CONTEST: Win Tickets for Father’s Day, Fright Nights at the Projection Booth in Toronto

It’s barely been 24 hours since the launch of our first contest at Entertainment Maven, free tickets to End of the Night (part of the Shinsedai Cinema Festival in Toronto), but we have some more exciting news – another contest! This time, the kind people at the Projection Booth in Toronto have given us three, count ’em, THREE double-passes to give away to the June 9th (9:00pm) Fright Nights screening of the disgusting, exploitative, and downright hilarious Toronto After Dark hit, Father’s Day. Astron-6 has put together one of the most exciting experiences you can have at the cinema these days, and you would have to be clinically insane not to try out for this contest. Did we mention that some of the filmmakers will be in attendance and that there will be prizes? Commit yourself to the nearest mental institution or follow these three easy steps to win:

Please note that the contest is only open to individuals who are at least 18 years of age and who are able to be in Toronto for June 9th. Only 1 entry per person. Winners will be chosen at random from a pool of entrants who have completed the three steps. The contest will close at 12pm on Saturday, June 9, 2012.

1. ‘Like’ our Facebook page by clicking this link and then ‘like’, or by going directly to www.entertainmentmaven.com and clicking ‘Like’

2. Follow us on Twitter @entertainmaven

3. E-mail us at entertainmentmaven@gmail.com, putting Father’s Day as the subject, and tell us YOUR name and the name of the holiday that could use an Astron-6 revision!

Winners will be contacted at the e-mail address used to enter the contest.

 

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Father’s Day – Interview with Mackenzie Robert Royal Murdock (Fuchman)

Fuchman

Toronto After Dark 2011 had plenty of films to be excited about, but one in particular soared past reasonable expectations in my opinion. Father’s Day, which looked good for a laugh for two, took the audience and reviewers by storm (my review here). Now I didn’t know quite what to think of Father’s Day after I saw it, but it has matured in my mind like a fine wine and I can’t wait to watch it again. There are so many soon to be classic scenes in it, but one highlight in particular was the fearsome Fuchman played by Mackenzie Robert Royal Murdock.

It brings me great pleasure to have such a special interview being posted at Entertainment Maven today. He played one of the most evil characters I have ever seen on the screen, but he’s really quite a nice fellow. For your reading enjoyment, it’s time to get up close and personal with Mackenzie…err, I mean MORE up close and personal…or up close and personal again.

Oh just watch Father’s Day and you’ll know what I’m trying to say.

Mackenzie

Father’s Day has enjoyed enormous critical success so far, what has it been like to be part of a film this well received? Has it been a wild ride so far?

Just making the movie to begin with was a blast all by itself, but being able to read all these great reviews, or to be able to sit in a theatre full of people going absolutely bonkers for it is pretty much the greatest feeling in the world.

So far it’s been the wildest ride of my life! Before the movie came out it was only in my wildest dreams that I could imagine being surrounded by complete strangers actually asking me for autographs!

What was it like to play one of the most villainous characters to appear on the big-screen in 2011?

So much fun! Especially because Fuchman isn’t some “misunderstood soul” or some bullshit like that. He’s a guy who kills people because, fuck it, he’s evil. And I love that. I love that he’s a throwback bad guy, and not some angst-ridden emo bitch with daddy issues.

I mean seriously, whatever happened to the great movie villains who are evil for the sake of being evil? Whatever happened to guys like General Zod and Ernst Stravo Blofeld? I miss those guys.

Father’s day is full of nudity and violence, particularly in Fuchman’s attack/rape scenes, assuming that you are nothing like Fuchman in real-life (we hope), were these scenes difficult for you as an actor?

Back when we first did the rape scenes for the fake trailer it was absolutely terrifying. I spent maybe five minutes psyching myself up in the bathroom, with Adam constantly double checking with me if I was certain that I really wanted to do this. That first time, everyone was treating the shoot with kid gloves.

By the end of the feature though, I found I could drop my pants on command, no hesitation.

Was one particular scene more challenging than the rest?

Not really. They all presented their own challenges. For example, for the car chase I had to learn how to drive a standard ten minutes before my first shot!

Another good one is the dam, because I’ve always had this serious fear of heights, so being in a position where I can easily fall to death was pretty tough to deal with. Thankfully, just like the nakedness issue, I managed to more or less overcome my fear, thanks in large part to the other guys cheering me on.

What was it like working with the Astron-6 guys?

An absolute blast. These guys have a perfect balance of professionalism, humour, and kindness. They expect your best, but not the impossible, and they always know how to get it out of you.

