Tag Archives: The Crazies

The Worst Places to Be Stranded, According to the Movies

Gravity_1Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity doesn’t hit theaters until October 4, but the film’s trailers alone are powerful enough to convey the sheer horror of being lost in space. Until you get the chance to see how Sandra Bullock and George Clooney manage to survive with limited air and no connection to home base while 375 miles above the Earth, here are some other utterly terrifying places to get stuck…with little chance of getting out alive.

The deep blue sea (Open Water)

There are some major downsides to being all alone just about anywhere, but stranded in the middle of the ocean, with no boat, hungry, and exhausted? You’d think it couldn’t get much worse than that, but then poor Daniel and Susan realize they actually do have some company — sharks. Making the scenario in Open Water even more horrifying is that it’s loosely based on a true story.

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Interview: Bereavement’s Brett Rickaby

Brett Rickaby has made quite the name for himself in the horror genre over the past year. No, he didn’t have a lead role in The Crazies, but thanks to a particularly disturbing performance, he practically wound up becoming the face of the film. Still, that was only Rickaby scratching the surface of his potential because it’s in Stevan Mena’s Bereavement that the actor really gets the opportunity to show what he’s capable of and, boy, does he seize the opportunity.

In 2005′s Malevolence, Mena introduced us to Martin Bristol, a six-year-old boy who was snatched up and emerges as a ruthless killer years later. What happens during that time gap? That’s where Rickaby’s Graham Sutter steps in and Bereavement kicks off. Sutter is Martin’s kidnapper and takes the boy to his dilapidated pig farm where he shows little Martin how he tortures and kills his victims. As Sutter wipes the slate clean after every brutal lesson, nobody ever knows what happens at the old pig farm, that is until Allison (Alexandra Daddario) gets a little too curious for her own good.

Graham Sutter is absolutely out of his mind, however, it seems to take a very sane and mindful man to bring a character like that to life. While Rickaby labels The Crazies the easiest film he’s done and Bereavement the toughest, both productions still required quite a bit of work on his part. In honor of Bereavement’s August 30th DVD and Blu-ray release, Rickaby took the time to tell me all about his preparation process, inhabiting the mind of a sadistic killer, his exciting and well-deserved plans for the future and much more. Check it all out for yourself in the interview below.

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Interview: The Ward’s Danielle Panabaker

Danielle Panabaker is easily becoming one of my favorite actresses to interview, not just because she’s a nice and insightful person to talk to, but also because she tends to work on the kind of films I’m drawn to – horror films. And not just any horrors film, rather, pieces that offer a fun kind of scare. Back in 2009 she starred in the remake of Friday the 13th and then, last year, in one of my favorite films of 2010, The Crazies, and now she’s in John Carpenter’s The Ward.

Panabaker plays Sarah, one of four patients Kristen (Amber Heard) meets when she’s unwillingly admitted to the North Bend Psychiatric Hospital. Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca) is bright and welcoming, Zoey (Laura-Leigh) a little on the shy side, Emily (Mamie Gummer) a bit too friendly and then there’s Sarah who’s, well, not particularly nice to anyone. Regardless, when a malicious entity makes its presence known, the girls must work together to survive.

To promote the film’s July 8th release, Panabaker took some time to tell us all about her experience making The Ward from working with Carpenter and her co-cast to her own personal preparation and feelings about the horror genre in general. Check it all out and more below.

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Perri’s Top 10 Movies of 2010

It’s that time of year again; time to look back on the year passed and recognize the best of the best. It seems every year we complain the crop of movies isn’t up to par, but then the time to compile a list of the best of the year arrives and it’s increasingly difficult. This year gave me a particularly tough time thanks to my latest endeavor: film school.

Over the summer, I decided to take my passion for film one step further and enroll in Columbia University’s Film MFA program. It didn’t take long for the education to collide with my work. As I learned more about the filmmaking process, my perception in the theater started to change quite drastically. Misused techniques began to bother me, poor camerawork became as distracting as ever and too much exposition in the dialogue made my blood boil.

Last year I strove to keep my list as entertainment-based as possible. My top ten films of the year consisted mainly of selections that I’d watch over and over again without hesitation. Well, this year is different – slightly. While I’ve tried to keep my focus on films that simply made going to the theater a downright joy, what made this activity enjoyable for me changed a bit. With that being said, here are my top ten films of 2010, the purely fun, the poignant and simply well made.

