Exclusive: Derek Lee and Clif Prowse Talk Afflicted and More - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Derek Lee and Clif Prowse Talk Afflicted and More



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Exclusive: Derek Lee and Clif Prowse Talk Afflicted and MoreAfter winning Best Picture in the Horror Features category at this year’s Fantastic Fest and screening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center during the Scary Movies 7 series, Derek Lee and Clif Prowse are experiencing great success with their kinetic first feature Afflicted.

Centered on two friends who embark on a trip around the world, video logs turn into a documentary when Derek begins to transform into something not entirely human after being bitten by a kinky French girl. Both playing themselves to add realism, Clif and Derek film each other in order to have evidence of the horrific evolution that Derek is experiencing. Both Derek and Clif sat down with Dread Central in New York City to talk about Afflicted (review) and why something like it has never really been seen before in the world of horror.

DC: Are you both getting tired of the movie being referred to as found footage? It’s not really, but is the association with that subgenre something that’s helping you? Fans either love them or hate them, usually.

DL: We don’t mind it because it’s a shorthand for people to understand the style in which the movie was shot. You’re right; it isn’t really found footage. We wanted to make sure this film, storywise, was put together. The fact that it’s edited is actually a story point and it’s edited by the characters for a very specific reason. By taking that documentary, found footage style and then using it to depict – let’s call it ‘the creature’ for our purposes right now that’s used in this movie – in a realistic way, which is actually quite different than the way you usually see that creature which is normally in a super-cinematic style. We thought that was going to be really exciting. If you actually shot this movie as a conventional movie, I don’t think it’s nearly as effective as it is as a documentary.

CP: The only time that I get a little miffed about people calling us found footage is when people dismiss the film out-of-hand because they think it’s found footage. I feel like that’s just too judgmental too quickly.

DC: Is the mythology you’ve started with Afflicted something you’d like to expand on in another film?

DL: The things that we draw upon are very traditional ideas and then we took a spin on it that felt a little bit more modern; a little bit more realistic and biological. When we’re talking about the creature involved, it’s a very sexy, sensually oriented thing and we wanted to move it away from that and tell it in the context of a buddy movie. In terms of the supernatural elements, there are definitely things we’d like to explore but, having said that, we’re not chomping at the bit to do a sequel just yet!

CP: One of the fun parts about placing it in the documentary style was that we could take the pieces of the mythology that we liked. If this happened in reality, what would it look like? We could take something like the need to feed on blood and then take out the stuff like reflections in mirrors and crosses.

DC: For the record, Derek, I think you were very sexy at least up until the vomiting scene.

DL: Thank you very much.

DC: Can you talk about the design process around the body camera rig? You were really able to shoot dynamic action set pieces without “shaky cam”.

DL: Full credit goes to a guy named Sean Arden who designed our chest rig, our “strap-on”. It was based on a traditional older-style stunt harness and then he bolted on a plastic chest plate that would then hook on to the camera. It was really a conceit that we wanted so that our filmmakers could keep on filming even when things go crazy and the action would demand you put down the camera. It allowed us the excuse to keep filming during the action. It’s a bit of a tongue-in-cheek thing so you get to see what happens next.

CP: In terms of the design, one of the coolest things was that it was like being Bruce Wayne because we’d come in with these sketches and [Sean Arden] would come in and re-design it, so you definitely felt like Bruce Wayne at that point.

DC: The sequences in the film are really thrilling at times. How long did those scenes take to shoot? Were there a lot of multiple takes and technical problems?

DL: Actually, that’s a really good question. You know the scene at the end?

DC: Yes.

DL: It was really ambitious given how little resources and time and toys we had to play with but, amazingly, in spite of it basically needing to be a four-minute, feels-like-one-shot scene, we were delighted when it just kind of came together. Getting all the wipes, working with the special effects team, it actually all worked out really, really well. Where it got really complicated was when you’re trying to get an emotional honesty out of your actors when they’re both directors and both holding the camera. That can really throw you off as a director, but getting the action beats was just a ton of fun.

