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Is Your Body Ready? Frightfest 2016 Full Lineup Announced!

Fri, 07/01/2016 - 10:03

The UK’s biggest and baddest genre film festival, Frightfest, hits London once more this August 25-29 with not only a new location for the Bank Holiday weekend’s scares… but a new headline sponsor, too!

Say hello to Graham Humphreys’ badass artwork for the 2016 Horror Channel Frightfest.

This year, the action will be based at the 12-screen Vue Cinema in West London’s Shepherd’s Bush — part of Graham’s inspiration for this year’s poster.

But what’s in store when it comes to the butt-numbing banquet of brutal celluloid treats on display? We’ll let the (huge) official press release fill you in.

For showtimes and full details on individual films, check out the schedule at the official Horror Channel Frightfest website.

From the Press Release:
In its 17th year, the world renowned genre film festival will present 62 new feature films, embracing sixteen countries and bringing together established filmmakers, British first-timers and emerging international visionaries from six continents.

The opening night attraction is the European Premiere of MY FATHER DIE, Sean Brosnan’s brutal and beautiful feature debut – an ultra-stylish, uber violent revenge thriller that’s a calling card for Brosnan’s brilliant talents. And our closing night film is another breakneck paced masterpiece – the UK Premiere of TRAIN TO BUSAN, so join ‘The Commuting Dead’ as director Sang-ho Yeon takes you on a first class horror action thrill-ride, mixing slaughter, suspense and splatter with incredible visual élan.

In between these two banner titles are the scream of the crop from all over the globe, strongly represented in our line-up of World Premieres by the incredible Italian supercar tension-ratcheting MONOLITH, the gory Dutch treat THE WINDMILL MASSACRE, the stunning South African nightmare FROM A HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET, Tricia Lee’s creepy Canadian chiller BLOOD HUNTERS and three American shock absorbers KNUCKLEBONES, ENCLOSURE and the Eurotrashy radical BLOOD FEAST remake.

Reflecting a productive year for British horror, there are twelve UK World Premieres, including Shaun Robert Smith’s intensely powerful BROKEN, Jon Ford’s visceral revenge thriller OFFENSIVE, Wyndham Price’s dark fantasy CROW, Kate Shenton’s auto-satire EGOMANIAC, Ben Parker’s claustrophobic THE CHAMBER, Marty Stalker’s shock-doc HOSTAGE TO THE DEVIL and Andy Edward’s sun, sea and sex gore-fest IBIZA UNDEAD.

Five of the UK World Premieres make up the ‘First Blood’ strand, in which home-based directors are given a chance to shine with their debut efforts. These are: Phillip Escott’s harrowing CRUEL SUMMER, Brad Watson’s urban gang shocker HALLOW’S EVE, James Crow’s deadly HOUSE OF SALEM, Stewart Spark’s 666 Short Cuts To Hell entry THE CREATURE BELOW and Lawrie Brewster’s PTSD-inspired THE UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS.

Other festival highlights in the Main Screen strand include the European Premiere of Adam Wingard’s intense chiller of the moment, THE WOODS. destined to be one of the key horrors of 2016. We also have this year’s most ferocious possession movie in Cody Calahan’s LET HER OUT, as well as Todd William’s superb Stephen King adaptation CELL, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Then there is the top box office Italian sensation THEY CALL ME JEEG ROBOT, Adam Rifkin’s tour-de-force DIRECTOR’S CUT, starring Penn Jillette, Rob Zombie’s ultra-violent grindhouse slasher 31, ‘Saw’ man Darren Lynn Bousman’s graphic novel inspired ABBATOIR, Simon Rumley’s latest visionary masterpiece JOHNNY FRANK GARRETT’S LAST WORD, Jackson Stewart’s supernatural switcheroo BEYOND THE GATES, the zombie theme park hell ride THE REZORT, the full-blooded cracker RED CHRISTMAS, the cryogenic chiller REALIVE, the home invasion twister MERCY, the darkly unpredictable PET, starring Dominic Monaghan and the beguilling THE MASTER CLEANSE, with The Big Bang Theory’s Jonny Galecki and Anna Friel.

South America is rapidly becoming a major genre player and FrightFest is proud to be presenting seven specialities from Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Mexico. Daniel de la Vega’s WHITE COFFIN is co-written by FrightFest favourite Adrian Garcia Bogliano, Laura Casbe’s BENAVIDEZ’S CASE stretches surrealist boundaries, Patricio Valladares’ DOWNHILL mines H. P. Lovecraft for inspiration, THROUGH THE SHADOW puts Henry James’ classic tale of terror ‘The Turn of the Screw’ through a south of the border filter, THE SIMILARS is pure ‘Twilight Zone’ inspiration, FRANCESCA a thrilling Buenos Aires take on giallo and WE ARE THE FLESH comes with serious artistic endorsements from fellow Mexican filmmakers Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

The Discovery Screen strand is as bold as ever and includes a restored version of Shelden Renan’s controversial documentary THE KILLING OF AMERICA, Anna Biller’s gloriously art-directed THE LOVE WITCH, the cursed silent movie FURY OF THE DEMON, the Berlin Film Festival break-out, SHELLEY, the visionary sci-fi fantasy LOST SOLACE and the darkly hilarious ghost-busting ANOTHER EVIL. Then there’s Julian T. Pinder’s chilling murder investigation POPULATION ZERO, Martin Owen’s High-tec underground thriller terror LET’S BE EVIL, Tim Reis’ slimy creature feature BAD BLOOD: THE MOVIE and Michael Boroweic’s acute study of alien paranoia, MAN UNDERGROUND.

Plus, you can witness the stag party from hell in THE UNRAVELLING, the bad taste shenanigans of NIGHT OF SOMETHING STRANGE, , the viral thrills of THE EVIL IN US, the vehicular chills of PARANORMAL DRIVE, the die-hard dystopia of HERE ALONE, the eye-popping shocks of FOUND FOOTAGE 3D, and the ‘goriously’ insane ATTACK OF THE LEDERHOSEN ZOMBIES.

Ahead of its FrightFest Presents DVD release, there is an encore airing for ROAD GAMES, this time with a live interactive commentary with director Abner Pastoll and a London premiere for one of the most popular movies shown earlier this year at FrightFest Glasgow, Sean Byrne’s THE DEVIL’S CANDY.

The Duke Mitchell Film Club is back with the UK premiere of Kim Sang-Chan’s outrageously infectious KARAOKE CRAZIES and a first showing of all three episodes of the mesmerising French TV mini-series BEYOND THE WALLS.

Alan Jones, co-director of FrightFest, said today: “For seventeen years now FrightFest has led the way through landmark changes in the genre, altered perceptions of fandom and embraced the revolutions in platforms and distribution models. It continues to do so this year with a breathtaking selection of genre attractions with the widest appeal and breadth of focus. We stand out because we stand for something special – a one-stop roadmap through everything you need to see to be totally up to speed with what the next year in horror fantasy will be all about”.

Over the next few weeks, the Frightfest crew will continue to drop details on this year’s special events, guests, short film entries and retrospective programme — so keep an eye out.

Full festival and day passes go on sale tomorrow, Saturday July 2, at noon. These will only be available to buy online right here:

Make sure your body is ready.

The post Is Your Body Ready? Frightfest 2016 Full Lineup Announced! appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Set Visit – Netflix’s Stranger Things

Fri, 07/01/2016 - 10:00

The ‘80s hold a special place in the hearts of horror fans. During the decade of excess, the genre gorged itself on new creatures and forces of darkness that managed to survive the times and became ingrained in popular culture. It is that particular vein of genre love that Netflix is looking to tap into with its new original series “Stranger Things,” a supernatural thriller setting out to be a love letter to the glory days of horror’s past.

