Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Galaxy of Horrors

7 of 7 viewers "Liked" "Galaxy of Horrors" (2017, USA)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

The Berkeley Blazer - "This is a great anthology for fans of sci-fi horror and I enjoyed almost every entry sans the hackneyed Italian TV prison story. Apparently, this is actually a collection of award winning short films so we end up with a consistently engaging lineup of stories. Despite not being a true anthology, when the film was over I was left feeling like I had just watched "Black Mirror: The Movie". Whether or not you enjoy that will depend on whether you interpret that as a positive or negative, but all in all this was a pleasant surprise." - 4 Stars

Dabbles - "Holy crap this movie was insane. Almost had the feel of a giant Black Mirror series, but more over the top and fun. I definitely had no idea what to expect I would be down to watch it again." - 5 Stars

Trash - This is just a compilation of sci-fi horror shorts from the festival circuit over the past 10 years. It's got a simple, methodical wraparound that works well for it, not trying to tell its own story but just set the stage. Some of these are really great, some are forgettable, nothing is awful. Worth it just for Flesh Computer which is super bizarre." - 3 Stars

KillDozer - "Anthologies have it tough, the expectations are always high and just one installment or inconsistent wrap around can ruin the whole experience . Lucky for Galaxy of Horrors it is not really an anthology in the traditional sense but more of a short science fiction / horror film compilation. Each short film has its own vision and feel and I can honestly say that I was entertained by every single one. That's not to say that they are all winners or that I'd watch them all again but I am a fan of new talent putting out fresh ideas, especially in this age of remakes/reboots. This short film compilation is a fun watch that has something for everyone!" - 4 Stars (for each short film in the movie that I would love to see again and again )

Huntress - "I'll admit it had a bit of a slow start and not all of the seven to ten segments landed well with me, but overall Galaxy of Horrors was a fun and original sci-fi horror anthology. I’d consider a majority of these shorts gems either for having a unique story line/ settings/ atmosphere, some insanely memorable effects, or a combination of all of the above. Flesh Computer immediately comes to mind. I’ll be thinking about that one for a while… I was also very happy to see a wrap around story that tied everything together, was funny, and got better as the movie progressed." -  4 Stars

Math Mage - "A collection of excellent short films with an inspired wrap-around. Some are better (Eveless, They Will All Die in Space) some are dumb (Pathos), but none are terrible." - 5 Stars

Lord Battle - "Not much separates Galaxy of Horrors from films like ABC's of Death or Holidays. These non-anthology anthologies have interesting film-makers making shorts with very open parameters but they lack a wrap-around story which makes the film more a reference material than a feature. And even though Galaxy of Horrors has a very minimal wrap-around it's enough to elevate the film to something more than just a collection of shorts. I should also mention that the wrap-around is my favorite part of anthology films and this one was brutally self aware and very funny." - 3.5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*

(Below is for after you've seen the film)

We can all agree that anthologies are tricky to talk about. So in lieu of a wrap up that reiterates everything the creatures said, we'll leave you with an interview KillDozer did with the producer and bluray/DVD author of Galaxy of Horrors, Justin McConnell. And yes, he'll explain what goes in to bluray and DVD authoring.

KillDozer: A lot of genre fans don't fully understand the role of a producer. Would you mind telling us everything you as a producer had to do in making sure the dream of Galaxy of Horrors would become a reality?

Justin: Being a producer on an anthology like Galaxy of Horrors is quite a bit different than most films. The reason being is that it's essentially an anthology compilation, meaning all the films aside from the wraparound segment already existed as stand-alone short films. Normally a producer is in charge of making sure the film actually makes it to the screen from the script stage, and all of the organization, admin and busy work that goes with that. In this case, I was more of a programmer, since it fell on my shoulders (and my team) to select the films that would go into the film, and then lock them in contract for worldwide sale. I've run a monthly horror festival called Little Terrors since 2011 in Toronto, so the films were selected as sort of a 'best of' from that festival. In the case of this release, we picked ones that had to fit stringent criteria: had to be sci-fi/horror themed, had to be good, and could not have already been online for free (or, at least had very low views online). So you get a little handcuffed by that, but I still feel we selected 8 very strong stories. After that the film had to be put together into a uniform master, the wraparound was produced and shot, and it was delivered to our various distribution partners. But in terms of actual on the ground producing work, that credit belongs to the hard working teams on each of the individual short films.

