Friday 2 December 2011

David Kempf - The Petsorcist

David Kempf has written over fifty short stories, many of which deal with themes of horror fiction. He has won several writing awards including first place in the short story competition of Millersville University’s Lemuria magazine. Two of his short stories were selected in the 2007 publication of The Grackle, his graduate school’s literary magazine. David is featured on two short fiction websites, one American and one British. He holds an M.S. from Chestnut Hill College and a B.A. from Millersville University. David resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife and his son. Dark Fiction is his first novel. The Petsorcist is David’s new book and it mixes horror and comedy.

JD The Petsorcist is your second book. Is it a sequel to Dark Fiction?
DK No it’s not but one of the main characters Henry David Wells from that book is in this story. I think I want him in all my books. He can be in every book like Michael Caine is in every movie.

JD Is this book a parody of The Exorcist?
DK It is. Yes. I think the idea of demonically possessed animals is funny and scary at the same time. That’s why I went back to read William Peter Blatty’s novel before I wrote this. I acknowledge him and some other famous authors who inspired me to write this although I have had this idea stuck in my head for a long time.

JD Who are the other authors?
DK In addition to William Peter Blatty, I was inspired by Ray Bradbury, Truman Capote, C.S. Lewis, Nathaniel Hawthorne, George Orwell and Jonathan Maberry.

JD That’s a very diverse group of writers.
DK I read a lot of stuff that isn’t horror. It’s a good idea for any author to read extensively outside of their genre.

JD You must be a huge fan of The Exorcist.
DK Yes, Jon. It was shocking for its time with Dick Smith’s makeup effects and the profanity coming from a little girl. I didn’t care for the second film but the next one with George C. Scott that was directed by Blatty was great.

JD The raw version is on Masters of Horror. Why did you put it into an E book?
DK The version on your site is similar but has some differences. There is more action in the final edited version. It’s almost in order. I wrote the prologue “An Odd Exorcism” last so it comes after the rest of the story on your website.

JD Do you think that humor and horror go together?
DK Absolutely but you have to be careful. Too much humor can take away from the suspense and terror that are the main concerns when you are trying to tell the story. One of my favorite movies is An American Werewolf in London. Never was humor and horror so perfectly combined before as it was in that film. One of the actors from that movie Griffin Dunne has a signed copy of Dark Fiction. He came to Bucks County Pennsylvania to film a movie.

JD One of your villains in the book is a cat. Don’t you think cats are scapegoat as symbols of evil?
DK Yes and this is not a black cat. Black cats were scapegoated for being connected with witchcraft in the Middle Ages by the church. The cat in the story is named Moose and is loosely based upon my cat Moose. He’s crème colored and beautiful and behaves terribly.

JD Do you think he’s demonically possessed?
DK The thought has crossed my mind.

JD Are your characters more heroic in this story?
DK They definitely are. The priest is heroic and only does questionable things when the forces of evil are messing with him. His sidekick is also a good guy. Dr. Wells on the other hand is still morally ambiguous and I suppose probably always will be.

JD Do you think this book is better than your first one?
DK I feel like writing has improved but they’re too different to compare.

JD Dark Fiction was about death, immortality and ghouls. The book cover reflected that with its depiction of a human skull surrounded by darkness. The Petsorcist has a wolf looking through a window with a crucifix on the right hand wall. The possessed wolves in the story are a major aspect of the whole book. Do you make an effort to have your covers reveal the storyline?
DK I think that to a certain extent that you should judge a book by its cover. You can’t look at a book cover and know everything about what you’re going to read but it should offer some clues. My brother in law Joe Camastra did the cover for Dark Fiction and now for The Petsorcist. He’s a horror fan like me and I think he does great work.

JD You should get the big picture. Is that what you mean?
DK Absolutely.

JD You’ve written quite a few short stories on my website Masters of Horror. I take it that you don’t do this for the money.
DK I don’t do it for the money any more than I did when I made short horror films when I was younger. Three of them are on Masters of Horror with my short stories. I write for the love of it. If I make a buck or two when a book is released, that’s just icing on the cake to me. The real thrill is meeting people at book signings. The Doylestown Bookshop and Canterbury Tales Forever are two independent book sellers that have been very kind to me when I published my first book. When I went to Monster Mania in Cherry Hill last year I had the opportunity to meet John Carpenter and have him sign my novel. He’s one of my idols and I’m saving that signed novel for my son to have someday.

JD I understand your first sale that evening was someone you grew up watching every week on a famous science fiction television show.
DK Yes, Erin Gray from Buck Rogers was my first paying customer and I singed a copy of Dark Fiction for her. I felt like the luckiest man on the planet.

JD What’s next?
DK I have a children’s book with space aliens that I am trying to get published and then a novel that is sort of a sequel to Dark Fiction.

JD Thanks for taking the time, David. I hope you continue to write for Masters of Horror U.K. for a long time to come.
DK You can count on it.



