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[SDCC '14] Come See Us at the ‘Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael’ Panel!

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 13:02

Broadcast Thought is the collective name for a creative cabal of three forensic psychiatrists (H. Eric Bender, M.D., Praveen R. Kambam, M.D., and Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D.) who also happen to have a vast and unquenchable thirst for pop culture knowledge. I had a lot of fun with them at our Flashback to the Slash Pack panel at Wondercon, but now we’re beefing that presentation up and bringing it to the hallowed halls of the San Diego Comic-Con.

We’re very excited to present Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael: Inside the Minds of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers. It all happens on Thursday, July 24th at 8PM in room 7AB. That’s a big room so help us fill it! I know a lot of you want to punch me, so here’s your shot!

Also on the panel is screenwriter Mark Swift who, along with Damian Shannon, wrote Freddy Vs. Jason and the 2009 installment of Friday The 13th (one of my personal favorites in the franchise). Swift cares deeply about the mythology of these characters and, as someone who has written several scripts from their point of view, will be a great addition to the evening. He was invaluable last time and can answer many of your questions about the franchise.

Follow BTdocs (pictured below) and Shannon and Swift on Twitter and be sure to check out this event.

Categories: Horror News

Matt Reeves (Thankfully) Cut a Pointless ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Epilogue

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:43

I hate epilogues. I HATE them. That’s why I giggle in joy when movies like RoboCop, Rocky and The Karate Kid end with an upper cut and a freeze frame. There’s no need for extra exposition as we don’t need to see the aftermath of Dick Jones being fired, Rocky nearly beating Apollo Creed, and Johnny getting crane-kicked in the face. We get it, audience aren’t as stupid as Hollywood seems to think they are.

With that said, I bask in this report by /Film, who talked with director Matt Reeves about an alternate ending to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In it, the movie never ends, bleeding into an epilogue that would have taken the heart and soul out of the finale, and leaked into sequel territory (like the eye-rolling ending of The Amazing Spider-Man 2).

Reeves begins talking about receiving his shots to edit very late in the game, and deciding to recut the entry of the film, while also making a huge trim to the film’s epic conclusion.

As those shots actually finally come in and the backgrounds are in, you suddenly realize oh wait, okay, this shot should be held this long, not that long. And there was a frantic period of editing, literally in the last three weeks. Let’s do another pass on the movie. And I ended up taking out a couple sequences that I loved because I thought the movie played better without them. And we will put those somewhere on the DVD or an extended cut or something.

And what was different about the ending was that after the ending that you see in the final film, the idea was that the apes went out on a kind of exodus through the city and they gathered on the Golden Gate Bridge in order to look into the distance for the approaching warships. And I felt that it was taking us too far into the next movie. And almost starting the next movie and not letting the emotion of what had just happened, of what Caesar had just achieved and what Caesar had the price that he had paid. It wasn’t letting that resonate and it wasn’t ending, the final shot with again hopefully not spoiler way, but the final shot was actually in a way the very same final shot. It was actually him on top of the Golden Gate Bridge which was covered in apes, all looking out way, way into the distance and to see this really like messed up armada way in the distance showing up like really like ships in disrepair. And it moved into his eyes as he took in the uncertain future.

Reeves talks a lot more about the epilogue over at /Film, but it’s a little filibuster-y for me.

Categories: Horror News

Marvel Comics Announce Female THOR!

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:42

Marvel took to The View this morning to announce an all new comic “THOR.” Little else is known other than the star of the comic won’t be the Thor we know and love, but rather a new female version. Landing this October, Jason Aaron will shepard in the newest version of the character with art from Russel Dauterman, whose been doing stellar work on “Cyclops.”

Hard to tell what’s going to happen in the Marvel universe, and we’ll cover more on this story as it develops. But it’s a safe bet to assume that Rick Remender is going to take the Thor we currently have to the cleaners in AXIS. His love for the character only means his demise.

