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CON: Lionsgate

07.31.2008

It’s the first night of the CON, and I pile into room 6 at the San Diego Convention Center for an evening of action, horror, and… opera? You read that right: opera. Lionsgate, the modern day friend of the horror / action genre, is showcasing a couple of their upcoming flicks—maybe you’ve heard of them before? PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, SAW V, and REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA! So sit back, relax, and get ready for a violent good time!

PUNISHER: WAR ZONE

First up is PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, the third re-imagining of the infamous Marvel anti-hero, this time starring Ray Stevenson, hottie Julie Benz, Dominique West, and Wayne Knight (Newman!!!), produced by mega producer Gale Anne Hurd, and directed by Lexi Alexander. Hurd, Stevenson, and Benz were all in attendance to the panel, which kicked started with a brand spankin’ new trailer from the flick, featuring more of West’s Jigsaw character, but similar to what we’ve seen before—you can check out the new trailer below.

 

The trailer was a hit to the hardcore Punisher crowd, who were all happy to see that this Frank Castle is closer to the Marvel Max series, and not the traditional Punisher (like we’ve seen two times before). Personally, I like the more traditional look to Punisher… but I like the badassness of the Max series. Should be interesting to see how it pans out, but judging from the fan reaction in 6B… it’s gonna be a hit. Here are some highlights from the panel:

 

  • WAR ZONE takes place in New York City.
  • Stevenson was cast as the Punisher solely because he looks just like Tim Bradstreets version of the Punisher (Marvel Max series).
  • Director Alexander would have been there, but she just got married… to WAR ZONE’s 1st assistant director—sorry guys, this hot director is now off the market!
  • The cast went through serious military weapons training for the making of this flick.
  • Benz said she’d rather be saved by the Punisher than Rambo—boo!
  • The film’s look was mirrored closely to the panels of the Max comic series.
  • Benz plays the wife to a cop in the film—that’s all the bone we’re thrown about her involvement.
  • Benz and Stevenson were not big comic fans growing up—Benz didn’t really know anything about the Punisher until she was cast in the picture.
  • They all kept saying how brutally violent the film is.
  • Stevenson said he’d return as the Punisher if they were to make a sequel.


    Producer Gale Anne Hurd


    Hottie Julie Benz


    The latest Punisher, Ray Stevenson

    After the good ol’ Q&A panel, they showed us an exclusive Comic-Con clip, featuring a bunch of action clips of the Punisher killing peeps and blowing everyone away. You can now see the clip yourself below:

    After that clip was shown, the crowd went nuts! Could this be THE Punisher movie we’ve been waiting for? I personally liked Dolph Lundgren’s version, but was not a fan of the Thomas Jane version—will Stevenson be able to accurately fill the shoes? If you were to ask these Punisher fans, I think the answer wouldn’t just be ‘yes,’ but ‘F*CK YES!!!’ That’s the kind of a reaction both Lionsgate and producer Hurd was looking for. Violent, gritty, bloody… yes folks, PUNISHER: WAR ZONE could be the film the previous two could never be.

    SAW V

    After the PUNISHER: WAR ZONE filed out, the peeps from SAW V entered the stage and, again, the crowd goes wild. I’m a bit perplexed, as the series seems to have outrun its welcome, but was quickly reminded that it’s still the highest grossing horror franchise of all time, so no shit people were going nuts. Director David Hackl, writers Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, and stars Tobin Bell, Julie Benz, Costas Mandylor, and Scott Patterson were all in attendance, which they kicked off the world premiere of the teaser trailer to SAW V—which you can now check out below.

    Nice, right? Looks just like the previous three… and considering how big the franchise has gotten, I suppose that’s a good thing—well, it’s certainly not a bad thing. Here are some highlights from the panel:

     

  • Part V promises to up the ante on traps—they say they’ve saved the best for this entry.
  • They keep making the SAW films because the story hasn’t really ended yet—and it may take a few more entries for the story to be complete.
  • The same crew was apart of SAW V as the previous three films.
  • Bell said he has been honored to be in this film series after being in the industry for over 30 years.
  • Actors mostly tight-lipped about their roles and their characters—they were good, they didn’t reveal squat!
  • All the actors loved working with Tobin—he was the glue that held them all together.
  • Benz claims this film was scary to film, and that the final product will scare your socks off!
  • The box trap (as seen in the teaser) was so scary to film, that the actor almost couldn’t finish the first take—he was hyper-ventilating because the trap scared him SO bad.
  • The only kind of movies that scare Bell are bad ones… ha, but really. The original DIABOLIQUE scared the crap out of him as a kid—he also thinks very highly of JACOB’S LADDER.

  • A hottie and Tobin Bell


    Benz again and Costas Mandylor


    Writers Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, and star Scott Patterson

    After the Q&A, which really didn’t reveal anything, they were cool enough to show us the very first glimpse of one of the traps our man Jigsaw (or at least his little puppet friend) has sprung on another one of society’s trashy figures. The clip went a little something like this:

    A guy covered in tattoos wakes up chained to a cement block in a disgustingly dark and gritty basement of a room, his neck locked some sort of contraption. He’s screaming at no one in particular, as the room is empty, screaming to let him go. A TV goes on in the corner of the room, and our buddy the Jigsaw puppet is there. Jigsaw’s voice comes up, giving this guy a choice: get chopped in half, or crush your hands. He has sixty seconds to make his choice. Chopped in half? Yes… by a swinging pendulum with a axe-like blade! Yup, it’s your typical PIT AND THE PENDULUM scenario, and boy is it a doozy! After screaming once the pendulum starts swinging, he decides to stick his hands in the contraption that will crush his hands but save his life. He tries it once, but can’t do it. He tries again, and the crushing of his hands ensues. If you don’t like bad things happening to hands (like bone crunching sounds and smashing of fingers), then this trap will make you squirm. But the pendulum doesn’t stop swinging! He takes his crushed hands out, screams some more, then…. BAM! The SAW V logo explodes on screen.

