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EXCL: Filmmakers and Stars Talk Bitch Slap!



With IM Global/Bombshell Pictures’ gleefully titillating feature Bitch Slap bowing today in limited theatrical release and via Video on Demand, this scribe sat down recently with the makers and stars of the film to discuss their ‘guns, boobs, and brawls’ opus and was thrilled to do so.

Why? In this writer’s estimation, Bitch Slap has set the bar in that sub-genre of film and now holds the heavyweight belt as the ‘Quintessential Guy Flick.’ This is fortuitous, not only for audiences with high expectations (the flick’s trailer and teaser art have been burning up the Internet for months) but also for the filmmakers, whose goal was to create ‘The Best Bitch Fight in Film History.

Bitch Slap, which stars newcomer Julia Voth, Erin (“Nip/Tuck”) Cummings, America (Friday the 13th remake) Olivo, Ron (Children of the Corn III) Melendez, Kevin (“Hercules”) Sorbo, and Zoe (Death Proof) Bell (in a brief cameo, although her skill as the film’s fight choreographer is clearly on display), is described as follows: ‘A post-modern, thinking man’s throwback to the B-movie exploitation films of the 1950’s-70’s as well as a loving, sly parody of the same. Inspired by the likes of Dragstrip Girl; Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!; Kung Fu Nun; and the pantheon of Blaxploitation films, Bitch Slap mixes girls, guns, outrageous action, and jaw-dropping visuals with a message… don’t be naughty!

Bitch Slap Brings on the Boobs and Blood!

An ambitious project to be sure, particularly for a low-budgeted indie, but one which writer/producer/director Rick Jacobsen and co-scribe and producing partner Eric Gruendemann approached with sincere enthusiasm, although according to them there was initial trepidation as to whether or not they’d be successful in finding three femme fatales willing and able to go to the lengths their tawdry, tongue-in-cheek script required.

The lead roles were obviously the most pivotal, although we didn’t have any ideas (as to the casting),” said Gruendemann, whose previous genre experience includes serving as co-executive producer and managing director of Pacific Renaissance Films, the company he founded with partners Sam (Evil Dead) Raimi and Rob Tapert. “A lot of people said early on, ‘How are you going to find hot women who can give these long soliloquies and do the action and who are willing to do what’s written in the script and will do it on a budget? You are asking the impossible.’

Reflecting on the casting of the film’s triumvirate of Voth (as the down-and-out stripper ‘Trixie’), Cummings (as corporate powerbroker ‘Hell’), and Olivo (who here portrays the drug-running killer ‘Camaro’), Gruendemann says, “We recognize that we got very lucky, but also when we were writing, we had faith that we would find them, and we are incredibly thrilled with who we got.

Jacobsen, who began his directorial career at the age of 23 by helming Roger Corman’s martial arts flick Full Contact, and whose television credits include “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Cleopatra 2525”, concurs.

Bitch Slap Brings on the Boobs and Blood!

It was definitely lightning in a bottle,” says the filmmaker of their luck in casting Bitch Slap. “We needed beautiful women who could go there and embrace the fact that we were doing an exploitation film and not shy away from (directions such as) ‘Unzip that top a little bit more,’ or ‘Bend over a little bit further,’ (even though) it was all kind of done with just a wink and a smile in knowing that we were embracing what (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! director) Russ Meyer and those guys had done before – yet kinda trying to put a cool modern spin on it.

It was a huge task,” Jacobsen continues, “yet, the planets somehow aligned for us to the freakish point that when we were developing it, I said to Eric, ‘Our Trixie is a girl who has just come into town, is undiscovered and incredibly talented, but is hungry and willing to do it’; and that is exactly what we got with Julia Voth. She was in town for eight months, and this was her third audition.

This is my first film and acting job ever, and it’s been amazing,” chimes in Canadian-born Voth, whose previous work in L.A. included print jobs as a model for Guess? and who is clearly enjoying the reunion with her Bitch Slap co-stars the junket’s providing, given their banter. “I think this film for all three of us has opened doors that weren’t there before, especially for me.

Cummings, who seems the ringleader of the film’s stars, given her sharp wit and alluring laugh (think Tura Satana but a lot cuter… and more approachable), agrees with Voth’s statement.

