What’s Hot on DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD
Michael Ironside & Arnold Vosloo Board ‘The Harrowing’; Carolyn Hennesy Joins Horror Indie ‘St. Agatha’
Michael Ironside (Total Recall) and Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy) are joining Matthew Tompkins (Sicario) and John Hickman in The Harrowing, a horror film written and directed by Jon Keeyes. Said to be in the vein of genre films Jacobs Ladder and Angel Heart, the thriller follows Vice Detective Calhoun (Tompkins), who is accused of the ritualistic murder of his best friend. Bent on finding the truth, he is plunged into Hell when he goes undercover and discovers that demons might be real. The pic also co-stars Morgana Shaw, Damon Carney and Arianne Martin. Wolfclan Productions and Highland Myst Entertainment are producing with Tompkins, Keeyes, James Cable, Carl Kirshner and John Walpole. Ironside, repped by TalentWorks, plays Carl Logan, a jaded police lieutenant who must decide whether or not his officer is a killer. Vosloo’s role is Dr. Whitney, who runs a forensic hospital that’s conducting secret experiments on its patients. He’s with APA.
Michael Ironside Uncovers Demons in The Harrowing
“We’re trying to push horror into some areas that haven’t been explored in a while,” says Jon Keeyes in the press materials for his latest film, The Harrowing, which he calls “…an intellectual horror movie that questions reality, explores the psychological and metaphorical meaning of demons, and yet entertains with a lot of great terror.”
A hard-boiled horror-thriller said to be in the vein of Jacob’s Ladder and Angel Heart, the film stars Matthew Tompkins (who appeared in Keeyes’ Nightmare Box) as vice detective Ryan Calhoun, who stands accused of the ritualistic murder of his friend. Going undercover to seek out the truth behind the killing, he must face the possibility that demons may be real. The Mummy’s Arnold Vosloo co-stars as the mysterious Dr. Whitney, with bona fide genre legend Michael Ironside (Scanners, Visiting Hours, Total Recall, Turbo Kid) as jaded police Lieutenant Carl Logan, who is investigating Calhoun. The film also stars Morgana Shaw (Salem), Damon Carney (Hellraiser: Judgement), and Arianne Martin (Drive Angry).
“The idea of playing a rough-shelled, complex character like Ryan Calhoun, so damaged that reality begins to distort for him to the point that he begins to question his very identify, was fascinating,” says Tompkins. “But to have two powerful actors like Michael Ironside and Arnold Vosloo on conflicting sides of the looking glass was thrilling… it kept me on my toes, and I think it will absolutely have the same disturbing effect on the audience.”
Keeyes also wrote the film, as well as producing alongside Tompkins, James Cable, Carl Kirshner, and John Walpole. Having wrapped filming in Dallas, Texas, The Harrowing is currently in post-production.
Words: Kevan Farrow (@KevanX)
WELCOME TO WILLITS
‘Welcome to Willits’ Lands All-Star Indie Cast
We Are What We Are and American Psycho‘s Bill Sage, The Expendables‘ Dolph Lundgren, “Z Nation’s” Anastasia Baranova and “Entourage’s” Sabina Gadecki will lead the cast of Welcome to Willits, Bloody Disgusting can report.
Scream 4‘s Rory Culkin and A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Thomas Dekker round out the cast in supporting roles with Chris Zylka, Garrett Clayton, Karrueche Tran and Keelin Woodell.
The feature directorial debut of Trevor Ryan, written by his brother Tim Ryan, the film is adapted from their acclaimed 2015 SXSW Midnight Short “Welcome to Willits: After Sundown.”
Combining elements of horror, sci-fi and comedy, “Welcome to the Willits takes place deep in the Northern California woods, where residents struggle to fight off repeated attacks from mysterious creatures.
