Journey to a Ferocious Planet with Writer Douglas G. Davis - Dread Central
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Journey to a Ferocious Planet with Writer Douglas G. Davis

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My biggest pet peeve with film critics is a majority of them review horror films through the same glasses with which they review Oscar contenders. They stand films like The Descent and Piranha 3D up against No Country for Old Men and The Social Network and declare them inadequate rather than do the logical thing, which is to compare them against fruit of the same origin (i.e., how does Piranha 3D stack up against other successful horror films?). Well, in the realm of the creature feature genre, Piranha 3D stacks up pretty well.

It’s time we do the same with the Syfy Original Movie. Instead of comparing Sharktopus to Humanoids from the Deep (1980) and Tentacles (1977), how does it compare to Abominable , which premiered on the network? Yeah, Ryan Schifrin didn’t make Abominable as a Syfy Original Movie, but there is no denying it was made on a similar budget using a familiar and overused Syfy trope (a Sasquatch story), which actually made the network an ideal place to premiere the film; and when comparing the two, Abominable kicks Sharktopus‘ ass all over the beach. Not to mention it’s probably the best Sasquatch movie the network has ever aired.

Ferocious Planet SyfySo, after two hundred entries, it’s safe to say the Syfy Original Movie has become a genre unto itself. In that light Ferocious Planet (review here), which airs this Saturday, April 9, 2011, is a solid installment; and I took the opportunity to speak with writer Douglas G. Davis to find out why his film works where so many Syfy entries do not, how a writer approaches these projects knowing the limitations of budget and cast going in, and his assessment on the state of the Syfy film.


Dread Central: The Syfy Channel has been doing these low budget movies for some time now, and the tropes have become very familiar. Ferocious Planet mines territory that’s pretty much been done before in a wide variety of ways — how did you approach this particular piece? How did you feel you could make it different?

Douglas G. Davis: It’s always a challenge. Syfy just aired their 200th original movie so they’ve covered a lot of ground. But I write what I’d like to watch.

On Ferocious Planet, in addition to great action, I added a lot of humor, something that director Billy O’Brien and star Joe Flanigan really nailed. I wanted to deliver a fun adventure.

DC: An unfortunate aspect of Syfy movies is that the acting and effects usually aren’t very good. In this case both were pretty decent. But during the writing phase you don’t know that ahead of time. Do you approach the script any differently knowing the effects and acting usually face challenges?

DD: A lot of the credit goes to director Billy O’Brien and his team for actually pulling everything off. He and the entire production team did a fantastic job. But as the writer I was well aware of the budget and time constraints before I started. When you begin writing a film like this, you know that the entire movie’s budget is going to be less than what they spent on snacks for Inception. So the key is to write with the budget in mind. Let me tell you, it’s hard! But if you deliver a script that’s “production friendly,” you eliminate situations where you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Films run into problems when they over-promise and under-deliver. So I wrote great setpieces that Billy knew he could deliver. We avoided re-writing scenes at the last minute, which often spells disaster.

Journey to a Ferocious Planet with Writer Douglas G. Davis

DC: Is there a sense among the production companies who make these films for Syfy that it’s time to step up their game a bit? That the audience may be getting bored with below average content and seeing the same Hawaii and Bulgaria locations over and over again?

DD: Again, it comes down to money. These films need to be made on a certain budget so producers are forced to go to places that can accommodate this. Fortunately we shot in Ireland, where the locations gave the film a richness that really sets it apart. Syfy loved the idea of filming there. I can’t speak about other production companies, but the producers behind Ferocious Planet really do their best to deliver a top-notch film. They take pride in their movies, and it shows on screen.

As for audiences being bored, Syfy is posting record numbers for their original films. Part of that is because the network really knows their audience. They know what works and what doesn’t.

DC: Seasoned film watchers will recognize some of the story dynamics in Ferocious Planet as being somewhat familiar – one character’s journey in particular. Did you try to pay homage to some of those wonderful science fiction films of the 70s and 80s? Were they influences?

DD: Of course! I’m a lifelong fan. But the script is influenced not only by classic sci-fi like Planet of The Apes but also good old fashioned adventure like Raiders of the Lost Ark. Mix in a little Jurassic Park, and you’ll see that the movies I loved growing up still resonate with me and come through in the writing.

DC: The ending is interesting and, without giving too much away, leaves it open for the possibility of a follow-up. If Ferocious Planet does well ratings-wise. could there be one?

DD: I’d love for this to be a franchise! And I can picture the phrase “Don’t poke the aliens” on t-shirts, bobble heads…you name it. Unfortunately, Syfy usually doesn’t do sequels for their Saturday Night Movies. But I’m ready to go if they say the word.

Journey to a Ferocious Planet with Writer Douglas G. Davis

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TONIGHT! #Brainwaves Episode 78: Legendary Film Composer Harry Manfredini

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The Friday the 13th franchise without the music of Harry Manfredini would be like peanut butter without jelly. McDonalds without the Big Mac. Knetter without Creepy. His music defined a generation of horror fans, and few could have done it better, if at all. Now Manfredini brings his equally as unique voice to Brainwaves Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

Join us this coming Wednesday, February 21st, at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

SUPPORT BRAINWAVES ON PATREON!

Listen to Stitcher

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC using the hashtag #BrainWaves. You can also check us out on our Brainwaves Discord channel!

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at UncleCreepy@dreadcentral.com with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

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Jamie Lee Curtis Says Blumhouse Halloween Will Make Us “Very Happy and VERY Scared”

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Bring. It. On.

It was only last week that we let you guys know that Jamie Lee Curtis had wrapped filming on Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

And today we have another Instagram post from the legendary scream queen where she not only shows us a creepy-ass painting of Michael Myers, but she lets us know that Blumhouse’s Halloween is going to make us all “very happy, and VERY scared.”

Hoo-ray!

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to just go ahead and trust Jamie Lee Curtis on this one. She’s been around the Halloween block more than a few times and I trust her judgment… other than Halloween: Resurrection.

You can check out her post below and then let us know how excited you are for Laurie Strode’s return!

Halloween is directed by David Gordon Green based on a script he wrote with Danny McBride. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode as does Nick Castle as Michael “The Shape” Myers. They are joined by Will Patton, Andi Matichak, and Judy Greer. Halloween creator John Carpenter is on board as executive producer of the film as well as the composer.

The anticipated release date is October 19, 2018.

Synopsis:

Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

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Get a Behind-the-Scenes Peek at Pre-Production for Marcel Walz’s New Film

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The Blood Feast remake directed by Marcel Walz has been generating quite a buzz (read our review here) so we’ve been wondering what’s next for him, and over the weekend Walz provided us with an answer… sort of.

He sent over the following photos for us to share with our readers, some of which also appeared on his social media accounts.  Marcel is in pre-production on a new film that will start shooting in Los Angeles next month.

Right now the title and primary cast members are being kept under wraps, but you can expect an official announcement soon.

In the meantime check out the images, and let the guessing games begin!

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