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Set Visit: Dread Central Goes Behind Your Eyes

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It’s January 15, 2010, when this scribe arrives to the snowy set of executive producer Greg H. Sims’ psycho-thriller Behind Your Eyes. Shooting for 14 days on location in Lake Arrowhead, CA (with additional days in and around the nearby environs of Los Angeles) and written by Daniel Fanaberia, the flick revolves around ‘A couple. A kidnapping. A secret. A weekend to meet the parents becomes a weekend of trying to stay alive for perfect Steven and Erika’ (according to the production’s PR).

The film stars Tom (Puppetmaster: Axis of Evil) Sandoval and Swedish actress Frida Farrell as the unlucky duo. Writer Fanaberia and actors Remy O’Neil, Lisa R. Segal, and Arthur Roberts round out the film’s cast.

The first in-house feature for new production and distribution entity Vesuvio Entertainment Corporation, of which Sims is CEO, Behind Your Eyes is being helmed by Clint Lien (he previously worked as a producer with Sims on their 1999 feature The Fear) in his directorial debut. You wouldn’t know it, though, as when this scribe arrives to the dusty, cramped basement in which the film is shooting, Lien comes across as a seasoned and patient pro, guiding his cast and crew with a steady hand through the scripted tortures of the day.

Filming in an old restaurant turned storage facility for the Timberline Antique Dealership, the production is utilizing the location for the basement set of the parent’s home, where much of the action goes down, and the flick’s official synopsis is as follows: ‘Young couple Erika and Steven have the world going for them as they embark on a weekend retreat to meet Steven’s parents. Things take a turn for the worst when the couple is unexpectedly kidnapped and held hostage. Now, it’s a fight for their lives against their mysterious abductor and the secrets he possesses. As he tortures and teases them, secrets from the past emerge and change everything. When Erika escapes, things only get worse, and the twists and turns take the viewer into uncharted territory and unyielding mayhem.

Of the scripted mayhem, “That’s the ‘sodomy horse,’” Lien tells us between takes of one of the set’s props – a rather sadistic looking sawhorse variant whose purpose is rather clear given its construction and moniker, as well as the bound and gagged Farrell who pleads in the foreground with her off-screen captors. We soak in a few takes, and with the scene complete and Farrell’s cries still echoing in the basement (we’re embargoed at present from revealing exactly what was shot), this scribe steals Lien away from his chair for a chat.

It’s definitely a psychological thriller,” says the director, who previously co-producer the 2002 feature Megalodon, of Behind Your Eyes, “but as you can see from the set that you walked onto, it’s pretty grim.

Dread questions him regarding the cinematic depravity audiences should expect from the film, given the Hostel-esque tools of torture that adorn the walls of the set, and Lien responds: “I definitely wanted to take a step back from ‘torture porn’ because it’s becoming ridiculous. This is one of the problems I had with (Bryan Bertino’s 2008 film) The Strangers – we’ve got to the point where our protagonists don’t have a face, a name, or any words – they just come in and rip the shit out of everything. Even Jason and Michael and Freddy, all ridiculous characters from the 1980’s, had some motivation, and we all loved them because they had character. When I watch a horror movie, I want my bad guy to be lovable in a way because we love to hate them.

As for the film’s exploitative versus thematic elements, Lien offers, “We’ve got the beautiful girl (Farrell), but I think everything that I’ve done in there suits the push of the story, and the actors agree with me. I’ve asked them to do some really risky things and they’ve pushed it. The dramatic element is a triangle between the three characters: the boyfriend (Sandoval), the girlfriend (Farrell), and then this other guy (writer and actor Fanaberia), who we don’t really know who he is. We have a triangle of incredibly twisted dimensions. It’s about deception and coming to terms with who we really are, and that’s the case with all three of these characters.

With the production shooting on the Red camera system, we’re curious as to what ‘look’ Lien and production designer Caity Birmingham are striving for, and the director quips, “The look was one that was ‘finished’, if that helps. (Director of photography) Akis (Akis Konstantakopolous) and I sat down and watched Seven, and without a doubt it’s one of the most beautifully shot films I’ve ever seen, and he agreed. Then I watched The Strangers – which while I am a horror fan I thought was a bit misogynistic – but the director shot that film beautifully: a lot of hand-held, a lot of oranges and warm tones and that cabin, earthy-feel that gives you that feeling of isolation that you don’t get in the city. So we are moving away from the city look (of Seven), and going for an isolated, claustrophobic feel. We are doing a lot of hand-held.

Commenting on the limited space inherent to the basement in which they are shooting, “We’ve got this thing called a slider,” says Lien, “which gives me about three and a half feet to move-in and move-out and keeps the camera moving. I’m not a ‘sticks’ guy: I do not want them on my set, and Akis is a big Greek kid who can hold that camera all day.

Executive produced by Sims with co-producer Hawk Furman and producers Chris and Michael Ottinger, Behind Your Eyes had a breathtaking three-month turnaround from script to principal photography, with Lien having no more than six weeks to prep before the first day of shooting.

