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[Comic Book Review] “Edward Scissorhands” #2 Carries Authentic Emotion

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 13:10

“Edward Scissorhands” #2  doesn’t waste any time reminding you of the story; the parts that are most relevant, after all, have been part of the cultural canon since 1990. Instead, it concentrates on bringing the two vignettes– Edward’s solitary life in his castle with his brother/son/prototype, and Megs’ typical teenage life minus her beloved grandmother– to an intersection.

WRITTEN BY: Kate Leth

ART BY: Drew Rausch

PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing

PRICE: $2.99

RELEASE: November 26, 2014

Reviewed By: Katy Rex

This issue does a lot of things right. Let’s start with the design of Eli, a character who must have been hard to nail down– he’s an earlier, older version of Edward, but he’s been created most recently so he also is a newer, younger version. He walks a line between childishness and violence, not dissimilar to the one Edward walked 24 (oh my god, has it been that long?!) years ago.

Rausch’s design addresses all of these facets of the character, making him at once a timeless and an old-fashioned childlike robot. Special mention must be made of the colorist, Jeremy Colwell, as the colors are what really brings Eli’s character design together, in particular his use of red. By muting the colors and focusing on cooler shades, rather than doing a grayscale with red highlights, we get a nod to the over-the-top aesthetic of the original movie while still allowing this series to stand on its own feet.

The mother/daughter dynamic, too, is exactly right– Leth communicates the way in which teenage daughters and their mothers practically speak another language. When Megs fights with her mom, it’s clear that as much tension and hostility they have, they’re both coming from a place of good intentions, and they love each other. Edward Scissorhands has a certain authenticity to its emotions, even in the midst of ridiculous pageantry, and the comic continues this tradition.

In all the things this issue is doing right, it’s still very clearly an exposition issue. This isn’t the story, this is the lead-up. It’s paced very slowly, and there are a lot of parts that seem like they could be filler (unless, in some unlikely twist, some small detail in the many panels of Eli hiding in or walking through the woods gets a call-back). Two issues is a long lead-up in comics, and it could probably have been done more concisely, but I’m very enthusiastic about what it’s leading up to.

Katy Rex writes comics analysis at endoftheuniversecomics.comcomicsbulletin.com, and bloody-disgusting.com. She also writes scholarly articles for various academic journals. She really likes butt jokes, dinosaurs, and killing psychos and midgets in Borderlands 2. She has a great sense of humor if you’re not an asshole. Twitter: @eotucomics Tumblr: katy-rex.tumblr.com Instagram: @katy_rex Email: katy@endoftheuniversecomics.com

 

Categories: Horror News

[Comic Book Review] “Clive Barker’s Nightbreed” #7 Keeps Readers Hooked

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 13:09

An awesome step in a new direction, “Clive Barker’s Nightbreed” #7 keeps readers hooked as the pages move at breakneck speed. Based on Clive Barker’s “Cabal” novella, this spinoff explores the back-stories behind the underground inhabitants living in Midian. Like the “Hellraiser” series, there is a lot of potential here to tell original stories within the “Nightbreed” mythology.

WRITTEN BY: Clive Barker and Marc Andreyko
ART BY: Piotr Kowalski, Emmanuel Xerx Javier
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: November 26, 2014

Reviewed By Jorge Solis

Since the day he was born, there was something special about Aaron Boone. What made him beyond average is certainly what led him straight towards Midian. Haunted by the victims of Dr. Decker, Boone refuses to believe anything that Lylesberg tells him. Whether or not destiny played a hand, Boone doesn’t want to be the victim again, but he will have to rediscover the secret lies of his past.

Though Decker’s name is mentioned in dialogue from Clive Barker and co-writer Marc Andreyko, the narrative strays as much as it can from the novella and the film; which is a fantastic idea. Because I’m not bogged down with a recap, I’m seeing things from an original perspective. Did Boone end up in Midian because he was destined to be there? Or was it just plain bad luck? The narration points at both aspects of the theme, letting the readers interpret for themselves.

Because Boone is now a central figure, we’re also learning more about Lylesberg. From previous issues, Lylesberg has become a mentor and a savior to the members of Median. The more he witnesses Boone’s tragic past, Lylesberg feels incredible sorrow for him. I’m wondering if Lylesberg will transition from mentor to father figure as this story arc progresses.

Artist Piotr Kowalski has done a great job presenting Boone from his early days to the present.

There is this innate sense of sadness when Boone appears in the panel. He has had the burden of being alone and tortured for so long. Boone just wants to belong somewhere, find a home for himself, and have a family. He has found meaning, but the irony is that it’s with freaks and monsters.
Emmanuel Xerx Javier keeps his illustrations in tune to their locations and time periods. We follow a cocky reporter as he tries to smooth-talk his way to find the truth behind his missing person case. Though Javier’s artistic segments are calmer and comical, the story leads to a shocking cliff-hanger.

“Clive Barker’s Nightbreed” #7 takes the series in a new surprising direction. I can’t wait to re-watch the director’s cut of “Nightbreed.”

Categories: Horror News

[Comic Book Review] “Dark Engine” #4 Intrigues and Confounds

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 13:06

“Dark Engine” #4 is the most foreshadowing issue yet.  It begins, as each issue does, with The Dragon’s journey towards the Gigahul he intends to pilot.  After a close call with a terrible flying beast, 2 things are revealed, one that The dragon is in a life-or-death time crunch, and two that he is heading directly for the Alchemist’s tower.  Meanwhile Sym is doing what Sym does, which turns out to be blindingly macabre at this point, and the alchemists are having some internal issues; the skull crushing kind.  “Dark Engine” is concludes its first arc and is a book every fantasy fan should be reading.

