Welcome to the fifth chapter of our October Madness feature! Here are five more titles I highly recommend visiting on your October movie nights.
Stay tuned next week for more, and be sure to share your choices with us in the comments section.
These days Peter Jackson he has spent so much time in Middle Earth, it seems ages ago that we’ve seen the spirit of the New Zealand renegade filmmaker that created Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles and this work of splatter genius that gave us a Sumatran rat-monkey infected geriatric zombie, fun creative dismemberment by lawnmower, hilarious impalement by light bulb and best of all, a kung fu priest kicking ass for the lord. Several impressive recent genre offerings like Housebound and Deathgasm are clearly inspired by Jackson’s early balls-to-the-wall approach to cinema, and this wickedly entertaining gem is a reminder that we’re still waiting for the king of splatter to come back and reclaim his throne!
Tombs of the Blind Dead
This 1971 Spanish horror film written and directed by Amando de Ossorio was the first in a series of films that follows a legion of knights who have become blind reanimated corpses of evil wreaking havoc in the 13th century on those unfortunate enough to have their blood drained and bodies sacrificed to their unholy allegiance.
Atmospheric and chilling, Tombs of the Blind Dead is good exploitation fun. There’s an alternate ending included on the DVD from Blue Underground that was alternately used to cash in on the Planet of the Apes franchise that’s worth checking out as well.
At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul
In 1964 a Brazilian filmmaker named José Mojica Marins introduced horror movie fans to fiendish gravedigger Zé do Caixão, known infamously as Coffin Joe. Coffin Joe is searching for a female companion to give ritual birth to his damned offspring, only his mischievous deeds have a price, and his destiny may beckon an inevitable journey to the depths of hell. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul is the first in a trilogy of films featuring Marins’ Coffin Joe character that includes This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse and Embodiment of Evil, and to say that these films are sheer insanity is putting it lightly. The director ended up playing the main role when the original actor quit, and there was a rumor that things got so crazy while filming that the director forced his crew to shoot a scene by pointing a gun at the cameraman. Coffin Joe is one of the most demented characters ever committed to celluloid, and this is where it all began.
The Devil’s Backbone
A deep labor of love for director Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone was strongly influenced by his relationship with his uncle, who del Toro claimed has visited him in spiritual form. Set in 1939 during the ghastly civil war in Spain, del Toro created beautiful and haunting visual poetry that pulls at the heartstrings as much as it sends chills down the spine. The pale ghost in this feature has Japanese horror aesthetic inspiration that works wonderfully with this film’s Gothic tone. This film is a perfect companion to Pan’s Labyrinth, a pure and euphoric cinematic experience.
Martin is a personal favorite of Romero and his first collaboration with special effects wizard Tom Savini, a truly overlooked masterpiece. Like Dawn of the Dead, there is an Italian cut with a kick-ass Goblin score that’s worth seeking out once you’ve seen the original cut. Romero originally had a cut that ran 165 minutes that will never see the light of day, and his original vision was for this intimate film to be in black and white, which didn’t seem like a good idea to the studio. I personally have no problem whatsoever with this version and find it to be Romero’s finest work. There’s also voice-over narration that was cut out and can be heard in the theatrical trailer; however, there was a novelization containing the missing narration if you feel like you’re missing out and want to track it down. Either way, when it comes to unique vampire lore in the movies, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Elder Scrolls Online is getting a new expansion, and it’s set in the orc homeland land of Orsinium. I won’t even make a joke about what that sounds like.
Far from the bloodthirsty, savage brutes of Tolkien’s orcs, or the thuggish, foul-mouthed, cockney accented ones from Warhammer, the orcs of Elder Scrolls have evolved into a fairly civilised race. Fairly. You can judge for yourself when you get to know them in their homeland.
In true Elder Scrolls style, there’ll be a huge area to explore, along with tons of new quests and secrets to uncover. You would expect nothing less from what is arguably the most popular western fantasy RPG series of all time (suck it Dragon Age).
Orsinium, the once-great capital city of the Orcs, has long lain abandoned and in ruin. King Kurog, reigning monarch of the Orcs, has sent invitations far and wide to enterprising adventurers. Join him in rebuilding the city and returning it to its former glory. Your efforts and actions while in Orsinium and the mountains of Wrothgar have a direct impact on the reconstruction effort—the city will visibly transform.
