This first episode was directed by Sam Raimi, and it catches the audien...

Snaxist NYCC Edition: Nestle's Star Wars Coffee-mate Creamer

Oct 09 // Nick Valdez
Since there's no point in drawing this out (because I've only got a few hours of life left), I'll give you some mini-reactions with each flavor. There are five in total, and for each flavor I drank a new cup of coffee. In order to get the most out of the creamer, I did half coffee, half creamer for each cup. At the time it seemed like a good idea to drink all of these in one sitting, but retrospection makes fools of us all. I have no idea why I did this. Was I worried they were going somewhere? I knew they'd be around all weekend, but for some awful, awful reason I felt compelled to keep drinking. It's all for you I guess.  C-3PO's Hazelnut First of all, I don't like what this flavor's insinuating. The less coming out of C-3PO, the better. Other than that, it's a very generic flavor. Not too pungent, but not too inviting either. It's just too bland to register a taste. Good thing it went first.  R2-D2's French Vanilla With how generic hazelnut turned out to be, I had no hopes for vanilla. When you think bland, you think "vanilla," so what were the chances it'd be good? Surprisingly, it's my favorite of the creamers. It's super sweet, but very tasty. It's what I needed to wash the Hazelnut out of my mouth.  Boba Fett's Italian Sweet Creme At this point, I've already had way more caffeine than I'm used to so I'm going to blame what happened here on all of that. I don't really remember this registering any of kind of flavor. I just couldn't stop laughing at how weird "Boba Fett's sweet creme" sounded when spoken aloud. I don't remember how loud I actually was, but it garnered a few worried looks. That's a memory I'll certainly carry to my early grave.  Darth Vader's Espresso Chocolate (New Limited Edition Flavor) At this point my palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy, vomit on my sweater already. I think it was mom's spaghetti. I had double vision. So much caffeine, so many random thoughts. Like do you think Vader had enough time to create this chocolate blend? You think there's an coffee based laboratory in the Empire? Is that why they blew up the Death Star? For its chocolate recipes? Either way, this was once again way too sweet. It tasted like I shoved a chocolate bar down my throat before a coffee chaser. Just hook it to my veins if you want to drown me in it. But it's the better of the two new flavors.  Chewbacca's Spiced Latte (New Limited Edition Flavor)  I'd hesitate to actually say this is a "flavor." But since I was more coffee than man at this point. I had to forge ahead. I was too far in to give up, and I one more cup wasn't going to give me double vision. Well, that's pretty much what happened. This one was the only time I physically wretched after drinking, and boy was it bad. It's got this over-confident cinnamon on the way down and hits you with something completely different in the after taste. I'd had enough. As soon as I started walking away, it's like all five cups hit me at once. I don't know how I got home, but I feel as I've come closer to death. I just, just know that's what happened. I did all for you, so come visit my grave. Then pour creamer on it. 
NYCC Snaxist photo
It's basically terrible
I'm not a huge coffee drinker. I don't drink the stuff daily, nor do I even drink it on occasion, but I've recently found that as I get older, it's harder and harder to wake up. Seeing as how I actually needed coffee for once...

NYCC: Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles panel and Season 4 Premiere Recap

Oct 08 // Nick Valdez
Most of the voice cast was present with the absence of Mae Whitman and Sean Astin being the only loss (but he called in through Facetime) as well as showrunner Ciro Nieli and writer Brandon Auman. Wasting no time they started discussing the show's major shake up at the end of season three (once again, major spoilers), as the Tricertons set off a black hole bomb resulting in both Splinter's death and the destruction of the Earth. Splinter's VO Hoon Lee expressed some concern over it, but he also argued that it showed how dangerous the Turtles' life really is as they "live by the sword and die by the sword." Nieli stated that they wanted to try something big like that because they have all sorts of different directions for the show, and by the sounds of some of the news it's going to go to some crazy places.  Here are some of the major plans for season 4: David Tennant's Fugitoid is playing a huge role in the series going forward.  Keith David joins the show voicing a Salamander commander who may or may not truly be a bad guy (from a race based on The Newtralizer) The A-Team's Dwight Schultz is joining the cast as Wyrm, who's no longer a mutated trashman but now an all powerful alien genie with reality bending powers (think Bat-Mite) who fights the turtles by shapeshifting and wrapping them up in a big ball, hilariously. Also Casey's glowing blue and super smart for some reason.  The biggest thing? The Krang suit from the original 80s cartoon is returning as part of a 2D animatedspecial crossover with the original voice cast in tow, including Pat Fraley returning to voice the original villainous Krang. We were shown an in progress cinematic, and for anyone worried that the show's two tones would clash, don't worry. It's funny, has lots of action, and it'll warm your heart. As for the season four premiere, the show's getting an entirely new title cinematic. With a bit of summary of season three's finale, the turtles are shown in all sorts of new space situations. After that, the Turtles are trying to get used to their new situation as Fugitoid lays out the goal for the season. They need to collect shards of a special time macguffin in order to save the Earth (which is now stuck in a weird stasis of both existence and non-existence), but if the Triceratons get them first it's all over. With a new goal and some cool looking, color coordinated space suits (April's looks very familiar to those who've followed the 80s cartoon) the Turtles have a new lease on life. Which means we don't have to worry too much about angst or anything like that. Considering how heavy three's finale was, it's refreshing that season four giddily jumped into the new status quo. Anyway, after an asteroid belt leaves their ship damaged, the Turtles land on a planet of rogues, pirates and thieves (Raphael naturally likes it while Fugitoid notes he's never been but says it looks great in the Spring).  On the new planet, the Turtles make all sorts of space puns (a few of them land, most don't but the kids'll love it) and are introduced to a bunch of new technologies (which will most likely make their ninjutsu much better as the season roles on). After some exploring and each turtle finding their own troubling situation, we're introduced to season four's major addition, Peter Stormare's Lord Dregg. I have no clue how they landed Stormare, but he's fantastic. He's chewing up the scenery immensely and you can tell he absolutely loved playing the bad guy. Lord Dregg majorly outclasses the Turtles while throwing them around like ragdolls and has technologically superior, super tough henchmen. After the Turtles flee the planet and have a space battle with Dregg, the episode ends with the Turtles hyperspacing into the unknown.  After having so much fun with the premiere, I'm totally confident that the writing staff knew what it was doing when it literally blew itself up. I've never been more excited for a TMNT season, especially after last season felt like such a retread. It's definitely a good shot in the arm, and besides all the blatant need for new toys, the show's going to very enjoyable. I can't wait to see the rest of TMNT's universe.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' fourth season premieres October 25th on Nickelodeon. 
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Turtles in space!
Since this is my second year at a big convention like this, I'm still pretty inexperienced with panels. My first big one was Disney's Tomorrowland panel, but I didn't stay the entire way through. So this year I made it my mis...

NYCC photo
NYCC 2015 is upon us and we're here to bring you all sorts of weird things. Not sure exactly yet what kind of news or tidbits we'll find out since there aren't any major panels other than MArvel and DC's TV stuff this year, b...

