The list of films that are both terrifying and tell a great story at the same time is admittedly pretty short. And if you’ve been paying attention to anything other than what Hollywood’s been churning out in recent years, you’d know that The Babadook definitely qualifies. Directed by Jennifer Kent, The Babadook made quite the noise at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and it wasn’t long before it was announced that genre fave Shout Factory had secured the home video rights in North America. But enough about the sizzle, you say. What about the steak?
Amelia Vannick (Essie Davis) is an orderly and single mother, raising her 6-year-old son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), by herself after the death of her husband. Like many kids his age, Samuel is afraid of monsters hiding in his room. So much so, that his behaviour has resulted in Amelia taking Samuel out of school. One night, Samuel asks Amelia to read him a story before bed. Samuel chooses a strange pop-up book he finds on his shelf called Mister Babadook. The book tells the story of a supernatural creature that once someone is made aware of its existence, endlessly torments the person. Amelia is understandably disturbed by the book, while Samuel claims that The Babadook is stalking them in their house. Soon Amelia begins to hear strange noises and finds strange occurrences happening throughout the house. As Samuel’s behaviour becomes more erratic, and the strange happenings increase, Amelia begins to wonder if The Babadook is real.
Understandably, the above synopsis seems silly, but that initial impression goes out the window in a hurry thanks to the actors. Essie Davis is amazing in this film as Amelia. Not only do you empathize with her as a mother to a troubled child, but also as someone who is still haunted by the traumatic experience of losing her husband. Amelia obviously isn’t stupid, and immediately dismisses Samuel’s claims of The Babadook with rationality and understandable frustration in the fact that her son frankly gets on her nerves. Speaking of which, Noah is bang-on in this role. Normally, I detest child actors and the directors using them simply for vehicles to advance the plot. Not here, as Kent manages to get a believable performance out of Noah, both as a child being scared of what goes bump in the night, but also as a child who fears for his mom. The supporting actors also chime in, bringing concern for Amelia’s wellbeing, as well as highlighting the underlying trauma with which Amelia just hasn’t been able to make peace.
And then there’s the story. In case you missed it, the film revolves around unresolved grief and loss. Some of us deal with it better than others. And in Amelia’s case, she has resolved to just ignore and bury the grief of losing her husband. Compounding things is the fact that her husband died on the same day that Samuel was born, making Samuel’s upcoming birthday in the film difficult, to say the least. Without giving much away, it’s safe to say that The Babadook itself isn’t just your typical boogeyman. It represents something deeper. Nonetheless, he’s still a creepy as hell character. Kent goes with the less-is-more approach that almost all great horror films use to some degree, and it most definitely works here. The guttural call of The Babadook is one of those moments that has you wishing you could hide under the covers just like Amelia. Bottom line: You will be scared.
Any drawbacks? At first glance, the character of Samuel can and will get on your nerves with his constant annoying screaming and calls for attention. You know, like a kid who hasn’t been properly disciplined. This is genius on Kent’s part, as you end up being put in Amelia’s shoes with having to deal with this constant source of aggravation on a daily basis. It’s a very smart move. I’m not going to lie: I wanted to throw this kid doused in gasoline into moving traffic and flick a match at him. But again, that’s the whole idea. By the end of the film, you end up sympathizing for Samuel over having to be an accessory to Amelia’s unresolved grief. The ending itself is also symbolic, but at the same time one of those “Huh?” moments. It works, but it does open up a whole other set of problems once the story has been told. But again, it’s very much a symbol for what happens after the grieving process that shouldn’t be ignored.
I had mentioned on Twitter that The Babadook is probably one of the best horror films to have come along in the past five years. And I’m not kidding. Kent has crafted a smart, scary and deceptively deep film. Davis is amazing in her performance along with Wiseman, as is everyone else. The character of The Babadook is sinister and terrifying, despite being so simplistic in appearance. Fans of horror should definitely make this a must-watch if they haven’t already seen it. And if you have, see it again. Just burn your pop-up books, beforehand.
Sporting a 2.39:1 1080p AVC-encoded transfer, The Babadook looks excellent. Details such as skin and fabric come through nicely, while colours are consistent with their muted look, particularly in the house. The darker scenes are also quite good, and although there are a few spots where the details are lost in the black, you’re still able to make out a lot of what’s there.
Films like this are why the audio needs to be good. And thankfully, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 delivers. The track easily envelopes the viewer with appropriate creaks, thumps and groans of the house, making for an especially creepy and frightening experience. Dialogue is also clear and free of any distortion, while the score by Jed Kurzel is also nicely represented and balanced with the ambient effects. There’s also a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, but stick with the 5.1 mix for the best experience.
