Joseph O'Brien Talks Walking the Devil's Mile

Dread Central - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 11:00

Forget Route 666. The Devil’s Mile is an even more evil stretch of road in this new horror thriller starring David Hayter and directed by Joseph O’Brien, with whom we recently had a chance to chat about the film.

Devil's Mile follows a trio of kidnappers who take an ill-advised detour (is there any other kind?) en route to deliver their hostages – a pair of teenage girls - to their mysterious employer. When one of the girls dies along the way, the trio’s slowly-boiling mistrust explodes into chaos.

But what they thought was their worst day ever is only beginning as they are engulfed by the hellish forces that haunt the road - a road they may never escape.

Dread Central: This is one of the few indie horror movies that really lives up to the promo material. I'm curious to know how much the story evolved from your initial idea to script to shooting and final edit. Did different aspects of the story come to the fore more as it progressed?

Joseph O'Brien: That's very nice of you to say; thank you. It's greatly appreciated. The basic spine of the story – a group of people become trapped on a road haunted by supernatural forces – was always there. Originally the characters were just regular folks on a road trip, but that felt mundane and done to death. I'd seen it before. You'd seen it before. And I was writing a moment where one of characters opens the trunk and thought, 'What if there were two girls tied up inside?' And it clicked. This isn't a horror movie; it's a crime thriller that evolves into a horror movie! They're two of my favorite genres, and the idea of combining them really appealed to me. It energized the story and opened up a lot of narrative possibilities. Once I started exploring the idea of a hybrid genre, it became very important to make sure that I didn't just swap one for another. The crime thriller had to inform the horror movie and the horror movie had to transform the crime thriller. Tonally they had to feel like a single story, not two stories bashed together.

The movie did change and develop in the making of it, all of it positively I think, but it was more in terms of the feel of the movie than the content. I had originally envisioned Devil’s Mile as more of a straight-up exploitation film, a bit more hyperbolic. It changed a bit once we were cast. The dramatic scenes played straighter and more intensely than I had expected – all credit due to the actors for taking the material as seriously as they did. But it also a got a bit funnier and a lot stranger.

I think the biggest tonal shift came when I dropped two scenes – partly for scheduling reasons, but also because the film was coming together and I realized they weren't essential. They were arguably the two most overtly stock “horror” scenes in the script, in the sense that they were there to be scary for their own sake, but they didn't push the story forward, and while I don't miss them narratively, it definitely tilted the balance. And then of course Chris Alexander created this fantastic, evocative score that unified all the elements into a single entity.

DC: When did David Hayter come on board? It's almost as though this part was written with him in mind.

DOB: We first talked to David while the script was being finalized. I had been a fan of his work for many years, and we had been recently introduced by a mutual friend. David had started out as an actor, but that career was kind of sidelined when he became a writer of Hollywood blockbusters, the poor guy. By complete coincidence, he was also childhood friends with my producing partner, Mark Opausky, and when we were thinking about actors who could play Toby, I suggested David. I knew he still had the acting bug, and I thought his intensity and personality could really lend something to the part – and I was right. Mark sent him the script and he responded very strongly to the character of Toby. He arrived on set with a very clear idea of what he wanted to do with the character, and he very much made Toby his own. On the page Toby was a slightly more thuggish character, and David brought a charm and humor and nuance to him that I really liked. It created an interesting contrast to his more violent moments and made them even more shocking, I think.

DC: How'd the rest of your cast come together? The female leads are particularly good, and they all mesh so well.

DOB: Maria Del Mar and I worked together on a miniseries I had written a number of years ago, and I had always wanted to do another project with her. When we were in the early stages of putting the movie together, she had mentioned – on Facebook of all places – that she was looking for something different to do. So I messaged her about Devil’s Mile – not really expecting her to respond – and to my surprise and delight she asked to see the script. She read it and committed a full year before we rolled cameras on the movie, for which I am eternally in her debt.

Casey Hudecki, what a discovery she turned out to be. I knew her a little bit through a group of actors and writers and creative people that we both hung out with. She was brimming with potential – a terrific stage actor, fight director, and stuntperson – but she had never been in a movie before. We screen tested her with Maria – they had immediate chemistry – and she just lit up the screen. After that we didn't even consider anyone else. It was Casey all the way. And Casey being Casey, she exceeded our very high expectations at every turn. She was there every day of the shoot, not just acting but also choreographing the fights and getting yanked through the air on a jerk harness. She kicks ass.

Samantha Wan and Amanda Joy Lim came to us through the audition process. Casting Suki and Kanako was the scariest and most challenging part of putting the movie together. They're smaller parts but they're pivotal to the story and they have unique very specific requirements; we looked at a lot of people and couldn't quite nail it down. Then Sam and Amy walked through the door, and it was like the characters had come to life in front of me. The first day makeup effects designer Allan Cooke came to set and saw them in costume, he walked over to me and said, 'They look exactly the way I pictured them when I read the script!'

