Tuesday 29 August 2017

Interview with Frank Merle - Writer/Director of #FromJennifer

Horror icons Tony Todd (Candyman, the Final Destination series) and Derek Mears (Friday the 13th, "Twin Peaks") star in #FromJennifer, the "highly original and radically ingenious" (Starburst) new film from award-winning writer/director Frank Merle, out 9/28 on Digital and Cable from Sector 5 Films.

Jennifer Peterson (Danielle Taddei) is having a very rough week. She's been fired from a movie shoot, her manager just dropped her, and her boyfriend dumped her, right after releasing a sex tape of them together.
But Jennifer has decided to turn things around: she hatches a plot she calls "Revenge Porn Revenge," in which she plans to settle the score by filming a devastatingly elaborate video and posting it online, making herself famous in the process. But like everything else in her life lately, her revenge plot doesn't go according to plan, and a shocking trail of carnage is left in her wake.

Winner of no less than 7 major film festival awards, including Best Director at the Illinois International Film Festival (Frank Merle) and Best Actress (Danielle Taddei) at the Mindfield Film Festival, #FromJennifer features a host of genre favorites in-front of and behind-the-camera including actors Aaron Abrams ("Hannibal"), Meghan Deanna Smith (Sharknado: Heart of Sharkness), Trae Ireland (13/13/13) and Danielle Taddei (“Pretty Little Liars”), with producers Frank Merle and Hunter Johnson (#2Jennifer) and executive producers James Cullen Bressack (Bethany, To Jennifer) and Warren Croyle.

"A truly timely and Relevant Film" (We are Indie Horror), #FromJennifer on Digital and Cable September 28 from Sector 5 Films.

How many months have you been on the promo trail for the film now?

During the hunt for distribution I spent way too many months waiting to be able to talk about it, so now that I finally get to, it feels like it’s going by too quickly. Everything in the film business seems to go way too slowly or way too fast.

Is it something you enjoy – talking about the movie?

I feel so fortunate that I get to make movies, so I absolutely like talking about it. People who complain about this part of the process seem ungrateful to me.

In terms of the film itself, how close to it are you? Is it like a child you’re sending out into the world?

I once heard Werner Herzog speak about his career, and he was asked how he feels about the mistakes/imperfections in his earlier work, and would he go back and change them if he could. His answer was that he thinks of his films as his children and you don’t love your children any less just because they might have some flaws. I liked that answer a lot.

What was it about this particular project that appealed to you?

I got to work with some of my favourite people on this film. Danielle Taddei, who plays Jennifer, went to college with me, as did Aaron Abrams who plays her boyfriend Ralph. I’ve also been friends with Derek Mears for a while, too, and I really enjoyed getting to work with him. I didn’t know Tony Todd before working on this, but Candyman has always been one of my favourite horror films, so it was a real treat for me to get to direct one of my horor idols.

Are horror fans going to dig it? 

This film defies the expectations of the genre. It’s funnier than expected, especially Derek Mears and Tony Todd, until the third act. Just when you think you understand the type of film it is, it takes a hard, gory turn than I’m sure horror fans will appreciate.

Was there a check-list of things you HAD to have in the film?

The only self-imposed requirement was a big, bloody climax. The original body count was six, but as we shot the film, I came up with some more ideas for added carnage, and the resulting final body count is now nine. Not too shabby!

It is comforting to see people covering the movie, and genuinely getting behind it? 

Oh, yes! It’s very rewarding. I make movies for the fans, so my worst fear is making a movie and not been able to find an audience. All this coverage will help #FromJennifer find its audience.

They said that a theatrical release is only a ‘promo’ for a VOD/DVD release these days.  What’s your take?

That’s more of a question for distributors, sales agents, and marketing. They crunch numbers and determine that a theatrically released film has more value than a straight to VOD film. In general, I don’t think audiences care about that stuff.

Will we all, at some time, be watching films on VOD only?

Have cars replaced horses as a way to get from A to B? Yes, they have. But you can still find a horse to ride if you really want to, but you might have to drive out to a ranch to do so. Perhaps the extra effect makes the experience even more special. The same might eventually be true for movies. The theatrical experience will never go away entirely.

How much do you love the theatre, though?  The genre film is almost made for it, isn’t there?

For those who enjoy the theatrical experience, it will always be the optimal way of watching a movie, not because of the size of the screen, but because of the communal experience. That’s why scary movies work so well with big crowds, you can hear the gasps and feel the fear of those around you.

If a film of yours isn’t getting a big screen release do you usually try and set-up a screening for it in a theatre anyway? Or get it a festival run? So that those that want to see it on a huge creamy screen can.?

Oh yes, of course. Always. All of my films have been fortunate enough to play at several festivals, and I’ve attended as many of them as I can, because it’s great fun to watch it with audiences.

With film fans themselves being the biggest supporter of sci-fi, horror and fantasy movies, should genre films be excluded from film criticism?

The only problem with film criticism is that so many so-called critics are doing it wrong. Criticism should always be framed as a subjective opinion, as in, how the reviewer felt about the film, what was his or her personal experience. That’s always fair and should be welcomed, whether it’s good or bad. The trouble is, so many reviewers try to make themselves the standard-barer of taste, so instead of saying “I enjoyed this film because…” they say “This is a good film because…” Or of course, what’s worse is: “This is a bad film because…” We’ve all seen movies we’ve loved that were trashed by critics. But I don’t think that’s reason enough to exclude criticism from genre films. I just think critics should do their job correctly.

Monday 28 August 2017

Competition: Win Temple on DVD

Temple is out on DVD on September 4th and to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies of the DVD to give away.

Supernatural horror directed by Michael Barrett. The film follows American tourists Christopher (Logan Huffman), James (Brandon Sklenar) and Kate (Natalia Warner) as they embark on a trip around northern Japan. When Kate finds a description of an ancient mountain temple in a book, she convinces the others to help her find it. Despite being warned by concerned locals that the area is cursed, the trio set out into the wilderness in search of the abandoned sanctuary. However, things soon turn sinister as the group find themselves in a desperate battle to survive against terrifying evil forces.

