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July 29, 2010

Team Edward or That Werewolf Guy? Who Cares!

Leave it to Mike Baronas to tweak the TWILIGHT phenomenon in Italian style!  Paura Productions has taken mockery to new heights in the name of our Mediterranean cousins of horror.  Below are pictures and the description of Paura’s new product lines, designed by the lovely jJill from LIX Online, the Team Dario and Team Lucio shirts.  Forget about Edward and that werewolf guy.  Paura’s on the scene with real blood, guts and gore, with the occasional girl caught in barbed wire and guy getting a drill press through the skull. 

I've bought a number of shirts from Jill at conventions over the years.  They're great quality, and she always puts out unique stuff that I did.  Go to Paura here to purchase these most recent gems.  And drop Mike a line to thank him for his twisted genius.

 

 

 "On the heels of ECLIPSE, the 3rd installment of the TWILIGHT Saga, we happen to be much more interested in the authentic cinematic rivalry from days of yore between directors Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento.

The pair were at the top of their creative games in the early 70's to mid 80's and followed somewhat similar career

paths during that time period, and while reports of their competitiveness have often been greatly exaggerated,

many fans of these cult legends have a decided preference.

We want to know who the counter-culture thinks is the true Maestro of Italian Gore, so choose - and wear - wisely..."

 

 

 

 

July 28, 2010

Darabont and the Dead: WALKING DEAD Presser at SDCC 2010

 

 

Two weeks ago, fellow Booze Reviews writer Jack Conway let me borrow the first four volumes of Robert Kirman’s THE WALKING DEAD.  Before then, I had never read or seen the books.  I was quite aware of the new show AMC had announced based on the successful comic book series. The excitement seed had already been planted in my brain from the now old news that Frank Darabont was to helm the project as writer, executive producer, and director of the pilot episode.  That excitement seed quickly bloomed into a full blown monster excitement plant in my brain after getting through the first couple pages of the first issue of the graphic novel.  So when it was confirmed I would be attending the panel and press event for  AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD that would include Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Frank Darabont, zombie makeup genius Greg Nicotero, and the cast...well...my obsession overtook me. 

The two weeks moved by slowly but finally it was time for Comic Con and THE WALKING DEAD panel. It was set to start at 11:30 am, so like a guy who likes to plan ahead, I got in line at 10:30 am.  To my surprise, the line was already packed and seemed to wind around a number of halls and then outside onto a patio area where the line proceeded to snake back and forth along separation ropes much like lines for rides at an amusement park.  There must have been at least one thousand people ahead of me in line.  The room the panel was to be held in had a maximum occupancy of two thousand people and I heard word that hundreds of people set up shop in there already for the panel which was currently underway.  Here I thought I was smart.  Get a good seat, sit through a panel you’re not interested in, and then you’re set with a prime spot for the panel everyone else is standing in line for.  Regardless, I did get in.  Just barely.  Not far behind me, they cut the line off and hundreds of people were turned away.

The panel was already under way and I was sitting close to the back of the room.  The moderator was already posing questions to the panelists and the first one that really stood out to me was directed towards Joel Stillerman, AMC’s Senior VP of Programming, Production, and Digital Content. 

When asked how he sees THE WALKING DEAD fitting into their original programming, he replied, “Well I think it fits in first and foremost because it is phenomenal storytelling which drew us to the material in the first place.” 

He went on to call the subject matter a quintessential AMC show that adds another layer that will mesh well with AMC’s cutting edge original programming.  He added, this is the first time AMC is launching an original show to their yearly  Frightfest program schedule which takes place in October.

