First Hints As To What The Expedition Found

The makers of the “Lost World” film The Expedition (UK-2014; dir. Adam Spinks) [see Undead Backbrain article "What Happened to the Expedition?"] have provided a few visual hints as to what The Expedition‘s hapless team members stumbled upon in the depths of the Amazonian jungle. I suspect this might be the tip of the paleontological iceberg.

Expeditionfootage.com Expeditionfootage.com 1 ExpeditionFootage.com 2 expeditionfootage.com 10 expeditionfootage.com 11 expeditionfootage.com 14 expeditionfootage.com 15

Source: Ben Loyd-Holmes via Avery Guerra.

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Bermuda Tentacles: There’s More Than Three Sides to this Triangle

It’s called Bermuda Tentacles, it’s directed by Nick Lyon (Grendel, Species: The Awakening, Rise of the Zombies), and it’s the Next Big Thing from mockbuster studio, The Asylum, in collaboration with the SyFy Channel. It stars singer/popstar/actress Mya Harrison, Trevor Donovan, Luke White, Jamie Kennedy, John Savage (Carnivàle), Darren Anthony Thomas (1313: Giant Killer Bees!), and the original Sarah Connor, Linda Hamilton, who has set aside hunting killer robots to take on a Monster From The Deep. Hamilton plays “…an admiral of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier dispatched to the Bermuda Triangle to rescue the President after Air Force One crashes, when her team accidentally awakens a monster …”

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Note: the above picture is NOT from the movie.

Military-type activity awakening big monster that goes on a rampage. It’s a familiar trope, especially in the light of a certain upcoming giant monster pic — one with a higher profile than Bermuda Triangle could ever hope to muster. So the real question is: is this film the Asylum’s “mockbuster” for 2014 — their attempt to cash in on the imminent release of Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla revamp?

Undead Backbrain’s kaiju ninja Avery Guerra put this (and some other questions) to cinematographer Alexander Yellan.

Yellan: Although I can’t speak for the marketing gurus at the Asylum, I don’t believe this film is associated with the release of the Warner Bros. Godzilla. As far as I know this is an original concept developed in coordination with SyFy.

AG: What can you tell us about the monster or monsters then, apart from the obvious (as suggested by the title)?

Yellan: I’m afraid I can’t tell you anything about the creatures in the film as frankly it would spoil the fun. But I will say that the Asylum and Syfy both like titles that are direct and to the point.

AG: Who are the stars? In what locations does it take place?

Yellan: The film stars Linda Hamilton as a US Navy Admiral, Trevor Donovan as a Special Forces team leader, Mya Harrison as a team specialist, Jamie Kennedy as a military scientist, and John Savage as the President. The film is set primarily in the Bermuda Triangle but also along other parts of the Eastern seaboard of the US.

AG: If not Godzilla, what are the inspirations that lie behind Bermuda Tentacles?

Yellan: I couldn’t tell you every film that was drawn upon for ideas, but the director’s style guide referenced Peter Berg’s Battleship quite a bit. I’d say Michael Bay’s style came up in conversation frequently as well.

AG: Does the film have an air date? Has it wrapped production?

Yellan: We have certainly finished production. I believe the film is slated to air on the Syfy Channel on Saturday, April 12 at 9 p.m. EST.

So there you have it. The actual monster design is up-in-the-air, though the tentacles definitely suggest images of the Kraken — that mythological seabeast that was said to terrorise ships in the early days (as depicted on this ad for Kraken Rum, a substance that no doubt contributed to many sightings):

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The Kraken has subsequently re-entered the public consciousness thanks to both Ray Harryhausen’s mythological Clash of the Titans (US-1981; dir. Desmond Davis) and the more recent remake, Clash of the Titans (US-2010; dir. Louis Leterrier) — as they say,  “Release the Kraken!”

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Above picture is of Harryhausen’s stopmotion Kraken (from the 1981 film) and below is a painting by GENZOMAN, drawn as a splash page for a comic prequel to the modern Clash of the Titans remake.