NYCC Cosplay photo
NYCC Cosplay

NYCC: Cosplay photos from the floor

The good, the bad, and the weird
Oct 12
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
If you live in New York, you're probably used to walking pretty quickly to get from points A to B. This makes being in a packed convention center like the Javitz Center during the increasingly popular New York Comic Con absol...

NYCC: Dreamworks panel featuring Home and Penguins

So many children
Oct 12
// Matthew Razak
The last true movie related panel of NYCC is now over. The movie stuff wrapped up with Dreamworks Animation presenting a panel for both Home and Penguins of Madagascar for our viewing pleasure. The panel consis...
Sexy Freddy vs. Jason photo
Sexy Freddy vs. Jason

NYCC: So... someone made "sexy" female Freddy vs. Jason figurines

But I'd totally pay to see this movie.
Oct 12
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
You know what I've never once thought? "There should be female versions of Freddie Krueger and Jason Vorhees!" And even if I had, I certainly wouldn't have followed that thought with, "Let's put them in skimpy outfits and sex...

NYCC: Up close with Ben Affleck's Batman cape and cowl

Full of weighty goodness
Oct 11
// Matthew Razak
At New York Comic Con they're celebrating Batman's 75th anniversary and part of that celebration bring us our first chance to get up close to the cape and cowl that Ben Affleck will be wearing when he takes over the role in B...
NYCC photo

NYCC: Tomorrowland toy gives another look at the movie

Oct 10
// Nick Valdez
While we've got our first in motion look at Tomorrowland thanks to a New York Comic Con panel yesterday morning (more on that later), the revealed teaser was a small look at what's going on. Thanks to an exclusive toy spotted...

NYCC: Thoughts on Disney's Tomorrowland panel

Oct 10 // Nick Valdez
Big Hero 6 was also a headliner during the panel, but unfortunately there's still not enough present to make me believe that's it going to be more than its recent glut of trailers. While the newest trailer focuses on someone other than Baymax for once (adorable as the squishy robot is, there is a limit), it's certainly telling that we were really waiting for all of the Tomorrowland details to kick in. At the panel, we were shown Tomorrowland's first teaser (found here), but after a surprise appearance from George Clooney (who's made his first comic-con appearance ever) we got an even better look at his character. Through the clip, he seems to be an ornery old man named Frank who seems to know a lot more about this "other world." He lives in a booby trapped house (the clip showed his many traps and fighting robot abilities. Yes there are robots), Casey (the girl in the trailer) is alluded to be a fugitive (as gentleman in black suits come to Frank's house to find her), his bathtub is a rocket ship, and sorry I couldn't remember the clip in greater detail. Basically, I'm not sure what to expect from Tomorrowland. The tone seems to work okay (as in, everything is serious without seeming overtly dark), Brad Bird seems to be excited from the project, and George Clooney even showed up to prove how much he's invested in one of the, what he dubs, larger projects he's been a part of (although he stated Batman & Robin turned him off completely) At least we won't be draped in mystery for long as Tomorrowland releases May 22, 2015.
NYCC Disney photo
More like George Swooney
Yesterday morning was the official start of 2014's New York Comic Con. What was originally a press day was opened to the public thanks to the other three days filling up so quickly. We'll have smaller impressions up throughout the weekend, but for now, I'm going to dish out some details regarding the big opening panel: Disney's Tomorrowland.

We're at NYCC photo
New York Comic Con is Go!
New York Comic Con is back again and Flixist is here to bring you all the movie news you can handle. Can you tell how excited we are? OK, that picture isn't actually representative of the excitement we're feeling with chances...

Tomorrowland Trailer photo
The future is full of wheat
If you're not excited for Tommorowland now is the time to get there because at the New York Comic Con Disney started the hype. Nick will be supplying us with a full rundown from the event itself, but above you'll find o...

NYCC Interview: The screenwriter and stars of Oldboy

Oct 16 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]216674:40803:0[/embed] Prior to speaking with the Oldboy talent at the convention, I was treated to two exclusive clips from the film that established the relationship between Brolin's character Joe Doucett and Imperioli's character Charlie. They speak with surprise and unease inside of a very-enclosed-feeling bar. "It's ironic because I own a bar and he has a drinking problem, so that's kind of a tricky thing, right?" Imperioli said. During the actual panel for the film, Protosevich commented that the name "Joe Doucett" was his attempt to evoke Oh Dae-su, the name of main character in the Park Chan-wook film. In one of these two exclusive clips, I also got a glimpse of Sharlto Copley's character and his henchwoman played by Klementieff. She busts out some martial arts and brings Brolin to the ground. Klementieff didn't have a fighting background prior to the shoot but trained diligently, three hours a day for two months. Now a purple belt in Taekwondo and continuing to improve, the regimen and physicality of the role was so intense that she lost a toenail. "It was really ugly. I lost it after the movie because I'm really professional. I put a bandaid on it with Angry Birds to make it more cute." As for Copley's character in the clip, the thing that stuck out most to me was his voice. It's so peculiar, grating, nasally, and probably in the way that Lee had intended. The way I described it to our own Alec Kubas-Meyer is that if the villain's voice had a face, I'd punch right it in the nose. Protosevich has been with the project the longest. After writing the 2007 adaptation of I Am Legend, Will Smith contacted him to do a remake of Oldboy with Steven Spielberg attached to direct. The project fell through, but after starting some work on it, Protosevich was hooked. "I'd worked out a 30-page treatment and had the movie clear in my head," he said. "The producer still wanted to go forward and I'm like, 'I'm in!' This one really meant something to me." Even after Lee became involved, Protosevich's screenplay has remained mostly intact. (During the panel, he noted that Lee respects writers.) He stressed that both he and Lee have nothing but respect for the original film, and they likened the remake process to doing a cover song. "I like Neil Young's 'Like a Hurricane,' but Roxy Music does this awesome cover of it," Protosevich said. "And so, you're honoring the original, but you're trying to make it your own as much as possible." There may be a similar sense of owning the material when it comes to the script itself. This is Imperioli's sixth film with Lee, though his last role with him was in 1999's Summer of Sam. He noted that Lee likes to let his actors improvise and revise their lines as part of the rehearsal process, allowing them to make the characters a bit more their own. "People are surprised when they hear that because they think he runs a very tight ship, which he does," he said, "but you can be as creative as you want." Part of this creativity extended to the name of Klementieff's character. After being cast in the role, Klementieff texted Lee from Paris trying to figure out just the right name. She went through an online dictionary of Asian names, picking some of her favorites letter by letter, texting suggestions to Lee. "I sent them to Spike and he was like 'Keep them going,'" she said. "So I sent B [names], then C [names]. I'm professional, I'm very motivated, I'm going to do all of the alphabet!" An hour and the alphabet later, Lee asked, "How do you say 'happiness' [in Korean]?" And she became Haeng-Bok. "In the original drafts of the script she was just referred to as 'The Asian Woman,'" Protosevich laughed. The obvious question with the Oldboy remake (other than the implied "why" applicable to most remakes) is if this film will get as dark and as the original. Prostosevich stressed that the film doesn't wimp out. When he first got involved with the remake, Spielberg told him, "My son will kill me if we don't make this movie as intense as the original." There have been some stories circulating around the web that the ending of the remake is even darker than the Park Chan-wook film, though that remains to be seen. It doesn't seem as if they'll shy away from violence. The infamous hallway tracking shot may be in the film -- my hope is that they turn the tracking shot into the signature Spike Lee dolly shot, which would be audaciously nutty if paired with excessive violence. The clip they showed the audience at the NYCC panel featured Joe Doucett smashing a few faces in with a hammer. He then tortures Samuel L. Jackson's character. Strapped down, Joe draws a dotted line along the man's neck, cutting out little chucks of skin. He tells his captive that he'll remove enough flesh to rip his head off with his bare hands. While there's a grimness and ugliness to Oldboy, Imperioli takes a philosophical approach to the material, even though he admits he still hasn't seen the original. ("I'd rather go into it just completely open -- no preconceptions.") "To me it's about karma," Imperioli explained. "This guy [Joe] was not a good guy -- he was kind of an asshole. Does the crime deserve that kind of punishment? I don't know, but I think you realize that you set certain things in motion through your actions in the world."
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Writer Mark Protosevich and co-stars Michael Imperioli & Pom Klementieff bring the hammer down
Spike Lee's upcoming remake of Oldboy has drawn many strong opinions from our staff. While it's one of our most anticipated films of the holiday season, it's also a movie that makes us question how a remake can negatively aff...


