International prog metal band Skyharbor have released a stunning animated video for their track “Patience”, which comes from their upcoming sophomore album Guiding Lights. The video was directed by Jess Cope and her team at Owl House Studios. You might recognize her work as she has also created visuals for Steven Wilson, Mikael Akerfeldt, and Devin Townsend. The video is, “…the product of 3 months of meticulous illustration, photography and stop-motion animation.”
Pre-orders for Guiding Lights can be found here.
Poltergeist has been rated PG-13 for “intense frightening sequences, brief suggestive material, and some language.” But that’s okay. The original was rated PG.
Gil Keenan directs the new Poltergeist, allegedly a pseudo-sequel, that will open in theaters on July 24, 2015.
To be released in 3-D, Jared Harris will play Carrigan, a larger than life TV personality who left the world of academia behind to become the star host of basic cable TV show “Haunted House Cleaners.”
Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino and Jane Adams also star.
Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi (producer) reimagines and contemporizes the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is invaded by angry spirits. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and take the youngest daughter, the family must come together to rescue her.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@BradMiska) know that horror movies aren’t my only passion. When I’m not watching and writing about genre films, my life is dedicated to basketball. So, if there’s ever an opportunity to write about basketball here on Bloody, I’m going to take it.
Using our new section, The Further, you’ve got to see this incredible video in which a bouncing basketball connects 24 different movies – one of which is The Shining (Danny doesn’t seem to mind). It’s awesome when it makes its way to space…
Collectif HOTU’s astounding video is perfectly timed to the NBA season being on the cusp on getting underway – Halloween weekend as a matter of fact.
Horror fans and basketball fans bounce over to Twitter and give me a follow.
The park will open on June 12, 2015.
Director Colin Trevorrow just tweeted out the official teaser poster for Jurassic World, and it’s a beautiful and simple throwback to the original one-sheet for Steven Spielberg’s 1993 masterpiece.
This time Universal Pictures will be opening the actual park, as teased and eluded to in this various news stories.
The film will star Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, and Judy Greer.
Scouts Vs. Zombies, directed by directed by Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones‘ Christopher Landon, is moving yet again.
The undead horror comedy is getting a Halloween 2015 release, opening on October 30, a big shift from its February 20 date.
Tye Sheridan (Dark Places), Logan Miller (Night Moves), and newcomer Joey Morgan are three scouts who, on the eve of their last camp out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak. Rounding out the cast is Sarah Dumont (Don Jon) as Denise, David Koechner (Anchorman, Cheap Thrills) as Scout Leader Rogers, Cloris Leachman (The Last Picture Show) as Ms. Fielder, Halston Sage (Neighbors) as Kendall, and Patrick Schwarzenegger (Stuck In Love) as Jeff.
Deadline writes that “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” co-creator and co-star Rob McElhenney has closed a significant deal at Legendary Pictures to make his feature directorial and screenwriting debut
Armed with a four-minute test reel and a passionate 20-minute pitch, Legendary acquired his family action pitch Figment, with McElhenney tied to write the script and direct the film, and produce it.
“It’s a family action adventure about an imaginative boy and his family who are thrown for a loop when their greatest fears come to life.”
The aforementioned pitch video gave a sense of the nostalgic feeling, the wonder and imagination that conveyed the bond between the key character and his “figment,” on a film that has thematic aspirations to be comparable to a Goonies or E.T.
The CW really wants you to get ready for this week’s Episode 6.03 of “The Vampire Diaries,” entitled “Welcome to Paradise”; and to prove it, they’ve released three sneak peeks of the ep. So settle in, check ‘em out, and let us know what you think of the season so far.
“The Vampire Diaries” Episode 6.03 – “Welcome to Paradise” (10/16/14)
In an attempt to bring some fun back into their lives, Elena (Nina Dobrev) persuades Caroline (Candice Accola) to meet her at the swimming hole, where she plans to introduce her to Liam (guest star Marco James).
Tyler (Michael Trevino), still working on controlling his anger issues, asks Liv (guest star Penelope Mitchell) for a favor and is surprised when she makes an unexpected confession. Stefan (Paul Wesley) arrives back in Mystic Falls looking for Enzo (Michael Malarkey) and is caught off guard when he notices a strange change in Elena.
Meanwhile, at the lake, Enzo’s actions cause Matt (Zach Roerig) to make a startling revelation, and Jeremy makes a discovery about the anti-magic spell that could potentially put Elena’s life in danger.
Elsewhere, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Bonnie (Kat Graham) stumble upon clues that lead them to believe they’re not alone. Michael Allowitz directed the episode written by Brian Young.
The post This Trio of Clips from The Vampire Diaries Episode 6.03 Say Welcome to Paradise! appeared first on Dread Central.
So the questions beckon, kids… Have some pesky demons been oppressing you? Full-blown possession practically a given? Too lazy to seek help? Don’t worry! You can now get an exorcism via Skype on any mobile or desktop device.
I shit you not.
“The Daily Show’s” Jessica Williams interviewed Reverend Bob Larson last night regarding his… shall we say… more unique online rituals. That’s right, concubine of Satan, for the low price of around 295 bucks, you can have the unclean spirit compelled out of you in the name of Jesus Christ and the Internet.
