Chuck McCue has lived in Coronado for 15 years. When he was in his late teens and early 20s he pursued acting before switching paths to practice law. However, his passion for film remained. After 20 years as a lawyer, he ultimately got back into commercials in the early 2000s. Now, he is taking his shot behind the camera.
Chuck shares, “I have a writing partner [Jules Vincent]. We got tired of trying to sell scripts and decided to make our own movie.” Chuck enjoys having a partner to work with. He says, “it feels like you’re just talking. The hard part is getting it written down on paper.” Advice he gives is, “don’t be afraid to throw out a dumb idea. Don’t censor yourself.” Chuck and Jules have a diverse range of writing. Chuck shares that their first script was about Leighton Rees, the first World Professional Darts Champion.
ALIVE. The Process
ALIVE. originated in mid 2015. Chuck explains that it takes six months to a year to get a script where you want it. After that, it took another year to raise funds. But Chuck laughs, “once it gets going, it goes fast!” The film was shot in Calgary, Canada and from pre-production to final was three months. It only took 16 days to shoot and then six months after for post production. The film was originally slated for a March opening but due to COVID and theaters shutting down, the film is now being released in mid September. Chuck is positive as he shares that this timing also works out well as it is now in time for Halloween season.
From Sept 11 – 17, ALIVE. is screening exclusively on Knotfest.com, which is the band Slipknot’s platform. Chuck explains, “Slipknot really responded to the film and M Shawn Crahan (better known to fans as ‘Clown’) did a special re-score of the trailer.” ALIVE. will be hitting the Video on Demand platforms on September 18 (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Fandango) as well as several virtual theaters, a drive-in in Bangor, Maine and the iconic Bel Aire Drive-In in Queens NY.
About the film’s success thus far, Chuck boasts, “We were really proud of the fact that we were an Audience Award Winner at the 2018 Austin Film Festival and won the Best Feature Audience Award at Fantaspoa in 2019, the largest genre festival in Latin America. ALIVE. also played in festivals in Mexico City, London, Germany and Canada as well through the US 2018-2019.”
Cranked Up Films, Good Deed Entertainment’s genre label, is releasing ALIVE., starring Thomas Cocquerel (The 100), Camille Stopps (Reign) and Angus Macfadyen (Strange Angel) in the U.S. to theaters (virtually) and on demand September 18.
In the chilling tale, a severely injured man (Cocquerel) and woman (Stopps) awaken in an abandoned sanitarium with no memory of who they are or what has happened. A sadistic caretaker (Macfadyen) discourages their questions and doles out punishments whenever they refuse to cooperate or try to escape. When they finally make their escape to freedom, they discover the answers to who they are – revealing even greater horror.
Director Rob Grant was awarded “Best Director” at both HorrorHaus Film Festival and New York City Horror Film Festival for the feature. The film’s additional honors include Austin Film Festival’s Audience Award, “Best Feature Film” at Atlanta Horror Film Festival and “Best Thriller Feature Film” from Shriekfest, among others.
ALIVE. opens with our protagonist bloodied in a deserted hospital room. His doctor tells him that “pain means you’re alive” in a way that is jolly yet sinister. I have seen my share of horror films, and this is one where some scenes are painful to watch. I jolt my head away and my husband talks me through what is happening in an unnerving force-feed scene. Further into the film, I feel my body tensing as the two patients attempt to make an escape. I know (while not really knowing) that something around the corner will shock me.
There are elements of the film that remind me of the notorious SAW series such as the creative torture scenes. I find myself shouting at the screen that these characters should have learned from Zombieland about the double tap! The film has a few different chapters to it, and is far more complex than I anticipate. It has an ending I could not have predicted, but yet, brought the whole film together nicely. It’s like anything I have ever seen and would recommend for any thriller seeker.
From 9/11 through 9/17 you can screen the film online here: