The trades have some hot news this Thursday evening, reporting that Enemy and Prisoners filmmaker Denis Villeneuve is in talks to direct the Blade Runner sequel for Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox.
Scott has openly stated he wouldn’t return to helm the sequel to his 1982 sci-fi masterpiece that followed a blade runner (Harrison Ford) who must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.
Ford is said to be returning to the role in a film that lives in the same universe as Alien and Prometheus.
As this gets off the ground, Scott is preparing Prometheus 2, and it producing the newly announced Alien sequel with Neill Blomkamp.
The internet did their thing yesterday in flipping out when Neill Blomkamp said that he wanted his Alien movie to closely align with Ridley Scott’s 1978 Alien and James Cameron’s 1986 Aliens. It’s surprising to me that anyone expected it to live in a world in which Alien3 and Resurrection didn’t exist… ’cause, frankly, that’s just stupid.
Thankfully, Blomkamp calmed panicked fans in his latest interview, this time with AlloCine.
“My favorites are the first two movies. So I want to make a film that’s connected to Alien and Aliens. That’s my goal. I’m not trying to undo Alien3 or Alien: Resurrection, I just want it to be connected to Alien and Aliens.”
Sigourney Weaver also commented on the new film, which is to be produce by Ridley Scott.
“I always wanted to complete this story and it wasn’t really until Neill and I started talking that I said, ‘this is why we waited however many years its been.’”
The Xenomorph home planet better get ready, because Ripley is coming, and she’s pissed off.
After going through tons of poor choices (Luke Evans, Bradley Cooper, etc.), it sounds as if Relativity Studios finally has a unique choice for The Crow, which would justify years of delays.
The studio has set its sights on Jack Huston to play the lead character in the Corin Hardy- directed remake of the James O’Barr come adaptation, Deadline reports.
These talks are in the early stage, but it should be noted that landing Huston would be a huge get. This is the second coveted job Huston has been chased to do since his standout portrayal as the masked, war-scarred assassin Richard Harrow on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”.
Huston is right now playing the lead role in Ben-Hur, the massive pic inspired by the 1959 William Wyler-directed classic that starred Charlton Heston.
The remake of the 1994 Alex Proyas-directed adaptation of the James O’Barr graphic novel “The Crow” is about the murdered man who comes back for revenge has taken on its own pedigree of cool because of the emergence of its director Hardy. He made his live action feature directing debut on The Hallow (read our review), the thriller which got acquired at Sundance.
Huston is being courted for the role originated by Brandon Lee.
He’s both a hero and a complete idiot.
ARC Entertainment released its trailer for The Walking Deceased, a spoof of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” opening March 20, 2015.
“The Walking Deceased is a delightfully bloody addition to the pantheon of zombie-apocalypse spoofs. Lampooning every tried and true zombie meme. Join the Sheriff with his son, and a motley crew of survivors as they weather confrontations with zombies, meet up and then leave their tattered camp–a partially destroyed shopping mall. The group journeys to the supposed Safe Haven Ranch seeking shelter from the owners, a fascinating and diabolical older couple. Along for the ride with the still-human survivors is a lone zombie who begins to see and develop his human side when he hooks up with the brash female lead. The unexpected twists and turns and will delight those who enjoy over-the-top blood spattering while horror movie buffs will appreciate the George Romeroesque touches.“
Scott Dow directs Joey Oglesby, Dave Sheridan and Troy Ogletree.
At one point in The Lazarus Effect, Evan Peters (playing the lab’s resident stoner), does his best Dr. Frankenstein impression. “It’s alive!” he says, looking into the eyes of a dog his colleagues have managed to resurrect from the dead. Following this homage, David “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” Gelb’s new film contains elements we’ve seen before in films like Flatliners, Altered States, and Pet Sematary and patches them together into his own type of monster.
Populated with a hip cast that fully commit to their roles, Lazarus Effect follows a group of scientists who’ve discovered a serum that brings the dead back to life. Led by Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde, the team (that also includes Donald Glover and Sarah Bolger) go through various trial runs with animals. Their ultimate goal isn’t to technically resurrect the dead. They only wish to give doctors “more time” when treating coma patients whose hearts have stopped.