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Giant tentacled sea-monsters have been plentiful in fiction and on films. Putting aside the king of tentacled horrors, H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu and the films he has inspired, I will mention four (so I can add pictures). Firstly, there’s Tentacles [aka Tentacoli] (Italy/US-1977; dir. Ovidio G. Assonitis (as Oliver Hellman)), which involves people disappearing at sea, a huge mutated octopus, and a bunch of well-known US actors slumming it in a 1970s Italian exploitation pic.

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Don’t you just love Japanese posters?

Next is a favourite of mine, made by a director who went on to have several effective big-budget box-office successes only to completely lose control when given even more truck-loads of money to work with — Deep Rising (US-1998; dir. Stephen Sommers). This one involves a huge luxury liner, a bunch of modern mercenary pirates, and the most multi-tentacled horror to ever hit the screen:

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Thirdly, a little-known gem from Ireland — Grabbers (Ireland-2012; dir. Jon Wright). This one involves a bunch of Irish patrons in a pub by the seaside — and a huge tentacled monster. Very funny. I highly recommend it.

Grabbers-Aus-cover Grabbers-Sony-Pictures-Home-Ent_

Finally, we have a 1950s scifi classic, It Came From Beneath the Sea (US-1955; dir. Robert Gordon), featuring the stop-motion work of the great Ray Harryhausen (again). H-bomb tests give rise to a mutated, mega-gigantic five-tentacled octopus (there were budgetary restrictions), which comes to the California coast to party. One of the greats!

it came from 1

Sources: Alexander Yellan via Avery Guerra. The Wrap online. Genzoman. Various other internet sources where no credit was given.

 

Posted in Daikaiju, Exploitation films, Giant Monsters, Giant Squids, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Enormous News

The year 2014 is shaping up to be a big one for fans of giant monsters. This is not surprising, of course, as the much-anticipated, big-budget kaiju extravaganza Godzilla (US-2014; dir. Gareth Edwards) is due to hit screens in May. The fact that so far Hollywood’s return to the iconic Japanese franchise is looking good and commentators across the board are sounding hopeful is no doubt a source of inspiration. Huge box-office success or not,  the King of Monsters is bringing with him to the party a number of other giant monster/kaiju projects. One of them at least, the web series Enormous, has all the potential to be a worthy addition to the genre.

Enormous_cover-issue3comics_enormous4Click on the above to enlarge

Enormous is based on a comic series created by Tim Daniel (writer) and Mehdi Cheggour (artist) and published as a 64-page, Treasury-sized One Shot graphic novella in July 2012 through Image Comics. Ahead of the comic series’ return in June 2014, a live-action adaptation will hit the internet in the form of a full debut episode available March 20 on the Machinima Prime Channel.

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André Øvredal, director of the Norwegian giant beastie flick Trollhunter (2010), co-wrote the pilot episode with director BenDavid Grabinski. It stars Steve Brand, Ceren Lee, Erica Gimpel, Garret Coffey, Billy Miller and Charles Melton.

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Synopsis:

The world as we know it has ended. A group of survivors on a mission now find themselves face-to-face with unspeakable dangers, some human and some … much bigger.

Don’t forget: March 20, 2014!

Gallery:

comics_enormous1Enormous_cover-issue4 Enormous_cover-issue2 Enormous_cover-issue1   comics_enormous2

Sources: Thanks to Avery Guerra. Official website; Shock ‘Til You Drop; Arrow in the Head.

Addendum: 20 March 2014

The first episode is now available for viewing in the Cinema of the Backbrain and on YouTube.

Posted in Apocalypse, Daikaiju, Giant Bugs, Giant Monsters, Graphic novels, News, Serial, Webseries | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Godzilla Rises: Official Main Trailer

And here we have it: the latest official trailer for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, due out in May. Check out the awesome “rising island” moment!

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This comes hot on the heels of the stunning perspective on Godzilla given by Empire magazine’s April special subscriber cover:

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Godzilla opens 16 May 2014 and stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn and Bryan Cranston. The screenplay is by Max Borenstein, Frank Darabont, and Dave Callaham.

