‘Sylvio’ Returns in May With HD Remaster

bloody disgusting - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 13:11

When it comes to crowdfunding, unless your name is DoubleFine, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. Still, it was surprising to see Stroboskop’s open-world horror game Sylvio 2 — the sequel to a Kickstarter staff pick that surpassed its goal in 2014 — fail to reach its relatively modest funding goal of about $16k back in January.

Sylvio 2 wasn’t the first promising horror game to get lost in the ever-expanding sea of crowdfunding efforts — it happened to DARQ, Kaiden, and Ghost Theory, and that’s just this year — and it won’t be the last. Many of these games, including Ghost Theory, eventually return for a second attempt, and maybe Stroboskop will too.

But that’ll have to wait. Right now, the studio is focused on an HD remaster of the original Sylvio that’ll use the same engine (Unity 5) that powers Layers of Fear and the upcoming sci-fi horror game PAMELA. When the remaster releases on May 2 for PC, it’ll come with improved visuals, controller support and various other tweaks based on player feedback.

They’re also offering launch day Steam keys to anyone who backs their Patreon page by April 30.

Categories: Horror News

10 More Great Single Location Horror Films!

bloody disgusting - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 13:01

We dig into even more horror films that kept things simple by keeping their horror contained to a sole location!

Sometimes there’s nothing better than when horror films keep it simple. I’m a huge fan of boiled down, structurally interesting stuff, like when horror restricts their movie to a sole location. In a weird way it’s almost like watching theater, which seems like a ridiculous thing for the genre of horror to achieve. But by doing this it forces the films to use different storytelling tools, which can sometimes pay off in huge ways. Films like this also tend to be about the characters, giving you deep, fully realized personalities, rather than the clichéd throwaway types which horror can have a tendency to thrive on. It’s always nice to appreciate the sort of ambition going on in something like this, so here are some more examples of when horror took a chance with a single location and stumbled onto something great.

P2 (2007)
Directed by Frank Khalfoun

Coming from the same creative team behind 2012’s Maniac (which includes Alexandre Aja as a co-writer), it’s easy to see that Khalfoun is someone that has a lot of love for mixing things up with style and structure. P2 is set entirely in an underground parking garage on Christmas Eve. Angela tries to leave work one night when she is kidnapped by the deranged security guard who has secretly been obsessing over her for months on end. P2 isn’t perfect, and it feels like this team’s version of an independent film, but it hits a lot of the right marks and does a lot with its confined structure contributing to the fear. Rachel Nichols and Wes Bentley also deliver some encouraging performances with characters that we get to learn a lot about which certainly helps the film out, too. It’s also nice that they actually shot the film within a parking garage, so that authenticity is definitely felt throughout the film. Since we’ve all certainly no doubt been in a parking garage at night before, that extra layer of realism to the picture also cuts through to you.

A L’Interieur (Inside) (2007)
Directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo

Inside is one of my favorite horror films of all time and it’s absolutely strengthened by the fact that the story takes place in such a concentrated area. A very pregnant Sarah is home one night, when her quiet evening is quickly turned into a horrendous home invasion film. There’s something inherently terrifying about watching a pregnant woman run for her life, but Beatrice Dalle’s performance is one for the ages as she turns out a characterization that’s on the Anton Chigurh level of intimidating (also, don’t let your cats watch this film). Granted, a few scenes at the start of the film are outside of Sarah’s house, but once the attack begins it never leaves. And boy is it a bloody, relentless affair. A real meal is made out of the geography, as Sarah gets locked to various rooms in the house at different times. It’s just fun to think about as this as some sort of twisted stage play, with two strong female performances driving it forward.

Bug (2006)
Directed by William Friedkin

And speaking of “bottle episode” horror that feels like it could be a piece of theater, Bug especially fits the mold since it was a play beforehand. William Friedkin (who directed a little film called The Exorcist, maybe ya heard of it?) turns Bug into the very best kind of psychological horror that feels reminiscent of things like Repulsion. The film sees Agnes and Peter getting holed up in a simple Oklaholma motel room, as Peter’s obsessive conspiracy theories about insects and the government begin to take over them both. One of the great joys of this film is watching how this hotel room transforms into such an unnerving, unstable environment (it’s eventually completed covered in tinfoil). It also doesn’t hurt that it’s Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon that are the ones trading psychotic barbs here. Having legitimate actors in horror films always helps and this is a great example of the case. This one really washes over you and seeing yourself get trapped in this space of paranoia with these people, not sure what is real or not, with no escape to act as a release valve makes for some very effective horror. Friedkin and Letts would also work together on the tonally similar, Killer Joe, which is also more than worth your time.

