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Brain That Wouldn’t Die, The (Blu-ray)

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 12:00

Starring Jason Evers, Virginia Leith, Anthony La Penna

Directed by Joseph Green

Distributed by Scream Factory

There’s a little ironic humor to be found in some of the old ‘50s sci-fi B-movies. Many of the ideas presented as crazy, mad science in those classic pictures are now reality, or at least close to it. Take, for example, the idea of transplants. Swapping limbs seemed a bit farfetched; yet, science was already giving it the old college try (it would be almost forty years before a hand was successfully transplanted). However, swapping heads? That was the stuff of future hope.

Now, here we are in 2016, and scientists have announced plans to perform the first human head transplant next December. The whole point of these old mad scientist films was to shock audiences with grotesque medical anomalies… but more often than not – especially by today’s standards – they’re just shockingly hilarious. This would explain why so many pop up on “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (1988-1999), which this film does – and Scream Factory has included that episode among the bonus features.

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962, also known as The Black Door during production and sometimes released as The Head That Wouldn’t Die) is the stuff of cheesy sci-fi legend. Dr. Bill Cortner (Jason Evers) pushes the boundaries of medical science beyond what his father (Bruce Brighton), also a surgeon, deems acceptable. Bill has no less ambition than to transplant human body parts from one host to another. He gets the opportunity to put his theories to the test after a horrific car crash leaves him barely scratched while his girlfriend, Jan (Virginia Leith), is decapitated, her headless body twitching in the car’s fiery wreckage. Bill absconds with the head to his countryside laboratory, where his assistant, Kurt (Leslie Daniels), is waiting. Kurt isn’t just an assistant, though – he’s also a patient, as evidenced by his malformed, gnarled little nub of a hand, the result of Bill’s early transplant attempt gone wrong. Another one of Bill’s failures resides in the closet: a mutant, too powerful and hideous to be let out of its locked cell.

Bill gets Jan’s severed head hooked up to some tubes and liquids and then he… leaves. For the rest of the movie. Bill’s plan is to find a body for Jan, so as soon as he sees signs of life in her floating head – forget about, you know, talking to her to make sure everything is still working up there – he hits the road. For the rest of the film, Bill spends his time frequenting burlesque clubs and beauty contests searching for a butterface who can part with her better parts below. All the while Jan has completely revived and is absolutely seething at her current situation. Being just a head can’t be much fun. She’s got the brains, and whatever is in the closet has the bulk, so Jan begins to communicate with the hideous closet creature in hopes of hatching a plan that can get them both free.

This movie is absolutely ridiculous through and through. It’s almost as though the filmmakers produced it for the sole purpose of providing comedic fodder. After rescuing and resuscitating Jan’s bodiless head Bill takes off to get her a smoking hot body. Jan, meanwhile, wakes up and almost immediately decides Bill is a scoundrel and she needs to get revenge on him. There is no sense of amazement upon learning she’s miraculously alive following that wreck (as only a head no less!), nor does she try to rationalize any of the decisions Bill has made. It’s just sort of like “Well, shit, here I am nothing more than a head and he’s out gallivanting around town. Better strategize with the mute hulking brute in the closet so we can both get revenge!”

Speaking of which, some things are best left unseen… like the thing kept in the dark for most of this picture. My mind conjured up a thousand different iterations of what this speechless humanoid must look like – and exactly none of my fantasies were visualized once he made a grand entrance. Imagine Beldar Conehead dropped face first into a wood chipper and you can approximate what the make-up effects artists produced. Yowza.

So there’s a whole lot of awful in this movie – so what? Does anyone watch these old ‘50s sci-fi films for their nuanced plotting and cutting edge special effects? God no. These movies are a blast because they harken back to a simpler time. Viewers are usually steeped in old Americana charm and classic Us vs. Them scenarios. It’s akin to enjoying an old-school Saturday matinee on your couch which, to me, is a perfectly fine recommendation.

Presented for the first time in HD, the film’s black-and-white 1.66:1 1080p picture is a nice upgrade over previous DVD editions. Synapse’s release, for example, was windowboxed whereas this edition provides a better approximation of the OAR. The print used here is extremely clean, with only sporadic instances of white flecks popping up. Film grain resolves organically and is very fine. Contrast is very strong, too. Who knew such a notorious turkey could look so good?

An English DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track capably carries the film’s sound. There’s a subtle hiss present in some scenes, with a few little pops and crackles along the way. Dialogue is balanced well, though, and the score is nicely reproduced. There is an echo heard occasionally, probably due to low-rent sound capture on stage, but otherwise this is a perfectly fine track. Subtitles are included in English.

The audio commentary with film historian & author Steve Haberman and Tony Sasso, who wrote a book on the making of this film, is more interesting than I had expected. For one thing, Haberman views the film with tongue planted firmly in cheek, while Sasso has such a clear reverence for the material you’d think he was watching a bonafide classic. The exchanges between the two are often funny, and both sides do well in providing useful information.

“Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” – If this show is your kind of humor, you’ll love this extra. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of this sort of comedy (talking heads riffing on movies), so this didn’t do much for me.

“Alternate Model Footage” – This little tidbit features some additional nudity shot for the European market. It features no audio… not that most will notice.

A photo gallery and the film’s theatrical trailer complete the extra features.