The eight-episode series is set in a 1980’s Hawkins, Indiana. In this tiny town, a young boy’s disappearance is only the start of the thrilling events that involve government secrets and a mysteriously odd little girl.

Dread Central was recently invited out by Netflix to take a peek as filming took place during the final two episodes of “Stranger Things.” Filming was taking place both at ScreenGems Studios and around Atlanta, Georgia. On this particular trip, Dread Central was privy to the filming of a flashback scene taking place in a wooded area of Stone Mountain Park.

The skeletal branches of the heavily wooded area loomed overhead as the expansive crew busied themselves with the magic of making fiction into reality. Controlling all the commotion was the creative force that sold Netflix on the idea of this small town terror: Matt and Ross Duffer. The “Wayward Pines” scribes stopped during their packed schedule to talk to Dread Central briefly. These two have set out to create a love letter to the horror, thriller and adventure movies of the ‘80s. The series, according to the Duffer brothers, takes its roots from titles genre fans know well, including IT, Goonies, and Stand by Me. They saw an opening to explore a new avenue with the horror genre both in terms of plot and cinematography.

As far as the tone and atmosphere of the series goes, the Duffers relayed that there is an air of subtly surrounding the supernatural and horror aspects. Nothing is heavy-handed. Even the monster is shot in the style of Ridley Scott’s original xenomorph: less is more. Nothing is played for camp and the group of characters are in real, tangible danger. Traces of Spielberg and Carpenter should be easily spotted by the attentive viewer.

While the process of making a movie or TV series is taxing and stressful, the Duffers admitted that working for Netflix has allowed them an unexpected level of creative freedom, “They want to do something different. You’re not given the typical notes [expected from a regular studio].” This may explain the sense of calm surrounding the cast and crew as they prepped for a scene taking place downhill from a jogging path.

At the feet of the world’s largest exposed granite monoliths was a small fort constructed of branches, flying a proud American flag. A kid’s fort: Castle Byers. Its owner is the missing boy of the series, Will Byers. Joining Will during filming was his mother, Joyce, dressed in the attire of a working class mother and played by the incomparable Winona Ryder.

Though the fort only plays a minor role in this flashback, the Duff brothers informed Dread Central that what the structure represents in a child’s mind becomes one of the grand set pieces later in the series. Here the series takes a turn onto a much more interesting road. The real world is not the only one the characters of “Stranger Things” must contend with in the search for Will. A Nether Realm exists on a parallel plane of existence next to ours. There anything is possible, and something has broken through the barrier between the realities.

That rift was going to be revealed during the second leg of the visit and could be found at ScreenGem studios. There, the principal interiors of the Byers’ house, a basement set and the mysterious government lab still stood erect and were currently being dressed by the visual effects crew.

The Bryers’ residence, a slightly shabby home that showed signs of the characters’ tax bracket, was adorned with creeping tentacles of maroon red, complete with web-like ectoplasm. The décor, a mixture of late ‘70s and early ‘80s with a muted color palette, was a muted tone of browns, yellows and deep green was so authentic that one could easily take seat on the couch and feel at home … if one’s abode was full of meaty worms from another dimension.

Speaking of the extra dimensional horrors, the soundstage just adjacent to the Bryers’ residence was hosting the expansive set of The Lab. Here the crew was busy prepping more of those tentacles, big ones. Upon entering the set proper, there was a large corridor with one end leading to a large freight elevator and the other emptied out into The Lab’s centerpiece: a two-story set with wall-to-wall scientific equipment. Magnetic tape reels whizzed, and various electronic machinery flashed and flickered with various readings and numeric information. In the center stood a sensory deprivation tank with a clear window.

Across from this impressive piece was a huge gash in The Lab’s wall. From this laceration spread an infection of those familiar meaty fingers from the previous set. This is the tear. The point from which our world has met The Nether Realm is two stories tall, blistering and somewhat reminiscent of the Hell portal from the original Poltergeist. While everything at this point is static, on screen it will be brought to life with both practical effects and some CGI. Regardless, it brought on more than a couple of wows from those in attendance.

Soundstage #2 played host to the basement set. The air was heavy with not only nostalgia but of that familiar odor found at the house of a relative. The set felt lived-in, full of memories and storage. Board games, irons, a tape player, all exactly where you’d think they were if you brought it down to the basement to hide away until the yard sale comes a’calling. At the center of this trip down memory lane was a setup that was not unheard of during the 1980s: the fabled Dungeons & Dragons. The table top of fantasy consisted of multiple sided dice, trapper keepers full of lore and the always essential sugary soda to fuel an army of fantasy beings all night.

While taking in the sights and smells of the set, a young woman walked in and greeted the press with a distinct British accent, Millie Bobby Brown. Sporting a shaved head and a pleasant smile, Millie informed DC about her character: the mysterious escapee Eleven. The character is a troubled little girl who has called The Lab home for a very long time. She was no stranger to the dunk tank mentioned earlier and the experiences from that time at The Lab has left Eleven more than a little damaged. Though Millie’s character does not have an abundance of lines, she did state that her “actions speak louder than words.

Eleven isn’t just one of those creepy kids horror fans have seen reused and overused throughout the years. As Eleven comes to trust the other kids and even some adults, she forms a bond in which brings out her voice. Millie also foretold that the eighth episode would have viewers “on edge,” a sentiment heard often during this set visit.

It was also on this set that DC met the young actors who play Dustin and Mike (Finn Wolfhard and Gaten Matarazzo), whose D&D binders were at the abovementioned table. Mike is the leader of the group of kids, much in the vein of Goonies’ Mikey, and Dustin is a combination of Mouth and Chunk. Both Woldhard and Matarazzo have screen and stage experience, along with a love for ‘80s film and merch. Listening to the two gush when looking at a table of reference material and props, there was a tinge of that forgotten magic millennials have been trying to recapture with the retro kitsch movement of recent years.

These newcomers have shown a rare love of adventure that adults fondly remember from youth. This will be the selling point of the series, not the monster, horror or suspense. What viewers will take away with them will be the need to venture out into the unknown with friends and face down fears, both real and imaginary, with the special kind of courage found only in kids.

Photo credit: Emma Loggins

Photo credit: Emma Loggins

Mike Phalin on the set of the Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’

Photo credits:

D&D Table with Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Emma Loggins and Ben Travers – Emma Loggins (Fanbolt)

All other photos – Mike Phalin

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Categories: Horror News

A Trailer Seeks Shelter for the Bloodstained Soul

Fri, 07/01/2016 - 09:00

With a title like Shelter for the Bloodstained Soul, we’re already sold. And since we’ve even got a pretty awesome teaser, we’re now equally sold.

Head over to Facebook to give shelter to this lost soul.

From writer/director Nicholas Wagner (The Holy Sound) comes the first trailer for Shelter for the Bloodstained Soul, the story of a twisted preacher and his cult devoted to the resurrection of a pagan goddess that feeds on the burnt flesh of lovers.

Drifter Addison Montclair (Malcolm Mills) wanders the American Rust Belt, killing indiscriminately with no sense of purpose until he discovers a cursed relic meant to imprison the sacrilegious bones of Claire (Elena Delia), a pagan martyred by Crusaders a thousand years ago. With Claire’s guidance, Addison channels his charisma and murderous impulses to form a cult composed of society’s most dangerous and despised. Among their charges are the drug-addicted musician Harvey (Maggie Williams Hatfield) and the utterly depraved Tex (Reed Delisle). Together, they offer tribute to their ancient mother with the burnt flesh of lovers.

