[Review] ‘Boxtrolls’ Is An Insane, Creepy, Hilariously Dark Fairytale

bloody disgusting - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 10:27

I’m a lifelong fan of animated cinema, and while I sometimes lament how Pixar-style CG epics have trampled many of the medium’s more traditional methods, I still appreciate the artistry, skill and incredible patience that goes into it. That’s probably why I have an intense love of stop-motion (well, that and all those Ray Harryhausen epics that helped shape my imagination), which is arguably the most time-consuming and meticulous animation technique of them all. Long before fully-rendered digital imagery became the standard, stop-motion features have still been fairly rare over the past few decades; despite the cult popularity of Tim Burton’s gothic masterpiece A Nightmare Before Christmas, the labor- and time-consuming  technique of animating puppets or clay figures probably tries the patience of most studio execs. But for me, that makes the arrival of dark fantasy gems like Corpse Bride, Coraline and Frankenweenie all the more special.

LAIKA, the studio behind Coraline and 2012′s Paranorman, are rolling out their latest feature The Boxtrolls, and I’m celebrating all over again. It’s not only their finest achievement to date, but I daresay it’s the most entertaining animated film to be released by a major studio in the past few years. Based on the book Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, Boxtrolls is the deceptively simple tale of a young boy raised from infancy by the title critters – a kindly but secretive community of blue-skinned, glowing-eyed imps clad in cardboard boxes, who maintain their vast subterranean society by salvaging and re-purposing junk left behind by the oddball citizens of Cheesebridge (a town so named because their entire economy is based on importing exotic cheeses).

The tale itself draws from a deep well of classic tales (Kipling’s The Jungle Book and Dickens’ Oliver Twist come to mind), but the real joy here is in the telling. The world LAIKA has crafted is barely grounded in reality, opting for a highly stylized version of a late-19th-century European town that’s still making the transition from steam power to electricity (providing for some memorable steampunk set-pieces, including a towering coal-fueled robot), but it’s a touch more down-to-earth than Neil Gaiman’s surreal dreamworld depicted in Coraline. The elaborate sets – a combination of intricate models and digital artwork – seem to stretch on endlessly, and every nook and cranny is stuffed with weird little details: for example, the trolls’ underground city is a Rube Goldberg explosion of improvised machinery and flickering electric lights; Cheesebridge’s winding cobblestone streets (with pun-filled names like “Curds Way”) seem to defy gravity, twisting back on each other and folding into rooftops like an M.C. Escher landscape. The depth of detail is enhanced by quality 3D photography (not post-converted), which creates some dizzying moments, including an insane chase across city rooftops.

Of course, the lion’s share of the credit goes to the character animation team: the incredibly detailed puppets are sculpted with exaggerated facial and body features, decked out in highly detailed period costumes and rendered in high-contrast shades, reminiscent of hyper-stylized silent classics like Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The young hero “Eggs” falls closer to the softer, more traditional style usually reserved for child characters – which is probably a smart choice, as kids should identify with the likable leads. While played mostly for broad laughs, the characters’ faces cover the full spectrum of emotions, and the little nuances of their expressions are amazing to watch.

Accompanying this visual smorgasbord is one of the best voice casts I’ve heard in years: Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley rules them all in a mad, campy performance as the scenery-chewing villain Archibald Snatcher, who bamboozles the town’s moronic, cheese-obsessed elders into hiring him to eliminate the Boxtrolls; his musical number in absolutely hideous drag as a shrieking diva is totally hilarious (and a bit terrifying, if you ask me). Isaac Hempstead Wright (Game of Thrones) plays Eggs (named by the trolls after the egg crate he was found in), while other standout roles include Shaun of the Dead‘s Simon Pegg & Nick Frost and 30 Rock‘s Tracy Morgan as Snatcher’s addled sidekicks; Elle Fanning (Maleficent) nabs some of the film’s biggest laughs as the cute but morbidly curious Winnie, daughter of the dairy-obsessed Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris). Intricate sound design and a darkly whimsical score, plus song lyrics by Monty Python’s Eric Idle, add the final touches to this eccentric, comically macabre little universe.

With Halloween just around the corner, I can’t recommend this film highly enough. It’s got nostalgic references and knowing in-jokes to warm the hearts of classic horror fans; it’s packed with enough wild action, playful music and comic pratfalls to delight young ones (though maybe not too young – there are some shocking moments, including Snatcher’s monstrous allergic reaction to cheese); and it’s laced with tons of irreverent, macabre and droll humor for the grownups – including a surprising share of bodily-function and gross-out jokes and a wonderfully subtle meta-moment during the credits that actually got a round of applause. The Boxtrolls is not only the year’s best animated feature, but it’s sure to be a perennial favorite among fans of vintage horror and dark fantasy. It may give you a case of whiplash (and possibly put you off your cheese), but you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

Categories: Horror News

Bear “Mantiis” Video Premiere (Exclusive)

bloody disgusting - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 10:00

Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with Belgian metal band Bear to bring you the exclusive music video premiere for “Mantiis”! The video mixes performance footage with a storyline about a man and woman who begin making love but quickly turn into something far more sinister.

