Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that The Blair Witch Project changed everything.
From the way it was directed to the way it was marketed and absorbed into the culture, there hadn’t been a film that big and that groundbreaking in a very, very long time. And there hasn’t been since, really. Besides perhaps Saw, there hasn’t been a game-changer in the horror world on the same level as Blair Witch.
I clearly remember the night I went to see it in my little hometown theater, in Newton, NJ. Going in, I still didn’t know if it was real or not. The media had been covering the film like crazy (it was even on the cover of Time magazine), but I didn’t really pay attention to that kinda stuff back then. I left the theater jarred. Up in rural north Jersey, the forest extends to your backyard. The woods were my playground. But after Blair Witch, it was rare for me to go in them without coming down with a wicked bad case of the willies.
15 years later, I had a chance to confront the two guys who scared the hell out of 17-year-old me. At the mighty Mile High Horror Film Festival, I interviewed directors Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez in a service hallway of the Alamo Drafthouse Littleton.
Going back 15 years, you made the film and submitted it to Sundance. What were your expectations like?
Eduardo Sanchez (E): We were broke, so we just wanted it to sell it on video, maybe. We couldn’t even imagine a theatrical release.
Daniel Myrick (D): Maybe in Romania.
E: We were thinking maybe video or one of the cable networks would pick it up, give us a little money so that way we could go and make another movie. That was basically our expectations. Before we got accepted into Sundance we had a whole plan for in case we didn’t get in, you know? But luckily we got in.
When the film finally got released the hype was incredible, like nothing that had been seen in years, particularly for a horror film. But what was the hype like at Sundance that night?
D: Pretty crazy. There was a high level of awareness going into Sundance and we had an agent lined up and a lawyer already setting things up. There was an industry vibe too, a lot of the industry had dialed into it. But the first screening at the Egyptian was great. There was a lot of people lined up outside the theater and there was a lot of excitement. And I think Sundance had a lot to do with it, with the resurrection of their midnight screenings and they had a lot of promotion going on for it which built up a lot of anticipation.
Going back to the filming, I remember hearing that you guys wanted to show the witch or were planning on showing the witch, but then you never did?
E: Well, we wanted to show something more spectacular than what we ended up with. But we couldn’t come up with an idea and we had a limited budget, so it was going to have to be something really clever. We actually didn’t have the ending of the movie when we were filming. We started shooting the movie without the ending and I remember Gregg (Hale), our producer, would come in and be like, “Man, you got five days,” and we would go back and think about it. But we were so busy trying to keep the movie going. It was like this constant movement because we had to monitor the actors and direct them three or four times a day, figure out where they were going. What the hell was the question again?
Were you ever planning on showing the witch?
E: Okay yeah, so we were thinking maybe we could show somebody levitating or have arms coming out of the walls. I mean, we had no idea, but we didn’t want to betray the rest of the movie. There are no real gags in the movie, we weren’t showing anything, you know, except a bundle of sticks and some teeth. And then maybe two or three days before we had to shoot the ending we came up with the idea for the ending. Also, Gregg came up to us and said “You can’t do any art department, you can’t come up with an idea that requires any building or anything.” So we were lucky we came up with the idea and it worked well. Artisan wanted to change it when they bought the movie. That was the first thing they wanted to do was change the ending.
D: Yeah they did a test screening in New Jersey and they were a little freaked out by everyone asking questions about the ending. It was scaring people, but they wanted some kind of closure. So they had us shoot like five new endings. We were broke, so we took the money.
E: Yeah, we got paid. It was something like $80,000 so we were like “Hell yeah, we’ll shoot an alien invasion for that,” you know? Then we decided to keep the original ending and I remember them telling us “Your ending is going to cost us millions at the box office.”
I also remember hearing about what you put Heather, Michael, and Josh through while filming. That you fed them in the beginning, then gradually cut off their food and sleep. Could you talk about the process a little bit more?
D: When we cast the movie we sort of let the actors know that this wasn’t going to be a normal shoot. For example, we informed the actors just what their characters would know about the background of the Blair Witch mythology. So Heather knew more about it than the guys did, because we wanted them to ask her questions as to what they’re doing out there. So that was in keeping with our whole methodology in how we prepared the actors. When they first went into the woods, we wanted them all charged up, ready to go, and as time moved on, they had less and less sleep, they we hungrier and hungrier, and it allowed them to stay more in character. I mean, they were really tired. They look exhausted in the film. So we let that work for them in their performance.
E: And they didn’t know what was going to happen. We never gave them the whole treatment.
D: Heather thought she was may have signed up for a snuff film.
E: She was really the only girl. She didn’t know Mike or Josh or us either, you know? It was a big gamble for her. She had some balls. They knew a little bit what was going to happen because of the rehearsals and the audition process, but other than that they had no idea what was going to happen. Especially with how it was going to end.
D: We made adjustments as we went along too. First we were going to pull Mike out, then we were going to pull Josh out.
E: Yeah, it was always going to be the sound guy that disappeared, but we were watching the footage and Josh and Heather were just at each other’s fucking throats. So we pulled Josh out to maybe get a different tone and it was a good decision. Also, Josh wanted to get the fuck outta there. He was done.
After the release and the film blew up, was there any kind of pressure from Artisan to make a sequel?
