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Exclusive: Justine Wachsberger Talks New Moon and Sorority Row

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Justine Wachsberger Talks New Moon and Sorority RowActress Justine Wachsberger might just end up being a talent to watch in the industry. The ingénue scored roles in two of the bigger genre releases of this fall. Wachsberger will make her big screen debut in Sorority Row, which hits theaters on September 11th. Then, in November, Wachsberger will once again grace theaters worldwide with her performance in the second installment of the Twilight saga, New Moon.

I still can’t believe how everything has come together for me in such a short time,” said Wachsberger. “I always worked hard but had no idea just how lucky I’d be so early on in my career.

Wachsberger’s love for acting was born via her study of theater while attending school in France. When the actress moved back to the States, she decided to pursue a degree at USC as her back-up plan, and while there she focused on pushing forward with her acting career.

For her first role, Wachsberger joins a talented group of young actresses including Briana Evigan, Rumer Willis, and Leah Pipes in the House on Sorority Row remake — simply titled Sorority Row this time around. She found her first on-set experience to be both overwhelming and amazing.

Wachsberger explained, “Stewart (Hendler) our director was so incredible to work with. I can’t imagine working with someone else for my first film. What was so great about our cast is that we all are very similar in age so we spent a lot of time together when we weren’t shooting, and it gave me a chance to really bond, kind of like the sorority sisters we were supposed to be. I think that helped for the chemistry on camera.

Even though the girls of Sorority Row got along off-camera, Wachsberger’s character Katie in the film is actually a bit of an outcast compared to everyone else.

Katie definitely isn’t part of the popular crowd. She is sort of the comic relief in the group even though she deep down wants to fit in with everyone else,” Wachsberger added.

It was soon after she landed the part in Sorority Row that Wachsberger auditioned for the next chapter in the Twilight series, New Moon, and scored the role of Gianna, a human who works for a vampire clan called the Volturi (based in Italy). Throughout the Twilight stories, the Volturi play an essential part to the Bella/Edward story – and in a world where humans are not supposed to be aware that vampires exist, Gianna is one character that proves to be the exception.

I actually liked the books but wasn’t a crazy fan of Twilight when I got the role of Gianna,” explained Wachsberger. “I just knew though that I would be lucky to be part of such a huge franchise because I know what these stories mean to the fans.

Wachsberger added, “Gianna was a really interesting character to portray for me. She’s human and has a lot going for her but decides to work for the vampires. You don’t really know much about her motivations and that adds a lot of mystery to her, which I really loved.

In terms of future projects, Wachsberger is keeping her options open and looking at expanding her resume beyond genre films. However, the actress hints that she’d definitely love to return to the world of the Twilight vampires and may get the opportunity.

I know there’s been some talk about having the Volturi spin off into its own film separate from the Twilight series, and I think that would be really cool. I think Gianna definitely has her own story to tell,” Wachsberger said.

Look for Sorority Row and New Moon later this year.

Heather Wixson

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Giallo Makes A Comeback With Crystal Eyes

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The giallo genre has somewhat fallen off the radar in recent years, but that’s all about to change with the new Argentinian film Crystal Eyes (original title: Mirada de Cristal). Set in 1985, the film’s about a series of murders taking place in the glamorous and colorful fashion world, so it sounds like a true giallo throwback.

Crystal Eyes was directed by Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, and stars Silvia Montanari, Anahí Politi, Erika Boveri, and Claudio Armesto. It screened at both the Mar del Plata International Film Festival and the Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre Film Festival, and received a great audience reception at both. We were sent the trailer for the film along with the poster and a bunch of lobby cards, which we proudly present below.

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Black Christmas Blu-ray Review – Making Its U.K. Debut From 101 Films

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Starring Keir Dullea, Olivia Hussey, John Saxon, Art Hindle

Directed by Bob Clark

Distributed by 101 Films


There is only one Bob Clark Christmas movie I watch each year and it doesn’t feature Ralphie and his Red Ryder fantasies.

The endurance of Clark’s 1974 legendary slasher, Black Christmas, can be chalked up to a number of factors but the greatest is this: it is a disturbing film. I frequently come across horror message board topics asking for genuinely scary titles devoid of jump scares and excessive gore, but oddly enough Black Christmas doesn’t get many mentions. Maybe because it has been relegated to the “seasonal viewing only” heap? Regardless, fans will agree that the unsettling events portrayed don’t diminish with repeat viewings; if anything, subsequent watching serves to reinforce that it is a standout among a sea of imitators. The film is also a noted influence on John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) – arguably the granddaddy of slasher films – adding a bit of prestige to its legacy.

The girls of Pi Kappa Sig are throwing a holiday party before the Christmas break when, toward the end of the night, they receive a phone call from a man they’ve been calling “The Moaner”, who has a habit of calling and making unusual noises. Jess (Olivia Hussey) initially accepts the call but also allows her other sisters to listen in, prompting outspoken Barb (Margot Kidder) to jump on the line and goad this mystery man. She and Phyllis (Andrea Martin) argue over the possibility this guy may be more threatening than anyone realizes. Unbeknownst to the ladies partying downstairs, however, moments before the phone call came through an unidentified person (very likely this same caller) snuck up the side of the house and into the attic. And once the party wraps up that same person is found hiding in Claire’s (Lynne Griffin) closet, whereupon she is strangled and placed in a rocking chair in the attic.

