Director James Wan and Stars Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, and Patrick Wilson Discuss The Conjuring - Dread Central
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Director James Wan and Stars Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, and Patrick Wilson Discuss The Conjuring



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James Wan, who wowed audiences last year with Insidious, is finishing a new nightmare to deliver unto us titled The Conjuring. During last month’s New York Comic Con, Wan and a few of the film’s stars chatted with our man Nomad about what we can expect.

The Conjuring is a story from the illustrious career of legendary ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens were called upon to help the Perrons, a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives. The Conjuring is brought to us by the Insidious creative team with music by Joe Bishara.

Director Wan spoke about some of the vision and feel of The Conjuring. “So much of the look of the antagonist you don’t see, really,” Wan said. “I wanted to stay true to the reason why I made this movie, which was classic horror filmmaking. The more you hold back, the more effective it is. So you see shots of her hand or pieces of her feet, and of course, it leads into when you finally reveal what this thing is. It’s pretty frightening.”

Wan described the tension he tried to build into the film. “It’s a creeper,” Wan said. “It’s a slow burn [that] starts off slow and sucks you into the family situation, and then things start to happen. It’s a style of filmmaking that I love where nothing really happens at first, but then the tiniest little thing starts to suck you in… and it sucks you in and it builds to something that is out of control. That’s the style of film I like to make.”

The Conjuring is set in the 1970’s, a detail that Wan loved playing with. “I really wanted to make a movie that was a tribute to the 70’s style of filmmaking. People who have seen it have compared it to The Amityville Horror, and to me that’s a great thing because that’s what I was going for. Ed and Lorraine Warren did investigate the story that went on to become The Amityville Horror, so I wanted to capture the smell of that era.”

Patrick Wilson plays one half of the ghost hunting couple, Ed Warren, and he discussed the film being set on the 70’s and what he felt made the decade a great setting for horror. “I don’t know if it was a social thing coming out of the 60’s,” Wilson said, “but there’s this rise of a lot of these haunting stories. Ed and Lorraine Warren, that’s where they hit their stride with the latter part being Amityville, but even up until then they had done hundreds of cases. But it’s a much broader issue, not just horror movies but paranormal situations. I’m sure it’s got to be some kind of social issue, post-Vietnam, people not knowing what to do.”

And Wilson spoke on playing the role of Ed Warren. “Ed was a bear of a guy,” Wilson said. “He was a strong man. He had a funny side, too, but when he meant business, he was not messing around. So I did what I could do. Even when he spoke. I want to say it was a dialect, but it’s just like… 50’s speak. It’s old school. He’s a working man. That sort of directness really contrasts with Lorraine. I think that’s why they were such an interesting couple back in the day, dressing alike and liking a certain style. We tried to put in as much of that as we could.”

Director James Wan and Stars Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, and Patrick Wilson Discuss The Conjuring

Lily Taylor plays the mother of the Perron family, terrorized by a malevolent supernatural force. As the movie rolls on, Taylor is required to don make-up and do some high-intensity physical acting. “It was very physical,” Taylor said. “I definitely had to make sure I was in shape because when she gets possessed, she’s otherworldly. She can do physical things most people can’t. There was weird body movement involved, quick movements, there was spazzing out. There was a lot of stuff… tackling people, running.”

Asked how she prepared for the possession scenes, Taylor mentioned watching some exorcism videos. “Unfortunately, I saw a couple of possession videos. It’s not fun footage to watch,” Taylor said. “Good ol’ YouTube, you can find everything on there. I saw some possessions, and they actually helped a lot.”

Taylor also had to go through some intense make-up applications for her role. “Three hours of make-up,” Taylor said. “It was a fantastic progression. Great make-up. We had these brown contacts that were just enough to deaden my eyes so it just looked like I had the flu… like something was just a little wrong. Then they just made me look like I was sicker and sicker.”

Playing the other half of the Perron couple is Ron Livingston. Livingston understands that the connectivity we have today makes creating horror more difficult. In the 70’s, isolation was the fearmonger’s ally. “It’s great, grainy… there’s something about those 70’s colors, the rust browns,” Livingston said. “I was trying to figure that out, what makes it more effective having it that far in the past. But setting the film 30, 40 years in the past really added to it. However, it’s not the Almost Famous 70’s. It’s more like what my dad looked like in the 70’s. It wasn’t pretty. Flannels and bad hair.”

Livingston also feels the realism of the story adds to the fear factor of the film. “I think it accentuates the fact that it’s a real life story,” Livingston said. “It makes it feel a little bit like it’s historical. You watch these murder shows on TV where they go back to some serial killer case, and it’s always 20 or 30 years ago.”

And what about setting the film in the past made it eerier? “We’re so connected now,” Livingston said. “Everyone has a cell phone now that they can just whip out and dial 911. There’s something about being in the day of when you’re out in the county and there’s that one phone in the house. It’s before answering machines. You’re a little more cut off. You’re not really sure if the car’s going to start.”

Livingston feels Wan handled the pace of the film brilliantly, creating an environment of tension and fright that will thrill audiences. “I think he really paced it masterfully,” Livingston said. “He does a great device where you’ve got the family at the house, and that part is really, really creepy and it develops in that old Hitchcock build style. But he cross-cuts it with Ed and Lorraine Warren. It’s two different paces, and it does two great things… they’re doing lecture stuff to students and showing films of some of their other cases and you’re getting scares there and you’re seeing how some of the past cases went. So they bring you up-to-speed on who they are and what they do, and it takes all the onus off the family to be explaining things as they go. We can literally not know what the hell is going on for the first act of the movie. And the audience knows actually more than we do, which makes for a really great, really suspenseful experience. You sweat it. There are these seven hapless people in the house who have no idea what’s going on, and the audience is like, ‘No… Don’t go down there!'”

Director James Wan and Stars Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, and Patrick Wilson Discuss The Conjuring

Look for the film, based upon events described in the book House of Darkness, House of Light: The True Story by Andrea Perron, to open in theatres on July 19, 2013. The Conjuring, written by Chad and Carey Hayes, stars Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Mackenzie Foy, Joey King, Hayley McFarland, Joe Bishara, and Shanley Caswell.

Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. Based on a true story, The Conjuring tells the horrifying tale of how world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.

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



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



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



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.

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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