D: Oh yeah. That came pretty early on. I think it’s a natural inclination. It was hot, so they wanted to capitalize on it right away. And I get it. Our logic was that Blair got so big, that it naturally started getting backlash…it just got too big, it got too much hype and it became fashionable for everyone to dislike the movie, so we figured we’ll just let it die down for a couple of years and then decide to revisit it or not. But Artisan wanted to get something going right away.
E: Yeah right away they wanted us to do a sequel and we were just not ready or willing. So they did the second one. We gave them our blessings and they wanted us creatively involved but we didn’t like what we saw. I mean, we like Joe (Berlinger) and we love his documentaries, but this story was going to be really tough to pull off. But the train had already left the station so we just kinda sat back and watched it happen.
Weren’t you guys taking about a prequel at some point?
D: Yeah we thought about a prequel, an origin story of Elly Kedward we thought would be cool. We also maintained that the Blair mythology has so much stuff to mine from, you know? There’s a lot of cool things that we came up with for this 50 year cycle of shit that happens in those woods that we could explore creatively. So we wanted to do a non-traditional follow-up to Blair Witch. The problem that I see is that the studios see the found footage movie and they want something just like it because it made them money. But we’re more in the mind of we built this world and the found footage episode was one episode, so that needed to be what it was for the filmmakers that disappeared in the woods. But we could do a period piece, a black and white film, whatever, and it could all be part of the Blair Witch brand. I still think it’s valid, it’s just hard for studios to embrace that.
E: Yeah, Book of Shadows was pretty far off of what we wanted to do. I didn’t think it was a bad movie, it just wasn’t in the same world, you know?
D: We just felt betrayed, you know? It became this self-referential thing, where it was like the studio was purposely betraying the original mythology or they didn’t understand it. If they called it anything else, it would’ve been a decent little genre film. But it’s kind of the sign of death now for the franchise. It’s like they didn’t understand anything about what made our movie work.
Now that it’s been 15 years, what do you think of the entire state of found footage. You obviously didn’t invent it, but Blair Witch certainly popularized it.
D: It’s definitely become a sub-genre, but I think that found footage would’ve happened regardless. Today, everyone is videotaping everything, man. It’s part of our pop-culture and our social language now. So it can’t not be a part of our narrative storytelling in this day and age. And I think that a lot of the films that call themselves found footage films, they’re bad because of flawed storytelling and the fundamentals that make any movie not a good movie to watch. I’ve seen found footage movies that they’ve chosen to make a certain way, and they haven’t developed the characters and it doesn’t make any sense, all the same reasons any movie doesn’t work well. And then every once in a while a found footage movie will come along that’s a really cool movie, a really cool way of doing it. So it’s gotten kind of a bad wrap I think, because it’s so easy to shoot things that way, cost wise.
E: But it’s not easy.
D: Cost wise, you think it’s going to be easy. But it’s a whole different set of rules you have to follow.
E: When we were working on V/H/S/2, Jason Eisener and Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett thought it was going to be easier, but they said it was one of the hardest things they’ve done. You have to think about filmmaking in a different way. So I agree with Dan, you still have to have a good story, you still have to have a good reason to be making the movie. So it’s not just the genre that’s fucking up the movie, it’s just that it doesn’t work with the filmmaker.
D: But there are some great ones.
E: Yeah there are. And we’re kind of like the godfathers of found footage. So when we agreed to do a segment of V/H/S/2, we were like, “Man, ours better be not be the fucking worst one.” But I think all the movies were solid and it was cool to be inspired by all these filmmakers that are at least 10 years younger than us. But like Dan said, I think found footage is always going to be a part of something new, a part of something else. It’s part of the way we live now. As a technique now, it’s going to be around forever.
D: It’s all part of the visual landscape now. You watch a crime drama now or any TV show for that matter and it’s all cellphones and CCTV. It wasn’t so much that 10, 15 years ago, when we first did Blair. But now it’s everywhere, man. We’re so interconnected now and I think that’s cool. It’s all just about a clever way of making it work for a story.
Opening October 24 from Millennium, check out this exclusive clip from Brad Anderson’s (Session 9, The Machinist) Stonehearst Asylum, starring Underworld‘s Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley and Brendan Gleeson.
This exclusive clip takes you into a cell where a doctor comes face-to-face with a patient, and he’s super angry. Kingsley’s character looks on and laughs.
In the film, “A recent medical school grad who takes a position at a mental institution soon finds himself taken with one of his colleagues, though he has no initial idea of a recent, horrifying staffing change.“
The past several entries in the ‘Check This Band Out’ series have focused on really creepy music that would be perfect for Halloween. However, I want to take a quick jump away from that to bring you eccentric Russian duo Iamthemorning, who just released their new album Belighted on Kscope.
The album is rich, beautiful progressive rock, focusing more on the art of the genre, crafting wonderful tracks with some fantastic songwriting. There are some truly gorgeous moments, as well as a few haunting passages. I’ve spent the entire morning listening to this album and loving every second.
Head below to check this out, especially if you’re a fan of Porcupine Tree, Anathema, White Willow, Leprous, and bands of that ilk. Then, if you enjoyed it as much as I did, you can order the CD here.
Having just watched Nightbreed for the first time, I can safely say Clive Barker is a master of world building. BOOM! Studios have known it for years, and have worked to further develop these huge worlds into a more robust form. The “Clive Barker’s Nightbreed” series has built characters and a world revolving around a world far too few appreciated in the time of it’s release. Now we get to torture ourselves again with a brand new tale set in the Nightbreed universe.
