"DAY: CONTAGIUM" DAILY NEWS
OCT. 21, 2005 --
THIS FILM IS GOING TO DIRECT TO DVD AND CAN BE ORDERED THROUGH FANGORIA.COM AS FAR AS I'VE HEARD.
JUNE 28, 2004 --
Diamond Dead. Dead Reckoning. Dawn of the Dead. With all the new and remade zombie movies flying around, the horror community was understandably confused when Fangoria magazine reported that yet another one, titled Day Of The Dead: Contagium, had nearly completed production. Day of the . . . what? Immediately the questions began to emerge. What exactly was this film? Was it a remake of George A. Romero's original Day of the Dead? Was it a sequel or an unofficial fourth Dead film? Was Romero involved? Who the hell was behind this?
Some info has come to light. A company called Taurus Entertainment, which owns the rights to the title ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…“Day of the DeadÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â (not to mention the names of two other Romero films, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…“CreepshowÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…“Two Evil EyesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â), has constructed a movie that isn't exactly a sequel and bears only a passing resemblance to a prequel. If anything, it exists in a sort of parallel universe to that of Romero's zombie apocalypse. Directed by Taurus president Jim Dudelson and vice president Ana Clavell, the movie features an unknown cast in a reworking of zombie mythology that begins with an escaped biological weapon. The deadly virus is deposited in a military hospital, but when that structure is destroyed in a cover-up and replaced years later by a mental hospital, the still viable virus is soon rediscovered by the hospital's patients with predictably macabre results.
Stills and a brief trailer on the movie's official website certainly showcase an impressive amount of zombie gore, but it remains to be seen whether the movie can hold its own against Romero's classic trilogy or even recent contenders like 28 Days Later and the Dawn remake. The Horror Channel's Don Kaye recently sat down with Jim Dudelson and Ana Clavell to find out . . .
Don Kaye: How did Taurus Entertainment acquire the rights to Day of the Dead? Jim Dudelson: Taurus Entertainment Company was formed as a joint venture with United Artists Theater Circuit (UATC), which owned United Film Dist. The new company was formed to produce and/or distribute feature films. Films produced were Day of the Dead, Creepshow, Kentucky Fried Movie, and Knightriders. In 1990 Taurus purchased 50% of UATCÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ownership in Taurus.
Taurus has produced or distributed movies for the last 14 years including Two Evil Eyes, Horror 101, Wired, and 20 additional titles. Taurus also produces TV series. The next film to be produced by Taurus will be Creepshow.
DK: When did the idea come to make another film using that title? JD: The idea to make a film that reflects the original Day of the Dead has been in the works for at least five years, well before this current Zombie wave. Day is a film we all love in the company and are proud to represent.
DK: Just having the title meant that you couldn't make an out-and-out remake, right? JD: Yes, it did. But that has never been the plan.
DK: Any consternation about fans discovering this is not an "official" Romero zombie film and feeling misled?JD: No one has been mislead; from the get-go, everybody has been informed that this effort was inspired by Romero's trilogy. The storyline exists in parallel point and in no way attempts to remake the original.
DK: Where did the story come from, and how does it relate to the "Dead" universe created by Romero? JD: The story weaves in the state of crisis we all experienced back in '68: the Vietnam War, the Cold War. Those were the days in which nuclear war was around the corner. This is the atmosphere in which Night of the Living Dead was born, and true to the spirit of all three movies, it contains potent social commentary and lots of blood, guts, and gore.
DK: Is this a sequel in the most familiar sense of the word?JD: Not at all. It's a prequel, sequel, tribute -- all combined into one.
DK: Have you made Romero aware of the movie or contacted him about it in any way? JD: Absolutely. He knows about the movie.
DK: What new elements do you believe you add to the zombie mythos? What makes your living dead different from those seen in Romero's movies?JD: We explore a possible origin for the zombie disease -- a contagium (virus), probably manufactured as a Cold War weapon, although we just leave it at finger pointing -- and we have intermediate stages of the undead. Those directly exposed to the virus die and start mutating to the point that they can only feed on human flesh in order to sustain the new organisms they have become: intelligent, stronger, powerful, and virtually indestructible. While in this early stage, anyone they infect also dies and mutates in a horrible way -- misshapen, half-cooked, half-witted. And finally, anyone who gets bitten by this second type of undead becomes a zombie as we know it.