Gelb captures their trial experiments on pigs and dogs in disconcerting, extreme close-ups. After a few hiccups they reach a breakthrough, which opens the doors for the film’s discussion of morality and faith. Who the hell are they to raise the dead? And how dare an 80 minute horror movie starring Olivia Wilde address themes like Catholic guilt, the hereafter, and the morality of playing god!
But Gelb’s film does, which is one of reasons it’s so great. He’s got some heady ideas laid out on the screen here and the fact that he’s chosen horror as his philosophical outlet is great. The problem is that there’s so much he has to get across in 80 minutes that nothing is deeply explored.
The prime example is Olivia Wilde’s faith. Her character, Zoe suffered a traumatic experience at a young age that has crippled her with guilt ever since. Through trippy dream sequences we learn a bit about the event, but never enough that it gives the story much weight. The climax relies heavily on our investment in this event and Zoe’s troubled faith, but I never felt like the story brought me to that point where it had an effect on me. The whole final hour of horror is executed very well (with one top notch kill), though it does follow many conventional routes. For Gelb to jump from the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi to this film shows immense talent. It just didn’t transcend beyond a bunch of cool visuals, which considering the themes addressed, I’m sure it was meant to.
As you probably guessed by the trailer, Zoe winds up dead at one point and the team brings her back to life with the serum. What follows is one long night of hell in which Wilde transforms into one terrifying S.O.B. She absolutely nails Zoe’s shift from scientist to force of nature. It’s a helluva performance to watch. The rest of the cast is phenomenal as well, with Glover breaking out of his comedic mold and Duplass anchoring the entire cast.
The Lazarus Effect, despite its lack of impact and rushed themes, is a great film that proves even well-worn territory can feel fresh if it’s well-executed.
Netflix released a short little teaser for their forthcoming “Daredevil” series today. While it’s more of a motion poster, or even a bumper segment it effectively gets the point across in it’s 12 second run time. Thanks to Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is his signature shades, looking devilish with a grin, and fixing his suit, with some damn bloody knuckles. It’s certainly not much, but I’ll take it at this point.
Luckily, the small tease shows me that Cox understands the character, and the tone is heading in the right direction. Produced by Marvel Television and ABC Studios, the drama also stars Ann Woll as Karen Page, Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Bob Gunton as Leland Owlsely, Vondie Curtis Hall as Ben Urich, Toby Leonard Moore as Wesley, Wilson Fisk’s right-hand man, Ayelet Zurer as Venessa Fisk and Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk.
All 13 episodes will premiere April 10 on Netflix.
BOOM! Studios really knows how to handle their licensed properties. They are killing it with their titles from the works of Clive Barker, and Robocop is proving to be no exception. This is thanks to writer, Joshua Williamson. He’s able to tackle the character in a way that feels like an extension of the first film, more so than the sequels ever did. I mean he captures the true grit and insanity made possible by the premise but also finds a deeper emotional core to the character. Our own Eric Swizter has been a big fan of the series since issue one, saying “a book that doesn’t slow down or break character for a single panel. Consistent in tone and style, this may be one of the most seamless and successful continuations of a franchise I’ve ever seen. The geniuses behind this book have managed to recreate the exquisite experience of watching “Robocop” for the first time. I sincerely hope it never ends.”RoboCop #9 Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Authors: Joshua Williamson & Dennis Culver
Artist: Alejandro Aragón
Cover Artist: Carlos Magno
Synopsis: Killian is a murderous criminal in the eyes of the law but he has gained status among the people of Detroit as their brave new savior. Now they set their sights on RoboCop! Featuring the debut of co-writer Dennis Culver (Edison Rex) and new artist Alejandro Aragón of 28 Days Later!
WGN America is hanging from the cross on these gorgeous new one-sheets for the season season of “Salem”, set to return on April 5th. The one with star Janet Montgomery hanging from an upside-down cross is the best.
In “Salem” season two, the Grand Rite triggered at the end of last season is now underway and death is in the air, but the Witch War is just beginning — and Salem is at the epicenter of both. In order to bring her plan to completion, Mary Sibley must not only control Captain John Alden (Shane West, “A Walk to Remember”) and the citizens of Salem, but also those lurking in the shadows who seek the power she wields.
Starring Janet Montgomery, “Salem’s” second season kicks off Sunday, April 5 on WGN America.
