There are a few great movies that have “Taking of” in their title. For instance, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) is a gritty crime classic and The Taking of Beverly Hills (1991) is an angry little thriller directed by action wiz Sidney Furie. The Taking of Deborah Logan is not one of the greats. It tarnishes the “Taking” titles with a miserable stab at found footage that starts off with an interesting angle before abruptly devolving into trope territory. Aside from a gruesomely nightmarish moment at the end and Jill Larson’s ghoulish performance, The Taking of Deborah Logan is hopelessly bankrupt of fresh ideas.
When they say Deborah Logan is “taken,” they mean she’s possessed. It could’ve also just as easily been the “exorcism” of Deborah Logan. I guess director Adam Robitel and producer Bryan Singer (Apt Pupil) didn’t want to be thrown in the landfill of movies with “possession” and “exorcism” in the title, so they went with “taking.” Regardless, they do build up to the full blown demonic presence in an interesting way. The first half of the film is a medical documentary about elderly Deborah Logan’s (Larson) struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Here the movie is very grounded, as medical student Mia (Michelle Ang) documents Logan for her thesis. They talk about the disease for a while and Logan’s daughter Sarah (Anne Ramsay, who played Ellen Wolf on season 3 of Dexter) explains how it’s crippled all of their lives.
The film never really does more than flirt with the topic of Alzheimer’s. It just uses it as a springboard for the “taking.” Physically, Logan’s akin to Zelda from Pet Sematary, so right off the bat I wanted to dive under the covers. When the film shifts into full blown horror, Logan is transformed into a skeletal terror. It’s a scary mutation for sure, but as the film shifts to horror, it also sinks deep into the aspects of found footage that most fans hate: shaky cam, nauseating cam, and their evil cousins, dark cam and static cam. And, like you probably guessed, the climax is shot so deplorably, you can’t see what the hell is going on most of the time.
There’s some folklore and mythology mixed in to liven up the possession tale. It’s pretty silly how Mia, a highly educated med student, buys into all of it so quickly. One minute she’s having a discussion with a neuropsychologist, the next it’s demonology and exorcisms. When we meet her, she seems strongly rooted in logic, so the sudden shift in her supernatural beliefs feels like bullshit.
The best part of Taking of Deborah Logan is one single moment during the frantic climax. It’s a shot that lasts about four seconds or so and hot damn is it something ripped straight out of a nightmare. Aside from that single shot, the film brings nothing new to the table. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
I unfortunately don’t have Showtime, so I don’t know whether or not to be excited for Showtime’s second season of “Penny Dreadful.”
My colleagues have been quiet, so I assertion the same, but I have heard the show was pretty great.
Maybe the first season will hit Netflix or Amazon come 2015 when Season 2 premieres.
In Season 2 we can expect “Penny Dreadful” to “get bigger. There’s a great antagonist next year played by Helen McCrory… Season 1’s antagonist was sort of an inhuman character. It’ll be good to have a more human antagonist,” said Showtime president David Nevins.
The series stars Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett, Reeve Carney, and Harry Treadaway; it was created by and is executive produced by John Logan.
Annabelle, the standout in James Wan’s The Conjuring is back, in her own, eponymous film. And while Annabelle really had no place in The Conjuring, she doesn’t really have a place in Annabelle, either.
Young expectant couple John and Mia are clean-cut and annoyingly perfect, which only makes me eager to get to their inevitable suffering. Luckily, I don’t have to wait too long. Their next-door neighbors, an older couple with whom they go to church, lost their daughter two years prior when she ran away and joined a Satanic cult. One night, John and Mia wake to screams from next door. The Higgins’ daughter has returned, and she kills both of them. Then she and her crazed boyfriend attack Mia and John. The boyfriend stabs Mia in the belly before cops get there and shoot him dead. The daughter has locked herself in the nursery. When the cops break in, she has killed herself, clutching one of Mia’s beloved dolls. This is the Annabelle doll and guess what? The daughter’s name is Annabelle. And some of Annabelle’s blood has been absorbed into the Annabelle doll.
