30 April 2011

The PATRICK REA Report (part 2): The Interview

And now, let's shift attention to something way more awesome:
(drumroll again, please):

I actually got the chance to do an interview with Mr. Rea!!!
Yeah, my first interview with a 'star' - watch out Big Daddy ;-)



- Interview with Patrick Rea, director of "Next Caller", "Time's Up, Eve", "Get Off My Porch" and countless other short films - 

Maynard:
Who is Patrick Rea?



Patrick:
I’ve never been asked that before.  Not sure how to answer it.  Haha.  I guess I’m a filmmaker who sees the dark side to a lot of things and the humor as well.  People who know me, know that I have a really dark sense of humor, so I like to sprinkle that in the films we make.  Sometimes the humor is very apparent and other times it’s more subtle.  Oh and I’m short, I have a goatee and wear glasses. Haha.

What (or who) made you want to shoot movies?



I wanted to make films from an early age. I was a kid in the 80’s, so I was raised on Star Wars and Indiana Jones.  I used to act out scenes from those films in my backyard.  My neighbors thought I was pretty strange.  They were right.  Haha.

How much do your movies cost (averagely)?

Well, it depends.  Since we shot a lot of the films in Kansas, we were able to keep our costs down.  The average short is about $5,000 to produce, but we did pull a lot of favors and not everyone is working for their full day rate.  The cost has gone up over the years since we’ve got more crew, better equipment and each short is taking more time to film.

How hard / easy is it for you to achieve the necessary money?

Well, it’s always a challenge.  I’ve had different investors for a lot of the films.  It’s never easy, especially when you are making a short film.  You really have to find the right people, who really want to be part of something creative and are trustworthy.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great people investing in our projects, but each project poses it’s own set of problems with finding the financing.

What are your favorite movies (horror and non-horror)?

My favorite films of all time range from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Star Wars” to the original “Friday the 13th” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.  I also have a ton of guilty pleasure movies I love like “Dune,” “The Road Warrior” and “Big Trouble in Little China.”

Is there a movie you'd like to do a remake of?

Haha.  I’ve always wanted to remake Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.  So, I'm here if they are hiring!  I have a lot of ideas for it and it’s the right blend of horror and comedy. 

You seem to set great value on powerful and memorable soundtracks.
To what extent are you involved in the composing process?

I listen to a lot of scores when I’m working, mainly for inspiration.  The think film scores are vital to a film and some films have been made or broken by their scores.  As far as my involvement, I usually give the composers (Harry Manfredini, Julian Bickford, Nathan Towns) some examples of what I think fits the film and they go from there. 

And who are your favorite composers?

Jerry Goldsmith has always been my favorite composer.  I think he elevated every film he scored.  I also am a big fan of John Williams and James Horner. 

"Get Off My Porch“ and "Time's Up, Eve“ reminded me quite a lot of the 'Bodysnatchers' movies.
Was this intended? 
And if so, are you a fan of these movies?

It was completely intended.  
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is to me has one of the scariest concepts of any film.  The idea of being the last one who hasn’t lost your individuality is terrifying.  With “Get Off My Porch” I wanted to be humorous and make a comment about consumerism, kind of a like the 80’s film “The Stuff” did.  
With “Time’s Up, Eve” the idea that Jon Niccum and I had was to keep the tone very dark and almost post-apocalyptic.  “Eve” is much more of an homage to the old Twilight Zone episodes. 

Are you fan of The Smiths?

I recognized 2 Smiths-songtitles (What Difference Does It Make? / That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore?) and other references in „Next Caller“...

Wow.  That’s coincidence.  I’m not a fan of The Smiths.  I’m kind of an 80’s music junkie, so if I was ever to reference a song, it would probably be something from Def Leppard. Haha.  

Most of your movies are shorts.  Can we expect more feature lenght stuff in the future? 

We are currently in post-production on our feature “Nailbiter” which we hope will be ready to screen by the end of the summer.  The film was shot entirely in Kansas.   
We have a teaser at www.nailbitermovie.com 
My next feature will be a sci-fi thriller titled “The Mirror Watcher”.

