Category Archives: Horror

Underrated Gem to Watch: Rabid (2019)

Rabid (2019)

Directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska

Starring Laura Vandervoort, Hanneke Talbot, Ben Hollingsworth, and Ted Atherton

I just saw the remake of Rabid(2019), and this movie left a lasting impression on me. This is a very well-written “zombie-like outbreak” movie!

Not to give away any spoilers, but the basic premise involves a woman who is badly scarred from an accident. Unable to pay for the surgery, she goes to a clinic to be a subject of a regenerative therapy experiment. Unfortunately, the experiment produces some unexpected results.

Rabid has some great acting, good tension, an engaging story, and some good practical effects. There is a part of me that wished that it had more graphic kills, but overall, this film definitely held my attention. And let’s not forget Rabid’s surprise-twist ending..it makes you wonder if there would be a sequel.

Overall, this comes highly recommended if you’re a fan of zombie-like horror films. Add this one to your collection.   My score: 8/10 (purchase-worthy)

Christopher Levy Launches CINEFLIK a new streaming service that cares


The film industry is ruled by companies that value corporate gain over artistry and films that tell real stories. These companies don’t give independent filmmakers a chance. In a time where it is so important that voices are heard through the imaginative minds of the creatives out there with a dream. 
 

I have been in the film industry for two decades. I have seen how they operate with a tunnel vision focus on numbers and sales. Large studios and others are taking advantage of independent filmmakers. They are not given a fair chance to showcase their talents, and they are not being adequately paid for their art. I have been a producer for several studios and I have seen how they turn everything into numbers. There is no creativity, there is no freedom. Everything turned into a walking barcode that depicted your worth. All you look for is the next “big hit”. The old saying that you are as good as your last movie constantly in playback in your head. 

I quit everything in 2019 and set to reinvent myself and what I stand for. I started my own production company to seek out true talent with beautiful stories, now adding to the distribution side, having a presence in Cannes, Berlin, and L.A’s AFM. It is not enough that these films are being made, but they deserve the opportunity to be seen.

CINEFLIK is a streaming service built for people who want exposure, a platform to showcase creativity and talent. Whilst we are not as established as Amazon, HBO max, and others, what sets us apart is that we care. We care about the integrity of filmmaking and the efforts that you have put in, as an artist to create these films. You are not just a number to us, we will also put in our all to make sure your story has the opportunity for maximum exposure. That is why I have also partnered with INFILMS Magazine to promote filmmakers. 

A streaming service that cares about art and also the filmmakers 

With CINEFLIK, the film owners decide on the price of rental and receive a cut of 80%. We will give you a fair price because we understand how other larger companies will try and take advantage. We will not compromise the opportunity for distribution with fair compensation. For example, Amazon pays only 6 cents per hour, for up to 99,999 hours streamed in a period of 365 days, tied in with an exclusive rights clause. Not only are they taking advantage, but they are making sure that you are legally unable to sell or share your stories with others. If you rent your film for $1.99, you will get $1.59 with CINEFLIK as opposed to $0.06 you would get from Amazon, with 100 downloads is a difference between $159 and $6 with Amazon.
We only keep 20% to maintain the site.

Unlike other services we also don’t follow a set of rules and requirements that may restrict distribution. For instance, Redbox has a list of preferred titles and requests, like; Action genre with a recognizable cast, supernatural horror, and family films that are animated standalone features. They only accept “new” titles that have been produced in a rolling two-year time span, they don’t consider films that have previously been available on DVD or via SVOD streaming services, NC-17 ratings and features under 80 minutes are out of the questions and don’t even think about direct television in the Comedy or Drama genre or Foreign Language films or Documentaries. With all these restrictions, they are not accepting of a variety of content, effectively closing doors to many filmmakers. On top of that, they set the price and pay around $2.75 to $3.50 per disc, this is largely dependent on the cast, genre, and a fit for their customers. A factor that is completely determined by themselves, which doesn’t sound fair at all. The film owners would have to pay for the DVDs and they would have complete control of how many times your movie is rented. We do not want to go down this path, CINEFLIK is fair, we set the pricing together with the film owner, we respect that they deserve to have their films and shows distributed at a fair price. We respect and accept all submissions of genres, the audience is always evolving and we want to anticipate what they want by providing a range of films and shows. 

