If you’re looking to grow your library of horror games, you may want to head over to PSN where they’ve discounted a handful of Capcom titles, including Resident Evil 3: Nemesis for $1.49, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD for $5.99 and the Resident Evil 6 Ultimate Edition for $19.49 (or $13.64 if you have PS Plus). That last one comes with all of the multiplayer DLC for Resident Evil 6, including its Siege, Onslaught, Survivor and Predator multiplayer modes, as well as additional maps.
For those who aren’t looking to expand their library of horror games, Remember Me has also been discounted to $11.99. The sale will only be live until tomorrow, so if one of these deals sounds too good to be true, I suggest you get on it!
Alex De Campi’s “Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight” was one of the finest series that Dark Horse has ever produced. It was soaking in gore, debauchery, and the right kind of shitty camp dialogue. So it comes as no surprise that Dark Horse greenlit a return series for her loving tribute to the horrible genre we all know and love, so I’m happy to present you the first preview of “Grindhouse: Drive in, Bleed Out” #1. It looks to be a perfect return to form for De Campi, and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into issue #1, which hits November Nov 12th.
GRINDHOUSE: DRIVE IN, BLEED OUT #1 | Alex de Campi | R. M. Guéra
Grindhouse is back from the dead, and it’s meaner, badder, and dirtier than ever! In the first of four new exploitation opuses, Scalped’s R. M. Guéra joins series writer Alex de Campi for “Slay Ride,” a brutal holiday tale of revenge and supernatural terror in the driven snow!
* We’re back, just in time to celebrate the holidays in bloody style!
* From the perverted mind of Alex de Campi (Smoke/Ashes, Lady Zorro)!
* World-renowned artist R. M. Guéra (Django Unchained, Scalped)!
For the past few years when ‘The Walking Dead’ has wrapped up each week, fans have found themselves glued to their television set watching the hilarious antics of Mike, Bryan, Walt, and Ming inside the confines of Kevin Smith’s own Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey. Every week the cast of AMC’s ‘Comic Book Men’ debate the latest and greatest in geek, meet their childhood heroes, or wheel and deal with customers looking to unload their collectibles or memorabilia. AMC’s ‘Comic Book Men’ celebrates the best in geek culture and mixes it with Kevin Smith’s trademark sense of humor (minus the dick jokes).
Season 4 of ‘Comic Book Men’ just debuted on AMC and promises to be the best season yet as the cast is joined in The Stash by fanboy icons Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars), Adam West (“Batman”), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster), Kevin Eastman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Walt’s personal hero, Gene Simmons of KISS.
Bloody-Disgusting was able to chat via phone and geek out with Ming Chen at New York Comic-Con about comics, his favorite moments on the show, and what fans have to look forward to with Season 4 of ‘Comic Book Men’.
Bloody-Disgusting: I’m kind of envious that you’re talking to me from New York Comic Con at the moment. I wish I was there, rather than stuck in Brantford, Ontario, where you guys played in the Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament a few years back.
Ming Chen: We all love Brantford. The poutine there is pretty good and I have to say that I’m still digesting an Admiral’s Junk Pile, so I’ll always carry a little piece of Brantford around with me wherever I go.
BD: Did you ever envision that the show would last this long and we’d be here talking about the premiere of Season 4 of Comic Book Men?
MC: No. Never. I remember when Kevin called me and told me, he said, “I know this is going to sound weird, but we’re going to do a reality show based around the store. No, I’m not kidding and I’m not high, but they want you on it.” Up until that point the only reality shows that they had shot out in this area was Jersey Shore. Kevin told me that they wanted to shoot it in the comic book store and I told him, “Who the hell would want to watch that?” Then I started to think about it, and I thought that it would be cool to capture Walt and Bryan as I know them on TV, and that’s exactly what AMC did.
BD: Season 4 of ‘Comic Book Men’ has a pretty stellar list of guests coming up including guys like Kevin Eastman, Adam West, and Ernie Hudson. I always thought that Ernie Hudson was highly underrated and deserved more recognition.
MC: Ernie Hudson definitely does not get enough props. People think of him as the fourth Ghostbuster, but he’s a Ghostbuster period.
BD: He’s such an underrated actor. He was great in “The Crow” and was fantastic on HBO’s “Oz”.
