In the upcoming film Vampire Academy (based upon the series of bestselling books by Richelle Mead), Sarah Hyland plays nerdy Natalie, one of the students at the school for fanged folks. Dread Central sat down with Sarah last week, and she told us all about the new movie.
Dread Central: We were just talking about how different you look in this movie. Was that fun for you to transform into this nerdier side?
SH: It was so much fun! I loved it! I thought that because it’s so different from anything that I’ve ever done. You know when you play someone like Hayley, her standards are a lot higher than Natalie’s so I’m always worried like do I have dark circles? Is my hair okay? Do I look pale? Do I have enough blue and contour and all that stupid stuff. But with Natalie I was really able to relax and really focus on the character herself. Whereas with Hayley, that is something she would worry about all the time. So with Natalie it was a lot of fun just being able to go to set just like “whatever! As long as continuity is right!” that’s all that matters.
DC: Were you familiar with the book series? When did you read the book and what was your reaction when your received the script?
SH: I was actually in Baton Rouge for Bonnie & Clyde when I booked it, like less than a week when I flew to London. They were trying to figure out if my schedule would work by the time that we wrapped Bonnie & Clyde. So I literally wrapped Bonnie & Clyde on a Wednesday, I flew to LA on a Thursday, did laundry, we packed and flew to London on Friday. So it was a really fast turnaround for me. I wasn’t able to read the book before we started filming so I was reading it during filming. It was hard to read the book while filming cause you have this image of Natalie with Daniel Waters and I had my own image of Natalie in my own head that I wanted to bring certain things to the table. Then it was hard to incorporate a lot of Richelle’s stuff, even though it’s very close to Daniel’s, but I was kind of too late by the time that I got to some pivotal moments and we were like, “Well, we already shot this so… oh well!”
DC: Did you have to do martial arts training for that one [scene] fighting in a tight dress?
SH: I did training while we were filming. I did training 3 times a week and I also did stunt choreography and fighting and stuff like that. I did not have the privilege to do it 3 months in advance like Zoey did. I wish I did *laughs* but it was a lot of fun! I use to dance when I was younger, like 10 dance classes a week. So I was very active at one point in my life, but then that slowly fleeted away. It was really great to get back into it! It was a lot of fun because stunt fighting is kind of like a dance in its own way so it was really interesting to do that. It was my first time ever doing something like that!
DC: What do you like about her? What did you believe you learned from her?
SH: I love that Natalie does have this unique energy. She brings something very different to the movie than any of the other characters. I think that’s wonderful on Richelle and Daniel’s part because the movie is very comedy-driven with action and romance and it has like everything in it for everybody. But with the comedy, Rose Hathaway is very dry and witty and sarcastic and she has this dark, twisted sense of humor that’s very much like Daniel Waters. Waters is humor and it’s very ‘Heathers’. Natalie is so…all over the place to where it’s this different type of energy. It’s more…I don’t want to say it’s slapstick, but she’s definitely the person that slips on the banana and then get laughs.
DC: What was your high school experience like? Were you a nerd or sporty or anything?
SH: I went to a performing arts school. I’m from New York. We didn’t have a football team or cheerleaders or like the mathletes or anything like that. It was pretty much just a bunch of people who loved theater or dance and just the arts in general. It was a very welcoming high school, granted you’re gonna run into your drama no matter what high school you go to, no matter what. Even if it’s Harvard or Yale, you’re gonna have drama with the smarty pants and stuff. If it’s a musical theater, you’re gonna have drama over who gets the lead or not and that was the most of the drama in our school it’s like who’s trying out for what? Who gets what solo? But we all had similar interests so we were all really good friends and it was a very small school. I had a lot of friends and I was very much a social butterfly but I was also working at the same time so it was hard to keep the social life while doing theater.
DC: There’s a scene in the film where you have to lick a bloody wall. Any fun stories for filming that and what was it, like ketchup or something?
SH: It was um… I probably would’ve liked it better if it was ketchup. I should’ve brought that up… but it was like a corn-starchy concoction. But it was edible and that’s all I really cared about. It wasn’t the worst tasting thing in the world but it’s not like I was like “oh can we do one more take cause I really wanna lick this wall again, it was delicious!”
DC: Was it really gross when you were doing it? Did you put yourself in that mindset where you thought it was blood?