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Burton
ART BY: John Bivens
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PRICE: $3.50
RELEASE: November 26, 2014

Reviewed By Eric Switzer

I feel like I am on top of the language of “Dark Engine”, and in only four issues I actually pretty impressed.  I read Prophet for years and never figured out what was going on.  I called it Dune-syndrome, and as I’ve said before, I was at first afraid this book suffered from it, but now I realize the slight learning curve has an incredible reward.

There are at least two more incredible reveals in this issue that I wouldn’t dare spoil because it gives this series such great depth and new energy.  I was at once shocked and embarrassed that I didn’t pick up on it before hand, but this isn’t a book you can make assumptions about.  To enjoy “Dark Engine” you really have to submit Burton and Bivens and enjoy the ride they are taking you on.  Not every twist and turn will blow your mind, but it is consistently weird and fantastic and disgusting and beautiful.  This is the action/horror/hard-sci-fi you’ve been waiting for.

I said about the last issue that it didn’t suffer from the crowded panels and incomprehensible action that the first two issues did, but a couple of times in this issue I paused to speculate what I was looking at.  It isn’t particularly uncommon, but it does always seem to take me out the action.

This is a spectacular finale to the first arc and one that intrigues as much as it confounds.  I highly recommend “Dark Engine”.  It takes a few issues to get a handle on the world, but once you figure it out, you won’t be ddisappointed

Eric Switzer  is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles.  His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality.  He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at ericswitzerfilm@gmail.com

 

 

Categories: Horror News

[Comic Book Review] “POP” #4 Is Profound.

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 13:04

“POP” #4 concludes Curt Pires’ and Jason Copland’s critical examination of pop culture.  The series has had its narrative ups and downs, and has invoked more than it has actually said.  But in the end, as a whole, these guys have created a really solid story that is as visually spectacular as it is smart.  “POP” isn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be, but for such a high-concept mini series dealing with the kinds of themes its dealing with, I’m really impressed.  We need more stories like “POP”.

WRITTEN BY: Curt Pires

ART BY: Jason Copland

PUBLISHER: Dark Horse

PRICE: $3.99

RELEASE: November 26, 2014

Reviewed By Eric Switzer

As a reviewer, I try to ascertain the intention of the creators before giving a qualitative assessment of their work.  I want to judge things for what they are, or what they are trying to be, rather than weigh them against the success of other creators or my own expectations of what something ought to be.  The “success” of a book critically lives and dies on one factor: did it accomplish what the creators set out to accomplish?  Did the themes, style, plot, characters, and everything else draw a straight line back to mission statement of the book.  “POP” has been one of the more difficult series for me to critique for reasons that I will get in to.  The answer to the question, did “POP” do what Pires and Copland set out to do, is emphatically yes.  The book is a successful piece of art, and one that I enjoyed thoroughly from beginning to end.

When a new series begins there are an infinite number of possible directions the book could take narratively and thematically.  After reading “POP” #1 and knowing a little bit about Curt and Jason, I expected “POP” to continue examining these themes, addressing cultural phenomenons, and ideally to hold a mirror up to the consumer.  A tall order for a 4-issue miniseries to be sure, and one that ended up being unrealistic.  Instead, Pires chose to focus on character and story over themes and social critique.  My “POP” would have been a different book, but as I said before, objective criticism is about judging art for what it is and not what you want it to be.  This has been difficult as I’ve examined “POP”.

That isn’t to say the themes are present, even pervasive at times.  It is clear that Pires and Copland are inviting us to reflect, but “POP” never really traverses beyond that initial question.  Instead the focus is on our fleeing protagonists, their would-be captors, and the men in charge that make it all happen.  It isn’t an entirely new kind of story, but it is in a sense that the themes sort of serve as a backdrop for the story.

“POP” is a book that encourages you to read deeper.  It almost appears to alternate from straight forward plotting to rich, thematic storytelling, and I really want to believe the message is there, deep within the page.  A lot of my theorizing revolves around the deus ex figure that saves the day and what he represents.  Perhaps it is like the big boss says on the last page, “There are no answers”.

Whether “POP” accomplishes everything it was capable of, or meets my own personal expectations is another issue, and one that is sort of irrelevant outside of this review.  But if nothing else I say resonates with you please pay attention to this: go buy “POP”, read “POP”, talk about “POP”, encourage art like “POP”, be part of this conversation.  I think this kind of media is really important.  “POP” may not be this generation’s “Fight Club”, but it inserts itself into a pretty profound issue.  It deserves your attention.

Eric Switzer  is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles.  His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality.  He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at ericswitzerfilm@gmail.com

 

Categories: Horror News

[Comic Book Review] “Aliens: Fire and Stone” #3 Is Constantly Surprising

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 13:04

“Aliens: Fire and Stone” #3, the 10th release in the “Fire and Stone” series still manages to impress with shocking violence, new monster types, and strong character interaction.  This issue has the camp spitting up, half going to take on the aliens aboard their ship and the other half realizing that that is a nonsense idea and staying put.  Meanwhile, Russell has seemingly lost his damn mind as he discusses his revelations with a lifeless probe and makes a crazy map on the wall.  This book stands apart from the other “Fire and Stone” series in a number of ways, but it lacks nothing in comparison.  Halfway through, and I still wish it would never end.