Being that this is the Special Edition, we get a few more goodies than the regular version.
First is Jennifer Kent’s short film “Monster”, which served as the basis for The Babadook. Presented in windowboxed format with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, the short is essentially a condensed version of the film, albeit without colour or the emotion content of the latter. The short is interesting just to see where The Babadook came from.
Following that are three deleted scenes. Though all were cut for time, I wouldn’t have minded if the scene involving Amelia attempting to connect more with Samuel while he was playing around on the keyboard was left in the film.
“Behind-the-Scenes” is B-roll footage of the birthday party scene, and a scene in the living room.
The biggest extra is an hour of Cast and Crew Interviews, featuring actors Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Barbara West, Hayley McElhinney, director Jennifer Kent, costume designer Heather Wallace, producer Kristina Ceyton, and producer Kristian Moliere. The footage is presented unedited, and as such, a couple of the participants end up retelling what the film is about, albeit in their own slight interpretation. Everyone has good things to say about Davis and Wiseman, as well as talking about Kent and her experience as an actor-turned-director. While there’s a few interesting pieces of information, the featurette could have been tightened up (those repeat answers), but it’s still a great piece.
The following four extras are the exclusives. First up is “Creating the Book with Illustrator Alex Juhasz”, which has Juhasz first talking about how Kent first found him through his previous work. Juhasz then goes over the hero book used in the film (with its blue tape on the front), and a couple of the pop-ups movements. It’s a brief but neat little piece.
“A Tour of the House Set” is a walkthrough of the film’s primary location, which was actually built in a studio warehouse. Intersperced with the walkthrough are stills showing how the rooms were used. Again, brief but interesting.
“The Stunts: Jumping the Stairs” is B-roll footage showing the crew trying to work with the wire setups for Amelia’s jump up the stairs.
“Special Effects: The Stabbing Scene” has the crew briefly trying to use a leg of lamb for the scene where Amelia is stabbed.
Lastly, two of the film’s trailers are included.
As a bonus, the Special Edition also includes a sweet slipcover that mimics the look of the book in the film, and also has a pop-up feature when you open it up.
Overall, while the interviews are pretty interesting, I have to say that I’m disappointed in the extras. Granted, many of these extras are all ported over from the UK and Australian Blu-Ray discs, so those of you outside of the US aren’t missing out on much (save for the interviews). But given the brevity of the exclusives, it would’ve been nice to have had a commentary or more detail in some of the extras (such as the special effects). This unfortunately makes the Special Edition not that much more special than the regular edition. Sure, the slipcover is nice, but come on, IFC/Shout Factory.
Nevertheless, this is still a nice (if somewhat lacking) package for an excellent movie.
The online critics haven’t been too kind to Jurassic World, the Jurassic Park sequel opening in theaters June 12th. They’ve been slamming everything from the early trailers to the (unfinished) CGI, the weak poster art, and even an alleged misogynistic clip with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.
With the release only a few months away, Universal Pictures is hoping to silence the critics with this new “world trailer” premiere that boasts a plethora of chaos and dinosaur destruction. There’s a lot of really interesting story plots revealed, one that focuses on the new dinosaur. As we should all know by now, the Jurassic World scientists create a hybrid with DNA from various dinos. The trailer reveals that new dinosaur attractions aren’t enough to keep customers coming (a ridiculous notion by itself), so they are forced to play God and create this Indominous Rex (the elusive D-Rex). What happens, according to the trailer, is that it’s too big, fast, smart and strong for them to contain, so it gets loose on the park. While the visitors are in danger, the trailer also reveals that the Indominous Rex is also killing all of the park’s dinos “for sport”. As this is going on, life repeats itself as a few unlucky humans are trapped in the park, cowering in fear, as the creations are running amoke around them. Apparently, Chris Pratt’s ability to tame Velociraptors is the only way to save the day (gathering this from the trailer).
The footage does look crazy, and the CGI is remarkably better (clearly the work is close to or actually finished), but I’m not impressed. Honestly, I’m feeling disappointed and even a bit worried. First, I think Universal revealed way too much, which is just going to take away from the initial viewing impact. Second, I’m not exactly sure what they’ve done to further the story as it really does feel like a rehash with a new dinosaur (many of the trailer moments even look similar to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park). But the thing that annoys me most of all is the CGI.
