Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree, Completing his Trilogy and More - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree, Completing his Trilogy and More



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It has been almost forty years now since writer/director Robin Hardy first mystified audiences with his uber-eccentric cult classic The Wicker Man, and now the UK filmmaker is back with his companion tale, the darkly comedic The Wicker Tree.

Starring newcomers Brittania Nicol and Henry Garrett as well Graham McTavish and Christopher Lee, The Wicker Tree is centered around two young missionaries who travel to a small village in Scotland where they hope to spread the gospel of Jesus; unaware of any sinister plans, the pair get caught in the middle of a ritual which will force them both to make the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ in the end.

Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with Hardy about his follow-up efforts on The Wicker Tree as well as why this latest film isn’t really a sequel and why his third film in the Wicker trilogy may end up being the most epic story of them all.

Read on for our exclusive interview with Hardy below, and make sure to check out The Wicker Tree once it hits DVD and Blu-ray shelves everywhere tomorrow, April 24th, courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Dread Central: It’s been quite some time since the original The Wicker Man was released; how long had you known that you wanted to make a follow-up to that film?

Robin Hardy: Well, this isn’t really a sequel; more of a companion piece I believe. Do you see this as a sequel?

Dread Central: I saw it as an exploration of this world but not really as a sequel at all, especially because of the tonal differences.

Robin Hardy: Definitely; I would say it’s sort of like my homage to the genre that we created in The Wicker Man. As a storyteller, I wanted to have another go to see if it still worked and if it would work for audiences in the same way it did for the first one. In that sense, The Wicker Tree is a sort of spiritual brother to The Wicker Man but not a sequel.

To be quite honest, I think of The Wicker Tree more like a black comedy and not like a horror film; I keep on encouraging the distributors to say that so that fans will understand what they’re in for. It’s better when fans are prepared, and I think it is important that people know what they are getting into in advance.

Dread Central: Well, I’d like to believe that anyone who had seen the original Wicker Man movie would be prepared for the unexpected going into this one.

Robin Hardy: You know, one of my favorite quotes from Christopher Lee about the original book is where he says something like, “It’s erotic, comic, romantic and horrific enough to strain the bowels…” and I think that sums that up perfectly. I don’t have quite the same kind of quote for this story, but it’s just as unique I believe.

Dread Central: Speaking of Christopher Lee, how great was it reuniting with your The Wicker Man star? I understand he was supposed to have a larger role but couldn’t because of health concerns.

Robin Hardy: Yes. He was originally going to play the role of Morrison that Graham (McTavish) now plays, but he had an accident in Mexico while working on a film and was too badly injured to do the role. But I wanted him in the film, and he wanted to be in the film so I wrote that little piece for him to play, and thankfully he was able to do it. It was lovely working with him again.

Dread Central: Back when you were writing the book, had you always planned on making it into a movie?

Robin Hardy: “Cowboys for Christ?” I’m trying to remember when I wrote the book; maybe I wrote the book about six or seven years ago, and yes, I suppose I had always had a film in mind when I wrote it, but I didn’t really have a plan or anything.

Dread Central: It had been some time since you had helmed a feature between The Wicker Man and The Wicker Tree; any difficulties in making the transition back behind the camera after some time away?

Robin Hardy: Well, I’ve done quite a lot of television in the States in the interim so I was always working; I did various sorts of biographies for PBS programs and things like that so it wasn’t all that unfamiliar to me. I felt perfectly comfortable from minute one on The Wicker Tree, the only problem being that I had never used one of these huge digital cameras before.

They’re quite daunting at first glance and are considerably more difficult to work with than film cameras; they do present all sorts of problems of their own, too. Of course the results are very good and the things that you can do with the material are very good so that’s why we use them and eventually they do make your life easier. So what was it like to come back to this world? It was certainly familiar but also new because of some intriguing new technical problems which I hadn’t faced before.

Dread Central: With The Wicker Tree coming out this week, what’s coming up for you? Any plans on returning to this world again for a third Wicker movie?

Robin Hardy: Actually, yes to both of those. There’s a third movie I want to make called The Wrath of the Gods. It was set in Iceland but I’ve re-set it in Shetland. See, Shetland is full of Scandinavian people, not Scots, because it was ruled by Denmark for something like five centuries, and because of that the gods there are not Celtic, they’re Nordic which makes for an interesting world.

