I couldn’t have been older than six or seven years old when I first stepped foot inside The Haunted Mansion. Even at that young age I was already attracted to scary stuff, so on my first trip to Disneyland, I was drawn more to the creepy house in the middle of New Orleans Square than I was to the flying Dumbos or spinning tea cups.
I’m not one of those super brainy people who can remember every significant moment of their childhood, but I can recall my first time going through The Haunted Mansion in vivid detail – probably because it was slightly traumatic. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, August 15th, 2019 by Eric Vespe
Most interviews are a little nerve-racking. If you do enough of them, the butterflies in the tummy tend to only pop up on special occasions, but you’re always just a tad on edge because there’s a lot of uncertainty. What if the interview subjects are tired? What if the questions you’ve thought up and think are pretty good turn out to be the same crap they’ve heard a hundred times that day?
That uncertainty doubles when you’re talking to kids. Anything can happen! They could give you one sentence answers or they can go the opposite way and go crazy but not really answer anything. I’ve experienced both over my time doing this and I’m pleased to say the cast of Good Boys struck a nice balance between being little professionals and also still kids that are excited to talk about the fun time they had.
It was an odd experience, though, because in front of me there were the three stars of the movie, Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon and Keith L. Williams as well as writer Lee Eisenberg and writer/director Gene Stupnitsky and behind me there were easily a dozen moms, dads and extended families of the kids I was talking to. So, I had an audience.
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This weekend sees the release of Brightburn, a movie that flew mostly under the radar until they dropped their first trailer and people realized the little genre movie James Gunn was producing was a superhero horror film.
Gunn’s longtime friend and protege David Yarovesky directed Brightburn from a script by Brian and Mark Gunn and they all aimed to do something new in the both the horror and superhero landscapes. This mashup of genres has already inspired tons of fan art and piqued the interest of cinephiles. (Read our review here.)
The story follows young Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn), who crashed to Earth as a baby and was raised by Elizabeth Banks and David Denman as their own. He begins to discover he has superpowers, but unlike other similar origin stories there’s something not exactly right with Brandon, which becomes even more troubling now that he can fly and shoot lasers out of his eyes.
I was able to talk with director David Yarovesky for half an hour and we dove into a lot of interesting stuff, like the inherant parallels between superhero stories and horror stories, the striking design and execution of Brandon’s mask and how this gory, R-rated movie is ultimately a bizarre love letter to his mother.
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Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019 by Eric Vespe
With Body of Brighton Rock, writer/director Roxanne Benjamin establishes a clear woman versus nature scenario as a young Park Ranger takes a wrong turn during her rounds and stumbles across a body deep in the woods. She is told via walkie talkie she has to stay with it until help comes, but the question of who this guy was and how he died starts gnawing at her as the feeling of isolation starts to close in.
Benjamin has been in and around the genre scene for years, producing horror favorites V/H/S, V/H/S/2 and The Devil’s Candy and then moving on to directing parts of two anthology films (Southbound and XX). Now she has her first feature under her belt and the long road to this movie is where we begin our conversation.
At the time of the chat, Benjamin was newly returned from her big premiere at SXSW, hard at work editing her episode for the upcoming Shudder resurrection of Creepshow while under the influence of a solid bottle of DayQuil after catching the dreaded “South By Flu,” which was particularly brutal this year for some reason. Our chat covers the perils of low budget filmmaking on a random mountaintop and the childhood books that influenced her for this project.
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Posted on Thursday, March 28th, 2019 by Eric Vespe
I had the very great pleasure of sitting down with Robert Patrick at SXSW this year to discuss his fun, satirical midnight movie Tone-Deaf, in which he plays an aging boomer who hates millennials so much he decides to AirBnB his isolated cabin so he can torment and kill one.
Or course, this isn’t the first brush with darkness for the actor, who has pretty much made a career out of playing bad guys. Most famously: the liquid metal T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Patrick has been very happy to discuss his role in that film for years, but when I sat down with him, I thought it might be interesting to talk about the times he played the T-1000 AFTER Terminator 2. His eyes lit up when I proposed this and he held up four fingers. Then he challenged me to list off the times he played the T-1000. And I gotta say, I didn’t do too bad.
