Exclusive: Filmmaker Jennifer Lynch on Human Monsters, Battling the MPAA for Chained and More - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Filmmaker Jennifer Lynch on Human Monsters, Battling the MPAA for Chained and More

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Last week provocative filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s latest thriller Chained, starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Eamon Farren and Julia Ormond, hit DVD and Blu-ray shelves everywhere courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Recently Dread Central hopped on the phone for a brief one-on-one chat with Lynch, where we heard more about what attracted her to the project, her process for rewriting the script, the filmmaker’s thoughts on the movie’s co-stars and more on her experiences with the MPAA and dealing with an initial NC-17 rating.

Check out our interview with Lynch below, and make sure to check out Chained now that it’s available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD platforms nationwide.

Dread Central: Can you start off by discussing what was it about the story of Chained that appealed to your filmmaking senses?

Jennifer Lynch: Well the script was a lot different than the version you see in the movie; when the producers came to me with Damian’s (O’Donnell) original script, it was a great deal more violent and a slightly different story that focused more on the graphic nature of a serial killer, which felt a little too ‘torture porn’ for me and even had detectives circling around the killer following Rabbit’s case.

One of the very first questions I had for the producers after I read the script was why they thought of me for this movie? Their response was that I am known for doing thrillers with violent undertones and they wanted to see what I would do with Damian’s script so I took a pass at the script and removed what I thought was the gratuitous violence that really didn’t do anything to make the core story any more interesting; it worked so well already and so I took the approach of dealing with the characters and more about getting into how the human monster of Bob is made. I wanted to tap into the emotions and get into how much more terrifying that can be because as a viewer, I’m more terrified when the killer is similar to me.

I also wanted to explore just why Bob was this way. What was his cycle of abuse that created this monstrous person who loves to kidnap, torture and murder young women? Where did it all go wrong for him during his childhood? I think that as a society we really have to stop hurting kids- it’s creating monsters and ruining so many innocent lives. While I wouldn’t say Bob is necessarily innocent, there was a sense of humanity to his character, mostly due to Vincent’s portrayal.

I also explored the idea of nature versus nurture with Rabbit because he’s sort of the opposite of Bob; he can rise above the violence and endures so much pain in an effort to hold on to the little bit of his soul that he has left after being held captive by Bob for nine years.

Dread Central: Let’s talk about what made Vincent right for this role then; how did you approach him for Chained?

Jennifer Lynch: Vincent is someone I have always wanted to work with, and when I was going through the script, I could really see him in this role. So we sent him the script and he called me less than a day later. I think both Vincent and I are of the same school of thought where if something scares us in the right way, we realize that we have something to learn by doing it. He really goes above and beyond with his performance as Bob; had he gone too far one way, I think the movie would have suffered but Vincent hit every single note and nuance perfectly. I’m so in awe of what he was able to do with this role.

Dread Central: He has such great chemistry with Eamon (Farren) as well; did you have to work with them a lot during pre-production to flesh out that relationship at all?

Jennifer Lynch: Their chemistry was organic and instantaneous; that was all them. Vincent said after the first day of shooting that Eamon was just a powerhouse, which really means something coming from a guy like him; Rabbit hardly speaks throughout the movie but because of Eamon’s performance, you can ‘hear’ him all the time. That’s instinctual stuff right there- that’s nothing I could have prepped him for as a director. His silence was often so powerful and then when he did speak, Eamon’s performance just took those words to an entirely new level. I was so amazed by his work on Chained.

Dread Central: I know you guys had some issues with the MPAA and the film’s ratings; was that the biggest challenge you faced on Chained?

Jennifer Lynch: It was and it wasn’t; I actually had a lot of control on this film- I will say that. But because the film was presold, both domestically and internationally, I had not only producers’ notes to contend with but also distributors’ notes and even had to change the name of the film because they didn’t like what I wanted to go with.

