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Tribeca 2011: Dick Maas Talks Saint (Sint)

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Saint or Sint, the new action/horror hybrid slasher flick from Dutch director Dick Maas, had its North American premiere earlier this week at the Tribeca Film Fest.

Re-imagining the character of St. Nicholas as a bloodthirsty, child-killing, undead Bishop might seem controversial, but the makers of Saint take pride in transforming the Coca-Cola, cookie-cutter, Haddon Sundblom-esque depiction of Santa Claus we know and love into the next great slasher icon.

Later this year (around Christmas we’re guessing), genre fans here in the States will have a reason to go to the movies after October 31st when Saint starts making its way across the country thanks to IFC Midnight’s distribution deal.

Dread Central caught up with the director during Tribeca to find out why he hates Santa Claus so much.


DC: What made you want to take the benign Dutch legend of St. Nicholas and turn it into something sinister? Were you frightened by the idea of him as a child?

Tribeca 2011: Dick Maas Talks Saint (Sint)Dick Maas: The St. Nicholas celebration on the 5th of December is the most popular cultural event of the year. The guy is even more popular than our queen. The idea of turning this iconic figure, this epitome of goodness, into an evil killer came to me some ten years ago. It was not that I was frightened by him when I was younger, but a lot of parents use him to scare their children into obedience. According to the myth, children who don’t behave are spanked and even put in sacks and shipped of to Spain. On the other hand, he throws presents through the chimney every year, so that compensates for the bad side of St. Nick. I thought it would be fun to play around with all the properties of the story. I didn’t want to make a spoof or parody of the myth, but I wanted to approach it in a serious way. I also wanted to give an epic feel to the movie.

DC: With Rare Exports and now Saint, St. Nick has not been portrayed in a very good light as of late. Why do people from Finland and the Netherlands hate Santa Claus so much all of a sudden?

DM: I’m not sure what triggered this. It’s not part of a bigger plan to assassinate Santa or something. The script for SAINT was finished 5 years ago and I wasn’t aware of the movie of my Finnish colleagues until I was shooting. Some things are suddenly in the air and this time it’s the war on guys in red suits who are throwing presents down chimneys.

DC: Were you surprised by the protests from religious groups and their attempts to ban the film from theaters? Was it something you were expecting?

DM: I always expected some flack from parents who would be offended by the movie, but not to this extent. Even before we started filming, St. Nicholas societies in Holland and Belgium were opposing the movie. The protests really took off when we made the poster for the movie. A fellow director of mine was leading the pack of protesters and took it to court. They wanted to ban the poster from the street and cinemas in Holland. The court ruled in our favor and judged there was nothing wrong with the poster and we didn’t cross the boundaries of good behavior. Because of all the uproar, the awareness of the movie was very good, which of course helped the box office.

DC: Much like Jeepers Creepers, who returns every 23 years to terrorize those that get in his path, will Saint continue to come back every full moon that falls on December 5th? Are sequels something you’d be interested in?

DM: A sequel is definitely a possibility. We have worked already on some story lines. It’s not high on my priority list at the moment, but depending on how the movie will be received outside the Netherlands, we will decide on it.

DC: Given such a large cast and filming an action movie that spans the ages, has Saint been the most difficult film for you to make thus far in your career?

DM: It was difficult in many respects. Shooting with animals, on the water, on the rooftops, at far-below-zero temperature, were all big challenges. The sequence in which St. Nicholas is galloping his horse over the rooftops of Amsterdam was by far the most difficult to accomplish. Shooting galloping horses against a green screen hadn’t been done before, as far as I know, so we had to figure out ourselves how to accomplish that. We ended up with a horse on a treadmill and a building ten feet high, 150 feet long scaffolding, on which the horse could run at full speed and provided us with the camera angles we needed. Combined with the plates we shot on the rooftops of Amsterdam it turned out really great and made for an exciting sequence in the movie.


Sint – English Subtitled Trailer
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DC: Were you looking to invent a new slasher icon with Saint, or do you see this film as a standalone that simply plays homage to killers like Michael Myers?

DM: It would great to see SAINT end up as a new slasher icon, maybe even turn him around and let him clean the streets of New York from the bad guys. I mean a guy, with a mean face, dressed up the way he does, armed with a menacing razor blade sharp staff, can really rock the boat.

DC: Would you rather Saint not be associated or piled into the slasher genre?

DM: The guy is slashing people, no doubt about it, but the movie plays for much more. I wouldn’t call it a slasher movie.

DC: Should people be expecting more of an action film than a horror movie with Saint?

