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Trevor Munson Talks Angel of Vengeance, Moonlight, and More

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CBS series “Moonlight” won a People’s Choice award in 2008 so it was obviously popular. Hopefully all those voters will check out the book on which it was based, Angel of Vengeance. While the adventures of Mick St. John provided pretty decent television, it was quite a bit more enjoyable following Mick Angel around the dirty Hollywood streets.

Writer Trevor O. Munson, Angel of VengeanceAfter reading Angel of Vengeance (review here), I had a chance to ask author Trevor Munson some questions about Mick Angel/St. John, past, present and future…


Mr. Dark: Tell us a bit about how you went from the novel, Angel of Vengeance, to creating a TV show based on the story instead of publishing the novel?

Trevor Munson: After working in Hollywood for a while, I decided to take some time away to try my hand at writing novels. Having gone down a promising, but ultimately dead-end road with a previous unpublished crime novel, I decided the best route to publication for Angel of Vengeance was to return to my Hollywood roots by adapting the finished manuscript into a feature screenplay and work backwards to publishing the novel. The result was that I signed with a new agency in May, and by August I was paired with Ron Koslow (“Beauty and the Beast”) to create a CBS pilot based on my book for the 2006 development season.

The idea was always to get the novel published, but as anyone who’s done it will tell you, creating, writing, and producing a new network television show is a demanding job with long hours. Once the show began, there wasn’t a lot of time to devote to shopping the novel. It really wasn’t until it ended that I started to get serious again about finding a publisher, so the process turned out to be a much longer one than I expected.

MD: There’s a number of major differences between Mick’s world in the novel and the world of the TV series. You speak to many of them in the afterword of the novel, but the one that interests me most is the dramatic shift in tone. The book is very solidly a noir tale complete with the lingo, the femme fatale, the gumshoe, but the series had a completely different, modern detective show style. How was that change decided since it’s probably the most prominent unique element of the book?

TM: I knew going in that things would have to change in order to create something palatable enough to air on CBS. From the start, they loved the main character and the vampire world, but they wanted the show to feel more contemporary and elegant as well as have a strong romantic angle. What Ron and I came up with was, in many ways, a lighter, more romantic version of the dark, noir Los Angeles underbelly I had created in the book, but I was okay with that because I knew no matter what happened or what changed in the course of development and production, I would always be able to refer back to the original vision I created in my novel.

Trevor Munson's Angel of Vengeance

MD: Despite having a strong fan base and even winning a People’s Choice award, the series was canceled after one season. How hard was that for you, and has that changed your mind about submitting your creations to Hollywood instead of sticking to literature?

TM: Not gonna lie. It was hard. Hollywood is a tough business, and every triumph seems to come with its share of pain and hardship. However, I’d learned all about that during my first stint in Tinseltown. The first time around I made the mistake of tying my general daily happiness to whether or not I was having a good day in Hollywood. To date, I can count my good days in Hollywood on two hands, so that should indicate about how happy that worldview made me. In large part that’s why I left to take time away and try my hand at writing novels.

When the show came about and I made the decision to come back, I decided it was only worth doing if I had a thicker skin and better perspective on things time around. True to form, Hollywood didn’t disappoint. The year that followed brought some really great experiences and some really unpleasant ones, all culminating in the cancellation of the series.

It wasn’t easy. However, despite all of that, I find that I’m still very interested in keeping my feet firmly planted in both Hollywood and the literary world. I love writing writing scripts and watching my characters come to life on screen. As a result, I’m currently developing a new pilot for Sony television along with my co-creator and friend Scott Satenspiel. At present we don’t have a title, but the show is best described as a paranormal “Criminal Minds”. (Editor’s Note: WOOT!)

MD: Between the show and, now, the book, you’ve created a solid mythos and universe for further adventures. Do you have any thoughts of continuing the Angel of Darkness/”Moonlight” universe in print?

TM: Absolutely. From the start I wanted to write two or three novels in the series. Unfortunately, I only retained the rights to my initial novel so I’m currently in the process of seeking permission from the powers-that-be to continue the series. If all goes well, I’d like to get started on a follow-up to Angel of Vengeance sometime in the next year.

MD: If you were to write further adventures for Mick, how do you think you’d balance the world of the show with the world of the book? Would you keep the literary adventures as different as Angel of Vengeance, or could we see a sort of merging of the TV world and the novel world?

TM: Mostly, I want to keep to the world created in the novel. However, that said, the genesis for the Mick/Beth romance in the show originated from an idea I had for a second novel (Guardian Angel) in which Mick watches over the little girl he saved from Coraline and ultimately finds himself engaged in a romance with her as an adult. Since that was the plan all along, I’d potentially like to explore that relationship in the context of the novel’s darker, grittier, edgier world.

Trevor Munson's Moonlight

MD: You’ve written features, a TV show, and now a novel. Which direction do you prefer, and why?

