Known mostly for his incredible motion-capture performances in films like The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, Andy Serkis is nothing short of a Hollywood icon, and up next he’s stepping behind the camera completely to bring The Ritual to the big screen. Read on for details.
The Tracking Board reports today that Serkis will produce The Ritual through his Imaginarium banner, based on Adam Nevill’s award-winning horror novel. BAFTA nominated screenwriter Joe Barton (“Humans”) will adapt the novel.
The Ritual centers on four friends from college who head off into the Scandinavian wild in an effort to get away from it all and reconnect with each other. But what begins as a trip of bonding and friendship turns into a nightmare when they take a shortcut and end up lost. Some of them are injured and they seem stranded with nothing but forest in every direction direction.
While trying to find their way back to civilization, they come across what seems to be an abandoned cottage. Inside they discover ancient artifacts on the wall and bones scattered on the floor in a sacrificial manner. They soon discover that something is stalking them and is intent on keeping them from leaving the woods.
Serkis will produce the film with Jonathan Cavendish. Chloe Sizer will oversee for Imaginarium, while Laura Wilson will oversee for eOne, which will finance and distribute.
Artist Katherine Dey has cooked up a number of tasty treats over the years, some of which are so disturbing that we cannot wait to share them with you.
Recently Buzzfeed caught up with her and inquired about her wondrous skill set!
“I am inspired by a lot of things,” says Dey. “I love that strange feeling I get when something looks real but it isn’t. Or when a cake doesn’t look particularly appetizing but it is a cake and it tastes delicious.”
“I like to make people feel two conflicting things at once. The subjects I choose are things that have interested me forever, be it anatomy, mushrooms, or portraiture. I love portraiture. Making a portrait of someone helps me to really see them. I love the details.”
Take a look below and let us know what you think. Could you chow down on these?
Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room opened in New York and Los Angeles on April 15th and will begin a nationwide roll-out on April 29th so today we have a new clip to share to help you get ready for it.
Green Room (review) tells the story of a band’s encounter with a group of neo-Nazis and their deranged leader (Patrick Stewart). The film also stars Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Anton Yelchin, Mark Webber, and Macon Blair (Blue Ruin).
Down-on-their-luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights agree to a last-minute gig in a backwoods Oregon roadhouse. The gig soon takes a sinister turn as the band members stumble upon a grisly murder scene and find themselves targeted by a ruthless club owner and his associates, determined to eliminate all witnesses.
It’s April 20th (aka 4/20), so if you think I’m unaware that some of you are partaking in some “recreational activities”, please think again. I’m not THAT naive, alright? But know that I’m not going to be that jerk who tries to put a damper on the situation. Rather, I’m going to give you a seriously trippy video in the form of Zsonic‘s “Intrustion Effect”, which is a phantasmagoric explosion of color and surreal visuals, none of which make 100% sense to my weak brain. You can check out the video above but be warned that you should probably do it when you’re feeling quite chill. I’m not responsible otherwise!
Zsonic will be playing a show at the Beauty Bar in Chicago on April 22nd. You can find more details here.
Nearly six years ago, I wrote about eight real places that’d make for some fantastically creepy settings for horror games. From Japan’s eerily silent “Suicide Forest” where hundreds of people have entered and never left, to an old Czechoslovakian cathedral decorated with the remains of tens of thousands of people, it became immediately clear the world we live in is strange and terrifying, and we’re all one GPS glitch away from accidentally venturing into a real-life Silent Hill, valley of rock knives, or an island run by indigenous cannibals, deadly snakes or evil dolls.
With that in mind, here are five more reasons why you should never ever leave the safety of your home, lest you risk losing your life, soul or sanity to one of the seemingly infinite number of abandoned asylums our society just left lying around over the years.
The Catacombe dei Cappuccini, or Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, is the name that was given to a labyrinthine series of burial catacombs in Palermo, Italy, but don’t be fooled, this is absolutely a dead people jerky meat rack. It began at the end of the 16th century when the first corpse, a Capuchin monk named Fra Silvestro da Gubbio, was mummified inside the crypt alongside about four dozen other friars, who were all mummified so effectively that their faces were still identifiable hundreds of years later.
For centuries, the catacombs welcomed thousands of people into the ranks of the dead, including undergoing the extraordinarily effective mummification process — after a small donation, naturally — until its official closure in 1880. It’s only accepted two bodies since then, with the most recent being two year-old Rosalia Lombardo, who’s since claimed the unfortunate title of “world’s most beautiful mummy,” in case you’ve ever wondered if traveling the world playing Hot or Not with mummies was someone’s actual job description.
Suspended somewhere between life and death, the Capuchin Catacombs have become a popular, albeit delightfully macabre, tourist destination for a myriad curious artists, poets and philosophers, among them the famous Italian poet Ippolito Pindemonte who wrote of it in the Dei Sepolcri, “Death looks at them and it seems to have missed all shots.”
In addition to the otherworldly and decidedly sinister atmosphere the Ghost City of Fengdu always exudes, this place is proof that China is better than us. Even their ghost towns are superior to ours. Have you visited an American ghost town lately? They’re mostly trash and graffiti that form a general town-like structure, and not a single one of them are as photogenic as Fengdu, unless you fancy pictures of tumbleweeds, broken dreams and used heroin needles.
Woah, that got sad fast. Sorry about that.
