Nevermind the Oscars; LATE PHASES and GEP pals’ THE SACRAMENT have received nominations for Fango’s 2015 Chainsaw Awards!
Nick Damici for BEST ACTOR
Robert Kurtzman, Brian Spears, for BEST MAKEUP/CREATURE FX
THE SACRAMENT, directed by Ti West, for BEST LIMITED-RELEASE/DIRECT-TO-VIDEO FILM
Gene Jones for BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Congrats to all the nominees! Check them all out here.
Here’s how to vote:
E-mail your votes (be sure to vote in all categories, and only once per person; personal e-mails only, no mass ballots) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write-in votes are acceptable in all categories. Deadline for ballots is March 10; winners will be announced in Fango #342 and at Fangoria.com in April.
Directed by: Adrián García Bogliano
Written by: Eric Stolze
There are no teenagers in peril in Late Phases, a horror film that’s as much about the fears of growing old and feeble as it is about werewolves. Nick Damici stars as Ambrose, a blind Vietnam veteran who moves into a retirement community and is almost immediately attacked by a werewolf. Ambrose is not your typical horror film protagonist, and that’s what makes him so fascinating to watch: His age and disability, so rarely seen within the genre, give the audience so much more to invest in. Because Ambrose knows exactly what attacked him and when the creature is coming back, the story itself is simple; the thrill is in watching him prepare for the next full moon, all while convincing his son Will (Ethan Embry) that there’s still a lot of fight left in him.
Directed by: Ti West
Written by: Ti West
It’s easy to feel weary of found footage horror: The success of the Paranormal Activity series ushered in a surplus of copycat films, most of which were — much like the majority of Paranormal Activity sequels — disappointing. But there are still a few worthwhile found footage tricks emerging, as evidenced by several entries on this list, starting with Ti West’s Jonestown Massacre-inspired The Sacrament. Vice reporter Sam (AJ Bowen) and his cameraman Jake (Joe Swanberg) follow Patrick (Kentucker Audley) to utopian community Eden Parish, where Patrick’s sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz) has fallen under the sway of a Jim Jones-esque religious leader who simply goes by Father (Gene Jones). The story largely proceeds how you’d expect it to, but the found footage format gives The Sacrament an urgency that makes the devolution into violence almost unbearably stressful to watch.
From BJ Colangelo at Icons of Fright:
I love me a good werewolf flick, and LATE PHASES was the best werewolf flick all year. Spanish director Adrián García Bogliano (HERE COMES THE DEVIL, COLD SWEAT, PENUMBRA) debuted his first English speaking film in a big way. On his first night in a retirement community, blind army veteran Ambrose discovers his neighbor and dog are savagely attacked by a monster that he cannot see. Not one to dismiss the weird, he soon realizes that a werewolf is living in his community. Before the next full moon arises, Ambrose prepares to fight and to figure out who the monster is among him. Robert Kurtzman’s special effects are on display in full glory, as practicality wins out over CGI. LATE PHASES is filled with characters I actually cared about, and Ethan Embry (we’ll get to him later) is in top form as Ambrose’s son, Will. Due in large part to the fantastic script penned by Eric Stolze (UNDER THE BED) LATE PHASES is one of the best werewolf films in a very, very long time.
At this point, Ti West can do no wrong in my eyes. Proving he’s much more than the “deliberately slow paced” horror films, he presents a mockumentary about a strange cult relocated to a remote area in Africa. THE SACRAMENT is arguably Ti West’s strongest film yet, and it’s roots in a real life horror situation just amplifies the fear factor. We as the audience quickly realize what’s happening and know how it’s going to end, which makes witnessing the character’s travels all the more heartbreaking. We know they’re doomed, and there’s absolutely nothing they can do to stop it. AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, and Amy Seimetz are all wonderful (as usual), but Gene Jones as the mysterious “Father” gives one of the best performances of the year.
Check out the full list at IconsOfFright.com.
Glass Eye Pix production LATE PHASES by Adrian Garcia Bogliano makes Fango’s TOP 10 MOVIES OF THE YEAR list, along with Glass Eye Alum Ti West’s film THE SACRAMENT, produced by fellow alums Peter Phok and Jacob Jafke.
