Ever get the feeling that the people around you aren’t quite human? Or more accurately, don’t act human. No, this isn’t leading into Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. Actually, it’s director/writer Steve Oram’s feature-length debut Aaaaaaaah!, which recently screened at the Ithaca International Fantastic Film Festival. To say that the film is a little odd is understandable. With Aaaaaaaah!, Oram has taken the unorthodox approach of having humans ape the behaviour of, um, apes. If that’s not a setup, I don’t know what is.
In a world where humankind has the same base social and intellectual capabilities of apes, we follow Alpha male Smith (Steve Oram) with his sidekick Keith (Tom Meeten) as Smith moves to take over a local community suburb. After staking his claim on a female named Denise (Lucy Honigman) and her tribe, Smith unknowingly sparks a feud within the tribe and its Alpha male named Jupiter (Julian Barrett), reigniting grudges and heightened tension among its members.
Calling this film “experimental” would be an understatement. Depending on your point of view, the entire gimmick is either a stroke of genius or a one-note joke. There’s no dialogue here, per se. Rather, the actors communicate through a combination of grunts, yelps and screams. This is all in addition to the physical acting, which altogether is the highlight of the film. Surprisingly, it’s all quite easy to follow along and get what’s transpiring. This is in spite of the more bizarre ape-like mannerisms, such as Oram urinating on a picture of Honigman to stake his claim (in addition to Meetan cleaning up), a cooking show host with bare breasts smacking the crap out of meat to tenderize it, defecation, masturbation and so on. I definitely wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face if I was doing this stuff, so kudos to the cast for keeping things going, and even bigger props for Oram.
The horror aspects of Aaaaaaaah! are purposely low budget, and are a relatively minor component of the film. Still, special effects artist Dan Martin does come up with a few squeamish moments (such as the department store shakedown) that earn marks for fitting in with the film’s concept. It clear that Oram wasn’t shooting for a straight-up horror film, but there’s enough violence and savage tone in parts to separate it from being just an off-kilter mockumentary. These people are acting like apes, after all.
As you’ve probably guessed, this film isn’t going to click with general audience. Aaaaaaaah! veers into the arthouse crowd with its strange concept, which definitely limits its appeal. It’s also not a traditional horror film, which limits its viewership even more. Simply put, you’ll either love this film or hate it. Then there’s the issue of the film’s length. With a concept like this, you really can only go so far before the audience’s patience (not to mention their willingness to go with the film’s concept) wears thin, regardless of whether they’re enjoying what they’re seeing. There’s definitely talent and some interesting ideas at play here, but at almost 120 minutes long, things really start to drag an hour in.
It pays to be ambitious when you’re starting out as a director in the film industry, and on that front, Oram has succeeded. Aaaaaaaah! takes a goofy concept, and with some strong physical acting by all the players involved, succeeds in both being bizarre and grabbing your attention. The weird nature of the film is also unfortunately its weakness, which will end up dividing viewers and turning off a lot of people. The running time doesn’t do the film any favours in that regard, either. Still, for those who enjoy this type of film, this is one to check out.
Screened at the Ithaca International Fantastic Film Festival.
The fate of the BioShock franchise has been hanging in the air, held aloft by promises that it would continue, since Irrational Games, the studio that created it, closed its doors nearly two years ago.
What’s left of Irrational, including series creator Ken Levine, have moved on to a “highly creative and innovative project” that we don’t currently know anything about. Where BioShock goes, or rather, where it takes us next, is entirely up to its new owners at 2K Marin in California.
“The franchise is in the hands of 2K,” Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told GameSpot last week.
“They’ll make announcements in due time about any upcoming releases. But BioShock is unquestionably a permanent franchise for our company and one that we do believe in.”
They’ve also confirmed that BioShock will not become an annual franchise, like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty. That’s good news.
It’s not a lot to go on, but 2K did handle BioShock 2, and that was a strong game with some exceptional DLC. Seriously, if you haven’t played Minerva’s Den, I highly recommend it. And while we wait for actual news to surface, you could always burn some time by checking out this Little Sister body paint video, a gruesome fan-made Splicer mask, some Dead Space/BioShock mash-up, or this incredibly impressive impressive fan remake.
Film Independent has announced its nominees for the 31st Independent Spirit Awards, which will take place Saturday, February 27, 2016; and a couple of films we’ve been championing here on Dread Central made the cut!
In the Best Director category, David Robert Mitchell received a nomination for It Follows, which also garnered nominations in the Best Cinematography (for Michael Gioulakis) and Best Editing (for Julo C. Perez IV) categories.
Also receiving multiple nods is Bone Tomahawk. It’s nominated for Best Screenplay (for S. Craig Zahler) and Best Supporting Male (for Richard Jenkins).
Lastly, Robin Bartlett from the sci-fi thriller H. was recognized in the Best Supporting Female category.
In the “not quite horror but we’re still interested” category is Anomalisa, which scored four nods: Best Feature, Best Director (for Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson), Best Screenplay (for Charlie Kaufman), and Best Supporting Female (for Jennifer Jason Leigh).