Mia and the baby are okay, but are put on bed rest until she delivers. John, a med student, isn’t home much, which leaves plenty of time for Mia to be haunted: things move, doors slam, all the usual haunted stuff. Mia doesn’t want the Annabelle doll in the house anymore, so John throws it away. A pack of Jiffy-Pop on an unlit stove sets the whole house on fire, and sends Mia to the hospital once again. She delivers a healthy baby girl (unfortunately named Leah) and demands that they move. John obliges, and somehow the Annabelle doll shows up at the bottom of one of their boxes. Mia decides to give the doll a second chance and puts it back in the nursery. Of course, the haunted happenings follow them to their new abode. Luckily Mia befriends a neighbor with a tragic past, who helps her realize that the Annabelle doll is trying to corrupt Leah.
The third act of Annabelle becomes quite ridiculous. As I was describing the plot to my husband, I had to stop in the middle. “This sounds even more ridiculous when I say it out loud.” No spoilers, but it all kind of falls apart in an effort to make sense. Everyone is looking towards self-sacrifice in order to solve an absurd situation and past transgressions.
For a movie about a doll, the doll is not the focus. The Annabelle doll (which is more terrifying brand-new) is given no backstory. What kind of doll was she? Why was she so rare, so sought-after by collectors? Annabelle was just a doll (a nameless one at that) until human-Annabelle killed herself and transferred evil into her. There are no details on how she did that, and the why is sketchy at best. The doll itself is not evil. She doesn’t move on her own or chase after people with a knife. Human-Annabelle could have just as easily “possessed” a toothbrush or a rug.
There is a definite Rosemary’s Baby vibe that I think writer Gary Dauberman and director John R. Leonetti are trying to go for. There is the obvious Satanic possession, the meek pregnant woman, and the era. But pushing it over the edge are the character names: Mia and John (Rosemary’s Baby starred Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes). And while it may be a tenuous link, Mia is watching news reports about the Tate/LaBianca murders and the arrest of the Manson family. (One of the Manson victims, Sharon Tate, was married to Roman Polanski and pregnant with his child. Polanski directed Rosemary’s Baby.)
I will say that Annabelle offered some good scares. Nothing astonishingly new or unique, but effective – which is surprisingly hard to do, it seems. It was a mildly fun, mindless two hours. But all in all, I think you would be happier just watching The Conjuring again. The Annabelle portion of The Conjuring was far spookier and more cogent than the entirety of Annabelle.
Don Macini may just be the most consistent of the writer-director horror icons.
The creator of Child’s Play, and director of both Seed of Chucky and Curse of Chucky, dreams of a horror battle in the vein of Freddy vs Jason (a monster success for New Line Cinema in 2003).
This past weekend, Annabelle, the haunted doll film that was spun off from The Conjuring, nearly won box office gold, but still opened huge for an R-rated genre film.
Mancini talked to USA Today about the dream of pitting Chucky, from the Child’s Play films, against the Annabelle doll.
“I am hoping that at some future point we have Annabelle and Chucky team up,” says Mancini. “I can see that (even) in 20 years from now.”
There might even be a cameo for Annabelle in the seventh Child’s Play film, which Mancini is writing now.
“We would be into it, the only problem is that we are in different studios. That would probably be years worth of red tape to work it out,” says Mancini. “But if it all could be worked out, then yes, we’re very into it.”
There is even a power connection. Explains the site, Annabelle director John Leonetti was the director of photography for 1991′s Child’s Play 3.
In the meantime, Mancini vowed to be one of the first to see Annabelle, even just to inspect her fighting style.
Bethesda has offered the minimum PC specs required to run The Evil Within, and they don’t look too different from what’s recommended. I know enough about GPUs to be surprised an i7 is recommended to run a game on lower settings, especially since — as many of you have been pointing out for some time now — this game doesn’t look particularly graphics intensive.
In related news, The Evil Within can now be pre-ordered, and pre-loading is available now on the platforms that offer it. You’ll need a decent head start to get that 40 GB install (on PC, PS4, Xbox One) finished in time for its Oct 14 arrival.