Vocalist Maarten Albrechts:

Mantiis is all about major companies and the gruesome way they treat their people. These companies suck their employees dry and throw them away after they become useless. That’s what the female mantis does: attract a male, mates with him and then kills him. The double ‘i’ highlights that greedy behaviour. The entire video is built around the same concept: greed. A beautiful girl attracts a man, takes everything he has, abuses him and leaves him behind feeling empty and alone.

“Mantiis” comes from the band’s upcoming album Noumenon, which can be pre-ordered through Basick Records.

Bear online:
Official Website

Tour dates:
Euroblast, Friday 3 Oct

Categories: Horror News

At The Gates Release ‘At War With Reality’ Stream: Doubt Them No Longer

bloody disgusting - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 08:30

Swedish melodic death metal pioneers At The Gates have released a stream of the title track of their upcoming album At War With Reality, which comes out October 28th via Century Media Records.

Bassist Jonas Bjorler comments:

We have finally reached the moment for the unveiling of a first full brand new At the Gates song! We have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this record for the past year, and we are very happy to now present you the title track of ‘At War With Reality’. Let the journey begin…

Having been a huge fan of Slaughter Of The Soul, one of the most influential metal albums of the 90′s, I can safely say that hearing this proves to me that the band still has it. It’s vicious, it’s aggressive, and it doesn’t hold back at all. This is what I wanted and I’m beyond thrilled to hear it.

Categories: Horror News

Extraterrestrial (UK DVD)

Dread Central - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 06:00

Starring Julián Villagrán, Michelle Jenner, Carlos Areces, Raúl Cimas

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo

Distributed by Icon Home Entertainment

The morning after a barely-remembered one night stand is rendered infinitely more uncomfortable for Julio (Villagrán) and Julia (Jenner) by the discovery that as they slept, giant alien ships have appeared on Earth, hovering over major cities. The majority of the population of their particular town have been evacuated to an unknown location, but a few stragglers still remain. Among these is Julia’s nerdy neighbour Ángel (Areces), who is quite obviously (but secretly) smitten with her and, more challengingly for the pair, Julia’s boyfriend, Carlos (Cimas).

As the group come together in Julia’s apartment to try and figure out just what is going on with their ominous interstellar visitors, director Vigalondo starts us off on a light-hearted Woody Allen-esque comedy of errors. Through their own graphic design, group discussion and snippets of information gleaned from a still-transmitting local TV station, Julio and Co. busy themselves with trying to come up with a plan. There’s a rotten core to the whole affair, however, and soon the lies spun by Julio and Julia in an attempt to hide their previous night-time activities from Carlos lead to yet more lies, attention-diverting victimisation and the unintentional fostering of extreme paranoia.

Extraterrestrial is a funny movie, no doubt – but only sporadically. As a light romp, it rarely finds itself particularly bogged down or losing pace but at the same time it lacks sufficient substance. Vigalondo makes the bold move of having none of his story’s protagonists be particularly endearing individuals – all of them more concerned with their own individual obsessions and desires to the point that the dissolution of the group is inevitable. As Ángel, Carlos Areces delivers most of the laughs, his character outshining the rest by a wide margin. In fact, quite possibly the most memorable part of the film involves little more than him, a tennis ball shooting machine, a flag and a megaphone. That this one short sequence manages to eclipse almost the entirety of the film surrounding it is rather damning – it acts as a reminder of the energy that the rest of Extraterrestrial is sorely lacking.

So little is presented of actual value regarding the alien visitors that they might as well not even be there. It’s a perplexing move considering they seem to be central enough to the story to name the film itself in reference to them – hell, for all of the effect this decision actually has it could have been inexplicably giant monkey heads floating across the city, or simply an effects-budget-saving news report detailing a chemical spill/terrorist attack that has necessitated the evacuation. With a few extra tweaks, the story could be played out almost entirely the same way with little narrative or thematic impact. On one hand, it’s another admirably bold approach by Vigalondo but on the other, it’s a consistent source of frustration and disappointment throughout. Waiting for the film to actually go anywhere interesting is a futile exercise as it treads water with the odd dash of pleasingly black humour, only to draw to a close with little in the way of any kind of payoff. The persistent quirkiness of its characters’ behaviour lends a certain charm, but the material isn’t strong enough to keep itself going on that alone.

Just like the giant ships that hover overhead, Extraterrestrial will hold your attention without much effort – but a refusal to switch on the engines means it’s never more than just… ‘there’.

Icon Home Entertainment’s UK DVD release of Extraterrestrial is well presented in terms of audio and video, but it comes bereft of special features.

