It was my genuine pleasure some time ago to watch and review a fine Aussie film, Throwback (2015) which features their version of the fabled Sasquatch and Yeti, the Yowie. If you have a few stolen or lost moments to spare you could check out my musings on the film RIGHT HERE. However, if you quite rightly have far more important things to do, like watching paint dry, then I'll just say this; Throwback is a visually stunning film that, while never taking itself overly seriously, nevertheless succeeds in producing more than enough thrills and chills to satisfy those of us who love a damn good monster movie - and this is a damn good monster movie. It may not be perfect, however what imperfections there are may well be due more to a combination of the original budgetary constraints and unexpected cast and filming problems than to any lack of talent on the filmmakers part.
I did wonder what the director, Travis Bain and his team, would produce if indeed they did have the opportunity to make a film that employed a far bigger budget. Well it seems that I might get my answer in the form of the press release I received from Travis himself this week;
Australian filmmakers launch Kickstarter campaign for H.P. Lovecraft-inspired feature "Starspawn"
The makers of recent Australian horror feature Throwback have launched a Kickstarter campaign for their new feature Starspawn. The sci-fi/horror thriller from Queensland writer/producer/director Travis Bain is about a TV current affairs journalist who uncovers evidence of an imminent alien invasion whilst on assignment to interview some Outback survivalists.
The 40-day "all or nothing" crowdfunding campaign is aimed at raising $30,000 to allow the filmmakers to commission alien puppets and costumes and shoot a proof-of-concept excerpt from the full feature in Northwestern Queensland. Vernon Wells from Mad Max 2, Commando and Bain's previous feature Throwback has signed on to play a key role, and other name actors are said to be “circling” the project.
Filmmaker Travis Bain says he drew inspiration for Starspawn from the films of John Carpenter and the works of cult horror author H.P. Lovecraft.
“I've been a huge Lovecraft fan since I was a teenager in the '80s,” Bain says, “but I've always found it hard to find satisfying film versions adapted from—or inspired by—his mythos, so I decided to try to make one myself. Starspawn will be a film made by Lovecraft fans for Lovecraft fans, and we're hoping to put some of his most iconic monsters on screen in a way they've never been seen before, using old-school practical effects.”
Bain’s previous feature Throwback screened at eleven international film festivals and was released by Monster Pictures on DVD in Australia, the UK, New Zealand and Turkey earlier this year. Throwback is due for DVD release in the US on July 21st. A third and final trailer for the film has been unveiled to support the US release: http://youtu.be/BDm2fFnUrtY
The Starspawn Kickstarter campaign will conclude on 19 July 2015. For more information, please visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/starspawn/starspawn-an-hp-lovecraft-inspired-sci-fi-horror-f/description
The official Facebook: www.facebook.com/starspawnmovie
Official website: www.sapphirepictures.com.au
Well you should know me by now, dear reader person. I'm not one for just lazily cutting and pasting a press release onto my own blog. For a start it doesn't really enable me to fully explore the depth of self-indulgence for the 'me, me, me - it's all about me' flavour that most of my articles convey with apparent ease. So in an effort to get some more of 'me' into this article I decided to include a chat that I recently had with the director himself, Travis Bain. In between the talking about me, I also manage to let him pass on some details too about him and his work. I'm all heart.
Interview with Starspawn writer and director, Travis Bain.
5D) I can't tell you how excited I am about the concept for this movie. What news can you divulge to my loyal reader?
Travis) We appreciate your support. Are you a Lovecraft fan yourself? I have been since I was a teenager back in the late 80s, and I think the fans are crying out for a decent Lovecraft-inspired movie. A lot of them have been disappointments. And it could be years before we get to see Del Toro's "At the Mountains of Madness." I want to make the Lovecraft film the fans like myself have been waiting for. It's a big challenge, but I'm up for it. After all, I tackled an Australian Bigfoot movie with Vernon Wells for only $4,000!
5D) I'm a big Lovecraft fan - For me, few works from anybody in Gothic horror has ever surpassed 'The Dunwich Horror' - it's practically perfect. I have to agree with you, many Lovecraft- themed movies have been pretty poor so I'm expecting great things from you - no pressure then!
Travis) The Dunwich Horror is one creepy story alright. I just re-read it a few months ago. Some Lovecraft fans might wonder how I'm going to transpose his New England-style horror to the outback, but all I can say is I have a cunning plan.
5D) A cunning plan, eh? Tell me more......you can trust me.......probably.
Travis) Can you keep a secret? We're putting ********** on the screen in this movie. Now are you excited?
(I'm not allowed to say what is under the asterisks - for now it's a secret!)
(I'm not allowed to say what is under the asterisks - for now it's a secret!)
5D) You bet your life I'm very excited! Of course your secret is safe with me......looking forward to seeing your cunning plan! I do know one thing that I can mention, that the legend himself, Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Commando) will appear. How exciting is that?
Vernon Wells; in Mad Max 2, Commando & Throwback
5D) I would love to have the chance to chat with him. What else can you tell me about what we might see in Starspawn?
Travis) Just privately, here's a sample piece of our concept art. Not many people outside our inner circle have seen this, but I feel I can trust you, mate. This is hopefully a glimpse at the sort of creature we've got in store for the movie if we can raise the money for it.
(Once again I must resist passing onto to you, dear reader, a quite wonderful piece of art....but I will say for now that you'll love it when you see it!)
Travis) Thanks so much, Stu, that is one very cool article, and very supportive, too. My team and I are so thankful you decided to get behind our little movie. Your review was totally fair and spot-on. The production in the rainforest was a real challenge, but I persevered and thankfully, it's turned out OK, got a distribution deal, played some festivals and won some awards .. and earned some cool reviews from people like yourself!
I have a different tolerance to slow-paced films than most other people. I love slow films like Barry Lyndon and Once Upon a Time in the West. I love stories that take their sweet time, as long as they are making discernible progress. I'm currently reading Dan Simmons' mammoth novel The Abominable, which is ostensibly about the Yeti, and I'm about 300 pages in and the heroes are only just reaching the lower summits of Everest. So far the novel's all been about crampons and goose down jackets and all the minute details of the expedition, but I love that. I jokingly said to my colleagues recently that one day, when I'm old and doddery, I might cut together a four-hour mini-series of Throwback, because I actually have enough footage to do that! But they all shot my idea down in flames. I wonder why?
5D) So how will that experience influence Starspawn?
Travis) Starspawn will move much quicker. I'm looking at classic alien films like Aliens and Super 8 to take a cue from their pacing. I want Starspawn to absolutely HURTLE at times. There's a great chase scene at the start of Act 2 which no one has ever seen the likes of before. I can't wait for you to see what we're cooking up. I reckon it'll be right up your alley. If the stars align, we'll have a budget many times greater than Throwback, and with that, I fully intend to make a movie that's many times more impressive.
5D) So where does the Kickstarter campaign fit into your plans for Starspawn?
The Kickstarter campaign is the cornerstone to it all, at each stage of the project, we'll be able to produce something cool to attract more investors, like some kickass footage. Our first $30k is essential for us to commission some high-quality alien costumes and puppets. We don't want the aliens in this film to look like Halloween-store rejects, we want them to be convincing and scary.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft - a personal hero of mine