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.
John Carpenter and Blumhouse Productions are bringing Michael Myers back to the big screen in 2017. Let’s hope they toss one of the Halloween franchise’s biggest problems out the window.
When John Carpenter’s Halloween was released in 1978, audiences were terrified – and we’ve got the vintage audio to prove it. The independent film, which played no small part in launching the slasher boom of the early-mid 1980s, introduced the world to a nightmarish boogeyman in the form of “The Shape,” who would of course come to be known by the human name Michael Myers.
But in the original film, The Shape wasn’t quite human so much as he was a supernatural force, hell-bent on brutally butchering anyone who happened to cross his path. Fifteen years after snapping and slaughtering his sister for unknown reasons, Myers escapes from a sanitarium and goes on a murder spree through his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, a blank white mask covering his face and effectively wiping away any semblance of humanity he once had.
What happened to Michael that caused him to snap? And why does he set his sights on young Laurie Strode and her friends? Carpenter never answers these questions, and it’s because he doesn’t that Halloween remains one of the most genuinely terrifying films in the history of the horror genre.
When Rob Zombie came along and remade Halloween in 2007, he gave Michael Myers the full “origin story” treatment, explaining away his source of evil as the product of a disturbingly troubled childhood. In doing so, Zombie turned The Shape from a potent symbol of terror into your ordinary white trash serial killer, and many fans may never forgive him for that. But let’s be real here: Myers was humanized, in a damaging way, long before Zombie gave him a beard and a backstory.
In the original Halloween 2, reluctantly co-written by John Carpenter, we learned that Laurie Strode was Michael’s sister, thereby explaining why he targeted her in the 1978 film. With that one major addition to the mythology, Myers was more or less given a motive, and if you’re asking me, that motive did a whole lot more harm to the character than good. The Shape’s familial connection to his victims went on to become a nagging issue that plagued the entire franchise, as it suggested that he was only really interested in killing family members. And that’s just not that scary.
Certainly not as scary as a masked maniac choosing his victims at random.
“Michael Myers was an absence of character,” Carpenter noted in a 2014 interview with Deadline, hitting the nail squarely on its head. “And yet all the sequels are trying to explain that. That’s silliness – it just misses the whole point of the first movie. The sequels rooted around in motivation. I thought that was a mistake.”
At this time, it’s unclear what direction Carpenter and Blumhouse are taking the franchise in – and they assure that they don’t plan on giving it the remake or reboot treatment – but if they hope to recapture the terrifying simplicity of the original classic, one thing they simply must avoid is connecting Myers to any of the victims he decides to stick his trademark knife into. Hell, they’d be wise to ditch his human name entirely, as The Shape becomes more and more terrifying when there’s less and less humanity present in him.
In order to make Halloween great again, they need to make The Shape scary again. And the easiest way to accomplish that goal is to retcon all motivation out of the franchise.
Because Carpenter’s right. All that family stuff was a huge mistake.
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.
John Carpenter created one of the most iconic slashers of all time with 1978’s Halloween. And just like Hollywood does today, they saw a movie that was made for practically pennies (in their mind) and they wanted to cash in on that by making more just like it. Hence, we got Friday the 13th shortly thereafter.
When Carpenter looks back on such films, he admits that he thinks “…most of them were awful“, which is honestly true. Just like with any decade/era, only a few films rise above the rest and become memorable and iconic, Friday the 13th being one of them. But that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of that film or, it seems, that series.
Appearing on author Brett Easton Ellis’ podcast, Carpenter explained (courtesy of HitFix):
One springs from an organic idea and has a truly artist’s eye working. And ‘Friday the 13th’, I feel, affects me as very cynical. It’s very cynical moviemaking. It just doesn’t rise above its cheapness. I think the reason that all these slasher movies came in the ’80s was a lot of folks said “look at that ‘Halloween’ movie. It was made for peanuts, and look at the money it’s made! We can make money like that. That’s what the teenagers want to see.” So they just started making them, cranking them out…most of them were awful.
You can listen to the full podcast right here.
What do you think? Is there something to what Carpenter is saying or is he just full of himself? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below!
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!
Osiris Entertainment has picked up Betrothed with a VOD release targeted for July 15.
