NIGHTMARE NATE: An Interview with Nathan Thomas Milliner

DRC - NATEInterviewee Nathan Thomas Milliner (above right). / Milliner’s artwork for Scream Factory titles Halloween II, Halloween III, The Burning, The Howling (bottom left). / Artwork for Volumes of Blood (above left). / Image rights belong to respective owners and not DRC.

Nathan Thomas Milliner is giving back to the world that so inspired him as a child. As a writer, director, and artist, Milliner’s work can now be seen around the world. Though Nate is most known for his recurring work with Shout!/Scream Factory — in designing newly-commissioned artwork for DVD/Blu-ray releases –, his work in the independent horror scene is also picking up massive momentum. Milliner’s debut directorial feature, A Wish for the Dead, was shot in 2011, and is finally being released this year. Along with the debut, Milliner is also behind the critically-acclaimed short fan film The Confession of Fred Krueger, as well as segments in Volumes of Blood and its upcoming sequel, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories.
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Milliner’s original artwork for the Halloween 4 cast reunion at HorrorHound Weekend Cincinnati 2010. Find more of his brilliant work here.
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In between his busy work load, Milliner had the time to chat with DRC writer Tyler Keeton on the importance of the horror genre, the genre fandom, and the future/current state of horror cinema. Check out the interview below!
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DRCAs someone so well-versed in the realm of horror, what is the importance of the genre, to you? What initially drew you to the genre?
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MILLINERThe importance of the horror genre is essentially to make the audience apprehensive before they walk into that theater to sit down.  Keep them nervous and uncomfortable–scare them a lot, if you can–make sure they laugh a few times and, ultimately, walk out feeling they just had a very fun time.  That was what drew me to the genre.  It was fear at first, and then that undeniable sense of fun you get in watching.
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DRCYour artwork is breathtaking. Your originality shines through with each creation. As you have served on commission for Scream Factory’s releases of Halloween II, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, The Funhouse, Terror Train, Deadly Blessing, The Burning, and The Howling, what has been your proudest artistic accomplishment to date? What release was the most challenging, in terms of wanting to please the horror fandom?
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MILLINERI’m not sure what my proudest artistic accomplishment has been, as I have been very fortunate to have several.  I would say maybe a tie between the cover to the Never Sleep Again: The Making of a Nightmare on Elm Street coffee table book, the blu-ray cover of Halloween II (my first), or one of my films.  Either Encyclopedia Satanica or The Confession of Fred Krueger.  Each cover is a challenge, although some come easier than others.  But the responsibility to the fans is in every job.  I have to show my respect not only to the film, but to those who love it.  I need to understand the film and understand why those fans are so obsessed.
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DRCAlong with your original artwork, you are also a writer, director, actor, and producer. Tell us a little about the 2009 film Girl Number Three. Was it difficult transferring  pieces from your own graphic novel into someone else’s hands for a screenplay and feature film?
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MILLINERI had written Girl Number Three to be a short film for me to one day direct.  So yeah, it was hard turning it over to another artist to direct.  Luckily, I was asked to write the screenplay — although the director had some requested changes.  It was tough, but he said to me one day, “You have to let me make it.”  So, from that day on, I did my very best to keep out of his way.  Let him take the reigns. It is important that the director has that freedom and single vision.  I think Herschel felt more pressure to please me than I had letting him take it.
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DRC2015’s Volumes of Blood was met with acclaim from fans nationwide. As an attached director, what was it like collaborating with other filmmakers to form a cohesive genre film? Tell us about your own individual contributions.
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MILLINEROn the original Volumes of Blood, I was asked to direct a segment.  I was sent three scripts and the only one I cared for was “The Encyclopedia Satanica, which had been written by a guy named Todd Martin.  While I liked the story, I felt the script needed a major overhaul.  It had potential, but really needed changes and additions or subtractions.  They allowed me to basically rewrite it to fit my vision.  Again, very important that it be the director’s vision.  I did art direction, storyboards and cast the lead actress.  The rest of the cast was assigned.  I had a great time–despite the lack of time–making the film and worked with some of the most talented and hard working people around.  The same crew and half my cast reunited very soon to make Confession of Fred Krueger.  On the sequel, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories–I am writing two segments, acting in one and directing one I wrote, titled, “Fear, For Sinners Here, which I am currently editing.  My first time as the editor.  Once again, I cast, storyboarded and did art direction on the film.
