AMC Theatres and Fever Productions announced an exclusive partnership on the national theatrical release of the highly anticipated horror/thriller film SMILEY from director Michael Gallagher (“Totally Sketch”). Beginning Oct. 12, AMC will exclusively release the film theatrically through its AMC independent platform on 28 screens in 14 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and Atlanta.  The release will also be supported by a marketing campaign from AMC.


SMILEY, co-written by YouTube sensation Gallagher and Glasgow Phillips (“South Park”), and produced by Michael Wormser (“Some Guy Who Kills People”) of Level 10 Films, has an enormous fan base to call on. Gallagher and his YouTube partners on “Totally Sketch,” as well as the other performers in the film including Shane Dawson (“Shane Dawson’s TV”) and Toby Turner (“The Annoying Orange”), have over 11 million subscribers, 2.2 billion views and 4 million plus fans on Facebook/Twitter combined.  The trailer has accumulated over 15 million views since its debut.

The deal was brokered by Michael Gallagher and Michael Wormser for Fever Productions and Nikkole Denson-Randolph, Vice President of Alternative and Special Content at AMC.

In addition to the AMC release, the film will be available on more traditional platforms including DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes, Redbox and cable VOD after the traditional theatrical release window has closed.

“We are very proud to partner with AMC through the AMC independent program for the theatrical release of SMILEY. Nikkole and the entire AMC team have been tremendous partners in bringing the film to theaters, all across the nation. SMILEY is a truly independent film and AMC independent has created an unprecedented opportunity for filmmakers like myself to bring their films to mainstream audiences, without a middleman. This exciting partnership gives us the chance to deliver a thrilling, interactive moviegoing experience for the fans, just in time for Halloween,” said director Gallagher.

“We’re excited to partner with Michael Wormser, Michael Gallagher and Fever Productions as we help bring this movie, which continues to gather a growing interest, to a wider audience,” said Denson-Randolph.


SMILEY is the story of the film follows a mentally fragile college student named Ashley (Caitlin Gerard from “Magic Mike” and “The Social Network”) who, after learning of an urban legend in which a mysterious serial killer named “Smiley” can be summoned through the Internet, must decide whether she is losing her mind or becoming Smiley’s next victim. SMILEY also stars Melanie Papalia (“Endgame”) and Andrew James Allen (“Make It or Break It”), with Roger Bart (“Desperate Housewives”), Keith David (“The Thing”) and Liza Weil (“Scandal”) rounding out the cast.



The boils ‘n ghouls over at Bloody Disgusting got an exclusive look at the fantastically, weirdly, wonderfully bloody cover art for Richard Bates Jr.’s EXCISION (CHECK OUT MY REVIEW HERE), arriving on Blu-ray and DVD just in time for Halloween on October 30th. Check out the art after release information below…

From the Press Release:

Anchor Bay Films presents the harrowing coming-of-age horror film EXCISION from writer/director Richard Bates Jr., which Sundance Channel deemed “Without question the most mind-blowingly grotesque film to screen at this year’s fest.” Boasting an eclectic cast including AnnaLynne McCord (The CW’s “90210,” Transporter 2, Fired Up, FX’s “Nip Tuck”), Traci Lords (Blade, Zack & Miri Make a Porno), Ariel Winter (ABC’s “Modern Family”), Roger Bart (Hostel Part II, Law Abiding Citizen, American Gangster), Malcolm McDowell (The Artist, A Clockwork Orange, Rob Zombie’s Halloween) and cameos including director John Waters, Marlee Matlin and Ray Wise , Excision comes to Blu-ray™ for an SRP of $24.99 and DVD for an SRP of $22.98

Bonus features on the Excision Blu-ray and DVD include an audio commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette and collectable O-card packaging (for the DVD).


Anchor Bay has announced that, just in time for Halloween, they’ll be releasing EXCISION (see my review here) on Blu-ray October 30th, 2012. If you’ve read my review, you know I’m a huge fan of the film. I know what’s going on my Halloween list (it’s like a Christmas list, but better!).