What’s neat about Fengdu is how it’s both a tourist attraction and a spiritual hub the dead must travel to so they can endure an intense screening process that sounds more or less like a DMV for dead folks. The belief is the dead must pass through three tests before they can move on. The “Nothing-To-Be-Done-Bridge” tests their morality, the “Ghost Torturing Pass” has them present their sins for judgment, then they have to do the Flamingo outside the Tianzi Palace for three minutes or be sent to Hell.
“But Adam, I’m no ghost!” you say? Well, it’s not just a scenic spot the dead can gather at for strenuous exams or to shop for fresh meat bags to cling to so they can siphon their life essence, it’s also a strangely haunting lesson in morality for the living.
Scattered about the massive complex are statues depicting an impressive cast of wholesome characters, such as the man who got over-turnt, the oversexed man, and two boys who appear to be taking turns spanking each other’s bare bottoms. Are you motivated to do good yet?
All you really need to know about the Sanctuary of Tophet in Tunisia to understand why I felt I had to include it here is that it was once the spot where many drummers would come to make music, music that was used to drown out the dying screams of thousands of children the Carthaginians once brought there to be burned alive. It’s also the home of a Roman necropolis.
“Sanctuary” seems like an odd label for what was basically an enormous bonfire made of kids, for kids, and so does the erroneous belief that burning scores of living children before they’re old enough to be allowed to see a PG-13 movie — that wouldn’t be invented for a few thousand more years — is going to please any deity that’s worth pleasing.
‘Tophet’, I should mention, is Hebrew for ‘place of burning’, though a more accurate description would go something like ‘place of-FUCK ME THAT’S A LOT OF URNS’. Since this Sanctuary for Shitty Old Beliefs was discovered by archaeologists nearly a century ago, it’s produced more than 20,000 urns filled with the ashes of children.
“20,000 urns filled with the ashes of children” isn’t a particularly enjoyable sentence to have to read, and you’ve done it twice now. If life had achievements, you would’ve just earned the saddest one. Let’s celebrate that feat with a look at Kampung Monyet, or “Monkey Village”.
Don’t you dare laugh. Don’t even crack a smile. See, these aren’t ordinary monkeys, whatever that even means. No, these furry freak shows are the monkey equivalent of a modern failed circus performer, if that sad individual was also mentally unhinged and prone to wearing inordinately creepy baby doll mask. I wish I made that up. I didn’t. And if you think that’s frightening, wait until you see the gaggle of nightmare monkeys I’ve trained to wait for you in the gallery below.
These foul creatures once had a purpose in providing some much-needed entertainment to poor slum kids back in the 80s. It’s easy to picture the delight on a child’s face as they watch a costumed macaque dancing around — so easy, you can almost forget about the tens of thousands of kids from earlier. You know, the ones who died unimaginably painful deaths at the hands of extremely stupid adults. Remember them? Me neither! They probably deserved it, those rabble-rousers.
I think we can all agree those masked monkeys are right up there with Rick Astley and everything everyone ever wore on the list of things the 1980s can promptly take the fuck back.
Compared to the other places on this list, the ‘City of the Dead’ in Dargavs, Russia is like one of those fancy new playgrounds with the free salt water taffy dispensers that aren’t really a thing, even though they absolutely will be if you vote for me, Adam “Eh?” Dodd, as your new Mayor of Bloody Disgusting.
What’s interesting about Dargavs, aside from the creepy moniker its been given by the locals, is no one seems to know why it exists. The site is a necropolis — hence the name — with numerous tombs hidden beneath it, but there’s no record left to explain the significance of the nearly 100 huts that pepper the surface, or why they’re in such an isolated spot deep within the Caucasus mountains.
There’s more, but first, some bad jokes: I bet their HOA meetings are… lively. I’d move there, but I heard the rent is ghoulish (thanks Jon!) Or hey, what do City of the Deadites ask to borrow a cup of? Sugar? No, you dumb idiot! Salt! Get it – cause ghosts?
Locals have been burying their dead in Dragovs for hundreds of years, with the earliest mention of it dating back to the fourteenth century. The huts are void of any human life, obviously, with window-esque holes that weren’t for spying on neighbors, but rather, for dumping deceased loved ones along with any garbage they accumulated back when they still had hopes and dreams.
Another mystery that has yet to be solved is the purpose of the boats that house the dead in the tombs beneath Dragovs, or how they got there. The most likely answer is they believed their dead had to cross a river in the afterlife, similar to the river Styx in Greek mythology, the Sanzu River in Buddhism, or the Vaitarna River in Hinduism.
That’s it. A fifth list of freaky places to make you question whether it’s really worth leaving your house to get groceries when you can just order them online. It’s probably safe where you live, surely there’s no masked monkey waiting under your bed, or in your cabinet, closet, car, pants pocket, or waiting silently behind you.
Krillbite Studio’s next game, Mosaic, isn’t a horror game. It could be, if you find the often enormously repetitive daily grind of modern life horrifying, but unlike their fantastic 2014 horror game Among the Sleep, Mosaic is surreal and ambiguous, a beautifully styled video game adaptation of the life that so many of us currently live.
But this is more than just a reflection of the mundaneness of modern adulthood, it’s also a stunningly atmospheric story-driven adventure game with mysteries to unravel. And it’s so pretty.
Mosaic releases next year for PC, Mac and Linux.
