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The Belko Experiment Blu-ray – Exclusive Interview with Greg McLean

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The Belko Experiment

In a sick and twisted social exam, a large group of American workers are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia, and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed. The Belko Experiment (review) is a deep-dark, charred-black comedy and is really the perfect combination of screenwriter James Gunn’s and director Greg McLean’s skill sets. Add to that a kick-ass cast including Michael Rooker, Adria Arjona, and John Gallagher, Jr., and you’re in for a helluva good time.

We caught up with McLean to pick his brain about what’s on the upcoming Blu-ray release of The Belko Experiment.

Dread Central: There was quite a lot of talk about the movie amongst genre fans when it came out. Did you follow the conversations?

Greg McLean: I did. It was interesting because when it was coming out, I was reading commentary. You can watch people’s live reactions on Twitter which is hilarious, [and this] is something that is a relatively new thing. As people are watching it you can read Twitter feeds, what people are saying and reacting to it. It was interesting seeing the younger people who saw the film; you could tell a lot of the younger audiences were people who were from, say, sixteen to twenty, [and they] had not seen a film like this before. On the one hand it was really blowing them away with the big idea, ‘wow, what if we’re all part of some game, what if the government really doesn’t care,’ all these basic entry-level conspiracy ideas. And also people hadn’t seen a film with such extreme violence, just unbridled insanity. So the most entertaining thing for me was watching kids going ‘oh my god, what did I just watch? Either that was the biggest piece of shit ever, or that was the greatest movie I’ve ever seen in my life.’ Certain people were so thrilled by the experience, saying, ‘I’ve just seen something I’ve never seen before,’ and that to me was very satisfying.

Belko Greg McLean

DC: What can fans expect to see on the DVD and Blu-ray?

GM: We have a quite extensive behind-the-scenes documentary called Rules of the Game: Secrets Behind The Belko Experiment, and that features interviews with myself, James Gunn, some of the cast and crew. Plus a lot of the material was shot on set, so you’re behind the scenes and seeing the challenges of bringing this movie to life, the performance challenges and that kind of stuff. It’s a really detailed look at behind the scenes of the movie. We also have these incredible Claymation animations, that were done in before the release of the movie, in a kind of comic, ultra-violent Belko kind of fashion. We did a bunch of those ahead of the U.S. release, and so those will be on the DVD as well. And then we have a stills gallery, stills from behind the scenes of the film, and so on.

DC: No commentary?

GM: No. But what we did do was, [add] a bunch of deleted scenes through the film. For one reason or another, those didn’t make the cut; there was one scene shot that was very interesting because the way that Leandra dies in the main version of the film, there was an earlier version of the script whereby she died in a different way, where her head actually blew up. We shot that scene, and it’s kind of interesting because I think it was our very last scene we shot for the movie, an alternative scene, so we shot it, we cut it, and we tried it. It had some fans in the group, but ultimately James and Peter [Safran, producer] and I were on the side of the one we had shot originally was still the right way to go. I believe that will be on the DVD and it’s something fun to compare. And there’s the two endings that could have gone down.

DC: I think The Belko Experiment is just as good, if not better, for home viewing…

GM: Look, I would say today, so many movies people will find on home entertainment or VOD streaming [because it’s a hassle to see them on the big screen]. I’ve seen most movies that way. It’s because everyone’s busy. I’ll go out and see the big movies like, I’ll race out and see Wonder Woman, I’ll go and see The Mummy or one of the big movies that comes out, but I find that I catch most movies on Amazon or different streaming services. So it’s really cool, I love catching movies like that because comfortably in your home environment, you can kind of see things without huge expectations. So I think this is really good, I’m kind of excited to see how the audience responds to these platforms because it is a new environment, and I’m sure it will shock a few people.

DC: How would you respond if you yourself were thrown into The Belko Experiment?