Special Features

  • Nothing

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Categories: Horror News

[TV Review] “Gotham” Episode 1.01, ‘Pilot’

bloody disgusting - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 00:00

So we’ve finally reached the premiere of Gotham. As the first of DC’s live action properties to debut this year it’s arguably the best. This is a show with a distinct voice, fantastic lead performances, and real sense of scope.

I can distinctly remember my excitement for this show when it was announced. I figured a show that focused on the inner workings of the GCPD would be ripe for a dark character driven drama. I loathed the casting process. Week after week key players from the Batman mythos were added to the show’s huge roster. But I’m happy to report they don’t distract… much.

The episode begins with a young Catwoman, of all people. She’s gallivanting through the moody streets of Gotham, and comes upon a mugging in the alley. We all know the one. Martha and Thomas Wayne are gunned down and it’s up to Harvey Bullock to solve the case with his new partner James Gordon.

The timing of James’ arrival to the GCPD is questionable, but nevertheless he’s thrown headfirst into a world where justice is determined by the highest bidder. Ben McKenzie does a killer job at capturing Gordon’s own frustration in cooperating with the rampant corruption. He’s perfectly paired with Donal Logue who has his own brand of justice as Harvey Bullock. He’s a hard drinking, crooked cop who frames things in just the way he needs in order to keep working the bare minimum amount required. They couldn’t be more different, but still over the course of the hour develop a bond that is believable and an interesting source of conflict.

In this first outing, our heroes (?) come into contact with Edward Nygma, Oswald Cobblepot, Fish Mooney, and Carmine Falcone. Mooney proves the most interesting out of the bunch thanks to a great performance by Jada Pinkett Smith. She chews the scenary and allows for a particular brand of menace we haven’t seen in Gotham before.

Almost every character has their personal skewed powerplay for the city in the making. It’s a world where those in control don’t seem to stay there for long. Fish is tired of being the second fiddle to the Falcone family. The first episode deals with her attempt to go above her boss to create a quick solve in the Wayne homicide.

The plot isn’t really anything special, it’s standard procedural murder mystery fare in a comic book paintjob. The characters are the real draw. Robin Lord Taylor is a complete treat as Penguin. He’s a sniveling shell of the criminal mastermind we know, and it works to the show’s advantage. He fucks things up in all the right ways.

But the real star of the pilot is the art direction, cinematography, and world building on display. Gotham is a city that exists out of time. It’s filled with old luxury sedans, gothic architecture, and a complicated skyline. Against a warm color palette is really incredible lighting that evokes a noir feel in almost every aspect.

The result is closer to David Fincher’s Se7en then you’d first imagine. The creative team behind the show has stressed how unique their vision of Gotham is, and the pilot made me a believer. There is a certain layer of inexplicable attraction in this gothic dystopia. Perhaps it’s because this is the closest realization of the Gotham I grew up loving from Batman The Animated Series. I still haven’t seen enough to know whether or not the look sticks, but for the time being, I’m impressed.

Gotham is a horrible place. This much is certain. It’s filled with an assertive sense of terror that comes with danger being down every street. There is no protection from the law enforcement, and just about everyone wants you dead. Jim Gordon has found himself in the middle of this terrifying world, and he’s dead set on cleaning it up.

Gotham does have its issues. There was far too much insertion of Batman lore for my liking. Catwoman felt like a distraction and served to add nothing to the pilot, as well as the inclusion of a young Poison Ivy. Some of the dialogue comes across like the writer thought it would be far more introspective than it actually is, when it reality it sound melodramatic.

But hell if it isn’t Gotham. It’s the living breathing scum-ridden city, delivered to us on a weekly basis. The show is pitched as a Jim Gordon vehicle, but the main character is the city, and it’s never looked more alive. I’m really excited to see what things look like on a weekly basis because if this pilot is any indication than we’re in for one hell of a ride.

Stray Thoughts:

-       Really didn’t understand when Gordon arrived to the city. Almost wish we got that Year One intro of him riding into the city via the train.

-       I like the Alfred we’re getting here. He seems to be inspired by the Earth One version more than anything.

-       The skyline was beautiful, and the sense of gothic architecture throughout really has me excited to see more.

-       Are we case of the week after this? Or is it going to be an ongoing plot? I sincerely hope it’s a little of both.


What did you think of Gotham’s Pilot?


Categories: Horror News

The Most Expensive Godzilla Collectible Ever Made!

Dread Central - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 22:24

Get ready, kids! It doesn’t get any cooler (or more expensive than this)! 9.5 inches tall. 7.5 inches wide. Nearly 14 inches long. 33 pounds of SOLID GOLD! Wait until you see this!

In celebration of Godzilla‘s 60th anniversary, Japanese jewelry maker Ginza Tanaka was commissioned to create a 24-karat gold Godzilla collectible to die for. This bad boy is displayed on a matching black marble base and is available at all Ginza Tanaka stores in Japan.

