Opening in Toronto for a limited engagement this Friday before its arrival on VOD Tuesday, June 13th, Awakening the Zodiac tells the story of Mick (West) and Zoe (Bibb), a young destitute couple hoping to change their fortune when they partner with paranoid, gun-toting, Gulf War veteran, Harvey (Craven) on a deserted storage locker. The locker’s contents appear to be worthless until Harvey makes a discovery deep inside a piece of furniture: an old 8mm film reel. Curious, they load it into a projector and watch something that will change their lives forever. The forty-year-old footage depicts two gruesome murders taken by the killer himself. Harvey has a strange feeling and realizes two things: Those were murders of the savage Zodiac Killer, the most elusive serial killer in history, and there is a reward of $100,000 for any information leading to his capture. Zodiac is out there, and he’s still killing. Determined to uncover the secrets of the films, Mick, Zoe and Harvey begin their search for the Zodiac.
I had the chance to talk to director Jonathan Wright about Awakening The Zodiac, and the enduring legacy of one of thr 20th centuries most notorious serial killers.
Andy Burns: Jonathan, congrats on Awakening the Zodiac – I really enjoyed the film. What inspired your interest in the Zodiac and making this film?
Jonathan Wright: The thriller is my favourite genre of films. The idea of a person going around murdering random people and taunting the police is absolutely terrifying. The fact that the Zodiac was never caught, and could still be out there sends chills down my spine.
AB: Could you give us a little insight into your creative process – how did you come up with the story, what sort of research went into crafting the screenplay?
JW: When Michael Baker came to me asking to direct this movie, I literally jumped at the chance. We wanted to craft characters and a scenario that we’ve never seen before. The film is procedural, but we didn’t want to make a detective movie. Early research revealed that the San Francisco Police Department still have a $100,000 reward for evidence leading to the arrest of the Zodiac killer. I spent countless hours going through FBI documents and witness accounts which spawned numerous theories about who the killer was and how he operated. I also delved deep into code breaking. The infamous cipher known as the 314 cipher has never been broken and supposedly includes the Zodiac’s true identity.
AB: What was it about Shane West and Leslie Bibb that made them the right choices for Mick and Zoe, respectively? Read the rest of this entry
This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Batman #24, Secret Empire #3, Secret Empire Uprising #1, Predator: Hunters #2, Slayer: Repentless #3, Grimm Tales of Terror #6, and the first Infinite Seven trade collection… be warned, there may be spoilers…
Here in Toronto, Canada, the sun is shining and the clock excitedly ticks down to quitting time when many of us make our weekly pilgrimage to the local comic book shop to grab our fill of the world’s best pop culture, visual storytelling, medium.
While some might be excited about today’s release of the ninth – and concluding chapter of DKIII (finally!), others might be looking for a new read. One that won’t be hampered by regular delays (hopefully!) but is also backed up by a proven artistic team.
And you know that we here at Biff Bam Pop! like our horror.
We like it psychological, and dreadful, and full of monsters, and covens, and secrets, and nasty things that play in the dark.
It just so happens that’s what we get today with the release of the first issue of…The Unsound.
How’s that for inspiring dread?!?
There was a time when The Ring was the scariest film franchise going.
Based on the Japanese novel Ringu, written by Kôji Suzuki and its own cinematic adaptation by Hideo Nakata, the 2002 film introduced North American audiences to the character of Samara and a director named Gore Verbiniski, who would go on to spearhead the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise for Disney. The film was a box office success and scared the pants of audiences, so of course there was a sequel. The Ring Two didn’t make as much money as the first, even with Japanese director Najata at the helm, and the franchise was put on ice.
Until this year, and the third entry in the series, Rings. Which didn’t do very well at the box office and which critics hated.
This week’s episode of Doctor Who is written by Mike Bartlett, one of the UK’s hottest telewriters and playwrights, and with a chance to take a shot at his favorite TV show, he wants to shine. Bartlett determines to out-scare the traditional haunted house story, with a house that eats people… Meet me after the time jump for my thoughts on “Knock Knock.”
It seems unbelievable that a masterpiece like Peeping Tom seriously derailed Michael Powell’s career, but that is just what happened. Peeping Tom was a departure for the director, known for his collaborations with Emeric Pressburger (Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes) over the course of three decades. Thankfully, thanks to critics like Raymond Durgnant and filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, there was a backlash to the backlash, and Peeping Tom is now considered not only a classic of British cinema, but also of the often-derided slasher subgenre in horror.
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Here on planet earth, it’s a different story! Screams of fright, horror and joy abound when we’re talking about the Alien film franchise. You know, the one made famous by directors Ridley Scott and James Cameron: Alien in 1979 and Aliens in 1986. They were the first R-rated films that an under-age me needed to see. Well, those two and Canadian classic, Porky’s.
Those two highlight films have spun-off a flurry of pop culture gold that includes five other Alien-centered films of varying quality (two of which enthusiastically co-star the sci-fi classic Predator creature) with a new and eagerly-anticipated film in the horror franchise only a month away from release.
There’s even a day of the year dedicated to the Alien franchise, an unofficial holiday for fans around this planet: #AlienDay is today, April 26! Tweet out those chest-busters!
With pop culture supremacy, of course, come loads of comic books. Appropriately, then, today sees the release of the first issue of a new mini-series…Aliens: Dead Orbit #1, the perfect accompaniment to a day dedicated to everyone’s favourite xenomorph!
Two years next month, in fact.
That’s when the first issue of Providence, the first of twelve bi-monthly issues, dropped into the pulpy hands of eagerly anticipating readers who love horror-themed graphic fiction. May of 2015.
But Providence is much more than just horror. It’s a fascinating take on American outsider culture during the early part of the twentieth century, on the eve of the war to end all wars, written and illustrated by two of the comic book industry’s greatest.
Finally, the series comes to a head: Providence #12.
And it is both the end of days and the beginning of a new, stranger, world!
One of the best things about the horror streaming service Shudder is the depth and breadth of its catalogue. It features not only low-budget films that have been overlooked, but also classics of the international horror canon.
Takashi Miike is an incredibly prolific director, having helmed more than 90 films since he began his career in 1991. One of his most well-known movies is 1999’s Audition. As a newcomer to Miike’s filmography, I felt it was time for me to finally tackle a film that often appears on lists of the greatest horror films ever made.
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If you’re a fan of horror films, this is a big weekend, as one of the most anticipated genre films in quite a while is hitting theatres. Will it make any impact at the box office? Here’s our prediction:
Get Out is the new thriller from Blumhouse and Jordan Peele, who is best known for his work as one half of the comedy duo Key and Peele. The trailers for this clearly socially conscious film have been absolutely stunning, and should be big drivers in getting a diverse audience to check out the film this weekend. Combined with a current 100% fresh standing at Rotten Tomatoes and its clear that Get Out is the film to beat. Look for a first place debut with $29 million.