The largest ESOTU DLC game pack to date, Orsinium takes you to the mountains of Wrothgar, and to the Orc capital itself, to unravel plots and counter-plots, and encounter all-new enemies and allies. Whether you choose to strike out and explore this vast new zone on your own, play through the quests, face the challenges of the Maelstrom Arena, or team up with friends to take on the new public dungeons and world bosses, there’s something here for everyone.
Bethesda have clarified that there won’t be any new Elder Scrolls game for a while, so we’ll just have to make do with the expansions from now on. Elder Scrolls Online: Orsinium will be summoned on November 2nd.
The post Elder Scrolls Online: Orsinium Expansion Will Feature The Orc Homeland appeared first on Dread Central.
Starring Lauren Ashley Carter, Brian Morvant, Sean Young
Directed by Mickey Keating
Although it was just seven months ago that director Mickey Keating unleashed his “X-Files”-tinged horror romp Pod to much buzz at South by Southwest, it seems the young director is having a hard time staying away from the city of Austin, Texas. Darling, Keating’s latest headtrip of a flick, recently saw its own premiere at this fall’s Fantastic Fest. Just days following the premiere, worldwide rights to the film were acquired by Screen Media Films for a targeted 2016 release. If this sounds promising enough, we can indeed confirm that Keating’s latest effort most definitely serves to establish him as a daring auteur to watch.
In a striking tonal shift from the sci-fi paranoia of Pod and the minimalist satanic terror of 2013’s Ritual, Darling is, in a nutshell, a gripping slow-burn of a film about a girl who slowly loses her sanity. Lauren Ashley Carter (Pod, The Woman, Jug Face) tackles the titular role of a beautifully mysterious girl hired by Madame, an eerie and well-placed Sean Young, to care for a historic New York home. Before leaving Darling to the home, however, Madame makes it a point to reveal that the previous caretaker tragically committed suicide. Oh, and also that there is a locked room at the end of a long hallway on the top floor that should never be entered. Naturally, Darling spends much of the film exploring the massively creepy home and slowly peeling away its layers with each discovery. Although the setup is a familiar one, what follows is a uniquely mesmerizing journey that leans heavily on tension, paranoia and an uncertainty that eats away at you from the peripheries until you are trapped right there with Darling in the thick of insanity.
Darling is a shorter feature – sitting at a runtime of 78 minutes – but it is also a substantial one, with a pacing that lays the dread on thick with each passing minute as our leading lady’s mental stability starts to come into question. Keating owes a debt to early Polanski here (Repulsion’s touch is heavy), among other atmospheric genre classics, but Darling never feels cheap in its homage. On the contrary, the film’s approach is actually quite refreshing in the current horror climate, and Keating’s aesthetic acumen is never indulgent, even when the score creeps up on you and punches you in the gut. Shot entirely in black and white (a polarizing move in itself), the time period in which the film is set is difficult to place. This decision serves an effective purpose in creating a hazy environment where much of who and what we encounter feels just a little off. Additionally, the creeping cinematography manages to make an unnerving environment of an otherwise stunning residential interior and a looming, alien threat of the bright Manhattan skyline.
Beyond its foremost appeal as art house eye-candy, Darling’s perfectly cast players notably elevate the story to something we can really care about. No talent is wasted here: In addition to Young’s brief, but memorable appearance as Madame, Brian Morvant conveys the questionable, handsome stranger on the street to charming effect, and busiest man alive Larry Fessenden makes another enjoyably humorous cameo for Keating in the film’s third act as a police officer (he has appeared in both Pod and Ritual). With each supporting character Darling encounters, it becomes clear that Keating wants you to be wary of just about everyone, casting shadows in just the right way through the perspective of his doe-eyed protagonist. In a brilliant exchange between Carter and Morvant on the street, it’s hard not to question if he is indeed a potential threat, or if our beloved Darling is losing her grip faster than expected. What makes the film even better is that Keating keeps you questioning this, even after the crazy really starts to go down and you are convinced you have a handle on who is really to fear here.
