Exclusive: William Brent Bell Talks Creating The Boy - Dread Central
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Exclusive: William Brent Bell Talks Creating The Boy



Creepy doll movies haven’t really caught on as a trend, but there are enough of them – ranging from Magic in the 1970s to the current Annabelle franchise – to be acknowledged as a sub-genre.

The latest one has been garnering great reviews (you’ll find Ari Drew’s here) and causing some folks to lock their toy chests. It’s called The Boy, and it’s about a young American named Greta (Lauren Cohan) who takes a job as a nanny for an 8-year-old boy in a remote English village. To her surprise, Greta soon learns the child of her new employers is actually a life-sized doll they call Brahms.

They care for the doll as if it was human, which helps the eccentric couple cope with the death of their own beloved son 20 years earlier. The couple leave on a trip, leaving Greta with a long list of strict rules. When Greta violates their dos and don’ts, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring her worst fears to light…. that the doll might actually be alive.

We recently caught up with The Boy’s director, William Brent Bell, whose previous credits include Wer and The Devil Inside.


When I introduced myself, he said, “Oh, another Stacey… our screenwriter, Stacey Menear, is a guy though. I thought it was a woman when I first saw the script, but it turns out he is a dude from Jersey.”

“Bet he gets that a lot. He and Stacy Keach ought to have a support group of two,” I said. Since The Boy is Stacey’s first screenplay produced, it makes sense no one knows who he is yet… but he does have another project lined up, called Mixtape, although it’s not horror.

When it came to creating the doll from scratch and making him a unique character, Bell says, “That was probably the most significant part of the whole process: making the boy perfect.” They did, but it was down to the wire. “Even the day or two before shooting, there were elements that were completely off. I wasn’t having a meltdown, but until the day before his haircut was so bad, he looked like a male ice skater. I was sure nobody would be scared by this boy with this frilly little hair, all spray and curling iron, and so we got the hair right.”

The structure of Brahms’ face was very important too; Chucky is great, but Bell wanted to avoid any cartooniness. “I was inspired by some pretty cool antique dolls, but mostly I was inspired by Damien from The Omen and characters like him. The best inspiration was actual creepy little boys.”

Bell said he had master sculptors from Canada working on Brahms, and everything down to the size and shape of his eyes was cause for discussion. “He is sweet looking. I think he should look adorable, but [like] he has a knife hidden behind his back. It turned out being cool.”

Another non-human character in the film is the amazing mansion where the action takes place. I asked Bell if it was a practical location or if they shot on a soundstage. “Well, it was kind of both. We went up there to Victoria to look at that place and another castle… they’re pretty much castles, and that one was perfect. I hadn’t really seen that style ever, or certainly not much. I thought that was a unique look, and it is scary. Then the interior, that is what it really looks like, you know. But to be able to do certain things, we re-created the pieces of that castle on a stage. It looked so great, even the editor couldn’t tell what was real and what was staged.”


When I asked him if he’d been specifically looking for a doll horror movie to direct, Bell said, “Well, I was looking really hard to find or develop a ghost story, you know, like a creepy ghost story, elevated type of horror film. Or do something completely different and do something more science fiction. I have been doing things in the middle a little bit, and then I read the script for The Boy. It was perfect and unique, and it is not very often you read a horror script that was so well written the first time around. I read it, and I was sucked into the world. I could see the movie, and I loved the idea of dolls or creepy little boys in general, you know, like The Omen or something. I was totally into it, but as I started to approach that third act, I was like, ‘How is Stacey going to deal with this doll now? What is going to happen?’ And then when the twist happened, I was like, ‘Such a relief.’ That is so unique for me… I thought immediately: ‘I love this script.’ We were location scouting like a month later.”

As for how closely he collaborated with Stacey and whether the divisive ending was ever an issue, Bell said…

–Spoilers ahead–

“I’ve never seen Bad Ronald. Never heard of it before people started talking about the ending of The Boy.” What about the Klaus Kinski Crawlspace? Nope. “I guess to some degree, if I don’t know about those movies, it means probably a lot of the world doesn’t know about them so, you know, how many times is there a twist that the bad guy is the good guy, or how many times is somebody supposed to be dead and they come to life? I am not too worried about the comparisons. One of the big things was the entire story… [with] the marketing of the movie… everything was to really to try hard and do everything we could to avoid the idea of someone watching and that twist to even be in people’s minds, you know?  The nature of what was really going on… other than it being the doll watching her, we did everything we could to really elegantly keep the audience from ever having the opportunity to guess what was really going on, and I think it worked pretty well.”

