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Contracted: Exclusive Interview with Star Najarra Townsend

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Contracted: Exclusive Interview With Star Najarra TownsendOn November 22nd Eric England’s new film Contracted (review) arrived in limited theaters and VOD outlets (including iTunes, Xbox, PlayStation, Amazon Instant Video, GooglePlay, SundanceNow, and more) via IFC Midnight, and we got a chance to speak with the film’s star, Najarra Townsend.

Dread Central: Eric told me that you are quite a trooper considering all the makeup and everything you had to go through. Can you tell me a little bit about what that process was like for you, having to sort of do your thing without being able to see?

Najarra Townsend: We luckily had an amazing special effects artist. She just made everything comfortable. I feel like this could have been a disaster for my face, but luckily she was awesome. I just found it to be really fun. I mean, there were challenges that came with it, [but] even the not seeing kind of helped with my character… (laughter) It kind of threw off my equilibrium so everything was a little dizzy, and it all just kind of worked, thank God.

DC: Using the word “fun” in connection with a movie like this sounds really odd… but what was the most fun thing on a professional level when you did this film, in such a short amount of time?

NT: Really the whole experience was so amazing. Every day was just so fun. Samantha is going through such hell and has so many emotions that she is just shoving down, it sounds like it would be, I don’t know, a rough experience; but it was just amazing and really fun.

DC: What did you think when you first read the script?

A: When I first read the script, I was really just excited. It was a new take on something we see so much in TV shows and movies, and this just felt so exciting. When I read it, I was excited. I thought it would be challenging, fun, and I never worked with special effects like this so it was really appealing to me. And reading it I got literally nauseous towards the end. (laughter) If it read on page this well, I just felt it would be a great film. I was just really excited.

DC: Did you want any input on your character, or did you feel like it was pretty much on the page? Was it a collaborative experience with Eric? I am kind of curious because you do bring her to life. She is, if you think about it, a stock character, but there is a little bit of twist to her.

NT: What Eric put on the page was great to work from, but I definitely tried to… I mean, I gave her a back story and I definitely worked on her layers… ’cause you don’t want to watch somebody, like a girl that seems miserable, deteriorate. You want to see the struggle she is going through because it is so much on her shoulders. So it definitely was collaborative. We would sit down and talk about Sam during certain scenes to talk about why this is happening, and it was an awesome process.

DC: Can you talk a little bit about your co-stars? Because even though you do carry the whole film, there is a lot of great support there.

NT: Yeah, definitely. We had Caroline Williams as my mom, who is just such an amazing, vibrant personality; working with her was really fun and like a good learning experience. She always had something wise to say, which is awesome. My rehearsal process was pretty much with her, which was needed since she was plying my mom, that was really fun. Matt Mercer, who plays Riley, is actually how I got involved with this film. I worked with him in 2009 and stayed friends so that was awesome to work with him. Yeah, everybody like fell in love with each other, so it was the best experience.

DC: Are you a fan of horror films?

NT: Of course, I love horror films. They are like the best. Every time there is a horror movie in theaters, I have to see it just because I feel like everyone likes being scared – it’s uncontrollable. (laughter)

DC: Horror has had a really great renaissance this year, in the box office especially. The Conjuring and The Purge come to mind. So is this a genre you would like to continue in and explore?

NT: Yeah, definitely. Horror is just always fun. The first feature that I ever did I was ten and a horror movie. So I feel like it has really just given me so much, I want to give back. And it’s always fun to play these roles, they have so much emotions going on and I like to be emotional on screen. So yeah, I definitely want to keep doing horror.

DC: And what is your next project that we can look forward to seeing you in?

NT: It’s actually not a horror movie. I just wrapped a feature called the Toy Soldiers, and it’s set in the 80’s. It’s a drama; you will probably hear about it a year from now. They are going to be doing post-production for about a year. It’s definitely much different than Contracted. But it was a good experience.

