#SDCC16: Lawrence Grey Talks Lights Out; Potential New Project/Sequel - Dread Central
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#SDCC16: Lawrence Grey Talks Lights Out; Potential New Project/Sequel

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Lights Out

When you schedule for Comic-Con, you ideally have everything set weeks in advance. This works well for shows you have yet to catch up on or newly launching series. What it doesn’t work so well for are films launching the same weekend. Even as an extra special press person, I still don’t get to screen it until at most a couple weeks beforehand, and in many cases only a few days. I didn’t get to see Lights Out (review) until Monday, but booked today’s interview with producer Lawrence Grey weeks ago. So going into seeing Lights Out, what was at the forefront of my mind was, “Please don’t suck, or this is going to be awkward.

Lo and behold, the film was great. Amazingly soIt’s incredible that a new director working on his first major motion picture was able to pull off such an extraordinarily scary, innovative, and quality project. So naturally, I had a number of questions I wanted to ask Lawrence about the hit he had on his hands. He had a lot to say in our brief time together, so here’s the juiciest bits.

lawrence grey

Right off the bat, my first question was just how exactly Lights Out turned out so well. With a first time director who had previously only worked on short films, you’d expect the studio pushback and control to mess everything up. So I asked, what was it like getting the film together? What was the adjustment like for David Sandberg?

Lawrence Grey: When I first started talking to David [Sandberg] about getting this made, I told him, ‘If you want to get anything done in Hollywood, you’ve got to bring an armored battalion to a knife fight.’ And that’s how we approached this right from the start. So I first approached Eric Heisserer about writing the screenplay, and he was already on board because of the short film Lights Out is based on. From there, I had the confidence to approach James [Wan] and say, ‘Hey, remember 15 years ago when you showed me your short for Saw? Well, we have the next James Wan on our hands.’ He was skeptical at first, but after I got him to watch the short he got very serious and asked, ‘Is he really this good?’ I said, ‘Better.’ So with James on board, we got together the best team that we could to realize this vision.

He continued on to explain what the process was like for Sandberg:

Lawrence: You know, David is a really hands-on, do-it-yourself kind of guy. He’s going from making short films himself in his apartment with his wife to millions of dollars of budget. He’s used to setting up the lighting, the shots, the script, doing the editing, everything except being on camera, which of course Lotta [Losten] did. So when he shows up in Hollywood and I’m showing him around his first set, I’m pointing out the first camera with the first cameraman that union rules dictate he can’t touch, and then point out the audio guy all the way on the other side of the room, it was a bit of a culture shock. He wanted to get down and dirty and do it all himself. When he got all the assets finally and got to put the movie together, he was right in his element.

He went on to elaborate on Sandberg’s journey as a director:

Lawrence: It’s fun to see how far he’s come in such a short time. I just visited him on the site of Annabelle 2, and he was the lord of his domain. He was comfortable getting everyone in line and making sure this vision came to life. I think that this one is going to do much better than the first [Annabelle film]. You look around the set and just see how much this reflects and breathes Wan’s vision of The Conjuring. It makes me really excited to work with him again.

Lights Out

Intrigued, I pushed this point a little more:

Lawrence: I can’t talk about the project at this point, NDA and all of that, but we have an undisclosed project in the works. I’m definitely excited to work with him [David] again in the future.

Trying to get some insight, I asked about the future of the Lights Out franchise:

Lawrence: We put a lot of work into making this world real and interesting. We didn’t have any throw away characters. Whereas most horror films would have a throwaway boyfriend character, Bret was a real, strong person with his own opinions. As for Rebecca, she went from being a selfish, angry person to having to sacrifice to save what was left of her family. Now that these traumatic events have happened, where does that leave them? The decision not to allude to a sequel was a conscious one, but not because there’s nowhere for the story to go. There was originally an epilogue where we saw that Diana was still alive, but decided to take it out because it undermined the climactic finale. Sophie, for love of her family, gives her own life in a very visceral and final manner. She doesn’t want to die, and as a victim of mental illness the whole film takes her life into her own hands in a final and noble way. To then cut to a scene where we find Diana was still alive would just suck all of the emotional weight and impact out of it. I was afraid audiences might find it to be a downer, but we found in test audiences that it was one of their favorite parts of the film.

lights out

I said that this totally hypothetical second Lights Out film would make the perfect undisclosed future project that an NDA would prevent him from talking about. So I asked when we might hear more about this. Here’s what he said:

Lawrence: Well the film opens tomorrow, and already the public reception is through the roof. The success of the film will of course be up to audiences. We really hope fans will go and see Lights Out, and we hope that means we could possibly have more information soon.

My final question was about the future of the industry, James Wan, and David Sandberg:

Lawrence: I have no doubt that David isn’t going to just be regarded as one of the greatest horror directors, but one of the best people working in the industry period. With the establishment of Atomic Monster, James Wan is ready to take over the entertainment world. He has so many ideas that he wants to realize himself, but also a real passion for giving new directors their chance to shine. With what we saw from David, you can expect a lot of great things to come from Atomic Monster in the future.

With that, my time was up, and I had to make my way to my next appointment. With how great Lights Out is, I expect more news about this “I cannot confirm nor deny that it is a sequel” project any day now. Go see Lights Out if you haven’t and check out Annabelle 2 in 2017. Stay tuned for more Comic-Con 2016 coverage!

