It’s been six years since Dimension Films optioned Rob Zombie’s T-Rex (Tyrannosaurus Rex), which was to be the followup to his 2007 Halloween.
Mid-2008, Zombie started to share concept art from his action-horror, allegedly about an ex-convict boxer fighting in an underground ring (reminding me of Bloodsport or Kickboxer). He told MTV in an interview that it was “like an incredibly violent 70s action movie.”
Between the mini-announcements of art and cast (Sheri Moon was confirmed for a role, clearly), the movie fell apart.
All of these years later, here’s what we’ve heard happened: The Weinstein Company got cold feet – because it was extremely expensive – and allegedly held it over Zombie’s head, who wanted desperately to make the movie. The Weinstein Company had allegedly told Zombie that, if he were to direct Halloween II, they’d give him the rights back to the script. This way Zombie could shop the property to other studios, while Dimension would get their Halloween sequel they so badly wanted.
Anyways, it’s a bummer T-Rex never came into fruition because it looks and sounds like a badass idea. Zombie hasn’t mentioned the film in years, which leaves me to believe it’s long gone, a cinematic “what if?” that will forever be remembered among us horror fans.
The release of Christos Gage and Nicholas Brendon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10” #5 sees the exciting end of this Season’s widely revered first arc, and the beginning of what’s gearing up to be a potentially significant saga in the series’ rapidly evolving mythology. Be sure to pick up your copy when it hits stands this Wednesday (July 23), and click through to read our spoiler-free review!
WRITTEN BY: Christos Gage, Nicholas Brendon
ART BY: Rebekah Isaacs
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: July 23, 2014
Reviewed By: ShadowJayd
For how different they seem to be, seasoned writer Christos Gage, and Buffy alum Nicholas Brendon, deliver another perfectly co-written script, both working in tandem to establish the dramatic events that will ultimately set the course for whatever lies ahead in “Buffy Season 10.”
Following last month’s surprising cliffhanger, Dracula’s dangerous meddling with the VAMPYR book in his quest for power has left the Scooby Gang scrambling in an epic battle to stop the terrifying—and familiar—demon he has unwittingly transformed into; whilst also trying to extract a mind-controlled Xander from Dracula’s hold. The issue roller-coasters along at an alarmingly quick pace, only slowing down to provide exposition and plot development when needed. The prominence of action and movement is a gift that keeps on giving as Buffy and crew take the fighting to the streets, providing a great opportunity for Rebekah Isaacs to not only showcase the cohesiveness of the team as a combat unit, but also her illustrative capabilities and fantastically imagined artwork. At times, the accelerated pace comes off as a bit excessive, but overall this is a pretty infectious installment.
Gage and Brendon use dialogue to great effect, leaning heavily toward the comedic side of the spectrum, with the writers delighting readers with quip after witty quip. Comedy is notoriously difficult to pull off, especially when trying to effectively express humour within the comics medium, but Gage and Brendon appear to be in their element. On the other hand, while “New Rules, Part V” is a master class in comedic delivery and timing, it could very well just be subject to its audience. It’s hard to say whether the narrative’s balance of plot and cheesy humour is exactly what the fandom wants and expects, or if it’s overkill; but personally, I relate to the former.
From beginning to end, this chapter is a blast to read thanks to Gage’s creative mind and understanding of the Buffyverse, and Brendon’s iconic acting experience as Xander Harris which allows for an incredibly authentic voice to be heard in the character’s dialogue; specifically his interactions with Dracula. Moreover, Rebekah Isaacs’ artwork really compliments the writers’ humour and makes excellent use of page layouts and design.
She also brings a lot of visual humour to the issue, herself. From subtle character moments, like Ghost Anya reaffirming her invisibility by waving a hand in front of an old acquaintance’s oblivious face. To big moments, like Willow magic-flying an unsuspecting, though agreeable, Catholic priest through the air to bless a towering structure amidst complete demon-fighting chaos. In contrast, colourist Dan Jackson keeps things visually serious with his typical palette of dark hues and tones. Yet he still provides a sense of vitality that instantly stimulates the eye. Isaacs and Jackson work together to capture that wonderful mix of humor, horror, and supernatural might that keeps life extremely interesting for Buffy and her gang.
The fandom is lucky to experience the beginning of a new season that’s growing into one of the most original and skillfully constructed eras of the series. I can’t wait to see what’s to come.
ShadowJayd, known everywhere else as Farah Jayden Hakkak, has been a staff writer for Bloody-Disgusting since July 2012. You can find her on Twitter, or passed out by the dirt road behind Wendy’s.