This marks a new chapter to promote independent filmmakers in a way that does not involve bias or pure judgment of how much money they can generate. CINEFLIK carries everything, including, Classic Movies, Independent Films, short and full-length Features, as well as all genres of Television shows. We embrace creativity and have a thirst for real stories and originality. We want your trust in your films. Let us take you onboard and together we can discover a whole new audience for you. I am excited about the future, we can challenge the underlying issues of the film industry together and pave the way for real stories and talent that is often overlooked by Hollywood executives. 

Let’s take this challenge on together, no more waiting, no more negotiations, no more banging on the wrong door. We are here to make it happen.

You can access CINEFLIK here http://www.cineflik.com
Membership is always free.

Taking a Second Look: The Cell(2000)

The Cell(2000)

Directed by Tarsem Singh

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, and Vincent D’Onofrio

I’ve seen The Cell for the first time in about 20 years and I am still quite impressed with it. What makes this movie interesting is how it explores the subconscious of the human mind.

The Cell is about a social worker named Kathryn who, via technology, goes into the imaginations of her patients to help them with their inner turmoil. The FBI, aware of her expertise, asks her to go into the mind of a comatose serial killer named Carl in order to find his latest victim.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but what made this film impressive was the story, characters, and in particular, the special effects.  The visual effects were used very effectively in giving us a real sense of Carl’s mental state. They were also used very successfully to show how we visualize who we are, and as a result, internalize it.

If you’re in the mood for a good psychological thriller/horror movie with a bit of sci-fi, The Cell comes highly recommended. My score: 8/10(purchase-worthy).

A Look Back: The Exorcist

The Exorcist(1973)

Directed by William Friedkin

Starring Jason Miller, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max Von Sydow, and Lee J. Cobb

I’ve finally checked out The Exorcist for the first time, and I feel that if you want to see a well-written horror movie, this comes highly recommended.

I think everyone is familiar with the basic premise, but it’s basically about a mother who enlists the aid of a priest to exorcise(no pun intended) the demons who possessed her daughter.

This movie has a well-paced story, great acting, and an ending with an unexpected twist. All of the performances were well done, and I felt that Linda Blair’s performance was particularly impressive. Her role as the possessed young girl truly conveyed an eerie, creepy, and at times, brutal feeling. The overall story kept me engaged, and the special effects were top-notch. Also, I’m glad that the filmmakers did not resort to a neat, clean, and happy ending. Instead, we were given ending scenes so shocking and unexpected that I’m curious about the sequel.

There is a lot that can be said about The Exorcist, but I will say that if you haven’t seen this one, check it out if you’re interested in a great horror experience. My score: 9.5/10(Purchase level)

Looking Back: The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys(1987) 

Directed by Joel Schumacher

Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman,  Corey Haim,  Jason Patric, and Jami Gertz

(WARNING! May contain a spoiler) I haven’t seen The Lost Boys(1987) in a long time. It was on my mind a few days ago, so I decided to watch it again. I have to say that this great coming-of- age vampire movie still stands the test of time, with very few elements that are dated.   Also, let’s not forget the soundtrack, which enhances the movie’s supernatural theme.   If you’re not familiar with this one, the story centers on Michael and Sam, who, along with their mother, relocate to Santa Clara, a coastal town that’s a haven for night creatures.