On October 30th, Anchor Bay Films presents the harrowing coming-of-age horror film EXCISION from writer/director Richard Bates Jr., which Sundance Channel deemed “Without question the most mind-blowingly grotesque film to screen at this year’s fest.” Boasting an eclectic cast including AnnaLynne McCord (The CW’s “90210,” Transporter 2, Fired Up, FX’s “Nip Tuck”), Traci Lords (Blade, Zack & Miri Make a Porno), Ariel Winter (ABC’s “Modern Family”), Roger Bart (Hostel Part II, Law Abiding Citizen, American Gangster), Malcolm McDowell (The Artist, A Clockwork Orange, Rob Zombie’s Halloween) and cameos including director John Waters, Marlee Matlin and Ray Wise , Excision comes to Blu-ray™ for an SRP of $24.99 and DVD for an SRP of $22.98

EXCISION turned critics’ stomachs as well as heads, garnering much attention at festivals this past year. Noel Murray of AV Club calls it “One of the damnedest ‘adolescent misfit’ movies you’ll ever see — for those who can stomach the splatter, that is” and Chris Bumbray of JoBlo exclaims
“While it’s more than a little sick, and will likely leave you queasy by the time the credits roll, Excision is nonetheless a truly unique horror ride into the scariest of all places- the mind of a teenaged misfit.” Excision holds a 94% “want to see” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Based on a short film of the same name, EXCISION follows a disturbed and delusional high school student, Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord), who, with aspirations of a career in medicine, goes to extremes to earn the approval of her controlling mother (Traci Lords). While dealing with being an outcast teenager and obsession over curing her sister’s cystic fibrosis, Pauline becomes continually deranged as her fascination with surgery and the human flesh grows into something abysmal and demonic.

Bonus features on the Excision Blu-ray™ and DVD include an audio commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and collectable O-card packaging (for the DVD).


Every now and then, a film comes along that challenges and defies convention…which, when it comes down to it, is a diplomatic way of saying writer/director Richard Bates Junior’s EXCISION clawed and burrowed its way inside my mind, where it has been ever since viewing it for the first time over a week ago. Normally, when it comes time for me to review a film, I watch it once or twice to get a good and solid grasp on the thing and then, once I’ve wrapped my head around the varied aspects that have gone into making it (story/writing, acting, directing, and the overall feel of the film), I’m ready to sit down and get to work on the review. With EXCISION, however…things have been very different.

I had three days in which to watch the film, and within that time frame I was like an addict on a binge. After some viewings, as soon as the film would end, I’d start it all over again because while there were certain aspects I grasped immediately, there were others that went to places rarely found in modern cinema; places of dark truth, glimpses into a mind slipping further and further from a world of falsely forced normality, and into a world where blood, sex, and clinical fantasy coalesce into a beautiful escape from the alienated pain of the film’s “real” world.

The film centers on morbid teenager Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord), an outsider with a blood fetish who fantasizes about one day becoming a surgeon. Though at times she attempts to interact with others, she finds it impossible to connect with anyone except, perhaps, her younger sister Grace (Ariel Winter). She is consistently berated by her overbearing mother Phyllis (Traci Lords), who cannot understand Pauline’s odd obsessions and shows obvious favoritism towards Grace, perpetually asking Pauline why she “can’t be more like her sister.” In an attempt to “fix” her, Phyllis goes so far as to force Pauline to attend sessions with the family priest (played straight, if against type, by the always excellent John Waters). Her father, Bob (Roger Bart), is barely present at all as he silently kowtows to Phyllis, instantly denigrated if he dares, even briefly, to speak his mind or disagree. Though briefly escaping her mother’s tyranny, life at school isn’t much better for Pauline. Because of her outsider status and inability to interact in accordance with social norms, she is completely alienated by everyone. She is not only ostracized and ridiculed by her peers, but her teachers Mr. Cooper (Malcolm McDowell) and Mr. Claybaugh (Matthew Gray Gubler), and Principal Campbell (Ray Wise) as well. As things become ever worse for Pauline, she becomes more distant, often spending more and more time within her darkly erotic fantasy world (more on that a little later).