For the full list of nominees, visit IndieWire, and also be sure to keep an eye on the Spirit Awards website. The 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be broadcast exclusively on IFC on February 27th LIVE at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET.
at 2:00pm PT / 5:00pm ET.
The post It Follows and Bone Tomahawk Receive 2016 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations appeared first on Dread Central.
Anyone who’s ever played a video game or watched a sci-fi or horror movie since the release of James Cameron’s Aliens can attest to the impact that film had on vehicle designs. Recognizing this, NECA has decided to release a new line entitled “Cinemachines” celebrating these futuristic wonders.
From the Press Release:
Introducing a brand new line of die-cast collectibles celebrating some of the most iconic vehicles from film and television!
CINEMACHINES brings these supporting cast members to life in exceptional detail, ready to add to your collection. Each measures 5″-6″ long and is made from die-cast metal and plastic that’s carefully hand-painted.
Series 1 highlights vehicles and vessels from the Alien universe and includes:
- UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship, with miniature Armored Personnel Carrier that fits inside the bay (Aliens)
- M577 Armored Personnel Carrier (Aliens)
- “Origin” Derelict Ship with display stand (Alien)
- Fossilized Space Jockey (Alien)
The tale of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one that has resonated with many for generations, its tale of man versus monster (is it ever clear who is which?) still incredibly relevant in today’s society. But considering that it was written almost 200 years ago – it was anonymously published in 1818 and Shelley’s name was added five years later in 1823 – how faithful are we to the original story? How well do we remember what the parable was truly about?
Below is an infographic that dives into some facts about Frankenstein, explaining not only the story but also giving a bit of information about Mary Shelley, the main characters of the story, and some interesting statistics that have emerged since the story’s release.
After checking it out, why not tell me how Frankenstein has impacted your life? Is it something that you simply enjoy as a story or does it go deeper and have a personal connection?
Source: Course Hero
Uncork’d Entertainment will bring the horror comedy Crying Wolf to VOD on December 12th, and right now we have some brand new stills for you to sink your teeth into.
Caroline Munro, Joe Egan, Kristofer Dayne, Gabriela Hersham, and Ian Donnelly star. Tony Jopia directs.
From the director of Deadtime and Zombie Harvest comes Crying Wolf! They’re hungry, hairy, and ready to hunt you down!
The comedy horror Crying Wolf tells the story of strange and weird goings-on in a little English village called Deddington. The gruesome death of local girl Charlotte by a rabid monster causes alarm and revulsion – before desperate reporters, crazy detectives, and revenge-seeking hunters descend on the scene.
Crying Wolf is a fast-paced British comedy horror that will keep you howling for more!
Certain serial killers have become media sensations based solely on their particular method of killing. Look no further than the notorious “Hillside Strangler(s).” Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley is about to get its own serial killer with a specialty m.o., The Valley Drowner, and the press is going to love him.
Randy Wayne (“The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning,” Android Cop) stars as Johnny Taylor, a serial killer with a fetish for drowning hot girls. After killing his sexually-abusive babysitter in a swimming pool when he was younger, Taylor grows up to be a deeply troubled young man fighting a particularly deadly trigger: When he sees water and attractive young women together, his natural inclination is to drown them. Making matters worse, the only job he can get is that of a pool cleaner. This mass murderer doesn’t just rest with fatal swimming pool baptisms; give him a sink, a bath tub, a toilet – even a bucket of water will suffice. His killing spree sparks a media frenzy that turns him into a pop cultural phenomenon amid the seedier side of L.A.
Sara Malakul Lane (Kickboxer, Shark Lake), Shawn C. Philips, and a bevy of porn stars co-star in Jared Cohn’s (Atlantic Rim, Bound) twisted thriller inspired by true events about what happens when lust for fame meets the urge to kill.
Considering the film is set against the backdrop of the drug-fueled porn industry, The Valley Drowner looks to be the worst thing to happen to the adult film biz since Charlie Sheen.
The post Porn Stars Go Down in the Wet and Wild Serial Killer Thriller The Valley Drowner appeared first on Dread Central.
Netflix has nabbed a previously unannounced project titled Mercy, which Chris Sparling — who wrote the 2010 Ryan Reynolds thriller Buried and Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees — wrote and directed, THR writes.
“Mad Men’s” James Wolk, pictured, and “Master of Sex’s” Caitlin FitzGerald will star in the home invasion thriller, which recently completed filming.
“The story centers on four estranged brothers who return to their childhood home to be with their dying mother, and find their bond tested after old family secrets begin to surface.”
Tom Lipinski (“The Knick”), Michael Godere (“The Affair”) and Dan Ziskie (“House of Cards”) also star in the film, which is produced by XYZ Films’ Kyle Franke and Nick Spicer and Uncorked Productions’ Andrew D. Corkin along with Robyn Bennett. Netflix is planning on using its new model where it releases the film in theaters first and soon after makes it exclusively available on Netflix.
