READ
PREVIOUS COLUMNS HERE!

 Thanks
for all the response to the column thus far. I hope it’s
helping people find some new flicks to check out, maybe
broaden a few horizons.

Again,
for those in the US, I highly recommend picking up a code-free
DVD player with PAL conversion, which will allow you to
see pretty much any movie from all parts of the globe, even
the burgeoning Burmese film industry. And if you hate movies
with subtitles, there probably won’t be much here for you…
For
those who wanted to know where they could track down some
of these flicks, I use DDDHouse
and DVDAsian
for most of my Asian acquisitions, while I’ve found the
selection and service at Xploited
Cinema
and Diabolik
DVD
to be aces for obscura (and no, I don’t get kickbacks).  And there’s always
ebay.

Got an interesting
film suggestion? Know of something good in the works? Just
want to tell me I’m rubbish?  Drop me a line at dave@chud.com, and
I’ll respond to any letters in future columns.

DIFFERENT
STROKES

As
it turns out, notorious Japanese filmmaking cyclone Takashi
Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer)
is capable of more than bizarro and brutal yakuza stories
and unsettling scenes of torture.  Like, say, an introspective
character drama and… a family film?

One
of Miike’s many made-for-TV projects (the guy cranks out
four or five movies a year), Sabu follows
a pair of childhood friends, the docile title character
(Satoshi Tsumabuki) and his more antagonistic friend Eiji
(Battle Royale survivor Tatsuya Fujiwara). 
Although set in the days of the samurai, the story is basically
a coming-of-age drama that finds Eiji framed for a crime
and sent to a harsh island prison.  The film highlights
the notable disparity between the incarcerated Eiji, who
adjusts to prison life with his fists, and the submissive
Sabu as he rather incapably strives to learn the truth about
the accusations against his friend.  The film unfolds at
a (sometimes too) deliberate pace, but while the females
are strictly peripheral and the conclusion seems slightly
self-defeating, the overall presentation has a remarkably
lavish appearance for a TV movie. And Artsmagic (website
HERE),
up-and-coming DVD specialists in lower-profile Japanese
cinema, gives the film a fine treatment complete with separate
interviews with the filmmaker and his lead actors and actresses,
trailers, a “making of” featurette and biographies — possibly
even more material than such a restrained film deserves,
but with treatments like this, Artsmagic could be poised
to become for lesser-known Japanese films what the UK’s
Hong Kong Legends is to kung fu and heroic bloodshed flicks.

On
the other end of the spectrum (or more somewhere in the
middle), Miike’s Zebraman focuses on timid
schoolteacher Shinichi (Miike regular Show Aikawa), a man
who gets absolutely zero respect from his students or his
dysfunctional family (straddling Miike formula, Shinichi’s
daughter is a hooker and his wife is messing around) but
finds solace in the homemade costume of Zebraman, a superhero
from an obscure childhood TV series.  One night he discovers
an invasion by goopy extraterrestrials, and comes to the
realization that he possesses super abilities while “in
uniform”.  Everyone remains oblivious to Shinichi’s transformation
except a handicapped student who shares an obsession with
the esoteric character, and the pair bond as the ungainly
Shinichi uses his newly acquired powers and confidence to
woo his pupil’s hot mom and deliver screwpunches and other
“special moves” to alien fetus-blobs.  Although the film
is a bit lean on Miike’s trademark black humor, with its
cheesy techno theme music, wobbly costumes and loads of
preposterous moments (wait until the appearance of “Zebranurse”)
on Shinichi’s journey of self-discovery, Zebraman
is essentially Unbreakable meets Power
Rangers
something only a guy like
Miike could provide.

Similarly,
Takeshi Kitano is far more than a violent gangster and the
dubbed host of MXC.  The stalwart Japanese filmmaker (known
onscreen in movies like Battle Royale as “Beat”
Takeshi), who has brought his simmering ferocity both behind
and in front of the camera in his films like Sonatine
and the recent transcontinental Brother, has
directed himself in a feature film version of the classic
TV series Zatoichi.  

