It seems like in 90 percent of the found-footage reviews I write, I find myself complaining about the same things. Luckily, this entry from young UK writer/director/star Drew Casson manages to take an inventive spin on the genre while only dipping into tired cliches a few times. Hungerford is wildly ambitious and despite its tight budget, Casson was able to make it feel like a large-scale end of the world, alien invasion film. Speaking as someone who has to watch a lot of bad found footage movies, I can honestly say Hungerford makes for a refreshing and charming take on the genre.
Set in the titular town of Hungerford, the film follows Cowen (played by Casson) as he documents his life for a school project. His life basically entails partying with his roommates and trying to remember what happened the night before. It’s not a very interesting video diary, until an alien invasion goes down in body snatcher form. Then his video diary begins to kick ass. If I was his teacher, I’d probably give him a bold A+.
We’re with Cowen and his friends for the entire film, so thankfully their relationships and banter feel very organic. The dialogue is believable and sounds like the shit you’d hear a bunch of twenty-somethings rap about during a horrific alien invasion. There’s some real depth and drama to the characters too, which adds a ton of weight as far as actually caring about them goes. There’s a loose romance set up between Cowen and another character that adds a real punch later on when shit goes down.
One of the wise choices the film makes is to show us everything. Too often in found-footage are we only shown glimpses of the creature, villain, etc., and it’s usually in a dark room so we can’t actually see anything. That can be effective, of course, but it’s so overdone it’s rare for that technique to conjure up scares anymore. Casson sets his film mainly during the day and gives us full-on shots of the baddies. It works well and gives the carnage a bit of a Shaun of the Dead feel. Some of the scares don’t really work, but it’s still great that the camera never flinches away.
The “film everything” logic does stumble a bit when the kids commit a heinous crime, so it’s best to suspense disbelief for that scene.
One cliche the film does perform is setting much of the climax in a dark room (like I mentioned before). It’s tough to see much of anything, the camerawork turns jarring, and it’s simply not as effective as the rest of the film. The ending is also one were fairly accustomed to by now. It would’ve been cool to see some more of the creativity displayed earlier come up for the climax.
Despite these found footage shortcomings and some stifled acting, Hungerford is an admirable and lively entry to the genre. There’s some real feeling behind the film and it certainly shows. It’ll be interesting to see what young Casson could pull off with a healthier budget.
Gravitas Ventures just released the official theatrical trailer for the Sundance thriller Jamie Marks Is Dead, which was directed by The Ruins‘ Carter Smith. It will open on VOD and in limited theaters .August 29.
In the pic, “Fifteen-year-old Adam McCormick’s life hasn’t been the same since classmate Gracie Highsmith found Jamie Marks’s dead body at the edge of the river. The town is shocked, but as speculation swirls, it becomes clear that they knew as little about Jamie as they do about the circumstances surrounding his death. Adam becomes fixated on Jamie’s death, and gradually a deep bond develops between the living teenager and the dead boy’s ghost. Their unlikely friendship provides Adam with the support and friendship he needs as the rest of the world falls apart. But the more attached Adam becomes to Jamie’s ghost, the weaker his ties to reality become. As he struggles with the real-world relationships, Adam is forced to rediscover what it means to be alive.”
Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver, Morgan Saylor, Judy Greer, Madisen Beaty and Liv Tyler star.
Ryan Daley was not a fan out of the premiere.
One of the biggest movie events of the year kicks off a week from Wednesday in San Diego, CA.
Are you ready for the annual San Diego Comic-Con, the largest comic convention on the planet? As usual, Bloody Disgusting will be on hand delivering LIVE updates for 5 straight days of madness. While comics have taken a backseat to big studio movies (that aren’t even comic related), we celebrate the madness that brings us hundreds of first looks at Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.
Horror hasn’t exactly been recognized at the event, but we’ll be digging deep to find everything genre. So, keep your eyes planted here and we’ll make sure you get it ALL at one place, Bloody Disgusting.
