Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for December, 2012


The Exorcist – Cool Wool Artwork


Piranha 3D Puppet – For Sale…

Check out this mechanical Piranha puppet video from Piranha 3D, up for sale right now on the Prop Store website HERE

The Omen – Poster Art

Poster art for The Omen, from the USA, Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey.

The Omen_poster art

Lee Remick

The Omen_Lee Remick_bannerLee Ann Remick (December 14, 1935 – July 2, 1991) was an American film and television actress. Among her best-known films are Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), and The Omen (1976).

The Omen_Lee RemickRemick was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, the daughter of Gertrude Margaret (née Waldo), an actress, and Francis Edwin “Frank” Remick, who owned a department store. Remick attended the Swaboda School of Dance, The Hewitt School and studied acting at Barnard College and the Actors Studio, making her Broadway theatre debut in 1953 with Be Your Age.

Remick made her film debut in Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd (1957). After appearing as Eula Varner, the hot-blooded daughter-in-law of Will Varner (Orson Welles) in 1958’s The Long, Hot Summer, she appeared in These Thousand Hills as a dance hall girl. However, Remick came to prominence as a rape victim whose husband is tried for killing her attacker in Otto Preminger’s classic Anatomy of a Murder. She made a second film with Elia Kazan called Wild River (1960).

THE OMEN GALLERY 200In 1962, she starred in the Blake Edwards suspense-thriller Experiment in Terror. That same year she was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress for her performance as the alcoholic wife of Jack Lemmon in Days of Wine and Roses. 

Remick received a Tony Award nomination in 1966 for her role as a blind woman terrorized by drug smugglers in the thriller Wait Until Dark. She featured in some poor movies for the next few years until she co-starred with Gregory Peck in the 1976 horror film The Omen, in which her character’s adopted son, Damien, is revealed to be the Anti-Christ. The American/British suspense horror film was directed by Richard Donner and also featured David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton and Leo McKern. Scripted by David Seltzer, who also wrote the novel, it is the first in The Omen series of films, which only became a trilogy when the script’s original ending was changed (and of course the huge box-office take), from Robert Thorn succeeding in killing Damien. Apparently the studio head Alan Ladd, Jr. and the Richard Donner refused to conclude the film with that ending, so Seltzer altered the script to the ending which was filmed with Robert Thorn being shot by the police and Damien surviving.

The Omen_Gregory Peck_Lee RemickThere are of course numerous urban legends surrounding the film, a series of events happened during the making of “The Omen” (October 1975 to January 1976) that caused some speculation as to whether or not the film was “cursed”.

Separate flights for both actor Gregory Peck and executive producer Mace Neufeld were struck by lightning when flying between the USA and England, and producer Harvey Bernhard was barely missed by a lightning bolt in Rome. A restaurant that Neufeld and Peck were to eat at in England was bombed by the IRA.

The Omen_Lee Remick_Gregory PeckA plane hired by the studio to take aerial shots in Israel was switched at the last moment by the airline, and the clients who took the original plane were all killed when it crashed on takeoff. Some time later, a zookeeper who was helping the studio with handling animals was attacked and eaten alive by lions.

And the best one… On Friday, August 13, 1976, special effects artist John Richardson got into an accident in Holland while working on A Bridge Too Far, right after work on The Omen was done. Less than a year after designing the deaths for The Omen, Richardson’s car was involved in a major accident which killed and decapitated his female companion, in a way similar to David Warner’s death in The Omen. It is rumored that upon stumbling out of his car he saw a road sign that said he was 66.6 kilometers from the town of Ommen.

The Omen_posterShe featured in the Don Siegel directed action film Telefon (1977), with Charles Bronson; and The Medusa Touch a 1978 British supernatural thriller directed by Jack Gold, starring Richard Burton.

Remick later appeared in several made-for-TV movies or miniseries (for which she earned seven Emmy nominations). Most were of a historical nature, including two noted miniseries: Ike, in which she portrayed Kay Summersby, alongside Robert Duvall as General Dwight Eisenhower, and Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill where she portrayed Winston Churchill’s mother.

In 1990, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award. Remick died on July 2, 1991, at the age of 55, at her home in Los Angeles of kidney and liver cancer.

Pacific Rim – Trailer

When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes — a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) — who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

The Lord of the Rings – Mondo Poster by Olly Moss


Man of Steel – Trailer

I wasn’t going to post it… but the second official trailer for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (2013) looks interesting. An alien infant is raised on Earth, and grows up with superhuman abilities. He sets out to use these abilities to guard his adopted world. Starring Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon.

Tony Todd

Tony Todd_movie bannerAnthony T. “Tony” Todd (born December 4, 1954) is an American actor and film producer, known for his height of 6’5″, (1.96 m) and deep voice. He is well known for playing the Candyman in the horror movie franchise of the same name, for playing William Bludworth in Final Destination, for voicing the Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, for voicing Dreadwing in Transformers: Prime, for playing Reverend Zombie in Hatchet and its sequel Hatchet II, and for guest-starring roles on numerous television shows.

