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First Look Inside Death House

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 10:00

Another sliver of indie goodness is on its way courtesy of Sean King entitled Death House, and we have the trailer and more for you right here. Dig it!

Jon Cioffi, Angelica Boccella, and Tim O’Hearn star.

Synopsis:
A mentally ill man becomes obsessive about torturing his victims and killing them. He lives in an abandoned house by a dirt road. As a child, he was teased for being ugly. Now he has no self-control of what he will do to you if you come to his house…

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Categories: Horror News

Asylum, The (DVD)

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 05:00

Starring Stephen Lang, Kelly Blatz, Brittany Curran, Brett Dier, Michael Ormsby

Directed by Marcus Nispel

Distributed by Studiocanal

Assisting the local clergy, led by Father Conway (Lang), small town teen Patrick (Blatz) is helping clean up the old, abandoned Exeter asylum and crematorium. A foreboding place with a chequered past filled with rumours of abuse and supernatural happenings, the asylum met its functional end after being gutted by a massive fire.

When his friends decide to use his access to launch a huge, off-the-hook party, Patrick and a core group of friends stay behind once the booze-laden festivities have ended and most of the revellers taken off. Enjoying their own personal after-party alongside a girl called Reign (Curran), with whom Patrick has become smitten after meeting her the night before, the gang get to talking about the horrific past of Exeter and the whispers of satanic practices.
This leads the group to try out the old ‘light as a feather, stiff as a board’ party trick on Patrick’s younger brother, Rory (Ormsby), which seems to be enough to get him full-on possessed by an evil spirit.

Things go from bad to worse as the search for help for Rory is made much more pressing when the building locks itself down and the evil spirit sets about body-hopping, leading to a series of gory deaths, bodily mutilations and much running and screaming.

On first examination, The Asylum feels like a complete mess. Tonally, it’s all over the place – smatterings of comedy feeling completely mismatched to Nispel’s signature dark and gritty visual style. One moment, you’re in a particularly brutal and seriously-presented horror sequence, and the next you have comedy that feels very much out of place cutting into the proceedings. That’s not to say that the comedy is overt – there’s no slapstick, for example – yet it seems curiously ‘off’.

The original title of the film, Backmask, makes reference to the alleged practice of recording satanic messages on records that could only be heard when played backwards, and the opening scene appears to indicate that this will be a central mechanism in the story – a tortured soul trapped in, and released from, a reversed record, perhaps – yet it’s actually an entirely incidental element, mentioned only in passing.

Given the name change, first to Exeter and now The Asylum, that shouldn’t objectively be an issue – but it’s indicative of what many are going to find when they step into Nispel’s first attempt at an original horror flick: it isn’t at all what you’re expecting.

There’s a deeper mystery at the heart of The Asylum, pulling a number of threads as the film moves towards a finale which, while it does manage to just about explain itself, feels miserably cack-handed and open to more questioning than it would apparently like to be. But the awkwardness of the finale casts the mind back to how well presented the preceding scenes, especially the graphic mayhem and some great gore gags, actually were… and all of a sudden something about it sparks a greater curiosity.

And it’s then that you’re able to become far more forgiving of the film when you approach it for a second play – it’s a strange one, but once you know what to expect, picking up on the dark comedy aspects becomes much easier, alongside spotting the visual clues as to where it’s all going, which very capably escape attention on the initial run.

While elements such as a character loudly crying about somehow being stabbed with a spoon, or pulling up a DIY Exorcism app on his smart phone – which the gang decide to go ahead with trying out, unsure if the app is serious or fake – tend to feel off the mark to the uninitiated, when you approach The Asylum from the right angle it actually does work. It just feels odd when paired with the aforementioned crumbling, oppressive visuals and the completely earnest performances from the cast.

Speaking of the cast, everyone does a bang-up job here – especially leading man Kelly Blatz as the likeable Patrick (though honestly, very few of these teens approach likeable status easily), Michael Ormsby as Rory (looking to all the world like a miniature Jason Mewes) and Brett Dier as Brad, whose sudden turn of faith during one scene is a really great visual gag.

In essence, if you expect a hardcore horror flick then you’re going to be very disappointed in The Asylum. It isn’t scary, but it is funny and endearingly cynical, intentionally revelling in the absurdity of it all. Despite the presentation, Nispel hasn’t made a straight-up horror film, here. He’s made a party movie – loud, gory, and for the most part nicely paced – and you’ll need to have at it from a beer ‘n’ pizza position for it to click in any way. If you can do that, you’re going to have some fun.

The film loses points for feeling confused in itself – something which is no doubt ably reflected in the multiple title changes and sense of uncertainty in its marketing. It’s a sure thing that many are going to pick this one up with the expectation of a straight-up demonic possession horror flick and walk away bemused and dissatisfied. The Asylum is a peculiar experience; a definite oddity that seems only ever a moment away from completely falling apart. But it isn’t actually a bad one.

Studiocanal brings The Asylum to UK DVD in a bare-bones package. Not even a trailer to be had.

