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Actress Annabeth Gish Discusses Bag of Bones and More

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Actress Annabeth Gish Discusses Bag of Bones and MoreOn Sunday, December 11th, A&E is set to debut director Mick Garris’ latest endeavor, the television mini-series adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel Bag of Bones, which explores the themes of grief and lost love’s enduring bonds, an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire, and a new love haunted by past secrets.

In the story we meet bestselling novelist Mike Noonan (Pierce Brosnan), who is unable to stop grieving after the sudden death of his wife, Jo (Annabeth Gish). A dream inspires him to return to the couple’s lakeside retreat in western Maine, where he becomes involved in a custody battle between the daughter of an attractive young widow and the child’s enormously wealthy grandfather while also deailing with mysterious ghostly visitations, ever-escalating nightmares, and the realization that his late wife still has something to tell him.

Recently Dread Central had the opportunity along with several other journalists to take part in a conference call interview with Gish to talk with the actress regarding her role in “Bag of Bones,” her experiences working on the mini-series, and what keeps the actress coming back to the genre world time and time again. Check out our interview coverage below, and make sure to tune in to “Bag of Bones” when it premieres this Sunday at 9/8 CST with Part Two following the next night, December 12th.

Reporter: (Spoiler Alert) Why were you compelled to take this role, especially since you technically die within the first 10 minutes?

Annabeth Gish: Of course every actress wants to be featured throughout a project in order to fulfill her storyline, but I felt like the character of Jo was so clearly drawn and her essence is throughout the film so in that sense she kind of resonates from beginning to end. I also wanted to say yes for several [other] reasons. I’ve worked with Mick Garris before, and I adore him. It was another Stephen King project which I thought was great, and I really respect Mick’s work immensely.

Reporter: Was there anything physically challenging required when making “Bag Of Bones” that was tough for you?

Gish: Definitely. This project was very physically challenging for me in terms of prosthetics because I had to do a four-hour makeup job to become the zombie/ghost Jo. That for me became very scary. I’m very claustrophobic, and you have to wear all of this gunk all over your body – that was challenging enough right there. But then there was the scene I had to do under the bed that was really challenging. Sure, we’d all hide under the bed when we were children, but I don’t know when I’ve been under the bed recently, and they had to pull me with great velocity from under the bed. It was pretty crazy.

Reporter: Do you find yourself attracted to horror and, more specifically, Stephen King?

Gish: Yes, but not horror for horror’s sake. Between “The X-Files” and my two Stephen King projects, it’s not horror for horror’s sake. It’s not to scare the bejeezus out of everyone; it has to be a story with real drama, real heart, and mystery. And I think that’s what kind of delineates this project because it’s not just about zombies. It’s about three love affairs and solving a mystery. This is about race, it’s about genealogy, and it really spans a lot of things people will be drawn to watch it for.

Reporter: What were your experiences like collaborating with Mick again (Gish and Garris also worked on “Desperation” together in 2006)?

Gish: I really think Mick is an exquisite filmmaker, and I love how his sensibilities are a lot like mine in terms of storytelling. He really has a great skill as a director, and I absolutely trusted him while making this movie. I knew from the beginning it was going to be beautiful and something special; hopefully audiences agree.

Reporter: Is there something that scares you specifically?

Gish: Yes, actually I’m pretty scare-able. It’s probably why I like doing horror because my imagination takes me places. I kind of believe in ghosts; I believe that spirits can exist and wander around. So that definitely scares me. But I feel like the things that really scare me are catastrophic events, like my children, husband, family being harmed – something like that.

Reporter: You mentioned earlier that you didn’t want to choose projects just for the sake of horror – that it was a combination of story, plot, character, and other elements that you need as well. Are there any horror films that off the top of your head you’d consider touchstones of that model?

Gish: Recently I saw Insidious with Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, and it scared the bejeezus out of me. Even though I was scared, I couldn’t turn it off because it was so intriguing. That’s a recent example of a horror story that captivated me the entire time – and again, that was because there were so many human and complex issues going on beyond the horror.

Reporter: As someone who has done both television and film – with storytelling possibilities in film constricting and possibilities in TV expanding – what’s your take on both mediums as an actress?

Gish: I think television is definitely the ‘Wild West’ now. Between the internet and television right now, it feels like it’s all going to break wide open, especially as you see how many film actors are coming to TV – it’s kind of the place to be. However, you can’t replicate the experience of going to the movie theater and getting popcorn and watching the big screen. There’s still that experience that you can’t recreate at home. But it seems like it’s an expansive time for everything these days, and film will have to continue to expand; otherwise, people are going to stop going to movies, and that would be sad.



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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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Desolation Review – The Joy of Being Rescued and All the Surprises That Come With It

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Starring Raymond J. Barry, Brock Kelly, Dominik Garcia-Lorido

Directed by David Moscow


It’s those random, once-in-a-lifetime encounters that only a select few get the chance to experience: when we as regular participants in this wonderful thing known as The Rat Race, stumble across a soul that we’ve only witnessed on the big screen. I’m talking about a celebrity encounter, and while some of the masses will chalk the experience up as nothing more than a passing moment, others hold it to a much larger interior scale…then you REALLY get to know the person, and that’s when things get interesting.

Director David Moscow’s thriller, Desolation follows shy hotel employee Katie (Lorido) and her “fortuitous” brush with Hollywood pretty-boy Jay (Kelly) during one of his stops – the two hit it off, and together they begin a sort of whirlwind-romance that takes her away from her job and drops her in the heart of Los Angeles at the apartment building he resides in. You can clearly see that she has been a woman who’s suffered some emotional trauma in her past, and this golden boy just happens to gallop in on his steed and sweep her off of her feet, essentially rescuing her from a life of mundane activity. She gets the full-blown treatment: a revamped wardrobe, plenty of lovin’, and generally the life she’s wanted for some time.

Things return to a bit of normalcy when Jay has to return to work, leaving Katie to spread out at his place, but something clearly isn’t kosher with this joint. With its odd inhabitants (a very creepy priest played by Raymond J. Barry), even more bizarre occurrences, and when one scared young woman cannot even rely on the protection from the local police, it all adds up to a series of red flags that would have even the strongest of psyches crying for their mothers. What Moscow does with this movie is give it just enough swerves so that it keeps your skull churning, but doesn’t overdo its potential to conclusively surprise you, and that’s what makes the film an entertaining watch.

While Lorido more than holds her ground with her portrayal of a woman who has been hurt in the past, and is attempting to place her faith in a new relationship, it’s Barry that comes out on top here. His performance as Father Bill is the kind of stuff that wouldn’t exactly chill you to the bone, but he’s definitely not a man of the cloth that you’d want to be stuck behind closed doors with – generally unsettling. As I mentioned earlier, the plot twists are well-placed, and keep things fresh just when you think you’ve got your junior private investigator badge all shined up. Desolation is well-worth a look, and really has kicked off 2018 in a promising fashion – let’s see what the other 11 months will feed us beasts.

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Summary

Got your eye on that shining movie star or starlet? Better make sure it’s what you really want in life – you know what they say about curiosity.

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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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