Lights Out

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Dread Central Presents The Lodgers – Vegas Screening and Wider Release

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Last weekend fans got their first taste of the next Dread Central Presents film, The Lodgers (review); and we’re not done yet! There’s another Dread Central Presents screening TOMORROW, February 22nd, at 7:00 PM at the Eclipse Theaters in Las Vegas, Nevada (tickets here); and then the flick will be opening wider the very next day!

To see if the film will be playing near you, click here for a list of cities The Lodgers will be haunting!

Directed by Brian O’Malley and starring Charlotte Vega and Bill Milner, the film made its worldwide premiere at 2017’s Toronto International Film Festival and has since won many awards across multiple festivals.

Make sure to follow and “like” Dread Central Presents on Facebook to stay in the know regarding this and upcoming titles!

Synopsis:
In this Gothic horror tale, a family curse confines orphaned twins Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner) to their home as punishment for their ancestors’ sins. Bound to the rules of a haunting childhood lullaby, the twins must never let any outsiders inside the house, must be in their rooms by the chime of midnight, and must never be separated from one another. Breaking any of these three rules will incur the wrath of a sinister presence that inhabits the house after midnight.

While Edward is committed to this ill-fated life, he’s becoming more unhinged due to the fact that Rachel is not. Smitten by a local soldier (Eugene Simon), Rachel grows skeptical and begins to rebel, desperate to escape the oppression and misery of their captivity.

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Exclusive Clip: Primal Rage – Bigfoot Causes Chaos!

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Ever been driving in the woods and see or hear something that you cannot explain? Something so shocking that it makes your skin crawl off of your spine? Yeah, those moments, that usually chalked up to something completely innocuous, can be mucho unsettling. Such is the case with our bloody exclusive clip from the latest sliver of Sasquatchploitation, Primal Rage, which illustrates what can happen when you play with your food.

Directed by Patrick Magee, who co-wrote the film with Jay Lee, Primal Rage stars Andrew Joseph Montgomery, Casey Gagliardi, Eloy Casados, Justin Rain and Marshal Hilton. You can also catch this one of the big screen as on February 27th, Fathom (tickets here) will be hosting a one-night theater event for Primal Rage.

Enough talk! Get your Squatch on!

Synopsis:
Lost deep in the forest of the Pacific Northwest, Ashley and Max Carr are stalked by a terrifying creature that might be Bigfoot. Soon they find themselves embroiled in a strange land of Native American myth and legend turned real. Hopelessly trying to survive, with a handful of unsavory locals, they must fight back against this monster in a desperate battle of life or death.

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The Strangers: Prey at Night Set Visit Part 2: Screams and Flames

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[SPOILERS] As mentioned in our earlier set visit story, The Strangers: Prey at Night maintains the same feeling of isolation as the original. Even though a full-fledged production was going on in Gatlin Lake Getaway, it is hard to shake that feeling of being totally alone once wandering away from the set lighting. The dark surround woods start to close in and threaten to swallow any who stray too close to the tree line. Then the silence is broken as a beat-up 1972 Ford Ranger’s engine revs and a scream slices through the night.

Back on the lit street, the familiar looking truck has collided head-on with the side Wagner County Sheriff’s SUV. At the driver’s seat of the Ford is a man sporting a white cloth bag as a mask. The Bagman has returned. His appearance has not changed. The empty sockets of the mask still glare ominously and the painted smile poorly hides the stranger’s murderous intent.

An air of frustration surrounds the Bagman as he attempts to free the truck from the SUV. In vain, the Ford revs and struggles to no avail. Bad news for him, but good news for whomever the Bagman was pursuing. The law enforcement vehicle, with its lights flashing, had been driven by a young woman decked out in a black Ramones t-shirt and blood-splattered jeans. Her hair is jet black. The woman’s skin is streaked with dark blood and open slash wounds. The dark punk eye makeup is running, but the wearer is not.

It is obvious that this woman has been through a lot as she limps from the wreck. The context of her current state is not clear, but the shrieking that emanates from her as she produces a lighter and throws it to the ground under the collided vehicles speaks volumes. It can only be assumed that she has been chased, slashed, and emotionally beaten for hours. The scream is packed with emotions from fear to outright spite and rage. It is so powerful, in fact, that the crew members uttered stunned laudations.

As the gasoline ignites, the flames climb and spread of the mangled metal of the two collided vehicles. The Ford’s engine still violently revs as the Bagman emotionlessly tries to break free. The young woman is slowly backing away, unaware of the chain reaction occurring. The darkness of 1 AM is broken by two giant fireballs that erupt, engulfing the metal mayhem in the middle of the street. The surroundings fall silent, cut is called and the crew erupts in exclamations at the awesome spectacle.

This powerful moment was brought to us by Bailee Madison (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark).

The Strangers: Prey at Night was now on its twenty-second day of shooting and only eight more days remained. The cast and crew are well accustomed to their routines and the late night shoots have become second nature. When asked if the constant schedule of night shoots had been difficult, Madison elicited some of the virtues that the darkness has to offer, “There’s something very vulnerable about night shoots. You are emotionally in a different place when you’re awake and rested in the daytime. I think for something traumatic like this, you need to be able to access different emotions; at night you’re a lot more capable.”

At this point in production, Bailee’s character has seen a lot of action. A heavy amount of blood adorns the actor’s arms and a thick clotting mass of the red stuff covers most of her forehead. Keeping track of that damage for continuity from day to day looks like a grueling task, and makeup department head Jodi Byrne dropped some details about the process, “We have continuity photos and we take pictures of Bailee constantly throughout the day … We have to determine which takes are actually going to be used in the film and we move from that point.”

Synopsis:
A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive..

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