Terror Train (1980)
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode

It’s a travesty that not enough people know about Terror Train, not only because a horror film set on a train is just a good idea, but that this vehicle is starring Jamie Lee Curtis, no less! The film is your classical bully revenge story, with a large body count that’s able to accumulate in the cramped space. This is also that beautiful classic sort of ‘80s horror with red, red blood and the killers have garish costumes. This takes that stereotype to new extreme with the killer adopting each of his victims’ attire (a New Years Eve costume party’s going on—interestingly a lot of these films are set on holidays) to the point where he’s wearing 10 costumes by the end of things—a different one in each scene he’s in, at that. Terror Train is actually shot on a real Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive, which is pretty wonderful. It also involved all sorts of creative ways of lighting the cramped space, like completely rewiring the train, and using penlights and other handheld methods to make things work.

ATM (2012)
Directed by David Brooks

So ATM might not be the best film on this list, but it certainly gets points for trying and has its murderous heart in the right place. The concept of three people being trapped in an ATM booth while a psychotic killer preys upon them has a lot of potential. If done right it could be some sort of horror equivalent to Phone Booth that really makes you feel trapped in a glorious way. ATM’s execution might be all sorts of sloppy, but it surprisingly gets a lot of mileage out of its tiny location, with touches like the killer turning off the heat going a long ways. The film manages to do some smart things, and even has some decent kills, but it’s just endlessly bleak, with a real downer of an ending on top of it all. It’s still worth getting drunk and watching with your friends as you bicker about what you’d do in such a situation.

Exam (2009)
Directed by Stuart Hazeldine

If ATM is dumb fun, then Exam is the most cerebral, with this film being a constant puzzle that you’re trying to solve with the characters within. Exam’s story is the simple sort of mind game that I love so much. Eight strangers (who we don’t even get the names of) are stuck in a room for 80 minutes—effectively making the film pass in real-time, too—as they try to pass an entrance exam for a prestigious job. More interestingly, the exam only has one question, but three crucial rules: they can’t talk to their invigilator, spoil their exam paper, or leave the room. Honestly, the less you know about the film, the better. It’s a movie that’s full of twists and surprises, and trying to figure it out as the film keeps pulling the rug out from under you is part of why it’s so much fun.

Pontypool (2008)
Directed by Bruce McDonald

Pontypool is a blessed mish-mash of love story and “zombie” outbreak in a truly different sort of way. The movie sees a shock jock and members of a radio station getting holed up in such a place because of the pandemonium that is going on outside their doors. While Pontypool might follow the beats of a lot of zombie films where the characters are trapped inside of somewhere, the film is really about language in the end. Rather than this being some typical outbreak virus, it’s actually one that infects the English language, which is a terribly interesting idea to play around with. McDonald and Tony Burgess have stated that the original War of the Worlds broadcast is a major influence here, and it’s certainly felt. Pontypool is an unnerving delight all around, and whenever you think you know where it’s going, it manages to surprise you.

Housebound (2014)
Directed by Gerard Johnstone

Coming out of New Zealand, Housebound eerily feels reminiscent of What We Do In the Shadows, which also happens to hail from the region. The film sees a woman, Kylie, being sentenced to house arrest in what’s believed to be a haunted house, which is a very solid premise, but the picture tows a dangerous line with its tone through it all. Housebound nails most of its horror, with the idea of the ghost of some dead boy plaguing these people, but there’s a weird vein of comedy that runs through the film too, which might not work for all people. Johnstone’s influences were The Changeling, The Legend of Hell House, but also Ghosthunters, giving you an idea of the wide spectrum that’s hit here. Housebound might be trying to say too much, but it shows a lot of promise and certainly has a memorable ending, whether you’re into it or not.

Feast (2005)
Directed by John Gulager

Believe it or not, Feast is actually the result of the reality show, Project Greenlight’s third season, with the film’s limited locations being another example of how minimalism can be key for an independent feature. Feast sees a bunch of off-color bar patrons getting stuck in their watering hole as terrifying creatures begin an attack from the outside. It’s a classic “survive with strangers” scenario, and the film pulls it off well. Feast clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously either, and tries to be evocative of that smarmy vibe that makes things like Tremors work so well. For instance, the protagonist is straight up known as “Heroine”, with other characters having similarly clichéd monikers like Honey Pie, Hot Wheels, and Beer Guy. Oh, and Jason Mewes is also there, as himself. Surprisingly the film’s sense of humor is one of its greatest assets, with the weird sensibility punctuating the carnage even further. Somehow all of this insanity coalesces in the right way, and the film creates a fun world where it’s not surprising to see that the film spawned two sequels.

1408 (2007)
Directed by Mikael Hafstrom

Stephen King has written countless stories that have seen adaptation, but 1408 actually manages to be one of the more competent ones out there. The to-the-point story sees John Cusack’s, Mike, a horror author who investigates allegedly haunted houses, spending a night in one that’s supposedly just dripping in ghosts. This one might be a bit of a cheat, since there are some scenes before Mike gets into the titular room, but since the film is all about having to stay inside and survive said room, I think it’s excusable. Once Mike is inside, the film doesn’t disappoint with a lot of genuinely terrifying things messing with him as the room tries to push him over the edge. The film does a great job with getting inside Mike’s head and also illustrating the loneliness and isolation that Mike’s experiencing through this. The fact that Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson are also highly capable performers doesn’t hurt this creepy material either.