Frank Moore and Craig Porritt, who play Mr. Arkadi and The Caretaker, respectively, also auditioned. In contrast to Amy and Sam, they were very different from the characters as I had envisioned them, but their interpretations were so much stronger and nuanced than what I had in mind, I literally couldn't see the characters the same way again.

DC: When it comes to adding CGI to the supernatural aspects of the film, would you describe how you decided how much to use, and how much is practical?

DOB: I'm an 80s guy; I love prosthetics and special makeup effects. I've got my well-worn copy of Grande Illusions signed by Tom Savini on my bookshelf. And I knew when we were making this that I wanted to have a real, physical monster. The Kanako demon is a full-body prosthetic, sculpted and built by Allan Cooke and worn by Shara Kim, that we photographed live on set. But I also needed her to have an unreal, unsettling quality, so I treated that footage with digital effects to take it out of the strictly physical realm and into something more ghost-like. So it's more of a computer-enhanced image than a computer-generated one. On balance I would say it's actually about 95% practical – what you see on screen in mostly real.

I love visual effects, both practical and digital, and every technique has its virtues and its drawbacks. But audiences – and particularly genre audiences – are so savvy about these things that they sometimes experience and appreciate the technique over the dramatic effect that technique is trying to convey. I know because I do it myself. So I definitely wanted to disguise the technique and do something unexpected, and like the story, I chose to deploy a hybrid approach that would blur the lines a bit. It's scarier that way, too, because you don't quite know precisely what you're seeing happen.

DC: Since you'd only directed one short (according to that pillar of accuracy, before this feature, can you talk a little bit about some of the unexpected things that came up making a full-length film?

DOB: Well, I've worked in various capacities – credited and uncredited – in feature films for close to twenty years. I've been a production assistant and I've been a development executive and I've had jobs at all points in between, which turned out to be ideal preparation for directing because even if I haven't specifically done someone's job, I'm familiar enough with it to be able to effectively communicate with the person who is doing it. Just being able to do that gives you a much greater awareness of the set and a more granular control of delegation to the crew.

The one thing I still haven't figured out how to control is the weather. We shot on a tight budget and a tight schedule, and we got rained out of a location before we could finish a key scene in the movie – the moment where we first reveal the demon, which happened to be the only scene I had actually storyboarded. And when we got back together to pick it up – months later, in a completely different location – we got rained out again. The scene was fucking cursed, but there was no way we could do without it, and this was absolutely our last chance to get it. We wound up shooting this critical night exterior inside a parking garage with an eight-foot ceiling, which meant all my storyboards went out the window and I had to rethink the entire scene on the spot. It was a nightmare. It took every scrap of learning I had had up to that point, an incredibly dedicated crew, and a couple of very resourceful and clever producers to pull it together and make that scene happen.

DC: Who are some of your favorite independent horror filmmakers, and which movies of your peers inspire you the most?

DOB: The two biggest influences on Devil’s Mile were my two favorite directors, Mario Bava and John Carpenter. They're both thought of as horror filmmakers, but they actually have quite diverse filmographies. I definitely had Bava's Rabid Dogs (a.k.a. Kidnapped) in mind when I was writing the early scenes when everyone's in the car, and his use of vivid color to convey the supernatural in Kill Baby Kill and Black Sabbath consciously informed the palette of the night scenes. A lot of my love of Carpenter's Prince of Darkness bled through here, consciously and unconsciously. And PoD is itself Carpenter's tribute to one of my favorite writers, Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale (who is essentially the godfather of genre-smashing). When I was writing the script, my imaginary version of the cast was Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, and Kurt Russell, all circa 1981.

In terms of people making movies currently, I really dug Nicholas McCarthy's The Pact and Mike Flanagan's Absentia. Both of those guys took tiny budgets and made strong, character-driven, genuinely frightening movies that both satisfied the expectations of the genre while at the same time delivering something fresh – I haven't yet seen their respective followups, Home/At The Devil's Door and Oculus yet, but I'm really looking forward to them. And I loved the way Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard made You're Next funny without being self-congratulatory or self-referential, in a way that it enhanced the scares instead of undermining them, and that's really, really hard to get right. When I see guys that young and that talented knocking it out of the park like that, I don't if I'm so much 'inspired' as I am 'terrified that I'm late to the party,' but it certainly motivates me.

DC: What is your favorite "road horror" movie?

DOB: It's a great little subgenre, with some interesting films to show for it... one that speaks to me, obviously. John Dahl's Joy Ride is a personal favorite and quite underrated. Ditto Richard Franklin's Road Games. And The Hitcher, the original, is a genuinely nightmarish thriller with a mean streak a mile wide. But for me it all goes back to seeing Duel on TV as a kid (and many, many time subsequently). A script by Richard Matheson at the peak of his powers, directed by Steven Spielberg at his hungriest moment – an unbeatable combination. There's an elegant simplicity to that movie that I don't think has ever been matched. Just Dennis Weaver on an endless stretch of highway being chased by a giant truck, stripped-down, terrifying, and pure. Doesn't get better.

Look for the indie thriller Devil's Mile on August 12th on both DVD and VOD outlets!

