Ouija is the equivalent of a teen boy pooping on the spirit board before his kid sister’s sleepover, then giggling in the corner as they come in and go, “Hey, you see that shit?” The directorial debut of writer Stiles White (The Possession, Boogeyman), Ouija is easily the most hopeless Hollywood horror film I’ve seen since The Apparition. It’s relentlessly insulting to its audience, inherently insulting to its own script, and ultimately insulting to the human race.
Attempting to summarize the plot is senseless. The characters never follow any kind of rational instinct or even seem to be affected by the prior scene. All you need to know is that an attractive girl named Debbie (Shelley Hennig) is mysteriously killed while messing around with a Ouija board. Her friends (Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Douglas Smith, etc.), overwrought with grief, inexplicably break into her house to attempt to communicate with her through a Ouija board. What they wind up contacting is a dormant spirit with wicked tendencies who breaks through and starts screwing with their lives. I would too, if I was a spirit and these shitty kids disturbed my afterlife.
How does the group of friends attempt to solve their problem? The Ouija board. When that doesn’t work, they try the Ouija board. Things get incomprehensibly worse, so they try the Ouija board. When Olivia Cooke is exhausted of means to further grieve for her friend, she tries the Ouija board (only after it’s blatantly laid out numerous times that you are never to use the board alone – that’s like, one of the “rules” that are lazily put forth in the film). And then, the Ouija board.
The most frustrating part is that nothing cool ever happens during all of the Ouija board scenes. There’s like 30 of them, yet they’re all void of creativity! Remember in Paranormal Activity when the Ouija board bursts into flames? That was just a subtle, cheap effect but it looked wicked cool. Nothing cool ever happens in Ouija despite having a perfectly good outlet for crazy, weird shit to happen in almost every scene (and a budget in the millions). The only decent bit they have involves gazing through the planchette, which allows you to see the spirit, but all that’s played for is tawdry jump scares you could bet the farm on. Every single scare is lazy and predictable.
Who do we blame for this? This sorry state of big release horror? You can’t even make Ouija part of that discussion because it seems to be completely content ignoring the past decade of horror. Ouija builds upon nothing. It attempts nothing original. It takes “the rules” laid out in Scream to a whole new level of retardation. I was convinced I blacked out in between scenes because they never seemed to correlate with the previous ones. My eyes got a helluva workout as they rolled and rolled and rolled…
Does Ouija do anything right? Well, it certainly looks good. First time cinematographer David Emmerichs (whose camera & electrical credits on IMDB run very, very deep) does a fantastic job framing the story. There’s nothing flashy or particularly stylistic, but it’s a very deliberate, sharp work that Emmerichs puts forth. Bravo for at least making this turd digestible.
Other than that, Ouija is everything you hate about modern horror. It’s third-rate, lazy, and intellectually abusive to genre fans. And this is our big Halloween release this year? That’s a damn shame.
It’s official, one of the more refreshing — and not to mention terrifying — indie horror games in recent memory is getting a sequel. Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 is in the works, and this time there won’t be any reinforced steel doors to protect you from its creepy cast of animatronic creatures. If you’d like to follow its progress, I suggest you trot on over to Steam Greenlight to keep track of it.
In related news, we kicked off our 13 Days of Horror series with a playthrough of the original Five Nights at Freddy’s. You can see how that went for me (spoiler: not good) in the video below.
Warner Bros has started showing off some of the brutal weapon combos we can look forward to using to dish out delicious pain to the monsters of Dying Light, starting with the Baseball Bat + Home Run Mod and the Fireman Axe + Heavy Welder Mod.
I’m loving how the bat sends creatures flying, but there’s a level of irony in the axe mod that I can appreciate. There will undoubtedly be more videos like this on the way, but for now, I’m most looking forward to getting my hands on the latter. How about you?
Dying Light hits PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on January 27, 2015.
Indie pop artist Melanie Martinez has released an official video for her track “Carousel”, which is heavily used in the promotions for FX’s American Horror Story: Freakshow. The video shows Martinez going through a carnival and meeting its nightmarish inhabitants, each manning their own attraction.
“Carousel” comes from Martinez’s Dollhouse EP, which you can snag on iTunes.
Get your silver shotgun shells ready for director Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s Late Phases, a practical effects heavy werewolf film Patrick Cooper raves about.
Opening in limited theaters November 21, the first trailer has just been released and is beyond spectacular – it looks as if Bogliano was truly inspired by An American Werewolf In London. You’ll also get a taste at the werewolf transformation!