We’re talking about dinosaurs here, and while I don’t expect the filmmakers to build life-sized animals, I do expect them to retain some of the spirit of the original. When the first film was made, Spielberg couldn’t utilize CGI the way we can now, but I refuse to believe he would have done things differently. Everything in the trailer, whether it is or not, looks like it’s CGI. It all looks fake. Go back and watch some clips from Jurassic Park. What you’ll notice is that extreme close-ups of various dinosaurs are physical props. There were Raptor claws created for effect right down to a giant T-Rex head that was used for the iconic attack scene when the park’s security is shut down. When I see a movie that’s littered in CGI is looks like a video game to me. Jurassic World looks like a video game to me. And I don’t care how good the CGI is, there’s nothing in the trailer that suggests an ounce of realism. When this happens, my brain checks out, and I’m worried that this is going to happen when I’m in a theater, too…
Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jake Johnson, Katie McGrath, Lauren Lapkus and Nick Robinson all star.
Set to screen at the upcoming Cannes market (May 16 at 4:00PM in the Gray 3 Theater) is John Fallon’s directorial debut, The Shelter, starring Michael Paré (The Lincoln Lawyer, Streets of Fire), Gayle James, Rachel Whittle, Lauren Thomas, Brigette Rose and Amy Wickenheiser.
We now have a brand new trailer for the film that was shot at Holbrook Multi Media in Lafayette, Louisiana.
“On a star filled night, widower and homeless man Thomas (Michael Paré) finds shelter for the night when he falls upon a vast two story house with the lights on and an inviting open front door. He strolls on in thinking he just caught a lucky break and for a while, it would appear as though he did. But soon enough, he realizes that the house won’t let him leave, as its doors are all locked while its windows cannot be opened or broken. Destiny has brought Thomas to this place. What does it want from him? Will he survive the ordeal?“
Fallon directed The Shelter from his own screenplay, Donny Broussard (Little Houses) and Fallon produced the picture, Erin Bennett was the production manager, Shawn Knippelberg and Colby Huvall scored the film and Thomas Wilson (James Wan’s The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2) handled the film’s VFX under his company NULL FX. The film was financed by Bruise Productions and JoBlo Movie Productions.
Article by Jonny Bunning
Hardware and Dust Devil‘s Richard Stanley attended the Belgian Premiere of Lost Soul (review), the documentary about his doomed attempt at making The Island of Dr. Moreau for New Line Cinema back in 1994/95.
During the post screening Q&A he divulged some interesting information on future projects.
The Island of Dr. Moreau: The reception of the doc has put The Island of Dr. Moreau back in pre-production. In two or three years the whole thing will happen again, he said. Since January this year he has completed a new draft of the movie and has also been approached by Humanoids, a French comic company, to adapt the screenplay into a three book graphic novel! This will be hitting shelves next year.
Stanley is now more optimistic in bringing his vision to the screen citing Guardians of the Galaxy the Apes movies as paving the way for dogs with machine guns.
A “R” or “X” rating might be unlikely to attain, but at least the graphic novel will be unrated.
Hardware 2: The script was written the year after Hardware and is something he would like to revisit as advances toward drone soldiers are very timely in the real world. Projects such as DARPA developing robotic dogs and other creatures seem to have caught his attention, and he foresees these beast patrolling hostile zones. Hardware, along with his other film Dust Devil, currently belong to Disney after they took control of the Miramax catalogue. Working with the mouse seems unlikely so a non-direct sequel might be the only option available.
The Colour Out Of Space: Stanley is also set to make the old ones terrifying again for a younger generation. First announced at Fantasia Festival’s Frontiere’s market in 2013 was H.P. Lovecraft’s The Colour Out Of Space, which will be made by Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision. He wants to take the source material and make it scary again, not cute and funny as most translations to screen. He has had talks with Bruce Spaulding Fuller who might be doing the main creatures using a combination of physical and visual effects. Shooting is set to go ahead at the beginning of next year.
The Gardner family move to a remote country locale to leave the hustle of the 21st century. All is well until a meteorite crashes into their front yard. Rapidly the curious qualities of this mysterious visitor from the stars starts to infect the properties of space and time around them. Overnight the water turns brackish containing an oily rainbow sheen. The crops ripen early and new forms of flora sprout from nowhere. Most disturbingly the members of the Gardner family are changing too! Whatever is contaminating their farm is mercilessly transforming them into the living manifestation of their darkest fears.
Farsi-language horror film Under the Shadow, written and directed by BAFTA-nominated Babak Anvari (Two & Two), has begun shooting in Amman, Jordan, reports ScreenDaily.
“Set in post-revolution Tehran, during the Iran-Iraq war, the film a follows a young mother who remains with her six-year-old daughter when others are fleeing local fighting.
