Marcus Dunstan

Shia LaBeouf in Battle of Shaker Heights

I wonder if any of you are too young to remember Project Greenlight. The competition reality show was a big deal when it began back in 2001 on HBO, the brainchild of pals Ben Affleck and Matt Damon with producer Chris Moore, then known best for American Pie. And Harvey Weinstein was involved through Miramax, which had a stake all the way through distributing whatever movie was made out of the winning script. Project Greenlight would begin each season with the screenplay contest, which fed into a directors contest, which fed into a making-of docu-series where we watched the champion filmmaker complete his feature. After three seasons of what could better be called Project Greenhorn, it seemed as though those features weren’t worth the effort. Actually, most viewers knew after the unsuccessful release of the first, Stolen Summer, that it this idea didn’t work. But now Affleck and Damon, sans Moore, are bringing it back. They think it was actually ahead of its time and will work better in the post-YouTube era. “A whole new generation of filmmakers has grown up sharing everything, and the next big director could be just an upload away,” Affleck is quoted as saying about the reasoning for the resurrection. Damon added that the first incarnation was actually a success, proudly noting that “careers have been launched and sustained as a direct result of this contest.” He is right, as the show’s past winners, who include Stolen Summer writer/director Pete Jones, season two combination of screenwriter Erica Beeney and directors […]

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Big Toe

In a move that melds a child’s first experience reading ghost stories under the covers with a slightly older child’s first time seeing a man cut off his foot with a rusty blade, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is getting the adaptation treatment from Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the writers of several entries in the Saw franchise. The classic Alvin Schwartz book, first published in 1981, is a collection of spooky tales from folklore and urban legends that you’re probably most familiar with in their butchered form after hearing them told at sleepovers by breathless 11 year-olds behind flashlights. Think campfire stories like “The Hook,” where a guy and a gal are making out on Lover’s Lane, only to hear on the radio that a deranged murderer with a hook hand has escaped from the insane asylum. When they drive home, the boyfriend finds a bloody hook hanging from the passenger side door…he had been watching and waiting to kill them the whole time. The popular book  (which has obviously been banned at some points by parents who are clearly just scared of the Hook Man) spawned two sequels, all featuring the macabre and intricate illustrations of Stephen Gammell. Because really, if reading about horrifying beasts and axe murderers wasn’t enough to make little ones sleep with the lights on, graphic in-detail drawings of those monsters that are definitely coming to murder them truly seals the deal.

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Editor’s note: This review originally ran as part of our Fantastic Fest 2012 coverage, and since The Collection hits theaters this week, we felt obliged to scrape off the dried blood and post it back up. In 2009, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton gave us The Collector, which, in addition to being a dark and bloody enjoyable horror gem, was possibly the greatest Home Alone sequel ever conceived. Now, in keeping with grand horror tradition, a franchise blooms. The Collection continues the exploits of our hoarding serial killer and centers largely on his prized acquisition from the first film. When Arkin (Josh Stewart) is finally able to escape the clutches of The Collector, it is at the expense of the maniac claiming the lovely Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) as his new treasure. A team of mercenaries, hired by Elena’s father (played by “Shooter McGavin” himself, Christopher McDonald), forces Arkin to lead them to the killer’s lair on an ill-advised rescue mission. Lots of people die. The incredible thing about The Collection is that, even though this is only part two, the franchise seems far more mature. The Collection feels like part six of a series, and we’ve somehow missed three through five. This is the zombie Jason, the dream child…the critters in space. It takes everything we enjoyed about the first film and twists the dials past eleven until the knob snaps off. Our boogeyman has, between films, earned a formidable mythos and seems well established within horror canon by his […]

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Although different in style and tone, celebrating Halloween and Suspiria together is an obviously great idea after speaking with Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, two horror writers who have created wicked traps for the Saw franchise, played lifeguard for Piranha 3DD and continue the terror of their own masked killer with the forthcoming The Collection. From grisly realism to stylized violence, we discuss how they both prove horror films can be beautiful and revel in Melton’s still-fierce fear of the plants outside his window. Plus, we check in with Bloody Good Horror co-host Casey Criswell to get his take on the new Evil Dead (2013) trailer. Download Episode #154