Special Features

  • Nothing


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Categories: Horror News

Night Terrors Turns Your House Into a Spooky House

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 22:54

As a kid, I used to create little stories in my head when I was bored. I had a wandering mind, so I’d frequently create elaborate plans on how to escape from a horde of ninjas given my surroundings, or picture how all the players on the football field would fare against a dragon. Many a grown-up event was sat through by imagining two armies battling it out in the middle of the room. It never really left me, which is probably explains a lot about me. The downside is that I frequently became convinced that the place I inhabited was haunted. I was usually fine for a few days in a new place, but as soon as my mind got used to it, I became convinced that there were monsters and ghosts around every corner. Fun Fact: I still sleep with my sheets over my head as a kind of habit. Also, it keeps the Yeerks out of my ears.

Well good news, because the good people at Novum Analytics are turning my childhood trauma into a video game! My therapist will be thrilled.

Using advanced algorithm space magic that might as well be witchcraft, the developers aim to turn your house into a more haunted version of your house. Check out their Indiegogo page here for more info on their tech and design philosophy. There’s a lot of info here, and if I had the technical know-how to decipher it all for you guys, I wouldn’t be making dick jokes on the internet for a living.

It all sounds a bit too good to be true, and I’ve been burned before from the sweet promises of crowdfunded sirens, but the tech demos are pretty impressive. As of writing, it has already gotten $1,335 of its $70,000 goal in just 10 hours, so with 40 days to go it will probably make it. As the lead developer says early in his pitch video, “why doesn’t a true augmented reality horror game exist yet?” The answer to this question has always been a lack of technology, but the team looks like they might actually go the distance with this one.

Now getting into my wheelhouse of the scary bits, the game does have a great practical effects design. To be blunt, this is a game that will likely utilize a lot of jump scares, so it is nice to know that the creepy things lunging at me will look good and not like bad .JPEGs. So far, the scares look impressive, so I am eager to see how it will actually pan out as a final product.

Another cool factor is the game’s use of the properties of the phone to deliver scares. Using the microphone to track ambient sound in the room, the output from the headphones will sound like it is coming from a direction that the visual mapping indicates is a place sound could actually be coming from. Walking by a hallway might prompt a growl from your right, which when turning reveals a spooky skeleton. Think that kind of thing, and never sleep again.

What got me the most excited was the creative yet basic use of lighting. The game has to be played in the dark, using the phone’s LED as the sole light source. This allows the game to tweak the brightness as it needs to scare you, which I hope means more than just turning off and on again with Kayako all up in my grill. It’s a simple concept, but one that could have easily been overlooked.

So if this sounds like your kind of thing, which it probably does because you are reading an article on DreadCentral, then go check out their Indigogo page and toss them a few bucks. For just 5 bucks you get the full game on release, so what’s the harm? Lets make this Night Terror dream a reality!

The post Night Terrors Turns Your House Into a Spooky House appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Colin Trevorrow Talks Jurassic World

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 20:24

There are a lot of questions regarding Jurassic World and how it relates to the other films in the dino-sized franchise. Recently director Colin Trevorrow pulled back the curtain a bit.

Via Yahoo!:
“Of course, Jurassic World isn’t a mere re-creation of Jurassic Park; it’s a direct sequel to the original, set some 20 years after the events of Spielberg’s film. (According to Trevorrow, the previous sequels aren’t being written out of continuity so much as placed to the side, as they both unfolded on a different island.) In that time, a functioning theme park has been constructed on Isla Nubar, overseen by operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and employing hundreds of staffers, including velociraptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt).”

Via Slashfilm pertaining to the T-Rex from the first film being back:
She is 22 years older. But she’s not limping around. It’s going to move a little bit differently, but it’ll move differently because it’s older.  And we’re giving her some scars and we’re tightening her skin. So, she has that feeling of, like, an older Burt Lancaster. And this movie is her Unforgiven.

Pretty neat!

Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, and Judy Greer star in the film, which will be released June 12th in 3D by Universal Pictures.

Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) penned the script with Derek Connolly and directs. Steven Spielberg and Thomas Tull executive produce, and Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley produce Jurassic World.

This is a new sci-fi terror adventure set 22 years after the horrific events of the original Jurassic Park.

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Categories: Horror News

iZombie: Recap of Episode 1.07 – Maternity Liv; First Look at Episode 1.08 – Dead Air

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 19:40

We see a group of youngsters camping and boozing it up as “iZombie” Episode 1.07, “Maternity Liv,” opens. It’s a cool little gathering until a strange young lady comes wandering into their site looking rather unhealthy. She collapses and dies shortly thereafter. The woman was pregnant, and although she herself bit the big one, we quickly learn that the baby survived.

Shortly thereafter we eye the woman’s parents in the morgue, identifying their deceased daughter. While there, Clive asks if they’ve got any idea who would want to do such a thing, and the father immediately pegs Dillon Munson, the woman’s ex-boyfriend, as the SOB responsible.

The brain eating gets under way, Liv gearing up to dive into the woman’s life as she once knew it. She immediately begins feeling the effects, maternal instincts she’s never experienced coursing through her. She’s immediately sensitive to just about everything around her. And while juggling those emotions, she receives her first vision, a look at the woman’s parents roughing her up, apparently attempting to keep her from her boyfriend – who takes a punch to the face from her father in the same vision.

