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[Fantasia '14 Review] ‘Life After Beth’ a Muddled Zombedy

Sat, 07/19/2014 - 20:15

What would you do if a loved one came back from the grave? How would you come to terms with that? Would you tell them all the things you never had the chance to? Would you be sure to get the most out of every moment you have together during this miraculous second chance?

No, of course not, you’d be scared completely shitless. They rose from the dead, ya dingus! That’s initially how Zack (Dane DeHaan) reacts to the return of his girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza), who dies after a hiking accident in Life After Beth. Panic is his initial reaction, but then his fear and confusion gradually turn into excitement. Right before she died, they were going through some heavy relationship issues and Beth was ready to split with him. Now, he has a second chance to get it right and fix the broken parts of their relationship.

Beth has no memory of ever having died. Her parents, John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon, perpetuate her amnesia by keeping her hidden in the house. If anyone sees her or if she reveals she’s alive in any way (answering the phone, for instance), they’re afraid she’ll be taken from them for a second time and used for scientific study. They’re not about to let that happen, but all their parental shields can’t stand in the way of true love. Or prevent Beth from rotting away physically and emotionally.

Life After Beth is the directorial debut of Jeff Baena, who co-wrote I Heart Huckabees. It’s definitely not the film I was expecting it to be. It’s not simply a zomedy about a young guy dealing with his zombie girlfriend. There’s way more heart and honesty on display here. It addresses the question of what if this were to happen, though in an incessantly charming and comedic manner. However, sometimes it sacrifices meaningful explorations of these themes for the sake of a laugh, causing the themes to get jumbled up. Her parents’ motivations are perfectly clear and understandable – they’re terrified of losing their daughter again. But when Zack goes from panicking over his zombie girlfriend to making out with her within only a few minutes, his motivations completely dissolve.

Rock solid comedic casting helps make up a bit for what Life After Beth lacks in actual insight. DeHaan and Plaza both help carry the film, with Plaza giving an exciting performance that ranges from her usual deadpan sarcasm seen on Parks & Rec to raging amnesiac zombie. In recent years she’s been gradually bringing her distinct presence to the big screen in films like Safety Not Guaranteed and The To Do List, but she appears the most comfortable in Beth’s shoes. The supporting cast is also packed with greatness. Besides the always on-point John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon, there’s also Cheryl Hines and Paul Riser as Zack’s parents and Anna Kendrick as a supportive friend.

The performances help the film sprint along, though I wish it slowed down a bit to consider the ramifications of kissing and killing the undead (Beth isn’t the only one who rises from the grave – not really a spoiler) that are hinted at early on. The tone can be all over the place at times, with the more intimate, familial moments between Reilly and DeHaan ringing the most true. It’s like Baena really wanted to explore the themes introduced during the film’s first act, then threw them away in favor of big laughs. I’m all for horror-comedy and Life After Beth is a damn funny movie, but it can;t decide if it actually wants to say anything about its themes or not.

Categories: Horror News

Indie Horror Adventure Game ‘Tormentum’ Gets a Demo

Sat, 07/19/2014 - 19:16

The nightmarish point-and-click adventure game Tormentum made its way onto my radar when it arrived on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo last month. It’s being crafted by OhNoo, a Finnish developer comprised of three people, though you wouldn’t know that by looking at it. Tormentum looks twisted, and I mean that in the best way possible.

So far, the game has raised about $7,300 of its $9,000 goal. With a little under two weeks left in the campaign, I have confidence they’ll reach their goal.

In an effort to reinvigorate interest in the funding campaign, OhNoo has released a playable demo to give fans an idea of what to expect when Tormentum proper releases on Windows and Mac possibly later this year. I now know what game I’ll be playing next on our YouTube channel.

If you’d like to support the game, you can do so on its Indiegogo page. Donating $9 will get you a Steam key to download the game when it launches. You can find the demo there as well.

Categories: Horror News

2D Horror ‘Silence of the Sleep’ Targeting October Release

Sat, 07/19/2014 - 18:38

I once called the indie survival horror game Silence of the Sleep the “2D Silent Hill we deserve,” because it shares many of that series’ best traits. It’s delightfully atmospheric, has a fantastically creepy score, unique art style, and plenty of freaky monsters to evade and clever puzzles to solve. It also has something the Silent Hill series was once known for, and that’s a steady build-up of dread, an ominous feeling that something terrible can happen at any time.

In a post on the Silence of the Sleep Steam page, Jesse Makkonen — the ridiculously talented one-man team behind the upcoming game — announced his goal to get it in our hands by October 1st. If he’s successful in that endeavor, we’ll have one more horror game to look forward to in a month that already includes Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within.

In related news, Jesse’s also looking for translators. If you’re fluent in German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, French, Brazilian Portuguese, or Japanese and have some spare time, I highly recommend sending him an email.

Categories: Horror News

A ‘Super Mario’ Themed LEGO Aquarium Fit for a Fish King

Sat, 07/19/2014 - 17:59

I never thought I’d say it, but I am now jealous of a Dinosaur Eel. This is because of the grand home its owner is gifting it, along with a Butterfly Fish and a Electric Blue Jacks Dempsey. The owner in question is a one Kelsey Kronmiller, a graphic designer who decided her fish friends deserved something better than the generic aquariums other fish pets get. What makes this particular aquarium even better is the fact that it’s also a recreation of World 8-1 from Super Mario Bros.

This is one of those things that makes me wish I was crafty.

Now, it’s only about 90% finished, but Kelsey’s offered enough pictures of the progress she’s made so far to give us a solid idea of what this glorious creation will look like when it’s done. Check it out below.

Categories: Horror News

Horror Art That Blends Science Fiction With Dark Fantasy

Sat, 07/19/2014 - 17:14

Like all good geeks, I love me some science fiction. I’m also more than a little fond of dark fantasy, and since I’m a fan of all things horror I absolutely love it when the two genres are twisted into something nightmarish. HR Giger is a prime example of this, as his surreal take on those two genres was as unsettling as it was refreshing.

UK-based artist Jethro Lentle’s work doesn’t really resemble Giger’s, but I’d still use the same words to describe his stuff. It’s surreal, nightmarish, dark, and manages to twist and transform science fiction and fantasy into the result you see below.

For more of Jethro’s work, check out his gallery.

Categories: Horror News

Ryan Phillippe Gets Revenge In ‘Catch Hell’

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 08:30

Entertainment One Films has acquired the U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to Catch Hell, a suspense thriller that will star Ryan Phillippe (who was fantastic in “Damages”), Deadline reports.

Phillippe plays a former Hollywood star, who, on location in Louisiana, is kidnapped by two men connected to his past. He awakens, chained in a rundown shack, and discovers the real motives of his captors and finds himself in the middle of a twisted scheme with little chance to make it out. Survival and revenge become the actor’s motivations.

The actor makes his directorial debut in a film that is slotted for theatrical release in the fall.

Phillippe wrote the script with Joe Gossett and is producing alongside Robert Ogden Barnum and Holly Wiersma. Mark Burg and Cassian Elwes are exec producers.

Categories: Horror News

Trailer For Foreign Creature Feature ‘Danny’s Dommedag’!

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 08:23

Thanks to Fabien M. we now have the trailer (unfortunately, without subs) for the Danish monster movie Danny’s Dommedag, directed by Martin Barnewitz (Messengers 2: The Scarecrow, Room 205), and starring William Jøhnk J. Nielsen, Lars Mikkelsen and Camilla Bendix.

The trailer has a sort of 1980′s children’s horror movie kinda vibe, which makes it look stylish and fun.

Due to climate change a new race of flesh eating predators arise, who invade and eat everything living on earth. In a residential neighbourhood in a Danish suburb nightmare like scenes are being experienced first hand through the eyes of Danny and William Grahn, two teenage brothers, who can’t stand each other, but are now suddenly forced to barricade themselves in the basement together, to avoid getting eaten.

From one day to another, without parents and without electricity, food, water and contact to other people, the brothers have to learn to live together in their vital protection bunker, while shadows of monsters move past the basement windows and heavy, sharp claws can be heard moving around upstairs on the wooden floors.

While William is set upon getting out of the basement, to look for their mother, whom might still be out there; Danny’s convinced that the best chance to survive is for them to stay as long as possible down in the basement.

In a changed, deadly world where the food chain has been turned upside down the brothers will have to learn to trust one another, let go of their fears and learn life’s true values in order to become real men and (maybe) survive doomsday.

Categories: Horror News

‘Lucy’ Needs a Bag of Drugs Removed, Badly (Clip)

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 08:16

Universal Pictures gave Yahoo! a new clip from their Scarlett Johansson-starrer, Lucy, in theaters July 25. In the footage, Lucy enters an operating room and demands to have a bag of drugs removed from her body.

From La Femme Nikita, The Professional and The Fifth Element (such an underrated film) writer/director Luc Besson, “Lucy is an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

The latest TV Spots are pretty great, especially because you end up dying to know what happens when she uses 100% of her brain.

Categories: Horror News

‘Life After Beth’ Is Already On DirecTV – and Here’s a Clip!

