With a number of award-winning shorts under his belt, Gene Blalock is certainly a filmmaker to watch. His latest, Among the Shadows, has been receiving overwhelming acclaim, so be sure to check it out below.
But first read our Q&A with him to learn how he created such a unique film.
DC: How did the idea for this film come about? Was there any personal experience involved?
Gene Blalock: I have no personal belief in the supernatural, but all the superstition behind those archetypes make for great stories. I first heard of Shadow People on “Coast to Coast AM,” which is a late-night talk radio show that discusses the paranormal. After some research, it seemed like an interesting topic – one that I had not seen many films address – so it seemed like a fun topic with a lot of possibility. The Hat Man had this sort of iconic appeal to him.
DC: Do you really believe that childhood fears of things lurking in the dark are irrational, or is it reasonable to fear the things in the night?
GB: Even as a child, I much preferred the night. People that you pass on the street every day scare me far more than anything lurking in the shadows.
DC: And you’ve got a lot of CGI effects on-screen, something relatively unusual for a short. Was the visual style a decision that you had from the beginning?
GB: We had a great actor, Andrew Varenhorst (Argo, It’s in the Blood), who played Hat Man in the film, but we always knew we would have to enhance his performance with visual effects. After meeting the amazing Tony Hudson (former ILM visual effects artist – check him out on fxvet.net), I think we stepped things up a bit. But honestly, that is how I would prefer to work – have a physical character interact with the environment and then use VFX to further the story.
DC: How do you feel about the awards that you’ve picked up?
GB: It is always nice when others appreciate what you create. I try not to read too much into whether any of our films receive awards, but rather the feedback I get from our fans and other viewers. That said, I’m happy that it has done as well as it has!
DC: Looking at your IMDb profile, you’ve got a ton of successful shorts under your belt. Do you plan to make a feature anytime soon?
GB: I’m currently finishing up a feature-length documentary on a musician, Johnny Indovina, but I am also hoping to start our first narrative full-length film later this year. We are already in pre-production and planning, so if everything comes together as we are hoping, we can begin production on that soon.
“It’s only a shadow…”
The irrational terrors of childhood – monsters hiding under the bed and demons waiting in the closet – fade into the nightmares of our youth. You’d have to be crazy to imagine that the flicker out of the corner of your eye was real; it was just a shadow, a moth flitting by, surely nothing malevolent. But denial is only a defense against the imaginary and holds no sway against true horror. When old playmates return, is it madness or worse? Answers lie Among the Shadows.
Awards for Among the Shadows:
Best Editing – Indie Horror Film Festival (2016)
Best Director – International Movie Awards (2015)
Best Cinematography – International Movie Awards (2015)
Best Editor – International Movie Awards (2015)
Best International Short Film – International Movie Awards (2015)
Best Musical Score – International Movie Awards (2015)
The post Exclusive: Director Gene Blalock Talks Among the Shadows; Watch It Here! appeared first on Dread Central.
While the box office will surely be dominated this weekend by James Wan’s EXCEPTIONAL sequel The Conjuring 2, we must point out that it’s not the only new horror flick available for viewing today. Courtesy of Saban Films, the long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s Cell has arrived on Ultra VOD today, beating the theatrical release by nearly a month!
Get a sneak peek via the trailer below!
Look for Cell in theaters and on lower-priced VOD July 8.
Directed by Tod Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) and written by Stephen King and Adam Alleca, Cell stars Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, and Isabelle Fuhrman.
Stephen King’s best-selling novel is brought to terrifying life in this mind-blowing thriller starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. At the Boston airport, Clay (Cusack) witnesses a scene of chaotic mayhem when an electronic signal turns hundreds of cellphone users into rabid killers. Desperate to find his estranged wife and son, Clay teams with a train driver (Jackson) to battle the horde of murderous “phoners” as the city descends into apocalyptic madness.
In what could quite possibly be the least surprising news story of all time, a console release for XCOM 2 has been confirmed for later this year.
Not only is the sequel one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2016 so far, but it also sold over 500,000 copies in its first week of release, so a console release was more than inevitable.
PS4 and Xbox One owners will be able to get in on the alien-blasting action when XCOM 2 hits the systems on September 6.
From The Press Release:
The critically-acclaimed sequel to the 2012 award-winning strategy game of the year is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Earth has changed. Twenty years have passed since world leaders offered an unconditional surrender to alien forces. XCOM, the planet’s last line of defense, was left decimated and scattered. Now, in XCOM 2, the aliens rule Earth, building shining cities that promise a brilliant future for humanity on the surface, while concealing a sinister agenda and eliminating all who dissent from their new order.
Only those who live at the edges of the world have a margin of freedom. Here, a force gathers once again to stand up for humanity. Always on the run, and facing impossible odds, the remnant XCOM forces must find a way to ignite a global resistance and eliminate the alien threat once and for all.
Starring Christopher John Jennings, Candice Nunes, Jack E. Curenton, Bianca Haase, Jason Tobias
Directed by Don Bitters III and Geoff Reisner
When a meteor shower rains rocks down outside Los Angeles, Jonas (Jason Tobias) and Lars (Christopher John Jennings), two friends stuck in tired, boring lives as gardeners, head out to find a meteor stone in hopes of selling it and striking it rich. After recovering one, they become Terrordactyl targets – “Terrordactyls” are the ancient flying reptiles that launched a full force assault on the city of angels and they are NOT happy about Jonas and Lars’ find.
Trying to survive long enough to sell their stolen treasure, the two schmoes go on the run. Along for the ride are Candice (Candice Nunes), a tough-but-cute bartender, Valerie (Bianca Haase), her oversexed roommate, and Sampson (Jack E. Curenton), a drunken and brash ex-marine. The gangly group soon discovers that there’s more to the meteor than meets the eye.