BOOM! has this incredible initiative before San Diego to make fifteen announcements before the show. Most of them have been clear, concise, and avoided teaser territory but not today. Today marked an ambiguous image of Snake Plissken’s awesome torso and famous submachine gun. It’s hard to tell exactly the direction the series will go in, but I mean after Escape From L.A. the world is just about ruined into another Dark Age. Let’s hope whatever direction they go in is as awesome as the new Big Trouble in Little China series.
Look for more details as they become available.
Today AMC revealed character banner for “The Walking Dead’s” Season 5 that will be displayed at this week’s San Diego Comic-Con.
The poster depicts Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) and Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) handcuffed in the Terminus train car, echoing the survivors’ predicament in the Season 4 Finale cliffhanger.
“The Walking Dead” Comic-Con panel will take place Friday, July 25 at 12:20 pm PDT in Hall H.
“The Walking Dead” returns this October on AMC.
Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
The great Michael Caine (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Interstellar) has joined the cast of Lionsgate’s supernatural actioner The Last Witch Hunter opposite Vin Diesel and Rose Leslie, reports Variety.
Diesel’s witch hunter will partner with his enemy, a female witch, to stop a plague on humanity unleashed by the covens of New York City.
The Crazies‘ Breck Eisner is direcing from a script re-written by Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, based on a pitch by Cory Goodman. D.W. Harper and Melisa Wallack also worked on the script.
There’s a great film somewhere inside Animosity, the directorial debut of Brendan Steere. At the heart of the story is a vile horror that wrenches your gut and as its truths are slowly revealed, viewers are thrown into a pit of hopelessness. This is a dark film. Like, wicked dark with psychological tension that threatens to become unbearable at times. Aside from the core narrative, there are other elements at play, other pieces of the story’s mystery that make it feel convoluted or padded even. All of the extraneous elements, as well as the confusing motivations of one of the central characters, weaken the emotional punch I think Steere was going for.
Then again, Animosity is a film that warrants multiple viewings. From its bloody ominous prologue to its, well, bloody conclusion, the film unravels a mystery with many pieces while it spirals its audience into darkness. Was I too overwhelmed by the film’s bleak tone (seriously, it’s that bleak) to put the pieces together? It’s a possibility. What I do know for certain is that the feeling I was left with overall was fatigue from enduring such a despairing film. Then again, is that a compliment? A testament to the film’s power? Crap, I dunno.
Like the ingredients of a hot dog, the less you know about Animosity the more you’ll enjoy it. The basic story follows love birds Carrie (Tracy Willet) and Mike (Marcin Paluch), who just moved into a secluded home in the forest (Pennsylvania, judging from a license plate I spotted). For Carrie, it’s the perfect place to start building a family. Mike works in a lab during the day while she stays at home scoring a horror film. Their rural serenity is shattered by their neighbor, Tom (Stephen Goldbach), one mean looking S.O.B. who antagonizes Carrie with menacing hostility.
After a particularly alarming incident where Tom refuses to leave their property, a series of events occurs that begin to break Carrie down. While Mike assures her that she needs to get more sleep, Carrie is coming undone, believing that she’s being manipulated by something out of her grasp, perhaps even supernatural. As she begins to connect the dots, an unimaginable evil is revealed.
Steere definitely knows his way around a camera. Everything is shot nice and tight, elevating the paranoia that’s choking Carrie. He makes some smart, subtle choices in what to reveal to the audience and what to hold back on. Tracy Willet delivers a helluva performance as Carrie. It’s a complex role that covers the gauntlet of emotions, and she does a terrific job.
It’s in the story itself where I encountered some problems. The core is interesting enough, but it’s filled out with some elements that dragged the story down for me. Again, I don’t want to reveal any of the film’s secrets, I’ll just say I wish it was stripped down to its bare bones a bit more, making for a leaner, meaner film. Also weakening the emotional impact for me was one of the central character’s motivations. Again, without spoiling anything, one character’s motive for taking part in something just didn’t make any sense to me. And in the end he shifts gears, which made his previous actions all the more frustrating.
At the risk of giving anything away, I’ll stop there. I really hope Animosity gets an official release soon, not just because I want to watch it again, but also so people can debate my review. I want to like this movie. The main narrative is great, but was a little too bloated for me. After watching it a second time, chances are I’ll have a different opinion, which is great. I actually love when that happens. If that happens, I’ll gladly write a revised review. But for now, all I know is that I left the theater feeling worn out and unsatisfied.
Matt Serafini isn’t resting on his laurels. Less than two years after giving us a cool new werewolf tale in “Feral” he’s back with a new novel called “Under the Blade.” The book has some definite slasher elements, but uses them as part of a larger palette that expands as the story moves on. It comes from Severed Press and is available as a paperback and Kindle eBook right now. No pre-ordering, you can be reading this before you turn out the lights tonight if you want. It will hit physical bookstores in September if there are any left by then.