Addendum:

This is from the “rising island” scene: Awesome! You can even see the hydrogen bomb that’s about to be exploded!

godzilla-rises

Addendum 2:

For the record, here’s the regular cover for the upcoming issue of Empire that features Godzilla 2014:

reg-empire-cover

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What Happened to the Expedition?

The Lost World concept has a long and successful history in fiction and on film. From Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World) through to Merian Cooper’s 1933 King Kong (and later remakes) to Spielberg’s Jurassic Park series, writers and filmmakers have explored the idea of an isolated part of the planet where the remnants of prehistoric life linger on (or have been reborn), infiltrated now by an expeditionary team of some kind. Scientists, adventurers and entrepreneurs must face the lost world’s monstrous inhabitants and survive — though survival is by no means guaranteed. It is a popular trope that never seems to lose its appeal, as unexplored places in the real world become more and more scarce.

Even in 2014, parts of the Amazon remain a mystery. A new, much anticipated monster film, The Expedition (UK; dir. Adam Spinks), follows the journey of a scientific expedition trekking deep into the Amazon jungle seeking rare species.

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Synopsis:

Deep in the Amazon jungle a research team lead by a respected Professor strive to protect vulnerable and endangered species. However, after a series of strange events, the superstitious guides abandon the team, who, faced with a tough decision, decide to remain deep in the jungle in an attempt to complete their study… But as night falls they begin to realize that all is not as it seems and that they are in the hunting ground of an apex predator…. Something they never could have imagined.

Though hints of what they find have been given (the film is described as “a monster movie”, whatever it is “has evolved” and images of dinosaurs appear in the film’s Facebook page), the exact nature of “the monster” remains a secret. Will the team members survive the experience? What is the thing they discover? Well, apparently we are about to find out. The website is on a countdown to “the big reveal”. As I type this, the revelation is 13 hours, 57 minutes away.

Here’s more proof:

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And there’s a monster in this teaser, too, but not much of one.

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“It’s an incredible story we’re telling here,” says Sarah MacDonnell, who plays one of the expedition members, “I’ve never seen anything of this size and scale done in this way before. We’re doing some really exciting stuff with the characters.”

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Director Spinks is extremely positive about the prospects. “I’m excited to be bringing such a remarkable project as The Expedition to the big screen,” he said. “When Ben [Loyd-Holmes] first approached me about the film I was gripped by the concept. This is a real thrill ride of a movie that will have audiences on the edge of their seats.”

Despite the ancestry of the basic concept, Spinks is adamant that The Expedition came together in a way that is fresh and exciting.

“That’s the challenge now in filmmaking that we all face — coming up with new and
exciting ideas for the audience. That became our mantra in making the movie… what has NOT been done before in the genre… And we made it our mission to do as much of it as possible.”

Expedition18

Keen to ensure the “reality” of the film, both in terms of character development and the monsters themselves, Loyd-Holmes (pictured above as Professor Howson) was convinced that, in terms of the VFX, physicality remained a key issue. “I was determined to have a physical creature,” he commented. “And it was in the research phase that we found the mechanisms and technology that could be combined to create the creatures. With that the project accelerated. Once I was sure the practical elements of the film could be done, I set about refining the idea, as well as putting together the team and this has gone from being an ambitious idea to becoming a project I’m incredibly proud of.”

The cast of The Expedition includes Best Actor Nominee (Film Guild BIHF), Ben Loyd-Holmes (Skyfall, Da Vinci’s Demons, Torchwood), Neil Newbon (Holby City, Hollyoaks), Sarah MacDonnell (Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, Montana), Ernesto Cantu (World War Z), Daniel Caren (The Girl Is Mime, The Hike, The Bill) as well as Simon Burbage (Pulp: The Movie), Dolores Reynals (There Be Dragons), Ross O’Hennessy (Da Vinci’s Demons) and Emma Lillie-Lees.

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So far the response has been strong. The Expedition was very well-received at MCM Expo London Comic Con and Undead Backbrain’s news-creature Avery Guerra reports that at one point the film surpassed Godzilla on IMDb’s list of the most anticipated monster movies of 2014. “That’s a pretty amazing feat for an indie,” Avery commented.