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 17:15

Some girls just want to watch the world burn…

A24 released the first clip from Jeff Baena’s Sundance horror comedy, Life After Beth, starring Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, and Paul Reiser.

While NOW available on DirecTV, it will be in theaters August 15.

Zach is devastated by the unexpected death of his girlfriend, Beth. But when she miraculously comes back to life, Zach takes full advantage of the opportunity to share and experience all the things he regretted not doing with her before. However, the newly returned Beth isn’t quite how he remembered her and, before long, Zach’s whole world takes a turn for the worse.

Here’s details on the below clip:

As Beana tells us via email, the above clip is the moment in which Zach sees a future for he and his undead love — albeit a complicated one, at that. “Zach breaks into Beth’s family home and discovers she’s inexplicably alive. His cognitive dissonance, coupled with her naïveté and her parents’ plausible deniability, creates a tense standoff that spirals out of control.”

The zombie pic had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this past January.

Categories: Horror News

First Look At ‘Tusk,’ Hitting Theaters In September #SDCC

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 17:08

A24 announced today a September 19, 2014 release for Kevin Smith’s Tusk, while also setting a debut for the trailer at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Smith also released the first image (below) for the flick depicting the film’s antagonist (Justin Long) and protagonist (Michael Parks) in what looks to be an awkward conversation.

The film will take to Hall H on Friday, July 25 from 6:35pm – 8:05pm, and will feature Smith, along with stars Genesis Rodriguez and Haley Joel Osment. It’s being called “The Musk of Tusk: An Evening With Kevin Smith.” And those who know Smith’s work know that this is going to be a highly entertaining panel!

“After all the interesting and exciting movie panels are over, Hall H belongs to a middle-aged man who once worked with BatFleck! Ask ComiKev questions and get ready to say #WalrusYes as Kev premieres the trailer to his first film in three years: the twisted, transformative tale of Tusk! Wrap up a busy Friday with the Clown Prince of Comic-Con!”

Inspired by The Human Centipede, Tusk is about a man (Long) who is surgically turned into a walrus by a mysterious seafarer (Parks).

Categories: Horror News

[TV] The Twins Have Their First Day In the “Freakshow”

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 16:46

Shooting is underway on FX’s “American Horror Story: Freakshow,” the fourth season of the anthology series.

Co-creator Ryan Murphy just tweeted out a backside tease of Dot and Bette’s first day on set. The two are actually one, played by Sarah Paulson in the new season that is set in Jupiter, Florida, in 1950. “Freak Show” finds Jessica Lange playing a German ex-pat who is managing one of the last freak shows in the U.S.

Her group of “unusuals” Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, and Frances Conroy all play performers whom Lange’s character has rescued.

Michael Chiklis, also stars with Denis O’Hare and Emma Roberts returning.

Dot and Bette's first day

— Ryan Murphy (@MrRPMurphy) July 17, 2014

Categories: Horror News

Are There Monsters In Your Washing Machine?!

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 16:44

Photographer Yvette Meltzer answers this question with an emphatic “YES!”

In her new photo series “Revolutions” her eagle-eyed work catches glimpses of why socks go missing from our laundry.

Here’s what she had to say about the genesis of the project, which took place in Chicago (I need to move, ASAP!).

I enjoy the convergence of color, light and form that emerges through photography. And I am continually thrilled by how photography often takes me further than my eye can see and sometimes in unexpected directions.

After taking multitudes of outdoor laundry images over the years, it was in Chicago in the cold of winter when my curiosity led me into local Laundromats where, drawn to the colors of laundry spinning in the dryers, I began taking photos. I never imagined the mandalas I would ultimately see when I went to the computer to view the digital images of this spinning laundry. Therein I saw faces and forms – both human and animal-like. Thus was born my revolving laundry series which I call “Revolutions.” What has been most exciting for me has been capturing the abstract forms that have emerged on this journey.

As Picasso said, “There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” I believe that is what this series does. I start with fabric in a dryer and in collaboration with my camera the concrete reality is transformed.

Photo Source: Yvette Meltzer

Categories: Horror News

[Blu-ray Review] ‘All Cheerleaders Die’ Disc Highlights the Young Cast

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 16:39

RLJ and Image Entertainment are bringing Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson’s outrageous horror-comedy All Cheerleaders Die to Blu-ray and DVD This Tuesday, July 22. I dug the film (read our review here) and thought it was very entertaining despite some hiccups in the satire department. The mix of high school dramatics and the supernatural are handled really well without seeming ridiculous.

