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Exclusive: Ila Schactler Talks Meadowoods

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Ila Schactler (click for larger image)With its DVD release now upon us, we sat down with the star of the way claustrophobic terror tale known as Meadowoods (review here), Ila Schactler, to get all the dirt on … well, being buried in a coffin under all that dirt!

“Oh my gosh, I was in that box for over two hours each day just screaming and screaming. I could barely talk afterward,” Ila tells us. “We had done that whole scene, I think it took up about fifteen minutes of the ending of the film, but we did it over a period of several days because of my voice. Even worse, for continuity purposes I couldn’t even wash my clothes for like two or three weeks. They were just disgusting, and I had to keep putting them on, then putting them in a bag, and then putting them on again. It was really gross but in the end so very worth it.”

One of the things we wondered about after seeing the movie was whether or not the young actress had any concept of how torturous this truly ambitious buried alive scene would be when she had first read the script and auditioned.

“I had no idea, Schactler tells us with a laugh. “I really didn’t even know the film’s entire plot as all I had read at the time was a rough outline. All they told me was, ‘We need someone who can scream and be buried alive.’ I was like, well, I’ll try it! Little did I know it would turn out to be this big long fifteen-minute horror show! At first I was really nervous and wondered if I could actually do this. Up until now I’ve never been at a point where I needed to stretch myself so far. I really just didn’t want to fail anyone.

Meadowoods on DVD (click for larger image)From here we spoke about the logistics of the way the scene was pulled off.

“The coffin itself was set on a table that was about four feet off of the ground,” said Schactler. “At any given time there was always three sides of the box keeping me completely enclosed. I remember feeling really confined, and it would be super hard to breathe, especially while screaming. When they were shooting me from the feet up, the only opening in the coffin was the floorboard. That was the most claustrophobic. Keep in mind this was a real wooden box so it was dirty and dusty and filled with all kinds of splinters. When I first got in, it was a bit more open and I had some space to move around. To get really into the character’s mind, though, I actually asked the designers to make it smaller and tighter. Upon them doing that, I only had a few inches here and there to move. Once the size was right, they turned off all of the lights, and all I had with me was a little earpiece for direction and so that I could talk to the other characters. Let me tell you being scared was no longer a problem.

“Thankfully, though, I could always see the camera so things never felt too real,” Ila continued. “I used that to separate myself from what was going on so that I didn’t end up freaking myself out too much. I mean I had to get there to that point, but I also had to make sure that this fear didn’t completely consume me.

After all was said and done, I asked Ila what it was like seeing the flick for the first time.

“Sitting and watching it for the first time was unbelievable. At the preview I was at no one was moving at all during the burial scene. When it just got dark and all you could hear was screaming and scratching and this agony and crying, everyone there just stopped breathing. They were so sucked into it. You could feel the fright in the room. It’s kind of hard to watch.

Meadowoods is available now on DVD. Order yourself a copy below.

Big thanks to the crew from Monterey Media and to Ila for talking with us.

Uncle Creepy

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Todd and The Book of Pure Evil: The End of The End Coming to Blu-ray

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If you were a fan of the kickass Canadian series “Todd and The Book of Pure Evil,” then you’re in for a real treat as the final chapter of the terrifyingly funny series, Todd and The Book of Pure Evil: The End of The End, is coming home.

Continuing where the critically acclaimed cult TV series left off, Todd & The Book of Pure Evil: The End of The End (review) returns to Crowley Heights to find Todd, Jenny and Curtis grieving the loss of their dear friend Hannah, whose death may or may not have been caused by Todd’s banishing of the Book. The three must reunite to fight evil when the Book of Pure Evil returns to Crowley High, bringing with it some familiar faces (Guidance Counselor Atticus Murphy Jr., Jimmy the Janitor, and The Metal Dudes) as well as some new foes, such as the Sweater Vest Beast and an Acidic Acne-Faced Teen. But these enemies are merely warm-ups to the final battle with their greatest nemesis yet: The New Pure Evil One, whose intimate knowledge of our heroes may ultimately lead to their destruction! Todd & The Book of Pure Evil: The End of The End is loaded with the same juvenile jokes, gore gags, and satanic sing-alongs that made the original TV series a world-wide hit.

Featuring the original award-winning cast providing their voices – Alex House, Maggie Castle, Bill Turnbull, Melanie Leishman, Chris Leavins and Jason Mewes, among others. The animated flick is directed by Craig David Wallace (co-creator and showrunner of the live action series) and Richard Duhaney, with a script by Wallace and co-creator Charles Picco, and original music by Shawn Pierce.

