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Exclusive Interview with Desiree Akhavan on Creep 2

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In Creep 2 (review) Desiree Akhavan plays Sara, a likable wannabe YouTube sensation who drives to a remote house in the forest to meet and film Aaron (Mark Duplass), a man claiming to be a serial killer. Red flags pop up, but Desiree needs something really cool to get her views up. After agreeing to spend the day with Aaron, Sara realizes that she made a deadly mistake.

We made the right decision in talking to Akhavan, to get the inside scoop on the anticipated Creep 2.

Dread Central: I’ll admit, I haven’t seen your previous films. But I did notice in my research that you act, write, direct, and produce – oftentimes at the same time! What was it like to just act for Patrick Brice, and give up that control?

Desiree Akhavan: It was so hard. Not hard in that Patrick is one of the best human beings I’ve encountered in my life, but it’ really hard to be such a control freak and to be vulnerable. But it was a very positive experience for me. Because I trust these guys [Brice and Duplass] and they did me proud.

DC: In a two-hander like this, chemistry is key. Did you and Mark know each other, or did you have rehearsal time?

DA: Mark and I had met a few times, we liked each other – or at least, I like Mark – and we didn’t have to work at it. From one scrappy indie filmmaker to another, we have that in common and we know what it takes to live this lifestyle. I have a lot of respect for him and I can really relate. So we have a lot of respect for each other, and that’s clear on screen.

DC: Did Patrick and Mark let you have some input as to the things you thought Sara would say and do?

DA: Oh definitely. They were really generous. Having said that, I found that my instincts were off. I’m not from the horror world. If there is any genre I’m not close to [it’s horror]. I make serious kinds of movies, so I’m not surprised that you are not familiar with by oeuvres (laughs). I make small gay films, and topical comedies for the most part, and they’re super indie. I was really out of my depth with a lot of this. I remember the first day we were spit-balling and all of my ideas were just way off! It took me a while of watching them and getting sense of what the formula of this film was, to get into the right frame of mind. They were really helpful and inviting in the process. So the truth is, it’s very much their own creation. It’s not horror, it’s not horror/comedy even, it’s sort of their own weird… it’s found footage but not really… it’s just a weird Patrick and Mark world. And at a certain point I had to do what doesn’t come naturally to me, let someone else lead, and that was a really good experience for me to have.

DC: Did you watch the first Creep movie before acting in the second one?

DA: Yes, I watched Creep. I thought it was really good and really strange. Like good in that how could it be so compelling and weird? These guys are just hanging out/ I love their bromance and I love that they were both just getting to know each other, and developing this male friendship that you can’t quite trust. You couldn’t tell if Aaron was trying to seduce him or murder him, and it kept surprising me. But I thought it was also super strange in way that I couldn’t place in that I had no idea what a sequel to that would look like.

DC: In a world where some of the most popular streaming content includes shows like “Making a Murderer” and “Mindhunter”, to what do you attribute our enduring fascination with serial killers, and how do the Creep movies fit into that?

DA: I think people like character-driven stories. When you’re following a serial killer, you have this one guy in common and you kind of fall in love with him, like the anti-hero. I think it makes sense to want to follow someone like Aaron – the whole point of successful storytelling is like, do you fall in love with those characters? “Friends” isn’t a particularly brilliant show, but everybody wants to keep hanging out with those guys because we have a familiarity with them. And when you have a serial killer, it’s like, ‘I’m on this guy’s side, even though he’s a murderer and I want to speak up but I kinda want him to kill.’ Now I get to go on that ride with someone.

DC: Since you’re not in the horror world, what would you say was the most challenging part of making this film?

DA: I felt really out of my depth with physical stuff. Like when we were running around in the woods, I felt that I was really bad at being convincing. I think you’re used to using your body like that or not – I did not think I was convincing with any of that stuff and so I found that particularly challenging.

DC: But Sara is a vlogger. She’s not supposed to be shape.

DA: Exactly! She doesn’t know how to run for her life!

DC: Since Creep 2 is not actually your typical horror film, how would you sum it up?

DA: I would say that it’s a psychological dick-measuring contest between two sociopaths. A serial killer meets his match in a desperate video artist, and you never know who’s in control. Their power balance is compelling and that’s something about the film that is incredible. The audience really doesn’t know who’s in control even though from the first frame you know that you’re following a serial killer and a girl who’s out of her depth. You still never feel like she’s completely the victim or completely the villain.

Written by Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass with Brice directing, Creep 2 stars Duplass, who reprises his role from the first film, and Desiree Akhavan.

The Orchard will see Creep 2 hitting all digital formats on October 24th.

Synopsis:
CREEP 2 stars Desiree Akhavan as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on, she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.

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Fearsome Facts – Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

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Sir Christopher Lee returned to portray the charismatic count of Transylvania in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) for the first time since taking on the iconic role in 1958’s Horror of Dracula – an eight year absence. 

And while Lee endured a love/hate relationship playing the Carpathian Count over the years, the actor reluctantly tackled the role a total of 10 times for the Silver Screen. Three of those performances came outside of the purview of Hammer Horror, but this list is dedicated to the first Hammer Dracula sequel to feature the return of Christopher Lee in the lead role.

Now, here are 5 Things You May Not Know About Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

5. Dracula: Speechless

Dialogue never played a crucial part in Christopher Lee’s portrayals as Count Dracula, but this film is the epitome of that contentious notion. Lee doesn’t utter a single word during Dracula: Prince of Darkness’ 90 minutes of run time. In interviews over the years, Lee said that he was so unhappy with his lines that he protested and refused to say them during the filming process. “Because I had read the script and refused to say any of the lines,” Lee said in an interview at the University College of Dublin.

