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Alien Week Day 3: The Year of Survival Horror

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 10:00

In honor of next week’s release of Alien: Isolation, we’re running features and giveaways that take looks at the upcoming visceral experience from Sega as well as gaming itself. Read on for Alien Week Day 3: The Year of Survival Horror.

This Halloween will go down as the scariest time in gaming, and we want to take a quick look at some of the most intense, cringe-inducing titles hitting shelves. Survival horror games are coming back from the dead with four highly anticipated titles being released in the coming months: Alien: Isolation, The Evil Within, Routine, and Dying Light.  Two of these titles launch in time for Halloween with the others rounding out the year and making sure the frights continue into those long nights of winter.

With each of these games being terrifying and gripping in their own right, they have the common theme of facing unthinkable terror and fighting to stay alive despite the challenges presented throughout the player’s journey.

Keep these suckers on your radar, kids!

Alien: Isolation – October 7
Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror game capturing the fear and tension evoked by Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic film. Players find themselves in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger as an unpredictable, ruthless Xenomorph is stalking and killing deep in the shadows. Underpowered and underprepared, you must scavenge resources, improvise solutions, and use your wits, not just to succeed in your mission, but to simply stay alive.

The Evil Within – October 14
While investigating the scene of a gruesome mass murder, Detective Sebastian Castellanos and his partners encounter a mysterious and powerful force. After seeing the slaughter of fellow officers, Sebastian is ambushed and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a deranged world where hideous creatures wander among the dead. Facing unimaginable terror and fighting for survival, Sebastian embarks on a frightening journey to unravel what’s behind this evil force.
 
Routine – TBD 2014
Routine is a first person horror exploration game set on an abandoned Moon base. Your job is to find enough data to uncover the truth behind the strange disappearance of everyone stationed on the Lunar Research Station.

Dying Light – February 2015
In Dying Light, a first-person, action survival horror game, players must use everything in their power to survive until the morning’s first light in a vast open world filled with danger. During the day, players will traverse an expansive urban environment overrun by a vicious outbreak, scavenging the world for supplies and crafting weapons to defend against the growing infected population. At night, the hunter becomes the hunted, as the infected become aggressive and more dangerous. Most frightening are the predators which only appear after sundown.

The post Alien Week Day 3: The Year of Survival Horror appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Nightmare Presents: This Is Not for You by Gemma Files

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 09:30

We’re back with another installment in our monthly series of brand new fiction from Nightmare Magazine. Our October selection is “This Is Not for You” by Gemma Files. It’s the lead story in Nightmare’s Women Destroy Horror! special issue, guest-edited by legendary editor Ellen Datlow.

We hope you enjoy this special Halloween edition of Nightmare Presents.

Please be sure to share your comments below.

THIS IS NOT FOR YOU
by Gemma Files

Three potential sacrifices, just as Phoibe’d predicted, blundering through the woods like buffalo in boots. Mormo broke cover first, naked and barefoot, screaming, with the boys following after, whooping and hollering, straight into the gauntlet, too lust-drunk to see where they were going. Pretty little thing, that Mormo, with a truly enviable lung capacity; the best lure they’d had by far in all the time Gorgo’d been attending these odd little shindigs, and swift enough to keep a good two lengths between her and her closest pursuer as she danced around the tiger-pits. No sooner did this thought register, however, then with a few more steps—plus one wild, deer-like leap—she was gone from sight, entirely: up over the deadfall, rustling the same bushes Gorgo and her girls hid behind, leaving the men in her wake, too shocked not to keep coming.

One took a thyrsus to the knee, so sharp Gorgo heard it crack, and pitched headlong, folding up, rolling. More blows caught him from several angles, breaking bones, tearing flesh; he flipped, bellowing, then gave a moaning “whuff!” as Iris came down right on top, astride both hips, club inverted to crack his breastbone and pop at least one lung, squeeze heart against ribcage, bruise liver beyond repair. His skull met a log back-first, brain slammed hard, eyes rolling up; was probably out long before Iris’s partners (Scylla, Polyxena) could get on him too, their hands rock-full, looking to make like Cain.

To his left, meanwhile, another lucky winner got Deianira’s spear across the top of his ear and recoiled, flinching away only to run straight into Charis’s strong grip instead. They were about the same height, but Charis had him from behind, choking him so hard he started to lift off the ground, kicking wildly. He tore at her arm with both hands, drawing blood, ‘til she finally threw him down with enough force that Gorgo heard his nose pop, or maybe a cheekbone—then heel-stomped him between the shoulder blades, holding him pinned even as he flailed, trying his level best to swim away. One armpit made a beautiful target for Deianira’s next thrust, a goring stab that went in far as she could reach, and the pain made him rear back far enough for Gorgo to slash her scythe across his throat.

The spike of her own kill-pleasure came quickly after that, hot and red and sweet. It was good, but over so soon; just enough to make her want more, something better. Longer.

She sat back on her heels, panting, leather tags of her hiking boots cutting into her bare ass as she watched the man’s—boy’s—blood make a flaring collar ’round his slackening, sweat- and dirt-smeared face. Asking Charis, once she had her breath back: “You see where the last one went?”

Charis shook her head. “Back there, maybe.”

On her feet once more, over by the first one, Iris nodded. “Something tripped a pit.”

Okay, then. “Praise be,” Gorgo said, heaving herself up, unable to quite keep her voice completely irony-free. “Praise be,” two new voices chimed in at the same time, from behind her: Aglaia, of course. And Phoibe.

Charis and the others turned, bespattered, grinning—stepped back a bit, all ‘round, to display their work to best advantage. Aglaia smiled wide and nodded, proudly, as Gorgo and Phoibe exchanged a small, cool nod of greeting.

“Wonderful,” Aglaia pronounced, with the sort of authoritative, maternal warmth that’d’ve done Mother Theresa herself proud, if she’d worshipped Kali instead of Christ. “Very fine. Now . . . let’s go see what She’s left us for last, and best.”

• • • •

The point was to do these things together, not alone. The point was to do them in secret, as much as could be arranged for. The point was to go elsewhere, overnight, and stay as long as it took to get it done. The point was to make it count.

The whole point of a mystery religion, in fact, as Aglaia kept reminding them, was that it was supposed to be—and stay—a mystery.

That wasn’t her real name, obviously. They’d all taken new ones, first as pseudonyms on the cult’s website, then as part of their bonding exercises in “meatspace,” as the kids put it; it was to draw a sort of metaphorical line from old to new, a clear path of translation, adaptation. Some of them came from what passed, these days, as “traditional” backgrounds—odd idea, that, all these mystoi and Goddess-worshippers apparently long-embedded in between the non-denominationals and the atheists—but for most of them this was just a fantasy, a deep-rooted need, a burgeoning itch they’d never quite known how to scratch before eventually stumbling across the myths, the literature, the site itself, which Phoibe had started and still maintained. A particular urge which everything around them said was bad, wrong, unnatural, even as that blood-beat voice inside told them it was anything but.

“We shouldn’t feel ashamed,” Aglaia—an elder stateswoman of some sort of brown persuasion, her graying, loose-curled hair cropped short—had said during their first real meet-up. “Never. What we do here is older than everything else, all the forces arrayed against us—older than laws, older than rules, older than the inadequate language we use to try and describe it with. It can’t be explained. It doesn’t have to be justified. And much as we may serve it, may be personally elevated by that service, transfigured even, we are none of us as important as the principle we subsume ourselves to. The tradition survives, always; we may die away—will die away—but it survives, always. It doesn’t need us. Because even when everything else crumbles, this will still endure.”

Oh, and Aglaia really did make everything sound so pretty, Gorgo thought, whenever she really started to get her groove on; that was the basic trick, the recruiting pitch, the glue. To frame the reason they were all here as a certain route to spiritual ecstasy, but also make it sound like they were reaching for a goal far more lasting than their own selfish pleasure—something done on this whole sad, stained world’s behalf for the unwitting benefit of everyone trapped inside it, exorcising sin while extirpating evil. Like it wasn’t any real sort of crime at all.

Aglaia was a true believer, or she walked the talk so well as to be nigh-indistinguishable from one; Gorgo simply knew what she liked and was willing to swallow her share of theosophic psychobabble in order to get a bunch of women with similar interests to not just pitch in at the kill, but clean up after her. Total freaks, in other words, but very useful ones—which was exactly how, in essence, that membership in their little sewing circle continued to hold enough appeal for Gorgo to not just roll her eyes and walk away, even assuming Aglaia and her coterie would let her.

Every meet-up started with a prayer, Aglaia leading, the others reading along off of printout sheets, a different translation every time. This year’s went like so—

Preswa, Phersephassa, o Kore Hagne
Wise one, She who stops, She who lives in every harvest

Persipne, Praxidike, o Kore Semele

Wine-maker, Subterranean queen, Most flowery maiden

Persephone, Crown of terror

Beautiful, Fatal, She who consumes

According to Whose will the sacred task is done—

life to produce, and all that lives to kill.

