It’s Never Gonna Be Safe To Go Back In The Water…

Sharracuda-warning signJust when you thought the assorted permutations of cinematic Selachimorpha [aka sharks], post-Jaws, must come to an end, some mad filmmaker always seems to release another one into the wild.

Do We Really Think The Possibilities Are Exhausted?

Okay, no one really thinks there’ll come an end to the mutant sharks, B-grade or otherwise — not yet anyway. After all, the cinematic evolution of creature-features is nearly as endless and imaginative as the work of real-life evolution. We’ve had Monster Shark (from Lamberto Bava’s 1984 film Shark: Rosso nell’oceano), Mega-Shark, Mecha-Shark, Dinoshark, Sharktopus, Sharknados, Swamp  Shark, Ghost Shark, Sand Sharks, Two-Headed Shark, Three-Head Shark, Zombie Sharks, Avalanche Sharks (via Sharkalanche), Snow Sharks, Jurassic Shark, Sky Sharks (coming in 2017) — but there’s still plenty of scope, right? The genetic manipulators and gene splicers have lots of tinkering to do. As for me, I’m hanging out for Sharkquito.

Meanwhile, here’s the latest.

Sharracuda-side

Who Is This Then? (After all, every monster has a name…)

Meet Sharracuda, a newly conceptualised creature-feature that brings together shark and barracuda, just to make it even clearer that you’re better off staying out of the water.

Sharracuda-poster-teaser

Sharracuda is a creature-feature about events that take place in a  small coastal town that is suddenly attacked by a giant mutated shark (as tends to happen). Three young metalheads, an unusual priest and a weird marine biologist decide to throw themselves into the pursuit of the creature, using heavy artillery, blesséd weapons and an aggressive attitude. But what is this thing really? Is the monster an aberration caused by pollution, the result of a government experiment, the manifestation of Satan, or a rather impressive CGI creation? Who cares? The hunt is on!

Sharracuda is to be shot in 2016, with live-action filming taking place in both Italy and the UK. It is the directorial debut of director and producer Alan Mancuso.

So what else is interesting about it?

For One Thing, It’s a Heavy Metal Shark!

According to Mancuso, Sharracuda is “an unusual shark movie”, filled with a heavy-rock soundtrack provided by “some of the best underground death metal, hardcore, punk, doom and stoner bands from around the world”. In fact, a while back Mancuso held a contest online as part of his plan to put together a new, original and high-quality heavy metal soundtrack. More than 450 underground metal bands applied, though only 12–15 will appear on the soundtrack.

“A limited edition vinyl [see cover image below] will be produced soon in order to help fund the first scenes of the movie,” Mancuso explained. “The limited edition will be pressed only once, so die-hard fans should keep their eyes open and like our FB page to keep updated.”

Check out the Facebook page here.

Sharracuda-soundtrack-sleeve

One of the bands who auditioned is Kamensko, and here’s their latest EP, newly released. You can listen to it, buy it and download it here. It’s rather excellent, I thought.

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Application videos from Kanensko and other bands can be viewed on the film’s FB Page.

So Who Wants To Be Eaten by a Mutant Shark?

Well, Mancuso and Sharracuda are looking for anyone interested, with a focus on UK residents.

actors-wanted-posterSays Mancuso:

We’re looking for actors and extras. Casting Call is for all ages metalheads, any gender.
If you have acting experience or if you just think you may have the guts you can also apply for one of the three main roles: The main character is skinny, have long hair, typical thrasher. Think of a young Dave Mustaine. The other two supporting characters must have an interesting face, they should be character actors, overweight are ok, beards are welcome, long of short hair is irrilevant. Think a couple formed by a young Phil Anselmo and a nerd, a young Brian Posehn is a good reference. All of the three: 20-28 years old. Send pictures, showreels, resumes or just a couple of lines to casting@cineaura.com

Who Is This Alan Mancuso anyway?

Sharracuda director and producer Alan Mancuso has worked since 2004 as a casting director, creating commercials for Dior, Volvo, Hallmark, and others of a similar ilk. One day he had a moment of epiphony and decided to start his own feature-length movie. Being an avid b-movie fan — from Euro Trash and Italian sleaze films to American exploitation and creature-feature flicks — his immediate impulse was to embrace his inner monster. Among his favorite genre directors, he says, are Enzo Castellari, Joe D’Amato, Sergio Martino, and Antonio Margheriti aka Anthony Dawson (see sample posters below). With Sharracuda, Mancuso is eager to mark the rebirth of the Italian horror and exploitation genre. Other projects are already in the works.