The major revelation in the film comes in its star Lauren Ashley Carter, who previously co-starred in Pod as well. A burgeoning genre staple over the last few years, Carter rises to new heights of performance here, carrying the story with a confidence and depth that captivates for the entire 78 minutes. Darling is the perfect enigma: beautiful, but clearly scarred by an occurrence in her past, details of which are only hinted at throughout the film. Although Carter is surely a sweet gal in real life, there is something in her enthralling performance as Darling nears her breaking point that provokes genuine terror as much as it does pity. She channels Darling’s frightening fragility in the most delicate of ways, masterfully toeing the line of eliciting both genuine fear for this woman and genuine fear of this woman from her audience.
The film is most certainly “art house horror” to a T, which will undoubtedly frustrate many people early on. It is not a film for everyone, or even for someone in its target audience who perhaps cannot approach it with the utmost in focus. At points, the crawling pace does inspire a sigh or two, although more often than not these moments serve to prolong tension. For viewers who stick with it for the answers, it is also worth noting that while revelations do ultimately occur (so to speak), they may not be explicitly satisfying enough for all.
What ultimately elevates Darling beyond a level of pretension that tends to hamper other films of this nature, however, is the careful scripting and cinematic intelligence of wunderkind Mickey Keating. Every cinematic decision – from a fit of quick cuts, to jarring moments in the sound design, to very pointedly ambiguous costuming – is in direct service to the tone and the aesthetic vision of Darling as a creeping hallucinatory nightmare of a story. There is no arbitrary nature to Keating’s approach here, and the fact that the film was shot in just 12 days and stands in such stark stylistic antithesis to his previous films is a testament to his current standing as an influenced, but fresh-eyed talent with impressive range. The man knows film and filmmaking, and it is exciting to see a film like this come from a director so early in his career.
I say keep them coming.
We recently had the opportunity of snagging a few minutes with Andre Tricoteux, the latest name to jump into the “iZombie” fray, and aside from his sturdy list of stunt work, he’ll also be starring in the upcoming Warcraft and Deadpool films. He was gracious enough to disclose as much as he was able to regarding his roles, and future plans, so settle in and enjoy!
DC: You recently signed on for a recurring role on “iZombie” – what, if anything can you tell us about the character you’ll be playing?
AT: (laughs) I’m not really allowed to say much, but I can say that I’ll be working closely with the character Blaine, and I really think that people are going to be happy with some of the stuff that I do.
DC: Had you seen the series before, or did you find yourself watching it to try and catch up?
AT: I have watched it – I try to pay attention to all of the shows that are filmed here in Vancouver.
DC: If you can tell us – is this going to be a physical role for you?
AT: Yeah, I can say that there are some physical parts in it, for sure. It certainly was a very challenging role – my character is a big onion, and people are going to see a different layer peeled back in each episode that I’m in. There’s some unique things about this guy that are challenging about the way he communicates and the way he carries himself – I had a lot of fun playing him, and I hope that the “iZombie” audience really embraces him.
DC: You’re also set to play in the upcoming Warcraft film – what can you tell us about that?
AT: Well, Warcraft was something we finished filming back in the Spring of 2014, and I haven’t seen the final cut of it yet, but I will say that a lot of effort was put into it to make it really true to the game. The developers wanted to make sure that the core audience would really be happy with it, and I think they’ll be thrilled – the CGI is next-level – it’s going to make Avatar look like a cartoon – people are going to be blown away by it. There’s a lot of great battle scenes, and I’ll be playing an orc – we kick a lot of ass!
DC: Lastly, aside from the projects we’ve talked about, what else is coming up for you?
AT: I’ve got a couple of irons in the fire, but they’re not closed just yet, so we’ll see if they pan out, and I’ve also got Deadpool coming out in February, and we’ll see what else the future brings for me.
Reason #87 to stay out of the friggin’ woods is here in the form of Backwater, a new tale of terror about life… and death… in the great outdoors.
Neck hairs will rise when writer-director Christopher Schrack’s Backwater arrives on DVD and Digital this November from Osiris Entertainment.
Boasting an award-winning screenplay, the chiller chronicles the frightening journey of couple who can’t shake the feeling that they’re not alone on their camping trip.
