Towards the beginning of the year, animator Robert Balser, who worked on the “Den” segment of Heavy Metal, passed away from respiratory failure. Also known for his work as an animation director on The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, his loss was keenly felt by many who were influenced by and appreciative of his work.
Recently, I got a rather awesome small poster for Heavy Metal and hung it up next to my TV, so it’s pretty much constantly looking down at me when I’m watching a movie, playing a game, or just putzing about on my Playstation. Since I derive such joy from the poster as well as the movie, I thought I’d revisit it and let you know some of my thoughts.
Produced by Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Kindergarten Cop) and overseen by director Gerald Potterton, Heavy Metal is an animated anthology sci-fi/horror comedy that tells the story of the Loc-Nar, a green sphere that is “the sum of all evils“, through several tales with a wraparound. The film came during a time when adult animated features were becoming more of a thing, including movies such as Ralph Bakshi’s Fritz the Cat (which was rated NC-17) and American Pop as well as Watership Down, which although rated for children was often seen as containing dark and disturbing subject matter.
Heavy Metal already had a well-established fan base thanks to the magazine of the same name that began a few years earlier in 1977. Upon first starting, the magazine took stories and illustrations from the French magazine Métal Hurlant but quickly carved out their own stories and built a name for themselves with their highly detailed illustrations and artwork. The magazine still runs to this day and I hope that it continues for a long, long time. But let’s get back to the movie, shall we?
I remember seeing this movie as a young boy. For some reason, my father never really thought much of MPAA ratings. Both my parents are/were doctors and, as such, were rather pragmatic about discussing various issues, such as sex, violence, drugs, etc… They rarely sugarcoated anything, preferring instead the open and honest route so that I would be aware of all information. Plus, I’m my dad’s third kid and his second son, so I’m guessing he looked at me and thought, “I’ve got two solid kids. I can fuck around with this one…”
What took me aback was that this movie was unlike any animated film I’d seen up to that point. My parents had no problem renting Disney films for me and my sister. I grew up watching Looney Tunes and whatever else was on the TV during Saturday Morning Cartoons. But that was all stuff aimed at children while Heavy Metal most certainly was not. In fact, it was a giant middle finger to the concept that cartoons were only for kids. Comics were already dealing with real and important topics and political one-panel cartoons were often lauded for their wit and insight, so why couldn’t films do the same?
As a child, I admit that I watched it over and over simply because it was “cool”. It’s only as I grew older that I realized how wickedly smart and funny the film can be, all while also offering some truly unsettling segments. Going from the eerie and frightening “B-17” to the jokes in “So Beautiful and So Dangerous” might feel disjointed and even jarring but there is a consistency throughout the movie that allows for such radical changes in tone. Even within one segment it can go from violence to comedy, such as in “Harry Canyon”.
What set this movie apart for me was not only the violence and nudity, it was also wildly imaginative world that was wonderfully animated. I really felt like I was transported to worlds different from mine. It didn’t matter that some of these stories took place on Earth, or at least started there, as in the case of “Den”. What mattered was that the universe felt lived in. It felt rich and expansive. It sparked my imagination in ways that other animated features failed to do so. Just look at the scene where Taarna rides her Taarakian mount across the landscape, including through the skeleton of some gigantic beast. What a beautiful and epic scene!
The voice acting was simply spot on. When you’ve got the talents of people like John Candy, Harold Ramis, Eugene Levy, John Vernon, Susan Roman, Alice Playten, and more, it’s hard to imagine how the lines could’ve been delivered poorly. Each character feels alive and exciting and their delivery is spot on. The jokes are snappy, the terror real, and the presence tangible.
Obviously, it’d be impossible to talk about Heavy Metal without discussing the soundtrack. When you’ve compiled the likes of Blue Öyster Cult, Nazareth, Cheap Trick, Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath, Journey, Don Felder, and more, then you’ve got yourselves a soundtrack that is going to be a hit. It amplifies the film and adds to the hardcore atmosphere that is pervasive throughout. After all, if metal is seen as being listened to by the outsiders of society, doesn’t that make it the perfect fit for a movie that is bucking societal expectations and making an adult animated feature? Plus, it just kicks ass.
On top of that, composer Elmer Bernstein’s original compositions are magnificent. It shifts from sweeping epic fantasy waves into stormy and terrifying interludes through bombastic explosions, all with a class and elegance that seeks to buck the stigma of the movie. Many consider it to be a shining example of Bernstein’s work and they wouldn’t be wrong.
The legacy of the film isn’t as strong as I would’ve hoped. A sequel came out in 2000 that presented a feature-length story rather than an anthology and it was…okay. It wasn’t as smart or as witty, by any stretch of the imagination, and it didn’t have the same wit about it. A remake was announced in 2008, although it seems that all work has completely stalled on that front.
If you haven’t seen Heavy Metal, I encourage you to seek it out and give it a fair shot. It celebrated its 35th anniversary earlier this year and I believe it has held up tremendously well during that time. Is it flawless? Absolutely not. But goddamn is it a good ride!
This may be the most charming movie you see all year.
The year was 1978. Three years prior, Steven Spielberg quite literally created the Hollywood summer blockbuster with Jaws, a massive hit that sent audiences running from their local theaters and, needless to say, kept them as far away from large bodies of water as possible. But a group of brave kids didn’t heed the warning. They ventured into the water in the summer of ’78.
