FUNimation Entertainment announces the new unrated manga adaptation feature film Attack On Titan for a limited theatrical release, screening in nearly 300 theaters across the United States and Canada. In the U.S., Part 1 plays in theaters on September 30, October 1, and October 7, with Part 2 opening two weeks later on October 20, 22 and 27.
In Canada, Part 1 will play in theaters on October 5 and 26 followed by Part 2 on October 22 and October 26. Tickets for all Attack On Titan playdates are now available for purchase via the movie’s official website.
Produced by Japan’s legendary Toho Company (home of Godzilla, Mothra, etc.), the unrated Attack On Titan live-action adaptation, based on the popular graphic manga series of the same name (“Shingeki no Kyojin” in Japanese), “tells the dark story of a violent world where most of humanity has been destroyed by terrifying brutal giants. The last of mankind now fights to survive behind three concentric walls – walls that were once impenetrable to the horrific giants.”
With more than 50 million copies in print today, Attack On Titan has also inspired four spin-off manga, as well as a 25-episode anime series which FUNimation both simulcast and released on home video in North America.
The official movie website features an easy-to-use theater locator and the recently released theatrical trailer.
I saw Madellaine Paxson and Eddie Guzelian’s Blood Punch at last year’s Mile High Horror Film Festival and have been itching to watch it again ever since. In my review, I called it a “supernatural film noir on meth, with heaps of dark humor and a madcap edge that cuts deep.” After watching it again on Midnight Releasing’s DVD, I stand by my initial 4-skull review. This movie is a stupid amount of fun and has a body count in the dozens – even if it is the same body getting killed again and again and again.
The film is about Milo, a brilliant chemist with a knack for cooking meth. At a drug rehabilitation center, he falls for a chain-smoking harlot named Skyler, who quickly whisks Milo away to a remote hunting lodge in the woods. There, Milo is employed by Skyler’s psycho-boyfriend Russell to cook one mammoth batch of meth for a sizable paycheck. The lodge itself was built on the site of a bloody Native American war, which left a bit of a supernatural mark on the joint. When people die on its grounds, well, sometimes they come back. It’s a vicious cycle that Milo and Skyler must try to break to survive (and sell their meth).
One of the things that makes Blood Punch work so well is the cast: Milo Cawthorne (Deathgasm), Oliva Tennet, and Ari Boyland all worked together before this film on the Power Rangers R.P.M. series in New Zealand. This history shows on screen as their chemistry practically drips between the frames. I had the opportunity to toss a few questions at Cawthorne and Tennet (who are married in real life) about the film, what the behind the scenes mayhem was like, and other bloody stuff about this very bloody film.
Like I mentioned they all worked together on a Power Rangers series in New Zealand before Blood Punch. Making that shift from kid’s show to bloody horror-comedy was a bit cathartic for them. “Power Rangers is quite a long shoot as far as TV series go,” Tennet explains. “So although we had an awesome time shooting it, by the time we were in our last month of shooting we were all a bit over it and ready to do something else. Blood Punch is definitely the furthest you can get from a kids’ series where we were fighting rubber monsters and running around in Lycra! But it was also really great to go into a project with a cast, a director and a writer that I knew so well and had such a solid working relationship with already.”
“It was massive fun,” says Cawthorne. “RPM became very tough after the 5th month of filming, it was a real struggle to get through some of those scenes and that dialogue. Also for Eddie and Maddy I think this was a nice breathe of fresh air, they’d been in children’s TV land for years and years, so this was them really letting their hair down.”
What starts off as a bizarre love triangle meth cookout in the woods quickly turns into an even more bizarre supernatural time loop of death. Cawthorne’s initial reaction to the script was “‘Oh shit, this guy (Eddy) is a nutcase who is trying to lure us to the US’ hahaha, I don’t think I’ve ever told him that! But then I read it again, saw how cool the Skyler character is, then as I got more of the script I started to ‘get’ the tone of the film, and after reading the whole first script I was hooked. I was keen to make it.”
Tennet explains that “To get a role written specifically with you in mind, pretty much never happens as an actor so it was really flattering, not to mention really exciting. Shortly after reading it my thought was ‘Oh god, I really have to learn how to smoke.’” Skyler does indeed smoke a lot in the film. Each time, she cooly lights a match with her thumb. It’s a tough trick to pull off in real life. “I’m not sure I should give this away, but the lighting the match trick was actually done by super-gluing a small piece of the lighting strip from a matchbox onto my thumb and then striking the match on that. There are lots of outtakes of me stuffing up the trick because if the matches got just slightly damp they would snap.”
For the role, Tennet did her film noir femme fatale research. “Blood Simple, Double Indemnity, Something Wild, Body Heat are a few of the ones we watched. Lauren Bacall, Kathleen Turner, Anne Bancroft and are all actresses who nailed the femme fatale role so I definitely drew inspiration from them. Also Noomi Rapace from Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, because we thought that Skyler had probably had quite a tortured past. In saying that, I then let all of that go when we start shooting and just go with my instincts, otherwise I can start to doubt my choices.”
There’s a lot of weapons utilized in Blood Punch. Everything from crossbows to hatchets and even a grenade for good measure. That being said, there’s a lot of great kills in the film – ranging from gruesome to humorous. I’m partial to one where Skyler uses a cleaver. Cawthorne agrees, “that might be my favourite as well. I also like the double ‘scythe’ after Skyler and I have an argument about whose turn it is. I love all the kills once it becomes a bit boring for me and Skyler, that’s when I enjoy the film the most.”
