After having its world premiere at the 30th Annual SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals last month, Hush comes to us courtesy of Netflix, who wisely snatched up the property shortly before its premiere. You can read Kalyn’s review from SXSW here. I actually caught the film at it’s premiere at SXSW too, but I wanted to chime in with my own thoughts on the film closer to its release date (even though they essentially mirror Kalyn’s). Hush proves once again that Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Absentia) is an outstanding director, able to take a simple premise and bring something incredibly unique to the project without making it feel gimmicky. It is a fist-pumping female empowerment film while at the same time an incredibly suspenseful home invasion thriller.
The plot is simple: Author Maddie Young (Kate Siegel, Oculus) has lived a life of isolation since losing her hearing as a teenager to bacterial meningitis. Now a deaf-mute, she spends much of her time in her secluded home writing novels. When a masked psychotic killer (John Gallagher, Jr., 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Newsroom) shows up on her doorstep one night, Maddie must push herself beyond her mental and physical limits in order to survive the night.
Flanagan and Siegel co-wrote Hush, and the idea came to the husband and wife team over dinner. They wanted to make a home invasion thriller with a twist, and in that they succeeded. Think the final scene of Wait Until Dark stretched out to feature length. While this may sound like it could easily become tedious, the film utilizes each of its 87 minutes extremely well. There are a few too many moments of Maddie escaping the house only to be chased back inside by the killer, but by the time you begin to notice their frequency the film wraps up with a hefty amount of catharsis.
Hush makes a bold decision with its killer at the end of its first act, and it turns out to be a wise one. I won’t spoil it here, but suffice it to say that Gallagher is given much more to work with than your standard masked killer. The film shies away from giving him a backstory of any sort, giving the character (credited simply as “The Man”) the necessary menace needed to instill fear.
Siegel is an absolute revelation. If she’s this good while she’s silent I can’t wait to see what awaits us when she’s given actual dialogue to work with (she’s been acting since 2007 but to my knowledge this is her most high-profile role). She makes Maddie one of the best final girls seen in recent memory and boy, is she put through the wringer too. Her lack of dialogue in the film (save for one internal monologue) does not stop Siegel from giving one Hell of an impassioned performances.
Flanagan, as expected, plays with sound design a lot in the film, albeit not as much as you might expect. The sound in the film goes out at certain points, but one almost wishes Flanagan had used this technique more. Still, there hasn’t been a thriller that has played with a lack of dialogue this much since Joss Whedon used a similar approach in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (coincidentally also called “Hush”).
The film’s only real misstep comes in the form of the arrival of Maddie’s neighbor John (Michael Trucco), in a sequence that requires such a large suspension of disbelief as to how stupid the character is that it immediately takes you out of the film. There is also a dream sequence scare that had to have been included to pad the runtime. It feels cheap when it is held up next to the rest of the film.
The film is shot competently but not necessarily creatively. Cinematographer James Kniest shoots the house and the woods surrounding it with a good sense of claustrophobia, but I also watched Hush within 24 hours of Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe (my review), a similar thriller that is also set in one location and relies on a main character with a disability. That film was so beautifully shot and featured such masterful camerawork that Hush does seem a bit too simple (though the films would make an excellent double feature once Don’t Breathe is released in August). This is no fault of Hush, of course, but merely a coincidence that I thought I would mention.
The decision to release Hush on Netflix is a peculiar one. It’s not that the film will be any less effective; it will just be a different viewing experience. Watching Hush in a sold-out theater was one of the more fun theater-going experiences I’ve had in a while. The film practically demands to be viewed with an audience. That being said, watching it at home may have the benefit of highlighting the terror in the film. While incredibly suspenseful, at no point was I ever really scared during Hush. You may feel differently watching the film in the privacy of your own home.
Hush is a terrific film, and one that you will want to add to your Blu-Ray collection once it sees a release. Boasting some fantastic set pieces and performances from Siegel and Gallagher, it truly stands out among the crowd of horror films readily available on Netflix. I have no doubt that it will be added to many of those “hidden Netflix gems” posts in the near future. It’s so good, in fact, that it actually has me excited about what Flanagan will be doing with Ouija 2.Hush is now available via Netflix streaming.
Spoiler Alert: Synopses of Containment, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals for the Week of April 25th
By the week of April 25th, “Containment” will be settling in with its second episode, and both “The Originals” and “The Vampire Diaries” should be picking up steam heading into their season finales. But the real highlight looks to be the Eduardo Sanchez-directed Episode 11.19 of “Supernatural,” a true monster-of-the-week installment entitled “The Chitters.”
“Containment” Episode 1.02 – “I to Die, You to Live” (4/26/16; 9:00-10:00 pm)
48 HOURS — While Lex (David Gyasi) attempts to maintain control outside the cordon, he learns that a young woman who had close contact with an infected patient, is unaccounted for. With limited resources available, Lex is forced to enlist help from Jake (Chris Wood), whose growing resentment towards Lex for getting him trapped inside is causing him to spiral. Elsewhere, Katie (Kristen Gutoskie) attempts to keep it together as she keeps a watchful eye over her students, while Teresa (Hanna Mangan Lawrence) is devastated to learn that her friends may have been exposed to the virus. Finally, Jana (Christina Moses), who has learned that her best friend, Suzy (guest star Nadine Lewington), is also trapped inside the cordon, rations out their limited food as they wait out the 48-hour quarantine. Claudia Black, Trevor St. John, and George Young also star. Charles Beeson directed the episode written by Julie Plec.