“LATE PHASES” (dir. Adrian Garcia Bogliano, dist. Dark Sky Films)
A throwback to character-friendly ’80s horror, LATE PHASES is not defined by it’s near-perfect mix of horror and humor, but rather by its charm, which it offers in lieu of genuine heart. And it’s in this way that LATE PHASES is much like its curmudgeonly protagonist in that there’s a lot to like, especially when looking in on the outside, even if there’s something darker and flawed on the inside. But LATE PHASES, while far from perfect, is a winning combination all around, sporting a great cast of dependable genre actors (headed by a career-best Nick Damici) and some of the best practical werewolf SFX in recent memory. Even more impressive is this was all achieved underneath a language barrier, as Adrian Bogliano undertook LATE PHASES as his first English-language production, injecting the project with attitude, confidence and just the right amount of nostalgia. Luckily, Bogliano delivered in spades, as LATE PHASES is an instant addition to the top tier of werewolf horror, and absolutely worthy of your time.
“THE SACRAMENT” (dir. Ti West, dist. Magnet Releasing)
As a longtime Ti West fan, I was highly anticipating THE SACRAMENT since it’s announcement, as his take on a Jonestown-esque scenario would guarantee some remarkable intensity in almost any case. Yet I still think I was wholly unprepared for THE SACRAMENT, which admirably treated its concept with a terrifying and heartbreaking sense of credibility. West brings his natural gift with character to the table with THE SACRAMENT, all through a first person perspective that allows him to play with the spatial nature of his story unlike ever before. But West also piles on his signature brand of unbearable dread, perpetuating it through slow stylistic and dialogue flourishes. And by the time West takes you where you want to go, THE SACRAMENT doesn’t feel like a horror film, but rather an examination of humanity at it’s most desperate, punctuated by a bloody, stark and unforgettable third act that resonates unlike any other of the year.
Ti West’s THE SACRAMENT, produced by GEP pals Jacob Jaffke and Peter Phok, starring AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Kentucker Audley, and Gene Jones, opens TODAY in New York at Cinema Village and in Toronto at Carlton Cinema, with more cities starting next week. Check out the official site for all the screenings. Also On Demand and on iTunes.
And get a look at the film in this red-band clip from IGN!:
A few years ago during the release of my film THE INNKEEPERS, I wrote an open letter about piracy and the effects it has on independent films. Particularly in the case of films that premiere first on VOD before being released in theaters. This distribution model is becoming more and more common in an effort to help smaller films reach as wide an audience as possible.
You can read that letter in its entirety HERE, but basically the gist of what it said was: Paying for indie movies provides tangible evidence that there is a market for esoteric films, and that it’s important they be financially supported – not necessarily for the filmmaker’s bank accounts – but to prove to investors that there is in fact monetary value in all different types of filmmaking. It is about preserving sustainability.
Some people liked what I had to say, some people hated every word of it. Having just reread it, I would say that 90% of what I wrote still holds up. That’s a pretty high percentage if you consider how embarrassing old journal entries can be…
So instead of writing an all new letter, or simply reposting the old one, I thought that this time around, with the VOD release of my new film THE SACRAMENT, I would briefly address a couple of thoughts not fully articulated back in 2011. These seemed to be the two most common rationalizations for “illegal” downloads.
So without further ado…
“Larry Fessenden’s BENEATH might have not been a hit with a lot of critics, but I absolutely adored this film. A group of recently graduated students take a canoe across a lake, and are hunted by a giant monster fish. Full of metaphors for how quickly people will turn on each other when they feel like they’re in danger, BENEATH is a fun time, full of some scares, and some really unexpected moments. Easily Fessenden’s best film in my opinion.”
GEP pals’ YOU’RE NEXT and THE SACRAMENT are also mentioned in the list.
“It goes without saying that Larry Fessenden is one of my all time favorite filmmakers in the genre. His 2nd film HABIT being in my top 5 vampire movies of ever, so I’m always curious to see what Larry will do next, both as a producer and a director. So I was curious just how his giant killer fish flick for Chiller BENEATH would play out. Larry’s favorite movie is JAWS, so I got the sense that this is the sort of thing he’s always wanted to make. And I think it may be his best, most commercially accessible movie to date. If you’re expecting some kind of gory horror comedy romp like the PIRHANA remake, look elsewhere. This is actually a more straight forward approach, despite the ridiculous nature of a movie with a giant killer fish. The reason it works so well is not the threat outside the boat once these kids get stranded in the middle of the lake, it’s the horror that comes from their actions to each other in order to survive. The tagline says it all, “they’re only friends on the surface.” I was rather surprised by how just about every death sequence played out as they’re all not what you’d expect. In fact, my Killer POV co-host Elric Kane and I both agree that there’s one Hitchcock-ian death that could be the best death sequence in horror of the year. While it already aired on Chiller a few months back, the fine folks at Scream Factory will be giving this a proper Blu-Ray/DVD release in the Spring of 2014!”
The list also gives shout outs to Glass Eye pals’ YOU’RE NEXT, THE BATTERY and THE SACRAMENT.