When it comes to crowdfunding, unless your name is DoubleFine, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. Still, it was surprising to see Stroboskop’s open-world horror game Sylvio 2 — the sequel to a Kickstarter staff pick that surpassed its goal in 2014 — fail to reach its relatively modest funding goal of about $16k back in January.
Sylvio 2 wasn’t the first promising horror game to get lost in the ever-expanding sea of crowdfunding efforts — it happened to DARQ, Kaiden, and Ghost Theory, and that’s just this year — and it won’t be the last. Many of these games, including Ghost Theory, eventually return for a second attempt, and maybe Stroboskop will too.
But that’ll have to wait. Right now, the studio is focused on an HD remaster of the original Sylvio that’ll use the same engine (Unity 5) that powers Layers of Fear and the upcoming sci-fi horror game PAMELA. When the remaster releases on May 2 for PC, it’ll come with improved visuals, controller support and various other tweaks based on player feedback.
They’re also offering launch day Steam keys to anyone who backs their Patreon page by April 30.
We dig into even more horror films that kept things simple by keeping their horror contained to a sole location!
Sometimes there’s nothing better than when horror films keep it simple. I’m a huge fan of boiled down, structurally interesting stuff, like when horror restricts their movie to a sole location. In a weird way it’s almost like watching theater, which seems like a ridiculous thing for the genre of horror to achieve. But by doing this it forces the films to use different storytelling tools, which can sometimes pay off in huge ways. Films like this also tend to be about the characters, giving you deep, fully realized personalities, rather than the clichéd throwaway types which horror can have a tendency to thrive on. It’s always nice to appreciate the sort of ambition going on in something like this, so here are some more examples of when horror took a chance with a single location and stumbled onto something great.
Directed by Frank Khalfoun
Coming from the same creative team behind 2012’s Maniac (which includes Alexandre Aja as a co-writer), it’s easy to see that Khalfoun is someone that has a lot of love for mixing things up with style and structure. P2 is set entirely in an underground parking garage on Christmas Eve. Angela tries to leave work one night when she is kidnapped by the deranged security guard who has secretly been obsessing over her for months on end. P2 isn’t perfect, and it feels like this team’s version of an independent film, but it hits a lot of the right marks and does a lot with its confined structure contributing to the fear. Rachel Nichols and Wes Bentley also deliver some encouraging performances with characters that we get to learn a lot about which certainly helps the film out, too. It’s also nice that they actually shot the film within a parking garage, so that authenticity is definitely felt throughout the film. Since we’ve all certainly no doubt been in a parking garage at night before, that extra layer of realism to the picture also cuts through to you.
A L’Interieur (Inside) (2007)
Directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo
Inside is one of my favorite horror films of all time and it’s absolutely strengthened by the fact that the story takes place in such a concentrated area. A very pregnant Sarah is home one night, when her quiet evening is quickly turned into a horrendous home invasion film. There’s something inherently terrifying about watching a pregnant woman run for her life, but Beatrice Dalle’s performance is one for the ages as she turns out a characterization that’s on the Anton Chigurh level of intimidating (also, don’t let your cats watch this film). Granted, a few scenes at the start of the film are outside of Sarah’s house, but once the attack begins it never leaves. And boy is it a bloody, relentless affair. A real meal is made out of the geography, as Sarah gets locked to various rooms in the house at different times. It’s just fun to think about as this as some sort of twisted stage play, with two strong female performances driving it forward.
Directed by William Friedkin
And speaking of “bottle episode” horror that feels like it could be a piece of theater, Bug especially fits the mold since it was a play beforehand. William Friedkin (who directed a little film called The Exorcist, maybe ya heard of it?) turns Bug into the very best kind of psychological horror that feels reminiscent of things like Repulsion. The film sees Agnes and Peter getting holed up in a simple Oklaholma motel room, as Peter’s obsessive conspiracy theories about insects and the government begin to take over them both. One of the great joys of this film is watching how this hotel room transforms into such an unnerving, unstable environment (it’s eventually completed covered in tinfoil). It also doesn’t hurt that it’s Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon that are the ones trading psychotic barbs here. Having legitimate actors in horror films always helps and this is a great example of the case. This one really washes over you and seeing yourself get trapped in this space of paranoia with these people, not sure what is real or not, with no escape to act as a release valve makes for some very effective horror. Friedkin and Letts would also work together on the tonally similar, Killer Joe, which is also more than worth your time.
Terror Train (1980)
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode
It’s a travesty that not enough people know about Terror Train, not only because a horror film set on a train is just a good idea, but that this vehicle is starring Jamie Lee Curtis, no less! The film is your classical bully revenge story, with a large body count that’s able to accumulate in the cramped space. This is also that beautiful classic sort of ‘80s horror with red, red blood and the killers have garish costumes. This takes that stereotype to new extreme with the killer adopting each of his victims’ attire (a New Years Eve costume party’s going on—interestingly a lot of these films are set on holidays) to the point where he’s wearing 10 costumes by the end of things—a different one in each scene he’s in, at that. Terror Train is actually shot on a real Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive, which is pretty wonderful. It also involved all sorts of creative ways of lighting the cramped space, like completely rewiring the train, and using penlights and other handheld methods to make things work.