“So what is it you do, these days, exactly?” Phoibe asked under her breath, sidling up at Gorgo’s elbow. “Still bending young minds, or did they finally figure out you never actually made it all the way through teacher’s college?”

Gorgo shrugged. “Oh, you’d be surprised how little research private schools put in, selecting instructors. We’re doing Romantic poets this semester, Keats and all. ‘O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, alone and palely loitering?’”

“You tell them it’s a tuberculosis metaphor?”

“On the top layer, sure. Some girls, I push harder; seed an idea here and there, set tests. Try to seek out where their more hidden inclinations might lie.”

“I didn’t know Aglaia was signing off on any more recruitment drives, especially amongst the underage.”

“She’s got nothing to with it, Phoebe.”

“Phoibe.”

“Whatever.”

“Yeah, okay. I mean, what’s in a name, right—Susan?”

“Awful mysteries here are ours,” Aglaia continued, “so we celebrate them in Your name, which no one may in any way transgress. Happy is she who has seen and believed, both on top of the earth and under it, though she who is uninitiate will never reap a like crop after death, but stay forever buried there in darkness and in gloom.”

Think that’s my real name you got there, little bitch, just ’cause you hacked it out of my digital footprint? Gorgo projected, while staring Phoibe down, as Phoibe struggled to do the same, and failed. My original? Think I couldn’t change it or anything else about me in a minute, or less, if I wanted to—walk away, disappear off the grid, and not come up for air ‘til I stuck my scythe in your tech-savvy spine?

Think again.

She was a bit of a parody, Phoibe, with her all-black clothes and her hair banded in grown-out dye-jobs like a floppy, cross-cut section of tree—you could practically track her stylistic evolution, or lack thereof, from Manic Panic to Clairol to henna to what Gorgo could only assume was probably her natural shade, a subtle mouse-hide leather tone flecked here and there with the first glints of gray. Deep, slightly keloided dimples bracketing her mouth had once held barbell piercings, just like that scar furling her lip-corner told of a torn-free labrette; she wore a tricked-out pair of granny-glasses with Hipster-thick frames, and tended towards using blush for eyeshadow. But she sure as shit did know how to run a dark-net, so that was something, at least.

Up near Aglaia, everyone was chanting again. Gorgo mouthed the words as Phoibe mouthed them right back at her, a second or two late.

Blood waters it

Blood grows it

Blood alone sees it flower:

Great seed, seed of flesh and bone, Persephone’s awful gift

That nurtures and destroys this world one sacrifice at a time

One lover

One child

One king.

Truth was, it would be nice to share interests with somebody in private life, Gorgo occasionally caught herself thinking. To be a mentor. She sure wasn’t too likely to breed any soft-minded little co-conspirators herself, not at this late date, even setting the problem of stud-stock aside; adoption wasn’t really an option either, or fosterage, for similar reasons. Short of walking away from her local maternity ward with a free souvenir, therefore, cherry picking each new class for potentials seemed the next best thing. Hadn’t found any thus far, but it was early days still, and she remained hopeful.

Now she set hands on hips and waited, staring down, a whole ten extra years’ worth of game-face blankly in place. She had roughly a foot of height on Phoibe, plus a good fifty pounds in heft, not that she expected things would get physical—both of them had a certain investment in returning to work next week, after all, and doing it while looking like nothing worse than the morning after a particularly celebratory girls’ night out. But when you’d been looking forward to something all year, sometimes things just happened.

A second later, however, Phoibe shrugged, raising her hands: no harm, no foul.

“I’m sure you know what you’re doing,” she said. “I mean, we’re all adults here. What you get up to on your own time’s no concern of mine.”

“Nope,” Gorgo agreed. “So . . . anyone know who the sacrifice’s gonna be yet?”

“Whoever gets here first,” Phoibe replied. “Same as usual.”

“Well, how many candidates in play?”

“Three groups, two to four components each. Maybe four.”

“That’s short odds.”

“Not really; I’d show you the math, but . . .” Here Phoibe trailed off, maybe thinking I wouldn’t want to bore you with it, or even you wouldn’t understand, yet smart enough not to voice whichever outright, either way. Continuing, soon enough: “You ever know anybody not to show up?”

Now it was Gorgo’s turn to shrug. “Not yet,” was all she said.

But that, as Aglaia would no doubt say, was where faith came in.

• • • •

The place they gathered had been a campground, once upon a time. They arrived singly from every direction, mostly by public transport, then hiked to the meet-point, where Aglaia and her acolytes had already set up most of the necessary infrastructure—dug catch-pits, strung bells, planted weapons (thyrsi made onsite, plus whatever else they brought with them), and built the cremation pyre high, for afterwards. People didn’t tend to get naked ‘til the appointed hour, which suited Gorgo fine, though there were always noticeable exceptions. Right now, for example, she could see tall, lean Charis belly dancing by herself off in the middle distance, pleasantly soft from hormones and with her bush grown full to hide the rest, yet proudly displaying the scars where her implants had gone in every time she back-bent far enough for them to catch the light.

At least one potential “sister” had quit because of Charis, or tried to—made it back almost as far as the north road before Gorgo had caught up with her, dragged her into the bushes, and buried her under a deadfall with her flesh flensed sky burial-style so the animals would come running. It’d been an on-the-fly decision, simple self-preservation instinct twisted into altruism by circumstance, done on behalf of a community Gorgo often questioned whether she needed at all; still wasn’t entirely sure Aglaia even knew about it, though she suspected yes, especially since she hadn’t found any bones left to crush with a hammer when she’d checked the makeshift grave last time they met.

In Gorgo’s estimation, however, the radfems could say what they wanted, but Charis had always held her end up well enough to merit whatever help Gorgo chose to give her. Once the hunt was on, she was no different than any other gal with an oversized clit—better, considering her sheer stamina, her extra-long reach and strong, militarily-trained grip. When they piled in on the final sacrifice, all together, Gorgo had seen Charis literally work a man’s head from his shoulders like some live-action Mortal Kombat kill, twisting the finger-torn ruin of his throat and neck ‘til his vertebrae snapped and spinal cord slithered free.

Sparagmos, Aglaia called it. The Maenad’s frenzy, bull sacrifice. A rending apart, followed by omophagia, eating the flesh raw. Or, as Gorgo’d always called it, albeit only to herself . . . fun.

“I know you don’t think you’re one of us, really,” Aglaia told Gorgo, as Gorgo poured herself a bowl of ritual kykeon. “But you do keep on coming, don’t you? Why do you think that might be?”

“‘Cause I like it?”

“You’re no great fan of organized religion in general, though, I think; most sociopaths aren’t. Yet you must admit it can be useful, as a concept, even to those who question it.”

Gorgo sighed, steeling herself to stay polite. “Oh, sure,” she replied. “Mainly in that it gives us divine permission to go on ahead and do what we were gonna anyways, all wrapped up in a pretty story. Secret knowledge, women’s magic, the matriarchy reborn . . .”

Aglaia shot Gorgo a look, as though unsure if she was being mocked. “So you’ll take advantage of the amenities on offer,” she said, at last, “but you won’t do Her homage.”

“If that’s the price of staying on the mailing list, sure. Why not?”

“Except that you won’t mean it.”

At that, Gorgo did have to snort, just a little. “How you ever gonna know anyone ‘means it,’ outside of yourself? Same way I ‘know’ you do, i.e. not at damn all. Look, lady, I read The Bacchae—hell, I’ve taught it. You really think we can bank on weapons of iron not wounding us when the fit’s in full swing, though, no matter how many of those little dried mushrooms you boil the kykeon up with? Barley, pennyroyal, psychoactives . . . it’s a nice high, but I don’t ever remember getting milk and honey from stones or tearing up trees by their roots while I was on it, let alone wearing snake necklaces, or breastfeeding wolf-cubs.”

“Communion wafers aren’t made from real man-meat, either. Our feasts are, and not metaphorically.”

“They weren’t, that’d be the deal-breaker right there, for me.”

Aglaia chuckled. “I’ve seen you hunt,” she said. “One of our fiercest, when She enters in.”

“Hard to stop once I get going, I’ll give you that,” Gorgo agreed, suddenly tired. “C’mon, though—what I run on’s a fetish, not superpowers. I just like to kill people.”

“Ah, but you don’t just kill people, do you, when you have the choice? I’m not talking about self-preservation, or opportunity . . . I mean pure desire, the perfect victim. The image you touch yourself to.”

Gorgo snorted again. Yet the words brought it rising up behind her eyes anyhow, automatic, irrefutable: a man, always, young and juicy for preference. And strong enough to fight hand to hand, take damage from, even—possibly—risk losing to. Not that she ever had.

