IFC Midnight has acquired US rights to Danny Perez’s Antibirth, Bloody Disgusting just learned.
Antibirth had its world premiere in the Midnight section of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival where Fred Topel wrote in his review:
‘Antibirth’ is a good old body horror movie. It’s got the suggestion of pregnancy, so you’re dealing with the undertones of a woman’s mixed feelings about her own capacity to give life, but if you don’t want to go there it’s really just gross as hell.
The film, written and directed by Perez, stars Emmy nominated Natasha Lyonne, Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe winning actresses Chloë Sevigny and Meg Tilly as well as Mark Webber.
“In Antibirth, trailer dweller Lou (Lyonne) and her best friend Sadie (Sevigny) spend most of their nights steeped in a murky haze of pot smoke and booze-filled TV-watching sessions, venturing out on occasion to party in a desolate community full of drug-addled ex-marines and other miscreants of society. After an otherwise normal night of self-destructive behavior, Lou awakens with symptoms of a bizarre illness and psychosomatic, recurring visions that she can’t seem to shake. Unfazed, she continues with her hard-living ways, but even her frequent bong rips don’t fully explain the shitstorm swirling around in her head. Without being able to remember anything from the night before, she struggles to get a grip on the reality of her situation as unusual conspiracy theories begin to arise. As her symptoms grow at a rapid pace, something otherworldly has infected her body, and try as she might, it refuses to be ignored.”
The film was produced by Cole Payne, Roger M. Mayer, David Anselmo, Justin Kelly and Lyonne.
[Interview] Director James Wan Says No ‘Amityville’ Spin-Off Movie, Insinuates Further ‘Conjuring’ Entries
In the latest film from director James Wan, the man who brought us such horror gems as Insidious, Saw, and The Conjuring, Ed and Lorraine Warren return to the screen with one of their most demanding cases yet: The Enfield Poltergeist. The Warrens make their way to northern London after hearing about the strange occurrence of an eleven-year-old girl claiming to be terrorized by the spirit of a deceased previous owner, and upon their arrival, begin experiencing horrifying bouts of paranormal activity themselves. The Hodgsons may be the one family who needs help more than any of the people they’ve have reached out to before, but once the demon begins targeting the Warrens as well, will they be able to even save themselves from what’s coming? Only time will tell what lies in what for everyone involved in The Conjuring 2 (read my review).
James Wan’s first Conjuring film featured an opening with a sequence from the infamous real life Annabelle case, wherein reports had been processed with witnesses claiming that a particular doll was exhibiting signs which suggested that it might be possessed. After The Conjuring was so well received, a spin-off film was released with John R. Leonetti directing and Wan producing, simply titled Annabelle.
Now, in the sequel The Conjuring 2, the movie opens up with a scene featuring the Warrens handling the infamous Amityville haunting. Ed and Lorraine gather with a group in the home to test to see if there’s any strange activity in the air that might support Ronald DeFeo Jr.’s claims. According to DeFeo, he was possessed by a demonic entity when he shot and killed his entire family while they slept in their beds – he had no control over his actions. He was of course promptly arrested for his crimes and sent to trial, but Ed and Lorraine aren’t searching for a reliable defense for this man, they just want to find out the truth. However, when Lorraine reaches out with her mind to see if she can pick anything up, what she discovers lurking in the shadows of the that home is far more ungodly than anything she could have imagined.
Both The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 movies open with a short scene from different famous Warren case than the one that the movie is about. The scene from the first movie was made into a spin-off film which we know now as Annabelle. Now, with The Conjuring 2 releasing wide soon, and also showing a scene with the famous Amityville case, does that mean that there will be an Amityville spin-off movie helmed by James Wan? Wan says no.
“You know in terms of a director, I think there are a lot of other things that I would love to do, that I would love to pursue” says director James Wan. “But I think I definitely want to continue you know, keeping my presence in the horror world with movies I’m going to start producing. I want to be involved more as a producer in this world, sort of what I did with “Lights Out”. I think it would be a great opportunity for me to work with younger filmmakers and explore the horror world more. I just think coming back to The Conjuring 2 was in some ways something that I felt like I needed to do after F7. That was such an emotionally tough movie, and I needed to come back to some kind of familiarity, and to work with people that I really love, but moving forward, I would like to explore some other directing opportunities”.
Wan continued excitedly about his new producing project, short turned feature length film Lights Out.
“I’m starting to branch more into the producing world and it is really hard to find filmmakers who get what it takes to pull off a scary sequence so when I saw the “Lights Out” short I was like, “Oh wow, this guy gets it!” You know it’s very simple and so I really appreciated it and I love like the title as well and so, when I spoke with David [F. Sandberg] early on I ended up just really liking the guy. He’s such an easy guy to work with, and get along with, and so it just felt like, ‘Okay let’s do it! Let’s give this guy a break and a give him chance to turn it into a feature’”.
Although Wan says he’d rather focus on his producing career than make his own Amityville movie, he does hint that he would like to make more Conjuring sequels in the future.