MC: The other one that we are very excited about was Billy Dee Williams. He might be a little bit older now, but he’s still every bit as cool as he was back in 1981 and 1983 when “Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” came out. He might be even cooler now, and it was crazy just how much the atmosphere changed when he came into the room.
BD: Another guest I was excited to hear making an appearance on the show was Gene Simmons from KISS.
MC: Gene is quite the character.
BD: Did you ask him to spill some blood at The Stash? I always loved the story of the members of KISS spilling blood into the printing of their comic book series.
MC: We did ask him if that was real or not, but we left the bloodletting out of it.
BD: So since the show has taken off, how has life changed for you? Do you guys get recognized when you go out in public?
MC: Well I think that Bryan is the most recognizable just because of his size and stature, but I think the coolest thing that has come out of this is that we keep getting invited to comic cons across the country. I would be going to comic conventions anyways, so that is a dream come true. I love to travel all around the country, and I’m meeting a lot of celebrities from my childhood at these things. Meeting cast members from movies like “The Karate Kid”, “Point Break” and even the cast of “The Walking Dead” has been really cool. In this age of social media, it’s always cool to get photos with them.
BD: I was sad that I missed you the last time you guys came through Niagara Falls.
MC: We’ll be back around Canada again I’m sure. We love everything from the beer to the poutine. Kevin and I both are like Canada’s biggest cheerleaders, and I grew up watching “Degrassi: Junior High”.
BD: Have you had a chance to meet Joey Jeremiah from Degrassi at any cons?
MC: I did. Patrick was i
n Niagara Falls and he told us that he was a fan of the show, which blew my mind as I grew up watching him when I was a kid. Kevin has met them before, and he even got to direct an episode of the new ‘Degrassi’ series, but I had never met them before. Then, to find out that Patrick was a fan of our show was amazing. How many people can say they met someone that they were a fan of and have them say that they are a fan of something that they do? It’s just amazing.
BD: Coming back to the show, one of my favorite cast members has to be the resident collectibles expert Robert Bruce. He seems like he’s just a wealth of knowledge about comic book history and collectibles in general.
MC: We’ve known Rob for years, because he started coming into the store when we first opened. He would always come in and spill his knowledge on us, and he was just this weird guy that knew more about the stuff we were carrying than we did. We’re lucky to have him as our expert on the show.
BD: Can you talk at all about Robert Bruce’s companion series that is in development at AMC?
MC: I think they are still developing it. I believe they have shot a pilot, but that’s all I know. Rob is one of those guys that I see every day, and I think if they can show the Rob Bruce that I know to the masses, the show will work.
BD: Do you read any of the press that the show has generated? ‘Comic Book Men’ seems to be quite polarizing with some critics and fans. They either love or hate it.
MC: I get Google Alerts and I’m very active on Twitter and social media. I think when the show first came out people definitely had their doubts. Some of the geeks were worried about how they might be portrayed on the show, but as the series progressed most of them saw that we were cut from the same cloth and that we wanted to celebrate all of this. After that we slowly started to see a lot of our detractors become fans, which is great. I’m happy for that and we all wake up excited about toys and comics like everybody else out there.
BD: I think some people take things a little too seriously, and they forget that the show has an obligation to be entertaining.
MC: Well with Walt and Bryan you definitely get that entertainment. I’m very fortunate to get the opportunity to be around those two, Kevin and Mike.
BD: So let’s talk comics for a minute, and dive into what you’re reading at the moment…
MC: Well I’m definitely a big fan of DC’s New 52 books, and I’d have to say that Marvel’s “Hawkeye” series is definitely one of my favorites right now. I do think that DC does have it locked down on the comic book front at the moment, but on the movie front, it’s definitely Marvel. It seems like when one has something good, the other excels at something else. To be honest though, I would have to say that I’m probably reading more Image stuff than anything at the moment.
BD: I have to agree that Image is just killing it right now. They have so many amazing books coming out from “Walking Dead”, “Saga”, “Lazarus”, to stuff like “Fatale and “Revival”….
MC: “East of West” and all that stuff is amazing. I love superhero stuff, but I think as I get older I’m just concentrating on finding good stories. Image has got it with great storytelling and art at the moment.
BD: Rick Remender is doing great things over there. Jason Aaron’s new series “Southern Bastards” has been amazing.
BD: So coming back to the show for a minute, will the “Secret Stash” companion podcast come back when the show returns?
MC: Yes absolutely. There will be one for every episode where we expand a little bit more on what happened in each episode. We’re all in Kevin’s world so that means there will be podcasts and more podcasts.