“. . . no,” she admitted, at last, with reluctance. “You’re right. That’s never just ‘people.’”

“Then you do Her work, and always have. Without even knowing it.”

Gorgo shook her head, stubborn. “Dress it up all you want, Aglaia—what I do is what I choose to, that’s the whole truth, and nothin’ but. ‘Cause I like it. I don’t need any other reason.”

“It gets done, however, either way.”

Oh yes.

The area of study devoted to those like Gorgo was choked with truisms, creating spaces she’d always found it easy to slip between. Most serial killers, accepted lore went, were white rather than not, middle-class or lower-, organized or dis- . . . and male, overwhelmingly. Which meant that although there obviously had to be some who weren’t, by simple process of elimination, nobody really spent a whole lot of time looking for them.

Didn’t hurt that women coded societally as victims rather than predators, conferring a weird invisibility on those who didn’t worry about becoming somebody else’s meal. When men’s eyes turned towards Gorgo with ill intent, she met them head-on, smiling. Those unused to the concept turned away; those who didn’t had made their bed, and she felt no guilt about laying them down in it.

As it turned out, this attitude formed yet another point of sympathy between Aglaia’s lot and herself—since according to the mysteries, sacrifices self-selected through willing, deliberate transgression. They had to know there was a taboo in play, even to have some idea of the potential stakes involved, and choose to break said taboo anyways.

Luckily, that was men in a nutshell, or so Gorgo had always observed. Long before the Internet, it had been a truth universally agreed on that whenever somebody started talking about a space being women-only, a segment of the male-identified population would come running with dicks out, ready to mark their territory in the hope no bitch would ever again be dumb enough to believe herself in possession of something they couldn’t access. It was a winning combination of social mores and genetics, bless their hearts—just the way we’re made, ma’am, now get in the kitchen, et cetera.

“Everywhere but here,” Aglaia claimed, proudly. And so far, her claim had yet to be disproven, there being an undeniable strength in numbers which far outstripped whatever one woman could achieve alone. Everybody wanted community, in their heart of hearts—even those who knew themselves, at base, quite outrageously unsuited to maintain it.

Female serial killers hid behind gender constructs, as a rule. They usually played out the roles people (men) expected them to, then killed inside of that as poisoners, black widows, angels of death . . . caregivers turned toxic. The reason the Maenad myth had been so discounted down the centuries, according to Aglaia, was that the very idea of a woman jumping on somebody and tearing them apart seemed physically impossible. But one had to wonder, like Gorgo remembered doing, even as a child: was there a reason men seemed so wary of “allowing” women to congregate in groups? Could it be they guessed how a pack of women might be indistinguishable from one of lionesses, of hyenas?

Hours passed in chanting, dancing, singing, and the sun dipped low. The kykeon, fresh-cooled, got passed around like white lightning; Gorgo drank her next slug in one gulp, watching the newest mystoi sip, wince, almost puke. She already felt the drug deep inside her like hooks, opening her wide, letting in the world.

As the dusk began to swim and click around her, she saw Phoibe appear at Aglaia’s elbow, night-blooming suddenly, pale out of dark. Watched her murmur in the priestess’s ear, then vanish once more, as Aglaia turned to motion Gorgo near.

“Intruders at the perimeter. Mormo has them chasing her already—easy meat for our best huntress.”

Gorgo rose, nodding, to shuck the last of her clothes. She left her footwear on, since running barefoot through the woods was like asking for lockjaw, but Aglaia didn’t say anything—possibly since her good right hand Phoibe had apparently decided much the same, albeit sticking with sandals instead of Gorgo’s comfortably weighted hiking boots.

Charis handed her one more dose, which lit her up like a punch. Someone she couldn’t quite see hugged ‘round her from behind, smearing two mud-clay handfuls across both breasts at once, then down over her abs, to cool her thighs’ hot vee. Gorgo tossed her hair and pulled loose; Charis caught her mid-stumble, grinning. “Y’all ready?” she asked.

“Sure am.”

“Thyrsus, baby girl?”

“Brought my own, thanks.” The scythe-handle fit nicely into her palm. “You comin’, big sis?”

“Bet your ass,” Charis growled, voice dipping lower than she probably wanted it to, not that that mattered: the ekstasis was on them both, pumping their blood, stiffening every sinew. Around, Gorgo saw the rest of the pack assembling, all the familiar faces. Iris, Scylla, Polyxena, Deianira . . .

They took off running, like Artemis Herself led the way.

• • • •

And here they were, now. The tiger-pit’s displaced covering, lid of the kiste, the sacred basket. Gorgo kicked it aside to reveal a third young man—boy—staring up, down on one knee and crying with pain, at least one ankle probably shattered from the fall. He was a sweet-looking piece, muscled like a wrestler, hair picked out into a soft natural; his skin gleamed, shade falling somewhere between Deianira’s ruddy bronze and Aglaia’s warmer, darker hue. Which was a fairly apt comparison, as it turned out—because when he caught sight of Aglaia peering down on him over Gorgo’s shoulder his eyes went wide, fixed with shock, and awe, and terrified recognition.

“Mom?” he managed, voice breaking. “Mom? What . . . what’re you doing . . . here . . . ?”

Aglaia didn’t answer, not immediately. Just drew herself up, turning to stone; crossed her arms and waited, possibly to see what happened next.

“Mom, shit . . . you have to help me. They’re crazy, these women’re all—Mom!”

Gorgo back-shifted, waiting as well. Until finally, another voice chimed in: “Well?”

Aglaia, without moving: “‘Well’ what, Phoibe?”

The woman in question came shoving her way through, pale as a twilit ghost, ‘til she stood almost at Aglaia’s side—almost. But not quite.

“He’s penetrated the mysteries, hasn’t he?” she declared, nodding downwards, voice pitched to ringing. “Seen things done, heard things said, just like the rest of them. Should the priestess’s son go free, and other women’s sons pay in his stead? Is this Her will?”

Posturing little hooker, Gorgo thought.

“Didn’t hear Aglaia say what she wanted done with him, one way or the other, myself,” Gorgo pointed out. “And since I’m a hell of a lot more likely to listen to her than to you on the subject . . .”

“Ha! The unbeliever speaks.” Phoibe threw her arms wide, addressing the whole cult, now flocking in around Gorgo’s hunting team. “See how she mocks? Ask yourselves why Aglaia would ever let somebody like this in in the first place, let alone allow her to stay. Then ask yourself if it isn’t obvious that the Goddess chose to punish Aglaia for her hubris by sending her first-born to the killing floor! How else could it have happened?”

Defend yourself, idiot, Gorgo tried to project Aglaia’s way, watching heads on all sides begin to nod, albeit reluctantly. But Aglaia’s eyes stayed on the pit, her whimpering child. She might as well have been a statue.

Murmuring spread in every direction, like a tide.

Time to run, maybe, Gorgo thought, reluctantly, gripping her scythe hard enough to hurt. Save yourself, before this shit shifts on you; drop out, get gone. This was a bad idea. It’s like Missus Gast used to say, my third foster-Mommy—someone like me just needs to stay the hell away from people I want to keep safe . . .

(. . . unless I’m killing ’em.)

That was when it happened, sharp as a wound—that same unfurling times ten thousand, the kykeon’s blow suddenly felt all over, a general uproar. This lurching, queasy sensation of opening up so far it was like her insides were out, skin shifting, one massive neuron blur. Blood broke from her nose, mouth, the corners of her eyes; later, she’d find burst vessels on both eyeballs, a pair of tiny red flowers. For now, however, it was as though something else had a hold of her, puppeting her from the gut. Making one hand fly out, scythe’s point sticking deep into Phoibe’s still-babbling throat, then jerking free again, conjuring a flood. The spurt slapped across Gorgo before hitting Charis, who gasped, and Aglaia, who didn’t; a general cry went up, cultists reacting as one. Phoibe fell, flopping, while Gorgo shivered still upright, mouth opening against her will. Words torrented free, garbled, unfamiliar, Greek-accented. Saying—

Fury-source, Wrathful One, All-Ruling virgin,

Kore Semele, light-bearer incandescent

Horned Maiden, Earth’s vigorous daughter

When Death comes, we go willingly to Your realms

Until again You send us forth, into this world of Form.

She didn’t know this prayer, Gorgo realized, unable not to complete what she could only assume was the verse’s ancient formula. Not one she’d heard, nor one she’d read. No translation of The Bacchae she’d ever taught could have left it behind in her mind’s folds, waiting to suggest itself under pressure—no, this was something else. Something Other.

At her boot-tips, Phoibe had almost ceased shuddering. Gorgo found herself pointing at her, mouth stretched Body Snatchers-wide, pronouncing: “How’d it happen? Ask the hacker. The girl with the math. Ask her how she sought him out online, groomed him, brought him and those friends of his here—because she wanted to mount a coup, thought he’d make Aglaia look weak in front of you, that she could turn you against Her chosen. But nothing happens, ever, except that She allows it.”