    Talk about a finale! I don’t know if this trap was better than any of the previous traps, but it was pretty brutal. It could probably have been more brutal if something was happening to the guy’s eyes. But hands… hands were pretty good. Needless to say, SAW V hits theaters everywhere this Halloween for the 4th year in a row.

    REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA

    It’s late, I’ve been sitting in the same room for over an hour, I’ve sat through two different panels, and I’m staring to see things. Lucky for me, the final Lionsgate panel is up, this one featuring a Comic-Con first—the presence of “hot” girl Paris Hilton. No, not for her latest home-video sex tape, but for her role in Darren Lynn Bousman’s upcoming horror opera REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA!

    After they show us the film’s trailer (which you can check out HERE), and then the panel piles in: director Bousman, stars Hilton, Alexa Vega, Bill Moseley, and Ogre, and REPO! creators Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich . Quite the line up, and certainly quite the buzz from the crowd with a) Paris Hilton and all the dumb comments coming out of her mouth, and b) the fact that this is a dark, gothic, horror-musical of the likes we’ve never seen before. There’s an audience for this flick… and honestly, I don’t think I’m a part of that audience. I want to like it, I like the content, I like the ‘look,’ but let’s get serious: I don’t like musicals… especially rock-opera horror-musicals!


    Paris Hilton's first Comic-Con appearance

    They show us a few clips (we’ll get to those later), and answer all sorts of questions from the audience. Here’s a taste of went down.

  • REPO! was originally put together as a bunch of short films—but always knew it would be a full fledged motion picture some day.
  • The film is very similar to those original shorts.
  • Bousman wanted to do something different after doing three SAW sequels—so he picked the hardest sell he could possible do, a rock-opera.
  • All the music was recorded in a studio three months before filming.
  • This was Ogre’s first feature film—and he had a blast.
  • Moseley had plenty of experience killing people on screen, but had no experience singing and dancing on screen.
  • Hilton wanted to be in this movie because Bousman directed the SAW films, and Hilton loves those movies.
  • Bousman originally laughed off the idea of Hilton in his movie—but she blew him (away) in her audition, and earned the role fair and square.
  • Paris Hilton loves the Comic-Con. Said she felt more comfortable here than on a red carpet in Hollywood.
  • Bousman dropped the ‘hot’ line during the panel.
  • Bousman asked Alex Vega to be in his movie via MySpace—she thought he was just a perve and blew him off. But after he kept going after her, she realized he was the real deal.
  • The entire cast said they’d do a REPO! II if there was one.
  • Moseley was in a production of GUYS AND DOLLS when he was college.
  • Ogre and Moseley became such great friends that Moseley is even on Ogre’s upcoming album DEVIL IN MY DETAILS.
  • The songs in the film tried to hold their humanity amid its bizarreness.
  • The film features comic panel interludes to serve as an animated billplay, like you would find if went to an actual opera.
  • Seven songs were cut from the final film—all of which will be on the soundtrack (hitting stores November 3oth, with over 33 tracks in all).
  • They wanted to reiterate that REPOSSESSION MAMBO is only alike in concept and name, but not the actual story. They weren't too stoked on it being greenlit at the same time, but agreed that these things just 'happen.'
  • Web clips of the making of REPO! will be airing on the film's official site every other week until the film comes out--look for Anthony Head's audition footage to be included in one of the web clips.


    Director Darren Lynn Bousman


    The great Bill Moseley

    Interlaced throughout the panel were tastes and teases of musical numbers in the form of clips--three clips, to be exact. Here's a taste of what they showed us of the mad musical rock opera:

    CLIP 1: Moseley, Ogre, and Hilton in a number today, as they play siblings looking to take over their fathers business once he dies (the business of repossessing organs). The musical number dropped the F bomb a lot, one part of the dance included stabbing a chick and having her bleed to death on the floor, and even a brain was used as a prop.

    CLIP 2: Titled "Seventeen," Alexa Vega singing to her dad (Anthony Head) that now that she's 17, she's grown up and wants to be free. Dancing teddy bears and other weird shite is thrown around throughout the clip, ending with Head slapping the shite out of Vega. Perfect way to end the song.

    CLIP 3: Terrance Zdunich singing to Vega in the slums of the city about a heroin-like drug, about being addicted to the rush of getting cut, and other seedy things. Hilton comes singing in, gets her fix of the drug, and turns into a thrusting sex-kitten. Girl on girl action, naked chicks here and there, and Hilton getting herself off ensues.

    After the REPO! panel I wanted to like what I saw, because the crowd was interested, and the cast and crew were all very enthusiastic about it. I can already tell this movie isn't going to be for everybody, and that it'll have a certain audience... and I'm DEFINITELY not the audience for this flick. The visuals were dark and striking, but the music... it just ain't my bag, yo!

    Two hours previewing projects of extreme violence and I was ready for a drink. Lionsgate seems to be delivering what's made them the most money over the years, and is even taking a HUGE chance with REPO! And at the end of the day, all I can really say is: I got to see Paris Hilton at Comic-Con -- an all-time first! My wife's now jealous of me, and I can die a happy man.

  • Source: JoBlo

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