[Blu-ray Review] Arrow Video's 3-Disc Limited Edition of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2' Is Flat-Out Epic!
Director Tobe Hooper’s career trajectory has been tumultuous at best. How one artist can have The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night Terrors in the same filmography is a mystery to me. If we were judging the man’s worth by box office performance alone, it would be even less pretty. There isn’t another filmmaker working within the horror genre whose worth is as debated as Hooper’s. A lot of it stems from having something as impactful as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist under his belt and even the latter is argued to this day since many circles believe Steven Spielberg was the one really calling the shots. I for one have always found myself defending the value of a chunk of his work. Even if his stuff was looked down upon during its initial release, home video companies such as Shout Factory and Arrow Video have done a great job of highlighting some of his under appreciated genre gems such as Lifeforce and The Funhouse. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is the latest to be given the royal treatment.
Thirteen years after the shocking events of the original, cinema’s favourite cannibals, the Sawyer Family are back at it again. This time they meet their match with the likes of the vengeance-fueled Lieutenant ‘Lefty’ Enright (a delightfully over-the-top Dennis Hopper) and local DJ Vanita ‘Stretch’ Brock (the sexy Caroline Williams). Hooper is fully aware he can’t possibly top what is arguably the greatest horror film of all time. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that can never be duplicated. With The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Hooper changes the tone…drastically. While dark humour ran through the veins of the original, it never surfaced enough to undermine the sheer psychological terror the film successfully suffocated its startled audience with. With the sequel, comedy is front and center even though a decent share of scares pops up from time to time. Hooper embraces the age-old golden rule of Hollywood when it comes to sequels: “bigger is better”. Subtlety doesn’t enter the equation. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is loud and in your face at all times yet it’s not just operating on a strict entertainment-minded level. It’s easy to be distracted by the movie’s adrenaline-fueled energy and unflinching gore (which barely made a cameo in the original) by the great Tom Savini. The more I saw it (which was a boatload of times), I began to see other levels in which The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was operating on. Great satire is never preachy. Hooper captures the Reagan era with all its 80’s excess and obsession with consumption so brilliantly. The film’s manic tone alone personifies this to great effect. The oversold reading of the opening crawl does a stellar job of establishing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 as its own separate entity. The abandoned carnival grounds in which the Sawyer Family now call home is hyper-packed in detail. Its massive scale is showcased to awe-inspiring effect during the recreation of the classic dinner table pullback from the original, only here Hooper can’t help himself but to take it even further, establishing the sheer density of the environment with a super-wide shot.
Hooper is backed by a fantastic cast, completely understanding of the lunacy they’ve signed up for. It’s not hard to see why Chop-Top, the twin brother of the first film’s Hitchhiker has become Moseley’s signature performance. While there are affectionate nods to Edwin Neal’s unsettling performance, Moseley makes the Chop-Top his own by injecting a giddy, off-kilter quality that defines him. Johnson is the right Leatherface for this distinct vision. Here he explores the character’s discovery of the opposite sex in a truly queasy and disturbing manner. Jim Siedow makes a welcome return as the quirky Cook. He’s as memorable here as he was in the original. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is prime example how a sequel can feel like a continuation of its predecessor, at the same time offer the viewer a completely fresh experience. It grows more and more delectable with each view. I wish more franchises had the balls to be half as daring as Hooper’s ass-kicking follow-up.
THE A/V: Disc 1 contains The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 the same HD transfer found in the MGM North American release, which was supervised by Director of Photography Richard Kooris. It wasn’t the most attractive video around but was without a doubt the best and most accurate the film has looked on home video. Colours, contrast and detail was a genuine step up. Grain was a notable constant which to me satisfied my love of that film’s 35mm look. For their release, Arrow Video has taken it upon themselves to do some additional restoration at Deluxe Digital Cinema, supervised by James White who was also had a hand in the fantastic work that went into Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters and most recently, Hooper’s Lifeforce. Dirt, sparkle, debris, scratches and stability issues have been painstakingly dealt with to give The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 its most welcoming appearance to date. This extra effort will be much appreciated by fans. When it comes to the audio, the 2.0 Stereo PCM track seems to be the same as MGM’s DTS-HD MA 2.0. It’s true to the original theatrical presentation and contains some nice clarity. This is a definite improvement over the previous Blu-ray release.
Disc 2 has impressive restored transfers of Hooper’s early work. Dirt and debris is present but not nearly as much as I expected. The MPEG-4 AVC encode help colour and contrast look as fine as possible. The Heisters and Eggshells are given lossless PCM 1.0 tracks. They both sound solid considering their film’s age and low budget roots. Overall Watchmaker Films with Hooper’s assistance has done a first rate job with these films’ home video debut.
THE SUPPLEMENTS: For this 3-Disc Limited Edition Set (only 10,000 in circulation), Arrow has pulled out all the stops. Each copy comes with a cool, individually numbered certificate. On the flipside of the card you get a reprint of the iconic The Breakfast Club parody one-sheet. The packaging is beautifully illustrated by Justin Erickson. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Disc 1 – Blu-ray), Tobe Hooper’s Early Works (Disc 2 – Blu-ray & Disc 3 – DVD) get their own separate DigiPack, along with the epic 100-page perfect bound book. To date, it might very well be the mother of all Arrow Video booklets (definitely the best since Obsession which includes Paul Schrader’s original screenplay). Along with the usual archival stills and posters you get six excellent articles covering everything from Hooper’s early work, the fascinating, uber-detailed document of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’s dealings with the censors, right up to a retrospect on the entire franchise. A brilliant read all around.