Joining David Hayter and Casey Hudecki on this terrifying journey are Maria Del Mar ("24", Terminal City, Jekyll + Hyde) and Frank Moore (best known to genre fans for his lead role in David Cronenberg’s Rabid, opposite the late Marilyn Chambers) as crime lord Mr. Arkadi, whose machinations set the sinister events of Devil’s Mile in motion.

A gang of psychotic convicts take a dangerous and ill-advised detour after brutally kidnapping two young girls. As the captors speed away, events quickly turn out to be much more dangerous and gruesome than they had planned for. While driving down a long and dark stretch of deserted highway, the car becomes surrounded by mysterious sinister spirits, forcing the captors and young girls to work together in hopes of surviving the deadly evil force.

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Categories: Horror News

[Fantasia '14'] ‘Mark of Kane’ Leaves His Mark On This Poster

bloody disgusting - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:56

Novel adaption ‘Mark of Kane’ gets new teaser poster ahead of Fantasia Market

Ahead of the Fantasia Frontieres Co-Production Market, a new teaser poster has just been released for Mark of Kane, the feature-film adaption of New York Times bestselling-author Michael Prescott’s horror novel “Kane” (originally published as Douglas Borton).

The poster is by prolific designer Omar Hauksson (The Raid 1 & 2, Proxy, Stage Fright, Resolution).

Kane is a force of nature. Walking out of the desert into the dying town of Tuskett, which only 23 people still call home, he has only one purpose: to kill every resident. Relentless, stealthy, and without mercy, Kane won’t stop until every last man, woman and child is nothing but a memory. Soon the surviving townspeople must band together to fight this seemingly-unstoppable evil, or die trying. Brutal, action-packed, and most importantly, character-driven, Mark of Kane is a thrilling story of survival at any cost.

Mark of Kane is one of the ‘Off-Frontieres’ Selections at Fantasia Film Festival’s upcoming Frontieres International Co-Production Market. The adaption is co-scripted by Serena Whitney and Justin McConnell. Whitney and McConnell also co-produce, along with Canadian-producer Avi Federgreen (Still Mine, One Week, High Life). The team is rounded out by two highly-respected genre directors, who currently serve as consulting producers: Adam Mason (Blood River, The Devil’s Chair, Broken), and George Mihalka (My Bloody Valentine, 24 Hour Rental). A director has yet to be named.

Categories: Horror News

[Review] UK Thriller ‘Hungerford’ Is An Inventive Take On Found-Footage

bloody disgusting - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:42

It seems like in 90 percent of the found-footage reviews I write, I find myself complaining about the same things. Luckily, this entry from young UK writer/director/star Drew Casson manages to take an inventive spin on the genre while only dipping into tired cliches a few times. Hungerford is wildly ambitious and despite its tight budget, Casson was able to make it feel like a large-scale end of the world, alien invasion film. Speaking as someone who has to watch a lot of bad found footage movies, I can honestly say Hungerford makes for a refreshing and charming take on the genre.

Set in the titular town of Hungerford, the film follows Cowen (played by Casson) as he documents his life for a school project. His life basically entails partying with his roommates and trying to remember what happened the night before. It’s not a very interesting video diary, until an alien invasion goes down in body snatcher form. Then his video diary begins to kick ass. If I was his teacher, I’d probably give him a bold A+.

We’re with Cowen and his friends for the entire film, so thankfully their relationships and banter feel very organic. The dialogue is believable and sounds like the shit you’d hear a bunch of twenty-somethings rap about during a horrific alien invasion. There’s some real depth and drama to the characters too, which adds a ton of weight as far as actually caring about them goes. There’s a loose romance set up between Cowen and another character that adds a real punch later on when shit goes down.

One of the wise choices the film makes is to show us everything. Too often in found-footage are we only shown glimpses of the creature, villain, etc., and it’s usually in a dark room so we can’t actually see anything. That can be effective, of course, but it’s so overdone it’s rare for that technique to conjure up scares anymore. Casson sets his film mainly during the day and gives us full-on shots of the baddies. It works well and gives the carnage a bit of a Shaun of the Dead feel. Some of the scares don’t really work, but it’s still great that the camera never flinches away.

The “film everything” logic does stumble a bit when the kids commit a heinous crime, so it’s best to suspense disbelief for that scene.

One cliche the film does perform is setting much of the climax in a dark room (like I mentioned before). It’s tough to see much of anything, the camerawork turns jarring, and it’s simply not as effective as the rest of the film. The ending is also one were fairly accustomed to by now. It would’ve been cool to see some more of the creativity displayed earlier come up for the climax.

Despite these found footage shortcomings and some stifled acting, Hungerford is an admirable and lively entry to the genre. There’s some real feeling behind the film and it certainly shows. It’ll be interesting to see what young Casson could pull off with a healthier budget.

Categories: Horror News

Official Trailer Pronounces That ‘Jamie Marks Is Dead’

bloody disgusting - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:30

Gravitas Ventures just released the official theatrical trailer for the Sundance thriller Jamie Marks Is Dead, which was directed by The Ruins‘ Carter Smith. It will open on VOD and in limited theaters .August 29.