I thought this movie should have been called Rabbit- that was my title; I thought it sounded far more provocative than Chained did. Ultimately, though, what they told me was that they didn’t know how to market a movie named Rabbit so we went back to the original script title, which was Chained.

Working with the MPAA wasn’t terrible; they were actually very nice throughout the process but just unwilling to budge on some of the issues so I had to cut out a few scenes that I wanted in the film and make some minor adjustments. It really wasn’t all that bad, but it was still hard to make those cuts because I felt they really belonged in the final version.

Hopefully those scenes will be in the director’s cut, which is something that I still want to do some time down the line. We originally had a director’s cut budgeted for Chained but had to use some of that money elsewhere so I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to do one but I do want to if the opportunity ever arises. Looking back, though, I really did have a tremendous amount of control, given the situation, and I am grateful that I was able to tell the story, as it is now. I do still feel very confident in this version even though it doesn’t include certain things; I think it’s a very brave interpretation of the story I set out to tell originally and am very proud of what we all managed to accomplish on it.

Exclusive: Filmmaker Jennifer Lynch on Human Monsters, Battling the MPAA for Chained and More

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Universal’s Bride of Frankenstein Reboot Back on Track With Gal Gadot?

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Back in October, we let you guys know that Universal had plugged the plug on what was to be the next installment in the Dark Universe series with director Bill Condon’s Bride of Frankenstein.

Well, it looks like the film is back on track as today Omega Underground is reporting that the full production teams have been officially hired.

The crew includes cinematographer Tobias A. Schliessler (Lone Survivor, Beauty and The Beast, A Wrinkle In Time), production designer Sarah Greenwood (Darkest Hour, Beauty and The Beast, Atonement, Sherlock Holmes), composer Carter Burwell (Carol, Fargo, True Grit, No Country For Old Men, Three Billboards), and costume designer Jacqueline Durran (Beauty and The Beast, Atonement, Darkest Hour).

Not only that but there is a rumor (repeat, a rumor) that the studio is looking to replace Angelina Jolie with Wonder Woman herself Gal Gadot as the famous bride with the shock top. Don’t know how true this is, but it makes a lot of sense to me!

Are you excited to see Bill Condon’s Bride of Frankenstein back in the works at Universal? Who would you rather see play The Bride, Angelina Jolie or Gal Gadot? If either. Let us know below!

Bride of Frankenstein (was) set for release on Valentine’s Day 2019. We’ll keep you up to date as the film progresses. Or doesn’t.

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Last Meeple Standing

We Are Dead: Zombie Massacre – Last Meeple Standing Game Overview and Review

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It is a fine Saturday afternoon. You and your friends are hanging out at the Mall (like you do), and as lunchtime rolls around, the savory scent of hot dogs wafts through the air straight to you. Making your way to the hot dog stand, you notice the vendor looks a little strange: wide, wild eyes; pale, almost greenish skin; and a shambling gait that makes him look like he might have recently been kicked in the nards. No matter…you’re gonna have those hot dogs or die. And that is EXACTLY what happens. After you nosh the proffered dogs, a blinding, stabbing pain hits you in the guts and you and your friends fall to the ground and shuffle off this mortal coil. However, you don’t STAY dead. Moments after biting the dust, you rise again…as a ZOMBIE. All of a sudden, those Shoppers in the Mall look much better than any bratwurst every did. It is time to consume some consumers!

Photo Credit: Tiffany Hahn

COMPONENTS:

First off, let’s get the obvious out of the way: the awesome art. Mike Morris and Mike Collins are artists know primarily for their work in the animation field, creating animation for The Simpsons, Power Puff Girls, and Adventure Time, just to name a few. With that pedigree, you can rest assured that the art throughout this game is top notch and hysterical. Everything from the portrayal of the Heroes, to the Zombies (and what Zombies they are), and even the board is nuts on and perfect. I have to admit, it was the art that drew me to the game long before I knew anything at all about the game play. The characters look like they are going to pop off the cards and bite you on the ass (Zombies) or start busting heads (Heroes). You’re gonna like the art, trust me.