Disc 1 is devoted to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. All of the superb special features from MGM’s The Gruesome Edition (originally on DVD followed by the 2002 U.S. Blu-ray) has been carried over. This includes two excellent audio commentaries. One with director and co-writer Tobe Hooper, moderated by David Gregory, and the other with stars Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams and special-effects legend Tom Savini, moderated by Michael Felsher. The centerpiece of that set was the 88-minute documentary “It Runs in the Family”. It gave a detailed look at the making of the film and its renewed life beyond its disappointing theatrical run. There are plenty of interviews with the likes of co-writer L. M. Kit Carson and Savini, as well as stars Johnson, Moseley and Williams, to name a few. There’s also 11-minutes worth of deleted scenes including some of Savini’s gory FX work. They’re not in great condition yet a valuable inclusion nevertheless. Another welcome addition is the alternate opening sequence featuring a different musical score cue. The theatrical trailer is also here.
Arrow has thrown in a few new extras including production stills and two new featurettes. “Cutting Moments with Bob Elmore” (15 mins) contains the stunt man’s account of this supremely difficult film shoot. I also dug “Still Feelin’ The Buzz” (29 mins), an interview with horror expert Stephen Thrower, author of “Nightmare USA” and the awesome “Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci”. It contains his thoughts on the film and its treasure chest-packed subtext.
Disc 2 focuses on Hooper’s previously unreleased early work. 1964’s The Heisters (11 mins) is a goofy ode to the silent era and Roger Corman’s series of Edgar Allan Poe films. This silent short gives us an early peek at Hooper’s affection for comedy which would find its way in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Its inclusion on this set is an appropriate companion piece. Hooper’s 1969 feature debut, Eggshells (90 mins) is a weird yet fascinating arthouse piece. The viewer takes on a “fly on the wall” perspective, following around a household of hippies. There really isn’t any sort of narrative yet Hooper hints upon that unnerving sense of tension that would be so predominant in his follow-up, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The audio commentary to Eggshells featuring Tobe Hooper and Louis Black, who played a huge part in the film’s restoration, is a terrific discussion from start to finish. The 24-minute “In Conversation with Tobe Hooper” is a tad erratic interview. Despite that issue, there are enough goodies here to satisfy fans who are interested in how he got from Eggshells to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. The Trailer Reel is a collection of the majority of Hooper’s filmography.
OVERALL: While Dawn of the Dead will most likely forever remain my favourite horror sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 had a much tougher act to follow. The original just happens to be the granddaddy of horror movies. Hooper seems to have been inspired by the tonal shift George A. Romero infused in Dawn of the Dead. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 follows the silly “bigger is better” rule Hollywood has adapted for its sequels, at the same time takes it to a whole other level. Hooper creates a hysterical satire on 80’s excess, as well playfully poking fun at Leatherface fans’ expectations. The film is huge on a grotesque scale. It’s only fitting that Arrow has given this much-debated cult classic an equally towering Blu-ray release. If physical copies aren’t quite as hot of a seller as they once was, Arrow valiantly continues to prove its worth to fans and collectors’ alike. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: 3-Disc Limited Edition is an exquisite piece of work; from its beautifully-conceived packaging to the plethora of extras just waiting to eat up your days. Home video releases don’t get much better than this…and that’s a challenge, Arrow Video!
Note: As with all current Arrow titles, this is strictly Region 2 which means you’ll have to get a Region-Free Player to see it. The perfect Christmas gift if you ask me.
Weird yet oddly fitting news has come out that Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) will be coming to American Horror Story, according to the show’s creator Ryan Murphy. Nicks’ role has not yet been announced but her impact on this season is known to any who watch the show. Misty Day, one of this season’s main characters, is obsessed with the singer and Murphy says that the show will use eight of Nicks’ songs throughout the course of this season.
We’ll update with more information as it comes in.
Guess who's visiting the Coven? The legendary Stevie Nicks!
— Ryan Murphy (@MrRPMurphy) November 12, 2013
Neil Gaiman fans were treated to his long awaited return to The Sandman in October with “Sandman Overture” #1, which received glowing critical reception. Initially, the book was scheduled to have a new issue released every two months, with a special edition of the previous month’s issue coming out in between those months.
Unfortunately, those expecting another instalment before the New Year will be disappointed as “Sandman Overture” #2 has been delayed until February. Yikes. Who is going to fill my dreams now?
DC Comics have informed retailers that they can re-order the second issue for February. All December orders have been cancelled.
Gaiman chimed in with a reply about the delay, “Sure. I understand your disappointment and sympathise. We’re both really sorry about the delay. It’s unprofessional, and is mostly due to the giant signing tour I was on from June, and me not getting script written on the tour, with knock-on effects. We’re hoping it’ll be the only delay though.”
Got to give the man credit for being honest.
Only a few hours after 44Flood launched Ben Templesmith’s new OGN project, “The Squidder”, to the crow-funding site Kickstarter, the 18,000$ goal was met. At the time of writing this piece, it’s been a few days since the project went live, and the funds have reached nearly 63,000$, proving to all of us that this is indeed, the Year of The Squid.
With slightly less than a month left in “The Squidder” campaign, lord knows what possibilities lie in wait for the talented men of 44Flood, especially the head of this project, the dashing Ben Templesmith.
