Sometimes, after watching a film, your reaction is one of confusion. As in, what the hell did you just watch? Sometimes, it’s a good thing, as it has you wanting to watch the film again, because you enjoyed it so much and you want to piece together what you just watched. Other times, as in the case of director/writer Till Hastreiter’s The Forbidden Girl, you end passing on another viewing. The mystery as to what you just saw be damned when a film has seemingly thrown things against the wall in an effort to see what sticks.
Tobias McClift is the son of a fundamentalist preacher, who is is intently focused on Tobias not falling in love, or having anything to do with love. Failure of Tobias to do so would be catastrophic. Nevertheless, Tobias meets up with Katie, with whom he’s romantically involved. But before they can enjoy each other, a demonic entity shows up and carries Katie away. Fast forward six years later, and Tobias is being released from a psychiatric hospital over the whole thing. He manages to snag a tutoring position in a huge Gothic mansion for a reclusive young girl named Laura Wallace. Turns out, Laura is his beloved Katie. Held captive by the mistress of the house, Lady Wallace, and her protector/lover, Mortimer, Tobias pledges to free Laura/Katie. But it turns out that his father’s words weren’t crazy after all.
I suppose the best thing going for the film is it’s cinematography. The sets and Gothic locale are quite beautiful to look at, particularly the interior of the castle. The plethora of visual detail combined with the varying uses of filters and colour saturation really make the film visually appealing. There’s also a dream sequence early on that evokes thoughts of David Lynchian surrealism, which again is a visual treat.
Acting-wise, we get decent performances by the two leads in Peter Gadiot and Jytte-Merle Böhrnsen. Gadiot is likeable as Tobias, and feels very natural in the role. Böhrnsen does well as the mysterious Laura/Katie, having fun with the role as a flirty, confused woman. Klaus Tange worked well as Mortimer. The guy was certainly creepy and unpredictable, looking like an edgier version of Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner. Jeanette Hain was interesting to see as Lady Wallace, going through various stages of makeup and attempting to change up her character for each one unique.
However, all of that can’t make up for the fact that this film is a bore. The problems begin with the story. It’s all over the place with a bunch of ideas thrown into the blender and puréed. What comes out feels very disjointed and confusing. Is it a love story? A ghost story? Witchcraft? Using a far simpler story would’ve made things more bearable. Chopping off some of that 106 minute runtime would’ve been nice, too. I guess this is why you shouldn’t have three different writers, and one of them is directing. Instead of being creepy, the film ends up being more about it’s visuals.
The other thing is the use of CGI. Bad CGI. For starters, smoke monsters really should be kept to shows co-created by J.J. Abrams. Also, because this film was originally shot in 3D, certain shots have that ‘cutout’ feeling to them, making the CGI even more apparent. It’s just one bad After Effects shot after another. The bad CGI reaches it’s peak during the ridiculous ending, where a slow-motion sex dance straight out of 300 has a light show involving the aforementioned eclipse that ends up forming a pentagram and what the f*ck am I watching?!
So yeah, The Forbidden Girl definitely is a case for either the cure for insomnia or having your brain start to kill itself. Style over substance is definitely the case here, as the camera alone can’t stave off a ridiculous and boring story, coupled with alright acting and abuse of CGI. The case art for this DVD is a complete lie, as the shot depicted on the cover must be from a more entertaining than this one.
Presented in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image features strong colour reproduction with good detail. The darker scenes do tend to suffer a bit with regards to shadow details, however given the filters used during these sequences to pump up the saturation, it’s probably done on purpose. There were a couple of scenes where aliasing errors crept up, but other than that, this is an overall appropriate transfer.
Audio-wise, the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track isn’t going to blow you away, but it does the job. Dialogue is clear and free of any distortion, and while there’s not a lot of movement in the directionals, action is mostly kept to the centre speaker. The score doesn’t overpower, and is balanced with the rest of the audio.
The sole extra included is the film’s trailer.
Netflix and 41 Entertainment announced today, Kong – King of the Apes, an original animated TV series for kids from Executive Producer Avi Arad.
Arad has been a producer of iconic superhero stories like Spider-Man franchise movies, the X-Men franchise movies, the Iron-Man films, and The Incredible Hulk. He has also executive produced kids TV with the extremely popular “Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures” series which began in 2013.
Netflix members around the world will be introduced to KONG first through a full-length feature film that will be followed by 12 half hour episodes beginning in 2016!
Set in 2050, this CGI animation is a fresh and modern take on the classic King Kong story. Even far in the future, KONG is still the strongest creature ever born with many human traits that make him the ultimate iconic hero. In KONG, the future looks bright for San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island since its transformation into the most impressive Natural History and Marine Preserve on the planet. But when the star attraction suddenly goes ape and KONG becomes public enemy number one, the villain that framed him is free to unleash an army of gigantic robotic dinosaurs on the unsuspecting world. Ironically, KONG is the only force formidable enough to stop these super-powered dinosaurs and the evil genius manipulating them. But KONG is now the world’s most hunted fugitive. Fortunately, there are three young humans who know the truth and are willing to risk their lives to help KONG evade capture, while he battles to save humankind.
