Arriving on VOD October 2 with a theater run set for November 7 from Cinedigm is Open Windows, Nacho Vigalondo’s (Extraterrestrial, Timecrimes) innovative and high-tech suspense thriller that unfolds on the screen of a laptop connected to the Internet.
Starring Elijah Wood (Maniac) and Sasha Grey, “Nick (Wood) is excited to discover that he’s won a dinner date with his favorite actress, Jill Goddard (Grey). But when Jill refuses to honor the contest, her manager Chord (Maskell) makes an offer he can’t refuse: the ability to view Jill secretly via computer. Nick begins watching the unknowing star on her webcam, not realizing that this decision will put both himself and Jill at risk as they enter a terrifying world of cat-and-mouse where nothing—and no one—are as they seem.”
Check out this new clip that wants you to keep a secret…
I’m really sorry, folks. Yes, Closed Circuit Extreme is another “found footage” horror flick. I know that you guys are getting sick of them. As I’ve said before, it seems that indie filmmakers will take a concept that Hollywood has capitalized upon and run it into the ground. But who knows? Maybe this film will surprise and take the concept in new and exciting directions? Maybe the film will instantly grip you by the grundies and not let go for it’s entire runtime?
You know the answers to those questions, don’t you?
Student Francesca Pardi mysteriously disappeared in 2010 and her body was never found. Her friends Claudia (Francesca Cuttica) and Daniele (Guglielmo Favilla) suspect handyman David De Santis (Stefano Fregni) is connected to Francesca’s disappearance. Unfortunately, the public prosecutor does not take them seriously. So to gain proof, Claudia and Daniele break into De Santis’ home and install five closed circuit cameras to spy on him. The cameras are all connected to one hard drive in the living room camera, so periodically, Claudia and Daniele have to break in to check the amount of data collected and to constantly fixed faulty recording signals. But when Daniele breaks his ankle, Claudia has to return to De Santis’ home herself, unaware that De Santis has suspected the break-ins for a while.
Well, I suppose that the most interesting way that the found footage gimmick is used in the film is it’s presentation. Given that we’re watching footage from a variety of angles/sources/lighting etc. that’s in possession by the police department, we do get artificially zoomed-in shots that are intended to highlight key snippets of dialogue or whatever. There are also slick graphics to highlight certain individuals involved in the case, so that’s pretty neato…
Yes, my feigned enthusiasm is that obvious.
No surprise, this film sucks. How bad is it? Well, what do you want to have happen in the first hour of a 98 minute film? Maybe some character development, some establishing of the plot? How about an hour of watching Fregni’s character doing absolutely nothing of interest? Yep, we get to watch his entire mundane daily routine. Watch De Santis open a beer with his teeth! Watch De Santis parade around in his underwear, scratching his ass! Watch De Santis hire a “masseuse”! You can see what I’m getting at. The first hour is drawn out for way too long, as if director/writer Giorgio Amato had nothing better with which to fill out his story. Oh, we do get to see Claudia and Daniele break in and adjust the equipment, but rather than gather and review the filmed footage, they just leave it there. Because that makes sense. Only after an hour does the film start progressing, but by then it’s almost over. Amazing.
It doesn’t stop there. The brilliant choice of having Italian actors deliver their lines in English is frustrating, given that there’s no ADR (surprise!), and we’re forced to try and discern what is being said. Don’t worry, the swearing is in English, and it gets tired real fast when that’s all they seem to do. Because that’s how English-speaking people in films talk, apparently. Regardless of whether they talk in English or Italian, none of the actors are particularly enduring. In fact, you end up hoping that our protagonists are caught, just so you wouldn’t have to deal with Claudia being so annoying, and Daniele being such an idiot.
So yeah, the last half hour of the film has De Santis finally begin to show off some serial killer tendencies. Once he does lure an attractive woman and subdue her, we get a rape scene (as well as full frontal Fregni), some disturbing letter dictation, and some cheap offscreen gore. Not only do these scenes feel out of place and are more upsetting thanks to the previous hour of nothing, but you still don’t end up caring all that much. Apparently, neither did Amato, since the film ends as anti-climatic as you can get.
Closed Circuit Extreme is a turd. No question. Instead of innovating things, we get the tired found footage trope run into the ground, lazy storytelling, annoying actors and cheesy effects. This is a far cry from the glory days of Italian horror, and really, the film is a far cry from anything resembling entertainment. Literally, you could watch ants parade along a sidewalk, and you’d find that more stimulating than this. Give Dario a ring if you’re looking for good Italian horror. Avoid this film like the plague.
Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the quality is all over the place. Whether or not this was intentional to simulate the various sources of footage, it makes the film’s grittiness seem more forced and amateur than anything else. Details and colour quality vary with each source. The darker interior scenes suffer the worst, giving way to large amounts of noise, blur and lack of detail. Outdoor scenes fare better, but overall, the look of the film just adds to the aggravation of the overall experience.
Want to make the thick Italian accents more annoying? Scrap doing an ADR, and give us a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track with no subtitles. The audio is what you’d expect, given what the visuals are like: dialogue volume is dependent on the location of the hidden microphones, meaning it’s just as uneven as the video quality. What’s more annoying are the intentional static bursts that pop up when a cut to another feed is made. Really artificial, really cheap.