BD: Could you ever envision yourself not talking about your life on a podcast?
MC: Podcasts are a great way to recap what is happening in your life. My hope is that my kids will stumble onto them one day and that it will be like a little snapshot of what I was up to at that time.
BD: So to wrap things up, what can fans of the show look forward to on the upcoming Season 4 of ‘Comic Book Men’?
MC: This might sound vague, but babies and ice cream trucks. If that doesn’t sell Season 4 of the show then I don’t know what else will.
Polish blackened death metal masters Behemoth have announced that they will be releasing a new EP entitled XIĄDZ (don’t even think about asking me how to pronounced that). The limited 12″ EP will be available in three vinyl colors, each hand numbered, and will feature, “…previously unreleased tracks “XIADZ” and “Towards The Dying Sun We March”, and also re-recorded “Moonspell Rites”.”
The album will ship out on November 1st, 2014 and can be pre-ordered here.
Head below for a teaser of the EP.
We cover a vast amount of horror media here, from music to movies, comics to video games, toys to just flat out weird stories that we want to share with you. But sometimes the best thing to do is to avoid visual stimulation and instead stimulate our minds and let our imagination get the best of us. And what better way to do that then with a good book?
Let’s be real, there are some fantastic horror authors out there and some novels that are more capable of terrifying you than any movie released. To this day, there are some passages of novels that creep me out so much that I truly fear going into the dark, walking alone at night, looking into a mirror, and more.
So let’s talk about some great books, shall we? Below are a few of my favorite horror novels and then I want to hear from you! Let’s get a book recommendation list here that will keep us all very busy until next Halloween!
Just as a note, I didn’t include some of the great classics like Frankenstein or Dracula since I figured those were given titles.
Metal band Slipknot have made their new album .5: The Gray Chapter, which comes out this Tuesday, available for streaming via their website. The new album follows 2008′s All Hope Is Gone and is being released by Roadrunner Records.
Head below for the official video of “The Devil In I”.
Earlier this week, Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami’s The Evil Within arrived soaked in blood and wrapped present-like in barbed wire. The game has an impressive array of baddies for Sebastian and friends to dispatch, but there are two who stand above the bunch, and now one of them is being turned into something you can take home and mount on your mantle, like a trophy.
The Boxman (or Keeper) is a Pyramid Head-esque hammer-wielding monster with a safe on his head, and I’d rank him right under Laura — the four-armed blood witch who happens to be one of the best things about the game — as one of the game’s more memorable creatures.
Recognizing his appeal, Gaming Heads has revealed a 15″ tall Boxman statue sculpted from high quality polystone molding. He stands atop a hand-numbered base and can be taken home for a relatively pricey investment of $269.99. If this is something you may be interested in, act fast, as they’re only making 750 of them worldwide.
The statue will be available in early 2015.
If you’re not sure whether or not this game is worth your time, I called it “a terrifying patchwork of nightmares” in my review.
The Evil Within is available now on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to get excited for zombie games these days. There’s just so many of them, that it takes an especially clever execution of the incredibly worn out subgenre to get my attention. So far, the open-world zombie survival game ROAM has my full attention. The attention to detail on the developer’s part is nothing short of monumentally impressive, as each system ties into the next in a really fluid way.
In the latest developer update, we’re treated to a look at wind generators and fuel generators, which you’ll need to power your fortress. If there’s one thing that’s worse than being torn apart by a horde of undead, it’s being torn apart in the dark.
Still no word on a release date, but when ROAM does eventually arrive, it’ll be on PC.
As we continue to wait patiently for Killing Floor 2, developer Tripwire Interactive is continuing their annual tradition of celebrating the most ghoulish time of the year by adding brand new content to the original Killing Floor. This year’s Halloween event introduces a new nightclub map dubbed Club Clandestine, as well as new achievements, unlockable characters and an official mod called Toy Master Mod with Devil’s Dollhouse Map.
All of it is free and available now as an update to those who own the game. If you don’t own this wonderful game, you can grab it now on Steam at the heavily discounted price of $4.99.
Along with all of the above, there are some new DLC packs, if you’re interested.