From the writer of Blair Witch, The Guest and V/H/S, TEMPLE is a frightening horror steeped in Japanese folklore.

Check out the release on Amazon by clicking the link below: (Opens in a new window)
Buy Temple [DVD] from Amazon Here


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 11-09-17
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Horror Channel FrightFest will be screening VICTOR CROWLEY - Adam Green's reboot to the Hatchet series

Victor Crowley Lives!

Following the slasher reboot’s surprise debut at Hollywood’s ArcLight Cinema, Horror Channel FrightFest has announced that its “Hatchet 10th Anniversary Celebration” is in fact the European premiere of Adam Green’s VICTOR CROWLEY, the fourth film in the Hatchet series.

Set a decade after the events of the series’ first three films, VICTOR CROWLEY reunites Hatchet mainstays Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7 - X’s Jason Voorhees) and Parry Shen (Better Luck Tomorrow) for an all-new, horrifying journey into the haunted, blood-drenched bayou.

Green said today: “I couldn’t be happier to partner with Dark Sky Films and bring Victor Crowley back to horror fans around the world. Resurrecting the series for its tenth anniversary was our way of saying thank you to everyone in The Hatchet Army and beyond who have supported this series since its inception. This bloodbath is for all of you.”

VICTOR CROWLEY screens at Horror Channel FrightFest on Saturday 26 August at Cineworld Leicester Sq.

Book tickets here: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html

Friday 18 August 2017

FILM NEWS (UK): DRAG ME TO HELL, STARRY EYES & BLACK SHEEP amongst nine prime-time film premieres on Horror Channel in September

Horror Channel has nine prime-time film premieres in September including the UK premiere of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s stunning contemporary occult tale of Hollywood ambition and possession, STARRY EYES.

There are also network premieres for Sam Raimi’s ferociously terrifying DRAG ME TO HELL, Eli Roth’s splatter sensation HOSTEL, Mike Mendes’ ultimate B-Movie experience BIG ASS SPIDER, Jonathan King’s zombie sheep gore comedy BLACK SHEEP, James Wan’s creepy killer-doll horror DEAD SILENCE, starring True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten, Robert Longo’s cyberpunk action thriller JOHNNY MNEMONIC, starring Keanu Reeves, Bryan Bertnia’s home-invasion chiller THE STRANGERS, starring Liv Tyler and John Carpenter’s high-kicking fantasy thriller BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, starring Kurt Russell and Kim Cattrall.

Full details of season in transmission order:

Sat 2 Sept @ 21:00 – DRAG ME TO HELL (2009) * Network Premiere

The creator of the Evil Dead series Sam Raimi leaves Spiderman movies behind and returns to his horror roots. And what a return! Fast-paced, frightening and funny Drag Me To Hell follows the course of a curse laid upon a well-meaning bank clerk. Demons are on the rise, and Raimi applies all of his trademark visual dynamism to this diabolic jamboree. Stars Alison Lohman and Justin Long.

Fri 8 Sept @ 21:00 – BLACK SHEEP (2006) *Network Premiere

Are you ready for the violence of the lambs? In the ‘Bad Taste’ tradition of Peter Jackson, Kiwi director Jonathan King’s zombie sheep black comedy is a shear delight. Sheep-phobic farmer Henry Oldfield wants to sell his share in the family farm, to the delight of his evil bother who is genetically altering the mutton to create a super-sheep. Then a toxic lamb foetus escapes infecting the flock turning them into rampaging bloodthirsty monsters and humans into were-sheep.

Sat 9 Sept @ 22:45 - THE HOSTEL (2005) *Network Premiere

American backpackers Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson find themselves in a terrifying nightmare scenario when they head for Slovakia lured by the promise of easy sex with Eastern European girls. Garnering notorious headlines when it was first released, this the slasher rejuvenated and intellectualised in a way that stays with you. Stars Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Jana Kaderabkova, Jennifer Lim and Barbara Nedeljakova.

Fri 15 Sept @ 21:00 – BIG ASS SPIDER (2015) *Network Premiere

A 50-foot-tall alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampages the city of Los Angeles. When a massive military strike fails, the city’s scientists and soldiers turn to an unlikely hero. Alex (Greg Grunberg), a bug exterminator, and his Mexican security guard sidekick, Jose (Lombardo Boyar), are the hapless duo who team up to kill the creature before the city is destroyed. Also stars Ray Wise.

Sat 16 Sept @ 21:00 – DEAD SILENCE (2007) *Network Premiere

After his wife meets a grisly end, Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) returns to their creepy hometown of Ravens Fair to unravel the mystery of her murder. Once there, he discovers the legend of Mary Shaw (Joan Heney), a murdered ventriloquist whose eerie presence still looms over the town. As he desperately digs for answers, Jamie encounters the curse that took his wife's life and threatens his own.

Fri 22 Sept @ 21:00 – JOHNNY MNEMONIC (1995) *Network Premiere

Based on the William Gibson story, Johnny (Keanu Reeves) is a data courier who has a secret stash of information implanted into his mind. However, the data will kill him if he cannot retrieve it within forty-eight hours. Accompanied by physically enhanced bodyguard Jane (Dina Meyer), Johnny sets out to acquire the passwords he needs to save himself. Worse yet, he is hunted by gangster Shinji (Denis Akiyama) and businessman Takahashi (Takeshi), both of whom seek the data Johnny possesses.

Sat 23 Sept @ 21:00 – THE STRANGERS (2008) *Network Premiere

Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) retreat to a family vacation home for a relaxing weekend but their stay turns out to be anything but peaceful. A series of unexpected arrivals sparks a deadly sequence of events. First, a mysterious and dangerous woman turns up, then James accidentally kills his friend Mike (Glenn Howerton), mistaking him for an intruder. But the real danger arrives in the form of three masked torturers, leaving Kristen and James struggling for survival.

