Yesterday, we put the spotlight on ten 2016 studio horror films that we were most excited for. Now we turn our attention to ten independent horror films that we are most excited for this year (some of which we’ve already seen)! This list was a bit more difficult to make, as there are just so many independent horror films being released this year. It almost seemed cruel to limit it to just ten, but here we are. Back in my end-of-2015 posts, I mentioned how I didn’t think 2015 was as great of a year for horror. That is because many of my favorite films were screened at festivals that had not seen a wide release at the time. Well, their time is now, and I can confidently say that 2016 will be a much better year for our favorite genre. This is assuming that they all see a 2016 release, as some of these films have yet to obtain a distributor. Since it is only January, we are optimistic that they will all see a release sometime this year (unless they get Green Inferno‘d). Without further ado, here are ten must-see independent horror films (hopefully) getting released in 2016.The Witch (A24 Films) – February 19th
As Kalyn already mentioned in her review, The Witch is a fantastic film. I was fortunate enough to catch this at Fantastic Fest back in September, and I can tell you that she is absolutely right, though I fear it is destined to be the It Follows or The Babadook of this year due to overhype. The Witch is a very scary film, but the lack of traditional scares may turn some people off (I can practically hear the cries of “That’s it?!” coming from theaters that weekend). That being said, it is a moody, atmospheric film that deserves all of the accolades it has received so far and is on track to be one of the best films, horror or otherwise, of 2016.
‘The X-Files’ long-awaited return to television has taken place, but a puzzling direction drags down the reunion party
“You want to believe. You so badly want to believe.”
“I do believe.”
The X-Files was a cultural landmark that hit a fevered status that so few properties achieve. The quirky little supernatural program-that-could which seemed like it was very much banished in FOX’s own basement office ended up lasting nine seasons, two movies, and forever changing the landscape of television. The X-Files wasn’t just appointment television though because of the creepy storytelling that it embraced. It’s engagement with serialization and building a mythos for itself became the blueprint for later programs like LOST and Fringe that prided themselves on such things. Beyond that, the sexual chemistry between Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully was so palpable that the term “shipping” (stemming from the word “relationship”) was created over their prospective romance. There is no denying that The X-Files left its impression on the world.
While X-Files fandom was—and still is—quite severe, the audience’s love for the show certainly cooled off during the programs final seasons, and our last encounter with these characters and this world in 2008’s I Want to Believe left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths (that final post-credits scene still conjures up bile in me—let’s hope Eugene Tooms isn’t around). That being said, I’ve been a staunch supporter of the series right until the end (and I’ll fight you over season eight and nine’s validity to the grave while I wear my What Would John Doggett Do? shirt), and even though pop culture has had such a trigger finger lately for rebooting and sequelizing properties, I was still very much on board with things when this return was announced. The real question then becomes not if Chris Carter and company still have stories to tell (it’s been over a decade and they’re doing six episodes), but rather, The X-Files was very much a product of the ‘90s, and if it is capable of transitioning into this post-Snowden world full of cell phones, the deep internet, and corporate hacks. After watching the first episode of the show’s return, I’d say the verdict is still out on how well this series does in our current world.
The series is reintroduced with some rather clunky exposition, which provides much of Mulder’s backstory and an “elevator pitch” of what The X-Files was. Carter was always one for purple prose and heavy, verbose monologues to start off episodes, but this one particularly stands out due to just how long it’s been. Furthermore, none of this information is necessary. If you somehow weren’t aware of these story beats, educated viewers would be able to piece these minor details together on their own. While it might not seem like a big deal, this is the scene that starts off the series! Throwing us right into the action would have been the much more effective way of throwing us back into this world. Not sloppy fire metaphors. Even more disappointing is that Mulder and Scully’s respective returns in the premiere are felt like non-moments. They sort of just appear, with their entrances in I Want to Believe even acting as the more satisfying reunion. I know that a flashy entrance isn’t necessarily needed here, but it’s goddamn Mulder and Scully! They’re icons. Don’t just have Scully mid-sentence in a hospital and Mulder browsing away on his laptop.
Someone who is given a proper introduction here is conspiracy theorist, Tad O’Malley—played by Joel McHale, in a role that’s not that far of a stretch from his The Soup persona. O’Malley enlists Mulder and Scully to get back in the game and address some fascinating information that he’s come across from Sveta, an alleged alien abductee. Mulder and Scully, who have become entirely content with the FBI being a thing of the past and their Kolchak days behind them, are suddenly confronted with evidence that forever changes what they thought they knew about the X-Files. And wouldn’t you know it that Sveta, and what she reveals, ends up being enough to pull these two back into the basement and gripping their flashlights.