CBS Films will release Afflicted sometime during the new year, most likely.


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Graham Humphreys Reveals His Poster For An American Werewolf In London



Graham Humphreys continues to cement his position as one of the top horror artists in the business with his stunning new poster for An American Werewolf in London. This piece was created as a private commission, and fans of John Landis’ 1981 classic are going to love it. You can view the final design of this incredible poster below.

Final design with text.

Graham also provided us with a detailed statement about the creation of the piece, along with a bunch of screen grabs taken throughout the process. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can see how the final image looks before the text was added. In case you missed it earlier, you can also check out our extended interview with Graham here.

Exclusive Statement from Graham Humphreys
As a commercial artist and illustrator, there is only limited scope to make a job entirely your own – so with each project you are answering a brief in order to fulfill the needs of a client. Of course, the client may choose to give you free reign, though this is with the understanding that you are acknowledging their needs and thus expected to work within certain unspoken parameters. Mostly, these confines are defined by how a product is to be sold, licensing instructions and an understanding a market. With this in mind, the client is paying and thus nominally always right… though it would be unprofessional not to make them aware that other options might work better for them!

Without these commercial constraints, a private commission can remove the barriers because no market is to be met and there is only the artist and the private client to answer to. Creating a poster for a familiar and heavily licensed title is an entirely different prospect if it is not going to be generating money in the public domain and is thus essentially ‘fan art’. Unlike say, a T-shirt company ripping off someone elses art and charging money for the printed image, or perhaps a poster reproduced without permission by either the license owner or artist, then sold for profit.

Here, Dread Central have asked me to talk through one such commission, ‘An American Werewolf in London’, painted as a private commission for an individual that wishes to own a unique image that they themselves have made happen. NB: All likenesses and specific imagery (including the title and names etc) are subject to license and copyright and not for any use other than as examples of a work in progress (and of course, all rights are reserved!). Just need to make sure that it absolutely clear!

The client had commissioned two previous posters from me (as well as numerous poster designs from fellow artists), so a basic understanding of expectations had already been established.

My work begins by watching the film from beginning to end – to re-establish my own connection to the film (if one already exists). I saw ‘An American Werewolf in London’ (in London!) on it’s first run and the proximity to many of the locations (Tottenham Court Road tube station, Piccadilly Circus, being the obvious ones) made it instantly impressionable for me. Existing posters, in particular the official theatrical versions and various home-entertainment sleeves, focused on a limited image pool. My job was to find new ways of representing the film, free of the past baggage, but also to listen to my clients requirements.

Looking for a fresh perspective means avoiding the familiar stills that have defined the past marketing, this is achieved by making screen grabs from the DVD or blu-ray. As with most commercial jobs, I generally make a selection of about 40 images, then review these reducing the number to about 15 that have the best narrative potential, including a good visual range of actor expressions and reactions. My client required the Werewolf, London references, the moors, David and Jack, a full moon and the ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ pub sign… then whatever else I chose to include.

On the basis of the selected screen grabs, I make necessary light and contrast adjustments in photoshop, make them greyscale (removing the distraction of colour) and print them out at a size I can easily trace in pencil onto paper. All the pencil sketches are then scanned into photoshop, so that I can rearrange, resize and move around in order to determine the best layout, one which tells a story and has a visual impact. (I find it’s better to present sketched layouts rather than a photocomp’s, partly because the photographic material is usually of varying quality, but also because a pencil rough is more fluid and does not dictate the final impression).

Selected screen grabs.

Selected screen grabs 2.

My first idea involved a portrait of David looking lost and frightened (I felt this was essential to the story), the Werewolf with it’s head bursting through the cinema shutters/signage (the idea of breaking the fourth wall), the decomposing Jack (a perfect metaphor for David’ s own life falling apart), his nightmare of the home invasion (one of the most effective and horrific moments in the film, I felt), plus Brian Glover’s ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ local – a look that defines rednecks and racists the word over when confronted by ‘other’!). I also wanted to add the tube attack victim to open up the carnage. Although Jenny Agutter’s nurse added the romantic dimension for an audience that expects the convention, I wanted to concentrate on David’s story, so chose to only include her face as if she were painted on the shutters, ie. a film poster element.