TM: I like all three for different reasons. Writing a novel feels like the truest form of writing. It’s just you and the page, and what you do or don’t do there creates the entire experience for the reader. At times I very much enjoy the experience of being the sole creator and writing exactly what I want without the filter of anyone else between me and my audience.

Writing a movie is more like writing a blueprint for the final story that is only realized when it is filmed. It’s an incredibly collaborative medium, and the success or failure of a film depends on the choices made by everyone involved. It’s a lot of fun to be part of a creative team that gets to go off and tell a story in a given number of days and weeks. There’s really nothing like it, and when it works, the end result is magical.

Television is a much more structured world and generally just more of a daily grind. When you’re a writer on a staff, it’s kind of like being part of a creative factory, but if you can handle the long hours at the office, the television writer has greater involvement and control over his or her work. Further, writing can be a lonely business, and in television you get to work and interact with a staff of other smart, talented writers. I also very much like that in television a writer gets to see his or her work come to life in a matter of weeks versus the months or years it often takes with features.

All in all, I have to say I like working in all three forms and enjoy the creative flexibility that comes with moving back-and-forth between them as each new project dictates. The variety helps keep things interesting.

MD: What’s next for you? Do you hope to return to the horror genre other than Mick’s world, or have you had enough fangs?

TM: I’m not sure about that. I’d definitely like to write more novels, but whether that will happen by continuing Mick’s story or by creating a different type of supernatural horror story remains to be seen. Regardless, if I don’t write a sequel, I’ll probably steer clear of vampires for a while for fear of repeating myself.

MD: Traditional last question: What’s your favorite horror movie?

TM: That honor would have to go to Angel Heart. I saw it as a teenager for the first time, and it was the first movie that ever struck fear into me beyond the duration of its running time. I remember being really scared as the final credits rolled and the main character takes the elevator downward. The feeling stayed with me for weeks afterward when I thought back on the movie. I loved the final twist and the protagonist’s horrific realization. In fact, anyone who’s seen the movie will probably not have to look far to notice some distinct similarities to certain aspects of the story that unfolds in my novel. (P.S. It’s no accident that my character’s first name is Mick, or his last name Angel…)

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First There Was Thanksgiving Night, Now There is Dawn of Consumerism: Dawn of the Dead and Black Friday

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A feast gorged on dead, rotting flesh from animals massacred. Yet there is still a hunger. A mass exodus of the walking dead flocks to a smorgasbord of prizes, each cheaper than the next.

Black Friday is here and the masses hunger, flocking to the local malls and stores for comforts and trinkets. It’s what they crave every year and nothing will get in their way. At least, that’s what George A. Romero taught us.

Black Friday is the biggest sales day of the year and while we have a perfectly-depicted view of it in the opening of Michael Dougherty’s Krampus, it’s Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead that tells us of our wanton desire to bow to the altar of consumerism.

Ten years after changing the landscape of horror with his masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead, George decided to make a sequel. In his own words, he wanted to make a more adventurous, comic book-style, colorful zombie film that would continue on into more films in his series. At the base of every film George made are themes on humanity.

At the time, giant indoor malls had just become the new big thing. Imagine, all of a sudden, there was a fortress-like building in every city and within its walls were tons of different stores, each one a new world to visit to obtain different items that could fulfill your needs. George saw this monolith as the base of his new film, an impenetrable citadel to hold up against the zombie hordes that would have everything you could ever want or need to survive. What George also saw were zombies in the types of people who would spend every day at the mall in search of what they believed to be their purpose finding some sort of happiness there. These two ideas combined to become the themes of Dawn of the Dead.

Once our main characters find the mall and hole up, they have to go through and purge it of the undead before they can claim it. In the immortal words of Peter, “They’re after the place. They don’t know why; they just remember. Remember that they want to be in here.” To these zombies, items within the mall, places to go waste their time, this is what it means to be alive to them. To recapture their humanity.

Once the mall is secured, our heroes go through taking anything and everything they’ve ever wanted in life. Now that they can just take the items they want and need, Peter and Stephen still go and rob the bank within the mall, taking all the money. In these scenes, Romero asks, are we so different? We all flock to things of our past we no longer need yet still want. What makes us better than the undead if both zombie and human have a basic drive to want something we don’t need?

Romero loves to show how far humanity can sink in the eye of the apocalypse. The final act of Dawn of the Dead is pure chaos, and is honestly the perfect representation of Black Friday. Our heroes have been living in the mall for so long with everything they could ever desire or need that they are completely bored. They dine on exquisite foods and alcohol, play with diamonds and fine clothes, and even gamble with the riches of the mall, but what do you do when you have everything?

