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Updated: 1 hour 45 min ago

TIFF 2014 Midnight Madness Lineup Includes REC 4, Tusk, The Guest, It Follows, and Lots More; New Images!

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 13:04

The 39th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) runs September 4-14, 2014, and its Midnight Madness programme brings thrills, chills, and all sorts of kills to Festival audiences once again including Tusk, [REC] 4: Apocalypse, The Guest, It Follows, and lots more!

From the Press Release:
Get your passports stamped and experience an international cinematic rollercoaster which includes: a Yakuza street gang hip-hop musical epic; spine-chilling Spanish zombies with insatiable appetites; a Finnish boy hunter rescuing the President of the United States from terrorists; and Flemish cub scouts trapped in the woods with sinister companions.

“Midnight Madness has been entertaining connoisseurs of the exquisitely explicit for over 25 years and is now an essential destination for cinematic masters of outrageous expression,” says Colin Geddes, International Programmer for the Festival. “After the sun sets on the Festival days, fearless audiences will converge at the Ryerson Theatre to be served a visual feast of the bizarre, the horrifying, and the wonderfully wacky.”

Along with the triumphant return of last year’s People’s Choice Award-winner Sion Sono, Midnight Madness will also welcome back renowned alumni Adam Wingard, Mark Hartley, and Jaume Balagueró. The Festival is also set to proudly celebrate indie legend Kevin Smith’s homecoming after 20 years.

Midnight Madness Opening Night Film: Tokyo Tribe - Sion Sono, Japan - International Premiere
Set in an alternate Tokyo of the near future, director Sion Sono continues his run of sensational films with the explosive street gang tale Tokyo Tribe. Tokyo Tribe is the first live-action adaptation of the best-selling manga series Tokyo Tribe 2 by Santa Inoue, which has sold two million copies and has been published in Asia and the West to great popularity.

[REC] 4: Apocalypse - Jaume Balagueró, Spain - World Premiere
Angela Vidal wakes up in a high-security quarantine facility, sole survivor and witness to the horrific events inside the building. But does she remember what happened to her? Is she carrying a virus? Distrust spreads through the isolated facility while new, even more deadly forms of evil spread even faster

Big Game - Jalmari Heleander, Finland/United Kingdom/Germany - World Premiere
The fate of the most powerful man in the world lies in the hands of a 13-year-old boy. Plunged into a deadly game of cat and mouse, Oskari and the President must team up to survive the most extraordinary night of their lives.

Cub - Jonas Govaerts, Belgium - World Premiere
Young, imaginative 12-year-old Sam heads off to camp with his Cub Scouts pack. In the woods he stumbles upon a strange treehouse and a masked, feral child. When his leaders ignore his warnings about the mysterious boy, Sam starts to feel increasingly isolated from the pack and convinced a terrible fate awaits them all.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films - Mark Hartley, Australia - International Premiere
Director Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood, Machete Maidens Unleashed!) continues his delightful documentary disinterment of down-market movie detritus with this chronicle of the rise and fall of 1980s action-exploitation juggernaut Cannon Films, whose contributions to the cinematic canon include American Ninja, The Delta Force, Death Wish II, and Masters of the Universe.

The Guest - Adam Wingard, USA - Canadian Premiere
The follow-up to Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s wildly popular You're Next, The Guest tells the story of a mysterious and devastatingly charming visitor, David (Dan Stevens of "Downton Abbey"), who arrives on the doorstep of a bereaved family claiming to be the best friend of their dead son, a young soldier who died in action. The Petersons welcome David into their home and into their lives, but when people start mysteriously dying in town, their teenage daughter, Anna (Maika Monroe of It Follows), starts wondering if David is responsible.

It Follows - David Robert Mitchell, USA - North American Premiere
For 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), the fall should be about school, boys, and weekends at the lake. Yet, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions; she can't shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her. As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind. With a riveting central performance from Monroe and a strikingly ominous electronic score by Disasterpeace, It Follows is an artful psychosexual thriller from David Robert Mitchell, whose The Myth of the American Sleepover premiered at Critics' Week in 2010. The film also stars Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, and Lili Sepe.

Tusk - Kevin Smith, USA - World Premiere
Wallace (Justin Long) is a podcaster on a mission who thinks he has found the story of a lifetime in Howard Howe (Michael Parks), an adventurer with amazing stories and a curious penchant for walruses. When Mr. Howe’s true desires unfold, things take a dark turn, and Wallace faces a terrifying transformation at the hands of his captor. As his friends Alison and Teddy (Genesis Rodriguez and Haley Joel Osment) search the backwoods of Canada to rescue him, they discover a nightmare from which there is no escape. Conceived from one of indie legend Kevin Smith's own Smodcast’s, Tusk is an unprecedented tale that is equal parts hilarious and horrifying.

What We Do in the Shadows - Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, New Zealand/USA - Canadian Premiere
Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), Viago (Taika Waititi), and Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) are three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life’s obstacles—like being immortal vampires who must feast on human blood. Hundreds of years old, the vampires are finding that beyond sunlight catastrophes, hitting the main artery, and not being able to get a sense of their wardrobe without a reflection, modern society has them struggling with the mundane like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.

Tickets to screenings for this programme will be available for individual purchase as well as through the Midnight Madness Pack, which includes all 10 screenings for $180, or $115 for students and seniors. Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at tiff.net, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, or visit the Gupta Box Office in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 20 while quantities last.

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Clean Up Needed for Exclusive Septic Man Clip

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 12:00

On tap right now we have an exclusive clip for Starz Digital Media's upcoming release of Septic Man (review). Check it out and don't forget to disinfect when you're done. You never know what you'll catch from where nowadays!

Septic Man Release Details
Starz Digital Media is set to release the award-winning horror film Septic Man this summer. The film will be available On Demand and for digital download August 12 and will have a limited theatrical run on August 15. The DVD will be available August 19.

From the creators of Monster Brawl, Exit Humanity, and 2014’s Hellmouth and Ejecta, Septic Man dazzled audiences at the 2013 Fantastic Fest, where its star Jason David Brown (Exit Humanity) won “Best Actor” in a horror feature. The film also garnered a prize at Toronto After Dark 2013.

Septic Man follows Jack, a sewage worker who is determined to uncover the cause of the town's water contamination crisis. During his investigation, he becomes trapped underground in a septic tank and undergoes a hideous transformation. He must team up with a docile Giant and confront a murdering madman in order to escape. Septic Man is an odyssey into the darkest depths of gross-out horror.

Septic Man was directed by Jesse Thomas Cook (Monster Brawl) and written by Tony Burgess (PontyPool). It co-stars Molly Dunsworth (Bunker 6, Hobo with a Shotgun) and Robert Maillet (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones).




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There's a Werewolf Rising on UK DVD in September

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:30

Deep in the sinister woods lives an unimaginable terror... one that wreaks death and destruction when the moon is full. Out of the darkness comes a new kind of bloodlust in Werewolf Rising, arriving on UK DVD from Image Entertainment on September 8th.

Bill Oberst, Jr., Melissa Carnell, Danielle Lozeau, Irena Murphy, and Matt Copko star. BC Furtney writes and directs.

Image is also releasing the film here in the States a little over a month later on October 14th.

Synopsis:
When Emma returns to her childhood home deep in the Arkansas mountains, she’s in need of rest and relaxation, but her problems have only just begun. What she finds is slaughter, fear, and the foul pestilence that comes with a full moon.

A bloodthirsty werewolf is tearing through the township, ripping and ravaging all who cross its path, revealing a menacing underworld that few knew existed. Suddenly Emma finds herself plunged into a fight for her life and more – a fight to the finish for her soul.

Beware of the beast in Werewolf Rising, a bloody thrilling fantasy.

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Rob Zombie to Host 10th Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:00

Taking place August 24 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA, the 10th Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute will bring family, friends, and fans together to celebrate the late punk guitarist's legacy with a special outdoor screening of host Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects.

The Sunday evening event will also include a jam session featuring Zombie, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses.

With the concert to be held in Hollywood Forever's Masonic Lodge and broadcast outside to the overflow crowd (ticketing information is below), the event will also feature Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett's special collection of horror movie memorabilia. Rarely seen in public, the collection includes a treasure trove of movie posters, props, toys and costumes from his personal collection.

Additionally, an autograph signing session featuring the stars of The Devil's Rejects will take place, with proceeds to benefit the Johnny Ramone Foundation and Dr. David Agus, USC.

Advance General Admission tickets are $19, day-of General Admission is $25, and VIP admission is $45, which enables the buyer to receive food and cocktails courtesy of Stillhouse Spirits, admission to the VIP area, and VIP seating for the simulcast of the all-star Ramones jam session and movie screening. All Access is $75, limited to the first 200 buyers, and will allow the ticket holder access to the VIP areas and also entry to the all-star Ramones tribute concert inside Hollywood Forever's Masonic Lodge.

Gates open at 5 P.M. Families and children are welcome, with kids 12 and under getting in free.

Tickets can be purchased on Ticketfly.com, and for more info, check out the Johnny Ramone Facebook Page.

