The people behind that awesome murderous clown prank from a few weeks ago are back, this time with a telekinetic priest that has a fondness for head explosions, a lá Scanners. The prank gets really elaborate, involving moving furniture, people floating in midair, tons of blood, and more.
Now why don’t things like this happen in my neck of the woods?
After sharing the first images from Richard Bates Jr.’s Suburban Gothic, his follow-up to the Sundance success, Excision, we now have the film’s red band trailer filled will all things bizarre. It will World Premiere at the 18th annual Fantasia International Film Festival from July 17 until August 5, 2014.
“Raymond has a prestigious MBA, but he can’t find work. He can channel the paranormal, but chatting with a cute girl mystifies him. Kicked out of his big city apartment, Raymond returns home to his overbearing mother, ex-jock father, and beer-bellied classmates. But when a vengeful ghost terrorizes the small town, the city-boy recruits Becca, a badass local bartender, to solve the mystery of the spirit threatening everyone’s lives.”
Suburban Gothic is described as an eccentric comedy/horror that stars Matthew Gray Gubler, Kat Dennings, Ray Wise, Sally Kirkland, Jeffrey Combs and John Waters, and riffs on everything from classic supernatural horror and outsider teen comedies to the “Hardy Boys” and “Scooby-Doo”!
Get the first Fantasia announcement here:
The Final Terror is another ’80s slasher given the HD treatment by the folks at Scream Factory. Despite a sparse amount of remaining prints, they went to great lengths to give it a well done presentation. Bravo for their efforts and their continuing work to restore rare and well-known horror films alike, but within their steady stream of releases, there’s bound to be some stinkers. Case in point, The Final Terror – a 1981 backwoods slasher directed by Andrew Davis, the man who would go on to helm The Fugitive and Above the Law.
During the feature commentary with Davis included on Scream Factory’s Blu-ray, he states that he doesn’t like horror films and never made another one after this (although I’d argue that Holes could be considered horror for making a star of Shia LaBeouf). His disinterest towards the genre shows in the film, but at least Davis’ knows his way around a camera because the film looks really great. Given Davis’ later action classics, it’s no surprise The Final Terror looks more like an action film than horror, but there’s a strong grittiness to the atmosphere that works well in the backwoods setting. The cast includes some actors that would go on to become well-known, such as Daryl Hannah, Joe Pantoliano, and Adrian Zmed (Bachelor Party), so it’s cool to see these future stars cutting their chops.
The film’s story is nothing original. Like a lot of slashers of the decade, the film starts with a couple slaughtered in the woods. This part was apparently tacked on after Davis finished filming to give the story an initial thrust before it settles into 50 minutes of down time. Then it jumps to a group of young campers who head into some thick woods for a weekend trip. You see where this is going. Eventually they’re hunted and some are killed by a wild-woman wearing pelts and no shoes.
The body count is very low for a slasher of this era. My hunch is Davis wanted to avoid having to shoot any more gore than he had to. After those initial two kills in the prologue, it takes another 50 minutes for one more person to die, followed by another in the closing minutes. One person even has their throat slashed, only to be saved by the group. Don’t take my thoughts on the low body count to be a complaint, I’m not bloodthirsty or anything, I just believe it was a sign of Davis’ skittishness towards the genre.
None of the characters are developed and none of them have that much depth to them either. They also seem to absolutely hate each other, which isn’t fun to watch, but does create this steady tension that’s thicker than in scenes that are supposed to be intentionally tense. The only character given any sort of real personality is Zorich, a militant redneck survivalist type. He’s played by John Friedrich, who played Joey Capra in one of my favorite movies of all time, The Wanderers. In that film he’s a wacky, awkward guy who strikes out with the ladies, so it’s really fun to watch him play the drug-absuing scumbag Zorich.
Overall there’s nothing really memorable about The Final Terror - nothing sticks with you after watching it. The look of the killer is fairly striking and there’s a cool booby trap like one you’d see on Endor utilized in the climax. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend renting this one first. After you watch it, pop back on here and try to explain to me what the “final terror” is because I have no idea.