The mother soon begins to believe an unexploded missile has carried evil spirits into her home and possessed her daughter.”
Narges Rashidi (Æon Flux) leads the cast, with Bobby Naderi (Argo) and Ray Haratian (pictured; Argo, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) also set to appear.
The film is produced and financed by London-based Wigwam Films, and is supported by the Doha Film Institute, Creativity Capital and MENA Film.
Producers for Wigwam are Lucan Toh, Emily Leo, and Oliver Roskill with Donall McCusker on board as co-producer.
Ahead of its World Premiere at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, IFC Midnight acquired the campy creature feature Stung, a new horror focusing on two catering staff at a fancy garden party who battle a mutated species of wasp.
Matt O’Leary (Frailty, Death Sentence), Jessica Cook, Peter Stormare and Lance Henriksen (Aliens) all star in the horror comedy.
In Stung, “For catering staffers Paul and Julia, Mrs. Perch’s fancy garden party at her remote country villa is nothing out of the ordinary. A mishap with toxic plant fertilizer leads to the most unwelcome of dinner guests: giant killer wasps. Director Benni Diez takes audiences on a thrilling, gory rollercoaster ride from campy to creepy, in this delightful and dreadful creature-feature.”
Benni Diez directs, and Christian Becker and Benjamin Munz of Munich and Berlin-based Rat Pack Filmproduction produce.
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with both Dope D.O.D. and Virus Syndicate to bring you the exclusive US premiere of their video for “Battle Royal”! The two groups have come together to release a 4-track EP titled Battle Royal, which will be coming out May 4th.
Virus Syndicate explains:
After ‘The Swarm’ we needed a fresh challenge. We always team up with producers but we rarely find rappers who are in our lane. We wanted a clash, but there wasn’t an obvious choice. We found out about these crazy guys who were putting out the sickest shit we’d heard in years and when we listened to them we knew they would be worthy adversaries.
Dope D.O.D. adds:
We hadn’t heard of Virus Syndicate before… We were familiar with the UK rap scene, mainly the grime sound, but Manchester was pretty new to us as far as the artists that represent it. Once we heard their tracks we were immediately drawn to their flow and we knew this would make for a great clash of styles, their UK sound clashing with our dark boom bap.
Directed by KC Locke, the video shows the two groups battling head-to-head in a cage with a throng of onlookers.
You can pre-order the EP via iTunes.
We wanted to do something that was really gritty and represented the concept behind the EP. Both crews have a really hard and brutal style and the “Battle Royal” video really brings that home. The video was inspired by a few movies. It’s kind of like Fight club meets Book of Eli. Our Director KC Locke had a lot of creative vision with the concept and really brought it to life. Hope you guys like it.
Gamers can be a patient bunch. You wouldn’t know it by looking through what’s said in community forums or the comments section of YouTube or really any gaming blog, but those places also fail to mention the numerous difficult waits we’ve endured or continue to endure today. As much as I’d like to get my hands on another Half-Life game, I can wait for it.
The horror-loving community has had their patience tested, too. When developers first started shoehorning multiplayer components into their horror games, usually at the request of a greedy publisher, the results were almost entirely abysmal. It took a few years and a handful of failures — Resident Evil 5, Dead Space 2, Condemned 2, etc. — before we got to where we are today.
Now, we have innovative twists on multiplayer in games like Bloodborne, or the co-op mode in Dead Space 3 that doesn’t strand players with an incompetent AI.
We’ve gotten over the hump, and now we get to start reaping our rewards. If you’re interested, here are a few upcoming games that I believe could continue this trend of multiplayer modes in horror games that don’t suck.
It may be the unpopular opinion, but I strongly disliked the teaser trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
While I’ll get into that in a second, I first want to share these absolutely badass campaign-like teaser one-sheets for the Warner Bros. pic that hits theaters March 25, 2016.
The posters look city-styled, as if the glue used to stick ‘em on walls has warped the actual paper. On them we see both Batman and Superman, played by Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, respectively, with the opposing character’s logo covering their eyes. They’re the first good thing to come from this movie that looks to be a disaster (although it’s too early to tell for sure).
I love the look, unlike the above linked trailer that feels oddly small. It looks like Zack Snyder can’t get past the stylized Frank Miller look he used in 300 as everything looks like a bunch of green screen sets. I also can’t stand Henry Cavill has Superman, who feels empty and un-relatible. The reason Christopher Reeves was so good as Supes is because we enjoyed Clark Kent. The way Snyder is using Cavill is the opposite, which makes Kent a garbage character.
