Saturday, February 28, 2009

New: Transmorphers 2

In 2007, after a low-budget construction effort that took place in the shadow of Michael Bay's blockbuster sci-fi epic, Transformers, Asylum gave us the lower-budgeted Transmorphers (directed by Leigh Scott) -- giant robots and all. Truth told, apart from the echo of the title and the big gizmos, the two films weren't overly similar.



Now the infamous exploitation company is in post-production of a sequel -- Transmorphers 2 (directed by Scott Wheeler) -- which, in turn, doesn't seem to bear any real relationship to Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, plot-wise. It stars Bruce Boxleitner (of Babylon 5 fame), Jennifer Rubin, and Shane Van Dyke.

Synopsis:
In this present day prequel, the robot invaders attack the Earth, forcing a small band of humans to seek refuge below the surface of the planet.
Anyway, producer Paul Bales has sent us this exclusive stunt footage from the film.

video

Transmorphers 2 is due out on 23 June 2009.
  • Source: Paul Bales via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery

More from the Asylum

While we're on Asylum and robots, here is the trailer for the exploitation company's "shadow version" of The Day the Earth Stood Still -- which seems to go with the blockbuster film's basic premise but adds lots of giant robots. And let's face it, giant robots are what we really wanted anyway -- not Keanu Reeves.

The Day the Earth Stopped (US-2008; dir. C. Thomas Howell)

Synopsis:
Hundreds of massive intergalactic robots appear in all of the major world capitals with an ultimatum: Prove the value of human civilization or be destroyed.

video

Nice big robots!

And as if that isn't enough, here's one that's coming up which doesn't "shadow" a current blockbuster so much as exploit certain individuals' obsessive fascination for sharks and giant octopi:

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (US-2009; dir. Ace Hannah)

Synopsis:
The California coast is terrorized by two enormous prehistoric sea creatures as they battle each other for supremacy of the sea.

New: The Terminators

No, not another official Terminator sequel, but the new shadow-film from low-budget, direct-to-video genre studio Asylum.

The Terminators (US-2009; dir. C. Thomas Howell)



Synopsis:
A small band of resistance fighters battle the cyborgs that have taken control of the planet.
Here is a production image, showing one of the robots:



You can see more here.

Asylum has become infamous for producing shadow versions of upcoming blockbuster films -- or even simply mirroring current trends in their latest releases -- and is often severely castigated by fans for doing so. But there has always been such studios inside and outside of Hollywood. It's known as exploitation filmmaking. Presumably they have a large team of lawyers to define the edges of legal acceptability, though as we all know ideas can't be copyrighted -- only the specific forms those ideas take. The makers of Terminator and the highly successful franchise that sprang from it don't own the idea of rebellious cyborgs and robots, nor did they invent it. One of Hollywood's most influential director-producers, Roger Corman, knew this -- and knew as well that exploiting current pop trends and taking advantage of existing markets by quickly producing films that draw on those trends was a great way to make money. Which he did.

And it didn't stop him from making some great films in the process.

I'm not sure Asylum has produced any "great" films, but their technique of shadowing the box-office biggies by way of direct-to-DVD quickies doesn't preclude their films from being entertaining.

The Terminators will be released in April.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New: The Scarab

We've been sent some exclusive shots from a superhero flick by busy independent filmmaker Brett Kelly (Attack of the Giant Leeches remake, Pirates: Quest for Snake Island, Iron Soldier) , who was interviewed at length on Undead Backbrain a while ago. The film is called The Scarab and it's based on the 1940s Nedor Comics hero.




A superhero tale of a hero attempting to keep his nemesis from acquiring an ancient scroll of extreme power. It is up to THE SCARAB and his mysterious associates to keep the evil SPHINX from using this power for his own vile ends.




Characters include:
  • PETER WARD - our protagonist, archaeology professor who in the course of the story becomes the hero, The Scarab.
  • THE WOMAN IN RED - A mysterious female spy who always appears clothed in red.
  • PROFESSOR JOAB - Peter's mentor, a scientist who brings the mysterious scarab stone to Peter's attention.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kungfu Cyborg

A poster has been released for Jeffery Lau's martial-arts robot film -- which was called Robot when we last reported on it but is now called Metal Attraction: Kungfu Cyborg.