“Praise be,” Charis chimed in, wiping Phoibe’s blood straight into her mouth; “Praise be,” Iris agreed, kicking Phoibe so she flipped, so her last breath went down into the earth itself, Persephone-Perswa’s home. To which Aglaia finally nodded, dignified as always, and put her hand on Gorgo’s still-shaking shoulder, palm-print burning a hole, all the Goddess’s presence suddenly drained from once more, leaving her numb and cold, scythe drooping.

“Praise be,” Aglaia agreed, approvingly. “I’m so happy for you, Gorgo. It’s seldom any of us feels Her grace directly—to have that one be you is a rare honour, and welcome. Especially since I’d’ve had trouble killing a woman, myself, even one who’d betrayed Her covenant.” A lovely smile. “But then, that’s what She sent us you for.”

“The fuck you say,” Gorgo replied, all out into a rush, with no time for self-censorship. Her nervous system was still twitching, refusing to obey, or she would’ve cut Aglaia’s throat next—something Aglaia seemed to know, since she glanced at Charis, who gently pried the scythe from Gorgo’s limp hand, folding her into an embrace.

“C’mon now, baby girl,” Charis said, soothing. “You got nothing to be afraid of. We all want to feel her hand on our souls the once, like you just did. It’s why we’re here.”

“Not . . . why I’m here . . .” Gorgo said, muffled, into Charis’s pectoral, her implant-springy breast. But Charis only laughed.

“‘Course not,” she replied. “We all know that. Is now, though—and that’s beautiful, don’t you see? Hell, it’s divine.”

“Literally,” Aglaia agreed. “Oh, Gorgo! You’re a saint to us now, a true Maenad. The very proof of our religion.”

And that murmur was back again, eddying right, left, and every which way, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. They seized on Phoibe’s body and bore it away, tearing off pieces as it went; probably ending up on the pyre with the rest of the meat, fit for the celebratory feast, with the bones all divvied up and buried wherever individual cultists went home to, after.

I’m trapped, Gorgo thought, hanging there in Charis’s arms, while Aglaia and the others clapped, cheered, and ululated in approval, each according to their preference. They’ve got me now, these freaks, them with their goddamn Goddess. I’m altered, forever changed. Like I don’t even know my own self anymore.

“What about him, down there?” she asked, finally, through trembling lips.

Throughout the preceding action, the still pit-trapped boy—Aglaia’s unlucky son—had fallen silent long since, in terms of pleas. Now it was just grunts and cursing, oh God oh God oh shit, help me please, with the kid scrabbling at the walls like a crippled badger, trying his level best either to heave himself free or bring the walls’ earth in on top of him, so he could suffocate before they pulled him free and ripped him apart. Perhaps having stared enough, however, Aglaia didn’t even look, this time. Simply shook her head, curls lifting slightly (softer than his yet similar, Gorgo could now see), and said—

“Phoibe called him, but She made him answer. This is not for him, for any of them, yet still they come: anathema, to be dedicated, to be cursed. He chose his own fate.”

At that, the scrabbling stopped, as if kicked. Gorgo heard the kid moan out, instinctive, maybe in supplication, maybe in protest: Mom, oh Mom, Mommy, no. Please, God, please.

True Believers, true belief; not such an arrant hunk of legitimized murder wrapped in bullshit fairytales after all, as it turned out. More’s the fucking pity.

No God here, little boy, Gorgo thought, as close to sadly as she was capable of. And closed her eyes.

[end]

Nightmare Magazine is usually edited by bestselling anthology editor John Joseph Adams (Wastelands, The Living Dead). This month, however, Nightmare is presenting Women Destroy Horror!, our special double-issue celebration of women writing and editing horror. Guest editor Ellen Datlow has selected original fiction from Gemma Files (“This Is Not for You”), Livia Llewellyn (“It Feels Better Biting Down”), Pat Cadigan (“Unfair Exchange”), Katherine Crighton (“The Inside and the Outside”), and Catherine MacLeod (“Sideshow”), along with reprints by Joyce Carol Oates (“Martyrdom”), Tanith Lee (“Black and White Sky”), and A.R. Morlan (“. . . Warmer”). Our Women Destroy Horror! nonfiction editor, Lisa Morton, also has a line-up of terrific pieces—a feature interview with “American Horror Story” producer Jessica Sharzer; a roundtable interview with acclaimed writers Linda Addison, Kate Jonez, Helen Marshall, and Rena Mason; a feature interview with award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates; and insightful essays from Maria Alexander, Lucy A. Snyder, and Chesya Burke. You can wait for the rest of this month’s contents to be serialized online, or you can buy the whole issue right now in convenient eBook format for just $2.99. You can also subscribe and get each issue delivered to you automatically every month for the discounted price of just $1.99 per issue. This month’s issue is a great one so be sure to check it out. And while you’re at it, tell a friend about Nightmare!

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Categories: Horror News

Halloween Hell (2014)

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 02:30

Starring Eric Roberts, Lili Lev, Sam Aotaki

Directed by Ed Hunt

The Pope of Greenwich Village, Star 80, Runaway Train… Hell, I’ll even throw Best of the Best in the mix as one of my favorite Eric Roberts vehicles to witness, and looking at the man’s IMDb filmography list, you’ll see many other notable roles throughout the years as well. Any actor could tell you that he or she has jumped on some “questionable” jobs during the span of their careers, but Eric… oh, Mr. Roberts… this one just might take the cake.

Directed by the man who brought home the 1981 murderous children film Bloody Birthday, Ed Hunt, comes Halloween Hell, an interesting little jaunt into the world of internet-fed reality competitions. The one in question is run by The Prince of Darkness himself, Dracula (Roberts in a head-shaking performance) – his portrayal of a sleazy, yet slightly loony host is an almost parallel run to his character in the film Camp Dread, minus the vampire makeup. He has concocted a contest taking six everyday late teens and dropping them into a locked soundstage, complete with store-bought Halloween decorations, minus their cellphones and any computer equipment so they cannot connect to the outside world. However, one contestant is allowed to bring in a pistol (yeah, I didn’t get this either).

Their objective is simple: to stay locked in the soundstage for 24 hours while sharing space with not only each other, but the spirit of a vengeful demon that is confined to a small idol that was supposedly carved from the lava in Hell. Make it through the night, and you’ll score a sweet $100,000. Sounds easy, huh? Well, when the demon does break free from his prison (on many different occasions), he slices and dices his way through some unfortunate souls, leaving a more than ample supply of blood and guts in his wake – some gore is mentionable, while other scenes reek of lower-than-low budget – hey, Hunt worked with what he had available, and it’s passable for some viewers’ eyes.

The acting, as one would suspect, is less than desired, and while Roberts might potentially look back at this decision with some regret, you cannot deny that he brings everything he’s got to each and every character that he throws himself into. Other than Roberts’ shady effectuation, the remnants of the cast limp through the film without so much as a whimper – no real annoying personages, not one particular soul that I wished would get offed first… nothing. I think I’d rather have a cast that at least has a pulse rather than a collective group that gives off the emotions of just showing up and reading lines.

When all was said and done, I can honestly conclude that Hunt’s return to the big chair was an admirable one, and while the lead runner (Roberts) has more than shown the gas to complete any marathon, it seemed like he was holding the hands of the rest of the cast, and they were dragged to the finish line in a less than stellar display. You could fire this film up on Halloween night and try to get the full effect, or wait until November 1st, but you’re more than likely going to be disappointed with the result any way you slice it.

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Categories: Horror News

Rest in Peace: Dark Shadows Writer Sam Hall

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 20:17

It’s a sad day for fans of the horror soap “Dark Shadows.” Writer Sam Hall has died after a short bout with pneumonia in Rhinebeck, N.Y. The news was broken by his son, Matt, who confirmed the passing via The Hollywood Reporter. He was 93.

Sam Hall joined ABC’s Gothic soap “Dark Shadows” in 1967 and penned more than 300 episodes, often collaborating with writer Gordon Russell.

He co-wrote the screenplays for the features House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows, filmed during production of the TV show, and worked on a short-lived Dark Shadows primetime revival for NBC in 1991.

We here at Dread Central would like to offer our deepest condolences to Sam’s many friends, family members, and constituents. Thanks for the wild and wacky memories, kind sir.

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Categories: Horror News

Zombieland Sequel Won’t Stay Dead

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 20:07

What is it with Sony Pictures and its complete and total indecisiveness? Lord knows it’s had its ups and downs with the Ghostbusters franchise, but let’s not forget Zombieland has been forever getting the “Yo-Yo treatment” as well. After an abysmal attempt at a TV series on Amazon, interest in an official sequel has once again piqued.