GM: I would probably be like Dany (Melonie Diaz). In reality I’d like to be Mike Milch (Gallagher Jr.) and basically fight for everyone’s freedom. I’d have a little of the Tony Goldwyn character in me, too. I might be kind of saying ‘Ok, here’s what we’re going to do,’ because as the director I’d like to try and take control and say ‘Let’s do this, let’s go over here, this is how we’re going to survive this.’ But in reality, I’d probably be hiding in the nearest elevator shaft and getting shot in the face. That might be my fate.

 

Written and produced by James Gunn (Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy), the film follows a building of non-profit employees who become trapped within its walls and must fight to the death until there is one person left standing amidst the carnage.

Here are the special features included on the Blu-ray/DVD releases:

  • Rules of the Game: The Secrets Behind The Belko Experiment
  • Lee Hardcastle’s Survival Tips
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gallery

Synopsis:
When office workers arrive for work at Belko Industries’ isolated high-rise campus outside Bogotá, Colombia, the morning starts much like any other. Mike Pelk (John Gallagher, Jr.) smokes weed in the bathroom and flirts with his beautiful officemate Leandra (Adria Arjona) while new employee Dany Wilkins (Melonie Diaz) settles in for her first day on the job.

Everything changes when an anonymous voice comes through the intercom speakers ordering employees to kill two of their colleagues within 30 minutes. Many of the 80 employees assume the order is a sick joke, even when steel-plated doors snap shut sealing off all windows and exits. When they fail to comply before the half hour is up, the heads of four randomly chosen office workers explode. Panic reaches a fever pitch when the disembodied voice issues his next command: 30 people must be killed within the next two hours, or 60 people will die.

Belko COO Barry Norris (Tony Goldwyn), a former Special Forces operative, commandeers a vault filled with guns, assembles an ad-hoc death squad, and begins executing elderly and childless employees. In the ensuing melee, ordinary office workers including stoner Marty (Sean Gunn), nerdy Keith (Josh Brener), creepy Wendell (John C. McGinley), and maintenance guy Bud (Michael Rooker) reveal their true colors.

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Terrifier – Dread Central Presents Poster Premiere! Release Date Announced!

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Pardon the pun, and yes, it is kinda cringe-worthy, but with our new venture Dread Central Presents, we are NOT clowning around when it comes to bringing you some of the most compelling indie cinema you’ll find anywhere. Projects other distributors wouldn’t touch because they deemed them as going “too far.” Case in point: Damien Leone’s Terrifier.

One of the first titles to get announced for the new Dread Central Presents label through Epic Pictures was the festival favorite Terrifier. The gory 80’s “slasher” throwback takes place on Halloween night as the demented Art the Clown sets his sights on terrorizing two girls and anyone else that gets in his way!

When will horror fans here in the States get to see Art unleash his mayhem?

We’re thrilled to let you know that Terrifier will arrive in select theaters, COMPLETELY UNCUT, as part of a new monthly screening series called “Dread Central Presents” on Thursday, March 15th, and Friday, March 16th. It will be available on VOD March 27th.

We’re so excited to be working with Epic Pictures and Dread Central Presents to get Art the Clown on the big screen and on VOD,” said writer/director Damien Leone. “It’s encouraging to have the support of people who respect the genre and are dedicated to preserving the filmmaker’s vision. TERRIFER IS COMING!

The Dread Central Presents screenings will kick off on January 25th and 26th with a special double feature of Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight and cult favorite Turbo Kid.We’re really excited to be doing something completely different with the way our theatrical model will work,” says Dread Central Presents Director of Distribution Rob Galluzzo. “We’re focusing on cultivating local horror communities to see our features at indie-friendly theaters before anyone else. And Terrifier is the type of horror film that should be experienced with a crowd on the big screen.

Stay tuned for full details on which theaters near you will be screening all of the Dread Central Presents releases. You can also keep tabs via the official Dread Central Presents Facebook page right here.

And in honor of the date announcement, we’ve got the exclusive new U.S. theatrical one-sheet poster for you below!