October 1, 2014: Toronto After Dark: Horror, Sci-Fi, Action and Cult Film Festival is thrilled to officially unveil its final wave of exciting film announcements for 2014, including 9 new feature films and a fantastic collection of shorts. Included in the lineup are some of the hottest new genre films from the international film festival circuit including HOUSEBOUND a multiple award-winning scary horror thriller from New Zealand, WYRMWOOD, an action-packed post-apocalyptic zombie movie from Australia, and WHY HORROR? a fascinating Canadian documentary that uncovers the psychology of horror fans around the world.
These final films join a list of 10 exciting features previously announced in late August that include THE BABADOOKthe acclaimed new supernatural horror hit from Australia, and DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS DEAD, the crowd-pleasing follow-up to the original Norwegian nazi zombie hit. All the features will have their Toronto, Canadian, North American or World Theatrical Premieres hosted exclusively at the festival’s 9th Annual Edition, this October 16-24, 2014 at the Scotiabank Theatre, in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Preview all the available trailers to the Toronto After Dark feature film lineup, plus a new one-minute festival sizzle reel of trailer highlights at the Youtube Playlist below. Scroll down further for more info on the final wave of films, and how you can get tickets and passes to screenings at Toronto After Dark this year.
THE FINAL 9 FEATURE FILMS ANNOUNCED!
HOUSEBOUND (New Zealand) Toronto Premiere & Opening Gala Film
HOUSEBOUND is a wickedly fun scary new horror thriller from New Zealand, described as “bloody brilliant” by filmmaking icon Peter Jackson (LORD OF THE RINGS). The film follows a young woman forced to return home and endure a triple threat of being under house arrest, living with her eccentric old mother, and potential ghosts in the house. Full of suspense and frights, and laced with a good dose of dysfunctional family comedy that will allow anyone to relate to the main characters, HOUSEBOUND has become a smash hit on the festival circuit, winning numerous audience awards since its SXSW debut. Trailer Poster
WYRMWOOD (Australia) Canadian Premiere
DAWN OF THE DEAD meets MAD MAX in this full-on, post-apocalyptic road action adventure from Australia that will delight fans with its car chase thrills, zombie kills and unique spin on the undead mythos. After Barry, a talented mechanic, sees his community torn apart by a zombie apocalypse and his sister abducted by some sinister government scientists, it’s clear his only means of survival and finding his sister is to hit the road. But first he’ll have to improvise some deadly weapons out of garage tools, significantly modify a road vehicle for combat, recruit several allies to his cause – and also wipe out hordes of ferocious zombies beginning to encircle his home! Trailer ” target=”blank”>Poster
WHY HORROR? (Canada) Canadian Premiere
WHY HORROR? is a fascinating new feature documentary that follows horror journalist Tal Zimerman (RUE MORGUE) as he travels the world to examine the different cultures, media, science, and psychology of horror, with one simple purpose: to understand why we love to be scared. Featuring exclusive interviews with horror filmmaking luminaries such as John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Eli Roth, Don Coscarelli and more, as well as discussions with leading psychological experts, WHY HORROR? is an illuminating experience for both fans and and foes of the movie genre alike. This screening is co-presented by Rue Morgue Cinemacabre, and will feature a fascinating post-screening Q&A with Tal Zimerman, and the Documentary’s Directors. Trailer Poster
LET US PREY (Ireland/UK) Toronto Premiere
In this tense, supernatural spin on John Carpenter’s cult classic ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13,a menacing stranger (GAME OF THONES’ Liam Cunningham) turns up in the middle of the night at a police station in a remote Scottish town. After being placed in a holding cell, it’s not long before the stranger initiates a terrifying chain reaction of madness and violence amongst the inmates and police officers. One of the few unaffected is a newly hired female officer (THE WOMAN’S Pollyanna McIntosh), and with her back to the wall, not knowing who she can trust, she finds herself fighting for her life. Trailer Poster
THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (USA) Special Presentation
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (AMERICAN HORROR STORY) stylishly and cleverly reinvents the 1976 horror cult classic of the same name, with this dark and delicious cinematic treat for horror fans, both old and new. Based on a terrifying true story, THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN picks up sixty-five years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana. But now the “moonlight murders” have begun again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl (ODD THOMAS’s Addison Timlin), with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching the murderer. The fantastic supporting cast includes fan favourites Gary Cole (OFFICE SPACE),Denis O’Hare (AMERICAN HORROR STORY) and Veronica Cartwright (ALIEN). Trailer ” target=”blank”>Poster
LATE PHASES (USA) Toronto Premiere
When grizzled war veteran Ambrose (STAKE LAND’s Nick Damici), moves into the Crescent Bay retirement community, he’s discovers that some local residents have been dying not from old age, but from a series of mysterious, vicious dog attacks. After his own house is attacked in the night by the animals, Ambrose sets his military mind to tracking them down.But it soon becomes clear that these attacks are a regular monthly occurrence, synchronized to the full moon, and the tight-knit community of Crescent Bay has been hiding something far more sinister that wild dogs in its midst. Ambrose will have to face off against some creatures that are part-man, part-wolf – and completely deadly. Trailer Poster
