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That Awesome ‘Doom’ Weapon Mod is Now Live

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 09:00

After two months of development, the three-man team behind the Doom 4 Doom weapon mod made their July 18th deadline, releasing D4D 66 days after the arrival of the new Doom, the single-player arsenal from which this impressive mod brings — complete with a retro look and alternate fire mode for each weapon — to the classic Doom maps via GZdoom.

D4D features every weapon from the reboot’s story mode, so it does not currently include any of the multiplayer-exclusive weapons, such as the Hellshot or Vortex Rifle. The weapons still don’t need to be reloaded, and though each weapon mod works as it did in the reboot, there is no option to upgrade them. Instead, each weapon is in a “fixed upgrade state.”

“The mod tries to bring the weapons as accurately as possible in looks, behavior and timings,” explains its creators. “However, we also took some liberties regarding some behaviors and balance. For example, the “Double Trouble” super shotgun, when ported in here became extremely overpowered, so we increased ammo usage. Another instance is the “Gatling Rotator” mod for the chaingun, which makes it now fire explosive rounds at a slower rate.”

In addition to all of that, D4D introduces improved gore effects and a double-jump feature that can be toggled on or off. It makes no changes to enemy behavior so D4D should be compatible with most aesthetic mods, like enhanced texture packs. It does not add Glory Kills or ledge-grabbing.

Doom 4 Doom can be found over here, along with some instructions for installing it.

Categories: Horror News

‘Ghostbusters 3’ Was Happening…Until Harold Ramis Got Sick

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 08:52

Vulture posted an in-depth interview with Ivan Reitman, the director of the original 1984 Ghostbusters and the producer of Paul Feig’s reboot. Not only does he reveal plans for the now defunct third Ghostbusters, but he also reveals that the studio had green-lit it before Harold Ramis got sick.

“By the way, the studio green-lit it. Everything was ready to go. I couldn’t get [Bill Murray‘s] attention, and in the midst of that, Harold got really sick. And that was pretty much it.”

Dan Aykroyd had been the most public about the sequel, almost campaigning to get it into production. There were many false starts, but plenty of rumors. It’s sad to hear that Ghostbusters 3 was finally going to happen and everyone’s hard work came to a close because we lost Ramis. We can only hope that Feig’s interpretation has him smiling from above.

If Murray hadn’t been dragging his feet, it may have actually come into fruition. What Reitman is referring in the above quote to is all the of the publicly reported drama Murray brought to the development process, which is why his character was to die in the opening scene. He speaks to all of this and his theory as to why Murray kept playing games:

“I worked with Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, who wrote a number of movies [‘Year One’, ‘Bad Teacher’] and worked on ‘The Office’ together. They wrote a very funny script [for ‘Ghostbusters 3’] that I was very comfortable in directing, and both Harold and Danny wanted to do. And literally Bill refused to read it for a year. Then finally he may have read a few pages, and I got him on the telephone, and he said, “Look, I just don’t want to do this.” It had nothing to do with how good or bad the script was or anything like that. He was having his own issues in his own life, and I think he just didn’t want to engage…I think the reason that Bill wouldn’t read it was he didn’t want to make a decision about this. So he just ignored it.

“Bill and Sigourney’s kid, Oscar, is a postgrad student, and weird things start to happen,” he added, referring to Murray’s character in the third film. “Bill Murray dies in the first scene, because he always said, ‘I won’t do it unless I die.’ And I said, ‘Okay, you got it.’ [Laughs.] It was a father-son story, with him as a ghost.”

There was also version entitled Hellbent, in which the Ghostbusters actually battled the Devil. Reitman explains why:

“I was never a big fan of that one,” he tells the site. “Danny always loved it. To me, what was funny about the Ghostbusters was putting these extraordinary situations in a world that we knew, surrounded by people that we recognized, real New Yorkers acting like New Yorkers. I thought the comedy was in that juxtaposition. I’ve never liked the more fantastical versions.”

He segues into discussing the original plan for the 1984 film, which was to star John Belushi and take the ‘busters to space!

“Danny’s original treatment [for the original ‘Ghostbusters’], which he wrote for Belushi and himself, took place in outer space and the future, with competing groups of Ghostbusters and all kinds of stuff going on that was almost impossible to shoot on any budget, particularly then without CGI. So after Belushi passed away, he came to me. By then I had worked with Bill, I think three times, and Dan said, “I was thinking of doing this with Bill. What do you think?” And I sat down with him and pitched this contemporary story about guys who are paranormal researchers at Columbia University, get kicked out, and go into business. And it gave us a real structure to write a story that I thought could be way funnier than something more fantastical. It’s why I like the second ‘Ghostbusters’ so much. It probably wasn’t as big as it should’ve been. But I liked that a baby was at the center of it, and that it was really a domestic story. I just looked at that film again, and I was so proud of the comedy work between Sigourney Weaver, Bill, and everybody.”

The full interview has so much more, including plans for a follow up and a new animated movie!

Categories: Horror News

It’s Tilda Swinton in ‘Snowpiercer’ Director’s ‘Okja’!

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 08:01

Netflix shared the first image from its feature film Okja, which was filmed earlier this year in Seoul, South Korea.

From director Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host, Mother), Okja is produced by Plan B, Lewis Pictures and Kate Street Picture Company, and stars Tilda Swinton ( Snowpiercer, Doctor Strange, Hail, Caesar!, Moonrise Kingdom), Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Nightcrawler, Everest) and Paul Dano (Love & Mercy, 12 Years a Slave) in a bold, global adventure. 

“With Okja I want to show the beauty that can exist between man and animal, and also the horror between them,” said Director Bong.

Okja was written by Bong and Jon Ronson (Frank) and follows Mija (Seohyun An), a young girl who must risk everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named ‘Okja’.

Joining the cast are acclaimed actors from around the world, including Devon Bostick (The 100), Lily Collins (To The Bone), Byun Heebong (The Host), Shirley Henderson (Anna Karenina), Daniel Henshall (The Babadook), Yoon Je Moon (Mother), Choi Wooshik (Set Me Free) and Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead). Okja will be shot in South Korea, Canada and the US, in English and Korean.

Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Lewis Taewan Kim, Dooho Choi, Woo-sik Seo and Bong Joon Ho are producers on the film. Okja is a Plan B, Lewis Pictures and Kate Street Picture Company production.

Okja will premiere globally on Netflix in 2017 and will also have a limited day and date theatrical release in the US.

Categories: Horror News

‘Friday the 13th: The Game’ Virtual Cabin Gets a Jason Exhibit

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 23:47

Developer Illfonic is making good on their promise to expand on the nifty Virtual Cabin pre-order incentive for Friday the 13th: The Game that basically functions as a fully standalone developer diary, complete with rooms to explore, assets to interact with, and a radio that plays developer commentary and samples of the game’s soundtrack. You can get access to it right now for as little as $15, but it is currently only available on PC.

The first major content update rolled out recently, adding an entire museum dedicated to the many flavors of Jason Voorhees, including 3D models of the various wardrobe changes he’s experimented with during his decades-long career as a militant activist for teen abstinence.

“We’ve built this cabin using assets that will be in the game, from the free time of the development team without additional funding,” reads a post on the game’s Steam page. “This is a bit of a passion project to help us show you guys what we’re working on, give you access to the look and feel of the world we’re building and it will continually be updated and improved upon as we get closer to launch!”

