Screamfest 2013 Exclusive: John Fitzpatrick and Cerina Vincent Talk Skypemare Short Film - Dread Central
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Screamfest 2013 Exclusive: John Fitzpatrick and Cerina Vincent Talk Skypemare Short Film

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Screamfest Exclusive: Filmmaker John Fitzpatrick and Cerina Vincent Talk Short SkypemareWith filmmaker John Fitzpatrick’s horror short Skypemare set to premiere Monday, October 14, in Los Angeles at the Screamfest Film Festival, read on for our exclusive chat with the filmmaker and his star.

Directed, produced and written by Fitzpatrick and starring Cerina Vincent (Cabin Fever) and Annika Marks, the seven-minute horror short Skypemare revolves around the character of Allison (Vincent), who home alone on Halloween night while Skype’ing with her best friend Jenna (Marks) witnesses something terrifying unfold on both sides of her computer screen.

“There was sort of a twofold agenda that created Skypemare,” filmmaker Fitzpatrick told us of his inspiration. “I wanted to so something simple but with impact, and I also wanted to do something where the true villain and the true source of suspense comes from the technology and media we surround ourselves with. The idea of two friends harmlessly chatting over Skype and something going terribly wrong just seemed to make sense. I guess it’s that idea that you are helpless on the other side of a proverbial ‘window’ and can only watch from the other side as terrible things happen that I became obsessed with. That’s what happens to Allison. She’s just stuck there, watching. It’s so alive and happening right there in front of you, and yet you can do nothing. That was the goal, to make people feel that horror.”

As for Vincent’s involvement, “Cerina and I met over a year when a mutual friend, Ryan Dillon, introduced us at a premiere for a film he was in at AFI Fest,” stated Fitzpatrick. “At the time he and I were prepping this crazy experimental film noir called Reflex that we were going to shoot all improvised, and he had mentioned Cerina as the femme fatale. She and I hit it off and she agreed to do the project, and when we finally started filming in Laguna Beach, she was just on fire. I was truly blown away. I mean, we did this thing from dawn ’till dusk, sometimes all night, and she and Ryan literally had to make up all their dialogue and deal with me giving adjustments on the fly, and she never missed a beat. She was just on top of it and never really even broke character. Even when she wasn’t speaking, you could feel her character’s story behind her eyes and, to me, that’s the toughest part – still making a scene interesting even though you are just looking at someone.”

“Anyway, that short is finishing now and will be out next year. Ever since then, she and I have been talking about doing something in her wheelhouse, but we wanted it to be different than the usual slasher-style horror film. After several tries and various scripts, we finally settled on Skypemare. Working with her on this was the same as with Reflex. She has an incredible work ethic, brings her ‘A’ game and knocks it out of the park. Sometimes I think she’s harder on her self and her performance than I am, and I am maniacally a picky bastard.”

Stated Vincet on what drew her to the project, “Well, it’s not a short answer. Ryan Dillion and John Fitzpatrick, and our whole ”crew’ who we call ‘Team Sledgehammer,’ all have such a blast working together. We’ve done a few projects over the years, some drama, some comedy, and we were working on writing a horror feature together. But it just seemed like a natural next step, to do a horror short together, first. John and I threw around a bunch of ideas, and one day he called me and said, ‘I got it!’ He told me the concept of Skypemare, sent me the script, and I was ready to shoot. I’ve done a lot of horror, but nothing in the vein of Scream, so i was really excited to get into this version of the genre. It’s so fun! And funny! But of course John and Nicholas Kaat, our DP, were genius at creating those suspense moments. I called my girlfriend Annika (Marks), asked her if she wanted to come play with us, and we just found a weekend that we all had available and started shooting! We shot in my house, my apartment actually, and it was a total blast. We are like a family. We all genuinely love each other and know how to communicate through the creative process. We get shit done, we have a lot fun doing it, and then we always end the shoot with cocktails or wine!”

Skypemare

We queried Fitzpatrick as to whether or not there are plans for a feature version of Skypemare.