“I mean listen, part of the reason why I didn’t make The Conjuring 2 all about just Amityville is I felt that it’s a story that’s been done a lot, and I don’t want to repeat what’s already been done. The Warrens have so many great stories in their archival boat, and it would be amazing to explore lots of other stories if we’re lucky enough to have future installments”.
Based on what he says here, it seems that Wan would indeed like more Conjuring sequels, if they’re financially possible. In the end, basically, whether or not there will be any more Conjuring movies totally depends on if the fans show up to support Wan opening weekend.
“Well, let’s see how well Conjuring 2 does. That’s the reality of it.” Wan says matter-of-factly.
He looks tired as he speaks, but at the same time, utterly happy. He’s just finished his tenth film, and made a sequel that arguably exceeds the high bar set by the first. Aside from all of his cinematic success, Wan clearly is a filmmaker in love with his craft, and that trait will shine through whatever project he helms.
The Conjuring 2 hits theaters everywhere on June 10th, 2016.
There are spoilers and then there are spoilers. (This is your only warning.) This one, however, is all in the family.
As much as I loved Prometheus, it wasn’t a proper Alien film. Sure, it lives in the same universe, and was planned to bridge directly into Ridley Scott‘s 1979 film, but it was meant to be a spinoff of sorts.
Now that Scott has learned the value in sticking with the franchise he launched all of those years ago, the Prometheus sequel was changed into an Alien prequel that dons the moniker Alien: Covenant.
Although there’s quite a bit of information already out there, little is known about the motivations behind the new crew, which include Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice, Jobs, The Babysitters), Demian Bichir and the hilarious Danny McBride (“Eastbound and Down”), as well as Alex England (Gods of Egypt), Billy Crudup, Amy Seimetz (A Horrible Way to Die, “The Killing”), Jussie Smollett (“Empire”), Carmen Ejogo and Callie Hernandez (Machete Kills). (Michael Fassbender is returning as Prometheus‘ android, David.)
In the film, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world — whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” David (Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.
But who is leading this crew? Why is she more important than continuing Elizabeth Shaw’s story? (Noomi Rapace will allegedly not be returning to the role.)
Here’s the reason…and it’s a bombshell:
Sources close to film and actress tell the Playlist that Waterston will be playing Ellen Ripley’s mother in “Alien: Covenant,” which is an amazing twist and true to Scott’s promise that the post-“Prometheus” prequels will eventually lead right up to the first ‘Alien‘ movie. But it should be noted that Waterston isn’t the lead of the movie, and it’s an ensemble piece like “Prometheus.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Alien: Covenant is rumored to introduce Ellen Ripley’s mother, which not only bridges the films, but the bloodline.
Gamers will be even more excited as this extends the family tree that was an intricate part of the Alien: Isolation videogame. For those who don’t know, Isolation‘s protagonist was Amanda Ripley, who is none other than Ellen Ripley’s daughter (she was pictured as an old woman, played by Elizabeth Inglis, in the extended version of James Cameron’s Aliens)!
The obvious concern here is that Scott is pigeonholing Ellen’s mother into the franchise. It’s weird to think that Ellen’s mother could be directly connected to the events in the first Alien; what are the odds of Ripley coming across the galactic events set off somewhere in space by her mother? Slim to none, that’s for sure. Ignoring that for a second, the fanatic inside me is overwhelmed in joy and anticipation. The thought that Scott and his team of writers have found a way to bridge the films in more way than one is incredibly exciting. Now, all I can think about is a new timeline that follows Mama Ripley’s adventures for another handful of movies. Holy. Shit.
Alien: Covenant – here’s everything we know so far – takes off for Paradise on August 4, 2017.
Well…part of it, at least.
A new clip from the upcoming Eli Roth-produced horror film Clown has been released and it shows the danger of trying to remove something that’s stuck to your face. Also, it encourages better training for your pets because lord knows we don’t want them eating any random thing they find on the ground!
Andy Powers, Laura Allen, Peter Stormare and Elizabeth Whitmere star in the pic about a man who puts on an old clown costume, only to transform into a demon clown that eats children.
“’Clown’ is a story of a loving father who dons a clown outfit and makeup to perform at his son’s sixth birthday, only to later discover that the costume – red nose and wig included– will not come off and his own personality changes in a horrific fashion. To break the curse of the evil outfit, the father must make grim choices with his own family facing danger.”
Directed by Jon Watts, Clown hits limited theaters and VOD on June 17th.
Shane Black was recently interviewed about The Predator, the upcoming fourth entry in the franchise that began back in 1987, and he released a very important detail that casts doubts on whether or not we’ll be seeing the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Dutch”.
“The name I’ve given the [hero] in ‘Predator’ right now is Quinn Mackenna. And that may change,” Black tells Empire. So yes, it may change to Dutch but as of now it seems pretty obvious that this means Schwarzenegger isn’t committing to face the universe’s deadliest hunter any time soon.
Continuing his interview, Black brought up some really great points about the current status of films and how audiences absorb them.
We live in a culture where everyone’s like, ‘[I want to] know everything about it before it comes out, and I want to be able to see every moment, and I’m gonna go back and forth on the goddamn YouTube channel and get every goddamn moment and every Easter egg.’
