Exclusive: Director Mariano Baino Talks Dark Waters and More - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Director Mariano Baino Talks Dark Waters and More

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We here at Dread Central recently had the opportunity to grab a few minutes with director Mariano Baino, whose 1993 chiller Dark Waters just made its way onto Blu-ray from Severin Films. He was more than kind to give us the lowdown on that film, his latest project, and a few other topics – so settle in, read on, and enjoy!

DC: What can you tell us about your latest short film, Lady M 5.1?

MB: Lady M 5.1 is a 23-minute re-imagining of Act 5, Scene 1 of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which I wrote, directed and edited. It stars Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni (Opera, Phantom of the Opera, Mother of Tears) as Lady Macbeth, and her incredibly powerful performance in the film has recently been recognized with an Award of Excellence in the category of Actress: Leading at the Best Shorts Competition. Apart from acting, Coralina also created the costumes and composed the music. We both worked on the production design, and I also handled all the visual effects, creature design and construction, and sound design.

In Lady M 5.1 Lady Macbeth is destined to relive her most harrowing moment in a never-ending loop under the watchful gaze of a new bio-mechanical lifeform, born from the wreckage of civilization and the debris left behind by humanity. It’s an experimental science-fiction Shakespearean drama! Last month the film had its world premiere at Mana Contemporary, one of the most important modern art spaces in the US, and Coralina and I created a huge audiovisual experiential installation at Mana Contemporary to accompany the world premiere of LADY M 5.1, which was a great success and a brilliant experience.

DC: What were some of the horror films that influenced you the most when you were growing up?

MB:I have become cautious when it comes to discussing artistic influence in such matter of fact fashion. I truly have come to believe that influence, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. An audience will “see” influence based on their own viewing history and upbringing. I also notice that audiences think that being influenced by something is akin to feeding a sheet of paper through an old fax machine: You put the original in at one end, and an exact, albeit faded, copy of it comes out at the other end; I don’t think influence, at least for me, works in such a direct way, unless one makes a conscious decision to directly reference other people’s work. When it comes to horror films, I can definitely tell you that only hearing about The Exorcist scared me immensely, and I still consider it one of the scariest films ever made. I also remember being very scared of the water for a while after being exposed to Spielberg’s Jaws!

DC: With the majority of your projects over the course of your career having been short films, do you prefer the shorter presentations, and if so, do you feel that they can convey more of a story than a full-length film?

MB:I don’t prefer one over the other. For me every tool at my disposal, which allows me to express myself artistically, has equal importance. I think short films are sometimes considered embryonic feature films, as if just because they are shorter, they are somewhat less important, and I don’t think that’s the right way to look at them. I don’t think everything benefits from being stretched to feature film length, same as not every story can be contained within a short film’s running time. Also, because of their lower budgets, short films are a more accessible form of expression for truly independent filmmakers and provide greater opportunities for experimentation and risk-taking.

DC: With your incredibly creepy film Dark Waters getting ready to be released on Blu-ray, tell us about the biggest challenge you faced when directing this movie?

MB: Well, the challenges would fill many books! We made the movie in the Ukraine, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it was truly like setting foot on an alien planet. As soon as we arrived and were taken on a grueling 26-hour bus journey without food or water from Moscow to Odessa, we realized this was going to be an experience we would not forget in a hurry.

I will just list a few of the things that were happening to us off the top of my head: Our film stock was regularly sold on the black market by our own production manager, forcing our producer to send one of his people to Moscow to buy more film stock… on the black market! Our prosthetics and creature had to be shipped from England, and our creature got lost in transit! All of a sudden a truck arrived at the film studios in Odessa, and when we opened it, we discovered it was full of musical instruments which were supposed to be delivered to an orchestra in Moscow! Yes, you guessed it: The orchestra got our monster, and we got their instruments! I wanted to use flaming crosses in the catacombs, and they assured me it wouldn’t be a problem. I thought they had a safe way of doing it, but their way of doing it was tying together two pieces of wood and wrapping them in rags soaked in gasoline. So every time we lit the things, everyone was almost asphyxiated by the smoke and no one could see anything. We could shoot for a minute at a time, and then we had to wait for the smoke to clear to do another take. When we were shooting on the beach, they insisted on everyone having lunch in a village that was a 45-minute bus ride from the location so every lunch break would turn into a four-hour marathon. We would never have finished! Me, lead actress Louise Salter, and the few people I had brought with me from London decided not to eat lunch and stayed behind. So, for a week, as soon as the rest of the crew broke for lunch, we would start shooting at breakneck pace by ourselves. We would do 12 set-ups while everyone else was eating. It was the only way we could ever have finished the film. Even when we went back to London to do post-production, we ran out of money and I had to go back to Moscow to finish the film. And while I was there, Yeltsin decided to attack the parliament and I found myself right in the middle of a Russian mini-revolution, complete with tanks and cannonballs being fired at the Parliament. And, needless to say, the accommodation they had provided for me was very close to the epicenter of the revolution!

