All posts by Christopher Levy

Huge $150 Million Presidents Day Weekend Opening

Disney-Marvel’s “Black Panther” is heading for as much as $150 million in its North American opening on the four-day Presidents Day weekend, updated tracking is showing.

That’s significantly above the first tracking on Jan. 25 for the Chadwick Boseman tentpole, which initially placed the debut in the $100 million to $120 million range for the Feb. 16-19 period. “Black Panther” could break the Presidents Day weekend record of $152 million, set in 2016 by “Deadpool.” It will easily top the second-highest debut for  the four-day holiday, set in 2015 when “Fifty Shades of Grey” opened with $93 million.

“Black Panther” has been gaining steam this week. Fandango reported Wednesday that “Black Panther” is outpacing all superhero movies in advance ticket sales for Fandango’s online tickets service, eclipsing 2016’s “Batman v Superman.” It topped Fandango’s daily ticket sales in the wake of its world premiere and first screenings two days earlier.

The newest tracking showed total awareness of “Black Panther” at 88%, unaided awareness at 43%, and definite interest at 57%. Boseman stars as T’Challa, who takes over as the king of Wakanda after his father T’Chaka is killed, as shown in “Captain America: Civil War.” The film also stars Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Michael B. Jordan. Ryan Coogler directed the movie from a script he co-wrote with Joe Robert Cole.

Initial tracking on Thursday also showed that Warner Bros.’ comedy “Game Night” is projecting an opening in the $15 million to $20 million range on Feb. 23-25, while Paramount’s sci-fi thriller “Annihilation” should debut in the $12 million to $15 million area during the same weekend.

Game Night,” directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams and follows a group of friends whose game night turns into a murder mystery. Supporting cast includes Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, and Jeffrey Wright.

Annihilation,” based on Jeff VanderMeer’s horror sci-fi novel, is directed by Alex Garland from his own script. The story follows a biologist, played by Natalie Portman, who embarks on a four-person expedition into a territory cut off from civilization while searching for clues about her husband’s disappearance. While there, she must deal with a contamination, vanishing colleagues, a deadly animal, and a creature known as the Crawler. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson also star.

Paramount made a deal with Netflix in December for the streaming service to handle the international release of  “Annihilation.”

Horror Screenwriter John Oak Dalton To Make Directorial Debut On The Girl In The Crawlspace

Now this one is beyond exciting for me! Horror Society has just gotten word that friend of the site, John Oak Dalton, writer of such films as Sex Machine, Scarewaves, Haunted House on Sorority Row, Jurassic Prey, and many others, is gearing up to make his directorial debut on the film The Girl in the Crawlspace.

The film is set to be produced by Henrique Couto who has directed several of Dalton’s scripts, including the aforementioned Haunted House on Sorority Row. Plus, Jurassic Prey director Mark Polonia will be on hand to edit the film. The three recently collaborated on the film, In Search Of. Scream queen and another frequent collaborator, Erin R Ryan is set to star.

The Girl in the Crawlspace is slated for release in 2018. Keep your eyes here, because the first chance I get to screen this for the Horror Society crowd in Chicago, I will!

Take a look at the press release below for some more information.

Director Henrique Couto (BABYSITTER MASSACRE) and screenwriter John Oak Dalton (HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW) are teaming up for the fifth time on one of Dalton’s screenplays—only this time they are wearing different hats, with Couto producing (and serving as Director of Photography) and Dalton directing.

THE GIRL IN THE CRAWLSPACE will begin shooting this spring in rural Indiana.

“John Dalton is one of my favorite collaborators, so helping him take the director’s chair was a no brainer for me,” Couto said.

“I have wanted to jump over to the director’s chair for a while, after working on the sets of some of the movies made from my screenplays,” Dalton said. “This is a script I feel strongly about, one that I have wanted to get out there.”

Erin Ryan (CALAMITY JANE’S REVENGE) will play the title character, Jill. At the outset, Jill escapes from a notorious serial killer who has kept her prisoner in a crawlspace. She tries to work her way back to normal with the help of a therapist, but becomes inserted into the therapist’s strained marriage with a failing screenwriter. Joni Durian (ALONE IN THE GHOST HOUSE) and John Hambrick (SCAREWAVES) play the troubled couple.
Others in the cast include Tom Cherry, Rachael Redolfi, Jeff Kirkendall, Joe Kidd, Iabou Windimere, Chelsi Kern and fellow director Andrew Shearer.

“It’s psychological horror, with hopefully some good twists and turns,” Dalton said.
Prolific b-movie director Mark Polonia , who Dalton has penned seven screenplays for–including JURASSIC PREY and AMITYVILLE DEATH HOUSE–has signed on to edit. This marks the second time Dalton, Couto, and Polonia have collaborated after this summer’s Bigfoot movie IN SEARCH OF.

THE GIRL IN THE CRAWLSPACE is slated for release in 2018.

Drive, He Said: Uma Thurman’s ‘Kill Bill’ Accusation Demands Action, Starting with a Response from Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino needs to come clean about what happened on the set of “Kill Bill.” He needs to speak out, to fess up and tell us what, exactly, he was thinking. Because that could be one small yet meaningful step toward repairing what’s sick and broken in our entertainment culture — and our culture, period.

In a bombshell interview with Maureen Dowd of The New York TimesUma Thurman, who for 10 years, beginning with “Pulp Fiction” (1994), was Tarantino’s movie-star muse, details what she went through at the hands of the predatory Miramax mogul Harvey Weinstein: the sexual coercion (hotel rooms, bathrobe, compliant publicists — the whole gruesome Harvey bit) intertwined with threats of career derailment, all of which she bravely resisted. But, of course, we have now heard these skin-crawling Weinstein stories many times. Thurman’s testimony, courageous and important as it is, adds up to one more horrific chapter in the saga of Harvey the unspeakable.

The every bit as jarring news in Thurman’s account is what transpired between her and Tarantino. In Mexico, nine months into the shooting of “Kill Bill” (the film had yet to be sliced into two volumes), just four days before the picture was set to wrap, Tarantino, filming a crucial sequence — the heroine’s ride to vengeance — asked Thurman to step into a rickety blue Karmann Ghia and cruise down a sandy rural road at 40 miles per hour. She didn’t want to do it, and said so. A technician on the set had informed her that the car was faulty; the sequence, from every indication, needed a stunt driver. But Tarantino wanted Thurman in the car — he craved the cathartic cinematic realness of it. And once he insisted, she gave in

She drove and drove, and wound up losing control of the vehicle, which slid off the road and crashed into a palm tree, seriously injuring Thurman’s back and her knees (injuries she suffers from to this day). She considered suing Miramax, but wasn’t able to get hold of the accident footage captured by the camera mounted on the back of the car. Weinstein, the lawyers at Miramax, and — yes — Tarantino knew the footage was actionable, and kept it from her. (They’d relinquish it only if she signed a waiver releasing them from liability.) She has the footage now, though, and has made it public. Watch the video, and you’ll see that every bit as disturbing as the car crash is the casual, all-in-a-day’s-work way that Thurman is hoisted out of the car (with Tarantino hovering), as if to deny the damage of what just happened.

So how could it have happened? The answer — or much of it, anyway — resides in Quentin Tarantino’s head. That’s why we need to hear it. And reflect on it. And judge it.

In the four months since the #MeToo revolution was launched on the wave of the original accusations against Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, James Toback, and others, there hasn’t been a lot of call for men to speak out. The accused, of course, have had nothing to offer beyond limp pro forma apologies and barely contrite silence. Other men have voiced impassioned support and belief in the movement — and, on occasion, they have struggled to reframe the argument, only to learn (as Matt Damon did) that this is a time for listening rather than parsing.

But Tarantino presents a different situation. He’s not accused of sexual harassment — but he was, of course, very close to Harvey Weinstein, so the question of what he knew and when he knew it, and what responsibility (if any) he holds for enabling Weinstein’s behavior, remains relevant. Tarantino has already spoken out on these matters, in an October interview with The New York Times that seemed, at the time, to keep the world at bay. He may now have to say more.

He certainly needs to address the “Kill Bill” car scandal in a far more detailed and confessional manner — because he’s in the murky middle of it, obviously, but also because Tarantino is in a position to shed light on how the vertiginous power dynamics of Hollywood operate, and how they might now change.

An honest question: Is the revelation of Thurman’s “Kill Bill” story a #MeToo moment? There’s no denying that the car incident didn’t just happen out of “negligence.” It was the result of a recklessness, an arrogance, a so-ingrained-it’s-taken-for-granted pattern of unchecked aggressive male dominion in the film business. Seen against the backdrop of #MeToo, against the pileup of accusations and a landscape that’s shifted, overnight, to a policy of zero tolerance, the “Kill Bill” incident looks, perhaps, like a second cousin to harassment: the cold exploitation of talent by those who surely knew better.

Some are calling it an act of misogyny, and are quick to lump it in with what they view as the misogynistic undercurrents of Tarantino’s films. But I would afix a not-so-fast!warning to that assessment. The cinema of Quentin Tarantino is a pop dreamscape in which the imagination — and, yes, the anger — of women has been portrayed with an audacious hellfire exhibitionism. “Death Proof,” the one-half of “Grindhouse” that he made after “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” is a parable of vengeance that, in fact, features a horrific female car crash, with bodies smashing through windshields and limbs flying. Yet taken as a whole, “Death Proof” is a virtual parallel of #MeToo: It’s all about women rising up to say that they’ve had enough, giving the men who’ve abused them a toxic taste of their own medicine. In both halves of “Kill Bill,” Uma Thurman’s The Bride is beaten down, bedraggled, and left for dead, but she’s also a slashing samurai-hellion with a whiplash gleam of empowered elegance. She’s a victim-turned-crusader, and nobody’s fool. The film is masochistic, and sadistic, and misogynistic, and feministic. That’s the Tarantino brew. More to the point, that brew is a heightened version of everything the movies have been for 100 years.

