First Glance: After Dark Originals (coming September 2010)

Came across this item on www.shocktillyoudrop.com and find it pretty interesting.  Regular readers know I have a have a love-hate relationship with the After Dark Horrorfest.  The movies that are bad (The Final) are REALLY bad; but the good ones (DreadZombies of Mass DestructionMulberry Street) are REALLY enjoyable.  But I need to respect the people at After Dark for at least offering some original genre movies.  I’d rather watch a crappy original flick than a crappy remake any day!!  I’ve included the original text in it’s entirety.

Source: Ryan Rotten, Managing Editor @ www.shocktillyoudrop.com

[After Dark] Originals has culled eight directors and screenwriters, some familiar, some new to the horror scene and some who have worked with After Dark in the past. And as Solomon describes it, the banner marks a natural evolution for the company.

“During the acquisitions for the past Horrorfests, we’ve worked with so many great young filmmakers and read so many great scripts,” he explains from New York. He’s just returned from Bulgaria where he supervised the finishing touches on an Original production. “There’s always a give and take, you love this, you don’t like that. So why not figure out a way to give some of these guys an opportunity and make eight new films every year? That was the impetus. Take it to the next level. Still do the festival and the acquisitions, but move into the originals.”

The eight films currently in the works will debut in September – and are currently being promoted via flyers enclosed in DVD copies of the films that comprise Horrorfest 4. Another eight films – wave two – roll in July.“We always do eight for whatever reason,” Solomon laughs. “To do all eight – shoot, post-production, market – it takes a year. We haven’t picked the scripts or directors for the next eight, but we need to start now to get into production.”

As for the first wave, not much is known about the films other than the talent involved, so Shock Till You Drop has asked Solomon to break down some of the titles for us.

Scream of the Banshee“We were just in Bulgaria doing the opening sequence set during medieval times. This is one of our co-productions with SyFy. Two of the eight Originals are co-productions with SyFy. We co-developed the stories with them and brought in a writer and they worked with us to pick the filmmaker [in this case Steven Miller of Automaton Transfusion]. They get approval over the cast and work with us. Many of the Horrorfest movies have played on SyFy so they’ve become a good partner. They’ve given us bit more money so that makes it a bigger film. It’s a creature horror film because it’s SyFy. They don’t want just a suspense movie, but it’s really within their mold.”

Husk“I don’t know if you saw the short film [by Brett Simmons], but the feature is an expansion. Traditional horror about kids on a trip who stop in the wrong place and end up going somewhere where something isn’t right. The movie turned out fantastic and is better than the short, I would say. We were in the corn fields of Iowa for about 20 days. It’s intense, well-directed, it’s got a Hitchcock suspense to it but there’s a slasher element you’d find in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s intelligent. There’s nothing in the movie where you go, ‘This is lame. Why did they do that?’ It’s got a great pace. The corn field is such a character in the movie that lends a hold aura of creepiness. The house in the middle of this corn field, they said there was the ghost of a girl in the attic so the crew wouldn’t go up there. I can’t confirm or deny the ghost is true, but it was cool. This film has young guys and a girl, but we changed the final girl aspect of it, I’ll tell you that much.”

Prowl: This is the first one we shot and director Patrik Syverson is great and super-talented. I like the movie. If you saw Rovdyr (Manhunt), it’s got a European feel to it. Here he’s created a vampire subculture that we haven’t seen before. He did it in a raw, European style. It’s not glitzy and overdone. He threw in a nice twist. It turned out very well and I like it because it’s different than the other seven films.”

Re-Kill“It’s a brand new take on a zombie film. It’s in the vein of 28 Days Later in so much that the zombies are in hyper-drive. The virus, we explain, has mutated the people and taken the carnal, hunting instincts of survival. Even though they’re zombies they actually try to hunt you like pack animals. They’re vicious and smart. They come up with simple traps. The movie takes place five years after the outbreak. It’s done docu-style, not like Diary of the Dead, but truly wartime docu-style.

You find out the movie is an episode of a television show, LA COPS, five years after an outbreak that kills 85% of the population. Now they have units that go around to keep the hot zones in check. You follow this unit like a COPS episode, with two camera men. So you get interviews while they’re out on their various calls. What you witness is a possible incident that might start outbreak number two. You’ve even got commercial breaks cut into the film, [like Robocop]. They’re funny because they have to do with how you deal with zombies in the world. Like ‘Have sex, it’s good for him, it’s good for her, it’s good for America. Paid for by the Coalition to Repopulate America.’ Or pills that you take if you’re bitten that can slow down the zombie process so maybe you’ll survive. This one turned out really good. We’ve got shots in this movie with 20 thousand zombies in them. I’m not claiming these are all big movies, but this one is cool.”