Penned by Under the Bed‘s Eric Stolze, Dark Sky’s latest horror offering that stars Stake Land‘s Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Lance Guest, Erin Cummings, Rutanya Alda, Tina Louise, Caitlin O’Heaney, Karen Lynn Gorney, Dana Ashbrook, and the great Tom Noonan.
In the film, “Crescent Bay is not the ideal place to spend one’s golden years, especially since the once-idyllic retirement community has been beset by a series of deadly animal attacks from the ominous forest surrounding it. When grizzled war veteran Ambrose McKinley (Nick Damici) is forced into moving there by his yuppie son Will (Ethan Embry), the residents immediately take offense to Ambrose’s abrasive personality. But that take-no-prisoners attitude may be just what Ambrose needs to survive as it becomes clear that the attacks are being caused by creatures that are neither animal nor man, and that the tight-knit community of Crescent Bay is hiding something truly sinister in its midst…”
While we sit back and wait for Tom Six’s third Human Centipede to find a release, the franchise continues to have pop cultural impact.
Today, a new Halloween Treat was release by TMIHollywood that’s both completely stupid, but also incredibly wonderful. Watch as the new doctor prepares her subjects for a three-person centipede. It’s all worth the punchline, which should have you cracking up pretty hard.
Maybe a human centipede ain’t so bad after all?
Even I was surprised to see our V/H/S films broken down into an infographic.
Thanks to Magnet Releasing, Crave shared the following graphic that shows the death toll from both V/H/S and V/H/S/2.
It was created to celebrate the release of V/H/S: Viral, which is now available on VOD platforms everywhere. We hope you have as much fun watching as we did making it!
But for now…DEATH.
Focus Features released the full teaser trailer for the forthcoming Insidious: Chapter 3, and it’s pretty special. The prequel is jam-packed with scares that will please any fan of the franchise. I’d say this is one of the better trailers I’ve seen in quite some time…
Leigh Whannell, co-creator of the terrifying horror franchise, directs the third film.
The full cast of Insidious: Chapter 3 includes Dermot Mulroney (August: Osage County) and Stefanie Scott (Jem and the Holograms) starring alongside Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, and Mr. Whannell, with the latter trio reprising their roles from the first two movies in the franchise.
“This chilling prequel, set before the haunting of the Lambert family, reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott) who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.“
Focus Features will release Insidious: Chapter 3 domestically nationwide on Friday, May 29th, 2015.
Sideshow will burn in hell for this…”Burn? Oh, such a limited imagination!”
Already previewed at the San Diego Comic-Con, Bloody Disgusting has the below exclusive new look at Sideshow Collectibles’ astounding Pinhead Premium Format Figure from Miramax’s Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth.
The statue displays Pinhead, played by Doug Bradley, with the infamous Lament Configuration.
Complete the pattern, solve the puzzle, turn the key – and maybe you can win one? By clicking here you can enter to win one and find more info on this spectacular creation from Hell.
Just in time for Halloween, The Key Of Awesome has released an updated version of the hit 1960′s horror track “The Monster Mash”, which was originally written by Bobby “Boris” Pickett. Featuring modern icons, the track sees how Frankenstein’s Monster would react to such killers as Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Billy the Puppet from Saw, Leatherface, and more. Spoiler: He doesn’t like them very much. Also, he shouldn’t have tried to do the two-step with Samara.
Last night “American Horror Story: Freak Show” audiences were introduced to the creepy two-faced Edward Mordrake, who is haunting the carnival.
The Halloween-themed two-parter continues next week when Edward Mordrake continues his search for a Freak to add to his ghostly coterie. Elsa tells the grisly story of her days in Germany. Jimmy and Maggie have a run-in with the Twisted Clown.
Here’s the promo.
In the new season, “‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952. A troupe of curiosities has just arrived to town, coinciding with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.“
In honor of Halloween, Whitepages, the leading provider of contact information for people and businesses in the U.S., today reveals its list of the 13 most common names in the country shared with horror movie villains, as well as a few famously frightening directors and authors.
Taking the top spot on the list – and putting fear in hearts of audiences everywhere – is Michael Myers from Halloween with 4,282 people nationwide sharing the name.
Rounding out the top five are Stephen King (author; 2,068 people), Norman Bates (Psycho; 96 people), Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th; 30 people), and Annie Wilkes (Misery; 25 people).
“Many people could say they’ve been scared by a number of the villains on this list, but until now have probably never thought that one could be living next door!” says Liz Powell, culture and trend expert from Whitepages. “For fans of a ‘friendlier ghost’ neighbor, Whitepages data found 2,632 Caspers nationwide, the most living in North Dakota.”