Sounds promising, right?

A Poster Gallery of Italian Exploitation

Posted in Exploitation films, Horror, Independent film, Monster Sharks, Monsters in general, Music, News, Posters | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rise of the Vorehemoth and the Reign of the Vore King

vorehemoth

Fancy getting eaten by a giant monster?

A new feature-length micro-budget giant monster movie going by the title Vorehemoth is to be directed by the so-named Godfather of Vore and creator of La Vore Girls, Raymond P. Whalen (R.P. Whalen aka The Legendary Rock & Roll Ray Whalen of Troma’s Go To Hell, Mondo Collecto, This Is Bigfoot, Freaky Deaky, and Atomic Midnight Shows). Whalen is now casting for loads of extras and actors!

The casting call/filming will take place Saturday, 13 June 2015, at noon in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis, US. If you’re over 18 years of age, you’re welcome to be one of over 100 extras to be consumed by a 40-foot monster. Sound appetising? We’re assured that “your death will be as horrible (or campy) as possible”. For more information, check out this casting call notice.

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The film will feature one of the biggest practical FX creature creations of all-time! The 40-foot giant monster is to be created by FrightProps!  Concept art below.

vorehemoth-concept-drawing-01BW vorehemoth-concept-drawing-02BW

In case you don’t know, the term “Vore” refers to a sexual fetish in which a person gets aroused by watching creatures (presumably lots of women, but men, too) getting eaten by other creatures. Clearly this 40-foot monster will have great appeal to both vore fetishists and giant monster fans, though everyone concerned is keen to point out that the film will definitely not be pornographic — it‘s just an old-fashioned monster movie.

But it’s one really hungry monster.

vorehemoth-appetite chart

At the same time that Vorehemoth is being made, a new feature documentary about  Whalen, his films and his monsters is also in production, directed by award-winning filmmaker Dan S. (Dan Schneidkraut), best known for Seeking Wellness: Suffering Through Four Movements (2007-2008). The doco will be called Vore King and will include segments on the making of Vorehemoth as well.

Be there, or be officially unappetising!

Source: Written by Avery Guerra. Vorehemoth FB page; Vore King website and FB page.

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Space Monster Numagirasu is Coming

Space Monster Numagirasu is clomping into view, though only the vibrations of his coming are being heard so far. Charming chap, isn’t he?

numa01Space Monster Numagirasu (a title which can also be transposed from the Japanese as “Space Monster Numaguirus”) is the product of a graduation project being undertaken by students from Tokyo Kōgei University (Tokyo Polytechnic University).

kai1With its “old school” suitmation monster and miniature sets, the film is a kaiju eiga (or monster movie) in the full daikaiju (giant monster) tradition. This is a fertile tradition that sprang into existence in the middle of last century thanks to the success of Gojira, the classic film directed by Ishirō Honda in 1954 (and later “translated” for US audiences into Godzilla, King of the Monsters, starring an interpolated Raymond Burr) — and has only recently been (mostly) superseded by CGI technologies. [See my article “Man and Super-Monster: A History of Daikaiju Eiga and its Metaphorical Undercurrents 1954-2006″ for an account of the development of the Japanese tradition in giant monster films.]

With his weirdly distorted form, Space Monster Numagirasu is suggestive of the sort of Japanese giant monster that followed in Godzilla’s wake, especially in the monstrous extravaganzas offered up in the prolific Ultraman TV series (and films) – which were originally created by Eiji Tsuburaya, Godzilla’s SFX master-craftsman. As a form of SFX, the method is very hands-on.

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Produced by Hosonuma Takayuki and directed by Takayuki Hosonuma, Space Monster Numagirasu is a short film (13:20 min.) and will be translated into English for its American premiere – at a venue the Backbrain could reveal except we’ve been sworn to secrecy.

So until the details are firmed up, check out the trailer (and production pictures) below:

On-set and Behind the Scenes:

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Written by Robert Hood

Sources: via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery (Guerra); YouTube; www.t-kougei.ac.jp. Translation help by Yuki Morita (Godzilla 2014).