WRITTEN BY: Chris Roberson

ART BY: Patric Reynolds

PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
PRICE: $3.50

RELEASE: November 26, 2014

Reviewed by Eric Switzer

This issue is narratively different than issue 2: we don’t have the consistent monologue from the perspective of Russell over the action.  I praised issue #2 for the way his narration undermined the struggle to survive that the rest of the crew was going through, but this issue works just as well without it.  It would seem the reason is to remove us from Russell who is beginning to disassociate and generally show signs of craziness.  The emphasis put on the silent probe in certain frames is a clever and effective way to communicate Russell’s state of mind.  What he does next will certainly impact the rest of the “Fire and Stone” series

This is the certainly the climax of the series, things are happening as expected, but there are still some good surprises in this issue.  In fact that is something I like best about this event: it has never become predictable.  It would be understandable, given the genre and source material, but “Fire and Stone” is constantly surprising, which is part of the reason I have been so engaged with it.

I’m really starting to run out of things to say about the series, it is consistently well written, consistently clever, consistently well drawn, and has never lost the sense that it is building towards something truly awe-inspiring.  If you haven’t gotten on board yet, you may want to wait for the trades or read them digitally, but you won’t regret it if you are a fan.

Eric Switzer  is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles.  His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality.  He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at ericswitzerfilm@gmail.com

 

Categories: Horror News

Anchor Bay Enters ‘The Atticus Institute’ In January

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 12:29

Anchor Bay Entertainment presents the new horror thriller The Atticus Institute, from producer of The Conjuring Peter Safran, available on DVD and Blu-ray January 20st, 2015.

Written and directed by Chris Sparling (writer of “Buried”) in his directorial debut, The Atticus Institute stars Rya Khilstedt (“Dexter”), William Mapother (“Lost”, The Grudge), Harry Groener (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”), John Rubenstein (“Angel”) and Sharon Maughn (The Bank Job) and was executive produced by Dan Clifton.

Dr. Henry West founded The Atticus Institute in the early 1970s to test individuals expressing supernatural abilities – E.S.P., clairvoyance, psychokinesis, etc. Despite witnessing several noteworthy cases, nothing could have prepared Dr. West and his colleagues for Judith Winstead. She outperformed every subject they had ever studied – soon gaining the attention of the U.S. Department of Defense, who subsequently took control of the research facility. The more experiments they conducted on Judith, the clearer it became that her abilities were the manifestation of evil forces within her, prompting the government to take measures to weaponize this force. But they soon discovered there are powers that exist in this world that simply cannot be controlled. Now the details of the inexplicable events that occurred within The Atticus Institute are being made public after remaining classified for nearly forty years.

Special features include “The Making of The Atticus Institute” and deleted scenes.

Categories: Horror News

Your Guide to the Indie Horror Games of 2015

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 07:00

We’re in the midst of another golden age of survival horror, folks. The proof doesn’t just lie with the sheer number of horror games that are on the way, but also in the overall quality of the games being released. I’ve spent more time playing indie games in 2014 than I ever have before, because indie devs finally have easy access to the tools and platforms, like Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight, that make it easier than ever to make games and find an audience for them.

As great as this year has been for fans of the horror genre, I have the feeling it will pale in comparison to what’s in store for us in 2015. We’ve already covered the AAA releases that are on the way, and today we’re going to dive into the indies.

Ashen Rift (PC)

After a brief hiatus, Ashen Rift has returned to Kickstarter in the hopes of raising enough money to finish what looks like an incredibly promising horror game. Set in a post-apocalyptic world that’s been overrun by monsters, the game follows a man and his dog as they struggle to survive.

Asylum (PC)

I can’t wait until Asylum finally arrives and I’m able to take it off all of these “upcoming games” lists. Its been in development for a long time, but recent looks at the current state of the game lead me to believe it isn’t that far off. It’s an ambitious title and one of the few adventure games we have to look forward to right now. I have the feeling the wait will be well worth it.

Caffeine (PC, PS4)

As intrigued as I am by the game’s plot, which follows a child who finds himself trapped on a synthetic caffeine mining vessel with some sort of dark presence, I’m not convinced Caffeine will see the light of day. Its developer has tried and failed to crowdfund it three separate times now, leaving its fate in the air for now. It’s too bad, because this game is gorgeous.

The Flock (PC)

Asymmetrical multiplayer has become an increasingly prevalent feature, especially in horror games. Evolve, Damned, Last Year and The Flock may be signs that this kind of multiplayer has a future in horror, where classic competitive modes have failed (Dead Space 2, Condemned 2: Bloodshot). The Flock revolves around a war between Carriers of light and the Flock, which hunt them. The world already has me hooked, it’s up to the developer to make sure the game is balanced and, even more importantly, fun.

Fran Bow (PC)

Fran Bow is another horror point-and-click adventure game, like Asylum, though that’s where the similarities end. It has a quirky charm about it that I find really enticing, especially when the game reveals its darker side through the pills young Fran takes. Doing so gives her a temporary look at a gruesome version of the world around her. Switching between the two worlds is fun, but it’ll also be necessary if you’re going to solve its puzzles.

Grave (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Grave, a surreal horror game that, unless I’m mistaken, could be the first of its kind. This is a very strange horror game that’s still very much an enigma to me even after playing both of its demos. Light and dark play an important role in the gameplay, as light is your only weapon against the creatures who inhabit its eerie world.

The Hum (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Aliens freak a lot of people out, yet for some reason, horror game developers haven’t exploited that universal fear that all humans have of being abducted in the middle of the night for a quick probing session. The Hum is the first game to try and make aliens scary, and judging by the footage we’ve seen of it so far, they’re on the right track.