The next day Claire’s father comes to the campus to meet her and is understandably stood up. He heads to the sorority house and reports her missing, at which point the girls and their housemother, Mrs. Mac (Marian Waldman), agree to help him locate her. The file a report with the police, led by Lt. Fuller (John Saxon), and Jess also wrangles in Claire’s semi-boyfriend, Chris (Art Hindle), who helps bolster the search by raising hell at the station. Jess, meanwhile, is having problems of her own after confessing to her boyfriend, Peter (Keir Dullea), she is pregnant. She wants an abortion; he is vehemently against it. Claire’s absence grows more concerning when another missing girl is found dead in a nearby park, prompting the cops to ramp up their efforts. The girls are being picked off one by one as the unseen assailant remains hidden in the attic, continuing his phone calls that come after each murder. The cops suspect Peter may be a person of interest, as his interactions with Jess have become increasingly aggressive, but everyone is in for a shock when a tap on the line reveals the true source of the calls – they are coming from within the house.

With the film having been around for over forty years, and fans having been sold one “upgraded” home video version after the next, I suspect most readers are more interested in how Scream Factory’s Blu-ray stacks up against similar editions – which is basically my way of saying this review is a bit glib. For the uninitiated, however, let me say that I cannot overstate how exceptional Clark’s film is – never giving the killer an identity, an entire subplot concerning abortion, a palpable sense of grief for Claire’s father, a cast of interesting, unique people who don’t ever feel like archetypes, and a potentially downer of an ending. Some of his moviemaking tricks are brilliant, like the decision to create Billy’s voice from a combination of three different people (one a woman) and using interchangeable actors to portray the killer so you’re never quite sure who is in the attic. Carl Zittrer’s score is disorienting and minimal, making use of odd instrumentation to add extra unease; it also appears infrequently, giving the movie more of a real life quality. Black Christmas was a reasonable success upon release, more so commercially than critically, but time has been kind to this old gem and many now view it as an outright horror classic.

Hell, it was Elvis’ favorite Christmas movie.

Cult label 101 Films is giving the film its U.K. debut, presenting a transfer that is nearly identical to the remastered version Scream Factory released last year in North America. That 1.85:1 1080p picture is very likely the best this film can and will ever look. Black Christmas has a long home video history of looking very grainy, murky, dulled, and soft. I can’t say the new disc’s results are far off that mark but there are clear improvements. For one, grain has been resolved in a tighter field that looks less “noisy” and more “grindhouse-y”; do not expect an image clear as a crystal unicorn by any means. There is still softness to many faces and objects though detail looks far better here than it ever has before. Colors are more vibrant, too. Black levels run on the hazy side but they’re more stable than ever. The only noticeable difference between the Scream Factory and 101 Films versions are the latter is a touch brighter, allowing for a little more detail to filter through.

Audio is available via an English LPCM 5.1 surround sound track or a 2.0 stereo option. The multi-channel effort grants the unsettling soundtrack and Billy’s insane vocalizations more room to breathe, ratcheting up the creepiness thanks to the sense of immersion. Unlike the Scream Factory edition, the original mono track is not included.

Only a handful of extra features have been included, all of which can be found on the Scream Factory edition, too.

“Film and Furs: Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle” – Hindle, who still owns that jacket, talks about being a working actor in Canada when there wasn’t much work, as well as how he wound up auditioning for Clark for a different role.

“Victims and Virgins: Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin” – The actress who is most famous for having a plastic bag over her head tells a few tales from the set.

“Black Christmas Legacy” – This is a lot of interviews from the film’s actors and notable fans. I found it to be a bit tedious.

A handful of original TV and radio spots have been included, along with the “40th Anniversary Reunion Panel: Fan Expo Canada 2014”.

The package also includes a fold-out poster, reversible cover art, and a DVD copy.

Special Features:

  • Film and Furs: Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle
  • Victims and Virgins: Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin
  • Black Christmas Legacy
  • Original TV and Radio spots
  • 40th Anniversary Reunion Panel: Fan Expo Canada 2014
  • Black Christmas
  • Special Features
4.0

Summary

This is an easy recommendation for purchase if you live in the U.K., since this is the film’s Blu-ray debut. Stateside readers may find this region-free version attractive due to the price, but know that it does contain significantly fewer extras than the in-print Scream Factory release. Either way, fans on both sides of the Atlantic have a version worth buying.

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Take Out Serves Up Some KILLER Chinese Food

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Just when we thought that we’ve seen it all… the good folks over at Funny or Die have uploaded a flick that will terrify you for 4 minutes, and then an hour later you’ll be hungry again! That’s right, kids… steel your nerves for the arrival of Take Out!

The film from director Joe Douglass stars Tricia Alley, Jon Barbee, Junie Hoang, and Douglass. What happens when some leftover Chinese food decides to bite back? Found out right here, right now! Then vote… Funny? Or DIE?!?

Enjoy!

Take Out – watch more funny videos

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