Exclusive Interview: Courtney B. Vance Talks Difficulties and More for The Divide - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview: Courtney B. Vance Talks Difficulties and More for The Divide



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In Xavier Gens’ The Divide actor Courtney B. Vance ends up being one of the ‘lucky’ ones who manage to escape a catastrophic explosion in New York City by hiding out in the basement of his apartment building along with a handful of other survivors.

But as the days pass and their hope begins to wane, that’s when both the tension and violence begins to escalate amongst the survivors, demonstrating that perhaps it’s best not to survive the end of the world as those remaining are pushed to deeply depraved and selfish acts as they spend more time trapped together in the basement.

This week, The Divide is heading to DVD and Blu-ray shelves everywhere courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment and in honor of its upcoming release, Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with one of the film’s co-stars, Courtney B. Vance, who discussed his thoughts on the project and gave us more insight as to what happened on the set of The Divide as well.

Read on for our interview with Vance below and make sure to check out The Divide when it’s released everywhere later this week.
Dread Central: Can you talk about what attracted you to The Divide and what your thoughts were about the script when you first read it?

Courtney B. Vance: This movie is just death and destruction and then even more destruction. It was so powerful the first time I read it but I knew when I did, I wanted to be a part of it. I will say though that a big part of that was Xavier himself; I was enthralled by him and I knew this was going to be one of the biggest challenges I was ever going to face as an actor, so how could I not do it?

The thing about Xavier is that when we were making this, his English still wasn’t that strong so we had to communicate with him through this story a lot of the time and that’s the beauty of someone like him- he’s such a brilliant storyteller that it was on all of us in this movie to tell this story for him in a way. But Xavier did some masterful work on The Divide and I’d work with him again in a heartbeat.

Dread Central: We’ve heard that you guys faced some real-life horror while making this movie. How much of that did you see while working on set?

Courtney B. Vance: I won’t lie; it was incredibly difficult being stuck in that basement for the entire shoot; being cooped up like that really does play with your mind. There was nowhere for us to escape to either; we were locked in this one location and you just had to ‘deal’ with everything and everyone while the tension began to rise on set.

I don’t necessarily feel like this is giving too much away because this isn’t one of those happy movies where everyone rise off into the sunset at the end but since I was one of the earlier characters to go in The Divide, I think I got off pretty lucky compared to some of the cast since they still had a few weeks of shooting after I was wrapped. I mean, I felt a little stir crazy while I was on set so I couldn’t imagine what a few more weeks would have felt like. I guess I got off lucky- not that any of our characters were really lucky if you think about (laughs).

Dread Central: What resonated most with me on The Divide is that generally post-apocalyptic stories these days have an element of hope to them and yet this movie doesn’t have that at all; was that something you recognized as well- that this story was definitely outside of the box?

Courtney B. Vance: I loved that this wasn’t your typical apocalypse movie; there’s this great moment very early on where these guys in Hazmat suits show up and you think that the cavalry have shown up to save the day but that’s not the case at all. And that moment is where everything in The Divide changes- we all realize that we’re alone in the world and that no one is coming to save us. There is no salvation to be had in this world and that’s when the worst in all of our characters begins to come out. We sort of joked that even though we were all adults that our characters were really acting like a bunch of selfish three-year-olds who have that “me, mine” mentality.

The truth is that in the real world, our society is starting to slip deeper and deeper into that mentality which is pretty scary if you think about it. Everyone seems to forget about that ‘Golden Rule’ we all learned as kids- treat others as you want to be treated and as we continue to live life ignoring this rule, that’s the beginning of the decline of our world as a whole.

Dread Central: After this and Final Destination 5, I love that you keep popping up in the genre world lately; any plans on doing more horror projects in the future? What’s coming up for you?

Courtney B. Vance: I’m not 100 percent sure what will be the very next thing I do really; I’ve got a few pilots out there right now I’m just waiting to hear about as well as a project in development that will have me working behind the camera for a change. Hopefully we’ll get to shoot that by the end of this summer. But I do love doing these kinds of movies and would definitely want to do more if given the opportunity.

Exclusive Interview: Courtney B. Vance Talks Difficulties and More for The Divide

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



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 Demme, Jodie Foster, 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 February of 2018.

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DIS Review – Not for the Faint of Heart!



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



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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