Posted 2/20/14 at 11:22 pm ET

Lotti Pharriss Knowles, Master of the Macabre, dishes Chastity Bites on DVD

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A decade long journey comes to a head as Chastity Bites is finally released on DVD, and to celebrate the spectacularly spooky news, we have an in-depth look into the mind of the writer and producer of the film, Lotti Pharriss Knowles.

This recently released horror-comedy puts a modern day spin on the historical tale surrounding Elizabeth Bathory, a devilish woman who bathed in the blood of virgins, believing that her murderous ways would help achieve eternal youth. How’s that pipe dream going for ya, Lizzy? Not so great, I would imagine. To the people who said that dedication is dead, you should have your throats slashed, well, metaphorically of course (we’re going to leave the sword-wielding and virgin offing to the filmmakers… and psycho serial killers). But mind you, ten, count ‘em TEN gruesome years have passed since Writer/Producer Lotti Pharriss Knowles first composed the draft of what can now respectively be referred to as a cult-classic.

This gory and often sarcastic story takes place with the George W. Bush Administration in mind and brilliantly pokes fun at abstinence programs throughout America. But enough with the commentary, from me, anyways, and let’s get to the good stuff. I chatted with Lotti about how to get an independent film off the ground, the cast, her favorite horror films, and so much more.
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Posted 2/14/14 at 12:01 am ET

Chastity Bites and so does Valentine’s Day: Interview with horror-comedy star Sarah Stouffer

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Are wrinkles getting you down this Valentine’s Day? Wish there was a way to turn back the clock and remain a youthful beauty forever? Well, we’re fresh out of virgins today (all of them are getting lucky because unlike me, they have boyfriends, girlfriends, or even a stranger named Steve) so instead we’re going to focus on this titillating interview with my favorite Virginity Action Group member, Sarah Stouffer. Did you notice how that cleverly spelled V.A.G.…?

Sarah, who is best known for her role in the lesbian film Bloomington, has clawed her way into the hearts of horror junkies around the globe, branching out into the wonderful world of the occult, and nailing the role of Britney, a ditzy teen who with her friends joins an abstinence program, run by a blood thirsty Countess in Chastity Bites, a new horror-comedy by Writer/Producer Lotti Pharriss Knowles and Director John V. Knowles.

Chastity Bites is a hilarious (and ghoulish) spin on the unforgettable tale of Elizabeth Bathory, a serial killer from the late 1500s, who believed that in order to stay youthful she must bathe in the blood of virgins. Cue modern day Red State America, a perfect plucking ground for a nearly 500-year-old psychotic seductress.
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Posted 1/29/14 at 8:52 pm ET

100 episodes: What are your favorite Vampire Diaries moments?

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These days, we don’t treat The Vampire Diaries as nicely as we possibly could. But there was a time when The Vampire Diaries was on my list of favorite television shows. I think it’s also safe to say that there was also a moment in time when The Vampire Diaries was one of the best shows on television, completely un-ironically. And whether you’ve been watching the show begrudgingly for the past couple of seasons or not, watching 100 episodes of any series is a huge feat. It’s also a huge feat for any show to get to that point. So why not bask in some of the glory days?

Before we get to episode 101 tomorrow, let’s recount the good times. Here are some of my favorite moments over the past four and a half seasons of The Vampire Diaries (in chronological order):

1. Stefan kills Vicki

The beginning of The Vampire Diaries was definitely not some of the best television ever. It was overtly cheesy, and there was a lot of fog and crows. It was strange. But everyone recalls episode seven — the episode where The Vampire Diaries undoubtedly changed. It all cemented with this scene, where Stefan kills Vicki after Damon made her a vampire.
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Posted 1/21/14 at 2:58 pm ET

Does Shoshanna on Girls have an eating disorder?

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During the end of season two of HBO’s Girls, main character Hannah had a severe OCD episode, which spanned around three installments. In my personal opinion, it wasn’t used like an adorkable quirk that most sitcoms would portray it. It seemed real. It made my skin crawl. It helped create one of the most cringe-inducing episodes of 2013 — and my second-favorite episode of any show of last year — in “On All Fours.” The Q-tip incident is still a visceral image lodged in my memory.

But there was backlash. There always is, especially with Girls. Some didn’t see it the way I did, but most thought that Hannah’s OCD was sprung up on us out of nowhere. Truth be told, there wasn’t much buildup to Hannah’s OCD, except for a one-off line that was treated like a joke season one’s penultimate episode. The rules of narrative in fiction were broken a bit when Hannah’s OCD episode came into the story, for sure.

In an interview published yesterday on Vulture, Gaby Hoffman, who is playing Adam’s sister Caroline, said, “We’re all a little bit mentally ill in our 20s and maybe into our early 30s.” Season three seems to be playing into that a bit.
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Posted 12/31/13 at 6:05 pm ET

2013 was a year of satirizing those who yearned for fame and fortune

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It’s the end of 2013. And naturally, this is the time when we all reflect on the past 12 months of our lives — where did it go wrong? where did it go right? what were the big events of the year? And I don’t know why I woke up this morning thinking about this, but one of the biggest events of 2013 is Miley Cyrus. I know she’s a person and not an event, but throughout the year it seemed that Miley Cyrus wasn’t just a person, or a pop star, or a Disney actress going through a “transition.” She was a spectacle, a topic to be discussed (also, disgust), a chance for talking heads to get on their soap box. As she said in her MTV “documentary:” This was a strategic hot mess. She even states that now no one can put her face on something and just sell it like they used to in the heyday of Hannah Montana. Miley traveled so far to the other side of the spectrum so that people would stop associating her with her Hannah Montana alter ego, so that they couldn’t stop talking about her.