Other than the film’s trailer, there’s a collection of outtakes that have been included at the very end of the main feature. Yeah, I don’t know why they did it like this, either.
Day of the Dead returns to Los Angeles this weekend (September 26-28) for three days of monsters, movies, and madness at the LAX Marriot!
Over 75 celebrity guests are scheduled to appear all weekend long, including: CLIVE BARKER, DOYLE, COREY FELDMAN, TARA REID, BILL MOSELEY, SID HAIG, JOHN SCHNEIDER, RON JEREMY, KANE HODDER, and cast reunions for RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, NIGHTBREED, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, THE THING, and much, much more!
Live music, 60+ hours of film and special event programming, monstrous after hours parties, costume and tattoo contests, and the best memorabilia vendors from across the country all weekend long.
Save money over the door price and avoid waiting in longer lines the day of the show by pre-ordering your tickets (through Thursday, Sept. 25th).
For tickets and full event info, visit the official website.
Thrash metal fans, get ready to draw some blood!
Richmond, CA metal legends Exodus are gearing up for the release of their tenth studio album Blood In, Blood Out, which comes out October 14th via Nuclear Blast! In anticipation of this upcoming release, which comes nearly 30 years after the band’s historic album Bonded By Blood, we’ve scored an exclusive interview with frontman Steve “Zetro” Souza to discuss the album, the band’s upcoming tour with Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies, as well as Zetro’s love of horror!
Bloody-Disgusting: What’s going on, sir?
A lot of things! Busy, busy, busy!
Bloody-Disgusting: In that case, I’ll dive right into things! What’s the most ass-kicking track on Blood In, Blood Out?
Every track [laughs]! It’s the first record that I don’t fast-forward through the songs. You know when you do a record, you hear it a million times. So, I know how it goes! There are often times when you hear a track and think “Ehhhhh, I kinda like THIS one better!” Not here. I love every track.
But, I do think that “Numb” and “[Wrapped In The Arms Of] Rage” are great. And they change by week! Next week, something will happen and it’ll be “BTK” or “Black 13″.
But so far I love every thing on this album. I’m really excited for this one! It’s a good blend of what Exodus has done over the last 30 years. Some journalists have heard it and said that it’s a little bit “retro”, which I guess you could say that a little bit. It’s also got the intensity the last 10 years has had. I think it’s a really good balance of what Exodus does best! Sheer violence! Sheer energy! Sheer brutalism!
BD: What keeps Exodus going?
I think we’re all still big fans. We’re all still aware that we have a lot to offer musically, which is apparent with ‘Blood In, Blood Out’. I think we have such loyal fans. Next year is 30 years after ‘Bonded By Blood’, which is a long time for a band to be out touring and playing. The fans are still there raging there for us! There are still those Exodus patches on their jackets, y’know?
For myself, I have Hatriot, I have a bunch of other metal projects. I love heavy metal. I love thrash metal. I love to get on stage and watch fuckers start pits and go nuts. That’s the best part, for me. As long as they’re still down for doing it, I’ll be out there doing it.
BD: Exodus has always had a connection to horror. What is it about metal and horror that make them seem to go so well together?
I am tattooed completely with horror. I love all the monster movies! I mean, my bed pillows! One’s Bela Lugosi and one’s Boris Karloff! I love that type of stuff. It’s dark, it’s deep, it’s scary, it’s shocking, and I think thrash metal is the same way. It’s definitely abrasive, definitely violent. It can definitely be scary, for sure. It’s got a lot of elements that I think crosses over with horror.
We did Comic Con a couple of weeks ago and they were interviewing Kirk [Hammett] because we played at his Fear Fest[Evil] after party and he said that a lot of the same things that I think. When you think of those images, like Dracula or the first time you saw Linda Blair in ‘The Exorcist’, it’s the look, the sheer terror of the look, how scary that would be if you walked into a house and that was the first thing you saw.
I think that really strikes a chord with me big time.
BD: That really resonates with me because there are times when you listen to an album and a song will open up that is immediately fierce and terrifying and it makes me jump because it’s so unexpected! Or something will happen in a song, a twist that I never saw coming, and it’s so exciting!
And I think that metal definitely offers that! Think of bands like Slayer and how many times they have something that makes you think, “Oh my god, that is just hauntingly scary!” It’s great! I love it! That’s the element that makes rock and roll what it’s all about: angst and rebellion.
BD: You’re set to tour with Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies in November and December. Unfortunately, Tendencies bassist Tim Williams passed away. What kind of an impact does something tragic like that have, both personally and professionally?
Well, I think as being in my position I’ve had a lot of friends die over the years. I knew Cliff Burton really, really, really well, so when he died, it was like, “Well, I didn’t expect that!” It was the same with [Paul] Baloff dying.
There have been so many people, so many friends, that have been through our lives, through the scene, and it’s just so tragic. But all you can do, honestly, is just keep going, keep the music going forward. That’s what they would’ve wanted you to do and I think it’s definitely a healer for everybody. You can’t sit back. You can only mourn for so long.
I think it’s great that GWAR is going to go out and live on the legend of Dave [Brockie]! That’s great and I think it should be that way!
I can’t imagine how strange it is for Suicidal Tendencies. They’ll have to bring someone on board to take over. When I left Exodus, I didn’t die. It’s gotta be tough to handle.
