indie

All posts tagged indie

Dark Moon Issue #3 Scares up Sci-fi Horror for Halloween!

Published October 28, 2015 by rmpixie

darkmoon3

Dark Moon Issue #3

Art by Benedick Bana

It’s almost Halloween and Dark Moon Comic is all about the treats.  To Freematik, creator of the innovative motion comic, this holiday is about sharing creativity, and to celebrate the launch of the first comic last Halloween, the third and last part of their introductory sci-fi horror trilogy will be released for free on October 29th.

The first two issues brought us a team of survivors beamed to a mysterious moon as the Earth is hit by a deadly meteor.  They are led by Dante, the scientist responsible for saving them, who finds the moon has perils of its own in the way of hostile and hungry creatures.  Surrounded by these beasts, they discover an alien outpost and take cover while trying to figure out their next move.  As they explore the base, they find out what the beasts are and how they got to the moon.

The third installment finds the group’s numbers dwindling and Dante reflecting on the remaining survivors fate.  His inner process comes to the forefront as he feels the guilt of placing them all between a rock and a hard place, and he is desperate to get them off of a planet teeming with bloodthirsty creatures.  And if some of you were wondering, we also learn what has happened on Earth after the meteor hit.

Once again, Dark Moon transports you to a brutal place.  We see aliens run amok and a conflicted leader who wills himself to save this random group of characters.  It was nice to see more back story for both the Earth’s fate and Dante’s relationship to each of the fallen.  Of course, the artwork is absolutely stunning with all the near 3-D detailing accented by bursts of vibrant colours, and the sensory experience is completed with the trippy soundtrack.

I think the average comic reader could get used to this, spoiling them with HD visuals, an engaging story and the added hip-hop fusion scoring.  These mini movies will keep you wanting more story and more creatures, so here’s hoping Freematik and artist Benedick Bana will surprise us with something in the near future (but not like, death by meteor near future…)

Check them out on Twitter : @DarkMoonComic

and their deviant art site: http://freematik.deviantart.com/ to check out issues 1 and 2 so you’ll be ready for the alien chaos in issue 3…all for free!

A “Throwback” to Bigfoot Down Under

Published June 24, 2015 by rmpixie

throwback

Throwback (2013, 93 mins.)

Independent filmmakers put their passion, savings, blood, sweat and tears into a film; sometimes having to stop production due to lack of finances, actor schedules or good old Mother Nature.  The last two factors are what Australia’s Travis Bain endured to make his creature feature Throwback.  Named for the throwback horror films from the 40’s and 50’s and also the creature’s evolutionary standing, this film took 2 years to make due to a persistent rainy season and working around the talent’s day jobs.  The end result is an homage to old school monsters and Bain’s childhood horror movie favourites.

Kent (Anthony Ring) and Jack (Shawn Brack) are treasure hunters dreaming of hitting it big in an unexplored tropical forest as they search for the legendary bounty of outlaw Thunderclap Newman.  This expedition has its obstacles with betrayal, a diligent forest ranger named Rhiannon (Melanie Serafin), and a rogue ex-cop McNabb (Vernon Wells) who searches for a killer.  Oh yes, and the legendary Yowie (Warren Clements), Australia’s Bigfoot.  These characters collide as they all try to survive each other and escape the wrath of this mythical creature.

For the budget, the film was beautifully shot.  Interesting camera angles and Yowie point-of-view showcased the beautiful North Queensland jungle/forest setting.  Even though you know it’s a man in a suit, there was creative shooting of the creature himself, with blurry focus reminiscent of classic B-movie Bigfoot footage.

The character set-up in the first half slows the pace a bit but the second half kicks it up with man vs. man vs. Yowie action.  I actually got a bit invested with the characters, because I started to really dislike them and was hoping for the Yowie to come out on top.  There were some moments that will make you chuckle, especially with Mad Max 2‘s Wells as the gnarly but kooky, obsessed ex-cop and Ring’s portrayal of the weasely Kent, but I would have liked some more tongue-in-cheek dialogue and a definitive tone since it morphed between a straight crime caper and horror comedy.

All in all, Bain created a fun low-budget B-movie that shows his love for the horror genre and burgeoning skill as a director.  If you haven’t seen it yet, never fear because this award-winning festival favorite is due for a DVD release in North America on July 21st.

check out the Throwback trailer:

http://www.travisbain.com.au/throwback.htm

http://www.facebook.com/throwbackmovie

His next project, Starspawn, described as “a sci-fi/horror thriller inspired by the films of John Carpenter and the works of cult horror author H.P. Lovecraft” has a Kickstarter campaign well under way.  Starring Vernon Wells once again, the plot revolves around a T.V. journalist who discovers evidence of an alien invasion while interviewing some outback survivalists.  If you would like to contribute, check out this link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/starspawn/starspawn-an-hp-lovecraft-inspired-sci-fi-horror-f

http://www.facebook.com/starspawnmovie

Best of luck to Bain and his next feature!

Pixie Dust Project Gets a Reboot for the Web: An Update

Published May 1, 2015 by rmpixie

PillJarPosterPortrait (1)

 

It has been an interesting journey for Damon Colquhoun and his Pixie Dust project.