OS: Windows 7/8.1
GPU: GTX 460 or an equivalent 1gb VRAM card
CPU: i7 or an equivalent 4+ core processor
RAM: 4 GB
HDD: 50 GB
The Evil Within arrives on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on October 14.
There are times when I don’t have a full 90-120 minutes to devote to a horror movie, which is something I’m sure many of you can relate to. Let’s be real and admit that we have lives, we have work, we have families, we have friends, etc… While it’s great to kick back with a horror movie there are simply times when it just can’t be done.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t find horror in other ways. And a good short horror film is just the answer to those times when time is lacking. That’s why I’ve put together a few short horror films that I think are incredibly effective and also run the gamut of emotions.
After you check these out, make sure to leave several of your own favorites in the comments below!
Lights Out – David F. Sandberg & Lotta Losten
Sometimes, the most effective scares are the ones where the story tells itself, without a narrator or any dialogue. Sometimes, the best way to scare someone is to not give them any explanation and let the mind go where it goes.
There’s a reason this won awards and was selected at several film festivals. It’s incredibly effective and makes a case for anyone who’s scared of the dark.
Over the last few years we’ve witnessed an exodus, of sorts, as one developer of AAA games after another has decided to drop the insane expectations and ridiculous budgets of blockbuster video games to focus on passion projects. In 2012, Red Barrels was established by some of the folks behind Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell so they could bring us Outlast. There’s also Blackpowder Games, a studio comprised of former Monolith devs, which recently released its atmospheric open-world shooter Betrayer.
AAA-turned-indie devs have gradually developed a solid track record of making quality games that didn’t need tens of millions of dollars to realize or a hive of PR people to market to the widest possible audience. They’re also far more courageous ventures — like an open-world game that’s almost entirely bereft of color — than what we usually see in the AAA space.
It’s almost as if setting aside all the nonsense and high expectations that come with making wildly expensive games to focus on the creative side of development can actually benefit the game. When no one’s wasting time asking stupid questions like whether or not featuring a woman on the front of the box art negatively impact sales, we get games like Outlast, Betrayer and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.
That last game is the latest example of what’s so great about this exciting industry trend. It comes from The Astronauts, a brand new studio formed by ex-People Can Fly devs. This is (part of) the team behind bombastic blockbuster action games like Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment, though you wouldn’t guess it by looking at their latest project.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is entirely unlike anything this team of clearly talented developers has done before, and I absolutely love it.
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say there aren’t enough quality mystery games to choose from these days. Ethan Carter may just be good enough to change that. At least I hope it is. It’d be great if this game was successful enough to inspire more talented game makers to take a stab at this alarmingly underused genre, because we need more games like this.
It’s worth mentioning that Ethan Carter isn’t a horror game in the traditional sense. It manages to be scary without relying on gore, monsters or jump scares. It needs none of that, because its dark themes, moody atmosphere and slowly building dread prove far more effective.
Before we really start picking it apart, let’s talk about what this game is all about.
Ethan Carter is a story-driven supernatural mystery played in the first person perspective. It couldn’t be played any other way, for two reasons. The first is because the immersion relies on our ability to live inside the head of its lead character — the man who’s investigating Ethan Carter’s murder — paranormal investigator Paul Prospero.
The second reason for this is its emphasis on exploration. There’s a major focus on discovery here, and The Astronauts has made scouring every inch of the gorgeous world they’ve made feel worth it.
This was accomplished by making its world feel as real as possible, and by making it the focus at all times. Even the interface has a gorgeous, minimalistic design. There are no tutorials, annoying in-game hints, maps, compasses, objective markers, or any of that crap that inundates so many modern games, and that frees us to enjoy this big virtual world that’s been created just for us.
The attention to detail here is impressive. I found myself going out of my way just so I could frame the perfect screenshot. Despite its supernatural tendencies, Ethan Carter strives for realism, and much of why it’s so successful is thanks to its setting. It’s difficult to believe that such a serene and peaceful setting could hide such darkness, but it does, and witnessing it slowly unfold before you is nothing short of spectacular.