Directed by David Brooks
So ATM might not be the best film on this list, but it certainly gets points for trying and has its murderous heart in the right place. The concept of three people being trapped in an ATM booth while a psychotic killer preys upon them has a lot of potential. If done right it could be some sort of horror equivalent to Phone Booth that really makes you feel trapped in a glorious way. ATM’s execution might be all sorts of sloppy, but it surprisingly gets a lot of mileage out of its tiny location, with touches like the killer turning off the heat going a long ways. The film manages to do some smart things, and even has some decent kills, but it’s just endlessly bleak, with a real downer of an ending on top of it all. It’s still worth getting drunk and watching with your friends as you bicker about what you’d do in such a situation.
Directed by Stuart Hazeldine
If ATM is dumb fun, then Exam is the most cerebral, with this film being a constant puzzle that you’re trying to solve with the characters within. Exam’s story is the simple sort of mind game that I love so much. Eight strangers (who we don’t even get the names of) are stuck in a room for 80 minutes—effectively making the film pass in real-time, too—as they try to pass an entrance exam for a prestigious job. More interestingly, the exam only has one question, but three crucial rules: they can’t talk to their invigilator, spoil their exam paper, or leave the room. Honestly, the less you know about the film, the better. It’s a movie that’s full of twists and surprises, and trying to figure it out as the film keeps pulling the rug out from under you is part of why it’s so much fun.
Directed by Bruce McDonald
Pontypool is a blessed mish-mash of love story and “zombie” outbreak in a truly different sort of way. The movie sees a shock jock and members of a radio station getting holed up in such a place because of the pandemonium that is going on outside their doors. While Pontypool might follow the beats of a lot of zombie films where the characters are trapped inside of somewhere, the film is really about language in the end. Rather than this being some typical outbreak virus, it’s actually one that infects the English language, which is a terribly interesting idea to play around with. McDonald and Tony Burgess have stated that the original War of the Worlds broadcast is a major influence here, and it’s certainly felt. Pontypool is an unnerving delight all around, and whenever you think you know where it’s going, it manages to surprise you.
Directed by Gerard Johnstone
Coming out of New Zealand, Housebound eerily feels reminiscent of What We Do In the Shadows, which also happens to hail from the region. The film sees a woman, Kylie, being sentenced to house arrest in what’s believed to be a haunted house, which is a very solid premise, but the picture tows a dangerous line with its tone through it all. Housebound nails most of its horror, with the idea of the ghost of some dead boy plaguing these people, but there’s a weird vein of comedy that runs through the film too, which might not work for all people. Johnstone’s influences were The Changeling, The Legend of Hell House, but also Ghosthunters, giving you an idea of the wide spectrum that’s hit here. Housebound might be trying to say too much, but it shows a lot of promise and certainly has a memorable ending, whether you’re into it or not.
Directed by John Gulager
Believe it or not, Feast is actually the result of the reality show, Project Greenlight’s third season, with the film’s limited locations being another example of how minimalism can be key for an independent feature. Feast sees a bunch of off-color bar patrons getting stuck in their watering hole as terrifying creatures begin an attack from the outside. It’s a classic “survive with strangers” scenario, and the film pulls it off well. Feast clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously either, and tries to be evocative of that smarmy vibe that makes things like Tremors work so well. For instance, the protagonist is straight up known as “Heroine”, with other characters having similarly clichéd monikers like Honey Pie, Hot Wheels, and Beer Guy. Oh, and Jason Mewes is also there, as himself. Surprisingly the film’s sense of humor is one of its greatest assets, with the weird sensibility punctuating the carnage even further. Somehow all of this insanity coalesces in the right way, and the film creates a fun world where it’s not surprising to see that the film spawned two sequels.
Directed by Mikael Hafstrom
Stephen King has written countless stories that have seen adaptation, but 1408 actually manages to be one of the more competent ones out there. The to-the-point story sees John Cusack’s, Mike, a horror author who investigates allegedly haunted houses, spending a night in one that’s supposedly just dripping in ghosts. This one might be a bit of a cheat, since there are some scenes before Mike gets into the titular room, but since the film is all about having to stay inside and survive said room, I think it’s excusable. Once Mike is inside, the film doesn’t disappoint with a lot of genuinely terrifying things messing with him as the room tries to push him over the edge. The film does a great job with getting inside Mike’s head and also illustrating the loneliness and isolation that Mike’s experiencing through this. The fact that Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson are also highly capable performers doesn’t hurt this creepy material either.
With more and more chances being taken within the horror genre, I’m sure we’ll only see more creative takes on this minimalistic approach. As more auteurs continue to prove that mixing things up can pay off, directors are going to want to keep rolling the dice. Directors realizing that these smaller scale projects are safe could lead to some interesting things in the right hands.
Note: After writing this piece, I’ve seen Mike Flanagan’s Hush, and it certainly deserves a place on here, too.
One of the greatest common threads in 1980’s genre films were the abundance of absurd one-liners. Arnold Schwarzenegger may be the king, landing awesome lines in nearly all of his action films.
But what makes this video montage a bit different is that it’s a look at the best one-liners that take place after the kill.
Yes, a handful of Schwarzenegger films are included, from Total Recall to Commando, Eraser, The 6th Day, Last Action Hero, Terminator 2, The Running Man and even Predator. Other films of note? How about Army Of Darkness, Darkman, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Mortal Kombat, Universal Soldier, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance and Hellboy…
Why don’t you blow off a little steam and enjoy the video above!
