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This past Friday evening (9/20) we hit the 2013 Eyegore Awards, held in the Globe Theater at Universal Studios Hollywood, CA, and brought back some ocular candy from the carpet as well as extensive video from the show and interviews with several of the night’s principals. Read on!
Paying respect to some of horror’s most venerated players and notable newcomers, the event was hosted by Syfy’s “Face Off’” host McKenzie Westmore, who bestowed (along with presenter Sharon Osbourne) Eyegore Awards to recipients Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath, Melissa McBride of “The Walking Dead,” horror icon Bruce Campbell, Machete actor Danny Trejo, and Insidious and Insidious Chapter 2 producer Jason Blum and writer Leigh Whannell (check out video clips below of their acceptance speeches).
Also at the ceremony and on the carpet were Halloween Horror Nights Creative Director John Murdy; director Darren Lynn Bousman and wife, Laura; Curse of Chucky filmmaker Don Mancini and cast members Fiona Dourif, Maitland McConell, A Martinez and Brennan Elliot; actor Corbin Bernsen; actress Carlee Baker (Lucky McKee’s The Woman); Jack and Kelly Osbourne; Scream actor Jamie Kennedy; Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects) and Lin Shaye (Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2), among others.
“We tend to work on these things like crazy people,” Murdy (sporting his signature The Wolfman cane) told us on the carpet of the event, “and last night I was here until one in the morning, but we’ve been doing that for several weeks. That’s just driven by passion.”
“The event has grown too,” he continued. “We are in a whole new area of the Universal backlot now and on the Metro sets, and for me that’s just fantastic. I love taking people right into the heart of the movie studio. And getting to use a soundstage was incredible. ‘The Black Sabbath: 13 3D’ maze occupies just about every square inch of the place.”
Of the mazes, which in addition to “Black Sabbath: 13 3D” this year include “The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven,” based on AMC’s Golden Globe®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning TV series; “Insidious: Into the Further,” based on the insanely popular film franchise; “Evil Dead: Book of the Dead,” based on Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s remake of the cult classic; and “El Cucuy: The Boogeyman,” which was inspired by the Latin American legend of the titular mythical, shape-shiffting monster, Murdy offered of their licensing of the film properties, “We ending up betting on all of the right bets, basically, because we make these deals before the films come out. We go on our gut instincts, and it worked out really well for us this year. We try to find passion for each and every one of these (attractions), and treat them like our own little demented children.”
Chatting with returning Eyegore Award host McKenzie Westmore (it was her second year, taking over the reins from Corey Feldman), she stated (coiffed and resplendent in a flattering black dress), “I’m so excited to present an award to Ozzy Osbourne! I want to get through the show just so that I can get to that moment!”
Bruce ‘The Chin’ Campbell was on hand as well, looking dapper in a white suit jacket and basking in not only the success of his produced, Fede Alvarez-directed 2013 Evil Dead reimagining, but also in the Halloween Horror Nights maze inspired by it.
“I haven’t had a chance to do a preview walk-through of it, but I’m looking forward to it,” Campbell said of the “Evil Dead: Book of the Dead” attraction.
Of Alvarez’s Evil Dead itself, “It’s nice that some old movie can still capture people’s imagination,” Campbell stated of the remake, which is based on his starring, Sam Raimi-directed 1981 film The Evil Dead.
“That’s what you want as a filmmaker,” he continued, …to make something that’s not going to be forgotten in like an hour. So for whatever reason we are fortunate that people still enjoy those movies, in whatever their version, and if they want more, we’ll give them more.”
Querying him on plans for an Evil Dead follow-up, Campbell said, “We don’t know. We didn’t have a big, long-term plan for The Evil Dead movies. There’s not a catalog for what’s next. It wasn’t like the Star Wars thing.”