Stacey Minear said in an interview with Cosmopolitan, “I think the reason I chose the ending I did was going back to the ’70s films that I loved so much. There’s this one called The Baby and another called Bad Ronald, and they’re sort of these strange horror movies more than straight-up scary ones. I think horror movies now are mainstream. They never get really weird; they’ll get really violent, but they’ll never get strange.”

If you like “strange” as much as we do, The Boy comes out on DVD and Blu-ray TODAY, May 10th, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.





Leprechaun Returns to Syfy Next Year; Warwick Davis Does Not



You can always tell when it’s St. Patrick’s Day by Syfy running a Leprechaun movie marathon. But this St. Paddy’s Day, Syfy surprised everyone with a teaser for a new Leprechaun sequel set to premiere on the network next March.

Leprechaun Returns appears to be taking a page from the forthcoming Halloween reboot by positioning itself as a direct sequel to the original film. Sorry, Lepre-fans… looks like those excursions to Las Vegas, outer space, and the hood never happened.

Twenty-five years after the Leprechaun terrorized a pre-“Friends” Jennifer Aniston and experienced his first defeat via a four-leaf clover down his gullet, the little fellow gets revived in modern times when a group of college girls unwittingly awaken him while tearing down a cabin to build their new sorority house.

The new installment in the Leprechaun series is written by Suzanne Keilly (“Ash vs Evil Dead”) and directed by Steven Kostanski (The Void). There’s an interesting combination.

Taylor Spreitler (“Kevin Can Wait”), Pepi Songhua (“Ash vs Evil Dead”) as Katie, and Sai Bennett (Lake Placid: The Legacy), along with Emily Reid, Oliver Llewellyn-Jenkins, and Ben McGregor, are among the potential new victims of silly limericks and supernatural slaughter. Mark Holton reprises his role as “Ozzie”, the goofball friend from the 1993 original who narrowly survived his first encounter with the Leprechaun. He might not be so lucky the second time around.

One bit of casting that may prove controversial to fans of the franchise is Warwick Davis, who will not be returning to the iconic horror role he played in six films (the less said about the misguided prequel Leprechaun: Origins the better). Replacing him as the pint-sized monstrous Irishman with a lethal taste for gold wil be Linden Porco.

Even though we won’t be seeing Leprechaun Returns until around St. Patrick’s Day of 2019, Syfy has already premiered a teaser with Porco’s first appearance as the Leprechaun, giving us a year’s advance warning of what’s to come. Check it out above, and then let us know what you think!


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SXSW 2018: Reviews, Interviews, and Wrap-Ups!



Dread Central was out en masse at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, and we came back with some of the best damned coverage you could ever hope for. In case you missed any of it, we have a full index of coverage for you right here!

Big thanks to both Dark Sky Films and Shudder for their sponsorship of our media village content. Also big kudos to Jon Condit, Jonathan Barkan, Shaked Berenson, and Josh Millican for their tireless work.



Daily Wrap-Ups


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Dread Central Presents

2018 Saturn Awards Horror Nominees Include Get Out, The Shape of Water, IT, The Lodgers, The Walking Dead, Ash vs Evil Dead, and Lots More!



The nominees for the 2018 Saturn Awards (now in their 44th year) have been announced, and while of course Black Panther and his fellow superheroes lead the fray on both big and small screens, our beloved genre is very well represented in all its various forms…

The nominees include “pure” horror and thriller movies and TV shows, horror/sci-fi hybrids, and of course fantasies such as recent Oscar winner The Shape of Water. Our own Dread Central Presents film The Lodgers also made the cut as Best International Film!

This year’s Saturn Awards will be handed out in June in Burbank, California. It’s a tough choice in several categories; let us know your picks below! And if you want to make your votes official, visit saturnawards.org to learn more about how to join The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.