Everything, from the game board, to the cards, and even to the box has a linen finish, which is always a nice perk when it comes to games. It just adds to the “chrome” of the game, as they say. It is a finishing touch that just makes everything that much nicer to the touch and a little easier on the eye. Speaking of the box, the box is sturdy as hell! This is super nice, as many games these days are packaged in boxes that basically fall apart shortly after buying them, with the corners tearing and splitting, requiring some serious taping to keep them from falling apart.

 

 

All of the tokens in the game are printed on extra thick cardboard, as is the board itself, which is nice. This is another example of how the designers and publishers went that extra bloody mile to create a nice gaming experience. The cards are printed on nice, thick cardstock, also with a linen finish. They snap nicely when you shuffle them, which is a must-have in my book.

SETUP:

Set up is a little tedious. After picking player tokens, each of which imbues the player with a unique power that will help them throughout the game, and placing their scoring token on the “0” space on the scoring track, tedium rolls in. Sixty-six Shopper tokens must be randomly placed value-side-down on the board, which depicts the layout of the mall in a large grid of squares. The rules recommend that the players all randomly grab the face-down Shopper tokens and distribute them around the mall, but even this is bothersome and time-consuming, I think. Once this is done, a Horde scoring token is placed on the “0” place as well and two Horde tokens are set aside.

Each player is given six cards at random from the common stack of shuffled Attack, Hero, and Horde cards, keeping them secret from other players. They also receive two Infection tokens. Players place their Zombie token on the hot dog stand space on the board. Lastly, each player receives two Infection tokens, and the game is ready to play.

 

Set Up

 

GAMEPLAY:

The steps of gameplay are as follows:

(1) Movement: Players take turns moving their Zombie token on the board, three spaces at a time, in an attempt to reach a Shopper token and attempt to kill them. They can increase the distance they move by discarding cards or infection tokens.
(2) Attack: flip the Shopper token, defeat Heroes that a played against you, and attack the Shoppers.
(3) Discard/draw: Discard any/all cards but one and draw back up to 6. Reveal all Horde cards drawn.
(4) Resolve Horde attacks.

Yup, the gameplay really is that simple, but I’ll go into some detail for you here. Players are trying to kill as many Shoppers as they can, as they player with the highest number of kills wins the game. To do this, they move their counter until it is on a Shopper. The get three squares of movement each turn, but they can get an extra square for each card they discard or each Infection token they discard. Easy!

When you attack, you flip over the token to reveal how many Shoppers there are, the number printed on the bottom of the token. Once you have done this, the other players can attempt to prevent you from getting the kill by playing Hero cards against you. Non-active players can play a Hero card face down in front of them or pass. The active player (Zombie) selects one of the hero cards to defeat, revealing the strength printed on the Hero card. The non-selected Hero cards MAY be revealed to add +1 attack for each card thus revealed. To defeat the Hero, the Zombie player must discard Attack cards (plus Infection tokens for +1 strength), each of which has a strength printed on it, to meet (meat?) or beat the Hero attack strength. If they succeed, they get one point on the score track and may attempt to attack Shoppers. If they fail, they take one damage token and perform the negative effect described on the hero card.

Fighting Shoppers is much easier. The Zombie may slay as many Shoppers from the group as they can by discarding and Attack card for each Shopper to be slain. The Attack strength of the card does not matter. For each Shopper killed this way, the Zombie player advances their score token one space on the score track. Any number of shoppers they can’t defeat in this manner is considered to have run away, and the Shopper token is removed from the board.

After attacks are resolved, the Zombie player may discard any or all of their cards except one from their hand and draw back up to the hand size, which is six. After they do so, any player who revealed a hero card in an attack that turn draw one card each to replenish their hands.

