This week: Nintendo President Satoru Iwata passes away, “Ash Vs. Evil Dead,” the new Ghostbusters, We Are Still Here, and much more.
IFC Midnight and BoulderLight Pictures provided Bloody Disgusting with the one-sheet debut for Contracted: Phase II, revealed to be opening in Theaters, On Demand and Digital September 4th, 2015.
The Contracted II poster scratches in the text “I am the end,” while boasting “There’s no vaccine for fear.”
“Phase II follows the story of Samantha as she suffers from a mysterious and degenerative disease. Picking up directly where the previous film left off, Phase II follows Riley, one of the last people to come in contact with Samantha, as he scrambles to track down those responsible for the outbreak before the highly contagious disease not only consumes his body, but the world as we know it.”
This one is to be directed by Josh Forbes with a screenplay by Craig Walendziak. It will star Matt Mercer, Peter Cilella, Marianna Palka, Morgan Peter Brown, Laurel Vail, Alice Macdonald, Anna Lore and Suzanne Voss.
“We are thrilled to announce that we’ve wrapped principle photography on Contracted 2, an all out, bigger, crazier, virus-ier sequel in every way possible,” say producers J.D. Lifshitz and Raphael Margules. “We can’t wait to unleash it on fans.”
While we wait for FX to release the full teaser shown at the San Diego Comic-Con, last night’s “The Strain” returned for its second season. During one of the breaks, the first of many teaser promos allegedly aired for “American Horror Story: Hotel,” which returns this October.
The promo is ominous and has a weird demonic hand ringing the clerk bell at a concierge front desk. Every year FX airs more than a handful of teasers leading up to the full reveal.
Thus far the full cast includes Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Lady Gaga, Chloë Sevigny, Wes Bentley, Matt Bomer, Emma Roberts and Cheyenne Jackson.
Premiering this October, news out of Comic-Con revealed there won’t be any musical numbers in this season, despite the casting of Lady Gaga. According to Variety, Gaga’s character will be one of the antagonists: “She said, ‘I want to be evil,’” series creator Ryan Murphy recalled of his first meeting with Gaga. “I said, ‘You came to the right place.’”
And with the major cast in place, expect more cross-over characters, much like Pepper and Sister Mary Eunice. “This season you’ll see more and more and more of that. Characters from previous seasons will come check in to the hotel.”
We have three theories about the plot for “American Horror Story: Hotel”: H.H. Holmes the Inspiration Behind “American Horror Story: Hotel”? | New “American Horror Story: Hotel” Theory: The Cecil Hotel | Wait, There’s Another “American Horror Story: Hotel” Theory: The Garden of Allah!
To go along with our 40 screengrabs from Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, you can check out this behind-the-scenes featurette featuring stars Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam and Jim Beaver.
In Crimson Peak, “When her heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, a young woman is swept away to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay: a place filled with secrets that will haunt her forever. Between desire and darkness, between mystery and madness, lies the truth behind Crimson Peak.”
Uncover the mystery behind Crimson Peak on October 6th from Universal and Legendary Pictures.
Few fans managed to escape the terror of Bughuul at this year’s Comic-Con haunted by Sinister 2 and the gruesome #SinisterSightings lurking around any corner…
In a counter-point from the usual Hall H panel, terrifying twins took over San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter frightening unsuspecting Comic-Con attendees with a slew of sinister projections of homemade inspired kill films starting Thursday, July 9th until Saturday, July 11th from the time the sun went down until well after midnight.
This past weekend’s Comic-Con also saw the release of the film’s red band trailer.
“In the aftermath of the shocking events in Sinister, a protective mother (Shannyn Sossamon of “Wayward Pines”) and her 9-year-old twin sons (real-life brothers Robert and Dartanian Sloan) find themselves in a rural house marked for death as the evil spirit of Bughuul continues to spread with frightening intensity“.
For all the crap I give found footage films (and many indie films, for that matter), there are some that manage to skirt the pitfalls that the other films wander into on a regular basis. The “less is more” approach and relying on storytelling and characters to create tension without CGI or special effects still works today for many films if the filmmakers try to work within those confines. Case in point: director/writer Sara Adina Smith’s The Midnight Swim. This is one family drama that flourishes in those same confines, albeit with some drawbacks.
After the disappearance of Amelia Brooks (Beth Grant) on a dive in Spirit Lake, a lake she had been campaigning to preserve, Amelia is presumed dead. Her three adult daughters, June (Lindsay Burdge), Annie (Jennifer Lafleur) and Isa (Aleksa Palladino), arrive at their childhood home to console each other and make plans for their mother’s belongings. June, the documentarian of the group, decides to make a documentary of the event as a coping mechanism. Things take a turn after discussion of an urban legend involving seven sisters who drowned in Spirit Lake, and the apparent summoning of the seventh sister. Mysterious happenings begin to occur around the house, and now June, Annie and Isa must come to terms with what’s happened.