Why, you ask? To make their own sequel, of course!
The same year that Chief Brody returned in Jaws 2, Cape Cod teenager Rob Hampton and his friends used their Super-8 camera to make a 4-minute short film set in the Jaws universe. The short was originally filmed with no sound, but now nearly 40 years after it was shot, Hampton has dug up the raw materials from his childhood and dubbed in sounds, a score, and even dialogue.
Did you know Chief Brody reads wrestling mags and great whites love fresh water? That’s how the ’70s Kids saw it in this Super-8 sequel to their favorite blockbuster.
Ready to smile? Watch the DIY Jaws sequel below!
Another day, another sad passing to report. Actor Robert Vaughn has died at the age of 83, according to his manager.
Vaugh began acting in the mid-50’s and worked extensively in both film and TV. He was known for his role as Napoleon Solo in “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”, which was essentially a TV version of James Bond. He also appeared in the drama thriller City in Fear, the horror sequel C.H.U.D. II – Bud the Chud, the horror comedies Transylvania Twist and Witch Academy, a few episodes of “Murder, She Wrote”, and, although not horror, was someone I found hysterical in BASEketball.
He is survived by his wife and two children.
We send our deepest condolences to his family during their time of grief and mourning. We also wish to thank him for the years of entertainment he brought to countless viewers across a wide range of genre performances.
It’s an excellent day… to look at some cool art.
We’ve been talking about “The Exorcist” quite a bit here on Bloody Disgusting, and the reason for that is not just cause we’re big fans but also because we worry that not enough horror fans are watching the show. We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure it gets renewed for a second season, because if it doesn’t, well, that would be another “Hannibal”-like tragedy.
There have thus far been six episodes of FOX’s incredible sequel series, with the seventh set to premiere tonight, November 11th. Over on the official “The Exorcist” Facebook page, gorgeous pieces of art paying tribute to each of the episodes have been posted on a weekly basis, and now that we’ve got a nice collection of six of them to show off, we wanted to do just that.
As far as we can tell – oddly enough, only one of the images is credited to an artist – all six pieces of art are the work of Polish artist Jarek Kubicki, and they depict memorable moments from each of the respective episodes we’ve seen so far. In one of the paintings, Casey vomits out a massive centipede, and another depicts the hospital scene that resulted in her full-on possession.
Check out all of the awesome episode-specific art below!
Might we see the return of Bishop?
Set for release next August, Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant will serve as both a sequel to Prometheus and another prequel to the original Alien, but it’s not the only project in the works that’s intent on expanding that iconic universe. District 9 director Neill Blomkamp has been working on his own sequel to Aliens, which is being tentatively referred to as Alien 5, and though the film ran into a brick wall when Scott began production on his own franchise return, the key players still seem certain – and, if nothing more, hopeful – that Blomkamp’s vision will soon take flight.
Those key players include Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn, who are set to reprise the roles of Ellen Ripley and Corporal Dwayne Hicks. Newt, who was unceremoniously killed off between the events of Aliens and Alien 3, is also set to return, though will be played by a new actor. But what about Bishop? Will Lance Henriksen reprise the role of the lovable android?
Speaking with IGN this week, Henriksen seemed as hopeful as Weaver and Biehn about Blomkamp’s potential sequel, and he also suggested that there will be a place for him in the film.
The actor told the site:
You know they’re going to make another one. It picks up right where Aliens ended. I don’t know if I’m going to be in a baggie or how I’m going to be in it. Blomkamp is a really wonderful, wonderful writer. I have a feeling that if he did it, it would be something spectacular. And there’s an audience for it.
For now, Alien 5 remains on indefinite hold.
Momentum Pictures shared with Bloody a handful of new images from Abattoir, which is set to release in theaters, VOD and Digital HD on December 9, 2016.
Written by Christopher Monfette (“12 Monkeys”) and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (SAW II-IV, 11-11-11, Repo!, Mother’s Day), the film stars Jessica Lowndes (The Prince), Joe Anderson (Hercules), Lin Shaye (Insidious) and Dayton Callie (“Sons of Anarchy”).
Bloody Disgusting’s Kalyn Corrigan caught the World Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and wrote in her review:
‘Abattoir’ makes a name for itself for its premise alone, which separates it from nearly anything else in mainstream horror right now. It’s a terrific little idea that if executed correctly, could spans several sequels, as the house allows for many different types of backgrounds to be explored, and future rooms to be filled.
Abattoir is the opening night film of the 14th annual New York City Horror Film Festival, which will be held Nov 10-13 at Manhattan’s Cinepolis Cinemas (8th Avenue & West 23rd Street).
“Abattoir centers on a real estate reporter (Jessica Lowndes) who unearths an urban legend about a house being built from rooms where horrific tragedies have occurred. The investigation ultimately leads her and ex-lover Detective Declan Grady (Joe Anderson) to the enigmatic Jebediah Crone (Dayton Callie) and the answer to the question, “How do you build a haunted house?” ”
Abattoir is produced by Jesse Berger (Oblivion) and Brent C. Johnson (Lost in America) under Radical Studios’ genre label Dark Web Productions. Billy Hines serves as Co-Producer. The film is executive produced by Lynwood Spinks, Kevin Niu, Robert Cain, Michael Yedwab, Steve Ponce, and Trevor Allen. Abattoir was financed by Lumenova Entertainment, Pacific Bridge Pictures and Ingenious Media.
