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Nightmare Cinema Premieres at Fantasia

July 13th, 2018

An enthusiastic crowd gathered well in advance of Nightmare Cinema’s premiere. By 9:00 last night, the line already stretched around the block, assuring a full house for a project that producer-director Mick Garris began dreaming up over a decade ago.

Shortly before 10:00, Festival Programmer Tony Timpone took the stage to introduce directors Mick Garris, Alejandro Brugues, Ryuhei Kitamura, and Joe Dante. (David Slade is in the UK working on the upcoming season of Black Mirror.)

Before the film, Joe Dante was honored with the Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a presentation that included a montage of scenes from Joe’s five decades of filmmaking.

After Joe’s acceptance, the lights dimmed, and the 800 seat auditorium filled with animal sounds – mostly mewing – as it the audience members had suddenly transformed into cats. The mewing is a Festival tradition, and I must admit it’s pretty cool.

Then came Nightmare Cinema, the result of a collaborative effort of many producers, directors, writers, actors, and technicians (that’s 13 of us on the red carpet on the left).

I won’t review the film here. I’m too heavily invested in the project to be objective.

Instead, I encourage you to take a look at some of the reviews that have followed in the wake of last night’s premiere.

Here are some highlights:

  • “How Nightmare Cinema comes together is proof of exceptional teamwork and extraordinary planning. Each director brought their experience to the table to create something epic. As with any nightmare, this movie will have you thinking about it right after you watch it.” Read the entire review at Dread Central.
  • “This Way to Egress was truly nightmarish and weird, and of a completely different kind of horror than anything up to this point. This one leaves you unsettled….” Read the entire review at Nerdist.
  • This Way to Egress is perhaps the film’s most psychologically disturbing. It follows a mother of two who is hallucinating — or is she? — that the people she meets are transforming into monsters.” Read the entire review at Entertainment Weekly.

That’s just a sampling. Check them out if you like, and while you do, I’ll be putting together some reflections on how the Nightmare Cinema segment “This Way to Egress compares to the original story “Traumatic Descent.”

Stop back here tomorrow for more updates from the Festival. We’ll save you a place.

Images:

The standing ovation for Joe Dante’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Joe Dante.

Alejandro Brugues, Mick Garris, Ryuhei Kitamura, and Joe Dante outside the Auditorium des Diplomes de la SGWU. Photo by the 21st-Century Scop. 

Thirteen members of the Nightmare Cinema team on the red carpet following the premiere. Fantasia Film Festival.

Lunch before the premiere (clockwise from lower left) Alejandro Brugues, Kyle Newmaster, Ryuhei Kitamura, Lawrence Connolly, Stephanie Caleb, Mick Garris, Sandra Becerril, Joe Russo, Joe Dante, and G. Brandon Hill. Photo by Sergio Becerril.

Nightmare Cinema Premieres at Fantasia

July 13th, 2018

An enthusiastic crowd gathered well in advance of Nightmare Cinema’s premiere. By 9:00 last night, the line already stretched around the block, assuring a full house for a project that producer-director Mick Garris began dreaming up over a decade ago.

Shortly before 10:00, Festival Programmer Tony Timpone took the stage to introduce directors Mick Garris, Alejandro Brugues, Ryuhei Kitamura, and Joe Dante … [read more at The 21st Century Scop].

Fantasia Film Festival & Nightmare Cinema

May 5th, 2018

This summer, Nightmare Cinema will have its long anticipated premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. 

I’ll be posting more about this prestigious unveiling in the days ahead, but — for now — here’s a brief description from the Festival’s Facebook page:

Five Forces of Fear Come Together for A Terrifying Dose of Nightmare Cinema

As part of Fantasia’s Opening Night events, the festival will unveil the World Premiere of Cinelou Films’ hotly-anticipated anthology NIGHTMARE CINEMA, featuring segments by Joe Dante (GREMLINS), Mick Garris (THE STAND), Alejandro Brugués (JUAN OF THE DEAD), Ryûhei Kitamura (VERSUS), and David Slade (30 DAYS OF NIGHT) with a cast that includes Mickey Rourke, Richard Chamberlain, Adam Godley, Belinda Balaski, Elizabeth Reaser, and Annabeth Gish. It’s always cause for celebration when the acclaimed “Masters of Horror” brew new creations, and seeing their energies distilled into a single feature film will all but make the universe explode. Join us for what’s sure to be a very special night, with all five filmmakers in attendance. Not to mention…

A Lifetime Achievement Award For Joe Dante!

Fantasia will be presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to adored US genre legend Joe Dante, a man whose inspired filmography has touched generations of cinephiles. From PIRANHA, THE HOWLING, and the universally-beloved GREMLINS films to INNERSPACE, EXPLORERS, and his bold television work, Dante’s works are electric with witty personality and brim with innovative storytelling and a big-hearted affection for all things film. As Fantasia will be World Premiering his latest work with NIGHTMARE CINEMA, there couldn’t be a better time to honour the great man. Previous recipients of Fantasia’s Lifetime Achievement Award include Guillermo del Toro, Takashi Miike, Ken Russell, Tobe Hooper, Jean Rollin, Andrzej Zulawski, Mamoru Oshii, John Landis, José Mojica Marins, Larry Cohen, and Ray Harryhausen.

