This afternoon I will be hosting TWO Facebook Live streams on the Bloody Disgusting Facebook Page for the upcoming film Blair Witch.
The first is at 1:30PM ET / 10:30AM PT with director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett; the second is at 2:20PM ET / 11:20AM PT with Callie Hernandez, James Allen McCune, Valorie Curry, Wes Robinson and Corbin Reid, all of who star in the film.
I’m taking questions early from you guys, and the best way to get them to me by either Twitter mention or commenting right here on this article.
Brad called the sequel a ” target=”_blank”>”horror game changer that will completely wreck you,” and it seems like making it was an insane experience, so this should be a lot of fun. Watch for several reviews this week leading up to the release in theaters this Friday!
Last month, I posted about the new album from San Francisco horrorbilly/bluegrass group The Pine Box Boys, The Feast of Three Arms. Today, we’re going to give you a taste of that album with the track “Mighty, Mighty Preacher”, an upbeat song full of twang and mystery.
Vocalist/guitarist Lester T. Raww tells BD, “The Pine Box Boys have referenced this “Mighty, Mighty Preacher” in several songs – “56, AR”, “Prester John in Appalachia”, amongst others – but in this iteration we learn about where he settled and how he stays…solvent.”
“On their fifth album, The Feast Of Three Arms, the murder balladeers introduce us to Willie’s cousin, Jubal with No Last Name, and his quest to kill the man that did his mama wrong.”
The Feast of Three Arms comes out on October 21st. It can be pre-ordered right here.
Production has officially started on Creep 2, with actor-director Desiree Akhavan, pictured below right, signing on to star in the Blumhouse and Duplass Brothers production opposite Mark Duplass (above), Deadline writes.
A sequel to Creep, the cult horror film that debuted at SXSW 2014 and was a critical hit in 2015, Creep 2 will see the return of the original’s director Patrick Brice, who co-wrote the new script along with Duplass.
Best known for her feature directorial debut Appropriate Behaviour for which she received a Best First Screenplay nomination at the 2015 Indie Spirit Awards and also starred in, Akhavan appeared in season 4 of HBO’s “Girls” and is currently working on “The Bisexual”, a new comedy series for The UK’s Channel 4.
Produced by Carolyn Craddock, Blumhouse’s Jason Blum is executive producing Creep 2 alongside Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Chris Donlon and Josh Braun.
Deadline reports that “The Outlander” and “Game of Thrones” co-star Tobias Menzies is set as a lead in “The Terror”, AMC’s anthology drama series based on the bestselling 2007 novel by Dan Simmons. Scott Free, Alexandra Milchan’s Emjag Productions, Entertainment 360 and AMC Studios are producing the 10-episode straight-to-series drama set to premiere in 2017.
Written by feature writer David Kajganich, who co-showruns with Soo Hugh, the series is set in 1847, when a Royal Navy expedition crew searching for the Northwest Passage is attacked by a mysterious predator that stalks the ships and their crews in a suspenseful and desperate game of survival. It is a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.
Menzies will play a member of the Royal Navy. It marks his reunion with AMC, where he recently co-starred in limited series “The Night Manager”, which is nominated for 12 Emmy Awards.
In features, he co-stars in Una, which premieres at the Toronto Film Festival, and the upcoming Underworld: Blood Wars.
So, a few weeks back, I covered the Weyland-Yutani Commando as part of Series 8 of NECA’s successful line of figures based off of the Alien franchise. Now I know some folks still hate Alien 3 with the fiery passion of 1000 suns, but come on, the figure looks pretty cool. And now that Series 9 has started to hit shelves, it makes sense to finish off Series 8, doesn’t it? For those who were lukewarm to having the Commando, NECA has stuck to the classic players for the rest of the line: Ripley and two variants of the Dog Alien.
All three figures come housed in the same standard clamshell packaging that the rest of the line has come in since its inception, sporting the “Alien 3” motif for the backdrop. The sides of the package have shots of the figures in various poses, while the back has a small synopsis of the film, with shots of the other figures in the series. Do note that both Dog Alien variations have the exact same packaging.
NECA keeps on pumping out some great sculpts, and Ripley is no exception. The figure’s likeness to Sigourney from the film is very close (not sure about the lips), but what’s even cooler is the texture applied to the figure’s head to mimic the stubble. This suble use of texture continues through the rest of the fabric in the clothing, along with all of the wrinkles, stitching, scuffs, rips and skin texture. The paint is also done really well. I love the wash used for the pants, as well as the bruising used on Ripley’s face. Great attention to detail, with no smearing or missed paint apps to speak of.
As for the Dog Alien, both figures are the exact same sculpts, and both are fantastic. Those who missed the earlier release of the Dog Alien way back in Series 3 will be happy to have a second chance to grab this guy. The biomechanical details of Giger’s famous sculpt are replicated here exactly, crammed with details of ribs, tubing and bone. As with the other Xenomorphs, the domes are a separate transparent piece, allowing you to see the underlying structures of the sculpted heads. The paint is where the two Dog Alien figures differ. One is painted in a more darker brown, while the other has a mix of light brown/grey shading. Both have some fantastic washes applied that bring out details, and depending on which one you decide to get, the way the light hits the figure will determine which details are more pronounced. It all depends on where/how you decide to display the figure. The dome is carefully airbrushed to give a nice gradient towards the front of the figure, completing its look.