Killing Floor DLC Character Pack Bundle (Contains Outbreak, Nightfall, PostMortem, London’s Finest, Steampunk, Steampunk 2 and Urban Nightmare)
Killing Floor Premium Character Bundle (Contains Ash Harding, Harold Lott, Chickenator, DAR, Mrs Foster, Reggie and the 2 Neon characters)
Weapons Bundle (IJC WP 1, Gold WP 1, Gold WP 2, IJC WP 2, Camo WP, IJC WP 3, Neon WP)
Community Content Bundle (IJC WP 1, IJC WP 2, IJC WP 3, Neon Characters, Neon WP)
Every year I like to count down to the best day of the year, Halloween, with a series I call the 13 Days of Horror. Last year, I brought the series to our YouTube channel, and, since no one complained, I’m doing it again this year. This means you can look forward to — or dread, I suppose — 13 days of horror game playthroughs, starting with Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss a video!
Renowned video game composer Akira Yamaoka, who is widely recognized for his work on the Silent Hill franchise, has tweeted that he will be writing a song for the upcoming Dario Argento film The Sandman, which is currently raising funds via Indiegogo. The composer has not given any other details, aside from saying that he’s, “So excited!”
The Sandman‘s synopsis reads:
Our film tells the story of Nathan, a young student in the city who struggles to forget his childhood trauma at the hands of the serial killer dubbed “The Sandman”: a masked killer who murders his victims with a lethally jagged melon spoon (yes, you read that right!), and claims their eyes as trophies. Nathan killed The Sandman years ago, on Christmas Eve, after he witnessed the murder of his mother, and the nightmare seems to be buried in the past … until he sees the beautiful woman who lives in the apartment across the way dying at the hands of that very same masked killer. This brutal murder plunges Nathan into an odyssey into the night country of his past, his dreams…and the buried secrets of… you guessed it!… The Sandman, who’s on the hunt again.
Read our exclusive interview with director Dario Argento right here.
Will write a song for Dario Argento's new film! So excited!
— Akira Yamaoka (@AkiraYamaoka) October 19, 2014
We received a second ransom-esque letter from “Merrick” (the first here) – who is teasing some sort of evil circus that’s set to go public on October 27. The teases are too intriguing, especially for someone like me who eats up a good viral campaign. (Although, the fashion we’re being poked is a bit creepy, and these letters sort of feel threatening.)
Let us know if you find out anything or have any solid guesses. I literally have no idea. It couldn’t be tied to the bizarre sightings of clowns, could it?
Netflix has made it super easy to binge an entire series. I plowed through eight seasons of Supernatural over a month, something I’m not necessarily proud of. But then there is Twin Peaks, something I happily binge once in a while because it’s just that damn good.
Now, I know I’m not the only one that does this because I a German couple has filmed themselves binging seasons 1 through 4 of AMC’s The Walking Dead, all 51 episodes. They then released a time lapse video of this binge, slowing to normal speed when something eventful happened. The binge took them three days and it looks like it was well worth it!
Check it out below and then let me know what shows you’ve binged through!
Update: Adam Levine was in season 2 of AHS, not season 1.
I can almost see the pitchforks and torches coming towards me for this week’s Twisted Music Video Of The Week. Yes, it’s Maroon 5. I’m aware of their style and I’m aware that they’re not really all that horrific. However, don’t forget that vocalist Adam Levine starred in season 1 of American Horror Story. So, we’ve already got a start here, okay?
But when it comes to this specific video, “Animals”, there’s a lot more here than you might expect. First of all, the video is directed by Samuel Bayer, who directed the 2010 remake of A Nightmare On Elm St.. Secondly, the video is definitely right up the alley of any horror fan, calling to mind such films as Maniac and Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Check out the video before burning me at the stake, okay? And then, once you finished, leave a suggestion for next week!
I don’t know why it seems to be so hard to make a good werewolf movie of late. I mean it’s a fairly easy structure to build around. A tragic but likeable character gets bitten by a werewolf (or cursed by a gypsy) and has to concede to their life by sacrificing themselves for someone they love. OR you can make an evil werewolf movie too, which is always fun. The beauty is you can go a million different ways using this skeletal structure!
