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Got Oscar Fever? Take Two of These and Enjoy! THE CRAFT and CYPHER by SEBASTIAN

Posted on February 1st, 2009
Posted on February 1st, 2009

THE CRAFT (1996) **** review by SEBASTIAN
This two pics won’t win any awards (anywhere), but in the spirit of my contemporary : Darkside, I’m trying to give you some cool cult classic type horror fare to sink your teeth into during this rather dull period at the movie theaters.

Filmaker Andrew Fleming basically sealed his fate in 1996 when he directed the vastly underrated “The Craft”. He would never again be offered such an interesting genre project in his career. And to his credit he didn’t screw it up, it just failed to find an audience. I’m urging folks out there to reconsider this gem. Its stylish, basically well shot, features a great story, and the cast performs well, especially the two leads : Robin Tunney and Fairuza Balk (who you can see looks totally nuts in the photo above). The soundtrack and cinematography are strong for such a genre effort too. (The song they use for the trailer was actually used as the main theme music by “Charmed”!)

Think of “Charmed” meets “Constantine” by way of your average teen angst drama. Its better than it sounds. Screenwriter Peter Filardi (“Flatliners”!) brought some really cool ideas to this dark story of four girls defying the sometimes cruel and unusual rules and regulations of high school by getting in touch with their inner witches. At one point the already semi-psychotic leader of the troupe, Nancy, conjures up a very vile demon, by the name of Mouman, to inhabit her body and grant her incredible power. But, of course, the demon ends up making everyone’s life hell (literally). And its up to the new witch in town, Sarah, to stop Nancy and her satanic pals from unleashing all manner of devilry.

This one recycles a lot of previous ideas and then reshuffles them in a really entertaining order. Like Charmed the character interaction is good and the pacing is right on. I found myself really liking these characters alot. I really like the witch sub-genre and don’t like seeing it get the wrong kind of treatment. Witness “Practical Magic” (a good Rom-Com though) and Hocus Pocus (that’s right I’ve seen it). If you missed “The Craft” the first time around check it out now.

I should also mention that director Andrew Fleming’s debut effort, “Bad Dreams”, featuring b-movie actor extraordinaire Richard Lynch (“The Sword and The Sorcerer”), is a pretty freaky movie you should check out too. The creep factor is high on that one.

Next up:

CYPHER (2002) **** review by SEBASTIAN
Starring Jeremy Northam and featuring Lucy Liu, this is one that you won’t forget. Truly a piece of original, if slightly rehashed sci-fi.

Fans of David Cronenberg take note ; you will find many of his themes in this movie. This one is basically a story of corporate espionage in a world similar to our own, and coming to terms with the ever changing world of being a spy within that reality (such as it is). When I think of the world depicted here, “Scanners” immediately comes to mind. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because that was what I found so enjoyable here. It takes you up and down, through and around. It’s truly a ride. It’s a tricky picture though, so subtle and even drawn out at times. It may require another viewing.

Vincenzo Natali (“Cube”) directs here and if you are familiar with his work, you can see his sensibilities shining through here. I can also see shades of Videodrome and Naked Lunch as well as other Cronenberg nightmare-scapes. It’s a challenging and at time fun little bit of neo-noir. Northam has a lot of fun with his part. I love films that pull the rug out from under you meta-physically. This one may come across stronger in retrospect, but try viewing it with some of these ideas in mind and you may walk away feeling fulfilled. When I first saw the film it left me reeling, but also a little confused. Just sit back and enjoy the weirdness.

At times the production seems not quite up to par, but this is common in a Natali film. His is a type of acquired taste. Fans… don’t miss this movie!

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Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
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2017 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
2017 Oxford Film Festival
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
2017 End of Days Film Festival
2017 Grenada Afterglow Film Festival
2017 Shiver International Film Festival
2017 Southern States Indie FanFilmFest

Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…


Northern Mississippi 1932:
In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

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NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
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Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

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