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Event Report: FANGORIA’s NYC Premiere of “CONTRACTED: PHASE II”; First Word on “PHASE III”!

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There was a sinister sense of anticipation among the block-long crowd waiting for FANGORIA’s free NYC premiere of Josh Forbes’ CONTRACTED: PHASE II. The follow-up to the 2013 body horror indie sensation, buzz was building for the sequel following its sensational screening the week before at the Bruce Campbell Film Festival and the foreboding trailer that hit mere weeks beforehand. Yet few could really anticipate just what nastiness FANGORIA readers were walking into… one of the precious few being CONTRACTED: PHASE II scribe Craig Walendziak.

Even though seating began shortly before the film, the theater was packed in no time with fright fans and soon, FANGORIA’s Editor Emeritus Tony Timpone took to the stage. Timpone welcomed the fans and following a short intro, Timpone brought up Walendziak to shed some light on how the sequel came to be. After some pre-screening words and warnings (and the assurance of a post-screening Q&A), the lights went down and CONTRACTED: PHASE II infected the theater.

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Needless to say, CONTRACTED: PHASE II is one hell of a crowd pleaser, with fans gasping, shouting and laughing throughout the film’s many gross, gruesome moments. Whether it be a character accidentally consuming bodily fluids, an unexpected bloody sneeze or a jaw-dropping self-surgery scene, CONTRACTED: PHASE II kept the crowd on the edge of their seat as well as on the edge of good taste. Luckily, the fun fright flick resonated with the crowd, who gave the film a rousing applause by the time the credits (and post-credit scenes) came to an end.

After the film, Timpone and Walendziak returned to the stage for a post-screening Q&A, much to the delight of the still-excited crowd. Walendziak spoke about the decisions to pick up the story exactly where CONTRACTED left off (and lamented how that limited their options to further the role of Samantha, played by Najarra Townsend). Walendziak was also adamant that this film wanted to clarify that Samantha was the victim of a date rape in the first film (a fact that had reportedly been warped during that film’s marketing), as well as the fate of BJ which was left somewhat open-ended in the first film. And Walendziak also admitted that the ending was rewritten to fit creative and budgetary differences, even though he still emphasized how proud he was of the film as a whole.

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However, perhaps the most interesting comments from Walendziak came in relation to a potential third phase of the CONTRACTED series. That’s right: while an official confirmation awaits just how well PHASE II fares, Walendziak told the audience that he’s already begun scripting PHASE III, and that he’s currently the frontrunner to take over directorial reigns on the would-be “final” chapter of CONTRACTED. While Walendziak was tight-lipped on what could come from the next CONTRACTED, he did confirm that the sequel is currently planned to stay in Los Angeles, dubbing the CONTRACTED films as a “Los Angeles Horror Story” while expressing some interest in how the virus would fare elsewhere, should CONTRACTED expand beyond its cinematic means.

Overall, this free CONTRACTED: PHASE II screening (sponsored by IFC Midnight, who will be releasing the film in select theaters and VOD this Friday) was a blast from start to finish, and from fan reactions following the movie, there’s a good chance the flick will be a hard one to shake. Top that with a fantastic and candid Q&A with Craig Walendziak and the NY Premiere for CONTRACTED: PHASE II was a night for fright fans to remember. And with Timpone’s assurance that CONTRACTED: PHASE II’s premiere was the first of many macabre movies to be screening for free this fall via FANGORIA, one can only imagine what horror this Halloween season has in store, though you’ll be hard pressed to find one that’ll turn a stomach with as much mischievous glee as CONTRACTED: PHASE II…

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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