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DRCAs you directed a short fan film, The Confession of Fred Krueger, it is obvious you have strong devotion and respect for Wes Craven’s original masterpiece. It is very important to note your own fan film was met with acclaim, as many hailed it to be more than a mere “fan film,” and worthy of its own merit and credibility. This had to be exciting for you.
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MILLINERI had wanted to make that film since I was twelve.  It was rewarding in itself just to make it.  Having the fans react so positively and accept it and call it more than just a fan film, or “the best fan film,” and all of those wonderful things, was very nice to see.  I knew many fans would reject it, but the response was definitely more on the positive side.  It was my love letter to Wes.  Sadly, he passed two weeks before it premiered.  But that film is my thank you to him.
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DRCYou recently completed your own feature film, A Wish for the Dead. How has the film translated with the horror fandom, and did you meet your own expectations for the film? It is an extremely admirable feat to touch on so many areas of the entertainment industry and extended independent film community.
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MILLINERWell, the info going around on A Wish for the Dead is false.  It isn’t my new film.  I shot Wish in 2011.  It is just now getting released. But it has been done a very long time.  It was my first time directing, and I was very green.  I was not really prepared to direct that film, and while it is a decent film, it was a very collaborative effort between myself and the director of Girl Number Three.  Making a feature is a tough thing to pull off.  I am excited for those who worked on it to be able to see and share it, but I was a little worried about it being called my new film — as it was made 5 years ago, and I have made three other films since it and have learned and grown so much since.  It is a good film — for a first film, I would say.
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DRCYou have support from so many fans worldwide. How has it been for your wife, Brenda, and daughter, Lily? Are they also fans of the genre? It has to be a creative and inspiring household.
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MILLINERMy wife loves horror.  My daughter is curious.  She is artistic and has grown up on sets and at horror conventions.  Brenda and Lily get recognized and called out to by strangers at cons.  I am sure it can be as surreal for them as it is for me.  The horror community has been good to me.  I love these people.
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DRCWhat and who are some of your own favorite films or filmmakers? Every film lover has his or her own inspirations and idols.
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MILLINERMy top five films are Taxi Driver, Reservoir Dogs, Dazed and Confused, Star Wars, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Favorite filmmakers are Tarantino, Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, The Coen Brothers and really too many to name.  I have had a lot of inspirations and idols.
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DRCIf someone were to ask you how to get started in the writing or film industry, what would be your piece of advice?
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MILLINERDo it every day.  Learn something every day. Work hard, never stop — despite rejection or self-doubt.  Don’t be in a hurry to get success or respect, and enjoy any and all opportunities and successes no matter how small.
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DRCOriginality is key when it comes to creative genius. As so many modern horror films recycle old tropes and cliches, how do you approach your own work?
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MILLINERWe are all essentially recycling the same stories over and over.  It comes down to how you tell it, your vision, your style, your personal voice, and your execution.  I always try to make left turns.  Hemingway said great writing is leading the reader down the same path they know and then when they know where they are going, go the other way.  Paraphrasing, but it has always worked for me.
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DRCWhat is the importance of the horror fandom, to you?
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MILLINERFans need to lighten up and remember that this genre is about having fun.  I fear the community has turned on itself a lot.  Cannibalizing itself.  The elitist and so-called “true fans” are making the genre a sour place to hang out.  Remember what it was like renting that crappy b-movie with your friends over pizza and soda and just having a blast with a scary movie?
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DRCLastly, let’s say you are cast in a reality series documenting your own life and work. What would your tagline be?
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MILLINERWake up every day and make something.
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Be sure to follow Milliner’s brilliant work on his website, as well as IMDB, Facebook, and Twitter.

