Sundance 2012: Red Lights Q&A Transcript - Dread Central
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Sundance 2012: Red Lights Q&A Transcript

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Our verdict is in concerning Buried director Rodrigo Cortes’ new flick Red Lights (review here) which made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and we have a transcript of the question and answer session which followed the screening ready and waiting for you right here.

Cortes: I am going to respond to all of your complaints so…..shoot!

Q: How did you start with this?

A: I studied these paranormal and hoaxes because they both described these kinds of things that collided in a way. Paranormal is the supernatural that can’t all be explained like magic. Hoaxes are human beings in action. So I had to explore the side of the scientist, and I did research for more than a year and a half, including the scientists and the rational skeptics who try to use scientific knowledge to prove certain things. The funny thing is that I found is that both sides behave in a very similar way. No matter what they claim to do, they only accept what they previous believed no matter what. In other words they believe what is more convenient for them.

Q: So with that you started creating characters around that?

A: Yeah you start with that; you try to create something physical and tangible because they are going to be inside a different world, a world they don’t know about and they have to believe they are witnessing something believable. So with the research of course you start to think about characters, so think about the investigators and you think they need a nemesis. I wanted to work to completely different films, cut in half. So there is this debunking, seeing how this sort of paranormal phenomenon cannot exist as a result of misperception or is it simply fake? But then something happens at the end and you have to start to doubt. As an audience member you have to become self aware of the “Red Lights”. And Sigourney, the strongest character in the first half of the film was an orphan in a way and Murphy kind of inherits that in a way in the second half of the film. This is when everything becomes darker and we have to enter his psychology in a way so we start thinking in a much darker way because of his obsession. But you’ve already seen the film, no need for me to describe it.

Q: Did you have a hero in mind?

A: No I didn’t, I mean, you never have a hero in mind because you know you can’t afford him (laughter). On the other hand I have Sigourney in mind. That was kinda risky because I made a dress that perfectly fit her, but I never knew her. Which means I didn’t know if she was going to say yes, but I probably knew I would be in real trouble if she said no..Thank god for my bad English because I probably offered her something that she did not understand (laughter). De Niro is like writing a letter to Santa Claus. I mean you write it because you want an electric train and you know you are going to get socks or something (laughter). But in this case, for some reason he said yes and we got the electric train. In the case of Cillian Murphy he is the only actor in the world that can be both romantic comedy and horror film just with a blink. That is why I picked him, at the beginning of the film he is a kind of a boy scout with a very innocent gate. Later on be becomes this very disturbing and obsessed guy and I think he made an amazing transformation.

Q: Where did you shoot the film?

A: Actually 80% of the film was shot in Barcelona and the other 20% was shot in Toronto, Canada. We had an entirely cultural crew. That is how we shot Buried it was shot entirely in Spain. This makes it easier to have creative control and in this case we had it.

Q: How long did it take to film?

A: It took about 10 weeks in total, 8 weeks in Spain and 2 weeks in Toronto. So we had to shoot real fast. The film cost about $15M, which is about 4 times less than it probably should have cost. So we had to shoot about 42 shots a day. Some days we shot over 60 and one day we even shot 105 shots. I am not sure how we did it and frankly I don’t want to repeat the experience (laughter).

Q: Why did you choose the birds?

A: There is a certain kind of phenomenon that I studied that had to do with that; studies about animals acting in a strange way. Like raining frogs, there is scientific explanations for these things but there are still other that believe this is some other phenomenon.

Q: Do you believe in the supernatural?

A: I am not interested in believing, I am more interested in understanding. I am not against people who believe in whatever…I feel there are a lot of thing that cannot be explained yet. Believing is not a real help to me in trying to understand reality, so I am open to everything and I try to understand. There was a poster in the lab kinda like something from X-Files with a UFO with the claim “I want to believe”, ours says in this instance “I want to understand”.

Q: At the end of the movie the Murphy character is saying “time washes away all things”. Were you leading on that Murphy’s character was old?

A: He would be about 30 I guess, 30-something. He is younger than he actually is. You see that because of the way he dresses, because of the coat he has. These small details like him drinking milk are showing that he is a kind of “child” that has to become a man in a way and he has to accept himself. When he is with this young lady, it’s not that weird…it’s 30 (laughter).

Moderator: We have time for one more question

Q: Where did you get your inspiration for the soundtrack?

