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Nightmare Cinema: U.S. Premiere, NYC

November 24th, 2018

Taking a final lap in its tour of the world’s top genre film festivals, Nightmare Cinema is now racing toward its long-awaited US Premiere.

Earlier this month, the film finished its circuit of the UK with a screening at The Leeds International Film Festival, the film went on to play at El Festival de Cine Fantástico on the Canary Islands, where Producer-Director Mick Garris received the Festival’s del Premio Isla Calavera de Honor Award, a skull designed by special effects master Colin Arthur (The NeverEnding Story). From there, our film headed to the Land Down Under for its Australian Premiere at Monster Fest VII, where it received an enthusiastic reception at Cinema Nova.

Next up: New York City and a US Premiere at The New York City Horror Film Festival, where I’ll be joining Mick Garris at a Thursday night screening at Cinepolis Chelsea.

Other highlights of the NYC festival will include the Screenplay Competition. Among the finalists is The Blood Grinder – an over-the-top horror comedy that has already won Best Comedy Feature at the Austin Revolution Film Festival. One of the writers is Nick Schwartz, with whom I have been collaborating on an adaptation of my story “Prime Time!”

I’ll be posting reports from the scene next week. Until then, I’ll leave you with links to some more Nightmare Cinema’s reviews.

The first is one that I missed when it came out at the end of summer. The others are from the Leeds and Melbourne screenings. As in my previous posts, the quotes are followed by links to the entire review.

Here they are:

Alejandro Brugués’s segment is up first, and is easily the most entertaining of the bunch. It’s a send-up of classic teens-in-the-woods slashers, and it’s hilarious […]. From there, we’re taken to a debatably gifted plastic surgeon (from Joe Dante), then a giallo-inspired Catholic school gone horribly wrong (from Ryûhei Kitamura), an atmospheric black-and-white child’s horror (from David Slade), and finally a haunting hospital rumination on death and loss (from Mick Garris, who also directed the wraparound). All of the pieces are quite different, but they somehow fit together nicely. The flow, from funny to ultimately quite heartbreaking, shows the range of these directors as well as the scope that horror can span within a single genre. — High-Def Digest

“This Way to Egress”[is] a gorgeous monochrome descent into madness starring the ever-brilliant Elizabeth Reaser. — Flickering Myth

Hollywood’s most under-valued horror director, David Slade (Hard Candy, 2005; 30 Days of Night, 2007) provides the psychologically troubling vision, ‘This Way to Egress’. Shot in richly textured black-&-white, it stars Elizabeth Reaser (pictured, above; currently seen in the hit Netflix show, The Haunting of Hill House) as a mother of two brattish boys slowly losing her mind in the waiting room of her ‘specialist’, Dr Salvador (Adam Goodley). As time passes, the pristine office surrounds become overwhelmed by a dark filth; the faces of those that she passes in the halls grow increasingly deformed. Slades’ film is a masterful take on mental health, depression, social disconnection; while it foregoes the visceral horror of the film to this point, it is a warped walk in a convincingly disturbing, Cronenberg-esque realm. — Screen Space

There have been a lot of fantastic anthology horror films over the last decade with notable favourites of mine being The Theatre Bizarre, Trick R Treat and Tales Of Halloween. Other noteworthy titles include Holidays, XX and the ever popular VHS and ABCs of Death franchises. NIGHTMARE CINEMA is a worthy addition to this list and makes a point of difference by having a consistent quality of stories throughout. — FakeShemp.Net

Images:

  • New Your City Horror Film Festival logo.
  • Mick Garris receives del Premio Isla Calavera de Honor at El Festival de Cine Fantástico‘s official opening gala, Multicines Tenerife, Canary Islands.
  • Cover page of The Blood Grinder by Dave Conte, Nick Schwartz, & Matt Braunsdorf.
  • Sarah Withers in “The Thing in the Woods.” 
  • Nightmare Cinema poster from Monster Fest VII.
  • Elizabeth Reaser in “This Way to Egress.” 

 

UK Premiere:
Nightmare Cinema & “This Way to Egress”

October 7th, 2018

I first read Traumatic Descent – Larry Connolly’s short story that would be adapted into “This Way to Egress” 17 or 18 years ago.

Soon after I worked with my dear friend Charly Cantor on ideas to adapt the story into a feature-length film which Charly would write. I loved Charly like a brother and he passed away in 2002 leaving a gaping hole in me.

I would describe the story as a dark but benign fog that infiltrated my subconscious. It resonated for me in ways that took all of this time to become clear.

I’m grateful to Mick Garris and most of all to Larry for allowing me to complete part of this project. It does not fill any part of the hole but it helps.

David Slade, director of “This Way to Egress”

Saturday was the day it all came full circle, some 18-years after two young filmmakers from Sheffield reached out to this American writer to begin work on a project that became “This Way to Egress.”

In the Q&A session that followed our UK premiere, I got the chance to unpack the journey in more detail – first in responding to questions from festival director Simeon Halligan and then in conversations with the audience.

Along the way, I was able to able to acknowledge the debt that both David and I owe to Charly Cantor, so much so that I felt his presence. It was – as I predicted it would be in an earlier post – like coming home.

The day of our premiere also provided the opportunity to discuss Nightmare Cinema and “Egress” at length in a couple of recorded interviews – one with the website FilmDaddy.com and the other with Simeon Halligan (above left) for the festival’s video feed. Both should be available soon.