Director Johannes Roberts (F, 47 Meters Down, Storage 24) is about to see a theatrical release of The Other Side of the Door, which Twentieth Century Fox has dated for March 11, 2016.
The first images were just released from the film, which gives our first look at “The Walking Dead’s” Sarah Wayne Callies, as well as Wrong Turn and May fav Jeremy Sisto.
“Grieving over the loss of her son, a mother struggles with her feelings for her daughter and her husband. She seeks out a ritual that allows her say goodbye to her dead child, opening the veil between the world of the dead and the living. Her daughter becomes the focus of terror. She must now protect against the evil that was once her beloved son.”
“But she opens it because she desperately wants to see her son again,” Roberts explains to USA Today. “And everything goes to hell in a handbasket.”
Hell, quite literally, was in the cards for Callies.
“I was on this beautiful river, and then it started to get gray,” she explains regarding a scene sounding like an homage to the finale in Poltergeist. “I put my eyes underwater, and all of a sudden these dead bodies started floating up toward me. And then they started reaching for me. It was so horrifying.”
From the looks of the below imagery, there’s a lot of voodoo in the film, a sub genre that doesn’t get enough love; some of my favorite films, including The Skeleton Key and The Serpent and the Rainbow were voodoo-themed.
Thanks to Fabien M. for the tip.
We always found it kind of funny that the logo for the Snapchat app is a ghost. Filmmaker Roberto Raad takes that friendly little specter and the communication app and adds a good amount of chills to it with his short film Snapchat Horror.
The film poses a unique question: What happens when you receive a Snapchat from beyond the grave? Check out the short below for the answer.
Snapchat Horror stars Courtney Leone and was written and directed by Raad, whose last short, OCD, made our 10 Short Horror Films That Kick Ass list.
“Do you like horror movies Abby?”
Olivia DeJonge (The Visit) stars in the first look teaser for Scare Campaign, written and directed by Colin and Cameron Cairnes (100 Bloody Acres).
“Popular TV prank show, Scare Campaign, has been entertaining audiences for the last five years with its mix of old school scares and hidden camera fun. But as we enter a new age of online TV, the producers find themselves up against a new hard-edged web series which makes their show look decidedly quaint. It’s time to up the ante, but will the team go too far this time, and are they about to prank the wrong guy?”
Scare Campaign will be released in 2016 and is opening Australia’s Monster Fest this Thursday 26th Nov.
Last year director Douglas Rath starting to make some noise in horror circles with Shock Value, a feature film about a struggling B-movie director who blackmails a serial killer in order to make him the star of his next film. Rath followed that up with Il Sonnambulo, which as of now is a 3-part mini-series that follows a photographer made famous by crime scene photos relentlessly pursuing the shadowy killer who brought him his gory renown. The series stars Dean Christie (The Trial), Elizabeth Moynihan (TV’s “Vikings”), and Ross Mullan (“Game of Thrones”, “Doctor Who”).
Rath was kind enough to take a few minutes to throw a few A’s back at my Q’s.
Bloody Disgusting: Where did the idea for Il Sonnambulo come from? Was there anything specific that served as the inspiration?
Douglas Rath: We wanted to create something that was truly horrifying but not gory or gratuitous. My wife/ writing and producing partner Hannah and I went to Venice, Italy last summer and came away inspired to do a story originating there. We are both big giallo fans and we were mesmerized by the city’s dark undercurrents. Venice feels untouched by time largely because there are no cars. Water is everything, its picturesque but powerful – as a carrier of death (like the cholera in Thomas Mann’s ‘Death In Venice’), as a way to disappear, as something that both nourishes and destroys – and it lent itself to our story in a very portentous way. ‘Il Sonnambulo’ defines a world with the atrocities he commits and our troubled hero (or anti-hero) Atticus Hurst must exist there. We were interested in the effects of trauma on him and the other characters in the show. We shot the majority in London and Los Angeles but ‘Il Sonnambulo’ will always return to Venice…
BD: As of now it’s a three part mini series. Was this format the original intent?
DR: Actually it was not, originally it was going to be a more traditional short-format web series but as the project evolved we realized it could serve as a kind of pilot in three parts for a television series. The web series is part of a much deeper mythology that we will be exploring further in other projects revolving around this character.
BD: How did the teaser on Eli Roth’s Crypt TV come about?
DR: It came off the back of them having seen my feature ‘Shock Value.’ Eli Roth then asked me to do a short for his ’13 Director’s of HalloVine’ last year. Hannah and I were putting ideas together for ‘Il Sonnambluo’ already so we ended up filming the first bit for the HalloVine, which he and Jack Davis teased on CryptTV.
BD: What’s next for Douglas Rath? How do you follow up Il Sonnambulo?
DR: I have a number of different projects in various stages of development but right now, Hannah and I are focused on turning ‘Il Sonnambulo’ into a full-fledged series. We are writing the first season and are talking with a number of different people about producing it next year. We have been approached by a couple of different networks and are looking to find the right home for it. In addition to the series we are building a world around ‘Il Sonnambulo’ that includes two forthcoming novels, a radio play and a graphic novel.