Terrordactyl is directed by newcomers Don Bitters III and Geoff Reisner, working from a script by Bitters who has previously worked as a visual effects artist on television shows such as “Betas,” “House of Cards,” and “Quantico”. Reisner previously worked as a cinematographer on features including Crossroad and No Greater Love. They both bring a lot to the table in their respective visual talents – the cinematography is above average for the genre, and so are the special effects and GCI.
Unfortunately, the acting from the lead “hero” is not above, or even, average. His stilted, awkward performance might jar some, but then again it’s in line with schlock such as this. (And Terrordactyl is way better than Birdemic!) The other actors aren’t going to be accepting an Oscar anytime soon either, but they seem more charming than clunky – along the lines of something you’d see in a low-budget 1980s horror or sci-fi flick.
When it comes to the feature-feature aspect, the monsters are menacing indeed. Fans of fright flicks ranging from Godzilla to golden-age Harryhausen to Sharknado will also find something to like about the terrordactyls.
Terrordactyl is a timewaster, fun for the right mood on a lazy TV night at home when there’s nothing better on the SyFy Channel.
When it comes to Indonesian action movies, Welsh director Gareth Evans’ The Raid films immediately spring to mind. Rightfully so, as they’re incredible movies that showcase the action genre at its finest.
But they aren’t the only Indonesian exports that’ll blow your mind into smithereens. If you traverse the decades, explore its recesses, willing to inhabit its cheapest dwellings, you might just find a new home you didn’t know you were looking for.
One such treasure waiting to be rediscovered is the outrageous Lethal Hunter; and now, thanks to the fine folks over at The Gentleman’s Guide to Midnight Cinema, an Indiegogo campaign has been launches to release it on DVD.
During the 1980’s, the Indonesian film industry experienced a boom period, and some of its success can be attributed to one of its most prominent directors: Arizal. Though his most successful features were his forays into comedy and drama, his true talent lay in low-budget, over-the-top action movies which thrived on unbridled lunacy. Unfortunately, the majority haven’t been released on DVD yet, but the GGTMC community has already taken steps to right that wrong in recent years, having also released the director’s insane Final Score in 2015. The release of Lethal Hunter is a natural successor for those already acquainted with his work, but it’s also the perfect introduction to these trashy delights for newbies.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Midnight Cinema is a wonderful community of genre aficionados with a deep-rooted devotion for cult cinema. Through their podcast, discussion group, and DVD releases, they ensure that the forgotten gems of yesteryear get the love and appreciation they deserve.
This pick-up is a must-have for collectors of rare cinematic treasures. If you don’t believe me, check out the trailer below and see for yourself.
A little more than 2 years ago we ran a campaign to get the Indonesian action Final Score released, which was a success. The campaign was fully funded with 117% and we (re)introduced the world to this crazy action movie that wasn’t officially available since the VHS days.
Now it’s time for the follow-up, and our (OMG Entertainment and the GGTMC podcast/community, more on that later!) second release. For that we chose a quite logical movie: Lethal Hunter, aka American Hunter (1989), another Arizal-directed action movie starring Chris Mitchum. And not only are Mike Abbot and Ida Iash returning; this time they are joined by Peter O’Brian and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace!
Don’t just see this as helping us release a DVD; instead see it as a pre-order (with a few campaign exclusives).
As you can see, we don’t need a whole lot of money so how can we release a DVD with such a small amount? The key here is the GGTMC community; it’s filled with enthusiastic and talented movie freaks with an affection for crazy action movies (but not limited to those). Among its members are designers, writers, label owners, etc. (and of course the founders and podcast hosts!), who help get these movies back out for everyone to enjoy…
The post Indiegogo Campaign Launches to Release Outrageous Indonesian Action Movie on DVD appeared first on Dread Central.
Directed by James Wan
While James Wan has dipped his feet into other genres – like vigilante thriller Death Sentence or blockbuster Furious 7 – he always feels most at home with horror. It’s the genre that lets his imagination run free, where he gets to be inventive with his camera and put his own stamp on it. Hell, even the underwhelming Dead Silence had moments of genuine suspense and craftsmanship.
The Conjuring 2 finds the helmer back on home turf, and in many ways it feels like he’s cooling down from the gauntlet of making Furious 7. This “true story” again involves paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively) as they’re sent to England to investigate a poltergeist terrorizing a family. They soon learn this pesky spirit isn’t going to stop without a fight and also discover an old case is coming back to haunt them… quite literally.
Wan has such a command of the genre at this point he can do a simple haunted house tale – and recycle tropes that have been used a million times – and somehow he’s still able to unnerve you. His deliberate pacing is the key. He lets the tension build and build, and when you think a jump is coming, he’ll hold back. Added to that, when the shocks finally do come, they usually subvert expectations and rarely feel cheap.
It’s impressive that in a film that runs 134 minutes, the pace rarely drags; and The Conjuring 2 is relentless with keeping the setpieces coming. It rarely pauses for breath, and while this approach gets a tad samey, it still holds together. The tone is set early with an atmospheric recreation of The Amityville haunting – a setting they surprisingly didn’t save for a future sequel – where Lorraine encounters a nightmarish demon that continues to plague her. This demon is a classic unsettling design from Wan, and a later scene involving a painting of the creature might be the best sequence in the film. Not all the scares work, though; a brief scene involving a CGI creature is downright silly, and the moment a character is temporally blinded drags out too long.