PREVIEW NIGHT: WEDNESDAY, JULY 23rd 6pm – 10pm
SNEAK PREVIEW SCREENINGS (Ballroom 20): Comic-Con International and Warner Bros. Television proudly continue their annual Preview Night tradition, with exclusive world premiere screenings of the pilot episodes of three of the most highly anticipated series of the 2014-15 television season — The Flash, Constantine, and iZombie — as well as a brand new episode of Teen Titans Go!
Constantine – John Constantine is a man waging war against the forces of darkness-from both within himself and the outside world. An irreverent, working-class con man and occult expert, he’s an experienced exorcist and demonologist with an extensive list of supernatural contacts, each with their own paranormal talents and abilities. Following the aftermath of a tragic incident, Constantine has voluntarily checked himself into an asylum and sworn off investigating matters of the supernatural, but when a cryptic message calls him out to reluctantly resume his old life, he finds himself saving the life of a young woman whom he’s never met but to whom he is connected to in a very important way. With dark forces gathering power in the world, Constantine allies himself with Manny, a rogue warrior angel, and Chas, his giant childhood protector-and the only friend who’s managed to stay alive. Based on characters published by DC Entertainment, Constantine reflects the lore of the fan-favorite comic, combining noirish storytelling with the evolving mythology of John Constantine, a morally challenged character who doesn’t come down on the side of either good or evil…but ultimately might be the only thing defending us against the dark forces from beyond. The series stars Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior), Harold Perrineau (Lost), and Charles Halford (True Detective) and is executive produced by Daniel Cerone (Dexter) and David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight trilogy). From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, Constantine will air Fridays at 10/9c on NBC this fall, premiering October 24.
iZombie – Olivia “Liv” Moore, a 25-year-old medical resident, is on the fast track to a perfect life…until she’s turned into a zombie. Now stuck somewhere between half-alive and undead, Liv loses all traces of her former drive and ambition. She transfers her medical residency to the city morgue in order to reluctantly access the only real form of sustenance left available to her-and the only thing that allows her to maintain her humanity-human brains. But there are side effects to Liv’s new diet: With each brain she consumes, Liv experiences “visions”-flashes of the corpse’s memories-including, in some cases, clues as to how they were killed. The series stars Rose McIver (Once Upon a Time), Malcolm Goodwin (Breakout Kings), Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley (One Tree Hill), David Anders (Heroes) and Nora Dunn (Entourage), and is executive produced by Veronica Mars veterans Rob Thomas, Diane Ruggiero-Wright, Danielle Stokdyk, and Dan Etheridge. From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Spondoolie Productions and Warner Bros. Television and based on characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, published by DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint, iZombie premieres midseason on The CW.
ON THE NEXT PAGE: DAY 1: THURSDAY, JULY 24
As actor Jeffrey Jones points out in his interview included on this new Blu-ray, the title of Antonia Bird’s cannibal film Ravenous has a few meanings. There’s the obvious one, referring to the ravenous hunger of a cannibal for human flesh. Then there’s the other meaning, referring to the backdrop of the Mexican-American War and the United State’s hunger for more land and power. It’s this layered approach to the genre, along with its great cast and offbeat tone, that makes the underrated Ravenous a wholly remarkable film.
Guy Pearce stars as Captain John Boyd, a recently promoted soldier sent to a remote fort in the Sierra Nevada mountains. At the start of the film he’s being honored for taking down some Mexican army leaders, but in reality he’s a coward who played dead as his platoon was slaughtered. Right off the bat he’s not a character you want to root for.
The fort is populated with a group of misfit soldiers led by Col. Hart (Jeffrey Jones). Amongst them are David Arquette (who plays a stoner), Jeremy Davies, and Neal McDonough. If you watch Justified you know McDonough can play one helluva badass, as he does here. One night, a ravaged man named Col. Ives shows up at the fort and tells them a dark tale of cannibalism. He’s played by Robert Carlyle, who turns in one gleefully insane performance. When the men go to investigate what Ives told them, all hell breaks loose.
Ravenous is a cannibal movie, but it also utilizes some Native American mythology of the Wendigo. There’s a pinch of vampirism mixed in as well, which makes for some diabolical twists in the story. The tone see-saws between suspenseful and dark to almost whimsical during scenes you wouldn’t expect a playfulness to come through. For example, there’s one tense chase scene in the forest, but during it composer Damon Albarn’s score is really perky, almost like a Mark Mothersbaugh tune. This combination of playful and morbid gives Ravenous a fun, comedic tone.