From Marvel:

This October, Marvel Comics evolves once again in one of the most shocking and exciting changes ever to shake one of Marvel’s “big three” – Captain American, Iron Man and Thor – Marvel Comics will be introducing an all-new THOR, GOD OF THUNDER. No longer is the classic male hero able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, a brand new female hero will emerge will who will be worthy of the name THOR. Who is she? Where did she come from and what is her connection to Asgard and the Marvel Universe?

“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”

Series writer Jason Aaron emphasizes, “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”

THOR is the latest in the ever-growing and long list of female-centric titles that continues to invite new readers into the Marvel Universe. This femaleTHOR is the 8th title to feature a lead female protagonist and aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for Super Hero comic books in America: women and girls.

 

I’m really into this. Marvel is taking some chances. Let’s hope they stick.

Categories: Horror News

New Images From Dracula’s ‘Untold’ Story

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:39

Originally Dracula: Year Zero, Universal Pictures has released new stills from Dracula Untold, the Gary Shore-directed version of Bram Stoker’s novella, in theaters October 17, 2014.

Starring Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Zach McGowan, Samantha Barks, Thor Kristjansson and Art Parkinson, the film was shot in Belfast last year.

In the film, “Luke Evans is starring as the most famous of vampires in an origin story that sees a Transylvanian prince risk eternal damnation in order to save his wife and son from a Turkish horde. Barks will play a figure in Eastern European folk tales known as a baba yaga, a beautiful young woman who turns into a savage witch. Kristjansson will play Bright Eyes, an Eastern European taken as a slave as a young boy and now a vicious assassin in the Ottoman Army. Parkinson will play Dracula’s son, named Ingeras.

Categories: Horror News

Tool Members Explain Exactly Why A New Album Hasn’t Been Released

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:36

It’s been 8 long years since 10,000 Days has been released and fans of progressive rock/metal giant Tool have been chomping at the bits for any new material. In fact, guitarist Adam Jones tells Rolling Stone, “The fans are pissed at us…

But there’s far more to the story than meets the eye. What many fans assumed was simply a break for side projects has in fact been a multi-level lawsuit that has embroiled each member, taking years and costing, “…millions and millions and millions of dollars…

What happened was that back in 2007 a friend of Jones’ claimed that he had created artwork for the group and wanted appropriate credit. He filed a lawsuit and things got complicated when an insurance company that was supposed to defend the band turned around completely and filed suit over technicalities. The band has since filed a countersuit and this has been going on for years. The case will go to trial in January, if everything goes according to plan.

Drummer Danny Carey states:

The whole thing is really depressing. The bad thing is it’s really time consuming. As we’ve gotten older and our priorities have changed, it’s hard to get the band on a good, solid schedule as it is. People have kids now. And there’s lots of other things that pop up. To throw this into the mix, it makes everything that much worse and stresses people out.

Jones adds:

…we’re fighting the good fight. We’re going to trial and we want to crush them. But every time we’ve gotten close to going to trial, it gets postponed and we’ve wasted money and time and it has just drained our creative energy. We bought an insurance policy for peace of mind, but instead we would have been better off if we never had it and just dealt with the original lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the band has been hard at work on new music and songs are being written. It’s simply a matter of time before they can enter the studio and release a new album. For more information, click on the link above.

Categories: Horror News

There’s Only Enough Power to Watch One Movie Ever Again, What Do You Pick?!

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:31

I had a weird thought while I was watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes this weekend.

There’s a scene in which the power is regenerated and Gary Oldman’s iPad pops on. He excitedly scrolls through long lost images that he thought he’d never see again.

It made me think, if the apocalypse actually occurred, and I could only watch one movie ever again, what would it be?

Now, the game here is this: you need to act quick and tell us the first movie that popped into your mind. Clearly, it does’t have to be your favorite, and there are no wrong answers. Mine was the 1991 Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, which would be that “feel good” movie I would need during such a dark and destructive time.

What’s yours?

Categories: Horror News

[Fantasia '14] Dive Into ‘The Midnight Swim’ Trailer

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:24

Premiering at this week’s Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal is The Midnight Swim, Sarah Adina Smith’s indie thriller that now has a trailer, still and festival poster.