Liv stops by to see Clive and declares her belief that the dead woman’s own parents locked her away for months, subsequently leading to her death (declared a result of extreme shock). Dillon is brought in for questioning. He’s a known figure to the police force, but he doesn’t seem as guilty as anyone expects, despite his grating arrogance. In fact, he provides a clue: Dillon saw his girl picked up by someone in a dark pickup truck and noted the out of the ordinary barking from dogs. It could mean nothing, but it could be a pivotal clue.

Meanwhile Major continues his own investigation of “The Candy Man,” bringing a local reporter into the fold, while Liv meets up with Lowell briefly.  The affection they felt just a week ago seems to have fizzled quite a bit. Liv’s a little confused by the discomfort Lowell is giving off, but Ravi is anxious to just get back to looking into work. While these two juggle interesting conversation, Babineaux shows up to express his disdain for Major, as he’s had his new reporter buddy take the current string of missing cases to the papers, where it is noted that local police haven’t done a damn thing to resolve the problem.

We cut away to a scene in which Liv pays her mother a visit at work. Her brother is also there, bumming money. Both women bombard the youngster with a nice healthy lecture. What’s really relevant about the scene, however, is the fact that Liv’s mother hands the kid a few job applications, one of which is for Blaine’s butcher shop. The CW is lining up a deeper conflict with Blaine, and the promise is rather significant. If Liv’s brother gets a job with Blaine, his safety will be immediately put in jeopardy, and the growing rivalry between Liv and Blaine will reach profoundly dangerous levels.

Clive continues digging on the current case, and a paper trail again hints that the grieving parents may not be in as much anguish as they’ve been letting on. Clive and Liv head over to what is apparently the couple’s cabin, and after hearing some disruptions inside, they make entrance, where they find a hand-carved crib in the basement. It looks like it’s been there for some time, but that certainly doesn’t prove the parents’ guilt. The suspicion, however, lingers, even more pronounced now.

A brief commercial break, and we return to find Liv experiencing another one of her visions. At some point there was definitely some fishy business happening, and it initially looks as though it could have happened in the basement. A girl (presumably the deceased) can be heard crying while a stranger is seen sucking away on a cancer stick outside her window. Who the man is remains unknown for the time being. While Clive and Liv are in the basement, the parents arrive, and we segue into a revealing discussion between them and Clive. They’re quite forthcoming, and they’re beginning to look not as guilty as home viewers have been led to believe.

Liv clears up her vision, stating her belief that the stranger she saw was an animal control worker. That would help to explain the vehicle Dillon described; it also helps to make a little sense of the strange barking dog claim. What follows is a look into local animal control. In the investigation room an employee brings pictures of all animal control officers, but the man in Liv’s vision is nowhere to be seen. And then they learn that one Gerald Denny was recently fired for peeping in windows. But a look into Gerald’s recent whereabouts quickly eliminates him as a suspect, as he’s been behind bars for months.

Liv and Lowell later reunite, and Liv finds a little clarity in their current conundrum. As it turns out, Lowell recently feasted on the brains of a homosexual man. That explains the man’s lack of interest in her. There’s still hope for Liv and a romantic future. Yes, you can all breathe a sigh of relief… our zombie heroine isn’t doomed to loneliness forever.

It’s back to reality for Liv, who has yet another vision. This time we look through the eyes of our victim, Emily Sparrow, as she hangs from a window. Two women are staring at her, warning her that she’ll be caught if she continues her attempt to flee. And then she falls from the window, and Liv’s special insight fades away. She takes the 411 to Clive, who also has a few theories working for him, like the belief that the girl may have been trying to get back to her family’s cottage before collapsing and dying. Clive’s intuition leads them to a new suspect, who just so happens to be married to the same woman from animal control who was in the investigation room just minutes ago.

Before we wrap our current mystery, we spot Major trailing the man who beat the hell out of him just an episode or so ago, the man he believes to be “The Candy Man.” After the man stops and exits his vehicle, Major takes it upon himself to break into his car, where he learns the man’s name (Julien Dupont) and uncovers a brain in a plastic food carrier. Just as he makes this gruesome discovery, police arrive on the scene and slap a pair of cuffs on him. Meanwhile, Julien explains to the police that he works for Blaine and that he’s making a delivery of “gourmet” animal brains. As expected, our big bad villain walks away while Major is carted off to the station.

As Major is making a case to be branded a convict, Liv and Clive have moved in on their suspects. They approach the couple’s residence with a little watching on their minds, but our now obviously guilty party opens fire on their vehicle from within the house. The cavalry is quickly called in, and moments after they descend on the house, two more bodies pile up as the captain, who takes a bullet in the raid, snaps and goes full-on zombie mode, gunning down the man and woman. While the shootout ensues, Liv finds the other girls that she saw in her vision and brings them to rescue.  There’s an ugly bit of business at the end of the episode involving the mice Ravi is experimenting on, and we’re sure to see more about that in the coming weeks.

We’re seven episodes into the inaugural season of “iZombie,” and the machine is running smoothly.  The wit is still alive and loudly projected. Rose McIver is proving that she was born to take on this role, and for the most part the conflicts that our protagonists face on a weekly basis haven’t disappointed. There’s just enough depth and variety from episode to episode to hold viewers, and if all goes well, we’ll be gifted more than a single season of this fun alternative to some of the darker zombie fare out there.