Minutes later, Frank Darabont announced that  Bear McCreary, of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fame, was now attached as the show’s composer.  At the mere mention of McCreary’s name, the crowd of fanboys and nergirls errupted in what sounded like a shared orgasm.  (note to self: watch BSG)

One shared scream of approval was followed by another as they announced they will show the never before seen trailer for the show.  The lights went out and this two and a half minutes of amazing happened:

 

 

Since watching it this first time, I have seen it now about 50 times.  Yet with each viewing, I still get the chills.  When the trailer was done and after the crowd erupted again in approval, the moderator asked FranK Darabont about the casting process.  This was one of the questions I had planned on asking.  In my mind, I could only imagine it was difficult to match the characters’ appearance on the comic books with the actors to appear on screen.  Darabont said he always goes to actors he has worked with before (ie: Jeff Demunn and Laurie Holden), then stated the remainder of the casting process was “quite a journey”.

At this point, members of the cast came out:

 

Andrew Lincoln plays Deputy Rick Grimes

 

Sarah Wayne Callies plays Lori Grimes (Rick’s wife)

Jon Bernthal plays Shane Walsh

Laurie Holden plays Andrea

Emma Bell plays Amy

After the cast made their short introductions, Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd (Producer of Terminator and Aliens) announced Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker as the two newest additions to the cast. 

Frank Darabont and Robert Kirkman both touched on the interesting ideas and choices that will make the graphic novels and TV show a separate entity.  Mr. Darabont’s unique story choices at some points in the story will surprise even the most hardcore fans and keep the story fresh.

It was around this point of the panel, when random zombies started making their way up and down the aisles.  It was only later on at the press conference, that Jon Bernthal confessed his urge to jump over the table and start taking them out with whatever weapon was nearby.  He stated that once you are in this zombie apocalypse reality the show throws you into, it almost becomes a second nature instinct to whack any zombie, even a fake one, in the head with an axe.  He went on to say, “It’s all fun and games and there’s all these people but I will not hesitate stomp your head in.”  I’d like to go on record and say if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, I want Jon Bernthal in my group. 

Soon the panel ended and I headed over to the press event. 

When asked how each of them got involved with the project, Jon Bernthal said after reading the script, he called his agent and said he’d give anything just to be a zombie extra.  He went on to discuss the hard process in finding the right Rick Grimes but as soon as Andrew Lincoln walked in to read for the part, they knew.  Apparently those auditions were held in Frank Darabont’s garage, true story. 

When asked the same question, Sarah Wayne Callies confessed she thought she didn’t get the part but described the script as “ludicrous, exciting, and impossible”.  She then continued on about the experience with, “just to charge at a cliff and jump off at full speed and hope you have wings on your back and as an actor it’s exciting to try something that’s such a risk and this show is.“  She went on to say each episode of the show is a surprise where one week’s genre may be action and the next may be drama; one week there may be hundreds of zombies where the next may not have any. 

Andrew Lincoln contributed his input stating the show and comic book story alike represent to him a modern twist on a classical fable. He then further compared the compelling human drama in the ongoing story as a play where the genre is a visual embodiment of our society ‘s mortality.  He continued further by calling it “A beautiful allegory”, “Messy”, and  “Shambolic”. The other two cast mates soon started laughing saying he just made that word up.  Bernthal blamed it on Lincoln being British but Mr. Lincoln insisted shambolic is indeed a word.  He said it means festival.  But before anyone could question how that made any sense, our time was up. 

These actors were so cool and down to earth, I was a bit tempted to ask them to get beers with me later. 

 

Next Frank Darabont and Greg Nicotero joined us at our table and I can tell they were very happy to sit down and rest in this cool air conditioned room.  Earlier in the panel, they both spoke of the intense heat in Atlanta, Georgia where the production is taking place.  Temperature of up to 110 degrees led Nicotero and some friends to run and jump in the San Diego ocean as soon as they arrived in town from wrapping a shoot the same day at 5:30 in the morning.  He said it was freezing cold and liberating compared to the heat they were getting used to. 

From the first sentence Frank Darabont spoke, I remembered how much of a cool guy he is.  He’s a film nerd at heart.  He’s not just a director but a fan and you can totally tell.  He started reading The Walking Dead books five years ago and has been adamant about getting this show made ever since. 