This is the fastest turnaround I have ever been involved in,” says Lien. “Greg asked me to read it and maybe punch it up a little bit, so I did a brush (on the script), and then next thing I knew we were in L.A. casting and now we are here.

It’s really incredible what Greg’s pulled together here on a shoe-string budget,” Lien continues, “which is the way the industry is going now. They just aren’t making those half-million dollar movies anymore. Five years ago you couldn’t do a film like this for this budget; it was just impossible. But now with the advent of the digital world, you are able to. The Red looks incredible. It looks so 35mm. And we’ve got some good talent in there and some great crew, and I’m just stunned at what they are putting together and what they are giving me to work with.

Check out three exclusive production stills and pictures from the set of Behind Your Eyes below, and stay tuned for our chat with executive producer Sims.

Set Visit: Dread Central goes Behind Your Eyes

Set Visit: Dread Central goes Behind Your Eyes

Set Visit: Dread Central goes Behind Your Eyes

Set Visit: Dread Central goes Behind Your Eyes

Set Visit: Dread Central goes Behind Your Eyes

Set Visit: Dread Central goes Behind Your Eyes

Set Visit: Dread Central goes Behind Your Eyes

Sean Decker

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Friday the 13th: The Game Welcomes Back Shelly Finkelstein This Monday!

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Earlier this past year, all of us Friday the 13th Part 3 fans we delighted when “Friday the 13th: The Game” added in Fox (Gloria Charles) as a playable character.

And now we have the announcement that another beloved character from Friday the 13th Part 3 will be joining the game this December.

Yes, Shelly Finkelstein (Larry Zerner) will be coming back to Camp Crystal Lake!

The Shelly playable character will be available for free with the latest patch. The new update will be coming for PS4 and Steam on Monday, Dec. 18th. The Xbox One patch to follow shortly.

Below you can watch the announcement trailer which was posted on Twitter earlier tonight.

After giving it a watch make sure to let us know how excited you are to see Shelly (aka the man who gave Jason his mask) back in action below!

Shelly Finkelstein hits Friday the 13th: The Game for PS4 and Steam on Monday, Dec. 18th.

Welcome Back Shelly!

The man responsible for 'handing' Jason his mask, Shelly Finkelstein will be coming back to Camp Crystal Lake to troll his fellow counselors…that is until Jason shows up! Get Shelly for free with the latest patch!The latest update will be coming for PS4 and Steam on Monday, Dec. 18th with the Xbox One patch to follow shortly!

Posted by Friday the 13th: The Game on Friday, December 15, 2017

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Graham Humphreys Reveals His Poster For An American Werewolf In London

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Graham Humphreys continues to cement his position as one of the top horror artists in the business with his stunning new poster for An American Werewolf in London. This piece was created as a private commission, and fans of John Landis’ 1981 classic are going to love it. You can view the final design of this incredible poster below.

Final design with text.

Graham also provided us with a detailed statement about the creation of the piece, along with a bunch of screen grabs taken throughout the process. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can see how the final image looks before the text was added. In case you missed it earlier, you can also check out our extended interview with Graham here.

Exclusive Statement from Graham Humphreys
As a commercial artist and illustrator, there is only limited scope to make a job entirely your own – so with each project you are answering a brief in order to fulfill the needs of a client. Of course, the client may choose to give you free reign, though this is with the understanding that you are acknowledging their needs and thus expected to work within certain unspoken parameters. Mostly, these confines are defined by how a product is to be sold, licensing instructions and an understanding a market. With this in mind, the client is paying and thus nominally always right… though it would be unprofessional not to make them aware that other options might work better for them!

Without these commercial constraints, a private commission can remove the barriers because no market is to be met and there is only the artist and the private client to answer to. Creating a poster for a familiar and heavily licensed title is an entirely different prospect if it is not going to be generating money in the public domain and is thus essentially ‘fan art’. Unlike say, a T-shirt company ripping off someone elses art and charging money for the printed image, or perhaps a poster reproduced without permission by either the license owner or artist, then sold for profit.

Here, Dread Central have asked me to talk through one such commission, ‘An American Werewolf in London’, painted as a private commission for an individual that wishes to own a unique image that they themselves have made happen. NB: All likenesses and specific imagery (including the title and names etc) are subject to license and copyright and not for any use other than as examples of a work in progress (and of course, all rights are reserved!). Just need to make sure that it absolutely clear!

The client had commissioned two previous posters from me (as well as numerous poster designs from fellow artists), so a basic understanding of expectations had already been established.

My work begins by watching the film from beginning to end – to re-establish my own connection to the film (if one already exists). I saw ‘An American Werewolf in London’ (in London!) on it’s first run and the proximity to many of the locations (Tottenham Court Road tube station, Piccadilly Circus, being the obvious ones) made it instantly impressionable for me. Existing posters, in particular the official theatrical versions and various home-entertainment sleeves, focused on a limited image pool. My job was to find new ways of representing the film, free of the past baggage, but also to listen to my clients requirements.

