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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Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End Review: A Heavy Metal Massacre In Cartoon Form

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Starring Alex House, Bill Turnbull, Maggie Castle, Melanie Leishman, Chris Leavins, Jason Mewes

Directed by Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace


“Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil” – Canadian television’s greatest blend of Evil Dead, Superbad and Deathgasm? Yes. That answer is yes. For two face-melting seasons, Todd “protected” Crowley High from episodic villains who were bested by metal riffs, stoner logic and hormonal companionship. Musical interruptions showcased stage theatrics like Sondheim meets pubescent Steel Panther and high school tropes manifested into vile, teen-hungry beasts. It was like a coming-of-age story got stuck between Fangoria pages – all the awkwardness with 100x more guts.

That – for worse – was until Todd fell to a premature cancellation after Season 2’s clone-club cliffhanger. Indiegogo became the show’s only way to deliver a feature-length finale, except to reduce costs and ensure completion, the project would have to be in cartoon form. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End suggests an animated curtain call for this otherwise live-action production, and from a fan’s perspective, familiar maturation follies befall our favorite bloodsoaked friend group. But for new viewers? Start with the far-superior original show – you’ll be lost, underwhelmed and baffled otherwise.

Alex House retains his characterization of Todd Smith (in voice only). At this point, Todd has thwarted the book’s apocalyptic plan, Hannah (Melanie Leishman) has died, longtime crush Jenny (Maggie Castle) isn’t as horny for Todd anymore, and best friend Curtis (Bill Turnbull) has sworn Todd’s name to Hell (since Hannah was his girlfriend). Guidance Counselor Atticus Murphy Jr. (Chris Leavins) is now Janitor Atticus Murphy Jr. because Janitor Jimmy (Jason Mewes) is now Counselor Jimmy, yet Crowley High finds itself plagued by the same satanic uprisings despite these new changes. Why is evil still thriving! How is Hannah back in class! Who is the new “Pure Evil One” now that Todd has denied the book! Welcome to the end, friends – or is it a new beginning?

At just north of 80 minutes, structure runs a bit jagged. We’re used to Todd battling one baddie over a half-hour block – backstory given time to breathe – but in The End Of The End, two mini-boss cretins play second fifth-fiddle to the film’s big-bad monster (well, monsters – but you’ll see). A double-dose of high school killers followed by a larger, more important battle with the gang’s fate hanging in the balance. Not a problem, it’s just that more length is spent singing songs about Todd’s non-functioning schlong and salvaging relationships from the S2 finale. Exposition (what little there is) chews into necessary aggression time – fans left ravenous for more versatile carnage, underwhelmed by the umpteenth cartoon erection gag. Did I mention there’s a lot of boner material, yet?

These two mini “chapters” – “No Vest For The Wicked” (yarn demon)/”Zits Alors” (acid acne) – never come close to rivaling Hannah Williams’ doppelganger bombshell (“Songs About Boners”/”This Is The End Of The End Of the End”). Hannah [X]. Williams waking up in a room full of other Hannahs, emerging from some sleep-pod chamber; Todd’s gang facing off against this new “chosen one” in a way that erases “Sack Boy” and “Pizza Face” from memory. The End Of The End dashes dildoes-swinging into the show’s biggest mystery while dropping call-backs and bodies with equal speed – maybe too hastily for some.

Now, about the whole pivot to animation – a smooth rendering of Crowley High and all its mayhem, but never representative of Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil‘s very Ash Vs. Evil Dead vibe. All the practical death effects (gigantic man-eating cakes, zombie rockstars) are lost to one-dimensional drawings, notable chemistry between cast members replaced by edited recordings lacking signature wits. This isn’t Metalocalypse, where dismemberment and bloodshed are gruesome on levels that outshine even live-action horror flicks. There’s no denying some of the magic is missing without Chris Leavins’ “creepy uncle” overacting (a Will Forte breed) or the book’s living incarnations of evil. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End plays hooded minion to Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil’s dark ruler – less powerful, a bit duncier, but still part of the coolest cult around. Just try not to think about how much radness is missing inside hand-traced Crowley High?

