Updated with the official AFM sales art!
Darren Lynn Bousman, director of Saw II, Saw III and Saw IV, is still set to direct Abattoir, which will be produced by Radical Studios, and brought onto the market at AFM by Paris-based sales company Versatile Films, Variety reports.
Abattoir will answer the genre’s most terrifying question: How do you build a haunted house?
Bousman will work from a screenplay by Christopher Monfette, who adapts the Radical Publishing comicbook miniseries created by Bousman.
“Somebody has spent decades purchasing the sites of horrific tragedies, removing the bloodied rooms and piecing them together. When a Boston real-estate reporter unearths this urban legend, the story will lead her the enigmatic Jebediah Crone and his impossible construction — the Abattoir.“
Currently in pre-production — casting is under way — Abattoir is scheduled to shoot early next year for a fall 2014 delivery.
A prequel exists in comic form through Radical.
Stealth Media is at the American Film Market with a handful of horror titles and sales art accompanying them. Jeremy Berg’s art for The Invoking clearly rips off James Wan’s The Conjuring poster done by New Line, which is funny because both pieces of art are kinda sucky. Invoking stars Brandon Anthony, Carson Holden, and D’Angelo Midili. “After inheriting a house from a family that she never knew, Sam and three friends take a road trip to inspect the remote property. Soon after Sam arrives old memories come seeping back, while jealousy and unspoken tension between the friends is forced to the surface. Sam soon finds herself unable to tell the difference between reality and horrible visions of brutality she can’t escape, and while her world crumbles around her, she discovers that the current horrors may be tied directly to her past.”
Then there’s the awfully titled Panzer Chocolate, which teases that the darkest Nazi secret is about to be revealed. “In the dark forests of the Pyrenees, an Archaeology PhD student and three friends in search for pieces of art stolen during WWII discover a Nazi bunker called ‘Valhalla’. They soon realize that the place is guarded by a hideous beast named Das Kommandant Frank, and find themselves running for their lives.” Melina Matthews (Mama, Savage Grace), Geraldine Chaplin (Doctor Zhivago, Talk to Her, The Impossible) , Ariadna Cabrol (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer), Tony Corvillo (Sleep Tight), Mark Schardan (North Face), Josep Seguí (Piantball), Luka Peros (The Hunting Party, No One’s Son), Richard Felix (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Fragile) all star in the horror directed by Robert Figueras (Citizen Welles).
Then there’s Bigfoot Wars from Origin Releasing, which also shared the below sales trailer. The film is the Boggy Wars prequel and is based on the bestselling book series by Eric S. Brown. This prequel is an introduction to the classic man versus mythical beast series set in the small town of Boggy Creek. Starring C. Thomas Howell (Red Dawn, E.T.) and Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club), this horror/thriller version of the classic Bigfoot tale “follows a group of teens that are thrust into a nightmare beyond their wildest imaginations when the creatures begin to try and mate with the girls and kill off the guys – and no one believes them, except for Zeke Jesterson (Howell) and Sheriff Jim Taylor (Holt Boggs, Hostage), whose daughter has been kidnapped by the savage beasts. From the horrifying opening scene to the intense conclusion, no one is safe from Bigfoot.”
Lastly, Origin also has art for Dead Sea, which was directed by Brandon Slagle, and stars Britt Griffith, Alexis Iacono, and Donnie Darko‘s James Duval. In the film, “A Marine Biologist is thrust into the violent paranoia surrounding a town preparing for the return of a legendary serpentine creature.”
I dug the first film so I’m hoping that Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire lives up to the original’s fun Battle Royale/Running Man mix. Today a new clip was released that shows Katniss’ inability to become a leader, for now…
The Francis Lawrence-directed sequel, in theaters November 22, “continues the story of Katniss Everdeen and the fictional, futuristic nation of Panem. Due to the events of the previous novel, a rebellion against the ruling Capitol has begun, and Katniss and fellow tribute Peeta are forced to return to the arena in a special edition of the The Hunger Games.”
