A unique project has taken the news circuit by storm and has caught the eye of We Are Indie Horror. Not only is it original in story, the presentation is truly something special. It claims to be the first 2-D Animated Horror made in America and let us tell you Malevolent looks nothing but amazing. In this week’s We Are Indie Horror Blood Bank we take an in depth look into the process to putting together a rare and uncommon horror film.
Malevolent tells the following tale:
Miriam DeKalb (Dani Lennon, FearNet/Machinima’s Bite Me) works for a non-profit which promotes global peace initiatives. When her billiionaire sociopath father Cyrus (Ray Wise) learns he is dying, Cyrus calls Miriam and her three siblings together to “discuss his will.” However, what he actually has planned is to pronounce judgment on them all.They are, in his view, traitors, and he has grisly death traps planned for each of them.
All of this sounds similar to Saw. But there is a catch that sounds a lot like Groundhog’s Day. Let us explain.Present in this world are a race of intergalactic gamblers. They wager on humans as a blood sport and they are all voting on Miriam. The whole scenario can be manipulated by a Gamemaster voiced by Morena Baccarin with the power to reverse time and change events as they play out. The entire game is being overseen and directed by The Overseer who is voiced by the legendary William Shatner.
Not only is Malevolent an intriguing and different story, unlike any other that we have seen, the cast is beyond incredible. Joining the voices above who collectively have a resume including films like Deadpool, RoboCop, and Star Trek is the horror legend from Army of Darkness and The Devil’s Rejects, Bill Moseley.
As for the artwork style, it is stand out and will capture the attention of any fan. Reminiscent of the style of Archer with buckets of blood. Animated horror is no stranger to Japanese Anime with amazing films like Ghost In The Shell and Deathnote but Malevolent will be the FIRST American animated horror film. It is a feat to create.
The team behind Malevolent are hard working and passionate. It is helmed by Coverage Ink, a script analyzation company, founders Jim Cirile and Tanya Klein. The film is directed by Jason Axinn. Malevolent is not Jason’s first bizarre and out of this world animation. He directed the sci-fi animated series called Starpocalypse which is available for only $5 for the entire season.
We Are Indie Horror had the opportunity to speak with the creators of the upcoming animated film. We picked their brain and what follows are their answers.
WAIH: Being the first of your kind, where did you find the inspiration for quite the unique project?
Tanya Klein (TK): Malevolent is unique in several ways. Firstly, our movie starts where pretty much all other horror movies end: Final Girl, blood-soaked and shell-shocked after surviving a night of horror, crawls out of the wreckage… this is where our movie starts, and then we immediately send her back in. Secondly,Malevolent is, as far as we know, the first American animated horror movie. They produce some of those in Japan, but not really in the US. You’d have to go back to the ‘80s and Heavy Metal (which was sci-fi, not horror) to even come close.
Jim Cirile (JC): Essentially, we wanted to do something different. With horror it’s very easy to fall into clichés, something we desperately wanted to avoid. This, in fact, is a great time for horror movies, because filmmakers are trying to expand the genre and bring something new to it. That was our goal where the script was concerned. We actually did consider shooting Malevolent live action, but decided on animation because you can do a lot of things with animation that you simply can’t do with live action on a limited budget.
WAIH: The cast is something incredible! Please elaborate on the process of securing such an incredible cast.
TK: Well, we’re sure luck had something to do with it. But everyone also seemed to spark to the script. Morena said that what drew her to Malevolent was “the darkness of it” — the idea that we could all be puppets with someone else pulling the strings. We were honestly blown away when she said yes! We went in cold to her agent, and boom, she liked it and we got her. Ray Wise is of course the perfect person to play a slightly – understatement here – evil father. William Shatner we got through a personal connection of ours who could put in a good word for us. It was quite out of the blue when he called us up and asked us to pitch the movie to him!
JC: Can you imagine being put on the spot like that? Especially considering Shatner is one of our idols. But he liked what he heard and after reviewing the script, incredibly, signed on. His character The Overseer is a Rod Serling-type who guides us through the story while providing his own rather pointed commentary.