EXCISION portrays a dark side, a very dark side, of modern suburbia, and takes on the classic coming-of-age film, at times recalling films such as the excellent GINGER SNAPS (Pauline even looks a bit like Bridgette Fitzgerald), and DONNIE DARKO. Think PRETTY IN PINK if John Hughes had gone Peckinpah, particularly later Peckinpah, maniacally directing the film with a headband full of acid. The family’s surname is never given, possibly in an attempt to lessen the gap between the viewers and the characters as, for all the shining, advertised examples of family life in America, Pauline’s dysfunctional familial scenario is far more common.

Traci Lords plays the overbearing mother Phyllis admirably, a woman who strongly desires that perfect family she grew up watching on television, or currently reads about in women’s magazines. In one particular scene, she even talks with Pauline about a book she’s reading on better parenting in book club. In any other film, it could’ve been very easy for Phyllis to have been portrayed as a clichéd, two-dimensional character, but writer/director Bates Jr. wisely interjected scenes that allow us to see a more fully realized character with hopes and fears, a woman driven to the edge by the looming death of one daughter, another with whom she feels completely detached, and an unfulfilled, loveless marriage. Her husband, Bob, is barely even relevant to the story at all and if anything serves as a distraction from the story except to serve as perhaps a set piece to provide a sounding board for Phyllis. I would almost go so far as to say his character is completely unnecessary, except to complete Pauline’s nightmarish nuclear family.

Perhaps Pauline’s one saving grace (pun horribly intended…sometimes I can’t help myself) is her sister Grace. Though dissimilar characters, they share a particular bond. Grace is the only person Pauline can talk to and the only real connection she has to any sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, however, Grace is dying, succumbing quickly to the symptoms of cystic fibrosis, unable to even go through some days without being attached to oxygen machines to temporarily stave off the symptoms of her rapidly failing lungs. With the one person she loves in desperate need of a life saving operation, Pauline is at risk of losing the last link she has to the world.

Now, back to those darkly erotic fantasies I mentioned earlier. During masturbatory dream sequences, Pauline loses herself in a world of sex, blood, bandages, and abscission. Within these fantasies, she is no longer plain and homely, but a dark, yet beautiful golden queen of the grotesque. We, the viewer, are given lingering glimpses at amazingly, morbidly, beautiful scenes wherein she reigns over her dead or dying subjects in varying stages of lifeless decay, at one point slithering over their cadaverous, motionless bodies towards her bathtub throne of blood. Once inside, she erotically drenches herself in a crimson robe of blood, an expression of ecstasy upon her face. Her toes curled in orgasmic bliss, we’re back in the real world again as her eyes flutter open, her head slowly turning as she licks her lips in euphoric satisfaction. Upon first witnessing this stunning insight into her fantasy, into the world as she wishes it to be, I had felt, for the first time in a very long while, I had once again experienced art in cinema.

Already incredibly impressed with the writing, acting, directing, and tone of the film, before I had even witnessed the grotesquely fantastical depths of Pauline’s mind, I suddenly found myself completely drawn into this world Richard Bates Jr. had created. EXCISION, the process of cutting out or off, works perfectly as the title to this film. A work permeated with characters both sympathetic and repulsive, Pauline stands starkly out amongst them. Upon first viewing the picture, we are lulled into thinking the title has everything to do with her fetishistic obsession with surgery and blood, but as the film continues, Pauline begins to drift further and further from reality, excising herself from a world and the people in it she no longer has any connection to, spending ever more time within the horrific beauty of her fantasy world until the two rapidly merge into one, resulting in a heart wrenching climax that brings together love and madness in a way I’ve never seen.

I think while it’s fairly obvious I was thoroughly moved by this film, it is difficult to recommend to everyone. Outsiders and horror fans will most assuredly appreciate EXCISION for reasons both similar and diverse, as the dark elements are there in abundance, but it is, at times, an incredibly challenging film to watch. Richard Bates Jr. has written and directed a film that expertly explores the varied depths of the modern family, the detached teenage outsider, and a visual representation of madness both beautiful and frightening to behold. But for those of you brave enough to experience something new and terrifyingly exciting; something that crawls and burrows its way into your mind and stays with you for days and weeks after you’ve seen it, causing you to question what independent horror filmmaking can be, you must watch this film. 4 out of 5 skulls.