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, Woody Harrelson, Jena Malone, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lynn Cohen, Patrick St. Esprit, Meta Golding, Bruno Gunn, Maria Howell, and Sam Claflin all star.
Is there anything more intense than watching a guy beat the living shit out of a cement wall? Maybe, but you won’t see it this year…
As reported yesterday, Raid 2 was once again written and directed by Gareth Evans – who also co-directed the “Safe Haven” segment on V/H/S/2 – and picks up right where the first film left off. It follows Rama (Iko Uwais) as he goes undercover and infiltrates the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate in order to protect his family and uncover the corruption in his own police force.
Watch as Rama punches a cement prison wall as extreme violence flashes before his eyes. Revenge is surely going to be a dish best served cold…
Umedia is taking The Well to the ongoing American Film Market, reports ScreenDaily.
“The pic is a psychological horror about a young woman trapped at the bottom of a dried out well, who is tormented both by a stranger, from outside the well, and by her own psyche, from inside.”
The UK-Swedish-Hungarian co-production will be directed by Misko Massanyi, who also wrote the script.
Tony Krantz and Jesper Böcker are producing through 79 Pictures, with production set to start early 2014.
Our scoop from this past February(!) has been confirmed the day of AFM as Battleship and “Friday Night Lights” star Taylor Kitsch, pictured, is attached to star in thriller Exit 147, one of three new films being introduced by Umedia at the AFM, reports ScreenDaily.
In Exit 147, Kitsch stars as “a sadistic cop who plays mind games with a young traveller who he stops driving through the desert one night.”
Set to go into production in the second quarter of 2014, it is directed by Julian Jarrold, which we also reported back in February.
Written by Travis Milloy (Pandorum), Exit 147 is a Umedia presentation of a Mandalay Vision production.
Henry Rollins — a major multi-tasker as musician, writer, journalist, publisher, radio host, actor and activist — has assumed a new role as leading man.
Best known as the frontman for seminal punk band Black Flag, Rollins, who starred in Feast and Wrong Turn 2, returns to horror with the indie horror-thiller He Never Died as Jack, who has prolonged life by buying stolen blood, until his criminal past come back to haunt him, Variety says.
Jason Krawczyk directs. “Grand Theft Auto 5” star Steven Ogg has come onboard to co-star with Rollins.
“An exceptionally prolonged life brings depression and a detachment. Jack buys stolen blood from a hospital intern, pays bingo daily, sleeps fourteen hours a day, watches television six hours a day, and lives alone. This is his life and he has shelled himself away from social interactions. The fuse is lit when Jack’s past comes back to rattle him. Jack must now walk the tight rope of sobriety and try to eat as few people as possible in this violent tale of personal responsibility and self worth. As it turns out, there are very few reasons to live when you can’t die.”
Shooting starts Nov. 13 in Toronto.
108 Media is selling international markets at the American Film Market.
Written by T. Blake Braddy, @blakebraddy
Knock-Knock is a flat-out weird experience, from the opening frames, when players first see its spiky-haired protagonist, to the last few surreal moments, and digging into the history of its conception reveals a story almost as bizarre as the game’s own narrative.
In November 2011, the crew at Ice Pick Lodge, the game’s developer, received an anonymous email containing an attachment called “letsplay.rar,” which turned out to be an archive of 19 various media files, including small pieces of text, audio, and video.
The cryptic email urged them to make a game based on the files, though it warned ominously that collecting them together would have a potentially unsettling outcome.
It should be noted that emails of this type are sent with numbing frequency, especially to games companies. Both aspiring creatives and devious pranksters find video game producers to be particularly apt targets for their desperate communiques, so most of them go straight into the trash.
Alexandra Golubeva, a writer and designer at the company, says that they kind of blew off this email, too, at first. She said, “We thought it might be some kind of prank, that someone was trying to scare us, maybe even intimidate us.”
Yet, something was different about this one. The files seemed mostly unconnected in a strict narrative sense, but they all shared a similar sense of odd, atmospheric creepiness, a confluence of factors that made it stand out.