Any other great short films / short film directors you recommend?

There are so many talented short horror film directors out there.  A few off the top of my head that I recommend are Dave Reda (Horror of our Love: A Short Film), Drew Daywalt (Camera Obscura) and Marc Roussel (Remote).

Anything else you wanna tell us?

Thanks for the interview! 

Thank YOU! 







The PATRICK REA Report (part 1): 4 Films, 4 Reviews

A few weeks ago I saw Patrick Rea's "Get Off My Porch",
a wonderful short film that quite blew me away.

And now... drumroll please:

As a matter of fact, a few days ago director Patrick Rea stumbled upon my glowing review (!)
and posted it on his Facebook (!!!)


Then he contacted me (!!!!!) and recommended me 4 of his other films he shot prior to "...Porch" 
- and to my surprise, they are all absolutely awesome!

Check out my thoughts on those 4 films:



DO NOT DISTURB
(13minute short)

USA, 2009
Director: Patrick Rea

9/10









Highly gripping and thrilling psychological horror film about a weird guy who gets haunted in a hotel by some kinda invisible entity.
Throughout the whole runtime, it's incredibly tense and atmospheric with many strong edge-of-seat-scenes. Allen Lowman delivers a powerful performance, the hotel room and the almost Shining-like corridor look brilliantly creepy, Julian Bickford's soundtrack is brilliantly fitting, and the baffling ending is just wonderful.
Thumbs up!




NOW THAT YOU'RE DEAD
(14minute short)

USA, 2009
Director: Patrick Rea

8/10









Superbly entertaining little vampire tale, brilliantly written and paced with a few really cool and unforeseeable plot twists.
Amusing scenes alternate with suspenseful moments, there are many nice dialogue lines and I loved the entertaining performances from the 3 main characters. Highlight: the rousing score (Julian Bickford again) that reminded me of the works of Bernard Herrmann and Charles Band.
Bravo!




NEXT CALLER
(15minute short)

USA, 2009
Director: Patrick Rea

10/10










So far my favorite Rea-flick. A fascinating Twilight-Zone-esque story, which starts out funny, gets eerie in the middle and ends up pretty shocking.

I love the terrific script, I love the chilling soundtrack
I love the fabulous acting (most notably the awesome Allan Kayser)
and I love all the hilarious one-liners
("If god really does exist, there wouldn't be war and famine and disease and hanna Montana." / "If you're the devil, then prove it. Otherwise you're just some trailer-trash-junkie calling from your sports-illustrated sports-phone." etc.).

Furthermore, it's beautifully filmed and the editing is absolutely top notch.



TIME'S UP, EVE
(12minute short)

USA, 2010
Director: Patrick Rea

9/10










A b/w film-noir quasi-reinterpretation of the "Bodysnatchers" films including the coolness of "The Big Sleep", the weirdness of "Eraserhead" and minor elements from "The Fog".
Stunningly shot, stunningly written and with a stunning soundtrack from Nathan Towns. It's full of impressive-looking settings, excellent special / make-up effects, haunting scenes / shots and well-written dialogue. Sharon Wright's acting is really great and the overall look of "Time's Up, Eve" is just gorgeous.
Great!

Btw, in case you missed my "Get Off My Porch" review,
just click the pic below!

 

"DEATH WARMED UP" (Pure Terror 50 Movies Pack, #17)

DEATH WARMED UP

Alternate Titles:
Neuro Killers / Death Warmed Over

German Title:
Robot Maniac


New Zealand / Australia, 1984
Director: David Blyth

6,5/10




A weird down-under film, far from being perfect and even farther from the genius of a Peter Jackson, but still highly interesting and fascinating in some... um, weird kinda way.