REFUGE (USA) Canadian Premiere
Set amidst the ruins of a collapsed America in the wake of a great catastrophic plague, REFUGE is a tense post-apocalyptic survival thriller in the vein of THE ROAD and THE WALKING DEAD. Taking refuge in an old boarded-up home, a family does its best to maintain a sense of normalcy amidst a lawless world of roaming gangs. But it’s not long before food and supplies begin to dwindle, forcing the family of survivors into a deadly showdown with a group of vicious marauders surrounding their home.Trailer Poster
THE DROWNSMAN (Canada) Toronto Premiere
With THE DROWNSMAN Chad Archibald (ANTISOCIAL) delivers a refreshingly new take on classic urban legend horror such as the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series. After a young woman narrowly survives a terrifying drowning experience in a lake, she finds herself stalked by an evil entity, The Drownsman, determined to drag her and her circle of close friends to a watery hell! Trailer Poster
KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER (USA) Toronto Premiere
Based on a true story… a lonely, eccentric Japanese woman (PACIFIC RIM’s Rinko Kikuchi) becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried in the Coen Brothers’ cult classic crime thriller FARGO, is in fact, real and still out there, waiting to be recovered. After watching the movie over and over again, she prepares a crudely drawn treasure map and with limited preparation, escapes her structured life in Tokyo and embarks on a foolhardy quest across the frozen tundra of Minnesota in search of her mythical fortune. Stunningly shot, beautifully acted, and dream-like in its execution, KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER has entranced audiences wherever it has screened, winning numerous festival awards since its debut at Sundance where it won a Special Jury Award. Poster
28 SHORT FILMS ANNOUNCED!
Fans can also look forward to two fantastic showcases of cutting edge genre short films at this year’s festival!
CANADA AFTER DARK: 19 outstanding Canadian short films will screen at this year’s festival. And as per tradition at Toronto After Dark, one in front of each of the Feature Films:DAY 40, DEAD HEARTS, FOXED, HONOR CODE, INTRUDERS, KISMET, LAST BREATH, LAZY BOYS, LITTLE MATTHEW, LUMBERJACKED, MIGRATION, THE MONITOR, MONSTER ISLAND, PERIOD PIECE, PUPA, ROSE IN BLOOM, SATAN’S DOLLS, WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU, YOUNG BLOOD
SHORTS AFTER DARK: 9 incredible International Short films will screen this year as part of the popular international short film showcase:DYNAMIC VENUS , EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING, HAPPY B-DAY, INVADERS, , HE TOOK OFF HIS SKIN FOR ME, LIQUID, REDACTION, STRANGE THING, SWORDFIGHTS
FROM FRI, OCT 3:SCHEDULE, DETAILED FILM INFO, SINGLE TICKETS AVAILABLE!
The complete Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2014 schedule for all 20 Screenings, over nine thrilling nights, this Oct 16-24 at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto will be announced from Friday, Oct 3. Fans can expect as with previous years, the vast majority of screenings to take place at the convenient prime times of 7pm and 9.30pm nightly. At the same time, fans will also be able to buy single tickets ranging from $11 (Multi-film purchase) to $13 (Regular Single Film Tickets) to all screenings at the Festival Website, Cineplex Website, Cineplex App and in person at the venue.To get notified of when the schedule and box office has gone live, sign up for our E-Newsletter.
After years of denial, our breaking news from 2011 and 2012 is confirmed officially today with the announcement that Lionsgate and “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer are expanding the universe in short form.
As part of its ongoing effort to enhance its diverse portfolio of premium content, Lionsgate is teaming with Facebook, the prestigious Women In Film organization, the crowdsourcing platform Tongal and best-selling “Twilight Saga” author Stephenie Meyer to create and manage a social media campaign to develop and produce a series of short films directed by aspiring female filmmakers, a press release tells us.
The campaign, called “The Storytellers – New Creative Voices of The Twilight Saga,” will include films based on a broad spectrum of characters from the Twilight universe, with guidance provided by Meyer’s encyclopedic “The Twilight Saga: Official Illustrated Guide.”
The campaign will center on a multiphase contest culminating in the selection of at least five aspiring female filmmakers to direct short films based on characters from the “Twilight” universe. The films will be produced and directed with the mentorship of a blue chip panel of advisors, which will ultimately select the winning shorts that will premiere exclusively on the Facebook platform next year. The star-studded group of female panelists will include Stephenie Meyer, actress Kristen Stewart, Academy Award winners Kate Winslet and Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Lee, the award-winning writer and one of the directors of Disney’s global blockbuster Frozen, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, Emmy Award-winning actress Julie Bowen, and Women In Film President Cathy Schulman.
Five winning shorts will be financed through production advances, and fans will help select a grand prize winning filmmaker who will receive a cash prize and career opportunities. The short film development and production process will involve extensive fan engagement on the Facebook and Tongal platforms.
The infamous 1983 music ‘video’ for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, which was directed by John Landis (An American Werewolf In London), is getting released in a new dimension come 2015.
The 14-minute short film, which revolutionized music videos and has since become one of, if not the the most famous ever released, will be getting the 3-D treatment, and will arrive on Blu-ray and potentially in limited theaters come 2015.