Review by Jonathan Maberry -NY Times Bestseller
With DARK FICTION, talented newcomer David Kempf kicks open doors into a lot of the darker places of the human mind and soul. Dark, fast, and wicked fun...this is book with real bite. This is the kind of first novel that offers great promise for a bold new player in the horror genre.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Gerard Butler - Machine Gun Preacher

Gerard Butler took on the toughest and ultimately most rewarding role of his stellar career in Machine Gun Preacher.

The 41 year-old star plays Sam Childers a former drug-dealing criminal who undergoes a spiritual transformation and emerges as the unlikely saviour of hundreds of children in war torn east Africa.

“In terms of acting chops and what it took, the complexity of the character and the journey he goes on and the emotional depth it was the hardest role I’ve had to play and it took the most out of me,” says Butler. “It was the most challenging but ultimately the most rewarding as well for that reason.”

Directed by Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, The Kite Runner), Butler stars alongside Michelle Monaghan as Childers’ long suffering wife, Lynn, and Michael Shannon as his best friend, Donnie.

Childers was a self confessed thug in his younger years - a violent biker who provided muscle for a drugs gang. After he is released from prison Lynn convinces him to accompany her to the local church he finds his salvation in Christianity. A church organised trip to Africa to help re-build a village destroyed by civil war changes his life.

He decides to build an orphanage for the local children right in the middle of territory controlled by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, a militia that forces children to become soldiers and carries out unspeakable acts of violence.

Butler was born in Paisley, Scotland and initially studied law before abandoning his degree to concentrate on his first love, acting. He has switched effortlessly from genre to genre in a career that has taken him to the very top of the A list.

There have been blockbusters like Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and the spectacular 300, the lavish musical Phantom of the Opera, Guy Ritchie’s crime caper RocknRolla, the contemporary thriller Law Abiding Citizen, alongside romances like P.S I Love You and romantic comedies including The Ugly Truth.

More recently, he starred alongside Jennifer Aniston in the romantic comedy, The Bounty Hunter and will soon be seen in the Ralph Fiennes directed screen version of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus as Aufidius. He also completed Playing The Field with Jessica Biel for director Gabriele Muccino, which will be released next year.

Q and A follows:
Q: In terms of a challenge where does this one rank?

A: In terms of acting chops and what it took, the complexity of the character and the journey he goes on and the emotional depth it was the hardest role I’ve had to play and it took the most out of me. It was the most challenging but ultimately the most rewarding as well for that reason.

Q: Is it a role of a lifetime?

A: It felt like a great opportunity to say so much and really pack a punch or not – which is why it was exciting because you could also do this and fail miserably and there are a lot of ways to play this badly. It was a fine line to traverse and to try and get all those different things that is Sam. Before I met Sam I’d never heard a man described in so many different ways because the director, the writer would say ‘this is who he is..’ and it was always different.

Q: Where did you first meet him?

A: I met him in Georgetown, Pennsylvania, where he lives. I went round to his house and sat in his kitchen and there must have been about 15 people there – people from the movie, his family, some of his friends and at that point I’d read the script and said that I wanted to do the movie and so I went to meet him.

Q: What did you expect when you met him?

A: Well, you see the guy that you read about in the script and so you expect to see this gun toting wild man, maybe screaming and shouting, loud and obnoxious. I expected somebody larger than life with a lot of energy and what I experienced was that yes, there’s a lot of energy and he is very charismatic but it’s very contained. I was also well aware that this is Sam now and also he’s not in a war zone and not currently fighting for his sanity. So the man I actually met was a man who was quite considered, he would sit back and he was studying me and studying the situation and kind of enjoying the attention in a way – that this was what all of his hard work had come to. Just like I can say I enjoy it when people enjoy a movie I’ve made, well, this was his moment to shine and kind of go ‘look, Gerry Butler has come to visit me…’ (laughs)

Q: Was he sizing you up?

A: Oh I am sure he was thinking ‘are you up to the task Mr Gerry Butler?’ and there’s me with my Scottish accent. He didn’t say anything at the time but he has since told me that that’s what he was thinking and I knew, I could see his mind working, not just thinking about me, but about all of these people that had come from such a different world to his and that even though he knew he could harvest that and it would be great for his cause, there was kind of a lack of trust because he is, in some ways, a simple hard working guy.

Q: Do you like him?

A: Yes, I do like him. I got to know him and I do like him and I think he is a fascinating character. He’s by no means an angel or perfect in every way – he does have an ego, he can be quite brash but more overpowering than any of that, is that he has a deep sense of humanity. And he has spent a lot of his life risking his life to help other people and what I do love as well is that there is a charm to him. He’s a very charming guy, which I didn’t expect. He’s a tough guy but there’s a charm to the way he is with people and I’ve seen him on many occasions now when he lets go and starts talking about the terrible things he has seen and the tears well up and he starts crying. And I’ve seen that he’s a very deep human being and there’s a lot of pain and shame about his life.

