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Mania Terrors Interviews Danny Trejo
AMC renews The Walking Dead
By Tim Janson
October 30, 2013
All your Horror Needs from Mania
© Universal Studios
Hello horror fans and welcome to the last Mania Terrors before Halloween. I am coming off a weekend spent drinking beer and talking horror with Derek Mears and Tyler Mane at Detroit Fanfare this past weekend. Two great guys! This week we’ve got news about The Walking Dead, a Hellraiser remake, and reviews of The Conjuring, The Purge, and American Horror Story: Asylum. And we’re also featuring an interview with Danny Trejo on his new supernatural western film Dead in Tombstone. Happy Halloween!
AMC announces The Walking Dead returning for Season 5. In the least surprising announcement of the TV season AMC announced that it has renewed The Walking Dead for a fifth season. Their press release stated:
“We are very happy to make what has to be one of the most anti-climactic renewal announcements ever: The Walking Dead is renewed for a fifth season,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “This is a show that has erased traditional distinctions between cable and broadcast. Its expanding base of passionate fans has grown every season, most recently – and most notably – with the season four premiere earlier this month, which broke viewership records for the series and became the biggest non-sports telecast in cable history. On behalf of the incredible team on both sides of the camera, thank you to the fans and here’s to more Dead.”
For season five, Scott Gimple will return as the series’ showrunner along with executive producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Greg Nicotero and Tom Luse. AMC also recently announced that it is developing a companion series to The Walking Dead, based on a new story and new characters from Robert Kirkman.
Trick ‘r Treat 2 announced. Michael Dougherty, the writer-director of the Halloween cult classic revealed has announced that Trick 'r Treat 2 is in the works! Dougherty commented during a Q&A session with fans:
"I think we’ll shake it up a little bit. There are different archetypes I’d like to explore, different types of monsters. We covered werewolves, vampires, and zombies, but there’s a whole slew of different creatures out there that we haven’t tackled, and I think Sam would probably be pretty good buddies with. So I think it’s time to let them have their time in the sun."
Barker and Bradley returning for Hellraiser Remake. Clive Baker announced on Facebook that he would be writing the remake of Hellraiser and that Doug Bradley would be reprising his role as Pinhead. Said Barker:
My friends,I have some news which may be of interest to you. A few weeks ago I had a very productive meeting with Bob Weinstein of Dimension Pictures,in the course of which I pitched a remake of the first HELLRAISER film. The idea of my coming back to the original film and telling the story with a fresh intensity-honoring the structure and the designs from the first incarnation but hopefully creating an even darker and richer film-was attractive to Dimension. Today I have officially been invited to write the script based upon that pitch.
What can I tell you about it?
Well, it will not be a film awash with CGI. I remain as passionate about the power of practical make-up effects as I was when I wrote and directed the first HELLRAISER. Of course the best make-up in the world loses force if not inhabited by a first-rate actor. I told the Dimension team that in my opinion there could never be a Pinhead without Doug Bradley,and much to my delight Bob Weinstein agreed. So once the papers are signed, I will open a Lemarchand Configuration, dip my quill in its contents and start writing. I promise that there will be nowhere on the Internet where the news of my progress will be more reliable than here ,because the only author of these reports will be Your Infernal Corespondent ,me.
My very best wishes to you all,my friends. Clive.
Trailer for Skinwalker Ranch. “Skinwalker Ranch” gained national attention after experiencing a wide range of unexplained phenomena. Reports ranged from UFO sightings to livestock mutilation, but maybe most notable was the disappearance of ranch owner Hoyt Miller’s eight year old son, Cody. Close to a year later, Modern Defense Enterprises (MDE) has sent a team of experts to document and investigates the mysterious occurrences, which only escalate upon their arrival.
Asylum Press and Pretend For Real Studios Team Up for Horror Franchise Rough House. Asylum Press and Pretend For Real Studios have released a trailer for their upcoming film and several comic book preview pages for their latest horror franchise entitled Rough House.
Rough House is a gritty, action-packed horror movie and comic book series that examines innocent victims thrown into a caged fighting match with deranged serial killers where they fight to the death.