NYCC 2013: Cosplay Photos

Some of the great costumes of the con
Oct 14
// Hubert Vigilla
Another New York Comic Con means a whole lot of great cosplay. In my days at the con, I was able to snap a fair amount of pics, the best of which I'm sharing here. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to the convention on S...

Flixist's NYCC 2013 Wrap-Up: Saturday, October 12

Also, Hubert talks about the Oldboy remake
Oct 13
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
So, Matt, Hubert, and I are at this year's New York Comic-Con. We were planning on telling you earlier, but the internet at the Javitz Center is terrible at best, so it didn't happen. But we're going to be there again today,...

At the Superman 75th Anniversary panel most of the discussion was on the legend of Superman and the comic book itself, but we got to check out two things from the upcoming Blu-ray/DVD release of Man of Steel, which lands on N...

Review: Zero Charisma

Oct 11 // Geoff Henao
[embed]215045:39792:0[/embed] Zero CharismaDirectors: Katie Graham and Andrew MatthewsRating: N/ARelease Date: October 11, 2013 (VOD/iTunes, New York) Scott (Sam Eidson) is a late 20-something living with his grandmother while hosting a weekly tabletop RPG with his friends as the sometimes overbearing Game Master. When an opening comes up in the three-year-long game and with no interest from any of Scott's other "friends," he desperately recruits Miles (Garrett Graham). However, when his friends begin to gravitate towards the much cooler, hipper Miles, a psuedo-rivalry is started between the two. Zero Charisma hones in on these two drastically different types of nerds, as Flixist Editor-in-Chief and I defined as the nerds and "the nerds."There's Scott, who is sometimes narcissistic, constantly demeaning towards his friends, and a generally unlikable guy. Then there's Miles, who's cool, calm, and collected, yet prone to moments of being "holier than thou" with his undercover nerdiness.  The funny thing about Zero Charisma is that these characters are people I've both known and seen in my life. Their portrayals are extremely accurate, right down to the wardrobe choices of Scott and Miles. They contrast between Scott's metal-inspired vests and shirts and Miles' cardigans and band shirts. But beyond their physical appearances, their performances were remarkable. You can't help but laugh when Scott goes into a hissy fit, yet immediately feel terrible about it right after. It's this sincerity that helped make Zero Charisma so good. Scott is unlikeable character from beginning to end, but you can empathize with him. Again, this might be due in part because I'm accustomed to people like him, but you understand that his personality isn't rooted in bad thoughts but in a troubled past where he found an escape in tabletop gaming. Once that is taken away from him, you feel for him. He's still rotten and acts outrageously, but at least you can understand why. Zero Charisma is a funny film that has just as much heart as it does laughs. Honestly, I wasn't really expecting a heartfelt, feel-good film going in, but I'm glad that it ultimately was an entertaining film. Considering the process the filmmakers went through to create the film, it's great that Zero Charisma was an ultimately good film. Alec Kubas-Meyer: I wrote about Zero Charisma before it was finished, back when it was running a second IndieGoGo campaign hoping to raise finishing funds to get it to South by Southwest. I asked the filmmakers some questions and did something both because I found it interesting and because I hoped it would help out. But somewhere in the back of my mind was a nagging fear that the final product wouldn't have been worth my time or my readers' money. When the first reviews came out of SXSW, I breathed a sigh of relief, because I didn't want . I was excited for the film to come to NewYork, so I could see for myself what I had recommended to people.  Fortunately, the film had its New York premiere at Comic-Con. I honestly can't think of a more perfect place to play it. The press was corralled together in two rows while the regular moviegoers were scattered throughout the audience. I only mention this because it was interesting to see what different groups laughed at. Sometimes the critics would laugh hysterically while the rest of the room was relatively quiet. But there was constant laughter, not because it was bad (like the subject of the Best Worst Movie, Troll 2, which was the directors' previous project), but because it was genuinely funny. I know nothing about Dungeons and Dragons; table top RPGs have never particularly appealed to me even as several of my friends have joined a weekly game and told me of their exploits on the high seas. It's one of those areas where most of the people in that room probably grasped some of the subtleties a lot more than I did, but it didn't make a difference in the end. This isn't really a story about the game, even if that is the apparent focal point. It's a story about the people who play the game, and what it can make them do, and what it means to play games. It's a strange film, in part because its main character never really grows up. He's an aging man, but he acts like a teenage brat, and that's true for almost the entire movie. The ending gives him the slightest bit of redemption, but for the most part it's an unending downward spiral. Scott does something stupid, then something stupider, then something stupider, and Zero Charisma follows him down that rabbit hole. But that's how people are sometimes, and the interplay between him and the others was consistently fascinating, even if it hurt me to watch some of the more awkward scenes. But even then, I laughed and laughed and laughed. The film is a celebration of nerd culture that will appeal to people who aren't nerds. That's one hell of an accomplishment. 81 - Great
Zero Charisma Review photo
+9 Hilarity
There are nerds, and then there are nerds. Nerds may like to flash a retro gaming shirt or spout Star Wars trivia, whereas nerds tend to obsess over their interests and fascinations. It's cool to be proud and comfortable...