When asked about his reaction to the experience bringing this project to Comic Con, he said, “The excitement seems to be much greater than I had anticipated.  A bigger deal than I had thought.  There’s sort of a greater cultural buzz forming here which is like, fuck no pressure huh!?”  Greg Nicotero then added, “When we all watched the trailer for the first time today it was overwhelming.  I got chills and choked up.  Everybody had that same reaction.  It’s really been fantastic.” 

 

 

 

When asked about the zombie work in this project, Frank chimed in, “Great kudos to Greg who is the Zombie King.  All his zombie experience has led him to this.  This is going to be the jewel in that zombie crown.  Greg put his best on the table like whatever he wanted to do with a zombie all these years, we had the opportunity to do something cool with it.  He even played a zombie eating a deer.  The makeup they crafted for himself is fucking great, it’s my screensaver at home now.  It’s so messed up, it’s just great.  I think it’s going to be on the cover of Fangoria.”

When the casting of Michael Rooker and Norman Reedus was brought up, Mr Darabont went on to inform us neither of the characters those actors play are in the original comic at all.  They are all his invention and Reedus is hanging in there as one of the ensemble cast members.  He said he’s added an extra character or two that’s really going to shake the ingredients up a bit more. Nicotero continued, “The explorations were so well integrated in the script I couldnt remember if it happened in the original books or not.  It’s really exciting, the fact that Frank is so respectful of the flavor that Kirkman laid out.  But its like OK we’ve got a little bit of time so let’s go down this road and check this out for a little while and then we’ll come back over and get back into the key Kirkman moments like the zombie eating the deer which you talked about.”

 

Finally, the most important question was asked of them:

What would be your weapon of choice in the Zombie Apocalypse?

GN - Weapon of choice in zombie apocalypse? The Atom Bomb.

FD - You can’t use an Atom Bomb cuz you’re not gonna survive using it!

GN - How do you know?

FD - You have to take the question seriously.

GN - It was the first thing that came to my head.

Frank Darabont then smiled and paused.

I would want the assault rifle that Al Pacino used in HEAT. The one he took out Sizemore with. And a van full of ammunition to go with it.”

At that moment, the interviews came to a close.  I walked up to Mr. Darabont and he remembered me from my drunken NOES: DREAM WARRIORS fanboy freakout I had with him at a birthday party some years back.  He smiled and hugged me.  I thanked him for bringing Robert Kirkman’s genius to the screen.  I am now, more than ever, bursting with zombie nerd excitement.  October can’t come quick enough, if you ask me.

As he walked out and we packed up, I couldn’t help but add Mr. Darabont to my now growing list of people I’d like to fight off zombies with.  I bet he’s real handy with a pump action shotgun.

AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD Series Premieres in October 2010 As Part of AMC’s Fearfest. 

 

-Aaron Pruner

July 22, 2010

Stevan Mena Week: BEREAVEMENT World Premiere

Stevan Mena Week:  BEREAVEMENT World Premiere

There could be no better climax possible for Stevan Mena Week than to see the world premiere of his new film BEREAVEMENT at its world premiere in Bellmore, New York.  Except to see the world premiere and then get to interview the director himself.  Native Long Islanders, Mike Cucinotta and I were fortunate to be in the audience this past Friday night, and we’re happy to provide our fans with the first exclusive review of BEREAVEMENT.

“This Mortal Coil”

The night started out with this 18-minute short from director Sean King, written by Paul Natale (see Mike’s interview with him here).   Filmed on Long Island, it tells the story of a downtrodden newspaper boy who fancies vampires.  At a late night beer fest out in the woods, he sees a beautiful German exchange student who may or may not be a real vampire.  Hoping she can cure him of his... well, humanity, the introverted teen commits some heinous acts. 

Everything about “This Mortal Coil” is grim, from  the dull, gray skies to the tone and pacing.  It’s hard to watch, but it’s a well done piece, if a definite downer.  It left me thinking about where this kid’s parents were, as their absence is an unspoken influence in the film.  I was ready to call bogus when the credits stated “Based on a true story,” but apparently there’s a real kid in the U.K. who committed the atrocities in “Coil,” as King kindly explained after the film.