In the pic, “Fifteen-year-old Adam McCormick’s life hasn’t been the same since classmate Gracie Highsmith found Jamie Marks’s dead body at the edge of the river. The town is shocked, but as speculation swirls, it becomes clear that they knew as little about Jamie as they do about the circumstances surrounding his death. Adam becomes fixated on Jamie’s death, and gradually a deep bond develops between the living teenager and the dead boy’s ghost. Their unlikely friendship provides Adam with the support and friendship he needs as the rest of the world falls apart. But the more attached Adam becomes to Jamie’s ghost, the weaker his ties to reality become. As he struggles with the real-world relationships, Adam is forced to rediscover what it means to be alive.

Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver, Morgan Saylor, Judy Greer, Madisen Beaty and Liv Tyler star.

Ryan Daley was not a fan out of the premiere.

Categories: Horror News

#SDCC FULL Horror Schedule For the San Diego Comic-Con!

bloody disgusting - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:25

One of the biggest movie events of the year kicks off a week from Wednesday in San Diego, CA.

Are you ready for the annual San Diego Comic-Con, the largest comic convention on the planet? As usual, Bloody Disgusting will be on hand delivering LIVE updates for 5 straight days of madness. While comics have taken a backseat to big studio movies (that aren’t even comic related), we celebrate the madness that brings us hundreds of first looks at Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

Horror hasn’t exactly been recognized at the event, but we’ll be digging deep to find everything genre. So, keep your eyes planted here and we’ll make sure you get it ALL at one place, Bloody Disgusting.


SNEAK PREVIEW SCREENINGS (Ballroom 20): Comic-Con International and Warner Bros. Television proudly continue their annual Preview Night tradition, with exclusive world premiere screenings of the pilot episodes of three of the most highly anticipated series of the 2014-15 television season — The Flash, Constantine, and iZombie — as well as a brand new episode of Teen Titans Go!

Constantine – John Constantine is a man waging war against the forces of darkness-from both within himself and the outside world. An irreverent, working-class con man and occult expert, he’s an experienced exorcist and demonologist with an extensive list of supernatural contacts, each with their own paranormal talents and abilities. Following the aftermath of a tragic incident, Constantine has voluntarily checked himself into an asylum and sworn off investigating matters of the supernatural, but when a cryptic message calls him out to reluctantly resume his old life, he finds himself saving the life of a young woman whom he’s never met but to whom he is connected to in a very important way. With dark forces gathering power in the world, Constantine allies himself with Manny, a rogue warrior angel, and Chas, his giant childhood protector-and the only friend who’s managed to stay alive. Based on characters published by DC Entertainment, Constantine reflects the lore of the fan-favorite comic, combining noirish storytelling with the evolving mythology of John Constantine, a morally challenged character who doesn’t come down on the side of either good or evil…but ultimately might be the only thing defending us against the dark forces from beyond. The series stars Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior), Harold Perrineau (Lost), and Charles Halford (True Detective) and is executive produced by Daniel Cerone (Dexter) and David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight trilogy). From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, Constantine will air Fridays at 10/9c on NBC this fall, premiering October 24.

iZombie – Olivia “Liv” Moore, a 25-year-old medical resident, is on the fast track to a perfect life…until she’s turned into a zombie. Now stuck somewhere between half-alive and undead, Liv loses all traces of her former drive and ambition. She transfers her medical residency to the city morgue in order to reluctantly access the only real form of sustenance left available to her-and the only thing that allows her to maintain her humanity-human brains. But there are side effects to Liv’s new diet: With each brain she consumes, Liv experiences “visions”-flashes of the corpse’s memories-including, in some cases, clues as to how they were killed. The series stars Rose McIver (Once Upon a Time), Malcolm Goodwin (Breakout Kings), Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley (One Tree Hill), David Anders (Heroes) and Nora Dunn (Entourage), and is executive produced by Veronica Mars veterans Rob Thomas, Diane Ruggiero-Wright, Danielle Stokdyk, and Dan Etheridge. From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Spondoolie Productions and Warner Bros. Television and based on characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, published by DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint, iZombie premieres midseason on The CW.


Categories: Horror News

Meet Jack Icefloe Jackson in Dean Lorey's Romance for Men: Pandora's Box

Dread Central - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:00

Remember the name Jack Icefloe Jackson. He's listed as the author of the new book Romance for Men: Pandora's Box, and he's one helluva character. Icefloe is a sex machine from the backwoods of Alaska and as unique as they come. One quick peek into Romance for Men will prove it!

Okay, we've got to be honest here: Romance for Men: Pandora's Box may not necessarily have been penned by the lead character, Icefloe. In actuality, and in a deliciously fun twist, Emmy-nominated writer Dean Lorey has to be given some credit for the book.

Lorey is best known as the writer of Friday the 13th Part 9: Jason Goes to Hell (he's also written for "Arrested Development" and came up with some other cult classics like Major Payne). And Lorey has hit a major home run with his new book.