Guy Pearce, just coming off his first big role in L.A. Confidential, brings a stoic, solemn vibe to Boyd. While he may deliver the goods, this is Robert Carlyle’s show. It’s a maniacal, intense performance and there’s something really terrifying in his eyes that tells you he isn’t fucking around. He delivers these macabre monologues about the power of devouring human flesh that have such confidence in them that it’s scary. Pearce does get to shine a bit later on once he’s gotten a taste for human meat, but it’s Carlyle who grabs you by the balls the whole time.
Ravenous explores a lot of territory: power, mortality, morality, manifest destiny, redemption, etc. It really goes beyond a simple cannibal comedy, traversing through a cold, metaphysical landscape. I highly recommend it and now with Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray, you have no excuse!
The 1080 widescreen transfer is fine and highlights the film’s grim atmosphere. There’s nothing that really pops though. It oftentimes look like a standard definition DVD. The 51. DTS-HD Master Audio sounds fantastic, however. The score really shines.
Scream Factory has carried over the three audio commentaries previously included on the DVD edition. The best track features director Antonia Bird and composer Damon Albarn as they keep things really honest and insightful. There’s rarely a pause on that one. The track with screenwriter Ted Griffin and actor Jeffrey Jones is great as well. It’s obvious that Jones really has a strong fondness for this film. The last track is with Robert Carlyle. Although he delivers a powerful performance in the film, his commentary is wicked boring with loooong stretches of nothing.
The new special feature is a 20-minute interview with Jeffrey Jones. He really loves this film as well as the time period it takes place in. He drops serious knowledge about Native Americans, the Mexican-American War, and other historical tidbits relating to the production. It was interesting to learn that he actually convinced Bird to change the script so that his character would meet a different fate than originally planned. He also talks about the working condition they experienced shooting in Poland and how they created fake snow. You’re definitely going to want to watch this interview when the film ends. Bravo, Mr. Jones.
The disc also includes about 10 minutes of deleted scenes with option commentary by Bird, a trailer and TV spot, and a photo gallery.
Ravenous has gone underrated for far too long. Be part of the solution and check out this Blu-ray!
Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Strain” has a long history of adaptation with first being a series of novels, being adapted into a comic series, and now into a television series. The voice of the incredible creator is present in every form, however, as evidenced by the huge scope of the narrative “The Strain” was always meant to be a television series.
The pilot “Night Zero” looks fantastic. It’s got the blue hues of 80’s horror movies, and the deep reds and bronzes of Del Toro’s previous work. It’s visually stunning and evokes an eerie tone right from the get-go. There is a ton of heavy lifting to do in terms of the plot, and while most of it is incredibly compelling the episode struggles in a few moments. Several false endings, and big moments that feel like the end of the episode cause the narrative to stall in the latter half of this longer episode.
“The Strain” begins with a commercial airliner landing at JFK without a single passenger left alive. This huge event causes literally every emergency team to arrive at the airport eager to get inside. Meanwhile Epidemiologist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) is at a counseling session in an attempt to save his relationship with his estranged wife and son. He is consumed by work, and is introduced in all consuming fashion. Stoll kills it in the role. He is the right combination of levity and seriousness all at once. In his personal life he seems frantic, but professionally he’s in complete control.
As the situation with the airliner deepens we’re introduced to the wide assortment of supporting characters. Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) has a cliché introduction that evolves into something deliciously Del Toro. The set design of his pawn shop is filled with amusing trinkets and serves as a love letter to lore of Vampirism.
The pilot has it’s fair share of exceedingly creepy moments that cannot possibly be spoiled. It will get under your skin and refuse to leave. There are moments of pure gore, and others of creeping dread. Everything about this new type of vampire will leave you with a looming sense of terror that doesn’t easily wash off after the credits roll. With a particular scene in the morgue set to “Sweet Caroline” that will have you cringing the next time you hear “touching me, touching you.” It’s a brilliantly stage scene that shows the true horror that “The Strain” is capable of.