Their lives remain a whirlwind of devotional executions until the group happens upon a prostitute named Cammy in the midst of a brutal assault. Claire designates Cammy as the vessel of her foretold resurrection in the coming war against the Christians. Cammy lends herself willingly to the group’s blood-soaked endeavors, but her long-lost brother (Johnny Day) and his misguided search for his family may very well lead to the destruction of everything Addison and his ilk hold dear.

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Categories: Horror News

Scott Eastwood Could Suit Up for Pacific Rim 2

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 21:16

Suicide Squad may not be the only franchise with Scott Eastwood’s name attached to it. When Pacific Rim 2 hits theaters in 2018, there’s a chance we could see the Diablo star right alongside The Force Awakens’ John Boyega.

According to Deadline, Eastwood is being courted for a so-called “key role” in the upcoming sequel from veteran producer/television director Steven S. DeKnight (Angel, Smallville, Daredevil), who is making his feature-length debut with the follow-up. What kind of role? Nobody seems to know at the moment. Of course, Scott’s involvement in the flick isn’t set in stone just yet, so there’s a chance it could all fall apart before the film starts shooting later this year.

If you missed Guillermo del Toro’s extremely entertaining Pacific Rim, which pits giant monsters against enormous human-controlled robots, then it’s definitely a problem you should address in the very near future. Granted, the movie isn’t without its fair share of issues, but it’s definitely worth a look if you fancy robots, monsters, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Hunnam, and Idris Elba. It didn’t get a fair shake at the domestic box office back in 2013, but internationally, it made quite a chunk of change.

Pacific Rim 2 is presently scheduled to hit theaters on February 23, 2018.

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Categories: Horror News

Horror History: Jason Takes Arsenio

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 19:20

Time to go back to a much simpler time, kids. The year was 1989. George Bush Senior became President of the United States, Ted Bundy was executed in Florida’s electric chair, Nintendo released the Game Boy, Duran Duran and Madonna were duking it out over the pop charts, and Arsenio Hall was one of the kings of late night TV.

1989 was aksi the year when Jason took Manhattan, and to promote his appearance in the big Apple, he decided to hit “The Arsenio Hall Show” to tout his latest killfest. The results were hilarious.

Check it out!

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Categories: Horror News

Honest Trailers Reels in Jaws

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 19:09

The good folks over at Screen Junkies have released a brand new “honest” trailer for one of the most beloved films of our lifetimes, Steven Spielberg’s classic Jaws.

I know what you’re thinking… what could they possibly have to say that’s bad about this movie? Well, truth be told they make a TON of valid points, but instead of us illustrating them for you, how about you just click below and watch? It’s fun and it’s free!


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Categories: Horror News

Day of the Dead – Check Out the New “Bub”!

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 18:52

We cleared up the confusion over whether or not the new Day of the Dead was indeed a remake a few weeks back, despite the plot details which indicated otherwise. If these latest images don’t convince you that it’s exactly that, nothing will!

Via Bloody Disgusting, check out actor Johnathon Schaech as a “half-human, half-zombie” creature named Max, who is without question fleshing out the role of Bub in Romero’s classic.

Schaech stars alongside Sophie Skelton, Marcus Vanco, Jeff Gum, and Lorina Kamburova. Hector Hernandez Vicens (The Corpse of Anna Fritz), who is directing, wrote the script.

The remake comes courtesy of Millennium Films and Campbell Grobman Films. Avi Lerner, Boaz Davidson, and James Dudelson produce.

The post-apocalyptic tale follows a former medical student tormented by a dark figure from her past, who happens to be a half-human, half-zombie hell-bent on destroying her.

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Categories: Horror News

Vampyr First Look Promises Lots of Blood, Tears, and Gothic Drama

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 18:41

I first heard about Vampyr from a t-shirt. I attended the Focus Home Interactive show at E3 2015, and after an hour of previews and gameplay they handed us a bag with all the assets and a grey shirt with the word “Vampyr” on it. It wasn’t one of the games they previewed, so I was a bit confused and wondering where my Space Hulk: Deathwing schwag was. Still, it caught my curiosity the way a girl with blue hair, cat ears, a tutu, and knee-high owl socks does. I’m not sure what it is, but I just have to know more.

Unfortunately, information has been scarce. Confidential sources and professional intuition assured me that there would like be vampires involved in some way. Right up until before E3, that was basically all I knew. A concept trailer confirmed the suspicions that there would indeed be vampire stuff, and alluded to making some decisions. We only recently got our first glimpse of gameplay, and yet again we were left with more question than answers. I mean, I know the game isn’t dropping until 2017, but come on Dontnod. Give me something juicy!

Well, my prayers have been answered. During the Focus Home Interactive showing at E3 2016, I got a behind closed doors look at the game that many predicted “might have vampires in it, or something.” And I must say, from what I saw, I probably could have made some bolder predictions. The title looks very impressive, but we can definitely see Dontnod building upon their previous work here.

“But Ted, whatever do you mean!?!? Remember Me and Life is Strange were about time manipulation and memory shenanigans. That’s not vampires at all!” Well, true, but you don’t need to have the same plot to have similar themes. Dontnod has a history of creating very complex, morally grey narratives. They forgo the typical mustache twirling villain for more nuanced villains, often making the actions of the protagonist just as questionable as those of whom she fights. The combat from Remember Me, though a bit unrefined, was very stylish and exciting, with memory draining finishes. The complex and changing narrative of Life is Strange is what won it many Game of the Year awards.

Take the combat of Remember Me, complex narrative choice and consequence of Life is Strange, remove the time manipulation and flashy lights, replace that with vampire stuff and gore, and you’ve got the framework for Vampyr. Since the combat in Remember Me wasn’t particularly well received, I should go over how that looks to be panning out.

For action/adventures RPGS, the formula for success is pretty simple. Dodge, hit, counter, guard, guard break, and some flashy finisher. In this regard, Vampyr doesn’t shoot to break the mold. You also have a gun at your disposal, allowing you to use your limited ammunition to gain a damage advantage. From what I saw, the only ranged weapons were crossbows and pistols, so I doubt there will be any long range sniping. This seems to be a strictly close quarters game.

While I only saw combat versus vampire hunters, I was told there would be supernatural threats as well. The more devolved vampires will likely serve as melee swarm units, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see many larger and more deadly variants in the final product. The vampire hunters are equipped with various anti-vampire weapons, such as an explosive powder that deals a large amount of damage and stuns you. You can attempt to feed mid-combat to replenish your vampiric power and health, but actually grappling your victim isn’t a sure thing.

Overall, it looks tight, tense, and fluid. Your vampiric nature allows you to dispatch enemies with ghastly dark tendrils that erupt from the ground, and shifting through shadows gives you a mobility advantage. There’s no real stealth involved, but you can get around the environment to try to avoid combat or engage more favorably. As I said before, pretty standard RPG formula, but for a game with a narrative focus it mostly just has to work.

At first, only the vampire hunters are aware of your nature and actively hunting you. I was told that as the game progressed, one of the consequences to your actions would be that more people became aware of you. I’m not sure how this will actually affect gameplay. I’m sure that the vampire hunters will field more advance troops as the game goes on, but if the actual citizens will gather their pitchforks and join the fray has yet to be seen.

It’s an important question, since as it stands the combat and non-combat portions of Vampyr have a very different feel. For all the slashing and shooting you do in the combat zones, friendly areas like Whitechapel are far more muted. Here you will interact with civilians, learn about their lives, and eventually pick your prey. From there, it’s a matter of stalking your victim, leading them to a secluded area, and feeding.