Oh, Reverend Bob. You’re so cute. Watch the segment below which, unlike Larson’s services, is indeed priceless.
Directed by Various
Distributed by Scream Factory
Following up last year’s superb boxed collection of Vincent Price films, Scream Factory brings us The Vincent Price Collection Vol. II – another set of some of the legendary actor’s better known films which, as with that previous release, includes a sizeable amount of bonus features on each disc. The question is: is this second volume a worthy successor – not only to the previous Price collection, but Scream’s other recent boxed sets as well (such as their exhaustive Halloween collection and the “I can’t believe this exists” Nightbreed: Director’s Cut set)?
The first disc in this new collection is home to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven and The Comedy of Terrors, two AIP releases which feature Price at his delightfully comic best. The Raven, another entry in Corman’s “AIPoe” cycle, is a wonderfully daffy movie at times, featuring a stunning cast including Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, and Jack Nicholson. Comedy boasts much of that same cast (Price, Karloff, and Lorre), yucking it up alongside Basil Rathbone in this pitch black horror comedy stylishly helmed by Cat People director Jacques Tourneur.
The second disc includes another AIPoe in the form of Tomb of Ligeia, the last of Corman’s Poe cycle. In contrast with The Raven, Ligeia is a much more somber affair in the style of Corman’s earlier adaptations. In it, Price plays a man haunted by his deceased wife, who may or may not be possessing the body of a cat which plagues the widower’s every move. The Last Man on Earth is this disc’s second film, the very first adaptation of Richard Matheson’s classic novel I Am Legend. As with the later attempts at adapting the spooky tome (the 70s Chuck Heston-starrer The Omega Man and the 2007 Will Smith vehicle which took the novel’s name), Last Man is faithful to the basic strokes of Matheson’s book, if not its finer details (not one of the films managed to do the novel’s ending justice). Still, the film finds Price in top form, lending his gravitas to this low-budget shocker. Fans of Price and/or Matheson will find much to enjoy here.
Disc three houses sequels to two of Price’s better known films – Dr. Phibes Rises Again and Return of the Fly. Phibes’ inclusion makes sense, as its predecessor (The Abominable Dr. Phibes) graced the previous Price collection. This follow-up will likely please fans of the original, offering more of Price’s equally tragic and sinister (and, arguably, signature?) villain, with some gorgeous sets and photography on display. The real surprise in this collection is Return, considering that the original classic is nowhere to be found in either of Scream’s collections. Still, it’s a welcome addition, as it is a thoroughly enjoyable (if inferior) sequel.
The final disc in this set holds one of this writer’s very favorite Price films – William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill. This movie, remade (somewhat) successfully in ’99 by Dark Castle Entertainment, stars Price as Frederick Loren, a wealthy eccentric who invites a handful of strangers into his home to participate in a “haunted house party”, promising them a large sum of money if they can spend the entire night in his mansion – along with a number of ghosts and ghouls which lurk about within the home. Price, as always, is superb – oozing charm and menace while acting as a host, all while trading vicious verbal barbs with his unfaithful wife. It’s a fun if hokey movie that never fails to bring a smile to this fan’s face.
Scream Factory continues their winning streak with this collection, which is chock-full of bonus features and handsome presentations for each of the seven films here (for those counting, that’s one more film than the previous Price set). Each movie here boasts a 2.0 DTS-HD Master audio track, along with mostly solid transfers for each film. I say mostly, as each of the films do exhibit minor print damage. Phibes looks the best of the bunch, with a sharp image and gorgeous colors throughout, while Comedy surely looks the worst, showing considerable speckling and damage at times – occasionally to a distracting degree. Still, each film often looks fantastic is more than watchable.
The bonus features are, as with the previous collection, a real treasure trove for Price aficionados. In addition to theatrical trailers and still galleries for each film, we have a handful of film introductions culled from The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors, which were produced in the early 80s for Iowa Public Television. These intros are provided for The Raven, Comedy of Terrors, and Tomb of Ligeia, along with a documentary covering the making of those introductions (this same doc was included in the previous collection). There are also three installments of Richard Matheson Storyteller, which features the late master reminiscing on his work for three of this set’s films (The Raven, Comedy of Terrors and The Last Man on Earth).
In addition to that, there are a number of commentaries for some of the films: three for Ligeia, and one each for The Raven, House, Return and Last Man), all featuring some fantastic contributors – including author/historian Steve Haberman, historian David Del Valle, author Derek Botelho, actor Brett Halsey, Ligeia actress Elizabeth Sheperd, film historian Constantine Nasr, and producer/director Roger Corman. Hours and hours of information wait to be gleaned from these talks, which will no doubt delight hardcore fans and casual viewers alike.
The Raven boasts a few more extras, including a brief featurette with Corman discussing this rare venture into comedy, and a slideshow featuring audio and images from a vinyl record used to promote the film before its release. Lastly, House’s disc provides the most supplements, including: Vincent Price: Renaissance Man, a thirty-minute look at Price’s life, interests and career; The Art of Fear, a look at Price’s position within the genre he’ll always be associated with; Working with Vincent Price, which finds various contributors commenting on Price’s generosity on set and his relationships with his costars; and a collection of trailers for other films throughout the actor’s career (The Conqueror Worm aka Witchfinder General, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, House of Usher, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Pit and the Pendulum). And all of this is wrapped up in a handsome slipcase boasting beautiful artwork by Joel Robinson, packaged along with a nifty booklet with a lengthy essay by David Del Valle.