“Supernatural” Episode 11.19 – “The Chitters” (4/27/16; 9:00-10:00 pm)
SAM AND DEAN MEET A NEW PAIR OF HUNTERS – In a small town in Colorado, mysterious disappearances happen every 27 years. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) head to the town to investigate and meet two hunters who have a personal vendetta against these once-in-a-generation monsters. Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project, “Intruders”) directed the episode written by Nancy Won.
“The Vampire Diaries” Episode 7.20 – “Kill “Em All” (4/29/16; 8:00-9:00 pm)
A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL — With Bonnie’s (Kat Graham) life at stake and an uphill battle ahead of them, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) lead the charge to save Bonnie before her condition worsens. Stefan (Paul Wesley) reluctantly teams up with Matt (Zach Roerig) for the sake of Bonnie and uncovers the truth behind Matt’s anger towards him. Elsewhere, determined to help her best friend, Caroline (Candice King) joins Alaric (Matt Davis) on a mission and quickly realizes how much she’s missed her former supernatural lifestyle. Finally, after their plan takes an unexpected turn, Damon makes a fateful decision that will forever change his relationship with Bonnie. Kellie Cyrus directed the episode written by Chad Fiveash & James Stoteraux.
“The Originals” Episode 3.19 – “No More Heartbreaks” (4/29/16; 9:00-10:00 pm)
THE RACE TO SAVE CAMI — Following a violent encounter that has left Cami’s (Leah Pipes) life hanging in the balance, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) is forced to rely on his family and allies to find a cure as he keeps a watchful eye over Cami at the compound. With time running out, Freya (Riley Voelkel) turns to her arsenal of spells, while Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood) and Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) head to Cami’s apartment to gather a crucial ingredient. Elsewhere, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) and Elijah (Daniel Gillies) travel to the bayou in hopes of bringing back a potential antidote that could save Cami’s life. Finally, Davina (Danielle Campbell) confronts Lucien (guest star Andrew Lees) and learns some heartbreaking information that will change her future with Kol (guest star Nathaniel Buzolic) forever. Millicent Shelton directed the episode written by Celeste Vasquez & Michael Narducci.
In a feat of good judgment witnessed earlier today, Capcom quietly delayed their squad-based shooter Umbrella Corps to June 21 so the “team can spend some extra time optimizing the game to bring you the best experience possible.” This is great news for the Resident Evil spin-off, which has struggled to look like a worthwhile experiment for a series that’s spent the better part of a decade developing a serious identity crisis. An extra month of polish couldn’t hurt.
In the meantime, we have our first look at the game’s surprisingly deep character customization system that’ll have everything you need to outfit your mercenary with the goofy emotes that’ll carry your team to a bloody victory. I’m considering the classic jeggings/sweater vest combo for my merc — what about you?
Developed by Telltale Games
Available on PC, Mac, PSVita, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, and Apple devices
Rated M for Mature
I don’t have a lot to say about The Walking Dead: Michonne’s Episode Two, “Give No Shelter.” It’s certainly not a holding pattern, padding out time for the sake of sales. There’s only so much meandering you can do in three episodes, so it still presents a tight narrative package. That doesn’t mean that “Give No Shelter” is not without its fair share of restrictions. It’s the awkward middle child, straddling the line of explosive violence and neutered pointlessness.
I’ll explain what I mean before getting into spoilers. I’m confused as to why you’d be reading this review if you haven’t played the first episode, but I’ll section off the spoilers to appease those of you that accidentally clicked on this review and haven’t yet figured it out. As a title both within Telltale’s The Walking Dead franchise and the main The Walking Dead comic book canon, The Walking Dead: Michonne has worked to establish its own identity. While maintaining the staple Telltale brand of tough decisions and meaningful choices, the game has also brought in a level of brutality reflective of the titular Michonne. It’s a fine line, and has drawn a lot of scorn from those who were expecting this to be more of a “Telltale” take on the character.
As Michonne goes on, I’m more inclined to side with the naysayers. I don’t think that games should just endlessly replicate their predecessors, but something gets lost in Michonne’s fountains of blood and endless piles of flesh. As the body count rises and the stakes ratchet up to yet another level, life has begun to lose its meaning. Minor choices like “who gets food” was a fundamental piece of what made the bigger decisions in The Walking Dead meaningful. You were always unsure which decisions actually meant the difference between life and death, providing tense undertones and a constantly looming threat. That isn’t the case anymore, and thus ends my ability to talk without spoilers.
*DON’T OPEN SPOILERS INSIDE*
Picking up directly where “In Too Deep” left off, Michonne and friends need to escape the floating colony of Monroe while they have the chance. The big decision at the end of Episode One was whether or not you kill Zachary, which so far doesn’t seem to have a serious impact. As you make your escape via boat, the vengeful residents of Monroe make chase with a seemingly endless supply of bullets. Michonne does her signature zombie safety procedure, cutting off the arms and jaws and allowing the group to slowly make their way through the herd. A young girl gets hurt, and you make your way to her home, where you meet a new crew of survivors who soon become reluctant allies. Bad guys show up and shoot the leader of your new friends, so Michonne does what she does and kills all but one, whom she takes as a captive. Then, surprise, you once again decide between life and death, and “Give No Shelter” ends.
Of course, there’s a lot more to playing “Give No Shelter” than that. It’s full of great action set pieces and even a halfway decent illusion of danger. Getting from point A to B is flashy, fun, and exciting. The problem is that those hallmark pivotal moments feel hollow. When life is this cheap, death becomes less of a pivotal choice, and everything else seems inconsequential in comparison.