There’s a beautifully realized world to explore here, and a keen eye is required not only to solve the mysteries that have been scattered about it, but to find them as well. If a keen eye isn’t something you already possess, it will be something you develop.
Prospero has a very specific set of skills that make him more than a little familiar with the occult and the supernatural.
Like any good investigator, he has an eye for little details. Examining objects gives us a glimpse into his mind as brief notes appear, representing fleeting thoughts and observations. Things get interesting when his more unique talents reveal themselves.
Being a supernatural investigator, Prospero possesses the ability to see past the reality “normal” people see. He can glimpse into a hidden world. For him, it seems as simple as lifting a veil. This talent will prove invaluable in finding out exactly why a young boy, the eponymous Ethan Carter, was murdered.
Prospero’s suite of abilities will be helpful, but they won’t be enough to solve every riddle that comes your way. This isn’t a survival horror game, but much like the best games of that genre, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter will require your full attention.
I’ve mentioned my love for quiet moments numerous times here on Bloody Disgusting, so I was delighted when I realized Ethan Carter shares my fondness for these moments that are so rarely found in modern games. It certainly helps that it’s backed by a subtle, haunting and sufficiently mesmerizing soundtrack by Mikolai Stroinski (composer on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt).
Ethan Carter is more of an interactive story than a video game, in the traditional sense. But where similarly themed story adventure games like Gone Home and Dear Esther have each been wildly successful in handling their narratives, this is an area where The Astronauts stumbles.
A substantial amount of effort has gone into crafting a stunning presentation, I only wish the narrative was given the same amount of attention. The writing is superior to many games, but its flaws have been made more obvious with the spotlight shining upon them. Without spoiling anything, with a more confident execution, certain revelations could’ve landed with greater impact.
Ethan Carter is a case of the quality of the package sometimes overshadowing the contents contained within.
Because the player’s only real impact on this world has been purposefully limited, it’s clear from the beginning that we are only visitors in this place. We’re never meant to have any real impact on it, our only purpose is to pay a visit it, solve a mystery, and leave. Wwhen we’re gone, we’ll leave nary a trace that we were ever here.
Funny, that. Prospero has daily dealings with ghosts, yet in a way, he’s a ghost himself.
I also wish it trusted the player enough to not use invisible walls. If there’s a cliff and I get perilously close to its edge, I want to feel like I’m in danger, as I would if I were in a real-life version of that scenario. Protecting the player with unnecessary boundaries is cheap and hurts the immersion.
In the end, Ethan Carter is likely to polarize a few folks, but I assume a majority of those who leave disappointed weren’t sure of what to expect from it to begin with. Its refusal to hold our hand makes it only slightly less accessible to the average gamer, but it’s necessary for this kind of experience — and for gaming as a whole, because excessively hand-holdy game design is ruining some games.
The Final Word: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is ambitious, visually stunning and becomes gradually more unsettling the deeper you go. It’s a shame the writing is often outclassed by its other strengths, because that’s the only thing that holds this game back from true greatness.
For horror fans, October is a month-long celebration of all things horror. It’s 31 straight days of scary movie marathons, staying up as late playing horror games, telling ghost stories, visiting haunted houses, and testing local urban legends.
It’s an endless stream of all things fun and scary that leads up to one very special night of the year where old friends garbed in pitch black robes meet in empty cemeteries to continue ancient traditions of sacrificing innocents to appease the Old Ones, lest they return to unleash 10,000 years of hell on Earth.
Okay, maybe not that last bit, but the rest applies.
This year, my goal is to spend as much time as is humanly possible doing all of the above, with an emphasis on the gaming bit.
I’m going to cram as many hours playing horror games as I can into the paltry 744 hours that make up this wonderful month. When I’m not busy with one of the numerous horrifying releases October has in store for us, I’ll return to my old haunts, the games that scared me the most in the past and continue to send shivers down my spine years later.
This leads me to my question. What is the scariest game you’ve ever played?
That’s a tough question, right? You could go old school, with something like Silent Hill, Clock Tower, Dino Crisis, Resident Evil, or Fatal Frame 2, among about a thousand others. Or you could pick a more recent release, like Condemned, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Dead Space, Slender, etc.