According to a press release from Ice Pick Lodge, “The surface examination did not reveal anything did not reveal anything straightforwardly terrifying, yet we could not escape the feeling that something truly sinister was lurking underneath.”
And the longer they thought about it, the more they became transfixed, not necessarily in a direct sense, in the messages themselves, but what they said about the sender. Golubeva said, “It dawned on us: what if this archive is not a carefully constructed message, but rather bits and pieces seen ‘through the eyes’ of a person in a certain situation?” It occurred to them that the best course of action would be to make a game that re-imagined the situation of the message’s creator.
They decided to contact the person responsible for “letsplay.rar,” but they received nothing in return. Not another file. Not another video. Not even another email. Nothing.
Combined with the nature of the original message, this idea became oddly unsettling for all of the members within the studio.
So they took that idea and ran with it.
They decided to make a game about unanswered messages, about lost communication, and there began the idea for Knock-Knock. Originally, they had no genre, so the idea to make it a horror game was not extant at the game’s outset. To them, the idea was what was important, not the genre. “What was important was…catching the sender’s tune and answering their plea,” said Golubeva.
Since they couldn’t reach the person behind the mysterious “letsplay.rar,” they thought it would be interesting to capture that feeling of isolation and transmit it to the world. Maybe it would reach the original emailer, and maybe it wouldn’t, but the potential was what gave them the initial intellectual spark.
It’s kind of a strange and beautiful idea, especially in today’s world of hyperkinetic and continual communication. To make a game based on the idea that you cannot get in touch with someone, for whatever reason, can itself be a comment on the state of the world.
So they began work.
Rather than use “letsplay.rar” as a literal document for designing the game, they decided to rely on it as a sort of central inspiration, to combine the fact of their own experience with the aforementioned recreation of the sender’s circumstances. Golubeva even hinted at the possibility that the game’s artist included some of the original .rar materials within the game, though it isn’t entirely clear if the Easter eggs actually exist in there or not.
The most obvious connection to the “letsplay.rar” email comes in the form of the main character, a sort of badger-y protagonist named The Lodger. Players guide him through a randomly generated home to fix and turn on lights to keep the surreal images from his nightmares from driving him insane.
The disconnected nature of the messages themselves became the inspiration for The Lodger’s clippy monologues interspersed throughout Knock-Knock. His pronouncements seem at first to be completely random and without connection to the outside world but take on a strange philosophical cohesiveness over the course of this admittedly brief game. They come to represent who he is, even if what he says makes no sense to anyone but himself.
And that was part of the design aesthetic, according to Golubeva. “The Lodger refuses to wonder why [the supernatural events are happening around him],” she said, “and we were hoping that this fact itself would be enough to nudge the player to oppose his character and ask the question.”
Which, it seems, is the source of the tension players experience while traipsing around The Lodger’s confusing, dilapidated, and altogether menacing abode. At the outset of the game, they are given no real indication of the game’s rules or expectations, and The Lodger’s solipsism doesn’t help in that regard, so the player has to uncover the game’s purpose as s/he progresses, sometimes to his or her own detriment.
Golubeva is convinced that helps to create the distinctly unnerving mood within the world of Knock-Knock. “That’s kind of the point of feeling scared, no?” she said. “You know you’re playing a game, but what game is it? How do you play it effectively?”
As you move around and reconnect the lights and open doors, though, the game’s purpose becomes less opaque, but the randomness of events makes it difficult to ever feel on firm footing within the game. The configuration of the rooms changes night to night, and other variables give the impression that the true logic of the game cannot be entirely known.
Luckily, the experience is brief – only about 3-4 hours – so happening upon an undesirable ending isn’t too much of a penalty. It adds some replay value to the experience, if you enjoyed your first go-round, of course.
Golubeva said the writers and designers at Ice Pick Lodge made a less story-driven experience this time but instead made something more contingent upon mood and environment, and that is where the terror comes from. Not only does it arise out of the seeming randomness of the nightmares but also from the feeling of being toyed with.
