Indie Horror Month: Dread Central Interviews Actress and Producer Alyshia Ochse - Dread Central
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Indie Horror Month: Dread Central Interviews Actress and Producer Alyshia Ochse

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Actress and producer Alyshia Ochse may not be a name you immediately recognize, but we here at Dread Central feel like that’s going to change very soon. The up-and-comer recently appeared in the brand new pilot episode of Deon Taylor’s revamped “Nite Tales” series as well as horror short The Guest (which she also produced) that bowed online earlier this month.

In honor of Indie Horror Month, we caught up with Ochse to talk about how this Midwestern actress got her start in the industry, what inspired her to get into producing films and her experiences working in the horror genre and why she’s found it a welcoming experience for her career.

Ochse always knew she was destined to work in the entertainment industry. “I wanted to be an actress ever since I could talk. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be anything other than an actor really. But when you grow up in Kentucky like I did, there really wasn’t a whole lot for me to do in terms of acting out there. So I was put into the modeling circuit, but that wasn’t my thing at all so I quit.”

“Hollywood just didn’t come our way in Kentucky very often so I had no idea what I was going to do about becoming an actor. I finally got my first role in a big movie, which was Seabiscuit. I was immediately hooked to acting, and after that I booked a part in a Blink 182 video and just kept working from there,” Ochse added.

However, once Ochse made her way out to Hollywood, she soon realized timing was everything and learned some very valuable lessons early on in her career.

“Continuing to work as an actress in Hollywood has been really challenging, but I think that happens for all up-and-coming actresses,” explained Ochse. “I was able to sign with a really great manager at the start of my career out here, but it was too soon for me. I wasn’t ready for a lot of the projects I was being submitted for- I was definitely too green. So I had to take a step back and figure things out. I now have a better idea of how the industry works, and I think that’s been the best approach for my career this far.”

Indie Horror Month: Dread Central Interviews Actress and Producer Alyshia Ochse (click for larger image)After Ochse gained a grasp on the acting part of her career, she soon realized she wanted to explore working in other aspects of the entertainment business and decided to start her own production company.

Ochse said, “I realized recently that I couldn’t just be an actress because even though I love it so much, I was finding myself creatively stumped between projects and wanted to keep challenging myself. So I decided to create my own production company called S.L. Productions. We produced two short films called The Way We Weren’t and The Guest, and we’re currently working on our first feature film called Face You!”

“What I have learned from creating my own company is that my experiences working on that side of the business have somehow made me a better actor. I don’t think you can truly appreciate filmmaking until you’ve worked on both sides of the camera, and I think that’s why I am so proud of my work on The Guest. Being able to push myself as an actor and producer on that really made me step up my game and taught me a lot, and I hope it shows,” Ochse added.

The actress went on to discuss her experiences working on the short film, which was her introduction to the horror genre. “Bryan (Ryan) is a great writer and was a great director to work with on The Guest. It was my first horror project ever, even though I’ve never conscientiously said no to horror- my career has just worked out that way so far. I met Bryan initially over another project but told him in order to get started as a filmmaker, he should really try and write a short film first before doing a feature.”

“I wasn’t sure what to expect when he sent me the first script for The Guest, but as soon as I finished it, I knew I loved the character of Dana and had to play her. Her character was so different than you see in a lot of horror movies- there was just such a complexity to her life that I found it a unique challenge as an actress. I personally love doing horror because it’s where you can really push yourself as a performer, and in the last year I’ve noticed that the horror genre is a welcome place for a lot of ‘unknown’ actors like me,” Ochse added.

Recently the actress made her return to the horror genre as part of the revamping efforts by Deon Taylor and his producing partner Jamie Foxx for their weekly horror anthology series “Nite Tales.” Ochse spoke about how she secured the role of Ashley in the brand new pilot episode, which was co-directed by Taylor and Foxx and stars funny guy Jason Mewes (Clerks, Breath of Hate) as a down-on-his-luck comedian whose audiences start dying from laughter (literally) during his last ditch effort to make it as a successful jokester.

“I actually auditioned for ‘Nite Tales’ four months ago, and all I had been told back then was that Jamie Foxx would have to ultimately approve me to get the role,” said Ochse. “I had almost forgotten about the audition because so much time had passed so imagine my surprise when they called me the day before I needed to be on set. But working with Jamie and Deon was really amazing. They did everything they could to make every single person on that set feel like family, and both of them were open to doing improv during takes, which I think really opened everyone up to telling the story the right way.”

“I just remember my first day on set; we were running about five hours behind, and normally everyone would be stressing out and running around all crazy-like. But on ‘Nite Tales’ you’d never know we were running behind because everyone was such a team player and such professionals that everyone was about hustling and getting the work done. I think the new approach of ‘Nite Tales’ is fresh, and both Deon and Jamie have finally nailed down creating a successful modern take on ‘Tales From the Crypt’ above what Deon did the first season. They should be proud of what they’re doing because I know I am proud to have been a part of the project,” Ochse added.

Our thanks to Alyshia for her time, and be sure to keep any eye out for her. She’s one who we predict is in it for the long haul!