Tony ToddTodd was born in Washington, D.C. He grew up in Hartford, Connecticut, where he attended local schools. He attended the University of Connecticut and studied at the Eugene O’Niell National Theatre Institute.

He has appeared in more than 100 screen and television films, and has played opposite many major stars in Hollywood. His movie credits include: Platoon (1986), Night of the Living Dead (1990), Candyman (1992), The Crow (1994), Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), The Rock (1996), Wishmaster (1997), Candyman: Day of the Dead (1999) the Final Destination series (2000–2011), and Minotaur (2006).

Tony Todd_CandymanCandyman was directed by Bernard Rose and is based on the short story The Forbidden by Clive Barker, though the film’s scenario is switched from England to the Cabrini-Green public housing development on Chicago’s Near North Side. The plot follows a graduate student completing a thesis on urban legends who encounters the legend of “Candyman”, an artist and son of a slave who was murdered and his hand replaced with a hook.

Todd was also in a horror film about Edgar Allan Poe called Poe in 2012. Todd was a special guest of the Weekend of Horror Creation Entertainment on May 23, 2010, and the Screamfest LA. Tony starred in Hatchet 2, which was released in a limited number of theatres on October 1, 2010. As Final Destination 5 returned to the series’ roots, Todd returned as William Bludworth.

Tony_Todd_in_Final_Destination_5_Wallpaper_7_800Todd has also acted on Broadway and television, gaining particular renown for his appearances in popular science fiction/fantasy series.

His other television appearances include a recurring role on Boston Public and guest appearances on Law & Order, Homocide: Life on the Street, Hercules: The Legendary Journey’s, Xena Warrior Princess, The X-Files, Smallville, Angel, 24, Charmed, Stargate SG-1, Andromeda and Criminal Minds. He also played a lead role in the Babylon 5 TV movie A Call to Arms. 

The Graves_Tony ToddMore recently, he starred as General Whitman in the 2010-2011 science fiction television series The Event alongside Candyman co-star Virginia Madsen. He currently plays the voices of the Decepticon named Dreadwing on Transformers: Prime, and Icon in Young Justice. 

Todd is noted in Star Trek fandom for portraying the character of Worf’s brother Kurn on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also had guest roles as the Alpha Hirogen in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and as the adult Jake Sisko in the award-winning Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Visitor. 

Shaun of the Dead – Poster Art



Stephen King Action Figure by Mike Leavitt

Check out this awesome Stephen King action figure by artist Mike Leavitt… check out his website HERE


Lee J. Cobb

Lee J Cobb_movie banner Lee J. Cobb (December 8, 1911 – February 11, 1976) was an American actor. He is best known for his Academy Award-nominated performance in On the Waterfront (1954), as an irate juror in 12 Angry Men (1957), and one of his last films, The Exorcist (1973). He also played the role of Willy Loman in the original Broadway performance of Arhtur Miller’s 1949 play Death of a Salesman under the direction of Elia Kazan.

The Exorcist_Kinderman_KarrasBorn Leo Jacob in New York City, he grew up in The Bronx on Wilkins Avenue, near Crotona Park. His parents were Benjamin (Benzion) Jacob, a compositor for a foreign-language newspaper, and Kate Neilecht. Cobb studied at New York University before making his film debut in The Vanishing Shadow (1934). In 1939 he featured in the serial The Phantom Creeps with Béla Lugosi. During World War II Cobb served in the First Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Force.

The Exorcist_promo still_Lee J Cobb_Jason Miller_1Cobb entered films in the 1930’s, successfully playing middle-aged and even older men while he was still a youth. He appeared as James Coburn’s supervisor in the spy spoofs In Like Flint and Our Man Flint, he reprised his role of Willy Loman in the 1966 CBS television adaptation of Death of a Salesman, Cobb was nominated for an Emmy Award for the performance. 

Cobb was accused of being a possible Communist in testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee because of his involvement in left-wing political causes and his support of political and charitable organizations alleged to be Communist fronts. He was called to testify before HUAC but refused to do so for two years until, with his career threatened by the blacklist, he relented in 1953 and gave testimony in which he named 20 people as former members of the Communist Party USA. Later, Cobb explained why he “named names” saying:

The Exorcist_promo still_Lee J Cobb_Jason Miller_2When the facilities of the government of the United States are drawn on an individual it can be terrifying. The blacklist is just the opening gambit—being deprived of work. Your passport is confiscated. That’s minor. But not being able to move without being tailed is something else. After a certain point it grows to implied as well as articulated threats, and people succumb. My wife did, and she was institutionalized. The HUAC did a deal with me. I was pretty much worn down. I had no money. I couldn’t borrow. I had the expenses of taking care of the children. Why am I subjecting my loved ones to this? If it’s worth dying for, and I am just as idealistic as the next fellow. But I decided it wasn’t worth dying for, and if this gesture was the way of getting out of the penitentiary I’d do it. I had to be employable again. – Interview with Victor Navasky for the 1982 book Naming Names.