That’s what I mean when I say that “Give No Shelter” feels awkward. It ramps up the danger from the first episode, but has to hold back from the explosive finale. In previous The Walking Dead games, a five episode season allowed this curve to feel smoother, but they also didn’t start at such an elevated level. With Michonne, it goes from “brutal” to “muderfest” much too quickly, but I’m not exactly sure how that transition could have been made more gradually. It could have taken place over 10 episodes and the high starting point would have still made it feel unrealistic.
I understand that there is a source material they have to respect. It wouldn’t be Michonne if she didn’t just merc a bunch of scrubs once an episode. Unfortunately, that source material strips it of a lot of consequence. We know that Michonne isn’t going to die, so this higher body count comes without tension. I cared about Kenny’s family in the original The Walking Dead game because when I met them, there was always the illusion that they might make it. When I come across a character who from introduction until inevitable death is always in peril, I just can’t connect. There’s no down time to establish the human element.
I don’t know how it all comes together, so I’m reserving much of my judgement. Still, don’t give me a pivotal choice in the middle of a flashback. I know for a fact that it isn’t going to change the major events. Also, don’t make the guy I can choose to let live or die a massive dick. Wasn’t that hard of a decision. I hope that they can make it up in the final episode, but I doubt it can all come together satisfyingly. I’d love to have to eat my words, as the overall experience of The Walking Dead: Michonne is fun. At this point, it’s just an undeniably inferior package to either of the previous two titles.
The post The Walking Dead: Michonne – Episode 2: Give No Shelter (Video Game) appeared first on Dread Central.
IFC Midnight is on a roll! We have another trailer from one of their upcoming releases to share – it’s time to enter The Dead Room!
The film, which stars Jed Brophy, Jeffrey Thomas, and Laura Petersen, opens in limited theaters and on VOD tomorrow, April 8th. Jason Stutter (Diagnosis: Death) directs.
Step inside the Dead Room, where something sinister guards a home’s horrifying secrets. Inspired by a 1970s urban legend, this atmospheric nerve-shredder follows two scientists (Thomas and Brophy) and a young psychic (Petersen) as they travel to the countryside to investigate mysterious goings on at a remote farmhouse. Skepticism quickly turns to terror, as the researchers’ presence unsettles a seriously angry demonic presence possessing the home.
Upping the haunted house movie ante with visceral camerawork and unsettling sound design, The Dead Room creates a sense of palpable danger lurking in every corner and hallway.
Scream Queen Jessica Cameron has just announced that her latest project, An Ending, which she will produce and co-direct with screenwriter Josh Chiara, begins shooting at the end of April.
Jessica Cameron will also star in An Ending as Florence, a woman who wakes up in a nightmare world after being rushed to a hospital for unknown reasons.
An Ending also stars Heather Dorff as Collette, a woman who has been in the nightmare world much longer than Florence, and Ali Ferda as Molly, a woman coming to terms with crushing guilt.
As the three women are stalked through the corridors of the nightmare world by something lurking in the shadows, they are split apart, and each finds herself on her own personal journey.
Josh Chiara previously worked with Jessica Cameron as DP on her film Mania, which just won its tenth film festival award. Heather Dorff acted in Jessica Cameron’s debut feature Truth or Dare, and the two star alongside each other on Scream Queen Stream, a weekly variety show that airs online. Ali Ferda stars alongside Jessica Cameron in Desolation, which was shot as part of the Kill the PA road trip and is currently in post production.
Poster art by Maxwell Jacques Leclerc.
Jim Wynorski is a very particular director. You either love him or you don’t. He’s pumped out a lot of movies over the years and usually does them quickly, tossing in plenty of T&A along the way. While not every film has been great, he has knocked out some real gems, especially in his earlier years. On June 14 Synapse Films is going to give us one of those early films in the form of Sorceress coming to Blu-ray and DVD.
Sorceress stars Linda Blair, Julie Strain, Michael Parks and Edward Albert.
Larry Barnes (Larry Poindexter) is on the fast track to a partnership in a prestigious law firm, and his sexy witch wife Erica (Julie Strain, HEAVY METAL 2000) will do anything to keep her husband happy. But Erica makes a fatal mistake when she tries to kill Larry’s main competition for the partnership, Howard Reynolds (Edward Albert, GALAXY OF TERROR). With Howard now crippled for life from Erica’s dark magic, his wife Amelia (Linda Blair, THE EXORCIST) plots her revenge. Using witchcraft and a mystical medallion, Amelia tries to destroy everyone and everything in Larry’s life! All the pleasures of the flesh and malevolence of black magic collide in this newly remastered and uncensored version of Jim Wynorski’s SORCERESS (aka TEMPTRESS). Presented for the first time ever from a new 2K scan of the original uncut film element, this release features sex scene footage and additional nudity removed from the original release.
• Audio Commentary with Director Jim Wynorski
• Additional Audio Commentary with Director Jim Wynorski and SPFX Artist/Actor/Director, Tom Savini
Just a few days ago we learned that IFC Midnight will be releasing Sacrifice, in which Radha Mitchell co-stars with Rupert Graves, on April 29th; and now we have the new trailer to share.
Sacrifice, written and directed by Peter A. Dowling, will screen in New York at IFC Center and will be available On Demand and via all Digital platforms.
Along with Mitchell and Graves, the film co-stars David Robb and Ian McElhinney. The producers include Peter Lewis, Tristan Lynch, Aoife O’Sullivan, and Arnold Rifkin.