Werewolf Rising misses the bar on so many levels. It’s poorly made, it’s sloppily written and there isn’t a decent character or werewolf to be found. I freely admit that I’m not fond of the “digital age” of filmmaking, especially low budget, because I can’t shake the feeling that I’m watching someone’s home video. However, I have reconciled with digital filmmaking so that is not my complaint about the technical workings of this movie. I really only have 2 major hang ups about the technical prowess (not that there aren’t more) that went into making this. First, if any of you reading are budding filmmakers like I please take this advice very seriously: BUY A GODDAMN TRIPOD! They sell them on Amazon for $15, especially if you are trying to do fluid movement. Watching Werewolf Rising was like watching a video my mom took on her cell. Secondly, don’t rip off your soundtrack unless you are Stuart Gordon and even he shouldn’t have but Re-Animator fucking rule. When I first heard the score I thought to myself wow this is actually a pretty cool throwback…until I realized it was a blatant rip-off Halloween. C’mon guys.
Technical ineptitude is something that I am willing to look over sometimes, especially in the low budget arena, as long as there is decent writing behind it. Unfortunately, yet again, Werewolf Rising doesn’t have that either. When we first encounter the werewolf it’s from a POV shot as he/she attacks an escaped prisoner who has kidnapped a woman and is intending to rape and kill her out in the middle of nowhere. The man is attacked and severely injured by the wolf and the girl is killed. Solid beginning to a werewolf movie and also the introduction to the best actor in the film, Bill Oberst Jr., as Rhett the creeptastic rapist. Flash forward to the next day and we meet Emma (Melissa Carnell) who is going up to her parents old place to dry out after deciding to give up alcohol.
Now, it may seem like that is all fine and dandy for the movie and it really would be if they just stuck with that main story. Unfortunately writer/direct BC Furtny doesn’t exactly seem to know what he wants from this film. Enter in the weird and completely uncalled for romance that occurs within 12 hours of Emma meeting Johnny Lee (Matt Copko) who is also an escaped who got out with Rhett. The romance makes little to know sense considering the only time we see Johnny Lee is when he appears to be stalking her. Although, pickings are slim here for Emma between to escaped cons and her dad’s friend who goes by Uncle Wayne (Brian Berry), I guess I would choose the least rapey one too. There is also one other character who isn’t introduced until 15 minutes or so before the movie ends. Not only is that not fair to the audience in a whodunit movie but it also shows that the writer seemed to have two have two plot lines and this one just got phased out.
And finally, the biggest ball drop of the entire movie is that there is NO TRANSFORMATION SCENE! We get a brief look at the face turn and then we cut to the next scene where the character is already wolf. Mind you, this wolf costume looks like something you could get at a local costume shop. I almost always give points to practical effects because it at least shows the filmmakers tried but I can’t even do that here. No one made this costume or put any effort into it and if they did it sure doesn’t look like it. I really like the actor had an old Halloween costume in his closet and brought it to the set one day and they said “sure, why not?”. The answer is: Because we all want to see a goddamn transformation scene!!!!!
I have been wishing for years that there would be another Werewolf movie boom but sadly it looks like I will be waiting a long time. If anyone out there has seen it and actually liked it please let me know why and if you didn’t feel free to share your thoughts too!
‘Killer Karl,’ who reviewed Kristy for us, is getting more regular as he’s turned in his thoughts on Lionsgate and WWE’s See No Evil 2, opening this weekend on VOD.
“See No Evil 2, the sequel nobody asked for.
In 2006 WWE and Lionsgate made sweet love and created their first baby, See No Evil, a slasher movie starring wrestling superstar Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs. It (surprisingly) went theatrical and didn’t fare well among critics nor fans, although some have found it does have long legs in terms of re-watchability. Even so, nobody ever wanted a sequel, or cared for that matter. So, when it was announced, it came as a shock. At least expectations were kept in check…
With See No Evil 2, WWE tapped Jen and Sylvia Soska to direct, who reunited with American Mary star Katharine Isabelle. It bizarrely opens up on the same night as the first, even though it took place 8 years prior. The problem with this is that it forces the characters to continually reference the first film over and over, which makes the film a but exposition heavy. Being that it’s the unfortunate direction the filmmakers chose to take, this is the path we must follow and it begins in a morgue, where Danielle Harris and her boyfriend finishing up work before preparing to celebrate her birthday. A pretty great scare introduces the friends, and brings the group into the single location that looks to be the same hospital used at the end of The Innkeepers.
During the festivities, the sex-crazed Isabelle rides a presumably dead Jacob Goodnight, who awakens angry and ready to punish the sinners. Although the violence is pretty regular, none of it is really all that impactful, with some being as tame as throats or heads being crushed, and the camera focusing on the dead or dying teens for way too long.