Each week here at Bloody Disgusting we like to highlight some of the new Blu-ray releases hitting shelves across the world. Please note that this isn’t every release for the week, just a few of the ones that jumped out at us.
Pretty light week, especially with the overseas releases. Scream Factory with two really strong titles this week in Ghost Story and Blood and Lace. I think the release I’m really thrilled about this week however, is A Christmas Horror Story. I haven’t seen it yet, but I do love me some Christmas horror!
Ghost Story (Scream Factory)
When his brother David dies on the eve of his wedding, Don travels back to his hometown in New England for the funeral services. He meets his grieving father Edward Charles Wanderley, who has a weekly meeting with his old friends Ricky Hawthorne, Dr. John Jaffrey and Sears James to tell tales of horror, and together they form The Chowder Society. When Edward and John die in mysterious circumstances, Don sees the picture of Eva Galli from the 20’s and he joins Rick and Sears to tell a ghost story about his romance with Alma Mobley…
Blood and Lace (Scream Factory)
After her prostitute mother and her john are beaten to death while they are asleep in bed, teen-aged Ellie Masters is sent to an isolated orphanage run by Mrs. Deere and her handyman. Taking an avid interest in her welfare is detective Calvin Carruthers. Taking almost no interest at all, is social worker Harold Mullins who is completely under Mrs. Deere’s thumb. Lots of unpleasant surprises are in store for Ellie, not the least of which is the fact that Mrs. Deere and her handyman are both brutal sadists, who run the orphanage like a concentration camp and the strong possibility that her mother’s hammer-wielding killer is now stalking her.
A Christmas Horror Story (Image Entertainment)
Interwoven stories occur on Christmas Eve, as a festive radio host attempts to spread cheer. A family brings home more than a Christmas tree; a student documentary becomes a living nightmare; a family’s Christmas outing to a wealthy relative awakens a vicious spirit; and Santa fights evil.
The Mask 3D (Kino Lorber)
A young archaeologist believes he is cursed by a mask that causes him to have weird nightmares and possibly to murder. Before committing suicide, he mails the mask to his psychiatrist, Dr. Barnes, who is soon plunged into the nightmare world of the mask.
Wake Up and Kill (Arrow)
During the 1960s Luciano Lutring committed more than one hundred armed robberies in Italy and on the French Riviera. To the media he was the ‘machine gun soloist’, a name he’d earned as he kept his weapon in a violin case. To the public he was a romantic figure, one who only targeted the wealthy, stealing more than 35 billion lire during his criminal career.
The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant (Kino Lorber)
The successful transplant of the head of a sadistic murderer to the body of a mentally challenged farmhand creates a two-headed monster which escapes and leaves behind a trail of death and terror.
Voodoo Man (Olive Films)
Dr. Richard Marlowe uses a combination of voodoo rite and hypnotic suggestion to attempt to revivify his beautiful, but long-dead wife, by transferring the life essences of several hapless young girls he has kidnapped and imprisoned in the dungeon beneath his mansion.
The Badger Game (Intervision Picture Corp)
A chronic philanderer falls victim to an extortion scheme when he is abducted by four masked strangers demanding retribution for his sins.
Queen of Blood (Intervision Picture Corp)
Vampire Irina is reborn as a “vampiric” plague, a force of nature whose destiny is to lay waste to a fever dream vision of the Wild West.
Robinson Crusoe on Mars (Eureka Entertainment)
An entertaining interpretation of the classic Defoe story, using an astronaut and his monkey, US astronaut Commander “Kit” Draper must fight for survival when his spaceship crash-lands on the barren waste of Mars, with a pet monkey his only companion. But is he actually alone?
Wake Up and Kill (Arrow)
During the 1960s Luciano Lutring committed more than one hundred armed robberies in Italy and on the French Riviera. To the media he was the ‘machine gun soloist’, a name he’d earned as he kept his weapon in a violin case. To the public he was a romantic figure, one who only targeted the wealthy, stealing more than 35 billion lire during his criminal career.
Nosferatu (BFI Video)
In this first-ever screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a simple real-estate transaction leads an intrepid businessman deep into the superstitious heart of Transylvania. There he encounters the otherworldly Count Orlok — portrayed by the legendary Max Schreck — who soon after embarks upon a cross-continental voyage to take up residence in a distant new land…
A Bucket of Blood is my favorite film directed by Roger Corman. It’s been that way ever since I saw it for the first a number of years back. Like most things in my life I first heard about A Bucket of Blood thanks to “The Simpsons.” Perhaps you’ve seen the episode entitled ‘Mom & Pop Art.’ Homer becomes an artist after failing to properly assemble a grill. There is a scene in which Homer channels his anger to help create art. This scene is a reference to A Bucket of Blood, which of course I didn’t know at the time, but later learned from a commentary on the episode. Naturally this caused me to seek the film out and it quickly became one of my favorites.
The film itself is pretty easy to find. It’s public domain so it has been released a billion times on DVD. The problem is that a lot of those releases leave a lot to be desired. Thankfully The Film Detective has come along and given this little masterpiece it’s first ever Blu-ray release! Hooray!