“iZombie” Episode 1.08 – “Dead Air” (airs 5/5/15)
LIV HAS A VISION THAT MIGHT BE A GAME CHANGER — Liv (Rose McIver) and Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) work together to solve the murder of a morning radio talk show host who specialized in relationship straight talk. Liv becomes filled to the brim with insight after consuming the brains, making Clive extremely uncomfortable when Liv starts getting personal.

Meanwhile, Peyton (guest star Ali Michalka) steps in to help Major (Robert Buckley), and Blaine (David Anders) issues a warning.

Lastly, Ravi’s (Rahul Kohli) unexpected romantic connection has the potential to make things awkward for Liv. Zetna Fuentes directed the episode written by Aiyana White.

For more info visit “iZombie” on CWTV.com, “like” “iZombie” on Facebook, and follow “iZombie” on Twitter.

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Categories: Horror News

We Swam The Wine Dark Sea for These Images from Salem Episode 2.05

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 18:45

Mary Sibley finally comes face-to-face with Countess Marburg in Sunday night’s Episode 2.05 of “Salem,” entitled “The Wine Dark Sea” (directed by Peter Weller of RoboCop fame); and we have a few stills from the ep to share.  What we really want to know, however, is when Mary’s going to meet up with John Alden again… that should certainly generate some fireworks!

“Salem” Episode 2.05 – “The Wine Dark Sea” (air date 5/3/15)
Mary (Janet Montgomery) learns the explosive truth about her mysterious tormentor as Countess Marburg (guest star Lucy Lawless) sets sail toward Salem.  Hathorne’s (guest star Jeremy Crutchley) unsavory political machinations take a turn for the worse, leading the witches to take new measures to respond to the threat. 

Meanwhile, Mercy’s (Elise Eberle) grisly preparations to enact her revenge reach new heights, drawing two reluctant participants closer in the process, while John Alden’s (Shane West) search for answers yields a valuable return.  Mary takes the fight directly to her newest foes… and a terrifying surprise awaits her. Written by Al Septien and Turi Meyer; directed by Peter Weller.  Guest stars include Michael Mulheren as George Sibley, Sammi Hanratty as Dollie, and Thomas Francis Murphy as Rev. Lewis.

For more info follow “Salem” on Twitter and YouTube (@SalemWGNA), and also be sure to “like” the series on Facebook.

The post We Swam The Wine Dark Sea for These Images from Salem Episode 2.05 appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Damien Escapes Lifetime in Hell; Moves to A&E

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 18:19

The TV series based upon The Omen and the exploits of everyone’s favorite Antichrist, “Damien,” is having a shift in venue. Deadline is reporting that Lifetime’s straight-to-series drama follow-up to the horror classic, originally set up at Lifetime, will air on sibling A&E.

As part of the move, the order for the show, from Glen Mazzara and Fox 21 TV Studios, has been upped from 6 to 10 episodes. This marks the first major synergetic play since Lifetime programming chief Rob Sharenow also took over A&E two months ago as EVP and general manager A&E and Lifetime.

In his TV directing debut, Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) will helm and executive produce the first episode. “Merlin” star Bradley James (pictured) has landed the title role.

Produced by Fox TV Studios, the ten-episode “Damien” follows the adult life of Damien Thorn (James), the mysterious child from the 1976 film who has grown up, seemingly unaware of the satanic forces around him. Haunted by his past, Damien must now come to terms with his true destiny — that he is the Antichrist, the most feared man throughout the ages.

“Damien,” slated to premiere in 2015, is written and executive produced by Glen Mazzara via his 44 Strong Productions.

The post Damien Escapes Lifetime in Hell; Moves to A&E appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Finds a New UK Trailer

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 17:47

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (review) arrives in UK theatres on May 22nd, and to celebrate, a new trailer for the world’s first Iranian vampire western has arrived.

Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, junkies, pimps, and other sordid souls, is a place that reeks of death and hopelessness, where a lonely vampire is stalking the towns most unsavory inhabitants. But when boy meets girl, an unusual love story begins to blossom… blood red.

Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype, and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, and the Iranian New Wave. Amped by a mix of Iranian rock, techno, and Morricone-inspired riffs, its airy, anamorphic, black-and-white aesthetic and artfully drawn-out scenes combine the simmering tension of Sergio Leone with the surrealism of David Lynch.

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Categories: Horror News

Matt Dillon Answers the Question: What Is Wayward Pines?

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 17:03

If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the early release of the “Wayward Pines” pilot on FOX NOW, FOX On Demand, Hulu, and other select platforms, you only have a few days left to check it out.  Right now we have for you series star Matt Dillon teasing the mystery and thrills that lie ahead.

About “Wayward Pines”:
Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) and Fox International Channels present the 10-episode, intense psychological thriller “WAYWARD PINES.” The highly anticipated event series, based on a best-selling novel and brought to life by suspenseful storyteller M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs) and executive-produced by Shyamalan, Donald De Line, Chad Hodge, and Ashwin Rajan, will premiere Thursday, May 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), on FOX, while also debuting simultaneously in more than 125 countries across Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and Latin America. The global “WAYWARD PINES” debut will be the world’s largest day-and-date launch for a scripted series ever.

