The premiere of “Harbinger Down” took place last night at The Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles, CA. A triumphant night for the cast and crew and the producers of this ambitious sci-fi/horror film.
The idea was simple. Make a movie that hearkened back to the classic monster movies of the 80s, before Visual FX and the computer took over most of what you see on the screen, except perhaps the human actors. Make a movie that was ALL practical effects.
The producers weren’t the only ones who believed in this idea. Harbinger Down was the highest funded horror movie in the history of Kickstarter. 3,066 funders helped raise $384,181. When the project needed more funding to achieve its ambitious end, Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki of Dark Dunes Productions stepped in to help.
Before a house filled to capacity that included such well known names in the FX industry as Tom Woodruff, Jr (Co-Producer of Harbinger Down and director of the upcoming Fire City), Shannon John Shea (Phantom Harbor), Matt Winston (son of legendary FX artist Stan Winston and co-founder of the Stan Winston School) as well as many others, director Alec Gillis (Amalgamated Dynamics Inc) took to the stage to speak of the passion and dedication of the cast and crew. Some had been in the industry for years and some were new faces. He paid homage to star Lance Henriksen and his guidance during the filming and he thanked Cinematographer Benjamin L. Brown for his skill. Notably absent was Sultan Darmaki who could not attend due to being overseas.
The enthusiastic crowd applauded at every name that came onto the screen during the introduction. Harbinger Down begins in 1982 as a Soviet Space Craft is crashing back to Earth and then flashes forward to the decks of the Alaskan crab fishing vessel Harbinger where a group of scientist students and their professor have come on board to track and study whales and their changing migratory patterns due to climate change.
When they find more than whales in the icy waters the situation goes from bad to worse, placing the entire crew in danger, through a combination of unbridled curiosity and attempts at corporate maneuvering.
The cast, led by veteran actor Lance Henriksen as Graff, are believable in their roles and each delivers a solid performance. Whether it’s Camille Balsamo as Graff’s intelligent, curious granddaughter Sadie, Matt Winston as the conniving professor Stephen, or Milla Bjorn as the mysterious Svet, they all hold their own against the very believable and frightening practical effects monster, who is the true star of the movie.
Every penny is there on the screen for you to see. For a film that had to make due with so little, it looks like a far more expensive movie. And while they didn’t rewrite the book with this one they did borrow a few of the best pages from it.
The film has limited national and world-wide distribution and we should be seeing its release later this year.