Described as “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre meets House of 1000 Corpses, Bloody has a first look at Jim Lane’s (Deadly Famous) Betrothed, starring Mikayla Gibson, Bill Oberst Jr (Criminal Minds, Circus of the Dead), Trae Ireland (13/13/13), Omar Gooding (Barbershop), Reatha Grey (Chocolate City), Joey Bell, David Brown, Elizabeth Castillo, Jamie B.Cline, Adam Dunnells, and Bunny Gibson (Creepshow III).
“A trip to the store turns into a surreal nightmare when a college student is kidnapped by a deranged, dysfunctional family. Now Audra West finds herself trapped in the middle of the desert, and betrothed to Adam, the youngest son of the murderous clan. As a determined detective conducts a frantic search, Audra realizes the only way to survive is to escape. But even if she could get away, almost two hundred miles of desert lies between her and help.”
Jim Lane directs from a script by Jeff D. Rosenberg. Greg Munsell, Carole Vesely, and Marie Lemelle produce.
The 1979 ecological horror film Prophecy is now available to stream online for free courtesy of Paramount and their YouTube channel The Paramount Vault.
“Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire (‘Rocky’, ‘The Godfather’) star as a doctor and his wife, who, at the request of a concerned friend, travel to Maine to research the impact of the lumber industry on the local environment. They begin to investigate a succession of mysterious and terrifying events: ecological freaks of nature (including fish that grow many times their normal size), and a series of bizarre and grisly human deaths.”
Directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, The Island of Dr. Moreau), the film stars Shire, Foxworth, Armand Assante (“The Odyssey”), Richard Dysart (John Carpenter’s The Thing), and Victoria Racimo.
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.
Peter Jackson’s 1996 horror/comedy The Frighteners is one of those movies I constantly forget exists and then, when I recall it, get really excited because I remember just how fun and entertaining it is.
The film follows Frank Bannister (played by Michael J. Fox), a man who uses his abilities to see and communicate with the dead to pull cons on unsuspecting people. The film also stars Jeffrey Combs (Re-animator), Dee Wallace (The Howling), Jake Busey (Identity), John Astin (“The Addams Family”), R. Lee Ermey (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and more. Basically, if you haven’t seen it, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Now, coming to the point of this article, one has to remember that many actors have been in TONS of films. And because they invest themselves so greatly during those few months, sometimes they find it hard to let go of previous characters. Such is the case with Fox during the filming of The Frighteners, when he kept forgetting to call Astin’s character “Judge” and instead referred to him as “Doc”, Christopher Lloyd’s character from the Back to the Future series!
Below is a clip from a behind-the-scenes reel where both Jackson and Fox discuss this and you can see the mistakes in action. It’s rather charming, in a silly way!
Take this rumor with the appropriate amount of salt, for it has not been confirmed in any way by id Software or Bethesda.
Earlier this week, the Internet stumbled upon multiple job listings (spotted by Gamenesia) on Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media’s website that might be hinting at id Software’s next big project. They’re currently looking for talented game programmers who fancy the idea of working “as a part of a development team on legendary id game properties like DOOM and QUAKE.”
id Software is looking for a Senior Physics & Simulation Programmer to work as part of a development team on legendary id game properties like DOOM and QUAKE, developing physics and simulation technology for the game industry’s most advanced engine technology. This position requires engaging in a proactive, high energy development environment on our core technology team.
Seeing as one of those two legendary properties was just rebooted to considerable acclaim, that leaves us with Quake. The series has been on an extended hiatus since the release of Enemy Territory back in 2007.
I’d say we’re long overdue for another Quake, and I’m not just saying that because I’m eager to see what the Stroggification process looks like on our fancy new hardware. I bet it’s super gross, you guys.
I seriously doubt we’ll hear anything from a possible sequel/reboot, assuming it even exists, at E3 next month. Still, it’s fun to think about.
The Japanese culture is absolutely fascinating and stretches over tens of thousands of years. Over that time, many myths have come and gone, some staying and becoming a part of the country’s history and entering modern era stories, folklore, music, movies, and more. Many of these legends contain terrifying creatures and entities that are utterly terrifying in concept and design. And over the years, many Japanese artists have created their own visions of these monstrous beings.
While many of us horror fans may only know Japanese horror of the past two or so decades thanks to the rise in J-horror films as well as the ease with which we can import such films, I wanted to dig much further back to these historical pieces that boggle the imagination and showcase nightmarish demons.
Below are several examples of these masterful pieces of art.
Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre”
Kuniyoshi was an artist who was born in the late 18th century and is considered by many to be one of the last great masters in the style of ukiyo-e woodblock prints, which waned in popularity in the 19th century. He created pieces that included many different subjects, ranging from samurai warriors to kabuki actors to animals and more.
