Exclusive Q&A: Producers Thommy Hutson and Michael Perez Dish on More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead - Dread Central
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Exclusive Q&A: Producers Thommy Hutson and Michael Perez Dish on More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead



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In case you haven’t heard, several members of the creative team behind the award-winning Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy and Bio Channel’s Inside Story: Scream have joined forces once again to pay homage to another genre classic, Dan O’Bannon’s The Return of the Living Dead.

Officially released today, More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead (review here) has been called by those involved the definitive exploration of the outrageous splatter classic which has continued to terrify and entertain horror fans for over twenty-five years now. With its delicious mix of blood, guts, sex and one of the most iconic zombies ever, it’s easy to see why O’Bannon’s cult classic’s legacy continues to grow even now.

Directed by Bill Philputt, More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead features for the first time ever interviews from the flick’s entire main cast as well as clips, photographs, storyboards, conceptual art, publicity materials, archival documents and behind-the-scenes footage.

Dread Central recently checked in with executive producer Michael Perez and producer Thommy Hutson to talk all things Return of the Living Dead and hear more from the pair about their experiences collaborating on the brand new retrospective.

Dread Central: Talk a little bit about what made you decide to revisit the Return of the Living Dead series- was there something in particular about that franchise that piqued your interest?

Michael Perez: Well, most of the cast have been a part of my PR Agency (K!SSPROOF Entertainment) for some time now. Starting with Linnea (Quigley) and Beverly (Randolph), eventually leading to everyone else (with the exceptions of Miguel Nunez and Clu Gulager), which has been for about five years, so they had already acquired a good share of my time and life until this.

Working with Thommy on Never Sleep Again and Scream: The Inside Story were situations where I was not only working with one of the best producers, but I began to see a trend happening. A lot of 80’s retrospectives were being done, and since I was so close to the cast, I thought that who else should do it other than me? So I called Beverly (who also serves as executive producer) and told her I had the perfect producer to artistically put this together. She was on board; then I caught up with Thommy and he was all for it, and the rest is history!

Thommy Hutson: The question of “what are you doing next” is always inevitable so after Never Sleep Again there was Inside Story: Scream, and before I had time to wonder what could be next, I was contacted by Beverly Randolph and Michael Perez to gauge my interest in putting together the definitive ROTLD documentary.

The very first thing I did was watch the film again. It was pretty clear pretty quick that there was so much fun to be had in doing a retrospective on this so I called them up and said, “I’m in!” I think the fact that the film is scary, funny, sexy and punk made me want to explore it further than it ever has been. It’s like a scary comic book come to life, and that got my creative juices flowing to tackle it. It’s just a roller-coaster ride of a movie.

DC: Since there have been a lot of great recent horror docs that have been released over the last few years, what was the approach to this documentary in order to keep the format feeling fresh?

Perez: Well, a lot of the horror retrospectives that have come out recently have been about slasher films, and ROTLD is a whole different playground. We had done some brainstorming on how to make this something new and fresh, and with Thommy suggesting the idea of doing the animation, that lent a really great 80’s feel to More Brains. We also wanted to build the sets to give it more of a realistic perspective too.

Hutson: Because the film is juggling so many different things and emotions, it was important that it be creative and fun. I think the hardest part was finding one of the hooks that built a through-line in the show. With Never Sleep Again there was the stop-motion animation which, for me, is so absolutely mind-bogglingly awesome and fun (thank you to the uber-talented Michael Granberry and team) and on Inside Story: Scream there was the Bio Channel narration to bridge everything. I knew there had to be a way to bridge that creativity and story without repeating it so we went with these really fun, stylistic animated vignettes (kudos to writer Gary Smart for his tireless drawing and editor Michael Benni Pierce for bringing them to life). It’s a total throwback to the EC Comics stuff, and it just fits so well with ROTLD and the mood it conveys.

I think it feels fresh and fun for a documentary in this arena, and we wanted to try something new instead of copying something recently done. The other thing was to keep things fast-paced and fun while still being informative. ROTLD is a great ride, and we wanted to make sure the documentary had the feeling of the film: fun, sexy, cool.

DC: How long was the process of getting More Brains! completed, and were there any surprises/hiccups along the way?

Hutson: For me the process from “are you interested” to final delivery was about 10 months. I like to refer to the show as my overdue baby! As for hiccups, there are always hiccups. But, thanks to a team that was on top of things every step of the way, we got through them relatively unscathed! Then again, I feel that the little things that throw you for a loop, even when you’ve been to this kind of rodeo before, keep you on your toes, help keep things fresh and make you think outside the box. As stressful as that can be, it’s exciting at the same time. To borrow a line from James Karen: “It keeps you young.”