All in all, a marvelous collection – one befitting the man’s legacy which sits nicely alongside not only its predecessor, but with Scream Factory’s other recent re-releases as well. One can only hope that this tradition continues on next year with, dare I hope, The Vincent Price Collection III?
Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven
- Audio Commentary with film historian Steve Haberman
- Richard Matheson Storyteller: The Raven
- Corman’s Comedy of Poe
- Promotional Record
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery
- Introduction to The Raven – from The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors, produced by Iowa Public Television
The Comedy of Terrors
Richard Matheson Storyteller: The Comedy of Terrors
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery
- Introduction to The Comedy of Terrors – from The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors, produced by Iowa Public Television
Tomb of Ligeia
- Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Roger Corman
- Audio Commentary with Elizabeth Sheperd
- Audio Commentary with Film Historian Constantine Nasr
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery
- Introduction to The Tomb of Ligeia – from The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors, produced by Iowa Public Television
The Last Man on Earth
- Audio Commentary with Film Historian David Del Valle and Author Derek Botelho
- Richard Matheson Storyteller: The Last Man on Earth
- Still Gallery
Dr. Phibes Rises Again
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery
Return of the Fly
- Audio Commentary with actor Brett Halsey and film historian David Del Valle
- Theatrical Trailer and TV Spot
- Still Gallery
House on Haunted Hill
- Audio Commentary with Author/Historian Steve Haberman
- Theatrical Trailer
- Vincent Price: Renaissance Man
- The Art of Fear
- Working with Vincent Price
- Introductory Price: Undertaking The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors
- Still Gallery
- Vincent Price trailer collection
Horror icon Robert Englund – Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise – will guest star on Syfy’s new comedic docuseries “Town of the Living Dead” in episodes airing Tuesday, November 11, and Tuesday, November 18, both at 10PM (ET/PT).
After the Thr33 Days Dead team hit their most challenging production hurdle to date, they’re desperate for hope. When they discover that horror legend Robert Englund will be nearby in Birmingham for a press appearance, the team sets out to recruit him to inspire their dispirited director, John Ware.
About “Town of the Living Dead”
In “Town of the Living Dead” the colorful folks of Jasper, Alabama, are determined, once and for all, to complete their zombie movie Thr33 Days Dead… now six long years in the making. Based on a town urban legend, their film centers on a group of friends trying to survive a zombie apocalypse in rural Alabama. The series follows the intrepid and motley crew of amateur filmmakers as they surmount endless obstacles to finally finish their movie.
“Town of the Living Dead” is produced by True Entertainment (“The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” “Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes”). Executive producers are Glenda Hersh, Steven Weinstock, David Stefanou, Todd Hurvitz,Tony Biancosino, and Cherie Kloss.
For more info visit “Town of the Living Dead” on Syfy.com.
The post Robert Englund to Guest Star on Syfy’s Town of the Living Dead appeared first on Dread Central.
Each year Kailey Marsh’s The Blood List stakes out on a mission to bring more awareness to darker genre screenplays and screenwriters. The endeavor has been met with much success, and being that we here at Dread Central realize that indie filmmakers and writers are what keeps the genre alive and shrieking, we feel it’s important to remind you about it!
The Blood List was created in 2009 to get the word out about the best unproduced horror screenplays. It’s since expanded and become the industry standard for the best darker genre screenplays every year.
If you’re a writer, you need to be aware of the official Blood List website, which just relaunched with a snazzy new design. It is one of the most vital and necessary horror resources you’ll ever need to break into the business. Check it out by following the links below, and put your pen to paper, kids! You just never know!
The post The Blood List Website Relaunches! New Horrors Abound! appeared first on Dread Central.
Well Go USA is releasing Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (review) on DVD and Blu-ray at the end of the year, and right now we have a look at the artwork along with all the info you need to plan out your next zombie killfest!
From the Press Release
Dubbed “bigger, brasher, bloodier” by Film Threat’s Brian Tallerico, DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD debuts on DVD and in a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray December 9th from Well Go USA Entertainment.
The sequel to the cult horror comedy from director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) stars Vegar Hoel (Dead Snow, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters), Martin Starr (Knocked Up, Superbad), Jocelyn DeBoer (Stuck Like Chuck), and Ingrid Haas (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). Picking up immediately where the original left off, the film wastes no time getting right to the gore-filled action, leaving a bloody trail of intestines in its wake. Wirkola comes up with more inventive ways to maim and dismember than anyone ever thought possible. Combining wry humor with horrific worst-case scenarios, this follow-up to the 2009 Midnight classic shocked the weak-of-heart and delighted even the most hard-core fans of the horror genre when it made its debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
The DVD and the Blu-ray Collector’s Edition both feature audio commentary with the director and writer, a VFX featurette, and Dead Snow comic book while the Collector’s Edition exclusively features the international version of the film and the short film ARMEN.
DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD has a runtime of approximately 101 minutes and is rated “R” for strong bloody horror violence and gore throughout and language, including some sexual references.
