Brian Yuzna‘s directorial career may have been a little patchy, but this is a man whose name is linked to such Stuart Gordon classics as Re-Animator, Dolls and Dagon (which he produced) and From Beyond (which he wrote and produced), as well as being the director of Society, Bride of Re-Animator (which he also wrote and produced), Return of the Living Dead III (also producer), The Dentist and The Dentist 2, segments of Necronomicon (also writer) and Beyond Re-Animator (also producer and writer). As producer, he was also partially responsible for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Guyver, Warlock, Infested, Faust: Love of the Damned, Arachnid, Darkness, and Romasanta — all worthy in their own right. Latter day directorial efforts, such as Beyond Re-Animator, Faust: Love of the Damned, Rottweiler, and Beneath Still Waters may not have reached the classic status of the earlier films, but many of them are much better than their obscurity deserves. Clearly Yuzna has been, and still is, a significant force in genre filmmaking.
Along with Gordon and others, Yuzna has generally avoided too close a relationship with Hollywood and its restrictions, preferring to take the independent route and forging international connections that allow for a greater degree of flexibility and freedom in the pursuit of the horrific and the monstrous. In recent times, he was closely associated with Fantastic Factory, which, with its Spanish connections, was responsible for a slew of decent films — not least of which is what may be the best werewolf movie of all time, Romasanta (Spain/UK-2004; dir. Paco Plaza), and what is arguably one of a small number of effective Lovecraft-based films, Dagon (Spain-2001; dir. Stuart Gordon).
Now Yuzna has set up Komodo Films, a Jakarta-based production company that he owns along with Indonesian distributor Queen Imperial Films. The company is “dedicated to producing films of terror, the supernatural, science fiction and fantasy for the international market. Drawing on the legends, culture, locations and talents of Indonesia as well as importing technical and artistic talents from America, Europe and Asia Komodo Films aims to create a new wave of fantastic cinema” (Fuworks). A key motivation is to produce 3D genre films and in this regard the company’s recently announced schedule looks intriguing to say the least. In the pipeline, for example, is a giant-monster extravaganza, which Yuzna will direct from his own script.
Amphibious, which features a giant sea scorpion that rises from the depths to attack (one assumes) a major city or two, has been on the table for some time, being first mooted for release in 2008. It appears now that it will become Amphibious 3D:
Kaiju Search-Robot Avery is on the prowl for further information on this kaiju film and the Backbrain will let you know as soon as anything rises to the surface.
Meanwhile Variety reports on two other Komodo Films productions to follow:
Next will be Necronauts, a journey into the realm of death written by novelist Terry Bisson. Pic will be helmed by Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity director Brett Leonard, who has also directed two Imax 3-D movies. [Leonard also directed the zombie flick The Dead Pit in 1989.]
Richard Stanley (Hardware, Dust Devil) helms the third project, Cold Blooded, a survival story penned by Rob Wiser about vacationing Americans stranded on an island where they must combat man-eating komodo dragons.
Komodo Films is apparently working with Singapore Film Commission, The Media Development Authority and Singaporean partners to establish a state-of-the-art 3-D facility that will supervise these productions to become the first 3-D feature films produced in the region.
Meanwhile Yuzna, along with associate San Fu Maltha of the Netherlands, has just produced Takut: Faces of Fear under their new company. Fuworks reports:
Takut is an anthology of six short films directed by seven Indonesian filmmakers, including internationally acknowledged Riri Riza and a group of first-time directors, dubbed “Darah Segar” or “fresh bloods”. It features Indonesia’s top acting talents such as Dinna Olivia, Lukman Sardi, Marcella Zalianty, Fauzi Baadila and actor-singer Shanty.
The stories draw on the traditional genre flavors of Suspense, Supernatural, Erotic-Thriller, Horror-Comedy, Zombie Action and Slasher filtered through the unique cultural sensibility of each director.
The individual stories are:
In “Show Unit”, Rako Prijanto, a known television and feature film director, tells a story of a man who becomes a victim of a deadly game of extortion after he investigates an intruder at his house. Riri Riza shares his childhood fear through “Titisan Naya”, where a sceptical young girl discovers that her ancestors are not just a faded memory during a traditional family ritual. Ray Nayoan explores the world of a Peeping Tom in his first short movie “Peeper”. Another newcomer Robby Ertanto tells a tale of black magic in horror-comedy “The List”. Veteran music-video director Raditya Sidharta collaborated with the country’s Police special rescue squad in Indonesia’s first zombie flick “The Rescue”. And in “Dara”, the Mo Brothers show how an attractive chef applies her knife skills to protect her secret recipe.
Indonesian police rescue squad versus zombies! Noted!
The film has garnered much international interest, though most of us will probably have to wait for a DVD release to catch up with it.