While much of this might feel par for the course for The X-Files, the episode inventively runs its main story parallel to one involving the Roswell landing in ’47. It’s an interesting strategy that mostly works in the episode’s favor. It offers up some nice depth to the storytelling here, and seeing how these two stories nearly 70 years apart come together is one of the more satisfying things that “My Struggle” pulls off.
It’s also nice to be in a version of this show now where aliens are straight up being acknowledged and no longer obfuscated in some way. There’s full-out UFO wreckage and beyond going down here and to be past a point where the show is acting all “deny, deny, deny” is a comfortable place for it to find itself. That being said, it’s frustrating to see Mulder and Scully being so critical and brisk to Sveta considering Everything (with a capital ‘E’) they’ve been through and seen together. Mulder’s heart-to-heart with Sveta is actually pretty affecting and a touching scene, however his following admission that she’s “the answer to everything!” has happened more than a few times in the series’ lifespan. For a certain X-File to once again be realized as the key to all X-Files feels a little flimsy for the show’s returning foot forward, but where it all ends up leading is at least reasonably interesting, if not also problematic.
The big revelation that this premiere holds onto as Mulder continues to shout that they’ve “been deceived for years!” is one that rests not on aliens, but rather the corrupt side of the government masquerading as such. At moments this feels kind of ridiculous considering that the show’s mythology not only proved the existence of aliens, but several kinds that were warring against each other. At the same time, the show isn’t retconning these aliens or the Syndicate’s work with them, but rather insinuating the flashier cases of alien abduction—the house calls that Mulder and Scully would so frequently take throughout the show—were in fact the government using alien technology for their own ill-gotten gains. While I think this still appropriately connects with everything the series has told us so far, it’s definitely the boldest move they’ve done to the continuity and the one that feels the most like it doesn’t jive with the rest of the mythos that the show spent time establishing (although it’s nice to hear the term, “Sixth Extinction” uttered once more). As crazy as everything got in the past, it still connected and respected everything that had been built, whether you realized it or not. Regardless of this, the table is now appropriately set, with Mulder and Scully’s target no longer being little green men, but rather the men in black.
This isn’t as interesting a repositioning as the show thinks it is, but it is a big enough fresh trajectory to constitute the show’s return. It gives the series some new material to pull from rather than ever-complicating the already ever-complicated alien mythology, but hearing Mulder and O’Malley endlessly regurgitate dates and moments from history isn’t exactly thrilling either. The bigger game here involving this shadow government trying to take over the world like some cliché super villain, with all of our problems in the past years being a result of their machinations is a lot to swallow. I almost think alien abductions are the more plausible of the two ideas. It’s nice to see the show taking some big swings here, but it’s absolutely going to get people laughing in their direction and acting ever the Scully. Perhaps this initial skepticism and Scullyization of the audience is part of what the series is going for in its premiere, but I doubt it. This in many ways does feel like the first half of a two-part episode though (which it is), and surely the details gleaned from the next entry will help give a better idea of this direction’s merits. It also feels like a premise endlessly designed to jerk us around, continually going back and forth on if this is aliens or not, and while that sort of rug pulling can be fun when it’s done right, it can also be very, very frustrating. Thankfully the monster-of-the-week episodes in between will help this material breathe some before the end.
On the topic of such—and it wasn’t exactly my intention to bring them up here—but the (at one point) canonical X-Files season ten comics (which have now even entered a season eleven) seemed to actually do a better job at jumping back into this world than this premiere did. It seems the two have gone in completely different directions, with the comics’ version of season ten practically doubling down on the show’s mythology (featuring a grown up Gibson Praise leading a new version of the Syndicate). With the comics being supervised by Carter, and even some of the earlier ones being plotted by him, too, I’d be curious if this was the original blueprint that he had in mind for more X-Files. They’ve certainly done a wonderful job at capturing the spirit of the series while also servicing up the show’s mythology in satisfying ways. Again, it’s still too early to be judging the television tenth season of the show, but these comics present an interesting paradigm (that still has the Chris Carter stamp of approval) that provides a very appealing alternative to those that might be dissuaded by what’s going on here.
With this much-anticipated premiere being titled “My Struggle,” it seems only appropriate to try to interpret the significance behind that and whose struggle the title is referring to. Initially it seems like it would be Mulder’s struggle, however he finds conviction pretty early on in this episode and stands by it throughout. Scully is continually in disbelief here, with the title making a lot more sense to relate to her, but the episode hardly seems to be falling within her perspective enough to feel like it’s corresponding to her either.