Romance for Men: Pandora's Box has been hugely praised by horror icons like Kane Hodder, Tyler Mane, and Sean S. Cunningham as well as mainstream superstars like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robin Williams, and Denis Leary. It's outgoing, outrageous, and outright insane. Take a look at the official Jack Icefloe Jackson website to get an idea of what this off-the-wall book is all about.

And if you're like the ladies and just can't get enough Icefloe, 'like' Jack Icefloe Jackson on Facebook, follow Icefloe Jackson on Twitter (@icefloejackson) and check out Icefloe Jackson on Instagram.

You can also get a peek at the first few pages of Romance for Men: Pandora's Box on

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Categories: Horror News

[Blu-ray Review] Morbid Cannibal Comedy ‘Ravenous’ Belongs on Your Shelf!

bloody disgusting - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 09:42

As actor Jeffrey Jones points out in his interview included on this new Blu-ray, the title of Antonia Bird’s cannibal film Ravenous has a few meanings. There’s the obvious one, referring to the ravenous hunger of a cannibal for human flesh. Then there’s the other meaning, referring to the backdrop of the Mexican-American War and the United State’s hunger for more land and power. It’s this layered approach to the genre, along with its great cast and offbeat tone, that makes the underrated Ravenous a wholly remarkable film.

Guy Pearce stars as Captain John Boyd, a recently promoted soldier sent to a remote fort in the Sierra Nevada mountains. At the start of the film he’s being honored for taking down some Mexican army leaders, but in reality he’s a coward who played dead as his platoon was slaughtered. Right off the bat he’s not a character you want to root for.

The fort is populated with a group of misfit soldiers led by Col. Hart (Jeffrey Jones). Amongst them are David Arquette (who plays a stoner), Jeremy Davies, and Neal McDonough. If you watch Justified you know McDonough can play one helluva badass, as he does here. One night, a ravaged man named Col. Ives shows up at the fort and tells them a dark tale of cannibalism. He’s played by Robert Carlyle, who turns in one gleefully insane performance. When the men go to investigate what Ives told them, all hell breaks loose.

Ravenous is a cannibal movie, but it also utilizes some Native American mythology of the Wendigo. There’s a pinch of vampirism mixed in as well, which makes for some diabolical twists in the story. The tone see-saws between suspenseful and dark to almost whimsical during scenes you wouldn’t expect a playfulness to come through. For example, there’s one tense chase scene in the forest, but during it composer Damon Albarn’s score is really perky, almost like a Mark Mothersbaugh tune. This combination of playful and morbid gives Ravenous a fun, comedic tone.

Guy Pearce, just coming off his first big role in L.A. Confidential, brings a stoic, solemn vibe to Boyd. While he may deliver the goods, this is Robert Carlyle’s show. It’s a maniacal, intense performance and there’s something really terrifying in his eyes that tells you he isn’t fucking around. He delivers these macabre monologues about the power of devouring human flesh that have such confidence in them that it’s scary. Pearce does get to shine a bit later on once he’s gotten a taste for human meat, but it’s Carlyle who grabs you by the balls the whole time.

Ravenous explores a lot of territory: power, mortality, morality, manifest destiny, redemption, etc. It really goes beyond a simple cannibal comedy, traversing through a cold, metaphysical landscape. I highly recommend it and now with Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray, you have no excuse!

The 1080 widescreen transfer is fine and highlights the film’s grim atmosphere. There’s nothing that really pops though. It oftentimes look like a standard definition DVD. The 51. DTS-HD Master Audio sounds fantastic, however. The score really shines.

Scream Factory has carried over the three audio commentaries previously included on the DVD edition. The best track features director Antonia Bird and composer Damon Albarn as they keep things really honest and insightful. There’s rarely a pause on that one. The track with screenwriter Ted Griffin and actor Jeffrey Jones is great as well. It’s obvious that Jones really has a strong fondness for this film. The last track is with Robert Carlyle. Although he delivers a powerful performance in the film, his commentary is wicked boring with loooong stretches of nothing.

The new special feature is a 20-minute interview with Jeffrey Jones. He really loves this film as well as the time period it takes place in. He drops serious knowledge about Native Americans, the Mexican-American War, and other historical tidbits relating to the production. It was interesting to learn that he actually convinced Bird to change the script so that his character would meet a different fate than originally planned. He also talks about the working condition they experienced shooting in Poland and how they created fake snow. You’re definitely going to want to watch this interview when the film ends. Bravo, Mr. Jones.

The disc also includes about 10 minutes of deleted scenes with option commentary by Bird, a trailer and TV spot, and a photo gallery.

Ravenous has gone underrated for far too long. Be part of the solution and check out this Blu-ray!

Categories: Horror News

[TV Review] “The Strain”: Episode 1.01, ‘Night Zero’!

bloody disgusting - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 19:34

Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Strain” has a long history of adaptation with first being a series of novels, being adapted into a comic series, and now into a television series.  The voice of the incredible creator is present in every form, however, as evidenced by the huge scope of the narrative “The Strain” was always meant to be a television series.