One of his most horrific pieces is a triptych titled “Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre”, which depicts a princess reading from a scroll to summon a gigantic skeletal phantasm to protect her from the hero of the myth.
From the British Museum via Surprise Round:
Princess Takiyasha was the daughter of the provincial warlord Taira no Masakado who tried to set up an ‘Eastern Court’ in Shimōsa Province in competition with the emperor in Kyoto. However, his rebellion was put down in AD 939 and Masakado was killed. After his death, Princess Takiyasha continued living in the ruined palace of Sōma.
This print shows the episode from the legend when the emperor’s official, ōya no Mitsukuni, comes to search for surviving conspirators. The princess is reciting a spell written on a handscroll. She summons up a giant skeleton which comes rearing out of a terrifying black void, crashing its way through the tattered palace blinds with its bony fingers to menace Mitsukuni and his companion.
The triptych currently resides at the Honolulu Museum of Art.
Artist Unknown “Tsuchigumo no soushi”
The Japanese had a mythical creature (yōkai) that was called the Earth Spider, a terrifying amalgamation that featured the face of an oni, a body of a tiger, and the legs of a spider.
Originally, the term tsuchigumo was a derogatory term for renegade clans who did not swear allegiance to the Emperor of Japan. Many of these clans took refuge and made their homes in caves, emerging much like the Chinese Bird Spiders, that the myth may be based on, do when they search for food. This information came from the renowned Edo period historian Motoori Norinaga.
“The basic story begins with the illness of Raikou. A priest is sent to pray for him, but the priest is actually the spider in disguise. It soon reveals itself and entangles Raikou in its web. Raikou slashes his way free but the spider escapes during the struggle. Raikou’s four retainers, usually known as the “Four Guardian Kings” (shitennou), eventually find the spider and kill it with Raiko’s famous sword which they rename Kumokirimaru (Spider-cutter). [Source]”
A print resides at the Tokyo National Museum.
Utagawa Kuniyoshi “The Earth Spider Generates Monsters at the Mansion of Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu”
Another masterful triptych from Kuniyoshi, this piece tackles the issue of nightmares as the Earth Spider is sending forth demonic creatures to haunt the dreams of Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu, all while his retainers sit around conversing and playing Go.
The evil Earth Spider conjures up a battle of demons to torment the unwell Raiko (Yorimitsu) in his sleep (far right), whilst his retainers play go. This design got Kuniyoshi into trouble with the authorities because it was felt that it was a caricature of the Shogun Ieyoshi (ruled 1837-53) and his hated chief minister, Mizuno Tadakuni (1794-1851). As a result the blocks were destroyed. Despite the controversy, soon after, the print’s popularity resulted in two pirated versions being produced from completely re-cut blocks, each with notable differences when compared to the original.
Various versions of this print can be found in Boston, Tokyo, and London.
Kurimoto Tanshu “Kappa drawings from mid-19th century Suiko juni-hin no zu”
The Kappa is an example of a Suijin, or a “water deity”, from Japanese legend. These creatures can range in terms of their intentions. Some of the Kappa are known as flesh-eaters that, when captured, will offer their services or impart their knowledge. Others are though to be rapists, impregnating women. Other still attack animals, specifically livestock.
Interestingly, according to myth, the favorite food of the kappa is a cucumber. Additionally, they are at their weakest when attacking livestock because they enter stables, which means they are more easily caught.
The below print can be found at the National Diet Library in Tokyo.
Utagawa Toyokuni “Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan Onoe Matsusuke as the Ghost of the Murdered Wife Oiwa, in “A Tale of Horror from the Yotsuya Station on the Tokaido Road”
Supposedly, Ju-On‘s Kayako was inspired by this haunting tale. The story goes that a woman by the name of Oiwa was disfigured (sometimes the tale says she was murdered) by her husband, whom she haunted and pursued. When he went to remarry, her ghostly face appeared on the face of his bride. In terror, he swung his sword to behead the ghastly apparition only to behead his wife. He was ultimately killed by Oiwa’s brother.
According to Ju-On Wikia, simply telling this story is dangerous as it has a curse upon it. Filmmakers who use it as an inspiration for their own movies will apparently go to the grave of Oiwa in Tokyo to pray and ask for her blessings.