The introduction of a mask for Jacob Goodnight was a solid idea, although it appears it was an easy way to cover the effects filed eye that was removed in the finale of the first film. (And I’m pretty sure it switched eyes later in the movie.) I also don’t really buy his motive, which was force fed down our throats again through flashback (you know, to remind us that the first exists.)
It’s not a bad movie per se, and is surprisingly fun through the first hour. But once Jacob Goodnight begins stalking the halls everything slows to a crawl. Maybe it’s because the environment was so generic, or maybe it was because it’s not a franchise I care to see continue on, but it was hard to remain engaged until the very end.
That said, I wish this were a standalone sequel instead of being forced into a corner in trying to continue the events from 8 years ago. But as it stands, See No Evil 2 is a fun little VOD rental for your Halloween festivities, especially if you’re seeking something new to watch. Otherwise, you may be better off picking up the Halloween box set or Texas Chain Saw Massacre re-release for something that’s both nostalgic and franchise-worthy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear Jacob Goodnight is staying dead anytime soon…”
Editor’s note: I cleaned up the following review for grammar.
From the director that brought audiences Sinister and Exorcism of Emily Rose comes Deliver Us From Evil (read our review), debuting on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD October 28 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Check out this exclusive featurette, “Blessed”.
Deliver Us From Evil is a story inspired by the actual accounts of New York Police Department Sergeant Ralph Sarchie (played by Eric Bana, Lone Survivor), who teams up with “Father Mendoza” (played by Edgar Ramírez, Zero Dark Thirty) to investigate a series of strange events that are taking over and terrorizing their city. Olivia Munn (Magic Mike) co-stars as Sarchie’s wife and Joel McHale (“The Soup”) co-stars as Sarchie’s NYPD partner.
“A New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) begins investigating a series of bizarre and disturbing inexplicable crimes. When he uncovers that the crimes are of super-natural origins, he must join forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramírez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are taking over and terrorizing their city. Filled with action and thrilling suspense, the film is inspired by the book, which details Sarchie’s bone-chilling real-life cases.“
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) and directed by Scott Derrickson, the Deliver Us From Evil Blu-ray and DVD give fans bonus materials, including Director’s commentary, as well as an all-new featurette, “Illuminating Evil: Making Deliver Us From Evil,” which explores how writer/director Derrickson collaborated with Sarchie on the film. The Blu-ray includes three exclusive featurettes: “Deliver Us From Demons,” gives an all-access pass to the production team’s approach to creating a realistic and frightening demonic presence in the film; “The Two Sergeants,” highlights the collaboration process between Ralph Sarchie and Eric Bana; “The Demon Detective” offers fans an intimate interview with Sarchie as he recounts some of his more harrowing experiences in the field of demonology.
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that The Blair Witch Project changed everything.
From the way it was directed to the way it was marketed and absorbed into the culture, there hadn’t been a film that big and that groundbreaking in a very, very long time. And there hasn’t been since, really. Besides perhaps Saw, there hasn’t been a game-changer in the horror world on the same level as Blair Witch.
I clearly remember the night I went to see it in my little hometown theater, in Newton, NJ. Going in, I still didn’t know if it was real or not. The media had been covering the film like crazy (it was even on the cover of Time magazine), but I didn’t really pay attention to that kinda stuff back then. I left the theater jarred. Up in rural north Jersey, the forest extends to your backyard. The woods were my playground. But after Blair Witch, it was rare for me to go in them without coming down with a wicked bad case of the willies.
15 years later, I had a chance to confront the two guys who scared the hell out of 17-year-old me. At the mighty Mile High Horror Film Festival, I interviewed directors Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez in a service hallway of the Alamo Drafthouse Littleton.
Going back 15 years, you made the film and submitted it to Sundance. What were your expectations like?
Eduardo Sanchez (E): We were broke, so we just wanted it to sell it on video, maybe. We couldn’t even imagine a theatrical release.
Daniel Myrick (D): Maybe in Romania.
E: We were thinking maybe video or one of the cable networks would pick it up, give us a little money so that way we could go and make another movie. That was basically our expectations. Before we got accepted into Sundance we had a whole plan for in case we didn’t get in, you know? But luckily we got in.
When the film finally got released the hype was incredible, like nothing that had been seen in years, particularly for a horror film. But what was the hype like at Sundance that night?
