Exclusive Interview: Xavier Samuel Discusses The Loved Ones, Bait and More - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview: Xavier Samuel Discusses The Loved Ones, Bait and More



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Exclusive Interview: Xavier Samuel Discusses The Loved Ones, Bait and MoreIn Sean Byrne’s The Loved Ones, up-and-coming Australian actor Xavier Samuel plays Brent, a high schooler suffering from depression who finds his will to live challenged when Lola (Robin McLeavy) doesn’t take to kindly to him declining her invitation to the prom.

Since Lola always gets what Lola wants, she has her daddy (John Brumpton) kidnap Brent and hold him hostage during her own special dance, and as someone who wasn’t sure he wanted to live to begin with, Brent has to find the fortitude to survive before “the last dance” with Lola and her power drill.

Already being hailed as a modern horror classic overseas, The Loved Ones is finally making its debut stateside on Friday, June 1, 2012, as part of a new interactive screening experience from Tugg and Paramount Pictures where fans can vote to have the flick play in their area.

Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with Samuel about the challenges and the appeal of playing a complex character like Brent as well as his experiences working with writer/director Byrne and much more, including a little bit about Bait 3D.

Read on for the highlights of our exclusive interview with Samuel below, and make sure to check out The Loved Ones when it hits limited cities this weekend!

Dread Central: Considering the very unusual story Sean created in The Loved Ones, what was your first impression of the script when you were approached to come on board the project?

Xavier Samuel: When I first read it, I wondered what kind of sicko would write this thing? (laughs) And then I thought, ‘Where’s all the dialogue?’ so I was thinking that maybe there was a reason Sean didn’t want me to talk much. (laughs again)

No, but seriously- I read it and it was pretty intense but really clever, too. I had seen his short film before, and I found it absolutely exhilarating and unusual so I knew I wanted to work with Sean. I could see that he had a passion for terrifying people; his approach to both of those stories was kind of intoxicating.

Dread Central: I’m sure it was pretty challenging to bring Brent to life without being able to speak at all.

Xavier Samuel: Oh definitely, but I really loved that challenge of trying to bring Brent to life without relying on words; it was incredibly hard, but I enjoyed pushing myself like that. Plus Robyn and I worked together to really work on the ebb and flow of our scenes because we couldn’t always be going at 11; that’s not momentum, that’s just chaos. So we really worked hard on making sure that each scene would continue to elevate the terror in Sean’s script; and it’s not an ‘easy’ story to get through emotionally, but thankfully Robyn and I laughed a lot during rehearsals. That helped a lot.

Dread Central: Was that difficulty the biggest appeal of playing this role then? Or was there something else?

Xavier Samuel: You know, the fact that Brent was a different kind of role for me to play was definitely what attracted me the most to The Loved Ones. There was a complexity to him, especially because he does some destructive things like cutting himself. We needed to treat that aspect of his character very delicately because it is a real affliction that so many kids out there face; that was really important.

Brent’s also dealing with a lot of other issues, too, including what’s happening with his family and feeling some guilt so there’s a lot of dark material there. The key, though, was to keep a realistic approach to it so he was just kind of grumpy but not like a caricature; Sean was always great about helping me find that balance.

Dread Central: How was it collaborating with Sean then?

Xavier Samuel: Sean was amazing to work with; he’s so smart and passionate about filmmaking that he’s really the only guy that could have ever made this story work in such a quirky way. He worked with me before we were shooting and even gave me a bunch of heavy metal music to listen to just to get inside Brent’s head.

Dread Central: I know that this has been quite the journey- getting The Loved Ones released Stateside. How great does it feel to finally see the movie get released and in such a creative way?

Xavier Samuel: I think this release is really exciting, to personalize the theater-going experience like this. The business overall is changing, and what Tugg and Paramount are doing for The Loved Ones is definitely great because it gets the fans involved; it’s almost like making a community out of an audience, which is how it should be- especially with a horror movie like this. It’s great with a bunch of friends, for sure.

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

Xavier Samuel: I have a couple of things in the pipeline actually; there’s a surfing movie I did called Drift that’s about a couple of guys in the 70’s that changed the face of surfing, and then I did a movie called Bait, which is pretty much just ‘sharks in a supermarket.’ It was so much fun to make, and I think it’s pretty hilarious.

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Exclusive Interview: Xavier Samuel Discusses The Loved Ones, Bait and More

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



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



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.

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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



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.

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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