It’s almost comical how this movie has created a complete 180 in my life and my career,” says the actress, whose substantial resume includes stints on “Cold Case”, “Dante’s Cove”, and “Charmed”. “I had done just about every play, short film, student film, and independent film that I could, and a lot of them never came out and a lot of them I never got paid for, and I thought Bitch Slap was going to be just another independent film that never saw the light of day. That’s kind of what it was for me, and I was just happy I was actually getting a lead role in something that was a feature. But now in the year and a half since I’ve done Bitch Slap, not only has my resume increased three times, but I’ve gotten ten times better representation, I’ve been able to travel around the world, and literally it’s really changed my career and my life, and it’s not even out yet! That’s what is crazy.

Bitch Slap Brings on the Boobs and Blood!

As for whether Cummings, given her previous genre work, was predisposed to old-school exploitation cinema (namely, the films of Russ Meyer, which Bitch Slap wears proudly on its sleeve, or in this case its itty bitty tank top), “I hadn’t really seen any of his films,” says the actress. “I grew up in Pensacola, Texas, where they didn’t even have a Blockbuster, so I had to watch whatever random films were there, so I was watching sort of genre horror films, like Student Bodies.” A long pause. “It’s the best movie ever made.

Again with her wit.

But I don’t really have any shame in saying ‘No, I haven’t seen any of Meyer’s films prior to doing this,’” she conveys. “Our job is not to be familiar with exploitation films as a genre. Our job is to give a truthful performance.

That truthful performance was assisted by the filmmakers’ hiring of stuntwoman and burgeoning actress Zoe Bell, whom they’d previously worked with on the television series “Xena” and horror fans know of from her turn in Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 Grindhouse feature Death Proof as well as her starring role in last year’s web series Angel of Death (she’ll next appear alongside Wesley Snipes in the upcoming flick Game of Death). Whew, that’s a lot of death! Given the content of Bitch Slap, Zoe’s inclusion was an astute call.

Zoe was our first and only choice when it came to choosing a stunt coordinator who could coordinate ‘The Greatest Chick Fight in Cinema History,’” says director Jacobsen. “And she never let us down.

’Wow! No pressure, guys. I’ll see what I can do!’” Bell recalls of responding to Jacobsen’s initial and lofty decree, “but it was really satisfying to me. It’s the first thing of that size that I’ve coordinated, and it was made much easier by the fact that the girls were all so willing. You can’t make a movie like that without everybody being one hundred percent because that’s all you’ve got to work with, and they were really dedicated.

Bitch Slap Brings on the Boobs and Blood!

Given the requirements of Cummings’ ass-kicking role (both she and Olivo throw down like MMA fighters), Bell’s assistance, as well as her own background in Jeet Kune Do and various weaponry (Cummings is trained in guns, knives, long bow, short stick, and hand-to-hand combat, among other things) undoubtedly assisted her in delivering. But what of the scenes which required more of a Sapphic touch? (Audiences can look forward to rather rousing moments between herself and her onscreen cohorts).

One of our camera operators on-set was bisexual,” relates Cummings, “and here’s the thing: We all felt that if you are going to do a fight scene or a love scene or whatever you are going to do, you want to make it something that’s real, and to be quite honest, I want lesbians to watch this movie and go, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty hot. I want to be in the middle of that,’ and I want guys to watch this movie and say, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty hot. I want to be in the middle of that.’ So otherwise, what’s the point? Truth be told, look at Julia and America. It’s not the worst thing in the world to kiss them. I’d rather kiss a pretty girl than an ugly guy any day!

Bitch Slap actress America Olivo is as enthusiastic as Cummings of the film, which has previously screened as part of the Toronto International Film Fest’s Midnight Madness track as well as being an Official Selection at both the Athens and Helsinki International Film Festivals.

Within twenty pages (of the script), you either get it or you don’t, and I got it,” says Olivo, who’s a classically trained operatic singer and pop/Latin chart topper and who has graced the stages of Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden (among many others), all long before being burned up in a sleeping bag at the hands of Jason Voorhees in last year’s Platinum Dunes’ Friday the 13th redux.

Bitch Slap did all of these fun things that I never thought I’d get the opportunity to do in my acting career as a cross-over artist from being a singer,” says Olivo. “I’d only ever gotten a few Spanish speaking roles or played a girlfriend or a mistress of someone being killed in the first five minutes. So it was fun to not only get to play a lead in something this grand but to do all of the sorts of things that men usually get to do in action films. I mean, the fight scenes and just getting dirty and the green screen work – the whole thing was just fun. This isn’t, though, what I thought I’d been doing with my degree in opera theatre!