The Blu-ray sports a 1080p transfer culled from six remaining prints owned by collectors. There’s a disclaimer in the beginning in which Scream Factory states that the original negatives are lost, so they did what they could with those six prints. For a cut and chop job, it looks fairly decent. The daytime scenes have nice details and there’s not enough print damage to be distracting. If anything, the scratches and other noise add to the film’s grittiness.
Like I mentioned, on the feature commentary with Davis he points out that he doesn’t like horror movies and has never made another one. He doesn’t seem all that enthused about revisiting this film either. He goes a very long time without talking. It’s simply a boring track.
The disc features new interviews with actors Adrian Zmed and Lewis Smith. They discuss how they got involved with the picture, working with Davis, and their acting background (Smith had none going into the film, he didn’t even have a SAG card). There’s also interviews with editor Allan Holzman and composer Susan Justin, both who share the opinion that it’s not a very good film but are still proud of their contributions.
Also included is a misleading trailer.
And yet another Friday has descended upon us! I don’t know about you but I’m pretty damn excited for this weekend. It’s been a long, long week and I could use the break. But I can’t put my feet up just yet as there’s still work to be done!
This week’s Twisted Music Video Of The Week is Djerv‘s “Headstone”! The Norwegian rock/metal group features Agnete Kjølsrud, who you may remember as the guest vocalist on Dimmu Borgir‘s “Gateways”. It’s heavy, it’s catchy, and it’s a damn good time! Check out the video down yonder.
Having its world premiere at this year's Fantasia Film Festival is Canadian director Matt O'Mahoney's Bloody Knuckles, a horror comedy from Junkfood Pictures in association with Fusion Films and Domogeneous; and the film's official poster and first still have arrived.
Written and directed by O'Mahoney (credited as Matt O), Bloody Knuckles stars Adam Boys, Kasey Ryne Mazak, Gabrielle Giraud, Ken Tsui, Dwayne Bryshun, Steve Thackray, Tim Lok, Jason Asuncion, Kent Leung, Robin Jung. and Krista Magnusson.
Look for more soon, and in the meantime keep your eyes on the Bloody Knuckles Facebook page.
An underground comic artist mocks the wrong mobster and loses his drawing hand in retribution. The artist may be silenced, but the severed appendage returns, to continue drawing comics on its own - and commit some seriously bloody acts of vengeance! A splatter horror comedy about freedom of expression that’s as touching as it is profane.
“Ghosted” takes a slight detour this month as Joshua Williamson lays out Anderson’s backstory. Making the undead femme fatale the most complex and compelling supporting character of the series, and firmly cemented her as the secondary protagonist in a thrilling chapter that seamless brings us to the beginning of the third arc.
WRITTEN BY: Joshua Williamson
ART BY: Goran Sudzuka
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: July 9, 2014
It’s been a cold two months without “Ghosted.” I feel warmer already after reading Williamson’s detailed account of Anderson’s past. For a while I wasn’t sure about her deal, I knew she was important, but I didn’t really know why and certainly didn’t know what she wanted. This month Williamson shows us exactly who she is, and why she became the killing machine we met in issue one.
I still take some issue with some of her motivations being a little base level, but the story proved interesting enough to stay compelling. She’s a killing machine, and she’s good at it. She followed the money, and for more reasons than one she should be alive instead of Jackson. Yet, she’s too cocksure. A fault that Williamson hammers home here with her pride getting the best of her in the past, she’s good but she’s not the best.
Goran Sudzuka was sorely missed. His return to the series in this issue is worth the cover price alone. His dark style just pops off the page, and he revels in these unsavory characters. His action is clean and the supernatural elements in his work are simply stunning. The final pages of the issue are absolutely chilling as we see Anderson interacting with a broken and beaten Jackson. Sudzuka’s framing and the way he sets up the shots creates such an uncanny sense of dread, hell the dude could give Argento a run for his money.