NIGHTMARE GLAM: An Interview with Tuesday Knight

DRC - TUESDAY INTERVIEWInterviewee Tuesday Knight, alongside Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) [above left] in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master – 1988. / DRC writer Tyler Keeton (above right). / Image rights belong to respective owners and not DRC.


Tuesday Knight is a powerful artist – in all senses of the word. Knight is known as an actress in one of the most influential horror franchises of all time. She portrayed character Kristen Parker, the final girl of the previous film, in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Knight followed in the footsteps of actress Patricia Arquette, who also played Parker in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors. The horror fandom may remember Knight for her legendary performance, but there are layers upon layers of incredible talent surrounding her. Knight is also a fashion designer, crafting incredible pieces for Madonna, Cher, Paris Hilton, and more. Along with her experience in the world of fashion, Knight has also had a successful career as a musical artist. Her most popular single, “Nightmare,” was featured in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (listen above). Knight released an 18-track album, Faith, in 2012, and is currently the lead singer of Rapture: The Blondie Tribute band.
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Over the years, Knight’s extensive acting career has continued to grow, featuring performances in major films and television series. She has appeared in 33 films, and 8 television series. Knight’s career has spanned several genres, not just horror. She has even been cast to star as herself in two films (Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and the 2010 major blockbuster Sex and the City 2). With that many credits, it is undeniable to say the actress has achieved a milestone in the entertainment industry.
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In a brand new interview with DRC writer Tyler Keeton, Ms. Knight discusses the meaning and importance of horror as a genre, her own experiences working with the legendary Wes Craven, and the difference in the modern entertainment industry as compared to the golden age of slasher cinema. It is an absolute honor to have Ms. Knight featured as a guest on Dripping Red Cinephile, and we look forward to working with her again in the future, as her career continues to dominate popular culture. Read the exclusive interview (below).
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DRCFebruary has been deemed Women in Horror Month. As an important icon in the horror industry, what exactly does the word “horror” mean to you? What establishes and sets apart the genre from others?
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KNIGHT:  I had no idea that February has been deemed as Women in Horror Month! I think that is great!  (Laughs) Do people really think I am an important icon in the horror industry?  I really never felt like I was much a part of it, other than doing Elm Street 4. Most of my career has been drama and comedy.  But if people are saying I am an icon in this genre…then, I just have to say I am honored and grateful.  The word “horror” means fear to me; the utter most terrifying moment in someone’s life, or in a situation. What sets the horror genre apart from others? Many things.  There is usually a hero, and not all films have heroes.  It [horror] is usually not driven in that direction. Or everyone just doesn’t win. But 80’s horror has a particular ingredient in the mixture, and that is CAMP.  New horror films don’t have this. It’s always fun to watch something that is a classic, and then to watch the formula in the new horror.  So different.
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DRCWomen in the horror genre often get overlooked in modern entries. You are a part of the timeless Nightmare legacy. What was it like, immersing yourself into the fandom of the franchise, and portraying such a legendary character? Kristen Parker is one of the most memorable roles in the entire franchise. How did you go about establishing your own originality and devotion to the role, after filling in for Patricia Arquette?
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(Knight [above right] with Freddy himself, Robert Englund, in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.)
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KNIGHT: In a way, Kristen was two people — much like Heather Langenkamp’s character.  Patricia and I did two different things. The way it was written in the script for Nightmare 3, Kristen was more of a victim.  She knew nothing of Freddy and what he was about — only that he was terrifying, and that he was using her to kill the kids of Elm Street. So, she was a little green to the situation, I felt. When I came on to do part 4, I was told to emulate Patricia as much as I could. So I went home and watched the film, so I could get a feel.  But, as I read the script, I said to myself that this young woman was no victim — at least not in the same way… I thought I was going to bring some attitude and more strength, and that she was on to Freddy and she would do anything…include sacrifice herself for her friends, which ultimately lead to her demise. Looking back and getting lots of fan mail, I would say I must have done a decent job at doing the role.  There are always going to be fans of Patricia’s, and there are going to be people who liked my version better.  I’d say they were both good.
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DRC: Do you have any memories from set of New Nightmare? What was it like working with the masterful Wes Craven? It must have been quite the triumph being in the presence of a genre legend.