With more and more chances being taken within the horror genre, I’m sure we’ll only see more creative takes on this minimalistic approach. As more auteurs continue to prove that mixing things up can pay off, directors are going to want to keep rolling the dice. Directors realizing that these smaller scale projects are safe could lead to some interesting things in the right hands.

Note: After writing this piece, I’ve seen Mike Flanagan’s Hush, and it certainly deserves a place on here, too.

Categories: Horror News

The 100 Greatest One-liners…After the Kill!

bloody disgusting - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 11:34

One of the greatest common threads in 1980’s genre films were the abundance of absurd one-liners. Arnold Schwarzenegger may be the king, landing awesome lines in nearly all of his action films.

But what makes this video montage a bit different is that it’s a look at the best one-liners that take place after the kill.

Yes, a handful of Schwarzenegger films are included, from Total Recall to Commando, Eraser, The 6th Day, Last Action Hero, Terminator 2, The Running Man and even Predator. Other films of note? How about Army Of Darkness, Darkman, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Mortal Kombat, Universal Soldier, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance and Hellboy

Why don’t you blow off a little steam and enjoy the video above!

Categories: Horror News

‘Population Zero’ Premiere Set For the Newport Beach Film Festival

bloody disgusting - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 11:30

In April 2009 three young men were killed in a remote part of Yellowstone National Park. The only thing more shocking than the crime itself are the bizarre events that followed.

Julian Pinder and Adam Levins’ Population Zero focuses on the crazy true fact that there exists a place in America where there are no laws and you can really get away with murder.

The indie production is set to World Premiere next week at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

In 2009 three young men were killed in a remote area of Yellowstone National Park. Only hours later, Dwayne Nelson walks into a ranger station miles away and confessed to the crime. Despite his detailed confession, Nelson goes free because of a loophole in the American Constitution. Documentarian Julian T. Pinder travels to Yellowstone in a chase for truth behind a crime that should have rocked the nation. How did the United States Constitution let a guilty man go free? In ‘Population Zero’ we find the only thing more shocking thank this senseless act of violence may be the bizarre events that followed.

Check out an exclusive look at the art below.

Categories: Horror News

Andy Serkis Takes Part in ‘The Ritual’

bloody disgusting - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 11:12

BAFTA nominated screenwriter Joe Barton (“Humans”) is adapting Adam Nevill’s award-winning horror novel The Ritual.

Andy Serkis, who starred in the Planet of the Apes prequels, as well as the new Star Wars, is producing with Jonathan Cavendish under his production banner, The Imaginarium.

Nevill’s story, which won the August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel in 2012, “Centers on four friends from college who head off into the Scandinavian wild in an effort to get away from it all and reconnect with each other. But what begins as a trip of bonding and friendship turns into a nightmare when they take a shortcut and end up lost. Some of them are injured and they seem stranded with nothing but forrest in every direction direction. While trying to find their way back to civilization, they come across what seems to be an abandoned cottage. Inside they discover ancient artifacts on the wall and bones scattered on the floor in a sacrificial manner. They soon discover that something is stalking them and is intent on keeping them from leaving the woods.

Chloe Sizer will oversee for Imaginarium, while Laura Wilson will oversee for eOne, which will finance and distribute.

[H/T] The Tracking Board

Categories: Horror News

Your Horror Game Release Schedule for April

bloody disgusting - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 11:00

Demon thumbs, broken controllers, katana-wielding badasses, and spooky ghosts are some of the things we have to look forward to in April’s selection of horror games. I really didn’t think this year could match the frighteningly awesome first half of 2015, but here we are, four months in and it still hasn’t slowed down. Let’s have a look at what’s coming up this month.

HTC Vive

The Oculus Rift ($599) has had a few weeks to get comfortable before the arrival of its only major competitor, and now the war is on for the virtual reality space. What separates the HTC Vive from the Rift can be summed up as price, specs and support. The Vive costs $799, has superior specs to match its more premium price, and it’s being backed hard by Valve. It also has one fantastic horror game you can grab right away in Albino Lullaby: Episode 1.

Release Date: April 5 (PC)

Dark Souls III

At this point, Dark Souls III doesn’t need an introduction. It’s going to ruin you, but you know this. It’ll break your confidence, leave you feeling incompetent and infuriated with yourself for not pressing the dodge button in time, but you know that too. You don’t care, because that’s the point. You’ll power through the frustration because you know there’s a light at the end of that tunnel, and when you get there, you know it’ll be one of the most rewarding gaming experiences that are out there.

Release Date: April 12 (PC, PS4, XBO)

Phantasmal: City of Darkness

Phantasmal: City of Darkness is a crowdfunded survival horror roguelike that released on Steam Early Access (review) last year. With its Lovecraftian themes and procedurally generated levels, this game has an incredibly high replay factor that should more than justify its budget price. It’s on sale for $11.99 until Thursday, then it’ll go back to $14.99.