Williamson has taken the time to ground his characters in a certain blend of fearlessness and desperation that is unique to his genre blend. The result is a irresistible crime caper that channels a unique type of terror. There is something devilishly charming about virgin blood candles, and something equally unsettling. I’m excited to see how deep the darkness of the series goes now that “Nailbiter” is in full swing.
Truly Williamson has proven himself to be a master of horror, and this issue serves as a reminder that he hasn’t forgotten his compelling characters along the way. It’s a breath of fresh air in horror that never seems to run out of steam. The only thing that saddens me this month is that we didn’t go deeper. I wanted to learn more and really get into the core of what drives Anderson. The answer we got here was that she’s driven by her drive, but I think there is still so much more to the character. In any event, her drive has now made her resolve to haunt Jackson for the rest of his miserable life.
We’ll see how that goes in thirty.
BD’s John Marrone has put together a 70+ hour playlist on Spotify that features soundtracks from many of the biggest movies in the horror genre. There’s music from John Carpenter, Tyler Bates, Goblin, and more. Basically, load up this list and you’ll have enough music to last you for several days!
You can stream the channel below.
There is something alluring about Joshua Hale Fialkov’s new series “The Life After” right from the get go, it might be the gorgeous art from Gabo, a two page spread featuring forty panels, or the breakneck pace of the narrative. Whatever it is, it’s irresistible and confidently introduces you to the strange new world of purgatory.
WRITTEN BY: Joshua Hale Fialkov
ART BY: Gabo
PUBLISHER: Oni Press
RELEASE: July 9, 2014
I have a certain respect for debut issues that can survive solely on the merit of the questions they ask. Servicing their story and their audience plagues most comic series debuts. They offer explanations for literally everything. “The Life After” #1 doesn’t have a single answer on the page. Instead we’re thrown headfirst into the world with our protagonist and taken on a visually immersive adventure that has inklings of something more.
There is an element of control to this chaos. Fialkov makes so much clear within the opening page, but he doesn’t over explain it. In fact these little acts of puppeteering actually make the complexity a little less daunting. Someone or something is behind this insanity, and eventually we’ll get to the bottom of it.
For now Gabo does most of the heavy lifting. The script gives plenty of room for heavy bits of voice over narration but the artwork takes the story to dizzying heights. There is such a clash of worlds going on here that Gabo’s style should be frenzied but it never misses the mark.
Instead he offers a seamless clash of every sort of visual inspiration you can think of, co-existing in a mad world where nothing seems to make sense. His character designs are remarkable and varied. The large panels showing off this purgatory world are as impressive as they are complex.
Fialkov wastes no time pulling the story to a head with the introduction of Ernest Hemmingway. A character I wasn’t expecting in the least, but serves as easily one of the most charming parts of the issue. The adventurer is sure to pull our protagonist into a wild journey of discovery, and while the influential writer does offer a lot of exposition, it’s hardly distracting.
What should be a intense concept hardly ever feels that way. While the comic does have some difficult scenes within it, it never feels over indulgent. Instead we’re given a dose of terror amongst all the wonder on the page. Not everything in this world can be wonderful, and knowing Failkov, there is bound to be a whole lot more horror around the corner.
“The Life After” is equal parts whimsical and haunting. It’s brilliantly paced and expertly communicated. This debut issues shows you a world where anything is possible and teases a near limitless scope for the future of the series. As far as first issues go it’s a total knockout.
Chile is an interesting place. I've never been there and know very little about it, but they have an actual branch of their version of the FAA that investigates UFO reports. That's pretty damn interesting.
The CEFAA (Committee for the Studies of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena) even has a website where photos under investigation can be viewed. Their latest report, as mentioned in Leslie Kean's HuffPost blog, concerns a series of photos taken in April 2013 at a mining facility in the Andes.
Scientists and engineers working at the mine observed what can only be described as a good, old fashioned flying saucer. The object was said to be hovering over the site, making absolutely no sound. The witnesses said it made several maneuvers that demonstrated it wasn't simply floating in the wind. The lack of noise ruled out a drone.