“The Squidder” is a 108-page original hardcover graphic novel written and illustrated by Templesmith, his first creator-owned comic in five years. The story follows an old soldier in a post-apocalyptic world that has left him behind. Templesmith promises the graphic novel will be loaded with Lovecraftian elements, gore, and, of course, some black humor.
Weeks ago when Templesmith mentioned he’d be rolling out a new Kickstarter, he explained it to me as Mad Max meets Cthulhu, which has now become a sort of unofficial logline for the project. For those subsequent weeks I had squids, and luscious, terrifying tentacles dancing in my head. Naturally, being the nerd that I am, I chose to grill Templesmith on the Lovecraftian aspect of the project, and what I got in return was a philosophical dialogue on humanity, social issues, natural forces, creative empowerment, and the power to control your purpose.
BD: How similar in appearance and biological make up would you say your squid race is to Lovecraft’s Cthulhu?
Ben Templesmith: Not much, honestly. I’m not about grafting the actual visual of Cthulhu into THE SQUIDDER, more the general monstrosities and horror of the Lovecraftian way, plenty of twisted, tentacled monstrosities. There are beings in this thing that play with biological matter like play-dough. In many ways they find it to be a strange curiosity.
In a letter to his editor, Lovecraft said, “To achieve the essence of real externality… one must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all… when we cross the line to the boundless and hideous unknown… we must remember to leave our humanity and terrestrialism at the threshold.” With your creation of a human (your soldier) in a world of a “boundless and hideous unknown” (your alien squid race), would you say that this prominent Lovecraftian philosophy has had an effect on the premise of THE SQUIDDER and the universal truths within? Especially when dealing with aspects such as good and evil, love and hate?
Well, in many ways the book will be about a man wrapped up in his own bubble, his own problems, while ignoring the gigantic world and really, universe changing things going on around him. There’ll be a LOT of unknowns in the book. Fighting an enemy you can at least understand the motives of, or even acknowledge as the enemy in the first place…humanity has a lot to learn about expanding its horizons and its view of the universe at large. And religion, within the book sure won’t be the answer.
BD: What is your own personal philosophy and/or motives behind THE SQUIDDER?
BT: I wanted to tell a story and explore being tired, not wanting to go on, of letting the world pass you by and everyone forgetting the important things. Propaganda is alive and well and we’re all being morphed, pushed, subtly, into what “they” want us to do, be it gambling retirement savings on a stock market, convincing us actual money is harder to use than letting a middle man take 3% each time we spend our own money, or, of course, the controlling factors of religion and what “normal” morality is. The world changes and mostly, we all accept the new norms. But not everyone forgets how things used to be.
Personally, my motives? I just wanted to write again and tell a story in an organic way, which only one person can do when they both write AND draw. It’s been years since I have and apart from several huge career things, it’s the real reason I ever wanted to do comics. Working with some writers is fantastic. Working purely for a paycheck is also fantastic. But money and networking isn’t worth anything if you’re unfulfilled and you know you’re better off forging your own path, provided you’re not on the street in a cardboard box at the end of the day. It’s choosing me. It’s not conscious really.
Would you relate THE SQUIDDER’s soldier more to a hero, villain, or antihero? What qualities does he possess to justify your answer? And perhaps even more important, would you relate your squid race more to a hero, villain, or antihero? And again, what characteristics do the squids possess to justify your answer?
He’s a relic. His principles are dead. His entire purpose has entirely disappeared and he’s a man out of time, really. He’s an antihero for sure. The Squid things? Well, a force of nature as much as anything. I couldn’t really ascribe human attributes to their motives. They just are. They’d like to exist. It’s not their fault they come from where they come from. They’ll bind everything else together.
BD: If you had to choose one book (comic or novel) that has influenced THE SQUIDDER the most, which would it be and why?
BT: Heh, a fair dose of Harry Harrison’s West of Eden trilogy perhaps, actually. Roman history, oddly enough… all sorts of things. A love of Conan the Barbarian and Mad Max as well as the overall Lovecraftian ways of certain pop culture these days. Learning of the horrible way veterans are treated in America, yet culturally held up as figures to be deified at the same time. I’m not really sure where this thing is coming from. So many little things that I took from. I do worship a Giant Holy Space Squid, so it’s probably his Tentacle of Power that ultimately guides me.
BD: How long have you been working on this concept? What is your biggest fascination with this new alien squid race?
BT: I slowly wrote the congealing ideas behind it down over the course of several years, and not while I was doing any drugs. Promise.
I’ve had bits of things floating around for a while. The Squid Queen, a bit of a character visual I’ve drawn for prints a few times over the years, was a constant… everything just slowly came together. Plus, I just want to draw tentacles and Squid things.
BD: With 44FLOOD’s new partnership with IDW Publishing, what made you decide to crowd-fund this project via Kickstarter?
BT: The partnership with IDW doesn’t mean they’re going to fund us or anything. They don’t own us and we won’t be doing anything but feeding them projects that they agree to put out in their markets/audience base. We still have to try and eat and pay rent as we put out our own fancy versions of our books. Basically, we get to use some [of the] fantastic infrastructure they have, and distribution, they’ll make money off the books, and so will we, but ultimate ownership of IP and control of what a creator wants to do with their book, will remain with the creator. The creator can do as they wish. (Which isn’t really the general rule when dealing with getting a book published by anyone except Image [Comics], historically)
A book is a book and speaking for myself, I like making books with people in the business of making books. Anything else? Well, that’s separate and nice, but not books. Amazingly, IDW are excited and happy to be in the book business too. I can’t wait. It’s going to be very interesting and fun because I’m definitely done with the old dynamic of a creator individually dealing with a publisher. It’s the age of ideas now and who should ultimately control them? I’ll have a place I can put my ideas out to the world at large, with luck.