Additional Halloween-centric name data includes:
Carrie (Carrie): 315,711; 23,343 in CA; first name only
Hannibal (The Silence of the Lambs): 6,399; 97 in CA; first name only
Frankenstein: 510; 92 in PA; last name only
Ghost: 38; 14 in PA; last name only
-The Whitepages Top 13 list breaks how many people share the name in the U.S., as well as the states where the most people with these names are living.
Top 13 Most Common Horror Movie Monikers
1. Michael Myers (Halloween): 4,282; 333 in OH
2. Stephen King (Author): 2,068; 168 in TX
3. Norman Bates (Psycho): 96; 9 in TX
4. Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th): 30; 4 each in PA, CA, NY
5. Annie Wilkes (Misery): 25; 10 in GA
6. Jack Torrance (The Shining): 10; 2 in CA
7. Wes Craven (Director): 7; 2 in NC
8. Alfred Hitchcock (Director): 7; 2 each in CA and MD
9. Max Cady (Cape Fear): 6; 3 in FL
10. Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street): 5; 2 in WA
11. Donnie Darko (Donnie Darko): 4; 3 in PA
12. Samara Morgan (The Ring): 2; 1 each in TX and ND
13. Damien Thorn (The Omen): 1 in CA
If you’re going to do a Halloween mash-up, there are obviously some classic tracks you can use, such as the Halloween theme. However, sometimes you have to go a bit more obscure, a bit more out of the box, in order to create something unique and engaging.
That’s exactly what YouTuber Artificial Fear did. He created a metal mash-up of tracks that don’t normally get love during the Halloween season. Well, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” does but what about “Seizure Of Power” from the first Resident Evil movie? Or how about Killer Instinct‘s “Saberwulf Theme”?
Check out the video and see the track list below.
0:01 – “Night on Bald Mountain”
1:10 – “The Addams Family Theme Song”
2:01 – “Saberwulf Theme” from Killer Instinct
3:30 – “Who are you?” from Final Fantasy 7
4:40 – “Seizure of Power” from Resident Evil
5:56 – “Devil Went Down to Georgia”
Bogota, Columbia hard rockers Dante have released an official video for “Deadman’s Curve”, which you can watch below. The video is inspired by grindhouse road films with a dash of horror, telling the story of a woman who is driving with a medallion only to meet an untimely fate as her ride becomes haunted.
We’ve featured Dante before with their awesome “Swamp Thing” video. Check that one out here.
You can download the song for free via Soundcloud.
Come one, come all! Witness a shocking episode of Male Incompetence! Dell can’t get it up! Dandy can’t kill! Mordrake isn’t terrifying at all! Come and observe the incompetence at the Freak Show! And prepare to be super…bored. Warning: keep your hands and feet inside at all times and buckle in for a flashback episode. Also, hold on tight for an info dump on Ethel’s sordid life history.
In ‘Edward Mordrake, Pt 1.’ we’re introduced to a slew of new characters. Con artist duo Maggie Esmerelda (the completely overrated Emma Roberts) and Stanley (the wonderfully talented Denis O’Hare) arrive in Jupiter to collect something freakish to steal (kill? Capture?) and sell after they found out that the liver of famed conjoined twins sold for $5000 to an oddities museum. Maggie poses as a psychic and easily tricks the increasingly pathetic Elsa into hiring her by appealing to Elsa’s desire to be famous. Meanwhile, Stanley is doing all sorts of weird Viking sex acts that seem to have literally nothing to do with the plot of the show.
We’re also introduced to the legendary Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley), a ghost freak with a devil face on the back of his head. Legend is if a freak show performs on Halloween night, Mordrake arrives and takes a freak with him for eternity. Although the freaks go to great lengths not to perform on Halloween, Elsa decides last minute that she must practice some new music, during which Mordrake appears…because I guess that counts as a freak show performance? There’s an odd logical leap there. But I can deal with the skip in logic compared to the ridiculously tawdry way that this famed devil-ghost arrives at the carnival. He practically floats through the tented grounds accompanied by neon green mist and incessant bursts of lightening. The whole scene feels like it’s straight out of one of those old ‘Goosebumps’ television episodes. Then what does he do? But sit down and have a heart-to-heart with Ethel. Such a spooky legend for such a polite and absolutely boring ghost. I hope he brings his a-game in part two of his titular episode because all that hype is leading straight to a whole lot of nothing at this point.
