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inmate profile: Keith Allan

Another week, another Asylum release; keeping up with this stuff is turning in a full-time job. With 3 Musketeers only a week on DVD and Zombie Apocalypse less than 48 hours in the past, this Tuesday sees the release of the studio's apocalyptic thriller 11/11/11, which I've already seen and posted my notes on (scroll down a teeny bit), and while I don't have time to go into everyone that worked on this fine film, I thought a profile of writer/director/actor Keith Allan was in order, so here you go:

While there isn't a ton of biographical info on Mr. Allan on IMDB - actually none - his resume speaks for itself. Allan started his Hollywood career acting, landing his first role in 2000's excellent Meat Loaf biopic, To Hell and Back, in which he played Tim Curry. As in Tim Curry. From there Mr. Allan had roles in various notable TV series like "Will & Grace," "Charmed," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "CSI," "Star Trek: Enterprise" and "Scrubs," among many others. 

In addition to his work in front of the camera, Mr. Allan has a pretty extensive resume on the other side of filmmaking as well, most notably in visual effects, where he provided(?) opticals on such films as Amityville: Dollhouse, Prozac Nation, The Prophecy and Full Tilt Boogie. 11/11/11 marks his debut as both a feature writer and director. His only other stint as either came with the 2008 short Billy and Sally Go Bionic. But as I've mentioned, the dude has chops.

The film lands on DVD tomorrow, so set your alarm accordingly.

observation notes: Zombie Apocalypse

Tonight was big for Asylum fans, as the studio's biggest film of the year - Zombie Apocalypse starring Ving Rhames, Taryn Manning, Eddie Steeples, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Johnny Pacar, Gerald Webb, Gary Weeks, Anya Monzikova, Lilan Bowden, Robert Blanche and scores more - got a World Premiere on the SyFy network. Now, as the film won't be on DVD until December 27th, and so far there's only one replay on the books, November 15th at 7pm, I won't give away any spoilers here, only my own personal and heavily-biased opinions. 

Let's start with the plot, shall we? I know that these days the kids like their concept's high but I've always been a believer in simple storylines and complex character interactions; sometimes an apocalypse is just an apocalypse. And that's what we have here, a full-blown, end-of-the-world scenario, rife with brain-gobbling, rotten and smelly zombies. We come into this world six months after the plague hit; the planet's human population has been reduced by 90% and those that are left are fodder for the hungry undead. But among the chaos there is one band of survivors still fighting, cutting a bloody swath across America on their way towards a rumored sanctuary on Catalina Island. 


This concept comes courtesy of writers Craig Engler and Brooks Peck, and is the debut script for both. You'd never know it, though, for the expert pacing and suspense-building storytelling going on. The action starts right at the beginning and skulks through the film like a "straggler," a constant potential threat to our ragtag band of survivors, portrayed by an ensemble cast firing on all cylinders.


Ving Rhames as "Henry" is, as expected, an all-around badass, in that strong, silent, stoic way he practically invented. Simultaneously, though, he imbues the film with heart using that fuzzy teddy-bear charm he can turn on at will. He's just the ultimate warrior/protector, and when you put a sledgehammer in his hands, it's fucking on.


Taryn Manning as "Ramona," however, I think serves as the film's true heart. Easily the character one can most relate to, she's more muted here than usual, in a good way, in a way that causes you to see the effect of this insane situation on the frail human spirit. She's strong but she's frazzled, hopeful but haggard, hanging on but only by a thread, the way anyone would be.


The real standout for me was Lesley-Ann Brandt as "Cassie," the sleek, swift, graceful but no-less-deadly yin to Ving's yang, his brazen lieutenant with the same heightened sense of caution but laced with a healthy dose of attitude and alluring femininity. She's an alpha female, that over-achiever you could never hate no matter how much you wanted, and now she's got a sword. Ms. Brandt commanded the screen, and conquered her role like a pack of flesh-eaters.


I could go on and on about every single member of the cast; for me, there were no misses: rounding out the rest of the main pack we had Eddie Steeples as "Billy," the Everyman counterpart to "Ramona," Gary Weeks as "Mack," the affable and confident quarterback of the gang, Johnny Pacar as "Julian," the playful wildcard of the bunch, the smirking idealist to "Mack's" noble pragmatist, and the always great Gerald Webb as headstrong and protective "Kevin." Not to mention Anya Monzikova, Robert Blanche and Lilian Bowden as "The Archers," another tough-as-nails survivor clique that adds stunning beauty and stealthy brawn to the fight.


