Exclusive: Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer Talk Drive Angry - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer Talk Drive Angry

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If you happened to miss Drive Angry 3D when it hit theaters this past February, now you’ll have an opportunity to right that wrong as the explosive flick is finally hitting DVD and Blu-ray shelves on Tuesday, May 31st.

In anticipation of its home release, Dread Central recently caught up with the two masterminds behind all of Drive Angry 3D’s mayhem – writer Todd Farmer as well as director and co-writer Patrick Lussier – to talk about assembling one of the most entertaining but eclectic casts in recent memory, the state of 3D filmmaking and whether or not they have plans for a Drive Angry sequel.

Farmer, who also previously collaborated with Lussier on the 2009 remake My Bloody Valentine 3D, discussed where the inspiration behind stemmed from and how the story evolved from the beginning. “The basic idea we had when we first started writing Drive Angry was a guy who escaped from prison on a mission. Then we started to toy with the idea that he could escape from hell, which is another kind of prison, even though we never come out and say it in the movie. As we started putting the pieces together, though, we knew we wanted to take the idea just a step further than just Milton escaping from an ordinary prison, and I think that him coming from another realm really worked in Drive Angry.”

Lussier went on to discuss the supernatural elements of Drive Angry (Blu-ray / DVD review here) and how Farmer fleshed out the story so that fans would be getting more than just insane action sequences.

“We knew we wanted to incorporate the car movies from the 70s we have always loved in Drive Angry 3D, but we wanted there to be something more going on, too, so that’s why there’s this supernatural element that can’t be explained by conventional means in the movie as well,” explained Lussier. “Todd and I also recognized that the characters all have an extreme nature to them so we had to make sure we balanced that out well so even though they were all motivated by villainous motives, you still wanted to root for them too.”

“Even though Drive Angry is very much about the action, we still had to have an emotional core at the center of the movie, and that was what Todd really excelled at bringing into the mix. Instead of Hell just being a ‘fire and brimstone’ kind of place, we wanted it to be an emotional experience too. So instead it just being a guy with horns, it’s more about you having to watch everyone you ever loved or cared about going through horrible things that you can’t do anything about. That was the true torment for Milton and that’s why he had to break out,” Lussier added.

Love it or hate it, the one thing everyone can agree on is that Drive Angry 3D was by far the most balls-out widely released film of 2011. Farmer explained that even though the story in the film definitely goes way past the line, the studio behind his and Lussier’s vision never asked the pair to tone down any of the extreme violence in the film. Farmer said, “We weren’t really given any restrictions on the story or what we wanted to do with Drive Angry. We told Millennium Films what we wanted to do, and they said, ‘Go ahead and just don’t go over budget’ so we really got to make the movie we would want to see as fans of genre movies. It’s definitely not a movie for everyone, but I’m okay with that.”

When it came time to start assembling the cast of Drive Angry 3D in late 2009, Lussier explained how producer Michael De Luca was pivotal in securing Nicolas Cage in the lead role of Milton.

“When Todd and I first originally wrote the script, we showed it to Michael De Luca first. He’s worked with Nic before and told us that we had to approach him for this role because it really fit well with the kind of roles he’s passionate about as an actor. And of course both Todd and I were fans of his so we took a chance and sent him the script. He absolutely loved it when he read it and told us it was by far one of the most outrageous things he ever read but he totally dug how outrageous it was. I’ve heard him say he approached the role of Milton as ‘The Terminator Meets Edgar Allan Poe’ and I think that’s very fitting.”

Exclusive Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer Talk Drive Angry

Apparently The Terminator didn’t only hold influence over Cage’s performance in Drive Angry 3D – it also had some influence on Farmer’s approach to writing the role of Piper, the strong but sexy sidekick to Milton throughout the film played by Amber Heard.

“My biggest influence when writing Piper’s character was James Cameron and the strong female roles he’s written over the years in movies like The Terminator or Aliens,” explained Farmer. “I’ve always loved seeing empowered women roles in cinema so I wanted Piper to be that kind of role too. Amber was definitely the key to casting because she had to be able to hold her own against a cast of all very strong men, but her character had to keep the story moving forward too. If she wasn’t able to pull it off, the movie would have sunk. I personally think Amber did an amazing job because she definitely kicked a lot of ass in Drive Angry.”

