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Pierce Brosnan Will Satisfy Your ‘Urge!’

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 08:54

Has Lionsgate always been a major player in the straight-to-video action game and I’m just now catching wind of it, or is this a newer development? Whatever the case may be, I’m all for it. I sincerely love these type of movies. Now Urge looks more like thriller than action, but it has Hyde and a gray-haired Taffin and that’s good enough for me!

An exotic vacation takes a dark turn in the suspense thriller Urge, arriving on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital), and Digital HD September 6 from Lionsgate. From producers of Crank and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Urge is currently available On Demand. Things get out of control when a group of friends try an experimental new drug in this insane thrill ride starring Justin Chatwin (War of the Worlds), Ashley Greene (The Twilight Saga franchise), Alexis Knapp (Pitch Perfect), Bar Paly (Non-Stop), Chris Geere (After Earth), Nick Thune (Knocked Up), with Danny Masterson (TV’s “That ‘70s Show”) and Pierce Brosnan (GoldenEye).
A group of friends take a lavish weekend getaway to an island where a mysterious club owner (Brosnan) introduces them to Urge, a new designer drug that allows them to live out their wildest fantasies. But what starts out as a fun night of partying soon takes a sinister turn when their primal impulses become uncontrollable.

·“Behind the Scenes with Cast and Crew” Featurette
*Subject to change

Categories: Horror News

Meet the Villains of ‘Voltron: Legendary Defender!’

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 08:52

Earlier this week we had a bunch of images, character cards and two clips from the Netflix and DreamWorks original series Voltron: Legendary Defender. With the show’s premiere just one day away, we now get to meet some of Voltron’s baddies and see one of them action in a brand new clip!

EMPEROR ZARKON – voiced by Neil Kaplan (“Power Rangers,” “Naruto”)
Emperor Zarkon is the ruthless leader of the Galra Empire. 10,000 years ago, Zarkon fought to steal the Voltron lions from King Alfor. Ever since Alfor sent the lions to the far corners of the universe, Zarkon has been on a quest to obtain Voltron once and for all.

COMMANDER SENDAK – voiced by Jake Eberle
Sendak is a cold-blooded fighter and Zarkon’s number one military leader. He lost his arm during his time on the front lines and has had it replaced with a robot appendage featuring a nasty claw and a laser blaster. He will do anything he can to defeat Voltron and earn Zarkon’s respect.

HAGGAR – voiced by Cree Summer (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Dawn of the Croods”)
Haggar is an ageless, psychic witch and a loyal advisor to Zarkon. Over the years she has formed a coven of druids, her own order of followers to do her bidding and aid her evil plans. Together they create the Robeasts to battle Voltron.

The Netflix original series DreamWorks’ Voltron: Legendary Defender reimagines one of the most popular fan-favorite shows of all time in this all-new comedic action-packed show from executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos (The Legend of Korra, Avatar: The Last Airbender) and co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery (The Legend of Korra).
Five unsuspecting teenagers, transported from Earth into the middle of a sprawling intergalactic war, become pilots for five robotic lions in the battle to protect the universe from evil. Only through the true power of teamwork can they unite to form the mighty warrior known as Voltron.

Executive Produced by Joaquim Dos Santos
Co-Executive Produced by Lauren Montgomery
Written by Tim Hedrick

Kimberly Brooks as Princess Allura
Rhys Darby as Coran
Josh Keaton as Shiro
Tyler Labine as Hunk
Jeremy Shada as Lance
Bex Taylor-Klaus as Pidge
Steven Yeun as Keith
Neil Kaplan as Emperor Zarkon
Cree Summer as Haggar

Release:June 10, 2016 on Netflix

Categories: Horror News

Australian DVDs of ‘Groovie Goolies’ and 1975’s ‘The Ghost Busters’ Are on the Way!

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 08:50

For all you region free folks out there Australia’s Shock Entertainment have some children’s themed horror from the 70’s coming to DVD on July 6th. I’m aware of The Ghost Busters but I’ve never actually seen it. As far as Groovie Goolies goes, I’m never even heard of it, at least not that I can recall. It certainly looks like a cartoon I would have loved as kid. In fact if the opening theme song (see below) is any indication, Groovie Goolies looks like something I’d like now.


Sabrina, the Teenage witch introduces us to another set of equally bewitching characters. Groovie Goolies features the wild and humorous exploits of the shuddery but lovable denizens of horrible hall. Drac, Frankie, Wolfe and Orville – a plant that eats just about anything – live together with a whole host of other delightfully dastardly characters who live within these hallowed Halls.
Come if you dare to the ghostly bowels – what will appear is somewhat unknown, but what is guaranteed is an endless parade of colourful spirits and ghostly visions in this fun series.
• GROOVIE GOOLIES is an American animated television show that had its original run on network television between 1970 and 1971.
• Produced by Filmation, GROOVIE GOOLIES was a spinoff of The Sabrina the Teenage Witch Show (itself a spinoff of The Archie Show).
• The Goolies were a group of hip monsters residing at Horrible Hall (a haunted boarding house for monsters). Many of the Goolies were (in look and sound) pop-culture echoes of the Universal classic horror-film monsters: Dracula, The Wolfman & Frankenstein.