This flip between hunter and hunted is ambitious. It would be easy for this to make Vampyr feel tonally inconsistent, but if pulled off right would bring depth to the game that neither segment could achieve alone. Vampire and doctor, predator and prey, good and evil, all dualities that the player has to come to terms with in their new life. If you want to hear more on these thematic elements and what I saw from E3, check out my video:

Vampyr is shaping up to be an incredibly ambitious title. It’s promise alone deserves your attention. We’ll have to wait for it to drop in 2017 to see how it all comes together, but you bet your ass I’ll be one of the first to let you know how it works out. How about you guys? Excited for Vampyr? Let me know below!

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Categories: Horror News

Session 9 Conducted on Blu-ray

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 18:11

One of our favorite flicks around these parts is Session 9, and that’s why we were elated to learn that Scream Factory will be bringing this frightening fear fest to Blu-ray. Now we have info on the extras to share.

From the Press Release:
Fear is a place… A “deft exercise in atmospheric horror” (L.A. Weekly) that takes place in an abandoned mental hospital, Session 9 makes its Blu-ray debut courtesy Scream Factory on August 16, 2016. This release comes packed with new bonus features, including interviews with cast and crew and Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, a new revisiting of the locations of the film.

It looms up out of the woods like a dormant beast. Grand, imposing… abandoned and deteriorating, the Danvers State Mental Hospital, closed down for 15 years, is about to receive 5 new visitors.

Donning protective gear, the men of the Hazmat Elimination Co. venture into the eerily vast and vacant asylum that is filled with an evil and mysterious past. Rampant patient abuse, medieval medical procedures, and rumors of demonic possession are some of the many dark secrets the hospital holds – but then so do each of the men.

This “deliciously disturbing” (Us Weekly) thriller, directed by Brad Anderson (The Machinist), features a talented cast including David Caruso (“CSI: Miami”), Peter Mullan (War Horse, Trainspotting), Paul Guilfoyle (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”), Josh Lucas (American Psycho), Stephen Gevedon (Show Me a Hero), and Brendan Sexton III (“The Killing,” Boys Don’t Cry).

Special Features:

  • NEW – Return to Danvers: The Secrets of SESSION 9 featuring interviews with director/co-writer Brad Anderson, actor/co-writer Stephen Gevedon, actors Josh Lucas, Brendan Sexton III, and Larry Fessenden, composers The Climax Golden Twins, and director of photography Uta Briesewitz
  • NEW – Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – revisiting the locations of the film
  • Audio Commentary with Brad Anderson and Stephen Gevedon
  • Deleted Scenes/Alternate Ending with/without commentary by director Brad Anderson
  • Story to Screen
  • The Haunted Palace
  • Theatrical Trailer

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Categories: Horror News

#SDCC16 – Scream Factory Unveils Comic-Con Plans!

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 17:56

We’re just a few weeks away from San Diego’s big dance, and the e-mails are already hitting our inboxes at a fast and furious pace. Up next – what you can expect from Shout/Scream Factory!

From the Press Release:
Now a mainstay at San Diego Comic-Con International, pop-culture purveyor Shout! Factory returns to the convention in 2016 with a dynamic lineup, featuring captivating panel events, celebrity autograph signings, a showcase of new and upcoming home entertainment products, Comic-Con exclusive items and engaging booth activities. Fans and convention attendees are invited to join in on the excitement at the Shout! Factory booth (#4118) on the main convention floor. Fan favorite stars scheduled to attend at this time include: Joel Hodgson (creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000), Jonah Ray (Nerdist, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail), Felicia Day (Geek & Sundry) Gail Simone (Red Sonja, Birds of Prey), Gregg Berger (Transformers: The Movie, Gargoyles) and Misty Lee (Ultimate Spider Man).

Calling all MSTies! In the not too distant future- Saturday, July 23rd at 8:30 pm in Room 24ABC, to be precise- for the panel Mystery Science Theater 3000 is Back! As the excitement mounts for the upcoming new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, join Joel Hodgson (creator, MST3K), Felicia Day (Geek & Sundry) and others discuss the show’s record-breaking crowdfunding campaign, and reveal behind-the-scenes info on Season 11!

Genre and horror film buffs, collectors and pop culture enthusiasts alike won’t want to miss An Inside Look at Shout! Factory and Scream Factory. At 8 pm on Friday, July 22nd in Room 29AB, join Brian Ward (Director of Blu-ray and DVD Production) and Jeff Nelson (Sr. Marketing Director) as they make special announcements and unveil exclusive sneak peeks of upcoming Blu-ray/DVD collector’s editions and new movies coming to theaters this fall. A fan-driven insider’s event filled with lively discussion and more than a few surprises, this panel discussion and Q&A will be moderated by Julia Cunningham, host of Entertainment Weekly’s “LA Daily” on Sirius XM.

Showcasing highly anticipated current and upcoming offerings from Shout! Factory’s most popular brands, the Shout! Factory Booth (#4118) will once again be an essential destination on the convention center floor. The booth also features convention exclusives, autograph signings, daily sweepstakes giveaways and much more.

Schedule of Shout! Factory Events at Comic-Con International 2016

Wednesday, July 20th
Preview Night

Thursday, July 21st
10:00 am – Power Rangers appearance at Shout! Factory booth
11:00 am – Gail Simone and Misty Lee signing for Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues, the new animated comic based on the Dynamite comic.

Friday, July 22nd
10:00 am – Power Rangers appearance at Shout! Factory booth
2:00 pm – Meet Spot, a.k.a. Cthulhu, from the upcoming Howard Lovecraft & The Frozen Kingdom animated feature.
3:30 pm – Scream Factory Presents “Return of The Living Dead” Signing with Thom Mathews (Freddy), John Philbin (Chuck) and Sean Clark (host of “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds”)
8:00 pm – An Inside Look at Shout! Factory and Scream Factory Panel in Room 29AB – Brian Ward (Director of Blu-ray and DVD Production) and Jeff Nelson (Sr. Marketing Director) make exclusive announcements, deliver sneak peeks from upcoming releases and more! Moderated by Julia Cunningham, host of Entertainment Weekly Radio’s “LA Daily” on SiriusXM.

Saturday, July 23rd
12:00 pm – Photo opportunity with Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot from Mystery Science Theater 3000.
2:00 pm – Meet Spot, a.k.a. Cthulhu, from the upcoming Howard Lovecraft & The Frozen Kingdom animated feature.
4:00 pm – MST3K Event at Camp Conival presented by Nerdist and Geek & Sundry
4:30 pm – Join Nerdist and Geek & Sundry for Camp Conival: a trip back in time to classic pop culture summer camp! Swing by the Conival Main Stage on the second concourse at Petco Park for a special Q&A with Joel Hodgson, Felicia Day, and Jonah Ray. Camp Conival does not require an event badge and is open to the public.
5:15 pm – Signing with the cast of next season of Mystery Science Theater 3000! Series creator Joel Hodgson, Jonah Ray and Felicia Day will be in attendance.
8:30 pm – Mystery Science Theater 3000 is Back! Panel in Room 24ABC. Joel Hodgson (creator, MST3K), Felicia Day (Geek & Sundry) and others discuss the show’s record-breaking crowdfunding campaign, and reveal behind-the-scenes info on Season 11.

Sunday, July 24th
11:00 am – Gregg Berger signing with exclusive Transformers: The Movie (30th Anniversary Edition) poster
12:00 pm – Appearance by Ladybug and Cat Noir of Miraculous
1:00 p.m. – Meet Spot, a.k.a. Cthulhu, from the upcoming Howard Lovecraft & The Frozen Kingdom animated feature.

Shout! Factory Booth (#4118) Comic-Con Exclusives

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Buttons
Be Miraculous! We’re selling DVDs and giving away these “spot on” limited-edition collectibles. Stop by and say “Be Miraculous” to get your own Miraculous button! Limited to one per person.

