Sunday, October 30, 2011

News Update: Underground Lizard People at AFM and Cannes

Back in January, the Backbrain featured a new film chronicling the discovery of a race of lizard folk living under downtown LA, "based on actual eye-witness accounts". It's called Underground Lizard People and was directed by Jared Cohn.

The Backbrain has been sent an update on the film's current status, so listen up!

"Underground Lizard People now has distribution with [independent distribution company] R Squared Films," said director Jared Cohn, "and is coming to the American Film Market in November. Buyers should go to Suite 212 to check it out and chat to us about it!"

Buzz Remde of R Squared added: "We're very excited to feature Underground Lizard People this year at both AFM and Cannes in May 2012. We feel that Jared has done a great job on this and we are looking forward to presenting the film to buyers at both events."

Source: via Avery Guerra. Written by Robert Hood

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Exclusive Update: The Killer Shrews are Back with a Vengeance

Word is that principal photography has wrapped on Steve Latshaw's long-awaited sequel/re-boot to the 1959 cult classic B-flick, The Killer Shrews -- the appropriately named Return of the Killer Shrews, which returns to the screen the character of Captain Thorne Sherman as played by original star James Best. The film is now in the important post-production stage, with the FX currently the main focus. Here Best visits SILO, the folk in charge of creating the titular beasties:

As you can see from the poster above, the film stars, apart from Best, such notables as John Schneider (best known for his role in Dukes of Hazzard and for his defining performance as Jonathan Kent in Smallville), seen here on set with Best:

Here Schneider talks about the experience: John Schneider on the set of Killer Shrews.

Also on board is Bruce Davison (Willard, X-Men, Kingdom Hospital and much else besides):

Here Davison has his say: Bruce Davison speaks about the Killer Shrews.

It was recently announced that Dean Torrance (of Jan and Dean fame) and Bruce Davison have recorded the song “Shrewd Awakening” together (written by composer for the film, Gary Griffin, and David Beard), a song that is to be featured on the soundtrack Return Of The Killer Shrews. (Source: Examiner)

Behind The Scenes:

Producer Dorothy Best here discusses the genesis of the Shrew sequel:

Check out these similar behind-the-scenes videos from the other members of the cast: 

Patrick Moran (writer, producer and actor)

James Best told Undead Backbrain that they should have a trailer available very soon and will send it to us as soon as it's finished. As for the film's release, they have a broker going to AFM, the film market, on November 1-6.  "Hopefully we'll get some good reactions,"he added.

More pictures from the production can be seen on the film's Facebook page.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Shark Strangeness: Exclusive Update

We seem to have been fielding a lot of weird, eccentric shark movies lately, what with the appearance of Mega Shark, Sharktopus, Ghost Shark, Jurassic Shark, Psycho Shark, the bionic, super-enhanced sharks of Dark Waters and Deep Blue Sea, and a plethora of just plain old killer sharks, alone or in packs (Shark Swarm). Now filmmaker Donald Farmer -- who has previously given us Chainsaw Cheerleaders (2008), the zombies of Dorm of the Dead (2006), An Erotic Vampire in Paris (2002), Vampire Cop (1990) and the just-released-to-DVD Demon Queen (1986), to name but a few -- is about to offer up Shark Exorcist.

This Jaws meets The Exorcist hybrid begs a lot of questions, of course, and so far Farmer is keeping the details to himself -- questions such as: is it about a priest who exorcises the demons from possessed sharks, or a shark who exorcises the demons from possessed swimmers? I guess we'll have to wait for 2012 to find out.

Farmer told Undead Backbrain that "Part of it is shot and edited. . . all the scenes we did in New Orleans. Scenes are being shot in other places now." Several of those New Orleans scenes you can see below:

The film is written and directed by Donald Farmer, and produced by Jamie Nichols, for Suicidal Productions with Stratosphere Entertainment.

Farmer added: "Also I'm starting an online comicbook called CLOWNS VS. ZOMBIES, the first installment of which will be online within a month or so. And my documentary about obsessive TWILIGHT fans called "TWI-HARDS" is finished..."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Exclusive: Sequel to a Classic Creature Feature Announced

Ever heard of Zaat (aka The Blood Waters of Dr Z, Attack of the Swamp Creatures and Hydra)? Well, it's a creature feature from 1971, directed by Don Barton (with uncredited assistance from Arnold Stevens, according to IMDb)* that is a delicious mix of classic mad scientist and mutant catfish hybrid imbued with a passion to pollute the entire "universe" (Don't blame me, that's what it says!).

The Backbrain has just received news that not only will you be able to buy a 40th Anniversary special edition of the film in mid-December, just in time for Christmas, but also director/producer Barton now feels ready to make the sequel that fans have, he says, been asking him about for years. Barton will make the formal announcement and unveil preliminary plans at the ZAAT 40th Anniversary celebration at the Five Points Theatre in Florida this Sunday, October 23, at 7:30pm. It will follow the showing of the original Zaat movie which was filmed entirely in and around Jacksonville, Florida. Barton is not divulging any details except for the title, Darn Monster. According to Barton, a "short video will show where we're headed with the fun story".