BD: A tour is usually a place with a lot of energy, a lot of liveliness. It’s often a place where people can celebrate the life of someone rather than mourn.
That’s it too. I think that whole tour, from all bands, will be dedicated to Tim. It’s just too bad.
BD: If you could get any horror movie director to direct an Exodus video, who would you get?
It could be anybody? Old school? I wouldn’t go anyone new. No M. Night Shyamalan, that’s for sure. I’d probably have to with William Friedkin! Just because he directed the scariest movie in the world in my eyes, so if he could do it, that’d be great! It’s not just ‘The Exorcist’, it’s everything he does!
Oh, and Clive Barker would be great too! I’d let Clive Barker direct me, that’d be fun!
BD: He directed one of my favorite horror films: ‘Lord Of Illusions’.
‘Lord Of Illusions’ is amazing! Great movie!
BD: Zetro, thank you so much!
Thank you, man! We’ll see you on the road and I can’t wait for you to pick up ‘Blood In, Blood Out’! It’s gonna be great!
Susan Heyward, Noah Taylor, Olesya Rulin, Logan Browning and Eddie Izzard, along with executive producer and co-creator of the graphic novels, Brian Michael Bendis will debut the first footage of the highly anticipated series, “Powers,” during their New York Comic Con panel on Saturday, October 11 at 3:15pm on the Empire Stage 1E. The panelists will also be autographing a limited edition New York Comic Con exclusive poster for fans at Autograph Table 14 at 1:15pm.
Check out these first images from “Powers,” an edgy dramatic series from Sony Pictures Television and inspired by the graphic novel series of the same name.
“‘Poweres’ follows the lives of two homicide detectives, Christian Walker (Sharlto Copley) and Deena Pilgrim (Susan Heyward), who are assigned to investigate cases involving people with extraordinary abilities, referred to as “Powers.” Set amidst today’s paparazzi culture, Powers asks the questions, what if the world was full of superheroes who aren’t actually heroic at all? What if all that power was just one more excuse for mischief, mayhem, murder, and endorsement deals? Enter the men and women of the Powers Division, the only people brave enough to go up against the overpaid, commercialized, superhumans who glide through the sky imposing their power over the crowds below who both worship and fear them.“
“From the minute he stepped onto the set Sharlto has invested every part of himself into this role. He adds layers and layers into Christian Walker. He is doing everything I hoped he would do, which is make the television version of this character unique and exciting,” said Bendis. “And Susan, my god! From her very first audition she has embodied the character of Deena Pilgrim. I think people are going to be completely sucked in by both of their performances and unique perspectives on this world that Charlie Huston has built.”
“No matter how many guns or super powers you throw into a TV show, no one is going to watch if they don’t give a damn about your main characters. Sharlto and Susan are my secret weapons, my super powers; dynamic talents that viewers will definitely give a damn about,” adds showrunner and writer, Charlie Huston.
During the “POWERS: Bringing the Graphic Novels to Life Exclusively on PlayStation” panel, fans will jump into the world of POWERS as the team shares their journey turning the beloved graphic novels into a live-action drama series for PlayStation. The award-winning graphic novels, written by Bendis and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming, have received critical-acclaim earning the Eisner Award for Best New Series in 2001. Bendis also won the Best Writer Eisner Award in 2002 and 2003. Powers the series is produced by Jinxworld and Circle of Confusion in association with Sony Pictures Television. Brian Michael Bendis, Charlie Huston, Remi Aubuchon, Michael Avon Oeming, and David Engel serve as executive producers.
Filmax (the [REC] franchise, Summer Camp) provided Bloody Disgusting with the first images from their now-filming Sweet Home, with Rafa Martinez at the helm. Thanks to Fabien M. for the tip!
Sweet Home is described as a realistic and claustrophobic film that keeps track of the scariest side.
Here’s a translation of the film’s plot: “The plot is situated in a daily environment: a couple decides to spend a romantic evening in a floor of a semi-abandoned building that slip because she works as a consultant for the council house and got the keys. During the evening they discover that a hooded murderer is the only tenant left in the building…and they have become the new target.“
Ingrid Garcia Jonsson (Beautiful Youth) stars with Bruno Sevilla (Mindscape).
Martinez co-wrote the screenplay with Teresa of Rosendo and Ángel Agudo.
The English language Sweet Home is produced by Julio Fernandez.
Fabien M. sent over the first trailer (with English subs!) and image for Light House Productions’ French horror Hostile, directed by 15-year-old Nathan Ambrosioni.
In the film, “Meredith Langston always longed to have children. She finally makes this happen when she adopts two young adolescent girls. However, her now idyllic world sours rapidly and dream veers to nightmare when she quickly finds that she is unable to cope with their increasingly strange behaviour. Desperate, she seeks the help of two television journalists working for a local station, SOS Adoption.”
Julie Venturelli, Luna-Miti Belan, Lucie Donier, Shelley Ward, Anatolia Allieis, Julien Croquet, Magaly Gouyon, Didier Beaumont, Sarah Robert, Danielle di Sandro, Mallow Garcia, Richard Carré, Elona Hec and Vanessa Azzopardi star.
Director Colin Trevorrow just opened pandora’s box with his tweet from the set of Jurassic World.