Producer Loyd-Holmes agrees. “The response from people out there to what we’re doing has been amazing. This kind of movie is normally left to big studios, but we’ve approached it in a new and exciting way… We’ve been inventive, tried to do something special… I’m really pleased to have made this movie and I cannot wait to bring the audience something that feels so real, yet is just so magical.”

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From the stills we’ve obtained, the shoot location is both authentic and spectacular and the cast clearly made some interesting friends.

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So, the question remains: what lurks outside the tent and what will we see 14 hours from now when the “big reveal” takes place?

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Be there!

Keep up with the revelations at The Expedition‘s website and on its Facebook page.

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Source: Ben Loyd-Holmes via Avery Guerra; Press Pack.

Posted in Dinosaurs, Exploitation films, Giant Monsters, Independent film, News, Posters | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Web Series: Bermuda City

An Undead Backbrain Exclusive Interview

It seems that web series have replaced the old serials that were, once upon a time, screened before movies at the local cinema. The latest is a noirish thriller called Bermuda City, produced, written and directed by Julian Jay Burton, who also features in it in an acting role.

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Teaser:

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Interestingly, the web series is being produced as promotional “world-building” for an upcoming graphic novel series. “The scheme is to build an anticipation for the Red Crow Comics universe — leverage in a sense,” Burton told the Backbrain.  “Mainstream film studios are using a similar scheme by targeting powerhouses like D.C. and Marvel, as their heroes have much pre-existing clout as mythical characters to the masses.  These figures have been around for over half an century, so leverage is grand.  This is why we’re attacking this method now.”

Synopsis:

Detective Jordan Long is a fugitive, framed for killing fellow cops. Surrounded by death, deceit and betrayal, his only option is to dig for clues which lead him to answers that will test his humanity.

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Bermuda City Pro Still 3

We asked Burton about the world-building that has gone into the series:

Bermuda City is an fictional island city that is actually built on an asteroid that hit earth three centuries ago.  There is a dark cosmetic energy that is embedded within the asteroid that draws evil.  So there’s no coincidence that bizarre events occur.  The geography of the city is a mix between Denver and Seattle.  I wanted to present a different landscape beyond the typical powerhouses like NY, Chicago, LA, etc.

I thought the title was unique.  It coincidentally mirrors my film company Bermuda Image.  Originally, I had “Winter City” in mind but had to change it being that the title is owned by another comic strip created by associate, Patrick Purcell.  In all, I love the title.  There are a lot of unknown elements that takes place in the city so I thought the title was appropriate.

Bermuda City Pro Still 4

What inspired the series?

Honestly, there’s not a grand explanation for the inspiration other than trying to develop original cities for my comic universe.  As a filmmaker, I’m aware that the exterior of cities usually play third characters in story and broadens the vision.  This brings another element to the overall concept.

I wanted to bring the Red Crow Comics characters to the screen early, versus later.  People would be able to explore different dimensions of the characters in a live action series.  This perception also carries over to the comics.  The comic media is more suitable for the imagination and for the most part doesn’t demand various dimensions of characterization; realistic situations that people could relate to.  I guess the director persona demanded that approach.

bermuda-city-comic-coverA page from the comic: rough artwork by Stanley Weaver:

comic-rough-Artwork by Stanley Weaver

Comic Promo:

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What was your role in the project and your background?

I wore a few hats in the project:  director, producer, writer and actor. I’ve been in the entertainment industry for nearly ten years, but was an athlete beforehand.  I studied theatre at Calhoun Junior College,  after that I volunteered with a few local film productions and eventually became a freelancer.  Now I am a freelance writer and acting coach by trade.

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Who else was involved?

Other incredible actors collaborated with the project: Michael Garth, Nicole St. Charles, Jennifer Burton, Latosha Baldwin and Kim Vickery.  James Ryan Sims was the director of photography and editor.  This is our fourth project together. Composers Rayshaun Thompson, Rafal Gościmiński and Kyle Duffy of Media Dynamic put together the scores for the project.

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What future do you envisage for Bermuda City?