So how much, you ask? Why it’s just 150,000,000 Yen. That’s nearly $1.5 million USD. I know what I want for Christmas! Um… Debi? Light of my life?

The post The Most Expensive Godzilla Collectible Ever Made! appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

The $1.5 Million ‘Godzilla’ Collectible…

bloody disgusting - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 21:53

At least it’s made of 24-karat solid gold…

What do you buy your Godzilla superfan for the upcoming holidays? Maybe you can get your family to chip in on a crowd-sourced campaign to buy your buddy a $1.5 million 24-karat gold Godzilla figurine?

FreshnessMag links out to the Japanese website Fasion Press who reports on a 60th anniversary Godzilla collectible only the top 1% could afford.

To commemorate this milestone, an established Japanese jewelry brand, Ginza Tanaka, was commissioned to manufacture this 24-karat gold figure. Furthermore, this solid gold Godzilla weighs in at incredible 15kg and is priced at monstrous US$1.5 million. The actual figure measures at 24cm height, 19cm width, and 35cm length, while it stands proudly on a large black marble base with an acrylic box cover.

Official launch is slated for Sunday, July 20 at all nine branches of Ginza Tanaka in Japan.

Thanks to Avery for the tip!

Categories: Horror News

[Exclusive Preview] “Dead Boy Detectives” #9

bloody disgusting - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 21:42

“Dead Boy Detectives” has become a flagship Vertigo title in little under a year. Our own Jorge Solis said that volume one strikes the right balance between charming and frightening.” After being introduced in the pages of one of the best comics ever written, Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” the dead boys get their own series with all-new supernatural adventures. The dead boy detectives are consistently charming and horrifying in their own right, and issue #9 proves to be no different.

From Vertigo:

ON SALE 9/24
U.S. Price:

Empty theaters can be spooky places where the echoes of dead hands forever applaud and the leftover gloom of forgotten tragedies lingers – and nowhere is spookier than the grand, gaudy, gilded Victorian music hall where Charles and Crystal go to investigate his mother’s suspicious death. But will the melodramatic ghosts still haunting those creaky floor boards make a swift exit, revel in a few more moments in the spotlight, or take revenge for being upstaged? If Charles isn’t careful, this could mean curtains for Crystal.

Art by: Ryan Kelly, Mark Buckingham
Cover by: Mark Buckingham
Written by: Toby Litt



Categories: Horror News

Jurassic World – Colin Trevorrow Follows the Signs

Dread Central - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 21:14

Director Colin Trevorrow just tweeted out a new image from the set of Jurassic World, and this one is definitely for the eagle-eyed fans of the original Spielberg masterpiece!

The image features a pretty worn out and knocked over sign which points towards the East Dock that Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) knocked over while trying to escape in the first flick! Check it out!

Autumn. pic.twitter.com/rbWVJHDtmy

— Colin Trevorrow (@colintrevorrow) September 22, 2014

Vincent D’Onofrio, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, BD Wong, Andy Buckley, Idris Elba, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, and Nick Robinson star.

Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) penned the script with Derek Connolly and directs. Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Pat Crowley produce Jurassic World. In theaters June 12, 2015, this is a new sci-fi terror adventure set 22 years after the horrific events of the original Jurassic Park.

More as it comes.

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Categories: Horror News

Experience The Taking of Deborah Logan on DVD

Dread Central - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 20:06

We’ve been talking about Adam Robitel’s The Taking of Deborah Logan for a few weeks here on DC, but now finally we have some release news for you! Read on for details.

From the Press Release
Millennium Entertainment is proud to announce the home entertainment release of the genre-bending THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN. Just in time for Halloween, the found-footage thriller will be available on Early EST (electronic sell-through) October 21, 2014 before heading to VOD and DVD on November 4, 2014.

Directed by Adam Robitel, the spine-chiller stars Jill Larson (ABC’s “All My Children,” Shutter Island), Anne Ramsay (Planet of the Apes, A League of Their Own, NBC’s “Mad About You,” ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”), Michelle Ang (My Wedding and Other Secrets, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son), and Ryan Cutrona (Fox’s “24,” AMC’s “Mad Men”).

Mia Medina (Ang) has finally found the perfect subject for her PhD thesis film on Alzheimer’s Disease. For the next several months, cameras will record the everyday life of mother Deborah Logan (Larson) and her daughter, Sarah (Ramsay). But as the days progress, strange things begin to happen around Deborah that are not consistent with any findings about Alzheimer’s. It becomes apparent that there’s something besides Alzheimer’s that has taken control of Deborah’s life. It’s an evil that is far worse than the debilitating disease with which she was first diagnosed.

THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN has a running time of 90 minutes and is rated R for disturbing violent content, language, and brief nudity. The film is co-executive produced by Adam Robitel, Gavin Heffernan, Kurt Fethke, and Scott Adler. Rene Besson, Christa Campbell, Alex Cutler, Luke Daniels, Lati Grubman, Dana Guerin, Jonathan Stein, and Jason Taylor serve as executive producers with Bryan Singer and Jeff Rice as producers.