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Creep 2 Starring Mark Duplass Hits Netflix This December

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Just the other day we shared with you guys an exclusive interview with Partick Brice, the director of the Mark Duplass-starring found footage flicks Creep and Creep 2.

Today we have the awesome news that the killer sequel Creep 2 will be hitting Netflix streaming on December 23rd.

The original creeptastic motion picture is already streaming on Netflix so if you need to catch up – or just watch the original again – you can do so tonight and get ready for the sequel which, personally, I found to be superior (if even just slightly) to the original.

What did you think of the original film? Are you excited to check out the sequel? Or have you already seen it? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Creep 2 starring Mark Duplass and Desiree Akhavan hits Netflix December 23rd!

Synopsis:

Desiree Akhavan (“Girls”, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR) stars as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass, reprising his role from the previous film). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.

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Waxwork Records Unveils Phenomenal 2018 Subscription Package

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Our pals over at Waxwork Records have unveiled their 2018 subscription bundle and it’s packed to the brim with some absolutely fantastic titles! Horror fans who enjoy spinning their music on turntables can look forward to two Romero titles, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, and lastly they’ll have Jordan Peele’s smash success title Get Out. On top of getting those five records, those who join the subscription program will also receive a t-shirt, coffee mug, poster, notebook, magnet, enamel pin, calendar, and more.

For Night of the Living Dead, Waxwork Records worked closely with the film’s original creators, including Romero himself prior to his passing, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Criterion Collection so that they could source audio from the 4K restoration. It will be released as a 2xLP package.

Dawn of the Dead will also get a 2xLP release that will include brand new artwork, re-mastered audio, and more. The same kind of treatment is being given to The ‘Burbs. Christopher Young’s Drag Me to Hell soundtrack will be a single LP but will get the same level of attention and quality as the other titles.

As for Peele’s Get Out. Michael Abels; score will be released on a 2xLP vinyl set and will pay tribute to one of the most culturally significant movies of the past several years.

The Waxwork Records subscription package will be $250 ($285 in Canada) and will open up for sale this Friday, the 24th. More information can be found on Waxwork’s website.

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Editorials

Thanksgiving Flesh Feast: A Cannibal Holocaust Retrospective

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“Why ban films? If you don’t want to go watch something, don’t go. Don’t spend your money to watch it. To me it’s against your civil liberties. Censorship is against your human rights. It just takes a critic to exaggerate and say the film is over the top, it’s gruesome and full of terrible violence.” Words from legendary cinematographer Roberto Forges Davanzati on the special edition Blu-Ray of Cannibal Holocaust.

As you celebrate this holiday of stuffing your face full of delicious gooey goodies and cooked meats, let us look back at a feast for the ages that was buried in lawsuits, censorship, exploitation and even jail time for its creator. Cannibal Holocaust, one of the most infamous video nasties of all time, is not only one of the most gruesome and horrifying collection of images put to celluloid but also, in its own way, one of the most beautiful. Often times it’s notoriety as a horrid exploitation film overshadows the artistry that crafted it and the true message behind it.

First off, let’s look at the fact that this is truly the first found footage film. Its narrative is about four young documentarians who set out into the Amazon into an area dubbed “The Green Inferno” to find and document several primitive tribes of cannibals. While this narrative is the backbone of the movie opening up the film, this footage is not shown until the latter half. Professor Harold Munroe is assigned by the television studio that employed the documentarians to go into the Green Inferno himself to see if he can unravel the mystery of the youth’s disappearance or obtain the footage they filmed. Today we have found footage movies left and right but it’s rare we get a movie within a movie in this style.

Davanzati has talked about his different shooting styles for the time on the Blu-Ray for the film. Munroe’s section of the film was shot on 35MM film while the “found footage” shot by the documentarians is shot on 16MM film, giving a much grainier and dirty look to their footage. Not only that, but since the four youths within the film at all times had two 16MM cameras operating, Davanzati would often film the two camera men within the film and then switch around showing the point of view of each camera man within the found footage, which he states helped edit the movie as they shot it. The artistic decision to have two narratives wrap around each other like this are perfect antithesis to each other as Munroe’s footage shows a completely opposite depiction of the cannibals compared to the documentarian’s footage. This style informed a generation and still does, but has never been stylistically approached the same way.

Some may argue that regardless of the artistic vision and groundbreaking filmmaking style of both Davanzati and director Ruggero Deodato that it doesn’t matter, because what good is beautiful footage of despicable trash? How dare they film something so atrocious? Actor Robert Kerman can maybe answer that in a quote from an interview on the Cannibal Holocaust Blu-Ray. “What’s the difference between Cannibal Holocaust and Schindler’s List? Or the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan?” The world is full of horrible atrocious things and sometimes we don’t like to acknowledge them. To simply not acknowledge them would seem an injustice to the victims. In this case, what may offend might be the same reason audiences were offended about the Universal Monsters: the fact that perhaps we are the villains. Perhaps those victimized within Cannibal Holocaust are the titular cannibals.

