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Matthew Goode Talks Stoker

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Matthew Goode (Watchmen, Match Point) strolled into the press day for Park Chan-wook’s latest, Stoker (review), wearing a belt so we were all immediately nervous. After all, Goode’s character, Uncle Charlie, prefers, at times, to use his belt for something other than just holding up his britches.

Jokes aside, Matthew was almost as charming as his sociopathic character in the film as we spoke, a similarity that added a little menace to the proceedings.

Dread Central: How do you feel being chosen for this type of role, a sexy killer?

Matthew Goode: Typecast again! It’s a Park Chan-wook film so you think that you’re probably doing something right. I was lucky, my good friend Colin [Firth] became too busy to do it. That was the first time I’ve ever had that happen. It wasn’t offered by any stretch of the imagination. It was a process as you’d imagine with Nicole and Mia already attached to do it and Director Park and a really great script. I knew it was going to be competitive. And a few of my good friends were in the hat but it just comes down to the director’s taste and luckily on this occasion he went with me!

DC: What does this director’s style bring? Visually, when you see the film it doesn’t look like a Hollywood film at all. What was his approach?

MG: He’s so fastidious. I haven’t seen anyone come to pre-production with ninety percent properly made in his mind, then drawn out frame by frame. Which in some ways was slightly disconcerting. It’s all pre-determined. He storyboarded the hell out of it. Not stick men but beautifully drawn images with a team of people doing it. He was like, “We can’t start filming in this location yet because I haven’t got the color of the walls the same as this eggshell.” That was mind-blowing. He had to adapt himself because it would have taken twice as long in Korea. Just his meticulous nature, I suppose, and we were lucky to have his cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung. But I think the script is sparse of language with only Nicole having a lengthy speech and so that kind of is linked to the operatic nature. It’s not the most naturalistic dialogue. Everything is there for a reason and it’s a clue for something else and that adds an extra level of intrigue.

DC:What was it like shooting the duet scene at the piano? Was that particularly challenging? Do you play the piano?

MG: It was actually quite liberating in the end but I hadn’t played the piano for twenty-odd years. So, coming back into the fold with a Philip Glass piece was unbelievably daunting. It was a lot of arpeggio and luckily I don’t have a bad-size hand, so it wasn’t hard to leap around. It was hard work but it was really great working with Mia. We learned about three-quarters of it but some of it was just too hard. We were able to fake some of that so he was always given the opportunity to shoot the whole thing from whichever angle he wanted to. And we kind of recognized that in the vocabulary of filmmaking when someone starts playing a musical instrument you’re like, “Hang on, is he really playing?” So, [Director Park] was able to dip down and you can go, “Oh! They are!” It’s not a trick on the audience but it’s a nice payoff.

DC:People will just think it was CGI.

MG: [Laughs] Oh yes, people will think we’ve got green gloves on!

DC: How do you think Charlie saw his relationship with India? Is she a daughter? Lover? Protégé? Also, this movie brings up so much about evil being inherent. Can you expand on that?

MG: It’s what Director Park calls bad blood. That there is a predisposition in the family bloodline to do these acts. With Charlie, he’s isolated, he’s lonely. It’s not a vampire film but there are some things that are similar. The idea of it. That he is trapped in the past and never really grew up. So you wanted to confuse the audience my being very masculine but there’s almost an innocence as well. He must have heard that this niece is like him and that is very powerful to him. He’s not alone. We didn’t seek to answer every question. Audiences are intelligent and I think it gets fairly boring when everything is concrete. With these kinds of complex emotions I don’t think you can answer those questions. It never became a sexual relationship but, as you see, when Mia is in the shower, there is a definite link between sex and violence. I think India sees him as being a tutor almost and he needs to go.

DC: Right, where the antagonist takes on the role of mentor. Like, in The Hitcher…at the end of that movie, C. Thomas Howell is a man. He just had to be put through hell to get there. At the end of Stoker, India is definitely a woman. Do you think she’s better off having met Charlie? Did he help her find her true self or was it probably better to never have you come to visit at all?

MG: Is she better off? Is the world better off? Ultimately, she’s essential to the story and we are kind of, bizarrely, happy for her to get away from the tendrils of her mother which, again, is another complicated relationship.

DC: How involved was Tony Scott in this production and did this lead into The Vatican with Ridley Scott?

MG: Tony, god rest his soul, was not around behind the scenes and either was Tony. My relationship with Ridley…he was going to do a film called The Counselor with an amazing cast and I was up for a part in that and then Cormac McCarthy said he’s too young which was really depressing but Ridley really liked me. Low and behold, he said he’d love me to be in this.

DC: The timing couldn’t be more perfect.

MG: I was deciding between two roles so I take it as kind of a sign. But the cast they’re getting together is tremendous and hopefully Bruno Ganz (Downfall) will play the Pope.

DC: Well, the actual Pope isn’t busy anymore.