Unfortunately, here’s where things start to fall down a bit. While the overall articulation of all three figures is nicely done, there are a few small (and one major) issue that I have to explain.
With Ripley, she features over 25 points of articulation. The head is on a ball joint, and can move up and down, side to side and left to right. The arms are on pin-and-socket joints, and can move outward and forward. Like other Ripley figures, she can’t move out to a perfect 90°, but it’s still good enough that you can get enough range of motion. The arms bend at the elbow, can bend to 90° and rotate. The hands are on balljoints, and while the figure’s right hand moves easily, there’s a problem with the left. The peg that holds the left hand is weak, and can snap off when you first try to move the hand. Putting the arm in the fridge can strengthen it enough so that when you first move the hand, it won’t break. Obviously, this is a major problem. If the hand on your figure does snap off, you can always contact NECA’s Customer Service through Twitter or their website. The figure has an upper torso crunch, as well as a ball joint at the waist. The pin-and-socket joints allow the legs to move outward and forward quite far, and rotate at the hips. The knees allow the legs to bend at 45°, as well as rotate. While there’s no boot cut joint, the feet are on balljoints, and can rotate all the way around and offer some pivoting.
As for the Dog Aliens, both variants feature the same 30 points of articulation. The head is on a ball joint, and can move all the way around, but is restricted by the sculpt for moving to look up. There’s another neck join that permits a bit more movement, but again, the sculpt limits how much you can do. The arms are on pin-and-socket joints, and can move up to around 90°, and move forward and back. The elbows are double-jointed, allowing you to almost fold the arms in two, as well as rotate them. The hands are on pin-and-socket joints, but still grant the hands a good range of up and down movement and rotation. The upper torso joint allows the figure to move all the way around, while the legs are on pin-and-socket joints that allow for the legs to move outward to around 45°, but move all the way around. Like the elbows, the knees are double-jointed, and can bend all the way in half. The lower legs have a pin-and-socket joint, allowing you to move them forward and back and rotate. The feet bend forward and back at the ankle, and the tail rotates at the base, while also having the familiar wire running down it to allow for infinite posing. Now while many of the joints on the Dog Aliens are nice and tight, the ball joint for the head and the upper torso are quite loose, and do have a tendency to flop. There are tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere that can help to remedy things, but it’s kind of a bummer that this slipped through.
For Ripley, she comes with the ability to pop her arms off at the shoulder (use a hair dryer to lessen the breakage potential), which allows you to slip off the jacket and pop the set of bare arms included with the figure. The bare arms have the same range of motion as the jacketed ones, and it’s one of those obvious inclusions that’s actually pretty cool. She also comes with a nicely-detailed torch and a flashlight. The figure’s right hand is best for holding either accessory. You’re not going to get much in terms of two-handed poses, but you can try.
As for either of the Dog Aliens, they come with a display stand that helps support the figure for your posing. Generally designed to go around the waist of the figure, you could also put the stand at the base of the tail if you so desire.
While NECA once again hits it out of the park for the details and paint, I’m slightly disappointed at the QC issues in the articulation. Again, some of them are minor (and can easily be fixed), but the issue regarding Ripley’s hand is troubling. Not everyone has had this issue, but it’s come up enough that you’ll want to exercise caution when trying to move it the first time. Other than that, these figures are a great compliment to the Commando, and really make Series 8 a great addition to your collection.
Big thanks once again to Northmen Collectibles for making this figure available.
When it comes to Australian genre films, or Ozploitation as they’re so often referred, I’m very much a novice. Yeah, I’ve seen all the Mad Max films and I’m a huge fan of Brian Trenchard-Smith (read my reviews of Turkey Shoot and The Siege of Firebase Gloria) but basically that’s where my knowledge ends. Fortunately Umbrella Entertainment releases a number of titles under a series they called “Ozploitation Classics” and as a result I’ve slowly begun to expand my knowledge. My latest journey down under was with 1993’s Body Melt!
Body Melt is the story of a small community called Pebbles Court whose residents are unknowingly being treated as test subjects for a new dietary pill. Pebbles Court is like your typical cookie cutter suburb. All the houses look the same and there is just a general fakeness to everything. The people are all kind of vain and so when free pills arrive in their mailbox promoting the ultimate healthy lifestyle they eagerly take them without hesitation. Unfortunately for the residents of Pebbles Court these pills come with some truly awful side effects.
The idea of the pill, I think, is to help you lose weight and in a way that’s what it does. But in losing weight it first causes hallucinations followed by mutations. So those that use it do lose weight, but it’s in the form of their skin melting off. And that’s with the lucky ones! One unfortunate chap has his penis enlarge (not so bad) until he gets the point of exploding and kill him (not so great). Some folks have tentacles come out of their mouth which is never fun. And let’s not forget the imploding heads. Basically, things get pretty messy in Pebbles Court.