As with any dramatic thriller that focuses on its characters to drive the story, the performances in The Midnight Swim are key. Burdge is largely our focus, since June is the one filming everything, and as a result the story unfolds through June’s point of view. This makes it difficult for Burdge, since we often don’t actually see June, but rather just her voice. Thankfully, Burdge is able to remain present and connect with the audience through the camera motions and her voice. It’s also quite clear that June has some mental issues, and both Annie and Isa work to keep June from going too far, but at the same time have sibling spats. The trio’s chemistry works wonderfully, and you really do get the sense that they’re all sisters. This is none more apparent during one scene where the siblings make a homemade music video, where there’s a rekindling of the connection they had growing up. At the same time, there’s a vulnerability on display, particularly with Annie, the eldest and most dependable of the three. She begins to cave under the strain of what’s transpired, and it’s uncomfortable to both the audience and the other sisters. It all makes for wonderfully developed characters.
In addition, the atmosphere that Smith creates within the film is both alluring and mysterious. Cinematographer Shaheen Seth captures the beauty of the Iowa cottage country in great detail. From the reflections of the stars on the water at night, to shots of the wind blowing through the trees, it’s incredibly immersive, and if you’ve ever owned a cottage or stayed at one for an extended period of time, you’ll instantly go back in your mind to those moments where you just sat and silently watched those same moments. At the same time, Smith manages to build up ominous feelings through the lens. Apart from dead birds showing up on the doorstep and a mysterious timelapse sequence taken of the lake, the horror comes from the sisters’ attempts to cope and their interactions when emotions boil over. One particular scene is helped just by the fact that the camera is placed on the rug, with the only motion being the light dancing through the leaves as the wind blows outside, while the sisters argue and the emotion starts ratcheting up. You’re essentially held captive as you want to turn around and look, but can’t, leaving the sound of the argument to drive the increasing tension. It’s more of a unsettling feeling rather than flat-out scares, which is still quite powerful and effective. In fitting fashion, the ending of the film is just as mystical and intriguing as the rest of the film, even if it’s a little unsurprising.
Unfortunately, while Smith manages to incorporate the found footage aspect of the film and make it work, it’s not without flaws. Despite the fact that we’re so entrenched in the camera being June’s POV, there are moments, such as audio carrying over between scenes and the camera turning towards people before they speak, that ruin the found-footage illusion and take us out of it, reminding us that this is still a traditionally-shot and edited film.
In spite of this, The Midnight Swim easily manages to enthrall and captivate the viewer. The performances by the three actresses are amazing and drive the story, which is made all the more captivating. The serene beauty of the camerawork only helps to draw the viewer into the film even more. Really, there are times when subtle ghost stories are just as effective as the spooky and bump-in-the-night types of films. This film is a definite must-watch if you’re into character-driven stories.
Admittedly, I’ve never seen the appeal of tattoos. That said, living in the part of Toronto known as The Annex for the past four years has granted me an opportunity to see just what people today are putting on their bodies. Some of the stuff is pretty cool, while others I think lacked foresight into just what they paid someone to do. And don’t get me started on the subdermal stuff. Directors and co-writers Kenny Gage and Devon Downs decided to take the practice to the extreme with Anarchy Parlor, while throwing in a bit of Eli Roth’s Hostel for good measure. The result definitely gets under your skin in several ways (sorry).
On a graduation trip in Lithuania, a group of Americans decide on a stopover in the city of Vilnius for party time. While at a club, Amy (Tiffany DeMarco) and Brock (Ben Whalen) meet up with the heavily-inked Uta (Sara Fabel), who invites them to get tattooed at a parlor where she works. There, Amy and Brock meet Artist (Robert LaSardo), who promises Amy the tattoo of her dreams. Unbeknownst to the Americans, Artist is more interested in their actual skin, and overtakes the two for later nefarious deeds. The rest of the American troupe set out to find Amy and Brock, but now have to navigate the resistance put up by the hostile locals.