[But] I’ll tell you a little bit about it. It’s an attempt to event-ize the ‘Predator’ and make it more mysterious. ‘The Predator’ has been so overdone in a way —very low budget with a guaranteed return, every couple of years there’s a knock off churned out. It’s gotta get to the point where people buy their tickets in advance instead of saying, ‘Oh honey look, another ‘Predator’ movie. No, Adam Sandler’s got this thing on TV, let’s do that instead.’
I want people to say, ‘’The Predator’ is coming, I know it’s coming, we want to see it, it’s mysterious, interesting, it’s got the same sense of wonderment and newness that ‘Close Encounters’ had when that came out.’ That’s what we want. That’s very impossible to achieve, but we’re going to try.
We’ll hopefully know more in the coming months but nothing is certain until The Predator hits screens on February 9th, 2018.
I know that some of you have a lot of interest in hearing about a film or show from the perspective of the filmmakers as it gives insight into a lot of things that may have been overlooked. If that’s your bag, AMC has uploaded “See”, the second episode of their show “Preacher“, and it features commentary from executive producers and directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. You can watch the episode right here.
Brad did a write up on what fans can expect from the third episode, which airs this Sunday.
Based on the twisted and popular ’90s comic book franchise of the same name, “Preacher,” created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, is the story of Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) a conflicted Preacher in a small Texas town who is inhabited by a mysterious entity that allows him to develop a highly unconventional power. Jesse, his ex-girlfriend, Tulip (Ruth Negga), and an Irish vampire named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) embark on a journey to, literally, find God.
Other cast includes W. Earl Brown as ‘Sheriff Hugo Root’, the mean-hearted father of Eugene Root aka Arseface (Ian Colletti), a flinty-eyed, conspiracy-credulous redneck who is not a fool and has a vulnerability to him.
Jamie Anne Allman will play Betsy Schenck, a meek wife who appears to suffer beatings by the hand of her husband, Donny. When the Preacher checks up on her, though, she tells a different story. Derek Wilson is Donny Schenck, a Civil War re-enactor and abusive thug who gets into altercations with Jesse Custer but nevertheless shows up to church on Sundays.
Once a certain story has been adapted so many times, what were once tropes can sometimes turn into archetypes, and age-old clichés can be revitalized through a new perspective. Such is the case with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a story that’s been translated to the big screen so many times that it’s become a significant part of film history. From Nosferatu to the Hammer Horror productions, this story has seen numerous updates and alterations that continue to keep it relevant in mass media after all these years. Now, first-time Brazilian director Monica Demes, with a little help from the legendary David Lynch, brings us a chilling new tale of vampiric seduction in modern times, inspired by Stoker’s classic.
Lilith’s Awakening stars Sophia Woodward as Lucy (replacing Mina Harker in a sly nod to Nosferatu) as a troubled woman dealing with feelings of repression in almost all aspects of her life. From her less-than-satisfying home life with Jonathan, played by Sam Garles, to her difficult relationship with her conservative father Abe (Steve Kennevan), Lucy feels trapped. Things change, however, when the mysterious Lilith, played by Bárbara Eugenia, begins her assault on the quiet town, leading Lucy down a dark path towards her own hidden desires.
On the surface, Demes’ script seems to be a faithful, if slightly gender-bent, adaptation of Stoker’s work. However, Lilith’s Awakening shares more in common with Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, and other less conventional works of supernatural horror that comment on traditional gender roles and society standards. In this version of the story, Lucy isn’t a helpless, submissive character being slowly corrupted by the forces of evil, but an intelligent woman that begins to question her place in life, allowing herself to be attracted by Lilith and in no need of rescuing.
Even if this discussion of gender roles doesn’t seem pleasing to some viewers, Lynch’s peculiar influence can be felt throughout most of the movie, though Demes is in constant control of the picture. The film feels slightly more lucid than most of Lynch’s work, but his “Transcendental Meditation” obviously had an effect on Demes’ writing process, which resulted in a mysterious yet satisfying final product. From the dream-like pacing of the plot to the gothic, monochrome visuals, Lilith’s Awakening certainly looks and feels delightfully eerie.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of some of the film’s casting choices. While the “indie” budget certainly had a role to play in the stiltedness of some minor dialogue, much of the film depends on the silent conveying of emotion, which wasn’t handled as well as it could have been in a few scenes. That being said, Woodward was a phenomenal choice for a strong female protagonist, and Eugenia stole the show whenever she was onscreen. It’s unfortunate that these characters don’t share more screen-time together, as I felt that their moments together were the highlights of the film.
Lilith’s Awakening definitely isn’t for everyone, but those who can appreciate David Lynch’s work will warm up to Monica Demes’ style. The gothic visuals and impressive story more than make up for any minor flaws, and I look forward to seeing more of the director’s projects in the future, as long as they’re as stylish as this one. Lynch himself has made more than enough contributions to the film world, but it’s always pleasant to see a master of the craft pass his teachings along to a new generation, as this film was produced through the David Lynch MFA in Film Program.
Lilith’s Awakening will be premiering at the Dances with Films festival on Saturday, June 11th.