SH: Well…they like blood! They eat it to survive. So that’s like a cheeseburger to them! But I don’t know, the mindset of it was more like “who’s blood is this?” and kind of creepy and stuff. So we actually played it a lot of different ways. Mark was very helpful in playing around with Natalie and how he thought of Natalie so we played it a lot of ways like “this is kind of weird Rose, what are we doing? I’m really kind of creeped out” and then we played it in ways of like “I’m so excited to help! This is awesome!” I’m helping Rose Hathaway, she’s so cool” kind of stuff. It was really interesting to be able to do something like that. I think the hardest for me was the fangs. Acting with fangs was very different.
DC: How many times did you have to lick the wall?
SH: I honestly don’t remember…
DC: Did you go shopping with Zoey and Lucy after all? Cause they said they escaped to shopping a couple times.
SH: Yes, definitely did a lot of shopping in London! That’s the place to shop, like “Be back later, Mark; we’re gonna go to Harrods!” *laughs* We always got the chance to go out to dinner or to have drinks and stuff. We were a very tight-knit cast. We just had a blast whether it was onset or off. And so uhh… I did some damage in the clothing department.
DC: Have you had a chance to see the film?
SH: Not yet. But I’m excited! I see it Tuesday!
DC: I know there’s that one part [in “Modern Family”] where they sent you to college for a while and you had some time off?
SH: Well, that was last season and that was the season before I shot Vampire Academy. Vampire Academy fell perfectly in my hiatus. It was kind of a little bit close to filming the beginning of season 5, but we made it all work and it was a lot of fun. It was my first hiatus where I was really able to do like big films that weren’t just set for a amount of time and I did 3 movies over the summer. I didn’t have any day off. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m a work-a-holic, I need like rehab or something.
DC: Are you into supernatural movies or books? Or maybe fantasy?
SH: I am! I love vampires, I love zombies like so much…
DC: “Walking Dead”?
SH: “Walking Dead”! Yup! Zombieland. Even like cheesy sci-fi zombie apocalypse movies. I love zombies a lot. I really, really do, no matter what. Dawn of the Dead and everything! So yeah I love that but I also like things in the fantasy world like “Game of Thrones” and Harry Potter. I’m a really big nerd when it comes to stuff like that. I love stuff like that. I kind of turn into a boy when it comes to like gooey monsters and everything!
DC: Is there any moment that you couldn’t stop laughing that is kind of the funniest moment that we will see in the gag reel in the DVD?
SH: Oh my gosh. Umm… I don’t know. I’m trying to think… it was always fun, it’s just usually when I film something I completely forget everything after I’m done.
DC: Did you take anything from set?
DC: Did you wear the fangs off set at all?
SH: No, I umm… we had a really fun set. Like I looked particularly scary one day and I went knocking on Dominic’s door. I like hid behind the door so when he opened it up I jumped out and scared him really bad.
DC: He talked about that!
SH: I know! He told me outside and he was like, “People were asking me if there were any pranks pulled on set and I tried to tell them it was about you but it made me look like I was just… a pussy! Because it was just Sarah jumping out saying ‘boo!'” But it was really scary because I looked a certain way.
DC: What was your relationship like with Danila, even though you probably didn’t have as many scenes with him, but did you play around off-set?
SH: Danila is one of those men who is… at first you would think very serious, and very Russian, and just super composed. Then you hang out with him more and he’s the sweetest, funniest person and he’s so wonderful. We’ve had some really great moments like even if we weren’t filming we’d all hang out and everything as much as Danila could because everything was demanding so much on Lucy, Zoey, and Danila. But we had a lot of fun! He’s very playful. I think that’s a good word for him.
DC: What kind of music are you into?
SH: I am into a very wide range of music. I like everything from hip-hop to country and everything in-between.
DC: Have you heard the soundtrack for this yet?
SH: I still haven’t! But I love ‘Spiritual’ by Katy and Iggy Azaleas is an amazing artist. Those are the only two I know.
DC: Do you have a favorite scene or line?
SH: My favorite scene is at the end that I can’t talk about. But I love when Natalie just kind of goes off talking about how no one has ever really seen her naked. Then I don’t know if it made it in the movie or not, but when I’m trying on dresses for prom and I’m coming out in that hideous yellow dress, Zoey goes, or Rose goes, “You look like a device created to torture autistic children” or something like that. And that is just Daniel Waters for you, just like the most twisted sense of humor but it’s just hysterical and you can’t help but laugh at it.
