The demure, innocent Sabrina you know is gone. Make room for a much darker teenage witch and her world of terrors as imagined by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack. This new horror-focused origin story for Sabrina Spellman is more than just a fun concept, it is one executed to near-perfection. Aguirre-Sacasa’s second go at Archie Comics horror is another triumph, and perhaps more delightful than his first. From the suspense-driven story to the elegant dreary art, “Sabrina” is essential Fall reading.
WRITTEN BY: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
ART BY: Robert Hack
PUBLISHER: Archie Comics
RELEASE: October 8, 2014
REVIEWED BY: Lonnie Nadler
The creative team makes sure you know that this is a horror story from page one. It begins on Sabrina’s first birthday, October 31st, 1951, and introduces her father, Edward Spellman, as a great warlock “who has conjured his lord Satan, in the flesh, numerous times”. Sabrina has been promised to the witches, but her mother, a mere mortal, refuses to let go of her beloved blond baby. The result is a grim showdown between mother and father that establishes the witches in this world as dark, powerful beings, unafraid to perform wicked deeds.
The issue then jumps through time to highlight major events in Sabrina’s strange youth, her growing powers, and her dismay at her parents’ absence. Ultimately it settles in 1964, approaching Sabrina’s Sweet 16, on which the rest of the arc will focus. It is quick jump across those 16 years, and some story elements get a bit muddled, however, Aguirre-Sacasa packs in everything required of an origin story without getting wrapped up excessive detail. He gives only what is required to tell the story, and the result is a tight first issue that plants many mystery seeds that are bound to bloom further into the series.
Not unlike “Afterlife With Archie”, it is clear how much the writer and artist adore horror. This is a story from a team that has delved deep into the vaults of horror across all mediums. The little touches of abstract shadows, mentions of cannibalism, and a blood moon help to create consistent creepiness throughout the book. In addition, they address the metaphorical horrors of high school life that await Sabrina down the road. Threats approach Sabrina from all angles, showing that the creative team knows that the best horror is often built with empathic characters and the suspense of the unknown horrors that await them in the shadows.
Despite all the elements of horror and macabre in the script, the Aguirre-Sacasa and Hack do not forgo the essential elements of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”. You still have Salem the talking cat, Aunts Zelda and Hilda, and, of course, the dreamy Harvey Kinkle. These familiar elements ensure that this is still an Archie comic, while also adding a sense of nostalgia to the story that compliments the 1960s timeline. There are several allusions to other characters in this version of Archie universe that are bound to crop up in later issues.
Robert Hack’s stunning Gothic art is an impeccable fit for Sabrina’s reinvention. His color palette encompasses the best and spookiest parts of Halloween. His pulpy work is confident, full of gloom, and, above all, beautiful. As good as Aguirre-Sacasa’s writing is, Hack uncovers the script to bring its full potential to the surface. He nails the tone, delivers scares with potency, and helps to build the mystery Aguirre-Sacasa has laid out. The final pages are chilling, reminiscent of the best of the classic “Eerie” and “Creepy” tales.
The creators take a self-reflexive approach here in that are aware they are tainting something that has been innocent for so long, and they use it to their advantage. They constantly play against expectation, while simultaneously keeping the important elements that make it feel familiar, like an old friend. Allowing Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to build horror stories in the Archie universe is the best thing the publisher has done in years. It makes their comics important again.
As Aguirre-Sacasa states in his letter at the back of the issue, it would have been easy to spin a new Sabrina tale out of the “Afterlife with Archie” series, but in developing a completely new, dreary world, it is all the more impressive, satisfying, and devilish.
Editor’s Note: What you get here for $3.99 is more than worth it. A 28-page story, a letter from the creator, a classic “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” story reprinted, and a sketch gallery.
Another Monday, another BD Playlist! Today I’ll be taking the reins and bringing you a list of several albums/bands that I haven’t been able to put away for a little bit. Ranging from classic heavy metal to French cabaret to film soundtracks, this list represents just a scratch on the surface of my current musical tastes.
Check out my playlist and let me know yours in the comments!
GEICO is getting into the holiday spirit with their new commercial that takes a loving jab at our beloved genre.
Watch as horror movie characters make predictably poor decisions. The gold is when the slasher lifts up his mask and shakes his head in disbelief.
Horror movie cliches are always fun to point out, and even more fun to joke about… I still won’t be getting GEICO.