“Ash vs Evil Dead” actress Samara Weaving unknowingly became part of an internet kerfuffle when a conservative Twitter account tweeted a picture of her where she’s bloodied and bruised under the guise that she was a Trump supporter who was assaulted simply for her political beliefs. However, it turns out that picture was a makeup test for the Starz horror comedy show.
Co-star Bruce Campbell brought a lot of attention to the matter when he quoted the tweet and simply stated, “Check your facts, folks. This is an actress named Samara Weaving from #AshVsEvilDead. This is a make-up test. Sad.”
Due to the large amount of retweets and mentions this generated, the account that originally tweeted out the photo has since deleted the post and stated, “Tweet about Trump supporter being beaten turned out to be fake. I apologize for misleading my followers. Now it is deleted.“.
— Bruce Campbell (@GroovyBruce) June 8, 2016
— Samara Weaving (@Sweaving) June 8, 2016
Owen Teague (Netflix’s “Bloodline”) has joined the cast of the upcoming It adaptation, according to THR. The site explains that Teague will play, “…Patrick Hocksetter, [who is] part of a group of bullies who torment the Losers Club. He is a psychopath and keeps a refrigerator full of animals that he’s killed.”
Based on the novel by Stephen King and directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama), the film will be broken into two parts. The first will focus on “The Losers Club” in their childhood while the second film will follow them as adults.
Teague joins Bill Skarsgard, who will be playing the villainous Pennywise the Clown, as well as Jaeden Lieberher (Midnight Special), Finn Wolfhard (“Stranger Things”), Jack Dylan Grazer (Tales of Halloween ), Wyatt Oleff (Guardians of the Galaxy ), Chosen Jacobs (Cops and Robbers) and Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ant-Man).
It hits theaters on September 8th, 2017.
In 2013, director David F. Sandberg made a very simple but effective horror short titled “Lights Out”. In the short, an everyday woman turns off the light in her home before she goes to bed, only to discover a shadowy figure lurking in the darkness. She quickly flips the switch on and off, on and off again, to make sure what she has seen is real, but the figure is only visible in the dark, and seems to disappear entirely when the light is on. Although she can only see the entity when the lights are off, she can definitely tell that it’s slowly moving closer. With each flick of the light switch, it inches one step forward, until it’s standing directly in front of her, ready to pounce. Terrified, the girl runs to her room and jumps into bed. As she shakes with fear under her covers, the figure makes its way over to her nightstand, and for a single single second bears its horrifying bug-eyed face before displays a ghastly smile and clicks off the lamp, leaving the girl to inevitably fall prey to its attack.
Not only did this short win Sandberg the best director prize in the “Who’s There” category for the BC Horror Challenge and the award for best short at the Bilbao Fantasy Film Festival, but it also caught the eye of producer Lawrence Grey who brought it to The Conjuring director James Wan, who then offered to help produce the short if Sandberg was up for turning it into a feature length film. Thus, the movie Lights Out was born, and Sandberg was given the chance to prove himself as a real Hollywood director.
Admittedly, Lights Out has a slightly silly premise. Darkness Falls, From the Dark, and The Chronicles of Riddick all have similar setups, meaning that the characters in all of these films have to stay in the light to stay alive, but none of them quite measure up to the bar that this Wan produced picture has set. The reason why? Director David F. Sandberg actually understands how to send chills down an audience’s spine. His charcoal figure who basks in the darkness creates a petrifying atmosphere whenever she appears onscreen. Her crooked movements stand out like a stutter as she walks stiffly down the hall, making her appear less and less human every time she pops up in a quiet corner, or a whispers evil instructions from within a pitch black closet. She is death, and she’s come to silence those who seek to bring joy to the world, especially those who wish to help Sophie recover from her delusional illness.
Sophie’s been talking to herself for ages, but lately, since her husband mysteriously died, her sickness has taken a turn for the worst. Her kids Martin and Rebecca try their hardest to help their mother routinely take her pills and stop speaking to people who aren’t there, but their attempts to lessen the effects of their mom’s mental illness seem to be in vain, as she only grows more crazed and unfit for parenting. One night, as Martin catches her muttering to an invisible foe in the darkened corner, and then witnesses five bony fingers reaching out from around the door frame, he begins to wonder if his mom is truly afflicted, or if there actually is a malevolent spirit hiding out in their home.
In a way, this wicked spirit who goes by the name Diana is really just a metaphor for the issues in the house that have been building up for years and are now bursting at the seams; a personification of all of the negative energy clustered inside of these tired old walls. Sophie has been pretending that everything’s fine for a long time now, and although she believes that she is protecting her children from her morbid nature, she’s actually creating tiny rips and tears within the family unit that are too rugged and too deep to be easily covered up and painted over. This house embodies everything that this family stands for, and if it is haunted by an otherworldly force, then are just as cursed as their childhood home. Martin and Rebecca can’t avert their eyes any longer. Their mom is standing at the brink of sanity, and if they’re not careful, they’ll lose her forever, as she sinks deeper and deeper into a sea of depression. It’s an interesting parallel drawn between a woman who battles with her own personal demons and the demon who is terrorizing her family, which helps to elevate the film above a typical generic horror movie and turn it into a thoughtful commentary on society’s perception of mental illness and how we as a nation choose to deal with it.