The game is continually unpredictable, which adds to the feeling of unease. Golubeva said, “We balanced and rebalanced the variables, but the story? It’s there, just in case. You are in the cabin. There are guests. That’s the story, and I don’t think you can exactly balance what it means.” The result is a cyclical, unnerving experience, kind of like a David Lynch flick animated by Adult Swim.
And the mysterious “letsplay.rar” emailer? Still no contact, says Golubeva. It’s as though the message was sent and then the email address erased. The game, she said, was yet another attempt for them to reach out to this person, to maybe make that last connection, at least for the sake of closure.
In the end, they both returned the message and transmitted one of their own, and they have at least received responses from the community on their end. Through Kickstarter and Steam, they managed to facilitate communication but also still make a game that was also still distinctly theirs.
LIVE FROM SPOOKY EMPIRE! It’s time for Horror Chat Stew (Mmm, sooo meaty!) At the 2013 panel we chat with attendees about this past years round up of horror and what scares us as horror fans. It was great meeting a bunch of you at the show and we look forward to seeing more of you soon!
Make sure to subscribe to Bloody-Disgusting Radio on iTunes!
Music by Halloween at High Noon
Closing Music: DevilDriver – “Sail”
Exclusive: We have a new look at Mac Carter’s Haunt, starring Jacki Weaver, which opens February 7 from IFC Films.
In addition, we have a pair of tickets to the World Premiere, which is to be held next Wednesday, November 6 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center at 9PM. You can also purchase tickets here. If you’d like to enter to score a pair of tickets, make sure you can attend and then send your FULL NAME to firstname.lastname@example.org. Winner will be contacted via e-mail and tickets will be on will call.
“Haunt centers on a boy who gets involved with a mysterious neighbor when his family moves into a new home and unwittingly summons a demon.” Harrison Gilbertson and Liana Liberato also star.
Professional storyboard artist Federico D’Alessandro is in early talks to write and direct Lockdown At Franklin High for Sony Pictures, reports Deadline.
It will be a microbudget film based on the script Sony acquired last year by Dance Of The Dead scribes Gregg Bishop and Joe Ballarini.
“The pic tells the story of a group of disparate high school kids who must band together and save themselves from a supernatural creature during a school lockdown.”
It’a Bender/Spink and Platinum Dunes production.
Outlier and new production partner Pathbender have acquired film and TV rights for the Shadowline/Image Comics graphic novel “Savage,” which pits Bigfoot against a pack of werewolves, TheWrap first reported.
Created by Jeff Frank and co-written by Frank, Dan Wickline and Steve Niles (“30 Days of Night”), “Savage” is a supernatural thriller illustrated by award-winning “X-Men” artist Mike Mayhew.
James Cotten (La linea) is attached to direct the film, which “follows a mysterious killer who is hunting down supernatural creatures. While looking for a prodigy to continue his work, he finds himself in the midst of a battle between the legendary Bigfoot and a pack of werewolves.“
Pathbender’s E. Thompson (Hansel and Gretel Get Baked) and John Adams will produce the movie, while Outlier’s Mark Morgan (The Twilight Saga) will executive produce.
The AP is reporting that a group of thieves dressed as zombies, mummies and Child’s Play‘s Chucky robbed a Mexico City jewelry store Saturday night.
They used handguns and rifles to intimidate the employees, and then made off with chains, bracelets and rings valued more than a million pesos (about $76,500).
“Five individuals wearing zombie, mummy, Chucky and clown costumes, overnight Saturday broke into the shop and using small and larger weapons, subdued employees,” the public safety office said in a statement.
The robbery took place during Mexico’s “Day of the Dead”.
Saying that The Visitor is about a trans-dimensional battle between good and evil is barely coming close to explaining it. You’d be leaving out juicy moments like when Kareem Abdul Jabbar dunks an exploding basketball while team owner Lance Henriksen looks on. Or the fact that Sam Peckinpah plays a doctor. And there’s a wicked scene of ice skating brutality. The hype is true, folks. The Visitor is a blizzard of cinematic madness. Oh, I forgot to mention that a little girl hurls her paraplegic mother through a giant fish tank. That’s a good bit too.