Dread Central will be there so for those unable to attend, expect in-depth coverage here next month.

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Things Are NOT Normal in this The Night Visitor 2 Teaser Debut

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 10:30

A few months have passed since we last got an update on Brianne Davis' The Night Visitor 2: Heather's Story, but in the interim the director has been hard at work, and today we're debuting the film's teaser trailer.

The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story was written by Kevin and Bradley Marcus and Mark Gantt. Caitlin Carmichael, Mark Gantt, Chip Coffey, and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn star.

Synopsis:
The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story is a sci-fi thriller that runs parallel to the original The Night Visitor, telling the story of Heather (Carmichael), a special young girl who must protect her family and the planet from the same other-earthly being. The sequel delves deeper into the mysteries that plagued the Stevens family and their son, Ricky, with the help of psychic and medium Daniel (Coffey).

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The Gasp Menagerie: Pub Ghost Holds His Ale Well

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 10:00

An oft-told tale is that of the haunted pub with prankish spirits that topple pints and glasses to the dismay of patron and barkeep alike. Now there's a spin to the story: a ghost that may pull a prank every now and again but respects the beer too much to spill any in the name of shenanigans.

The Crow's Nest Inn in Cornwall is an historic pub dating back to the 17th century. As with most pubs of that era, there are tales of multiple ghosts going back quite a few years, including that of a local woman who was murdered in 1844.

Some of the haunted happenings include a clock that always ran 10 minutes fast no matter how many times it was reset and a bell that would ring by itself. New owners Jenny Heard and Martic McConn blew off the tales until a recent night when the seemingly impossible happened - in front of a bar full of witnesses no less.

The Plymouth Herald in the UK reports that witnesses, including the barkeeps, say the pub went deathly chill from out of nowhere. At the same time, a pint of ale (Proper Job brand, in case that factors into the spirit's tastes) flew off the bar and landed on the floor... without spilling a drop!

The entire pub tried to find a source of the event and was left puzzled. Nobody was near the pint, and all doors and windows were closed tight.

Could this have been a former customer of the pub trying to grab a pint from the great beyond? Latent telekinesis from one of the patrons trying to grab the ale from afar? Let us know what you think!

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New Texas Chainsaw to Explore Leatherface's Teenage Years?

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 23:02

File this one under "Wow, Really?!?" Some quick and pretty damned strange news has come in regarding the next installment in the Texas Chainsaw franchise as it's looking like we're getting another prequel. A prequel to the tenth power even.

The filmmakers behind Texas Chainsaw 3D (UNRATED Blu-ray/DVD review here) were never big on mathematics, as proven by their "direct sequel" to Tobe Hooper's seminal classic which found the ages of characters all over the place with little to nothing making sense in terms of the whens and the wheres. That is, however, another story.

Right now Bloody Disgusting is reporting that "an unidentified writer is rumored to be in talks to pen Leatherface’s 'teenage years.' This would mean that Dan Yeager would not be returning as the iconic chainsaw-wielding slasher, and that it would be [another] sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 TCM… and a prequel to last year’s TC3D." You follow?

Somehow this is going to really fuck up our space/time continuum. Color us befuddled. Tell us what you think about this latest development below.

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Evil Changes its Identity in The Devil's Hand

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 22:50

It's been awhile since last we heard anything about LD Entertainment’s Where the Devil Hides, but the flick has undergone a name change and more! Read on for the latest details including when you'll be able to see it!

Roadside Attractions has earmarked an October 10 US release for The Devil’s Hand, formerly Where The Devil Hides, formerly The Devil's Rapture. Directed by Christian E. Christiansen, the flick stars Jennifer Carpenter, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Rufus Sewell, Thomas McDonell, Adelaide Kane, Leah Pipes, Colm Meaney, Stacey Edwards, and Ric Reitz.

Lionsgate will release The Devil’s Hand on VOD, DVD, and TV platforms.

Synopsis
Something very strange happened in the small village of New Bethlehem, a devout community kept under the tight reins of the town's vigilant Elders. Six girls born on the same day to different mothers. Perhaps a coincidence or, as most believe, a chilling omen of something yet to come. Now, on the eve of their 18th birthday, the young women are mysteriously disappearing one by one and feared dead. Terror has overtaken this quiet community. Could this be the work of a serial killer, one of the village elders, or an horrific prophecy come true, born of the supernatural?

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There's a Horrifying Chain of Events on the Horizon

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 22:43

And the news keeps on coming as Variety is reporting that Headhunters helmer Morten Tyldum has come on to direct the Warner Brothers adaptation of the Swedish thriller Chain of Events with Mark L. Smith attached to adapt.