The Exorcist_promo still_Lee J Cobb_1Following the hearing he resumed his career and worked with Elia Kazan and Budd Shulberg, two other HUAC “friendly witnesses”, on the 1954 film On the Waterfront, which is widely seen as an allegory and apologia for testifying.

In 1957 he appeared in Sidney Lumet’s classic 12 Angry Men as the abrasive Juror #3. He featured in noir thriller The Trap (195), Exodus (1960), How the West Was Won (1962), and the Clint Eastwood classic Coogan’s Bluff (1968). In 1968 his performance as King Lear achieved the longest run (72 performances) for the play in Broadway history.

The Exorcist_large posterOne of his final film roles was that of police detective Lt. Kinderman in the 1973 horror film The Exorcist. Lieutenant Kinderman (Cobb), is a close friend of Father Karras (Jason Miller), he is investigating the death of film director Burke Dennings (Jack MacGowan), who after visiting the MacNeil home, died violently, and was found at the bottom of steps that run the full length of the house. Dennings broke his neck upon landing and in a classic scene from the movie, Kinderman  confides in Karras that Dennings’ head was found fully twisted around his shoulders. In the Alternate Ending on the 2000 Extended Director’s Cut, just as Father Dyer (Father William O’Malley) says his goodbyes to Chris and Regan, Kinderman approaches him to also bid farewell, only to learn from Dyer that he just missed them. He invites Dyer to a movie (and then lunch, when Dyer said he had already seen the movie), and the two depart from the house.

Cobb died of a heart attack in February 1976 in Woodland Hills, California, and was buried in Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. He was inducted, posthumously, into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.

Richard O. Fleischer

Richard O Fleischer_movie bannerRichard O. Fleischer (December 8, 1916 – March 25, 2006) was an American film director. Fleischer was born in Brooklyn, the son of Essie (née Goldstein) and animator/producer Max Fleischer. He started in motion pictures as director of animated shorts produced by his father including entries in the Betty Boop, Popeye and Superman series.

Richard FleischerHis live-action film career began in 1942 at the RKO studio, directing shorts, documentaries, and compilations of forgotten silent features, which he called Flicker Flashbacks. He won an Academy Award as producer of the 1947 documentary Design for Death, co-written by Theodor Geisel (later known as Dr. Seuss), which examined the cultural forces that led to Japan’s imperial expansion through World War II.

the-boston-strangler-movie-posterFleischer directed his first feature in 1946. His other early films were taut film noir thrillers such as Bodyguard (1948), The Clay Pigeon (1949), Armored Car Robbery (1950), and The Narrow Margin (1952). In 1948, Fleischer also directed So This Is New York, a cynically sophisticated comedy. In 1954, he was chosen by Walt Disney (his father’s former rival as a cartoon producer) to direct 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason and Peter Lorre. It was a great success with both the critics and the public. As a result, Fleischer became known for big features, often employing special effects, such as Barabbas (1961), Fantastic Voyage (1966), Doctor Dolittle (1967), and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). He also directed many action adventures such as Violent Saturday (1955), Bandido (1956), The Vikings (1958), and Mr. Majestyk (1974).

However, Fleischer also directed a superb trilogy of films centering on famous serial killers and focusing on the theme of capital punishment:

The Boston Strangler_Tony CurtisCompulsion (1959), in which Artie Strauss (Bradford Dillman) and Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell) kill a boy on his way home from school in order to commit the “perfect crime”. Strauss tries to cover it up, but they are caught when police find a key piece of evidence – Steiner’s glasses, which he left at the scene of the crime.

The Boston Strangler (1968), which starred Tony Curtis as Albert DeSalvo, the strangler, and Henry Fonda as John S. Bottomly, the chief detective now famed for obtaining DeSalvo’s confession. The first part of the film shows the police investigation, with some examples of the seedier side of Boston life, including promiscuity in the adult quarters of the city. The second part shows the apprehension of DeSalvo. Bottomly’s intent is to answer the question presented in the film’s famous print ad: Why did 13 women open their doors to the Boston Strangler?

10 Rillington Place_John Hurt10 Rillington Place (1971), which dramatises the case of British serial killer John Christie (Richard Attenborough), who committed most or all of his crimes in the titular apartment, and the miscarriage of justice involving Timothy Evans. The film relies on the same argument advanced by Ludovic Kennedy in his book Ten Rillington Place, that Evans was innocent of the murders and was framed by Christie. That argument has now been accepted by the Crown, when Evans was officially pardoned by Roy Jenkins in 1966. The case is one of the first major miscarriages of justice known to have occurred in the immediate post-war period.

He also helmed Soylent Green (1973), a cautionary tale starring Charlton Heston and, in his final film, Edward G. Robinson. The film depicts the investigation into the murder of a wealthy businessman in a dystopian future suffering from pollution, overpopulation, depleted resources, poverty, dying oceans, and a hot climate due to the greenhouse effect. Much of the population survives on processed food rations, including the mysterious “soylent green”.