The film is about the gods getting their comeuppance, which is a fitting third film, I must say. (laughs) But it’s similar to what happened in Wagner’s Ring Cycle- do you know what that is?

Dread Central: I know it has something to do with opera, but that’s really it.

Robin Hardy: Yes, it’s an opera that is akin to Greek tragedies, and my story is based on the same set of stories as these operas. It’s going to be a grander scale to work on, but if we can do it right, the production value will be marvelous, and it will be a fitting finale for these stories.

Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree, Completing his Trilogy and More

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Michael Bay Adapting Duke Nukem with John Cena in Talks For Lead Role



I think we can all agree that this may very well be one of those times when we see an announcement and go, “Huh… That actually makes 100% sense and I’m completely behind it!”

It’s been announced that the classic FPS shooter series Duke Nukem is getting a film adaptation out of Paramount with Platinum Dunes, the company owned by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller, producing the movie. As of now, there is no script but the plan is to have WWE superstar John Cena taking on the lead role. As of now, it’s still in early stages but this is actually very exciting news as this combination seems like a match made in heaven.

Just think about some of Bay’s films, like Transformers, Bad Boys, The Rock, The Island, etc… Now imagine that kind of gleeful explosive action as the backdrop for Cena to kick untold amounts of alien ass. For those who worry that Bay won’t go hard enough in terms of violence or offensive language, don’t forget that both Bad Boys films as well as Pain & Gain were rated R for very good reasons.

Duke Nukem was originally released back in 1991 in the self-titled game made by Apogee Software. The character has since been in multiple sequels, although there are only four titles to the main storyline, and spin-offs as well as appearing in cameos in other games such as Death Rally, Blood, Serious Sam 2, Balls of Steel and can be seen in the trailer for Ready Player One. Nukem’s last video game appearance was 2011’s Duke Nuke Forever, a game that went through countless delays only to be met with critical panning upon release.

Horror fans who have played Duke Nukem will recognize many of the character’s iconic one-liners as being lifted from several horror films. Quotes from They Live, Army of Darkness, Aliens, Predator, Jaws, Full Metal Jacket, Evil Dead 2, and many more. The references were littered throughout and many delighted in their homages. However, Bruce Campbell wasn’t a fan when asked about the game back in 1999. He told IGN, “…they’re rip-off artists. Let them get their own damn material. It’s called hiring a writer.” [Source].

That being said, how cool would it be if Campbell made an appearance in the film to put Cena’s Duke Nukem in his place should he use one of those quotes? Apart from being a treat for fans of the games, it’d be a great moment in a film that’s meant to be chock full of bravado, machismo, and strong chins!

Coming back to Platinum Dunes’ adaptation, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this project! In the meanwhile, why not tell us your favorite Duke Nukem moment in the comments!

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Ellen Page and The Cured Come Home to VOD



We’ve been talking about the new zombie flick starring Ellen Page entitled The Cured for quite some time now, and we’ll soon be able to sink our teeth into it courtesy of IFC Films.

The flick stars Page (Juno, Hard Candy), Sam Keeley (Anthropoid, In the Heart of the Sea), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Avengers: Infinity War, The Infiltrator), and Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games trilogy, “Ray Donovan”) and is directed and written by David Freyne in his first feature film. Look for it in theaters and On Demand on February 23, 2018​.

What happens when the undead return to life? In a world ravaged for years by a virus that turns the infected into zombie-like cannibals, a cure is at last found and the wrenching process of reintegrating the survivors back into society begins. Among the formerly afflicted is Senan (Sam Keeley), a young man haunted by the horrific acts he committed while infected. Welcomed back into the family of his widowed sister-in-law (Ellen Page), Senan attempts to restart his life—but is society ready to forgive him and those like him? Or will fear and prejudice once again tear the world apart? 

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#Brainwaves Episode 74 Guest Announcement: Creature Designer Mike Hill – The Shape of Water and More!



We’re getting monstrous on Episode 74 of Brainwaves Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio as joining us will be award-winning artist, filmmaker, and creature designer Mike Hill, whose work you can see right now in a little film called The Shape of Water.

Join us this coming Wednesday, January 24th, at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.


Listen to Stitcher

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC using the hashtag #BrainWaves. You can also check us out on our Brainwaves Discord channel!

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at UncleCreepy@dreadcentral.com with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

Brainwaves Contact!

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