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San Diego Comic-Con 2012: More Info on Kevin Williamson’s The Following

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San Diego Comic-Con 2012: More Info on Kevin Williamson's The FollowingOne of our Comic-Con 2012 highlights was the opportunity to chat with the cast and creators of Fox’s upcoming series “The Following”. Even though only the pilot has been filmed so far, they all provided us with some thoughtful insights into the show.

First we spoke with creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson, who has been working on the project in one form or another for over 16 years. While he wants “The Following” to be gripping and leave audiences breathless, it has a love story at the root of it.

Joe Carroll, the serial killer at the center of the show, has a bit of an obsession with Edgar Allan Poe – Poe’s romanticism holds great appeal for him – and every week is like a different chapter in the book Carroll is writing. Bacon’s character (retired FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who is called back in after Carroll escapes from prison) is trying to get ahead of him and rewrite the story. Carroll is building a web of serial killers to both protect him and follow in his footsteps (i.e., the “following” of the title).

While the original plan was for around 10 or 12 episodes, the network requested a few more so we can look forward to 15.

Next up was director/executive producer Marcos Siega, who also worked with Williamson on “The Vampire Diaries”. He explained a key component of the show is that you don’t know who is and isn’t involved in the “following” that surrounds Carroll.

He shot the pilot handheld, like a movie, so it would be cinematic but still very visceral. He’s directing five of the episodes and overseeing the rest; he’s doing the first ep after the pilot, a few more spaced out over the season, and the finale. Some other directors lined up thus far are Jon Cassar (“24”, “Terra Nova”), Phil Abraham (“Mad Men”, “The Walking Dead”), Liz Friedlander (“The Secret Circle”, “The Vampire Diaries”), and Nick Gomez (“The Shield”, “Dexter”, “Damages”). Filming will be taking place in New York.

We asked Siega about the appeal of “The Following” to the horror crowd, and he promised they are pushing the envelope for network TV with good gore, etc., for genre fans. While Fox did request a few edits of the pilot (specifically involving some rather brutal animal deaths), he hopes to possibly include what was cut in the Blu-ray/DVD release.

We got a surprise guest in Shawn Ashmore (he wasn’t listed on the schedule we received), who plays Junior Field Agent Mike Weston. Weston wrote a thesis on Carroll’s original case, and now things are getting real for him. He knows Poe, Carroll, and Hardy better than anyone; and it’s amazing for him to be able to work with his hero, Hardy.

As for the research he did for the role, he met with real FBI agents (he shared a pretty funny story about how they dress differently on each floor at Quantico depending on which department they’re affiliated with), watched video interviews on YouTube with real serial killers, and studied their court cases. He described Weston as an intellectual who is more likely to stay back doing research instead of being one of the first agents through the door.

Then we spoke with Carroll himself – James Purefoy. He described the character as definitely not your “average” serial killer. Charming, charismatic, and subtle, he’s incredibly smart and manipulative. He’s suffered from a feeling of disempowerment since he was young and wants to bring power and control back to his life. He’s violent and kills his victims by cutting their eyes out, following the “beauty of death” motif of Poe and the idea that the eyes are the windows to the soul.

He also researched real life serial killers on the Internet, none of whom he found to be sympathetic. If viewers find Carroll to be a sympathetic character, well, that says more them than him! He wondered what it is about Americans that attracts us so to violence and bad guys.

Finally, we wrapped things up with Kevin Bacon, who was attracted to the project because the script was such a page-turner that scared the hell out of him. He’d been wanting to play someone who was heroic but still a bit of a mess with complexity. He echoed Siega’s sentiment about the project pushing the envelope and being gritty. He feels Hardy is damaged and has a long way to go to get his personal life back on track. He’s lost his way and is dead inside, but he always was most alive when tracking Carroll so being pulled back into the world of crime fighting gives him back his focus.

Synopsis:
THE FBI estimates there are currently over 300 active serial killers in the United States. What would happen if these killers had a way of communicating and connecting with each other? What if they were able to work together and form alliances across the country? What if one brilliant psychotic serial killer was able to bring them all together and activate a following? Welcome to THE FOLLOWING, the terrifying new thriller from creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dawson’s Creek,” the Scream franchise) and director Marcos Siega (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dexter”).