Landis is overseeing this project now that a dispute with the Jackson estate has finished, which we exclusively broke.
Landis told the NY Daily News:
It is going to reappear in a highly polished and three-dimensional way that is very exciting on the big screen.
Pressed on what fans can expect to see, Landis showed his scary side.
“I cannot tell you any more,” Landis joked. “I might have to kill you.”
Although XLrator Media has yet to announce a release, Australia is set to get the edgy, comedic thriller, The Mule (read our review), from Entertainment One Films this year.
The film, written by Saw and Insidious‘ Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson, recently had its world premiere to great acclaim at South by Southwest in March. Now, the first trailer has arrived! Drop your pants and you’ll receive it below…
“It’s 1983. A naive man with lethal narcotics hidden in his stomach is detained by Australian Federal Police. Alone and afraid, ‘The Mule’ makes a desperate choice; to defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence…literally. And by doing so becomes a ‘human time-bomb’; dragging cops, criminals and concerned family into his impossible escapade.”
The Mule stars Hugo Weaving (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix), Angus Sampson (Mad Max: Fury Road, Insidious), Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious), Ewen Leslie, Geoff Morrell, Georgina Haig, Noni Hazlehurst and John Noble (The Lord of the Rings, TV’s “Fringe”) and is directed by Angus Sampson & Tony Mahony. It was produced by Angus Sampson & Jane Liscombe and executive produced by Michele Bennett (Chopper), Leigh Whannell, David Griffiths, Angus Coupland & Troy Lum (The Water Diviner, Saving Mr. Banks).
Time for horror audiences to go trick or treating!
“Fun Size Horror” is a horror film collective that has come together to create 31 films to celebrate Halloween! You can find all of the our terrifying shorts distributed across the online world, including on Bloody Disgusting, this Halloween.
“It occurred to me that I know all these great filmmakers, who are always wanting to create their own thing and all love horror, but were never given a platform,” said Zeke Pinheiro, who came up with the concept. “So I figured, why don’t we pool our skills, equipment and resources, and create a collective with the goal of each of us creating a short film that runs less than five minutes for Halloween.”
All of the “Fun Size Horror” short films have been independently produced by a wide range of filmmakers including Jackson Stewart, Josh Waller, Glen Murakami, Mali Elfman, with participating actors Lance Reddick, Rose McIver, Tracie Thoms, Brea Grant, Amy Dallen and Diva Zappa.
Starting October 27th through Halloween, a new short will appear everyday on each of the five sites hosting Fun Size Horror. Each short will only be up for 24 hours before being replaced by the next day’s horror film so make sure to catch them while they’re up.
I’m not exactly sure why this interview took place, but Vulture has a pretty cool chat with director John Carpenter about his filmmaking career. Those who have interviewed him understand that he’s a tough cookie to crack, unless of course you talk basketball with him (we’re brothers from another mother).
Anyways, Vulture actually got some really juicy stuff from Carpenter, including the reveal that Texas Chain Saw Massacre co-creators Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel worked on the script for The Thing at one point.
“Yes,” Carpenter confirmed, adding this nasty little tid-bit. “They wrote a whole draft before I came along. All sorts of drafts were written before I came along. One was underwater … they were just trying to make it work.”
And as insane as that sounds, the coolest part of the interview is when Vulture and Carpenter riff on the day horror died.
Vulture: After making The Thing, you read a demographical study that said the audience for horror movies shrank by 70 percent over a six-month period.
Carpenter:Yes. It was shocking! [Laughs.]
Vulture: Can you remember where you saw this?
Carpenter:It was sitting in my office at Universal. Universal had sent it over.
Vulture: Was it their way of saying “Lower your expectations”?
Carpenter:Yeah: “Brace yourself.”
The film opened on June 25, 1982 and flopped in theater, pulling in only $19M. Thank the heavens this was only the beginning of Carpenter’s illustrious career.
FX has released a transcript of an interview with “The Strain” star Kevin Durand, who allegedly was approached to play Abraham in AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
When asked for confirmation of the rumor, Durand knocked it down immediately.
“You know what, I wasn’t. I wasn’t, but I heard that from people. Ultimately for me it’s just really nice; it’s such an incredible compliment that you think of me for these characters. I’m so grateful for that,” explains Durand. “But no, nobody ever talked to me about that.”
But he does reveal that he was approached for an unknown role of a character named “Negan.”
“I’ve had a lot of people with ‘The Walking Dead’ talk to me, mentioned that they see me for a character named “Negan,” but I haven’t read the comic,” he adds. “But my ears are always open to what’s being said out on, and, like I said, I’m always honored to hear any of your thoughts.
“Bring it on.“
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the character, The Walking Dead Wiki has his bio:
“Negan is a character first introduced in Issue 100 of Image Comics’ The Walking Dead. [He] was the leader of the Saviors and is a primary antagonist in the Comic Series. He uses his authority and resources to subjugate other communities, such as the Hilltop Colony, The Kingdom, and later the Alexandria Safe-Zone, into paying tribute to The Saviors, in exchange for protection against zombies. The communities join together and start a conflict against The Saviors, which ends up with Dwight, former lieutenant and defector, taking charge of The Saviors, now willing to cooperate with all survivors. Negan is then incarcerated, receiving a life sentence.”