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Time for a Road Trip with Three Classic Horror Movies that Visit Roadside Attractions

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Over the river and through the woods, the holiday season is the busiest time to travel. If you’re thinking of pulling over to rest at a cheap roadside attraction or take a break at an out of the way motel, you’ll think again after watching these horror classics.

Look, it’s a creepy roadside museum! Oh, not to worry, the proprietor looks friendly. Say, isn’t that the star of that ‘50s TV show “The Rifleman?” A fine, upstanding guy, for sure. Let’s go in.

David Schmoeller (Puppetmaster) made his directorial debut with Tourist Trap (1979). Although the film is all over the place with plot and theme, that’s nothing new to ’70s B-horror; and Tourist Trap is one of those little slasher gems that bears up to repeat viewings.

Five friends, including the stunning Tanya Roberts (“Charlie’s Angels,” “That ’70s Show”), stop by a roadside museum owned by Chuck Connors (“The Rifleman”) after car trouble. Slausen’s Lost Oasis features lifelike mannequins. Schmoeller films these life-sized dummies in various states of disrepair to build a wonderful creepiness.

Fans generally seem to love this movie, even when shaking their heads at the flaws. Stephen King, in his book Danse Macabre, talks about the movie’s “eerie spooky power.” I, myself, have to laugh at Pino Donaggio’s goofy choice of intro music — it sounds as if we’re in for a farcical comedy, but the film never returns to that mood.

If you like the slasher genre and ’70s B-horror and haven’t seen Tourist Trap, it needs to be on your must-see list.

Unlike Tourist Trap, Motel Hell found its audience as the number one ranked movie for the weekend of October 24-26, 1980.

What’s not to love? Veteran movie and TV actor Rory Calhoun is Vincent Smith, a farmer who, with his sister, Ida, sets traps for victims, buries them to their necks in a secret garden, fattens them up, and then makes them into his famous smoked meats.

“It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters” is the man’s motto. This gives you an idea of what’s coming: Motel Hell is played for laughs.

The movie will make you chuckle, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its unforgettable imagery. The moving sacks in the garden, all lined up in a row, are eerie as hell. Then the sacks are yanked off to show buried humans, vocal cords cut to prevent screaming. You will remember that scene.

Then comes the harvest —

Some of the images are so disturbing they’ve entered popular culture in other works: the pig head mask in Saw, for instance, and the preparation scene for my own “Welcome to Dunwich” in Strange Horror #1, where sacrifices are buried up to their necks, dazed, and waiting for elder gods.

There are depths to Motel Hell. The farmer’s friendly relationship to the clueless community around him and his resolute sense of purpose make his character unique in the horror genre. The love story is so psychologically twisted I won’t even start to explain it here.

The victims are interesting, well-rounded characters, not teenagers in tank tops and short shorts.

An interesting, amusing, and entertaining horror film from director Kevin Connor (The Land that Time Forgot).

A year after The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, director Tobe Hooper was back to depicting rednecks as maniacal killers. This time it’s a single redneck, Judd, portrayed by Neville Brand (“Laredo”) in Eaten Alive (1976), sometimes titled Horror Hotel, Murder on the Bayou, or Starlight Slaughter. Brand’s experience in movies and TV helps here as he gives this one-dimensional character twisted realism.

Judd runs a broken-down hotel, and when people agitate him, he feeds them to a pet crocodile conveniently hanging out just outside his place. It’s not hard to understand why the crock stays there — Judd becomes agitated often.

This film is outlandish fun and utter chaos. Don’t expect the mood of Tourist Trap or the depth of Motel Hell. Myself, I find a movie where the set is obviously a set has its own unworldly charms. Eaten Alive most definitely has that gritty look we all expect from our ’70s B-movies.

Slasher genre movies have to have something special to interest me, whether it’s the creepy directing in Tourist Trap, the fun and startling imagery of Motel Hell, or the over-the-top strangeness of Eaten Alive. Here are three to recommend, so don’t drive by… pull over and enjoy! Your mileage may vary.