After watching the film, I sessioned through these first five issues, and I eagerly await #6, next week.
CLIVE BARKER’S NIGHTBREED #6
Author: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Cover Artists: A. Riley Rossmo B. Christopher Mitten (Incentive)
Synopsis: Boone must learn what it means to be a god of man and a god of beast. In Annastajia’s search for beauty, a monster will be born from her imperfections. Lude, the demon of a god long past, will live a lifetime of jest in the face of an eternity of chaos. All creatures of the night must learn that life is a fickle thing. Midian calls to us all.
Los Angeles reader who want to be the first on their block to see Blair Witch director Eduardo Sanchez’s Exists, which pits a group of twenty-somethings against the legendary Bigfoot, we have 5 PAIRS of tickets to a special screening taking place Thursday, October 23rd at 7PM.
To RSVP, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be selected at random and contacted with a location. Each winner can bring (1) guest. Please only RSVP if you can make it.
“For five friends, it was a chance for a summer getaway— a weekend of camping in the Texas Big Thicket. But visions of a carefree vacation are shattered with an accident on a dark and desolate country road. In the wake of the accident, a bloodcurdling force of nature is unleashed—something not exactly human, but not completely animal— an urban legend come to terrifying life…and seeking murderous revenge.“
The film stars Chris Osborn, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Samuel Davis, Denise Williamson and Brian Steele and is produced by Jane Fleming, Mark Ordesky, Robin Cowie and J. Andrew Jenkins.
Exists hits theaters and iTunes on October 24.
The folks behind the Canadian production company Black Fawn Films (Antisocial, In the House of Flies) are as hard-working, down to earth and humble as they come in this industry. You can see their steady growth with each passing film. The craftsmanship is impressive especially considering their insanely low budgets. That willingness to better themselves as artists is apparent whenever you talk to them face to face. Black Fawn takes great pride in building their brand in a real grassroots sort of way. I’ve run into them on several occasions at the convention scene and have never met a group more passionate towards both the filmmaking process and the genre itself. You can get stuck for hours at their booth, chatting up about shared experiences especially growing up loving movies. That undeniable affection towards the past is clear as day with their latest production The Drownsman. It’s a straight-faced, total throwback to early Wes Craven, most obvious being A Nightmare on Elm Street. The film accompanied by its gorgeous poster artwork would be more than welcome on the video shelf, when that sort of thing was all the rage.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Co-Writer/Producer/Director Chad Archibald (Neverlost, Ejecta) to talk about Black Fawn’s latest venture and beyond.
Q: What was the genesis behind The Drownsman?
Chad Archibald: When I was growing up, I loved all the Nightmare on Elm Streets, all the Jason films, all the iconic villains. When we (Archibald and his co-writer Cody Calahan) came up with this concept, it was us wanting to make one of those films…with a tiny budget but that was the inspiration.
Q: How did the story of The Drownsman came to be?
CA: I started watching horror films at such a young age. My mom basically realized that it would shut me up for a long time so she put me in front of some horror films. We were just trying to come up with an iconic villain. Everyone has got their little hook — Freddy has fire. Water is terrifying to me. I couldn’t swim for the majority of my life. I’m still a pretty poor swimmer. I was always terrified of drowning so that’s always been a huge thing with me. When Cody and I started to discuss it, we just realized it’s an element that hasn’t really been explored in this genre all too much. I think part of it is just the fear that when you drown there’s no blood and horror movies love blood. So we did this film and there’s maybe a cup full of blood in the entire film where our other films we literally brought in like 15 gallons of it. The more blood the better. So I know it was kind of a risk doing that but the concept of claustrophobia and being underwater is so terrifying that we felt it could work.
Q: What was the challenge of still maintaining that edge in the material?
CA: I think the idea that water is everywhere. We’re in a world where water is safe but at the same time water has the potential of becoming dangerous. It’s literally everywhere. The idea of using it as kind of a portal; if you spill a cup of water, The Drownsman can reach out and drag you into the table. We kept with the idea that water can become a threat no matter where you go. Yes, there’s no blood but we have that element of fear dragging you into it plus the character of The Drownsman. His backstory (which will be further explored in a potential sequel) is that basically he’s been in the womb for too long. When he was born, he was basically a two and a half year old child. His mother was so obese that she didn’t even realize she was pregnant. She died during childbirth. His father beaten him all his life and because he was in the womb for so long he had vivid memories of being underwater and feeling the heartbeat of a woman. As he grew older, he started kidnapping these women, bringing them into his basement tub and holding them underwater to relive the sensation of hearing the heartbeat of his mother.
Q: How did you come up with the look of The Drownsman?
CA: We watched a bunch of stuff even about the Titanic, boats that have gone down and finding bodies that are bloated and wrinkly. The idea that he’s a bloated body that’s been walking around for a while so his skin is hanging. We worked with Jason Derushie (one half of The Brothers Gore FX who were behind Monster Brawl and Exit Humanity) on the design. Ry Barrett (who plays The Drownsman) was in the makeup chair for four hours. The inspiration was just kind of soggy, something creepy and terrifying. We wanted to stay away from iconic looks such as The Ring with just wet hair.