Apparently shooting on the film is finished and it's now in post-production.

  • Source: Sina vis Twitch via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lizzie vs Predator

As if a novel that turns Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice into a zombie story isn't weird enough, Variety reports that Elton John's Rocket Pictures plans to make Pride and Predator -- a film that dumps the iconic alien hunter into the Jane Austen milieu.

It will be directed by Will Clark.



Co-producer David Furnish comments:
It felt like a fresh and funny way to blow apart the done-to-death Jane Austen genre by literally dropping this alien into the middle of a costume drama, where he stalks and slashes to horrific effect.
Is this for real? Well, why not? As surprising as it seems, stranger things have happened. Is it a comedy? I guess we'll find out sooner or later.

Source: Variety.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alien Trespass: the Mockumentary

The producers of Alien Trespass (which we've been featuring, here and on Undead Backbrain, for some time) have just released the following promotional documentary, which riffs on the marketing milieu of the 1950s B-flick genre that the film itself seeks to replicate. Quite funny, actually.



New: Zone of the Dead



Zone of the Dead (US-[post-production, 2009]; dir. Milan Konjevic and Milan Todorovic)

Synopsis:
A police-escorted prisoner transport supervised by Interpol sets off to Belgrade. The route leads the transport through Pancevo, where they encounter an ecological disaster and infected people who are trying to kill them. Interpol agents Mortimer Reyes (Ken Foree) and Mina Milius (Kristina Klebe) soon realize that their only chance for escape from the zombie hordes lies in allying with the dangerous, mysterious prisoner. (Arrow in the Head)
Trailer:


Looks pretty gritty -- and it's good to see Ken Foree fighting zombies again after all this time.

Source: Arrow in the Head via Avery

Monday, February 16, 2009

Update: Crawler Trailer

Remember the upcoming Crawler (US-[2009]; dir. Sv Bell), in which a construction crew tries to deal with a bulldozer that has a mind of its own -- and an insatiable hate for the human race? They are soon to discover that the heavy machinery is in fact a shape-shifting lifeform that mimics and inherits the characteristics of its surroundings.



Now available is the official trailer. Click here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New: The Living Corpse

The Living Corpse (US-[in production]; dir. Justin Paul Ritter) is a computer-animated feature film adapted from the underground hit graphic novel The Corpse by Ken Haeser and Buz Hasson.



Synopsis:
A guilt-ridden corpse takes on a heavy burden when he agrees to help a Fallen Angel keep the other undead in their graves and the powers of evil from corrupting our world.
Described by its creators as “Hellboy meets Grindhouse”, The Living Corpse works the "idea of combining a classically styled hero with one of the most iconic figures in horror history" to "take comic book movies to the next level by providing not only outrageous, funny and action-packed set pieces, but also a deep and engaging story filled with complex characters and rewarding subplots."

On the Style of the Film:
While the originality of the concept itself is enough to make audiences take notice of “The Corpse”, the style will also push boundaries and attempt to redefine what people have come to expect from comic book movies. Taking the lead from Frank Miller’s Sin City and 300, we’ll push to bring more of what the fans have fallen in love with directly from the page to living breathing life on a giant screen. Expect to see world that just can’t be seen anywhere but in “The Corpse”.


Even allowing for marketing hype, this project looks promising.
  • Source: Shoreline Entertainment website.

New: Ferocious

Just into post-production from Shoreline Entertainment is a creature feature titled Ferocious (US-[2009]; dir. Drew Maxwell).

Synopsis:

In a post apocalyptic world ravaged by feuding warlords, a group of desperate soldiers hatch a plan to steal a Warlord’s treasure and start a new life. Faced with the threat of a horrific death at the hands of the Warlord’s executioners, the men escape into a desolate and forbidden land known only as the Shadowlands. Now the men must flee from the Warlord’s vicious assassins while defending themselves from the terrifying creatures that inhabit the Shadowlands.

No pictures as yet except for some concept sketches like this one:

Yes, the project was once named Shadowlands...