Based on the bestselling book series by Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy will open in theaters on February 7, 2014. It’s directed by Mark Waters, written by Daniel Waters, and stars Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Byrne, Sarah Hyland, Joely Richardson, Cameron Monaghan, Sami Gayle, Claire Foy, and Ashley Charles.
VAMPIRE ACADEMY tells the legend of Rose Hathaway (Deutch) and Lissa Dragomir (Fry), two 17-year-old girls who attend a hidden boarding school for Moroi (mortal, peaceful Vampires) and Dhampirs (half-vampire/half-human guardians). Rose, a rebellious Guardian-in-training and her best friend, Lissa – a royal vampire Princess – have been on the run when they are captured and returned to St. Vladamir’s Academy, the very place where they believe their lives may be in most jeopardy.
Thrust back into the perils of Moroi Society and high school, Lissa struggles to reclaim her status while Rose trains with her mentor and love interest, Dimitri (Kozlovsky), to guarantee her place as Lissa’s guardian. Rose will sacrifice everything to protect Lissa from those who intend to exploit her from within the Academy walls and the Strigoi (immortal, evil vampires) who hunt her kind from outside its sanctuary.
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An Early Draft of Halloween 6 Has Been Released And It’s… Interesting
When Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers premiered in 1995, audiences weren’t particularly enamored… Between the convoluted story line and the numerous rewrites and production cuts, only the most ardent of Halloween fans could be satisfied. Not to say the film was a complete failure — many have warmed up to its charms in recent years, praising the cast and cinematography, as well as for featuring the last great performance from the late Donald Pleasence.
But Halloween 5 and its cliffhanger ending had created many unanswered questions that would be left up to H6 writer Daniel Farrands to address. Who was this mysterious Man in Black? Why did he assist in Michael’s escape? And why do both characters share the same tattoo of an ancient rune symbol, which had not appeared in any of the prior films? With this kind of baggage, it seems Halloween 6 was doomed from the start.
But before Farrands was signed on to write, another script was considered. Penned by Phil Rosenberg, this draft, had it come to fruition, might’ve also been directed by Evil Dead II writer Scott Spiegel… In an interview with Fangoria, Spiegel spoke of this draft as well as of his meeting with Halloween producer Moustapha Akkad. “[Moustapha] was pretty cool. He had some reservations about me, but finally he said, ‘Ok, maybe we’ll use you to do a polish on a script that we’re considering, and then maybe we’ll let you direct it.’ When I read the screenplay, I said, ‘Oh boy.’ It reminded me of a Friday the 13th movie and presented Michael Myers as a homeless person. It was really unfocused and corny, and I just didn’t understand what this homeless element was about.”
As we know, both Spiegel and Rosenberg were dismissed from the project… and despite being a serious contender at one point, a displeased Akkad reportedly tossed Rosenberg’s draft across the room. Spiegel continued, “I really was relieved. The script that we were going to shoot at the time was going to be hard to overcome. And my feeling was that I didn’t need to be the one to make a crummy sequel to what had been a decent series of films.”
Damn… how bad can this script be? Luckily, we just found out! Rosenberg’s draft was recently sold to a fan on eBay, who was gracious enough to share with us! Below, we provide a brief overview… or if you feel compelled, you may read the script for yourself to see what could’ve been Halloween 6!
Titled Halloween 666: The Origin, this draft follows Dana Childress, a young news reporter from Chicago whose dreams are plagued by the midwest’s most notorious serial killer — Michael Myers. With a news crew in tow (including her interest Robert Clifton), Dana reluctantly travels to Haddonfield to get the scoop on the town’s first Halloween celebration in five years. Sound familiar?
It just so happens that original Halloween survivor Tommy Doyle is also at the forefront of this script — here, he is presented as a 29-year-old outcast, obsessed with the boogeyman that tormented his youth… newspaper clippings of Myers’ crimes adorn his walls. That’s… coincidental; another element that made it to the screen (but had first appeared in Dennis Etchison’s Halloween 4 draft, which you can read here).
And yes… Michael Myers is now homeless. He sleeps in dark alley ways and can openly walk through a shelter… Interesting. While Tommy advocates for the ban on Halloween, Dana and Robert venture through the town, making a pit stop at the former home of Lindsey Wallace — another child who survived Michael’s first rampage. She doesn’t appear in the script, having moved to New York after years of therapy… but her parents still reside in the house where Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) discovered the bodies in the original film. Informing the group they were once associates of the Myers family, the couple invites the news crew inside.
