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Exclusive: Gareth Edwards Talks Godzilla and a Sequel to Monsters!

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One of my favorite films of last year was Gareth Edwards’ Monsters. Part sci-fi epic, part intricate character study, the film blew me away from beginning to end. With its home release this week, I was excited to have the opportunity to catch up with Edwards again during his press rounds.

Dread Central got to talk to the director about the project as well as a potential sequel and how it feels to be tackling one of the most famous monsters in cinema history – Godzilla.

After its release last October, Edwards said he was really surprised by the many interpretations of the themes running throughout Monsters. The director explained, “What I thought was very interesting was that a lot of people in America picked up on the immigration theme in Monsters, which was another subtext within the story, but it was never something I wanted to feel really obvious in the movie to anyone watching.

“For me, a lot of Monsters was about the war on terrorism. Obviously, terrorism is terrible and must be stopped, but we always have to stop and realize what the price of that war is.

Monsters on Blu-ray and DVDIn this movie there are these aliens, and yes, they’ve killed innocent people, but you have to consider how many innocent people must die in order to eradicate these creatures from the area so you have to look at what you’re willing to do in order to deal with these kinds of problems. But the reality is that monster movies throughout the ages have always been allegories for something more – whether it’s the Cold War, nuclear war, or terrorism – these monsters usually represent something bigger going on in the real world,” Edwards added.

As a storyteller, Edwards quickly realized that while Monsters had to be able to deliver amazing creatures, there had to be something that really connected fans to these creatures and made them see them as something more than just, well, monsters.

I always say films with great storytelling should be able to give audiences some sort of perspective change by the end of the film,” said Edwards. “Monsters isn’t just a journey for the leads in the film; it’s for the viewers as well. At the start of the film, you go in with the idea that ‘oh, there are these big monsters, they must be destroyed,’ but as you continue on throughout the movie, you end up with almost a polar opposite opinion because you see that these aliens are struggling just as much as the humans are. You begin to understand them.

For fans of Monsters, don’t expect to fall victim to having to buy a bunch of special editions over the coming years either. Edwards is a firm believer in the idea that when you complete a movie and it’s released, then that’s how it should stay.

I think Monsters is a completed film – I don’t really see myself going back to do a director’s cut or anything like that,” explained Edwards. “For me, that’s like your mom getting out the family photo album and you see that she Photoshopped in a brother you’ve never had just because you said you’d always wanted a brother. It doesn’t feel natural to me.”

Edwards added, “Filmmaking is like giving birth – once you have the baby, then you give it up to adoption and have to hope for the best. Are there things I’d like to change? Of course. But at some point you just have to let go and move forward on to something else.”

Now that Monsters has made its way to DVD and Blu-ray, Edwards weighed in on the future of the world he created. “Vertigo owns the rights to Monsters, and I know they’re keen to move forward with another Monsters-related project very soon. I’m not sure how involved I can be right now, and I don’t think my next film really should be a sequel just yet. I’d like to do something else first, but I would definitely be open to returning at some point.

But I do think whoever Vertigo ends up hiring will do a great job because they really know what they’re doing there. For me, if they hire someone to direct another Monsters movie, the last thing they need is for me to be hanging around, telling people how the movie should be. Whoever comes in should definitely be given free rein to put their own spin on this world, and I know they’ll get the right person,” Edwards added.

One very big reason Edwards can’t come back right now for another Monsters film is because he recently signed on to work with Legendary Pictures to breathe some new life into Godzilla. The British filmmaker spoke of his confidence in pairing up with the production company that has brought audiences movies like Trick ‘r Treat, The Dark Knight and Inception.

It’s really too early to talk a lot about Godzilla, but I am very confident in Legendary Pictures’ belief that we need to make the best film we possibly can,” said Edwards. “This will definitely have a very different feel than the most recent US film, and our biggest concern is making sure we get it right for the fans because we know their concerns. It must be brilliant in every category because I’m a fan as well.

Edwards added, “But I think the project is in great hands, and I don’t necessarily mean that about myself, but more so about Legendary. They have an amazing track record, and I think they’re the right studio to be behind this project.