Plus, we all share a love for the same brand of films and filmmaking, so it was pretty cool being surrounded by the only five guys in the city who could not only understand all of my pop culture references, but could even one-up me!

Given the content of their films, I would expect that working with them on set would be anything but normal. Do they act as you would expect filmmakers to act on set, or is there a degree of zaniness on set that separates them from everyone else?

Actually, they’re very professional. They joke around, sure, but the movie always comes first. And yes, there was some zaniness to be had, but that’s how their minds work: always coming up with new ideas. It really is astounding how much of the film is just random stuff they thought of while on set.

What are some of the movies that have been most important to you in making a decision to pursue a career in the film biz?

Believe it or not, but if I had to really think about it, I’d probably say it’s Dolph Lundgren’s Punisher. I honestly don’t know why, but that movie had a tremendous emotional impact on me. I guess it makes more sense if you consider that I originally dreamed of being a comic book artist when I was a kid, but still, how any people openly admit that Dolph Lundgren inspired them to take up acting?

What’s on the horizon for Mackenzie Robert Royal Murdock?

At the moment I’ve just finished training for a customer service job which will put money in my pocket until I can get some paying acting gigs. Winnipeg’s film community is having a bit of a dry-spell at the moment, so right now the plan is to move out in a couple months and seek greener pastures.

Will we be seeing you back in Toronto any time soon, perhaps for Toronto After Dark 2012?

Nothing planned just yet, but I’d love to come back! The première at Toronto After Dark still ranks in my mind as one of the single greatest nights in my life!

Manborg Review – Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2011

Image is not the property of Entertainment Maven

The 6th Annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival, 8 Nights of Horror, Sci-Fi, Action, and Cult Movies runs Oct 20-27, 2011 at the Toronto Underground Cinema. For complete festival info visit www.torontoafterdark.com.

The guys at Astron-6 are back for the second time at the 6th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival. The first helping was the deliciously over-the-top Father’s Day which must have been one of the crowd favourites of the festival. This time around the visuals resemble an old cd-rom game, the acting is cheesier, and the spirit of fighting games has been channeled to create some epic showdowns.

Before I get into Manborg I would like to discuss the impressive short that preceded it, Ethereal Chrysalis from writer\director Syl Disjonk. Disjonk introduced the short, saying that the imagery we were about to witness was the product of his nightmares. He wasn’t lying. Ethereal Chrysalis really reminded me of Dante’s Inferno, and the otherworldly work of Clark Ashton Smith. In addition to this, there is even a character who is reminiscent of the notorious occultist Aleister Crowley, in more ways than one. Disjonk has done a remarkable job creating a nightmarish world complete with amazing special effects. I hope he continues to be haunted by nightmares, so I get to see more of his films.

Back to Manborg.

Do I really have to explain the plot of Manborg? It sounds like your typical computer game from the early 90’s. The Hell Wars have been going on for years. Draculon, the military leader of Hell is up to his usual business, slaughtering human soldiers and then sucking them dry. But when he kills a seemingly harmless soldier, he starts a chain of events that delivers the human race’s final chance at salvation, Manborg. Half man and half…borg, Manborg has a devastating arsenal and at least 128-mb of ram, enough to take on Draculon and the armies of Hell, but has he been assembled in time?

Manborg is a tribute to old computer games, fighting games, and most importantly VHS movies from the 80’s. Like Father’s Day, every member of Astron-6 is involved in some way. For the most part this is Steven Kostanski’s film, as he directed, while sharing writing and some special effects duties with Jeremy Gillespie. Kostanski’s love of movies and computer games from the 80’s and 90’s is readily apparent. #1 Man (Ludwig Lee) is an out of place and badly dubbed martial artist dressed like Johnny Cage from Mortal Kombat; Justice (Conor Sweeney) is a ridiculous vigilante with a bizarre gun stance and a hilariously awful Australian or New Zealand accent (I heard both); finally, Manborg (Matthew Kennedy) is armed to the teeth with weaponry from old first person shooters. In other words, Manborg is nerd video game/filmmaking heaven. Also, Jeremy Gillespie’s performance as the Baron, much like Sweeney’s portrayal of Justice, has some real comedic flair. Astron-6 films may feel like a bunch of your high school friends decided to make a movie, however real individual talent can be found with each member.

If you’re on the fence about checking out Manborg, just understand that seriousness and incredulity must be left at the door before watching this one. If you can do that, and you can find an audience to watch it with, then I am sure you will find something to like about Manborg. It’s a fun movie, and you get to see what the Astron-6 guys were up to three years ago, before they completed the highly entertaining and boundary pushing Father’s Day.