The thing that hurts the most is that Affleck looks bad ass in his bulky, “Dark Knight Returns”-esque costume – and the voice modulator is something I’ve been screaming for-for years. It’s too bad I’m being told it’s basically a Superman movie, with 20 minutes of Batman. Barf.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Diane Lane, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Scoot McNairy, and Jason Momoa.
Aullidos has the international poster premiere for Extinction (formerly Welcome to Harmony), a new horror film helmed by Kidnapped‘s Miguel Ángel Vivas.
“Nine years after an infection turns most of the humanity into rabid creatures, Patrick, Jack and Lu, a nine-year-old girl, survive in seeming peace and calm in the forgotten snow-covered town of Harmony. We nonetheless sense that something terrible happened between Patrick and Jack because a deep hate keeps them apart. When the infected appear again, Patrick and Jack will have to leave behind all rancor to protect the one being who means more to them than anything else.”
Matthew Fox (World War Z, “Lost”) and Jeffrey Donovan (“Burn Notice”) star with Ahna O’Reilly (The Help), Quinn McColgan (Non-Stop) and Clara Lago (I Want You).
Thanks to E.M. for the tip.
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with Denver, CO hardcore band Bastards to bring you the exclusive song premiere for “Grave Rusting”, the second track from the band’s upcoming debut EP Ethos (out April 21st).
Vocalist Jacob Belcher states:
This song revolves around the concept of losing people close to you due to suicide/drug/alcohol-related incidents. I’ve lost many of my friends and family due to these sorts of things. I spent so much of my time and energy dwelling on thoughts about taking my own life so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the anger and other emotions that come along with that sort of loss. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that we all will die and that I shouldn’t spend that energy trying to cut life short. Try to do things that make you happy. Be kind to other people, animals and the earth, because time will get us all eventually – so make it worth it, and live right now. ‘I sink, tied to the weight.’
May 8th, Summit Music Hall, Denver CO
For a show that moves along so slowly, a lot of things actually happen in every episode. This week’s episode of The Returned was no different, featuring plenty of happenings but little in the way of answers. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Well it looks like Lucy is now a member of the returned! After being absent since the pilot, Lucy wakes up in the episode named after her. Although she only gets three scenes, they are revealing and inspire excitement for all of the potential storylines that may sprout from her new gift. In a brutal twist of irony, Lucy is now able to actually hear the dead. Not only that, but she uses her gift in the final scene to channel Jack’s father, who warns him that he is in danger.
This is definitely a shot of adrenaline the show could use, but it does raise more questions. If all of the returned came back at the same time, why is Lucy brought back later? Is she the only one? I doubt we will get a firm answer on this anytime soon, but her ability to communicate with the dead should come in handy once she begins to interact more with other returned. Needless to say, Leah Gibson did some great work in that last scene with Jack.Helen
Helen is in police custody for leaving Victor at the diner last week, so Nikki thinks it would be a good idea for Julie to talk to her. Alright. Luckily, Julie was Helen’s husband’s nurse, so she immediately recognizes her and they have a discussion about life and death.
Julie is still a bit unrelatable, at least in comparison to the other characters, but this conversation she has with Helen lets us see more of the real Julie than we’ve ever seen before. When Julie admits to Nikki that she is unable to feel the life inside of her, it’s heartbreaking. She hasn’t felt the same ever since Adam nearly murdered her and suddenly her previous actions with Victor make sense. It makes some of her past mistakes more understandable. They’re still frustrating, but at least we can sort of understand why she has done what she has done.
Peter gets some retribution this week in the form of a vicious hallucination played by Victor/Henry. After apologizing to Victor at the grave of his murderer, Peter sees that very same man walk towards him, point a gun at his face and pull the trigger. It’s a wicked little trick on Victor’s part, one that Peter very much deserved. It is unclear if Peter is actually a nice man, or if it is just a front he puts on to mask his true instincts. I’m betting on the former, but the latter would be pretty interesting.
Victor also gets his reunion with Julie this week, as he stops her from jumping off the roof of a building. There’s a really weird conversation between the two of them where he tells her she is his fairy, and she agrees to be his fairy. It’s a little odd but at the same time kind of endearing.Adam
Lastly we have Adam, who is acting as caretaker for Lena. He is able to heal her back with a mixture of nettles. It’s a little disheartening that nothing more came of her scar. It was built up so much that you would assume it would play a bigger part in the overall mystery, but it turns out it’s just a normal wound.