Interview: Barry Levinson

Nov 02 // Hubert Vigilla
[Editor's note: I omitted or reworded some questions and responses in order to avoid spoilers.] So did you decide to do to this project because of its ecological information or because you just wanted to do something that scared the living shit out of people? No, it didn't start out-- because I wouldn't know how to approach a frightening, scary movie like, "I gotta think of an idea." What happened is I was up in Baltimore-- Well, that'll scare anybody. I was approached about doing a documentary about the Chesapeake Bay because it's 40% dead and it has all those ecological issues. And so I gathered information and went, "Ah, this is really frightening." And I thought, I don't know if a documentary is the way to go. But I began to think about it and I said, "Well, I do tell stories -- why don't I take all the information and then weave it into a story so it could become more credible?" And that information that floats out there seems credible and then [becomes] frightening. So it began to evolve that way. Did you have one science guy that really tipped you to these creatures? We gathered a lot of stuff and then Mike [Wallach], who wrote the screenplay, came upon the fact that the isopods are a parasite that move from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and they've been changing. When we started to look into it, we went, "Holy god!" It was truly frightening, and we thought this was a nice element to bring into [the film]. It's the next step into it. You start playing with what the bay is -- it's like a stew of disaster -- and you bring [the isopods] into it, you can play with it. So you have 85% factual information. Doesn't matter if you want to pay attention to that or not, it just adds a credibility to the piece. So that's how it evolved. You're the second high-profile filmmaker I've spoken to this month who's decided to do a found footage film, the first being Rob Burnett who did We Made This Movie. Thing is, he decided to use a RED camera and gunk it up in post. I understand you decided to actually use consumer cameras. In retrospect, good idea or not? No, I think it was the best thing to do because it is 100%-- We did a test by taking a high-end camera and degrading it. To me it looks like a high-end camera that's degraded. To my eye, it didn't look real. So we took about 100-some cameras and we just kept testing them and projecting them and seeing what they do. And then out of that we picked like 20-some that seemed like, "All right, we'll use this. We'll use the Sony for underwater things, you know, with the kids, and they can go under and whatever. We'll use this. We'll use the iPhone." We just picked and choosed so we had this visual palette. And that to me became as real as you could make it because it is real. Was there any particular camera that you got out into the field and discovered, "Uh-oh"? And how did you work around that? Well, the "uh-oh's" came from the fact that if you take an iPhone and you're going to give it to someone to shoot something, you had no video playback. Right? You can't see it at the time. So you'd send a girl into the other room and tell her what to do and how to do the thing -- and you'd have to get in the other because you'd be in the shot -- and then afterwards you come back and you look at it. "That's good. Next time, can you do it like this. Da-da dadada!" And then a couple times with some of the actors, you go to look at it and there's no playback because they didn't hit the record button. [laughs] [laughs] That's why they're actors and not technicians. And the other thing is, if you went to a RED camera or one of those things, there's a difference between that camera and the consumer camera you hold in your hand. You can't hold the RED camera the same way. It's subtle, you know, and maybe some people [don't notice], but to me it didn't look real enough. When you see somebody grab a camera from one person to another, exchanging the hand, you cannot do it with a bigger camera. So that's what we went with, and you had to hold your breath initially because everyone was nervous about that idea. You have to be very careful. You gotta take that camera, you gotta download the chip, because you could lose all this information. As far as the cast, you went with unknowns. What did you look for when you were casting? I was looking for people that you could just believe as being as real as they can be. It's like, if you put Matt Damon in a role, then the whole movie goes out the window. He can be a great actor, but it tweaks the credibility. So you try to put together this group of people that seemed like, "Oh, we found them." It's like when we talk about the movie, I guess it falls into the found-footage genre, but it never occurred to me about this found-footage genre. I was thinking, "If a catastrophic event happened to a town, and there was no media, how would we know what happened?" And because of all this, now we'll get an intimate look into a town and its people that we never would have had in the history of mankind. All this stuff gives an intimacy that never existed before. So Pompeii. We say, "Oh, Pompeii," but what was happening to two people in the street? What were they talking about? So that's what I was thinking about. I mean, it sounds stupid and naïve, but I wasn't thinking "found footage"; I was thinking "How do you document it?" Sort of like [it was] anthropological or archaeological. How do you gather this to see what the people were talking about, because they don't know what's going on. The structure kind of reminded me of citizen journalism with the girl saying, "This is what I saw. This is what I was able to gather." Is this a continuation of how you looked at the way journalism tells stories in Wag the Dog or PoliWood or Man of the Year, even? I wasn't really thinking of it. I was thinking of... If you had some intern with a little thing who got most of the stuff incorrect and was caught up emotionally in it, because... I was fascinated by the fact that in the beginning -- you know, because I worked in news in the beginning -- and so you have to look at news as a professional and not get caught up in [what you're covering]. And she gets caught up in the emotional aspects of it, because that's where you are in the beginning. I thought, I'm just looking for the human behavior of it all. So the irony is that she stopped filming! She got so scared she couldn't even film anymore. I just liked the idea: she didn't quite understand what was going on, and she couldn't make that step. So I was looking at the human dilemmas of it. Following up on that, what I think made the film work better than a lot of other found-footage films was the sort of overarching narration that she provided. So is that a conscious decision to help tie it all together? Yeah, yeah. I though that I needed some connection. I'm a bad student of film in terms of "If I can apply this to that, and if I can do this to that, and so and so did this, and blah, bluh, blah." I don't know how to utilize it, but the one little thing that hovered in my head was, of all things, and we actually used the music for a moment, Our Town. Because in Our Town, The Narrator-- not The Narrator, The Stage Manager. He says, "That's young So-and-So," you know? "He died in World War One. I remember the first time..." He died in World War One? Now I'm going to watch the whole show, and he died in World War One! And there he is! He's in it. So if you watch the movie, in its own little subtlety, they're playing Our Town. [The Stage Manager] says, "All right, that's enough of that. People don't want to hear that music. [Let's have] something more upbeat." Our narrator [in The