While the plot has been under wraps, we know that it’s about a fully functional theme park now called “Jurassic World.”
The below tweet shows something more important: the East Dock sign that Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) knocked over with his Jeep in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park.
The implication here is that Jurassic World, in theaters June 12, 2015, lives in the exact same world as JP, and will also reference the original film. Clearly, I think the best guess here is that Jurassic World was made possible by the shaving cream canister (carrying dino DNA) Nedry was attempting to smuggle out of the park.
Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, and Judy Greer all star in the new JP sequel.
— Colin Trevorrow (@colintrevorrow) September 22, 2014
“The Newsroom” and Jonah Hex‘s John Gallagher Jr., pictured above, has joined Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Faults, The Thing) and John Goodman (Red State) in Paramount Insurge and Bad Robot’s The Cellar, reports Variety.
Dan Trachtenberg will direct, with J.J. Abrams producing for Bad Robot.
“The majority of the movie takes place in an underground cellar and revolves around a young woman who wakes up after a severe car accident and fears she has been abducted. Her captor, a doomsday prepper, tells her he saved her life and that there has been a terrible chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable. As tensions rise, she decides she must escape regardless of the terrors that await outside.”
Dan Casey wrote the most recent version of the script. Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken penned the original draft.
I’m a lifelong fan of animated cinema, and while I sometimes lament how Pixar-style CG epics have trampled many of the medium’s more traditional methods, I still appreciate the artistry, skill and incredible patience that goes into it. That’s probably why I have an intense love of stop-motion (well, that and all those Ray Harryhausen epics that helped shape my imagination), which is arguably the most time-consuming and meticulous animation technique of them all. Long before fully-rendered digital imagery became the standard, stop-motion features have still been fairly rare over the past few decades; despite the cult popularity of Tim Burton’s gothic masterpiece A Nightmare Before Christmas, the labor- and time-consuming technique of animating puppets or clay figures probably tries the patience of most studio execs. But for me, that makes the arrival of dark fantasy gems like Corpse Bride, Coraline and Frankenweenie all the more special.
LAIKA, the studio behind Coraline and 2012′s Paranorman, are rolling out their latest feature The Boxtrolls, and I’m celebrating all over again. It’s not only their finest achievement to date, but I daresay it’s the most entertaining animated film to be released by a major studio in the past few years. Based on the book Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, Boxtrolls is the deceptively simple tale of a young boy raised from infancy by the title critters – a kindly but secretive community of blue-skinned, glowing-eyed imps clad in cardboard boxes, who maintain their vast subterranean society by salvaging and re-purposing junk left behind by the oddball citizens of Cheesebridge (a town so named because their entire economy is based on importing exotic cheeses).
The tale itself draws from a deep well of classic tales (Kipling’s The Jungle Book and Dickens’ Oliver Twist come to mind), but the real joy here is in the telling. The world LAIKA has crafted is barely grounded in reality, opting for a highly stylized version of a late-19th-century European town that’s still making the transition from steam power to electricity (providing for some memorable steampunk set-pieces, including a towering coal-fueled robot), but it’s a touch more down-to-earth than Neil Gaiman’s surreal dreamworld depicted in Coraline. The elaborate sets – a combination of intricate models and digital artwork – seem to stretch on endlessly, and every nook and cranny is stuffed with weird little details: for example, the trolls’ underground city is a Rube Goldberg explosion of improvised machinery and flickering electric lights; Cheesebridge’s winding cobblestone streets (with pun-filled names like “Curds Way”) seem to defy gravity, twisting back on each other and folding into rooftops like an M.C. Escher landscape. The depth of detail is enhanced by quality 3D photography (not post-converted), which creates some dizzying moments, including an insane chase across city rooftops.
Of course, the lion’s share of the credit goes to the character animation team: the incredibly detailed puppets are sculpted with exaggerated facial and body features, decked out in highly detailed period costumes and rendered in high-contrast shades, reminiscent of hyper-stylized silent classics like Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The young hero “Eggs” falls closer to the softer, more traditional style usually reserved for child characters – which is probably a smart choice, as kids should identify with the likable leads. While played mostly for broad laughs, the characters’ faces cover the full spectrum of emotions, and the little nuances of their expressions are amazing to watch.
Accompanying this visual smorgasbord is one of the best voice casts I’ve heard in years: Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley rules them all in a mad, campy performance as the scenery-chewing villain Archibald Snatcher, who bamboozles the town’s moronic, cheese-obsessed elders into hiring him to eliminate the Boxtrolls; his musical number in absolutely hideous drag as a shrieking diva is totally hilarious (and a bit terrifying, if you ask me). Isaac Hempstead Wright (Game of Thrones) plays Eggs (named by the trolls after the egg crate he was found in), while other standout roles include Shaun of the Dead‘s Simon Pegg & Nick Frost and 30 Rock‘s Tracy Morgan as Snatcher’s addled sidekicks; Elle Fanning (Maleficent) nabs some of the film’s biggest laughs as the cute but morbidly curious Winnie, daughter of the dairy-obsessed Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris). Intricate sound design and a darkly whimsical score, plus song lyrics by Monty Python’s Eric Idle, add the final touches to this eccentric, comically macabre little universe.