Fri 29 Sept @ 23:00 – STARRY EYES (2014) *UK TV Premiere

Determined to make it in Hollywood, reluctant waitress Sarah Walker (Alex Essoe) goes on countless casting calls in hope of getting her big break. After a series of weird auditions at the mysterious Astraeus Pictures, she lands her dream part. But with this opportunity comes bizarre ramifications that will transform her both mentally and physically into something beautiful and altogether more terrifying.

Sat 30 Sept @ 21:00 – BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986) *Network Premiere
Hard-boiled truck driver Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) gets caught in a bizarre conflict in San Francisco's Chinatown when an ancient Chinese prince and Chinatown crime lord kidnaps a beautiful green-eyed woman Miao Yin (Suzee Pai). Miao is the fiancée to Jack's best friend. And Jack must help rescue the girl before the evil Lo Pan uses her to break the ancient curse that keeps him a fleshless and immortal spirit.

TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 | Freeview 70
www.horrorchannel.co.uk | twitter.com/horror_channel | facebook.com/horrorchannel

Monday 14 August 2017

Interview with Julian Grant - Writer/Director of The Cropsey Incident

As part of my "Jon Donnis Show" Podcast, we have a great interview with Writer/Director Julian Grant, who joined us to talk about his excellent new film "The Cropsey Incident"

A group of online social justice activists venture deep into the woods to uncover the truth behind a recent series of gruesome ritual murders - and to capture the person responsible. But what they come face to face with is something more deadly than any serial killer, an urban legend that is very real, and determined to make them his latest victims.

Listen to the Interview using the video below.
You can also Subscribe to my podcast which covers all topics by going to the following iTunes Link

You can also search for the podcast using your podcast app using "Jon Donnis Show"

Interview with Barbara Crampton

Ahead of her eagerly awaited presence at Horror Channel FrightFest 2017, genre icon, actress & producer BARBARA CRAMPTON talks exclusively about her latest film Replace, battling chronic fatigue syndrome and her passion for supporting new talent.

Q: REPLACE raises questions about beauty, body image and growing older, issues that many feel plague the Hollywood movie industry. What is your view on this subject?
The best movies reflect our inner world, our hopes, our good intentions, trials and our demons. Growing old and the fear of death is endemic to all, not just the movie industry. Just when you begin to figure it out your back aches, your skin starts to wrinkle and you gain weight just by LOOKING at your food. Let's be frank: Aging sucks! But it also gives you a calendar to get things done. If we had an abundance of time we might be sloths putting off everything and accomplishing nothing. To me the best thing you can do is to live in each moment as successfully as possible. That translates to all areas of your life, personal, career and lifestyle choices.  
I am not immune however to feeling the anxiety of it all and I do believe most of us lack a grace about allowing nature and gravity to happen. We are collectively obsessed with youth and beauty that's a problem.

Q: Co-writer/director Norbert Keil says he got the idea for Replace after going to hospital for a back operation. Was that something you could empathise with – the feelings of mortality raised when in such a medical environment?

It wasn't a medical environment that did it for me but rather a chronic illness. I developed chronic fatigue syndrome 12 years ago after a parasite I had went undiagnosed for 9 months. I was literally in bed for 2 years. The worst time of my life. I was confronted with the fear of the termination of my long term health. Some people live with CFS and never recover. The medical community is  still baffled by the syndrome. For me it was quite possibly that my immune system was acting in overdrive, first to rid itself of the parasite and then not being able to turn itself off when the parasite was eradicated. One doctor saved me. Per his instructions I had to become a model patient and test every part of my being: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I worked on every system to lubricate every aspect. I actually healed things I didn't realize needed work. Finally my body calmed down and recovered. At one point though, when I was at my lowest, I thought, "Is this it? I haven't done enough yet!" After I was better, that's when I started working harder on everything, including my appreciation for being here.

Q: Doctor Rafaela Crober was a part originally written for a man, so what if anything changed in the script to accommodate your feminine side?  

Not too much. A few pieces of dialogue here and there. Science is not male or female and the quest for longevity, which is really what Dr. Crober is interested in, transcends gender.
Q: You’ve said you wanted to play Doctor Crober as someone in full control, can you elaborate?

Crober is playing with science too, albeit for different reasons than Kira, her patient. She has to be so sure of herself and where she thinks the journey will take mankind to pursue such lofty goals. Saying more would give too much away if you haven't seen the film.
Q: Richard Stanley was a co-writer on Replace. Were you familiar with his work and reputation and did he attend the shooting?

Of course, his reputation is legendary. Richard is a fascinating visionary, an artist. He got a very raw deal on The Island of Dr. Moreau. Fortunately people in the industry realize this and he has some great opportunities coming up. Long overdue.
Q: Replace is such a visually stunning movie with a very precise look. How does seeing that magic happening around you colour your performance? 

To be honest I did not visualize the movie as it was (in the finished film) while on set. I had a picture in my mind when I read the script that was very subjective to my character. The visuals blew me away when I saw the final finished film. It makes sense though I think, that the visuals are so beautiful and striking, as the movie is from the mind of protagonist Kira. She's looking for beauty to support the needs of her soul.

Q: The film has an early David Cronenberg feel, did director Norbert Keil discuss any body horror influences or inspirations with you? 

Cronenberg was a very direct influence. And I think the themes of Richard's work on The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Q: You have now been a guest at many of the world’s fantasy festivals. And this is your second time at FrightFest. Why are these events so important and what makes FrightFest stand out?