Narrowing it down to just one game that was, to you, the most terrifying of them all, is nearly impossible after you’ve played enough games.
After much consideration, I think I may have come up with the game that, at the very least, comes damn close to reaching the top of my list. That game is Outlast. Its Whistleblower expansion may be superior, but by then I had become familiar with its gory back of tricks.
Since my first visit to Mount Massive Asylum is going to stick with me forever, and not just because my experience with it has been forever immortalized on YouTube. How about you?
This past month we’ve witnessed Alien: Isolation lead Amanda Ripley die ten horrific deaths. With the game’s release just a few short days away, the next time we see Ripley die will likely be when we’re playing the game. Now, because there were so many videos released over the last four weeks, there’s a good chance you may have missed one or more of them.
I’ve edited together a sort of “death compilation” that show off some of the many ways Ripley can die in Alien: Isolation. I know, that sounds creepy and weird, and maybe it is, but it also has a point. Consider this video a tool. Something to help improve your odds of survival.
Alien: Isolation hits PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on October 7. Good luck.
— Adam Dodd (@BabyColada) October 5, 2014
Last October, nearly 400 developers came together for a 48 hour-long event called Asylum Jam. The goal of the event was to give game makers and horror enthusiasts the opportunity to make games that don’t rely on “asylums, psychiatric institutes, medical professionals or violent/antipathic/’insane’ patients as settings or triggers,” all of which have often abused, exaggerated or presented in stereotypical ways — even in otherwise fantastic games.
This year’s event runs from Oct 31 to Nov 2. They haven’t nailed down a venue yet, but when they do, you can be sure they’ll announce it on the official website.
I played through one of the games that came out of the first Asylum Jam as a part of our 13 Days of Horror series, which also happens to be returning this year. It’s a neat game that’s made even more impressive when you know it was made in just two days.
Even if you’re like me and can’t count yourself among the lucky few who were able to see it in person, I’m sure you remember that badass giant alien egg pod Sega made that served as an incredibly cool way to demo Alien: Isolation at games conventions. Public gaming events aren’t great places to demo a horror game, but Sega found a clever way to work around that.
In semi-related news, if you were wondering whether or not Sega has any more of those vignettes left, they’ve confirmed that video we got last Thursday was the last of them.
Alien: Isolation arrives on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on October 7.
If you were ever worried about getting the most bang for your buck with the upcoming open-world survival horror game Dying Light, this bit of news should put those worries to rest. According to a statement from the game’s producer, Tymon Smektala, in order to wring every ounce of content from its big, zombie-infested world, you’d have to spend in excess of 50 hours.
“The game is absolutely huge as it is, but to provide the ultimate zombie survival experience, we added an extra element of unpredictability to our nighttime gameplay,” says Smektala. “Online players can face the threat of a possible invasion of their game by the Night Hunter, an extremely powerful, human-controlled zombie mutation. These invasions are an inherent part of Dying Light, available on all platforms for all online players from day one.”
Below you’ll find the latest trailer for the game that sheds light on its pre-order exclusive “Be the Zombie” multiplayer mode.
Dying Light hits PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on January 27, 2015.
Last year, I moved our annual 13 day-long pre-Halloween extravaganza to our YouTube channel, because I thought recording myself playing 13 horror games over 13 days leading up to the best holiday of the year would be fun. You folks seemed to enjoy it, so I’m happy to announce we’ll be doing it again this year! Want proof? Here’s a silly intro David and I made for it.
Horror. Genre. Slasher. Monsters. Zombies. Ghosts. Vampires. Werewolves. Possession. Exorcism. Creepies and the crawlies. These are things that I love and have always loved. When my partner Tom Owen and I founded Bloody-Disgusting.com in 2001, the site was born from a passion for these types of films and creative projects. Since then we’ve been on the front lines watching and admiring the modern evolution of independent filmmaking, gaming and digital content creation.
From Ti West to Adam Wingard, Bloody Disgusting has been leading the charge in discovering up and coming genre talent, and we have also bared witness to the ever-changing business model for these young filmmakers. Sure, it’s cheaper to make a genre film than say a movie like The Avengers, but does that mean it’s any less difficult?