This will be an ongoing series for a while, safe to say years.  We plan on producing 3 to 4 episodes a year.

You can can view the first two episodes of Bermuda City via the Cinema of the Backbrain.

Source: Julian Jay Burton. Note that all stills from the film are copyright © 2014 Bermuda Image, and all other artwork is copyright © 2014 Red Crow Comics. Images may not be reproduced without permission from the copyright owners.

Posted in Cinema of the Backbrain, Comics, Film, News, Science Fiction, Webseries | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Posters of Futures Past

El Segundo, California-based Boiling Point Creative Group has just released a new series of posters that re-imagine 70s and 80s sci fi films in a style inspired by art deco.

Space1999

As part of an impressive portfolio that includes DVD and poster design for major films and TV series such as Breaking Bad, Total Recall, The Smurfs, Hotel Transylvania, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the studio produces designer poster series such as the above mentioned The 70’s and 80’s Sci Fi Collection. This series is made up of six 16 x 24 in. digitally illustrated posters, each printed on high quality matte archival stock.

V-poster Flash Gordon Buck Rodgers Black Hole Battlestar Galactica

Also of interest to readers of this blog would be Boiling Point’s previous poster series, The Shogun Warrior Collection, based on the famous line of toys licensed by Mattel during the late 1970s. Good to see they included the Godzilla Shogun Warrior as part of the collection.

Raydeen Mazinga Godzilla Gaiking Dragun

Source: Joe Natoli of the Boiling Point Creative Group; webshop

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Of Monsters and the Mafia

Indie stalwart Mark Polonia of the Polonia Bros has just finished major photography on a film that features the mob and a dinosaurian monster. It’s called Meateaters, which probably indicates that we’re not dealing with a herbavore.

There’s something intriguingly appropriate, storywise, about combining crime/noir and giant monster tropes. My favourite of this particular cross-genre chimera is probably Uchu daikaiju Dogora [Space Giant Monster Dogora] (1964; dir. Ishiro Honda) [aka Dagora, the Space Monster (US, 1965)], which also wins on the strangeness stakes as it pits a bunch of petty crims and the cop trying to hunt them down against a gargantuan jellyfish kaiju that drifts among the clouds and sucks up everything beneath it [see Backbrain review].

Basically, these guys:

a Ishirô Honda Uchu daikaijû Dogora Dogora  DVD Review PDVD_019

versus:

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More recently, the Cran Brothers gave us The Millennium Bug (US-2010; dir. Kenneth Cran). This one does not deal with a criminal gang as such, but with a bunch of inbred, homicidal hillbillys who have their murderous activities curtailed by a huge “bug” that awakens at the start of the new millennium [see this Backbrain article].

millennium-bug12 millenium-bug-1

And then there’s IDW’s Godzilla graphic novel, Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths:

Synopsis:

Detective Makoto Sato is on a quest to bring down the Takahashi crime syndicate. Sato’s efforts earn him a one-way trip to a tropical getaway, courtesy of the Tokyo criminal underworld. The exotic locale? MONSTER ISLAND! Alone and facing death at the hands of both gangsters and goliaths, Sato must use his wits to survive—and enlist the aid of some most unusual friends. Join superstar creators John Layman (Chew) and Alberto Ponticelli (Unknown Soldier) for this unusual and exciting miniseries of monster mayhem!

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Back to the matter at hand. Mark Polonia’s Meateaters features an ensemble cast and intersecting stories, set against a noirish crime background — sort of Pulp Fiction meets Carnosaur:

Synopsis:

A woman steals money from her mob boss husband hoping to start a new life with her lover… A washed-up former child star and his buddies rob a bank with a police detective hot on their trail… all the while a ferocious monster roams the area!