Every day there was a new adventure! I could go on and on, but then we would never finish…

DC: Lastly, what can fans expect to see from you down the road?

MB: Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni and I are producing a feature film, Astrid’s Saints, which we co-wrote. I am directing, and Coralina will star as Astrid. The film is co-produced by Italian producer Gaetano Di Vaio (Gomorrah) and will be shot in Naples, Italy. Also, lately, I have had many wonderful opportunities to exhibit my mixed media drawings around the world so there will definitely be some more art exhibitions and multi-media installations down the road.

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Syfy Renews Z Nation for a 5th Season; Season 4 Finale Airs Tonight!

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Syfy’s popular zombie series “Z Nation” just keeps shambling on, and tonight the two-episode Season 4 finale, “Mt. Weather/The Black Rainbow,” airs. If you’re a fan of the show, we have good news for you… it’s not over yet as David Latt of The Asylum has announced on Twitter the pickup of “Z Nation” for a 5th season! So you can expect lots more adventures with the gang in 2018.

Below is the official word from David along with a brief synopsis of what’s ahead tonight in the finale, which kicks off at 9/8c.

Synopsis:
In the mind-bending two-hour Season 4 finale, Warren and the team must stop Zona from launching operation Black Rainbow, which will cleanse the landscape of both zombies and humans. In Part 2 the secret of Warren’s Black Rainbow dream is unlocked when they reach their final destination. The cast includes Kellita Smith as Roberta Warren, Keith Allan as Murphy, Russell Hodgkinson as Doc, Nat Zang as 10K, Gracie Gillam as Sgt. Lilley, DJ Qualls as Citizen Z, Ramona Young as Kaya, Justin Torrence as President Donald Trump, Michael Berryman as The Founder, Micheal Daks as Mr. Sunshine, Anastasia Baranova as Addy, Sydney Viengluang as Sun Mei, Joseph Gatt as The Man, and Natalie Jongjaroenlarp as Red.

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First Look at Chris Alexander’s Space Vampire

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Who says all vampires have to be all extra-broody or sparkly or take up residence in Transylvania? Certainly not indie filmmaker Chris Alexander, who has just unveiled the first images and posters for his latest foray into film, Space Vampire!

The movie stars Ali Chappell as a beautiful female alien parasite who falls to earth with an intent to drain women of their life forces. As if women don’t have enough problems in this day and age!

Alexander wrote, directed, edited, filmed, and even provided the score for this intergalactic terror tale. Talk about a jack of all trades, eh?

Enough talk! Dig in!

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Rob Zombie Narrates Charles Manson’s Last Words to a Wider Audience

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Charles Manson. The name alone lives on in infamy even long after his physical remains lay rotting… and rightly so. A new docudrama entitled Charles Manson: The Final Words is on its way, and we have new details and behind-the-scenes imagery for you. Check it out!

The flick made its premiere on the REELZ Channel, and Breakthrough Entertainment has announced that they’ve acquired worldwide distribution rights to the project that features narration from Rob Zombie and is home to the final interview given by America’s most notorious and now deceased cult-leader and mass murderer, Charles Manson.

The opportunity that we have to offer this distinct and truly unique documentary to our international clients is beyond exciting for Breakthrough Entertainment,” said Craig McGillivray, Vice President, Distribution at Breakthrough Entertainment. “We are continuously focused on sourcing captivating new premium content that pushes the envelope and generates mass attention such as this amazing film from James Buddy Day and Pyramid Productions.

The two-hour film narrated by musician Zombie focuses on the so-called Manson family murders told from Manson’s perspective using never-before-seen case files, pictures, and exclusive interviews with Manson himself from inside California State Prison. The feature documentary reveals new details that unveil the true story and motives behind the grisly murder spree. The audio used in the doc contains the last recorded interviews with the infamous killer conducted by director and producer James Buddy Day.

It has been a truly distinct project for us and an experience that very few producers encounter. This film has the potential to captivate global audiences, and we are very excited to have Breakthrough Entertainment on board to share this one-of-a-kind documentary,” says James Buddy Day, Executive Producer at Pyramid Productions.

Look for more on this one soon!

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