Overall then, what you have here is a smart, fresh, innovative and thrilling entry into a tired genre. As much as people say there's nothing new in zombie movies, Zombie Apocalypse manages to do just that, thanks to a thoughtful and epic script from Engler and Peck. If this is what they can accomplish right out of the gate, I can't wait to see their 2nd, 3rd, and 25th efforts. The visual effects from Joe Lawson and his Awesome Team (feel free to put that on the back of satin jackets, guys) pull not a single gory punch. Kudos too to the make-up department for making not only believable zombies, but believable dead zombies. That's usually the first thing to derail movies like this, crappy effects. Zombie Apocalypse doesn't come close to having that problem. I bet Halloween with these dudes is rad.


Chris Ridenhour provided the score, and once again it's out-of-the-park. I want to hire him to score my life, the way people hire personal chefs; with his accompaniment, everything is more exciting and important, I'd never do the dishes the same way again.


And bringing it all together is director Nick Lyon, who here has crafted a visually-stunning and violently-beautiful film. The fight scenes are manic yet graceful, the kills are spectacularly bloody, the image of a ruined world is fully-realized and realistic, the story moves naturally and myriad other aspects that add up to an intense, intimate and atmospheric film full of thrills, kills, chills, hills, blood, guts and gore. Easily the best non-theatrical zombie film I've seen in a while, heck, maybe ever. And I say that not as an Asylum-fanatic, which I am, but as a zombie film freak. Helluva good time, this one.


Try to catch the re-run on November 15th at 7pm, because after that it's six weeks or so until the DVD release.

observation notes: 11/11/11

With a lot of Asylum-attention this week focused on Saturday night's SyFy premiere of Zombie Apocalypse, not a lot has been said about the other Asylum film out in the next few days, the apocalyptic numerological thriller 11/11/11, directed by Keith Allan and written by Allan & Kiff Scholl. Allow me, then, to talk about it, as I have just seen it.

Plot-wise, 11/11/11 concerns a set of parents, Jack (Jon Briddell) and Melissa (Erin Coker), who become increasingly alarmed at their son Nat(Hayden Byerly)'s erratic and violent behavior. And they have every right to be: seems Nat isn't just acting up, he's the key to the whole freaking Apocalypse, which is nigh, people, and only two weeks away in real time - 11/11/11, the kid's birthday. Helluva set-up.


As usual, I'll refrain from spoilers, but suffice it to say, what we have here is a taut, well-paced, dramatic, suspenseful, sinister and bloody thriller of Biblical proportions, literally. It's a film that opens with a bang - several of them, actually - and ends even more explosively. Think equal parts The Omen, The Stepford Wives and Rosemary's Baby; a heady cocktail, believe me.


The cast has a lot to do with 11/11/11's success: whether principles or supporting, most everyone here brings their A-game. Briddell plays the father as concerned to the point of angered frustration, a powerful but helpless man, and is appropriately tortured. Coker as his wife - though bedridden much of the film - is the fragile heart of the story, delusional with fear and medication and burdened by an unbelievable truth she shares alone. But it's Byerly as the son who practically steals the show. He's stoic, soft-spoken but rigid, not sheepish, plain-faced and pensive until he needs to erupt and then the boy's a true devil. Kid's got chops, and they're on full display here.




Then there's the deep supporting cast, the characters who make up the neighbors and townsfolk with an eerie interest in the boy's upcoming birthday: Tracy Pulliam as bossy, busy-body realtor Janice; David Bertolami and Rebecca Sigl as Chris and Sarah, the too-nice neighbors with spooky lingering stares; Nicholas S. Williams as Mick, the mentally-challenged truth-speaker; Greg Wall as Mike the janitor; co-screenwriter Kiff Scholl and Melissa Wintringham as over-perky joggers Brian and Marie - this one really is a team effort, with everyone turning in convincing performances. 


The two standouts of the supporting cast, in my opinion, have to be Madonna Magee as Annie, the creepy-kooky stalker old lady next door with a heart of gold, a load of hard-earned wisdom and a touch of good, old-fashioned madness; and Aurelia Scheppers as Denise, the "nanny" and the film's sultry femme fatale - think a smarter, more dangerous Megan Fox.


Add to this fine story and these stellar performances the once-again spot-on musical score of Chris Ridenhour (really, this guy, like Asylum productions in general, gets better every film. I want a box set of his scores) and sweeping, approaching-epic direction of Allan, and it all equals a thrilling, brutal, convincingly-frightening and horribly plausible film - numerically and Biblically speaking - well-executed by all. 