BEREAVEMENT
 

WARNING:  MAJOR SPOILERS ABOUND IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN MALEVOLENCE

 

 

One of the beauties of horror is that sometimes it takes you to dark places and tells you, “You don’t ever want to go here.”  BEREAVEMENT does exactly that.  While MALVOLENCE played the slasher card, and did a nice job at it, this prequel delves far deeper into grimness and despair, plunging its audience into those horrifying depths without ever letting them up for air.

The film begins with Graham Sutter’s truck.  He’s trolling for victims, as he does frequently in the film.  But on this trip, he finds something far more intriguing:  a disciple.  Young Martin Bristol innocently sits on a swing in his backyard, as his mother explains to an aide in the kitchen that he’s special:  he has no physical sensation of feeling.  This makes him susceptible to all sorts of dangers.  But it has nothing to do with the danger that’s about to kidnap him from the safety of his own backyard.

Before I go further, I’ll say this.  The best horror films have a way of making us feel unsafe in our own world, and BEREAVEMENT does exactly that.  Martin’s kidnapping takes both him and us along for the dark ride, as a serial killer selects young, female prey, overtakes them, and then slaughters them.  Martin acts as our eyes, the reluctant voyeur, forced to watch, helpless to stop the madness.  His feeble attempts to intervene only end in punishment and blood, at the hands of his surrogate father.  The family unit is shattered, even as Sutter tries to make Martin his convert, all the while answering to the ghosts of his past.  The film establishes through Sutter’s psychotic conversations with animal skulls that his relationship with his own father was disturbed at best;  clearly he had issues long before he set the film’s events in motion.  And now they’ve come full circle.

Mena contrasts the new Sutter family with the Millers, a seemingly everyday American family who, when Mena peels back the onion’s layers, are also dysfunctional.  After the death of her parents, teen Allison has come to live with her uncle John his family.  As John tries to establish the patriarchal authority over his new charge, Allison rebels.  Staying out late and hanging out with local teen William (whose own family is a shattered mess, his father wheelchair bound, his mother a suicide), she seems all too willing to escape her new family, as much as they try to accommodate her.  A high school track star in Chicago, she’s constantly running, a nice motif for her desire to run from the many troubles of her life.  When she catches sight of Martin in a window, she can only run into despair.  Alexandra Daddario’s performance holds the film together, and Mena gets a nice performance out of her, as well as Michael Biehn as John.

Mena’s films all comment on the mess that the American family has become (even in his comedy BRUTAL MASSACRE, where Harry Penderecki’s cast and crew act as an extended family).  This subtext is among the many elements that makes his movies stand out among a sea of mindless drivel.  He’s out to do more than just scare you;  he wants to dig under your skin and unnerve you, by showing you things that could happen in your own neighborhood.  Hence, the brutal violence in the film is never gratuitous.  There’s lots of blood here, but it’s a necessary component to the story telling.  BEREAVEMENT is a darker film than MALEVOLENCE, but it absolutely needs to be.

It’s also a more nuanced film.  As Mena develops his technique, he’s starting to fulfill the promise that MALEVOLENCE suggested.  He’s coming into his own as a director, developing past the genre clichés that were so evident in his first outing.  For a young talent, his shot selection is superb, and he knows how to build tension to a crescendo of madness.  The terror is relentless, and he makes the most of his setting, the grim, real-life slaughter house he also used in MALEVOLENCE, including his creative use of a carcass hook, a furnace and a freezer unit.   As a writer, he proves he’s also capable of creating a much more textured world than about 99.9 percent of the new horror film directors;  he balances this against a constant sense of dread.  We know from seeing the first film that none of these characters are going to live, yet Mena finds ways to stun and shock.  For this, I applaud him.

