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[TV Review] ‘The X-Files’ Season 11 Episode 6: “Kitten”

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 21:00

 ‘The X-Files’ turns to Skinner and his spotty past in an episode that does justice for both the character and the show, but barely

“Have you ever wondered why after thirty-five years in the Bureau Walter Skinner isn’t sitting on this side of the desk?”

Towards the end of The X-Files’ original run, a number of spinoffs were naturally put under consideration. One idea that gained a little steam was that the season five episode “Travelers” could act as a springboard for a series that focuses on Arthur Dale’s exploits with early X-Files cases. That’s a solid enough premise, but it’s a little surprising that no one was ever like, “Hey, you know, Skinner’s also been with the department forever and the audience actually knows who he is…” A spinoff that looks at a young Skinner’s early X-Files adventures has even more appeal than The X-Files: The Early Years. So in spite of how this idea was never on the table, it’s comforting to see the series finally start to explore that territory now.

Season 11’s “Kitten” is a Skinner-heavy installment and it’s seriously about time. Up until this point there’s really only been one episode in The X-Files’ 200-plus run of episodes that puts Walter Skinner in the spotlight and that’s season three’s regrettable “Avatar.” “Avatar” explores Skinner’s life, but the episode curiously decides to focus on Skinner’s crumbling marriage and the Assistant Director’s disastrous attempt at a one-night stand. “Avatar” isn’t the best episode and it doesn’t make the strongest case that regular visits into Skinner’s past are a good idea, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is a deep, fascinating character that has been apart of this show for as long as Mulder and Scully have and he’s seen just as much as them.

It’s really rather surprising that the show didn’t take advantage of Skinner and flesh out his life outside of the X-Files (or even his time there before Mulder and Scully enter the picture), especially during the show’s eighth and ninth seasons when Mulder’s presence was minimal and the character was in the need of an upgrade. Season eight’s “S.R. 819” certainly puts Skinner front and center too, but that’s more about Krycek turning him into a victim than learning anything about his past. So it’s nice to see Skinner get a showcase episode in the 11th season, and it’s a long overdue one, but it becomes a question of whether this episode delivers or if this is just another messy installment like “Avatar.” “Kitten” is a better episode, but it’s hardly vintage X-Files.

It’s worth to note that enough character assassination has been done to Skinner this season that even if this episode were to be a complete failure, it would still play a little better due to how the character has been portrayed this year. That’s also kind of the point here, as Skinner’s mysterious, questionable behavior this season hits its apex and that’s what prompts this glimpse into his past.

It feels like an episode of this nature that digs into Skinner’s past would be written by someone like James Wong or Chris Carter himself. However, “Kitten” has relative newcomers behind the wheel on this one. Gabe Rotter writes the script and Carol Banker directs and they both do a decent job with this dual storyline that unfolds in both the past and the present.

A “men on a mission” style X-Files where an army platoon has to keep a top-secret crate safe while under enemy fire is a pretty damn good idea for an episode. If Star Wars can reinvent itself in a number of ways, then why can’t The X-Files also take similar cues from various genres? As awesome as an episode that’s set entirely in 1969 during the height of the Vietnam War would be, unfortunately this idea gets reduced to a strong cold open for a commendable installment, but one that still feels like standard X-Files rather than something special or different. “A WAR IS NEVER OVER” is the episode’s “Truth Is Out There” placeholder and even that feels rather lazy in its message. Not only that, but there have been many great X-Files episodes that explore that theme through PTSD. A theme that’s a little more original could get a lot more accomplished with this episode.

“Kitten” marks the return of Deputy Director Alvin Kersh, who’s back for the first time since season nine’s finale, “The Truth!” I’ve never been the biggest fan of Kersh and he’s always just seemed like a more belligerent Skinner who applies pressure on Mulder and Scully when necessary, but it’s still nice to see him again. There are still plenty of other characters I’d rather see before Kersh, but this appearance does justify itself, even if it’s more practical than anything else.

Kersh calls Mulder and Scully in when Skinner goes missing and he does a good job at dressing the two down in the process. He blames Skinner’s allegiance to the two of them for why his career with the FBI has remained stagnant and he figures that they must have something to do with his current disappearance. Mulder and Scully are out of the loop on this one, but it does at least put Skinner’s absence on their radar and they can begin to do their own digging on the matter (although Mulder was probably enjoying the peace and quiet). Kersh basically tells them that it’s their responsibility to find Skinner and get him back to work or he’s officially burned his last bridge with the Bureau. This might be a little ham-fisted, especially when it’s all laid out this way at the top of the episode, but it gets the episode’s gears in motion and Mulder’s juices flowing.

Much of the horror within “Kitten” that’s not of a psychological nature deals with a weaponized fear gas that manifests itself as a freaky cattle skull creature. This beast is at the center of the episode and it’s an appropriately creepy creation (it also is a dead ringer for the titular character in the anime, The Ancient Magus’ Bride, FYI). After this monster pops up a few times, “Kitten” starts to push the idea that perhaps Skinner is this monster. This clearly shouldn’t be taken literally, but the episode wants people to consider that possibility, which is pretty insulting and ludicrous. There’s no way that Skinner has actually been a monster through the course of the show. Even the idea that Skinner’s ultimately the episode’s villain feels like an angle that the episode is just waiting to tug out from under the audience’s feet.

Thankfully, Mulder and Scully are a little savvier than everyone else in this episode, which largely consists of the residents of a small hamlet known as Mud Lick. The two don’t think that Skinner is to blame here. If anything they’re concerned about his mental state and that he might be lost in some sort of PTSD-related stress. Skinner is of course totally fine here, but that’s not the case for one of his former squad members. Skinner was lucky enough to only get exposed to a minimal amount of this fear gas while he was in Vietnam, but others suffered to the point where the gas allegedly “changed” them.

Skinner’s past in Vietnam is put under fire from Haley Joel Osment’s character, Davey, who attacks the Assistant Director for not standing up for his fellow infected teammates when their actions were put under scrutiny. Skinner had the power to potentially save them or at least reduce their sentences, but he remained silent. Now somebody thinks it’s time that he paid the consequences for that. Skinner, of course, stands by his moral actions and “Kitten” tries to rebuild his character as the faithful boy scout that he’s been in the past. He’s given a good reason for everything that he does here. The episode is more interested in having a discussion about the effects of war than it is in vilifying Skinner.

As “Kitten” approaches its final act, Mulder, Scully, and Osment’s Davey all go back and forth in his tiny home and it’s maybe the episode’s most interesting scene. The sequence slowly leaks out tension as Davey’s weird demeanor starts to become more alarming. It’s the most unsettling scene in the entry and it plays into Osment’s strengths where he can apparently channel a creep rather well. The episode’s conclusion offers up a strong companion scene in Davey’s home where Mulder searches for clues and a record blares rock music to create an eerie atmosphere. It’s just a shame that so much of his discussion comes down to government brain manipulation, which is pretty old hat and cliché for conspiracy theories.

As Davey’s plan continues to unravel, at one point it looks like Skinner might die after he gets impaled on some nasty rebar. Make no mistake, if Skinner were to die in some random episode, that would be awful, but it would at least be something interesting and ballsy for the show to do. Instead, The X-Files delivers the most overdone war story possible, but “Kitten” could still be a whole lot worse.

In the end, “Kitten” is really the story of the first time that Skinner becomes disillusioned with the government that he thought was infallible, which is a thread that Mulder and Scully have run with through the course of the show. This message may be a little muddled throughout the episode (even if Skinner explicitly tells it to the audience during the episode’s final moments), but it is a strong note to go out on and the right way to re-center Skinner’s relationship with Mulder and Scully. That being said, this doesn’t reverse Skinner’s recent pact with the Cigarette Smoking Man and I’m sure that when “My Struggle IV” comes along, he’ll inexplicably be evil again because it’s what the story dictates.

“Kitten” deserves points for its message, but there are a number of awkward spots throughout it that are hard not to cringe at. Most of the material between Mulder, Scully, and the Mud Lick police department is awkward to watch. It just doesn’t click. The same can be said for Skinner’s Vietnam flashbacks, which also fall a little flat. There’s also a “mystical homeless man” named Trigger Davis who warns Mulder and Scully about “Kitten” right from the start. Additionally, for a “Skinner-centric” episode there’s still a lot of Mulder and Scully leading the way. About halfway through the entry Skinner’s presence thankfully takes over, but this balance could still be worked out a little better. “Kitten” at least clears his name by the end of all of this, which is still a step in the right direction for the show.

The X-Files’ 11th season is officially past its halfway point now, which seems like a reasonable time to address whether this new year was worth it. “Kitten” amounts to yet another example of mediocre X-Files, which is fine, but why bring a series like this back for just fine? This season has still done more harm to the show’s legacy than it’s done good, but perhaps the final few episodes will manage to turn out some gems that conjure the magic that this show is capable of.

Oh, and don’t forget to floss, guys. Teeth are falling out all over the place.

‘The X-Files’ 11th season will continue Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on FOX

Categories: Horror News

Grab a Drink, We’ve Got New “Ash vs. Evil Dead” Photos

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 19:35

Let’s make a toast to “Ash vs. Evil Dead” returning for a third season this coming Feb. 25, 2018!

The third season finds Ash, having gone from murderous urban legend to humanity-saving hometown hero, discovering that he has a long-lost daughter who’s been entrusted to his care. When Kelly witnesses a televised massacre with Ruby’s fingerprints all over it, she returns with a new friend to warn Ash and Pablo that evil isn’t done with them yet. But evil will learn to never get in between a papa bear and his cub. Kalyn flew to New Zealand last year to talk to the cast during filming!

The wickedly gore-filled series stars Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, the chainsaw-wielding anti-hero tasked with saving the world from evil; Lucy Lawless as Ruby, the unpredictable foe and occasional ally who has strong ties to the origin of the “Necronomicon;” Ray Santiago plays Pablo Simon Bolivar, Ash’s loyal sidekick and eternal optimist; and Dana DeLorenzo returns as Kelly Maxwell, orphaned in Season One and ready to kick some evil ass.

New to the cast for season three are Arielle Carver-O’Neill (“House Husbands”) as Brandy Barr, Ash’s long-lost daughter left in his care when her mother meets an untimely demise; Lindsay Farris (“Home and Away,” Primal) as Dalton, leader of an ancient order called the Knights of Sumeria, who seek Ash to lead their fight against The Dark Ones. Lee Majors (“The Six Million Dollar Man”) returns as Brock Williams to warn Ash from beyond the grave.

The Evil Dead original filmmakers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell serve as executive producers on Season Three along with Ivan Raimi and Rick Jacobson. Mark Verheiden serves as Showrunner with Producer Moira Grant.

Don’t think, drink Shemps, the sexiest beer around.

Categories: Horror News

Home ‘Sweet Home’: The Kiyoshi Kurosawa Film that Inspired ‘Resident Evil’

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 19:25

Kiyoshi Kurosawa‘s most recent film, Before We Vanish, was released here in the states only a few days ago and has been garnering rave reviews. Of course, a positive reception is something the 62-year-old director should be accustomed to by now. Many horror fans regard 2001’s Pulse as a bonafide J-horror classic. However, things weren’t always so rosy for the filmmaker. In fact, there’s one film on his resume that he’d prefer you forgot, and quite frankly – most have. To double down on the timely nature of this specific topic, we also recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of one of the most groundbreaking games ever, Resident Evil 2, and are still fervently speculating on its potential remake. Just what in the hell do a highly acclaimed Japanese filmmaker and a twenty-two-year-old survival horror franchise have in common? Quite a lot, it turns out.

Sweet Home – The Film

Kiyoshi Kurosawa was still an upcoming name in the film biz with only a handful of credits to his name when he penned the script for Sweet Home (AKA Sûîto Homu). It was a haunted house tale, steeped in its own creative mythology with plenty of opportunity to insert crowd-pleasing frights. It was shepherded into production by actor/director Juzo Itami who’d acted for Kurosawa several years earlier in the musical/sex/comedy The Excitement of the Do-Re-Mi-Fa Girl. Itami came on board as producer, ensuring a role for his wife, Nobuko Miyamoto. The film even scored distribution through Godzilla production house, Toho.

The plot is reminiscent of a number of spookhouse classics. There are shades of The Haunting and the more relevant for its time, Poltergeist. A film crew decides to crash an old, rickety mansion with a terrible history (always a regrettable decision). The house once belonged to Ichirō Mamiya, a famously tortured artist. Their hopes are of discovering long-lost fresco’s painted throughout the cavernous estate and recording it all for a potential documentary to boot. The cast is made up of the lovable oaf director, Kazuo, with not so hidden feelings for his lovely producer, Akiko, who helps him take care of his teenage daughter, Emi. The rest of the crew are mostly canon fodder for the evil spirits lurking within the walls. The film works exceptionally well at allowing time for the audience to bond with our core trio without ever feeling like the pace is dragging.

Once the shit does hit the fan, the story falls into your standard haunted house groove. Someone gets possessed by the long-suffering spirit of Mamiya’s wife, mournful of the son who died too young in a tragic accident, and a [literal] dark force seeks to claim the lives of those trapped inside. The story is much less important than the stylish, colorful set-pieces and effects that begin to unfurl scene after scene. Despite the goofy tone of the first half, things get decidedly grim as the film charges towards the climax.

It’s a damn-near injustice that Sweet Home has turned out to be so obscure. It’s quite the entertaining thrill-ride that would excite fans of large-scale 80’s horror. Far removed from the quiet creeping dread of Kurosawa’s later horror efforts, Sweet Home is an unabashedly fun, often comedic, effects riddled haunter. Even gorehounds can get a kick out of this one. Bodies are melted, axes are lodged into skulls, dismembered torsos manage to crawl on their own. The pièce de résistance, however, is a climactic battle with a towering animatronic-puppet demon that is truly awe-inspiring for its sheer presence on screen. This should come as no surprise, though, as effect master Dick Smith was flown to Japan to handle the brunt of the effect work.

So, why is Sweet Home so barely seen or talked about? Ultimately, it was never released outside Japan, and except for a rare AF laserdisc, the film lived and died on VHS. Even worse, producer Itami was apparently displeased with some of the creative choices Kurosawa made with the film. After the initial theatrical run, Itami shot new scenes and recut it in order to make it even more mainstream. That version is the only cut that exists today. Kurosawa’s cut never saw any type of release on home video. It reportedly still exists, locked away in a Toho vault…just waiting for someone like Scream Factory to go dig up. Just sayin’. Kurosawa has publicly disowned the film in its current state, and who knows if we’ll ever get the chance to see theatrical version again.

Sweet Home – The Video Game

Oh, yeah, this has something to do with Resident Evil too, right? Yep! Sure does. In a fairly genius marketing move, the film was released in tandem with a Famicom (the Japanese Nintendo) video game of the same name. In fact, the film and the movie were advertised together as well, which caused confusion as to exactly which came first. It seems the film was the chicken before the game’s egg…or the other way around. Whichever. Released by Capcom, the game was directed by video game designer Tokuro Fujiwara. Fujiwara was coming off the horror arcade hit Ghosts n’ Goblins and was given extreme creative freedom from Kurosawa who wasn’t concerned with him strictly adhering to the film’s plot.

Ultimately, much of Sweet Home the game remains the same in story. It’s a top-down RPG (think original Zelda) where five filmmakers get trapped in a ghost, zombie, haunted stuff mansion and have to collect items and solve puzzles to survive. What was groundbreaking about the gameplay was the necessity to play as each character in order to solve a puzzle specific to that character’s unique skill. Once someone dies in the game, they’re out for good! Every choice you made would culminate in one of several different endings. The game, much like the film, was never released on US soil. Many believed Nintendo held off on a US version due to the transitions and numerous cut-scenes that greeted the death of a character; they were far too graphic for American audiences at the time.

Despite the limited availability, Fujiwara was confident that horror would become as bankable for gaming as it was for the film industry. Years later, in 1993, a remake of Sweet Home began development at Capcom with Fujiwara acting as producer. In an interview with GlitterBerri, he stated his intention with mounting the remake:

“The basic premise was that I’d be able to do the things that I wasn’t able to include in Sweet Home. It was mainly on the graphics front that my frustration had been building up. I was also confident that horror games could become a genre in themselves.”

The game went onto be directed by Shinji Mikami. It was retitled Resident Evil and one of the longest-running, most successful horror franchises was born. The two games share a number of marked similarities from multiple playable characters, different decisions dictating various endings, limited inventory management, and the use of haunting notes to drive the narrative forward. Without Sweet Home, there would be no Resident Evil.

To this day, there is still no American release of the film, and until some wonderful Blu-ray company gets their mitts on it, we thankfully at least have janky VHS rips floating around the YouTubes. As far as the game goes, indie developer Gaijan created an English mod that anyone can play if they so choose.

Categories: Horror News

‘The Terrible Two’ Died With a Grudge [Exclusive Trailer]

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 19:17

It’s a killer job being a parent, as Donny Boaz (“Dallas”, 13 Sins) and Cari Moskow (“One Tree Hill”, Butchered) discover this March with The Terrible Two.

The fearsome frontline is set between Albert and Rose Poe and their two daughters in the supernatural horror, premiering on VOD March 6, 2018, from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Albert and Rose Poe bought their dream house seven years ago in Greenfield, NC. They had no idea of the unspeakable horrors that took place in the house before they moved in. If they had known, then their children, Addi and Jade would still be alive. Instead the Poes now find themselves imprisoned in the house they thought was their safe place, and battling their two daughters for survival.

Here’s an exclusive look at the first trailer, stills, and art.

Categories: Horror News

Lionsgate Goes On a ‘Monster Hunt’

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 18:58

A quick piece of late afternoon news as French film director Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk, Now You See Me, Transporter) has signed on to direct Monster Hunt at Lionsgate, TheWrap writes.

The project is described as a rural Men In Black action-comedy centered on two brothers. The film has been in development since 2013 and is currently seeking writers.

Peter Berg (Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon) and Hasbro are producing.

Categories: Horror News

IFC Midnight Dates Brad Dourif and Liv Tyler-starring ‘Wildling’

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 18:34

We first told you about German filmmaker Fritz Böhm’s horror film Wildling way back in 2016, and it just resurfaced again today in advance of its premiere at SXSW. As reported by Variety, IFC Midnight has scooped up the U.S. and Canadian rights to the film.

“The film follows Anna (Bel Powley), a woman who spent her entire childhood locked in the attic, under the care of a mysterious man she only knows as Daddy (Brad Dourif). Anna is scared to death of a creature he calls the Wildling, a child-eating monster that roams outside. After a small-town sheriff Ellen Cooper (Liv Tyler) frees Anna and helps her start a new life, her childhood nightmares of the Wildling return, disrupting the possibility of a normal life.”

Wildling will release theatrically and on VOD on April 13.

James Le Gros, Collin Kelly-Sordelet and Mike Faist also star.

Böhm wrote the script with Florian Eder.

Categories: Horror News

Doug Jones is Starring In FX’s “What We Do In the Shadows” Pilot!

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 18:31

The “What We Do in the Shadows” pilot has added four more to its cast, Variety reports, including Doug Jones.

Beanie Feldstein (Lady Bird), Jake McDorman (Lady Bird), and Mark Proksch (“The Office”, “Better Call Saul”) have also joined the FX half-hour comedy pilot. The details of their roles are being kept under wraps, but all four will potentially recur on the show should it get ordered to series.

[Related] Everyone’s Favorite Movie Monster: Doug Jones’ 10 Most Memorable Roles!

Jones currently stars as Saru in the CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Discovery” and plays the amphibian man in the Oscar-nominated film The Shape of Water. His past roles include Hellboy and its sequel, Pan’s Labyrynth, and playing The Ancient in the FX series “The Strain.”

The four join previously announced stars Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, and Harvey Guillen.

Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi–the stars, writers, and directors of the 2014 film on which the project is based–will serve as executive producers, with Clement serving as writer and Waititi serving as director.

Categories: Horror News

R.I.P. Character Actor Mickey Jones Has Passed Away

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 17:40

Sad news today as we’ve learned that longtime character actor Mickey Jones has died at the age of 76, succumbing to what’s being described as a lengthy illness.

With damn near 150 film and television credits to his name, Jones was one of those character actors who seemed to pop up in everything, making a handful of stops in the horror genre throughout his career. Jones’ genre roles include John Carpenter’s Starman, the TV series “V,” Hunter’s Blood, the mini-series “Something Is Out There,” Total Recall, Night Trap, It Came from Outer Space II, and 2006’s Penny Dreadful.

Outside genre fare, you may remember Mickey Jones from “Home Improvement,” appearing in 13 episodes as the lovable Pete Bilker. Jones also appeared in countless big name TV shows including “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “T.J. Hooker,” “The A-Team,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Justified,” as well as feature films such as Sling Blade and National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Jones, also a musician, was a father of five and grandfather of six.

Categories: Horror News

[Butcher Block] Hershell Gordon Lewis’ Seminal Splatter ‘Blood Feast’

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 17:36

Butcher Block is a weekly series celebrating horror’s most extreme films and the minds behind them. Dedicated to graphic gore and splatter, each week will explore the dark, the disturbed, and the depraved in horror, and the blood and guts involved. For the films that use special effects of gore as an art form, and the fans that revel in the carnage, this series is for you.

It feels only appropriate to kick off a brand-new series dedicated to gore and splatter with the film widely considered to be the first splatter film ever; Herschell Gordon LewisBlood Feast. The first film of its kind to use its gore as a selling point to attract audiences, Lewis’ first film also happens to be one of the oldest films to have made the Video Nasties list. While not technically a great film, even by Lewis’ own admission, it’s so historically important to horror that it should be required viewing for fans of blood and gore.

Dubbed the “Godfather of Gore,” Herschell Gordan Lewis had a more academic based career after graduating with a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. It wasn’t until he began working for an advertising company in Chicago that he began to dabble with film on the side, eventually buying out the advertising company and retooling it into a film company. It would lead him to a fruitful partnership with producer David F. Friedman, and the pair then created a number of erotic exploitation flicks until the market for that type of film would diminish, causing them to explore new avenues in film. Inspired, or rather infuriated, by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and how it cheated its audience by keeping its kills off screen, Lewis wanted to do the exact opposite. He wanted to create a similar film with the gruesome kills at the forefront and in your face, and he wanted the film in color to show off the red blood.

Shot in mere days for a low, low budget of under $25,000, Friedman and Lewis realized they could take advantage of the drive-in audience for their seminal splatter film. Friedman came up with a bunch of publicity stunts, including giving out vomit bags with hired “nurses” to hand them out and even going so far as to file an injunction against Blood Feast in Sarasota, Florida to block the film from being screen there. Once it was granted and effectively banned, Friedman then filed a counter-suit to have it lifted. Somehow, that worked too. The “legal battle” Friedman warred for and against his own film drummed up the intended publicity.

Friedman’s marketing tactic, and the gory nature of the plot was very much in line with the Grand Guignol theatrical experience, from which Lewis and Friedman drew inspiration. Egyptian caterer Fuad Ramses (played up to eccentric effect by Mal Arnold) kills women in the suburbs of Miami to harvest their organs as part of a sacrificial ritual to his beloved Egyptian goddess Ishtar, with the police trailing far behind in tracking him down. It’s the simplest of plots in a film with a short run time of 67 minutes, which gives the gore the spotlight. You can forgive the cheesy dialogue, the shaky camera movement, and Arnold’s comical white-painted eyebrows and exaggerated limp because it was never about the story. It was about the unadulterated gore.

Lewis sets the tone right out of the gate with Ramses’ slaughter of an unexpected victim during her bath time, complete with typical bath time reading of book Ancient Weird Religious Rites (doesn’t every gal have a copy?). When Hitchcock would have turned away once Norman Bates went in for the kill, Lewis zooms in as Ramses hacks away at his victim in her bathtub, and closes in one the clumpy bits of her eyeball on his machete. The camera continues to look on in voyeuristic pleasure as Ramses continues to hack away at victim after victim.

The shoestring budget meant a lot of obvious mannequin usage for hacked limbs and corpses, but Lewis splurged on real animal offal in attempt to lend authenticity to his kills. Though he imported most of the animal organs locally, he had a sheep’s tongue shipped in from Tampa Bay for the scene in which Ramses rips the tongue from his victim’s mouth in her hotel room (the victim played by Playboy employee Astrid Olsen). It’s surprisingly effective for its time.

Released just 3 years after Psycho shook audiences to their core, it’s easy to see why Lewis’ first foray into splatter and horror would ruffle feathers. Though the gore doesn’t compare to what’s available today, and the blood is an oversaturated, thick red, it was downright shocking in 1963. Friedman and Lewis knew they didn’t have a masterpiece on their hands, but that wasn’t their intent in the first place. They wanted a no holds barred gore fest, and they nailed it. Lewis’ work only improved from there, with more impressive efforts soon for follow.

Responsible for not only launching the splatter sub-genre in horror, Blood Feast served as a major influence for George A. Romero, John Waters, and Tom Savini. It received a remake in the form of underrated horror comedy Blood Diner in 1987, and numerous references in various films like Juno and Serial Mom. Blood Feast may be schlocky and of its time (the over the top beach boyfriend wailing to the cops is an all-timer), but there’s no denying it’s importance in the canon of gore films.

Most brutal kill:

Beach babe Marcy loses her brains – While teen Tony is wooing his girlfriend Marcy on the beach for some canoodling, Ramses sneaks up on the lovers, knocking out Tony and hacking up Marcy’s skull with his machete to harvest her brain. A bloody mess in the sand, Lewis hovers lovingly on the mess of gray matter in Ramses’ hands. Of all of the blood and guts in the film, Marcy’s on screen death is the messiest.

Categories: Horror News

‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ Brilliantly Spoofs Iconic Image

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 17:08

Anyone you can kill, she can kill better.

If you haven’t been following The Strangers: Prey at Night on social media, you’ve been missing some pretty spectacular marketing. The team in charge of hyping up the reboot/sequel/whatever you want to call it has been doing an incredible job the last few months, and their work continues to win my heart.

This latest promo image for Prey at Night spoofs the iconic “We Can Do It!” poster, using Dollface in the place of Rosie the Riveter. Check it out below!

The masked maniacs return on March 9, 2018.

In the film, directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down), “A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive.”

Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman, and Martin Henderson star, with Emma Bellomy as DOLLFACE, Lea Enslin as PIN-UP GIRL, and Damian Maffei as the MAN IN THE MASK.

Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai wrote the script.

Categories: Horror News

‘I Am Legend’ Director Francis Lawrence Explains Why We Never Saw a Sequel

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 17:01

I love Francis Lawrence, who has been nothing but candid about his blockbuster I Am Legend, the Will Smith-starring adaptation of Richard Matheson’s same-named novella. He recently reflected back on the 10 year anniversary, noting that it could have been much simpler and done just as well at the box office. In the latest look back, Lawrence reveals that the studio (obviously) wanted a follow-up, but he couldn’t find an entry point that made any sense. Sometimes filmmakers do make films for the art, not the money…

“Warners was really, really, really into coming up with something, and I just didn’t know how to do it,” he told the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “I saw very quickly after the movie came out, and I went ‘People came to see the last man on earth. We’ve done the last man on earth, he died at the end of the movie, we can’t do it again.’ But people weren’t in love with him as a character. It’s not Indiana Jones, like this kind of iconic character that you just want to see again and again and again.

“And it just felt forced to do a prequel,” he continued, “and that was basically, we would have been doing Contagion. And to do something that’s a follow-up either doesn’t have him in it, or you have to do something really dumb, which is, you know, ‘Scientists have taken his DNA and reanimated him somehow!’ And that would have been really dumb, and so I just kind of bowed out.”

Kudos to Lawrence for going with integrity over the mighty dollar. What do you all think of I Am Legend a decade later? Do you think there were other ways he could have done a prequel or sequel?

Categories: Horror News

Bryan Fuller Departs Apple’s “Amazing Stories” Reboot

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 16:46

Now he’s free to return to “Hannibal,” right? RIGHT?!

Created by Steven Spielberg, “Amazing Stories” premiered on NBC in September ’85, and it featured horror, sci-fi and fantasy tales directed by legends like Bob Clark, Joe Dante, Martin Scorsese, Tom Holland, Tobe Hooper, and even Spielberg himself.

We were excited to learn last year that Apple is rebooting “Amazing Stories” for modern audiences, with names like Bryan Fuller, Patton Oswalt, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Gordon, and Jane Goldman in the writer’s room; Fuller (“Hannibal,” “American Gods”) was also attached as executive producer and showrunner.

Unfortunately, Fuller is now off the project. Via THR today, Fuller has exited “Amazing Stories” amid creative differences.

The split is said to be amicable,” the site notes. “Fuller is said to have wanted to do a Black Mirror-type show, while the iPhone maker, sources say, wanted more family friendly fare.

The reboot of “Amazing Stories” was originally set up at NBC before moving to Apple, and Fuller had been involved from the beginning.

Steven Spielberg, Frank Falvey and Hart Hanson are attached as producers.

Categories: Horror News

Gaze Into the Eyes of These New ‘What Keeps You Alive’ Images [SXSW]

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 16:43

Two stars of Lionsgate’s Jigsaw will be appearing in the new horror movie, Colin Minihan‘s indie What Keeps You Alive, from Digital Interference Productions.

We now have brand new shots from the movie, starring both Hannah Emily Anderson and Brittany Allen, which will have its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival.

“The film pits a female married couple against one another during their one year anniversary.”

Martha MacIsaac (Superbad) and Joey Klein (12 Monkeys) round out the cast in the pic, which is produced by Kurtis David Harder, Chris Ball, Ben Knechtel and Minihan

Allen, of course, also starred in Minihan’s forthcoming zombie pic It Stains The Sands Red. Minihan is also the filmmaker behind Grave Encounters, Extraterrestrial and Still/Born.

Categories: Horror News

Young ‘IT’ Star Checks Into Hammer Films’ ‘The Lodge’

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 16:36

Jaeden Lieberher, most recently seen battling clowns in last year’s box office-smashing It remake, has joined The Lodge, the English-language debut from Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, directors of acclaimed Austrian horror Goodnight Mommy, writes THR.

The Lodge, which started production in Montreal on Wednesday, tells the story of a soon-to-be-stepmom snowed in with her fiance’s two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations finally begin to thaw between the trio, strange and frightening events threaten to summon psychological demons from her strict religious childhood.

Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) and Lia McHugh (American Woman) have also boarded the film, while Riley Keough was announced as being cast in the film last year.

The script was penned by Sergio Casci, Franz and Fiala from an original idea by Sergio Casci.

Hammer Films and FilmNation Entertainment produces. Filmnation also finances and serves and international sales agent, teaming with Endeavor Content for the U.S.

Categories: Horror News

These “Vile Valentines” are Perfect for the Horror Fan in Your Life

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 16:32

Tell them you love them… like only a horror fan can!

Every year dating back to 2015, our own Joe Gallimore has been doing an incredible service for romantic horror fans. Over on his blog, Camera Viscera, Joe unleashes a handful of “Vile Valentines” every February, spreading wonderful messages of love and companionship by using phrases and images from the world of horror cinema.

This year’s lineup of “Vile Valentines” has just been unveiled by Joe, and the printable/shareable cards pay tribute to gems like Ghoulies, Sleepaway Camp 2 and Maniac Cop. Because nothing says true love like a Ghoulie popping out of a toilet… right?

Print out as many of ’em on the office printer as you can and share ’em with like-minded maniacs!” says Joe.

Check out this year’s Vile Valentines below and see past years’ on Camera Viscera.

Categories: Horror News

“Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block” Invites You to Dinner Next Week

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 16:06

Syfy’s has served up images for the second episode of their Creepypasta-inspired “Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block.

Inspired by Kerry Hammond’s “Search and Rescue Woods” Creepypasta tale, “Butcher’s Block” tells the story of a young woman named Alice (It Follows‘s Olivia Luccardi) who moves to a new city and learns about a series of disappearances that may be connected to a baffling rumor about mysterious staircases in the city’s worst neighborhoods. With help from her sister, they discover that something is preying on the city’s residents.

Blade Runner and Hobo With a Shotgun‘s Rutger Hauer plays the lead villain, Joseph Peach, a 1950s meatpacking magnate who grew increasingly reclusive and then disappeared after his beloved daughters were murdered.

In next week’s episode, Alice gets a sinister invitation from the Peach family, while Zoe begins to behave bizarrely.

It airs February 14 at 10|9c Syfy.

Serve or be served…

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Linden Porco as Smart Mouth — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Peach Family Dinner — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Rutger Hauer as Joseph Peach — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Diana Bently as Edie Peach — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Olivia Luccardi as Alice Woods — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Olivia Luccardi as Alice Woods — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Holland Roden as Zoe Woods — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Diana Bently as Edie Peach — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Olivia Luccardi as Alice Woods — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Cat — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Diana Bently as Edie Peach — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Olivia Luccardi as Alice Woods — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Fly — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Rutger Hauer as Joseph Peach — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Rutger Hauer as Joseph Peach — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Krisha Fairchild as Louise Lispector — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Brandon Scott as Luke — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Annelise Pollman as Izzy — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Andreas Apergis as Robert Peach — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Andreas Apergis as Robert Peach — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Paula Boudreau as Scissor Woman — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Linden Porco as Smart Mouth — (Photo by: Syfy)

CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK — “Father Time” Episode 202 — Pictured: Holland Roden as Zoe Woods — (Photo by: Syfy)

Categories: Horror News

Blumhouse Bringing Secret ‘Unfriended’ Sequel to SXSW?

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 16:02

You may remember that we told you last October about Unfriended: Game Night, a sequel to 2014’s computer screen slasher that had somehow managed to shoot in secret. We were able to confirm that an early screening had taken place around that time, and we even shared plot details with you; at the time, that was really all we knew.

So what happened to Unfriended: Game Night? Well, the Midnighters lineup for this year’s SXSW was just announced today, and on the list was one particular project that piqued our interest. The film is advertised as Untitled Blumhouse-Bazelevs Film, written and directed by Stephen Susco. The plot, well, it lines up with the plot for Game Night.

Furthermore, the first image from the untitled film is labeled “unfriended-game-night”!

In the film…

“A 20-something finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop and is thrust into the deep waters of the dark web. From the makers of Unfriended, this thriller unravels in real-time, entirely on a computer screen. A warning for the digital age.”

Colin Woodell, Betty Gabriel, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Andrew Lees, Conor del Rio, Stephanie Nogueras and Savira Windyani star in the… apparent sequel to Unfriended.

Categories: Horror News

Italian Master Fabio Frizzi is Scoring ‘Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich’!

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 15:26

Just in case you weren’t already excited enough about upcoming reboot Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, written by Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99‘s S. Craig Zahler(!), we’ve been informed that Italian legend Fabio Frizzi is providing the score!

We tip our hats to Rue Morgue for getting the exclusive on this one.

Our total reimagining of PUPPET MASTER is now the best-sounding gonzo, gory, gruesome horror/comedy of all time thanks to Fabio,” says producer Dallas Sonnier.

Frizzi, for anyone who needs a brush up course, was behind a handful of insanely cool Italian horror scores, including The Beyond, Zombie and City of the Living Dead!

The cast includes Udo Kier, Barbara Crampton, Thomas Lennon (Hellbaby), Jenny Pellicer, Nelson Franklin (Scott Pilgrim), Charlyne Yi (Cloverfield), and Alex Beh, with Tina Parker (The Final Destination), Skeeta Jenkins and Michael Paré (Streets on Fire).

“Puppet Master: The Little Reich centers on a recently divorced young man who discovers a mint condition Blade doll in his deceased brother’s closet and plans to sell the toy at a convention in Texas celebrating the 30th anniversary of the infamous Toulon Murders. All hell breaks loose during the auction when a strange force animates all of the various puppets throughout the convention as they go on a bloody killing spree.”

Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund, who helmed the awesome Evil Dead-esque Wither, directed from a script written by Bone Tomahawk screenwriter S. Craig Zahler.

Categories: Horror News

Bizarre “X-Files” Photoshoot From the ’90s Will Put a Smile On Your Face

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 15:01

This is what life was like in the ’90s, kids.

Few things personify the ’90s more than “The X-Files, which premiered on Fox in September 1993. The show made household names out of stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, whose Fox Mulder and Dana Scully quickly became beloved icons of popular culture. Even decades later, you still can’t name a more iconic duo.

Go ahead. Try me.

Back in the ’90s, during the height of the series’ popularity, photographer David LaChapelle teamed with Duchovny and Anderson for a photoshoot so wonderfully bizarre that it’s going viral across the internet some twenty years after the wacky photos were taken. As far as I can tell, it was Imgur user “spacemike21” who recently dug them up.

The most ’90s thing I’ve ever seen,” he captioned the gallery.

Check out the photos below to time travel back to the decade that gave us “The X-Files”!

Categories: Horror News

Here’s the SXSW Film Festival Midnighters Lineup!

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 15:00

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals announced the remainder of its Film Festival program, including the Midnighters for the 25th edition of the Festival, running March 9-18, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

The SXSW Midnighters section is a perennial favorite for SXSW audiences thrilled by the weird, electric, and sometimes terrifying selections. Featuring 10 genre films, including six World Premieres, the slate includes dark comedies, thrillers, Sci-Fi, mystery and slasher horror from a mix of established and first-time filmmakers. The Midnighters, as well as 12 additional films, which are included in the 132 total features now to be screened at the SXSW 2018 Film Festival.

“It is the highlight of my year to get to dive into the yearly pool of genre film submission and see what wild and devilish ideas these filmmakers have brought to life,” said Jarod Neece, SXSW Senior Film Programmer. “This year’s Midnighters, made both by veteran filmmakers and many first-timers, are sure to delight and terrify lucky SXSW audiences.”

MIDNIGHTERS
Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – ten provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.

Ajin: Demi-Human

Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro, Screenwriter: Kouji Seko
Endless battle between human being and immortal demi-human “Ajin”. A stunning, strikingly original action masterpiece! Cast: Takeru Satoh, Go Ayano, Tetsuji Tamayama, Yu Shirota, Yudai Chiba, Rina Kawaei, Minami Hamabe (North American Premiere)

Blood Fest

Director/Screenwriter: Owen Egerton
In Blood Fest, fans flock to a festival celebrating the most iconic horror movies, only to discover that the charismatic showman behind the event has a diabolical agenda. Cast: Robbie Kay, Jacob Batalon, Seychelle Gabriel, Tate Donovan, Barbara Dunkelman, Nick Rutherford, Zachary Levi (World Premiere)

Untitled Blumhouse-Bazelevs Film

Director/Screenwriter: Stephen Susco
A 20-something finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop and is thrust into the deep waters of the dark web. From the makers of Unfriended, this thriller unravels in real-time, entirely on a computer screen. A warning for the digital age. Cast: Colin Woodell, Betty Gabriel, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Andrew Lees, Conor del Rio, Stephanie Nogueras, Savira Windyani (World Premiere)

Field Guide to Evil (Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Poland, Turkey, U.S.)

Directors: Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, Peter Strickland, Agnieszka Smoczynska, Katrin Gebbe, Can Evrenol, Calvin Reeder,  Ashim Ahluwalia, Yannis Veslemes
They are known as dark folklore. Created to give logic to mankind’s darkest fears, these stories and others laid the foundation for what we now call the horror genre. (World Premiere)

Ghost Stories (United Kingdom)

Directors/Screenwriters: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
An arch-skeptic debunker of the supernatural embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable ‘hauntings’. Adapted from the Olivier Award Winning hit stage play. Cast: Martin Freeman, Alex Lawther, Jill Halfpenny, Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse (North American Premiere)

Hereditary

Director/Screenwriter: Ari Aster
When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. Cast: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Ann Dowd, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro

A Prayer Before Dawn (United States, France)

Director: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, Screenwriters: Jonathan Hirschbein, Nick Saltrese
Based on the international best-seller, A Prayer Before Dawn is the true story of Billy Moore, a troubled young British boxer sent to one of Thailand’s most notorious jails. Cast: Joe Cole, Vithaya Pansringar, Panya Yimmumphai, Nicolas Shake (North American Premiere)

The Ranger

Director: Jenn Wexler, Screenwriters: Jenn Wexler, Giaco Furino
Teen punks, on the run from the cops and hiding out in the woods, come up against the local authority—an unhinged park ranger with an axe to grind. Cast: Chloë Levine, Granit Lahu, Jeremy Pope, Bubba Weiler, Amanda Grace Benitez, Jeremy Holm, Larry Fessenden (World Premiere)

Upgrade

Director/Screenwriter: Leigh Whannell
In a utopian near-future when technology controls everything, a technophobe avenges his wife’s murder and his own paralysis-causing injury with the help of an experimental computer chip implant – STEM – that turns out to have a mind of its own. Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson, Benedict Hardie (World Premiere)

What Keeps You Alive (Canada)

Director: Colin Minihan, Screenwriters: Colin Minihan, Brittany Allen
Majestic mountains, a still lake, and venomous betrayals engulf a female married couple attempting to celebrate their one-year anniversary. Cast: Hannah Emily Anderson, Brittany Allen, Martha Macisaac, Joey Klein, Charlotte Lindsay Marron (World Premiere)

Categories: Horror News