Q: I absolutely adore your poster. If I had seen this cover art in the video store back in the eighties, I would have totally rented it. Can you tell me a little about how it was put together?
CA: I love the first Nightmare poster. We took that and few other classic horror inspirations and worked through it. We did a photo shoot with Michelle Mylett who played Madison in this bathtub that we got. I think all of the actual hands are my hands. We shot it all separately.
Q: How about all of the water elements?
CA: The majority of the water is actually real. There was a lot of splashing Michelle. She basically got under water and struck a pose with all of her limbs and water splashing out. A lot of that is real. The makeup on the hands is photoshopped because they are just my plain hands.
Q: You’re presently completing Antisocial 2. What can we expect?
CA: It’s much different from the first; the scope, the story. The first one was really contained. It was in a house, it was during a world much like ours now, dealing with social media, easily accessible. We like cliffhanger endings but we never actually talked about doing a second one or what the story would be. In the first one Michelle is pregnant so in this one, we continue the story with her and her child, in a world years later with this idea that social media kind of took over the world, got a mind of its own and where we would be. It was so interesting to create this world where people are so afraid of technology. We have burning crosses with computer monitors on it. It’s a post-apocalyptic but technology-based world where if you’ve never been on this website The Social Redroom (the protagonist of Antisocial), you’d always be terrified of a screen, a monitor. We live in a world where we’re connected through social media all the time. I can reach out to whoever I want in my friends’ list, wherever they are in the world. The idea moving forward is that the users have been turned by The Social Redroom; they’re all connected like the Borg. It’s very different yet there are elements that we drew from Skynet, the Borg, zombie films and squished them all together.
Q: How many films does Black Fawn have slated to make with Breakthrough Entertainment?
CA: Including Antisocial 2, there are nine films we are slated to make. The majority we have lined up are all genre. When we signed this group of films with Breakthrough, we didn’t want to start pumping out generic, faceless horror films that are just going to get swallowed up. We still want to continue doing what we do, coming out to conventions and talking to people face to face. We worked really, really hard on concepts, turned down probably five hundred scripts. Concept is king for sure. It’s a huge thing for us, making sure we keep the quality up, work as hard as we need to get this slate out and maintain the quality that Black Fawn and Breakthrough has done in the past.
The Drownsman screens at Toronto After Dark Film Festival on Sunday October 19th.
If it’s Halloween it must be Saw.
We announced last month that Saw would be getting a limited theatrical re-release for this coming Halloween. Now, a third artistic alternate one-sheet has premiered to commemorate the film’s 10th anniversary!
The film will open on Friday, October 31st, with select screenings beginning Thursday night, October 30th. The seven Saw films grossed $874 million at the box office worldwide and were hailed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Most Successful Horror Franchise” of all time.
Saw was the first collaboration for co-creators James Wan, who directed the film, and Leigh Whannell, who wrote the screenplay. Together, they also created the successful Insidious franchise, and Wan has gone on to direct such high-profile films as The Conjuring.
Directed by Wan from a script penned by Whannell, Saw is a psychological thriller focusing on two men who wake up in a secure lair of a serial killer, with a dead body lying between them. The killer, nicknamed “Jigsaw,” leaves them tape recorded messages with details of how to make it out alive. The only way for one man to make it out alive is to do the unthinkable. The two men desperately try to find a way out, while also trying to figure out who’s behind their kidnapping.
The film, which was released over Halloween weekend on October 29, 2004, was produced by Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules, and Mark Burg.
Check out some newly discovered rare hi-res images from Saw!
Magnet Releasing shared their annual V/H/S director featurette, this time for V/H/S: Viral, which will complete our V/H/S trilogy when it hits VOD platforms October 23, 2014 (next Friday!), with a limited theatrical run slated for November 21, 2014.
The new tape features segments directed by Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl, the incredible The ABCs of Death segment “D Is for Dogfight”), Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial), Gregg Bishop (The Other Side, Dance of the Dead), as well as Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (Resolution, Spring).
“A police chase after a deranged ice cream truck has captivated the attention of the greater Los Angeles area. Dozens of fame—obsessed teens flock to the streets with their video cameras and camera phones, hell—bent on capturing the next viral video. But there is something far more sinister occurring in the streets of L.A. than a simple police chase. A resounding effect is created onto all those obsessed with capturing salacious footage for no other purpose than to amuse or titillate. Soon the discovery becomes that they themselves are the stars of the next video, one where they face their own death.”
Patrick Lawrie, Emmy Argo, Heather Hayes, Jessica Luza, John Curran, Justin Welborn, Mary Ralston, Michael Aaron Milligan, Gustavo Salmerón, Marian Álvarez, Xavi Daura, Esteban Navarro, Nick Blanco, Chase Newton, Shane Bradey and Jayden Robison star.
Marcel Sarmiento, TJ Cimfel, Dave White, Gregg Bishop, Nacho Vigalondo, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead wrote the screenplays.
Intrada has released the soundtracks for several fantastic horror and giallo films, including Bad Milo! (Ted Masur), Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (Alan Howarth), Le Foto Proibite Di Una Signora Per Bene (Ennio Morricone), as well as Howard Shore‘s scores for three David Cronenberg films: Dead Ringers, Crash, and Naked Lunch. They’ve also posted the soundtracks for Brian Retzell‘s Hannibal.
The soundtracks can be purchased here.