Toyohara Chikanobu “Kiyomori in a Snowy Garden of Skulls”
Some of Japan’s prints are not necessarily of demons of the flesh but more so demons of the mind. The actions of one’s past can haunt that person for the rest of their lives, as evidenced in this haunting ukiyo-e woodblock print.
“The subject of this painting was a very brutal warlord by the name of Taira Kiyomori. He killed many people, including members of his own family. Kiyomori is shown facing his snow covered garden, contemplating his life’s consequences. At the end of his life, he is now haunted by images of skulls and skeletons sculptured in the snow. [Source]
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Insatiable Old Woman”
Above I mentioned that Utagawa Kuniyoshi is considered one of the last great ukiyo-e masters. Well, Yoshitoshi is considered the very last master of the art. And his piece “Insatiable Old Woman” is a prime example of his abilities.
The piece is a representation of a scene from the folk tale “Shita-kiri Suzume” (translated as “Tongue-Cut Sparrow” and depicts the punishment of an old woman after her previous acts.
The full story follows that of an old husband and wife couple, the latter of whom is greedy and selfish. One day, the husband, while out cutting wood in the mountains, finds an injured young sparrow, which he brings home to nurse back to health. The wife is upset that her husband would waste their food on such a creature.
One day, the husband goes out to the mountains and leaves the sparrow with his wife, who goes fishing and leaves the sparrow alone in their home. Upon returning, she finds that the sparrow has eaten starch that was left out. In a fit of rage, she slices off the sparrows tongue and releases it back into the wild where it flies away.
When the husband comes home, he is distraught by this event and goes into the mountains to try and find the sparrow. He finds himself in a grove where a sparrow inn is located and he is invited in and treated kindly and lovingly by all the sparrows inside, including the young sparrow whose life he saved. The birds want to give him a present, so they present two covered baskets, one small and one large. He is allowed to choose only one, so he opts for the smaller one as it’s going to be the least heavy to carry back home from the mountains. When he arrives home and opens it, he finds treasures, delighting his wife. However, when she learns that there is a larger basket, she sets off to find it so that she may take it.
When she arrives at the sparrow’s inn, they grant her the basket but warn her not to open it until she gets home. Of course, her wicked selfishness doesn’t allow her this and she opens it on the path back home only to unveil creatures and demons which sprang out and startled her so much that she fell down the mountain to her death.
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.
Quick heads up to those of you who are planning on getting the Dead Island Definitive Edition when it hits PC, PS4 and Xbox One next week — for PS4 owners, only the original game is included on the disc, so you’ll need to download Riptide.
Deep Silver confirmed the news on Twitter, saying “On XB1 it is on the same disc. PS4 discs don’t support multiple games, so there Riptide comes as a download code.”
When their followers pointed out the problem with that statement — Uncharted, Borderlands and Metro have all had shared disc bundles — the publisher clarified their wording, adding “We could’ve worded that better,” and “You need a separate menu, you can’t just put two games on disc the same way as on XB1.”
This isn’t a huge deal, more of a small annoyance really. It’s just unusual. When GameSpot pushed further, all they got was “There are limitations where you are unable to have multiple multiplayer experiences on the same disc, unfortunately we can’t comment further.”
Oh well. At least I was able to learn some more neat bits from their Twitter page, like how all three games will come with 1,000 GS points, or whatever the trophy equivalent of that is. It makes sense for the first two games to be treated like the full retail releases they were originally, but it’s mildly surprising that Retro Revenge is getting the same treatment.
Night School Studios has announced they’re bringing the original soundtrack for their supernatural teen thriller Oxenfree to vinyl, courtesy of the fine folks at iam8bit.. The deliciously atmospheric OST is the work of SCNTFC (Sword and Sworcery), and it may very well be my favorite video game OST of 2016 thus far.
The soundtrack is fantastic, but it isn’t the best thing about Oxenfree. There’s a lot to love about this charming ghost story, and I did my best to go over all of it in my review.
The audio/visual stuff is top notch, particularly the former, which benefits from some stellar sound design, quality voice acting and the OST I mentioned earlier. What surprised me is how well it works as a game and as a delivery device for a surprisingly emotional story. It actually makes having conversations with NPCs a joy to have, and that’s no small feat.
It has a satisfying narrative that can be seen through to the end over the course of an evening or two, but it’s the cast of refreshingly complex characters — sans the stereotypical teen angst garbage these games often rely upon — and the dynamic relationships between them that really carries the story. I usually cared more about my fickle relationships with my virtual friends than the vengeful spirits who were actively trying to murder them.