Disturbing secrets lie buried in the bogs of a remote island in this spellbinding thriller. Shortly after surgeon Tora Hamilton (Radha Mitchell) moves with her husband (Rupert Graves) to the Shetland Islands – 100 miles off the coast of Scotland – she makes an unnerving discovery: the body of a young woman with strange symbols carved into her flesh and her heart ripped out. When what at first appears to be the remains of a victim of an ancient ritual turns out to be a fresh corpse, Tora is plunged into a dangerous mystery that may be connected to the dark myths of the island’s folklore.
Scream Factory Presents
You’ll Like My Mother
On Blu-ray May 10, 2016
Starring Patty Duke, Richard Thomas and Rosemary Murphy
Run Francesca! Run for your life! Oscar® winner Patty Duke stars in the tense and claustrophobic psychological thriller, You’ll Like My Mother. On May 10, 2016, Scream Factory presents the thriller for the first time on Blu-ray with an all-new HD film transfer, and complete with extras including new interviews with actors Richard Thomas and Sian Barbara Allen.
Why did they fear Francesca’s baby? When her husband is killed in Vietnam, Francesca Kinsolving (Duke) finds herself alone… and pregnant. She makes her way to Minnesota in order to meet her late husband’s mother, certain that she’ll be greeted with open arms. But Francesca soon discovers that there may be more to the Kinsolving family than she ever imagined… and that this simple family reunion is only the beginning of a waking nightmare.
Rosemary Murphy (To Kill A Mockingbird), Richard Thomas (The Waltons), and Sian Barbara Allen (who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance) also star in this “intriguing, tautly directed thriller [that delivers] a high level of terror and tension” (TV Guide)!
- Interview with actors Richard Thomas and Sian Barbara Allen
- Photo Gallery
- Original Theatrical Trailer
Sometimes the best way to enjoy a horror movie is to crack open a cold brew and sip on some tasty suds while watching the horror unfold before your very own eyes. Personally, those crips bubbles and delightful hoppy flavor just relax me right away. Sure, I don’t need one for every horror movie I watch but once in a while it’s a great way to end a long day.
So, to celebrate National Beer Day, I found seven horror-inspired beers that sound delicious and should make for a great treat to go along with your favorite slasher! Check ’em out below and let me know your favorite beverage of choice when watching a movie!Great Lakes Brewing Co. – Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale
“Don’t be afraid of things that go hop in the night! Rich roasted malt flavors haunt the shadows of our Imperial Red Ale’s bitter teeth.”
“Each Halloween we release this special concoction, Evil Dead Red Ale, to celebrate one of our favorite holidays. Deep blood-red in color, an intense aroma of pine and citrus from an abundance of American hops balances the sweetness and rich, bready flavors of this beer’s caramel malts. The result is a fiendishly smooth brew that will make your taste buds scream with delight.”
“Little Horror of Hops is a hoppy Rye IPA balanced by a complex malt blend. Peppery spice notes and a robust citrus hop flavor complement the dry hop finish.”
“From the Depths of the Full Pint fermenters comes a Spine Tingling Stout that will have beer nerds returning from their graves. We single hopped this brew with cascade for a citrus character perfectly balanced with roasted malts for unrelenting great taste.”
“Lexicon Devil Grapefruit Pale Ale is a medium-bodied pale ale that has refreshing citrus notes and a distinctive floral hop aroma due to the aggressive addition of hops and grapefruit zest during fermentation. You’ll notice a slight malty sweetness with a balanced hop finish. Perfect to enjoy anytime, anywhere.”
“Mummy-powered locomotives were once a frequent sight throughout Egypt, conveying gold, spices and mystical artifacts across the vast desert sands. They have since faded until innuendo and rumor, their presence diminishing with the power of the pharaohs. Now, the Mummy Train of yore passes by just once a year. You may hear its ancient howl in warmer months, but dismiss it as deja vu. The train’s siren song grows through the summer until its unmistakable wail builds to a crescendo in the fall.”
Two 16-year-old boys in a New Zealand high school were injured when a prop razor knife that was being used for their production of Sweeney Todd ended up actually slicing them. One boy was seriously injured while another was moderately hurt on the opening night of the musical. Both were taken to the hospital and were released the next day, according to Sky.
The students, who attend Saint Kentigern College in Auckland, were using a real razor that had been blunted by being bound in duct tape. Headteacher Steve Cole told Newstalk ZB, “It had been bound in Cellophane, bound in all sorts of things. It was very non-sharp, blunted, and had been through all sorts of health and safety checks. It was a very unfortunate mishap.
Cole apparently hopes the show would resume Friday, although without that specific prop.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a horror musical written and composed by Stephen Sondheim. It made its debut in 1979 and has since been made into a film in 2007 from Tim Burton with Johnny Depp in the lead role.
The third season of Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” will be premiering Sunday, May 1st at 10pm EST. And to get the fans hyped up, they’ve released a trailer for the upcoming season, which you can watch above.
“An erotically-charged, profoundly unsettling new saga, ‘Penny Dreadful’ completely reinvents literature’s most iconic and terrifying characters. Dorian Gray, Victor Frankenstein and timeless figures from Dracula join a core of original characters in a dark and brutal quest to save a soul — even as they grapple with their own monstrous temptations.”
“Penny Dreadful” stars Josh Hartnett as “Ethan Chandler”, Eva Green as “Vanessa Ives” and Timothy Dalton as “Sir Malcolm Murray”.
Guest Article By Andrew Robertson.