MG: Yes, he’s learning his lines right now!

DC: Was it difficult speaking through a translator with Director Park on set?

MG: It was actually very easy. He does talk from time to time as well. Get a couple of Lagavulin’s in him and he won’t stop. The only thing that was tricky at the beginning was who do I look at and I’m not being facetious. The translator will come over quickly and tell you something and it all became very truncated and you work in a kind of shorthand. And if not, just gesticulate wildly.

DC: Going back to your character being a complete sociopath, what was it like doing some of the murder scenes in the film?

MG: Yeah, it was slightly uncomfortable in some ways. When we were filming with Alden [Ehrenreich] we had to hold up filming for several hours because there were some issues about safety. I’m coming up from behind and have to throw a belt over and I can’t see him so we had to get that right. It became slightly choreographed so you came out of it slightly.

DC: Was a dummy ever used instead of the actor? So you could really go for it?

MG: No, you couldn’t. It wasn’t a dummy but it was a dummy over my shoulder that I carried.

DC: How many of Charlie’s letters were actually written? Did you read most of them?

MG: A lot of them. It’s amazing. Our Production Designer was just unbelievable…

DC: Yes, I remember meeting her [Thérèse DePrez] in Nashville.

MG: Yeah, she’s absolutely fabulous. So it’s that thing of attention to deal where it’s just done for you. Everyone on their team had the most calligraphic handwriting. What kind of school teaches you how to write like that? But yeah, it was done which just adds an extra layer of confidence.

Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Jacki Weaver, Lucas Till, Dermot Mulroney, Phyllis Somerville, and Alden Ehrenreich star in the film directed by Park Chan-wook. Look for Stoker in theatres on March 1st, 2013.

Matthew Goode Talks Stoker

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Fearsome Facts – Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

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Sir Christopher Lee returned to portray the charismatic count of Transylvania in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) for the first time since taking on the iconic role in 1958’s Horror of Dracula – an eight year absence. 

And while Lee endured a love/hate relationship playing the Carpathian Count over the years, the actor reluctantly tackled the role a total of 10 times for the Silver Screen. Three of those performances came outside of the purview of Hammer Horror, but this list is dedicated to the first Hammer Dracula sequel to feature the return of Christopher Lee in the lead role.

Now, here are 5 Things You May Not Know About Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

5. Dracula: Speechless

Dialogue never played a crucial part in Christopher Lee’s portrayals as Count Dracula, but this film is the epitome of that contentious notion. Lee doesn’t utter a single word during Dracula: Prince of Darkness’ 90 minutes of run time. In interviews over the years, Lee said that he was so unhappy with his lines that he protested and refused to say them during the filming process. “Because I had read the script and refused to say any of the lines,” Lee said in an interview at the University College of Dublin.

However, screenwriter Jimmy Sangster insisted that the original script was written without any dialogue for Dracula. There was even a theory that circulated for a time which postulated that Hammer could not afford Lee’s growing salary, so the studio decided to limit the Count’s screen time. Did this lead to the demise of Dracula’s dialogue? Regardless of whom you want to believe, Dracula is the strong, silent type in Prince of Darkness. 

4. Double Duty for Drac

Hammer Film Productions doubled down, so to speak, on the production and post-production aspects of Dracula: Prince of Darkness. First, the studio filmed the vampire flick back-to-back with another project titled Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966). In doing so, Hammer used many of the same sets, actors – including Francis Matthews and Suzan Farmer – and crew members to shoot both motion pictures.

Second, Dracula: Prince of Darkness was featured in a double billing alongside the film The Plague of the Zombies (1966) when it screened in London. Insert cheesy cliche: “Double your pleasure, double your fun with Doublemint Gum.” 

3. Stunt Double Nearly Drowned

Dracula: Prince of Darkness introduced a new weakness in the wicked baddie, but it nearly cost a stuntman his life. During the film, it was revealed that running water could destroy Dracula. Wait, what? Apparently, leaving the faucets on at night not only prevents frozen pipes, but blood-sucking vampires, too.

All kidding aside, it was during the climactic battle scene in which Christopher Lee’s stunt double almost succumb to the icy waters on set. Stuntman Eddie Powell stepped in as the Count during that pivotal moment, as Dracula slipped into the watery grave, but Powell was trapped under the water himself and almost died.

2. Lee Loathed What Hammer Did to Stoker’s Character

Christopher Lee’s return to Hammer’s Dracula franchise was a stroke of genius on the part of producers, but Lee was more than a little reticent when it came to initially voicing his dislike for playing the iconic role. As mentioned above, a lot of speculation swirled around the lack of dialogue given to Lee in the Prince of Darkness script. And if you don’t count the opening flashback sequence, which revisits the ending of Horror of Dracula (1958), Count Dracula doesn’t appear on screen until the 45-minute mark of the film.

