Sean Smithson Talks Bringing Back the Finer Days of Movie-Going with Film School Confidential USA - Dread Central
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Sean Smithson Talks Bringing Back the Finer Days of Movie-Going with Film School Confidential USA



Sean Smithson Talks Bringing Back the Finer Days of Movie Going with Film School Confidential USABack in the day, going to the movies was an event, a special night out filled with very specific sights, sounds, and smells. Friends would gather and pay their money, buy popcorn and drinks, and settle in for a cartoon, some trailers, maybe a short film or two, and then one – sometimes two – features. Talk to anyone who remembers those days and you’ll see a wistful expression pass over their faces, a look of embodied nostalgia.

These days, going to the movies is a “turn-n-burn” proposition. Theater owners pack an audience in, show a trailer or three, and (god help us!) even throw in a few commercials before we finally get to see the film we paid way too much for. Once the movie is over, we are quickly ushered out so that the procedure can be repeated for the next showtime. All sense of spectacle has been removed, the pageantry neutered. For those who remember the “salad days” of movie-going, these are dark days indeed.

However … Hope is rising on the horizon like a newly dawning sun. Starting in September of 2010 genre journalist extraordinaire, Sean “The Butcher” Smithson, is revving up a monthly program that aims to bring back those fantastic days of yore. His plan is to bring Chris Alexander’s Toronto-based Film School Confidential to the good ol’ US of A in order to provide a night out that both cinephiles and casual movie-goers can and will enjoy. It is a chance to see some classic films in their natural environment – the movie theater – and Smithson, much like William Castle before him, means to bring some of the spectacle back.

Dread Central: So, who is involved with Film School Confidential?

Sean Smithson: Well, I function as the head of programming and overall host, and my co-host, sidekick and co-mastermind Justin Giallo, will be rocking the trivia with me and running the lovely Christy 35mm projectors!

DC: Tell me a little about how you all became involved with the program. Is it an original concept?

SS: It started after I got to hang out with my editor-in-chief, Chris Alexander, at Fangoria magazine (where I write), and I was talking about starting to book my own film series here in the Upper Northwest. He suggested we join forces and I open it up as a chapter to his already ongoing Film School Confidential, which takes place at the Bloor Theater in Toronto, CA. Chris and I share a lot of the same aesthetics and tastes, and even more so share an outlook on what loving films and movies is all about conceptually. This is meant to be a GOOD TIME. I’m not into elitism, so you won’t find Twihards being harassed here by Fulci fanatics. Our outlook is ‘let the work do the talking’ for the most part. Build it. They will come. I am a firm believer in people choosing the good stuff, they just need to know what choices there are. Cinema is absolutely subjective. And we want to subject YOU to some seriously F-ed up stuff! As well as stuff that’s going to make you stand up and cheer, laugh your asses off, and scare you shitless. All in the name of having a blast!

DC: What can you tell me about the venue?

SS: The Grand Cinemas in Tacoma, WA is a four-screen theater, state of the art, and geared towards indie and arthouse stuff. It’s a perfect venue for Film School Confidential USA, full of patrons that have a passion for cinema.

DC: Describe how the program will be conducted.

SS: FSC USA is going to be as much an event as we can make it. Eventually we hope to have a full on movie geek circus of insanity. Right now, we’ll be showing some obscure trailers, the odd short film, doing prize give-aways thanks to our wonderful sponsors, and generally just freaking out and sharing our love for genre cinema.

DC: Is the program more for casual horror audiences or more hardcore cinephiles?

SS: Both. The more casual consumer can now actually see some of the 70’s and 80’s classics that set the modern standard, in the way they were meant to be seen… on a screen and with an audience! The horror veterans who grew up in areas like the inner city where these films played the first time around? They get to experience these wonderful films all over again.

DC: Will you have guests?

SS: We plan on bringing in guests sometime later in the year, yes. We have our eye on two filmmakers in particular who the fans are very familiar with, yet who don’t do a lot of appearances at cons and events. We want their visit to be very special, and are already laying the groundwork to make it so. All we need at FSC USA is the support of the patrons. If the fans put their asses in our seats we promise to take it to the next level once we are up and rolling.

