Exclusive: Filmmaker Andrew Robertson Talks Screamfest L.A. Premiere of Refuge - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Filmmaker Andrew Robertson Talks Screamfest L.A. Premiere of Refuge

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With Andrew Robertson’s survival horror feature Refuge set for its L.A. premiere this coming Saturday, October 18, at 6:00 pm at the prestigious Screamfest Film Festival, read on for our exclusive interview with the writer/director, and have a look at some stills and a trailer from the flick.

Produced by Robertson’s wife and filmmaking partner, Lilly Kanso, Refuge is (according to the official synopsis):

A post-apocalyptic thriller set amid the ruins of a collapsed America. It chronicles a family’s struggle to survive and rebuild a life in the wake of a great catastrophic plague. Living in isolation, within an old boarded up home, they do their best to maintain a sense of normalcy amidst a lawless world of roaming gangs and dwindling resources.

Refuge stars Carter Roy (“Castle”), Amy Rutberg, Chris Kies, Eva Grace Kellner (“Boardwalk Empire”), Sebastian Beacon, Travis Grant, and Mark Ashworth.

Chatting with Robertson, who got his first taste of filmmaking at the age of twelve, filming low-budget horror films culminating in his trilogy opus, 1985’s Totally Demented 1-3, he stated of Refuge, “The initial inspiration for doing something in the post-apocalyptic genre came out of our experiences witnessing tons of abandoned neighborhoods and rural blight during our trips through the South over the last few years. My partner, Lilly, and I are both from Atlanta, and we take a lot of trips down there. A few years ago, following the big 2008 recession, we started noticing more and more homes, apartment complexes, and neighborhoods were being flat-out deserted.”

“There was a lot of decay and foliage overgrowth. It was kind of beautiful and sinister seeing how nature moved so quickly back into these spaces. A lot of them began to look like set pieces from I Am Legend and other iconic films of the genre. And given that we love the genre and shooting in Atlanta has become a very resource-friendly town for filmmaking, we thought, ‘Let’s go for it.’”

Refuge

“As for the writing of Refuge,” he continued, “I started from an outline focusing on a family living in isolation. I feel that if the big societal breakdown ever actually occurs, once the initial dust settles, life will be basically a waiting game infused with lots of anxiety. Life will be a slow burn, interrupted with bursts of fear and violence. One thing is for certain: There will be a lot of vigilance in dealing with other humans.”

Robertson elaborated on the film’s structure, “For the script we started by building scenes that brought you into the world of a small family trying to get by in this kind of existence. We wanted to show a realistic sense of what it would be like to live in fearful, quiet isolation. To us the slow burn beginning is essential so that you have time to be invested in the characters before all hell breaks loose in the second act.”

Filmed over the course of eighteen days outside Atlanta, Georgia, much like the close quarters of the film, the cast lived together in a rented house during the shoot. “They all grew quite close,” said Robertson, “and this turned out to be great for the creative since in the film they’re supposed to be a family living in isolation.”

Refuge

Commenting on the seeming hybrid of apocalyptic and home invasion sub-genres as evidenced in the trailer, Robertson concurred, “Definitely, yes. And there is also a dash of road movie too. I’m a huge John Carpenter fan, and the sense of dread he is a master at creating was a big influence. I love every movie he’s ever made where a group of people were being slowly stalked by some menacing presence coming from the outside. I love the long dread of impending danger. The waiting, the waiting, and then, boom! It’s the best release.”

As for what he intended to address sub-thematically within the feature, the filmmaker offered, “The post-apocalyptic genre is amazing in how it explores our darkest fears about ourselves. To me it’s kind of like the neo-western; it takes modern people, puts them in a situation devoid of laws and society, and then explores how we treat each other. I knew I wanted to shoot our first feature in this kind of world. We have a lot of extinction anxiety as humans, which is what accounts for the fact that our movies, TV shows, and video games are all obsessed with the genre. For us, choosing a plague to be the cause of our near extinction was a good fit. But really, it could be anything. Read the news, and it’s sort of ‘pick your extinction.’ Will it be a pandemic, global warming, an asteroid? Will a particle accelerator create a black hole and swallow the earth? Will someone detonate a nuclear device in the middle of Manhattan? There’s no end to the anxiety.”