When local pot farmer Brock (Bill Sage) is caught up with a wayward group of campers, the situation quickly escalates into total carnage. Together with a ragtag crew including his wife Peggy (Sabina Gadecki), niece Courtney (Anastasia Baranova), scruffy drifter Possum (Rory Culkin), wannabe singer/songwriter Zack (Garrett Clayton), resourceful good old boy Jeremiah (Chris Zylka), unemployed stoner Klaus (Thomas Dekker), Klaus’ naïve girlfriend Besh (Karrueche Tran) and ditsy sorority girl Cassie (Keelin Woodell), Brock struggles to maintain his sanity while defending his family from perceived supernatural threats. Dolph Lundgren portrays Derek, a weathered police officer from Brock’s past who comes back to haunt him.“
“Using old-school special effects techniques, augmented with digital finishing touches, Welcome to Willits will be a throwback to great horror and sci-fi films of the past, while also offering a fresh take on the genre,” commented director Trevor Ryan. “The film offers a more complex anti-hero in Brock, a sympathetic figure reminiscent of everyone’s favorite uncle who has a little too much to drink at the family reunion, and who you just wish would get a handle on himself before it’s too late.”
The film is produced by Jordan Yale Levine/Yale Productions, Scott Levenson, Jon Keeyes and Shaun Sanghani/SSS Entertainment. Executive Producers include Matthew Helderman, Luke Taylor, Joe Listhaus, Michael Rothstein and Brandon Baker. Event Film Distribution is handling worldwide sales.
What’s Hot on DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD
James Franco Stars In Porn Murder Tale ‘King Cobra’
EXCLUSIVE: Add another movie to the prolific dance card of James Franco. He just wrapped King Cobra, starring with Christian Slater, Garrett Clayton, Keegan Allen, Molly Ringwald and Alicia Silverstone. The film, by writer-director Justin Kelly (Franco starred in his debut I Am Michael), focuses on a murder that rocked the adult entertainment industry in the early 2000s. Jordan Yale Levine of Yale Productions, Scott Levenson, Franco, Vince Jolivette and Iris Torres of Rabbit Bandini produce with Shaun Sanghani of SSS Entertainment. Event Film Distribution is selling worldwide rights.
Slater plays a porno producer who discovers the next big star Brent Corrigan (Clayton), then finds himself the target of rival producer and former male escort (Franco) with a bad temper and a burning desire to become a porn kingpin, who’ll stop at nothing to steal his rival’s star. A notorious murder is the result. It’s based on a true story.
“James, Christian, Garrett, Keegan, Molly and Alicia have consistently pushed the boundaries of film and culture at large with iconic performances,” Kelly said. “It’s been amazing watching them transform into these unique, fascinating characters.”
Executive producers include Matthew Helderman, Luke Taylor, Joe Listhaus of BondIt, John D. Hickman, Brandon Baker and Jason Rose. Jon Keeyes will co-produce.
BAM’S Blog at NEWS OK
Oklahoma-made psychological thriller ‘Element’ makes world premiere at Dallas’ USA Film Festival
DALLAS – Dallas-based Table 31 Productions premiered its psychological thriller, “Element,” Friday as part of the 46th annual USA Film Festival at the Angelika Film Center Dallas.
Numerous winners and finalists have gone on to receive Academy recognition, either being shortlisted, named finalists or selected as winners, according to a news release.
As previously reported, the independent feature film stars Michael Ironside (“Top Gun,” “Total Recall,” “The Machinist”), Steven Michael Quezada (“Breaking Bad”), Angeline-Rose Troy and Paul Stuart. Director Jon Keeyes is an Academy Award semi-finalist for his short film, “Angela’s Body,” and his recent feature, “Nightmare Box,” won four best film awards on the festival circuit.
“Element” follows the downward spiral of a financial adviser who is shot and his wife killed after an evening on the town. Unable to remember details of both the evening and much of his past, he turns to deep trance hypnosis in hopes of finding answers. Driven to seek revenge on his wife’s murderer and struggling to retain his high-pressure job, he uncovers dark secrets in the trance world that will either save him or destroy him.