Some of the kill effects didn’t go as planned, as Cawthorne describes, “There was one point where Eddie was firing paintballs at Ari to mimic the pistol shots I lay into him. Ari had padding on most of his upper body. I say’ most’ because there was a small portion of skin that hadn’t been covered right under Ari’s armpit. And it was about the fourth or fifth hit, you can see Ari go from ‘acting’ pain, to really ‘feeling’ pain. It never fails to crack me up. The look on his face as that paintball hits. So no, I guess there’s not a lot of sympathy there.”
Aside from the kills, one scene in particular was difficult for the actors. It involves making out with a whole lotta blood pouring down on them. “I would have to say that was my hardest scene in the whole film,” says Tennet. “You can actually see Milo holding onto me really tight because I was desperately trying to get out of the way of the blood! Actually…now that I think of it…Milo was probably just using me as a shield. What a dick.”
Cawthorne says, “One of the worst thins about that was the blood acted like glue and just picked up anything that was on that ground, so you go to get cleaned up and you’ve got cigarette butts sticking to your arse, and little bits of wood entangled in the hair on your thighs.”
As it turns out, shooting up in CA’s San Jacinto mountains drew some unwanted attention… “We had a guy who had nothing to do with the crew, kind of start following us around, he carried a gun in his belt and would often pull it out and show it to you. Towards the end of the filming he demanded to be paid for his ‘services’, our producer declined and so the guy pulls out the gun, and suddenly our producer was convinced that maybe we actually should pay this guy. He got his money and we haven’t heard from him since.”
The crew also made a bit of a mess in the cabin where they shot. The owner was furious, so when they realized reshoots needed to be done, “We can’t say that we’re the same film crew that ruined the house earlier, so Ari pretends to be someone else, puts on an American accent and rents the cabin. After doing some shots outside we get a call from the owner, saying that one of the neighbors saw people near the cabin with a camera, he’s worried because he had a bad experience with a film crew earlier in the year. So Ari has to assure him that we’re not the same crew, we’re just a bunch of friends who are taking snapshots of the forest. The owner buys it, and we manage to get all the shots we need. But that was a nervous period of time for us, we didn’t know whether the owner was going to pay us a ‘surprise’ visit or not. One day the cleaner knocked on the door and we all jumped with fright.”
Thanks a million to Milo Cawthorn and Olivia Tennet for answering my questions. Blood Punch is available now on DVD, iTunes, and VOD from Midnight Releasing. The DVD includes deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage, and other fun tidbits. I sincerely recommend this film to our readers. It’s an absolute blast.
In the age of Steam, so many games get released that even substantive, interesting titles get short shrift. Most of them are reviewed and end up in a ‘Let’s Play’ of some kind and then fall off a cliff for the rest of the game’s viable lifespan.
Well, to combat that in some small way, we’ve decided to publish an occasional series, consisting of candid chats with or features about developers about how they made their most popular games. First up is Krillbite Studios, the Norwegian developer responsible for a charming game about a toddler with a furry little sidekick and some pretty big nightmares.
Among the Sleep turned out to be one of the most surprising and terrifying games of 2014. With a unique premise and compelling visual style, it arrived to great acclaim from gamers and reviewers interested in all genres, including the horror sect.
The team at Krillbite was kind enough to answer a whole battery of questions about the successes, difficulties, failures, and joys of working on Among the Sleep.
The Idea and Early Work
The idea for Among the Sleep originated with the game’s designer back in 2011. One night, he was struck by a particular dream, about a toddler running down a pair of stairs and hiding from a monster. A fairly simple yet evocative image, this was the game’s initial creative spark. Shortly thereafter, while still pursuing undergraduate degrees, the relatively inexperienced team began work on the prototype.
Even early on, the visual style was pretty well developed, at least philosophically. They wanted it to be somewhat stylistic and painted — “to make fit with the colorful perception a child can have of the world,” they said — but also retain the distinctly horrific feel throughout. That created pretty specific guiding parameters for how they would design and create the world the toddler and Teddy would inhabit. Whatever changes occurred, the initial focus remained clear: to project something rooted in reality and yet also be indicative of a child’s imagination.
Because of their collective inexperience, however, character designs and the overall art style went through several iterations before the final product emerged. For instance, the game began its life with an extremely bright color palette, but those early blueprints had to be balanced out to accommodate the overall, horror-based tone. As a result, the visuals became more realistic, featuring deeper and darker colors to fit the mood. They used hand-painted textures with more realistic-looking shaders to reach their desired art style.
With regard to tone, the team wanted something dark but also something fantastical that encompassed the core conceit, which revolves around a very young child. The team is convinced they achieved a consistent balance, navigating the murky waters of a somewhat dark tone with something makes players feel safe navigating the world as a toddler.
Too light, and the game doesn’t feel substantive. Too dark, and it comes across as abusive or morbid. What Among the Sleep managed to do was give life to a dark and forbidding world and give it a sense of danger without stepping too far into something repulsive.
The realistic-sounding toddler work can be credited to a friend’s baby. Martin Kvale, the sound engineer, brought a recorder to the studio and let the machine run while he played with the child, gathering a collection of sounds that could be used to enliven the game’s protagonist.
For the mother, the team relied upon Jory Prum, a friend of theirs who owns a recording studio in California. He sent a casting packet (including notes and test dialogue) to different candidates, and the whole team listened to the auditions together. They became enamored with the voice of Cia Court, whose credits include League of Legends and The Wolf Among Us. They said, “There was something that stood out to us about Cia Court’s voice, who we hired, and she ended up nailing the role!”
As for Teddy, Prum had an idea for who should voice the sidekick bear from the very beginning. Roger Jackson, known for his myriad roles in movies, television, and video games — he’s THE phone voice from the Scream movies! — became involved early on, and he worked through several variants of the Teddy character as the team developed his role in the game.
“The Teddy character…[was] a completely different character at different times during the production, but Roger adapted to it every time as the incredibly talented actor he is,” they said. Originally, Teddy was a slightly menacing (to evil) character, but eventually he became the comfort blanket players would see in the final version.