In all honesty, I really liked the crap out of this one; it's one of my favorites of the year, I think. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself this Tuesday, November 1st, when 11/11/11 hits DVD, just in time for you to get your affairs in order. I'm kidding. I hope.

inmate profile: Nick Lyon


Wrapping up Committed's spotlighting of the creative talent behind Zombie Apocalypse, premiering Saturday night at 9pm on SyFy, we turn lastly to the man who brought these wonderful acting and writing talents together, along with dozens of other elements: director Nick Lyon.

Originally from the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon (where I currently reside), Lyon moved to Germany and furthered his film studies. To date he has directed six feature films: I Love You, Baby with Oscar-winner Maximillian Schell, the award-winning indie drama Punk Love, and five TV events - Grendel, Annihilation Earth, Species: The Awakening, Bermuda Triangle Northsea and now Zombie Apocalypse. 

Of these, I've only seen Species: The Awakening, and though a few beers in at that point, I remember liking it. Regardless of my imbibing approval, the bottom line is that this film is in a pair of very experienced hands with a good feel for the genre and a solid track record. 

Find out for yourself Saturday night, 9 o'clock, SyFy, when Zombie Apocalypse makes its world premiere. And if you're on the West Coast, don't forget to stop by for my live blog event: just me, a TV, theme food and real-time. Should be at the least interesting.  

inmate profile(s): Craig Engler & Brooks Peck

With only days before the world television premiere of the latest Asylum production, Zombie Apocalypse, Committed has been taking a look at the talent behind this neo-horror classic-in-waiting; already this week I've featured actors Ving Rhames and Taryn Manning. Now we go behind the camera, to the page, in fact, with a look at writers Craig Engler and Brooks Peck.

Mr. Engler has an extensive bio over at his blog-to-be, the long and short of which is back in the late 90's he started a Sci-Fi web 'zine that the Sci Fi Channel first licensed content from then purchased, putting him in charge of their online presence. Today he is the Senior Vice President and General manager of SyFy Digital. So if you follow SyFy on Twitter - which you totally should, it's a lifeline to everything about TV's coolest channel - you're following this guy. Basically, the dude knows SyFy movies better than most people on the planet, so of course you can count of Zombie Apocalypse hitting every note just right. 

But Mr. Engler isn't alone in this endeavor, his co-writer, Brooks Peck also helped forge this horrific, splendid nightmare of a film. And apparently the two work well together, because they have also penned a film I'm instantly dying to see, Rage of the Yeti, with 3 Musketeers' and Born Bad's David Chokachi. I couldn't find as much info online about Mr. Peck, but guaranteed the guy knows his creature features. SyFy doesn't hire chumps.

Find out for yourself just how awesome a plot these two wordsmiths have concocted THIS SATURDAY NIGHT @ 9PM when Zombie Apocalypse gets its world premiere on SyFy.

Take This Lollipop - Trust Me!!!

I'm not going to say too much because I don't want to spoil any of this, but take a minute and head over to www.takethislollipop.com for one of the most frighteningly-interactive uses of the internet I've ever seen. The site, designed by the older brother of Asylum producer David Michael Latt, features Bill Oberst Jr. (A Haunting in Salem, Princess and the Pony, Born Bad) in a role he was born to play and is absolutely perfect for. So go, check it out, but you've been warned...

inmate profile: Taryn Manning

Continuing to spotlight the cast and crew of The Asylum's next release, Zombie Apocalypse, premiering THIS SATURDAY NIGHT ON SYFY @ 9PM, we turn now to the lovely and talented Taryn Manning.

Hailing from the painted terrain of Tuscon, Arizona, Ms. Manning quickly took to the screen, landing her first role at only 16 in the star-launching Nickelodeon series "All That." But it was her turn in 2001's Kirsten-Dunst vehicle Crazy/Beautiful - in which Ms. Manning was first able to showcase her saucy/sultry/sassy side - that the world really took note. 

From there she went on to appear in a spate of films, including the Britney-Spears-starring Crossroads, 8 Mile with Eminem, White Oleander, Cold Mountain, Hustle & Flow, The Breed, and most recently, multiple-episode arcs of television shows "Sons of Anarchy" (one of my favorite programs) and "Hawaii Five-0." 

In addition to her accomplishments on screen, Ms. Manning is also a singer-songwriter - both with her borther Kellin in Boomkat and on her own as a solo artist - and a fashion designer - she co-owns a label called Born Uniqorn, which she also designs for. She was also the cover girl for this year's Playboy Sex & Music issue back in April. Busy lady.

In Zombie Apocalypse, she plays "Ramona," another of the survivors fighting their way across an undead-plagued Los Angeles towards a supposed-sanctuary on Catalina Island. Find out if she brings her usual moxie to the role THIS SATURDAY NIGHT @ 9PM ON SYFY when Zombie Apocalypse makes its world premiere.

