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TIFF 2012: Exclusive Lords of Salem Interview with Director Rob Zombie

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If there is one horror director who is unafraid of taking major risks in Hollywood, it has to be Rob Zombie, and he proved his level of fearlessness at the recent Toronto International Film Festival premiere of his latest horror film, The Lords of Salem, to a fueled-up crowd!

The Lords of Salem (review) was no exception since it has been dividing audiences with its slow-burning, non-narrative and visceral-heavy elements; and critics and viewers have both equally praised and trashed the film that is unlike any other film Zombie has done before.

Dread Central had the chance to attend a roundtable interview with the charismatic director at the festival to talk about his latest project, his battle with the studio system and his reasons behind making the abstract Lords of Salem in the first place.

When asked if his script and vision for the film were already pre-meditated, Zombie candidly admitted that he rarely stuck to the script while filming.

I don’t always go, ‘Here’s the script. We’re going to stick to this no matter what’ because sometimes things change and it never goes as planned. The movie kept getting trippier and trippier, and I liked that because I didn’t know how many chances I would get to make a movie where I had complete control to do whatever I wanted. No studio would ever want to make this movie. They would be like, ‘What the fuck is that all about at the end?’ As the movie progressed, I wanted the vibe of the whole thing to have impact on the audience because that’s how I would feel when I watched David Lynch, Cronenberg or a Kubrick movie. I wanted people to feel like they were in the movie for the journey rather than just watching images that are spooky.

Notoriously known for his plot-altering unrated director’s cuts, Zombie also talked about the possibility of a longer cut and what he also felt of the crowd at the premiere.

This is probably the final cut. If I got more editing time, I might go back and tweak things here or there, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen. The audience reactions were so hard to gauge because I felt like there was a moment where it turned in a good way. No one knows what the movie is so they had no idea what they were going to watch. I think with the nature of the Midnight Madness premieres, everyone thought it was going to be a crazy, fast-paced movie, and I could feel at some point there was this weird shift and everyone stopped trying to make funny comments and they started paying attention. People were then locked into not what they thought it was going to be but rather what it actually is. I was a little worried at first because I knew people were waiting for someone’s head to get chopped off or something crazy like that,” Zombie admitted.

During the Q&A at the premiere, Zombie had quickly revealed that many beloved character actors like Clint Howard, Udo Kier and Camille Keaton filmed scenes that were unfortunately left on the cutting room floor for the final cut, and he elaborated further about this in the interview.

There was a lot of stuff cut out. The whole beginning of the movie had a lot more 1692 stuff. Sid Haig and Michael Berryman are in the movie about two seconds, but there was a whole lot more with them that we never got to do. I was kind of bummed by that. There was also a lot of stuff that we used that didn’t make the final cut.

TIFF 2012: Exclusive Lords of Salem Interview with Director Rob Zombie

One of the actors who also filmed an important role in the film and was cut out happened to be late actor Richard Lynch. Zombie went on to talk about working with Lynch and how he came to the conclusion that none of the footage he shot with Richard was suitable for the film.

The Richard [Lynch] situation is actually very sad. I really liked Richard, and when we worked together on Halloween, he was phenomenal. When he came in to do Lords of Salem, I could tell he was not in great health. He was actually Jonathan Hawthorne in the film. Richard was basically blind and he showed up to shoot his scenes, and I would have no idea how to shoot because he couldn’t see. I tried to shoot around that, but it just didn’t work. I tried to use him, and I thought we would get back to it. Sadly, I had to cut around his scenes. He was a nice guy, and I’m glad I got to work with him.

Rob then went on to talk about his cast and playfully joked about one of the most horrifying things he had to deal with on set: the women fighting over their wardrobe.

With a cast with all women, getting them into wardrobe is a bit of its own horror movie. They all don’t want to wear anything. We had hundreds of clothes, but Sheri [Moon Zombie] was like, ‘I found only two things that are acceptable.’ Pat Quinn flew in from London and was like, ‘I can’t wear any of these frocks! They’re hideous!’ Dee Wallace hated her clothes and Judy [Geeson] hated her clothes. They were all literally fighting with each other and stealing each other’s clothes. It was insane,” he joked.

For years it has been widely documented how Rob Zombie had struggled in the past directing studio projects like the Halloween remakes and how they compromised his vision many times while cutting and shooting the films. Zombie candidly admitted his grievances with working with studio executives and how he didn’t budge once to accommodate their demands for Lords of Salem.

The movie I explained and the movie I made were two different things. I think it seemed like a movie about witches. It seemed very conventional. When the producers saw the movie, they were like, ‘This has no relation to what we were told!’ I had just gone off the rails, but that was my deal. I could do whatever I wanted,” he stated bluntly.

Halloween 2 is pretty in your face violent because I thought that movie had a certain expectation of what people wanted. But with [Lords of Salem] it’s original. What I love about European movies is that the audience is a little more patient. The movies are slower, and with studio system if something gory doesn’t happen in five minutes and if anything is ever confusing, they freak the fuck out. Who cares if the audience is confused for a minute? They’ll keep watching. Look at Inception. How huge was that? People loved it, and that just proved to me audiences aren’t stupid. Studios think viewers just want to be spoon-fed popcorn entertainment, and I just don’t believe that. I think people are much smarter than executives think they are.

One of things that makes Zombie’s Lords of Salem different from any other film he has directed is that the film lacks any narrative whatsoever. We asked about his decision for this, and he had no problem responding to what was thought to be a “hard” question to answer.

I’m not a fan of super complicated plots. Sometimes movies just get so convoluted with the plot and I zone out of the movie and all I see is screenwriters thinking they are super clever. I like movies that have time to breathe. I was hoping people would be patient enough to let it breathe and not feel like there has to be a twist and turn every so often. There were notes expecting me to have the supporting characters rescue Heidi from the witches, and that wasn’t going to happen. I like movies that end with a bummer. Why do we have to leave a movie feeling good? Sometimes it’s good leaving feeling like shit.

After the screening many fans have already been wishing thinking for a sequel, but Zombie suggests to those fans to not hold their breath for a future installment.

Will I make a sequel? Probably not. That hasn’t even crossed my mind. There’s so many other stories to do, and sometimes sequels are weird. Both times I did sequels it was not my first choice to do that. But it is so hard to get money to make a movie that it seems psychotic to turn the chance down. When I initially did The Devil’s Rejects, I just said, ‘Sure, I’ll take your money; yet, I will actually make a completely different movie and it’s not really a sequel.’ I did the same thing with Halloween 2.

Concluding our interview, Zombie talked about his upcoming future projects and the status of his long-time passion project Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Tyrannosaurus Rex is nowhere. The next movie I’m working on now is Broad Street Bullies, and that’s a totally different thing; it’s about the story of the Philadelphia Flyers winning the Stanley Cup in the Seventies. I couldn’t pass up the chance to do a violent hockey movie in the Seventies.

We thank Rob for taking the time to talk with us, and if you live in the Toronto area, make sure to catch The Lords of Salem at the Toronto International Film Festival and help spread the word.

TIFF 2012: Exclusive Lords of Salem Interview with Director Rob Zombie

TIFF 2012: Exclusive Lords of Salem Interview with Director Rob Zombie

TIFF 2012: Exclusive Lords of Salem Interview with Director Rob Zombie

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

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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

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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​.

Synopsis:
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!

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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.

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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.

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