Since they began Among the Sleep as students, the team at Krillbite virtually had no knowledge of how to make a game or run a company. Everything, for them, was a learning process, from the more organizational aspects of figuring out what tools and routines worked for them, to the more creative and technical aspects of game development.
This inexperience could be traced back to each element of development, even the production schedule itself. The team’s approach to hours at the office varied from strict to unstructured. Right out of school, they had no set schedule, but after finding a lack of structure didn’t quite work, it moved to something a little more standard. After release, the schedule modulated to something in between, so they could achieve a modicum of work-life balance.
They started out the development process by making their own engine, before transitioning to Unity — version 3.5. That simple but now obvious switch proved to streamline production. Through updating the game and iterating tirelessly — Among the Sleep now runs on the latest version of Unity — they learned a lot about how to be creative on demand and to understand what will work and what won’t before actually making it. Once they had a workable prototype, they started the QA process.
Krillbite did most of the game testing and QA internally for the first few years. Of the more basic bugs, the ones that kept bringing them back, of particular difficulty was the AI, which provided plenty of consistent problems. There was a problem “where the monster would never spawn, or just stop in the middle of something.”
The technical issues weren’t limited to AI. They said, “Another one would be the endless drawer in ‘Chapter 4 — Into the Closet.’ The drawer was implemented with physics, and physics aren’t always easy to play with. So this drawer had a lot of episodes where it wouldn’t come out or it came out and got blocked somewhere else. Damn that drawer!”
Overall, they found the testing process to be entirely useful and suggest any aspiring game makers do it early and often. External testers were able to see the game with fresh eyes and provide the team with invaluable feedback. In many instances, the dev’s perspective became irrelevant pretty quickly. “We’ve both removed things, added things, and even changed the story countless times because of feedback,” they said.
For the design team at Krillbite, the puzzles provided an interesting challenge. The key to each lay in the interaction between the toddler protagonist and the physical environment. It had to feel believable, and the child character believable within this world.
To make a believable, childlike world, there had to be quite a few physical limitations imposed on the character and character movement. The depth of experience, then, would come from those limitations, which would increase the game’s tension and horror. There were were lots of discussions about the balance that needed to be stuck between realism and fantasy. In the end, they went with a middle ground solution.
“If we had gone with making baby simulator levels of realism, it would have been too boring. If we had gone with a too far out fantastical solution like abilities or magic, it would have drastically distanced the players from the character,” they said.
As with all games, some elements and ideas had to be excised, but the team insists it had everything to do with how it fit into the game. Ideas would be cut if they didn’t work, were difficult to understand, or they weren’t fun. But nothing in the game was pulled because it placed the child in too much jeopardy or didn’t fit with the themes or tone of Among the Sleep.
Of the tiptoeing they did around the subject of a small child in a dangerous situation, they said, “There’s definitely been things that have been taken out of the game, but rarely was the sole reason that it felt too creepy for a game with a child protagonist.”
Without providing spoilers here, the game’s third act helped Among the Sleep transcend being a neat little horror game to being something more substantive. The third act “twist” came to be out of a combination of iteration, concerted effort, and a need to tie things together.
“At that time there was less connection between the internal story of the [third] chapter and the main story,” says Krillbite. “Late in the production we saw it necessary to cut a few major plot points as it was too messy and confusing.” Afterwards, they smoothed out the other chapters to make all three coalesce in a more or less intertwined way.
Production — The Successes
One thing that the team did not expect at all was the near-viral attention Among the Sleep received throughout production. The first gameplay teaser, for example, caught on without much advertising. It provided a necessary and much-needed motivational boost for the team, since they knew that what they were doing was exciting people. That momentum surrounding the game’s early hype helped Krillbite launch their eventually-successful Kickstarter.
Krillbite’s Kickstarter campaign proved to be hugely important for developing and completing Among the Sleep. Launched on April 18, 2013, the campaign eventually went on to top its $200,000 goal by nearly fifty thousand dollars, making it an immensely successful method for getting the word out about their adventure horror game.
“It gave us the opportunity to be free of the restraints of a publisher and we were able to work less on part time jobs that had nothing to do with game development and focus more time and effort into the development of Among the Sleep,” they said.
Through doing the Kickstarter, they learned that all facets of game development take a lot longer than anticipated, from the development of the game to the DLC to getting out the physical rewards. In fact, they’re still getting the physical rewards to Kickstarter backers, and the DLC took a lot longer than they thought.
Production — The Struggles
The game was not without its struggles, however. Krillbite slowly came to realize that it’s quite difficult to get players to see what they wanted them to see, through the eyes of the player. “We expected people to understand and pick up on all of the small hints that we put in as the main story of the game, and [we] didn’t test this with external people until very late,” they said, adding, “At this point, it became clear that we had been too vague all along, and that the story was too confusing for most people to pick up on.”
It was through normal production and testing that they were able to close those missing connections between what they wanted to convey and what the audience was receiving.
When discussing what they might modify, change, or take out, they were pretty blunt. “The monsters,” they said. “Like mentioned earlier, Among the Sleep was our first game and led us to unintentionally underestimate the monster or AI aspect of the game.” They originally wanted a very flexible AI that could navigate most areas so that they could add monster sequences wherever they found fitting, but that proved to be much more difficult than first proposed.
In fact, the monster sequences were meant to be a much bigger part of the game than what they ended up being. It wasn’t until late in production that they realized it was not going to pan out that way, and they had to compromise with their original vision. Hence, the monster sequences became much more sporadic.
They believe it worked out nicely, and they’re not unhappy about the number of monster appearaances. “We wouldn’t have added a ton more monster events, because we think that subtlety in horror is crucial,” they said. And yet, they would have preferred a more flexible system, one they could have toyed around with, than it ended up being.
Beyond the diminished monster events, the team ended up making other cuts and major changes for the sake of the game’s integrity. “For instance, we went through an ‘adventure phase,’ where your Teddy had active abilities that you had to use to overcome enemies,” Krillbite said. One ability made holes in the ground, while another created a protective bubble around the toddler, but eventually they were scrapped. In the end, the game comprised only a fraction of their overall ideas.
Release, Response, and Reflection
“Thinking back,” they said, “it all feels like a blur.” The game’s release schedule was really tight ramping up to launch, which gave them very limited time to feel prepared. They were pressed for time, uploading assets for [Steam] trading cards, achievements, and the final build no more than 10 minutes before the launch.
As soon as they hit “Publish,” the realization hit them that they had launched. “In the next nerve wracking moments of release,” they said, “we constantly hit the ‘refresh’ button to see if any reviews had been posted.” Since the majority of the reviews were positive, they were able to relax a little and consider the launch itself a success.
Upon reflection, the team has settled on a few major lessons they gained from making Among the Sleep. One of the clear ones is that making games takes time. A lot of time. “We extended the production schedule for Among the Sleep a gazillion times.”
The second is that communication is hard. “Both inside the game, with communicating to the player what the next step is, how to do it, where to go, but also internally within the team: getting everybody on the same page on what we’re creating, how we are creating it, and why,” they said. The third has all to do with their philosophical approach to making games. “How much do we base in reality, how much can be imagination, and where do we draw the line, ethically?”
The big question a lot of people have is, will the team at Krillbite Studios continue to create and develop games? The answer is, most definitely, and it has a lot to do with the overwhelmingly positive response to Among the Sleep. They said, “To see people respond by sending us personal e-mails about how touched they were, or how incredibly frightening the experience was, is an injection of motivation and inspiration to carry on. We hope to be able to continue to touch people in games to come.”
The next steps for Krillbite include tying up all the Kickstarter business and getting Among the Sleep on the Playstation 4. However, they’ve already got an idea for their next game, which is going to be way different from Among the Sleep. They said, “It’s called Mosaic, and we again want to focus on difficult topics but this time not in a horror setting!” They plan on revealing more information after initial testing.
Nippon Ichi is accepting pre-orders for a new PS3-exclusive Classified Edition of the Twin Peaks-ish horror game Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut that might be worth getting, so long as it’s not as broken as the Director’s Cut was when it hit PC nearly two years ago. Now, if you were ever going to be interested in a game like this, it’s likely you’ve broken down and purchased it at some point over the last five years. If that’s not the case, here’s a breakdown of what’s included with its moderately hefty $50 price tag.
The Classified Edition comes with a 30+ page hardcover art book, its original soundtrack, a custom 54-card Bicycle brand card deck, and a DLC voucher. The bundle is available for pre-order now on the NISA shop. It releases on November 24.
This weekend brought some horrible news for horror fans when the world found out that legendary filmmaker Wes Craven was taken from us suddenly and far too early. The horror community is still reeling from the tragic news, because for many of us, Craven’s films had a monumental impact on our lives, as well as why we come here every single day to celebrate this amazing genre.
A Nightmare On Elm St helped introduced me to scary movies, and Scream remains as one of my all-time favorite films, horror or otherwise. As badly as I’d like to honor this icon, I’m not confident that I could adequately describe the influence this one man had on me. Thankfully, our managing editor Jonny B handled that beautifully with this must-read tribute.
So instead, I’m going to celebrate Wes Craven by dedicating this horror art spotlight on my favorite of his myriad creations: Freddy Krueger. I hope you enjoy.
Art by Lovell-Art
Art by b-maze
Art by Klar-Jezebeth
Art by BlackCoatl
Art by TheNewestRedRanger
Art by ValentrisRRock
Art by frostdusk
Double Murder is back with two movies of alien creatures coming to earth: Xtro vs. The Deadly Spawn! Your hosts Danny! and Tim perform an alien autopsy on these 80’s cult classics and try to make sense of what happens when great ideas meet limited budgets. Tune in to find out which is worth watching, and which should be deported back to it’s home planet!
I truly didn’t expect to walk away from a Chet Zar documentary having shed tears through nearly half of it. In hindsight, I don’t know why I didn’t expect it, given that Chet is an incredibly emotive artist. I Like To Paint Monsters: The Chet Zar Story, directed by Mike Correll and produced by NRG Creations, isn’t just about an insanely talented man in the Dark Art movement, but about his journey to understand the world through his innate desire to create what many would perceive as darkness, but what is, in actuality, lightness.
There are many ways of going about being an artist. There’s being technically good at art. And then there’s the passion to be good at art. There’s also the passion for art itself and the passion to create. But in the greatest of artists, you see the need to create and the unshakable drive bubbling up inside of them that compels them to create. Then there is Chet Zar, a man who is all of the above plus an intense spiritualist and, in a way, a philosopher.
It’s difficult to talk about this documentary because it’s so incredibly multifaceted. It’s a wonderful piece of film that takes the viewer through Chet’s life, to the impact he’s had on the art world (especially the world of Dark Art), to the way his art has impacted even himself. We get to meet the truly peaceful, shy, and darling little boy that made mechanical hands crawl across his room, the boy who would test out makeup special effects on his friends, and continually take things apart piecing them back together, Chet was always creating in every medium he could get his hands on.
Chet is what you would call a prodigy. Though something tells me he would reject that term because what he does is just something that’s in his bones; in his very core. He couldn’t exist without it, whatever “it” is. But prodigy he is. He was hired at the age of 15 to do Halloween makeup effects at Magic Mountain with a special work permit because he was too young to be working. He was working in film by the end of his teens, going on to work on films such as Hellboy 1 & 2, The Ring, and Planet of the Apes, among others.