For the month of October we’re going to take you down memory lane and reveal what horror films opened on each day leading up to Halloween.
October 1 actuality saw quite a few releases, most notably George A. Romero’s $100k indie Night of the Living Dead, which made a whopping $30M worldwide at the box office. Explains Wiki, Night of the Living Dead was heavily criticized at its release owing to explicit content, but eventually garnered critical acclaim and has been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a film deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” It’s soaked in social commentary that’s still relevant today.
And as unbelievable as it sounds, today also marks the 40th anniversary of Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, another horror indie that broke through the Hollywood barrier. Hooper produced the film for less than $300,000 and used a cast of relatively unknown actors drawn mainly from central Texas, where the film was shot, explains Wiki. The limited budget forced Hooper to film for long hours seven days a week, so that he could finish as quickly as possible and reduce equipment rental costs. Due to the film’s violent content, Hooper struggled to find a distributor. Louis Perano of Bryanston Pictures eventually purchased the distribution rights. Hooper limited the quantity of onscreen gore in hopes of securing a ‘PG’ rating, but the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rated it ‘R’. The film faced similar difficulties internationally.
The site also explained that, Uupon its October 1974 release, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was banned outright in several countries, and numerous theaters later stopped showing the film in response to complaints about its violence. While it initially drew a mixed reception from critics, it was enormously profitable, grossing over $30 million at the domestic box office. It has since gained a reputation as one of the best horror films in cinema history. It is credited with originating several elements common in the slasher genre, including the use of power tools as murder weapons and the characterization of the killer as a large, hulking, faceless figure. The popularity of the film led to a franchise that continued the story of Leatherface and his family through sequels, remakes, one prequel, comic books and video games.
A look through the history books also reveals that October 1 shared the release of the 1978 Patrick, which has since been remade, Magnolia Pictures’ 2009 Universal Soldier: Regeneration, Paramount Pictures’ god-awful 2009 Case 39, and even Dark Sky Films’ 2010 release of Adam Green’s Hatchet II!
If you’re looking for a way to kickoff this October in style, starting with the brand new TCM box set and NOTLD is a great place to start! Share your stories below. When was the first time you saw them all? Which is your fav?
Stand back, because I’m about to bust open Pandora’s Box and unleash hell by addressing a touchy topic among horror fans – that being the popular but controversial subgenre known as the horror “mockumentary.” By definition, a horror mockumentary is a fictional documentary production addressing horrific subject matter (including scary supernatural/fantastical themes or more down-to-earth horrors like serial killers) by treating it as if the source material were 100% genuine.
Now, the first thing that probably springs to your mind when I mention this topic is the “found footage” phenomenon… but that’s not what I’m going to discuss today. There’s obviously a very fuzzy line between the two, but for the sake of this list I’m ruling out any feature film that treats its visuals as raw, unedited footage and not the product of a fictional filmmaker’s editorial vision. In other words, you won’t find Cannibal Holocaust, The Blair Witch Project, the Paranormal Activity series, Cloverfield or any of their countless imitators listed here.
Sure, all of the titles below contain a variety of staged footage, fictionally claimed to have been obtained by the filmmakers, but that’s where the similarities to typical found footage entries end; instead, these films use a documentary framework to lend a sense of believability to the events depicted onscreen, and when done properly the technique is often more terrifying, as the structure of a documentary implies an authority and authenticity that most found footage features lack. Maybe I’m nitpicking, and maybe you’re hoping to find more traditional found footage titles here… but don’t worry, I’ll be tackling the found footage craze itself in the future, so those films will get their own moment in the shaky spotlight.
Here are thirteen mock-docs that creeped me out the most, listed in chronological order… and if you have a favorite that isn’t listed here, be sure to add it in the comments!
The War Game (1965)
You may be surprised to see such a vintage entry in a genre that is otherwise a 21st-century phenomenon, but you’ll be amazed at how chilling this extremely controversial UK television movie can be. It uses a news/documentary format to package a grim and horrifying scenario in which Cold War tensions finally ignite into a thermonuclear exchange over Europe. For my money, this one is far more disturbing than the infamous TV drama The Day After, which aired a full 20 years later.
Punishment Park (1971)
Another old-school entry, this experimental film is set in a fictional dystopia where protesters are labeled traitors by the state and rounded up into camps. The main twist here is that the authorities offer the prisoners a shot at freedom if they volunteer to take part in a bizarre, twisted game of “capture the flag” over a 48-hour period, under the watchful eye of paramilitary police – who are beginning to show moral tensions within their own ranks. This seldom-seen production may have been the product of Vietnam-era angst (and it’s more than a little preachy), but in light of police brutality stories making the news today, with images of protesters facing police tanks on small-town streets, it’s kind of relevant again. [On a lighter note, this film likely served as inspiration for the Australian exploitation flick Turkey Shoot, which was tons of sleazy fun, but not nearly as disturbing.]
