Hey all! ESCAPE FROM THE DARK DIMENSIONS (a screenplay that I had the pleasure of working on as co-writer and a film I’m slated to act in – it’s in the same vein as BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA btw) is being shopped around at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Writer/Director David Cholewa (who’s prior feature DEAD SHADOWS was distributed in over 25 territories and screened at the Sitges Film Festival) and Producer Sidney Chiu will be on hand pushing the project. They are presently in the process of attaching name talent to the film. Check out the synopsis and one-sheet below! I had lots of fun with this one, it’s a crazy ride! Kill it boys!!
“When best friends Gabe and John meet up at a local bar to discuss plans for Gabe’s upcoming bachelor party, they never expected to get caught in a battle between good and evil. After running for their lives to escape the clutches of a psychotic vigilante cop named Largo, with a serious axe to grind, along with his furious henchmen, they seek refuge in a decrepit old community center where an unspeakable act has occurred. The brilliantly deranged mathematician and master of the kabbalah, Rabbi Sandoval, has perfected a formula to open a portal which will destroy creation itself. All the Rabbi needs is one more sacrifice to complete his evil scheme. Now, Gabe and John are forced to make common cause with Largo, and two of the building original inhabitants, an old blind man, Isaac, who is more than he seems, and his young daughter Tsofia , to fight their way up through the floors, each of which is protected by a supernatural guardian more terrifying than the last, and somehow prevent Sandoval from finishing the ritual and opening the seventh portal. Will they be able to stop the ultimate doom and make it back to the world they know? Or has time really run out?”
Looking back at 2015, all I remember off hand are two things: 1- Greg Plitt died out of no where on January 17 of 2015 (a man who helped me get back on track via his site/videos years ago. His passing prompted me to go back to his site and once again he helped a lot this year) and my film THE SHELTER, which took over the bulk of my thoughts and efforts. The film resulted in some positive things like cool festival runs, positive reviews, meeting new people, making new contacts and new opportunities arising.
Work hard – play hard. Always.
It also came with its fair share of hardships (that I will go into when all is said and done some day – I may write a book ) and some trial by fire i.e. gaining further knowledge as to the current state of the film market through my mistakes. Shelter aside, I actually had to look back at my 2015 pictures to remind me of what else I did that year and yeah, I had yet another groovy year of doing what makes me happy: training, nature, my friends, traveling and challenging myself.
Top of my head here are some of my favorite personal moments of 2015!
Tackled one of the biggest mountains I have ever scaled. What a rush. I want more!
My dad got hit with larynx cancer early this year. I was sure he was a goner, but the man fought (respect) and with the help of our support, he prevailed. Happy to still have him around.
In Paris, France with the Dead Shadows cast/crew for an autograph session. It was so cool to see everybody again, to be in Paris, a city that I love, and to spend time with the Cholewa clan aka awesome people.
The Shelter had its world premiere at Frightfest in the UK and we got lots of solid reviews out of it. It was a great moment to share with exec producer/buddy Berge Garabedian, Seeing old friends (Richard Cosgrove!) and drinking Trooper Ale were also big pluses :)
Spent even more time at the lake house. Can’t go wrong when your time is all about nature, training, reading, exploring, writing and the water.
Although the Sitges Film Festival The Shelter screening didn’t go as well as I wanted it to for varied reasons (image problems on our DCP being one of them), I got to hang with my brother Mike Hostench, hit some fly parties, appreciated the setting once again, had fun with Rurik Salle and met new great peeps like Julien Seri and Pascal Sid. VIVA SITGES!
Eric Red and I worked on the same set together for the first time time since 100 Feet. This time I did second unit directing/camera work and took on set pics. Without going into details; the war that was this set solidified my brotherhood with Eric. And for that and the experience – I was grateful…
Streamlining The Shelter, which is a film that addresses spirituality or lack of, has been responsible for an evolution in my own spiritual path. Hence after Sitges, I spend a week in Barcelona with my bro Gonzalo. We wound up having a pilgrimage of sorts and I found it very rewarding.