The film follows a group of attractive cheerleaders who bring in a new member of the squad, Maddy (Caitlin Stasey), who only joined to avenge the death of her former best friend. She infiltrates the squad and starts turning them against one another. Typical high school drama plays out, until tragedy strikes and the girls find themselves granted supernatural powers that help them all wreak havoc on a band of loathsome jocks. There’s a lot of fun aspects that come into play, like Wiccan stones, soul-switching, and sweet revenge.

Upon a second viewing, I want to note how great the acting is across the board. I didn’t talk about it in my review, but the filmmakers banded together a talented group of young folks to play both the cheerleaders and jocks. The head jock is played by Tom Williamson, who is filled with charm and venom. Other folks like Stasey, Brooke Butler, and Michael Bowen, they all bring their A game here. It’s rare to be able to enjoy so many teenage to early 20 actors without hating on at least a couple of them. I’ve got no complaints about the talent on display here though.

The behind the scenes feature on the Blu-ray and DVD give lots of insight on the casting and how these young actors got into their characters. That’s actually the bulk of what the 23 minute feature is made of – casting and characters. Turns out about half the cast was from Australia or New Zealand. This was purely coincidence and helped boost camaraderie on the set. Many of the actors talk about what it was like to work with McKee and Sivertston, how the two directors worked together, and other small insights. It’s a decent little doc that fans of the film will have fun checking out.

That’s the only feature on the disc, which boasts a crispy 1080p transfer (the Blu-ray I mean, naturally). Colors really pop during the daytime scenes and at night, details remain clear. The 5.1 sounds great as well, with dialogue and the soundtrack balanced nicely.

All Cheerleaders Die hits home video July 22.

Categories: Horror News

‘Friday the 13th’ Reboot Waiting On Script and Not Committed to Found Footage Or 3D (Exclusive)

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 15:52

With both The Purge: Anarchy (read my review) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hitting screens within two weeks of each other, Platinum Dunes producer Brad Fuller has a lot on his plate but took some time out of his schedule earlier this week to speak with us about a few of his companies projects. Our full interview with him will be hitting tomorrow, but first we wanted to clear up some stuff concerning the upcoming Friday the 13th film, which is due in theaters November 13th, 2015.

Let’s get it out of the way. I’m a huge fan of the 2009 reboot. Last month I went on the record by saying, “for those of you who think that the most recent entry is cynical, I actually don’t think it is so much. Remember, the studio had zero respect for the franchise during its first incarnation, these were turn and burn gigs that people were turning down left and right because there was no money and the powers that be insisted on unrealistic schedules to keep the money flowing in. I’d argue that the folks behind the 2009 version actually cared more about the quality of the film than most of the people involved in the original sequels (especially later on).” While I don’t love all the rumors that have been circulating, the goodwill from the 2009 entry alone has me very much in an optimistic wait and see mode.

And Fuller’s quotes today only help that:

What’s the status of the 2015 Friday the 13th? We’ve heard found footage and we’ve heard 3D. Have either of those shifted? 

I can’t make any determination about found footage or 3D until we have a story that we all agree on and that we all like. The story is the most important thing and the way you tell the story, to me, is secondary. We have some writers writing but, because we don’t have a script that everyone has signed off on, I can’t speak to how the story is meant to be told. All of those things have been considered. But no decisions have been made. We don’t know what story is being told.”

Fuller also confirmed to me that the very talented David Bruckner (The Signal, V/H/S) is still onboard which has me just as hopeful as the news that all avenues seem to apparently be open for the film.

Check back tomorrow for my entire interview with Fuller.


Categories: Horror News

The Original ‘RoboCop’ Has the Best Ending Ever

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 14:45

Just the other day I went on a rant about how much I hate epilogues, and referenced the 1987 RoboCop as an example of a movie with a perfect ending.

Well, today marks the 27th anniversary of Paul Verhoeven’s classic that starred Peter Weller as the title character, which means I get to share said finale with you!.

The sci-fi horror takes place in a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit where a terminally wounded cop (Weller) returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.

There’s nothing more satisfying than RoboCop‘s conclusion in which Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) reminds RoboCop that he can’t hurt an employee of Omni Corp. The hostage then exclaims, “Dick, you’re fired,” which allows RoboCop to fill Jones with a round of bullets sending him through a window!

Thank you,” says Murphy.


Categories: Horror News

‘Blood Valley: Seed’s Revenge’ Trailer Premiere (Exclusive)

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 14:03

Bloody Disgusting has the exclusive trailer premiere for Blood Valley: Seed’s Revenge, Marcel Walz’s slasher sequel to Uwe Boll’s Seed that’s got a Hills Have Eyes vibe to it.

