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Screamfest L.A. 2012: Exclusive – Producer/Writers Talk True Love; Photos

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With the 12th annual Screamfest L.A. Film Festival running this Friday, October 12th, thru the 20th, we chatted with True Love Italian producers and screenwriters Fabio Guaglione and Fabio Resinaro, regarding their psychological abduction flick.

Look for its LA debut this coming Sunday, October 14th, at 6:00pm. Read on for the trailer and exclusive stills!

Written and produced by Guaglione and Resinaro (with other producer credits going to Mario Gianani, Lorenzo Mieli, Fausto Brizzi, Marco Martani and Peter Safran) and directed by Enrico Clerico Nasino, True Love stars Ellen Hollman, John Brotherton, Gabriel Myers, Jay Harrington, Clare Carey and Tyrees Allen, and (according to the film’s synopsis) revolves around, ’Kate and Jack, late 20’s, who on the surface are happy. But like everyone, they carry secrets that neither is prepared to reveal. After their wedding they awake from a deep sleep, each alone in a sealed room with no doors or windows – only images projected on the walls and a monitor with two buttons: one for ‘yes’ and one for ‘no.’ As the horror of their situation unfolds, surveillance films showing their life together appear on the wall, while the monitor starts asking terrifying questions. It soon becomes apparent that a bizarre test of their relationship is underway, and the secrets revealed lead them deeper and deeper into what could not just destroy their love, but threaten their very lives.’

Chatting with the writers/producers, Guaglione told us of their inspiration for True Love, “As writers/directors we’ve been developing movie projects for years. It’s a long process every time, so we decided to actually make a movie instead of developing another one. Therefore, the spark that generated True Love actually was, ‘What’s the best story we can create with the minimum budget possible?’

From here, in order to kill costs, we had the idea of using only a bunch of actors, one main location and some ‘stolen found footage’ from hidden cameras. That’s how we came to the main concept of True Love: spying on the daily life of common people, recording their secrets, trapping a husband and wife in two separate rooms, and making them watch their recordings, and test them regarding the strength and the truthfulness of their true love.”

“So, our inspiration was very pragmatic,” added Resinaro, “but one thing was clear in our minds creatively speaking from the beginning. We wanted to use the rules of the thriller and horror genres in order to tell a story that ultimately is a love story. We always wanted to focus on the characters, their feelings, and their love story.”

“Therefore, we didn’t have direct inspirations from other movies,” Resinaro continued. “Even if we can say this movie probably would have not existed without works such as the first Saw or The Cube, and while they are the most recognizable influences you can see in our feature, they are not the deepest. In fact, speaking of influences, we feel that Silent Hill, Inception and most of all “Lost” all had major impacts in the shaping of True Love.”

As for their scripting process, “We approached the writing as a real inner journey, and we wrote the script in a couple of weeks,” offered Resinaro. “Yes, we had noted down the main turning points for the three acts, but we tried to imagine to ‘be trapped inside the room’ while writing the screenplay. That’s how, as an example, the idea of the device with the ‘yes’ and the ‘no’ buttons came to Guaglione. He was just imagining being inside that evil room, and that device was perfect to embody the conflicts and the themes of the movie, so we used it.”

“Having for the entire movie our characters trapped in a room,” added Guaglione, “we needed a lot of twists and turns for the plot, so we kind of tried to have a twist every three minutes. That led us to a number of subplots and connections that makes in our opinion the movie very thrilling and entertaining, even if we don’t have buildings that explode, or big superhero fights. If you watch the movie two or three times, you’ll be able to catch more details, and more nuances, that will help you create your own theory about what really happened inside, and outside, the room.”

TRUE LOVE (50 SEC TRAILER HD) from Mercurio Domina on Vimeo.

With the script complete, the duo undertook the more daunting task of finding funding for True Love.

“We came from the independent filmmaking world of music videos and short movies, so we wrote something that we knew we were able to make with a micro-budget,” Resinaro stated. “Then we went to Italian producers that usually make domestic comedies for millions of Euros, and we asked them, ‘Do you want to have an international cult thriller that you could make for ten percent of the budget that you usually invest to make one single Italian comedy feature film?’ We knew they just couldn’t say, ‘No’. The problem then was ours. We had to work for a couple of years using every single drop of our energy, tears and blood, without making a single Euro from it!”

With the ‘cinematic’ scenes filmed on the Canon 5D, the production employed handy cam, GoPro, cell phones, spy and web cams for the ‘found footage’ segments, shooting True Love for one week in Los Angeles, CA, with another three weeks of principle photography outside Milan, Italy, where the set of ‘the room’ had been constructed.