We can’t stop stalking about her.
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Posted 12/29/13 at 6:44 pm ET

Interview: Ashley Clements talks The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, fandom, and her career

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Last year The Lizzie Bennet Diaries revolutionized the web with its charming adaptation of Jane Austen’s much beloved Pride and Prejudice. Featuring a grad student who week after week shared the goings-on of her life with thousands of people through her vlog, LBD stole the hearts of viewers scattered all around the world and skyrocketed its way to the top of Best P&P Adaptations lists. I had a chance to chat with Ashley Clements, the talented actress who brought Lizzie Bennet to life twice a week for a year. The result is a fun interview where she proves to be as delightful as her character, and talks about her future projects, how she relates to Lizzie, and her holiday traditions.

CCI have to ask, what did it feel like to bring such a universally beloved character to life? Were you nervous when you first got the part?

AC: I was nervous but not because of portraying a famous character, I didn’t actually think about that. But I was just nervous that people wouldn’t like it, and because I was the face that they would direct that at me. And people who’d been doing stuff on the Internet for a while warned me that there might be some hostility; you know, we’re messing with something that’s really beloved, and that that might be directed at me, just because I was the face of the show.
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Posted 12/26/13 at 1:51 pm ET

What did you get for Christmas?

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Ah, the day after Christmas. That holiday spirit is reaching a plateau in the most pleasant way possible. You’re a day removed from the high of playing with your gifts. So my question is, did you get anything TV related under the tree?

About ten years ago, what I would have gotten for Christmas was another season of Friends on DVD, and a friend or two would gift some other show — Reba or Family Guy. A couple of years ago, it was Chuck on DVD or something to that effect. And so it has always been that some show I like on DVD is a pretty safe bet to get me for Christmas, as well as anything else TV-related. The pattern didn’t change much this year.

Here’s what was waiting under my tree for me this year!

Sony Blu-Ray Player (BDP-S5100)

The first blu-ray player that I have ever owned! You might already say that blu-rays are on their way out in favor of streaming, and I wouldn’t completely disagree with you. I love my Roku and my Apple TV just as well, but for the TV shows (and sometimes movies) that I truly love, I always want to own those on a physical disc.
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Posted 12/16/13 at 12:01 pm ET

Top 10 TV shows of 2013: Girls, Hannibal, & more

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It’s that time of the year again when we reflect over the best in the past 12 months. And, of course, that means more best-of and top this or that lists. Well, you’ve probably already seen a top 10 TV shows of 2013 list on every site on the Internet at the moment, but none of them are mine. That’s got to mean something, right? No? Well, OK. But I promise there are at least a couple of surprises on this list!

But before we get to the list, let’s talk about a few of the honorable mentions: Parks and Reacreation was still fantastic as ever this year; Nikita continued to be the most mature and compelling series on The CW (regardless of hackneyed sci-fi technology); and House of Cards was a splendid way to spend 13 hours. Those series and many more just barely missed the top 10. There are only 10 slots, so it was definitely difficult.

Full disclosure: I don’t watch every series on television, though I wish I could/did. Here are my top 10 series of 2013:

10. The Mindy Project

I don’t want to hear it. I just do not. Look, we all know the world loves New Girl and Parks and Recreation a whole heck of a lot more, but to be quite honest, the sitcom that I look forward to the most every, single week is The Mindy Project.
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Posted 12/14/13 at 2:33 pm ET

It’s safe to watch Revenge again, everyone

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The midseason finale of Revenge airs tomorrow night, and it will most likely be met with middling ratings. After a convoluted second season (paired with a move to a different night), audiences jumped ship on the frothy drama. No one can blame audiences for abandoning what was once a fun summer-in-fall soap turned complicated mess. But something happened during season three of Revenge: it got good again. Everyone’s goals were clear. The stakes were raised. And none of it included superfluous, huge conspiracies (ahem, The Initiative, otherwise known as they who shall not be named). Revenge decided to recalibrate and got to the core of the show — Emily’s revenge, especially onto those it makes most sense for her to revenge. Yes, season three is all about Emily versus Victoria, and it’s been fantastic.

The frame of this season is Emily will be shot on her wedding night and fall into the ocean, seemingly dead. Obviously, there are more episodes this season, so we know that Emily won’t die. (Not just yet, anyway. That could possibly happen in a series finale. Who knows?) But what the frame has done is classic Revenge. We’ve gotten to see how Emily’s plans are unfolding and just exactly how all those plot points move closer toward the inevitable flash-forward.
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Posted 12/12/13 at 8:01 pm ET

Golden Globes 2014 nominees I’m most excited about!

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The Golden Globes nominations announcement is always one of the highlights of the year in television. Everything that seemingly got snubbed at the Emmys seems to get a nod during the Golden Globes. That’s what is so great about the Golden Globes: they like to recognize new names, take a few more risks. Plus, the show is a lot better. While this year’s Emmy awards was a shocker (some winners were deserving), it was also quite… uh, strange and sad at times. No surprises, I — and the rest of the Internet — am looking forward to Tina and Amy redux come January. And that all begins with today’s announcement.

Drama Series

For example, while The Good Wife was left out of the Emmy race this year, it has been nominated for best drama at the Golden Globes. Obviously, season four of The Good Wife was a bit wobbly, though I think the second half of season four was pretty great. There’s no denying that season five of The Good Wife has been almost masterful. I would argue that it’s perhaps the best drama on television currently (behind Masters of Sex). How you could infuse that much tension into a legal procedural is beyond me.
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