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New Horror Short Ready to Take Viewers Inside the House

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Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And that’s what Dread Central contributing writer Erik W. Van Der Wolf realized he was doing after years of trying to make it as a screenwriter in Hollywood, which is why he took matters into his own hands and made his own short film entitled “Inside the House”.

It’s not that all those years pounding away on a keyboard didn’t yield results for Erik; they just weren’t exactly the desired ones. In August of 2001 he sold an action spec called Cold Hard Cash (written with then partner Ken Koral) to Canadian production company Wishbone Entertainment and thought the industry door had finally opened after so many years of knocking. Unfortunately, 9/11 happened only a few weeks later, and the anti-violence sentiment which swept over the filmmaking community put their uber-violent heist thriller on the back burner, where it still resides.

After splitting with his partner, Erik then went on to write an action/sci-fi script called Marauders for Raptor Island producer/director Stanley Isaacs, followed by a couple more horror scripts being optioned by well established producers. So far none of those projects has made it to the screen. “After riding that merry-go-round for some time, you eventually get to a point where you realize you have to jump off and find another way to move forward.”

So, after years of false starts, Van Der Wolf decided to become part of a growing trend of frustrated screenwriters who are turning into filmmakers. “I just decided I wasn’t getting any younger and if I was going to do it, it had to be sooner rather than later. So I went all in and enrolled in film school.”

After spending a year attending classes at the Northwest Film Center’s School of Film in Portland, Oregon, Erik has now written and directed his first short film called “Inside the House”, which will hit the festival circuit this winter and is currently entered in the Scary or Die online short film contest. “The original intent was to get enough hands-on knowledge to make a trailer for a spec script to put together as a presentation for investors. A number of filmmakers have gotten projects financed that way because it helps investors actually see what the film would look like. A good trailer can really energize their interest. But, after thinking about it, I decided to make a short film and get the experience of shooting and editing a narrative piece that has a beginning, middle, and end. It’s a more complete filmmaking process that I wanted to go through and learn from.”

New Horror Short Ready to Take Viewers Inside the House

With a running time of about four minutes, “Inside the House opens with a mother (Cait Powers) who is home alone with her two children and on the phone with a 911 Operator (Tess Thompson Hardwick) reporting that someone is trying to get into her house. The Operator stays on the line with her as she dispatches units, but will they arrive before the impending terror is unleashed inside her home? “It’s a simple story,” says Van Der Wolf, “but it’s one we see in the headlines all the time, and every time we do, it just gets sadder and sadder.”

One thing Erik wants to make sure of is that his crew members get their due attention. “I can’t say enough about them. I was really lucky. We all met at the Northwest Film Center, and it’s a real special group of talented people. My cinematographer, Brent Butler, got the most out of the Panasonic Mini DV Camera we rented from the school and really helped me define and nail down the visuals we were going for; Nicholas Mahon did a wonderful job with the lighting; and our sound guy, Michael Howes, was invaluable. Sound is one of the most important aspects of low budget filmmaking, and he really came through for us.”

As for the end result? “As a filmmaker you’re never happy. You always see things you could have done different, better, a shot you wish you had gotten, etc. But thus far the feedback has been pretty positive, especially for our lead actress Cait Powers. We knew casting was going to be incredibly important, and this film works because of her. She has the potential to have a very successful career. She just landed a role in an independent film, which is great; she deserves it.”

New Horror Short Ready to Take Viewers Inside the House

New Horror Short Ready to Take Viewers Inside the House

Now that the film is done and out there to be judged, is there another short on the horizon? “No. I need to get back to writing. I have two new spec scripts in the works: a giallo style thriller for the spec market – which will make my agent happy – and a low, low budget supernatural horror piece that I’ll go through the process of getting budgeted and financed with the intention of it being my first feature as a director. Through the process of making “Inside the House”, I found out what I needed to know about myself, and I know I’m ready to tackle something larger.”

You can check out “Inside the House” below and at scaryordie.com. But only vote for it if you like it, Erik says. “I hate when people campaign and try to get friends and family members to vote for their films more than once while also getting them to vote against the other films on the website. What are you learning as a filmmaker from that? It doesn’t mean your film is any good; it just means you ‘got out the vote’ or found a way to game the system. We’re only interested getting the film seen first and foremost, receiving genuine feedback, and becoming better filmmakers based on that feedback, not winning one competition.”

Debi Moore

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George A. Romero’s Daughter, Tina, Wrote a Script For Queens of the Dead

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The loss last year of director George A. Romero was a huge blow to the horror community, as well as the filmmaking community at large. The passing of the man responsible for creating the modern day zombie and whose work influenced “The Walking Dead”, Dead Alive, 28 Days Later, and Jordan Peele’s Get Out was felt far and wide but we take solace knowing that his work and legacy will live on forever.