Starring both Christa Campbell (Drive Angry, Homefront) and Caroline Williams (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Days of Thunder), the pic will drop on DVD October 7, 2014 via Phase 4 Films.

While driving home from a bachelorette party, Christine and her friends come across a mysterious woman who leads them straight into mass murderer Max Seed’s trap. Seeking revenge from a mishap years ago, the blood soaked madman is determined to inflict an insufferable pain to anyone who crosses his path.

Categories: Horror News

Another Asylum Horror Pic, ‘Facility 31′

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 13:22

Empress Road Pictures is to handle international sales on Facility 31 from UK based horror production company Bad Blood Films, reported ScreenDaily yesterday. We’ve now updated the story with the film’s first look trailer!

The horror film centres around an army prisoner who has to lead a group of detainees to safety from an abandoned asylum.

LA sales and finance company Empress Road Pictures is fronted by Faisal Toor and Galen Christy, both formerly of the CAA.

We’re looking forward to working with Empress Road Pictures to bring the horror fans an original, high quality horror production with a story that will grab them from the opening scene,” said Mark Kenna, CEO & Producer – Bad Blood Films.

Facility 31 will be represented by Empress Road Pictures at AFM in November 2014 for a 2015 release.

Categories: Horror News

One-Woman Metal Band Myrkur’s Self-Titled EP Available For Pre-Order

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 13:15

Danish one-woman black metal project Myrkur has opened up pre-orders for her self-titled debut EP, which can be snagged physically through Relapse or digitally via Bandcamp.

The EP is described as the combination of, “… the rawness of second wave black metal bands like Ulver and Darkthrone with the natural sonic beauty of Sigur Ros.

Mrykur adds:

Nature is a big part of the reason black metal even exists. And all types of pure music that comes from a pure place. The word ‘Myrkur’ means ‘darkness’ in Icelandic. The place where there are no boundaries, where no one can hurt me. And when I have sung the screams it, physically hurts but it feels like something is leaving my body. I can’t remember it afterwards.

You can listen to the single “Nattens Barn” below.

Myrkur by Myrkur

Categories: Horror News

‘Annabelle’ Trailer Reveals Genesis of the Haunted Doll!!

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 13:07

This morning we shared a tiny teaser for New Line Cinema’s Annabelle, their spinoff of The Conjuring. Now, the studio has released the full trailer that completes one hell of a doll collection.

Haunting theaters October 3rd, the trailer is pretty fantastic, showing the genesis of the haunted doll. It looks as if the footage takes from the opened scene of the movie, where a couple is murdered by some psychopaths. While dying, the blood of the owner drips onto the doll, presumably infecting “Annabelle” with her owner’s anguished soul. It’s very classic horror and I can’t even contain my excitement about that. This looks SO COOL.

Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard and Ward Horton are starring in Annabelle with John Leonetti, the cinematographer on The Conjuring, directing from a script by Gary Dauberman. Eric Ladin and Brian Howe also star.

The Conjuring included a haunted doll named Annabelle as part of a collection of demonic objects assembled by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.

Speaking of The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2 is still penciled down for release on October 23, 2015, taking that weekend away from a potential sixth Paranormal Activity. Carey Hayes and Chad Hayes are penning the sequel.

Categories: Horror News

It’s Jack Black As R.L. Stine In ‘Goosebumps’!!! #SDCC

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 12:31

Before Jack Black takes the San Diego Comic-Con stage Thursday, July 24 for Columbia Pictures‘ Goosebumps panel, EW has the first ever stills from the adaptation directed by Rob Letterman, who Black worked with on Shark Tale and Gulliver’s Travels.

In Goosebumps, in theaters August 7, 2015, Black plays the book’s author R.L. Stine.

The adaptation of the R.L. Stine books series follows a young boy who moves with his mother and sister to the small town of Greendale, Maryland. There, he meets veteran Young Adult horror author R. L. Stine, played by Jack Black. The infamous Slappy – a demonic ventriloquist’s dummy – comes into play and sets free the many many demons of Stine’s mind. Stine’s niece teams with the boy to put all the evil genies back in the bottle.

Black tells EW that he chose to do the movie because “It’s funny and scary—something that would be great to take my kids to.,” adding, “and something that would be fun to make.

Kids like scary movies, but you can’t take them to what are the big scary movies now where Satan comes out and bites your genitals off,” he joking continues. “Those movies can actually leave you mentally scared; that’s not for kids. But kids still like to get a little thrill and a little danger, so you need projects like this.

Hopefully a trailer will debut next week at the Comic-Con!

Image Source: EW and Columbia Pictures

Categories: Horror News