What's good:
It's an absolutely fantastic-looking b-movie, due to loads of awesome styled settings / filming locations and a few brilliantly and memorable set pieces / scenes (the scene with the torches in the dark tunnel system, the terrific-looking padded cell, the motorcycle chase in the excellently lighted corridors, the fire scene, the powerpole finale, etc. etc.)
It's also packed with glorious / disgusting gore and gruesome kills (an exploding brain, 2 gross brain-operations, gory stabbings, gory shootings, mutilated bodies, electrocutions etc. etc.).
Furthermore, the camera work is very good and the synth-soundtrack is pretty cool.


What's bad:
The plot sucks hard and makes not much sense; same goes for the muddled script. The characters are all either cliché-ridden or just plain stupid. Most of the acting is rather weak 
(exceptions: the 'young Martin Gore' look-a-like Michael Hurst and the entertaining David Letch).
There are also too many dull/boring scenes in the first half

Overall an overseen and underrated little 80s gem that needs to be rediscovered.



28 April 2011

BLACK SHEEP

BLACK SHEEP

New Zealand, 2006
Director: Jonathan King

6,5/10











One of the very few New Zealandian horror flicks I've ever seen (apart from the films of Peter Jackson and "Mr. Wrong"),
and it's a decent one.
"Black Sheep", a funny horror comedy about a herd of killer sheep. Not as great as I expected, but still pretty enjoyable.

The plot is silly but hilarious. The acting is absolutely nice, especially the entertaining performances from Nathan Meister
(playing a guy with sheep-o-phobia), Tammy Davis (constantly delivering brilliant one-liners) and Danielle Mason (playing a tree-hugger called 'Experience').
There are plenty of wonderful gore scenes (lots of intestines, torn off extremities, a bitten off penis...), goofy-looking quasi-zombie-sheep and a few cool-looking non-CGI transformations.

Furthermore, it's full of really amusing dialogue,
f.e. "Do your hormones really need balancing? - "Considering I've been attacked by genetically-engineered monsters, jumped off a moving vehicle, been chased across a paddock, dragged into a torture chamber, pulled into a mountain of rotting flesh - yes, my hormones need fucking balancing!" /
"What about the sheep?" - "Fuck the sheep." - "No time for that, bro!" /
"Dude, you learned that on university, did ya? (pause) ...before you dropped out."

Unfortunately, the script is lacking any flow, there's not much suspense and some scenes were even a bit dull. I also didn't like the abrupt ending of the intro sequence and the totally disappointing climax.
 
Overall a flawed but enjoyable film, recommended to fans of "Severance" and "Bad Taste".

27 April 2011

GACY HOUSE

GACY HOUSE

Alternate Titles:
8213: Gacy House / Paranormal Entity 2

German Title:
Paranormal Investigations 2 - Gacy House

USA, 2010
Director: Anthony Fankhauser

1/10




This is one of those movies where the cover artwork is the only good thing about it.
"Gacy House" is intended to be some kinda "Paranormal Activity" in the house of John Wayne Gacy, but ended up as horrendously bad lowest-budget snorefest in the vein of "Paranormal Entity".

The plot sucks. Every single actor sucks. Every single character sucks. Large parts of the dialogue are almost unbearable. All the special effects look awful. The script is badly written and incredibly predictable. The camera work is awful. There's absolutely nothing tense, suspenseful or scary in here.

Garbage. Pure garbage.

Stephen King's RIDING THE BULLET

RIDING THE BULLET

Alternate Title:
Stephen King's Riding The Bullet

USA / Germany / Canada, 2004
Director: Mick Garris

4/10






Thanks to Antonio, the guy from Alan Parker's Ride, who recommended this movie to me (he even named his blog after the movie's main character!).
Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it as much as he did.

"Riding The Bullet" is the adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name.
I've read the novel a few years ago and didn't like it. Same goes for Garris' adaptation which did absolutely nothing for me.

Cons:
The whole film looks like a cheap made-for-TV flick
There are many lenghty and tedious scenes, as well as scenes that try to be suspenseful or eerie but totally fail in doing so. Jonathan Jackson's performance is quite mediocre and David Arquette is about as annoying as always.
I totally hated the constant use of King-trademarks (a car that looks like Christine, a nurse called Annie Wilkes, a dog hunting a rabbit, blah...), all the boring flashbacks, all the 'wandering' scenes and nearly all of the moments where the main character imagines something.