Both of the photos show the object, but in different locations and in a different orientation. Sunlight is clearly reflecting off the metallic object, although one analyst states that the light is too bright and at an incorrect angle to be sunlight and could be energy being emitted from the disc.
The CEFAA analysis ruled out most explanations, and thus the report states that it is indeed an unidentified flying object.
Do these clear photos from educated, scientific witnesses show something unearthly? An experimental craft? Time travelers? Let us know what you think below!
Douglas Clegg's new novella Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters is nearly finished at the printer and will be released this summer by Cemetery Dance. We have a look at the cover art and a few of the stunning interior drawings by Caniglia.
Visit Cemetery Dance's online store to pre-order your copy. At this time the exact publication date hasn't been revealed, but expect to see Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters sometime during the summer of 2014.
You're invited to dinner in this dark gem about a notorious family — and a feast like no other.
In October 1890 authorities discovered two teenaged girls at Bog Farm surrounded by a scene of unimaginable carnage. A legend grew of their cannibalistic night of terror, but young Lucy and Sally were never put to trial and no one has ever before gotten close enough to interview them.
Twenty years later an inexperienced reporter travels to their New Hampshire farm, determined to shed light upon the events of that night.
Lizzie Borden, Dr. Crippen, the Windrow Sisters — murderers whose mystique has lasted more than a century. But of them all, the tale of the Windrow girls is unrivaled in its legend of depravity and innocence corrupted.
Award-winning F/X artists, monster-related artwork displayed and sold, killer celebrity guests. These things and more will all be found at the 2014 Son of Monsterpalooza at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Burbank, CA, running September 12-14.
Boasting guests like Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Gunnar Hansen, Ed Neal and Terri McMinn as well as seminars, vendors, a costume contest and walk-through monster museum, Son of Monsterpalooza 2014 promises to be just as impressive as its predecessors.
From the Press Release
Award-winning FX artists, monster-related artwork displayed and sold, special presentations, a walk-through monster museum, and so much more will be available at Son of Monsterpalooza 2014 in the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Burbank, September 12-14.
Special guests from horror and sci-fi films include: Angus Scrimm (Phantasm I-V, John Dies at the End), A. Michael Baldwin (Phantasm I, III, IV, V), Reggie Bannister (Phantasm I-V), Gunnar Hansen (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Ed Neal (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Terri McMinn (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Caroline Munro (The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Maniac, The Abominable Dr. Phibes), Patty Mullen (Frankenhooker, Penthouse Pet), Ken Satsuma (Godzilla suit actor, Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Biollante, Godzilla vs. Mothra), Tsutomu Kitagawa (Godzilla suit actor, Godzilla 2000, Rebirth of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla), Lori Cardille (Day of the Dead), Joe Pilato (Day of the Dead) and Gary Klar (Day of the Dead).
Additional guests include Mike Hill (renowned portrait sculptor), Casey Love (The Thing, creature designer, sculptor and painter), Ahahito Akido (F/X artist and sculptor), Steve Wang (Predator, creature designer/sculptor/painter), Tim Gore (Hellboy, F/X artist and painter), the Chiodo Brothers (Killer Clowns from Outer Space, Critters)... and LOTS more to come!
Dubbed the "Sumnado of Sharknado," a recap video of the social media phenom known as Sharknado has arrived to make sure you know everything you need to before the storm hits the city that never sleeps in Sharknado 2: The Second One.
In Sharknado 2: The Second One, a freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a "sharknado" on the population and its most cherished, iconic sites – and only Fin and April (Ian Ziering and Tara Reid, returning from the original) can save the Big Apple.
Kelly Osbourne, Judd Hirsch, Andy Dick, Judah Friedlander, Vivica A. Fox, and Mark McGrath also appear in the Syfy Original Movie, which promises cameos by the likes of Perez Hilton, rapper Biz Markie, Salt-N-Pepa's Pepa (aka Sandra Denton), Robert Klein, and professional wrestler/Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle.
Anthony C. Ferrante returns to direct a screenplay by Thunder Levin, who also wrote Sharknado.