Dracula’s lack of character, and presence, began to affect Lee particularly when it came to signing on to play the character in the three films following Prince of Darkness. Indeed, the lack of meaningful character development led to Lee initially turning down Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) and Scars of Dracula (1970). Lee said in countless interviews that he never got to play the real version of Count Dracula created by Bram Stoker, at least via Hammer Studios. This was a true disappointment to the late actor.

But Hammer guilt Lee into taking on the role over and over again, because the studio claimed to have already sold the aforementioned films to the United States with Lee’s name attached to the projects. Hammer informed Lee that if he didn’t return the company would have to lay off many of their workers. The tactic worked, since Lee was friends with many of the Dracula crew members. Fortunately for fans, Lee kept coming back for blood.

1. Faux Pas

Outside of the character of Dracula only appearing on screen for the last half of the movie, Dracula: Prince of Darkness had even more pressing issues that unfortunately survived all the way to the final cut of the film. One of the most appalling of these occurrences happens during the picture’s climatic confrontation. Watch the skies above Dracula and you will see the trail of a jet-engine plane staining the sky.

Another faux pas occurs in this same sequence when Dracula succumbs to the icy waters. Watch closely as the camera’s long shot clearly reveals the pivots holding the ice up underneath Chris Lee. Finally, watch the dead girl who is being carried during the opening funeral sequence. She is clearly breathing and quite heavily at that.

***

Which Dracula: Prince of Darkness moments did you find the most interesting? Were there any obscure facts you would have enjoyed seeing make our list? Sound off on social media!

 

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Desolation Review – The Joy of Being Rescued and All the Surprises That Come With It

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Starring Raymond J. Barry, Brock Kelly, Dominik Garcia-Lorido

Directed by David Moscow


It’s those random, once-in-a-lifetime encounters that only a select few get the chance to experience: when we as regular participants in this wonderful thing known as The Rat Race, stumble across a soul that we’ve only witnessed on the big screen. I’m talking about a celebrity encounter, and while some of the masses will chalk the experience up as nothing more than a passing moment, others hold it to a much larger interior scale…then you REALLY get to know the person, and that’s when things get interesting.

Director David Moscow’s thriller, Desolation follows shy hotel employee Katie (Lorido) and her “fortuitous” brush with Hollywood pretty-boy Jay (Kelly) during one of his stops – the two hit it off, and together they begin a sort of whirlwind-romance that takes her away from her job and drops her in the heart of Los Angeles at the apartment building he resides in. You can clearly see that she has been a woman who’s suffered some emotional trauma in her past, and this golden boy just happens to gallop in on his steed and sweep her off of her feet, essentially rescuing her from a life of mundane activity. She gets the full-blown treatment: a revamped wardrobe, plenty of lovin’, and generally the life she’s wanted for some time.

Things return to a bit of normalcy when Jay has to return to work, leaving Katie to spread out at his place, but something clearly isn’t kosher with this joint. With its odd inhabitants (a very creepy priest played by Raymond J. Barry), even more bizarre occurrences, and when one scared young woman cannot even rely on the protection from the local police, it all adds up to a series of red flags that would have even the strongest of psyches crying for their mothers. What Moscow does with this movie is give it just enough swerves so that it keeps your skull churning, but doesn’t overdo its potential to conclusively surprise you, and that’s what makes the film an entertaining watch.

While Lorido more than holds her ground with her portrayal of a woman who has been hurt in the past, and is attempting to place her faith in a new relationship, it’s Barry that comes out on top here. His performance as Father Bill is the kind of stuff that wouldn’t exactly chill you to the bone, but he’s definitely not a man of the cloth that you’d want to be stuck behind closed doors with – generally unsettling. As I mentioned earlier, the plot twists are well-placed, and keep things fresh just when you think you’ve got your junior private investigator badge all shined up. Desolation is well-worth a look, and really has kicked off 2018 in a promising fashion – let’s see what the other 11 months will feed us beasts.

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Got your eye on that shining movie star or starlet? Better make sure it’s what you really want in life – you know what they say about curiosity.

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Carnivore: Werewolf of London Howls on VOD

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Joining the ranks of The Curse of the Werewolf, An American Werewolf in London, The Company of Wolves, and Dog Soldiers, Carnivore: Werewolf of London is the latest in a long series of fantastic British werewolf movies. Directed by Knights of the Damned’s Simon Wells, the film focuses on a couple trying to save their relationship by taking a vacation in a remote cottage, but rekindling their old flame soon proves to be the least of their worries as they learn that something with lots of fur and lots of teeth is waiting for them in the surrounding woods.

Carnivore: Werewolf of London stars Ben Loyd-Holmes, Atlanta Johnson, Gregory Cox, Molly Ruskin, and Ethan Ruskin, and is available to purchase now on Google Play, Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu, although it doesn’t appear to have received a physical release as of yet.

More information about Carnivore: Werewolf of London is available on the film’s official Facebook account, along with a ton of production photos.

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