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KNIGHT:  Do I ever have memories!  I remember the night before I was to shoot the funeral scene, where Heather’s husband had been killed.  We had the big earthquake here in Los Angeles… and that had been a trend in Wes’s film. It was the scariest thing I had been through, and I just remember grabbing my dogs and running across the street to my Mother’s house.  When we got to set and we had to emulate the fact there was an earthquake, we just felt like Wes made a deal with the Devil and he was going to make people really feel this movie and show that Freddy was coming back. Working with Wes was just a wonderful and valuable experience.  He is a true genius to the genre and he will always be the man who made us like our Nightmares a little bit better. (Smiles) I will never forget the phone call from him asking me to be in the film… I was just so taken back by it.  He made me feel that I had made something of myself, since he had seen a couple of my films and really liked them (Mistress & Calendar Girl), and he loved what I did with the role of Kristen in Dream Master.  He told me I portrayed her like she was meant to be in the original script of Dream Warriors.
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DRCAside from horror, what does acting itself mean to you? What advice would you give to aspiring actors or actresses, attempting to break into the industry? Is there anything you would tell your younger self if you could do it all over again?
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KNIGHTI wouldn’t tell myself to do anything different. I have had such a great and wonderful career in film and music.  I couldn’t be happier. Acting means the world to me. It’s my true love. What advice would I give to people getting into the industry? Well, it has changed a lot since I started.  It used to be about star quality, and you could tell if the camera loved you. Now, it’s about gathering a bunch of children and molding them into products of marketing routine and putting them on camera and, when they are done, they spit them out. It’s so different. You would just have to have the thickest skin…and you can’t give up.  You can’t feel defeated, because once you do, you will start to hate what you loved so much. And when you do have success, you have to treat it like a business.  Tell yourself, “Alright, I am getting up and going to work just like everyone else.” If you have a moment where you think you own the industry and you don’t work for it, it’s over. (Smiles) Let’s just say the industry can be a “NIGHTMARE”.
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DRCSome may not know about your music career. Are you passionate about the other side of the entertainment industry?
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(Cover art for Knight’s 2012 studio album, Faith.)
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KNIGHTThere are many sides of the entertainment industry.  I have been so lucky to have had success in just about every aspect that I have tried. Music was great, that is how it all started.  I got to work with such great people, like Quiet Riot, Aerosmith, Billy Idol, and record 5 records of my own, not to mention many songs for film and television — that people might not even know is me. Then, when I got into acting, that really became my main focus, and that was all I wanted to do.  I was very blessed to have done what I have and to have worked with who I have worked with. Then,  as I was working on my series 2000 Malibu Road, I was making toe rings and anklets, and I was just doing it for fun. My dear friend and co-star Drew Barrymore told me that I really needed to do something with my designs, so that is when I started my first jewelry company. So I have been around, and I love every aspect of being creative.  I just love making art.
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DRCIn such an extensive filmography, what has been your most favorite experience or role? Is there anyone you would love to work with in present day?
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(Knight [above left] alongside co-star Drew Barrymore [above right] in 2000 Malibu Road.)
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KNIGHTI think my favorite role ever was playing Joy on 2000 Malibu Road.  She was everything I wasn’t, and I got to wear this brown wig and a fat suit every day, and those are the roles that actors really love. (Laughs) What a cast on that show.  The director of the series was Joel Schumacher, who is a master at making beautiful films.  And working with Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Beals, Brian Bloom, Scott Bryce and Lisa Hartman was just so much fun.  We became a small family. I also got to know and work with now director Guy Furland, who was Joel’s assistant then. I was then hired on two films outside of the series that he directed, which were The Babysitter and Telling Lies in America. As for who I would love to work with today that I haven’t…I guess would be Charlie Hunnum.
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DRCHorror fans are some of the most loving and charismatic individuals you’ll ever come across. As many would so love to know, what are some of your own favorite horror films?
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KNIGHTI love horror. It is my favorite genre of film.  And they range from decades.  Who doesn’t love The Twilight Zone or Night Gallery?  And I love films like Dolls, Gravedancers, Carrie, Dolly Dearest, Dead Silence, and so many more.
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DRCTell us a little about your jewelry line. Some big names in the industry have worn your pieces.
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KNIGHTThe fashion world is something I like to punctuate my acting and singing career with.  It is just something a little different. I have designed for Madonna, Cher, Britney Spears, Xtina, Drew Barrymore, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, and just so many others. It’s a lot of fun, and I plan on doing it again real soon.
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DRC: Lastly, every actor or actress has his or her own “this is it” moment. What was yours? When did you know you wanted to devote your life to the entertainment industry?
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KNIGHTI have been writing music since I was 11.  And my father was a very famous song writer. I used to sing and dance for Frank Sinatra, Rick Nelson and Dean Martin, when they came over to the house.  So, I kind of always knew what path my life was going to take.  (Smiles) I guess it was more of a natural environment.
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Tuesday Knight continues to wow, after thrilling audiences in so many facets for years. Be sure to follow Knight’s powerful surge of femininity on Twitter and IMDB.