Described as World War Z meets The Da Vinci Code, the book was written by Frederick T. Olsson and follows a washed-up cryptologist who finds himself pulled into an international conspiracy that claims to have created a way to map out all human disasters and terrorism through our DNA.

Book Synopsis
Nothing would make me keep a diary. Except for one thing. The realization that soon there won't be anyone around to read it. William Sandberg. A broken genius, snatched from his home. Christina Sandberg, his ex-wife. She does not believe their lies. Our future hangs on their survival. If they fail, we are all lost.

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Legendary Eying Joe Cornish For Skull Island

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 22:30

We told you during our coverage of San Diego Comic-Con that Legendary Pictures will be bringing King Kong back to the big screen for a Skull Island movie, and now the picture is getting a bit clearer as the studio is eying a director who knows all about dealing with monsters.

According to Deadline, Legendary has offered the directing job to Joe Cornish (Attack the Block). Max Borenstein wrote the script based on the mythic origins of King Kong, where mutant giant creatures rule.

Previous works have touched on the island, but staying and exploring this mysterious and dangerous place offers Legendary the opportunity to take audiences deeper inside this rich world with a style and scope that parallels other Legendary productions.

The film is slated for a November 4, 2016 release.

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#SDCC14: Explore The Walking Dead's Video Comic-Con Diary; Soundbites from the Panel

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 17:56

It's easy for those of us who attend SDCC for work to forget what a cool experience it can be for fans... and the celebrities who are the recipients of said fans' attentions. Go behind the scenes - and to the panel - with the cast & crew of "The Walking Dead."

We have six fun videos to share, which were released by AMC as a follow-up to the show's SRO panel in Hall H:

- Fans Meet the Cast at the Comic-Con BBQ
- Backstage with the Cast
- Panel Highlights:
**Cast on Their Characters' Evolutions
**Norman Reedus on How He Is Similar to Daryl
**A Walker Fan with a Question
**Robert Kirkman on His Dark Side

As part of our coverage of "The Walking Dead" at Comic-Con, we learned Season 5 will contain more action, bigger setpieces, and a new state of decay in the walkers. It kicks off Sunday, October 12th, at 9PM, on AMC, followed once again by "Talking Dead."

To stay up-to-the-minute on all things walker related, follow @WalkingDead_AMC on Twitter and visit "The Walking Dead" on Facebook. For more be sure to hit up the official "The Walking Dead" page on AMC.com.



















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#SDCC14: Break the Tension with this Hannibal Season 2 Gag Reel

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 17:05

Here at Dread Central we love "Hannibal." We brought you highlights from the show's SDCC presentation as an appetizer, the panel in its entirety as your main course, and now we're back with dessert in the form of the gag reel that was shown there.

Series creator/exec producer Bryan Fuller; stars Caroline Dhavernas, Scott Thompson, and Aaron Abrams; director David Slade; exec producers Steven Lightfoot and Martha De Laurentiis; and surprise guest Raul Esparza all took part in the panel, which we've also reposted below in case you missed it.

When you work on a show as intense as "Hannibal," you absolutely need those few lighthearted moments on set, and here's a full 3-1/2 minutes' worth!

"Hannibal's" Season 2 home video package will be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD on September 16th and will include audio commentary with cast and crew on select episodes, a feature-length documentary on the making of Episode 2.05 ("Mukozuke"), deleted scenes, and more.

Be sure to visit "Hannibal" on NBC.com, "like" "Hannibal" on Facebook, and follow "Hannibal" on Twitter.




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An International Trailer Does As God Says

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 17:00

Back in November we told you that Takashi Miike was heading into Battle Royale territory for an adaptation of As God Says (Kamisama no lu Tori) for Toho, and now we have the first trailer for you.

Miike was tapped to helm the film based on a popular comic about teenagers forced to play a deadly game by unknown forces. The flick will be produced by Toho. Principal photography began in June for a Japan release, also by Toho, scheduled for the fall of 2014.

Written by Muneyuki Kanshiro and drawn by Akeji Fujimura, As God Says was serialized in Kodansha Comic Magazine from March 2011 to November 2012 and has sold 1.5 million copies in paperback editions.

Stay tuned for more on this one as it comes.

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Rob Zombie's 31 - More Concept Art Bounces In!

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:53

More concept art has come running for Rob Zombie's next horror flick, the mysterious 31, and we have it for you right here... bouncing boobs included. You just can't really see 'em but they're there! Check it out!