When you have it all, of course, people want to take it. A biker gang, led by none other than Tom Savini himself, assaults the mall, breaking through all the barriers our heroes have created, unleashing the zombies back into the mall. Savini has the look in his eye of a man ready to slay for anything in that mall, a look you can often see in real life on Black Friday. Just as Savini brandishes his machete, so to do shoppers brandish their canes, purses, and other blunt objects ready to fight. The gang knocks over everything in their path, taking anything they want while killing the zombies in their way. Bikes mowing down zombies, engines revved. Just as shoppers rev the handles of their shopping carts ready to mow down others in their path. Our heroes must defend what’s theirs and fight the onslaught of the bikers. It’s pure chaos that cannot be stopped! If you’ve been in line for a sale on Black Friday you know it’s every man for himself as people push to get the prize you came for. You will steamroll over another human to save those few dollars.

On this holiest of sales days, once you’ve fought the onslaught of zombie and human alike, perhaps you can take a seat and remember the themes and satire Romero gave us in his life with a viewing of Dawn of the Dead. More than anything you can learn from the mistakes of the living and undead within the film as people everywhere race to their local malls to purchase items that mean just as much to them in death as they did in life.

When there’s no more room in your gut for Thanksgiving…the consumers will walk Black Friday…

 

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Exclusive: Sean Patrick Flanery-Led Lasso Ropes in Multiple Offers After AFM Appearance

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Lasso, a horror film starring Sean Patrick Flanery (The Boondock Saints, Saw 3D), was in attendance at this year’s American Film Market in Santa Monica and it seems to have made quite the impression! The film is currently in the middle of several distribution offers, some of which include theatrical distribution plans. No choice has been made by the Lasso team as they’re still hearing more and more offers but it’s certainly intriguing and exciting to see a horror film get so much attention!

Director Evan Cecil tells Dread Central, ““I am crazy flattered and honored at all the attention and interest Lasso received during the American Film Market and is still receiving from our industry peers. A lot of effort was put into making something different and interesting but most of all entertaining and fun to watch. Of course, we are hoping for a theatrical deal because that would be beyond cool, but also because the big screen is still the best way to watch a horror film. I love the thought of horror fans getting to enjoy Lasso all huge!

We can also reveal that we’ve been told that the film has 20 unique kills during its current 97-minute runtime, which means an average of one kill for approximately every four minutes! If you’re into horror for the body count, sounds like Lasso is going to be right up your alley!

Cecil directs and also produces alongside Todd J Myers and Elaine Gibson. Flanery stars with Lindsey Morgan (“The 100”), Karen Grassle, Andrew Jacobs, Travis Andre Ross, Heather Mignon, and Skyler Cooper.

Synopsis:
Kit (Lindsey Morgan) and Simon (Andrew Jacobs) are two young leaders of an Active Senior Tour group who go out on an adventure to a small-town Rodeo festival located deep in the woods. It’s a great experience for the group…until they try to leave. Simon and Kit must save themselves, and whatever seniors they can, from becoming victims of a deadly Rodeo Ritual. Along the way they join up with another unexpected group of victims, including a one-armed cowboy, Ennis (Sean Patrick Flanery), Rosheen, the Rodeo queen, and Trish, a powerhouse female bull rider. Together the group must fight to survive the night from relentless bloodthirsty cowboys on the hunt for human livestock.

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The Walking Dead Ratings Drop to Six-Year Low

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Well, this isn’t good.

Turns out that AMC’s hit zombie series “The Walking Dead” has hit a ratings low with the release of it’s newest episode “The Big Scary U”. A rating drop the likes of which the series hasn’t seen since the dog days of season 2.

Personally, season 2 was when I ditched the series and never looked back. I’ve heard a lot over the years that the series improved greatly moving on from the disastrousrious second season, but I’m all good.

I have shows like “Stranger Things” (review), “Mindhunter”(review), and “AHS: Cult” (review) to keep me company.

For full breakdown on the recent rating drop with a bunch of stats involving demographics and whatnot, you can check out Deadline‘s article on the matter.

Everyone else I guess can just keep moving on with their lives.

Do you still watch “The Walking Dead”? Should I give the series another shot? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social media!

The Walking Dead Season 8 is currently airing on AMC.

Season 8 synopsis:

Last season, Rick Grimes and his group of survivors were confronted with their deadliest challenge yet. With the comfort of Alexandria, they let their guard down, only to be reminded how brutal the world they live in can be.

Feeling powerless under Negan’s rules and demands, Rick advocated the group play along. But seeing that Negan couldn’t be reasoned with, Rick began rallying together other communities affected by the Saviors. And with the support of the Hilltop and Kingdom, they finally have enough fire power to contest the Saviors.

This season, Rick brings “All Out War” to Negan and his forces. The Saviors are larger, better-equipped, and ruthless — but Rick and the unified communities are fighting for the promise of a brighter future. The battle lines are drawn as they launch into a kinetic, action-packed offensive.

Up until now, survival has been the focus of Rick and our group, but it’s not enough. They have to fight to take back their freedom so that they can live. So that they can rebuild. As with any battle, there will be losses. Casualties. But with Rick leading the Alexandrian forces, Maggie leading the Hilltop, and King Ezekiel leading the Kingdom — Negan and the Saviors’ grip on this world may finally be coming to an end.

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