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Interview with horror writer, actress, producer and model Kelsey Zukowski

By Jonathan Weichsel

Kelsey Zukowski is a horror writer, actress, producer, and model who has been gathering a solid fan base over the last few years due to her passionate dedication to horror, her deep understanding of the horror genre, and her modeling work, which is some of the most unique, character-driven modeling being done in horror today. I sat down and had a lengthy chat with Kelsey about her short film Words like Knives and her feature Within These Walls, both of which were written by and star Zukowski, as well as her modeling and her feelings about her work.

So read on to get a look inside the mind of this passionate and driven artist. At the very end of the interview is a special treat for fans, the free online premier of Kelsey Zukowski's short film Words Like Knives.

JW- I really liked your twenty minute short film Words Like Knives. I am wondering what you were trying to accomplish with the film.

KZ- Words Like Knives started from the idea of a rumor spinning out of control. From there I thought, what would be the most vicious rumor someone could spread? I wanted the rumor to be something where, whether it was true or not, the person spreading it would have to be extremely cruel and a bit sick for either making it up or making light of a truly horrible thing.

JW- The film is a very raw and real portrayal of high school and the effect gossip can have on somebody.

KZ- Words Like Knives presents real life horrors in the way it portrays different forms of abuse and bullying, where people are subjected to pain and torment as part of their everyday lives. Bullying wears a person down and can lead to even bigger tragedies like people harming themselves, school shootings, or suicide. Words Like Knives shows how someone can be driven to something like that when they’re so completely victimized and at a certain point can’t deal with it any longer.

JW- Of course I loved your acting, and especially the writing, which I found had a lot of depth.

KZ- I think we were pretty successful at making Words Like Knives very psychological, surreal, and ominous. We shot a lot of things to leave different possibilities open: it could be that this was a made up rumor that became real in the main character’s mind, pushing her to insanity, or it could be that this was a repressed memory that she had to live in denial of or it would destroy her. It’s a film that asks a lot of “what ifs” and really explores all angles of if this were to happen, what might the different realities consist of. I think there’s a lot of different powerful and eye opening themes on hand.

Teaser trailer for 'HEIR' releases

HeirThe teaser trailer for the critically acclaimed horror short HEIR has been released. We have the teaser for you to view below the details.

HEIR, the final entry in the "Box Cutter Trilogy" produced by Fatal Pictures in association with Red Sneakers Media will be hitting the festival circuit in the near future.

The final short in the trio of linked shorts each representing “different theories on the origin and operation of sociopaths” sports Practical FX, which should make horror fans cheer. Read our exclusive interview with HEIR Writer/Director Richard Powell and Producer Zach Green here.

Check out a larger version of the poster below as well as a couple movie stills and watch for a review on MoreHorror.com soon!

About HEIR
FATAL PICTURES in association with RED SNEAKERS MEDIA is proud to announce HEIR - A touching tale of father & son from the filmmakers that brought you WORM, FAMILIAR, REMOTE & THE LAST HALLOWEEN. This practical effects horror short is a monster movie unlike any other, it is a bleak and fantastical examination of one of societies darkest taboos that aims to stimulate the mind and wrench the gut with equal power.

Starring Bill Oberst Jr (RESOLUTION, CIRCUS OF THE DEAD, TAKE THIS LOLLIPOP) and Robert Nolan (FAMILIAR, BERKSHIRE COUNTRY, SILENT RETREAT), Written and Directed by Richard Powell (WORM, FAMILIAR), FATAL PICTURES’ Zach Green and Richard Powell produced (WORM, FAMILIAR) in association with Marc Roussel and Ron Basch from RED SNEAKERS MEDIA (REMOTE, THE LAST HALLOWEEN). Associate Produced by Seth Metoyer (CELL COUNT, DEADLY REVISIONS, BALLET OF BLOOD), with Cinematography by Michael Jari Davidson (SAVE YOURSELF, BERKSHIRE COUNTY & THE LAST HALLOWEEN), Special Make-Up Effects by The Butcher Shop (FAMILIAR, THE LAST HALLOWEEN), Editing by John Nicholls (SEX AFTER KIDS, THE SWEETEST HIPPOPOTAMUS, THE LAST HALLOWEEN) and Music by Christopher Guglick (REMOTE, HOME, THE LAST HALLOWEEN).

