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Unleashing 100 Years of Nightmares

June 1st, 2019

I’m the projectionist, curator of 100 years of nightmares trapped in a silver screen that never forgets.

— Mickey Rourke as the Projectionist.

This month, the new anthology film Nightmare Cinema concludes its successful run on the international festival circuit to open in select theatres around the country.

The film releases on June 21, just a few weeks shy of the anniversary of the film’s packed-house premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival, and since Cranked-Up Films has arranged for a run on AMC’s Shudder platform a month later, everyone will soon get the chance to see what has been called one of the year’s most anticipated horror films.

The release schedule begins with an advance cast-and-crew event at the Hayworth Theatre on Wilshire Boulevard. The evening will feature a 10:00 PM screening of the film followed by Q&As with directors Mick Garris, Joe Dante, Alejandro Brugues and Ryûhei Kitamura. Two days later, the same directors are scheduled to appear at the Frida Cinema in Santa Anna for screening sponsored by Horror Buzz. Advance tickets for this event are on sale now.

To promote the film’s release, Cranked Up has been offering some exclusive clips from the film. One is from the segment titled “Mashit,” written by Mexican best-selling author Sandra Becerril and directed by Ryûhei Kitamura (Godzilla Wars, Midnight Meat Train, Downrange). It stars Emmy-Award winner Maurice Benard and features the demon pictured in the poster on the right.

Available exclusively at Deadline.com, the “Mashit” clip featured action that takes place right before the segment’s climax as a gang of possessed children corner Father Benedict (Maurice Bernard) and Sister Patricia (Mariela Garriga) on the altar of a church. The scene features one of the film’s many existing locations that were dressed and transformed into nightmarish sets by production designer Lauren Fitzsimmons. You can view the clip by visiting the Deadline website, accessible by clicking the image at the bottom of this page.

Another exclusive preview features a section from “This Way to Egress,” from a script that I co-wrote with director David Slade,  based on my original story “Traumatic Descent.” “Egress” stars Elizabeth Reaser (The Haunting of Hill House) and features Mitch, the creepy janitor in the poster on the left.

Like the “Mashit” clip, the “Egress” preview shows off some the film’s amazing sets. Kudos again to Lauren Fitzsimmons and her crew for transforming the interiors of ordinary office buildings into a world of nightmares. The Dread Central website and preview is accessible by clicking the player image below.

So here you go. “That’s “Mashit” on the left; “Egress” on the right. Enjoy!

Back to Chelsea…
for Nightmare Cinema’s US Premiere

November 29th, 2018

It’s the summer of 1977. I’m crashing at my brother Mark’s apartment at Hotel Chelsea, dreaming of following in the footsteps of other writers who used that iconic landmark as their home base in New York City. It’s the place where Arthur C. Clark worked on 2001: a Space Odyssey, where Alan Ginsburg revolutionized American poetry, and where Dylan Thomas drew his final breath. It’s also where Nancy Spungen (girlfriend of Sid Vicious) was found stabbed to death. But that was a little later. For me, in the summer of 1977, it was a great place to launch some writerly dreams.

(Above) Hotel Chelsea, back in the day. (Right) Brother Mark and the 21st Century Scop with significant others in front of the Aristocrat Deli, next door to Hotel Chelsea, 1977.

Then, as now, Hotel Chelsea is flanked by the Aristocrat Deli on one side and a theatre on the other. But although the deli is the same, the theatre has changed. Back then, it was a performance space called the Squat Theatre – an experimental venue frequented by the likes of Andy Warhol and Nico.

Today, Hotel Chelsea is cover in scaffolding, its distinctive red-and-white canopy (a newer version of the one shown above) hidden in a cavern of interlocking metal beams as the building undergoes a long-overdue renovation that began in 2016. Work is expected to continue into next year.

The Aristocrat Deli is much as before, but Squat Theatre is gone, replaced by the gleaming facade of Cineopopolis Chelsea, a massive movie theatre that later this evening will host the US premiere of Nightmare Cinema.

(Above) Hotel Chelsea under renovation. (Right) Squat Theatre at 256 West 23rd, as it looked shortly after its opening in 1977.

Today’s screening of Nightmare Cinema is part of the New York City Horror Film Festival, where I’ll soon be joining Producer-Director Mick Garris and Artistic Director Lauren Fitzsimmons for the opening-night event.

Also on hand will be filmmaker Nick Schwartz (who is currently developing an adaptation of my story “Prime Time!”). Nick will be joined by Dave Conte and Matt Braunsdorf. Their script The Blood Grinder is a finalist in the festival’s scrip competition. It should be an exciting night.

Cineopolis Chelsea, on the site formerly occupied by Squat Theatre. 

Nightmare Cinema screens this evening at 7:00 PM. This will be your chance to see it before its general release to theatres and streaming in early 2019. If you’re in town, I’ll hope to see you there.

Also on the bill tonight is “Inked,” a short film by director Kyra Gardner.

The program runs through the weekend.

I’ll post some updates soon. Until then … scop on!

Nightmare Cinema at Irish Film Institute

October 27th, 2018

Nightmare Cinema screened last night before a packed house at the Irish Film Institute. The event included a Q&A session with producer Mick Garris, who will also be screening his earlier hits Critters 2 and Sleepwalkers at the festival.

Next month, Nightmare Cinema returns to England for a screening in Leeds on November 9, then travels to Melbourne for an Australian premiere at Cinema Nova on November 23. After that, it returns north for two screening at The New York City Horror Film Festival on November 29.

Above: Mick Garris at IFI. Left: A full-house gathers in advance of Nightmare Cinema‘s Ireland premiere.

Clearly, Nightmare Cinema continues to be well received. Here’s a sampling of some of the latest reviews, many of which have singled out our “This Way to Egress” segment as one of the film’s standout episodes:

“This Way to Egress” [is] by far the slickest of the five in terms of production value. Shot in crisp black and white, as with his recent Black Mirror episode, Slade’s segment mines nightmarish, surreal imagery as a woman (Elizabeth Reaser) suffering depression finds herself in a bizarre form of purgatory. — “IFI Horrorthon 2018 – NIGHTMARE CINEMA,” Eric Hillis. The Movie Waffler.

A highlight is David Slade’s surreal black and white offering, “This Way to Egress” – a hideously realised Silent Hill-esque metaphor for mental health. Unshackled from the thematic limits of mainstream horror cinema, it is a treat for the seasoned horror fan. —  “Mayhem Film Festival 2018 – Nightmare Cinema,” Gemma Finch. Leftlion.

“This Way to Egress” combines the monochrome industrial landscapes of David Lynch with the body horror of David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski’s vision of mental illness — “Review Sitges 51 – Nightmare Cinema,” William Maga. Il Cineocchio.

It’s good to see the film connecting so well with its intended audience.

Above right: Figures conspire behind frosted glass on one of the nightmarish sets created by Lauren Fitzsimmons. 

Above left: Elizabeth Reaser in her riveting performance as Helen, desperate to find a way out of a deepening nightmare.

So when does the rest of the world get to share our nightmares? Soon. I have it on good authority that an announcement regarding the release is imminent. When that news breaks, I’ll be sure to report it here. For now, I’ll leave you with a new video interview recorded this week at IFI featuring Mick Garris on the dream that became Nightmare Cinema.

Here's Mr Mick Garris giving the lowdown on Nightmare Cinema. More to come with his interview from 20.20 this evening! https://ifi.ie/horrorthon-2018-nightmare-cinema/

Posted by Irish Film Institute (IFI) on Friday, October 26, 2018