There was even some time for ice-breaking, where  I got the chance to throw axes at targets courtesy of an establishment called Whistled Punks. My friendly competitors in the event included Witch in the Window director Andy Mitton and festival director Rachel Richardson-Jones (right). That’s us, posing like ax-wielding superheroes even though it was Horror Channel director Stewart Bridle and Grimmfest photographer Kenneth James who proved to be the true ax-tossing masters.

Grimmfest continues apace, wrapping up tonight with an awards reception and the much-anticipated Christmas-themed-zombie-fest Anna and the Apocalypse. I’ve heard good things about that one.

Nightmare Cinema’s next festival appearances will include screenings in Stiges, Toronto, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Dublin,  Vienna, and beyond. It’s all part of what we might call the Nightmare Cinema World Tour … so there’s sure to be much more news in the days ahead. Be sure to check back soon. And don’t sleep. Nightmares are coming.

Images:

  • The projected backdrop for the Nightmare Cinema Q&A session at Grimmfest. The photograph is from the “Mashit” episode, directed by Ryuhei Kitamura and written by Sandra Becerril.
  • The 21st-Century Scop in a video interview with festival director Simeon Halligan.
  • Standing tall with fellow ax throwers Andy Mitton and Rachel Richardson-Jones at Whistle Punks.
  • Witch in the Window director Andy Mitton wields an ax.

 

This Way to Egress:
The Manchester-Sheffield Connection

September 24th, 2018

Eighteen years ago. It’s spring. Filmmaker Charly Cantor and I are driving around Pittsburgh. It’s his first time in the States, having arrived the day before from London. He’s come to collaborate on a new film adaptation of my story “Traumatic Descent,” and today we’re out looking at locations, places that might provide backdrops for a tale about a slow-burn descent into madness.

We drive down Ohio River Boulevard, past the chemical plants and coke ovens of Neville Island and into the brick-and-brownstone environs of Pittsburgh’s North Side. Charly says it all looks familiar, like the area around Sheffield and Manchester, UK,  where he grew up with his friend David Slade. He tells me to slow down. Then he turns in his seat, looks back the way we’ve come. “That sign. Did it say Manchester?”

“Yeah. That’s where we are. Manchester. Pittsburgh’s North Side.”

“Can you stop?” He sees something else. “Stop here.”

I pull to the curb. He gets out and snaps a picture. That’s when I see where we are, on the corner of Fontella and Sheffield. He’s 4,000 miles from home, and he’s just arrived at Sheffield in Manchester. He can’t get over it. It’s not just the names of the places. It’s the look, the working-class feel of it. “When you come to England, I’m taking you to Manchester and Sheffield. You’ll see.”

Fast forward four months. Charly finishes the script (now titled This Way to Egress), and I’m in London to meet David Slade and talk revisions. We’re sitting in the Riba Cafe. Charly has his laptop on the table and we’re working through the script. It’s going well.

Perhaps too well.

Charly has arranged for a car to take us north to Manchester and Sheffield, but the work expands. In the days that follow, we get so caught up in it that we never get around to making the trip north.

Charly passed away in 2002. A tragic loss. He left behind two finished films: Appetite (1998), co-written with George Milton; and Blood (2000), which he wrote and directed.  He also left nearly a half-dozen finished scripts. All of them, including the feature-length adaptation of Egress, have yet to be filmed.

Fast forward again. Back to the present. Eighteen year’s after Charly snapped that picture on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Egress has been filmed, not as the feature that Charly and I worked on, but as a shorter version co-written with David Slade for the anthology film Nightmare Cinema. And next month that film has its UK premiere in … (wait for it) … Manchester, England.

You best believe I’ll be there.

The UK premiere of Nightmare Cinema is part of the 10th edition of Grimmfest, an international film festival held each year in Manchester. And so … at last … I’m going to get a look at the place that Charly described so vividly as we stood on that Pittsburgh corner in 2000.

The premiere will be held at the Odeon Theatre on Deansgate. October 6, 4:00 PM. Afterward, I’ll take part in a brief Q&A session. It’ll be like coming home.

Images:

  • The corner of Sheffield and Fontella in Manchester, Pennsylvania.
  • Charly Cantor working on our adaptation of This Way to Egress at Riba’s Cafe, London, July 2001.
  • Poster for Grimmfest 2018. More at Grimmfest.com.

Fall Premieres:
Mexico, England, Canada, Spain, Austria …

September 23rd, 2018

… a world of nightmares.

Since premiering at The Fantasia International Film Festival in July, Nightmare Cinema has gone on to screen at some of the world’s most prestigious film festivals devoted to fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

So far this month, NC has played on both sides of the Atlantic, first in a French premiere at Le Festival européen du film fantastique in Strasbourg on September 17 and then at Feratum Film Fest in Tlalpujahua, Mexico, on September 22.

Both Sandra Becerril and Mick Garris attended the Strasbourg event (see the video at the bottom of this post), and Sandra (left) was on hand in Tlalpujahua.

In the coming weeks, things are about to kick into high gear with multiple screenings already announced for England, Canada, Spain, and Austria.

Here’s how things look at the moment. (The list updates the Fall Festivals & Events post from earlier this month):

It’s an impressive line-up, and one that hopefully gets us ever closer to a greatly anticipated US premiere and a release to theaters and home video.

I’ll keep you posted. For now, check out the video below, recorded a couple weeks back at Le Festival européen du film fantastique in Strasbourg, France.