The film was directed by Philip Brophy off a script he co-wrote with Rod Bishop. Both Brophy and Bishop were members of the Australian experimental band → ↑ →. I feel like when you’re dealing with a couple of dudes that named their band → ↑ → that you kind of know you’re going to be in for something very weird. Body Melt is definitely weird. It has that slapstick gore that Sam Raimi and early Peter Jackson had perfected with maybe a hint of David Cronenberg. It’s definitely never not interesting.
The film is a satire of extremely healthy living. It kind of makes fun of the stuff like those GNC shops and the people that shop there. I don’t know if this stuff was super popular in the 90’s in Australia, but I’m going to guess that it was which is probably how this film came about. I feel like stateside I remember seeing these stores all over the place and inside shopping malls and such. I don’t think you see them as much now or maybe I don’t notice them. But just because these health supplement stores may not be around as much, I think the satire still holds up. We’ve just moved on to a new health craze. And we’ll probably continue to move from one craze to another so in that way Body Melt will always be relevant. That’s not to say the movie isn’t dated with a 90’s feel. It very much is, but I loved the 90’s so I don’t mind.
Body Melt is currently available on DVD from Australia’s Umbrella Entertainment. Don’t let the Australia part worry you too much because this is region free, so wherever you are in the world you should be able to watch this. I did so on a standard American Blu-ray player without any issues. This is a DVD so don’t expect an HD picture or anything, but this still looks very good. This is a pretty bright film with a lot of colors and practical effects and they all look just fine here. There’s not a lot in the way of special features but you do get the trailer for the film and a behind-the-scenes featurette with cast and crew.
Body Melt is a great party film. Pop this one with some friends, order a pizza and sit back and enjoy a slapstick splatter fest!
Body Melt is currently available on DVD from Umbrella Entertainment.
I’m still disappointed that I missed out on Osgood Perkins’ directorial debut February (now retitled The Blackcoat’s Daughter) at last year’s TIFF. Bloody Disgusting raved about the Emma Roberts film), naming it one of the best films of the year, so I knew that this year I had to check out Perkins’ sophomore effort, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (hereafter I Am the Pretty Thing…).
The new film is a slow-burn haunted house story that’s a little reminiscent of The Others. Unlike other recent ghost films, Perkins eschews CGI completely, opting to use lingering off-centered static shots, silence and an unsettling soundtrack to create a moody, atmospheric tone. To suggest that the film is languid is an understatement; Perkins is less interested in a conventional narrative than he is in enveloping the audience in the timeless world filled with mystery novels, endless routine and constant ethereal banging on the walls.
Ruth Wilson (familiar to American audiences from The Affair) is the centerpiece of I Am the Pretty Thing… and the film lives and dies with her performance. As Lily, Wilson is in nearly every scene and the character provides not only the film’s voice over, she frequently dictates our point of view. Lily is an unusual character: she is almost child-like, talking to flowers and TV sets, but she is professional enough to be entrusted the role of hospice nurse for ailing mystery novelist Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss). The fact that the film is set at an indeterminate time (costuming and technology hint that it is the 1980s) is entirely deliberate.
In a boldly confident move, Perkins’ script lays out the entire film in Lily’s opening voice over and the opening images. As Lily intones about how houses that have had deaths in them can only be lent out by their ghosts, the opening images feature a dimly lit ethereal figure with a blurred visage and a slow pan over beds occupied by children as if glimpsed through a viewfinder. When we finally lay eyes on Lily as she enters Blum’s house for the first time, she confirms in voice over while seemingly breaking the fourth wall that she is the “pretty one” and that she will not live to see her next birthday. These disembodied images and spoilery proclamations both serve to introduce the film’s central mystery while simultaneously confirming that the destination is less important than the journey.
Thus begins a film that trades on its sound design (constant rainfall, dripping taps, the aforementioned banging) as well as its lingering, off-center shots to build tension. There are actually very few scares, but there is near constant tension. Perkins maximizes the fear potential in everyday occurrences so that the slow creep of mold on the wall and the flickering static on the TV become objects of unease. Throughout there is a constant suggestion that Lily is a stand-in or double for Polly (Lucy Boynton) the protagonist of Blum’s most famous novel. In addition to Blum’s refusal to call her anything but Polly, there are frequent shots of Lily’s face fractured in two in mirrors and TV screens, as though she is being split (in addition to the expected jump scare when Polly is briefly glimpsed over Lily’s shoulder in a TV screen).
This, as well as the film’s frequent use of slow fades to black to mark the transition of time and the casual reveal that much of Lily’s voice over dialogue is actually Polly’s from the novel, is a deliberate attempt to displace the film in time. The repetitive nature of images and dialogue, including the opening and closing scenes, infers that the events of the film are a cycle, a closed loop that ensnares its houseguests and traps them in perpetuity.
Despite a final climax that is a bit underwhelming, the preceding hour and a half establishes I Am the Pretty Thing… as a brazen, confident sophomore effort from Osgood Perkins. The film isn’t for everyone, but for those who can appreciate a slow-burn ghost story that relies heavily on tone and atmosphere rather than CGI and jump scares, this is one to seek out.