Not so long ago, I interviewed him as he started an indiegogo campaign to raise funds for a fantasy film about a young girl, her mentally ill mother and a family secret.  While he didn’t make his goal, he did get accepted for a grant fellowship from NBPC 360, a funding initiative by the National Black Programming Consortium media arts organization that is committed to “educating, enlightening, empowering and engaging the American public.”  The Harlem based non-profit strives to “support diverse voices by developing, producing and distributing innovative media about the Black experience and by investing in visionary content makers.”  Since 1979, they have provided content for outlets like PBS and PBS.org among others, and invaluable mentoring for up and coming Black filmmakers.

With this opportunity presented, Colquhoun rewrote Pixie Dust as a 10-part web series including sample footage, and his treatment was the only entry with a script.  The project was almost cut due to its fantasy based subject matter since the committee focuses mainly on non-fiction.  Fortunately some well-known producers, namely Ron Simons who was behind Blue Caprice as well as Deniese Davis who produced the Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, fought to keep Pixie Dust in the running.  After passing the muster at “Pitch Black”, the final pitch session where a group of seasoned producers and executives make their final choices, and with the help of cinematographer Arthur Jafa and director Terence Nance as mentors, Colquhoun will get between 50 and 100K for his project.  He is well on his way to a promising breakthrough for programming as the industry becomes more accepting of interesting and unique content for a growing niche market.

Damon Colquhoun pitching his ideas to top industry execs.

Damon Colquhoun pitching Pixie Dust to public television industry execs on April 23rd, 2015. Photo by Lindsey Seide (NBPC)

I am excited that a great organization has recognized the need for science fiction/fantasy in their roster, as many Black and other visible minority viewers crave content including people of colour in a genre that has been lacking in visible minority representation.  Congratulations to Damon as he embarks on his new route with Pixie Dust and I’m really looking forward to seeing the final series.  Stay tuned for more info!

Pixie Dust interview with writer/director Damon Colquhoun

Check out the NBPC site for more information on the organization and one of their series based on stories from the African Diaspora called AfroPop.tv.

 

It Follows: Sex and the Haunted Girl

Published April 4, 2015 by rmpixie

It Follows

It Follows (2014, 1 hr 40 mins)

It Follows has been the critic’s favourite since late last year, said to be one of the scariest movies in a long time.  Comparisons to John Carpenter, The Ring and 80’s old school horror have been made, and I finally got a chance to draw my own conclusions about this indie horror darling.

Jamie, or Jay (Maika Monroe) is dating handsome Hugh (Jake Weary).  She finally decides to have sex with him and the act puts her in jeopardy as he reveals to her, in a creepy kidnapping, held-hostage kind of way, that he has passed on an evil, relentless entity to her; it will change its form to look like anyone, come after her with methodical determination for the kill, and the only way to get rid of it is by passing it to someone else through sex.  After the initial shock of this strange violation, Jamie enlists the help of her sister Kerry (Lili Sepe), and friends Paul (Kier Gilchrist), Yara (Olivia Luccardi), and Greg (Daniel Zovatto) to defeat this shape shifting, malignant force.

I want to say a lot about this film while trying not to write 5000 words on sex, death and female sexuality, so this will be difficult, but what I will say is that my initial reaction as the credits rolled was “I didn’t like it.”  I don’t know what scares me anymore, but this was definitely not the scariest film in a long time, and I think the sound bites used to promote the film does it a disservice by upping the weight of expectation.  After realizing my perception of the film may have been forming even before I saw it, I looked at it as objectively as I could, and what I saw was a hauntingly beautiful film with an unfinished mythology.

Visually, David Robert Mitchell delivers near perfect framing, deliberate moody lighting, and slow-paced camera work that aside from the slightly over-used 360 panning which made me a little nauseated, was exceptional to create a dream-like atmosphere.  That matched the origins of the film which reportedly came from Mitchell’s childhood nightmares, giving us a slow, dream-like pace as well.  The scoring by Disasterpeace (Rich Vreeland) was as good as everyone has said, creating tension with that 80’s synthesizer feel.  Using Detroit as the setting was probably a choice based on loyalty for the Michigan native, but it also could speak to the nature of the evil entity.  Was it responsible for the decay of the city, set in an indistinct, throwback era, or was it in its natural habitat and fed on condemned souls in what has become a real and unfortunate Hell for some?  Who knows, as the story left too much room for speculation.

The evil entity was really effective because of the lack of a set identity.  It could be anyone at any given time, and that aspect kept you on the edge of your seat, making it my favourite character.  Jay and company, on the other hand, could not hold my empathy for long.  The performances were great, especially Monroe’s, but for some reason I couldn’t get behind them.  Sure, I wanted them to escape the threat, but to what end?  I wanted to know more about them to invest emotionally.  I will say that it is nice to see Gilchrist on the screen again.  I worked key makeup on a short film he was in as a precocious child actor, and I am happy to see him as a young man showing his talent.  I think he has a great career ahead of him.

In terms of the sex equals death equation that everyone has been touching on, Mitchell does take it to another level, creating an interesting concept for a horror trope and making it more complex than what horror fans are used to:  a punishable act as well as a means to an end.  It’s a curse and a cautionary tale, and one can pull many interpretations from it in terms of female sexuality to moral judgements, which is a win for a low-budget horror film based on a nightmare, however some issues with the plot, like the entity’s origin, put me off of the film as a whole.

It Follows is a lesson in ambiguity.  Don’t expect answers, a defined era, pee-your-pants scares, or a linear storyline.  Think ouroboros, but like, caught in the middle.  If you want to see a film with great atmosphere that builds dread instead of terror, a couple of entertaining jump scares and a S.T.D. (sexually transmitted demon) you’ll want to see more of, check out the film, but don’t let the hype drive you to the theatre.

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