Quantcast Icons Of Fright salutes Satan's Playground

5 QUESTIONS WITH WRITER/DIRECTOR DANTE TOMASELLI (AUG. 2006) - Robg.

Hey Dante! It seems we always run a new interview with you every year. We last spoke to you in August of 2005 and also one full year before that, so we’ll start this off with the same question – What’s changed for you in the past year, both personally and artistically since last we spoke?

I'm more jaded than ever, when it comes to the film industry. Each of my films gets made through sheer force of will. And you know I'll crawl over broken glass to get them made. When the movies are finished and ready to be sent off into the world, I feel a sense of peace. But, of course, to balance any pleasure I might feel, there's a hateful, snickering mob out there who want to stamp out anything that's different, anything that doesn't fit the formula. They're waiting in the wings, ready to pounce. They don't want to see anything genuinely new. They say they do, but they don't. It's mostly political. Many of these armchair critics are bored high school kids or deeply frustrated wanna-be filmmakers...and they vent their rage through the computer. It's so easy. Most of these cats would give anything to have their films out there. They see someone like me, who is actually making some headway, and they violently react. You've seen it a million times with Rob Zombie, Eli Roth...low budget horror films like The Blair Witch Project, Cabin Fever, House of 1000 Corpses. The fan boys either are ecstatic or they shit all over the movies, disgustingly. They're really thinking of their own movie, the one that hasn't been made! They're fucking jealous! There's this internalized rage and it just...There's so much propaganda. I have people who defend me and trash me and it just makes my head spin. I have to shut it out. I've always been polarized, as a person, always...so I guess I'm used to it. Artistically, I feel more powerful than ever. But of course I doubt myself. It's all still a swirling mystery...life. I'm 36-years-old. There's still a lot ahead. But at this point, after three movies, I feel I've been productive. If I die now at least I'll have some sort of legacy. Still, I can't relax. I can't. I have tunnel vision. All I can think of...is mounting the next film. I close my eyes and that's all I see.

Anchor Bay is about to release your latest flick ‘SATAN’S PLAYGROUND’ on August 22 nd. Having lived with this movie for so long, how does it feel to finally have it released to the public?

It's such a relief. It's like a baby being born. I'm thrilled that I finally completed my third feature and it's about to be released. Satan's Playground has been a labor of love. Definitely. Over two years of my life.

What can you tell us about the DVD release? What goodies can we expect and are you satisfied with the special features and overall package on the release?

Anchor Bay did a wonderful job. The transfer is crisp, I'm happy with the sound. There are more extras than I imagined. There are two Satan's Playground trailers...a long one and a quick teaser. Also, a little interview with me can be found. Um, there's a 10-minute Behind the Scenes piece that is a lot of fun. There's an audio commentary by me. A poster, stills gallery is on the disc too. Plus the trailer for Chris Garetano's, "The Horror of Dante Tomaselli."

‘THE OCEAN’ has been kicking around for a while. What’s the latest on the film, including some of the cast members you’ve gotten involved?

Well, THE OCEAN is slated to star Margot Kidder (The Amityville Horror, Superman), Vincent Pastore (The Sopranos), Judith O'Dea (Night of the Living Dead), Felissa Rose (Satan's Playground) and Christie Sanford. There will be lots of cameos: Tom Atkins (The Fog), Ellen Sandweiss (The Evil Dead), Lynn Lowry (Shivers), Edwin Neal (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and John Fallon. It's about the end of the world, God's wrath against mankind. There's a deadly ebola-like virus spreading along the coast. It's a disaster horror movie and a zombie splatter film. At the core, THE OCEAN is a twisted family psychodrama. I hope to be shooting January 2007 in Puerto Rico, in the Bermuda Triangle...The Devil's Triangle.

After ‘THE OCEAN’, you’ve got a little project in the works called ‘ SALEM’. We’re intrigued! What can you tell us, if anything about ‘ SALEM’ and is it definitely next after ‘THE OCEAN’?

It's really hard for me to talk about  SALEM because it won't really crystallize in my mind until THE OCEAN is washed from my system. But I can say that SALEM will be a horror film that has to do with the Witch Trials.  I'm sure as I'm finishing the editing for THE OCEAN, SALEM will pop into my brain full force. That's how it works with me. I'm a one-movie-at-a-time kind of guy.



- Review by Jsyn & Robg. (Sept. 05)

SATAN’S PLAYGROUND.

Story: A family breaks down near the woods of the infamous Pine Barrons in New Jersey. When they go for help, all hell breaks loose as they’re trapped between a psychotic family, Satanic rituals in the woods, and an invisible beast known by urban legend as the Jersey Devil.

The Film Itself: It’s no secret that the folks here at Icons are big fans of filmmaker Dante Tomaselli. We dug the visuals and non-linear approach of his first two films ‘Desecration’ and ‘HORROR’. But what really struck us about those films is the potential in Dante to do more. And with ‘Satan’s Playground’, he proves that he’s getting one step closer to making his own mark on the genre. It’s obvious from looking at his films that he wears his love of classic 70’s/80’s horror proudly on his sleeve. And it’s even more obvious when watching ‘Satan’s Playground’, which plays like a long lost gem of that era that you would catch on television one Sunday afternoon back in the 80’s. It’s fun to see horror icons Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Ellen Sandweiss (Evil Dead) and Edwin Neal (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) all together in this one film, but I have to give credit to Dante’s regulars Danny Lopes, Irma St Paul and Christie Sanford, whom all steal the show. (Especially Christie, whom I’m convinced is a horror icon in the making.) This isn’t groundbreaking new horror territory, but I don’t think it ever trying to be. It’s just a fun old-school horror flick with kick-ass visuals, coke snorting old ladies, and a mallet happy mute. Can’t ask for more then that? (Except for maybe Satan worshippers out back in the woods, or the invisible monster, of course.)

Special Features: The film looks and sounds excellent, but that’s usually the case with Anchor Bay releases. I strongly recommend cranking the sound on this sucker when you watch it, because the sound design does play a big part in the effectiveness of Dante’s movies. Dante Tomaselli offers up a solo commentary track here. The commentary is good and insightful. I only wish Dante had one of the cast members to bounce off of here. Regardless, it’s entertaining and you’ll learn just about everything about the making of the movie, and also hear Dante’s genuine enthusiasm for the genre and the films he paid tribute to in making ‘Satan’s Playground’. There’s a brief behind the scenes segment, which is decent. It’s fun to see Dante standing next to Ellen Sandweiss while sporting his Evil Dead “Cheryl” T-shirt. There’s also an interview with Dante about the origins of the Jersey Devil. Dante seems a bit uncomfortable in the interview, but it’s short and he gives us some insight into the Jersey Devil and how the stories affected him & inspired his movie. If you look hard enough, there’s an easter egg on the disc. The one in particular I found was a group of people trekking into the Pine Barrons looking for the Jersey Devil. Pretty spooky! If anything, I recommend this is worth seeing, not only because it’s a good movie, but because it’s the foundation of a filmmaker who we’re going to be seeing some really great stuff from for years to come. –Robg.

 


Visit:
Satan's Playground The Movie.com

Also Visit:

The Ocean Movie.com

HORROR The Movie.com
Anchor Bay Entertainment.com