The Visitor was directed by Giulio Paradisi and produced by Ovidio Assonitis, who was a hack, but a talented hack. He was known for his flagrant facsimiles like the 1977 Jaws rip-off Tentacles. In the case of The Visitor, Assonitis (which I can’t help but pronounce in my head “ass on tits”) rips from a hefty lineup of popular movies, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Birds, and Rosemary’s Baby. It never feels like a rip-off, however. For all of its influences, The Visitor feels remarkably fresh and exciting over 30 years later.
The cast is absolutely bonkers and looking at it, it’s obvious that Assonitis had some kind of pull in Hollywood. Or a lot of people owed him money. Acclaimed director John Huston stars as Jerzy, an intergalactic warrior who’s pursuing a descendant of an evil alien named Sateen. This descendent is a little girl named Katy, who is quickly developing supernatural powers. She’s also wicked good at ice skating and has a pet hawk that’s very possessive of her. Kinda like how Damien had those dogs, Katy has a hawk. Katy’s mom is targeted by a group of shady old men who wish to get her pregnant so she can have an evil baby boy. That’s the gist of the plot, I think.
Glenn Ford also stars as a detective. Lance Henriksen plays Katy’s dad and the owner of an Atlanta basketball team. Shelley Winters (Night of the Hunter) plays Katy’s new nanny, who is on to her nefarious little game. Franco Nero is space Jesus. And Sam Peckinpah plays a doctor, but his lines are dubbed probably because he was shitfaced during filming. Seriously, this cast is a enigmatic smorgasbord of talent.
Watching The Visitor may seem like sitting through a collection of random scenes, but it really is a cohesive film. For all of its insanity and exploding basketballs, there’s an engaging story beneath the surface. But once you think you have it figured out, the film jets in a completely different direction. It’s really tough to explain the actual plot, but there are so many consistently entertaining, batshit crazy scenes that whether you’re following along or not, it’s a blast. One particularly amazing scene is the aforementioned ice skating rumble. Katy is doing her thing on the ice when all of a sudden a bunch of teenage boys start messing with her. So she starts absolutely wrecking shit in a volley of telepathic beauty. If you can’t enjoy that scene you may want to check your pulse.
Drafthouse Films has salvaged The Visitor from obscurity and they’re releasing it in theaters this month. This is one to see on the big screen, for sure.
I’ve secretly been working with co-directors Norith Soth and Taka Arai on their found-footage shocker Face, based on the short story by Mikal Britt, and am excited to reveal that the film will be having its World Premiere Wednesday, December 18 at the Another Hole in the Head Film Festival.
In the found-footage horror, “What caused the gruesome aftermath at the Delta Chi Kappa Sorority house on the night of October 31, 2012? This footage is leaked police evidence you are not supposed to watch. It reveals a chain reaction of the most appalling acts ever committed by college kids in American history.” Scott Alin, Ashley Alvarado, and Max Aria star.
There are currently two vastly different variations of the film, with the version I executive produced being included on the home video release in the near future. No matter which version you see, I can guarantee the finale is going to beat the living shit out of your gut. I caught a very early test screening that left me feeling sick, which is how I ended up becoming involved in this bizarre found-footage flick.
Check out some images and a trailer below. Get tix here.
A bizarre quote has begun circulating out of the Toronto Star, who caught up with David Cronenberg, pictured below, at the opening of the “David Cronenberg: Evolutions” exhibit at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Hiding within the feature there’s a hard jab at Stanley Kubrick and his adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining, which came out of news that Kubrick will get his own TIFF exhibit next year.
“I think I’m a more intimate and personal filmmaker than Kubrick ever was,” Cronenberg said before throwing a huge blow.
“That’s why I find The Shining not to be a great film. I don’t think he understood the (horror) genre. I don’t think he understood what he was doing. There were some striking images in the book and he got that, but I don’t think he really felt it.