Q: And the film doesn’t pull any punches when it shows that side of him. He was a volcano in his earlier life and there was some very bad stuff – the violence, the drugs…

A: Yes and when you speak to him that’s the way he describes himself, that he couldn’t stay out of fights and he did have this explosive personality – he was an angry guy and he loved drugs and by the way, most of the shame that I see and when he cried the most, was not even about the kids (in Africa) it was when he was talking about him dealing drugs and people that he felt had died because of him, that’s when I saw him cry more than any other time.

Q: Is it about redemption for him? Do you think that his work in Africa is about trying to atone for his past?

A: Yes, I do. Obviously he has been struck by the plight of these kids, he’s been there and he’s witnessed terrible things. When an audience experiences this movie it’s often very personal and they want to act and do something but Sam was there and saw it all for real and it made him want to act. But when he talks about his life he often talks about atonement and redemption and how he feels there’s never enough he can do to make up for his past. He also takes on a lot of the baggage of the kids he didn’t save to the point where it doesn’t make sense, you know, because he is out there doing his best but he seems to think that any kid that is taken away or is killed when he wasn’t around he feels responsible for that, too and that’s not rational. Maybe that’s my judgement and maybe it’s not entirely fair but that’s the feeling I got from him. And yet, there have been situations when he has had to make judgement calls. There’s a situation in the movie where he comes back and sees the kid burned alive, which really happened. He had to make a judgement call and he had to leave and could only take so many with him and when he came back the rest had been killed. And that sent him in a downward spiral.

Q: The film asks a very big question about the morality of using violence as a means to save these children. What was your take on that?

A: We did talk about it but it was interesting because you quickly get a sense from Sam that he has fool proof belief that he is backed by God and he is doing God’s work. And now, after the movie, when you analyse it, there are arguments either way, but I do feel that The Lord’s Resistance Army have no political agenda, they just kill and maim and sexually enslave – that’s the only thing they do. So when you look at it from that perspective all Sam then has done is met fire with fire and actually if he hadn’t been around hundreds of kids would now be dead that are now living, children have been rescued that would still be with the Lord’s Resistance Army killing other people and 1500 children a day would not have been fed for the last 25 years, which is what he is doing. And that’s from analysing it now. Back then, when I first met him, I very quickly saw his unquestioning belief in the work he did and to be honest that was good enough for me. I didn’t want to get into questioning the morality of what he did because it’s not going to help me in terms of playing the character. Actually it’s lethal to playing the character because he when he was doing that didn’t question what he did, he questioned God at times, he struggled with the financial aspects, he struggled with the pressure it put on his family but he never questioned the morality of what he was doing so it wouldn’t have helped me to be questioning that.

Q: Were you raised as a Christian?

A: I was brought up as a Catholic.

Q: Are you still a man of faith?

A: I believe in God. I’m not a practising Catholic anymore although I still go to Church when I go home and keep my Mum happy. In fact, I like to do it and I actually enjoy going to Church but I’ve been on spiritual trips to India and I have a much more personal association with God. So I can connect that sense of belief in a higher power and understanding the strength that you are given by that and understanding also, the strength of finding one’s purpose. I think Sam knew my beliefs. But I found it fascinating to listen to him.

Q: What was it like to film this? As well as this spiritual journey it’s also obviously a very physical role. Was it almost like playing two people?

A: Well obviously there were the physical demands. In Africa we were doing six day weeks and it was often a 14 hour day and there was a lot of action, I did all my own stunts, but those rigours I’m used to because I’ve done similar things in other movies. What was hard was to do all of that and then go on the emotional journey that Sam went on and doing all the extra preparation I needed to do as well. Because you are also working on the swagger, the dialect, on the biking, on the firearms, on the preaching style – and all of that stuff takes extra work and preparation. And I also spent a long time working on the script. I spent a lot of time with Jason (Keller, screenwriter) and Marc (Forster) making the script as good and as powerful as possible, honing it down.

Q: Was that after you had met Sam and you wanted some of your impressions of him in there?

A: Absolutely. At times the script felt a little bit repetitive and too on the nose, it was a little over written. And we worked on some of the characters, just fleshing it out and making it better. But the tough thing about this was that I’m playing a guy who went into the darkest depths of drug addiction, of domestic strife, violence in his own community, there was terrible guilt and rage, And then I’m playing a guy who has to witness the atrocities and savagery that he witnessed in Africa and then somebody who goes into the worst depression, becomes suicidal, he is in the darkest depths and he is losing his mind. And you are doing that scene after scene, moment after moment.

Q: I would imagine that talking to Sam about what he has seen in Africa and doing your own research into the atrocities that he had witnessed would have been very upsetting?

A: Terribly upsetting. For instance I had a folder full of hundreds of photos of these child soldiers, of mass graves, of kids hacked to death, kids with their arms cut off, mothers and babies that have been hacked to death lying next to each other – this is the kind of stuff that I looked at all the time, every day I would look at it. I watched documentaries about it and then I would reflect on Sam and reflect on my own life and just trying constantly to put myself into a very dark, emotional space. And to have to go and do a scene where a child is dead in your arms, it definitely made this a hard one to do. That emotional, psychological stretching without a doubt is also physically exhausting and added to the already physically demanding role. However, making this movie was also really rewarding and emotional and everybody who worked on the movie were there for the right reasons – they cared about the move, about the message and it was great to be working in that atmosphere and knowing that you were making a movie that says something and has a message that would move people. And that’s a big energy boost.