Special Features:

  • NEW High Definition (1080p) transfer from the negative – restored to its uncut version (1.66:1)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode – THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE (in Standard Definition)
  • NEW Audio Commentary with film historian and author Steve Haberman and writer Tony Sasso
  • Alternate Scene from the International Cut
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery


The post Brain That Wouldn’t Die, The (Blu-ray) appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

You’re Gonna Die Tonight Affirms Sergio Morcillo’s Teaser

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 11:00

In celebration of its recent riot of a screening at Madrid’s CortomaÑia short film festival, comes the first teaser for Sergio Morcillo’s (Metamorphose) latest short film, You’re Gonna Die Tonight.

Presented by Miguel Ángel Vivas, director of the recent snow-set zombie chiller Extinction (review), which starred Matthew Fox and Jeffrey Donovan, You’re Gonna Die Tonight is penned by Álvaro Fuentes, inspired by an original concept from the clearly tormented-but-talented minds of Morcillo and Ismael de las Heras. The short promises a fresh spin on slasher tropes whilst injecting a ‘70s giallo vibe, oozing with eroticism.

If that’s not enticing enough for you, then the biggest selling point, for me at least, is the effects team involved, Inside FX, previously responsible for that rather epic little zombie franchise most of you will likely have heard of… [REC].

Boasting an almighty ensemble cast of household names in Spain, including Mónica Aragón, Antonio Zancada, and Rafa Casette, and produced under the Terror Club and Fonofox banners, this first sneak peek has me convinced this one will be frequenting a plethora of festivals this year…

The post You’re Gonna Die Tonight Affirms Sergio Morcillo’s Teaser appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Cloverfield Gets a Surprise Spinoff with 10 Cloverfield Lane; Watch the Trailer!

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 10:29

This weekend sees the release of 13 Hours, and though you may not be interested in the film, you will be interested to know that the trailer for the Bad Robot-produced 10 Cloverfield Lane is attached to Michael Bay’s latest. But what the hell is 10 Cloverfield Lane? We’ve got all the details!

A couple years back we reported on a movie titled Valencia, which was to be produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Dan Trachtenberg. As it turns out, that movie’s actual (top secret) title was 10 Cloverfield Lane, and the bigger secret was that the film is connected to the 2008 monster movie.

As Abrams told Collider, it takes place in the same universe as Cloverfield.

The idea came up a long time ago during production,” said Abrams. “We wanted to make it a blood relative of Cloverfield. The idea was developed over time. We wanted to hold back the title for as long as possible.”

Whoa. How cool is that? Check out the trailer and poster art below!

10 Cloverfield Lane stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher, Jr.

Look for it in theaters on March 11, 2016.

Written by Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken, and Damien Chazelle, the film was directed by Dan Trachtenberg.

Synopsis:
Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself in the basement of a man who says he’s saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable.

The post Cloverfield Gets a Surprise Spinoff with 10 Cloverfield Lane; Watch the Trailer! appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Early Horror Comic from Alan Moore and John Wagner Finally Being Reprinted

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 10:00

After being unavailable for over 30 years, the horror comic series Monster, written by none other than the comic book industry’s signature genius/nutcase Alan Moore, the creator of John Constantine, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, etc., with Judge Dredd and A History of Violence creator John Wagner handling later issues, will finally be reprinted as a paperback collected edition this July. Head over to The Guardian for the full story.

The original comic strip was part of the weekly SCREAM! horror anthology in the ’80s but has been incredibly hard to find since then. It follows a deformed psychopath who escapes from his attic prison and goes on a murderous rampage. The black & white and somewhat crowded visuals may seem unappealing to today’s comic audience, but as it comes from two of the most popular creators of all time, I expect it to have a huge fanbase.

The post Early Horror Comic from Alan Moore and John Wagner Finally Being Reprinted appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Oxenfree Collector’s Edition Inbound

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 21:45

Only yesterday we bought you news that none other than Robert Kirkman is helping the game Oxenfree to be adapted into other mediums, and with the game being available tomorrow (head over to Steam to buy your copy), we have even more exciting news to share with you: The game’s also getting a very cool collector’s edition.

Stay tuned next week for our full review and also an interview with the developers.

From the Press Release:
Night School Studio, the developers behind OXENFREE, have revealed a new partnership with iam8bit to produce the official Collector’s Edition. This news is on the heels of the studio’s recent co-branding franchise agreement with Skybound Entertainment.

The Collector’s Edition will be on sale tomorrow, January 15, at 9am PT, the same day OXENFREE is making its debut on Xbox One, Windows 10, and Steam (PC and Mac). The Collector’s Edition ($55) will ship worldwide. Players can also purchase the game only for $19.99.

Those that purchase the Collector’s Edition will immediately receive a download code for the game on the platform of their choice, as well as a download code for demo songs from OXENFREE’S supporting character Ren’s band. The physical Collector’s Edition will ship at the end of February.

The OXENFREE Collector’s Edition includes:

  • A GAME DOWNLOAD CODE for OXENFREE. Select either PC/Mac (via Steam) or Xbox
  • An OXENFREE COOLER to keep your beverage(s) of choice nice and cold, large enough to store a six-pack
  • A STASH CAN to discretely store your unmentionables, made from an actual, off-the-shelf can (beer for 21+ and soda for customers under 21 years of age)
  • A CAN INSULATOR referencing locals’ favorite hole-in-the-wall from the game, Seafood Sammy’s Happy Shanty
  • A roundtrip FERRY TICKET to Edwards Island
  • REDHEADED BEDWETTERS DEMO TAPE – an EP of tracks from Ren’s band, the Redheaded Bedwetters. Listen closely, because you might hear something important.
  • A DOWNLOAD CODE for the REDHEADED BEDWETTERS DEMO SONGS featured on the cassette. They may have had a little help from OXENFREE composer, SCNTFC.
  • A foldout TOURIST MAP from Edwards Island. The flipside of the map features a poster image of the OXENFREE key art.