Where Kickstarter has come in, is enabling creative people to finance their projects themselves and change that old dynamic of *needing* a publisher to front costs on something that may or may not succeed. That’s the traditional risk of a publisher so they get to be very picky with what they put out. And fair enough! They have to be choosy since they could lose big time. Going direct to the people via Kickstarter, proves demand, if it’s there… it covers the costs to empower a creative to either do it all themselves or at least cut a better deal with the middle man between them and their audience eventually. Kickstarter is a fantastic system, liberating and emboldening so many people now. It’s fantastic to see both established people with audiences and new people with clear quality people just love coming through.
44FLOOD is still just a few guys in a studio trying to keep the lights on while getting some art out there and Kickstarter gives those with [an] entrepreneurial spirit the chance to sink or swim in their marketplace. I don’t think Kickstarter has even gone mainstream yet either. It’s still building to something way bigger.
BD: Should we expect more of THE SQUIDDER after this first OGN? Will this be a part of a series? Perhaps a franchise?
BT: I hope so. When I said this thing came together over the years, I mean the world at large did. With THE SQUIDDER I just found that one story I could tell within it. Part of my problem is that really, I have so much I want to put in it but logistically can’t fit it in. Yet. If it goes over at all well [editor note: it did!], it’ll be my new home for quite a few things. And best of all none of it would be “just because the first one made money.” I’m rather sick of endless sequels purely for commercial reasons, trust me.
BD: Curiosity looms over your departure from Ten Grand and what it means for the future of your career. Will you do monthlies? There have been rumors of future projects between you and Straczynski, do you foresee this happening?
I never did monthlies. Not really. Nor, as it turns out, am I cut out for that. Apart from personal issues that kept me doing anything BUT comics for a time (yes, some things are still more important and it’s hard to feel creative with other big things going on) I’ve been on a quest for motivation, to figure out what makes me tick, why I should do what I do… and money and fame or whatever bullshit people on the outside looking in may come up with matter not one bit. I don’t know. Communicating ideas with an audience… that seems to be the thing that matters most. I’m finally living in one place for the first time in years, a place that feels like home and gathered an amazing group of people that seem to want to put up with me. I’m rather enjoying just being creative, taking my time and not being pushed or pulled into being things I’m not. I can’t speak for the future, beyond getting a new thing finished and maybe finishing some older things I promised I would.
BD: What do you feel is the most positive aspect of the 44FLOOD/IDW partnership for you and your work personally?
BT: Ultimately it’s going to be a fantastic chance for new and fine artists to be able to expose their work to a whole new audience IDW are trying to reach, or already reach. Their distribution is basically amazing and they seem hungry to try new things. Creative empowerment almost always gives the best results and I think Ted Adams really understands that. IDW was always the place that fit most. It’s totally mutually beneficial and I can’t wait to start getting back and into doing comics and art for the reasons I started out doing it in the first place.
Check out “The Squidder” Kickstarter and check out the amazing (and some exclusive) perks. Also check it out in order to pre-order your copy of this limited edition graphic novel.
Interview by – Bree Ogden
After a long three month hiatus, J. Michael Straczynski’s Ten Grand returns sans the incomparable Ben Templesmith. With a new artistic vision and style that’s vastly different, though still committed to reader enrichment, C.P. Smith does a commendable job rising to the challenge of filling in the rather large shoes of his predecessor. Unfortunately, the new vibe of the book will take some getting used to, but unsurprisingly, the narrative is as solid as ever.
WRITTEN BY: J. Michael Straczynski
ART BY: C.P. Smith
PUBLISHER: Joe’s Comics, imprint of Image Comics
RELEASE: November 6, 2013
If there’s one less thing to worry about, it’s Straczynski’s ability to weave a wholly original and complex tale that holds the reader’s attention from cover to cover. The author has this innate gift of stringing words together to deliver a thoroughly satisfying narrative in a mere 22 pages, and that’s something that was sorely missed these last few months. Keeping with the tone of the previous installments, there’s a palpable theme of anxiety and urgency that Straczynski and Smith really evoke through the narrative in both script and art, as the “Ten Grand” universe continues to expand.
The fifth installment of the series is entitled, “Nothing Interesting Ever Happens in Heaven”, and Straczynski draws upon existentialist thinking to engage readers in his surreal and mysterious world building. The issue follows Joe as he makes his way through the sorrows and deceptiveness of Purgatory on his way into Hell, in order to find his lost love, Laura. Without giving too much away, the supernatural Private Investigator must stay resilient in his quest, as he’s confronted with the miserable souls of the lost, the ravenous howlers that feed off them, and his enemies from the past who are none too happy to see him. The story takes an unexpected turn when Joe is faced with an individual he knows all too well, and with that, Straczynski has opened up a world of possible scenarios for how this book might play out.