DC: Can you tell us some of your favorite interviews from the doc and maybe give us a tease of what’s in store for fans with this latest retrospective?

Hutson: Speaking of James Karen! You will absolutely fall in love with him all over again- he is so funny, so smart and so insightful. All of the interviews were great, and it was so much fun to hear stories that are brand-new. John Philbin is a riot, and Beverly Randolph gives the show such heart. Brian Peck is literally a walking encyclopedia of ROTLD, and I don’t think there is anything he does not know about the film.

All together, they make for a show that really tells the story as it was and how it’s remembered today. And it’s the first time the entire main cast is together talking about the film, which is a treat. They don’t pull any punches or sugarcoat things either.

Perez: I think for me- I thought John Philbin (Chuck) gave an amazing interview; he is so incredibly funny. But one of my favorite things is that nobody held back their feelings on situations that took place on the set of the original film now that everything is pretty much out in the open.

I really think the fans are going to enjoy this film because you get to see what made the original ROTLD film so amazing. It’s the magic between the actors, and this shows they really had chemistry. The documentary is really funny, and I think it had a lot to do with the cast because the energy levels are just off the wall.

DC: What would you say was the most surprising thing you learned along the way while making the documentary?

Michael Perez: Oh my- how about what really happens in mortuaries; you have to watch to learn!

Hutson: That Miguel Nunez could have seriously ever worn the outfit Beverly wore in the film and also (for me) the history of how ROTLD came to be and the struggles it had to actually get made.

DC: Was there anything you wanted to make it into More Brains! but didn’t in the final cut? What kind of bonus features did you cook up for fans?

Hutson: Oh, what could have been. There’s always something more you want, I think. But aside from interviewees who weren’t available, I think we put a lot into the main feature (which is two hours) that tells a complete, interesting, informative and fun tale. As for bonus features, we have deleted stories we had to cut from the main show, a music video by Stacey Q, featurettes on ROTLD 2 and 3, a locations segment and more.

But what was really exciting is that we got to include Dan O’Bannon’s final interview- it’s candid, open and really shows the legacy that he created.

Exclusive Q&A: Producers Thommy Hutson and Michael Perez Dish on More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead

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Exclusive: Director Dennis Bartok and Lead Shauna MacDonald Talk Nails



With writer and director Dennis Bartok’s feature film Nails having bowed Friday on VOD via Dark Sky Films, here’s a bit of our interview with the flick’s filmmaker, Cinelicious Pics Head of Distribution and General Manager of the American Cinematheque Bartok (he wears many hats), as well as the film’s star, Shauna MacDonald (of The Descent series).

Nails revolves around “…track star Dana Milgrom (MacDonald), who, having survived a near-death car accident, finds herself almost completely paralyzed and trapped inside her own body, and while recovering, she becomes convinced that some evil presence exists inside her hospital room and is intent on killing her,” and was executive produced by Joseph Kaufman (Assault on Precinct 13) and produced by Brendan McCarthy (Cherry Tree, The Hallow).

Bartok, who previously wrote and produced the 2006 feature anthology film Trapped Ashes, said of his approach to the narrative of Nails, “It’s very ‘anti-flight.’ Most horror movies are built around the idea that you are running away from something. The Halloween and Friday the 13th movies, there’s a mysterious creature that’s trying to track you down, or conversely you are walking into some horrible haunted house that nobody in their right mind would ever go into, for example, The Woman in Black, which is a really terrifying film. But from the very first moment Daniel Radcliffe’s character goes up to the front of that house, the audience says, ‘Turn around! Get the hell out of there! You are going to die!’ And of course he walks in. So I was really fascinated by a narrative in which the lead character was physically trapped in one space, and actually trapped in her own body. So I thought a lot about narratives like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Sea Inside and Hitchcock’s Rear Window, where the protagonist is physically handicapped and forced to confront that, so both as a writer and as a filmmaker and for Shauna it was a huge challenge, in that how do you make that (type of story) kinetic and compelling, and how do you build suspense when the lead character is trapped in the bed for eighty percent of the story?”