Father’s Day Review – Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2011

Image is not the property of Entertainment Maven

The 6th Annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival, 8 Nights of Horror, Sci-Fi, Action, and Cult Movies runs Oct 20-27, 2011 at the Toronto Underground Cinema. For complete festival info visit www.torontoafterdark.com.

Back for my second night at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival to see Exit Humanity and Father’s Day. The turnout was once again very strong and consisted of salivating fans ready for lurching zombies and some serious father violence. The short before Father’s Day was My Main Squeeze from director Chris Nash. Nash also has compiled six lessons learned from Toronto After Dark, which are shorts scattered before features throughout the festival. I really wish I had seen more of Nash’s work to prepare me for My Main Squeeze. The film is about a young girl enamoured with popping bubble wrap, and the social problems that are inherent with such an obsession. My Main Squeeze contains some of the most grotesque and upsetting (although it is not at all malicious, which is refreshing) on-screen imagery I have ever seen. Chris Nash you are truly a sicko, and I bet reading that statement would make you smile.

On to Father’s Day.

One night, the members of Astron-6, a collective filmmaking group out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, were sitting around wondering how to make the best use their considerable talents.

‘What should we do next?’ said one of them.

‘Let’s ruin Father’s Day for everyone,’ said another.

At this point, a normal person, with their finger on the pulse of morality, would have asked ‘WHY would we do that’, but the guys at Astron-6 simply asked each other ‘HOW could we do that’. Well, it turns out you ruin Father’s Day for everyone by making a movie about a father raping serial killer, add in some of the most disgusting displays of gore, and choose the same title (save the location of that stubborn apostrophe) as a lighthearted comedy starring Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, which down the road, should royally mess up the night of some careless holiday movie watchers with terrible taste.

As I have said, Father’s Day features a slew of father rape\murders that has devastated the city. The police, including the short-fused Detective Stegel (Brent Neale), have no idea how to stop the killings. Their only suspect is the wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time troubled teenager Twink (Conor Sweeney). A kind priest, Father John Sullivan (Matthew Kennedy), is pushed away by Twink, despite offers to help the boy. However, Father Sullivan quickly learns that the killings are the doing of the Fuchman (Mackenzie Murdock), a vile fiend with a taste for vintage dads. Father Sullivan does the only sensible thing, he traverses every imaginable terrain in the world to track down the one man who nearly put a stop to the Fuchman in the past, the one-eyed Ahab (Adam Brooks).

Going into Father’s Day and not being a rabid Troma fan, I was not sure if I was going to enjoy myself. I can certainly appreciate gratuitous violence, Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive is one of my favourite movies, however, I also appreciate great narratives and well executed comedy, not always Troma staples. As it turns out, Father’s Day has a completely outlandish storyline, but the violence is accompanied by some excellent comedy. The jokes were ridiculous, but the comedic timing was amazing. Without the comedy, Father’s Day would just be bloodbath that may grow a bit tiring near the end of the runtime, but with the excellent writing, Father’s Day becomes a highly entertaining adventure.

The special effects and creature effects are also a pleasure\displeasure to behold, it really depends on your perspective. The Astron-6 crew purports to make their films for next to nothing. If this is true, I find it shocking what Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie have been able to accomplish in the visual effects\digital effects department. Gunshot wounds, chainsaw attacks, crushed heads, and gluttonous creatures from hell, nothing is impossible with this kind of talent.

Finally, the Astron-6 crew has really shown their savvy. You see, with fame comes increased attention, paparazzi, and inevitably nude pics that can ruin careers. It seems that for this reason, multiple members of the crew decided to bare all in full frontal shots during the film, veritably preempting money hungry paparazzi and gossip magazines. Like I said, savvy.

Now for what everyone has been waiting for, which is better, the Astron-6 film or the Robin Williams and Billy Crystal Comedy? Let’s just say that if the two movies met in a dark alley, the Williams-Crystal one would walk away bow-legged, if it walked out at all. As you can imagine, Father’s Day isn’t for everyone, but for those readers that are willing to risk their sanity and potentially the contents of their stomach, Father’s Day is a dad rapingly good time for the whole family, as long as your family enjoys seeing exploitation filmmaking pushed to the extreme. I’ll be back in a few days after the screening of the second Astron-6 film at Toronto After Dark, Manborg. Get your tickets while you can!

Astron-6 consists of Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, and Steven Kostanski.

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