In the book, “When she returns, so does the horror…
At seventeen, Melanie Holden was the sole survivor of Cyrus Hoyt’s killing spree at Camp Forest Grove. Now in her forties, she has bottomed out personally and professionally, still haunted by the undying memories of that madman. A publishing deal lures her back to the place where her misfortunes began and trouble starts anew, first with a string of escalating harassments and, soon, much worse.
When Melanie joins forces with Forest Grove’s new police chief, they get more than they bargained for as they discover that Cyrus Hoyt is only just the beginning. That the town’s past is actually much bloodier than they could’ve imagined. And now that it has Melanie back, it doesn’t want her to leave.”
Some people come up with the strangest ideas, I tell ya. YouTube user Ryan Mitchell put together a cover of Queen‘s “Another One Bites The Dust” but gave it an interesting twist in terms of what he used for the vocals: famous movie screams. You’ll see clips from films such as Predator, The Shining, American Psycho, Halloween, Aliens, and much more! Check it out below.
A funny thing happened back in 2009: Uwe Boll made a movie a lot of people really liked. Rampage seemed like the antithesis of the German director’s output at the time, with films such as Seed and Postal leaving a bad taste in audiences’ mouths. Then Rampage came along and everyone was like, “Boll made this?”
The style felt contemporary rather than stuck in the ’80s like many of his other films. The acting was damn fine, particularly because of the lead Brendan Fletcher (a silver lining in many a Boll film). Despite its subject matter, it shockingly wasn’t overtly violent. That bingo hall scene, for example, was downright endearing and showed a lot of restraint from a director known for possessing the exact opposite of restraint. The political message of Rampage was audacious though somewhat confusing at times but overall, the film stands as a bold middle finger during these bleak times.
Rampage ends with Fletcher’s character Bill Williamson escaping into solitude with a lot of stolen bank money. His video message to the world dropped two years after his disappearance, leading to cult stardom for the mass murderer with a message. With an ending as wide open as that, a sequel was inevitable.
Five years later, here we are with Rampage: Capital Punishment (originally tiled Rampage 2: You End Now). This time around, Boll takes on the NSA, Obama, and a slew of other figures he sees as damning America straight to hell. Most loudly, he takes on the wealthy and their influence in government. Much like the first film, there’s nothing subtle about the politics in Rampage 2. Bill Williamson is crystal clear in his motivations for killing a lot of people and seeking a way to get his message to the world. For him, there’s no way the revolution can be peaceful. The Occupy Movement? Don’t make Williamson laugh.
The politics may be apparent, but the message can be interpreted differently by viewers. Williamson does after all kill a lot of innocent people throughout both films. In part two, he begins his spree by parking his ass comfortably in a lawn chair in an alley where he plugs people as they walk by. There’s no discrimination, he just shoots whoever happens to pass by. Then he moves on to a TV station, where he takes hostages and demands they air his video manifesto nationwide. While he’s waiting for his message to be broadcast to the U.S., he checks his cellphone to see what his followers are saying. Then he kills more people after humiliating them in front of their co-workers.
While I agree strongly with many of Williamson’s views on politics, consumerism, reality TV, etc., I’m disgusted by his actions. Is that what makes him such an interesting character? He’s self-indulgent and completely lacks a conscious, but I can’t look away. That being said, I wouldn’t consider Williamson an anti-hero as much as I would a delusional asshole. In Rampage 2, his psychopathy is amped up more than in the original. Brendan Fletcher’s performance (like in the first film) is the highlight. Whether he’s boastfully talking directly into the camera or sitting quietly with an AR-15 resting on his lap, the actor is hypnotizing.
I have to mention that Uwe Boll also acts in the film, which leads to some (unintentionally?) funny moments. He plays the head of the TV station – a cowardly man who isn’t worried about the lives of his employees as he is ratings. It’s a strange performance, but what else would you expect from Boll?
The director maintains the same style he embellished in the original, with lots of shakey-cam and zoom-ins. A lot of the action is focused on one room in the TV station where Williamson sits with the hostages. I found this compressed setting to be far less effective than him roaming the streets, like he did in the first. This led to different scenarios, like the bingo hall and the beauty parlor, and different ways for Williamson to react. Like his complacency leaving the elderly to their game of bingo, that moment was so good and added some depth to his character. Sitting in a room with hostages, he just seems like a broken bullhorn. The smaller setting makes the film feel a lot smaller than the first one as well. Thankfully, Fletcher is able to give even the mundane moments some charm.
Obviously, Rampage 2 is coming out during a sensitive time in the U.S., where there’s a mass shooting what seems like every goddamn week and gun laws refuse to change. Don’t worry though, Williamson addresses this too. Despite being armed to the teeth, he believes in stricter gun laws and is repulsed by our chickenshit government’s inability to reform.