Rough House combines the brutal ruckus of Fight Club, the twisted horror of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and drapes it under a cloak of a government black ops conspiracy.
The story begins with an athletic young woman known only as “The Girl” who is kidnapped and thrown into a bizarre world of masked serial killers who torment their victims in brutal underground fights, backyard wrestling matches and deadly mixed martial arts bouts. She soon proves herself able to hold her own in death matches against colorful masked killers with names like “Bone Job”, “Baby Fat, and “Skeeter the Devil Boy”. Once inside the Rough House ,“The Girl” uncovers dark secrets that possibly link her to a secret government program and to the fighters themselves. As “The Girl’s” psyche is worn down by brainwashing and psychotropic drugs, she becomes more and more of a stone cold killer herself. She must decide whether she will escape the Rough House or stay focused on her true target, the ringleader called “Big Daddy.”
Green Band Trailer for Here Comes the Devil. A couple’s preteen son and daughter inexplicably reappear after being lost overnight on a desolate, cave-riddled mountainside. Becoming withdrawn and beginning to exhibit strange behavior, their parents quickly assume something sinister happened to them while missing and alone. But after hearing an ominous local legend… the concerned mother and father begin to realize that their children may have fallen prey to something inhuman – and that this dark, unstoppable evil has now returned home with them.
Trailer for Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones: Opening January 3rd!
Dead Water coming from Director of Midnight Meat Train. Ryuhei Kitamura, director of Midnight Meat Train and No One Lives is set to direct Dead Water. The end of the world, as we know it, came to an end two years ago. Led by our heroine a few scientists are sealed inside an Eco Station -a self-sufficient environment deep in the desert. The survivors in the Station know the deadly truth. They know that when the end finally came, it wasn’t what anyone expected. It wasn’t a virus that killed the planet. It wasn’t a curse from Hell. It was the water.
Re-Mastered version of Nosferatu coming to Blu-Ray. Kino Classics will release F.W. Murnau's silent horror classic Nosferatu in a 2-disc remastered edition on Blu-ray and DVD, newly mastered in HD from the archival 35mm restoration by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung. Kino Classics is bringing Nosferatu to Blu-ray and DVD in a deluxe edition packed with special features including a "making of" documentary, The Language of Shadows, that gives new insight into the creation of this classic film.
International Trailer for Wolf Creek 2. Trapped in a bloody battle of wits with sadistic serial killer Mick Taylor, a fresh group of unsuspecting backpackers find no mercy in this terror-filled sequel to Wolf Creek. His irreverent attitude towards human life has escalated to a sadistic new level, more terrifying than ever, will anyone escape this gruesome game or has the nightmare only just begun?
Mania Terrors Interviews Danny Trejo!
Danny Trejo is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood today, working cross genre in action films, horror films, and the gender bender supernatural western Dead in Tombstone. Recently we had a chance to talk to Danny about the film which combines elements of films such as High Plains Drifter and The Crow.
Mania: Danny, you’ve done previous Westerns but In Dead In Tombstone you have the starring role as the anti-hero Guerrero. Tell us a little bit about the character and your approach to playing this dark hero.
Trejo: My approach for this film specially was really physical because we were riding horses throughout the film. I approach my work in film in general by waking up and showing up to work. And I always try to bring my best in everything I do.
Mania: Are you a fan of the western genre in general?
Trejo: Absolutely!!! The Searchers with John Wayne and the Big Sky with Kirk Douglas are my favorites
Mania: Dead in Tombstone reunited you with Mickey Roarke whom you’ve worked with a number of times on films such as “Point Blank” and “Animal Factory”. You seem have a strong chemistry with him. Can you expand on that a little bit?
Trejo: Me and Mickey get along with anybody as long as they are cool people. We have a certain respect for each other. We both try to do the best we can.
Mania: The film also reunited you with Director Roel Reine who you worked with on “Death Race 2” and "Death Race: Inferno”. What do you enjoy most about working with him?
Trejo: He’s one of the directors that knows exactly what he wants. He reminds me of Robert Rodriguez’s style. They set it up, shoot it and they got it.
Mania: In the film you are out for revenge against the members of your gang who betrayed you so there’s a lot of action and gunfights. How long and how grueling of a shoot was this for you?