I DON’T DO REALITY: An Interview with Gabrielle Stone

Gabrielle interviewInterviewee Gabrielle Stone (above right) in Harrison Smith’s Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard – 2015. / DRC writer Tyler Keeton (above left).  / Image rights belong to respective owners and not DRC.


Actress Gabrielle Stone was destined for a life in creative energy and force from the start. As the beautiful daughter of esteemed horror icons Dee Wallace (E.T.CujoThe Howling, Rob Zombie’s Halloween) and Christopher Stone (CujoThe HowlingLove Me Deadly), it was only a matter of time before the young starlet embarked on her own path to success. Stone’s most recent feature, Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard (Harrison Smith, 2015), was a modernized entry into the zombie sub-genre of horror, and featured her acting alongside her mother. The film was met with acclaim from fans and critics alike, arguing it offered a fresh take on survivalist and feminist cinema. Check out the trailer (above).
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Independent horror cinema has seen quite the evolution in the past few years, with several entries leaning towards a throwback to classic plot lines and monstrous entities. As February 2016 has been deemed the 7th Annual “Women in Horror Month,” it was important to DRC writer Tyler Keeton to interview a powerful female — not specifically bound by the confines of the genre, but all corners of the entertainment industry — who has her groundwork laid out and knows exactly where she plans on going. Ms. Stone has also recently acted in Cut! (David Rountree, 2014),and Speak No Evil (Roze, 2013), the latter of which featured her in a chilling lead role.
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While Stone has strong roots in horror, she does not want to be known as a strict genre worker. In a new chat with DRC, the lovely actress speaks out on acting as a powerful force and artistry, shares her experiences growing up with acclaimed actors for parents, and spills some of her upcoming projects. Check out the interview (below)!
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DRCWhy is acting so important to you? How does it feel seeing your work on screen?
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STONE
I love acting for so many reasons. I love creating art that makes people feel different emotions. And it’s helped me heal and get through some difficult hardships of my own. Some roles have really been like…therapy for me. When you can use what you love to make other people feel, there’s no better job in the world.
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(Gabrielle [right] alongside mother Dee Wallace [left] {image does not belong to DRC})
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DRCIn a world so riddled by and obsessed with popular culture, what was it like growing up with internationally successful actors for parents? Were you allowed to see their films as a child?
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STONEI saw all their “appropriate” stuff as a child. It baffles me when I hear kids were seeing Jaws and A Nightmare on Elm Street when they were five. I think I saw Scream when I was thirteen or fourteen…and didn’t sleep for a month. So I definitely watched E.T., the new Lassie series they did, her series Together We Stand…but Cujo, The Howling…those all came later. I think I saw The Frighteners when I was a little younger, because I was on set for all of it. So I did see that in theaters when it came out. But once I saw Cujo, I started to love the genre, and as I grew up, definitely fell in love with scary movies. 
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(Stone in Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard.)
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DRCYou are quickly building a legitimate and credible portfolio of acting credits. Director Harrison Smith is full of quirky, fresh takes on classic horror cinema. What was it like working with him on Zombie Killers? Are there any wild stories from set?
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STONEI love Harrison. He’s a great director, who has become a great friend. Zombie Killers was an absolute blast. He’s super easy to work with, and really lets you have fun and trust your instincts. Stories from set? Most (stories), I would probably get a ton of people in trouble if I told! (Laughs) I do remember absolutely freezing my ass off during the scene with Mischa (Barton) and I. It was 7am…in a bra…and refrigerated blood. I was like violently shaking and shivering. Harrison kept saying, “Don’t worry…you just look really scared!” 
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DRCSpeak No Evil was one of your first feature-length acting credits. How did you land the role? How did that film influence your current stance on staying in the industry? 
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STONEIt wasn’t my first feature, but my first starring role in a feature. The casting director, Helen McCready, recommended me to (director) Roze. That film was such a blessing. I absolutely loved the whole cast and crew, and Roze and I are good friends now and have worked together twice since. It was a huge learning experience to see that I could handle a film that I was in, in every scene. I’m really proud of it. (Smiles)
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DRCAs a powerful female on the rise in the world of horror, what is your reasoning behind horror being so important, as an art form? Who are some of your biggest female influences in the genre? Is there any particular actress you’d love to work with?
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STONEI don’t really view myself as a female on the rise in the horror genre. I get offered a lot of horror roles that I turn down if the material isn’t strong. It has to be the right horror for me to want to do it. I don’t want to get stuck in any specific genre as an actress, because I love many genres. The horror fans, though, are insanely awesome, and I love being able to be a part of the horror world. It’s so cliché, but once I saw Cujo, I knew I wanted to be an actress. I think my mom’s performance in that film is mind blowing. There’s a ton of people I want to work with…the list grows daily. (Smiles)
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(Stone’s mother, Dee Wallace, in The Howling.)
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DRC2016 is full of new releases. Are there any films you are most looking forward to seeing?
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STONEI’m definitely looking forward to seeing a lot of the festival films that were at Sundance this year. Outlaws and Angels. I’ve worked with the director, JT Mollner, on three shorts, so I’m excited to see his first feature. I’m such a huge movie fan.
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DRC: Are there any other projects you’re working on this year?
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STONEI’m currently raising the last funds to direct my first short titled, “Stay.” Super excited to jump behind the camera, although I’ll also be acting in it. I just finished two films. Dance Night Obsession, with Sabrina Bryan and Antonio Sabatto Jr., should be out sometime this year. Also a drama/fantasy, Ava’s Impossible Things, that I am beyond excited to see. There’s also a ton in the works that I can’t talk about yet. I’m so excited for what this year is looking like so far! 
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DRC(Laughs) The time has come. Every reality star has his or her own shallow tagline on the series’ opening credits. What would your tagline be, as a fearless lady in the business of film?
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STONE: (Grins) “I don’t f****** do reality.”
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Gabrielle Stone is truly a young force to be reckoned with. Follow her current and future projects on Twitter and IMDB, and look forward to seeing her face on the big screen time and time again.