Martin (Vegar Hoel) hasn’t had the best vacation. He accidentally killed his girlfriend with an axe. He cut his own arm off with a chainsaw. And his friends STILL got devoured by a battalion of Nazi Zombies. This morning he woke up in a hospital bed with a new arm – but it’s a super-powered Zombie arm that wants to kill him and anything else it can reach. Martin’s PISSED. And with the help of his new Zombie Squad pals (Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, Ingrid Haas), he’s gonna deliver some payback to Colonel Herzog and his precious Nazi gold – by raising an undead army of his own.
The post Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead Marches on Blu-ray and DVD appeared first on Dread Central.
On November 14th, 1995, a group of early 20-somethings released an album that has since gone on to become one of metal’s most influential titles, laying the foundation for what would become known as “The Gothenburg Sound”. That album was At The Gates Slaughter Of The Soul.
Shortly after the release of the album, the group broke up and the members went their separate ways. The Björler brothers founded The Haunted while drummer Adrian Erlandsson played for several Cradle Of Filth albums. The band reformed a few times over the years but never committing to anything solid. Until now.
On October 28th, the band will release At War With Reality, the first new album from the band in 19 years. It’s completely evident that nearly two decades has had an effect on the band. However, that effect has only honed and sharpened their already razor-edged ferocity.
Before we head into this review, let’s take a moment to think of some memorable moments that have occurred in the last 19 years: 9/11, the release of the iPhone, Silent Hill 1 came out, Freddy Vs. Jason finally hit theaters, Hurricane Katrina, the Columbia space shuttle blowing up, the creation of Facebook… Have I listed enough events to make you realize just how long of a time 19 years truly is?
During that time, another event occurred that completely revolutionized the entertainment industry and how we absorb our preferred media: the internet. Whereas before finding bands was done primarily through word of mouth, sharing demos, tapes, and CDs, or reading reviews in whatever magazine/paper you enjoyed, nowadays you can go to websites that recommend tens, hundreds, even thousands of other bands that you’ll enjoy based upon your own tastes.
Because of this mass influx of music, this overabundance of options, we’ve had the opportunity to hear bands and sounds that we’d never even dreamed of. But what got lost was the time to appreciate a band before moving on and finding someone new to expand our horizons. Instead of listening to albums, we became a single-driven society. Why buy a whole album when I can just grab the songs I like off of iTunes, am I right?
Nearly 20 years of musical freedom has allowed people to constantly find something “heavier”, something “more extreme”, with the greatest of ease. And the landscape of music has shifted at what felt like a radical pace. What was “in” became passé far quicker than ever before.
But lest we forget, At The Gates were the progenitors of the melodic death metal sound. During their heyday, they were the apex of the genre.
Nineteen years can change a great many things for people. You can find a career, get married, have children… You can create a life. You can see that what originally was so important in your youth is but a passing thought as an adult. You develop strong, educated feelings on politics, religion, and the world around you. That life experience is exactly what you hear on this record. This is the anger of knowledge, the rage of awareness.
At War With Reality opens to the sound of a man speaking in Spanish. It sounds like some demonic incantation, some unholy ritual that is meant to awaken a destructive beast to lay waste to the Earth. And when “Death And The Labyrinth” kicks in, it’s immediately apparent that At The Gates is still the same raging animal that is was in the past, only this time it can hunt, using its past – in this case, there is a drum pattern that is nearly identical to the intro of “World Of Lies” – to know how to attack the jugular with precision and lethality.
The production and dynamics of this album are thrilling. From the haunting opening of “Order From Chaos” to the fast and melodically sinister “Upon Pillars Of Dust”, from the epic “The Book Of Sand (The Abomination)” to “Heroes And Tombs”, which screams “Gothenburg metal”, the album is a celebration of melodic death metal.
Vocalist Tomas Lindberg does sound a little different, but it’s more that his voice aged well with him, becoming deeper and more robust. Meanwhile, the harmonization between the guitars and bass is better than ever, again something I chalk up to experience. The drums are also just as fast and pounding as before.
At The Gates have not that changed their sound. It’s simply that it’s been almost two decades since we last heard them and we’ve heard a lot of music in that time, which changed our own expectations. This is most certainly a continuation in the history of the band and it feels glorious.
The Final Word: This is an album that truly deserves the music section’s first Editor’s Choice award. At War With Reality proves At The Gates are still the undisputed masters of their craft.
There’s so much horror on TV nowadays that it’s getting hard to keep track of it all, but we do. Why? Because we’re badasses and you’re all so sexy. Well, that’s just two of the reasons really. In any event…
Deadline is reporting that Mena Suvari (Day of the Dead, Stuck) is finalizing a deal to play the lead in WEtv’s second original scripted series, thriller drama “South of Hell”.
The show, which has an eight-episode straight-to-series order for a 2015 premiere, comes from horror fav Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, The Green Inferno, Hostel).
A supernatural thriller set in South Carolina, “South of Hell” focuses on Maria Abascal (Suvari), a stunning demon-hunter-for-hire whose power stems from within. Like those she hunts, Maria is divided within herself, struggling with her own demon, Abigail, who resides inside of her, feeding on the evil Maria exorcises from others. Maria and Abigail share a soul and a destiny, but as Maria desperately tries to overtake Abigail, she will discover how far Abigail will go to remain a part of her.
The premiere episode of “South of Hell” will be directed by Roth from a script by Matt Lambert.