3 Musketeers on DVD Today!!!

That's right, my fellow faithfully-committed, today's the days our inner action heroes have been waiting for, the DVD release of The Asylum's take on one of the greatest adventure stories ever told, Alexandre Dumas' 3 Musketeers

 
In The Asylum's version, of course - conceived by debut screenwriter Edward DeRuiter and directed by Cole McKay of 200MPH renown - the swords have been exchanged for automatic weapons and the swashbuckling grace switched out for free-running mixed martial arts. Expect rad fight sequences, thrilling chases and crazy explosions, enacted brilliantly by Heather Hemmens, Xin, Michele Boyd, Alan Rachins, David Chokachi and more. I'm still waiting to get my hands on a copy, but the second I do, I'll post my thoughts.

In the meantime, run, don't walk, to your local independent video store, or Netflix, and procure your copy of this sure-to-be action classic post haste!!!

2 Headed Shark Attack Gets a New Release Date


Never fear, though, we shan't have to wait much longer than originally expected. 2 Headed Shark  Attack - my 2nd script for The Asylum based on a story by Edward DeRuiter, directed by Christopher Olen Ray and starring, among others, Carmen Electra, Brooke Hogan and Charlie O'Connell - has been pushed back from its street date of January 17, to January 31st, 2012. A measly two weeks, an well-worth the wait for what is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated film of the year. 



So drill that into you head, and tell everyone you know: 2 Headed Shark Attack on DVD January 31st, 2012.

inmate profile: Ving Rhames


With the world premiere of Zombie Apocalypse THIS SATURDAY NIGHT ON SYFY @ 9PM, there isn't a lot of time to spotlight the various talent behind this soon-to-be genre classic, so let us make haste and dive right in with the man himself, the star of Zombie Apocalypse and - with all due respect to everyone else, you guys all know I'm a fan - the single biggest star to grace an Asylum flick to date: Ving Rhames.

I don't have to tell you who Ving Rhames is, you know who Ving Rhames is, and if you don't know who Ving Rhames is, it's time to leave the pack of wolves that raised you and step into the real world. Ving Rhames is a veteran actor with a wide range of roles in more than 100 projects over the last 25 years, including Michael Mann's "Crime Story" and "Miami Vice," Paul Schrader's Patty Hearst and Brian DePalma's Casualties of War, Adrian Lyne's Jacob's Ladder, David Mamet's Homicide, Wes Craven's People Under The Stairs, his star-making turn as "Marcellus Wallace" in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, a recurring role in four Mission Impossible movies as "Luther," turns in Striptease, "ER," Rosewood, Con Air, Out of Sight, Entrapment, Bringing Out the Dead, Undisputed, Dawn of the Dead, "Kojak," Day of the Dead, and as "Deputy Fallon" in Piranha 3D, Piranha 3DD and Shark Night 3D. 

But what I remember most fondly about Ving Rhames is both his Golden-Globe winning performance as legendary boxing promoter Don King in the HBO Original Movie "Don King: Only in America," and his acceptance of said Golden Globe: he instead gave it to Hollywood legend Jack Lemmon, who had been nominated in the same category for his turn in the William Friedkin take on 12 Angry Men. That was the single classiest moment of entertainment history I ever personally witnessed - via television, of course - and as Jack Lemmon was and is a personal favorite of mine, one of the most touching moments, as well*. Ving Rhames: helluva actor, helluva guy.

In Zombie Apocalypse Ving plays "Henry," and while there isn't much known about his character, from the pictures you can pretty much tell he's playing the Badass. Find out for yourself when you and every single person you know tunes in to SyFy this Saturday Night, October 29th at 9pm for the world premiere of the latest Asylum masterpiece, Zombie Apocalypse.

*it also set up one of the funniest moments in Golden Globe history: the next year, when Jack Lemmon actually won the award in the same category for "Tuesdays With Morrie," the first thing he said upon taking the stage was (paraphrasing), "In the spirit of Ving Rhames, I'd like to give this award to Jack Lemmon."

inmate profile: Xin Sarith Wuku

With less than a week until the DVD release of The Asylum's 3 Musketeers - directed by Cole McKay off a script from Edward DeRuiter - it's time to take a look at another of the titular heroes, the biggest badass of the group, Xin Sarith Wuku.

Born in Pnom Penh, Phnum Penh, Cambodia, Xin is considered by many - and rightfully so, I think - to be the world's foremost urban ninja, you know, the parkour, free-running, Luc-Besson-endorsed super-rad martial arts form illustrated expertly by the man himself in the embedded video below. Xin has used his spectacular talents as both an actor (Honor, Break, upcoming Project Purgatory Beijing) and a stunt man ("Immigrants," "Deadliest Warrior"), and brings both to the role of "Athos" in 3 Musketeers. From the look of his work in the trailer, we can expect some of the best fight choreography - if not the best fight choreography - the studio has ever produced. I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting super-excited for this one. More so than usual, I mean. Come back Friday for my observation notes, and grab a copy for yourself when the film streets next Tuesday, October 25th.