Fans of the books will be thrilled to see the fantastic characters of Eph and Abraham come to life with fantastic performances by Bradley and Stoll. Supporting players like Sean Astin’s Jim is nervous and adds a lot of comedy to tense moments, and Mia Maestro as Nora Martinez delivers a laughably wooden performance. Everyone else is pretty fantastic in the short time we spend with them here.
There are genuine moments of pure terror in this pilot, coupled with strong central performances, Ramin Djawadi’s unnerving score, and some fantastic bits of dialogue that make for a great introduction to this world. “The Strain’s” ticking clock is now set in motion. This pilot episode wasn’t afraid to move slowly to introduce the core elements that will come to a head over the next thirteen weeks, but rest assured the rest of the show moves with lightning quick pace.
What did you think of the pilot?
Your heart begins beating tonight.
Premiering tonight on FX is the debut episode of “The Strain,” from Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
Below we have four new teasers for the series, which is absolutely fantastic – in a weird way. While all of the cast and crew push on how hard they aimed at building a series that takes place in the “real world,” I feel like “The Strain” is about as colorful and comic book-esque as del Toro could get; it feels straight out of Blade 2 or Pacific Rim.
Del Toro directs Episode 1.01, ‘Night Zero,’ airing July 13, 10:00 pm e/p.
“When a plane lands in New York City with everyone on board dead, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, head of the CDC’s Canary Project, and his team are called upon to investigate. Harlem pawnbroker Abraham Setrakian races to the airport, convinced that what looks at first like a mysterious viral outbreak might be the beginning of something infinitely more sinister.”
“The Strain” stars Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Roger Cross, Leslie Hope, Regina King, Robert Maillet, Lauren Lee Smith, Miguel Gomez, Kevin Durand, David Bradley, and Richard Sammel.
The first teaser trailer for FX’s “American Horror Story: Freakshow” is absolutely perfect…and fake. A late night update from THR confirms this spectacular 500,000 hit teaser was fan-made. Someone hire this mystery artists STAT!
The fan trailer, tipped to us by reader ‘Alex W.,’ displays the Freakshow’s “Fallen Angel,” who is controlled by the series’ antagonist, an evil clown.
It was previously reported that, the seres, returning this fall, 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, Wes Bentley, and the gorgeous Emma Roberts returning.
Horror video games can be some of the best, most shining examples of how the genre can terrify and immerse a viewer. Admittedly, the nature of video games means that you, the player, are part of the experience rather than simply watching it. But there are very few times that I’ve been as scared by a movie as I have been by a video game.
Admittedly, most video game to film adaptations are absolutely dreadful. But if one were to assume that it would be done properly, what video games would you love to see reach the silver screen?
That’s the discussion I’d like to open this Sunday! I’ve got a few choices below, so head on down to check them out and then leave your suggestions in the comments!
Yes, I know we have a current franchise with the Resident Evil name. However, that series went downhill VERY quickly. And, even in the beginning, it felt like it had nothing to do with the game series. I want a REAL Resident Evil movie. I want a huge creepy mansion with traps and puzzles. I want terror around every corner. I want something scary, not something action-packed. Someone get to work on that!
It has been 4 long years since Walt Disney Pictures announced – at the San Diego Comic-Con nonetheless – that Guillermo del Toro would be helmed a remake of The Haunted Mansion.
Since August 1969, foolish mortals have dared to trespass on the macabre grounds of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. A hallowed landmark in Disneyland’s New Orleans square, it’s the dwelling place of 999 happy haunts dying to meet new visitors each day. The plantation-style of the mansion’s facade is a sweet deception for visitors. Inside, ghostly doom buggies line the hallways. Since its construction, the mysteries of the mansion have transcended the attraction with stories surfacing about horrifying encounters with the supernatural. Versions of the daunting edifice have been built at other Disney theme parks in Orlando, Tokyo and Paris.
We’ve been skeptical of del Toro for years now as he’s been attaching himself to way too many projects – the man only has two hands, you see – and clearly The Haunted Mansion is one of the projects hurt by his over ambition.