Pros:
A nice soundtrack (including cool tunes from The Zombies and James Brown), a few really impressive-looking scenes (the film-in-film sequence, the urban legend, the bath suicide...), some cool atmosphere and a beautiful Erika Christensen.

Not the worst but IMO definitely one of the weaker King-flicks.

25 April 2011

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

 BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

Alternate Titles:
World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles / Battle: LA

USA, 2011
Director: Jonathan Liebesman

2/10







My hopes for this movie were really high, not only because of the uber-impressive trailer, but also because I friggin' love the previous works of Jonathan Liebesman (the stunning short "Rings", the amazing "TCM: The Beginning" and the cool "Killing Room").
Unfortunately, "Battle: Los Angeles", one of everyone's most anticipated movies of 2011, turned out to be a huge, stinking pile of shit.

This movie is a miracle. Apart from 2-3 fairly tense scenes and a couple of nice one-liners, there was absolutely nothing interesting or entertaining about this garbage. I repeat: NOTHING! Loads of bland and dull explosion/shooting/fighting scenes. An armada of boring-looking aerial drones and completely unimpressing aliens. Many surprisingly lame-loking CGI / special effects. What the heck did they used the 70 million bucks for?


The completely insubstantial script was probably written by a 3-year-old. No plot, nearly no tension or suspense, a whole lotta horribly boring scenes, no character development, a large amount of dumb clichés and a stupid ending. The actors tried their best to give good performances, but eventually all of them (even Aaron Eckhart) came off as one-dimensional, wooden and emotionless.
Worst of all: the unappealing soundtrack and the incredibly annoying fast-zoom-in camera-style which was (over)used over the entire term!

This was one of the most disappointing in-theater-experiences of my whole life. I mean, I paid EUR 8,50 (=12$) for this crap - 8,50 totally wasted! 2 hours of my life I'll never get back!
"Skyline" was way more entertaining than this, and I assume that even "Battle OF Los Angeles" is more fun to watch.


24 April 2011

Happy Easter - with "THE BEING"

THE BEING

Alternate Title:
Easter Sunday

Alternate German Title:
The Ultimative Terror


USA, 1983
Director: Jackie Kong

2/10





One of the very few horror films that take place on Easter - and probably one of the worst. "The Being" is a crappy little piece of lowest-budget 80s schlock, rightly forgotten and overseen. 

2 mildly entertaining scenes - when the monster oozes itself into a car through the air conditioning, and the unintentionally hilarious ridiculous-looking-monster-vs-man climax. The rest is just forgettable: lots of terrible acting, a Martin Landau who is about as lame as in "Without Warning", horrendously tacky effects, lousy dialogue, a dull script without any suspense and a really bad direction.


23 April 2011

The 30 DAY HORROR CHALLENGE retrospection

Over the last 30 days I took part in Big Daddy's "30 Day Horror Challenge" over at Facebook.
Here are my choices:


Day 1
A horror film that no one would expect you to love, but you do:

"THE DESCENT PART 2"
Most people find it mediocre or even hate it, but I totally love it. IMO it's about as great as Part 1.


 
Day 2
The horror film that you most relate to:

Undoubtedly Polanski's arthouse-shocker "THE TENANT",
mainly because I had similar problems with neighbours and landlords a few years ago. Totally understand all the fear and worry the main character feels.



Day 3
Your favorite slasher:

William Lustig's "MANIAC",
one of the most brutal and disturbing, but also one of the most intelligent slashers of all time. Awesome!




Day 4
 Your favorite werewolf film:

Unquestionably "GINGER SNAPS",
the coolest and most impressive werewolf-flick I've ever seen!




Day 5
Your favorite monster movie:

Of course, the uber-fabulous alltime classic
"TREMORS"





Day 6
Your favorite vampire movie:

George A. Romero's outstanding and completely mindblowing masterpiece


 

Day 7
Your favorite supernatural film:

"JU-ON: THE GRUDGE",
not only my fave supernatural film, but IMO also one of the greatest horror movies ever made!