Kholat (PC)

Based on the mysterious disappearances of nine hikers at the base of the base of Siberia’s “Death Mountain” in 1959, Kholat wants to turn a story that’s baffled scientists and unnerved the rest of us into a horror game. It’s a tragic story, but it also happens to be perfect for a video game inspired by it. The circumstanced in which those hikers were found were admittedly horrific, and since their recovery more than half a century ago folks far smarter than I have tried really hard to come up with answers. Perhaps Kholat will provide them.

Last Year (PC)

The latest addition to the burgeoning sect of asymmetrical multiplayer games is something called Last Year. It pits a group of teens against a masked murderer. The teens must work together to survive, but that won’t be easy when the killer can come from anywhere. I’ve already decided I’m going to be Nick, the nerd, when I play this game. Then I’ll get ridiculously good at the game, impressing all of nerd kind enough that they crown me the Nerd King. But before I can realize that dream, the game needs to raise some money first.

Lethe (PC)

Lethe is a physics puzzle-heavy first person horror game that follows Robert Dawn, a journalist on a mission to find the truth. His search takes him to an isolated island, and before he can use his journalist powers to uncover its dark secrets, he gets infected by a substance that gifts his hand with psychokinetic powers. It’s an attractive game, and one I’d very much like to get my hands on.

Monstrum (PC)

Like Grave, I’ve already spent a fair amount of time with Monstrum and I’m happy to say I’m nothing but impressed. Massive ships with labyrinthine interiors ruin what little sense of direction I possess, and because the locations of precious items are different every time you play, there’s a decent replay factor here as well as a healthy amount of scares.

Narcosis (PC)

From a ship lost at sea, we plunge to the murky depths of the ocean below. I still don’t have a clue as to what it is that poses a threat to the diver in Narcosis, you know, other than the definite possibility that Jaws will eat you. That’s assuming asphyxiation doesn’t claim you first when your limited supply of oxygen runs out. I’m sure there’s a more spine-tingling horror waiting for us in this game, but for now, I’ll worry about Jaws.

Outlast 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

So the talented folks at Red Barrels are working on a sequel to Outlast. I’m not sure what else I can say about it, other than maybe we should all consider saving up for a Depends run once we know when to expect it.

Paranormal: The Town (PC)

Paranormal: The Town has been awfully quiet lately, but I imagine that’s because the developer behind it is busy working on remaking the original. If you haven’t played Paranormal yet, it’s basically Paranormal Activity: The Game, only it takes way less time for things to get interesting. The Town will take the randomized haunts that made the first to memorable out of the confined quarters of an artist’s apartment and bring them to a small town.

Quadrant (PC)

In Quadrant, we get to step into the boots of a member of a bio-hazardous waste removal crew that’s been sent into a NASA lab that’s been quarantined when a mysterious substance — possibly alien! — leaks out. Because it’s a horror game, your coworkers get murdered, likely in excruciating ways, by what looks like a giant spider. I say kill it with fire and demand your hazard pay.

ROAM (PC)

I love me some State of Decay, but it never gave me all of the tools I wanted in a game like that. I want to build bases, fortify them, gather resources to survive, and kick heaps of rotten zombie ass in the process. ROAM is a surprisingly ambitious survival game that offers exactly that, with an emphasis on building kickass anti-zombie fortresses. I’m all in.

Routine (PC)

I’m never been big into roguelike games, mostly because I’m terrible at them, but I’ll be making an exception for Routine. Ever since we were given our first glimpse of it two years ago, I’ve been practically foaming at the mouth to get my hands on it. It looks terrifying, and it’s also the type of game that doesn’t waste time holding your hand. It won’t be easy surviving against whatever horrors are lurking on that abandoned lunar base, but if Dark Souls has taught me anything, it’s that a difficult game only makes the experience more rewarding.

Scorn (PC)

Like so many before it, Scorn is a horror game that’s currently looking to find success on Kickstarter. It’s a horror adventure game that takes place in a “nightmarish universe” with a narrative that’s been made to give players the freedom to “give their own interpretation of the events, themes and their role in this universe through exploration and interaction with the game world.”

Stasis (PC)

If Dead Space experimented with a 2D style, it’d look something like Stasis. This game doesn’t just want to deliver an exciting story, it also has the lofty goal of blending AAA graphics with classic, point and click gameplay. It’s also worth noting that Stasis is being scored by Fallout series composer Mark Morgan, so you can be sure it’ll sound great.

Summer Camp (PC)

It took awhile to happen, but the slasher genre that so many of us have enjoyed in movies is finally gaining traction in video games. This year has seen the reveals of four slasher games — Last Year, Until Dawn, Summer Camp and Splatter Camp — and there’s a good chance we’ll see most, or possibly even all, of these games release in 2015. We don’t know much about this game yet, but the title alone should offer enough of a hint as to what Summer Camp will be about. Horny teens, a masked killer, fun in the sun cut tragically short by murder and mayhem, etc.

Splatter Camp (PC)

From the maker of Babysitter Bloodbath (formerly Halloween) comes another Friday the 13th inspired horror game about teens meeting an early end at the hands of a bad, bad man. If it’s anything like the developer’s past work, expect an awesome old school VHS aesthetic.

U55 – End of the Line (PC)

Subways are inherently creepy places, and I’m not just saying that because of the rat people who call those tunnels their home. U55 – End of the Line wants to remind us of this fact by cranking up the scare factor to 11 as it follows some poor soul who somehow managed to find themselves lost, alone and hunted in the underground.

