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Exclusive Interview with Director Julia Ducournau on Raw

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Fans have really been gnawing on Raw (review), the new movie from French writer-director Julia Ducournau. It’s sort of a mash-up between Ginger Snaps, The Fly and Cannibal Holocaust. Sort of. The movie really does defy description, but movie-lovers keep on trying – which is a great thing, to have a film that sparks so much discussion. We had a chance to have a discussion of our own with Julia, and this is what she had to say.

Dread Central: What is interesting, or surprising to you, as you travel the worldwide film festival circuit with Raw?

Julia Ducournau: Surprising? Well, as you say I’ve been for a year with it so we can’t speak of surprises with it anymore but in any case, I must say that what’s interesting, and this is something I had foreseen already when I was writing the movie, is that whether people like it or not, let’s say generally speaking the reactions are generally pretty extreme, pretty intense. Fortunately most of the time it’s pretty positive but sometimes you’ll see people really shook up by it and this is something you don’t get used to, it shakes people to the core and I often think about an interview with David Cronenberg I had read about, maybe last year or something like that in which he was saying, and I’m not quoting him directly, when The Fly was released at the moment he could not really measure the impact it had actually had on the audiences and he could only understand it many years later by re-watching the movie. I think I’m in the first stage here of not really being able to measure it, it’s still hard to decipher, very hard.

DC: Are you still, pardon the phrase, digesting it all?

JD: Yeah, kind of because when it comes to analysis, I can’t make a proper analysis because I’m still in the now if you wish, so I’m still taking in every single reaction of my movie and it’s hard to process everything because it’s so much information for a year.

DC: Would you say it is a movie about cannibalism? And it’s being perceived as pretty extreme at that?

JD: I think it’s all the more interesting that my movie is not about the more and more and more, it’s not torture porn and it’s not shocker. What is interesting is I do think people are moved by it deeply because it’s a lot to leave to them, to their imagination as well, you know? It’s not like I showed her eating brains in the first five minutes, that would have been completely counter-productive for me because I really wanted to build up this empathy for her and I that it’s because I show her as a human being and I don’t try to make it a supernatural creature or just a psychopath with no emotion. I make her someone who is relatable and I think this is why it comes from this.

DC: Have you noticed a difference in fan reaction between North America and Europe?

JD: No, not really but audiences in American have been reacting to the cigarettes in scenes which is really unusual to French people. That was very funny, the first time I realized it, it’s true, cigarettes are something we see a lot of in movies and so it comes with the flow so with me, with America that’s the biggest difference. Otherwise the reactions and the empathy works the same on both sides, that’s what’s nice for me because I really wanted to make a movie that had a universal approach and something that could reach everyone, beyond genders, nationalities, origins and sexually a big, big part of my work from this. If I had trusting differences according to the audience somehow, I would have thought that I failed a bit, I think.

DC: Did you write the script with Garance Marillier in mind?

JD: The thing is you know, Garance, this is the third time we worked together and we’ve known each other six or seven years and she started in my first works in Junior and we went to Cannes together with it. The short has a lot of success as well which made us travel together with the short and that is how we created a bond. We started together because it was my first short outside of film school and for her she was twelve at the time, it was her first time ever on the set, she did not even want to become and actress at the time. So afterwards she was my TV feature I did right away after the short and so actually when I was writing Raw I forced myself not to think about her, despite the fact we have worked together a lot and are really close in real life. I did not want to think about her because I did not want to be bias writing the character in the story, I did want to think oh no, I can’t ask her stuff like that, you know. So I wrote it entirely, I forgot about her even though I was having lunch with her sometimes, I didn’t say a word about the script and I when I finally finished it then I could integrate her face to the script, it was very important for me not to think about her before then. So for me, the script is the most important thing for me, before anything else.

DC: What would say to people who’ve read the stories about people in the theater fainting or having to leave? That might be incentive for some, but general viewers may not give it a chance if they think it’s too gruesome.