The pilot “Night Zero” looks fantastic. It’s got the blue hues of 80’s horror movies, and the deep reds and bronzes of Del Toro’s previous work. It’s visually stunning and evokes an eerie tone right from the get-go.  There is a ton of heavy lifting to do in terms of the plot, and while most of it is incredibly compelling the episode struggles in a few moments. Several false endings, and big moments that feel like the end of the episode cause the narrative to stall in the latter half of this longer episode.

“The Strain” begins with a commercial airliner landing at JFK without a single passenger left alive. This huge event causes literally every emergency team to arrive at the airport eager to get inside. Meanwhile Epidemiologist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) is at a counseling session in an attempt to save his relationship with his estranged wife and son. He is consumed by work, and is introduced in all consuming fashion. Stoll kills it in the role. He is the right combination of levity and seriousness all at once. In his personal life he seems frantic, but professionally he’s in complete control.

As the situation with the airliner deepens we’re introduced to the wide assortment of supporting characters. Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) has a cliché introduction that evolves into something deliciously Del Toro. The set design of his pawn shop is filled with amusing trinkets and serves as a love letter to lore of Vampirism.

The pilot has it’s fair share of exceedingly creepy moments that cannot possibly be spoiled. It will get under your skin and refuse to leave. There are moments of pure gore, and others of creeping dread. Everything about this new type of vampire will leave you with a looming sense of terror that doesn’t easily wash off after the credits roll. With a particular scene in the morgue set to “Sweet Caroline” that will have you cringing the next time you hear “touching me, touching you.” It’s a brilliantly stage scene that shows the true horror that “The Strain” is capable of.

Fans of the books will be thrilled to see the fantastic characters of Eph and Abraham come to life with fantastic performances by Bradley and Stoll. Supporting players like Sean Astin’s Jim is nervous and adds a lot of comedy to tense moments, and Mia Maestro as Nora Martinez delivers a laughably wooden performance. Everyone else is pretty fantastic in the short time we spend with them here.

There are genuine moments of pure terror in this pilot, coupled with strong central performances, Ramin Djawadi’s unnerving score, and some fantastic bits of dialogue that make for a great introduction to this world. “The Strain’s” ticking clock is now set in motion. This pilot episode wasn’t afraid to move slowly to introduce the core elements that will come to a head over the next thirteen weeks, but rest assured the rest of the show moves with lightning quick pace.

What did you think of the pilot?

Categories: Horror News

[TV] “The Strain” Premieres Tonight!

bloody disgusting - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 17:07

Your heart begins beating tonight.

Premiering tonight on FX is the debut episode of “The Strain,” from Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

Below we have four new teasers for the series, which is absolutely fantastic – in a weird way. While all of the cast and crew push on how hard they aimed at building a series that takes place in the “real world,” I feel like “The Strain” is about as colorful and comic book-esque as del Toro could get; it feels straight out of Blade 2 or Pacific Rim.

Del Toro directs Episode 1.01, ‘Night Zero,’ airing July 13, 10:00 pm e/p.

When a plane lands in New York City with everyone on board dead, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, head of the CDC’s Canary Project, and his team are called upon to investigate. Harlem pawnbroker Abraham Setrakian races to the airport, convinced that what looks at first like a mysterious viral outbreak might be the beginning of something infinitely more sinister.

“The Strain” stars Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Roger Cross, Leslie Hope, Regina King, Robert Maillet, Lauren Lee Smith, Miguel Gomez, Kevin Durand, David Bradley, and Richard Sammel.

Categories: Horror News

[TV] “American Horror Story: Freakshow” Teaser IS FAKE!

bloody disgusting - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 16:56

The first teaser trailer for FX’s “American Horror Story: Freakshow” is absolutely perfect…and fake. A late night update from THR confirms this spectacular 500,000 hit teaser was fan-made. Someone hire this mystery artists STAT!

The fan trailer, tipped to us by reader ‘Alex W.,’ displays the Freakshow’s “Fallen Angel,” who is controlled by the series’ antagonist, an evil clown.

It was previously reported that, the seres, returning this fall, is set in Jupiter, Florida, in 1950. “Freak Show” finds Jessica Lange playing a German ex-pat who is managing one of the last freak shows in the U.S.

Her group of “unusuals” Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, and Frances Conroy all play performers whom Lange’s character has rescued.

Michael Chiklis, also stars with Denis O’Hare, Wes Bentley, and the gorgeous Emma Roberts returning.

Categories: Horror News

What Video Games Do You Want To See Turned Into Horror Movies?

bloody disgusting - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 15:00

Horror video games can be some of the best, most shining examples of how the genre can terrify and immerse a viewer. Admittedly, the nature of video games means that you, the player, are part of the experience rather than simply watching it. But there are very few times that I’ve been as scared by a movie as I have been by a video game.

Admittedly, most video game to film adaptations are absolutely dreadful. But if one were to assume that it would be done properly, what video games would you love to see reach the silver screen?

That’s the discussion I’d like to open this Sunday! I’ve got a few choices below, so head on down to check them out and then leave your suggestions in the comments!

Resident Evil

Yes, I know we have a current franchise with the Resident Evil name. However, that series went downhill VERY quickly. And, even in the beginning, it felt like it had nothing to do with the game series. I want a REAL Resident Evil movie. I want a huge creepy mansion with traps and puzzles. I want terror around every corner. I want something scary, not something action-packed. Someone get to work on that!

Categories: Horror News

Guillermo del Toro Can’t Crack ‘Haunted Mansion’ Screenplay?

bloody disgusting - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 17:03

It has been 4 long years since Walt Disney Pictures announced – at the San Diego Comic-Con nonetheless – that Guillermo del Toro would be helmed a remake of The Haunted Mansion.

Since August 1969, foolish mortals have dared to trespass on the macabre grounds of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. A hallowed landmark in Disneyland’s New Orleans square, it’s the dwelling place of 999 happy haunts dying to meet new visitors each day. The plantation-style of the mansion’s facade is a sweet deception for visitors. Inside, ghostly doom buggies line the hallways. Since its construction, the mysteries of the mansion have transcended the attraction with stories surfacing about horrifying encounters with the supernatural. Versions of the daunting edifice have been built at other Disney theme parks in Orlando, Tokyo and Paris.

We’ve been skeptical of del Toro for years now as he’s been attaching himself to way too many projects – the man only has two hands, you see – and clearly The Haunted Mansion is one of the projects hurt by his over ambition.

During a Reddit AMA, he was asked about said remake:

Well, I spent 2 weeks ago, I went back to Disneyland with the executives with whom I am developing the screenplay. It’s a hard screenplay to crack. We’ve done it a few times. We are on our third or fourth draft, with 2 different writing teams, and I think the main thing is to try to combine everything that is great about the ride into the movie, and to make it a really intense but with a sense of fun – just like the ride. It’s a tough balance, and I would be happy to report if we had the screenplay. We always feel like we are very close, but not yet. We have developed 50-60 pieces of art,

We’ve developed maquettes of the Hat Box Ghost, over the body and face of Doug Jones, but we have not succeeded yet in cracking the screenplay. I have to believe that Disney will make this movie as soon as we crack the screenplay, but until then we cannot tackle it. It is a movie I would love to direct, but I would be happy to just produce it if the timing is not right. I, by the way, was named Guest for the Day for the Haunted Mansion the last time I did, which gave me unlimited access to ride the mansion several times during the day. Unfortunately it was just the moment my left knee decided to bust and I had to go back home with a busted knee.

Blaming Disney, the screenplay and his knee isn’t exactly the answer I wanted to hear, but I also don’t want them to rush into something half-cocked that will end up shitty. I really enjoyed Pacific Rim, and even “The Strain” is pleasing, therefore I would really like to see del Toro’s colorful antics realized with the 999 happy haunts. I’ll continue to be patient and pray he “cracks the script.”

Categories: Horror News

[Fantasia '14] ‘Housebound’ Trailer Gets Trapped In the Walls!

bloody disgusting - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 16:52

The 18th annual Fantasia International Film Festival is gearing up to take Montreal by storm with three weeks of inspiration and excitement starting July 17 until August 5, 2014. The full 2014 lineup of programming and special events will be revealed shortly, but in the meantime, here’s some new imagery to whet your appetite.

Ahead of the premiere, check out the official trailer for the horror comedy Housebound, which was acquired by XLrator Media for release in the States.

In the New Zealand-based film, “Kylie Bucknell is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention. Her punishment is made all the more unbearable by the fact she has to live there with her mother Miriam – a well-intentioned blabbermouth who’s convinced that the house is haunted. Kylie dismisses Miriam’s superstitions as nothing more than a distraction from a life occupied by boiled vegetables & small town gossip. However, when she too becomes privy to unsettling whispers & strange bumps in the night, she begins to wonder whether she’s inherited her overactive imagination, or if the house is in fact possessed by a hostile spirit who’s not particularly thrilled about her return.

Housebound is directed by Gerard Johnstone and stars Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Cameron Rhodes, Millen Baird, Ross Harper, Bruce Hopkins, Ryan Lampp, Ian Mune and Wallace Chapman.

For the full list of Fantasia titles announced thus far, click here and here.

Categories: Horror News

Radiohead To Record New Album This Fall

bloody disgusting - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 12:00

UK alt-rock group Radiohead will enter the studio to rehearse and record a followup to 2011′s The King Of Limbs, according to guitarist Jonny Greenwood. In an interview on the Mary Anne Hobbes’ BBC 6Music who yesterday, Greenwood stated, “We’re going to start up in September, playing, rehearsing, and recording and see how it’s sounding.

The members of Radiohead have been involved in various side projects for the past few years. Greenwood has been busy composing films such as The Master and We Need To Talk About Kevin. Thom Yorke has been involved in his side band Atoms For Peace. Philip Selway is working on a solo album, and Colin Greenwood has been focusing on charity work.