Artist Alex Horley provides the eye candy as always. You can check out his first piece below as well.

"All I can tell you is that it’s a completely original idea; it’s something new," said Zombie in a previous interview. "It’s not based on anything. I’ll start shooting the movie in the fall. So hopefully starting from October, I’ll start shooting it. For right now I’m going to keep the details secret. But it’s not based on anything. There’s a clown thing in the movie, but it has nothing to do with Captain Spaulding, and what is in the movie doesn’t look like Captain Spaulding either; maybe the people think the poster does, but the movie won’t."

Related Story: Rob Zombie and Bret Easton Ellis to Tell the Story of The Manson Murders

An original Rob Zombie movie that takes place on Halloween? Count us right the hell in!

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New Septic Man Images Get Dirty

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:45

On tap right now we have a brand spanking new image gallery for Starz Digital Media's upcoming release of Septic Man (review), a flick that's been on our radar for quite some time. Check it out, and look for more soon!

Septic Man Release Details
Starz Digital Media is set to release the award-winning horror film Septic Man this summer. The film will be available On Demand and for digital download August 12 and will have a limited theatrical run on August 15. The DVD will be available August 19.

From the creators of Monster Brawl, Exit Humanity, and 2014’s Hellmouth and Ejecta, Septic Man dazzled audiences at the 2013 Fantastic Fest, where its star Jason David Brown (Exit Humanity) won “Best Actor” in a horror feature. The film also garnered a prize at Toronto After Dark 2013.

Septic Man follows Jack, a sewage worker who is determined to uncover the cause of the town's water contamination crisis. During his investigation, he becomes trapped underground in a septic tank and undergoes a hideous transformation. He must team up with a docile Giant and confront a murdering madman in order to escape. Septic Man is an odyssey into the darkest depths of gross-out horror.

Septic Man was directed by Jesse Thomas Cook (Monster Brawl) and written by Tony Burgess (PontyPool). It co-stars Molly Dunsworth (Bunker 6, Hobo with a Shotgun) and Robert Maillet (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones).

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Bruce Campbell Heads Into the Afterlife in Welcome to Purgatory

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:33

Last month we learned that Evil Dead 2 co-writer Scott Spiegel is producing an upcoming film called Welcome to Purgatory, and today the exciting announcement has been made that Spiegel's most badass buddy has joined the cast. Read on, fiends!

Cupsogue Pictures has revealed that both Bruce Campbell and James Buckley have joined the cast of the feature, which is set to take us deep into the bowels of Hell.

Though Campbell's role hasn't yet been revealed, Buckley will play Luke, a petty thief who doesn’t have much luck, even in the Afterlife. Along with his partner-in-crime, Charlie (Stephen Marcus), they try to make the best of every bad situation in Purgatory, but with little success.

Directed by Gene Fallaize, the film also stars Jillian Murray, Nathan Jones, Jack O’Halloran, Tony Cook and Tory Kittles.

Tony Cook and Fallaize are producing the picture for Cupsogue Pictures, which was written by Marcus Ako & Tony Cook. Filming is due to commence on Welcome to Purgatory at Pinewood Studios, ahead of a theatrical release in 2015.

According to the IMDb, a sequel, Welcome to Purgatory II: The Journey to Hell, is already planned with Fallaize back at the helm.

Synopsis
Welcome to Purgatory follows three new arrivals – Willis, Taylor (Cook), and Danni (Murray) – as they navigate this fresh vision of the Afterlife, helped along the way by trusty Guardian Paul. They find the afterlife in ruins amidst a growing war between Good and Evil. All the rules of the Afterlife have been broken, and they must find a way to make things right before Heaven is ruined for the rest of time.

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Legendary and Carlton Cuse Teaming Up for USA Network's Colony

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:28

As if the plate of "Bates Motel," "The Returned" and "The Strain" showrunner Carlton Cuse wasn't already full enough, today comes word that he's got another series in the works, this one for the USA Network. Read on for details!

Per Deadline, USA Network has greenlit a pilot tentatively titled "Colony," written and executive produced by Cuse and Ryan Condal (Hercules).

The series is described as a naturalistic drama set in the near future in Los Angeles, which exists in a state of occupation by a force of alien intruders. Some collaborate with the authorities and benefit from the new order, while others rebel and suffer the consequences.

The project centers on a family torn by opposing forces and making difficult choices as they balance staying together with surviving the struggle of the human race.

"'Colony' is a gripping story that brilliantly weaves together an intense family drama in an authentic, yet unknown, world'" said USA President Chris McCumber.

