Get your scare fix this October and go see Countdown. Here is the synopsis of Countdown from IMDb:
When a nurse downloads an app that claims to predict the moment a person will die, it tells her she only has three days to live. With the clock ticking and a figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.
Justin Dec, a graduate at Full Sail University, made his first short titled Rolling. It was heavily favored and was honored with the Best Director award at New York Television Festival. He later did a YouTube web series called Lazy Me. It got over seven million views. Then he collaborated to make a Hollywood satire-themed short titled Boats. Now, he has made his debut feature film with Countdown. So, take this precious time to read about him and his experience.then go see Countdown. It's in theaters Friday, October 25 which is today!
1. First off, which phone app could you not do without?
Haha, I guess my camera apps. I’m not 100% obsessed with apps or my phone but I’m a big fan of all the camera tools we can carry in our pockets, especially when I’m in prep on a project. Cadrage, Shot Planner, Afterlight… those are a couple favorites.
2. What is your favorite horror movie growing up?
Jaws. It’s the movie that made me want to make movies.
3. What is the genesis of Countdown?
The whole idea started when I was setting a timer on my phone. As I watched the numbers tick backwards, I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be creepy if it was counting down to my death? Totally normal thought, I know.
4. What research did you do when writing Countdown?
I watched a ton of horror movies, broke them down beat-by-beat and studied the scares.
5. What was your writing schedule when you wrote Countdown?
Wake up, coffee, write all day, go to sleep, do it again until the first draft is done. Now start re-writing with the same process. If you haven’t done at least a dozen rewrites, you’re not even close.
6. What challenges did you face while writing Countdown?
The biggest challenge was to always go deeper. To push below the surface of ideas and characters and make sure I’m saying something truthful. It took a lot of drafts to get there.
7. What is your favorite line from Countdown?
“Where the heck is my grub hub?”
8. In one word how would you sum up Countdown?
9. What do you love the most about Woburn, Massachusetts and what is your most favorite activity to do when you’re at Massachusetts?
Woburn is a place I didn’t know I loved until I left it. I’ve lived in a lot of places but when I visit Woburn, there’s something about it that gets under my skin in the best of ways. It’s quintessential small town New England. I love it there. My favorite thing is to take a walk around Horn Pond.
10. Do you recall how your interest in directing or writing originated?
When I was 5 or 6, I begged my parents to let me watch the movie JAWS. My mom was a hard NO but my dad told her I’d be okay. He assured her I knew it was all “pretend”. When we got to the end of the movie and Jaws bites down on Quint, he turned to me and said, “It’s okay. It’s only ketchup.” My mind exploded. I wanted to know more. So they bought me books and every pre-viewed movie I could get my hands on. My basement became a mini-blockbuster. I was (and still am) obsessed with movies. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
11. Could you give a fun fact about your experience working with Elizabeth Lail, Peter Facinelli, Tichina Arnold and/or any other cast members in Countdown?
How lucky am I? Such an amazing ensemble. My wife and I were watching Elizabeth Lail on the Netflix show YOU and I turned to her and said, “That’s our Quinn.” She was my top pick and, luckily, she loved the script and jumped on board. Jordan Calloway came in twice to read for Matt and each time he brought such a fun energy and kindness to the role. He was perfect for it. Peter Facinelli always plays a really likable guy so I wanted to flip that on its head with Dr. Sullivan and thankfully he was a fan of the project. I met Tom Segura on Instant Family where he played Mark Wahlberg’s brother-in-law. I told him I wrote this part he’d be perfect for. Without blinking, he said, “I’m in.” A few months later, I called him and said, “Are you still in?” Luckily, he said yes! Talitha Bateman was my top choice to play Quinn’s sister. I think it helped that she knew she’d be playing opposite Elizabeth. The two of them were so incredible in this film. Father John was a hard role to cast because we didn’t want it to be too comedic or too serious. It had to live right in the middle. PJ Byrne got that right away without me telling him a thing. He IS Father John. Dillon Lane auditioned for Evan and as soon as I saw his tape, I knew he had the part. He has so much depth to him. He reminds me of a young Heath Ledger. Anne Winters and Tichina Arnold were the same way. As soon as I saw their tapes I knew they were perfect for the roles of Courtney and Nurse Amy.
11. Have you watched TV series Martin (Ms. Tichina Arnold is in it)? If so, which episode is your favorite?
I remember the show but I was more of a Fresh Prince of Bel Air kid.
12. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter/ producer, how would one get you or any expert to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
That’s a good question. Most of the material that comes my way comes from my agent, so I would guess if that author had an agent or a manager they should reach out to the right people to get some eyeballs on it.
13. What advice do you wish someone had given to you when you were younger about the industry?
Get a very comfortable pair of shoes.
14. Which 91st Academy Award film/s have you watched?
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood — favorite film of the year.
15. Last question, what’s your motto in life?
Find balance in everything you do.
