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Category Archives: interview

Review of Renegade: Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography

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I really enjoy reading graphic novels, but when Biff Bam Pop’s fearless leader asked me if I wanted to review a graphic novel about Martin Luther that was timed for the 500th anniversary of Protestant Reformation, I was at first hesitant, but then my curiosity took over. Why did Martin Luther risk his life to go against Papal edicts? Meet me after the jump for my review of Plough Publishing‘s presentation of Renegade: Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography followed by an interview with Dacia Palmerino and Andrea Grosso Ciponte. Read the rest of this entry

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Exclusive: Andy Burns talks to Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews of ‘The Houses October Built 2’

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Sometimes movies just come around and hit you in that sweet spot – that was the case with The Houses October Built and its sequel. To be honest, the first one, released back in 2014, absolutely slipped past me, but when I received an email about the sequel and whether I’d be interested in talking to any of the principles involved, and I went back and watched the original.

I loved it. The Houses October Built is a found footage/documentary style story about a group of friends looking for the most extreme haunt in America (haunts is the vernacular for haunted house attractions). Legendary among fans is The Blue Skeleton, which as the film shares, is supposed to be the most extreme of the extreme. Which means, of course, that our leads wind up facing off against what The Blue Skeleton has to offer.

The Houses October Built 2 picks up immediately following the first film, and serves as a chapter two rather than a sequel or follow-up. Both films give audiences a look into what goes into making a great haunt, as the ones depicting are the real deal. They also feature believeable performances from everyone involved, and make a strong case for the ongoing use of found footage in horror films, especially when its done right.

On that note, here is my email interview with series director/co-writer/actor Bobby Roe and co-writer/actor Zack Andrews. Be warned – there are spoilers contained for the first film here:

Andy Burns: Congrats on a great new franchise. I love what you guys have created with The Houses October Built. How did you two come up with the concept?

Zack Andrews:  Thank you very much.  We wanted to take a setting that we loved, Halloween haunted houses, and make a film around them that felt unique and not just the same old thing that has run the genre stale.  We knew we had an audience: over 35 million people a year go to these attractions and Americans spend over 8 billion dollars on Halloween every year.  So it was about finding a narrative that would allow us to shoot on real sets using real scare actors in order to take the audience on a genuine Halloween adventure.

Andy Burns: For those of that don’t know (including me), how did you two meet in the first place?

Bobby Roe: AP English. We grew up in the same town playing basketball and both loved movies. We’ve known each other for 25 years.  And actually, in high school in October, we used to love going to a horror movie and then hitting up one of our local haunted houses.

Andy Burns: I think we all know that at this time in the horror genre, found footage/documentary style films are really hit and miss. I’m happy to say you nailed the genre in my mind. Did you have any concerns with the first film wading into those waters? Read the rest of this entry

#FXC17 Exclusive Interview: John Bolton On Horror, His Art & His Graphic Novel: Shame

Artist John Bolton has had a long and storied career in comic books and sequential art. He made the jump from working in English magazines such as Warrior, to burgeoning American periodicals like Epic Illustrated, in the early 1980’s. He’s been working in and around the mainstream comic book industry ever since, as comfortable drawing superheroes as much as he is painting fairies, vampires and demons.

Drawn to the genres of fantasy and horror as both an illustrator and painter, Bolton has worked alongside some of the greatest writing names the comic book industry has known, including Chris Claremont on Marada The She Wolf and Black Dragon, both for publisher Epic Comics. With Neil Gaiman in The Books of Magic for DC Comics, he created the look of the reluctant boy-wizard, Timothy Hunter, based on his eldest son. His acclaimed graphic novel series, Shame, alongside writer Lovern Kindzierski, is where Bolton’s efforts most currently dwell, with the first three acts being recently complied into a single hardcover volume.

There’s a sense of wonder, amazement, power, and sexuality inherent in Bolton’s work, combined alongside an overt menace that makes a viewer full of trepidation. Even when his sense of horror is not manifest, nothing is ever as it seems in Bolton’s completed visual offerings.

On the eve of an infrequent visit to Toronto via the 2017 edition of Fan Expo Canada, JP Fallavollita caught up with John Bolton in an exclusive interview via email, and asked him about his process, his female-driven subject matter, and his recent work on Shame.