The film has obtained foreign and domestic distribution. “Element” is the first feature film to be produced by Table 31 Productions, a predominantly female-owned business. Associate producers include Highland Myst Entertainment and Circus Wheel Productions as well as Chris Freihofer and Angeline-Rose Troy.
Emily Ko Bywaters, “Element” producer and Dallas-based Table 31 Productions co-founder, said she and her colleagues were thrilled and honored to be able to premiere “Element” in their hometown and as part of such an established and well-respected festival.
“Although this project started in Dallas and (met) its first official audience here, we would not have had this opportunity without our friends to the north at the Oklahoma Film + Music Office,” she said in a news release.
Element was filmed in various locations throughout Oklahoma City and utilized the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program administered by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office
“OF+MO wishes to congratulate the production of ‘Element’ on both their distribution deal as well as their selection for the United States of America Film Festival,” said Director Tava Maloy Sofsky in the release. “We hope this is the first of many audiences who will see ‘Element’ and the production value afforded to films like it which utilize the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program.”
For more information about “Element,” go to elementmovie.com.
Abysm Finds a Mad Scientist on the Loose in New York City
We just don’t have enough mad scientist movies anymore, man. Thankfully a new flick which is filming now in New York is out to change all that. Read on for your first details on Abysm.
From the Press Release:
Dark and terrifying, ABYSM follows Sam Miller, a man who spirals into depression after the death of his brother in war-torn Iraq. Following a failed suicide attempt, Sam finds himself directed to a research facility under the supervision of Doctor Julian Loro.
Utilizing new technology, Sam undergoes a series of experiments to scan and alter human emotions. But when his neurology proves to be unlike anything they’ve seen before, Dr. Loro pushes the machine to its limits, opening unforeseen abilities within Sam: the unrestricted power to manipulate and alter the emotional state of others. Seeking gruesome revenge for those who have wronged him, Sam tries to stay one step ahead of those who want to turn him into a science experiment or, even worse, a military weapon.
Written and directed by Serge Levin (Paragon Algorithm), ABYSM stars Charles Baker (first picture below; Breaking Bad, Splinter) as Sam Miller, Michael Ironside (second picture below with Serge Levin; Total Recall, Scanners, Terminator: Salvation) as the scheming Dr. Julian Loro, and Alex Veadov (The Equalizer, We Own the Night) as the mysterious Kaine.
In conjunction with Isle Empire Pictures, ABYSM is being produced by award-winning filmmaker Jon Keeyes (American Nightmare, Fall Down Dead, Nightmare Box) and Matthew Panepinto (The Harrow, Redrum). They are also joined by director of photography Richard Clabaugh (The Prophecy, Phantoms, Hellraiser 3).
Set Visit Report: Cast and Crew Talk Thomas Dekker’s Jack Goes Home
Production has commenced on writer/director Thomas Dekker’s Jack Goes Home in Kingston, New York; and Dread Central was recently on the scene. The film is produced by Dekker, Jordan Yale Levine/Yale Productions, and Scott Levenson. Co-producers are Nikki Reed and Jon Keeyes, and executive producers include Shaun S. Sanghani/SSS Entertainment, Jason Rose, and Jessica Chang.
Following is our report from the set along with a look at a few stills and the film’s preliminary artwork that was put together for film fest submissions.
This is Jack Goes Home. This is a gathering of talent to help shape a word of torment and trigger catharsis for its director, Thomas Dekker. What I saw was Jack (Rory Culkin) dressed in white shirt, dancing with his mother, Teresa (Lin Shaye), to a song from a foregone era. Teresa slips from his arms, as if drugged. and falls to the floor of the old house where the production is shooting.