The game was praised as “the first must play game of 2016” by Los Angeles Times and IGN hails it as “the emotional adventure game you need to know about.” OXENFREE was also nominated last week as a finalist in Excellence in Visual Art for the 2016 Independent Game Festival and received honorable mentions in the categories of Excellence in Narrative, Excellence in Audio, and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

To pre-order the game’s Collector’s Edition, visit iam8bit.com/store. To learn more about Night School Studio, please check out the official website at http://nightschoolstudio.com/oxenfree/ and follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The post Oxenfree Collector’s Edition Inbound appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Contribute to Pupper Master: Axis Termination for a Chance to Be Killed by Blade

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 21:38

It was only a few days ago that we brought you news of some of the incredible rewards on offer for contributing to the Indiegogo campaign for the 11th Puppet Master film, and now, with the campaign nearing its end, they’ve gone ahead and added one of the best perks ever: a chance to be killed in the film.

That’s right; for a mere $2,000 you can be one of six people who gets to die in Puppet Master: Axis Termination. Full details below:

New perk: Get killed by Blade!
Visit the set and be in the new film Puppet Master: Axis Termination. Get onscreen + IMDb Credit. You’ll be on set for 1 day and be featured in a cameo (approximately 10 to 30 seconds onscreen).

Contribution Tier: $2,000
Only 6 available
You’ll also join the cast and crew for meals. This perk does NOT include airfare travel. We will include 1 night of accommodations at a hotel. Also includes: a copy of the script + 2 tickets to the private premiere screening with the cast and crew.

Also available… Supporting Actor Role, which includes: a copy of the script + posters + official signed Full Moon t-shirt + stickers + 2 tickets to the private premiere screening with the cast and crew.

◆ Onscreen Stunt Puppets from the Film (Blade and more!)
◆ Your Photo in the Film
◆ A Cameo Acting Role
◆ Plus a dozen other perks offered, like the amazing Puppet Master Mystery Box!

The post Contribute to Pupper Master: Axis Termination for a Chance to Be Killed by Blade appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Nora-Jane Noone Drowns in The Deep End

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 21:37

More casting news is here for The Deep End as Deadline is reporting that Nora-Jane Noone, whose most recent credit is Fox Searchlight’s now Best Picture Oscar-nominated film Brookyln, has joined the cast of the indie thriller.

The Ireland-born actress will star opposite “The Royals'” Alexandra Park as sisters who become trapped under the fiberglass cover of a public pool.

Matt Eskandari, who helmed IFC Midnight’s Victim and the Bai Ling-starrer Game of Assassins, is directing a script he co-wrote with Michael Hultquis. Citizen Skull Productions’ Mark Myers (Manson Family Vacation, Experimenter) is overseeing production with executive producers Fernando Szew, Sharon Bordas, and Hannah Pillemer.

More as it comes.

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Categories: Horror News

See the Truth Revealed in a New The X-Files Promo

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 19:53

Yet another new promo teaser has arrived for Fox’s upcoming six-episode “The X-Files” event series, and in this one executive producer Chris Carter offers insight into the key themes and character arcs of the new season.  Dig in!

“The X-Files” returns to Fox with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, January 24, 2016 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT), following the NFC Championship Game, and continuing with its time period premiere on Monday, January 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT).

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprise their iconic roles as Agent Fox Mulder and Agent Dana Scully in a mixture of stand-alone investigative episodes and those that further the original show’s seminal mythology.

Related Story:  See the Opening Minute from The X-Files Episode 10.01 – My Struggle

“The X-Files” Episode 10.01 – “My Struggle” (airs 1/24/16; 10-11PM ET/7-8PM PT)
THE X-FILES HAVE BEEN RE-OPENED ON PART ONE OF THE TWO-NIGHT SEASON PREMIERE – Thirteen years after the original series run, the next mind-bending chapter of the thrilling series “THE X-FILES” is here.  FOX MULDER (David Duchovny) and DANA SCULLY (Gillian Anderson) have been approached by TAD O’MALLEY (guest star Joel McHale), a popular conspiracy theorist web-TV show host, who believes he has uncovered a significant government conspiracy. With the assistance of FBI Asst. Dir. WALTER SKINNER (Mitch Pileggi), O’Malley seeks to enlist the help of former X-Files agents Mulder and Scully, who have since severed ties with the FBI. Through O’Malley, they are introduced to SVETA (guest star Annett Mahendru), a possible alien abductee who shares shocking information with them that will challenge everything that Mulder has ever believed about the existence of aliens and the government’s role in covering them up.

“The X-Files” Episode 10.02 – “Founder’s Mutation” (airs 1/25/16; 8-9PM ET/PT)
MULDER AND SCULLY INVESTIGATE A DOCTOR WITH UNSCRUPULOUS PRACTICES ON PART TWO OF THE TWO-NIGHT SEASON PREMIERE WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY JAMES WONG – When a scientist suddenly commits suicide, Mulder and Scully investigate what unseen force may have driven him to it. What they uncover is a laboratory where extreme genetic experimentation has been going on for decades, breeding subjects who possess unexpected and dangerous powers – and who harbor deep resentments.

The post See the Truth Revealed in a New The X-Files Promo appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

New Francesca Poster All Dolled Up

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 19:15

Another absolutely beautiful one-sheet is here for Luciano and Nicolás Onetti’s upcoming thriller Francesca. Read on for the goods, and look for more on this one soon!

Luis Emilio Rodriguez, Gustavo Dalessanro, Raul Gederlini, and Silvina Grippaldi star.