While Wan obviously wants to scare you, he also wants you to have some fun, too, so The Conjuring 2 isn’t some po-faced exercise in terror. It’s really funny at times (check out Wilson’s sweet Elvis impression), and there’s a warmth to the characters, especially the loving relationship between the Warrens, that keeps you invested. Madison Wolfe steals the show as the young girl the poltergeist enjoys tormenting, Simon McBurney has a blast playing the most British British person to ever British, but Franka Potente is sadly wasted as a one-dimensional skeptic.
Visually the film is gorgeous and displays Wan’s technical prowess, with the camera often gliding around the haunted house like a roaming spectre itself. A couple of shots are a little show-offy, but often any flash is in aid of the story. That said, unfortunately, the finale devolves into noisy chaos and bizarrely recalls the ending of Exorcist II: The Heretic. Tension and story get lost in the bombast, and the movie really should have dialed the noise levels down a notch or two.
The Conjuring 2 isn’t especially groundbreaking, but it’s a creepy ride with a surprising amount of heart. It’s great to see a mainstream horror that’s genuinely scary, and long may the series continue if it can keep the quality up.
What would a great horror movie be without a great soundtrack? Unfortunately, many people still don’t realize just how vital music is when it comes to creating the story that the filmmakers want to tell.
The new book Scored to Death: Conversations with Some of Horror’s Greatest Composers by J. Blake Fichera features a rare insight into the process being the creation of all those classic themes that helped to make the films that they belonged to so damn terrifying. Sounds like it’s a must read for both horror and music aficionados.
Look for it July 1st from Silman-James Press (pre-order here).
Film music is a magical phenomenon. It can create and enhance the sense of life and emotion and pacing in a film. It can also clue us in on the dark secrets hidden in a character’s soul and suggest what might be awaiting us a few frames later.
Music is particularly important to the horror film experience. It can (and often does) put us on the edge of our seats, trick us with red herrings, and propel us on a wild ride from shock to shock to shock. It is an unseen hand, subtly directing our reactions and building our anticipations.
Scored to Death: Conversations with Some of Horror’s Greatest Composers is the first book to delve specifically and deeply into the minds of noted horror genre composers—the musicians who make us tremble and jump out of our seats.
Scored to Death’s author/interviewer, J. Blake Fichera, both a film editor and a musician himself, has been fascinated by the music for horror films since his youth: “Film music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember… I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, during a time when the music of John Williams was shining a spotlight on the artistry of film scoring, Danny Elfman was shifting gears from pop star to film music royalty, and composers like Vangelis, Giorgio Moroder, John Carpenter, and the band Tangerine Dream were providing an electronic alternative to the traditional symphonic score…. Horror films played a significant role in my upbringing. For those of us who grew up as part of the video-store generation, easy access to hundreds of movies allowed genre icons like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Pinhead to become cinematic rock stars…. My parents were not ones to regulate my viewing…and I was exposed to things that probably wouldn’t be considered ‘appropriate’ for a child today. My real obsession with the genre, though, began while I was in high school, when renting horror movies with my friends became a regular occurrence. Coincidentally, it was also around this time that I began playing the guitar and discovered the music of heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath. All these things converging on my impressionable teenage brain at the same time made my falling in love with horror film music inevitable.”
So it was all but inevitable that Fichera would undertake Scored to Death, a fascinating and entertaining investigation of the dark recesses of the film music world where terror lurks. Interviewed are 14 renowned film composers who have provided music for some of the horror genre’s greatest films and franchises, including Halloween, A Nightmare of Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, Maniac, The Fog, Prince of Darkness, Cujo, Dawn of the Dead, Deep Red, Suspiria, Santa Sangre, Zombie, The Beyond, Insidious, The Conjuring, Hostel, The Strangers, House of the Devil, and many more.
The book introduces us to director/composer John Carpenter; sound designer/composer Alan Howarth; Italian composers (and members of the band Goblin, known for their scores for Dario Argento films) Claudio Simonetti and Maurizio Guarini; Hollywood composers Christopher Young, Tom Hajdu (of the composing team tomandandy), Charles Bernstein, Jay Chattaway, and Nathan Barr; as well as such other horror notables as Fabio Frizzi, Simon Boswell, Joseph Bishara, and Harry Manfredini.
Pre-publication comments about Scored to Death from the horror film world have been very good: filmmaker Stuart Gordon writes, “Fichera…introduces you to some of the genre’s greatest composers as they explain the process of creating unforgettable nightmares of sound.”
Filmmaker Tom Holland observes, “This book is the best opportunity you will have to peek behind the curtains of those people who create the soundtrack of your life!”
Filmmaker Larry Fessenden comments, “The musicians in this generous volume are given the time to reveal themselves and their processes.”
And B-movie aficionado, critic, and author Joe Bob Briggs writes, “Horror films live and die with their musical scores…. If you claim to know how horror movies work, this book is a must-read.”
Don’t venture again into a dark theater until you read it!
The post Learn the Stories Behind Classic Horror Soundtracks in Scored to Death appeared first on Dread Central.
The gorgeous looking horror comic series Monstress kind of slipped under our radar, but with the first collected edition being available next month, now seems like the perfect time to give it a look.
Marjorie Liu weaved the fantastical tale of a girl living in a world reminiscent of 1900’s Asia, who forms a strange psychic bond with a creature of unimaginable size and power. Sana Takeda created the dreamlike illustrations.
Astonishing X-Men and Black Widow writer MARJORIE LIU returns to comics with artist SANA TAKEDA (X-23) for an all-new ONGOING SERIES! Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces. The adventure begins in a spectacular TRIPLE-SIZED FIRST ISSUE, with SIXTY-SIX pages of story and no ads.