Soylent Green_Charlton HestonSome of his entertainments are regarded as controversial and provocative, such as Che! (1969), a biopic of Che Guevara, and the interracial melodrama of the Deep South in Mandingo (1975).

Fleischer was chairman of Fleischer Studios, which today handles the licensing of Betty Boop and Koko the Clown. In June 2005, he released his memoirs of his father’s career in Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution. Fleischer’s 1993 autobiography, Just Tell Me When to Cry, described his many difficulties with actors, writers and producers.

He died in his sleep in 2006, aged 89, after having been in failing health for the better part of a year.

Joe Hill – Classifieds

Courtesy of Blurppy: This classified Ad has been popping up all over various social media over the last few days. When you click on the classified it takes you HERE to Joe Hill’s Facebook page.  Between Facebook and Joe’s personal TWITTER page you can keep up with all the latest announcements for his latest release NOS4A2 and everything else Joe sinks his teeth into.


Crawlspace – Trailer

Check out the trailer for the new Justin Dix directed, Australian horror movie Crawlspace… and don’t forget to check out my exclusive 2-part interview with special effects guru and director Justin Dix HERE (part 1) and HERE (part 2) for insight into Justin’s account of the film-making process, his thoughts on horror and the state of the Australian film industry. You should also check out the website for Justin’s Melbourne based SFX studio, Wicked of Oz, for information about all of his work, past, present and future HERE


Run For Your Life, Charlie Brown – By Dennis Davies

Man of Steel and Justice League News

Check out this viral-released poster for the forthcoming Man of Steel, as well as an exclusive interview with the films Producer, Christopher Nolan who discusses that Zack Snyder directed movie as well as the possible Justice League movie. Interview can be read at The Playlist HERE


Crawlspace – Justin Dix Interview – Part 2

Crawlspace_Justin Dix_bannerGEORDIE: Since Rogue, Greg has spent his time as an executive producer but now has two features in pre-production in a directing capacity, one of them the long-awaited sequel to Wolf Creek, how close are we to seeing Mick Taylor again?

JUSTIN: Greg is in pre-production with Wolf Creek 2 right now, since then Greg’s company, ‘Wolf Creek Pictures’  has been and continues to attach itself as one of the production companies and Greg as Executive Producer for films like ‘Red Hill’ and of course ‘Crawlspace’.  There are several other production that are in early stages of development that ‘Wolf Creek Pictures’ is attached too. 

CS_4K_TIMED.0000002 copyGEORDIE: The Australian film industry is either in a healthy state, or at deaths door, depending on who’s sound bite we hear from one week to the next. How difficult was it raising the capital in Australia to fund your debut feature? What is your take on the current state of the Australian film Industry?

JUSTIN: It’s a very good question, my answer to that is that we have not been in a healthy state for a very long time.   Of course when you hear about films like ‘The Sapphire’s’ and ‘Red Dog’s’ success here in Australia, but they don’t really translate overseas and these success stories are once in a blue moon. When our films travel abroad, they are generally regarded as being in the art house or specialist category as we have consistently produced drama and we rarely make action or genre films that rely on special effects because they are considered expensive genres.   But these are the sort of films that have true commercial success internationally. I also disagree that these films are too expensive to produce, the average American action film with a star like Jean-Claude Van Damme or a Jim Caviezel has a budget of 3 million dollars, and then you have the 1 million and under horror model in the US which has spawned an incredible amount of success stories from ‘Saw’, ‘Insidious’, Paranormal Activity”, ‘I Saw the Devil’ and recently ‘Sinister’ and many more which have gone on to make hundred and hundreds of millions of dollars, which in turn create opportunities for new film makers.  But, an average Australian film in a genre with no international appeal is around 4-6 million dollars and would be very lucky to ever see it make money back.  I feel here in Australia we have become lazy film makers due to government funding and handouts.  In America, they don’t have any such entities and have to work for a living – so the projects are based on commercial viability, about how to make money and how to get bums in seats. 

To truly have a healthy film industry we need to be producing at least one hundred films a year. This would not only keep the crew and actors in Australia really busy, but create hundreds if not thousands of new jobs for people wanting to get into the film industry here.  They would need to be of commercial value, and I don’t mean ‘American accents’ – those days a long gone, and in fact it did not hinder ‘Crawlspace’ one bit, it was mentioned on many occasions that it was the point of difference that made it unique. At the moment we produce somewhere between twenty five to forty feature films a year if we are lucky.   In Hollywood they produce anywhere between four hundred to six hundred feature films a year, they have a film industry.

We also need to embrace the commerciality, action, sci-fi and horror, these films breakdown the language barrier that comedies and dramas will suffer for in overseas markets. Now, nobody goes out to make a bad horror or action flick, but if you do, there is still a market for that- but if you make a bad drama or comedy, there is zero market for it. Hell, there is barely a market for a good Australian Drama or Comedy, even in Australia, not something we like to say out aloud, but it’s true.