When trouble calls The Ghost Busters answer! From their run-down office Spencer Tracy and Kong take on assignments no mere mortal could face. Good thing that Spencer and Kong have the super-smart gorilla Tracy on their team! In the super-secret missions assigned to them by the mysterious ‘Zero’ the trio of bumbling detectives confront phantoms vampires werewolves Frankenstein’s monster mobsters Vikings magicians and even a devilish dummy! Larry Storch
Forrest Tucker and Bob Burns star.
• THE GHOST BUSTERS was a live-action children’s sit-com that ran in 1975, about a team of bumbling detectives who would investigate ghostly occurrences.
• The show reunited Forrest Tucker And Larry Storch in roles similar to their characters in F Troop.
• In 1986, after the success of the 1984 Ivan Reitman film, the show was revived in animated format with Kong and Spencer’s sons, Jake and Eddie Jr., inheriting their fathers’ business in Ghostbusters.

Categories: Horror News

GOG’s Summer Sale Horror Report: Day 1

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 22:20

Summertime. Some folks don’t seem too bothered by the months-long Hell it brings, though I suspect that’s just a side effect of living all your days inside a blazing inferno. That’s got to be tough on the brain. Summer unapologetically mistreats, with its inescapable heat that hides butt sweat in seats and reveals pale ugly feet. That’s why we need heroes like looking out for us. They’re not here to make loads of money off people, like me, who will giddily snatch up a dozen $5 games so they can neglect all but two of them forever. No, they’re here to save us.

GOG’s Summer Sale benefits humanity by thinning out our wallets so our buttflesh can breathe more easily, thus reducing our chances of developing unwanted swamp ass. I call that a public service. These are the horror games I found in the current rotation — head here for the rest.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent — $3.99 (reg. $19.99)
Dead State: Reanimated — $4.99 (reg. $19.99)
Dying Light: Enhanced Edition — $35.99 (reg. $59.99)
Fran Bow — $7.49 (reg. $14.99)
Layers of Fear — $12.99 (reg. $19.99)
Oxenfree — $9.99 (reg. $19.99)
The Park — $6.49 (reg. $12.99)
Penumbra Collection — $1.99 (reg. $9.99)
SOMA — $17.99 (reg. $29.99)
Sunless Sea — $9.49 (reg. $18.99)
System Shock: Enhanced Edition — $2.99 (reg. $9.99)
System Shock 2 — FREE (reg. $9.99)

These titles will be swapped out for new discounts on Friday, but the Summer Sale will be hanging around until Wednesday, June 22 at 8:59am EST. I’ll let you know what might be worth checking out when the list is updated. Until then, stay frosty, my friends.

Categories: Horror News

[LAFF Review] ‘Officer Downe’ Fails to Deliver An Effective Parody Film

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 17:01

Based on the renowned DC and Marvel comic book writer Joe Casey’s 2010 beloved graphic novel [illustrated by Chris Burnham], Officer Downe has just been adapted into a film by Slipknot co-founder M. Shawn Crahan. Kim Coates stars as Terrence Downe, an authority figure who at first glance appears to be completely impervious to pain, but then turns out to actually be a cop who lays down his life for the law over and over, only to be reanimated in a secret lab beneath the police station and shoved back out into the criminally-charged world again.

Whether what this police station is doing is morally right or wrong is debatable, but the fact is that Los Angeles needs a hero like Downe to patrol the streets, and help keep the power in the hands of the good guys, not the gangs. In this jaded modern day society, where people tend to cast aside teamwork in favor of individualism, and any ill deed feels forgiven if it goes unwitnessed, Downe is bringing back credibility to the streets, one bashed in skull at a time. He’s not just a man, he’s a machine. He is the law personified, and if you disobey the rules, or mess with anyone’s civil liberties, he’s coming for you.

Officer Downe definitely has its moments. There’s some really stellar costumes and set pieces featured in the boardroom of the Fortune 500 secret hideout, where the villains don animal masks while the human heads of their enemies hang on their wall like the trophies of a prized hunt. Also, the aesthetics of the evil, neon-lit coven which is run by the fierce Mother Superior, a woman who discourages swearing but hides automatic weapons in her habit, actually makes for a cool little group of baddies. Most importantly, the practical effects are really top notch, and help to solidify Downe’s undeniable badassdom. However, this satirical machismo homage to cliché action movies has been done many times before, and unfortunately, Officer Downe doesn’t quite join the ranks of its cinematic peers.

When watching the movie, titles like Hobo With a Shotgun, Turbo Kid, Manborg, and Hot Fuzz spring to mind (not to mention Lethal Weapon, which is straight up referenced by one of the characters in the film, insinuating that Downe’s fearless attitude is supposed to be a nod to Martin Riggs), but sadly, once these entries enter the mind, it’s hard not to compare them with the movie onscreen, which only helps highlight the inevitable truth – that this isn’t a very good parody film. It’s very clear which angle director Crahan wanted to take, since it’s one that’s been several times before. It’s supposed to be an action-heavy love letter to ‘80s cinema that both pokes fun at generic tropes, yet still displays affection for the movies it’s parodying. It should be funny, exciting, shocking, and perhaps even provide some sort of commentary on the genre. Although it does provide a few thrilling moments of combat here and there, sadly, Officer Downe is missing one vital component in the mix, and that’s the humor.

When it comes down to it, the truth is Officer Downe just isn’t very funny. It’s obvious from one of the opening sequences, which happens to feature the officer going down on a woman as a cartoony clock counts the number of orgasms emitted from his new friend, that this is a feature that’s meant to derive at least a few chuckles from its audience. However, after this bizarre moment passes, the comical side of the story seems to all but disappear, if only to reappear for a few moments in what’s basically a regurgitation of the opening scene just discussed. Crahan obviously really wants to craft a film that would make Edgar Wright proud, but he forgets that in the Blood and Ice Cream universe, the jokes come first, and the moments of insane stunts are only made more intense by the fact that they’re balanced out neatly with the laughs.

