Exclusive Interview: George and Alexander Mendeluk Discuss Their Terror Experiment - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview: George and Alexander Mendeluk Discuss Their Terror Experiment

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For his new flick The Terror Experiment, director George Mendeluk relied on his son Alexander’s horror movie sensibilities as well as the terrifying true events of 9/11 for inspiration, and Dread Central recently had the opportunity to chat with them both.

Alexander not only co-stars in the flick but also ran second unit on the production, which centers on a group of survivors that must make it out of a government building alive after a deadly virus is unleashed, causing anyone exposed to the contaminant to turn into a violent zombie.

Read on for our interview with the Mendeluks below, and look for more on The Terror Experiment soon!

Dread Central: Let’s start with you, George- can you talk a bit about where the story inspiration for The Terror Experiment came from?

George Mendeluk: Well, I’ve always enjoyed making horror movies because they’re so much fun, but I had never tried making a zombie project before so I decided the time was right for that. Because we didn’t have a huge budget, I knew that we had to keep this somewhat of a one-location type of story, and that’s when Alexander showed me 28 Days Later and I saw just how much the zombie subgenre has evolved and thought that approach was pretty amazing so that’s the feel I set out for on this. I’d say we’re similar to 28 Days Later meets Die Hard.

I also wanted The Terror Experiment to have some sort of subtext to it because I feel like every genre picture should have one- that’s what makes these kinds of movies so great; you can make a silly monster movie but still say something relevant while doing so. And I have always been haunted by the 9/11 stairwell sequences. I thought of how these people went to work, and when hell breaks loose, so many of them got caught on those stairs, which is insanely claustrophobic when you even try to imagine it. So that’s what I did- I set out to make claustrophobia a character and make it work for the picture.

Dread Central: Alexander, how hard was it for you to balance being in front of and behind the camera so much for this movie?

Alexander Mendeluk: It was a really tough schedule. We didn’t have a lot of time or money so we all had to roll with the punches. We were shooting really quickly so one moment I was popping in front of the camera doing a zombie sequence in the stairwell and the next I was running outside as second unit director to shoot B-roll footage of SWAT teams or whatever. I was always busy, which was really great because I learned a lot, but it was exhausting, too. I don’t know if I’d be able to do this all the time.

George Mendeluk: I have to say that getting to work with Alexander was really rewarding for me, too. He just jumped right in, and he worked hard from the beginning to the end. I knew that he had this great work ethic and he’s got talent as an actor so I backed him totally, and because of that I learned complete and absolute admiration and trust in my son. I would be inside of the building shooting one sequence while he would be outside shooting another sequence. I never once worried that I wouldn’t get the shot because he was always on top of everything.

Dread Central: Because this is a one-location type of movie, was it ever challenging keeping up the tension and atmosphere because you were limited within the four walls of that building?

George Mendeluk: You know, if anything, having one location really worked to our advantage because we could play on the fact that they have to make it from the top of the building all the way to the bottom, and when you’re at the top of a skyscraper and the only way down is the stairs, which are crawling in zombies, that’s tension. Plus you’re putting normal people in extraordinary circumstances who aren’t used to shooting guns, being the hero, killing zombies; and that always lends itsself well to creating tension.

At its core The Terror Experiment is about Jason [London]’s character’s journey- he’s not a guy who is a fighter. He’s lost his marriage, his wife and control over his own life so when things go down, the ball is in his court to become the hero and survive this ordeal and to ensure his daughter is safe. The zombies are the window dressing, and at the core this is a movie about a hero being born. That being said, it’s not totally serious so horror fans can have fun eating popcorn while watching some crazy zombie kills, too.

Dread Central: So what’s up next for you guys then?

George Mendeluk: Well, we’ve got a few things cooking, but I can’t say anything officially yet. I do want to make more horror movies though- the horror world is so great, and there are a ton of fun stories I’d love to tell. As someone who loves Joseph Campbell’s stories, I’d like to continue making movies in that vein.

Alexander Mendeluk: I think I do want to continue working both in front of the camera and behind it, especially after learning so much while working with my dad on Terror Experiment. I do want to still act though; I never really set out to be an actor, but I got lucky with a few roles – including Twilight – and I really enjoy it. I think acting has actually been helping me become a better director, too, because I’m always learning more, and that’s stuff I use when working with my own actors. But I don’t think I want to give up acting any time soon either so hopefully I can balance both for a while.