D: Pretty crazy. There was a high level of awareness going into Sundance and we had an agent lined up and a lawyer already setting things up. There was an industry vibe too, a lot of the industry had dialed into it. But the first screening at the Egyptian was great. There was a lot of people lined up outside the theater and there was a lot of excitement. And I think Sundance had a lot to do with it, with the resurrection of their midnight screenings and they had a lot of promotion going on for it which built up a lot of anticipation.
Going back to the filming, I remember hearing that you guys wanted to show the witch or were planning on showing the witch, but then you never did?
E: Well, we wanted to show something more spectacular than what we ended up with. But we couldn’t come up with an idea and we had a limited budget, so it was going to have to be something really clever. We actually didn’t have the ending of the movie when we were filming. We started shooting the movie without the ending and I remember Gregg (Hale), our producer, would come in and be like, “Man, you got five days,” and we would go back and think about it. But we were so busy trying to keep the movie going. It was like this constant movement because we had to monitor the actors and direct them three or four times a day, figure out where they were going. What the hell was the question again?
Were you ever planning on showing the witch?
E: Okay yeah, so we were thinking maybe we could show somebody levitating or have arms coming out of the walls. I mean, we had no idea, but we didn’t want to betray the rest of the movie. There are no real gags in the movie, we weren’t showing anything, you know, except a bundle of sticks and some teeth. And then maybe two or three days before we had to shoot the ending we came up with the idea for the ending. Also, Gregg came up to us and said “You can’t do any art department, you can’t come up with an idea that requires any building or anything.” So we were lucky we came up with the idea and it worked well. Artisan wanted to change it when they bought the movie. That was the first thing they wanted to do was change the ending.
D: Yeah they did a test screening in New Jersey and they were a little freaked out by everyone asking questions about the ending. It was scaring people, but they wanted some kind of closure. So they had us shoot like five new endings. We were broke, so we took the money.
E: Yeah, we got paid. It was something like $80,000 so we were like “Hell yeah, we’ll shoot an alien invasion for that,” you know? Then we decided to keep the original ending and I remember them telling us “Your ending is going to cost us millions at the box office.”
I also remember hearing about what you put Heather, Michael, and Josh through while filming. That you fed them in the beginning, then gradually cut off their food and sleep. Could you talk about the process a little bit more?
D: When we cast the movie we sort of let the actors know that this wasn’t going to be a normal shoot. For example, we informed the actors just what their characters would know about the background of the Blair Witch mythology. So Heather knew more about it than the guys did, because we wanted them to ask her questions as to what they’re doing out there. So that was in keeping with our whole methodology in how we prepared the actors. When they first went into the woods, we wanted them all charged up, ready to go, and as time moved on, they had less and less sleep, they we hungrier and hungrier, and it allowed them to stay more in character. I mean, they were really tired. They look exhausted in the film. So we let that work for them in their performance.
E: And they didn’t know what was going to happen. We never gave them the whole treatment.
D: Heather thought she was may have signed up for a snuff film.
E: She was really the only girl. She didn’t know Mike or Josh or us either, you know? It was a big gamble for her. She had some balls. They knew a little bit what was going to happen because of the rehearsals and the audition process, but other than that they had no idea what was going to happen. Especially with how it was going to end.
D: We made adjustments as we went along too. First we were going to pull Mike out, then we were going to pull Josh out.
E: Yeah, it was always going to be the sound guy that disappeared, but we were watching the footage and Josh and Heather were just at each other’s fucking throats. So we pulled Josh out to maybe get a different tone and it was a good decision. Also, Josh wanted to get the fuck outta there. He was done.
After the release and the film blew up, was there any kind of pressure from Artisan to make a sequel?
D: Oh yeah. That came pretty early on. I think it’s a natural inclination. It was hot, so they wanted to capitalize on it right away. And I get it. Our logic was that Blair got so big, that it naturally started getting backlash…it just got too big, it got too much hype and it became fashionable for everyone to dislike the movie, so we figured we’ll just let it die down for a couple of years and then decide to revisit it or not. But Artisan wanted to get something going right away.
E: Yeah right away they wanted us to do a sequel and we were just not ready or willing. So they did the second one. We gave them our blessings and they wanted us creatively involved but we didn’t like what we saw. I mean, we like Joe (Berlinger) and we love his documentaries, but this story was going to be really tough to pull off. But the train had already left the station so we just kinda sat back and watched it happen.
Weren’t you guys taking about a prequel at some point?
