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Melanie Lynskey & Crew Enhance U.S. Horror Movie

Kiwi Star, Crew Enhance American Horror Movie

Cassava Films - Although the independent horror/thriller "Serial Slayer," released today, November 3, on DVD in New Zealand, was shot entirely in California, the film boasts a healthy amount of participation from New Zealand's own.

First and foremost, there's New Plymouth's Melanie Lynskey, famous for her role as Pauline Parker in Peter Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures." As the star of "Serial Slayer," this was Lynskey's second collaboration with American writer/director Mark Tapio Kines: Kines is credited with bringing the actress back in front of the cameras after her initial post-"Heavenly" relocation to Hollywood. After starring in Kines's debut feature "Foreign Correspondents," Lynskey went on to appear in a wide variety of studio films, including "Ever After," "Coyote Ugly," "Abandon" and "Shattered Glass." (She also found time to star in the NZ production "Snakeskin.") She's now a regular on the hit TV series "Two and a Half Men."

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New Zealand's Melanie Lynskey Turns Out Another Hit Performance In USA.

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No fewer than four other Kiwis filled out the small "Serial Slayer" crew. Second assistant director Lucas Young, originally from Taranaki, had long ago befriended Kines on the Internet (where Kines also "discovered" Lynskey back in 1996). He met Kines in Hollywood in 2001, bringing along his business partner Daniel Crothers and Daniel's brother Bevan. One year later, all three were in Los Angeles, helping Kines make his film. Daniel held the title of boom operator while Bevan, one of TVNZ's finest cameramen (having worked on "New Zealand Idol," "Shortland Street" and "Intreprid Journeys," among many other shows), became the film's director of photography. The quartet of Kiwis was rounded out by Bevan's TVNZ colleague Kelvin Wells, who ran sound. The four eager young filmmakers funded their own journey to Los Angeles in June of 2002, solely for the experience of working on a feature. A grateful Kines put them up in corporate lodging known for housing countless show biz aspirants (Nirvana stayed there while recording "Nevermind") and within two hectic weeks, "Serial Slayer" - under its original title, "Claustrophobia" - was shot.

Bevan Crothers continues to jet around the world as an in-demand cameraman. Aside from developing their own film projects, Lucas Young and Daniel Crothers run a web design firm in Auckland, Digitalus Limited. Young also worked in WETA's effects department during post-production of "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King."

The film was completed in 2003 and quickly sold to powerful American distributor Lions Gate. Australia-based Imagine Entertainment picked up the film for Oz/NZ distribution in early 2005. It is now available for sale or rental at many New Zealand video retailers, as well as online rental house DVD Unlimited.

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