Horror’s been in a rut for a while, oversaturated by derivative remakes and backyard zombie flicks.  Stevan Mena challenges the system with his output, and offers fresh hope for the genre.  If he’s any indicator of a new wave of horror, we have a lot to look forward to.  He’s a talent on the rise, and if you consider yourself worth your salt, you must see BEREAVEMENT.  It’s a dark place, and I’m telling you, you should go there.

The Q-and-A

After the film was over, several of the people involved in both “This Mortal Coil” and BEREAVEMENT hung around for a question-and-answer.  The hour being so late, I considered this very noble of them.

I was surprised to find the audience took a while to warm up.  It’s never comfortable when filmmakers are waiting for questions, and it takes a while for them to come.  The audience split its questions evenly between the short film and the feature, which caught me off guard.  King and his two young actors explained what projects they were working on now, and how they aged the characters in “Coil” a bit because no one would believe a pre-teen could be such a horror... and then backtracked as he realized Mena’s film did just that.  Mena came prepared, and when someone asked him how believable it could be for Graham to move around unnoticed as he kidnapped people, he responded with how serial Joel Rifkin lived in his neighborhood for six or so years doing just that.  He’s a savvy guy, and has an incredible sense of humor about his work and himself.  He hung around for a long while after the Q-and-A ended, greeting and discussing his career with the fans.

I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed the world premiere of BEREAVEMENT.  The film itself was a revelation on just how strong a horror film can be in the right hands, and getting to chat with Mena for Icons of Fright was one of the highlights of my three-year stint with the site.  I wish him only the best, and hope BEREAVEMENT gets a nice distribution deal.  It deserves to be seen on a wide scale.

We hope you enjoyed our extended Stevan Mena Week here at Icons.  Look for more news on BEREAVEMENT and the director as things develop.

--Phil Fasso

 

--Phil Fasso

 

Anchor Bay SDCC Schedule

Anchor Bay has always been good to horror, and they were kind enough to pass along their schedule for the San Diego Comic-Con, which starts this Thursday.  If you're at the SDCC, take a peek.  They've got some interesting stuff on the schedule.

 MEDIA ALERT!!!
 
Anchor Bay Entertainment Shines
at 2010 San Diego Comic Con!
 
WHAT:              Anchor Bay Entertainment at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con International
 
WHEN:             Thursday, July 22nd through Sunday, July 25th
                       
TIME:                Events Thursday – Saturday (see schedule below)
 
WHERE:           San Diego Convention Center
                        111 W. Harbor Drive
                        San Diego, CA 92101
 
DETAILS:          Fan favorite Anchor Bay Entertainment reaches out at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con, taking place July 22nd through the 25th at the San Diego Convention Center!  Anchor Bay Entertainment will have a major presence at the SDCC – globally acknowledged as the world’s greatest and largest genre convention!
 
Fans stopping by the Starz/Anchor Bay booth #3345 at Comic Con will experience:
 
Comic Con Premiere of official Altitude theatrical trailer at Anchor Bay booth;
Comic Con Premiere of official theatrical trailer for Hunt To Kill with Steve “Stone Cold” Austin;
Trailers for upcoming Anchor Bay Entertainment releases including the I Spit On Your Grave remake, Adam Green’s Frozen, The Stranger with Steve “Stone Cold” Austin, Dolph Lundgren is The Killing Machine, and Tekken. Upcoming Manga releases previewed include First Squad and Redline.
Authentic production props from “Spartacus” prequel
 
In addition, fans who come by the ABE booth will be eligible to win prizes, including Blu-rays™, DVDs and signed posters!
 
The following Anchor Bay Entertainment-sponsored events will allow fans to meet, greet and talk with their favorite ABE stars and filmmakers!
 
Thursday, July 22nd
3:00 – 4:00pm                           Frozen poster signing at Anchor Bay booth (#3345)
                                                Meet writer/director Adam Green (Hatchet, Spiral, the upcoming theatrical Hatchet 2), signing posters from the September 29th Blu-ray™/DVD release of Frozen from Anchor Bay Entertainment. Green will sign Frozen posters, plus any additional Adam Green title-related items.
 
