Welcome, my morbid little miscreants! Join me, your cryptress, Lili DesGhoules, as I dig up and dish out the devilishly delightful dirt from the dark side of the entertainment industry!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Fever Night - the Movie

Hello my twisted toadies. I know my posts have been few and far between as of late. We are undergoing some business restructuring, but the pure and simple fact is that between my anemia and my barely being able to go out at all during the daytime (as it makes me ill) are resulting in some down time.

However, my sick and evil friends over at Bad People Productions are having a premier showing of their movie, Fever Night AKA Band of Satanic Outsiders, in San Francisco, California on the 10th of September.

I told them I would let you all know. So... here is the link:


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Interview: Marc Fratto, Filmmaker Zombie s Anonymous

Marc Fratto is one very focused guy. He has been a classic pianist for 30 years, a dedicated martial artist, and currently works as a director for a business news show in NYC.

He not only produces his films, but also writes them and has a music and production studio all for Insane-O-Rama Productions.

He is the kind of person that should be on the motivational and life coach circuit instead of some of these hacks out there.

Marc had already one film under his belt before Zombies Anonymous, and another in the works afterward.

If you read the review of Zombies Anonymous I wrote you will also know it is one of my favourite zombie movies, and with good reason. Marc Fratto is talented, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Even with all he has going on Marc was nice enough to do an interview for all of my readers here at "The Lair."

Make sure to check out the link at the end of the interview, my mischievous minions.
    Lili's Lair: What sparked your interest in film making?

    Marc Fratto: It's something I've always had a passion about. When i was a teenager, i used to make horror films on super 8. Nothing good, nothing I even have anymore. But i've always loved movies. I think Superman, the original with Christopher Reeve, was the movie that first really first made me fall in love with going to the movies. I was about 10 years old the time. After that, I wanted to make movies. A few years later, I found my real love was horror. Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, Poltergeist, and Creepshow, those movies had a really big effect on me. Especially Creepshow. I remember when I was 14 or 15, typing out the entire script to Creepshow.
    I transcribed it off of the video tape. Shortly after, I started making my first horror shorts.

    Lili's Lair: I know you are also a director for a business News show. How did that impact your shooting schedule?

    Marc Fratto: Not too much. i work an overnight/early morning shift, so it gives me a lot of free time and a steady salary.

    Lili's Lair: Why did you choose to focus on the horror genre?

    Marc Fratto: Partly because I love horror films, partly because they have a built in market and they are easy to sell. And partly because I love pouring blood on actors.

    Lili's Lair: Where did you get the idea to write Zombies Anonymous?

    Marc Fratto: Right after 9/11, there was a news story floating around about a guy who went into a convenience store and killed an arab clerk in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks. I remember talking to a guy at work about it, and musing how prejudice will always exist, it just shifts from one group to the next. but that it's our nature to distrust those who are different from us.
    I thought this would be an interesting premise for a zombie film, and that's how it came about.
    We were getting ready to shoot Strange Things Happen At Sundown at the time, and right after we wrapped, I started the Zombies Anonymous script. I decided to fill the script with things that were indicative of the time it was written. Blind patriotism, beheadings, terrorism, political correctness. The first draft was really heavy, too heavy. So i lightened it up with lots of humor and satire in the second draft.

    Lili's Lair: Do you think that your training as a classic pianist aided you in the creative process of creating the film Zombies Anonymous?

    Marc Fratto: To some degree. I tend to listen to classical when conceptualizing the scenes, or writing the script. I also tend to use it as temp scores while I edit. So i usually prefer to keep the classical in the finished film since it's easy enough for me to recreate. The first scene that I ever came up with for this movie was the scene where Solstice, the blonde hippy cult leader zombie, comes out of the woods in that flowing white dress in the middle of all that carnage. i was in my car, listening to Bach's Crucifixus and that's the image that popped in my head. the rest of the script started to come together from there. I used Crucifixus in the finished film for that scene. My friend Andy Ascolese, whose also a musician and used to sing in church choir, laid down all those vocals himself.

    Lili's Lair: Besides directing Zombies Anonymous, you wrote the movie as well. Which aspect did you prefer?

    Marc Fratto: The directing. The writing is harder, though. I agonize over the writing. I like vivid characters, and complex stories, and I love natural realistic dialogue. I hate, absolutely hate melodrama.

    Lili's Lair: In your opinion, what is the most difficult thing a director has to face?

    Marc Fratto: on a low budget level, its producing the movie, as well as directing. Scheduling actors and shoots. Thats a nightmare. That makes me want to rip my teeth out.

    Lili's Lair: What made you decide to change the name from Last Rites of the Dead to Zombies Anoymous?

    Marc Fratto: We didn't. That was the distributors call. I like it, though. I always though Last Rites of the Dead was a really generic title. Zombies Anonymous is a very original title. I would totally rent it.

    Lili's Lair: How long did it take for you to complete the project, from writing the script to finding a distributor?

    Marc Fratto: I started writing the script in June 2004. I had a first draft by November, and then drastically rewrote again. By Januarry we had the final shooting script. We started shooting in March 2005, mostly on weekends. Wrapped principle photography in Sept 2005.
    I had a first cut of the film in Aug 2006 which we premeired, and then I recut it, and finished the final cut on Christmas of 2006. So from beginning to end, about 2 and a half years.