This brings us to the Zombie Horde. Whenever a player draws a Horde card, they must lay it face-up on the table. The first time a Horde card is drawn, a Horde token is placed on the hot dog cart. Upon subsequent turns that reveal a Horde card, a second Horde token is revealed, but, more importantly, each Horde on the board moves 10 spaces toward the nearest Shoppers. Hordes will not move to the same Shoppers. Players then attempt to stop the Horde by scoring. The Horde will score a number of points equal to the Shopper value minus the number of Hero cards played against it. Hero toughness and effects are ignored. In this way, the Horde can effectively, possibly, outscore the players and deny them shoppers to attack! Damn the Horde straight to Hell! Those are my shoppers, and I’m going to eat them!

WINNING:

The number of points required to win varies, depending on the number of players: 50 pts for 2, 45 pts for 3, 35 pts for 4, and 30 pts for 5. The game can also end when the last Shopper token has been flipped over. In this case, the player with the highest score wins. That said, the blasted Zombie Horde can win the game, and all players LOSE, if the Horde has more points than the players. Stupid Zombies!

FINAL THOUGHTS:

It is hard to say anything bad about We Are Dead. It does what it sets out to do: it is a simple beer and pretzel game that doesn’t take a lot of thought to play. It has a bit of a “take that” mechanic in that other players playing Heroes against you can really knock your score down. It’s not a “roll you dice, move your mice” game that relies on the luck of the dice in order to score and win, which is nice. It forces you to think about where is best to move to block out other players from scoring and yet avoid the Horde. Some of the Hero cards have cool effects, such as the Hero “Harley Baconstein,” who forces you to only draw up to a hand of four if you lose against him, or “Rick Dixon AKS Mall Santa,” who deals damage equal to the number of Shoppers on the revealed token (yup, brutal). Once again, I have to come back to Morris and Collins’ artwork throughout the game. Hell, it is fun just to rifle through the cards to look at the hysterical art. The game is worth it just for the art. The game may be hard to find, as it was originally a successful Kickstarter project, but it DID make it to some stores for retail. If you look hard enough, you’ll find it. If We Are Dead sounds like the kind of game you want to play, there is nothing wrong with it. Really…I mean it. It’s fun to knock out over a bowl of chips and a good microbrew, but in a market chock full of zombie games that do this type of thing, but even BETTER, you might want to spend your zombie game bucks elsewhere.

PRODUCT DETAILS:

Designer: Derak Morrell
Artists: Mike Morris and Mike Collins
Publisher: Never Peak Games
Published: 2013
Players/Playtime: 2-5 players/45-90 min
Suggested Player Age: 13+

RATING:
2/5

Last Meeple Standing is brought to you by Villainous Lair Comics & Games, the ultimate destination for board game fanatics in Southern California. For more information visit the official Villainous Lair Comics & Games website, “Like” the Villainous Lair Facebook page and be sure to follow Villainous Lair on Twitter and Instagram.

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Titan’s Gothic Horror Series Alisik Gets Animated with a New Trailer

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Back in October we told you about Alisik, a Gothic tale from Titan Comics’ Statix Press imprint that explores the afterlife; and now we’re back with a new trailer for the series to share along with another cover and a few interior pages.

From the Press Release:
Written by Hubertus Rufledt with haunting art by Helge Vogt, Alisik is a cross between Emily the Strange and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book – a beautiful dark and Gothic tale of mortality and what happens after death.

“Alisik started as a short animation I did during my time at Disney – something different, a bit darker, but not horror. Hubertus liked it so much that we wanted to make a comic series out of it,” said Alisik co-creator and artist Helge Vogt. “Alisik became a part of my life. It’s the best I’ve done so far, and I’m thrilled that it’s coming out in English!

Featuring an all-new cover by superstar artist Junko Mizuno (Ravina the Witch?), Alisik #1 will hit stores and digital devices on February 28, 2018.

Synopsis:
When Alisik wakes up alone in a cemetery, she thinks she’s in the middle of a nightmare. Terrified, she flees into the night but realizes she is invisible to everyone she meets. She really is dead, with no memory of how it happened… and only the ghostly residents of the graveyard can help her unravel the mystery of her afterlife.

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