The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)
The first monster movie to disguise itself as a docudrama was the invention of Charles B. Pierce, producer of popular drive-in fare throughout the 1970s. Pierce’s first film capitalized on ’70s “Bigfoot mania,” delving into local legends of the “Fouke Monster” which has allegedly terrorized Arkansas river dwellers for decades. Threadbare production values and an amateur cast (Pierce recruited locals to play themselves) lend a kind of gritty realism to the film, and some genuine scares combined with the “G” rating meant some impressionable young kids were soon scarred for life. [Not only is a Boggy Creek remake in the works, but a new version of Pierce's creepy 1976 thriller The Town That Dreaded Sundown hits screens next month.]
Another UK television special, this prime-time chiller was packaged as a completely legitimate news program. The scenario: a camera crew spends one night with a family in their reportedly haunted suburban home (itself based on a reported poltergeist incident) while hosts, paranormal researchers and other talking heads analyze their footage in real time from the studio. A cast of familiar faces from British TV news and talk shows, combined with very few disclaimers that the show was fake, led many viewers to believe the events onscreen were real, which prompted a wave of panic – especially during the final moments, when the evil forces occupying the house apparently possess the TV signal itself.
Man Bites Dog (1992)
This French/Belgian production is equal parts pitch-black satire and skin-crawling horror. Shot on hand-held 16mm cameras in grainy black and white, it’s presented as the project of two renegade film students who somehow convince a brutal serial killer (co-director Benoît Poelvoorde) to allow them to film his day-to-day routine as he plans his next string of murders. It’s a given that this scenario will soon get completely out of hand, but you may not expect just how twisted things eventually go down. The makers of The Blair Witch Project must have viewed this film at some point, since many of the shots – especially the terrifying finale – are remarkably similar.
The Last Broadcast (1998)
Another kindred spirit to Blair Witch, this micro-budget DV production (the first feature film to be projected digitally in theaters) went before the cameras first, but was released around the same time. But where Blair was one of the first films to discard a narrative framing device in favor of raw (fabricated) found footage, Last Broadcast sticks to the documentary format… at least up to a point. I won’t spoil the film’s climactic twist, but suffice to say it divided audiences in a major way; some viewers despised the final scenes, while others are still haunted by them. Either way, it’s a thoroughly creepy little flick about a filmmaker searching for the truth behind the bloody murders of a public-access TV crew shooting a show about the legendary “Jersey Devil.”
Noroi: The Curse (2005)
This Japanese production seems to have slipped under the international radar, and I’m not sure why; at the time, Asian horror mania was still in full swing, and Eastern shockers were being remade by the dozens in the wake of The Ring‘s box-office success. While director Kôji Shiraishi is better known for his graphic 2009 torture-fest Grotesque, Noroi is a surprisingly subtle, slow-burn piece in which a documentary director (Jin Muraki) investigates of a psychic child’s disappearance, which may be linked to a creepy, reclusive woman and a demon said to dwell within a submerged village. It’s dense, complex and maybe a little too slow for viewers expecting over-the-top shocks, but the horrific final scene is worth the wait.
Head Case (2007)
One of the more extreme entries on this list, this gritty production may not depict as much onscreen violence as, say the notorious August Underground series, but the naked sadism of the psychopathic subjects is so realistically horrifying that it’s nearly impossible to watch some scenes without flinching. The sweet, vacant smiles of the white-bread couple featured in this film are masking a monstrous secret: it seems their shared hobby involves the systematic torture and and murder of numerous victims. More horrifying than the kill scenes themselves is the couple’s calm, nonchalant attitude toward their crimes, as they discuss the best ways to prolong a victim’s torment the way your favorite aunt might share her secret for red velvet cake.
Long Pigs (2007)
Taking an obvious cue from Man Bites Dog, this darkly comic gorefest is presented as the work of two young gonzo filmmakers who manage to ingratiate themselves to a cannibalistic serial killer, who decides he’d like to share his deranged philosophy – and his preferred method of butchering and preparing human meat – with an audience. You don’t have to see the film which inspired it (although you should) to know that things won’t go well for our camera crew as the macabre humor peels back to reveal some shocking and disturbing acts. But a compelling performance by Anthony Alviano as the surprisingly amiable madman will still keep you guessing.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)
Unlike other serial killer titles on this list, the unseen villain at the heart of this gruesome tale – presented as an Unsolved Mysteries-style investigative program – has no charming qualities to lighten the proceedings. Our subject, known only as the “Water Street Butcher,” is a totally inhuman monster, whose sadism is unlike anything ever depicted on camera. There’s little onscreen violence, but it’s the Butcher’s manipulation of his victims and the investigators that will have you installing new deadbolts on your doors. While the “experts” interviewed throughout the film are a mixed bag of performers, the killer himself is so unrelentingly evil that his vile deeds – which he films for posterity – practically pry your eyes open and force you to watch. While this film never saw official release (not even on DVD), creators John and Drew Dowdle would soon find success in more found-footage features, including Quarantine and most recently As Above, So Below.