Kitano
plays the film’s title character, a roving blind (and now
blond) masseur and skilled swordsman who becomes entangled
in a gang war, gets mixed up with siblings seeking revenge
against an elusive crimelord, and faces off with a deadly
bodyguard (Ichi the Killer foe Tadanobu Asano)
in a small village.  Much (digital) blood is spilled courtesy
of some razor-sharp (digital) swords, and Kitano captures
the whole thing with a nearly perfect equilibrium of characterization
and shocking violence (and some brilliant “natural” music
courtesy of field workers).  The film opens in limited release
here in the US this weekend. 

Oddly
enough, Kitano took potshots at the beloved long-running
Zatoichi franchise in his 1995 screwball comedy
Getting Any?  This sex frolic (directed by
Kitano, though he does pop up for a few minutes as a peculiar
scientist) follows misfit Asao (Dankan), a guy who basically
just wants to get laid but has no real perspective on how
to go about doing so.  His fantasies of vehicular fornication
are offset by slapstick reality as he works his way through
an increasingly ludicrous series of ways to fund his dreams
of bonking in cars and planes, from robbing banks to becoming
an actor to inadvertently joining the yakuza to ultimately
getting transformed into a giant man-fly.  It’s loony and
dirty (a surprising amount of nudity) and occasionally loses
its motivational grip, but it’s an effective, cameo-filled
satire for any fan of Japanese flicks, taking fearless pokes
at chambara (period samurai swordplay), yakuza and kaiju
movies.  And this is another film Artsmagic has given a
first-rate DVD treatment (this is the UK
version
), including an interview with Kitano on
the Zatoichi promotional tour (he rarely discusses
the film) in addition to photo and artwork galleries and
lengthy bios, with a fullscreen transfer the only downside.

FRENCH
MADE

I
may be biased as a longtime fan of comics, movies, feline-human
hybrids and eyesight in general, but the impending Catwoman
film seems to be a grievous error of Schumacher-sized
proportions.  One glimpse of slinking kitty Halle Berry
ordering cream at a bar while wearing that execrable costume
pretty much denotes doom.  But how did relatively unknown
French director Pitof end up at the helm of this $100 million
atrocity?  If I had to guess, I’d say… Vidocq.

Armed
with an FX and design background (including the wonderful
City of Lost Children and the overly hated
Alien: Resurrection) and a modest
budget (less than $30 million US), Pitof put together an
interesting period murder mystery with supernatural elements
and impressive visuals.  Vidocq stars the
indescribably handsome Gerard Depardieu as the titular character,
a detective pursuing a bizarre criminal called the Alchemist
in dingy 1830 Paris. As Vidocq is dispatched by the villain
in the opening scene, much of the story is told via flashback
as related to Etienne (the annoying Guillaume Canet, who
curiously also played a character named Etienne in The
Beach
), the unofficial biographer of Vidocq’s life. 
As Etienne tries to piece together the mystery himself,
the Alchemist systematically eliminates the witnesses until
he ends up killing his way into the proverbial corner.

The
film is one of the first shot on digital cameras, and the
results are uneven at best.  Much of the film has the unfortunate
appearance of a television production (with admittedly premium
sets), and Pitof has an irritating penchant for capillary-counting
extreme close-ups captured on trembling handheld.  But the
positive aspects of the film include resplendent costume
designs, some inventive fictional science, lots of slick
tracking shots and seamless FX, strikingly grimy cityscapes,
and one of the most memorable villains to grace the screen
in ages: The Alchemist, who for whatever reason requires
the blood of virgins to survive, wears a soul-sucking reflective
mask and a cloak of otherworldly fluidity, and seems to
possess some remedial conjuring abilities (much like Darth
Maul, the Alchemist’s brief appearances leave the viewer
wanting more).  Despite the film’s experimental shortcomings,
Vidocq leaves little doubt as to Pitof’s skills.