It’s telling that the Karmann Ghia sequence that Tarantino was shooting, if you watch it at the beginning of “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” is a deliberate echo of Janet Leigh’s night-drive-through-the-rain in “Psycho.” Leigh’s Marion Crane was, of course, on her way to the slaughter, and Thurman’s Bride faces terrors nearly as extreme, though she, unlike Marion, turns the tables and triumphs over them. But the parallel brings out the underlying Old Hollywood side of Tarantino. Thurman’s interview with Dowd includes accounts of how, during filming, it was Tarantino, off camera, who was actually spitting on her (instead of the Michael Madsen character) or pretending to choke her, just as it was Hitchcock who held the knife during certain set-ups in the “Psycho” shower scene. With that in mind, the “Kill Bill” car incident raises the question: Did Tarantino, like Hitchcock, feel as if he somehow had the right to subject his actors to the torments — or, in this case, the risks — that he chose, all in service to the gods of cinema?

That’s a question that only Tarantino can answer, and I truly hope he does. The fact that Thurman felt like she couldn’t say no to Tarantino is the most painful aspect of this story. You can see how refusing to get into that car would have meant, for her, upending the whole looming power structure. And that starts to sound very familiar. Yet what took place on the set of “Kill Bill” raises issues that extend beyond the parameters of #MeToo: How often, in the shooting of a movie, does this kind of risk take place? And how much does it happen to women vs. men? These questions will start to be answered in the days to come. For now, though, one can’t escape the feeling that the “Kill Bill” incident represents an assertion, and a circling of the wagons, by a testosterone-driven culture of scandalous entitlement. Even — or especially — if it doesn’t think of itself that way.

Trailer is out for The Curse of All Hallows Eve

If you like gore, torture scenes and good looking girls all wrapped up in one, then the Curse of All Hallows’ Eve is definitely the one for you. If you like horror films with a story behind the movie as creepy as feature itelf then the Curse of All Hallows’ Eve is definitely one for you. If you like well produced movies with a great cast and excellent direction, then the Curse of All Hallows’ Eve is definitely the movie for you!

Directed by Guy Bodart and his daughter Lorelei Lanford. This is the second time Bodart has collaborated with his leading man Sean Morelli. (Mr Morelli has starred in  Killer’s Mind directed by Bodart) With a wide variety of incredible talent including Vanessa Coleman, Jean Sulli, Jaime Lynch, the expertise behind this feature is truly outstanding.
Miss Lanford can be proud of the time she has put in with her first feature film and has already begun working on her follow-up feature film “House of Terror”

So what is it that has stirred rumors of the latest cursed film that has taken over 3 years in production? Well there isn’t one fateful moment that brought attention to the Curse of All Hallows Eve but a series of mysterious and catastrophic incidents.

When filming initially started one of the first actors to be cast fell ill and had to leave the production. This triggered the start of 3 years of hard work for everyone involved.
Miss Marilyn Weinmann, a legend in the horror industry, later passed away between shooting dates and caused not only logistical issues due to filming but emotional pain to everyone involved.

While these kind of issues would already have had a major impact on production, the creepiest was yet to come. Having shot the movie in Super 16mm rolls, these came out of the laboratory completely empty barring only some streaks. As a result, the entire first section of the film had to be re-shot. There is no denying that this film is eerie both in story and its background.

With all of this knowledge, we can’t wait for the latest Bodart installment. It’s looking like this film has everything you could possibly want from a horror movie.

With over 3 years in production, everyone involved has done well to keep their spirits up and it has definitely paid off as there is talk of the film being picked up by SyFy channel.
Here is the official trailer. We sure cannot wait to see the complete film

KILLER’S MIND: A FILM 17 YEARS IN THE MAKING

Yes you read the header right!
When Guy Bodart started shooting this film, we were still in the 20th Century.
Disillusioned Filmmakers who cannot get a break in Hollywood or even attention from producers, decide to go another route to get noticed by following the life of a real serial killer.
The Documentary style film starred Sean Morelli, Paul McDonald and Sandy Monaco.
Sean Morelli who is the only survivor cast is finishing the film with Film Director Lorelei Lanford, a mere 17 years later.

VANESSA COLEMAN Star of All Hallows’ Eve

Vanessa Coleman: Debutante of the Month

As Halloween is fast approaching, Horror films seem to come out from everywhere and most of them are huge disappointments.

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When horror film standards seem to be at an all-time low, then a film like All Hallows’Eve comes along.

The biggest (and pleasant) surprise is the star of the film,  Vanessa Coleman. All Hallow’s Eve is her debut film in the US but she is not unknown in her homeland (UK) as she appeared in many theater plays in London.

In All Hallows’ Eve, Miss Coleman plays a dual role. That of the Evil Countess Victoria from the 1400s and a housewife in present time.  We are certain that All Hallows’ Eve is only the start to a long cinematographic career for Miss Vanessa Coleman