Exclusive: Director J. Horton Talks The Campus; New Poster and Stills Unveiled! - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Director J. Horton Talks The Campus; New Poster and Stills Unveiled!

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Zombies, ghosts, home invaders, and the Devil himself… what more could a horror fan ask for? Last month we hit the set of the then-shooting independent feature The Campus in Burbank, California, and found it rife with all of the previously mentioned horror tropes.

Read on for a first look at the poster, a few exclusive stills, and an interview with The Campus filmmaker J. Horton.

Written and directed by J. Horton and starring newcomer Rachel Amanda Bryant, The Campus is produced by James Bills, Sean Reid, and Kacper Skowron.  According to the synopsis: After dying following breaking his deal with the Devil, family patriarch Robert Wainwright passes his debt on to his long-estranged daughter, Morgan [Bryant]. She soon finds herself in a never-ending cycle of terror as she is brutally murdered and then resurrected over and over again, each time losing a piece of her soul. Now Morgan must discover why this is happening and break the deadly cycle in order to escape her chilling fate and find redemption.

Executive produced by Joe Bartone, John Mitchell, and Robert C. Pullman and co-produced by Robert Bravo with associate producer credits going to Holly Rockwell, the Gas Money Pictures/ANC Entertainment/Small Factory Films’ cast is rounded out by Pullman, Brit Sheridan, Scott Menville, Hakeemshady Mohamed, and Aaron Groben with Kevin Caliber portraying the film’s big bad.

Arriving to set on day twenty-one of the shoot, we were greeted by a nearly completed and entirely impressive cave set erected inside a rather inconspicuous office space; the always effusive FX artist Juli Hapney, who was in the midst of transforming actor Caliber into a horned and imposing Beezelbub (fans of 1985’s Legend will be impressed by their creation); and filmmaker Horton for the final evening of principal photography.

“[Producer] James [Bills] and I have been friends for fifteen years,” Horton told us of the lead up to the creation of The Campus. “We met in New Orleans prior to Katrina and worked on each other’s independent films out there for a few years; and then, after Katrina, we moved out here and he would come and shoot some movies for me and I would work in post on his. After about five years, we’d both amassed pretty good resumes, but we weren’t really getting where we wanted to [be], and we thought, “All right, let’s combine our resumes and start a new company, and the result was Gas Money Pictures.”

“The first film we shot together was a feature called Edges of Darkness,” continued the filmmaker, “a zombie film back in 2008 that Anchor Bay released in the US, and it actually did pretty well.  Right after that we moved into Trap, and I did about maybe ten other indie features for a company called AMG Film Partners. After working for them for several years, I got kind of burned out making low-budget films for other people, and I wanted to get back to doing my own stuff and to work in horror again. So we found this location and got our offices here, and I just kept looking around thinking, ‘This place would be great for a horror movie.’”

As for what inspired the narrative of The Campus, Horton told us, “I had several scripts done, but I really wanted to write something that would showcase and use the production value of this location. So I knew it had to be a single location thriller, and I’d just watched [1993’s] Groundhog Day again and thought that I’d like to see a horror movie version of that, except that when the lead comes back, it’s in kind of a different horror movie scenario.”

“So this one starts out like kind of a home invasion piece with guys stalking [our protagonist] in Aztec masks, sort of like The Strangers or You’re Next; but every time she dies, she comes back in the same building but in a different scenario, and there’s five in total,” he illuminated of the film, which was shot with Cinevision anamorphic lenses on an Alexa.

“I’d read this piece from Aztec culture, which stated that the human soul has five pieces, and that if the Devil was collecting your soul he’d have to collect all five,” Horton expouned. “So we did The Strangers thing, which then moves into a ‘body horror’ section, where her body just slowly eats itself, and I was kind of inspired by the Creepshow segment [King’s “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”] for that, and then from there it moves into a ghost story, then to zombies, and then into the Devil himself. The backstory is that our main character’s father had sold his soul for his first born when he was a young man, in the event he’d ever have a child, which he didn’t intend [to do]. But years later he does [have a daughter], so when she turns eighteen, he pushes her away so that he doesn’t have to sacrifice her. So she’s pissed off at him, and of course since he reneged on his deal, the Devil kills him, but the Devil still wants the soul promised him so he comes after the daughter, and she gets caught in that cycle.”

As for the special effects and character makeups, which Horton decided to deliver ninety percent practical, he stated of FX artists Bravo and Hapney, “Bravo’s character makeups and creature designs are amazing. He’s been here since pre-production, and the quality of his work is invaluable. And as for Juli, her personality, talent, and execution on set – she’s just awesome.”

With post-production expected to be completed by August of 2017, Horton concluded, “Horror’s always been in my heart.”

For more on The Campus, “like” the film on Facebook.

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A Demon Within Is Coming Next Year; Exclusive Trailer Premiere

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We just scored you cats a look at the trailer for A Demon Within, which you’ll be able to dig on once it hits select theaters and VOD on January 12, 2018, via Blue Fox Entertainment. Blue Fox holds the worldwide rights and is currently selling the film internationally.

Charlene Amoia, Julia Larsen, Clint Hummel, Jeremy Miller, Patricia Ashley, Michael Ehlers, and Cole Crawford star in the film from directors Ayush Banker and Justin LaReau.

Synopsis:
In 1914 Crestwick, a demonic spirit named Nefas surfaced to prey on a family, which ended with the death of an innocent young girl. The mysterious events haunted the Midwestern community for years. Now, decades later, a skeptical doctor must stop history from repeating itself by confronting his personal demons and fighting to save the life of a teenage girl who has become possessed in his family’s old house.

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Better Watch Out for This Shudder-Exclusive Clip

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Currently on DVD, Blu-ray, VOD, and Shudder is the dark horror-comedy Better Watch Out (review), and to kick off your week while keeping you in the holiday spirit, we have an exclusive clip for you to stuff in your stocking!

The critically acclaimed horror-comedy Better Watch Out debuted on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD December 5 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Holiday cheer and Home Alone get a decidedly dark spin when a babysitter must protect her charges from a terrifying home invasion. Directed by Chris Peckover (Undocumented), Better Watch Out stars Olivia Dejonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Aleks Mikic, and Dacre Montgomery with Patrick Warburton Academy Award nominee Virginia Madsen. Bonus materials include a making-of featurette and a special insert holiday card.

Better Watch Out has a runtime of approximately 89 minutes and is rated R for disturbing violent content, language throughout, crude sexual references, drug and alcohol use – all involving teens.

Synopsis:
This holiday season you may be home, but you’re not alone… In this fresh and gleefully twisted spin on home-invasion horror, babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) must defend her young charges (Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould ) when intruders break into the house one snowy night – or so she thinks.

BUY IT NOW!

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An Exclusive Clip Rises for The Rizen

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The government, man! You just never know what on earth they’re gonna be pulling next! One second they’re pardoning turkeys, and the next – BAM – they friggin’ unleash The Rizen.

Laura Swift (The Snowman), Sally Phillips (the Bridget Jones series), Bruce Payne (Warlock III, Passenger 57), Julian Rhind-Tutt (Lucy), Tom Goodman Hill (Everest), and The Young Ones’ Adrian Edmondson all star in writer-director Matt Mitchell’s action-horror The Rizen, invading VOD on January 2nd from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Synopsis:
The year is 1955. NATO and the Allied Forces have been conducting secret, occult experiments in a bid to win the Arms Race. They have finally succeeded, but what they have unleashed could tear our world apart. Now one woman must lead the only other two survivors past faceless horrors that threaten to kill or capture them at every turn. They are the only ones left who can fight to close a door that should never have been opened.

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