In April 2009 three young men were killed in a remote part of Yellowstone National Park. The only thing more shocking than the crime itself are the bizarre events that followed.
Julian Pinder and Adam Levins’ Population Zero focuses on the crazy true fact that there exists a place in America where there are no laws and you can really get away with murder.
The indie production is set to World Premiere next week at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
“In 2009 three young men were killed in a remote area of Yellowstone National Park. Only hours later, Dwayne Nelson walks into a ranger station miles away and confessed to the crime. Despite his detailed confession, Nelson goes free because of a loophole in the American Constitution. Documentarian Julian T. Pinder travels to Yellowstone in a chase for truth behind a crime that should have rocked the nation. How did the United States Constitution let a guilty man go free? In ‘Population Zero’ we find the only thing more shocking thank this senseless act of violence may be the bizarre events that followed.“
Check out an exclusive look at the art below.
BAFTA nominated screenwriter Joe Barton (“Humans”) is adapting Adam Nevill’s award-winning horror novel The Ritual.
Andy Serkis, who starred in the Planet of the Apes prequels, as well as the new Star Wars, is producing with Jonathan Cavendish under his production banner, The Imaginarium.
Nevill’s story, which won the August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel in 2012, “Centers on four friends from college who head off into the Scandinavian wild in an effort to get away from it all and reconnect with each other. But what begins as a trip of bonding and friendship turns into a nightmare when they take a shortcut and end up lost. Some of them are injured and they seem stranded with nothing but forrest in every direction direction. While trying to find their way back to civilization, they come across what seems to be an abandoned cottage. Inside they discover ancient artifacts on the wall and bones scattered on the floor in a sacrificial manner. They soon discover that something is stalking them and is intent on keeping them from leaving the woods.”
Chloe Sizer will oversee for Imaginarium, while Laura Wilson will oversee for eOne, which will finance and distribute.
[H/T] The Tracking Board
Demon thumbs, broken controllers, katana-wielding badasses, and spooky ghosts are some of the things we have to look forward to in April’s selection of horror games. I really didn’t think this year could match the frighteningly awesome first half of 2015, but here we are, four months in and it still hasn’t slowed down. Let’s have a look at what’s coming up this month.HTC Vive
The Oculus Rift ($599) has had a few weeks to get comfortable before the arrival of its only major competitor, and now the war is on for the virtual reality space. What separates the HTC Vive from the Rift can be summed up as price, specs and support. The Vive costs $799, has superior specs to match its more premium price, and it’s being backed hard by Valve. It also has one fantastic horror game you can grab right away in Albino Lullaby: Episode 1.
Release Date: April 5 (PC)Dark Souls III
At this point, Dark Souls III doesn’t need an introduction. It’s going to ruin you, but you know this. It’ll break your confidence, leave you feeling incompetent and infuriated with yourself for not pressing the dodge button in time, but you know that too. You don’t care, because that’s the point. You’ll power through the frustration because you know there’s a light at the end of that tunnel, and when you get there, you know it’ll be one of the most rewarding gaming experiences that are out there.
Release Date: April 12 (PC, PS4, XBO)Phantasmal: City of Darkness
Phantasmal: City of Darkness is a crowdfunded survival horror roguelike that released on Steam Early Access (review) last year. With its Lovecraftian themes and procedurally generated levels, this game has an incredibly high replay factor that should more than justify its budget price. It’s on sale for $11.99 until Thursday, then it’ll go back to $14.99.
Release Date: April 14 (PC)The Walking Dead: Michonne – Episode 3
Telltale’s spin-off miniseries starring fan favorite Michonne will come to an end this month with the finale episode ‘What We Deserve’ that should tidy up any loose ends left by the first two thirds of The Walking Dead: Michonne so we can all be ready for the premier of The Walking Dead: Season 3 this fall.
Release Date: April 26 (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XBO, iOS, Android)Aliens vs. Pinball
This isn’t a “horror” game, but it is related to one of the best horror games of 2014, so here it is. Aliens vs. Pinball is an Alien: Isolation inspired pinball table for Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX2 that takes Amanda Ripley’s fight for survival against an alien and some rogue Working Joes and pinball-ifies it, because why not? And it’s coming on Alien Day, naturally.
Release Date: April 26 (PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, iOS, Android)Crowdfunding Campaigns
We have two notable Kickstarter campaigns to keep an eye on this month, starting with the atmospheric exploration game Niten that borrows heavily from Dear Esther and Gone Home, then cranks up the isolation factor considerably with its remote Japanese island setting. The game needs to raise a little over $21k by May 5, and with just $4,000 raised as I write this, it still has a long road ahead of it.
We also have Ghost Theory, a game about investigating paranormal activity in real-world locales that have been recreated so they’re fully explorable in a virtual space. If it sounds familiar, it’s because this is its second attempt at crowdfunding, after the first failed to meet its lofty funding goal.
This time, Dreadlocks is seeking about $71k to get it made. It’s about a third of the way there with more than three weeks left before its campaign closes on May 13, the day Doom arrives. You can give it a little nudge over here.
The Australian zombie comedy, Me and My Mates vs. the Zombie Apocalypse, is heading to North America this summer, Bloody Disgusting exclusively learned the other day.
Starring three of Australia’s biggest comedians: Alex Williamson, Jim Jefferies, and Greg Fleet, Me and My Mates vs. the Zombie Apocalypse will be released on July 5, 2016 on DVD, VOD, and Digital channels throughout U.S. and Canada by Lightyear Entertainment.