Justin Tully (Sorority Row) and Liana Werner-Gray (The Man in the Maze) star in what critics are calling a “treat for horror fans” (Horroracle).
Backwater will be released on November 10.
Cass and Mark are a couple on a camping trip to the distant countryside. When their seemingly secluded getaway is interrupted by an ominous scream, they start to think someone might be stalking them and encounter two strangers who are also in the woods near them. Despite everything appearing to be harmless, they can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong. The truth, however, is far more disturbing than meets the eye.
Usually, when a movie based on real-life is released, those of whom it is based on may not like how they are being depicted, and sometimes may even go as far as to threaten legal action. In Midnight Show, a serial killer decides to go a step further, and slaughters everyone in a theatre screening a movie based on his crimes. Guess he must not have liked how he was portrayed. But hey, we can’t all get Daniel Day-Lewis or Meryl Streep. I hope that all the celebrities who keep suing over uses of their likeness don’t get any ideas from this.
Director Ginanti Rona Tembang Sari worked as an assistant director on The Raid, and this marks his first feature directing gig.
Midnight Show will be released in Indonesia later this year.
Independent filmmakers Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, screenwriters of John Carpenter’s The Ward, along with their producing partner, international bestselling author Glenn Cooper, launched an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds to make their supernatural horror thriller, The Inhabitants. It was a success, and now everyone can see the film on VOD October 13, 2015.
We chatted with the pair recently, and they provided us with a few new stills from the film, including one exclusive to DC.
The Inhabitants revolves around a young couple who get more than they bargained for when they purchase and renovate an old bed and breakfast in New England. A series of troubling events leads the husband to suspect that something terrible is hiding within the walls of this house, and whatever it is… has set its sights on his wife.
Dread Central: What inspired you to make this particular story, and how are the protagonists different from most horror film characters?
Michael Rasmussen: Our inspiration for this film initially came from the Noyes-Parris house. It’s one of the oldest houses in New England, and it just so happens to have been owned by the Reverend Samuel Parris, whose daughter and niece made the initial accusations that led to the Salem Witch Trials. It has such a rich history, and we wanted to integrate that into some sort of ghost story.
Shawn Rasmussen: We had been looking to write a project along the lines of The Changeling, The Haunting of Julia, and Don’t Look Now for a while. These were films that we watched as kids that really stuck with us. I think that’s because at the heart of these spooky tales were the characters. Those films were as much melodramas as they were ghost stories.
MR: We really liked the idea of this old house, and its inhabitants, coming between our couple both literally and metaphorically. We also wanted to switch up the gender roles. Dan is sort of our Final Girl while Jess, who would normally be the woman in peril, is the aggressor. I think that’s certainly one way that our characters are different from the typical horror film roles.
SR: There’s definitely a strong feminist subtext to our story as well. It was really present in our script, and I hope it comes across in the finished film. Our midwife, Lydia, was a strong woman, and the men in the colony ultimately felt threatened by this.
DC: This may seem to be coming out of left field, but I was really impressed by your sound design on the film. As somebody who watches tons of low budget horror movies, I really appreciate the attention to detail you paid here – from the turning of the pages in the book to the footsteps on the creaking floorboards. Was that something you set out to do?
MR: We’re actually glad you noticed. It’s something we worked very hard on. We’ve always felt that the success of a horror film weighs heavily on its sound design almost as much as its visuals. So when we were in post, we made a concerted effort to include each and every creak, groan, and thump. That meant layering in a lot of different tracks, which made things a little confusing for our mixer.
SR: At one point the sound design was so exaggerated that it actually sounded ridiculous, but then during the mix we were able to roll it back slightly and use the 5.1 surround to place the different elements in the space. We used two very talented sound designers – Andrew Willis (who also helped with the score) and Kenny Kusiak.
DC: How’d you find your main cast?
MR: With our previous film, Dark Feed, we held a lot of auditions to find our cast, and we ultimately found that process very depersonalizing. So when it came time to cast this film (which we intended to shoot in a very intimate way), we wanted to use people we knew. Fortunately on Dark Feed we worked with some very talented people, and two of them were Michael Reed and Elise Couture Stone (you might recognize some other cast members as well). It really helped knowing the two actors that were going to play the leads as we fleshed out the script. We were able to play to their strengths and write with the actors in mind.