Sharknado 2 premieres on Wednesday, July 30th, at 9 PM PT/ET, just a little more than one year after the original Sharknado aired.
Tristan Risk, who wowed audiences in the role of Beatress in American Mary last year, will be bringing her fabulous talents to the set of director Ryan M. Andrews' newest project, Save Yourself, which begins filming soon.
Little Miss Risk can also be seen in the new short film Call Girl, the upcoming Fetish Factory and Fembot, as well as many other entertainingly twisted underground projects, leading to what is sure to be a huge and exciting year for her. Currently, she joins Jessica Cameron amongst a fully Canadian cast in Andrews' Save Yourself.
Andrews is completely stoked to be working with Risk. "The Soskas’ film American Mary was arguably the biggest indie film of last year, and Tristan Risk’s character, Beatress, was a stand-out performance," Andrews said. "The character was so unique and interesting. Risk played it perfectly, and to have a talent like her bringing her edge and attitude to Save Yourself is truly exciting."
And the respect is mutual as Risk is very excited to join such a talented cast and crew. On joining Save Yourself, Risk said, "I’m so thrilled to be doing this since it’s got some great traditional horror elements with girls road tripping and running afoul of some folks of a deviant nature but also because of its other qualities. I think this will surprise quite a few people and continue a proud tradition with Canadian genre."
From the Press Release
Director Ryan M. Andrews is excited to attach American Mary star Tristan Risk to a powerhouse ensemble cast of Canadian talent in Save Yourself. Risk joins the previously announced cast of Jessica Cameron (Truth or Dare), Ry Barrett (The Demolisher), Tianna Nori (Clean Break), and Sydney Kondruss (The Drownsman).
And the talent does not stop there. Andrews, along with executive producers Pino Halili and Allen Ormerod, did a grueling casting session to hand pick for each role, including Caleigh LeGrand (Late Night Double Feature), Bea Santos (Antisocial), and a special appearance from veteran star Bobbie Phillips, whose credits include Wes Craven’s Carnival of Souls, Showgirls, Evil Breed, "The X-Files." and many more.
Phillips says, “I’m thrilled to be joining the cast of Save Yourself and looking forward to working with the delightfully twisted Ryan Andrews, Jessica Cameron, and the rest of the bloody talented crew.”
Returning to Andrews’ side to shoot the film is Michael Jari Davidson (Berkshire County, The Last Halloween, SICK). "Mr. Davidson shares the same love and passion that I have for this genre. His skills are beyond reproach, and his style compliments me perfectly," Andrews says about his cinematographer.
Predator. The ultimate killing machine. He went up against two men who went on to become United States governors in his first film, and he just kept kicking ass from there. But how would he fare in medieval times? The short film Predator: Dark Ages will ask that question.
Featuring a premise that will pit the intergalactic headhunter against the Knights Templar, Predator: Dark Ages promises to be a fan film extraordinaire. The director will be award-winning filmmaker James Bushe.
Actors currently attached to the project are Adrian Bouchet (Clash of the Titans, Alien vs. Predator), Jon Campling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2), Ben Loyd-Holmes ("Da Vinci's Demons"), Zara Phythian (He Who Dares), and Amed Hashimi (47 Ronin).
Check out the teaser trailer below, and to help this project become a reality, visit the Predator: Dark Ages Kickstarter page, "like" Predator: Dark Ages on Facebook and follow Predator: Dark Ages on Twitter (@Predator_DA).
Predator: Dark Ages Synopsis
Our story begins in a dark prison cell with a mysterious man chained to the wall, tired and hungry. He is the only living survivor from an attack on a group of soldiers. The only living witness to the atrocities a demon of the night performed in front of his very eyes.
Entrusted by the church to hunt down the beast that slaughtered their brothers in arms, a group of battle-worn Templar Knights must use this only witness to find and kill the demon that plagues the English countryside. To lead this group is a knight who no longer believes in God or country and has given up on humanity. But will this one last battle help him regain his lust for life and save his fellow brothers as well as himself?