Very sad news as Alexis Arquette has passed away at age 47, according to a post made by her brother, Richmond. Arquette was an actress, a transgender activist, a musician, and a stage performer. Her transition from male to female was the subject of the 2007 film Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.
Richmond posted, “Our brother Robert, who became our brother Alexis, who became our sister Alexis, who became our brother Alexis, passed this morning September 11, at 12:32 am. He was surrounded by all of his brothers and sisters, one of his nieces and several other loved ones. We were playing music for him and he passed during David Bowie’s “Starman”. As per his wishes, we cheered at the moment that he transitioned to another dimension.
I am feeling immense gratitude to have been afforded the luxury of sharing life with him/her, for learning from Alexis, for being given the gift of being able to love her/him and to be loved by him/her. He was a force.
He died as he lived, on his own terms. I am immensely grateful that it was fast and painless. It was an incredibly moving experience and I am humbled and grateful to have been able to have been with him as he began his journey onward.”
Arquette was a horror fan who appeared as “Damien” in Bride of Chucky, Tony in Sometimes They Come Back…Again, as well as Greg in Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror.
We send our condolences to Arquette’s friends and family.
The first major acquisition has been made out of the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival as Orion and BH Tilt nabbed Greg McLean’s The Belko Experiment, written by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn (also writer of Dawn of the Dead and director of SLiTHER).
The film, which just premiered at the film festival, will release in theaters on March 17, 2017.
Just how massive is the cast? It includes Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona (“True Detective”), John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane), John C. McGinley (“Scrubs”), Sean Gunn (Super), David Dalmastian, Michael Rooker (Henry, Slither, “The Walking Dead”), Steven Blakeheart, Owain Yeoman, Rusty Schwimmer, Melonie Diaz, Josh Brener, David Del Rio, Abraham Benrubi, Gail Bean, Joe Fria, Ben Davis, James Earl, Brent Sexton, Mikaela Hoover, Valentine Miele.
Back in May, McLean told us that Belko is “insanely violent and totally crazy…and total genius because of it.”
James wrote this amazing script full of heart, hilarious dark humour and amazing characters all wrapped around this wild concept (I won’t give away) so I cannot wait till it comes out and people see the movie.
“Belko revolves around the American Belco company in South America which is mysteriously sealed off at the beginning of a work day,” Gunn explained when announced, “and its employees are ordered to kill each other or be killed themselves. This starts an escalation of violence, where we discover the true nature of each and every Belco employee.”
On what appears to be a normal day at Belko Industries, Belko employees are horrified when they find out that they’ve become guinea pigs in a company-wide experiment which will lead them to either kill their fellow employees or be murdered themselves. The experiment is masterminded by a mysterious voice which is controlling the loud speaker and instructing the employees to slaughter each other by any means necessary.
McLean also directed The Darkness, Wolf Creek and Rogue.
Just over a week ago, we announced that we will be launching a Bloody-Disgusting Twitch Channel this coming Saturday, September 17th, from 1pm to 7pm EST. The channel will be hosted by my good pal Bill Frye, who will be playing horror games new and old several days each week.
Here’s the current schedule that we Bill will be following as often as possible (follow him on Twitter for any changes in schedule):
Tuesdays: 8pm to 11pm EST
Thursdays: 8pm to 11pm EST
Fridays: 8pm to Midnight EST
Saturdays: Pre-announced on Bill’s Twitter
Now, as promised in the announcement post, there will be prizes people can win during the live stream as a celebration of the launch of the channel as well as a way to celebrate Bloody-Disgusting’s 15th anniversary. For example, from Scream Factory we have Blu-rays of The Sentinel, Pumpkinhead, Garbage Pail Kids, and Phantom of the Opera (with Robert Englund), as well as several more titles that will be up for grabs. Additionally, we’ll also have one copy of the Gunship picture disc vinyl to give away! That’s not all the prizes we’ve got and we’ll be announcing more in the coming days!
Make sure to follow our Twitch Channel and turn on email notifications so that you always know when Bill goes live! We look forward to hanging out with all of you this weekend!
The sixth season of American Horror Story premieres this week and for the first time we know almost nothing about it. It’s a great marketing strategy, since it’s practically guaranteed to have high ratings for the premiere. Whether or not the series can keep those ratings up for the entirety of the season is another matter. The show has declined in quality over the years (though I still think Coven is the worst season), so a little mystery is just what the show needs to bring viewers back to it. FX is notorious for releasing tons of teasers in the weeks leading up to the premiere, and Season 6 is no different. There have been a whopping 25 teasers for the season released since July.
Embedded below are all 25 teasers that FX has released for the upcoming season of American Horror Story starting with the most recent one titled “Illusion”, which features Lady Gaga’s new single playing over it. From there the playlist will take you through the remaining 24 teasers (with their titles in the header to help you vote). Let us know which teaser you find to be the scariest!