Does
this mean I think Catwoman is getting a bad
rap?  Oh, hell no.  Warner Bros. could’ve taken Darwyn Cooke’s
“Selina’s Big Score” graphic novel and had themselves a
fine framework for a Catwoman movie, complete with big action
setpieces.  Instead, the studio has a script that’s been
scratched at by dozens of screenwriters, uninspiring casting,
that daft costume, and decades of the character’s history
being ignorantly chucked into the dustbin for this new incarnation
— it’s the kind of project that makes a negative preconceived
judgment almost effortless.  But from where I’m sitting,
the director may be the only thing Catwoman has
going for it.

BIG
IDEAS

While
we’re on the subject of comic book characters, after seeing
the outstandingly loopy Running on Karma,
I’d give up my full run of Valiant comics (including Ninjak
holofoil variants) to see Hong Kong drector Johnnie To make
a superhero movie. 

Best
known for more straightforward action and tense thrillers
like Fulltime Killer,  PTU and the must-see
The Mission, To’s Running on Karma goes
so far off the beaten path it nearly tears the fabric of
space.  Wearing a relatively convincing but largely pointless
muscle suit (perhaps the future alternative to actor diets?),
Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau plays Big, a reclusive Shaolin
monk turned big-city exotic dancer who can “see karma”. 
When he meets a seemingly doomed female inspector (the highly
desirable Cecilia Chung), the two share a tenuous bond as
he assists her on a decidedly unusual murder investigation. 
And then Big goes off to the mountains in search of the
man who killed a female acquaintance some five years prior
yet was never apprehended.  Or something like that.

This
absurd path to enlightenment is paved with a charming incoherence,
but what makes To a prime candidate for a superhero movie
are various indications sprinkled throughout the film, like
Big’s superhuman proportions and abilities, a vindictive
Hindi martial artist who can squeeze into small containers,
and a squirming grease-covered thief who scales walls. 
Considering To’s obvious visual acumen and skills with wild
action sequences (see also: The Heroic Trio, The Executioners),
seeing him get his hands on a comic book property (well-known
or otherwise), or even creating his own superhero franchise,
would definitely make missteps like The Punisher and
upcoming suspects like Catwoman and Fantastic
Four
a little easier to swallow.

DRIBLETS

Some
interesting miscellany from the CHUD message boards and
beyond:

If
you’re in
Montreal this July and you hate Deadites,
you may wanna check this out (
official
site HERE
):

Sam
Raimi’s cult-classic Evil Dead films come to life in this
hilarious musical comedy. Five teenagers go to an abandoned
cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash an evil force
that turns them into Candarian Demons… all while sporadically
breaking out into song. Blood! Chainsaws! Singing! It’s
so groovy… it could literally kill you to miss it.

Okay,
now this looks pretty insane… a French alien invasion flick
called Atomik Circus, starring Jason Flemyng
(Deep Rising), sexy-sexy Johnny Depp partner
Vanessa Paradis, and Man Bites Dog killer
Benoit Poelvoorde.  See for yourself HERE.

Now
that he’s done stuffing his face, puffing his pipe and saving
Middle Earth through pure buffoonery, Merry the hobbit is
gonna kick some non-Orc ass.  Pippin partner Dominic Monaghan
is pretty much the only familiar face (aside from Kevin
McKidd of Trainspotting and Dog Soldiers)
in The Purifiers, which is basically a remake
of The Warriors in London
but with a lot more slow-motion kung fu fights.  Check out
the trailer HERE.

Mostly
known for their extensive anime catalog, ADV Films has grabbed
the
US licenses for a bunch of high-profile
live-action Asian films, including the wet Japanese horror
movie Dark Water, the Korean comedy Conduct
Zero
and the sci-fi action flicks 2009 Lost
Memories
and Yesterday. Start saving.

STEAM

Thanks
to all for your letters of non-hatred.
Send
me more comments, suggestions, and coupons for Russian brides
to dave@chud.com, and
I’ll reply to any letters in future columns. Thanks for
reading and writing!