Showtime has shared new images and art for “Penny Dreadful”, which begins its 10-episode run on Sunday, May 3 at 10PM ET/PT.
This season, Vanessa and Ethan form a deeper bond as the group, including Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton), Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), and Sembene (Danny Sapani), unite to banish the evil forces that threaten to destroy them.
Meanwhile, Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), the Creature (Rory Kinnear) and Brona (Billie Piper) are all waging battles of their own.
Patti LuPone will guest star as a mysterious character of great importance in Vanessa’s past. Helen McCrory returns as Evelyn Poole (a.k.a. Madame Kali), the seductive spiritualist who will pose a unique threat to our protagonists this season, along with Simon Russell Beale, who is back as eccentric Egyptologist Ferdinand Lyle.
Additional guest stars include Douglas Hodge as a Scotland Yard investigator; Sarah Greene as Poole’s powerful daughter, Hecate; and Johnny Beauchamp as a man with a singular past.
Back in 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger directed an episode of “Tales From the Crypt” in which an old man spends his fortune replacing his old body parts with young ones, ironically giving this youngster an old body, with a young heart…and millions in cash. It was a clever gag, and science fiction, at least until now.
A surgeon says full-body transplants could become a reality in just two years, explains The Guardian.
Sergio Canavero, a doctor in Turin, Italy, has drawn up plans to graft a living person’s head on to a donor body and claims the procedures needed to carry out the operation are not far off, they add.
He has claimed for years that medical science has advanced to the point that a full body transplant is plausible, but the proposal has caused raised eyebrows, horror and profound disbelief in other surgeons.
“If society doesn’t want it, I won’t do it. But if people don’t want it, in the US or Europe, that doesn’t mean it won’t be done somewhere else,” he said. “I’m trying to go about this the right way, but before going to the moon, you want to make sure people will follow you.”
You can read the entire potentially life-changing article by clicking the above link.
Empire has two new images of Chris Pratt and his dino doggies in Jurassic World.
In the first trailer for Jurassic World we see Pratt riding a motorcycle with a pack of Velociraptors. Apparently, he trains them. You can see that in the Super Bowl trailer below.
The bait this time around: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, BD Wong, Omar Sy, Judy Greer, Katie McGrath, Andy Buckley and Lauren Lapkus star in the Jurassic Park sequel opening June 12, 2015.
A first clip has been released from David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows opening here in the States on March 13, 2015. In it, The Guest‘s Maika Monroe is tied up as a boy explains the “curse” he’s received, and has passed onto her. It’s a taste of the motivation behind this decade’s scariest horror film.
I gave it a perfect score, calling it “a classical horror masterpiece.” Mike Pereira referred to as a creepy, mesmerizing exercise in minimalist horror” when reviewed out of the TIFF last September.
“For 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), the fall should be about school, boys and weekends at the lake. Yet after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter she suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions; she can’t shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her. As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind.”
Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi and Lili Sepe all star.
Reviewed out of Sundance by Fred Topel
Last year, Aaron Paul had a movie at Sundance called Hellion. I never saw it, but I assume Hellions is the sequel because that’s the rules. When you pluralize the title, it’s the sequel in which there are even more Hellions than the first film!
Dora (Chloe Rose) is home alone on Halloween. When three kids show up at her door in masks, she thinks they are regular trick or treaters. Despite Dora giving them candy, they come back to keep terrorizing her. At first it’s normal stuff like egging and pumpkin smashing, but it evolves into a much stranger assault from demons who clearly have supernatural powers.
First of all, the three masks look way better than anything from Halloween: Season of the Witch, so in your face, 1982’s Halloween III. They are clearly the work of prosthetic craftsman. If they were available for purchase in stores, they could cost more than kids or their parents could afford, so that might be the first indicator that these are not regular kids.
Hellions gradually transitions into nightmare logic, where the rules of time and space don’t apply. The color shifts to sepia, we see kaleidoscope imagery, and Dora ends up in a completely strange world for the climax. Editing even changes the logic of continuity. The lack of logic is always the scariest part of nightmares anyway, that you can’t even count on basic physics to apply, so it’s a good approach to the film’s horror.