Swedish melodic death metal band At The Gates have released an official video for “Death And The Labyrinth”, which comes from their upcoming album At War With Reality (out October 28th via Century Media Records). The video was directed by Patric Ullaeus, who has created videos for In Flames, Arch Enemy, and many more.
Vocalist Tomas Lindberg comments:
We had a very special idea about the kind of approach we wanted for the first video from ‘At War With Reality’. What we needed was someone gifted enough to throw himself artistically into the project full on. The lyrics to the song are very multi-layered and surreal, so we wanted someone to create a fevered dreamworld that went with the melancholic frustration and dramatic desperation that we feel comes across in the song. This is exactly what Patric has created for us. It’s his vision of the music and lyrics, which compliments the track perfectly in my opinion. I couldn’t be happier!
Read our 5-skull review of At War With Reality here.
Directed by Steven R. Monroe
Distributed by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Ah, vengeful Asian ghosts – can ever we get enough of them? Director Steven R. Monroe hopes not as he dishes up a forest full in Grave Halloween. Set in the real-life Aokigahara Forest in Japan (a strange cultural hotbed of self-termination), Grave Halloween follows a bunch of American students studying nearby who set off to the forest in order to perform a ritual that should lay to rest the tortured spirit of the mother of one of their number. The girl in question, Maiko (Leeb – looking nowhere near as convincingly Asian as the child playing her in flashbacks is), lost her mother to suicide when she was a young girl, and was then adopted by American parents.
Seeking to reconnect with her heritage, she is thus back in Japan with the only physical reminder that she has of her mother – a box of trinkets that she received, supposedly left to her by her late parent.
Accompanying Maiko on her trip are a group of various friends, including film students looking to make a documentary of the ritual, and a further uninvited group of stereotypical party dudes who take none of their activity within the forest seriously. Pretty soon, the theft of a watch from one of the suicide sites by the aforementioned part dudes angers the restless spirits residing in the forest, and the blood begins to flow. Throw in a couple of cops who take care of the forest, and are sick to death of disrespectful tourists, and a wizened old local man and you have a recipe for some ghostly fun, right?
Well… almost. As your typical ‘twenty-something “teens” in peril’ movie, Grave Halloween mostly achieves what it sets out to do via some good use of location (even if completely fails to capitalise on the disturbing nature of its setting), and especially its effectively grim menagerie of menacing ghosts. There’s a surprising amount of convincing gore to be had, most impressive being a particularly nasty sequence involving one unfortunate being quartered by living trees. On the flipside the characters are generally nondescript – usually only making their mark on you when being particularly annoying – and the presentation rarely feels anything beyond the typical Syfy Channel fare amongst which it holds root. Monroe attempts to spice things up a little by chucking in found footage elements using the film crew’s camera, but it merely serves to add to the unambitious feel of the entire affair; a ‘been there, done that’ element that merely adds to the sense of familiarity and really isn’t necessary at all.
The history of Maiko and her mother feels muddled – strange flashback sequences presenting a foreboding element that makes you constantly question why on Earth she’d want to have anything to do with her spirit, restless or not – but does lead to a nice twist in the payoff that unfortunately may be missed, or misunderstood, if you’ve already given up on caring by then. Which would be entirely forgivable, frankly, given the threadbare script. There’s also a secondary twist, quite integral to the story, that is so cack-handed and difficult to believe that it’s a wonder that anyone involved saw fit to keep it in there.
Still, the cast do what they can with the thin script and Monroe sets up a number of tense and creepy set pieces, relishing the manner in which the spirits of the forest toy with and segregate their prey before moving in for the kill. Grave Halloween isn’t great – hell, it’s barely even ‘good’ – but it does what it needs to, ultimately. It’s a relatively inoffensive, if overly familiar, slice of horror sporting a smattering of creepy moments. If anything, at least it’s a step up from Monroe’s odious 2013 effort, I Spit On Your Grave 2. Then again, that’s faint praise indeed.
Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment’s UK DVD release of Grave Halloween is a barebones one. Just like the film, there’s nothing special to see here, folks.
Good news for our UK fans: we got our furry mitts on two copies of director Lowell Dean’s howlin’ good time, WolfCop (review), on Blu-ray to give away courtesy of Studiocanal. Get in here and enter nooooOOOOOWWW!
It’s not unusual for alcoholic cop Lou Garou (Leo Fafard) to black out and wake up in unfamiliar surroundings, but lately things have taken a strange turn. Crime scenes seem oddly familiar. Lou’s senses are heightened, and when the full moon is out, he’s a rage-fueled werewolf.
WolfCop is one cop’s quest to become a better man… One transformation at a time.
To be in with a chance of winning, just send us an email at email@example.com including your FULL NAME AND POSTAL ADDRESS; then sit back, crack open a brewski and enjoy some hair o’ the dog. We’ll take care of the rest.
Please note that this competition is open only to UK residents.
Tattoo artist Shane Murphy is getting into the holiday spirit with his Crown of Thorns Tattoo shop in Worcester, MA.
“This month I’ve been working on a series of 5×7 watercolor paintings based off Bart Simpson in various horror costumes,” he tells us. “I will have 12 in total but here is the first 8.”
The first 8 include Bart Simpson dressed as Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, Beetlejuice, Candyman, The Terminator, Pinhead and, of course, Ash!