So which teaser do you think is the scariest? My vote belongs to “Bite Me” (I don’t do spiders), with “Bathing Beauty” and “The Mist” as close seconds. Mind you, I’m not asking which one is your favorite. Rather, I want to know which teaser really gets under your skin. Who knows? Maybe the executives over at FX could use this to influence future seasons (I’m only halfway serious).Which ‘American Horror Story’ Teaser is the Scariest? Illusion False Eyelashes Bite Me Tide Baby Face Backtrack Bathing Beauty Pitch a Fit The Lesson Blink Self Preservation Bite Sized Anthology The Visitors The Harvest Camp Sight The Shadow Wind Chimes The Mist Descent Lullaby Milli Crossing Post Op Sunset Stroll What’s Cooking?
Ever since Nacho Vigalondo’s debut feature film Time Crimes came out, he’s been a director to keep an eye on. Among TIFF festival guides, the director’s latest Colossal was frequently named as one of the films piquing people’s interests and after catching a screening today, it’s easy to understand why.
Colossal is a very unusual film. Frequently billed as a rom-com sci-fi, the film stars Anne Hathaway as a lovable drunk named Gloria whose life is basically in ruins when the film begins. After a seemingly out of place opening sequence involving a little girl and a giant monster in Seoul, Korea, the action jumps 25 years later to New York where Gloria returns home after a night of hard-partying to find her British boyfriend (Dan Stevens) at his wits end. He’s packed her bags and wants her gone. Cue the title card.
The proximity of that first scene to Gloria’s domestic problems isn’t revealed for a while. First she has to return to her abandoned childhood home upstate, encounter her old friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) who is clearly still harbouring a crush, and continue getting loaded. One great aspect of the film is the fact that it doesn’t take shortcuts when it comes to Gloria’s alcoholism. She frequently wakes up in odd places, in uncomfortable positions, with little to no recollection of what she said the night before. She’s a character worth rooting for because she is a realistic human being with faults and Hathaway, also a producer of the film, gives Gloria an easy charm that helps carry the film through some of its shakier moments. The less said about her atrocious wig, however, the better – that thing may be the most horrific thing I’ve seen at TIFF this year.
The plot kicks in when Gloria wakes up to the horrifying news that a monster (the same one glimpsed in the opening scene) has gone on a rampage through the streets of Seoul. Eventually it is revealed that there is an unexpected connection between Gloria and the monster in a scene that is played for delightfully wacky laughs by Hathaway. In this first half there’s a fun, almost childish enthusiasm to the proceedings that someone on Twitter rightfully suggested is a combination of Rachel Getting Married and Pacific Rim (picture that if you will).
It’s when things take a dark turn in the second half that Colossal loses its footing. Gloria and Oscar’s relationship to the monster is further complicated and the film eventually slides into a murky examination of gender, power and responsibility. While there are still amusing moments, the latter half of the film doesn’t have the same balance of tone and the result is a grim, abusive turn for the worst. Credit Sudeikis (who, full confession, I’m not a huge fan of) for nailing Oscar’s evolution from nice guy to asshole, even if the nature of his insecurity is a little too simplistic to satisfy.
It’s undeniable that Colossal is a more complicated and messy film in its second half, particularly the last act, which overstays its welcome by delaying the dramatic confrontation for far too long. The result is an interesting, albeit very divisive genre mash-up (several members of my audience walked out, which is something I hadn’t seen before). It would be disingenuous, however, not to praise Vigalondo for being ambitious. Colossal is an imperfect film, but it’s unlike anything I’ve seen and among a sea of sad imitations, the film is a refreshing attempt to do something new. When the comedy, sci-fi and the social commentary are aligned, the film is an unexpected treat and even when things go off the rails a bit, the film is eminently watchable, especially for Hathaway’s dedicated performance (albeit not her atrocious wig).
* It should be noted that Colossal is much better suited for audiences who like character driven comedy/dramas with a sci-fi twist rather than hardcore genre fans of Time Crimes or Vigalondo’s contributions in ABCs of Death or V/H/S.
This year has been absolutely stellar for horror. From fantastic movies such as The Witch, The Shallows, Don’t Breathe, The Conjuring 2, and more, to TV shows such as the return of “The X-Files”, Stephen King’s “11/22/63”, and the polarizing sixth season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, horror has hit this year harder than we’ve seen in a long time. Critical acclaim, massive interest, and original ideas have propelled horror forward and skyrocketed its popularity.
One property that pushed it forward in ways that we couldn’t have possibly envisioned was Netflix’s original series “Stranger Things“, which has become a household name and captivated audiences the world over. The tale of several residents of Hawkins, Indiana coming together to find the missing boy Will Byers is quite possibly the biggest release this year, at least in terms of continuing discussion and obsession.
One of the big draws for horror fans in the series was the “Demogorgon”, the creature from the upside-down realm that holds Byers captive. Even thought we see the creature a few times in all its horrific glory, the first true appearance of the creature was a small figurine that was used when the four boys were playing a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons.
If you found yourself wanting one of those figures, you’re in luck as a replica is being made and pre-orders are open right now!
The Demogorgon figure stands approximately 8 inches tall, and is solid cast resin. Fully painted and assembled, this collectible figure will be the talk of your collection. Wether you are a classic Dungeon & Dragons fan, or a Stranger Things fan, this statue is sure to be the perfect addition to your collection. Estimated shipping time on the Demogorgon statue is October 2016.