While watching home video footage of young Michael, Dana becomes alarmed… his grandmother bears a striking resemblance to her own. Both women also possess the same figurine of a bronze-masked soldier with a spear (a good luck charm in the lore of Samhain?) And with that, the implausible revelation that Dana is Michael’s sister takes shape… This feels rather contrived, with many fans having already lamented the decision to establish a relationship between Laurie and Michael in Halloween II.
Undeniably, the most outlandish aspect of this draft is the virtual reality element… You see, Tommy possesses a VR program — described as a “high tech Ouiji board” — that allows one to see within the netherworld… Taking a few notes from the 3D finale of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare(?), this concept would allow Tommy and Dana to witness flashbacks of the early Samhain festivals, as well as how the Myers family came to be cursed after defying the Gods… Maybe I’m simple minded, but this seems far more confusing than what ended up on screen. Read for yourself and see what you make of it… (although I do feel compelled to reveal that Judith Myers’ desecrated grave is the portal into this netherworld).
It’s an ambitious script alright… one in which the initial setup might’ve had me for a few earlier sequences. Aside from the confusing Samhain and virtual reality elements, Michael also seems to be exploited for comic relief… For example: To reach his targets, our beloved psychopath would’ve been shown as needing to stand on a toilet commode to break through the ceiling… and this is after he shoves a kissing couple out of the bathroom and slams the door shut. To boot, few seem worried about Myers’ return as most are oblivious (and typically laugh off his presence). Because of this, there’s only a few scenes that might warrant real tension. The kills are equally all over the place; at one point, Michael shoves a rat down the throat of a Droog-costumed frat boy. Later, he kills a hockey masked party-goer through use of a beer bong and copious amounts of alcohol…
Regarding those loose ends created by Halloween 5, the Thorn tattoo isn’t explained and there’s only one or two references to the Man in Black character; enough to reveal the identity which should come as a nice shock to fans… It’s Father Carpenter! If this name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because it’s supposed to be the Reverend Sayer character from Halloween 4… here, he is played up for the creeps in a role that I couldn’t help but correlate with Henry Kane from Poltergeist II. Also returning is Ben Meeker, the former sheriff of the previous two films. Like Tommy, he is dismissive of the town’s newfound willingness to celebrate the holiday.
Unfortunately, Dr. Loomis only appears in one scene. He resides within the mental ward of a hospital, possibly by choice considering the phrasing — the good doctor who spent years treating Michael is now back where he started, albeit in a different position… An inspired decision! But here, he simply “passes the torch” to Tommy and this is the last we see of him. Seems like a wasted opportunity.
A notable character who doesn’t make any real appearance is Jamie Lloyd, who, after serving as the protagonist of the previous two films, is simply said to be MIA. We are, however, treated to a brief glimpse of Myers’ niece in the form of a series of rapid shots during the Samhain/virtual reality segment: Surrounded by scattering rats, Jamie screams as she is trapped in a cage made of human bones.
While I’m not in love with many elements of this script, I do think following a news reporter as she travels to Haddonfield would’ve made for a nice starting point. I’ve only given a basic overview so I’d encourage any Halloween fan to read the script for themselves.
Furthermore, I think the existence of this draft (and its criticism among fan circles; my own included) captures the limitations of what a Halloween film is allowed to do. In comparison to the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, the Halloween films have suffered from a creative bankruptcy due to the fact that the original film was grounded in reality. Stray too far and you face the risk of pissing off the fans that would prefer a safer, more traditional route — a sequel/reboot that might amount to nothing more than a reiteration of the original (a film far too simple to really merit a continuing story line unless new ideas are developed). A few months back, I posted an interview with Robert Harders, who shared his original take on Halloween 5… I thought his ideas were great and could’ve made for a unique yet still satisfying entry — however, most fans seemed dismissive.
I do not believe this draft of Halloween 6 should’ve been the way to go… and as hypocritical as my think piece sounds, this upcoming film should be all the more stronger for only referencing the original (in all of its simple glory). But, as with H20, this upcoming film has a hook; and that is Jamie Lee Curtis’ return — that aspect should elevate the story tremendously, but without her presence we’d be back at square one. I would love to see a modern version where Michael stalks babysitters without any references to the previous films… but after that?