“Well, that’s tricky,” he responded. “The short answer is ‘yes.’ But I feel it’s important to say that Skypemare is a short film. It was designed as a short, and it has a full plot that logically concludes and wraps itself up in a nice little package. I think that is important to say. We didn’t shoot an opening hook for a feature we want to do and call it a short. I feel the task with shorts is tell a great story with impact fully and completely. That being said, of course we have outlined and imagined what would happen if you took the same ingredients and the plot conceits of Skypemare and set it at a hip, East Coast college campus. I wonder what that would be like…”

As for what other horror projects Fitzpatrick has up his sleeve, “We have a feature that’s been in the works for about six months,” he revealed. “It’s a suspenser in the vein of Spielberg’s Duel meets Deliverance, centering on a woman training at high altitude for an ultra marathon who encounters some very, let’s say, interesting locals and soon finds herself having to literally run for her life. I suppose there’s also a Last House on the Left sort of vibe in there as well. It’s really a throwback to the maverick cinema of the late 60’s and 70’s, where young filmmakers were churning out some really bold stuff that just got right in your face. It’s not a grindhouse picture, per se. I think the aesthetic here will be a little more palpable, natural and real.”

As for Vincent’s thoughts on the Screamfest premiere of Skypemare, she stated, “I am thrilled! I really love this festival, I love the enthusiasm from the horror community, and I feel honored that our little short made it in, so we’re really excited to celebrate together and be recognized by such a great genre festival. I haven’t been this excited about something in a while. Well, that’s not entirely true; I get excited about everything. But seriously, it feels really great to create art from love and friendships and pure joy and fun, and then have that recognized, and have the opportunity to celebrate it with other well respected filmmakers in the horror community.”

Skypemare premieres during “Shorts Program 3” on 10/14/2013 at 7:45 PM and will play alongside Desolate Road, The Body and The Horizon Project. Tickets can be purchased here , and for more on Skypemare, ‘like’ the film on Facebook here.

For more on Screamfest, which runs October 8th to the 17th at the Laemmle NoHo 7 (5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601), visit Screamfest’s website, “like” Screamfest on Facebook, and follow Screamfest on Twitter.

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LIQUID SKY Blu-ray Review – You Don’t Need Acid For This Mind Melting Trip

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Starring Anne Carlisle, Paula E. Sheppard, Susan Doukas, Otto von Wernherr

Directed by Slava Tsukerman

Distributed by Vinegar Syndrome


Succinctly summing up a slice-of-life avant-garde feature film can be difficult when the picture relies heavily on the audio-visual experience and not necessarily the story. Liquid Sky (1982) is an acid-fueled trip through the emerging New Wave movement, viewed through the vapid lens of the fashion world, where drugs and sex are a commodity to be frequently bartered. The film juxtaposes the grimy and gritty streets of New York City with liberal use of bright, flashy neon, creating an aesthetic that both revels in the post-punk subculture and looks forward to the eye-popping pastels that would come to define the ‘80s. Within this kaleidoscope is a story about androgyny, rampant drug use, pleasures of the flesh, sexual abuse, and tiny invisible aliens that subsist on the endorphins released when people either get high or get down. As director Slava Tsukerman states in the extras, the idea was to craft a unique visual palette, the likes of which cinemagoers maybe hadn’t seen before; in that respect, Tsukerman capably succeeded. This is true subversive cinema, not for the mainstream.

Margaret (Anne Carlisle) is an androgynous NYC fashion model, looking to get her big break into certifiable stardom. Her nightclub fashion shows bring out all the fringe of the city – drug users, sexual deviants, flamboyant personalities, and her rival, Jimmy (also Carlisle), who is a fiend for cocaine. Margaret’s girlfriend, Adrian (Paula E. Sheppard), is a coke dealer whom Jimmy constantly harasses for a quick high, despite the fact he never has any money. Sex is his usual currency, consensual and otherwise. For reasons unknown, though easy to glean, a tiny UFO has landed on top of the apartment building in which Margaret lives, the visitors here to feast on endorphins released by the brain during drug use… or explosive, orgasmic sex.