In terms of the interior artwork, yes, the pages are visually shocking upon first glance considering the perfectly suitable fit that was Templesmith’s style. But that doesn’t take away from Smith’s talent as an artist, and it doesn’t take away from Straczynski’s amazing narrative, which is as engaging as it is thought-provoking. Yes, it is pretty disappointing that Templesmith can’t continue his work on the book due to time constraints and general work-overload, but he’s illustrated another great cover, and has once again provided his accompanying panels to the usual series rundown which opens the installment. Regarding Smith’s style, he does manage to stay true to the hypnogogic and surreal nature of the series. It’s just that his art is definitely an acquired taste. The colour palette he uses, and the way he renders the pages is a definite highlight, especially when illustrating the scenes with the fantastically imagined Reaper. Honestly, it will probably take a couple more installments for readers to get used to his style, but as long as everyone keeps an open mind, they’ll eventually take to him.
Templesmith is definitely going to be missed. But as long as Straczynski continues to flesh out amazingly written installments that keep his readers on their toes, and C.P. Smith continues to immerse himself in Straczynski’s universe in order to effectively bring his story to life with absolute clarity, then “Ten Grand” will remain one of the better series’ of 2013.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd
“The Fuse”, a new ongoing Image Comics series from Anthony Johnston and Justin Greenwood, looks to meld the crime and science fiction genres in the New Year. The series follows detectives Ristovych and Dietrich of Midway City’s Homicide division, whose jurisdiction stretches far beyond planet Earth, and out to a massive power station thousands of miles away in space.
In the first arc, “The Russian Shift”, it sounds like it takes a bit of influence from Westerns as well, as the the detectives try to law down the law in the frontier. Look for issue #1 in shops February 12th, 2014.
Official Press Release:
A space adventure sure to captivate science-fiction and procedural crime fiction fans, THE FUSE is a new ongoing, hard-bitten sci-fi crime series from ANTONY JOHNSTON (UMBRAL, Wasteland, Daredevil) and JUSTIN GREENWOOD (Wasteland, Resurrection). THE FUSE follows detectives Ristovych and Dietrich of Midway City’s Homicide division, whose jurisdiction is an orbiting power station 22,000 miles up.
Johnston describes THE FUSE #1 as a blend of different influences. “I’m a sucker for detective stories, down-at-heel cop shows, and the kind of ‘lived-in’ sci-fi where everything feels like it might fall apart at any moment,” he explains. “Combine those with a frontier attitude, where a half million people all think they can get away with murder, and you’ve got THE FUSE.”
The creators worked together as a team and fed off of each other’s creativity. “The thing I love best about cop stories and crime comics is that ultimately they’re about people, and that’s where I think Antony and I tell our best stories,” said Greenwood. “Combine this with Shari Chankhamma’s wonderful, atmospheric color sense and Ed Brisson’s great lettering and you get the kind of comic that I know, as a fan, I’d want to check out myself.”
For the full interview visit the Image Comics website at: imagecomics.com.
In “THE RUSSIA SHIFT,” Part One, we’re introduced to the permanently understaffed and overworked murder police on board “The Fuse,” assigned to working a new frontier where the law struggles to be heard, let alone obeyed.
THE FUSE #1 will be available in stores on February 12, 2014 for $3.50. Pre-orders can be placed using Diamond Code DEC130485.
If there’s one thing I know about Marilyn Manson it’s that he is not kid-friendly. Yeah, angsty teenagers is fine but kids in the low single digits? Not gonna happen. But that’s not what the fine folk over at Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star are thinking. Nope, they have the strange idea that good ole Manson is PERFECT for your wee little ones as they lay in their crib, slumbering away and travelling throughout dreamland. Talk about nightmare fuel, right? Well, starting today you can pre-order the upcoming Lullaby Versions Of Marilyn Manson, which will also snag you an immediate download of “The Dope Show”. You can pre-order the album through iTunes.
Head on down for their version of System Of A Down‘s “Chop Suey”.
After reading about the deep sea “monster” captured on camera by an oil rig this week (footage included at the bottom of the article), my attention turned to all of the ocean based horror films out there – most of which are actually pretty bad. There’s a surprising amount of them and so many of them are pretty much just Jaws rip-offs.
They also tend to suffer from poor pacing, as though the ocean has lulled the writer, director and editor asleep in some regard. But not all of them are bad! So today I figured I’d celebrate the ones that actually work – the ones that entertain even if they’re not flat out classics.
Head below for The 5 Best Ocean Based Horror Movies!!!5: OPEN WATER
4: JAWS 2
This movie might not hold up all that well today (I haven’t watching it in almost 10 years so I wouldn’t know) given the familiarity of today’s audience with the found footage aesthetic and the scare-a-minute expectations increasingly expected of it. Of course, Open Water isn’t really found footage – neither of the two main characters are filming – but it embraced the documentary aesthetic in order to effectively unnerve the audience. In doing so, it was one of the first films in that style since Blair Witch to make a mainstream impact.
3: DEAD CALM
While not as great as Jaws by any stretch of the imagination, Jaws 2 manages to skirt by on our familiarity and fondness for the original film’s characters and titular creature. It’s a pleasure to see Chief Brody back in action and the groovy 1978 vibe makes the film seem almost exotically stately by today’s standards. The film’s last act is actually somewhat interesting with this kids’ sailboat expedition. On top of that, the kills are decent for a PG film and the shark actually manages to go out in a fairly cool way as well.