Before you gawk at the colorful artwork down below, and it truly is gawk-worthy, let’s bring you up-to-speed on the film’s plot:

It’s been 15 years since the disappearance of little Francesca, daughter of the renowned storyteller, poet, and dramatist Vittorio Visconti; and the community is stalked by a psychopath bent on cleaning the city of “impure and damned souls.” Moretti and Succo, questioned by the ineffectiveness of the police force, are the detectives in charge of elucidating the mystery surrounding these “Dantesque” crimes. Francesca seems to have returned, but she is not the same girl whom everyone knew…

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Categories: Horror News

New Pack Trailer Bares its Fangs

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 19:04

IFC Midnight has just taken the leash off of a new trailer for its latest terror tale, The Pack. Wanna check it out? Okay… aaaaannnnnddddd… FETCH!

Look for Nick Robertson’s feature debut, The Pack, a Kojo Pictures and Prodigy Movies production, in theaters and on VOD February 5th.

Robertson’s film, with a screenplay by Evan Randall Green, stars Anna-Lise Phillips, Jack Campbell, and Kieran Thomas. The Pack was produced by Michael Robertson and Kent Smith and executive produced by Dale Roberts and Elliott D. Yancey.

Synopsis:
A farmer and his family must fight for their lives after a ferocious pack of feral wild dogs lays siege to their isolated farm.. Through a series of frightening and bloody encounters, they are forced into survival mode to defend themselves from the ravenous beasts and make it through the night.

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Categories: Horror News

Today on VOD: David Keating’s Cherry Tree

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 13:40

David Keating made one hell of an impressive debut on the horror scene with Hammer’s 2010 film Wake Wood, and the Irish filmmaker returns to the genre this year with Cherry Tree (review). Courtesy of Dark Sky Films, the new movie is now available for VOD rental.

Read on for everything you need to know about this one!

Directed by Keating, the film was written by Brendan McCarthy and stars Naomi Battrick, Patrick Gibson, Sam Hazeldine, and Leah McNamara.

Synopsis:
Faith’s world is turned upside down after she finds out that her beloved father is dying.  When the mysteriously alluring Sissy Young becomes her field hockey coach, Faith finds a compassionate spirit and much-needed mother figure.  Little does she know that Sissy is the head of a centuries-old witches’ coven that uses the fruit of an ancient cherry tree in a secret ritual that restores life to the dead and dying. 

Offering to cure her father in exchange for a child, Sissy strikes a bargain with Faith, who suddenly finds herself pregnant with a baby that’s growing at an alarming rate. But with the clock to the child’s birth ticking down and the true intention of Sissy’s plans for humanity becoming more apparent, Faith and her father must stand together in order to save both their lives.

The post Today on VOD: David Keating’s Cherry Tree appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Win a Copy of Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension on Blu-ray

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 13:30

With Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension getting set to hit Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD, we figured that now was as good a time as any to give you guys a chance to score a copy on us. If only to complete your collection.

To enter for your chance to win, just send an email to contests@dreadcentral.com including your FULL NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS with “PATGD” in your subject line. We’ll take care of the rest.

This contest will end at 12:01 AM PT on January 11, 2016.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Release Info:
“Packed with jump scares” (Clark Collis, Entertainment Weekly) and “mile-a-minute frights and chills” (Steve Barton, Dread Central), the latest installment of the groundbreaking horror sensation, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION (review), is now available in the original theatrical version or an even more terrifying unrated version on Digital HD and On Demand from Paramount Home Media Distribution. The film arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, and DVD January 12, 2016.

When a new family moves into Katie and Kristi’s former house, they discover a mysterious video camera that reveals the presence of an ancient evil that begins to terrorize their lives. Now, with their young daughter’s soul in danger, they must fight back against this demonic threat before becoming its next victims.

The PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D Combo Packs include three versions of the film: the original theatrical release, the unrated cut, plus an unrated cut with an alternate ending not seen in theaters. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack also includes the original theatrical release and a deleted scene in 3D.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION Blu-ray Combo Pack
The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The DVD in the Combo Pack is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, and English Audio Description and English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The Combo Pack includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film, as well as the following:

Blu-ray Special Features:

  • Unrated version of feature film in high definition
  • Unrated version of feature film with alternate ending in high definition
  • Theatrical version of feature film in high definition
  • Lost Footage

DVD Special Features:

  • Theatrical version of feature film in standard definition

The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack includes all of the above, as well as a Blu-ray 3D disc with the theatrical version of the film and a deleted scene in 3D and high definition.

For more info “like” Paranormal Activity on Facebook, follow @TweetYourScream on Twitter, subscribe to Paranormal Activity on YouTube, and check out Paranormal Activity on Instagram.



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Categories: Horror News

Serial Kaller Dials Up Terror with New Stills

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 13:00

A new slasher flick starring Debbie Rochon is on its way in just a couple of short weeks entitled Serial Kaller, and we have your first look stills right here! Check ’em out!

Wild Eye Releasing’s latest slasher flick, Serial Kaller, cuts to the bone of modern technology, where everyone broadcasts themselves through hashtags and filters. The lovely ladies of Babealicious TV flaunt what they have for all the world to see, but one deranged fan wants more than pixels. When he calls, the game changes forever.

Serial Kaller comes to DVD and VOD January 26th, featuring legendary Scream Queen Debbie Rochon (Return to Nuke ‘Em High, Phobia, The Theater Bizarre) and horror favorite Suzi Lorraine (Wrath of the Crows, Won Ton Baby).