 

Hey
Dave,

Congrats on a great column! I really enjoyed the mentions
of Azumi and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
(since a friend introduced me to Miike’s Ichi The
Killer
, I’ve tried to devour any and all Asian crime/gangster/action
flick I can get my hands on).  Since you seem to have
a bit of knowledge of foreign cinema perhaps you can help
with one… do happen to know anything about Casshern?
I understand that it was released in Japan in April, but
will we ever get to see it in the Stats?

Thanks
and please keep up the good work.

Best,
Ben

DAVE
SAYS
: Thanks, matey.  Yeah, Casshern looks
a pretty wild post-apocalyptic tale of rebellious robots,
(check out the trailer HERE),
like if Dune was made by Terry Gilliam after
he snorted Akira and Robotech.  Last
I heard, director Kiriya
Kazuaki was in negotiations with different companies for
stateside
release, but nothing solid yet.
As the film has already been released in Japan, I’ll bet
you a case of Pocky that we’ll be able to get an import
DVD in our fists before it hits theaters or shelves here
in the States.

Love
the Dave’s Underground articles. Even though I usually don’t
get much opportunity to see many foreign films, it is good
that they are getting attention from someone here.

I
have found a website for a Korean movie that looks just
incredible, called Dragon Wars, or D-war.
The site is in Korean, and what translation I can get is
rudimentary at best, but the two Trailers that they have
look mind blowing! I love Dragons, and want to see this
so bad. Maybe you could use your contacts to find out more
about it.

Keep
up the good work.

Ryan

DAVE
SAYS:

D-Wars does indeed look pretty nifty, and
could possibly fulfill the promise of all-out human/reptile
combat that Reign of Fire so disappointingly
failed to provide (despite posters featuring fleets of Black
Hawk helicopters).  Obviously the FX aren’t going to be
on par with Hollywood productions, especially considering
they’re probably making the movie on the catering budget
for Van Helsing, but I tend to be more forgiving
with filmmakers trying to do more with less.  Check out
this clip HERE… 
I have no idea what the deal is with the big lizards with
the cannons on their backs, but it’s got my attention…

Dave,

Loving the new column. I have fairly eclectic tastes in
movies, men in giant monster suits (specifically the excellent
Gamera trilogy from Shusuke Kaneko) sit next
to In the Mood For Love, Brotherhood of the Wolf,
the Infernal Affairs trilogy, Dark Water,
City of God
and The Lord of the Rings
on my DVD shelf. So I was somewhat surprised to find Underground
mentioned so many of the films I’ve been looking forwards
to: Immortel, Godzilla: Final Wars, 2046, Azumi 2,
House of Flying Daggers
.

Whilst few of these films are likely to be perfect (House
of Flying Daggers
notwithstanding) they’re all likely
to be interesting viewing at the very least. That’s the
great thing about foreign films, they don’t feel compelled
to follow in the hollywood mentality of repeating what works.

I always wonder why more of these films don’t get proper
wide releases in the West, without being reedited or dubbed.
How many subtitled films have been given a decent release
in the last ten years? I can think of two: Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon
and The Passion of the
Christ
, and what do you know, both of those topped
$100 million at the box office. Now there’s something to
ponder.

Here’s hoping House of Flying Daggers joins
them later in the year.

Mathew

DAVE
SAYS:
Thanks
for reading.  Looks like you’ve got some fine taste in movies,
I too love Shusuke’s Gamera movies (although
Chungking Express is my favorite Wong Kar-Wai
film over In the Mood for Love).

The
thing I enjoy about foreign cinema (and this may just be
the perception from an "outsider") is that they
seem to be more pure, undiluted by the "moviemaking
by committee" process that is all too prevalent with
big-budget Hollywood films. A
lthough
there is a definite recent reverse influence, as can be
seen in some of the more glossy crowd-pleasing attempts
like Returner and So Close (which
I unabashedly adore).