Aside from the intelligent social discussion that it sparks, Lights Out is also a great movie just because it’s one of the scarier films to hit the mainstream in quite some time. It’s packed to the brim with jump scares, but instead of feeling cheap and unnecessary, they help push the momentum forward, and make it feel easier to relate to the characters because you can’t help but feel sorry for their horrifying situation. The sound editing is truly top notch, as is the lighting department, which together combine to create a scary story that really gets under your skin and raises the hair on the back of your neck. In the hands of a lesser director, even with the help of his skilled crew and killer cast, the plotline of Lights Out could risk coming across as cheesy and uninspired, but Sandberg shines in the director’s chair, and delivers a very impressive directorial debut. The only thing left to do now is thank Wan for bringing him to our attention.
It’s not a perfect film, but with time and the same creative people at his side, Lights Out director Sandberg could truly become a terrific and memorable filmmaker. Stories like his aren’t just engaging because they’re reminiscent of a Cinderella tale, but also because they remind us that it is possible to work hard and hone your craft and be noticed by someone higher up. It may seem like the odds are stacked against you, but if you keep your head down and focus on your work, you might just wind up catching a horror maestro’s eye, and get your shot at the big time. Independent film is still very much alive, and noteworthy folks like Sandberg are leading the horror genre in a very exciting direction.
Make sure to catch Lights Out when it hits theaters on July 22nd, 2016.
Iron Maiden‘s poster for their current Book of Souls tour has been deemed too frightening for children in Lithuania, prompting authorities to ban the advertisements. The poster, which you can see below, shows band mascot Eddie holding a bleeding heart in one hand while his eyes glow red and he snarls at the viewer.
Live Nation lawyer Mindaugas Paukštė told Delfi, “We received a letter that should stop advertising because it scares children – at the moment we think, how to behave, but, most likely, will have to remove the posters.”
There hasn’t been a replacement image made public yet for how they’re going to promote this show. However, given how big the band is across the globe, I’m pretty sure they’re not going to be hurting on ticket sales.
One of the big traditions of the Telluride Horror Show is the unveiling of the festival’s yearly key art, a piece of work that is used for much of their merch as well as their program cover. Each year, the show takes an iconic landmark in Telluride and gives it a horror twist, bringing a splash of terror to the town. This year is no different as artist Mark Zingarelli has once again brought his magic to the festival and crafted an air of witchiness for the clock tower of the San Miguel Courthouse.
The 2016 Telluride Horror Show will take place from October 14th through 16th.
William Friedkin’s The Exorcist is long considered to be one of the greatest horror movies ever released. Building slowly and adding layer upon layer of tension, the film generated controversy and disgust upon its release. But it also won much acclaim, earning 10 Academy Award nominations, including becoming the first horror movie to be nominated for Best Picture. It’s mark on society is undeniable, which is why the following story is so interesting.
At this year’s Cannes film festival, Friedkin told a masterclass event about the time he was invited by the Roman Catholic Church to shoot an actual exorcism. “I was invited by the Vatican exorcist to shoot and video an actual exorcism which… few people have ever seen and which nobody has ever photographed. I am not talking about some cult, I am talking about an exorcism by the Catholic Church in Rome,” he explained.
The director also commented that the experience was remarkably similar to the version in his film and that witnessing it had a profound experience on him, stating, “I was pretty astonished by that. I don’t think I will ever be the same having seen this astonishing thing.”
While the 80-year-old director is adamant that this happened, the Vatican itself is denying any involvement or invitation, although they offer an alternative explanation. “The Vatican does not have an exorcist,“, a representative told AFP (Source). Instead, they explain, “People often confuse any Catholic initiative/organisation/person with the Vatican. Perhaps this is the case here.”
Part of what unites us all as horror fans is our love for something not generally held in high regard. While many dismiss this genre as being populated by cheap cash-grabs, we keep enough of an open mind to approach even the newest splatter sequel hoping for great things. In addition to the horror everyone seems to laud, i.e. The Shining and The Silence of the Lambs, we get a kick out of the ridiculous heights of the Friday the 13th or Final Destination franchises, even while fully aware that they are hardly deserving of any Oscars. Their faults, from over-the-top storylines to subpar acting, only add to the charm. Movies such as these are often described as guilty pleasures, meaning we know they’re bad but we nevertheless derive enjoyment from them.
This is a concept that needs to be retired. There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, and horror enthusiasts of all people should recognize that.
Many devotees of all things blood-soaked got into the genre for similar reasons, although our origin stories vary. Aside from a pursuit of the adrenaline rush that comes with being scared, we relish venturing into the unexplored depths of the film community, dredging up some forgotten B-picture from the back of the Blockbuster and raving to friends about how crazy it is. To do that requires a willingness to accept movies for what they are; admiring something like C.H.U.D, for instance, means the viewer must abandon their preconceived notions of what makes a “good” film, i.e. one that might be featured in the Academy Awards’ yearly highlight montage meant to showcase the power of celluloid.