JD: Well the first is, don’t believe the hype. A lot has been said about me movie that is not really about my movie at all. The second thing is, that’s very important to me, is that there is nothing that pleases me more when the Q&A is over and I meet my audience in real life. I really love it when people come and see me and tell me wow, I really did not think it would be that movie and people tell me they laughed, they did not expect to laugh and they did not expect to cry and they were super pleased that as you said, it was not just a shocker with no point to anything. Actually a lot of people come and tell me that this is not my cup of tea normally but this I really liked, I could relate to the sisters and stuff like that, people telling me these things are the best compliments ever.

Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Naït Oufella, Joana Preiss, Laurent Lucas, Bouli Lanners, and Marion Vernoux star.

Synopsis:
Everyone in Justine’s family is a vet. And a vegetarian. At sixteen she’s a brilliant student starting out at veterinary school where she experiences a decadent, merciless, and dangerously seductive world. Desperate to fit in, she strays from her family principles and eats RAW meat for the first time. Justine will soon face the terrible and unexpected consequences as her true self begins to emerge…

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Vampire Hunter D: The Series Gets Writer For Pilot Episode

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It’s been a little while since we’ve heard news about “Vampire Hunter D: The Series”, the CG-animated series based on Hideyuki Kikuchi’s titular character. However, some new news broke today over at ANN as they’ve reported that Brandon Easton, who is writing the scripts for new Vampire Hunter D comics, has been tapped by Unified Pictures to write the pilot for the series. The pilot will be based on Kikuchi’s “Mysterious Journey to the North Sea” storylines, which make up the 7th and 8th titles in the book series. Unified is making this series in conjunction with Digital Frontier, the Japanese animation studio behind the CG Resident Evil titles.

Easton told the site, “I’ve had to manage the expectations of three entities: the creator Hideyuki Kikuchi, the producers at Digital Frontier and Unified Pictures, and ultimately myself. This means that you have to find new and exciting ways of telling a story that has a set of concrete rules that have been fully established by the novels.

Meanwhile, the studio has also announced that Ryan Benjamin is taking over as the artist and colorist on the Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars series with Richard Friend inking the issues.

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Watching A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski Get Scared by Freddy on Ellen Will Brighten Your Day

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I was just researching the new Platinum Dunes horror-thriller A Quiet Place and stumbled across this video. It features the film’s writer-director and star John Krasinski getting scared by a man dressed as Freddy Krueger on “Ellen.”

It’s as much fun as it sounds, and I’m sure it will make your day. It sure as hell just brightened mine.

Give it a watch below, and then let us know what you think!

John Krasinski directs the film, which will be the opening night entry at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, TX. Emily Blunt stars alongside Krasinski, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds.

A Quiet Place will then open wide on April 6.

Synopsis:
In the modern horror thriller A Quiet Place, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threatens their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.

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Interview: Director Jeff Burr Revisits Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

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Director Jeff Burr was gracious enough to give us here at Dread Central a few minutes of his time to discuss the Blu-ray release of his 1990 film Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Recently dropped on 2/13, the movie has undergone the white-glove treatment, and he was all-too-happy to bring us back to when the film was being shot…and eventually diced thanks to the MPAA – so settle in, grab a cold slice of bloody meat, read on and enjoy!

DC: First off – congrats on seeing the film get the treatment it deserves on Blu-ray – you excited about it?

JB: Yeah, I’m really happy that it’s coming out on Blu-ray, especially since so many people bitch and moan about the death of physical media, and this thing made the cut, and it’s great for people to be able to see probably the best-looking version of it since we saw it in the lab back in 1989.

DC: Take us back to when you’d first gotten the news that you were tabbed to be the man to direct the third installment in this franchise – what was your first order of business?