Lake Mungo (2008)
One of the most subtle and artful films on this list, this Australian production nevertheless contains one of the scariest scenes I’ve ever witnessed. On the surface, it’s a fairly straightforward documentary about teenage girl whose spirit allegedly continues to haunt her family after she drowns in a swimming accident. However, the accompanying interviews, still photos, and archival footage reveal a more earthbound mystery, exposing the unpleasant underbelly of a small, quiet suburban community. If this sounds a bit like Twin Peaks, that’s probably no coincidence (the victim’s last name is Palmer), but the subject matter is played totally straight… until the story takes a shocking, unexpected turn that pulls the rug out from under your expectations.
The Fourth Kind (2009)
While it has its fair share of flaws, this film gets a nod for taking a unique, two-tiered approach to the material: at the outset, we are told this alien abduction tale is a dramatization, with star Milla Jovovich introducing herself (as herself) to the audience in the prologue; but the more theatrical presentation is intercut with glitchy low-fi footage treated as the actual events of abduction stories, revealing a different set of actors who are a bit less glamorous than Jovovich and her co-stars. The stunt doesn’t entirely work (the “real” footage still feels too stagey, even contrasted with the slicker “re-enactments”), but it earns points for originality, and some of the body-morphing “possession” scenes are legitimately creepy.
The Tunnel (2011)
This Australian shocker plays much like a subterranean version of Spanish found-footage classic [REC], but sticks more closely to the documentary format, so I’m including it here. The simple premise finds a journalist (Bel Delia) and her team delving deep into a network of abandoned tunnels beneath Sydney to determine why the government has apparently hushed up the disappearances of several homeless people who took up residence within the concrete labyrinth. Needless to say, the scoop they’re seeking isn’t the real story here – the truth is much more dangerous. Interestingly, the folks behind this indie production used a distribution model which is now becoming the norm, raising funds via crowd-sharing sites and providing a download code to anyone who donated to the project.
Runners-up [Not Scary, But Still Awesome]
Below I’ve added a bonus handful of excellent mockumentaries that, while definitely horror-themed, are more deliberately comical than scary… but they’re so entertaining, I felt compelled to mention them somewhere:
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Dead-on references to all the classic slasher villains and an incredibly funny, charismatic lead (Nathan Baesel) make this mock-doc a must for any true slasher fan’s collection. Rumors of a prequel, Before the Mask, have been circulating for years; I’m still holding out hope that the amazing Baesel will reprise his role as Leslie.
Incident at Loch Ness (2004)
Legendary director Werner Herzog turns in a droll, sardonic performance as he lampoons his image in this hilarious jab at cryptid hunters, pretentious indie filmmakers, and direct-to-video monster crap (it’s such a dead-on satire that I’d overlooked it for years, assuming it actually was just a lame CGI monster flick). Totally worth watching, if just for Herzog’s contribution alone.
This eccentric meta-jumble begins as a legit documentary about the popularity of underground fetish-horror films, but it quickly turns dark (and, I hope, fictional) after digging deeper into one of the filmmakers (Erik Rost), a strange man whose gory video series looks a bit too realistic to be mere fiction.
Troll Hunter (2010)
Some of the coolest monsters ever depicted onscreen (yes, even for CGI, they’re awesome) grace this Norwegian pseudo-doc, which taps into local folk tales for a hilarious, spooky and rowdy snowbound adventure featuring the title character (Otto Jespersen), a grouchy monster exterminator contracted by the government, who’s quite sick of his extremely dangerous job.
Berlin, Germany’s very own BLM.FM have shared a new version of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 classic horror film Nosferatu, which was based on Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. This new version has an original soundtrack composed by Shed, who recorded the soundtrack at UT Connewitz cinema in Leipzig, Germany.
Dubbed The NOS Project, you can watch the movie synced with the soundtrack below. What better was is there to kick off October than with a classic horror movie?
You can download the soundtrack for free here.
Beginning Of Movie -
Intro – 0:00
Eupho Ⅰ – 1:22
Ease Ⅰ – 5:02
Inter Ⅲ – 10:31
Eupho Ⅲ – 16:27
Inter Dist Ⅲ – 24:43
Dist Ⅰ – 30:26
G3 Plus – 37:29
Ball Pick Up – 44:34
Ballistik VER2 – 47:55
Disto Ⅱ – 51:50
Ease Ⅱ – 1:00:20
Inter NOS F – 1:07:03
NOS Es Harp – 1:13:50
Inter RQ NOS – 1:18:38
RQ171 – 1:19:45
- END Of Recording
October has officially begun and we’re in full swing bringing you everything horrific and terrifying to create the ultimate Halloween mood! And what better way to create the perfect atmosphere than with some scary stories from the past!
Below is a 40+ minute video that features broadway actor George S. Irving reading tales from Schwartz and Gammell’s Scary Stories Treasury, complete with ambient noises and eerie music.
It’s a total throwback to my childhood, when I would read these stories late at night under the covers with my flashlight, terrified to come out lest my closet door be open and some terrifying creature would be lurking just out of sight in the shadows. I listened to these stories with a huge smile, savoring the nostalgia of the moment.
1. The Big Toe
2. “What Do You Come For?”
