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Edwards, Gareth (Monsters)

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Immediately following its US premiere during the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, Gareth Edwards’ Monsters became one of the more buzzed about films from the festival. The movie takes audiences into a world where aliens have existed on Earth for six years after a NASA probe crashes in Mexico, infecting the area with new life forms. Amidst this dangerous new world two strangers set off on a dangerous journey from Mexico through the infected zone so that they both can safely return to their lives in the United States.

Edwards, who wrote, directed, shot and provided the VFX work for the project, recently sat down with Dread Central to talk about his experiences getting Monsters made as well as his unique shooting style and the challenges of creating visually compelling aliens that are unlike anything fans have ever seen before.

I came to Vertigo with the idea for Monsters, and even though this was my first feature, they were really responsive to what I wanted to do with it,” said Edwards. “Working with Vertigo has been a dream because they have been supportive from the start and never questioned my decisions as the director.

Edwards added, “There’s a loophole in the filmmaking business model that if you make a movie for under a certain amount of money, then it will be profitable regardless of how it does. Luckily, Monsters fell into that budget category, and I think that’s why Vertigo was gracious enough to take a chance with my vision.

Exclusive: Director Gareth Edwards Talks Monsters

Edwards set off to film Monsters himself in Central America for several weeks, using only two lead actors and relying on locals’ willingness to be a part of movie magic when asked to be included in filming. That minimalist approach to filmmaking captured the essence of what Edwards was trying to create for audiences.

We never had a script for Monsters,” explained Edwards. “I just had two sets of notes to shoot from: The black pages were of emotional responses I needed from our two leads and the blue pages were all the plot developments that needed to happen in the film. I really wanted the feeling of the movie to be realistic and not just actors reciting lines from a script, and I think it translates into something really special in the film.”

“I am so proud of my actors’ work in Monsters. It’s really the Scoot (McNairy) and Whitney (Able) show in this film. Everything they do with their performances is raw and organic. I couldn’t have been happier with how they did, and I think the biggest part of what made the movie work so well was using this improvisational approach and just giving them that kind of space,” Edwards added.

Even though Monsters at its core is about an emotional journey of these two people finding each other while trying to evade aliens and get back to the United States, much of film’s success would rely on Edwards’ ability to create a compelling creature.

Edwards said, “There has been scientific research that says Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, is composed of ice with oceans beneath that ice that could sustain life, similar to what is here on Earth. It was based on that data that I thought of going with a creature that resembled something you’d see from the ocean. I immediately thought of either a crab or an octopus but ultimately thought something that resembled an octopus could be both scary but beautiful for audiences at the same time.”

“I had over 100 sketches of what I wanted the monsters to look like, and when I went to Vertigo to see what they thought, they couldn’t pick one they liked. So I don’t know if it was that they were overwhelmed with all the choices or they just wanted to see what I wanted to go with, but they ultimately liked what I decided on,” Edwards added.

Now that Monsters is set to hit limited theaters this October, Dread Central asked Edwards if he had more plans for this new world in future films.

Sadly, I don’t own the rights to Monsters, but I purposefully made the story take place right in the middle of a world where aliens have invaded and it’s become part of the everyday life,” Edwards explained. “Because the movie doesn’t start with the invasion and it doesn’t end with the aliens being conquered either, I left everything open to the possibility that there are more stories that could be told within the context of this world.

I just don’t know if Monsters in the future would involve me or not, but I do think there have been discussions about looking into a television series based on what we created with Monsters. I know I’d like to try something different for my next project and then maybe see what happens from there,” Edwards added.


Our thanks to Gareth for taking the time to speak with us. For more information dig on the official Monsters Facebook page and of course the official Monsters website. Look for the flick on October 29th.

Exclusive: Director Gareth Edwards Talks Monsters

Heather Wixson

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Jesper Kyd Returning to Score Vermintide 2

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From the cover of Kyd's first Vermintide OST

Get your headphones ready, Warhammer fans because State of Decay and Darksiders 2 composer Jesper Kyd is back to score the upcoming Warhammer title Vermintide 2! The game will be coming to PC and consoles early this year.

Kyd was inspired by Norse mythology, utilizing ancient tribal music as well as dark fantastical elements to build upon the acoustic soundscapes he composed for the first Vermintide game. Channeling his own Scandinavian roots, Kyd will blend Viking and Norse-inspired vocals with ritualistic percussion styles to create a unique soundtrack experience.

Three tracks from the score can be heard below.

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?

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Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler


While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can

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It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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