I am so grateful to back in the film community and to be fortunate enough to travel to Fests where audiences support and love genre cinema. We are in a transitional period though I believe and festivals for film are one of the only things keeping us alive, supporting new film makers. Film fests are sometimes your only theatrical release so it is of great importance to have your film shown at one that audiences will hopefully love and a distribution company will hopefully buy. FrightFest has a very saavy audience and a very vocal one. You want people to cheer for you and have journalists write a nice review to get distribution companies to make you an offer! 

Q: You’re more prolific in the genre than ever. You had four movies showing at FrightFest in 2015 and you have another four in post-production. You are clearly enjoying it more this time around? 

I'm having a ball really while enjoying the work in a way I never did before. I'm much more relaxed about my place in the business and I enjoy helping others realize the same dreams I had at a young age. I am invested in each project I work on even if I'm not involved in a producer capacity. I want to help others create the best film they possibly can.

Q: You’ve chosen to be a mentor for FrightFest & MPI Media’s NEW BLOOD Initiative. Is supporting new genre writers an important mission for you?

I am passionate about having the best script possible to begin the journey to creating a film. I do think that too many times the script isn't as good as it could be and "people" forgive themselves too soon about that and forge ahead with submitting a script or filming without being completely ready. The script is your foundation, spend lots of time on it. I love writers. They have the capacity for insight and understanding of human nature, of people's vulnerabilities, strengths and desires. When I read a great script with characters I care about, I fall in love with the writer a little bit.
I feel I can help a lot with the development process of a screenplay. Character is story and story is character. The journey that an actor will take in the story is something I am very familiar with and have worked on a lot. The script is the very first thing you begin with, so let's get that right first. Then we can discuss the importance of making a great first impression with your freshman effort if you want to direct it as well. It used to be that you made a film and people in charge would see "promise" in you and you'd be able to move on to your next movie. That's becoming harder and harder for a lot of reasons. Make the best damn first film you can.
My friend, esteemed journalist and film critic, Steve Prokopy said to me recently, "20% of all movies are truly great or really awful. The rest exist in a grey zone of average, above average or below average."  What kind of movie do you want people to say you've made? Impressions are important on a first date and a first movie.

Q: You’re increasingly becoming involved in films as a producer. Do you feel this is a natural progression in your career?

At this point in my life and career it depends on the project. If I really love something I'll want to work on it. For me a story needs a strong narrative with an emotional core. That's what my sensibilities are attracted to. I really love acting and I do enjoy helping others realize their dream.

Q: Finally, what’s next?

I have two projects that I'm actively working on to produce. One, I may have an acting part in as well. There are also a few movies which I shot in the last two years or so as an actor only and they are still in various stages of post-production. Hopefully I'll be seeing you next year on the fest circuit with one of those!
REPLACE receives its UK Premiere on Sunday 27 Aug, 3.30pm at The Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square, as part of Horror Channel FrightFest 2017. Barbara is also a mentor for the FrightFest / MPI Media UK script writing talent search NEW BLOOD.

Friday 11 August 2017

Interview with Aaron Mirtes - Writer/Director of "Clowntergeist"

Poltergeist meets IT in Clowntergeist, premiering on VOD September 12 from High Octane Pictures!

"Emma, a college student with a crippling fear of clowns, must come face to face with her worst fear when an evil spirit in the body of a clown is summoned terrorizing the town she calls home. One by one Emma and her friends receive a balloon with the exact time and date of when it will appear to kill them written on it. After receiving her balloon, Emma realizes that she has two days left to live, and must fight against the clock to find a way to survive."

From writer-director Aaron Mirtes comes the film critics say may "reignite your killer clown phobia", Clowntergeist out 9/12 from High Octane Pictures.

Why do you think you gravitate towards horror?

This is fascinating to me because I keep expecting to grow out of horror, but I don’t. I keep falling deeper in love with the genre. I’m a sweet Tennessee guy in touch with his emotions who loves to laugh and spend time with family. That’s why it has come as such a shock to every friend, family member, and girlfriend that I’m such a huge horror fan.

I think it’s because of my anxiety. Anxiety disorders run in the family and I’ve been terrified of everything since I was three and four years old. I struggled with phobias my whole life and intense panic. I discovered horror movies as a teenager and they really helped me understand my fears and control my anxious emotions.

As I grew older, I got medical help and got the anxiety completely under control, but my fascination with horror deepened. Fear is such a primal thing, and when the “fear button” is broken in your brain like it was in mine you learn a lot about it! I love taking that knowledge to build thrill rides for people to enjoy! Making lemonade out of lemons, y'know?

Do you remember your first horror movie?

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. I was terrified of horror movies as a kid but was obsessed with filmmaking. When I was 13 I decided that if I wanted to be a filmmaker I would have to watch all genres of movies. I watched Psycho because I thought it wouldn’t be scary since it was in black and white. Big mistake. I was horrified, but I immediately fell in love with the thrill ride a horror movie provided. I watched Cloverfield, Cat’s Eye, and The Invasion that same day and my love was cemented.

Is it a favorite? If not, what are some of your favorites?

Some of my recent favorite horror movies have been Don’t Breathe, Evil Dead (remake), Oculus, Hush, It Follows, Green Room, Drag Me To Hell, The House of the Devil, The Neon Demon, The Orphanage, and Let The Right One In.

Some of my older favorites are The Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Wolfman, The Haunting, Rosemary’s Baby, The Mummy, Halloween, Scream, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead, Psycho, and The Thing.

Do you recall the first time a movie had you squirming in your seat?

The first time I saw The House of the Devil I almost had to turn it off. It was the first time a movie truly horrified me. I also remember seeing It Follows in theaters and being hilariously squirm-y.

Would you say any of them – or the directors of those films – have influenced your own work?

Absolutely! Ti West, Adam Wingard, Alfred Hitchcock, James Wan, Sam Raimi, Steven Spielberg, Dario Argento, Roman Polanski, James Whale, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, the list goes on!

Do you think it’s harder to scare audiences these days?