In Officer Downe, however, the tone never quite shifts from one side to the other over the course of the film. Crahan might want his audience to giggle, or perhaps even feel sorry at some points for his man of the law, who sacrifices his life almost every single day, but his narrative doesn’t exactly reflect his wishes. Instead, he delivers quite a messy film, in which his lead never really feels like he’s in danger because they can easily bring Downe back to life each time he’s decimated, and the fight scenes only feel like they exist in order to end Downe so that he can be reborn again.

This balls-to-the-wall Robocop wannabe not only falls short of the movies it references, but it also simultaneously fails to be funny enough to distract its viewers from the fact that the character of Officer Downe isn’t necessarily indestructible, or even a good fighter really – he just has a great team that can bring him back from the dead every time he answers a call and is promptly and kind of easily killed. It’s too bad, because Kim Coats does a terrific job of playing the hardass cop who will do whatever it takes to get the job done, and loves to deliver one-liners along the way, it would just be nice if he had a little more to work with.

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Categories: Horror News

[Interview] Darren Lynn Bousman Assembles ‘Abattoir,’ a New Kind of Haunted House Horror Film!

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 16:01

Saw II-IV and Repo! director Darren Lynn Bousman built a new kind of horror film with Abattoir, which just had its World Premiere last night at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Abattoir, which stars Dayton Callie (Halloween 2), Joe Anderson (Hercules), Jessica Lowndes (Altitude, Autopsy) and Lin Shaye (Insidious), centers on a real estate reporter who unearths an urban legend about a house being built from rooms where horrific tragedies have occurred. The investigation ultimately leads to the enigmatic Jebediah Crone (Callie) and the answer to the terrifying question, “How do you build a haunted house?”

We caught up with Bousman, who adapted Abattoir from a comic of the same name.

“I originally pitched this as a multi platform release (comic-movie-webseries),” he tells Bloody Disgusting in our exclusive interview. “The concept was to tell different pieces of the story throughout different mediums. The story was so dense, and the mythology so deep that our hope was to fragment the overall narrative; the more you immersed yourself inside the different mediums, the more you understood the world. Yet, it was important that each story worked individually.”

The concept came with the idea of furthering the haunted house subgenre, and trying something new. In Abattoir, a haunted house is quite literally assembled.

“How do I compete with the haunted houses sub genre? With Insidious, Conjuring, We Are Still Here, and every other well-made haunted house movie, I wanted to add something new, and to not rehash something that had already been done. So, for the case of Abattoir, I wanted to approach it as almost an origin story. How did this house come to exist. And more importantly, why? This is much more of a film noir, with elements of ghosts, and that’s something that I think separates it from other films.

“In some respects Abattoir was the most difficult narrative I have ever told,” Bousman tells us when we asked about how tough is was to adapt such a complex story. “The mythology was so dense, and the overall dialogue so stylized, that it was very easy to miss or not understand what was happening. I think a great deal of this comes from the style we decided to implement. The writer, Chris Monfette, and I wanted to treat the audience with respect, and not beat them over the head with over-explanations and kindergarten exposition. However, this is a double-edged sword; major plot points were revealed though passing one-liners. If you miss them, you will be lost.

“This was very much a narrative exposed through dialogue,” he continued. “It forces the audience to pay attention to what is being said. I don’t feel this is a movie that works if you are only half paying attention.”

Harking back to Bousman telling us that Abattoir is sort of a horror film noir, he talks a bit about his desire to make an adult fairytale.

I wanted to make this film an adult fairytale, yes. It’s hyper stylized in its production design and dialogue. You have characters set in modern times, yet interacting and conversing like it’s the 1940’s. At the time I was making this I was watching a like of hard-boiled detective films. I approached this as if Bogart and Becall made a horror film.”

Here, though, there’s spooks everywhere. And in every ghost movie the supernatural carry their own distinct look. Bousman tells us what his specific vision was for his entities.

“The vision here was that, after a tragedy, a vapor is left behind; a memory or an emotion. Those emotions are trapped, doomed to repeat the last moments, over, and over, over… forward, and then in reverse. Those souls are confined, not to go up, or down, but stay. Jebediah Crone is collecting these rooms of trapped souls. He takes the room, he takes the soul, and the more souls he collects, the stronger the overall structure is. However, Crone is not collecting ghosts, he is collecting tragedies.

And with an independent ghost movie, having a solid VFX team is incredibly important. Bousman talked to us a bit about how difficult this process was: “The VFX was by far the most challenging thing we faced in creating this movie,” he explains. “My vision and my budget rarely aline. In my head I envision steak…in reality we had a baloney sandwich. My task as a director is saying, ‘Okay, how do we make this baloney taste like steak?’ It is a series of compromises. The trick is making those compromises feel like choices. This was the dance with VFX. I wanted to show the beach, and we had a single grain of sand.

“That said, when you watch the film the talents of my production team shine,” he adds. “Our production designer, Jen Spence, cinematographer, Michael Fimognari, and editor, Brian Smith, were able to craft my vision in such a way that the audience will feel as if they are seeing a beach when in reality it’s just single grains of sand.”

Fans of SAW should check their gore expectations as Abattoir isn’t that kind of movie, even though there are some seriously violent moments.

I’ve stopped worrying about gore,” Bousman stated, adding, “I want the violence and bloodshed to service the story. This movie is an investigation…an investigation of a murder. The gore for me was much less important than the characters, and overall narrative of a woman dealing with loss and grief.”

Abattoir is seeking distribution out of the Los Angeles Film Festival. Watch this spot for acquisition and release news as it comes in.