 
Friday, July 23rd
11:00am – 12:00pm                   The Stranger poster signing with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
                                                Anchor Bay Entertainment booth #3345
                                                Come meet wrestling and action superstar “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at the ABE booth, signing posters from his recent ABE release The Stranger, available on Blu-ray™ and DVD. Steve also stars in the upcoming ABE release Hunt to Kill.        
 
3:15pm – 4:15pm                      Spartacus prequel Panel (Room 6BCF)
                                                Relive the television phenomenon, as Starz Channel previews the Spartacus prequel, as well as the upcoming Blu-ray™ and DVD release of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand - The Complete First Season.”  Andy Whitfield, Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess”), John Hannah (the Mummy trilogy), Viva Bianca and executive producer Steven S. DeKnight give fans a glimpse into the exciting backstory of the ancient Roman saga.
 
Saturday, July 24th
3:00pm – 4:00pm                      Altitude poster signing at Anchor Bay booth (#3345)
                                                Watch the skies! Stars Jessica Lowndes (the new “90210”) and award-winning graphic novelist Kaare Andrews will be signing specially printed Comic-Con exclusive posters for their upcoming high-flying thriller Altitude, coming soon on Blu-ray™ and DVD from ABE. Altitude follows a group of five teens on a weekend getaway aboard a small plane that suddenly turns deadly. Minutes after the group takes-off, an unexplained malfunction sends the aircraft climbing out of control and into the heart of a mysterious storm. Unable to get their bearings or contact the ground, the survivors gradually realize they are locked in combat with a terrifying supernatural force.

July 19, 2010

Stevan Mena Week: BEREAVEMENT Wins BEST FEATURE, DIRECTOR

Stevan Mena Week:  BEREAVEMENT Wins BEST FEATURE, DIRECTOR

 

Stevan Mena Week was such a success that we had to extend it!  This weekend concluded the Long Island International Film Expo.  And Icons of Fright is proud to announce first that Stevan Mena won Best Director for his new film BEREAVEMENT, which won Best Feature. 

 

It’s rare for a horror film to win these art house film festivals, but Mena and BEREAVEMENT triumphed over their competition.  We at Icons hope this will propel the film to get a great deal and eventual release.

 

Stevan Mena is a talented director and a gracious man.  It’s great to see the good guy come out on top.  His is a career worth following, and we wish him the greatest applause on his most recent success.

July 17, 2010

ICONS OF FRIGHT TO INVADE THE SDCC

Icons Of Fright To Invade The 2010 San Diego Comic Con

 

 Aaron PrunerHello everyone.  I hereby announce I will be heading down to the massive San Diego Comic Con in the coming week.  This is a massive, 4-day event and this year marks the first year that Icons Of Fright will have a presence there.  I will be there Friday and Saturday and shall do my best to give you all my unique perspective of the TRON- and Star Wars- slathered, comic book flavored, video game obsessed, zombie infested, and pop culture induced Cosplay craziness of this mega-show.

My itinerary is already full.  Between the events, the parties, the drinking, the lack of sleep, the picture taking, celebrity sitings, walking the floor of the Convention, the bar hopping, the panels, the collectibles, and the drinking - these two days will prove to be a quite a doozy.  

Stay tuned for Comic Con exclusives on but not limited to:

AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD - panel and Q&A with cast and crew followed by exclusive press coverage where yours truly gets once again to try not to make an ass of himself in front of Frank Darabont


HBO’s TRUE BLOOD panel and Q&A with cast and crew

LET ME IN sneak peak of the upcoming remake and Q&A session with cast and crew

FOX’s
FRINGE panel and Q&A with cast and crew from the popular TV series

THE LAST EXORCISM screening and Q&A

A
s much damn DEXTER information as I can find and humanly pass along

Expect the events listed above as well as coverage of the anticipated horror video game sequel Dead Space 2, an Old School American Horror panel including the cast of HATCHET along with some of your favorite horror genre celebrities, an engaging discussion on zombie fiction including authors Max Brooks (World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide) and Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincold: Vampire Slayer), and much much more.