Nah, that’s a common sentiment but people are people and you will always be able to play with their instincts that make them experience fear. It’s harder to disgust people for sure, but I’m not in the business of disgust. I’m in the business of suspense, horror, and making audiences scream.

In regards to the new film, is there a scene or sequence or a performance you’re especially proud of?

I am so excited about what Eric Corbin did with his portrayal of the clown. It’s so fresh and exciting and new, I think people are going to really enjoy it. I’m also extremely proud of the car chase sequence at the end. The fact that we pulled it off at all is still mind-blowing to me.

Is there a moment that came together on the set that wasn’t necessarily in the script – or didn’t quite work in the script?

There was a moment that wasn’t really working in the script and I knew I was going to have to work with it on set. I got on set and we ran the sequence and it was, shockingly, incredible! It’s now my favorite sequence in the movie and is all over the trailer (when the clown throws up black bile on Jonah). I was convinced the scene was silly and un-scary and that it would need some major work, but sometimes things come out totally different than you envision them. For better and for worse!

Who do you think deserves more praise for the movie but probably won’t get it? The caterer? The make-up artist? the assistant? The distributor? 

The distributors, High Octane Pictures, have been a dream to work with, and are a huge part of the movie’s success. The cinematographer and the composer have also been incredible. The cinematographer gave us big budget cinematography with basically nothing and the composer wrote, mixed, and recorded the whole score live in a week. They both did some amazing work and I think they tend to go unrecognized.

Do you think this would’ve been a much different movie if a big studio produced it, and a big-name actor starred in it? 

Honestly? Not really. I don’t think we would’ve been able to get away with some of the zanier and gorier things in the movie, but for the most part I was inspired by big studio horror. In fact, I’m hoping to make big studio horror down the road!

How’s the rest of your 2017 looking?
Great! I start production on a new movie in three weeks, which is looking at a summer 2018 release.

Be sure to like me on Facebook (Aaron Mirtes) follow me on Twitter/Instagram (@aaronmirtes) for more crazy clown updates, stories, and behind the scenes photos!

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Five new horror talents shortlisted for second FrightFest Screen Genre Rising Star Award

Tom Paton, Dominic Bridges, Joanne Mitchell, Matthew Holness and Danny Morgan have all been nominated for the second Screen International Genre Rising Star Award, in association with Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 (August 24-28)

The award was established with in 2016 to celebrate the work of emerging UK genre talent, with the first recipient being Prevenge director Alice Lowe. This year’s winner will be announced on Monday August 28 in an event at the Cineworld Leicester Square at 6.30pm. It will be hosted by Screen contributing editor & critic Nikki Baughan and entry is free.

Tom Paton has been shortlisted for his feature debut Redwood, for which he also wrote the screenplay. Playing the Cineworld Discovery screen on FrightFest opening night, the film follows a couple who disturb a nest of vampires while hiking in the woods. Paton is currently working on his follow-up, Black Site.

Dominic Bridges is in the running for his feature debut Freehold (previously titled Two Pigeons), in which he subverts the home invasion thriller to make a chilling point about the urban class divide. Bridges previously directed documentary short Underdog, and episodes of TV series Shelfstackers.

Joanne Mitchell has been shortlisted for her work as an actress and producer on Attack Of The Adult Babies, which sees unwitting two teenagers break into a country house where high-powered men enjoy dressing up as babies, as well as previous genre projects including Bait and Before Dawn.

Matthew Holness has been nominated for his successful migration from the small-screen, where projects including Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and Free Agents, to shorts such as Smuch (which screened as part of Sky’s Halloween Comedy Shorts) and upcoming feature debut Possum. Possum stars Sean Harris as a disgraced childrens’ puppeteer who returns to his childhood home to confront his vicious stepfather.

Danny Morgan has been nominated for his work on horror comedy Double Date, directed by Benjamin Barfoot. Morgan wrote the screenplay and also stars as hapless 30-year-old virgin Jim, whose desire to find love leads him and best friend Alex (Michael Socha) into danger. Morgan has starred in TV shows like Ideal and features including On The Road, and has written several shorts. Double Date is his first feature screenplay.

Screen International editor Matt Mueller said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Horror Channel FrightFest again this year for the Genre Rising Star award. Screen is always eager to support exciting new UK talent and we look forward to announcing the winner at this year’s festival.”

FrightFest co-director Greg Day added: “Identifying and promoting new UK talent is very rewarding and we’re so pleased to continue to do this in partnership with the UK’s leading film industry publication”.

Monday 7 August 2017

Interview with Andersen Prunty by David Kempf

Andersen Prunty lives in Ohio. He writes novels and short stories.

When did you first become interested in writing?

Late middle school or early high school. My friends and I were mostly poor-ish kids living in a conservative rural town in Ohio pre-internet. We wrote for fun. Horror stories and a lot of stuff just to make each other laugh. We were kind of nerdy and really really bored. I started submitting stuff to magazines and ‘zines toward the end of high school and always managed to get a couple things published every year. I guess that was all the encouragement I really needed. I’ve never really thought too seriously about not writing. Despite a lot of life changes over the years, the writing is something that’s always been there. It’s not even really something I think about that much anymore. It’s just something I do whenever I can find the time. 

How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?

It probably goes back to the first time I ever read a Ray Bradbury story. I mean, I’m pretty sure he was the first. Then I remember my mom had some sort of Book-of-the-Month Club thing and I was looking at the catalogue and came across Stephen King’s Pet Sematary (the cover had that creepy cat on it) and I made her order it for me. I was probably only ten or eleven and it was probably not remotely appropriate and it probably took me way too long to read it. I also had an aunt who would let me watch things like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre that really had an effect. I don’t know. I grew up in the ’80s. Horror was kind of everywhere. I imagine a lot of people probably got burned out on it because of this but we didn’t have cable TV and my parents were gripped by the whole Satanic Panic religious fervor of that time so the movies weren’t really allowed in our house but it was so alien to them to have a kid who wanted to read that they never really restricted that so I would grab up cheap paperbacks from used bookstores by people like Stephen King, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Skipp and Spector. Those guys were kind of my rock stars in middle school and early high school.