Categories: Horror News

‘Lethe’ Resurfaces With New Gameplay Footage

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 03:37

“Talk to the hand, bub” is something I’m going to say to every monster in Lethe just before I use my hand powers to vaporize them. That is, assuming such a power exists in this game. It’s been awhile since we last heard from it, so if you missed its reveal in March, all you really need to know is it’s a first-person horror game that follows an investigative journalist who acquires psychokinetic powers while searching an isolated island for clues to a mystery.

Lethe is currently in development for PC and Mac, with a release expected in 2015.

Categories: Horror News

The Slasher Genre is Coming to Video Games in a Big Way

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 01:25

I’ve spent a lot of time complaining about how bizarre it is that the slasher film genre hasn’t ever made its way to video games. It’s odd, seeing as there’s a definite audience for that sort of thing.

Ignoring those abysmal Naughty Bear games, all we have left to choose from is a handful of older titles (Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and the indie horror game Babysitter Bloodbath (formerly Halloween), which was actually pretty great.

That isn’t much, but I think that’s about to change.

Within the last year, we’ve been introduced to four new horror games that aim to fill that sad, empty hole in many of our hearts with the things we’ve come to love about slasher films, like speed-walking murderers and shallow, narcisistic characters who die horribly, usually during or immediately following a brief trip to Bonetown.

Let’s go ahead and kick this off with Splatter Camp.

Splatter Camp was announced in January by developer Pig Farmer Games as a follow-up to their Halloween inspired horror game, now called Babysitter Bloodbath. Where their first game was a love letter to John Carpenter’s Halloween, this looks to pay homage to the Friday the 13th franchise.

It’s still very much in-development, as a humorous post on the developer’s website confirmed after Summer Camp was announced.

Summer Camp has more or less the same concept as Splatter Camp, as it also follows a group of teens at a lakeside camp who find themselves being stalked by a woods-dwelling murderer. It’s being developed by the studio behind the Breach & Clear series, so they have the added benefit of extra cash and manpower.

Investing more resources into a game doesn’t necessarily mean it will be better, so it’ll be interesting to see two different developer’s takes on a near-identical concept. So far, I’m rooting for Splatter Camp, but only because it has a much better name.

The good thing about this is the competition ought to motivate each developer to raise their game. Hopefully both blow games will our minds, because two great slasher games will always be better than one.

Last Year is the latest addition to the bunch, and it’s also the most different. Like every game here, it follows a group of teens who are being hunted by a masked murderer, only it’s doing that with a twist.

For the uninitiated, Last Year is an asymmetrical multiplayer game where five purposefully stereotypical teens — Chad the Jock, Amber the popular girl, etc. — must survive against a bad man, also player-controlled, who’s tasked with picking them off one by one. It’s essentially Damned, if you were to blend it with really any slasher film you’ve ever seen.

Because we all love laughing at a good trope, the developer plans on cramming Last Year until it’s bursting with all of the wonderful horror movie clichés we’ve grown to love/hate from watching 80′s slasher flicks.

It’s worth mentioning that this game might not happen. It’s fate rests entirely in the hands of the gaming community, so if you’d like to help them out, you can support it on Kickstarter.

I’d go on, but the power just went out and I think I heard a strange noise that I feel compelled to investigate alone. Don’t worry, I’ll be right back.

Every one of these games shows serious promise, but they can’t quite compare to how amazing this next game looks.

Until Dawn was announced more than two years ago, and it looked okay. Realizing the game needed a lot more work, developer Supermassive Games did the admirable thing and started almost completely over. The result is the incredibly unnerving survival horror game we were re-introduced to back in August.

The new-and-improved Until Dawn feels almost completely different from what we were originally shown back in 2012. The writing has been reworked and thanks to a move to the PS4, those visuals are sharp.

It’s still too early to tell, but we could be witnessing the beginning of a new subgenre of horror, at least for video games. If this genre takes off in a way that handheld camera style games have (Slender, Outlast) I’ll be able to shift my focus to whining about why there aren’t more Lovecraftian horror games out there.

Or how about some horror comedies? I wouldn’t mind seeing a game that takes inspiration from films like Evil Dead 2, Cabin in the Woods, Drag Me to Hell, Zombieland, Slither, etc.

How about you — is there a subgenre of horror you’d like to see make its way to video games? Let me know in the comments!

Categories: Horror News

‘Five Nights at Freddy’s is About to Get Even Scarier

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 22:02

It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Five Nights at Freddy’s the Slender: The Eight Pages of 2014. Everyone’s talking about, and much of that discussion revolves around how unbelievably unnerving it can be. Taking advantage of this is Fazbear Entertainment, a mod that adds asymmetrical multiplayer to the creepy game, pitting four animatronic baddies against one ill-equipped security guard, all player-controlled.

The only thing that’s scarier than being trapped in a building with murderous animatronic creatures is when those murderous creatures are being controlled by other players.

It’s still very early in development — it’s only about 5-10% content complete according to the developer — but I don’t imagine we’ll be getting sick of the Five Nights games anytime soon, so they have time to get this finished.

For more on the Fazbear Entertainment mod, you can follow it on on Steam. If you’d like to watch me lose my mind playing Five Nights at Freddy’s 2, you can do just that with the video below.

Categories: Horror News

MPC Breaks Down the ‘Godzilla’ VFX!

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 19:29

With Black Friday looming, Warner and Legendary Pictures are hoping to give Godzilla another push. This afternoon they released a really cool behind-the-scenes look at how the VFX was accomplished – those of you who use Photoshop will appreciate the layering.

MPC, who also did World War Z and Prometheus, is behind the effects work.