Exclusive bonus features include “The Making of The Taking of Deborah Logan Soundbites” with Jill Larson, Michelle Ang, Anne Ramsay, Brett Gentile, Jeremy DeCarlos, and Adam Robitel.

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Categories: Horror News

Hulu Gives Stephen King’s 11/22/63 a Direct-to-Series Order

Dread Central - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 18:34

Back in April of 2013, we learned that J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions was in negotiations for the rights to Stephen King’s bestselling 2011 novel 11/22/63 for a possible TV series, but then not much happened. Today we finally have an update, and the “network” the show is heading to isn’t one you’d expect.

Per Hulu’s Blog Hulu has greenlit “11/22/63″ – a new Hulu Original from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, acclaimed author Stephen King, executive producer/writer Bridget Carpenter, and Warner Bros. Television.

Here are the details direct from Craig Erwich, Hulu’s Senior Vice President, Head of Content:

This direct-to-series order marks a monumental deal for Hulu as we partner with J.J. Abrams and Stephen King, two of the most celebrated storytellers of our time. We are thrilled to be working with them and with Warner Bros. Television to bring this unique take on one of the most seminal historic events of the twentieth century to Hulu.

Based on the best-selling, award-winning novel by Stephen King, “11/22/63″ will take viewers on a journey back to the day that former President Kennedy was shot and ask the eternal question: “What if?” Part thriller, part love story, “11/22/63″ is a fascinating story that goes beyond the concept of time travel. With the talented team of producers bringing the story to life, we are confident that “11/22/63″ will be an event series that our viewers will love. 

“11/22/63″ joins our growing offering of premium Hulu Originals and reinforces our mission to continuously captivate and connect audiences with the stories they love. The series will make its debut exclusively on Hulu. Until then, keep checking back for more details.

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Categories: Horror News

Syfy Channel Filming ‘Police Academy’ Reunion (& Giant Lava Shooting Spiders)

bloody disgusting - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 18:16

Riding the marginal success of their Sharknado series, the Syfy Channel has another silly B-movie in production: Lavalantula. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a tarantula that shoots lava. But this time they have an ace up their sleeve in the form of a mini-Police Academy reunion!

Lavalantula stars Steve Guttenberg (Mahoney), Leslie Eastebrook (Callahan), and Michael Winslow (Larvell Jones)! To be sure this band of cop comedy legends are in the right hands, Syfy has brought in Big Ass Spider (our review) director Mike Mendez.

According to EW, Lavalantula is currently in production and will air sometime next summer. For now, check out the poster below and PRAY Michael Winslow busts out some crazy sound effects with his mouth.

Categories: Horror News

Halloween Hijinx – Help Put Kids in Costumes

Dread Central - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 18:08

Here at Dread Central we’re all about giving back, and any time we get the chance to help spread the word about a worthwhile cause, we jump on it. Two have come to our attention that we’re thrilled to share with you.

First up, Gary Cecil over at The Black Cat Horror Blog has launched a Get Kids in Costumes initiative. The basis of this charity is to help underprivileged children and their families on Halloween to make sure that the little ones have Halloween costumes and baskets to celebrate the spookiest day of the year.

Every dollar earned will go directly to an account set up specifically for the donations! Whether it’s a penny or a hundred bucks, it doesn’t matter. Click here to learn more and to contribute.

One thing I know about first-hand is how much it sucks to spend Halloween night in the hospital. Believe you me, it was NOT as exciting as it was for Laurie Strode in Halloween II. That being said, one of the most popular Halloween shops, Spirit Halloween, has launched a Spirit of Children campaign as a means to help make the hospital stays of kids a lot more fun on Halloween.

Click here to learn more and to contribute.

Come on, guys! It’s that time of year when everyone is entitled to AT LEAST one good scare! Do something good… and spooky… today!

The post Halloween Hijinx – Help Put Kids in Costumes appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

From the Dark (2014)

Dread Central - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 17:04

Starring Niamh Algar and Stephen Cromwell

Directed by Conor McMahon

In From the Dark Irish director Conor McMahon sacrifices the goofy humor seen in his previous effort Stitches in favor of no-nonsense horror that combines a fear of the dark with vampire mythology.

From the Dark is exceedingly simple in terms of its story: While on holiday, a young couple named Mark (Cromwell) and Sarah (Algar) become stranded on a muddy back road in rural Ireland. Brandishing a flashlight, Mark takes off on foot to discover an old house in which lies an elderly man in a state of delirium and shock from a wound to the neck. After returning to the car to get Sarah for assistance, they discover that the old man has fallen victim to a sinister creature with a strong distaste for the light.

