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‘Witchboard’ Turns 30 Today and It’s Still a Campy, Creepy Classic!

Sat, 12/31/2016 - 12:47

On the 30th anniversary of Kevin Tenney’s ‘Witchboard,’ we take a look at all of the films in the series and how they hold up now

When it comes to the realm of horror, the various sub-genres that populate the dark corners of the topic are given the ability to refine themselves over the years. We might be able to get complex zombie narratives or vampire stories that can bring us to tears over their nuance, but it took years of delivering rote, archetypal monster movies before reaching this point. One of horror’s sub-groups that has never really been allowed the sort of leeway or seen the popularity of ghosts or werewolves is that of the Ouija board. Through the years there have been sporadic (and usually direct-to-video) attempts at Ouija tales and the last few years have seen the success of the maybe-franchise Ouija, but beyond that (and give or take an episode of Scream Queens) the area has largely gone untouched. While Mike Flanagan’s Ouija: The Origin of Evil managed to revitalize the topic and open it up in exciting ways, before that the sort of leading horror text on this supernatural topic was Kevin Tenney’s Witchboard trilogy. Now, on the 30th anniversary of Tenney’s original film, we look back at why Witchboard and its sequels are such a delightful part of horror canon.

Admittedly, the Witchboard series might not be the most frightening endeavor that horror has to offer, but the films operate with the sort of brazen, outlandish universes that you’d hope to encounter from some lurid VHS that you stumble upon in the horror aisle. The prime reason that the Witchboard films stand the test of time—not only in spite of, but because of their campy flaws—is because of writer/director Kevin Tenney’s clear passion for the area of Ouija. He digs into and pulls off all sorts of Ouija lore and presents it proudly through awkward exposition. He’s such a stickler for all of this too. The mere fact that he enforces that the characters all pronounce it “We-Jah” rather than “We-Gee” through the three pictures means that you have to admire the guy. It’s not hard to imagine cast or crew members mocking Tenney’s insistence to stick to the antiquated—albeit accurate—pronunciation, even though nobody goes with the “We-Jah” version anymore. Anyways, get ready for it here because you’ll never be able to un-hear the alternative once you’re done with this film.

Tenney’s original Witchboard operates routinely enough. It has a fairly simplistic plot wherein basically some people get fascinated with a Ouija board, but more specifically the spirit that they’re communicating with, a boy named David. As they continue to poke this ghost-bear, sinister consequences appropriately follow and it’s a classic situation of, “Boy, you shouldn’t have mucked around with that Ouija board.” In spite of Witchboard’s story hardly breaking the planchette (that’s a Ouija board joke—an excellent Ouija board joke), it makes up for it in its endless charm. To begin with, this truly might be the ’80s-iest movie out there. The wardrobe, dialogue, and hairdos are ridiculous and you’ll love every second of it. The medium that’s consulted in the film, Zarabeth, is such a cliché (dyed hair, tinted glasses, bedazzled denim, popping bubble gum…) that it’s hard to believe that this is actually how the ‘80s viewed mysticism by and large. There’s also an ‘80s Ouijia board research power montage that is just too sublime for words to describe. Not to mention, I respect the hell out of the idea of filling a Ouija board film with a bunch of forty-somethings who are completely un-invested in the experience.

Something else that I adore about this film and its sequels is how they’re simultaneously super meticulous about historical accuracy and the “rules” of Ouija but also flagrantly being romantic with the past. At one point Zarabeth enlightens the audience by sharing, “For your information, dude, the information has been around since the dawn of time. It’s been in use all the way since 540 BC.” This is radical misinformation, but the film has such conviction behind it all that you can’t help but be charmed from the experience.

Before long it’s figured out that this friendly boy spirit, David, is actually an evil entity by the name of Malfador (yes, Malfador, as if this were a villain from out of Harry Potter). The film then spends a solid amount of time on a whole primer for the different stages of Ouija possession that basically become the blueprint for the rest of the film. One of the stages, “Progressive Entrapment” is said so much in this movie that I’m truly surprised that one of the sequels wasn’t titled Witchboard: Progressive Entrapment. And it’s just fucking nonsense! It doesn’t mean a thing. So much of this movie is just babbling, but in the most fun, addictive sort of way. Witchboard also introduces the idea—which I love—of the Ouija demon having bad spelling/dyslexia and passing out incorrect info accordingly, which is not only pretty creative but also makes sense when you think about it.

The mischief that Malfador causes is all pretty laughable in the best possible sense. One particular scene sees his spirit knocking a knife into the ground and then spilling ketchup onto it so it’ll resemble a bloodied murder weapon and drive Linda into a fit. This Ouija demon also simply makes the water get too hot in the shower as well as other low stakes acts of could-be-plumbing. Furthermore, Linda’s solution to escape this scalding water is to smash the shower door to broken bits rather than just slide it open. It’s crazy. Curiously, once Malfador’s possession of Linda slowly begins to take place she begins to swear a ton. This is a huge red flag for James and a huge hint in alerting him that something is wrong here. “Has she been swearing?” “Like a truck driver.” “My God…” What’s crazy though is that this whole swearing angle becomes a throughline across the other Witchboard films, too. These are all chaste, virginly individuals who have apparently never said anything worse than “darn” before. At the end of the film, Malfador’s complete possession of Linda is conveyed by her just wearing the same suit and hat that he did, and yet, it’s somehow really creepy and unsettling all the same.

When dealing with some sort of otherworldy threat like a Ouija board, it’s always fascinating to see how this danger is overcome in the end. In the case of Witchboard, is it some more powerful psychic force that keeps the spirit at bay? Perhaps resolving the spirits unfinished business so they can find some peace and move on? Nope. Here they solve the problem by brashly shooting the Ouija board repeatedly. A decision that is both the stupidest and greatest thing that I’ve ever seen. This is something that they could have done from frame one of the film!

Underneath all of the Ouija mumbo jumbo this is a film that kind of boils down to a story about two old friends—practically brothers—who have lost sight of who they are and are both in love with the same woman. It’s a weird angle to juxtapose with all the Ouija material but it makes for a film that feels well rounded. Witchboard manages to accomplish what it sets out to do, even if it does so in an incredibly campy manner, but there’s still something to be said for that. The fact that the film performed quite well in theaters, turned a profit, and actually built a demand for a sequel is a testament to the unusual world that Tenney built 30 years ago that still holds resonance today.

In spite of the success that Witchboard saw, its sequel Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway, came out a staggering seven years later. This delay was the result of financing issues where the studio didn’t have the necessary funds to move forward on a sequel until years later, rather than the delay having anything to do with waning studio or audience interest. It might have taken seven years, but Kevin Tenney, back in the writer/director’s chair, doesn’t squander this opportunity to return to his world. Witchboard 2 has such a sequel-y tone, but in a comforting, nostalgic sort of way if that makes any sense. It ups the stakes in all of the ways that a second go-around at this topic should, while also making the clumsy sort of sequel mistakes that are just a delight in ‘90s B-horror of this nature.

Witchboard 2’s premise sees Paige talking to the deceased “Susan” via a Ouija board (again, everyone knows to pronounce it “We-Jah,” with zero prompting), trying to help solve her murder and give her spirit justice. However it’s eventually revealed that this spirit is playing games with Paige and that it’s not actually Susan after all…or is it? The film keeps playing with this as Paige gets more deeply involved. Like in the previous Witchboard film, Paige slowly begins to “change” due to the spirit that she’s communicating with. She begins dressing differently and yes, even swearing. This is  all culminating in the evil spirit from the other side trying to trade places with her and get into our world.

One of the most pleasant things that Witchboard 2 has going for it is its decidedly weird sense of humor. The film operates with a sort of swagger where it thinks it’s being really funny—like in the case of the dog’s name and Elaine’s misunderstanding around the song lyrics she’s named him after. Or exchanges like, “He’s the handyman, isn’t he?” “More like unhandyman.” Brilliant, right? A lot of this stems from Laraine Newman’s portrayal of Elaine, the quirky psychic du jour. She floats through ultra-hippie mode here, talking in that relaxed drawl while tending to her dog Dew and spitting out phrases like “far out.”

While on the topic of characters, let’s explore the rest of this film’s eclectic supporting cast because man oh manatee. Elaine’s handyman husband, Jonas, is literally sexually harassing and ogling Paige within three seconds of meeting her. Not long after he’s greedily drinking from a flask while sizing her up. Later on, Jonas is hitting on Paige right in front of Elaine and it’s just awful. It’s an absurd sort of character that only exists in this era of films. Furthermore, how is Paige affording this ridiculous, insane apartment, especially while working as an artist?

Cut from a similar cloth as Jonas is Paige’s ex-boyfriend, Mitch. He’s just the worst and is immediately enraged simply over the idea of her being an artist. He’s constantly berating her, insulting her abilities, and wants her to be an accountant instead of following her dreams. It’s such a weird angle for the abusive, stock boyfriend to have that’s given no real context. He’s just enraged right out of the gate, and on top of all of that, he’s also a crooked cop. Of course, just as Paige is having too much of Mitch’s abuse, a cute, nice art lover, Russell, enters the scene and is the perfect replacement. It’s still such bizarre characterization for Mitch though. The film even gives us the incredibly stereotypical Gary Burns-esque mystical character, Morris, who imparts all of the Ouija board rules (“I know what you’re thinking. You’ve never seen a Jewish occultist before.”). Morris also introduces the premise that all spirits are liars and that you naturally can’t trust the message you’re getting (“Are you kidding? Spirits are terrible spellers!”). Furthermore, it brings up the interesting idea that maybe the message you’re getting from the Ouija board is misspelled. This eventually comes into play with the whole “riflecape” mystery in terms of what the spirit is communicating to Paige and its message actually being “fireplace.” It’s a spin on the formula that works.

Witchboard 2 continues to rejuvenate the Ouija idea in creative ways, like by introducing the concept of a planchette that you can put a pencil in so the spirit will carry out their message in the deceased’s actual handwriting. I sort of love this extension of the Ouija board, and I’ve never seen it come up anywhere else. It’s a great way of helping determine who you’re actually dealing with in these movies. That being said, a lot of this film is just characters spelling out the messages that they’re getting from the Ouija board. It’s crazy how much is just lengthy scenes of people spelling. It’s nuts.