For my play by play coverage of the event, add the Icons Of Fright page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @aaronflux and @iconsoffright for my updates and pictures I will be posting both days I’m there.  Be sure to check back here within the coming weeks for my full 2 day coverage (of the 4- day event).  It’s sure to be entertaining, to say the least.


So sit down, strap in, and prepare yourself for the invasion. 

 

-Aaron Pruner

Stevan Mena Week: Audio Interviews with the Director

As the high point of Stevan Mena Week, the director was gracious enough to answer some questions for Icons of Fright, following the world premiere of his new flick BEREAVEMENT. Stevan's honesty is evident in his answers, and we thank him greatly for talking to us long after midnight. Enjoy listening to his reflections on his newest movie, and his career.

<-Click Here To Listen To Part 1

<-And Here To Listen To Part 2

July 15, 2010

Stevan Mena Week: Retro MALEVOLENCE Interview

MALEVOLENCE was one of the first big movie events that Icons of Fright ever covered.  With tomorrow night's premiere of its prequel BEREAVEMENT, it's as if the site has come full circle, as we anticipate interviewing director Stevan Mena to discuss his newest endeavor in horror.

To celebrate tomorrow night, as part of Stevan Mena Week here at Icons, we suggest you take a look at our very first interview with Mena himself.  A gracious guy, he's been more than kind to Icons and our readers.  His first talk with us focused on Mena's debut film MALEVOLENCE, and his inspirations for his vision.  Icons founder Mike Cucinotta, Rob G and Vin get in-depth answers from Mena in what turns out to be an enjoyable chat.

Check out their discussion here.

Stevan Mena and Icons of Fright Founder Mike Cucinotta

"If you haven't heard of writer-director Stevan Mena... YOU WILL!!!"

And if you haven't been reading about all things Stevan Mena during our Stevan Mena Week, you're just not trying hard enough.

--Phil Fasso

Stevan Mena Week: MALEVOLENCE Reviews

We're only one day away from the premiere of Stevan Mena's debut of his third film, BEREAVEMENT.  And what better way to celebrate than not one, but two reviews of his first film about Martin Bristol, MALEVOLENCE.  Back in 2007, our own Rob G gave the film a brief review, and in preparation for tomorrow night, our editor-in-chief Phil Fasso gives the film a more in-depth review.  Not surprisingly, both Rob and Phil had many positive things to say about Mena's first film.

As these reviews are a part of Stevan Mena Week here at Icons of Fright, we suggest you enjoy both.  And come out and support Mena at tomorrow night's screening of BEREAVEMENT.

July 13, 2010

Stevan Mena Week: Promote and Support at the LI International Film Expo

BEREAVEMENTStevan Mena's third film makes its world premiere this Friday at the Long Island International Film Expo, and Icons of Fright is there to cover it.  And if you're tired of studio remakes and poorly done originals by guys who formerly directed car commercials, you should be there too.

Stevan Mena made his auspicious debut with MALEVOLENCE, a straight forward horror film that stuck close to the conventions of the slasher film, meanwhile bringing importance to long forgotten elements such as characterization and plot.  The middle of a proposed trilogy, the film brought Mena to prominence in the horror community.  His second film, BRUTAL MASSACRE, was a hilarious satire on the perils of low budget filmmaking.  Now Mena returns to the place where it all began with BEREAVEMENT, which provides much of the back story for MALEVOLENCE.  And you can be there at its world premiere.

This Friday, July 16, come see MALEVOLENCE at the Bellmore Movies, on 222 Pettit Avenue in Bellmore, New York.  The film is part of the Film Expo, and screens at 9:30 with the short "This Mortal Coil."  Stevan will be there himself, so here's your chance to meet the film's director.  Join the Icons of Fright staff in supporting and promoting a visionary young talent from the local scene.