With a simple twist on the vampire mythology, McMahon starts things off strong and creepy, keeping the creature out of focus or moving ever so slightly out of frame with the arrival of a light source. Throughout much of the film he keeps this trend going, even when the creature has traded in the shadows of the woods of Ireland for the confines of a dimly lit house; out of focus background shots, quick moments of action, and dimly moonlight-lit rooms keep the creature’s true appearance from being fully revealed. Granted, glimpses are seen, at least enough to show its form.

Bipedal and tall, the creature is an unholy union of Nosferatu and the subterranean humanoids from The Descent with a bit of vampire goodness from I Am Legend tossed into the mix. The result is mostly uninspired, but the real magic in the film is when McMahon keeps it relegated to the shadows.

Ironically, it’s From the Dark’s simplicity and straightforward approach that hinders it the most. After darkness falls, it becomes a mostly one-note film with Sarah’s quest for light taking a repetitive turn that’s fairly unsatisfying given the interesting setup. Once all hell breaks loose, the suspense slowly fades in favor of a more action-oriented approach, but darkness with only the moonlight and a cell phone to (mostly) lead the way renders it unexciting. There are only so many ways you can keep the same process of “hide, find light, fight back, hide” engaging enough before you’re itching for something new.

But what McMahon gets right he does in a way that helps to offset its many issues. In addition to remaining relatively tight and genuinely suspenseful at times, the two leads are exceptionally believable as an ordinary, run-of-the-mill couple seeking to get away from it all for a few days before being thrust into an extraordinary situation. They bicker and trade barbs, but underneath it all there is a very real and natural sense of love and respect for each other. As a result, you genuinely care about their plight, especially when Mark becomes incapacitated and Sarah must do everything she can to save them from the darkness.

From the Dark is a mostly fun and a little scary, yet inoffensive film that, although satisfying for what it is, could have benefited greatly from a little bit of risk-taking. It takes the safe route. It’s not bad, it’s not great, it’s just a well-made little thriller.

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Categories: Horror News

‘The Taking of Deborah Logan’ Release Details

bloody disgusting - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 17:01

We now have release details for the Bryan Singer-produced The Taking of Deborah Logan.

Adam Robitel’s possession horror film gets an early release on October 21 before it hits VOD and DVD November 4 through Millennium Entertainment.

Mia Medina (Michelle Ang) has finally found the perfect subject for her PhD thesis film on Alzheimer’s Disease. For the next several months, cameras will record the everyday life of mother Deborah Logan (Jill Larson) and her daughter, Sarah (Anne Ramsay). But as the days progress, strange things begin to happen around Deborah that are not consistent with any findings about Alzheimer’s. It becomes apparent that there’s something besides Alzheimer’s that has taken control of Deborah’s life. It’s an evil that is far worse than the debilitating disease with which she was first diagnosed.

Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, Michelle Ang, and Ryan Cutrona star.

Categories: Horror News

Pink Floyd Unveil ‘The Endless River’ Cover Art And Track List

bloody disgusting - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 17:00

Progressive rock legends Pink Floyd have unveiled the album artwork and track listing for their upcoming album The Endless River, which is the first new album since 1994′s The Division Bell. The album, which is set to be released on November 10th (pre-order here), consists of music recorded in the 1993 sessions that led to The Division Bell as well as additional overdubs from David Gilmour and Nick Mason.

Gilmour states:

“‘The Endless River’ has as its starting point the music that came from the 1993 ‘Division Bell’ sessions. We listened to over 20 hours of the three of us playing together and selected the music we wanted to work on for the new album. Over the last year we’ve added new parts, re-recorded others and generally harnessed studio technology to make a 21st century Pink Floyd album. With Rick gone, and with him the chance of ever doing it again, it feels right that these revisited and reworked tracks should be made available as part of our repertoire.

Head below for the artwork and track listing.

The Endless River Track Listing:
‘Things Left Unsaid’
‘It’s What We Do’
‘Ebb and Flow’
‘The Lost Art of Conversation’
‘On Noodle Street’
‘Night Light’
‘Allons-y (1)’
‘Allons-y (2)’
‘Talkin’ Hawkin”
‘Eyes to Pearls’
‘Louder Than Words’

Categories: Horror News

Mike Mendez Releasing His Lavalantula

Dread Central - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 16:48

What has eight legs and breathes fire? Whatever it is, please keep it far the hell away from me as I don’t need that kind of shit in my life! What I do need, however, is a new flick from Mike Mendez, and if it stars a hellish beast like the one I just described, then I’m okay with that too!

From the Press Release
Giant lava-breathing tarantulas – Lavalantulas – erupt out of ancient volcanoes in the Santa Monica Mountains, raining death and destruction upon Los Angeles, in the new Syfy Original Movie Lavalantula, premiering in summer 2015.

With the City of Angels on the verge of incineration, only a washed up ‘90s action hero actor, played by Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy, Diner) — joined by Police Academy alumni Leslie Easterbrook (Police Academy) and Michael Winslow (Police Academy: The Series) — stand in the way of this monstrous swarm of bloodthirsty creatures who burn their victims alive.