If anything, it’s most representative of Sveta’s life and the tug-of-war between reality and fiction that’s dominated her existence. As much sense as this makes, it feels slightly off for the title’s namesake to be Sveta considering the episode also is not from her point of view. In the end—and this is the answer that I dread the most, but I fear might be right—is that this might be America’s struggle; the public’s struggle. Every single one of us is the “My” in “My Struggle,” with this new attack on our planet being relevant to us all. These discoveries are our problem, and learning how twisted and corrupt the government can be is the struggle we’re dealing with. Yes, this sort of meaning behind the title is heavy as hell, but so is a lot of this episode.
Ultimately “My Struggle” didn’t hit me nearly as much as I hoped that it would, and like I said, I’m a pretty big X-Files apologist. However the movements made here hit me the flattest out of any of the larger decisions that the program has made. It feels so much like them intentionally trying to mix up the show rather than it happening organically, and that’s never the series’ best suit to wear. Thankfully though, things get appropriately mixed up once more (ie. we get jerked around again) in the episode’s closing moments (which was almost enough for me to bump this review up an extra half-grade). Perhaps the status quo isn’t as obliterated as we thought.
It’s still too early on to tell exactly where all of this is heading, but I’d like to give the show the benefit of the doubt that it will ultimately be a satisfying experience by the end of all of this. The cynical, post-9/11, anti-America voice that the series seems to be currently clinging to isn’t the best fit for the show, and it runs amok with this a little too much for its own good. The episode makes a point of telling us that “We’ve never been in more danger” than in our current climate, and it doesn’t hold back from rubbing our faces in it. Rough patches aside though, it’s just nice to have these characters back, hear that all-too familiar theme music return, and have the start of something big going down once again. As rocky as this start is, I’m still optimistic that these six episodes will amount to something memorable.
After all, I want to believe.
My family was a little bit late in getting a real desktop computer. We had the Apple IISE for a while but that thing could barely run anything, let alone a game. No, it took until I was about 8 or 9 until we got a full system. It was one of those hulking behemoths that took up vast amounts of space but, god dammit, it was awesome! And along with the computer came a game that would become a huge part of my childhood: The 7th Guest.
The point-and-click horror puzzle game challenged not only my wits and intelligence but also my fear and terror. The story of Tad and his terrifying adventures in the Stauf Mansion was one that stuck with me and I replayed the game over and over again, relishing the pervasive horror atmosphere. I also did the same with the sequel, The 11th Hour, which was a far darker game.
Today I learned that the series is coming back in a new way via a web series! Directed by John Johnson and executively produced by Rob Landeros, the 10-episode series is being created by Darkstone Entertainment in association with Trilobyte Games, the creators of the original games, and production begins in March.
Confirmed to appear in the series are James Rolfe (the Angry Video Game Nerd) and, be still my heart, Robert Hirschboeck, who played Henry Stauf in the original games!
Below is a teaser trailer for the series and you can learn more about it, including buying the season pass which allows you to watch it 2 weeks before release, at the official website.
We’re in desperate need of a slasher revival, and Fox is hoping it’s going to be Dead Mall, a pitch that will be written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, Deadline reports.
The duo that shared the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay with Alexander Payne for The Descendants and wrote and directed the Sundance sensation The Way Way Back.
The pitch is a comedy-horror movie set in a dead mall, clearly. What’s interesting is that, “The title comes from a growing national phenomenon, these second tier malls that are scattered about the country, skeletal shrines to a boom in shopping. When the shoppers stopped coming, the malls fell into disrepair and closed. Set in that backdrop, the comedy concerns an ensemble of 40-year old guys, seemingly with enough brainpower to escape a slasher film-quality killer, but maybe not.”
Kevin Walsh is producing through B Story, and Faxon and Rash will be executive producers. B Story has an overall deal at Sony Pictures TV with two shows currently in development at NBC and Epix.
There are few things in life better than a cold rainy evening accompanied by a gothic ghost story. The problem with these stories, however, is that we’ve experienced a great deal of them, and it is now extremely hard to come across a truly original and chilling tale involving ghosts, be it on the page or the big screen. In Backtrack, director Michael Petroni seems to be aware of this, and attempts to revitalize the popular formula with different execution and greater focus on characters.
The story follows Adrien Brody as Peter Bower, a troubled psychologist that begins to question his own sanity when he realizes that some of his patients are not what they seem to be. Tormented by guilt and mysterious apparitions, Bower attempts to find answers in his tragic past in order to meet some kind of closure, despite being discouraged by his family and colleagues.
Character seems to be Backtrack’s greatest strength, as Brody adds a depth to his role that only a veteran actor could provide, not to mention the script’s believable dialogue and reactions. The supporting cast is also phenomenal, with the lovely Robin McLeavy (Lola from The Loved Ones) playing a well-intentioned police officer, and an underused Sam Neil as Duncan Stewart.