We’ve built our brand based on the community experience, and are part of what we believe is a lifestyle (not just a mere obsession). Indiegogo is revolutionizing this communal experience, which is why Bloody Disgusting has for the first time decided to partner with a crowdfunding platform intent on discovering kickass new content so we can promote it and support it–something that we absolutely love doing.
To be Crystal-Lake clear, this isn’t just about film, it’s about music, it’s about gaming, it’s about art—it’s about Gwar Bars and Persian Vampire Westerns. Whoever you are, whatever you do: If you’re making something awesome, we want to help you birth those babies–get them funded, and then help get the word out.
We’ve been privileged to already partner with a number of amazing projects that will launch later this month on Indiegogo. We love ’em and we know you’ll love them too. What are they? Well, that would be ruining the surprise!
How will this work? Head here to apply to be part of the curated Bloody Disgusting partner page. Myself and the Bloody staff will personally vet each submission, and choose only the very best projects to support. We’ve built a keen eye for talent over the years, and we’re determined to only share and promote the projects and creators that not only we believe in, but also which we know you will believe in.
Here we are in the first days of October, our favorite time of year. So many things to do, so little time before the big day on the 31st. Things just got a little more interesting, and we’re incredibly excited by this collaboration with Indiegogo, to take next steps in the horrorverse together.
Signed with blood,
Brad Miska, aka “Mr. Disgusting”
Editor-in-Chief, Bloody Disgusting
You’ll see a lot of love for creepy toy movies coming from me, it’s one of my guiltiest pleasures. I own all Puppet Master movies, Child’s Play, and you can probably guess my favorite segment from Trilogy of Terror. So, though not technically a “killer toy” movie I was really excited to see Annabelle.
This review does contain minor spoilers, please be cautious when reading.
Annabelle is a prequel/spinoff from James Wan’s spectacular haunted house movie, The Conjuring. The conceit behind this is a film set in the past, it starts off in 1969, and tells us about the origin story of the doll in question. At the start Annabelle is a very normal doll, in spite of her horrific look, who is gifted to Mia from her husband John because she is a collector. One night while the young couple is asleep they hear screams from the neighbors and discover they have been murdered. Mia is attacked in the house by the female killer who was actually their neighbor’s estranged daughter, Annabelle. Apparently Annabelle joined a satanic cult and was coming back to her parents to kill them and hopefully summon some sort of demon. The police arrive and shoot Annabelle’s boyfriend as she locks herself in Mia’s doll room clutching the creepy doll in her arms and kills herself. Her blood drips into devil Polly Pocket’s eye and we see a cryptic symbol drawn in blood above her.
Let’s be clear on one thing here, and it’s important: JAMES WAN DID NOT DIRECT THIS MOVIE!
Not one minute of this film was directed by Wan who has pretty much solidified his horror status with The Conjuring and Saw. Instead it’s directed by John R. Leonetti who directed such delights as The Butterfly Effect 2 and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Leonetti also is a cinematographer by trade and has done a lot of work for Wan in the past, including Insidious and Dead Silence. Basically, Wan became good friends with Leonetti and threw him this movie to help him out after the cinematic disaster that was Butterfly Effect 2.
I realize that Annabelle was never meant to be a killer toy in the way Chucky or Blade were, which is sad because I could have gotten a lot more enjoyment from that. Instead we get a skeleton execution of an interesting and creepy idea. How do you make a movie with a doll that creepy and somehow manage to not make it scary in the least. Of course there are jump scares, the scariest of which being spoiled in the trailer, but they don’t even have near the effect caused in The Conjuring.
Annabelle is a very bland and generic take on a story like this. The leads, Annabelle (ironic) Wallis and Ward Horton certainly look the part of a middle class white couple living in the early 70s but other than that they don’t do much else to keep our attention. After a while they begin to just fade into the background, particularly Horton who conveniently is a Med School intern and is very rarely around for any of the demonic action that plagues Mia. Neither of them seem as nearly concerned as they should in life and both are far too easily taken in by the supernatural. If the characters believe it’s something spiritual right off the bat it robs the audience of scarier moments later on in the movie. Mia and John almost immediately agree it’s something evil and head straight to their priest.
