Exclusive Set Report and Photo Gallery from H.M. Coakley's Hollaback - Dread Central
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Exclusive Set Report and Photo Gallery from H.M. Coakley’s Hollaback

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Stepping onto the set of writer/director H.M. Coakley’s horror whodunit Hollaback last year on December 18th, the first few things that became readily apparent were the blood trail which serpentined across the wood flooring of the 130-year-old Los Angeles Antebellum mansion (doubling for the deep South) and the flick’s ‘token white chick,’ who came in the form of actress Allison Kyler. The third was the abundance of enthusiasm for the production which was mirrored by cast and crew alike.

Arriving to set on day eleven of fifteen and greeted by Hollaback associate producer and casting director Venk Modur, we conducted the majority of our hushed interviews against the aural backdrop of screams and whimpering as writer and director Coakley led his cast through the film’s scripted carnage.

It is a sequel,” said Modur of Hollaback, which serves as a follow-up to filmmaker Coakley’s 2006 feature Holla (review here), which the latter produced alongside his wife, Camille Irons Coakley. Distributed by Lionsgate, Holla stars Shelli Boone as “Monica St. John,” an actress who, after being forced to institutionalize her homicidal twin sister, “Veronica”, finds her friends dropping off like flies during their vacation to a ski resort. Described as an urban mash-up of Scream and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, the film went on to secure high October ratings on BET and continues to scare them up there each Halloween season.

Set in Florida, Hollaback picks up six years after the events in Holla. Monica (played in the sequel by The House Bunny actress Kiely Williams) has gone through numerous surgical procedures in order to hide her true identity given her lingering paranoia over the murders perpetrated by her deceased, psychotic sibling. Now a vocalist for the band Rhapsody and engaged to “Robbie” (actor Trae Ireland), she and a new group of friends decide to stage her wedding at a sprawling plantation outside of Miami. When they arrive, however, all bets are off, and as the body count begins to mount, so do the questions. Has Veronica come back to finish the job?

It does have some of the elements and ideas from the original film,” explained Modur of Hollaback, “but we’ve added elements that will gear this towards a mass audience, and that’s what we’d like to have – a cult following like The Evil Dead and things like that because the script is really funny. The way people die in it is also funny, with less clothes than they started with, which is always a good thing.

Executive produced by Lanre Idewu (who also appears) and produced by Camille Irons Coakley, Hollaback’s remaining and ethnically diverse cast is comprised of Vanessa Bell Calloway (Cheaper By the Dozen), Akeem Smith (“Teen Wolf”), Laila Odom, Gregory Michael Cipes (“True Blood”), prolific voice actress Masasa Moyo, Crystal Hoang (Blood Effects), Randy Clark (The Vortex), newcomers Perry L. Brown, Jose Antonio, Cyann Ribeiro and David Heard, Brazilian model Gabriela Dias, the returning Shelli Boone and the previously mentioned Allison Kyler of Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 fame, among others.

Of the cast, “I think they are amazing,” Modur stated of the ensemble from the roof of the location (we’d retreated there in an attempt to capture clear audio, given the shooting frenzy within). “They all have a great spirit about them and are all really excited about the project,” he continued. “In the casting process it was important to me that they all had great personalities and also what they could bring to their roles. I wanted them to help in breaking the film away from just being an ‘urban horror’ film. I mean, we had the script and the lines, but what could they bring to their roles in order to bring them to another place and to make it mainstream? So as I became involved as a co-producer and with me being a horror fanatic, whether its ‘funny/scary’ or just being ‘scary/scary’, with this I really think it’s slated to be a fun, campy horror film a la Friday the 13th . We want it to have those classic elements of a horror film but with a diverse cast. Movies like Candyman or The People Under the Stairs, they had a diverse cast, too, but also reached a broad audience, and that’s how I’d like this film to be.

Concerning the sex and gore quotient as scripted in Hollaback, “We wanted to amp them up,” offered Modur, conceding that Holla was a bit tame. “We are keeping the gore to a minimum, although I’d love to add a little bit more, but we kicked up the sexy parts 100% because we had none in the first one.

As for FX artist Kenneth Nolls, who’s providing the production’s purported minimal splatter, “This guy literally came to me and laid out how he would do every gag to the detail, but the thing that sold me on him is that this is the first horror movie I’ve ever worked on in any aspect, and I was like, ‘How do you know when someone dies what it’s supposed to look like?’ And Kenneth said, ‘Well, because I go to the coroner’s office and I hang out there.’ And I was like, ‘You are so kick-ass, you are hired!’ And he really knows what he’s doing.