CS_4K_TIMED.0000006 copyGEORDIE: Australian film has a long history of quality horror films, from the classic schlocky 70’s and 80’s fare through to the box office success of Wolf Creek, and to a lesser extent the independent flicks such as The Tunnel and Redd Inc. What will Crawlspace add to the mix?

JUSTIN: Crawlspace will add into the mix exactly what I was saying in the previous answer, that we can make these types of films here, and I mean big looking action set pieces with huge production value at an economical cost, without reverting to Aussie actors doing American accents. 

Thank God for Sam Worthington, that lad is paving the way for many an Aussie actor in Hollywood to use their natural accent. I’ve always felt that ‘Mad Max 2’ aka ‘The Road Warrior’ in the US, paved the way for the post apocalyptic film genre and America has been running with it ever since, where as we kind of went in a different direction wanting to be taken a little more seriously. 

What I wanted to do with ‘Crawlspace’ is get back to that kind of Aussie film making.  Who’s to say that America has cart-blanch on Alien conspiracies, post apocalyptic wastelands, found footage poltergeists or zombie apocalypses. I wanted to do an Aussie film that could slot right in there but without compromising the Australian content. Hell, ‘Crawlspace’ is set right in the middle of the Australian desert, just under it, in a real base called Pine Gap. Basically known as Australia’s Area 51- this is our backyard people, and it’s ripe for great stories and movies to be made. 

I’m so looking forward to getting back to the days of ‘Ozploitation’ a time in the late 70’s and 80’s when break-neck-action and schlock-horror were the staples of Australian cinema.

Crawlspace_ConceptGEORDIE: Greg has been associated with the term ‘Splat Pack’ with Alexandre Aja, Darren Lynn Bousman, Neil Marshall, Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, James Wan and Leigh Whannell. What have you planned next, will we be seeing Justin’s name on that list soon?

JUSTIN: I would love to be considered to be part of the ‘splat pack’ one day, we will just have to wait and see. Next for me is one of three feature films I already have written and have been pitching in LA – ‘Declassified’ ‘Riding Hood’ and ‘High Moon’.   Of course having ‘Crawlspace’ as a finished film helps enormously as a calling card and with my background in Production Design and Special Effects make-up I’m able to present the projects in the pitches in various visual ways including set design, make-up tests and storyboards. This goes a really long way as they can see you have a real handle on the visuals and how you are going to achieve what is in your script.

GEORDIE: Crawlspace has had a few festival screenings already, when and where can we see Crawlspace nationally?

JUSTIN: Crawlspace had it’s public world premier in Spain at the Sitges film festival in October. Sitges is recognised as the foremost genre film festival in the world, it was huge with over three hundred films showing over the course of the festival and international guests such as Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Dario Argento and many more in attendance. It was an amazing festival and I was able to attend with thanks to Screen Australia.   

From there I went over to L.A. to Screamfest Horror Film Festival for the US premiere of ‘Crawlspace’,  again meeting many other fantastic film makers (and the iconic John Carpenter), but also picking up the coveted Screamfest awards for best special effects make-up and best soundtrack which was brilliant. 

The film then has done the rounds of a few Aussie film festivals and is due for a simultaneous VOD and limited theatrical release in the US from the 4th of January 2013. From there it will start to be released worldwide on multiple platforms, including Australia, sometime in Jan or Feb. 

Crawlspace_Poster_Hugh_2012GEORDIE: You’re obviously a big horror fan, what is your favourite classic horror film, when you first saw it, why it’s still a favourite; and any new releases that have impressed you?

JUSTIN: Yes, I am a huge horror fan, in fact a get really scared in movies.  Friends of mine find this hilarious because I write and work on horror films creating all the effects, but I love cinema and I get very easily drawn into the screen and enveloped into the world on it. My favourite films would have to be John Carpenter’s  ‘The Thing’ and ‘American Werewolf in London’ and as far as the Thing remake goes, well it suffers from having a superior film that was made almost thirty years before it being so good, and I’ll say it again as I did before – CGI, just because you can, does not mean you should.

GEORDIE: A huge thanks to Justin for giving up his time to answer a few questions. Keep an eye out for Crawlspace on limited theatrical release and  VOD in January and February 2013.

Crawlspace – Justin Dix Interview – Part 1

Crawlspace_Justin Dix_bannerWhile awaiting the release of the new Australian horror film Crawlspace, I was lucky enough to score an interview with the film’s writer, director, producer, special effects make-up designer and story artist Justin Dix.

GEORDIE: Hi Justin, first of all thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about your new feature, the Australian horror film Crawlspace.

JUSTIN DIX: No problem Geordie, it’s been a dream project of mine for over ten years, not specifically the film ‘Crawlspace’,  but to make a feature film not only for fans of the genre, but for myself to create something that I can still enjoy watching again and again. 