With these sorts of films the murders are always a super important discussion point and while the original Witchboard sets the standard for WTF deaths, its sequel truly goes above and beyond with just how laughable it makes the act of murder. For one, when Jonas’ handyman gear (which mainly includes rotating blades) starts flinging itself at him there’s no real reason for him to be picked as a victim other than we as an audience knowing that he’s an asshole and “okay” for murdering. The ghost itself has no reason to target him though. Regardless, the “blade POV” work here is actually pretty well done and it destroying a path of light bulbs as it recklessly careens towards Jonas looks pretty damn cool. As is the way that the spirit finally manages to dispose of Jonas in the end. There’s also a notable car crash sequence that is such a ridiculous set piece. Here the Ouija board somehow cuts the brakes to Mitch’s truck without any explanation behind it. The car then proceeds to smash through a boat before being totaled. At another moment the power of the Ouija causes a giant wrecking ball to smash into Laraine Newman’s Elaine and her Mystery Machine copyright infringement of a vehicle. These are far from your run-of-the-mill knife slashings and as surreal as all of these death scenes are, there’s something to be said for their unpredictable, original nature.

Rounding the film out, there are some otherwise appreciated touches, like the film’s quasi Carpenter-esque Halloween aping score, which actually works well and suits the picture. On the topic of the film’s sound design, whenever the Ouija board flings itself at Paige it makes a jaguar or some sort of jungle cat sound when it does so, for whatever reason. Tenney also employs unique, roving camera angles at choice opportunities that manage to evoke an early Sam Raimi feel, too. All of this adds to the strong foundation that the first Witchboard film introduced while then going in a bonkers direction on top of it. The third and final film in the Witchboard series pushes this mentality its furthest and ends up becoming a rather controversial film in the process.

In the same way that the original Witchboard is deliciously ‘80s, Witchboard 3: The Possession is drowning in huge cell phones and endless stockbrokers who are doing “insider trading” in a way that’s almost patronizing to what the ‘90s were. The perspective becomes all the more humorous when you see how Brian, the film’s protagonist, has absolutely no business being a stockbroker. What truly kills me here though is that this is a film where a Ouija board is being used for hot stock tips and a way to get rich quick. If that isn’t a ‘90s take on Ouija and the supernatural I don’t know what is. It’s like your basic monkey’s paw parable where naturally all the Ouija’s big stock choices are ironically cursed. Just take that in: The Ouija board’s stock tips are haunted. This is a film where people are asking the board questions like, “Do you feel like talking about commodities?” rather than inquiring how this spirit died.

Witchboard 3 also kicks off with a monologue that is so obtuse and self-important that I just had to capture the whole thing. The film begins:

“When I first discovered the Ouija—known in ancient days as the Witchboard—I thought it was just a toy. A party game that pretended to summon the spirits of the dead. I was dead wrong. The Witchboard is a portal to the other world, that summons evil fortunes as well as good. It was my misfortune to call up the Spirit of Nargor, and his cult of fertility. My name is Francis Redmond, and now I’m dead.”

That’s your gripping intro! Also, this Francis Redmond character is a no one! It’s not like it’s the main character telling you this or anyone of importance. But in terms of starting your film off with clunky exposition? 10/10, no question. The film is also eager to make wild claims like, “The Ouija has been around since the times of Pythrageous—540 BC,” which is just sophisticated sounding lies. There are some claims of the Chinese experimenting with rudimentary Ouija boards in 1100 AD, but the modern version is widely thought to have originated in 1890. Witchboard 3 certainly gets points for trying to romanticize the origin some.

It’s interesting to note here that Kevin Tenney is not back on board to direct this film (although he does still co-write it), with instead the unknown, Peter Svetek stepping in. The story goes that Tenney wasn’t allowed to direct Wtichboard 3 because he refused to coerce Ami Dolenz to get naked in Witchboard 2. Dolenz had a no nudity clause in her contract and Republic Pictures tried to get Tenney to get her to waive this. Tenney didn’t play ball and as a result this, allegedly, was his punishment. It’s all just so insane and sure enough, the first scene of this film is Brian and Julie having sex, with Julie’s breasts pretty glaringly on display. She’s not very chaste for a cultural anthropologist, evidently.

These Witchboard films are all an awful delight, but it’s kind of absurd how Francis Redmond’s suicide at the beginning of Witchboard 3 is such bonkers out-of-the-blue madness. Francis just randomly goes and jumps out the window of an apartment building (right after he’s given all the necessary Ouija exposition—his only purpose). If that’s not enough, he has to also land on a weird set of antenna and scaffolding so he ends up getting impaled in the process, too. The film likes to pile on its gore in this respect where there’s some sort of second element of brutality involved with each death.

In another perplexing scene that might end up being my favorite in the entire film, at Francis’ funeral his grieving wife jams her thumb into her corpse husband’s head in order to check if he’s actually dead. He is. Embalming fluid spews out accordingly. I really can’t get over this scene. Like, this isn’t her discovering Francis’ body after he’s recently died and she’s in disbelief. This is all the way post-embalming and after a funeral service has been planned. And then she goes for the forehead for this sort of test? I don’t even care though because the moment is so gross and glorious.

Fortunately, the film continues to ride this wave of insanity through everything. There’s some stuff here that you truly need to see in order to understand what you’re dealing with. Not too far into the film Brian gets electrocuted by a light bulb, dies from it, and we get to see his spirit campily leaving his body, flying through a Ouija planchette, and then getting trapped in a mirror dimension. Like does any of that make sense? The rest of the film has Brian appearing in the reflections of household items, making them shake, as he tries to get Julie’s attention. And then there are also just moments like where a bunch of dead, pinned up butterflies end up slicing a guy to death. That’s what you’re dealing with here.

All of the deaths in Witchboard 3 are thoroughly entertaining but there is also plenty of delightful dialogue that highlights the level of sophistication that’s in play here. One exchange has a man saying, “Please give the man $50,000 in currency.” Currency, he says! He’s already said dollars. What else is it going to be $50,000 in? Drugs aren’t even broached in this film. Then later on the possessed version of Brian says to his wife, “I’m not going to kill you. I’m going to fuck you,” before then proceeding to make her spin around in the air repeatedly courtesy of some crazy effects.

These curious special effects hit their heights at the end of the film where Brian’s body is getting all melt-y and the spirit is attempting to leave him. It’s such a weird looking depiction of what’s happening. Furthermore, once the demon is finally out, it’s a crazy horned beast with a tail sort of deal. It’s just such a generic monster rather than anything that’s actually been established in this world. Also, the destruction of the demon seriously looks like something from out of a video game. This film gave me serious Phantasmagoria vibes (not necessarily a good thing), with these video game effects only inviting the comparison more. PS: A single arrow from a crossbow is totally not destroying an interdimensional demon…Not even one from Green Arrow’s quiver.

With the questionable level of quality that Witchboard 3 goes out on, getting three films in this series is probably all that we need. While the fact that each film goes about the Ouija concept in wildly different ways while still paying respect to the lore of the Witchboard, the current films we’ve been seeing on the topic have been more than suitable substitutes. If anything, a much more aggressive reboot of the film would be the right approach to move forward. Take the fundamentals of the film, but cut out the camp and humor and really try to turn up the scarier, more ridiculous moments from the series. Thirty years later the franchise is definitely worth revisiting, whether by a film a studio or just by you. If nothing else, we need more people in the word pronouncing it “We-Jah board.”

Categories: Horror News

It’s Time, My Dear Readers, For Me to Say Goodbye

Sat, 12/31/2016 - 10:10

Hey everyone. I hate having to write this but I would hate it even more if I left without saying goodbye to all of you. So yes, this is me saying that I am no longer writing for Bloody-Disgusting or Cinema Runner. This is me saying farewell to all of you and wanting to take this last opportunity to say a few words about my experience with this site and all that it has offered me.

I started writing for Bloody-Disgusting back in October of 2009. I came aboard because I pestered Brad (Mr. Disgusting) and Tom (you may remember his Infected name KillRobot), the owners of BD, relentlessly until they allowed me to write for the music section. The deal was that I was supposed to submit two album reviews per month. That’s it. So what did I do? I contacted every record label I could think of to let them know that I was writing for Bloody-Disgusting, the internet’s largest and most recognized horror website as an album reviewer. On top of getting promo copies for review purposes, I was suddenly talking with the labels’ PR and marketing departments who wanted to see about getting more done with the site.

Hey Jonathan! On top of doing a review, would you want to do an in-person interview for the site?” Ummm, yes?

Hey dude! Love your site! Can we also do a contest to give away 10 copies of the album?” Uhhh, I think we can arrange that? (I did)

Your site is awesome! Let’s get our bands talking about their favorite horror movies! What do you say?” I say fuck yeah!

I took the initiative to go above and beyond what I was asked not because I wanted to appear like someone they needed to hire full-time but because I got swept up in the fever of what I could bring to the site. I did all of this because I wanted to support the bands and artists I loved while also giving the BD readers new content and, hopefully, new music to listen to. I mean, if I loved them, maybe you would too?

I continued as the music editor for several years, interviewing huge names such as Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Kirk Hammett of Metallica, David Ellefson of Megadeth, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Slash of Guns N’ Roses, Rob Zombie, and more. I was able to premiere controversial videos like Cattle Decapitation’s “Forced Gender Reassignment” and Cephalic Carnage’s “Ohrwurm”. I gave away probably a dozen guitars over the years to people who I hope are getting endless amounts of joy from them.

For the site, I visited the sets of Don’t Breathe, Underworld: Blood Wars, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, and I got to party it up in Pittsburgh’s ScareHouse when it was reskinned for Krampus. I got to represent BD at the 2016 Telluride Horror Show, a festival that introduced me to new friends and was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I went to Montreal in 2013 for the Fantasia Film Festival.

None of this is meant to sound like me bragging. Rather, it’s me reflecting on all that I’ve done, all the amazing opportunities I’ve had by being a part of this incredible website. I’ve made friends that I never would’ve known otherwise by being here. I’ve put smiles on the faces of countless people over the years, as well as a hefty dose of angry scowls. I’m not perfect and I fully admit that. What I’m getting at is that this site has been an absolutely amazing experience for me and I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I not sent the message that said, “I want to write for you.” Not only can I not imagine it, I don’t want to.