With their previous film Lead Me Astray receiving overwhelming acclaim at festivals (star Alannah Robertson even won Best Actress at the Independent Horror Movie Awards), we’re couldn’t be more excited for Bendy Spoon Productions’ latest effort, Remember Redfield.
The whodunit murder mystery flick takes place in a secluded estate, where an assailant begins picking off the bickering guests one by one. Logan Webster directs.
Old loves, rivalries, and vendettas resurface at a high school reunion party held out on a reclusive estate, but the evening takes a deadly turn when one of the guests begins systematically killing all the estranged attendants, leaving the group to try to decipher who, of all their friends, has the potential to be a murderer.
Directed by Logan Webster, the film welcomes back Jace Pickard, Alannah Robertson, and Tom Danger with an ensemble of familiar faces as well as some new ones ready to be killed!
Developed by IO Interactive
Published by Square Enix
Available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One
Rated M for Mature
With the release of “Marrakesh,” half of the currently scheduled Hitman content is now out. I enjoyed the previous two episodes, but haven’t really been impressed yet. It was all technically solid, but lacked the punch to really draw me in. I’ve outlined what I was hoping for in my previous reviews (link here), but to briefly recap I feel like the game lacks identity and flavor. These games have always been about pitch black comedy and creative killings, and while Hitman has so far definitely delivered on being a great sandbox, it’s lost some of the polish in the process.
I also predicted that as the episodes came out, they would probably address these problems to some degree. Episodic releases are tricky, since games require a difficulty curve to stay interesting. When all you have is a trickle of content every month or so, it’s hard to judge each individual piece as part of a whole and not its own isolated package. I expected that with time the guided “opportunities” would be more vague and less immediately lethal, and that the larger and more open level design would necessitate more creative thinking.
“Marrakesh” kind of proves me half right. It’s a step in the right direction to be sure, but doesn’t go quite as far as I want it to. I say this keeping in mind that there are still three episodes left. If the build stays this slow, it either won’t reach the peak it needs to get to or do so jarringly quick.
What the episode nailed was establishing its own tone. It wasn’t the iconic “Hitman” gruesomely quirky, but rather went its own direction by being considerably more grounded and serious. Typically, assassinations were always more obtuse in effect and scale. Sure, nuclear launch codes would be exchanged and international drug cartels disrupted, but all of that was narrative fluff behind garroting a couple dudes in a few rooms. No matter what was at stake in the story, the reality of the level was a few guards, a target that needed murdering, and a few flavor events in between.
Episode 3 drops you off in the middle of a brewing revolution about to boil over. Swedish banker Claus Strandberg stands convicted of murder, but during transit was freed by a group of unknown gunman and now sits safely in the Swedish Consulate. The breakout, meant to appear to be foreign orchestrated, was actually the work of General Reza Zaydan. An associate of Claus, Reza hopes to use the event to stir distrust in the current president, and give justification for a military coup. You must eliminate both targets to quell the unrest and bring stability back to the country.
For a game that generally has you assassinating colorful characters in charge of various shadow governments or linchpins in grand conspiracies, seeing Hitman take notes from the Arab Spring is surprising. Targets tend to be flavored with a pinch of goofy, but there’s very little to laugh at between the tortured prisoners held in the General’s camp stationed in an abandoned school and the distant, aloof calm of the Swedish consulate. This is the blackest I’ve seen a “Hitman” game, bordering on almost losing its comedy. It’s a tight line to walk, but one that it did so well. It doesn’t try to replicate the charming elements of previous games, but creates its own tone that is just as compelling. It was a bold move that made the episode better than the sum of its parts.
However, the actual assassinations were too strict. The map itself is very large, but the targets are constrained to two tight and very well guarded areas. Most of “Marrakesh” revolves around figuring out how to get in. Once inside, the job is basically done. Getting them alone is pretty easy even without scripted events, and even if you don’t hide the body the two locations are separate enough that the alarms don’t really affect one another.
The “opportunities” have changed as I predicted, but I’m on the fence as to how much I like it. They are now less specific, guiding you towards key locations/events without giving you all the steps. Most of time, you’ll go towards an opportunity only to find that you can’t get through the door. This is where the creative thinking should come in. Unfortunately, the solutions are often very linear. Getting into a club, wear a waiter uniform. After finding a key, climb down a pipe to get to the door. There are certainly more obtuse ways to do it, but the obvious solution is too immediately useful to pass up. I appreciate not being given all the steps, but I wanted that to be because of freedom in completion.
I think that there is still a bit to go in making this a great game, but I’m pleased with the steps they have taken. I just wish that these bright bits didn’t shine a light on the flaws in the rest of the system. The next step is going to be crucial, as we’re rapidly approaching the point where the identity of Hitman will be established. Don’t take this as doomsaying, as I’m actually quite hopeful. The way that this innovated was good, and the level of improvement it brought over “Sapienza” as bigger than the one “Sapienza” brought over the “Intro Pack.” I hope they keep this curve of build, raising the bar even more in the next episode. With 6 episodes, they really don’t have any room to stumble, and Hitman hasen’t really hit its stride yet. It’s been jogging up to a run, and hopefully will finish with a solid pace.
With the survival horror game 7 Days to Die hitting shelves next month, publisher Telltale Games has released a new developer video interview, and best of all… if you pre-order, you’ll have access to Walking Dead character skins.
From the Press Release:
Telltale Publishing has announced that the hit survival horde crafting game 7 Days to Die will release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for the first time on June 28th as both a digital and retail product in North America and digitally in Europe; it will be available on July 1st for the first time at retail in Europe. The recommended retail price is $29.99 USD or equivalent, and the game is currently available for pre-order at GameStop, Best Buy, GAME, and Amazon. 7 Days to Die is published in collaboration with the Dallas-based independent developer The Fun Pimps.