During a Reddit AMA, he was asked about said remake:
Well, I spent 2 weeks ago, I went back to Disneyland with the executives with whom I am developing the screenplay. It’s a hard screenplay to crack. We’ve done it a few times. We are on our third or fourth draft, with 2 different writing teams, and I think the main thing is to try to combine everything that is great about the ride into the movie, and to make it a really intense but with a sense of fun – just like the ride. It’s a tough balance, and I would be happy to report if we had the screenplay. We always feel like we are very close, but not yet. We have developed 50-60 pieces of art,
We’ve developed maquettes of the Hat Box Ghost, over the body and face of Doug Jones, but we have not succeeded yet in cracking the screenplay. I have to believe that Disney will make this movie as soon as we crack the screenplay, but until then we cannot tackle it. It is a movie I would love to direct, but I would be happy to just produce it if the timing is not right. I, by the way, was named Guest for the Day for the Haunted Mansion the last time I did, which gave me unlimited access to ride the mansion several times during the day. Unfortunately it was just the moment my left knee decided to bust and I had to go back home with a busted knee.
Blaming Disney, the screenplay and his knee isn’t exactly the answer I wanted to hear, but I also don’t want them to rush into something half-cocked that will end up shitty. I really enjoyed Pacific Rim, and even “The Strain” is pleasing, therefore I would really like to see del Toro’s colorful antics realized with the 999 happy haunts. I’ll continue to be patient and pray he “cracks the script.”
The 18th annual Fantasia International Film Festival is gearing up to take Montreal by storm with three weeks of inspiration and excitement starting July 17 until August 5, 2014. The full 2014 lineup of programming and special events will be revealed shortly, but in the meantime, here’s some new imagery to whet your appetite.
Ahead of the premiere, check out the official trailer for the horror comedy Housebound, which was acquired by XLrator Media for release in the States.
In the New Zealand-based film, “Kylie Bucknell is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention. Her punishment is made all the more unbearable by the fact she has to live there with her mother Miriam – a well-intentioned blabbermouth who’s convinced that the house is haunted. Kylie dismisses Miriam’s superstitions as nothing more than a distraction from a life occupied by boiled vegetables & small town gossip. However, when she too becomes privy to unsettling whispers & strange bumps in the night, she begins to wonder whether she’s inherited her overactive imagination, or if the house is in fact possessed by a hostile spirit who’s not particularly thrilled about her return.“
Housebound is directed by Gerard Johnstone and stars Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Cameron Rhodes, Millen Baird, Ross Harper, Bruce Hopkins, Ryan Lampp, Ian Mune and Wallace Chapman.
UK alt-rock group Radiohead will enter the studio to rehearse and record a followup to 2011′s The King Of Limbs, according to guitarist Jonny Greenwood. In an interview on the Mary Anne Hobbes’ BBC 6Music who yesterday, Greenwood stated, “We’re going to start up in September, playing, rehearsing, and recording and see how it’s sounding.”
The members of Radiohead have been involved in various side projects for the past few years. Greenwood has been busy composing films such as The Master and We Need To Talk About Kevin. Thom Yorke has been involved in his side band Atoms For Peace. Philip Selway is working on a solo album, and Colin Greenwood has been focusing on charity work.
Forty years ago, photographer Arthur Tress asked children to describe their nightmares in great detail. He then took those descriptions and created staged photographs that are incredibly beautiful and downright terrifying, even after all this time. These photos are meant to bring the voyeur back to the days when they were a child, when simpler, more primal fears caused terror. There’s a gallery below and you can see more via HuffPo.
The upcoming Marvel film Guardians Of The Galaxy, which is directed by James Gunn (Slither, Super), is probably one of the most anticipated blockbusters this year. Pretty much all of my friends can’t stop talking about the movie and how excited they are to see it. Admittedly, since I haven’t ready the comics I don’t exactly share in their enthusiasm but it still looks like a good time!
To amp up the anticipation of the movie just that little bit more, the official soundtrack track listing has been announced and it’s full of oldies but goldies! You’ll be hearing artists such as Raspberries, Jackson 5, The Runaways, and more. Below is a YouTube playlist of the album, courtesy of Screencrush.