NBC released shared a new promo and comic poster for “Constantine,” the DC Comics/Warner Bros. TV adaptation starring Matt Ryan as the chain-smokin’ title character.
Set to debut October 24, the fantasy vehicle is “about occult master and demon hunter John Constantine, who is tasked with defending humanity from the forces of evil.”
Harold Perrineau Jr., Lucy Griffiths and Charles Halford co-star. Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer exec produce.
The project is based on the “Hellblazer” comic book series. It has already been adapted into the 2005 feature film starring Keanu Reeves.
In the spirit of the upcoming Halloween season, the team behind The Houses October Built have created the attached map with a list of America’s Scariest Haunts. The ones marked with blue skeletal masks are the haunts featured in the film while the ones marked with orange pumpkins are notable haunts to investigate.
The super fun and unique Houses opens in theaters, VOD and iTunes on October 10th.
“Beneath the fake blood and cheap masks of countless haunted house attractions across the country, there are whispers of truly terrifying alternatives. Looking to find an authentic, blood-curdling good fright for Halloween, five friends set off on a road trip in an RV to track down these underground Haunts. Just when their search seems to reach a dead end, strange and disturbing things start happening and it becomes clear that the Haunt has come to them…“
Bobby Roe directs this new spin on found-footage that stars Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe, Mikey Roe and Jeff Larson.
Unsure whether or not this is related to Universal’s Ouija, out October 24th, a new prank video is utilizing the famous board game for some real scares.
“This Ouija Psychic” has a unique ability: she can pop her eyes out at any time (she became famous for this). A remote controlled planchette and a dead person breaking through the floor were added to the mix to create a terrifying psychic reading experience. Hidden cameras captured the whole thing.
While we laugh at this “prank” video, it’s sort of crazy to remember that this was a real con back in the early 1900′s. Harry Houdini devoted the end of his life to exposing these conmen/women.
“Twin Peaks,” one of the top cult series of all time, is coming back with a new limited series on Showtime from its original creators, David Lynch and Mark Frost.
Deadline writes that the nine-episode series will go into production in 2015 for a premiere in 2016 to mark the 25th anniversary of when the series finished its run on ABC.
Lynch and Frost will write and produce all nine episodes, with Lynch set to direct every episode!
The new “Twin Peaks” will be set in the present day, more than two decades after the events in the first two seasons. It is expected to continue the lore and story of the original series, with Lynch and Frost committed to providing long-awaited answers and, hopefully, a satisfying conclusion to the series.
It is unclear which actors from the original series will be featured in the followup. Rumor is that star Kyle MacLachlan would be back(!), likely reprising his role as FBI Agent Dale Cooper who was at the center of the show. The ABC series also featured some of Lynch’s favorite character actors, and it is likely that at least some of them will return.
The “Twin Peaks” limited series comes on the heels of the July Blu-ray release of the entire original series by Showtime sibling CBS Home Entertainment.
This week, Don and Justin talk about the real horror movie released this weekend, Gone Girl (there’s nothing scarier than marriage), the new game “Shadow of Mordor,” preview “Alien: Isolation,” and Justin mistakenly mentions he just got the Halloween Blu-ray set, which causes Don to go on a rant about the franchise.
Check out the trailer for Honeyspider, an upcoming horror feature film from indie filmmakers Josh Hasty and Kenny Caperton.
The film takes place in 1989 on Halloween day and follows college student Jackie Blue (Mariah Brown) as she slowly unravels, all while a mysterious stranger watches over her.
It will premiere on October 18th at the historic Gem Theatre in Kannapolis, North Carolina, where a portion of the film was shot. The theatre is hosting a horror night double feature also including George A Romero’s zombie classic Night of the Living Dead from 1968. The film is also screening at a Drive-In in Henderson, NC with the original House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price, as well as showing at the historic Murphy Theatre in Wilmington, OH with The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Honeyspider is a cult throwback that pays homage to the classics, but also introduces original ideas to the genre. The film is written and produced by Kenny Caperton (owner of the infamous Myers House NC) and directed by Josh Hasty (A Mannequin in Static) of Black House Capital. The film stars Frank Aard (April Fool’s Day remake), Joan Schuermeyer (Zombieland and RZ’s Halloween 2), Rachel Jeffreys, Samantha Mills (Bombshell Bloodbath) and newcomer Mariah Brown.