The Lost Boys is well written, engaging, and has great actors who gives some good performances. If you’re interested in a horror film with a unique take on vampirism, add this one to your collection. My score 8.5/10

Underrated Slasher Gems: Offspring

Offspring(2009)

Starring Pollyanna McIntosh, Amy Hargreaves, Art Hindle, Erick Kastel, and Spencer List

I checked out Offspring, and I have to commend the filmmakers for tackling such a provocative subject.   Not to give any spoilers, but this film is the first in a trilogy that centers on a group of cannibal-feral people who come into contact with the modern community.   With this “exchange” comes a horrific and brutal battle between the “primitive” and the “civilized.” I admit that I wish Offspring gave more of a backstory of the feral people, but it didn’t take away from the fact that this film provided an intense horror experience.   Add this one, along with The Woman and Darlin,’ to your collection.   My score: 9/10.

UNDERRATED GEMS to watch: Darlin’

Darlin’ (2019)

Starring Lauryn Canny, Bryan Batt, Nora-Jane Noone, Cooper Andrews, and Pollyanna McIntosh

Written and Directed by Pollyanna McIntosh

I checked out Darlin,’ and I will have to say that this film is ambitious. Like its predecessor The Woman, it continues the concept of a feral person being transformed into a “good woman.” Its mix of social commentary, coming-of- age drama, and gory horror(even though its less graphic than The Woman) makes this a decently executed story. I was expecting a better payoff towards the end, but I will have to commend the filmmakers for tackling a provocative subject. This comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10.

 

2021 Oscars Postponed by two months due to Coronavirus Pandemic

With the world adjusting to the Coronavirus pandemic with various events being canceled and the deployment of several health guidelines, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced its 93rd Academy Awards event has been postponed.

The announcement came last week the 2021 Oscars which was scheduled for Feb. 28 will be delayed by two months and the new date being April 25, 2021. This announcement is in line with Variety’s report in May in which the report said the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was planning on delaying the upcoming event due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released by Dawn Hudson (CEO) and David Rubin (Academy President), they said: “For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year. Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control. This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark a historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema”.

Also, the academy announced that the annual Governors Awards gala scheduled to take place in November has been postponed with a date later to be announced. Also, the opening of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures building in  Los Angeles, California has been pushed back to April next year.

Alongside postponing the date of their major events, the organization also updated its eligibility rules for the 2021 Oscars Academy Awards. In the new rules, feature films that want to be nominated for an award must have a release date between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb 28. 2021. The new submission deadline for specialty categories has been pushed to Dec. 30, 2020, while submission deadline for general categories (such as Best Picture, Original song, Best Actor and Actress, etc.) is now Jan. 15, 2021.

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has caused a lot of changes in the entertainment industry. Many studios have turned to digital distribution platforms for the release of some of their movies due to the shutdown of movie theaters. Some other studios however decided to postponed their upcoming blockbuster movies with dates to be announced when movie cinemas reopen.

There is still no certainty what the future holds for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Awards telecast but we will definitely keep you updated. 

Los Angeles Sets Strict Rules for TV and Film Production Restart

With many countries now switching from total lockdown to partial lockdown, many activities have now been allowed to resume albeit under strict and extensive regulations.

Film and TV Productions is one such activity set to resume again in some states as early as Friday although with extensive regulations issued by Los Angeles Country. This new extensive regulation is not much of a surprise considering professional football has also restarted behind closed doors.

While productions are allowed to restart Friday, 19th of July, many producers would probably only start filming around July or August.

As would be expected, the first major rule is for cast and crew to maintain social distancing while on sets. The county also sets the use of face masks and coverings as an important detail not to be overlooked by cast and crew members as actors and musicians who cannot perform with face-covering on are expected to be eight feet apart. Furthermore, it mandates that only essential cast crew be present on set at any given time with the directive that actors must wash their hands before shooting any scene.

Also, it discourages all prolonged physical contact that arises from sex and fight scenes and mandates that all actors and crew keep information about any film shooting from the public. The country also directs that all crowd scenes are discouraged.