We gradually watch him grow into a smart and driven teen and into the talented and thoughtful man he is today. Through anecdotes from his family, we learn of his playfulness as a child (using his incredible abilities to convince his mom he’d cut off his finger), but also the dark unrest he suffered having a deeply depressed father who eventually left his family when Chet was only five.
Chet not only dealt with these mortal troubles at a young age, like his absentee father and parental strife, but he also dealt with incidents of hauntings, out of body experiences, and even stigmata. Both of these types of horror, the more common family concerns and the less common supernatural issues, can be felt immensely in his work. Unlike most people, Chet is an extremely spiritually attuned person and these occurrences didn’t frighten him but rather inspired him.
His out of body experiences started around the age of twelve. One in particular was so haunting and creepy, Chet said it was “the evilest feeling you could have,” yet instead of hiding from it, it stimulated and moved him, most notably in his piece “Disturb the Normal” a work of digital art he created.
Before he was even a teen, Chet spent a lot of time thinking about the state of art. He was depressed about it. Uninspired. When a friend brought over H.R. Giger’s Necronomicon, its creepy aesthetic and beautiful technicalities are what inspired Chet to create the type of work we see him do today, the haunted quality of Giger’s work really spoke to him, as he had a deep fascination with hauntings.
There are elements of this documentary that just absolutely rip you to shreds. For example, while Chet talks about his biological father’s absence, depression, and withdrawn nature, the screen flashes paintings of his that were inspired by this household dread. Using Chet’s brutal honesty along with the imagery of his art made it impossible not to feel deeply about both.
Again, unlike most people and especially children, Chet threw himself into what scared him. He was terrified by all the normal things a child would be terrified by, but what scared him also enthralled him and became like an obsession, causing himself to become lost in his dark work, propelling his monstrous aesthetic.
Feelings of anxiety, guilt, and fear plagued Chet throughout his adolescence, which he came to terms with through therapy. But possibly even more therapeutic for him and what seems to have helped make sense of the trials he faced during his childhood — to help him cope — were the monsters that he created. This was his artistic outlet for this type of trauma. “The monsters made me whole,” he says, expressing how the dark imagery in his artwork was a healthy thing for him.
Chet then took his inner turmoil and turned it outward to mirror our real existence and fears caused by the world we live in today. He turns societal fears into monsters on canvas. But he turns them into monsters that feel, in a way, safe. This is his reaction to the world and we’re all better off for it. His extremely positive outlook on our future affects his art and the monsters within. The enlightenment in his art is extremely palpable. You can see that he believes things are going to get better. He says, “There’s so much suffering in the world that I can’t make art that doesn’t reflect that in some way.” But he goes on to say that he truly believes things will be okay, and that is absolutely a sentiment reflected in his art.
Chet’s art gives people an outlet to talk about their fears, darkness, anxieties, the human condition, and the world around them. There is not one piece of Chet Zar’s art that does not make a statement or hold deep meaning to either his life or the world around him. As it’s said in the film, he is “using darkness to spread light.” Chet paints monsters that are dying in order to turn a light on. He is illuminating the darkness by killing off monsters in his art. “It’s sort of like turning the light on in the dark closet to show a kid that there’s nothing really there, that there’s nothing to be afraid of,” he says, and continues to discuss the ways of exploring these fears and anxieties through the darkness.
To truly fall in love with a piece of art, you must be able to see something of yourself inside of it. The way that Chet paints and presents his monsters makes it nearly impossible not to find some part of yourself inside of them, at least some part of your existence. And to listen to all these professionals and artists and collectors talk about seeing themselves and seeing the world in Chet’s art is incredibly powerful and proves that he’s doing something right.
I Like To Paint Monsters is chock-full of interviews, not only with family and friends but other artists, collectors, performers, gallery owners, and industry professionals who truly understand what Chet does and what he wants to accomplish with his work. The wealth of imagery that we see throughout the documentary, comprised of Chet’s paintings and sculpting work, even some of his tattooing and other various mediums of art, make watching this film worth it alone.
Everything about this documentary makes the viewer ask: “What goes into making an artist an artist?” Though we’ll never know what makes each artist tick, I Like To Paint Monsters shows us exactly what makes the cogs turn in Chet Zar’s mind.
Find out more about I Like To Paint Monsters at the official website.
A playable demo for indie point-and-click horror game, The Grandfather, will release on PC and PlayStation 4 in September 2015.
Described as an “unique, story-driven puzzle horror game”, The Grandfather offers a pop-up, comic-book art style and tells the tale of a old man “tormented by the coldness of his wife”. You progress by moving through the old man’s home, collecting body parts.
The game also boasts a procedural analog soundtrack that’s generate by each player as they progress through the game. Here, check out this faux-retro teaser trailer to see how it works:
The demo will soon be available on Steam, itch.io and Gamejolt.
The full game is expected to release on PC/Mac next spring, with a PS4 release soon after.
Developer Frictional Games announced via a tweet last Friday that their upcoming survival horror game SOMA is finally feature complete, with only quality assurance and some fine-tuning left standing between it and us. This means there’s little, aside from a potential robot uprising in an undersea lab somewhere, that could keep that September 22 release from happening.
Below you’ll find the game’s E3 trailer. For something a wee bit more recent, I suggest you check out this video with the game’s composer, Mikko Tarmia.
Knock Knock, a stealth horror game originally released on PC in 2013, will be coming to the PS4 on September 10.
Touting an unusual is-it-real-is-it-not backstory, developer Ice-Pick Lodge states that it developed the game from a strange email that arrived at the studio one day.
“What do you, a small-to-mid-sized indie studio, do when an e-mail pops up full of mysterious scribbles, notes, and audio files — coupled with a vague description of a possible game?” states a post on the PS Blog.