“It’s Halloween day in 1989 and college student Jackie Blue wants to enjoy a quiet birthday in the midst of a chaotic semester at school. Her friend Amber has other ideas and persuades Jackie to come to the annual Monster Mash party on campus after her shift at the local movie theater. As murder plays out on the silver screen during the theater’s Halloween night Horrorthon, Jackie falls under a strange spell, all while a mysterious stranger watches over her every move. As the night unfolds, Jackie slowly unravels and everyone around her is turning up dead. Jackie finds herself helplessly trapped like prey in a spider’s web, and all she can do is try to survive the night!”
Billy Corgan of the iconic rock band The Smashing Pumpkins has generously given the filmmakers the rights to use one of his early SP tracks entitled “Honeyspider,” which inspired the name of the movie.
For more information, visit the film’s official Facebook page.
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with Westfield, MA metal band Within The Ruins to bring you the exclusive music video premiere for “Calling Card”, the latest single from the band’s new album Phenomena! Directed by Kevin J. Custer, the video depicts vocalist Tim Goergen as the main character in a rather violent comic book.
Vocalist Tim Goergen states:
This is a perfect representation of the concept of our new album Phenomena. Comics and metal go hand in hand and we are beyond stoked on how this video came out! Definitely the most fun we’ve had on set for a music video.
Head on below for the video premiere and head on over to iTunes to pick up a copy of Phenomena.
10/7/14 – Mattydale, NY – Mac’s Bad Art Bar
10/8/14 – Toledo, OH – Frankie’s Inner-City
w/ BORN OF OSIRIS – THY ART IS MURDER – BETRAYING THE MARTYRS – ERRA
10/10/14 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theater
10/11/14 – Iowa City, IA – Blue Moose
10/12/14 – Lawrence, LS – The Granada Theater
10/13/14 – Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall
10/14/14 – SLC, UT – In The Venue
10/16/14 – Sacramento, CA – Assembly
10/17/14 – San Diego, CA – SOMA
10/18/14 – Pomona, CA – Glasshouse
10/19/14 – Mesa, AZ – Nile Theater
10/20/14 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
10/21/14 – El Paso, TX – Tricky Falls
10/23/14 – Dallas, TX – Trees
10/24/2014 – San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit
10/25/2014 – Houston, TX – Fitzgeralds
10/27/2014 – Tampa, FL – The Orpheum
10/28/2014 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
10/29/2014 – Greensboro, NC – Greene Street Club
10/30/2014 – W. Springfield, VA – Empire
10/31/2014 – Hartford, CT – Webster Theater
11/1/14 – Philadelphia, PA – TLA
11/2/14 – New York, NYC – Grammercy Theater
11/3/14 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
11/4/14 – Buffalo, NY – The Waiting Room
11/5/14 – Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot Ballroom
11/6/14 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
11/7/14 – Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar
11/8/14 – Joliet, IL – Mojoes
W/ TEXAS IN JULY
11/9/14 – Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
11/11/14 – Billings, MT – Babcock Theater
11/12/14 – Missoula, MT – Zaac
11/14/14 – Calgary, AB – Nite Owl
11/15/14 – Edmonton, AB – The Armoury
11/16/14 – Regina, SK – The Exchange
11/17/14 – Winnipeg. MB – The Zoo
11/18/14 – Thunder Bay, ON – Crock’s
11/20/14 – Subdury, ON – The Townehouse
11/22/14 – Toronto, ON – Sneaky Dee’s
11/23/14 – Montreal, QC – Underworld
11/24/14 – Quebec City, QC – La Source
11/25/14 – Trois-Rivieres, QC – Rock Cafe Le Stage
11/26/14 – Ottawa, ON – Maverick’s
Wanna see Alex Aja’s Horns, the adaptation inspired by Joe Hill’s comic about a man demonized for the murder of his girlfriend, right now?
Thanks to Bloody reader Ryan R., we learned that Horns, starring The Woman In Black‘s Daniel Radcliffe, is now available for rent or purchase on iTunes. It’s $9.99 to rent, or $14.99 to buy, and while many find it disappointing, I enjoyed it as a direct-to-VOD title. It also opens wider on October 31.
“Blamed for the murder of his girlfriend and ostracized by everyone he knows, a small-town guy (Daniel Radcliffe) awakens one morning to find he’s grown a pair of horns. Armed with the supernatural powers they possess, he sets out to find the true killer.“
Directed by Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Mirrors, Piranha 3D, The Hills Have Eyes) from Keith Bunin’s script, Horns stars Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, Heather Graham, David Morse, Kathleen Quinlan, and James Remar.