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Mega Shark’s Attack on Titan

It began when low-budget, exploitation production company, Asylum, released Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (US-2009; dir. Ace Hannah) [Backbrain review]. Back in May 2009, Undead Backbrain was the first to reveal a still of the giant shark eating the Golden Gate Bridge, and then gained an exclusive on the initial release of the trailer – and the result was internet frenzy. UB had never had so many hits before; the video itself on YouTube received over 1.5 million views in a week or so (it’s currently on about 4.2 million). The film also scored record audience figures when aired on the SyFy Channel.

Below is the Japanese DVD release cover:

megashark vs gioant octopus-japan coverThe low-budget and far-from-perfect film was, in exploitation terms, a great success –  having deservingly received both negative and positive reviews – and this inevitably led the Asylum to follow it up by pitting the Mega Shark against another giant monster, this time a reptilian monstrosity: Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus (US-2010; dir. Christopher Ray).

megasharkvscrocosaurus

Next came the epic tale of mankind’s use of the inevitable technological solution to the problem of a gargantuan pest: Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark (US-2013; dir. Emile Edwin Smith):

mega-shark vs mecha shark coverNow, just when we thought there was no mega-absurdity left for the Asylum folk to exploit, evidence has arisen of the next chapter in the ongoing adventures of Mega Shark. It is titled Mega Shark vs Kolossus, and introduces a gigantic humanoid robot into the mix.

Mega-Shark vs Kolossos-1_largeOur information on the film comes from a Japanese website, where the title is given as “Mega Shark vs the Great Titan” (bringing to mind the popular anime series Attack on Titan – a connection also suggested by the general appearance of the Kolossus itself, even if it’s metal rather than flesh and bone). That the report of the film is genuine has been confirmed by Kaiju Search-Robot Avery Guerra via contacts within the Asylum.

Mega-Shark vs Kolossus-2_large

As for the plot, a rough translation from the site indicates that though Mega Shark was thought to have perished in the fight against Mecha Shark, a Russian fishing vessel catches a similarly huge shark, which is subsequently revealed to have been newly born from a Mega Shark egg. Simultaneously, terrorists in the Ukraine activate the “Kolossus” – a huge robotic weapon developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. No doubt chaos ensues. (Source: eiga.com) It appears Mega Shark may be the hero of this one!

Mega Shark vs Kolossus will premier at the Tokyo Shinjuku Shinemakarite Film Festival, held from May 16 to June 26, as part if the “Karite Fantastic! Cinema Collection 2015”.

More images:

Mega-Shark vs Kolossus-5_large Mega-Shark vs Kolossus-6_large Mega-Shark vs Kolossus-4_large Mega-Shark vs Kolossus-3_large

Written by Robert Hood.

Update: we have official details, thanks once again to Kaiju Search-Robot Avery.

  • Director: Christopher Olen Ray
  • Producers: David Rimawi, David Michael Latt and Paul Bales
  • Screenplay: Edward DeRuiter
  • Cast: Illeana Douglas, Amy Rider, Ernest L. Thomas.
  • Production Company: The Global Asylum
  • Official release: April 2015.
  • Synopsis: As a mega shark threatens the global economy, Russia accidentally re-awakens a giant robotic doomsday device. The world must fight to stop both deadly creatures.

Source: Avery Guerra; The Asylum; eiga.com. Images are © 2015 RED ROBOT MOVIE, LLC.

Posted in Daikaiju, Film, Giant Monsters, Kaiju Search-Robot Avery, Monster Sharks, News, Robots | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Ghost Story Collection: Peripheral Visions

Robert Hood’s definitive collection, Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories, is released both virtually and physically in April 2015, published by IWFG Australia Publishing.

3D-book-coverIt is available in a signed, limited edition, single volume (824 pages), deluxe hardcover edition, a two-volume trade paperback edition, and an ebook. Included is an Introduction by World-Fantasy Award winning editor, Danel Olson, a Preface and extensive notes by the author, and a full bibliography. The deluxe hardcover also includes 8 original images by prominent Australian artist Nick Stathopoulos (one for each of the six Sections, an example of which you can check out below), a frontispiece and the signature page. Read more about it here.