Here’s the film’s official trailer.
“The film follows three blue-collar Australian telecom tradesman, and some of their friends, who are trapped in a telephone exchange during the onset of a zombie apocalypse. MAMM is the first “oz-zom-com” and the laughs and mayhem are nonstop.“
Jefferies is well known in America for his FX series “Legit,” his 2014 Netflix special, “Bare,” his 2012 Epix special, “Fully Functional,” his 2010 Comedy Central special “Alcoholocaust,” and his 2009 HBO special, “I Swear To God.”
Williamson, a worldwide internet sensation, has 65 million views on his youTube channel, and over a million Facebook followers. He has sold out standup shows all over the world.
Fleet has starred in various Australian TV shows for the past 4 decades, and is best known for Thai Die, Full Frontal, and The Hard Word.
The film was produced by Daniel Sanguineti and Christian Doran; and written and directed by emerging filmmaker Declan Shrubb on the Red Epic 4K. Rights were licensed by Lightyear Entertainment (distributed through eOne Distribution) from worldwide sales agent Shoreline Entertainment.
The Voorhees family can’t catch a break, but maybe this one is for the better…
While Paramount continues to develop the 13th installment of the Friday the 13th franchise, Horror Inc. producers had been laying the groundwork for a series that would air on the CW.
Now, according to an unverified source, pizowell, CW has axed plans for bringing Jason Voorhees to their network.
“So what happened? According to my source, the network didn’t jibe with the concept for the series. What was the concept? Apparently, that’s the problem. After months of development, there was still no real concept for the series, causing network execs to re-think bringing Friday the 13th (back) to the small screen.”
The Friday the 13th series adaptation was being developed by Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle, creators of the 1996 NBC series “The Pretender” through CBS TV Studios.
The project originated when Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films and Crystal Lake Entertainment sealed a deal to produce a new hourlong dramatic series based upon the characters and settings of the franchise, with Sean S. Cunningham, who helmed the 1980 original, executive producing along with EFO Films principals Randall Emmett & George Furla and Mark Canton, among others.
Bill Basso (Terminator) and Jordu Schell (Avatar) were tapped at the time to script a storyline that re-imagines Jason in multiple time periods. Details on the remake are sketchy but the idea had been to do a contemporary series focusing on the eclectic characters of Crystal Lake who are forced to confront the return of the killer, as new secrets about his wacky family are revealed. The masked Jason is being reimagined with a stronger feel of grounded reality.
Having a lack of focus, as the report states, does not bode well for the future of the series. Unless someone is willing to capitalize on the name alone, it looks as if Jason will remain dead, at least on the small screen…
In space, no one can hear you scream, but toss an active pinball cabinet in there and that’ll get the attention of whoever it is you’re trying to scream at, guaranteed. Those things are super loud. That’s why I prefer to get my pinball fix through video games, where mute will always be an option. That’s not to say you’ll need to mute Zen Pinball 2, which has ‘zen’ in the title, so you know it won’t cause a raucous. It’ll probably soothe you, because a calm player can be more easily facehugged, and that’s kind of the whole point.
If you fancy the idea of becoming the human equivalent of one of those stripper birthday cakes, then you might want to consider grabbing the Aliens vs. Pinball pack for Zen Pinball 2 when it releases later this month, if only because it combines pinball and Alien: Isolation.
The story, as it were, should be familiar to fans of Isolation, as you’re tasked with helping “Amanda Ripley survive the dangerous corridors of Sevastopol Space Station while evading a merciless Xenomorph,” while evading the “Working Joe androids and Station Security Guards, craft weaponry, and hack computers while you keep an eye out for the relentless Alien.”
Aliens vs. Pinball arrives on Alien Day, April 26, for Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX2.
Next up, the Predator pack. No release date for that yet. Stay tuned!
There was a hugely impactful piece of news hiding at the bottom of the Las Vegas CinemaCon well.
After a few delays, Paramount Pictures has locked in a Halloween release (October 28, 2016) for Rings, the latest sequel to The Ring, the U.S. remake of Hideo Nakata’s J-horror Ringu.
This plan is by design, apparently, as the studio hopes this will be their next annual franchise.
Rob Moore, Vice Chairman of Paramount, introduced the Rings trailer to the CinemCon audience, while also teasing a new sequel every Halloween.
If you recall, Lionsgate’s SAW coined the phrase, “If it’s Halloween, it must be…SAW.” They owned the holiday weekend, at least until 2009 when Paramount’s Paranormal Activity slowly worked its way to a wide release. The following year Paranormal Activity 2 would take the reigns as the new Halloween champion.
Now, Paramount is hoping Rings will transition their third film into a rebirth of a franchise.
MovieWeb details the trailer shown to the CinemaCon audience:
The trailer was set entirely on an airplane. A passenger is talking to a woman next to him when the plane hits a spot of turbulence. He tells the story of meeting a woman, part of a group called “The Sevens”. From this woman, our narrator received the video tape that ‘The Ring’ fans will well remember. The next day, he received a call that he would die seven days later. That call was six days, 23 hours and 55 minutes ago. Suddenly the turbulence worsens, the cockpit flight instruments flicker to static and some mysterious black liquid bubbles up out of the airplane lavatories. We cut to Samara’s well, both on the cockpit instruments and the airplane monitors throughout the cabin. Samara crawls out of the video and towards the narrating passenger and we are cut quickly to the title treatment.