Categories: Horror News

[LAFF Review] ‘Beyond the Gates’ is a Wickedly Fun ’80s Homage Worth Playing

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 15:08

It’s been a long time since estranged brothers Gordon and John have met under the same roof, but for the first moment in many moons, the two are reunited at their father’s old video store. After their father mysteriously disappeared, the boys completely lost touch. Now, they resemble strangers more than siblings. Neither kid is exactly thrilled about the prospect of seeing each other again, but they do their best to put aside their differences for the time being, just so they can rummage through their father’s belongings in peace. Together, they pour over the old man’s many tapes, set on selling as much as they can, and liquidating the rest.

As they clear out isle after isle of nostalgia-fueled memories, it comes down to one final section of the store: the back room. When they were kids, their father had always kept it locked, but now, as if it were meant to be, Gordon suddenly discovers the key he had been searching for all of his young life. With a deep breath and a strong strive forward, the boys unlock the door and walk in. At first, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything quite worth hiding from children in here, just piles and piles of dust coating every inch of what turns out to be even more ancient and most likely unplayable tapes. But then, just as their fixation upon the secret room seems to be totally squandered upon discovering what’s inside, an old box catches their eye. It’s a VCR game titled “Beyond the Gates”, and it seems to be pulsating with power. They pop the tape in and a ghoulishly good looking woman with bright round eyes appears on the screen, urging them to play. The boys agree to engage, but once they start to play, they realize that not only does this strange game seem to have something to do with their father’s disappearance, but now that they have placed their pawns on the table, they may never be able to escape back into the real world again.

Beyond the Gates plays like a hilarious nod to 1980s cult films, told through the medium of a bloody, grown up version of Jumanji. The practical effects look great, the actors are wonderful, and the music provides a sense of creeping dread and fueled with Phantasm vibes. To put it simply, if you’re a fan of Stuart Gordon or Don Coscarelli, chances are you’ll enjoy this film.

Without a doubt, the best part of this movie is spooky cool dark goddess Barbara Crampton. Crampton has become a household name in the horror genre, making waves back in the ‘80s with her portrayal of Megan Halsey in Re-Animator, one of the very films that Beyond the Gates is paying homage to, before stepping back onto the scene with more recent gems like You’re Next and We Are Still Here. Crampton has played a normal girl caught up in a bad situation countless times, so it’s really nice director Jackson Stewart use his talented actress in a way that differentiates her from nearly anything she’s done before. Her depiction of the dangerous and sinisterly sultry video game host is both enticing and terrifying, and actually provides some of the funniest moments in the entire film, as she stares out impatiently at the players each time they pause for a single moment to take in the latest atrocity the game has committed. No matter how hard they try to defeat her, it’s clear that Crampton’s the one in charge here, and it’s only a matter of time before she claims the souls of all who dare play her game.

The rest of the cast is pretty spectacular as well. Graham Skipper still remains one of the greatest actors working in genre film today, and one of the best components of Beyond the Gates, but after his time spent displaying his skills in Almost Human and The Mind’s Eye, it’s less of a surprise and more of an expectation. At this point, it would be more shocking if he gave a terrible performance. Skipper and Chase Williamson are very convincing as brothers, because they seem to not only have great chemistry, but also get across the feeling that the two have known each other for a long time now, and there is some bad history between them. Not to be outdone, Jesse Merlin soaks up every single moment he’s onscreen, crafting an ultra creepy shop owner who seems to have some sort of unexplained intel about the game. Merlin is both unsettling and hilarious, proving that we should be seeing him in a lot more projects than he’s been a part of so far.

As wonderful and laugh-out-loud funny as the cast is, there is one big issue with Beyond the Gates: all of the characters come across as strangely apathetic. When the game this group of friends (John, Gordon, and Gordon’s girlfriend Margot) are playing actually starts killing people that they know in real life, there always seems to be a slight moment of hesitation before Gordon instructs his crew to keep playing, and they simply agree. There’s no argument, no reasoning or explanations as to why that might be a bad idea, just quiet and complacent nods as the players continue on with their board game. It just feels really odd that not a single person would throw up their hands and refuse to play any longer. Not only do they seem pretty at ease with the death and destruction their little game is causing, but each time a real opportunity presents itself for the brothers to jump into the game and save their father, they seem to just shrug it off and go to bed. It’s definitely an amusing movie, but for a film whose premise revolves around saving their dad who went missing years ago, it doesn’t seem very convincing that they would give up on a chance to help him so easily.

Despite its slight setbacks, overall, Beyond the Gates is a wickedly fun little trip down memory lane, back into the good ‘ol days of 1980s cult classics, like The Gate, The Beyond, and Re-Animator. Its light and playful atmosphere makes it not only one of the most enjoyable films to play at the Los Angeles Film Festival thus far, but also a film that clearly can be watched over and over again, specifically at home, on the couch with friends, a bowl of popcorn, and the lights dimmed. Director Jackson Stewart has burst onto the scene with a very exciting debut feature film, and it will be thrilling to see what he brings fans of ‘80s nostalgia next, especially if he sticks with the same core group of actors and extremely talented special effects people on his next endeavor.

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Categories: Horror News

New Teaser for ‘The Shallows’ Makes Me Never Want To Go Swimming Again

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 14:16

A new teaser trailer for the upcoming shark attack horror film The Shallows has just been released and can be seen below. This one chooses to avoid letting the characters do the talking and instead has a voiceover about self reliance and personal growth. It’s sorta similar to that Legendary trailer for Godzilla that had the infamous Oppenheimer “I am become death, destroyer of worlds” quote over top.

When Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing on a secluded beach, she finds herself on the feeding ground of a great white shark. Though she is stranded only 200 yards from shore, survival proves to be the ultimate test of wills, requiring all of Nancy’s ingenuity, resourcefulness, and fortitude.

The Shallows was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan). It hits theaters on June 29th, 2016.

Categories: Horror News

Syfy is Having a Grindhouse-themed “Blood Drive”

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 14:04

Alan Ritchson (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) has been cast as the male lead in “Blood Drive”, Syfy’s 13-episode straight-to-series, grindhouse cinema-inspired drama, writes Deadline.

Set in a near-apocalyptic future, “Blood Drive” centers around LA’s last good cop, Arthur Bailey (Ritchson) who partners with a dangerous femme fatale who has an agenda of her own.

Ritchson’s Arthur is a former cop who is now working for a private security company and deplores the violence that is encouraged among his peers. Bailey sincerely wants to help make this arid, quake-ravaged and dystopian world a better place, but during an investigation, he is forced to join the Blood Drive, an underground death race in which the cars run on human blood.

The series, from Universal Cable Prods. and executive producers John Hlavin and David Straiton, who will also direct, was created by James Roland who penned the pilot under Hlavin’s supervision.

Ritchson is best known for his portrayals of Aquaman on Smallville and Thad Castle on Blue Mountain State. Most recently he can be seen as Raphael in the Michael Bay produced reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

Categories: Horror News

New Clip From Stephen King’s ‘Cell’ Shows the Chaos of an Infestation

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 13:51

A new clip from the upcoming film Cell, which is a Stephen King adaptation of his novel of the same name, shows the effects of an electronic signal that scrambles the minds of all who hear it as it sweeps through an airport. Chaos ensues and violence erupts in the most feral and vicious manner.

When a powerful signal is broadcast across mobile networks worldwide, cell phone users’ minds are instantly and dangerously re-programmed. Heading north through New England in search of his wife and son, Clay Riddell (Cusack) is joined by a group of survivors hoping to fend off the bloodthirsty and hyper-connected “phoners.”

Directed by Tod “Kip” Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) and starring John Cusack (The Raven), Samuel L. Jackson (1408, Pulp Fiction), Stacy Keach (Sin City: A Dame To Kill For), and Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan), Cell was written by King with revisions by Adam Alleca.

The film will hit “Ultra VOD” on June 10th and will then hit theaters and VOD on July 8th.

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Categories: Horror News

The One Nagging Problem the ‘Halloween’ Franchise Needs to Permanently Retcon

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 12:01

John Carpenter and Blumhouse Productions are bringing Michael Myers back to the big screen in 2017. Let’s hope they toss one of the Halloween franchise’s biggest problems out the window.

When John Carpenter’s Halloween was released in 1978, audiences were terrified – and we’ve got the vintage audio to prove it. The independent film, which played no small part in launching the slasher boom of the early-mid 1980s, introduced the world to a nightmarish boogeyman in the form of “The Shape,” who would of course come to be known by the human name Michael Myers.

But in the original film, The Shape wasn’t quite human so much as he was a supernatural force, hell-bent on brutally butchering anyone who happened to cross his path. Fifteen years after snapping and slaughtering his sister for unknown reasons, Myers escapes from a sanitarium and goes on a murder spree through his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, a blank white mask covering his face and effectively wiping away any semblance of humanity he once had.

What happened to Michael that caused him to snap? And why does he set his sights on young Laurie Strode and her friends? Carpenter never answers these questions, and it’s because he doesn’t that Halloween remains one of the most genuinely terrifying films in the history of the horror genre.

When Rob Zombie came along and remade Halloween in 2007, he gave Michael Myers the full “origin story” treatment, explaining away his source of evil as the product of a disturbingly troubled childhood. In doing so, Zombie turned The Shape from a potent symbol of terror into your ordinary white trash serial killer, and many fans may never forgive him for that. But let’s be real here: Myers was humanized, in a damaging way, long before Zombie gave him a beard and a backstory.

In the original Halloween 2, reluctantly co-written by John Carpenter, we learned that Laurie Strode was Michael’s sister, thereby explaining why he targeted her in the 1978 film. With that one major addition to the mythology, Myers was more or less given a motive, and if you’re asking me, that motive did a whole lot more harm to the character than good. The Shape’s familial connection to his victims went on to become a nagging issue that plagued the entire franchise, as it suggested that he was only really interested in killing family members. And that’s just not that scary.

Certainly not as scary as a masked maniac choosing his victims at random.

Michael Myers was an absence of character,” Carpenter noted in a 2014 interview with Deadline, hitting the nail squarely on its head. “And yet all the sequels are trying to explain that. That’s silliness – it just misses the whole point of the first movie. The sequels rooted around in motivation. I thought that was a mistake.”

At this time, it’s unclear what direction Carpenter and Blumhouse are taking the franchise in – and they assure that they don’t plan on giving it the remake or reboot treatment – but if they hope to recapture the terrifying simplicity of the original classic, one thing they simply must avoid is connecting Myers to any of the victims he decides to stick his trademark knife into. Hell, they’d be wise to ditch his human name entirely, as The Shape becomes more and more terrifying when there’s less and less humanity present in him.

In order to make Halloween great again, they need to make The Shape scary again. And the easiest way to accomplish that goal is to retcon all motivation out of the franchise.

Because Carpenter’s right. All that family stuff was a huge mistake.