Update: Flowers for the Dead



Joe Barbarisi, director of the in-progress zombie film Flowers for the Dead, has send us the following update:
It's looking good for Flowers for the Dead. I've started the rough cut of the film, and when that's all done I'm taking all master MiniDVs, Audio Cassette tapes to the Production Company ‘50 BC Productions’, whom I met while working on their Zombie film, Fleshcrawl (fleshcrawlmovie.com) -- a bunch of talented people like Dustin Bennett and Troy Collins, who have the know-how on downloading and all computer post-production -- which I'm still in the dark on.

Their knowledge will sure take Flowers to a higher level.

I also received a phone call from Gary Streiner who is one of the original ‘Latent Image 10'′ people who brought us the original Night of the Living Dead. Gary is a great guy, and he appreciates the efforts I have made on my film, including how I shot it old-school on Super 8. I hope to work with Gary in the future, and help get his ‘The Living Dead Fest’ to grow ... and hope to have the chance to have my film screened at the festival, that celebrates Night of the Living Dead by having an outdoor screening of the film each Halloween in Evans City PA -- the birthplace of the Zombie/Ghoul genre.

To have Flowers a part of that festival would be a highlight for me ... and I'd feel very honoured.

Flowers for the Dead has a nice new webpage up from ‘popstarsplus’ and Lon Dobbs, who was kind enough to feature Flowers as part of his growing site. Here's the link to the Popstarplus page.

The page will have updates, notes, photos of the progress of the short film, plus interviews with the cast and crew, who were just a thrill to work with.

So keep checking in ... the trailer will be up there soon, too.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Update: Dire Wolf

The first trailer for Fred Olen Ray's prehistoric wolf / human hybrid creature feature, Dire Wolf, has just been released on DreadCentral.

Here it is, in all its gory....um, I mean glory.



Thursday, February 12, 2009

Roboto Supremo



We don't have much information at the moment, but this trailer for an upcoming film (short?) by Victor Varnado called Roboto Supremo suggests that it has (a) daikaiju antagonist(s):

(b) classic mecha protagonist:

and (c) decent production values.

That's three ticks!



Here is a set of Flickr pics.

As far as I can tell, the project begins filming in June, and is a development from an online series of three "episodes" that played on Channel 102.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Update: The Strange Experiment of Doctor Purefoy

Fighting Owl Films is an independent film company currently concentrating on genre-based shorts, but aiming to eventually produce a full-length feature film. They featured on Undead Backbrain earlier this month.

Currently filming is the Frankensteinian horror film The Strange Experiment of Doctor Purefoy (US-[in-production]; short; dir. Thomas Smith).

Director and writer of the film, Thomas Smith, has provided this update:
"We have two days of filming behind us and we're about to start on the third. We're hoping to be completely finished filming by either the end of Febuary or in early March. We're just having a little bit of trouble getting all actors together on the same days. I've also attached three images from the footage we've shot so far. It's not the most exciting stuff but it'll give you an idea of the film's look.”




  • Source: via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery

Jane Austen's Zombies To Be Filmed?

Not long ago, Undead Backbrain revealed that a post-mortem collaboration between Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith has produced a novel called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It will be released in April.

Seth Grahame-Smith has taken the text of Austen's Pride and Prejudice and added scenes of "bone-crunching" zombie action. In the "new" novel heroine Elizabeth Bennett and her four sisters becoming zombie slayers and are taught how to fight like Japanese ninjas by Mr Darcy.

The Sun-Herald quotes Grahame-Smith as saying,
"It quickly became obvious that Jane (Austen) had laid down the blueprint for a zombie novel ... Why else in the original should a regiment arrive on Lizzie Bennet's doorstep when they should have been off fighting Napoleon? It was to protect the family from an invasion of brain-eaters, obviously."
Now, the Sun-Herald suggests, the "re-envisaged" classic may be made into a feature film!

We truly live in a world were anything is possible!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Psst! You After an Alien?

Well, just in case, below are a couple of lobby cards for ex-X-Files producer R.W. Goodwin's Alien Trespass -- the 1950s sci-fi pastiche we've been talking about here for a while. They give you a good look at the one-eyed alien -- and Robert Patrick, intent on being a small-town sheriff instead of an FBI agent or Terminator.