Q: What did you do when it was finished? How did you come down from an experience like that?

A: I went on a safari. I brought some friends down to Africa and at first I thought, ‘why am I doing this?’ I didn’t want anything to do with them because the movie was still with me and I was in a strange state. They came down for the last two days of the shoot and I really almost said, ‘sorry guys, do you mind if we do this another time?’ But I went. And on the first day I let them go off on safari and I just stayed back and then I went out and suddenly being out in the wilds, surrounded by elephants with those ancient eyes looking at you, and then there were leopards and lions with their cubs and you are so close to them and suddenly this film, this story, kind of took its place in the natural order of things and connecting with that was probably the best thing I could have done. It just took me out of a certain space and I was so glad that I did it.


Machine Gun Preacher is the inspirational true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who undergoes an astonishing transformation and finds an unexpected calling as the savior of hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children. Gerard Butler (300) delivers a searing performance as Childers, the impassioned founder of the Angels of East Africa rescue organization in Golden Globe-nominated director Marc Forster’s (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland) moving story of violence and redemption.

When ex-biker-gang member Sam Childers (Butler) makes the life-changing decision to go to East Africa to help repair homes destroyed by civil war, he is outraged by the unspeakable horrors faced by the region’s vulnerable populace, especially the children. Ignoring the warnings of more experienced aide workers, Sam breaks ground for an orphanage where it’s most needed in the middle of territory controlled by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a renegade militia that forces youngsters to become soldiers before they even reach their teens.

But for Sam, it is not enough to shelter the LRA’s intended victims. Determined to save as many as possible, he leads armed missions deep into enemy territory to retrieve kidnapped children, restoring peace to their lives - and eventually his own. The explosive, real-life tale of a man who has rescued over a thousand orphans from starvation, disease and enslavement, Machine Gun Preacher also stars Michelle Monaghan (Due Date), Kathy Baker (Cold Mountain), Madeline Carroll (Mr. Popper’s Penguins), Academy Award® nominated Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) and Souleymane Sy Savane (“Damages”).

Saturday 11 June 2011

Full Movie - Beast from Haunted Cave (1959) - Public Domain

A group of gold thieves pull of a heist and flee into the snowy wilderness, only to be pursued by a horrible, spider-like monster.

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Full Movie - A Bucket of Blood (1959) - Public Domain

Walter Paisley is a bit of a square and he very much envies the hip beatniks he sees at the club where he works as a busboy. Walter has dreams of being an artist but has no talent. He tries sculpture but has little success until he finds a unique way of capturing vivid images of a dead cat, a dying man and a sexy model.

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Thursday 5 May 2011

George A Romero

Where did the idea first come from? You're moving on quite quickly from Land Of The Dead...
Aw, I know. I actually wrote a first draft of this even before Land Of The Dead was financed. Initially we were having trouble getting financing for Land. I first sent it just before 9/11, then 9/11 happened and everyone wanted warm, friendly, fuzzy movies, preferably with a pro-Arabic bent, so it didn't fit the mould. So I had written this, and I sorta took it out of the drawer and I was so frustrated with not being able to get the financing for Land, I basically said to Peter [Grunwald, producing partner], “Remember that old thing about college kids making their own film...?” So I started to fiddle around with it. At the same time I was updating Land and trying to give that a post-9/ll spin, but I couldn't really find a handle on this one. Eventually Land got financed so I put this one away again, and then because of the worldwide success of Land I went back to it.

Just how successful was Land?
Its box office success in the States was a bit disappointing because it was squeezed right between Batman and War Of The Worlds in this one-week sandwich position, but it did better in Europe, and then the DVDs took off, so overall it ended up being quite a successful film, even though it was not very expensive — it was under $20m. So then there was a lot of talk about a sequel, and I was just... I had hit the wall, basically. I'd guess I'd had it with disappointment. The same thing happened to me a few years back after a long period of development hell, trying to develop projects and none of them were happening. Out of frustration I went off a financed a little film called Bruiser [2000] with Canal Plus, which was like a vacation. So after Land, when it first came out theatrically in North America, I said, Oh man, take me back to my roots.”

What inspired you to experiment with DV cameras and digital media this time?
Around the same time, all during the post-production on Land, I'd been watching Iraq on the 24/7 news and seen this incredible, ballooning growth of alternate media. Youtube and so on — all of a sudden we're all somehow electronically connected to one another. I found that as the spin to put on Diary Of The Dead, so I sat down and reworked the script to what it is now. And because of the success of Land worldwide... [Pause] There was a lot of talk about doing a sequel to Land; they wanted to do it with less money. But I just wanted to get back into the saddle, and there was also a big part of me that wanted to go back and really do something under the radar.