Adam continues to be creepy this week as he cares for Lena. We still don’t have a lot of insight into what exactly makes him want to kill, but something about Lena doesn’t bring this out in him (though he does nearly pull a knife on her as she is changing). They do have sex, though, which is weird. We haven’t seen enough of Adam to really care about him. This is a problem The Returned has with many of the supporting characters, but Adam is hit especially hard by this fact considering that all we know about him is that he’s a homicidal maniac.
This was another solid, if not spectacular episode of The Returned. What did you guys think? I’m ready to see some more of these storylines merge together. What about you?
- One of my frustrations with the characters is that no one really seems to wonder why the dead are back and if something might be wrong with them. Both of these issues get addressed this week as Helen asks the why and Claire wonders aloud if Camille has returned to them different than when she left them. Progress!
- Camille tries to have sex with Ben, but he realizes who she is and bolts. He probably didn’t want to participate in necrophilia. Can you blame him?
- I’m just going to keep referring to Victor/Henry as Victor, until everyone starts calling him Henry.
- Claire and Peter have sex, so that’s a thing.
- Adam tells Tony that he’s actually hiding their returned mother inside and that she never wants to see him again. Poor Tony.
- Is no one trying to solve the murder of Julie’s neighbor? I feel like that should be more of a focus, considering her tongue was ripped out and her cats were found eating it.
- Speaking of necrophilia, did you miss Mary Elizabeth Winstead this week? Have no fear! Next week’s episode is named “Rowan.” Here’s the promo:
Fisk makes a major move in this episode of Marvel’s Daredevil and, although I’ve only reviewed as far as I’ve seen, It seems that the pace of things will significantly pick up from here on out. The war for Hell’s Kitchen has begun and if you didn’t think Fisk was a serious threat after last episode I’m certain you do now.
The title “World on Fire” is cleverly misleading as it first comes up at the beginning when Matt is describing his powers to Claire. We see a glimpse of his POV which I have mixed feelings about. The metaphor and visual appeal have me partially convinced this is the perfect representation for the show to take. Representing his radar sense this way brings a weight to his character, almost like Wolverine explaining that it hurts when his claws come out every time. It is unfortunate that the 360 “radar seeing” is difficult to represent. I’ve always been particularly attached to it conceptually, and I worry that “fire vision” gives Matt a little too much actual sight.
But, the city on fire turns out to be literal, as Fisk orchestrates a spectacular display of finishing off the Russians. There is a lot to be said about the connection between Matt and Wilson that this episode emphasizes. It is a common narrative trope to draw ideological parallels between the protagonist and antagonist. The proverbial “We’re not so different, you and I” is served to us on a silver platter and our opponents have not even met yet. Wilson and Matt both want to save the city. They both see the city on fire. Where they differ is in the Wilson sees the flames as progress. I have commented before about the bluntness in the way the show handles themes, but I think there is a charm to that. It isn’t heavy handed in a “see what we did there?” kind of way, more in a “got it? good” kind of way that I can appreciate.
In his review of episode one Zac talked about the lack of a traditional 3 act structure from this show and that struck me in particular in this episode because “World on Fire” has a very deliberate structure that begins and ends with opposite perspectives of the city on fire, as discussed, and is framed by 3 relationships each in the same “discovery” stage. As the audience we are in a similar discovery stage with the show and the characters: we saw something that attracted us, we came back for more, and now we are starting to understand what “Daredevil” is and how it works. It is a cleverly timed episode and an effective way to develop these characters, most of all Fisk and Vanessa.
This episode had a few misses, most notably the Foggy and Karen “let me touch your face” scene. I don’t know what the hell that was, and frankly I’m not sure what these two are really adding to show right now. I can’t stand levity characters and I’m hoping that their plot line will fit into the big picture and not distract from it. Having said that I think this is probably the most polished episode yet in terms of plotting, and it was just the right time to give us another taste of oner action. This show is practically everything I want it to be.
Lionsgate has unspooled a new one-sheet and release date for the next exorcism horror film, The Vatican Tapes, now opening in theaters on July 24, 2015.
Lakeshore Entertainment is behind the pic directed by Mark Neveldine (Ghost Rider: With A Vengeance, Crank) that, “follows the ultimate battle between good and evil- God versus Satan. Angela Holmes is an ordinary 27-year- old until she begins to have a devastating effect on anyone close, causing serious injury and death. Holmes is examined and possession is suspected, but when the Vatican is called upon to exorcise the demon, the possession proves to be an ancient satanic force more powerful than ever imagined. It’s all up to Father Lozano (Pena) to wage war for more than just Angela’s soul, but for the world as we know it.”
