Exclusive: Writer/Director Paul Soter Talks Sleepless Nights, Growing Up on Horror and More for Dark Circles - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Writer/Director Paul Soter Talks Sleepless Nights, Growing Up on Horror and More for Dark Circles

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Exclusive: Writer/Director Paul Soter Talks Sleepless Nights, Growing Up on Horror and More for Dark CirclesThis week writer/director Paul Soter’s intensely creepy thriller Dark Circles (review) arrives on DVD, VOD and more courtesy of Lionsgate and After Dark Originals.

Starring Johnathon Schaech and Pell James, Dark Circles follows new parents Alex and Penny, who move to the country with their infant in hopes of a normal life and upbringing for their son, but neither of them is prepared for the consistent sleepless nights when their little one can’t sleep for more than 15 minutes, which preys on their ever-diminishing fragile mental states. As both parents begin to experience strange figures and disturbances around their house, neither can determine if what’s happening is something more sinister or if it’s just their minds playing tricks on them (cue the Geto Boys).

Dread Central recently chatted with Soter about what inspired Dark Circles, his comedic roots with Broken Lizard and much more. Check out the highlights of our exclusive interview below, and look for more on the flick later this week from co-star Schaech.

Dread Central: I thought you did a really great job of playing on a lot of familiar horror conventions in ways you wouldn’t necessarily think of at first, which I really enjoyed; what was the story process for you on Dark Circles?

Paul Soter: For me, this all started when I had my first kid a few years ago because my wife and I were in a similar situation where we were completely fucked up after not sleeping for weeks and weeks. It wasn’t until we came out of it that we realized just how out of our minds we really were during that time. The decisions we were making – man, let’s just say we were probably not great parents at all at first – and all the things that we weren’t paying attention to were just scary when you look back at those moments after everything’s said and done and realize what was really happening wasn’t at all like your own mind was perceiving it.

So when I realized all we had been through, I thought that exploring all of that within the context of a horror movie would be really interesting. I grew up loving horror movies so I wanted there to be familiar elements but presented in different ways so I appreciate you saying that because I worked really hard to make this not like every other horror movie coming out these days. I didn’t reinvent the wheel but I also didn’t want to give audiences the same movie they see all the time either so we play on perception a lot in Dark Circles so that we could keep everyone guessing.

Dread Central: I’m a huge fan of your comedy work, especially on films like Beerfest and Super Troopers– in fact, I remember seeing Beerfest a few times at the Cascade Drive-in back home in Chicago.

Paul Soter: Oh that’s so cool- I used to love going to the drive-in all the time; I think the first movie I ever saw at the drive-in was Capricorn One with my three sisters. I used to see a lot of classic horror movies there too.

Dread Central: That’s awesome- I wish more people would experience drive-ins. It’s really my favorite way to see a movie. So now, getting back to Dark Circles– because this is a story that could have easily lent itself to either horror or comedy, what made you decide to take this story in the horror direction?

Paul Soter: Yeah, when I wrote the script, I realized that the story definitely could have had a comedic conceit as well but honestly, what we had gone through hadn’t felt all that funny so I think horror just felt far more appropriate. Plus growing up, I always loved horror movies and think I was definitely a fan of those movies far before I became a fan of comedies. I guess overall I’m just way more geeky over all the genre stuff than anything else so I was excited that for Dark Circles I was able to do something I’ve always wanted to do and that was make a horror movie.

And as a fan, I really miss good, dark human storytelling in my horror movies and I feel like that’s something we don’t see a lot these days; a lot of modern horror movies have either a satirical element or they’re self-referential, but as a fan, those aren’t stories that interest me. I don’t need a horror movie to tell me how smart or aware it is- I want it to scare me, to make me think and to take the story and the characters into unexpected places. I’m a huge fan of Guillermo del Toro and he’s someone who always knows how to brilliantly tell a beautifully macabre tale that connects with audiences; that’s what my ultimate goal for Dark Circles was, and I think I hit all the notes I was hoping to for my first time making a horror movie.

Dread Central: Are you planning on continuing your career in horror then?

Paul Soter: For sure; I’ve got a few other projects I’m working on independently right now that are all in the genre realm. I’ve found that I really enjoy writing horror and have grown into loving the feeling of working independently too. When I’d be working on the Broken Lizard movies, that was a completely opposite situation where you’d show up to the writer’s room every day and you’d spend the entire day sitting around the table trying to make each other laugh, probably stoned, and see what clicks. Now I just lock myself away and get inside my own head, which is a great process too because I think you can really add your own personal touches to a project that way.

And so I’ve got two other projects that I’m currently working on – both indie – and I also recently sold a show to MTV so that’s currently being developed and explored. It’s also a horror show and it seems like they’re really embracing the genre now so it’s pretty cool to be involved with MTV on that too. I just want to keep all this momentum going forward and continue to tell stories so it’s pretty cool to me that I’ve got a few different platforms to do that in the future.

Dark Circles

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Must-See: Michael Myers Versus Jason Voorhees Fan Short Film

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The short film titled Michael Myers Versus Jason Voorhees made its much-anticipated debut on YouTube channel CallMeJeff86 on January 15th, 2018.

The film is a passion project that pits two horror movie icons against each other; it’s Michael Myers from Halloween against Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th in a bloody fight to the finish.

What are you waiting for? Give the short a watch below, and then let us know what you think!

Michael Myers Versus Jason Voorhees is written and directed by Mason C. McDonald and stars Jeff Payne as Michael Myers, Dustin Miller as Jason Voorhees, and John Alton as the Vengeful Father.

Don’t forget to follow the film on Instagram and Twitter!

P.S. I’m pretty sure the ‘Part 3’ in the title is a joke.

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PG-13 or R? The Strangers: Prey at Night Gets Official MPAA Rating

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Earlier this week we let you guys know that there is a killer The Strangers: Prey at Night fan art competition going on and you can read all the details on that right HERE.

But today we have some cool (if expected) news that The Strangers: Prey At Night hs officially received an R-rating from the MPAA.

The sequel has been rated R for “horror violence and terror throughout, and for language” and I think that makes about as much sense as we could have expected.

For those who are interested in such bits of trivia, the original The Strangers was rated R for “violence/terror and language” so there you go! Impress your friends with MPAA trivia.

Would The Strangers: Prey at Night getting a PG-13 have affected your enthusiasm for the upcoming film? Let us know below!

The Stranger: Prey at Night is directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) from a script by Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai. It stars Martin Henderson, Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, and Lewis Pullman.

The film hits March 9, 2018.

Synopsis:
A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive. Johannes Roberts directs this horror film inspired by the 2008 smash hit The Strangers.

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Artist Reimagines Superheroes as Tim Burton Illustrations

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The world of Tim Burton has always been full of imagination and wonder built on a surreal and often horrific foundation. Films like Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow capture the imagination with stunning visuals, all based on the mind of the visionary director. Burton’s artwork was also featured in his illustrated poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories.

Burton’s work has not only amazed viewers for over three decades, it’s also been an inspiration to countless artists and creators. Enter Los Angeles-by-way-of-Russia artist and animator Andrew Tarusov, whose work has been used by companies such as Cosmopolitan, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Maxim, and more. In a series he simply calls “Tim Burton’s Superheros”, Tarusov took 10 of the biggest comic book characters and gave them a dark twist that is 100% befitting of Burton’s style.

You can see a gallery of these images below. To see more of Tarusov’s work, head on over to his official website.

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