23 Mar 2011

Deadly Movies Top 10 Cult Heros

Deadly Movies on Jameson Cult Film | Top 10 Cult Heros, Part One, 10 – 6

Check out Deadly Movies guest blog over at Jameson Cult Film Club, counting down the Top 10 Cult Movie Heros Part 1, 10 through 6. Exclusive to JCFC. Click here or on the image below to be forwarded to JCFC.


Do You Remember When..,

.., Crappy Aligator Man wrestles an actual Alligator in ‘The Alligator People’ (1959)?

Man fights drugged up gator

The Alligator People‘ is a pretty solid 50′s sci-fi, creature flick. Ok there’s some pretty racist characterization in places (which you see coming from a 1959 film that has the tag-line “Terror In The Bayou”) and some very unexpected woman slapping and near rape. These moments of exploitation cinema sit rather uneasily In a film which, otherwise, is a fairly standard example of 50s B-movie sci-fi. So as you can imagine there are many-a-memorable moment to be found in ‘The Alligator People‘. But one moment sticks out in particular. After the titular Alligator-person goes from guy with bad skin condition (actually very good makeup effects) to full on man-gator (not so good), he takes off into the darkness of the bayou in his flimsy alligator rubber mask. Apparently man-gator is so pissed off by his ludicrous costume that he takes his frustration out on a real alligator (which is either dead or drugged). Cue fabulous scene of stuntman in crap rubber outfit wrestling catatonic reptile.

18 Mar 2011

Horror’s Top 5 Cheap Scare Tactics

Deadly Movies | Top 5′s
Horror movies are not just known for their cliches and conventions but celebrated for them. They are in equal measure a hinderance to creativity and a device to meet audience expectation an enjoyment. Anyone who’s seen Scream (1996) knows all too well the plot and narrative devices used by filmmakers to facilitate such devices. One of the signle biggest cliches of the genre can be found in the camera tricks used to extract a cheap, or fake-out, scare from the audience. A scare that is either fake or a scare that isn’t caused by the true evil of the film. The filmmakers use these to highten nerves and expectations for the next scare, and to take you out of your comfort zone. Great fun, and great devices as they are, Hollywood has become rather lazy and uses the same old scare tactics over-and-over again. Here’s some of Deadly Movies favorite cliched scare tactics:

5: Sudden out-of-frame Vehicle:
Culprit: Final Destination's great bus kill prompted many a carbon-copy
Exterior Daytime, busy street sidewalk.
Paul, who earlier that day thought he was beeing followed, has met up with ethnic friend Lamar to have a coffee and laugh about how paranoid he was being. The two finish their no-fat lattes and bro-hug before Paul heads off to the library.
Paul: “Thanks for the chat man”
Lamar: “No problem dude. Just remember, there’s no such thing as an ancient Irish family curse”
Paul: “I know. Hey, wanna catch the game later (no specific game, just a game)?”
Paul says this while backing aimlessly out into the street when…, BANG enter bus/ambulance/truck from out-of-screen traveling at speeds way too fast for a busy city street because, more than likely, this isn’t even a composite shot it’s simple a lazy-ass CG bus that looks like shit if you watch in slow motion.
4: Sudden (often) Nonsensical Character Appearance:

Culprit, Scream: Silly Gale, it's not Ghostface it's just Dewey

Interior Night, suburban house
A young, sexy, vulnerable, frightened female is alone in spooky house. She hears a noise, someone or something is outside. She goes to the window to investigate. Did she see something move, or was it just the wind in the trees? She backs away from the window into the middle of the room, the camera tracks her movement, keeping her tight in frame. Suddenly she backs-up into someone, quickly turning around in terror and…., It’s good old Mark from next door who just popped over to bring that unimportant thing back which he borrowed last week before the movie started. You now know that Mark is either the killer when the reveal comes or that you just got punked by a lame fake scare tactic.
3: Figure in the Doorway in the Background:

Culprit, Halloween H20: Michael spends a lot of time walking past windows and doorways. He's behind you Cool J

Interior Night, living room.
The light switch isn’t working. Suzzy isn’t worried, there’s been a lot of roaming blackouts recently. Suzzy heads to the kitchen to get some candles (show sharp kitchen tool for finale exposition). As Suzzy potters around in the foreground, in the semi-darkness, looking for the candles. A dark figure walks past the kitchen door in the background (pull focus just too late). Someone is in the house. Their silhouette is incredibly well lit considering the lights are out, probably the moonlight somehow. Suzzy doesn’t know it yet, but in about 5 minutes she is about to be in a knife fight with some dude who’s three times bigger than she is.
2: Bathroom Cabinet Mirror Reveal:

Culprit, RZ's Halloween: Michael in the Mirror

Interior, dorm bathroom
Michelle is cleaning her brilliantly white teeth. Wearing hot-pants and a guy’s shirt, unbuttoned (no nipples showing though), Michelle always brushes her teeth wearing stilettos for some reason. Looking into the bathroom cabinet mirror as she brushes, Michelle is safe in the knowledge that she is all alone in the room reflected behind her. Time to floss! Better open the cabinet to get the floss. Michelle opens and closes the cabinet. Still that same old empty room in the reflection. Campus security is doing a great job. Flossing done, time to put the floss back in the cabinet. Oh No! This time when she closes the cabinet a really pissed off man has appeared in the reflection behind her, I don’t think it’s Michelle’s new Drama tutor. Michelle gets brutally macheted to death. He remains take a month to identify.
1: It’s Only a Fucking Cat!

I blame Jonsey from 'Alien' for all It's A Cat fake-outs

Interior, some kind of warehouse or industrial building.
Security Guards Brian and Trent investigate the messy warehouse with torches, someone has reported seeing an intruder in the area. The torch batteries are running out. Trent knew he should have bought Duracell. Brain (the elder securiy guard) tells Trent (new on the job, first shift tonight) how he hates investigating this particular warehouse, seems it has a dark past. Suddenly there’s a noise, Brian and Trent draw their guns. Slowly they move over towards the source of the sound when suddely something jumps out at Trent knocking him to the ground, what could it be? Leatherface? Brundel Fly? Aliens? Jason Fucking Voorhees? …, No, because writers are so lazy that in fact, IT’S A CAT, it’s always the bloody cat. Needless to say both Trent and Brian die in about 85 seconds anyway when the real, whatever it is, turns up.

11 Mar 2011

Cool SAW Infographic

Deadly Movies | News

Check out this new Hi-Res info-graph which Deadly Movies received this week. It’s pretty cool and was put together to celebrate the UK DVD release of SAW The Final Chapter. If you’re a Jigsaw fan then knock yourself out with info on deaths, traps, boxoffice, and other such statacular stats. Click the thumbnail left to view full size.
Note: I still think SAW 3D (aka Final Chapter, aka SAW VII) was a big letdown. “All my work has been leading to this” says Jigsaw in the trailer. TO WHAT?!

Thanks to the guys at Way to Blue for sending this over. They’ve mocked up a little fairwell memorial video to the franchise which you can see here That’s some good funeral work boys.

6 Mar 2011

Deadly Movies speaks to Director Rene Perez about ‘The Dead and the Damned’

Deadly Movies Indie Scene | The Dead and the Damned

The Dead and the Damned

Rene Peraz has created a cracking zombie flick. I usually die a little inside when I receive another zombie horror to look at. However this is a distinctly different beast. A period horror set in the Wild West, ‘The Dead and the Damned‘ is well shot, well acted, and very well executed, a feat lost on most Indie horror films (especially zombie movies). I genuinely have no hesitation in saying ‘The Dead and the Damned‘ is hands down the best Indie zombie film I’ve ever been asked to look at (and I get sent a lot  of  bloody zombie films!). This week Deadly Movies chatted to the director Rene Perez about the movie, gore effects, low budget filmmaking, zombies, cowboys, and all things in-between. Click more to read the full interview as well as more exclusive images, poster art, and trailer link.

Deadly Movies: Zombies and Westerns? Genius. The zombie market is incredibly cluttered these days, everyone with a video cell phone is making zombie movies. You’ve come up with something a little different here that instantly sparks intrigue.
Rene Perez: I’ve think if your gonna do something, make it as unique as possible. If I were to make a regular zombie movie, I would have to compete with all of the bigger budgeted zombie movie’s out there. In Hollywood an ultra low budget movie is a half million to one million dollars. And since our entire budget was only thirty thousand dollars, I had to find an option to stand out in a big way. I thought we could do that by best setting the story in the wild west.
DM: One thing that low budget and Indie filmmakers often get wrong is the effort put into the physical look of the movie. Your movie looks great, how have you achieved this on a budget?
RP: One of the reasons I chose the wild west is because we could get the look right. I wouldn’t have done a western unless I thought we could make it look real. My crew and I live in California and there’s a lot of wild west re-enactors and aficionados. We even found a couple of really nice people who had built wild west towns on their properties for their own enjoyment. For us it was like having a giant movie sets. Both of those things gave us a genuine costume and set look. As for lead actors, I chose an actress with natural beauty as opposed to a modern glamour look. Our lead male actor was a friend of mine and I knew he has a star presence but in a more subtle way. Our Indian warrior actor was a real life Apache so that was lucky for us. All in all, the actors looked like they could be in a big budget movie instead of a low budget movie which is usually filled with college students.

