If you’ve never seen Batman: Dead End, you really need to. And thank goodness for YouTube, since you can glimpse it above.
The world’s first big budget (well, $30,000) fan movie, Dead End was crafted by concept designer Sandy Collora (who worked on flicks like Jurassic Park and The Crow) who figured it could kick-start his career as a director, it’s an impressive tale of the Caped Crusader battling Aliens and a Predator.
Yes, it’s a very fan-baiting idea, but thanks to Collora’s skill and the use of professional actors, crew and equipment, it looks great.
Sadly for the director, his follow-up (a take on the World’s Finest stories that includes Superman and co) got caught in legal tangles and has never gotten the same release. And a serious car crash put a dent in his plans.
But now he’s back, and the result looks like something truly special…[page-break]
2. It’s got a killer concept
Basic terms, then: the story follows a team of special forces commandos who must recapture an escaped alien prisoner after the military transport ship carrying it crashes on a desolate and hostile planet. But there’s a whole lot more to it than that…
At its core, this is a picture about survival. Being able to adapt to your surroundings and persevere, to survive at all costs and prevail against incredible odds to complete an objective,” Collora tells io9.
“That's something that I've had some experience dealing with in my own life and career, so there were a lot of personal feelings and emotions to draw from.
“There are subtle political and environmental overtones that I certainly don't hit anyone over the head with at all, but that will hopefully make you think about things like war, politics and current events, by presenting them in situations cinematically from a uniquely different perspective.”[page-break]
3. It’s inspired by James Cameron
Yes, Collora’s certainly shooting for the moon on this one. Which is not really surprising considering he took on Warners with his first film and has been creating his own ideas for the last few years.
“The film, very much like the approach Jim Cameron took with The Terminator, is a very small piece of a much larger picture,” says the director. "It concentrates on how the bigger situation (which in this case, is interplanetary war) is affecting the two main characters, who are now separated from it, and how they relate and react to their situation and each other as a result of it.
“As the story unfolds and more things are revealed about the characters and what their relationship is, we had to create in a sense, what we could not show. This was a very interesting challenge not only for co-writer Nick Damon and myself, but for the actors as well because through their performances and the dialogue, they had to build in the audience's imagination, what we couldn't afford to actually build on screen.”[page-break]
It reminds us of classic Star Wars – and there’s a reason for that…
Getting flashbacks to storm troopers scouring the deserts of Tattooine for rebel scum? Collora admits he’s harkening back to the original trilogy even as Hunter Prey operates in an original universe.
“The designs of pretty much everything in the movie were inspired by the concept design trends of the late sixties and seventies. I wanted the picture to basically look like it could have been made during that era. Everything is very non linear, almost clunky. There's nothing in the movie that's shiny or sleek.
“Everything has a very lived in and dirty quality to it. It's banged up. Dented. Imperfect. Simplicity was a big factor as well, especially regarding the fabrics, textures and colours of the costumes. Nothing is too complicated looking, or over designed.
“I absolutely adore the purity and simplicity of the costumes in the original Star Trek series and films like Logan's Run and the original Star Wars trilogy."[page-break]
Guillermo del Toro is helping out
If you needed a hefty geek stamp of approval, few come with better credentials than Guillermo del Toro.
Says Collora: “The picture has a very old school, Star Wars look and feel to it. That’s actually one of the comments I've gotten from several people who I've shown the movie to, including Guillermo Del Toro, who liked it so much, he's shepherding the film through the last stages of post production, giving me advice regarding the cut and contributing his thoughts about where and how the film and my career will be best served.”
“I had to find investors that were interested in making the movie I wanted to make. I was open to hearing ideas or taking notes on the script, but whomever was going to invest in this picture, needed to be on the same page as me regarding the tone for the piece, the characters, how I wanted to tell the story, and of course, the overall design and look of the film.”
Trust us when we say we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this one – and will let you know as soon as Collora finds a distributor that can bring Hunter Prey across the pond.
for the interview snippets and pics.
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