However, screenwriter Jimmy Sangster insisted that the original script was written without any dialogue for Dracula. There was even a theory that circulated for a time which postulated that Hammer could not afford Lee’s growing salary, so the studio decided to limit the Count’s screen time. Did this lead to the demise of Dracula’s dialogue? Regardless of whom you want to believe, Dracula is the strong, silent type in Prince of Darkness. 

4. Double Duty for Drac

Hammer Film Productions doubled down, so to speak, on the production and post-production aspects of Dracula: Prince of Darkness. First, the studio filmed the vampire flick back-to-back with another project titled Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966). In doing so, Hammer used many of the same sets, actors – including Francis Matthews and Suzan Farmer – and crew members to shoot both motion pictures.

Second, Dracula: Prince of Darkness was featured in a double billing alongside the film The Plague of the Zombies (1966) when it screened in London. Insert cheesy cliche: “Double your pleasure, double your fun with Doublemint Gum.” 

3. Stunt Double Nearly Drowned

Dracula: Prince of Darkness introduced a new weakness in the wicked baddie, but it nearly cost a stuntman his life. During the film, it was revealed that running water could destroy Dracula. Wait, what? Apparently, leaving the faucets on at night not only prevents frozen pipes, but blood-sucking vampires, too.

All kidding aside, it was during the climactic battle scene in which Christopher Lee’s stunt double almost succumb to the icy waters on set. Stuntman Eddie Powell stepped in as the Count during that pivotal moment, as Dracula slipped into the watery grave, but Powell was trapped under the water himself and almost died.

2. Lee Loathed What Hammer Did to Stoker’s Character

Christopher Lee’s return to Hammer’s Dracula franchise was a stroke of genius on the part of producers, but Lee was more than a little reticent when it came to initially voicing his dislike for playing the iconic role. As mentioned above, a lot of speculation swirled around the lack of dialogue given to Lee in the Prince of Darkness script. And if you don’t count the opening flashback sequence, which revisits the ending of Horror of Dracula (1958), Count Dracula doesn’t appear on screen until the 45-minute mark of the film.

Dracula’s lack of character, and presence, began to affect Lee particularly when it came to signing on to play the character in the three films following Prince of Darkness. Indeed, the lack of meaningful character development led to Lee initially turning down Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) and Scars of Dracula (1970). Lee said in countless interviews that he never got to play the real version of Count Dracula created by Bram Stoker, at least via Hammer Studios. This was a true disappointment to the late actor.

But Hammer guilt Lee into taking on the role over and over again, because the studio claimed to have already sold the aforementioned films to the United States with Lee’s name attached to the projects. Hammer informed Lee that if he didn’t return the company would have to lay off many of their workers. The tactic worked, since Lee was friends with many of the Dracula crew members. Fortunately for fans, Lee kept coming back for blood.

1. Faux Pas

Outside of the character of Dracula only appearing on screen for the last half of the movie, Dracula: Prince of Darkness had even more pressing issues that unfortunately survived all the way to the final cut of the film. One of the most appalling of these occurrences happens during the picture’s climatic confrontation. Watch the skies above Dracula and you will see the trail of a jet-engine plane staining the sky.

Another faux pas occurs in this same sequence when Dracula succumbs to the icy waters. Watch closely as the camera’s long shot clearly reveals the pivots holding the ice up underneath Chris Lee. Finally, watch the dead girl who is being carried during the opening funeral sequence. She is clearly breathing and quite heavily at that.

***

Which Dracula: Prince of Darkness moments did you find the most interesting? Were there any obscure facts you would have enjoyed seeing make our list? Sound off on social media!

 

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Carnivore: Werewolf of London Howls on VOD

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Joining the ranks of The Curse of the Werewolf, An American Werewolf in London, The Company of Wolves, and Dog Soldiers, Carnivore: Werewolf of London is the latest in a long series of fantastic British werewolf movies. Directed by Knights of the Damned’s Simon Wells, the film focuses on a couple trying to save their relationship by taking a vacation in a remote cottage, but rekindling their old flame soon proves to be the least of their worries as they learn that something with lots of fur and lots of teeth is waiting for them in the surrounding woods.

Carnivore: Werewolf of London stars Ben Loyd-Holmes, Atlanta Johnson, Gregory Cox, Molly Ruskin, and Ethan Ruskin, and is available to purchase now on Google Play, Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu, although it doesn’t appear to have received a physical release as of yet.

More information about Carnivore: Werewolf of London is available on the film’s official Facebook account, along with a ton of production photos.

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John Carpenter … NOT DEAD!

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We currently live in a world of false alarms. Within the last several days we’ve suffered everything from warnings of doomsday to Rotten Tomatoes accidentally celebrating the passing(!) and career of the very much still alive John Carpenter.

That’s right, kids; earlier today RT tweeted, “John Carpenter would have been 70 years old today! We celebrate his birthday by looking back at his five favorite films.” The tweet… has since been deleted.

We are here to tell you… John is very much alive! Alive and well, even. Carpenter himself responded on Twitter by alerting the site that “despite how it appears, I’m actually not dead.

This is great news indeed. One of horror’s best and brightest is still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Now then, let’s take this time to celebrate the man’s birthday PROPERLY by talking about our favorite films of his. Speaking personally for myself…

Prince of Darkness is a movie that both unnerves and scares the hell out of me. One of Carpenter’s most thought-provoking works is just as frightening now as it was when we first received that grainy transmission as a dream from the year…

Tell us your favorite Carpenter movie in our comments section below.

…and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN!

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