Starring Bryan Cranston (and his wig), Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Godzilla was directed by Gareth Edwards.

Now on video, the world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Categories: Horror News

McG Producing Coming-of-Age ‘The Babysitter’

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 19:20

McG’s Wonderland Sound and Vision has just picked up the Brian Duffield spec script The Babysitter in an auction, writes Deadline.

McG and Mary Viola will produce the unique horror/coming of age story, which unfortunately shares no plot details.

Duffield also penned the horror-romance Vivien Hasn’t Been Herself Lately, which will mark Duffield’s directorial debut.

Categories: Horror News

[TV] See Victoria Justice In the “Eye Candy” Promo

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 19:14

MTV has set a premiere date for “Eye Candy,”, while also revealing the first promo.

Set to debut Monday, January 12th, the 10-episode series is exec produced by Twilight‘s Catherine Hardwicke and Jason Blum (Insidious, Paranormal Activity).

The series stars Victoria Justice and “centers on a beautiful but reclusive hacker whose blog exposes everything from terrorist plots to suspected killers. Convinced by her roommate to begin online dating, Lindy (Justice) is targeted by a dangerous cyberstalker and believes one of her suitors to be the culprit. When things take a deadly turn, she teams up with the city’s cyber-crime unit to catch the killer.

Emmy Grinwis penned the pilot for “Eye Candy,” which is based on a novel by R.L. Stine.

Hardwicke, who also directed the fantastic Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown, helmed the pilot.

Categories: Horror News

Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson Joins Murder Mystery

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 19:08

Eddie Marsan (“Ray Donovan”), Patrick Wilson (Insidious), Jessica Biel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Blade: Trinity), pictured, and Haley Bennett (The Hole) all have joined the cast of an untitled murder mystery, says Variety.

Andy Goddard, who helmed the third season finale of “Downton Abbey,” is directing. He’s been attached to the project — formerly known as The Blunderer — since early last year. It’s based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Blunderer.”

Susan Boyd adapted the 1954 novel, which Highsmith wrote in between “Strangers on a Train” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”

Highsmith’s novel is centered on a successful and handsome man (Wilson) who seems to have it all until the day the body of his wife — played by Biel — is found at the bottom of a cliff. Under the intense scrutiny of the investigation, he commits one mistake after another until he finds his perfect life derailed.

Producers are Killer Films’ Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa, along with Ted Hope and Sierra Pictures, which is also financing with 120dB Films and Electric Shadow.

The film has started production in Cincinnati.

Categories: Horror News

‘The Ring’ Figure That Never Was…

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 17:06

Black Friday is looming so I started creating my own wish list for the holidays.

Among looking over NECA’s upcoming Alien figures, I started fantasizing about horror-themed figures I’ve always wanted and remembered that NECA once teased a Samara figure based on the 2002 The Ring. In fact, they had big plans for Samara, only they could never secure the license from DreamWorks.

What was so cool about the concept – announced back in 2005 – was that there was to be a pair of bases, one of the infamous well, and the other of the even more famous television set!

NECA had also promised Samara would have “flexible hair” (that would have been a first).

It’s a bummer this never came into fruition, but at least we have pictures to dream of what could have been.

Categories: Horror News

[TV] CBS’ “Zoo” Unleashes Violent Animals

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 16:54

French actress Nora Arnezeder (pictured in Maniac; Safe House) is set to co-star opposite James Wolk in CBS’ new summer drama series “Zoo,” says Deadline.

Based on the novel by James Patterson, “ ‘Zoo’ is a global thriller about a wave of violent animal attacks against humans sweeping the planet. It centers on Jackson Oz (Wolk), a renegade American zoologist running safaris in the wilds of Africa who is thrust into a race to unlock the mystery of the pandemic.

Arnezeder will play Chloe Tousignant, a French investigator who meets Oz while she is on an African safari.

Categories: Horror News

‘Last Year’ Embraces 80′s Horror Movie Clichés

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 15:51

Investigating strange noises, spilling up to explore a seemingly abandoned cabin, gratuitous nude scenes — we have film franchises dedicated to making fun of these overused 80′s horror movie tropes, even though we secretly love them. Last Year is the kind of game that embraces these familiar clichés, because they’re great. It’s dripping with love for the genre, it even has a stereotypical jock named Chad. That’s fantastic.

With its asymmetrical multiplayer, which pits five teens against a masked murderer, Last Year sounds a lot like Damned. The serial killer can even turn invisible — something the monsters in Damned can also do — giving the player who controls him the chance to find the perfect spot to spy on and/or sneak up behind those unsuspecting teens.

If its Kickstarter successfully raises the $50,000 they’re asking for, Last Year will bring its 80′s horror goodness exclusively to PC.

Categories: Horror News

Oscar Isaac to Play Villain in Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Apocalypse”

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 15:26

Variety has acquired the scoop that Bryan Singer has pegged Oscar Isaac to play Apocalypse in 2016′s “X-Men: Apocalypse.” He’s an inspired choice. My only familiarity with Isaac was the Coen Brother’s “Inside Llewyn Davis” which I absolutely loved. He seems to be more comfortable in a moody and introspective role. Apocalypse has a stoic side, and this casting has surprised me but doesn’t dissuade my excitement after this summers “Days of Future Past.”

Looks like the X-Men franchise is here to stay for a little while longer.

Oscar Isaac will be playing the titular comicbook villain in 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men: Apocalypse.”

Bryan Singer is back to direct with Simon Kinberg penning the script.

Singer has described the upcoming X-Men film, which is expected to feature all cast members including Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy, as the most destructive movie in the franchise.