Release Date: April 14 (PC)

The Walking Dead: Michonne – Episode 3

Telltale’s spin-off miniseries starring fan favorite Michonne will come to an end this month with the finale episode ‘What We Deserve’ that should tidy up any loose ends left by the first two thirds of The Walking Dead: Michonne so we can all be ready for the premier of The Walking Dead: Season 3 this fall.

Release Date: April 26 (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XBO, iOS, Android)

Aliens vs. Pinball

This isn’t a “horror” game, but it is related to one of the best horror games of 2014, so here it is. Aliens vs. Pinball is an Alien: Isolation inspired pinball table for Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX2 that takes Amanda Ripley’s fight for survival against an alien and some rogue Working Joes and pinball-ifies it, because why not? And it’s coming on Alien Day, naturally.

Release Date: April 26 (PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, iOS, Android)

Crowdfunding Campaigns

We have two notable Kickstarter campaigns to keep an eye on this month, starting with the atmospheric exploration game Niten that borrows heavily from Dear Esther and Gone Home, then cranks up the isolation factor considerably with its remote Japanese island setting. The game needs to raise a little over $21k by May 5, and with just $4,000 raised as I write this, it still has a long road ahead of it.

We also have Ghost Theory, a game about investigating paranormal activity in real-world locales that have been recreated so they’re fully explorable in a virtual space. If it sounds familiar, it’s because this is its second attempt at crowdfunding, after the first failed to meet its lofty funding goal.

This time, Dreadlocks is seeking about $71k to get it made. It’s about a third of the way there with more than three weeks left before its campaign closes on May 13, the day Doom arrives. You can give it a little nudge over here.

Categories: Horror News

‘Me and My Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse’ Gets a Trailer

bloody disgusting - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 10:47

The Australian zombie comedy, Me and My Mates vs. the Zombie Apocalypse, is heading to North America this summer, Bloody Disgusting exclusively learned the other day.

Starring three of Australia’s biggest comedians: Alex Williamson, Jim Jefferies, and Greg Fleet, Me and My Mates vs. the Zombie Apocalypse will be released on July 5, 2016 on DVD, VOD, and Digital channels throughout U.S. and Canada by Lightyear Entertainment.

Here’s the film’s official trailer.

The film follows three blue-collar Australian telecom tradesman, and some of their friends, who are trapped in a telephone exchange during the onset of a zombie apocalypse. MAMM is the first “oz-zom-com” and the laughs and mayhem are nonstop.

Jefferies is well known in America for his FX series “Legit,” his 2014 Netflix special, “Bare,” his 2012 Epix special, “Fully Functional,” his 2010 Comedy Central special “Alcoholocaust,” and his 2009 HBO special, “I Swear To God.”

Williamson, a worldwide internet sensation, has 65 million views on his youTube channel, and over a million Facebook followers. He has sold out standup shows all over the world.

Fleet has starred in various Australian TV shows for the past 4 decades, and is best known for Thai Die, Full Frontal, and The Hard Word.

The film was produced by Daniel Sanguineti and Christian Doran; and written and directed by emerging filmmaker Declan Shrubb on the Red Epic 4K. Rights were licensed by Lightyear Entertainment (distributed through eOne Distribution) from worldwide sales agent Shoreline Entertainment.

Categories: Horror News

‘Friday the 13th’ Series Axed By CW?!

bloody disgusting - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 09:10

The Voorhees family can’t catch a break, but maybe this one is for the better…

While Paramount continues to develop the 13th installment of the Friday the 13th franchise, Horror Inc. producers had been laying the groundwork for a series that would air on the CW.

CW, which hosts the popular “iZombie” adaptation, has passed on all of their horror pilots, including “Tales of the Darkside” from Joe Hill.

Now, according to an unverified source, pizowell, CW has axed plans for bringing Jason Voorhees to their network.

“So what happened? According to my source, the network didn’t jibe with the concept for the series. What was the concept? Apparently, that’s the problem. After months of development, there was still no real concept for the series, causing network execs to re-think bringing Friday the 13th (back) to the small screen.”

The Friday the 13th series adaptation was being developed by Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle, creators of the 1996 NBC series “The Pretender” through CBS TV Studios.

The project originated when Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films and Crystal Lake Entertainment sealed a deal to produce a new hourlong dramatic series based upon the characters and settings of the franchise, with Sean S. Cunningham, who helmed the 1980 original, executive producing along with EFO Films principals Randall Emmett & George Furla and Mark Canton, among others.

Bill Basso (Terminator) and Jordu Schell (Avatar) were tapped at the time to script a storyline that re-imagines Jason in multiple time periods. Details on the remake are sketchy but the idea had been to do a contemporary series focusing on the eclectic characters of Crystal Lake who are forced to confront the return of the killer, as new secrets about his wacky family are revealed. The masked Jason is being reimagined with a stronger feel of grounded reality.