With another round of “The Walking Dead” wrapping up, what better way to reflect back on six seasons of mangled flesh and dismembered bodies than to chat with one of the show’s original make up and FX artists?
A long time creature artist and eternal horror film devotee, Toby Sells has hacked and sliced out a nice little niche for his company Toby Sells Creature Make Up & FX Shop as a part of Georgia’s booming film industry. We caught up with him because we were just curious, shy of smashing a painted watermelon, how does one pull off a convincing looking head bashing with a baseball bat?
Watch the following headache-inducing clip from the film Refuge, then learn about what goes into a proper head bashing.Anatomy of a Head Bashing
1. Make a mold of your actor’s head, then cast a positive with polyfoam over a fiberglass core.
2. Paint the face and match injuries to the actor in scene.
3. Fill a condom with blood and brains, and put it in the side of the mold.
4. Scuff up a wooden bat and drive some brutal-looking nails through it.
5. Play Ball!
6. Sub in your actor to match the angle and movement of the swing.
7. Edit and add sound design.
Toby Sells knew he wanted to go into FX, creature-building and makeup at age 10, after seeing Planet of the Apes on TV for the first time. His father took him to a hobby shop that week, where they picked up materials, came home and made his first gorilla mask. After a stint in LA, Sells moved back home to Georgia to open his own shop, under the tutelage of make up/FX legend Dick Smith (The Godfather, Amadeus).
You can check out Refuge on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay and On Demand through any cable provider.
RLJ Entertainment has announced Jessica Sonneborn’s (Lure) The Haunting of Alice D for release on DVD and Digital Video May 3rd.
The film stars Juan Riedinger (Narcos), Aaron Massey (Refuge from Storm), Megan Hensley (The Crazies), Al Snow (The Witches of Oz), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood) and Kristina Page (Penny Dreadful).
“In the late 1890s, Davenport House was a famously successful brothel, ruled with an iron fist by an owner notorious for his cruelty and insatiable greed. Virtually imprisoned inside these walls, young Alice was forced to endure years of brutality and sexual slavery – until she took murderous revenge on her captors and tragically ended her own life. More than a century later, the latest Davenport heir is hosting a decadent bash in the newly renovated mansion – complete with drugs, prostitutes and just one rule: anything goes. But the “fun” has barely begun when strange, terrifying things begin to happen. Suddenly, the legend of Alice’s tormented ghost proves to be very real as the guests discover firsthand that vengeance never rests in peace!”
The Haunting of Alice D is produced by Kristina Page, Christopher Maltauro (Bloody Bloody Bible Camp) and Josh Hammond (Jeepers Creepers 2).
With Hardcore Henry coming out next week and making the most of it’s found-footage filming style, we thought we’d take a look back through some of the better uses of the technique. The sub-genre has received a lot of backlash over the past few years, mostly thanks to the overabundance of found-footage films that were being released after The Blair Witch Project came out in 1999 (they usually involve possession). It also became more and more difficult to defend why exactly the characters kept filming in life-threatening situations. To add insult to injury: found-footage is frequently used as a cheap gimmick to mask crappy filmmaking, so more often than not their quality is subpar (for every Blair Witch we get five Megan is Missings). That being said, every now and then a found-footage film comes along that breathes new life into the sub-genre. The following eight films are some of our favorites!Cannibal Holocaust
Green Inferno Schmeen Inferno. Cannibal Holocaust is where it’s at. Sure, it’s a weird little movie, but it’s got some truly haunting imagery spread throughout its 96 minutes. Though it is famous for the scenes in which animals are killed (they used real animals) and the allegations that it was a snuff film, Cannibal Holocaust really does stick with you afterward even though you know it’s only a movie (save for the aforementioned animal slayings).
Perhaps the most iconic movie monster of all time, Frankenstein first terrified audiences in 1931. Portrayed by legendary actor Boris Karloff as a terrifying yet misunderstood and tormented creature, Universal’s Frankenstein monster has gripped moviegoer’s imaginations ever since.
Cobbled together from corpses stolen from graves and the scaffold; reanimated by lightning, Frankenstein terrorized a small village while seeking vengeance on his creator.
Meticulously developed to capture the terrifying look of the iconic creature and outfitted on a One:12 Collective body, the figure has incredible details. The final product captures the look and spirit of the character as he appeared in the legendary film.
- The One:12 Collective Frankenstein features:
– Accurate real fabric clothing
– Highly articulated body
-Character specific sutured forearms
-Film accurate asphalt spreader boots
- Included with this figure:
-Posing hands with attached forearms (L&R)
-Grasping hands with attached forearms (L&R)
-Functioning shackles with real metal chain
-Display base with posing post
Packaged in a deluxe, fifth panel window box. Designed for collector convenience, the packaging allows for both maximum protection as well as ease of removal for display.
Frankenstein joins the Collective in September / October.
Telltale more or less owns the world of episodic video games right now, thanks to a stellar development model and a continuously growing portfolio that already features The Walking Dead, Fables, Borderlands, Game of Thrones and Minecraft, with more on the way, including Batman later this year and something Marvel-related in 2017.
They’ve dominated their space, and now they’re looking to replicate that success in publishing, starting with The Fun Pimps’ open-world survival horror game, 7 Days to Die.
I’ve spent more than 50 hours in the game since it arrived on Steam Early Access more than two years ago. It’s an amalgam of various genres (FPS, tower defense, zombies, light RPG) and mechanics (crafting, looting, mining, exploring, killing zombies) that I find frighteningly addicting.