Something that brings a smile to my face is hearing that his daughter, Tina, who DJ’s under the name DJ TRx, has written a screenplay for a zombie film that is called Queens of the Dead. And yes, it’s very gay! Romero has not only written the script but also plans on directing the film herself.

Romero tells The Saunder Blog about the film, saying, “Queens of the Dead is a fusion of two huge parts of my world: zombies and Gay nightlife. It’s a tribute to my father as well as my entrée into the genre he grandfathered. I can’t say too much yet, but what I can tell you is that this film will have all the hallmarks of a George A. Romero classic: farce, politics, heroes, assholes, and most importantly, herds of silly and slow moving walkers that you can’t help but love. But I’m doing it Tina-style, and bringing the glitter, choreography, queers & queens.

Romero’s father always brought some sort of social message into his work, so to hear that she will continue that tradition is inspiring, especially since it comes on a topic that is so discussed and topical.

If you want to read more about Romero and her DJ career, click on the link above.

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Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?

Wanna See Something REALLY Scary? Local 58 Contingency Emergency Broadcast

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Wanna See Something REALLY Scary

“Wanna see something REALLY scary?”

To horror fans who came of age in the 1980s, the line above instantly evokes memories of Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks in the opening scene from Twilight Zone: The Movie. Now, on a bi-monthly basis, I’ll be asking, “Wanna see something REALLY scary?” with the goal of shocking you with chilling footage plumbed from the darkest corners of YouTube.

As a child of the Cold War born in the 1970s and traumatized by films like The Day After and Threads, I remember immediately panicking every time an Emergency Broadcast broke into a TV show I was watching. That alarming tone made my stomach drop and in the moments before it was confirmed to be “only a test” I had already imagined a barrage of nuclear warheads bursting overhead.

My heart went out to the residents of Hawaii who, due to a false alarm, believed a missile attack was imminent this weekend. For almost 40 minutes, families scrambled into fallout shelters, bathrooms, and even storm drains, believing war had begun between the United States and North Korea. Even after the all-clear was announced and the warning revealed as a mistake, nerves were severely rattled. I can only imagine the potential long-term damage done to the psyches of Hawaii’s youngest residents.

For a taste of the pandemonium that occurred, check out an excerpt from CNN’s reporting below.

While the shock must have been unprecedented for most, a bizarre alert that accidentally aired in the late 1960s puts the Hawaii debacle to shame. What viewers of a local station saw just before the end of programming at 3 am was a message announcing the fall of the US Government, and included instructions for committing suicide rather than surrendering to enemy forces.

Wanna see something REALLY scary?

The message bore the seal of The U.S. Department for the Preservation of American Dignity, included a statement from President Lyndon B. Johnson, and warned that failure to commit suicide as instructed would have consequences:

“Your local law enforcement has been ordered to ensure your compliance,” the message cautioned. “It is against the law to delay.” The final instructions remind adult viewers to put down their children and pets first while promising “There is nothing to fear.” Though the station later posted a statement ensuring viewers the message was a hoax, the potential loss of life this broadcast could have inspired is staggering. Have a look:

If the Local 58 Contingency, as it’s become known, seems too outlandish to be true, that’s because it isn’t. Though the video doesn’t include an admission of fiction, it’s written and directed by Kris Straub. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s the writer of the popular creepypasta Candle Cove, recently adapted into a TV series on SyFy.

Still, the vintage look of the Local 58 Contingency, not to mention the current climate of heightened tensions between American and a rogue nuclear nation, make this video a truly terrifying viewing experience.

Got an idea for a future installment of “Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?” Hit me up on Twitter @josh_millican!

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The Housemaid Haunts a New Trailer

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Here’s the thing… if we had the choice between cleaning up our own house or being haunted by a vengeful spectral servant of sorts, well… just hand us a friggin’ mop, wouldja already? Still, in the case of The Housemaid, it looks like nothing is gonna stop her from sensing shivers! Dig on this new trailer.

Derek Nguyen directs the flick, which stars Kate Nhung, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan, Svitlana Kovalenko, and Rosie Fellner. Look for IFC Midnight’s release of The Housemaid coming to select theaters, VOD, and via Digital platforms in the U.S. on February 16, 2018.

Synopsis:
A forbidden passion awakens vengeful spirits within a haunted mansion in this bloodcurdling, erotic tour-de-force.

Vietnam, 1953: Linh (Nhung Kate), a poor, orphaned young woman, finds employment as a housemaid in a crumbling rubber plantation presided over by the emotionally fragile French officer Sebastien Laurent (Jean-Michel Richaud). Soon, a torrid love affair develops between the two – a taboo romance that rouses the ghost of Laurent’s dead wife, who won’t rest until blood flows.

Submerged in moody Gothic atmosphere, this stylish supernatural saga confronts the dark shadows of Vietnam’s colonial past while delivering heart-stopping scares.

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