When their mother goes missing in Spirit Lake, three half-sisters travel home to settle her affairs. The youngest sister, June (Lindsay Burge), a documentary filmmaker, captures their bittersweet homecoming. But when the sisters jokingly summon a local ghost, their relationship begins to unravel and they find themselves drawn deeper and deeper into the true mystery of the lake. Transporting its audience to a place drenched in the supernatural, THE MIDNIGHT SWIM is an eerie, atmospheric exploration of the inexplicable pull towards the unknown.

The film stars Lindsay Burdge, Jennifer Lafleur, Aleksa Palladino, Ross Partridge, Beth Grant, Michelle Hutchinson and Shirley Venard.

Categories: Horror News

How ‘Scanners’ Iconic Head Explosion Scene Was Pulled Off

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:48

Ever wonder how they got Louis Del Grande’s head to explode in Scanners? While most people’s first guess would logically be “explosives,” it was actually a lot more tricky (and awesome) than that.

For their new Blu-ray release of the film, the Criterion Collection talked with photographer Mark Irwin, special effects supervisor Gary Zeller, and makeup artists Stephen Dupuis and Chris Wallas about the effect. The guys explain the difficulties in creating the now-iconic moment, saying how they made several attempts to make it look real before finally deciding to do things the old fashioned way.

Check out the video below for the whole, messy story.

Categories: Horror News

‘The Hypnotist’ Makes You Buy the DVD In the UK

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:25

Celebrated director Lasse Hallström (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Chocolat, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen) returns with the tense and brutal crime thriller The Hypnotist, out on DVD September 15, 2014 in the UK through Studiocanal.

Said to be a must-see for fans of “The Killing” and Scandinavian book-to-film adaptations by authors such as Jo Nesbø (Headhunters) and Stieg Larsson (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), The Hypnotist is based on the best-selling novel by Lars Kepler and features what is said to be an incredible performance from Mikael Persbrandt (The Hobbit) as a troubled psychologist.

In the middle of a dark December night, psychiatrist Erik Maria Bark (Mikael Persbrandt) is woken by a telephone call from a hospital in Stockholm. Detective Inspector Joona Linna (Tobias Zilliacus) asks for his immediate help in treating an unconscious patient suffering from acute trauma. He hopes that Erik will be able to communicate with the young boy through hypnosis, enabling the police to question him. They intend to find out who so brutally murdered his parents and younger sister, in order to track down and save his mysteriously missing older sister before it is too late.

Check out the first ever stills to go along with the box art.

Categories: Horror News

Watch Freddy Krueger and Leatherface Wrestle In the Late 80′s and 90′s!

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:15

Jon Barkan sent me over a video that had me conversing with both Adam Frazier (of Geeks of Doom) and Lucas Liner about horror icons wrestling in the late 80′s and 90′s.

Initially, I was given a video from 1989 that shows A Nightmare On Elm Street‘s Freddy Krueger lighting the Undertaker (known then as “Master of Pain”) on fire. Also in the video is Dustin Rhodes, better known as Goldust and Ricky Morton of the Rock ‘n Roll Express. Doug Gilbert is donning the Krueger mask.

Also, thanks to Adam, we have a video from 1997 with both Freddy and Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s Leatherface.

Who would win in a real fight?

Categories: Horror News

Two Chimps Watched ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ In Theaters, and It’s the Cutest Thing Ever…

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 10:50

This morning I was running on the treadmill when a lady next to me put on “Good Morning America,” a show that makes my blood boil. Out of my peripheral vision I could see all of the asinine shit they were reporting on, and obsessing on how much I hate the show. That’s when they actually popped on something I couldn’t ignore – a story on two chimps who were taken to see FOX and Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in theaters!

While “GMA” doesn’t have a story online, I was able to find a report on ABC News, embedded below, about these two-year-old chimps, Vali and Sugriva, who got to see Apes in a movie theater in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The Daily Mail wrote about the two chimps who were able to enjoy the full cinema experience at the BigD Auditorium at the Carmike Cinema, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, including buying their own popcorn and juice.