DK: You propose a scientific answer to the question of how the zombies came about, which Romero abandoned early on. Why did you choose to go this route?JD: We live in a world were Rift Valley Virus and Ebola lurk just at the corner of the eye, where governments have taken experimentation underground and have fashioned terrible things like weapon-grade anthrax , where we're still debating whether AIDS was naturally spread or manmade. Man has a long history of tampering with nature and getting away with it . . . or are we?
DK: Does the film have the same kind of explicit gore we are used to seeing? JD: Yes.
DK:Are you trying to get a theatrical release, or will this go straight to video? JD: The distribution entity will make the decision. We're preparing the materials for all formats.
DK: What do you (Jim Dudelson) enjoy about horror that makes you want to direct it? JD: IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m very character driven, and I have found more opportunities to develop and work with motivation in the horror genre.
DK: What do you (Ana Clavell) enjoy about horror that makes you want to direct it?Ana Clavell: Sheer creative use of the medium. You can tackle big subjects without being dogmatic or preachy and throw in a generous amount of terror and suspense to drive the point home.
There ya have it, guys and ghouls. Is there another "Darkest Day of Horror" on our horizons? Only time will tell.
JUNE 19, 2004 --
|CONTAGIUM ZOMBIES REVEALED
By Johnny Butane
Contributing Sources: Day of the Dead
More and more stuff is coming out surrounding Taurus Entertainment's "sequel" to George Romero's Day of the Dead. Even though the plot doesn't seem to follow much of anything in the Romero universe, Day of the Dead: Contagium is utilizing their rights to the title anyway.
Over on the official site for the film, there's now a new behind-the-scenes section up. The main slice of this is a video that is essentially a look at what went on on the other side of the camera, and some zombie action. There's also section in which Greg McDougalls (formerly a student of Tom Savini's Makeup School) explains all the work that went into creating the living dead. Good stuff!
Just click here to be magically transported to the official DotD: Contagium site, and when you get there just click the "Behind The Scenes" link under the title. Dig it!
JUNE 12, 2004 -- OLD SEMI-RELATED NEWS!
|LET'S DO THE CREEPSHOW AGAIN?
By Ryan Rotten
When Anchor Bay released Creepshow 2 on DVD a few years back, a number of us ghouls sat around the tube to revisit a sequel that we only had dim memories of (well, some of us, at least) and was a follow-up to an anthology that many of us held close to our decrepit hearts. Suffice to say, our bout with the second Creep was a dismal one - the film just didn't hold up - but the experience didn't stifle one thought: What if a third Creepshow was made? There's no shortage of classic King mini-tales worthy of adaptation, so why not? Well, for one, Hollywood has shown no interest in doing big screen anthologies...
Don't bother telling that to Taurus Entertainment because I don't think they care. The production company has moved rather quickly on one property they own - Day of the Dead - with a sequel (Day of the Dead: Contagium) in the can and prepping for distribution. Now the Corner has learned from various sources that Jim Dudelson and the Taurus team are eyeing to take the Creepshow into trilogy territory by making a third film. How can this be? They own the rights. Many full moons ago we ran a piece in which Dudelson mentioned a Creepshow animated project, I guess since then their flirtations with the property has mutated into something much more ambitious. This latest development now disputes the rumblings Creature Corner has heard that Richard Rubinstein was looking to remake Creepshow.
MAY 31, 2004 -- THE FIRST OFFICAL TRAILER IS UP!
WWW.DAYOFTHEDEADMOVIE.NET has released it at last. If you want your first real look into the film, check it out at the above site.
The trailer plays like this:
There is some incoherent babbling about a pilot crashing, the details are pretty heavy for five seconds, while this is going on a solider in the 1960s is fiddling with something...a vial, maybe. I couldn't really make it out.
We cut to: A mental institute in present day as one of the patients continues to lecture about the story.
We cut between: footage of the soldiers running, a patient dying -- possibly becoming a zombie.
We see the zombie facing the game in the photo stills in action and we fade to the logo.
MAY 12, 2004
Not so long ago, word on a sequel to Romero's Zombie classic "Day of the Dead" sprang up out of nowhere to bite us fans on the ass. The film is titled "Day of the Dead: Contagium" (see synopsis at the end of this interview) and no word on this sequel had hit the waves until recently. A teaser trailer was also put out and to me, it sported shades of " Children of the Living Dead". Luckily, it was only a teaser shot for the AFM (American Film Market) and not footage from the actual film. Arrow recently hit up the directors of said sequel, James Dudelson and Ana Clavell, in order t
ARROW: Whats your favorite horror movie?