While it is quite refreshing to see a horror film treated seriously, with a respected cast and crew behind it, there is a certain lack of genre finesse present in the movie. Jump scares seem cheap and out of place in a film that drenches itself in gothic atmosphere, and the CGI present in certain scenes actually detracts from the creepy mood. That doesn’t make Backtrack a horrible movie, however. The story has its fair share of twists and turns that result in a rewarding yet predictable experience that mostly makes up for the technical discrepancies.
Although Petroni wrote and directed the film, it’s quite apparent that he’s much better with the former than with the latter. Since this is only the second feature that he’s directed, it’s easy to forgive most of the technical flaws, but the predictable narrative is inexcusable for someone with this much experience in script writing. Like Guillermo Del Toro in Crimson Peak, Michael is at his worst when adhering to familiar and traditional ghost story elements instead of treading new ground, though neither Crimson Peak nor Backtrack are inherently bad movies.
Again, Brody and the rest of the cast are constantly entertaining, and make the film worth watching despite a few shortcomings. There were even some genuinely spooky scenes, though the ghosts at times looked like generic Ju-On rip-offs. Obviously, Backtrack will not be as impactful as the Sixth Sense or other popular ghost movies, but it does contain enough originality to warrant a view on your next rainy night, be it in theaters or on late-night TV.
After an impressive festival run, Drafthouse Films acquired the taut thriller, The Invitation, which hails from Girlfight, Aeon Flux, and Jennifer’s Body director Karyn Kusama.
In The Invitation, “Will and Eden were once a loving couple. After a tragedy took their son, Eden disappeared. Two years later, out of the blue, she returns with a new husband… and as a different person, eerily changed and eager to reunite with her ex and those she left behind. Over the course of a dinner party in the house that was once his, the haunted Will is gripped by mounting evidence that Eden and her new friends have a mysterious and terrifying agenda. But can we trust Will’s hold on reality? Or will he be the unwitting catalyst of the doom he senses?”
EW just released the first trailer for the film, on VOD and in limited theaters March 25th, which is a trippy descent into madness. I think what I love most about the footage is that it reveals nothing, yet finds a way to be incredibly captivating.
The pic stars ogan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Tammy Blanchard (Moneyball), Michiel Huisman (“Game of Thrones”), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Middle of Nowhere), and John Carroll Lynch (“Fargo,” Zodiac, “American Horror Story”).
Zombie High is a late 80’s genre piece that I somehow never came across until Scream Factory released it on Blu-ray. This is the type of random one-off movie that I feel falls in line with what Scream Factory typically releases on their double features, but somehow this one received a stand-alone release. Perhaps it’s because the film starts Virginia Madsen? Or maybe because it features director Paul Feig in a supporting role? At any rate the film is now available on Blu-ray and will likely be of interest to some.
The film starts off pretty good as your standard 80’s time capsule. From the music to the way the characters dress to the somewhat montage-esque opening that introduces all the characters, the classic elements of a solid 80’s film are in place. The story is even straight out of most 80’s teen sex comedies.
Andrea (Madsen) is heading off to start her first year at Ettinger, a boarding school that up until this year was all-male. Andrea is very excited for the chance at a higher education, but naturally her boyfriend Barry (James Wilder) is not. Still, Barry takes Andrea to the new school and they have a moment before he heads back home. Andrea meets her new roommate Suzi (Sherilyn Fenn) and Mary Beth (Clare Carey), a girl from across the hall. Suzi and Mary Beth are very excited about the boy to girl ratio and can’t wait to start hooking up with cute guys. Andrea, on the other hand, is actually attending Ettinger to learn.
During her first day of classes Andrea meets Emerson (Feig). Emerson sort of plays like a composite of various characters we’ve seen in 80’s films. He’s sort of nerdy, but not entirely. He’s clearly very smart but also has a coolness to him. All the other boys in the school are very straight laced, stay in line and Emerson has a personality all his own. At the end of the day Emerson wants to hook up with Andrea or any of the other girls. He’s not really picky. Feig is pretty stand out in Zombie High. He’s very charming and has great comic timing.
The rest of the school is littered with your very standard characters. You have the “punk” kid who is way too cool. He’s a bad boy with spiky hair and a leather jacket. He doesn’t want to be at that stupid school and doesn’t need it. Of course, his dad is extremely wealthy and one of the most recognized alumni. You have Dean Eisner (Kay E. Kuter), an all business sort of guy that won’t take any shit from anyone. You don’t want to cross him, oh no! Then there’s Professor Philo (Richard Cox), the cool, hip teacher who develops a strange, and a bit creepy, affection towards Andrea.
