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Exclusive: Clif Prowse and Derek Lee Talk Afflicted and Their New Projects

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Exclusive - Clif Prowse and Derek Lee Talk Afflicted and Their New ProjectsJust when you think the found footage boat has officially set sail, another flick comes along that reminds you why this sub-genre can be awesome. Derek Lee and Clif Prowse’s truly killer vampire flick Afflicted (review) is just such a film, and we recently spoke with them about it!

The thing about a good found footage movie, first and foremost, is that it has to feel real. Once a false note is hit, the illusion is broken and the experience is ruined. We asked the duo how they approached this fact.

“For us it was about never breaking the illusion,” says Lee. “If we managed to sell over the top in the found footage genre and people bought it? That is super gratifying. We were so hard on our selves to not break it. That final fight scene of the film, we would have way preferred to shoot that scene traditionally! I mean, come on! Two vampires kicking the shit out of each other? But in order to keep things moving and stay true to the sub-genre, we just had to suck it up. I’ll tell you this though… our next movie will not be found footage as we are SO tired of living within the rules of it! *Laughs*”

“The part of a found footage movie that always drives me crazy is – Why is the camera still rolling? And why is it still pointing directly at what I want it to be looking at?” Lee continues. “That’s why we came up with the idea to have our characters wearing strap-on cameras while filming their documentary. It enabled our characters to just let the camera roll even while they were doing other things. That technique would allow to have a scene like when the vampire is fighting a SWAT team so you wouldn’t have to worry about why it was filming. It kept you in the thick of it!”

So was the plan for Afflicted to always be a found footage film?

“When we were initially coming up with the idea to make a movie… no,” says Lee. “We wanted to make a movie using the amount of money that we could raise ourselves to be its budget. We decided on a film about vampires, which are normally very romanticized, and then completely reinterpret it documentary style through our lenses. We wondered… what would this look like it if actually happened in reality? That’s what made Derek’s transformation into a vampire exciting to us.”

Vampires are a tricky set of creatures to work with as there are many different mythologies that they adhere to. We asked the guys how they approached their mythology and the reasoning behind the choices they made.

“We just cherry-picked what we wanted,” Lee explained. “We wanted to take something that is fantasy and shine a realistic light on it. We wondered what would this creature be like if it really existed? So we got rid of things like turning into mist and being able to control rats, etc. We replaced those traits with everything that would make it feel like an Alpha Hunter. There’s a true diseased feel to the plight of Derek that we approached sort of like a drug addiction model. The idea was if the vampire did not get enough blood, it would cause withdrawal. Those physical and psychological consequences would push the creature to hunt more.”

Found footage films work by their own set of rules. We were curious if it limited the filmmakers to not achieving everything they wanted to do.

“Shooting found footage style gave us the opportunity to do everything that we wanted to do,” Prowse says with a laugh. “Seriously, it was incredibly liberating. For instance, if we couldn’t afford to do something, we just won’t film it, but we can hear it and sense what’s going on. That was a cool thing that enabled us to play with the context of a scene. There are instances in the film that if we had shot them traditionally, it would have been 20 times more expensive… things that were only possible because we shot it found footage.”

“Totally,” Lee chimes in. “We could have Clif holding up his camera and film things that you’d normally see on a YouTube travelogue, and then all of a sudden somebody punches through a rock and it feels more real because we filmed it the way that we did. Seeing that same idea filmed from a crane shot or a crazy dolly wouldn’t have been as impactful.”

“I remember talking to Chris [Ferguson], our producer, who would NEVER tell us no, says Prowse. “One day I was like, ‘Hey, Chris, I really want Derek the vampire to run through a wall… can we do that?’ Chris was like, ‘Well… I guess so. Let me see what I can do.’ So we came up with a simple shot. We had a stuntman run into a piece of scored drywall that was rigged with explosives. Because it was found footage and you didn’t need to see the apparatus all around it, we had a guy literally run through a wall! That was such a fun day! We were all like, ‘Hey, we got to do exactly what we asked for! How weird is that?’ *Laughs*

So now we were wondering… is there a sequel in the works?

