Our new affiliation with Tennessee Horror News and Promotions!

Haunt Review Crew IS PROUD to announce our new affiliation with Tennessee Horror News and Promotions! This awesome southern crew reviews haunts and movies, conventions, interviews, and have their own podcast! Started in 2014 by JimJam, he eventually teamed up Jonny LeRoy, and Bre to form the current crew.

Teamed with our over 10 YEARS of reviewing expertise, we've got you covered, NORTH OR SOUTH, for ALL over your Haunt needs! ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTE!

You can check out what's brewin' down south at www.tnhorror.com, where they will have Seth M Sherwood writer of Leatherface on The Horror Basement Podcast! Future guests also include Wren Smith and the awesome Agent/Producer who was kind enough to give us a lot of my interviews, Judy Fox.

Interview with filmmaker, Kansas Bowling

Interview with filmmaker, Kansas Bowling

Our final interview of the season is with a new, fresh young filmmaker, Kansas Bowling! She made short films with her younger sister and began shooting Super 8 at 13!! Her wide range of influences in high school had her and a friend write the script for the first pre-historic slasher, B.C Butcher.

 

  • Your bio says you've been interested in film your whole life, but what actually made you pick up a camera and say "I want to make art!"?

Ever since I can remember, my sister Parker Love Bowling and I have always been creative making home movies and works of other mediums. We were also obsessed with dolls, playing with them and making them and giving them wild back stories and creating soap operas with them. So we've always loved telling stories. It's something that's always come naturally and something I've always known I've wanted to do.

Interview with actor Lee Majdoub

Greetings HRC haunt heads, This go around I had the pleasure of speaking with Lee Majdoub!

Born in 1982 in Tripoli, Lebanon, Lee has both acted and produced. You may know him best from Supernatural, Prison Break, or Arrow. He has also been in Once Upon A Time, See No Evil 2, even voice work in Splinter Cell: Blacklist.

Join us as we talk about the return of Prison Break, his upcoming work on Rogue, and how horror hasn't helped toughen up for going to haunted attractions:)

leeRed.jpg

This picture was taken by Norm Lee at the Lighthouse Viff red carpet 2016 event.

 

You were born in Lebanon, have a degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, and have lived in multiple countries. What was it like living in so many places?
- Living in many places definitely had its positives and negatives. I learned many languages. Experienced and learned a lot about different cultures. It helped me adapt and evolve as a person. The tougher aspect of moving was that I never really got to make long term friends. By the time I would establish some sort of connection, it was time to move again. Luckily I've been able to stay in touch with a couple of people from my childhood.

Why the change from mechanical engineering to acting?
- I was always interested in the arts. I had hoped to study Product Design in university. It was recommended I go into a math/science of some sort instead. I thought Mechanical Engineering would be a more "artistic" science to pursue. I was quite wrong. Midway through college, one of my sister's suggested I take some acting classes on the side. I got hooked immediately, and decided to pursue acting full time after graduating.

Now in an interview I saw of you, you said that you're the guy in the theater with his hoodie pulled tight:) Has working on ABC's of Death, See No Evil 2, Supernatural, Massive Blood Drive, Puppet Killer, toughened you up?
- Where did you see that??? I never said that! ;)  I don't think it's toughened me up at all. I might be better at faking toughness. I think the only thing those projects helped me with is reminding myself there's a person filming, and there are a few grips around a corner, etc. It helps... a teeny tiny bit.

Now I know Prison Break is returning(yay!) What can we expect this season and can you explain your role for us?
- I'm really excited it's coming back. This season has so much at stake. Relationships, beliefs, lives are all threatened. Also, some of the season takes place in Yemen. I play a character named Yasser. The only thing I can really say about him, is he's very impassioned. The show was a blast to shoot. The people involved were phenomenal and all the exterior Yemen scenes were shot in Morocco, which was an incredible place to be.

You're also playing in a new series called "Rogue". Tell us about it.
- Rogue is a show in its fourth (and I believe, final) season. It airs on Direct TV. The show revolves around undercover cops and crime families. Characters have come and gone in the last few seasons, so nobody is safe. I play a character named Ozil, who owns a pawn shop. He was a lot fun to play.

So I ask all of our guests, do you visit Haunted attractions?
- As you know, I'm easy to scare, so I try not to go under my own free will.

If so, what do you look for, do you have a favorite?
- The times I have gone, I gotta say, the best experiences and the most scared I've been was probably Knotts Scary Farm. I hate (love) walking through a hall and a character pops out from right in front of you. How do they do that?!? I was looking right there! I really give a lot of credit to all performers involved in haunted attractions. The patience that goes into what they do in order to do it well is crazy. And, the fact that they sometimes have to deal with people that are disrespectful and aggressive. Also, a ton of credit goes out to the people that design the attractions, wardrobe, and makeup.