Are we limited to tropes such as Halloween… but in a hospital? Halloween… but during an early winter storm? Halloween… but this time, Michael fixates on a male? I guess so… and these are all worthy ideas, might I add… but how long can this series really last? Another forty years? Could the reboot open the doors for Seth Rogen and James Franco Meet Michael Myers? Will the series experience a creative renaissance down the road… in line with the Frankenstein entries released by Hammer Films in the ’70s? The possibilities could be endless… even involving virtual reality perhaps?
With the idea in mind that a fan might become burnt out by watching the same rehashed material, perhaps it’s best that we’ve endured almost ten years between films… When considering this Halloween 6 draft, I think we should be aware of how difficult it can be to create a fresh and groundbreaking entry that would warrant the creator’s time… as well as proving satisfying to all… or most… or even a portion, if lucky. In any case, the upcoming film looks to please and we need not worry for now.
Sulphur for Leviathan to Haunt the Festival Circuit
Last year’s The Temple of Lilith will be receiving a thirteen minute companion piece in the form of Sulphur for Leviathan. Read on for more.
From the Press Release:
Sodom & Chimera Productions has debuted the first trailer and new stills for Sulphur for Leviathan, the 13 minute companion piece to last year’s The Temple of Lilith.
Sulphur for Leviathan is the newest blending of arthouse and horror from experimental filmmaker James Quinn, who proudly stated, “Sulphur for Leviathan is a film that started out purely as an idea of rage. An outcry of anger against the anti-rationalism of the Catholic church, in this case not the more widely discussed controversies such as reoccurring cases of pedophilia and abuse, but rather the many moral codes they like to preach, like the commonly known ‘turn the other cheek’. While that may sound like a rather aggressive reason for a film, it is in its essence nothing but a piece of food for thought, intended to raise some questions about tough moral decisions that would be executed in a vastly different way outside of the religious concept.”
Sulphur for Leviathan stars Susan M. Martin as The Nun, known for Plank Face and Space Babes from Outer Space, as well as Jerry Larew as Lucifer, widely known for his portrayal of Alfie in the She Was So Pretty films. Other roles include Craig Long as Satan, and Joseph Knapik, head of the Columbus Zombie Walk, as a demon priest.
The score was created by composer Leanna Primiani, who recently worked on the award winning horror short The Daughters of Virtue. The film also features music by the band Come to Grief, a Doom/Sludge Metal band from Boston, whose song Killed by Life was used for the end credits.
Sulphur for Leviathan revolves around a nun, who suddenly finds herself progressively fantasizing about things that shouldn’t be in her head, increasingly having to face her own doings of blasphemy, all leading up to something demonically dark and sinister. Portrayed in a surreal manner both in color and black and white, with a heavy focus on elegant cinematography, the film tells a satanic tale of unfulfilled desires, lust, blasphemy and existential dread, packed in a controversial and disturbing, but calm and poetic experience that is heavily inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky, with a touch of satanism.
House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn Announced for Arcades
Aside from various ports, the House of the Dead franchise has been dormant since the release of Overkill on the Wii back in 2009, so the news of a brand new entry in the series is a huge deal for us horror gamers. So we couldn’t be happier to learn that Sega have officially announced House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn, which will take the franchise back to its arcade roots. According to Gematsu, the game will be undergoing preliminary location testing at Sega’s Tokyo headquarters from January 19 to 21, before launching in Japanese arcades at a later date.
House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn will be powered by Unreal Engine 4, and will be capable of featuring more onscreen enemies than all previous House of the Dead games. The arcade cabinet will include air cannons, vibrating seat, and motion sensitive lights in an effort to create a full immersive experience, although there are currently no details on the game’s plot.
The House of the Dead franchise remains hugely popular around the world (even Uwe Boll couldn’t destroy its reputation), so it’s probably safe to assume that Scarlet Dawn will probably be making its way to US arcades at some point in the near future, with a console release also looking likely.
You can stay updated with House of the Dead: Scarlett Dawn on its official website, although you might want to learn Japanese first.
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An Early Draft of Halloween 6 Has Been Released And It’s… Interesting
Sulphur for Leviathan to Haunt the Festival Circuit
House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn Announced for Arcades
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