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#SDCC14: Salem Season 2 Will Be Deeper, Darker, Scarier... and Lovecraftian! Hear from the Cast & Crew!

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:23

The phrase "the best show you're not watching" gets thrown around a lot, but in the case of "Salem," it couldn't be more true. We've been singing its praises since Episode 1 so our mission at SDCC was to find out what's ahead in Season 2.

Surprisingly, the powers-that-be, exec producers Brannon Braga and Adam Simon, were quite forthcoming while co-stars Janet Montgomery. Shane West, Seth Gabel, Ashley Madekwe, Iddo Goldberg, and Elise Eberle were all incredibly charming and obviously invested in their characters.

Beware in case you're not caught up as spoilers for Season 1 abound!

We've found the horror crowd to a bit slow to pick up on just how hardcore the show can be at times so we queried Braga as to how we can help raise awareness. "I like that our show is not plastered all over buses," he responded. "I like being the show that launched this network [WGN America]; I think it's cool. "

"We got away with more as well because of that," added Madekwe. "There were things I think we might not have been able to do if we were under such scrutiny."

"The horror is a huge part… it is a horror show," Braga reassured us, "and we plan to continue doing it. I think Ashley is right. This show pushes the boundaries for a show on basic cable."

When asked what has kept TV mostly away from witches, with the exception of lighter fare like "Bewitched" and "Charmed," Braga stated his surprise that "not a lot was done with this time period in particular [overall]. There's The Crucible, and that's about it, which is great because there are many historical details which are completely untapped. Characters, events, stuff that's just rich to mine for dramatic purposes. But the bad [part] was nothing exists. We couldn't rent anything; everything had to be built from scratch. From every building to every pipe a guy smokes to every tool… everything that you see on the show is hand-crafted."

Braga described the creative team's planning process for Season 2: "You can't really do the kind of ending we had for Season 1 without talking about Season 2 and having some clue where you're going. It's safe to say that every character has transformed… enemies have become friends, vice versa."

"The one thing I will tease you with is… obviously the characters are going on a certain trajectory. There's a child involved, Tituba and Mary are enemies, Mary plans to kill Tituba, Isaac's dying of the plague, Alden's been rescued by Indians, Cotton's off to Boston. Those storylines will be followed; some storylines may not even be in Salem at first… there are other witches out there who may also have sensed the Grand Rite was happening and are thinking, 'Wow! Who's this Mary Sibley, and how the hell did she pull that off?'"

So it sounds like a lot of our loose ends will be tied up or at least not left totally hanging. Going back to Alden for a moment, we wondered if the Mohawk tribe will continue to factor into future events. "They'll be a thread," said Braga.

As for the biggest twist of the finale, Montgomery herself was surprised to learn Mary and John's baby had survived. "We were lucky to find such a great little actor. I'm just excited for next season and what we can do with that character and how it will complicate Mary's position even more." A child raised by Satan… he's sure to be a real delight!

We prodded West to share what he knows about what's upcoming for the possibly dead John Alden, but before he could, Braga chimed in, "Everyone who's at Comic-Con is probably safe." "Probably…" echoed Madekwe.

"I don't know," replied West. "I'm excited where John went, especially where John and Mary were going as well before obviously the child [came] back, which is going to be great to play with next season for sure. I'm enjoying going back to deal with the Indians, the Native Americans, to see where that storyline can go and if we can compound a little bit on what happened in the past for him as well. I think it's a great start for John, and then we'll get him back into Salem… I don't know if it'll be immediately or if it'll take some time, but it's fun to explore."

Next the tables turned as Ashley leaned over toward Brannon and said, "I have a question. I'm not there for some of the scenes you guys shoot obviously. When I come to you [addressing Montgomery] and I say, 'The child's alive,' is that when you change your mind? Or did you always plan to leave John in the woods?"

Janet responded, "No, no… it's when you tell me about the child, and I say, 'Well, if I don't go…' You say, 'You've got to complete the Grand Rite or a sacrifice deferred so I'm going to kill your child,' so then I make a choice to go for my child and hope that John can understand."

Braaga said what's great about John and Mary's relationship is that "it started as a tragic romance, and just as they were getting together, it became a tragic romance again." He hedged a bit when we asked about any kind of time lapse between the Season 1 finale and the show's return episode, but he did acknowledge, "It's safe to say that most of the characters are left in an exigent [situation] so I don't think we're going to be doing like a year later or anything like that."

Montgomery credited "smart writing" for her character's ability to win over the audience despite taking us on a roller coaster ride of sort of liking her in the beginning, hating her later on, and then finally accepting and admiring her by season's end. That and "Stephen Lang coming in. The addition of Stephen Lang, who is the Puritan, the good guy... having him come in and be so great at being nasty really makes you feel for Mary and you start rooting for her..."