The chimps, who live at the Myrtle Beach Safari, regularly watch television as a form of entertainment – and are big fans of the latest movie’s predecessor, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

Myrtle Beach Safari director Bhagavan Antle said the trip started as it would for most other people – with a trip to the confectionery stand where they got their popcorn and juice.

Dr Antle said: ‘They are smart – they knew to hand over the money to get their food and drinks.’

After settling down in their seats however it was time for them to turn their attention to the film itself.

Dr Antle said: ‘The older one, Vali, is a very bright guy, he’s watched the Lord Of The Rings many times, and he could follow the whole plot of the movie.’

Dr Antle said Vali was able to judge the facial expressions and actions of the characters to determine which were the ‘good guys’ and which were the ‘bad guys’.

He said: ‘He loves to clap – when he likes something he claps, so he clapped for the good guys, and when chimps don’t like what’s happening they hoot or bark, so when the bad guy came on he was barking.’

The chimps watched the film with some 1,000 other cinema-goers at the IMAX screen in the cinema complex – although not everybody was too comfortable having them present.

Dr Antle said: ‘A couple of people said very clearly “are you sure they should watch this movie, won’t they learn to take over the world?”

‘There were several people actually concerned about that.’

Image Source: Myrtle Beach Safari

Categories: Horror News

Lionsgate’s ‘The Vatican Tapes’ Unearthed In 2015

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 10:36

Lionsgate has come across The Vatican Tapes and will share the with the world on February 27, 2015.

Lakeshore Entertainment is behind the pic directed by Mark Neveldine (Ghost Rider: With A Vengeance, Crank) in which, “A young woman becomes the spiritual conduit for the forces of darkness, responsible for unleashing unchecked evil in the world…

Michael Pena, Djimon Hounsou, Dougray Scott, Peter Andersson, Olivia Dudley, and Cas Anvar star.

Lakeshore’s Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi are producing the pic alongside Chris Cowles.

Categories: Horror News

[Review] ‘At the Devil’s Door’ Is an Inventive, Creepy Thriller!

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:03

Nicholas McCarthy’s 2012 debut The Pact was a twisting, suspenseful little film that I really enjoyed. The good news is that McCarthy hasn’t suffered from the ol’ sophomore slump. I like his new film, At the Devil’s Door (formerly known as Home) even better than The Pact. At times it’s terrifying and McCarthy deftly plays with suspense until it becomes near unbearable. It plays out against a dark, unpredictable canvas and features three strong female actresses who all get their turn to play lead.

The narrative structure of At the Devil’s Door plays out like three separate horror films, all of which are consistently and profoundly creepy. It’s an offbeat structure, but McCarthy pulls it off nicely. Even though it has almost an anthology feel, the transitions are smooth enough to make it cohesive. This is the type of horror film that really gets under your skin and makes your nerves feel all funny. At the center of it all is Ashley Rickards, who’s probably best known as the star of MTV’s Awkward. After running away with her boyfriend, she returns home a changed woman. I mean that in the demonic possession sorta way.

I’m wary to give away anything further about the plot because the twists collide in a very effective way and it’s best to go in fresh. I will say that there are a lot of horror tropes that in the hands of many other directors would’ve felt just like that, like cliches. But McCarthy manages to make elements like haunted houses, possession, and evil children feel completely like his own. The atmosphere he creates is so thick you could cut it with a butter knife and he doesn’t just depend on loud noises to scare us. And hot damn are there some scares in the film. There are your run-of-the-mill jump scares, sure. For the most part though, the film relies heavily on its eerie tone and shocking moments of terror to scare the audience.

There is some CGI in the film but for the most part, the successful scares are played out with practical effects. There’s one moment that spooked me where a dresser drawer opens. That’s it. Just a drawer opening. That’s how potent the overall sense of dread is in At the Devil’s Door. A drawer gave me a wicked bad case of the willies.