How To Survive a Horror Film

SCREAMby Tom Wood

I’ve always been a fan of Horror and one of the most famous Horror films, well to me anyway, is the Scream franchise. (A little known fact was Wes Craven originally had the intention of calling the film ‘Scary Movie’ due to the serial killer copying other horror films; Hence ‘The Wayans Brothers’ with their parody Scary Movie).

I also remember watching the first of the series a while back, and thinking that one of the reasons I liked Scream so much, was the characters knew they were in a horror film, which added a bit of humour to the film. Something most Horror films lack (a bit of a shame really, as to me, that could add a bit of depth to the film). My favourite character had always been Randy, played by Jaime Kennedy. Mostly as he’s a nerd like me, but, he always gave the rest of the cast inside information on how to survive a horror.

Which got me thinking; in everyday life, how do we know we’re in a Horror film or about to walk into one? After all, life is full of little surprises and you never know what’s around the corner (Apart from numerous clichés); So basically, my imagination decided to run wild as usual and prepare you, the reader, with a few tips on how to survive that horror film you unknowingly are about to step into.

Now usually, Horror films involve a group of people, however big or small. Monsters in Horror tend to take people out one by one. So you must always stick together. Unless you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger or Rambo, I don’t want any of this “I’ll Be Back” and going in all guns blazing trying to be the Hero. Just face it, you’re no Clint Eastwood.

‘Insidious: Chapter 3’ (2015) review

Insidious 3Reviewed by Jesse Miller

Elise (Lin Shaye), the psychic from the earlier films, comes to the aid of Quinn (played by Stefanie Scott), a teenage girl that happens to be the sole focus of a particularly nasty demonic entity known as The Man Who Can't Breathe.

When Insidious: Chapter 3 was announced, I was somewhat perplexed. The Lambert Family story was over, where could the story possibly go? The answer is backwards, as the story featured here is a prequel set long before the Lambert family's horror.

The story stumbles a tad in setting up the new location and characters but it soon warms up and runs smoothly, offering plenty of jump scares and creepy moments as it chugs along.

Lin Shaye reprises her role as Elise, the psychic from the first two films. I guess you could say the series revolves around her story and this film cements that idea, fleshing her out further with her own little back-story and longer screen time. Shay, of course, is excellent in the role.

Stefanie Scott plays Quinn Brenner, and does an effective job selling the role. Her character arc isn't as focused or engaging as the Lambert's but Scott brings a vulnerability to the role that got me on board.

Leigh Whannell returns to write the story, this time also serving as the feature's director. He does a solid job, delivering fresh jump scares and unsettling moments and his control over the horror and emotional beats does not feel pedestrian or dull.

You'd think that this film, being the third in the series, runs the risk of being stale but that's not entirely the case. Whannell's film lacks the disquieting dread and magic that Wan captured in the original but with the new location and new demonic entity, there's a level of unpredictability here that's welcomed. More than that, the writing here shows surprising depth to the characters and their stories that I appreciated – I am sure fans will dig it too.

New poster and details release for 'American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire'

American Backwoodsby Seth Metoyer

Some new details have been unveiled from the team behind the gory horror film American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire, including a new poster (see below).

From The Press Release
In honor of cast member Dayo Okeniyi's appearance in the newest installment of the Terminator franchise, the team behind American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire has released a new poster AND three new exclusive teaser clips featuring their lead actor.

In addition to his role in Terminator: Genisys, Okeniyi has typically played supporting characters in Hollywood films like The Hunger Games and Runner Runner - but his work in American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire represents his first as a leading man. Despite being his only foray into the horror genre to date, his performance as "Bro" - the reluctant hero amidst an ensemble of creeps, cretins and creatures - has been widely lauded and even garnered him a nomination for "Best Actor" at the Shockfest Film Festival.