Now, how about we discuss the actually movie?
Walter Paisley (Dick Miller) is a busboy working at The Yellow Door, a bohemian café frequented by beatniks. Walter is extremely awkward socially but he desperately wants to fit in with the hip crowd. After being inspired by the spoken word poetry of Maxwell H. Brock (Julian Burton), one of the café’s regular patrons, Walter heads home that night with a mission – to create a sculpture of the face of the café hostess Carla (Barboura Morris).
As Walter feverishly works on his sculpture, he is disrupted by the meowing of Frankie, his landlady’s cat. Walter soon discovers that poor Frankie has somehow gotten trapped himself inside Walter’s wall. In attempt to free Frankie by cutting a whole in the wall, Walter accidently stabs and kills him. Scared and unsure of what to do, Walter covers the dead cat with clay.
The next day Walter takes the cat into The Yellow Door. His boss Leonard (Anthony Carbone) is less than pleased, casting aside the cat as an odd morbid piece. Carla, on the other hand, loves it and convinces Leonard to display it in the café. Walter quickly becomes all the rage amongst the artists and poets at The Yellow Door and starts receiving requests for more sculptures. To deliver the goods, Walter heads down a murderous path.
With this effort Corman decided to mix it up a bit. While Corman’s earlier work certainly had its fair share of laughs and funny moments, A Bucket of Blood was his first venture into more of a straight comedy. Corman cleverly spoofs his own horror films in what I think is just a brilliant dark satire.
Shot over a mere 5 days with a $50,000 budget, A Bucket of Blood is quite the achievement and the perfect example of low budget filmmaking done right. Working with a small budget and little time, Corman and writer Charles B. Griffith were smart to avoid making a straight horror film and instead taking a more comedic approach. This allows the cheesiness of the statues Walter makes out of dead bodies passable.
In Beverly Gray’s Roger Corman: Blood-Sucking Vampires, Flesh-Eating Cockroaches, and Driller Killers, Dick Miller was quoted as being quite displeased with the film’s prodcution values.
“If they’d had more money to put into the production so we didn’t have to use mannequins for the statues, if we didn’t have to shoot the last scene with me hanging with just some gray makeup on because they didn’t have time to put the plaster on me, this could have been a very classic little film,” Miller said. “The story was good, the acting was good, the humor in it was good, the timing was right, everything about it was right – but they didn’t have any money for production values, and it suffered.”
Miller has a point to a degree, but I can’t fully back what he said. For one, I do think A Bucket of Blood is a classic little film. I mean I’ve already said I think its Corman’s best work ever and I fully stand by that. A big reason for that is the way the film holds up. Yes, some of the production values may be weak, but the story and the satire is just as good now as it was back in the 50’s. Replace beatniks with hipsters and bam, it’s all still relevant!
I also think you could make a case that the poor production values as actually help the satire. The sculptures Walter make look terrible. Like really, really, really bad. Despite this obvious fact everyone is highly impressed with the realism of his work. It’s just like when you go to an art museum and you see something that either looks incredible simple, like a painting of an all red background with a black line running down the middle, or you see something that just doesn’t look good but all the artist-types are super impressed with it. Walter’s bad sculptures do a good job poking fun at that aspect of the art scene.
With that all being said, and even with how much I love this movie, a bigger budget remake of A Bucket of Blood could be really good. You could take out some of the ha-ha funny and go with a much darker, morbid approach. Showtime did actually remake the film in 1995 with Anthony Michael Hall in the lead role. It’s possible that film goes that route with it, but I haven’t seen it yet so I can’t really comment on that.
Miller’s comments nailed everything else about the film. The story, humor and especially the acting are all superb. Miller really shines in what I consider to be his best performance. You really feel for Walter who seems to have had a rough go of it. He just wants to be accepted by this group of people that he’s respected and admired for so long. He’s been the butt of their jokes for so long that when he stumbles across something that allows for that acceptance he runs with it. On the surface you may not pick up on this, but Walter Paisley is quite relatable.
I’m really happy The Film Detective released this on Blu-ray. It’s a bare bones disc which I’ll admit is a bit of a bummer, but the picture looks great and at the end of the day that’s what counts. Plus the price is right as the film is available for around $13 from Best Buy and about $15 from Amazon. At those prices you can’t afford not to own this!
A Bucket of Blood is now available on Blu-ray from The Film Detective.
Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! As many of you probably already know, that means Black Friday is right around the corner. While stores aren’t necessarily as packed as they used to be thanks to online deals and events like Cyber Monday, Black Friday is nonetheless a very stressful and busy day for some people. There are just so many deals out there! I don’t know about any of you, but I choose to stay out of the brick-and-mortar stores and stick to online shopping in my pajamas at my home.