Anyone who enjoyed The Pact is going to love McCarthy’s impressive second film. It’s clever, bizarre, and wildly satisfying. From beginning to end it’s filled with thrilling ideas and claustrophobic tension. Despite the presence of cliches, At the Devil’s Door is one of the most inventive and effective horror films I’ve seen in a while.

Don’t miss it when IFC Midnight releases it on VOD August 8!

Categories: Horror News

A Guy 3D Rendered His MRI Brain Scan Images And They’re Creepy As Balls

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:00

Reddit user taurus_manure (seriously, where do people come up with these names?) recently got an MRI brain scan for migraines (been there) and, upon receiving a disc with the images, proceeded to render them in 3D. The result? Well, it’s pretty damn terrifying. Seriously, some of the pictures would be fodder for any practical FX team in creating a demonic horror creature that is straight out of some Clive Barker-esque nightmare. Just look at the gallery below and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Categories: Horror News

New Imagery From Magnet’s ‘Honeymoon’

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 19:38

Magnet Releasing will release Honeymoon (read our review) on iTunes/On Demand and in theaters September 12.

We also landed new images to share with the previously released first clip from Leigh Janiak’s festival fav that stars Rose Leslie (“Game of Thrones”), Harry Treadaway (“Penny Dreadful”), Ben Huber and Hanna Brown.

Newlyweds Paul and Bea want to spend their honeymoon at a cabin in the woods. But the lovely romantic moments quickly disappears when strange events, such as the appearance of a mysterious light, the unexpected disappearance of Bea and her strange return, completely hurt and acting differently, are destined to torn them apart.

Categories: Horror News

[Fantasia '14] New Stills From ‘Ju-On: Beginning of the End’!

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 17:47

The 18th annual Fantasia International Film Festival is gearing up to take Montreal by storm with three weeks of inspiration and excitement starting July 17 until August 5, 2014. The full 2014 lineup of programming and special events will be revealed shortly, but in the meantime, here’s some new imagery to whet your appetite.

We revealed a few months back that Ochiai Masayuki, who directed Infection, Hypnosis and the absolutely atrocious 2008 remake of Shutter, is set to pen and get behind the camera for Ju-on: Owari no Hajimari, or The Grudge: Beginning of the End.

Today, we got our hands on new imagery from the latest entry in which, “An elementary school teacher named Yui visits the home of a boy named Toshio Saeki who’s been absent from school for a long period of time. When she arrives, she re-lives the horrific tragedy which occurred in the Saeki household 10 years earlier. A cardboard box left in a closet holds the key to revealing a long-hidden truth.” Nozomi Sasaki and Kai Kobayashi star.

For the full list of Fantasia titles announced thus far, click here and here.

Categories: Horror News

First Screens Emerge from the Next Episode of Telltale’s ‘The Walking Dead’

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 17:46

Telltale has released two brand zombie-spanking new screenshots from the upcoming episode of The Walking Dead: The Game season two episode four, titled Amid the Ruins. In the first screen, Clem’s surrounded by a gaggle of zombies, and it all looks awfully similar to the situation we were left with in the last episode. The second features an intense standoff between Clem and friends who look to be having a disagreement against an unknown number of other gun-toting folks.

What’s going on in the above images should be made clear when Amid the Ruins arrives later this month.

Categories: Horror News

Team Junkfish Sheds Light on the Monsters of ‘Monstrum’

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 17:11

Written by T. Blake Braddy, @blakebraddy

Team Junkfish’s Monstrum is an eerie first-person survival horror game set on a ship where very, very bad things seem to have happened. Things that, well, you as the player will discover by being subjected to them, too. With a sound design tweaked to make players ruin perfectly fine underwear, it is equal parts ship exploration and run-screaming-from-a-monster-and-hope-you-can-find-a-hiding-place. You know. That kind of game.

The overall point is to find items to repair a life raft in order to escape, but achieving the objective is way less important than avoiding the beast that roams the claustrophobic corridors, just lying in wait to strip you of your dignity (and your life). Since death is permanent, the stakes are insanely high for this satisfyingly simple gaming experience. Monstrum is guaranteed to wrench at least a single, panicked shriek out of you, and if you’re the kind of sadist who enjoys watching others suffer, you can find plenty of Let’s Plays highlighting this very same event. (In fact, our very own editor Adam put himself through Hell for your enjoyment right here.)