After a few days Andrea begins to notice something very odd about the school. Kids act very weird and are all a little too well behaved. Kids you wouldn’t expect like Mary Beth and the cool punk kid take sudden changes in both appearance and attitude. They suddenly become focused. After some digging around Andrea discovers the school is running experiments to turn the kids into perfect students, or “zombies” if you will. It all has a Stepford Wives sort of vibe.
I really, really, really wanted to like Zombie High. I went into my viewing with such gusto and the opening had me hooked and then smack, the film hit a wall. The whole thing began to drag with little to no excitement for about 40 minutes. In the middle portion of the movie the most exciting thing to happen is when Barry dramatically puts out his cigarette by smashing it against a wall. He’s really upset and expresses as much by the way he puts this cigarette out. It’s something else.
Then there’s the relationship between Philo and Andrea that is just so bizarre. From the start we know that it’s bad because he’s a teacher and she’s a student, but it goes beyond that. Even though he’s portrayed as a cooler, hipper teacher, this isn’t one of those scenarios where he’s fresh out of college and only a couple years older than his students. Philo is undoubtedly older than his students and we can all see it. We kind of get hints that Andrea reminds Philo of a former lover, but they never go into any detail on it. The whole thing was just way too creepy for me.
Towards the end of the film things begin to pick up a bit as we learn more about what exactly the administration at this school is up to. We actually get some pretty decent practical effects and gore. It’s pretty enjoyable but the film takes a weird editing turn. We start getting these weird transitions and swipes that seemingly come out of nowhere. Interesting to be sure, but they kind of threw me off a bit.
I noticed a few interesting tidbits in the credits. The first being the music playing over them is a very obvious Beastie Boys rip-off/parody of “Fight For Your Right.” I kind of like this and it actually made me laugh. I also happened to spot in the credits that director Jay Roach served as a camera operator. Roach has directed a number of things over the years, most recently Trumbo. This looks to be Roach’s earliest credit, which kind of makes Zombie High a little more interesting and gives it a certain level of significance.
The Blu-ray release from Scream Factory looks great. Fantastic picture and audio quality, but the release is severely lacking in terms of extras as it only has a trailer. This seems weird for a Scream Factory solo release. Usually individually released films have a handful of extras and it’s the double features that are light. I wonder if this was initially planned as a double feature and then changed down the line?
Zombie High has some moments and offers a look back at the 80’s. This was essentially a student film and the only one from director Ron Link. When you look at it through that lens, and consider it’s an early look at the career of Madsen and features a fairly rare on screen performance from Feig, it gets a little more interesting. For me though, it ultimately was a little too boring and dull. I was never really able to fully engage and get into it.
Zombie High is now available on Blu-ray from Scream Factory.
Set for release February 5th, 2016 is Sony Screen Gems’ Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (read our report from set in London), which focuses on the Bennett sisters – Elizabeth (Lily James), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady), Jane (Bella Heathcote), and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) – several badass women who have been trained to brutally slay the undead.
The events in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies begin with the tangled relationship between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England, and is complicated by a full on outbreak of zombies.
Bloody Disgusting has an exclusive clip from the film. And although you won’t see any of the Bennett sisters in it, you’ll see a crafty old-school way of detecting undead flesh.
Warner Bros. has released what could be the coolest trailer ever for a superhero adaptation.
Click on over to Villain Smash to watch the new, full trailer for Suicide Squad!
While this DC Comics adaptation is about a group of super villains, clearly Warners understands that the reason most of us are going to the theater is to see Morgot Robbie as Joker’s sidekick, Harley Quinn. I dare you, no, triple dog dare you to not instantly fall in love with her.
And Jared Leto’s interpretation of Joker? I’m feeling it, and can’t wait to see all of his toys!
Suicide Squad arrives in theaters on August 5th and features the insane cast that includes Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adam Beach, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara, Jim Parrack, Ike Barinholtz, Common, Scott Eastwood, David Harbour, Corina Calderon, Alex Meraz, Raymond Olubowale, and Ben Affleck as BATMAN!
Epic Pictures announced today that they will release a special “Ultra Turbo Charged Collector’s Edition” Blu-Ray/DVD set of Turbo Kid (review) on January 25th 2016.
In addition to the main feature on both Blu-ray and DVD, the Ultra Turbo Charged Special Collector’s Edition will include Bloody Wasteland: The Making of Turbo Kid, a making of the movie featurette, T is for Turbo, the original short that preceded that film, several mini documentaries, Fantasia, Gore, Stunt, Funny, The Kid, Apple, Zeus, film festival introductions from BIFFF (Brussels), Edinburgh (UK), Sitges (Spain) and 2 still Galleries including Design/On Set, Fan Art, and ‘The Ride’ booklet. The suggested retail price for the collection is $29.99; and is currently available for pre-order at http://turbo-kid.com. The collection will be available exclusively on Amazon.com and directly from the filmmakers’ site.