I think back on the years of me interacting with all of you and I can’t help but tear up. Yeah, I dealt with a fair amount of trolls but I also got to speak with an audience that is passionate, devoted, and deeply cares about the horror genre. I got to bare myself entire for you all not once, but twice, which you all embraced openly, making me feel loved, appreciated, and welcomed.

As I leave, I want to say a few things. First, take it easy on Brad. I know that many of you hate him. But very, very few of you know him like I do. Yes, he’s not an easy person but he is so devoted to what he does that it boggles the mind. He cares about this site more than anyone I know, aside from Tom, of course, and he genuinely loves horror. Admittedly, he sometimes doesn’t present it in a way that is easily accessible or even tolerable, but he never fails to mean well. Trust me on this as he and I have butted heads more times than I care to admit. He’s a good guy, readers. I promise you that.

Two, keep supporting the site. It’d be incredibly pretentious of me to imagine any of you not coming back to the site because I’m no longer here, but that’s not what I mean. What I’m saying is that sites like Bloody-Disgusting are always facing tough times because of how the internet works. I know many of you use ad block but I’m begging you to whitelist BD and then complain via Twitter, email, or even in the comments if the ads are obtrusive or impeding your ability to read articles. Every ad view helps ensure that the site can keep running. After all, you want to make sure John Squires can afford his yearly Fall spending spree on pumpkin-flavored beers, right?

Third, keep loving and supporting horror, in all its forms. I know that we’ve butted heads on whether some films I consider horror are or aren’t. But remember that horror is a feeling and those are unique to each and every one of us. We’re all individual people with our own tastes and reactions who just so happen to share in our love of this wonderful genre. Just because we may not agree on some things doesn’t mean that we should argue or vilify each other. Instead, embrace those differences between us. Cherish them and each other. Thank filmmakers for trying to make something that speaks to us, even if we don’t like it. We’re a genre that isn’t respected by the mainstream population, so we have to have each other’s backs.

Lastly, stay as passionate as you all are now. Your comments reflect your love of the genre and, hopefully, what this site does and has done for over 15 years. Your comments supporting the BD authors are what drive them to keep doing what they do each and every day. Tell us what you love. Tell us what you hate! But never stop talking to us.

To the BD authors I’ve worked with over the years, I can’t tell you how much I loved reading your work and how much I admired your passion and wit. To Tom and Brad, you will always have my boundless thanks for the opportunities that I was given by being a part of BD. To all the readers, you have my deepest and most heartfelt thanks for all the encouragement, love, support, and passion you’ve shown me all these years.

I don’t know what the next step in my journey will be but I know that I am stronger and better because of all of you.

Thank you for the most incredible seven years of my life.

Sincerely,
Jonathan Barkan

Categories: Horror News

Abandoned Homes Made Out of LEGOs is Depressing and Scary

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 16:19

Artist Mike Doyle uses LEGO pieces to create stunning sculptures, but the ones that blow my mind are the abandoned houses that are both frightening and depressing.

From putting a tree into the side of a house to a refrigerator busting through the top floor, Doyle shares brick-by-brick details on how he creates these monochrome black, white, and grey palette masterpieces on his official blog (look to the left navigation bar).

For now, here’s a taste of the magic he’s created in 2016.

Categories: Horror News

The “Unsolved Mysteries”/”The X-Files” Crossover Episode That Almost Was

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 16:08

Well now this would’ve been something special.

As we recently told you, the creepy TV series “Unsolved Mysteries” is now available to watch through Amazon’s streaming service (at the time of writing this post, only the Dennis Farina episodes are available, but the Robert Stack-hosted originals are coming soon), which has made us feel that 2016 wasn’t all bad. In fact, the news may have single-handedly saved the year.

You may love “Unsolved Mysteries” and all its nightmare-inducing delights, but did you know that it almost crossed over with “The X-Files” at one nearly-magical point in time?!

By the late ’90s, “Unsolved Mysteries” was airing on CBS (NBC cancelled the show in ’97), and Robert Stack still had a few more years left in his run as host. The ratings were lagging and the series wasn’t exactly as popular as it had once been, but “The X-Files” writer Vince Gilligan was clearly still a fan. And in ’97, during the show’s fifth season, he devised the fun crossover idea.

As Gilligan relayed in the book Resist or Serve: The Official Guide to “The X-Files” Volume 4, he was under the gun to write the fifth season’s twelfth episode, which was going to be filmed right after Christmas break. His initial plan for the episode was to merge “The X-Files” and “Unsolved Mysteries,” but the plan fell apart when he just wasn’t able to make it work.

The book’s writer, Andy Meisler, explains:

As Gilligan not so fondly remembers it, this aborted comedy would have consisted of a typical X-Files adventure presented as a typical episode of the series Unsolved Mysteries. Robert Stack would have hosted, of course, and for his real-life true-crime simulation, Mulder and Scully would have been played by a couple of other actors – when Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny got wind of this, reports Gilligan, “they definitely liked the sound of a week off.”

“But I just couldn’t figure out how to do it,” admits the writer. “And now it was a week before Christmas and I said, ‘Oh man, I’m screwed.'”

Oddly enough, it was an episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” that broke Gilligan out of his Christmas break funk. When co-executive producer Frank Spotnitz brought up the episode during a brainstorming session, Gilligan came up with a whole different idea for Season 5, Episode 12, which ended up becoming the vampire-centric episode we now know as “Bad Blood.”

“Bad Blood” ended up being a fan-favorite episode of the show, but it’s hard not to imagine what could’ve been had Gilligan stuck with his original idea. I suppose it just wasn’t meant to be.

*cue “Unsolved Mysteries” theme song*

Categories: Horror News

Let’s Play Pretend and Give Academy Awards to 2016’s Best Horror Movies

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 16:01

Mr. Disgusting’s Top 10 Horror Films | Several More Must-See Horror Films | Kalyn’s Top 10 | Trace’s Top 10 | Trace’s Worst 510 Best Posters | Worst Posters | Best Trailers | Luiz Picks the Best Horror Shows | Chris’ Best Blu-rays 2016: The Year Netflix Embraced Horror | 10 Sci-fi Movies You May Have Missed | 13 Most Disturbing Horror Movie Moments |
5 Pretty Good Horror Movies You Might’ve Missed in 2016
[Poll Results] The Bloody Disgusting Readers Chose the 10 Best Horror Movies of 2016
10 Biggest Horror Stories of 2016
Let’s Play Pretend and Give Academy Awards to 2016’s Best Horror Movies

The Academy may not recognize horror, but at least we can.

Ahead of the February ceremony, the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards will soon be announced, and we certainly don’t expect to see any horror films popping up on there. Of course, it would be quite untrue to say that horror is NEVER honored at the Oscars, but it’s so rare that most of us have just accepted that a horror presence at the event is something of an anomaly.

The bummer of the Academy largely ignoring horror is that the genre is often home to exceptional filmmaking and acting, and this past year has been no exception. In lieu of a traditional year-end ‘best of’ list, I’ve decided to instead honor my favorite horror movies of 2016 by bestowing upon them the Academy Awards that they’re sure to not actually receive. Because nobody is stopping us from playing pretend, and I feel that each of these films deserve recognition and accolades.

So if I ran the show, here are the 2016 horror movies I’d give Academy Awards to.

BEST FILM – THE CONJURING 2

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all become a little worn down by studio horror in recent years. It’s become commonly accepted that indie horror almost always puts Hollywood horror to shame, but the same can’t really be said about studio-made horror in 2016. And if you asked me today to name the very best horror movie of the year, I’d give you the same answer I would’ve given you back in June: The Conjuring 2. James Wan’s hit sequel was somehow an even better film than its predecessor, and from where I stand, it’s so much more than a superior sequel: it’s one of the best American horror movies ever made. Truly scary as well as emotionally powerful, The Conjuring 2 is not just James Wan’s masterpiece but a high-water mark for the genre at large.

Speaking of which…

BEST DIRECTOR – JAMES WAN, THE CONJURING 2

No filmmaker alive today embodies the term “master of horror” more than James Wan, and with The Conjuring 2, he proved that his handle on the genre is only getting stronger with each passing film. Watching it, I mostly found myself in awe of the whole thing. In awe of how good Wan is at executing a scare. In awe of how much he makes you care about his characters and about every single little moment. I was also struck with the realization that I’m lucky enough to be alive at a time when one of the all-time great horror filmmakers is at the top of his game. With The Conjuring 2, we officially hit peak James Wan, and as it turns out, peak James Wan is every bit as impressive and masterful as peak Wes Craven, peak George Romero, and peak John Carpenter.

We’re all so lucky that Wan loves horror so much.

BEST ACTOR – RALPH INESON, THE WITCH

Released early in the year, Robert Eggers’ The Witch has undoubtedly been one of the most talked-about horror films of 2016; for whatever reason, some fans are still refusing to even accept that it’s a horror movie, while others feel it’s the most overrated movie of the year. However you feel about The Witch, one thing you cannot deny is that the performances are incredible across the board. English actor Ralph Ineson physically transformed himself to play family patriarch William, a man desperately trying to keep his family together against impossible/supernatural odds in 17th century England. Adopting a period-authentic dialect, Ineson embodied the character to a tee, turning in a powerhouse performance that is unquestionably worthy of Oscar consideration.