Get more Halloween Treat articles here on Bloody.
Go Inside American Horror Story: Freak Show to Meet Dandy; See a Preview of Episode 4.03 – Edward Mordrake Part 1
Is everyone enjoying the sights and sounds of “American Horror Story: Freak Show” so far? Want to learn more about Finn Wittrock’s character, the lovably loony Dandy? Then check out this “inside” look at him along with a preview of next week’s Episode 4.03, “Edward Mordrake Part 1,” which features guest star Wes Bentley.
As a bonus, FX has also released Sarah Paulson’s amazing performance of “Criminal” from last night’s episode.
“American Horror Story: Freak Show” – Episode 4.03 – “Edward Mordrake Part 1″ (airs 10/22/14)
The Freaks refuse to perform on Halloween due to an old carny superstition. Jimmy (Evan Peters) is smitten by a woman claiming to be a fortune teller. Ethel (Kathy Bates) receives life-changing news.
Alt-rock band Foo Fighters have released a stream of “Something From Nothing”, the first single from their upcoming album Sonic Highways. The track has some serious funk while mixing in vocalist Dave Grohl’s signature croons and yells. You can listen to it below.
You can pre-order Sonic Highways, which comes out November 10th, via iTunes, which will net you the song for an immediate download.
There’s a big dinner happening in N’awlins next Monday night on “The Originals,” and along with a clip from the upcoming Episode 2.03, entitled “Every Mother’s Son,” we also have a new preview hosted by executive producers Julie Plec and Michael Narducci.
“The Originals” Episode 2.03 – “Every Mother’s Son” (airs 10/20/14): When Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Elijah (Daniel Gillies) receive a cryptic invitation to dinner from their mother, Esther, who continues to inhabit the body of Harvest girl Cassie (guest star Natalie Dreyfuss), they find themselves preparing for the worst.
With the help of a new witch named Lenore (guest star Sonja Sohn), Klaus, Elijah, and Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) attempt to stay one step ahead of Esther, but things quickly take an unexpected turn. While Elijah finds himself reluctantly teaming up with Gia (guest star Nishi Munshi), a newly-turned vampire, Hayley is faced with an enticing proposition about her new status as a Hybrid after a startling encounter with Esther.
Finally, Esther reveals a shocking secret about Klaus’ childhood and unveils her ultimate plan for her children. Charles Michael Davis also stars. Dermott Downs directed the episode written by Christopher Hollier.
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We’ve been anxiously awaiting next week’s return of “Grimm” to NBC, and the network has finally released the first clip from the upcoming Episode 4.01, “Thanks for the Memories,” in which Nick, Trubel, Hank, and Juliette face the aftermath of Season Three’s finale.
Evil has a new enemy in “Grimm” Season Four, premiering October 24th on NBC, followed by the series debut of “Constantine.”
“Grimm” Episode 4.01 – “Thanks for the Memories” (10/24/14; 9-10pm)
NICK MUST LEARN TO COPE WITH HIS NEW REALITY AS A NEW WESEN HITS PORTLAND TO STEAL ITS VICTIMS MEMORIES – ELIZABETH RODRIGUEZ, LOUISE LOMBARD, ALEXIS DENISOF, AND JACQUELINE TOBONI GUEST STAR – After the events at Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee’s (Bree Turner) wedding, Nick (David Giuntoli) is faced with losing his identity as a Grimm. Hank (Russell Hornsby) and Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) join Nick as they try to figure out how to deal with Trubel (guest star Jacqueline Toboni) as she faces the consequences of a heinous murder she committed.
Meanwhile, when Wu (Reggie Lee) arrives at the scene, his discoveries bring back images of his traumatic encounter. A new threat arrives in Portland to steal the memories of its victims, leaving them in a state of dementia. Elsewhere, Captain Renard’s (Sasha Roiz) life hangs in the balance and Adalind (Claire Coffee) falls into Prince Viktor’s (guest star Alexis Denisof) trap as she desperately searches for her baby.
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Here at Dread Central we love tales of men vs. beasts. Especially giant beasts. Such is the case pertaining to Ron Howard’s latest film, In the Heart of the Sea. Read on for the first info, trailer, and more!
From the Press Release
Oscar winner Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) directs the action adventure In the Heart of the Sea, based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling book about the dramatic true journey of the Essex.
In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. But that told only half the story.
In the Heart of the Sea reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic, and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.
In the Heart of the Sea stars Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers, Rush) as the vessel’s veteran first mate Owen Chase; Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) as its inexperienced Captain, George Pollard; Cillian Murphy (The Dark Knight Rises) as second mate Matthew Joy; and Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) as novelist Herman Melville, whose inquiries into the event 30 years later helped bring the story to light.
Tom Holland (The Impossible) also stars as young seaman Tom Nickerson with Brendan Gleeson (Edge of Tomorrow) as the same man, 30 years later. Spanish actor Jordi Mollà (Riddick) is the captain of another ship, the Archimedes, who tries to warn the Essex of what may lie ahead.
Howard directed from a screenplay by Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond), story by Charles Leavitt and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), based on the book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick, winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Nonfiction.
The film is produced by Joe Roth (Oz the Great and Powerful), Paula Weinstein (Blood Diamond, This Is Where I Leave You), Will Ward, Brian Grazer (J. Edgar), and Ron Howard. Serving as executive producers are Bruce Berman, Sarah Bradshaw, Palak Patel, Erica Huggins, and David Bergstein with William M. Connor as co-producer.