Bloody Disgusting’s Mike Pereira was a huge fan – read his review here – calling it “an audacious, wonderfully twisted romantic horror fantasy.”
TravelChannel.com names the “Travel’s Best: Halloween Attractions” of 2014.
This year, these top 10 attractions are pulling out all the stops – heightening the fear factor and frightening visitors with new haunted houses, thrilling rides and amazing special effects produced by the best in the business.
TravelChannel.com editors enlisted a panel of experts to help determine the 10 best Halloween attractions for 2014, including: Zak Bagans (Lead Investigator, “Ghost Adventures”), Jeff Belanger (Author, TV Personality and Paranormal Expert), Larry Kirchner (Owner, HauntWorld.com, Hauntworld Magazine and Halloween Productions) and Aaron Sagers (Geek Culture and Paranormal Pop-Culture Expert).
The 2014 “Travel’s Best: Halloween Attractions” (in alphabetical order by state):
Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor – Long Beach, Calif.
The Queen Mary was built in the early 1930s as a luxury trans-Atlantic ocean liner, but was pressed into military service to carry troops during World War II where hundreds died in and around the ship. This Halloween, the haunted ship is offering its Dark Harbor tours with four new attractions – the Soulmate maze, the B340 maze, Voodoo Village and Monster Midway, which features a freak show, a mechanical monster and a new ride, the Sinister Swings. Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” recently did a lockdown investigation aboard the Queen Mary for the show’s season 10 premiere, uncovering chilling paranormal evidence. So keep your eyes open, because those ghostly apparitions you see may not just be another special effect.
13th Floor Haunted House – Denver, Colo.
Guests taking a frightful visit to the 13th Floor Haunted House in Denver – the largest and longest indoor haunted attraction in Colorado – will understand why most buildings don’t have a 13th floor. Renovated this year with two new attractions, watch evil take control of unwilling bodies in Undead: The Possession or run for your life as terrifying ghouls and monsters come alive as you walk through Dwellings of the Dead. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology such as Microsoft Kinect, the robotic monsters are more than capable of frightening the victims who dare to venture into the 13th Floor.
Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights – Orlando, Fla.
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando should be at the top of anyone’s Halloween bucket list, especially fans looking for big-budget scares. Movie industry experts craft haunted houses so loaded with detail that visitors walk through and feel like they’ve been dropped into an episode of “The Walking Dead” or the movie “From Dusk Till Dawn.” Other popular attractions featured at the theme park include Bayou of Blood, Dollhouse of the Damned and Roanoke – Cannibal Colony. Those willing to face their fears can also enter, at their own risk, the “Halloween” house for a face-to-face meeting with Michael Myers, the iconic masked slasher from the movies.
Netherworld – Atlanta, Ga.
With over 200 animated monsters and 100 live actors, Netherworld is one of the nation’s most famous attractions. Having been featured on TV and in movies such as “Zombieland,” this spooky attraction has amazingly detailed sets. And unlike other Halloween attractions, Netherworld’s creepy characters greet patrons in the parking lot before they purchase tickets, scaring them off before they even enter.
13th Gate – Baton Rouge, La.
The 13th Gate is one of the most, if not the most, elaborately detailed haunted houses in America thanks to a construction crew that includes award-winning set designers, lighting and sound technicians and special-effects artists. Sets are over-the-top and feature live animals, including snakes and gators. In each of the 13 themed indoor and outdoor areas,more than 100 professional actors and 12 special makeup artists help bring the horror to life.
Festival of the Dead – Salem, Mass.
Salem, Mass. is historically known for the 1692 Witch trials that left 20 people executed. This year’s Festival of the Dead includes two weeks of events and parties designed to bring out your inner-Witch. Attend a séance to speak with the dead, share your stories with others at the Mourning Tea, pick up new ghost-hunting techniques or learn about death’s macabre customs and strange rituals. Finish the festival with the Official Salem Witches’ Ball on Oct. 31 and you’ll leave this town spellbound.
Bennett’s Curse – Jessup, Md.