“‘Turbo Kid’ follows “The Kid,” (Munro Chambers) an orphan left to survive on his own through drought-ridden nuclear winter, traversing the Wasteland on his BMX, scavenging for scraps to trade for a scant supply of water in a 1997, ruined post-apocalyptic world. When his perpetually chipper, pink-haired new best friend Apple (Laurence Leboeuf) is kidnapped by a minion of evil overlord Zeus (Michael Ironside), The Kid summons the courage of his comic book hero and prepares to deliver turbocharged justice to Zeus, his buzzsaw-handed sidekick Skeletron, and their vicious masked army.
Bolstered by a pitch-perfect synth score, and clever and cheeky period details, co-directors François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell, collectively coined RKSS, create a raucous retro-futuristic action comedy that pays homage to ’80s movies great and small, while adding their own flair with inventive and exuberant violence and gore (prepare for disemboweling by exercycle). Sci-fi legend Michael Ironside delivers with malevolence and glee as the larger-than-life Zeus, a despicable villain with joie de vivre.
The content included in the “Ultra Turbo Charged Collector’s Edition” is:
Disc 1 – Turbo Kid – DVD – Main Feature + Commentaries
Audio Options: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Stereo, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles English (SDH), Spanish, French
Commentaries English, French
Disc 2 – Turbo Kid – DVD – Bonus Features
Bloody Wasteland: The Making of Turbo Kid (24 min.)
T Is For Turbo (original short) (6 min.)
Mini Docs: Fantasia, Gore, Stunt, Funny, The Kid, Apple, Zeus
Festival Introductions: BIFFF (Brussels)*, Edinburgh (UK), Sitges (Spain)*
Still Galleries (3): Design/On Set, Fan Art, ‘The Ride’ booklet
Trailers from Epic Pictures Releasing
Disc 3 – Turbo Kid – BluRay – Main Feature + Commentaries
Audio Options: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Stereo, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English (SDH), Spanish, French
Commentaries: English, French
The first episode has yet to air and we already have details on four of the six episodes from FOX’s “The X-Files” revival.
Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) are sent to investigate the murder of a city official, which it seems no human could have committed. Meanwhile, Scully deals with a personal tragedy, which brings up many old feelings about the child she gave away for adoption in the all-new “Home Again” episode of “The X-Files” airing Monday, Feb. 8 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
This episode was written and directed by Glen Morgan.
Guest Cast includes Sheila Larkin as Margaret Scully, Tim Armstrong as trashman, Daryl Shuttleworth as Daryl Landry, Peggy Jo Jacobs as Nancy Huff, Alessandro Juliani as Joseph Cutler, Chris Shields as Detective Dross, Gary Sekhon as Forensic Tech, Sachin Sahel as Jack Budd, Veena Sood as Dr. Louise Colquitt, Jannen Karr as Nurse Taillie, Seth Whittaker as Fitzpatrick and Daniel Jacobsen as Proudley.
I’ve been eagerly waiting for word of a release date for the spooky Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch DLC that was announced at The Game Awards last month, and today, that patience has finally paid off. When the Baba Yaga story expansion arrives next week, it’ll take Rise of the Tomb Raider into Blair Witch territory.
“Deep in the wilds of Siberia, there is a forbidden forest that no man will enter, where a Soviet expedition vanished without a trace. Lara enters the Wicked Vale in search of a missing man, but what she finds is a nightmare that she cannot explain. Is the witch, Baba Yaga, truly haunting the forbidden forest? Or is there more to the legend?”
A witch with a goofy name, a missing expedition and a forbidden forest that’s home to a nightmare so nightmarish, that it cannot be explained? Surely you’re on the baba-bandwagon by now?
Baba Yaga is more than side story, as it will also come with a special bow and outfit for Lara, frightening new enemies and a tomb filled with puzzles and treasures. It’s coming to Xbox One on Tuesday, January 26. Rise of the Tomb Raider is headed to PC on Jan 28, so a PC release might not be that far off. PS4 owners will have to continue being patient, unfortunately.
Art is a truly subjective medium when it comes to appreciation. There are people who like the sublime use of color from artists like Monet or Klimt. Others appreciate the weirdness and surrealism of Dali and Ernst. And still some others go down the route of darkness, where pain and beauty mix into something grotesque and fascinating. It is in this world that Los Angeles sculptor Sarah Sitkin resides, a world that would be right at home with Clive Barker’s cenobites
Her bio is incredibly simple, allowing her work to speak for her: “Sarah Sitkin is a Los Angeles based artist. Her sculptural works are made in wide variety of media including but not limited to silicone, clay, plaster, resin,and latex.”