A: We stole from a good one (laughter). I worked very closely with the composer. We needed something that could be made to feel familiar with a political thriller from the ‘70s. This gives that sense of conspiracy and a very strong sense of drama. To show these are real characters behaving a certain way. So we had to find a sound that was profound and grave with many low notes. It is hard to describe how you work with these things. We had to find something very organic using orchestral sounds and some modern sounds. So we made a sound that felt like the ‘70s and ‘80s and very contemporary at the same time. Thanks a lot for coming, goodnight. (Applause)

Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Cillian Murphy, Toby Jones, Joely Richardson, Leonardo Sbaraglia, and Elizabeth Olsen all star. Cortes produced with Adrian Guerra, while Cindy Cowan exec produced through her Cindy Cowan Entertainment banner.

Sundance 2012: Red Lights Q&A Transcript

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Night of the Living Dead 4K and The Silence of the Lambs Come to the Criterion Collection

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It’s been a long time coming for these two classics, especially Night of the Living Dead after the ridiculously bad transfer put out by Mill Creek Entertainment, whose transfer was supposedly remastered from a new 2K scan. I swear I thought it was some kind of a joke when I first put it on to watch. In any event…

IndieWire is reporting that horror classics Night of the Living Dead and The Silence of the Lambs will be added to the 2018 Criterion Collection, a hallmark label for home video cinephiles.

According to the site, Criterion will release a new 4K digital restoration of The Silence of the Lambs, which has been approved by the movie’s cinematographer Tak Fujimoto. Included on the DVD and Blu-ray sets are 35 minutes of deleted scenes and audio commentary from 1994 featuring the late Jonathan Demme (director), stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas.

Night of the Living Dead will also be released in 4K with never-before-seen 16mm dailies included as a bonus feature(!).

These will be added in February of 2018 so make sure you save up some cash after the holidays!

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DIS Review – Not for the Faint of Heart!

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Starring Bill Oberst, Jr., Lori Jo Hendrix, Peter Gonzales Falcon

Directed by Adrian Corona


I’ve made this claim many a time on this website before, and in the company of film friends as well: Bill Oberst Jr. is one of those actors that can literally be thrust into ANY role, and deliver a performance with so much harnessed electricity that you couldn’t believe that it was possible. I was the lucky recipient chosen to get a look at his latest project, titled DIS, and I think that I can honestly say – this is the stuff that nightmares are constructed of.

Directed by Adrian Corona, this 60-minute dive into the black depths of hell, and in actuality DIS is located between circles # 6 and 9 in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and trust me when I tell you – there’s not a shred of comedic relief in this demented presentation. Oberst Jr plays an ex-soldier named Ariel, and his seemingly harmless jaunt through the woods will become anything but that, and judging from the film’s opening scenes, you are meant to feel as uncomfortable about this watch as any you might have checked out in recent memory.

Perversion is the norm here, and lord help you if you’re caught where you shouldn’t be…my skin’s crawling just thinking about what I saw. Ariel’s travels are basically dialogue-free, but it only adds to the infinite levels of creepiness – you can tell he’s being stalked, and the distance between he and the horrors that await are closing in rather quickly.

Visually by itself, this hour-long chiller can sell tickets without any assistance – hollowed-out buildings and long sweeping shots of a silent forest give the movie that look of complete desolation. Sliced up into three acts, the film wastes no time in setting up the story of a killer needing fresh blood to appease his Mandrake garden – seriously guys, I can’t type as much flashy stuff as there needs to be in order to describe this innately disturbing production.

If you’re one of those types who tends to shy away from the graphic side of things, then I’d HIGHLY advise you to keep your TV tuned to the Hallmark Channel for some holiday entertainment, because this one registers high on the “I can’t believe someone thought of this” meter. So the quick recap is this: Oberst Jr in a standout performance, visual excellence, and an unshakable sense of debasement on a cellular level – keep the kiddies out of the living room with this one. Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended, and one that I’ll throw down as a top 5 for me in 2017.

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Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End Review – A Heavy Metal Massacre In Cartoon Form

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Starring Alex House, Bill Turnbull, Maggie Castle, Melanie Leishman, Chris Leavins, Jason Mewes

Directed by Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace


“Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil” – Canadian television’s greatest blend of Evil Dead, Superbad and Deathgasm? Yes. That answer is yes. For two face-melting seasons, Todd “protected” Crowley High from episodic villains who were bested by metal riffs, stoner logic and hormonal companionship. Musical interruptions showcased stage theatrics like Sondheim meets pubescent Steel Panther and high school tropes manifested into vile, teen-hungry beasts. It was like a coming-of-age story got stuck between Fangoria pages – all the awkwardness with 100x more guts.