Hey L.A. Area: A Haunting in Salem Gets a 3D Screening!

Awesome news here if you live in Southern California or plan on being there this weekend: A Haunting in Salem (written by me, directed by Shane Van Dyke) is getting its FIRST EVER SCREENING, and they're showing it in 3D!!!

Courtesy of Shannon Benna, the film's stereographer, and the fine, permissive folks at The Asylum, this horror spectacular launches onto the big screen THIS SUNDAY NIGHT at 7pm at the Downtown Independent Theater, thanks to the Stereo Club of Southern CA (SCSC). There will be a Q&A session featuring Shannon and anyone else she can round up, but the most important thing to recognize here is the FIRST EVER SCREENING - IN 3D!!! - OF A HAUNTING IN SALEM!!!

So get off your couch, cancel your other plans and see this Asylum-classic in a way it should always be seen - in giant-size 3D!!! And if you do go, snap some pix and email them to me; I'm stuck way up here in rainy Oregon and won't be in attendance.

Thanks again to Shannon Benna, the SCSC and of course The Asylum for setting this up!!!

Stellar Short from Asylum Alum!

Director Nick Everhart (666: The Beast, 2012 Doomsday) has just finished an awesome horror short entitled Slash-in-the-Box, and you can check it out (along with some other rad stuff) on his Vimeo site.

Everhart is of the Leigh Scott-Griff Furst era in Asylum history, and still works with those guys today through the production company Active Entertainment, who most recently gave us Swamp Shark. Interesting to note Leigh Scott (Beast of Bray Road, Transmorphers, Dragon) is the d.o.p. here.

Anyway, check out the short - it's really very good - then head over to the film's IMDB page and give it a good rating. Inmates for life!

inmate profile: Michele Boyd

Continuing Committed's spotlighting of the creative talent behind The Asylum's upcoming adventure epic 3 Musketeers, we look now at actress Michele Boyd, who plays "Aramis" in the film, one of the, well, 3 musketeers.

I could take the time to re-work her IMDB bio into my own phrasing, but frankly, this is a big cast and time is of the essence, so pardon my shortcut and peep Ms. Boyd's background:

"Born in Gainesville, Florida, Michele's childhood was spent constantly moving due to her father's Navy career, traveling everywhere from Virginia to Japan. Eschewing the usual career path of most actors, Michele earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior from the University of California, Davis. Besides academia, Michele became an avid snowboarder and active in Hapkido, a street-style martial art that blends Aikido and Tae Kwon Do.

After moving across country yet again to Boston, Michele started traveling down to New York City two or three times a week for auditions and acting training. After landing roles in several independent films, Michele came back to California, signed with a manager and soon landed her first television role as a surgical intern on "Untold Stories of the ER" (2005)".


Pretty impressive stuff, right? Especially the part about her degree in Neurobiology etc from UCAL-Davis. Sheesh, check out the big brain on Ms. Boyd. Curiously enough, 3 Musketeers scribe Ed DeRuiter also has a neuro-degree; he minored in neuroscience at USC. Smart set. My science in college was astronomy, which was pretty much just getting stoned and staring at stars for a semester. I got a C. I'm digressing...


Since getting her big break, Ms. Boyd has worked steadily in film and television, including roles on "Sons of Anarchy," "The Young & the Restless," "Cold Case," "How I Met Your Mother" and - most notably and my personal favorite - in 14 episodes of season 3 of Felicia Day's outstanding series "The Guild," in which Ms. Boyd played "Riley," the dominating and insatiable girlfriend of Zaboo. 3 Musketeers will mark Ms. Boyd's second stay with The Asylum; earlier this year she appeared in Battle Los Angeles as "Pilot 1," the badass that lead the first assault on those lousy aliens.

Prepare yourself for that badass-streak to continue when 3 Musketeers hits DVD on October 25th.

inmate profile: Heather Hemmens

Continuing Committed's spotlight on the creative talent behind The Asylum's next release, 3 Musketeers - on DVD October 25, 2011 - we turn now to another of the titular heroes, D'Artagnan, as portrayed by the lovely and talented Heather Hemmens.