Deodato opens the film with a reporter speaking about how far the world has come and how advanced we are as a civilization, that it is strange that indigenous tribes still exist in the jungles of the Green Inferno. All the while, during this news report on the savagery of those tribes, Deodato cleverly shows us the jungles of the modern world as the imagery put to this news cast foreshadows the film’s true intentions. It would be easy to assume the “Holocaust” in Cannibal Holocaust refers to the humans devoured by cannibals, when in reality, the holocaust is the devastation inflicted upon the cannibal tribes by the so-called “normal” humans. Deodato cleverly misleads the viewer showing off all-American kids as the documentarians. He quickly follows the opening with a scene of the Yacumo tribe devouring a human body as the Colombian soldiers gun them down and capture one of their tribe. It’s a brutal scene that depicts the Yacumo as monsters.

As Professor Munroe ventures into the Green Inferno with his Yacumo captive and guide, Chaco, it is discovered that the Yacumo tribe itself has had some hardship and pain. They are the more peaceful of the tribes who simply thrive and survive. Their Yacumo captive who was found devouring a human was doing so as part of a ceremonial practice to ward off evil spirits. Befriending the tribe, they venture deeper to find the two warring tribes that scare even the Yacumo: the Yanomamo (Tree People) and the Shamatari (Swamp People). While the Shamatari are depicted throughout as vile and dangerous, the Yamamomo befriend the professor and Chaco due to the pair aiding them against the former tribe.

Munroe and the Yanomamo friendship gives way to a very beautiful scene in the movie. Munroe disrobes himself completely and swims in the river naked with a group of Yanomamo women. There is nothing sexual about the scene, only curiosity and playful ignorant bliss. This sense of peace is elated by the score of Riz Ortolani, which permeates the entire film with melancholy melodies and themes of religious experiences. This scene in particular is boosted amazingly by his score.

Munroe’s journey is the audience’s point of view where we watch in horror and wonder at what these “cannibals” are capable of but, upon venturing further for ourselves with respect towards the tribes, we find perhaps there is more to these people than monstrosities. There are definitely horrible things the Yacumo and the Yamamomo commit, but our eyes are slightly opened as to why.

Enter the found footage aspect of the film, which is the core of Deodato’s message. The young documentarians headed by Alan are the true villains of the piece. While the indigenous peoples within idolize their gods and ways, this crew of documentarians only idolize the gods of entertainment and visceral mind rape. What’s worse is the discovery of the studio behind them condoning their efforts in order to get people to watch. The found footage approach descends into madness as Alan and his crew are responsible for the Yacumo’s problems that Munroe discovered when he arrived. We see them burning down the village and even having sex on the ashes of their homes in a horrifying shot that pans out to show the Yacumo watching in sorrow as they are huddled by the river for warmth. As the television executives watch this footage unfold it is stated, “The more you rape their senses, the happier they are.” It’s disgusting.

The footage goes on and gets progressively worse as Alan and his crew commit horrible acts of rape and violence that parallels the natives actions. But while the natives at least have a misguided sense of purpose, there is none for the documentarians. They set up a girl on a spike after they rape her just to have something visceral to film. “Watch it Alan, I’m shooting.” Alan has a smile on his face from the atrocity he’s committed, their excitement paralleled by Ortolani’s score. This scene plays on the typical thought of things we don’t understand being weird. As the filmmakers have no concept of what makes the Yanomamo tick or of their religious rites, they just create something ghastly. Because their audience will not understand it, they lump it in with their actual spiritual and cultural beliefs, making it all seem bereft of rhyme or reason, confusing audiences just to entertain.

“Keep rolling, we’re gonna get an Oscar for this!” The final act of found footage is more intense and more satisfying than any you can see. As one of the cameramen dies, they keep filming, that prize in their eyes with the camera lens as a separation from what’s before them. Their friend is no longer a person but a spectacle to be shot as he’s torn limb from limb and prepared to be eaten by the cannibals for their transgression. Who is worse, those that created the situation or those simply reacting to it? The Yanomamo stand triumphant over the interloper and, as stated in the beginning of the film, they eat him ceremonially in order to keep out the evil spirits of the white man. Each is taken down and each filmed. Debts paid in blood to the cannibals and
the white man’s gods of entertainment. The found footage has all been viewed as Munroe and the rest of the executives walk off, “I wonder who the real cannibals are?” 

True, there are very vile things depicted in this film. Rape, animal cruelty, extreme violence. It is definitely not for the squeamish. I, myself, cannot stand the animal violence as it shouldn’t be in the film and is lingered on for far too long. However, each scene of extremism beyond those shots serves a purpose in the film, juxtaposing the actions of the protagonists and antagonists, often times blurring the lines of those roles.

Watch this film with an open mind and a filmmaker’s thought process. You’ll see the amazing direction accompanied by brilliant and, at the time, never-before-seen cinematography. The score elevates the film with its beauty against the ugliness of the visuals. While the actions of many of the characters are disgusting, you have to admit the level of excellence each actor gives in their portrayal of these characters, especially the tribes.

We must not forget in these dark times not to judge the cultures of others before we truly understand them as people.

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