The soldiers are only too aware of the devastation that was brought to their lost comrades and so must turn to others to assist in their quest. A group of battle-hardened, money-driven mercenaries are called upon to join the hunt. Having to not only drag with them a suspicious sole survivor who is an eyewitness but also a pack of untrustworthy mercenaries, a difficult path full of twists and turns lies ahead for the Templar Knights, more so than they first believed.
We're just two days away from the premiere of Season 2 of "Hemlock Grove" so when we were offered an excerpt from Brian McGreevy's book that inspired the series in the first place, of course we said yes! Check it out, and prepare to binge beginning this Friday, July 11th!
Hemlock Grove: A Novel (FSG Originals) is an exhilarating reinvention of the Gothic novel, inspired by the iconic characters of our greatest myths and nightmares.
CLICK HERE to download a PDF of our excerpt from Hemlock Grove.
Hemlock Grove: A Novel Synopsis:
The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues -- though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.
Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family -- their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel -- where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.
At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right -- and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.
Related Story: Visit our "Hemlock Grove" Archive
About "Hemlock Grove" Season 2
The second season of the Emmy® nominated Netflix original series “Hemlock Grove,” a riveting supernatural thriller from executive producer Eli Roth, will premiere on Friday, July 11th, at 12:01 AM PT. The series is based on Brian McGreevy’s novel of the same name and is produced by Gaumont International Television.
All ten episodes of the one-hour series starring Famke Janssen (X-Men), Bill Skarsgård (Simon & The Oaks), Landon Liboiron (“Terra Nova”), and Dougray Scott (Mission Impossible II) will be available at launch in all territories where Netflix is available -- U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, Latin America, the Nordics, and the Netherlands. The series also stars Madeline Brewer (“Orange Is the New Black”), Madeleine Martin (“Californication”), Joel de la Fuente (“Law & Order: SVU”), and Tiio Horn (“18 to Life”).
“Hemlock Grove” is a supernatural thriller which explores the strange happenings in a small Pennsylvania town. The show focuses on the unlikely friendship between the founding family’s young heir, Roman Godfrey (Skarsgård), and gypsy newcomer and outsider Peter Rumancek (Liboiron). Each holds a monstrous secret that has been unleashed.
Season Two continues with the town coming to grips with the shocking massacre incurred by one of its deadliest creatures. Roman and Peter are now faced with new responsibilities and the realities that come with adulthood. Roman’s relationship with his mother (Janssen) is all but dead as he struggles with his unwanted Upir birthright and the disappearance of his sister, Shelley (Martin). Peter moves in with Destiny (Horn) and is forced to get a job after his mother is sent away.
Meanwhile, in search of a new life, newcomer Miranda Cates (Madeline Brewer) embarks on Hemlock Grove with an unknowingly profound effect on Peter and Roman. And Norman (Scott), still reeling from the loss of his family, must face the harsh truths that are uncovered about those he still loves. The White Tower looms menacingly over the town as Pryce’s mysterious experiments are questioned and he will be faced with the hardest decision of his career.
The drama series was the first foray into television by internationally acclaimed horror master Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever). It was developed by Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman and is executive produced by Eli Roth, Charles Eglee, Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman, Eric Newman, and Michael Connolly. “Hemlock Grove” is produced by Gaumont International Television for Netflix.
The cinematic influences behind Justin Jordan, Kyle Strahm, and Felipe Sobreira’s new series “Spread” are numerous. In the author’s “patented end of issue ramblings,” the Mad Max film series are unapologetically paid homage to. And rightly so. While reading Issue #1, I also picked up on (obvious) references to John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi classic The Thing, especially given the icy setting, but also Ron Howard’s 1988 fantasy epic Willow. Both made me very happy.
WRITTEN BY: Justin Jordan
ART BY: Kyle Strahm
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: July 9, 2014
Reviewed by Nick Brehmer
The Spread is a terrible, ravenous, infectious mass with stylistic renderings similar to that of the demonic force from Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke. It eats its way through people and animals that don’t run fast enough, and even those with an immunity, like our mysterious protagonist No, may still suffer being ripped to shreds.