With Roth’s Hostel, we had a group of ignorant American tourists who waltzed into a foreign country, acted like pricks and paid for it with decidedly squeamish results. In Anarchy Parlor, it doesn’t stray that far from the concept, so those of you who dig torture porn are in luck. Scalpel meets skin a lot in this one, and in typical torture porn fashion, the whole thing is drawn out in agonizing detail. The effects are quite well done during these parts, with only a few shots of blatantly-obvious CGI in the non-skinning scenes. I will warn in advance that there are instances of victims wetting themselves during the skinning scenes, and like the skinning itself, is fixated upon by the camera. Thankfully, there’s good cinematography with this one, as well as some great atmosphere that only heightens the squeamish visuals. Nicely done.
Also, Gage and Downs give the man behind the gory happenings some substance. Film vet LaSardo goes the calm and collected route with his role as The Artist. It’s definitely more off-putting to have an antagonist that’s mild-mannered and deliberate than a crazy, over-the-top villain. Of course, it also helps that LaSardo looks the part with his shaven head, tattooed upper body and emotionless face. As for our protagonists, the acting quality is inconsistent. DeMarco is okay as Amy, but the rest of the group don’t lend themselves to much sympathy from the viewer, as guys like Whalen and do the jerk thing a little too well, coupled with overacting and copious amounts of “dude” and “f*ck”. Needless to say, the film doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The lack of developed protagonists outside of Amy hurts Anarchy Parlor. As mentioned, the disposable dialogue peppered with expletives doesn’t give the audience much to side with as the torture commences. It also doesn’t help that the protagonists are oft to doing cliched stupid tourist stuff (such as starting fights with the locals). It also doesn’t take much a stretch to see that Gage and Downs borrowed a little too much from Hostel. Roth made Hostel‘s premise of foreigners backpacking across Europe and getting caught in a paid-to-torture ring plausible. Anarchy Parlor‘s premise of a group of college students going to Lithuania of all places for vacation makes about as much sense as going partying in Lithuania. And, not being spoilerish, while The Artist’s motivations behind what he does make sense, the end results of his endeavours nullify his actions. Really, is this what all of these folks are dying over?
Anarchy Parlor is another one of those films that will end up dividing horror fans. Those who went nuts for Hostel and the subsequent wave of torture porn films will be definitely have much to enjoy with this one. LaSardo definitely makes for an interesting antagonist that keeps the film from venturing into being too over-the-top. Those fans who aren’t so keen on the fixation of drawn-out gory torture won’t be won over with the lackluster acting by the characters we’re supposed to be rooting for, nor the derivative premise. Myself, I’m not into the subgenre, but I can see that Gage and Downs have talent behind them. So while I pass on visiting this parlor, I’m interested in seeing what they have next.
Every year, there are tons of horror films that either get a minuscule theatrical release or don’t get one at all and go straight to DVD. While we get crap films like Ouija and The Boy Next Door in theaters. It’s ironic that we still think that low quality films should go straight to DVD, when in fact there are usually better films that do that than get a wide theatrical release. The following list are just a small sample of some of my favorite indie horror films from the past decade. Enjoy!
Nintendo has announced that its president and CEO Satoru Iwata passed away on Saturday. The cause of death was a bile duct growth. Iwata was only 55.
Iwata took over for longtime Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002. He had taken time off just last year to have a tumor surgically removed, returning earlier this year after a brief period of recovery. The company has not announced who will be taking over for him, but it goes without saying that they will have some big shoes to fill.
Iwata led Nintendo through some rather spectacular highs, including the launch of the massively successful Wii and Nintendo DS, as well as a recent low, with the still-struggling Wii U. 55 is way too young. He will be sorely missed.
Today marks the final day of the 2015 San Diego Comic Con! We’ve seen some truly amazing stuff come out of this year’s event, including trailers for some of the most exciting and highly anticipated properties! We got a trailer for season six of “The Walking Dead” and its upcoming spinoff series “Fear The Walking Dead“! Comic book fans got a new peek into the world of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice! We some some sugar, baby, with the trailer for Starz’ “Ash Vs Evil Dead” as well as a sneak peek at the upcoming horror anthology Tales Of Halloween, all while Bughuul lurked in the background with Sinister 2!
With all these amazing trailers, I want to know which one you enjoyed the most! Below are several links to each of these trailers so that you can check them all out. Then, come back here and cast your vote in our poll to see which title is the most anticipated upcoming release!
Fans of physical media are no doubt well aware of what the Criterion Collection has to offer. However, if you’re a horror fan looking from the outside in, you may not realize that Criterion has plenty to offer you. On the surface Criterion appears to handle art-house cinema only. In a way that’s true, but Criterion’s definition of art-house cinema stretches beyond the limitations most give the term “art-house cinema.” Here’s how Criterion describes themselves:
Since 1984, the Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films, has been dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements.