Minimum Recommended Specs:
Windows 7, 8, 10
2.0 GHz Dual-Core 64-bit CPU
8GB Memory
DirectX 11 Compatible GPU with 2GB Video RAM
3GB Hard Disk Space

Friday the 13th: The Game arrives this October for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Categories: Horror News

[Review] NECA Updates the Tech Noir ‘Terminator’ Almost Flawlessly

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 18:52

So The Terminator is a pretty awesome film. There’s no disputing that (unless you’re Harlan Ellison, but that’s another story). The film put director James Cameron on the road to superstardom (for both good and bad), helped cement Arnold Schwarzenegger as an action star, and pretty much made the 80s that much more awesome. Oh, and we also got tons of cool merchandise and figures. A few years back, NECA put out two variants of the T-800 in its Tech Noir garb. While it was pretty cool, the figures suffered in the “double-dip” department, and had a lack of articulation. Now NECA have reissued the figure in their Ultimate line, complete with new articulation and accessories. The third time really is the charm.

Packaging:

The T-800 comes in a collector-friendly windowbox packaging, recreating the poster art for the film. The back of the box features shots of the figure, done up in “Terminator vision” with numbers, targeting reticle, etc. The flap on the front of the box opens to reveal the figure standing against a backdrop of the bridge from one of the film’s early chase sequence.

Sculpting/Paintwork:

If you’ve been keeping up, NECA almost never fails to please with its paintwork. The figure is done in the same way as the previous Tech Noir figures, with the same great paint applications, showing off the dirt and grime of the outfit, as well as the zippers and studs. The pants have been given a great dark wash to bring out the wrinkles and texture. The shirt features a great recreation of the graffiti. The headsculpts are also nicely painted, with the bloody version looking as accurate to the film as possible. There are a few small smudges here and there, but overall it’s amazing what the folks at NECA are able to do.

Like the paint applications, the sculpting is amazing. The wrinkles in the jacket and pants, along with the studs, are faithfully recreated here. There’s even a real metal chain that loops through the epaulette of the jacket (you just learned a new word). The headsculpts of Arnold are amazing throwbacks to 1984, hair and all. The weapons are likewise nicely painted and sculpted, again with some great details. The damaged right arm again recreates the look from the scene in the movie perfectly, right down to the little piece of loose flesh that overlaps the endoskeleton in a closeup shot. Simply awesome. Any problems with the sculpt overall would be centred around the elbow articulation. Speaking of which…

Articulation:

The Ultimate Tech Noir T-800 features 25 points of articulation. The head is on a balljoint, and can move up and down, side to side and rotates left and right. The shoulders are on pin-and-socket joints, and can move up and down and outward. The sculpt doesn’t allow for the figure to move into a full T-pose, but that’s nitpicking. What isn’t so nitpicky are the elbow joints. The way the jacket is sculpted, the elbows can only bend under 45°, and can rotate side to side. This is kind of disappointing when you swap out the right arm later on. The hands are on balljoints and can rotate all the way around with no problems.

The waist is on a balljoint, but with the way the figure is sculpted, there’s no ab crunch. Not a big deal, since if it was included, the jacket would fly up at the back. The legs are on pin-and-socket joints, and can move up and down, in and out, and rotate at the hips. The knee joints are nice and tight, and can bend roughly 45° and rotate. The bootcuts can be rotated left and right, and the ankle joints allow the feet to rotate and some bending.

Accessories:

First up we have three interchangeable heads for the T-800. The first head is Arnold from his arrival at the club, the second is from when the car in the alley gets blown up, and his hair is singed. The last one is from getting shot in the eye. As mentioned before, all three are wonderfully sculpted and painted. The heads are easy to swap out, and fit nicely on the balljoint. The same can be said of the interchangeable left hand, which has the trigger finger. The right arm is where things get complicated.

While it can easily be swapped out, it’s more or less relegated to being bent at a right angle because of the jacket sculpt. And while you might be thinking “So what?”, you find out that because of the limited movement of the elbow joints, attempting to recreate the surgery scene will prove difficult, as the figure can’t move his arms closer together. What’s also kind of hard are the two pairs of forceps included. Being the exact same sculpt, the figure can’t quite hold either one in its left hand, leaving you to have to fiddle with trying to make it seem like he’s holding them, or that they’re attached to the right arm. It’s a neat idea, but the execution isn’t quite as satisfactory.

As for weapons, the figure comes with the shotgun stolen from the police cruiser, as well as the modified AMT Hardballer Longslide handgun and Uzi. Great sculpting and paintwork, although they may be warped when you first get them, so have a hairdryer ready. The figure can hold the weapons in either the regular right hand, or the swapped-out left hand. The shotgun is done in a softer plastic, so you don’t have to worry too much about breaking it or the hands as you try to work them into an acceptable grip.

Overall:

So, it’s another great figure from NECA, but is it worth it to buy a third time if you have the previous two figures? Well, if you want the added articulation, swappable heads and extra accessories, this is definitely worth an upgrade. If you missed out on the previous figures, it’s a no-brainer to grab this one. The weak elbow articulation and lack of a way to properly hold the forceps is kind of a downer, but this is still an amazing figure. I’m definitely excited for the upcoming Police Station Assault version. Again, we’ll see if that one is worth the double-dip.

Big thanks once again to Northmen Collectibles for making this figure available.

Categories: Horror News

Scream Factory’s ‘The Thing’ Blu-ray Special Features Released

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 17:53

Last month, we reported on the special features that were going to be included on Scream Factory’s blu-ray edition of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Turns out, we may have been jumping the gun a bit because they’ve just announced even more features that will appear on the 2-disc collector’s edition, including a brand new interview with Carpenter that is conducted by none other than Mick Garris!

It’s unknown if Scream Factory has any more special features hidden up their sleeves but this really is shaping up to be a must-have release for any horror fan!

Related: What’s Your Favorite John Carpenter Movie?

In the winter of 1982, a twelve-man research team at a remote Antarctic research station discovers an alien buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Soon unfrozen, the form-changing alien wreaks havoc, creates terror and takes on the appearance of those it kills.

The collection comes out September 30th and can be pre-ordered via Amazon or direct through Scream Factory.

DISC ONE:
– NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive Supervised And Approved By Director Of Photography Dean Cundey
– NEW 4.1 Audio Mix Created From The Original 70MM Six Track Dolby Stereo Soundtrack (5.1 Audio Mix Also Included)
– NEW Audio Commentary With Director Of Photography Dean Cundey
– NEW Audio Commentary With Co-producer Stuart Cohen
Audio Commentary By Director John Carpenter And Actor Kurt Russell
– Teaser Trailer
– Theatrical Trailers (U.S. And German)
– TV Spots
– Radio Spots
– Still Gallery (Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Posters And Lobby Cards)

– DISC TWO:
– NEW Requiem For A Shape Shifter – An Interview With Director John Carpenter In Conversation With Filmmaker Mick Garris
– NEW The Men Of Outpost 31 – Interviews With Keith David, Wilford Brimley, David Clennon, Thomas Waites, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur And Joel Polis
– NEW Assembling And Assimilation – An Interview With Editor Todd Ramsay
– NEW Behind The Chameleon: The Visual Effects Of THE THING – Interviews With Visual Effects Artists Peter Kuran And Susan Turner, Special Make-up Effects Artist Rob Burman, Brian Wade And Stop Motion Animators Randall William Cook And Jim Aupperle
– NEW Sounds From The Cold – Interviews With Supervising Sound Editor David Lewis Yewdall And Special Sound Effects Designer Alan Howarth
– NEW Between The Lines – An Interview With Novelization Author Alan Dean Foster
– NEW Back Into The Cold: A Return To The Shooting Locations Of THE THING – An Animated Photo Gallery Narrated By Todd Cameron Of Outpost31.com
– NEW The Art Of Mike Ploog Gallery
– John Carpenter’s The Thing: Terror Takes Shape – A Documentary On The Making Of THE THING Featuring Interviews With John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, Special Effects Make-up Designer Rob Bottin, Legendary Matte Artist Albert Whitlock Plus Members Of The Cast And Crew (80 minutes – SD)
– Network TV Broadcast Version Of THE THING (92 minutes – SD)
– Outtakes (5 minutes – SD)
– Vintage Featurettes From The Electronic Press Kit Featuring Interviews With John Carpenter, Kurt Russell And Rob Bottin
– Vintage Featurettes – The Making Of A Chilling Tale And The Making Of THE THING
– Vintage Product Reel – Contains A Condensed Version Of The Film With Additional Footage Not In The Film (19 minutes – SD)
– Vintage Behind-The-Scenes Footage (2 minutes – SD)
– Annotated Production Archive – Production Art And Storyboards, Location Scouting, Special Make-up Effects, Post Production (54 minutes – SD)

Categories: Horror News

“Preacher” Gets His Mission (Finally) While DeBlanc and Fiore Fail Their Own

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 17:50

Vertigo’s “Preacher” comic opens with Genesis entering the body of Jesse Custer, who then learns of the secrets of the universe…and that God has abandoned his children. He then embarks on a mission to quite literally find God, and make him answer for this.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have been liberal with their adaptation, which is nearing its debut season finale in just two weeks. Not only has the dynamics changed, but many of the motives and character beats, which have left the show missing an overall arc – the meaning behind Jesse’s new powers. Last night’s episode finally, finally got to the point, albeit quite differently than the comics. Jesse intends to find God, bring him to his church, and make him answer for being silent to their prayers. If he fails, he will denounce God live to his flock. The catch? He’s asked for a week to pull this off. Does this mean that the next few seasons will take place over the course of a week? Or should we expect the series to completely deviate from the comics by the season finale? There’s a lot of questions, which I love. As different as “Preacher” is from the source material, I’m loving it, and hope people stick with it until the end.

Now that there’s an actual point to “Preacher”, and Jesse has his mission, Adephi angels DeBlanc and Fiore have failed at their own. Their job was to retrieve Genesis and bring it back to Heaven. They did accomplish the former, but it escaped (again) and went right back into Jesse. They acknowledge “Plan A’s” failure and have left for reinforcements. Those who have read the comics know what’s coming: THE SAINT OF ALL KILLERS. Shit’s about to go down!

Here’s a clip from next Sunday’s episode where DeBlanc and Fiore decide their next move with the help of a coin toss.

Categories: Horror News

Latest ‘Godzilla: Resurgence’ TV Spot Brings the Action!

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 17:37

Toho’s Godzilla: Resurgence is slowly stomping its way towards it’s July 28th theatrical release date and a new TV promo has arrived just in time to showcase the extent of the action and devastation we’ll be seeing! Well, what we’ll see when it gets non-Japanese release information.

An unknown accident occurs in Tokyo Bay’s Aqua Line, which causes an emergency cabinet to assemble. All of the sudden, a giant creature immediately appears, destroying town after town with its landing reaching the capital. This mysterious giant monster is named “Godzilla”.

Godzilla: Resurgence, the 29th entry in the franchise, will be hitting theaters in Japan on July 29th. It is co-directed by Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) and Shinji Higuchi (Attack on Titan). Anno has written the script.

The cast includes Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi, Satomi Ishihara, Rando Yaguchi, and Ren Osugi.

Categories: Horror News

[‘Aliens’ 30th Anniversary] Sigourney Weaver Was Robbed of an Oscar!

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 17:12

Last week’s Emmy nominations got me thinking about all sorts of snubs (No acting nominations for Jane the Virgin‘s Gina Rodriguez or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s Rachel Bloom? Or UnREAL‘s Shiri Appleby? Really? Shame on you!) and long overdue nominations (Finally The Americans sees some love! Congrats to Constance Zimmer!). I know what you’re thinking: “What does this have to do with Aliens‘s 30th anniversary? I’m glad you asked. At the 1987 Academy Awards, five very talented actresses were up for the Best Actress award. One of them was Sigourney Weaver and no, it wasn’t for Gorillas in the Mist or Working Girl. She would land those nominations at the 1989 Academy Awards. No, in 1987 Sigourney Weaver was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her role as super-heroine and female role-model Ellen Ripley in James Cameron’s sci-fi sequel Aliens.

The significance of Weaver’s nomination should be obvious. Not since The Exorcist had any horror film landed a major acting nomination at the Academy Awards. The only real win for the genre was Ruth Gordon’s Best Supporting Actress win in 1964 for Rosemary’s Baby. It is also considered the first acting nomination for an action film, a genre that is typically overlooked by the Academy. Had Weaver won the award, it would have been a landmark for the horror genre (I get that Aliens is considered an action movie, but it’s also totally a horror movie). Even today, the horror, action and sci-fi genres are rarely recognized by the Academy, making Weaver’s nomination even more astounding.

There was some stiff competition at the 1987 Academy Awards. Besides Weaver, the other nominees included Jane Fonda for The Morning After, Sissy Spacek for Crimes of the Heart, Kathleen Turner for Peggy Sue Got Married and Marlee Matlin for Children of a Lesser God. Matlin would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture.

This post isn’t meant to take away from Matlin’s win, of course, but there is no way for me to say this without sounding like an asshole so here it goes: She did a fantastic job in Children of a Lesser God, but it was her first acting role and the win feels like a pity win. By this point Matlin had already won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama, so it was pretty much a sure thing that she would win the Oscar. She was the first deaf actress to be cast in a leading role since the 1926 silent film You’d Be Surprised and it was unlikely (at the time) that she was going to get a role like that ever again. Better give her the Award then, right? I know, I’m an insensitive asshole.

The sad truth of the matter is that Weaver was probably the last choice to win because of the type of film she was nominated for. Had Matlin not won, the Award probably would have gone to Fonda. Turner is great in Peggy Sue Got Married, but the film is ultimately a comedy, a genre is not often recognized by the Academy Awards. The only thing Crimes of the Heart had going for it was the performances since the film was another mistranslated play-turned-film adaptation. Still, the Academy would give an award to any of those performances over Weaver’s simply due to the fact that Weaver was nominated for a film called Aliens.

Also, not that the featured scene has any impact on who wins the Award, but what was up with the clip they showed from Aliens? Ripley putting Newt to bed is a good scene, but it doesn’t exactly showcase Weaver at her best in the film. I would have shown the scene in the boardroom near the beginning of the film when she is trying to explain to the executives at Weyland-Yutani what happened on the Nostromo. Or even the scene after Newt is captured and taken to the Queen Alien and Ripley decides to go back and save her. Hell, even the dialogue-free moment when Ripley is about to torch all the eggs and she gives the Queen that slight cock of her head to let her know what she’s about to do is a better scene to use.

All of this is just me complaining that Weaver has yet to win a single Academy Award (she hasn’t even been nominated since the 1989 Academy Awards). At least we can all take solace in the fact that Weaver was nominated. Take a look at this interview from 1986 with Weaver (rocking some very 80s hair) and John C. Tibbetts where she discusses Aliens. It’s a real treat!