Scream Factory Button Packs
For the 4th consecutive year, we’re giving away the highly collectible Scream Factory 5-button pack! This year, the titles we’ll be flaunting are top secret! Stop by the booth and ask for your set to reveal what we have in store for you this fall!

Shout! Factory, Shout! Kids and Scream Factory Home Entertainment Highlights for SDCC 2016

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension Collector’s Edition
Shout Select’s inaugural release is the Collector’s Edition of the beloved ’80s cult classic! On Blu-ray for the first time, this Collector’s Edition comes loaded with bonus features, including a comprehensive retrospective featuring brand-new interviews with members of the cast and crew, and an additional disc of bonus features. Brilliant brain surgeon Banzai (Peter Weller) just made scientific history. Shifting his Oscillation Overthruster into warp speed, he’s the first man ever to travel to the Eighth Dimension and come back sane! But when his sworn enemy, the demented Dr. Lizardo ( John Lithgow), devises a plot to steal the Overthruster and bring an evil army of aliens back to destroy Earth, Buckaroo goes cranium to cranium with the madman in an extra-dimensional battle that could result in total annihilation of the universe!

Army of Darkness Collector’s Edition
Bound in human flesh and inked in blood, the ancient “Necronomicon” – the Book of the Dead – unleashes unspeakable evil upon mankind in this outrageously hilarious third chapter of Evil Dead Trilogy from legendary director Sam Raimi (Darkman, Drag Me to Hell) and producer Robert Tapert (Ash vs. Evil Dead). Army Of Darkness Collector’s Edition, featuring the Theatrical Cut of the film, the Director’s Cut (with 15 minutes of extra footage), the International Cut and the TV version (in standard definition). This definitive collector’s edition is jam-packed with bonus content, including new interviews with star and co-producer Bruce Campbell and the cast, special make-up effect artists Howard Berger, Tony Gardner, Robert Kurtzman, and Greg Nicotero, audio commentary, alternate and deleted scenes and much more – all collected in a special 3-Disc Blu-ray set!

Invasion of the Body Snatchers Collector’s Edition
The seed is planted…terror grows. Invasion of the Body Snatchers Collector’s Edition Blu-ray features a new HD transfer and comes packed with new bonus features, including interviews and audio commentary with cast and crew, and a limited-edition collectible slipcover with newly rendered artwork. In the terrifying sci-fi classic, the residents of San Francisco are becoming drone-like shadows of their former selves. As the phenomenon spreads, two Department of Health workers uncover the horrifying truth: Mysterious pods are cloning humans — and destroying the originals!

Manhunter Collector’s Edition
The first film to feature the iconic character Hannibal Lecktor, Manhunter follows former FBI profiler Will Graham (William Petersen, To Live and Die in L.A., CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) as he reluctantly returns to his old job to track a horrific serial killer known as the “Tooth Fairy.” But in order to get into the mind of this maniac, Graham must face another: Lecktor (Brian Cox, X-Men 2, Red), the imprisoned psychiatrist whose own insanity almost cost Graham his life… and whose insights into the “Tooth Fairy” could prove as dangerous as the killer himself. This Collector’s Edition features more than 5 hours of bonus content, including over 2 hours of new interviews.

Middleman: The Complete Series
Think your life has its wild twists and turns? You’ve got nothing comparable to the adventurous life of twenty-two year-old aspiring artist Wendy Watson as she gets recruited by a top secret agency to fight comic book-esque criminals under the guidance of her straight-laced boss who introduces himself only as…The Middleman. Based on the series of graphic novels by acclaimed writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach (“Lost,” “Medium”), this fan favorite live-action series aired on ABC Family.

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir – Spots On!
Wildly successful on Nickelodeon, legions of fans worldwide know that Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir is superhero super fun! When the treacherous Hawk Moth uses his evil energy to transform the citizens of Paris into super villains, only two amazing heroes stand in his way: Ladybug and Cat Noir! With the help of their magical pets, this incredible duo team up to outwit Hawk Moth and keep their city safe… but their biggest challenge might be getting through school. You see, Ladybug and Cat Noir are actually Marinette and Adrien, a pair of young students who live what seems to be a normal life. But even for these two, it’s hard to juggle schoolwork, friends, family and growing up when every day is a super-powered adventure!

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Season 5
When Twilight Sparkle and her best friends — Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Spike — come across a town full of ponies with the exact same Cutie Mark, the gang has to learn a very powerful lesson about individuality. And the adventures just get better from there! This four-disc DVD set features all 26 episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic’s fifth season and includes bonus features!

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. 36
In this election year, we present two candidates for president of Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXVI. Representing the Comedy Central Party, Joel Hodgson, a champion of long-suffering cinephiles, leads the botty politic in two memorable episodes replete with inspired riffs and wacky host segments. Representing the SyFy Channel Party is Mike Nelson, a riff-ormer whose doctrine of laughter at any cost is clearly in play on the other two delirious episodes in this collection. We urge you to hear them both out as they take on some of the cheesiest movies of the day and lay out their visions for a funnier tomorrow. Includes the episodes Stranded In Space City Limits, The Incredible Melting Man and Riding With Death.

Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues
Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, intends to pay back a blood debt owed to the one man who has gained her respect… even if it means leading a doomed army to their certain deaths! Who is Dark Annisia, and how has this fearsome warrior accomplished what neither god nor demon has been able to do: force Sonja to her knees in surrender? An epic tale of blood, lust, and vengeance, Queen of the Plagues takes Red Sonja from the depths of her own grave to the heights of battlefield glory. This animated feature-length film is features the voice talent of Misty Lee, with art by Walter Giovani and based on the comics by Gail Simone.

Return of the Living Dead Collector’s Edition
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the cemetery, those brain-eating zombies are back and hungry for more tasty mortals! Writer/director Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Lifeforce) puts an uproarious spin on the zombie apocalypse movie in 1985’s cult classic The Return Of The Living Dead. Considered one of the campiest undead romps of its time, the film features a killer soundtrack with tracks from many songs from punk artists such as The Cramps, T.S.O.L. SSQ and 45 Grave. The Collector’s Edition boasts a brand new 2K scan of the film and over 12 hours of extras!

Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series
See where the worldwide phenomenon began with Super Sentai Zyuranger, the original Japanese series that inspired the Power Rangers franchise! When the sinister witch Bandora is released from her prison after 170 million years, five warriors from an ancient time are woken from suspended animation to once again defend Earth from Bandora and her evil horde. Armed with enchanted weapons and giant robotic deities known as the Guardian Beasts, it’s up to these warriors to defeat Bandora and her monsters before she can exact revenge upon the Earth for the death of her son.

Session 9
It looms up out of the woods like a dormant beast. Grand, imposing… abandoned and deteriorating, the Danvers State Mental Hospital, closed down for 15 years, is about to receive 5 new visitors. Donning protective gear, the men of the Hazmat Elimination Co. venture into the eerily vast and vacant asylum that is filled with an evil and mysterious past. Rampant patient abuse, medieval medical procedures and rumors of demonic possession are some of the many dark secrets the hospital holds – but then so do each of the men. Directed by Brad Anderson (The Machinist), Session 9 features a talented cast including David Caruso (CSI: Miami), Peter Mullan (War Horse, Trainspotting), Paul Guilfoyle (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), Josh Lucas (American Psycho), Stephen Gevedon (Show Me a Hero) and Brendan Sexton III (The Killing, Boys Don’t Cry).

They Live Collector’s Edition
Horror master John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) directs this heart-pounding thriller in which aliens are systematically gaining control of the Earth by masquerading as humans and lulling the public into submission. Humanity’s last chance lies with a lone drifter who stumbles upon a harrowing discovery — a unique pair of sunglasses that reveals the terrifying and deadly truth. They Live boasts a bounty of special bonus content, a collectible cover featuring newly rendered retro-style artwork, a reversible wrap with original theatrical key art and much more!