As our time runs short (it’s the holiday season and talk turns to everyone’s various travel plans), Cummings offers us this summation: “Bitch Slap is something different than the same bullshit that the Hollywood machine is churning out, and people wanted to be involved in it.”

Bitch Slap opens today for a limited theatrical run in Los Angeles at The Nuart (11272 Santa Monica Boulevard), in New York at The Quad (34 West 13th Street), and in San Francisco at The Lumiere (1572 California Street). Tickets are on sale for all locations through MovieTickets.com and for Los Angeles and San Francisco through LandmarkTheaters.com.

Visit Bitch Slap online at BitchSlapMovie.com.

Sean Decker

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Michael Bay Adapting Duke Nukem with John Cena in Talks For Lead Role



I think we can all agree that this may very well be one of those times when we see an announcement and go, “Huh… That actually makes 100% sense and I’m completely behind it!”

It’s been announced that the classic FPS shooter series Duke Nukem is getting a film adaptation out of Paramount with Platinum Dunes, the company owned by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller, producing the movie. As of now, there is no script but the plan is to have WWE superstar John Cena taking on the lead role. As of now, it’s still in early stages but this is actually very exciting news as this combination seems like a match made in heaven.

Just think about some of Bay’s films, like Transformers, Bad Boys, The Rock, The Island, etc… Now imagine that kind of gleeful explosive action as the backdrop for Cena to kick untold amounts of alien ass. For those who worry that Bay won’t go hard enough in terms of violence or offensive language, don’t forget that both Bad Boys films as well as Pain & Gain were rated R for very good reasons.

Duke Nukem was originally released back in 1991 in the self-titled game made by Apogee Software. The character has since been in multiple sequels, although there are only four titles to the main storyline, and spin-offs as well as appearing in cameos in other games such as Death Rally, Blood, Serious Sam 2, Balls of Steel and can be seen in the trailer for Ready Player One. Nukem’s last video game appearance was 2011’s Duke Nuke Forever, a game that went through countless delays only to be met with critical panning upon release.

Horror fans who have played Duke Nukem will recognize many of the character’s iconic one-liners as being lifted from several horror films. Quotes from They Live, Army of Darkness, Aliens, Predator, Jaws, Full Metal Jacket, Evil Dead 2, and many more. The references were littered throughout and many delighted in their homages. However, Bruce Campbell wasn’t a fan when asked about the game back in 1999. He told IGN, “…they’re rip-off artists. Let them get their own damn material. It’s called hiring a writer.” [Source].

That being said, how cool would it be if Campbell made an appearance in the film to put Cena’s Duke Nukem in his place should he use one of those quotes? Apart from being a treat for fans of the games, it’d be a great moment in a film that’s meant to be chock full of bravado, machismo, and strong chins!

Coming back to Platinum Dunes’ adaptation, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this project! In the meanwhile, why not tell us your favorite Duke Nukem moment in the comments!

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Ellen Page and The Cured Come Home to VOD



We’ve been talking about the new zombie flick starring Ellen Page entitled The Cured for quite some time now, and we’ll soon be able to sink our teeth into it courtesy of IFC Films.

The flick stars Page (Juno, Hard Candy), Sam Keeley (Anthropoid, In the Heart of the Sea), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Avengers: Infinity War, The Infiltrator), and Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games trilogy, “Ray Donovan”) and is directed and written by David Freyne in his first feature film. Look for it in theaters and On Demand on February 23, 2018​.

What happens when the undead return to life? In a world ravaged for years by a virus that turns the infected into zombie-like cannibals, a cure is at last found and the wrenching process of reintegrating the survivors back into society begins. Among the formerly afflicted is Senan (Sam Keeley), a young man haunted by the horrific acts he committed while infected. Welcomed back into the family of his widowed sister-in-law (Ellen Page), Senan attempts to restart his life—but is society ready to forgive him and those like him? Or will fear and prejudice once again tear the world apart? 

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#Brainwaves Episode 74 Guest Announcement: Creature Designer Mike Hill – The Shape of Water and More!



We’re getting monstrous on Episode 74 of Brainwaves Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio as joining us will be award-winning artist, filmmaker, and creature designer Mike Hill, whose work you can see right now in a little film called The Shape of Water.

Join us this coming Wednesday, January 24th, at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.


Listen to Stitcher

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC using the hashtag #BrainWaves. You can also check us out on our Brainwaves Discord channel!

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at UncleCreepy@dreadcentral.com with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

Brainwaves Contact!

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