    Lili's Lair: What was the most challenging obstacle you faced in the making of Zombies Anonymous?

    Marc Fratto: Finding a distributor. We had a bunch of deals thrown at us early, but they all sucked. We were almost ready to settle until Well Go contacted us.

    Lili's Lair: Special effects in a zombie movie can be pretty intensive. Tell us what the special effects people and the actors had to go through in becoming "zombies".

    Marc Fratto: Anthony Pepe, who did our special effects, did a great job on the zombies. We had some of them that were in and out, but there were a few, that required a while in the makeup chair. I thought the very first zombie the audience sees, the guy they beat in the tunnel,
    should be the best looking one. So Anthony had the actor, Lars Stevens, sitting in makeup for about 4 hours that morning.

    Lili's Lair: Any future projects you are working on?

    Marc Fratto: Getting ready to go into production in September on a film called Hell Fire. Its a story i came up with ten years ago, and started the script separate times before scrapping it. It's about the Anti Christ. That's all I'll say for now. The script is probably the best script I've written so far, and the cast we've assembled is amazing. My hopes are high for this one.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Movie Review: Zombies Anonymous

ZA: Zombies Anonymous
2005, NR

In an imagined reality where zombies coexist with ordinary mortal folk, the undead are considered second-class citizens. Angela (Gina Ramsden) finds this out the hard way when she's shot by her boyfriend and must learn to adjust to her new zombie lifestyle. She tempers her hunger for human flesh with Zombies Anonymous meetings and tries to pass for living in the mortal world.

Joshua Nelson co-stars in Marc Fratto's tongue-in-rotted-cheek satire.

(Thank you Netflix for this synopsis)

What happens when the news agencies begin to report that the newly dead are simply just not dieing? I'm sure we can all come up with some gruesome scenarios right?

This movie is a bit... different.

The newly dead are confused; they don't understand why they are not, well, dead. They are the same as they ever were. Except that their flesh is rotting and oozing goop. What's a poor newly un-dead to do when trying to "pretend" they are still amongst the living?

Join Zombies Anonymous, of course.

This movie is in my top 8 favourite zombie movies of all time because of the story, the memorable quotes, and the main character, Angela.

Gina Ramsden, who plays Angela, did a very good job, and deserves to be cast in movies that certain A-List no talents are cast in, of which I can think of 5 off the top of me head.

The other actors were good, as well. The commandant might get on your nerves a bit, but I think that was the point. Angela's ex-boyfriend Josh, played by Joshua Nelson, does a very good job at convincing us that he is a sick, twisted, obsessed, psychopathic wanker.

The cinematography was pretty decent for an indie film, as were most of the zombie effects.

Now, you all know I don't give spoilers, so I am not going into the story except for what I have already said above. I will say this however: Pay careful attention to the little things going on in the background. The news casts and "Look Alive" skin care ads on the tele, etc.

I don't know if some of you will think there is some kind of social message to the movie or not (as it seems many zombie movies do for some reason), and, to be frank, I really could care less about such things, regardless if I think personally there is a message in there or not. In fact, don't expect to see any questions about such things in my interview with Marc Fratto, and if it happens to come up, then it's because he mentions it - not me. The reason I choose not to ask these types of questions or delve into them myself is due to having spent several of my younger, more impressionable years growing up in Belfast, North Ireland. I have had me fill of politics and the like... Understand, my mutated minions?

I like zombies for the simple fact that they eat people and are undead nasties, not because the movie they're in has some socio-political statement to make.

On to quotes, because they are bleedin' grand.

One quote I took away from this movie that I use constantly is the term "mortally challenged." That is what they call themselves at ZA: They are not zombies, they are mortally challenged. He is not one of the undead, he's mortally challenged. (Maybe they should use that term in True Blood.) Anyway, I love it.

A news report states: "The undead are no longer eligible for federal assistance." Makes sense I guess.

During Angela's meetings she gets told: "Report the creep - he fucking killed you."

Here are a few more from the meetings.

"Your eye is leaking again, don't get it on the pillow."

"You're a little creepy sometimes, Louis." (Can you imagine a zombie finding another zombie creepy?)

Here are a couple more from other bits of the movie:

"You better get your head on straight and stop acting like a little bitch." (This was said to one of the zombie hunters.)

And last but not least: "You're a zombie, so start acting like one and rip her fucking guts out."

LOL! Good times...

If you love zombie movies, especially indie zombie movies, then I'm sure you will like this one. If you don't, I can't help that, but in my opinion there are several famous zombie "cult" flicks out there that people rave over that I simply think suck hard. (I'm not talking about ANY Romero movies, BTW.) I guess we all have different ideas about a what a good horror indie movie is, but trust me: this one is good!

Zombies Anonymous is an interesting take on zombies. It's disturbing and ultra-violent, the way a good zombie movie is supposed to be. If you want some pretentious, artsy, look-at-us-trying-too-hard-to-be-clever flick, this one isn't for you. If you want a good zombie story, that isn't a "when the fuck is this movie going to be over?" movie, it is definitely not only worth a watch, but an add to your zombie DVD collection. I'm even hoping for a sequel!

Now, go out and buy this DVD - it's what zombie movies were meant to be.