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Categories: Horror News

Exclusive: Director Gene Blalock Talks Among the Shadows; Watch It Here!

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 12:00

With a number of award-winning shorts under his belt, Gene Blalock is certainly a filmmaker to watch. His latest, Among the Shadows, has been receiving overwhelming acclaim, so be sure to check it out below.

But first read our Q&A with him to learn how he created such a unique film.

DC: How did the idea for this film come about? Was there any personal experience involved?

Gene Blalock: I have no personal belief in the supernatural, but all the superstition behind those archetypes make for great stories. I first heard of Shadow People on “Coast to Coast AM,” which is a late-night talk radio show that discusses the paranormal. After some research, it seemed like an interesting topic – one that I had not seen many films address – so it seemed like a fun topic with a lot of possibility. The Hat Man had this sort of iconic appeal to him.

DC: Do you really believe that childhood fears of things lurking in the dark are irrational, or is it reasonable to fear the things in the night?

GB: Even as a child, I much preferred the night. People that you pass on the street every day scare me far more than anything lurking in the shadows.

DC: And you’ve got a lot of CGI effects on-screen, something relatively unusual for a short. Was the visual style a decision that you had from the beginning?

GB: We had a great actor, Andrew Varenhorst (Argo, It’s in the Blood), who played Hat Man in the film, but we always knew we would have to enhance his performance with visual effects. After meeting the amazing Tony Hudson (former ILM visual effects artist – check him out on, I think we stepped things up a bit. But honestly, that is how I would prefer to work – have a physical character interact with the environment and then use VFX to further the story.

DC: How do you feel about the awards that you’ve picked up?

GB: It is always nice when others appreciate what you create. I try not to read too much into whether any of our films receive awards, but rather the feedback I get from our fans and other viewers. That said, I’m happy that it has done as well as it has!

DC: Looking at your IMDb profile, you’ve got a ton of successful shorts under your belt. Do you plan to make a feature anytime soon?

GB: I’m currently finishing up a feature-length documentary on a musician, Johnny Indovina, but I am also hoping to start our first narrative full-length film later this year. We are already in pre-production and planning, so if everything comes together as we are hoping, we can begin production on that soon.

“It’s only a shadow…”

The irrational terrors of childhood – monsters hiding under the bed and demons waiting in the closet – fade into the nightmares of our youth. You’d have to be crazy to imagine that the flicker out of the corner of your eye was real; it was just a shadow, a moth flitting by, surely nothing malevolent. But denial is only a defense against the imaginary and holds no sway against true horror. When old playmates return, is it madness or worse? Answers lie Among the Shadows.

Awards for Among the Shadows:

Best Editing – Indie Horror Film Festival (2016)
Best Director – International Movie Awards (2015)
Best Cinematography – International Movie Awards (2015)
Best Editor – International Movie Awards (2015)
Best International Short Film – International Movie Awards (2015)
Best Musical Score – International Movie Awards (2015)

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Categories: Horror News

Today on VOD: Stephen King’s Cell

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 11:35

While the box office will surely be dominated this weekend by James Wan’s EXCEPTIONAL sequel The Conjuring 2, we must point out that it’s not the only new horror flick available for viewing today. Courtesy of Saban Films, the long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s Cell has arrived on Ultra VOD today, beating the theatrical release by nearly a month!

Get a sneak peek via the trailer below!

Look for Cell in theaters and on lower-priced VOD July 8.

Directed by Tod Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) and written by Stephen King and Adam Alleca, Cell stars Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, and Isabelle Fuhrman.

Stephen King’s best-selling novel is brought to terrifying life in this mind-blowing thriller starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. At the Boston airport, Clay (Cusack) witnesses a scene of chaotic mayhem when an electronic signal turns hundreds of cellphone users into rabid killers. Desperate to find his estranged wife and son, Clay teams with a train driver (Jackson) to battle the horde of murderous “phoners” as the city descends into apocalyptic madness.

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Categories: Horror News

XCOM 2 Heading to Consoles

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 11:30

In what could quite possibly be the least surprising news story of all time, a console release for XCOM 2 has been confirmed for later this year.

Not only is the sequel one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2016 so far, but it also sold over 500,000 copies in its first week of release, so a console release was more than inevitable.

PS4 and Xbox One owners will be able to get in on the alien-blasting action when XCOM 2 hits the systems on September 6.

From The Press Release:
The critically-acclaimed sequel to the 2012 award-winning strategy game of the year is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Earth has changed. Twenty years have passed since world leaders offered an unconditional surrender to alien forces. XCOM, the planet’s last line of defense, was left decimated and scattered. Now, in XCOM 2, the aliens rule Earth, building shining cities that promise a brilliant future for humanity on the surface, while concealing a sinister agenda and eliminating all who dissent from their new order.

Only those who live at the edges of the world have a margin of freedom. Here, a force gathers once again to stand up for humanity. Always on the run, and facing impossible odds, the remnant XCOM forces must find a way to ignite a global resistance and eliminate the alien threat once and for all.

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Categories: Horror News

Terrordactyl (2016)

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 11:00

Starring Christopher John Jennings, Candice Nunes, Jack E. Curenton, Bianca Haase, Jason Tobias

Directed by Don Bitters III and Geoff Reisner

When a meteor shower rains rocks down outside Los Angeles, Jonas (Jason Tobias) and Lars (Christopher John Jennings), two friends stuck in tired, boring lives as gardeners, head out to find a meteor stone in hopes of selling it and striking it rich. After recovering one, they become Terrordactyl targets – “Terrordactyls” are the ancient flying reptiles that launched a full force assault on the city of angels and they are NOT happy about Jonas and Lars’ find.

Trying to survive long enough to sell their stolen treasure, the two schmoes go on the run. Along for the ride are Candice (Candice Nunes), a tough-but-cute bartender, Valerie (Bianca Haase), her oversexed roommate, and Sampson (Jack E. Curenton), a drunken and brash ex-marine. The gangly group soon discovers that there’s more to the meteor than meets the eye.

Terrordactyl is directed by newcomers Don Bitters III and Geoff Reisner, working from a script by Bitters who has previously worked as a visual effects artist on television shows such as “Betas,” “House of Cards,” and “Quantico”. Reisner previously worked as a cinematographer on features including Crossroad and No Greater Love. They both bring a lot to the table in their respective visual talents – the cinematography is above average for the genre, and so are the special effects and GCI.

Unfortunately, the acting from the lead “hero” is not above, or even, average. His stilted, awkward performance might jar some, but then again it’s in line with schlock such as this. (And Terrordactyl is way better than Birdemic!) The other actors aren’t going to be accepting an Oscar anytime soon either, but they seem more charming than clunky – along the lines of something you’d see in a low-budget 1980s horror or sci-fi flick.

When it comes to the feature-feature aspect, the monsters are menacing indeed. Fans of fright flicks ranging from Godzilla to golden-age Harryhausen to Sharknado will also find something to like about the terrordactyls.

Terrordactyl is a timewaster, fun for the right mood on a lazy TV night at home when there’s nothing better on the SyFy Channel.

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Categories: Horror News

Indiegogo Campaign Launches to Release Outrageous Indonesian Action Movie on DVD

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 10:45

When it comes to Indonesian action movies,  Welsh director Gareth Evans’ The Raid films immediately spring to mind.  Rightfully so, as they’re incredible movies that showcase the action genre at its finest.

But they aren’t the only Indonesian exports that’ll blow your mind into smithereens. If you traverse the decades, explore its recesses, willing to inhabit its cheapest dwellings, you might just find a new home you didn’t know you were looking for.