Based in Jacksonville, Barton was recently recognised by the Jacksonville Film Commission for his lifetime contributions to the industry. 

Tickets are available on-line all this week on the Five Points Theater website. Seating is limited and will be on a first come, first served basis.

As for the 40th Anniversary DVD of Zaat, it is being released by Synergy under their Cultra label.  It will be a DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack and among other things will contain a feature-length commentary with several of the cast and crew.

Zaat Theatrical Trailer:

Behind the Scenes:

You can also catch three TV Spots on the film's YouTube Channel.

Source: Don Barton via Avery Guerra. Written by Robert Hood.

Addendum: we have received the following information straight from Don Barton, commenting on the supposed role of "Arnold Stevens" in the making of the original Zaat as well as the alternate titles associated with the film:
Here is some somewhat exclusive information for you since I see that this article perpetuates some misinformation that has surrounded ZAAT for years.  First of all, Arnold Stevens does not now and to the best of my knowledge has never existed -- at least not in connection with this film which was directed entirely be Don Barton. In the 1980s, Barton approached Vestron Video about releasing the film on home video and gave them a screener tape made from a worn print of Blood Waters which had seen better days.  He was turned down but a short time later the film appeared on one of Vestron's subsidiary labels, Lightening Video, in the Elvira movie series with falsified credits and the new title of Attack of the Swamp Creature.  All original cast and crew information had been replaced.  Hydra is another bootleg home video title that replaced the opening title card on a print of Blood Waters but kept the rest of the credits.  By the time these two misappropriations had been discovered, both video companies were long out of business and there was no one left to sue but these unauthorized products are still used to this day to unfairly represent the film ZAAT. The Attack title is particularly annoying because the print is very dark and damaged and the credits are incorrect but often quoted as factual in reviews and articles.  I hope you can make use of this information.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Exclusive: Mothman Flies Again

No, not a Watchmen superhero or the brand name of a pest extermination company, but the notorious cryptozoological critter that has already been given cinematic treatment in The Mothman Prophecies (US-2002; dir. Mark Pellington) and Mothman (US-2010; dir. Sheldon Wilson), and has been explored further in assorted documentaries, such as the feature-length Eyes of the Mothman (US-2011; dir. Matthew J. Pellowski).

Here, based on "actual" sightings, is what it's supposed to look like:

The phantom's appearance is said to presage disasters... well, one in particular -- the collapse of the Silver Bridge that crossed the Ohio River, between Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Kanauga, Ohio on the evening of December 15, 1967, killing 46 people. In the year leading up to the collapse, Point Pleasant had been haunted by this spectre. In the aftermath of the collapse, bizarre stories of premonitions and warnings came to light, and connections were drawn between reports of similar sightings and tragedies worldwide.

Of course, apart from the wings and prophecies, it was the glowing red eyes that caught the imagination of UFOlogists, who speculated that the creature was some sort of time-saavy, interdimensional alien.

Fascinating, no doubt, and now that fascination has given rise to another version of the story -- Two Red Eyes, an independent production starring, and being written and directed by, Austin Cochran (pictured above in a scene from the film).

Take a look at the trailer:

Cochrain (pictured below) commented to Undead Backbrain: 
Two Red Eyes is a personal project. There is a real film to go along with the trailer and the final product should be released eventually -- hopefully soon. As far as the cast/crew, everything was done by me. I began the project to show a few friends and then it became so much more ambitious.
Early Teaser:

Not too much by way of plot information yet, but check back if the Mothman holds a place in your heart. It looks like it could be a good film in the independent, low-budget spectrum.

For more, check out Cochran's YouTube channel and Vimeo page.

More Images: Click on them to enlarge.

  • Source: Austin Cochran via Avery Guerra. Written by Robert Hood.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Trailer for PRIMITIVE

The trailer for Benjamin Cooper's VFX-Monster-from-the-Id film Primitive, has just been released:

Primitive, which is headlined by cult Phantasm star Reggie Bannister, recently premiered on day two of the inaugural Black October Art & Film Invasion taking place at The Sci-Fi Center in Vegas.

In this horror tale, Martin Blaine, a Hollywood effects artist who makes monsters for a living, must confront his own inner demon made flesh before it destroys everyone he comes in contact with.

Horror legend Reggie Bannister plays Dr. William Stein, the hypnotist whose unorthodox therapy inadvertently conjures Martin’s Id, and effects wizard Tom Devlin (SyFy Channel's Face-Off) created the creature effects.

"To premiere a picture in the entertainment capital of the world for a like-minded crowd is a genuine privilege," said director Cooper. "I worked five years to make Primitive a scary, fun good time, and that's what you can look forward to once distribution rights are finalised."