Horror has been trendy with television nowadays, so here is a list of some of the must-have horror TV shows that we think you should consider purchasing this Black Friday! For the cheapest prices, check out this page on BluRay.com. They show you the best Blu-Ray deals in real time.Serial Killers Bates Motel
What better way to prepare for the upcoming fourth (and fifth!) season of the weirdest mother/son duo in cinema history? Watch season three!Hannibal
We must all mourn the loss of one of televisions greatest shows in decades (and that’s no hyperbole), but at least we were able to get three fantastic seasons out of it. If you have yet to see it, go ahead and purchase Bryan Fuller’s masterful conclusion to his brilliant series.Twin Peaks
Okay, Twin Peaks is more about a demonic entity named Bob, but he is a serial killer. If you, like myself, missed Twin Peaks during its original run (I was just 1 when it premiered in 1990), now’s your chance to catch up before the reboot/sequel/limited series hits in 2017!
Starring Jonathan Bennett, Talulah Riley, Rosa Salazar
Directed by Steven C. Miller
I have sat through more than my fair share of truly awful films in the horror and thriller genres, but I have come to find that there is something far more flagrant in a decently made film rife with missed opportunities over an outright display of filmmaking ineptitude. It is especially frustrating to see a movie lay out all of the components for an engaging and driving plot or surefire suspense-laden set pieces, but instead decide to bypass the obvious road signs to success for questionable attempts at narrative subversion and drab emotional conflicts.
Such is the case with Steven C. Miller’s latest independent thriller Submerged, which sees Mean Girls heartthrob Jonathan Bennett making his first foray into hero territory. Unfortunately, Miller’s underwhelming film will not be the catalyst for Bennett’s rise to leading man status.
The film follows Matt (Bennett), a former Army Ranger turned private driver who works for much maligned businessman Hank Searles (Tim Daly, “Madame Secretary”). Matt’s main task is to look after Hank’s college-age daughter, Jessie (Riley), while she is home during a break from NYU, even if it means chauffeuring Jessie and her friends around for a drunken night on the town. One such night takes a turn for the worst as a handful of kidnappers set their sights on Jessie in a grander plan to strike back at Searles. Though Matt attempts to keep Jessie and her friends safe in the midst of the ensuing high-speed chase, their pursuers ultimately send the limo crashing off of a bridge into a lake. As the limo sinks and the oxygen slowly runs out, Matt and the others must work fast to find a way out of the vehicle before it’s too late.
While the premise of Submerged lends itself to an expectantly claustrophobic experience high on tension, neither Miller nor screenwriter Scott Milam make proper use of the underwater setting to its full potential. You would think that a film set up on such grounds would see Matt utilizing his Army background to find an inventive way to freedom; instead, he spends much of his time in the driver’s seat reflecting on what got him to this point, guiding the film with flashbacks while the folks in the back shriek and holler.
The particularly uninspired banter among Jessie’s friends — most of whom become insufferably obnoxious after about ten minutes — does nothing for the film’s thriller aspirations. They spend their time inexplicably arguing about who fooled around with whom and what other largely unrelated personal secrets are being kept within their midst, and none of this ultimately forwards any aspect of the plot along. By the end, not one of their petulant rants has inspired the kind of sympathy that Milam’s script may have hoped for, a major misstep in a film that keeps its characters in such tight quarters for so long. The attempts at meaningful character development here ultimately fail in comparison to what we have seen in other more effective single-setting survival films like Adam Green’s Frozen or Neil Marshall’s The Descent. All the while, Jessie spends just about the entirety of the underwater scenes knocked out in the passenger seat — and she is by far the luckiest person in the limo for it.
For the bulk of the film in the present, Matt himself remains stuck in the driver’s seat with his leg impaled by an unspecified object, tortured by the fact that he feels he has failed Jessie and his own family. Most of the flashback scenes that are inter-cut with the moments in the limo center on his relationship with his younger brother, Dylan (Cody Christian, “Teen Wolf”). While the backstory between the siblings is on the whole quite unrelated to the greater mystery behind the attack on Jessie, it proves to be the most emotionally resonant aspect of the film. The performances from Bennett and Christian as brothers are refreshingly genuine in the midst of a film that so heavily wants to sell itself through pseudo-realized action and suspense. It’s hard not to wonder what the movie would have been like had it found a way to more prominently focus on their connection as a significant catalyst for the greater turns in the film. Unfortunately, such notable dramatic moments are sparse overall.
Submerged ultimately wants to focus on shaping Matt as a hero, but it doesn’t seem to know how to do so. Milam’s script very counter-productively sees Matt often doing literally nothing in the face of peril; at one point, he even rolls up the partition and turns off the speaker to the back of the limo so that he doesn’t have to listen to the bickering, although we don’t really blame him for this. By the film’s end, he is relegated to a sad punching bag scrapping to save Jessie’s life — and that’s not an understatement, as he really does get beat on a lot in the final act. At that point, it’s truly confounding that Miller and co. thought this was a fitting way to wrap up the character’s journey. To his credit, Bennett does his best to rise to the occasion with what he has been given, but that doesn’t stop the blows from coming: Even after escaping his underwater prison and tracking down the bad guys, Matt doesn’t get to deliver the final blow of death to the mastermind in the end. Talk about twisting the knife.