A new behind-the-scenes featurette for the upcoming live action anime adaptation of Ghost in the Shell has been released and it follows Mamoru Oshii, the director of the 1995 anime, as he visits the set to see how everything is going. Several new bits of footage have been included in the video, some finalized and some before VFX can go in and add their touch.
Oshii at one point specifically talks about Johansson and her ability to portray Major Motoko, saying that she, “…has gone above and beyond my expectations for the role.” He then gives one of the most ringing endorsements I think could possibly be stated when he says, “I’m sure this will be the most gorgeous film in the series so far.” Bold words from a man who changed how much of the world saw anime!
Ghost in the Shell tells the story of The Major (Scarlett Johansson), a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.
Directed by Rupert Sanders, Ghost in the Shell stars Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, “Beat” Takeshi Kitano, Michael Wincott, and Pilou Asbæk.
Ghost in the Shell hacks its way into theaters on March 31st, 2017.
On the anniversary of Namco’s beat ‘em up horror classic, we hack and slash our way through what makes ‘Splatterhouse’ so special
“This will be your grave! Ha ha ha”
When horror in gaming is brought up, we understandably turn to the survival horror genre and its many titles for conversation topics. It’s not without good reason, as titles like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and even Dead Rising helped popularize the genre in the gaming medium in the first place. In spite of that, survival horror is hardly the only execution of the genre, and sometimes just lovingly sending up horror and all things creepy can be a more effective product than something that nihilistically has you thinking about ammo and health conversation. Namco’s Splatterhouse is a notable title for premiering in the arcade of all places in 1998, before eventually seeing ports to the PC-Engine, FM TOWNS and TurboGrafx-16 (the TurboGrafx version came with warning: “The horrifying theme of this game may be inappropriate for young children… and cowards”). Namco’s eerie sidescrolling beat ‘em up would connect with such an audience that it would spawn a franchise of games and even a flashy 3D remake in 2010.
Splatterhouse tells the story of burgeoning parapsychology student Rick Taylor and his girlfriend Jennifer Willis, who go to the home of insane parapsychologist, Dr. West (who is intentionally supposed to not only be a Re-Animator reference, but might actually be the same character). Jennifer gets kidnapped and Rick is taken over by the game’s infamous “Terror Mask,” accordingly. This is actually a little more story than you tend to get in a 2D beat ‘em up of all things, but it acts as a serviceable premise that throws you into a haunted house of sorts. Each level reflects a new sort of horror staple with an archetypal boss waiting for you at the end, as you murderize your way to your princess.
Impressively, Splatterhouse comes courtesy of Shigeru Yokoyama who has no prior experience directing video games. He came from Galaga, of all places. In fact, the directors for the following Splatterhouse titles, Taiji Nagayama and the mysterious 100 Taro, are all newcomer directors, which is why it’s surprising that the Splatterhouse series has such a consistent track record. The original game is also the first console title to receive a parental advisory warning due to its violent nature and questionable content (such as an inverted cross being prominent during a boss fight in a chapel).
Coming as a huge fan of 2D beat ‘em ups, Splatterhouse is a delight, even if you’re not a horror fan (but obviously you are, otherwise why are you here?). It’s like if Streets of Rage or Final Fight were around during a time where it could have released some holiday themed DLC, with this being the result. Simultaneously, while video game adaptations from this era of big horror titles like Friday the 13th and Halloween are ambitious, messy failures, Splatterhouse beautifully functions as your surrogate solution. Yokoyama has stated that Friday the 13th and Evil Dead II are major influences on the title, and with all the other horror touchstones getting highlighted, it’s easier to just pretend this is some Poltergeist or Re-Animator video game.
Your basic beat ‘em up controls are in play here (along with a myriad of weapons that you can pick up and use at its disposable) and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it’s the game’s bosses where the gameplay especially shines. The game’s real creativity seems to be funneled here, as the bosses force you to incorporate strategy and different tactics rather than the usual “murder, rinse, repeat” that you’re doing in the levels. Some of the gems in Splatterhouse’s rogue’s gallery include a guy with two chainsaws installed as hands, a poltergeist boss that’s really just a room, and a monster that Jennifer turns into that’s actually frightening and upsetting—it even feels like a pre-cursor to some of the gruesome transformation sequences that would happen in Resident Evil. The game’s final boss, the Ultimate Evil, is also just super gross, especially for this era of gaming.
Beyond bosses, there’s also an exceptional soundtrack that amplifies all of the horror that’s going on, not to mention an impressive cinematic intro that kicks off the game in the original Arcade version of the title. The game even takes unexpected narrative twists like horror films are prone to do, such as the decision to actually kill Jessica at the end of the game, rather than rewarding you and Rick with some sort of happy ending. This of course nicely sets the scene for the game’s inevitable sequel, Splatterhouse 2.
Curiously, before Splatterhouse 2 hits the scene, an interesting side-story sees release for the Famicom Computer System. Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti might have only seen release in Japan and seems like it could be a non-canonical entry in the series at that, but it’s actually one of the more satisfying, creative titles in the Splatterhouse library. It’s actually a shame that this quirky title is often left out of the conversation and overlooked (some sort of localization or release via unlockable content seems long overdue at this point).