Rene with both zombie and human cast

I don’t like to plan things out intellectually for artistic projects. Especially movie’s. Instincts are better than shot lists and plans in my opinion. I like to just feel things out when I get to the location. That way I can use the energy of the location and the actors to guide the way. Also on our budget, planning things out ahead of time is a waste of time because things change on a hourly basis. You can’t really plan things out unless you have the money to make those things happen. Basically I show up, see what changes/ restrictions have occurred due to money constraints and then try to achieve a good scene with what we do have on hand. So to answer your question, I think we achieved this look by being artistic as opposed to acting like filmmakers. Filmmakers need a lot of planning and resources. A real artist can make something out of anything.

DM: The costumes and makeup look superb.., I genuinely mean that. It’s all to easy to make sloppy, cheap looking Z-effects. But you’ve delivered some pretty gruesome looking members of the living dead that all have subtle difference in skin tone etc (I spotted some blue skin creatures in there, reminiscent of Savini’s ‘Dawn’ zombies?!). Talk us through the creature designs and makeup process.
RP: The make up cost us the most time, money and suffering more than anything else on this movie. But I think it’s imperative to have zombies that look scary. I’ve never understood how some zombie movie’s get away with just putting blood around an actors mouth with some light color make up pasted on their faces. They usually just look like people acting foolish. I wanted to avoid that at all costs. And if an actor looks scary, it’ll be easier to act scary. Making the movie scary was essential for me. So many zombie movies these days are overly campy, some by choice, some not. I myself don’t see the point in making a non-scary horror movie. Zombie movies are horror and I went out of my way to exclude any camp or comedy of any kind. I focused on suspense, action and horror. So having scary looking zombie’s was a must.

'The Dead and The Damned' poster art

DM: Horror fans can be brutal, and there’s one visual choice you’ve made a narrative decision that will stir some controversy…, Runners! Your zombies are of the fast paced variety made famous by ’28 Days Later’ and the ‘Dawn of the Dead’ remake (both great films IMO). Why did you go for runners over walkers and what do you say to those who will say it goes against all that is sacred in the zombie genre?
RP: Slow zombies only work in masses or in a confined space. If we had slow zombies in our movie, our hero’s would simply out run them. We have action heroes as our lead actors. Most horror movies have weak males so that the women feel more of the threat. For example, if the men in Jason movies were tuff, they wouldn’t be afraid of Jason. That’s why you don’t see a Rambo type guy playing the boyfriend in the Jason movies. In the Dead and the Damned we have a gun slinger bounty hunter and an Apache Warrior. And although they are afraid of the zombie’s, they fight back in a big way. So the zombie’s had to be fast and scary if they were going to fight against our hero’s. Also, our zombies are actually mutants. They aren’t back from the dead. Our story starts with a group of gold miners cracking open an ancient meteor. They were hoping to find emeralds but all they get were alien spores which mutated them into ravenous zombie’s. And since they aren’t back from the dead I saw no need to make them slow. Our zombie’s/mutants are faster and stronger than humans. They just aren’t as smart.
DM: I noticed the use of both practical and digital effect work in the kills. Where possible do you try to do practical ‘in-camera’ effects or are you an endorser or digital gore?
RP: I’m not sold on digital FX. Not for little movie’s like mine anyways. I tried to get as much of the effects to happen for real but practical FX are getting to be more expensive than CGI FX. It’s hard to believe but it’s true. For example, when one of the zombie’s got shot, we added in a CGI blood splatter instead of an old fashion squib inside of the costume. I prefer the look of the old fashioned squibs but once you do that the costume is ruined. And you usually only get one take, and you have to have a licensed Pyrotechnics guy who is part of a union to set up and pop off the squibs. So yeah, it gets expensive. On the other hand, the digital blood was very cheap. And all I had to do was film it in a way that the fake blood would not bring too much attention to itself. I’d say we had an equal amount of both types of effects.
DM: You’ve raised the dead in the Wild West. If you could make the dead walk in another time or place where would choose? I’ve always been partial to zombies vs the English crusades. I’ll split that idea with you if you like!
RP: Crusades sound great and this is a good question. I did think about a sequel right after we finished filming the first one. And I thought if there is a sequel, I’d like to set the time period in the 10th or 11th century. And I’d set it in Scandinavia so that I can use Viking warriors. That would take a bigger budget though. It could be ‘The Dead and the Damned- Viking Age’ or something like that.

Be sure to check out the ‘The Dead and the Damned’ trailer here, you won’t be disappointed.