Looking for a fresh perspective means avoiding the familiar stills that have defined the past marketing, this is achieved by making screen grabs from the DVD or blu-ray. As with most commercial jobs, I generally make a selection of about 40 images, then review these reducing the number to about 15 that have the best narrative potential, including a good visual range of actor expressions and reactions. My client required the Werewolf, London references, the moors, David and Jack, a full moon and the ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ pub sign… then whatever else I chose to include.

On the basis of the selected screen grabs, I make necessary light and contrast adjustments in photoshop, make them greyscale (removing the distraction of colour) and print them out at a size I can easily trace in pencil onto paper. All the pencil sketches are then scanned into photoshop, so that I can rearrange, resize and move around in order to determine the best layout, one which tells a story and has a visual impact. (I find it’s better to present sketched layouts rather than a photocomp’s, partly because the photographic material is usually of varying quality, but also because a pencil rough is more fluid and does not dictate the final impression).

Selected screen grabs.

Selected screen grabs 2.

My first idea involved a portrait of David looking lost and frightened (I felt this was essential to the story), the Werewolf with it’s head bursting through the cinema shutters/signage (the idea of breaking the fourth wall), the decomposing Jack (a perfect metaphor for David’ s own life falling apart), his nightmare of the home invasion (one of the most effective and horrific moments in the film, I felt), plus Brian Glover’s ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ local – a look that defines rednecks and racists the word over when confronted by ‘other’!). I also wanted to add the tube attack victim to open up the carnage. Although Jenny Agutter’s nurse added the romantic dimension for an audience that expects the convention, I wanted to concentrate on David’s story, so chose to only include her face as if she were painted on the shutters, ie. a film poster element.

I was surprised that the client didn’t want the home invasion creatures, nor the reference to the sleazy cinema hordings (which I thought made a good location gag – obviously not!), they also did not want the rotting Jack. It was disappointing to lose these great horror elements, especially as they’d particularly wanted ‘horror’! But a compromise was reached by including the transformation scene at the bottom, and reinstating the moors (which I’d thought unnecessary).

Fortunately, my second sketch was well received and the painting could commence.

On the basis of the selected screen grabs, I make necessary light and contrast adjustments in photoshop, make them greyscale (removing the distraction of colour) and print them out at a size I can easily trace in pencil onto paper. All the pencil sketches are then scanned into photoshop, so that I can rearrange, resize and move around in order to determine the best layout, one which tells a story and has a visual impact. (I find it’s better to present sketched layouts rather than a photocomp’s, partly because the photographic material is usually of varying quality, but also because a pencil rough is more fluid and does not dictate the final impression).

Once I have my sketch approved I reintroduced the photographic source material over the sketched parts, so that my layout remains exactly as approved and so that I’ll have the best possible likenesses to trace onto the watercolour paper.

Early sketched elements.

I usually have a basic idea of what colours I’m going to use. In this instance I knew that I wanted a silvery blue moonlight to bathe the entire image, but also the contrast of the orange glow of artificial lighting, the pub and cinema foyer. I knew the big splash of red in the wolf’s jaw would jump out, becoming the focal point. This painting took about three days to complete, the sketch process (including the grabs) about a day upfront.

Composition design.

The final painting was scanned and all the text added in photoshop.

My client will now make a full size poster print, to be framed, from the file I send him. Next up, ‘The Thing’!

Final painting before text was added.

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Syfy Renews Z Nation for a 5th Season; Season 4 Finale Airs Tonight!

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Syfy’s popular zombie series “Z Nation” just keeps shambling on, and tonight the two-episode Season 4 finale, “Mt. Weather/The Black Rainbow,” airs. If you’re a fan of the show, we have good news for you… it’s not over yet as David Latt of The Asylum has announced on Twitter the pickup of “Z Nation” for a 5th season! So you can expect lots more adventures with the gang in 2018.

Below is the official word from David along with a brief synopsis of what’s ahead tonight in the finale, which kicks off at 9/8c.

Synopsis:
In the mind-bending two-hour Season 4 finale, Warren and the team must stop Zona from launching operation Black Rainbow, which will cleanse the landscape of both zombies and humans. In Part 2 the secret of Warren’s Black Rainbow dream is unlocked when they reach their final destination. The cast includes Kellita Smith as Roberta Warren, Keith Allan as Murphy, Russell Hodgkinson as Doc, Nat Zang as 10K, Gracie Gillam as Sgt. Lilley, DJ Qualls as Citizen Z, Ramona Young as Kaya, Justin Torrence as President Donald Trump, Michael Berryman as The Founder, Micheal Daks as Mr. Sunshine, Anastasia Baranova as Addy, Sydney Viengluang as Sun Mei, Joseph Gatt as The Man, and Natalie Jongjaroenlarp as Red.

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