I was very happy to see The Shelter screen at the prestigious A Night of Horror Film Festival in Australia. The crowd dug it and star Michael Pare won a career achievement award for his work in the film. Twas a good ending for The Shelter in 2015
At Greg Plitt’s place of death. It was very important for me to pay respect. He inspired/motivated me so much all year, it was the least I could do. It took hours to find the exact spot of his passing. Was worth it. RIP Legend.
In terms of negatives, I’m not one to dwell on those cause, well, what will that achieve? Nothing. I’ll just say that the odd energy around The Shelter gave me a run for my patience, maximum effort often led to maximum frustrations as opposed to results and knives stabbed in my back here and a severe “misjudgement of character on my part” there should be noted… nothing new at this point, people are people. Lastly, my 14 year old dog is on her way out (going deaf, blind and very old) it’s coming and I am bracing myself… such is life.
My dog Toby can’t swim alone anymore…she’s too old. I still have her work-out though. Use it or lose it.
I feel very positive in terms of 2016 though (just got back from a stay in the wilderness – that always sets me right)! The Shelter will screen at a handful of Festivals and will lock distribution, am pumped to get my next film The Prize off the ground, I’m starting boxing again (after dealing with a stubborn tennis elbow in 2015 that got in my way, I finally healed it), I’ll be part of handful of exciting projects (as a writer and actor), already have some traveling on the horizon, mother nature is always in my plans and I will focus on awakening by creative side again, specially when it comes to writing for myself. Producing The Shelter in 2015 kind of numbed by creative juices, I won’t let that happen this year. That’s it in a nutshell! Welcome to 2016 people! I leave you with my 2016 National Anthem:
Hey all! I’m back from Paris, France and I am happy that I got to support the French release of DEAD SHADOWS in person. Of course its home country was the last to distribute it, but hey better late than never. I will personally always look back at DEAD SHADOWS fondly. The flick means a lot to me for many reasons and allow me to share with you the main one: You see, at the end of 2009 I had a near stroke. It was one of the scariest moments of my life and it acted as a trigger for changes I HAD TO make. At the same time, the end of 2009 was when the film market bubble burst and the movie projects (i.e years of work) I had going went tits up. So all that to say, I was not doing too well. It took the bulk of 2010 for me to change my lifestyle and get my health, drive and my mind back on track (hardest year of my life thus far). And although I had made some major headway come 2011, I was still dealing with leftovers of that awful night, something I was still learning to deal with: random anxiety/panic attacks.
With Producer/Director/French brother David Cholewa.
So in 2011 when Director/Producer David Cholewa asked me to play John in DEAD SHADOWS, the film resulted in me getting back on the “film biz horse” after basically taking a year and half off to heal and rebuild myself. I hadn’t acted in anything since the near stroke, apart from a short stint on a webseries (which I did right after said life uppercut, thinking it would help me psychologically – it did not, – I was a scarred and overweight mess). Hence at the time, I perceived DEAD SHADOWS as the kick-off to the NEW beginning I was striving towards and I was right, it was and I haven’t looked back since. What doesn’t kill you… you know the rest
On that, a big thank you (s) to David Cholewa for involving me in this adventure, to Sylvie Cholewa and Laurie Cholewa for their kindness and hospitality (ratatouille!), to the cast/crew that were a pleasure to work with, to Producer Julien Dunand for also having me onboard and to the peeps who have supported the picture. Here are some pics from the signing in Paris (at the Metaluna Store), which also acted as a sort of reunion for us! It was great to see everybody! A little older, a little wiser – still hungry! With the film having had its home turf wide release; I can now say with a straight face that my DEAD SHADOWS ride is over. Lets get that sequel going!
David Cholewa’s DEAD SHADOWS will finally come full circle and be released on disk in its home country of France on April 7th. To celebrate, there will be a signing event with some of the DEAD SHADOWS cast and crew on April 4th at the Metaluna Store (7 rue Dante), which will of course sell the disk, and I am happy to announce that I will be there to partake in the event.