BEST ACTRESS – VERA FARMIGA, THE CONJURING 2

As scary as The Conjuring 2 is, what really makes the whole thing work so well is the same thing that made the first film such an incredible piece of horror cinema: the performances of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as real-life couple Lorraine and Ed Warren. Though they’re primarily there to help another family in peril, it’s the relationship between Lorraine and Ed that is the highlight of the film; and thanks again to exceptional performances from both actors, the emotional connection to the characters couldn’t possibly be stronger. You can feel Lorraine’s love for Ed and vice versa, and as Lorraine Warren, Farmiga brings so much warmth and heart to the table. It’s rare that an actor makes you care so much about a character in a horror movie.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – JOHN GOODMAN, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

John Goodman has been such a great actor for so many years, but can you believe that he’s never been nominated for an Academy Award? That could very well change in 2017, as his performance in 10 Cloverfield Lane has generated a whole lot of Oscar buzz… and for damn good reason. In the film, Goodman plays Howard, a man living in an underground bunker who swears to a young woman that he’s saved her life by bringing her down into his hideout. Howard is the sort of guy who’s either the sanest person in the room or the craziest, and Goodman’s commanding performance ensures that you never quite know what to think of the character. One minute you feel for him and the next you’re terrified of him, and Goodman nails the nuance like few actors would be able to. Here’s hoping this is the year he finally gets Oscar recognition.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – IMOGEN POOTS, GREEN ROOM

I suppose it’s up for debate whether or not Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room is a horror movie, but if you’re asking me, it damn sure is. Furthermore, it’s the most horrifying, disturbing, and upsetting movie of the whole year. Centered on a group of young musicians who run afoul of sadistic neo-Nazis, the film is as intense and unforgettable as 2016 horror gets, and it’s highlighted by an outstanding supporting performance from Imogen Poots as a punk girl named Amber. The innocence she and co-star Anton Yelchin exude makes the horrific situation they’re in all the more devastating to watch, and the dry humor Poots brings to the role really makes you fall in love with the character. Poots is also a total badass when the role requires her to become one.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – TRAIN TO BUSAN

You may be over zombie films by this point, hell we may all be, but sometimes a movie comes along that’s so damn good that it makes you completely forget about how tired a particular sub-genre has become. Written and directed by Sang-ho Yeon, South Korean zombie flick Train to Busan is one of those movies, and it’s so exceptional that it restored my faith in zombie cinema at large. A lean, mean zombie film with zero wasted energy, Train to Busan is terrifying and intense while also being packed with so much depth and a surprising level of emotion. It’s one of 2016’s best horror films, foreign or otherwise, and it just might make you scared of zombies again.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – THE WITCH, ROBERT EGGERS

One of the most impressive things about The Witch is how true it is to the period in which the story takes place. First time director Robert Eggers also wrote the script, which was so well researched and thought out that Eggers plucked much of the character dialogue out of actual diaries from 17th century England. By pouring through real accounts of witchcraft for several years to craft his own script, Eggers was able to capture and convey the Puritan lifestyle in great detail. The Witch is largely a dialogue-driven film, so it’s impossible to heap praise on what he accomplished without calling to attention the great care, time, and research that went into writing the script.

BEST MAKEUP EFFECTS – GREEN ROOM, MIKE MARINO (PROSTHETIC RENAISSANCE)

The Academy’s makeup category is actually “Best Makeup & Hairstyling,” but if we’re talking specifically about makeup effects in the horror movies released in 2016, there’s one film that comes to mind over all the others. Yes, I’m once again talking about Green Room, which is home to the most unsettling moments of brutality that I have honestly ever seen. As horror fans, we of course love on-screen violence, but the violence in Green Room is a whole different beast entirely. It’s so shockingly sudden, so unexciting, and so deeply repellent that it honestly made me queasy. Furthermore, it made me question why I even love violent entertainment in the first place. From a sliced up arm to a slit open belly, the movie’s makeup effects are almost TOO real.

Special shout-out also to Imogen Poots’ hairstyle in Green Room.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – THE SHALLOWS, IMPORTANT LOOKING PIRATES

I already heaped a good deal of praise on the visual effects in The Shallows recently here on BD (check out an effects breakdown video we came across), so I’ll keep this one short and to the point: the computer-generated shark in Jaume Collet-Serra’s supremely entertaining sharksploitation flick is so good that I honestly didn’t even realize it wasn’t a practical creation until I did some research after coming home from the theater. The shark in The Shallows is the best we’ve seen since Jaws, which has given me a whole lot of hope for the future of CG monsters.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – THE INVITATION, THEODORE SHAPIRO

I’d be remiss to talk about 2016 horror and not mention The Invitation, one of the most unsettling and captivating movies released all year. There’s not a single weak aspect of Karyn Kusama’s exceptional thriller, and honestly, it’s deserving of being on this list in way more than just one category. But one of my personal favorite aspects of the film is Theodore Shapiro’s score, which is pitch-perfectly haunting. As Shapiro himself explained, “Most of the score is performed by one solo violin, overdubbing layer upon layer. The bareness of the solo string suggests the desert terrain of LA and the emotional barrenness of the main character Will.” A horror movie is nothing without a great score, and Shapiro helped solidify The Invitation as one of 2016’s best.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – THE EYES OF MY MOTHER, ZACH KUPERSTEIN

One horror film popping up on many lists this year is Nicolas Pesce’s The Eyes of My Mother, which you would not find on my own list had I written a traditional Top 10. Why not? Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of the film. I felt it was all style and no substance, and my 2-star rating on Letterboxd is one I stick by. But one thing I would like to mention about Pesce’s debut film is the cinematography, which came courtesy of Zach Kuperstein. The Eyes of My Mother is beautifully shot in black and white, and thanks to some unconventional techniques, Kuperstein makes nearly every shot into a work of art. Again, I found it to be an empty film, but damn is it pretty.

Which 2016 horror films would YOU give awards to? Let us know!

Categories: Horror News

The Ultimate ‘Pumpkinhead’ Mask is Coming Halloween 2017

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 14:33

Keep away from Pumpkinhead. Unless you’re tired of living.

Back in 2012, the legendary Don Post Studios was set to release a Pumpkinhead mask (with creature gloves!) that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on, but sadly, the company’s collapse led to that year’s Halloween offerings being left on the cutting room floor. To date, an officially licensed mask of one of my personal favorite movie monsters has never been released, but I’m incredibly happy to report that the wait is almost over. Because for Halloween 2017, Trick or Treat Studios summons the vengeance demon, and we’ve got your first look at the awesome upcoming mask.

Sculpted by Bruce Fuller and shown off on Instagram this week by company co-founder Justin Mabry, the Trick or Treat Studios Pumpkinhead mask is movie-accurate and insanely detailed, looking like someone walked onto the set of the film, cut off the big guy’s head, and turned it into a display piece. The paint job is as impressive as the sculpt, capturing every little detail right down to the blue veins on Pumpkinhead’s massive forehead. Simply put, this is the Pumpkinhead Halloween mask that myself and many others have loooong been waiting for.

The company’s Halloween 2017 product line will also include a ginormous Texas Chainsaw Massacre collection to die for and several Creepshow masks.

Check out your first look at the Pumpkinhead mask below!

Pumpkinhead for 2017 by @groovybruce01 for @trick_or_treat_studios

A photo posted by Justin Mabry (@mabry_monsters) on Dec 30, 2016 at 2:05am PST

Pumpkinhead for 2017 by @groovybruce01 for @trick_or_treat_studios

A photo posted by Justin Mabry (@mabry_monsters) on Dec 30, 2016 at 2:05am PST

Pumpkinhead for 2017 by @groovybruce01 for @trick_or_treat_studios

A photo posted by Justin Mabry (@mabry_monsters) on Dec 30, 2016 at 2:04am PST

Categories: Horror News

The Biggest Horror Stories of 2016

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 14:01

There’s no debating that 2016 was a GREAT year to be a horror fan. Our beloved genre is everywhere and if 2017 is any indication, it’s just going to keep getting better.  I took a look back over the past 12 months and picked out the biggest stories of the year (based on how many times they were viewed) and wow, there were some amazing horror stories this year.

10. After getting possibly the greatest Christmas present ever in the form of an Alien: Covenant trailer, it looks like most of our wishlist is going to come true.

5 Things We Want to See in ‘Alien: Covenant’

9. The King of the Monsters is always a popular topic on BD, and when these spoilers were released you all just couldn’t resist.

‘Godzilla: Resurgence’ Plot Details Unveil Major Spoilers!

8. Love it or hate it, when Lionsgate revealed that The Woods was actually Blair Witch, the internet went crazy and readers flooded in to view the trailer.

Breaking: ‘The Woods’ is Actually ‘BLAIR WITCH’! (Trailer)

7. We all got excited when there was finally some real Zombieland 2 news, and while there haven’t been many updates since then it’s still in development and hopefully we’ll hear something sooner than later.

‘Zombieland 2’ to Begin Filming This Summer?!

6. Remember when 10 Cloverfield Lane was a mystery? Everybody was trying to figure out how this film was going to fit into the Cloverfield universe, and now we can’t wait for the third film.

The Real ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ Mystery

5.  There aren’t many shoes harder to fill than Pinhead’s, and when we revealed who was going to take on the role in Hellraiser: Judgement it was a big deal. We later got our first look at Pinhead in this teaser image.

Here’s the New Pinhead In ‘Hellraiser: Judgment’!

4. Rob Zombie is always a controversial topic, and when ’31’ finally got an R rating after receiving the dreaded NC-17 from the MPAA not once but twice it was pretty big news. Now if we only knew where that unrated cut was…

Rob Zombie’s ’31’ Receives an R-Rating

3. Here’s a perfect case of something being too good to be true. The most recent update from Michael Keaton makes it seem like a Beetlejuice 2 might be a lost cause.

Tim Burton Confirms ‘Beetlejuice 2’ is a Go!

2. Stephen King’s IT is definitely the story of the year, and that’s proven by how many people clicked to get a first glimpse of Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise.

‘It’: Here’s Your First Look at Pennywise!!!

1. After all the teasers and speculation, when the American Horror Story season 6 theme was finally revealed it was the biggest single piece of news by a longshot.

“American Horror Story: Season 6” Theme Revealed

Categories: Horror News

Bateman Skincare is an Actual Product Line Inspired by ‘American Psycho’

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 13:14

In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser.”

Whether or not Patrick Bateman is actually a sadistic serial killer or merely a twisted dude with sick fantasies may be up for debate, but what we can all agree on is that Bateman has an impeccable skin care regime. Simply put, he’s a beautiful man. And whether you’re a man or a woman, you probably aspire to be as beautiful as he. I mean come on. Those abs. That smooth skin.

While you’ll have to work your ass off to acquire Bateman’s physique, making your skin look as good as his is a little bit easier. And thanks to the folks behind Bateman Skincare, it’s as easy as spending a few bucks and following some simple directions. The brand new company has taken “aesthetic cues from American Psycho and filtered them into a high quality sophisticated aesthetic for the beauty industry.” Layman’s terms? They made an American Psycho-inspired skincare line.

I’ll allow them to explain:

We move through life feeling like outsiders, like we don’t belong but at some point we all find what is best suited for us. Every drop of Bateman Skincare enhances your life with a sharp and detail oriented aesthetic that maintains an ethical stance. Bateman Skincare’s range of unisex products balance our youthful spirits with an equally vibrant exterior. An extensive infusion of Hyaluronic Acid in our creams and serums stimulates our body’s natural oil free moisturizer and anti-ager which diminishes as we age.

