Lions Gate opened up Friday with a bang and blasted the audience with what seemed like dozens of kick-arse horror films coming later this year and early next. They hit us with everything they had planned: Ring, Ring 2: Spiral, Ring 0: Birthday, Dark Water, Ju-on: The Grudge, Pulse, Haute Tension, Open Water, Saw and Undead. They have more on their slate, but that was the major focus. Inside you’ll find a report from their panel, which also featured appearances by Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan of Open Water! Read on for the skinny…
The Lions Gate panel opened with a bang- only no one seemed to know what hit em’. They busted out a trailer for the upcoming J-Horror collection, which are six Asian Horror films by the same producer being released here on DVD this April. The six films shown in the trailer were Ring (review), Ring 2: Spiral, Ring 0: Birthday, Dark Water (review), Ju-on: The Grudge (, review #2) and Pulse (review). I’ve seen all of these movies and I know they kick major ass, so now that you know they exist, watch for them this April.
Then they showed a trailer for Ju-on, which did fantastic this weekend in select theaters. They followed it by a trailer for Undead (review #1, review #2), which received major applause when it finished. The next trailer made you want to make sure to keep some wire cutters on you, the trailer for Saw (review #1, review #2), which also screened the same night at the Gas Lamp theaters. Next up, they showed an entire scene from the long-delayed Haute (High) Tension (review)- the reason for the delay might be because they will possibly overdub the voices since the film has barely any talking in it. The clip they showed is proof of that! The scene takes place in a bathroom where this killer is hunting down his prey- its a very dark scene with no talking. This was my favorite film to be released in 2004 until Saw blew my friggin mind. Last but not least they finished with a clip from Open Water (review #1, review #2, review #3), which showed the couple in peril in the middle of the ocean.
Then someone from Cinefantastic joined the panel to introduce the rest of the fun- or boredom to some. They gave the fans of Punisher a taste of the upcoming DVD- but what they chose to show made no sense. They showed a featurette with Avi Arad and Gartn Ennis of Marvel and more as they took us through the history of the Punisher character. It was a cool featurette, but to show us at the con? Come on! They should have showed something that involved the making of the movie or something. B-o-r-i-n-g!
Then they brought out the producer for Saw. He talked about how the director, James Wan (interview), was heavily influenced by Dario Argento, Se7en and Cube. He felt that the ‘dummy’ in the movie was a huge selling point and that it needed to be integrated more in the film. His next movie is about a ventriloquist doll in the vein of magic. They both feel dummies are damn creepy! During the panel, they showed a clip from Saw, which got people mega pumped. Leigh Whannell’s character is in his apartment when he realizes someone’s in his place. He grabs his camera and starts taking photos in the pitch black to find the culprit. Suddenly there’s a laugh, a twisted laugh- its that freaky dummy. Leigh beats the crap out of it with a bat and then heads over to check out the closet, where he hears something. He flashes the camera and we see some dude wearing a pig creature mask jump on him. The scene was highly effective and scary as hell.
After a big cheer, they announced a clip from Open Water, which is when about 2/3 of the people in the room left- I guess no one’s excited about the film? It’s too bad they left, because I really enjoyed this portion of the panel, it was probably the only panel where stupid moronic questions weren’t asked. Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis, the stars of the film, were brought to the table and had tons to say. Blanchard was told when she auditioned that it would be a really rough shoot with sharks and that if she couldn’t handle it, she should save them the time and energy now.
Daniel talked about how much trust he had in director Chris Kentis. He explained how they only had a limited time to shoot so they were well prepared and had various background meetings.
Blanchard responded with talk about how she felt that the directing team was very gentle and supportive. She said everyone had a blast and had tons of fun.
Then someone asked a great question, how much of the film is them acting, and how much is just pure terror? Daniel said he was excited the entire time and never scared, while Blanchard said she was scared as hell, even though they only shot with sharks for two days. She said they told them to stay “calm and quiet” around them. She was freaked out when the camera crew would pull back for a long shot and they could barely see each other- the fear of really being lost at sea scared them both.
Then they talked about their accidents on the set. They both got stung multiple times by jellyfish, while on the first day of shooting Blanchard got stung by a Barracuda. She says in its defense, “we were on his turf.” Daniel blew out his knee playing volleyball and had to have surgery, which caused an eight month delay on filming! I would have been so pissed off if I were Kentis.
Another interesting thing was how they got in with the sharks. They poured tons of blood in the water to have them swarm and then Daniel and Blanchard were supposed to just jump in the middle of these dozens of sharks! She said she was committed to the film and couldnt turn back, so she toughed it out- even though she was terrified.
Then the conversation was shifted back to production, where Blanchard joked about how she loved not having to do her make-up every morning. She could just roll out of bed and go to the set and shoot. They both love dhow there were only four people working on the film, so there were no bull**** politics. They also talked about how the diving industry was really upset about this film and are afraid it will hurt their businesses, while Daniel says he’s now hooked on diving.
They closed by explaining how “having real sharks adds realism,” which in my opinion will make a better movie.
That’s it from the Lions Gate panel. There is so much great horror to look forward to through 2005 thanks to Lions Gate Films- the better they do, the better the horror genre will do!
More from Comic Con 2004 coming soon. Follow the progress here.