Did you always intend to shoot in Canada?
Yes. Diary is the third film I've made here. Prior to that I'd made all my films in Pittsburgh, used many of the same crew people and had this sort of family... I enjoy working with friends, so my new little family of cohorts are all here, and I've basically been living here since Land Of The Dead.

But is it still set in Pittsburgh?
It is. In fact, Pittsburgh is mentioned. The kids are from the University Of Pittsburgh.

Why did the US release of Land end up being so disappointing?
I don't know. It was one of the best reviewed films of the summer, so we all thought, “Ooh, man, we might have a a shot...” I think they released it...

In a hurry?
In a hurry, because Doom or somethin' fell out. So it didn't perform at all in North America. There was no time. There was no postering, not enough TV, it was just too quick.

Do you think it was misunderstood by the studio?
I think that had they kept their original date, which was October or something, then it would have done better, because it really wouldn't have been up against anything, and they would have had the lead time to do a better job selling it. But, aw, y'know, Monday morning quarterbacking never works. But my initial reaction to that opening week was, “Aw, here we go again...” So I said to Peter, “Let's go back, do something inexpensive and under the radar.”

Is it true you were thinking of doing Diary as a TV special?
Initially, I was. I wanted to shoot it actually at a film school. There's a school called Full Sail in Orlando, Florida, and I wanted to shoot it with students for 500 gees, really go back to guerilla stuff. But these guys loved it and started looking at it as a theatrical release, with alternate media and ancillaries... So then the question was: how much could we do it for? Because it's well under $5 million. We got together and decided we could pull it off. It's always labour-intensive and gruelling, but it's the first film that some of us have really had a good time on for years.

It's certainly a small crew …
It's lean and mean, and that's the way I like it. I've worked with most of these folks before, so we can shorthand and there's no egos involved.

Did you know you'd set yourself a technical challenge, using just the one camera?
Yeah! It's a //style// challenge. I often say, y'know, I don't have all the tricks. One of the things that keeps me going and wanting to keep doing it is that I feel like I'm still learning to use the pencil. John Ford made, how many films? 200 and some? I've made 15, so I don't have all those tricks in my hip pocket. And one of the things that keeps me going is learning more to use the medium, and Diary has been such a departure. I've really, really had to choreograph everything and I'm also trying to do it without music — seeing if I can basically score the thing with sound effects — so it's a stylistic experiment as well for me. Luckily we have a great cast who are completely off-book. The last thing you want at the end of a three-minute take is for someone to flub a line, so they've been wonderful. And the camera department has been great in pulling it all off. So part of the fun for me is the craft.

Realism is very important to you. Has that been a headache?
It has, but really only in shots like the one we're doing at the moment [involving a sword through the head], because there's green-screen and CG involved. So that's the only place it's been a problem: trying to get the departments together, and matching focal lengths. That's the kind of stuff that we've been doing for the last three hours: the boring stuff! That's stuff's just tedious, bit of a drag, but you've gotta do it. The rest of the stuff doesn't involve effects; the prosthetics guys have been great, so we've just been able to get right out there and shoot it.

Will people be surprised at the smaller scale this time? People always expect your next film to up the ante, with more zombies, more scope...
I know, yeah, and that has been a bit of disappointment, I think, but that's generally the audience that is there for that. I think the people that have come around to the films for whatever else they have in them have seen more of a progression. I use the word “mature”! (Laughs) But this really is going back to the first night of the dead, and there's also a little piece of this that has to do with frustration. We lost the copyright on Night Of the Living Dead because of a //stupid// error. We were a bunch of young guys who made a film and put the copyright button on our title, which was originally Night Of The Flesh-Eater. And when the distributor changed the title to Night Of The Living Dead, which was their title, not ours, our little copyright logo fell off, and no one noticed. We didn't notice, they didn't notice, so the film is basically in public domain. So that's the one that got away. And of course the other three films are owned by different people, so a little piece of what we're doing here is trying to re-establish a franchise so that we can own a little piece of the action.

Diary is talked of as being a sort of prequel. What was your thinking?
I wouldn't call it a prequel. It's sort of a simultaneous action. It's not a period movie. None of them have been. It's peculiar, I guess, sort of like the Bond movies — it doesn't matter. The car's changed, same guy, He's been around a long time.

Why did you choose film students? Anything autobiographical there?
My justification originally was so that they would have the equipment and be a bit savvy and know how to handle it. That was as far as I went with it, but once we started to get into it I really started to fine-tune the script. And in addition to all the media references, I started to realise that some of this was in fact a bit autobiographical, a bit about us when we made Night Of The Living Dead, except in this case they're making a documentary. They're becoming obsessed with what they're doing, to the point where what they're doing becomes almost more important than what's happening, so the film speaks a little about all of that. But it's about a lot of things, about 24/7 media and how you get immune to violence and what's going on around you just because you're seeing it through a glass darkly. Or rather brightly.

9/11 was a highly documented event, and with camera phones and so on, every major event is, nowadays. Was that something you had in mind?
Oh yeah. Exactly. And we have some of that in Diary. They're seeing newscasts, doctored newscasts, and we're putting as much of that in it as we can, logically. They're on the net, they're getting messages from all over the world, they're on their cellphones...