Having Samara attack passengers on a plan is definitely not the direction I was expecting the franchise to go in, although it’s an interesting premise. It sounds as if the footage is pushing home the backstory (after watching the haunted footage, the viewer has 7 days to pass it along, like a virus, otherwise Samara comes for them) to younger horror fans who may not have seen the first two films, which ended with The Ring Two in 2005. Shit, it’s been a decade already?!
Anyways, Rings is a direct sequel to The Ring 2, although there were plans on having it be part prequel, which didn’t come into fruition when the filmmakers were allegedly unable to lock down original star Naomi Watts.
The original cursed video will once again play as a device to Samara’s curse.
Johnny Galecki, best known as Leonard in “The Big Bang Theory,” stars in Rings.
Galecki will play Gabriel, a handsome, pleasure-seeking professor who mentors and helps boyfriend and girlfriend duo, Holt (Alex Roe) and Julia (Matilda Lutz). Scream 4‘s Aimee Teegarden rounds out the main cast.
I still think the 2002 The Ring, directed by Gore Verbinski, is one of the scariest movies ever made. Have you seen it lately? Did you pass it on to a friend or loved one?
Every decade has its ups and downs when it comes to cinema, no matter the genre. Horror fans love to loft on high the output of the ‘30s & ‘40s, the ‘70s & ‘80s, and the more recent decades. More often than not, however, the 1990s are labeled as the worst decade for the genre. Not only that, but ‘90s horror tends to be written off as a whole, beyond a handful of undisputed classics. The purpose of Exhumed & Exonerated: The ‘90s Horror Project, is to refute those accusations by highlighting numerous gems from the decade. Stone cold classics will be tackled in this column from time to time, but its main purpose will be to seek out lesser-known and/or less-loved titles that I think deserve more attention and respect from fans. Let the mayhem begin!POPCORN
Directed by Mark Herrier & Alan Ormsby (uncredited)
Screenplay by Mitchell Smith & Tod Hackett
Produced by Ashok Amritraj, Howard Hurst, Torben Johnke, Sophie Hurst, and Bob Clark (uncredited)
Starring Jill Schoelen, Tom Villard, Dee Wallace Stone, Derek Rydall, Tony Roberts, Malcolm Danare, Kelly Jo Minter, and Ray Walston
Released on February 1, 1991
The early ‘90s (and late ‘80s) saw quite a few self-reflective horror films come along. Naturally the postmodernist tendencies kicked into high-gear after Wes Craven’s Scream was released in late 1996, but the desire of filmmakers in the genre to examine the past was already well under way by then. Both Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness tapped into this obsession with self-examination, as did Fred Dekker’s The Monster Squad years earlier. While most of these are well-known within horror-loving circles, one such applicable film that doesn’t get nearly enough love is Popcorn.
Directed by Porky’s trilogy star Mark Herrier and an uncredited Alan Ormsby (Deranged), Popcorn follows a group of film students who decide to put on a William Castle-style horror movie marathon to raise money for their film program and hopefully fund some of their student projects as well. I conjure the name of Castle simply because they have chosen three (fake) films to show during their all-night fundraiser that all appear to help from the 1950s/1960s and all have some sort of gimmick.
“Mosquito” is an atomic creature feature not unlike those made by Jack Arnold and William Alland, complete with a big mosquito puppet that they have rigged to swing down from the theater ceiling. “The Attack of the Amazing Electrified Man” sees an AIP-style feature about a simple-minded death row inmate transformed into a shocking (literally!) terror, with The Tingler-style electric buzzers on the seats for added audience goosing. Finally, there is the Japanese film “The Stench”, released in “Odorama”, where the students use gas capsule to flood the theater with foul smells on cue to accompany the feature. It’s supposed to be a big, raucous night of ballyhoo and is sure to be a success…
…were it not for the murderous maniac with a different set of plans for the event. You see, 15 years earlier, there was a fringe cult filmmaker named Lanyard Gates (Matt Falls) who was rather miffed that critics and audiences were scoffing at his work and the work of his group. In retaliation, he filmed a horror short and shot all but the finale, which he decided he would enact live on stage at the premiere. Unfortunately, his finale involved him attempting to murder his wife and daughter on stage. While he succeeded in killing his wife, his sister-in-law (Dee Wallace Stone) burst in, shot him, saved the little girl, and set fire to the theater, thereby burning all of Gates’ demented followers alive inside.
In preparation for this marathon, our students enlist the help of movie memorabilia maestro Dr. Mnesyne (Ray Walston) to supply the old school gags and an assortment of costumes and decorations to spruce up their location with. Contained within those crates is “The Possessor”, Gates’ aforementioned experimental horror film. The students watch it and laugh it off, tossing it back into the box and moving on with their preparations.
So what’s the connection? Our mysterious killer is hellbent on finishing the Gates film during the marathon, complete with an uninterrupted recreation of the murderous live final act. There are some further twists, turns, and revelations, but what we basically have here is a postmodernist slasher that, in many ways, must have been on Kevin Williamson’s mind when he first sat down to write Scream (or Scary Movie, as it was originally titled), as well as the opening sequence of Scream 2. Hell, we even have a cast of characters here who are as obsessed with movies as their eventual attacker is!