Following this comes a limited theatrical run in San Luis Obispo, CA where it was shot. Cooper commented:
"Working on the fringe of the business I figured theatrical had become pie-in-the-sky. Those low-budget success stories you hear about like Paranormal Activity are exceptions to the rule.  Most of my stuff is direct-to-DVD and that's fine, except the whole industry is changing. The brick and mortar stores are vanishing, digital VOD is growing, but too slow to fill the void. Meanwhile I've made my biggest picture ever and for the first time I'm obligated to investors, not to mention the cash and sweat I put in. I'm not putting Primitive into theaters out of vanity.  I just can't afford to leave any stone unturned for revenue."
According to the press release, the home town red carpet premiere on 10/20 will be followed by four theatrical dates with an option by the theatre to hold it over if it's a big success.  After that, Cooper plans to take the picture on tour to various cities for single night engagements.
"A one-off show with a packed house can be more profitable than a week of mediocre turnouts. I'm trying to be smart about it. I have horror legend Reggie Bannister in the picture and he did a great job. Tom Devlin did the creature effects. You know I'm going to be exploiting their names for all they're worth. I'm targeting cities where I may have an edge. Fresno, for example, is where co-star Jeff Ryan lives and grew up. That's got to be good for some 'local boy makes good' free press. Same with Pittsburgh, leading man Matt O'Neill's old stomping grounds, though that's probably the farthest we'll go.  I don't want to blow my profits on travel costs."
Cooper is also keen to receive invitations to screen Primitive at festivals, both US and international, that want to support indie creature-feature/B-films.

Produced by Thunderhead Entertainment LLC, Primitive is currently shopping for distribution. It also stars: Matt O'Neill, Kristin Lorenz (Evil Eyes), Jeff Ryan (Death Factory) and Gregory Paul Smith (Dino Wolf). Read all about it in this earlier report on Undead Backbrain.

More Images:

Source: Benjamin Cooper via Avery Guerra. Written by Robert Hood. Official website.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Exclusive: The Late Night Gorilla Lives!

Writer/director Dave Shaw is currently busy preparing for the final days' shoot in a new monster/comedy retro parody Late Night Classics presents GORILLA!

Rise of the Planet of the Apes notwithstanding, guys in slightly tawdry gorilla suits remain an ever-popular feature of ... well, those late-night horror shows we all grew up with and remember fondly.

"I've always had a love for 50s and 60s B-movies," Shaw (pictured below) told Undead Backbrain.

"The kind where the monster was a radioactive mutant of some sort or horrific beast (such as a gorilla) who would jump out of the shadows at delicate sweet young things while a stoic, square-jawed man of action attempted to defeat the beast.
"These were the black-and-white epics from such filmmakers as Samuel Z. Arkoff and Roger Corman and, shudder, Ed Wood, that kept teenage drive-in goers riveted way back when. I also have a love for the comedies I grew up on in the 80s -- from directors like John Landis (as a tribute, there is a bumbling cop named Officer Landis in my film), who made National Lampoon's Animal House, The Blues Brothers and Three Amigos! amongst others, as well as The Zucker Brothers of Airplane! and Naked Gun fame.
"With Late Night Classics presents GORILLA!, I've set out to marry the two genres. It's a black-and-white comedy about a young lady who must turn to some Rat Pack- obsessed elders to help stop a gorilla who is attacking all her friends. Yes, there are some horror elements, but we're more interested in giggles than gore with this one."

Late Night Classics presents GORILLA! stars Sara Duplancic, Francis Fisk, Paul Washer, Sherry Thurig, Mike Kelly, Dave Shaw and Penu Chalykoff as the Gorilla.

Sara Duplancic as Sara and Paul Washer as Officer Landis
Sara Duplancic getting into her Ripley mode
Paul Washer as Officer Landis with camera operator Julianne Cameron

Mimsy (Sherry Thurig) and Anna (Sara Duplancic)
Paul Washer as Officer Landis, confused
Sara confers with director Dave Shaw: "That love scene with the Gorilla has got to go!"
Sherry Thurig: "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr Shaw"

Asked about his own background, Shaw explained:
"As for myself, in the early part of the century, I hosted a television program called "Condensed Classics with Dave Shaw" playing a sleazy lounge-lizard type who hosts old black-and-white monster movies with a different cocktail dress-clad starlet each week. The show ran and reran (and reran and reran) for a period of close to eight years on Movieola The Short Film Channel and its partner station Silver Screen Classics.
"Currently, I work at Ottawa Little Theatre managing Front of House and Customer Service. I love it there and being around such a creative environment revived my creative instinct. Could I write and direct a play? Hell, no. I would have no idea what I  was doing. But could I write and direct a movie where one of the supporting characters was a sleazy lounge lizard former TV show host? That I could do! With the help of Julian Adderley, my trusty co-producer and editor (he also served as editor for "Condensed Classics") a GORILLA! was born!"
One thing the production still needs is money. Said Shaw:
"We are always looking for more investors. An investment of $20 or more gets an on-screen Executive Producer credit. We have raised a good chunk of our budget this way and will continue to do so as we head into post-production."
Learn more about the film on its official website/blog.

  • Source: Dave Shaw via Avery Guerra. IMDb. Written by Robert Hood.
Addendum: A New Featurette