Crawlspace_Development ArtGEORDIE: I’d like to start by asking where the idea for Crawlspace started. Would it be fair to say that Crawlspace appears to draw its influences from classic claustrophobic horror films such as Alien and The Thing?

JUSTIN: Yes you could say that, films such as Alien and the Thing are possibly my greatest influences. Alien more for the production design. As I did the production design for Crawlspace myself (including many other roles like storyboarding and FX makeup designing), I was after a very specific look, and with the collaboration of my amazing DOP Simon Ozolins, we created a vision that we are both extremely proud of.

The influence of ‘the Thing’ was the story, not that our stories are similar in any way which they are not, but the feeling of isolation and the paranoia of the characters within confines of our world. John Carpenter is possibly the biggest influence as far as filmmakers I identify with. His early films were so eclectic and had such a diverse range, from ‘Big Trouble in Little China, ‘Halloween’,’The Thing’ and ‘Starman’. I was lucky enough to see a Q &A and meet him at Screamfest this year where ‘Crawlspace’ was playing, which is a huge geek out moment for me. Oh, I also had him sign my ‘Thing’ poster.

GEORDIE: Co-written with Adam Patrick Foster and Eddie Baroo, directed by yourself and I’d assume that you played a major hand in the production design and special effects. This would appear to be very much a Justin Dix film, how different, and difficult was it working on this to your previous work?

Production photos from CrawlspaceJUSTIN: Actually taking on multiple roles for Crawlspace felt very natural and was not a stress at all. I have done this before working on previous feature films for other directors such as Jamie (Urban Legend) Blanks on ‘Storm Warning’ where I Art Directed the film but also Special Effects makeup supervised. It may be a little bit of the control freak in me, but it’s generally more about a cohesive look to the project.

Crawlspace felt no different, and yes part of taking on so many roles was also a budget choice, but it also felt like I was across everything and knew what we had and what we didn’t. So taking on the roles of Director, Writer, Producer, Production Designer,  Special Effects Makeup Designer and Storyboard artist meant that I knew the film inside and out. This is all part of what I believe makes a lower budget film run smoothly; planning, planning, planning, and it did, Crawlspace was one of the most enjoyable film shoots I’ve ever been on.

It was a pleasure to go to work everyday and the crew and cast were amazing and we all had such a good time. I’d learnt some things by working on some lower budget films, and I wanted to make sure we avoided any of the perils and pitfalls which can make a project fall behind or create animosity on set.  A few of my learnings that I utilized for Crawlspace: 

Five day weeks, I’ve done six day weeks and it makes the crew really tired and cranky. 

No overtime, as much as crew members like OT pay rates – if you start doing overtime, you are cutting into your budget and working longer hours. 

No location shooting – of course this can only work on specific movies, but it makes a huge difference shooting entirely in studio as you control the weather, the light, the sound and at the end of the day you can ‘Hollywood Wrap’, meaning you just turn the lights off and in the morning just turn them back on.  Also there is no travel time, which again eats into shooting days.  

Make sure the crew are fed really well.  These are the basics and there are plenty more, but you would be surprised at how these will give you more shooting time, less stress and keep everyone really comfortable, making for a happy crew.  Of course not all film can be done this way, but I wrote Crawlspace specifically to be done this way, knowing that it was my first feature film and wanting  to eliminate any obstacles I could foresee prior to even getting into it. I would recommend anyone considering doing their first feature film, but has not written it, to do the same.  

Production photos from CrawlspaceGEORDIE: The wide open spaces of the Australian outback have been used as horror backdrops for numerous films; you chose to set your film beneath it. What is it about claustrophobic settings that manage to instil paranoia and fear so effectively?

JUSTIN: Again, this came down to making a film that could be filmed completely in a studio.  We used Studio One at the Dockland Studios in Melbourne, by the way. I really loved the movie ‘The Descent’ as it really made me feel very claustrophobic watching it, and I always remembered this and thought it was a great and clever way to manage the paranoia but on a budget.  

So you could say that it also influenced me when it came to making Crawlspace. A little bit of trivia by the way, ‘The Decent’ was originally called “Crawlspace’ but they changed the title during production.  I actually found this out from Lesley Simpson who has been in all of Neil Marshall’s films including ‘Dog Soldiers’ ‘Doomsday’ and ‘The Descent’.  Les now lives in Australia and we have became great friends, so I had to put him into my first film.  He is one of the first people you see in the movie.  

I figure he was a good luck charm for Neil, so now he’s mine.  

GEORDIE: I’m a huge fan of The Loved Ones, on which you were Special Effects Make-up Supervisor, can you tell me what it was like working with directors such as Sean Byrne and Greg McClean (Wolf Creek), who is one of your producers on Crawlspace, what you took from those previous working experiences and applied to your own feature?

JUSTIN: I love working on film, period. Be it my own or someone else’s, and working with other directors gives me a real buzz as we are all working together to bring a vision to life. I have been fortunate enough to work with some real talent in the Australian film industry and can honestly say that we have become friends and supporters of each other’s careers and aspirations. 