With Halloween just around the corner, I can’t recommend this film highly enough. It’s got nostalgic references and knowing in-jokes to warm the hearts of classic horror fans; it’s packed with enough wild action, playful music and comic pratfalls to delight young ones (though maybe not too young – there are some shocking moments, including Snatcher’s monstrous allergic reaction to cheese); and it’s laced with tons of irreverent, macabre and droll humor for the grownups – including a surprising share of bodily-function and gross-out jokes and a wonderfully subtle meta-moment during the credits that actually got a round of applause. The Boxtrolls is not only the year’s best animated feature, but it’s sure to be a perennial favorite among fans of vintage horror and dark fantasy. It may give you a case of whiplash (and possibly put you off your cheese), but you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with Belgian metal band Bear to bring you the exclusive music video premiere for “Mantiis”! The video mixes performance footage with a storyline about a man and woman who begin making love but quickly turn into something far more sinister.
Vocalist Maarten Albrechts:
Mantiis is all about major companies and the gruesome way they treat their people. These companies suck their employees dry and throw them away after they become useless. That’s what the female mantis does: attract a male, mates with him and then kills him. The double ‘i’ highlights that greedy behaviour. The entire video is built around the same concept: greed. A beautiful girl attracts a man, takes everything he has, abuses him and leaves him behind feeling empty and alone.
“Mantiis” comes from the band’s upcoming album Noumenon, which can be pre-ordered through Basick Records.
Euroblast, Friday 3 Oct
Swedish melodic death metal pioneers At The Gates have released a stream of the title track of their upcoming album At War With Reality, which comes out October 28th via Century Media Records.
Bassist Jonas Bjorler comments:
We have finally reached the moment for the unveiling of a first full brand new At the Gates song! We have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this record for the past year, and we are very happy to now present you the title track of ‘At War With Reality’. Let the journey begin…
Having been a huge fan of Slaughter Of The Soul, one of the most influential metal albums of the 90′s, I can safely say that hearing this proves to me that the band still has it. It’s vicious, it’s aggressive, and it doesn’t hold back at all. This is what I wanted and I’m beyond thrilled to hear it.
So we’ve finally reached the premiere of Gotham. As the first of DC’s live action properties to debut this year it’s arguably the best. This is a show with a distinct voice, fantastic lead performances, and real sense of scope.
I can distinctly remember my excitement for this show when it was announced. I figured a show that focused on the inner workings of the GCPD would be ripe for a dark character driven drama. I loathed the casting process. Week after week key players from the Batman mythos were added to the show’s huge roster. But I’m happy to report they don’t distract… much.
The episode begins with a young Catwoman, of all people. She’s gallivanting through the moody streets of Gotham, and comes upon a mugging in the alley. We all know the one. Martha and Thomas Wayne are gunned down and it’s up to Harvey Bullock to solve the case with his new partner James Gordon.
The timing of James’ arrival to the GCPD is questionable, but nevertheless he’s thrown headfirst into a world where justice is determined by the highest bidder. Ben McKenzie does a killer job at capturing Gordon’s own frustration in cooperating with the rampant corruption. He’s perfectly paired with Donal Logue who has his own brand of justice as Harvey Bullock. He’s a hard drinking, crooked cop who frames things in just the way he needs in order to keep working the bare minimum amount required. They couldn’t be more different, but still over the course of the hour develop a bond that is believable and an interesting source of conflict.
In this first outing, our heroes (?) come into contact with Edward Nygma, Oswald Cobblepot, Fish Mooney, and Carmine Falcone. Mooney proves the most interesting out of the bunch thanks to a great performance by Jada Pinkett Smith. She chews the scenary and allows for a particular brand of menace we haven’t seen in Gotham before.
Almost every character has their personal skewed powerplay for the city in the making. It’s a world where those in control don’t seem to stay there for long. Fish is tired of being the second fiddle to the Falcone family. The first episode deals with her attempt to go above her boss to create a quick solve in the Wayne homicide.
The plot isn’t really anything special, it’s standard procedural murder mystery fare in a comic book paintjob. The characters are the real draw. Robin Lord Taylor is a complete treat as Penguin. He’s a sniveling shell of the criminal mastermind we know, and it works to the show’s advantage. He fucks things up in all the right ways.
But the real star of the pilot is the art direction, cinematography, and world building on display. Gotham is a city that exists out of time. It’s filled with old luxury sedans, gothic architecture, and a complicated skyline. Against a warm color palette is really incredible lighting that evokes a noir feel in almost every aspect.
The result is closer to David Fincher’s Se7en then you’d first imagine. The creative team behind the show has stressed how unique their vision of Gotham is, and the pilot made me a believer. There is a certain layer of inexplicable attraction in this gothic dystopia. Perhaps it’s because this is the closest realization of the Gotham I grew up loving from Batman The Animated Series. I still haven’t seen enough to know whether or not the look sticks, but for the time being, I’m impressed.
Gotham is a horrible place. This much is certain. It’s filled with an assertive sense of terror that comes with danger being down every street. There is no protection from the law enforcement, and just about everyone wants you dead. Jim Gordon has found himself in the middle of this terrifying world, and he’s dead set on cleaning it up.
Gotham does have its issues. There was far too much insertion of Batman lore for my liking. Catwoman felt like a distraction and served to add nothing to the pilot, as well as the inclusion of a young Poison Ivy. Some of the dialogue comes across like the writer thought it would be far more introspective than it actually is, when it reality it sound melodramatic.