Rampage 2 is actually more preachy than its predecessor, with Williamson’s rants touching on basically every shitty thing wrong in our society today. With the broader range in gripes, I would’ve preferred a bigger setting than the first, rather than the cramped TV studio. I’m sure that had a lot to do with budgetary constraints, but who wouldn’t have loved to see Williamson take his fight to Washington? Maybe Boll and Fletcher will take us there in the third film, which is left wide open once again by the ending here. It’s a decent follow-up to a great film, I just wished they had gone bigger.
Rampage: Capital Punishment DVD and VOD on August 19.
Hungarian grunge metal band Apey & The Pea will be releasing Hellish, their second full length LP, in two weeks. In anticipation, the band has released a stream of two tracks, “Leprechaun Skin” and “Abraham”, both of which you can hear below.
These guys are heavily inspired by bands such as Pantera and Alice In Chains, so if you’re into that kind of dark, gloomy, grimy sound, these guys are right up your alley!
It was announced a few weeks back that, to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, a 4k restored and remastered Ghostbusters will return to more than 700 movie theaters in both the U.S. and Canada on August 29.
Columbia Pictures released a new retro poster to go along with the previously released trailer announcing the event, which clarifies select theaters will show 4K (so, be careful!)
Following the theatrical release of the film, on September 16, fans will be able to own the Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray and the long-gestured Ghostbusters II 25th Anniversary Edition, as that film makes its Blu-ray debut. The Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases of the films will also be available in a two-disc anniversary edition Blu-ray Digibook including both films, as well as a Limited Edition gift set that includes an exclusive collectible Slimer figurine and the two-disc Digibook. This special gift set will only be available for a very limited time, with the collectible Slimer figurine being a true must-have for fans. Both films have been fully restored and remastered in 4K and will be presented in high definition on Blu-ray from those 4K sources.
Both the Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II Blu-rays come loaded with exclusive bonus materials, including revealing conversations with director Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd, as well as never-before-seen deleted scenes from Ghostbusters II and more. The Ghostbusters anniversary edition features the original music video of the Oscar nominated song “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr., while Ghostbusters II includes the original music video for “On Our Own” by Bobby Brown. In addition, Ghostbusters will contain all previously released legacy content, commentary and an interactive Slimer Mode, offering fans a picture-in-picture graphical viewing experience.
There will also be a slew of new merchandise from Sony Pictures Consumer Products to be released. Collaborations include Lego, Mattel, Funko, Mad Engine and other select items to help celebrate the occasion. In addition, SPCP partnered with Gallery 1988 to create a once-in a lifetime experience, displaying original paintings, limited edition prints, and sculptures inspired by the film.
In addition, Legacy Recordings / Sony Music Entertainment, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic Ghostbusters soundtrack(!) with multiple collectible vinyl LP releases this year.
Today also marks the premiere of the new website, GHOSTBUSTERS.COM, where fans can access new franchise offerings, including collectible merchandise, music, and more. Fans can register for updates, unique video content, as well as Ghostbusters news.
Directed and produced by Ivan Reitman (Meatballs, Stripes), with the screenplay written by Dan Aykroyd (My Girl) and Harold Ramis (Knocked Up), Ghostbusters is listed as No. 28 on the AFI’s List of America’s Funniest Movies. Bill Murray (Stripes), Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brothers), and Sigourney Weaver (Aliens) star, along with Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day), and Rick Moranis (Honey I Shrunk the Kids). Ernie Hudson (TV’s “Oz”) and Annie Potts (TV’s “Designing Women”) also star in the films.
“University parapsychologists Dr. Peter Venkman (Murray), Dr. Raymond Stanz (Aykroyd) and Dr. Egon Spengler (Ramis) lose a research grant when their experiment methodology is proven to be bogus. The team decides to go into business for themselves and open ‘Ghostbusters,’ a ghost removal service. After struggling to get on their feet, they are summoned to investigate the strange happenings in Dana Barrett’s (Weaver) Central Park West apartment. What they discover is that all Manhattan is being besieged by ghosts and other worldly demons through a portal in her building.”
Last night the Fantasia Film Festival hosted the premiere of Cybernatural, Leo Gabriadze’s horror pic produced by Night Watch‘s Timur Bekmambetov!
Today, we have the film’s festival trailer and first stills.
“While video chatting one night, six high school friends receive a Skype message from a classmate who killed herself exactly one year ago. At first they think it’s a prank, but when the girl starts revealing the friends’ darkest secrets, they realize they are dealing with something from beyong this world, something that wants them dead. Told entirely from a young girl’s computer desktop, CYBERNATURAL redefines “found footage” for a new generation of teens.”
Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki, Courtney Halverson, and Heather Sossaman all star
Hiding within a post over at Deadline, it was revealed that Warner Bros. and Appian Way’s Akira adaptation is still being developed.
According to the latest, Dante Harper, the first writer on Edge of Tomorrow, who also penned the latest draft of The Last Witch Hunter, is currently working with Warner Bros, Appian Way, Mad Chance and director Jaume Collet-Serra on Akira.
“Set in New Manhattan, the cyberpunk sci-fi epic follows the leader of a biker gang who must save his friend, discovered with potentially destructive psychokinetic abilities, from government medical experiments.“
Last August Variety had reported that Collet-Serra left in early 2012 after production stalled. In early 2012, the studio shut down pre-production so that fixes could be made to the script, including tightening the budget from its original $90 million range.
The studio did begin looking at other directors in hopes of finding someone who could deliver a film on a more smaller scale. But ultimately, the studio was still in love with Collet-Serra’s vision, and sources said the director found time in his schedule as well as a new way to approach the adaptation that would meet the studio’s budget request.
For his follow-up to the 2012 indie success Excision, filmmaker Richard Bates, Jr. turned to the films and shows of his childhood for inspiration. In his horror-comedy Suburban Gothic, you’ll find takes on Scooby Doo and classic haunted house films – all under a glossy veneer of bright suburban colors and satire. Bates has made a worthy successor to Excision while also showing off his range of talents for fashioning both comedy and old fashioned horror. While it doesn’t always work, Suburban Gothic is a fun flick with lots of interesting moments.
Matthew Gray Gubler (best known for his role as the socially awkward genius Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds) stars as Raymond, a college graduate unable to find a job in the “big city.” This forces him to begrudgingly move back in with his parents out in the suburbs. While his mom may be excited for her baby boy to come back home, his father Donald, a tyrannical, racist despot, thinks Raymond is a complete failure (and isn’t shy about expressing his feelings).
Donald’s played by genre icon Ray Wise, who delivers the majority of the laughs in the film. Gubler’s Raymond may be a quick-witted, sardonic fellow, but Wise’s comedic chops steal the show in Suburban Gothic. Bates and co-writer Mark Bruner’s script gives him plenty to work with too. There’s heaps of razor-sharp one-liners, comebacks, insults, and even some physical comedy thrown in for good measure. For example, Wise has a great gag he repeats a few times where he moves a wheeled office chair in the most obnoxious way possible. He plays it all so wonderfully straight too. It’s certainly the best material Wise has had in a while.
After moving back into his parent’s house, Raymond begins to experience supernatural happenings – the same ones that haunted him in his youth. The haunting builds up nice and gradually as Raymond goes into Hardy Boy mode, investigating the house’s history to get to the bottom of the spirit who refuses to leave. He’s joined in his exploits by a sultry, dry-humored bartender named Becca (Kat Dennings), who quickly takes to Raymond’s charming demeanor. The two delve into a century-old murder mystery in hopes of bringing peace to Raymond and the unruly spirit haunting his parent’s house. The two work really well together onscreen as they skirt romantic territory, delivering flirty jabs at one another.
The suburb Raymond moves back to is inhabited with an impressive lineup of genre pillars, including Jeffrey Combs, Muse Watson, and in a particularly hilarious scene, Mr. John Waters. There’s also brief appearances by filmmaker Jennifer Lynch and the “twisted twins” Jen and Sylvia Soska. I was happy to see Ronnie Gene Blevins, who plays one of Raymond’s childhood bullies. Blevins recently gave one helluva villainous performance in David Gordon Green’s Joe and it was cool to see him play sorta the same character here. He’s good at playing a jerk. So many cameos took me out of the film at times, however. They can be fun, sure, but playing “spot the genre actor” shouldn’t take precedent over the actual story.
Suburban Gothic is relentless in pace and consistent in its darkly comedic tone. The story is an engaging one and emotionally honest in parts, while playfully silly in others. The haunted house gags range from goofy to macabre and are thankfully never overwhelming in their CGI. There are some overly goofy ones that kinda fell flat for me – like a UFO on a poster flying around and some severed head stuff that felt like it belonged in a Disney horror film.
Overall, Suburban Gothic is a really good time. Even during the parts that kinda don’t work (the dance sequence), I guarantee you’ll never be bored.
The dead never forget.
Having wrapped filming in Australia is writer-director Michael Petroni’s sophomore thriller Backtrack, starring King Kong‘s Adrien Brody and Jurassic Park and In the Mouth of Madness‘ Sam Neill.
“The film follows a psychologist whose life is thrown into chaos when he discovers his patients are all ghosts of people who died in an accident 20 years prior.”