That’s where I do all of my research!” said Nolls, who was at the time prepping for gags involving an arrow in the head and a cranial beat-down involving a rock. “It makes it so much easier when you see what the injuries actually look like in real life in order to be able to translate them onto film. I’m going as realistic as possible, and I know our director is not too much into gore, but I’ve been given the green light to make it somewhat gory. If Venk had his way, I’d have intestines hanging out of everyone. Later on we do have a scene where a girl gets shot in the head, though, and that’s going to look very realistic.

Stepping onto the roof, actress Kyler (who in the last year or so has amassed quite a few feature genre roles, from Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 to the upcoming Hallow Pointe, Manson Rising and more) arrived blood-spattered from a previous take and stated of her place in Hollaback, “It’s an ensemble cast. The whole premise is that they are going away for their wedding, and I am the wedding planner who is coordinating all of the events and booking the space and making everyone happy… well, except for all of the killings.

Affecting spot-on the lilt of a Southern belle, “I also get to have an accent in this film, did I tell you that?” Kyler added.

Allison came into the audition, and she stood out the most,” stated producer Camille Coakley of the actress’ casting. “She has such effervescence to her. It’s that sweetness that could turn really shitty later. I mean, she’s an interesting story. She does back-up singing and dancing for Motley Crue so she’s an interesting story, and that interesting story comes off in her vibe, and she’s got great vibes.

As children of the crew ran about upstairs waging pitched battles with Transformers figures and below a pack of feral cats ducked in and out of the bowels of the building, I caught up with director Coakley for a pause in his orchestration of this sea of activity, who stated of directing Hollaback, “It’s been challenging. You know, it’s the usual deal. Not enough money, not enough time and not enough experience, but we are getting through it. The cast and crew have been great, and I feel really blessed to have them. They are all working really hard, and we’ve really gelled. It really is a big cast so that’s saying a lot.

We did up the sex in this one,” Coakley, who was shooting Hollaback on 5D, mirrored of producer Modur’s statement. “The bloggers just killed me for that on Holla and just nailed me because there was basically no nudity at all in the first one, and they ripped me on the gore and the red herrings and suspense. So this time there’s mad herrings and quite a bit of nudity. I’m not a big gore guy, though. I’m more ‘old school’. Just enough to sell it instead of tons of blood gushing out of guts, even though that’s what Venk would like. But it is more ‘old school’. I’ve been building the suspense and the scares, and then you see the aftermath. I like to build that level of suspense into a scene because I think that initial scare is what gets people more than the gore. The gore is kind of like the candy after a meal. I think the meal is more lasting.

For more be sure to visit Hollaback on Facebook.

H.M. Coakley's Hollaback

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Check Out the Opening 2 Minutes of Another WolfCop

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It was just earlier today that we brought you guys The Dude Design’s the newest poster for writer-director Lowell Dean’s horror-comedy sequel Another WolfCop.

And now we have the movie’s opening 2 minutes!

The clip showcases the new flick’s villain trying to sell us on his “Chicken Milk Beer” before losing his cool and taking it out the commercial’s crew. We then cut to a ragtag group of criminals, dressed as homeless Santas trying to outrun the cops.

A fun two-minutes if you ask me!

You can check out Another WolfCop‘s opening scene below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on social media!

The film is written and directed by Lowell Dean, produced by Bernie Hernando, Deborah Marks, and Hugh Patterson, and distributed worldwide by Cineplex.

Another WolfCop co-stars Amy Matysio, Jonathan Cherry, and Serena Miller. The film also features special appearances from Canadian music icon Gowan and legendary filmmaker Kevin Smith. It was executive produced by Sean Buckley, J. Joly, Bill Marks, Brian Wideen, Michael Kennedy, and Michael Hirsch.

The film is slated for a wide Cineplex theatrical release on Friday, December 8, 2017, with the film seeing a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital home entertainment release through A71 and Black Fawn in 2018.

Synopsis:

A month has passed since the eclipse transformed hard-drinking Officer Lou Garou into the crime-fighting hellion WolfCop. Although the Shape Shifters controlling the town have been extinguished, Woodhaven is far from returning to normal. Lou’s liquor-fueled antics and full moon outbursts are seriously testing his relationship with Officer Tina Walsh – the new Chief of Police. An old friend has mysteriously reappeared with a truly bizarre secret to share, and a homicidal new villain has emerged from the shadows looking to finish what the Shape Shifters started. To defeat this lethal adversary, it will take more than a lone wolf packing a pistol.

Prepare for the next chapter of WolfCop that will be more dirty and hairy than the original! Consider yourself warned.

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Reviews

AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

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Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


** NO SPOILERS **

It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

Spoiler free.

To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

But let’s backtrack a bit here.

Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

Bring on season 12.

  • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
3.5

Summary

The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

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User Rating 4 (3 votes)
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The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

Directed by Nicholas Woods


The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

  • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
  • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
  • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
  • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
  • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
  • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
  • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
  • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
  • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
  • The Axiom
4.0

Summary

In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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User Rating 3.9 (10 votes)
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