NECA’s Ultimate Freddy collectible, which will be hitting stores this fall in celebration of the 30th anniversary of A Nightmare on Elm Street, is just so ridiculously sexy. Today they’ve given us a closer look, and we’ve been drooling ever since. Now it’s your turn.
This deluxe 7-inch collectible comes with a new fully articulated body and a wealth of accessories.
NECA’s 70th Anniversary Ultimate Freddy features:
- Three new interchangeable head portraits (closed mouth, open mouth grimace, and skull face)
- All new fully articulated legs (ball-hinged thighs and knees)
- Alternate severed fingers (left hand)
- Removable fedora
- New tongue phone
- New dead skin mask
- Deluxe packaging
Evil takes hold TODAY as Bethesda Softworks releases the highly anticipated The Evil Within video game, but did you remember to order a copy of the prequel comic, which arrives tomorrow from Titan Comics? In case you’ve been on the fence about it, here’s a three-page preview of Issue #1 along with two versions of its cover art.
Experience pure horror…
Spun from the survival horror game The Evil Within from Bethesda Softworks, this all-new prequel invites readers to experience the deranged world created by Shinji Mikami.
Writer Ian Edginton (Scarlet Traces, Victorian Undead) and artist Alex Sanchez (Katana) present the story of a young student, Dana, whose search for a missing friend leads straight into a world fraught with tension and unimaginable horrors.
The Evil Within — a game embodying the meaning of pure survival horror with highly-crafted environments, horrifying anxiety, and an intricate story woven together to create an immersive world — will bring players to the height of tension. Look for it in stores and online on October 14, 2014, for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft and Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 computer entertainment systems.
The post See a Preview of Titan’s Prequel Comic for The Evil Within Video Game appeared first on Dread Central.
It’s been a really long time since we last heard anything about the upcoming flick The Diabolical, but that’s all about to change because right now we have the first still and more. Dig it!
Director Alistair Legrand directs from a script he co-wrote with Luke Harvis. Ali Larter stars alongside Patrick Fischler (“Mad Men”), Arjun Gupta (“Nurse Jackie”), Merrin Dungey (“Betrayal”), and Joe Egender (“American Horror Story: Asylum”).
Release news is forthcoming.
The Diabolical follows Madison and her children in their quiet suburban home as they are awoken nightly by an increasingly strange and intense presence. Madison desperately seeks help from her scientist boyfriend, Nikolai, who begins a hunt to destroy the violent spirit that paranormal experts are too frightened to undertake.
The post The Diabolical Has Ali Larter Looking Over Her Shoulder appeared first on Dread Central.
Deadline is reporting that Mena Suvari, pictured, is finalizing a deal to play the lead in WE tv‘s second original scripted series, thriller drama “South Of Hell”.
The show, which has an eight-episode straight-to-series order for a 2015 premiere, comes from horror fav Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, The Green Inferno, Hostel).
“A supernatural thriller set in South Carolina, South Of Hell focuses on Maria Abascal (Suvari), a stunning demon-hunter-for-hire whose power stems from within. Like those she hunts, Maria is divided within herself, struggling with her own demon, Abigail, who resides inside of her, feeding on the evil Maria exorcises from others. Maria and Abigail share a soul and a destiny, but as Maria desperately tries to overtake Abigail, she will discover how far Abigail will go to remain a part of her.”
The premiere episode of “South Of Hell” will be directed by Roth from a script by Matt Lambert.
Last month, I posted a list of thirteen horror mockumentaries (if you missed it, be sure to check it out), films which arguably fall outside the domain of the insanely popular postmodern film genre known as “found footage.” I also promised that I’d examine the found footage phenomenon itself in greater detail… and, ready or not, it’s time to open that creepy, controversial can of proverbial worms.
As I mentioned earlier, found footage as a film medium is the subject of endless debate, puzzlement, and often straight-up hate among horror fans – and often for good reason. It’s ironic, then, that the use of fictional film or video footage as a narrative device more or less began with one of horror cinema’s most revered entries: Ruggero Deodato’s gritty, shocking and highly controversial 1980 jungle epic Cannibal Holocaust. Oddly enough, very few genre films adopted Deodato’s revolutionary approach until nearly two decades later, when a little indie film called The Blair Witch Project exploded into a worldwide phenomenon. Following that film’s runaway success, the floodgates officially opened: hundreds of filmmakers fired up their camcorders, hoping to capitalize on the found footage craze and turn a micro-investment into box-office gold. The momentum doesn’t seem to have let up since, with major studios and respected filmmakers continuing to add their own POV shaky-cam offerings, with wildly varied results.
It’s impossible to fully rank and rate the best and worst of these due to the sheer volume of titles. Instead, I decided to compile a chronological list of film, television and web programs that made significant contributions to the found footage subgenre – whether for their originality, shocking content, high-profile creators, or popularity with audiences. I narrowed the pack down to 20 titles that meet these criteria, and I’d consider this a pretty damn definitive list, if I do say so my damn self. Still, you may have some choices of your own to add, so please do so in the comments below!
