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Exclusive: Alexa Vega Talks Machete Kills and More!

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Rarely has a woman looked so unbelievably hot in a movie than Alexa Vega does in Machete Kills. The outfits she wears throughout the film are practically non-existent, and something comparable to them isn’t found easily…

But if you’re a fan of Robert Rodriguez, you probably won’t have to look much further than the girls of Sin City. Vega initially wanted to don fishnets and a revolver in that film, but instead she appears as the fiery hooker KillJoy in Machete Kills. Don’t worry, though; you might just be seeing her in A Dame To Kill For if she gets her way – and she probably will.

DC: I know this has been kind of taxing with all the press, but at least you’re at the end of the roller coaster since the movie’s about to come out.

AV: It’s so awesome though; I’m really excited. It kind of doesn’t get old talking about this movie. It’s so different than anything I’ve done before. So the excitement is still there.

DC: You were in Austin, right? I was just there for Fantastic Fest but didn’t get a chance to talk to you. You must have had a blast at the premiere. That audience is great to see the film with.

AV: Heck yeah, and I’ve always loved Dread Central; you guys have been really good to me.

DC: We’re fond of you as well. You know, at Fantastic Fest they showed a secret screening of The Green Inferno, Eli Roth’s new one. Daryl Sabara [Spy Kids] practically shows his penis almost getting bit by a tarantula, and you’re wearing next to nothing in Machete Kills. Is this a way for both of you to say you aren’t kids anymore?

AV: Like brother, like sister! We’ve been trying to kind of make that transition for a while now, and it’s funny that it’s kind of happening at the same time.

DC: Had you been looking to do something more risque for a while?

AV: More like slowly trying to change people’s image of me, and it just so happened that this character came up – and I had to work hard for it. It wasn’t something that Robert [Rodriguez] really wanted me to play. When you see me grow up in front of your eyes, it’s kind of tough to change that Spy Kid image. But I was very fortunate to have people that were supportive even if it took awhile to convince them. It’s tough; you don’t want to alienate your audience or offend anyone.

DC: Even though you don’t have a starring role in the movie, I have a feeling that a lot of guys are going to remember you in that outfit. Did you feel comfortable on set? Are you ready for that kind of attention? Is this about as edgy as you wanna go, you think?

AV: I’ve always kept it really neutral… even in this movie I did called Repo! The Genetic Opera, it’s such a dark world but my character was still the lightest character in this dark world. So I’ve always kind of played the lighter characters. You know, so something like this is certainly different. It’s not the only thing I want to do. I definitely want to keep my career colorful; I want to keep people guessing. I don’t want to only play that, like, crazy, chap-wearing, gun-carrying girl; but it’s still fun changing it up. But it certainly was different taking on the role of KillJoy and I had to have a confidence that I’ve never really had before and I had to be very comfortable and just own it. It was a little scary at first, but I knew that if I showed any kind of hesitation that Robert would have sent me packing. He would have sent me home and said, ‘You’re not ready to do this.’ So, more than anything it was me proving myself.

DC: You mentioned Repo!. How often are you still approached about the Genetic Opera? That film definitely still has it’s fans. Would you do another musical?

AV: It really depends on the musical, but as far as Repo! goes, I would come back for a Repo! sequel in a heartbeat. We’ve all wanted Repo! to happen again. It was such a fun group of people and everyone worked so hard. It was such a different film for me and the fans have never been more invested in anything I’ve done. Repo! just has the most incredible and loyal fans around. It’s like Rocky Horror Picture Show; it’s been pretty amazing.

DC: Maybe we’ll see you in Sin City 2. I know originally you were kind of gunning to appear in the first one and you ended up getting in Machete Kills, but maybe we’ll see you in A Dame To Kill For.

AV: You know what? I hope so. Fingers crossed all around.

DC: What’s funny is that Danny [Trejo] was your uncle in Spy Kids and now you’re trying to kill him in Machete Kills. That has to be a lot more fun, I imagine, even though you guys must still feel like family.

AV: It’s so funny. I mean, it’s not like one is more fun than the other. We’ve all grown up together, so as long as we get to work all together like a family, we’re happy. But it is kind of funny because he is Uncle Machete in Spy Kids and just Machete in this movie, which is interesting. It makes you wonder if KillJoy is actually Carmen Cortez undercover.

DC: Right, I like that. Can you compare the experience of working at Troublemaker Studios with Robert to studio films and other directors? I think you were only eleven on Spy Kids. Did you think that all directors were like this and that this is how every movie was made?

AV: No, I was very fortunate. I started when I was four. I’ve worked with a bunch of different directors but I remember walking into the audition for Spy Kids and Mary Vernieu, our casting director, said, ‘This is Robert, the director.’ And I said, ‘You’re not the director! You’re too young and cool.’ He was wearing a bandana and a really cool watch and he started laughing. We had a whole conversation about how he wasn’t what I knew directors as, and still to this day, he will never be like any other director. He’s not necessarily the rule follower. He likes to start his own trends. His movies are so stylized in that Rodriguez way. Very different.

DC: With the El Rey television network that Robert now is a part of, have you guys talked at all about you doing something for El Rey? Would you be into a television series like that that Robert is involved with?

AV: We have a few little tricks up our sleeve.

DC: Cool. Is that all you can say?

AV: It’s all she can say; I’m sorry!

DC: With you and Sofia [Vergara] and Vanessa Hudgens and the whole group of Desdemona’s women, there’s kind of a throwback to films like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. But Russ Meyer… I think those films felt a little more exploitative and the women in Robert’s movie seem to be a little more empowered.

AV: Absolutely. All of Robert’s women, down to the characters that are supposed to be the weakest ones, are still so confident and fighters. I think that’s a testament to how Robert grew up. He grew up with a bunch of sisters, and I think they would kill him if he ever showed a weak woman in one of his films.

DC: That sounds like my Mom. Being around Robert and knowing Troublemaker Studios so well, do you eventually want to direct yourself? Is that something you’ve thought about?

AV: Absolutely. Robert has been my biggest supporter and has truly pushed me along to do things that I never even thought I was capable of. He keeps telling me that I have to direct. He said I have to, so I guess that means I have to.

DC: I’m assuming we’ll be seeing more of you, well, given your outfit in this I’m not sure that’s possible, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing you in Machete Kills In Space?

AV: I sure hope so. I would love to get back together with this group. They’re crazy and I love it. It’s a wild wide and we’re not taking ourselves seriously.

Machete Kills is directed by Robert Rodriguez (Machete, Sin City, Spy Kids franchise) from a screenplay by Kyle Ward based on a story by Marcel Rodriguez and Robert Rodriguez. The film stars Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Carlos Estevez/Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Demián Bichir, Alexa Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding, Jr., William Sadler, Marko Zaror, and Mel Gibson.

Synopsis:
In Machete Kills, Danny Trejo returns as ex-Federale agent Machete, who is recruited by the President of the United States for a mission which would be impossible for any mortal man – he must take down a madman revolutionary and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has hatched a plan to spread war and anarchy across the planet.

Machete Kills

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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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Summary

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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