Bay] says, "That's so-and-so couple. They died at 2:20." You go, "What?" So that would be my only reference. I was using Our Town in that way. In the process of making the film or in the writing of the script, did you know how much you were ratcheting up the horror of it? It has this Exorcist-like effect. You go in not knowing what you're going to get and then suddenly it gets worse and worse and worse. Did you go, "Let's make it even worse! Let's torture them even more!" [laughs] What we did is we went along to find a few things and say, "Is it possible that we can do this?" It's part of the fun of it. You're shooting fast and loose and whatever, but there was an added thing, for instance. We had some puppetry [-- the guy who made it was terrific --] and there's a thing where [a woman's] washing her face. And I said, "Wouldn't it be interesting if we have a guy who's lying there, you think he's dead on the other side and they go around." He had this eyeball or whatever. I said, "Could the eye just move just a little. It scares the shit out of her, or whatever." [laughs] [laughs] He says, "Yeah, we'll try that, all right!" So we had a guy there and they put this head on him, and the eyeball just moved the slightest amount. And we went, "Oh, that's good, let's try that!" There was a couple times we were saying maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. Because of all the found-footage films that started coming out, they started almost repeating each other. And one thing that you did that I love is that instead of having one camera that was found and showing that story, you took it from several different cameras and pieced it together. I think that's what really makes this film stand out. Was it written that way? No, it was designed that way. As you were saying, there were all these different stories and this collection of all these cameras, so some things evolved out. For instance, the iPhone girl. Originally she was supposed to say [to her friend], "Look! I don't know what this is." And that was the end of it. But I sent her in the room and gave her some backstory. I said, "Just talk like you've got your friend [on the other end]. Just talk." And she talked, and I probably kept 30 seconds of it. And I said, "She's so great she's got a video camera on an iPhone, why don't I send her to the hospital, because that's where she's going to go anyway?" Now I've got another camera [when] she's out at the hospital. Look what's going on here. It allowed me to get-- So we built up her role as we went along. The funny thing is I said to her one day, "I'd like to use you on another scene." And she said, "Well..." "So you're not that interested?" She says, "No, I'd like to, but I'm going to need a note from school." [laughs] [laughs] That girl also brought a lot of human emotion into it when she's talking to her friend. "There's nothing else to really say, but I don't want to be by myself." I thought that scene was great because it brings that meaningful emotion rather than just people who are running scared. That was part of the thing. Found footage certainly has its labeling devices, but when you went past it, you find the strange moments of behavior that are completely outside of the box. No one had to be there to video her -- she was there with a camera talking. The intimacy of it. She doesn't really understand what's really going on, and she just desperately wants to hold on to somebody. And that was the other thing: everyone watching it knows what's going on, and no one else does. And no one really does until the reporter pieces it all together. Yeah. While not Baltimore you're at least going back to Maryland, but ironically you shot in South Carolina. If you had the opportunity, would you have shot in-state? And what kept you from doing that? Um, money. [laughs] Because [Maryland] didn't have the tax incentives and South Carolina did. As it turned out, South Carolina was actually the perfect spot because this town that we shot in was so accessible that rather than getting in a car and driving to the location, we would literally walk over over here and walk over there, we'll go around the corner here. And we were able to move around so fast. The logistics of it were incredibly simple. And we found-- One of the policemen told us, "Well, you know, there's this quarry that's got this water, and it's pretty clear. You can see under it." Because we were wondering how we were going to do this underwater stuff, and that quarry turned out to be fantastic, and, you know, it was five minutes away. We pull up there, and we're able to jump into the water and do some of those things that otherwise, if you got into the Chesapeake, you can't see that far. You have to see a little bit more. What movies scared you? In my lifetime? Yeah. Could be a political film, but, [you know]. I think the movie that scared me the most when I first saw it was The Thing -- the original Thing. [Editor's note: This is the 1951 Howard Hawks film The Thing from Another World.] Oh, the original Thing. The original Thing, when they start to open the door and the hand came out. I remember as a kid going, "WHOA MY G--!" That just scared me to death. That was the first one. And the other thing, which was not a scary scene, but it was a very high-tension scene -- and I remember seeing it as a kid on TV because I didn't see it in the movie theater -- was the original Frankenstein when he comes upon the little girl. And I remember the kid. [Editor's note: At this point, one of the other journalists at the table said almost inaudibly "That's Bride of Frankenstein."] A they're there, [and I'm going], "Oh my God, he's going to kill her. And he's playing, and whatever." And I thought that was so fascinating, that the monster's just going, "Huur-uuhurm," you see this other moment of [the monster], and then obviously then he ends up killing her, but you don't quite see it. And I remember as a kid thinking, "That's really great!" Because it's not just the shock-moment of it, it's like, [wondering] what's going to happen. And I thought that was fantastic. For The Bay, you got lucky with the logistics, but it must have been a lot of planning because of all the different cameras you used before you started shooting. How long did that part of the process take? It took a while, because as I was saying, we went through like a hundred cameras. You know, we kept testing them, we would look at them, we would go back into the screening room, we'd look at this, we'd compare this camera to that camera. And so it was a whole thing. What do we do, what's going to work? The Google camera -- the Google phone -- it's got a colder temperature, and this one's got this, and you're just whittling it down to those choices. And also, you're trying to figure out what the reliability is going to be for some of these cameras. You know, didn't always hold up. So when you were shooting, were you shooting multiple cameras during the course of the day? Yeah, oh yeah. Sometimes, in scenes like the pool party with all those kids, it was probably like seven cameras in there. I gave it to the kids! Said, "Here, play with the thing!" So you'll see the shots where [the camera] goes underwater and coming up, and it's all bizarre stuff. And what you have to do as a director... Obviously a director's got to have control, but you also have to cede a certain amount of control to see what's gonna happen. So you don't know what the hell some of that stuff is, and you can't examine every one of those cameras. You have to take it back and hope that you have something there because you just don't have the time to go through every camera shot. Some of it is-- You don't know. And, I have to tell you: when I was shooting that pool