Over the years Criterion has released a ton of great genre films, giving them the care, respect and dignity they deserve. With the exception of perhaps Synapse, Criterion delivers on what I consider to be the best of the best when it comes to home video horror releases. This is high praise because despite what some may lead you believe, the home video market right now is booming for genre geeks. With the likes of Vinegar Syndrome, Scream Factory, Arrow Films, 88 Films and more, horror fans are being treated to some of the best home video releases in years. Criterion is leading the way with top notch picture and audio quality, plus they include the absolute best in special features and packaging (I’m a sucker for great blu-ray packaging).
Currently Barnes & Nobel is having their annual Criterion sale. Every July all Criterion releases are 50% off. This is the time of the year to add to your collection. You can’t beat 50% off! What I’ve created is a guide of sorts to serve horror fans. This year you don’t have to let your pretentious film student friends have all the fun, you can cash in on the savings too!
There’s too many titles to go through them all, but I’ll give you my top five and then you can go from there!
“Ki Ki Ki, Ma, Ma, Ma”
NECA stole the show at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con with their “Video Game Jason,” a glow-in-the-dark version of Friday the 13th Jason from the classic 1989 NES video game. Rocking an axe and a machete, the figure was a convention exclusive and sold out immediately. Since then, fans have been clamoring for more, while NECA has released video game versions of Freddy Krueger, RoboCop, Predator, Batman, among others.
At the ongoing SDCC, NECA revealed we’ll be getting an 8-bit Leatherface, which was big news in itself. Now, the toy giant has announced a re-release of the legendary “Video Game Jason,” which will come as a “Theme Music Packaging” release featuring Pamela Voorhees’ rotting head (that glows in the dark!). There’s no word on why it’s called that, but my personal guess would be that, when the flap is flipped open, the midi theme song will play (much like how a birthday card works).
Take a peak below…
At first glance, The Town of Light appears to be yet another ‘trapped in an insane asylum’ game. Yawn. We’ve seen enough Outlast clones to last a lifetime, right?
Italian-based developers at LKA.it are taking a different tack with their horror game, which was recently greenlit on Steam. By creating a landscape based on a real-life abandoned mental hospital in Tuscany, The Town of Light aims to explore the more tragic aspects of being trapped in an authoritative mental institution.
In it, players step into the paper shoes of a former patient, a woman who seems to be suffering greatly from her experiences in the Ospedale Psichiatrico di Volterra.
Voice-over from the thirty second trailer reveal a sinister mode of practice for what was once considered a quite progressive approach to mental rehabilitation:
“I was sixteen, and I was scared. They told me they would bring me to a place where the fear would flit away. That is where I stopped believing. I tried to explain what was happening to me. I was tied to my bed for days. I entered the town of light.”
Very few plot points have been released, but gameplay footage featured on YouTube and elsewhere point to an exploration-based experience. Stepping out on a limb, I’d say you will be traversing the abandoned hospital — closed in 1978 for its arcane and cruel treatment of patients — and collecting some details about the place.
We won’t have access to it yet, because the game is in Alpha, but here’s hoping for a beta or a playable demo sometime in the near future. Updates on the Steam Greenlight page pointed toward a first quarter 2015 release, but since we’re past that, who knows when The Town of Light will be released. Fingers crossed for a soonish beta of some kind.
In the meantime, you can check out the myriad collections of photographs detailing the bone-chilling state of the crumbling institution.
While we get the trailer Friday, San Diego Comic-Con attendees can visit Ash’s trailer and toolshed from Starz’s “Ash vs Evil Dead” and put their hands on his trusty chainsaw!
In the 10-episode “Ash vs Evil Dead” series premiering this fall, Campbell will be reprising his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.”
“Ash vs Evil Dead” (see who’s directing here) is the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror film franchise The Evil Dead and is set to premiere on STARZ in fall 2015.
You can read our lengthy interview with Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell by clicking here!
You’ll find the previous teaser and full series info by clicking here.
— Den of Geek (@DenofGeekUS) July 9, 2015
— Ash vs Evil Dead (@AshvsEvilDead) July 9, 2015
— Dalton Ross (@DaltonRoss) July 9, 2015
Ellen Ripley’s daughter made an appearance at the ongoing San Diego Comic-Con as NECA revealed the completed 7″ Amanda Ripley action figure as seen in the terrifying “Alien: Isolation” videogame.
As explained by Wiki, “A deleted scene from Aliens, which was later included on DVD releases, reveals that Ellen Ripley has a daughter, Amanda. She was ten years old during the events of Alien, but grew up, married (taking on the surname McClaren) and died during her mother’s 57-year stasis between the events of the first two films. A picture of Amanda as an older adult is shown to Ripley. The picture is actually Sigourney Weaver’s real-life mother, Elizabeth Inglis.”