I was witness to Jack hitting Shanda (Daveigh Chase) across the face and shoving her out the door. Jack was shirtless and covered in blood. Chase relayed the slap was real and she needed it from Culkin. “The thing is, we go about things in a very ‘method’ kind of way sometimes, and that’s like this whole other thing that people don’t know about it. I’m not going to be able to describe it in the next thirty seconds…”
Chase had known Dekker for years before taking on the role of Shanda. “Well, we’ve been friends for four years. We met over the phone first, and then we ended up doing a film together a year later. But it wasn’t even about that; it was just about the level of intimacy I have with him; we have such an affinity for each other, and I just knew that anything that he was writing would be something that would be worth being a part of because… he just has this great sense of self that he doesn’t compromise for anyone…”
And this is a deeply personal project for Dekker and certainly not a time for compromise when one has such a focused point-of-view. “My father died when I was twenty-two, and I really was destroyed by it. He was everything to me, and I really had a very deep inward emotional spiral, and I knew at the time that I wanted to tell a story about it, that I wanted to make something about it. It was a time of friction between me and my mother, and sort of grappling with my childhood, and I went through a period of wanting to write something about it, but I didn’t want to make some masturbatory, whiny drama, me-me-me kind of movie about the situation. Suddenly this kind of light bulb went off with me at the end of last year, and I went, ‘Uh-oh.’ If I could actually take all that anger and emotion that went with that ride and put it into something frightening and a thriller, I felt it was a good way to use a kind of universal theme in a genre capacity, and I obviously am a very outwardly-spoken genre fan and horror fan—but the kind of horror I’m obsessed with is the really dark, disturbing stuff…”
The look was important as well to express grief, to express sorrow. “I want that Carpenter [look]… y’know, to be able to play with the edges of the frame. John Carpenter’s someone who’s a huge influence on me… it’s a very subdued film; the story and the situations that take place are so intense and so harsh that if we played it up in a kind of Argento way, I think the whole thing becomes kind of ridiculous—and I love Argento, but this film needed to be grounded in a visual universe that was very serious, very stoic, very to-the-point; and that way we can get away with the insanity, both figuratively and literally, that ends up happening by the end of the film. The way I describe the film, which… I think is exciting, is that it really is like a runaway train… [in] the first half of the film, with the exception of indications of music and performance, you might not even know it’s a horror film. You might think it’s a family drama because it really is about establishing our characters. Then it reaches the midway point, and it just goes flying off the tracks. To me, that was the process of my grief and my depression… I felt for quite a while that I was totally fine—and then realized that I really wasn’t, and so did everyone around me. I think that losing yourself and losing your sanity and losing your ability to even recognize just what a hole you’ve dug yourself into is the most frightening [thing]; those are the most frightening topics to me. And lies within family and betrayal of your childhood and betrayal of who you are—there’s nothing quite more universal or palpable in the horror genre than that.”
When co-producer Nikki Reed read the script, she knew it was the one. “We spent about a year and a half working on something else that we would co-produce together—and then out of nowhere he just cranked out Jack Goes Home. He wrote it in just a couple of weeks and sent it to me and said, ‘This is the one! This is the one!’” She also appears in the film in cameo as Crystal. “To be honest with you, it’s just a cameo; it’s just because Thomas likes to play around and say that I’m kind of like his little good luck card, and he doesn’t want to do anything without me. I’m currently on a television show [“Sleepy Hollow”–read more about that here], which has kind of kept me from being even more actively involved than I would have liked to have been. I’m as involved as I can be—y’know, I’m on every call and every email, and I see all the dailies; I’m very involved on that front, and I was very involved in pre-production…”
But they needed to get the right house to contain the story, which led the production to Kingston, New York. Producer Jordan Yale Levine led the way. “Actually, the original homeowner who built this house, his kids… their faces are imprinted on the banister; I kid you not. It is just like—This is built for a horror movie! You’ll see the attic when we go up there… it’s nutty. So we actually have the new homeowner’s daughter here, helping us out.”