Are you going to be there on opening night, August 1st?
Guardians Of The Galaxy track listing:
1. Blue Swede – “Hooked on a Feeling”
2. Raspberries – “Go All the Way”
3. Norman Greenbaum – “Spirit in the Sky”
4. David Bowie – “Moonage Daydream”
5. Elvin Bishop – “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”
6. 10cc – “I’m Not in Love”
7. Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back”
8. Redbone – “Come and Get Your Love”
9. The Runaways – “Cherry Bomb”
10. Rupert Holmes – “Escape (the Pina Colada Song)”
11. The Five Stairsteps – “O-O-H Child”
12. Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
One of the biggest disappointments this decade is one Taylor Kitsch, pictured above, who failed to break through in a series of big Hollywood blockbusters.
Even though films like Battleship and John Carter failed to make the cut, he was absolutely fantastic on “Friday Night Lights” (seriously guys, watch it on Netflix). I’ve been a huge fan of his ever since, and am losing my mind right now in hearing that he’s in talks to be join Colin Farrell in the second season of HBO’s “True Detective.” TheWrap first reported the news.
Garrett Hedlund (Tron), pictured below, who appears to keep missing out on major roles, has also been rumored to be in contention for “True Detective” but Kitsch is strongly believed to have an edge on the coveted role.
The anthology format of “True Detective” — each season will reboot with new settings and characters — has allowed the network to reach out to big names who might not otherwise want to commit to multiple seasons of a series.
Season 1 of “True Detective,” which took place in Louisiana with a narrative that fluctuated between the mid-’90s and the present, earned Emmy nominations yesterday for Best Drama and Lead Actor in a Drama for stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, neither of whom will return for Season 2.
Universal Pictures shared with us a series of images from their Scarlett Johansson-starrer, Lucy, in theaters July 25.
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.
Rose Leslie, who plays the wild warrior Ygritte in “Game of Thrones,” is joining Vin Diesel in The Last Witch Hunter, Summit’s supernatural action project, reports THR.
The Crazies‘s Breck Eisner is still directing Witch Hunter, “which sees a semi-immortal witch hunter (Diesel) wandering the streets of modern New York City forced to partner with his natural enemy, a female witch. The two must stop a villainous witch queen from obtaining a relic and unleashing plague upon humanity.”
Leslie will play a witch and love interest opposite Diesel.
Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama (Gods of Egypt) recently did a polish on the script, which found life as a pitch by Cory Goodman. D.W. Harper and Dallas Buyers Club writer Melisa Wallack also worked on the script.
An August start date in Pittsburgh is finally being eyed.
Sad news is hitting the internet as it’s being reported that Tommy Ramone, the last living original member of legendary punk rock band The Ramones, has passed at his home in Ridgewood, Queens. He was 62 and was in hospice care after receiving treatment for bile duct cancer. The news was confirmed by New York Rocker Magazine publisher Andy Schwartz, formerly of Epic Records.
It is with sadness and regret that I report the passing of Tom Erdelyi a/k/a Tommy Ramone who died at 12:15 p.m. today (7.11.2014) at his home in Ridgewood, Queens. He was 65 and had been in hospice care following treatment for cancer of the bile duct.
We send our condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Tom Erdelyi.
The people behind that awesome murderous clown prank from a few weeks ago are back, this time with a telekinetic priest that has a fondness for head explosions, a lá Scanners. The prank gets really elaborate, involving moving furniture, people floating in midair, tons of blood, and more.
Now why don’t things like this happen in my neck of the woods?
After sharing the first images from Richard Bates Jr.’s Suburban Gothic, his follow-up to the Sundance success, Excision, we now have the film’s red band trailer filled will all things bizarre. It will World Premiere at the 18th annual Fantasia International Film Festival from July 17 until August 5, 2014.
“Raymond has a prestigious MBA, but he can’t find work. He can channel the paranormal, but chatting with a cute girl mystifies him. Kicked out of his big city apartment, Raymond returns home to his overbearing mother, ex-jock father, and beer-bellied classmates. But when a vengeful ghost terrorizes the small town, the city-boy recruits Becca, a badass local bartender, to solve the mystery of the spirit threatening everyone’s lives.”