Heather Hemmens was one of those kids born with stars in their eyes, so much so that upon graduation from high school, she hopped on a California-bound bus and set out for L.A., like so many other small-town girls before her. The difference? Ms. Hemmens has mad skills to back up that bold ambition, and almost immediately she began landing small roles in film and television - Dukes of Hazzard, Glory Road, a couple of the "CSIs" - before landing her first regular gig in 2009 on the CW's cheerleading soap opera "Hellcats," on which she played "Alice Verdura" for 21 episodes.

I've actually seen an episode or three of "Hellcats" - no reason - so can personally attest to Ms. Hemmens on-screen presence, which is a combination of beauty, spark and intelligence, a fiesty, fiery personality, the kind you don't give shit to cuz you know she won't take it. In other words, a badass, making her the perfect choice for a musketeer. 

See for yourself Ms. Hemmens commanding personality when 3 Musketeers - directed by Cole S. McKay from a script by Edward DeRuiter - drops on DVD October 25th.

First Stills From Grimm's Snow White!!!

There's been an array of info pertaining to new projects coming out of The Asylum these last several days, and today proved no exception: behold the first production stills from next year's Grimm's Snow White.

This is easily The Asylum film that I'm most looking forward to in 2012 (besides one I wrote), based solely on the talent behind the camera: director Rachel Goldenberg (Sherlock Holmes, The Princess and the Pony) and writer Naomi Selfman (Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus, Mega Python vs Gatoroid) Both of these people are among the best The Asylum employs, and rank high on my personal list of greats: Ms. Selfman's scripts are smart, funny, thrilling and rife with memorable moments, and Ms. Goldenberg's direction - as proved in spades from these stellar stills - is taut, atmospheric, fantastical and utterly captivating. These two talents working together, then, my expectations go through the roof for this one, and this first look at the production only strengthens that conviction.

Grimm's Snow White stars Jane March, Jamie Thomas King and Eliza Bennett (above) as Snow. Grab it on DVD March 13, 2012.

inmate profile: Alan Rachins

As is customary with Asylum films, typically there's a veteran of stage and screen slipped into the cast: in Mega Piranha it was Barry Williams, in Moby Dick  it was Barry Bostwick, in Almighty Thor it was Richard Grieco; in 3 Musketeers, the next release from The Asylum - on DVD October 25th - it's Alan Rachins, an actor with more than 50 roles to his credit.

Rachins began acting in the mid-70's with guest spots here and there on various television shows of the day, including "The White Shadow," "Barnaby Jones" and "Dallas." It wasn't until 1986, however, that Rachins got his big break when he was cast as Douglas Brackman Jr. on the landmark legal series "L.A. Law," where he worked steady for 171 episodes.

When "L.A. Law" ended in 1994, Rachins continued to work steady in television, as well as branching out into film work in movies like Showgirls, Meet Wally Sparks and Leave it to Beaver, before striking TV gold again with his role as Dharma's father on "Dharma & Greg," a gig he held for 119 episodes, meaning the dude rode two series into syndication.

So what exactly does Alan Rachins mean to 3 Musketeers? It means that cast - besides being outfitted with young, fresh, hungry and enthusiastic actors - will be anchored by the venerability Rachins brings to his work. Be he a vicious an uptight lawyer or the complete opposite, a disconnected, weed-growing pacifist, Rachins imbues his characters with a palpable intensity that comes through the screen and strikes a memorable nerve in the audience. Short speak? Dude's gonna nail it. 


Find out for yourself on October 25th when The Asylum's 3 Musketeers explodes on DVD.

11/11/11 Trailer Released

Keeping the news coming in this busy Asylum week - already we've gotten Celebrity Sex Tape info and stills, as well as Air Disaster details - just this morning The Asylum posted the trailer for the upcoming apocalyptic thriller 11/11/11, out 11/1/11 - a few days after the Zombie Apocalypse premiere on SyFy (10/27) and the DVD release of Jared Cohn's Born Bad (11/8) - and this one looks to be a gripping, intense, cerebral drama. Dig the trailer, courtesy of You Tube:


11/11/11 stars Jon Briddell, Hayden Byerly and Erin Coker, and is directed by Keith Allan from a script by he and Kiff Scholl.

inmate profile: Cole S. McKay


Take a look at the picture up there, a good look: the penetrating stare, the awesome fucking mustache, the jacket; that, ladies and gentlemen, is what a Badass looks like.

Cole S. McKay: stunt man extraordinaire turned director. Kinda like Colt Seavers, but real. Earlier this year he directed 200 MPH, The Asylum's white-knuckle racing flick. His latest project? You guessed it, the upcoming Asylum release 3 Musketeers

There isn't a lot of biographical info on Mr. McKay online, but his resume more than speaks for itself. Since 1986 he has served as a stunt man in one capacity or another for 221 films and television productions. 221. Even cooler, know what his first film was? Three Amigos. Uh-huh. Badass.