The story is propelled by the narration of the (presumably) now older Hope, a baby (at the time of Issue #1) with an incredible gift. She is rescued by No in the inaugural issue from a band of post-Spread-apocalyptic raiders. The hero quickly realizes her importance, but he isn’t the only one with a vested interest in the infant.
The writing flows like pieces of nightmarish memory slowly being put back together. Little is revealed in Issue #1 about the nature of the Spread or how much damage has actually been done to civilization. And, like Issue #1, I’m not inclined to reveal much in this review. I suspect that you’ll be as intrigued as I am during your own read-through.
I found the aforementioned back matter “ramblings” to be very insightful to the creators’ process. Jordan writes “I’ve never been as interested in, say, the first days of a zombie apocalypse as I have in what the world would look like ten or twenty years after.” I share this sentiment. The world of “Spread” has been plagued for some time and the danger is significant. However, given the events of Issue #1, there may be hope (*ahem*) left for humanity.
The colouring of this series is going to be a major draw to some. The coldness of the human world, dominated by blues, greys, and most prominently, white, is cut by the heat of the bright red Spread. It makes for an (at one point literally) eye-popping experience.
Tracking Board – who has been both right and wrong about scoops on occasions – says that Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Psycho) will direct Death Note, Warner Bros.’ adaptation of the manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata!!
“The film follows the story of a high school student who finds a mysterious notebook that lets him instantly kill any person by writing their name in the book. As the student’s body count piles up, a nameless FBI agent begins tracking him.”
Van Sant replaces Shane Black, who was attached to direct as recently as 2013. The most recent draft of the script was written by Black, Anthony Bagarozzi, and Charles Mondry.
Dan Lin, Doug Davison, Roy Lee, and Brian Witten are producing through Vertigo Entertainment, Witten Pictures, and Lin Pictures.
The Archon has interrupted the local chaos and mayhem in Arcadia that our one-eyed vigilante is used to. “X” #15 looks to rectify that situation abruptly with lots of bullets and beat downs as a remedy. This issue is nice and tightly paced. All the excess has been trimmed away to keep the throttle down on this escalating story arc. Has X met someone he ultimately can’t take down?
WRITTEN BY: Duane Swierczynski
ART BY: Eric Nguyen
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: 9 July 2014
Reviewed by: Your Friendly Neighborhood Brady
Rich men and gangsters. Both want what the other has. There’s blood and power on one side and legitimacy and sophistication on the other side. They often meet and almost always never end things well. As it usually happens, one forces the other to give them what they want. In our tale, we have the mobster Tango getting the raw (and bloody) end of the deal from would-be Arcadia real estate savior Peter Winter. The odd part of this equation is what Winter is really after. Writer Duane Swierczynski swerved my expectations there as to the motivations of the new, handsome villain in town.
As always, artist Eric Nguyen keeps the world of Arcadia looking dark and angular and distinctive. The training of our hero coupled with the torturing of X’s prisoner was a nice, off-putting and dynamic change of scenery in rapid succession. The gore and violence are also up to par with Nguyen’s previous work in this bloody series. None of his characters look the same in any way which is always refreshing to see in comics.
Knives, bullets, swords and dog food all go flying in this chapter. The beatings are thorough on both sides as are the double-crosses. The cliffhanger is a pretty good hook to see where the havoc train that is X will go next. Things have escalated rapidly and I’m hoping the creators haven’t painted themselves into a corner with this opponent. I’ve come to enjoy seeing the man called X kill everything in sight in the name of his mission. I hope it doesn’t end anytime soon.
Across the nation people are killing themselves in horribly creative ways for especially disturbing reasons. Detectives Langford and Jensen investigate these strange suicides in an attempt to unravel the mystery popularly known as “The Empty Man Virus”. In “The Empty Man” #2, Jensen and Langford are finally confronted with one of the horrors that haunt the victims of The Empty Man. More players are introduced, and more mysterious are revealed. Trying to put all the pieces together is the real fun of this meticulously plotted horror mini-series, but for the faint of heart, its going to be a bumping ride.