Bateman Skincare products may not be able to solve the world’s problems, but they will help you with your inner self and create a safe place for you to tackle the day appropriately without needing affirmation from anyone but yourself.

Currently available through the line are three different products: Rose Hip + Seaweed Facial Cleanser, Daily Hyaluronic Cream, and Daily Hyaluronic Serum. The three products can be purchased separately or together in a limited “RIP 2016” attache, the latter of which also comes with a Zinc + Clay Mask, Herbal Balancing Toner, and even two special American Psycho pins.

Head over to Bateman Skincare before your mask of sanity slips away.

Categories: Horror News

20 Fan-Made Horror Movie Posters That Blew Us Away in 2016

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 12:19

Some of the best artists in the world are horror fans.

It’s no secret that official movie posters aren’t quite what they used to be, but that’s okay because there are plenty of fans out there who bust their asses to give us the kind of incredible movie art we desire. Fan-made movie posters for films both new and old have become increasingly popular in recent years here on the internet, and oh boy have we seen some incredible ones in 2016.

Throughout the year, I’ve kept a folder on my desktop to collect together my favorite fan-made horror movie posters, and now that 2016 has finally come to an end, it’s time to share the best of the best. From vibrantly colorful Suspiria art that blew my mind to a poster for The Exorcist that honestly scared the shit out of me, these are the coolest fan-made horror posters I saw this year.

Below each image you’ll see the artist’s name. Run searches on Google for more awesome art!

Alexander Iccarino

ElvisDead

Gary Pullin

Godmachine

Graham Erwin

Jay Shaw

Jonathan Burton

Matt Ryan Tobin

Matt Ryan Tobin

Matt Ryan Tobin

Matt Ryan Tobin

Matt Ryan Tobin

Mike Saputo

Mike Saputo

Phantom City Creative

Randy Ortiz

Sam Wolfe Connelly

Stan & Vince

Tongdee Panumas

We Buy Your Kids

Categories: Horror News

Trace Picks the Best Horror Movie Trailers of 2016!

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 12:01

Mr. Disgusting’s Top 10 Horror Films | Several More Must-See Horror Films | Kalyn’s Top 10 | Trace’s Top 10 | Trace’s Worst 510 Best Posters | Worst Posters | Best Trailers | Luiz Picks the Best Horror Shows | Chris’ Best Blu-rays 2016: The Year Netflix Embraced Horror | 10 Sci-fi Movies You May Have Missed | 13 Most Disturbing Horror Movie Moments |
5 Pretty Good Horror Movies You Might’ve Missed in 2016
[Poll Results] The Bloody Disgusting Readers Chose the 10 Best Horror Movies of 2016
10 Biggest Horror Stories of 2016
Let’s Play Pretend and Give Academy Awards to 2016’s Best Horror Movies

A horror film trailer is arguably the best type of trailer you can watch (I’m biased, I know). They usually have great music and are able to get your heart racing in just two and a half minutes or less. Before it was possible to just watch trailers on YouTube, I was a real stickler for getting to the theater super early so I could look at posters and then catch all of the trailers before the movie started (mostly in the hopes of catching the latest horror movie trailer). This year saw many stellar trailers get released. So many, in fact, that it was incredibly difficult for me to narrow this list down to just 10 entries. With that being said, here are (in no particular order) 10 of the best trailers for horror films released this year!*

*Keep in mind that this is a judgment on the trailer only. The quality of the movie has nothing to do with the trailers included on this list. All trailers up for this list were for films actually released in 2016. If it was a trailer for a film coming out in 2017, it was not taken into consideration.

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

Osgood Perkins’s I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House doesn’t have a complex narrative. It’s a straightforward tale of a woman who moves into a haunted house. The trailer for the Netflix original film uses that simplicity to its advantage and showcases features the protagonist’s (Ruth Wilson) ominous voiceover as the viewer is taken on a brief tour of the house. It’s a chilling trailer with little pizzazz, but it gets the job done.

The Handmaiden

I know, I know. Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden isn’t a horror film. It shouldn’t qualify for this list. But, and this may sound unprofessional, I don’t really care. The extremely brief (78 seconds, to be exact) trailer doesn’t let you know anything about the plot. It merely bombards you with images from the film and pairs them with the audio assault of Vessel’s “Red Sex”. It’s simply mesmerizing.

10 Cloverfield Lane

If only all film’s trailers were released two months before the films themselves were released. The trailer Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane was a wonderful way to start off 2016. Filmed under the fake title Valencia10 Cloverfield Lane was a surprise “spiritual sequel” announcement, and the trailer withholds its true identity up until its final moments. Until then, you have the pleasure of listening to Tommy James and the Shondells’s “I Think We’re Alone Now”, which is never a bad way to spend 90 seconds.

The Monster

The Monster was Bryan Bertino’s (The Strangers) glorious return to form after his “just okay” Mockingbird. It came this close to landing on my Top 10 but barely missed the cut. The titular beast gets a lot more screen time than you would expect, but the film is mostly about the relationship between a junkie mother (Zoe Kazan) and her daughter (Ella Ballentine). The trailer wisely frames the film as Cujo meets Alien and sets it to the tune of a super creepy lullaby. It hints at the mother-daughter troubles but doesn’t bash you over the head with them. It’s a wonderful trailer for a wonderful film.

Categories: Horror News

Latest Cabin in the Woods Horror, ‘Bornless Ones’, Channels ‘Evil Dead’ (Trailer)

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 10:29

Only evil will survive…

In the tradition of The Evil Dead, and starring The Newsroom’s Margaret Judson and Teen Wolf’s Michael Johnston, writer/director Alexander Babaev‘s Bornless Ones comes to theaters and VOD February 10..

Having just moved to a remote home near an institution to better care for her brother Zach, Emily invites a few friends over to help her unpack. They soon discover strange symbols etched into the boards on the windows. In an effort to clean the house they clear them away, soon realizing the gravity of their mistake as they one by one become possessed by an evil force.

Margaret Judson, Devin Goodsell, Michael Johnston, Mark Furze, Bobby T, and David Banks star in an “atmospheric and demon-filled fright-fest” we now have an exclusive trailer and images from.

Categories: Horror News

TV Spots Prove ‘The Bye Bye Man’ is Real

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 10:22

Check out a trio of TV Spots from STX’s The Bye Bye Man, in theaters Friday the 13th, January 2017.

The Bye Bye Man recounts a series of terrifying events experienced by three Wisconsin college students, played by Douglas Smith, Cressida Bonas and Lucien Laviscount. Michael Trucco plays the brother of one the students, whose mind has been invaded by the unstoppable Bye Bye Man (Doug Jones). 

[Related] Invite ‘The Bye Bye Man’ Into Your Life With This Creepy Viral! (Exclusive)

“Set in 1990s Wisconsin, when three college students move into an old house off campus, they unwittingly unleash a supernatural entity known as The Bye Bye Man, who comes to prey upon them once they discover his name. The friends must try to save each other, all the while keeping The Bye Bye Man’s existence a secret to save others from the same deadly fate.”

The Bye Bye Man also stars Carrie-Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway.

Stacy Title directed from Jonathan Penner’s script, based on Robert Damon Schneck’s short story “The Bridge to Body Island.” Trevor Macy produced for Intrepid, and Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman produced for Los Angeles Media Fund.

Categories: Horror News

‘The Covenant’ Battle a Malevolent Demon

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 10:17

Uncork’d Entertainment has a soul to take this February with The Covenant, available On Demand from February 7.

After the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter, Sarah Doyle moves back to her childhood home with her estranged brother, Richard. It’s not long before Sarah begins to experience supernatural phenomena of a violent and hostile nature. Bewildered and desperate, Richard enlists the aid of a paranormal investigator who confirms that Sarah has become possessed by a powerful demon. Together, the three men will go to battle to save Sarah’s soul.

Directed by Robert Conway (Krampus Unleashed), and starring Monica Engesser (Krampus the Reckoning), Clint James (The Encounter), Owen Conway (Exit to Hell), Sanford Gibbons (Tombstone), and Maria Olson (I Spit On Your Grave : Deja-Vu), The Covenant hits February 7 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Categories: Horror News

Trace Picks the Worst Horror Movie Posters of the Year!

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 09:39

Mr. Disgusting’s Top 10 Horror Films | Several More Must-See Horror Films | Kalyn’s Top 10 | Trace’s Top 10 | Trace’s Worst 510 Best Posters | Worst Posters | Best Trailers | Luiz Picks the Best Horror Shows | Chris’ Best Blu-rays 2016: The Year Netflix Embraced Horror | 10 Sci-fi Movies You May Have Missed | 13 Most Disturbing Horror Movie Moments |
5 Pretty Good Horror Movies You Might’ve Missed in 2016
[Poll Results] The Bloody Disgusting Readers Chose the 10 Best Horror Movies of 2016
10 Biggest Horror Stories of 2016
Let’s Play Pretend and Give Academy Awards to 2016’s Best Horror Movies

A poster is the best marketing tool for a film outside of its trailer. I used to get to the movie theater 45 minutes early so I would have time to walk the halls and look at all of the posters for the coming attractions. There’s just something so fun about looking at posters and horror films arguably have the best ones. They can’t all be winners though, as the posters on this list make clear. With that being said, here are (in no particular order) 10 of the worst posters for horror films released this year!

5. The Other Side of the Door/The Disappointments Room

Do you think keyholes are scary? These posters certainly hope you do.

4. Visions/The Veil/Curve

These three posters are joined together because they are for three Blumhouse films that were all unceremoniously dumped on Netflix without any fanfare back in January. Blumhouse put as much effort into designing these posters as they did into promoting the films’ releases.

3. Martyrs

Nothing like showing a shot from the climax of your film! Yes, this is a remake and everyone who is going to see it probably knows the direction the film is going to take, but it’s still in poor taste to show the climax of your film in its poster.

2. Cabin Fever

Look, I get that Cabin Fever (my pick for worst horror film of the year) went straight to VOD services and no one tried in any shape way or form to make it a good movie, but you would think the marketing team would try to sell the film a little bit better than this poster does. Especially when the original film’s poster (the trees and the house making a skull) was so clever. You can barely even read the tagline on this one!

1. Cell

Come on! The cover of Stephen King’s novel would have made for a better poster! Whatever this thing is, it’s just awful.

What were your least favorite horror movie posters of 2016? Let us know in the comments below!

Categories: Horror News

WORLD OF DEATH Ep. 40 – Sequence of Death / Mass

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 21:00

Hello heathens!  It’s time for another episode of World of Death.

Today you’re in for a double dose of head-bursting fun as we look at two films that play with just how much our tiny human minds can handle.

In SEQUENCE OF DEATH directed by Tomaž Gorkič, a man tests the limit of his grey matter while strapped to a chair, serenaded by some less than relaxing music. As well as some great shots, SEQUENCE OF DEATH boasts a pretty killer soundtrack.

Next we have Matthew Ragsdale’s MASS, where, interrupted from their midnight mass, a group of Pagans and some party crashing witch hunters get a taste of what God is really all about… With a little Grindhouse flair of course.

Hope you enjoy, ya bunch of sickos.

– Jessie Robbins

World of Death is the web series that fans of independent horror have been waiting for.  Featuring short horror films from all over the globe created by the largest variety of talent that a collection has ever been able to boast, WOD provides plenty of blood, guts, screams and laughs for all fans of the macabre.  And with episodes averaging around eight minutes in length, WOD is the perfect entertainment for a fan base constantly on the go.  Watch it anywhere, at any time, for FREE! New episodes premiere every Monday and Thursday at 10am CST.

SUBSCRIBE HERE

SUBMIT HERE

WATCH HERE

Categories: Horror News

Why I Love ‘Phantasm: Ravager’: 2016’s Most Charming Horror Film

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 18:26

The cool thing about the ‘best of’ and ‘worst of’ lists that we post at the end of every year here on Bloody Disgusting is that they showcase the diversity of our writing staff’s opinions. I may love a film, for example, that one of the other writers absolutely loathed, and that’s the beauty of this whole thing. How boring would it be if we all felt the exact same way about every single movie?!

I bring this up because, well, I loved a horror movie released this year that Trace Thurman loathed. That film, as you’ve probably gathered by now, was David Hartman’s Phantasm: Ravager, a sequel that literally came out of nowhere a few years ago and then finally saw release this year. Ravager made its way onto Trace’s 5 Worst Horror Movies of 2016 list, and I not only respect its inclusion on that list but I also understand it. As Trace explains in the post, he’s never been a fan of the Phantasm franchise, and he compared Ravager to a “cheaply-made student film.”

Honestly, I don’t disagree. Phantasm: Ravager plays out like a fan film you’d expect to find on Syfy, so Trace is right on the money there. It’s far from one of the best horror films released in 2016, but as someone who is a longtime fan of the franchise – and of its mythology and characters – I feel pretty comfortable at least dubbing it the most downright charming horror film of 2016.

To explain what I mean, I wanted to share the Phantasm: Ravager review I wrote back in October. I only published it, at the time, on a personal Medium blog that I’ve since taken down, so I figured now was the perfect time to actually get it out there. So here’s why I love Phantasm: Ravager.

Out of all the big horror franchises, Phantasm is perhaps the most special. For starters, it’s long been the only one to feature individual installments written and directed by one person (Don Coscarelli), and it’s also the longest-running horror franchise that has to date never been rebooted. For nearly forty years, dating way back to 1979, friends Reggie and Mike (and sometimes Mike’s not-quite-alive brother, Jody) have been doing battle with the dimension-hopping Tall Man and his army of diminutive creatures, and that decades-long battle comes to a bittersweet end in this year’s fifth installment.

Written by Don Coscarelli and David Hartman, but directed by Hartman, Phantasm: Ravager picks up some time after the events of 1998’s Oblivion. Alone in the desert, Reggie is on the hunt for Mike, and he’s of course got his four-barreled shotgun by his side. But things take a time-traveling twist when Reggie and Mike reunite in what may be the present, future, or some alternate reality taking place inside Reggie’s mind; together, they battle the Tall Man one last time… in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

The most mind-blowing stat about the Phantasm franchise is that all five installments have cumulatively been made for just under $7 million, and while Phantasm 2 makes up the majority of that collective budget, Phantasm: Ravager barely makes a dent with its alleged $300,000 budget — roughly the same amount of money that Don Coscarelli turned into a horror classic back in 1979. As beloved as the franchise may be, its low-budget limitations have certainly reared their head on more than a handful of occasions throughout, but serious fans of all things Phantasm understand that the charm of the series is very much tied to those budgetary constraints. And Ravager, well, it’s got no shortage of DIY charm.

There’s a moment in Phantasm where Don Coscarelli showed off the Tall Man’s home planet, and that iconic glimpse into another world more or less personifies the “we’ve got no money to do this but we’re going to do it anyway” spirit of the Phantasm franchise. With Ravager, David Hartman both taps into and pays tribute to that independent spirit, bringing back the key players from Coscarelli’s film for a brand new sequel that feels like nothing short of a massive love letter to the journey Coscarelli and friends took us on from 1979 through 1998. Hartman captures all the quirks, charms, and both good and bad qualities that make up the series, cobbling together what feels like a fan film as well as pure fan service.

The Phantasm franchise is at its best when it’s at its weirdest, and oh boy do Coscarelli and Hartman get weird with Ravager. While the film starts off straightforward enough, it soon hops back and forth between different times and realities, alternately depicting Reggie as a lone badass looking for his friend, an insane old man whose mind is completely fried, and a soldier in a post-apocalyptic battle against the Tall Man. Like some of the franchise’s best sequences, it’s often hard to figure out what the hell is even going on in Ravager, and as convoluted as it may be, it all just feels so right. Even the finale is totally open to interpretation, but either option manages to feel like the perfect conclusion to the series.

If you like your Phantasm crazy, confusing, and cheap, all three boxes are admirably ticked off by Phantasm: Ravager. With less than half a million bucks at his disposal, Hartman takes us to both the Tall Man’s home planet and a future world that has been completely ravaged by the sinister time-traveler, and though some of the digital effects are undoubtedly of the “Syfy Original” variety, it’s hard to complain about a movie made with such love and so full of genuine charm. The whole thing just feels like a treat for fans of the series. A movie that exists against the odds. A movie we’re lucky to have.

An ambitious and thoroughly entertaining nostalgia trip, Phantasm: Ravager brings the band (including the late Angus Scrimm, whose signature scowl is as on-point as ever) back together for one last hurrah, and I can’t imagine any longtime fan of the series not cheering, smiling, and perhaps even squirting out a few tears while watching it. In a world where all the other horror franchises have been rebooted on at least one occasion, there’s just something about the existence of this decades-later sequel that feels worthy of cherishing; at the very least, it’s worth overlooking its flaws and just appreciating and enjoying it for precisely what it is.

Some will say Ravager ends the franchise on a high note. Others will say it ends it on a low note. As for me, I’m not exactly going with either “high” or “low.” I’m going with “perfect.”

Color me satisfied.

Categories: Horror News

5 Pretty Good Horror Movies You Might’ve Missed in 2016

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 18:01

Mr. Disgusting’s Top 10 Horror Films | Several More Must-See Horror Films | Kalyn’s Top 10 | Trace’s Top 10 | Trace’s Worst 510 Best Posters | Worst Posters | Best Trailers | Luiz Picks the Best Horror Shows | Chris’ Best Blu-rays 2016: The Year Netflix Embraced Horror | 10 Sci-fi Movies You May Have Missed | 13 Most Disturbing Horror Movie Moments |
5 Pretty Good Horror Movies You Might’ve Missed in 2016
[Poll Results] The Bloody Disgusting Readers Chose the 10 Best Horror Movies of 2016
10 Biggest Horror Stories of 2016
Let’s Play Pretend and Give Academy Awards to 2016’s Best Horror Movies

Every year, there are horror movies that nobody talks about.

What I’ve always found interesting about movies and the way we react to them is that we only really pay attention to the GREAT ones and the TERRIBLE ones. At the end of every year, for example, many of us take a look at the best and worst the genre had to offer, and in doing so, we tend to ignore a large swath of films that really don’t fall into either category. Which is kind of a shame, because many of those not great and not terrible movies are pretty damn good.

So let’s talk about some of them, shall we? Here are 5 horror movies I saw in 2016 that fall into the “pretty good” category… 5 horror movies that I really haven’t seen anyone talking about.

1) THE PACK

Man’s best friend becomes a family’s worst nightmare in Aussie horror flick The Pack, the directorial debut of Nick Robertson. In the film, a family of four facing eviction from their isolated farmhouse comes face-to-face with true terror when a pack of feral dogs show up on the property. On paper, wild dogs may not seem like terrifying horror movie villains, but Robertson brings those vicious predators to the screen with such effectiveness and straight-faced seriousness that The Pack may make you think twice about adopting a four-legged friend. Rather than using CGI or even animatronics, Robertson had real German Shepherds dyed black to create his villainous beasties, and it’s so damn effective. It doesn’t hurt that you genuinely care about the characters. There’s admittedly not much to the movie, and it certainly doesn’t reinvent any wheels, but it’s a solid home invasion film and one of the better animals-run-amok movies in recent memory.

2) NINA FOREVER

Brothers Ben and Chris Blaine got wonderfully weird and surprisingly deep with their debut feature, Nina Forever. Appropriately billed as “a fucked up love story,” the film centers on Rob, who has recently attempted suicide in the wake of his girlfriend dying in a car accident. Rob finds new hope when he meets Holly, but their relationship is tested when Nina returns from the dead. Boldly and unconventionally exploring that gaping wound left behind when we lose someone we love, Nina Forever is a wholly original look at love, loss, and crippling grief. It’s equal parts disturbing, twisted, and oddly beautiful, driven by fearless performances from Abigail Hardingham and Fiona O’Shaughnessy. Once you see it, you will likely never forget the title character.

3) AVA’S POSSESSIONS

Taking place in the direct aftermath of an exorcism, Ava’s Possessions is a film that approaches the subject of demonic possession from an entirely different angle, reminding that with a little ingenuity, old ideas can be made new again. Written and directed by Jordan Galland, the horror-comedy tells the story of Ava, who is recovering from a recent possession that seems to have left a little blood on her hands. Bursting with a vibrantly colorful style and escorted by an original score courtesy of Sean Lennon, Galland’s third feature blazes across the screen like a breath of fresh air, and his observations about post-possession life are often quite hilarious – at the center of the story is the Spirit Possessions Anonymous support group, and Galland has a whole lot of fun establishing a world wherein demonic possession has become a normal part of society. Ava’s Possessions is a fresh take on a very tired sub-genre, and it’s a unique experience all its own.

4) HANGMAN

One of the creepiest horror movies released this year was undoubtedly Adam Mason’s Hangman, which yes, is another found footage film – but it’s a slice of POV horror that reminds how effective the filmmaking style can still be when properly utilized. In the film, the Miller family returns from vacation to find their house ransacked, and what they don’t know is that a masked stranger placed cameras all around their home while they were gone. To make matters worse, the killer, like Billy from Black Christmas, is still inside the house. Watching Hangman, you get the sense that you’re watching something you should not be, as you’re literally put inside the sick headspace of the villain. We watch the family sleep, take showers, and go about their daily lives, and it’s pretty unsettling to play that fly on the wall of their home. This is the sort of movie that will continue to creep you out while you lay in bed, questioning if someone, somewhere, is watching you.

5) EMELIE

It’s a common cliche that babysitters in horror movies will never reach the end of the movie unscathed, but with Emelie, director Michael Thelin goes in the complete opposite direction. The titular babysitter in this one, played by an incredibly devilish Sarah Bolger, is the villain rather than the victim. Emelie shows up at a couple’s home and poses as Anna, the last-minute replacement babysitter they’ve never so much as seen a picture of. Though she initially seems to be the perfect babysitter, letting the kids run wild and have fun, the night soon takes a turn for the sinister when Emelie makes them participate in a series of increasingly disturbing games. Emelie is one of the most memorable horror villains in recent years, inflicting psychological torment on the children in a way that is altogether more terrifying than anything a hulking brute like Jason Voorhees is capable of. Thelin isn’t afraid to smash taboos and show the true depths of Emelie’s depravity, making the babysitter-gone-wrong film a tense and unsettling experience that is often hard to watch. The final act isn’t great, but Emelie is boundary-pushing horror that’s quite unforgettable.

Can you think of any pretty good horror movies released in 2016 that deserve more recognition?

Categories: Horror News

Entire ‘Resident Evil’ Franchise Getting Steelbook Blu-rays at Best Buy

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 17:06

Care for a double dip, anyone?

On January 27th, Alice returns for her (alleged) final battle in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the sixth installment of the hit horror movie franchise that began back in 2002. It’s likely that if you’re a fan of the series you already own the previous five installments on home video, but there’s something to be said for Steelbooks. They’re shiny. And awesome. And, uh, steely.

I mention this because the entire Resident Evil franchise is coming home yet again in the form of individual Steelbook Blu-ray releases, which will be exclusive to Best Buy stores. The new Steelbooks of Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction, Resident Evil: Afterlife, and Resident Evil: Retribution will arrive on Best Buy shelves on January 17th.

Each of the films will come packaged with up to $7.50 in movie cash to see Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in theaters, and it looks like they’ll be selling for $17.99 apiece.

Check out the art below and head over to Best Buy’s website to place pre-orders.

Categories: Horror News

Chris Picks Out the Best Blu-rays of 2016!

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 16:32

Mr. Disgusting’s Top 10 Horror Films | Several More Must-See Horror Films | Kalyn’s Top 10 | Trace’s Top 10 | Trace’s Worst 510 Best Posters | Worst Posters | Best Trailers | Luiz Picks the Best Horror Shows | Chris’ Best Blu-rays 2016: The Year Netflix Embraced Horror | 10 Sci-fi Movies You May Have Missed | 13 Most Disturbing Horror Movie Moments |
5 Pretty Good Horror Movies You Might’ve Missed in 2016
[Poll Results] The Bloody Disgusting Readers Chose the 10 Best Horror Movies of 2016
10 Biggest Horror Stories of 2016
Let’s Play Pretend and Give Academy Awards to 2016’s Best Horror Movies

It’s that time of year once again when we all put together a list of the year’s best. Much like I did a year ago I’ll once again be looking at my favorite Blu-ray releases from this past year. And just like 2015 exceeded all expectations, 2016 has once again raised the bar. In a time when streaming is becoming more and more the norm, the genre Blu-ray market continues to thrive. Arrow Video, Scream Factory, Criterion Collection, Kino Lorber, Blue Underground, Synapse, Vinegar Syndrome and basically everyone else that is a player in the genre Blu-ray scene had an incredible year.

Because this was such a successful year for Blu-ray releases I decided to switch up my format just a tad from a year ago. When choosing my favorite Blu-rays of 2015 I ended up making multiple lists. I did a best of steelbooks, best of box sets, best of double features and so forth. For 2016 I’ve decided to condense everything down to one list containing my 25 favorite releases from the year. Any genre Blu-ray release from 2016 was consider fair game for my list.

Another change I’ve implemented this year is the ranking of the releases. Instead of ranking all 25 of my choices I will only be ranking the top 5. The 20 selections outside of my top 5 will be more of an honorable mention. My logic behind this is that it’s simply too hard to rank them individually this year. There’s just too many good releases that deserve mention. This allows me to give a definitive top 5 while still talking about 20 other awesome releases!

Alright, let’s do this! Here’s my 20 “honorable mention” selections for the best Blu-ray releases of 2016!

Michele Soavi’s ‘The Church’

Trailer Trauma – Garagehouse Pictures

Trailer Trauma (read my review) was the second Blu-ray release from Garagehouse Pictures and their first in what is currently a 3-part series of Blu-rays dedicated to genre trailers. There’s 60 plus trailers coming in at over 2 hours. Invite some of your genre-loving friends over and just pop this bad boy on. It’s great to just sit down and watch, but also the perfect thing to have playing in the background at either a little get together or a Halloween party. I cannot recommend this release enough.

The Complete Lady Snowblood – Criterion Collection

Criterion had an incredible 2016 as a whole, but their genre stuff was especially good. They got the ball rolling early when they released The Complete Lady Snowblood (read my review) in January of 2016. This set features both Lady Snowblood and Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance and both films look and sound incredible. Both films received digital 2k transfers and they bring Toshiya Fujita’s unique blend of violence and beauty to life wonderfully. As is always the case with Criterion this release also comes with plenty of supplemental features including brand-new interviews.

Switchblade Sisters – Subkultur Entertainment

2016 was a good year for Jack Hill fans as a handful of his films made their way to Blu-ray including Switchblade Sisters (read my review). This Blu-ray release was my first experience with Germany’s Subkultur Entertainment and want an experience it was. This release is stunning. This Hill classic has never looked better and it’s jam packed with bonus content.

A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin – Mondo Macabro

Lucio Fulci’s A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin received an incredible French Blu-ray release in 2015. Somehow, someway Monda Macabro was able improve upon that masterpiece with their own release in 2016. Mondo Macabro went above and beyond with this release delivering the most complete version of this Fulci classic you’ll ever see. Picture and audio quality are top of the line and the special features are loaded.

American Horror Project Vol. 1 – Arrow Video

American Horror Project Vol. 1 (read my review) introduced me to three forgotten American classics. The good folks over at Arrow Video unearthed three American horror gems in Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood, The Witch Who Came from the Sea and The Premonition. The films are quite different, but all three work in various different ways and are absolutely worth your time. If it weren’t for Arrow this films likely would have slipped even further into the abyss of nothingness.

Bride of Re-Animator – Arrow Video

Bride of Re-Animator (read my review) could have easily been a top 5 release on the year. Why? Because it’s freakin’ awesome. The movie itself is just superb. Is it better than Re-Animator? I won’t go that far, but a case can be made. And this release gives Bride all the respect and love it truly deserves. If you were lucky enough to snag the limited edition release you ended up with a 3-disc set that even includes the 1992 comic Dawn of the Re-Animator. I can’t say enough good things about this wonderful release.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 – Scream Factory

There’s been some good Blu-ray releases of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (read my review) over the years but Scream Factory delivered on the ultimate release. A couple years back Arrow released a region B version of TCM2 that I thought was top of the line. Scream Factory proved me wrong. This…release…looks..gorgeous! Get it. Now!

Blood and Black Lace – Arrow Video

Hey, look! It’s another Arrow release! This time we have Mario Bava’s wonderful Blood and Black Lace, available as a standard Arrow release or in steelbook form. I’m a sucker for steelbooks so I indeed got the steelbook, but you can’t go wrong with either version. Blood and Black Lace is some of Bava’s best work. His brilliant use of color is on full display and it looks gorgeous on this new Blu-ray from Arrow.

Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection – Arrow Video

Arrow has yet to release a bad box set and Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection is one of my favorites. This four-part women-in-prison series stars the wonderful Meiko Kaji in a role that allows her to kick a whole lot of ass. Admittedly the picture quality on this set is less than we’ve come to expect from Arrow, but they are upfront about that from the start. The source materials Arrow was given to work with weren’t great, so there’s some obvious imperfections throughout and a lack of detail at times. Arrow did their best to make up for with a ton of bonus features. Each disc comes with a number of featurettes featuring the likes of Jasper Sharp and Gareth Evans. If you’re a fan of the series I think you’ll be able to get around the less than stellar PQ to enjoy this set. Personally I love the films so this is a must for me.

Raising Cain – Scream Factory

Raising Cain seems to get kicked around a lot and I don’t get it. I’ve always considered it to be an awesome movie. It’s classic De Palma! But even as someone who has loved this movie since the first time seeing it, I grew to love it more after watching the Scream Factory Blu-ray. The film has two cuts, the original cut and the new cut that is more true to De Palma’s original script. The new cut plays around with the timeline and tells the story out of order making the entire film all that more intriguing. It’s perfect.

Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro – Criterion Collection

Criterion upped their Guillermo del Toro game this year with Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro. Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone have both been available from Criterion fro a while now, but this year they released Pan’s Labyrinth as a solo release and as part of Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro, a beautiful box set that includes all three of these del Toro entries. All three movies looks great, as you would expect with Criterion, and the set is stunning. The package is just very unique and cool with the way it opens. One of the coolest pieces in my collection.

