Today I caught up with two of my favorite people in horror, director Oklahoma Ward and actress Nicole Alonso of the horror-scifi film ‘Crawl or Die’. Oklahoma and Nicole have been very busy preparing their new updated website, as well as getting ready to film the second movie of the franchise.
2014’s ‘Crawl or Die’ follows Tank (Alonso), a soldier in an apocalyptic earth over run with aliens , who is escorting the only remaining fertile woman to a ship so that she may be evacuated. On their way a nasty alien has began tracking them. The soldiers take to tunnels to escape. They must crawl or die. Tank is the only thing standing between the woman and the hungry alien. ‘Crawl or Die’ is an action packed, claustrophobia inducing thrill ride.
Oklahoma and Nicole are doing something unheard of in the film industry, building a website that truly revolves around their fans. The site goes live globally on October 1st and will not only give fans exclusive access to merchandise, but will also involve them in the making of the sequel. Fans that have signed up for the site will be able to vote and voice their opinion on things like which designs they like better for merchandise and will also be able to access the twenty-four live feed of the set. They will get exclusive previews of things like photos and previews of the graphic novel. This is a first for a horror franchise. Not only will you be able to buy merchandise on the site, you will be able to rent the streaming HD version. A documentary about ‘Crawl or Die’ will also be available, as well as the movie with full commentary by Oklahoma and Nicole. Let’s not forget the other cool merchandise that will be up for sale, like T-shirts, posters, Tank action figures, bobble heads, the graphic novel, key chains, mugs, and the list goes on.
The sequel to their indie classic will start filming in early 2016 and that’s great news (I happen to be a big fan). Of course a lot of the details about the sequel are being kept “hush-hush” at this point, except that Tank will be back and that we will learn more about her. Not only will the Filming of the sequel soon be underway, the graphic novel and the video game will soon be available to fans.
Oklahoma and Nicole have both stated that “..our fans are the most important thing in the world to us.” and it shows. I don’t know of any other filmmakers that are as dedicated or as in touch with fans than these two. Recently they turned down offers from several major studios because of the direction that the studios wanted to take with the sequel and with it’s main character Tank. The studios want to turn Tank into a sex object, running around topless. Nicole and Oklahoma quickly said “no”. Nicole told me “We don’t want to let Tank fans down. Tank is to important to us. Tank is one of the few women in horror films that are not only beautiful, but strong and determined and badasss. Nicole and Oklahoma want to continue to take pride in the fact that women around the world love and look up to Tank. Oklahoma explained to me where his inspiration for Nicole’s character from …” I spent 30 years watching my mom and her sisters’ intelligence and strength be overlooked by men. Tank is just as tough and smart as any man and I won’t let her be reduced to running around topless in a movie and being overlooked because she’s not a man.” Most people would have sold out and cashed a fat check, but not these two. They are dedicated to making and keeping Tank a heroine who is equal to her male co-stars. And I find that incredibly honorable! Women make up 50% of horror fans, but we often go overlooked. Most of us don’t want to see some dumb character who is just there to look sexy. We want a heroine we can look up to and respect, Tank fits that description perfectly. Tank actually reminds of a younger, hotter Sigourney Weaver in ‘Alien’, she has that same toughness.
Studios and filmmakers should take a lesson for Oklahoma and Nicole. If studios actually listened to horror fans , we wouldn’t have the constant onslaught of shitty movies. Horror fans are the most dedicated fans of any genre and it’s great that finally, someone is just as dedicated to us.