This week Lionsgate and After Dark are releasing their indie thriller Dark Circles, which was written and directed by “Broken Lizard” alum Paul Soter.
Starring Johnathon Schaech and Pell James, Dark Circles follows brand-new parents Alex and Penny, who are suffering endless insomnia due to their new bundle of joy who isn’t able to sleep more than 15 minutes continuously. As their minds begin to crumble, both Alex and Penny begin to see disturbing hallucinations that only add to their growing paranoia and fear, ultimately forcing them to question what’s real and what isn’t around them.
Dread Central recently had the chance to hop on the phone with co-star Schaech, who is currently off filming Hercules 3D in Bulgaria for Renny Harlin and Millennium Films (more on that later on in the interview!) to discuss his role in Dark Circles, how he used a real-life childhood trauma for his performance in the film, and whether or not we’ll be seeing more of him behind the camera soon.
And of course once we learned of Schaech’s involvement with Hercules 3D, we made sure to snag a few tidbits from the actor, who confirmed that he is playing the film’s villain opposite Kellan Lutz, who’s on board as the titular hero.
Dread Central: Can you discuss what it was about the role of Alex that interested you or what attracted you to the project of Dark Circles as a whole?
Johnathon Schaech:Well, I’ve been fortunate in my career that I’ve been able to explore the horror genre as both an actor and a writer so when I read Paul’s screenplay, I realized how much of it was a real character piece, which is always great to get offered as an actor. I liked how Paul used the hook of sleep deprivation to play with your perceptions too.
I’ve also been an insomniac ever since I was a little kid; my dad was a cop and there was an episode where someone came and pointed a gun in my face because of his involvement with a case so I always had problems sleeping after that so I guess in some ways I also plugged into my own experiences with insomnia to help create this character.
Dread Central: I thought you and Pell were great together in Dark Circles; how much of that was instantaneous chemistry, and how much did you guys have to work together to develop it?
Johnathon Schaech:Oh, thanks for saying that- I really feel like we did some great work together on this movie. I relied on her a lot when it came to all the baby stuff because she has two kids of her own and I’m having my first this September so that was an entirely different world. Pell’s expertise really helped me out a lot. But yeah, we got to play around with these characters a lot and we really got an opportunity to act, which I know can be rare in a horror movie (laughs).
Dread Central: Because aspects of the story were so personal to Paul, did he give you any sort of advice when you guys were shooting in terms of where your character’s mindset was or things like that?
Johnathon Schaech:Definitely. Paul was great to work with and really gave me some great insight. I also think that, because I am an actor, there has to be a kind of organic nature to your performance too- you can’t over-prepare or it will ring false to fans. So I just put myself in Alex’s space- he’s a guy who is an artist that’s trying to manage balancing his art with his family, and that’s something we can all relate to in some way.
Dread Central: You mentioned your writing earlier and I know you’ve also produced and worn a few other filmmaking hats throughout your career. You’ve been doing a lot of acting recently so I was curious if you were looking to get back behind the camera at all?
Johnathon Schaech:Yeah…I guess I have been working a lot lately. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, but yeah, I’d love to make more movies It’s just a tough business and everything takes such a long, long time so you have to be patient and just keep moving forward on your own projects while still being involved in others. I do have a project that I wrote which is really close to being greenlit, but we’re still a little ways away. But writing is definitely something I want to continue to go back to because I feel like I’m getting stronger and stronger each thing I write.
You know, I’ve been writing for years and years, and I think I’ve definitely gotten a lot better as a writer, but to be perfectly honest with you, I’m a terrible producer (laughs). I’m just not a good producer at all so yeah, I think I’d like to continue focusing on writing and even directing in the future.
Dread Central: So you’re now in Bulgaria working on Hercules 3D with Renny (Harlin)- how everything going out there? Are you allowed to talk about your role at all?
Johnathon Schaech:It’s just amazing- it’s so great to be working with Renny again too. He hired me for 5 Days of War a few years ago, which was unbelievably cool because he’s the guy who really reinvigorated action in the late 80’s and 90’s and he’s doing it again on Hercules. We’re shooting this in 3D with the same kind of immersive rig they’re using on The Hobbit so it continues to blow me away every day when you’re standing in a tent watching them shoot and then watching it with your 3D glasses just a few feet away. The technology is amazing and I think it’s going to be really cool to see Renny’s huge, sweeping action epic in 3D on the big screen.
And I am playing the villain in the movie, which is pretty awesome too- it’s fun to get to be THE bad guy and work with this great cast of all leading men. It’s definitely a man-fest on set, and I think Renny’s going to deliver a stellar piece of machismo cinema when Hercules gets released.
Some nasty little green men looking to zap you into the cosmos so they can get to probing? Then you need to arm yourself! This Dark Skies gift basket should do the trick! I mean, who could resist Mike and Ike's and Jiffy Pop! E.T. did have a hell of a sweet tooth, ya know!
Below you'll find some imagery of the Dark Skies “perfect movie night” kit, which includes a large popcorn bowl, a branded DARK SKIES fleece blanket, popcorn, candy, and of course a copy of the flick! To enter for your chance to win, just send us an E-MAIL HERE including your FULL NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS. We’ll take care of the rest.
From the Press Release This May, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Dimension Films will unleash the supernatural thriller DARK SKIES on Blu-ray™ and DVD. From the producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious and Sinister, DARK SKIES is a chilling film about the existence of evil and the strength it takes to fight its insidious attack. Hitting retail on May 28th, DARK SKIES will include a feature commentary and will be available for an SRP of $39.99 for the Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and $29.98 for the DVD.
DARK SKIES stars Keri Russell (August Rush, “The Americans”) and Josh Hamilton (The Bourne Identity, J. Edgar) as a young couple with children living in the suburbs. As husband and wife Daniel (Hamilton) and Lacy Barrett (Russell) witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barrett family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lucy take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family. DARK SKIES co-stars Dakota Goyo (Rise of the Guardians), Kadan Rockett (The Fortune Theory) and J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man franchise, Juno) as paranormal expert Edwin Pollard. DARK SKIES was written and directed by Scott Stewart (Priest, Legion).
DARK SKIES explores the dynamics of family, psychology and humanity as a household unites against an enigmatic menace. Is there still time to overwhelm this ominous force, or has “the invasion already happened?” DreadCentral.com’s Heather Wixson called DARK SKIES “a terrifying, mind-bending thriller.” Avi Offer at NYC Movie Guru said “Sci-fi at its chilling best. A terrifying, suspenseful and jolting experience.”
DARK SKIES Blu-ray™ and DVD special features will include the feature commentary with Writer/Director Scott Stewart, Producer Jason Blum, Executive Producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Editor Peter Gvozdas as well as alternate and deleted scenes from the film.
More werewolf horror is on its way in the form of the new indie flick The Last Exit, and we have a look at the trailer, a new still, and not one but two posters for ya! Check it all out before things get really hairy!
The film, directed by Andy Sawyer, stars Derek Maki, V. Nigel Taylor, Christina Rondano, Jennifer Niles, and Andrew Shanley.
Synopsis Darren and Jodi are in the-middle-of-nowhere Maine on their way to a funeral. The reason they never make it is simple: werewolves. As other wayward travelers end up in their own battles for life, a suspected killer with a werewolf-sized chip on his shoulder is hunting the beast. It takes a couple of kids, some drunken hunters, and an urbanite from California to confront the legend and decide who or what is responsible for the carnage.
More images have surfaced from the set of the now filming Godzilla which show off the set dressing that turns Steveston into San Francisco. Check them all out right here and look for more as soon as we dig it up!
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Richard T. Jones, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, David Strathairn, Patrick Sabongui, Yuki Morita, Brian Markinson, Juliette Binoche, Akira Takarada, Victor Rasuk, and Ken Watanabe star.
Gareth Edwards is directing the film from a screenplay by Max Borenstein, Frank Darabont, and Dave Callaham. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are producing with Mary Parent and Brian Rogers. Alex Garcia and Patricia Whitcher are serving as executive producers alongside Yoshimitsu Banno and Kenji Okuhira.
Click on the image below for more!
A presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, Godzilla will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, except in Japan, where it will be distributed by Toho Co., Ltd. Legendary Pictures is a division of Legendary Entertainment.
Slated to open on May 16, 2014, the film is expected to be presented in 3D.
The first still from the true-crime tale Devil's Knot, which is based on the tragedy surrounding the now freed West Memphis Three, is here, and it offers your first look at Reese Witherspoon as Pam Hobbs, the mother of Steve Branch, one of the three children savagely murdered in Arkansas in 1993.
Synopsis: Worldview Entertainment's dramatic crime thriller Devil's Knot, filmed in the greater Atlanta, Georgia, area under the direction of Atom Egoyan, stars Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth with a screenplay by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson. Elizabeth Fowler, Richard Saperstein, and Clark Peterson produced Devil’s Knot alongside Worldview Entertainment CEO Christopher Woodrow. Worldview’s Molly Conners, Sarah Johnson Redlich, Maria Cestone, and Hoyt David Morgan executive produced alongside actual defendants Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. Devil’s Knot is a Fowler-Saperstein-Peterson Production.
Following the release from prison of the West Memphis Three, after nearly 20 years of incarceration, Hollywood was abuzz with plans to develop the teen trio's incredible story of wrongful conviction for the mutilation and murder of three young boys into a narrative feature. Among other works, it inspired the 2011 Oscar-nominated HBO documentary Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. But tackling a complicated -- and unsolved -- murder mystery that spans nearly 20 years and includes a myriad of characters as a theatrical motion picture is an ambitious undertaking to say the least.