This haunted spectacle outside of Baltimore is one of the top Halloween attractions in the Mid-Atlantic region. It features three terrifying haunted houses – Medieval Underworld, Inferno 3D and Sanctuary of Insanity – and the owners of this popular haunt continue to add monsters and twists to keep the attractions exciting for new and returning visitors. Not only has Bennett’s Curse been featured on Travel Channel’s “America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions 3,” but it has consistently been ranked by several sources as one of the best Halloween attractions in the U.S. This spooky spot is also among the first to frighten its victims with the latest cutting-edge technology.
Fright Dome – Las Vegas, Nev.
Located in Circus Circus’ Adventuredome, the Fright Dome is one of Las Vegas’ largest and longest-running Halloween attractions. With six new haunted houses, the theme park is transformed into a pitch-black, lights-out, haunted spectacle – easily making it the scariest on the Strip. Scary creatures lurk in every dark, fog-filled corner, making guests feel as though they’re walking through their worst nightmare. The five-acre theme park also includes 25 rides and attractions, multiple live shows at night and four new scare zones, including the Clown Overload Zone. “My personal nightmare of clowns with glowing eyes surrounding me came to life,” says Zak Bagans, lead investigator of “Ghost Adventures,” “I had the worst panic attack. Needless to say, I’ll go back again because it was badass!”
ScareHouse – Pittsburgh, Pa.
ScareHouse is the place to be this year, especially with an exclusive partnership with Legendary Entertainment to help create the scariest Halloween to date. The partnership even sparked a visit from filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who said, “With the sound design and the atmospherics, it is beautiful. I could live here!” Featured attractions include The Summoning, Pittsburgh Zombies: Black Out and The Basement. This Halloween haunt offers a big-budget sensibility without losing its hometown appeal.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Haunted House – Weston, W.V.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is one of the most memorable haunted locations for “Ghost Adventures” lead investigator Zak Bagans, who completed a live 7-hour investigation with the Ghost Adventures crew. The spirits that roam the asylum’s halls are extremely active and tours are offered to see how the mentally insane lived and died within these walls. “It is undeniably the scariest overall haunted attraction that I’ve been to in the U.S.,” says Bagans. Additionally, visitors can participate in zombie paintball, a fall festival and the Asylum Ball, which includes a costume contest.
Click here for more details on the “Travel’s Best: Halloween Attractions” of 2014.
Photo Source: Travel Channel
Everyone’s using info graphics to gain a little attention to their brand – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Acefancydress in the UK created a graphic detailing “13 Award Winning Modern Horror Movies”, which lists some of the greatest horror movies of all time.
The infographic provides key information about each movie, the release date, the horror genre, enemies, budget, global gross, US opening weekend, awards, nominations and ratings that each film gained.
Are there any you think they missed?
If you can’t get a project off the ground. Change the title so it doesn’t look “damaged.” Thankfully, Joe Dante’s Burying the Ex is getting rave reviews and has given fresh life to the project formerly known as Monster Love.
Joe Dante’s long-planned Monster Love is hitting the market scene with a new title, Ombra Amore.
THR says that it begins at the Rome Film Festival’s New Cinema Network co-production market, dubbed “Great Beauties,” focusing on films that promote Italy as an ideal production partner for global films.
One of its eight projects this year is Dante’s Ombra Amore. The Gremlins director, who premiered his latest film Burying the Ex, pictured, in Venice this year, has his sights set on underground Rome as the setting for the vampire/werewolf love story that puts a classical Romeo and Juliet tale into today’s financial crisis-ridden Italy.
“Pete is a werewolf whose pack is a crew of hotheaded financial traders responsible for Italy’s current economic crisis. Maggie is a vampire whose family is a formerly-wealthy aristocratic clan brought to bankruptcy by the greedy werewolves. Amongst a series of other-worldly troubles, it remains to be seen whether or not their love can survive among the warring families.”
“Rome. The Eternal City of Gods and Monsters. Where a She-Wolf suckled Romulus and Remus,” said Dante in a statement. “And what could be more eternal than Un-death?” Ombra Amore is budgeted at around $14.6 million. Dante promises “a compelling new take on a classic genre.”
There are a few great movies that have “Taking of” in their title. For instance, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) is a gritty crime classic and The Taking of Beverly Hills (1991) is an angry little thriller directed by action wiz Sidney Furie. The Taking of Deborah Logan is not one of the greats. It tarnishes the “Taking” titles with a miserable stab at found footage that starts off with an interesting angle before abruptly devolving into trope territory. Aside from a gruesomely nightmarish moment at the end and Jill Larson’s ghoulish performance, The Taking of Deborah Logan is hopelessly bankrupt of fresh ideas.