Best Comic-to-Motion Picture Release
Black Panther
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Thor: Ragnarok
Wonder Woman

Best Science Fiction Film
Alien: Covenant
Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Fantasy Film
Beauty and the Beast
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Kong: Skull Island
Paddington 2
The Shape of Water

Best Horror Film
47 Meters Down
Annabelle: Creation
Better Watch Out
Get Out

Best Action or Adventure Film
Baby Driver
The Fate of the Furious
The Greatest Showman
Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Best Thriller Film
Brawl in Cell Block 99
Murder on the Orient Express
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Wind River

Best Director
Ryan Coogler – Black Panther
Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water
Patty Jenkins – Wonder Woman
Rian Johnson – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Jordan Peele – Get Out
Matt Reeves – War for the Planet of the Apes
Denis Villeneuve – Blade Runner 2049

Best Writing
Black Panther – Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
Blade Runner 2049 – Hampton Fancher and Michael Green
Get Out – Jordan Peele
Logan – Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green
The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rian Johnson
Wonder Woman – Allan Heinberg

Best Actor
Chadwick Boseman – Black Panther as T’Challa / Black Panther
Ryan Gosling – Blade Runner 2049 as K
Mark Hamill – Star Wars: The Last Jedi as Luke Skywalker
Hugh Jackman – Logan as James Howlett / Logan
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out as Chris Washington
Andy Serkis – War for the Planet of the Apes as Caesar
Vince Vaughn – Brawl in Cell Block 99 as Bradley Thomas

Best Actress
Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water as Elisa Esposito
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Mildred Hayes
Lupita Nyong’o – Black Panther as Nakia
Rosamund Pike – Hostiles as Rosalie Quaid
Daisy Ridley – Star Wars: The Last Jedi as Rey
Emma Watson – Beauty and the Beast as Belle

Best Supporting Actor
Harrison Ford – Blade Runner 2049 as Rick Deckard
Michael B. Jordan – Black Panther as N’Jadaka / Erik “Killmonger” Stevens
Michael Keaton – Spider-Man: Homecoming as Adrian Toomes / Vulture
Chris Pine – Wonder Woman as Steve Trevor
Michael Rooker – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as Yondu
Bill Skarsgard – It as It / Pennywise the Dancing Clown
Patrick Stewart – Logan as Charles Xavier / Professor X

Best Supporting Actress
Ana de Armas – Blade Runner 2049 as Joi
Carrie Fisher – Star Wars: The Last Jedi as General Leia Organa
Danai Gurira – Black Panther as Okoye
Lois Smith – Marjorie Prime as Marjorie
Octavia Spencer – The Shape of Water as Zelda Delilah Fuller
Tessa Thompson – Thor: Ragnarok as Valkyrie
Kelly Marie Tran – Star Wars: The Last Jedi as Rose Tico

Best Performance by a Younger Actor
Tom Holland – Spider-Man: Homecoming as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Dafne Keen – Logan as Laura Kinney / X-23
Sophia Lillis – It as Beverly Marsh
Millicent Simmonds – Wonderstruck as Rose
Jacob Tremblay – Wonder as August “Auggie” Pullman
Letitia Wright – Black Panther as Shuri
Zendaya – Spider-Man: Homecoming as Michelle “MJ” Jones

Best Production Design
Beauty and the Beast – Sarah Greenwood
Black Panther – Hannah Beachler
Blade Runner 2049 – Dennis Gassner
The Shape of Water – Paul Denham Austerberry
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rick Heinrichs
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Hugues Tissandier

Best Editing
Black Panther – Michael P. Shawver and Claudia Castello
The Fate of the Furious – Christian Wagner and Paul Rubell
Get Out – Gregory Plotkin
Logan – Michael McCusker and Dirk Westervelt
The Shape of Water – Sidney Wolinsky
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Bob Ducsay

Best Music
Black Panther – Ludwig Göransson
Coco – Michael Giacchino
The Greatest Showman – John Debney and Joseph Trapanese
The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Williams
Wonderstruck – Carter Burwell

Best Costume Design
Beauty and the Beast – Jacqueline Durran
Black Panther – Ruth E. Carter
The Greatest Showman – Ellen Mirojnick
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Michael Kaplan
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Olivier Bériot
Wonder Woman – Lindy Hemming

Best Make-up
Black Panther – Joel Harlow and Ken Diaz
Blade Runner 2049 – Donald Mowat
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – John Blake and Brian Sipe
It – Alec Gillis, Sean Sansom, Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Shane Zander
The Shape of Water – Mike Hill and Shane Mahan
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Peter Swords King and Neal Scanlan
Wonder – Arjen Tuiten

Best Special Effects
Black Panther – Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, and Dan Sudick
Blade Runner 2049 – John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover and Gerd Nefzer
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick
Kong: Skull Island – Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould and Neal Scanlan
War for the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Joel Whist

Best Independent Film
I, Tonya
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
Super Dark Times

Best International Film
Baahubali 2: The Conclusion
The Lodgers
The Man Who Invented Christmas
The Square
Wolf Warrior 2