Dot and Bette are emotionally growing apart faster and faster as Dot becomes downright bitchy about everything. She turned into a diva of epic proportions seemingly overnight and poor Bette can’t escape it. I’m so bored with the rest of the characters it doesn’t even seem worth it to mention their stories this week. And what an absolutely depressing lack of Twisty in Dandy. They’ve quickly become my favorite part of this show and they were reduced to all but nothing this week.
It sure didn’t take long for almost every main character to become nauseatingly obnoxious. Dot, Bette, Dell, Elsa…they’ve gone from interesting, multi-dimensional characters to flat, boring, and utterly obvious. One is too bitchy, the other cries all the time, this one is always angry, and that one has completely lost her shit. The tropes and stereotypes abound in ‘Edward Mordrake, Pt 1.’ and I can only hope that the writers work to pull these characters back up to their first episode tenor.
I will say that Kathy Bates had some emotional and powerful moments in this episode (especially the scene in the doctor’s office) that only go to show what a great actress can do with subpar material. She’s making the most out of a paper-thin character. Yes, one could argue that Ethel has a lot going on, but it’s uninteresting and cliché.
I know the musical numbers are discussed quite a bit but it’s hard to get through a review without mentioning them. They completely polarize ‘AHS’ fans. Everyone either loves them or hates them. Unfortunately I still cannot get on board with the performances. I definitely see what they are trying to do, and I think it’s possible to do this whole out-of-place-and-time performance thing well, but they’re missing the mark. One of the biggest issues I have with the performances is that they always arrive late in the episode around the same time; the formulaic nature of the performances is off-putting. Another problem I have is their music video quality. The entire show transforms into a different entity entirely. I’d be much more inclined to sink into these bizarre anachronistic performances if they were more randomly placed and not so pointedly shot and directed. Every week at about two thirds of the way in it feels like someone yells, “cut!” on ‘Freak Show’ and inserts a music video.
I definitely spoke too soon when I said this season was turning out to be one of the most fluid “American Horror Story” seasons yet, because this episode could not pick a solid path to walk on. Other than Ethel, each character showed up for about four (dispersed) minutes of screen time, making it impossible to get involved with anyone’s story. Why in the world would I give two shits about these three new characters when I was merely teased by their presence? This episode clearly wanted to focus on Ethel, so if that’s the case, it should have dropped a few of the superfluous scenes involving superfluous characters.
I’m not giving up on this season yet, it’s allowed to have a few ups and downs. But if ‘Coven’ taught us anything, it’s that ‘AHS’ is fully capable of starting off with a bang only to fall apart a few episodes in, so I’m also not holding my breath either.
What did you think of ‘Edward Mordrake, Pt 1.’? Do you love Dora the Nanny (Patti LaBelle) as much as I do?
Last year’s release of The Purge shocked audiences worldwide in many ways: not only did the relatively low-budget dystopian thriller score impressively at the box office, but its concept of a chillingly realistic future society sparked a wildfire of post-movie conversations, online fan theories and haunting speculations about the possibility of a real-life “Purge Night.” Needless to say, fans hungered for a follow-up, and this summer the grander, more ambitious sequel Purge: Anarchy premiered to even more impressive numbers (taking in $110 million worldwide), expanded the Purge mythos first established by writer-director James DeMonaco to vast proportions, and delivered on the ominous promises of the original.
The basic premise, for those who have yet to experience it, involves a seemingly idyllic USA of the not-too-distant future (the first film is set in 2022), where crime has been nearly eradicated… except, that is, for one selected night of the year during which citizens can carry out virtually any crime – including murder – with absolutely no legal repercussions. The “New Founding Fathers” proclaim that “Purge Night,” a twelve-hour window from 7pm on March 21st to 7am March 22nd, allows every American a chance to unleash their animal instincts any way they like, with the rationale that they would then be more passive and law-abiding during the other 364 days of the year. The even darker side to this policy is revealed in the stipulation that high-level government officials are the only citizens who cannot be targeted during Purge Night; all others are fair game… or are they?
Even now, fans continue to debate the film’s troubling concept of government-sanctioned anarchy and self-imposed class cleansing, with many people speculating as to whether the Purge would actually work in real life… but the epic sequel poses even more ominous questions.
[Here be spoilers!]
While the budgetary limitations of The Purge kept the focus on the upper-middle-class Sandin family, Anarchy has fewer monetary restrictions (though the budget is still low by studio standards), and turns its unblinking eye on the vast legions of poor people who are most vulnerable to the purgers’ roving militias. By the following year (2023), a growing movement of armed anti-purge rebels seeks to expose the genocidal truth behind the New Founding Fathers’ plan, and they cross paths with a secret society of corrupt rich people who round up the poor to auction off as human targets.