The Task“Simon Fellows directed this and it’s a horror angle on a reality show. It’s a game show where a bunch of contestants are put into a supposedly haunted place. They have to spend the night and what’s supposedly haunted is actually haunted. People you thought were fake dying because it’s all a show, might be really dying. There’s a cool twist.”

The second SyFy/After Dark co-production is 51 which begins shooting in a few weeks. Rounding out the other titles there is: Seconds Apart, starring Orlando Jones, and Adam Gierasch’s Fertile Ground.

“The idea,” explains Solomon, “is to do eight different types of horror movies that are representative of the sub-genres. Vampires, zombies, ghosts, there’s a big of cross-over too. The scripts are good to begin with and we’re making stuff studios might not ordinarily make. When I look at these movies in various stages of edits, I’m really proud of what these guys have been able to accomplish. If you compare the quality of Horrorfest and After Dark Originals, I feel so much better about Originals because everyone has put their hearts and souls into it.”

When September arrives, however, the question arises: Where will you see the films? Solomon says that’s still being ironed out. Right now there are plans for a limited theatrical run and a possible “huge VOD launch. Where ever you are, you can order it up and watch it at your leisure over a two week period. That way people have an easy way of seeing these movies.” Lionsgate Home Entertainment will handle the inevitable DVD releases which will boast more special features than the Horrorfest titles. One more perk to the Originals banner. “We had a crew on every film doing behind-the-scenes,” Solomon says. “When we acquire films for Horrorfest, sometimes there’s no bonus material, you get what you get.”

I have to say that Husk and Re-Kill sound pretty promising.  The only thing I’m hesitant about is After Dark teaming up with the people at the SyFy Channel.  Now I understand that the productions will get more money for their projects by teaming up with the SyFy people, but let’s face it; the SyFy Channel isn’t exactly known as being sticklers on plot clarity, character development, or cutting edge CGI f/x!!  We’ll see what happens and of course I’ll keep you up to date as I hear anything new!!

Check out a teaser trailer for the After Dark Originals here.

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14 Responses to “First Glance: After Dark Originals (coming September 2010)”
  1. autumnforest says:

    If you’ve seen the Masters of Horror series, did you see “Incident on and off a mountain road”? I would love to hear what you think of it. It really surprised me big time. I thought it was super scary and well done. I’ve seen some others in the series and it can be hit or miss, but that one I’m adding to my collection which says a lot because I try to keep my collection from getting out of hand.

    • I’ve seen every episode of The Master’s of Horror series and of the Fear Itself series (the MoH network tv spin-off). Overall I was EXTREMELY disappointed with the vast majority of the episodes. The only eps I really enjoyed were the 2 directed by John Carpenter and the 2 directed by Dario Argento. Carpenter and Argento really chose great stories. I was pretty disappointed with the Lansdale/Coscarelli Incident on and Off a Mountain Road. Long before I started this website I was writing and posting short reviews on Netflix. Here’s what I wrote about Incident on and Off:

      How, tell me, HOW could this movie possibly suck? Written by Joe R. Landsdale (Bubba Ho-Tep) and directed by Don Coscarelli (Phantasm series and Bubba Ho-Tep) this entry into the Masters of Horror series has a strong pedigree backing it, but yet it was boring. Seriously. It was really boring. Classic setup: A woman’s car breaks down while driving alone on a lonely mountain road. She suddenly finds herself being chased by the madman-cannibal Moonface. The Lansdale story is fantastic, but this is a disaster. Seems the woman’s hubby was a survivalist nut (a very over-the-top character to the point of being comical). Apparently he taught her how to make pretty elaborate booby traps in a very short amount of time a la MacGyver. Lame. The woman, Bree Turner, is a terrible actress and was totally unconvincing in her role as the strong “worm turns” character. Moonface is wasted and becomes a comic foil to Turner’s ridiculous actions. This is a huge misfire for what should have been the highlight episode in the 1st season of the MoH. Really disappointing. Skip it.


      I agree with ya Autumn that there were a few scares in it but overall I was really bored with it … unfortunately that would set the stage for the rest of the season!!

  2. Ifaz says:

    Re-Kill actually sounds pretty badass.

    Btw, have you considered doing script-reviews? They are pretty famous. But the problem is, if you are like me who avoids spoilers, its not gonna work out.

    • scumchrist says:

      agreed. Re-Kill sounds fucking awesome.