3. Me Tie Dough-ty Walker!
4. A Man Who Lived in Leeds
5. Old Woman All Skin and Bone
6. Cold as Clay
7. The Hearse Song
8. A New Horse
10. Room for One More
11. The Dead Man’s Brains
12. The Hook
13. High Beams
14. The Babysitter
15. The Viper
16. The Slithery-Dee
17. Aaron Kelly’s Bones
18. Wait til Martin Comes.
In the spirit of “Hack/Slash” comes “Slash/Up”, a multiverse fanfilm web-series from the creators of the “Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness” fanfilm.
Each episode will pit a different set of retro movie/geek culture icons against each in a totally unique, story driven mashup, wrapped around by debate and commentary,
The first episode, which premieres Tuesday, October 14th on YouTube Channel WTFLOL, will pit Friday the 13th franchise icon Jason Voorhees against The Terminator‘s Sarah Connor!
I think this looks awesome, and the production value is fantastic. Look at how cool Jason looks!!
A Kickstarter will be launched the same day as Episode 1 (October 14th) to help us fund our next episode, ‘Freddy vs. Neo’.
The short was directed by Brian Rosenthal and stars Derek Russo and Nicole Marines.
Sam Hall, writer for the long running horror TV series Dark Shadows, has passed away at age 93 after a short bout with pneumonia. He is survived by his son, his daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren.
Hall wrote over 300 episodes of Dark Shadows, including the two made-for-TV films House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows. His wife was Grayson Hall, who starred in the show as Dr. Julia Hoffman, as well as other various roles.
Sam spoke for an interview recorded for a Dark Shadows DVD feature, stating:
We stole things right and left from all the horror classics, including the werewolf, which worked for a while, and a lot of the great American short story writer, [H.P.] Lovecraft. I only wish that Stephen King had been alive then, because he could have kept the show going for a hundred years.
Rest in peace, Mr. Hall. Thank you for such a memorable, exciting series.
Deadline reports that Sony Pictures looks to be getting more serious about mounting another installment of Zombieland.
The studio just hired Dave Callaham to write the sequel under the supervision of Ruben Fleischer, who’ll return to direct.
Callaham has been scripting The Expendables films, and he had story credit on Legendary’s revival of Godzilla.
They are not sure if the participants will be back; pretty much all of them have soared since making the original, from Jesse Eisenberg to Emma Stone, True Detective’s Woody Harrelson, and Abigail Breslin (who plays the title zombie in the upcoming Maggie).
Over the years, Silent Hill has become known for a number of things. Even if they haven’t walked its empty streets, most gamers are familiar with the series’ eponymous foggy town and the disturbing monsters who call it home. For many fans of the series, it’s the uniquely atmospheric soundtracks from series composer Akira Yamaoka that really represent what Silent Hill is all about. Yamaoka’s work is iconic, and his work represents some of the best video games have to offer.
There’s been no shortage of fan renditions and tracks inspired by Yamaoka’s work on the series, and with the recent unveiling of Silent Hills — a collaborative effort between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro, starring Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) — we’re seeing even more.
One of the better fan-made tributes is “It’s Coming!”, a track that was written and produced by Tom Graczkowski, who also happens to be a fan of the genre and an avid reader of Bloody Disgusting. I won’t spoil anything, because it’s great and most definitely Silent Hills in its flavor.
If this is something you’d like to have on whatever gadget it is you use to house your music, which he’s made available as a free download.
Graczkowski also made a slick-looking cover for the track that’s available (for free) in various sizes on his website that would make a great PC wallpaper for the coming Halloween season.
What lurks under the big top?
The newest promo has been released and shows all of the Freaks from the October 8 premiere of “American Horror Story: Freak Show”.
I love that the fresh footage looks like Big Top Pee-Wee, only with a horror angle. I also like that the two-headed Sarah Paulson seems to be the protagonist and the series appears to be told through her eyes.
We’ve added the colorful new promo below, which is solely for the season premiere – and it also features your first look at what’s said to be the scariest clown ever. Pennywise begs to differ…
The fourth season begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952.
“A troupe of curiosities has just arrived to town, coinciding with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.“
Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Denis O’Hare, Jamie Brewer, and Evan Peters return from previous seasons. New cast members includes Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, John Carroll Lynch, Finn Wittrock, Matt Bomer, Patti LaBelle and the world’s smallest living woman, Jyoti Amge.
The Saw is family…
Ignoring the fact that Tobe Hooper’s original Leatherface from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the first and most iconic, it’s fun to look back and decide which Leatherface “looked” the best.
Frankly, I’m a big fan of Bill Johnson in Hooper’s 1986 sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love the various incarnations as in in everything from Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part III to Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, the remake and its sequel, The Beginning, and even Texas Chainsaw 3D.
Thankfully, Halloween Costumes has your back with this incredible new infographic that details the several incarnation of Leatherface.
After 40 years of Chainsaw, which is your fav?
In Alien: Isolation, now just a week away, even a flare can save your life. I say can, because as we can see in this new vignette, even the clever use of a light source isn’t always effective. Still, being resourceful with and finding clever uses for the items and parts that have been scattered about each environment is something you’ll need to master in order to survive Alien: Isolation.
Is it just me, or did the alien’s reaction to the flare Ripley throws seem a bit slow?
Alien: Isolation arrives on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on October 7.