Into this bloody conflict comes tormented cop Leo (Frank Grillo), who is using Purge Night to seek revenge on the drunk driver who killed his son. Though he ultimately finds himself unable to carry out his revenge, Leo’s new path as a member of the resistance is temporarily cut short after a bloody confrontation with a government death squad, and he learns the horrible secret behind the Purge: its main purpose is not to give citizens an outlet for their animal urges, but to exterminate the poor – and the Founders are working on new, more deadly efficient ways to implement their plan.
Following the recent announcement that a third Purge film has now been greenlit (with DeMonaco returning as writer and director), the buzz is already escalating to new levels, and the web has caught fire with theory and speculation about the plot of the next installment. In a recent interview, Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions told us that Purge 3 may in fact be a prequel, and might focus on the foundation and execution of the first Purge. It’s also expected that Leo will return, having barely survived the final battle with Big Daddy (he’s being taken to the hospital at the end of Anarchy), which would suggest a more direct sequel. Personally, I’d be most interested in learning about the circumstances that enabled the New Founding Fathers to seize power, amend the Constitution and implement the Purge, with a parallel plot focusing on the origins of the resistance. Anarchy opened up the landscape in so many ways, revealing more of the social chaos only hinted at in the original.
It’s not a failing of the first film that we only get glimpses of the national impact of the Purge; it’s a pretty sensible move for a film with a limited budget. Legendary directors like John Carpenter and Quentin Tarantino took a similar approach to their earliest features (Assault on Precinct 13 and Reservoir Dogs, respectively), which are set almost entirely in one location, driven by dialogue and character interaction more than action sequences or special effects. While it’s obviously a practical consideration, this tactic also tightens the focus on a small group of besieged characters, and gives the film an oppressive atmosphere of claustrophobia. The Purge accomplishes a similar goal, as the steel gates covering the Sandins’ doors and windows turn their home from a high-tech fortress into a prison. In the second film, once we’ve seen the impact of Purge Night upon its most vulnerable victims – the poor and homeless – we not only witness the horrifying scope of coast-to-coast anarchy, but discover the diabolical workings behind it.
Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the Purge films is their basis in history, with murderous purges occurring in both ancient and modern times – and the prospect that history may indeed repeat itself. Back in August, a rumor spread like a virus across social media that a real-life “purge” was about take place in Detroit, Houston, Louisville, New Orleans, and several other cities. It thankfully turned out to be a hoax, but apart from a quick check on Snopes (something I do quite a lot these days), there wasn’t much information out there to dispute the possibility that it might happen… and the current climate of social unrest didn’t exactly put my mind at ease. I won’t dig into the politics of the issue, but I will say that the friction between the haves and have-nots seems to be increasing, and the fears that grow from that realization are the main reason Purge: Anarchy chilled me to the bone.
As more and more dystopian epics (e.g. The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner) are sharing high-profile attention with the franchise, Blum has revealed there could feasibly be a new Purge sequel every year. It’s an interesting prospect, but with the right scripts and more complex world-building, I think there are quite a few more stories to be told. What do you think the future holds for the Purge series, and what would you most like to see happen in the next film… and beyond? Share your views with us in the comments!
We’re four days into our 13 Days of Horror series, so in an effort to keep things interesting, I figured we’d mix things up. Tonight, David and I are playing Left 4 Dead 2, but not your everyday, vanilla version of the game, no sir. We’re playing a community made map called Silent Fear — obviously heavily inspired by Silent Hill. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this video.
Or don’t. See if I care.
If you’d like to play this mod for yourself, Silent Fear can be downloaded for free off the Steam Workshop.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss a video!
A little late to the party, but at NYCC we were able to get a hands on demo of Telltale Game’s newest adventure Tales from the Borderlands, and it simply doesn’t disappoint.
Going in entirely unsure of how Borderlands would work with Telltale’s distinct form of storytelling, I can with the utmost confidence say that it more than works, it excels. Tales from The Borderlands as a dark sci-fi comedy is refreshing departure from the incredibly serious Walking Dead and the noir of Wolf Among Us. It’s tremendously funny, intriguing and perfectly captures the tone and feel of Borderlands.
The opening alone feels distinctly borderlands, even complete with the running over of a skag. Our protagonist Rhys and his pal Vaughn smash onto Pandora, decimating a bandit in the process and travel to a nearby bandit town.