A group of beautiful Internet models are trapped inside their recording studio and hunted down by a mentally unstable fan they insulted live on the air. Now the girls must join together to escape and face their murderous stalker or be picked off one by one. Beauty may only be skin deep, but revenge cuts to the bone.


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Categories: Horror News

Win a Copy of The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 12:30

Night Shade Books released Nick Mamatas’ The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools earlier this week, and to celebrate, we have ten copies of the San Francisco-based book to give away.  Its dark humor and tongue-in-cheek self-awareness breathe new life into the end of the world.

Mamatas takes a high-powered drill to the lurching, groaning conventions of zombie dystopias and conspiracy thrillers, sparing no cliché about tortured artists, alcoholic “genius,” noir action heroes, survivalist dogma, or starry-eyed California dreaming. Starting in booze-soaked but clear-eyed cynicism and ending in gloriously uncozy catastrophe, The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools is merciless, uncomfortably perceptive, and bleakly hilarious. It is a darkly satirical stand-alone zombie novel, which distinguishes itself from traditional zombie book heroes (soldiers, born leaders) with an apocalyptic San Francisco left to the bohemians, drunks, and loners. Fans of horror and dystopian fiction will relish this humorous, daring drama that deals with the complexity of human nature amidst chaos. Sometimes the best coping mechanism in an apocalypse is a stiff drink and a good book.

To enter for your chance to win, just send an email to contests@dreadcentral.com including your FULL NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS with “The Last Weekend” in your subject line. We’ll take care of the rest.

This contest will end at 12:01 AM PT on January 13, 2016.

Synopsis:
Vasilis “Billy” Kostopolos is a Bay Area Rust Belt refugee, failed sci-fi writer, successful barfly, and, since the exceptionally American zombie apocalypse, an accomplished “driller” of reanimated corpses. There aren’t many sane, well-adjusted human beings left in San Francisco, but facing the end of the world, Billy’s found his vocation trepanning the undead, peddling his one and only published short story, and drinking himself to death.

Things don’t stay static for long. Billy discovers that both his girlfriends turn out to be homicidal revolutionaries. He collides with a gang of Berkeley scientists gone berserk. Finally, the long awaited “Big One” shakes the foundation of San Francisco to its core, and the crumbled remains of City Hall can no longer hide the awful secret lurking deep in the basement. Can Billy unearth the truth behind America’s demise and San Francisco’s survival—and will he destroy what little’s left of it in the process? Is he legend, the last man, or just another sucker on the vine?


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Categories: Horror News

Hilarious New Trailer for Gay-Themed Horror Film You’re Killing Me

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 12:00

Unless you’re Kim Davis, I guarantee that you’ll watch the trailer for the gay-themed horror You’re Killing Me with a big smile on your face. We reported last month that it had been picked up by distributor Wolfe after a successful run at LGBT film festivals, and now its release on a currently unspecified date later this year cannot come soon enough.

If your partner joked that they were a serial killer, you might find it funny for a while, right? But it won’t be so funny anymore when your friends start to disappear. So it will be interesting to see how our hero, George, plucks up the courage to approach his boyfriend, Joe, who may just not have been joking after all…

With an all-star cast including Shaughn Buchholz, Matthew McKelligon, Mindy Cohn, Drew Droege, Carolyn Hennesy, Edi Patterson, and Sam Pancake, You’re Killing Me will be released later this year. If the trailer isn’t enough, then follow it on Facebook and take a gander at the brilliant posters below.

Synopsis:
Directed by Jim Hansen (The Chloe Videos), this gay mixture of “Dexter” and “Gilmore Girls” blends witty banter, pop culture references, and good old-fashioned murder! George, a narcissistic wannabe internet star, starts dating Joe, a monotone serial killer. While all of George’s friends agree that Joe seems a bit strange, George claims his new beau “isn’t scary; he’s gorgeous.” But as George’s friends start to disappear, the remaining group decides to take matters into their own hands.

The post Hilarious New Trailer for Gay-Themed Horror Film You’re Killing Me appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Dungeonmaster, The / Eliminators (Blu-ray)

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 11:30

Starring Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll, Andrew Prine, Denise Crosby

Directed by Peter Manoogian (segments of The Dungeonmaster also directed by David Allen, Charles Band, Ted Nicolau, John Carl Buechler, Steven Ford, and Rosemarie Turko)

Distributed by Scream Factory

In regard to sheer ridiculousness, no decade can top the ‘80s. Filmmakers seemed to be able to get away with producing pictures that stretched the limits of absurdity, filling video store shelves with one horribly entertaining gem after the other. Leading the pack (arguably) was Empire Pictures, the independent genre house responsible for cult classics like Re-Animator (1985), Troll (1986), and From Beyond (1986). There were plenty of companies pumping out lo-fi horror & sci-fi pictures on the cheap at this time, but one thing Empire can’t be faulted for is employing wild imagination and talented artists to bring these films – which could have been absolutely unwatchable in the wrong hands – to life. Charles Band’s production studio only operated for a decade, but in that time he and a cadre of winning directors, actors and FX artists delivered a few dozen memorable B-movies… many of which Scream Factory has seen fit to give some love on home video.