Categories: Horror News

John Carpenter Weighs in With His Thoughts on ‘Friday the 13th’

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 11:19

John Carpenter created one of the most iconic slashers of all time with 1978’s Halloween. And just like Hollywood does today, they saw a movie that was made for practically pennies (in their mind) and they wanted to cash in on that by making more just like it. Hence, we got Friday the 13th shortly thereafter.

When Carpenter looks back on such films, he admits that he thinks “…most of them were awful“, which is honestly true. Just like with any decade/era, only a few films rise above the rest and become memorable and iconic, Friday the 13th being one of them. But that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of that film or, it seems, that series.

Appearing on author Brett Easton Ellis’ podcast, Carpenter explained (courtesy of HitFix):

One springs from an organic idea and has a truly artist’s eye working. And ‘Friday the 13th’, I feel, affects me as very cynical. It’s very cynical moviemaking. It just doesn’t rise above its cheapness. I think the reason that all these slasher movies came in the ’80s was a lot of folks said “look at that ‘Halloween’ movie. It was made for peanuts, and look at the money it’s made! We can make money like that. That’s what the teenagers want to see.” So they just started making them, cranking them out…most of them were awful.

You can listen to the full podcast right here.

What do you think? Is there something to what Carpenter is saying or is he just full of himself? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below!

Categories: Horror News

Osiris Dates ‘Texas Chain Saw’-esque ‘Betrothed’

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:58

Osiris Entertainment has picked up Betrothed with a VOD release targeted for July 15.

Described as “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre meets House of 1000 Corpses, Bloody has a first look at Jim Lane’s (Deadly Famous) Betrothed, starring Mikayla Gibson, Bill Oberst Jr (Criminal Minds, Circus of the Dead), Trae Ireland (13/13/13), Omar Gooding (Barbershop), Reatha Grey (Chocolate City), Joey Bell, David Brown, Elizabeth Castillo, Jamie B.Cline, Adam Dunnells, and Bunny Gibson (Creepshow III).

A trip to the store turns into a surreal nightmare when a college student is kidnapped by a deranged, dysfunctional family. Now Audra West finds herself trapped in the middle of the desert, and betrothed to Adam, the youngest son of the murderous clan. As a determined detective conducts a frantic search, Audra realizes the only way to survive is to escape. But even if she could get away, almost two hundred miles of desert lies between her and help.

Jim Lane directs from a script by Jeff D. Rosenberg. Greg Munsell, Carole Vesely, and Marie Lemelle produce.

Categories: Horror News

‘Prophecy’ (Not That One) is Free to Stream Online

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:42

The 1979 ecological horror film Prophecy is now available to stream online for free courtesy of Paramount and their YouTube channel The Paramount Vault.

Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire (‘Rocky’, ‘The Godfather’) star as a doctor and his wife, who, at the request of a concerned friend, travel to Maine to research the impact of the lumber industry on the local environment. They begin to investigate a succession of mysterious and terrifying events: ecological freaks of nature (including fish that grow many times their normal size), and a series of bizarre and grisly human deaths.

Directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, The Island of Dr. Moreau), the film stars Shire, Foxworth, Armand Assante (“The Odyssey”), Richard Dysart (John Carpenter’s The Thing), and Victoria Racimo.

Categories: Horror News

Michael J. Fox Forgot Which Movie He Was on During ‘The Frighteners’

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:26

Peter Jackson’s 1996 horror/comedy The Frighteners is one of those movies I constantly forget exists and then, when I recall it, get really excited because I remember just how fun and entertaining it is.

The film follows Frank Bannister (played by Michael J. Fox), a man who uses his abilities to see and communicate with the dead to pull cons on unsuspecting people. The film also stars Jeffrey Combs (Re-animator), Dee Wallace (The Howling), Jake Busey (Identity), John Astin (“The Addams Family”), R. Lee Ermey (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and more. Basically, if you haven’t seen it, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Now, coming to the point of this article, one has to remember that many actors have been in TONS of films. And because they invest themselves so greatly during those few months, sometimes they find it hard to let go of previous characters. Such is the case with Fox during the filming of The Frighteners, when he kept forgetting to call Astin’s character “Judge” and instead referred to him as “Doc”, Christopher Lloyd’s character from the Back to the Future series!

Below is a clip from a behind-the-scenes reel where both Jackson and Fox discuss this and you can see the mistakes in action. It’s rather charming, in a silly way!

Categories: Horror News

Rumor: id Software Might Revive ‘Quake’

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:00

Take this rumor with the appropriate amount of salt, for it has not been confirmed in any way by id Software or Bethesda.

Earlier this week, the Internet stumbled upon multiple job listings (spotted by Gamenesia) on Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media’s website that might be hinting at id Software’s next big project. They’re currently looking for talented game programmers who fancy the idea of working “as a part of a development team on legendary id game properties like DOOM and QUAKE.”

id Software is looking for a Senior Physics & Simulation Programmer to work as part of a development team on legendary id game properties like DOOM and QUAKE, developing physics and simulation technology for the game industry’s most advanced engine technology. This position requires engaging in a proactive, high energy development environment on our core technology team.

Seeing as one of those two legendary properties was just rebooted to considerable acclaim, that leaves us with Quake. The series has been on an extended hiatus since the release of Enemy Territory back in 2007.

I’d say we’re long overdue for another Quake, and I’m not just saying that because I’m eager to see what the Stroggification process looks like on our fancy new hardware. I bet it’s super gross, you guys.

I seriously doubt we’ll hear anything from a possible sequel/reboot, assuming it even exists, at E3 next month. Still, it’s fun to think about.