Best Animated Film
Cars 3
Despicable Me 3
The Boss Baby
Your Name


Best Superhero Adaptation Television Series
Black Lightning
The Flash
Legends of Tomorrow
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Best Science Fiction Television Series
The 100
Doctor Who
The Expanse
The Orville
The X-Files

Best Fantasy Television Series
American Gods
Game of Thrones
The Good Place
The Librarians
The Magicians

Best Horror Television Series
American Horror Story: Cult
Ash vs Evil Dead
Fear the Walking Dead
The Strain
Teen Wolf
The Walking Dead

Best Action-Thriller Television Series
The Alienist
Animal Kingdom
Better Call Saul
Into the Badlands
Mr. Mercedes

Best Television Presentation
Channel Zero
Descendants 2
Doctor Who: “Twice Upon a Time”
Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Return
The Sinner
Twin Peaks: The Return

Best Actor on Television
Jon Bernthal – The Punisher as Frank Castle / Punisher
Bruce Campbell – Ash vs Evil Dead as Ash Williams
Sam Heughan – Outlander as Jamie Fraser
Jason Isaacs – Star Trek: Discovery as Captain Gabriel Lorca
Andrew Lincoln – The Walking Dead as Rick Grimes
Seth MacFarlane – The Orville as Ed Mercer
Kyle MacLachlan – Twin Peaks: The Return as Dale Cooper
Ricky Whittle – American Gods as Shadow Moon

Best Actress on Television
Gillian Anderson – The X-Files as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully
Caitriona Balfe – Outlander as Claire Fraser
Melissa Benoist – Supergirl as Kara Danvers / Supergirl
Lena Headey – Game of Thrones as Cersei Lannister
Sonequa Martin-Green – Star Trek: Discovery as Michael Burnham
Adrianne Palicki – The Orville as Commander Kelly Grayson
Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story: Cult as Ally Mayfair-Richards and Susan Atkins
Mary Elizabeth Winstead – Fargo as Nikki Swango

Best Supporting Actor on Television
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Game of Thrones as Jaime Lannister
Miguel Ferrer – Twin Peaks: The Return as Albert Rosenfield
Kit Harington – Game of Thrones as Jon Snow
Doug Jones – Star Trek: Discovery as Commander Saru
Christian Kane – The Librarians as Jacob Stone
Michael McKean – Better Call Saul as Chuck McGill
Khary Payton – The Walking Dead as King Ezekiel
Evan Peters – American Horror Story: Cult as Kai Anderson, Andy Warhol, Marshall Applewhite, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Jesus, Charles Manson

Best Supporting Actress on Television
Odette Annable – Supergirl as Samantha Arias / Reign
Dakota Fanning – The Alienist as Sara Howard
Danai Gurira – The Walking Dead as Michonne
Melissa McBride – The Walking Dead as Carol Peletier
Candice Patton – The Flash as Iris West
Adina Porter – American Horror Story: Cult as Beverly Hope
Krysten Ritter – The Defenders as Jessica Jones
Rhea Seehorn – Better Call Saul as Kimberly “Kim” Wexler

Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Television Series
KJ Apa – Riverdale as Archie Andrews
Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things as Eleven
Max Charles – The Strain as Zach Goodweather
Alycia Debnam-Carey – Fear the Walking Dead as Alicia Clark
David Mazouz – Gotham as Bruce Wayne
Lili Reinhart – Riverdale as Betty Cooper
Chandler Riggs – The Walking Dead as Carl Grimes
Cole Sprouse – Riverdale as Jughead Jones

Best Guest Performance in a Television Series
Bryan Cranston – Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams as Silas Herrick
Michael Greyeyes – Fear the Walking Dead as Qaletqa Walker
David Lynch – Twin Peaks: The Return as FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole
Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Walking Dead as Negan
Rachel Nichols – The Librarians as Nicole Noone
Jesse Plemons – Black Mirror as Robert Daly
Hartley Sawyer – The Flash as Ralph Dibny / Elongated Man
Michelle Yeoh – Star Trek: Discovery as Captain Philippa Georgiou / Emperor Georgiou

Best Animated Series or Film on Television
BoJack Horseman
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Family Guy
Rick and Morty
The Simpsons
Star Wars Rebels

Best New Media Television Series
Altered Carbon
Black Mirror
The Handmaid’s Tale
Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
Star Trek: Discovery
Stranger Things

Best New Media Superhero Series
Future Man
Marvel’s The Defenders
Marvel’s Iron Fist
Marvel’s Runaways
Marvel’s The Punisher
The Tick


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