Bloody reader ‘Fabien M.’ sent us the first imagery from the pic also starring Bruce Spence, Robin McLeavy, Jenni Baird and Anna Lise Phillips.
Thanks to BD regular Fabien M., check out the international trailer for Predestination, starring Ethan Hawke.
Playing the Fantasia Film Festival, the film opens overseas on August 28.
Undead and Daybreakers directors Michael and Peter Spierig direct the thriller, based on the short story “All You Zombies” by Robert Heinlein.
Starring Sinister‘s Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook and Noah Taylor, “Predestination chronicles the life of a Temporal Agent sent on an intricate series of time-travel journeys designed to ensure the continuation of his law enforcement career for all eternity. Now, on his final assignment, the Agent must recruit his younger self while pursuing the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.“
As many of you readers know, microbudget horror films these days are more miss than hit. It seems anyone with a mediocre script, a few cases of beer and After Effects can make a cheapie that eventually gets put onto DVD, and then that DVD gets tossed into the bargain bin at a dollar store. Occasionally, there’s a bright spot when all the stars align and the moon is in the right part of the sky and your get a great low-budget horror film. Or, more realistically, you have a director and crew who are competant at what they do. So, where does that leave writer/director MJ Dixon and his film, Slasher House?
Red (Eleanor James) wakes up in what appears to be a former asylum. She has no memory of how she got there, or why she’s there. She soon discovers that she’s not alone. Trapped along with her are other various individuals, including serial killers. Eventually, Red and the others are let out of their cells to “play” by an unseen individual, leaving her to not only fend them off, but also try to find a way out and to discover the reasons she was put there in the first place.
The immediate thing that sticks out for Slasher House is it’s use of aethetics. Red is coloured like her namesake, but is contrasted by the use of green hues in the environment. Dixon also throws in blues and yellows for specific scenes, but primarily the red and green contrasting dominates the film. It’s a creative idea that harkens back to Dario Argento’s heyday, as well as Nicolas Winding Refn’s recent Only God Forgives, and frankly, it’s a shame that not many indie horror directors take this powerful visual tool into account. What makes it even more interesting is that green psychologically is a calming colour.
In addition to the aethetics, the cast of kooky characters hunting Red are another notch in the handle for Slasher House. In amongst the action, Dixon has made sure to take a bit of time for a couple of flashbacks to show off the killers’ handiwork, while also throwing in some needed time for these guys to develop. Okay, so they aren’t exactly deep characters, but it does attempt to play into the “less is more” motif when it comes to a scary antagonist: the less you know about the villain, the scarier that villain becomes. As for Red herself, she’s also given a bit of time to develop, but in doing so exposes one of the film’s main weaknesses.
Understandably, this is a low-budget film. As such, the acting quality more often than not isn’t the best. Slasher House, for all it’s visuals and attempts to be unique, fails when it comes to it’s dialogue. Everyone exhibits a wooden delivery, which unfortunately takes you out of the film. Even though James has a charismatic tone to much of what she says, it still comes across as stilted, even with some witty one-liners. Another downside is the film’s use of cutaways when it comes to much of the gore. Again, low-budget fare, but the cutaways aren’t done in such a way that would compensate for the payoff. Then again, the gore that is in the film tends to fall towards the hokey side, making the salvaging attempt in vein. Finally, while the film moves along fairly well for a 90 minute feature, the ending is a mixed bag. Besides dragging a bit, smart viewers will be predicting the ending before the final scenes even roll. But given what Dixon had to work with for this film, it can be forgiven.
So Slasher House, what do we say? For an indie affair, you have some unique visuals that are pretty darn cool. You also have some shortcomings that while they don’t make you a mess, they do impact on your overall enjoyment. But, given that there’s a lot worse out there by many indie hopefuls, you fit the bill for a night’s watch. I probably won’t visit you again, but at least you offer more than the “me-too” trapped-in-an-asylum films.
All Wings Report In!
On the set of Star Wars: Episode VII, Director J.J. Abrams was interrupted by an X-Wing pilot and rogue robot as he announced the chance for fans to win an advance private screening of Star Wars: Episode VII.
“We are so grateful for the support that the fans from over 119 countries have shown for Force for Change,” said Abrams. “As we close this final week, we’ve added an additional prize that allows the fans the opportunity to see the movie early as a thank you for supporting such a great cause as UNICEF’s innovative, lifesaving work for children.” By contributing at any level by July 25th, participants will be eligible for all prizes including a chance to be in the movie.