Synopsis:
Contracted tells the terrifying tale of a young girl who has a one-night stand with a stranger, contracting what she thinks is a sexually transmitted disease, but it is actually something far worse. As things begin to crumble around her, she’s sent on a disturbing and bloodcurdling journey, sure to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

The film is directed by Eric England (MADISON COUNTY) and features a who’s who of horror film and television thesps including Najarra Townsend (2005’s hit indie ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW, “90210”), Caroline Williams (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, HATCHET III, “NIP/TUCK”), celebrated horror force Simon Barrett (V/H/S, ABCS OF DEATH, YOU’RE NEXT), Charley Koontz (“COMMUNITY,” RUBBER), Dave Holmes (“RENO: 911”), and Ruben Pla (INSIDIOUS), amongst others.

Contracted

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Michael Bay Adapting Duke Nukem with John Cena in Talks For Lead Role

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I think we can all agree that this may very well be one of those times when we see an announcement and go, “Huh… That actually makes 100% sense and I’m completely behind it!”

It’s been announced that the classic FPS shooter series Duke Nukem is getting a film adaptation out of Paramount with Platinum Dunes, the company owned by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller, producing the movie. As of now, there is no script but the plan is to have WWE superstar John Cena taking on the lead role. As of now, it’s still in early stages but this is actually very exciting news as this combination seems like a match made in heaven.

Just think about some of Bay’s films, like Transformers, Bad Boys, The Rock, The Island, etc… Now imagine that kind of gleeful explosive action as the backdrop for Cena to kick untold amounts of alien ass. For those who worry that Bay won’t go hard enough in terms of violence or offensive language, don’t forget that both Bad Boys films as well as Pain & Gain were rated R for very good reasons.

Duke Nukem was originally released back in 1991 in the self-titled game made by Apogee Software. The character has since been in multiple sequels, although there are only four titles to the main storyline, and spin-offs as well as appearing in cameos in other games such as Death Rally, Blood, Serious Sam 2, Balls of Steel and can be seen in the trailer for Ready Player One. Nukem’s last video game appearance was 2011’s Duke Nuke Forever, a game that went through countless delays only to be met with critical panning upon release.

Horror fans who have played Duke Nukem will recognize many of the character’s iconic one-liners as being lifted from several horror films. Quotes from They Live, Army of Darkness, Aliens, Predator, Jaws, Full Metal Jacket, Evil Dead 2, and many more. The references were littered throughout and many delighted in their homages. However, Bruce Campbell wasn’t a fan when asked about the game back in 1999. He told IGN, “…they’re rip-off artists. Let them get their own damn material. It’s called hiring a writer.” [Source].

That being said, how cool would it be if Campbell made an appearance in the film to put Cena’s Duke Nukem in his place should he use one of those quotes? Apart from being a treat for fans of the games, it’d be a great moment in a film that’s meant to be chock full of bravado, machismo, and strong chins!

Coming back to Platinum Dunes’ adaptation, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this project! In the meanwhile, why not tell us your favorite Duke Nukem moment in the comments!

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Ellen Page and The Cured Come Home to VOD

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We’ve been talking about the new zombie flick starring Ellen Page entitled The Cured for quite some time now, and we’ll soon be able to sink our teeth into it courtesy of IFC Films.

The flick stars Page (Juno, Hard Candy), Sam Keeley (Anthropoid, In the Heart of the Sea), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Avengers: Infinity War, The Infiltrator), and Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games trilogy, “Ray Donovan”) and is directed and written by David Freyne in his first feature film. Look for it in theaters and On Demand on February 23, 2018​.

Synopsis:
What happens when the undead return to life? In a world ravaged for years by a virus that turns the infected into zombie-like cannibals, a cure is at last found and the wrenching process of reintegrating the survivors back into society begins. Among the formerly afflicted is Senan (Sam Keeley), a young man haunted by the horrific acts he committed while infected. Welcomed back into the family of his widowed sister-in-law (Ellen Page), Senan attempts to restart his life—but is society ready to forgive him and those like him? Or will fear and prejudice once again tear the world apart? 

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#Brainwaves Episode 74 Guest Announcement: Creature Designer Mike Hill – The Shape of Water and More!

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We’re getting monstrous on Episode 74 of Brainwaves Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio as joining us will be award-winning artist, filmmaker, and creature designer Mike Hill, whose work you can see right now in a little film called The Shape of Water.

Join us this coming Wednesday, January 24th, at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

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Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC using the hashtag #BrainWaves. You can also check us out on our Brainwaves Discord channel!

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at UncleCreepy@dreadcentral.com with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

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