But hell if it isn’t Gotham. It’s the living breathing scum-ridden city, delivered to us on a weekly basis. The show is pitched as a Jim Gordon vehicle, but the main character is the city, and it’s never looked more alive. I’m really excited to see what things look like on a weekly basis because if this pilot is any indication than we’re in for one hell of a ride.
- Really didn’t understand when Gordon arrived to the city. Almost wish we got that Year One intro of him riding into the city via the train.
- I like the Alfred we’re getting here. He seems to be inspired by the Earth One version more than anything.
- The skyline was beautiful, and the sense of gothic architecture throughout really has me excited to see more.
- Are we case of the week after this? Or is it going to be an ongoing plot? I sincerely hope it’s a little of both.
What did you think of Gotham’s Pilot?
At least it’s made of 24-karat solid gold…
What do you buy your Godzilla superfan for the upcoming holidays? Maybe you can get your family to chip in on a crowd-sourced campaign to buy your buddy a $1.5 million 24-karat gold Godzilla figurine?
To commemorate this milestone, an established Japanese jewelry brand, Ginza Tanaka, was commissioned to manufacture this 24-karat gold figure. Furthermore, this solid gold Godzilla weighs in at incredible 15kg and is priced at monstrous US$1.5 million. The actual figure measures at 24cm height, 19cm width, and 35cm length, while it stands proudly on a large black marble base with an acrylic box cover.
Official launch is slated for Sunday, July 20 at all nine branches of Ginza Tanaka in Japan.
Thanks to Avery for the tip!
“Dead Boy Detectives” has become a flagship Vertigo title in little under a year. Our own Jorge Solis said that volume one “strikes the right balance between charming and frightening.” After being introduced in the pages of one of the best comics ever written, Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” the dead boys get their own series with all-new supernatural adventures. The dead boy detectives are consistently charming and horrifying in their own right, and issue #9 proves to be no different.
DEAD BOY DETECTIVES #9
ON SALE 9/24
Empty theaters can be spooky places where the echoes of dead hands forever applaud and the leftover gloom of forgotten tragedies lingers – and nowhere is spookier than the grand, gaudy, gilded Victorian music hall where Charles and Crystal go to investigate his mother’s suspicious death. But will the melodramatic ghosts still haunting those creaky floor boards make a swift exit, revel in a few more moments in the spotlight, or take revenge for being upstaged? If Charles isn’t careful, this could mean curtains for Crystal.
Art by: Ryan Kelly, Mark Buckingham
Cover by: Mark Buckingham
Written by: Toby Litt
Riding the marginal success of their Sharknado series, the Syfy Channel has another silly B-movie in production: Lavalantula. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a tarantula that shoots lava. But this time they have an ace up their sleeve in the form of a mini-Police Academy reunion!
Lavalantula stars Steve Guttenberg (Mahoney), Leslie Eastebrook (Callahan), and Michael Winslow (Larvell Jones)! To be sure this band of cop comedy legends are in the right hands, Syfy has brought in Big Ass Spider (our review) director Mike Mendez.
According to EW, Lavalantula is currently in production and will air sometime next summer. For now, check out the poster below and PRAY Michael Winslow busts out some crazy sound effects with his mouth.
We now have release details for the Bryan Singer-produced The Taking of Deborah Logan.
Adam Robitel’s possession horror film gets an early release on October 21 before it hits VOD and DVD November 4 through Millennium Entertainment.
“Mia Medina (Michelle Ang) has finally found the perfect subject for her PhD thesis film on Alzheimer’s Disease. For the next several months, cameras will record the everyday life of mother Deborah Logan (Jill Larson) and her daughter, Sarah (Anne Ramsay). But as the days progress, strange things begin to happen around Deborah that are not consistent with any findings about Alzheimer’s. It becomes apparent that there’s something besides Alzheimer’s that has taken control of Deborah’s life. It’s an evil that is far worse than the debilitating disease with which she was first diagnosed.“
Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, Michelle Ang, and Ryan Cutrona star.
Progressive rock legends Pink Floyd have unveiled the album artwork and track listing for their upcoming album The Endless River, which is the first new album since 1994′s The Division Bell. The album, which is set to be released on November 10th (pre-order here), consists of music recorded in the 1993 sessions that led to The Division Bell as well as additional overdubs from David Gilmour and Nick Mason.
“‘The Endless River’ has as its starting point the music that came from the 1993 ‘Division Bell’ sessions. We listened to over 20 hours of the three of us playing together and selected the music we wanted to work on for the new album. Over the last year we’ve added new parts, re-recorded others and generally harnessed studio technology to make a 21st century Pink Floyd album. With Rick gone, and with him the chance of ever doing it again, it feels right that these revisited and reworked tracks should be made available as part of our repertoire.
Head below for the artwork and track listing.
The Endless River Track Listing:
‘Things Left Unsaid’
‘It’s What We Do’
‘Ebb and Flow’
‘The Lost Art of Conversation’
‘On Noodle Street’
‘Eyes to Pearls’
‘Louder Than Words’
Friday was a memorable night for Hollywood’s horror fans, as Universal Studios kicked off this year’s Halloween season with the annual Eyegore Award ceremonies, followed by the launch of 2014′s Halloween Horror Nights attractions. I got a chance to check out this year’s honorees and presenters on the red carpet before the festivities began, and as always, this year’s turnout featured both familiar and new faces from the worlds of big- and small-screen horror.