Jim Dudelson: Day of the Dead, Dead of Night.
Ana Clavell: Too many to mention...definitely all of the Dead movies.
ARROW: Who wrote the screenplay for Day of the Dead Contagium and when was it written?
Jim Dudelson: Ana Clavell (co-director), December 2003.
ARROW: Was George Romero ever approached to be part of the project in some capacity? If not, why not?
Jim Dudelson: I cannot answer the question at this time.
ARROW: Okay...so when and where was the film shot?
Jim Dudelson: April 2004 Norwalk, CA (where parts of the movie The Ring was shot and a location in LA (where parts of Silence of the Lambs was shot)
ARROW: Where is it now in terms of production (Post?)
Jim Dudelson: Four months. We hope to have our first screening in November.
ARROW: What was the movie shot on?
Jim Dudelson: 35MM.
ARROW: Can you give us an idea as to how much the budget was?
Jim Dudelson: Not for publication at this time.
ARROW: So who was responsible for the special effects in the picture?
Jim Dudelson: Wells/Marks Media.
ARROW: What's the ratio in terms of CGI and practical effects in the flick?
Jim Dudelson: About 15-20%; some of them are pretty unobtrusive.
ARROW: Would you say your prequel is Day of the Dead (original) gory?
Jim Dudelson: Yes.
ARROW: In your opinion what is the best gore set piece within the film? The one that will blow our fanboy sox off!
Jim Dudelson: Too many to choose from.
ARROW: ...so are there any name stars starring in the movie?
Jim Dudelson: No, just good talented actors.
ARROW: Why was the film kept under wraps for so long in terms of the press? I mean, we all just heard about it!
Jim Dudelson: Because I didnt want the press bothering us while we were shooting.
ARROW: As a director, what were you aiming for on a visual standpoint? Flashy? Gloomy? What not?
Jim Dudelson: Naturalistic; progressively becomes darker and bleaker. The style is fluid with multiple cameras hand-held.
ARROW: Where is the film now in terms of distribution?
Jim Dudelson: We have three offers as of today.
ARROW: When will we be able to see a real trailer (not the AFM teaser)?
Jim Dudelson: In about three weeks.
ARROW: What's next on your plate as a director?
Jim Dudelson: Creepshow.
Ana: Untitled Horror project and Creepshow.
WHO HAS THE DISEASE?
By Johnny Butane
Contributing Sources: The New DOTD
Wow. What looked like it was going to be just another bizarre, obscure zombie film with loose ties to Romero's trilogy, like Children of the Dead, is turning into a self-promoting machine. Let's hope it's all worth it.
The guys over at the official site for Day of the Dead: Contagium received some more exclusives from Taurus Entertainment, this time in the form of a plot and images. Above, your cast. From left to rightyou have Julian Thomas as "Sam, Justin Ipock as "Issac", Laurie Maria Baranyay as "Emma", Stan Klimecko as "Boris", and John F. Henry II as "Jackie". Below, the plot.
Sometime in 1968 a strange viral outbreak is contained within the walls of a military hospital in Pennsylvania: all those exposed are destroyed and burned to the ground. A wall of silence befalls the incidence, and soon enough only a vague myth remains.
The hospital becomes a civilian mental treatment center.
Set in a mental hospital in Pennsylvania, five patients about to be released uncover a secret buried within the compound and unleash a virus (contagium) designed to force Humanity to evolve into powerful creatures capable of astounding feats and incredible cruelty. In order for this new Human to survive it needs to feed on human flesh: but a bite from these creatures creates a new state of existence, the Creature subordinate, the Living Dead. up to our terrified heroes to choose to accept this fate or to fight it, even if it means their own destruction.
Although special effect heavy, the core of the story is both compelling and tragic. Its the age-old dilemma of transcending our shortcomings and overcoming our fears in spite of what the sacrifice may entail.
Day of the Dead: Contagium is homage to the Dead trilogy, it hints at a possible origin to the Zombie phenomena in a manner that incorporates all known lore. It also covers some of the lesser known aspects of the original transformation and it imagines the last moments before the End of Humanity.
There will be four types of creatures, the traditional zombie type included. A third of the budget is geared towards building these Creatures, the likes of which have never been seen before.
Okay, it may call itself and "homage", but to me that sounds like they're taking advantage of the remake of Dawn's popularity and the fact they own the rights to the original Day and making their own zombie movie outside of Romero's universe. Whether that is a good or bad thing remains to be seen.