Exclusive: Gareth Edwards Talks Godzilla and a Sequel to Monsters!

Heather Wixson

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Fearsome Facts – Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

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Sir Christopher Lee returned to portray the charismatic count of Transylvania in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) for the first time since taking on the iconic role in 1958’s Horror of Dracula – an eight year absence. 

And while Lee endured a love/hate relationship playing the Carpathian Count over the years, the actor reluctantly tackled the role a total of 10 times for the Silver Screen. Three of those performances came outside of the purview of Hammer Horror, but this list is dedicated to the first Hammer Dracula sequel to feature the return of Christopher Lee in the lead role.

Now, here are 5 Things You May Not Know About Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

5. Dracula: Speechless

Dialogue never played a crucial part in Christopher Lee’s portrayals as Count Dracula, but this film is the epitome of that contentious notion. Lee doesn’t utter a single word during Dracula: Prince of Darkness’ 90 minutes of run time. In interviews over the years, Lee said that he was so unhappy with his lines that he protested and refused to say them during the filming process. “Because I had read the script and refused to say any of the lines,” Lee said in an interview at the University College of Dublin.

However, screenwriter Jimmy Sangster insisted that the original script was written without any dialogue for Dracula. There was even a theory that circulated for a time which postulated that Hammer could not afford Lee’s growing salary, so the studio decided to limit the Count’s screen time. Did this lead to the demise of Dracula’s dialogue? Regardless of whom you want to believe, Dracula is the strong, silent type in Prince of Darkness. 

4. Double Duty for Drac

Hammer Film Productions doubled down, so to speak, on the production and post-production aspects of Dracula: Prince of Darkness. First, the studio filmed the vampire flick back-to-back with another project titled Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966). In doing so, Hammer used many of the same sets, actors – including Francis Matthews and Suzan Farmer – and crew members to shoot both motion pictures.

Second, Dracula: Prince of Darkness was featured in a double billing alongside the film The Plague of the Zombies (1966) when it screened in London. Insert cheesy cliche: “Double your pleasure, double your fun with Doublemint Gum.” 

3. Stunt Double Nearly Drowned

Dracula: Prince of Darkness introduced a new weakness in the wicked baddie, but it nearly cost a stuntman his life. During the film, it was revealed that running water could destroy Dracula. Wait, what? Apparently, leaving the faucets on at night not only prevents frozen pipes, but blood-sucking vampires, too.

All kidding aside, it was during the climactic battle scene in which Christopher Lee’s stunt double almost succumb to the icy waters on set. Stuntman Eddie Powell stepped in as the Count during that pivotal moment, as Dracula slipped into the watery grave, but Powell was trapped under the water himself and almost died.

2. Lee Loathed What Hammer Did to Stoker’s Character

Christopher Lee’s return to Hammer’s Dracula franchise was a stroke of genius on the part of producers, but Lee was more than a little reticent when it came to initially voicing his dislike for playing the iconic role. As mentioned above, a lot of speculation swirled around the lack of dialogue given to Lee in the Prince of Darkness script. And if you don’t count the opening flashback sequence, which revisits the ending of Horror of Dracula (1958), Count Dracula doesn’t appear on screen until the 45-minute mark of the film.

Dracula’s lack of character, and presence, began to affect Lee particularly when it came to signing on to play the character in the three films following Prince of Darkness. Indeed, the lack of meaningful character development led to Lee initially turning down Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) and Scars of Dracula (1970). Lee said in countless interviews that he never got to play the real version of Count Dracula created by Bram Stoker, at least via Hammer Studios. This was a true disappointment to the late actor.

But Hammer guilt Lee into taking on the role over and over again, because the studio claimed to have already sold the aforementioned films to the United States with Lee’s name attached to the projects. Hammer informed Lee that if he didn’t return the company would have to lay off many of their workers. The tactic worked, since Lee was friends with many of the Dracula crew members. Fortunately for fans, Lee kept coming back for blood.