DC: Can you list some of the films you’re planning on running?

SS: Our first feature in FSC USA is THE BEYOND in glorious 35mm, which Grindhouse Releasing has sent us. Upcoming films include CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, PIECES, and then maybe some kung fu epics and obscure action cheese once our crowd is built and trusts us to show them a good time no matter WHAT we put up on the screen.

DC: How often will the program be offered?

SS: FSC USA will be running on a monthly basis. The first or second weekend of every month we will be screening Fridays, Saturdays, and a Sunday matinee for the hangover crowd. Who wouldn’t want to catch some serious eyeball gouging on a lazy Sunday late afternoon while nursing themselves back to health from the weekend before?

DC: Long term, where do you see Film School Confidential going?

SS: We hope that FSC USA first and foremost helps galvanize the local horror/genre community and gives them a place where they KNOW that like clockwork once a month they will be able to go and let loose old school style, and hoot and holler at some of the best genre/exploitation cinema known to man. Where it’s going? The sky’s the limit, really. My partner Justin Giallo and I have already set down that if this does well and we start turning a profit that the fans will SEE that profit on stage and onscreen. As I said before, we want this to be a psycho circus full of entertainment of all types. I even want to bring in a magician sometimes, and have somebody running around in a gorilla suit.

Stay tuned for more!


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Alien: Covenant’s Carmen Ejogo Joins True Detective Season 3



“From the dusty mesa her looming shadow grows…”

The first season of HBO’s “True Detective” was one of the best seasons ever put on a TV screen. Hands down. The second season was another story altogether. While not a complete waste of time (Colin Farrell owed) the season was basically merely ‘meh’.

But what about “True Detective” season 3?

Well, a few months back it was announced that the third season had been greenlit by HBO, with creator Nic Pizzolatto returning to pen the series and director Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room) taking the helm of the episodes.

Today we have news that Carmen Ejogo – who you may recognize Ejogo from such recent fright flicks as It Comes at Night, Alien: Covenant, and The Purge: Anarchy – will be joining the previously announced Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for Season 3.

Ejogo will play the female lead, Amelia Reardon, who THR describes as “an Arkansas schoolteacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980.”

Nice Pizzolatto will serve as showrunner and direct alongside Jeremy Saulnier. Executive producers include Pizzolatto, Saulnier, Scott Stephens and season one stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as well as original director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Richard Brown are also credited as exec producers.


A macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.

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Danielle Harris Tried to Get Jamie Lloyd into New Halloween Movie



One of the top films all of us are looking forward to the most here at Dread Central is Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel/reboot thing to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

The new Halloween (2018) film is written by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green and is all set to be directed by Green this year. Recently we learned that original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis was going to be returning to the new film.

Not only that, but Curtis’ classic character Laurie Strode would have a daughter… played by Judy Greer. But what about Danielle Harris?

After all, Harris was the star of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Curse of Michael Myers. Let alone, she had a starring role in both Rob Zombie’s remake and it’s sequel. So how about the new film?

Turns out Harris tried to get her character Jamie Llyod (aka the daughter of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode) from Halloween 4 and 5 into the new film… but she was turned down by Blumhouse and the new creative team. That sucks.

Harris was pretty bummed about the whole deal and took to Facebook recently to clear the air. You can check out quotes from her video, along with the video itself, below.

After that make sure to hit us up and let us know how much you would have liked to see Harris return to Halloween in the comments below or on social media!

“What I am bummed about is… [Laurie] has a daughter,” Harris says. “I was okay with it when she had a son… but they’re saying it’s the last one and… she has a daughter. And it’s not Jamie. It’s just kind of a bummer, I guess. I think somebody had said, it wouldn’t have hurt the movie to have Jamie reunited with [Laurie]. But that didn’t happen.”

“We did put in a call, thought it’d be kinda cool even just to have a little flashback…” She continues. “They were not interested. So. I tried.”

Blumhouse’s Halloween hits theaters October 19, 2018.

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Posted by Danielle Harris on Monday, November 6, 2017

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Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review



Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

Directed by Charles Martin Smith

I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

Now let’s get to it.

First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

Rockstar lighting for days.

Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

  • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5


Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

User Rating 3.25 (12 votes)
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