Currently in production in Los Angeles, Lavalantula also co-stars Nia Peeples (“The Young and the Restless”) and Ralph Garman (KROQ/LA DJ).

Lavalantula will be directed by Mike Mendez, who won a Saturn Award for helming Big Ass Spider!

Look for more on this feature showcasing fire-breathing tarantulas as soon as we get it!

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Categories: Horror News

2014 Eyegore Awards Highlights… Plus a Peek at Uni’s Halloween Horror Nights!

bloody disgusting - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 16:47

Friday was a memorable night for Hollywood’s horror fans, as Universal Studios kicked off this year’s Halloween season with the annual Eyegore Award ceremonies, followed by the launch of 2014′s Halloween Horror Nights attractions. I got a chance to check out this year’s honorees and presenters on the red carpet before the festivities began, and as always, this year’s turnout featured both familiar and new faces from the worlds of big- and small-screen horror.

Rick Baker, David Naughton & John Landis

An American Werewolf in London director John Landis, accepting his career-spanning award tonight, was accompanied by Oscar-winning makeup FX guru Rick Baker (a previous Eyegore recipient, now presenting) and the American Werewolf himself, actor David Naughton. Needless to say, it was a historic moment to see this legendary trio reunited… and the crowd was encouraged to hear Landis describe walking through the park’s American Werewolf maze for the first time: “It scared the shit out of me!” he admitted. I made a mental note of that, as I remember watching that film in the theater as a kid, scrunched down in my seat and frozen in wide-eyed terror… naturally, I had to come full-circle and see what Landis was so afraid of himself.

Greg Nicotero & Robert Kirkman

Another effects legend, the great Greg Nicotero, arrived to accept his award for his landmark work on The Walking Dead, as presented by series creator Robert Kirkman and Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” Nicotero said of his lauded FX career, “but when I come to the set of The Walking Dead, it’s like my first day on the job. I love that; I love that I still learn, and that I can get better, thanks to the support of all you guys.”

Robert Rodriguez & McKenzie Westmore

One of the superstars of the night arrived to massive cheers from a huge throng of fans: Robert Rodriguez, here to accept a career achievement award for his contributions to horror entertainment, was accompanied by the series cast of From Dusk Till Dawn on Rodriguez’s El Rey Network, as well as beloved genre icon Danny Trejo, who flashed his signature Machete moves.

Danny Trejo, Sid Haig

“I love that they named this the Eyegore,” Rodriguez said, citing the eyeball violence inflicted on the actors in his movies (e.g. Johnny Depp in Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Michelle Rodriguez in Machete). He also regaled the audience with his rendition of his mother’s blood-curdling scream, to help prepare himself for a walk-through of his own From Dusk Till Dawn maze: “That’s what I’ll sound like tonight,” he said. “And you too!”

Face Off team members Lois Burwell, Glenn Hetrick & Ve Neill

Other horror heavyweights included Devil’s Rejects star Sid Haig, who always has a kind word for the fans, and the judges from SyFy’s Face Off; the show’s host, McKenzie Westmore, returned to the podium as emcee for the evening.

Myles Kennedy & Slash

The ceremonies concluded with a live performance by Grammy-winning guitar god Slash and singer Myles Kennedy of “Nothing Left to Fear,” the moody title track from the film of the same name (and the first feature to be released by Slash’s own horror-centric production company, Slasher Films).

Following the awards came the part I’ve been looking forward to all year – when they sent us all out into the night to sample this year’s crop of horror attractions. Having missed last year’s event, I was eager to catch up… and I’d forgotten just how massive Universal City’s facilities actually were. Halloween Horror Nights attractions tend to take over the majority of the park’s real estate from late September to early November, and this year was no exception.

With only so much time available – and knowing there are some pretty long lines for each maze – I’d planned out my evening as carefully as possible, and managed to hit nearly all of the new offerings. In between, Universal managed to keep the massive waiting crowds occupied with a rave/party atmosphere, including rounds of horror trivia and scantily-clad dancers twerking and grinding to tracks by Rammstein, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson.

The most elaborate entry this year is the “Walking Dead: End of the Line” walk-through attraction, which begins with a “Terror Tram” ride into the hills that deposits you at the entrance to an outdoor survival maze. From there, you set out on a smoke-shrouded trail that weaves through some of the most elaborate park sets I’ve ever seen, including the entire fuselage of a downed airliner and a huge military compound patrolled by chainsaw-wielding survivors (who are just as likely to come after you as the nearby walkers). The near-darkness and dense smoke on the trail allows for zombie actors to blend in, ninja-like, with the crowd before suddenly turning on unsuspecting victims, leading to some of the night’s best screams, panicked freakouts, and bursts of nervous laughter.