No, we are not assessing a C.H.U.D. with the same criteria by which we judge a Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Depending on the subgenre, we are probably hoping for some spooky set pieces, gross-out gore effects, or crazy plot twists; if we find these elements and are entertained throughout the entire experience, the movie was a success. Whether it scared us or made us laugh, that little Blockbuster hidden treasure has now made our list of oddities that absolutely must be screened for all those unaware of its existence. “Dude,” we might declare to a friend the next day day, “you have got to see this movie.” It’s not that we like it ironically. Quite the contrary: we have genuinely found some solid filmmaking on display. It just happened to be lurking in the unlikeliest of places and surrounded by some questionable storytelling decisions.
This scenario was especially prominent before the proliferation of the internet. These days, when we mention a movie to an acquaintance, they can instantly look up the IMDB page, and they now bring to the discussion the belief that this picture has been declared objectively good or objectively bad. Really, it’s hard not to let the critical consensus color our perception of things. But there was a time when discovering information about horror, particularly obscure entries from many years ago, was not so easy. Unless you read something in a book or heard of it via word of mouth, basically all you had to go on was the back of the VHS. As a result, every movie carried with it an aura of secrecy, and to pop a tape in the player was to open up a mystery box that we could form a completely unbiased opinion of.
Remnants of that childhood appreciation of the strange and unexpected remain in every horror fan, yet as we grow up, our critical eye widens, and it becomes harder to embrace the same films we once wore out the VCR with. Confronted with the internet’s unanimous take on a movie’s quality, whether it’s the IMDB rating or Metacritic score, a small part of us begins to doubt our sanity for fancying something the public has declared terrible. How can we not look like clueless idiots for so thoroughly adoring a movie with a 5% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes?
The solution is to classify it as a guilty pleasure, a term which makes it possible to retain our original positive gut reaction while not having our critic card revoked. If we know it’s bad, we tell ourselves, then we can still like it and be free from judgement!
Screw that. Our younger selves had it right: if we dig a movie – whether it’s a John Carpenter classic or an aggressively stupid slasher sequel – we should have no hesitation advocating for it, no matter what anyone else thinks. No guilt is required.
To fully understand why, let’s take a look at some common examples of guilty pleasures and examine the reasoning that is traditionally provided. One category of guilty pleasure is the “movie with an admittedly dumb storyline,” one where the premise alone leads most logical human beings to shake their heads in disbelief. If we find ourselves eating up the picture – not ironically, mind you, but with total sincerity – any recommendation apparently must come with a caveat.
Take Jason X, the Friday the 13th installment that infamously sends Jason to space. The premise is absurd, but the film is a complete ball and is endlessly rewatchable. By this point, it became clear that the Friday series had gotten out of control, so James Isaac just decided to go wild with this one and create something light and hilarious. It features basically everything we would expect from a Friday the 13th, including over-the-top deaths and just enough camp as to not take things into comedy territory.
Does that not, then, make it a good entry into the series? If you enjoyed yourself while watching the movie, then it’s good in your eyes. Its job was to entertain, and it succeeded at that. Why must guilt factor in? Read any review of Jason X, though, and you’ll be met with all sorts of hedging language, as if the writer is afraid to commit to their own favorable opinion. “Okay, I know Jason X is absolutely awful, but I have to admit, I really enjoyed it,” they’ll write. “It’s a terrible movie, but it sure did entertain me.” But if a movie’s primary goal is to entertain, then those two ideas completely contradict one another, do they not?
Roger Ebert always argued that movies should be judged based on what they were trying to do. Typically, what critics who use the guilty pleasure label mean is that compared to some horror films that are a bit more well-rounded, Jason X might fall short. The acting is subpar, and the storyline is quite unrealistic. If director James Isaac’s goal was to make a completely straight-faced and scary Friday the 13th, then Jason X could safely be considered a failure. But that clearly wasn’t his goal.
To summarize, then, we have a movie that accomplished what it set out to accomplish and that enthralls its audience at every turn. If you agree with that statement, and the positives overwhelmed the negatives, then something like Jason X is not your guilty pleasure. It is a good, if highly flawed, film, and you should feel perfectly comfortable defending it as such.
Next, there’s the category of “movies that are probably bad for society but that we still kind of like,” which is why the Saw series frequently comes up in the guilty pleasure discussion. These kinds of movies are like fast food; we don’t necessarily feel bad while we’re eating it, but the negative effect it has leaves us with a belly full of shame and regret. With Saw, we can recognize that the later sequels are absolutely vile and an example of the industry in the 2000s focusing on making films shocking rather than making them scary. Some therefore feel uncomfortable defending films so gross that most friends and relatives shy away from or view as utter filth. We nod along with others who rail against the movies and say, “I know, they’re awful, but I just love them for some reason.”
But don’t stop at “for some reason.” Take a closer look at why you love them and ask yourself whether you ought to feel guilty at all. One reason many are drawn to the series is the increasingly inventive traps, which remained quite clever all the way into the final installment. Never do we get the sense that the crew behind-the-scenes is just phoning things in. They clearly put a lot of thought into the elaborate death sequences, and there’s something magical about listening to Jigsaw explain the rules of a new game as we smile at the ingenuity on display. The storyline is also, at times, genuinely interesting and surprisingly intricate. Who could forget the insane twist ending of Saw II, or the way some of the subsequent entries unexpectedly mess around with our perception of time?