Categories: Horror News

Children Described Their Nightmares And They Were Then Turned Into Photographs

bloody disgusting - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 11:00

Forty years ago, photographer Arthur Tress asked children to describe their nightmares in great detail. He then took those descriptions and created staged photographs that are incredibly beautiful and downright terrifying, even after all this time. These photos are meant to bring the voyeur back to the days when they were a child, when simpler, more primal fears caused terror. There’s a gallery below and you can see more via HuffPo.

Categories: Horror News

‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Soundtrack Details Released

bloody disgusting - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 10:21

The upcoming Marvel film Guardians Of The Galaxy, which is directed by James Gunn (Slither, Super), is probably one of the most anticipated blockbusters this year. Pretty much all of my friends can’t stop talking about the movie and how excited they are to see it. Admittedly, since I haven’t ready the comics I don’t exactly share in their enthusiasm but it still looks like a good time!

To amp up the anticipation of the movie just that little bit more, the official soundtrack track listing has been announced and it’s full of oldies but goldies! You’ll be hearing artists such as Raspberries, Jackson 5, The Runaways, and more. Below is a YouTube playlist of the album, courtesy of Screencrush.

Are you going to be there on opening night, August 1st?

Guardians Of The Galaxy track listing:
1. Blue Swede – “Hooked on a Feeling”
2. Raspberries – “Go All the Way”
3. Norman Greenbaum – “Spirit in the Sky”
4. David Bowie – “Moonage Daydream”
5. Elvin Bishop – “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”
6. 10cc – “I’m Not in Love”
7. Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back”
8. Redbone – “Come and Get Your Love”
9. The Runaways – “Cherry Bomb”
10. Rupert Holmes – “Escape (the Pina Colada Song)”
11. The Five Stairsteps – “O-O-H Child”
12. Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

Categories: Horror News

[TV] Taylor Kitsch In Talks For “True Detective” Anthology!

bloody disgusting - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 09:20

One of the biggest disappointments this decade is one Taylor Kitsch, pictured above, who failed to break through in a series of big Hollywood blockbusters.

Even though films like Battleship and John Carter failed to make the cut, he was absolutely fantastic on “Friday Night Lights” (seriously guys, watch it on Netflix). I’ve been a huge fan of his ever since, and am losing my mind right now in hearing that he’s in talks to be join Colin Farrell in the second season of HBO’s “True Detective.” TheWrap first reported the news.

Garrett Hedlund (Tron), pictured below, who appears to keep missing out on major roles, has also been rumored to be in contention for “True Detective” but Kitsch is strongly believed to have an edge on the coveted role.

The anthology format of “True Detective” — each season will reboot with new settings and characters — has allowed the network to reach out to big names who might not otherwise want to commit to multiple seasons of a series.

Season 1 of “True Detective,” which took place in Louisiana with a narrative that fluctuated between the mid-’90s and the present, earned Emmy nominations yesterday for Best Drama and Lead Actor in a Drama for stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, neither of whom will return for Season 2.

Categories: Horror News

‘Lucy’ Image Gallery Increases Your Brain’s Potential

bloody disgusting - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 09:05

Universal Pictures shared with us a series of images from their Scarlett Johansson-starrer, Lucy, in theaters July 25.

From La Femme Nikita, The Professional and The Fifth Element (such an underrated film) writer/director Luc Besson, “Lucy is an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

The latest TV Spots are pretty great, especially because you end up dying to know what happens when she uses 100% of her brain.

Categories: Horror News

‘The Last Witch Hunter’ Falls In Love With This Witch…

bloody disgusting - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 09:01

Rose Leslie, who plays the wild warrior Ygritte in “Game of Thrones,” is joining Vin Diesel in The Last Witch Hunter, Summit’s supernatural action project, reports THR.

The Crazies‘s Breck Eisner is still directing Witch Hunter, “which sees a semi-immortal witch hunter (Diesel) wandering the streets of modern New York City forced to partner with his natural enemy, a female witch. The two must stop a villainous witch queen from obtaining a relic and unleashing plague upon humanity.

Leslie will play a witch and love interest opposite Diesel.

Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama (Gods of Egypt) recently did a polish on the script, which found life as a pitch by Cory Goodman. D.W. Harper and Dallas Buyers Club writer Melisa Wallack also worked on the script.

An August start date in Pittsburgh is finally being eyed.

Categories: Horror News

R.I.P Tommy Ramone Passes Away At Age 62

bloody disgusting - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 01:25

Sad news is hitting the internet as it’s being reported that Tommy Ramone, the last living original member of legendary punk rock band The Ramones, has passed at his home in Ridgewood, Queens. He was 62 and was in hospice care after receiving treatment for bile duct cancer. The news was confirmed by New York Rocker Magazine publisher Andy Schwartz, formerly of Epic Records.

Schwartz comments:

It is with sadness and regret that I report the passing of Tom Erdelyi a/k/a Tommy Ramone who died at 12:15 p.m. today (7.11.2014) at his home in Ridgewood, Queens. He was 65 and had been in hospice care following treatment for cancer of the bile duct.

We send our condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Tom Erdelyi.

Categories: Horror News