You can place your pre-orders right here.
The folks over at Relativity Media has had a rough go of it recently. After declaring bankruptcy last summer and emerging from it back in March, they have spent the past year trying to claw themselves out of their financial woes. The past year has seen many of their films get scheduled only to get pushed back by several months (looking at you, Before I Wake). One of those films is D.J. Caruso’s (Disturbia) The Disappointments Room. Filmed in 2014, The Disappointments Room was abruptly scheduled for a September 9th release date three weeks ago after being bumped from its original release date of March. Finally seeing the light of day in a small-scale nationwide release (it’s playing on just over 1,500 screens), The Disappointments Room fails to inject horror into a story that would have worked much better had it been written solely as a straightforward psychological drama.
Following the death of their infant daughter, Dana (Kate Beckinsale) and David (Mel Raido) move to an old house in the country with their 5-year-old son Lucas (Duncan Joiner). Hoping to get a fresh start and rid Dana of her depression and guilt, the family attempts to settle into their new home outside of the city. Dana comes across a locked door in the attic that she learns is a disappointments room. While dealing with her own grief and the renovations of her new home, she tries to unravel the mystery behind this secret room.
The script is credited to Caruso and actor/writer Wentworth Miller (who also penned 2013’s exceptional Stoker), and it’s a bit shocking to learn that they are behind it because their résumés suggest that they’re capable of better. There are a multitude of issues with the script, but the biggest one is that it paints Beckinsale’s character as a shrew for the first two acts of the film. She is clearly dealing with some crippling mental issues and her husband, who is one of the most worthless characters ever put on screen, just shrugs it off for most of the film, constantly giving her “you’re being crazy” facial expressions.
A lot of jokes will be made over the film’s title, but to say The Disappointments Room is disappointing would imply that there were high expectations in the first place. A studio doesn’t just schedule a theatrical release for a film three weeks prior to said release because they think it’s good. Not even if that studio is just coming out of bankruptcy. It seems like Relativity saw the success of Lights Out, a horror film that dealt with similar themes, and tried to cash in on its success.
The Disappointments Room is being marketed as a horror film and that is a huge mistake. Sure, it will get butts in seats during the opening weekend (my theater was surprisingly half-full), but The Disappointments Room fails remarkably as a horror film. It is littered with cheap scares. There is even a medicine cabinet mirror scare in the film. Why do directors still think it is a good idea to use those? Moments of graphic violence are also edited to death so that you can’t tell what is going on during them. The film is at its worst when it is trying to be scary because never once is the film actually scary. The psychological parts are where the film is at its best. Delving into Dana’s mind is much more fascinating than some cheap jump scares.
Not helping matters is that the film is rather dull for the majority of its runtime. It’s mostly just Beckinsale walking around the house staring at things. The film attempts to build suspense around the mystery of the titular room and the circumstances surrounding the death of David and Dana’ daughter, but none of it works particularly well. Miller and Caruso try to link the history of the disappointments room to Beckinsale’s grief, but it just doesn’t mesh. It starts heading somewhere interesting for a while, but fails to stick the landing. The final act leaves so many hanging threads (one character’s fate is left up in the air entirely) that is seems like it was chopped up in the editing room during post-production.
The Disappointments Room is not a complete loss. Beckinsale gives a heartbreaking performance as Dana. The full story behind her daughter’s death, while predictable, is one of the more interesting aspects of the film. Beckinsale sells Dana’s mental trauma well and earns the audience’s empathy, despite the film sometimes painting her in a negative light. It would have behooved the film if it had more time been spent reflecting on that after the film reveals it. Unfortunately it is treated as a twist, which cheapens the plot development.
Bolstered by Beckinsale’s performance and some rather affecting insights into depression and guilt, the film at least merits a rental. It’s just a shame it had to attempt to inject so much horror into the proceedings, but a horror film called The Disappointments Room is an easier sell than a drama called Kate Beckinsale is Sad for 90 Minutes.
What better way to start the Midnight Madness program than a riotous shoot-em-up starring a bunch of actors that are eminently cheer worthy? That’s Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, which finds the British director back in down and dirty mode after last year’s High Rise, his detour into genre art fare that was met with mixed reviews. Free Fire is a complete about face: Wheatley exchanges the cool aesthetic and stylistic direction of High Rise for a relatively simple narrative that allows him to focus on creating a crime caper engineered to ensure maximum audience satisfaction.
The plot is straight forward: in 1978 a group of freedom fighters, led by Cillian Murphy’s Nick and Michael Smiley’s Frank, meet up to buy guns from Sharlto Copley’s Verne, with the sale facilitated by neutrals Justine (Brie Larson) and Ord (Armie Hammer). After the briefest of introductions to flesh out which side everyone is on, the deal swiftly goes south over a minor disagreement. The remainder of the film’s 90 minute run time is dedicated to extended gun battles, punctuated by brief moments of tension-defusing sarcastic commentary from the surviving participants. The entire film is situated in an abandoned factory and populated almost exclusively by our core cast (outside of a few individuals who might as well all wear red shirts). It’s a bare bones bottle action film.