Set in a brutally unforgiving post-apocalyptic world overrun by the undead, 7 Days to Die is an open-world survival game that is a unique combination of first-person shooter, survival horror, tower defense, and role-playing games. It presents combat, crafting, looting, mining, exploration, and character growth in a way that has seen a rapturous response from fans worldwide, generating hundreds of thousands of hours of community content on YouTube and other streaming video platforms.
Fans of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series in partnership with Skybound will be excited to learn that pre-ordering 7 Days to Die will give them exclusive access to 5 character skins from Telltale’s hit series, including Michonne and Lee Everett.
The console version of 7 Days to Die adds a new multiplayer mode supporting local split-screen for couch play; additional online multiplayer modes and features will be revealed in the coming weeks. The game will be supported by exciting DLC content, with details to be revealed in the near future.
This new interview with 7 Days to Die developers gives insight into what inspired the immensely popular “survival horde crafting game” as well as what players can expect in the console version.
The post 7 Days to Die – Developer Diary and Walking Dead Pre-Order Goodies! appeared first on Dread Central.
The new film from Chris Sparling, Mercy, was picked up by Netflix back in November; and right now we have the trailer for you to check out! Dig it!
Written and directed by Chris Sparling, Mercy stars James Wolk, Caitlin FitzGerald, Tom Lipinski, Dan Ziskie, Michael Godere, Michael Donovan, Dion Graham, and Constance Baron.
Before hitting Netflix later this year, the film will be having its premiere at the LA Film Festival on Saturday, June 4th, at 11:30 pm.
When four estranged brothers return home to say their last goodbye to their dying mother, Grace, hidden motivations reveal themselves. The family’s already tenuous bonds are tested when secrets from Grace’s past resurface, causing a restless night to go terribly awry as the brothers are thrust into a fight for their own survival.
Starring Geza Benko, Nikolet Dekany, Barbi Horvath
Directed by Demeter Lorant
Brutal, unflinching in subject matter… and an all-around fun watch for fans of mindless violence, Demeter Lorant’s short film Lucky Girl tosses us directly into the lair of a man who “rescues” three girls after a horrific automobile accident and puts them through more trauma than they could have ever hoped to experience… get out your splash guards cause this one’s gonna get messy.
Geza Benko plays a no-name serial killer (or so we’d imagine) who is seen ransacking said accident and taking the three female victims in his vehicle back to his little “playhouse” if you will. What happens next to the very unlucky trio isn’t something that I’d be willing to jot down in detail form, especially with a short runtime of less than 15 minutes in length, but rest assured that if you were to play this one on your work computer, you’d be out of work fairly quickly.
The complete inanity of the premise is outweighed by the actions of the killer – no one witnessed the accident in a span of time where this killer could ravage the scene? I guess it’s just me over-internalizing the backbone of this quickie, but Lorant more than makes up for it with a blistering display of aggression against the female form. While this might not sit well with many an audience, just remember: “It’s only a movie.”
If you have the time (and with only a quarter of an hour to offer up, you should), I highly recommend checking this one out.
Long holiday weekends make for the perfect time to sit on the couch and watch a whole bunch of movies, and VOD outlets provide the best way to do that without having to so much as leave the house. Sure, we miss video rental shops and all, but nothing beats renting movies without even putting on pants!
Out today, in limited theaters and On Demand, is The Ones Below (review), the debut feature from writer-director David Farr (screenwriter of Hanna and AMC’s “The Night Manager”). Hailed by our own Matt Boiselle as “very eerie,” the film stars David Morrissey (“The Walking Dead”), Clémence Poésy, Stephen Campbell Moore, and Laura Birn.
Whet your appetite with the plot crunch and trailer below!
Blending an element of urban dread with an edgy sense of paranoia, The Ones Below follows Kate (Poésy) and Justin (Moore), a young couple in a tiny London suburb eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child. But when the enigmatic Teresa (Bim) and Jon (Morrissey) move into the apartment downstairs, the parents-to-be soon become involved in a psychological battle of wills with the new tenants.
When it comes to delivering you the goods on a daily basis, we strive to stay both fresh and as far removed from what people refer to as “normal sensibilities” as possible. That’s why were always looking for fun ways to celebrate the genre! Enter the recurring feature Mister J’s Sense of Dread.
Each week Mister J will dive deep into his psyche to provide you with a new comic of the dreadful variety. From the horror genre to real-life events that tie into it, our new contributor will bring his insane brand of artistry to you, dear reader, with enough reckless abandon and obscurities to make the legendary Charles Addams proud!
Mister J has been drawing cartoons and watching terrible movies for as long as anyone can remember. His work appears in a variety of places but can be seen online daily at mrjcomics.com. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @misterjcomics.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the chuckles. Look for more soon!
Directed by Heather Christopherson, L.C . Cruell, Andrew Featherstone, Dayna Noffke
Cemeteries. Let’s face it; they’re an evocative lightning rod for every emotion known to the human race: fear of death, loneliness, missing friends or family or lovers, historical fascination, vertigo at peering over the edge of death’s cliff and seeing where we will all fall sooner or later… and on and on. There is no way to walk round a cemetery and not feel anger or pain at the grave of a baby taken too soon, with teddy bears and sad, agonized, teary-eyed farewells to a child who “fell asleep” permanently. Or a young murder victim with wailing, broken-heart-drenched high school notes from friends dotted around and flowers eaten by the local deer. Or some football supporter who died in an accident, their grave draped in their team’s colors. Or a middle-aged housewife who just dropped dead, eternally missed by her numb, disbelieving family and friends.