Related Story:  Learn More about Wayward Pines from this Trio of New Promos Plus Stills from the Pilot

The series stars Academy Award nominee Matt Dillon (Crash) as a Secret Service agent on a mission to find two missing federal agents in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, ID. In addition to Dillon, the stellar cast includes Academy and Emmy Award winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (Crash, Hustle & Flow), Carla Gugino (“Entourage”), Shannyn Sossamon (“How to Make It in America”), Toby Jones (Infamous, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Reed Diamond (“24,” Much Ado About Nothing), Tim Griffin (“Prime Suspect”), Charlie Tahan (Charlie St. Cloud), and Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear).

“WAYWARD PINES” is a production of FX Productions. The series was developed for television by Hodge (“The Playboy Club,” “Runaway”) and executive-produced by De Line (Green Lantern, The Italian Job), Rajan (Devil), Hodge, and Shyamalan.  Hodge wrote and Shyamalan directed the premiere episode. “Like” “WAYWARD PINES” on Facebook at facebook.com/WaywardPines. Follow the series on Twitter at @WaywardPinesFOX and join the discussion using #waywardpines. See photos and videos on Instagram by following @Wayward Pines.

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Categories: Horror News

L.A. Slasher Heading to AMC Theaters in June

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 16:29

Archstone Distribution has announced that the horror/dark comedy feature L.A. Slasher, directed by Martin Owen and produced by Jeffrey Wright and Daniel Sollinger, will receive a North American theatrical release starting June 12th in select AMC theaters.

“We are very excited to take L.A. Slasher to the silver screen,” Archstone Distribution’s President & CEO Brady Bowen stated. “It is a highly entertaining film with a unique voice that we know audiences are going to love!”

L.A. Slasher producer Daniel Sollinger remarked, “My team and I are thrilled to be working with Archstone as they have a steady track record for bringing high quality films to audiences worldwide. We are very proud to be on their roster.”

With an all-star cast that includes Mischa Barton, Dave Bautista, Danny Trejo, Drake Bell, Eric Roberts, Brooke Hogan, Abigail Wright, Elizabeth Morris, and Andy Dick (in his comeback vehicle), L.A. Slasher is a social satire about reality TV and the glorification of people who are famous for simply being famous.

Exploring why it has become acceptable to become an influential star based on no merit or talent, the story follows the titular Slasher character as he systematically abducts these “stars,” much to the joy of the online public, who view his exploits via social media and who subsequently and enthusiastically support his mantra of “Death to Reality TV.”

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Categories: Horror News

Northmen (UK Blu-ray / DVD)

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 05:00

Starring Tom Hopper, Ryan Kwanten, Ed Skrein, Charlie Murphy

Directed by Claudio Fah

Distributed by Entertainment One

On their way to go a-plundering in Lindisfarne, a group of exiled Viking warriors led by would-be ruler Asbjorn (Hopper) find themselves off course and stranded on the coast of Scotland when their longboat is destroyed in a vicious storm. Trapped behind enemy lines, the group decides that their only hope is to reach the friendly settlement of Danelaw – but it isn’t very long before they’re spotted by hostile forces and a battle ensues.

In the wake of the fighting, the Vikings carry with them the princess Inghean (Murphy), daughter of the ruthless King Dunchaid. Hoping to use her as leverage for safe passage and ransom, the gang press forward on their journey. Unfortunately for them, however, King Dunchaid is a bit more of a bastard than they expected, and he unleashes the Wolf Pack – a group of highly trained Carpathian mercenaries – with orders to kill not only his Viking adversaries, but his daughter as well.

Along the way, Asbjorn and crew happen upon hermitic druid Conall (Kwanten), a Christian monk who also happens to be extremely adept when it comes to kicking the living shit out of people with athletic style. Following an encounter with the ruthless Wolf Pack, Conall agrees to aid the Vikings and princess in their quest to reach Danelaw – and so begins the chase across picturesque landscapes and rocky mountains as swords clash, arrows fly and numbers dwindle.

Claudio Fah’s Northmen is a film that, on the surface, offers little new to the ‘chase movie’ game beyond its Viking theme (it feels very similar to Roar Uthuag’s 2012 film Escape), but that’s actually rarely an issue given the swift pacing, enjoyable characters and engaging aesthetic of the flick. Shooting locations in South Africa actually stand in very well for the Scottish coast, and some breathtaking vistas, crisp woodland and impressive settings for the action (for example a rope bridge over a massive gorge) create a sense of scale that the humble sensibilities of the core story lack. It’s a great-looking flick, feeling just a few steps away from a grandiose epic in the same manner that Michael J. Bassett’s Solomon Kane adaptation did.

The action is well choreographed and fluidly shot, and there’s enough blood spatter and sword-on-flesh action to keep those who can’t stand bloodless medieval action happy, though Northmen also has a real sense of weirdness about it. Very central elements of the story feel strangely out of place and under-explained – for example, Inghean is revealed to have soothsaying abilities, receiving visual and auditory messages from the earth itself to warn her and her new protectors of the impending arrival of a threat. This magical/supernatural element is thrown in alongside the more grounded stance that the film establishes early on with nary an eyebrow raised.

Next to that is Kwanten’s character, Conall, who shoots straight off the weirdness scale with his realisation as a Christian monk who seems entirely styled on Buddhism and trained in Eastern martial arts. On the face of it, it’s all over the place – but it’s perhaps testament to Fah’s storytelling skills that it doesn’t see Northmen come completely undone by any means.