Grant Campbell, Gameplay Programmer and Designer on Monstrum, answered some questions about how they achieved tone in the game, where they gathered inspiration, and how they feel about boats. Also, there is talk of sausage fingers somewhere below. Monstrum is in Alpha and will be released early in 2015. It can be found on Steam.

BD: Sound design is one of the most appealing / frightening parts of Monstrum. How do you know you’ve landed upon the most terrifying sound possible? Is there a lot of discussion about how loud and unsettling to make, say, the sound of a door creaking?

Oh yeah, definitely. Sound is one of the most important parts of horror, in general. Most of the actual discussion we have on making the sounds scary is based around the ones the monsters make (e.g. roars, footsteps, general bodily functions). With environmental audio, like doors and creaking pipes, we let Jaime [Cross] (our resident soundsmith) know the kind of feeling we want to inspire, usually with some examples from other media, and get him to create a bunch of concepts based on these. Then we just pick the ones we like best and iterate until we’re satisfied with the result.

Sound design is made even more important in Monstrum because we use it as a mechanic. When the player does things that make noise, they are giving away their position and it’s important we make sure the player is aware of this. Our rule of thumb is “If the monster will notice it, so should the player,” so sounds that you might not normally be fully conscious of sometimes have to be made louder so that the player makes that connection. This goes for the player’s footsteps when running, opening and closing doors, basically anything that will attract attention.

BD: How will the “power system” you recently blogged about affect or change how players approach the game?

The power system gives the player more ways to approach the game, adding some variety to the overall experience. There are several systems on the ship that require power, such as lights, escape routes, and access to secret areas. Each of these has a corresponding fuse box that supplies power, but the number of fuses available to the player each run will be limited.

This creates a sort of resource management mechanic. Say, for instance, a player is having trouble with a particular section of the ship. It might be worth spending a fuse to power that section, turning on the lights and making it easier to navigate/notice items. However, this comes at the cost of high visibility, which is not great when you’re trying to stay unnoticed, and you have one less fuse. In addition to working lights, once powered, each section will provide a bonus of some kind. For example, powering the area containing the security room will afford a level of control over the ship’s ubiquitous security cameras.

Initially, most of the ship will be unpowered, but there will be some degree of low level lighting spread about, as running around in large sections of total darkness gets frustrating pretty quickly. There are also systems in place to make sure that, even if the player squanders all their fuses, there will always be at least one escape route always available.

BD: Where do the designs for the ship derive? Is there an inherent love for ships and the ocean on the team, or are you ever, like, “Jesus. Not another engine room?”

The decision to set the game on a ship comes from my love for – and, more importantly, intense fear of – the ocean. While I enjoy the calm and isolated nature of being on a boat, the sheer openness of the sea and the idea of being stranded terrifies me. This choice also avoids the inevitable thoughts of ‘Just smash a fucking window and run away’ that occur when playing horror games set in landlocked areas.

The choice of a cargo ship instead of something like a cruise ship is due to the desire for the environment to have a maze-like feel. While larger passenger ships are generally designed to be easy for the public to navigate, older and more industrial ships seem to have a very ‘functionality first, usability second’ logic to their layout. This fits more with the more confusing and oppressive atmosphere that we’re trying to create.

BD: Does the team have to create a whole ship build for each procedurally-generated level, or is the environment composed of interlocking, repeatable parts?

We currently only have one layout for the ship, which is broken down into several sections. These sections define what rooms can spawn there and the rules for their placement. So while the crew quarters section will always be in the same area of the ship – at the back and above the engineering section – its actual layout and the contents of its rooms will be randomised each time. The rooms for each section are selected from a large pool, each room having variant layouts and some randomised placement rules for decoration and items etc. They are then connected up using a pathfinding algorithm which places corridor pieces and junctions. By keeping the ship broken up like this, we make sure that each room spawns in an appropriate area, and that navigation becomes easier the more the game is played. While there were initially plans for some different ship layouts, those are on the backburner just now while we get the rest of the features in.