Day 8
Your favorite anthology:

Uh... tough category. I love flicks like "Nightmares", "Trick 'r Treat" or "Tales From The Darkside"... but I choose another Romero-flick, the entertaining 80s classic "CREEPSHOW"




Day 9
Your favorite exploitation / grindhouse-type film:

Joe D'Amato's "Buio Omega" a.k.a. "BEYOND THE DARKNESS",
one helluva gruesome Italo-gorefest!




Day 10
Your favorite psychological horror film:

More psychological than horror, but still a mindblowingly awesome movie




Day 11
Your favorite science-fiction horror film:

"INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS" (1978),
the outstanding remake of the outstanding 50s classic!





Day 12
Your favorite horror film involving the occult:

Michele Soavi and Dario Argento's "THE CHURCH",
one of the most impressive films of all time!





Day 13
Your favorite horror comedy:

"SHAUN OF THE DEAD"
- nuff said :-)





Day 14
Your favorite zombie film:

Peter Jackson's mega-gorefest "BRAINDEAD",
one of the funniest and goriest movies in history. 'I kick ass for the lord!'




Day 15
Your favorite film involving serial killers:

"ZODIAC",
one of the most powerful and tremendous ever made! (IMO it's even better than 'Seven')




Day 16
Your favorite childhood themed horror film:

I'm not a huge fan of childhood-themed horror films, so instead I choose a horror film about horrifying children, Tom Shankland's amazing "THE CHILDREN"




Day 17
Your favorite horror film remake:

"THE BLOB",
undoubtedly one of the most entertaining horror films from the 80s!




Day 18
Your favorite foreign horror film (outside of your country of origin):

Haha, easy! To me as an Austrian, nearly everything is foreign :-D
Well, I choose something French, 
"MARTYRS", one of the most shocking movies I've ever seen!


Day 19
Your favorite horror film involving the powers of hell, or satanism:

John Carpenter's awesome but underrated 80s classic
"PRINCE OF DARKNESS"




Day 20
Your favorite horror film involving a killer animal:

since everyone's choosing "Jaws", I choose something different,
"CUJO", the fantastic adaptation of Stephen King's fantastic killer-dog novel.




Day 21
Your favorite medical horror film:

the insane sequel to the already sick first part!





Day 22
Your favorite horror-themed TV show:

undoubtedly "THE X-FILES",
one of the greatest TV series ever created!





Day 23
Your favorite made-for-TV horror film:

"DUEL",
not only Spielberg's best movie but also one of the most suspenseful movies ever made!




Day 24
A horror film in which you prefer the edited version over the director's cut:

the long US version of "THE SHINING" is pretty cool but too long and tedious.
I prefer the shorter European version.



Day 25
A horror film that you used to hate, but now like:

"FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2"
When I forst watched it, I thought ir was completely unfunny and it bored the hell out of me.
For whatever reason, I watched it a second time a few years later - and suddenly I totally loved it!
Not as great as Part 1 but still extremely entertaining and amusing.


Day 26
Your favorite horror film to watch as a child:

"TARANTULA", one of the very first horror films I've ever seen. 
I had a great time watching it whenever they showed it on TV.





Day 27
Your favorite guilty pleasure:

"TROLL 2"
Yeah, of course it's a really, REALLY bad movie, but I can't help it - I just love this movie. I even bought the 'Troll 1 & 2' double pack :-)



Day 28
Your favorite horror film that no one's ever heard of:

a stunningly creepy late-80s giallo. Never released outside of Italy and german-speaking countries, never released on DVD, VHS-copies/-rips are extremely hard to find.
A lost gem that desperately needs to be rediscovered!


Day 29
Your least favorite horror film of all time:

the super-terrible and almost unbearable
"MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE"





Day 30
Your favorite horror film of all time:

The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.
John Carpenter's masterpiece "THE THING"




Thanx to Big Daddy, 't was fun!
Now we're all waiting for the sequel ;-)



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