Wanpaku Graffiti employs a cutesy, super-deformed art style to the Splatterhouse universe in a move that actually works. The game sees Jennifer getting kidnapped from a giant evil pumpkin, with this almost feeling like a parody of the original game, rather than some sequel or side story. In your quest to find Jennifer, you encounter references to The Fly, Alien, The Exorcist, Jaws, Poltergeist, and there’s even an extended Friday the 13th riff in a level set at “Camp Diamond Lake.” In spite of Wanpaku Graffiti never leaving Japan, it’s got a surprisingly American frame of reference and sensibility. The first boss is even a vampire who greets you in a dance reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video.
There’s some inspired level design in play here too, with a sewer level that is particularly gorgeous. Its boss is a hilarious parody of Alien involved an enlarged, radioactive sewer rat, so what’s not to love here? Trick or treating level is also pretty inspired and looks exactly like what a game you’re playing on Halloween should look like. It also needs to be mentioned that the lighting effects and visuals for when you beat the Brundlefly boss are some of the craziest and most seizure-y that I’ve seen on the system.
One of my favorite touches about Wanpaku Graffiti is that the game surprisingly ends with a sound stage illuminating behind you and a director shouting “cut” (“That was some damn fine acting. This’ll be a great movie!”), only to reveal that this is all some movie that’s being filmed, not unlike in a Viewtiful Joe game. It’s almost as if this is the hokey Splatterhouse movie that is being adapted from the original game, giving this sillier tone a little context. That being said, what an ending this is, and I could see it being as contentious as Link’s Awakening and Super Mario Bros. 2 if more people were familiar with this title.
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti introduces a parodical, hearty sense of humor that is absent from everywhere else in the series. There’s some foresight for the horror genre being shown here for their take on Splatterhouse, and in spite of this game being relatively underknown and generally (unfortunately) ignored in the Splatterhouse canon, there’s a lot to learn from this game. Can you imagine if Capcom released some satire of Resident Evil, where bosses and characters were intentionally meant to lampoon the franchise? I know we’ve seen clever jabs at franchises in works like Dead Rising, but I’m talking full-on satire. If horror films can do it, why not games, too?
Now Splatterhouse 2, the true sequel to Splatterhouse, sees Rick turning to the fray, trying to revive Jennifer, and ultimately succeeding in his task. Splatterhouse 2 is one of those prime examples of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” with this sequel playing nearly identically to its predecessor. Everything just looks a lot more polished and advanced this time around. Some gamers ended up taking exception to the small steps taken forward with Splatterhouse 2 and instead attacked it for its lack of innovation, but this is also a game where you get to chainsaw a baby to pieces, so you pick your battles. Admittedly, the gore quotient is upped greatly in the sequel (a luxury allowed by the game being developed for the Genesis, allowing them access to Sega’s more “mature” gamers), but this sort of material also has less of an impact now, due to it being a sequel. The game does manage to turn the Terror Mask into more of an actual character this time around, which isn’t a bad idea at all. The Mask talks and eggs Rick on throughout his journey, as if some sort of bloodthirsty version of Navi from Ocarina of Time.
Bosses once more are given special attention, with there being plenty of “giant face” battles, a boss that’s an unborn fetus (complete with umbilical cord that descends it onto the screen), a giant diamond, and a huge kraken that you get to fight from a boat. All of that being said, the final boss is kind of lame in the end… Beautifully, Splatterhouse 2 also lost most of its script in the localization process from Splatterhouse Part 2 in Japan. As a result, many of the changes in the game, like why there’s a new West mansion, have no answer. This certainly adds an extra b-movie quality to it all, too. The music is seriously incredible this time around, too. It’s so, so good, with each level delivering catchy, synth-y bliss that meshes with horror like viscera does with a machete.
As if learning from the few complaints regarding Splatterhouse 2, Splatterhouse 3 added some new elements to the series’ gameplay, refining the controls even further and expanding the title in fun ways. Splatterhouse 3 sees a nice twist in the narrative that involves Rick and Jennifer getting married, having a child named David, and getting their own house which in turn becomes haunted and the resident “Splatterhouse” this time around. This time Rick has to save his wife and son. Much like its predecessor, Splatterhouse 3 was a pretty big coup for the Genesis, with the game not seeing release on any other system. The new title differs from previous games in the series by introducing a time trial aspect which in turn alters various aspects of the game (like Jennifer dying in the second level, for instance) based on if you complete levels in time (kind of like Streets of Rage III’s set-up).
There’s also the addition of Eldritch orbs which let you power-up into new forms of “Badassery” when collected. Allowing this extra violence and ability to hulk out (pieces of flesh extend from your chest and become a weapon…so yeah) makes perfect sense for this sort of franchise, too. Your moveset also becomes more complex too, with you gaining the ability to pick up and throw your enemies, rather than simply punching or kicking. On top of all of that, the title also ditches the sidescrolling angle to get into non-linear exploration that encourages backtracking to collect items and find your exit. You’re even shown a map beforehand to help orient your gameplay, whereas such a thing would be completely unnecessary in the previous games. Even the bosses have a bit of a different energy this time around with one being a kid’s come-to-life stuffed teddy bear, a progressively hatching and evolving insect embryo, some Shadow Man that’s basically Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, and then ultimately a giant version of the infamous Terror Mask itself!