These are all qualities that make for compelling movies, yet we are too often unwilling to voice those positive attributes due to the negative stigma that comes with espousing the fifth sequel in the Saw franchise. Why feel ashamed of appreciating a movie for its creativity and surprises, even if it might indulge in violence more than we’d like? We shouldn’t be saying, “The Saw movies are terrible, but I like them; they’re my guilty pleasure.” We should be saying, “The Saw movies can get a bit over-the-top and self-indulgent, but I’m a fan of the series for its inventive traps, intricate storyline, and surprising twists.”
The third category consists of films like Pieces and Birdemic: Shock and Terror, movies that are objectively poorly made but that we love to make fun of. This is the type of picture for which the phrase guilty pleasure makes the most sense, but it’s still not entirely accurate because, deep down, there is a small part of us that likes what we’re watching. After all, there’s a clear difference between a fun bad movie like Troll 2 and a boring bad movie like The Last Exorcism Part II. While the latter is uninspired and generic, the former attracts us to it thanks to the spectacularly cheesy acting and the baffling storytelling decisions. Can anything we enjoy so much be considered bad? It’s more that it’s good in a different, unintentional way, some sort of strange beast that fails to meet the filmmaker’s goal but fulfils another purpose entirely.
The proliferation of the term guilty pleasure may be in part due to the Rotten-Tomatoes-ization of the world, where society feels the need to classify every single movie as being either completely great or completely awful. It’s either rotten or it’s fresh. It’s amazing or it sucks. Especially in horror, a genre infamous for its inconsistent quality, the situation is typically far more nuanced than that. Some of our favorites are full of dumb genre tropes or stupid decisions made by the characters, but we love them all the same because we can judge a movie’s overall package without letting individual missteps detract. We could when we were kids, at least. Now, there exists tremendous pressure to justify our admiration of “rotten” movies, and the guilty pleasure excuse is an easy one.
But by framing things that way, we are playing into the idea that straying from the critical consensus necessitates guilt, a wrongheaded notion that must be done away with. Each viewer should determine their own criteria by which to assess movies based on what entertains them personally. Then, if a film reaches those heights, even if you are the literal first human being to ever find something positive there, don’t feel guilty. Instead, declare your love for it loud and proud and enthusiastically embrace the subjective nature of storytelling. Say goodbye to the cynicism of adulthood and become that kid in the video store again.
Filmax’s Summer Camp, which looks like a mix between The Evil Dead and [REC], is set to hit digital HD, VOD and DVD on August 2, 2016.
But those in Spain will be able to see it in theaters tomorrow, with their own VOD release slated for June 24!
We now have a new series of images from the film that stars Fin‘s Andres Velencoso, X-Men: First Class‘ Alex Gonzalez, The House of the Devil‘s Jocelin Donahue, [REC]3‘s Diego Boneta and Zombieland‘s Maiara Walsh. They play “unsuspecting American camp counselors who confront a virus unlike any seen before.“
Summer Camp is said to immerse the viewer on an adrenaline-charged journey by providing an innovative approach to the classical concept of teenagers lost in the woods.
Check out our exclusive set visit here.
Alberto Marini’s English-language Summer Camp is executive produced by [REC] franchise director Jaume Balaguero.
Guy Burnet (“Ray Donovan”) has signed on to Jacob’s Ladder, director David M. Rosenthal’s re-imagining of the 1990 thriller, says Deadline.
Burnet will star as Hoffman, a pharmacist at the Veteran’s Administration described as “smart, but chaotic” who supplies Jacob with prescriptions.
Michael Ealy was recently cast.
Jeff Buhler, who wrote the Clive Barker adaptation The Midnight Meat Train, is penning a script with Sarah Thorp, building upon an earlier draft by Jake Wade Wall, the scribe behind the 2006 remake of When a Stranger Calls and the 2007 Hitcher.
The original Jacob’s Ladder, written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Adrian Lyne, ostensibly told of a Vietnam vet who suffers increasingly bizarre hallucinations and attempts to discover the truth behind them. The movie, which has a twist ending, was made by Carolco and achieved cult hit status.
Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon and Jennifer Monroe at LD Entertainment will produce alongside Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta/Rosenzweig Films.
Netflix’s upcoming mystery thriller “Stranger Things” has just dropped a trailer, which you can see below. The vibe is clearly influenced by works like “The Twilight Zone”, “Twin Peaks”, and “The X-Files”, with a dash of It thrown into the mix.
“A love letter to the supernatural classics of the 80’s, “Stranger Things” is the story of a young boy who vanishes into thin air. As friends, family and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl.”
The show stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Natalia Dyer, Cara Buono, Charlie Heaton, and Matthew Modine.
Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer (“Wayward Pines”) will be acting as writers, directors, and co-showrunners for the series with Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen acting as executive producers.
“Stranger Things” debuts on July 15th.
Universal was once planning a fourth Jurassic Park that would have featured a military weaponized hybridization of dinosaurs and human.
