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Dolph Lundgren Gets Regenerated



Dolph Lundgren Gets RegeneratedDolph Lundgren has long been a name associated with films that have kicked a lot of ass for a multitude of reasons. Be it to show American pride in Rocky IV or to whip alien ass in I Come in Peace, Lundgren has always been there to deliver the two-fisted goods.

Eighteen years ago he starred with action icon Jean-Claude Van Damme as a psychopathic killing machine with a penchant for adorning himself with body parts as trophies in Universal Soldier. Now, nearly two decades later, he’s back with Van Damme and pulling no punches in terms of violence in Universal Soldier: Regeneration (review here).

We sat down with Dolph today to talk about still kicking ass and being crazy after all these years.

“I’ve always been in pretty good shape, so it wasn’t a big problem for me to get ready for another fight with Van Damme,” says Dolph from Sweden, where he’s judging a talent contest based television show. “They approached me a few times to do this film, but I kept turning them down until they got this new director, John Hyams, on board. John was really cool and had a great idea for my character in the film. We both wanted to make my character more interesting than he was in the original script. I spent more time tossing ideas back and forth with him than I did getting in fighting shape. Van Damme and I practiced the fight for about a week, and after a bit we just had it down.”

“I wish I could have been in the film more because I really enjoyed working with John Hyams,” Dolph continued, “but it was one of those crazy things, you know? I only had about ten days. I was under contract directing this other movie, and then I was already obligated to do another picture so this is just the way it turned out. Who knows, though? Maybe I’ll be back again for the sequel if it gets made. I’ve been killed twice now I suppose so what’s once more going to hurt? Getting tossed into the wood chipper in the first film was a harrowing experience, you know.

Dolph went on to talk about his character’s motivations in the new movie. “John and I wanted my character in this one to be less over-the-top like he was in [Roland] Emmerich’s original film and more realistic and gritty. In this film he’s more the voice of the other UniSols. The guy who speaks up for everyone else. He’s kind of gone on one level, but on another he’s still there. He’s trying to remember about life, and who he is, and what has happened. He just cannot do it though. When he does get his instructions, he uses them and turns them around on his creator. It’s a bit like the whole Frankenstein’s monster type thing.”

Dolph Lundgren Gets Regenerated

During the climactic fight scene there’s a point at which Lundgren’s character finally remembers something that he wanted to tell Van Damme’s, and let’s just say something transpires between the two that prevents that moment from happening. I couldn’t resist asking Dolph to reflect back a little and spill the beans. “Wow, now I really have to try to remember!” *laughs* “There’s was never supposed to be a line there. We were just trying to imply that finally my character came around. He started remembering his life, Vietnam, his relationship with Van Damme’s character, and all of the events that had led up to him being there.”

With this one in the can and out there, we had to wonder if a third film would be in the cards. “Well, they have my DNA so I guess I can be cloned, and we could meet up with Jean-Claude again. Maybe this time we’ll even team up. That would be really interesting.”

If you haven’t seen Universal Soldier: Regeneration, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It’s heavy on the violence and packs a surprising amount of punch.

At this point of our conversation I decided to challenge Dolph to a boxing match. Though I never got a clear answer — it’s officially out there! I must break him!

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?



Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler

While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can



It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review



Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis

Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic


Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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