“In all honesty, more often than not you probably try to conjure up a polite and friendly response; perhaps discuss the sender’s ideas with them. But that’s not what happened at Ice-Pick Lodge studios in November 2011.”
Writer/Translator Alexandra Golubeva goes on to add that the quirky, hide-and-seek, cabin-in-the-woods story bases its central motif on the fear of the unknown.
“But that’s not all. Further to the Kickstarter and original release on PC in 2013, the “spooky sender” apparently contacted the studio again, claiming that while it had made mistakes, it got the “general gist just right.”
“We were — and still are — a bit afraid of what we’ve done, you see,” adds Golubeva. “Even those of us who were positive it was nothing more than a prank.”
For the past few months, I’ve been writing a series for people who don’t watch and/or appreciate horror. The series, which I’ve simply and lovingly called “How To Start Getting Into Horror” has taken multiple subgenres of horror and made several film recommendations to get someone interested in learning more.
At first, this series was met with no small amount of derision and scorn. Horror fans asked why such a series would exist and how this would even reach the people it was intended for. I’ll fully admit that I need your help in that matter to share it with those people. After all, they’re not going to seek it on their own.
But maybe you, fellow horror fan, have that person in your life that you would love to see at least appreciate your passion. That’s who this series is for. That’s who you share it with. That’s who you take the time to slowly but surely introduce to the films that we hold so near and dear to our hearts.
So, while I know you have the best of intentions to try and bring someone into the fray, sometimes it’s best to take a step back and let them flounder and discover things on their own.
That’s why this week is a small series of lessons to non-horror people who want to learn more (with thanks to Starship Troopers). But these are the ground rules for how to proceed, because we don’t want you to run away screaming. After all, that’s the job of the ancillary characters in the films.
With all that long-winded intro out of the way, let’s hit these rules!Don’t Do It On Your Own
I know that everyone wants to be independent these days. But you don’t have to be. It’s not a weakness to ask for help or to look up places to begin. Hell, that’s why I wrote this whole series to begin with!
Doing it on your own might work. But there’s a far likelier possibility that it won’t and that’s just statistics talking. Everyone wants to try and prove, to themselves or to others, that they can handle things that are often a bigger bite than they can chew. There’s nothing wrong with starting easy and working your way into something, hence why I recommended films like The Mummy or The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. You start with something that has horror elements and build from there.
The analogy I think is somewhat appropriate is learning how to play the guitar. Trying to play Van Halen’s “Eruption” immediately after picking up a guitar is impossible. You need to build up the callouses on your fingers first, which takes time. And as you build those callouses, everything else you begin to practice and play becomes easier and more manageable.
Take. Your. Time.Don’t Ask The “Randy” In Your Life
We all have that friend that’s super passionate about something. I love hanging out with these people because that passion is infectious, it’s contagious, and it’s exhilarating. But many of these people don’t know how to bring it down from a “10”. They want to throw you into their passion pool head first, right into the deep end.
Can you imagine if someone were to say, “Oh, you want to get into horror? Alright, let me grab my copy of Cannibal Holocaust!” Yeah….no. No no no.
You need someone a bit more chill, a bit more relaxed. Find that friend that’s into the casual horror movie, the one that gives them a few shivers of the spine but not much else. They’re the ones who will give you the best recommendations on what to start with.
And furthermore, many of them will watch it with you, which leads me to my next point…Don’t Watch Them Alone
Coming back to the first point, you don’t have to try and prove anything to anyone by watching a horror movie on your own. If they scare you, having people nearby who will watch with you is a comfort, a way to feel safe.
Look at the above clip from Scream. It’s a bunch of pals enjoying themselves to Halloween, which is considered one of the scariest films ever made. The movie can subtly mess with you later, haunting you as you walk through your place in the dark, but you’ll always have good memories attached to it. And that makes a big difference.
Some of the best memories we have in our lives, the ones we cherish the most, are the ones that we share with others. Horror doesn’t have to be any different.
[Review] ‘Last Girl Standing’ Shows That the Massacre is Only the Beginning in the Subversive Slasher Film!
The concept of the “Final Girl” has been integral to the slasher subset of horror for decades now. It’s a fascinating concept that compliments an already surprisingly structured area of film. Basically the term refers to the idea of the sole survivor of these bloodbaths inexplicably ending up being a ravaged woman in peril who goes on to live another day. It’s an idea that originally was used to help mass produce a formulaic genre, but recently there’s been a renewed interest in the concept, with the films Final Girl, The Final Girls, and here, Benjamin R. Moody’ debut feature, Last Girl Standing all coincidentally coming out this year and being fascinated with subverting the trope to some length.
Last Girl Standing cleverly starts off by showing us the end of the slasher movie that Camryn (Akasha Villalobos) manages to crawl out of alive. It’s the perfect conclusion to a film that we don’t see, but get all the salient details of in a terribly succinct introduction, right down to the killer wearing some sort of twisted “Leatherface meets Jason” mask (with a healthy dose of Hannibal’s nightmare stag thrown in for good measure). It’s perfect. It knows exactly what it’s doing. And moving forward from this point, you have an optimistic feeling of where all of this might be heading, with it having already displayed a reflexive knowledge of the form; almost as well as Scream does, even (although here the characters are painfully unaware of the ways they’re shaking up the genre). This feeling is present right down to the shot of Camryn getting rescued that feels like it could be straight out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s conclusion. You feel like you’re in good hands here, which is a crucial thing for a film of this nature
The film’s goal then becomes showing you Camryn’s life after the massacre and if there can be a happily ever after. Unsurprisingly Camryn is plagued with PTSD pretty badly, which seems like it would be par for the course for any horror film’s epilogue. Even if nothing ended up happening to Camryn in Last Girl Standing, just watching her cope with this stress as she tries to scrape back together some semblance of a life–her own baggage being her biggest enemy here—is a deeply compelling story. It’s an internal horror film much more than it is an external one.