party -- these were all extras from South Carolina, and the kids are screaming of whatever -- they were so good that I would just sit back and watch them. It's weird because you don't have the camera where you're like, "Oh, okay, good take." Literally, you're watching all this stuff going on and you're hoping that the people you gave cameras to are actually catching what's going on, because we can't cover it. We'd be in the way. So, you've got these cameras and you see those performances, it seems about as real as I could imagine it'd be. And sometimes we'd slip Josh [Nussbaum], our cinematographer. I'd slip him in [a scene] assuming I wouldn't get this and this, and then he would have to be equally as much of an amateur as them, otherwise that camera's going to look better than the others. So you have to deal with that, so sometimes you've got a finger on the lens just to mess things up a bit. But that was the fun, [playing] with the cameras. Oh sure. We would lose a few things, and some cameras would jam and break, and as I said, sometimes it never shot -- nothing. Or drop in the water? Well, in the water we had these waterproof things, but things would happen. You have to be prepared that you're going to lose [footage] and something's going to go wrong because you're playing with a degree of the unknown. Do you think you could affect change with this movie? It really emotionally affects you. Well that's great. That's what I would hope. It's one of the dilemmas of doing this kind of movie where studios want movies to be [one genre]. "Well it's a horror film." And you go, "But it's not a pure horror film." And how do you define [genre] and whatever, and you go, "Look, it's a sci-fi/thriller/horror whatever." It is what it is. I mean, you can't set out to be so defined as a genre for a selling tool. Can it affect anything? I don't know; I never know. Sometimes all I know is that the Chesapeake Bay is 40% dead, and you can fix it, but you don't. And there's a million reasons why it's not taken care of. Somebody said, "Well, you know, is that going to upset the recreation department and all that stuff?" I don't know, but at some point you either don't say anything until it just tips over and it's all dead or maybe somebody says something and they begin to do improvements. First obligation, you gotta get people to see it, enjoy it, talk about it. So the takeaway here is to drink more bottled water? [laughs] You're in the pocket of big Brita! You're helping Coca-Cola and the plastics manufacturers! Exposed! [laughs] I had a question about the logo at the end of the film. It's very reminiscent of the old 70s B-movies. Was that intentional of was it just a cool design? Well you know what happened was I think it was probably when we were going to show it one day. And Aaron [Yanes], my editor, and one of the other guys, David [Editor's note: I'm assuming it's David Andalman, who was assistant editor on the film], I think they were just screwing around on Final Cut just trying things. I said, "Well that looks kinda nice." Slightly kind of cheesy good, right? Something about it. I think that's where it came from. So I don't think we even went to a title house. I think between the two of them they ended up with it, which is one of the fun things about this radical shift that's taking place: there's so many things you can play with, and it's eventually going to change storytelling. We are looking at probably the greatest revolution in the history of film. It's happening now. Classical forms have changed, the distribution patterns are going to be completely rearranged because you no longer have to carry all the cans [recording inaudible] in order to see it, you know. The internet's going to be carrying all this information; you can see movies when you want to see movies, how you want to see movies -- big screens, small screens. It'll be an interesting time to see where it goes and how this all evolves. But think about in the past: there were people who had stories but can't get those big cameras. So now, you take one of these and you can tell it in any way. Can you tell it better? Whatever. It's like pen and ink came along and someone says, "No, I'm sticking with carving into rock. I'm not changing." Do you have one of those creatures, a plastic version? I do, they gave me one of those. And my wife keeps hiding it from me. [laughs] They are absolutely frightening. Well you know the funny thing is the first time I showed the movie, I said [to a couple of friends], "You know, the isopod is real." And they said, "Really?" And I said, "No, no, they're real. We didn't make them up" And they went, "Holy shit!" And then I thought, you know something, I could try to push this into the movie a little bit more. So that's where we put all those isopod images that come up, like the one that's two-and-a-half feet long. Just pushed it. Because initially we can't wrap our head around the fact that these things are out in the water, and [grow] from a tiny parasite. Now, in the movie there's a scene where a character's holding the tweezers, and he says, "Now this here is sometimes referred to as 'sea lice.'" That's not a special effect. That was [real] sea lice. We just pulled a fish out of South Carolina; we just pulled some fish out there and they had the sea lice on them, which is the early stages of the isopod. So that scene where he's holding [the thing up in tweezers] -- that's for real. We didn't have to CGI that. They're out there. Sea lice. So did you license [sea lice] already to a toy company? [laughs] [laughs] This guy's always thinking. Thinking ahead. [laughs] Now the one that crawls out of the fish is one that we had to CGI. That one we had to CGI. But that one in the tweezer [shot], that's real. The CGI is nicely matched to the video. Was it hard to get all the pieces to fit like that? Yeah it was. As I said to the CGI guys, a lot of movies don't look that real to begin with, so it's okay, and we just accept it. But here, it looks like it's 100% real so if these CGI things aren't spot on, we're dead. So we had to keep going back and playing and playing and playing so we can buy it. Did the fact you were should degraded video help? It did, it did. It gave us a little bit of tweaking afterwards if we just beat it up little bit. It would help. You know, this actually fits your style of storytelling. I think you pioneered a form of storytelling on Homicide: Life on the Street, a cop show we'd never seen done in that style. It's part of your style, essentially. I never sit down to figure it all out, but it probably has its things to it. The interesting thing about this form is that you know it's a movie and inside it we create our reality, and you cannot screw with the reality unless you want to knock it out. So for instance, like when the police go to the house and they go in, we can't go in [with them]. Because who's in there videoing this thing? There's nobody going to be taking video. All we can do is enhance the audio, and you hear the screaming and whatever, but you can't go it. It creates a certain frustration and anxiety. But if we went in, I think then we'd break the credibility. So what do you do after a movie like this? What's next? What's next is I'm in rehearsals for Diner: The Musical. Sheryl Crow wrote the music and we open in April. It's on Broadway. That's been going on for a long time, but that's actually in rehearsals right now.
The veteran director talks about an archaeological approach to found-footage movies
Barry Levinson's career spans four decades, with acclaimed films like Rain Man, The Natural, Wag the Dog, Good Morning, Vietnam, and Diner under his belt, not to mention the show Homicide: Life on the Streets. It was a bit pe...