On whether we’ll see a return of ‘Ash,’ the character made famous by Campbell in The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992), he stated with a laugh, “He might come back. Never say ‘never.’ We got to get Sam Raimi to first stop making the biggest movies in Hollywood though. It’s a little tough to get him to come back to his horror roots when you tell him he’ll only have thirty millions dollars to make it.”
Insidious series actress Lin Shaye chatted with us on the carpet and riffed on the recent and wild success of director James Wan’s Insidious Chapter 2 (it raked in $41 million opening weekend) as well as the narrative expansion of her character, ‘Elise Rainier.’
“There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for James,” stated Shaye, whose film credits are too lengthy to list, of her Insidious series director.
“He’s just an extraordinary person and an extraordinary artist to be around,” Shaye expounded, “because he opens up the world not just to himself, but to the actors, and I was ecstatic that he gave me the opportunity with the first film, because it was the kind of role I’d never done before first of all, and that he trusted me with that amount on dialogue. And it was written so beautifully. I didn’t feel the need to change one word that Leigh (Whannell) wrote. You know, sometimes as an actor you’ll have an idea, but with Leigh’s words, he writes what he means, and it’s all so beautifully laid out in terms of completing a thought, that you can’t skimp on it. So I really felt very fortunate, and also for the fact that they trusted me enough to bring me back for the second one. It was challenge for them to figure out where I belonged, but I guess they figured it out!”
Writer Whannell (who burst onto the scene with the 2004 genre hit Saw) stated of penning Insidious Chapter 2, and of what fans can expect in the announced third in the series, “I was pretty comfortable in writing the second one. I think with the third one we may have to move on from the ‘Lambert’ family. I think their story has been told, but I think that Lin would definitely have to be featured (in the third). She’s sort of the connective tissue. So I only just started thinking about what the third one will be about today, but I think with the whole universe of ‘The Further’ that there’s a lot you can pull from, and a lot of different stories you can tell.”
“Tonight is the first time I’m going through the completed maze,” Whannell stated of the Halloween Horror Nights attraction “Insidious: Into the Further.” ”I’ve been through the mock-ups, like, ‘We’re building it! Now it’s a little more done! Now we have the lights working!’ But tonight’s the first time I’m going through the actual shit-show, and it’s going to be great!”
Jason Blum, producer of the Insidious series, stated of the HHN maze which his films inspired, <“It’s very fun to be in a room and talk about a film that we started years ago, and then to see it turned into a maze is really, really cool, especially because the movie was so low-budget, and everyone thought it was going to be an after-thought. It’s very satisfying!”
Curse of Chucky filmmaker Don Mancini, also in attendance, arrived to the carpet with a ‘Chucky’ in tow (in this case, a little person in full sinister ‘Good Guy’ garb), and discussed with us his thoughts on his written and directed return to his ‘killer’ doll’ franchise (the flick releases to Blu-ray and DVD on October 8th via Universal).
“I’m really proud of it!” stated Mancini, who originated the series with his scripted, Tom Holland-directed feature Child’s Play in 1988.
“Our mission was to make Chucky scary again,” he offered. “That’s what fans have been asking for, for a few years now, so that’’s what we were trying to do. It seems like we’ve succeeded. At the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal we won the ‘Audience Award’ for ‘Best Film,’ so it seems like people like it.”
On the casting of series actor Brad Dourif’s daughter, Fiona Dourif, as the lead, Mancini stated, “It was very bizarre because a lot of people asked, ‘Did Brad demand that?’ And the answer is ‘no’, she just auditioned. I knew Fiona over the years as she was growing up, and knew that she’d become an actress, and when she came in and read, she just blew us away. At first I resisted a little because I thought that [it would be seen] for the wrong reasons, like, ‘It’s Brad’s daughter and that casting would be a really cool story,’ but have you seen the movie? She’s just really great.”
As for the future of the killer plastic tyke, “I’m definitely up for it,” said Mancini. “I mean, the final verdict is always rendered by the audience, but yeah, absolutely, I have another idea, and I’d really like to do another one with Fiona, which is not to give away anything! She doesn’t necessarily live or die (in Curse of Chucky)! I mean, if she does, I could bring her back as a spirit or something!”