The behind-the-scenes creative team includes Oscar-winning director of photography Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire, Rush); production designer Mark Tildesley (The Fifth Estate); Oscar-winning editors Michael Hill (Apollo 13, Rush) and Dan Hanley (Apollo 13); costume designer Julian Day (Rush); and composer Roque Baños (Evil Dead).
In the Heart of the Sea is a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a COTT Productions-Enelmar Productions, A.I.E. co-production, a Roth Films/Spring Creek/Imagine Entertainment Production, in association with Kia Jam.
Opening on March 13, 2015, in theatres and IMAX, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.
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As we weren’t excited enough already about Showtime’s recent announcement of a limited “Twin Peaks” series heading our way in 2016, today we learned that Mark Frost, who co-created the iconic show with David Lynch, is writing a tie-in novel, The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks.
Per The Wrap, the book’s publisher, Macmillan subsidiary Flatiron Books, has said that the novel “reveals what has happened to the people of that iconic fictional town since we last saw them 25 years ago.” It will also offer “a deeper glimpse into the central mystery that was only touched on by the original series.”
The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks will go on sale worldwide in late 2015, ahead of Showtime’s revival of the series.
Related Story: 9-Episode Twin Peaks Miniseries Heading to Showtime
“[Flatiron president and publisher] Bob Miller and I have enjoyed a fantastic fifteen-year relationship in publishing,” Frost said of the book. “This has long been a dream project of mine that will bring a whole other aspect of the world of ‘Twin Peaks’ to life for old fans and new. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
In addition, the site says Showtime will run the first two seasons of the original series. Get those DVRs ready!
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Starring Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, Terri, McMinn, William Vail, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen, Edwin Neal
Distributed by MPI Media Group
When Dark Sky/MPI Media Group announced a 40th Anniversary Edition of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, you could hear synchronized groans from movie collectors the world over. “What was wrong with the last one?” That question echoed across the digital ether, leaving message boards and horror blogs to wonder if this wasn’t just another cash-grab for a revered title. In this miraculous age where folks like Synapse Films, Scorpion Releasing, Scream Factory, and Vinegar Syndrome (to name a few) are bringing dozens of titles to Blu-ray for the very first time, it’s maybe harder to get excited about a film that, unquestionably, has been treated very well in the annals of DVD and beyond.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about the film itself. At this point, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is inborn in us as horror fans. We know why it resonates, and why it’s a perfect horror film. But I’m not sure I can think of another movie that takes on new layers, discoverable through repeat viewings and, perhaps more importantly, a constantly evolving world view. In my youngest years as a horror fan, Tobe Hooper’s film was easily categorized as sort of a proto-slasher. Yes, it has elements commonplace in the subgenre (kids in rural isolation killed one-by-one by a masked maniac), though I never considered The Texas Chain Saw Massacre a bona fide slasher. It’s too real, trading suspense for primal ferocity, and then focusing on the encroaching insanity of its victim, as opposed to boiling into a battle of wits between hero versus killer. Yes, it has elements of a slasher (namely the second act), but it’s so much more.
There comes a point in any film fanatic’s life when he or she begins digging deeper into the movies they love. And like any good college student, I did that same, reading The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as a meditation on the destruction of the nuclear family in post-Vietnam America. The local economy has wilted in the wake of cost-savings and efficiency measures, leading to the closing of the mainstay slaughterhouse, sapping many jobs from an area that needed them. Those who refused to follow the work are left to their own devices, and we get the sense that maybe the Sawyers weren’t always so brazen in their mass-murdering efforts (especially since the Hardesty’s grandfather essentially lived right next door to them).
More recently, Phil Noble, Jr. from Badass Digest tweeted about the film’s astrological aspects, suggesting that the kids were perhaps fated to die that August 18th. It’s something that hung over my head as I watched the film for the umpteenth time and found it gave the movie an even more disturbing quality.
What this says of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is that it works on numerous levels. Yes, it’s grounded in oft-celebrated “gritty naturalism” that makes some fans feel like they need to be watching it on blurry VHS in order to truly ‘experience’ it. But consider the rest of the information presented in the film and it becomes something of a cinematic Rorschach: what exactly was Tobe Hooper trying to say? Some maintain it’s the stuff of parody, while others read it as a broad depiction of personified insanity. After 40 years, this conversation continues unabated, and that’s perhaps the greatest testament to its abilities.
About the transfer
Now I’m sure you want to know if The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 40th Anniversary Edition is worth your hard-earned bucks. And since I’ve spent a good chunk of my life consuming all of the content packed onto this disc, and scrutinizing the new 4k transfer, I’ll attempt to provide you with an answer. Let me start by saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with the MPI “Ultimate Edition” disc released in 2008, other than the fact that the master was made over a decade ago, and sourced from the 16mm internegative taken from the camera A/B rolls. All things considered, that disc still looks great and it continues to be a respectable way to savor the film.