Exclusive Interview: George and Alexander Mendeluk Discuss Their Terror Experiment

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Dread Central Presents Welcomes To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story!

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Hot off the announcement by the fine folk over at EW, we want to tell you all that Epic Pictures Group and Dread Central Presents have acquired and will be releasing To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story (review)!

Directed by Derek Dennis Herbert and produced by Andrew Barcello, the documentary features interviews with Robert Englund, Bruce Campbell, Adam Green, Cassandra Peterson, Danielle Harris, Harrison Smith, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and Michael Aloisi, as well as Hodder himself. The film is a deep and personal dive into the world of one of horror’s most passionate and enduring names. Peeling back the curtain on some of Hodder’s most difficult experiences, To Hell and Back is, as I stated in my review, “Inspiring, life-affirming, and beautifully crafted…,” leaving me to surmise that if Kane could, “…endure such pain throughout life and find beauty and joy in facing death time after time, perhaps we can too.

Herbert tells Dread Central, “Dread Central Presents is the perfect distributor to release our film, To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story because of how ingrained Kane Hodder is in the horror genre. The passion and dedication of Dread Central through the years is exactly why they are the perfect fit for this horror adjacent, human-interest documentary. Making this film was a labor of love that took nearly two years of filming to complete, but we’re very proud of the results, and know that audiences worldwide will love Kane’s story of overcoming bullying, a horrifying burn accident, and building his career from the ground up. I hope fans will see what it took for Kane to become the man he is today and help them with similar struggles in their own lives. It’s always easier to get through something when you have someone you admire in your corner and that’s what Kane does in this story. He is raw and rough and gives you a film that you’ll be laughing, crying, and cheering throughout!

When I saw To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story at Fright Fest, I knew it would be a great fit for our then soon-to-be-announced label Dread Central Presents. Adding Derek’s documentary to our slate of feature films highlights our commitment to showcasing diversity within the horror genre,” adds Shaked Berenson, Epic’s Co-Founder and Chairman of Dread Central Media

When Shaked originally pitched us the concept of showcasing the diversity within the horror genre, we knew that we want to include documentaries,” comments Jon Condit, Co-Founder of Dread Central Media. “Adding Derek’s documentary to our slate of feature films highlights our commitment to that mission.”

To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story will be released this July.

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The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell

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Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law

Directed by John Law


I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.

The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.

The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.

  • Film
3.5

Summary

The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.

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Exclusive Clip: Psychotic! A Brooklyn Slasher Film Gets High in the Shower

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All right, you party hardy folks from Brooklyn… this one should speak volumes to you and your sinful, decadent, and raucous ways! Today we’ve got an exclusive clip from the upcoming psychedelic horror title Psychotic! A Brooklyn Slasher Film, which sees one of the characters getting high in a bathroom and then thinking he’ll pull a prank on his friends. However, it turns out that he’s never seen Psycho because we all know what happens when you’re in the shower and someone mysterious enters the bathroom! You can see the grisly action for yourself below.

There will be special screenings of Psychotic! at the Nitehawk Theater in Williamsburg on January 25th, Film Noir Cinema in Greenpoint on the 26th, and Videology on the 27th. The film will come to VOD platforms on January 26th.

Written and directed by Derek Gibbons and Maxwell Frey, Psychotic! A Brooklyn Slasher Film stars Kristen Martin, Clint Keepin, Cirocco Dunlap, Maria Wojciechowski, Dani Grace, Adam Maid, Rafael Cruz, Chris Prine, Aldous Davidson, and Rachel Laforest.

Synopsis:
The rent is high, but the body count is higher in Psychotic!, the suspenseful psychedelic slasher that follows a group of hard-partying Brooklyn hipsters as they’re stalked and savagely murdered by a masked maniac known as the Bushwick Party Killer.

It’s up to struggling artists Tim and Stuart to figure out who keeps killing the life of the party. Blood-soaked mayhem ensues as our heroes barely make the rent on time, search for love (in all the wrong places), and try to salvage their friendship – all while trying to unravel the mystery and stay one step ahead of the next massacre.

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