The priest is just one of 3 characters in this film that go absolutely nowhere. At the beginning we meet him when he wants to take a picture of Mia and her new born baby. This would be a good, though clichéd, opportunity for a scare like the demon or ghost in the background, but nope. Just a weird thing this guy likes to do. And while we’re on the subject of the priest, he is extremely quick to agree with the couple that an exorcism must be performed on the doll. But if I remember right it took Regan’s mom months of tests and procedures before they decided to call in Father Merrin and this is about the same time period. I know because the early 70s are crammed down my eye sockets every 2 minutes. The movie even starts out with Mia watching news coverage on The Manson Family. I get it movie, we’re in the past and that would be great if the actual idea of a time period mattered but it doesn’t! It isn’t crucial to the plot, it could happen in any time, this one just so happens to fit into sequence with The Conjuring and Ed and Loraine Warren’s lives. Stop it with the references already, I kept expecting Don Draper to walk in.
My final gripe on Annabelle is its overly convenient plot devices. Mia and John just so happen to move next door to a couple whose daughter returns with a cult member and is just so happening to try and summon a demon and just so happens to conjure it into the world’s creepiest doll and on and on and on. There is even a character who falls under what Spike Lee famously termed “Magical Negro” who is sent to help out the white character because of their inside knowledge to what is going on. This archetype is both clichéd and insulting to audiences and filmmakers alike.
While Annabelle could have been a very creepy story with a lot of interesting mythology intertwined it instead gives us a mirage of potential. The best thing about Annabelle is it leaves off right as the story from The Conjuring begins. It sets it up perfectly to go into the next story about the nurses who had it, which means no sequel since we already were told that story!
Jonas Govaerts’ Cub (read our review), which has World Premiered at the Midnight Madness portion of the Toronto International Film Festival last month, screened tonight at Sitges before hitting the London Film Festival on the 14th.
With a Belgium release slated for Halloween October 29th, Bloody Disgusting has a quote-filled new one-sheet for the film that looks like the early years of Jason Voorhees.
“Cub is a horror adventure in which a young imaginative twelve-year-old boy named Sam heads off to camp with his Cub Scouts pack, leaders Peter and Chris and quartermaster Yasmin. Once they enter the woods, Sam quickly feels something is not quite right. He soon stumbles upon a mysterious tree house and meets a shifty, masked feral-looking child. When Sam tries to warn his leaders, they ignore him: the boy often tells tall tales and Sam’s mysterious past which he refuses to talk about makes his leader Peter mistrust him. As Sam gets more and more isolated from the other scouts, he becomes convinced a terrible fate awaits them: the Feral Child, it turns out, is the helper of the Poacher, an evil psychopath, who has riddled the forest with ingenious traps and is intent on slaughtering the scouts… one by one…”
Shared on imgur is this incredible new Godzilla infographic featuring the various Godzilla monsters and his nemeses.
The large piece of art has all sorts of goodies, although it’s incomplete (no Mothra?!) Still, I love the size comparisons and tid-bits of info.
Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla remake, which came out this summer, is now available on home video, with plans for a sequel set for 2018.
Which monster do you want to see in the second film?
An outrageous love letter to B-Movies, Horror fans, and Film Festivals, we thought there was no better way to close out Beyond Fest than with a movie that basically mirrors the experience of being at Beyond Fest itself! Albeit, with slightly more murder than your average night at the Egyptian.
The fledgling film department of the University of California, Berkeley has problems in gaining recognition, and film professor Mr. Davis has an idea how to overcome them… He and his students organize an all-night horror film festival to be held at Dreamland, an abandoned movie theater. Dr. Mnesyne, owner of film memorabilia, provides them with appropriate gimmicks for the films chosen for the festival. As the festival begins, a homicidal maniac stalks the theater blurring the lines between film and terrifying reality.