DM: People who are expecting lots of gore and graphic violence, will be disappointed. I like to call this movie a horror movie for the whole family. Of course there are decapitations, severed limbs and exploding heads, but there is also a lot of fun and tongue-in-cheek action. I was going more for action and suspense than for violence and gore.

DC: Do you want audiences to be rooting for Saint and his men to take their revenge?

DM: No. You should root for the good guys. Only root for St. Nick if you think it’s a good thing to chop of the heads of innocent people.

DC: Was it difficult trying to come up with new and clever ways for Saint to use his blade?

DM: Difficult but satisfying 🙂 The staff of SAINT is very suitable to decapitate people. It also can be used as a spear. Shooting bullets is not possible at this moment, but we are working on that. The first experiments with poisonous arrows were very promising.

DC: The “Black Petes”, Saint‘s helpers in the film, aid him in the killing. Were you concerned at all about creating a racial stereotype with these characters?

DM: In Holland the Black Pete’s are fully accepted as a integral part of the legend. There has been some controversy in the past about portraying them as racial stereotypes. In my movie the Black Pete’s are burned (white) pirates. So I don’t see any problems with that.

DC: What’s your favorite scene in the movie?

DM: I like the roofchase sequence. And also the sequence in which the Black Pete’s are attacking the guys in the Porsche Cayenne.

DC: How has the film been received at Tribeca?

DM: The film has been received very well. Word of mouth was good and every screening had more visitors. Most of the reviews were good. IFC picked up the American rights, so the movie will be released in the USA. So, I can’t complain.

Can you tell us anything about your next feature Quiz?

DM: QUIZ is a thriller about a famous game show host who has a dinner appointment with his wife and daughter in a restaurant. They don’t show up. After some time a strange man presents himself at his table and he claims to have kidnapped the wife and daughter. He shows a photo on which we see his wife and daughter tied up. The game show host has to answer ten questions correctly within one hour if he wants to see his family back alive. So the man turns the tables around and plays the part of the game show host and the game show host is becoming the contestant. That is the start of an evening full of surprises, twists and turns. We are currently casting and are aiming to start shooting in July/August. The Dutch release is scheduled in the beginning of 2012.

Tribeca 2011: Dick Maas Talks Saint (Sint)

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Class of 1999 Graduates to Blu-Ray in 2018

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Coming to blu-ray in early 2018 will be Class of 1999, which was originally released in 1990 and designed to be an unofficial sci-fi sequel to 1982’s Class of 1984, which itself received a special edition blu-ray in 2015. Confused yet?

In 1982, writer-director Mark L. Lester made Class of 1984, a slightly futuristic action thriller about teachers contending with teenage gangs in an inner-city high school. Lester would go on to grace us with Commando and Firestarter before returning to the premise in 1990 to give us the very futuristic Class of 1999. This time the action takes place near the turn of the millennium when gang violence overruns inner-city high schools to the point that the government steps in and replaces the teachers with reprogrammed military-grade battle androids. The super soldier cyborg faculty revert to their militaristic ways, naturally, and rack up quite a body count as they declare war on the student body leading to teenage gangs putting aside their difference to lead an anti-robot uprising in the halls of the school.

The time is the future, and youth gang violence is so high that the areas around some schools have become “free fire zones” into which not even the police will venture. When Miles Langford (Malcolm McDowell), the principal of Kennedy High School, decides to take his school back from the gangs, robotics specialist Dr. Robert Forrest (Stacy Keach) provides “tactical education units.” These human-like androids have been programmed to teach and are supplied with weapons to handle discipline problems. These kids will get a lesson in staying alive!

Boasting a screenplay by Full Moon stalwart C. Courtney Joyner and a cast including the likes of Stacy Keach, Pam Grier, Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Kilpatrick, and Traci Lind; Class of 1999 and its unique Stand and Deliver meets The Warriors meets The Terminator premise has garnered a loyal cult following over the years. We won’t mention the sequel. Forget I even brought it up. Sequel? What sequel?

Lionsgate Home Entertainment has announced Class of 1999 will be the next title getting a blu-ray release as part of their Vestron Collector’s Series in the first semester of 2018 with a fully loaded edition guaranteed to please fans and those that have yet to be educated on this enjoyable early Ninties b-movie extravaganza.

Disc extras will include:

Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Mark L. Lester
Interviews with Director/Producer Mark L. Lester and Co-Producer Eugene Mazzola
Interview with Screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner
Interviews with Special Effects Creators Eric Allard and Rick Stratton
Interview with Director of Photography Mark Irwin
Trailer & TV Spot
Still Gallery
Video Promo
Optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles for the main feature

Class of 1999 graduates to blu-ray on January 30th.