ART BY: Vanesa R. Del Rey
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
RELEASE: July 9, 2014
Reviewed by Epic Switzer
If the creators of “True Detective” on HBO had written the show on acid, they might have come up with something like “The Empty Man”. I’ve written a lot on the horror-noir genre recently, and this book is among the best of the best. It’s really quite impressive that Bunn manages to fill each issue with so many different things.
There is the central mystery of The Empty Man Virus, there’s the concept of psychic disposition or “extrasensory potential” as a scientific study, there at least two religious cults at play, and a host of complex characters with their own agendas and secrets. Its hard to believe in just four more issues all will be said and done, but I have the feeling its going to be extremely satisfying.
Premise is the hook, but character is the heart, and Bunn is building them out with expert pacing. As the plot progresses we learn just enough about what the characters are hiding to keep us intrigued. It doesn’t hurt that Del Rey’s characters emote genuinely without mugging, and are represented uniquely yet familiar. Speaking of the art, the panel work is subtle yet effective, which is something I always appreciate. Like film editing, layout is often best when it is invisible.
By way of critique, I was a little confused at the way Langford reacted to the spider monster. I realize he deals with gruesome death and wanton violence on an almost daily basis, but having never actually seen anything supernatural before, he was suprising casual about the encounter. There were a couple of panels during the fight in which it was difficult to figure out what I looking at at first, but all of this is nitpicky stuff because the bottom line is I really love this book.
It is exactly the kind of mind-fuck horror I’m interested in reading and its being done perfectly. This is going to end up being a gorgeous trade when its finished, so if for some reason you can’t snag issue one today, don’t forget to pick up the collection. “The Empty Man” just got moved to the top of my stack.
Epic Switzer AKA Eric is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles. His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality. He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at email@example.com.
A childhoods worth of fantastical creatures and inventions grow up in a world that’s morals aren’t black and white, but shades of grey. That’s the amazingly creative world of “Shutter.” This month the story takes shape with the seemingly random events from previous issues coming together, but come with heaping spoonfuls of intrigue and mystery.
ART BY: Leila De Duca
RELEASE: July 9, 2014
Reviewed By: Torbin Chimners
Issue four begins with an excellent short story revealing the background of a character introduced last issue. It’s told in a totally different style to the norm, but perfectly fits the story it’s telling. It’s formatted like I imagine comics looked in the 1920’s. Last month’s issue #3 opened in a similar fashion telling the story of issue #2’s cliffhanger, albeit with an absolutely brilliant Busy Town reference. I’m hoping this is a new trend that’ll continue as it’s a marvelous way to open a book.
Shawn and Ekland’s side story stands strong on its own. Ekland brings Shawn to Mikey, a smoking platypus who operates out of an alley with a fax machine. If that’s not something you want to read about, I don’t think we can be friends. In past issues I wasn’t overly interested in their side story. Not that it was bad, I was simply salivating so much for more of Kate’s story that nothing else mattered much. Now I’m equally anticipating both. With the world around Kate being a bit more whimsical and relatively safe for now, I’m genuinely excited to see Shawn and Ekland dig into the exceedingly violent and filthy underbelly of this astonishing world.
Visually you’ve got the whole package and then some here. The sheer amount of detail on each page is staggering. The characters are as expertly rendered as the background. Nothing looks phoned in, it’s a labor of love and you can damn well tell. The more you think about it the more impressive it is. The characters don’t all wear the same tights every issue and most of them are extraordinary creatures but Shutter’s art never suffers.
This is why I read comics. It’s a wondrous story that can only be told through this wonderful medium. If it were a film or television show the cost would be astronomical. That would mean there would be a million fingers in its pie, deluding, twisting and corrupting everything that makes it magical. Do the creativity in your life a favor and read “Shutter.”
Torbin Chimners AKA Torin Chambers is a rad dude from the nineties who does film stuff or something. Thomas the Tank Engine is his favorite transformer. Find him on Twitter@Vulgar_Rhombus