KillDozer: How did this project first come to you and what made you take it on?

Justin: This didn't come to me; it was generated by me (and co-producer Avi Federgreen). The Little Terrors anthology series of films (the first release was 'Minutes Past Midnight') are part of a deal we put together with multiple companies to release these collections of short films into the market on a semi-regular basis. There are so few platforms for quality short films to get not just exposure, but actual revenue, that we put this series together to help with that. I wanted to take it on to help fellow filmmakers, because after playing these films at the festival year after year, I knew a wider audience really did deserve to see them.

KillDozer: A lot of hats are worn in independent film making, did you take on any responsibilities outside of the supervisor role?

Justin: I directed the wraparound segment, and in this case made sure all post-production was completed and delivered on time. I run a production/post company, so all the post on these films are handled in-house, right down to closed-captioning and Blu-ray/DVD authoring. I also spearheaded the majority of the contract work.

KillDozer: Do you have a connection to science fiction in particular? What was the first science fiction film you remember seeing that left a lasting impression on you?

Justin: I love sci-fi as a genre. And horror. I grew up enjoying the Hell out of films like the Alien series, The Thing, the classics.... but also the lesser known but still highly entertaining flicks such as Leviathan, Forbidden WorldXtro, the Critters series, tons of the Corman space stuff.... a massive list. In terms of sci-fi that has recently left a lasting impression, I really enjoyed Predestination, and think Life is getting a bad rap for a pretty solid film. And Black Mirror is a current favorite. There is tons of sci-fi out there, and I watch as much of it as I can. The list would be huge.

KillDozer: The anthology is a risky format to take on. Do you feel that all the segments in Galaxy of Horrors work well for a successful anthology? What is your favorite segment in the film and why?

Justin; Like any anthology, people are going to have their favorites, and also have stories that didn't work as well for them. I personally like all of the stories in the film, and do believe they work well together, thematically and tonally. But this is a curated anthology of existing material, and we weren't able to weave any connecting fibre into the stories from the concept stage, so of course they don't fit like a glove. As for a favorite segment, I don't want to name one at the detriment of the others. Though the 80's kid in me has a soft spot for 'They Will All Die In Space' on a design and style level. But I find stuff to really like in all of them.

KillDozer: Looking through your IMDB profile I have to ask, do you ever stop working? What is your inspiration? And of course why horror?

Justin: No, I generally don't stop working. Even when I'm having fun and out somewhere there is a very good chance my computer is rendering something. Inspiration is a tough one to pin down. I always say I hate to be bored, which is true, but I don't really know what drives me forward. I just have always had a desire to create, and a hunger to be as diverse and creative as I can, as often as I can. I ultimately want to go to my grave knowing that some kid just like me has copies of films I've worked on in their collection. It may not be a video shelf in the future, but however they store their movie collection, the idea that your work lives on beyond you, and that art (for however long it lasts), has a degree of immortality to it (you hope), is very appealing. As for why horror?..... to quote the documentary - why not? I've just always been a big horror nut, and while not every film I make will be horror, it's the genre that most captures my heart. Probably because you can examine virtually anything in the horror genre, and tell any story, within the framework for horror. It's one of the most versatile storytelling genres there are, I think.

KillDozer: You are credited for doing a lot of DVD/Blue-ray "authoring", would you explain what that is?

