The acclaimed sci-fi horror film Nightmare Code starring Andrew J West (The Walking Dead) and directed by Mark Netter is headed to VOD September 29 . It's already available on Google Play here.
The film is a psychological sci-fi thriller about computerized behavior recognition, behavior modification and 24/7 surveillance.
We caught up with Mark ahead of the release.
When did this journey start for you, Mark?
Nightmare Code began as a lunch I had in January 2012 with Craig Allen, then CEO of an independent videogame development studio, and we came up with the idea of shooting a surveillance footage film in their offices, built around the idea the all computer code, whether deep in your PC or tablet or cellphone, expresses the personality of the programmer in the form of logic. And what if that personality, that logic was both sentient and extremely pissed off.
And what was it that appealed to you about telling this particular story?
I love science fiction, the kind that opens your mind to new ideas and, potentially, huge new dangers. I’m also a huge film noir fan and think NIGHTMARE CODE is essentially a science fiction noir, with splashes of shock/horror. The three main characters we developed appealed strongly to me: Brett Desmond (played by Andrew J. West) as the brilliant but disgraced programmer who needs to finish this job to clear his name and save his family, Nora Huntsman (Mei Melançon) as the software tester who needs to complete something in her life to make up for years in the fastlane, and Foster Cotton (Googy Gress) as the programming genius who originally created R.O.P.E.R., the sentient behaviour recognition program at the heart of the story, and then went insane.
What part of the country was it shot?
NIGHTMARE CODE was shot entirely in Los Angeles, CA over seven weekends. About 90% was shot in the offices of Spark Unlimited, with some videochat scenes and the final scene shot at other locations here in town.
The movie is obviously entertaining but there’s a message to it, too. What is that message – in your words?
I think that computer code is changing the codes of human behavior that we’ve lived with for centuries. It makes people feel freer with their morals – just look at AshleyMadison.com – and can lead to incredibly damaging revelations such as when that site got hacked. We are increasingly, willingly giving up more and more of the decision-making aspect of our lives to our machines, and I believe we are reaching the point (if we haven’t already) when our tools are no longer under our control – increasingly, our tools are controlling us.
Where did you find that terrific cast?
Almost all of our cast (and crew) came through personal referrals. With our two main leads, our Line Producer knew Mei from previous work and immediately suggested her after reading the screenplay. Mei referred us to Andy, since they shared some commercial representation. Both of them were are dream to work with and super fun to hang out with – you can tell if you get the Commentary track where the three of us had a blast watching the film and chatting about it three whole years after production.
Co-Producer Jamie Wollrab got us most of the rest of the cast thanks to his connections as a director, actor and acting coach. Googie was actually the coach of my son’s little league team, and I wrote the role with him in mind.
There’s some terrific reviews out there for the film. Is that important to you - critical praise?
Critical praise sure beats the alternative! And it certainly helps the film to get noticed. We’re just hoping to reach our audience, and we think there is a sizable one for a super-relevant, innovatively-told story like this. We don’t have the big marketing budgets of Hollywood features, so outlets like yours are crucial for our success, and we thank you for it.
How much did the film’s festival run help it get distribution?
We were not picked up by Indie Rights because of any one festival, but it didn’t hurt that we won The 2015 Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival (our patron saint!) or Best Thriller at The 14th Annual Shriekfest Horror & Science Fiction Film Festival. Both were great experiences and hopefully give a certain seal of approval to our target audiences.
Can you tell us when and how we can see Nightmare Code?
We are right now available on Google Play, where I highly recommend the HD option: https://play.google.com/store/movies/details/Nightmare_Code?id=I_DKsHPkfsU
You can pre-order the DVD (10/27 release) on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/1SpWYgY
We are coming to iTunes 9/29 and other platforms over the next month or so – trying to be as ubiquitous as possible, much like R.O.P.E.R. itself!