When it came time to find the right actor for the role of The Accountant, which had to have the right blend of comedic timing with deadpan delivery, Lussier remembered character actor William Fichtner from an audition some ten years ago. “I’ve always been a fan of Fichtner’s. He actually came in and read for me for Dracula 2000 for the role that went to Omar Epps. What’s funny is that when he came in to audition, he actually really wanted to play Dracula, which I think would have been pretty awesome – I mean, Gerard was fantastic in that role, but I always imagine an alternate-reality version of Dracula 2000 with William as Dracula. But in Drive Angry, he just nailed his performance for The Accountant perfectly. It was just how we imagined it when we wrote it, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing that role with the kind of cadence William brought to the table.”

And even if it seemed like all the stars were aligned for Drive Angry 3D to be a successful action flick, anyone who follows box office numbers knows that the movie definitely under-performed. Farmer, who is conscientious that the audacious nature of the movie may have had some influence on moviegoers, discussed how the mishandling of 3D filmmaking by the studios over the last few years is partially responsible for the weak performance by Drive Angry 3D during its theatrical run.

”When Patrick and I first did My Bloody Valentine, there wasn’t a glut of 3D movies like there are these days,” said Farmer. ”In fact, we were the first modern live-action 3D movie, and I still think we did a great job on that movie. We had always written Drive Angry to be made in 3D because we wanted to create something fans had never seen in the 3D format – an insane car movie that offered a lot of the spectacle we love seeing in the 3D format. We were definitely ahead of the curve because after we released MBV, suddenly there was this onslaught of post-converted 3D movies, which I think has ruined the 3D experience for audiences, and I think that’s why a lot of 3D movies are under-performing now.”

”You have to think of movies like rides at an amusement park – you don’t always want to go on roller coasters when you are riding all the different rides so there is no reason for the studios to make everything in 3D. Not every story needs to be told in that format. Plus, I really don’t think that theaters should charge more for 3D presentations because that is also ruining the business. People just don’t want to pay more, and I don’t blame them really,” added Farmer.

Even though both Lussier and Farmer are busy working on various upcoming genre projects including Halloween III and Hellraiser, we asked Farmer if he had given any thought to another Drive Angry movie down the road.

Farmer said, “Milton’s story is definitely not finished, and we definitely do have a sequel for Drive Angry already mapped out. It’s just hard to know if a sequel will ever happen because of how the movie did theatrically. It’s all up to the DVD and Blu-ray release now and what kind of numbers we do, unfortunately. But I know we all had a blast making Drive Angry, and I don’t think any of us would change a thing about what we did with the movie.

Special thanks to both Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier for taking the time to speak with Dread Central.

Exclusive Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer Talk Drive Angry

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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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Jason Lives Director Pitched Follow-Up: Jason Vs Cheech and Chong

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One of my favorite entries in the Friday the 13th series is director ‘s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. The mixture of old-school gothic horror and comedy is always a welcome treat around these parts.

But why wasn’t McLoughlin asked to write and direct the follow-up?

Actually, it turns out he was asked to follow up Jason Lives, McLoughlin recently told Mick Garris on the Post Mortem podcast.

But his pitch – Jason vs Cheech and Chong – didn’t go over so well…

“[Frank Mancuso Jr.] wanted me to do another film after we did Jason,” McLoughlin says. “And I said, ‘What are you thinking? I don’t know what it could be now.’ And he said, ‘Well, what do you think about Freddy (Krueger) and Jason?’ And I go, ‘But Freddy’s at New Line and the guys at Paramount have [Jason].’ And it’s like, ‘Well, we’re going to try and see if we can work something out.’ So, I started thinking about that, going, It doesn’t make sense. I mean he lives in one realm and — you know, I take this stuff very seriously, what realm a monster’s supposed to stay in. And he came back, he goes, ‘Eh, forget it, it’s not going to work anyway.’ And I said, ‘You know what? You guys own Cheech and Chong. What if we do Cheech and Chong-meets-Jason? They’re like camp counselors or something. It’s like, ‘Hey, man, I saw Jason out there.’ ‘No, man, that’s a myth.’ But he said, ‘You know what? No.’”

Too bad. While I don’t know how well a Cheech and Chong/Friday the 13th flick would go, with McLoughlin at the helm, the film would have at least been funny as hell.

Plus we already got these two knuckleheads in Part III.

Are you upset we never got Tom McLoughlin’s Jason vs Cheech and Chong? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

You can buy Friday the 13th: Part VI – Jason Lives on Blu-ray HERE.

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