Do you think your books are too extreme for mainstream readers?

I don’t really think about that. Maybe so. I’ll start telling myself that to justify the lack of sales. That sounds better than just admitting my books suck, I guess. 

Which of your books would you most like to see made into a movie?

Oh man. I would be pretty overwhelmed if anybody wanted to put that much time and effort and dollars into anything I wrote. 

Why do you think horror and fantasy movies remain so popular?

There’s something in it for everybody. From quiet to extreme. G-rated to Unrated. From gripping explorations of difficult emotional territories to straight-up gore and camp. The only real limitations seem to be those the creator wants to impose on her/himself.

What inspires you?

My kids. My girlfriend. Family. Fiction. Film. Art. Nature. Travel. Food. The daily grind of existence. The world around me. It’s probably the same for most people. If I ever get sick of the writing thing (and I do, sometimes daily) I just think about how much pleasure and understanding of the world around me that fiction has given me. It’s also how I met my long-time girlfriend and every other friend I currently have. That’s enough to keep me going. It makes my world bigger.

Tell us about your typical workday. 

Oh boy. It’s a slog. I wake up around 9 and go to work in the same office where I’ve worked for the past decade or so. I sit in a chair and type things into a keyboard and listen to music and podcasts and audiobooks. It’s kind of a lot like writing only there’s no creativity. I eat trail mix and drink coffee and water, lots of water. Sometimes I have to pee a lot and the bathroom doesn’t always smell that great. Then I come home and eat dinner with my girlfriend. We eat a lot of Indian food. Then we take a nap, get up, and make coffee. My girlfriend is a writer too, so this works out because this is when I’ve been doing the bulk of my writing and editing. When we knock off writing we do couples’ stuff like read and watch movies. Then I usually go to bed around 3 or 4 and wake up and do it all again. In a good week, I’ll probably only write ten hours at best.

What do you think the differences between American horror and British horror are?

American’s say “trunk” and the British say “boot.”

I don’t know. This isn’t something I’ve given a lot of thought. I imagine the internet has blurred and will continue to blur a lot of geographic specifics. 

What are your favorite horror books?

I read a lot and probably have too many favorite books to name. Some of the most influential ones for me are:

It by Stephen King
The Books of Blood by Clive Barker
If You Could See Me Now by Peter Straub
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
The first Splatterpunks anthology, edited by Paul M. Sammon
The Association by Bentley Little
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The Greasy Strangler
The Snowtown Murders
The Reflecting Skin
The Human Centipede
Trash Humpers
The Lost
Donnie Darko
Just watched a really good one called 68 Kill, based on the Bryan Smith novel. 

I’m sure I’m leaving a lot out. I watch a lot of movies and most of them are probably horror.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an artist?

The next book! I’m always slightly amazed when it happens. Like, “How did I have time for that?”

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Look at what I’ve done and then do the exact opposite.

What do you think of the self-publishing trend?

I like it. I think it will probably replace (not completely, but to a large extent) the small press. Maybe it already kind of has. I think it will evolve as different groups of like-minded writers buy and read each other’s stuff and will be a little more organic and less forced than some genre cliques. Say what you will about the removal of gatekeepers but, especially in regards to the arts, I don’t see how this can be a bad thing. I’m pretty comfortable about making my own decisions about whether or not I like something. There are writers people have read for years and then their publishing house folds or their genre dies and their readers are like, “Whatever happened to that guy?” Now there’s not really any reason for this to happen. The bottom line is that it provides more people with more chances and that’s always good. 

What are your current projects?

I’m editing my latest book called Failure As a Way of Life. Should be out next year.

Please in your own words, write a paragraph about yourself & your work. 
I’m the author of over twenty novels and short story collections. I founded Grindhouse Press and Atlatl Press and still currently run Atlatl Press. My only real goal with my writing is to tell a compelling story and entertain myself and, hopefully, others as well. I currently live in Dayton, Ohio and need to sell a lot more books so I can move away. You can visit my website at andersenprunty.com and always feel free to send me an email or message me on whatever social networking site you happen to catch me on.

Competition: Win The Transfiguration on DVD

The Transfiguration is out on DVD & Bluray on August 14th and to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies of the DVD to give away.

Set in Queens, New York City, The Transfiguration is an atmospheric drama that focuses on 14-year-old Milo, a troubled outsider who takes refuge in the vampire mythology he studies to the point of obsession. When a chance encounter with equally lonely neighbour Sophie leads him to develop new, romantic feelings, Milo begins struggling to suppress his dark urges - and a terrible secret.

The directorial debut from indie filmmaker Michael O'Shea won plaudits at the 69th Cannes Film Festival for its bold and unusual take on the classic coming-of-age tale, with added bite.

Starring Eric Ruffin & Chloe Levine

Check out the release on Amazon by clicking the link below: (Opens in a new window)
The Transfiguration [DVD] [2017]


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 21-08-17
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Friday 4 August 2017

Interview with Marko Makilaakso - Director of "It Came From The Desert"

1. Tell us about “It Came from the Desert?”
”It came from the desert” is a live-action sequel to the legendary ICFTD games by Cinemaware and set in modern times. The movie has an independent story with new characters but we do live in the same universe with the games and the fans will recognise that. It’s a campy and fun movie with heart! Kind of mix of PG13 scary movies of the 80’s, as well as horror-scifi films of the 50s. It's a tribute to Roger Corman drive-in films, Steven Spielberg produced movies and series of the 80s and Cannon Films’ style of action flicks.