Braga added, "For me, the moment that Stephen Lang's character hung the three girls, he became the monster. And that's right around the time Mary's starting to go through her own evolution. It was the villain the show needed. Because Mary was the villain at first… she was the villain and the hero."

Complexity is a hallmark of "Salem" characters with few exhibiting more than Cotton Mather, and we wondered where he's going in Season 2. Here's this man of God killing to, in his mind, do good; what happens to him? "He doesn't know that Mary's been manipulating him the whole time," Braga reminded us. "Even the murder of his father was orchestrated to some degree by Mary. So he has a lot of stuff that's going to happen… a lot of cool stuff will happen with him too."

But where will that cool stuff take place? Braga laughed, "Well, right now he's riding off to Boston. You know, he's going to have to go into hiding. He killed his dad, and dad is a really important guy… or was!"

"Slightly!" interjected West. "Slightly dead, slightly important."

That was about all we could pry out of Braga so next on our hot seat was his cohort Adam Simon, who gave us the best soundbite of the day when we asked for his opinion on the tone of Season 2. With a bit of input from co-stars Goldberg and Gabel, he told us we can expect it to be "deeper, darker, scarier, funnier, sexier, stranger, bigger…"

Seth elaborated, "When we leave Season 1, the proverbial shit hits the fan. Season 1 I feel is just this pressure cooker of all of these things that are going to happen, and as an audience member, you don't know whether we're going to be loyal to all the facts of that historical event, and is it going to be as boring as what I studied in high school? It takes a journey into the fantastical that still tries to honor what happened during that time period but take some liberties to get to the heart of people's perception of [it]."

"This is a very supernatural, superstitious time for people in a new world where literally anything was possible, and in the 'anything is possible' is the devil and demons and God and angels and savage Indians and dark arts and all kinds of things… in their mind these genre ideas were real. And so Season 1 I think, for us as a cast and crew, for the story that happens in the show, I feel like it all was just kind of boiling up, and now the lid gets blown off at the end of Season 1 and everyone is displaced in some way. Cotton is traveling to Boston after killing his father, John Alden has been almost killed in the woods and then rescued by Indians, Isaac has gotten some kind of plague and might die, [Mercy] becomes the 'Queen of the Night'… There's so many different revolutions happening. And this is a time that precedes the American Revolution; everyone has these mini revolutions of their own in the town of Salem."

"I think what you can expect from Season 2 - a word to sum it up - would be 'revolution.' That there has been an explosion of chaos and that chaos is necessary in order to create great change. I don't know what the details will be, but I imagine it'll be something like that."

Simon picked up the thread, "Look, one of the phrases that led Season 1 was 'Witch Among Us,' playing on that phrase, and one of the phrases we bounce around for Season 2 is 'Witch War.' Or 'Which War?' This is a time where there are wars all culminating here. War between the Europeans and the Indians. War between the French and the English. War between the Dutch and Germans that are still there. The war that's going to be brewing over the slaves that are being brought in."

Iddo added, "We've established Anne as a witch now… we have Anne, we have Mercy, we have Tituba…"

So the witches themselves will be at war? Yes," Simon said. " They're gonna be because now we have a dynastic battle. There's going to be a question as to which is the [ruling] line, even within, say, the English witches, which is what we call the 'Essex' witches… Even in that strand of the witches we now have a potential battle because the Hales are an old, old, old family with clearly very powerful witch blood and now Anne Hale has discovered in the most horrific way possible what her power really is. Not to mention [Anne] has kind of had a bit of an alliance in a funny way with Cotton that she might in ways end up fulfilling her father's dream that, in fact, the Hales and the Mathers might merge… the top family of witches and the top family of Puritans might come together."

"Meanwhile, there's Mary Sibley, the 'Black Rose' they grafted onto their vine, who is not only by no means relinquishing her power but now has an heir, which she never had before. And of course we have Mercy Lewis, who is saying something true when she says, 'Well, the rule is the one who kills the Samhain is the Queen of the Night,' and yet, she is the one who did it so there's a free-for-all coming over who's in charge. And that's not even to mention the German witches who want in on this now too. Identity politics has been the ruling politics in America since day one, whether that's between Indians and Europeans, between the five or six different types of Europeans. The witches themselves are as driven by ethnic and identity issues as the others are, and not only that, they all bring their gods and their demons with them."