Michael Reed’s Dan is the polar opposite of the Jack character he played in Dark Feed. Here he plays a supportive husband who notices something is wrong with his wife but doesn’t know how to deal with it. Elise Couture Stone plays Jess, his loving wife, who is undergoing a troubling transformation. We tried to shoot the film in order as much as possible, and it was amazing to watch Elise grow darker and darker each day we shot.
SR: We also had some great supporting actors. India Pearl, who plays our witch, was recommended to us by a friend and always brought so much enthusiasm to the set. And Judith Chaffee, who teaches theater at Boston University, really did an amazing job conveying a much older and feeble Rose Stanton.
DC: How’d you get hold of that great historic house to film in, and what was it like? Any anecdotes about the house or filming in it, you can share?
MR: Fortunately for us, the house is currently owned by one of the producers on our very first project, Long Distance. His name is Glenn Cooper. During the shooting of that film, he off-handedly remarked that he owned a house that was haunted. He told us there was a woman in black who walked the halls. At first we skeptically shrugged it off. But then over the years, we had a chance to visit the place, and the seeds for our story were planted.
SR: Shooting in the house was great, but it was also a little cramped, even with our minimal crew which often consisted of just four to five people, including us. And from a sound perspective all the creaking floorboards were a nightmare in terms of recording dialogue. But you can’t argue with the fact that this house really lent a level of authenticity to our story. We weren’t on a sound stage somewhere.
MR: Besides being owned by Samuel Parris, the house was later used by abolitionists as a stop on the Underground Railroad to hide runaway slaves. So it has all these hidden passageways that we were able to utilize. It was really amazing. There aren’t a lot of New England ghost stories that are actually being shot here in New England, and that’s too bad because the setting is completely unique.
DC: Did the fact you worked with John Carpenter in the past inform you for making your own feature film?
MR: Working with John Carpenter was a dream come true. We grew up watching his films. And The Thing is one of my all-time favorites. So the whole experience was completely surreal.
SR: John is an amazing collaborator. Maybe it’s because he’s also a writer, but he has a very subtle way of giving notes so that you don’t even realize he’s doing it.
MR: He also completely changed the way we write screenplays. Before The Ward we never really wrote with the director in mind. Now we’re constantly asking ourselves: How is this going to be shot? Is it something that a director can accomplish?
SR: Making micro-budget films requires a leap of faith, and working with John definitely gave us the confidence to just go out and make our last two films.
DC: What’s coming up next for you guys?
MR: We have a project that was part of the Frontieres Film Market in 2013 called Subculture that we’re trying to get off the ground. It’s a subterranean creature siege film set in the tunnels under New York.
SR: We’re also doing a final polish on a Lovecraftian tale inspired by “The Shadow over Innsmouth” called Black Autumn. And we’re tackling a couple of writing assignments as well including a potential remake of a Spanish road thriller with a director and producing team that we’re very excited to be working with.
In closing, Michael said, “Dread Central has always been so supportive of us as filmmakers and what we do. Even before The Ward. So we just want to say thanks. We really do appreciate it.”
Thank YOU, Michael and Shawn, for making a classic-feeling, spooky ghost story with such craft and care.
For more info “like” The Inhabitants on Facebook.
The post Exclusive: Michael and Shawn Rasmussen Talk The Inhabitants appeared first on Dread Central.
If you need an indie killing spree in your life, then look no further than the just released Chill: The Killing Games.
Directed by Noelle Bye and Meredith Holland, Chill: The Killing Games stars Roger Conners (director and star of Night of the Living Dead: Rebirth), Kelly Rogers, Brad Arner and DJ Remark.
November 17, 1988, is a day of mourning for some…and for others, a lucrative opportunity.
On that date, eight university students were found murdered in the old arts building at the college. An anonymous source told police the 20-somethings were in the midst of a local role-playing game, called Chill.
The name of the game is to stay alive. But for the players that November evening, few would be getting up for another round.