Categories: Horror News

Win a Copy of ‘Aliens: The Set Photography’ From Titan Books! [Contest]

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 17:01

Happy Monday, here’s a contest!

We got our hands on some copies of of Titan Books‘ gorgeous new “Aliens: The Set Photography” hardcover and thought we’d share them with a few lucky Bloody Disgusting readers!

Released to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of James Cameron’s classic, “Aliens: The Set Photography” reveals a unique new perspective on the making of the film as the focus shifts behind the cameras to capture the director, cast and crew as they bring the second action-packed installment of the Alien saga to the big screen.

TO ENTER: Put ALIENS BOOK CONTEST in the subject line and then E-mail submit@bloody-disgusting.com your FULL NAME, ADDRESS along with your favorite quote from Aliens. Winners chosen at random. No PO Boxes. U.S. and Canadian entries only.

Titan Books will release the book on August 9, 2016.

Categories: Horror News

‘Lights Out’: David F. Sandberg on Sequels, His Favorite Gag, and the Many Inspirations

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 17:01

When we caught up with David F. Sandberg prior to the Los Angeles Film Festival Premiere of Lights Out, we learned so much cool stuff that we’ve broken the interview up into bit. In our final piece, we reveal Sandberg’s plans for a sequel, while he also shares his inspirations and favorite gag.

In Lights Out, opening this Friday, “When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie.”

[Related] Lights Out Director David F. Sandberg Asks, What If Your Parent Had A (Terrifying) Invisible Friend?!

When asked about plans for a sequel, Sandberg talked about the light sources, and revealed a pretty cool spoiler (warning!):

“There’s just so much fun to have with the concept. You could do ten more movies. So many possibilites for gags with different light sources. One of my favorites in the film is when she’s going for a guy with a gun. Every time he fires at her, the muzzle flash makes her blink out of existance for a split second only to return and keep coming at him.”

While no particular film inspired Lights Out, there are quite a few films that he used for reference because he had a very specific kind of “darkness” he wanted to capture on film:

“I don’t know if there’s any particular movies that inspired it. I used ‘The Haunting’ from 1963 as a reference for the DP because I love the cinematography in that one, especially the cinemascope compositions. Other visual references were ‘The Descent’ and the ‘Evil Dead’ reboot because those films are not afraid to go dark. I hate “Hollywood darkness” where everything is just blue light instead of black darkness. I used ‘The Descent’ and ‘The Cave’ as the two comparisons of that. The Descent feels like they only had those light sources there and as a result it feels very scary and claustrophobic. ‘The Cave’ is fully lit with blue light despite the fact that they’re supposed to be trapped in a damn cave. I want my movie darkness to be pitch black so you don’t know what’s hiding in there.

“There were a couple of movies that I had to watch to make sure that we didn’t rip off as well. One was ‘Darkness Falls’ but the tooth fairy was just hurt by light, she didn’t disappear in light. It still has a similar “you have to stay in the light to be safe” mechanic though but they’re two very different movies.

“The other was ‘The Babadook,'” he continues, “because from what I’d heard it sounded very similar to “a little boy with a crazy mom who has an invisible friend”. Again though it turned out to be a very different film. I doubt there will be comparisons.”

[Related Post] Lights Out: David F. Sandberg On Creating Suspense and Terror, and Avoiding “Fake Scares”

Here’s the full synopsis for the film, which was produced by The Conjuring and Insidious‘ James Wan: “When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.

Here’s a bit from Kalyn Corrigan’s review out of the Los Angeles Film Festival premiere:

“Director David F. Sandberg actually understands how to send chills down an audience’s spine. His charcoal figure who basks in the darkness creates a petrifying atmosphere whenever she appears onscreen. Her crooked movements stand out like a stutter as she walks stiffly down the hall, making her appear less and less human every time she pops up in a quiet corner, or a whispers evil instructions from within a pitch black closet.”

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Categories: Horror News

New “The Exorcist” Promo Mixes a Lullaby With an Exorcism

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 15:04

Fox has released a new promo for “The Exorcist“, their upcoming TV adaptation of what many consider to be the scariest movie of all time. The short preview mixes disarmingly pleasant piano music, which sounds very much like a lullaby, with a man reciting a prayer while sounding fearful and out of breath.

Alan Ruck plays Henry, the Rance family’s patriarch. Once a successful civil engineer, Henry suffered a traumatic accident that left him permanently impaired. Now he finds himself a prisoner inside his own body, frustrated by his lack of progress and his inability to help his family in their time of need. Despite all this, he remains a warm, loving presence, and someone who will go to any lengths to protect the ones he loves.

Ruck will co-star alongside Herrera, Daniels, Geena Davis as matriarch Angela Rance, Brianne Howey as elder daughter Katherine Rance, Hannah Kasulka as younger daughter Casey Rance, Kurt Egyiawan as Brother Bennett.

“The Exorcist” pilot was written by Jeremy Slater and directed by Rupert Wyatt. The two executive produces with Rolin Jones, James Robinson, David Robinson, Barbara Wall and Roy Lee. 20th TV produces with Morgan Creek Prods.

Here’s the full press release:

THE EXORCIST is a propulsive psychological thriller following two very different priests tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession. FATHER TOMAS ORTEGA (Alfonso Herrera, “Sense8,” “The Chosen”) is the new face of the Catholic Church: progressive, ambitious and compassionate. He runs a small but loyal parish in the suburbs of Chicago. He has no idea that his quiet life is about to change forever.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, another priest finds himself locked in a life-and-death struggle with evil. FATHER MARCUS BRENNAN (Ben Daniels, “Flesh and Bone,” “House of Cards”) is a modern-day Templar Knight, an orphan raised since childhood by the Vatican to wage war against its enemies. Father Marcus is everything Father Tomas is not: relentless, abrasive and utterly consumed by his sacred mission.

Caught in the middle is the RANCE family, members of Tomas’ parish. On the surface, they’re a normal, suburban family, but all is not as it seems in this household. The patriarch, HENRY RANCE (guest star Alan Ruck, “Spin City,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”), is slowly but surely losing his mind. Eldest daughter KATHERINE (Brianne Howey, Scream Queens) has become a recluse who refuses to leave her room. Her younger sister, CASEY (Hannah Kasulka, “The Fosters”), thinks she’s hearing strange noises coming from inside the walls. And mother ANGELA (Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Geena Davis, “Commander in Chief,” “Thelma & Louise”) has been plagued by recurring nightmares, each more frightening than the last.

Angela believes there is something in the house, a demonic presence, growing stronger by the day. Desperate, she begs Father Tomas for help, unwittingly setting the naïve young priest on a collision course with Father Marcus. Separately, each faces an insurmountable task, but together they become the only hope against an evil force that has been mobilizing for centuries.

“The Exorcist” makes its premiere on Friday, September 23rd.

Categories: Horror News

[‘Aliens’ 30th Anniversary] 30 Fun Facts You May Not Have Known About ‘Aliens’!

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 15:01

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the release of James Cameron’s Aliens. To celebrate what is arguably the greatest sequel in horror movie history, we thought we’d let you in on some interesting facts!* Some you may already know, some you may not. Hell, you may know all of them! Either way, there are worse ways to spend 10 minutes than reading these fun facts.

*Full disclosure: All of these facts were taken from the Trivia section of Aliens‘s IMDb page. Lest you think I’m trying to take credit for discovering these facts. please know that is not the case.