When notorious serial killer JOE CARROLL (James Purefoy, “Rome”) escapes from death row and embarks on a new killing spree, the FBI calls former agent RYAN HARDY (Emmy-nominated actor Kevin Bacon, X-Men: First Class) to consult on the case. Having since withdrawn from the public eye, Hardy was responsible for Carroll’s capture nine years ago, after Carroll murdered 14 female students on the Virginia college campus where he taught literature. Hardy is a walking textbook of all-things Carroll. He knows him better than anyone; he is perhaps Carroll’s only psychological and intellectual match. But the Ryan Hardy who broke the Carroll case years ago isn’t the same man today. Wounded both physically and mentally by his previous pursuit of this serial killer, it’s been a long time since Hardy has been in the field. This investigation is his redemption, his call to action. In contrast to nine years ago, Hardy isn’t calling the shots on this case. He works closely with an FBI team, which includes all-business and tough-as-nails JENNIFER MASON (Jeananne Goossen, The Vow, “Alcatraz”) and young, razor-sharp MIKE WESTON (Shawn Ashmore, X-Men).

The team considers Hardy to be more of a liability than an asset. But Hardy proves his worth when he uncovers that Carroll was covertly communicating with a network of killers in the outside world. It quickly becomes obvious that he has more planned than just a prison escape, and there’s no telling how many additional killers are out there. The FBI’s investigation leads Hardy to CLAIRE MATTHEWS (Natalie Zea, “Justified”), Carroll’s ex-wife and mother of the criminal’s 10-year-old son, JOEY (newcomer Kyle Catlett). Close during Hardy’s initial investigation, Hardy turns to Claire for insight into Carroll’s next move. The tension rises when Carroll’s accomplices kidnap his intended last victim from nine years ago. Hardy becomes ever more determined to end Carroll’s game when he realizes that this psychopath intends to finish what he started. The thriller will follow Hardy and the FBI as they are challenged with the ever-growing web of murder around them, masterminded by the devious Carroll, who dreams of writing a novel with Hardy as his protagonist. The reinvigorated Hardy will get a second chance to capture Carroll, as he’s faced with not one but a cult of serial killers.

For more info visit “The Following” on Facebook.

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: More Info on Kevin Williamson's The Following

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Whatever Happened to Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving?

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Back in April of 2007, we all sat in our local darkened theater and watched as Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s exploitation double feature Grindhouse (review) blew the roof off the place for 3 hours straight.

Well, it’s ten years later, and I think we are all asking ourselves the same question: Where the hell is Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving?

Like every other human out there, I enjoyed both Tarantino and Rodriguez’s films – along with the fake trailers by Rob Zombie and Edgar Wright – but the big takeaway was Eli Roth’s faux trailer for the greatest 80’s slasher that never was.

So what happened to the feature?

Well, Roth was originally working on the feature back in 2007 after finishing his work helming Hostel: Part II, telling Cinema Blend:

“I’ve been working on the script with my co-writer, Jeff Rendell, who plays the pilgrim in the trailer,” Roth told the site. “And it’s me imitating Jeff’s voice [for the narration]. But Jeff has been working. I said that his deal is he has to work on the script while I’m promoting The Last Exorcism, and as soon as I’m done in mid-September he’s going to fly to California, we’re going to sit down, and bang out the script.”

But then the planned film died out as Grindhouse flopped at the box-office. Following the film’s underperformance, all talks surrounding Edgar Wright and Eli Roth’s Grindhouse double feature spin-off were silenced in a single weekend.

In fact, the last update we received on the possible standalone Thanksgiving film was last year when Roth did a Reddit AMA, and said this about the film’s current development:

“Have a draft not totally happy with. I want to put some more work into it so the film lives up to the trailer. We have the story and mythology cracked so now it’s about getting the kills right.”

Nice. Seemed like the film was making some headway. Nothing to do but gut the T’s and cut the heads off the I’s. But then nothing happened. At all. No updates. No nothing.