Are you a news junkie or is this just an observation?
It's sort of an observation. I am a bit of a news junkie. I'm not addicted but I'll often have CNN or public radio on as wallpaper instead of music. I have the news on when I'm writing sometimes.

How does the writing process work for you?
What I usually do is write a quick draft and then just sort of stay away from it for a while, then go back and re-read it. It takes three or four drafts for me to really figure out what it's about, or what I might //like// it to be about. There's a bunch of doctoring, usually, and we're still finding things even now. Peter's a wonderful script editor, and every day we talk about things, just driving to set, coming up with new ideas. And the great thing about this situation [with Diary] is that you don't have to inform 300 different people. You can change the scene on the spot, and because of the subjective camera, and because of the long takes, it's pretty easy, it's not like there's continuity from shot to shot. We don't have to worry about cutting to the other angle because there //is// no other angle. There are times when we have two cameras, however — the students find another camera at one point — so those scenes are a bit headachey, making sure that everyone's in the same spot and doing the same thing.

So can I take it that Land Of The Dead was more of a long-winded process...?
Oh boy! If you wanted to change //anything//, whether it was a line of dialogue...

In your own film?
Yeah, you have to get it approved. You basically wind up initialling those pages if you wanna make changes. On Diary, you just say, “Hey, man, can we do this?” Then we think about about for a few minutes and then they say either yes or no. So it's great.

Why was it so hard?
Nobody wants to make decisions. They bought a script, and that's it. You usually write three or four drafts for the producer and then another three or four for the studio right before you shoot. But once that's all done, and everybody has their thumbprints on it, it's pretty well locked. And if you have an idea you can't just do it on the set, you have to make sure it's cleared. It's just more difficult when there's bureaucracy involved. And when you're travelling with a bigger circus you gotta make sure that the elephants are in the parade.

Is there a sequel planned to Diary or is it just a stylistic exercise?
Right now we're treating this as something that is easily sequel-able, and of course it's wide open at the end because we're just sort of 48 hours into the phenomenon. But we haven't talked about it, we haven't written about it, because, once again, if we do it I'd like it to be about what's going on. Y'know, have something to give it a different spin, a different underlying thing. Sure, if we sequelise this I can tell you roughly what the surface story is going to be but I don't know what it's going to be //about//, underneath all that. [Since this interview, the DIARY sequel is currently in production]

Do you ever feel pressure to do that? You're known for your subtexts, and the phrase “social commentary always pops up with reference to your work...
No, it's not a pressure. I just like to make sure that there's something there. It really wasn't until I found this idea that I realised what Diary would be //about//. It's about this 24/7 umbilical cord. We're all on some sort of feeding tube. And once I got that, I was able to play around with it. I'm not a technology junkie. I don't have a Blackberry. I'm NOT plugged in!

Do you use the net much?
Only email, or for research. I don't surf. I burn incense to my computer, I just want it to work. Like I know nothing about automobiles. As long as it works, I'm fine.

What kind of research do you do?
Medical research. Hehe, always just a little something different. If I need technical information, whether it's about electronics or medicine or anatomy...

So you've googled 'how to sever a head'?
Right, yeah!

What kind of blood and gore content can we expect in Diary?
Again, because of the subjective camera, there aren't any product shots, if you know what I mean. So it will be a bit more off-hand. There are a couple of moments, like this one we're doing now, which is in-your-face, but it's //accidentally// in-your-face, because of the guy who's shooting it. Other than that, we're trying to make it as much as possible part of a shot and make it seem a bit more accidental and a bit more realistic. So I'd say maybe some fans will be disappointed that we're not going in for those big Greg Nicotera moments, but they're there, we're just not gonna zoom in one 'em. They're in the corner of the frame somewhere, where the guy making the film almost missed 'em. Which is also really fun and interesting to me: it's there. Now, I'm hoping that in fact it'll feel even //more// grisly. We're trying to //happen upon// the violence rather than focus on it.

How was the studio relationship on the last one, as regards the violence?
They were great. I have to say that as far as Universal goes, everybody warned me and said, “Boy, you're dealing with the worst guys on the block: the biggest bullies, the hardest to deal with, the Black Tower, blah blah blah...” But they were //great//. During production, all the way through the actual making of the film and all the way through post-production, I couldn't have asked for a better relationship. They didn't ask us to change a thing. I made that film, and it really was the way I wanted it to be —within the limitation of budget. The only stuff that I couldn't do was stuff we wound up not being able to afford, or we ran out of time. There was no interference, and I think they genuinely liked the film. I think they liked it //too much//, and thought they might be able to make more with it by putting it out when they did. Which was a bit of a miscalculation. Can't figure it out. But there was something else too. I think there was a great deal of disappointment, even on the part of the fans — the fans that want Dawn Of The Dead: more violence, more gore, more zombies. So I think there was a bit of fan disappointment too.

But if you made Dawn with today's technology it would be unwatchable, because it would be so repulsive...
Yeah, you wouldn't be able to deal with it!