The company set a tone right out of the gate with their first released picture, The Dungeonmaster (1984, aka Ragewar). An amalgamation of the popular Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game and Disney’s TRON (1982), the film was ambitious in that it was loosely done as an anthology, with a different director helming each of the “stories”. Our unlikely leading man, computer geek Paul (Jeffrey Byron), is a programming whiz who lives with his girlfriend, Gwen (Leslie Wing). In their home is X-CaliBR8, a computer Paul has programmed to be nearly sentient with which he is able to communicate. One night, unexpectedly, Paul and Gwen are both transported to a realm within the computer, lorded over by the nefarious Mestema (Richard Moll). It seems that in all his time Mestema has yet to come across a worthy opponent, but in Paul he sees potential. First, however, his appointed adversary must defeat a series of challenges armed only with a wrist-sized version of X-CaliBR8. With Gwen held captive and at Mestema’s mercy, Paul has no choice but to forge ahead and vanquish his digital enemies before facing down Mestema in the ultimate battle.

If you can’t love watching a thirty-something man wearing a puffy track suit and shooting lasers from a cheap-looking computer “weapon” on his wrist at enemies such as a massive stone god or Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P. (!), then you have no soul. I reveled in the sheer insanity unfolding on screen. Each of the scenarios in which Paul is inserted feels like it comes from a completely unique film. All of the directors deserve credit for making their segments stand out while also being sure they gelled with the overall story. Paul’s gauntlet includes a fight against frozen villains, a massive stone idol, the band W.A.S.P., a city slasher, and a final post-apocalyptic battle that was clearly influenced by The Road Warrior (1981). Paul, of course, breezes through all of them with relative ease. It isn’t his peril that drives interest in the film; it’s watching him jump from one unexpected challenge to the next.

Richard Moll is clearly having fun hamming it up as Mestema, who comes across as less a savage foe and more like more old, lonely longhaired Goth who is desperate to be intimidating. Maybe Mestema was bullied as a teen? He sure has a lot of fun with his new digital powers of villainy. Mestema pops up between each segment to deliver monologues intended to crush Paul’s spirit, and none of them are better than his childhood cat story. Let’s just say it didn’t end well for the cat. Gwen gets in on the action, too, popping up in Paul’s slasher segment as an actress auditioning for a big role and delivering one of the film’s most hilarious lines – “I got the part!” – after almost getting mutilated by a murderer. The Dungeonmaster is a wonderfully inventive flashback to a time when films didn’t need to be “grounded” or “gritty” and instead just took a crazy concept and ran wild. Each of the stories here is directed with style and a real sense of fun. I had such a blast watching this movie, and I suspect anyone who grew up in the ‘80s will feel the same.

Note: this is the unrated version of the film, which contains additional (and quite welcomed) nudity. Enjoy.

That sense of elation isn’t likely to pass after moving on to Eliminators (1986). How could anyone not be sold on this premise? A mandroid (exactly what you think it is), betrayed and attacked by his villainous creator, teams up with a female scientist, a mercenary, and a ninja to get revenge on his evil old master before he can travel back in time to become to ruler of ancient Rome. This is one of those outrageously ridiculous plots that teenagers come up with after a night of getting stoned and thinking up crazy/awesome film ideas. And, yet, despite being so ludicrous it (mostly) works.

Aging scientist Dr. Reeves (Roy Dotrice) has created the perfect weapon with Mandroid (Patrick Reynolds), a half man/half robot that can change out his legs for set of tank tracks. Reeves orders his creation killed after a mission, but Mandroid breaks free and escapes thanks to the help of Dr. Takada (Tad Horino), who is killed during the breakout. Before he dies, Takada tells Mandroid to find Col. Nora Hunter (Denise Crosby), a scientist who may be able to help him stop Reeves. Mandroid and Hunter meet up and hatch a plan to storm Reeves’ hideout, which involves a deadly boat ride up river that only Harry Fontana (Andrew Prine, totally killing it) agrees to captain. On their lengthy journey (seriously, the boat trip takes up the entire second act) they also hook up with Kuji (Conan Lee), the ninja son of Dr. Takada. Together, the four of them take it to Reeves and harness all of their abilities to prevent him from becoming a time-travel overlord.

Other than the overly long boat ride, which isn’t terrible thanks to an abundance of action (the group clearly chose the world’s most treacherous river), this is a whiz-bang movie that breezes by and (coincidentally) will cause some viewers to feel as though they’ve traveled back to a time when a movie’s only requirement was that it made you and your friends marvel at one absurd scene after the next. I pity the viewer who can’t be positively giddy watching a damaged Mandroid fighting his elderly, breastplate-wearing equal in an attempt to stop him from conquering ancient Rome. If that isn’t enough, the film also has Andrew Prine’s scheming, sly merc, Denise Crosby’s gorgeous looks and a friggin’ ninja. Eliminators knows exactly what kind of film it is and fully embraces its weirdness.

And the final scream from Reeves is one for the ages.

I hope Scream Factory has plans to release every single Empire Pictures film. So far they’ve made a sizeable dent in the catalog; here’s to hoping they finish off the job. This is yet another totally killer double feature of two films that are so emblematic of what the ‘80s had to offer that they belong on the shelf of anyone who appreciates that era of filmmaking.

The visual similarities between both films are so close that these comments can apply to either one. The Dungeonmaster is framed at 1.85:1, while Eliminators is slightly more open at 1.78:1 (and featuring a new HD transfer), with both featuring 1080p pictures. Despite the low-budget nature of these productions, each looks quite good in high definition. Colors are nicely saturated. Daylight scenes offer up the best look at fine details, and the prints used for these transfers appear to have been kept in great shape. There are only minor instances of dirt & debris on screen. This may not be a massive improvement over what DVD can offer, but there are definitely moments where it’s clear the films have benefitted from HD.

Both films feature an English DTS-HD MA 2.0 track – mono for The Dungeonmaster, stereo for Eliminators – and both get the job done without issues. The patently ‘80s electro score for Dungeonmaster rules, and the greatest strength of Eliminators is the frequent action (even if it isn’t exactly weighty). Dialogue is clear and well-balanced on both films. Subtitles are available in English.