Subtitled
movies will likely remain a niche market here in the US.
The
mainstream public seems far less tolerant of different languages
than other countries, which make students learn multiple
languages from a young age (whereas most American citizens
can’t even grasp English, yet are the first to take jabs
at other cultures).  It’s just the mentality and it’s unlikely
to change.  Unfortunately, unlike the usual “Me, too” studio-sheep
attitude, I doubt the success of the subtitled films you
mentioned will prompt development executives to take gambles
with more, especially when British films are still considered
“foreign”.

Dave,

Great
column. I have be combing the world for the best in foreign
and unusual films for years and it’s great to have another
place that sends up flares for films that I might not have
heard of. You’re bad for my budget (but that’s a good thing).

You
mention the Chinese movie Hero in your latest
column. I have waited years to see this movie even though
it has been available throughout the world for some time
now. There is rumor of an Extended Edition, with 20 more
minutes of footage added to the movie. I had heard it was
to have been released some time ago in
China but was delayed due to SARS and
possibly rumbles with Miramax (but I don’t know how true
that is). www.monkeypeaches.com
even has a “Coming Soon” spot for the Extended Edition but
that has been up for a while with no change.

Do
you have a line on this mythical Hero Extended Edition?
Have I been wasting my time these past two years in search
of an un-tampered with classic?

Thanks
for your time and keep up the good work!

John

DAVE
SAYS:
Better
I’m bad for your wallet than bad for your daughter.  As
for the extended Hero (actually director Zhang
Yimou’s original cut, which reportedly has much more character
stuff), last I heard it was supposed to be released in Hong
Kong back in February.  But not a peep since then.  I suppose
it’s conceivable they’re waiting for the Miramax release
here or the attention from House of Flying Daggers,
but I highly doubt it.  I’m waiting right there with you.

Where’s
a good place to get a region free DVD player with PAL conversion?

-
Jack

DAVE
SAYS:

Well,
a quick Google (y’know, I loathe the fact that “Googling”
has become an acceptable phrase for the act of seeking info,
especially since it references a mathematical term (10 to
the 100th power) as well as Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s
Guide
novels, as does the “babelfish” online language
translator – I guess Adams’ ideas are public domain now. 
But I digress, considerably…) should bring up a load of
online retailers, but HKFlix
offers a pretty big variety in a wide price range.  I have
a Jaton and a cheap Daewoo, but I know the Malata is also
a popular brand.  You should be able to find an adequate,
reliable code-free player for around a hundred balloons.

Hi
Dave – thanks for posting my e-mail to you about "House
of Flying Daggers
"… I’m getting pretty psyched
about this film.  I also recently just bought "Azumi"
and "Aragami" based on the comments
in your UNDERGROUND column (and elsewhere on CHUD), and
enjoyed "Azumi"… such a cute girl,
but what a bad-ass.  By the way – I bought these DVDs
from HKDVDStore.com, which offers region-free (and probably
pirated) DVDs of Asian films for those of us without the
proper DVD Player.

I wanted to bring up another small film about which I’d
like to get your thoughts: ANCANAR.  I’ve been hearing
about this low-budgie Tolkien-inspired film for quite some
time on TheOneRing.net, and I just checked their web site
(www.ancanar.com)
recently, which seems to be steadily improving and adding
content.  This effort by dyed-in-the-wool Tolkien fans
is really starting to look promising (depending if you’re
also a Tolkien fan or not, I guess), and I’m eager to see
if/when they get a proper release and distribution deal.

Keep pluggin’,
Paul

DAVE
SAYS:
It
does look like that HKDVDStore is selling boots, probably
the same ones you’ll find on ebay.  Basically, if the movie
hasn’t been released here and they’re advertising a region-free
version, it’s likely a boot.  The whole “bootlegging is
bad” argument isn’t one I’m prepared to get into (because
it is bad, and yet I’ve been known to participate),
but I’ll just say the Asian film market isn’t terribly robust
in the US just yet, so some folks do what they gotta do.