At first it seems as though the thin premise will be the film’s downfall; after all, how can Wheatley possibly keep the energy from flagging without more to work with? The simple answer: create a series of highly entertaining action set pieces and let his talented cast do the rest. The staging of the action is impressive considering the limited space, but Wheatley makes good use of hallways, stairs and pillars to help divide up the space as characters run for cover. Two set pieces in particular stand out: an extended two person crawl to reach a phone on the second level that involves both a fire and a fire extinguisher and a last act chase scene with a truck going slowly in circles.
The actors, meanwhile, all hold their own (Hammer starts off poorly, but ends up redeeming himself as the film progresses). It’s unclear how much of the dialogue is scripted, but the volley of insults and comebacks hurled back and forth is almost as lethal as the bullets. It’s worth singling out Copley, whose narcissism, flashy 70s suit and unique South African accent helps to distinguish Verne as a truly unique and offensively funny character. As the lone female of the group, Oscar winner Brie Larson manages to hold her own, despite disappearing for a long stretch in the third act of the film while the boys kill each other off.
The single biggest challenge the film faces is that there is no strict protagonist or antagonist so it’s not entirely clear who we should be rooting for. There’s barely enough time for introductions before the shooting begins and since Wheatley refuses to pick sides, our instinct is to cheer for (and against) everyone. As a result Free Fire winds up resembling a slasher film where we celebrate the great kills (of which there are several) rather than cheer for our favourite character to survive.
Ultimately, Free Fire is a solidly entertaining crime film. The action is frequent and adrenaline-boosting, the dialogue crackles and several of the set pieces are highly memorable. For audiences willing to park their brains at the door and embrace the madness, Free Fire should hit the sweet spot.
Brad and I have some strange similarities when it comes to horror movies in that we share a passion for titles that don’t get a lot of recognition. For example, we’re both huge fans of Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions (when I told him there was a director’s cut, he sent me a message about 30 seconds later saying he ordered a copy), we both think John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness ranks as one of the director’s best works, and, when it comes to J-horror, we both adore Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo (aka Pulse).
The film is an allegory for how technology and social media, while bringing us together online, ultimately cause us to drift apart in the real world, creating a sense of isolation. It’s absolutely fantastic and is one of the few J-horror films that manages to still terrify me with each viewing. There’s something about the atmosphere of the film that is incredibly dour and unsettling, which I relish.
Now, Arrow Video has announced that they will be releasing a Blu-ray home video edition for both US and UK audiences that will include some phenomenal extras, such as new interviews with Kurosawa and cinematographer Junichiro Hayashi as well as a new “appreciation” video featuring Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett (You’re Next, Blair Witch, V/H/S), and a reversible sleeve, plus more. The full list of specials can be found below.
“A group of young people in Tokyo begin to experience strange phenomena involving missing co-workers and friends, technological breakdown, and a mysterious website which asks the compelling question, “Do you want to meet a ghost?” After the unexpected suicides of several friends, three strangers set out to explore a city which is growing more empty by the day, and to solve the mystery of what lies within a forbidden room in an abandoned construction site, mysteriously sealed shut with red packing tape.”
The UK version is coming out in early December (pre-order here) while the US version doesn’t have a confirmed release date yet.
•High Definition digital transfer
•High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
•Original 5.1 audio (DTS-HD on the Blu-ray)
•New optional English subtitle translation
•New interview with writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa
•New interview with cinematographer Junichiro Hayashi
•The Horror of Isolation: a new video appreciation featuring Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett (Blair Witch, You’re Next)
•Archive ‘Making of’ documentary, plus four archive behind-the-scenes featurettes
•Premiere footage from the Cannes Film Festival
•Cast and crew introductions from opening day screenings in Tokyo
•Trailers and TV Spots
•Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tommy Pocket
This week’s edition of Twisted Music Video of the Week is a little different. Normally I find a video from a band, one that features content that I can connect with horror. However, today brings something a little different.
Below is a video that takes clips from various 80’s horror movies and does a visual remix, all set to the aggressive and exciting Marilyn Manson track “The Fight Song”. Kudos have to be given to video creator Steve Collender, who really put a lot of effort into making this remix, which does a whole lot more than just edit a few clips together. The effects and transitions make this a highly engaging view, so get on down there and enjoy!
[Interview] ‘Blair Witch’ Writer Simon Barrett on Inventing New Mythology, Entering the Witch’s House!
Those who revisit Eduardo Sanchez, Daniel Myrick and Gregg Hale‘s 1999 The Blair Witch Project will be surprised to learn that there’s little to no mythology presented in the film. There’s just enough information to deliver a scare here or there, with the most imprinted sequence being the shot of one of the campers staring into a corner. We never got to see “The Witch”, but the filmmakers pushes viewers’ imaginations to the point of freaking themselves out.
Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett don’t quite play the same game with Blair Witch, in theaters September 16th. In our exclusive chat with Barrett, screenwriter on the new film, he reveals that he expanded the original’s mythology by exploring its initial ideas.