“‘Apocalypse’ will have more of the mass destruction that ‘X-Men’ films, to date, have not relied upon,” he recently said. “There’s definitely now a character and a story that allow room for that kind of spectacle.”

Singer also suggested that “Apocalypse,” set in the 1980s, could feature younger versions of familiar characters.

Fox will release on May 27, 2016.

The most recent “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” co-starring Hugh Jackman, has earned a monstrous $745 million worldwide at the box office.

Singer had been meeting with actors for the past couple of weeks but sources say Isaac always seemed like the type of actor Singer wanted for the role and the long-time favorite from the start.

Isaac is set to have a big year ahead of him with A24′s “A Most Violent Year” set to bow in December, with the company feeling it will have major awards play for Isaac. He is also set to star in the next “Star Wars” pic for Disney.

What do you think of Isaac’s casting? Will he make a good En Sabah Nur?

Categories: Horror News

BD Playlist: Zac Vol. 4

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 15:00

Today brings another BD Playlist, a selection of tracks and albums that we, the BD writers, compile for your enjoyment! We like showing a bit of ourselves to our readers, so this gives us a chance for you to enter our world.

Today we’re featuring our comic book editor, Zac Thompson, who has a list comprised entirely of movie soundtracks!

Zac writes:

I should preface this with saying that I’ve spent the last month engrossing myself in the soundtracks I love. I’m writing a horror novel for National Novel Writing Month, and these were the five pieces I’ve listened to over and over again while writing. They inspire a certain sense of emptiness in me that I haven’t been able to find much anywhere else, each of them are hauntingly beautiful in their own way.

Head on in for Zac’s musical selections!

Categories: Horror News

In Defense Of Sam Raimi’s ‘Drag Me to Hell’

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 14:02

Article by Trace Thurman

Full confession: I love horror comedies. Any movie from Evil Dead 2 all the way to the more recent Cabin in the Woods holds a special place in my heart. That is why it really bums me out that more people don’t like Drag Me to Hell . There are even horror buffs like myself, who swear by director Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy, who hate Drag Me to Hell. Since I fell in love with the sub-genre when I saw Critters (a hilarious ’80s creature feature that is essentially a rip-off of Gremlins) as a child, I have always tried to watch all of the horror comedies that came out (many of the ones that released nowadays see rave reviews but also very low box office numbers). Drag Me to Hell is one of my favo

Horror comedies are a tough sell. Years ago, when I was a junior in college working at Blockbuster (yes, Blockbuster), I got a lot of insight as to what kinds of movies people my age liked and what they didn’t. Horror comedies were definitely on the “dislike” list. There was the occasional film that everyone loved and thought was hilarious (Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland) but for the most part, they just weren’t anyone’s cup of tea. Take this list of movies and think about any of them that you like (although if you are reading this post you probably actually do like most of them):

  • Gremlins
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch
  • Tremors
  • Evil Dead 2
  • Army of Darkness
  • Fright Night
  • Ghostbusters
  • Dead Alive
  • Misery
  • This is the End
  • Hatchet
  • Ghostbusters
  • Beetlejuice
  • Zombieland
  • An American Werewolf in London
  • The Cabin in the Woods
  • Sorority Row
  • Snakes on a Plane
  • Scream
  • Slither
  • Piranha 3D
  • Drag Me to Hell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of these are very obviously comedies with elements of horror (Shaun of the Dead, Ghostbusters, This is the End) and others are horror movies with elements of comedy (Misery, Gremlins, Fright Night). Obviously, your enjoyment of any of these movies depends on your sense of humor, but I have to tell you that they are all in the same genre. Out of that list, the films that seem to have the lowest standing in the mainstream are Slither, Piranha 3D, Sorority Row and Drag Me To Hell. With the exception of Sorority Row, all of those movies received very good reviews (I still love Sorority Row, but that’s a discussion for another post), with Drag Me to Hell scoring the best reviews at 216 positive and 19 negative, for a 92% positive score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Alright, enough of the history lesson. Let’s get down to the meat of things. While working at Blockbuster, I loved to recommend Drag Me to Hell to customers, but I quickly learned that I had to recommend it with a bit of a precursor. People would return it (and the other movies listed in the above paragraph) and tell me how stupid each one is and that they weren’t scary at all. I realized something: no one knew that they were watching comedies.

Granted, Drag Me to Hell kind of screwed itself over with its trailer:

By marketing itself as a pure horror movie, the movie had already firmly cemented the expectations for anyone walking into it. If you didn’t read any reviews or articles about the film, you would enter the theater expecting “the return of true horror.” This they most definitely did not get. Drag Me to Hell is a fun, goofy little horror movie and you really have to know that to get the most enjoyment out of it. It has a lot of cheap jump scares to pump some adrenaline through the audience, but is it a truly terrifying film? Not really (one caveat for this answer would be the final scene of the film, but more on that later). This is not to say there aren’t serious aspects to the film. There are scary moments and genuinely disturbing moments (in the film’s opening scene, a small child is literally dragged to Hell), but overall it blends the comedy in with the horror seamlessly.

What puzzles me most is that many of the people that didn’t like the movie actually thought it was trying to be serious. It seems that the more straightforwardly comedic the movie is (Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland), the more people seem to like it. But if a film has too much horror in it, then audiences will view the comedic aspects of the film as “stupid.” My only response to that is the infamous cursing-goat scene in the film. How could anyone think a movie in which a goat gets possessed and starts slinging obscenities at the lead character is anything but hilarious (and not trying to take itself seriously)? I mean, look at this:

How do you not laugh at that? Or better yet, how do you watch that and still think that you are watching a serious horror film? Drag Me to Hell is full of moments of humor (the superbly choreographed parking garage fight scene, the literal geyser of a nosebleed, the Looney Toons-ish anvil-on-the-head gag, I could go on) so it’s not like the talking goat just comes out of nowhere. This is such an enjoyable film and I’m just puzzled as to why I seem to be in the minority with this one.