In spite of Splatterhouse 3 performing well both critically and in sales, neither Namco not Sega seemed that interested in pushing things further. The mind reels at what some version of Splatterhouse for the Sega CD or Saturn could have looked like. While 2D beat ‘em ups were progressively on the way out, that still didn’t stop a 3D remake of the game being attempted in 2010. Operating much like some God of War clone, Splatterhouse (2010) added fancy “splatter combos”, decapitations, and many “modern” touches. Whether these elements are necessary or not, in their own way they do sort of mirror the intense violence of the original games. 2010’s Splatterhouse is a loud, admirable flop that effectively put the final nail in the franchise’s coffin (for now at least). With audiences more recently embracing retro touches, and with horror never being more alive, perhaps it’s worthwhile to explore the Splatterhouse franchise once more. Some visionary giving their own take on the source material (like what Hideo Kojima did with Castlevania) could yield super interesting results. Until then, we’ll always have the boreworms.
Ashley Greene (The Apparition, Twilight) has landed the lead in Accident Man, directed by Jesse Johnson, Deadline reports.
Said to have a Deadpool-esque tone, “The story centers on the life of Mike Fallon, a high-class hitman, known for making assassinations look like unfortunate accidents. Fallon’s cavalier attitude changes the day his ex-girlfriend, Beth is murdered. He teams up with Beth’s new girlfriend Charlie (Greene) on a murderous rampage to find out who killed her.”
The film is based on a character from the graphic novel from the defunct monthly UK comic Toxic!, which was written by Pat Mills in the early 90s.
Principal photography begins this month in London.
Here’s a pair of new posters, one international, for Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, which brings back star Milla Jovovich as Alice for one final battle with Umbrella and Dr. Isaacs.
Ali Larter also returns as Claire Redfield, Iain Glen will return as Dr. Isaacs, with Shawn Roberts playing Albert Wesker once again. New additions also include Ruby Rose as Abigail, Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Doc, Cuban American actor William Levy as Christian, Fraser James (“Law & Order: UK”) as Michael, and Japanese model and TV personality Rola as Cobalt.
“Picking up immediately after the events in ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began – The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.”
Sony Screen Gems has Resident Evil: The Final Chapter slated for release on January 27th, 2017.
Deadline reports that Jessica Chastain (Crimson Peak, The Martian, Interstellar) is set to star in and produce Painkiller Jane, from the self-titled graphic novel series written by two comic legends, Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada.
“Chastain will play Jane Vasko, a New York City street cop who gets recruited by the FBI to infiltrate a major NYC drug and human trafficking ring. In a near death experience, Jane develops exceptional regenerative abilities that give her a unique indestructible advantage. With nothing to live for and no way to die, Painkiller Jane becomes an unstoppable force of nature seeking revenge to those who destroyed her life as she leaves a path of death and destruction in her wake.”
Lotus Entertainment’s Lenny Beckerman will produce along with Solipsist Films’ Stephen L’Heureux (Sin City: A Dame To Kill For) and Chastain through her Freckle Films banner. Bill Johnson, Jim Seibel, Ara Keshishian and Palmiotti will exec produce.
The graphic novel series was published by Paperfilms.
Graphic novelist Palmiotti has penned volumes of “Deadpool”, “Jonah Hex”, “Punisher” and is currently writing “Harley Quinn” for DC Comics. Monilith, based on his graphic novel, is set up at Lionsgate.
Bloody Disgusting has a pair of new shots from Chris Peckover’s thriller most excellent Safe Neighborhood starring Olivia DeJonge (M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit), Levi Miller (Pan, Jasper Jones, Terra Nova, Red Dog: True Blue) and Ed Oxenbould (The Visit, Paper Planes, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), with Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated actress Virginia Madsen (Candyman, Joy, Sideways) and Patrick Warburton (Crowded, Ted, Family Guy, Seinfeld).
Described as Home Alone meets Scream, Trace reviewed the film out of the Fantastic Fest premiere, calling it “a hilariously bonkers home invasion tale.”
‘Safe Neighborhood’ provides a bonkers twist on the home invasion sub-genre that had me squealing with glee from start to finish.
“Set in a quiet American suburb on a snowy evening on the lead up to Christmas, Ashley (Olivia DeJonge), the regular babysitter for Deandra (Virginia Madsen) and Robert Lerner (Patrick Warburton), has to defend their twelve-year-old son (Levi Miller) from strangers breaking into the house – only to discover that this is far from a normal home invasion.”
The thriller is a Storm Vision Entertainment and Best Medicine production, directed by Chris Peckover (Undocumented) and written by Zack Kahn and Peckover. The film is being produced by Storm Vision’s Brett Thornquest and Sidonie Abbene (Infini, Terminus, SFv1) and Best Medicine Productions’ Brion Hambel and Paul Jensen (Scenic Route, Natural Selection), and executive produced by Steven Matusko, Shane Abbess and Lorenzo De Maio.
Thanks to Fabien M.
Very sad news as it’s been confirmed by Leonard Cohen‘s official Facebook page that the prolific singer/songwriter/poet/artist has passed away at the age of 82. No cause of death was given.
Cohen began recording music in the late 60’s and continued writing and releasing music as the years went on. Just three weeks ago, Cohen released You Want it Darker, his fourteenth studio album. He also authored several books of poetry and two novels, “The Favorite Game” and “Beautiful Losers”.
In 2008, Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and throughout the years he was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including Grammy’s, Meteor Music Awards, Juno Awards, and more. His music was featured in a wide array of films, including Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, the TV show “Scrubs”, Watchmen, and “True Detective”, among many others.