Trejo: It was tough and very cold since we were shooting in Romania. But all of that was worth it for this film.
Mania: Most film fans know your co-star, Anthony Michael Hall, from nerdy characters in 1980s teen comedies or from The Dead Zone. But here he plays vicious killer Red Cavanaugh. Did you help in develop his persona at all?
Trejo: Everybody helped everybody on this film. People have different ways of being in character.
Mania: Earlier in your career you always played the villainous roles. But in recent years with films like “Machete”, “Machete Kills” and "Dead in Tombstone" you get to play the heroic role. Do you approach the role of a hero differently?
Trejo: I just bring my “a” game for every project i do.
Mania: Which do you prefer to play? Hero or Villain?
Trejo: As long as I am working I am happy. Hero or villain – I love it all!
Mania: At a time when some actors might be slowing down, you are one of the busiest actors in Hollywood. Besides “Machete Kills” and “Dead in Tombstone”, you have several other projects in the works. How do you manage to keep up with such a busy schedule?
Trejo: I am truly blessed – my work is my vacation.
Mania: In addition to your onscreen roles you are doing more and more voice work such as in “Top Cat” animated film. What appeals most about voice acting over onscreen roles?
Trejo: I love it! For animated roles you can show up in pajamas if you want to.
Finally, of you many current and upcoming projects, which are you most excited about?
Trejo: Machete Kills and of course Dead in Tombstone
The Purge (Universal Studios)
Give me an Asgardian God or a doctor who turns into a green-skinned behemoth and I have no problem suspending belief. But tell me people will limit their criminal activities to one night a year and I’m throwing a penalty. That is the ridiculous premise of The Purge which is a simply and unapologetically a violent home invasion film trying to disguise itself as a treatise on social morals and class warfare.
It’s the year 2022 and the United States has recovered from a near total social and economic collapse. Unemployment and crime has been almost completely eliminated thanks to “The Purge” a yearly event in which all crime is legal for one night. Well, crime is a bit of a misnomer…We don’t see people breaking into banks, holding up liquor stores, or writing bogus checks. Seems the only crime left in the country in 2022 is murder, and that we plenty of!
Ethan Hawke is James Sandin, a wealthy sales executive of state-of-the-art home security systems and lives in a swanky, upper class suburb. With his All-American family consisting of wife Mary (Lena Heady) and two kids, they enjoy a nice dinner before settling down for the night’s chaos as if they were gathering around the TV to watch The Brady Bunch. Only something goes wrong with their plans. Teenage son Charlie who has more compassion than brains, lifts the security doors to let in a wounded man who is being chased by a mob. The mob led by their Polite Leader shows up at their door demanding that they turn the man over to them or they will huff and puff and blow their doors down…and kill everyone in the house. Now James and his family have to arm themselves against the onslaught of the mob and try to survive the night.
It’s hard to put into words just how stupid of a film this is…it borrows (read steals) from films like Fort Apache: The Bronx, The Strangers, and Funny Games, all of which were vastly superior. In fact Rhys Wakefield’s performance as the mob’s leader channels Michael Pitt’s role from funny Games so much that he should have turned over his salary.
The Purge does little to further its class warfare premise and even tosses it out the window completely as one group of rich bastards decides to turn on another group of rich bastards and wastes our time in the process.
American Horror Story: Asylum
Fox Home Video
The second season of American Horror Story was sub-titled “Asylum” and set in 1964 at the Briarcliff Mental Institution in Massachusetts. Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) and Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) help run the facility that was founded by Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes) to treat the mentally and criminally insane. Psychiatrist Dr. Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto) and scientist Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) treat the patients within the facility. In addition to Lange, Rabe, and Quinto, other actors returning from the show’s first season include Evan Peters as accused serial killer Kit Walker, Sarah Paulson as the wrongfully committed journalist Lana Winters, Dylan McDermott as Johnny Morgan, and Frances Conroy as the Angel of Death.