When reading that bio, it’s easy to be caught completely unprepared as to what you’re about to witness. After all, the benign and almost innocent description does nothing to ready viewers for the macabre work she creates. It’s haunting and it’s fantastic. However, be warned that it’s absolutely NSFW, so view this at your own discretion!
You can learn and see more about Sarah at her official website.
The scariest maze in America has been documented in Rich Fox’s The Blackout Experiments, which is set to World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend.
Joining Rob Zombie’s 31, Kevin Smith’s Yoga Hosers and Mickey Keating’s Carnage Park, The Blackout Experiments begins when, “A group of friends discover the dark underworld of the ultra-scary, psychosexual horror experience called Blackout. But what starts as a thrill ride through the unknown becomes deeply personal, developing into an obsession that hijacks their lives and blurs the line between reality and paranoid fantasy.”
It’s unclear if this is a straight forward documentary or something more scripted, but the Blackout haunt is for real, and it’s allegedly pretty badass.
A clip was shared this morning, via TheWrap, that introduces us to Abel and Hannah, who both sign a waiver to enter the Blackout, alone. He explains why it’s so terrifying, and why he decided to press “enter”. I’m dying to press “play” as soon as possible. Watch for our review out of the fest, which begins in a few days.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Robert Rodriguez’s now-classic vampire B-movie From Dusk Till Dawn was unleashed upon the world. The fact that it was a moderately successful January release is quit astounding. To celebrate the occasion, we thought we would take a look back at this badass movie, which has now been adapted into its own TV show for Rodriguez’s new(ish) El Rey Network.
Released on January 19th, 1996, From Dusk Till Dawn was met with mostly positive critical acclaim. It currently sits at a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is no small feat for a horror film released in January (just look at this year’s The Forest for one of the many sub-par January-released horror films). Hell, even Roger Ebert awarded the film three out of four stars.
It opened at the #1 spot with $10.2 million ($15.4 million in 2016 dollars) and went on to gross a total of $25.8 million domestically ($39 million in 2016 dollars). That is a small profit for a film with a budget of $19 million, and while that is not a spectacular gross, it’s still solid for an R-rated horror film released in a month that typically sees slower box office returns.
From Dusk Till Dawn is notable for pulling a bait-and-switch with audiences. Anyone who didn’t see the trailer (embedded below) probably walked into the film expecting a heist movie, and for the first hour or so of From Dusk Till Dawn, they would have gotten what the expected. The exact opposite is true for anyone who did see the trailer for the film. They would have walked in expecting a 2-hour vampire brawl. Needless to say that is not the film they went to see.
From Dusk Till Dawn has been criticized for unsuccessfully merging two movies into one disparate whole, but looking back on the film it actually works miraculously. One thing Robert Rodriguez is an expert at is surprising his audience, and From Dusk Till Dawn is probably his greatest achievement of that. One cannot discuss the surprised of From Dusk Till Dawn without mentioning Quentin Tarantino and his incredibly witty script. This was peak Tarantino season, since the film was released just a year and a half after Pulp Fiction.
To this day, it is still surprising to see now-famous stars like George Clooney (back in his E.R. days) and Juliette Lewis in this film. Joining them were Tarantino and Rodriguez staples Harvey Keitel and Danny Trejo, along with a slew of other casting choices that would make you do a double-take today (Cheech Marin, anyone?).
Speaking of unique casting, the true surprise in From Dusk Till Dawn is Salma Hayek’s appearance as Santánico Pandemonium. Her snake dance before morphing into her true vampire form is so iconic that you would be forgiven for thinking that she was a lead character in the film if you had never seen it before.
Not only did From Dusk Till Dawn spawn two direct-to-video sequels and a video game, but it also gave birth to From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series on March 11, 2014. The first season of that show was essentially the original 108-minute film stretched out into 10 hour-long episodes, and was met with lukewarm critical reception. The second season benefited from being able to act as a true sequel to the film and delve into unexplored territory. A third season is set to premiere later this year so it is clear that the series has provided El Rey Network with a decent amount of success.
It is a testament to the original film that we are here talking about it today and that it is still seeing creative properties borne from it. I would even argue that Rodriguez hasn’t been able to match it in terms of fun. Actually, I’m wrong. The Faculty, Sin City and Planet Terror are all very fun films, but I digress. Just forget I even wrote that. We’re here to commemorate From Dusk Till Dawn for providing 20 years of entertainment to horror fans everywhere. When did you first see From Dusk Till Dawn? Do you still enjoy the film or do you think it’s starting to show its age? Share your memories in the comments below and give the film a re-watch this week to celebrate its 20th anniversary!
Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision and Drafthouse Films teaming up with Rook Films (Sightseers, The Duke of Burgundy) and Timpson Films (The ABCs of Death) to produce The Greasy Strangler, the feature directorial debut of British helmer Jim Hosking (The ABCs of Death 2) that’s set to World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this week.
In the film, “The Los Angeles-set tale follows Ronnie, a man who runs a Disco Walking tour along with his browbeaten son, Brayden. When a sexy, alluring woman comes to take the tour, it begins a competition between father and son for her attentions. It also signals the appearance of an oily, slimy inhuman maniac who stalks the streets at night and strangles the innocent, soon dubbed ‘The Greasy Strangler.’“
Hosking wrote the script with Toby Harvard. SpectreVision’s Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller and Elijah Wood will produce along with Andrew Starke of Rook Films and Ant Timpson of Timpson Films. Kill List, Sightseers, and “Doctor Who” director Ben Wheatley and Drafthouse Films’ Tim League are aboard as executive producers.
Check out the first ever stills, courtesy if EW.
Sometimes the moment that sticks with us in movies are those final few seconds where everything comes together and we’re left with the true horror of all that we witnessed. These can be the scenes that keep playing over and over in our head, where we wish we had the ability to change course and create a new outcome.
But how many endings do you actually remember? If, hypothetically (read: it’s below and I’m being a jackass) there were a quiz that showed you several ending images from various horror movies, do you think you could identify them?
Well, go ahead and give it a shot! I got 10 out of 12 because a couple threw me 100% off but I fully admit my mistake on them. Take the quiz and then let us know in the comments how you did!
Just last week it was announced that Juan Antonio Bayona would no long be directing World War Z as he’s focusing on completing A Monster Calls. That’s a load of shit. And now we know why that story was spun.
Deadline is alleging that Bayona could end up directing Jurassic World 2 for Universal Pictures.
Colin Trevorrow directed the Jurassic Park sequel/reboot, and after it grossed over $1.6 billion, he accepted the job directing Star Wars: Episode IX.
Adds the site: Trevorrow wrote the sequel with Derek Connolly and they’ve waited to get a good script before looking for a director, but all this is going to get moving soon for a complex picture dated June 22, 2018.
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard (sans high heels) are expected back.
Osgood Perkins is now one of my top indie filmmakers.
Even though he penned the awful, terrible, no-good The Girl in the Photographs (it’s clear that the director destroyed his script), Osgood’s directorial debut, February, landed in my list of best genre films of 2015.
After February, I cannot wait to see what comes next. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait long.
It was announced today that Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson (“The Affair,” Saving Mr. Banks) will star in Perkins’ I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, with Academy Award Nominee Bob Balaban (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom) and Lucy Boynton (pictured in February) also joining the cast.
“I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House follows Lily (Wilson), a young nurse hired to care for elderly Helen Bloom, a best-selling author of ghost stories who has chosen to live out her final days in her beloved country home – a home that holds an horrific ghost story of its own.”
Perkins wrote the script and will be directing, with principal photography beginning in Ottawa on February 16th.
In Theaters, on Demand, Amazon Video and iTunes March 4, 2016 is Magnolia’s disaster film, The Wave, which was directed by Cold Prey‘s Roar Uthaug.
Trace reviewed The Wave, calling it “A fun, yet typical disaster film with heart.”
Below is the film’s official trailer that shares the first ever footage that gives a small town 10 minutes to evacuate.
Starring Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Oftebro, Thomas Bo Larsen, “Nestled in Norway’s Sunnmøre region, Geiranger is one of the most spectacular tourist draws on the planet. With the mountain Åkerneset overlooking the village — and constantly threatening to collapse into the fjord — it is also a place where cataclysm could strike at any moment. After putting in several years at Geiranger’s warning centre, geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner) is moving on to a prestigious gig with an oil company. But the very day he’s about to drive his family to their new life in the city, Kristian senses something isn’t right. The substrata are shifting. No one wants to believe that this could be the big one, especially with tourist season at its peak, but when that mountain begins to crumble, every soul in Geiranger has ten minutes to get to high ground before a tsunami hits, consuming everything in its path.
Those ten minutes are some of the most nerve-rattling you’ll experience in any movie this year, but as The Wave continues the stakes only get higher. Ace director Roar Uthaug keeps things hurtling forward in a state of high anxiety until the very end. Giving Hollywood a run for its money, the film’s canvas is broad, its effects eerily realistic, and its scale immense. Here comes the flood.”