Since its release in June, American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire - which was awarded "Goriest Scene of the Year" by Rue Morgue Magazine - has been recognized as a stand-out amongst this year's crop of indie slashers and has been racking up recommendations by online horror critics. In addition to the newly released exclusive teaser clips, their official full-length trailer is linked below. Also, three previously released teaser clips are viewable on their youtube channel.

Pearry Teo's 'Pale Horse' in post production; up next 'Amityville Nightmares'

Amityville Nightmaresby Seth Metoyer

Director Pearry Teo (Curse of Sleeping Beauty, Dracula: The Dark Prince, Necromentia) has finished directing the gothic horror feature Pale Horse and is getting ready to helm his next feature Amityville Nightmares.

Check out the the Pale Horse trailer below the official details about Amityville Nightmares (and teaser poster).

From The Press Release
Coming off the success of Pale Horse, producer Kim Durham, and production partners, Wayne and Maria Durham have acquired the rights to bestselling author Amy Miles new book 'Visitation: An Amityville Nightmare Novel, along with the rights to Award winning horror director, Pearry Teo's (Curse of Sleeping Beauty, Dracula) screenplay by the same title. Teo has been attached to direct the picture which is currently in pre-production.

The novel is inspired by the Amityville Horror series and will focus on theories and real life accounts of the original DeFeo murders.

“At this point, it is an honor to have a peak at Amy’s manuscript before it is published, so getting in early into the game proves to be a huge advantage for us” says Teo. “And it’s always a pleasure to work with the Durham team as we really founded a synergy together with Pale Horse".

Amy Miles added, "I have always been fascinated with paranormal activity, evil spirits crossing over into our realm and wondering what the reasons are for these unexplained events. After researching various tales I began to write VISITATION, an Amityville Nightmare novel, inspired by true events. This novel blends fear of reality with a very real fear of what could be. I’m thrilled to partner with Pearry Teo to bring the story to life.”

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1987) review

Reviewed by Kevin Scott, MoreHorror.com

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1987)
Written by: Donald G. Jackson, Randall Frakes
Directed by: Donald G. Jackson
Cast: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (Sam Hell), Sandahl Bergman (Spangle), William Smith (Captain Devlin), Cec Verrell (Centinella), Kristi Somers (Arabella), Rory Calhoun (Looney Tunes), Cliff Bemis (Leroy).

I don’t really know what to make of the name “Hell Comes to Frogtown”. I think it has served a dual purpose in being clever, and keeping me from seeing this film. The play on words is the clever part. Our hero’s name is Sam Hell, and guess what-he’s headed to Frogtown. Then again, it would be quite logical to assume that this could be a low budget Jim Henson film wannabe, and I guess it is. However, after I watched it, I’ve come to realize that it’s way more subversive than that. The two lead actors are unlikely choices for a film like this, and possibly the main draw for genre fans to give it a chance.

Roddy Piper was a wrestling superstar at this point and was trying to become a bona fide film star way before Dwayne Johnson tried it. His most high profile project “John Carpenter’s They Live” came out just a few months after this in 1988. His street cred as a wrestler could have helped in a theatrical release, and after “They Live”, maybe this little film would get a boost in home video circulation. This was a New World film, and although not helmed by the legendary Roger Corman at this point, it was a machine that churned out home video solid gold in the mid to late 1980’s. The other draw was the female lead. Sandahl Bergman was already a sword and sandal icon from her performance in “Conan the Barbarian”, and the go to actress for the tough/sexy factor.

Trailer for 'Miss You Already' releases

Mem Ferda and Drew BarrymoreMem Ferda is widely known for his roles as villains and crooks (Gunned Down, Ill Manors and The Devil's Double) and as a producer of indie horror films (Truth Or Dare, MANIA, Desolation). Now Ferda is giving a go as a compassionate character in the upcoming British-American Rom-Com Miss You Already.