Rick Baker, David Naughton & John Landis
An American Werewolf in London director John Landis, accepting his career-spanning award tonight, was accompanied by Oscar-winning makeup FX guru Rick Baker (a previous Eyegore recipient, now presenting) and the American Werewolf himself, actor David Naughton. Needless to say, it was a historic moment to see this legendary trio reunited… and the crowd was encouraged to hear Landis describe walking through the park’s American Werewolf maze for the first time: “It scared the shit out of me!” he admitted. I made a mental note of that, as I remember watching that film in the theater as a kid, scrunched down in my seat and frozen in wide-eyed terror… naturally, I had to come full-circle and see what Landis was so afraid of himself.
Greg Nicotero & Robert Kirkman
Another effects legend, the great Greg Nicotero, arrived to accept his award for his landmark work on The Walking Dead, as presented by series creator Robert Kirkman and Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” Nicotero said of his lauded FX career, “but when I come to the set of The Walking Dead, it’s like my first day on the job. I love that; I love that I still learn, and that I can get better, thanks to the support of all you guys.”
Robert Rodriguez & McKenzie Westmore
One of the superstars of the night arrived to massive cheers from a huge throng of fans: Robert Rodriguez, here to accept a career achievement award for his contributions to horror entertainment, was accompanied by the series cast of From Dusk Till Dawn on Rodriguez’s El Rey Network, as well as beloved genre icon Danny Trejo, who flashed his signature Machete moves.
Danny Trejo, Sid Haig
“I love that they named this the Eyegore,” Rodriguez said, citing the eyeball violence inflicted on the actors in his movies (e.g. Johnny Depp in Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Michelle Rodriguez in Machete). He also regaled the audience with his rendition of his mother’s blood-curdling scream, to help prepare himself for a walk-through of his own From Dusk Till Dawn maze: “That’s what I’ll sound like tonight,” he said. “And you too!”
Face Off team members Lois Burwell, Glenn Hetrick & Ve Neill
Other horror heavyweights included Devil’s Rejects star Sid Haig, who always has a kind word for the fans, and the judges from SyFy’s Face Off; the show’s host, McKenzie Westmore, returned to the podium as emcee for the evening.
Myles Kennedy & Slash
The ceremonies concluded with a live performance by Grammy-winning guitar god Slash and singer Myles Kennedy of “Nothing Left to Fear,” the moody title track from the film of the same name (and the first feature to be released by Slash’s own horror-centric production company, Slasher Films).
Following the awards came the part I’ve been looking forward to all year – when they sent us all out into the night to sample this year’s crop of horror attractions. Having missed last year’s event, I was eager to catch up… and I’d forgotten just how massive Universal City’s facilities actually were. Halloween Horror Nights attractions tend to take over the majority of the park’s real estate from late September to early November, and this year was no exception.
With only so much time available – and knowing there are some pretty long lines for each maze – I’d planned out my evening as carefully as possible, and managed to hit nearly all of the new offerings. In between, Universal managed to keep the massive waiting crowds occupied with a rave/party atmosphere, including rounds of horror trivia and scantily-clad dancers twerking and grinding to tracks by Rammstein, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson.
The most elaborate entry this year is the “Walking Dead: End of the Line” walk-through attraction, which begins with a “Terror Tram” ride into the hills that deposits you at the entrance to an outdoor survival maze. From there, you set out on a smoke-shrouded trail that weaves through some of the most elaborate park sets I’ve ever seen, including the entire fuselage of a downed airliner and a huge military compound patrolled by chainsaw-wielding survivors (who are just as likely to come after you as the nearby walkers). The near-darkness and dense smoke on the trail allows for zombie actors to blend in, ninja-like, with the crowd before suddenly turning on unsuspecting victims, leading to some of the night’s best screams, panicked freakouts, and bursts of nervous laughter.
Also worth checking out is the new Alien Vs. Predator maze, which wins my vote for most impressive set design of the evening: the indoor structure is made to resemble a blasted-out rural town, whose residents have been seized to incubate xenomorph invaders. All the alien life-cycles are represented, with facehuggers launching themselves at passers-by, chestbursters ripping out of cocooned actors amid sprays of blood (you’ll get wet, but not stained) and of course full-size alien warriors fighting with some impressively large, laser-wielding Predators over who gets to dissect the helpless human visitors. I won’t spoil the most impressive set-piece here, but let’s just say it’s the best possible conclusion to an Alien-themed attraction.
Other cool installments include the creepy “Clowns 3D,” which not only features just about every kind of psychotic clown you could imagine – in well-done 3D and a brain-frying assault of black-light colors – but most notably an excellent original score by Slash himself. Coulrophobic (i.e. clown-fearing) visitors will have therapy material for years to come… and that’s not including the stilt-walking killer clowns that wander outside the maze to nab unsuspecting park-goers, along with heavily armed masked marauders from The Purge: Anarchy maze – many of whom were able to blend into small crowds before turning to attack, sending patrons scattering in all directions.