We relentlessly mocked a bandit with a greasy face who turned out to be their leader that prompted Rhys to deploy a Hyperion Loader. What follows is a thrilling and highly comical action sequence where you control the Loader to some extent and massacre every bandit in town. Selecting targets and riddling them with bullets, rockets and sass has never been so much fun. The Loader delivers a constant commentary that gets progressively funnier and more referential as it’s slowly damaged by gunfire.
As the whole grease face fiasco comes to a close Rhys and Vaughn find themselves in a bizarre museum/house of oddities. You wonder through and experience some genuinely creepy displays. The creepiest of all is the Hunter S. Thompson proprietor, who will catch you way off guard, trust me.
A complicated series of events eventually leads us to a man walking away with the vault key and two choices become available; take the vault key by force or blow his mind. We chose ‘blow his mind’ expecting his head to explode in some manner. What happens is one of the most glorious things we’ve ever experienced, we were literally howling with laughter. I won’t dare spoil it, you’ll have to play it to find out.
The final sequence delivers a surprisingly intriguing twist. What we played was actually Rhys relaying the story to Fiona and a mysterious gas mask wearing individual, who appears to be holding the two hostage.
Fiona buts in, telling Rhys that he’s lying and that she was there. We then took control of Fiona and were given four options of what actually happened, whichever you pick becomes a reality. We picked ‘A Vault Hunter showed up’ and Zero from Borderlands 2 exploded into the scene ending our demo.
We went in skeptical and left true believers. Tales from The Borderlands is an exceptionally funny romp that should be on Telltale and Borderlands fans radar. Hell, even if you’ve never played a Telltale or Borderlands game I still whole-heartedly recommend Tales from The Borderlands.
It’ll premiere later this fall (not this month) and will be available on consoles, PC/Mac, mobile, tablet, and more – all the same content and experience. Owners of Tales from the Borderlands will also unlock content in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!
Just when I think I have “Bodies” figured out, a series of plot developments keep me more than guessing, I’m scratching my head raw. But it’s compelling, and almost impossibly intricate, and within that I find myself transfixed. I need to get to the bottom of this.
WRITTEN BY: Si Spencer
ART BY: 1890 Dean Ormston, 1940 Phil Winslade, 2050 Tula Lotay, 2014 Meghan Hetrick
PUBLISHER: Vertigo Comics
RELEASE: October 22, 2014
You’ve got to hand it to Si Spencer. The man knows how to craft a tightly woven mystery, in fact, he knows how to craft four of them. If these stories do start tying into one another as much as it’s alluded to, then I’ll eat my hat. Except I don’t wear a hat, so I have nothing to worry about. Really, though this month the mystery spirals in new and interesting directions that tie threads from the different time periods together in really unexpected ways.
After last month, I figured I knew where things are going, and after this month I conclude I have no idea. Except that I think I might be reasoning far too much about the small details Spencer peppers into the plot. Each timeline is very distinct but has hints of the same troubles going on.
What’s most impressive is how seamless Spencer can slide into the linguistics of the given timeframe. He has no problem inserting slang from any of the periods he’s detailing, and even works to create his own in the future timeline. Color me impressed.
The art in this book is a literal tour de force. There is something genuinely unsettling about Dean Ormston’s work. The color defines it in such a subtle way that I can’t quite resist getting lost in the small splashes of orange on the page. While Tula Lotay proves she can do some incredibly heavy lifting of her own. One of her pages here is so overwhelmingly layered I had to put down the book and take a breather. She masterfully creates a world without reference but makes it familiar all the same. It’s no easy feat, but she makes it look that way.
Meghan Hetrick really sticks out this month, if only for her concluding chapter of the storyline being so important. She handles the casual tone of her scene with relative ease, but breaks into action so quickly that it’ll take you back.
The final revelation in 2014, will leave you scratching your head, but I think that’s a good thing. I feel like an active participant in the story, and that doesn’t really happen often in comics. I have this lust to figure out what the hell is going on, but I have to wait a month for any more clarity on the matter. I suppose for the time being I’ll just pine over these first four issues.
Event Report By @BrianWilkins:
Last weekend, “Rock and Shock” returned to Worcester, Mass. for the eleventh consecutive year.
In addition to celebrity photo ops, autograph sessions, panel discussions, film screenings, costume contests, and a vendor room, “Rock and Shock” distinguishes itself by combining the standard horror con offerings with multiple nights of (primarily) horror-inspired musical acts. While the convention itself is held at Worcester’s DCU Center, the concert portion of the event takes place (within walking distance) at the Palladium — an auditorium-size concert venue with a rich history in the area’s alternative and heavy metal music scene.