Cohen is perhaps best known for his song 1984 single “Hallelujah”, which was popularized by a cover from Jeff Buckley. Since Rufus Wainwright’s cover was featured in Shrek, the song has gone on to achieve even more recognition and popularity, with over 300 cover versions known.
There are few people who leave behind such a legacy upon their passing. Cohen was more than just a musician, he was the voice for countless people and his music and words touched millions. We send out deepest condolences to his family during their time of grief.
Our first short in today’s episode is one of the creepiest in World of Death. In Michael Crum’s “Malice” a woman suffers from what I can only assume to be a series of deranged fever dreams involving some eerie and torturous Cenobite-like creatures (or alternate representations of herself). Is this sequence drug induced? Is this woman going mad? Has she died? You will find yourself asking the same questions by the end of “Malice”, but I really think you’ll enjoy the cool visuals, moody lighting, and creepy context of this film.
Our second directors Jason Overdorf and Brian Goren bring us back to the lighter side of things (if you want to call it that) with their short film “The Munchies.” A man seems to be feeding quite a few indulgences between the weed he’s smoking, the cannibalistic horror film he’s watching, and the person he’s eating. Wait, what?! That’s right folks, this dude has a BAD case of “The Munchies” and the only thing that can satisfy his craving is YOU!
World of Death is the web series that fans of independent horror have been waiting for. Featuring short horror films from all over the globe created by the largest variety of talent that a collection has ever been able to boast, WOD provides plenty of blood, guts, screams and laughs for all fans of the macabre. And with episodes averaging around eight minutes in length, WOD is the perfect entertainment for a fan base constantly on the go. Watch it anywhere, at any time, for FREE! New episodes premiere every Monday and Thursday at 7pm CST.
Just in time for the new movie!
Alice’s big screen story comes to an end this coming January in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, and the beloved video game franchise that of course spawned the film franchise is headed into Funko’s POP! vinyl line in celebration. Six characters from the games get the vinyl treatment in the Resident Evil wave, including humans Jill Valentine and Leon S. Kennedy.
As you might expect, we’re more into the monsters, and the other four POP! vinyl toys bring the series’ various bad guys to the toy shelf. Up top you’ll see Licker, and Nemesis, Hunter, and Tyrant are also joining in the fun. What’s special about both Hunter and Tyrant is that they’re are a massive 6″ tall, and the super-sized toys are respectively exclusive to GameStop and Hot Topic.
Expect all the Resident Evil POP! toys to hit shelves in early 2017.
Hat tip to @FunkoTree for the images.
Centering on a doctor with psychic powers who is enlisted by the police to track a serial killer, Afonso Poyart’s Solace was once intended to be a sequel to David Fincher’s Se7en!
Now, Lionsgate Premiere is behind the film that stars Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish, and Marley Shelton. It will be released in limited theaters on December 16th, which also means a VOD release around the same time.
Here’s the first trailer for the film to go along with the trailer and synopsis:
When FBI Special Agent Joe Merriwether (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is unable to solve a series of homicides, he decides to enlist the help of his former colleague Dr. John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins), a retired physician with psychic powers. The reclusive Clancy, who shuttered his practice and retreated from the world following the death of his daughter and subsequent break-up of his marriage, wants nothing to do with the case. He soon changes his mind after seeing disturbingly violent visions of Joe’s partner, FBI Special Agent Katherine Cowles’s (Abbie Cornish) ultimate demise. When Clancy’s exceptional intuitive powers put him on the trail of a suspect, Charles Ambrose (Colin Farrell), the doctor soon realizes his abilities are no match against the extraordinary powers of this vicious murderer on a mission.
It may not seem like the best place for a little rest and relaxation, but Darren Lynn Bousman and Clint Sears’ aptly titled ‘The Tension Experience: Ascension’ offers, in its own weird way, an escape from the confines of social media, conventional morality, and reality itself.
“This isn’t as necessarily about freaking you out as it is about making you feel uncomfortable and making you be present. It’s to get them out of the mundaneness. I mean, for me, it’s this: we’re so distracted by our cell phones and our technology. This is to immerse you in the story,” explains the Saw II-IV director and ‘Tension Experience’ creator Darren Lynn Bousman. “To me, it’s to make people present, to be in the moment, and to show that entertainment can exist outside of a TV screen or book. This is a play that requires you to be active, not passive. To me, that’s the future. I want people to be active in the entertainment they consume.”
When entering the premises, each participant is asked to leave their cell phone, purses, glasses, jewelry, and any other item of value or distraction in their cars. Although in this day and age it might seem odd to leave one’s phone behind, the point is to cut off a person’s constant connection to the reality, and fully immerse them in Bousman’s wicked little secret societal universe.
As Bousman himself puts it, “Think about it when was the last time you watched a movie, honestly, and weren’t doing something else. Checking email, texting somebody, tweeting, walking out of the room to grab a snack, I think to force someone to be present, where they can’t do that, we take away everything from you, and you have to be in the moment, your suspension of disbelief is much easier to do because you have nothing to distract you and I think that’s what I want to do.”
It’s very important to Bousman for people to leave what they know behind, and enter his structure with an open mind.
“I love immersive theater, I loved this thing called “Sleep No More” when I went to it in New York, which is, you are a simple character. You are in the production and it requires you to be active. You have to actually get out of your comfort zone and do things that make you feel uncomfortable. [For The Tension Experience], you come here, and come to this weird place, where you can talk to the actors and be someone you’re not, and I think that it does break people out of their shell.”