Deadline is reporting that Sony Pictures is getting more serious about mounting another installment of Zombieland. The studio just hired Dave Callaham to write the sequel under the supervision of Ruben Fleischer, who’ll return to direct.

No word yet on if the original participants will be back; the original film features Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, and Abigail Breslin.

Stay tuned.

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Categories: Horror News

New American Horror Story: Freak Show Trailer Focuses on the Freaks

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 18:44

As promised this morning, a new trailer has arrived for “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” and it just ramped up our excitement tenfold!  Check it out, and join us in wondering how the heck they made Sarah Paulson’s two heads look so damn real!

The trailer, which premiered on Buzzfeed, also gives us our first good look at this season’s villainous Twisty the Clown so dive in and let us know what you think!

“AHS” Season 4 kicks off October 8th at 10:00 PM on FX. The premiere will be an expanded 90-minute episode.

Related Story: Enter the “American Horror Story: Freak Show” Costume Contest

Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Denis O’Hare, Jamie Brewer, and Evan Peters return from previous seasons. New cast members includes Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, John Carroll Lynch, Finn Wittrock, Matt Bomer, Patti LaBelle and the world’s smallest living woman, Jyoti Amge.

“American Horror Story: Freak Show” begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952, and a troupe of curiosities has just arrived to town. Their arrival coincides with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.

“American Horror Story: Freak Show” – Episode 4.01 – “Monsters Among Us” (airs 10/8/14)
One of the only surviving sideshows in the country struggles to stay in business during the dawning era of television. When police make a terrifying discovery at a local farmhouse, the eccentric purveyor of the freak show (Lange) sees an opportunity that will lead her troupe either to their salvation or ruin. Written by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk; directed by Ryan Murphy.

For more info visit the “AHS: Freak Show” Facebook page, check out “AHS: Freak Show” on Tumblr, and follow @AHSFX on Twitter along with “American Horror Story” on FX.

 

 

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Categories: Horror News

See the First Clip from The Originals Episode 2.01 – Rebirth; New Artwork Unveiled

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 18:23

The official Season 2 artwork has been revealed for The CW’s “The Originals,” and along with a peek at that we have the first clip from the show’s S2 premiere episode, which is entitled “Rebirth.” In the clip we get to see what kind of chessmaster Klaus is.

As for the artwork, per usual for the network, it debuted on THR.

“The Originals” Episode 2.01 – “Rebirth” (airs 10/6/14)
After months of being holed up inside his compound, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) enlists the help of Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) in plotting his revenge against the Guerrera werewolves and vows to take down anyone who poses a threat to baby Hope’s existence. Elijah watches helplessly as Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) spirals downward while mourning the loss of her daughter and struggling to adapt to her new hybrid status.

Exiled by the Guerrera werewolves, who now control the French Quarter, Marcel is still reeling over the destruction of his vampire family and attempts to rebuild his home with the help of Josh (guest star Steven Krueger). Elsewhere, Cami (Leah Pipes), who is attempting to regain some normalcy in her life, seeks comfort in a surprising place.

Lastly, Davina (Danielle Campbell) continues her plan to use Mikael (guest star Sebastian Roche) against Klaus but gets sidetracked when she meets the mysterious, yet charming Kaleb (guest star Daniel Sharman), who holds a few secrets of his own. Lance Anderson directed the episode written by Marguerite MacIntyre and Julie Plec.

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

Guilty Pleasures: 10 Terrible Movies That Kind of Rock

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 18:00

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a miserable film. Just don’t tell your friends about it, or they’ll clown your ass until you lock yourself in your bedroom with a bottle of Jack, wiping away a fusion of sweat and tears, writing suicide notes.

Ready to be done with all the shame and your embarrassing habits once and for all? Despite the fact that you know, deep down, those buddies of yours have a handful of crap flicks that they themselves tune in to on a regular basis, they just happen to be smart enough to avoid airing that info out to their friends and associates. Clever bastards.

The truth is, sometimes we need brainless fodder. Intense films can weigh heavy on the mind, there’s no doubt about that. Ever watched Cannibal Holocaust? It’s an atrocious film that leaves the abdominal regions writhing in disgust. Ever seen Martyrs? While a genuinely ingraining piece of cinema, it’s so vivid and impacting that it summons legitimate feelings of poignancy. I love the film, but it’s an acquired piece, and it sure as shit doesn’t fiddle with the funny bone in the manner that a guilty pleasure pic does.

There’s room in the horror landscape for all assortments of films: serious, humorous, gory, desolate, and yes, the almighty guilty pleasure. It’s time to take a brief hiatus from the more penetrating offerings and focus on the movies that probably shouldn’t entertain but do so regardless. Here are 10 awesome guilty pleasure flicks perfectly suited to carry a beer-craving genre fanatic through a slow weekend.

Van Helsing: If guilty pleasures are being discussed, Van Helsing is earning mention. Stephen Sommers’ big budget monster movie clearly intended to fuse high speed action and vintage genre appeal. And it does that, surprisingly well, to be honest. What it doesn’t do, however, is work on any other single level! The script is embarrassing, loaded with staggeringly dreadful dialogue. The special effects haven’t aged well, but they didn’t need to age well; they were laughable at birth! Terrible casting and a complete disregard for logical decision-making bury the movie on a technical front. But here’s the thing… I can’t take my eyes off the TV whenever the damn movie is on. Despite how wretched it all is, Van Helsing still feels like a good old throwback Universal monster movie. It still gives me that nostalgic punch in the face that I welcome with lowered defense. I’m a little leery to say it, but I still love Sommers’ costly disaster… and yes, I totally and completely acknowledge the fact that it’s a nauseating feature.

Season of the Witch: There’s something strange going on with Nicolas Cage, and I believe it to be Jedi Mind Tricks. Really, he has this mystifying way of capturing the attention even when the last face you hope to look at is that of Nicolas Cage. Cage is one of the hokiest guys in the business, flat out. I’m not sure if he even takes any of his own onscreen insanity seriously anymore because his performances reflect a guy who is out to have nothing but a silly, good time rather than turn in an edgy, memorable showing. And still, a couple of his features remain magnetic. Take for example Season of the Witch (Drive Angry gets a nod as well), an abomination of a feature that captivates me at every turn. It looks miserably awesome, Cage is miserably awesome, and I just feel flat out miserable having to admit that I love it. All of it. Every last second of this stinker.

Constantine: Talk about defecating on an iconic comic book character. Nothing about Warner Brothers’ Constantine felt faithful to DC’s own Constantine. It felt as though the entire character had undergone a personality transplant. John’s smoking habit is even altered as a result. Anyone who thought they’d watch this movie and see Constantine smoke less than 7,000 cigarettes is out of their mind. And yet, that’s what happened, a bad habit victim of the Hollywood makeover. The CG looks awfully damn abysmal as well. To be entirely honest, I can’t remember how I felt about the visuals the first time I checked this one out back in ’05, but it hasn’t looked good to these peepers in years. But you know what? There’s something about Keanu Reeves’ one-note delivery that gets me, the insane, almost Matrix influenced action scenes are hypnotic, and both Shia LaBeouf and Peter Stormare deliver just the right supportive flare to win me over. The real John Constantine wouldn’t be too pleased with this one, but it’s got a place on my shelf.

MORE Terrible Movies That Rock on the NEXT page!

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Categories: Horror News

Help Make Carpe Noctem’s 20th Anniversary Edition a Reality

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 17:52

Remember the days before the Internet, when finding information about “dark” music, art, and literature was next to impossible? In 1994, like a lifeline, Catia and Thom Carnell’s Carpe Noctem magazine appeared on the newsstands and brought it all into your hands.

Carpe Noctem gave readers and artists alike a break from their dreary day jobs to express their darker leanings.

Today publisher ZED Presents announces a KickStarter campaign to fund the Carpe Noctem 20th Anniversary Edition, and we have all the information you need to help this endeavor below.

When Catia and Thom Carnell originally launched their unique vision of a literate and informed “dark art” journal, Carpe Noctem magazine was unlike any other publication available at the time. With each subsequent release, people were more amazed by the beauty and unique vision held within. Nowhere in print was there a more perfect union of dark beauty and intelligent writing.

Across ages, cultures, and continents, Carpe Noctem magazine spoke to those who walked a slightly darker path. Whether featuring GWAR or Gino Vannelli, Jon J. Muth or Jhonen Vasquez, no publication could match the in-depth interviews, breathtaking artwork, or diverse coverage of music, film, and comics.


The KickStarter campaign will fund the printing of the Carpe Noctem 20th Anniversary Edition, already in production, which will not only catch up with artists covered in the ’90s but also add entertainers who had not been featured in the pages of Carpe Noctem before. Additionally, everyone is invited to submit their own memories about that time for possible inclusion in the print issue or on the website.

Come… find what the Night brings… once more.