I was surprised that the client didn’t want the home invasion creatures, nor the reference to the sleazy cinema hordings (which I thought made a good location gag – obviously not!), they also did not want the rotting Jack. It was disappointing to lose these great horror elements, especially as they’d particularly wanted ‘horror’! But a compromise was reached by including the transformation scene at the bottom, and reinstating the moors (which I’d thought unnecessary).

Fortunately, my second sketch was well received and the painting could commence.

On the basis of the selected screen grabs, I make necessary light and contrast adjustments in photoshop, make them greyscale (removing the distraction of colour) and print them out at a size I can easily trace in pencil onto paper. All the pencil sketches are then scanned into photoshop, so that I can rearrange, resize and move around in order to determine the best layout, one which tells a story and has a visual impact. (I find it’s better to present sketched layouts rather than a photocomp’s, partly because the photographic material is usually of varying quality, but also because a pencil rough is more fluid and does not dictate the final impression).

Once I have my sketch approved I reintroduced the photographic source material over the sketched parts, so that my layout remains exactly as approved and so that I’ll have the best possible likenesses to trace onto the watercolour paper.

Early sketched elements.

I usually have a basic idea of what colours I’m going to use. In this instance I knew that I wanted a silvery blue moonlight to bathe the entire image, but also the contrast of the orange glow of artificial lighting, the pub and cinema foyer. I knew the big splash of red in the wolf’s jaw would jump out, becoming the focal point. This painting took about three days to complete, the sketch process (including the grabs) about a day upfront.

Composition design.

The final painting was scanned and all the text added in photoshop.

My client will now make a full size poster print, to be framed, from the file I send him. Next up, ‘The Thing’!

Final painting before text was added.

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Syfy Renews Z Nation for a 5th Season; Season 4 Finale Airs Tonight!



Syfy’s popular zombie series “Z Nation” just keeps shambling on, and tonight the two-episode Season 4 finale, “Mt. Weather/The Black Rainbow,” airs. If you’re a fan of the show, we have good news for you… it’s not over yet as David Latt of The Asylum has announced on Twitter the pickup of “Z Nation” for a 5th season! So you can expect lots more adventures with the gang in 2018.

Below is the official word from David along with a brief synopsis of what’s ahead tonight in the finale, which kicks off at 9/8c.

In the mind-bending two-hour Season 4 finale, Warren and the team must stop Zona from launching operation Black Rainbow, which will cleanse the landscape of both zombies and humans. In Part 2 the secret of Warren’s Black Rainbow dream is unlocked when they reach their final destination. The cast includes Kellita Smith as Roberta Warren, Keith Allan as Murphy, Russell Hodgkinson as Doc, Nat Zang as 10K, Gracie Gillam as Sgt. Lilley, DJ Qualls as Citizen Z, Ramona Young as Kaya, Justin Torrence as President Donald Trump, Michael Berryman as The Founder, Micheal Daks as Mr. Sunshine, Anastasia Baranova as Addy, Sydney Viengluang as Sun Mei, Joseph Gatt as The Man, and Natalie Jongjaroenlarp as Red.

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First Look at Chris Alexander’s Space Vampire



Who says all vampires have to be all extra-broody or sparkly or take up residence in Transylvania? Certainly not indie filmmaker Chris Alexander, who has just unveiled the first images and posters for his latest foray into film, Space Vampire!

The movie stars Ali Chappell as a beautiful female alien parasite who falls to earth with an intent to drain women of their life forces. As if women don’t have enough problems in this day and age!

Alexander wrote, directed, edited, filmed, and even provided the score for this intergalactic terror tale. Talk about a jack of all trades, eh?

Enough talk! Dig in!

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