After your social media outlet has been taken away, it comes time to enter the OOA Institute, and begin the immersion process into the Church of Anoch. Normally, when it comes to haunted attractions, the experience may become a little frightening at times, but you’ll at least have your friends alongside you to laugh with you when someone jumps out and scares you. No such mercy is granted at the Tension Experience. First, you’re told to park your car in a dark and desolate parking lot somewhere in the realm of downtown Los Angeles. You’re then asked to sign a waiver agreeing to allow the actors of the Tension Experience to touch you, while simultaneously agreeing not to touch them. Next, you’re picked up by a stoic driver in a strange van and a bag is placed over your head. You’re then driven to an unknown location and dropped off one by one, separate from your friends, and told to pound on a door just before the van speeds off with everyone else still on board, and you’re left alone in the dark.
“There’s like three different storylines running at the same time, and each of those storylines has numerous things you can do in it”, says Bousman excitedly while describing his horrifying haunted attraction baby. “You can even do one where an actor will take you on a one-on-one. That means you can literally get in someone’s car and end up at a random gas station. So, like, the possibilities are endless, and it’s also a four-hundred-page script. It’s a living, breathing thing, and it continues to shift as you interact with it.”
After the van drops you off and you pound on the door, you enter a ‘50s style stark white waiting room with something akin to church music playing on the radio and a woman behind a desk smiling absurdly at nothing. She asks you to fill out some paperwork featuring some very personal questions, like your religious denomination and views on nudity. She tells you to say “Glory be” while you fill out your sheet and she plays with your hair and feeds you candy and stares at you openly without blinking; always smiling, always somehow seemingly on edge.
You’re then given a safe word (mine was COWARD) and led to another room that looks like a meeting area in a retirement home – if that retirement home happened to exist inside of a psych ward. Slowly, one by one, people you recognize begin to enter the room, but it’s not long before you’re separated from them again, and ushered down a hall with a bag over your head, all the while trusting that these people aren’t leading you to some strange torture chamber. There’s more processing to be done, some of which includes removing your clothing and changing into a hazmat suit, and some of which asks you to close your eyes and describe how you would punish an abusive mother if you were God. In here, it feels less like an organization, and more like an endless labyrinth, filled with twists and turns and unholy secrets begging to be explored.
In one room, I was told my senses were “being removed” as I was blindfolded and given earbuds that played nothing but static while people threw hot wax on me and forced me to eat random items. In another, I stepped into a blood red lit confinement filled with sand and talked openly about my sexual experience with strangers while fully naked people wearing tribal gear stalked slowly around me. At one point, I was even kidnapped and taken off site and forced to bear witness to a man being murdered, as a bag was again thrown over my head and I listened to the man’s pleas while I heard his brain being bashed in and felt bloody brains shoot up onto my arms and chest, all before being escorted back into the institute, which by this point, I thought I might never be leaving. The entire time, I realized slowly, that this was unlike anything I had ever done before. Usually, when it comes to haunted houses, the thrill is all in the seconds where a person or an effect jumps out and scares you. This wasn’t about frightening its audience for a moment, it was more about the creeping dread; the sensation that something was sneaking up behind you, and that you be safe for the moment, but that moment is about to end.
After the experience was through, which took around two and a half hours total, I was brought behind the scenes to speak with the ringleader himself, Mr. Darren Lynn Bousman. Backstage, Bousman stands in front of a monitor that displays thirty different little screens for each individual room, so he can see what is happening every single moment of the way. From there, he conducts his actors, recites instructions, and in the meantime takes little breaks to tell me about his unique immersive experience. It is a true peek behind the wizard’s curtain.
“I think what I love about this is how much it’s evolved from where we started. I think if I were to do this with Abattoir or Saw, there’s already pre-defined character base and what it looks like. There’s not room to for it to grow. With this, we’re constantly building upon to let it change, so it’s gone 180 degrees from where we started. I love that it’s its own thing, but what the idea is that this thing will turn into a movie. The storyline will turn into a film after this closes. And it’s the idea of taking one piece of property and having numerous things. It’s an immersive experience, it’s an ARG, it’s a movie, it’s an online game. That way you’re having one narrative that’s told over three or so different platforms and each platform is furthering the narrative. Not retelling it, it’s furthering it. So if you come in on the ARG you hear the storyline, and then if you start here, it’s a different storyline continuing it, and then the movie would pick up where this thing ends.”
When asked to expand upon the idea that eventually this would all be turned into a movie, Bousman confirmed that he is, definitely, planning on making a ‘Tension Experience’ film. According to him, the movie will begin production in January of 2017.
“The script was written long before this” Bousman tells me matter-of-factly. “The movie is what got this made, so I have a script for this. The script is about uh, it’s quite different, but it deals with an immersive experience gone awry. So the movie actually deals with an immersive experience gone wrong. There are so many things that could go wrong in this that uh – I have blood on my face don’t I?”
I laugh and tell Bousman that yes, he does indeed have blood on his face. After everything I had gone through during the evening, I just assumed he had done it on purpose. He grabs a tissue and begins wiping the blood off of his cheek as he continues to describe his plans for the movie adaptation.
