Body at Brighton Rock

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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Body at Brighton Rock review

With the opening credits of Body at Brighton Rock, writer/director Roxanne Benjamin tells us exactly what kind of movie we’re getting into. A bright yellow, jagged bubble-cursive firmly recalls R.L Stine’s Fear Street series, or any Christopher Pike book published from 1985 to 1999, as fresh-faced park ranger Wendy (Karina Fontes) sprints to work, listening to Oingo Boingo on her headphones.

Wendy’s a bit older than YA and Body at Brighton Rock isn’t set in the ‘80s, but there’s a very Pike/Stine mood here that Benjamin sustains with a sure hand and plenty of style. Wendy’s the kind of heroine that will annoy audiences, because Hollywood perpetuates this stubborn myth that all of our leading ladies have to be hyper-competent and unfailingly tough. Wendy’s always tardy, a little clumsy, a little goofy, and her best work friends (Emily Althaus and Brodie Reed) refer to her as “an indoor kid,” though she happens to work at a decidedly outdoor job. When she volunteers to survey a trail normally reserved for the more experienced of her co-workers, no one thinks she can do it. Read More »

Night of the Comet remake

Roxanne Benjamin, one of the directors of the indie horror anthology movie Southbound and the filmmaker behind the upcoming Body at Brighton Rock, is set to direct a Night of the Comet remake for Orion Pictures. Watch the trailer for the original 1984 version and see some examples of Benjamin’s previous work below.
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XX trailer

Horror filmmaking, like most other kinds of filmmaking, tends to be kind of a boys’ club. But the women will get a chance to shine this winter in XX, a horror anthology driven entirely by female directors. Those include Karyn Kusama, who last helmed the fantastic The InvitationAnnie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, who is making her directing debut; Roxanne Benjamin, who’s contributed to Southbound and the V/H/S series; and Jovanka Vuckovic, who’s known for her short films including The Captured Bird; with animator Sofia Carrillo (La Casa Triste) weaving them all together.

Check out the first XX trailer below.
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Green Band Trailer

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we talk goat testicles, bask in the glory of a scruffy looking Tim Roth, fantasize about a life outside the fabric store, go down the thunder road of gore and violence with the peeps behind V/H/S, and catch up with Paul Verhoeven.

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