The Dracula Untold maze followed a more traditional spook-house route, but the blend of old-school gothic and modern vampire trappings kept things fresh and freaky, and if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be attacked by all the competitors’ monstrous creations from Face Off… well, you won’t soon forget that experience, which captured the best Halloween flavor of the night. The From Dusk Till Dawn maze recreates the “Titty Twister” set from the movie and the series, and the actors here are among the most aggressive you’ll ever encounter (at least among attractions where they don’t actually assault the guests), be they vampires or well-armed human survivors.
Hands down, my personal favorite this year would have to be that American Werewolf maze, which lovingly recreates all the memorable moments from the 1981 classsic, from the Slaughtered Lamb pub to the London Underground, even the many nightmare sequences, and unleashes some seriously scary full-size animatronic werewolves… one of which snapped its jaws so close to me I felt its hair brush my neck. (I now totally understand why even John Landis himself was terrified of this one.) It’s a little too short for my liking, but every second you’re in there is loaded with maximum shock potential, with beautifully designed sets and props.
Exhausted but exhilarated, I survived the ordeal with only minor injuries… and once I’ve rested up, I’ll be ready to go back again. If you’re going to be in the L.A. area between now and November 2nd, try spending a night convincing your friends you’re not pissing your pants in terror – especially when that guy in the group next to you turns out to be less than human… and hungry.
Visit HalloweenHorrorNights.com for tickets, event schedule and more info.
It always seems like there’s a possibility of World War 3. Even today, while the Cold War has long passed, there’s seems to be a constant feeling that someone in Russia or the US will end up pushing that red button, launching a nuclear holocaust. Obviously, the whole thing makes for potentially great sci-fi and horror films capitalizing on the “What if?” scenario. Newcomer director Peter Engert is the latest to try and weave a tale of survivors struggling in a post-nuclear wasteland. Rather than taking certain liberties, such as the lack of effects from that darn radiation sickness in other post-nuclear films, Engert attempts to present the things in a more realistic fashion. Question is, does it work?
In rural Texas, the Big One has dropped as the United States is in the midst of World War 3. A young doctor named Hunter (C.J. Thomason) through chance meets up with a group of other survivors in a farmhouse cellar. Battling claustrophobia and their interpersonal conflicts, the group of nine must also deal with growing hunger, radiation sickness and a roving gang of dying refugees eager to steal supplies.
As I said, unlike some futuristic films that portray humanity’s struggle against a common foe without worrying about the logical problems inherent with nuclear warfare, Engert has chosen to give the film a very bleak and not-so-rosy outlook. Communications are toast due to the EMP burst from the dropped bomb, the soil is radioactive and the air is practically poison, survivors are soaking up radiation and slowly dying from the fallout, and the emergency broadcasts from the vice-president (!!) are hollow and generic. It’s pretty damn depressing. However, it’s also not out of the realm of reality if a nuke was dropped. Throwing in instances of roving bands of people pettily fighting with other survivors for supplies just adds to the bleakness, knowing that it’s all in vain. It’s an interesting change of pace from what you’d normally expect that’s reluctantly welcome.
Of course, it would all be for nothing if the cast wasn’t up to the job. C.J. Thomason does well as the heroic doctor Hunter. He does much of the exposition, explaining the effects nuclear fallout, while also doing the “doctor thing”, patching people up, gathering supplies and so on. Monica Keena also does well as nurse Elizabeth, doing her job to the best of her abilities for as long as she can. The real star is surprisingly Edward Furlong, who I still remember as John Connor whose acting was all over the place. Not here, as Furlong plays the short-fused redneck prick Brad, who undermines and opposes Hunter’s do-gooder plans. Overall, all the players provide the needed tension and drama that’s required for a film like this.
As you’ve probably determined, this is not a film with a happy outcome. That’s understandable, but unfortunately Engert doesn’t do much more with the film. Much of what Engert does do has been done before in other post-apocalyptic films, including a raid by outsiders on our protagonists’ shelter. Of course, outsiders consist of irradiated folks that bring to mind the rage zombies from 28 Days Later, only crispier. Sure, it does have that exploration of what people would do in a situation such as this, but there’s nothing more to it. There’s a cry for more backstory for the characters, but ultimately that never comes. Instead, the film starts becoming flat by the midway point.
Aftermath strives to be different from what you’d normally get with a post-nuclear film. And while the bleakness and pessimistic outlook does change things up, it doesn’t deviate from the formula we’ve all seen before. Adding in the lack of backstory exploration needed to keep things going, the film comes across as more depressive than it needs to be. While a dose of theoretical reality is nice, you’d still want to be entertained for 92 minutes. Aftermath offers up some good points, but still misses a few things to make it truly worthwhile.
Shot on the RED camera, Aftermath is presented in AVC-encoded 1080p 1.78:1 widescreen. Being shot digitally, the transfer sports solid black levels and great detail, both in light and in shadow. Since the film’s been colour-corrected to help appear harsh and bleak, the palette is appropriately desaturated. Overall, a great-looking transfer.
Audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The initial nuclear blast has the appropriate window-rattling oomph in the bass, which is always fun. Much of the dialogue is presented in hushed speech, which makes arguments and the sounds of violence louder than they normally would be. It’s a neat effect, and makes the final act intense to the point of it being almost unbearable. Regardless of the loudness, dialogue comes across clear and free of distortion.