In Land, there's a progression with the zombies, in terms of Big Daddy. Is that an idea you'll be returning to?
I suppose that if anyone wants to make a fifth in that group of films, in other words take that progression a little further, I would. I'd stick with that. Here, on Diary, we're going back to the first night, so they haven't evolved. And I think even if we were to sequelise this one that they they wouldn't be evolved either, certainly not to the point of Big Daddy. But actually Big Daddy, in my mind, was dumber than Bub. I still think Bub in Day Of The Dead is the smartest dude.

He deserved a sequel of his own.
Yeah, The Bub Show!

You seem very content to let the films stand as they are. You don't revise them.
I'm //really// happy to let them stand. They are what they are. They're my own things and I don't care what's going on around me. People say to me, “Oh, somebody made 28 Days Later... Oh, they remade Dawn... They did Shaun Of The Dead...” But I love Shaun Of The Dead! Everyone asks Steve King, “How do feel about Hollywood ruining your books?” And Steve says, 'They're not ruined — there they are on the shelf, right there.” So I've always felt that my work is my work and I don't particularly care what the other boys is doin'.

If Diary Of The Dead takes off, would your priority be a follow-on from Diary?
We have a couple of projects in development. It depends. If one of those pops, I think I've had enough of a vacation making this that I'd probably be ready if something bigger wanted to go.

Genre projects?
Oh yeah. I don't get phone calls asking me to do musicals.

And you're not finished with zombies?
Apparently not!

The master of horror returns to the kind of filmmaking he pioneered and the genre he invented. In his first independent zombie film in over twenty years, George A. Romero takes us back to ground zero in the history of the living dead.

Jason Creed and a small crew of college filmmakers are in the Pennsylvania woods making a no-budget horror film when they hear the terrifying news that the dead have started returning to life.

Led by Jason's girlfriend, Debra, the frightened young filmmakers set off in a friend's old Winnebago to try to get back to the only safety and security they know: their homes. But there is no escape from the crisis, nor any real home for them anymore. Everything they depend upon, all that they hold dear, is fractured as the plague of the living dead begins to spread.

Jason documents the true-life horrors in a tense, first-person style that heightens the reality of each encounter. Even as his friends die, even as they are attacked by ravenous walking corpses at every stop along the way, Jason keeps filming, an obsessive, unflinching eye in the midst of chaos.

The government first denies, then promises to quell the crisis, but can’t.

Technology fails. Communication with the rest of the world becomes impossible. Jason and what remains of his crew end up on their own, a handful of lucky survivors, reliant on no one but themselves to stay alive. They take final refuge in a fortress of a mansion, but their sanctuary turns out to be a trap from which there is no escape. Throughout it all, the cameras keep rolling, recording every detail for future generations…if any survive.

Directed by George A. Romero, Diary Of The Dead is released in UK Cinemas on 7th March 2008

Saturday 9 April 2011

Full Movie - A Lonely Place to Die (2011)

A group of five mountaineers are hiking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands when they discover a young Serbian girl buried in a small chamber in the wilderness. They become caught up in a terrifying game of cat and mouse with the kidnappers as they try to get the girl to safety.

Saturday 2 April 2011

David Kempf

David Kempf is a new novelist who we have been following closely over the last few years. We gave him great support and have published many of his great short stories on Masters Of Horror. Well as David has now published his first novel, which is listed on Amazon, we thought we would catch up with David.

JD You have written over fifty short stories, many of which deal with themes of horror fiction. Why did you feel the need to put them into novel form?

DK Well, I used some of the short stories I’ve posted online within my novel, which is considerably longer than many novels because I wanted to establish that this character, Christopher is a fiction writer, specifically, dark fiction.

JD Fair enough, David. Now why did you want to write about a young horror fiction writer who was still in college?

DK Well, I suppose because one is much filled with hope when one is at that age. The world hasn’t beaten the hell out of you yet. You don’t know how vicious life is and you are still holding onto your idealism. The world is still out there for you to conquer, you know. That’s the free spirit I wanted for my protagonist.

JD What about your antagonist?

DK That’s a good question, Jon. I never saw Dr. Henry David Wells as the antagonist of the story per se. I think such black and white terms are immaterial in what is an essentially an experimental work of fictions such as this. Still, if you had to put such labels on the characters I suppose that is the way it comes out in the end.

JD Yes. Why do you love horror so much?

DK Well, I love fiction, of all kinds, horror just happens to be my favorite to read.

JD I see. What other genres do you enjoy?

DK I am very fond of science fiction, history, thriller, mystery and detective fiction. Still, horror has always been my favorite, just a matter of personal taste.

JD I see. Why did you call the book Dark Fiction?

DK Both of the main characters write this kind of specific fiction and pay a price for doing so and short stories of this genre are featured all through the novel.

JD Is this your first novel?

DK Yes, sir it is.

JD You must feel very proud of that.

DK Indeed, I do, sir.

JD Why would you write it now?