Order your tickets on the Film Expo's site.  And contact the theatre at (516) 783-3199 with any questions.

 

Stevan Mena Week: BRUTAL MASSACRE Review

BRUTAL MASSACRE

 

As part of our Stevan Mena Week here at Icons of Fright, we present Phil Fasso's review of Mena's second film, the brutally funny BRUTAL MASSACRE: A COMEDY.  Phil found it to be a hilarious satire on the multitudes of problems a low budget film director will face.

 

Read Phil's glowing review here.

 

And support Stevan Mena by pre-ordering tickets for the premiere of his next film BEREAVEMENT here.  If you live on Long Island and love horror, let's promote and support our local talent.

July 12, 2010

Stevan Mena Week: Behind BEREAVEMENT with Barnick

Back in November 2007, Adam Barnick went behind the scenes of Stevan Mena's BEREAVEMENT, the prequel to his debut film, MALEVOLENCE. Barnick is a fine local director himself, who has produced some tasteful, well-done DVD extras for various films, and his piece on BEREAVEMENT is a boon to Icons of Fright. Enjoy.

Malevolence: Bereavement First Look from Adam Barnick on Vimeo.

July 11, 2010

Stevan Mena Week: BEREAVEMENT Trailers

In anticipation of the premiere of Stevan Mena's new film BEREAVEMENT at the Long Island International Film Expo this Friday, July 16, below are the movie's two trailers.

The first trailer does an excellent job on selling the film, by enticing the viewer with just enough information to pique interest, without giving away too much. The voice over discusses absolution and redemption at the beginning, and then the trailer goes about its way setting up its characters and their situation. Cross this with a sense of horror as a maniac walks around an abandoned warehouse, knife in hand, impressionable boy by his side. As a character goes missing, actor Michael Biehn decides to go after her. Will he cross paths with the knife-wielding killer? The trailer then flies into a bunch of quick cuts, and finally settles on our killer as he spouts one more line of cold dialogue. It's a nicely cut piece that builds to a crescendo of action.

Ironically, the one aspect it soft sells is crucial to the synopsis of the film: the kidnapping and subsequent imprisonment of young Martin Bristol. The second trailer establishes this at its beginning, and plays down the action elements; a much more subtle piece, its eschews the standard horror elements in lieu of its greater purpose, to espouse the true to life horrors of kidnapping a child. It also takes pains to show how that incident can promote the destruction of an American family in its wake; several scenes play out how a family can crumble under the strains of loss.

Taken together, the trailers provide two diverse views on the film, and should draw in two different audiences, as both are effectively done. It will be interesting to see which trailer the film more closely resembles, or if it's a perfect union of the two.

--Phil Fasso

Stevan Mena Week at Icons of Fright

 

It's Stevan Mena Week! 

As Icons of Fright founder Mike Cucinotta and I are native Long Islanders, we're proud to announce Stevan Mena Week, in honor of our fellow Long Islander.

Stevan Mena is the director of MALEVOLENCE and BRUTAL MASSACRE, the former a straight-up horror flick and the latter a satire of what it takes to make a low budget horror film.  BEREAVEMENT, the follow-up to MALEVOLENCE, premieres this Friday, July 16, at the Long Island International Film Expo in Bellmore, New York.  Ticket information is available on their site.

Stevan has been kind enough over the years to interview with Icons several times.  Enjoy each of those interviews by following the links below:

Stevan Mena Interview #1

Stevan Mena Interview #2

Stevan Mena Interview #3

We hope you enjoy Stevan Mena Week here at Icons of Fright.  Look  for reviews of MALEVOLENCE and BRUTAL MASSACRE in the upcoming days, as well as other pieces on Long Island's filmmaking prodigy.  And if you live in the tri-state area, join Mike Cucinotta and I at the premiere of  BEREAVEMENT on Friday, July 16, where you'll get the chance to meet Stevan himself.

Stevan Mena and Icons Founder Mike C

--Phil Fasso