Dragonball Evolves into a LIve-Action Movie



The phenomenally popular Japanese anime/manga franchise created by Akira Toriyama, Dragonball Z, has finally spawned a live-action version. It's still in post-production, but inevitably bits and pieces are rolling onto the blogsphere.

Dragonball Evolution (US-2009; dir. James Wong)



The above poster is for the Japanese release.

Synopsis:
The story begins with Goku, who on his adoptive grandfather Grandpa Gohan's dying request sets out to find the great Master Roshi and to gather all seven Dragonballs -- 0f which he has one. Goku's quest is to obtain the mystical Dragonballs before Piccolo does, in order to prevent the evil Lord Piccolo from using the Dragonballs to take over the world.
This trailer gives the ignorant (me) a bit of a run-down....


Meanwhile, io9.com has revealed what the resident kaiju -- a dragon that turns up to do the sort of apocalyptic things that dragons do -- will look like:



This screenshot comes from a clip you can view on io9.com, where you can also read more about the production.
  • Source: via Avery

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Update: Galactic Raiders

We've previously reported on Larry Arpin's exciting independent sci-fi film, Galactic Raiders, but now Kaiju Search-Robot Avery has received another update from the director.

Arpin:
I've attached these pics of what I am working on and the room I am working in. On the computer screen you can see a scene of the main character that I am adding lasers to as he is shooting the creature I am building. This is the second time I've had to build this creature as I had a mishap with the mold. I recorded out about 5 minutes of effects just recently. This included scenes from reels 1, 2, & the last reel. I've also blocked out one of the opening sequences containing many creatures.




Nice.
  • Source: Director Larry Arpin via Avery.

Transformers 2: Trailer

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (US-2009; dir. Michael Bay) -- sequel to the 2007 hit. Some didn't like the first film. I loved it! Some genuine kaiju action; great SFX, with the sentient machines coming over as a genuinely alien lifeform; interesting enough human characters, well acted by a decent cast; plot that may not have been profound, but which didn't leave me feeling insulted. I had a terrific time with it.

And in this sequel it appears some of the machines are even bigger...

Synopsis:
The battle for Earth has ended but the battle for the universe has just begun. After returning to Cybertron, Starscream assumes command of the Decepticons, and has decided to return to Earth with force. The Autobots, believing that peace is possible, finds out that Megatron's dead body has been stolen from the US Military by Skorpinox who has revived their leader using his own spark. Now Megatron is back seeking revenge and with Starscream and more Decepticon reinforcements on the way, the Autobots, despite finding reinforcements of their own, may have more to deal with than meets the eye.


Lost in the Jokes?

Old TV series feature-film remake, Land of the Lost -- last reported here -- has been tossed out into the world via a teaser trailer during the Superbowl:



But now the full trailer has arrived and you can watch it below. Clearly, taking a serious stance toward its dimension-hopping, time-travelling plotline isn't on the cards.

Land of the Lost (US-2009; dir. Brad Silberling)


Friday, February 6, 2009

Global Swarming

Prepare for Global Swarming!

It's big bugs with attitude and insectoidal zombies in a mess of gooey splatter! The trailer for the giant insect film Infestation has appeared -- and it looks great!



Read all about the film on Undead Backbrain.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Monkey Magic



The Chinese legend of the rather anarchic Monkey King and his Buddha-inspired journey to save the world was, in the form of the TV series Monkey [aka Saiyuki] (Japan-1978 to 1980), required afternoon viewing for me and many others back in the early 80s. The two irascible Pigsys, Sandy, Tripitaka and of course Monkey were hilarious in their ongoing struggle with moral imperatives and demons -- and from recent viewings on DVD, their adventures still hold up as great television, despite dated SFX. Unbelievably, the show was even well-dubbed, with voice actors who put a distinctive stamp on the characters.

The story was adapted from Wu Chengen’s classic 16th Century Chinese novel, Journey To The West (Xi You Ji), a social and political satire that proved startlingly modern when I was inspired to read it out of enthusiasm for the show.

Well, now Monkey comes (once again) to our screens, on DVD at least -- after a highly successful theatrical run in Japan -- as Monkey Magic (Japan-2007; dir. Kensaku Sawada).

You can check out all the details -- and view the trailer -- at ScifiJapan.com.