“In a weird way, although he’s revered as a high-level cinematic artist, I think he was much more commercial-minded and was looking for stuff that would click and that he could get financed. I think he was very obsessed with that, to an extent that I’m not. Or that Bergman or Fellini were.”
BRUTAL. Especially considering Kubriuck isn’t around to respond – it’s kind of a dick move in my opinion.
The premise of the upcoming horror comedy They Will Outlive Us All touches on how cockroaches will outlive us all.
Directed by Patrick Shearer, written by Jessi Gotta, and stars Gotta, Nat Cassidy, Alyssa Simon, Gavin Starr Kendall, and Stephanie Cox-Williams, we now have the film’s first trailer.
“New York City. 2016. In the years since Hurricane Sandy, the city has been brought to its knees by a series of ‘Frankenstorms.’ As hurricane season hits yet again, New York braces itself for the oncoming wave of destruction. Roommates Margot and Daniel attempt to survive this ‘new’ New York by avoiding it at all costs. But with the advent of three strange deaths in their Brooklyn building, the world they’ve been hiding from is knocking hard on the back door. They soon discover that the salad days of getting drunk and watching horror movies are behind them because they have a new roommate, and he’s got a real bug up his ass.“
From Two Guys Films comes the trailer for Run Like Hell, which marks the directorial debut of co-owner James Thomas. Get the plot crunch right here right now.
“The film centers on Luke, Maggie, Dan, and Sam, two young married couples in the middle of a cross-country road trip, when they are sidetracked in the desert town of Spaulding. Their car is stolen, prompting them to be taken in by local residents Harold and Nancy. What starts as a place to rest their heads and regroup turns into a fight for their lives, utilizing any and all attempts to Run Like Hell.”
“Run Like Hell is an action-packed horror film that will make you question taking that next road trip. The film shows the gritty side of humanity and has an eerie realism to it that makes you wonder if this type of thing actually happens. An interesting point we make in the film is that horrifying things don’t only happen at night or when no one is looking. They can be happening all around us, at any moment. Sometimes people we would call normal can even do them. And that is what makes them frightening.” – James Thomas, director
Two franchises are about to collide on home video.
Shooting is to begin this December in Bulgaria on Lake Placid vs. Anaconda, Bloody Disgusting learned on the week of the American Film Market.
There are no details yet, although casting is underway.
There have been four Lake Placid films, with the last being the 2012 home video sequel Lake Placid: The Final Chapter. The first, starring Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, and Oliver Platt, took in $34M for Fox back in 1999.
There are also four Anaconda films, with the last being the 2009 Anacondas: Trail of Blood. Sony’s 1997 Anaconda, starring Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, and Eric Stoltz, made $65M at the box office.
Benaroya Pictures and The Genre Company announced today they have set Samuel L. Jackson to co-star with John Cusack in the apocalyptic thriller Cell, based on the bestselling novel by Stephen King.
Tod “Kip” Williams will direct, with production set to begin in January.
In Cell, Jackson will play Tom McCourt, an engineer and former soldier who escapes from Boston along with Cusack’s character, Clay Riddell, after a mysterious pulse, transmitted by Cell phones, spreads like a virus through the human population.
Samuel L. Jackson most recently co-starred in last year’s Django Unchained and next appears in the upcoming films Oldboy and Robocop as well as Captain America 2: Winter Soldier and The Avengers sequel.
Producing the project are Richard Saperstein (Se7en, Hancock), Michael Benaroya (Lawless, Margin Call), Brian Witten (Chernobyl Diaries, Friday the 13th, Final Destination) and Shara Kay (Silent Night). While President of Dimension Films, Saperstein oversaw the Stephen King adaptations, The Mist, directed by Frank Darabont, and 1408, which also starred Cusack and Jackson, and grossed over $130 million worldwide.
The screenplay for Cell was written by Stephen King and Adam Alleca (Last House on the Left). Edward Mokhtarian, Armen Aghaeian, Xavier Gens, and Laurence Freed will executive produce. Mark Leyner and Ben Insler will co-produce.