Interview with Silent Hill's writer/director and producer

Oct 25 // Sean Walsh
So, Michael, do you enjoy scaring people?  MJB: ‘Cause as a young man I liked scary movies,. And it’s what sticks with you. I remember…when video first came in, VHS cassettes, my dad hired a video machine from his company and we ended up renting some scary movies…and that’s sort of what started me off. I remember cutting school when I was a teenager and just getting big piles of video cassettes with my friends and spending all day watching scary movies. I got caught by my teacher, my head teacher once, and I had to go to his office, and he said to me, ‘What possible use to you is wasting your time with these movies?’ And I remember years later sitting in Wes Craven’s office, telling him the story. I’d cut school to watch The Hills Have Eyes, as a hookie video, and we were talking about doing the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, way back when, …and he was like, ‘Yeah, that was pretty useful.’  What movie was it your father was showing you, and how old were you?  MJB: I was young. The movie I wanted to see more than anything was Alien, because I was completely obsessed with Alien and I was too young to watch it. The movie we ended up getting out was The Exorcist.  You were how old?   MJB: Too young. Too young. It was one of those ones, where you just put it in, and you sat there watching it…kind of going, ‘…Woah.’   SH: I saw it in London and I was watching in the theater, and something happened in the balcony, and everybody, ‘Somebody has been thrown out from the balcony,’ There was just this, ‘Oh my God,’ so it was like very scary inside during the shoot…it’s a movie that I cannot see, and I don’t know why. It’s because maybe of this experience in the theater that something happened and somebody throwing themselves from the balcony and I say, maybe there is something there.  Is there a secret to scaring people? Is there certain things that really scare them more than others?  MJB: It depends what audience you’re going for, because, I think if you stop and think about horror, what horrifies you changes as your age changes as well, as your cultural values change. As a kid, I was really obsessed with Cronenberg’s stuff, because it’s all body horror, it’s how you are changing. Werewolf movies, it’s about how things change from one thing to another. I think it’s a mainstay of teen horror. Then as you get a little bit older, property threats, and threats to family…The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is horror to some people, it’s a thriller to others. It depends. You look at Paranormal Activity, a sort of home invasion concept in a way, it’s a domestic environment, nothing much happens, and yet you are threatened, and that’s, that’s horror. So I think there’s no key across the board, because horror is too big a genre, y’know, it’s not like sci-fi, it’s actually a framework in which you tell stories. What’s horror to some people isn’t horror to others. You’re not horrified by my movie, it’s not horror to you. So I think it really is about what it is you’re trying to do. With Silent Hill, that horror is a very specific kind of horror. It’s a horror of the mind to a certain extent. It’s body horror, so it fits into that Clive Barker/Cronenberg vibe of the metamorphosis and corruption of flesh. That’s one kind of horror. Now to some people, that’s kind of just silly monster horror, to others it’s very frightening because it speaks to what they are and how they feel about themselves. So I think to try and find what is the key to horror is too hard to get into in this specific environment but…well, there are things to not knowing what’s around the corner. Horror’s about not knowing.    I was curious, given your early collaboration with Andy Serkis, I mean you could so see Andy fitting in, prosthetic-wise, into any of those creatures. Was it a discussion you had?    MJB: No, Andy’s off doing Peter Jackson’s stuff all the time so he’s, getting his availability is the last thing in the world, BUT that physicality that you want, the nature, for the performance to come through the costume, is very, very hard to find. I mean, Roberto, who plays Pyramid Head in this, he’s a dancer, he’s a movement guy, and he, he’s like Andy Serkis. I mean, Andy’s an actor, I mean he can act, a fantastic actor, you put him on screen and it’s him, he’s brilliant. Roberto’s all about movement and he, across the board, he dealt with the nurse movements for us, and the other monster movements. You’d just come up to him and say, ‘Show this person how to move,’ and he would say, ‘Okay, now I’m gonna be the brain monster guy, this is how you should move.’ Now, he’s a big, built guy, so Roberto couldn’t do it, but he would show that performance and give the creature a character. I think that’s hugely important…and it’s really an underappreciated art, creature performance.  They definitely translate incredibly well from the video game. Anybody who’s a fan will watch this and see Pyramid Head and completely appreciate what you guys are doing.  MJB: I hope so, I hope so. It’s the weight, y’know, because he’s carrying this…it’s a big sword.    It’s huge.  MJB: It’s not a real metal sword, you can move it around, but he plays that weight, and he plays the pain, and I remember, he’s on the set, it was maybe the first couple days we were working with Roberto, and we’d done the first movie five years ago, and I wasn’t involved and that was Sammy, Sammy was there, and I saw Sammy scuttling onto the set, and saying to him, ‘More pain, more pain!’ Seriously, and just to play that and suddenly it’s like he remembered what it was and he just dropped and he played the pain of being that creature again. It’s fun.   Adelaide is such a wonderful discovery, and I know the story about how you bumped into her at Sundance, but now we see her on the screen… SH: You know, when I met her, I felt the same physical resemblance with the character of the video game. I was looking to the cover of the…he was casting in LA, and then I went to Sundance because there were lots of agents I cannot meet in LA…and I see this lady and I said, ‘Wow, she looks like the cover.’ …And obviously, I went to see her and I said, ‘Can I show you this picture? Are you coming to LA? Would you go to see my director to be cast to be in the movie?’ And she told me, ‘Yeah, yeah, sure, sure,’ not believing anything I was saying. MJB: ‘Hey, I’m a film producer.’ SH: But you know, what is important is that she was in a Japanese movie, she was Australian like Radha Mitchell, and she knew the world of Japan, because the video game comes from Japan, and she was speaking French and she lived in France, and I said, ‘There is three areas that we are hitting together,’ plus they look alike, so I said, ‘You should come.’ And she came. What about Kit? MJB: Oh well, Kit, we spent a lot of time looks for guys. Kit was one of the very first lads that came in to meet me in London, and from that first day, I said, ‘It’s gonna be Kit.’ Was that before Game of Thrones? MJB: He’d done Game of Thrones, but it hadn’t been broadcast, so he still, his only real credit was what was on the stage in London. Game of Thrones, ‘Hey I’m looking forward to that, how’s it gonna be?’ ‘I think it’s gonna be fine.’ Quite an understatement. But he…you can tell really, really quickly when an actor walks into a room, you do the full audition, you give them the full time, but I can tell in ten seconds if it’s, if this is the person I’m gonna warm to, like, they’re gonna have the talent to do what I want them to do and Kit had all of those things so I, for me it was very easy, it was just, he stared forefront of my mind through all the other fifty-odd other actors we finally met and it was always Kit. Partly, he’s a very handsome young man, as an actor he’s got real subtlety and flexibility, and the nature of the character that he plays, although it’s Vincent, who is a character from the third game, it’s really a very, very faint similarity between the two of them. I took this Vincent character and did something totally different with him, something some of the fans will obviously be a bit annoyed about, but I needed to get a guy who we liked, this notion of ‘love interest’ has to be played. It doesn’t ever go where you think it’s going to go, but that’s what you’ve got to think the job of his character is to be, and it becomes something different. So, yeah, with Kit, he’s a talented young guy, and clearly he’s a big name now, certainly when you’re walking through Comic-Con with him. When you met Adelaide, was it the same ten-second reaction you had with Kit? MJB: Yeah, Sammy had called me and said, ‘Come and meet this girl,’ and again…the physical similarity to me didn’t matter that much, I don’t think the idea of casting based on pixels is necessarily relevant. You’ve got to cast the person who does the job. …With Addie, what was interesting is that she is, she seems so vulnerable, y’know, she’s sort of willowy and slim, has this wonderful radiant skin, and it seems innocent, but you want somebody who’s got strength. This is not a character who is kind of reactive to horror, she plunges deliberately into this world to save her dad. The story of this movie is kind of completely unconnected reasons to the first movie, the first movie is parents looking for their kid, this is kid looking for parent. And I needed a girl who could do that and plausibly feel like she was in danger and was vulnerable, but at the same time we understood that her strength was there enough for her to do what was needed, and of course then, she has to be Dark Alessa as well. So there’s the other side of the character that is this kind of dark version of herself, who she also plays, so she plays against herself in one scene. So you needed to find somebody that could have that sort of…a little bit of inner darkness can be pulled out if need be, and Addie seemed to do all those things. There’s more of Michael and Sammy’s insights into the film available in the full interview, available for your listening and downloading pleasure here!
Get inside the heads of Michael J. Bassett and Samuel Hadida
A couple weeks ago, at New York Comic-Con, I was lucky enough to sit down with four very important players from Silent Hill: Revelation 3D at two different roundtable interviews at the super-swanky Trump SoHo. The first in...


NYCC: Evil Dead director Fede Alvarez talks changes

Oct 18
// Matthew Razak
Along with sitting down with Bruce Campbell at NYCC I also got the chance to talk with the director of the upcoming Evil Dead remake, Fede Alvarez. This is the guy who convince Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell that he...