Secret Sixteen, headed by filmmaker and film collector Mike Williamson, presents cult films once a month at Jumpcut Cafe in Studio City on 16mm film for free. If you like Popcorn, you’ll love what’s being shown on glorious celluloid every month at Los Angeles’ best micro-cinema. Find Secret Sixteen and Jumpcut Cafe on Facebook and Twitter and join in the fun. Beyond Fest may have come to a close, but the cinema madness continues year round at Secret Sixteen and Jumpcut Cafe!
Now let’s grab a Schlitz, and enjoy the Reggae music filled horror show freak out that is Popcorn!
Like many of the adaptations of the horror master’s work, A Good Marriage, adapted by Stephen King from his novella and directed by Peter Askin, suffers from transition pains. Big ones. The films based on his work rarely manage to capture the sense of suburban dread his writing manages to invoke so effectively. Even when he writes the damn screenplay himself, the films hardly ever instill the same feelings that reading the stories can give you (I’d say Pet Sematary is the most successful). A Good Marriage is not only the worst adaptation of King’s work, it’s easily one of the dullest.
King was inspired to write A Good Marriage (which appears in the 2010 collection “Full Dark, No Stars”) by the BTK Killer, Dennis Radner. This seemingly normal guy was a pillar of the community and was happily married to his wife for nearly 30 years when it was revealed he was a brutal serial killer. How could she not know? Almost three decades, 10 victims, and his wife had no clue? Makes for one helluva jumping off point for a King story.
After an engaging and eerily shot opening sequence, A Good Marriage starts rolling out the cliches and long stretches of tedium. Anthony LaPaglia and Joan Allen star as Bob and Darcy, the two halves of the titular marriage. Bob is a successful accountant while Darcy manages their coin collecting and trading business from home. They live a peaceful existence in a quaint New England town (of course), but the area is soon rocked when a serial killer dubbed “Beadie” murders his 12th female victim.
Beadie’s M.O. is similar to the BTK’s. He brutally tortures the women before killing them. Afterwards, he mails their identification to the police with a note. Bob leaves for a business trip and as she’s cleaning, Darcy discovers a hidden stash of evidence damning her virtuous husband. Knowing that he’s the savage Beadie killer, Darcy’s mental stability begins to break down as she wonders how she could possibly confront him. Even scarier to think about, how can she protect their three children from dear old Bob?
This all sounds like a solid premise for a vicious psychological combat between Darcy and Bob. Instead, A Good Marriage loses steam shockingly fast and badly meanders to the point where I nearly lost interest in the film entirely. It repeatedly covers the same ground, spinning its wheels as it resets the tension every time King and Askin manage to build a hint of it up. The look of the film doesn’t help either. It resembles a Lifetime movie and Darcy and Bob’s house (where most of the film is shot) comes off painfully like a set. Thematically, it only flirts with the cold-bloodedness initially suggested.
As Bob, LaPaglia brings a nice duality to his performance. He’s sweet and husbandly when it’s called for and callous when Beadie comes out. Allen, on the other hand, coldly plays Darcy. While she’s supposed to be going through this powerful dilemma, she gives us no believable emotion to latch on to. She doesn’t seem too terribly determined to capture our sympathies.
A Good Marriage works far better on the page and maybe would’ve been more successful as a short film. It’s a horribly flat film and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a King adaptation so boring and deflated of thrills. There’s an attempt at a twist deep into the film, but by then it’s too little and WAY too late. This one’s a total bummer.
Here’s the official image gallery for Universal Pictures Dracula Untold, the Gary Shore-directed version of Bram Stoker’s novella in theaters October 10.
In the film, “Luke Evans is starring as the most famous of vampires in an origin story that sees a Transylvanian prince risk eternal damnation in order to save his wife and son from a Turkish horde. Barks will play a figure in Eastern European folk tales known as a baba yaga, a beautiful young woman who turns into a savage witch. Kristjansson will play Bright Eyes, an Eastern European taken as a slave as a young boy and now a vicious assassin in the Ottoman Army. Parkinson will play Dracula’s son, named Ingeras.“
Starring Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Zach McGowan, Samantha Barks, Thor Kristjansson and Art Parkinson, the film was shot in Belfast last year.