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
The granddaddy of found footage horror, the most famous entry in Italy’s prolific cannibal exploitation genre of the ’70s and ’80s is also the best. While it’s dated a bit since its premiere, the movie-within-a-movie footage (shot on hand-held 16mm film to give it a documentary feel) still shocks the uninitiated today, and iconic images like a young woman impaled on a giant spike adorn everything from t-shirts to jewelry at horror conventions. The footage was so realistic (for its time, anyway) that director Ruggero Deodato was actually put on trial for allegedly killing his actors – some of whom were instructed to lay low for a full year to convince audiences their deaths were authentic. My only issue with this film, along with many of its cannibal brethren, is the very real inclusion of multiple scenes of violence against animals; to this day, I can only watch the “cruelty-free” version (overseen by the director), available on the DVD from Grindhouse Releasing. Eli Roth pays homage to Deodato’s vision in his latest feature The Green Inferno (recently pulled from theatrical distribution), which takes its title from Holocaust‘s doomed film-within-a-film.
Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)
This grotesque, surreal cult video series from Japan actually began with the episode The Devil’s Experiment, but this chapter is the one that kicked off its notoriety in the US – mostly thanks to a news-making reaction from actor Charlie Sheen, who popped in a bootleg copy during a party and was reportedly convinced the horrific footage was real. Once transferred to DVD, the gore doesn’t quite stand up to close scrutiny, but I can imagine how a degraded, multi-generation VHS copy (not to mention a cocaine-addled viewer) would mask its imperfections. The plotless episode involves a madman clad in samurai armor, whose artistic subject – a young woman drugged and bound to a bed – is also his chosen medium, and we’re forced to watch him messily mutilate and dismember her still-living body in extreme and unflinching detail. Much like Cannibal Holocaust, the director of Flower was brought up on charges, and had to prove to the courts that the footage was staged. Believe it or not, the Guinea Pig series now has an American reboot (subtitled Bouquet of Guts and Gore), but I can’t imagine it recapturing the shock value of the original.
UFO Abduction a.k.a. The McPherson Tape (1989)
This early micro-budget entry, presented as camcorder footage by a rural family under siege by alien visitors, actually established most of the genre tropes that we take for granted today. The story begins as a rather dull home video of a child’s birthday party, but descends into chaos and terror when members of the family venture into the woods after seeing some strange lights. While it seems a bit clunky today (and in dire need of editing), one can imagine how chillingly believable it must have been in 1989. The “video vérité” look, now a staple of the subgenre, was entirely new to audiences at the time, but much of that realism was lost in the slicker and more widely seen remake Alien Abduction: Incident in Lakewood County, created by the same filmmakers nearly a decade later on a significantly bigger budget.
Alien Autopsy (1995)
This intriguing oddity was first brought forth by UK producer Ray Santilli and sold to TV networks around the world, under the pretense of being genuine classified footage of government scientists dissecting an alien creature recovered from a crash in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. The grainy 17-minute black & white short reached the eyeballs of US viewers via the Fox Network special Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?, and was also one of the first found footage films to generate a firestorm of debate on this newfangled thing called the Internet. Though now widely known to be a hoax, the short is still quite unsettling in its grisly realism, thanks in large part to some very convincing makeup effects. The hoax itself became the subject of the British comedy Alien Autopsy in 2006.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The first found footage feature to achieve massive box-office success, this labor of love by filmmakers Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick is more significant for its brilliant marketing campaign – which fully exploited that Internet thing that all the cool kids were talking about – than actual onscreen scares. In fact, much of the backlash against the film came from fans who felt robbed by the story’s lack of visceral payoff (spoiler alert: we never see a witch, or anything else of a supernatural nature). It’s still pretty damn creepy, even if seen only as a firsthand account of three naïve kids getting hopelessly lost in the wilderness. While the meta-style sequel Book of Shadows was an even greater disappointment, and a proposed prequel continues to elude us, at least Sanchez has returned this year to the genre that made him famous with the upcoming Bigfoot feature Exists.
August Underground (2001)
The notion of a snuff-style film edited from a serial killer’s home movies wasn’t a new thing by 2001; classics like Man Bites Dog and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer had already made harrowing use of the concept. But audiences had never seen anything so utterly depraved, sadistic and puke-inducing as this splattery camcorder odyssey by gonzo auteur Fred Vogel. Presented as home movies shot by a band of psychopathic spree killers, August Underground is really more of a guerrilla show-reel for makeup effects work by Vogel’s then-fledgling company Toe Tag Productions. To say this is not for all tastes is probably the understatement of the century, as we’re presented with every possible atrocity committed against the human body; if it doesn’t happen here, it’s probably covered in one of the two August sequels. I’m not a big fan of this series, but I admire Vogel’s fearless audacity in serving up the ultimate in onscreen sadism.
Series 7: The Contenders (2001)
The first high-profile film to bring together the rising phenomena of found footage horror and reality TV, this intriguing indie entry was inspired by ’70s sci-fi films like Rollerball, but also predates dystopian survival-game epics like The Hunger Games. The premise involves a popular TV game show in which contestants are chosen by lottery, armed and pitted against each other in a literal battle to the death, with freedom awarded to the last person standing. As the title suggests, we’re on season seven of the show, where we follow the actions of a ruthless, gun-toting pregnant woman (Silence of the Lambs‘ Brooke Smith, a long way from putting lotion in the basket), a champion/survivor from two previous years, who is forced to compete one last time to win her freedom. The film fumbles a bit toward the climax, when it attempts a clumsy meta-fictional twist.