2. What led you to make this famous 80s video game into a film?
It started out as an idea which I presented to the producers. I wanted to make an motocross action film set in a desert with big spiders and in the 80’s vibe. Yes, I said spiders! Inspired by Eight legged freaks and I wanted to call the movie ”It Came From The Desert”, because I loved the game as a kid. So we started to develop the project. I wrote the first draft of the script which still had spiders in it and our producer contacted Cinemaware, the company which produced the ICFTD video game in the late 80’s. He asked if we could use the title of their game in our movie and to our big surprise, not only we got to use the title, but they wanted us to make adaptation of the game! So spiders changed to ants and we started re-writing the script to accommodate the game.

3. Where did you shoot the movie?
We shot it in Almeria, Spain and Turku, Finland in many, many locations. In Almeria desert we used the same locations where ”Indiana Jones and the last crusade”, ”Game of thrones”, ”Good, bad and the ugly” etc was shot. Amazing locations! Even though we didn’t have great deal of time to make the movie, we used the time wisely and managed to pull off lots of complicated scenes in various logistically difficult locations. It was great fun!

4. How was it shooting in Spain? Would you go there again?
Yes, absolutely! I would love to shoot in Spain again and I hope someday I will. I miss the locations and the spirit they gave me. Oh, and I saw Terence Hill while shooting there, which was too damn cool to be true! Hill & Spencer movies are part of my childhood and being there in those locations and actually seeing Mr. Hill.. Awesome!

5. Tell us about working with the actors?
I loved it! It’s tricky to find a cast who gets the tone of the movie like this, but I was lucky to have group of talented actors and actresses to go with me in this crazy ride. Comedy is hard and you can’t fake it. It either works or it doesn’t, but our cast did fantastic job! Of course we all have a different opinion what we consider to be funny, but this movie is funny at least for me!

6. What does this movie mean to you?
This is actually the most personal movie I’ve ever made. Sounds funny considering the genre, but it is! ICFTD is a love letter to the movies I grew up with and movies I love. It also have been wonderful to get support from the makers who inspired the movie, like Joe Dante and the Corman’s. Dreams do come true!

7. What can the audience expect from It came from the desert?
It’s fun and entertaining movie that gives a shout-out to the old drive-in flicks from the 50s and 60s as well as movies from the 80s. You can just kick back and enjoy the ride with six pack or something else! ;)

8. What is the status of the movie at the moment?
We have still a month of Post-production and then it’s ready. I can’t wait to show the movie to the world!


Thursday 3 August 2017

Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 announces Short Film Showcase

With twenty-six films over three days, including ten World, four European and seven UK premieres, Horror Channel FrightFest’s short film showcase unleashes this year’s eclectic mix of the bold, brave, bloody and barmy with films programmed to entertain, frighten, enlighten and simply amaze.

Shaun Dooley & Sally Phillips in BLOOD SHED

There are twelve films from the United Kingdom, forming the centerpiece of this year’s line-up. These include James Moran’s BLOOD SHED, starring Shaun Dooley and Sally Phillips, where a man’s love of his garden shed takes a rather murderous turn. In JUDGEMENT, Neil Maskell stars as a single man looking for love in all the wrong places and Laurence R. Harvey shines as a mutated children’s’ toy in TEDDY BEAR’S PICNIC. Then there’s Katie Bonham’s MAB, about a girl who turns to witchcraft to teach someone a lesson.

The other home-grown offerings see people haunted by ghostly figures in HELD DOWN BY A SHADOW and MAYFLOWER, while humans are the threat in THE WELCOMING and MISDIRECTION. Other dimensions hold secrets and sway in EVENT HORIZON and HUM, while the house down the lane holds horror in the Cannes-selected REAL GODS REQUIRE BLOOD. And finally, SMEAR will make you laugh all the way to the most uncomfortable procedure at the doctors’ surgery.

Neil Maskell in JUDGEMENT 

Horror from around the world will creep up on you, first as a cat with a deadly secret in MEOW, then as a woman out for revenge in FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL…Being alone in a strange house is no laughing matter in DRIP DROP and ROTARY, while one should be careful of what lurks behind the doors in CRESWICK and FEEDING TIME, which stars Stacy Snyder and Graham Skipper. And if you think butterflies are just cute flying insects, VOCABULARY 1 might change your mind.

Love can tear you apart or set you free in the gorgeous fantasies of BAD HEADS and NIMMER, while the loss and search for loved ones becomes an obsession in MAN IN THE MOON and AN ELDRITCH PLACE. And the lure of power is too much for some people when the realm of science fiction makes the unbelievable seem real, in KEPT and TETHER.

In addition to the showcases, there are two special short film screenings. Preceding our opening night film ‘Cult of Chucky’ is THE DOLLHOUSE, a loving tribute to growing up in the world of the psychokiller doll, directed by Kyra Gardner. And our very own short film programmer Shelagh Rowan-Legg’s new film FLOW will have its European premiere preceding the screening of DHOGS..

Shelagh said today: "This year Horror Channel FrightFest's short film selection will take you from the darkest reaches of space to the darkest corners of the bedroom closet. With babysitters who are just a bit too inquisitive, manipulative men getting their just desserts, mothers trying to help their video-game addicted sons, security guards confronted by other-worldly monsters: these shorts from the UK and around the world offer the new wave of fantastic genre cinema”.

The full line-up
(Prince Charles Cinema)

THE WELCOMING (World Premiere)
Director: Russ Gomm. Cast: Isabel Calder, Ben Shockley. UK 2017. 7 mins.
A little girl goes wandering in the woods. But some who wander might end up lost in darker places.

ROTARY (World Premiere)
Director: Lorenzo P. Adams. Cast: Emma Fawkes, David M. Goldberg. US 2017. 11 mins.
This babysitter’s childminding nights are usually uneventful. But not this evening…

BAD HEADS (London Premiere)
Director: Rebekah Fieschi. Cast: Alice Dessuant, Diako Diakoff. France 2015.  14 mins.
Jenny wants love so much she is willing to create it from scratch. But what she creates might not be what she wants.