But when a scheming student decides to profit from the tragedy and revive the whodunit game as a web series, the new players soon discover, for some, this game is still all too real…
A sequel titled Chill: 2 the Bone is also in development.
The post College Horror Flick Chill: The Killing Games Available Now appeared first on Dread Central.
Calendula is a video game. Calendula is a meta game. Calendula is a minimalist game. Calendula is a horror game. Calendula is an atmospheric game. Calendula is a mystery. Calendula is an experience. Calendula is a glass full of blood. Calendula is evil. Calendula is a flower. Calendula is pain. Calendula is your deepest secret.
How to play… a game that does not want to be played? What if it is not a game? What if YOU were the game? Let the darkness play with you. And please, remember, it is not your fault…
Um, yeah. I don’t know what to make of that. Calendula is weird. Calendula is really weird. Calendula is really, really weird.
Looking at the screenshots, I believe them when they say that Calendula does not want to be played. Those menus look evil!
Calendula is currently without a release date. Calendula is going to be released at a later time. Calendula is probably going to be fucking awesome.
Calendula flowers are also known as Pot Marigold, but you already knew that, didn’t you?
Starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Patrick Wymark, Jill Bennett
Directed by Freddie Francis
Distributed by Eureka! Entertainment
The second horror film – following Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors — to come from the stables of Hammer’s greatest rival, Amicus Productions, Freddie Francis’ The Skull stars Peter Cushing as wealthy curio collector and author Christopher Maitland.
Approached by a shady dealer, Maitland is offered a pair of esoteric antiques – one, a book detailing the life of the infamous Marquis de Sade (and bound in human flesh, no less) and the other… the skull of the Marquis himself.
Maitland is warned off of purchasing the grim ornament by his friend, and fellow collector, Matthew Phillips (Lee) – who reveals that it was, in fact, recently stolen from him… and he would rather not have it back. See, the skull remains the vessel for a demonic spirit that once possessed the Marquis, and will call out to its owner, leading them down an irresistible path of madness and murder.
Of course, Maitland has already found himself rather taken with the piece, and despite all warnings continues to pursue it. Soon, the malevolent power of the skull is in full swing, and poor Maitland will realise that he has bitten off far more than he can chew.
Adapted from the 1945 short story The Skull of the Marquis de Sade by Robert Bloch, The Skull is quite an effective chiller in the classical vein, but marred by a lack of momentum. Screenwriter Milton Subotsky, in sticking as closely to the source material as possible, ran into a major problem – one that was passed on to director Francis – when the completed script for his film was barely feature length.
This led to Francis being forced to dream up additional scenes and drag current ones out when shooting. The result is a number of extended sequences in which very little happens, or the events portrayed play out in drawn-out style. In testament to the skills of legendary actor Peter Cushing, however, it actually manages to work – the man proving as captivating as ever no matter what he’s doing. Cushing adds a gravitas to his slower scenes, especially given the almost dialogue-free final act, serving to increase the skin-crawling threat that pervades much of The Skull’s later runtime.
On the whole, Francis’ direction is slick – though there are moments of off-putting editing during conversations – and the lo-fi special effects employed to create the finale’s malevolent floating skull don’t actually come across as entirely ridiculous given the film’s success in generating a solid atmosphere of doom.
The Skull would perhaps have been better served by inclusion in one of Amicus’ anthologies rather than being forcibly stretched to feature length, but it still manages to succeed in its aims. With Cushing and Lee on top form and enough mystery and suspense to go around, The Skull makes for a great pick for a rainy evening in the company of a good old-fashioned spook show.
Eureka! Entertainment bring The Skull to UK homes in a double-disc set featuring both DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film. Only the DVD was supplied for the purposes of review, and it’s suitably well presented, exhibiting only very minor instances of picture instability – excusable given the source material.
Extras on the disc include two on-camera discussions of the film, one with film historian Jonathan Rigby and the other with critic and author Kim Newman. Both are entertaining and informative, though it’s natural that some duplicate information about the film, and the history of Amicus, is espoused. Physically, there’s a reversible sleeve so you can choose exactly what goes on your shelf, and a collector’s booklet featuring a very well written short essay by film historian Vic Pratt and a wide selection of historic promotional materials from The Skull’s release.