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 (Dread, Zombies of Mass Destruction, Mulberry 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.