Georgia-lensed Cemetery Tales: Tales from Morningside Cemetery certainly knows this fun-damn-mental fact of human life and death and exploits it to creepy, genuinely unsettling effect during its under-the-skincrawler running time. Unusually for Georgia, there is no air of religious extremism here – just a human, despairing, rotting one. Which works fine for me.What we have here are four separate stories about the aforementioned silent-air bucolic boneyard, buried deep in the American South, linked with an interlocking series of skits about a young couple who go camping in the middle of anywhere but where they should be. They end up bumping into a fear-tour guide, in the guise of an enigmatic, buxom young woman who tells them could-be tall tales of the cemetery’s dead denizens, inciting the couple on into drunkenness and potential sexual excess… and a non-sexual ending I did not (cough) see coming.
“The Living End” is the first tale from the dark side we see when the coffin lid of the film is prized open. Taking place in a funeral home, it presents us with the story of a young woman named Joanie (Madeline Brumby), who wakes up, well… dead. She’s lying on a mortician’s table being prepared for her funeral after her murder, and she’s none to happy about it, losing the plot as she’s about to be lowered into it. She argues with the philosophical, comforting-cum-violating mortician (Josh Lowder) prodding and probing her and refuses to believe she’s actually dead. But is she? Or is the guy just a lunatic torturing her? You know, we’ve all had mo(u)rnings when we’ve woken up in a similar predicament, and it can go either way, really. Well, we find out eventually, and I won’t spoil the ending for you. You’re welcome.
I confess that I really found this story genuinely dispiriting and unnerving – exactly what you want in a horror film, really. The woman’s strange, surreal plight bore all the hellmarks of waking up from a bad dream to me, the ones where you find yourself briefly paralyzed, unable to move for no clear reason, time is elongated and any scream would be nothing but a wasted, exhaled, shaky, loud-yet-silent breath. Her pain and confusion as she is penetrated by the clinical mortician (a low blow pun, sorry) with a huge needle to suction her blood and has her lips sewn together (a scene which made me cringe), then slowly starts inexorably to accept her inescapable fate, howling out to be saved by her boyfriend when she hears him next door… it just got to me, is all. I must say one thing I really liked about this film is that it is a straight horror film, not some modern schlocky torture porn (though it does have certain gory elements akin to that stuff very occasionally) or wacky-hyuck-fest. It didn’t choose to use a bad metal soundtrack and post-modern wisecracking teens talking about horror film character behavior, and it’s all the better for that. Indeed, this film is so bereft of the Net and cellphones and modern everyday gadgets and mindsets that, apart from a couple of technological mentions, it could have been made any time last century.
“It Takes One to Know One” is next up on the blood feast buffet. It concerns enigmatic angel-of-life-and-death Sera (Joy Kathleen Wood), a young woman with the power to kill or cure, seemingly on a whim; anybody she touches either is cured of disease or dies on the spot. The increasingly troubled nurse with wounds visits the graves of those she has killed, brooding darkly over her supernatural assignation (a metaphor for the incomprehensibility of life and death in general, who gets to live and die) and is accosted by the prying, morose, suspicious Groundskeeper (Rick Bedell), who wonders why she knows so many people who died. A fair enough question, really. Pushed to go and speak to one of the people she has saved by her concerned confidant Chuck (Joey Shealy), Sera seeks out a woman whom she cured of a terminal disease… and the reaction she gets is not at all what she expected. This oddly reminded me of the old Harlan Ellison story “Paingod,” from his 1975 short story collection, Deathbird Stories, but that is surely coincidental.
I have to say, apart from the general downtrodden atmosfear, one perfect for melancholicoholics, one of the main things I will be taking way from Cemetery Tales is the performance of young, attractive actress Joy Kathleen Wood. By turns intense, introspective, angry, hopeless, helpless, confused, philosophical, and coldly calculating when in who-knows-why execution mode, she imbues her preternatural female Grim Reaper with exactly the right amount of resignation and just-following-orders character and personality. Her dark-and-lighter-shades-of-dark interior moanologue are even mirrored in her arresting hair color, red-on-black-on-purple striations. I guess I just really liked her extremely contemporary, tattooed but vulnerable character and the existential implications implicit in her merciless, dichotomous existence. Wood is, to me, the stand-out actor in a film full of warm, accommodating performances. Those may be slightly varying in quality, but none of them ever sink into parody or knock you out of the film, being at least serviceable and/or very good, and it’s a joy to watch the young cast earnestly putting their all into what is clearly a low-budget film with lots of heart. And guts. And kidneys. And…
…Anyway. You get the groan-worthy, viscera-viewing idea.
Moving swiftly along, we encounter “I Need You,” the third tale of terror clanking along in this chainwaving-spooks cinematic ghost train. Owing a debt to Poltergeist and Beetlejuice, here we are treated to a vignette about a young quarrelsome couple who go out on a rainy night, leaving their son, Lucas (Darby Long in a performance belying his tender age), and his babysitter, whilst the boy pleads with them not to go out. Their car ends up in a ditch, and they raggedly stumble back home soaking, arguing, fit to bust about who was responsible for the accident. Wife Kim (Stephanie Stevens in a fine, emotive performance, even though the script doesn’t give her much more to do than scream hideously and cry piteously) reckons it’s her husband Ted’s (Rob West) fault, and vice versa. But things soon get worse when they realize their son is missing, seemingly kidnapped by this haunted house, and they have to somehow get him back from beyond.