Thanks to Justin Dec for taking his time to do this. You guys should go see COUNTDOWN right now. It's out in theaters so what are you waiting for? Have a great time at the movies tonight. Thank you as always for stopping by here to read my posts. I hope to come again and don't forget to tell your friends and loved ones to visit my blog as well. Have a great day everyone.
Here is the synopsis of Anna and the Apocalypse, courtesy of IMDb:
A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven - at Christmas - forcing Anna and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But they soon discover that no one is safe in this new world, and with civilization falling apart around them, the only people they can truly rely on are each other.
This quirky take to the zombie/musical genre was based on the 2010 BAFTA-nominated short. Mr. John McPhail( Where Do We Go From Here?, Up There) directed the feature while the late Mr. Ryan McHenry and Mr. Alan McDonald wrote the screenplay. So, please take this time to get know Mr. Alan McDonald, the superb co-screenwriter of Anna and the Apocalypse and his writing experience.
1. In one sentence could you say what Anna and the Apocalypse is all about?
It's about that moment growing up when suddenly all the things you thought would be around forever aren't there anymore - and who you become next.
2. What is the genesis of Anna and the Apocalypse?
Anna started as a short film devised by my friend and co-writer Ryan McHenry, who was watching High School Musical with his girlfriend and found himself wishing zombies would come in and eat everyone.
3. How was the short film of Anna and the Apocalypse noticed by BAFTA to get a nomination?
It received a BAFTA New Talent award and nominations after being submitted for consideration in the early years of feature development.
4. How long did it take you to write the first draft of Anna and the Apocalypse?
Ryan did the very first draft of the feature by himself, and it was mostly just a rough expansion of the short film. Together, we then wrote the first full draft, which took around 6-8 weeks. Both of us had day jobs at the time so we used to do ten pages and then send to the other guy for polishes. He would then do the subsequent ten and we'd repeat that until done!
5. On average, how many draft scripts do you find yourself writing until you are happy and satisfied with the final script to Anna and the Apocalypse?
Well, it wasn't just up to me! Ryan and I wrote around 3 or 4 drafts together, then after we sadly lost him I wrote around 4 or 5 solo. That doesn't include as least as many polishes or revision drafts based upon the notes of various involved parties. It takes many, many drafts of a script before you get to shoot. I'd estimate the shooting script was something around draft twenty.
6. What was your experience like working with Mr. John McPhail and the Apocalypse?
John was extremely supportive and generous all the way through the process. He was very keen to have me close throughout pre-production and again on set, and he brought a lot of really strong ideas about the heart of the story and the horror aspects we could emphasize. John is a real horror guy, whereas I'm more of teen movie and musical guy. It meshed well!
7. If you could describe Ryan McHenry using three words, it would be… and please discuss briefly how he influenced Anna and the Apocalypse in general?
Funny, loyal, talented
The entire concept was Ryan's. I brought my love of teen movies, Buffy and musicals in general to the mix. He was a huge Edgar Wright fan who was very keen to put his own stamp on the horror and cult British film landscape. We always wanted to make a film we would have loved to go see at the cinema, which also represented the way genre intersected with our own lives in Scotland. The idea was we would make Hollywood-style stories in our own voice. So Ryan is still in the DNA of the final film, even though he sadly didn't get to make it himself, because that intention is still clear within the final movie.
8. Could you give a fun fact about Ella Hunt and Malcolm Cumming?
Ella did a funny impression of Thor for a little in-character Avengers parody we shot, and the way she groaned while lifting the hammer still makes me laugh to this day. It was fabulously odd.
Malcolm was still at drama school when he auditioned for the film and was wearing a Ghostbusters sweater in his audition video that immediately made him look like the character. It was surprisingly hard to find someone who could wear that ridiculous jumper and still be sweet!
9. What do you want viewers to remember about Anna and the Apocalypse?
That it made them laugh and cry. That's all we ever wanted.
10. What’s your favorite song to sing in Karaoke? Why?
Losing My Religion by REM. I'm a huge REM fan and the song is perfect within my very limited singing range!
11. What is the scariest thing you have ever done for fun?
I hiked up a mountain in the dark for New Year's Day back when I lived in South Korea, shortly after University. No safety rails, ice everywhere and we could barely see a thing. But the view when the sun came up on January 1st was amazing.
12. What was the last story (fiction or non-fiction) you read?
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. An ASTONISHING sci-fi novel about evolution and the things we consider to be human.
13. Which screenwriter or film influenced Anna and the Apocalypse?
There's a fair bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Shaun of the Dead in there.
14. What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on Anna and the Apocalypse? How did that lesson happen?
Not to be afraid of a bit of hope and heart, even in the darkness. That what's makes a story resonate. And, sadly, I had to learn it after I lost Ryan to cancer and was left writing the script alone. It took a little while to find the heart again - and that was with the help of our producers, Naysun Alae-Carew and Nic Crum, and Script Executive, Gillian Christie. They really supported me through a very difficult process.