Director: Nic Alderton. Cast: Lucy Cudden, Daniel Caltagirone. UK 2017. 9 mins.
Steph, a married but lonely woman, meets an intriguing stranger at a bar. His charm might be more deadly than she imagines.

FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL…(European Premiere)
Director: Izzy Lee. Cast: Sean Carmichael, Tristan Risk. US 2017. 12 mins.
A man who uploads a homemade sex video taken in secret gets more than he bargained for when he makes a pit stop.

TETHER (International Premiere)
Director: Tim Reis. Cast: Mark Ashworth. US 2017. 12 mins.
A soldier in battle. A surgical team remotely repairing him. Warfare just hit a new level.

KEPT (World Premiere)
Director: Jaime Gonzalez. Cast: Jairo Camargo,  Manuel Sarmiento. Colombia 2017.m18 mins.
Scientists have discovered a way to record dreams, and those with ulterior motives waste no time exploiting those whose dreams are the most powerful.

MEOW (European Premiere)
Director: Chris Jopp. Cast: Eleonore Dendy, Charles Hubbell. US 2016. 13 mins.
Samantha has a new apartment, and a cat she must keep hidden from the landlord. But that might be hard with all the bodies that keep appearing.


Director: Joséfa Celestin. Cast: Kate McLaughlin, Lori Stott. UK 2016. 10 mins.
Julianne is reluctant to leave childhood behind. But her fear of the future manifests in a strange celestial object that she must confront.

Director: Monique Mulcahy. Cast: Pauline Grace, JC Innamorati. Australia 2016. 13 mins.
A single mother is concerned about her son’s obsession with a homemade video game. But her obsession turns to fear when she intercepts a strange transmission.

MAYFLOWER (World Premiere)
Director: Christopher Goodman. Cast: Jason Ryall. UK 2017. 7 mins.
A young engineer wakes up from cryo-sleep during a routine deep space flight. Was it due to a false alarm, or something more sinister?

VOCABULARY 1 (London Premiere)
Director: Becky James. Cast: Emma Roselle. US 2016.
Snakes are dangerous, and butterflies are cute. But is that really the case?

NIMMER (London Premiere)
Director: Lieven Vanhove. Cast: Geert Vandyck, Sarah Eisa. Belgium 2016. 16 mins.
A lighthouse. Two lovers. A dangerous cliff and the turbulent sea. Time is running out.

Director: Matt Mercer. Cast: Stacy Snyder, Graham Skipper. US 2016. 13 mins.
When a young woman fills in for her friend on a babysitting job, she begins to suspect things are not as they seem.

Director: Moin Hussain. Cast: Anna Berentzen, Kirsty Doyle. UK 2017. 20 mins.
A young woman does her neighbour a favour and looks after her young children. But something is lurking in the shadows.

BLOOD SHED (World Premiere)
Director: James Moran. Cast: Shaun Dooley, Sally Phillips. UK 2017. 13 mins.
Jack loves a bargain. And he loves sheds. But when he gets his very own dream shed, it might be a little more than he bargained for.


Director: Thomas Hodge. Cast: Abby Miller, Laurence R. Harvey. UK 2017. 5 mins.
When this young mother and her daughter go out in the woods today, they are definitely in for a big surprise.

MAB (World Premiere)
Director: Katie Bonham. Cast: Maria Teresa, Lucy Clements. UK 2017. 15 mins.
Rosie makes strange daily deliveries to an isolated woman in the woods. But one day Rosie needs the woman’s services, which she never imagined.

Director: Julien Jauniaux. Cast: Ludovic Philips, Habib Ben Tanfous. Belgium 2016. 16 mins.
When Abdel accepts a night watchman job for Francis, he'll soon discover his obscure secret.

HUM (London Premiere)
Director: Stefano Nurra. Cast: Adam Shaw, James Bryce. UK 2017. 15 mins.
A grieving plumber seeks out a disgraced quantum physicist to rid himself of a tormenting "Hum".

DRIP DROP (UK Premiere)
Director: Jonna Nilsson. Cast: Siham Shurafa. Sweden, 2016. 8 mins.
A woman returns home to find there is no water in the house. Later that night, the water returns in the form of a steady drip.

JUDGEMENT (World Premiere)
Director: Sean Healy. Cast: Neil Maskell, Sura Dohnke. UK 2017. 5 mins.
Tom is getting on well with Ann, so well that she introduces him to her son, Jed. But Tom might be in for more than he had in mind….

CRESWICK (London Premiere)
Director: Natalie Erika James. Cast: Dana Miltins, Chris Orchard. Australia, 2016. 9 mins.
While a woman helps her father pack up his house, they are both increasingly aware of the presence that they always knew was there.

Director: Alex Peace. Cast: May Kelly, Katie Marie-Carter. UK 2017. 18 mins.
Scarlett hasn't gone to bed with the light off in a very long time. But every night, she wakes up in the dark unable to move...and she's not alone.

SMEAR (World Premiere)
Director: Kate Herron. Cast: Sophia di Martino, Isabella Laughland. UK 2017. 4 mins.
Chloe has to get a pap smear. Things are going to get messy.


THE DOLLHOUSE (World Premiere) Preceding CULT OF CHUCKY
Director: Kyra Gardner. Cast: Don Mancini, Brad Dourif. US 2017. 7 mins.
A filmmaker who grew up with the Chucky doll seeks out the other families surrounding the franchise to get their perspective on life with Chucky.

FLOW (European Premiere) preceding DHOGS
Director: Shelagh Rowan-Legg. Cast: Jamie Birkett, Lucy Clements. UK 2017. 5 mins.
When two women rebels are involved in a skirmish, they have more to argue about than the enemy...

Horror Channel FrightFest runs from 24th - 28th August 2017 at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema.

Single tickets and passes are available to buy online:  http://www.frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html

For full programme details and timetables go to: www.frightfest.co.uk

Follow: @frightfest on Twitter.