 

 

WINTER MARTYRDOM: THE FOREST, MARTYRS, AND THE PECULIAR CHILLY SEASON

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Poster artwork for The Forest belongs to Focus Features. © Focus Features / Poster artwork for Martyrs belongs to Anchor Bay Entertainment. © Anchor Bay Entertainment

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It’s no secret — the winter season is rough on the horror genre. With a typically short list of poorly promoted, mostly lower-budget titles, an avid fan is forced to pull the reins on his or her own eagerness and prepare for the worst. Perhaps the reason for the underperformance of these titles has nothing to do with the season — or budget — at all. It comes down to sheer originality. Is there something off-kilter or balance with genre filmmakers in the bleak final months of one year that sets the platform for an even bleaker first month of a new year? One has to imagine more talent lying within the teams responsible for the first horror offerings of a new year at the box office. Quite frankly, one must ask: Shouldn’t a “new year” start with new material that instantaneously ignites a bang?

The outcome for the beginning of 2016 is not one rooted in positivity. If anything, two of the biggest (now borderline infamous) titles of the new year — The Forest and Martyrs — have provided audiences with quite the opposite of originality. The two films slide past without a chance for remembrance.

To play devil’s advocate, I must admit The Forest is not a “bad” film. It’s incredibly well-paced, surprisingly taught with tension – thanks to great performances by Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney, and pretty well-written. Where does the problem lie, then? It all comes down to a miscommunication in marketing. While marketing doesn’t determine the quality or credibility of a film, it does create misguided expectations. In no way am I trying to defame or lessen the validity of Jason Zada‘s directional ability, or announce to my audience that this film is a bore. As a screenwriter, I often focus on the dialogue and pacing of a film. That being said, this film is not, and I repeat: not, a horror film. It is, at best, a tense drama. A thriller, of sorts. The Forest 

Conversely, Martyrs quite literally slices its way, immaculate blades glistening, into the horror genre. An American remake of Pascal Laugier‘s 2008 French masterpiece [of the same title], Kevin and Michael Goetz2016 reimagining of the film simply misses the mark. The marketing for this film, ironically, completely worked – in every way. It was hyped for over a full year on horror fan-sites and magazines, and the trailer paved the way for the film to be deliciously dark. The end result, however, is a sticky-sweet, cookie-cutter stepchild of Laugier’s brilliantly artistic entrance into the New French Extremity Movement. While the original 2008 film is brutally relentless, its violence comes with merit and can be respected as a true work of horrific originality. Laugier created a film with no apologies and left interpretation open to each and every audience member. The 2016 remake of the film, in short, has no reason to exist. I will gladly be the first to admit that not all remakes are bad or unfortunate (we’ll return to this concept at a later date), but some remakes simply feel like “fluffers” on an adult film set. The Goetz Brothers’ 2016 entry falls into the latter. The film is problematic in so many ways. From the beginning, we are given better-than-average performances by Bailey Noble and Troian Bellisario. This sets us up to believe the film has potential to be groundbreaking for American audiences unfamiliar with the terrifying original. We have two beautiful young actresses, both known for their roles on mainstream American television, about to slide into psychotic ecstasy — which almost never happens. This leads us to our next issue: the violence. As mentioned earlier, the violence in Laugier’s original film made sense. A shred of a human spirit fights back against her attackers and gets the revenge she so desperately deserves. We are given enough reason (without overly-didactic backstory) to believe, through Mylène Jampanoï‘s stellar performance, the girl’s reason to slaughter strangers (in terms of the knowledge of the audience). The same cannot be said for Bellisario’s character in the 2016 remake. The violence comes, this time, without merit. In conclusion, the film seems to be missing stamina in its onscreen visuals when it comes to bloodshed. The artful cinematography of the original film is what made it so shocking. The remake offers very little new material, aside from a cringe-worthy moment of cheap, underproduced CGI fire. Save this one for Redbox — or a drunken night of binging.