“Interview with Director Peter Manoogian” – Typical of Scream Factory interviews, this covers not only the two films in question but also Manoogian’s career beginnings, collaborators, aspirations and so forth.

A theatrical trailer for The Dungeonmaster is also included.

Special Features:

  • NEW Interview with director Peter Manoogian
  • NEW High Definition Transfer (Eliminators)
  • Theatrical Trailer (The Dungeonmaster)


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Categories: Horror News

Win a Copy of Howl on Blu-ray

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 11:00

Don’t let the pretty awful artwork for Peter Hyett’s new werewolf flick Howl fool you… the flick is a winner. Look for it online and in stores on January 12th, and read on for your chance to score a copy on Blu-ray on us!

To enter for your chance to win, just send an email to contests@dreadcentral.com including your FULL NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS with “Howl” in your subject line. We’ll take care of the rest.

This contest will end at 12:01 AM PT on January 12, 2016.

Ed Speelers, Sean Pertwee, and Holly Weston star.

Synopsis:
On a stormy night, passengers on the last train out of London begin to panic after coming to a sudden halt. They soon realize there’s something dangerous lurking in the forest, and it’s stalking the besieged train, picking them off one-by-one.



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Categories: Horror News

Rotten Link, The (2015)

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 10:30

Starring Paula Brasca, Luis Ziembrowski, Marilu Marini

Directed by Valentín Javier Diment

Whilst last year’s It Follows served up some chillingly potent propaganda advocating sexual sobriety, Argentina’s latest genre offering, The Rotten Link, divulges in all manner of sexual debaucheries to further reinforce the notion that it’s probably wise to keep one’s pecker in one’s pants.

Writer/director Valentín Javier Diment goes brashly against the grain, tapping into the pneuma of an isolated township to take his audience on an unflinching journey into the abyss of cultural taboos. And what better place to portray this than in the seemingly peaceful backdrop of El Escondido – a disturbingly dysfunctional community, bereft of legal constraints?

Despite a lewd sounding premise, Diment never falls back on smutty schemings. That’s clearly not his modus operandi: He’s much more interested in setting a controlled pace to give his characters all the room in the world to breathe and flourish. This deliberate pacing might find some less patient viewers feeling fidgety, but it’s the unhealthy relationships and erotically-charged emotions Diment toys with that maketh this movie. Having said that, even if slow-burners don’t tend to light your cinematic candle, you should still give this a try, safe in the knowledge that, despite the sardonically bleak portrait it paints, The Rotten Link packs in a torrent of inspired pitch-black comedy moments that really pep things up. Likewise, a folksy guitar score performed by actual characters featuring in the film is an inspired touch, adding some welcome mirth and vitality to the proceedings.

The film’s biggest redeeming quality is by far its stainless cast, particularly the central, idiosyncratic family: the waning tyrannical mother, Ercilia (Marini), stricken with memory lapses, who watches over her two children, Roberta (Brasca), the prostitute everyone lusts for, and her brother, the mentally impaired woodcutter Raulo (Ziembrowski). The siblings are such a convincing pairing that a certain incestuous moment borders on the unbearable once we get there.

In terms of the narrative, it’s hard not to trespass in spoiler territory, but in short, Ercilia gets a gut feeling she won’t be around to fend for her kids much longer and warns Roberta not to sleep with every last male in the community so as not to lose her “purity.” It won’t take a genius to imagine what that leads up to, particularly when one certain pushy customer, Sicilio, refuses to take no for an answer, but by far does it end there, and as mentioned, the film tackles the taboo to outstrip all taboos: incest. The audience endures this particularly uncomfortable moment of intimacy before things take yet another unexpected turn and the brother’s bottled-up torment is uncorked as Diment ditches his calmer cadence in favor of a frantically-paced kamikaze killing spree.

Exactly what dark place Diment and his co-writers were coming from when they wrote this script still silently flummoxes me, but The Rotten Link does a superb job of emphasizing how life’s turmoil, not mental disabilities or madness, can lead even the most decent of people far astray from the moral path when pushed a bridge too far.

It’s disturbing, it’s lewd, it’s even absurdly funny, and it depicts society at its most toxic; and for most of those reasons it likely won’t resonate with many. That would be a real shame, though, as Diment’s respectful approach to such dark and deplorable subject matter, coupled with the fact the film revels in its own rashness and absolute unconventionality, is what makes it all the more appealing. For all its bleakness and malevolence, The Rotten Link is anything but rotten. It is, in fact, an absolute treat.

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Categories: Horror News

Forest, The (2016)

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 10:00

Starring Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Eoin Macken, Yukiyoshi Ozawa

Directed by Jason Zada

There’s a famous forest in Japan called the Aokigahara, or “sea of trees,” and it’s the (final) destination hotspot for suicides in Japan (and second-most popular place to pop off in the entire world; San Fran’s Golden Gate Bridge is numero uno). After the novel Kuroi Jukai was published in 1960, in which suicide in the forest is romanticized, glum guys and gals started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 annually. Authorities sweep for bodies only on an annual basis, as the forest sits at the base of Mt. Fuji and is too dense to patrol very frequently. Ghosts known as ubasute are said to haunt the terrifying timberland. Bodies are stored in a makeshift morgue in the basement of a ranger station until they are claimed.

It’s at one of these stations that an American woman, Sara (Natalie Dormer), goes in search of her missing identical twin sister, Jess (also Dormer), and encounters a sinister spirit that pursues her throughout her journey. First Sara goes to the school where Jess taught and learns of the legend from some spooked students (a nice nod to J-horror here, with the look and feel of a Whispering Corridors movie).