Suburban Gothic is described as an eccentric comedy/horror that stars Matthew Gray Gubler, Kat Dennings, Ray Wise, Sally Kirkland, Jeffrey Combs and John Waters, and riffs on everything from classic supernatural horror and outsider teen comedies to the “Hardy Boys” and “Scooby-Doo”!
Get the first Fantasia announcement here:
The Final Terror is another ’80s slasher given the HD treatment by the folks at Scream Factory. Despite a sparse amount of remaining prints, they went to great lengths to give it a well done presentation. Bravo for their efforts and their continuing work to restore rare and well-known horror films alike, but within their steady stream of releases, there’s bound to be some stinkers. Case in point, The Final Terror – a 1981 backwoods slasher directed by Andrew Davis, the man who would go on to helm The Fugitive and Above the Law.
During the feature commentary with Davis included on Scream Factory’s Blu-ray, he states that he doesn’t like horror films and never made another one after this (although I’d argue that Holes could be considered horror for making a star of Shia LaBeouf). His disinterest towards the genre shows in the film, but at least Davis’ knows his way around a camera because the film looks really great. Given Davis’ later action classics, it’s no surprise The Final Terror looks more like an action film than horror, but there’s a strong grittiness to the atmosphere that works well in the backwoods setting. The cast includes some actors that would go on to become well-known, such as Daryl Hannah, Joe Pantoliano, and Adrian Zmed (Bachelor Party), so it’s cool to see these future stars cutting their chops.
The film’s story is nothing original. Like a lot of slashers of the decade, the film starts with a couple slaughtered in the woods. This part was apparently tacked on after Davis finished filming to give the story an initial thrust before it settles into 50 minutes of down time. Then it jumps to a group of young campers who head into some thick woods for a weekend trip. You see where this is going. Eventually they’re hunted and some are killed by a wild-woman wearing pelts and no shoes.
The body count is very low for a slasher of this era. My hunch is Davis wanted to avoid having to shoot any more gore than he had to. After those initial two kills in the prologue, it takes another 50 minutes for one more person to die, followed by another in the closing minutes. One person even has their throat slashed, only to be saved by the group. Don’t take my thoughts on the low body count to be a complaint, I’m not bloodthirsty or anything, I just believe it was a sign of Davis’ skittishness towards the genre.
None of the characters are developed and none of them have that much depth to them either. They also seem to absolutely hate each other, which isn’t fun to watch, but does create this steady tension that’s thicker than in scenes that are supposed to be intentionally tense. The only character given any sort of real personality is Zorich, a militant redneck survivalist type. He’s played by John Friedrich, who played Joey Capra in one of my favorite movies of all time, The Wanderers. In that film he’s a wacky, awkward guy who strikes out with the ladies, so it’s really fun to watch him play the drug-absuing scumbag Zorich.
Overall there’s nothing really memorable about The Final Terror - nothing sticks with you after watching it. The look of the killer is fairly striking and there’s a cool booby trap like one you’d see on Endor utilized in the climax. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend renting this one first. After you watch it, pop back on here and try to explain to me what the “final terror” is because I have no idea.
The Blu-ray sports a 1080p transfer culled from six remaining prints owned by collectors. There’s a disclaimer in the beginning in which Scream Factory states that the original negatives are lost, so they did what they could with those six prints. For a cut and chop job, it looks fairly decent. The daytime scenes have nice details and there’s not enough print damage to be distracting. If anything, the scratches and other noise add to the film’s grittiness.
Like I mentioned, on the feature commentary with Davis he points out that he doesn’t like horror movies and has never made another one. He doesn’t seem all that enthused about revisiting this film either. He goes a very long time without talking. It’s simply a boring track.
The disc features new interviews with actors Adrian Zmed and Lewis Smith. They discuss how they got involved with the picture, working with Davis, and their acting background (Smith had none going into the film, he didn’t even have a SAG card). There’s also interviews with editor Allan Holzman and composer Susan Justin, both who share the opinion that it’s not a very good film but are still proud of their contributions.
Also included is a misleading trailer.