BD: How do you approach the creation of mood and tone within the game? Is there a piece of pop culture that you point to when trying to codify the experience into a single feeling?

I would say the best existing works that represent the central theme of the game are the original Alien, and the myth of the Labyrinth. You’re stuck in a claustrophobic and unfamiliar location and stalked by a monster but you are not Theseus, you are not Ripley, you are just a mere mortal in terrible danger trying to get away. This factors heavily into how we approach content creation for the game, as we try to make sure each asset and mechanic contributes to this theme as much as possible.

While on this topic, the way we were originally pitching the game was ‘Alien, on a boat’, and when we found out that Alien was pitched originally as ‘Jaws, in space’ it became ‘Jaws in space, but on a boat’. Though shortly after beginning development, a certain similar – and, more importantly, licensed – game was announced and we dialed back on that.

BD: How did the main monster’s design evolve into its current form, or was this the original vision for it? How will the other two pursuers differ from the first, or can you reveal anything about that yet?

Because there is only one enemy in the game at any one time, it’s important to make encounters with them as intense as possible, so I wanted to make the threat of the first monster immediately obvious. It had to be clear as soon as you saw it that this thing could end you in seconds, and for most players meeting it for the first time that is exactly what would happen. I admit that death is a pretty harsh introduction, but it does immediately teach the capabilities of your opponent and the importance of playing cautiously.

We refer to this monster in-house as ‘The Brute’, and the pitch I gave to the team was along the lines of ‘Big, strong and fast. Basically we should be able to replace him at any point in development with a bear and have the game feel the same.’ The original concept was a kind of a gorilla shaped and sea-themed creature, but it became quickly apparent that this thing would have serious trouble moving quickly around a cramped ship. The the new shape is more humanoid, freakishly swollen and muscular, and its fiery, scarred appearance came from a concept by one of our artists that we loved.

I can’t reveal too much about the other monsters just yet, but I can give you an idea of how they differ from the current one:

The Brute is meant to invoke a very primal ‘survival instinct’ response and so his behaviour is that of an enraged wild animal, smashing shit up and barreling after you single-mindedly upon seeing you.

The Hunter is the monster we’re currently working on, represents more of a slimy, creepy-crawly type of fear usually inspired by things like bugs and reptiles. It is the counterpoint to the Brute, choosing stealthier means of moving around the ship and hunting the player.

I can’t say much about the Fiend, as it is still in the early stages and is still subject to change but I will say that it plays on more malevolent tropes like serial killers and the supernatural, and its behaviour and personality will reflect this.

BD: Games like Monstrum feel almost like adventure games with loud noises. You yourself mention Dark Fall as inspirational. Why do you think first-person exploration (a la Myst) makes for such a great backdrop for horror games today?

I think it’s probably because exploration comes from unfamiliarity. Exploration is delving into the unknown to satisfy your curiosity, and because of the strong connection between the unknown and fear it makes a natural fit for the horror genre. From there a first-person viewpoint, is a sensible choice because it increases immersion by bringing the player closer to the environments they’re investigating.

BD: This game looks like it would be killer on Oculus. What has the response been like for VR players?

The response has been pretty positive so far! From what we’ve seen at shows people get really into it to the point of forgetting where they are, and it’s a good laugh seeing them freak out and swear in a crowded area. The Oculus adds quite a bit to the game experience. When you’ve got the headset on you really get a perspective of how small the ship’s corridors actually are and everything feels a lot more cramped and claustrophobic. There is also something quite intimidating in having to look up to make eye contact with the monster.

BD: Do you have anything else you’d like to announce?

The player’s hands are no longer made out of PlayDoh sausages. He’s even got fingernails and everything.

BD: Will all versions be ready for the game’s proposed Q3 release date?

