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San Diego Comic-Con 2012: The Vampire Diaries Roundtable Interviews Shed Some Light on Season 4

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The Vampire Diaries at San Diego Comic-Con 2012Here’s one more roundtable from San Diego Comic-Con (the last one for me thankfully!), this time with the executive producer and stars of The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries”. They shed a little light on what we can expect after the game-changing Season 3 finale; just beware of a few spoilers!

Things started off with the one person in the group who could actually tell us something about Season 4, executive producer Julie Plec. As she also told the folks who made it into the Ballroom 20 panel for the show earlier that day, Matt Davis has a clause in his contract for his new series “Cult” that allows him to appear again as Alaric, and we could very well be seeing him before Katherine returns since she won’t show her face until Klaus is no longer a threat. What we can expect to see no matter who else is around is a new dynamic between the Salvatore brothers now that Elena is a vampire. She’s a lot more pragmatic about the change than they are, and Damon and Stefan are not on the same page.

As for why now was the right time for Elena’s transformation, which happened much quicker in the books, Plec said they joked about it in the first season, and then in the second season it felt too soon – she hadn’t grown up enough. Now, after three seasons, the character has come into her own and “earned this move.” The writers feel rejuvenated and excited, too. To keep up the fast pace of the show, they make sure every scene matters; 95% of the scenes they shoot directly lead to the next part of the story.

Another part of what keeps “TVD” fresh is its constant influx of new characters, and coming in Season 4 is a hunter who isn’t really in it to protect the secret that vampire exist. He’s more a shoot first, ask questions later kind of guy. He surprises the other residents of Mystic Falls who cross his path with how hardcore he really is. For his part, Jeremy is worried about how he can protect Elena and still learn more tricks of the trade himself. He can still see ghosts, but that’s not his focus right now.

Might there be a chance of reversing what happened to Elena? Plec says the first episode, which begins just a few hours after the end of Season 3, exhausts every possibility to change her back, but she’s a vampire now. And even if she’s a potential danger to her brother, they have no plans to separate her and Jeremy. We can expect Klaus to play a role sooner rather than later, and while Matt continues being the only “ordinary” one in the group, he actually becomes quite “extraordinary” because of it.

What about Bonnie? Well, per usual, Bonnie has tapped into some dark places that are not so good to tap into. She’s ended up on her own with no one to look to. Plec said we’ll learn about who might have taught Esther, the Original Witch; she wants to introduce a guardian/guide in the witch world.

The usual question of how long she envisions “The Vampire Diaries” lasting came up, and Plec said they look at it as a six-year show, mostly because that’s when everyone’s contracts come up.

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: The Vampire Diaries Roundtable Interviews Shed Some Light on Season 4

Next we had a few minutes with Steven R. McQueen, who said Jeremy may have imploded when he realized he contributed to the death of his last remaining family member, but now he’s learning to fight back. He has weight on his shoulders, but he’s not going to give up and will do anything to get his strength up.

Will he maybe have a new love interest this year? McQueen said Jeremy and Bonnie have “unfinished business”, but he’s “preoccupied.”

After McQueen dashed off, we were treated to the dynamic duo of Michael Trevino and Zach Roerig. Trevino said right now he’s just playing Tyler playing Klaus and having fun with it. What he’s most looking forward to in the new season is graduation time because it means everyone will be together.

Meanwhile Roerig’s Matt is dealing with guilt mirrored with love for Elena for giving up her life for him. He most wants to see Matt and Tyler rekindle their bond as “original Mystic Falls boys.”

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: The Vampire Diaries Roundtable Interviews Shed Some Light on Season 4

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: The Vampire Diaries Roundtable Interviews Shed Some Light on Season 4

Paul Wesley joined us after the “boys” left, and while he admitted to missing his “ripper” side, he said that he had his dark ride in Season 3 and is ready for something different. Although, he mused, it might be fun for Stefan to show Elena the dangers of being a vamp and for the two of them to go on adventures together. But that’s not likely even though Elena did technically “choose” him. She now has this turn of events to hold against him so she turns to Damon. When it came up that someone with supernatural strength could certainly have saved both Matt and Elena at the same time, Wesley agreed. “Ask Julie Plec,” he said, laughing, knowing our time with her was already up.

Finally we got to hear from Elena herself when we were next graced with Nina Dobrev’s lovely presence. She’s more than ready to tackle the challenge of adding yet another facet to her character; as she said, when you do a show for this long, you need change. As much as Elena was evolving, she needed to evolve to this next step. It’s painful, though. At first she’s sad, kind of like going through puberty. She doesn’t expect to have much trouble differentiating between vamp Elena and vamp Katherine. They’re different people so have different thought processes. While the natural tendency when playing a vampire is to be a badass, she’s trying not to be too much of one.

As for what happens when she remembers what Damon previously compelled her to forget, well, of course it just makes her love him more for not telling her.