That – for worse – was until Todd fell to a premature cancellation after Season 2’s clone-club cliffhanger. Indiegogo became the show’s only way to deliver a feature-length finale, except to reduce costs and ensure completion, the project would have to be in cartoon form. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End suggests an animated curtain call for this otherwise live-action production, and from a fan’s perspective, familiar maturation follies befall our favorite bloodsoaked friend group. But for new viewers? Start with the far-superior original show – you’ll be lost, underwhelmed and baffled otherwise.

Alex House retains his characterization of Todd Smith (in voice only). At this point, Todd has thwarted the book’s apocalyptic plan, Hannah (Melanie Leishman) has died, longtime crush Jenny (Maggie Castle) isn’t as horny for Todd anymore, and best friend Curtis (Bill Turnbull) has sworn Todd’s name to Hell (since Hannah was his girlfriend). Guidance Counselor Atticus Murphy Jr. (Chris Leavins) is now Janitor Atticus Murphy Jr. because Janitor Jimmy (Jason Mewes) is now Counselor Jimmy, yet Crowley High finds itself plagued by the same satanic uprisings despite these new changes. Why is evil still thriving! How is Hannah back in class! Who is the new “Pure Evil One” now that Todd has denied the book! Welcome to the end, friends – or is it a new beginning?

At just north of 80 minutes, structure runs a bit jagged. We’re used to Todd battling one baddie over a half-hour block – backstory given time to breathe – but in The End Of The End, two mini-boss cretins play second fifth-fiddle to the film’s big-bad monster (well, monsters – but you’ll see). A double-dose of high school killers followed by a larger, more important battle with the gang’s fate hanging in the balance. Not a problem, it’s just that more length is spent singing songs about Todd’s non-functioning schlong and salvaging relationships from the S2 finale. Exposition (what little there is) chews into necessary aggression time – fans left ravenous for more versatile carnage, underwhelmed by the umpteenth cartoon erection gag. Did I mention there’s a lot of boner material, yet?

These two mini “chapters” – “No Vest For The Wicked” (yarn demon)/”Zits Alors” (acid acne) – never come close to rivaling Hannah Williams’ doppelganger bombshell (“Songs About Boners”/”This Is The End Of The End Of the End”). Hannah [X]. Williams waking up in a room full of other Hannahs, emerging from some sleep-pod chamber; Todd’s gang facing off against this new “chosen one” in a way that erases “Sack Boy” and “Pizza Face” from memory. The End Of The End dashes dildoes-swinging into the show’s biggest mystery while dropping call-backs and bodies with equal speed – maybe too hastily for some.

Now, about the whole pivot to animation – a smooth rendering of Crowley High and all its mayhem, but never representative of Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil‘s very Ash Vs. Evil Dead vibe. All the practical death effects (gigantic man-eating cakes, zombie rockstars) are lost to one-dimensional drawings, notable chemistry between cast members replaced by edited recordings lacking signature wits. This isn’t Metalocalypse, where dismemberment and bloodshed are gruesome on levels that outshine even live-action horror flicks. There’s no denying some of the magic is missing without Chris Leavins’ “creepy uncle” overacting (a Will Forte breed) or the book’s living incarnations of evil. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End plays hooded minion to Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil’s dark ruler – less powerful, a bit duncier, but still part of the coolest cult around. Just try not to think about how much radness is missing inside hand-traced Crowley High?

It’s hard not to strike comparisons between “reality” and ‘toon, because as noted above, live actors are sorely missed in a plethora of situations. Be they musical numbers, heretic slayings, Todd and Curtis’ constant references to wanking, wangs or other pelvic nods (no, for real, like every other sentence) – human reactions no longer temper such aggressive, self-gratifying cocksmanship. It doesn’t help that songs never reach the memorable level of “Horny Like The Devil,” but the likes of House, Leishman, Turnbull and Castle were masters of selling schlock, shock and Satan’s asshole of situations. Instead, lines now land flat like – for example – Leavins’ lessened ability to turn pervy, stalkerish quips into hilarious underage stranger-dangers. Again, it’s not Metalocalypse – and without that kind of designer depth, a wall prevents inter-dimensional immersion into Todd’s extracurricular madness.

If this review sounds over-negative, fret not – it’s merely wishes of what could have been. None of this is to say Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End should be skipped. When you’re already known for masterstrokes of ballbusting immaturity, metal-horned malevolence and vicious teen-angst creature vanquishing, expectations are going to be sky high. Directors Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace successfully service fans with a smile, ensuring that rivers of red scribbled blood spurt from decapitated school children just like we’re used to. It’s just, I mean – ugh, sorry, I just have to say it one more time. BY DIMEBAG’S BEARD, this would have been an epic live-action flick. As is? Still one fine-with-a-capital-F-YEAH return to Crowley High for the faithful who’ve been waiting some 5-or-so years in a Todd-less purgatory.

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