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The Crazies 1973 vs. 2010: Side-by-Side

Back in 1973 George A. Romero gave us a taste of what it’d be like if a biological weapon were let loose on society in The Crazies. When someone comes in contact with Trixie they lose their minds and become violent. Think the army can save you from the madness? Think again. Not only are the military men just as afraid of contracting the virus, but they’re trying to protect themselves from the crazies too; basically, they’re willing to kill everyone and anyone not in a biohazard suit. The Crazies is a film particularly fitting for the remake treatment. It’s dated, yet the general concept remains powerful. That’s where Breck Eisner comes in. He takes his source material trims away the fat and the obsolete elements and packs it with exactly what horror audiences are looking for: sheer terror. Eisner’s The Crazies is one of my favorite films of 2010, but I’m going to leave the critique at that and deliver this comparison using just the facts. However I can’t say the same for spoilers because they’re all over the place in this article, so beware.

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Interview: Survival Of The Dead Writer-Director George A. Romero

Way back in 1968, George A. Romero got behind the lens to bring Night of the Living Dead to life. Little did he know, the living dead were about to venture way beyond the night. They’d go on to terrorize surviving humans in the Dawn (twice), the Day (three times), across the Land, via Diary and now in Romero’s latest, Survival of the Dead.

In Survival, Romero spices up the series zombie genre by creating a western feel. Plum Island is just not big enough for its two warring families, the O’Flynns and the Muldoons. When a group of soldiers seeking refuge from the zombie-infested mainland arrives on the island, not only are they greeted by even more flesh eaters, but townsfolk with a deadly grudge too.

It’s easy to forget Romero has anything but zombies on the brain. Yes, he’s hoping to add two more films to the Dead series, but there’s some non-living dead material in his future. Read all about that, Romero’s take on the horror remake obsession, and, of course, Survival of the Dead in the interview below.

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Interview: The Crazies Director Breck Eisner (Post-Screening)

Getting the opportunity to talk to a director who created a film you absolutely love is a frustrating double-edged sword. You’re thrilled to have the opportunity to chat, but there isn’t nearly enough time to squeeze in every question. This is the fortunate/unfortunate case with Breck Eisner.

He’s the man behind the remake of George A. Romero’s The Crazies. After a slew of poorly made and blood drenched reboots, it’s fantastic to experience something so refreshingly original that still manages to pay homage to the source material. Even if you’ve watched Romero’s 1973 original, Eisner’s film is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. When an experimental biological weapon called Trixie accidently infiltrates Ogden Marsh’s water supply, it’s only a matter of time before the townsfolk go crazy. The film follows four survivors as they try to escape their hometown now overrun with violent versions of friends and loved ones while eluding the army who’s prepared to exterminate anyone with the potential to let the virus loose.

Check out what Eisner told me about creating some of the most memorable moments, utilizing the appropriate amount of gore and even a little update on his next project, Flash Gordon.

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Review: The Crazies

If any horror movie deserves a reboot, it’s George A. Romero’s The Crazies. The premise is still intriguing, but the execution is dated leaving room for improvement. Nowadays, this type of improvement comes in the form of ultra bloody horror reboots that desperately try to one up each other by having the most brutal kill scenes. Rather than rely on sheer gore, The Crazies mixes charming characters, suspense and disturbing behavior to provide a well-crafted and downright horrifying experience.

Everything seems normal in the quaint town of Ogden Marsh. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) are busy maintaining order, while David’s wife, Judy (Radha Mitchell), and her assistant, Becca (Danielle Panabaker), are keeping everyone healthy at the local medical center. But that all changes when the townsfolk start to go crazy, literally. Those who were once friends and neighbors transform into violent bloody versions of their former selves with one goal in mind: kill.

Before they can attempt to escape the madness, the military infiltrates the town herding everyone into a restricted zone for sorting. The infected are funneled into the local high school while those who retain their sanity are bussed elsewhere. After the operation breaks down, David, Judy, Russell and Becca find themselves trapped in the town they once loved, being hunted by the army and terrorized by the crazies.

This is the horror movie we’ve all been waiting for. As opposed to the most recent slasher releases, The Crazies doesn’t rely on an overdose of blood and guts to give you a good scare. In fact, director Breck Eisner gracefully conceals what could have been extremely gory moments in favor of leaving the imagery to the imagination, ultimately making them far more frightening. Eisner also does away with the excess of cheap scares. The film’s most terrifying moments are the ones that are the culmination of a marinating process. The scene is set, the characters are positioned and then the threat slowly creeps into the room leaving the viewer more than enough time to recognize and feel the sheer horror of the situation.