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: The Vampire Diaries Roundtable Interviews Shed Some Light on Season 4

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: The Vampire Diaries Roundtable Interviews Shed Some Light on Season 4

Which brings us to the devilish Damon, or rather Ian Somerhalder. At this point in the roundtables, we were running over time-wise, but being the gracious guy he is, Somerhalder gathered all 30 or so of us journalists who were left around him (wait til you see the picture below of all our recording devices on the table) and answered questions for a good 10 minutes longer.

He described Elena as a phenomenally solid human being – a beacon of light – while Damon and Stefan are highly volatile. Who’s to say when she transforms she’s not going to become just as volatile. Now they have years ahead of them; the yin and yang is that she chose Stefan, but when she gets tired of him, she may turn to Damon.

It’ll be rocky for him and Stefan; Damon is pissed at his brother for turning an 18-year-old girl. But Damon is not going to be pining – it’s an “oak” season. (laughs) For two years he tried to be everything Elena wanted, but it didn’t work. Now it’s “go fuck yourself.” Now he has a sense of self-worth. Absolutely we’ll see the darker Damon again, the guy who thinks what other people think and has the balls to say it.

But of course it’s not really over. Now he can relate with and connect to Elena in a different way. And now that she remembers their true history, that adds another layer. It’s “tragic and sad.”

And he’s also sad that Matt Davis and Alaric are gone. He said it’s really strange not having Matt on set. It won’t be easy for Damon – the loss of any friend isn’t easy, and Alaric was his only friend in the world.

We ended our chat with Ian’s opinion on what’s in store for Matt, who’s kind of responsible for everything right now: “Matt’s going to have a tough year.

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: The Vampire Diaries Roundtable Interviews Shed Some Light on Season 4

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: The Vampire Diaries Roundtable Interviews Shed Some Light on Season 4

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Fearsome Facts – Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

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Sir Christopher Lee returned to portray the charismatic count of Transylvania in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) for the first time since taking on the iconic role in 1958’s Horror of Dracula – an eight year absence. 

And while Lee endured a love/hate relationship playing the Carpathian Count over the years, the actor reluctantly tackled the role a total of 10 times for the Silver Screen. Three of those performances came outside of the purview of Hammer Horror, but this list is dedicated to the first Hammer Dracula sequel to feature the return of Christopher Lee in the lead role.

Now, here are 5 Things You May Not Know About Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

5. Dracula: Speechless

Dialogue never played a crucial part in Christopher Lee’s portrayals as Count Dracula, but this film is the epitome of that contentious notion. Lee doesn’t utter a single word during Dracula: Prince of Darkness’ 90 minutes of run time. In interviews over the years, Lee said that he was so unhappy with his lines that he protested and refused to say them during the filming process. “Because I had read the script and refused to say any of the lines,” Lee said in an interview at the University College of Dublin.

However, screenwriter Jimmy Sangster insisted that the original script was written without any dialogue for Dracula. There was even a theory that circulated for a time which postulated that Hammer could not afford Lee’s growing salary, so the studio decided to limit the Count’s screen time. Did this lead to the demise of Dracula’s dialogue? Regardless of whom you want to believe, Dracula is the strong, silent type in Prince of Darkness. 

4. Double Duty for Drac

Hammer Film Productions doubled down, so to speak, on the production and post-production aspects of Dracula: Prince of Darkness. First, the studio filmed the vampire flick back-to-back with another project titled Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966). In doing so, Hammer used many of the same sets, actors – including Francis Matthews and Suzan Farmer – and crew members to shoot both motion pictures.

Second, Dracula: Prince of Darkness was featured in a double billing alongside the film The Plague of the Zombies (1966) when it screened in London. Insert cheesy cliche: “Double your pleasure, double your fun with Doublemint Gum.” 

3. Stunt Double Nearly Drowned

Dracula: Prince of Darkness introduced a new weakness in the wicked baddie, but it nearly cost a stuntman his life. During the film, it was revealed that running water could destroy Dracula. Wait, what? Apparently, leaving the faucets on at night not only prevents frozen pipes, but blood-sucking vampires, too.

All kidding aside, it was during the climactic battle scene in which Christopher Lee’s stunt double almost succumb to the icy waters on set. Stuntman Eddie Powell stepped in as the Count during that pivotal moment, as Dracula slipped into the watery grave, but Powell was trapped under the water himself and almost died.

2. Lee Loathed What Hammer Did to Stoker’s Character

Christopher Lee’s return to Hammer’s Dracula franchise was a stroke of genius on the part of producers, but Lee was more than a little reticent when it came to initially voicing his dislike for playing the iconic role. As mentioned above, a lot of speculation swirled around the lack of dialogue given to Lee in the Prince of Darkness script. And if you don’t count the opening flashback sequence, which revisits the ending of Horror of Dracula (1958), Count Dracula doesn’t appear on screen until the 45-minute mark of the film.