Directed by Mark Polonia (Feeders, The House That Screamed, Razorteeth, E.V.E. of Destruction, Splatter Beach) and written by John Oak Dalton (Among Us, Peter Rottentail, Razorteeth), Meateaters stars Danielle Donahue (Muckman, Queen Crab), Jeff Kirkendall (The Temptress, Empire of the Apes), Bob Dennis (The House That Screamed, Muckman, Dinosaur Chronicles), James Carolus (The Temptress, Empire of the Apes), Steve Diasparra (Muckman, E.V.E. of Destruction, Queen Crab) [pictured below, facing off monster]  and Ken Van Sant (Razorteeth, Muckman, Splatter Beach, Monster Movie).

meateaters-Steve DiasparraAbove: Steve Diasparra, with attitude
2cupsAbove: Steve’s about the get chucked in the lake covered in two cups of blood
steveAbove: After the blood and lake shot

The monster is said to bear a family resemblance to the monster in the Polonia Bros’ 2008 flick Monster Movie:

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Anyway, check out the newly released trailer and see what you think:

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Source: Via Avery Guerra.

Posted in Dinosaurs, Film, Giant Monsters, Independent film, News, Trailers | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

New Trailer: The Zombie Apocalypse Reaches Denmark

Scandinavian TV and cinema — not to forget literature — have been spreading their goodness around the world for a while now, having produced some of the best work in crime and dark fantasy seen anywhere. TV shows such as The Killing (2007-2012), The Bridge (2011- ), Borgen (2010- ), The Eagle (2004-2006), The Protectors (2008- ) and the several versions of Henning Mankell’s Wallander novels have set high standards for crime and political drama worldwide. Then there are genre films such as Let the Right One In [aka Låt den rätte komma in] (Sweden-2008; dir. Tomas Alfredson) and Trollhunter [aka Trolljegeren] (Norway-2010; dir. André Øvredal), which both made enough of a splash to be granted the dubious honour of a Hollywood makeover.

So what about the zombie apocalypse subgenre? Well, a Danish crew have decided to dive into that particularly bloody pool with the low-budget independent feature Escaping the Dead (Denmark-2014; dir. Martin Sonntag and Bastian Brinch Pedersen).

Escaping-the-Dead-1Clearly it will involve a lot of running. And blood.

Inspired by the incident where Ronald Poppo had his face eaten by a naked man hooked on bathsalt in Miami, combined with a series of articles regarding the so-called deathdrug “Krokodil”, Escaping the Dead features what director Martin Sonntag describes as “the perfect zombie plot”, that is, a deathdrug that turns people into cannibalistic zombies. Sonntag describes it here:

The film has its starting point in a typical day for the lead character, David. David is the local marihuana pusher, but he is the kind of dealer that smokes more than he sells. In the meantime the country has been hit by a new deathdrug and when David and his partner-in-crime Ahmir is offered some exceptionally cheap cocaine they see it as an opportunity to earn big money at the big techno concert the following Friday, but the cocaine turns out to have a terrible side effect that creates a giant zombie outbreak that spreads across the entire Copenhagen. In the film we follow David and his bloody fight out of the city.

Check out the first trailer for the film:

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Directed by Martin Sonntag and Bastian Brinch Pedersen, Escaping the Dead stars Bastian Brinch Pedersen (who is also the co-director and producer of the film) as David, Rama Øzel as Ahmir, along with Daniel Hutera, Ali Öezkan, Iben Ma Bønnelycke, Nicolai Huan Nguyen, Camilla Ludvigsen and Kim Sønderholm (“Blood Fare”, “The Winedancers”, “Sinister Visions”) playing Lars the policeman.

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The above picture shows Bastian Brinch Pedersen and Kim Sønderholm, “exhausted from escaping a horde of zombies and having finally found a safe resting place. Or is it?”

Escaping the Dead is due for release this year.

More Stills from the Film:

Escaping-the-Dead-8 Escaping-the-Dead-9

Source: Apotheosis PR

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Chinese Dragons Are Cool: The Dragon Pearl

The Dragon Pearl (2011; directed by Mario Andreacchio) is an Australia/China co-production. It has a huge Chinese dragon in it. It also has Aussie stars Sam Neill (who has been in lots of stuff, but I’m going to name In the Mouth of Madness because I like it so much and of course Jurassic Park), Robert Mammone (the 2nd and 3rd Matrix films and many Australian TV series) and Louis Corbett (Charlotte’s Web), as well as Chinese/HK stars Jordan Chan (Young and Dangerous, BioZombie, Vampire Hunter D), Wang Ji and Li Lin Jin. Plus a huge Chinese dragon. Did I mention there is a huge Chinese Dragon?