Having a lack of focus, as the report states, does not bode well for the future of the series. Unless someone is willing to capitalize on the name alone, it looks as if Jason will remain dead, at least on the small screen…

Categories: Horror News

‘Alien: Isolation’ Invades ‘Aliens vs. Pinball’

bloody disgusting - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 09:00

In space, no one can hear you scream, but toss an active pinball cabinet in there and that’ll get the attention of whoever it is you’re trying to scream at, guaranteed. Those things are super loud. That’s why I prefer to get my pinball fix through video games, where mute will always be an option. That’s not to say you’ll need to mute Zen Pinball 2, which has ‘zen’ in the title, so you know it won’t cause a raucous. It’ll probably soothe you, because a calm player can be more easily facehugged, and that’s kind of the whole point.

If you fancy the idea of becoming the human equivalent of one of those stripper birthday cakes, then you might want to consider grabbing the Aliens vs. Pinball pack for Zen Pinball 2 when it releases later this month, if only because it combines pinball and Alien: Isolation.

The story, as it were, should be familiar to fans of Isolation, as you’re tasked with helping “Amanda Ripley survive the dangerous corridors of Sevastopol Space Station while evading a merciless Xenomorph,” while evading the “Working Joe androids and Station Security Guards, craft weaponry, and hack computers while you keep an eye out for the relentless Alien.”

Aliens vs. Pinball arrives on Alien Day, April 26, for Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX2.

Next up, the Predator pack. No release date for that yet. Stay tuned!

Categories: Horror News

Paramount Wants ‘Rings’ to Be Their Next ‘Paranormal Activity’

bloody disgusting - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 08:44

There was a hugely impactful piece of news hiding at the bottom of the Las Vegas CinemaCon well.

After a few delays, Paramount Pictures has locked in a Halloween release (October 28, 2016) for Rings, the latest sequel to The Ring, the U.S. remake of Hideo Nakata’s J-horror Ringu.

This plan is by design, apparently, as the studio hopes this will be their next annual franchise.

Rob Moore, Vice Chairman of Paramount, introduced the Rings trailer to the CinemCon audience, while also teasing a new sequel every Halloween.

If you recall, Lionsgate’s SAW coined the phrase, “If it’s Halloween, it must be…SAW.” They owned the holiday weekend, at least until 2009 when Paramount’s Paranormal Activity slowly worked its way to a wide release. The following year Paranormal Activity 2 would take the reigns as the new Halloween champion.

Now, Paramount is hoping Rings will transition their third film into a rebirth of a franchise.

[Related Post] The Ring Spoofed With Modern Technology Is Spot-on!

MovieWeb details the trailer shown to the CinemaCon audience:

The trailer was set entirely on an airplane. A passenger is talking to a woman next to him when the plane hits a spot of turbulence. He tells the story of meeting a woman, part of a group called “The Sevens”. From this woman, our narrator received the video tape that ‘The Ring’ fans will well remember. The next day, he received a call that he would die seven days later. That call was six days, 23 hours and 55 minutes ago. Suddenly the turbulence worsens, the cockpit flight instruments flicker to static and some mysterious black liquid bubbles up out of the airplane lavatories. We cut to Samara’s well, both on the cockpit instruments and the airplane monitors throughout the cabin. Samara crawls out of the video and towards the narrating passenger and we are cut quickly to the title treatment.

Having Samara attack passengers on a plan is definitely not the direction I was expecting the franchise to go in, although it’s an interesting premise. It sounds as if the footage is pushing home the backstory (after watching the haunted footage, the viewer has 7 days to pass it along, like a virus, otherwise Samara comes for them) to younger horror fans who may not have seen the first two films, which ended with The Ring Two in 2005. Shit, it’s been a decade already?!

Anyways, Rings is a direct sequel to The Ring 2, although there were plans on having it be part prequel, which didn’t come into fruition when the filmmakers were allegedly unable to lock down original star Naomi Watts.

The original cursed video will once again play as a device to Samara’s curse.

Johnny Galecki, best known as Leonard in “The Big Bang Theory,” stars in Rings.

Galecki will play Gabriel, a handsome, pleasure-seeking professor who mentors and helps boyfriend and girlfriend duo, Holt (Alex Roe) and Julia (Matilda Lutz). Scream 4‘s Aimee Teegarden rounds out the main cast.

I still think the 2002 The Ring, directed by Gore Verbinski, is one of the scariest movies ever made. Have you seen it lately? Did you pass it on to a friend or loved one?

Categories: Horror News

Exhumed & Exonerated: ‘Popcorn’ (1991)

bloody disgusting - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 19:47

Every decade has its ups and downs when it comes to cinema, no matter the genre.  Horror fans love to loft on high the output of the ‘30s & ‘40s, the ‘70s & ‘80s, and the more recent decades.  More often than not, however, the 1990s are labeled as the worst decade for the genre.  Not only that, but ‘90s horror tends to be written off as a whole, beyond a handful of undisputed classics.  The purpose of Exhumed & Exonerated: The ‘90s Horror Project, is to refute those accusations by highlighting numerous gems from the decade.  Stone cold classics will be tackled in this column from time to time, but its main purpose will be to seek out lesser-known and/or less-loved titles that I think deserve more attention and respect from fans.  Let the mayhem begin!