We have recently revised our release date for Monstrum to end of January 2015. This is to give us some extra breathing room to make the game as good as we know it can be. Developing any game in a year (we began development September 9, 2013) was always going to be hard and with the response we’ve had from public we really don’t want to release as a messy early access title and ruin what goodwill we’ve achieved. This may mean staggering the release of Mac / Linux versions, as we’ve always said any release on Xbox / Playstation will be dependant on the response to Monstrum on PC.

BD: Final question: Would you rather be trapped on a ghost ship or forced to watch the movie Ghost Ship?

I’ll take the ship, because at least then I can jump into the sea if I need a way out.

Categories: Horror News

‘Horns’ Teaser Trailer Takes You Through Daniel Radcliffe’s Personal Hell…

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 16:52

Earlier today we shared the official teaser poster for Horns, which marks stars Daniel Radcliffe as the Devil. Now, with the teaser trailer, we watch him go through hell.

In UK cinemas and presumably here in the States on October 31, “In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples.

Directed by Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Mirrors, Piranha 3D, The Hills Have Eyes) from Keith Bunin’s script, Horns stars Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Juno Temple, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner and James Remar.

Bloody Disgusting’s Mike Pereira was a huge fan – read his review here – calling it “an audacious, wonderfully twisted romantic horror fantasy.”

RADiUS-TWC acquired the film for release here in the States, so expect it to be released in a similar fashion to Snowpiercer.

Categories: Horror News

Uni’s Halloween Horror Nights Gets “From Dusk Till Dawn” Maze!

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 16:40

From cult horror film to breakthrough television series on El Rey Network, “From Dusk Till Dawn” will add terrifying maze to its credits when filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s acclaimed supernatural show debuts as a menacing new “Halloween Horror Nights” experience at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, beginning Friday, September 19.

This all-new maze, inspired by the critically acclaimed television series, will thrust guests into the deviant world of “From Dusk Till Dawn,” where they will encounter sordid mythological creatures known as “Culebras,” serpent-like vampires who have tormented the earth for centuries. Residing within the elusive and sinister nightclub, “The Twister,” located just over the Mexican border and above cursed ancient ruins, the “Culebras” prove to be a band of immoral and depraved beasts with a deadly agenda. As guests navigate the maze and venture deep within the bowels of “The Twister,” they will find themselves face to face with a cast of perverse characters, including exotic dancer, Santanico Pandemonium, a mysterious and irresistible “Culebras” femme fatale and Queen Vampire.

Based on the film of the same name, “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” is a supernatural crime saga centered around bank robber, Seth Gecko and his violent, unpredictable brother, Richard “Richie” Gecko, who are wanted by the FBI after a bank heist leaves several people dead. While on the run to Mexico, Seth and Richie encounter former pastor Jacob Fuller and his family, whom they take hostage. Using the family RV to cross the border, chaos ensues when the group detours to a club populated by vampires and are forced to fight until dawn in order to get out alive. The series deepens the tone of the film, From Dusk Till Dawn, upon which it is based, adding new characters and backstories that expand the Mesoamerican mythology behind the creatures inside the club.

Universal Studios’ ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ event is the ideal platform to take fans of ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ to literally experience the terror of stepping into the show,” said Robert Rodriguez. “It has been an incredible opportunity to work closely with the Creative teams at both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort to bring this maze to life with such detail and authenticity. This maze will capture the visceral excitement and thrills of the series, and I can’t wait to experience it myself.

A versatile and award-winning filmmaker, Robert Rodriguez is renowned for directing a variety of successful and groundbreaking film sagas, including such cult horror classics as Planet Terror, Machete, Grindhouse and From Dusk Till Dawn, upon which El Rey Network’s hit television show, “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” is based.

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” events have a more than 20-year history of creating incredibly entertaining, horrifying Halloween experiences that are consistently rated the nation’s best. The events on each coast feature highly-themed, disturbingly real, haunted mazes based on everything from films to nightmares – and streets filled with hundreds of specially trained “scareactors.” In addition to the “From Dusk Till Dawn” maze, other announced mazes include, “The Walking Dead: The End of the Line.”

Categories: Horror News