Robertson concluded of the Screamfest selection of Refuge (the film will next play at Toronto After Dark), “It is a complete dream come true. Screamfest is the creme de la creme. There are very few festivals in the world that really have the scope and presence that Screamfest delivers. The horror genre is the most popular genre in the world, and you really can’t do better than this festival. We feel incredibly lucky and are so excited Rachel and the gang included us.”

To purchase tickets to the Screamfest premiere of Refuge, click here. Screamfest runs from October 14th to the 23rd.

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Class of 1999 Graduates to Blu-Ray in 2018

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Coming to blu-ray in early 2018 will be Class of 1999, which was originally released in 1990 and designed to be an unofficial sci-fi sequel to 1982’s Class of 1984, which itself received a special edition blu-ray in 2015. Confused yet?

In 1982, writer-director Mark L. Lester made Class of 1984, a slightly futuristic action thriller about teachers contending with teenage gangs in an inner-city high school. Lester would go on to grace us with Commando and Firestarter before returning to the premise in 1990 to give us the very futuristic Class of 1999. This time the action takes place near the turn of the millennium when gang violence overruns inner-city high schools to the point that the government steps in and replaces the teachers with reprogrammed military-grade battle androids. The super soldier cyborg faculty revert to their militaristic ways, naturally, and rack up quite a body count as they declare war on the student body leading to teenage gangs putting aside their difference to lead an anti-robot uprising in the halls of the school.

The time is the future, and youth gang violence is so high that the areas around some schools have become “free fire zones” into which not even the police will venture. When Miles Langford (Malcolm McDowell), the principal of Kennedy High School, decides to take his school back from the gangs, robotics specialist Dr. Robert Forrest (Stacy Keach) provides “tactical education units.” These human-like androids have been programmed to teach and are supplied with weapons to handle discipline problems. These kids will get a lesson in staying alive!

Boasting a screenplay by Full Moon stalwart C. Courtney Joyner and a cast including the likes of Stacy Keach, Pam Grier, Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Kilpatrick, and Traci Lind; Class of 1999 and its unique Stand and Deliver meets The Warriors meets The Terminator premise has garnered a loyal cult following over the years. We won’t mention the sequel. Forget I even brought it up. Sequel? What sequel?

Lionsgate Home Entertainment has announced Class of 1999 will be the next title getting a blu-ray release as part of their Vestron Collector’s Series in the first semester of 2018 with a fully loaded edition guaranteed to please fans and those that have yet to be educated on this enjoyable early Ninties b-movie extravaganza.

Disc extras will include:

Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Mark L. Lester
Interviews with Director/Producer Mark L. Lester and Co-Producer Eugene Mazzola
Interview with Screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner
Interviews with Special Effects Creators Eric Allard and Rick Stratton
Interview with Director of Photography Mark Irwin
Trailer & TV Spot
Still Gallery
Video Promo
Optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles for the main feature

Class of 1999 graduates to blu-ray on January 30th.

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Buy Stuff From Eibon Press, Get More Stuff For Free

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Eibon Press have announced that they’re starting Black Friday a day early and will be running their specials for almost a week, through November 28th. This year, they’re doing something a little different, a little more interesting. Rather than reduce prices on their inventory, they’re doing a deal where depending on how much you buy from their store, you’ll get a certain amount of free swag in addition to your order.

The first tier sees anyone who makes a purchase getting two double-sided mini-posters featuring art from their upcoming Bottomfeeder and Maniac and The New York Ripper series. The second tier sees anyone who spends at least $30 getting a free copy of their VHS Comics titles Laserblast plus the mini-posters. The final tier is for those who spend $50 and more and that will net the mini-posters, the #1 issue of Laserblast, and a free copy of Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell #2.