“Even if it’s a micro-budget movie, there’s a certain production value on every frame, visually and acoustically speaking,” said Guaglione. “Some line producers that saw the movie asked us, ‘You spent 2 million dollars, right?’ And we were like, ‘Yeah, right. Just kill one zero, and you’ll be nearer to our budget.’”

“Even the postproduction was done very indie,” added Resinaro. “Consider only two people working on all the editing, only two people working on all the VFX, or only four people working on all the sound and music. Combine all that with our perfectionism, and we had eight months of post-production, from editing to final 5.1 mix.”

As for the current status of True Love’s festival tour and distribution, “We’re currently living the festival and international sales phase,” Resinaro said. “We attended London Sci Fi, Shanghai International Film Festival, Rome Fantafestival, Ljutomer Grossman Festival, Sopot Film Festival and LA Scream Fest now. Next stops are Bruges’ Razor Reel Film Festival and Abertoir National Horror Film Festival.”

“Even if the movie hasn’t been officially released in any country yet, TF1, the international sales agency, sold the movie in more than twenty territories and more than sixty countries,” added Guaglione. “True Love doesn’t have a US/Canada distributor yet though, and we really hope something will change after LA Screamfest!”

“An American distributor would probably allow us to realize True Love Part 2, and wouldn’t that be lovely?” concluded Resinaro with a wink.

Tickets to the US premiere of True Love at Screamfest can be purchased by clicking here.

Tickets to the Opening Night Film & Party of Screamfest can be purchased here, full festival passes can be purchased here, and the full schedule can be found here. For more info follow Screamfest (official site here) on Twitter or Facebook.

Screamfest L.A. 2012: Exclusive – Producer/Writers Talk True Love; Photos

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Night of the Living Dead 4K and The Silence of the Lambs Come to the Criterion Collection

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It’s been a long time coming for these two classics, especially Night of the Living Dead after the ridiculously bad transfer put out by Mill Creek Entertainment, whose transfer was supposedly remastered from a new 2K scan. I swear I thought it was some kind of a joke when I first put it on to watch. In any event…

IndieWire is reporting that horror classics Night of the Living Dead and The Silence of the Lambs will be added to the 2018 Criterion Collection, a hallmark label for home video cinephiles.

According to the site, Criterion will release a new 4K digital restoration of The Silence of the Lambs, which has been approved by the movie’s cinematographer Tak Fujimoto. Included on the DVD and Blu-ray sets are 35 minutes of deleted scenes and audio commentary from 1994 featuring the late Jonathan Demme (director), stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas.

Night of the Living Dead will also be released in 4K with never-before-seen 16mm dailies included as a bonus feature(!).

These will be added in February of 2018 so make sure you save up some cash after the holidays!

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DIS Review – Not for the Faint of Heart!

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Starring Bill Oberst, Jr., Lori Jo Hendrix, Peter Gonzales Falcon

Directed by Adrian Corona


I’ve made this claim many a time on this website before, and in the company of film friends as well: Bill Oberst Jr. is one of those actors that can literally be thrust into ANY role, and deliver a performance with so much harnessed electricity that you couldn’t believe that it was possible. I was the lucky recipient chosen to get a look at his latest project, titled DIS, and I think that I can honestly say – this is the stuff that nightmares are constructed of.

Directed by Adrian Corona, this 60-minute dive into the black depths of hell, and in actuality DIS is located between circles # 6 and 9 in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and trust me when I tell you – there’s not a shred of comedic relief in this demented presentation. Oberst Jr plays an ex-soldier named Ariel, and his seemingly harmless jaunt through the woods will become anything but that, and judging from the film’s opening scenes, you are meant to feel as uncomfortable about this watch as any you might have checked out in recent memory.

Perversion is the norm here, and lord help you if you’re caught where you shouldn’t be…my skin’s crawling just thinking about what I saw. Ariel’s travels are basically dialogue-free, but it only adds to the infinite levels of creepiness – you can tell he’s being stalked, and the distance between he and the horrors that await are closing in rather quickly.

Visually by itself, this hour-long chiller can sell tickets without any assistance – hollowed-out buildings and long sweeping shots of a silent forest give the movie that look of complete desolation. Sliced up into three acts, the film wastes no time in setting up the story of a killer needing fresh blood to appease his Mandrake garden – seriously guys, I can’t type as much flashy stuff as there needs to be in order to describe this innately disturbing production.

If you’re one of those types who tends to shy away from the graphic side of things, then I’d HIGHLY advise you to keep your TV tuned to the Hallmark Channel for some holiday entertainment, because this one registers high on the “I can’t believe someone thought of this” meter. So the quick recap is this: Oberst Jr in a standout performance, visual excellence, and an unshakable sense of debasement on a cellular level – keep the kiddies out of the living room with this one. Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended, and one that I’ll throw down as a top 5 for me in 2017.

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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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