If not, what are your Halloween traditions?
- Usually, my partner and I go to the pumpkin patch, and pick out pumpkins for ourselves and her family. We'll spend an evening carving together. And then on Halloween we sit and have dinner together and take turns handing out candy to trick or treaters. I love it.

What advice would you give to someone looking to act(or more specifically to a haunt actor/actress?)
- I would say, give it everything you have. Enjoy the process. Learn as much about yourself as possible and live life to the fullest. My career really started to move forward when I truly started to live/enjoy my life. It gives me so much to draw from in my performances. As far as being a haunt actor/actress... take your time when scaring someone. Build the tension. Let them know you're there, but then cause them to question themselves. Next thing you know... BOO! You've caused them to pull their hoodie tight and scream at a pitch they never thought they could achieve.

Todd, thank you so much! This was a wonderful experience.

Interview with horror writer/director Harrison Smith

Another week closer to Halloween haunt heads! This week I had the pleasure of talking to Horror writer/director Harrison Smith of the upcoming feature "DEATH HOUSE"! 

Harrison is from Pennsylvania and worked with the likes of Oscar winner actually shot his movie "6 Degrees of Hell" at the Hotel of Horror! Make sure you check out his body of work here at http://www.class85.com/. He pulls no punches with his opinions, which I highly respect and recommend you see more of over at his blog, Cynema(http://horrorfuel.com/author/harrison/) where you can also see his "The Road To Death House" series.


What made you want to become a writer/director?

Jaws. I saw it in its original theatrical release in1975 and simply, it was the movie that me want to make movies. I was eight. A few years later I got a silent Super 8mm film camera and started shooting my own movies with friends in the neighborhood. I cut with scissors, spliced with Scotch tape and scratched all of my lasers in by hand with a needle on a toy light board. Movies were an escape for me as they are for most people. I think they are the closest thing humans can come to magic. We can do anything in a movie and it also allows us a taste of tangible immortality. One can "live forever" if onscreen or behind it. I think that's part of the allure for many. 

Why horror?  Why not? I love all genres but horror was always fun and it should be fun as a genre. I am not into it when it goes way too dark like "A Serbian Film." I have no interest in watching such nihilistic stuff. Fine for some people but not me.

I love the title of your blog, Cynema. Please explain the inspiration behind that.

Jaws the Revenge was the inspiration and my piece on the film on my Cynema site explains it all. Feel free to quote it. Cynema is not about movie reviews. it is about the impact of cynicism on filmmaking. Jaws 4 is used for that because it is a shining example of where filmmakers had a clear chance to make something good and instead didn't care. They just went ahead to benefit themselves and waste an incredible amount of money for their own benefit. There was never a plan to actually make a decent film. It was a cynical cash grab that the numbers showed had the potential for profit no matter how bad the film was. And the numbers were right. The film made a profit on its +20 million budget. No money certainly went into the script or effects. It definitely didn't go into creative. It was a piece of bad product pushed on the consumers and it all worked. The people who made it should have known better and they did. That's the whole pretext of "Cynema" when you have all the resources and abilities to make a good film and simply make the choice not to do so. I am not talking about low budget "B" films or even Ed Wood. Wood didn't make Cynema. He was convinced he was making some kind of art. He didn't intentionally set out to screw his audience. Filmmakers who churn out garbage like "Jaws the Revenge" can't say that. 

I have to say, listening to your interviews, you have a very healthy outlook/opinion on the industry, especially with your comments on "Creep". If you had a chance to take a movie that you saw and said to yourself "I could've done that better." what film would you tackle? "Ahh, I don't know if I would do that. I mean I would love to go back and remake some bad films. That I would like to do. But to say I could have done something better than a filmmaker's vision on something they worked their ass off on, is arrogant. However I would love to remake a few bad films and make them good.

Now we review haunts, and you did "6 Degrees Of Hell" with Corey Feldman and Jill Whelan, about a real-life Halloween attraction. Can you tell our followers some more about this movie?

It's a pretty popular Halloween cult film now. It is based on the "what if" idea that a Halloween haunted attraction was for real, and the people you see dying in there were dying for real. Corey Feldman does a great job as a paranormal investigator finding out what happened to his friend and associate. It's a fun Halloween type film and Joe Raffa did a great job directing it. I enjoy the movie a lot. it is available everywhere: Hulu, Redbox DVD, Netflix DVD, iTunes, Amazon streaming, VuDu....

Do you partake of haunted attractions? (If so, what do you look for, your favorite and why?)

I do but hands down I love The Hotel of Horror in Saylorsburg, PA. The owners and their staff of haunters do it right and that's why we chose to film 6 Degrees of Hell there. www.hotelofhorror.com 

What would your advice be for a haunt actor if you could direct one like you do on set? Give it your best and don't be average or mediocre.