With that in mind, we here at Dread Central decided to reach out to Roth personally and see if there were any new happenings in regards to the film. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach him so I guess we’ll all just have to keep wondering and waiting.

Maybe it’s the pressure he no doubt feels making the much loved faux trailer into a feature. After all, he did say this back in 2007: “No matter how many movies I make my whole life, that two-and-a-half minute trailer is what I’ll be remembered for: ‘Eli Roth — he had a guy fucking a turkey with a decapitated head on it.’”

Or maybe the rights to the film were just tied up with the now infamous Weinstein company. But with that company finally going under (thank God) maybe now the rights could be sold off to new producers and finally, we’ll see not only Thanksgiving but features based on Don’t and possibly even Werewolf Women of the S.S.

But I dream…

Until we get the full-length feature flick of Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving, we can always look back on the comments he made to Rolling Stone way back in April of 2007, in which he talked a bit about the Pilgrim’s backstory.

“My friend Jeff… we had the whole movie worked out,” Roth told the magazine. “A kid who’s in love with a turkey and then his father killed it and then he killed his family and went away to a mental institution and came back and took revenge on the town.”

Jesus, please us. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the f*cking perfect setup/backstory for an 80’s slasher throwback flick set on Thanksgiving.

So ten years later, let me be the one to come right out and say it: Please, Eli Roth, make Thanksgiving. Please. Every horror fan in the world would thank you. Forever.

Sigh…

We’ll make sure to update this article in another ten years.

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Charles Manson Has Died: These Are the Victims of His Murderous Cult

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Sharon Tate

Yesterday brought the news that famed cult leader Charles Manson had passed away at the age of 83. He passed away from natural causes after spending the last 48 years in jail. While he was supposedly never present at any of the murders caused by his “family”, he was convicted of ordering the deaths of several people and sending his followers to commit the horrible acts.

But let us not dwell upon him anymore. Another psychopath passes on and we should continue about our lives. That being said, instead of discussing him any more, I think we need to take this time to say the names of the victims of Manson and his “family”:

Abigail Folger
Wojciech Frykowski
Gary Hinman
Leno LaBianca
Rosemary LaBianca
Steven Parent
Jay Sebring
Donald Shea
Sharon Tate

These people were each taken from this world too soon, robbed of their lives by those who wished to start a “Helter Skelter” race war. They had families. They were sons, daughters, wives, husbands, fathers, mothers… They were innocent people who were murdered by the worst of the worst.

Today, I do not mourn the death of Charles Manson. Rather, I mourn again the death of nine people who had yet to experience and offer all that life brings. I mourn the death of Sharon Tate’s unborn child, who never even got to breathe the same air we breathe now. I feel saddened by the devastating impact that these murders had upon their families, a pain still felt to this day.

Rest in peace to the victims of a man who wanted to incite war and cause divisiveness. May his passing bring you some semblance of peace. And may we forget his name as quickly as possible.

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This Valentine’s Day Experience the Death of Love

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On the hunt for a new comic and like a bit of humor with your horror? Then the upcoming Death of Love from Image Comics should be right up your alley! Dealing with a broken heart? Even better!

Writer Justin Jordan (The Family Trade, Spread) teams up with artist Donal DeLay (You are Not Alone, My Geek Family), colorist Omar Estévez (Heavy Metal Magazine, Batman ‘66), and letterer Rachel Deering (In the Dark, Vertigo Quarterly) for the least romantic Valentine’s comic ever: Death of Love.

“Love is funny. Chainsaws are funny. Love AND chainsaws, therefore, is gonna be super funny,” says Jordan. “Basically, if you’ve ever wanted to see Cupid torn apart in increasingly hilarious ways, this is definitely the comic for you.”

“I just want everyone to laugh the same way they would watching Army of Darkness or This Is the End,” added DeLay.

Issue #1 arrives on Valentine’s Day (February 14th) next year, and we have a preview of several pages to share below.

Synopsis:
Love sucks. And Philo Harris is going to do something about it.

After a particularly bad, drunken decision, Philo gains the ability to see the Cupidae, the creatures responsible for all the love in the world, and declares war on love itself. With a chainsaw.

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