Also,
if you dig Kitamura’s Aragami (which by the
way was part of a challenge with director Yukihiko Tsutsumi
to each make a movie with only two characters in one setting
– Tsutsumi’s result is titled 2LDK), check
out his film Alive, which is essentially the
same story but with more fighting.  Kinda reminded me of
an extended Outer Limits episode or something.

Although
I loved the Lord of the Rings movies, I’m
not the biggest fan of Tolkien’s writings (all that walking
and singing and eating and singing about eating, and way
too many fake languages and sons of so-and-so), but this
Ancanar is looking decent for what is essentially
a fan-made epic.  I certainly admire the passion being poured
into it.

Couple
of things:

1)
I notice you’re quite a skeptical (or maybe just cautious) passenger
on the Slow Boat To Korea, what with all the hyperbole that
spews forth from the the geeknet at the moment. I know you’ll
have seen them, but what do you think of some of the less
publicized Korean pictures ? I’m thinking of things
like "Guns & Talks", "Barking
Dog Never Bite
" and "Bichunmoo".
Chan Wook Park’s going to be a new Takeshi Kitano quite
obviously, but maybe his countrymen deserve some of
the love outside of action "spectaculars" like
"2009 Lost Memories", "Shiri"
and "The Resurrection Of The Little Match Girl"… 

b)
I just had a quite day dreamy flashback to that wonderful,
much missed sub genre: the Sword and Sorcery picture.
I’m not talking about "The Dark Crystal",
or "Conan" I’m thinking of
the exploitation pictures that capitalized on them usually starring
Amazonian goddesses and ex wrestlers and runners up in Lita
Ford look-a-like competitions. I think Albert Pyun directed
a few of these way back when and the dudette who got
wasted by Phil Specter was a top-liner in one or two. So,
scantily clad tits + death = a good mix ?  

Best

Limey
Sue

DAVE
SAYS:
Hey,
Sue.  Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few Korean films
that have impressed the hell out of me (Sympathy for
Mr. Vengeance
, Public Enemy), and
others that I’ve just found downright entertaining (My
Wife is a Gangster, My Sassy Girl
), but I’m just
as discerning with them as films from any country.  A lot
of it has to do with the ultimate frustration from hype
(although Oldboy lived up to it).  I prefer
Musa the Warrior over Bichunmoo as
far as sword-swinging period epics go, but Guns &
Talks
is one polished bite that doesn’t get enough
attention.

As
for bemoaning the lack of shitty fantasy films, I have to
admit I was never a huge fan.  Tits are great, but I prefer
my rubbish to smell like Bronx Warriors over
the likes of Sorceress, Wizards of the Lost Kingdom,
Miles O’Keeffe’s bared pecs and the Deathstalker trilogy. 
Although Jon Terlesky deserves more work. 

And
I think Albert Pyun gets a bad rap.  But perhaps that’s
a topic for a future edition of Underground…

DOWN
BELOW

I’d
like the UNDERGROUND to also be an environment for smaller
filmmakers (in budget, scope and height – I don’t discriminate,
wee folk) to publicize their wares, particularly genre material. 
Everyone deserves a chance, yeah? After all, even Oscar
winner Peter Jackson started with an independent sci-fi
horror flick that featured spilled brains and vomit tasting. 
So if you’ve got an independent film and you want to expose
yourself, drop me a line at dave@chud.com
Put some pants on first.

 

NEW
BIBLICAL ACTION THRILLER OFFERS INSIGHT INTO BIBLICAL ENDTIMES
PROPHESIES

Chicago, IL — June 1, 2004 — Biblical themes in filmmaking
have been on
the rise every since the 2000 surprise hit Omega Code. Mel
Gibson’s 2004
movie The Passion of The Christ has raised the bar and interest
in these
kinds of films even higher. But there’s another Biblically
based film

looming. The pulp action thriller The 4th Beast takes on
the endtimes from a different perspective.