This year’s eclectic celebrity lineup included the likes of Brad Dourif (Child’s Play), John Ratzenberger (Cheers, Toy Story), Roddy Piper (WWF, They Live), Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, From Beyond), Andrew Divoff (the Strain, Wishmaster), Derek Mears (Friday the 13th ’09), Bill Moseley (Devil’s Rejects, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects, Hatchet III), Dee Wallace (The Frighteners, Cujo, ET), Jake Busey (The Frighteners, Starship Troopers), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th, Hatchet), William Forsythe (The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween ’07), Nivel Ogre (Repo! The Genetic Opera), Fiona Dourif (Curse of Chucky, True Blood), Tom Savini (From Dusk Til Dawn, Machete), Kristina Klebe (Halloween ’07, Chillerama), Alex Vincent (Child’s Play), Linnea Quigley (Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Demons), John A. Russo (Night of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead), Lynn Lowry (The Crazies), Tony Atlas (WWF), and Tom DeNucci (Almost Mercy, Army of the Damned). Original headliner Tara Reid was pulled from the show two weeks ago, following a scheduling conflict.
The musical portion of the three-day event included GWAR, Life of Agony, Over Kill, Twiztid, Blaze, The Rocking Dead (Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, Alan Robert, Ace Von Johnson, Kriz DK, Virus), and several others.
While “Rock and Shock” officially kicked off with some limited programming on Friday, I wasn’t able to attend until Saturday afternoon. So this report will only cover the happenings of the second and third day of the event.
I arrived on Saturday just after 12-noon. After checking in at the ticketing/press area, I headed directly to the vendor room. Greeted by the “Rock and Shock” staff, I laid my zig-zagging plan of the convention floor. I decided to start at the south end of the hall and would systematically weave my way through the aisles of posters, DVDs, t-shirts, artists, and action figures to the north end — where the celebrities are traditionally corralled.
One of the first (and quite possibly oddest) booths I happened upon, was selling giant snakes, turtles, iguanas, a small crocodile (yes, really), and some spiders — including a tarantula, that I was convinced (after some prodding) to let sit in my hand. To be honest, holding a gigantic hairy spider was’t half as weird as you might think. I won’t be calling one a pet anytime soon, but I can now check that off my nonexistent bucket list of “weird shit to do”.
Some of the other standout booths included Horror Decor (who sell the Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees wrestling buddies, sheets with blood splatter printed on them, and a variety of horror-themed candles), the VHS Preservation Society, Troma Entertainment, Full Moon Features, and New England convention and wrestling event staple: Sinners and Saints (wrestling, horror and music merchandise), plus dozens of others offering a wide variety of memorabilia, clothing and art.
After making my way through the dealers and walking by each of the celebrity autograph tables, it was time to head over to the panel area for “The Frighteners” reunion. The panel included Jeffrey Combs, Dee Wallace and Jake Busey. The trio discussed their time making the 1996 film with Peter Jackson in New Zealand — which starred Michael J. Fox. Wallace explained that while shooting the film, Fox was traveling back-and-forth from New Zealand to the US to meet with doctors — as this is when he was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Wallace went on to talk about losing her husband, who suffered a heart attack, while she was working on the film — which led to her losing a considerable amount of weight.
Next up, “The Rocking Dead” took the panel area stage. After a somewhat rocky start (due mostly to a moderator not being available), the panel — which included Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein (Misfits, Doyle), Alan Robert (Life of Agony), Wednesday 13 (The Murderdolls), Ace Von Johnson (Faster Pussycat), Alex Story (Doyle), Kriz DK (Deadstar Assembly) and Virus (Dope) — prodded the audience for questions. Doyle kicked things off by pointing toward the audience and telling them that they’d go down each row, so everyone could ask a question. The somewhat disorganized discussion ranged from hometowns, favorite horror movies, musical inspirations and future projects. Doyle, who is well-known for not getting too in-depth during interviews and Q&As, was especially quiet, offering little more than “yeah” or “nah” answers to most of the audiences’ questions.
After another excursion through the vendor hall, it was time for the Child’s Play panel. Brad Dourif, Fionna Dourif and Alex Vincent discussed the series, their characters, and the legacy of the franchise.
Horror convention favorite Kane Hodder, who played Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th (VII-X) and Victor Crowley in the Hatchet series, along with his biographer Mike Aloisi, were up next. The duo discussed Hodder’s acting career, how they went about writing his biography, and their latest project — a video series, that shares the same name as one of Aloisi’s books “The Killer and I” — which follows the antics of the ”odd couple of horror” as they travel around the world.