Bloody Disgusting exclusively reported this news years ago and was laughed at (Steven Spielberg even denied it), so it’s always been vindicating to see concept art leak online.
We’ve already seen a handful of shots, many of which can be viewed here, but there’s a new batch that show just how stupid this idea was.
Carlos Huante, a professional creature designer since 1985 (Men in Black, Prometheus), shared more of what could have been on his Instagram. Below are two new shots of his sketches for a militarized raptor-man. It’s also the first time we’ve seen something that includes a weapon.
The images make you wonder what in God’s name they were planning, let alone thinking? This looks like a bad version of “Doom” and takes the franchise completely out of canon. It’s interesting that this concept was so far along that there were artists working on designs, and allegedly there’s a script that’s I would do anything to read.
What do you guys think? Is there some sort of version of this that would have excited you, or would this have caused internet mutiny along the lines of Ghostbusters? Honestly, the more I think about it, this feels more and more like it would have been an action figure cash-grab…
A photo posted by Carlos Huante (@galleryanatom) on Jun 7, 2016 at 6:02pm PDT
A photo posted by Carlos Huante (@galleryanatom) on Jun 7, 2016 at 7:29pm PDT
While prank videos are all the rage, most of them are fake (sorry, but it’s a truth you need to accept). Still, there are plenty that are real, and even more that are incredibly entertaining.
But let’s be honest here, they’re getting tired, and it takes a lot for us to be impressed. Running through the streets in a clown costume isn’t going to cut it anymore.
That’s what I love about the prank Warner Bros. staged for The Conjuring 2, in theaters tomorrow. Done for a Brazilian television show, this prank features actual scenes from the film, and are done in such a realistic and frightening way that you actually feel sort of bad for those being goofed on.
James Wan, the director of the two films, introduces the set up that places a mark in the room with a young girl who is slowly revealed to be possessed. The crosses on the wall flip, the young girl levitates out of bed, and then a ghastly nun makes an appearance.
I hope we see this in a maze this coming Halloween somewhere…
As autumn winds swirl, full moons rise and black cats come out to play, its time to book a visit to the legendary Winchester Mystery House, one of America’s most legendary haunted mansions, as it introduces Halloween Candlelight Tours. In a chilling and Gothic atmosphere, guests to this all-new immersive experience have just themselves, flickering candlelight and their imagination to guide them through the storied 160-room Victorian mansion noted for its “activity.”
Brave souls can experience Halloween by candlelight at Winchester Myster House during only 10 evenings in October 2016 (Oct. 7 & 8, 14 & 15, 21 & 22 and 28 – 31). Ticket prices vary from $35 – $49 and go on sale Friday, September 2 at WinchesterMysteryHouse.com.
On this new guided tour, candlelight provides the only illumination through the bewildering maze of rooms, frozen in a state of arrested decay or still resplendent in Victorian grandeur. Although touches of festive Halloween abound, the atmosphere is heavy with foreboding as an unseen presence seems to be watching at all times.
Unnerving? Perhaps, but after all, what can one expect from a home that is 132 years old, shrouded in legend and has played host to well over 10 million people from around the world (including the great Harry Houdini himself)? You never know who has decided to permanently stay behind or what may materialize.
“There are numerous Halloween attractions that pop-up in October but we’re the year-round, real deal,” states Walter Magnuson, General Manager of Winchester Mystery House. “TIME magazine has called us one of the ‘Most Haunted Places in the World’ and this Halloween we’re enhancing what’s already here with an all-new macabre, atmospheric, and truly creepy overlay with our limited time only Halloween Candlelight Tour offering.”
The nighttime tour of the intimidating mansion will give visitors the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild. Guests are sure to punctuate their visit with nervous exclamations of “Did you hear that?”, “What’s that in the corner?”, “Do you see what I see!?”
“During the candlelit visit some kind of paranormal force will definitely be awakened within the house, much to the shock of guests on the tour,” states Peter Overstreet, one of the successful directors at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco. “This all-new experience for guests to the Winchester Mystery House will be both a physical visit and a great example of ‘theater of the mind’ where your imagination is coerced to fill in the blanks to even more frightful effect.”
About Winchester Mystery House
For nearly 100 years the Winchester Mystery House has stood as a testament to the ingenuity, persistence of vision and lore that surrounds its namesake, Sarah Winchester (heir to the Winchester Repeating Rifle fortune). A true pioneer who crisscrossed the United States via steam train many times during the waning days of the “wild west,” Sarah Winchester lives on in legend as a grieving widow who continuously built onto her small farm house to appease the spirits of those killed by the guns manufactured by her husband’s firearms company.
The mansion is renowned for its many architectural curiosities and paranormal activity. From 1884-1922 construction never ceased as the original farm house grew into the world’s most unusual and sprawling mansion (24,000 square feet built at a then astronomical cost of $5 million), featuring: 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 9 kitchens, 13 bathrooms, plus 47 stairways and fireplaces.
The estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a California Historic State Landmark, a San Jose City Landmark and one of the leading attractions in the Bay Area. Additional information may be found at WinchesterMysteryHouse.com.