As Chris likes to say, if the fans ask for it… actually cared enough to want that… we’d do it. We do have some sequel ideas, but we don’t want to dive directly back into this world and found footage immediately. The sequel would have to be found footage or we’d be sabotaging our fan base,” Lee said.

What about any other future projects?

Lee revealed, “We’re working on a couple of scripts right now… one is like a dark Bourne Identity style action movie without any horror elements, and the other one is actually an action movie set in a horror movie universe. Both of them will be shot in a far more cinematic style. When you watch Afflicted and then see our next movies, hopefully you’ll be blown away by the fact that the same guys made them.”

Afflicted Release Details
The award-winning, critically acclaimed horror thriller AFFLICTED spreads terror on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital July 1st, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. AFFLICTED tells the chilling tale of two best friends whose documented journey around the world takes a horrifying turn after an encounter with a beautiful woman in Paris leaves one of them mysteriously afflicted. Written, directed, and co-starring breakthrough filmmaking duo Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, this excitingly original entry in the found-footage horror genre took home awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (Horror Feature category) at the 2013 FantasticFest, in addition to awards of recognition at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Bonus features on both the Blu-ray and DVD include never-before-seen deleted scenes as well as two fascinating featurettes. “Afflicted: Behind the Scenes” takes fans on set for an inside look at the making of this new found footage horror favorite, and “Anatomy of a Scene: The Window Jump” features the filmmakers on how they utilized a creative mix of practical stunt work and visual effects to pull off one of the film’s more jaw-dropping action sequences.

AFFLICTED was produced by Chris Ferguson and Zach Lipovsky. Executive producers are Jason Dowdeswell, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Stuart Ford, and Zak Pashak.

The film has a run time of about 85 minutes and has been rated R for disturbing, bloody violence and language.

Synopsis
This terrifying horror thriller follows two best friends who set out on the trip of a lifetime around the world. Their journey, documented every step of the way, soon takes a dark and unexpected turn after an encounter with a beautiful woman in Paris leaves one of them mysteriously afflicted. AFFLICTED is one of the most suspenseful and original action horror debuts in a generation.

Special Features

  • Afflicted: Behind the Scenes”
  • “Anatomy of a Scene: The Window Jump”
  • Deleted Scenes

    Afflicted Blu-ray

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    Friday the 13th: The Game Welcomes Back Shelly Finkelstein This Monday!

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    Earlier this past year, all of us Friday the 13th Part 3 fans we delighted when “Friday the 13th: The Game” added in Fox (Gloria Charles) as a playable character.

    And now we have the announcement that another beloved character from Friday the 13th Part 3 will be joining the game this December.

    Yes, Shelly Finkelstein (Larry Zerner) will be coming back to Camp Crystal Lake!

    The Shelly playable character will be available for free with the latest patch. The new update will be coming for PS4 and Steam on Monday, Dec. 18th. The Xbox One patch to follow shortly.

    Below you can watch the announcement trailer which was posted on Twitter earlier tonight.

    After giving it a watch make sure to let us know how excited you are to see Shelly (aka the man who gave Jason his mask) back in action below!

    Shelly Finkelstein hits Friday the 13th: The Game for PS4 and Steam on Monday, Dec. 18th.

    Welcome Back Shelly!

    The man responsible for 'handing' Jason his mask, Shelly Finkelstein will be coming back to Camp Crystal Lake to troll his fellow counselors…that is until Jason shows up! Get Shelly for free with the latest patch!The latest update will be coming for PS4 and Steam on Monday, Dec. 18th with the Xbox One patch to follow shortly!

    Posted by Friday the 13th: The Game on Friday, December 15, 2017

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    Graham Humphreys Reveals His Poster For An American Werewolf In London

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    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!

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    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.

    Synopsis:
    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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