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Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly looks back on his debut film

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DONNIE DARKO is, in many ways, the definition of a cult movie made good. The film was first released right around the time of September 11th, 2001, and barely found an audience in theatres. Drew Barrymore helped bring the story of the disturbed Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), whose new friend is a large bunny named Frank and who is deeply interested in the concept of wormholes and time travel, to life, but at the time the film went unfairly unseen. The following year, DONNIE DARKO would find its audience on DVD, one that became so devoted that director Richard Kelly was able to go back and create a director’s cut of the film, which screened in 2004 and made efforts to be a little more literal and less obscure in its storytelling. Depending on your opinion, that version is either a masterpiece or a bit too on the nose with its explanations.

This spring has seen both version of DONNIE DARKO remastered and released in a new Blu-ray set from Arrow Video, along with screenings of the film across the world. We had the chance to talk to director Kelly about the movie’s roots, his collaboration with his lead actor, and much more, .

Andy Burns: DONNIE DARKO is such a unique film. Where did it come from?

Richard Kelly: I like to say that it came from 23 years of life. It was my first screenplay, I’d been through a rigorous education at USC and I had a film degree. I was looking to write a screenplay and this is what emerged.

Andy Burns: The film deals with universal fears – the idea of death and dying alone, time passing and what we can do with our time.  How much of you is in that story? Were those concerns of yours?

Richard Kelly: Well, there’s a significant amount of me, my adolescence in the film. They’re all personal stories. I don’t really know how to tell a story that isn’t personal. At least not yet. There’s plenty of that in the DNA of the story.  My high school English teacher who taught us Watership Down, he said to us, “Write what you know.” Everybody should be writing something that’s emotionally true and that’s authentic. Otherwise, you risk writing into cynicism or into the market place, and people can see that. Emotional authenticity is what I’m aiming at.

Andy Burns:  How much of the character of Donnie Darko was on the page versus how much was collaboration with Jake Gyllenhaal?
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Interview with War Machine’s Topher Grace

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Biff Bam Pop! Founder and Contributing Writer Andy Burns, and other interviewers, had a chance recently to chat with actor Topher Grace, who folks might remember from That ’70s Show and as Venom in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, and now stars in Netflix’sWar Machine with Brad Pitt. Come join us for this fascinating discussion after the jump.

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Gilbert Reviews Edwin Herbert’s Historical Mystery: ‘Mythos Christos’

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I was offered a chance to read and review a novel written by Edwin Herbert. The write-up that his publicist sent was quite intriguing and something that was definitely up my alley: Vatican conspiracies, history, mystery, and adventure. Edwin Herbert is president of his local free thought society and has been a regular op-ed newspaper columnist on topics concerning science, skepticism, and the mythical roots of various religions. Mythos Christos is his debut novel. Meet me after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Zhen Lyu’s Intruders

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I love working for Biff Bam Pop because not only do I get to interview some really cool people, I also get to review films and television series. This time, our fearless leader, Andy Burns, asked me to review Zhen Lyu’s science fiction book, Intruders. It was an interesting read, but would the book make a great gift idea? Pull up that easy chair and meet me after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Gilbert Speaks… with Actor Jeff Teravainen of “Dark Matter”

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I can’t say this enough! I love working for Biff Bam Pop! Not only do I get to review some awesome television shows, but I get to interview the actors who star in them. When I was offered the chance to interview Jeff Teravainen, who plays Lieutenant Anders on Syfy’s space opera, Dark Matter, I jumped at the chance.

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Andy Burns Interviews Actress Carolina Bartczak of X-Men: Apocalypse

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Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with Canadian actress Carolina Bartczak, known for her work in Smurfs 2 and Brick Mansions.  In X-Men: Apocalypse, opening this week in North America, Carolina plays the small, yet pivotal role of Magda, Magneto’s (Michael Fassbender) wife.  Meet me after the jump for the interview.

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Against the Wild 2: Survive the Serengeti, with Producer/Director Richard Boddington

 

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I was asked to view a film called Against the Wild 2: Survive the Serengeti which was written, produced and directed by Richard Boddington. The review of the film will be followed by an interview with Boddington. What if your backyard was the Serengeti and your children were lost? Read the rest of this entry

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