Earlier today we told you that Paramount’s Scouts Vs Zombies has been retitled to Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.
On the eve of the San Diego Comic-Con, we now have the first teaser clip that so fun.
Watch as one of the scouts is attacked by a zombie cat – before the entire troupe is assaulted!
We also have the official teaser one-sheet from the pic directed by Christopher Landon.
“Three scouts and lifelong friends join forces with one badass cocktail waitress to become the world’s most unlikely team of heroes. When their peaceful town is ravaged by a zombie invasion, they’ll fight for the badge of a lifetime and put their scouting skills to the test to save mankind from the undead.”
It will open in theaters October 30th, and as part of a new distribution deal, will arrive on home video and VOD within 17 days of the film nearing its theatrical exit.
As part of their Comic-Con promotions, go to the Interactive Zone at Petco Park to receive official limited edition SCOUTS badges which will lead you to exclusive footage online!
As an added prize, 5″Golden Dick-Its” will be given out at random. The “Golden Dick-it” winners will receive a VIP trip to Lollapalooza!
A-Kon is an annual celebration of all things anime, as well as the culture that surrounds it, such as cosplay and video games. These two things came together in a magical way last month when half a dozen fans of Shinji Mikami’s survival horror game The Evil Within teamed up to give us this epic cosplay extravaganza. Six familiar faces, or face-like surfaces, from the game and its DLC were represented in glorious fashion, including Ruvik, Juli Kidman, Sebastian Castellanos, Leslie Withers, the Keeper, and even a Shade (first introduced in The Assignment).
The only thing that’s missing from this Evil Within spectacular is some Reborn Laura. Maybe she had trouble getting out of that tub. After all, blood on fiberglass is about as close as science has been able to come to creating a frictionless surface.
Capcom may be getting ready to announce a new game set in the Resident Evil universe. NeoGAF user ekim spotted a trademark the company registered yesterday for what appears to be a video game or gaming related something called Umbrella Corps. This could mean just about anything, though my pessimistic side is already bracing for a reveal of what I’m going to assume is a free-to-play game. I refuse to let them break my heart again. Not again.
Fans will recognize Umbrella as the uber-evil corporation and reliable source of bad things until their downfall in Resident Evil 4. They’ve never completely disappeared, but it’s safe to assume they won’t be nuking any more cities named after hostile woodland critters anytime soon.
Free-to-play may be too negative of an assumption. This could always be a browser MMO.
A few weeks ago, a listing spotted on the Australian Ratings Board outed ZombiU for current-gen consoles, sans the ‘U’. We’re still waiting for Ubisoft to come out and make it official, even if that confirmation is almost unnecessary now that it’s been backed by a second listing, this time from Taiwan’s Game Software Ratings Board.
Both listings refer to it as Zombi, and the latter even included new artwork.
Bringing ZombiU to more platforms makes perfect sense. The game was well-received on the Wii U, but like so many other Nintendo-exclusive horror games, it wasn’t able to find an audience. With its post-apocalyptic setting, undead hordes and the unique twist it puts on player death, this game could make good use of a second chance to succeed.
So yeah, this is pretty much happening.
I hope you’re watching the Showtime television series “Penny Dreadful”, because it’s fantastic and has two of my favorite people in it. Actress Eva Green has long been a favorite of mine, but it’s Billie Piper who stole the show in its second season, which wrapped up this past Sunday. The show has been ripe for a video game adaptation since its inception, with its tales of witches, werewolves, man-made monsters and that always intriguing battle between good and evil.
That battle ought to be fun to explore in developer Midverse Studios’ recently announced mobile game Penny Dreadful: Demimonde. The game is an amalgam collectible card games and puzzle-based RPGs, with the goal being to collect characters and monsters seen in the show to build a team that can compete in tournament-like events.
Midverse Studios CEO Rizwan Virk seems excited for it:
With Penny Dreadful, Showtime and series creator John Logan have created a beautiful and haunting world of supernatural creatures and storylines, all intersecting in Victorian London. But the real battles are happening in the demi-monde—a half-world between what we know and what we fear—and we look forward to bringing the unique creepy, intelligent style of Penny Dreadful to our mobile game.
We also expect that the mobile game will introduce the unique characters of Penny Dreadful to new players that may never have watched the show. Mobile and Social games are becoming an important part of how IP holders engage with existing and potential fans.
Penny Dreadful: Demimonde releases this fall for iOS, Android and Kindle. A Facebook version will follow sometime thereafter. You can sign up for access to the beta over here.