Categories: Horror News

Demons, Earth Spiders, and Kappas, Oh My! The Horror of Traditional Japanese Art

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:00

The Japanese culture is absolutely fascinating and stretches over tens of thousands of years. Over that time, many myths have come and gone, some staying and becoming a part of the country’s history and entering modern era stories, folklore, music, movies, and more. Many of these legends contain terrifying creatures and entities that are utterly terrifying in concept and design. And over the years, many Japanese artists have created their own visions of these monstrous beings.

While many of us horror fans may only know Japanese horror of the past two or so decades thanks to the rise in J-horror films as well as the ease with which we can import such films, I wanted to dig much further back to these historical pieces that boggle the imagination and showcase nightmarish demons.

Below are several examples of these masterful pieces of art.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre”

Kuniyoshi was an artist who was born in the late 18th century and is considered by many to be one of the last great masters in the style of ukiyo-e woodblock prints, which waned in popularity in the 19th century. He created pieces that included many different subjects, ranging from samurai warriors to kabuki actors to animals and more.

One of his most horrific pieces is a triptych titled “Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre”, which depicts a princess reading from a scroll to summon a gigantic skeletal phantasm to protect her from the hero of the myth.

From the British Museum via Surprise Round:

Princess Takiyasha was the daughter of the provincial warlord Taira no Masakado who tried to set up an ‘Eastern Court’ in Shimōsa Province in competition with the emperor in Kyoto. However, his rebellion was put down in AD 939 and Masakado was killed. After his death, Princess Takiyasha continued living in the ruined palace of Sōma.
This print shows the episode from the legend when the emperor’s official, ōya no Mitsukuni, comes to search for surviving conspirators. The princess is reciting a spell written on a handscroll. She summons up a giant skeleton which comes rearing out of a terrifying black void, crashing its way through the tattered palace blinds with its bony fingers to menace Mitsukuni and his companion.

The triptych currently resides at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Artist Unknown “Tsuchigumo no soushi”

The Japanese had a mythical creature (yōkai) that was called the Earth Spider, a terrifying amalgamation that featured the face of an oni, a body of a tiger, and the legs of a spider.

Originally, the term tsuchigumo was a derogatory term for renegade clans who did not swear allegiance to the Emperor of Japan. Many of these clans took refuge and made their homes in caves, emerging much like the Chinese Bird Spiders, that the myth may be based on, do when they search for food. This information came from the renowned Edo period historian Motoori Norinaga.

The basic story begins with the illness of Raikou. A priest is sent to pray for him, but the priest is actually the spider in disguise. It soon reveals itself and entangles Raikou in its web. Raikou slashes his way free but the spider escapes during the struggle. Raikou’s four retainers, usually known as the “Four Guardian Kings” (shitennou), eventually find the spider and kill it with Raiko’s famous sword which they rename Kumokirimaru (Spider-cutter). [Source]”

A print resides at the Tokyo National Museum.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi “The Earth Spider Generates Monsters at the Mansion of Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu”

Another masterful triptych from Kuniyoshi, this piece tackles the issue of nightmares as the Earth Spider is sending forth demonic creatures to haunt the dreams of Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu, all while his retainers sit around conversing and playing Go.

From Christies:

The evil Earth Spider conjures up a battle of demons to torment the unwell Raiko (Yorimitsu) in his sleep (far right), whilst his retainers play go. This design got Kuniyoshi into trouble with the authorities because it was felt that it was a caricature of the Shogun Ieyoshi (ruled 1837-53) and his hated chief minister, Mizuno Tadakuni (1794-1851). As a result the blocks were destroyed. Despite the controversy, soon after, the print’s popularity resulted in two pirated versions being produced from completely re-cut blocks, each with notable differences when compared to the original.

Various versions of this print can be found in Boston, Tokyo, and London.

Kurimoto Tanshu “Kappa drawings from mid-19th century Suiko juni-hin no zu”

The Kappa is an example of a Suijin, or a “water deity”, from Japanese legend. These creatures can range in terms of their intentions. Some of the Kappa are known as flesh-eaters that, when captured, will offer their services or impart their knowledge. Others are though to be rapists, impregnating women. Other still attack animals, specifically livestock.

Interestingly, according to myth, the favorite food of the kappa is a cucumber. Additionally, they are at their weakest when attacking livestock because they enter stables, which means they are more easily caught.

The below print can be found at the National Diet Library in Tokyo.

Utagawa Toyokuni “Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan Onoe Matsusuke as the Ghost of the Murdered Wife Oiwa, in “A Tale of Horror from the Yotsuya Station on the Tokaido Road”

Supposedly, Ju-On‘s Kayako was inspired by this haunting tale. The story goes that a woman by the name of Oiwa was disfigured (sometimes the tale says she was murdered) by her husband, whom she haunted and pursued. When he went to remarry, her ghostly face appeared on the face of his bride. In terror, he swung his sword to behead the ghastly apparition only to behead his wife. He was ultimately killed by Oiwa’s brother.

According to Ju-On Wikia, simply telling this story is dangerous as it has a curse upon it. Filmmakers who use it as an inspiration for their own movies will apparently go to the grave of Oiwa in Tokyo to pray and ask for her blessings.

DP135323, 5/1/06, 1:29 PM, 16C, 7156×9710 (0+542), 100%, Rona Copywork, 1/30 s, R98.2, G61.0, B58.2

Toyohara Chikanobu “Kiyomori in a Snowy Garden of Skulls”

Some of Japan’s prints are not necessarily of demons of the flesh but more so demons of the mind. The actions of one’s past can haunt that person for the rest of their lives, as evidenced in this haunting ukiyo-e woodblock print.