TK: And who better to play a demented henchman than Bill “Chop-Top” Moseley? Who, by the way, in person is one of the nicest and funniest people you could ever hope to meet.
WAIH: Can you discuss the process to your initial internal funding?
TK: We funded it through our sister company, Coverage Ink, which is one of the oldest and most respected screenplay analysis services in Los Angeles. Coverage Ink Films is its offshoot. We established Coverage Ink Films as our little indie geek imprint some years ago, and after making a few short films that got us noticed (most significantly Liberator, www.liberatormovie.com) with Lou Ferrigno, Peta Wilson, Michael Dorn and Ed Asner,) we decided to up our game and make a feature. It’s all part of establishing Coverage Ink Films as a go-to indie genre brand. So our initial funding came from Coverage Ink, and we are currently raising finishing funds through an Indiegogo campaign at www.malevolentmovie.com.
WAIH: Where does your passion for horror come from?
TK: The great thing about horror is that you can let your imagination fly as well as tap into your dark side. Essentially, it comes down to this: it’s a lot of fun to write! Jim is an old-school horror/gore/Fangoria fan and grew up doing homemade zombie make-ups (you can see some of his work in Rock n’ Roll Nightmare.) I’m more of a Stephen King/Dean Koontz/literary horror aficionado.
JC: My favorite horror movies are the ones that break the boundaries of horror. A lot of horror films kind of bore me. But then you get films like Jacob’s Ladder and The Serpent and the Rainbow and American Werewolf in London and Phantasm and Hellraiser and Evil Dead II — films which breathtakingly push the limits while being scary as hell and entertaining. That sort of vibe is what we’re shooting for.
WAIH: Where does your love for animation come from?
TK: Animation makes a lot of things possible that aren’t possible with live action. You can be as imaginative as you want and at the same time you have more control over the look and feel of things. You can get it “just right” – the way you had envisioned it.
JC: I have a degree in animation and fine art but never actually put it to use, pursuing writing instead. Spent many years trying to emulate the greats — Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Disney’s Nine Old Men and so on. But I realized I didn’t have the patience necessary. So now many years later, it’s positively joyous to be able to do this kind of project. We can’t afford the level of animation of the geniuses I just mentioned — we’re more along the lines of Archer — but we’re bringing as much production value as we can.
WAIH: What advice do you have for up and coming artists within this genre?
TK: As mentioned above, it’s very easy to fall into the cliché trap with horror. So I’d advise everyone to try and bring something new to it. There is really only one way to be unique – you have to be true to yourself and be yourself as opposed to trying to emulate someone you admire or someone you want to be like. Everybody else already exists. Be yourself. Essentially, that thing, that aspect of your personality, that you’ve been trying to hide all through your high school years is probably your biggest asset.
JC: We read a lot of horror scripts here at Coverage Ink, and while I love a good werewolf, vampire or zombie movie, guys, they’re played out and no one really wants to read them — unless you can figure out a really new or fresh way into it. So we encourage writers to create their own iconic characters, invent their own mythologies, rather than copying someone else. That was the idea behind Gamemaster. We see Morena Baccarin’s character Gamemaster as the linchpin in the Malevolent franchise, our own new horror icon — hopefully!
Thank you to the creators for taking time out of their busy schedule to answer our questions. They are offering a ton of amazing perks over at their page. They have the usual of DVD’s and poster’s signed by the cast and crew but what stands out in their campaign is the unique artwork provided. They have added a perk with a custom hand drawn photograph of yourself in a horror scenario. Also are provided are rare never before seen behind the scenes footage with exclusive interviews with the likes of William Shatner, Morena Baccarin, Ray Wise, and Bill Moseley. Head over to their indiegogo, which you can find in the important links below, and give it a look. We’ve attached the teaser trailer to the bottom of this article and it will blow you away.
We Are Indie Horror is excited to see this film come to fruition. We will keep you up to date on all things Malevolent. Remember if you cannot monetarily donate, please share the campaign to help the indie horror scene. This is We Are Indie Horror’s Blood Bank Where Every Drop Counts!