“I did, though mostly I’m just augmenting or extrapolating upon a lot of the ideas that are suggested in the first film,” he explained. “And again, I had the blessing of the original creators to do kind of whatever I wanted, but there’s so much already there in ‘Blair Witch’ lore, it’s not like I didn’t have a sufficient amount of existing mythology to consider. So it’s more about just taking things a bit further than the first film did, or in a different direction.”
As the trailers reveal, Blair Witch returns to the Witch’s house. Barrett explains how they approached the new set and its geography.
“The house sequence was quite a bit easier to write than to actually produce,” Barrett tells us. “Writing stuff like that is easy: ‘There’s a house.’ Done! Perfect! Then you realize you actually have to figure out the geography and precise measurements of this thing to make the scenes work, and it’s like, oh. This was the first time we ever had the money to build a set for one of our films on an actual soundstage, previously we’d always worked around the limitations of existing locations, so creating that house was a new challenge.
“Fortunately, we have a production designer for that, Tom Hammock, who we work with on everything; he’d worked with our producers Keith Calder and Jess Wu since the beginning of his career and they brought him onto ‘You’re Next’. He was also involved with ‘V/H/S/2’, actually. In addition to being a great production designer, he’s a writer and director himself, so he understands how to make things function on a cinematic and story level, not just like, an artistic one. So, he found a lot of photos of the house from the original film, and committed to matching everything that you see in the original movie precisely, though in a more advanced state of decay, as suited our narrative.”
He continues: “Our production offices were in a vacant high school building, so Tom mapped out the exact dimensions of the house on the floor of this indoor gym space using tape, basically creating a life size blueprint of each level of the house on the basketball court. Then he walked Adam, our cinematographer Robby Baumgartner, and me through each scripted moment in the house, walking along the actual floor, and we’d note anything that seemed off in terms of how we’d each imagined it. That way, he basically knew how everything worked before he started building, and could design things accordingly.
“Once Tom built the house, it looked incredible. There kind of wasn’t a bad angle in it. So those scenes went relatively quickly, once we were actually shooting in there. But it took awhile to get there, that was late in our schedule because building that house was an incredible amount of work. I think it nearly killed Tom. But writing that house? No problem.”
Blair Witch is destined to launch a world of copycat filmmaking, but I can’t for the life of me picture how anyone is going to be able to replicate it. Barrett shares his thoughts on this:
“Beats me,” Barrett said when asked how anyone could replicate their approach. “That’s the thing about ‘The Blair Witch Project’, it was so influential that anything remotely similar feels like it’s ripping it off. That’s why we got lucky, we got to actually make another ‘Blair Witch’ movie.
“Adam and I both knew from the start that we wanted ‘Blair Witch’ to feel more like a POV horror movie than a found footage movie, but you need some kind of story logic to sell that filmmaking style. Many horror video games have an incredible visual style to them, but how do you make that perspective work in a feature film without it just being a distracting gimmick? It’s a difficult thing to do. I’d love it if the visual and narrative style of our ‘Blair Witch’ movie influenced other horror films, obviously, but I don’t know exactly what that would entail. I’m not at all sure that I’ll personally ever make another film like this again.”
Making a movie is hard, which is why we wanted to know what Barrett was most proud of.
“That people who watch it are saying it’s scary. That was all we wanted to do, create something that would scare modern audiences and expand upon the mythology of the original film. If people are saying we succeeded at that, even a little, then I’m happy.”
It’s been confirmed for a couple of weeks now that Toho’s Shin Godzilla (also known as Godzilla Resurgence) would be hitting US theaters this October via FUNimation. Now, a trailer has been released to promote the limited theatrical event, which you can see below.
“An unknown accident occurs in Tokyo Bay’s Aqua Line, which causes an emergency cabinet to assemble. All of the sudden, a giant creature immediately appears, destroying town after town with its landing reaching the capital. This mysterious giant monster is named “Godzilla”.”
Co-directed by Hideaki Anno (creator of “Evangelion”) and Shinji Higuchi (director of Toho’s 2015 “Attack on Titan” live action movies), Shin Godzilla is the 29th Godzilla film produced by Toho and represents a brand new chapter in the 62-year history of this celebrated movie monster. The film stars Hiroki Hasegawa and Satomi Ishihara – both also from the “Attack on Titan” live action movies – as well as Yutaka Takenouchi.
Brian De Palma’s 1976 book-to-film adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie is considered to be one of the great films in the horror genre. Sissy Spacek’s portrayal of the title character has been studied and appreciated ever since its release, her traumatic entrance into womanhood that opened the movie kicking off a series of events that culminates in an explosion of telekinetic abilities. The 2013 remake? We gave it a mediocre review, citing the overuse of CGI as a very large stumbling block, one that undid a lot of the good that the film offered.
The below video compares the two films and sees what works and what fails, making for an interesting case on how both have their serious merits while each has its flaws. It doesn’t argue for one being better than the other, although it does posit that the remake – which came at a time when it was ripe for such an undertaking – doesn’t set itself apart enough to warrant its existence.
What about you? What are your thoughts on the matter? Is the 2013 version a solid entry into the category of “horror remakes that are good”? Or was it a disappointment, one that didn’t need to be made at all?