TCM 40’s transfer was taken from the original 16mm ECO positive, offering a 4k version supervised by Tobe Hooper. Colors pop, grain structure is good, and there’s plenty of detail on display. I think it goes without saying that 16mm looks the way it does, and so the bizarre, ongoing mindset that Blu-ray is going to make The Texas Chain Saw Massacre somehow feel like a new and clean movie is completely asinine. If anything, the added clarity makes the movie feel more authentic and nasty because of the details present. The slightly “warmer” feel of this transfer may be a bone of contention for purists, but it’s not as drastic as some detractors have cited.
There are a few minor tweaks that are raising eyebrows in some corners of the Internet. At the beginning of the film, Tobe Hooper replaced a fade to black with a hard cut to black. Fans have been vocal, and Dark Sky says that Tobe has agreed to restore this to the way it once was in future pressings of the disc. While I’ll talk more about the audio, there’s also a split second glitch that impacts Sally’s scream from the pick-up flatbed at the end of the film. I’ll admit, I didn’t notice this upon my watch, though Dark Sky says it will be addressed in future pressings as well.
Regarding the audio: you choose from four flavors: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, LPCM 2.0, and LPCM Mono. Generally speaking, I spring for the mono tracks when offered, as I don’t like it when older films are outfitted with rear channel FX simply to give audiophiles a reason to be excited. But I did spin the 7.1 surround in my home theater and was impressed by its quality/clarity. Dialogue is clear, never drowned out by the chaos, and the surround channels are surprisingly active, and never forced. I was thrilled by the ferocity of this audio and have only nothing but good things to say about it—even with half a second less of Sally’s scream at the end.
Moving onto the supplements, I was supplied with the limited Black Maria edition for review. It includes the chipboard Black Maria truck packaging, a Leatherface apron (complete with blood stains), and a five disc set (two Blu-rays, three DVDs) with alternate Blu-ray packaging that’s only available here. Disc five is a bonus DVD, depicting a conversation between Exorcist director William Friedkin and director Tobe Hooper before a Los Angeles screening of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It’s a good discussion that benefits greatly from Friedkin’s gift of gab, handling the crowd with equal parts hilarity and contemplation as he grills Hooper on the film’s legacy. It runs an hour, but I could’ve watched it for another two.
Other than those exclusive supplements, the rest of the extras can be found on the four disc edition (there’s also a barebones single disc set that only houses the four audio commentaries). Anyone familiar with previous editions of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre will find some of this stuff to be a case of déjà vu, though it’s nice to have all of these materials housed in one comprehensive package.
- Audio commentary with director Tobe Hooper: this is a mediocre track, with Hooper lapsing into dry stretches without much insight or info. Honestly, who can blame him at this point?
- Audio commentary with DP Daniel Pearl, editor J. Larry Carroll, and sound recordist Ted Nicolaou: pretty nifty and enjoyable discussion, especially getting the chance to hear Nicolaou and Carroll get a chance to speak at length. It’s great to hear some different perspectives and while I had truthfully only intended to skim this track for time purposes, it wound up capturing my attention.
- Interview with production manager Ron Bozman: a 16 minute discussion from a more business-minded perspective.
- Interview with actor John Dugan: a 15 minute chat with Grandpa that covers the discomfort of shooting in those conditions. It’s well-worn territory, but what isn’t at this stage in the game?
- Interview with editor J. Larry Carroll: a 10 minute conversation that covers similar ground as the commentary track.
- New deleted scenes & outtakes: presented here without sound, sadly, but still worthwhile for archival purposes.
- Horror’s Hollowed Grounds: I swear I’ve seen this before, but it doesn’t look to be on my 2008 Blu-ray.
- Audio commentary with author David Gregory, art director Robert Burns, and actors Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, and Allen Danziger: A classic commentary from 2006, which walks the line between fun and informative.
- Audio commentary with director Tobe Hooper, DP Daniel Pearl, and actor Gunnar Hansen: this commentary dates all the way back to the 1998 Pioneer DVD and is probably even older. It was one of the first commentaries I ever got to listen to and I loved every second then.
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Shocking Truth: a 72 minute documentary that exhausts every aspect of the film, from its origins to the arduous shooting and beyond. An excellent complement to the movie itself.
- Flesh Wounds: Seven Stories of the Saw: as the title implies, seven stories (Daniel Pearl, Tim Harden, Edwin Neal, Dr. W.E. Barnes, Gunnar Hansen, a remembrance of those passed, and the film as seen through the eyes of horror fans) help explore the film’s legacy and impact.
- Off the Hook with Teri McMinn: this was a Blu-ray exclusive on the 2008 release. A quick tour of the infamous house with the lovely actress.
- Tour of the TCM House with Gunnar Hansen: if you’re eager for another tour, from a different perspective.
- Deleted scenes & outtakes: these date way back to the 1998 DVD and perhaps go back further to the laserdisc.
- Blooper reel
- “Shocking Truth” outtakes
- W.E. Barnes Presents “Making Grandpa” still gllery
- Still Gallery
- Trailers, TV & Radio spots
An exhaustive release in every regard. No stone is unturned. I can remember thinking in 1998 that I finally had the definitive release of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. 16 years later, MPI Media Group has proven me wrong. We’re fast approaching the point where Blu-ray producers should find it challenging to add anything of value to future releases. As it is, the sheer volume of information housed on these discs begins to feel redundant (especially when consumed in a single weekend).
But it’s everything a Chain Saw fanatic could want, and the audio and picture quality are superb. One of the best horror films of all time is graced with one of the best releases of the year. I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with MPI, no matter the edition chosen.
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