Lastly, five random people will receive an extra bonus gift, which they won’t reveal but promise that, “…you’ll love it!

All order cans be placed via Eibon Press.

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KISS Meets Army of Darkness in New Comic Miniseries!

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Dynamite Entertainment just announced that they are planning to bring two of their bestselling brands together in “KISS/Army of Darkness #1”. The new comic book series will unite the rock band with none other than Ash for some Deadite ass kicking.

The series will be written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims and illustrated by Ruairi Coleman. And the debut issue of “KISS/Army of Darkness” features three art covers from Kyle Strahm, Goni Montes, and Ken Haeser.

You can find all three covers below along with quotes from the creative team. After looking through all of that make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are about this new hybrid comic series in the comments below or on social media!

With Ash vs. The Army of Darkness, Chris and I were given kind of carte blanche to do whatever we wanted to the world of AOD, and we went for broke,” Co-writer Chad Bowers says. “We introduced some new characters and concepts, and built a legacy for Ash’s comics adventures that I’m immensely proud of, but not in a million years could I have guessed we’d get to continue that momentum with the added bonus of tossing the world’s greatest rock n’ roll band into the mix! I’ve been in the tank for KISS since I was in middle school. I remember buying the KISS tribute album, KISS My Ass for the Lemonheads (they covered Plaster Caster), which lead to me picking up Greatest Hits, and so on. But when I found out there was a KISS comic with blood in it, I signed up for life! Of course, I adore the songs (literally listening to Do You Love Me right now), but I’m just as obsessed with the way KISS transcends the music to become something of a genre themselves. It’s something I think about a lot, honestly, so no surprise, it’s a big part of our story too!”

“When it comes to Army of Darkness, I guess you could say that Ash is a bit of a gambler, but he’s nobody’s fool,” Co-writer Chris Sims says. “And since our first story was set back at Alan Shepard High, we’re looking forward to showing him some things that you can’t learn in school. Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the deep-cut lyrics now, but for real — if you thought Deadites at Homecoming and the Supernatural Military-Adjacent Response Team were taking Ash in a new direction, just wait until you see how we team him up with the Starchild, Space Ace, the Demon, and the Catman. In the grand tradition of the film, we’re tearing up the entire space-time continuum and if you think you know how weird this is gonna get… well, you sure know somethin’!”

“Having done some work for Dynamite in the past, I’ve really been wanting to get my foot in the door here for a long time so I can play in the sandbox of the amazing licenses they have,” Artist Ruairi Coleman says. “Chief among those, and high up on my bucket list, is Army of Darkness: Hail to the king, baby! So, when I was offered the job of drawing the KISS/Army of Darkness crossover, I couldn’t believe my luck! The concept is totally bonkers, but in a way, that would make complete sense in the world of Army of Darkness. Thinking about it, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already and I’m honored (and more than a little intimidated) to be the guy who draws it.”

“After a more than 40-year career, KISS continues to be one of rock’s most celebrated bands, while Army of Darkness continues to be a staple in the comic book industry. We’re both honored to have the opportunity to work so closely with Gene and Paul to bring their world-renowned alter-egos to comics alongside our very own Ashy Slashy,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “The raging guitar chords and pyrotechnic spectacle of their stage shows could have come straight from the pages of the Necronomicon, and this epic battle between The Demon and Deadites will appeal to the hellions in all of us!”

Issue #1 will be available on digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, Madefire, and Dark Horse Digital.

The KISS/Army of Darkness miniseries event hits February 2018.

Synopsis:

KISS is on top of the world and rocking faces until the night disciples of The Destroyer show up and the band disappears. With the tour canceled, a young Ash misses one of the most important events of his life that will change his destiny. Now the Chosen One has to get back on the right path and join the KISS ARMY OF DARKNESS!

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