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The Collection (2012) Movie

It’s a rarity to see an advertisement for a sequel not mention that it’s a sequel. After all, you want the name recognition and the carry-over audience, right? The major movie studios are even basing their existence on that sales pitch. However, the trailer for The Collection wants to use a different kind of name recognition: the coattails of the Saw franchise. Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton took on screenwriting duties for the later half of that franchise’s life, and Dunstan made The Collector his directorial debut. It featured a stream-lined concept, a red steamer trunk, and a thief who breaks into a house on the same night a serial killer has gone on the hunt for its inhabitants. Having moved beyond a house in the middle of nowhere, the gimp-masked murderer has set his sights on a rave in the middle of nowhere. You know the rules: sequels mean higher stakes and bigger kills. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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It’s being reported by Bloody Disgusting that filming is scheduled to begin for the sequel to 2010’s Piranha 3D sometime at the end of May. John Gulager will direct, and it will see him reteaming with Feast writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan. The film’s title insinuates that there will be an increased focus on 3D bosoms for the sequel, but in addition to that, some other plot details have become known as well. This time the story will detail the prehistoric piranha’s voyage through a town’s plumbing system and into their local water park named ‘Wilderness Waters’. Seeing as the first one was set at a spring break hot spot and this one is set at a public water park, I don’t see where they’re going to get the chance to focus as much on T&A, but my heart definitely goes out to them as they give it the old college try. The film’s release date is currently set as November 23rd.

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It’s time to put an end to it. Since David Edelstein’s 2006 article about Hostel, the phrase “Torture Porn” has been bloated short hand for any movie that features torture or excessive gore. Beyond being a misuse of the term, the problem with its spreading like an infection in an open wound caused by a crowbar is two-fold. One, it’s been tossed around so liberally that it barely has any meaning anymore. Two, when it does have meaning, it’s used as a loaded gun to take down a certain brand of film that deserves more thoughtful criticism.

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It’s become an annual tradition for me to review a Saw film, and the ritual has resided somewhere between the sheer joy of bloodlust and the agony of feeling like the theater seat I was in came with leather straps and a reverse bear trap. Fortunately, I began with Saw V – the absolute worst film in the series – so the road was uphill from there toward the sweet freedom of better quality. Next came Saw VI, an uptick in the series and a return to the thoughtfulness that made the original idea so fresh and complex. Now, just like my responsibility as sole Saw reviewer for this site has been somewhere in the middle of pleasure and pain, Saw 3D (which was magically shown in 2D) also lives somewhere in between quality and crap.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, former Blockbuster employee and current Saw 3D co-writer Marcus Dunstan settles in for a long interview about his career, the new popularity of horror, and what traps he has in store for fans in the future. All of it is gracefully set to the music of Charlie Clouser’s score. Plus, we have time to review Paranormal Activity 2 despite never having seen the original. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Marcus Dunstan bounded onto the scene because of Project Greenlight, but he’s since made a bloody mess of his career by writing for the Saw franchise with writing partner Patrick Melton and sitting in the booby-trapped director’s seat for The Collector. FSR and Reject Radio will get him for one night only, and we’ll be asking the questions that really matter. Examples of these questions can be found at your local library. His appearance should be a great opportunity for those listening live on Sunday October 24th (10pm EST/9pm CST/5am Khartoum) to get in some questions about screenwriting, horror and the upcoming Saw 3D. Plus, 10 lucky winners will be kidnapped by a man in a pig mask, tied to a rusty metal futon frame, and forced to watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua so they can appreciate their lives more. Be there, be square or listen later during that hour-long commute you thought wouldn’t be so bad when you took the job.

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When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. Synopsis: Professional thief Arkin finds himself mixed up in a deadly game when he inadvertently targets the same house as a serial killer with a penchant for elaborate traps and slow deaths. Unfortunately for the safe cracker, he’s not quite as heartless as he’d prefer and soon finds himself trying to help those already ensnared. Killer Scene: The movie takes a slow burn approach, so many of the best scenes are compiled in the latter half and the flick is solid pretty much from then on. For my money, I’d probably say my favorite sequence (slightly longer than a scene) involves the young lady of the house and her boyfriend who are being watched by our killer during some intimate moments before a nail gun and a dozen bear traps join the soirée.

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The Coroner

Should you try to collect The Collector or leave him gathering dust on the shelf?

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Top5Dunstan

Six years ago, Marcus Dunstan was working at Blockbuster Home Video. Within the past four years, he and writing partner Patrick Melton have become major go-to’s in the horror world. On Friday, his directorial debut opened on 1,325 screens. Today, he shares his Top 5 Films with The Rejects. And now, in his own words…

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TheCollectorHeader

The little horror film that could hits theaters today, and if the trailer didn’t sell you on it or if you’re wary of any horror that comes out, here are a few solid reasons why you should give The Collector the time of day.

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FSR

Kevin Carr breaks down the week’s releases, looking at Funny People, Aliens in the Attic, and The Collector.

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sawdiscussion

This Fall, we’re getting yet another installment of the Saw franchise. Now, Tobin Bell is hinting that we may be seeing them as far into the future as 2012.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
B+


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