1. Like most films, the movie wasn’t shot in sequence. But for added realism, James Cameron filmed the scene where we first meet the Colonial Marines last. This was so that the camaraderie of the Marines was realistic because the actors had spent months filming together.

This is just the first instance in which Cameron showed his love for authenticity in the film. There are plenty more to come.

2. The spear gun Ripley used at the end of Alien is briefly visible in the opening scenes – still stuck at the bottom of the escape pod door where it jammed 57 years earlier.

3. In both the standard and special edition versions, the fifteen minute countdown at the end of the film is indeed fifteen minutes.

This is something that always bothers me in movies, but it’s good to know Cameron was such a perfectionist that he wanted this countdown to be as realistic as possible.

4. Sigourney Weaver’s Best Actress Academy Award nomination for this movie was the first ever for an actress in a role in an action movie.

Sadly, it wasn’t the first Best Actress nomination for a horror movie (that would be Ellen Burstyn for her performance in The Exorcist). Weaver lost to Marlee Matlin for her performance in Children of a Lesser God, but it’s still a nice accomplishment.

5. The alien screams are Baboon shrieks altered in post.

6. To bring the alien queen to life would take anything between 14 and 16 operators.

7. The portrait of Ripley’s daughter (in the Director’s Cut of the film) is of Elizabeth Inglis, Sigourney Weaver’s real-life mother.

8. Budget constraints meant that they could only afford to have six hypersleep capsules for the scenes set aboard the Sulaco. Clever placement of mirrors and camera angles made it look like there were 12. Each hypersleep chamber cost over $4,300 to build.

9. Aliens was never shown to test audiences because editing was not completed until the week before its theatrical release.

Sometimes movies not screened for critics actually turn out to be pretty good and sometimes they don’tAliens is a prime example of the former.

10. Composer James Horner and director James Cameron did not get along during post-production, as Horner felt that Cameron did not give him enough time to properly construct an original score (he was given six weeks but they were still editing for the first three of those six weeks). On the bright side, Horner earned his first Academy Award nomination for the score. He and Cameron would not work again until Titanic.

11. The word “fuck” is used 25 times in the film, 18 of them are spoken by Hudson.

Thank you, Bill Paxton. Thank you for everything you do in Aliens.

12. The full-size queen puppet was actually too big to fit into the elevator. For the shot where she is seen there, her tail was removed, and yet the back of the elevator still had to be opened to accommodate the prop; smoke effects, dark lighting, and a black curtain at the back obscure this.

13. James Cameron faced a big problem trying to win the confidence and respect of the British crew, many of whom had worked on Alien and were fiercely loyal to Ridley Scott. In order to try and convince them he had the talent and skills for the job he arranged a screening of The Terminator for the crew on the set, to demonstrate his abilities. However, most of the crew ignored the invite and didn’t bother to turn up.

14. Most of the shots where it appears that the aliens are crawling quickly through tunnels or air ducts were filmed using a vertical shaft with the camera at the bottom and the alien actor lowered headfirst on a cable.

15. Hudson says the word “man” a total of 35 times. Although according to this video, he says it 44 times. Who is correct?

16. “Sulaco” (the name of the ship in Aliens) is the name of the town in Joseph Conrad’s novel Nostromo. Many of you may recognize that name as the name of the ship in the original Alien.

17. A lightweight dummy model of Newt (Carrie Henn) was constructed for Sigourney Weaver to carry around during the scenes just before the Queen chase.

18. A complicated effect shot (the Marines entering the Alien nest) had already been filmed just before James Remar was replaced by Michael Biehn. A re-shoot would be too expensive, so the Corporal Hicks seen with his back towards camera is still played by James Remar.

19. In the original Alien, one of the options considered was making the creature translucent. Since this wasn’t done in the earlier movie, for continuity it couldn’t be used for the creatures in this film, although it survives in one small way: the queen’s teeth are translucent.

20. Bishop states that he can’t harm a human. This is why he places his hand on top of Hudson’s during the knife trick.

21. The crew was openly hostile to both James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd, whom they openly mocked by claiming she wasn’t the real producer and only got the credit because she was married to Cameron.

22. Sigourney Weaver threatened to not do any more Alien movies after seeing the movie’s final cut, so as a compromise, the 1987 Special Edition was released on LaserDisc.

Truthfully, I can’t find any record of this anywhere else online, but if it’s true it’s a pretty smart move on Weaver’s part. The Special Edition (which runs 17 minutes longer than the Theatrical Cut) is the superior version of the film.

23. When Burke and Ripley are discussing her psych evaluation results, a People magazine can be seen on a table.

24. James Cameron has a cameo in the film in the form of a voice over in the opening scene featuring the deep salvage team. His line reads: “Bio readouts are in the green, looks like she’s alive!” Interestingly enough, he also provided the voice for the Alien Queen herself.

25. In an interview with Moviefone Sigourney Weaver said that each time one of the actors was to “die” she would give them a bouquet of flowers before filming began. When it was time for Paul Reiser to be killed she gave him a handful of dead blossoms.

26. At the very end of the credits the sound of an Alien egg can be heard opening.

27. At the film’s premiere, Paul Reiser’s sister physically struck him because his character, Burke, was so contemptible.

28. James Cameron was not impressed by the way that Ray Lovejoy was editing the film, and was seriously considering firing him and having the film re-edited from scratch byMark Goldblatt, Cameron’s editor on The Terminator, and Peter Boita, who had already been brought on-board to edit the more dialogue driven scenes. Upon hearing that his job was in danger, Lovejoy grabbed all the footage from the film’s final battle, locked himself in an editing suite over the weekend, and presented the fully edited version of the battle to Cameron the following week. Cameron was sufficiently impressed to let Lovejoy stay on-board and supervise what was intended to be the final edit.

29. One of the alien eggs used in the film is now exhibited in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

30. Having hired James Cameron to write the screenplay, 20th Century Fox then did the unthinkable when he left the production to direct The Terminator: they agreed to wait for Cameron to become available again and finish the screenplay. Cameron had only completed about 90 pages at that stage, but the studio had loved what he had written so far.

Go home tonight and watch Aliens to celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of the greatest films ever made. I know I will!

Categories: Horror News

[Fantasia Review] ‘The Master Cleanse’: An Emotionally Honest Body Horror Comedy

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 15:01

We all carry baggage around deep down in our gut. Whether it be an ex-lover or a lost job or opportunity, this baggage can clog up our insides – making it impossible to move on with our lives. If you somehow live without this baggage, I’d love the number of your therapist.

In his debut feature The Master Cleanse, writer/director Bobby Miller takes this concept of stunting emotional baggage quite literally. Starring Johnny Galecki (I Know What You Did Last Summer), the film is a lot of things – all of them honest. A send up of the self-help dieting fad culture, a Cronenbergian body horror, and a deeply personal look at love, loss, and letting go. Phew. And it’s all rolled up in a darkly comedic package featuring awesome performances and really wicked practical creatures.

Galecki plays Paul, a heartbroken, socially awkward guy who lost his fiancé and his job. Grasping for some meaning in his life, Paul signs up for a spiritual retreat out in the woods, orchestrated by elusive self-help guru Ken Roberts (Oliver Platt). The purification process involves consuming nothing but foul cleansing drinks and meditation. Oh, and caring for a small creature that Paul vomits up the first night of the retreat.

