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Cult of Chucky – Peter Chevako on Puppeteering Chucky

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What a dream job this guy has. Peter Chevako, who worked with Alterian Ghost Factory, Inc., on Cult of Chucky (review), has designed, fabricated and performed animatronic puppets all over the world and is a mo-cap suit performer as well. In addition to working in feature films, TV and commercials Peter has designed specialty items for theme parks and the medical industry.

But his job isn’t easy. It’s exacting work. When we caught up with Chevako in the workshop the other day, he showed us a de-skinned Chucky (think: the metal-skeleton version of The Terminator, but only 3-feet tall) and, with a complex system of cables running from it to mechanical apparatus, he could be several feet away and make Chucky’s pinky flick in the slightest. He says the controls are pretty much 1:1 on pressure and leverage, so in order to make delicate movements the puppeteer uses a feather touch.

When we asked what kind of skills make for a good puppeteer, Chevako says, “It’s being able to channel the character you’re bringing to life. To really feel it, and become it in a sense.” He explains it often takes several people to work a single Chucky (one for the expressions, one for the hands, one for ambulation, etc.) and yet, when the puppeteers gather to watch playback on the monitor during filming, they are as one: grimacing, smiling, gesticulating in unison along with the doll onscreen. They really get into it!

So does Don Mancini, the writer of the original Child’s Play, and the writer-director of the new movie, Cult of Chucky. “He’s so enthusiastic,” Chevako says, “but also so concentrated. When I look at him he’s not just thinking about the scene, but the whole legacy of Chucky in a way. He’s really very focused and just very concentrated.”

In this movie, there’s some humorous bits where the three Chuckys are joking around on how they killed this doctor, and Don would be laughing. A lot of times he would sit next to me because I do the lip synch and I have a monitor and so I’m moving his mouth, and so Don would be looking at the monitor so intensely. It’s just inspiring because it’s his whole soul going into this doll.” Yikes! If that’s the case, keep the cutlery away from Mancini.

Speaking of speaking, we wondered if Brad Dourif, who voices Chucky, is on set, or does he pre-record, record afterward, or what? “We get the sound files [in advance], I load them into a computer and so I actually sit with just the head and program the movements before I get to set,” Peter explains. “Then I record the movement. So that when we get to set, whatever head is going to be on whatever body, we assemble it there but the actual performance of the lips is already recorded.” That’s the ideal scenario, but “With the exception of – especially on the previous movie [Curse of Chucky] – there were a lot of lines that got changed on set, so I would do them live and Brad would have to ADR after. In this one, the whole scene with the three Chuckys, was done that way, so we had to do it [on set]. Don and I recorded it – we did the performance then Brad matched his voice to our movements, which isn’t how it’s usually done.

Chevako says he had a great time making Cult of Chucky, and that he thinks the audience is really going to love seeing all the practical effects – all of Chucky’s expressions are “real” and even when he’s walking it’s the doll with a puppeteer clad in green-screen material walking behind and working the arms and legs. Pretty impressive!

You will have your chance to see Chevako and Alterian’s magic at work when Cult of Chucky premieres on October 3, 2017.

Written and directed by Don Mancini, Cult of Chucky stars Fiona Dourif, Alex Vincent, Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Michael Therriault, and Elisabeth Rosen.

Synopsis:
Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica (Dourif) is wrongly convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new group therapy tool — a “Good Guy” doll — a string of grisly deaths plague the asylum and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all.

Andy (Vincent), Chucky’s now-grown up nemesis from the original Child’s Play, races to Nica’s aid. But to save her he’ll have to get past Tiffany (Tilly), Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.

Special Features:

  • Inside the Insanity of Cult of Chucky — Viewers will discover what it was like to film inside an insane asylum and the challenges production faced on set. They’ll also hear from the cast and filmmakers as they discuss why they were attracted to this story and how the filmmakers’ vision brought this fun-filled horror film together.
  • Good Guy Gone Bad: The Incarnations of Chucky — This featurette offers a peek into Alterian’s workshop, the studio behind Chucky’s puppeteering, to see how the magic is created and focuses on how the look of Chucky has evolved over the years.
  • Feature Commentary with Director and Writer Don Mancini and Head Puppeteer Tony Gardner.

BUY IT NOW!

Cult of Chucky

Cult of Chucky

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can

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It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis


Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
3.5

Summary

Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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