While the core narrative and characters are entertaining, thankfully including the disguise-changing villain himself, a lot of the fun comes from the movies-within-the-movie themselves. These segments were directed by Alan Ormsby (who was fired from directing the whole feature) and, coupled with the fact that the film’s FX were supervised by uncredited producer Bob Clark (Black Christmas), it makes this all an unofficial reunion of talent from the makers of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Deathdream, and Deranged. Each of these faux films matches the style and tone of the era they are attempting to evoke almost perfectly, making the entire set-up more genuine than a lot of films that pull similar routines.
“Mosquito” absolutely plays out like a William Alland feature in the vein of Tarantula or The Deadly Mantis. “Electrified Man” skews more towards early AIP fare like I Was A Teenage Werewolf and War of the Colossal Beast. “The Stench” lands more in early color Toho territory, evoking the non-kaiju efforts of Ishiro Honda. As for “The Possessor”, it contains more of a ‘60s Euro-horror vibe, evoking psychedelic experimental cinema and the works of Italian maestro Mario Bava. These different flares all give it an extra appeal for any horror fan obsessed with or interested in the genre’s history.
Judging the film based on its look is a bit hard at this time, as the only copies of it one can find these days are the old VHS release and the now-OOP DVD from the ‘00s, which itself looks like a high-end VHS copy. As a result, I’ll refrain from commenting on its overall visual atmosphere, at least until Synapse finishes the HD restoration that they are apparently working on as we speak. Fingers crossed that it sees release sometime within the next year or so, as I suspect this film will look pretty damn good once it has been spruced up. Popcorn certainly deserves it.
The tone and style of the film evokes mid-to-late ‘80s cinema, almost to the point where if I didn’t know it hailed from 1991, I would have automatically assumed it was made around 1987 or so. The acting also holds to this vibe, especially considering some of the cast members. In addition to aforementioned genre vets Dee Wallace Stone (The Howling, Cujo) and Ray Walston (“My Favorite Martian”, there are quite a few familiar faces. Jill Schoelen (The Stepfather, Phantom of the Opera ’89) is our final girl, Maggie. Tom Villiard (One Crazy Summer) plays her goofy fellow film student pal Toby and Derek Rydall (Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge) is her on again-off again boyfriend, Mark. We are also treated to Tony Roberts (Annie Hall, Amityville 3-D) as their professor and Malcolm Danare (Christine, The Curse) and Kelly Jo Minter (Summer School, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child) as two of the other students.
Popcorn isn’t a forgotten classic, but it is definitely an under-loved gem. From its ‘80s vibe to its fun concept to its wide assortment of bonafide horror talent, it’s a lot of fun and probably a great film to pop in and munch down on some popped corn with a few like-minded friends. Whether you decide to wait for Synapse’s promised Blu-ray or you track down on your own before then, chances are you’ll be entertained by this offbeat slasher and its homages to ‘50s & ‘60s genre cinema. It starts off a bit rocky, but once it gets going, it’s a fun ride.
Up Next: Find out Thursday! I got a little behind on this column, but have since caught up, so if you’re enjoying it so far, hopefully you will be happy to hear that I’m doubling up both this week and next on new installments.
Allow me to introduce you to Guardians, a superhero film hailing from Russia that is directed by Sarik Andreasyan. The basic idea is that a group of people who represent the variety of nations in the USSR during the Cold War era have their DNA altered to infuse them with various superpowers. Then, the Soviet Union collapses and these people essentially go into hiding until, suddenly, a new modern threat arises and they come out of retirement to save the day.
Wiki writes that the movie is about, “… a secret organization named “Patriot” gathered a group of Soviet superheroes, altering and augmenting the DNA of four individuals, in order to defend the homeland from supernatural threats.
The group includes representatives of the different nationalities of the Soviet Union, which each one of them have long been hiding their true identity. In hard times, they settled down to business and gather to defend their homeland.”
Perhaps the most ridiculous – and ridiculously awesome – of these characters is Arsus, a man who can turn himself into a bear on command. However, he apparently has the ability to decide which parts of himself he wants to change and at what point. I’m sure he’s a real beast in the bedroom, if you know what I mean!
…I’ll leave now.
Guardians stars Anton Pampushniy, Sanzhar Madiev, Sebastien Sisak, Alina Lanina, Valeria Shkirando, Vyacheslav Razbegaev, and Stanislav Shirin. It hits Russian theaters on February 23rd, 2017.
There’s no shortage of virtual reality games to look forward to, we even listed some of our favorites earlier this week. There are a handful of games that are hogging much of the buzz, and among them is Insomniac’s (Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive) stunning Oculus Rift exclusive horror game, Edge of Nowhere, which is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s novella At the Mountains of Madness.
The considerable hype that surrounds this game has come almost exclusively from public showings, including a recent direct-feed capture at GDC last month, so there’s a reason for it. We’ll know for sure when the game hits the Oculus store on June 6.
Originally slated for a release this month, Funcom has confirmed their psychological horror game The Park is headed to PS4 and Xbox One on May 3. Our very own T. Blake Braddy called it a “fine narrative experience” with “some minor issues” in his review of the PC version that released back in October, allowing about six months for those issues to be addressed.
Set in an empty amusement park — the creepiest kind, no? — The Park takes place within the same universe as Funcom’s underappreciated MMO The Secret World, with a story about a mother’s desperate mission to find her lost son.