The subject of this painting was a very brutal warlord by the name of Taira Kiyomori. He killed many people, including members of his own family. Kiyomori is shown facing his snow covered garden, contemplating his life’s consequences. At the end of his life, he is now haunted by images of skulls and skeletons sculptured in the snow. [Source]

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “Insatiable Old Woman”

Above I mentioned that Utagawa Kuniyoshi is considered one of the last great ukiyo-e masters. Well, Yoshitoshi is considered the very last master of the art. And his piece “Insatiable Old Woman” is a prime example of his abilities.

The piece is a representation of a scene from the folk tale “Shita-kiri Suzume” (translated as “Tongue-Cut Sparrow” and depicts the punishment of an old woman after her previous acts.

The full story follows that of an old husband and wife couple, the latter of whom is greedy and selfish. One day, the husband, while out cutting wood in the mountains, finds an injured young sparrow, which he brings home to nurse back to health. The wife is upset that her husband would waste their food on such a creature.

One day, the husband goes out to the mountains and leaves the sparrow with his wife, who goes fishing and leaves the sparrow alone in their home. Upon returning, she finds that the sparrow has eaten starch that was left out. In a fit of rage, she slices off the sparrows tongue and releases it back into the wild where it flies away.

When the husband comes home, he is distraught by this event and goes into the mountains to try and find the sparrow. He finds himself in a grove where a sparrow inn is located and he is invited in and treated kindly and lovingly by all the sparrows inside, including the young sparrow whose life he saved. The birds want to give him a present, so they present two covered baskets, one small and one large. He is allowed to choose only one, so he opts for the smaller one as it’s going to be the least heavy to carry back home from the mountains. When he arrives home and opens it, he finds treasures, delighting his wife. However, when she learns that there is a larger basket, she sets off to find it so that she may take it.

When she arrives at the sparrow’s inn, they grant her the basket but warn her not to open it until she gets home. Of course, her wicked selfishness doesn’t allow her this and she opens it on the path back home only to unveil creatures and demons which sprang out and startled her so much that she fell down the mountain to her death.

Categories: Horror News

‘Riptide’ Not Included On ‘Dead Island Definitive Collection’ PS4 Disc

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 09:00

Quick heads up to those of you who are planning on getting the Dead Island Definitive Edition when it hits PC, PS4 and Xbox One next week — for PS4 owners, only the original game is included on the disc, so you’ll need to download Riptide.

Deep Silver confirmed the news on Twitter, saying “On XB1 it is on the same disc. PS4 discs don’t support multiple games, so there Riptide comes as a download code.”

When their followers pointed out the problem with that statement — Uncharted, Borderlands and Metro have all had shared disc bundles — the publisher clarified their wording, adding “We could’ve worded that better,” and “You need a separate menu, you can’t just put two games on disc the same way as on XB1.”

This isn’t a huge deal, more of a small annoyance really. It’s just unusual. When GameSpot pushed further, all they got was “There are limitations where you are unable to have multiple multiplayer experiences on the same disc, unfortunately we can’t comment further.”

Oh well. At least I was able to learn some more neat bits from their Twitter page, like how all three games will come with 1,000 GS points, or whatever the trophy equivalent of that is. It makes sense for the first two games to be treated like the full retail releases they were originally, but it’s mildly surprising that Retro Revenge is getting the same treatment.

Categories: Horror News

‘Oxenfree’ OST is Getting a Vinyl Release

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 00:07

Night School Studios has announced they’re bringing the original soundtrack for their supernatural teen thriller Oxenfree to vinyl, courtesy of the fine folks at iam8bit.. The deliciously atmospheric OST is the work of SCNTFC (Sword and Sworcery), and it may very well be my favorite video game OST of 2016 thus far.

The soundtrack is fantastic, but it isn’t the best thing about Oxenfree. There’s a lot to love about this charming ghost story, and I did my best to go over all of it in my review.

The audio/visual stuff is top notch, particularly the former, which benefits from some stellar sound design, quality voice acting and the OST I mentioned earlier. What surprised me is how well it works as a game and as a delivery device for a surprisingly emotional story. It actually makes having conversations with NPCs a joy to have, and that’s no small feat.

It has a satisfying narrative that can be seen through to the end over the course of an evening or two, but it’s the cast of refreshingly complex characters — sans the stereotypical teen angst garbage these games often rely upon — and the dynamic relationships between them that really carries the story. I usually cared more about my fickle relationships with my virtual friends than the vengeful spirits who were actively trying to murder them.

Anyway, it’s a good game, and it’s coming to PS4 on May 31 for $19.99, or $14.99 if you’re a PS Plus subscriber. The vinyl OST costs $35, and it’s available for pre-order over here.

Categories: Horror News

Major ‘Doorways: Holy Mountains of Flesh’ Update On the Way

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 23:23

Another major content update is coming soon to Saibot Studios’ indie horror game Doorways: Holy Mountains of Flesh, bringing it one step closer to leaving Steam Early Access. The update will build on what was added in Act 2: The Mansion back in March, as well as set the stage ahead of the arrival of the final act, The Temple, which will finally bring an end to the trilogy.

So far, Holy Mountains of Flesh has been a worthy finale to the series. I didn’t finish the first Doorways, but its sequel, The Underworld, was fantastic.

We won’t have to wait more than a few weeks for the release of the penultimate chapter in the Holy Mountains story, though I might suggest you enter the eponymous temple with caution. The folks at Saibot seem like good people, but “[We] hope you like what you see and get ready for what’s coming inside The Temple…” is a fairly ominous tease.

Methinks we won’t be too fond of this temple surprise. No, not one bit.

Categories: Horror News