When 7 Days to Die comes to the PS4 and Xbox One later this year, it’ll bring even more ways to play it, either locally via split-screen, or online via its PvE/PvP survival mode, which they’ll be expanding with new multiplayer modes that will be unveiled in the near future.
7 Days to Die arrives this summer.
Mike Flanagan’s (Oculus, Absentia) new film Hush had its world premiere at the 30th Annual SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals on March 12, 2016, and we had the chance to interview Flanagan, his wife and leading lady Kate Siegel (who also co-wrote the film with him) and producers Trevor Macy & Jason Blum. The interview took place in one of the conference rooms in the Driskill Hotel in Austin, TX. Flanagan and Siegel took the lead in the conversation, while Macy and Blum chimed in occasionally, but I don’t think I can emphasize enough how much of a delight it was to chat with these people. They were incredibly down-to-earth and just lovely to talk to. I hope you enjoy reading the interview!
You can read my review of the film, which tells the story of a deaf-mute woman (Siegel) who is stalked by a psychotic killer (John Gallagher, Jr.) in her secluded home, when it goes up tomorrow (spoiler: I really liked it). You can also read Kalyn’s equally positive review from SXSW here.
Bloody Disgusting: First of all, I really really liked the film a lot. I thought it was great and I like all of your films too.
Mike Flanagan: Thank you! That’s amazing. Thank you.
BD: So I know the film is technically a home invasion thriller but there are obviously lots of aspects of slasher films in there.
Kate Siegel: Yeah.
BD: That’s my favorite sub-genre but–
Jason Blum: What is?
Blum: Oh, slasher.
BD: I think it’s really nice to see a slasher get released today because I feel like that sub-genre has taken a backseat to a lot of other things, specifically supernatural horror and things like that. Do you think labelling something as a slasher film is akin to giving a film a death sentence in Hollywood? Or do you think it hurts your film.
Flanagan: Well when I hear “slasher” I think about the 80s. I think about Jason and Michael Myers. Horror is fascinating because it’s so seasonal and it’s like you’ve got these periods where slasher movies are in and it’s like everyone loves them. Next thing you know zombies are in. Then vampires are acceptable. It changes all the time and we bump into this all the time where we take a project out and someone says “Oh, that’s a zombie movie? That genre is dead.” Then The Walking Dead shows up. So I don’t really think there’s any label within horror that would be a death sentence because it’s like these sub-genres have their moments and they ebb and they flow and they resurge and they’re reinvented or they’re repackaged. Everything is so seasonal so I don’t think there’s any kind of corner of the genre that will ever really be hurting.
BD: I think comparisons to films like The Strangers or Them are inevitable.
BD: But making the lead character death….wait….deaf, is a nice twist on a tried-and-true formula that plays very well in the film without seeming like a gimmick. Where did that idea come from?
Flanagan: [looking at Siegel] Well we talked a lot but it kind of happened because Kate and I were out to dinner and we were talking about movies we liked. One of the ones that we stumbled on that we both really liked was Wait Until Dark. So we talked about that for a little bit and then talked about thrillers in general and the things that she had always wanted to do from an acting point of view and things that I had always wanted to do from a directing point of view.
Flanagan: One of the things I had always wanted to try, which would be so challenging to me as a director, was to try something without dialogue. I coupled that with this idea that Kate was talking about a lot, which was the anxiety of seeing somebody try to get into your house. We thought that if we made the lead character deaf-mute then we would create the potential for really really fascinating version of these movies.
Siegel: At that dinner we were also discussing how the most scary aspect of the films we love was sound design. Sound design really sells a movie so we were discussing ways to make sound design more of a character on a script level. To really make sure that sound design is something that gets the weight it deserves. The opposite of that is to remove sound from the main character, since you have to balance that somewhere else in the movie. So sound design is something we really wanted to play with. I think that at the beginning Maddie being a deaf-mute was something that was more of a script challenge. Then as we started to meet this woman we realized that it was a real benefit to character development, tension and things like that. We could do things that we couldn’t do if your character could speak or hear.
BD: Was there ever an intention to do the entire movie without sound?
Flanagan: It was a discussion, for sure. It very quickly became apparent that that wouldn’t work and the reason is that if you remove all sound, which sounds like this very cool experiment, you’re actually not doing that. You’re forcing everyone to listen to the sounds that are present in the room, which meant the audience isn’t going to be immersed in silence. They’re going to be listening to the audience. They’re going to be listening to popcorn and coughing and shuffling. There was this kind of realization very early where we said “Oh, if we actually remove sound then it would be impossible to build tension.” Modern audiences, having not grown up on silent films, are suddenly going to have to seek out every kind of audio stimulus anywhere else in the environment. Then I thought we wouldn’t even have people watching the movie at that point.
Siegel: They’d be frustrated with the guy next door.
Flanagan: Right! They’ll just be kind of hyper-aware. So that made us think about the parts of the movie that we wanted to pull the sound out and be in Maddie’s perspective, and that we couldn’t do that authentically silently. It was an impossible puzzle. How do we make it feel like there’s no sound while having enough sound to still get rid of all the other ambience and keep everybody focused?
Siegel: An interesting counterpoint to that was their decision to pull out all sound from the logos that open the film, you know? The Blumhouse logo appears and there’s absolutely no sound. It gets you very aware of your ears.
BD: And then that title card just booms on screen.
Flanagan: Yeah.That worked great.
BD: It does!
Trevor Macy: Well if you can sustain it. Those opening logos are about 45 seconds without sound and you start to wonder if something is wrong with the film.