When they say Deborah Logan is “taken,” they mean she’s possessed. It could’ve also just as easily been the “exorcism” of Deborah Logan. I guess director Adam Robitel and producer Bryan Singer (Apt Pupil) didn’t want to be thrown in the landfill of movies with “possession” and “exorcism” in the title, so they went with “taking.” Regardless, they do build up to the full blown demonic presence in an interesting way. The first half of the film is a medical documentary about elderly Deborah Logan’s (Larson) struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Here the movie is very grounded, as medical student Mia (Michelle Ang) documents Logan for her thesis. They talk about the disease for a while and Logan’s daughter Sarah (Anne Ramsay, who played Ellen Wolf on season 3 of Dexter) explains how it’s crippled all of their lives.
The film never really does more than flirt with the topic of Alzheimer’s. It just uses it as a springboard for the “taking.” Physically, Logan’s akin to Zelda from Pet Sematary, so right off the bat I wanted to dive under the covers. When the film shifts into full blown horror, Logan is transformed into a skeletal terror. It’s a scary mutation for sure, but as the film shifts to horror, it also sinks deep into the aspects of found footage that most fans hate: shaky cam, nauseating cam, and their evil cousins, dark cam and static cam. And, like you probably guessed, the climax is shot so deplorably, you can’t see what the hell is going on most of the time.
There’s some folklore and mythology mixed in to liven up the possession tale. It’s pretty silly how Mia, a highly educated med student, buys into all of it so quickly. One minute she’s having a discussion with a neuropsychologist, the next it’s demonology and exorcisms. When we meet her, she seems strongly rooted in logic, so the sudden shift in her supernatural beliefs feels like bullshit.
The best part of Taking of Deborah Logan is one single moment during the frantic climax. It’s a shot that lasts about four seconds or so and hot damn is it something ripped straight out of a nightmare. Aside from that single shot, the film brings nothing new to the table. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
I unfortunately don’t have Showtime, so I don’t know whether or not to be excited for Showtime’s second season of “Penny Dreadful.”
My colleagues have been quiet, so I assertion the same, but I have heard the show was pretty great.
Maybe the first season will hit Netflix or Amazon come 2015 when Season 2 premieres.
In Season 2 we can expect “Penny Dreadful” to “get bigger. There’s a great antagonist next year played by Helen McCrory… Season 1’s antagonist was sort of an inhuman character. It’ll be good to have a more human antagonist,” said Showtime president David Nevins.
The series stars Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett, Reeve Carney, and Harry Treadaway; it was created by and is executive produced by John Logan.
Annabelle, the standout in James Wan’s The Conjuring is back, in her own, eponymous film. And while Annabelle really had no place in The Conjuring, she doesn’t really have a place in Annabelle, either.
Young expectant couple John and Mia are clean-cut and annoyingly perfect, which only makes me eager to get to their inevitable suffering. Luckily, I don’t have to wait too long. Their next-door neighbors, an older couple with whom they go to church, lost their daughter two years prior when she ran away and joined a Satanic cult. One night, John and Mia wake to screams from next door. The Higgins’ daughter has returned, and she kills both of them. Then she and her crazed boyfriend attack Mia and John. The boyfriend stabs Mia in the belly before cops get there and shoot him dead. The daughter has locked herself in the nursery. When the cops break in, she has killed herself, clutching one of Mia’s beloved dolls. This is the Annabelle doll and guess what? The daughter’s name is Annabelle. And some of Annabelle’s blood has been absorbed into the Annabelle doll.
Mia and the baby are okay, but are put on bed rest until she delivers. John, a med student, isn’t home much, which leaves plenty of time for Mia to be haunted: things move, doors slam, all the usual haunted stuff. Mia doesn’t want the Annabelle doll in the house anymore, so John throws it away. A pack of Jiffy-Pop on an unlit stove sets the whole house on fire, and sends Mia to the hospital once again. She delivers a healthy baby girl (unfortunately named Leah) and demands that they move. John obliges, and somehow the Annabelle doll shows up at the bottom of one of their boxes. Mia decides to give the doll a second chance and puts it back in the nursery. Of course, the haunted happenings follow them to their new abode. Luckily Mia befriends a neighbor with a tragic past, who helps her realize that the Annabelle doll is trying to corrupt Leah.