Paul’s joined on the retreat by three other broken people, including Maggie (Anna Friel) and Kyle Gallner (Elm Street remake). Roberts’ mouthpiece is played by none other than Anjelica Huston, who brings a heavy level of grace to the screen. The small ensemble is phenomenal across the board, but Galecki is the anchor. He plays Paul with an incredible amount of vulnerability and honesty. You can’t help but root for the poor bastard.

The other true star is Paul’s “thing” – the tiny tadpole-looking creature he vomits up and feeds bits of chocolate. Every member of the retreat actually barfs up their own creature, which act as manifestations of their personal demons. These things are a seamless combination of animatronics, puppeteers, and touches of CGI. And holy Moses are they adorable. They’re also the source of major conflict for Paul and the others on the retreat, especially when Roberts finally shows up in the flesh and reveals the final step of his cleanse. It ain’t pretty.

Miller balances the horror and comedy really well and like I mentioned, everything on screen feels painfully honest. As the situation with the creatures reaches a tense breaking point, Miller doesn’t let his film dissolve into gore or satire. The Master Cleanse closes on a moment that feels abrupt at first, but makes perfect sense in light of what Paul and Maggie have endured and revealed about themselves.

We’ve been reporting on The Master Cleanse since May 2014, when the cast was announced (although Chloë Sevigny dropped out). It was definitely worth the wait. Miller’s debut is a poignant and darkly funny look at personal demons and how they weigh us down.

The film screened at the ongoing Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal.

Categories: Horror News

Digging The Music of “Stranger Things”? Meet Survive

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 14:35

This past Friday brought the first season of Netflix’s new original series “Stranger Things“, the mystery thriller that is inspired as much by John Carpenter as it is by Steven Spielberg. Set in the 80’s, the show oozes with nostalgia both in its visuals as well as in its soundtrack. Both the original score and the licensed tracks are total throwbacks to the days of synth glory, although the latter loves to delve into the punk and rock of the time as well.

If you’re anything like me, then you’re loving the original music of the show, which is composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. Looking them up on IMDb doesn’t really offer much as this seems to be their first foray in Hollywood. However, this definitely isn’t their first rodeo when it comes to music. In fact, they’ve been doing it for a while in their experimental synth quartet S U R V I V E, which is based out of Austin.

With releases going as far back as March of 2010, the group has been issuing their own albums and EPs for several years, each offering something mysterious and haunting. Truly, if this music of “Stranger Things” is calling to you and tugging at your emotions then you need to acquaint yourself with S U R V I V E.

Below are some samplings of their music but you can order what you’d like through Bandcamp. Additionally, the quartet signed a deal with Relapse Records, who will be releasing their second full length album later this year.

mnq026 by S U R V I V E

MF064 by S U R V I V E

Relays by S U R V I V E

HD009 by S U R V I V E

Categories: Horror News

Poster For Alex Aja’s Mysterious ‘The 9th Life of Louis Drax’

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 14:31

Alex Aja’s (Horns, The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors, Piranha, High Tension) latest supernatural thriller, The 9th Life of Louis Drax, starring Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey, The Fall), Aaron Paul (Last House On the Left, Breaking Bad, Need for Speed, Triple Nine) and Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold, The Amazing Spider-man 2) is set for release on September 2, 2016 through Summit Entertainment (limited release).

Starring Fifty Shades of Grey‘s Jamie Dornan, Lionsgate has just released the film’s first poster that promises a mystery beyond reality.

“After surviving eight near-death accidents throughout his unlucky life, Louis Drax [Aiden Longworth] plunges off a steep cliff on his ninth birthday. While police investigate the cause of Louis’ near-fatal fall and the whereabouts of his violent father Peter [Aaron Paul], acclaimed neurologist Dr. Allan Pascal [Jamie Dornan] uses unorthodox techniques to try to tap into the boy’s unconscious mind and reveal the truth about the events that led to his condition. But as he’s drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery of Louis’ seeming ability to cheat death, the doctor finds himself falling for Louis’ mother, Natalie [Sarah Gadon]. As new clues emerge in the case, a shocking revelation changes the fates of Louis Drax and everyone around him.”

Joining Dornan, Paul and Gadon in supporting roles are Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class, Chef, Frost/Nixon) playing Louis Drax’s psychologist, Dr. Perez; Molly Parker (House of Cards, The Road) as Detective Dalton; Barbara Hershey (Black Swan, Falling Down) who will play Violet, Louis’ grandmother; and Aiden Longworth (Hector and the Search for Happiness, A Christmas Story 2) in the title role of Louis Drax.

The feature screenplay, based on Liz Jensen’s best-selling novel of the same title, was written by Max Minghella.

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Categories: Horror News

[‘Aliens’ 30th Anniversary] The One Decision That Makes ‘Aliens’ a Perfect Sequel

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 13:01

Movie sequels of any genre are generally difficult to write, but that’s especially the case with horror. In the original film, a group of characters found themselves in some crazy, life-threatening situation, and by the end, one or two were somehow able to make it out alive. They are probably lead to safety by the time the credits roll, and that’s about it. There’s nothing left open, and the scenario was so preposterous that it’s unlikely the survivors would ever encounter it again. Yet by returning to theaters for a sequel, audiences are clearly hoping for more of the same, so how the hell does a filmmaker set that in motion?

Though it verges into science-fiction territory, the original Alien has quite a bit in common with horror, in particular when it comes to the third act. Ripley, our final girl, escapes the terror of the Xenomorph, defeats it, and emerges victorious. She goes into stasis as the ship apparently heads home, and that’s all, folks. We don’t leave feeling we need to have the story continued, and once Ripley makes it back to Earth, we would assume she’d retire to an island somewhere and never set foot in space again.

This presents James Cameron with a tremendous problem as he begins work on a sequel. Audiences obviously want Ripley back, as Sigourney Weaver was a significant reason the first movie was so great, and they clearly want her to kick some more Xenomorph ass. Imagine for a moment that Aliens does not exist and you’re in Cameron’s shoes in the early 1980s trying to figure out a way to extend Ridley Scott’s storyline. What do you do?

The dilemma is quite frequently seen in horror, a genre in which sequels are as common as dirt, but Cameron’s solution demonstrates exactly why he’s a master filmmaker and why Aliens is a perfect sequel, whereas other similar part-twos are relegated to the straight-to-DVD bin. In fact, his movie provides a blueprint for modern horror directors attempting to write sequels to seemingly sequel-proof movies.

Aliens opens with Ripley floating in space just where we left her before she is rescued and taken aboard a Weyland-Yutani Corporation ship. Instantly, Cameron decides to show some of the consequences of Ripley’s victory at the end of Alien, revealing that it wasn’t exactly a riding-off-into-the-sunset type deal. Aboard the ship, Ripley receives a shock when she is told that she has been in hypersleep for quite a bit longer than expected: 57 years. Not only that, but she is suffering from severe PTSD as a result of her experience with the Xenomorph, having a horrifying dream of one of the creatures bursting out of her chest. Right away we see that she may have killed the alien, but that doesn’t mean she got away scot-free.

Moments later, we pick up with Ripley sitting on a bench looking out into the forest longingly. As the camera pans, it is revealed that this lush environment was merely part of a computer screen, and immediately Ripley is torn from her dreamlike state and pulled back into the harsh reality from which she has not escaped quite yet. We can feel her eagerness to return home and let her wounds finally heal, which makes the decision to come in a few moments all the more taxing.