Besides, there’s little point in complaining about any of it when the return of the Viking group’s Berzerker from a particular feat of battle fury comes as a welcome stretch of believability simply because the character is so much fun to have around.

Performances across the board are perfectly fine, even if Ed Skrein’s turn as lead villain Hjorr is more pantomime-y and less interesting on a character level than his second-in-command, Anatole Taubman as Bovarr. There’s the requisite amount of in-fighting amongst the Vikings, with the morally steadfast Asbjorn butting heads with some of the others over their more repugnant intentions for their captive lady, but things rarely push very hard in that direction – mostly ending with a short verbal burst or waving of a weapon as means of keeping in check. In short – nothing far beyond what you’d expect.

And that’s pretty much what sums up Northmen – it isn’t ground-breaking, it isn’t a highly original take on the chase film. But it’s a very entertaining one. Filled with enough testosterone-fuelled action, punchy set-pieces, humorous touches, scowling and eye candy to keep itself standing even if the more off-kilter elements threaten to drag it down.

If you’re looking for a fun popcorn flick to fill an evening with grunting, punching and bloody swordplay at an exciting pace (and Ryan Kwanten in quite possibly the strangest role you’ll ever see him take on) then you really can’t go wrong.

Entertainment One brings Northmen to UK DVD sporting a selection of behind the scenes featurettes that explore the locations, characters and action sequences and scoring of the film while offering interview snippets with various members of the cast and crew. Each segment is short and light, coming in all together at a total of around 11 minutes, but it does feel like just enough material to satisfy. Fans of legendary Viking metal band ‘Amon Amarth’ will likely feel some disappointment for lead singer Johan Hegg, who makes his film debut here and spends some time in the extras talking about his positive experiences on set and shooting his scenes, only to end up in the finished film for all of five minutes, with one line of dialogue, before meeting his end.

Special Features:

  • Behind the Scenes
  • Don’t Mess With the Northmen
  • Northmen in Action
  • Tune up the Northmen
  • Vikings vs. Wolves



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Categories: Horror News

L.A. Film Festival 2015 – First Look at Shut In

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 21:09

Playing as part of the upcoming Los Angeles Film Festival (June 10-18) is the new film from a member of the team that brought you the acclaimed Delivery: The Beast Within, entitled Shut In, and we have your first look!

The film stars Beth Riesgraf (“Criminal Minds”), Rory Culkin (Scream 4), Martin Starr (Dead Snow 2, HBO’s “Silicon Valley”), and Jack Kesy (FX’s “The Strain”).

Shut In is the debut feature from Adam Schindler, one half of LA-based film collective Type AB, which was behind last year’s festival favorite Delivery: The Beast Within.

More soon!

Synopsis:
Anna (Riesgraf) suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals break into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only psychosis.

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Categories: Horror News

Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves – New Trailer Sees Red

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 20:56

A red band trailer for FDR American Badass writer Ross Patterson’s new film, Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves, has arrived; and we have it for you right here. Dig in!

Jessie Wiseman stars as Keller, known for being both blind and deaf. Insidious star Lin Shaye portrays an older version of Keller, and Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Barry Bostwick stars as Jonathan.

Synopsis:
Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves tells the shocking story of how a group of nightwolves terrorized a tiny village, taking people’s hearing and eyesight… and the one woman who fought back.

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Categories: Horror News

Screamy New Suburban Gothic Poster

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 20:52

A new one-sheet is here Richard Bates, Jr.’s (Excision) next film, Suburban Gothic (review), and it will have you screaming. Well… at least it has one of the people on it screaming.

Suburban Gothic was written by Richard Bates, Jr., and Mark Bruner; directed by Bates; and produced by Dylan Hale Lewis. Matthew Gray Gubler, Kat Dennings, Ray Wise, Sally Kirkland, Jeffrey Combs, and John Waters star

Synopsis:
Raymond has a prestigious MBA, but he can’t find work. He can channel the paranormal, but chatting with a cute girl mystifies him. Kicked out of his big city apartment, Raymond returns home to his overbearing mother, ex-jock father, and beer-bellied classmates. But when a vengeful ghost terrorizes the small town, the city-boy recruits Becca, a badass local bartender, to solve the mystery of the spirit threatening everyone’s lives.

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Categories: Horror News

Paragon Releasing a Real Clinger

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 20:45

Some fresh distro news has come in for the supernatural horror comedy Clinger, as The Wrap is reporting that the filck has been acquired for U.S. distribution by Paragon Releasing.

Michael Steves directs and co-wrote the screenplay with Gabi Chennisi Duncombe and Bubba Fish.

Clinger (review) tells the story of a high school senior (newcomer Jennifer Laporte) whose possessive dead boyfriend (Vincent Martella) returns as a lovesick ghost to kill her so they can be together for eternity. Julia Aks, Alica Monet Caldwell, Shonna Major, and Rebecca Gail also star alongside Debbie Rochon and Lisa Wilcox.

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Categories: Horror News

Love & Peace & a Full Trailer

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 20:19

The full trailer for the new film from writer/director Shion Sono, entitled Love & Peace, is here; and it’s exactly as strange as you think it would be. Check it out!

Megumi Kagurazaka, Ikue Ohtani, Kumiko Asô, Toshiyuki Nishida, Shôko Nakagawa, and Miyuki Matsuda star.