DK I’m at a certain age where I was either going to do it or not. I have many friends who have talked about writing a novel ever since we were in college. Some of them never even managed to write a short story or two for our college literary magazines. These were the folks; I seriously doubted would ever write a novel later on in life.

JD Who are your favorite authors?

DK There are too many to name but I’ll drop some names from the top of the list. Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Truman Capote, James Herbert, Shirley Jackson, Peter Straub, Washington Irving, Harlan Ellison, Edogawa Rampo and Robert Bloch.

JD You included all of these short stories within your novel, why?

DK Well, you know I’ve read many great novels that had writers as their main characters or protagonists/heroes or what have you. They never went into detail about what the hell they wrote. There were only vague recollections of the fictional endeavors of our heroes as they fought vampires, zombies, maniacs and other forces of darkness.
JD I see.

DK The writer’s job is to always tell the truth and I think that includes letting the readers in on their fiction and fictional characters.

JD What drove you to write this book?

DK I am a storyteller who loves horror and thrillers and I simply wanted to tell a story.

JD Why did you choose to have the book published originally in the e-book form?

DK Well, Jon, it wasn’t just to save some trees. I believe the future is with me in saving trees and time by allowing folks to choose from the Kindle to the Sony so they can download a lifetime’s worth of books without carrying much weight.

JD What inspires you in your writing?

DK Well, I was paying tribute to old fashioned thrillers but also to some of the B horror movies I grew up watching on late night TV. I wanted to create kind of a fusion of the two. Making the B movie into something else, something with depth and philosophical meaning is what I was interested in doing. I enjoyed writing in college; my paper on Dracula was featured at the student research conference. I also won first place in my college’s fiction magazine’s short story contest. That was very validating for me. Writing for your website has also meant a great deal to me over the past two years. It’s allowed me to use my imagination and experience constructive criticism at the same time.

JD You are the only American on my site. How does that make you feel?

DK Honored. I majored in English in college because I have a great respect for the literature of the United Kingdom. I also write for an American horror site and it features some damn good writing. What it lacks is an opportunity to learn your craft and improve upon your writing. I know the English take their writing very seriously that’s why they have what I consider to be the best literature in the history of the world. No one has touched upon the human condition like Shakespeare or Dickens. The people who stem from that culture are the people who I want to judge my writing and help me be the best author that I can be.

JD How challenging was it to find a publisher?

DK It’s a great challenge. It took me some considerable time to finally find one that suited my needs and would publish a book that I did not want to compromise on. It was a take it or leave it deal because I really believed in this project. The E Book Sale or RealTime Publishing in Limerick Ireland is a great publisher and I’m glad that I chose them.

JD What is dark fiction?

DK That’s a great question, Jon. I think that’s a complex question. Most folks think that it’s generally a form of horror fiction but I think that the real definition if far more broad. It’s a form of fiction that takes great risks and avoids categories. It is horror, it is thriller, it is suspense but ultimately it disturbs us and makes us realize that life is not what we think that it is. It makes us question the nature of reality. When it’s done exceptionally well it tells us something about ourselves that we wish we didn’t know.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Nick Button

J: Welcome to the Masters of Horror UK website Nick. Can we start with how the idea for Dark Hoard came about? 

N: Hey Jon, thanks for the opportunity to talk about this thing that’s been my life for over two ears!

I’ve been interested in writing for a long time and have written short stories in the past, but just don’t have the time to write a book. I came up with the idea of writing a series of short stories and compiling them into an anthology, because that would give me the flexibility to write each story when I could... Whilst reading short stories online I came up with the much better idea of asking other people to write the stories, whilst I run the project.

J: I like it, get other people to do all the work right?

N: Hey, you’d be surprised just how much work is involved in recruiting authors, managing their expectations, helping with ideas, editing stories and promoting the project.

J: To be honest I wouldn't be that surprised, running Master Of Horror is a very similar concept afterall. But this isn’t just a bunch of great stories is it?

N: No, I wanted to make it much more. There’s design work, paintings and illustrations throughout the whole book. I’m not kidding when I say it’s unique.

J: So, why horror? If you’re picking the authors, you could pick any genre that takes your fancy right?

N: I’ve always been interested in horror. I’m a big fan of James Herbert – I think I’ve read everything he’s written in fact. Besides which, when you look through the web, there’s so much talent in this genre, and so many great sites that feature short stories in particular.

J: I can think of at least one right now, and anyone reading this will surely know I am reffering to Masters Of Horror! - So, let’s talk about publishing, you’re using self-publishing aren’t you? Is that a budgetary thing?

N: Too right! This is strictly a hobby thing for me, any money the book generates is going back into the project to fund further promotion and hosting costs for the site etc.

J: So we could see this thing on Amazon yet?

N: Oh man, that would be great – but it depends on what people think of the book... If they like it, buy it and tell their friends, who knows what will happen?

J: Nick, thanks for your time. I wish you the best of luck with the book and hope to see you again on Masters of Horror! 

N: Thanks a lot Jon. 

If you want to find out more about Dark Hoard, check out the website – it’s awesome!