For additional info visit the Carpe Noctem 20 website, “like” Carpe Noctem 20 on Facebook, and if you’re so inclined, contribute to the Carpe Noctem 20 KickStarter campaign.

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Categories: Horror News

Titan Comics Releasing The Rage Vol. 1: Zombie Generation on October 7th; See the New Trailer

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 17:15

Titan Comics has a “shocking and controversial” new take on the zombie genre heading our way next week, The Rage Vol. 1: Zombie Generation, and you can check out its new trailer right here!

Written by Pierre Boisserie with art by Malo Kerfriden, The Rage Vol. 1: Zombie Generation arrives on October 7th. Look for Vol. 2: Kill or Cure on January 6th of next year.

Synopsis
A new pandemic virus, a mutated form of rabies, spreads throughout the world. It affects only children, turning them into mindless, violent killers, hungry for blood.

Now humanity faces an impossible choice: kill every child or face extinction… The government tries to save those infected by keeping them locked away until a treatment becomes possible.

The government men find protecting the children more and more difficult, however, for large militia groups now roam the land with a single-minded purpose: to kill all the infected and cleanse the world of the virus. Meet Amina, a young mother battling to save her son. She finds not only their lives hanging in the balance, but her humanity – and that of everyone around her, too.

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Categories: Horror News

Win Ghostbusters Stay Puft Bank From Horror Subscription Box Of Dread In October

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 21:00

After the fun visit to The Twilight Zone in Box of Dread‘s September boxes, we return in October with more mysteries. We can’t tell you yet what you’re getting in your Box of Dread mystery boxes, but we can show you what one item in the Seventh Box for Box of Dread October will be!

This giant Ghostbusters Stay Puft Marshmallow Man clocks in at 24 inches in height and comes from Diamond Select Toys! One lucky Box of Dread subscriber who is an active subscriber when our deadline ends at 12 midnight EST, October 9th, will receive this (and other yet to be announced items) in their mail box!

Don’t miss the deadline! It’s 12 midnight ET, October 9th!

You can also subscribe to any of the Box of Dread horror subscription box membership plans right below:

 

 

Have you seen all the unboxing videos from subscribers of Box of Dread horror subscription box service yet? Check them out right now!

Hurry, the deadline is Thursday, October 9th at 12 midnight Eastern Time.

If you don’t already know, Box of Dread is DreadCentral’s horror subscription box service where every month, our subscribers get a box filed with horror toys, collectibles and other horror goodies, some of which are one of a kind or signed by your favorite horror stars! That’s right, for around the cost of a t-shirt each month or a video game every quarter, you get all these and more.

We also have been running contests exclusively for our subscribers every month with even more unique giveaways! Did you miss out on our The Twilight Zone “selfie” contest on our Box of Dread Facebook Page?

All you have to do is sign up for Box of Dread and sit back as a mystery box with cool horror merch is mailed right to your doorstep each month.

Every month we randomly pick a winner of our “Special Edition Box of Dread” valued at up to $200 called the “Seventh Box”. The “Seventh Box” for each month will include new movies, games, signed merch, maybe even a screen used prop!

So, sign up for Box of Dread today and watch out for the mailman soon because he may soon be headed up your driveway with the next box in hand! Get started TODAY! Visit the official Box of Dread website for more information!

See what our Box of Dread subscribers received the last few months in our Facebook albums. Don’t you want to get these delivered to you every month?

Two Membership Plans are available:

 

 

“Like” Box of Dread on Facebook and join the community.

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Categories: Horror News

Lionsgate Will Speak No Evil

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 20:26

Still happily riding the ghost- and demon-driven horror train? Well then, get ready because we have yet another supernatural affair to put on your radar… Speak No Evil!

The film is written and directed by Roze and stars Greg Bronson, Annalise Cavender, Elisabeth Cavender, Ian Cavender, Olivia Cavender, and Kameron Cochrane.

From the Press Release
The terrifying possession film Speak No Evil arrives on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD, and On Demand December 2 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

After all of the children in a town become possessed by a demon, one woman will do whatever it takes to save her daughter. Speak No Evil will be available on DVD for the suggested retail price of $26.98.

When Anna’s daughter, Joey, goes missing, it’s assumed to be the result of bad parenting – but dark forces are suspected when every child in town also disappears. The children return but show signs of demonic possession and proceed to attack the town. Forced to wage a violent campaign against the children, the townspeople go on a bloody rampage, but Anna refuses to believe her daughter is lost to the devil and will do whatever it takes to save her from the demon inside.


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Categories: Horror News

The Vampire Diaries Cast Members Tease What’s Ahead in Season 6

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 20:10

We’re just a few days away from the Season 6 premiere of “The Vampire Diaries,” and all of the show’s stars have recorded quick video interviews in which they give us a few hints of what to expect. Check ‘em out, and get ready for “TVD’s” Thursday night return!

“The Vampire Diaries” Episode 6.01 – “I’ll Remember” (airs 10/2/14): After spending the past four months coping with the loss of Damon (Ian Somerhalder) in an unconventional and potentially dangerous way, Elena (Nina Dobrev) has returned to Whitmore College for the start of sophomore year.

Unable to move on, Caroline (Candice Accola) is desperate to find a way to reverse the anti-magic spell the Travelers have put over Mystic Falls and grows frustrated when her calls to Stefan (Paul Wesley) go unanswered.

Tyler (Michael Trevino), who is human once again, has a run-in at a football tailgate that tests his ability to control his anger, while Matt (Zach Roerig) worries that Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) is dealing with the loss of Bonnie (Kat Graham) in a self-destructive way.

Alaric (Matt Davis), who is struggling to adjust to his new life as a vampire, finds himself in an awkward situation when he meets Jo (guest star Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), a beautiful doctor at the university hospital.

Lastly, while everyone believes Stefan is off tracking a lead to get Damon and Bonnie back, Elena is shocked when she learns the truth of what he has really been up to. Jeffrey Hunt directed the episode written by Caroline Dries.

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

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Categories: Horror News

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare Gets New DLC

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 20:03

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare is set to receive free DLC on September 30th in the form of Legends of the Lawn. This update will give players the ability to play the Taco Bandits game mode, in which the plants attempt to defend three tacos from a horde of invading zombies.

Either defend the tacos as the plants or deliver them to them to nearby UFO’s as the zombies to win.

Legends of the Lawn will feature seven new character variants: Golf Star, Centurion, Paleontologist, Chomp Thing, Alien Flower, Jade Cactus, and Sanitation Expert. Each provides its own unique abilities such as sniping or quicker health regeneration.

The DLC will also offer depth to the game’s customization, boasting over 200 new options including a Mass Effect-inspired skin for the Plasma Peashooter.

The game’s last expansion, Suburbination, will be included on the PlayStation version of Legends of the Lawn, providing PlayStation fans a chance to play the DLC that skipped Sony consoles due to the later release date of Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare on that system.

Legends of the Lawn will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

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Categories: Horror News

Telluride Horror Show 2014 Reveals Second Wave of Films

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 19:51

The fifth annual Telluride Horror Show is getting set to kick off in Telluride, Colorado, and right now we have the second batch of announced films for your perusal.

From the Press Release
The Telluride Horror Show is excited to announce its second batch of films for the 5th annual film festival, scheduled for October 10-12, 2014, in beautiful Telluride, Colorado.  Spanning the globe, features include CREEP starring Mark Duplass, Canadian film THE EDITOR, ABCs of DEATH 2, and horror comedy GRAVY, which includes Sarah Silverman.

Here’s the complete rundown of the second wave of films, including shorts and features.

FEATURES
ABCs OF DEATH 2
Various Countries | 2014 | 125 min | Directors: Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado, Alejandro Brugués, Bill Plympton, Chris Nash, Dennison Ramalho, Erik Matti, Evan Katz, Hajime Ohata, Jen & Sylvia Soska, Jerome Sable, Jim Hosking, Juan Martinez Moreno, Julian Barratt, Julian Gilbey, Julien Bustillo & Alexandre Maury, Kristina Buozyte & Bruno Samper, Lancelot Imasuen, Larry Fessenden, Marvin Kren, Robert Boocheck, Robert Morgan, Rodney Ascher, Soichi Umezawa, Steven Kostanski, Todd Rohal, Vincenzo Natali.
Fresh off of Fantastic Fest, ABCs OF DEATH 2 is the follow-up to the most ambitious anthology film ever conceived with productions spanning from Nigeria to UK to Brazil and everywhere in between. It features segments directed by over two dozen of the world’s leading talents in contemporary genre film. The film is comprised of twenty-six chapters, each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. The directors were then given free rein in choosing a word to create a story involving death.

