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Now in our ninth calendar year!
PCR #434 (Vol. 9, No. 29) This edition is for the week of July 14--20, 2008.

The Tampa Film Review for July by Nolan Canova, Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods, and John Miller
"The Dark Knight"  by Mike Smith
The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region: Part 8 by William Moriaty
Presenting "Brainjacked" - New Feature Film, "Horror-Fi"  by Andy Lalino
DVD Review: “'Til Death Do Us Part (Complete First Season)”  by ED Tucker
No Football For Old Men .... Rays Letter To The League .... Don’t Miss The Espys .... No Peyton In Pre-season .... I’m Rich, B#@!% .... Sports Writer Sued In Ok .... ....  by Chris Munger
Mmmmmmmmmm......movie .... Funny Stuff .... Of Course You Can Go Free -- Not! .... The Scariest (at Least For Now) .... Correction .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1956 Should Have Gone To... by Mike Smith
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Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Presenting "Brainjacked" - New Feature Film, "Horror-Fi"

Presenting Brainjacked - coming soon from Film Ranch
By now, most Crazed Fanboy readers know that Oddservations has been on hiatus since early March, due to my involvement in an ongoing creative project (despite a scenario to the contrary in last week's column). It was revealed early on that indeed it was a feature film that occupied 99% of my free time, and I had asked Nolan when it came time to reinstate Oddservations, would it be possible to briefly mention our production company's (Film Ranch) new creation. Nole graciously agreed, so I'm proud to announce our very first feature film: the "horror-fi" adventure Brainjacked.

All of my readers regularly endure many a gripe about how, for the past few decades, too few films possess the exploitation spirit of the '70s/early '80s. Brainjacked is sure to provide a reprieve. From it's inception, Brainjacked (previously titled Zombotomy) had been designed with the '70s in mind. It was our goal to craft a feature inspired by the genre films we idolized growing up, and hopefully exhibiting that affection in to a new generation of film goers, or those who slipped away from recalling just how magical that cinematic period was (*ahem*).

Brainjacked is the story of Tristan Davis, a teenager shucked out of his house by an abusive stepfather - in an explosive scene which promises to shell-shock even veteran grindhouse film connoisseurs. While on-the-streets and desperate, Tristan's befriended by an enchanting blond named Laney. She sympathizes - Laney was a runaway once too - and offers him shelter at a nearby youth rehabilitation center called The Garden.

Tristan is awestruck at The Garden's unexpectedly futuristic environment - and the runaway denizens who populate it. Dressed in jet-black uniforms emblazoned with a strange "T"-like symbol, the male runaways size up Tristan for acceptance into their neo -cult, as do the stunningly gorgeous females, alluring in mod silver dresses. In turn, Tristan observes how comfortable and at peace they seem. Maybe this is a good place for him to stay - at least until he can figure out if Laney's as infatuated with him as he is with her.

Finally, Tristan meets the individual responsible for The Garden and its seeds - Dr. Karas, a famous neurosurgeon. Karas greets Tristan warmly, and even promises to cure him of migraines he's been suffering with his whole life. He invites Tristan to witness a procedure known as Trepanation , an ancient form of surgery used to relieve pressure from the cranium - a cure-all in managing headaches and unhappy home lives. Trepanation is performed using a very long and lethal drill, pointed directly at the forehead. Strange how all the runaways sport Trepanation scars...even Laney.

Karas demonstrates the "Trep" operation in The Garden's secret operating room. In a gale of blood, flesh and skull fragments, a male runaway submits to the doctor's promise of inner peace under the drill. Shocked beyond comprehension, Tristan views the gory procedure through boarded eyes, only to find a willing victim who is satisfied with his new state of mind.

In time, Tristan succumbs to Karas's his life-altering modifications.

When Tristan heals and returns to The Garden, unexplained events occur. For portions of the day he and the other runaways go "blank" and fall into a trance-like state. They forget who they are or where they've been, only to wake up to strange signs of extreme violence and sadistic seductions that presumably they have participated in.

How can this be happening?

Does the secret lie with Karas and the sadistic operations performed on the young runways?

Or a more sinister plot?

You'll find the answer and more when Brainjacked premieres in theaters and home video. Mutants, madmen, runaway spies with lethal cattle prods, gang bang party favors, street rumbles, car chases...Brainjacked has it all!

