Friday, January 31, 2014


The mythical inhabitants of American forests are supposedly big, hairy and smelly but over in Norway, they're hot chicks with tails. Thale is a clever little fantasy/thriller about two crime scene cleanup guys who stumble upon a mysterious young woman in a secret laboratory...

Just when you think all the possibilities for low budget, cabin-in-the-woods stories have been exhausted, something like this comes along. There isn't much to spoil because the story itself is fairly simple -- running time is under 80 minutes. Some people will be bored to tears with the film's slow place, but I thought it helped build tension and pays off in Act Three. Ultimately, this is a nice calling card for the director and the visual effects folks. However, it's also a good example of a writer not settling for the usual B-movie suspects: aliens, bigfoot, zombies and the like.

Snagfilms now has it available on their site (for free) but I couldn't, for the life of me, get the embed code to work on blogger so you'll have to watch it over there.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Creature Features

Came across a fun little list from Mike Mendez, director of Big Ass Spider (2013),  the Top 5 Elements of a Great Creature Feature. It’s probably a little more geared towards writer/director types but some of his advice can be applied to plain ole screenwriters.

If I could tack on one more thing, it would be the importance of a good build-up. Suspense and imagination are your best special effects -- especially on low-budget horror scripts.  The tease of the creature is often more effective than the eventual reveal of a guy in a rubber suit or a fuzzy CG creation. I mean, sure, you could reveal the bat-winged, monkey-bird on page 10, but then what? Take a look at this:

The second I got a good look at the Creeper in Jeepers Creepers, the movie lost me a little bit. My rational brain could explain that it was simply a guy in a rubber mask. Cool design though...

While a lot of creature features leave very little to the imagination these days when it comes to marketing *cough*SyFy*cough*, the scripts themselves shouldn't be approached in the same manner.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Helix Season 1: First 15 Minutes

Check out the first fifteen minutes of Ron Moore's Helix before it premieres Friday on Syfy. I kinda wish Moore's 17th Precinct had gone beyond the pilot stage but this seems interesting enough...

Helix is an intense thriller about a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control who travel to a high-tech research facility in the Arctic, Arctic Biosystems, to investigate a possible disease outbreak, only to find themselves pulled into a terrifying life-and-death struggle that may hold the key to mankind’s salvation or total annihilation. However, the lethal threat is just the tip of the iceberg, and as the virus evolves, the chilling truth begins to unravel.

Given the setting, The Thing comparisons are inevitable. And while I could do with out the soap opera elements, I'll hold my tongue for now. It's just good to see the science fiction channel actually producing a Sci-Fi show.


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