Once the forest is fixed as the last known place Jess visited, Sara decides to investigate. She is convinced Jess is not dead. “I’d just know it,” she says. Not only are they twins, but in their youth they shared the tragedy of the brutal death of their parents. Somehow, she believes, all this bad luck is interconnected.

While drowning her sorrows in sake at a local bar, Sara meets a handsome and charming expat columnist named Aiden (Taylor Kinney). Aiden wants to not only help Sara, but to share the story of her search for her sister in his travelogue. She agrees, though reluctantly. The next morning the pair go into the deep, dark, dense forest where dozens of old, gray, cane-assisted boo-scares await.

It’s always a slippery slope for filmmakers to compare their movies to suspense and horror classics like Rosemary’s Baby or The Shining, but they do it all the time, and all the time they come up short. The producers of The Forest said they were going for an old-fashioned look and feel, which makes the movie seem even more lightweight than it already is. The premise is creepy, but the execution is marred by fake-out frights and cheesy CGI ghosts. Not to mention the fact it’s PG-13 and is clearly going for the teen box office buck – not because of its rating (The Others was PG-13 also, and it’s one of my fave ghost movies) but because there’s a slick veneer to it that’s nothing like the Polanskis and Kubricks the filmmakers claim to be paying homage to.

Luckily, The Forest has some saving graces in its cast and authentic Japanese location. Dormer is watchable as ever, but I was especially impressed by Kinney. He’s like a cross between Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio, and one can see that with meatier material he could be a superstar. While the movie crew was not allowed to shoot in the actual Aokigahara forest, they found something close. Regardless, the flora and fauna of the Orient is so much different than North America that a cheat would have been obvious. Also, the sets built really have a feel of authenticity (I have been to Japan several times myself, so I know how things should look). What’s more, the score and sound design are crisp and chilling.

The Forest is a well-made movie with a few things going for it. But not quite enough going for me to suggest you check it out in theaters. Unless you’re a huge fan of Dormer or Kinney and need to see their every pore on the big screen, it’s best to wait for home viewing on this one.

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Categories: Horror News

Nina Forever (UK Blu-ray/DVD)

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 06:00

Starring Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Abigail Hardingham, Cian Barry

Directed by Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine

If you were to read a brief synopsis of Nina Forever before fully experiencing Chris and Ben Blaine’s macabre, witty debut, you’d be forgiven for confusing it with one or two other films that have broached the “awkward undead” sub-genre recently. Whilst Joe Dante’s Burying the Ex and Jeff Baena’s Life After Beth took a slightly different approach to the setup – gunning for wholesome comedy rather than deep, evocative drama – one particular horror trope is consistent throughout all three projects: In the wonderful world of horror, loved ones returning from beyond the grave very rarely means jolly times are a-comin’.

If I was going to be haunted by somebody at the most inopportune moments, I’d probably choose my best mate to do it, but even that scenario hasn’t worked out too well if you look back at historical horror characters. I mean, as cool as Griffin Dunne’s decomposing Jack was in An American Werewolf in London, it proved a bit of a downer for poor ol’ David Naughton, having him pop up to deliver his dire predictions of doom – it’s enough to annihilate any lycanthrope’s libido. So, if your bosom buddy can’t make such a paranormal experience less uncomfortable, what chance your mangled ex-missus?!

Nineteen-year-old Holly (Hardingham) works in a supermarket while studying to be a paramedic and falls for shelf-stacker Rob (Barry), survivor of a failed suicide attempt following the death of his girlfriend. After a few successful dates, their first go in the sack is cut short when Rob’s dead ex, Nina (O’Shaughnessy), emerges from the bedsheets – limbs gnarled and broken, tongue razor-sharp – leaving physical and mental stains on everything and everyone she touches. In time Nina becomes a greater presence in Holly’s psyche than in Rob’s, obsessing over how she falls short of the phantom (desperate to leave “vanilla” behind) rather than concentrating on what she has to offer.

As Rob and Holly attempt to struggle on and accommodate the most fucked up of love triangles, Nina Forever excels by reveling in its own ludicrousness and provides some blacker-than-black amusing moments without ever becoming silly – a pitfall that’s tough to avoid when you consider its premise. Instead, we’re presented with a beautiful, bleeding tale of grief, love, infatuation and the inability to let go of the past. Metaphors of tentative feet traversing manic motorways and shattered glass will live long in the memory.

Nina Forever is made all the more impressive by our three main leads: O’Shaughnessy as the hilariously disturbing titular character, her bloody mattress birth like something from a Clive Barker novel, Cian Barry tragic as pain-stricken Rob, and showstopper Hardingham – whose innocence will drag you in, only for her sex appeal to blow you away. That being said, the scenes involving Nina’s parents (David Troughton and Elizabeth Elvin) remain my personal high points; having remained friends with Rob, the pair spend their time dishing out Sunday roasts and writing jarring erotic fiction to fill a loveless, aching void. Troughton’s emotional collapse in a restaurant is on par with any of the best scenes I’ve witnessed in years.

The Blu-ray/DVD special features are listed below; however, they were unavailable for review.

Startlingly distinctive despite the obvious comparisons, perfectly ambiguous, unsettling, funny, poignant and downright sexy, Nina Forever is brilliant; and The Blaine brothers deserve all the praise aimed their way for making such a ridiculous concept so profound and effective.

Special Features

  • A Look Behind Nina Forever
  • Things That Are Not There
  • Things That Were Not There


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Categories: Horror News