And then things got really interesting as Simon revealed, "One other thing I'd throw out that's going to be a lot of fun to play with is we've only barely scratched the surface of the idea that Salem is a port. It's on the edge of the sea; it's a super important port. But also, from an almost Lovecraftian, horror perspective, there are things in the sea as horrendous as there are in the forest. So imagine Salem as Innsmouth in effect, if you know your Lovecraft. Imagine the fact that Lovecraft was really the more accurate historian of our early history than Arthur Miller was. It's H.P. Lovecraft's Crucible."

Lots of headsy stuff to take in for sure so we came back down to earth by trying to pry out of Goldberg exactly what the heck Isaac was doing when we last saw him. His lips were sealed, but Simon teased, "We would all be in big trouble if we don't have Isaac. We believe real firmly no community can survive without its fool, its holy sacred fool. Now whether he stays a fool or not and what he becomes, who knows? The season did end with him in effect throwing himself on a grenade, which is not enough to stop it from happening but may well have changed the impact that it would have had, had he done what Mary wanted him to… at potentially great cost, but not total, or maybe… we'll see. We don't want to give anything away. But by no means have we seen the last of Isaac the Fornicator."

As for how much more story there is to tell, Simon explained, "You've got to remember, yes, it was six months of a show, but in fictional time it was [only] one month. We haven't even gotten to the event that The Crucible begins with. Now we're not going to spend years and years and years on the witch trials because ultimately the witch trials are a door to open into a completely supernatural vision of early America and of the world based on the consensus reality that the people had back then. But even within the events of the witch trials themselves, we've just barely begun. There's been no Panel of Judges yet, the new Governor Phips has not arrived. There's so much drama, politics, and magic all still to happen there that this has just been the setup for."

We saved the best for last and asked Elise to describe what it's been like playing Mercy. Talk about a character arc! She enthused, "It's a wild flippin' ride. I love it. As an actor, the ability to play so many different emotions… it's like she's a bipolar, schizophrenic girl so to have something like that and get to just work on it and play with it is a dream come true. I've always been so interested in crazy people. *laughs* It's so much fun; I just eat it up!"

Here's a look at our group as they were heading off for their first SDCC panel. Hope to see you all back next year, heathens!


On the way to panel!!! #salem #sdcc #heathens pic.twitter.com/5CLZbr2A4g

— Iddo Goldberg (@IddoG) July 26, 2014

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#SDCC14: Kevin Smith to Channel Spielberg with Upcoming Film Moose Jaws

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:18

Whether you love him or hate him, you simply have to respect Kevin Smith for the direction he's currently taking with his career, where he's decided to make movies that only he can make.

One of those movies is of course the upcoming Tusk, which is the first in a trilogy that will also include his very own version of Jaws. Say what?!

The fine folks over on /Film picked up on the announcement at Comic-Con, where Smith revealed the first trailer for Tusk. On his panel, he said that the crazy film about a dude who turns a podcaster into a walrus will be the first in his 'True North Trilogy,' followed up by the previously announced Yoga Hosers and a movie called Moose Jaws.

Smith describes the latter film as being "Jaws, with a moose," and says it will feature much the same cast as Tusk. The only thing he really said about the movie is that there will be a scene in it of a killer moose eating a little girl, which is enough to pique my interest.

So awesome to see Smith stepping outside of his comedy comfort zone and delving deep into the horror genre. As someone who loved Red State, I welcome all these whacky upcoming projects with open arms!

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#SDCC14: Videos Showcase Highlights of Goosebumps Interviews and Panel

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:09

Bummed that you weren't able to attend this past weekend's San Diego Comic-Con, where all sorts of tidbits were revealed about the upcoming Goosebumps? Well, have no fear because Columbia Pictures has just provided us with all the highlights in the form of two must-watch videos.

Check them out below to hear star Jack Black and director Rob Letterman talk about the film, giving us a whole lot of insight into what we can expect from it. Viewer beware; you're in for a treat!

Jack Black, Ken Marino, Amy Ryan, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Halston Sage, Timothy Simons, Amanda Lund, and Dylan Minnette star.

In the film, directed by Rob Letterman, Black portrays famed children's horror writer R.L. Stine, whose monsters, it turns out, are actually real. When they escape from his books and attack an unsuspecting town, it's up to Stine and two teens to get the monsters back into their stories.

Goosebumps, which comes from a screenplay by Darren Lemke and Mike White, is produced by Neal H. Moritz through his Original Film banner and Deborah Forte of Scholastic Entertainment.

Look for it in theatres on August 7, 2015.

Synopsis
Upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s suddenly up to Stine, Zach, and Hannah to get all of them back in the books where they belong.




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