Section-illo Vengeance

Bonus

As a bonus, those who pre-order the deluxe edition will receive a free ebook of Robert Hood’s zombie stories, Haunted Flesh: Stories of the Living Dead (30,000 words of them) and, while they last, a copy of his now out-of-print novel, Backstreets (Hodder Headline, 2000).

Trailer

Yes, there is a book trailer.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direct

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The Coming of Peter Cottonhell May Spoil Your Easter Break

Back in the dark days of 1972, Night of the Lepus (US; dir. William F. Claxton) tried to envisage a bunny apocalypse in which hordes of large mutated rabbits re-enact Hitchcock’s The Birds,  to lesser effect. It’s a bit of a cult classic these days, though still not overly convincing.

Now we are privileged to have front-row seats for the new bunny apocalypse, where there may be only one bunny but it’s bigger, bloodier and even less convincing.

Beaster-Day-ARTWORKYes, it’s a Easter-Day horror comedy about a giant mutated rabbit who fortuitously decides to schedule his blood-soaked rampage for Easter — which is good, as no one knows how to get through a holiday without having a thematic horror movie to vege out to.

Called Beaster Day: Here Comes Peter Cottonhell (US-2014; dir. Snygg Brothers), the film boasts pretty good poster art, a press release that emphasises gore and the sad plight faced by naked models (see Dread Central for details), and very dubious SFX. If you have any doubts about whether you’d want to see it or not, check out the trailer:

Synopsis:

A giant bloodthirsty Easter bunny starts viciously killing the local townsfolk. When the Mayor refuses to act and the attacks grow more gruesome, the town finds its very survival in the hands of a wannabe actress and a crazy dog-catcher. (IMDB)

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The Ants Are Coming!

It-Came-From_the-Desret_posterDec2014Undead Backbrain first reported it here.

Undead Backbrain alumni, friend and news hound, Avery Guerra (aka Kaiju Search-Robot Avery) has now been officially appointed to the film as Publicist.

And the film is getting bigger! All will be revealed on 16 January 2015.

 

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No Good Giant Monster Deed Goes Unpunished…

Terrific, and very short, animated movie:

Excellent!

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Throwing Some Light on the Dark Earth

Dark-earth-concept art

Scottish-born director, screenwriter and old-school FX monster obsessive Peter A. Montgomery is nothing if not determined. His latest project — his most ambitious yet — is a feature film called Dark Earth that offers up monsters, period-set science fiction/fantasy adventure and interplanetary wonder in abundance. Involved in its production is talent from Britain, the US and Australia, and a who’s who list of professional FX designers with a background in Harryhausen-style stop-motion animation and puppetry.

SHROOMS FINAL two_00000

This is grand SF adventure of the kind represented by such classics as The Land That Time Forgot (1975), At the Earth’s Core (1976), The People That Time Forgot (1977) and Warlords of Atlantis (1978), which is rather gratifying as the director of those four films, Kevin Connor, happens to be an avid supporter of Montgomery’s project. Also supporting it via the creation and animation of an array of monstrous creatures and lots of monster action is a list of well-known industry veterans:

  • Norman Yeend (The Time Guardian, $9.99, Ultraman: Towards the Future)
  • Richard Kent Burton  (Coraline, James and the Giant Peach, The Blob (1988), Ed Wood, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, Robot Chicken, Screamers, Freaked)
  • Ron Cole (Sinbad: the Fifth Voyage, Ghostbusters II, Monsters (TV series), Legend of the Golden Fishcake)
  • Nick Hilligoss  (Legend of the Golden Fishcake)
  • Steve Koch (Jumanji, The X Files Movie, Men in Black II, Starship Troopers, TRON Legacy, Men in Black III, Hellboy: The Golden Army, Godzilla (2014), The Thing (2011), Spider-Man (2002), Beetlejuice, Evoliution, The Mist, and many more).
  • Lionel Ivan Orozco (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jurassic Park, Starship Troopers, The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
  • Jim Aupperle (as Advisor) (Planet of Dinosaurs, After Earth, Ghostbusters, Hellboy, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Tremors II: Aftershocks, Robocop 3,  John Carpenter’s The Thing, to name but a few, seriously — check here)
  • John Dods (as Special Consultant) (Ghostbusters II, Poltergeist II, Boomerang, Monsters (TV series), The Deadly Spawn, Spookies, and many more)

That is one impressive team, I think you’ll agree!

