William Eubank is a director many film fans first took notice of with the release of the claustrophobic, aquatic horror thriller, UNDERWATER starring Kristen Stewart. Hitting theaters shortly before the isolation era of the global Covid pandemic, and despite a disappointing performance at the box office, the film became the decade’s first true contender for the label of a “cult classic” thanks to strong word of mouth from genre enthusiasts. What that dedicated audience responded to has been evident throughout Eubank’s filmography— whether it be in smaller passion projects, like the mind-bending micro-budgeted sci-fi film THE SIGNAL (2014), or in studio “for hire” fare, like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: NEXT OF KIN.
My past activity with The Hit List has done a tremendous service in the course of my mission in helping to extend a much deserved spotlight to stunt performers and independent creatives alike around the world. With the column currently on hiatus now, my mission – apart from expanding into festival coverage and opinion pieces – still stands, which is why I’m happy to help underscore fellow Hit Lister, actress and stunt performer and Emily Carr University of Art and Design graduate, Jennifer Li.
We Will Not Die Tonight helmer Richard Somes has directed dozens of projects for film and TV in the Philippines. He comes anchored with a resumè that further extends his credentials as far back as the late 1990s in art and production design, and with a versatile career that’s seen him accredited on numerous projects. His latest, Triggered (Topakk) is no exception, hailed as a return to nostalgic action cinema with a vision that pits him right beside some of today’s Pinoy action cinema hopefuls out of the region like Erik Matti, Vincent Soberano, Pedring Lopez and others.
Seldom do I get the opportunity to help spotlight a local project that appeals to me. I found that opportunity several years ago as Cinder Chou, a long time production coordinator and assisstant on a number of projects before segueing to directing short films, began envisioning her feature directorial debut.
If you’ve been keeping up the last several months with all things Sheldon Lettich, chances are that at least one update you’ve caught onto was the premiere of Firefight, the 1986 war film directed by Lettich and released nearly 40 years since its production. Lettich is a celebrated mainstay in 90s action cinema with writing and directing credits responsible for bolstering stars like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mark Dacascos and Daniel Bernhardt, and it’s on that note that our own Vance Ang gets to relieve his enthusiasm and energy in a recent one-on-one with Lettich about the short, its production, and its history leading up to its release.
It’s Monday morning as I write this, and I’m starting off with a gem by way of Maria Gnecchi with some respite action and comedy courtesy of stunt performers Luis Pan Venezia and Alessandro Xavier De Silva – just a couple of bros in Rome getting caught up in the kind of situation that usually ends up on camera and in front of eyes of action fans. “Classic Fight Situation” it is, yes? Simple as that.
Actress and filmmaker Maria Tran’s bolstering independent film career is making headway in the festival circuit with the new psychological action drama, Echo 8. Filming took a few years with the film ending up in post-production with trailer footage finally making its debut late last summer, followed by a series of screenings already underway since ramping up local screening efforts last Fall. (My review can be found here.)
It’s been a few weeks since the banner release of actor and director Joe Cornet’s new Western, Gunfight At Rio Bravo. A sequel is currently in toe and Cornet and lead star and producer Alexander Nevsky have been campaigning for both films, with the first having had its red carpet press premiere last month in Arizona.
Two years after crowdfunding, shooting, and completing post-production on Haste, director Aeddan Sussex’s new action short is now online for the masses to take a gander at. That’s five minutes of snackable action and drama featuring UK stunt cats Jon Alagoa and Danny Darwin, with choreography by Alagoa, and a score by Justin Bell (The Matrix Resurrections, Cloud Atlas).
What’s happening right now with “Terrifier 2” is something that basically never happens. A modestly-budgeted independent slasher movie gets a higher-budgeted (but still very modest) sequel? Sure, fine. That’s not unheard of. That sequel getting released on hundreds of screens across the U.S.? That’s a rarity. Even rarer still is that sequel continuing to gain momentum as the weeks go by. Yet, that is exactly what “Terrifier 2” is doing.
Brothers George and Harry Kirby just want to entertain fans of action on screen. The pair have done this by directing more than a dozen short films where the main focus is on action and, most importantly, fun. While they honed their craft with these films (and built a sizable online fanbase to boot), George Kirby steadily established a name for himself in the Hollywood stunt industry. His most high-profile work (so far) came as the fight coordinator on the 2021 blockbuster VENOM: LET THEIR BE CARNAGE but he has also been a stunt performer on such major films as ROUGE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, JUSTICE LEAGUE, and DOCTOR STRANGE.
Lucky McKee has been one of the largely unsung heroes of horror cinema, for around 2 decades now. From his debut feature, “May” to his more recent work, “Old Man”, McKee has proven himself time and time again as one of the best filmmakers today at making truly interesting character pieces.
Every new action film starring Scott Adkins is a reason to celebrate. The British actor and martial artist has long been one of the most reliable performers in the genre. Not only committed to delivering the best possible on-screen action with every new project despite any budget or schedule limitations, his “story first” mindset and dedication to the craft of acting are unparalleled among his action film contemporaries.
Christian Sesma seemingly never stops working. A self-taught filmmaker, Sesma has been directing since 2006 at an incredibly productive rate. In that time, he has completed (and found distribution) for more than twenty feature-length genre films.
This year’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) was a lot of fun. I know I already wrote up an article about the event in general, but there was so much at this year’s con that I still have to talk about! While walking around and looking at the art for sale, I came across the Autistic Tiger booth. It looked interesting so I talked with David Villec who told me that the artist was his son. I looked over and saw a small child in a tiger costume happily drawing away. The artist is Tiger. Who is nine years old. Who has autism.
Taken by Christina Ortega for @FCSyndicate