Apart from working with directors that I respect, but also helping them bring their visions to the screen, I found that I very quickly became friends with people like Sean Byrne, Greg Mclean, Jamie Blanks and Patrick Hughes, as we all share a common vision for the Australian film industry – and that is to take it more into the commercial world of cinema patronage, back to the glory days of ‘The Road Warrior’ ‘Patrick’ and even films like ‘Razorback’ which was Russell Mulcahy’s first feature film.  

The Australian film industry has become a little to insular, concentrating on culturally significant films shot in the outback of Australia, or period dramas, or urban gangland crime stories like ‘Animal Kingdom’. I’m not bagging these films but it’s all we seem to produce, even though we know we are capable of so much more and competing in the world commercial market. Did I answer the question, probably not, I get a little passionate about this sometimes. 

Crawlspace_btsGEORDIE: Running your own very successful Special Effects Studio must have been quite handy when it comes to making your own horror film. What were some of the benefits that you were able to apply to Crawlspace?

JUSTIN: Having my own special effects studio, Wicked of Oz, and the background of running departments such as the props and miniatures on productions like ‘Charlotte’s Web’ helped enormously when it came to Crawlspace. In fact it really came into play way when writing the script, they say write within your means or what you know you can get your hands on. 

Not that this should ever restrict your vision, but it helps with writing something viable that you know you can shoot. With myself, my background allowed my mind to go anywhere or do anything, the only restriction I put on myself was keeping it all practical if possible. In camera always looks the best and I’ve always felt that ‘Out of adversity, comes creativity’ I believe that CGI is not the be all and end all.  if you can do it in camera, ‘You Should’ it will save you money at the back end.  It’s so much more exciting seeing it on the split right in front of you and with CGI just because you can, does not always mean you should. Meaning that a CGI does not mean it’s going to look or be better, an example, and I’m not naming any film in particular but a CGI werewolf leaping from taxi to taxi then onto buildings does not mean it’s going to look better or give you that visceral feeling of a werewolf running through the streets of London snapping at the heels of pedestrians.  

I’m a huge fan of the films of the 80’s for many reasons, but one in particular because they did all the effects in camera and to this day we still hold them up as the benchmarks of what we as film makers want to achieve, but I think new film makers are not given the choice of practical and have been brought up on a diet of Digital, hence the magic of some of those early films like ‘American Werewolf in London’ ‘The Thing’ and even ‘The Dark Crystal’ has been lost. I know that’s where my focus is, I want to be surrounded by this stuff on a film set, not have a wrap around green screen with a dude in green figure hugging spandex suits with pin pong taped to their heads, where’s the fun in that?  

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore_movie bannerJulianne Moore (born Julie Anne Smith; December 3, 1960) is an American actress and a children’s book author. She has been nominated for four Oscars, six Golden Globes, three BAFTA’s, nine Screen Actors Guild Awards, and has won two Emmy Awards.

julianne-moore-1Moore was born at the Fort Bragg army base in North Carolina. Her father, Peter Moore Smith, was a paratrooper in the American army, and later a colonel and military judge. Her mother, Anne McNeil McLean, was a psychiatrist and social worker who emigrated from Scotland to the United States as a child. She is a dual citizen of Britain and America, by way of her Scottish ancestry. Moore applied for British citizenship in 2011 to honor her deceased mother (“it would have meant the world to her”).

Moore frequently moved around the country as a child, due to her father’s profession, and as a consequence, Moore attended nine different schools. When Moore was 16, the family moved to Frankfurt, Germany, where she attended Frankfurt American High School. She appeared in several plays, and upon the encouragement of her English teacher she chose to pursue a theatrical career. She was accepted to Boston University, and graduated with a BFA in Theatre in 1983.

julianne-moore-2Moore moved to New York City after graduating, and worked as a waitress while auditioning for roles. Moore began her acting career in 1983 with minor roles, before joining the cast of the soap opera As the World Turns, for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1988. She began to appear in supporting roles in films during the early 1990’s, her feature debut was a small role in 1990’s Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, which Moore has described as “terrible”. Her visibility increased in 1992 when she was had her first substantial feature film role in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992). The film was a US box office number one, and Moore caught the attention of several critics with her performance.

She followed up with a role in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (1993), Vanya on 42nd Street (1994), Safe, Nine Months and Assassins (1995), Jurassic Park 3 (1997) but it was her performance in Boogie Nights (1997) that brought her widespread attention and her first Academy Award nomination.  Director Paul Thomas Anderson was not a well known figure before its production, with only one feature credit to his name, but Moore agreed to the film after being impressed with his script. The ensemble piece features Moore as Amber Waves, a leading porn actress and mother-figure who longs to be reunited with her real son.