Diary of the Dead (2007)
Now we’re onto the first found-footage entry from a legendary horror director: in this case, the godfather of the modern zombie film, George A. Romero. After the tepid reception of his first big-budget zombie sequel Land of the Dead, Romero scaled down his aspirations for his next project, this time using the found footage medium to revisit and essentially reboot his undead universe. Sadly, despite a few chilling set-pieces (the shot of zombies walking on the bottom of a swimming pool, for example), it’s overall a lackluster effort, and alienated many fans of the director’s earlier classics; but it’s still significant for being the first time one of horror’s most beloved icons tackled this particular style.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Not since Blair Witch has a found footage flick so dramatically captured the attention of audiences around the world. The two films share similar modest beginnings and rock-bottom budgets; director Oren Peli saved money by shooting in his own house with his own camera. Also like Blair Witch, Peli hired unknown actors to lend more realism to the tale of a young couple tormented by an unseen demonic presence, and he uses low-tech practical effects and a sub-bass rumble on the soundtrack (there is no musical score) to achieve simple but heart-stopping chills. The most intriguing aspect of Activity is its ability to generate maximum tension through long, unbroken takes – something unheard of in this age of ultra-short attention spans. While it screened successfully at festivals in 2007, the film failed to gain traction with distributors until none other than Steven Spielberg screened a copy; allegedly he was so freaked out that he refused to keep the screener in his bedroom. After a few modifications to the ending (including some not-so-convincing CGI effects), Paramount released the film in Fall of 2009, and the rest is history. To date, there have been three direct sequels and one spinoff (The Marked Ones), with a fifth installment now slated for release in 2016.
While many countries have jumped aboard the found footage express, the first and best contribution from Europe is this Spanish film by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. The story involves a TV news reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her crew accompanying a fire and rescue team as they answer a call in a creepy apartment complex; once on the scene, the situation quickly goes horribly awry, with signs of a mysterious, rapidly-spreading plague surfacing throughout the building. A sure sign of a horror film’s stamp on the public consciousness is the inevitable Hollywood remake, and thus the shot-for-shot English version Quarantine hit US screens two years later, followed by its own sequel (which is neither found footage nor a remake of REC 2. Even Balagueró and Plaza abandoned the format halfway through the third installment, REC 3: Genesis, suggesting that the medium might be losing steam among more established filmmakers. The concluding chapter, REC 4: Apocalypse, recently premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, and continues to hold to a more traditional narrative structure.
Lost creator (and now hopeful Star Wars franchise savior) J.J. Abrams brought his high-concept sensibilities to the genre with this inventive giant-monster flick, which benefited from the best advance publicity campaign since Blair Witch: the theatrical teaser for the film gave audiences a shocking glimpse of the destruction to come, but didn’t reveal what might be causing it… or even the film’s title, for that matter, leading to a firestorm of online speculation befitting a vast conspiracy theory (one line of misheard dialogue led some to conclude that the film was a big-screen adaptation of Voltron!). The film’s main hook is the way it plays out much like a Godzilla flick told from the point-of-view of a few confused bystanders, who never fully grasp the extent of what’s going on until it’s too late. Abrams also crammed the film with numerous in-jokes and Easter eggs, inspiring another wave of fan theories following its home video release.
Lost Tapes (2008)
It was inevitable that found footage techniques would find their way into television series, and there are certainly plenty of examples to choose from. But possibly the most effective and memorable of the bunch is this hit series from Animal Planet, which follows the escapades of (fictional) cryptid hunters following up reports of legendary monsters – including Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, the Mothman, the Jersey Devil and the Mongolian Death Worm, to name just a few. The episodes are not always convincing, but if you buy into the illusion, there are some truly chilling moments to be found. The successful series spawned (no pun intended) the contentious mockumentaries Mermaids: The Body Found and Mermaids: The New Evidence, both of which caught flak from legit scientists for passing off their dramatizations as genuine.
Marble Hornets (2009)
Arguably the first truly successful found footage YouTube series, this ongoing project is the creation of writing/directing team Troy Wagner and Joseph DeLage, who took the pervasive urban legend of “The Slender Man” as their central theme and inspiration. The story is told mainly through the lens of a fictional film student who abandoned the title project after experiencing strange and terrifying phenomenon revolving around a tall, faceless and impossibly thin figure known as “The Operator.” He eventually surrenders his tapes to a friend, who later digs into the footage in an attempt to solve the mystery; it’s through this friend’s perspective that we view the videos, unraveling the enigma with each subsequent entry. The series became a viral sensation, generating the kind of viewership normally reserved for series television, and after three full seasons there’s currently a feature film in post-production, with Doug Jones (Hellboy) as The Operator.
The Bay (2012)
Another significant entry in the genre from a well-known filmmaker, this highly realistic, deeply disturbing and just plain gross feature from Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson was one of the most-requested titles in the comments section of my mockumentary list. Since it’s not formatted as a documentary, but as raw footage salvaged from a doomed TV news crew, I saved it for this list instead. Although it uses legit science and genuine scientific concerns about the impact of climate change to send its message, this isn’t really a preachy film, but it certainly doesn’t shy away from scare tactics and often goes straight for the gut – and I mean that quite literally. After seeing The Bay, you may never eat shellfish again… or any fish, for that matter.