The Crazies isn’t a slasher flick, but it isn’t really a zombie movie either. Yes, there’s a herd of humans-turned-monsters, but unlike zombies, the crazies retain some of their personality. They’re not members of a massive mob with the sole goal of devouring flesh; they’re extremely enraged versions of their former selves and have very particular methods of killing. Paradoxically, the film’s human evil entity, the army, does take on the form of a soulless mass. Whether the troops are armed to the tee or sporting chemical protection suits, their faces are covered by gas masks completely dehumanizing them.

These two deadly enemies couldn’t be nearly as dreadful if those they are terrorizing aren’t genuinely petrified. David, Judy, Russell and Becca create the perfect combination of lone survivors to take viewers through the film. Olyphant makes a strong lead and emits a sense of comfort in the midst of the insanity. He’s further softened by his clear devotion to his wife, Judy. Rather than resort to excessive screaming to express horror, Mitchell decides to do so by simply delivering a proper performance. A fantastic but modest dose of comedic relief comes from Anderson as Russell. He’s there to deliver the standard sidekick one liners, but gets occasional and perfectly timed moments to shine. The most helpless of the bunch is Becca, and Panabaker’s performance will rip your heart out. She’s a teenager being forced to witness the extermination of her friends and family, the effect of which is visible through her cowardly tendencies.

There are just two elements of The Crazies that aren’t quite convincing. First, David is a tad too smart. He’s the hero and his potential to save the day must exist, but he puts the pieces together far too quickly. Secondly, minus bloody noses and enlarged veins, a particular trio of crazies doesn’t really seem too crazy. We’re introduced to a band of hunters pre-infection and reunite with them twice post-meltdown. Most of the crazies benefit from a hint of personality, but these three have too much and come across as human psychopaths rather than virally insane.

However, thanks to excellent execution, these faults are easily overlooked. Eisner has created a perfectly paced creepy movie with the power to scare the crap out of you, but permits you to retain your senses. Then, you’re able to digest what just happened and recognize the sheer insanity of the situation making it exponentially more horrifying. Lastly, and most importantly, The Crazies is a terrifying blast. If you’re looking for a good scare, The Crazies delivers big time and, as an added bonus, has a degree of sensibility and depth making it so much more than an average horror movie.

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Interview: The Crazies Director Breck Eisner (Pre-Screening)

Thanks to a handful of sloppy remakes, the concept of a horror reboot has gotten a bad rap. Will Breck Eisner’s attempt at modernizing George A. Romero’s The Crazies be any different? Until I get a peak, it’s impossible to know for sure, but based on my chat with Eisner, it certainly has potential.

In the original film, a top-secret biological weapon is accidently released and contaminates the water supply of Evans City, Pennsylvania. We watch the action unfold and the townsfolk go mad from two points of view: a group of survivors trying to outrun the virus and the military desperately working to contain it. In Eisner’s version, the premise remains the same, but the focus shifts to another quaint town, Ogden Marsh. Eisner also opts to change the points of view. Rather than depict the catastrophe from two ends of the spectrum, he’s keeping the focus on the few townsfolk who retain their sanity played by Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson and Danielle Panabaker.

It may not sound like much, but this will ultimately make his version of The Crazies far different from its predecessor. Will this be the key to making it a successful reboot? My hopes are high, but we’ll find out for sure when The Crazies hits theaters on February 26th. For now, check out what Eisner told me about making the film his own while still having it honor the source material.

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Interview: The Crazies’ Danielle Panabaker

Danielle Panabaker oddly enjoys being terrorized for a living. Just last year we watched as Jason Voorhees tormented her and a group of unsuspecting teens in Friday the 13th and now she’ll have to outrun a terrible virus with the power to turn you into a psychopathic killer in The Crazies. The film is a remake of the 1973 George A. Romero original during which a top-secret government virus called Trixie accidently infects the water supply of Evans City, Pennsylvania. Breck Eisner’s reboot moves the action to a town called Ogden Marsh, where average citizens like Becca Darling (Panabaker) are subject to the horror of not knowing who maintains their sanity and who has been transformed into a murderous monster.

Check out what Panabaker told me working on The Crazies, her relationship with her sister Kay and plans to continue her horror career with John Carpenter’s The Ward.

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