BD: That actually went through my head while I was watching the film.
Macy: Yeah, you think the sound is broken, which I think is so cool.
Siegel: It makes you think about sound from the very beginning.
BD: It’s a very interesting technique. You know, I saw Don’t Breathe Friday night which also uses silence to a considerable degree and there’s a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode–
Siegel and Flanagan together: “Hush!”
Siegel: Which we watch and love.
BD: Yes! It’s one of the best episodes of that show in one of the worst seasons.
[everyone laughs, but Blum laughs the loudest]
Flanagan: Yeah that’s true. You’re totally right. The whole Riley thing…..yeah. Anyway, yeah, um….yeah.
BD: So with that technique, I’m assuming the film did pose some challenges. [Looking at Siegel] You kind of get put through the wringer.
Macy: And she wrote it!
BD: I know! Did you know you were going to play that part when you were writing it?
Siegel: Yes, [looks at Blum and Macy] well I hoped that they would say yes.
Flanagan: That was the intention pending convincing everyone to do it.
Blum: Obviously, we said yes.
BD: Well I think watching actors and actresses do difficult stunts is really interesting, so was there a particular scene that you were having a rough time with physically.
Siegel: It’s interesting, but I was adamant about doing my own stunts from the beginning because I think I didn’t realize what that actually entailed. I thought it sounded fun because I hadn’t really gone through the whole thing before. There were two things that were rough. One was our amazing stunt coordinator Chuck Borden helped with was the door slam. I had to get my hand slammed in the door multiple times from multiple angles. I thought it meant “Oh I’ll be fine I won’t hurt at all.” No, it just means they safely slam your hand in a door.
Flanagan: So it won’t break anything, basically.
Siegel: Right, but they still need to slam your hand in the door. So what happened after Take 12 or 13 was that I would start flinching before the slam and that just couldn’t happen. We had shot pretty much in order so by that time I had already been through a lot of stuff. I was jumping out of windows, climbing on the roof with a harness and a lot of other things had happened. So I remember a point after some skin accidentally got pinched during the door slam I just went “That’s it! I’m done. We’ve got it!” I took my hand away and Mike’s deep, deep love of actors came in and he was like “Please know that you’re in the right place right now. This is exactly right. This is your talent coming out. Please can we just try this again?” So I tried it one more time and I think that’s the take we ended up using. It was just hard to stay in that place with Maddie because you have to have this deep level of focus since she can’t hear anything so as an actor I was constantly trying to touch things. That’s what my coach was telling me: when you lose the sense of hearing you want to ground yourself in the vibrations that are happening. So Maddie was so frustrated with her situation that my actual frustration with the stunt was the character coming out.
Flanagan: There’s some priceless pictures of her with the shattered, broken hand trying to eat lunch.
Siegel: Well ‘cuz they had tied my hand back!
BD: That’s a really hard thing to look at too. I mean it’s probably the last 20 minutes you’re watching her with this hand that’s been destroyed.
Flanagan: Yeah and two of her fingers were taped down underneath the application and she had to wear it for 12 hours.
Siegel: Plus the three hours to get into it and two hours to get out of it.
Flanagan: And this is toward the end of the shoot so everybody was exhausted, but she didn’t have the use of her dominant hand for the entire day. And she couldn’t take the application off so she was just stuck in it. She had to eat with it and get ready and check herself with it and she also liked to come up behind me and shove the prosthetic pinky into my ear when I wasn’t looking.
[Macy and Blum laugh]
Flanagan: That freaked me out.
Siegel: The whole thing was just Cloud Nine. So here my hand was being slammed in a door but it was like the best way that could ever happen.
BD: If I was ever in a horror movie I would want to die in a really gruesome way but I hate being sticky so I don’t like the idea of having blood on me all the time.
Flanagan: Oh the sticky blood is nasty.
Siegel: It is sticky. Oh you’ve got me right back there. Sticky is the worst. If you ever get a chance to talk to [actor/actress name deleted for the sake of spoilers] about sticky…
Flanagan: Oh God.
Macy: By the way, he/she didn’t have to. He/she sat there all day to be dead on the ground even though we offered him/her a stand-in.
Flanagan: He/she was just like “No! I’m doing it!” Like it was a challenge to overcome.
BD: Something that irks me about horror criticism is that people like to say “Oh, it’s violence against women” or “Horror hates women.” I do think that what happens to the women in Hush is more brutal than what happens to the men. But Kate, from your standpoint, how do you feel about that? I feel like that trait is inherent of the genre, but that criticism is something I feel is thrown around a lot.
Siegel: Yeah, first thing is that I really like that people are sensitive to that. I have at times fallen on that side of the argument where I’m like “How many girls need to run into the woods in their underpants?” The answer is many.
[Everyone laughs, Flanagan and Siegel poke fun at each other and it’s adorable]
Siegel: You bring up Wait Until Dark, but what we really loved was Die Hard. So I didn’t think of Maddie as a girl running in the woods in her underpants. I thought of her as an action hero, and what we love about Die Hard is that our main character is beat to Hell! His teeth are bloody, the whole building is used and he’s vulnerable, but he’s a warrior. So I think that with Maddie, there was never an iota of intention to do anything with sexual violence or rape.
Flanagan: Yeah we did not want to go there at all.
