Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Overlooked Crowd Funding: Gehenna - Where Death Lives

Here's another cool project that needs your love: Gehenna - Where Death Lives. It was co-written, directed, and produced by Hiroshi Katagiri, who has earned his fame by being an amazing and prolific creature creator and special effects artist. Although he's directed several shorts, this will be Katagiri's first time directing a feature length film. It will of course showcase his specialty and have the scariest practical effects that his and his collective team's mind can come up with. 

The film is about a group of location scouts and the guides they hire, looking for a location to build a new resort. While walking around the grounds, they find a cave and head in to check it out. There they find a man, but more accurately a fleshy disfigured skeleton (the one in the movie poster), who hobbles a touch too close to the hired guide and gets shoved away, into the wall of the cave. Instead of killing the creature, this causes an explosion and downpour of rubble debris. The exit is blocked and chaos (or something else) causes the explorers to black out. They later awaken and find themselves trapped. They must wander the forgotten tunnels to find the route to their freedom, ignorant to the fact that dark secrets from their past are trapped inside with them, and they're tired of staying hidden.

Now, I'll be honest, I was a little disappointed when I started reading up on this movie. The plot, although good for jump scares and bad CG ghostly figures, has been done more than a couple of times and not always done well. Usually not. The poster grabbed me, but nothing else really did. But I continued reading and recognized a couple of the other films that various parts of this team have worked on. Then I recognized a name: Tim Gore, who I'd met at Son of Monsterpalooza.

I was coming around, but the video sealed it for me. Hearing director Hiroshi Katagiri speaking about his love and appreciation of horror, not just jump scares, got me excited. He also mentioned that the effects in this project would all be practical. It seemed obvious after hearing it; he started out in special effects and worked for names like Steven Spielberg, why wouldn't he put his passion to work to make the best film he possible could? He also said that part of the money raised would go towards building the movie set. That meant it would be the perfect set for the movie, because it would be tailored to it. The part that really got me into this idea was when Hiroshi Katagiri spoke about making a great horror movie. Something about his conviction and pride told me that he knew what he was doing, he thought about various aspects in detail, and most importantly that he loved what he was doing. I honestly feel that he would not allow a bad movie come from his brain. On top of all those reasons, he must really believe in this project because this is the second time he's attempting a Kickstarter campaign for it.

The rewards for contributing to this campaign are somewhat standard at the lower price ranges, but that is not to mean that they won't look great. Here are a couple of noteworthy ones I picked out:

  • $15 gets you a download of the completed movie, a scary screen saver, and a thank you on the movie site. That's about the price of a movie ticket, so I'd say it's worth it.
  • $20 will get you early access to the downloadable versions of everything having to do with the project: the film, soundtrack, script, extra art, and scary screen saver. This is limited to 200 supporters, and there are currently 74 left.
Under $100
  • $40 is the price for a Deluxe DVD, which comes with audio commentary and other special features. This also comes with the soundtrack, script, screen saver, and extra art as downloads. 
  • $100 gets you the Deluxe DVD and a crew shirt, movie poster, and thanks in the credits. There are versions of this that come with either a shirt or poster, but for the indecisive among us, this is perfect. These are limited to 80 but only 12 have been claimed so far.
Now the prices increase kind of drastically, but so does the quality of reward.
Break the Piggy Bank
  • $265 gets you everything in the $100 pack but you also get to meet and talk with the director about film and special effects. You'll also get a tour of Spectral Motion workshop. A very cool opportunity for anyone heading down the effects path. This is also much cheaper than rewards involving meeting someone generally goes for. 
  • $355 can get you one of two packages. Both contain everything in the $100 reward but also come with 2 tickets to a premier of the completed film. You get a choice between the screening in Los Angeles or Japan. 
There are a lot of other rewards to pick from, but they were a little too similar and I felt like I'd be repeating myself. Check them all out at the Kickstarter page. Here's my pick for

Interesting but Unrealistic 
  • $7500 can get you the only full sized dummy of the creepy guy on the floor of the cave. There is only one of these and it's still up for grabs! Add another thousand to get the "creepy puppet body" that will be worn in the film itself. This is also limited to one. The one and only. 
Spread the word so that this loved movie can finally be funded! I have high hopes for it and I have a feeling that this won't be the last we hear about it even if the campaign fails.


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