POPCORN

Directed by Mark Herrier & Alan Ormsby (uncredited)
Screenplay by Mitchell Smith & Tod Hackett
Produced by Ashok Amritraj, Howard Hurst, Torben Johnke, Sophie Hurst, and Bob Clark (uncredited)
Starring Jill Schoelen, Tom Villard, Dee Wallace Stone, Derek Rydall, Tony Roberts, Malcolm Danare, Kelly Jo Minter, and Ray Walston
Released on February 1, 1991

The early ‘90s (and late ‘80s) saw quite a few self-reflective horror films come along.  Naturally the postmodernist tendencies kicked into high-gear after Wes Craven’s Scream was released in late 1996, but the desire of filmmakers in the genre to examine the past was already well under way by then.  Both Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness tapped into this obsession with self-examination, as did Fred Dekker’s The Monster Squad years earlier.  While most of these are well-known within horror-loving circles, one such applicable film that doesn’t get nearly enough love is Popcorn.

Directed by Porky’s trilogy star Mark Herrier and an uncredited Alan Ormsby (Deranged), Popcorn follows a group of film students who decide to put on a William Castle-style horror movie marathon to raise money for their film program and hopefully fund some of their student projects as well.  I conjure the name of Castle simply because they have chosen three (fake) films to show during their all-night fundraiser that all appear to help from the 1950s/1960s and all have some sort of gimmick.

“Mosquito” is an atomic creature feature not unlike those made by Jack Arnold and William Alland, complete with a big mosquito puppet that they have rigged to swing down from the theater ceiling.  “The Attack of the Amazing Electrified Man” sees an AIP-style feature about a simple-minded death row inmate transformed into a shocking (literally!) terror, with The Tingler-style electric buzzers on the seats for added audience goosing.  Finally, there is the Japanese film “The Stench”, released in “Odorama”, where the students use gas capsule to flood the theater with foul smells on cue to accompany the feature.  It’s supposed to be a big, raucous night of ballyhoo and is sure to be a success…

…were it not for the murderous maniac with a different set of plans for the event.  You see, 15 years earlier, there was a fringe cult filmmaker named Lanyard Gates (Matt Falls) who was rather miffed that critics and audiences were scoffing at his work and the work of his group.  In retaliation, he filmed a horror short and shot all but the finale, which he decided he would enact live on stage at the premiere.  Unfortunately, his finale involved him attempting to murder his wife and daughter on stage.  While he succeeded in killing his wife, his sister-in-law (Dee Wallace Stone) burst in, shot him, saved the little girl, and set fire to the theater, thereby burning all of Gates’ demented followers alive inside.

In preparation for this marathon, our students enlist the help of movie memorabilia maestro Dr. Mnesyne (Ray Walston) to supply the old school gags and an assortment of costumes and decorations to spruce up their location with.  Contained within those crates is “The Possessor”, Gates’ aforementioned experimental horror film.  The students watch it and laugh it off, tossing it back into the box and moving on with their preparations.

So what’s the connection?  Our mysterious killer is hellbent on finishing the Gates film during the marathon, complete with an uninterrupted recreation of the murderous live final act.  There are some further twists, turns, and revelations, but what we basically have here is a postmodernist slasher that, in many ways, must have been on Kevin Williamson’s mind when he first sat down to write Scream (or Scary Movie, as it was originally titled), as well as the opening sequence of Scream 2.  Hell, we even have a cast of characters here who are as obsessed with movies as their eventual attacker is!

While the core narrative and characters are entertaining, thankfully including the disguise-changing villain himself, a lot of the fun comes from the movies-within-the-movie themselves.  These segments were directed by Alan Ormsby (who was fired from directing the whole feature) and, coupled with the fact that the film’s FX were supervised by uncredited producer Bob Clark (Black Christmas), it makes this all an unofficial reunion of talent from the makers of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Deathdream, and Deranged.  Each of these faux films matches the style and tone of the era they are attempting to evoke almost perfectly, making the entire set-up more genuine than a lot of films that pull similar routines.

“Mosquito” absolutely plays out like a William Alland feature in the vein of Tarantula or The Deadly Mantis.  “Electrified Man” skews more towards early AIP fare like I Was A Teenage Werewolf and War of the Colossal Beast.  “The Stench” lands more in early color Toho territory, evoking the non-kaiju efforts of Ishiro Honda.  As for “The Possessor”, it contains more of a ‘60s Euro-horror vibe, evoking psychedelic experimental cinema and the works of Italian maestro Mario Bava.  These different flares all give it an extra appeal for any horror fan obsessed with or interested in the genre’s history.

Judging the film based on its look is a bit hard at this time, as the only copies of it one can find these days are the old VHS release and the now-OOP DVD from the ‘00s, which itself looks like a high-end VHS copy.  As a result, I’ll refrain from commenting on its overall visual atmosphere, at least until Synapse finishes the HD restoration that they are apparently working on as we speak.  Fingers crossed that it sees release sometime within the next year or so, as I suspect this film will look pretty damn good once it has been spruced up.  Popcorn certainly deserves it.