      • Re-Kill definitely sounds like the best of the lot. I hope they pull it off and execute it correctly!!

        I like the idea behind Husk…. I do love me some killer scarecrow flicks!!

    • I have been tossing around the idea of doing script reviews. But just like you said I hate giving away spoilers unless its a bad movie LOL If someone sent me a script I’d definitely read and review it doing my best to avoid spoilers, but I’m not gonna go seek out scripts. Unless, of course, you have one you’d like to review??

      • Ifaz says:

        I’m getting a couple of new scripts. If I find something worth being spoiled, I’ll let you know…eh?

        Right now I have(scripts):
        The Collector, Nightmare on Elm Street remake, Buried(Ryan Reynolds), Machete and ‘Killing On Carnival Row’. Unlike others, the last one aint even in pre-production. So I think it’s just the original, fresh script.

      • Very cool. Are people sending you those scripts or are you buying them online? I’d love to read the Buried script!!

      • Ifaz says:

        No lol. We have a genius at our blog(retaliators), he gets like all the scripts. He(we) have scripts of, new conan film, Thor, and a lot of upcoming blockbusters!!!!

        Ok then I’ll send Buried to your email address xD

      • Awesome Ifaz … I appreciate it!! And I know you’re busy this month with school, but the offer is still there to be a guest reviewer :-)

    • I often read the novelizations to movies when they’re available, and which are usually based on the script unless the book came first, and with one exception the books (and therefore the script) is usually better than what we get on the big screen. It may just be because your imagination fills in the gaps better than special effects ever will. For instance, the novelization to the first Hellboy movie was way creepier than the Disneyfied first movie. On the other hand, the second book for the second Hellboy movie sucked. Of course, this may just be because Del Toro directed the second movie and how could anything compare to that? Nothing compares to the comics of course, but the 1st book and the 2nd movie were definitely honoring the spirit of the franchise and were more horror than their counterparts. When I think of how good the Hellboy movies could have been if they’d played up to the horror elements, well it really pisses me off. Nothing I write is ever going to back down from an R rating if it’s worthy of it. Heck, I’d courting Clive Barker to direct anything I wrote just for the opportunity to see what he’d do with it.

      • i agree that movies are rarely as good as the books they are based on. I think one reason is because you can do so much more characterization and development in the written word than on screen. Remember the 1st Dune directed by David Lynch where he tried to keep the “unspoken parts” of the novel by the viewer hearing the character’s thoughts? Fucking disaster!! Dune is the only Lynch flick I don’t recommend!!

        I also totally agree with you on the Hellboy flicks … they SO downplayed to horror elements….. the comics are so friggin’ great and then they try and go for a wider audience. Plus the films reek of the “it’s not a horror movie” stench. Fuck you Hollywood!!

  3. I’m with you. SyFy + After Dark does not equal good so far as my gut instincts go. For instance, there’s just something intrinsically wrong with filming a movie about the bean sidhe in Bulgaria. Unless it’s about a relocated Irish family, my Irish ancestors would NOT APPROVE. lol It’s not like they give us much in the way of a description, though maybe they considered the title to be pretty self explanatory. Husk sounds like a Children of the Corn film and after seeing SyFy’s remake, I’m not sure I’d want to see Husk if they had anything to do with it. For a really good film that involves a corn field as a “character” I’d recommend Dead Birds. Have you seen it? It’s one of my favorite “Lovecraftian” movies with a less slapstick and more gore-factor Evil Dead vibe going for it. Prowl and ReKill sound interesting, though I didn’t really care for the “28″ movies. And the Task, where to begin with that? I mean, haven’t they ripped off Vincent Price enough? The first remake of House on Haunted Hill was a nice homage and naming the character for Price was a nice touch. The sequel… let’s not even speak of it. But this sounds like a remake of the remake of House on Haunted Hill, and the twist doesn’t sound that twisty.

    • Ya just HAD to bring up SyFy’s remake of Children of the Corn …. great; now my stomach hurts!!! That was a fucking horrible movie any way ya slice it!! I sure hope they don’t take Husk down that road. And yes, I did see Dead Birds and I loved it!!! Great flick.

      I wasn’t crazy about the “28″ mention either but I think they were more comparing how the zombies move super fast compared to the Romero zombie (I hope that’s where the comparison ends).

      If you notice I didn’t say anything about The Task … not really my cup of tea and I agree that it sounds “like a remake of the remake of House on Haunted Hill.” No thanks!!

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  • Some of my favorite horror movies:
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)

  • Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987)

  • Martyrs (2008)

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