Justin: I take the master of the film, and all the bonus material, and create the discs themselves. All the menus, post-processing, encoding, captions, etc. The interface you use when you watch a Blu-ray or DVD, the quality of the print when you watch it, and capabilities of the disc, are set and/or designed by me. Along with trailer editing, DCP creation, and a bunch more, it's one of the things my company specializes in. Have done nearly 100 releases at this point for over a dozen distributors.

KillDozer: Galaxy of Horrors has some amazing poster art, who did you go to for the cover and what do you think is important when seeking out cover/poster artwork?

Justin: The poster was created by Small Dog Design, a great company near Toronto that I met while working with Anchor Bay. They were responsible for all of that company's home video design in Canada, and branched out from there. For this poster in particular, I went to them with a description of a concept, and a style I was hoping they could hit. And they delivered in spades, with a really cool throwback video-box look. Key art is incredibly important for a film, but the weird thing is the vendors don't all agree on what makes good key art. I actually love the poster we got done, but it lost us a pretty major sale in the US because the artwork just didn't work for them. It's tough to ride the line between catering to the vendor's preferences and doing something unique and artistic sometimes.

KillDozer: The film was recently released to VOD on March 7th. What has been the response so far? Were you able to screen it at festivals? If so how did it play with a live audience?

Justin: The response seems to be mostly positive, but mixed on which parts people are positive on. This is the second Little Terrors anthology release, and in total there have been 17 shorts released over the two films. It has been an interesting social experiment, because out of those 17 films, it is very rare for people to agree on anything in terms of opinion. Very few people can agree on what is their favorite, which ones they didn't like, or which are stronger than others. It all comes down to personal taste, and the older I get, the more I realize just how diverse someone's tastes are. Which is why you have to take all feedback in stride. One person may love everything, while another may think everything is terrible. The truth is that nobody has the right answer, so we're just going to keep releasing what we believe are strong films, and hope enough of the audience agrees. As for live play, it only played one screen in Toronto, and the response was pretty strong, I think.

KillDozer: When will the film receive a DVD/blu-ray release? Where can we pick up a copy?

Justin: It hits Blu-ray/DVD on May 2nd. The Blu-ray will be limited edition, so you can get it via Amazon, Rue Morgue, or directly from distributor Indiecan Entertainment. The DVD will be in some video stores, and also Amazon. Potentially some retail chains, but we're waiting on answers there.

KillDozer: Do you have any new projects in the works? Where can we find out more about your production company? 

Justin: I have a ton of projects in the works. I'm not sure which one will happen first at this point, but there are three possible features going this year, and the third Little Terrors anthology. I'm in post-production on my new documentary Clapboard Jungle: Surviving the Independent Film Business. I also have a single-take feature thriller I directed called Broken Mile coming out across North America this summer (via Gravitas in the US, and Indiecan in Canada). You can find out more at, or my IMDb, or any of the social media pages.

KillDozer: Who would win in a fight, ET or the alien from Mac n Me?

Justin: How much Coca-Cola has Mac had? If Mac was wired on Coke, he might have the edge. And that's entirely possible, because he's a Coke shill. But it stands to reason that if E.T. has a healing finger, he may also be able to use it to drain lifeforce as well. To turn into an energy vampire, of sorts. That was never examined. I still think Mac has the edge - he's lankier, taller and could move faster.

KillDozer: Who is your favorite science fiction robot of all time?

Justin: I guess I'm not allowed to say RoboCop, because he's a cyborg, not a robot. So, ED-209?

KillDozer: What is your most revisited film in your DVD collection?

Justin: In the Mouth of MadnessChild's Play 2, or The Big Lebowski.

KillDozer: If you could pick any musician to write a score for your next project who would it be and why?

Justin: If I say anyone other than my already existing composers Sean Motley or Rob Kleiner, they are going to get upset. Haha. But anyone..... a team-up between Ennio Morricone and Mike Patton.


The Overlook Theatre materialized in a residence for a screening on 3/30/2017
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

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