The rules also direct that makeup artist are only allowed on set when the actors cannot apply makeup to fit the scene. Also, Craft service buffets are temporarily forbidden on all sets.

Talk Shows and Sitcoms also looking to film new scenes in Los Angeles that must follow new rules. The rules now mandate that audience members must sit six feet apart and must not occupy more than 25% of the available space. It also allows paid staff and crew to serve as audience members. And capping it all, the rules set that only the same group of the audience present at the restart of filming are allowed for subsequent productions.

Although the entertainment industry released some rules for crews and cast to follow when production restarts, the rules released by the county are more strict. This is because the entertainment industry task force didn’t mandate many of their rules like the county did.

Following the release of the entertainment industry’s rules and guidelines, Donna Langley – Chairman Universal Film, stated in a statement that the rules, in his words, are “a significant step in getting our industry back to work in Los Angeles County”.

In his statement, the chairman expressed gratitude to the County Board of Supervisors as well as the county’s mayor for their commitment to the region’s economic recovery. He also expressed gratitude to the County’s Public Health Department for their efforts to keep their region safe. He then went ahead to say “Teams across the Studios, production companies, guilds, and unions in every facet of our business have shown and will continue to show innovation and creativity in bringing film, TV and digital production safely back to Los Angeles”.

Though production restart is imminent, there are still several things that will come into play which might delay restart to mid or late August. One of the obstacles production restart faces includes the detailed protocols all guilds and unions are yet to agree to.

Another major obstacle many productions will face pending the restart is whether or not they will be able to obtain insurance. Bob Jellen, the managing director for entertainment at HUB international believes many productions that were underway before the lockdown would be spared from “additional costs that are required to make filming safer for the actors and crew”. In other words, this obstacle is only for new productions that have not yet started filming before COVID-19 lockdown that caused productions to stop. Obtaining insurance is even going to be more difficult for independent filmmakers.

Many in the film making industry have expressed concerns about the difficulty many new productions will face when trying to secure insurance. To this end, Congress has introduced a bill that gives insurance companies the power to sell policies covering the coronavirus shutdown. The bill, however, is yet to pass.

Bring Back Real Horror!

The 1970’s, 80’s and even the 90’s horror movies were a unique era, where the genre was at it’s finest.  Many features eventually became classics during this time.  Budgets were structured and simple.  Locations were cost effective and multiple.  The resources to get distribution and funding were at an easier path.  There were also many legendary directors that created masterpieces.  Whether it was a feature, sequel or prequel.

The horror industry, then suddenly started to decline when the year 2000 hit.  Less and less horror flicks were being produced due to the economy tanking and scam artists became relevant.  When this happened,  it devalued the business and put greed before creativity.

Whether a horror film is a classic or not, it’s viewed as a coping mechanism or an escape from this sick and crazy world we live in.  Stress from our jobs or personal issues take a toll on our lives, as creature of habits, our minds are always looking to break free, to find a release and break out of this bubble, we all live in.  Digging into our creative thoughts when watching horror, gives us the ability to become mentally stronger, to better cope with the craziness that we deal with, from day to day.

The population sees horror in different forms.  Whether its, a creative form of artwork, from a visual perspective, serious illness or death.  I get it, not everyone is going to buy into the horror genre.  The big picture is to look deeper into some of these films.  Subliminal messages are a perfect example, or just listening to strong delivered dialogue, makes us more aware of what’s really going on in the world.

Some of the best horror films are the ones that come from the heart.  Real stories from the past,  tied with a balanced amount of special effects, can create unique stories that your audience can relate to.  Setting the tone, developing an intriguing story and delivering a killer ending, will keep your audience on the edge of their seats and continue the emotional rollercoaster rides in their heads.

So where do we go from here?

I truly believe and want this genre to make a comeback.  There’s so much good, the horror industry has produced in the past.  Let’s go back to the grass roots and bring it back!