NYCC: An interview with Bruce Campbell

Oct 16 // Matthew Razak
Were you starting to doubt you'd ever get to revisit this material again? A little bit. We're getting older and the idea is getting older. Sam (Raimi) is making big movies now and he may not always be able to take the time to do an Evil Dead movie. We're glad that Sam ran into Fede (Alvarez) and what they were working on originally got bogged down. Turns out Fede was a big Evil Dead fan and pitched a couple ideas to Sam that were very interesting. Then myself and Rob Tapert started to pay attention, and he pitched a full story and we liked that, and then he pitched a script and we liked that. We kept liking everything that was happening, and here we are today. How important was it for you to be one of the producers and how hands-on were you? Well I was a producer of the first one and so I was a producer on all three of them, so it was just natural that we would all be back again. We really enjoyed it. You have a lot of boring conference calls when you make movies most times, but the three of us agreed it was just really fun to be working together again. We've always had a really good association... and now Fede is the new sucker. You've said that this one is not funny like the others are. Nope. Can you compare... It's more like the first one. The first one was only funny because it was melodramatic dialog delivered by bad actors. You're not a bad actor. Uhhhh... yea. I'm less worse now. I have more experience now. But, you know, that had its own feel. You have to make a decision: how scary are we? Are we real scary? Are we funny scary? Are we just torture porn? Which, thankfully there's not a frame of torture porn in this movie. I feel that aside from just being offensive -- it's not scary -- that's bad film making. I hope we're coming out the ass end of torture porn and that it will never return. What made you think the film needed to be remade in the first place? We didn't. It sort of grew on us like a wort. Plus, when you see the chances of making a sequel receding every year like our hairlines you think maybe there's a better way. Let's get some young punks here and torment a whole new group. We'll use our experience from making three of them to help guide them to a new balls out movie that will torment people for the rest of their lives. And we think he did it. That's the funny thing.  You're not worried that the shift away from the more comedic angle will... No, because the first one wasn't at all. The first one was not designed at all to be really funny. Just as filmmakers we wanted to evolve so on the second one one of the writers named Scott Spiegel was just the funniest man alive. He and Sam would sit in a room writing Evil Dead 2 and just start cackling. They'd sit down the hallway from our old dentist's office and just start laughing. We'd ask if they were writing a horror film or a comedy and they'd say, "We don't know!" It's just what it became, but Fede pitched a straight version and that's what we made. I think it's great. The movie is very adult. There's nothing childish or immature or MTV-ish about its style. So what happens is when the shit hits the fan you start taking it much more seriously because the whole movie is. It's like "When Interventions Go Bad." That should be the tagline for this movie.  That's the premise. Fede came up with this unique premise of why they are at the cabin in the first place and we thought that was pretty organic. This chick is trying to shake a little habit and go back to the family cabin where she can scream and let it out for a couple of bad days. Problem is by the time things get too far along they've been thinking she's only in withdraw. It's a bit worse than that, you know. So what would you say the tone is? Is it a slow creeper? A jumper? It's not racing along at the beginning, it's a pretty straight opening. You know, it's a strong retelling of them visiting this old cabin and settling in while this girl solves her problems. Then when the dead is released it just gets relentless. You're going to wish you were watching the earlier part of the movie. How many monsters are we looking at? Well there's five kid so potentially five monsters. Where do you feel like this will fall in the pantheon of horror films? I hope that I am invited for the next 30 years to attend double bills at the Alamo Drafthouse. Show the first Evil Dead first then this one second at midnight for decades. I think they're great companion pieces. They're just two different versions of this creepy story.  Fede was very respectful to the original. There's a lot you'll get. You'll be putting on a nice comfortable leather shoe here. It's going to feel real familiar.  Are there Easter eggs? No because the tone wouldn't fit. There's no jokey cameo from me as the ice cream guy going, "Here's your two dollars back. You kids be careful at that cabin." That's not the movie. If it was Army of Darkness maybe -- that kind of tone. No, this is a throwback. This movie scared the hell out of us the first time we saw it.  As producer what sort of involvement did you have day to day? Well, when we were casting I felt as an actor I was a pretty good judge of actors. I also got to ask the question of how are you with special effects make up. Can you work in this stuff for extensive amounts of time. It's a serious question that boils down to how tough they are. Jane Levy is a tough little chick. I hope she becomes the new Ash. I hope she gets considered with the same respect and admiration that that idiot Ash does. People enjoy that character and we didn't want to put some unnatural burden on some new actor saying, "I'm the new Ash." No you're not. We didn't want to put him in that position. Just tell a new story. It's another bad night with a creepy book that they should have left alone.  Have you seen Cabin in the Woods? I have not. I've heard there are references. It's all good. So how violent is the movie? How violent? Yes. I know you said torture porn is crap so... It's fucking violent. This is a really fucking violent movie (ed. Judging from the trailer he is not lying).  Details? You're going to see it pretty damn soon. I mean how's a nail gun fight sound? Like with lots of nails. How about blood rain? Since you'd been through this before with all the make up and physical stuff did you talk to the actors about how to do it? I sent them an email at the very beginning letting them know what they were going to get into. I was being very fatherly. Don't party because you're going to wear out. It's going to be a long, long haul. We pushed every actor right to the brink... poor bastards. But it's good. They worked hard for their entertainment value. And Jane Levy is going to be a little... she's going to get work. She's a little hotty and real tough. Will there be anymore after this? There damn well better be.
Ash goes to bat for the new Evil Dead
At NYCC I was able to fulfill one of my life goals: interview Bruce Campbell. The man did not disappoint. In a red sports jacket and black shirt he was walking around like he owned the joint (he basically did) and brashly dec...


NYCC: Inside The Batmobile panel

Oct 15
// Hubert Vigilla
On Friday at the New York Comic Con, there was a world premiere screening of The Batmobile, an hour-long documentary about Batman's most wonderful of wonderful toys. A half-hour version of the documentary aired earlier this y...

As promised, one final video about the Flixist experience of the New York Comic Con. This one was taken a bit earlier, because I had things to do, so it's just me and Hubert talking sort of vaguely about what it was like to ...

NYCC: Carrie remake panel recap

Oct 15 // Matthew Razak
We'll start with the teaser, which unfortunately wasn't much to go on, but did confirm that Mortez is going to indeed be covered in blood. The teaser opened with an aerial shot of a town that looked like a riot had gone through. Buildings on fire (most notably what looks like a high school) and just general destruction all over the place. As the camera flies closer into the town pushing down into a street a voicerover of a lot of different people talking about someone we can only assume is Carrie. Words like "Her Mother was a fanatic. I don’t know how she lived with her." Finally the camera has swooped down to the street with the music ramping up and it pushes in on Mortez covered in blood and looking very, very angry. There's also someone singing over the entire trailer. Moore said this was a hymn mentioned in a book that Carrie's mother sings. It was a solid teaser and also came along with the poster you see below, which emphasizes once again Mortez and blood baths. The teaser definitely hints at the closer adherence to the book. For one it's the entire town being destroyed not just the school. Moore's singing over the trailer also shows the greater focus in the film on Carrier and her mother. This is definitely the new major focus of the film with Pierce basically discussing it, and Moore and Mortez often diving in to their work together. Moore actually discussed the back story of Carrie's mother Margaret saying, "The character is rooted in isolation. She was in a religious cult and it wasn't strict enough for here so she left ... When she was pregnant, she thought the child was a cancer and delivered alone. She's a very isolated woman." It speaks to this focus that none of Carrie's tormentors in school were on the panel. What was discussed almost as much as Carrie and Margaret's relationship was the amount of blood being used. Pierce estimated that they used about 1,000 gallons of blood and Mortez pointed out that she was often caked in different types of blood (wet blood, dry blood, fire blood) and eventually she got "use to coming home covered in blood." In a humorous note Pierce detailed how incredibly difficult it is to aim blood, and that a lot of experimentation went into just how to cover Mortez in it. "It never hits the person you want it to," she joked. This also relates to the fact that the film is definitely R-rated. Producer Kevin Misher, who was also on the panel, said that having the R rating was pretty freeing. It does mean the film "legally" can't be seen by an age group, but he said the story demands the R rating. The crowd definitely liked this news. I was seriously not on board for this remake, but after hearing Pierce discuss the movie it's clear she wanted to make her own thing. The panel also admitted that they're rejiggering it for modern bullying (cyber bullying was mentioned), and a lot has changed since the original film came out in that respect so maybe it won't be the exact same thing. Plus, Moore and Mortez seem to be very behind it (Moore showing up at Comic-Con is huge), and if they believe then I'm a bit more apt to.
Teaser, poster, the book and 1,000 gallons of blood
One thing was absolutely clear from the New York Comic Con's Carrie panel: they do not want this to be called a remake. Over and over again both director Kimberly Pierce and lead actors Julianne Moore and ...


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