“It’s not a horror film. It’s a kind of psychological heist movie about how an immersive theater company…here’s the thing. What’s so scary about these type of productions is, someone could come in and change the script, do whatever. People submit themselves to this, and they do whatever we ask them to do. Eat this, sniff this, take this, pull the trigger on this gun. How do you know what reality is? So, it deals with [the actors] manipulating people who go through the immersive experience, but it’s very much Reservoir Dogs, which is kind of a departure, and that’s how I got this finalized. The producer, Gordon Bijelonic, read the script and was like, ‘We gotta make this’. I was like, ‘Let’s make the immersive experience first’. And we created the brand name around The Tension Experience. And so now, it’s kind of blowing up.”
All in all, ‘The Tension Experience: Ascension’ was the most immersive and exhilarating haunted attraction I have ever participated in, and if you think you can handle it, you should do so immediately. This is an experience definteily worth checking out – showrunner Bousman is a master of manipulating people into leaving what they think they should know behind and readjusting their sense to accept a new way of thinking, even if it’s just for a few hours. After all, when it comes to the latest event in holiday themed terror, it’s not about the scares, it’s about the tension.
“What kills me and what would kill me is this ends, and it’s written off as just another haunted house. I think that the choreography and the acting ability, I mean these actors are so fucking incredible, that I want to see more of these things, and I think the only way that more of these things exist is if people know about them and know what immersive theater is. This is the type of entertainment that I, personally, as a fan of this stuff, want to see more of” says Bousman with fire in his eyes. “I think that that’s where this is important, as an artist, as a filmmaker, as a director, I think we have to look for new ways to engage an audience. That’s always been my thing as a director. How does an artist engage? This. This is how you do it. You force them to do something that forces them to be present.”
November 12th marks the final weekend of the ‘Tension Experience’, so make sure to get your tickets and get sucked in to this intricate odyssey through the strange and the macabre while you still can. Glory be to the church of Anoch, to the OOA institute, and most of all, to the twisted mastermind Darren Lynn Bousman.
A new clip from the supernatural abduction horror/thriller Shut In has come out and it’s not really all that exciting but it does speak to the level of fear and concern that will be present in the film. If you want something a bit more exciting, I recommend watching this clip from earlier today.
Charlie Heaton (“Stranger Things”) and Oliver Platt (Flatliners, Lake Placid) also star in the thriller directed by Farren Blackburn and written by Christina Hodson.
“A child psychologist living an isolated life in rural New England is struggling to put her life back together after the loss of her husband. She’s a strong woman whose courage is put to the test when she’s caught in a deadly storm, trapped in her home, and cut off from the world around her.”
Shut In hits theaters tomorrow, November 11th.
After premiering at last March’s SXSW Film Festival, HBO has set a January 23 premiere date for Irene Taylor Brodsky’s Beware the Slenderman documentary.
Based on the iconic character that started on the Something Awful forums years ago, “In this horrifyingly modern fairytale lurks an online Boogeyman and two 12-year-old girls who would kill for him. The entrance to the internet quickly leads to its darkest basement. How responsible are our children for what they find there?”
Trace reviewed the film out of the world premiere exclaiming it “will terrify you, but not in the way you might expect…”
We now have the trailer for the the documentary from HBO Films, who is also behind some fantastic stuff like last year’s mind-blowing “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst”.
BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN tells the story of the internet’s elusive Boogeyman and two 12-year-old girls who would kill for him. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier lured their best friend into the woods, stabbed her 19 times, then set out on an odyssey to meet the tall and faceless man known online as Slenderman. Shot over 18 months with heartbreaking access to the families of the would-be murderers, the film plunges deep down the rabbit hole of their crime, a Boogeyman and our society’s most impressionable consumers of media. The entrance to the internet can quickly lead us to its dark basement, within just a matter of clicks. How much do we hold children responsible for what they find there? (SXSW)
Here’s a story we wrote in 2014 about the real-life attempted murders.
Welcome to… the RING OF HORROR.
Horror fans are some of the most creative and talented human beings on this planet, and we’ve got yet another example of that awesome creativity for you today. If you’re a fan of both horror and wrestling, you will absolutely love what one fan has done with the recently released video game WWE 2K17: he literally created an entire federation that’s full of nothing but horror icons.
Appropriately titled Ring of Horror, the custom-made federation was made using WWE 2K17’s community creations mode, which allows gamers to create their own superstars, title belts, shows and arenas. The man behind the massive undertaking is Anthony Sketch, and as he explained to us, he even came up with a brilliant backstory to explain how all the icons came together.
Ring of Horror features a total of 36 Horror icons, both heroes and villains. 20 men and 16 women, all beating the crap out of one another to be the “King of Horror Champion” (Men’s Division), “Queen of Scream Champion” (Women’s Division), or the “Hack and Slash Champions” (Tag Team Division).
The arena is custom made to fit the horror feel, and also has an interesting backstory.
The host of Ring Of Horror, Guile, is using the Necronomicon to bind them all to the arena, unable to kill each other, fighting for the entertainment of others. Currently nobody knows why, but people are too busy enjoying themselves to care.
The roster of horror icons in the Ring of Horror federation includes the big slasher villains like Jason, Freddy, Michael, and Leatherface, and Sketch also created characters such as Ash Williams, Herbert West, Candyman, Cassie Hack, Jigsaw, Pennywise, and Trick ‘r Treat‘s Sam. Coolest of all, this custom content can be downloaded to your own system so you can play along.
Preview the federation below and then feel free to watch a horror icon Royal Rumble!