Synopsis:
It’s the summer of 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. Ryoichi dreamed of becoming a punk rocker when he was younger but became a timid salaryman at a musical instrument parts company. He has feelings for Yuko, but he can’t tell her how he feels.

One day he has a fateful meeting with a turtle on the rooftop of a department store. He names the turtle Pikadon and adores it, but his co-workers laugh at him. Ryoichi throws Pikadon into the toilet. He regrets what he did. The turtle, though, goes through the sewage and meets an old man who lives in the underground. Something then happens.

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Categories: Horror News

Director Hank Braxtan’s Unnatural Gets a Trailer and Poster

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 19:52

It’s been a few months since we’ve updated you on Chemical Peel director Hank Braxtan’s “nature gone amok” flick Unnatural, but that changes as of now with a first look at the feature’s poster and European trailer!

With narrative shades reminiscent of 1979’s Prophecy, an old-school practical effects approach, a grueling location shoot in Alaskan winter climes, and a cast that includes 1990’s “Twin Peaks” bombshell Sherilyn Fenn, Unnatural is produced by Ron Carlson with cinematography by Marc Carter. In addition to actress Fenn, the cast includes James Remar (“Dexter”), Ray Wise (Jeepers Creepers 2, “Twin Peaks”), Graham Greene (The Green Mile), Q’orianka Kilcher (“Sons of Anarchy”), and Ivana Korab.

Unnatural is being represented by sales agent VMI Worldwide for domestic and foreign sales. As soon as we receive word on a release date, we’ll let you know (we here at Dread caught a screening of the film earlier this year and found it to be a rollicking coaster of a ride).

Synopsis:
With many species on the verge of extinction, a notorious environmental corporation seeks to genetically modify several animals to survive climate change. When a fashion photographer and his small crew arrive on location in Alaska, they, as well as their local guides, find themselves thrust into a nightmare when they become prey for one of the escaped creatures. Isolated in the wild, the clock is ticking as they attempt to hold out.

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Categories: Horror News

Mockingbird (2014)

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 19:13

Starring Barak Hardley, Todd Stashwick, Alexandra Lydon, and Audrey Marie Anderson

Directed by Bryan Bernito

Horror is a saturated market, and it is very easy for a title to get lost in the miasma. This is especially true for unknown directors who lack a big name distributor. I tend to give things a fair shake; even if all of my being tells me that the movie will be trash, I will begrudgingly pop it in, start it up, and see how long I can go before I turn it off. Sometimes, I even make it all the way to the credits. Even so, there are many films that will sit on my floor, having been plopped in only to be ejected after a few minutes in a motion akin to me reflexively swatting a spider that dangles into view while you’re driving. This is where unknown horror goes to die, along with westerns and romcoms that for some reason companies still inexplicably send to me.

So if this were a standard indie found footage project from some random hopeful trying to make Paranormal Activity money, I would understand why DreadCentral missed it. This isn’t that. I came across Mockingbird while looking through a list of Blumhouse Production movies as research for their WonderCon press roundtable, and saw a name I didn’t recognize. The wikipedia page was barren, with the cast listed in an order that I can only assume was dictated by a random number generator. When the actor for “Jacob’s Friend #4” is listed before one of the three main characters, I cannot fathom any logic that led to that ordering. And no, it wasn’t order of appearance, I checked that too.

This isn’t a no name director, either. This is written and directed by by Bryan Bertino, whose previous film was The Strangers. Not exactly a robust body of work, but The Strangers was a big enough deal that his second movie six years later should have made some kind of a stir. With a major producer and a real distributor, it must be some next level bad to have been so profoundly passed over.

That’s what’s confusing to me, since this conflux of oddities had me expecting the movie would be 1 out of 5 level trash. And yet, the movie wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t great, for sure, but it certainly isn’t a shameful pair of home alone sweatpants, unwashed and hidden when company comes by. It’s the baked chicken of horror, a C+ effort brought out when you have family over but it isn’t a holiday. An admirable effort, clearly falling short of the bar set by The Strangers, but not tarnishing a legacy.

Shot in an all too familiar found footage style, the film takes place from three points of view. The first is from husband and wife Tom (Todd Stashwick) and Emmy (Audrey Marie Anderson), normal parents in a seemingly average household. With two kids and a cat, all is well when a mysterious package arrives: a camera that will not stop filming. Spending a night alone while the kids are being looked after, the couple’s planned romantic evening is interrupted when it turns out that the camera wasn’t a prize for winning a contest, but instead a way for a mysterious malignant force to look into their lives.

Beth’s (Alexandra Lydon) story is similar; an isolated college girl whose roommates are away, she struggles with a recent breakup. She’s less excited about the camera than the husband and wife, providing her only a minor distraction before more dreadful events start to unfold. Soon, both Beth and the Tom/Emmy combo receive a tape of a young boy being shot, with the instructions to not stop filming. Things only get worse for there, as events orchestrate to ramp up the terror of each party as they spiral towards an intense, if a bit predictable conclusion.

The third party is a down on his luck loser named Leonard (Barak Hardley), who contrary to the other two parties is on the adventure of a lifetime. He thinks the camera is his chance to win money on a gameshow, and is provided a clown costume which he wears to complete various challenges. The worst thing he has to do is get kicked in the balls and make farting sounds in a women’s restroom, so his is a much more lighthearted romp. It fits into an overall more sinister plot, but he is unaware of it, even if the audience figures out where it is heading long before.