Still, Atom Egoyan was more inspired than intimidated by the story of the West Memphis Three, so the writer-director who has spun real life tragedy into compelling dramas with The Sweet Hereafter and Ararat began helming an adaptation of their story from a screenplay by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson as told by Mara Leveritt's best-selling true crime book, Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three. His film, Devil’s Knot, stars Oscar winner for Walk the Line Reese Witherspoon as Pam Hobbs, the intrepid mother of murder victim Stevie Hobbs, and Oscar winner for The King’s Speech Colin Firth as private investigator Ron Lax, whose tireless efforts uncovered troubling details about the case ultimately led to the release of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin after 18 years in prison.
Joining a star-studded cast that already included Witherspoon and Firth were Alessandro Nivola of Coco Before Chanel, Amy Ryan of Win Win, Matt Letscher of ABC's "Scandal," Michael Gladis of "Mad Men," Stephen Moyer of HBO’"s True Blood," Rex Linn of Appaloosa, and Bruce Greenwood, who recently wrapped production on Derek Cianfrance's much-anticipated drama The Place Beyond the Pines. Letscher signed on to play Paul Ford, the defense attorney for Baldwin, while Gladis portrayed Dan Stidham, the defense attorney for Misskelley, and Greenwood was lined up to play the not-so-honorable Judge David Burnett, who oversaw the West Memphis Three’s trial and was later accused of bias that slanted the scales of justice against the accused. Amy Ryan plays Margaret Lax, Stephen Moyer plays John Fogelman, and Rex Linn plays Chief Inspector Gitchell. Garnering such noteworthy character actors for supporting roles was a great sign that Egoyan's talent-stacked ensemble will be a heavy-hitter in the drama department.
Devil’s Knot boasts a creative team that includes producers Elizabeth Fowler, Richard Saperstein, Clark Peterson, and Christopher Woodrow; producer/writer Paul Harris Boardman; executive producer Molly Conners; and line producer/UPM Michael Flynn. Joining that above-the-line group are production designer Phillip Barker, art director Thomas Minton, set decorator Melinda Sanders, director of photography Paul Sarossy, costume designer Kari Perkins, editor Susan Shipton, composer/songwriter Mychael Danna, sound mixer Shirley Libby, special effects coordinator Lisa Reynolds, special effect make-up Bill “Splat” Johnson, and stunt coordinator Andy Martin.
The Weinstein Company is handling international sales, and CAA is handling North American rights.
Two more bits of news are coming out of the exhaustive Cannes Film Market. Read on for the first details regarding the giallo The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears and the upcoming thriller The Last Showing.
According to Screen Daily, UK outfit Metrodome has pre-bought giallo-style thriller The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, pictured below, from Bac Films. Writer-directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s follow-up to cult genre hit Amer, which Quentin Tarantino listed as among his favorite films of 2010, stars Klaus Tange, Jean-Michel Vovk, Sylvia Camarda, and Sam Louwyck. “The surreal drama follows a husband who plunges into a world of nightmare and violence while searching for his missing wife.”
They also report that Simon Crowe’s SC Films has picked up sales rights to The Philm Company’s thriller The Last Showing, “about a couple trapped in a cinema who are manipulated into becoming unwilling actors in a film being captured by CCTV cameras.” Phil Hawkins writes, directs and produces, alongside producer Alexandra Baranska. Production is due for July 2013 on the project, which is casting.
When the world is drawing to a close you really need to prepare if possible. That's exactly what our heroes from the horror comedy This Is the End do in this latest clip! Oh, and we get some confessional action too. Dig it!
Written and directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen and starring Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and Jonah Hill as themselves, This Is the End finds six friends trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic events devastate Los Angeles. As the world unravels outside, dwindling supplies and cabin fever threaten to tear apart the friendships inside. Once they discover that they are experiencing the Apocalypse, they must come to terms with why they were left behind. Eventually they are forced to leave the house, facing their fate and the true meaning of friendship and redemption.
More details have surfaced regarding director Gil Kenan's remake of the 1981 classic Poltergeist, which Sam Raimi is producing... turns out this one could be less remake and more sequel. Read on for the latest!
As per MovieHole:
The Kenan-directed Raimi-produced reboot - much like the "Evil Dead" remake - exists in the same world as the previous "Poltergeist" films. So while it is a 'reboot' of the franchise, it's also somewhat of a sequel - taking place years after the Freelings were run out of town.
In one scene in the new film, the kids find some things behind the sliding panel in the attic. Yep, you guessed it - they find some of the Freelings' possessions, intentionally left behind. There's the Star Wars bed sheets (from Robbie's room), a black-and-white TV set (why, of course!), and some Christmas decorations.