As with the debut season, Asylum populates it show with a wide array of colorful and disturbing characters, nearly all of whom have secrets to hide. Sister Jude was once a nightclub singer who accidentally killed a young girl in a drunk-driving hit and run 1949; Dr. Arden is a former Nazi war criminal who experiments on patients, mutating them with ghoulish results; Dr. Thredson is a psychiatrist and serial killer who actually committed the murders Walker is accused of, and got himself assigned to Walker’s case to make sure he could pin the murders on him; Lana Walters is a journalist who went undercover to expose the hospital’s mistreatment of patients but found herself committed when her lesbian lover betrayed her to preserve their secret love affair…after being blackmailed by Sister Jude.
Sister Jude and Dr. Arden clash frequently over running the facility and the methods used to do so. Sister Mary Eunice is a naïve but loyal nun who becomes possessed by a demon during an exorcism and later allies with the sadistic Dr. Arden. Dr. Thredson at first says he wants to help Lana escape the prison but when she discovers his secret, he takes her prisoner and rapes her. She becomes pregnant with his child who will grow up to become a serial killer himself, Johnny Morgan.
There are so many plotlines that run through American Horror Story: Asylum that it’s impossible to summarize all of them in a short review. Some of these tend to end rather abruptly and shockingly, such as with the final fates of Sister Mary Eunice and Dr. Arden but the key to the show is the actors. From top to bottom it may well be the finest acted serialized show on TV. Jessica Lange turns in another sterling performance as does Paulson and Quinto. Cromwell is over-the-top creepy as Dr. Arden, and Rabe again plays a character who ways back and forth between innocence and pure, unadulterated crazy. One of the show’s many highlights included a toe-tapping, hand-clapping rendition of the “Name Game” song in episode 10. The show managed to tie most of its diverse story arcs together with a finale set a couple of decades in the future where we learn what happened to Lana, Sister Jude, Kit, and Johnny Morgan.
It’s a surprise to me that the show still doesn’t seem to get the media exposure it deserves as one og the best-written and acted shows anywhere.
The Conjuring Blu-Ray (Warner Bros.)
The Conjuring is the fourth film that is based upon alleged real-life events that were investigated by the husband and wife team of paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. The others were the 1991 made-for-TV movie The Haunting, 2009’s The Haunting in Connecticut, and of course, 1979’s and 2005’s The Amityville Horror. Controversy has long surrounded the Warrens with many people firmly believing that these events were hoaxes. The Conjuring is based on the 1971 case of the Perron family in Rhode Island. The film stars Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston as Carolyn and Roger Perron who, along with their five daughters, move into an old farmhouse.
Within days of moving in the entire family begins to experience various supernatural disturbances. Carolyn wakes with mysterious bruises that she cannot explain, all the clocks in the house stop at 3:07AM, picture frames fly off walls, and the oldest daughter Andrea is attacked by the gruesome spirit of an old woman. The couple contacts the Warrens who arrive to investigate the house and determine that the home is haunted by a demonic spirit and will require an Exorcism. They discover the house was once home to a witch who hung herself from a nearby tree and cursed anyone who came onto the land.
While the Warren’s seek approval from the Catholic Church to have an exorcism done, they setup their equipment inside the house to record the ever-more terrifying events. When the home becomes to dangerous, the Warrens try to evacuate the house but Carolyn becomes possessed by the demon forcing the Warren’s to perform the exorcism on their own. Before long the evil spirit begins to threaten the Warren’s daughter as well.
The Conjuring earns points mainly due to its simplicity. While so many modern supernatural horror films rely on abundant and increasingly distracting CGI for special effects, The Conjuring is more old school relying on suspense and things that go bump in the night. Its actors behave the way a real person would behave. There’s not a lot of histrionics such as the usual man of the family who is always too willing to come up with a rational explanation for the events.
But The Conjuring pays for its lack of originality by being far too similar to films like Poltergeist, The Exorcism, and The Amityville Horror. While it does what it does well with a fair amount of shock moments, there is an undeniable been there-done that tone to the action. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are refreshing and likable as the Warrens although the film doesn’t help their reputation among some as charlatans by showing them with a room in their house filled with dozens of cursed or formerly possessed items that they have confiscated from previous cases. While the Conjuring doesn’t re-invent the haunted house film it definitely is one of the better entries we’ve seen in recent years.