Daughter of Dracula – Redemption Films

If you’re a Jess Franco fan (and why wouldn’t you be) 2016 was a big year for you. Franco had about five new films hit Blu-ray in the US and Daughter of Dracula is my favorite of the bunch. This is pretty standard Franco so don’t expect too much of a story and a fair amount of nudity, but there is a pretty solid mystery at the heart and that classic Franco mood. Redemption seems to get Franco and they do a very good job with his releases. This PQ here is very good and there’s a handful of special features including audio commentary with Tim Lucas and a funny “safe” take that removes the film’s nudity.

Black Christmas – Scream Factory

Generally speaking Scream Factory provides Blu-rays releases to films that have yet to make the jump to the format. In 2016 they took a number of films that were pretty widely available on Blu-ray all ready and gave them superior releases. Black Christmas is one of those films to get the Scream Factory upgrade. The film itself is without question a slasher classic and now it has a Blu-ray release worthy of such a film. The movie, which is still one of the scariest things to ever exist, is an absolute treat for the eyes. Scream Factory did a killer job with this one. I saw some online chatter about some audio issues but I never noticed a thing. This is the Black Christmas you should own.

The Man from Hong Kong – Umbrella Entertainment

I’m a huge Brian Trenchard-Smith fan. I’ve been talking about him for years to anyone that would listen. The last couple years have been big for him in terms of Blu-rays releases. In 2015 both Turkey Shoot and The Siege of Firebase Gloria made their way to Blu-ray. This year we were fortunate enough to get Dead End Drive-In and The Man from Hong Kong. Both 2016 releases are great but The Man from Hong Kong is just slightly better and as a result it made my list. Released by the wildly underrated Umbrella Entertainment, The Man from Hong Kong is everything you could possibly want in a Blu-ray release. Not only does this 70’s action gem look fantastic but the bonus content is so grand that it actually includes 5 more films from Trenchard-Smith including the 80’s classic Stunt Rock! If you like Ozploitation you NEED to own this.

Alien 2 – 88 Films

Alien 2: On Earth is an Italian rip-off of Alien. It’s not the only time they ripped off popular American movies and it’s not the only time they ripped off Alien. Though to be fair Ridley Scott did rip-off Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires when making Alien so I suppose we’ve come full circle in many ways. Rip-off or not, Alien 2 is freaking awesome! I will happily take all the violent Italian rip-offs because they always rule. 88 Films had a lot of really good releases in 2016, but Alien 2 was my personal favorite of theirs.

Death Machines – Vinegar Syndrome

A year ago I didn’t think we’d ever have any Paul Kyriazi films on Blu-ray, now we have two. In late 2015 Garagehouse Pictures released Ninja Busters and now thanks to Vinegar Syndrome we have Death Machines. For a very long time this movie has been high on my list of films I desperately want on Blu-ray and to now finally own is like a dream come true. I absolutely love this movie. It’s flawed and has all sorts of issues but it’s so sincere and earnest that it’s impossible to not love it. Vinegar Syndrome did an outstanding job delivering a pristine picture. I would have never guessed in a million years that we’d see Death Machines looking this good and yet here we are. Here’s the hoping we get more Kyriazi Blus in the future! Omega Cop anyone?

Manhattan Baby – Blue Underground

Manhattan Baby is making this list in large part due to my love for Lucio Fulci. If I’m being honest this movie isn’t very good. It has moments here and there and a very good score from Fabio Frizzi, but overall it misses the mark by quite a bit. While the movie might fail in a number of ways there is no denying that the Blue Underground release is superb. The flawed film looks wonderful in this new 2k restoration from the original camera negatives and there’s plenty of extras for all the Fulci fans out there. Included in the extras is a bonus booklet featuring new writings from Fulci expert Troy Howarth as well as a CD of Frizzi’s soundtrack to the film. So yeah, the movie isn’t great, but this is a must-own for Fulci purists.

Tenebrae – Synapse

Synapse always takes their time with their releases. They rush absolutely nothing. As horror fans that may drive us just a little mad as we are beyond eager to get our hands on every Blu-ray release, but Synapse is always worth the wait. Their Blu-rays are top of the line every time and their Tenebrae release is no different. This Argento classic has never looked better. Synapse should have some type of deal in place that gives them access to all of Argento’s work because everything they release of his is perfect. Tenebrae is no exception.

Burial Ground – Severin Films

Italian horror in general is a pretty bizarre category even in the world of horror. The films are almost always completely insane and Burial Ground may be the craziest of the whole lot. If you haven’t seen this, you should. In terms of plot there’s not a whole here. Rotten zombies awake from their slumber and begin attacking people, but plot has never been the more important element when it comes to Italian horror. We just need to get to zombies eating people up in all their gory glory and that’s what Burial Ground gives us. The film has released a couple other releases, including a UK version from 88 Films earlier in the year that was also quite stellar, but Severin’s release edges them out by just a bit. This is a must-have addition to any Italian horror fans collection.

The Church – Shameless Entertainment

Give me all the Michele Soavi on Blu-ray, please! The UK’s Shameless Entertainment released The Church in November and in many ways it came out of nowhere. It was a release that I knew was coming but had sort of forgot about in part because up to this point Shameless has been a little slower than some of the other companies out there when it comes to getting Blu-rays out in the market. I believe this was their first Blu-ray release in 2016 and their first release on the format since 2014. I can tell you that it was worth the wait. Shameless did a wonderful job with this release. This 2k HD restoration is gorgeous and this is the longest version of the film ever released. The special features are pretty limited but there is a nice interview with Soavi. All in all The Church is a fantastic release and hopefully we see more Blu-rays from Shameless in the future.

Juan Piquer Simón’s ‘Pieces’

And now it’s time for the best of the best!

5. Chopping Mall – Vestron Video Collector’s Series

2016 marked the year that Lionsgate finally opened up the Vestron vault and horror fans everywhere benefited from it. Anyone of the Vestron titles could have been worth of making my Best of 2016 list but I went with Chopping Mall (read my review) because it was the release I was most eager to get. For those that haven’t seen it the movie is a bit silly, but it’s a ton of fun. The release though is even better. The Blu-ray looks fantastic, delivering by far the best picture quality we’ve ever seen for Chopping Mall. Where this release really exceeds though is when it comes to special features. This thing is loaded, which appears to be the standard for the Vestron Video Collector’s Series.

4. The Thing – Scream Factory

The Thing is arguably John Carpenter’s greatest film. From a practical effects standpoint it’s certainly the most impressive. Over the years The Thing has been released on Blu-ray a number of times and most of them have been pretty good releases which is why I was surprised when Scream Factory announced they’d be releasing the Carpenter classic. I figured how much could they improve on past releases? A lot, apparently. Scream Factory’s release of The Thing is perfect. The PQ is stunning, by far the best the film has ever looked, though some may debate that. DP Dean Cundey oversaw the Scream Factory and he personally approved this version and I tend to trust the DP. The film is also packed with bonus content including a new commentary with Cundey.

3. Carnival of Souls – Criterion Collection

Carnival of Souls is one of the greatest horror films of all time, but strangely it doesn’t seem to get talked about all that much. Not that it’s forgotten or anything like that, but it’s right up there with the likes of Night of the Living Dead and deserves that same kind of praise. Hopefully this Blu-ray release from Criterion will help bring some more attention to this classic. This Blu-ray has what may be the greatest looking picture I have ever seen. Carnival of Souls was restored in 4k and looks gorgeous. The special features are especially awesome on this release. There’s a great 20-minute featurette on the film hosted by comedian Dana Gould. If you haven’t heard Dana Gould talk horror movies you’re missing out because the dude has so much passion for the genre. In addition to the Gould piece there’s a great feature on Saltair, an incredibly interesting documentary on a location featured heavily in the film. Releases don’t get much better than Criterion’s Carnival of Souls.

2. The Mutilator – Arrow Video

Arrow Video’s The Mutilator  (read my review) could have easily been my favorite release of the year. In fact it very nearly was and is certainly worthy of such a title, but there’s no shame in nabbing second place. The Mutilator is one of my favorite off-the-wall slashers. In fact along with Blood Rage and Pieces I considered it be part of what I like to call the Holy Trinity of Sleazy 80’s Slasher Trash. I desperately needed this film on Blu-ray and Arrow did not disappoint. There are no words to describe how I feel about this movie. It is wonderful. Go get it now.

1. Pieces – Grindhouse Releasing

And my favorite Blu-ray of the year goes to Pieces (read my review) from Grindhouse Releasing! Two entries from the Holy Trinity of Sleazy 80’s Slasher Trash walk away with the top two spots in 2016. The third entry, Blood Rage, was my favorite Blu-ray of 2015. Pretty obvious I love these three movies, huh? Pieces is probably my favorite of these three films so it’s really no surprise to see it take home the top spot. A number of years back Grindhouse Releasing put out a wonderful DVD of Pieces. That release was good as you get when it comes to DVD. They put in all the same hard work and effort to deliver on a perfect Blu-ray upgrade. This is a 3-disc set that comes with two Blu-rays and one CD containing the film’s soundtrack. The two Blu-rays offer up two different cuts of the film and a world of special features including an awesome documentary on 42nd Street. And if you were lucky enough to snag one of the first 3,000 releases you received a replica of the puzzle from the film’s opening scene. When it comes to Blu-ray releases they don’t get much better than Pieces.

Categories: Horror News

Someone Just Turned 2016 into a Hilarious Horror Movie Trailer

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 16:21

Well, this was inevitable.

It’s silly to accuse a year of bringing evil upon the world, but when you really think about it, some pretty awful things have happened in the last twelve months. From a sizeable handful of truly iconic artists dying to, well, that whole political thing that shocked us all last month, 2016 hasn’t exactly been the greatest year… in fact, many have described it as a real life horror movie.

Thanks to Friend Dog Studios, now it is a horror movie. Sort of.

The spoof trailer 2016: The Movie pits a group of young characters up against 2016’s corporeal form, which appears to be a maniac wearing a mask that has “2016” crudely written onto it. He’s basically the personification of the year, you see, and he’s not letting the characters make it to 2017 without a fight. Of course, this is a faux trailer for a movie that doesn’t actually exist, but that’s probably for the best. Sometimes trailers are better. Sometimes they’re all we need.

Then again, this movie would probably be YUGE at the box office.

Enjoy. And hang in there. 2016 is almost over.

Categories: Horror News