D: Yeah we thought about a prequel, an origin story of Elly Kedward we thought would be cool. We also maintained that the Blair mythology has so much stuff to mine from, you know? There’s a lot of cool things that we came up with for this 50 year cycle of shit that happens in those woods that we could explore creatively. So we wanted to do a non-traditional follow-up to Blair Witch. The problem that I see is that the studios see the found footage movie and they want something just like it because it made them money. But we’re more in the mind of we built this world and the found footage episode was one episode, so that needed to be what it was for the filmmakers that disappeared in the woods. But we could do a period piece, a black and white film, whatever, and it could all be part of the Blair Witch brand. I still think it’s valid, it’s just hard for studios to embrace that.
E: Yeah, Book of Shadows was pretty far off of what we wanted to do. I didn’t think it was a bad movie, it just wasn’t in the same world, you know?
D: We just felt betrayed, you know? It became this self-referential thing, where it was like the studio was purposely betraying the original mythology or they didn’t understand it. If they called it anything else, it would’ve been a decent little genre film. But it’s kind of the sign of death now for the franchise. It’s like they didn’t understand anything about what made our movie work.
Now that it’s been 15 years, what do you think of the entire state of found footage. You obviously didn’t invent it, but Blair Witch certainly popularized it.
D: It’s definitely become a sub-genre, but I think that found footage would’ve happened regardless. Today, everyone is videotaping everything, man. It’s part of our pop-culture and our social language now. So it can’t not be a part of our narrative storytelling in this day and age. And I think that a lot of the films that call themselves found footage films, they’re bad because of flawed storytelling and the fundamentals that make any movie not a good movie to watch. I’ve seen found footage movies that they’ve chosen to make a certain way, and they haven’t developed the characters and it doesn’t make any sense, all the same reasons any movie doesn’t work well. And then every once in a while a found footage movie will come along that’s a really cool movie, a really cool way of doing it. So it’s gotten kind of a bad wrap I think, because it’s so easy to shoot things that way, cost wise.
E: But it’s not easy.
D: Cost wise, you think it’s going to be easy. But it’s a whole different set of rules you have to follow.
E: When we were working on V/H/S/2, Jason Eisener and Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett thought it was going to be easier, but they said it was one of the hardest things they’ve done. You have to think about filmmaking in a different way. So I agree with Dan, you still have to have a good story, you still have to have a good reason to be making the movie. So it’s not just the genre that’s fucking up the movie, it’s just that it doesn’t work with the filmmaker.
D: But there are some great ones.
E: Yeah there are. And we’re kind of like the godfathers of found footage. So when we agreed to do a segment of V/H/S/2, we were like, “Man, ours better be not be the fucking worst one.” But I think all the movies were solid and it was cool to be inspired by all these filmmakers that are at least 10 years younger than us. But like Dan said, I think found footage is always going to be a part of something new, a part of something else. It’s part of the way we live now. As a technique now, it’s going to be around forever.
D: It’s all part of the visual landscape now. You watch a crime drama now or any TV show for that matter and it’s all cellphones and CCTV. It wasn’t so much that 10, 15 years ago, when we first did Blair. But now it’s everywhere, man. We’re so interconnected now and I think that’s cool. It’s all just about a clever way of making it work for a story.
Opening October 24 from Millennium, check out this exclusive clip from Brad Anderson’s (Session 9, The Machinist) Stonehearst Asylum, starring Underworld‘s Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley and Brendan Gleeson.
This exclusive clip takes you into a cell where a doctor comes face-to-face with a patient, and he’s super angry. Kingsley’s character looks on and laughs.
In the film, “A recent medical school grad who takes a position at a mental institution soon finds himself taken with one of his colleagues, though he has no initial idea of a recent, horrifying staffing change.“
The past several entries in the ‘Check This Band Out’ series have focused on really creepy music that would be perfect for Halloween. However, I want to take a quick jump away from that to bring you eccentric Russian duo Iamthemorning, who just released their new album Belighted on Kscope.
The album is rich, beautiful progressive rock, focusing more on the art of the genre, crafting wonderful tracks with some fantastic songwriting. There are some truly gorgeous moments, as well as a few haunting passages. I’ve spent the entire morning listening to this album and loving every second.
Head below to check this out, especially if you’re a fan of Porcupine Tree, Anathema, White Willow, Leprous, and bands of that ilk. Then, if you enjoyed it as much as I did, you can order the CD here.