Here’s who will be there thus far: Co Writer, Director and Co Producer David Cholewa, fellow actors Rurik Salle and Fabian Wolfrom, editor César Ducasse and producer Julien Dunand
Here’s the film’s synopsis:
Dead Shadows tells the terrifying story of a young man, named Chris (Wolfrom), whose parents were brutally killed 11 years ago, on the same day that Halley’s comet could be seen from earth. Tonight, a new comet is appearing and everyone in his building are getting ready for a party to celebrate the event. There’s even an apocalypse theory going around. As the night falls, Chris discovers that people are starting to act strange – and it seems to somehow be connected to the comet. They are becoming disoriented and violent and it doesn’t take long before they begin to mutate into something far beyond this world. In a fight for survival, Chris tries to escape from his building with the help of a gun taunting tenant named John (Fallon) – but will they make it out alive?
Eight days till DEAD SHADOWS hits North American shelves via SCREAM FACTORY. The reviews have started pouring in and here are a handful of them. Obviously, I am focusing on the positive ones, I got enough negative joo-joo in my life, no need for me to dwell on the bad vibes. Here ya go!
DAILY DEAD: Definitely more of a Snake Plissken type right from the get-go is Chris’ gruff neighbor John. Played pitch-perfect by Arrow in the Head’s John Fallon, John is the type of guy who voluntarily takes the role of neighborhood protector with his own brand of badass belligerence. When he defends Chris from a group of thugs early on in the film, he tells them they’re out of luck because, “First, there’s only four of you…” Suffice it to say that John’s a fun character to watch, especially when he’s taking on tentacle-waving creatures in do-or-die street brawls. READ REVIEW HERE
POP MATTERS: There are some good performances, notably Blandine Marmigère as Claire, the hot neighbor who teams up with John both before and after the apocalypse begins in earnest, as well as John Fallon as John, a local thug neighbor who provides the anxiety-prone Chris with some much-needed muscle in facing down the evening’s monsters. Then again, the monsters might be the least of John’s worries. READ REVIEW HERE
HORROR 101: Arrow in the Head honcho John Fallon stars as the lad’s uber-badass neighbor, and if you didn’t love him enough already for his well-informed and nimble wordplay, his supercool presence here proves the man is a multitalented emmereffer. READ REVIEW HERE
DVD TALK: Only a few things really stand in the way of Dead Shadows being an instant cult classic. John Fallon is outstanding but kind of underutilized. I honestly would’ve loved to have seen Dead Shadows be a little longer to give Fallon’s ass-kicker another showcase sequence or two. There’s basically nothing in the way of Bruce Campbell’s flavor of endlessly quotable dialogue, and the attempts at upending one genre convention in particular (sorry, trying to keep it spoiler-free here) winds up kind of uneven. READ REVIEW HERE
THE EXAMINER: Dead Shadows” is one of those great “straight-and-to-the-point” movies. It doesn’t take thirty minutes of your valuable time gearing up and going through the motions. It establishes characters quickly and gets to the meat, potatoes, and gore. READ REVIEW HERE
HORRORNEWS: I have to call em like I see em…..this film is a really good find for Shout Factory to bring to the masses. If you only watch it for the creatures, you’ll still find satisfaction, however I simply found myself a fan of this oddity. READ REVIEW HERE
CINEMA CRAZED: One of the highlights of the film is John Fallon who plays an aggressive neighbor who not only senses the alien invasion beforehand, but is prepared to go to war when the shit hits the fan. Fallon really fits the character well, and I was disappointed he didn’t garner much more screen time. Director Cholewa is also a fantastic director, creating a real menace to the city of Paris, especially when the invasion begins. READ REVIEW HERE
ALIEN BEE: Dead Shadows is the best movie of its kind I’ve seen in a long, long time! This sci-fi thriller is a mixture of Lovecraft, Godzilla, Night of the Comet blended with a doomsday/apocalyptic element. This Blu-ray releases on April 29th and is definitely one you’ll want to check out. An instant cult classic! READ REVIEW HERE
HORROR TALK: Fabian Wolfrom does a fine job as Chris, our reluctant hero with a fear of the dark and an unfortunate habit of blacking out in strange bathrooms. The highlight of his performance comes during the party scene as he is forced to react to an increasingly dangerous and bizarre set of surroundings. There are a few inconsistencies in his behavior, but that is likely the fault of the writing and not his performance. John Fallon (100 Feet) and Blandine Marmigère as John and Claire are fine in their supporting roles, but they both disappear for long stretches of time before showing up conveniently whenever Wolfrom needs them. READ REVIEW HERE
I’ll be adding more reviews to this blog entry as they keep pouring in.