One such treasure waiting to be rediscovered is the outrageous Lethal Hunter; and now, thanks to the fine folks over at The Gentleman’s Guide to Midnight Cinema, an Indiegogo campaign has been launches to release it on DVD.

During the 1980’s, the Indonesian film industry experienced a boom period, and some of its success can be attributed to one of its most prominent directors: Arizal. Though his most successful features were his forays into comedy and drama, his true talent lay in low-budget, over-the-top action movies which thrived on unbridled lunacy.  Unfortunately, the majority haven’t been released on DVD yet, but the GGTMC community has already taken steps to right that wrong in recent years, having also released the director’s insane Final Score  in 2015.  The release of Lethal Hunter is a natural successor for those already acquainted with his work, but it’s also the perfect introduction to these trashy delights for newbies.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Midnight Cinema is a wonderful community of genre aficionados with a deep-rooted devotion for cult cinema.  Through their podcast, discussion group, and DVD releases, they ensure that the forgotten gems of yesteryear get the love and appreciation they deserve.

This pick-up is a must-have for collectors of rare cinematic treasures.  If you don’t believe me, check out the trailer below and see for yourself.

A little more than 2 years ago we ran a campaign to get the Indonesian action Final Score released, which was a success. The campaign was fully funded with 117% and we (re)introduced the world to this crazy action movie that wasn’t officially available since the VHS days. 

Now it’s time for the follow-up, and our (OMG Entertainment and the GGTMC podcast/community, more on that later!) second release. For that we chose a quite logical movie: Lethal Hunter, aka American Hunter (1989), another Arizal-directed action movie starring Chris Mitchum. And not only are Mike Abbot and Ida Iash returning; this time they are joined by Peter O’Brian and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace!

Don’t just see this as helping us release a DVD; instead see it as a pre-order (with a few campaign exclusives).

As you can see, we don’t need a whole lot of money so how can we release a DVD with such a small amount? The key here is the GGTMC community; it’s filled with enthusiastic and talented movie freaks with an affection for crazy action movies (but not limited to those). Among its members are designers, writers, label owners, etc. (and of course the founders and podcast hosts!), who help get these movies back out for everyone to enjoy…

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Categories: Horror News

Conjuring 2, The (2016)

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 10:30

Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney

Directed by James Wan

While James Wan has dipped his feet into other genres – like vigilante thriller Death Sentence or blockbuster Furious 7 – he always feels most at home with horror. It’s the genre that lets his imagination run free, where he gets to be inventive with his camera and put his own stamp on it. Hell, even the underwhelming Dead Silence had moments of genuine suspense and craftsmanship.

The Conjuring 2 finds the helmer back on home turf, and in many ways it feels like he’s cooling down from the gauntlet of making Furious 7. This “true story” again involves paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively) as they’re sent to England to investigate a poltergeist terrorizing a family. They soon learn this pesky spirit isn’t going to stop without a fight and also discover an old case is coming back to haunt them… quite literally.

Wan has such a command of the genre at this point he can do a simple haunted house tale – and recycle tropes that have been used a million times – and somehow he’s still able to unnerve you. His deliberate pacing is the key. He lets the tension build and build, and when you think a jump is coming, he’ll hold back. Added to that, when the shocks finally do come, they usually subvert expectations and rarely feel cheap.

It’s impressive that in a film that runs 134 minutes, the pace rarely drags; and The Conjuring 2 is relentless with keeping the setpieces coming. It rarely pauses for breath, and while this approach gets a tad samey, it still holds together. The tone is set early with an atmospheric recreation of The Amityville haunting – a setting they surprisingly didn’t save for a future sequel – where Lorraine encounters a nightmarish demon that continues to plague her. This demon is a classic unsettling design from Wan, and a later scene involving a painting of the creature might be the best sequence in the film. Not all the scares work, though; a brief scene involving a CGI creature is downright silly, and the moment a character is temporally blinded drags out too long.

While Wan obviously wants to scare you, he also wants you to have some fun, too, so The Conjuring 2 isn’t some po-faced exercise in terror. It’s really funny at times (check out Wilson’s sweet Elvis impression), and there’s a warmth to the characters, especially the loving relationship between the Warrens, that keeps you invested. Madison Wolfe steals the show as the young girl the poltergeist enjoys tormenting, Simon McBurney has a blast playing the most British British person to ever British, but Franka Potente is sadly wasted as a one-dimensional skeptic.

Visually the film is gorgeous and displays Wan’s technical prowess, with the camera often gliding around the haunted house like a roaming spectre itself. A couple of shots are a little show-offy, but often any flash is in aid of the story. That said, unfortunately, the finale devolves into noisy chaos and bizarrely recalls the ending of Exorcist II: The Heretic. Tension and story get lost in the bombast, and the movie really should have dialed the noise levels down a notch or two.

The Conjuring 2 isn’t especially groundbreaking, but it’s a creepy ride with a surprising amount of heart. It’s great to see a mainstream horror that’s genuinely scary, and long may the series continue if it can keep the quality up.

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Categories: Horror News

Learn the Stories Behind Classic Horror Soundtracks in Scored to Death

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 10:00

What would a great horror movie be without a great soundtrack? Unfortunately, many people still don’t realize just how vital music is when it comes to creating the story that the filmmakers want to tell.

The new book Scored to Death: Conversations with Some of Horror’s Greatest Composers by J. Blake Fichera features a rare insight into the process being the creation of all those classic themes that helped to make the films that they belonged to so damn terrifying. Sounds like it’s a must read for both horror and music aficionados.

Look for it July 1st from Silman-James Press (pre-order here).

Film music is a magical phenomenon. It can create and enhance the sense of life and emotion and pacing in a film. It can also clue us in on the dark secrets hidden in a character’s soul and suggest what might be awaiting us a few frames later.

Music is particularly important to the horror film experience. It can (and often does) put us on the edge of our seats, trick us with red herrings, and propel us on a wild ride from shock to shock to shock. It is an unseen hand, subtly directing our reactions and building our anticipations.

Scored to Death: Conversations with Some of Horror’s Greatest Composers is the first book to delve specifically and deeply into the minds of noted horror genre composers—the musicians who make us tremble and jump out of our seats.

Scored to Death’s author/interviewer, J. Blake Fichera, both a film editor and a musician himself, has been fascinated by the music for horror films since his youth: “Film music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember… I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, during a time when the music of John Williams was shining a spotlight on the artistry of film scoring, Danny Elfman was shifting gears from pop star to film music royalty, and composers like Vangelis, Giorgio Moroder, John Carpenter, and the band Tangerine Dream were providing an electronic alternative to the traditional symphonic score…. Horror films played a significant role in my upbringing. For those of us who grew up as part of the video-store generation, easy access to hundreds of movies allowed genre icons like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Pinhead to become cinematic rock stars…. My parents were not ones to regulate my viewing…and I was exposed to things that probably wouldn’t be considered ‘appropriate’ for a child today. My real obsession with the genre, though, began while I was in high school, when renting horror movies with my friends became a regular occurrence. Coincidentally, it was also around this time that I began playing the guitar and discovered the music of heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath. All these things converging on my impressionable teenage brain at the same time made my falling in love with horror film music inevitable.”

So it was all but inevitable that Fichera would undertake Scored to Death, a fascinating and entertaining investigation of the dark recesses of the film music world where terror lurks. Interviewed are 14 renowned film composers who have provided music for some of the horror genre’s greatest films and franchises, including Halloween, A Nightmare of Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, Maniac, The Fog, Prince of Darkness, Cujo, Dawn of the Dead, Deep Red, Suspiria, Santa Sangre, Zombie, The Beyond, Insidious, The Conjuring, Hostel, The Strangers, House of the Devil, and many more.