On the note of Miller’s final act, it is surprisingly entertaining when all is said and done, but only because of how incredibly silly it gets. The final showdown is a big, ridiculous hodgepodge of double-crosses and scenery-chewing monologues (we see no fewer than three “twists” take place, two of which are straight out of left field). In its tonal shift to unapologetic, corny action film, Submerged starts working in a very different way, but this over-the-top enjoyment is brief and comes all too late in the game.
Submerged is not an outright terrible film, but it is a very forgettable one that, to its greatest disadvantage, makes little use of a set piece that should have been wielded to tap into some real phobic terror. The initial premise promises much more intrigue than it actually delivers, and the troubled script presents far too many flat characters, which makes for a tedious ride that is suffocating in its banality. There is indeed an interesting level of commentary on the disparity between social classes hiding somewhere here, but ultimately the film is all too mired in its half-realized aspirations to make any kind of greater statement on society. For a more enjoyable set of chills and thrills, you would do better to check out 2012’s Silent Night, Miller’s loose remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night that showcases the kind of fun the director can have when properly motivated.
Park Chan-wook is the Quentin Tarantino of South Korea. An unsung hero that has had massive influence over myriad American filmmakers, Park is the master of blending horrific material and dark comedy seamlessly, until the viewer finds his or herself laughing at something that would never normally pass as acceptable. He is noted for the exploitative nature of his films, but Park doesn’t quite see himself that way — he simply seeks to pull emotion out of his viewers, because to Park, there’s no point in watching a film that only soothes the nerves. Inspired by the works of Therese Raquin and Franz Kafka, Park’s films often feature beautifully strung together narratives more reminiscent of literary works than cinema, filled with heavy noir elements, and surreal, vivid palettes that make even the most grotesque imagery appear comely.
Park’s newest film, The Handmaid, is an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ history crime novel Fingersmith, set in the Victorian era. Currently filming, Park’s version of the film will take place in a more recent time, specifically during the Japanese rule of Korea. With the first image from his upcoming film having recently been released, what better time to catch up on some of Park’s best films to date than the present? Read on, and discover some of Park’s most accomplished gems, or revisit a beloved classic that might already sit on your shelf, just in time for the newest addition to Park’s already impressive resume.
- Thirst (Bakjwi)
In an unusual, yet fascinating approach to vampirism, a character is turned into a member of the undead in the most unlikely of circumstances. Priest Sang-hyeon set out on a journey to help find a cure for a deadly blood disease, but despite his good intentions, things go horribly awry. When this man of the cloth is unknowingly administered a blood transfusion from a creature of the night, he becomes cursed with the gift of everlasting life; damned to walk the earth a monster for all of eternity. At first, Sang-hyeon is delighted with his newfound freedom, exercising his bloodlust and exemplified physical prowess and fresh batch of confident courage with curious glee. However, as his cravings expand to include the wife of his married acquaintance, he grows to fear the engorged malice growing within him, and clings to the regimented morality of his past life — the one that now feels so unattainable and far away. Aside from the obvious religious commentary, this Bride of Frankenstein esque tale mainly focuses on the dangers of forbidden romance, and how engaging in shared recidivism can lead to the deterioration of supposed lovers.
- Lady Vengeance (Chinjeolhan geumjassi)
The full title of this film is actually Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (although it can be referred to as either name), and it is the third entry in Park’s vengeance trilogy, coming in after Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and Oldboy. In a very self-explanatory way, the title reveals the purpose behind each of the films: to create empathy for the monster, both through effective storytelling, and heightened artistic vision. Monsters aren’t born, they are created, and by revealing the backstory and inner thoughts of his afflicted characters, Park reveals the dark paths that led each of his cinematic children to the destructive acts that they commit. After taking the fall for her and her partner’s heinous crimes, Geum-ja Lee spends some time in prison, where she retains her angelic reputation, while at the same time, gains momentum as a rumored witch and beautiful murderer. Upon her release, everyone who knows Geum-ja Lee expects her to return to the sweet, obedient naive girl that they once knew, but they don’t see the evil inside of her, rotting her from the inside out. Through blood red eye shadow, a neo-noir trench coat, sky high heels, and an embellished pistol, Guem-ja Lee brings the monster inside of her to the surface, and crosses a threshold from the land of purity, into the darkness of retribution.
India Stoker’s mother will never approve of her. She sees something deadly coursing through India’s veins, and even if the blood that rushes through India’s arteries matches hers, she still can’t find it in her heart to truly love her daughter. These are stubborn, immovable facts that India cannot change, no matter how much she secretly desires her mother’s approval. The only control India has over the situation is her acceptance of these unpleasant truths, and her willingness to move on from them. After India is violently shoved into adulthood by the death of her father, her evolution into womanhood is kickstarted, as she learns that growing up is as much about accepting your circumstances as it is about transitioning from school girl shoes to heeled pumps.