Anyway, it’s a good game, and it’s coming to PS4 on May 31 for $19.99, or $14.99 if you’re a PS Plus subscriber. The vinyl OST costs $35, and it’s available for pre-order over here.
Another major content update is coming soon to Saibot Studios’ indie horror game Doorways: Holy Mountains of Flesh, bringing it one step closer to leaving Steam Early Access. The update will build on what was added in Act 2: The Mansion back in March, as well as set the stage ahead of the arrival of the final act, The Temple, which will finally bring an end to the trilogy.
So far, Holy Mountains of Flesh has been a worthy finale to the series. I didn’t finish the first Doorways, but its sequel, The Underworld, was fantastic.
We won’t have to wait more than a few weeks for the release of the penultimate chapter in the Holy Mountains story, though I might suggest you enter the eponymous temple with caution. The folks at Saibot seem like good people, but “[We] hope you like what you see and get ready for what’s coming inside The Temple…” is a fairly ominous tease.
Methinks we won’t be too fond of this temple surprise. No, not one bit.
Killmonday Games is an indie studio founded and comprised of “two Swedish game developers of madness” — their words, not mine — with Isak Martinsson handling the technical stuff (coding, design) while Natalia Figueroa takes care of the audio/visual bits, like art, music and animation. The extremely talented duo are the creators of last year’s memorable 2D horror game Fran Bow, which you absolutely need to play, if you haven’t already.
Fran Bow is a still-new entry in a subgenre I sometimes refer to as sad horror. I’ll admit that’s not a terribly catchy label for these uniquely personal stories of genuine psychological terror, but it feels appropriate as these games often revolve around well-meaning protagonists with debilitating mental illnesses.
Killmonday recently posted an hour-long making of video for their darkly quirky adventure game that covers three years of its development, from 2013-2016. If you’re a fan, I highly recommend you check it out.
In Fran Bow, the young girl who serves as its main character is described as struggling with “a mental disorder and an unfair destiny.” I’m sure many of us can sympathize.
Neverending Nightmares is a similarly themed game designed by Matt Gilgenbach, who’s been open about his own war against mental illness and how the game doubled as both a creative outlet and a sort of therapy. A more recent example would be The Town of Light, a non-traditional horror game set in 1938 Italy that released back in February. It’s about a 16 year-old Renée who’s forcefully committed to a mental institution because “she didn’t know what her place in the world was.”
Krillbite Studio’s indie hit Among the Sleep touches on similar themes with its portrayal of a deeply troubled family that’s been torn apart by addiction, and specifically the impact that can have on children. Their next project, Mosaic, isn’t a horror game, but it too covers a topic we can all relate to: the mundaneness of adulthood.
Seeing as the oppressive tedium and impossible expectations of fame, fortune, and physical perfection that come with modern adult life are often cited as significant contributors to the mental illness epidemic of anxiety, depression and low self-worth that continues to quietly devastate millions of people, I believe it fits.
I might even include Erin Reynolds’ experimental, biofeedback-driven horror game Nevermind in that group, though it’s less interested in telling a story, and more about helping those who currently struggle with stress and anxiety develop an awareness of these issues, as well as help develop the tools to combat them.
We desperately need more games like these. Zombies, aliens, vampires, ghosts, demons, serial killers and animatronic abominations will always have a place in our favorite genre, but it’s so important that games developers don’t rely exclusively on these familiar foes when there are so many alternatives to choose from.
Mental illness is a different kind of scary. You might not understand it as intimately as someone who’s endured the slow death it brings, but you probably know someone who has. It’s still somewhat stigmatized in our society, and I think video games and the brilliant people who create them can help change that in a way that movies, books and television cannot.
Because if you haven’t felt the profound impact that depression or its myriad cousins can have on the mind, then it’s games like these that are in a unique position to help. And they’re scary, too. The psychological terror here is based in a reality that far too many of us know exceedingly well, and they’re not so easily vanquished.
Mental illness claims too many lives, and not just literally, but also in the passion for life it often drains from its unsuspecting host like an insatiable parasite. So please, you exceptionally gifted builders of the virtual worlds we love to explore, keep being brave. We need courageous storytellers like the devs I listed above, because this industry is broken in a way that keeps these stories from being told by more mainstream games.
What are your thoughts on this? Would you like to see more games like Fran Bow, Neverending Nightmares and The Town of Light, or not so much?