It’s hard not to strike comparisons between “reality” and ‘toon, because as noted above, live actors are sorely missed in a plethora of situations. Be they musical numbers, heretic slayings, Todd and Curtis’ constant references to wanking, wangs or other pelvic nods (no, for real, like every other sentence) – human reactions no longer temper such aggressive, self-gratifying cocksmanship. It doesn’t help that songs never reach the memorable level of “Horny Like The Devil,” but the likes of House, Leishman, Turnbull and Castle were masters of selling schlock, shock and Satan’s asshole of situations. Instead, lines now land flat like – for example – Leavins’ lessened ability to turn pervy, stalkerish quips into hilarious underage stranger-dangers. Again, it’s not Metalocalypse – and without that kind of designer depth, a wall prevents inter-dimensional immersion into Todd’s extracurricular madness.

If this review sounds over-negative, fret not – it’s merely wishes of what could have been. None of this is to say Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End should be skipped. When you’re already known for masterstrokes of ballbusting immaturity, metal-horned malevolence and vicious teen-angst creature vanquishing, expectations are going to be sky high. Directors Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace successfully service fans with a smile, ensuring that rivers of red scribbled blood spurt from decapitated school children just like we’re used to. It’s just, I mean – ugh, sorry, I just have to say it one more time. BY DIMEBAG’S BEARD, this would have been an epic live-action flick. As is? Still one fine-with-a-capital-F-YEAH return to Crowley High for the faithful who’ve been waiting some 5-or-so years in a Todd-less purgatory.

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Kevin Bacon Lets Us Know the Tremors Reboot Pilot Has Wrapped Filming

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Two weeks ago we let you guys know that Tremors mainstay Michael Gross, aka Burt Gummer, was, unfortunately, not asked to be a part of the upcoming Syfy reboot series starring Kevin Bacon.

While that news upsets us a bit, being that the series has only filmed its pilot episode, we feel that there is still a big chance we could see Burt return to kick some more Graboids in the tentacle-thingies with elephant guns.

Fingers crossed.

Speaking of the “Tremors Syfy pilot, recently star Kevin Bacon took to Instagram to let us all know that filming has wrapped!

You can check out The Bacon’s post below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are for Syfy’s “Tremors” series in the comments below!

In the Tremors follow-up, written by Andrew Miller, the killer Graboid worms that nearly destroyed Perfection, NV, 25 years ago are back; and the town’s only hope for survival is Valentine McKee (Bacon), who beat them once. But to do it again he’ll have to overcome age, alcohol, and a delusional hero complex.

“Tremors” the TV series is headed our way courtesy of Jason Blum’s Blumhouse TV and Universal Cable Prods.

We’ll let you know when we hear more about the series!

So long to NM. Had an amazing time shooting this pilot. Hope I can keep walking in these boots #Tremors

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Exclusive: Buzzard Hollow Beef Brings Cannibal Gore to the Holidays

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Holidays at the end of the year seem to be focused on one major aspect: food. From Christmas hams to Thanksgiving turkeys to Hanukkah latkes to who knows what else, eating is a very important part for end-of-the-year festivities. Personally, I’m totally okay with it because it means great food and TONS of leftovers, ensuring that I don’t have to concern myself with cooking for at least a couple of days.

But what if the holiday season were a bit more sinister and what if the food was a bit more…unsavory? Allow us to introduce you to Buzzard Hollow Beef, a new vision of horror that blends cannibal hillbillies, intense and terrifying hallucinations, and small town mysteries. If this sounds up your alley, then don’t fret about waiting because the film comes to Amazon Prime, iTunes, and other transactional platforms on Tuesday, November 21!

We’ve got a trailer, poster, and several stills for you to check out, so peruse at your will and enjoy!

Directed by Joshua M. Johnson, who co-wrote the film with Tara C. Hall, Buzzard Hollow Beef stars Bruce Jennings, Nadia Kamil, Scott C. Brown, Emily Letts, Janet Chiarabaglio, Amanda Spinella, Will Frazier, Gabriel Caste, and Doug Perkins.

Synopsis:
Still reeling from her divorce and struggling as the single mother of a 9 month old, Jordan Vollmer looks forward to a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend with her family and her best friend, Paige. As the group ventures into the small town of Buzzard Hollow, they are greeted with strange and unsavory characters, known around these parts as the Solomon family. Their suspicions surrounding the Solomons are aroused by the fact that they all seem unwilling to talk about the beef that they serve in their hamburgers and sell in their butcher shop. When the Vollmers experience horrifying hallucinations, they begin to suspect that the Solomons are somehow involved.

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