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Slut In A Good Way is a little bit of a hard sell. First, there’s the title which fits it perfectly once you see the movie and know the context, but on first glance is a bit… strong. Secondly, it’s a black and white French-language movie, which means the uphill battle to get US audiences to give it a shot might as well be covered with ice.
However, it’s an incredibly smart and, more importantly, incredibly fun movie. The story follows three female friends who are in the prime of their teenage lives. They spot some very attractive young men working at their local toy store, so naturally they all get jobs there and that’s when things get messy. Relationships start and stop on a dime, there’s cross pollination and all the while the three young women at the heart of the story are testing the limits of their friendship.
It sounds deep and serious, but the tone really is way lighter than you’re expecting. Naturalistic performances, a smart script and keen direction make this film a delightful experience.
I was able to sit down with two of the film’s stars, Marguerite Bouchard and Rose Adam, as well as the film’s director, Sophie Lorain to discuss the decision to shoot black and white, how the actors gave such naturalistic performances and just why they decided to end on a Bollywood number.
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Posted on Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 by Eric Vespe
Bodied is not the movie I thought it was going to be when I walked into the Fantastic Fest screening. Joseph Kahn‘s previous feature, Detention, is one of those so-crazy-I-can’t-believe-it-exists kind of movies and I think that’s what was in my brain when I sat down to watch his new one.
The premise of Bodied is simple: a young fan is mentored by his idol and his nurtured talent shines. You’ve seen this story before, especially in movies about sports or martial arts, but never quite in this way. Battle Rap is the forum here, not a stadium or a dojo.
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Much like S. Craig Zahler‘s previous film, Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99 will be a divisive movie. Some will love it, some will hate it, but nobody is going to walk away feeling “meh” about it.
The film is anchored by Vince Vaughn‘s career-best performance as Bradley Thomas, an imposing hulk of a guy with a talent for bringing the pain. Bradley isn’t just a brute, though. The man has a moral compass that he has to obey, even if that means putting himself, his pregnant wife and the life they’ve built together at risk. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t unleash an ass-kicking when he has to. There is some brutal violence in this movie that would make even the most die hard fan of Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky nod in approval.
Brawl in Cell Block 99 is definitely not for the squeamish, but the film has lots of character and dramatic complexity layered within the very pulpy premise of a bone-breaker having to do some brutal things for the sake of his family.
I was able to sit down with writer/director S. Craig Zahler and Vince Vaughn to discuss that complexity as well as building the character of Bradley (don’t call him Brad) Thomas. Both men had no trouble going into detail about the world and character-building going on in this totally insane film.
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Posted on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 by Eric Vespe
Udo Kier is one of the most interesting screen personalities working today. To call him a character actor is somewhat small-minded. The man is a force of personality, so incredibly comfortable with himself that nothing is ever off limits. That makes him dangerous on screen because anything can happen.
From his early days working with Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey in artfully absurd takes on the famous Universal Monsters to his current work, usually playing creepy European dudes, Kier always elevates everything he’s in, be it the latest Alexander Payne movie (Downsizing) or direct-to-video sleaze like the Iron Sky films.
In S. Craig Zahler‘s Brawl in Cell Block 99 Kier plays a character known only as “The Placid Man,” a servant for the big bad guy of the story who calmly lays out some terrible options for Vince Vaughn‘s rage-filled criminal at the heart of the story. We spoke to him following the film’s premiere at Fantastic Fest and as you’d expect, chatting with him was an amazing, sometimes surreal experience.
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Posted on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 by Eric Vespe
It’s a hell of a year for Stephen King fans. We’ve seen not one, not two, but three supposedly unfilmable Stephen King movies released: The Dark Tower, It and Gerald’s Game. And, remarkably, only The Dark Tower has proven to have earned that unfilmable reputation.
The trick to nailing a Stephen King adaptation is to create multi-faceted, interesting characters. That is the horror author’s greatest strength. The scary stuff only works because you care about these fictional people. They feel real to you. When I read It at an admittedly way too young age, I viewed every member of The Losers Club as my friend. The recent film adaption takes many liberties, but man does it perfectly capture those characters.
And now, two new Stephen King adaptations, Gerald’s Game and 1922 (both of which were produced by Netflix) continue this trend. King, despite his reputation as a horror writer, is all about character. Welcome to the Stephen King Movie Renaissance – not even The Dark Tower can mute the success of these other adaptations.
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