Jimmy has lunch with his mother, Sylvia (Susan Doukas), a television producer who he sees as little more than a blank check. Sylvia also happens to live across the street from Margaret’s building, making it the perfect vantage point for scientist Johann Hoffman (Otto von Wernherr) to observe the till-now undiscovered, minute aliens and their spacecraft. Margaret, meanwhile, finds herself in one compromising sexual position after the next, often against her will, though these (let’s be honest here and call them) rapes tend to end with her perpetrators dead, a thin crystalline sliver embedded within their skulls; brain removed. Margaret doesn’t quite understand why, but the frequent cause and effect makes her imagine she has unbridled power, able to kill anyone that has sex with her. Eventually, Margaret comes to use this “power” to destroy anyone who crosses or uses her, which as the film will show is a significant number of people. Little does she know, all this time her saviors have been invisible to the naked eye and living atop her building.

The above plot synopsis barely scratches the surface of the weird and insane places this film travels. The biggest takeaway here should be the ground Tsukerman was breaking, which feels very much in the vein of something Andy Warhol might have been behind. The cast is comprised of societal outcasts; populated by homosexuals, ambiguous individuals, gender-fluidity, heroin users, club cronies, kink, vulgarity… all things that in no way conform to societal standards of normality. Carlisle pulls double duty playing two characters – one reprehensible, the other vaguely sympathetic – yet both fall under the rubric of blurred lines; they embody qualities of both masculinity and femininity. Tsukerman embraces the abstract and absurd, delivering a film that is fiercely independent and wholly incapable of direct categorization.

Driving this tour de force is a cutting edge synth score that is constantly active and consistently weird. A trio made up of Tsukerman, Clive Smith, and Brenda I. Hutchinson composed the soundtrack, and it sounds alien and otherworldly while also capturing the essence of the New Wave. The electronic cues and deep bass beats are energetic and repetitive, often making use of bizarre time signatures. Large portions of it reminded me of John Massari’s stellar synth score to Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988), as the synthesizer sounds are nearly identical in some passages. The grooves are infectious and wonderfully lo-fi, adding an audible assault to complement the visual feast.

Still, Liquid Sky is something of a challenging watch, especially a first-time viewing when expectations are impossible to calibrate. Because Tsukerman purposely made his film so esoteric and obtuse, it can be tough to settle into a comfortable viewing mindset because so much of the film is uncomfortable and unconventional. The acting quality is passable enough that viewers may find themselves watching the film less as a veritable feature and more a staged, lengthy piece of performance art, which it is in certain respects. Liquid Sky doesn’t lampoon the period or people associated with it, though it does offer an exaggeration of current trends. One thing is for sure, this is bespoke filmmaking at its core and a shining example of the marriage between emerging trends and psychedelic euphoria. Mind blowing stuff.

Vinegar Syndrome is consistently lauded for their A/V work and, boy, did they ever knock this one out of the atmosphere. The 1.85:1 1080p picture is pristine, making it almost impossible to believe this is a low-budget indie from ’82. The original 35mm negative has been given new life via a 4K scan, with the resulting image looking nearly flawless. Aside from literally two or three white flecks the picture is immaculate. Film grain has been smoothed out and minimized without the use of waxy DNR. Fine detail is exquisite, adding a sense of true life to these shiny and squalid environments. Colors are richly saturated and pop off the screen, just as eye-catching neon might do in real life. Color filters are used frequently, bathing the image in hues of blue or green or whatever color fits the intended mood. Skin tones are spot-on and accurate. There is nothing worth complaining about making this one of the finest images Blu-ray is capable of producing.

Although the audio is a single-channel English DTS-HD MA 1.0 mono track you’d never know it from the sonic quality. The synthesized score is catchy and constant, causing the film’s soundfield to be brimming with life at every moment. The aggressive mix and high levels cause a mild sensation of discomfort and unease for viewers, ensuring the picture is never viewed too comfortably. Dialogue is understandable and totally clean, with no indication of hissing or pops at any point. Subtitles are available in English.