4. J.S.A.: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA)
People tend to look back on history in the simplest of terms, in order to make the unpleasant realities of conquest easier to understand and accept. One side is evil and the other is innocent; one leader is mad and the other sane — these are the lies we feed ourselves to lessen the stressful and often painful analysis of our ancestors, likening their actions to the black and white static characters that fill our television screens; a protagonist and an antagonist, nothing more. However, as much as we’d like to believe that there are only two sides to each wartime story — a right and a wrong — the truth is, nations are much more complex than that, and one united mode of thinking cannot be used to describe the entirety of every single person involved in such a massive struggle. Take, for instance, the story of two friends, one fighting on the side of South Korea, and the other representing North Korea. They might have been born into opposing camps, but thanks to a strange introduction in a joint security area, the two men originally trained to be enemies find friendship blossoming over the line that divides them.
5. Oldboy (Oldeuboi)
Oh Dae-su is isolated in a cage of eternal television, scratched up wallpaper, and sleeping gas. It seems like it’s been a lifetime since he was first kidnapped and thrown into this room on the eve of his daughter’s birthday, but according to the ink etched into his hand, it’s been about fifteen years; just shy of two decades. Suddenly, one day, he is finally released into the world again — but his freedom comes at a price. He is given five days to figure out who imprisoned him in the first place, and why he or she locked him away for so many years in that awful room. Along his path to revenge, Oh Dae-su finds a friend in Mi-do, a local sushi chef who tries her best to aid him in seeking the truth. Together, they unearth secrets that are rooted in issues far more taboo than either of them could have imagined, and discover that the answer to their questions doesn’t lie in the reason why Oh Dae-su was locked up, but rather, why he was freed. Based on the Korean manga by the same name, Oldboy is arguably Park’s masterpiece. Equal parts revenge flick and tragic love story, Park beautifully weaves a tale of a man doomed to his own fate, set in motion by a childhood mistake. Min sik-Choi delivers a breathtaking performance as Oh Dae-su, the man pushed to the edge of his sanity, and forced to sacrifice his soul in exchange for his long-awaited vengeance. In the years spent walled up in that dark and damp enclosure, Dae-su spent his days training for battle; readying himself for the showdown that was rightfully his. However, even if Dae-su reaches the end of his journey and unmasks and defeats his oppressor, will there be any part of the man he once was still intact to enjoy his victory? Is revenge justified if it means leaving the person you were behind and starting anew? Using exploitation, bright, vivid imagery, and a gorgeous ballroom score by his longtime partner Yeong-wook Jo, Oldboy seeks to explore these questions, as director Park dives head first into one of his favorite discussion topics — individual perception of morality. By challenging society’s definition of acceptable behavior, Park once again manages to reach out and touch his audience with his odd yet enticing material, forcing the viewers to confront themselves with their own conventions, and push the boundaries of what most people are willing to accept as “normal”.
The British horror flick House of Afflictions will be hitting DVD Stateside on February 23, 2016, and we have a new trailer to share.
Michelle Darkin Price and Stefan Boehm star. Director Anthony M. Winson has built up quite a name for himself in the realm of low-budget supernatural flicks, having also helmed The Witching Hour and The Haunting of Baylock Residence.
Kate Beckley was once a best-selling crime author, but it’s been years since her last novel following the disappearance of her daughter, Julia. While attempting to write again in a new home, Kate finds herself haunted by strange visions and paranormal occurrences – which become worse each night. Has Julia returned, or is something more sinister preying on this grieving mother’
Planning to head out this weekend to see “Victor Frankenstein”? It is, after all, the last big horror release of the year, and here to get you ready for it are three more TV spots.
Victor Frankenstein stars James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, Jessica Brown Findlay, Freddie Fox, and Callum Turner.
Directed by Paul McGuigan, this adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel was written by Max Landis. It arrives in US theaters on November 25th and in the UK on December 4th from 20th Century Fox.
Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé, Igor Strausman (Radcliffe), share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.
The post More Victor Frankenstein TV Spots Explain the Natural Order appeared first on Dread Central.
Thanksgiving is in a few days, and the DVD and Blu-ray release news for S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk (review) has just been revealed! Better sharpen your teeth because you’ve gotta be ready when the goods arrive!
Look for the flick in stores and online December 29th. Kurt Russell (Tombstone, Hateful Eight), Patrick Wilson (Insidious, TV’s “Fargo”), Matthew Fox (Alex Cross, TV’S “Lost”), Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects, Spider Baby), Lili Simmons (“True Detective,” “Banshee”), and Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Olive Kitteridge) all star.
The film is produced by Dallas Sonnier, Jack Heller, and Gregory Zuk of Caliber Media (Dark Was the Night, Some Kind of Hate) and executive produced by the Fyzz Facility’s Wayne Marc Godfrey (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Robert Jones (The Usual Suspects), and David Gilbrey (Red vs. Dead).
When a group of cannibal savages kidnaps settlers from the small town of Bright Hope, an unlikely team of gunslingers, led by Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Russell), sets out to bring them home. But their enemy is more ruthless than anyone could have imagined, putting their mission – and survival itself – in serious jeopardy.