It comes in the spirit of films like The Exorcist, The Devil Inside Me, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, among various other recent exorcism-inspired genre films.
Michael Pena, Djimon Hounsou, Dougray Scott, Peter Andersson, Olivia Dudley, and Cas Anvar star.
I just recently revisited Walter Murch’s 1985 Return to Oz, a film I have always loved since I was a wee lad.
Much like The Neverending Story, Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, Return to Oz isn’t dated at all, and is just as fantastic as I remember it being. In fact, I got obsessed all over again and started seeking out fresh information about it and learned that it was quite a troubled production. In fact, there was a fan-made documentary (since removed from the Web completely) that detailed all of the problem that started with a ballooning budget.
Starring Fairuza Balk as Dorothy, I learned that Return to Oz was a legitimate sequel to Wizard of Oz, and even more faithful to L. Frank Baum’s books. There’s a plethora of interesting fact if you scour the Web.
In it, Dorothy is saved from a psychiatric experiment by a mysterious girl, and is somehow called back to Oz when a vain witch and the Nome King destroy everything that makes the magical land beautiful.
Thanks to Reddit user Scottland83 we have the following collection of rare behind-the-scenes images from the puppet-centric movie that was part of Jim Henson’s filmography.
Well this was a table-setting episode if I ever saw one. Not that that was a bad thing, there was just a lot of setup for the rest of the season that the bombastic season premiere didn’t provide. While it may not have been the most exciting episode Salem has ever done, it definitely created plenty of anticipation for future episodes.
Let’s get the bad (read: boring) out of the way first: John Alden. He’s still just kind of there, only now he’s a killing machine. It was a smart move for the series to bring him back to Salem so early in the season, but we’ll have to wait and see how long it takes for Mary to learn of his presence. The quicker the better, says everyone. We did get to see him slit Petras’ throat, though (that’s the guy who likes to pull out his own eyeballs to show other people visions), so that was cool. Unfortunately he is still the weak link of Salem.
The opening of the episode picks up right where last week’s premiere ended: with the townsfolk discovering the bodies of the elder witches hung (by their own intestines) in the town square. It was a bold move to have them burn Mercy and her “army” up right at the beginning, but it was as thrill to watch. The CGI of all of the witches burning was pretty good for WGN standards as well. It is a little perplexing why none of the witches in the crag woke up and ran when they were getting doused with oil (especially since Mercy was shown to already be awake), but it was a brutal way to start the episode.
Clearly, Mercy couldn’t have been permanently killed, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when she was revealed to have survived the burning. What was surprising was her decision to return home to her father in the final scene. Honestly, I don’t remember much of her father from the first season (back when she was “possessed”), but this might give Mercy some more depth to see her relationship with her father. It’s an interesting idea but we will have to see how it plays out in the coming weeks. As usual with Salem, the makeup department was on point with her charred flesh.
Mary had quite a lot on her plate this week. It gave Janet Montgomery the opportunity to show a lot of range, but also kind of blurred her motivations. After Tituba tells her she must kill Isaac to prevent him from blabbing about her participation in the Grand Rite, she shows sympathy for Isaac at the 11th hour and spares his life. It was an interesting decision for Mary, but her character is still a bit of a question mark. Sometimes she seems like she’s all in for this whole Satan worshiping thing, then other times she shows moments of compassion that seem completely out of character. That’s what makes a good anti-heroine though, and Mary is one of the better ones we’ve been offered in recent memory.
Anne actually had something to do this week, and it seems like she will be directly involved with Coutness Marburg! First, Anne teleports herself (intentionally?) to Boston to see Cotton. Not five minutes later, Marburg shows up to interrogate Anne inside her soul. It was a pretty nifty set piece, with Marburg’s various teleportations mid-conversation were interesting to watch. We learn that Marburg is incredibly old (and was also Hecate, the Greek goddess of witchcraft, ghosts & magic) and that she is very interested in Mary, since she performed the Grand Rite. Lawless was confined to just two scenes this week (which is one more than she got last week), but she made the most of them.
While not exactly an exciting episode of Salem, “Blood Kiss” set the stage for what could prove to be some interesting future episodes. I’m still a little unsure why Cotton is still a part of the show, but color me intrigued!
- “For once, cease your shrieking, harpy.” I’m not sure why, but the word “harpy” is such a funny insult, but I like it. I might start using it more. Also, Tituba is totally a harpy.
- George Sibley is still alive! And he is being taken care of by Mary’s son. Gotta say, that needle going under George’s toenail was hard to watch. Mary’s son is quite the little deviant!