The book introduces us to director/composer John Carpenter; sound designer/composer Alan Howarth; Italian composers (and members of the band Goblin, known for their scores for Dario Argento films) Claudio Simonetti and Maurizio Guarini; Hollywood composers Christopher Young, Tom Hajdu (of the composing team tomandandy), Charles Bernstein, Jay Chattaway, and Nathan Barr; as well as such other horror notables as Fabio Frizzi, Simon Boswell, Joseph Bishara, and Harry Manfredini.

Pre-publication comments about Scored to Death from the horror film world have been very good: filmmaker Stuart Gordon writes, “Fichera…introduces you to some of the genre’s greatest composers as they explain the process of creating unforgettable nightmares of sound.”

Filmmaker Tom Holland observes, “This book is the best opportunity you will have to peek behind the curtains of those people who create the soundtrack of your life!”

Filmmaker Larry Fessenden comments, “The musicians in this generous volume are given the time to reveal themselves and their processes.”

And B-movie aficionado, critic, and author Joe Bob Briggs writes, “Horror films live and die with their musical scores…. If you claim to know how horror movies work, this book is a must-read.”

Don’t venture again into a dark theater until you read it!

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Categories: Horror News

Steampunk Meets Kaiju in Comic Series Monstress

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 09:30

The gorgeous looking horror comic series Monstress kind of slipped under our radar, but with the first collected edition being available next month, now seems like the perfect time to give it a look.

Marjorie Liu weaved the fantastical tale of a girl living in a world reminiscent of 1900’s Asia, who forms a strange psychic bond with a creature of unimaginable size and power. Sana Takeda created the dreamlike illustrations.

Astonishing X-Men and Black Widow writer MARJORIE LIU returns to comics with artist SANA TAKEDA (X-23) for an all-new ONGOING SERIES! Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces. The adventure begins in a spectacular TRIPLE-SIZED FIRST ISSUE, with SIXTY-SIX pages of story and no ads.

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Categories: Horror News

Trailer Asks You to Remember Redfield

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 09:00

With their previous film Lead Me Astray receiving overwhelming acclaim at festivals (star Alannah Robertson even won Best Actress at the Independent Horror Movie Awards), we’re couldn’t be more excited for Bendy Spoon Productions’ latest effort, Remember Redfield.

The whodunit murder mystery flick takes place in a secluded estate, where an assailant begins picking off the bickering guests one by one. Logan Webster directs.

Old loves, rivalries, and vendettas resurface at a high school reunion party held out on a reclusive estate, but the evening takes a deadly turn when one of the guests begins systematically killing all the estranged attendants, leaving the group to try to decipher who, of all their friends, has the potential to be a murderer.

Directed by Logan Webster, the film welcomes back Jace Pickard, Alannah Robertson, and Tom Danger with an ensemble of familiar faces as well as some new ones ready to be killed!

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Categories: Horror News

Hitman: Episode 3 – Marrakesh (Video Game)

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 20:07

Developed by IO Interactive

Published by Square Enix

Available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One

Rated M for Mature

With the release of “Marrakesh,” half of the currently scheduled Hitman content is now out. I enjoyed the previous two episodes, but haven’t really been impressed yet. It was all technically solid, but lacked the punch to really draw me in. I’ve outlined what I was hoping for in my previous reviews (link here), but to briefly recap I feel like the game lacks identity and flavor. These games have always been about pitch black comedy and creative killings, and while Hitman has so far definitely delivered on being a great sandbox, it’s lost some of the polish in the process.

I also predicted that as the episodes came out, they would probably address these problems to some degree. Episodic releases are tricky, since games require a difficulty curve to stay interesting. When all you have is a trickle of content every month or so, it’s hard to judge each individual piece as part of a whole and not its own isolated package. I expected that with time the guided “opportunities” would be more vague and less immediately lethal, and that the larger and more open level design would necessitate more creative thinking.

I got to try out the “Elusive Target” system this time around, which ramps up the difficulty, only gives you one chance to kill the target, and prohibits saves. Plus, you get to kill a Cardinal. So, wins all around.

“Marrakesh” kind of proves me half right. It’s a step in the right direction to be sure, but doesn’t go quite as far as I want it to. I say this keeping in mind that there are still three episodes left. If the build stays this slow, it either won’t reach the peak it needs to get to or do so jarringly quick.

What the episode nailed was establishing its own tone. It wasn’t the iconic “Hitman” gruesomely quirky, but rather went its own direction by being considerably more grounded and serious. Typically, assassinations were always more obtuse in effect and scale. Sure, nuclear launch codes would be exchanged and international drug cartels disrupted, but all of that was narrative fluff behind garroting a couple dudes in a few rooms. No matter what was at stake in the story, the reality of the level was a few guards, a target that needed murdering, and a few flavor events in between.

Episode 3 drops you off in the middle of a brewing revolution about to boil over. Swedish banker Claus Strandberg stands convicted of murder, but during transit was freed by a group of unknown gunman and now sits safely in the Swedish Consulate. The breakout, meant to appear to be foreign orchestrated, was actually the work of General Reza Zaydan. An associate of Claus, Reza hopes to use the event to stir distrust in the current president, and give justification for a military coup. You must eliminate both targets to quell the unrest and bring stability back to the country.

I must help these angry and mistreated people the only way I know how: murder.

For a game that generally has you assassinating colorful characters in charge of various shadow governments or linchpins in grand conspiracies, seeing Hitman take notes from the Arab Spring is surprising. Targets tend to be flavored with a pinch of goofy, but there’s very little to laugh at between the tortured prisoners held in the General’s camp stationed in an abandoned school and the distant, aloof calm of the Swedish consulate. This is the blackest I’ve seen a “Hitman” game, bordering on almost losing its comedy. It’s a tight line to walk, but one that it did so well. It doesn’t try to replicate the charming elements of previous games, but creates its own tone that is just as compelling. It was a bold move that made the episode better than the sum of its parts.

However, the actual assassinations were too strict. The map itself is very large, but the targets are constrained to two tight and very well guarded areas. Most of “Marrakesh” revolves around figuring out how to get in. Once inside, the job is basically done. Getting them alone is pretty easy even without scripted events, and even if you don’t hide the body the two locations are separate enough that the alarms don’t really affect one another.

Judging by the mood at the Swedish consulate, you’d hardly know there was a revolution outside. Or that the soldiers at the General Zeydan’s compound were frantically trying to find who strangled their dear leader. Or that I had just crushed Strandberg with a giant moose. They are a relaxed people.

The “opportunities” have changed as I predicted, but I’m on the fence as to how much I like it. They are now less specific, guiding you towards key locations/events without giving you all the steps. Most of time, you’ll go towards an opportunity only to find that you can’t get through the door. This is where the creative thinking should come in. Unfortunately, the solutions are often very linear. Getting into a club, wear a waiter uniform. After finding a key, climb down a pipe to get to the door. There are certainly more obtuse ways to do it, but the obvious solution is too immediately useful to pass up. I appreciate not being given all the steps, but I wanted that to be because of freedom in completion.

I think that there is still a bit to go in making this a great game, but I’m pleased with the steps they have taken. I just wish that these bright bits didn’t shine a light on the flaws in the rest of the system. The next step is going to be crucial, as we’re rapidly approaching the point where the identity of Hitman will be established. Don’t take this as doomsaying, as I’m actually quite hopeful. The way that this innovated was good, and the level of improvement it brought over “Sapienza” as bigger than the one “Sapienza” brought over the “Intro Pack.” I hope they keep this curve of build, raising the bar even more in the next episode. With 6 episodes, they really don’t have any room to stumble, and Hitman hasen’t really hit its stride yet. It’s been jogging up to a run, and hopefully will finish with a solid pace.

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Categories: Horror News