AMONG THE LIVING
France | 2014 | 90 min | Directors: Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury
In its only screening since SXSW…
Victor, Dan, and Tom skip school to wander around an abandoned amusement park. They stumble upon a horrific vision: A woman in chains is dragged through the field by a man wearing a clown mask. The masked man catches a glimpse of the boys, who scramble to run away. But, before they can escape, they see something which has been hidden for years, something they were not meant to see. Terrified of having been seen by the masked man, the boys try to alert the police. Unfortunately, their past record of unruly behavior discredits them and the police do not follow up on their tipoff. That night someone breaks into their homes, seeking to eliminate them…one after another. They are going to meet Klarence…

THE BOXTROLLS
USA | 2014 | 100 min | Directors: Anthony Stacchi & Graham Annable
SPECIAL PRESENTATION
The Boxtrolls, a stop-motion feature, is a comedic fable that unfolds in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian- era town obsessed with wealth, class and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. Beneath its charming cobblestone streets dwell the Boxtrolls, foul monsters who crawl out of the sewers at night and steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least that’s the legend residents have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are an underground cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs who wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells. The Boxtrolls have raised an orphaned human boy since infancy as one of their dumpster-diving and mechanical junk-collecting own. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by a villainous pest exterminator who is bent on eradicating them as his ticket to Cheesebridge society, the kind-hearted band of tinkerers must turn to their adopted charge and an adventurous rich girl to bridge two worlds amidst the winds of change – and cheese.  After this special screening of The Boxtrolls, LAIKA’s Mark Shapiro will take us behind-the-scenes with production puppets from the film and rarely seen images and time lapses.

CREEP
USA | 2014 | 80 min | Director: Patrick Brice
Looking for work, Aaron (Patrick Brice) comes across a cryptic online ad: “$1,000 for the day. Filming service. Discretion is appreciated.” Low on cash and full of naiveté he drives to a cabin in a remote mountain town where he meets Josef (Mark Duplass), his cinematic subject for the day. Josef is sincere and the project seems heartfelt, so Aaron begins to film. But as the day goes on, it becomes clear that Josef may not be who he says.

THE EDITOR
Canada | 2014 | 99 min | Directors: Adam Brooks & Matthew Kennedy
Rey Ciso was once the greatest editor the world had ever seen. Since a horrific accident left him with four wooden fingers on his right hand, he’s had to resort to cutting pulp films and trash pictures. When the lead actors from the film he’s been editing turn up murdered at the studio, Rey is fingered as the number one suspect. The bodies continue to pile up in this absurdist giallo-thriller as Rey struggles to prove his innocence and learn the sinister truth lurking behind the scenes.

GRAVY
USA | 2014 | 93 min | Director: James Roday
It’s All Hallow’s Eve. A trio of costumed misfits with very special dietary requirements seizes a Mexican cantina and force the staff to engage in a late night of gaming, food and libations. The only caveat is what’s on the menu. GRAVY includes Sarah Silverman.

WORLD OF DEATH
Various Countries | 2014 | 55 min | Directors: Gus Krieger, Matt Cairnes & Brandon Pickering, Tony Wash, Félix Catala, Neil Mackay, Daniel Pizá Ruiz, Marc Schießer, Martin Vrede Nielsen, Paul Campion, Jordan Wippell, William Prince, MJ Blackman, Craig Stewart, Matthew Corbett, Dan Frantz.
This is an hour long “sampler” of the World of Death compilation. World of Death brings together the talent of over 200 filmmakers from more than 20 different countries in a compilation of short horror films that will terrorize, astonish, disturb, and excite genre fans across the globe.

SHORTS
ALONE
France | 2013 | 10 min | Director: Didier Philippe
Claire lives alone in a large apartment. Her fear of the outside world stops her from going out and letting people in. One day, she discovers evidence revealing that a man lives in her home. The presence of that man becomes more and more threatening…

A(R)MEN
Norway | 2013 | 14 min | Director: Thomas Lunde
Arne loses an arm in an accident, but miraculously a new arm appears. This new arm’s got a will of its own and turns his life upside down. Void is replaced with joy, but miracles have a price.

AUTUMN HARVEST
Norway | 2014 | 17 min | Director: Fredrik S. Hana
Devastated by his wife’s death, a fisherman plans to put an end to his own life. His attempted suicide is interrupted by a mysterious sea creature that offers him a deal: Recover his lost love in exchange for carrying out a series of gruesome acts.

BOX ROOM
Ireland | 2013 | 15 min | Director: Michael Lathrop
Jerry is a strange and solitary boy who lives alone with his young neglectful mother in a run-down apartment. Behind the bedroom wall he discovers a seductive alien creature with which he has sex. After the creature becomes pregnant, Jerry is filled with panic and guilt and attempts to abort the alien creature, leading to a horrific outcome which neither himself nor his mother will ever forget.

DARKNESS COMES
Australia | 2013 | 7 min | Director: John Marsh
A desperate man, a derelict farmhouse, an ever-present menace: What happens when DARKNESS COMES?

DEAD FUCK
USA | 2014 | 6 min | Director: K.W. Roach

Dead Fuck divulges to the audience an otherwise private and esoteric act. It agitates the notion of necrophilia by way of displacing that which is innately abject, the act of copulating with the dead, and forcing upon it the aesthetic treatment of the beautiful and living. The perversion can be viewed under a new pretense–untethered by the preconceptions of abjection. The image is conceived with the quiet contemplation of a nature morte, transcending the physical vility of necrophilia while arousing the parameters of beauty.

FOUND
USA | 2014 | 4 min | Director: Rebekah McKendry
A mockumentary that reveals the modern day origins of found footage horror films.

THE GAS MAN
UK | 2014 | 14 min | Director: Matt Palmer
Sometimes, the gas man needs to read the meter. Sometimes, he has other things in mind.

GET SOME
UK | 2014 | 15 min | Directors: Adam & Joe Horton
After a viral pandemic takes its grip on the planet turning humans into flesh craving mutants, TV adventurer Hunter Smith fights back by presenting “Get Some”, a show in which he tracks and kills the infected for the entertainment of the surviving population.

PET PEEVE
USA | 2013 | 6 min | Director: Paul von Stoetzel
A short horror comedy film focusing on a filmmaker’s aggravation with film contests and their constraints to subject matter.

SHE
UK| 2014 | 15 min | Directors: Mark Vessey & Chelsey Burdon
A tragic couple are stuck in a loveless and silent relationship until an anniversary dinner when SHE plans a brutal act of revenge that will leave them both forever changed.

SILK
USA | 2014 | 14 min | Director: Rob Himebaugh
After acquiring a jar of rare silk from the vast desert expanse of Afghanistan, a CIA field operative is impregnated by the spider hiding inside.

THE SOUND OF TRAINS
USA | 2014 | 11 min | Directors: Travis Champagne & Jordan Bradley
Jacob, a middle-aged hermit, discovers an otherworldly goo that triggers an evening of disturbing events. These events lead to visitations by curious beings, causing Jacob to question his sanity and whether we really are alone in this universe.

THE TOUR
UK | 2014 | 15 min | Directors: Alex Mathieson & Damon Rickard
U.S. PREMIERE
Darkmoor Manor is England’s most haunted house, its doors closed to the public. It is now just part of a tour which helps attracts visitors to a struggling town. That is until the tour guide, trying to impress two attractive American tourists, promises to get them inside. But none of them could be prepared for what was waiting within the shadows of the house.

For more info visit the official Telluride Horror Show website, “like” Telluride Horror Show on Facebook and follow the Telluride Horror Show on Twitter (@telluridehorror).

The post Telluride Horror Show 2014 Reveals Second Wave of Films appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Leprechaun Origins (Blu-ray / DVD)

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 19:41

Starring Stephanie Bennett, Andrew Dunbar, Brandon Fletcher, Melissa Roxburgh, Garry Chalk, Teach Grant, Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl

Directed by Zach Lipovsky

Distributed by Lionsgate

You would think with a name like Leprechaun Origins that you would see, somewhere during the course of the egregious 90-minute running time of this monstrosity, a full-shot of a leprechaun. Just once. Give us one good look, not just multiple blurry, quick looks at his head or hands or feet. Or not just a super close-up of his freakishly deformed face, but just a simple, full-on shot so we can see just what our antagonist looks like. Even Cloverfield did that.

Well, that doesn’t happen in Leprechaun Origins. All you get are quick, usually in and out of focus, shots of the creature without ever getting a head-to-toe look at the beast. And, if it’s an origin movie, wouldn’t you expect it to be the beginning of something? Most likely a prequel to a movie that we’ve already seen and are familiar with? Leprechaun Origins provides none of that either. In fact, judging by the end of the movie, you can pretty much say it’s not the origin of anything.

Simply put, Leprechaun Origins takes four beautiful people (I know one of the character’s names was David and one was Sophie, but I’m not totally sure on the others. Needless to say, character development was not of the utmost importance to the filmmakers behind this atrocity) and stick them out in a cabin in a desolate area in Ireland as quickly as possible. We know one of the girls is some type of history buff, but that’s all the character development you get. After that, it’s one random leprechaun attack after another resulting in zero tension, zero thrills and zero fun. So the story goes, beautiful people on a trip through Ireland meet stereotypical Irish locals who offer them a cabin. Beautiful people accept offer from stereotypical Irish characters. Attacks from goblin-like creature intended to be a leprechaun ensue. Roll credits.