Theodora Blasco’s family was approached first about the house. “Well, inside it’s still being renovated, so it’s kind of got unfinished darkness to it. Also, all the original woodwork is still inside, which is all done by hand, so it’s got this interesting sort of church-y feel, but it’s been modernized a bit. Also, for instance… on the banister there are hand-carved tiles of the original children who lived in the house. The first night that we ever came here, it was the eve of Halloween… we came in and it was storming, and it was really dark and decrepit on the inside still, and my mother went to touch the face of the tile and she got a really intense shock from it. So yeah, there’s definitely an energy inside that really plays to the sort of dark feel.” She is learning a lot being a PA on the set. “I’m listening to everyone: ‘Don’t be full of yourself because you don’t know anything yet.’” And her mother does not mind that a genre crew has descended on the house. “Well, it’s my mother’s house and she’s an artist so she gets it. She’s into it. She’s come in; she’s really interested in all the changes they’ve made. She thinks it’s really… she’s interested in it. It’s cool for her.”
SIMON PEGG, JEFFREY COMBS JOIN JON KEEYES’ THE GATHERING; MORE CAST REVEALED
Everyone loves a well-cast horror film, and now we’re learning of a new fright pic coming our way that has one of the most impressive line-ups we’ve heard in quite some time.
Fangoria recently spoke with producer/director Jon Keeyes about his upcoming film THE GATHERING where the helmer revealed that he has been in the process of gathering one hell of a cast for what sounds to be a kick-ass project. Keeyes shares…
“We’ve got Simon Pegg attached to it now. He’s going to play the devil, and because of that, we’ve suddenly got a whole lot of interest in THE GATHERING again, and it’s starting to really push forward.”
But the SHAUN OF THE DEAD star isn’t the only name to be excited about as Keeyes also shared that a genre fave will also be involved and will be returning to a role that has found him much acclaim. Says Keeyes…
“We’ve got Jeffrey Combs playing Edgar Allan Poe.”
Now that, friends, is badass! THE GATHERING will find Combs returning to the part he has essayed so vividly on TV in the “Masters of Horror” episode “The Black Cat” and on stage in NEVERMORE.
But there’s even more horror heavyweights onboard the project, suddenly elevating THE GATHERING to one of my most-anticipated films. Keeyes shares…
“David Naughton is playing H.P. Lovecraft, Doug Bradley is playing Bram Stoker and for Mary Shelley, we’ve got a couple of major female names who have said they’d like to do it, but we’re going to wait and see what happens once the financing lands. And then we’ve got Udo Kier, Clint Howard, Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Ashley Laurence, Gunnar Hansen, Bill Moseley, Debbie Rochon and William Sadler committed to do the movie—it’s a huge cast.”
How could you not be stoked about this? That’s one of the most impressive line-ups I’ve ever heard for a horror flick. But, of course, you wanna know what THE GATHERING will be about, right? Keeyes gives a little insight as to what the screenplay, by Carl Kirshner, has in store for us.
“On Halloween night, the devil brings together Mary Shelley, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe in purgatory to tell their best untold tales, the idea being that whoever has the best story of the night gets to leave purgatory forever. That’s the framing device around all the anthology stories within the film.”
As for the tales the authors tell, Keeyes shares…
“We’ve tried to put a spin on the essence of the stories they’re most well-known for. So Bram Stoker tells a vampire tale, but it’s not about Dracula. H.P. Lovecraft’s story is sort of RE-ANIMATOR-esque, set in the Victorian era. We’ve approached it with the idea of what these writers would be like all these years since they died. They’ve got a slighty modern sensibility, as if they’ve kept up with the changing times while they’ve been in purgatory, while still holding onto the personalities and nuances they would have had in the eras they lived in. So there’s a whole lot of bickering and rivalry.
“One of the things I love about THE GATHERING is that we cover all the horror subgenres—vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, slashers—within our stories, but in the framing segments with the devil and the writers, there’s a real comedic-horror element going on. They’re taking jabs at each other, and they each have a bit of magic they get to play with since they’re undead, so a lot of fun stuff happens with that.”
Keeyes also revealed that Vincent J. Guastini (THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL, CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO) will be handling the makeup FX for THE GATHERING, which is targeting a May start date.
This film sounds so cool and I can’t wait to hear and see more from it. We will, of course, keep you posted on news regarding THE GATHERING as we hear it, so keep checking in.