In this sense, much of the point of the film is concerned with whether Camryn is actually being terrorized again by her former slasher (or a copycat), or if it’s all just in her head. This is a decent enough premise, even if it’s one that’s been done before in a stronger context. In fact, much of Last Girl Standing’s novelty that it shows you “what happens to the survivor of a slasher film after the slasher film” ends up feeling more like you’re just watching a sequel to a film that you only saw the trailer for. There are a more than a few scenes that play deeply similar to set pieces out of Scream 2 for instance, an actual sequel that naturally explores what happens after the massacre (not to mention Psycho II, an underrated take on the same idea as well). More than anything the feeling that Last Girl Standing gave me was that I was seeing this pseudo-sequel to a film that didn’t exist and I was robbed of details and motivations accordingly.
As we move through the film with Camryn, every step that she takes toward normalcy sees her again being struck by some encounter with her victimizer. Each of these scenes are exhilarating, but they largely begin to feel the same and become repetitive and predictable rather quickly. A different take on them would have justified their presence more, rather than them feeling like they’re padding out a run time. There are so many ways that Camryn could be maybe-stalked and yet the same routes continue to be gone down.
A lot of Last Girl Standing works, but it feels like it’s all setup and once it finally does reveal its true nature, it ends. The film packs a ton into the final fifteen minutes, and maybe they would have been better off if they let this material breathe throughout the course of the film instead. Who knows, it certainly charges the ending in a way that works for it.
In the same vein, the murder scenes are all particularly visceral (there’s no delicate way to kill someone with antlers, I suppose), focusing on aspects like the sound design or the monotony of them as a means of further cracking Camryn’s psyche. This is a welcome approach for the film, albeit one that isn’t fully developed. It’s just nice to see different aspect of attacks being focused on rather than the norm.
One of the more interesting ideas put forth from Last Girl Standing is that the survivors and heroes of these horror films getting caught up in loop and trapped in a cycle that they’re doomed to repeat until the universe eventually allows it to bend (or box office sales hit a level of diminishing returns). The thing is, even when that happens, there’s always going to be one more last girl standing. It’s a Möbius strip of a concept, and even if Camryn’s story is to end here, who’s to say that it won’t continue on through someone else? That is what Last Girl Standing is all about, even if the assembling of that message is a little messy.
After all of this is taken into consideration, the answer of what happens to the last girl standing after the credits roll is appropriately chilling. Even if the film meanders and isn’t wholly original, the final message is a disturbing one and the film goes out on a powerful note. You’ll likely think twice about the next heroine you see surviving the slaughter in a horror film.
You know what’s in store for them, after all.
‘Last Girl Standing’ begins playing in select theaters and is available on VOD, August 31st.
Michael B. Jordan, pictured below, is a fine actor – one who hasn’t stuck to a typecast role or subgenre of film.
The star of Fantastic Four, Chronicle, Fruitville Station and upcoming Creed is said to be in negotiations to star in MGM’s vampire comedy Blood Brothers, a live action adaptation of the Dark Horse comic.
Here’s the comic synopsis: “Nick and Tree have smoked opium with Genghis Khan, had orgies in Michelangelo’s studio, and even fronted a death metal band. But after a century of friendship, these inseparable vampire buddies are on the verge of splitting up. Terrible timing, as an apocalypse-obsessed villain is plotting an end to humanity.”
Jordan’s in talks to nab the role of Tree, one of the key leads in the edgy two-hander, which follows two blood-sucking best friends whose relationship enters a crisis, explains this site.
Blood Brothers is pitched as Ghostbusters meets Men in Black.
The pic’s based on the Dark Horse comic series of the same name written by Hit List, Black List, and Young and Hungry List alums Mike Gagerman and Andrew Waller. Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Entertainment is producing the action/comedy, with Keith Goldberg overseeing. Matt Dines, Adam Rosenberg, and Jonathan Glickman are overseeing for the studio.
RLJ Entertainment released the trailer to the Halloween-themed thriller Pay the Ghost, which will be released in theaters and VOD on September 23, 2015.
Written by Dan Kay and directed by Uli Edel (The Baader Meinhof Complex), Pay the Ghost stars Academy Award Winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, Rage) and Sarah Wayne Callies (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”).
“One year after his young son disappeared during a Halloween carnival, Mike Cole (Nicolas Cage) is haunted by eerie images and terrifying messages he can’t explain. Together with his estranged wife (Sarah Wayne Callies), he will stop at nothing to unravel the mystery and find their son—and, in doing so, he unearths a legend that refuses to remain buried in the past.“
Phillip Noyce is attached to direct Ambulance, Good Universe and Mythology Entertainment’s remake of the 2005 Danish thriller, says Heat Vision.
The original movie, titled Ambulancen, “told of two desperate brothers who attempt a robbery in order to pay for their dying mother’s health care. The job goes south and during their escape, they steal an ambulance. But things only get worse when they discover it’s occupied by a dying heart patient.”
The new iteration re-conceives it as a breathless crime thriller in the vein of Dog Day Afternoon and Heat set in downtown LA.
Mythology principals Brad Fischer, James Vanderbilt and William Sherak are producing the project, which has a script by Chris Fedak, the co-creator of cult television show “Chuck.”
Set to premiere at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival is February, starring Emma Roberts (“American Horror Story”) and Kiernan Shipka (“Mad Men,” Carriers), with Lucy Boynton (Miss Porter), James Remar (“Dexter”), and Lauren Holly (Dumb and Dumber).