“Star Wars: Force for Change” impressively raised over one million dollars within the first 24 hours of its launch—a record for Omaze, the fundraising platform. So far contributors from 119 countries around the world have backed Force for Change, in support of the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Innovation Labs and programs. UNICEF’s network of 14 Innovation Labs help create sustainable solutions to critical issues facing children around the world in the areas of nutrition, water, health, and education. The funds raised through “Star Wars: Force for Change” will impact the lives of children around the world, through projects like MobiStation, a portable, solar-powered educational kit to ensure children have access to quality learning anywhere, and Rapid FTR (Family Tracing and Reunification), a mobile phone application that helps reunite separated and unaccompanied children with their families in natural disasters. Fans can continue to pledge support and enter for a chance win until 11:59pm on July 25.
The “Star Wars: Force” for Change Grand Prize includes:
· Airfare and accommodations to London for one winner and a guest
· Behind-the-scenes access on the closed set of Star Wars: Episode VII as VIP guests of J.J. Abrams
· Winner will have the opportunity to meet members of the cast
· Winner and their guest will then be transformed by makeup and costume teams into a Star Wars character and filmed for a scene in Star Wars: Episode VII
Disney committed US $1 million to support the launch of “Star Wars: Force for Change”. Star Wars continues to inspire generations of dreamers and doers to use their creativity to accomplish great things. Star Wars and Lucasfilm were built on the belief that in uniting creativity with innovation, you can make the impossible possible.
Visit StarWars.com/ForceForChange to learn more about this new charitable initiative and the work of UNICEF’s Innovation Labs and programs, and be sure to enter through contribution or free entry for your chance to win at Omaze.com/StarWars.
If you haven’t seen the Israeli revenge-thriller Big Bad Wolves, then you’re sorely missing out. The film is absolutely fantastic, featuring some of the best black comedy I’ve ever seen in a film while, at the same time, being a tragic, heartbreaking story of a man who simply wants to put his child to rest. I’m sure you’ve heard it many times by now but just in case you haven’t, Quentin Tarantino has stated that it’s, “…the best film of .”
One of the best aspects, in my opinion, is the phenomenal score by composer Frank Ilfman. Playful yet serious, grand and then subtle, the music has already won the award for Best Music at the Saturn Awards and the Israeli Film Academy. I had the chance to speak with Ilfman a few weeks ago about the film as well as his future plans. You can read this exclusive interview below!
Make sure to pick up the soundtrack via iTunes.
Shalom! How are you doing?
Shalom shalom! I’m doing very well, thank you!
Welcome to the US! How are you enjoying your time here?
Yeah, it’s pretty cool! Good weather, great people. I’m having fun! I haven’t had a chance to see my family. My uncle is here.
Congratulations on the “Big Bad Wolves” score being nominated for a Saturn! The film, and your music, have received a lot of praise. Tell me about that!
It’s been an amazing roller coaster. Everything started up once Quentin Tarantino declared it the best movie of the year, talking about the score and photography and everything. Since then, it just kind of skyrocketed. It started winning all these awards and now, with Magnolia Pictures, we got submitted to the BAFTA, where we were nominated for Best Music and then Best International Film. It’s pretty cool, it’s pretty amazing. And the soundtrack is doing pretty well, which is great.
Did the success and critical acclaim of the movie surprise you? Were you prepared for the reaction that people have had to it?
No, I think this is something I’m actually quite amazed because I’m working on some big budget movies in London and you always think, “Oh, that’s the one that’s going to go somewhere.” And then this low budget Israeli movie that we did and suddenly it broke through and shot like a rocket through everything. Next thing you know, you’re on everybody’s radar and everybody wants to meet you and everybody wants you to score their movie. You never know where you’re going to be, which is a great surprise.
And also, we worked really hard on Big Bad Wolves. We spent six months working on the score and Ronen, the sound designer, spent another six months working on sound designing and the mix. So, when something like that happens, the awards for the working so hard, they’re just phenomenal. It feels great to get that.
It’s opened a lot of doors. What are some projects or opportunities that have come up?
There are some I can’t talk about because of confidentiality but some of the big companies [in Los Angeles] and heads of studios want to meet me. Also, because the score sounds big and rich but was done on a very low budget scale in London, with the London Metropolitan, a lot of people are curious how I managed to do that. It’s one of my tricks, I guess!
So, I met with Millennium and Legendary and a few Warner Bros., and a few others. It’s a good experience because they like the music and they like the movie.
How did you capture that amazing playfulness within the film so effectively in your score?
The movies is actually quite hilarious. I think it’s more funny than anything else. It’s obviously very dark but there are many comedic moments. But that was the challenge. How do you balance those subtleties, almost between light and darkness. A lot of the scenes which are very intense but then they start cracking jokes but then they go back to the intensity. Sometimes there were certain sounds or innuendos to have more of a light feel. Then we would turn back the music into something more dramatic or menacing. It took a while on a few cues to try and do that subtlety so that you don’t lose the humor. There are scenes that are pure humor. But most of it was very fine balancing.