Other films Mr. McKay defied death in include Star Trek VI, Demonic Toys, Leprechaun, Super Mario Brothers, Lost Highway, Wishmaster 1 & 2, The Devil's Rejects, American Pie Band Camp, a driving double for Kyle Gass in Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny, and Cloverfield. He's also worked with The Asylum several times as the stunt coordinator for The Terminators, Ballistica, Titanic II and Battle of Los Angeles. Badass, badass, badass.


McKay started directing in 1988, and among his more notable films are Star Hunter, co-directed by Fred Olen Ray (father of MSvC, Almighty Thor and 2 Headed Shark Attack director Christopher Ray) starring Roddy McDowell and Stella Stevens, and his last non-Asylum film, 2006's Special Ops: Delta Force, which featured Titanic II and Mega Fault's Bruce Davison.

And the best of all this background is that McKay's storied career path has led him to present moment, on the cusp of releasing his second directorial effort for The Asylum, 3 Musketeers, on DVD next Tuesday, October 25th. His next effort is also kinda Asylum-related: he'll be directing Blackgate, a film written by and starring Asylum vet Paul Logan.

One more time: Badass!

Celebrity Sex Tape Stills & Air Disaster Deets!


Busy news weekend over at The Asylum - which I would have reported on earlier had I not been across the country for my brother's wedding; congrats! - so let's jump right in:

The first stills from Celebrity Sex Tape got posted over on Flickr, and boy does this look like a bawdy good time. From director Scott Wheeler, helmsan of last year's sincerely enjoyable MILF, Celebrity Sex Tape tells the story of a group of friends who secretly record a washed up celeb doing the deed, rocketing them to porn stardom. MILF lead Jack Cullison stars. The film hits DVD on February 14th, that's right, Valentine's Day. Awesome.

Then, as if the above wasn't enough, we also got the first details on Air Disaster: written and directed by Liz Adams - of whom there are a handful on IMDB, so I wasn't sure which one she was - the film is a harrowing tale described as thus: "When a solar storm wipes out the air traffic control system, Air Force One and a passenger jet liner are locked on a collision course in the skies above the midwest."



Air Disaster stars the incredibly rad Robert Carradine (Revenge of the Nerds, The Long Riders, Cannonball!, Lizzy Maguire), the incredibly beautiful Jordan Ladd (Cabin Fever, Club Dread) and the inimitable Gerald Webb (Battle of Los Angeles, 2012 Ice Age, A Haunting in Salem, 2 Headed Shark Attack), and roars onto DVD March 13th, 2012.

Two more great films in what is quickly shaping up to be a pretty rad 2012 for The Asylum...

inmate profile: Edward DeRuiter

With The Asylum's next release, 3 Musketeers, only weeks away (DVD 10.25.11), it's time to turn the Committed spotlight on the creative talent behind The Asylum's take on Alexandre Dumas' seminal adventure novel. And who better to start with than the bard behind the flick, the one and only Edward DeRuiter.

DeRuiter has had many a mention here on the blog, most often for his work as an actor - he's appeared in five Asylum films to date, including leads in 2002's The Surge (or Source) and this year's Battle of Los Angeles, and supporting turns in The Way of the Vampire, War of the Worlds and 3 Musketeers - but lately it seems all I'm talking about is Edward DeRuiter the writer.

In addition to his work on 3M - which by the trailer looks to be intense, action-packed and laced with levity - DeRuiter also supplied the story behind next year's most anticipated film, 2 Headed Shark Attack, which I then turned into a screenplay. I can tell you from reading him that DeRuiter is a highly-intelligent, detail-oriented writer with a good working grasp of military, martial arts, scientific and technical realms; add to this a biting, sarcastic sense of humor and a keen eye for BIG action, and the result is nothing less than explosive direct-to-DVD cinema. 

My predication? Popular opinion will rate 3 Musketeers the best Asylum action flick to date. Earlier this year, 200MPH boasted some of the best action sequences The Asylum's ever produced, and with that film's director, Cole S. McKay, at the helm of DeRuiter's script, the combination should blow away all expectations.

Find out for yourself when 3 Musketeers confuses DVD-goers everywhere on October 25th.

An Asylum Members-Only Site? Yes Please!!!


So, this is some pretty rad news coming out of The Asylum today: seems they're thinking about establishing a members-only fan site where for a nominal fee we committed could get access to loads of cool stuff like exclusive behind-the-scenes video, interviews with cast and crew, info on local events and FREE DVDs. But before they go ahead with it, they want - nay NEED - our invaluable feedback. So over at the Asylum site they've created this survey you can take to give your impressions on what an Asylum fansite should consist of. But wait...there's more. 