Now you're currently in post-production on"Death House, which is being referred to as "The Expendables" of Horror.  How did the story for this evolve, how were you able to secure such Titans and icons of horror?

Well the story on this came about is out there in a number of publications. We never called "The Expendables of Horror." The media dubbed it that term. You can find everything need on my Cynema site under "The Road To Death House" series. Feel free to use whatever you like from those three articles. 

The late, great Gunnar Hansen wrote most of the screenplay, how do you feel that this will attribute to his legacy? How would you hope he is remembered other than of course being the original Leatherface?

Gunnar wrote the original story and I rewrote his script into the screenplay we have now. He was a kind and gentle man who wanted to make the sure the film was not a cynical gimmick or cash grab. He signed off on my script and gave it his blessing. I hope he is always remembered as the kind person he was. In an alternate universe he would have been a great Santa Claus. He was noble and quiet and such a great human being. If Texas Chainsaw allows his name to live on great, but the film does not define him as a person. 

What does the future hold for Harrison Smith and Class of '85 productions? Where do you envision the Horror genre heading in the future?

I have a number of projects lining up and looking forward to my first comedy in January. It is called "Garlic and Gunpowder" and we have one hell of a cast lining up for it. It's going to be a lot of fun and a very funny action comedy. I am excited. As for what the horror genre is heading for...well that's subjective. However censorship is the biggest thing threatening the genre and all of our art and speech. This "everyone is offended" garbage is really just a form of censorship and whether politically correct or not, it is a way to control us. Resist censorship. You don't like something, don't watch it, turn it off, don't buy it. However you do not have the right to "not be offended." 

Thank you again so much, I had a blast just listening to your interviews, I can't to wait to marathon your movies with my wife:) Let me know what you liked best!

Reporter at large, Mr, BH Todd

Interview with Jen & Sylvia Soska a.k.a The Twisted Twins!

I can't think of a better way to kick this off than with horror mavericks Jen & Sylvia Soska: The Twisted Twins!

These identical twin Canadian film-makers have blazed a trail for women in the Horror genre, even with an action movie thrown in as well for WWE films. They even have their own comic(Kill Crazy Nymphos Attack), and have collaborated with Marvel for Secret Wars Journal #5 and Guardians of Infinity #8.

Now though is the time of year where the twins put back on their mastermind hats for Season 2 of GSN'S Hellevator. A creation from Blumhouse,GSN, Matador, and Lionsgate. Think of it as a mini horror flick that each week, a team of 3 tries to win money by surviving the Soskas twisted challenges. More on that in the interview.

From acting, to stuntwork, to producing/directing, these ladies have a bloody bright future ahead of them. Hellevator returns Oct. 7th at 9pm on GSN. For all things Soska make sure to check out

www.twistedtwinsproductions.net

For our followers who are uninitiated to the Twisted Twins, could you tell us what got you both into Horror?

S: I can't remember a time where we weren't into horror, but I do believe a great deal of that comes from my mum. She has always been a big horror fan and young girls want to emulate their mum - we're lucky our mum is very cool.

J: She had and still has this huge Stephen King collection. We started reading that really early on and couldn't get enough of it. Then we saw our first horror movie, Poltergeist and that was pretty much it for us. We couldn't get enough.

     What made you want to make your own films?

S: We never set out to make our own films, we liked films very dearly, but it wasn't until I was much older and watching Mary Harron handle the press for her adaptation of American Psycho that I saw a lady director and thought, I'd like to do that. We didn't actually set to make our own films until we got ripped off by a film school while seeing fellow Canadian Jason Eisner's Hobo With A Shotgun in Grindhouse that we decided to serve up our own revenge at graduation with a faux trailer that would go on to become Dead Hooker in a Trunk.

J: Robert Rodriguez's Rebel Without A Crew had a huge effect on us. The book ends with Rodriguez telling you to not just sit around and talk about making movies. Go out and make one. So we did. I've always loved stories. I don't think I knew I was going to be a director for some time. Girls weren't encouraged enough to become directors and writers and producers when I was starting out, but I can see that changing so much right now and it's amazing.

    Explain the inspiration for your first feature, "Dead Hooker in a Trunk"

S: Every film I make is to make Jen laugh. That one, we made each other laugh a lot and really put our hearts into the project. There's a lot of our own sensibilities in it as well as our heavy influencers like Rodriguez, Landis, and Weekend at Bernies.

J: It's movie where we had the title before anything else. You need a great title. We were so inspired by Rodriguez's El Mariachi story, we really wanted to do our version of that. A DIY film that could showcase that we could make a film on our own. It's a great way for an aspiring filmmaker to get their work out there and prove they've got what it takes to pull off a film.