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Says Montgomery:

Dark Earth will be the first movie in this genre for several decades to be made with traditional craftsmen but brought up-to-date using the best practical FX on offer today. We’re using Henson-esque puppets to represent the main aliens — cable-operated creations — and state-of-the-art stopmotion so authentic in its end result it will be like nothing you’ve seen before. The test shots from Tippett Studio I managed to get cleared to test the process on were received well with huge enthusiasm. Dark Earth is the film that many aficionados have been waiting for for decades. I’m making the kind of movie I myself have wanted to see for years. It’s no throw-away, here-today-gone-tomorrow effort like so many big budget films, but a project made with real passion by real artists, who want to give you something that’s really lacking in modern CGI-dominated cinema. It’s in the best hands it can be in, made by guys that work on big motion pictures. Put basically, it’s in the hands of artists. (Source)

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So, what is this film about? First off, check out this rough test trailer:

And here’s a synopsis of the film:

Dark Earth is a period-set (Edwardian era) fantasy film. Time travellers create a rocket ship. On a test outing they manage to shoot off into space and find a world they mistake for home located several million light years from Earth.

After a very hard landing, the crew of the ship find themselves on an alien world, populated by monstrous denizens and creatures from prehistoric times, long extinct back home on Earth. Dark Earth is a tour de force of exciting conflicts, monsters and scientific marvels, and features an alien race known as the Horidens, who become the main obstacle preventing our heroic explorers of time and space from escaping the Dark Earth and returning home ….

Undead Backbrain has written about Peter A. Montgomery and his projects before, in particular a remarkable trilogy of SF/fantasy films under the title Bizarre Life Institute. This was an enormous project, done over many years without significant resources. If you want to get some idea of what drives Montgomery and where he comes from check out the two-part article Bizarre Life Institute: The Trilogy — Part 1 and Part 2 in the Backbrain’s archives.

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This latest project looks like it has huge potential, but Montgomery and his amazing team need some help. Yes, you guessed it. Financing. To this end, like many other “outliers” in the film industry, Montgomery and the production studio, RIGAR UK, have set up a crowdfunding campaign on INDIEGOGO to ensure the sets constructed, such as the time machine interior and miniatures, wardrobe, puppets, and of course the stopmotion and compositing work, are all top of the line. They have also vowed to go to 4K resolution 35mm film quality with the stated budget, and that if they raise over the amount they would also add an original orchestral score, not a digital one.

Dark-Earth-dvd coverMontgomery added: “I know it’s not much when you think of what we’re proposing to create, but believe me, the team ready to go can pull off something spectacular with that budget, though small in today’s world of film. Even if we don’t reach the full amount, you can be assured of a beautifully presented piece of cinema made with love for the craft / genre, and a good story.”

The goal is ambitious, but every little bit helps. If what is written above sounds like something worthwhile (and it certainly does to the Backbrain), at least pledge the small amount needed to get yourself a DVD/Blu-ray copy of the final film — think of it as a pre-order. But there are also lots of other perks.

Meanwhile, check out the team’s introductory campaign video and read about the actors and more about the state-of-play.

Here is the link to the campaign.

Source: via Avery Guerra; Peter A. Montgomery; Indiegogo Campaign Page; Dark Earth blog

Posted in Animation, Independent film, Monsters in general, News, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It Grows! … on Steroids!

So Nick Stathopoulos and Ryan Cauchi’s fantastic short nasty-plant-from-outer-space film, It Grows! (see these Undead Backbrain articles) has shambled off with a slew of awards at Zed Fest.

Director Ryan Cauchi reports:

I’m speechless right now. It Grows! has just won 5 awards at Zed Fest! “Outstanding Foreign Short Direction” for Nick Stathopoulos and myself; “Outstanding Horror B Comedy Short”; “Outstanding Original Score” for Andrew Thomas Wilson; a special nod to Nick for “Creature Effects, Miniatures and Matte Paintings”; and last but not least, “Best Poster”… and apparently there are more awards to come!!

Great work, guys!

The Award-winning Best Poster:

It Grows! TEXTURED POSTER D A3

An Example of Nick Stathopoulos’ Incredible Matte Painting (click on it to see it in all its glory):

it-grows03

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