MacDonald said of the script’s appeal, which is a departure in ways from the action-packed The Descent films for which she’s most known, “Oddly, I don’t want to be labeled a horror girl, although the older I get, the cooler I think that sounds. Certainly in the UK they like to fit you in the box of low-budget horror films, and every year after The Descent (films) I get scripts to read, and some of them would say, ‘OK, the lead actress is tied to a stained mattress in her underwear,’ and I would be like, ‘Next!’ and for me, I knew it would be a massive acting challenge to play the lead (as it was written) in Nails, someone who is bed-ridden and paranoid and can’t speak. Her physical journey and her emotional journey is what attracted me to the role.”

“I think it’s important also that she has self-doubt,” MacDonald continues of her role, “and that she thinks she may be having a mental breakdown. No one else is seeing the things she is seeing or experiencing what she is experiencing, so I thought upon that a lot, and also I thought, as a mother of three girls myself, that the character’s connection with her daughter in the script was really heart-wrenching, and I love mother/daughter stories.”

Filmmaker Bartok added, “I thought very much about the bond between a mother and her daughter while writing it, and the sacrifice a parent would make in order to protect their child, and that was one of the main themes from the very beginning. When I set out to make the film I knew that there were two things that I needed to make it work. One was that I needed to make it scary, and to really unnerve people, and to build that suspense and a rising tension throughout, and the second thing was, that I’d really need someone amazing to play the character of Dana, because she’s in nearly every scene of the film, and we experience the story entirely through her perception. And if we hadn’t cast someone with Shauna’s acting gifts, the film would have fallen flat.”

In regards to casting the film’s antagonist, the gaunt, towering and ghostly figure of ‘Nails,’ Bartok states of actor British Richard Foster-King, of which he’d been introduced to via an audition tape for an entirely different movie, “Richard had done these beautiful movements (in that tape), as if he was swimming in the air and elongating his arms, and I think he had even crawled along the floor at one point. And as soon as I saw that tape, I said, ‘That’s it. That’s Eric Nillson. That’s Nails!’ And the producers, because they wanted to keep the budget as low as possible, had wanted to hire local actors out of Dublin, and I would look at those tapes, and they were OK, but I felt we really needed to get Richard. So bit by bit I kept saying, ‘No,’ to these other suggestions, and finally I was able to convince them to bring Richard in from London.”

As for the evolution of the character, which itself possesses some of the nuanced tragedy of Universal’s classic monsters, Bartok stated, “It was really fascinating because we had reached out to several gothic, surreal artists who had been recommended to me by various friends, and asked them to submit concept designs, and the one that we liked the best, and they were all actually excellent, was by a French photographic artist named Nihil, who takes photographs and then manipulates them digitally. So Nihil did an amazingly creepy concept, which provided the blueprint as to how we approached the character’s design. There were several steps in getting it onto the screen, though. Maybe seventy-five percent of it came from Richard’s physicality and his on screen presence, and the rest could only be achieved digitally, and we brought in an incredibly gifted visual effects artist named Eli Dorsey, who had worked on Ted Geoghegan’s film We Are Still Here. And Eli created the milky white eyes, and the dentures which kind of sit outside the palate, and the ghostly pallor. But primarily, I think its Richard’s performance which makes the character, an evil tormenting character who is also tormented, so very haunting.”

Nails also stars Ross Noble, Steve Wall, and Charlotte Bradley. You can watch the film on iTunes.

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Exclusive: studioADI and 20th Century Fox Unveil Stunning Alien 3 and Resurrection Art Collection



Today, Yahoo! Movies have announced that studioADI, who we’ve seen this year in IT and will see next year in The Predator and in 2019 Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products have launched The studioADI Collection, a new initiative that will see the award-winning FX studio create art inspired by Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. The pieces that will come from this collection are not to be confused as collectible figures but should rather be seen as high-quality works of art as each one will be hand-crafted based on original molds and they will then be individually painted. Prices will range from $250 to $4,000 and they will go on sale beginning December 1st through Big Cartel.

StudioADI’s Alec Gillis states, “The studioADI collection is our tribute to the films that have been an important part of our legacy as artists. Each piece of art reflects the same detail and passion we poured into the characters when we created the original Alien films.

Tom Woodruff Jr. adds, “This is the collection designed for fans of these entries into the Alien franchise as well as aficionados of the art of creatures and monsters of iconic pedigree.