Anthony-Hopkins-Julianne-Moore-hannibalHer success continued with such films as The Big Lebowski (1998), Magnolia (1999), and in the huge commercial success Hannibal (2001), a sequel to the Oscar winning film The Silence of the Lambs. After Jodie Foster declined to return as Agent Clarice Starling, director Ridley Scott cast Moore in the lead role. The change in actress received considerable attention from the press. Moore was excited to be given the part but claimed she was not trying to upstage Foster: “Jodie was magnificent… It’s an honor to be asked to repeat something after she’s done it. But I’m not going to be able to do what she did. There’s just no way.”

Academy Award nominations later came for her two 2002 films, The Hours (Best Supporting Actress) and Far From Heaven (Best Actress).

blindness_poster2006 also saw the releasing of three of her films: Freedomland, which opened to mixed reviews, followed by Trust the Man, directed by her husband Bart Freundlich, and the critically acclaimed science fiction feature Children of Men. The following year she appeared in Next, a science fiction film based on a short story by Philip K. Dick; and the controversial film Savage Grace, the story of a high-society mother and son whose Oedipal relationship ends in tragedy.

In 2008, Moore starred alongside Mark Ruffalo in Blindness, a thriller from director Fernando Meirelles. Moore received great reviews, the movie generally, did not. Moore plays as doctor’s wife, the only person immune to the epidemic of blindness. Her sight is kept a secret by her husband and others, though as time goes on, she feels isolated in being the only one with sight. Moore described her character’s responsibility: “Her biggest concern in the beginning is simply her husband. But her ability to see ultimately both isolates her and makes her into a leader.” The director also gave Moore’s character a wardrobe that would match the actor’s skin and dyed blond hair, giving her the appearance of a “pale angel”.

Carrie_posterMoore has since appeared in the well-received American drama A Single Man, for which she received her fifth Golden Globe nomination. Her most recent notable roles include Chloe (2009), The Kids Are All Right (2010), Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), and the HBO film Game Change (2012), in which she portrayed Sarah Palin.

Moore has several upcoming film projects, including the fantasy film The Seventh Son based on the book series The Wardstone Chronicles, co-starring Jeff Bridges, in which Moore will star as the “most dangerous 1700’s witch” Mother Malkin. In March 2013, she will be seen as Margaret White in the remake of Carrie, an adaptation of the Stephen King horror novel.

Anathema Photography

Check out this clip on Vimeo featuring a selection of work from the fantastic photographic website focussing on all things horror… Anathema Photography. Click on the LINK to go to Anathema Photography… Adults only.

Anathema Photography from Anathema Photography on Vimeo.


Where’s Jason? – By Strange Kids Club

Treat Williams

Richard Treat Williams (born December 1, 1951) is a Screen Actors Guild Award–nominated American actor and children’s book author who has appeared on film, stage and television. Williams was born in Rowayton, Connecticut, the son of Marian (née Andrew), an antiques dealer, and Richard Norman Williams, a corporate executive. Williams graduated from the Kent School in Connecticut and Franklin and Marshall College. 

Williams made his film debut in the 1976 thriller Deadly Hero followed by The Eagle Has Landed. He came to world attention when he starred in the Miloš Forman film Hair (1979), based on the Broadway musical of the same name. He has gone on to appear in over 75 films and several television series, including, most notably, 1941 (1979), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995) and Deep Rising (1998).

Williams was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his part in Hair as George Berger. He got a second Golden Globe nomination for starring in the excellent Sidney Lumet film Prince of the City (1981) and a third for his performance as Stanley Kowalski in the television presentation of A Streetcar Named Desire. In 1996, Williams was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy Award by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for his work in The Late Shift, a HBO movie, in which he portrayed agent Michael Ovitz.

Prince of the City (1981) is an American crime drama film about an NYPD officer who chooses to expose police corruption for idealistic reasons. The character of Daniel Ciello (Treat Williams) was based on real-life NYPD Narcotics Detective Robert Leuci and the script was based on Robert Daley’s 1978 book of the same name.

Originally, Brian De Palma was going to direct with David Rabe adapting the book and Robert De Niro playing Leuci but the project fell through and Sidney Lumet came aboard to direct under two conditions: he did not want a big name movie star playing Leuci because he did not “want to spend two reels getting over past associations,” and the movie’s running time would be at least three hours long.

Lumet cast Treat Williams after spending three weeks talking to him and listening to the actor read the script and then reading it again with 50 other cast members. In order to research the role, the actor spent a month learning about police work, hung out at 23rd Precinct in New York City, went on a drug bust and lived with Leuci for some time. By the time rehearsals started, Williams said, “I was thinking like a cop.”

Lumet had apparently felt guilty about the two-dimensional way he had treated cops in the 1973 film Serpico and said that Prince of the City was his way to rectify this depiction. Prince of the City was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, but lost to the boring On Golden Pond. 

Williams has recently had small roles in Howl and 127 Hours (both 2010), but has generally been seen in lesser quality work, he’s a great character actor, deserving of much better than he’s been given over the last 3 decades.