That makes Hellions certainly unsettling, if not terrifying. If Halloween III were more like Hellions it could’ve worked. It delivers on the promise of kids terrorizing adults. Dora is an older teenager, but the Officer Corman (Robert Patrick) comes to her aid and he’s not much help against them either.
Director Bruce McDonald elevates his craft exponentially. Where Pontypool dealt with an auditory fear, Hellions allows him to manipulate all of our senses. It is a promising debut from first time feature writer Pascal Trottier, taking logic out of the equation. While maybe not as memorable as some of the other Sundance creature features, Hellions will still give you a good scare when you’re able to see it.
“No matter how much I make up, there’s stuff in history that’s just as bad, or worse.” – George R.R. Martin (source)
Those words matter a great deal when it comes to the videos of director Mitch Massie. This is the man who was behind Cattle Decapitation‘s “Forced Gender Reassignment”, one of the most notorious music videos ever released. And now he’s back with yet another visual tale of pain, rage, and violence, this time bringing us the story behind Whitechapel‘s “Let Me Burn”.
Vocalist Phil Bozeman states:
The basis of the video is about a man, his wife and daughter. The story depicts the degradation of the man and him going insane. He kills his wife and makes his daughter kill him. He douses himself in gasoline and begs her to strike the match. But the whole point of the story is that the man has everything he wants and needs, but has no control over his mind and suffers with clinical insanity/schizophrenia and kills his wife and regrets everything. His daughter lives on as he burns alive in his house.
The video may be difficult for some to watch, especially due to themes of abuse, strong gore, and self harm.
Guitarist Alex Wade adds:
We’re really excited to release the official video for Let Me Burn. It’s our first time trying a story based video versus a performance video with us playing and we’re really happy with how it came out. Phil’s idea for the concept of the video mixed with Mitch Massie’s directing developed a very dark and sinister video that represents the song well.
02/28 Memphis, TN Hi Tone Cafe
03/01 St.Louis, MO Firebird
03/02 Merriam, KS Aftershock w/ Lorna Shore, Damp, Sedlec Ossuary
03/03 Omaha, NE Sokol Underground
03/05 Murray, UT Murray Theater
03/07 San Bernardino, CA NOS Events Center (Self Help Fest)
03/08 Mesa, AZ Nile Theatre
03/09 Tucson, AZ The Rock
03/10 Lubbock, TX Jakes Sports Cafe
03/11 Oklahoma City, OK The Conservatory
03/12 Little Rock, AR Juanita’s
04/11 Austin, TX Empire Garage *Texas Independent Fest
I’ve read the first few issues of “The Names” and I must admit that the distinction of Kill Bill meets The Wolf of Wall Street is an accurate description that somehow still doesn’t do this incredible series justice. It reads like a contemporary horror story but pushes something with a little more of a political or social agenda. The result is a highly intelligent thriller that isn’t afraid to challenge you to think about the world around you. It’s unique in this way.
THE NAMES #7
U.S. Price: $2.99 ON SALE 3/4
The Names’ kingpin, Stoker, reveals what might have compelled Katya’s husband to throw himself out a high window. Meanwhile, Katya continues her quest and gets tantalizingly closer to knowing who made her a widow. Secret love, violence, insanity, and intrigue…Katya’s problems are only beginning…
Art by: Leandro Fernandez
Cover by: Celia Calle
Written by: Peter Milligan
RLJE/Image Entertainment is getting Infected on VOD and DVD June 9, 2015.
Bloody Disgusting has ane excluisve set of stills from Andrew Gilbert’s indie starring Luke Hobson, Nicky Paul Barton, Roger Fowler, Samuel Hogarth, and David Wayman.