Also worth checking out is the new Alien Vs. Predator maze, which wins my vote for most impressive set design of the evening: the indoor structure is made to resemble a blasted-out rural town, whose residents have been seized to incubate xenomorph invaders. All the alien life-cycles are represented, with facehuggers launching themselves at passers-by, chestbursters ripping out of cocooned actors amid sprays of blood (you’ll get wet, but not stained) and of course full-size alien warriors fighting with some impressively large, laser-wielding Predators over who gets to dissect the helpless human visitors. I won’t spoil the most impressive set-piece here, but let’s just say it’s the best possible conclusion to an Alien-themed attraction.

Other cool installments include the creepy “Clowns 3D,” which not only features just about every kind of psychotic clown you could imagine – in well-done 3D and a brain-frying assault of black-light colors – but most notably an excellent original score by Slash himself. Coulrophobic (i.e. clown-fearing) visitors will have therapy material for years to come… and that’s not including the stilt-walking killer clowns that wander outside the maze to nab unsuspecting park-goers, along with heavily armed masked marauders from The Purge: Anarchy maze – many of whom were able to blend into small crowds before turning to attack, sending patrons scattering in all directions.

The Dracula Untold maze followed a more traditional spook-house route, but the blend of old-school gothic and modern vampire trappings kept things fresh and freaky, and if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be attacked by all the competitors’ monstrous creations from Face Off… well, you won’t soon forget that experience, which captured the best Halloween flavor of the night. The From Dusk Till Dawn maze recreates the “Titty Twister” set from the movie and the series, and the actors here are among the most aggressive you’ll ever encounter (at least among attractions where they don’t actually assault the guests), be they vampires or well-armed human survivors.

Hands down, my personal favorite this year would have to be that American Werewolf maze, which lovingly recreates all the memorable moments from the 1981 classsic, from the Slaughtered Lamb pub to the London Underground, even the many nightmare sequences, and unleashes some seriously scary full-size animatronic werewolves… one of which snapped its jaws so close to me I felt its hair brush my neck. (I now totally understand why even John Landis himself was terrified of this one.) It’s a little too short for my liking, but every second you’re in there is loaded with maximum shock potential, with beautifully designed sets and props.

Exhausted but exhilarated, I survived the ordeal with only minor injuries… and once I’ve rested up, I’ll be ready to go back again. If you’re going to be in the L.A. area between now and November 2nd, try spending a night convincing your friends you’re not pissing your pants in terror – especially when that guy in the group next to you turns out to be less than human… and hungry.

Visit HalloweenHorrorNights.com for tickets, event schedule and more info.

Categories: Horror News

Never Forget this New Clip from The Vampire Diaries Episode 6.01 – I’ll Remember

Dread Central - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 16:45

A few days ago we saw the first clip from the upcoming Season 6 premiere of “The Vampire Diaries,” Episode 6.01, entitled “I’ll Remember,” and now we’re back with another, in which we see how Caroline (Candice Accola) is coping with her loss.

“The Vampire Diaries” Episode 6.01 – “I’ll Remember” (airs 10/2/14): After spending the past four months coping with the loss of Damon (Ian Somerhalder) in an unconventional and potentially dangerous way, Elena (Nina Dobrev) has returned to Whitmore College for the start of sophomore year.

Unable to move on, Caroline (Candice Accola) is desperate to find a way to reverse the anti-magic spell the Travelers have put over Mystic Falls and grows frustrated when her calls to Stefan (Paul Wesley) go unanswered.

Tyler (Michael Trevino), who is human once again, has a run-in at a football tailgate that tests his ability to control his anger, while Matt (Zach Roerig) worries that Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) is dealing with the loss of Bonnie (Kat Graham) in a self-destructive way.

Alaric (Matt Davis), who is struggling to adjust to his new life as a vampire, finds himself in an awkward situation when he meets Jo (guest star Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), a beautiful doctor at the university hospital.

Lastly, while everyone believes Stefan is off tracking a lead to get Damon and Bonnie back, Elena is shocked when she learns the truth of what he has really been up to. Jeffrey Hunt directed the episode written by Caroline Dries.

For more info visit “The Vampire Diaries” on CWTV.com, “like” “The Vampire Diaries” on Facebook, and follow “The Vampire Diaries” on Twitter.

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Categories: Horror News

Kojima Releases First Teaser for Silent Hills

Dread Central - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 16:37

Kojima Productions has released its first concept teaser for the next entry into the Silent Hill franchise, Silent Hills.

The creepy video sets a promising pace as it features dying victims spewing carrion and a glimpse at one of the game’s giant monsters, following the tradition of the Silent Hills series’ inventive monstrosities.

Silent Hills was announced cryptically this year at Gamescom as it was a hidden reveal at the end of Sony’s P.T. demo.

Silent Hills is being helmed by Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, along with acclaimed director Guillermo Del Toro. The game features “The Walking Dead” star Norman Reedus.

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Categories: Horror News