    You've really broken ground and are paving the way for female directors in Horror. Who have you yet to work with that would be on your bucket list?

S: Not really a specific person, I've been very blessed with collaborations with people I admire like the teams at Blumhouse and getting to write for Marvel. I like working with people who you don't get to see the darker parts of all the time. I think there's quite a bit of untapped talent that could do some cool stuff in one of our films.

J: Thank you so much. That's sweet of you to say. There are so many people we'd like to work with. I'd really love to make a Marvel movie for Disney. I'm such a happy fangirl getting to write for Marvel. It's just the coolest.

    You recently had you 2nd comic released with Marvel, "Guardians of Infinity #8". If you could make a horror movie of any comic character, who would it be?

S: I am a sucker for comic books. Punisher would be fun. So would Spidey. Who wouldn't be fun in a horror movie?

J: Oh, that's a tough one. I could make a killer horror movie with Venom. It could be a stand alone film. I'd base it off the Venom mini series Venom: The Hunger. It's so dark and it would make a great horror movie. It's one of my favorite Venom books.

    It's about that time of the year again and Season 2 of GSN'S Hellevator is upon us! Explain the premise of the show for our followers and what can we expect from season 2.

S: This season our victims will not only have to survive the Hellevator but they will have to save their sinful team mates from burning in the Inferno. This season is all about the seven deadly sins and it's scary as hell this season!

J: Last season our victims may have escaped the Labyrinth, but they'll be feeling the heat in the Inferno, our all new final level. The challenges are harder and more brutal based off true crime stories. It's scarier than ever before. I really can't wait for October 7th!

    Since we're coming up on Halloween, do you have any Halloween traditions? What are your go to movies for this time of year?

S: Halloween is a month long celebration - I think it's starting to start in September for us since Hellevator comes out October 7th at 9pm this season. We really like decorating, but to be honest, a lot of what we buy tends to stay up all year long as decor. This is a month to super marathon horror movies and go out in costume, even though we like to do that kind go thing every day!

J: Definitely we're gonna be all about Hellevator this holiday season! It's like Christmas time for us! We watch a ton of horror moves and every Halloween time horror movie. We go big on dressing up. We're still planning our costumes.

    Now we review Haunted attractions, do you two partake of haunted houses? (If so)What do you look for?

S: Definitely! I'm a total screamer. I like anyplace where you can acceptably scream in public. It's very therapeutic.

J: Of course! We're thrill junkies. We look for dedication in our scarers. No breaking character. Also I love a killer atmosphere. Great lighting, fog, great sound design, the works.

    Do you have a favorite?

S: Hard to pick a favorite, especially since Hellevator is our own interactive haunted slaughterhouse. I really like the interactive haunts where you are actually part of the scary story and you get to play out a story. I don't mind things jumping out at me, but I like a good setup and payoff.

J: Um, Hellevator. Hellevator is my favorite haunted anything. Netherworld in Atlanta looks incredible! I wish they'd fly us out this Halloween to check it out! We're such fans.

    If you had to give advice to a haunt actor like you give an actor on set, what would it be?

S: Don't wait until you get to set to play with your character, especially when doing something physical and out of the norm. It's easier to practice faces and body movement in front of a mirror to perfect what reads the best before getting on set. We have a great scare team on Hellevator, they bring so much terror to our contestants.

J: I would tell them to commit to the character. Don't break character, it kills it. I agree with Sylv. Practice at home. Try out your zombie walks, exorcist stances, and psycho faces at home. Also fun tricks to pull out if someone's creeping on you.

    What does the future hold in store for the Soska Sisters? (I know you've got "Rabid", "Bob", anything you'd like to promote?)

S: A lot of people have already heard about the Rabid film and television series which we are ecstatic about sharing with everyone. Bob looks like it's going to be something we try to make ourselves, it's a very unique story and it's had a hard time finding a good home, but it would be nice to create something that can be as close to the original concept as possible. We have about four really cool unannounced projects coming up, but not sure when you'll be officially hearing about them. It's been a busy year setting everything up!

J: We have more amazing things coming up than I can talk about yet, but I will vaguely hint at them. We're doing more comic book writing. This is something we're very excited to announce but we'll have to sit on it for a while I suspect. We're working on a documentary mini series that is absolutely terrifying and has never been seen or attempted before. We're making a film with a company we adore and have been dying to work with. And we have a killer, brutal horror film that taps into our love of haunts with some that's cool as fuck. And we've got Rabid the film coming and it's something we're so proud of. It's a return to body horror for us and we get to make a love letter to one of our greatest inspirations, horror icon David Cronenberg.

Jen and Sylv

This killer interview was arranged by Todd Mulloy, HRC member!