Dracula’s lack of character, and presence, began to affect Lee particularly when it came to signing on to play the character in the three films following Prince of Darkness. Indeed, the lack of meaningful character development led to Lee initially turning down Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) and Scars of Dracula (1970). Lee said in countless interviews that he never got to play the real version of Count Dracula created by Bram Stoker, at least via Hammer Studios. This was a true disappointment to the late actor.

But Hammer guilt Lee into taking on the role over and over again, because the studio claimed to have already sold the aforementioned films to the United States with Lee’s name attached to the projects. Hammer informed Lee that if he didn’t return the company would have to lay off many of their workers. The tactic worked, since Lee was friends with many of the Dracula crew members. Fortunately for fans, Lee kept coming back for blood.

1. Faux Pas

Outside of the character of Dracula only appearing on screen for the last half of the movie, Dracula: Prince of Darkness had even more pressing issues that unfortunately survived all the way to the final cut of the film. One of the most appalling of these occurrences happens during the picture’s climatic confrontation. Watch the skies above Dracula and you will see the trail of a jet-engine plane staining the sky.

Another faux pas occurs in this same sequence when Dracula succumbs to the icy waters. Watch closely as the camera’s long shot clearly reveals the pivots holding the ice up underneath Chris Lee. Finally, watch the dead girl who is being carried during the opening funeral sequence. She is clearly breathing and quite heavily at that.

***

Which Dracula: Prince of Darkness moments did you find the most interesting? Were there any obscure facts you would have enjoyed seeing make our list? Sound off on social media!

 

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Desolation Review – The Joy of Being Rescued and All the Surprises That Come With It

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Starring Raymond J. Barry, Brock Kelly, Dominik Garcia-Lorido

Directed by David Moscow


It’s those random, once-in-a-lifetime encounters that only a select few get the chance to experience: when we as regular participants in this wonderful thing known as The Rat Race, stumble across a soul that we’ve only witnessed on the big screen. I’m talking about a celebrity encounter, and while some of the masses will chalk the experience up as nothing more than a passing moment, others hold it to a much larger interior scale…then you REALLY get to know the person, and that’s when things get interesting.

Director David Moscow’s thriller, Desolation follows shy hotel employee Katie (Lorido) and her “fortuitous” brush with Hollywood pretty-boy Jay (Kelly) during one of his stops – the two hit it off, and together they begin a sort of whirlwind-romance that takes her away from her job and drops her in the heart of Los Angeles at the apartment building he resides in. You can clearly see that she has been a woman who’s suffered some emotional trauma in her past, and this golden boy just happens to gallop in on his steed and sweep her off of her feet, essentially rescuing her from a life of mundane activity. She gets the full-blown treatment: a revamped wardrobe, plenty of lovin’, and generally the life she’s wanted for some time.

Things return to a bit of normalcy when Jay has to return to work, leaving Katie to spread out at his place, but something clearly isn’t kosher with this joint. With its odd inhabitants (a very creepy priest played by Raymond J. Barry), even more bizarre occurrences, and when one scared young woman cannot even rely on the protection from the local police, it all adds up to a series of red flags that would have even the strongest of psyches crying for their mothers. What Moscow does with this movie is give it just enough swerves so that it keeps your skull churning, but doesn’t overdo its potential to conclusively surprise you, and that’s what makes the film an entertaining watch.

While Lorido more than holds her ground with her portrayal of a woman who has been hurt in the past, and is attempting to place her faith in a new relationship, it’s Barry that comes out on top here. His performance as Father Bill is the kind of stuff that wouldn’t exactly chill you to the bone, but he’s definitely not a man of the cloth that you’d want to be stuck behind closed doors with – generally unsettling. As I mentioned earlier, the plot twists are well-placed, and keep things fresh just when you think you’ve got your junior private investigator badge all shined up. Desolation is well-worth a look, and really has kicked off 2018 in a promising fashion – let’s see what the other 11 months will feed us beasts.

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Got your eye on that shining movie star or starlet? Better make sure it’s what you really want in life – you know what they say about curiosity.

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Carnivore: Werewolf of London Howls on VOD

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Joining the ranks of The Curse of the Werewolf, An American Werewolf in London, The Company of Wolves, and Dog Soldiers, Carnivore: Werewolf of London is the latest in a long series of fantastic British werewolf movies. Directed by Knights of the Damned’s Simon Wells, the film focuses on a couple trying to save their relationship by taking a vacation in a remote cottage, but rekindling their old flame soon proves to be the least of their worries as they learn that something with lots of fur and lots of teeth is waiting for them in the surrounding woods.

Carnivore: Werewolf of London stars Ben Loyd-Holmes, Atlanta Johnson, Gregory Cox, Molly Ruskin, and Ethan Ruskin, and is available to purchase now on Google Play, Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu, although it doesn’t appear to have received a physical release as of yet.

More information about Carnivore: Werewolf of London is available on the film’s official Facebook account, along with a ton of production photos.

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