I know that there are a lot of Jewish references. For instance, there is the grandfather, who is a bigger-than-life character. He’s that old school Jewish fighter from the army. So we thought that something Jewish thematic would fit because we wanted people to have fun with the character but still take him serious. There was an idea that we would use Russian marches, like in the early days when we used to have the Russian refugees coming to Israel. But that was something we adapted for him, like in the scene that is in slow motion when he’s going down to the basement.
What was one of your favorite moments in the film?
That’s a hard one! There are so many good moments! I think one of my favorite moments is the part where the father, who was sent by the guy he kidnapped, the pedophile, to look for the head in the greenhouse. It’s quite a long scene and he has all this intensity and he goes there to dig for the head of his daughter, where he thinks she’s buried. That scene is one of my favorite ones. I think there is something so gentle. It starts really big but then goes down into a lyrical cello solo when he’s digging for the head, because he wants to bring his daughter to burial. And then it erupts. It has all of these subtleties.
That scene, even without the music, is very strong. The reaction you get from the character, his acting, is just phenomenal. When I first saw it, I thought that we didn’t need music. It’s a beautiful scene.
Talk about your involvement with the ABCs Of Death 2.
I did a segment with Aharon and Navot and I can’t remember which letter we had but we finished that a few months ago.
What kind of feel will we get when we hear the music for that segment?
All I can say is that there will be references to our next movie, which is ‘Once Upon A Time In Palestine’.
Thank you very much!
Thank you! Bye!
“The Box” picks up the several threads leftover from last week and stalls in lackluster fashion. The threats from the first episode aren’t nearly as prevalent, but the ominous sense of dread starts to descend on the CDC as the mystery of the empty plane stops making medical sense.
This episode begins with my personal favorite character of the series, Vasiliy Fet. He’s a no nonsense rat exterminator who thrives in darkness. He’s only given a few key scenes this week but Kevin Durand (Of LOST fame, or perhaps of Blob fame in X-Men The Last Stand) finally gets the roll he deserves. As a member of the city pest control he’s very skilled at tracking and killing vermin… one wonders how such skills will pay off in the future.
Meanwhile everything is under CDC jurisdiction. That much is clear. Ephraim seems to have the power to shut everything down. He loves to show the size of his dick by asserting control. It’s clear that viral outbreaks are serious business here, but it’s almost too much to watch. Especially since the man in charge of the CDC seems completely inept. He doesn’t even understand the gravity of the situation when locked in an intimate stranglehold between himself and Eph.
Somehow though Corey Stoll is still compelling. He does his best with being the one guy who has an inkling of the truth. His ability to take command of a scene shows an assertiveness that few characters share so far. Most of this is due to the fact that the episode largely concerns itself with confused people too afraid to admit this is a viral outbreak. So you get a lot of talk about the repercussions of shutting down New York.
The scene between Herr Eichorst and Abraham is probably the standout of the episode. They share a lot of history and Eichorst shows he’s one evil bastard by jamming a knife into Abraham that deeply penetrates the misery of his past. This is the strength of the series thus far. The science is actually far outweighed by the actual mysticism of the swords and supernatural.
There is far less horror on display this week than the last. There is the fantastic reveal of The Master, but for the most part the plot feels like a stalling vehicle, it just can’t decide how fast to move. Things chug along and everyone other than Vasiliy feel lost in limbo. The only real reason Vasiliy works so well is because he’s so detached from everything else in the main narrative.
It’s just unfortunate because there is a ton of great potential within the series that still feels lost in this episode. Ephraim’s character becomes even more jagged with the reveal of his past as an alcoholic but it doesn’t serve to make him any more compelling. He’s learning about himself and there is an awkward AA scene that does a groan worthy self reflexive info dump.
Pretty much all of the best scenes of the week belong to the last ten minutes. It’s almost as if the best parts of this episode and the extra half hour from the first episode should have been cut into something with a little better pacing, but I digress.
Despite its problems The Strain still shows an fantastic amount of promise, but it just has to make good on it’s premise. This week tried to focus on character, but totally forgot the service the plot and serve up the horror.
- Sean Astin is left to comedic relief and dumbfounded bewilderment. He’s not that compelling. One small cough, good god.
- I can’t stand Mia Meastro. She’s wooden, devoid of emotion, and the most unconvincing television scientist I’ve ever witnessed.
- Chilling when Eichorst recites Abraham’s concentration camp number from memory.
- A huge missed opportunity with the scene in the morgue.
- I dug the scene licking blood off the floor. The reveal of the Master, and the final scene of the week, but it these were pretty much the only moments of horror.
For those of you still in doubt, I urge you to stick around for one more week. This is the weakest episode of the series, and I can certainly promise things get better from here.
What did you think of “The Box?”