The tone and style of the film evokes mid-to-late ‘80s cinema, almost to the point where if I didn’t know it hailed from 1991, I would have automatically assumed it was made around 1987 or so.  The acting also holds to this vibe, especially considering some of the cast members.  In addition to aforementioned genre vets Dee Wallace Stone (The Howling, Cujo) and Ray Walston (“My Favorite Martian”, there are quite a few familiar faces.  Jill Schoelen (The Stepfather, Phantom of the Opera ’89) is our final girl, Maggie.  Tom Villiard (One Crazy Summer) plays her goofy fellow film student pal Toby and Derek Rydall (Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge) is her on again-off again boyfriend, Mark.  We are also treated to Tony Roberts (Annie Hall, Amityville 3-D) as their professor and Malcolm Danare (Christine, The Curse) and Kelly Jo Minter (Summer School, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child) as two of the other students.

Popcorn isn’t a forgotten classic, but it is definitely an under-loved gem.  From its ‘80s vibe to its fun concept to its wide assortment of bonafide horror talent, it’s a lot of fun and probably a great film to pop in and munch down on some popped corn with a few like-minded friends.  Whether you decide to wait for Synapse’s promised Blu-ray or you track down on your own before then, chances are you’ll be entertained by this offbeat slasher and its homages to ‘50s & ‘60s genre cinema.  It starts off a bit rocky, but once it gets going, it’s a fun ride.

Up Next: Find out Thursday!  I got a little behind on this column, but have since caught up, so if you’re enjoying it so far, hopefully you will be happy to hear that I’m doubling up both this week and next on new installments.

Previously On…
Species | Mute Witness | Popcorn

Categories: Horror News

Russia is Entering the Superhero Genre with a Pissed Off Werebear

bloody disgusting - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 19:03

Allow me to introduce you to Guardians, a superhero film hailing from Russia that is directed by Sarik Andreasyan. The basic idea is that a group of people who represent the variety of nations in the USSR during the Cold War era have their DNA altered to infuse them with various superpowers. Then, the Soviet Union collapses and these people essentially go into hiding until, suddenly, a new modern threat arises and they come out of retirement to save the day.

Wiki writes that the movie is about, “… a secret organization named “Patriot” gathered a group of Soviet superheroes, altering and augmenting the DNA of four individuals, in order to defend the homeland from supernatural threats.

The group includes representatives of the different nationalities of the Soviet Union, which each one of them have long been hiding their true identity. In hard times, they settled down to business and gather to defend their homeland.

Perhaps the most ridiculous – and ridiculously awesome – of these characters is Arsus, a man who can turn himself into a bear on command. However, he apparently has the ability to decide which parts of himself he wants to change and at what point. I’m sure he’s a real beast in the bedroom, if you know what I mean!

…I’ll leave now.

Guardians stars Anton Pampushniy, Sanzhar Madiev, Sebastien Sisak, Alina Lanina, Valeria Shkirando, Vyacheslav Razbegaev, and Stanislav Shirin. It hits Russian theaters on February 23rd, 2017.

Categories: Horror News

Oculus Rift Visits the ‘Edge of Nowhere’ in June

bloody disgusting - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 18:53

There’s no shortage of virtual reality games to look forward to, we even listed some of our favorites earlier this week. There are a handful of games that are hogging much of the buzz, and among them is Insomniac’s (Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive) stunning Oculus Rift exclusive horror game, Edge of Nowhere, which is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s novella At the Mountains of Madness.

The considerable hype that surrounds this game has come almost exclusively from public showings, including a recent direct-feed capture at GDC last month, so there’s a reason for it. We’ll know for sure when the game hits the Oculus store on June 6.

Categories: Horror News

‘The Park’ Comes to PS4, Xbox One Next Month

bloody disgusting - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 16:54

Originally slated for a release this month, Funcom has confirmed their psychological horror game The Park is headed to PS4 and Xbox One on May 3. Our very own T. Blake Braddy called it a “fine narrative experience” with “some minor issues” in his review of the PC version that released back in October, allowing about six months for those issues to be addressed.

Set in an empty amusement park — the creepiest kind, no? — The Park takes place within the same universe as Funcom’s underappreciated MMO The Secret World, with a story about a mother’s desperate mission to find her lost son.

Categories: Horror News

‘Dying Light: The Following’ Has Four New DLC Bundles

bloody disgusting - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 16:35

Techland released a series of videos earlier today to show off the four new Dying Light: The Following DLC bundles — Volatile Hunter, Harran Ranger, Crash Test, and Gun Psycho — that are available now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Included in each $2.99 bundle you’ll find an outfit, some weapons, and a new paint job that won’t immediately be ruined by the gore and viscera the dune buggy tends to accumulate when you’re plowing through a sea of unsuspecting ghouls with my dual flamethrowers cranked to the max.