Leprechaun Origins goes completely away from the fun horror-comedy that made up the original series. Sure, by the time he got to space and ‘da Hood”, the Leprechaun films became a bit tired and overdone. But they never made the cardinal sin of film…they were never boring. This movie commits that sin in spades. And even in the one or two interesting moments of the movie (as there are few notable F/X moments), the reaction of the characters are so out of the realm of reality that you can’t take it seriously for a moment. And that’s the problem here. Leprechaun Origins wants to be taken seriously and the entire basis of the film rails against that. And the production of the movie ensured it wouldn’t happen.

If there are those of you who get through the movie and are actually inclined to see some special features, there are two featurettes included in Leprechaun Origins. The first is entitled Leprechaun: An Icon Reborn. Now, once you get through the uncontrollable laughing fit this title will certainly bring down upon your unsuspecting person, you will find the answer to why this movie was entitled Leprechaun Origins (and no, the answer isn’t because Leprechaun Steaming Pile of Crap was already taken). The filmmakers explain that they were going for the origin of the actual leprechaun legend, which would also be the genesis of the beloved Leprechaun character. And with the mention of him, let me say Mr. Warwick Ashley Davis, you were sorely missed in this role. This featurette goes on to include interviews with director Zach Lipovsky and stars Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl and Stephanie Bennett.

Additionally, for those who still decide to continue to plow ahead, there is a behind-the-scenes feature entitled Leprechaun: Behind the Blood which is actually a quite informative and interesting look into how some of the special F/X were created. Definitely the most compelling entry on the entire disk.

Overall, this thing is an epic fail. There was so much potential here. Postl has proven to be a very entertaining personality in his WWE career, and he could have used that to bring another snarky leprechaun to life who doles out one-liners as he’s terrorizing his victims. It would have certainly been an improvement over this. Aside from a couple moderately impressive F/X moments, there’s really nothing worth seeing here.

Special Features

  • Leprechaun: An Icon Reborn featurette
  • Leprechaun: Behind the Blood Featurette


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Categories: Horror News

The Power of Satan Compels You to See the Left Behind Remake

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 19:06

We’re just days away from the release of the Left Behind remake starring Nicolas Cage, potentially the Sharknado of modern Christian cinema. To help entice viewers into theaters, the film’s marketing campaign has begun quoting the Devil himself. No, seriously.

In this magical age where anyone with a blog can be a movie critic, real movie critics have devolved into quote whores, and tweets by ordinary people are regularly used in marketing campaigns, there’s something almost refreshing about PR people trying to persuade people into seeing their movie by quoting that silver-tongued devil, The Devil.

Easily the greatest quote of its kind since Swamp Thing opened his television show emphatically warning, “Do not bring your evil here!”

Obviously the distributors of Left Behind realize that there’s no chance in hell of this movie garnering genuine critical praise so they’ve resorted to gimmicky quotes from someone even more demonic than Rex Reed.

So, will this goofy attempt at reverse psychology/gimmick marketing/desperation succeed in luring in the unwashed masses only to see the light and be converted by the almighty power of Pope Nicolas the Great?

The post The Power of Satan Compels You to See the Left Behind Remake appeared first on Dread Central.

Categories: Horror News

Editor, The (2014)

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 18:45

Starring Tristan Risk, Paz de la Huerta, Udo Kier, Laurence R. Harvey

Directed by Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy

Growing accustomed to the all-inclusive Friedberg and Seltzer modern model of parody, Astron-6 (Manborg) has (thankfully) thrown its black-rimmed fedora into the ring with a meticulous mock breakdown of giallo crime fiction that doesn’t feel the need to go for easy laughs that only appeal to the lowest common denominator. With The Editor, Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy have delivered a love letter to giallo cinema so niche that it’s probably a good idea to revisit Argento’s “Animal Trilogy” or even go further back to films like Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace to fully appreciate the attention to detail on display.

The absurd story follows Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks), who loses his fingers in bloody fashion during a freak accident in the editing room. Now haunted by the ordeal, insecurity consumes him as Ciso fears he may not be as gifted at his profession as he once was. A blade-wielding killer steps on set and starts slicing and dicing, leaving the victims fingerless themselves. Naturally, as an investigation heats up, Ciso becomes the prime suspect – and maybe even the main target.

Knowing full well what has come before and whom fans of the genre hold in high regard, the production employs talent like Udo Kier (Suspiria) and composer Claudio Simonetti, whose contributions are too vast to list. Note perfect throughout, The Editor calls up all the right characteristics of giallo, including badly overdubbed ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement), glowing Fulci-esque eyes staring back in the dark, and random acts of slap-happy violence where the man inflicting the damage inexplicably turns on a dime and agrees with the victimized woman mere moments later.

Shiny black gloves, gleaming scalpels, and even German Shepherds are referenced throughout the running time, which will undoubtedly cause even casual horror fans to seek out the sleek, horror noir that The Editor is having so much fun lampooning. The only thing that’s absent is copious amounts of slow motion, glass-breaking face smashing (and it’s a sorely missed opportunity).

That’s the magnificent trick that the film pulls off: It never bullies giallos indiscriminately, it just points out how gloriously ridiculous they often are. A dysfunctional marriage of sorts, the dream logic and surreal quality of giallo match up with the over-the-top, sometimes nonsensical aspects of parody and improv comedy, making the insanity of the genre even more outrageous. It’s finally okay to laugh at these movies instead of putting them up on a pedestal, sometimes unjustifiably.

At one point a character exclaims, “We’re all editors of our own realities.” That’s a good definition of giallos in general and how unaccountably surreal they can be. Interestingly, in making fun of giallo films, The Editor winds up paying tribute. Like a mother watching a child throwing a wild temper tantrum, Astron-6’s send-up doesn’t ever pretend to try to make sense out of giallo films, but it does try to understand them.

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Categories: Horror News

Casting Firms Up for Horror Western Bone Tomahawk

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 17:10

The cast for Caliber Media’s production of writer/director S. Craig Zahler’s brutally violent Western Bone Tomahawk has expanded once again, and now on board are Lili Simmons (“True Detective,” “Banshee”) as the female lead with David Arquette (the Scream franchise), Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects), Kathryn Morris (“Cold Case”), and Evan Jonigkeit (“Girls”) set to co-star.

Simmons (pictured) will play “Samantha O’Dwyer,” the de facto doctor of Bright Hope and dedicated wife of Patrick Wilson’s “Arthur O’Dwyer.”

Arquette and Haig play a couple of filthy brigands whose actions set off a string of violent repercussions, Morris will play the wife of Kurt Russell’s “Sheriff Hunt,” and Jonigkeit will play a young deputy sheriff.

Sean Young (Blade Runner), Geno Segers (“Banshee”), Fred Melamed (A Serious Man), James Tolkan (Top Gun), Raw Leiba (The Heat), Jamie Hector (“The Wire”), Jamison Newlander (The Lost Boys), Zahn McClarnon (“Longmire”), David Midthunder, Jay Tavare, Gray Wolf Herrara, Robert Mukes (House of 1000 Corpses), and Brandon Molale round out the cast.

These performers join the previously announced castings of Russell, Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins.

Caliber Media partners Dallas Sonnier and Jack Heller will produce and arranged the majority of the financing through a deal with The Fyzz Facility’s Wayne Marc Godfrey, Robert Jones, and David Gilbery, who will serve as executive producers.

Synopsis
Four men attempt to rescue a group of captives from a band of cannibalistic troglodytes that live beyond the edge of civilization.

 

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Categories: Horror News

Halloween 4 Audio Sync Issues Being Looked Into

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 17:04

If there’s a single blight on Anchor Bay and Scream Factory’s release of the Halloween: The Complete Collection Blu-ray (review), it’s that there’s a 10-minute stretch during Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers in which the audio does not sync up properly.

The audio issue was present on Anchor Bay’s previous release of Halloween 4 on Blu-ray, and reports are that it’s even worse here. The problems start around the 45:30 mark, when Jamie is wandering the streets alone, having lost her group of trick-or-treaters, before bumping into Rachael. The characters’ lips are clearly not matching up with their words, some lines much more obviously than others. The issue persists for a good ten-minute chunk before correcting itself.

Related Story: Halloween News Archive

Anchor Bay and Scream Factory have issued the following official statement:

“Anchor Bay and Scream Factory are digging deeper into the audio sync issue of H4. Please stay tuned, and we’ll update you with any news as soon as we can…”

Yeah, I’m thinking a replacement disc will soon be on its way. Stay tuned.

 


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Categories: Horror News