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Buy Stuff From Eibon Press, Get More Stuff For Free

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Eibon Press have announced that they’re starting Black Friday a day early and will be running their specials for almost a week, through November 28th. This year, they’re doing something a little different, a little more interesting. Rather than reduce prices on their inventory, they’re doing a deal where depending on how much you buy from their store, you’ll get a certain amount of free swag in addition to your order.

The first tier sees anyone who makes a purchase getting two double-sided mini-posters featuring art from their upcoming Bottomfeeder and Maniac and The New York Ripper series. The second tier sees anyone who spends at least $30 getting a free copy of their VHS Comics titles Laserblast plus the mini-posters. The final tier is for those who spend $50 and more and that will net the mini-posters, the #1 issue of Laserblast, and a free copy of Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell #2.

Lastly, five random people will receive an extra bonus gift, which they won’t reveal but promise that, “…you’ll love it!

All order cans be placed via Eibon Press.

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KISS Meets Army of Darkness in New Comic Miniseries!

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Dynamite Entertainment just announced that they are planning to bring two of their bestselling brands together in “KISS/Army of Darkness #1”. The new comic book series will unite the rock band with none other than Ash for some Deadite ass kicking.

The series will be written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims and illustrated by Ruairi Coleman. And the debut issue of “KISS/Army of Darkness” features three art covers from Kyle Strahm, Goni Montes, and Ken Haeser.

You can find all three covers below along with quotes from the creative team. After looking through all of that make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are about this new hybrid comic series in the comments below or on social media!

With Ash vs. The Army of Darkness, Chris and I were given kind of carte blanche to do whatever we wanted to the world of AOD, and we went for broke,” Co-writer Chad Bowers says. “We introduced some new characters and concepts, and built a legacy for Ash’s comics adventures that I’m immensely proud of, but not in a million years could I have guessed we’d get to continue that momentum with the added bonus of tossing the world’s greatest rock n’ roll band into the mix! I’ve been in the tank for KISS since I was in middle school. I remember buying the KISS tribute album, KISS My Ass for the Lemonheads (they covered Plaster Caster), which lead to me picking up Greatest Hits, and so on. But when I found out there was a KISS comic with blood in it, I signed up for life! Of course, I adore the songs (literally listening to Do You Love Me right now), but I’m just as obsessed with the way KISS transcends the music to become something of a genre themselves. It’s something I think about a lot, honestly, so no surprise, it’s a big part of our story too!”

“When it comes to Army of Darkness, I guess you could say that Ash is a bit of a gambler, but he’s nobody’s fool,” Co-writer Chris Sims says. “And since our first story was set back at Alan Shepard High, we’re looking forward to showing him some things that you can’t learn in school. Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the deep-cut lyrics now, but for real — if you thought Deadites at Homecoming and the Supernatural Military-Adjacent Response Team were taking Ash in a new direction, just wait until you see how we team him up with the Starchild, Space Ace, the Demon, and the Catman. In the grand tradition of the film, we’re tearing up the entire space-time continuum and if you think you know how weird this is gonna get… well, you sure know somethin’!”

“Having done some work for Dynamite in the past, I’ve really been wanting to get my foot in the door here for a long time so I can play in the sandbox of the amazing licenses they have,” Artist Ruairi Coleman says. “Chief among those, and high up on my bucket list, is Army of Darkness: Hail to the king, baby! So, when I was offered the job of drawing the KISS/Army of Darkness crossover, I couldn’t believe my luck! The concept is totally bonkers, but in a way, that would make complete sense in the world of Army of Darkness. Thinking about it, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already and I’m honored (and more than a little intimidated) to be the guy who draws it.”

“After a more than 40-year career, KISS continues to be one of rock’s most celebrated bands, while Army of Darkness continues to be a staple in the comic book industry. We’re both honored to have the opportunity to work so closely with Gene and Paul to bring their world-renowned alter-egos to comics alongside our very own Ashy Slashy,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “The raging guitar chords and pyrotechnic spectacle of their stage shows could have come straight from the pages of the Necronomicon, and this epic battle between The Demon and Deadites will appeal to the hellions in all of us!”

Issue #1 will be available on digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, Madefire, and Dark Horse Digital.

The KISS/Army of Darkness miniseries event hits February 2018.

Synopsis:

KISS is on top of the world and rocking faces until the night disciples of The Destroyer show up and the band disappears. With the tour canceled, a young Ash misses one of the most important events of his life that will change his destiny. Now the Chosen One has to get back on the right path and join the KISS ARMY OF DARKNESS!

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