It’s funny. This section deals with every parent’s worst nightmare, that of losing a child, but it’s also, more specifically, a very female fear, of losing a part of themselves. The first three films do come across as being very estrogenerated, being, as they are, all directed and written by women. I do like this because it plays around with the sometimes dickswinger braggadocio and misogyny some male directors can bring to horror films and serves up a more quietly philosophical, introspective, existential fear feast, with strong female characters who don’t just exist as male horror-canon cannon fodder. To me, “The Living End” is partly a female vanity piece, about a woman wanting to go out of this world looking her best, and “It Takes One to Know One” is partly about the often-unexplored female will or power to kill, to be a life-taker as well as a life-giver. We’re served three slices of modern skull-under-the-queasily-smiling-skin Southern Gothic that Flannery O’Connor would have felt totally at ease with, and it’s nice to have this sort of equality happening in a part of the USA far too often coming off like a woman’s worst nightmare. These are talented female filmmakers we’re dealing with here, reader, and they’re just as harsh and gut-grabbing as any male would be in the genre.
This is not, however, to deride the fourth and final film, “Nekro-fancy,” written by another woman, Nikkia Lovejoy, and directed by Andrew Featherstone, the lone man ranging amidst the female wild bunch here. The title, I would imagine, is a pun on “necromancy” (Americans don’t use the word “fancy” for finding someone attractive, so you know there’s a European sensibility on display here!) or, more specifically, the Nekromantik films, with Featherstone clearly influenced by Jorg Buttgereit’s infamous groundbreaking necrophilia films, with a side salad of Deranged and an Ed Gein chaser. His is a melancholy, strange tale of a mentally haunted mamma’s boy cemetery groundskeeper called Marcus (James Ellis) looking for a replacement for his deceased mother’s love among the dead young women who come into the funeral parlor he works in (amusingly, all the corpses he is working on appear to be attractive young females in their 20s!), whom he talks to and has sex with whilst his mother’s voice berates him in his head. But his world is rocked when the beautiful young Amity comes a-knocking on his door and he finds true love with a (gasp!) real live woman, one with desires just as insatiable as his at that. But is Amity a vile horror? Well, you’ll have to see the film for yourself to find out…
Which, ultimately, I would confidently advise you to do. This is a quiet, sometimes-understated, sometimes-ultraviolent, solid wee horror film, and all involved should congratulate themselves on getting it done and dusted. The cinematography, by Jessica Gallant and William Schweikert, is crisp, robust, sometimes poetic, perfectly capturing the look and feel of a lonely, melancholic, creepy countryside cemetery (brought back memories for me of taking Jorg Buttgereit to Ed Gein’s grave, which is another story), with many a morbid and macabre tale to be told from dead, truth-itching lips. Any fan of the genre will know what they are getting with this Atlantic-hopping shocker: something one part Amicus, one part EC Comics (the stories often had an EC twist in their tales, and were, it has to be said, pretty downbeat), one part Creepshow, and one part “Tales from the Crypt,” a real heart-attacking, tomb-raiding Crypt Kicker 4.
I have to admit, whilst watching the film, with its stabbing, decapitation, evisceration, lip-sewing, necrophilia, blood-draining, etc., I did wonder, for obvious reasons, just what kind of cemetery would allow itself to be associated with this sort of material. Having a glance at the credits, I could not see any mention of a real cemetery, though the story “I Need You” did thank Gus Thornhill’s funeral home. So unless the disparate filmmakers filmed in some god-forsaken countryside cemetery on the fly, they just mocked up a fake dirt-nap dormitory, and I must say it worked fine for me. And if they did film in a real final rest-in-peace place, I just hope they cleaned up after they finished their zombie rising and murder scenes. I hope Gus Thornhill did a full head and body count after the production vacated the premises… just in case. I’m joking, obviously. But whatever the truth of real-life death-internment camps, cemeteries, funeral homes, whatever, the quartet of scare story recorders and countryside horror exorcists certainly left with the best possible thing they could have: this fun, sick, poignant, unsettling, disturbing film.
The post Cemetery Tales: Tales from Morningside Cemetery (2016) appeared first on Dread Central.
With 2014’s An American Terror filmmaker Haylar Garcia having completed principal photography on his latest feature, Gnaw, we chatted with the Denver-based director regarding the paranormal horror flick, which stars Penelope Mitchell of “The Vampire Diaries.”
Having directed from a script he co-wrote with Kathryn Gould and Jim Brennan, Garcia said of the shoot (a joint production of Unreal Media and Wrecking Ball Pictures), “It was grueling, amazing, exhausting, and satisfying. We had such a great crew and top-level talent, both from Los Angeles and Colorado, that despite the hardcore schedule, we pulled off some really great stuff.”
Of the cast, Chris Johnson (xXx: State of the Union) and Kyle Gass (Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny) join star Mitchell for the proceedings, which revolve around a small-town girl (Mitchell) who, after fleeing an abusive husband (Johnson), tries to make a new life for herself in the big city. But it’s hard to start over when something is eating you alive… one painful bite at a time.
Glowed Garcia of his lead actress, “Penelope is a charming actor with a true passion for character. I found us laughing and getting along famously most of the time, while other times challenging each other on deep and stern levels that brought her performance itself and our overall collaboration to even more dramatic and powerful places than we’d imagined. She lights up the screen in many ways: physically, emotionally – but it’s far more than just being photogenic. Penelope’s presence seems to belong innately on film, and not just by virtue of her well-prepared dedication to her craft. Simply put, she fills and inhabits the frame like a movie star.”
As for Gass, who’s predominantly known for his comedic roles, Garcia offered, “I think many people will be surprised by Kyle’s dramatic chops. He took our character of Terry to such a wonderful and balanced place. The way Kyle was able to sculpt this character into such an anchor point for the film just floored us from the very first scene he did. On set he is a total pro, so collaborative and easy to work with, and then ‘Boom!’ He brings magic so effortlessly. I can’t even really explain how fortunate we feel to have gotten him on the project.”
