Panic Attack

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South American director Fede Alvarez isn’t exactly a household name, but if his career keeps moving in the same direction that it has been lately, it might only be a matter of time before that becomes the case. The first step on his journey was the production of a short film about giant robots called Panic Attack, which was so impressively staged despite the fact that it didn’t have big financial backing, it got spread all over the Internet and became a viral sensation. The success was enough for Alvarez to have Hollywood come calling, but what they presented him with could have been seen as more of a challenge than it was an opportunity. Sam Raimi tasked him with the lofty job of stepping into his own giant shoes and directing the Evil Dead remake, which was a project that—given its status as the king of the cult classics—was essentially predestined to get crapped on by horror fans all over the world. Alvarez’s take on the material was so fun that it was actually able to earn a surprising amount of praise though, even from a curmudgeonly audience. Given the success he’s seen so far, the next step on his path could be the crucial one that cements him as having a continued career as a director of studio films, so what’s it going to be?

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Depending on where you look, Pacific Rim is either in 2nd or 3rd place at the box office this weekend. But it should make enough money to warrant a sequel, especially with international business. And those of us who are into this new original property from Guillermo del Toro are really, really into it. There’s certainly franchise potential, what with its whole background mythology (and back story, which you can find in graphic novel form). Plus it’s going to at least gross more than del Toro’s first Hellboy film, and that spawned a part II. There’s also the fact that Legendary Pictures began moving ahead on developing Pacific Rim 2 way back in December, hiring the first film’s screenwriter, Travis Beacham, to start penning another installment. In the months since, he and del Toro have been sharing some bare bits and pieces and possible ideas for what happens next. The details are thin but these teases about the direction part 2 would go in allow for some educated guessing and speculation as to what we’d see as far as more monster and robot battles. Below I highlight some of what’s been officially said, some of what’s been drawn from those reports and some of what we’re simply hoping for with Pacific Rim 2. If you haven’t yet seen Pacific Rim, there are spoilers to be found ahead. So get off the computer, go see it and then come back to read further.

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mr balls

Short Starts presents a weekly short film from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Director Fede Alvarez, who made the Evil Dead remake out this Friday, broke out with a short film that went viral. You’ve probably seen that one, the giant robot invasion pic Ataque de Panico! (Panic Attack!) — watch here if not. Before that, though, he and his Evil Dead writing partner, Rodo Sayagues, made a few other movies including one that you can also watch online. And it’s a lot more akin to what we can probably expect from his Hollywood horror debut. There’s blood, boobs, semen, guns, machetes and screams of pleasure and of pain. It’s called El Cojonudo: La Nunca Jamas Contada Historia De — loosely translated on screen as The Never Ever Told Story of Mr. Balls.

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Why Watch? If this column is often about finding noteworthy amateur talent, this quick hit to the temples from John Keefer definitely fits the bill. In it, a gun for hire grows a conscience at the wrong time, but it’s the least of his problems since he can’t see straight through the blinding pain and strange visions. Keefer shows some serious skill for throwing punches and delivering us into the confused mind of the killer. It would be excellent to see what he could do with a real effects budget. What will it cost you? Only 3 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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It’s hard not to be excited for the eventual release of Aztec Warrior, seeing as it’s set to combine the skills of Black Dynamite’s delightful director Scott Sanders and character acting’s patron saint Luis Guzman for a ridiculous tale of warring Mexican professional wrestlers. But, due to some concept art for the film that Twitch posted today, suddenly everyone’s feelings about the film might be a lot more confused. Sure, this poster titled ‘Aztec Warrior vs. The Office Robot’ looks pretty dang awesome, but what the heck are we actually looking at? Yep, you guessed it, that’s an artist’s rendering of Luis Guzman wearing a suit and a lucha libre mask while facing off with Robocop’s haywire robot ED-209. The question that any sane person must be asking after seeing this image is, “What exactly does a giant robot have to do with a movie about warring professional wrestlers?” Well, for one thing it’s not appropriate to ask a sane question about what is clearly going to be an insane project, and, for another, the image starts to make a lot more sense if you’ve followed the film careers of Mexican wrestling legends like Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras, whose movies Sanders cites as being inspirations for what he’s doing with Aztec Warrior.

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Boiling Point

If you tried, you could probably find a bigger Evil Dead fan than me. It might take a little bit, but you could. I mean, I’ve got my three T-Shirts, my Necronomicon copies of the movies on DVD in addition to several other versions, including Blu-ray transfers, I’ve got my toys, books, comics, and video games too. So while I’ll never claim to be the biggest Evil Dead fan, I can say I’m a pretty big one. For years I’ve waited on a continuation to the story. I remember my first experiencing watching the original movie at a sleepover. It was Steve’s house, but he fell asleep early after playing too much Command & Conquer. Only me and Matt were awake and he, no joke, got a boner from the tree rape scene. There was always something off about Matt. But it wasn’t long after that I found the second. I remember Army of Darkness in theaters. Everything Bruce Campbell wrote or said about the franchise, I ate up. Waiting to hear about Evil Dead 4. When talk turned to a remake instead of a continuation, I was upset but hopeful. Maybe Campbell would be in it. Maybe they would cast Seann William Scott and that wouldn’t be all that bad, would it? Now we have firm news that the Evil Dead reboot is moving forward – time to praise the lord? Hardly. What we know sucks and here’s why.

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Late last night a lot of questions got raised about a new Evil Dead movie. There were reports that a new one was going into production, conflicting reports that Sam Raimi was just casting for his upcoming Oz: The Great and Powerful, and then confirmation from Bruce Campbell that a remake was ready to happen. This morning Bloody Disgusting was able to clear things up quite a bit by reporting that Raimi does indeed have a “quasi-remake” of The Evil Dead gearing up for production, but that he doesn’t intend on directing it himself. Instead the job is going to newcomer Fede Alvarez. Despite the fact that Bruce Campbell had the inside scoop on the project, there isn’t any word if he will have a role in the film or if they will be looking to cast all new actors. Given Campbell’s close relationship with Raimi, I don’t think that it’s a given that just because he knows about the project he will be in any significant way involved. That said, I think we can all agree that he better be. I would opine that a large reason Raimi’s first three films in this universe work is the screen presence of Campbell. Without him, you don’t have Ash, you just have some horror movie starring a dude.

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David Fincher gets obsessed about things, and he’s clearly never read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide” because panicking seems to be something he can’t take his mind off of. The most recent incarnation of this passion comes in optioning Jason Starr’s thriller novel “Panic Attack” for a possible forthcoming project under his Panic Pictures banner. According to Vulture, Fincher has already hired Ted Griffin (Ocean’s Eleven, Matchstick Men) to write the adaptation. This will mark a move even further away from his Benjamin Button phase and back toward the earlier point in his career where people threatening to kill other people was the main focus. In other words, Fincher is looking to give audiences a reason to panic again. Plus, this will be a departure of sorts for Griffin who has written rom-com fare like Killers and Rumor Has It… in recent years. The story focuses on a psychologist named Adam Bloom who shoots a burglar who’s broken into his home. Instead of praise for protecting his wife and child, Bloom is made into a monster by the media because he just so happened to empty an entire clip into the would-be thief. To complicate the emotional, public hell – the burglar’s partner has a mind for revenge. It sounds perfect and perfectly Fincher-esque. If Kevin Spacey gets involved, chills will already start climbing up the back of my spine.

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This one goes out to those of you who are clamoring for a sequel to this year’s sci-fi surprise District 9.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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