With David Cholewa’s DEAD SHADOWS getting its Blu-Ray North American release via SCREAM FACTORY on April 29, 2014, it got me feeling all nostalgic about my time on set. So allow me to share a couple of behind the scenes pics from the shoot with yall! See them all below! Dead Shadows stars Fabien Wolfrom, Rurik Salle, my sorry ass and Blandine Marmigère. It was written by Vincent Jule and produced by Julien Dunand and David Cholewa! You can order the Blu-Ray HERE! It was my first time acting in France and hopefully not the last! I had a blast!
Rehearsal with co-star Fabien Wolfrom.
With Director/Producer David Cholewa and Producer Julien Dunand!
Got my wardrobe on. I miss that hoodie...
Getting my mike on.
Ready for a take!
Waiting for next set-up.
Helping Fabien Wolfrom do chin-ups!
Waiting for set-up, zoning in.
Ready for take 1! I had lots of fun with this scene!
In between takes with David Cholewa. I closed my eyes cause he's just too good looking! ;)
David Cholewa’s DEAD SHADOWS is finally getting its north American release via SCREAM FACTORY on April 29, 2014 (two days after my b-day)! I play badass John in the film. The disk will contain a Making-Of Special Effects Featurette, Deleted Scenes Interview With Director David Cholewa, Theatrical Trailer and Teaser Trailer. It will be available in its original French Language and with an English dub. NOTE: That is not me doing the English dub on the film, so you wanna hear my sweet voice? Watch the subtitled version. Dead Shadows is about:
Dead Shadows tells the terrifying story of Chris (Fabian Wolfrom), whose parents were brutally killed 11 years ago, on the same day that the Halley’s comet could be seen from earth. Tonight, a new comet is appearing and everyone in Chris’s building is getting ready for a party to celebrate the event. As the night falls, Chris discovers that people are starting to act strangely. They are becoming disoriented and violent and it doesn’t take long before they begin to mutate into something far beyond recognition! In a fight for survival, Chris tries to escape from his building with the help of a gun-toting tenant (John Fallon – Death Race, Saw Ii) – but will they make it out alive?
Although David Cholewa’s DEAD SHADOWS will go straight to disk in the States via Scream!Factory come January 2014 (last I heard)! It open theatrical in Japan soon and here’s another slick one-sheet for it – see it below and you can see the first one-sheet HERE. Yup, they renamed the film to PARASITE X and the back on my head never looked so damn cool!
Although DEAD SHADOWS will go straight to disk in he States via Scream!Factory! It will go theatrical in Japan and here’s their groovy one-sheet for it. Yup they renamed the film to PARASITE X. I am told the poster is not yet finished, but hey, looking good to me!
Hey! Just letting you all know that I will be kicking it at the Montreal Comic Con this week. On Saturday the 14 2013, I will take part in the HEROES OF THE NORTH panel as BLACK TERROR. Get all the details HERE! And on Sunday the 15 2013, I will be presenting the Canadian Premiere of David Cholewa’s DEAD SHADOWS, a film that I acted in,at 4PM as part of the MONTREAL HORRORFEST. Get the details HERE! Hope to see some of you there, don’t be shy to come say hello! A great weekend to all!