2: DEEP BLUE SEA
This taut little thriller from Australian director Phillip Noyce is perpetually underrated. Starring Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill and Billy Zane, it makes great use of the ocean – using its vastness to isolate our protagonists. The performances are great, with Billy Zane in perfect effete sleazeball mode and Nicole Kidman in a turn that should have made her a star a year before Days Of Thunder. Highly recommended if you haven’t seen it.
I’m not sure where the debate came from regarding if this movie is “good” or not. Of course it’s good! How is this silly, gory lark anything other than a good time?! How is it not entertaining?! It has some of the best ocean based kills in history and perhaps the single best “post inspirational monologue” kill of all time. LL Cool J’s title song is the icing on the cake.
What else could it be? There’s nothing I can say here that hasn’t been said before – it’s one of the best movies of all time. Period. It will never be unseated and will probably never move from the top of this particular list.
This back and forth is about an insane as Bill Murray’s involvement in Ghostbusters 3. Personally, I just wanna ride Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer as soon as possible, and all of this finagling can’t be good for the movie (I think over-tinkering can ruin a movie).
Vulture is the latest to ask Joon-Ho about the now-infamous new edit being demanded by the Weinstein brothers. Only, this interview was conducted with Harvey also celebrating Tilda Swinton at the Museum of Modern Art’s Film Benefit Tuesday night. Speaking behind someone’s back is very different than doing it when they’re right next to you…
So what’s the latest? Well, he tells Vulture that his film is now a “work in progress” and talks about tone versus the film’s expected R-rating.
“It’s a matter of tempo,” Bong told the site. “They think of the movie as a R-rated movie, so it’s not a matter of violence, some carnage or something. It’s just a matter of duration and tempo and speed. There’s no set number of required minutes to be cut, or anything like that. We’re just playing with it, and they let us choose.”
In addition to cutting some scenes, Weinstein wants the film to have a voice-over at the end of the film. Explains the site, in the original script, voice-over narration from one child character kicks off the film, and a voice-over narration from a separate child provides the ending. “Originally, in the very first script, an Asian girl was the beginning part,” Bong said. “And the very last part of the movie was a black boy. But during the production, I deleted it, because I didn’t think it was necessary. That was before Harvey saw the movie. That was before Harvey picked up this movie.”
What’s even more interesting is that the Weinstein Company attempted various test screenings, all of which allegedly came in the favor of Joon-Ho.
Explains Vulture, when Weinstein tested a cut-down rough version in July in New Jersey, they did another test screening, with the director’s cut, and the score for his own cut “was much higher.” “I understand their situation, their point of view,” Bong said. “They want to make it easier for the audience to understand the ending. But at the same time, I love a little bit more ambiguity.”
Negotiations are continuing, Bong said, and he’s confident that with the reviews, the box office support, and the test screening results, “the U.S. [release] is going to play out smoothly.”
Director Peter Briggs has shared with us a batch of exclusive storyboards for his long-gestured Panzer 88, being sold by Carnaby International at the American Film Market.
Bloody Disgusting also exclusively revealed that Gary Oldman (RoboCop, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Jay Baruchel (RoboCop, This Is the End), and Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong, Dracula 3D, Resident Evil: Apocalypse) are in talks to star.
From Gary Kurtz and Ivor Powell, the producers of Star Wars, Alien and Blade Runner, Panzer 88 takes place in 1944 on the Eastern front of Russia where an “invincible German King Tiger tank retreats across icy tundra. Battle-weary, hungry and cold, its crack, five-man crew are unbroken. But fate twists when they reluctantly pick up a stranded SS officer. Unaware of his part in the massacre of a local Jewish village, it proves a fatal decision, as they become the prey of a vengeful and unstoppable mythical entity that hungers for their destruction.“
It’s an insanely slow news morning, so here’s a super cool new NECA toy that’ll fill your stand.
Reports Figures.com, coming in January 2014 comes a new life-size prop replica from NECA: Brain Gremlin.
As seen in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, this hand-painted rubber and latex figure stands nearly 30″ tall and features a sports jacket, a shirt, and removable eyeglasses, all entirely faithful to The Brain’s on-screen wardrobe in the movie.
Universal Studios’ Harry Potter theme park in Florida is one of the coolest places ever as it literally immerses fans in the world of Potter from rides to selling butterbeer. Even people unacquainted with the franchise will have a blast roaming through Hogwarts…but would they actually have fun in the post-apocalyptic world of Panem? I’d say not a chance…
Still, Katniss Everdeen may be coming to a theme park, reports Variety.
Lionsgate is exploring getting into the theme-park business, taking advantage of its blockbuster The Hunger Games franchise.
CEO Jon Feltheimer made the disclosure Friday during a conference call with analysts following release of the studio’s quarterly earnings report.
Feltheimer said Lionsgate had been approached about Hunger Games theme parks in two territories and was considering those possibilities. He gave no further details.
So, would you want to enter this bizarre dystopian world, even if you are a fan? It personally doesn’t do anything for me.
It’s Halloween and a group of friends have dressed up, gone to a remote house with no electricity, and, of course, decide to play with a Ouija board. I Am Zozo starts with this typical plot and runs aimlessly with it. The kids participating in the board usage are being disrespectful and rude which one would expect would lead them into true danger. In fact, they are told by a spirit that their safety is in jeopardy, there is a long bang at the door, and we’re already a half hour into this movie and nothing has happened.