“An average day in a quiet suburb becomes ground zero for the end of the world that we knew. When a fast-spreading global pandemic turns ordinary people into flesh-eating monsters, a handful of terrified survivors and the remnants of an army squad find refuge in an elementary school turned emergency shelter. With the hordes of walking dead trying to get in, scarce weapons and a dwindling food supply, the embattled refugees begin to turn on each other. As they slowly perish, they desperately attempt to escape and determine if they are the last uninfected humans left on Earth.“
Marvel’s Secret Wars has created an awesome vacuum allowing the most insane combinations of worlds to clash, and this June sees the return of my personal favorite “Marvel Zombies.” We here at Bloody-Disgusting have partnered with Marvel to give you the exclusive reveal of this all new secret wars series from Si Spurrier and Kev Walker. With an irresistible premise, this new series follows Elsa Bloodstone as she’s dealing with the sisyphean task of defending “The Shield,” a barrier on the southern hemisphere of Battleworld. On the other side: Marvel Zombies. In the moments where she’s not enrapt in the throes of battle, she meditates on her deceased father… (how everything he taught her gave her the means to fight the zombies, but all the love he didn’t give her is what motivated the self-destructive actions that landed her on the shield in the first place. After all the fighting she sees a human girl on the other side of the shield one day, and against every impulse she has, she heads into to save him. Now she has to fight her way out.
Have any questions? I know I did. Luckily, Marvel gave us the opportunity to speak to Si Spurrier about his new take on Marvel’s shambling horrors and just what to expect when Else heads beyond The Shield this June.
Bloody-Disgusting: Elsa Bloodstone is described as self destructive and longing for her father’s approval, what can you tell me about her journey beyond the wall?
Si Spurrier: We-ell…. like most stories which purport to be structured round a single journey, there are actually two of them going on side by side. The first and most obvious one is really simple, revolving around this incredible, relentless, fascinating woman – Elsa – trying to cross a wasteland full of indescribable horrors, while protecting a vulnerable young companion. This is the part of the journey packed with festering, corrupted, undead versions of your favourite Marvel characters, in whose rheumy eyes Elsa and her young charge are just a convenient moveable snack. Into this portion of the journey we’re throwing putrid wads of horror, incredible action and some really creative evil. I’m actually rather proud of some of the inventive nastiness I’ve got planned.
The second journey, which is a lot less visible, is going on all the time inside Elsa’s mind and heart. One of our quite explicit aims here is to remind everyone what a wonderful and unique character she is. Beneath the über-capable, sarcasm-spouting, unflappable kickass exterior lies a lot of really unique and harrowing stuff. To get at it we’re going to peer into her troubled past and spend a little memory-time in the company of Mr Ulysses Bloodstone: adventurer; monster hunter; crappy dad.
The really fun stuff, for me, is where Journey #1 and Journey #2 intersect: where the external impinges on the internal and vice-versa. That sort of stuff is driven in no small part by the little girl Elsa’s trying to save, who – in all her terror and confusion – sets the pace, tone and destination of our adventure.
BD: Marvel Zombies has had several different chapters within Marvel’s history, what makes your chapter different, and what hero were you most excited to write as a zombie?
SS: I think the biggest difference here is in the positioning and setup of the action. One of the problems a lot of zombie stories face is the lack of agency on the part of the protagonists. That can be a really cool subversion of regular narrative dynamics (and, in one or two toxic cases it chooses to say a lot of very cynical thematic stuff about the pointlessness of individual resistance)… but quite often it’s also just laziness: the “story” consists of people screaming and flapping and running around in a really passive way. When the subtext of your zombie story is “hey, zombies are really scary – cool!” then just don’t bother, y’know?
We’ve flipped things over a lot, here. All the agency and all the proactivity lies with our heroine. Thematically the zombies aren’t stand-in analogues for the usual societal fears of lone predators or uncontrollable mobs; rather they represent an ambient sea of obstacles. This isn’t a good world which has been invaded by a corruptive element; it’s an irredeemable, unsalvageable land of pure corruption from which Elsa must try to escape. The zombies are the anvil against which her character is beaten, rather than the object of most interest.
Which, of course, is not to say that all of our zombies will be faceless uninteresting groan-wranglers. I can’t say very much about the who and the why without giving away some of the really cool plot elements we’ve got in store for you, but you can be assured we’ll encounter more than a few complex, cunning and creepy brainguzzlers with agency and proactivity of their own.
And hey, let’s not pretend that we don’t all get a bit of a kick out of simply seeing recognisable characters reimagined as decomposing cerebravores. That’s where Kev and I will get to cut loose on some fabulously icky visuals. Who doesn’t want to see a starvation-mad Sabretooth sucking up his own regenerating guts like spaghetti, or a zombie Carnage entirely composed of crusty bloodclots…? Fun.
BD: What more can you tell me about the gigantic wall on the southern hemisphere of Battleworld, “The Shield?”