To anyone who has not seen this movie, Drag Me to Hell tells the story of Christine Brown, a bank loan officer who refuses to extend a mortgage payment to an old gypsy woman named Sylvia Ganush. Mrs. Ganush curses Christine with the Lamia, a goat demon that will mess with her for three days before finally dragging her to Hell to burn for all eternity.

I get it, it doesn’t exactly sound like the lightest material; and I actually jumped a lot throughout the film. I don’t really qualify “jump scares” as being actually scary, but this movie kind of toyed with your expectations of the jumps and clearly has a lot of fun doing it. That’s all I can really say about how to enjoy this movie as a horror comedy. If you’re not sold with that then you probably won’t find anything to enjoy about the movie, and I feel bad for you.

Moving on to just why this is a good movie, I have to start with the performances. Alison Lohman is put through a lot in Drag Me to Hell (especially when it comes to various things flying into her mouth) and I applaud her for putting up with a lot of this stuff. Ellen Page was originally cast as Christine but dropped out do star in Drew Barrymore’s Whip It. When she left, Alison Lohman was cast and, even though she is a lesser-known actress, I’m really glad. Lohman sells the part of a former fat girl who just wants to move up in her career and have a steady relationship with her boyfriend (Justin Long). You actually feel for her when bad things happen to her (and trust me, they happen). Speaking of Long, he gets the thankless boyfriend role but he does get some good moments to play against-type (unless you’ve seen Jeepers Creepers).

You also can’t talk about Drag Me to Hell without mentioning the villainess herself. Lorna Raver doesn’t have a lot of screen time as Mrs. Ganush, but damn if she doesn’t leave a lasting impression. She is one of the most hateful, disgusting, and unlikable characters I have ever seen put to film, and I am surprised the actress agreed to do the role considering all of the things she was required to do (see below) Raver infuses Mrs. Ganush with a menace that you feel throughout the entire film, and you learn to hate her so much that you actually begin to enjoy when gross things happen to her.

Sam Raimi does a great job directing (and co-writing, with his brother Ivan) the film as well. Although many horror fans were disappointed that his return to the horror genre was not Evil Dead 4 (which is fine considering we got an Evil Dead remake 4 years later), you would be hard-pressed not to see the influence those films had on the making of Drag Me to Hell. The CGI he chooses to use is laughably bad in some parts (although that may have been intentional) so I do wish he would have used more practical effects like he used to, but that may have been in an attempt to get a PG-13 rating. Nevertheless, Raimi is trying something (sort of) new here and I believe it works.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Finally, the reason why I think this movie works is the ending. If you’ve never seen the movie, stop reading now if you don’t want to know how it ends. What I love most about Drag Me to Hell is that even though there is a lot of comedy in the film, it is book-ended by completely horrifying, serious scenes. As I mentioned earlier, a young boy is dragged to Hell in the opening scene of the film. In the finale, Christine does indeed get dragged into Hell to burn for all eternity as her boyfriend (who was about to propose to her) helplessly watches from above before the film cuts to a black screen with nothing but the film’s title showing.

I admit, when I first saw the movie, I was kind of angry. I didn’t want Christine to go to Hell because she had done nothing wrong (reading online, you can actually see people debating whether or not she deserved it based solely on the fact that she refused to extend Mrs. Ganush’s mortgage payment, or for sacrificing her cat to the Lamia in exchange for her life which….ugh). I fully expected Christine to survive by passing the curse on to her annoying co-worker Stu. But alas, it was not meant to be. Sam Raimi wanted to sucker punch the audience and in my case, he did. I walked out of the theater (both times I saw it) quite depressed. This tonal shift may have been too jarring for the audience and further confused them as to just what kind of movie they were watching. I totally understand that. It took me several viewings of Drag Me to Hell to get over it (and it still packs an emotional punch even though I know it’s coming every time I watch it).

That being said, I think that is the point (if there is a “point” to Drag Me to Hell other than to entertain). We are supposed to care about Christine and hope the worst for Mrs. Ganush. If we didn’t, then the ending wouldn’t have the effect it does. In the end, Drag Me to Hell becomes the ultimate tragedy. After everything Christine went through (and she went through a lot in three days), she couldn’t save herself. It is just very jarring to have the movie be so silly and then be slammed with an ending like that. That is probably why the opening scene was what it was: to remind the audience that even though Raimi knows how to have fun, he can still stick it where it hurts.

With all of that being said, I hope you give Drag Me to Hell a second chance. It really is a great movie with a lot of moving parts that work perfectly together 99% of the time. Like most of the movies in my “In Defense Of” columns, it’s not for everyone, but I think if you watch it again from a new perspective (or for the first time at least knowing what you’re getting in to), you will enjoy Drag Me to Hell. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

This article originally appeared on Wine and Watch.

ABOUT TRACE: Trace is a graduate of the Radio/TV/Film program University of Texas at Austin and still lives in Austin. An avid fan of the horror genre, he spends most of his free time reading about/watching movies and TV shows and endlessly harassing his friends to watch underrated gems. He has a strong dislike for the lack of tact/respect present on Internet message boards and is on a mission to promote thoughtful, polite discussions between people who disagree about things online.

Categories: Horror News