It isn’t until halfway through the movie that we finally ‘meet’ this (supposed) demonic force named Zozo. He speaks in third person, calls the Wiccan girl of the group a slut and bitch, says he wants to bang the good girl of the group – and that he wants to kill them all. Zozo mimics a card trick that one of the males of the group performed earlier where the card that is chosen goes missing which causes mass panic amongst the group. Then he drops a bombshell: Zozo is in the bathroom.
That’s pretty much where the movie ends up: in the toilet. Super slow, with no scares, and lacking any ambiance, I Am Zozo is only interesting perhaps in the fact that it was shot entirely on Super 8. Honestly, nothing happens in the movie. Absolutely nothing. Okay, a fish is gutted (gross but dumb) and there are stories told about scary occurrences. The good girl has a nightmare where she thrashes around on the bed and screams. Other than that, there is not much to tell you.
The DVD for I Am Zozo includes an interview with the filmmakers in which they briefly discuss the plot and the medium. The movie is “based on true stories”, which is to say that some people apparently believe they’ve been contacted by Zozo. There is a 10 minute interview with “survivor” Darren Evans about his encounter with Zozo. He even chokes up a few times while telling his tale. If the interview and the story he tells are true, Evans comes off like the biggest whackjob I’ve seen in a long time. If he it isn’t telling the truth, and this feature is scripted, he is the worst actor I have ever seen.
Yes, sometimes movies work in that nothing happens. Normally in these types of movies unsettled feelings that are induced take hold. I Am Zozo only took hold of an hour and a half of my life.
Director and cinematographer Ryan Lightbourn (“Roid Rage”) has shared images and the trailer for Sleepwalkers, a new indie micro-budget creature feature now in post-production.
The film stars a shining cast of newcomers, such as starlets: Ansley Gordon and Amanda Phillips, horror movie veteran J. LaRose (Insidious 2), porn star Dale DaBone and. Together, this cast and their characters are drawn to the murky woods of Wekiva Springs, Florida, for an exciting Spring Break. In the darkness, they find more thrills than they expected, when creatures emerge from the local swamps.
The trailer shows Kyle (Evans), Kate (Gordon), Amy (Phillips), Owen (Owen) and Evan (Tommy Goodman) enjoying Florida’s great outdoors. But, Florida has its secrets. A terrifying presence inhabits these grounds and their bite is infectious and deadly. These five friends will have to band together with the locals, including a convict (Doo-Doo Brown), to find these monsters weaknesses and survive the night. Fans of horror can watch as mayhem is unleashed in the backwoods and bayous of the Sunshine State.
“Set in the deepest corners of Florida’s woods, five college students attempt to enjoy a festive spring break getaway when they encounter a deadly, nocturnal presence. As horrific events unfold, the group joins forces with a local convenience store owner and a prison escapee. With night time approaching, they must set aside their differences and use their wits to survive.”
In preparation of the impending arrival of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, over the last week I’ve rounded up this generation’s best horror games, covering everything from AAA blockbusters to smaller, indie efforts. Those games deserve to be played, celebrated and remembered. The following? Not so much.
Unfortunately, while I wish every game could be worthy of our time, sometimes, for a variety of reasons, a game comes along that really, really isn’t. Every so often we’re given a game that’s uninspired, poorly designed, boring or some combination of the three.
If you’ve been burned, head on for this generation’s 10 most disappointing horror games to see if the game made the list!
Before we get into this, I want you to be aware of two things. The first is this isn’t a list of this generation’s worst horror games, it’s a list of the most disappointing ones. The qualifications for classification of the latter are a little more involved. If you want a list of the worst, you can get a pretty solid idea of this generation’s worst offenders by visiting a review aggregator like Metacritic and sorting the reviewed games by score. There’s a decent chance the titles at the bottom of that list are abysmal and best experienced in the same way as one would a plague victim — observed from a distance before burning it with fire.
A list of the “worst” games would be too easy and frankly, I haven’t played games like Vampire Rain or Shellshock 2: Blood Trails. I skipped them because I knew they wouldn’t be good. The ten we’re about to discuss were disappointing, because they were either an entry in a proven franchise, had a promising premise and/or had a talented team behind it.
The second thing I want you to know is this list isn’t in any particular order — though if it was, the following three would be the worst.
Infestation: Survival Stories (formerly known as The War Z) caused quite a stir last year when its developer, Hammerpoint Interactive, decided to release their horribly unfinished game on Steam before finding clever ways to monetize it (i.e. swindle those who purchased it for more of their money) after it claimed the top spot. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the developer marketed it using screenshots that were most definitely not captured in-game and claimed it had features it didn’t really have on its store page. That’s not all of it, but those are some of the more egregious problems.
I should also mention that all of the above it’s was enough for the game to claim the title of biggest disappointment in last year’s FEAR Awards. Awesome!
If The War Z/Infestation: Survival Stories was last year’s biggest debacle, Aliens: Colonial Marines is quite possibly the worst of 2013. It’s far from being a good game — many would argue its redeeming qualities are few and far between — but I actually enjoyed it enough to play it all the way through. Not a ringing endorsement, but that’s just about the kindest thing I can say about it.
Colonial Marines’ legacy is a long and painful one. After being in development for many years, Gearbox decided to pick it up, because it would seem their hobby is rescuing games from development limbo so they can shit on them before shitting them out for a few unsuspecting fans to pick up. Remember Duke Nukem Forever? So do I, though I really wish I didn’t. The game was plagued with some critical bugs, but the controversy didn’t really take off until after the game crawled onto retail shelves when the public quickly realized it looked worse than it did in the trailers and demos shown before its release. Sega also lied about outsourcing development of the game to multiple studios — a staggering four studios worked on different parts of it, including Gearbox, Timegate, Demiurge Studios and Nerve Software.