SS: I’ll let other writers say more about this, since mine isn’t the story most closely embroiled in the workings of the Shield, but it’s pretty tacitly what it sounds like: a barrier between the “civilised” regions of the world (which isn’t an especially accurate description in some cases, but still) and the untameable, horrific and corruptive regions. North of the shield the business of Battleworld rumbles on. South of it there is, literally, no hope.
The shield – which is where Elsa has been living and working for years – exists solely to stop the South infecting the North.
Which is all well and good, up until you find yourself stranded oh-so-very-very-far South.
BD: Zombie stories usually carry some amount of social commentary, they offer us the ugly truths about ourselves, what do you hope to teach us about ourselves through Marvel Zombies?
SS: I think I touched on this above with my waffle about themes and analogues.
Of course you’re right, zombies have been used as a very useful metaphor before now, most often for societal and cultural concerns: corporate greed, media mediocrity, unmoderated science, whatever. With this story I’m far more interested in turning that inside-out and making them useful as the negative ambient force in a far more individualist context. Elsa is very much the star of our show, and the undead hordes of the Deadlands become a really elegant analogue for the emotional and traumatic forces which seek to overwhelm her internal self. She is literally fighting to keep going, inside and out, pushing onwards against deadly inertia and overwhelming odds, because it’s the only way she knows how to survive. As I mentioned above, the zombies are the anvil against which her new self will be forged. (In this context – and I’m extending the metaphor waaaay too far here – the child she’s trying to save takes the place of the hammer.)
Naturally it’s a critical part of any “irresistible force” story that sooner or later it encounters an immovable object – or at least an uncrossable boundary – and that’s when the biggest and nastiest confrontations will have to occur.
So that’s the general role of the zombies. In several cases I’ve got more specific plans in mind for them – literal and figurative – but I can’t talk about that too much here.
BD: Tell me more about Elsa’s relationship to her father, Uysses Bloodstone, what can we hope to see passed down to her from the pages of his adventures? And since he was immortal, what happened to him?
SS: Again, I must be rather circumspect, since Elsa’s memories of her father – and the way her upbringing has shaped her – are such a key part of the emotional arc. All I’ll say is what’s already obvious: if your father is an ancient being, indescribably experienced and wise, utterly fixated on the pursuit of monstrous evil, obsessed with strength and capability, then cuddles and lullabies probably didn’t feature very highly in your childhood.
In a way it touches on some of the same dichotomies I explored in X-Men Legacy (which is all about Professor Xavier’s kid son, to those who don’t know). It’s this idea that in order for someone to be “great” in one sense, they probably wind up being kinda bad – or at least absent, cold or distant – in other senses. In the Elsa story it’s dealt with in a very different way (less trippy climbing-inside-of-one’s-own-head, for instance!), but yeah, there are some matching themes in there. Internalised trauma, stunted emotions, the sins-of-the-father, etc. It’s just that this time we’ve also got a protagonist who crotchpunches monsters and dropkicks their torsos.
BD: What sort of zombie stories did you draw on for inspiration? What motivates you to create good horror do you enjoy the slasher idea of losing control in something like Friday the 13th?, or the slow burn of something like say The Fly?
SS: Oh, I’m pretty case-specific when it comes to horror. My essential metric has to do with the “value” of horrific choices (as opposed to their gratuitousness) first and foremost, and that’s a topic on which I could wax prolix for hours. It tends to sound like preaching – and given that I’m among horror aficionados here it would probably be preaching to the converted – so I won’t dwell. The short version is that I think the desire to shock has come dangerously close to overwhelming the desire to affect. The really crazy thing is that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. As long as the former is in service of the latter, horror is one of the most powerful genres there is.
Anyway. Generally speaking, when it comes to movies, I’ll tend to respond more to slow-burn disturbingstuff rather than cheap jumps and grossout moments. (The Orphanage is one of my favourites for that very reason – the scene with the cover-your-eyes-and-count-to-ten thing? Jeeeeeesus.) I guess that’s a pretty handy set of preferences given that I work in comics. Of all the amazing and unique narrative tools accessible to someone working in our incredible medium, the “boo!” thing simply doesn’t work. You’ve got to be smarter about your horror than that.
BD: And finally how does your story tie into Secret Wars as a whole? What is the most exciting part of contributing to this mega event?
SS: Very interesting question, and one I wish I could say more about!
One thing which has really impressed me about the Secret Wars setup is Marvel’s willingness to focus on awesome, character-led stories rather than emphasizing the “everything crosses over with everything else!” angle, which has been done a billion times before, and frankly risks being rather boring. And expensive. And confusing.
Instead they’ve created this remarkable scenario in which all the different creative teams can focus really close on finding out new things about familiar characters and places through the delightful conceit of alternate contexts. By definition it’s far less about some squidlike interconnected macro-story than it’s about a whole host of beautifully realised modular stories, all with high stakes and satisfying conclusions. So yes, my story is affected by things happening in the “main” Secret Wars serial and vice versa, but they all stand on their own feet too. For my money that offers a far better readership experience – and far more choice and agency to the buyer – than a grotesquely self-referential crossover where nothing makes sense unless you’ve read every last part of it.
…which is a horribly aggressive way to end an interview about Literally! My favourite! Marvel thing! Ever! so please permit me to play us out with a dust-swirling, fiend-shuffling, groan-haunted promise that this Marvel Zombies story will blow your mind. And then probably eat it.
“Marvel Zombies” carries the Battleworld distinction, and will be hitting in June.
Starring Onur Tukel, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Jason Selvig, Dakota Goldhor
Directed by Onur Tukel
Distributed by Monster Pictures UK
Erik Sparrow (writer/director and star Tukel) is a very tough person to be around. Stuck in his own world of perpetual denial, he’s as socially awkward as they come and often confused at the negative reactions of others to his far-out, and frequently offensive, lines of verbal reasoning.
Despite this, he has a long-term girlfriend, a place to live and a stable job – though he doesn’t put much effort into pulling his weight when it comes to any of these things. In short, he’s flying by the seat of his pants – coasting by on little more than luck… but his luck is about to change.
As Summer of Blood opens with quite possibly the most awkward restaurant proposal scene in the history of cinema, you’re quickly taken into the film’s low-key, mumblecore style. Shot with a ‘fly on the wall’ feel, Summer of Blood‘s performances feel natural, rippling with improvisation and thoroughly organic awkwardness. In holding these together, the film handles itself impeccably, feeling far from amateur in its overall presentation.
Erik, as you’ll come to expect from him, messes up his part in this critical life moment quite spectacularly and summarily finds himself roaming the streets a single man – his girlfriend, Jody (Hollyman), taking off with an old friend, Jason (Selvig).
On his travels Erik comes across a man in an alleyway who is bleeding profusely from his neck. Doing hilariously little to help, Erik finally sets off to look for assistance only to end up getting sidetracked in a conversation with two passers-by about how much he looks like Jerry Garcia. Yes, he really is that much of an ass.
Anyhoo, following a string of disastrous attempts at online dating and one-night stands, Erik soon comes face to face with the lone vampire who stalks the alley – and after a quick munch, he wakes up to find himself afflicted with the vampiric curse and sans his job.
But is this really a curse for someone like him? It would seem not, as he sets about creating his own sexually-charged harem of vampiresses, ‘glamouring’ his landlord into not having him pay rent and stalking the night with little to do but… stalk the night, really. Soon he decides to win Jody’s heart back… but can he bring himself to do it in the face of his unending thirst for blood?
Come on… of course he can!
Summer of Blood is a real cinematic agitator, taking the classic concept of ‘The Hero’s Journey’ and, for all intents and purposes, throwing it out the window. Erik Sparrow is an idiot. A dolt. A bumbling, pseudo-intellectual arse of a man who views his unkempt self as the ultimate enlightened non-conformist… and then when he’s bitten and turned… well, that outlook doesn’t change.
He does have a couple of momentary existential crises, but there’s never a sense that he’s ever fully committed to any particular perspective – he just doesn’t know how to make up his mind and pursue what he feels is right. Because he’s never that sure. It’s a constant cycle of idiocy, remorse, self-acceptance through ropey cognition, and back to idiocy.
And you know what? Summer of Blood is here to tell you that that’s perfectly fine when it comes to film, and it does so splendidly. It’s frequently hilarious and refreshingly nonchalant in its handling of vampirism; endearing to the point that the inherently unlikeable nature of its protagonist isn’t a barrier to entry – it’s actually what makes it so very funny.
Of course, no small kudos for that should go the cast, especially Tukel’s hipster-ish lead turn, which garners much of the laughs – especially in moments when he’s angry or frustrated and shouting loudly. His delivery is absolutely spot on when it comes to tickling the funny bone. Standing ably opposite is Hollyman as the long-suffering Jody – personifying the audience’s connection to Erik: aghast at his complete cynicism and apparent social ineptitude, but irresistibly drawn to him nonetheless.
Summer of Blood is a ‘marmite’ film, for sure. You’re either going to dig it highly, or you’re going to be so pissed off with Erik’s behaviour and the mumblecore leanings that you’ll be seeking an exit before the halfway mark – but for Yours Truly, it’s a blast. Like a more overtly comedic Vampire’s Kiss by way of Curb Your Enthusiasm, it tickles all the right places while it mines gems buried inside the mundane with relentless zeal.
The only thing letting it down, frankly, is an underwhelming finale that ties things up much too quickly and with a throwaway lack of thought. Yet, strangely, it doesn’t feel a particularly poor fit – just, like anything that has come before, another slap-dash decision that Erik is going to have to deal with in his own way… for better or worse.
Monster Pictures bring Summer of Blood to UK DVD with a decent set of special features, including around 25 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage (which makes it look like the film was equally as fun as it was frustrating to shoot); a quick on-camera ‘Fang Test’ with Tukel; a collection of three deleted scenes that were wisely excised (or shortened); the trailer and a full audio commentary with director Tukel that, while somewhat dry at times, still makes for a good listen.
Definitely worth a look.
David Hayter, screenwriter of X-Men and Watchmen, proves he’s got some serious bite behind the camera with his directorial debut. Packed with blood, fights, and plenty of frights, Wolves (review here) stars Jason Momoa (“Game of Thrones”) and X-Men’s Lucas Till. You’d be howling mad to miss this dark and deliciously sharp horror.
Wolves is out to own on DVD from 2nd March, and to support the release, we have a comp copy up for grabs courtesy of Altitude Film Entertainment.
To be in with a chance of winning, simply send an email to email@example.com with the subject line “WOLVES UK”, including YOUR FULL NAME AND POSTAL ADDRESS, before the closing date of Thursday, 12th March. We’ll take care of the rest.
Please note that this competition is open only to UK residents.
When high-school student Cayden (Till) finds his parents have been brutally murdered, he goes on the run and arrives in the small town of Lupine Ridge, where he discovers the hairy truth to his nature…
The town is home to feuding clans of werewolves, and when Cayden starts to fall for the beautiful Angelina (Patterson), he finds himself as love-rival of brutal clan alpha and pureblood lycan Connor (Momoa). But can Cayden survive and get the girl as the werewolves prepare for a fight to the death?
I’m a really big fan of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which came out over 20 years ago. It’s kind of tragic that we haven’t gotten a really solid Nightmare On Elm St. film since then. And don’t get me started on the remake because my hatred of that film is…well, it’s pretty damn strong.
So wouldn’t it be nice to get another NOES film? One that keeps the spirit of the original series and creates something phantasmagorically, devilishly entertaining? Well, over at Robot Butt, they claim to gotten their hands on the script, some storyboards, and mock up poster design for a 10th film in the series, which would be had the working title A Nightmare on Elm Street 10: Freddy’s Magnum Opus.
Now, it’s painfully obvious that this is a 100% joke. However, the basic premise of their idea is actually incredibly cool. What they propose is that the main character gets into a car accident and falls into a long coma. As a result, Freddy has an unending playground in which to torture his victim, who cannot wake up.
From there, the “script” becomes ridiculous as “Freddy” makes this playground an endless corporate cubicle day job borefest, with one of the big “scares” being that all of the 401k plans for the employees have been lost.
If you click on the link above, you can see the “storyboards” and mock up “poster”.
Again, I think the coma angle is very cool and incredibly inventive. It would be fascinating to see a film where nothing was sacred and reality meant absolutely fuck all. This would be a Freddy film that would be dark, it’d be scary, and it would have the potential to be a visual masterpiece.
How would you like to see Freddy return to the silver screen?