In February, “beautiful and haunted Joan makes a bloody and determined pilgrimage across a frozen landscape toward a prestigious all girls prep school where Rose and Kat find themselves stranded after their parents mysteriously fail to retrieve them for winter break. As Joan gets closer, terrifying visions begin plaguing Kat while Rose watches in horror as she becomes possessed by an unseen evil force.”
Principal photography took place in Ottawa on the film written and directed by Osgood Perkins, son of legendary Psycho actor Anthony Perkins.
February is produced by Unbroken Pictures’ Adrienne Biddle and Bryan Bertino (The Strangers), Rob Paris’ Paris Film, Inc. (Everly), Zed Filmworks’ Rob Menzies and Alphonse Ghossein of Go Insane Films. Carissa Buffel and Kevin Matusow are executive producing under their Traveling Picture Show (The Quiet Ones) banner along with 120dB Films’ Peter Graham and Steve Hayes, and Arianne Fraser.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Friday the 13th Part 6, NECA is releasing the definitive collector’s version of Jason Voorhees as he appeared in the 1986 film Jason Lives!
This deluxe 7” scale action figure features a gruesome, freshly unearthed sculpt and over 25 points of articulation.
It’s loaded with accessories, too: removable mask, a machete and a knife that both fit into sheaths on his belt, the fence post that reanimated him and his tombstone.
Packaged in a collector-friendly Deluxe 30th Anniversary window box.
One FX makes their first “American Horror Story” reveal, they literally open the floodgates.
This past week we were treated to the first stills and details from “American Horror Story: Hotel”, the fifth season of the popular anthology series that will star Lady Gaga.
It’s been a Gaga love-fest, with several posts sharing new images and details, the latest being the above shot actually from the premiere episode, ‘Checking In,’ set to air October 7th.
Here’s the plot that came courtesy of EW:
“Built in 1930 by the rich and charming but deeply psychotic James March (Evan Peters), the beautiful art-deco hotel is, in actuality, a labyrinthine structure built to hide March’s murderous activities (think dead ends, secret rooms, endless shafts). This echoes America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes, which we detail here.
“In regards to Gaga, the show shifts to present day, where the Cortez is acquired by Gaga’s Countess, described by the site as “a glamorous socialite who attends art openings and fashion shows and maintains her looks not from a steady diet of kale but from imbibing human blood.”
“The Countess is also insatiable when it comes to love and sex, which sets up a macabre love triangle between her, the similarly blood-hungry Donovan (Matt Bomer) and the newly turned male model Tristan (Finn Wittrock).
“Also gravitating around the world of the Cortez are Ramona Royale (Angela Bassett), an actress/former lover of The Countess’ seeking revenge; Iris (Kathy Bates), Donovan’s mother and the front desk clerk; Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare), a cross-dresser nicknamed by The Countess; Hypodermic Sally (Sarah Paulson), a junkie and friend of The Countess; Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley), a cop investigating a murderer named the Ten Commandments Killer; and The Addiction Demon, a creature in the vein of Rubberman or Bloodyface, who has no eyes or mouth but does wield a nasty, conical drillbit dildo.”
“The heat is on” is one way I could’ve described the upcoming Incinerate ‘N Detonate DLC that will be making its way to Killing Floor 2 sometime next month. If there was ever a cast of creatures that deserved to be on the receiving end of a flamethrower, it’d be the series of hideous face-like surfaces that make up the Zed hordes.
Aside from giving us a reason to yell “Kill it with fire!” at our computer monitors, the latest content pack will introduce new achievements, improved audio, new Firebug and Demolitions Perks, and a couple of maps — Evacuation Point and Catacombs — which I refer to as canvases, for I use them to paint red with Zed blood. Players will also be able to vote for maps during matchmaking, as well as use the power of democracy to boot unsavory types before they have a chance to ruin the game.
Hard rock group New Years Day will be releasing their third studio album Malevolence on October 2nd that will be followed by a month long US tour.
Vocalist Ash Costello describes the album:
Malevolence is the most personal album we have ever written to date. More than ever you can really feel the blood and tears in these lyrics. It wasn’t an easy process because it was so emotional but what came from it is honest and real. It’s therapeutic and angry but still shows vulnerability.
Our producer Erik Ron will always start an album by asking me “what are you feeling right now?” to which I replied “pissed off.” I think anyone that has suffered through loss, betrayal, insecurity and abandonment will absolutely relate to it. For me, it felt so good to get everything I had been bottling up out and hopefully it helps others in the process.
To celebrate this upcoming release, Costello listed off her five favorite horror movies in a video that can be seen below.
10/03 – San Diego, CA @ Soma Side Stage
10/04 – Hollywood, CA @ The Whisky A Go Go
10/06 – Scottsdale, AZ @ Pub Rock
10/07 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
10/08 – El Paso, TX @ Mesa Music Hall
10/09 – Fort Worth, TX @ Tomcats
10/10 – San Antonio, TX @ Korova
10/11 – Houston, TX @ Walters
10/14 – Greensboro, NC @ The Blind Tiger
10/15 – Richmond, VA @ Canal Club
10/16 – New York, NY @ Santos
10/17 – Worcester, MA @ Palladium Upstairs *Rock & Shock
10/18 – Rochester, NY @ Water Street Music Hall
10/20 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre
10/21 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
10/22 – Toledo, OH @ Frankies
10/23 – Utica, MI @ Hatchy’s
10/24 – St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
10/25 – Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street Collective
10/26 – Kansas City, KS @ Aftershock
10/28 – Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
10/29 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
10/30 – Bend, OR @ Volcanic Theatre Rock
10/31 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
11/01 – Seattle, WA @ Studio 7
11/03 – Sacramento, CA @ Boardwalk
11/04 – Santa Cruz, CA @ Atrium At The Catalyst Club
11/05 – Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction