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Screamfest 2013: Second Wave of Films Announced

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Screamfest 2013: Second Wave of Films AnnouncedWe’re inching ever closer to this year’s Screamfest, the biggest and longest running horror film festival in the country. Read on for plot rundowns of the second wave of films that will be premiering at the event!

From the Press Release
Screamfest, premiering films from around the world, takes place October 8-17 at the Laemmle NoHo 7 (5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601).

Next Wave Screening Highlights at Screamfest 2013:
Chimeres (Switzerland) – Directed by Olivier Beguin – While taking a holiday in Romania with his girlfriend Livia, Alexandre is hit by a car. He is hospitalized and has to undergo a blood transfusion. On his return he seems to suffer from a strange disease. US Premiere

The Dead 2: India (UK) – Directed by Howard J Ford & Jon Ford – The eagerly anticipated follow-up to the Ford Brothers’ African set ‘The Dead’, ‘The Dead: India’ move us to the hustle and bustle of India as the outbreak of the walking dead takes hold. An American engineer teams up with a surviving orphan street kid to trek 300 miles across stunning but deadly rural Indian landscapes to the now infested slums of Mumbai to try to save his pregnant girlfriend. The first ever international zombie movie shot in incredible India, ‘The Dead 2 puts the Ford Brothers’ unique vision on a far bigger canvas with breathtaking scope, thrilling action and emotional resonance. US Premiere

Delivery (US) – Directed by Brian Netto – In this unnerving chiller, Kyle and Rachel Massy are a young couple who have agreed to document their first pregnancy for a reality show. During the production, a series of unexplained phenomena start plaguing the couple, eventually derailing the production of the show. Rachel, growing increasingly paranoid, starts to believe that there might be something seriously wrong with their unborn bundle of joy.

The Demon’s Rook (US) – Directed by James Sizemore – A young boy named Roscoe is taken to a world where demons dwell. Raised into manhood by an elder demon, he is taught to master the dark arts. During his training, he accidentally unleashes an ancient race of evil demons. They discover our world and release a nightmarish foray of monsters upon it. Paying homage to its colorful roots and packed full of practical effects, The Demon’s Rook is sure to please. Produced by James Sizemore, Tim Reis, Ashleigh Jo Sizemore & Colin Geddes. LA Premiere

Frost (Iceland) – Directed by Reynir Lyngdal and from the team of Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre – A young couple, physiologist Agla and filmmaker Gunnar, wake up at a glacier drilling camp only to find the camp mysteriously abandoned and their co-workers gone. When searching for the lost team they realize they’re up against an unknown deadly force. US Premiere

The Gauntlet (US) – Directed by Matt Eskandari and Starring Bai Ling – In a sunken castle underneath the earth, five strangers wake. They have no food. No memory. No water. And no way out. They don’t know it yet, but in Hell only their sins can save them. They must organize and band together for the sinister adventure that awaits. US Premiere

Goldberg & Eisenberg (Israel) – Directed by Oren Carmi – Goldberg is a mediocre computer programmer. Eisenberg is an emotionally disturbed thug. Unfortunately, the two cross paths. Goldberg & Eisenberg is the first Israeli urban psychological thriller, and the first dark genre film ever to be approved for production by the Israel film fund. Inspired by the Coen brothers, Polanski, and Park Chan-Wook. Currently in preliminary talks to be remade as a miniseries for a major American cable channel. LA Premiere

Para Elisa (Spain) – Directed by Juanra Fernandez – A student enters a terrifying world of obsession and misery when she answers a job advertisement requesting a nanny. Held prisoner in a house full of antique toys, she must overcome her deranged captors or become a living doll. US Premiere

Savaged (Canada) – Directed by Michael S. Ojeda – While traveling cross-country, Zoe, a lovely deaf mute woman, stumbles on an horrific crime – a gang of rednecks slaughtering two Native American boys. Zoe’s brave attempt to save one of the boys seals her fate. She is captured, raped and left for dead. When an Indian shaman finds her clinging to life in a shallow grave, he attempts to save her – but something goes horribly wrong. The spirit of an ancient Apache warrior takes host of Zoe’s dead body. So now she walks amongst the living, hell-bent on getting revenge. One by one she slaughters the men who brutalized her, while the clock ticks away on her quickly decomposing body. World Premiere

The Seasoning House (UK) – Directed by Paul Hyett – The Seasoning House is where young girls are prostituted to the military, and Angel (Rosie Day), an orphaned deaf mute, is enslaved to care for them. She moves between the walls and crawlspaces, planning her escape. Planning her ingenious and brutal revenge. LA Premiere

Viscera (US) – Directed by Pete DiFolco & Craig DiFolco – In the aftermath of a flesh-eating plague that has wiped out most of humanity, a surviving man and woman face unimaginable horrors when he suddenly becomes infected. Confined to the basement of an abandoned farmhouse, she tends to him as his body rapidly deteriorates over the next four days. But they soon find themselves up against more than just the disease. A crazed infected woman begins to stalk the farmhouse. A suspicious stranger arrives, promising the key to survival. And the only possible cure is an injected drug that slowly drives you insane. World Premiere

Learn more, check out the list of previously announced films, and purchase tickets over on Screamfest’s website!

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?

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Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler


While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can

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It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis


Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

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Summary

Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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