It’s also partially responsible for the closure of Timegate, which endured significant layoffs before filing for bankruptcy after Colonial Marines’ release.
While not nearly as controversial as the last two games, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is by far one of the worst games to get shat out over the last decade.
After Telltale set the bar astronomically high with their episodic series, Survival Instinct had a high bar to live up to. There was hope for it because of the fantastic source material, the ties to the TV series (don’t listen to Brad, the show is excellent) — with both Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker reprising their roles as Daryl and Merle Dixon, respectively — and the fact that it was a first person shooter published by Activision, the faceless entity that won that market this generation with Call of Duty.
Then Survival Instinct fell victim to an issue that has taken down so many other licensed games: time constraints. Activision knew the brand would sell copies, so not much of a shit was given about rushing it out way early so as to capitalize on the impending third season finale of the television series. It’s an obvious cash-grab from a developer that didn’t have enough time to introduce even the smallest amount of creativity into from a publisher that cares more about making money than it does the quality of their games.
It’s doubly disappointing because a Walking Dead game helmed by Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker could’ve been outstanding.
Two members of punk rock band Yellow Dogs and one member of Free Keys were shot and killed earlier today in a tragic, horrific murder-suicide that left a total of four dead, including the shooter, and one injured. Twenty nine year old Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie took the lives of brothers Arash, 28, and Soroush Farazmand, 27, and 35-year old Ali Eskandarian while shooting and wounding an as-of-yet unidentified street artist. Rafie then went to the rooftop of the building where the shootings took place and took his own life.
The Farazmand brothers fled Iran in 2010 and were recently granted political asylum. They had fled the repressive Iranian culture and government to purse a career in music. Yellow Dogs frontman Siavash Karampour in 2009 told CNN, “The law has a problem with rock music so we can’t play it.”
The NY Daily News has an extensive article on the various facts, details, and theories surrounding this terrible situation.
We send our thoughts and condolences to the friends and family of those whose lives were taken away so needlessly. Below is a song from Yellow Dogs and an acoustic track from Ali Eskandarian.
Capcom’s Dead Rising 3 is just around the corner, that is, assuming you’ve pre-ordered your Xbox One. If you haven’t gotten on that already then you should probably start making plans to camp out next to your local electronics retailer, because finding one now is going to be difficult.
Either way, Dead Rising 3 is almost here and the Xbox YouTube channel is celebrating this fact with a series of short, interactive videos. In it, your goal is simple: the find the illusive after party. Read on to get started.
Dead Rising 3 arrives exclusively on the Xbox One on November 22nd.
If you’ve been under the assumption that the DayZ standalone was just around the corner or anxiously waiting for Dean Hall to finally give us a solid release date, I have some bad news. Well, relatively bad, because the only reason we’re still waiting for this game is so Hall and friends can make it amazing. After the game appeared on Steam, it looked like progress on the standalone was wrapping up nicely. Sadly, this is not the case. Details after the jump.
According to a post on Reddit by Dean Hall himself, where he confirmed they’re currently focused on optimization.
“Optimizing/Bugfixing Dedicated server.
This is why we are not out. We need performance
We think we need a minimum of 15 FPS will 50 players, 2000 zombies, and 25000 loot items. Our latest tests have all shown some runaway systems in the code we have to tidy up. The variable synchronization system that was developed for work with the network bubble, is checking the variables very often. We’re optimizing this. Also, there are many string comparisons. These have been refactored so references are used (lookup numbers) to speed up the process. things like animations etc… are generally recorded as strings – ArmA wasn’t build to handle very large numbers of things so this has been a large area of optimization.”
So there you go. Continue being patient — that’s all we can do — and know that they’re dedicated to ensuring this is the best zombie survival game they can possibly make. In the meantime, if you need some reading material, check out our list of reasons why you should be pumped for it.
Next On AMC’s “The Walking Dead” Episode 4.06, “Live Bait”, “Group members struggle to find their humanity while being constantly threatened.”
Below we have new images to go with the official promo as well as a sneak peak at the sixth episode of the ongoing zombie series.
Michael Uppendahl directs episode 6, airing Sunday, November 17, 2013, from a screenplay by Nichole Beattie.
We’ve just now scored the first stills and teaser art for The Expedition.
“A Research Team led by a renowned and respected Professor embark on an Expedition deep within the Amazon to study vulnerable and endangered species. However after a series of strange events, the superstitious guides abandon the team, who, faced with a tough decision, decide to remain deep in the jungle in an attempt to complete their study… but as night falls they begin to realize that all really is not as it seems and that they are in the hunting ground of an apex predator…. Something they never could have imagined.”
The film is Directed by Adam Spinks, who’s debut feature film Survivors is currently in post-production.
The cast of The Expedition includes Ben Loyd-Holmes (Skyfall, Da Vinci’s Demons, Torchwood), Neil Newbon (Holby City, Hollyoaks), Sarah MacDonnell (Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, Montana), Ernesto Cantu (World War Z) ,Daniel Caren (The Girl Is Mime, The Hike, The Bill) as well as Simon Burbage (Pulp: The Movie), Dolores Reynals.