There’s some cool visual design and some genuinely tense moments. The film is broken up into segments, like some sick editor broke stitched it together for some black market distribution. Unfortunately, there are some pretty serious plot inconsistencies once the final twist is revealed. I’m getting into spoiler territory in the next paragraph, so if you want to watch it fresh, my spoiler free talking of the twist is that it absolutely ruined the movie for me.

SPOILER ALERT:

It turns out that a bunch of kids were behind the whole thing. The oldest one looks about 13. The climax comes when the various parties all meet up in a house filled with balloons and end up shooting each other, so it make kind of sense that they would have to use trickery to kill their targets rather than direct violence. Setting aside the obvious questions of how kids would know how to rig up a video camera to never stop filming and transmit the feed, let alone afford all this shit, or do it unnoticed, there’s still one major flaw.

At one point in the movie, Beth refuses to open a package, which prompts a dark figure to kick open her door and send her into the closet screaming. How the hell is an 8 year old supposed to kick open a door? Even the oldest looked like he was underdeveloped for 13, so it doesn’t make any reasonable sense. It all just comes together so stupidly, that I wish they would have just done like they did in The Strangers and never explain it.

SPOILERS OVER:

Despite the interesting stuff in terms of pacing and setting up the segments, the film is an illogical mess that falls far short of Bertino’s previous effort. It feels like a cheap knockoff that would have been released to ape off of the success of The Strangers, and 6 years too late. As a found footage film, it’s decent. I wouldn’t ever tell someone not to watch it, but I wouldn’t bust it out at a party as a hidden gem that everyone simply must see.

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Categories: Horror News

Let Us Prey for Dark Sky

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 19:01

The release details are here for Brian O’Malley’s Let Us Prey via Dark Sky Films. Read on for some nifty new artwork and more! If you know what’s good for you, that is!

From the Press Release:
A new breed of screen villain takes over in LET US PREY, about a malignant loner’s chilling effect on everyone he encounters during a night in jail. The supernatural horror film will be available on VOD and Digital Download from Dark Sky Films on May 26, 2015 – it will also be available on Blu-ray/DVD day & date.

Rachel (Pollyanna McIntosh; The Woman, Filth), a rookie cop, is about to begin her first night shift in a neglected police station in a backwater town. Surrounded by both disgruntled officers and irate petty offenders, her job becomes all the more difficult and terrifying when a mysterious man (Liam Cunningham, “Game of Thrones”‘ Davos Seaworth) is brought in and strange things start happening to everyone in the station.

As it becomes clear that the enigmatic stranger, known simply as Six, has something to do with the supernatural, terrifying events, Rachel finds herself in a fight for her life against cop and criminal alike as one by one they turn on each other. Now she must survive the night and uncover the stranger’s true plans for the station’s hapless denizens before she too falls prey to the unholy power that seeks to destroy them all.

Also starring in the film are Hanna Stanbridge (Outcast) and Bryan Larkin (TV’s “Outlander”).

LET US PREY marks the auspicious directorial debut of Brian O’Malley. Sight & Sound listed the film as one of the best horror films of 2014. Sarah Boslaugh of Playback called it “an effective and surprisingly philosophical horror film.” The List’s Henry Rothmore said it is “an intriguing horror flick. … Cunningham is suitably sinister and shadowy, spouting Bible quotes as he manipulates the others.”

The film was an Official Selection and audience favorite at both the Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, and Montreal’s Fantasia Fest. It won the Silver Méliès Award at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film and the Audience Award at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.

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Categories: Horror News

Get an Early Sneak Peek of The Originals Episode 2.20 – City Beneath the Sea

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 18:33

Well, that was certainly a jaw-dropping ending last night on “The Originals,” and if you can’t wait one second longer for a sneak peek of what’s ahead in next week’s Episode 2.20, “City Beneath the Sea,” you’re in luck because The CW has just released a clip!  In this sneak peek Marcel shares some sage advice with Rebekah.

“The Originals” Episode 2.20 – “City Beneath the Sea” (airs 4/27/15)
LOOMING DEADLINES AND ENTICING PROPOSITIONS — When Dahlia (guest star Claudia Black) devises a clever way to get Klaus’ (Joseph Morgan) attention, she reveals some startling details about baby Hope and leaves him with an enticing proposition to consider.

Elsewhere, while Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Freya (guest star Riley Voelkel) find themselves with opposing views on how best to handle Dahlia’s looming deadline, Rebekah (guest star Maisie Richardson-Sellers), Davina (Danielle Campbell), and Cami (Leah Pipes) work together to come up with their own strategy.

Meanwhile, following a tense stand-off between Elijah and Jackson (guest star Nathan Parsons) in the bayou, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) is left to make a difficult decision about her and Hope’s future.

Finally, Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood), who is eager to leave his witch past behind him, approaches Davina with an offer that leaves her intrigued. Leslie Libman directed the episode written by Carina Adly MacKenzie and Charlie Charbonneau.

For more info visit “The Originals” on CWTV.com, “like” “The Originals” on Facebook, and follow “The Originals” on Twitter.

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Categories: Horror News