More updates coming soon. Until then … scop on!

Images:

Sarah Elizabeth Withers in Nightmare Cinema’s “Thing in the Woods,” written and directed by Alejandro Brugués. Photo by Michael Moriatis, The Hollywood Reporter

Joe Dante, publicity photo from IMDB.com

Don’t Sleep: Nightmares are coming!

October 14th, 2017

They enter the Rialto only to have their darkest fears brought to life by The Projectionist – a ghostly figure who holds the horrifying futures of all who attend his screenings. And by the time the viewers realize the truth, escape is no longer an option. For once the ticket is torn, all fates are sealed.

That’s the premise of Nightmare Cinema, a film project that began coming together when producer-director Mick Garris first assembled his team of writers, directors, and producers in the fall of 2015.

The goal: gather some of the most exciting practitioners of dark cinema and give them free reign to create a series of short horror films, mini nightmares for the Rialto Projectionist to queue up and screen for each unlucky patron.

If you’ve been following this blog or reading the trades, you’ll recall the buzz from two years ago, starting with an official announcement at the Morbido Film Fest in Mexico, a fitting venue to unveil an international roster of talent that includes Alejandro Brugues (Cuba), Ryuhei Kitamura (Japan), David Slade (U.K.), and Sandra Becerril (Mexico). Check out the clip below, and don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish. Most of the video is in English.

Additional announcements followed the Morbido unveiling. Some appeared here at 21st-Century Scop, others appeared in the trades. Here are a few links from Fall 2015:

After that initial buzz, further developments were kept under the radar until Mick announced the latest details at last month’s Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank. There, accompanied by fellow directors Joe Dante and Alejandro Brugues, Mick lifted the veil on the project once again, this time announcing that it was being prepped for a 2018 release.

Following Son of Monsterpalooza, the press is once again humming with details, including the casting of Golden Globe and BAFTA Award winner Mickey Rourke as The Projectionist and Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Mirari, a key character in a segment penned by horror master Richard Christian Matheson.

Also in the news is the announcement that Cinelou Films (the development, financing, and production company behind Jennifer Aniston’s award-nominated Cake and the upcoming Iraq-war drama The Yellow Birds) has teamed with Fortitude International to coordinate the film’s release.

And just this week, at Podcast One’s Post Mortem with Mick Garris, director David Slade can be heard talking about his life in film — an impressive career that has brought us Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night, Twilight Eclipse, Hannibal, and American Gods. David and Mick cover all of those productions, and although I was pretty sure I already knew a lot about them, David managed to reveal quite a few intriguing revelations during the hour-plus podcast.

Bottomline: if you’re a fan of dark cinema, you’re going to love listening to David’s interview on Post Mortem. Give it a click. And while you’re at it, take a moment to subscribe to the series. It’s free … and the interviews are priceless.

Naturally, David also talks about This Way to Egress (a.k.a. “Traumatic Descent”) and the seventeen-year journey that finally put it in the hands of The Projectionist at the Rialto.  It’s a journey that I’ve written about in the past, covering the first ten-years in the introduction to my book This Way to Egress, and it was great hearing David recount the entire tale from his perspective,  including the recent turn of events that led to our new screenplay becoming part of Nightmare Cinema.

(BTW — That’s David and me in the above-right photo, a sureal forward-and-backward view courtesy of a conveniently-placed mirror in an L.A. bistro.)

It’s great to have things coming together on this project. I was on set for filming this past June, and a few weeks ago I screened a rough cut of the Egress segment. It was intense. Even without the final score or completed effects, I found it profoundly unsettling and moving. As David says in his Post Mortem interview: “It really surprised me how intense it was.”

As of this writing, Nightmare Cinema is moving toward a release in early 2018. But the story won’t end there. As Mick tells Simon Thompson in a recent Forbes interview, there are plans “to create more […] Nightmare Cinemas either as feature films or as a TV series.”

And so the journey will continue.

For now, there are certain to be more exciting developments as our release date approaches. When news breaks, I’ll be sure to report it here.

Until then, scop on … and stay awake for the nightmares!

Images & Videos

  • Promotional image for Nightmare Cinema.
  • Nancy Leopardi (line producer), David Slade (director), Joe Dante (director), Joe Russo (producer), Mick Garris (producer, director, writer) Ryuhei Kitamura (director), Alejandro Bruges (director). Photo taken in the Rialto Theatre. June 2017.
  • Joe Dante and Mick Garris reveal plans for Nightmare Cinema at the Morbido Film Festival. Puebla, Mexico. October 2015.
  • Joe Dante, Mick Garris, and Alejandro Brugues announce the completion of Nightmare Cinema at Son of Monsterpalooza. Burbank, CA. September 2017.
  • David Slade and Mick Garris in the Podcast One Studio. October 2017.
  • Two David Slades (frontward and backward) with The 21st-Century Scop (background, far left). November 2010.
  • The 21st-Century Scop with Mick Garris. December 2016.
  • Nightmare Cinema teaser.