Burke arrives and informs Ripley that her daughter, Amanda, who was 11 years old when Ripley left Earth, died at the age of 66 while Ripley was in hypersleep. When Ripley left for her original mission, she had never considered the possibility of not being there for Amanda’s entire life, but now, she holds in her hand a photo of her daughter as an old woman, reflecting on all the time she missed as a direct result of the Xenomorph attack. “I promised her that I would be home for her birthday,” Ripley finally lets out, and in one line, Cameron hits us with the same gut punch Christopher Nolan would later utilize in Interstellar. Ripley was concerned about missing one of Amanda’s birthdays, but now, she has missed them all. (This happens in the extended edition, at least, and it’s quite baffling that this detail was left out of the original cut.)

She is soon told that LV-426, the planet on which the Nostromo first encountered their Xenomorph, is now home to a colony of humans including many kids. Ripley is clearly haunted by the fact that she was not able to be there for Amanda, who she abandoned and let slip away. But now, being the only person who fully understands the threat posed by the Xenomorphs, she has the chance to save other young girls and boys, doing for them what she couldn’t do for her own child. This, in combination with the fact that she is being continuously haunted by the Xenomorphs and feels she must finish what she started, inspires Ripley to reluctantly travel to LV-426.

It obviously is not an easy choice for her to make. When Burke first brings up the idea, she is understandably dismissive, just as audiences may have been dismissive of the idea of producing a sequel to Alien and forcing Ripley to go through even more terror. But in these masterful opening minutes, Cameron gets across the profound loss Ripley has suffered, the pain she continues to experience, and the fact that she now has little left tying her to Earth anyway. He has convinced us that this movie was worth making, something few horror sequels actually bother doing.

Cameron could have easily come up with some phony scenario in which Ripley would have no choice but to fight more Xenomorphs; perhaps her ship crashes onto LV-426 and she must fight her way to freedom. But by rooting the thrust of Aliens in Ripley’s character and giving her a choice of whether to run or to fight, everything that happens in the ensuing hours means so much more, and we truly care about her making it out alive again. If the scenario was not believable, and if Ripley had no new conflict to overcome, we would tune out. Here, the drama is rooted in the main character’s desires, giving her both a physical problem – fighting the Xenomorphs – and a non-physical problem – learning to accept the loss of her daughter.

Later in the movie, Ripley forms a connection with a little girl named Newt, who clearly reminds her of Amanda. In Newt, Ripley sees an opportunity to connect with and save someone in the way she previously failed to do, and so Ripley’s journey in the movie is completely distinct from her journey in the original Alien. She is not merely helping a bunch of random civilians out of the goodness of her heart; she’s also coping with her grief and learning to love again, both to love Newt and to love herself, which makes Aliens a fresh emotional arc for Ripley. Compare this to the vast majority of horror sequels, where the character’s storyline is merely repeated a second time and little new ground is covered.

Take the scene where Ripley and Newt share a conversation and Ripley opens up about the fact that she used to have a daughter. She says to Newt, “I’m not gonna leave you Newt. I mean that. That’s a promise.” We can imagine how hard these words are for Ripley to get out, given her anger at herself for leaving Amanda and not fulfilling her promise to be back for her birthday. From here on out, after Ripley makes her promise to Newt, even more important than Ripley’s own survival is her ability to ensure Newt’s safety.

And that’s why Cameron so brilliantly makes the final setpiece not about the safety of Ripley – which would be a retread of Alien – but about the safety of Newt. When Newt has been snatched away by the Xenomorph, the rest of the crew believes that trying to rescue her is a lost cause, but Ripley can’t live with herself if she abandons another young girl. She has to do this. “She’s alive,” Ripley says. “There’s still time.” Being out of time is exactly what ripped Amanda away from her, but she won’t let that happen again.

Compare all of this complexity to other sequels involving a character who previously escaped a deadly environment returning for more. In Jurassic Park III, which is essentially a slasher film with dinosaurs, the screenwriters must figure out a way that Alan Grant would go back to Isla Nublar, even though it was pretty clear by the end of Jurassic Park that there is no way in hell he would ever do so. If Joe Johnston were to take a similar approach as James Cameron did with Aliens, he would give Alan Grant some sort of unfinished business and a desire that is tied up with the adventure so that traveling back to Jurassic Park is necessary in completing his character’s journey.

Is that what happens? Nope. The way that Johnston sets the pieces back in play is hilariously lazy. Alan Grant is approached about returning to Isla Nublar, and he says no. But then he’s offered a lot of money, so he says yes. That’s basically it. He is assured the plane he’s on will only fly above the island, but then in an unexpected turn of events that Grant should have totally expected, he wakes up on Isla Sorna like the dudes in The Hangover II, going through the exact same adventure again for some stupid reason.

It’s so clear how unneeded the whole story is. Alan Grant’s arc was complete in Jurassic Park, and this follow-up does nothing to convince us he has more work to do. Johnston simply throws Grant back on the island, and when Grant flies away in a helicopter for the second time at the conclusion of the movie, we don’t feel as if he’s a substantially different person than when we left him in Jurassic Park. All of this happened because Universal wanted to make some money off a sequel.

The same is true of The Descent Part II. Sarah has escaped the cave, but Jon Harris needs to get her back in for this sequel, and so the characters essentially drag her back in kicking in screaming. The journey does not involve her making any sort of decision, and there’s no unfinished business or justification for why we’re doing all of this again. It’s the problem so many horror films run into unless they focus on an entirely new set of characters. It’s not merely about finding a way to literally continue the plot; it’s about getting around the fact that the character’s arc was already resolved, and so now they must be given another one that is totally distinct. James Cameron does this with Aliens, but with horror sequels, barely anyone else bothers.

Much attention is paid to the fact that Aliens shifts genres a bit, going in the direction of action-adventure while the first film was focused on horror. That’s true, but it’s not the real brilliance of the picture. The reason it’s so great is that James Cameron takes a movie that clearly did not need a sequel and, by the end, makes us feel that a sequel was in fact incredibly necessary.

As the film closes, Ripley flies away from LV-426 with a much greater sense of accomplishment. While last time around she simply escaped an alien attack but felt a lingering sense of unfinished business, this time, she went back in on her own volition, stood up to these creatures that have been plaguing her nightmares, and declared that she is not afraid. She holds Newt in her arms, learning to trust herself with another life again, and Newt tells Ripley, “I knew you’d come back.” After the tremendous guilt of having gone off to space and having left her child, Newt has filled a void in Ripley’s life that she thought would forever remain vacant.

In short, Aliens works because Cameron understands that audiences will roll their eyes if a sequel is based on some phony plot where the lead character is to thrust back into the identical situation for no discernible reason. The film must give its protagonist the decision of whether to run back into danger, and it should present them with a brand new problem that has arisen as a direct result of the previous movie’s climax. Aliens solves the classic dilemma of figuring out how to return a main character to deadly circumstances while keeping the audience on board, and for that reason, it may be the perfect horror sequel.

Categories: Horror News

[Fantasia Review] ‘Bed of the Dead’ Brings the Surreal Midnight Movie Carnage

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 13:01

“This movie makes no sense,” said director/co-writer Jeff Maher about his new film Bed of the Dead. But as star Alysa King elaborated during the cast/crew Q&A, if you can accept a bed that judges people’s sins and dishes out harsh punishment, then you can accept anything. It’s true. You can’t nitpick with a movie like Bed of the Dead, man, it saps all the fun out of it. And Bed of the Dead is one helluva good time.

