Dinosaurs depicted via the “found footage” technique have been making themselves apparent lately. In September the Backbrain drew your attention to The Dinosaur Project (US-2012; dir. Sid Bennett)– an in-production “lost world” movie filmed in a “found footage” (or camera verité, as I call it) style. Now we have some new details in regards to Tape 407 (US-2011; dir. Dale Fabrigar and Everette Wallin), a “found footage” dino epic that has already been discussed on various news sites but is now heading toward a special Halloween release.
Described by its publicity as “one of Hollywood’s most terrifying new films”, Tape 407 is said to feature lost footage “too real for reality and too disturbing for fiction”. Apparently it also has “a twist ending that will leave you breathless, shocked, and terrified” — something that has become obligatory for “camera verité” horror movies, as witness The Blair Witch Project and the recent Paranormal Activity films.
Unlike the majority of previous “found footage” films, Tape 407 eschews ghosts, zombies and the closed-in environments they inhabit for the more expansive world of dinosaurs, though from the trailer the film uses darkness to generate a feeling of claustrophobia. It is clearly a hybrid incorporating influences from Lost and Jurassic Park into the frenzied visual landscape of “camera verité” terror.
In Tape 407, innocent passengers with family and friends waiting for them at home board a state-of-the-art jetliner piloted by an experienced crew, having no reason to doubt that the pilot will navigate through storm and turbulence to get them home safely. They are wrong. The small group that survives the devastating crash, including the critically wounded, believe that help is on the way. Again, they are wrong. The very people they trust to rescue them are the very same people who created the hell in which they find themselves — trapped in darkness by predators that, unbeknownst to them, are part of the government’s top-secret Mesa Experiment. (Adapted from the press release)
The Backbrain asked producer Suzanne DeLaurentiis about the film and how it came about. “I’ve been an independent producer for 30 years,” she began.
A while back I was in pre-production for a musical comedy that was shooting called How Sweet It Is. While working on the music score, my co-producers Ivan Kavalsky, Stephen Fiske, and Jude Tucker and myself toyed with the idea of shooting a found-footage movie during our week of summer vacation. I told my partners that I didn’t want to do a typical scary house or graveyard scenario, that I wanted something different. So, I asked myself what is one of my worst fears, and the answer was: Going down in a plane crash. My co-producer Stephen Fiske replied, “But then what happens?” And I said, “Think of something new and different.” And he replied jokingly, “I don’t know … what about dinosaurs?” And, I said “Great, let’s do it!” So we did.
The movie was shot in five days and the majority of it was improvised by the actors. I can’t tell you what a challenge it was hauling the remnants of a 747plane crash from the California desert up to our shooting location at a ranch in California. When my co-producers asked “How are we possibly going to do that?” I said “Figure it out, that’s what I want.”
I am very happy with what we ended up with and have nothing but praise for my talented cast and crew.
If all this gets your juices flowing — and it should — we’ve got some excellent news for you right after the next few pictures below.
The good news — at least for those of you living in the US — is that Tape 407 will have a sneak-peek screening on October 19 at 10am at the Universal City Walk AMC in Universal City. There will also be a press conference and poster signing by the director and cast at Dark Delicacies located at 3512 West Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, CA 91505-2818 on October 21 at 7pm. For tickets or information on either event you should contact the promoters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The film will then have a limited theatrical release this coming Halloween (31 October), when it will open at the following theatres. Hopefully, others will follow:
- 89’er: 304 N. Main St ,Kingfisher, OH 73750 — info
- The Royale: 108 W. Main St ,Mesa, AR — info
- Downtown Independent: 251 S. Main St ,Los Angeles, CA 90012 — info
- Muvico: Pompano Beach Florida — info
Tape 407 is executive produced by Rick Finkelstein, Steven Chase, and Bagiryan Armen, with producers Suzanne DeLaurentiis and Ivan Kavalsky, co-producers Stephen Fiske and Jude Tucker. The film is written by Robert Shepyer, Dale Fabrigar, and Everette Wallin, and directed by Dale Fabrigar and Everette Wallin. The cast includes Abigail Schrader, Samantha Lester, James Lyons, Melanie Lyons, Brendan Patrick Conner, Ken Garcia, Samantha Sloyan, and Jude Gerard Prest.
Some of the movie’s proceeds will go to veteran’s charities.