You can check out a preview of “The Killer and I” below:
Looking back on his career, Hodder explained how fortunate he feels to have had the roles and opportunities that he’s had, telling the audience: “you appreciate it more, when you never expected it.”
“There’s a lot of actors, that I’ve worked with, that I don’t care for as humans,” Hodder admitted. “They don’t seem to appreciate where they are and how tough life can be without the position they’re in.”
Asked about his favorite experience as the iconic Jason Voorhees character, Hodder cited “Part VIII”, saying: “When I was in full costume with the mask on, in the middle of Times Square on a Friday night at 10 o’clock and there’s thousands of people held back by NYPD, watching us film. It was so amazing to stand there in-between shots and do the head turn towards a certain group of people and they’d go nuts and (were) screaming.”
“I felt like the biggest rockstar in the world. It was the only time that I didn’t want the night of shooting to end.”
The final panel of the day was a conversation with Rowdy Roddy Piper. The “Hot Rod” discussed breaking into professional wrestling after living on the street, his early days in Don Owen’s Portland Wrestling, working in the NWA and being an integral part of professional wrestling’s boom period, opposite Hulk Hogan, in the 1980s. Piper also discussed making the 1988 sci-fi/horror classic “They Live”.
Following dinner and catching up with friends, it was time to head over to the Palladium for GWAR.
I arrived just after 11 p.m. as the band took the stage. Quickly slapping the photo pass on my shirt, I headed for the stage — camera in-hand.
If you’ve never seen GWAR, stop what you’re doing, open another browser tab and check these guys (and gal) out on Youtube. Their full stage show includes each member of the band taking on the persona of barbaric interplanetary warriors dressed in over-the-top foam and rubber costumes as they slay celebrities, politicians and monsters alike — all while shooting red and green color liquid toward the audience.
Standing to the left of the stage, I chose my position, avoided the liquid like it was the plague and shot several photos during the band’s first few songs. Aside from my elbow being covered by the blood-colored liquid, projected from Vulvatron’s huge costume breasts, I was able to escape with a dry camera and at least a few good shots.
With the band’s decision to continue, following former lead singer/bassist Dave Brockie’s unexpected death in March, the reaction going into the show seemed mixed — with some fans feeling that “It just won’t be the same without Dave Brockie.”
By the end of the night, GWAR proved that it won’t be the same — and probably shouldn’t be. With vocals now being shared among new members; Blöthar (Michael Bishop) and Vulvatron (Kim Dylla), the group tore through a two-hour setlist — which included a tribute to their fallen comrade Oderus Uriungus (Brockie).
On Sunday morning, I made the trek back to Worcester. After shooting some photos of the costumed attendees and yet another walk through the vendor area, I caught a few minutes of John Ratzenberger’s panel. Ratzenberger, who appeared at “Rock and Shock” this year as a “make good” for having to cancel in 2013, is best known for his portrayal of ‘Cliff’ on “Cheers” and his voice-acting work in Pixar’s “Toy Story” series. He discussed his approach to voice-acting and how he adjusts according to the look, history and his feel for the character. He also talked about the ‘Cliff’, noting that he was responsible for many aspects of character’s personality.
At 1:00 p.m. it was time for “The Sick Man Panel”, which included Twiztid, Blaze, Kane Hodder and Sid Haig. While I only have a surface-level understanding of the whole Juggalo culture, I found both members of Twiztid to be fairly interesting to listen to and extremely personable. Their fans turned out in full-force for the panel — with a packed room that saw every seat filled, for the first time all weekend. As the panel continued more and more Juggalos filled the room, standing ten-deep at the entrance. Both Hodder and Haig, who star in Twiztid’s “Sickman” music video, talked about being fans of the music. Hodder admitted to listening to a lot of their music while filming “Hatchet III”. He said it helped him “get in the zone” to play the maniacal Victor Crowley.
Here’s Hodder and Haig in “Sickman”
On Monday, Rock and Shock organizers posted a “thank you” to their Facebook page:
Everyone here at Rock and Shock would like to give our heartfelt thanks to every fan who came to the show this weekend. We try extremely hard to put on the best show we can, and your continued support over the years not only means the world to us, but keeps us going show to show. We have eleven under our belts now and are planning to finish our first dozen with a bang next year.
“Rock and Shock” returns to Worcester’s DCU Center and Palladium in October 2015.
Follow Brian on Twitter for his thoughts on horror, sci-fi, design and other general musings at @brianwilkins