Raven Banner’s limited edition includes a 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD/CD combo of the feature film (all region), a “Mini Book of Pure Evil” 20-page colour limited edition “making of” booklet, English commentary, never-before-seen artwork, exclusive special features, bonus CD soundtrack, and more!

Order your copy here!

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Metro Exodus Gets a Haunting New Cinematic Trailer

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One of the biggest horror games of 2018 is Metro Exodus, the third installment in the critically acclaimed post-apocalyptic first-person franchise based on the novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky. We haven’t heard much about the game since it was announced at E3, although a brand new cinematic trailer debuted at the Game Awards ceremony. And while it didn’t show any actual gameplay footage, it did give us a look at some of the hideous monsters we can expect to encounter in the Russian wasteland when Metro Exodus launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC late next year.

Like the previous entries in the franchise, Metro Exodus will be developed by Maltese developer 4A Games and published by Deep Silver.

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Children of the Fall Review – This Israeli Slasher Gets Political

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Starring Noa Maiman, Aki Avni, Yafit Shalev, Iftach Ophir, Michael Ironside

Directed by Eitan Gafny

Reviewed out of Utopia 2017


Slashers are a subgenre of horror that are often looked down upon. After all, what can a movie about a killer slaughtering multiple people have to say about, well…anything. Those of us in the community know full well that this is nonsense and that any kind of horror movie can be a jabbing (no pun intended) commentary on society, culture, politics, art, etc… And that’s precisely what Eitan Gafny aims to do with Children of the Fall, one of the few Israeli slashers ever created.

Set on the eve of the Yom Kippur war, the film follows Rachel (Maiman), a young American woman who comes to Israel to join a kibbutz after suffering some serious personal tragedies. Her goal to make aliyah (the return of Jews to Israel) is however hampered by some rather unpleasant encounters with local IDF soldiers and members of the kibbutz. Pushing through, she makes friends with others in the commune and her Zionistic views are only strengthened, although they do not go untested. Once Yom Kippur, one of the holiest holidays in Jewish culture, begins, a killer begins picking off the kibbutz workers one by one in violent and gruesome ways.

Let’s start with what Children of the Fall gets right, okay? As slashers go, it’s actually quite beautiful. There are wonderfully expansive shots that make use of the size and diversity of the kibbutz. The film opens with a beautiful shot of a cow stable, barn, water towers, and miscellaneous outbuildings, all set against a dark and stormy night. The lighting of this scene, and throughout the film, is also very good. I found myself darting my eyes across the screen multiple times throughout the film thinking I’d seen something lurking in the shadows.

The kills, while unoriginal, are very satisfying. Each death is meaty, bloody, and doesn’t feel rushed. In fact, the camera has no problems lingering during each kill, allowing us to appreciate the practical FX and copious amounts of blood used. And if you believe that a slasher needs to have nudity, you won’t be disappointed.

The acting is middle of the road. Maiman is serviceable as Rachel but the real star of the film is Yafit Shalev as “Yaron”. His range of emotion is fantastic, from warm and welcoming to Rachel when she arrives to emoting grief and pain during his Yom Kippur announcement where we learn that he was a child in a concentration camp. The rest of the cast are perfectly acceptable as fodder for the killer.

So where does Children of the Fall stray? Let’s start with the most obvious part: the runtime. Clocking in at nearly two hours, that’s about 30 minutes too much. The film could easily have gone through some hefty editing without affecting the final product. Instead, we have a movie that feels elongated when unnecessary.

Additionally, the societal and political commentary is very in-your-face but the film can’t seem to make up its mind as to what it’s trying to get across. Natalia, a Belarussian kibbutz worker, raises the concept of Israeli racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, her hostility unabashedly pouring out in the midst of IDF soldiers, locals, other kibbutz members, and more. Is there validity to what she’s saying? Undoubtedly. But there is also validity to Rachel’s retorts, which include calling this woman out on her own vitriolic views. This back-and-forth mentality frustratingly prevails throughout the film, as though Gafny was unwilling to just commit.

The dialogue is also quite painful at times, although I attribute this to difficulties with translating from Hebrew to English. Even the best English speakers in Israel don’t get everything perfect and the little quirks here and there, while charming, are quite detracting. Also, why is this movie trying to tell me that Robert Smith of The Cure is a character here? While amusing, it makes absolutely no sense nor does it fit in Smith’s own timeline.

Had this film gone through a couple rounds of editing, I feel like we’d have gotten something really great. Eitan Gafny is definitely someone that we need to be watching very closely.

  • Children of the Fall
2.5

Summary

While Children of the Fall has a lot going for it, it has just as much working against it. Overly long, you’ll get a really great slasher that is bogged down by uneven social and political commentary.

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