“You
aren’t going to see a bunch of people disappear if that¹s
what you’re expecting,” Says director and Columbia College
Chicago alum, Nathyn Brendan Masters.  “This film is more
about explaining the endtimes. Apocalypse movies are a popular
genre that grabs the attention of secular viewers as well
as Christians but Masters believes there’s more to the story
than what’s been told. A lot of people buy these films and
books to be entertained but also to get information about
the Revelation prophesies but most of these films and books
only give half the story and they’re all saying the same
thing. We try to really break the prophecies about the Antichrist
down.”

Inspired by Steve Wohlberg’s book End Times Delusions, an
exposé on the
Bible’s endtime prophecies, The 4th Beast revolves around
an ex-army ranger, Daniel Abrams home from the Shock and
Awe engagement. To ensure the safety of a disc, which contains
information about the Antichrist, a priest enlists Daniel’s
aid. The stakes are raised when two rogue upstart Vatican
agents, the straight laced Sebastian and his borderline
psychotic commanding officer Delilah Capallina come to retrieve
to the disk for their own purposes.


The film’s action oriented theme and production has raised
eyebrows, but

producer John Rogers is confident in his directing abilities.
“Nathyn does
action.” Says Rogers. “This is his first feature film so
why should he try
to produce something he may be decent at as opposed to something
I know he’s great at.”

Some have already started comparing it to the Matrix because
of its
stylishly dressed, dark suited shade sporting agents and
martial arts scene and gunfights.  “That’s fine. I like
The Matrix, although it should be known Asian action cinema
is where the Matrix, like myself, ripped most its influence.” 
Says Masters,  “The stylish clothes, the wire work. It all
came before the Matrix not after. And there’s no wire-fu
here. This is all

straight on the ground action.”

Master’s secular martial arts action film and staring vehicle,
Silvergun
Samurai, was pushed back so he could produce this film.
He was also going to star in it but decided not to.  “I
felt it would be better if I worked on production versus
trying to act and produce. This is something special so
I wanted to get it right and didn¹t feel the cinematographers
I knew would shoot it the way I would.”

Chicago talent shines in the film. “Chicago is ripe with
talent that rivals

Hollywood and frankly some of it’s a lot better.” Says Rogers.
When casting Masters and Rogers both decided to grab people
from Chicago’s tight knit, highly trained theater community.
For the roles of the Father Anthony and Father Paul Anderson
theater actors Glenn Dhont, and Michael MacRae both play
priest trying to aid in unraveling the prophecies. Katie
Getty plays the treacherous Delilah and film, television
and theater actor Jon Ross plays the lead character Daniel.
All trained and accomplished actors every one.

"I
think the way this project is coming together is a testament
to God’s power." Says Masters about the strangeness of the
whole production. People have been perplexed considering
the unemployed filmmaker managed to get most of the equipment
he needed at no charge. Masters says he made a business
deal with the ultimate negotiator, God. The deal, he¹d do
the film if God made a way for him to get the equipment
to start his company. "God always keeps His end of a deal
now I¹m keeping mine."

Feeling
distributors would want to make changes taking away the
effect of the Biblical content Masters has decided to keep
his production independent with plans to distribute the
film from his website until he finds a distributor who he
can be sure won¹t change the impact of the film’s message.

The
4th Beast: Mask of the Antichrist, is currently shooting
on location in Chicago. Masters and his Chicago based production
company, "TimeCode Mechanics" are heading up the project.
The film is being financed out of pocket and through donations.
Updates on the film can be seen at the website www.the4thbeast.com.
The film is slated for summer release and stars Jon Ross,
Joelly Mejia, Katie Getty, Jason Walsh, and Vanita Nickole,
with appearances by Chicago theater actors Michael MacRae
and Glenn Dhont.

For
information see www.the4thbeast.com

Thanks
for digging into this edition of DAVE’S UNDERGROUND, be
back soon with more treats from beneath eye level. Feel
free to send any suggestions or comments to dave@chud.com!