An introduction is available before the feature begins, with director Slava Tsukerman giving viewers a brief greeting along with praise for Vinegar Syndrome’s new home video edition.

An audio commentary is available, featuring director Slava Tsukerman.

The disc also contains an isolated soundtrack, highlighting that groundbreaking score.

Interview with Slava Tsukerman is a recent chat with the Russian director, who touches upon his career, influences, and the legacy of his most endearing creation.

Interview with Anne Carlisle is a similarly themed chat, with the leading lady discussing topics ranging from her early beginnings to where her career has taken her now.

Liquid Sky Revisited is a nearly-hour long documentary covering all aspects of the film’s production, with Tsukerman delving into every bit of minutia behind the production, genesis, inspirations, etc.

Q&A from 2017 Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers Screening, featuring Tsukerman, Carlisle, and co-composer Clive Smith.

A lengthy reel of outtakes, alternate opening sequence, rehearsal footage, multiple trailers, and a still gallery complete the wealth of bonus features found here.

Additionally, the cover artwork is reversible allowing for display of the original key art or newly commissioned artwork.

Special Features:

  • BRAND NEW 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM from the 35mm original negative
  • Brand new commentary track with: Slava Tsukerman (director)
  • Video interview with Slava Tsukerman
  • Video interview with Anne Carlisle (actress)
  • Director’s introduction
  • “Liquid Sky Revisited” (2017) – 50 minute making-of documentary
  • Q&A from a 2017 Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers screening with: Slava Tsukerman, Anne Carlisle and Clive Smith (music)
  • Isolated soundtrack
  • Never before seen outtakes
  • Alternate opening sequence
  • Behind the scenes rehearsal footage
  • Multiple theatrical trailers
  • Still gallery
  • Artwork designed by Derek Gabryszak
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles
  • REGION-FREE
  • Liquid Sky
  • Special Features
3.5

Summary

Supremely psychedelic and infinitely eccentric, Liquid Sky was 1983’s most successful independent film and for good reason: it is impossible to categorize and there are few films that color outside the lines so vividly and uniquely. You can’t explain it or understand it; you just have to see it. Vinegar Syndrome have raised the bar with their impeccable a/v quality and wonderful selection of extras.

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Even Sarah Connor Hated TERMINATOR: GENISYS

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I think it’s safe to say there aren’t many people out there that were fans of Terminator: Genisys. The film was kind of a major mess and it looks like life on the set was as well.

That film’s new Sarah Connor, Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) was recently speaking with Vanity Fair about some other crap and then the conversation swung around to the failed reboot of the Terminator series. And Clarke had some interesting things to say…

First, she told the magazine how she was “relieved” when the film bombed at the box-office so she didn’t have to sign up for further sequels. And then Clarke says she watched frequent Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor “get eaten and chewed up on Terminator. He was not the director I remembered. He didn’t have a good time. No one had a good time.”

Damn girl, tell it like it is! Got to respect the woman for not holding back and sugarcoating things under the blanket of “creative differences.” Hell, maybe Clarke will be able to do the same regarding all the drama surrounding that new Lando: A Star Wars Story movie one day.

What did you think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

Synopsis:

When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance against Skynet, sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline. Instead of a scared waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) by her side. Faced with unlikely allies and dangerous new enemies, Reese sets out on an unexpected new mission: reset the future.

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Idris Elba Directs and Stars in Netflix’s HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

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Like many of you out there, Idris Elba is one of my favorite actors working today. And it is with this in mind that I’m excited by today’s news that says Elba will be tackling The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Netflix.

THR reports that Elba will not only star in the film, but he will be directing and producing the music described as a “sonic and musical experience” as well. That’s a lot of hats there, Gunslinger.

For those who might be unaware, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an 1831 novel by Victor Hugo that follows Quasimodo, a hunchback, who falls in love with the Gypsy Esmeralda. Michael Mitnick (The Current War, The Giver) will write the modern-day retelling with Fred Berger (La La Land) and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (Midnight Special) producing along with Elba and Ana Garanito.

Are you excited by this news? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

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