With Garcia currently in post-production on the film, we asked him if there were any plans for Gnaw on the film festival circuit, to which he replied, “I would imagine that going right to a good distribution deal and/or making a sale would be amazing, but we also love horror fans and know how important the grassroots connection that is cultivated in the festival world can be. I can’t speak for the producers’ plans, but I don’t think anything is off the table at this point. I also believe that if we concentrate on making a great film that horror audiences will love, the film will find its own way.”
For more on Gnaw, “like” the film on Facebook here!
The post Gnaw Wraps! Exclusive Photos and Chat with Director Haylar Garcia appeared first on Dread Central.
The horror film Conjoined was an instant classic (watch it here), so we’re both baffled and delighted by the news that it’s getting a game adaptation. And a retro game, no less.
Yep, director Joe Grisaffi and programmer Jason Santuci are working together on a Conjoined game for the Atari 2600. Now I really have seen everything. Check out the official website, with a countdown to the Kickstarter campaign, here.
About the Conjoined Game:
Filmmaker Joe Grisaffi of Starship Films (Dead of Knight, Lars the Emo Kid, Laughing Boy, Death and a Salesman) has teamed up with video game programmer Jason Santuci of Gemintronic to produce an Atari 2600 video game based on the surprise indie horror/comedy hit Conjoined, directed by Joe Grisaffi, written by Chuck Norfolk and Tim Norfolk.
The film synopsis is as follows: When a lonely man (Stanley, played by Tom Long) finds out the love of his life has a conjoined twin, who happens to be a serial killer, he must take drastic measures to keep his love life intact while keeping himself out of big trouble.
The Atari 2600 game follows the concept of the movie. Stanley must catch the hearts that his love Alina is throwing to him while avoiding the broken hearts and daggers that her maniacal conjoined twin sister is throwing at him. After collecting all of the surgical items that appear after successfully catching a series of hearts, Stanley advances to the operation level, where he must separate the twins.
“I grew up with the Atari 2600,” says director Grisaffi. “I am thrilled to have produced a fun game with programmer Jason Santuci for the video game console that meant so much to me as a child. I am incredibly grateful to Jason for helping me realize a childhood dream of designing video games.”
The first run of the game, including a numbered limited edition, will be available through the Kickstarter campaign. The limited edition will include a classic Atari-style box, the game cartridge, a DVD of the film, a limited edition lapel pin, and a Certificate of Authenticity signed by programmer Jason Santuci, director Joe Grisaffi, and AtariAge’s Albert Yarusso, who will be manufacturing the cartridges.
Programmer Jason Santuci and filmmaker Joe Grisaffi also teamed up to create Atari 2600 games for the films Dead of Knight and Laughing Boy, both produced and directed by Grisaffi.
Conjoined has been a surprise hit for the filmmakers, with screenings at festivals and conventions all over the world, gaining new fans for both the film and the filmmakers. Viewers can find Conjoined on Amazon Instant Video and on the Independent Network Channel (INC) on Roku, with availability on other outlets coming soon.
With the third season of “The Strain” premiering on August 28th, fans of FX’s hit TV show will be looking for the perfect way to get ready for the new season, and we have your hook-up!
On June 28th, Insight Editions is releasing The Art of The Strain, which offers a look at Seasons 1 and 2 and features exclusive interviews with most of the series’ talent – both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
The Art of The Strain (pre-order from Amazon) was written by Los Angeles-based film critic and journalist Robert Abele with a foreword by Guillermo del Toro.
From the Press Release:
Discover the secrets of FX’s hit TV show “The Strain” in this deluxe book, which delves into the twisted imagination of creator and producer Guillermo del Toro, co-creator Chuck Hogan, and showrunner Carlton Cuse to deliver a jaw-dropping insider’s look at the scariest show on television.
Covering both Seasons 1 and 2, The Art of The Strain features exclusive interviews with del Toro, Hogan, Cuse, and a wealth of behind-the-scenes talent, who reveal the full story of the creation of the show. From the challenge of adapting the original novels to the work that went into designing a uniquely terrifying vampire race, The Art of The Strain gives in-depth insight into all aspects of the production.
Packed with a wide range of stunning visuals, including concept art, candid on-set photos, and illuminating VFX breakdowns, the book showcases the wonderfully macabre vision that drives “The Strain” and explores the genesis of fan favorites like The Master, the Sun Hunters, bloodworms, strigoi stingers, and other eerily unforgettable elements of the show. Also featuring profiles of the show’s central characters and interviews with the cast members who play them, including Corey Stoll, David Bradley, and Richard Sammel, The Art of The Strain is packed with bloodcurdling images and razor-sharp revelations that will thrill fans everywhere.
The post Take a Peek Inside Insight Editions’ The Art of The Strain appeared first on Dread Central.
Welcome back to Dread Central’s The Devil’s Muse, where we take a look at great artists who focus on the dark, the macabre, the dreadful.
This week we’re spotlighting Jessica Van Hulle.
Jessica is a California native who focuses on creating story and emotion in her artwork. Most of her handiwork involves sci-fi and fantasy elements, but she also does realistic figures/portraits. Jessica has had her work exhibited in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle.
Past her illustration and fine art career, Jessica also added fashion design to her repertoire. Since 2007 she has designed sexy Halloween costumes, lingerie, and high heel shoes.
The post DC’s The Devil’s Muse: Artist Spotlight – Jessica Van Hulle appeared first on Dread Central.