Curse of Chucky actors Maitland McConell and Brennan Elliot riffed on the flick as well.
“It’s an honor, and I was really excited,” offered McConnell. “One of the things that I was really impressed with in terms of its production was that when we got to the set in Wiinepeg last year, all of the interiors and set decoration were just beautiful.”
“It looked really scary and really lent itself to every camera angle,” said the actor.
“With the character of Chucky…” he continued, “I have all of the Child’s Play movies, so I’ve been a bit of a fan and maybe because of that I’m biased, but you know when you watch a horror movie and there’s like seven or eight big scares in it? Curse of Chucky is two straight hours of discomfort. It’s just not comfortable, and it’s all ruled by this little man.”
“Yes, I’m really excited about how it turned out,” mirrored McConell. “I think it’s like a horror film caught in the middle of a family drama, given the tone. It’s not a cheap thrill. It’s well thought-out and well produced and beautifully shot. Fans are going to love it.”
Speaking with genre vet Bill Moseley on the carpet, we asked the prolific actor about his recent and current projects, of which he produced a list from his pocket.
“I wanted to get all of the names of the directors right,” Moseley explained, who recently wrapped the horror flick Old 37, in which he stars opposite Friday the 13th legend Kane Hodder.
“We play two brothers who drive around in a beat-up old ambulance, and listen to the police scanner in order to show up at accidents before the real ambulance (arrives, in order to exact revenge on a group of careless teen drivers),” he stated of the Christian Winters-directed flick.
Other horror features Moseley has recently completed include Sean Haitz’s Big Top Evil, director Devon Mikolas’ House of the Witchdoctor (in which he stars opposite The Devil’s Rejects actress Leslie Easterbrook), John Schnieder’s Smothered (in which he teams again with Kane Hodder and R.A. ‘Leatherface’ Mihailoff), and filmmaker Dom Franklin’s The Church (in which Moseley plays a preacher in a haunted parish).
“I play a good pastor,” quipped Moseley. “Because I grew up in the Midwest and used to hang out in a pasture.”
Actress Carlee Baker, known for her turns in the horror films Wicked Lake and Lucky McKee’s The Woman (and also to Dread Central readers as one of our ‘Horror Startlets,’ who raise money yearly for Los Angeles women struggling with breast cancer), made an appearance as well to riff on her recently-wrapped feature comedy Bro, What Happened? in which she stars opposite Scream star Jamie Kennedy.
“Jamie was so fun and so funny,” stated Baker. “It was really great to get to work with someone who has been in the business as long as he has because he had so much knowledge and the kind of off-the-cuff improv talent that can only come from someone who’s a seasoned pro.”
As for her upcoming horror projects, Baker filled us in on Monster School, the horror feature penned by Leonard McLeod and T. Michael she’s slated to star in alongside horror faves Tony Todd, Doug Jones and Clare Kramer.
“Monster School is such a unique project and extremely ambitious in its many planned forms of media,” Baker told us. “It will first be released as a series of graphic novels, followed by an animated series, a feature film, and eventually, a series of educational interactive games. The graphic novels are in production right now, and we plan on beginning the animated series this winter, followed by the feature next summer. I play ‘Nikki Baker,’ the captain of the cheerleading squad and the girl you just love to hate. All the boys want to date me, and all the girls want to be me, but I’m the quintessential ‘mean girl’ who prefers to have minions over friends. There’s nothing more fun than playing that kind of character.”
As the packed carpet wound to an end, we headed inside the Globe Theater for the Eyegore Awards, open bar and catered cuisine, before being set loose in the park for the kick-off of Halloween Horror Nights (expect a review here soon).
More info on “Halloween Horror Nights” is available at Halloween Horror Nights.com. Updates from Creative Director John Murdy can be found on Twitter, as he reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information.
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