dragon-pearl4Chinese dragons are cool. Sure, Smaug’s pretty cool, too, but we’ve seen lots of Western/European dragons over the years. Some that feature dragons are: Die Nibelungen: Siegfried [aka Siegfried] (Germany-1924; dir. Fritz Lang), Ilya Muromets [aka The Sword and the Dragon] (Soviet Union-1956; dir. Aleksandr Ptushko), DragonHeart (US-1996; dir. Rob L. Cohen), Dragonslayer (US-1981; dir. Matthew Robbins), Reign of Fire (Uk/Ireland/US-2002; dir. Rob Bowman), Dragon Fighter (US-2003; dir. Phillip J. Roth), Dragon (US-2006; dir. Leigh Scott), Dragon Storm (US-2004; dir. Stephen Furst), Dragon Hunters [aka Chasseurs de Dragons] (France/Germany/Luxembourg -2008; animation; dir. Guillaume Ivernel and Arthur Qwak), DragonQuest (US-2009; dir. Mark Atkins), Age of the Dragons [aka Dragon Fire] (US-2010; dir. Ryan Little), How To Train Your Dragon (US-2010; animation; dir. Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (US-2010; dir. Jon Turteltaub), and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (US/NZ-2013; dir. Peter Jackson). Yamato Takeru (1994; dir. Takao Okawara) [aka Orochi, The Eight-Headed Dragon (US, 1999)] and The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (US-2008; dir. Rob Cohen) feature multi-headed dragons.

the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug-dragon-pictureSource: thewallpaperszone

Chinese dragons, however, are less common. Perhaps that’s because they are traditionally much less aggressive than the European kind. In the past week, I have become aware of two films that feature Chinese dragons: this one and The Monkey King [aka Da nao tian gong] (China/HK/US- 2014; dir. Pou-Soi Cheang) — check out the trailer in the Addendum at the end of this article as well as the picture below.

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The Monkey King‘s dragon isn’t looking overly benign, but the dragon in The Dragon Pearl is apparently a bit more placatable.

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Synopsis:

When teenagers Josh (Louis Corbett) and Ling (Li Lin Jin) join their respective parents, Chris (Sam Neill) and Dr. Li (Wang Ji) on an archaeological dig in China they encounter something trapped beneath a temple beyond their wildest imagination. A real live Chinese dragon.. Two thousand years earlier, to defend his kingdom, the dragon lent an emperor his all powerful pearl. Instead of being returned the pearl was buried with the emperor beneath his palace, and helpless without its source of power the dragon has remained entombed ever since. With the Dragon Pearl buried on the excavation site, Josh and Ling implore their parents for help, but met with disbelief the children realize they must find the pearl on their own. However thereʼs one who does believe them: archaeologist Philip Dukas (Robert Mammone), who wants to seize the pearlʼs awesome power for his own sinister ambitions. The only way to stop him is for Josh and Ling to get to it first and return it to its rightful owner. (Source: AMPCO Films’ Production Notes via Wikipedia)

 Trailer:

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The film was shot in China at the Hengdian World Studios, said to be the largest studio complex in the world, with over 3 million square metres of built sets. Also other locations in and around Hengdian were used. Post production took place in Adelaide, South Australia. CGI and visual effects were created by two Adelaide-based companies, Rising Sun Pictures and Convergen. (Source: AMPCO Films’ Production Notes via Wikipedia)

The Dragon Pearl received a limited theatrical release, though it premiered on  6 March 2011 at the Adelaide Film Festival. It is now available on DVD.

dragon-pearl-coverdragon pearl poster arclightMore Pictures:

DragonPearl3 DragonPearl2 DragonPearl1

Sources: AMPCO Films’ Production Notes via Wikipedia, IMDb; Ketchup Entertainment (where it is available for download). Thanks to Avery Guerra for the update.

Addendum:

The Monkey King Trailer:

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