As if sharing your opinions with your favorite independent studio wasn't enough, the fine fine folks at The Asylum are sweetening the pot: of everyone who takes the survey, one inmate will be selected at random to receive a FREE COPY of their choice of two SPECTACULAR movies, 3 Musketeers or A Haunting in Salem. I know which one I'd choose. But, you know, decide for yourselves.

I for one love the idea of an Asylum fansite (despite the fact it'll render me all but pointless) because there's so much great stuff happening over there now - an increase in projects, greater quality FX, high-shelf actors bringing genius scripts to life - the studio is really poised to blow-up, culturally-speaking, and people are going to be chomping at the bit to peek behind the curtain. The only thing that could make this cooler is if they throw in satin jackets for all members.

But that's just what I think; jump over to the Asylum site, take the survey and let them know what YOU think. And spread the word!

First Details on CELEBRITY SEX TAPE!!!

It was recently announced in an interview with Asylum producer David Michael Latt that there was a new sex comedy in production from the studio, Celebrity Sex Tape. Well, in typical Asylum fashion, no sooner do we learn of it than the darn thing's near-done. And over at the Asylum site, they've put up the first details. Check out the plot:

"A group of college nerds become overnight sensations when they secretly record a washed up celebrity having sex and post the tape on the internet." 

I like that concept, smarter than your average "get-me-laid" sex comedy. It comes courtesy of a triad of writers, Jonny Haut, Pat Sheehan and Matt Short. There wasn't a Johnny Haut on IMDB, there were like, seven Pat Sheehan's, and I think Matt Short may be involved with Spike TV's "MANswers," but my awesome research skills aside, it's fair to assume this is a trio of newcomers, which means fresh jokes.

As far as the cast is concerned, it features the amiable Jack Cullison, star of last year's highly-enjoyable MILF, Emily Addison of copious shorts, Jonathan Brett of Stupid Teenagers Must Die, Colbert Alembert, Howard Cai, Andre Meadows and Julie Barzman.

Of particular interest is the film's director, Scott Wheeler; this will mark Wheeler's fourth time as a director - after Journey to the Center of the Earth, Transmorphers 2: Fall of Man, and MILF -  and he's also been behind the lens of a few other Asylum movies: he was a still photographer on Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls, camera operator on Sunday School Musical and Merlin and the War of Dragons, and most recently he served as the director of photography on the visually lush Sherlock Holmes

Celebrity Sex Tape is slated to drop - you guessed it - on Valentine's Day of next year.

In other news, the page for Amityville Haunting has also appeared over at the Asylum site. We already knew this was a "found-footage" film, so details are appropriately scarce. This is all we know about the plot: 

"Actual found footage that documents the horrifying experience of a family that moved into the infamous haunted house." 

Not a lot to go on, but scares and ghostly-goings-on seem guaranteed. Amityville Haunting comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on December 13th of this year. You've been warned. 

outside the walls: October DVD Releases


I recognize that not all great films are made exclusively by The Asylum and that, in fact, there's a whole world of film outside these walls, some of which might actually interest Asylum fans - when they're not watching or re-watching Asylum films, of course. And, being as I'm only looking out for your viewing well-being, here's a peek at some other DVD releases this month which might satiate you between Asylum releases. But remember, as always, Sweet n' Low ain't sugar.

OCTOBER 4




A Haunting in Salem (!!!!!!!!!)


written by H. Perry Horton (me)
directed by Shane Van Dyke


starring Bill Oberst Jr., Courtney Abbiatti, Jenna Stone, Nicholas Harsin, Gerald Webb, Carey Van Dyke














Fast Five

featuring Geoff Webb (I Am Omega, 6 Guns, dir. of upcoming Amittyville Haunting)










Isolation





 





Moby Dick














Phase 7














Scream 4














SnowBeast











OCTOBER 11






Arena














Blood Curse














The Child's Eye














Devil's Playground














The Hillside Stranglings














The Inner Room














Root of Evil














Swamp Shark 

dir. by G.E. Furst (100 Million B.C.)












VLOG








 









Zombie Diaries 2










OCTOBER 18






Attack the Block














Beware














Freerunner














Hellraiser: Revelations

starring Jay Gillespie (#1 Cheerleader Camp, 2010 Moby Dick)


















The Howling Reborn











Red State











OCTOBER 25






3 Musketeers

written by Edward DeRuiter
directed by Cole S. McKay


starring Heather Hemmens, Xin, Michelle Boyd, Alan Rachin, David Chokachi
















Captain America: The First Avenger












Mothman














Rare Exports