Siegel: But I actually think if you switch the genders you can keep all of the story points. Nothing happens to Maddie because she’s a woman and she doesn’t choose anything because she’s a woman. We could neutralize gender in this movie and you would have the exact same movie. That to me was very important and I wanted to make sure that my female friendship with Samantha [Sloyan, who plays Sarah in the film] wasn’t about about boys. It was about reading a book and talking about books. I wanted to make sure the relationship between the sisters was familial and didn’t need to be girly and giggly. I had a strong eye on that most of the time. A lot of this movie is, with a risk of putting too much into it, a metaphor for feeling unheard. It’s a movie about asserting yourself and of course as a female writer I brought a lot to that.
Macy: I also think if you look at his filmography that he’s pretty equal opportunity.
BD: Oh, absolutely.
Siegel: Mostly children.
Flanagan: Yeah the ones I keep putting in the crosshairs are the kids, but I tend to think that there’s no person who is more or less acceptable to be treated violently than another. Within the genre I think it should be just as horrifying if the victim of violence is a man as opposed to a woman. Although I do think there’s a special kind of discomfort that comes when it’s a child. That puts me in a place of intense discomfort.
Macy: It’s more special if it’s a child.
Flanagan: Or a dog. People go nuts when you try to kill a dog.
Blum: Across the board, people are much more upset about killing a dog as opposed to killing a person.
Macy: Yeah I wouldn’t let him kill the dog in Oculus.
BD: I thought you were going to kill that dog, too. I also though you would kill the cat in Hush.
Blum: Cats are okay. People don’t care as much about cats.
Flanagan: That was the other point we had made. We knew people would be upset if it was a dog but a cat, people would be like “Whatever.”
BD: I think I’m getting the cue to wrap up, so I’ll ask my last question. I think the film plays very well with an audience and will play very differently at home on Netflix. The more I thought about it the more I thought if I was was watching it home alone it may not be as much of a “cheering” movie than I thought it was —
Flanagan: It will be a “hold your breath” kind of movie.
Flanagan: I wish we could put a card up in front of it ahead of the Netflix thing that tells you to turn the volume up. Something like “The producers humbly request that you turn the volume up and turn off the light.” Home is where we’re meant to feel the safest, so it’s kind of a great place to interfere with.
Macy: I mean I would hate to watch The Strangers at home by myself.
Flanagan: Yeah sitting at home alone watching this, sooner or later you’re going to look at the window.
BD: My last little thing, and it’s totally unrelated to Hush, but I know that you have been linked to I Know What You Did Last Summer in the past.
BD: Is that still happening?
Flanagan: My connection to that was strictly writing. We delivered a script to Sony.
BD: Alright, so a script exists?
Flanagan: Oh, yeah. Like fifteen drafts of that script exist. From what I understand with where that project is, is that the producers and the studio were thrilled with the script and they were just getting started trying to figure out how to proceed with it.
Siegel: And finding so many children to murder.
Flanagan: [jokingly] Yeah it’s just killing kids. The whole thing. But that one was always me and Jeff Howard, who have written together so much. It was always just a writing job that we were thrilled to have but there’s never been any conversation about me directing.
BD: I grew up with that book and the movie so I’ve got a special place in my heart for that one.
After the interview, the group showed me a clip from Ouija 2, which Flanagan directed. While I’m not able to give any specifics about the scene that I saw, I can say that it looks promising. Of course, the bar wasn’t set very high with the first Ouija, but with a man like Flanagan behind the lens, I’m confident it will at least turn out decent.
STX, who most recently released The Gift and The Boy, with Hardcore Henry releasing this Friday, is next going to spook audiences with The Bye Bye Man.
The Bye Bye Man recounts a series of terrifying events experienced by three Wisconsin college students, played by Douglas Smith, Cressida Bonas and Lucien Laviscount.
Michael Trucco plays the brother of one the students, whose mind has been invaded by the unstoppable Bye Bye Man (Doug Jones).
The first trailer reminds me of Scott Derrickson’s Sinister, although I’m surprised that they’ve chosen to reveal the title character already. Still, there are some chilling moments as it’s brimming with insanity.
In theaters June 3, 2016, The Bye Bye Man also stars Carrie-Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway.
“Set in 1990s Wisconsin, when three college students move into an old house off campus, they unwittingly unleash a supernatural entity known as The Bye Bye Man, who comes to prey upon them once they discover his name. The friends must try to save each other, all the while keeping The Bye Bye Man’s existence a secret to save others from the same deadly fate.”
Stacy Title directed from Jonathan Penner’s script, based on Robert Damon Schneck’s short story “The Bridge to Body Island.” Trevor Macy produced for Intrepid, and Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman produced for Los Angeles Media Fund.
Intrepid is behind the film and has produced a few solid horror films from The Strangers to Safe House, Oculus and Before I Wake, starring Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane.
A new trailer for the Lucile Hadzihalilovic-directed dramatic horror film Evolution has been released and can be seen above. The film will be coming out via IFC Midnight in the UK this May and a US release will follow.
Personally, I’m in love with trailers like this. Instead of using a ton of lines from the film to try and explain everything to me (and sometimes explaining too much), they focus on sound design and music to raise the level of intrigue. I’m sold here because I want to know what happens.
“In ‘Evolution’, 10-year-old Nicolas lives with his mother in a village on a remote island inhabited solely by women and young boys. In a hospital overlooking the ocean, all the boys are subjected to a mysterious medical treatment. Only Nicolas questions what is happening around him. He senses that his mother is lying to him, and is determined to find out what she does with the other women at night, on the beach. What he discovers is the beginning of a nightmare into which he is helplessly drawn. Max Brebant, Roxane Duran and Julie-Marie Parmentier star.“