Although the new film may possess new characters and somewhat of a different storyline, all the 'familiar beats' from the original "Poltergeist" films are in it. There's the scary tree that proves a looming threat to our youngster (and gets pulled underground), the freaky 'clown' that sits upon a rocking chair in the bedroom (in this case, the clown sits in younger brother Griffin's room), and of course there's 'phone' trouble (in this case, older sister Kendra's iPhone gets damaged by unseen forces), and of course the little girl - Madison - who makes friends with 'The Lost People' that nobody can see (but who don't mind 'showing off' - making Madison's hair stand up like she's just been struck by electricity, being just one of their 'tricks').
Interesting. We may just see the return of the Freelings in some capacity. A cameo maybe? Let's hope for all parties concerned that the Poltergeist curse doesn't return as well.
Thanks to DC reader Chris J. for the heads-up!
As reported earlier, the new version follows Eric Bowen and his family, who, after he loses his job, relocate to a new town to start over. His daughter, Madison, is abducted, making him truly understand what’s important in life: family.
Casting has begun, and shooting is scheduled to commence as early as September in Toronto, Canada. Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Roy Lee produce. David Lindsay-Abaire is listed as the main screenwriter although Juliet Snowden and Stiles White had previously worked on the script.
With the indie feature An American Terror currently enjoying its festival run, we caught up with filmmaker Haylar Garcia to get the skinny on the latest. Read on for his comments along with our initial impressions of the flick.
An American Terror was written, directed, and edited by Denver, Colorado, filmmaker Garcia; produced by Sam Sleiman and Tarik Heitmann; and executive produced by Jim Brennan and Roland Salameh.
"We are so flattered and grateful for the response to the film," offered Garcia, "as it was accepted as official selections at Crypticon Seattle, Comic Con Denver, and of course the amazing LA Fear & Fantasy Film Fest, where we actually took away awards for 'Best Feature', 'Best Director,' and 'Best Actress'. We are excited to be attending such amazing events with such gracious hosts, audiences, and our badass filmmaking peers. We have our fingers crossed for a great 2013 fest season, especially in September and October, when the genre fests really heat up."
Synopsis: Three teen outcasts decide to trade their nameless and bullied existences for Internet fame by exacting a sadistic template for the unthinkable, but in their search for the assault weapons to pull it off, they come upon something far darker than even their own gruesome plans.
As for my take on the film? Surprising, effective, and brutal, Garcia's hybrid feature An American Terror boldly examines the effects of Millennial High School bullying and revenge, while pairing the narrative with some gratuitous, old-school horror. The result is darkly captivating, with strong performances by leads Graham Emmons and Louise MacDonald and haunting cinematography by Anton Fresco. It's SLC Punk! meets House of 1000 Corpses, with a healthy dose of thoughtful and arresting social commentary.
A new clip has arrived for the new flick from the makers of Zombie Strippers, entitled Alyce Kills, and we have it right here for your perusal. Be warned it's pretty damned steamy! Dig it!
From the Press Release The Collective, a leading entertainment management and production company, and top horror website BloodyDisgusting.com present the mind-tripping blood-soaked thriller ALYCE KILLS as part of their Bloody Disgusting Selects film series.
After accidentally knocking her best friend off a roof, Alyce is haunted by guilt and delves into a brutal nightmare wonderland of sex, drugs. and violence, her mind tearing itself apart... along with anyone else who gets in her way. Director Jay Lee (ZOMBIE STRIPPERS) takes us down the rabbit hole and unleashes enough chaos and horror to satisfy any gorehound. ALYCE KILLS stars Tamara Feldman (HATCHET, “GOSSIP GIRL”), James Duval (DONNIE DARKO, DOOM GENERATION), Eddie Rouse (PANDORUM, UNDERTOW), Larry Cedar (THE CRAZIES), Yorgo Constantine (FAST FIVE), Megan Gallagher (“MILLENIUM”), Rena Owen (ONCE WE WERE WARRIORS), Tracey Walter (REPO MAN, BATMAN), Bret Roberts (MAY, NIGHTSTALKER), and Jade Dornfeld, making her film debut as the titular character, Alyce.
ALYCE KILLS will be released in select theaters on May 24, 2013. It will be available on Cable VOD in partnership with Tribeca Films and for digital streaming on May 21, 2013.
If you're in the LA area, here's some info on a special screening taking place on Friday, May 24th, at 9:30 pm:
* Meet cast and crew members following the show, including director Jay Lee (Zombie Strippers) and Jade Dornfeld, who stars as Alyce
* Full size ALYCE KILLS theatrical posters given out after the show (while supplies last)
251 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Doors open at 9:00 pm