Brainjacked stars Chris Jackson as Tristan, Somali Rose as Laney, and Chris Sarlls as Zane, a shadowy, mysterious figure crucial to Tristan's struggle. Plus, you'll find an array of "all-stars" from the Florida cult movie scene:
- Rod Grant (100 Tears, Gunn Highway) as the wonderfully sinister Dr. Karas.
- Krista Grotte (Alarum, Filthy, Death on Demand) as "Heaven", a sultry runaway.
- Joel D. Wynkoop (Alarum, Truth or Dare) as "Norm Simpkins", an off-the-wall anchorman.
- Special cameo appearance by cult movie legend William Grefé (Stanley, Death Curse of Tartu).
- Ed Walker (100 Tears) as dean of Grefé University.
- Stephen Biro (president of Tampa's own Unearthed Films) as Tristan's evil stepfather, Dwight.
- Special cameo appearance by star horror authors Jeff Strand and Lynne Hansen.
- Special make-up effects by Marcus Koch (100 Tears, Rot).
- Edited by cult director Chris Woods (Bleed, To Live is to Die).

The supporting cast is second-to-none, showcasing an impressive line-up of Tampa Bay-based acting talent, many of who will be starting their film careers with this production (including all the Allan kids!). Behind-the-camera is a seasoned crew, with director of photography Wes Pratt and gaffer Andrew Hawthorne painting the look of each shot, backed by the incredible lighting team of Jeff Scolaro, Jill Probeyahn, Robin Ryals, Chris Giuffré, Stan Harhalos, Jimmy Shahan and Tomasz Kaluzinski. Rising star Daryn Murphy, editor of Krista Grotte's Alarum, served as production audio recordist and makes an appearance in the film. The make-up/hair team that made our actors look so good are: Marinella Infante and Ginny Dworchak. The fantastically futuristic costuming was designed by wardrobe artist Vanessa Allan, who also served as production designer. Art director Mary Dietz was the talent who made all of our sets and locations look fab. And many thanks to Sandy Lalino and Vanessa Allan for feeding the cast & crew throughout the production - it was the highlight of each day!

I'm very happy to report that despite this day and age of pixellized penguins and CGI Hulks, the Brainjacked's visuals are largely practical, with maestro Marcus Koch and new talent Mark Angenola heading up a SPFX make-up department that delivers a smorgasbord of gore-soaked effects, which we believe would earn a Herschell Gordon Lewis seal of approval.

Here's some Brainjacked trivia: Originally, the film was to have a scene involving anchorman Norm Simpkins (Joel D. Wynkoop) being confronted by Tristan and Laney at a TV station, which was later changed to a parking garage. In the first concept, there was to be a horror host character based on...Nolan Canova! We even offered him the part - of "Count Canova", which he was forced to decline due to work scheduling. There was a great scene where Count Canova was to get his throat ripped out. We later offered the part to horror host Lon Madnight (who would play himself) who also was unable to commit to the project.

Brainjacked was ably directed by horror hero Andrew Allan, who envisioned the production based on a love for horror and science-fiction of the 1970's, yet with a look and feel all its own. His vision and guidance molded the very ambitious production from inception of core ideas to post-production and beyond. The imaginative and twisted screenplay was authored by Andrew Allan and Andy Lalino, with both also serving as producers for Film Ranch International. Innately challenging, the production took cast and crew to many signature locations throughout Tampa Bay, including The Pier, Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg, and the SunTrust building in Clearwater.

Lastly, Andrew Allan and I can't say it enough: thank you to all our cast and crew who stuck with us - we very much appreciate everyone's time and talents, and hope to make you proud.

Expected release date: Spring/Summer 2009

For more Brainjacked info, visit the official Film Ranch website or the official Brainjacked MySpace page.

What is "Horror-Fi"?

Many of us Crazed Fanboys are familiar with movies that fuse the genres of science-fiction and horror. Hell, there are dozens of examples; Alien Prey, Biohazard, Frankenstein, Alien, It! The Terror from Beyond Space, Lifeforce, and on and on. However, these hybrids have always been described as a "cross between" the said genres or a "hybrid" of the two. It never seemed to have a descriptive term of its own.

Until now.

Film Ranch has adopted the term Horror-Fi (get it? Sounds similar to "horrify"?) to describe the fusion of these two iconic genres, and have applied it to the release of our new Horror-Fi feature Brainjacked. Film Ranch has created an entry for Horror-Fi on Wikipedia, and as so, defines it:

"Horror-Fi is a film sub-genre that combines elements of the science fiction film and the horror film. The term Horror-Fi can also apply to films that feature a horror premise along with the physical and visual trappings of science-fiction film. Cinematically, Horror-Fi may have started with the 1951 film The Thing from Another World, though some consider the Frankenstein and Invisible Man movies to be sci-fi/horror hybrids, thus making them 'Horror-Fi'."

Horror-Fi entry on Wikipedia.

Spread the word and make Horror-Fi the new catch-phrase of the fantastic genres!

"Oddservations" is ©2008 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.