1. Faux Pas

Outside of the character of Dracula only appearing on screen for the last half of the movie, Dracula: Prince of Darkness had even more pressing issues that unfortunately survived all the way to the final cut of the film. One of the most appalling of these occurrences happens during the picture’s climatic confrontation. Watch the skies above Dracula and you will see the trail of a jet-engine plane staining the sky.

Another faux pas occurs in this same sequence when Dracula succumbs to the icy waters. Watch closely as the camera’s long shot clearly reveals the pivots holding the ice up underneath Chris Lee. Finally, watch the dead girl who is being carried during the opening funeral sequence. She is clearly breathing and quite heavily at that.

***

Which Dracula: Prince of Darkness moments did you find the most interesting? Were there any obscure facts you would have enjoyed seeing make our list? Sound off on social media!

 

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Desolation Review – The Joy of Being Rescued and All the Surprises That Come With It

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Starring Raymond J. Barry, Brock Kelly, Dominik Garcia-Lorido

Directed by David Moscow


It’s those random, once-in-a-lifetime encounters that only a select few get the chance to experience: when we as regular participants in this wonderful thing known as The Rat Race, stumble across a soul that we’ve only witnessed on the big screen. I’m talking about a celebrity encounter, and while some of the masses will chalk the experience up as nothing more than a passing moment, others hold it to a much larger interior scale…then you REALLY get to know the person, and that’s when things get interesting.

Director David Moscow’s thriller, Desolation follows shy hotel employee Katie (Lorido) and her “fortuitous” brush with Hollywood pretty-boy Jay (Kelly) during one of his stops – the two hit it off, and together they begin a sort of whirlwind-romance that takes her away from her job and drops her in the heart of Los Angeles at the apartment building he resides in. You can clearly see that she has been a woman who’s suffered some emotional trauma in her past, and this golden boy just happens to gallop in on his steed and sweep her off of her feet, essentially rescuing her from a life of mundane activity. She gets the full-blown treatment: a revamped wardrobe, plenty of lovin’, and generally the life she’s wanted for some time.

Things return to a bit of normalcy when Jay has to return to work, leaving Katie to spread out at his place, but something clearly isn’t kosher with this joint. With its odd inhabitants (a very creepy priest played by Raymond J. Barry), even more bizarre occurrences, and when one scared young woman cannot even rely on the protection from the local police, it all adds up to a series of red flags that would have even the strongest of psyches crying for their mothers. What Moscow does with this movie is give it just enough swerves so that it keeps your skull churning, but doesn’t overdo its potential to conclusively surprise you, and that’s what makes the film an entertaining watch.

While Lorido more than holds her ground with her portrayal of a woman who has been hurt in the past, and is attempting to place her faith in a new relationship, it’s Barry that comes out on top here. His performance as Father Bill is the kind of stuff that wouldn’t exactly chill you to the bone, but he’s definitely not a man of the cloth that you’d want to be stuck behind closed doors with – generally unsettling. As I mentioned earlier, the plot twists are well-placed, and keep things fresh just when you think you’ve got your junior private investigator badge all shined up. Desolation is well-worth a look, and really has kicked off 2018 in a promising fashion – let’s see what the other 11 months will feed us beasts.

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Summary

Got your eye on that shining movie star or starlet? Better make sure it’s what you really want in life – you know what they say about curiosity.

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Carnivore: Werewolf of London Howls on VOD

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Joining the ranks of The Curse of the Werewolf, An American Werewolf in London, The Company of Wolves, and Dog Soldiers, Carnivore: Werewolf of London is the latest in a long series of fantastic British werewolf movies. Directed by Knights of the Damned’s Simon Wells, the film focuses on a couple trying to save their relationship by taking a vacation in a remote cottage, but rekindling their old flame soon proves to be the least of their worries as they learn that something with lots of fur and lots of teeth is waiting for them in the surrounding woods.

Carnivore: Werewolf of London stars Ben Loyd-Holmes, Atlanta Johnson, Gregory Cox, Molly Ruskin, and Ethan Ruskin, and is available to purchase now on Google Play, Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu, although it doesn’t appear to have received a physical release as of yet.

More information about Carnivore: Werewolf of London is available on the film’s official Facebook account, along with a ton of production photos.

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