The studioADI Collection will include the following seven pieces:
Queen Alien Embryo from Alien³
Newborn Alien Design Maquette Bust from Alien: Resurrection
Newborn Alien Full Body Design Maquette from Alien: Resurrection
Swimming Alien Study Model from Alien: Resurrection
1:1 Alien Warrior Half Head from Alien: Resurrection
1:1 Newborn Alien Head from Alien: Resurrection
1:3 Scale Queen Alien Head from Alien: Resurrection

These are descriptions of two of these items:
“The Newborn” from Alien: Resurrection was the terrifying mix of human and Alien DNA gone wrong. This Full-Scale Bust is cast from hand-laid translucent polyester resin from ADI’s original production molds and is painted to the same exacting specifications by ADI’s painter who painted the character for the original film. The piece measures 30″x20″x40″

“The Queen Alien Embryo” was seen in David Fincher’s Alien³ was nestled next to the beating heart of Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver. Cast in translucent urethane and hand painted by the same ADI artists who created the piece for the film in 1991.
At 7″ x 9″ this piece of art is perfect for desktop display.

Here are images of some of these pieces:

We got our hands on three exclusive images from this collection that add a glorious vision of how detailed and intricate these pieces are going to get.

The first image is of the back of the 1:3 scale Queen Alien Head from Alien: Resurrection. You can see that every square inch of the design is tended to and that no stone is left unturned when it comes to the mold and paint.

The second image shows the Newborn Alien Full Body Design Maquette from Alien: Resurrection from a wide, almost full-front angle. You can really see the spindly, almost delicate structure to its body while also being intimately aware of the grotesque yet hypnotizing physique.

Lastly, the third image is a closeup of the Queen Alien Embryo from Alien³. Here you can see just how detailed the mold is, each wrinkle and crease in the Xenomorph’s body etched finely and with precision.

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Whatever Happened to Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving?



Back in April of 2007, we all sat in our local darkened theater and watched as Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s exploitation double feature Grindhouse (review) blew the roof off the place for 3 hours straight.

Well, it’s ten years later, and I think we are all asking ourselves the same question: Where the hell is Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving?

Like every other human out there, I enjoyed both Tarantino and Rodriguez’s films – along with the fake trailers by Rob Zombie and Edgar Wright – but the big takeaway was Eli Roth’s faux trailer for the greatest 80’s slasher that never was.

So what happened to the feature?

Well, Roth was originally working on the feature back in 2007 after finishing his work helming Hostel: Part II, telling Cinema Blend:

“I’ve been working on the script with my co-writer, Jeff Rendell, who plays the pilgrim in the trailer,” Roth told the site. “And it’s me imitating Jeff’s voice [for the narration]. But Jeff has been working. I said that his deal is he has to work on the script while I’m promoting The Last Exorcism, and as soon as I’m done in mid-September he’s going to fly to California, we’re going to sit down, and bang out the script.”

But then the planned film died out as Grindhouse flopped at the box-office. Following the film’s underperformance, all talks surrounding Edgar Wright and Eli Roth’s Grindhouse double feature spin-off were silenced in a single weekend.

In fact, the last update we received on the possible standalone Thanksgiving film was last year when Roth did a Reddit AMA, and said this about the film’s current development:

“Have a draft not totally happy with. I want to put some more work into it so the film lives up to the trailer. We have the story and mythology cracked so now it’s about getting the kills right.”

Nice. Seemed like the film was making some headway. Nothing to do but gut the T’s and cut the heads off the I’s. But then nothing happened. At all. No updates. No nothing.

With that in mind, we here at Dread Central decided to reach out to Roth personally and see if there were any new happenings in regards to the film. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach him so I guess we’ll all just have to keep wondering and waiting.

Maybe it’s the pressure he no doubt feels making the much loved faux trailer into a feature. After all, he did say this back in 2007: “No matter how many movies I make my whole life, that two-and-a-half minute trailer is what I’ll be remembered for: ‘Eli Roth — he had a guy fucking a turkey with a decapitated head on it.’”

Or maybe the rights to the film were just tied up with the now infamous Weinstein company. But with that company finally going under (thank God) maybe now the rights could be sold off to new producers and finally, we’ll see not only Thanksgiving but features based on Don’t and possibly even Werewolf Women of the S.S.

But I dream…

Until we get the full-length feature flick of Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving, we can always look back on the comments he made to Rolling Stone way back in April of 2007, in which he talked a bit about the Pilgrim’s backstory.

“My friend Jeff… we had the whole movie worked out,” Roth told the magazine. “A kid who’s in love with a turkey and then his father killed it and then he killed his family and went away to a mental institution and came back and took revenge on the town.”

Jesus, please us. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the f*cking perfect setup/backstory for an 80’s slasher throwback flick set on Thanksgiving.

So ten years later, let me be the one to come right out and say it: Please, Eli Roth, make Thanksgiving. Please. Every horror fan in the world would thank you. Forever.


We’ll make sure to update this article in another ten years.

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