Categories: Horror News

There’s a ‘Psycho’ Replica House On the Met Museum’s Roof!

bloody disgusting - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 16:18

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden is being overseen by “Mother” as, for the 2016 season, the roof garden commission is British artist Cornelia Parker’s “Transitional Object (PsychoBarn),” which is indeed a replica of the creepy home featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror classic Psycho, reports Curbed New York.

Parker says she was inspired not just by Hitchcock’s iconic film, but also by the work of artist Edward Hopper, who was known for painting rural landscapes punctuated by the odd barn or rambling old house. In fact, the Bates home in Psycho was allegedly inspired by Hopper’s painting House By the Railroad, and Parker’s piece shares similar characteristics. It’s covered in reclaimed wood, which comes from an actual barn; she’s stated that she wanted to contrast the “wholesomeness” of that image with the creepiness of the Hitchcock film.

It opens tomorrow and will be on view through October 31.

Cornelia Parker, #psychobarn #metroof

A photo posted by Becky Schear (@beckyschear) on Apr 18, 2016 at 12:06pm PDT

Categories: Horror News

‘The Walking Dead: Michonne’ Ends Next Week

bloody disgusting - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 15:57

Telltale’s has confirmed their three-part miniseries The Walking Dead: Michonne will come to an end next week with a finale filled with swinging katanas, hungry ghouls, and peppered with enough feels to leave you devastated right up until the debut of The Walking Dead: Season 3 this fall.

Are you all caught up? If so, what do you think of this series — is this something you’d like to see Telltale return to with another popular Walking Dead character?

Michonne releases April 26 for PC/Mac, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and mobile.

Categories: Horror News

Suda 51’s Bloody Brawler ‘Let it Die’ Has a T-Rex

bloody disgusting - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 15:43

I know you don’t need me to tell you that Suda 51 makes weird games, it’s a fact, like how giraffes fight by becoming mediaeval flails. His studio, Grasshopper Manufacture, is known for their punk rock hack-and-shoot-’em-ups No More Heroes and Killer7, as well as the contributions they’ve made in the general direction of horror, with Shadows of the Damned, Lollipop Chainsaw and the Japan-exclusive Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse.

Suda 51’s upcoming free-to-play asynchronous multiplayer brawler Let it Die seems to borrow from all of these titles, with its gladiatorial combat that blends Manhunt and Mortal Kombat with zany arenas featuring fire-spewing Tyrannosaurs, because that’s how you make a seven ton mass of muscle and teeth cool and terrifying.

After a lengthy hiatus that left me wondering if we were going to have to let Let it Die die, its publisher, GungHo Online Entertainment, confirmed the PS4 exclusive is still aiming for a release later this year, with a playable demo that’ll be at PAX East next week.

Categories: Horror News

What is the Good Vs. Evil Ratio Inside Your Brain?

bloody disgusting - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 15:00

And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. – Friedrich Nietzsche

In each of us, there is the potential for both good and evil. It’s simply a matter of how we decide to tackle any situation thrown our way. Each situation we come across in life offers a choice on how we act, whether it be for the betterment of ourselves or those around us or if we become a little naughty and choose to let the devil on our shoulder do the talking.

But what about you, eh? How about the dear readers of Bloody-Disgusting? When you look in the mirror, do you see someone that wouldn’t be set ablaze simply by stepping foot into a church? Or do you see someone who’s got a lot of work cut out for them? Why not take the simple test below to see where you land!

I got 50/50, which gave me these results:

Based on your visual associations, we found that your brain is 50% good and 50% evil. You usually tend to be quite balanced and try to see both side of the coin, though when scorned, you can be quite vengeful and do things that some may say are out of character. You’re quite level headed and see yourself as a bit of an introvert and a bit of an extrovert as well.

Take the quiz below and let us know your results in the comments!

Categories: Horror News

Guy Builds LEGO BFG-9000 From ‘Doom’

bloody disgusting - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 14:30

ZaziNombies LEGO Creations is a YouTube channel that builds awesome creations, mostly from video games, using nothing but LEGO blocks. From weapons seen in Call of Duty to creatures from Minecraft, Zazi shows incredible care and attention to detail for each of the projects. And for his latest endeavor, he’s picked one of the most powerful handheld weapons to appear in video game history: the BFG-9000 from Doom!

Now, Zazi has chosen to recreate the original BFG, the one from id Software’s 1993 classic FPS shooter that ended up revolutionizing and defining the genre. Dubbed in the 2005 film adaptation as the “Bio Force Gun”, all video game players know it by its real name: the “Big Fucking Gun”, which might be the most accurate name for a weapon in the history of video games. Honestly, I think that name even beats out total descriptors like “iron sword” or “wooden shield”. What kind of sword, huh? Oh, is that oak or maple? Get outta here and give me my big fucking gun!

Check out the above video to see the LEGO weapon “in action”! Once you’re done giving it a view, why not tell me your favorite Doom weapon in the comments below?

Categories: Horror News