15. How do Anna and the Apocalypse primarily differentiate or distinguish itself from other zombie or musical movies?
It's Christmas! Actually, we tried very hard to hit the main beats of both genres. Sometimes that opens us up to accusations that we maybe played it too safe and did too many things you might expect, but it's hard to meet the requirements of three different genres (zombie, musical, coming-of-age) and still throw in a curveball that doesn't bring the whole thing down. I think the characters we kill and when we kill them still takes people by surprise, which is nice. It's darker than many musicals and more hopeful than many horrors, as well.
16. Is there any chance for a sequel or spin-off to Anna and the Apocalypse?
Nothing to announce but never say never! We're all very fond of those characters and that story.
17. Last question, if you are to dance to three songs to survive a zombie apocalypse which ones would you choose?
Oh dear. I think my wife would just choose not to survive rather than rely upon my dance skills!
Many thanks to Mr. Alan McDonald for answering my questions. You should definitely check out Anna and the Apocalypse. You won't be disappointed. Anna and the Apocalypse, the unique-take to the zombie/musical genre, is now available on amazon, YouTube, vudu, and google play.
You can read the terrifying short story of Antler( titled The Quiet Boy) by clicking the link.
News #1: H.P. Lovecraft's short story titled The Color Out of Space will be screen at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. Mr. Richard Stanley adapted the film adaptation while Mr. Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson starred in it.
News #2: Author Ms. Jennifer Bosari's YA Fantasy novel, Bloodleaf, will be adapted into a television series. Cavalry Media got the rights to the book. At the moment the studio is looking for a screenwriter.
Here is the goodreads' synopsis of Bloodleaf:
Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?
News #3: As for the film adaptation of The Woman in the Window, Disney announced that the new release date for that feature will be release on May 15, 2020 instead of October 14, 2019.
Source Material: bloody-disgusting.com
Source Material: TheWashingtonPost.com
Mr. Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game, Dr. Sleep) continues his Netflix anthology series. The first being The Haunting of Hill House loosely based on author Ms. Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House. The next chapter will be called The Haunting of Bly Manor which will probably be loosely based on Mr. Henry James novella titled The Turn of the Screw. In his own words, Mike Flanagan says:
‘Haunting of Bly Manor’ Will Be ‘Much Scarier’ Than ‘Hill House.’
The Haunting of Hill House was quite the hit and scared a lot of people to make them become fans of his. Obviously we cannot wait to see what Mr. Mike Flanagan has in store for us.
In an interview he told BirthMoviesDeath.com:
“We’re looking at all the ghost stories of Henry James as the jumping-off point for the season, so it very much is a whole new deal. It’s a cool way to expand on some of the things I loved about Season 1, but within the framework of a new story, without having to be restrained by the decisions we made last time. For Henry James fans, it’s going to be pretty wild, and for people who aren’t familiar with his work, it’s going to be unbelievably scary. I already think it’s much scarier than season one, so I’m very excited about it.”
Here is Goodread's synopsis of The Turn of the Screw:
A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate...An estate haunted by a beckoning evil.
Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls...
But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil.
For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.
Source Material: TheWrap.com
Mr. Jordan Peele ( Get out, US) will produce the reboot of Candyman under his production company Monkeypaw Productions. Little Known Fact: the original Candy Man movie was adapted from a short story titled "The Forbidden" written by Mr. Clive Barker(the short story is in the Books of Blood novel).
Universal Picture will distribute it while Ms. Nia DaCosta( Little Woods) is directing the gothic horror. So far, Mr. Colman Domingo (Fear the Walking Dead, If Beale Street Could Talk) and Mr. Nathan Stewart-Jarret ( Four Weddings and a Funeral, Misfits) recently joined the cast. Ms. Teyonah Parris(Point Blank, If Beale Street Could Talk) and Mr. Yahya Abul-Mateen II (Aquaman, US) are also in the reboot.
The film will be release in June 12th, 2020 and the plan is to film the movie solely in Chicago.
Source Material: Deadline.com
Mr. Shawn Levy/ Dan Cohen(21 Laps) along with Mr. James Wan/ Michael Clear( Atomic Monster) are producing the film adaptation of Ms. Stephanie Perkins's horror novel There's Someone Inside Your House.
Wikipedia's synopsis of There's someone inside your house:
Makani Young is still adjusting to her new life in the small town of Osborne, one year after her parents sent her away from Hawaii to live with her grandmother in rural Nebraska. Though, she befriends a few friends and even flirts with a romantic interest at Osborne High, she is still haunted by the secrets of her past life. Sometime later, the students at her school die in a series of gruesome murders. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets of the past will finally be revealed.
Mr. Patrick Brice ( Creep, The Overnight) will direct the feature. Mr. Henry Gayden(Shazam!) will write the screenplay, while Mr. Judson Scott and Brendan Ferguson will be executive producers.
Sydney Park ( Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists) gets the lead role. Meanwhile here are the individuals on the call sheet: Theodore Pellerin, Dale Whiblery, Jesse LaTourette, Asjha Cooper, Burkely Duffield, and Diego Josef.
As of yet Netflix hasn't announced when production will start.
Source Material: hollywoodreporter.com
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