The third act of Annabelle becomes quite ridiculous. As I was describing the plot to my husband, I had to stop in the middle. “This sounds even more ridiculous when I say it out loud.” No spoilers, but it all kind of falls apart in an effort to make sense. Everyone is looking towards self-sacrifice in order to solve an absurd situation and past transgressions.
For a movie about a doll, the doll is not the focus. The Annabelle doll (which is more terrifying brand-new) is given no backstory. What kind of doll was she? Why was she so rare, so sought-after by collectors? Annabelle was just a doll (a nameless one at that) until human-Annabelle killed herself and transferred evil into her. There are no details on how she did that, and the why is sketchy at best. The doll itself is not evil. She doesn’t move on her own or chase after people with a knife. Human-Annabelle could have just as easily “possessed” a toothbrush or a rug.
There is a definite Rosemary’s Baby vibe that I think writer Gary Dauberman and director John R. Leonetti are trying to go for. There is the obvious Satanic possession, the meek pregnant woman, and the era. But pushing it over the edge are the character names: Mia and John (Rosemary’s Baby starred Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes). And while it may be a tenuous link, Mia is watching news reports about the Tate/LaBianca murders and the arrest of the Manson family. (One of the Manson victims, Sharon Tate, was married to Roman Polanski and pregnant with his child. Polanski directed Rosemary’s Baby.)
I will say that Annabelle offered some good scares. Nothing astonishingly new or unique, but effective – which is surprisingly hard to do, it seems. It was a mildly fun, mindless two hours. But all in all, I think you would be happier just watching The Conjuring again. The Annabelle portion of The Conjuring was far spookier and more cogent than the entirety of Annabelle.
Don Macini may just be the most consistent of the writer-director horror icons.
The creator of Child’s Play, and director of both Seed of Chucky and Curse of Chucky, dreams of a horror battle in the vein of Freddy vs Jason (a monster success for New Line Cinema in 2003).
This past weekend, Annabelle, the haunted doll film that was spun off from The Conjuring, nearly won box office gold, but still opened huge for an R-rated genre film.
Mancini talked to USA Today about the dream of pitting Chucky, from the Child’s Play films, against the Annabelle doll.
“I am hoping that at some future point we have Annabelle and Chucky team up,” says Mancini. “I can see that (even) in 20 years from now.”
There might even be a cameo for Annabelle in the seventh Child’s Play film, which Mancini is writing now.
“We would be into it, the only problem is that we are in different studios. That would probably be years worth of red tape to work it out,” says Mancini. “But if it all could be worked out, then yes, we’re very into it.”
There is even a power connection. Explains the site, Annabelle director John Leonetti was the director of photography for 1991′s Child’s Play 3.
In the meantime, Mancini vowed to be one of the first to see Annabelle, even just to inspect her fighting style.
Bethesda has offered the minimum PC specs required to run The Evil Within, and they don’t look too different from what’s recommended. I know enough about GPUs to be surprised an i7 is recommended to run a game on lower settings, especially since — as many of you have been pointing out for some time now — this game doesn’t look particularly graphics intensive.
In related news, The Evil Within can now be pre-ordered, and pre-loading is available now on the platforms that offer it. You’ll need a decent head start to get that 40 GB install (on PC, PS4, Xbox One) finished in time for its Oct 14 arrival.
OS: Windows 7/8.1
GPU: GTX 460 or an equivalent 1gb VRAM card
CPU: i7 or an equivalent 4+ core processor
RAM: 4 GB
HDD: 50 GB
The Evil Within arrives on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on October 14.
There are times when I don’t have a full 90-120 minutes to devote to a horror movie, which is something I’m sure many of you can relate to. Let’s be real and admit that we have lives, we have work, we have families, we have friends, etc… While it’s great to kick back with a horror movie there are simply times when it just can’t be done.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t find horror in other ways. And a good short horror film is just the answer to those times when time is lacking. That’s why I’ve put together a few short horror films that I think are incredibly effective and also run the gamut of emotions.
After you check these out, make sure to leave several of your own favorites in the comments below!
Lights Out – David F. Sandberg & Lotta Losten
Sometimes, the most effective scares are the ones where the story tells itself, without a narrator or any dialogue. Sometimes, the best way to scare someone is to not give them any explanation and let the mind go where it goes.
There’s a reason this won awards and was selected at several film festivals. It’s incredibly effective and makes a case for anyone who’s scared of the dark.