Okay, so maybe this fascinating flick isn’t technically horror, but more of a darkly skewed sci-fi/superhero tale; still, it’s worthy of inclusion here because of some particularly chilling and heart-stopping moments. Presented as camcorder footage recorded by a group of three teenage friends who have suddenly acquired supernatural powers, the story begins as you might expect – with the kids using their abilities to play pranks and impress their classmates – but things escalate quickly, especially after one of the teens begins to see himself as a godlike being, above human laws and morality, which leads to a catastrophic showdown with his former friends. This unusual spin on superhero/supervillain themes won over audiences with some breathtaking set-pieces, including a fatal high-altitude encounter with a thunderstorm.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Scott Derrickson’s unique spin on found footage, but quickly found myself engrossed, surprised and occasionally shocked by what he had wrought. Framed in a traditional narrative, a box of creepy 8mm home movies – actually shot on Super-8 stock, not digitally simulated – are discovered by a true-crime author (Ethan Hawke) and presented here as raw, surreal and sometimes downright terrifying glimpses into a truly evil intelligence. The title sequence is truly the stuff of nightmares, and another 8mm clip provides one of the biggest jump-scares of that year. While it stumbles on the way to its conclusion, Sinister is still surprisingly effective in conjuring a surreal, nightmarish ambiance, aided greatly by a chilling score and sound design. Successful enough to spawn a sequel (currently in pre-production), it’s one of the most effective film-within-a-film stories in recent years.
A recent major player in the found footage universe, this bizarre, graphic and often shocking series unites the medium with another famed subgenre: the omnibus horror film. Tapping the talents of several up-and-coming filmmakers (Adam Wingard, Ti West, Gareth Evans, Eduardo Sanchez, and many more), these short-film anthologies employ a wide variety of video techniques and technologies to spin explicit tales of sex, gore and mayhem. For me, the first two films’ crowning moment is “Safe Haven” from V/H/S 2, set within the walls of an isolated Indonesian commune whose enigmatic cult leader has granted a film crew access to the coming apocalypse… which comes to pass in the most outrageously gruesome way imaginable. It’s so completely unhinged, throwing virtually every kind of horror imaginable at your face, that it eclipses nearly every other entry in the series. I can’t wait to see what madness awaits in the third installment, V/H/S: Viral, slated for On Demand release on October 23rd.
The Sacrament (2013)
This is a compelling hybrid of found footage and vintage exploitation from retro-influenced director Ti West (The House of the Devil). The strange events surrounding charismatic cult leader Jim Jones made headlines around the world in 1978, when his followers gunned down a U.S. congressman and his delegation and later committed mass suicide, ending with a body count of nearly a thousand. The Guyana-based community of the People’s Temple, better known as “Jonestown,” was the subject of many features since the ’70s, from documentaries to crude grindhouse fare, and West artfully brings all of those elements together in depicting a documentary crew invited into the seemingly Utopian commune of Eden Parish, only to find themselves unable to escape the grip of the creepy, all-powerful cult leader known as “Father” (played with a chilling charisma by Gene Jones). The story adheres fairly closely to several real-life moments from Jonestown’s tragic history, giving it a realistic weight – although I was puzzled by West’s choice to credit the actors in the opening titles, which completely breaks the illusion that follows.
Willow Creek (2013)
This Bigfoot tale is significant not for what transpires in front of the camera, but for who’s standing behind it – legendary comedian-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait, whose penchant for pitch-black social commentary boosted his films God Bless America and World’s Greatest Dad to cult status. Willow Creek narrows its focus, centering on an obsessive cryptid hunter in search of Bigfoot, and his beleaguered, skeptical girlfriend. The first half of the film plays as a surprisingly gentle satire of Bigfoot mania, but soon enters Blair Witch territory as the couple come under siege in the depths of the woods near the site of the famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film (which was recently proven to be a hoax). Goldthwait keeps things nicely ambiguous until the conclusion, which unfortunately squanders the slow but intense build-up, and he doesn’t really break new ground in the genre; nevertheless, it’s still worth noting due to Goldthwait’s adept handling of sharp dialogue and sly satire.
Alien Abduction (2014)
This recent arrival, which loosely takes the same premise as 1989′s UFO Abduction and blows it up to massive proportions, gets a mention here thanks to a narrative device that solves one of the main points of contention with found footage films: why does the camera operator insist on filming when his life is clearly in jeopardy? In this case, the central point-of-view is that of an autistic boy, for whom the camera is his chosen device for interacting with his surroundings, forging an unbreakable link between the camera and its user. You may have to suspend your disbelief for much of the film’s second half (for example, the idea that a video camera can survive being dropped from low orbit is stretching things a bit), but there are some intense shocks and creeps to be found along the way.
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…
NECA has given us a closer look at their A Nightmare on Elm Street 30th Anniversary “Ultimate Freddy” tribute figure honoring 30 years of dream-stalking terror!
NECA’s 30th Anniversary “Ultimate Freddy” features:
Three new interchangable head portraits (closed mouth, open mouth grimace, and skull face)
All new fully articulated legs (ball-hinged thighs and knees)
Alternate severed fingers left hand
New tongue phone
New dead skin mask
You’ll find even more images here.