- Hawthornes intimidates Anne by calling her an orphan. He also doesn’t want the corpses of the pox-ridden to be thrown into the crags. Fascinating.
- There’s a “bring out your dead” scene! Did anyone not see this and immediately have Monty Python and the Holy Grail flashbacks?
- I can only assume Lucy Lawless speaking to Anne telepathically about how she “smelled a witch” was an homage to a similar scene between Danny and Halloran in The Shining.
- The Countess referring to Increase Mather as a “pestiferous, pus-headed killer” was the highlight of the episode for me. Seriously, this show has some spectacular insults.
- Apparently male witches like to make out with their mothers, as that happened twice in this episode (one instance involving a 6-year-old child). Gross.
This past weekend, the 2nd annual Fear FestEvil, which was created by Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, was held in San Jose, CA. The event featured live performances from acts such as Meshuggah, High On Fire, Orchid, Blues Pills, Agnostic Front, as well as featuring guest appearance from several metal legends and horror-related icons, including Asada Messiah, Corey Taylor, Slash, John 5, Sara Karloff, Bela Lugosi Jr., Ron Chaney, Charlie Benante, and Bill Moseley.
Below is a gallery from the event, with photos from live performances, guest signings, and more.
I’m of the firm belief that the Addams Family are the most loving, caring, and connected family that has ever graced the silver screen. They are wildly devoted to each other, show an interest in what the others are doing, and spend tons of quality time together. In all honesty, there’s quite a bit to be jealous when watching them.
Many times I found myself wishing that I could be a part of that family. Yeah, they might be kooky, ooky, and sometimes a little bit spooky, but I think I could live with that.
This week’s quiz gives you the chance to see who you’d be if you were a part of the Addams Family! Simply take the quiz below and then make sure to leave a comment letting us know who you got!
I got Morticia, which stated:
Low-voiced, incisive and subtle, smiles are rare…ruined beauty … contemptuous and original and with fierce family loyalty … even in disposition, muted, witty, sometimes deadly … given to low-keyed rhapsodies about her garden of deadly nightshade, henbane and dwarf’s hair.
Almost one year ago, the world lost one of its most creative and visionary minds when Swiss surreal artist H.R. Giger passed away. Giger was known in the horror community for his incredible artwork and his work on films such as Alien and Species. His presence was also felt strongly in the music community with his artwork used by bands such as Triptykon, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Korn, whose vocalist Jonathan Davis commissioned a one-of-a-kind mic stand sculpted by Giger, and Debbie Harry (for whom a never-before-seen documentary will premiere).
On May 22nd and 23rd, the Museum of Art & Design in New York City will be holding the “H.R. Giger Film Festival”, which will showcase rare and in some cases, never before screened anywhere, documentaries and short films. This event is part of the MAD cinema series, as well as a chapter in the ongoing HR Giger Film Festival.
Some more information, direct from the press release:
Marking the one-year anniversary of his passing, the Museum of Arts and Design presents The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger. Partnering with the HR Giger Museum and the HR Giger Documentary Film Festival, this weekend-long event presents rare and never before seen films made by and about HR Giger.
Opening up Giger’s personal archive for the first time, these films reveal the behind-the-scenes practice of this singular artist. The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger gives a rare glimpse into the personality, process, and vision of his indelible impact.
The first evening of screenings will be introduced by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein.
I was contacted by the festival’s curator, Zev Deans, who also dropped this amazing piece of information:
The real gem is a 45 minute arthouse sci-fi called “Swissmade”, made in 1969, that features Giger’s first use of prosthetic costume in a film. It has only been screened twice, only in Switzerland. This festival will be its American debut.
There will be three programs during this event:
“The Collaborations of H.R. Giger” – More information
“Inside H.R. Giger’s Sanctuaries” – More information
“Behind the Scenes of H.R. Giger’s Studio” – More information
While there was definitely a problem with MTV forgetting that it was supposed to be, y’know, a music television station, there were some amazing shows on that network. And one of the gems was Celebrity Deathmatch, the ultraviolent, hyper gory stop-motion battle show. Eight years ago, that show was cancelled after six seasons (which themselves were broken up over nine years). But now that’s about to change as MTV2 has ordered a pilot for a new season!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, creator Eric Fogel will return to the show with Chris McCarthy and Paul Ricci as executive producers. THR also states that the new version, “…will again feature animated no-holds-barred fantasy fights between infamous figures from entertainment and pop culture and will be reimagined for a social media world and hourly Twitter wars.”
Below is a clip showing the Men In Black vs. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson battling it out.
Now tell me, who’s excited for this? Because I know I am!