'Miss You Already', a British-American romantic comedy set for release later in the year, shows London based actor Mem Ferda’s soft side as he plays Ahmet, a friendly taxi driver. Starring Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette and Dominic Cooper, Ferda makes an appearance alongside some of Hollywood’s greatest actors and can be seen in the brand new trailer for the movie.

Directed by the woman behind the highly successful Twilight films, Catherine Hardwicke, Miss you Already portrays the relationship between Jess and Milly, two childhood best friends. Both happily married, their lives are transformed when one becomes pregnant and the other becomes seriously ill. Mem Ferda says, “I’m really looking forward for Miss You Already to be released in September and I’m excited for the film’s reception as it’s a fabulous story with a great cast. Working with two amazing actresses, Drew and Toni, was a dream come true and a remarkable experience. I think this film will touch a lot of people, and it was great to be involved in a classic romantic comedy. This is a fresh role for me, my fans are used to seeing me portray gangsters and baddies – so I hope they like watching Ahmed as much as I enjoyed playing him.”

Twenty Questions with Kristin West

MANIACBy Mike Thomas

Today we have the honor to speak with a very versatile performer. Fearless, she is adept in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes. She’s done shocking films, like CIRCUS of the DEAD, as well as cerebral projects like her Award-Winning PHOENIX SONG. We are honored to talk to Kristin West.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.

MH: You have such an innocent face. How did you get connected with horror?
Kristin: Many of my opportunities have been in horror and as my mother always says, “Walk through the open door.” As to having an “innocent face,” I’ve been told that before and it always makes me chuckle. I’ve been called angel-faced, baby-faced, and cherubic—but then some find my eyes a bit sinister. I like playing with that.

MH: What drew you to horror?
Kristin: I have always had a fascination with ghosts and vampires since I was little, so acting in horror genre films seems to bring up a sort of rediscovered childhood for me. I like doing the scaring, though. Even my earlier work had horror elements, like a music video I did for Spindrift, which was homage to Ed Woods.

MH: Do you prefer horror that’s more cerebral, or more in-your-face?
Kristin: I think all horrors start in the mind. I like to see the motivation and the unmet needs of the characters that lead to the carnage. Everyone has his or her story.

Mem Ferda unveils Dan Pringle’s vigilante thriller 'K-SHOP'

K-ShopActor/Producer Mem Ferda introduces Dan Pringle’s vigilante thriller K-SHOP to a global audience. A gritty Sweeney Todd - inspired thriller, K - SHOP is the story of a British kebab shop plagued by binge drinking culture.

After his father is killed in an altercation with drunken thugs, the film’s protagonist Salah (Ziad Abaza) finds himself struggling with the frenzied nightlife that descends upon the family kebab shop night after night. The situation reaches boiling point one night when a fight with an angry customer ends in grizzly circumstance. Salah is forced to dispose of the customer’s dead body and looks to the one place he knows best…the kebabs. As Salah watches his gullible customers devour the new flesh kebabs, he eyes the opportunity to seek revenge on the world. The dark descent into vigilantism begins as he sets about killing others he deems punishable.

Actor / Producer Mem Ferda comments "When my producing partner Adam J Merrifield approached me to co-produce with him on this Sweeney Todd inspired thriller, I was completely bowled over after reading the script penned by Dan Pringle. I can only describe it as an intoxicating, super -slaughter, sweeney todd-esque ride that cleverly has a stab at British binge drinking". Ferda went on to say, "Its high time a socially relevant film like this was made, highlighting the significant problems of drink culture that is prevalent amongst our ‘teen’ society today. Albeit intelligently embodied in a wonderfully entertaining horror thriller. Dan Pringle clearly has the stamp of greatness, he is one of the most exciting of new British directors I have come to know."

Starring: Ziad Abaza, Scot Williams, Darren Morfitt, Reece Noi, and Kristin Atherton.
Producers: Mem Ferda and Adam J Merrifield
Written & Directed by: Dan Pringle


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