JB: It was fairly condensed pre-production for me, and there really wasn’t a whole lot of time to think about the import or the greatness of it – it was basically just roll up your sleeves and go. It was a bit disappointing because a lot of times in pre-production you have the opportunity to dream what could be – casting had already been done, but certain decisions hadn’t been made yet. A very condensed pre-production, but exciting as hell, for sure! (laughs)

DC: R.A. Mihailoff in the role of Leatherface – was it the decision from the get-go to have him play the lead role?

JB: No – I totally had someone else in mind, even though R.A. had done a role in my student film about 7 years earlier, and we’d kept in touch, and I’d felt strongly because I’d gotten to know him a bit that Gunnar Hansen should have come back and played Leatherface, which would have given a bit more legitimacy to this third movie. He and I talked, and he had some issues with the direction that it was going – he really wanted to be involved, and it ended up boiling down to a financial thing, and it wasn’t outrageous at all – it wasn’t like he asked for the moon, but the problem was that New Line refused to pay it, categorically. I think the line producer at the time was more adamant about it than anyone, and Mike DeLuca was one of the executives on the movie, and he was really the guy that was running this, in a creative sense. I made my case for Gunner to both he and the line producer, and they flat out refused to pay him what he was asking, so after that was a done “no deal” I decided that R.A would be the right guy to step into the role. Since New Line was the arbiter of the film, he had to come in and audition for the part, and he impressed everyone and got the part. He did an absolutely fantastic job – such a joy to work with, and he was completely enthusiastic about everything.

DC: Let’s talk about Viggo Mortenson, and with this being one of his earliest roles – did you know you had something special with this guy on your set?

JB: Here’s the thing – you knew he was talented, and I’d seen him in the movie Prison way back in the early stages of development and was very impressed with him, and he was one of those guys that I think we were really lucky to get him on board with us. I really believe that The Indian Runner with he and directed by Sean Penn was the movie that truly made people stand up and notice his work. Every person in this cast was one hundred percent into this film and jumped in no questions asked when it was time to roll around in the body pits.

DC: It’s no secret about the amount of shit that the MPAA put you through in order to get this film released – can you expound on that for a minute?

JB: At the time, I believe it was a record amount of times we had to go back to the MPAA after re-cutting the film – I think it was 11 times that we went back. What a lot of people don’t realize is after Bob Shaye (President of New Line) had come into the editing room and he thought that it was very disturbing, and cut out some stuff himself. He thought that it would have been banned in every country, and it was banned in a lot of countries but so were the previous two. It was definitely on the verge of being emasculated before even being submitted to the MPAA, and I would have thought just a few adjustments here and there – maybe a couple of times to go back…but eleven? It was front-page news in the trade papers then, and I think that the overall tone of the film was looked at as being nasty. The previous film (Chainsaw 2) had actually gone out unrated, and with the first film being so notorious, I think it was a combination of all of that, and now even the most unrated version of this would be rated R – that’s how far the pendulum has swung in the other direction.

DC: Looking back at the film after all this time – what would be one thing that you’d change about the movie?

JB: Oh god – any film director worth his salt would look back at any of their films and want to change stuff up, and with this being 28 years old, I can look back and say “oh yeah, I’d change this, this and this!” You grow and learn over the course of your time directing, and this was my third movie and my first without producers that I had known, so the main thing that I’d do today would be to make it a bit more politically savvy. I had always thought that they wanted me to put my vision on this film, and that wasn’t necessarily the case, so maybe I’d navigate those political waters a little better.

DC: Last thing, Jeff – what’s keeping you busy these days? Any projects to speak of?

JB: Oh yeah, I’ve got a couple of movies that I’m working on – I’m prepping a horror movie right now, and then I’ve got a comedy film that I’m doing after that. You haven’t heard the last of me! I’ve had a real up and down (mostly down) career, but I still love it – it’s what I love to do, and it’s still great that after 28 years people still want to talk about this movie, and are still watching it – that’s the greatest gift you can get, and I thank everyone that’s seen it and talked about it over all these years.

BUY IT NOW!

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