The film had its world premiere at the Fantasia Festival last night and boy howdy was it the perfect choice for a midnight movie. It’s loaded with dreamlike horror, buckets of blood, and a twisting plot that jumps back and forth through time with glee. It also happens to feature one of the gnarliest monsters I’ve seen in some time.

Ren (Dennis Andres) has a special request for his birthday. He wants to have a foursome with his girlfriend Sandy (King) and their friends Nancy (Gwenlyn Cumyn) and Fred (George Krissa). Sandy begrudgingly agrees and the group goes to a dodgy sex club to make Ren’s orgy dream come true. The rooms are all booked up, so the couples bribe their way into a room currently being “renovated.” This room is home to the “emperor size” titular bed, which was carved from a cursed tree a lot of men hung from centuries before.

The orgy is a bust and the couples soon realize there’s something very wrong with the bed. The big clue is that one of them is sucked beneath it and eviscerated. That’s always a dead giveaway right there. The bed begins to prey upon the group’s darkest secrets and fears – spawning nightmarish hallucinations and gruesome kills. The monster I mentioned earlier is a simple looking effect on the surface, but the result is wicked. The easiest way to explain it is that it’s a bed sheet monster, made up of blood, linen, and pure nightmare fuel. It had my jaw on the floor.

Sandy and her friends figure out that they can’t leave the bed. If they do, they die a horrible, custom-made death. But they can’t stay on it either, just ask the disemboweled corpse on the ceiling that rained blood down on the girls. As they try to figure out how to beat the bed’s curse, disturbed cop Virgil (Colin Price) is investigating the group’s death a couple hours in the future. That’s where Bed of the Dead plays with its own timeline. If Sandy and the group are all dead, how is he talking with Sandy on the phone? How is he able to communicate with this very, very dead girl?

Maher (cinematographer of Bite and Antisocial) and writer Cody Calahan (Antisocial, The Drownsman) throw a lot of solid little twists in their screenplay. I went in completely blind so I wasn’t expecting this, making every curveball a nice surprise. There’s also a sturdy police procedural element to the film that may not be as engaging as the bedridden carnage, but still adds a nice dimension to what could’ve just been a straightforward kill count movie. Virgil’s backstory gradually weaves into the story of Sandy in a way that doesn’t feel forced or tossed in for the hell of it. This all leads up to a finale that’s pretty damn shocking.

The monster under the bed will always be scary and here it’s the entire bed that’s the monster. What a simple, but oh so rad concept. My first knee-jerk reaction was that it would be a rip off the 1977 underground classic Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, but as Maher explained, their bed is a much different monster and he actually got the blessing of Death Bed’s director George Barry.

The crew announced during the Q&A last night that Bed of the Dead has found distribution in its home turf of Canada, so USA distribution probably isn’t far behind. Sweet dreams!

The film screened at the ongoing Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal.

Categories: Horror News

Mondo Announces Limited #SDCC ‘Castlevania’ Vinyl OST

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 12:27

In honor of its 30th anniversary, Mondo has announced that they will be selling a limited edition 10″ vinyl of the Castlevania soundtrack, which was composed by Konami Kukeiha Club.

The grey/red half-half split heavy-weight vinyl is limited to 1,000 copies and features original artwork by Becky Cloonan, which can be seen below.

This is the first soundtrack to come from the Mondo/Konami partnership, which was announced earlier this year. There will also eventually be vinyl releases for the Contra and Silent Hill franchises, although no confirmed date for that has been set.

Categories: Horror News

Let’s Talk About the ‘Ghostbusters’ Sequel Chatter…

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 12:11

Sony/Columbia Pictures’ Ghostbusters reboot is incredibly interesting to me on so many levels.

The saying “all press is good press” was truly put to the test with Paul Feig’s remake, which has been under attack by (mostly) misogynistic superfans since the first trailer dropped (it’s been reported as among the most disliked of all time). Sony movie studio chief Tom Rothman told THR that the controversy is “the greatest thing that ever happened,” adding, “Are you kidding me? We’re in the national debate, thank you. Can we please get some more haters to say stupid things?”

Yes, Ghostbusters chatter has been everywhere, but did it translate into box office gold? It depends on how you look at it, although it’s being reported that Ghostbusters lost out to The Secret Life of Pets and pulled in an estimated $46 million. This isn’t surprising at all, though, as early projections placed it within that range. In fact, I reported that the franchise was in serious trouble weeks before release, which has now been substantiated in a report on Variety that goes through a similar mathematical breakdown as I did.

The film carries a massive $144 million price tag, plus at least $100 million more in marketing costs. Insiders estimate that it will have to do at least $300 million globally to break even and substantially more than that to justify a sequel.

I’m always surprised when I read site’s report on box office with zero understanding of the basic cost breakdown. First, a portion of the box office GROSS goes to the theaters, as much as 50% (I am unclear of the exact breakdown). This mean that, if Ghostbusters makes $150 million here in the States, Sony probably only netted $75 million. As reported above, the cost to shoot and market exceeds $250 million. $75 million makes Ghostbusters a HUGE bust. International needs to be killer, like with Terminator: Genysis, in order for Sony to positively move forward with a sequel.

But here’s why Ghostbusters is such an interesting experiment. Outside of the executives at Sony, and maybe even Paul Feig, nobody knows what the long game is. If you look at Disney’s acquisitions of Star Wars and Marvel properties, it not about making movies, it’s about making movies to sell merchandise. (It’s similar to how Disney started making movies based on their theme park attractions to get people to go back to the parks.) Ghostbusters represents a merchandising goldmine…unless of course the consumer doesn’t want anything. Early reports indicated that many major retailers – from Target to Walmart – began discounting the Ghostbusters products weeks before the film’s release. Ecto Cooler, on the other hand, is still incredibly hard to find. I’ve been keeping tabs on the merch (on Amazon and Ebay, and through visits to retailers), and after the film’s release this past Friday, product is becoming scarce. This could mean renewed popularity, which could slowly help Ghostbusters climb out of a hole.

Still, only executives at Sony know the long game. And they continue to boast exuberance and extreme confidence in their franchise:

“The ‘Ghostbusters’ world is alive and well,” said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at the studio. “I expect ‘Ghostbusters’ to become an important brand and franchise,” he told TheWrap on Sunday.

“While nothing has been officially announced yet, there’s no doubt in my mind it will happen,” he added.

As one of my colleague’s pointed out, Sony responded the same way when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo failed to light the box office on fire, although that franchise is nowhere near that of Ghostbusters. With that said, the statement feels like nothing more than reassuring stockholders that their investments are safe.

No matter, it’s hard to stand on our side of the conversation and know exactly what Sony’s plans are. I mean, we don’t even know how the reboot impacted the first two films’ home video numbers, nor do we know how the merchandising deals were set up and how they impact Sony’s numbers. If there were one franchise that could survive a lukewarm opening, it’s that of Ghostbusters.

Feig‘s female-led reboot starring Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon wasn’t a critic smash by any means, but it’s receiving a tremendous amount of support and there are those who loved it (I thought it was absolutely hysterical and preserved the spirit of the original). Could strong word of mouth and positive buzz change the course of the film and prevent it from a massive drop next weekend?

There’s a lot at stake here, and I’m really curious to see how things unfold in the coming weeks. But mostly I want to know what you guys thought of the film? What would you like to see if Sony were to continue forth with the franchise?

Categories: Horror News