THE REAL DEAD STORY
By Johnny Butane
Contributing Sources: Wet 'N Wild Radio
Now, see, this is more like it.
After the uproar that arose on the 'net recently surrounding the teaser for Day of the Dead: Contagium, the sequel to Romero's third zombie film that was done by rights holder Taurus Entertainment with no input from Romero at all, I really thought this was going to be another Children of the Living Dead type scenario. Turns out it might actually be a lot better.
Taurus got a hold of the guys over on Wet N' Wild Radio, who did so much work getting as much info as possible out there about the Dawn of the Dead remake, and verified that the teaser that is online does not feature any footage from the film. The teaser was shot to generate interest at AFM (though I really don't know how that could've worked, it ain't high quality stuff...) and reflects nothing about the movie you're going to see.
The films' been optioned by a few companies already, but Taurus seems to want to hold out for a possible theatrical release instead of DTV. As we reported on here from a scooper who said they had worked on the film, the movie is both a prequel and a sequel to Night of the Living Dead and Day of the Dead, respectively.
There is an official site online as of now that doesn't have much on it, but it's a lot better looking than the Taurus one. It was put together by the the guy that did Wet 'N Wild Radio, so it's quality stuff. Check it out here!
|THE CONTAGIUM SPREADS
By Johnny Butane
Contributing Sources: "RJ Sevin"
First, we discover out of virtually nowhere that a Day of the Dead sequel had finished filming. Then, just a few days ago, we got some news from a reader who says she was a part of the work done on the sequel, called Day of the Dead: Contagium, and even gave us a bit of plot for the movie (here). Now, a trailer.
It's simple and short, so it's no surprise that it's already up on Taurus Entertainment's website and who knows, it may have already been up there for a while. The point is, now we know about it and knowing is, as always, half the battle.
I can't honestly say if it gives anything away as to the quality of the film itself. It's basically a long tracking shot with some phrases over it about the relation of night to dawn to day, with a zombie at the end. And that "artwork" you see at the top? That seems to be the official poster. Shudder.
Check out the trailer here!
A DEAD PLOT?
By Johnny Butane
I'll just get this out the way right now: there is a fantastic chance this is all bullshit, sent to us for the purposes of someone out there having a good laugh. It does happen from time to time, so for now we'll just say this story is for an amusing bit of info, whether or not it's true remains to be seen.
We got an e-mail last night from someone saying they were lucky enough to play an extra in the recently reported on Day of the Dead sequel (read about it here), and was able to dish out some plot for us;
"Anyhow, I wasn't able to read a FULL version of the script, but basically, the movie starts out as a prequel set in 1968 at a military hospital. An "alien space virus" infects a man who ends up biting and attacking the doctors and nurses at the hospital after being set on fire. The "virus" breaks out and a bunch of army soldiers come to the hospital to shoot everyone in the head and contain the virus.
Flash forward to the present and a group of people at a ravine find a test tube with the virus in it and all hell breaks loose. The lead female character is pregnant and has an alien baby at the end of the movie."
Considering the scooper said she didn't get to read the full script, I'm sure we're missing something there, assuming any of it is true, but it really does sound like the kind of cheese-fest they would make and slap a Day of the Dead moniker on.
As I said previously, this could all very well be bullshit, but there's just something about it that sounds legit...I guess we'll find out soon enough.
A NEW DAY RISING?
By Johnny Butane
Contributing Sources: Fangoria
Oh, goodie, somebody made a sequel to Day of the Dead! And before it was announced that it had finished shooting in L.A. over on Fango today, I don't think anyone had any idea it was actually being made.
Now, the question is, is it an actual sequel to the final zombie film in Romero's unholy trilogy? Or are we looking at another Children of the Living Dead situation?
The film was made by Taurus Entertainment who, as we've pointed out before here on the site, own the rights to Day as well as Two Evil Eyes. It was directed by Taurus president Jim Dudelson, who was also responsible for the Poe adaptation Morella, the first horror movie Bo Derek ever starred in, Horror 101, and Museum of the Dead, which we've heard is awful. What's it about? Damn fine question, I guess Taurus overlooked that in the announcement.
The film is called Day of the Dead: Contagium (which is a real word, I looked it up), and just might not suck if the fates are smiling on it...Fangoria promises more details on it very soon, so we'll see what comes up.
INFORMATION COURESTY WWW.CREATURE-CORNER.COM