Gary Scott Beatty is a writer and illustrator of strange horror stories who shares art, story, video, and progress updates with those on the Aazurn Fan List. If you’re interested, sign up at strangehorror.com.

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Last Toys on the Left

Will Turner’s Custom Horror Dolls Transform Your Favorite Scream Queens Into Display Figures

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Horror fandom isn’t limited to simply watching your favorite films — more than any other genre, we have seen inspired fans take their appreciation for these films to the creative realm, whether by crafting their own masks or paintings — or by going on to become writers, directors, or special effects artists.

Because of the popularity of mask creation, for example… when referring to the artistry that comes with being a fan, few would point to the creation of dolls. In that sense, Will Turner has carved a niche for himself. As the creative force behind Custom Horror Dolls, Turner transforms the likenesses of your favorite heroines into figures you can display, ensuring the design is fairly representative.

Halloween (1978)

In the last fifteen years or so, we have seen an outpouring of merchandise dedicated to the likes of movie villains… but where’s the love for the scream queens? While Freddy and Jason seem obvious choices for the big toy studios, many have lamented on the fact that final girls such as Laurie Strode and Nancy Thompson have never received the official action figure treatment.

Turner notes, “I started making custom dolls a little over a year ago. I had always wanted a Nancy Thompson doll to go with all the Freddy Krueger action figures I had. I found a Barbie doll that I thought would make a good Nancy, and I bought a small sewing kit. I taught myself to sew and I made her iconic pajamas. [So] I finally had a Nancy to go with my Freddy. After posting a pic online, people started messaging me and wanting to buy the doll, so I sold her and made more. Then I decided to make a Laurie Strode doll and pretty soon, I was making a different doll each week and it took off from there.”

Carrie (1976); A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987); The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Turner’s collection consists of the femme fatales from such franchises as Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream, as well as from other films like PsychoBlack Christmas, Carrie, and many more. “I would say the set of dolls I’m most proud of is the Death Becomes Her set. They were complicated to do and I wasn’t sure that I could pull it off, but I think they turned out pretty good.” 

Death Becomes Her (1992)

Turner’s creations aren’t limited to the leading ladies either; he has also crafted dolls based on The Evil Dead‘s Bruce Campbell and Candyman‘s Tony Todd.

But as for Turner’s favorite final girl? “[Scream]’s Sidney Prescott for sure. She’s like a combination of Nancy Thompson and Laurie Strode. She’s a smart and tough final girl.”

Scream (1996)

As a convention vendor across the States, Turner has showcased some of his work to the respective ladies whose likenesses he has drawn from. “I made an Alice doll from Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and I got the opportunity to give it to Lisa Wilcox in person. She loved it. I’ve also made dolls of Toy Newkirk’s character from Nightmare 4, Jill Schoelen from Popcorn, Adrienne King from Friday the 13th, and a few others and had them delivered to the actors; and they were all impressed and honored. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4’s Lisa Wilcox and Will Turner; Popcorn’s Jill Schoelen

“The best reaction was when I gave Amanda Wyss a Tina doll from A Nightmare on Elm Street. She loved it and took it to Robert Englund’s table at the convention. He said it was amazing. I almost fainted.”

Every month Custom Horror Dolls features a giveaway, and starting today, December 12th, Turner will be running a holiday sale lasting though Christmas. With dolls typically priced at $50, Turner’s creations will be going for only $29.99 plus shipping! Considering the craftsmanship, I’d say that’s a pretty good steal. For any character that you don’t see, Turner also does commissions… I may or may not have already picked up my own version of Lindsay Lohan in Machete

SPOILER: I did.

“I’m getting ready to start work on some characters from Halloween III, Pet Sematary, Terror Train, Dawn of the Dead, and The Walking Dead. And I’m working on making a Rocky Horror set to be introduced during the sale.”

If you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift or simply want to keep tabs on Turner’s upcoming creations, be sure to check out the official Custom Horror Dolls website as well as its Facebook page!

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

 

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